Stu Lantz is expected to return for 25th season as TV color commentator


Reporting from Oakland

Stu Lantz is staying.

The longtime color commentator for televised Lakers games is expected to return for a 25th season, multiple NBA and entertainment officials said Wednesday.

Lantz’s broadcast partner since 2005, Joel Meyers, will not be back after this season.

Meyers will be done after the first round of the playoffs. Neither FS West nor KCAL has broadcast rights past that point.

Spero Dedes, 32, will be the third TV voice of the Lakers since Chick Hearn died in August 2002. Paul Sunderland had the job for three seasons, followed by Meyers.

Dedes is in his sixth season as the Lakers’ radio play-by-play broadcaster. Dedes has not officially signed a new contract with the Lakers to do TV, though it is not expected to be an arduous process.


Who will succeed Dedes on radio?

The Lakers might not have to look further than longtime local sports presence Bill Macdonald.

The affable FS West host filled in for Dedes on five broadcasts this season while Dedes did TV for college basketball games.

The Lakers declined to comment for this story.

Next season is to be the last one for the Lakers on FS West and KCAL. In 2012-13, they begin a 20-year deal with a Time Warner Cable channel emphasizing Southern California sports.

M-V-P! M-V-P?

Kobe Bryant hasn’t really been among those mentioned in the national debate over who should be this season’s most valuable player.

“I have no idea why he’s not,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “I guess by virtue of the fact that Pau [Gasol] plays great on this team and there’s two All-Stars on the team and so forth, but he obviously is a guy that has to be figured into the top three names that are in the league.”

He is among the top three, but seemingly a distance behind Chicago guard Derrick Rose and Orlando center Dwight Howard.

Bryant’s numbers are slightly down across the board from a season ago, mainly because he’s playing about five fewer minutes per game. He averaged 27 points, 5.4 rebounds and five assists last season, down to about 25 points, five rebounds and 4.8 assists this season.


He has won the MVP award once, in 2008.

Jackson has never been a huge fan of individual awards for the regular season. He has won coach of the year only once in his career (1996). Not that he minds.

“For numbers of years, we called it the ‘Kiss of Death’ award because the guy was fired in the next two or three years,” he said.

That was fast

Derrick Caracter was with the Lakers for all of one day before being sent back down to Bakersfield of the Development League.

The rookie forward was an insurance policy in case Gasol couldn’t play Tuesday against Utah because of a bone bruise on his right knee.

Gasol was fine and Caracter will play for Bakersfield in a playoff game Friday against Rio Grande Valley. Caracter will assume his position at the end of the Lakers’ bench after Bakersfield is done in the playoffs.