Frustration and Stagnation

Kurt —  April 5, 2007

Since the final buzzer of the Clippers game, I’ve felt very frustrated. I try not to write posts just to vent, so I’ve lived with that frustration for a while. But it’s not going away and there is good reason — the frustration stems from growing realization that these up and down Lakers are likely the ones going to the playoffs, and that means a very quick exit.

Slowly I think we Laker fans are coming to a lot of realizations about this year’s team. Like the fact that without Kwame Brown at about 100% our interior defense is horrible, and Kwame needs off-season ankle surgery and will not be 100% until next October or so.

(To be fair, credit to the Clippers for doing exactly what they should have done with Kwame out — exploit the mismatches. They got the ball to Kaman early, and after he and Brand softened up the Laker defense inside — which really isn’t all that difficult, apparently — there was plenty of room for the Clipper perimeter players to operate. Turiaf tried and brought his usual energy, but he can only do so much, and the Lakers needed more than he could give last night. If you want to see a painful but great recap of the fourth quarter last night, Kevin at Clipperblog has it.)

Another realization is that it’s not the injuries, it’s the lingering remnants of the injuries — inconsistent lineups and rotations that have both exposed the limits of the Lakers depth (ala Turiaf trying to cover Kaman) and also taken what chemistry had been building and destroyed it. Here’s an interesting note from Nate Jones in the comments:

The Lakers have only played 28 games where Kwame, Lamar, Kobe and Luke have been on the floor together (according to ESPN)…29 if you count Kwame’s half game on Tuesday and are 20-9 in those game. I’m a big believer in the theory that injuries have killed this team.

Gatinho followed up on that:

My rationalizations about this season stemming from the last two games are that the biggest toll the injuries took on the Lakers was never really letting them find any sort of identity or work through the more intricate aspects of playing team defense and building confidence in the Triangle.

The fact that we still have no semblance of a set rotation is a huge indicator of that toll, as well

Kobe being either Sir shoots-a-lot or Sir passes-a-lot and never the twain shall meet was something that I thought would be remedied as the season went along and this obviously still an issue.

Odom seems to have also regressed with his aggressiveness and his willingness to find his moments offensively. His perceived (somewhat understandable) lack of respect from the refs has been detrimental to his on court demeanor and ability to be a leader as a calming and centering force for the younger guys.

I won’t yet call this season a step back, but stagnation when most expected greater strides is the irksome part of this journey.

I think that’s how a lot of us feel — we’re not giving up but objectively there are few signs recently to give us hope for a turnaround in the next seven games. Injuries can take some of the blame for the stagnation, but the players and coaches deserve plenty too, for doing things like playing 24 minutes of basketball against the Clippers. Management can take some for not addressing the clear perimeter defense issues last offseason.

All that and the resulting stagnation leaves me frustrated. I’m not yet ready to say, “wait until next year,” but I don’t feel good either.

Kurt

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45 responses to Frustration and Stagnation

  1. I feel you, Kurt. The Lakers have reached the heights of whatever growth they were going to achieve this season. And it ain’t pretty. But the inconsistent nature of the team (for a myriad of reasons), along with the flashes of brilliance we saw earlier in the year, point to the continued possibility of a lightning strike. In other words, this Lakers team is either going to surprise us all in the playoffs or perform exactly as expected. We all know where the percentages lie between those two possibilities.

    Though I still believe in my heart of hearts that a first-round shocker may happen, I have lost faith in this team for the second-round and beyond.

    But for the record, I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Today, right now, the head is winning the battle over my heart when looking at this team’s playoff chances. Hence the post. My guess is that pendulum will swing the other direction some by the first playoff game in a few weeks.

  3. chris henderson April 5, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    one thing for sure, who ever the first round opponent will be, they are going to be looking past us, which might leave our team a glimmer of hope.
    as Rob L says though, might get lucky the first round, but not likely to happen 2 times.

  4. Living in LA,but not a Laker fan(or hater),and watching the games on TV,increasingly I feel it would be better in the long run for the Lakers NOT to make the PlayOffs. Only such a calamity might create a sense of urgency in the Front Office.
    Ya’ll are at least 3,prob 4 players away from being a solid contender and hoping some team pulls another Orlando is not a plan. Not even KG can stop PGs from penetrating,sit outside and rain 3s and guard both a big and a wing.
    I humbly suggest Buss sits Kobe down in the off-season and asks Kobe if he wants to be the next T-Mac,given the green light to shoot at will and rack up scoring titles while his team is mediocre at best and quickly gets bounced out of the Playoofs,or will he start passsing to guys who are struggling and instead of driving to score,drives to set up his teammates w/open looks,accepting a few games will be lost that might have been won if Kobe went Kobe,realizing that trusting your teammates means trusting them even when they struggle,that an early season loss will lead to playoff wins.
    I also suggest Phil sits down and watches a season’s worth of Chuck Hayes at work. Hayes is short,can’t jump yet continually gets uncontested layups. There is no reason a far more talented Turaif can’t get the same results.

  5. Young, inexperience, and a lack of expectation from others may cuase the team to overachieve and do better than expected, provided they have a common goal. The coaches need to guide them and the players need to execute.

  6. here we go i’m new, but love the lakers. I’ve shared this with some of the other blogs as well!

    hope this finds you well!

    three teams involved pacers, blazers, and lakers

    the pacers get Andrew bynum, Zack Randolph, Dan Dickau, Brian Cook, and Darius Miles

    The blazers get Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujacic, Kwame Brown, and Darrell Armstrong

    The lakers get Jermaine O’neal, Danny Granger, and Shawne Willams

    this works with no picks or whatver, as well i think this could happen because lakers get what they want, pacers get to start over like they want to, and the blazers remove the last remaining jail blazers, hence going with there youth movement.

    Starting line of your 2007/2008 lakers!

    C:Jamal Magloire
    PF:Jermaine O’neal
    SF:Lamar Odom
    SG:Kobe
    PG:Danny Granger

    and now the the rest

    C:Chris Mihm/Ronny Turiaf
    PF:Ronny Turiaf
    SF:Luke Walton
    SG:Maurice Evans
    PG:Jordan Farmar

    i don’t know what’s left with all the free-agents and change of personell, but that line up looks pretty strong, not to mention most teams don’t run 8 deep let alone ten

    let’s go lake show!

  7. 6. That is pure talk-radio speculation. First off, three way deals almost never happen, too many GMs, too many agents. Second, Portland is in the same conference as the Lakers so they would be very hesitant to make a move that makes the Lakers much stronger. Third, if the Pacers do decide to blow things up, I doubt they let Granger walk. Fourth, and most important, this makes no sense for the Blazers — yes they may have tired of Zach but that guy is still and absolute force when he wants to be. They are not going to give up their leading scorer and best inside presence to get Radmanovic, Sasha and Kwame.

    Now, if the Pacers do decide to move JO this offseason, the Lakers at least need to put in a good offer.

  8. actually it’s not, but ok your entitiled to your opinion!

    don’t you think that they could care less as long as zack is across t he country not playing them 4 times a year? On top of that, I see them really wanting to Larmarcus in the forefront next year, and zack will only impede this from happening. You are right that they get the short end of the deal, but it serves them right for signing those two (zack and darius) like they did. Just my opinion, but i appreciate your’s as well

    thanks

  9. Gives some picks to the Blazers, take out Granger, slight reality.

  10. maybe, if danny goes to the blazers instead. Does that work for you?

  11. YOU KNOW WHAT’S THE WORST PART ABOUT ALL OF THIS? What a waste of time it has been for the Capt. I mean how does he really feel, he has tried to make Bynum a better player, a more passionate player, but all for not. I feel like the Capt. may have wasted his time on this kid. He should be a head coach of a college program, if not a assistant on a pro team.

  12. The future, stop gaps, and “win now” have all violently collided this season, and the Lakers don’t know who they are.

    Hiring Phil Jackson, trading for Kwame, trading for Evans, signing Vladrod as a free agent, signing McKee and Williams, and drafting Turiaf all seem to be decisions in the direction of a championship this year or next.

    Drafting Bynum, Sasha, and Farmar all seem to be for the future. Signing Smush seems to be a stopgap.

    Signing most players to short term contracts seems to be a vote of no confidence for either the future or now.

    Whatever he may be, Smush is not a championship point guard. His very presence as a starter suggests that the Lakers are not committed to a championship this year.

    Starting Andrew Bynum and/or giving him extensive minutes is building toward a future years away.

    If the Laker organization is truly about championships, they need to do some hard thinking.

  13. Yeah I’m not buying that trade…

    What do you guys think of Smush’s pouting? I go off on him a bit over at the fanhouse

    http://nba.aolsportsblog.com/2007/04/06/smush-parker-thinks-highly-of-himself/

    Why doesn’t he change his attitude and work hard to improve his game? You don’t see Farmar pouting…That’s because he’s a professional. Smush could learn from the rook:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-farmar13mar13,1,3294027.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

  14. 4. You point towards Kobe and Ronny as two of the problems with this team when they seem to be the only Lakers to be playing with any passion.

    I see a little LG has leaked into these comments… that makes me sad.

  15. Lakers should make a deal, try to move up some in the draft, get someone like Acie Law who’ll play D-fense.

    I wonder if Mo Williams is even remotely within the Lakers’ reach.

  16. When Bynum was drafted it was with the understanding he was 3-4 years away from any real contribution. That analysis hasn’t changed, the Lakers injury situation has. Therefore Bynum has had to play many more minutes than he had earned – even start a number of games. This has helped his development a bit, but probably not moved the timetable up significantly.

    Fans, however, never, never have a timetable and wouldn’t stick to it if they had one. Andrew is a player the Lakers never would have gotten in any other situation. Look at all the fuss about Oden this year. Quit baggin on the kid. He is still 19 and he still has very little bball experience outside the NBA.

    Kurt mentioned the continued up/down nature of the team and destruction of team chemistry/defense due to the many injuries. There is just no way around this situation and the year is probably totally lost. The only thing we got was a deeper knowledge of our player’s limitations (no we really didn’t get any evaluation of team defense skills – no consistent team).

    I don’t see Smush here next year (I was hoping he might come around, but the continued pouting probably sealed his fate with the front office). Therefore, Mitch really has some work to replace him.

    Kwame is a good center, but injury prone, so I think we sign Chris Mihm and go forward.

    I don’t see up ripping up our entire front court for some mega trade. Our biggest problems are still at guard. I also don’t see us trading Turiaf – he is too versatile and his ball skills are improving too quickly. I suspect he is our starting power forward sometime next year.

    I would sit Kobe down and say he must stay at home more on defense next year and not try to M.J. the defense. Of course this entire discussion revolves around Mitch getting a serviceable defensive PG.

  17. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:21 am

    ive got a deal 4 u guys

  18. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:28 am

    ?

  19. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:30 am

    GARNETT and HASSELL

    FOR

    ODOM, COOK and KWAME BROWN

  20. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:31 am

    NAZR MOHAMMED

    FOR

    SLALOM VLADE RADMANOVIC

  21. 11. I’m not sure Kareem wasted his time with Bynum, but I know he’s not getting a head coach at a college soon. I know he pushed some for the Long Beach State gig but they, like many others, question his attitude dealing with all the distractions, problems and things that a college coach has to do off the court.

  22. Warren, we don’t do a lot of random trade speculation here. And we use both upper and lower case.

  23. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:39 am

    the Lakers will not be trading andrew bynum – for now.
    but i agree that he is Fool’s gold. He will only be an average player and he will not bring the promised ring for LA. but it secures them a 3-yr window in the future where kobe will be on a crossroad – depending on what he has achieved at this point. which means, andrew bynum will be a huge trading commodity in a year from now. he has an impending 80M deal ahead of him and that makes him good enough a trade bait as can be – not this year when he is only making a meager 2M.

    therefore, what works this year will be an odom trade for KG. make odom the bait, pair him with kwame or radmanovic. this way, LA will be the only team offering a legit star in the trade. plus, we the Lakers will end up the biggest winners of the KG derby coz KG has a say where he’d like to end up.

  24. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Thanks Kurt, my first time.

    I’ve been formulating my Lakers squad for ’08 since the ’07 trade deadline passed. considering options in terms of showtime and the business aspect of it. I understand its not just what we want to give the teams, it has to be something they’d want back. It must be something that’d make them realize that my deal in the works is mutually benefiting both squads.

    Business-wise, It has to adhere to salary cap issues and manageability. We do not just outright spend, we think. We must think how Mitch Kupchak and Jerry Buss think.

    thereby, here is my proposal:

    (to be continued…)

    for comments, guys you can mail me at
    warrenweelim@yahoo.com

  25. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 11:04 am

    move #1 – PG

    though the triangle might not really need a legit PG, a decent one (preferrably over-sized) who can pass and shoot is whats important.

    plan A – make offer sheets to Mo WIlliams 35M (5yrs)
    plan B – Steve Blake 20M (4 yrs)
    plan C – re-sign Smush Parker 7M (3yrs)

    move #2 – KG et al.

    put in effort to acquire KG. He is showtime stuff and he is really effective with Kobe. Not to mention He’d welcome the idea outright.

    plan A – KG + Trenton Hassell
    plan B – KG + Mike James
    plan C – KG + Mark Blount

    please note that KG will have a say as to where he’s heading

    move #3 – Sucker for Sucker deal

    due to the KG trade (assumingly) we’d have lost 2 bigs.
    therefore, trade out Vlade Radmanovic for Nazr Mohammed. It’ll surely be welcomed by both squads. Though this might not push through if Radmanovic is required by Minny.

    move #4 – WALTON

    re-sign Luke Walton at all costs – 25M (5yrs)

    he is one of the few that Kobe trusts and he is a very good passer. triangle guy really.

    move #5 – sign Grant Hill to the mid-level. 12M (3yrs)

    yes, Ankle Shmunkle Grant Hill. He is a veteran with exceptional passing skills.

    (to be continued…)

    for comments, guys you can mail me at
    warrenweelim@yahoo.com

  26. warren (philippines) April 6, 2007 at 11:18 am

    this is how my team would look:

    PG Mo Williams 7,000,000.00
    SG Kobe Bryant 19,490,625.00
    SF Luke Walton 5,000,000.00
    PF Kevin Garnett 22,000,000.00
    C Andrew Bynum 2,172,000.00
    PG Smush Parker 2,000,000.00
    SG Grant Hill 4,000,000.00
    SF Trenton Hassell 4,350,000.00
    PF Ronny Turiaf 1,000,000.00
    C Nazr Mohammed 5,632,200.00
    PG Jordan Farmar 1,009,560.00
    SG Maurice Evans 1,500,000.00
    SF draft pick 500,000.00
    PF draft pick 500,000.00
    C Chris Mihm 2,000,000.00
    78,154,385.00

    i’d really appreciate comments, esp from you Kurt. Ty.

  27. Warren, thanks. I didn’t mean to be too harsh and I’m glad nothing was taken personally. Just trying to keep the conversation in full sentences and with well-prepared thoughts. And you obviously have put some thought into this. I’ll let the commenters have at it.

  28. Where did all this spam come from?

  29. It is too early to judge what Bynum will do in the NBA. Last season people were saying Deron Williams was a bust.

  30. Let’s be real here… the Lakers are a big market team. Just like the Knicks, the Mavs, the Spurs, etc. So why are we trying so hard to get under the cap? Teams like Dallas pay BIG money to aquire the talent they have. Take a look at their salaries:

    http://www.hoopshype.com/salaries/dallas.htm

    This is the Los Angeles Lakers. Hey Buss, why don’t you go out there and spend some money??? If you’re not up for it any more, you might as well sell the team.

    People shouldn’t make fun of Warren for thinking this team can get Kevin Garnett. We SHOULD be able to get a big name guy like that. No more arguments about we can’t afford this or that. It’s nonsense.

  31. How do you expect to sign all those free agents? They can’t offer Walton more than like 1.5mil per (the veteran’s minimum or Bird rights are probably both around this amount) without using their mid-level so they will probably lose him if they don’t dip into that. If they use the mid-level you can kiss your PG signing and Grant Hill goodbye.

    This is your Los Angeles Lakers for a while to come.

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm

    You can’t just spend money in the NBA. There are rules. They are over the cap next year (with only 9 players under contract, they need to sign another 5, Ouch). After they use their mid-level this year on Walton and sign their draft picks, they will likely be functionally over for 08/09. Then Odom comes off the books and its a whole new ballgame, except you’ve probably taken a step back in losing Odom.

    This is your Los Angeles Lakers for a while to come.

    Frustrated yet?

  32. DR, this isn’t baseball where the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers can just lap the field in spending. There is a cap, and above that a luxury tax, and that second number is dollar for dollar — even Cuban is trying to get below that threshold. We fans are quick to spend our owners money, but in reality this is a business for them and while Buss is no pauper, he is no Cuban either. And he deserves the right to turn a fair profit.

    Cuban will tell you that the days of wild spending did not win him anything, but when he started to bring the salaries down, look for value an smart basketball fits, they started to win.

    I don’t think there are many people here who wouldn’t want to get KG, but the days of just out bidding everyone for his services (how we got Shaq) are gone.

  33. Thanks for the doom and gloom John R., but they can go over the cap by any amount to sign Walton as he is a birds rights player, so they don’t have to use their mid-level on him. They’ll sign Walton to whatever deal they negotiate using the birds rights and then still have their mid level to work with. Why would they use the mid-level on him when they salary cap allows them to go a different way?

    For Free Agents they’ll have their mid-level and their veterans exception.

    They have flexibility in trades because of expiring deals and first round picks that they currently have.

    As well, they still have Bynum who at this point is probably going to garner much more than he is worth because of the hype behind his potential.

    If you’re creative as a GM and are willing to spend the money, anything is possible. It just takes a lot of hard work, and the balls to take a risk. GM’s in the NBA are very risk averse. Especially in the 24-7 media age that we currently live in. They don’t want to be the one that trades away a superstar for a bust of a player.

    The only thing I’m really pissed about is Mitch missing out on Monta Ellis. He picked Von Wafer one pick before GS picked Monta. There’s are second leading scorer right there.

  34. Let’s wait until this season is over before we speculate about trades/drafting/signing. After all, it is still possible that the Lakers could win the NBA championship–or that the Lakers could miss the playoffs altogether. Almost anything that happens in the next weeks could change our priorities for next year.

    Kwame, Vladrod, and Lamar are likely to have off-season surgery. We may not be able to evaluate Chris Mihm until Summer or Kwame until October. Kobe may have a “tuneup” surgery again.

    The strategic issue to ponder is whether or not the Lakers can build an empire and a championship team at the same time.

    So far they’ve tried to have it both ways.

    If the decision is to go for a championship next year and go over the salary cap, what do they go for?

    Many of us would start with a veteran defense minded point guard.

    Who should the Lakers be willing to trade?

    This year, the Lakers have players that other teams want. They should be willing to consider almost anything. If Mihm and Brown would both be available and healthy for next year, the Lakers should be willing to trade Anrew Bynum.

    What about veterans? The Lakers may want to consider opportunities to acquire players like Chris Webber, Ron Artest, and Jason Kidd more seriously.

    Not taking risks can be as risky as taking risks some times.

  35. Thank you Jones.

    This mentality that we need to save money is getting grossly overblown.

    Yes, the luxury tax is dollar for dollar when you go over the cap. Is there a reason you care about that? This organization should care more about putting talent on this team.

    When you make mistakes with trades and free agency, you have to pay the price as an organization. When you charge the fans the highest price imaginable to watch games, you owe them the privelage of watching high caliber players. Not no-name d-leaguers, draft busts, and “potential” talent.

    These guys owe the fans, they owe Phil Jackson, and most of all they owe Kobe Bryant who has carried this team not only from a winning standpoint, but a marketing standpoint as well. THAT guy keeps fans in their seats.

  36. John: let me be clear on this: we are not ENTITLED to a great team as Laker fans. No one is ENTITLED to anything. It’s bad enough dealing with students in junior high who think they’re hard done by because they don’t have the latest Jordans or their parents don’t get them just the right gear, but this is a huge business investment for Dr. Buss and Kupchak. There’s a reason fantasy leagues are so popular (for myself included), you get to do what you think all the GMs are too stupid to do. I’m not a MItch Kupchak homer but I think he’s doing a pretty good, actually a very good job, at long-term building a franchise. Remember how long it took to get the parts which won us the three championships from ’00 until ’02? Kobe and Shaq in ’96, Fox in ’97, Horry that same year (if I’m off by a year, my apologies, but my point is just that this is not some two-bit gambling game and that in order to assemble both a not-too-unprofitable, and a successful squad, you have to be patient), Shaw maybe ’99? Harp, ’99, Devean ’99. Again, perhaps we (and when I say we, perhaps it’s a British tendency to blend the notion of my favored team with myself-but I do it when “we” are making bad decisions too, so I think it’s fair) might want an excellent team, but I don’t think one’s not necessarily on the way to getting it. Anyway…..

  37. Assuming the Lakers know KG wants to join them and that they and he will wait a yr,there is one crazy trade that would work. Lamar to Boston for Delonte West,Theo Ratliff and Boston’s 08 first. Boston jumps all over this getting an All-Star capable player for Pierce and clearing the way for Rondo to be their PG.
    For the Lakers,West is the tall PG that Phil likes,plays D,shoots 3s and clears enough cap space in 08 that even signing Walton and resigning Kwame there’s enough room left to make a max-type offer. In 07 the Lakers develope a 3 gd rotation,further groom Bynum and try to make Evans a Patterson/Bowen type defender.
    In 08 your rotation is Kobe,West,Farmar at Gds,Evans,Walton at SF,Radmanavich firepower off bench and big rotation of KG,Bynum,Kwame w/Turaif to provide energy for short minutes.
    This way Lakers get KG,West and a draft pick for Lamar and waived Sasha and expired Ratliff.
    KG vetoes trades by announcing he’s opting out no matter what.

  38. JONES: Man I linked you the rules and you still messed it up. From the FAQ and I quote:

    “A player can receive raises up to 10.5% of the salary in the first season of the contract.”

    He can receive a salary up to the maximum, but he can’t be raised more than 10.5% using this exception, so he can’t actually get near “any amount”.

    They can negotiate over the cap with him, but his maximum raise can only be 10.5%. You do the math and tell me if another team will be bidding at least 1.4 mil for his services.

    There is nothing more annoying on the internet than an incorrect correction.

  39. John R., I hate to tell you, but you’re wrong. I eat drink and sleep this stuff. You’re confusing yearly raises with starting salary.

    Defenition of the Bird Exemption:

    Perhaps the most well-known of the NBA’s salary cap exceptions, it is so named because the Boston Celtics were the first team permitted to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own players (in that case, Larry Bird). Free agents who qualify for this exception are called “qualifying veteran free agents” or “Bird Free Agents” in the CBA, and this exception falls under the auspices of the Veteran Free Agent exception. In a nutshell, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. This means a player can obtain “Bird rights” by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof. It also means that when a player is traded, his Bird rights are traded with him, and his new team can use the Bird exception to re-sign him. Bird-exception contracts can be up to six years in length.

    Basically with bird rights, you can sign a player for whatever amount over the cap you need to sign him for (within maximum per player salary restrictions based on years played in the league). Luke has played four years, so the maximum salary he can make is about $12 million and the minimum he can make is $826,046 (See: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#11)

    The Lakers can sign him for as little as one year to as many as six years with maximum raises of 10.5% each season and with a starting salary within those min and max salary restrictions I outlined above (see: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#19)

    You’re right, there is nothing more annoying on the internet than an incorrect correction.

  40. By the way John R., I want to work in the league as an agent or in a teams front office, so it’s my job to learn all of this stuff. Plus, I’m close with a prominent agent that has taught me a lot of this stuff. Argue all you want about it, but it’s pointless to have a bird exception if another team with more cap room can sign your bird rights player. Just think about that for a second…

  41. That 10.5% raise limit is for the first season of the contract. That contract can be up to 6 years in length. I see nothing about what said contract can increase in the following years.

    This means Walton’s Bird Rights contract would simply be loaded on the back end years.

  42. no, no…the 10.5% raise limit is the yearly amount the player can get raises. For instance…say the Lakers decide to sign Walton for $5 mil for the first year…they are allowed to do that using the birds exception and then can raise his salary 10.5% in each year…check what the links I left…

    And under John R.’s logic a player like LeBron James would not be able to go from making 6 mil this year to making 12 mil (the max for a fifth year player) in the first year of his next contract (which starts next year)….

    see: http://www.hoopshype.com/salaries/cleveland.htm

  43. To be clearer, 10.5% is the amount a salary can be increased from year to year within a NEW CONTRACT. Because Walton is starting a new contract and is a Birds right player, his previous salary doesn’t play into what he will be making next season if he signs with the Lakers. Only restrictions are the minimum and maximum salary amounts and year amounts based on the number of years he’s been in the league. Lakers can sign him to a starting salary for any amount they want within that min and max range giving him up to 10.5% raises each year thereafter…

  44. I see now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it then looks like a team may only increase by 8% the salary per year on an MLE player’s new contract.

  45. Yeah that seems to be the case…8% yearly raises on MLE deals.