Why not Shaun?
August 20th, 2008, 9:39 am · 10 Comments · posted by ART THOMPSON III, OCREGISTER.COM
Going into training camp in October, it would appear that the Lakers’ backcourt is crammed past capacity. Locked in for jobs are Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. Battling for jobs will be Coby Karl, Joe Crawford, Dwayne Mitchell and Sun Yue. But as crowded as the guard spot appears to be, it would not hurt the Lakers to take a long look at Shaun Livingston, who has been playing five-on-five, for at least the past week and a half, at fitness trainer Tim Grover’s Attack Athletics facility in Chicago.
Clippers athletic trainer Jasen Powell confirmed Wednesday that Livingston has progressed to playing full-scale, full-court pickup games with the contingent of 20 or so NBA players that work out regularly at Grover’s site. The 22-year old Livingston has spent the bulk of this summer working out there, primarily because the Clippers declined to extend a qualifying offer to him for the 2008-2009 season, then subsequently renounced their rights to him. Livingston is an unrestricted free agent. Livingston was the Clippers’ first-round draft pick in 2004, selected fourth-overall in the NBA draft. His career has been beset by injuries but when he has been healthy, the 6-foot-7 Livingston has shown the skills and potential to be one of the league’s premier floor leaders and an all-defensive team pick. It was nearly 18 months ago, when Livingston suffered a frightening and catastrophic injury to his left knee. He underwent surgery from renowned Alabama-based orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, to repair ruptures to all the major ligaments in his knee, as well as cartilage damage.
Powell and Clippers strength and conditioning coach Rich Williams put in countless hours of implementing, coordinating and monitoring Livingston’s rehabilitation program. The Clippers’ basketball staff tried to hold out for as long as it could, to assess whether Livingston would be able to play this coming season, after he missed the final 26 games of the 2006-2007 season and the entire 2007-2008 season. However, when Livingston still has not progressed past playing one-on-one, the Clippers moved forward to solidify their backcourt. After signing Baron Davis to a five-year, $65 million contract, the Clippers re-acquired guard Jason Hart from the Utah Jazz, in exchange for guard Brevin Knight, and shortly thereafter, signed veteran free agent guard Jason Williams. It would behoove the Lakers to take at least a cursory look at Livingston because, according to several NBA insiders, if healthy he could be one of the NBA’s top backcourt players.
too injury prone? too much money? too many guards already? would light up a fire under Farmars a$$ again like Crittenton did? no shirt, no shoes, no service?