Fast Break:

Kurt —  August 10, 2005

Not much news, but:

• Brian Grant is out the door. Not a surprise and I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been said before. With this Jerry Buss will save at least $25 million over the next two years in luxury tax money, and if I were in his Italian loafers I’d do the same (the Lakers are expected to pay about $75 million in salary, the luxury tax level is $61 million, so this keeps the Lakers at or below that threshold).

However, right now there is no backup center (unless you count Vlade) and the backup four is a combination of Slava and Brian Cook, two guys who are power forwards in name only. While priority one for Mitch is a point guard, if he is trying to get Derek Anderson to take less than the full MLE he needs to use any money saved for depth in the bigs.

• I find the situation in Atlanta fascinating — owners fighting it out in court about a trade. My two cents — Joe Johnson is not worth that inflated contract alone, forget the two first-round draft picks thrown in. Johnson is good but his numbers from last season — particularly his per-game numbers — are inflated because of the team he played on and pace he played at. He fits well in Phoenix, but in Atlanta?

If I’m the Hawks, I try to go more of the route of Chicago, building smart through the draft and develop a core. Eventually you are going to have to overpay to get a free agent to come there (it’s the only way a player will go to the Clippers of the East) but now is not the time and Johnson is not the guy.

• For what it’s worth, Eric Pincus is reporting Shareef Abdur-Rahim to Sacramento is a strong possibility.

• There’s no way around it — moving sucks. I feel like boxes are invading my subconscious and appearing in my dreams.

Kurt

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