Ariza adds to the mix
Andrew Bynum on Thursday signed a four-year contract extension worth $57.4 million, but the Lakers aren’t done talking with agent David Lee.
Lee also represents forward Trevor Ariza, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July in what could be another lengthy contract negotiation.
Ariza has increased his all-around game, adding a three-point shot to an already intriguing mix of solid defense and burst around the basket.
He makes $3.1 million this season and could command at least double that number next summer if he continues to play as well as he has in a very young season. Through two games, Ariza is averaging 11 points and four rebounds in only 22.5 minutes a game. He has made four of five three-point attempts.
Ariza, 23, was acquired last November from Orlando for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans.
He worked hard during the off-season -- “three hours a day,” his agent said -- to improve his outside touch.
The Lakers have noticed. In fact, they’d like him to shoot more often.
“It’s not that he’s not a good shooter, it’s just that he doesn’t think shot,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “He’s looking to drive or penetrate. We try to get him to think [about] the fact that if you’re open, take a shot. This offense is an offense that creates shots for guys.”
Clipped, Part 2
In 177 previous games between the Lakers and Clippers, 176 were never this one-sided.
The Lakers dominated practically every category in a 117-79 victory Wednesday, much to the Clippers’ dismay.
“They were able to manhandle us in the sense that they crushed us on the boards,” Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “As far as making shots, they drained three-pointers on us, which opened up their offense. They spread the court on us and did what they can do.
“You have to play against these guys for a full 48 minutes. They have size pretty much across the board. They get it to the open court. They have good mobility and good speed.”
The Lakers came close to their largest margin of victory against the Clippers, a 137-91 wipeout in 1979.
They also spoiled Baron Davis’ first game with the Clippers.
“They’re a very good team. We all know that,” Davis said. “Most importantly, they’re a team on a mission. They went all the way to the Finals and had a taste of it. Now they got Bynum back and Lamar [Odom] coming off the bench. They’re a machine. They know what they’re trying to accomplish. They showed what the bar is.”