Game 3 Thoughts

Kurt —  April 27, 2007


In the second quarter, the Lakers started playing like a desperate team, and washed in with that wave of desperation was hustle and honest-to-goodness pick-and-roll defense. Back for three quarters were the Lakers from last December, the team other squads didn’t want to see come playoff time.

Keying the 21-9 second quarter run that got things started was the defense — particularly from Shammond Williams and Kwame Brown. Not coincidentally, those two finished the game with the two best +/- numbers on the team, Shammond +12 and Kwame +9.

But the Lakers did it as a team. The passing, particularly the interior passing, that made this team fun to watch earlier this season was back with a vengeance. So was sticking to the plan of pounding the Suns physically, getting the ball inside on offence and crashing the glass — 18 offensive rebounds.

And the Lakers were toughest when it mattered most, holding the Suns to 30% shooting in the fourth quarter.

Because it’s fun, let’s break down the last three minutes of the game (3:09 to be precise). We pick up the action with the Lakers up 89-86 and with the ball:

• Shammond gets a pick-and-roll screen out high at the left wing from Kwame, drives to the top of the key and decides, since Nash is trailing pretty far behind him, to shoot early in the shot clock. He misses. And a year goes off of Phil Jackson’s life.

• Fortunately, Nash and Barbosa miscommunication at the other end and Nash throws the ball into the bench. I do my best Nelson Muntz “Ha-Ha.”

• The Lakers are deliberate and work the ball around the top, eventually getting it over to Kobe out at the right high wing, probably his favorite spot on the court. Before he can drive Nash comes over to double (joining Bell), so Kobe makes the smart pass to the open Williams at the top of the three-point arc, but he misses a good-look three.

• As they have done with success all game the Lakers switch on the Suns high pick-and-roll, meaning Odom is on Nash but now Williams has got Armare in the high post. Nash wisely waits for him to get set then gets to ball to Stoudemire, so Kwame comes over to double. Amare feels the double and passes back out of the post to Nash, who makes a quick skip-pass over to Barbosa in the right corner. Smush actually closed pretty well but a great shot by Barbosa ties the game, 89-89.

• Now there’s 1:55 left. Kobe drives and draws the defenders early in the clock, and again has to kick out to an open Williams, who this time passes up the shot and instead gets the ball to Odom on the block. Credit Williams with the smart play, going back to the Lakers biggest strength, and Odom rewards the smart play when hits a nice shot inside around Marion. Now it’s 91-89 Lakers.

• Stoudemire sets the high pick for Nash and Kwame does a great job hedging out while Smush recovers. Meanwhile Amare goes and sets a down screen for Marion, who then is open at the top of the key, gets the ball and drives the lane. But tonight the Laker defensive rotations are there — Kwame and Odom come over to sandwich Marion and it works, he misses. Kwame rebounds.

• Figuring to give the Suns a little of their own medicine, the Lakers run the high pick and roll twice with Kwame and Kobe, but nothing develops that Kobe likes. So once again he again kicks it to Shammond as the shot clock winds down, but this time drives and gets a blocking foul on Nash. Of course, the TNT announcer’s first reaction is to call it a charge, then corrects himself. We understand. How could “the” Steve Nash ever really foul a guy named Shammond?

• The second half of the Laker possession starts with an out of bounds play, and the ball going to Smush at the top of the key where he almost pulls up and takes a three — you can see him set himself and start to rock, before he thinks, “wait, this is the stuff I get yelled at for in film sessions.” Instead he gives it to Kobe on a clearout, and he works Bell down the left side then hits the fade away over him before the double arrives. Now it’s 93-89 Lakers and the Suns are the ones getting desperate.

• Again the high pick and roll with Stoudemire, again Kwame hedges hard but this time Nash gets the ball to the rolling Stoudemire. Amare drives to the post where Odom stands him up, so he hands the ball to Barbosa, who runs around him so Stoudemire can be used as a screen. Barbosa gets into the paint but Kwame rotates well and Barbosa suddenly looks confused — he hadn’t seen a Laker defender in his path for two games and now they’ve been in his face all night. He tries to draw the foul on Kwame with an interesting pirouette and reverse over-the-shoulder shot; Kwame just rejects it.

After that you had the feeling it was over, although the Suns did get a couple better looks at some late threes than I would have liked.

I’m ready, I bet the Lakers are too. Can we play Sunday’s game now?

to Game 3 Thoughts

  1. There will be no sweep!! Thank god …

    Anyone think Radmanovic will be activated before the end of the series?

    Kurt – If the Lakers were to shock the world and win this thing, might Mihm have a chance of playing in the next round, and – would it help?


  2. The game-plan for beating these guys is so intuitive, but so rewarding to see pulled off as well as they did tonight. Kobe attacking the rim finally, Lamar/Kwame pounding it in, and most importantly, defense shifting to cut off driving lanes for Nash/Barbosa. Probably the most exciting game of the playoffs so far from any series.

    Charles wasn’t wrong when he said we’d need a perfect game to beat them, yet I still feel strangely confident that they have the formula down well enough that there’s some hope. Games 1 and 3 have really shown to me that the Lakers have what it takes to beat them. I’m excited about this series again, let’s hope that they’re feeling this confidence too.


  3. smush and shammond shut down nash and barbosa. They scored a combined 6 points in the 2nd quarter. they are the reason we won tonight. Who goes inactive if vlad comes back? Turiaf? Smush? Williams? Farmar?


  4. Now that game did my heart good to see. If the Lakers don’t win this series, as I fear, at least this is the kind of effort I want to see from them–not the dispirited sleepwalking that characterized game 2. Kwame was terrific for the most part, and who would have thought that Shammond Williams would turn out to be a key sparkplug? I thought Kobe played a terrifically balanced game this time around. He took what the defense gave him, and some things they didn’t, but he wasn’t selfish–or no more selfish than the premier offensive weapon in the game rightfully ought to be. A key moment for me was the end of the first half, when everybody in the building and everybody watching on TV just knew Kobe would take the last shot–but he kicked it out to Odom for the open 3. After that sorry-ass 1st quarter, it actually was a Laker blowout, even with almost no offensive production from guards not named Bryant. One game is only one game, but I hope it at least reminds the whole team that they’re capable of playing like that.


  5. Yes, and some props to Smush too. For all the flak he gets–much of it deserved–he helped the team overall last night.


  6. I think of Barclay’s comment that the Lakes should go to plan B and try to run with the Suns. They certainly didn’t do that and continued to pound it in the paint most of the time. But what was different was that they finally understood that slowing the game down doesn’t mean slowing your own game down and, consequently, the offense was smooth and crisp and their was a lot of movement in the half court. Secondly, yes, Lakers shouldn’t run with the Suns or they will get beat. But Kobe? That’s another thing all together. If Kobe gets a rebound, he should run the court whenever he can, because he is simply unstoppable when he does that. It was good seeing Kobe get up and down the floor.


  7. 3 great moves by Phil last:

    1. Using a tighter rotation

    2. Changing our pick and roll philosphy

    Aggressivley playing Nash off the pick and roll changed the tone of the game. Our rotations were better than ever, we have to play like that to have a chance.


  8. sorry

    3. Pushing tempo when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. kobe has a open break)


  9. I only got to see the second half, but I liked what I saw. We played defense with passion and intellegence. We exploited the mismatches on the block (or at least gave it a look) and we didn’t settle for the first offensive set that developed.

    More of the same, please.


  10. Wow, guarding both players on the defensive end of a pick and roll. Works! Well, it works better than guarding neither of them, as we’ve seen so many times. Odom/Kwame getting right up on Nash scared the mvp.


  11. 1. Brian, first, I’m not sure how much Vladrad we will see, he has reportedly gone into a bit “Smush like” funk.

    As for Mihm, I seriously doubt we’d see him, and Laker management doesn’t seem to be pushing him (all the comments about him coming back come from him). At this point he should take the summer to get back and be 100% ready by fall.


  12. chris henderson April 27, 2007 at 10:28 am

    hey kurt,
    don’t forget what could have been a real turning point in the game…
    Kwame goes down with another twisted ankle, looks like he’s out for the game… Lakers take a time out.
    out of the time out, it goes something like this…
    (from the LA Times)
    And then, in an almost unimaginable four-minute stretch for a guy who has stumbled through most of his brief Lakers career, Brown took over.

    Kobe to Kwame. Dunk.

    Odom to Kwame. Dunk.

    Luke Walton to Kwame. Dunk.

    Kwame takes Amare Stoudemire to the basket for a layup and a foul. Three-point play.

    By the time the stretch ended, the Lakers led by four points, and they would never trail again.

    I thought, “wow, what a great way to get a guy to forget about his pain…”
    and the rest, as they say, was history.


  13. I seriously lost some faith after that Game 2 humiliation, but I’m glad our guys seem to be back on track. Seriously, what was that about? Did this team just give up for those 5 quarters (the 1st of game 3 is included)? It seems like we know how to beat these guys, and I know it requires more execution than our young guys can manage sometimes, but what happened?


  14. You knew that someone was going to blame the Suns loss on the refs. But Henry, I expected you not to fall for that:

    The Lakers got to the line because they were the aggressor. For a change.


  15. Unless the refs were helping run down some of the 20 offensive rebounds the Lakers had…

    That was an awkwardly called game anyway. Lawrence tanter must have gotten winded calling “tooooo many steps” last night.

    Hopefully the play of this team last night will become an epiphany to how to play, not just against the Suns, but all season long.

    Kobe was brilliant in his decision making. Not locked in to shooting, not locked into distributing, but reading and reacting. I noticed him pulling the ball back and getting a little more momentum going towards the hoop before each drive causing a half court fast break and collapsing the Suns defense something awful.


  16. FT differentials for the 07 reg. season and the 06 post season:

    Victor, Differential
    Suns, +8 Suns
    Lakers, +1 Lakers
    L, +6 L
    L, +16 L
    S, +7 S
    S, +1 L
    L, +7 L
    S, +7 S
    S, +13 S
    S, +8 S

    Not shockingly 16 FT differential was not unprecedented. Think the NBA wanted the Lakers to go up 3-1 on the Suns that day? Guess the refs didn’t get the memo that all of Canada, Brazil, and Nation-of-Kobe-Haters were watching.


  17. Kwame clearly wants to stay in LA. For those who don’t pay much attention +-, he just got your attention.

    Without Kwame, we can’t win. With the kind of Kwame we had last night, we can’t lose.

    He not only shook off the ankle pain, he compensated for some really wacky substitutions and even overcame the curse of the Smusher, who was myseriously paired with Shammond to close out the game.

    Lest you think of it as Zen genius, consider that the Smush/Sham tandem combined for 0 for 10 shooting and kept the game close


  18. So basically with KG or JO or someone consistent we could be winning all the time Dr? Sign them up! Regardless of how well Brown is doing right now, he needs to go. If anything, he makes me feverishly miss what Mihm could have being doing for us.


  19. Kurt, I didn’t blame the refs! As I made clear, I didn’t even see the vast majority of the game. Think it’s worth using some kind of science to prove/disprove the referee conspiracy theories, though. This is an imperfect first step, but one worth discussing, I think.


  20. As I said before the game, by now we know what to do to beat these guys, its just a matter of who wants it more.

    Last night, for the first time in a long time, the Lakers wanted it more.

    I think they won last night on the defensive end. The defense last night was incredible. Pick and Roll defense was superb. Energy, etc… it was all there.

    As Kobe said, in the playoffs one game can change a whole series. The key will be to carry it over to sunday.

    Back in 04 when we came back on the Spurs after being down 0-2, we won games 3 and 4 at home on sheer hustle. And then we stole game 5 and the series. If we play as hard as we did last night on sunday, the series will lie heavily on the outcome of game 5 in Phoenix.

    KWA-ME!!! KWA-ME!!! KWA-ME!!!!


  21. Yeah he’s hard to watch sometimes. Can’t finish. Can’t be counted on for even the easiest pass. Everyone know’s Kwame’s limitations. But not everyone recognizes what he does when he’s healthy – and, in last night’s case, sometimes when he’s not.

    That’s not to say he’ll always be healthy, but give the guy who plays basketball like he’s wearing boxing gloves some credit where credit is due.


  22. As far as the fouls go, there were stretches where neither team was getting calls, and guys were falling and flailing all over the place. Probably not the best-officiated game, but neither team had any kind of unfair advantage.


  23. Hey Warren,
    If you go to, theres a picture montage at the beginning with some pics from last night… one of the pics is the “chicano” Farmar shot that you posted for us last night.


  24. Kurt, or anyone really,
    is anyone getting together to watch the game on Sunday?


  25. (21) (18) Guys, it appears that you never look at +- data and rarely look at the nuances of defensive presence. But I’d think it would make you think when Phil says that we can’t win without Kwame.

    The fans at Lakers obviously got the message last night. You guys need a little practice:


    See, I knew you could do it!

    Kwame is coming of age right in front of our eyes.


  26. kurt,

    i know you don’t like player acquisition speculation, but i saw that Andres Nocioni is a free agent this year. I think he’d do really well here, and could replace both walton and vlad at SF. What do you think?


  27. 26-
    The Lakers are not trying to replace Walton. He has been one of the bright spots this year. Early in the year he was a candidate for most improved player, before his injury. One of the Lakers main objectives this summer will be to resign Walton.

    If he happens to sign somewhere else, then we will be looking at replacements such as Nocioni, but Luke is option #1


  28. Adam, I don’t mind talking about players, it’s just wild trade speculation (feasible or not) that doesn’t really fit the mold.

    I like Nocioni, another swing-man who could play multiple positions in the triangle, good inside and a solid mid-range game. Pretty good defender (as I recall). I think he’d fit in fine.

    That said, he would be down my priority list only because the Laker don’t need another swingman. To me we need a veteran PG first and foremost. And the Lakers don’t have a lot of money to chase people this offseason.


  29. 27,

    I still feel that luke is too much of a libilliaty on the defensive end, and Andres would help provide the offense and defense for the lakers, not to metion a bit of a dirty side. Which is something the lakers lack as a group. If nocioni had been in the line up in game 1 or 2, barbossa would not have gotten up from one of those easy layup’s he made.


  30. I should add that Luke is not likely going anywhere, and I’d be shocked if someone else took on VladRad’s deal after this past season. Those two guys will be back.

    And I think Walton is a solid team defender. If you isolate him, he struggles with very athletic guys. Of course, that was the book on Magic.


  31. true, but magic was dominant on one end of the court, luke is not. I value luke and like him on the team. I just wish he would be able to lock down some people.


  32. Luke has always been the type of player who works real hard in the offseason and comes to training camp with a new element to his game. When he was a rookie, he could not shoot the ball if his life depended on it, but he got in the gym and worked and worked and look at his shot now.

    I agree that he has a hard time staying with athletic swingmen at his position, but my point is that Luke is the type of guy we can count on to work on his defense in the offseason and improve his game.


  33. Adam — I’ve been a fan of Nocioni for a while, and I agree that he would be awesome with the Lakers.

    Unfortunately he’s a restricted free agent this summer. I think it would take a lot more than mid-level money for the Bulls to let him walk instead of matching, especially after the way he’s raised his game in the playoffs the last two years. He’s one of their core guys.


  34. Luke actually reminds me little of Rick Fox, in how he does a little bit of everything, he always battles, always plays with energy. He was still out there diving for loose balls in game 2 even when we were down 30 points. That’s the kind of passion we need on this team. Luke is gonna be a really, really good role player for many years.


  35. I found myself surprisingly rooting for the Lakers last night and am glad they won. Having said that, I have to point out that the replay clearly showed that Kwame did not reject that shot by Barbosa. Rather, the other player (Williams?) fouled Barbosa on the wrist. Kwame did not even touch the ball.


  36. Thats cool Joe,
    We’ll count that as a foul and two free throws for Barbosa… Lakers win 95-91… feel better?


  37. Adam — you bring this up all the time about replacing luke and no one agrees with you. Luke Walton is a terrific team defender. He is a vital cog to our arsenal. Again, Phil and Tex have said so numerous times. They do not want to lose this guy unless a superstar takes his place. His overall game is the only link i see to the type of play our role players had during our championship years.

    overall: kobe played an unbelieveable game last night. he got everyone going, but going to the hole. his movement to the rim created many open looks and furthermore gave the rest of the boys the message that the rim is open all night. lamar and kwame just took the message to heart.

    what a game. should not have been so close. we really outplayed them for 42 of the 48 minutes.


  38. I meant that respectfully, adam. if we had resources, we could ideally upgrade everyone not named Kobe.

    but with the $$$ we have, i feel that luke, lamar, and kobe are untouchables for us unless a Godfather (offer we can’t refuse) type deal is thrown our way.

    and, for what it’s worth — Kobe loves Luke on the team. I think he has some pull as well.


  39. I would add Jordan and Ronny to the list of untouchables. Farmar is one of the hardest workers on the team, he’s cool under pressure, he hustles on D, he already understands the triangle. Turiaf’s energy is contagious and lifts the team whenever he’s in the game. And they both play with passion. That’s priceless.

    Odom I would trade if it brought back a star.


  40. 25 – Reread my post. I’m asking for people to give him credit. We good? Cool.


  41. Has everyone seen the latest article by Roland Lazenby? Interesting take on Smush.


  42. (40) We’re cool!

    Kwa Mee! Kwa Mee! Kwa Mee!

    Feels Good!


  43. warren (philippines) April 27, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Andres Nocioni would fit in well. However, he’s a restricted FA and there is little reason apart from money that he might want to be in LA.

    If I’m LA, I’d prefer Walton coz I can sign him thru his Bird Rights. That means, even if we sign him for 6-7M/yr he can be thru Bird Rights. As for Nocioni, assuming the Bulls part with him, It’d have to take a sign-and-trade plus Lamar Odom should be on the table. That’s Crazy.


  44. warren (philippines) April 27, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I think there might be a deal that could work for Vlade Radmanovic.

    Mike James or Nazr Mohammed. Same midlevel last year same ugly performances and same discontent on the current team.


  45. warren (philippines) April 27, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    I love it when someone else suggests on trade speculations…
    I honestly think its fine…
    I could provide input without getting reprimanded. LOL


  46. that’s cool everyone, ya gotta have respect for bill’s son. And in all seriousness when healthy luke really can contribute to this team.





  47. Matt,

    what’s funny about that is Andres actually reminds of vanessa’s ex. very good defender, and can contribute in so many different ways. But, your right luke is similar to rick; just not on the defensive end. The ex could really lock down offensive swing men like it was his job.


  48. warren (philippines) April 27, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Ey Kurt, can we actually afford Mo Williams?
    Will the Mid-Level exception be enough?
    If it isn’t enough, can we, trade say, Cook to Orlando
    for a 2nd round pick to free 3.5M space?

    Not speculations people, just questions.
    I figured Cook’s contract vs. productivity vs. trade value is ouchie.


  49. DrRayEye,

    it feels suprisingly good. I’m all in on the kwame kool-aid (and really hopping for a few more nights out before getting hit with a hangover)

    Kwa Mee Kwa Mee Kwa Mee


  50. After watching the playoffs, it has really become evident to me that there is no way Dirk or Nash deserve MVP over Kobe Bryant.

    Neither Dirk nor Nash can bring their team back into a game by themself. They simply don’t have the ability. They fit very well into the roles on their teams and play consistent sound basketball, but they are NOT Kobe Bryant.

    It is completely absurd to me that Kobe hasn’t won an MVP yet. This has to be his year, or there is something wrong with this league. The coaches say he’s the best, the players say he’s the best, and the announcers say he’s the best. Give him the damn hardware.


  51. Unfortunately, the award goes to the Most Valuable Player in the league and not the Most Talented Player. Kobe will get the award when his team gets 50 or more wins.


  52. warren (philippines) April 28, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Kobe will be the MVP next year. LA will sport a 56-26 record en route to being one of the West’s contenders.

    This is only possible IF:
    1. A change in defensive outlook is emphasized.
    2. Young players are traded for seasoned veterans.
    3. Upgrade in back court in terms of assists and defense.
    4. Interior defender and #2 scoring option in the low block.
    5. A set offense involving Kobe, Luke, PG, Lamar and a spot-up shooter.
    6. A decent defender who can spot up in the three or 18ft. (I hope its you, Luke) Trust in the force, Luke.


  53. (41) Hi Rick,

    I read the Lazenby post and some similar things almost a month ago. Roland paints a loving portrait of Smush from the early years. If you read Kurt’s writeup on Smush in the archives here, you’ll find a more Laker basketball oriented, but welcoming assessment of Smush when he first arrived. I was so proud of Smush in a similar way when he started his first game as a Laker that there were tears in my eyes.

    What we’d like to read Roland reporting for year two is how the Smusher bulked up over the summer, went back to Fordham (or Boise State) to take some summer classes in case his borderline NBA career wnet into the crapper, and worked on his defense, one on one, with (say) Ron Artest. When Smush returned, he was so impressive that the Lakers offered him a multiyear contract to keep Phoenix from grabbing him back. . .

    You’re only going to see that in the Disney movie–because it didn’t happen.

    Instead, many of us, like Nate, began to see a far different Smush revealed in the playoffs against Phoenix last year. Nash had apparently learned a lot more about Smush than vice versa.

    Though Lazenby makes it sound like Smush proved himself in his first year as a Laker point guard, there is more than a little contrary evidence. The Lakers drafted a point guard with their first round pick AND brought in a veteran point guard AND only offered Smush another one year salary at a level far below the average starting salary for point guards in the NBA–at the last minute. It was a repeat of year 1.

    Lazenby points to Phil Jackson as Smush’s savior–and that may be true, but the Smusher and Phil seem to have an inegmatic impression of each other–an impression that seems to have worn thin on both sides. Phil seems like a Smushaholic that is about to go on the wagon.

    I do get a glimpse of the NBA potential that got Smush to NBA training camps, but I don’t know where in the NBA he fits in.

    I’m a Smushaphobe. I’m constantly amazed that he plays at all.


  54. warren (philippines) April 28, 2007 at 2:18 am

    MVP – what are the criteria? Media is such a big influence. After Kobe’s Colorado case, he may not win it at all.

    Criteria should be :
    1. Media votes – 20%
    2. Player Efficiency Rating – 20%
    3. Team Success or Win-Loss record – 20%
    4. Team Statistics less Player Stats – 1) – 20%
    5. Defensive Statistics (blocks, steals, rebounds) – 10%
    6. Coaches Votes – 10%


  55. Just remembered a pivotal moment for Kwame in the game last night.

    He catches the ball in decent post position with Amare on his back and has a side cleared out. It immediately becomes evident that he has no intention of going to his post moves to score, and as he is looking for perimeter players to come clear,

    “Where’s Kobe, I need to get rid of this hotypotatoe?”

    The crowd in unison raises a din that can mean nothing but, “Take it to the rack!”

    He does and he scores…

    Remember that? That was really cool.


  56. warren (philippines) April 28, 2007 at 2:29 am

    Hey, this way Bias will not affect who’s deserving to win and we wouldnt go to extreme lengths discussing MOST VALUABLE vs. MOST TALENTED. It has to show in STATS, It has to show in WINS, it has to show in DEFENSE, It has to show in CHARISMA, it has to show in LEADERSHIP, It has to show in SPORTSMANSHIP.

    An over-all package, which, if it was done this season, Kobe wouldn’t win it due to the 2 suspensions he got. There is one heck of a debatable topic itself. In terms of its severity, as to whether Kobe’s act was deserving-in-nature.


  57. 41, 53. I still think, if Smush would acceept the role, he could be a fine backup PG in the league. He could come in and provide some scoring punch — he can score — and playing against backups 15-20 a game would limit his defensive weakness. The one other thing, it has to be with a team that has a less structured offense than LA.

    I think he’s done here, but I hope he lands on his feet.

    Oh, and I hope he has another good game against Phoenix Sunday.


  58. 24. (nomuskles) I’m already committed to watching the game at a “playdate” for my daughter. How this really goes is my 3 year old plays with another 3 year old in one room, the other dad and I watch the game and our wives sit together in another room and complain about how much basketball we watch.


  59. Hey guys,think the Smushcalade may be going to the Motor City soon…Apparently the Pistons are looking for a combo guard behind Billups and are interested in Smush…And can anyone point me to a link of the Laker’s salary cap situation?? I wanna know how effed up our cap relly situation is…And it just amazes me that Kwame gets so much love from us fans but if u do look at the box score,Lamar’s got just one point less than him,and more than twice the number of defensive caroms..How about some love for Lamar??


  60. Heh, it fills me with glee to see a Lakers fan get frustrated by Nash getting so many calls. I prayed for years for a player who could return the favor that Kobe has been giving to other teams for years.


  61. Anand (59) – Here’s site HoopsHype that lists complete salary info for all 30 teams for a 5 year period:

    Our cap is actually not too bad next year. Brian Grant’s contract finally comes off the books.


  62. Warren,

    Regarding the MVP – there IS NO criteria. It’s voted on by media members only, and they are not given any instructions regarding the meaning of the term “Most Valuable”. That’s why there’s so much debate about it. It’s left up to each individual voter to determine on their own what “Most Valuable” means.

    Some years, it goes to the best player on the best team (which is why Dirk is favored this year). Some years it’s a consolation prize for a great player with a great career who has never won a ring (see: Malone, Karl ‘97, ‘99). Some years they give it to a star who takes his game to another level (see: Olajuwon, Hakeem ‘94). Some years they actually give it to the best player (see: Jordan, Michael ’88, ’91, ’92, ’96, ‘98). And some years they just give it to a white guy from Canada who plays terrible defense (sorry, couldn’t resist a dig).

    The point is, it’s more of a popularity contest than anything.

    I think there’s been a feeling around the league the last two years that Kobe has clearly established himself as the best player in the game, but his team just hasn’t won enough to give him the MVP. Voters don’t like to give it to a guy whose team is barely over .500. If the Lakers win 55 games next year and Kobe continues to play the way he has this year, the MVP is his, hands down. The voters know that he’s due. The team just needs to win more.


  63. Warren,

    Also, regarding trading Brian Cook for cap space, next year our payroll is already at $57M, and that’s before we re-sign Luke and Ronny, and maybe Shammond and Mihm as well. Signing those guys should put our payroll somewhere between $63-68M (depending on what we do with Shammond & Mihm).

    This year, the cap was $53.135M. They haven’t announced the cap for next year yet, but it will probably be around $55-57M, so trading Cook wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever to our cap space.


  64. Yes, we are already basically over the cap for next year. We can resign existing players to go over the cap (the bird rule) and we have a mid-level exception. Grant comes off the books, but we’re not really in good cap shape.

    The number that really matters is the luxury tax, every dollar you are over that number you have to pay a dollar in tax. This year, that number was $65.4 million, next year that will go up a couple mil. There is no way Buss will allow the Lakers to go way over that number. So, by Matt’s rough estimate, resigning the few guys we have puts us close to that number.

    What I’m saying is that don’t expect big signings, if there are big shakeups it will come via trade.

    (By the way, while the Lakers salary paid was $77 million this year, they did not pay any luxury tax because $15 mill of that did not count against the luxury tax, the money paid to Brian Grant. It was part of the amnesty program two years ago.)


  65. Thanks Matt…


  66. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Here’s my contention. We need 12 guys to be on our roster to be valid. We’re currently at 57M before we re-sign our guys which means we need to sign 3 players in order that we may comply.

    Say the cap is 57M. We trade Cook away on Draft Day which lowers us to 54M. We are now under the cap. We then re-sign Mihm 2M, Turiaf 1M which brings us back to 57M. We have 10 players at this point. We get to pick 3 players on Draft Day plus 1 more from the Orlando deal. Which gives us 14 players.

    35. Let’s say a team arranges for all of its players to become free agents at the same time. If they renounce everybody, do they then have a salary total of $0 and a full cap under which to work?

    No. There are lots of things that are included in team salary besides active contracts — see question number 14 for a full list. Note especially that there is a roster charge when a team has fewer than 12 players under contract, free agents included in team salary, players given offer sheets, and first round draft picks.


  67. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:41 am

    We renounce Smush, Shammond and McKie. We then sign Mo Williams with our Mid-level and then sign Walton last through his Bird Rights. Possibly trade away 2 picks in the process for teams like Indiana and Memphis…


  68. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:50 am

    1. Trade Cook for 2nd rounder 2009.
    2. Re-sign Turiaf, Mihm – 3M.
    3. Sign Mo Williams the Mid-level exception. 5M.
    4. Sign Luke thru his Bird Rights. 5M.

    Salary Level will then be around 67M. Manageable.

    Enlighten me if it might not work guys… I’m just surmising.
    For all I care, Mo Wil could be worth around 7-8M / year. Hehe


  69. Warren, everything you’re saying (66, 67, 68) is fine. If you’re just trying to manage the cap without exceeding the tax limit, then sure, all of that works.

    I just thought you were asking (48) if trading Cook would get us far enough under the cap to sign Mo Williams for more than the mid-level. The answer to that is no. The mid-level is worth $6M a year over a 5-year deal. We would need to be around $6M under the cap to sign Mo to a contract worth $7-8M a year (which is what I think he’s worth). When you account for re-signing our free agents, trading Cook does not accomplish that. That’s all I’m saying.

    But otherwise everything you’re saying makes sense. And I would be happy to trade Cook, I’m not a fan of his.


  70. warren (philippines) April 30, 2007 at 12:02 am

    I get you matt. I realized that too. Our free agents continue to be counted in before they are actually renounced so I guess it doesnt work that well as I had previously thought.

    I’m giving Luke Walton a summer job guys… Shoot 400 jumpers a day and get yourself a shooting coach. He’s got size and the smarts, too bad he doesn’t have the range. If he would come out to be the Bird FA this year (which I think LA would do despite of what I think) he should come out worth the 5M that he would be paid.