Lakers News: Players Trending Up And Down Ahead Of NBA Finals

Steve CliffordIt’s always weird to watch another Western Conference team play in the NBA Finals besides the Lakers, but that’s become the norm the past few seasons.

With a big summer ahead for the franchise, it’s been quiet around Lakerland, but come July, it will be complete and utter chaos in the Lakers’ offices. Not much is going on thus far for the Lakers as Dwight Howard is in the news for his fishing trips and Pau Gasol was back in Memphis to watch his brother (*cries*) in the Western Conference Finals.

Let’s take a look at the players and coaches that are trending up and down into the second month of the off-season.

Trending Up: 

Steve Clifford:

Is going from an assistant coach of the Lakers to the head coach of the Bobcats a step-up? Regardless, Clifford has put in his dues as an assistant coach and it’s nice to see NBA teams hiring new coaches instead of recycling through the same names after they’ve been fired.

The Bobcats have a nice young core with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and will also pick fourth in the NBA Draft in June. However, it’ll be interesting if Howard’s decision is somehow affected by Clifford’s departure as they were both in Orlando together.

Metta World Peace:

Anytime you get a book published things are going well for you. Well, yesterday MWP got his children’s book, “Metta’s Bedtime Stories” in stores.

World Peace’s spot on the Lakers roster is up in the air as he has an opt-out clause in his contract and could be a candidate to be amnestied. Regardless, between his time on KTLA as a weatherman and writing a children’s book, World Peace is definitely taking advantage of being in LA.

Pau Gasol: 

Pau can do no wrong in Los Angeles as recently he came out and said that he understands that Howard will test free agency, but like many, hopes he does so in a timely fashion.

We don’t know if Gasol’s time with the Lakers is coming to an end, but it’s evident that everyone in LA loves him. He was just in Memphis supporting his brother and seems to be on the road to recovery after a somewhat serious knee procedure.

Hopefully head coach Mike D’Antoni is thinking of ways to get Gasol in the right spots this upcoming season as he showed flashes of his old self towards the end of the year.

Trending Down: 

Mike D’Antoni: 

Another week, another time for D’Antoni to find himself on the trending down list. Phil Jackson has used his book tour as a way to criticize MDA for his system and that he knows what’s best for the Lakers, not D’Antoni.

D’Antoni has now lost Clifford to Charlotte, potentially Bernie Bickerstaff to Cleveland, Eddie Jordan to Rutgers and cut ties with Chuck Person from his coaching staff. At this point, it looks like the D’Antoni brothers will be coaching the Lakers as it’s about time for him to start putting together a staff.

Dwight Howard: 

The longer he drags out free agency and granted he can’t even sign until July 10, the more rumors surrounding Howard there will be. The Dwightmare Part 2 looks inevitable and the Lakers, Rockets and Warriors will be in the thick of all the drama.

Howard is using his time posting pictures and Vine videos of a recent fishing trip and it doesn’t look like he’s getting back in the gym to work on his post moves.

The summer of Dwight Howard for the second straight year sure won’t disappoint and like Terrell Owens once said, “Get your popcorn ready.”

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