A few things worth talking about (besides the end of Six Feet Under, which has crushed my wife) on a Monday morning.
â€¢ Aaron McKie is now a Laker. Iâ€™ve written about him before. Iâ€™m concerned about how well he can cover the quick point guards of the league, but he does fit what Phil Jackson generally likes in his points and heâ€™s still solid on the offensive end. The other question is just how much have McKieâ€™s skills declined as he’s aged and how much can be resurrected. Add McKie to the long list of â€œifsâ€ the Lakers have coming into the season (if they can play team defense, if Kwame can play to his potential night in and night out, ifâ€¦). This may be a decent stopgap answer or he may spend more time on the bench than weâ€™d like, but at least itâ€™s just a two-year deal.
â€¢ Apparently the Lakers made the same offer, $2.5 million per year for two years, to both McKie and Derek Anderson, and McKie was the first to respond so he gets the job. If thatâ€™s true, itâ€™s an interesting way to choose your starting point guard.
â€¢ The good news is the Lakers have half of their mid-level exception left â€” $2.5 million. There are two options on spending that money as I see it: 1) Go get a backup center and have Sasha and Smush as your back up point guards; 2) Go get a defensive stopper at the point (and that does not mean Tyrone Lue) and have Vlade come back as the backup center.
â€¢ Make sure to read the bottom of Saturday’s Laker report in the LA Times to get a status update on Ronny Turiaf, who is already walking on a court and dribbling a basketball. If thereâ€™s one guy I want to see make it backâ€¦.
â€¢ In case you missed it in the LA Times Magazine over the weekend, interesting story about former Sparks power forward Latasha Byears. She was let go by the Sparks after a sexual assault charge. The comparison to Kobe Bryantâ€™s case is a bit of a reach (and weâ€™re not going to have a discussion about the merits of that case on this site), but I will say this â€” as long as sports is a business, players who can add to the bottom line, and Kobe is certainly one who does, will get all the breaks they can. Steve Howe comes to mind. Byears realizes that she was a bench player on a team and in a league that loses money and is very image conscious, making her vulnerable. But her biggest questions are good ones â€” was she treated differently because this case made widely known she was gay? Is the WNBA so concerned about itâ€™s image, trying so hard to reach out to the â€œaverage American,â€ that it would let her go to protect its image?
â€¢ The Sporting News has a story up about statistics in sports that gives a little love to poeple I admire such as Dean Oliver, John Hollinger and Roland Beech, among others. Nothing groundbreaking, but worth the read if you enjoy this kind of thing.
â€¢ A good laugh for the day: Shooting guard turned boxer Kendall Gill wants another shot at the NBA and said heâ€™d like it with the Lakers (thanks to Ben Maller for finding the link). Iâ€™d love to have Gill if we can invent a time machine and bring the 1995 version into camp. However, I’m not going to say anything too bad about Gill because I’m pretty sure I lose a fight with him.