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 two-piece 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.

Kurt

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31 responses to Fast Break Thoughts — free agency edition

  1. Antwain Barbour? Didn’t think the Lakers picked him up. I thought it was Andrew, Sasha, Douthit, Murry, Horvath, Perkins, Danilo, Green, Wafer, Bozeman, Fey, Farmar, and Powell. Are they carrying 14?

  2. chris henderson July 5, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    hey Kurt,
    where can I find the schedule for the summer league? I was just talking with a co-worker, fellow Laker fan, and we want to come to the game this Saturday.

  3. That’s just Eric’s list. I went on the official Lakers site but the list isn’t up.

  4. Chris, it’s at http://www.summerproleague.com

    A word of warning if you plan on going, they expect a huge crowd, maybe a sellout. Get there early to get tickets, or get them online before hand (the links are on the site). And if anyone is going send me an email and let me know, I’d love to say hello.

  5. I’m definitely looking forward to the SPL updates…

    Would like to know how Bynum has progressed over the break and how Farmar fits into the triangle.

    Right now, it seems as if the roster is bloated with back up guards (McKie, Smush, Sasha, Farmar, Mo Evans) not to mention JJ, Wafer and Pinnock…wish we could turn that group into 1 decent starter.

  6. (5) I hear some mad scientist has come up with a machine that will consolidate 5 mediocre players into an NBA starter.

  7. chris henderson July 5, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    thanks Kurt, if we do end up coming down for saturday’s game, I will let you know. it would be nice to put a face to the name, hopefully see ya then.

  8. wow, the bulls are gonna be nice. starting big ben, pj brown, deng, gordon and hinrich, and bringing in nocioni, jr smith, thabo seflosha, duhon and tyrus thomas, they are 10 deep and their miniature two guard situation has been helped by the addition of jr smith and shot blockers thomas and wallace. My point is, they may not need duhon anymore, and may be willing to trade a back-up point guard for a back-up center (mihm) and i defintley would consider duhon a solid upgrade over smush

  9. I agree with #8. The Bulls do look nice on paper. JR Smith might prove to be a distraction if he doesn’t get his minutes, and he’s never been known to be a defensive ace.

    With re: Duhon, it would make sense for the Bulls to load up with a big like Mihm b/c of Shaq. As it stands, the Bulls would have 2 PFs masquerading as centers (Wallace, PJ Brown). What happens if Wallace gets hurt? Would it be prudent to entrust guarding the center position solely to the 36(?) year old PJ Brown?

    With Mihm, they have a body that is a legit center. His salary will come off the books next summer should the Bulls feel as though he isn’t worth their money, and Mihm will be specially motivated given his contract year status to play harder and gain money in the future.

    I think that a deal with Songalia or Malik Allen coupled with Duhon might work for Mihm + McKie/Cook. Don’t know my exact salary cap numbers but the philosophy sounds right.

  10. What the Bulls are saying they want is someone who can score inside. Mihm certainly fits that, he’s not a great inside scoer but he’s not bad and a far sight better than what they’ve got. I get the feeling Mihm is not at the top of that list, but I’m not sure they can get Boozer at this point, so we shall see what shakes out.

    Songalia is a free agent, albeit restricted (I think) so that might be a sign-and-trade if it’s part of any deal.

  11. The flip side of that Bulls trade by the way, my gut reaction is I don’t like what they’ve done in New Orleans. Sure, they are finally spending some money, but that’s a lot of dough for Peja, who seems to have slowed but now you’ve got him for five years, you’ve got an overpriced defender at center in Chandler. I like Bobby Jackson, if he stays healthy they should be solid on defense.

    I guess they want to give Chris Paul the ball and be Phoenix East, with Peja hitting jumpers. I’m not sure how well that works.

  12. i think new orleans would love to be phoenix east…if they were in the eastern conference. im joking with you kurt, i actually agree with you, a lotta money for injury-prone softies peja, tyson and b jax. i think if the lakers cant get duhon then they shouldnt move mihm. regardless of how good bynum looks this saturday and throughout the summer league, he is NOT GOING TO BE READY, and im not comfortable letting turiaf and bynum back up kwame, nope, thats a recipe for foul trouble and inconsistency. we can stand pat and win 55 games next year, i really believe that, this team is so close, last years team was playing its best ball at the end and weve added depth, the new staple for the modern day nba.

  13. Fish if off to Salt Lake. Best of luck to him. If he can spread the floor that front court is really going to be formidable.

  14. The Warriors are really looking to get Monta Ellis more minutes this seaon and Fish’s bloated contract was an impediment to that process. If anyone got to see Ellis this year, he showed some amazing quickness and was fearless around the hole….

  15. 12. Maybe a better way of saying that is New Orleans wants to be a poor-man’s Phoenix.

    I agree this is a better Laker team just because guys will mature, but the problem is they are in the West, where there are three powerhouses atop the league that I don’t think the Lakers can get past in the playoffs, That may not be a one year process, but it has to be the ultimte goal, and for that more pieces are needed.

  16. I found it funny that Antwan Barbour is on the Lakers roster this summer. He played at Kentucky, was a transfer (due to grades, he wasn’t admitted, had to go to juco for two years where he was player of the year and led his team to the finals, can’t remember if he won or not). He was also Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky, and when Kentucky got him everybody thought he’d be great off the bench, and be a real stud. Never quite panned out, probably b/c of Tubby’s caveman offense. Anyways, he lit up the basketball league this year in Louisville, he dropped huge amounts of points. He probably has a 2% chance of making the team. He’s very athletic, not a good jumpshot, more of a get to the rim.

  17. Seems like OJ Mayo will be the best PG in Los Angeles come next year…

  18. One other option the Lakers have to bring in a PG — a sign and trade with D. George. Hoopsworld is reporting the Lakers are trying to do just that, which would be smart. If there are any takers.

  19. (17) But why USC?
    Why not UCLA?
    and why does he want to be called OJ?
    It all just doesn’t make sense.

  20. 17. The rumor I had always heard about OJ was that he would go to Europe for a year and get paid rather than go the NCAA route. If he goes to SC that would be huge for Floyd.

  21. I also heard that OJ could go straight to the D league. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, because some front offices are about to be tested. Despite his latest issues, Mayo is a Lebronesque, can’t miss talent. The Lakers are ahead of the curve by getting their own D leauge team where they can pick him up, but any team can sign him from there – Lakers will have to be quick and aggressive.

  22. i think that dallas and phoenix (healthy amare version) and the clippers are the top teams in the west going into next season. i think san antonio has taken a step back. they are getting older (nve, finley, horry, bowen), shorter (they lost mohammed and nestorevich) and they looked like their old-soft selves against Dallas. Unless Ginobli looks like 04-05 ginobli the Spurs are in line for a drop, duncan cant play the 5 year round and they cant add much through sign and trade. we can give them mihm or cook for brent barry. i would be hesitant to help them, but barry sure would be a good tri fit, with phil-type size.

  23. Brent Barry would give the Lakers 3 former Clippers. Dangerous ground.

  24. On Mayo, the prospect of him entering the D-League directly is interesting to me from a rules perspective. My sources say “All U.S. players are automatically eligible upon the end of their college eligibility.” By playing professionally in the D while still too young to be drafted, this would seem to render him ineligible for college and therefore eligible for the draft as soon as he came of age whether or not he explicitly declared, but unable to sign with a team until the next draft because “A player can’t play in the NBA unless he’s been eligible for at least one draft “. So it doesn’t matter which D-League team he would play for, he would get drafted by some team and they would hold his rights. And once the team has those rights it is no simple task for the player to escape them. Appropriate comments on that here: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#42

    To me anyway, this seems like it would incentivize teams against taking these 18 year olds into their NBDL teams. They would be developing the player at their cost when said player has only an approximately 1 in 30 chance of ending up with that team in the draft. How strong this counter-incentive is isn’t clear, but the NBA appears to be intentionally or not pushing the high school prospect to college instead of the D.

  25. if we trade mihm and cook for miles and blake then we would have 4 ex-clips playing key roles for us, go figure.

  26. When was the last time an ex-laker played for the clips?

  27. Norm NIxon and Jamal Wilkes are the last two meaningful ones I can think of. Anyone have a more recent name?

  28. re: 26. thank god we never had to include kobe on that list.

  29. Elgin Baylor was a Laker and he just won GM of the Year with the Clippers. Mike Dunleavy coached the Lakers to the finals and now coaches the Clippers.

    And its true, Kobe has never been a Clipper, but that merely keeps the Clippers’ aversion to rapists and alleged rapists intact. The Lakers lead that category 2-0 at present, I believe.

  30. Norm Nixon was the first to pop into my mind. Although, technically both he and Wilkes them went from the Lakers to the Clips.

    27. I’m really thrilled that you either are Terry Teagle or a big enough hoops fan to pull that name out. Very solid player back in the day, and the guy who scored the basket on Magic’s record-breaking assist (if I remember that right).

  31. Sean Rooks “played” for both LA teams.