Fast Break Thoughts — free agency edition

Kurt —  July 5, 2006

A few thoughts while we are waiting for the other shoe to drop in Laker off-season moves.

Update: Here is the official Summer League roster, now up on the Lakers Web Site, which is slightly different than what was on this site yesterday. The two new guys are Byron Sanders (a former Tar Heel forward) and Marcus Slaughter (the San Diego State forward who lit up a lot of teams and should be interesting to watch). The rest of the guys on the 13-man roster are: Jordan Farmar, Andrew Bynum, Von Wafer, Devin Green, J.R. Pinnock (part of a draft-night trade), Michael Fey of UCLA, Nick Horvath, Marcus Douthit (former Laker second round pick who has been playing in Europe), Nile Murry, Doron Perkins and Kasib Powell. Gone from the list posted yesterday are Cedric Bozeman, Antwain Barbour (sorry Zach) and Sasha Vujacic (he has been around long enough that the team cannot force him to play Summer League, he would have to do so voluntarily).

• After Laker brass chose to spend the MLE on Radmanovic, I have moved farther into the “Trade Chris Mihm” camp. I had been hesitant before, thinking it never hurts to have another big who can score on the roster, I don’t completely trust Kwame and we could always deal Mihm at the trade deadline. But now, I don’t see how else you solve the perimeter defense issues without a trade because the LLE isn’t going to do it. And Mihm is the best trade bait we have.

• However, read the latest from Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld and he says the most likely option is no trade, that the Lakers are going to get what veteran point guard they can get for the veteran’s exemption and live with it.

• Wonder what the Laker (or other NBA) scouts are thinking when they watch a game? Check out this great twopiece article by David Friedman at Pro Basketball News — he watched games live and on tape with a scout for the Pacers, all the while picking his brain.

• Here’s a rare bit of speculation from me — if Mihm were to be traded, you still need a third big on the roster, sitting at the end of the bench for nights of foul trouble or injury (basically the role Bynum had last season). Which is why Nick Horvath playing on the Laker summer league team is interesting.

Horvath is 6-10 and 215, played at Duke but was always a guy off the bench. His best season was 02-03, when he played in 30 games (starting eight) averaging 15.5 minutes and 3.9 PPG. He actually got a contract from the T-Wolves, but blew out his knee and spent last year playing and rehabbing in an Australian league.

Not sure what Horvath can do or could add, and the Lakers have a full roster plus some already, but if there is a trade he might be a guy to get for the minimum at the end of the bench.

• The Summer Pro League at the Pyramid in Long Beach starts Saturday, with the Lakes playing Memphis at 3. I’ll be there and have a report up later that night.

I should be able to attend the majority of Laker SPL games this year and will updating here often.

• Big Ben makes Chicago a powerhouse defensive team (they were already the fifth best team in terms of defensive efficiency last season, tied with Detroit at 100.2 points per 100 opponent possessions). But they still need to find some more offense, which is where the Chandler trades come in.

• Everyone seemed to love Charlie Villanueva this past season, saying what was a ridiculed pick the night of the draft turned out to be a steal. But as the legendary Ed Kupfer (who lives in Toronto) pointed out on the APBR board, the pre-draft knock on him of not showing up every night seemed to follow him to the pros. Sure, there was the 48 point game, but what about the 10 games he scored 5 or less? Or, read the Toronto papers after the trade and see columnists make that same complaint about him.

• I stopped calling this the Notes at 3 a.m. column because the 10-week old is sleeping through the night. That’s bad news for you who own Starbucks stock, I’m not there nearly as often now.