Winning Now, Part I

Kurt —  May 6, 2007

“That’s one of the things when I re-signed here, they promised they would build a contender and build a contender now. I don’t want to have to wait any more than I already have.”

    —Kobe Bryant after his exit interview

When the Lakers decided to pay Kobe and trade Shaq, everyone was clear the plan was to rebuild a contender around Kobe. Three years into that experiment, well, Phoenix is a contender and as a benchmark it’s pretty clear that the Lakers are more than a few steps behind the Suns.

And now Kobe’s patience has worn thin, which is a season or two behind when a lot of Lakers fans patience went away.

This summer Lakers management has to decide what to do: Continue with the plan of building for the future or building to win now. It can’t do both, that has led to a mismatched roster. In the real world there is only one option, they need to build for now. That means a new willingness to make moves that could hurt five years from now to win today. That’s really the only option, because if you’re building for the long-term future the move is to trade Kobe, and that is not how the Buss family works (and would lead to a fan uprising).

As Nate Jones pointed out in the comments, the problem is that championship contenders are not built overnight. Look at the four major title contenders left in the playoffs — San Antonio, Phoenix, Detroit and Chicago. Each of those teams took years to build through the draft (remember the Suns drafted Shawn Marion back in 1999) and picking up the right free agents to fit the mix.

The good news is some of the moves the Lakers have made in the last couple years put them in position to make aggressive moves now. And some pieces are in place — this Lakers team was not as bad as it looked against Phoenix in the playoffs, but neither are they as good as they looked in December.

The bad news is that the way the roster structured, the aggressive moves will have to be trades. Those are a lot harder to pull off. All the Lakers can offer a free agent is the mid-level exception of about $6 million a year, which is not going to garner a big-time player (and that could go to Luke Walton). And drafting 19th they’re not going to get a difference maker.

Rather than do a “he gets an A” season review it’s time to look forward. I’m going to do a series of posts talking about what needs to be done to win now. Today’s first installment is simply about guiding principles, the big picture concepts behind what should be done. We’ll talk about specific players and other steps in future posts, but winning organizations start with a plan and with guidelines, then get the players that fit inside that design. Some of the Laker moves the last couple years make you questions how closely that concept is adhered to.

So, here are some suggested guiding principals for this summer.

1) Defense first.
Despite the rash of key injuries, the Lakers still had the seventh most efficient offense in the league last season, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions. The flipside is they gave up 110.5. That makes you basically a .500 team. Or, look at it this way — you win a lot of games scoring 103.3 points per game, as the Lakers did to finish fifth in the league, unless you give up 103.4.

Every roster move this summer must be made with improving the defense as the goal— every player brought in must be a good defender. The Lakers score enough to win with the roster they’ve got, if they could stop anyone.

It should be noted, this was the concern last summer and the Lakers signed Radmaovic and Mo Evans, only one of which was a signing made with defense in mind. That cannot happen again.

2) Improve the point guard position. Opposing point guards took 28% of their shots against the Lakers close to the basket. Think about that — the smallest guys on the court were still taking more than one in four shots as basically lay-ups. This was the root of the entire defensive problems the Lakers had, the perimeter defense broke down against anyone who could drive the lane even moderately well, and that led to guys scrambling trying to cover and rotate.

Offensively, all the triangle really asks of its point guards is to be able to help bring the ball up and hit threes. If they can do more, great, but as item number one mentioned defense at this position is first and foremost.

3) Consistency in the paint. With Lamar Odom living on the perimeter mostly (when he was healthy) and the combination of Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum anchoring the paint, the Lakers were incredibly inconsistent inside this season.

Opposing power forwards scored 21.2 points per 48 minutes, grabbed 11 rebounds, shot 51.5% and has a PER of 18.7. Opposing centers scored 18.8, grabbed 14 rebounds, shot 51.6% and had a PER of 18.4. Think about it this way, opposing point guards only had a PER of 17.

The loss of Chris Mihm for the season was part of the problem, but because he returns from a year off and a major injury means he cannot be relied on for a huge upgrade. I’m not suggesting trading Odom, he brings a lot to the triangle. But if Odom is going to spend more time as the initiator or out on the wing in the triangle, the Lakers need a more consistent presence in the paint. At both ends of the floor.

4) Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream. In the wake of the second elimination by the Suns in as many years, there have been some calls for major, philosophical changes. To site an example, the usually smart JA Adande came out in the LA Times the day after the Lakers loss and said the Lakers need to rebuild into the Suns style.

Teams that struggle long term are teams that change styles every couple of years, trying to find the right formula. They bring in new coaches on a seeming carousel and never form a team or franchise identity. There is no one right formula — it can be a variety of systems, but you have to have the players to fit that system. The triangle clearly can win titles; there are nine to its credit. The Lakers have some of the key pieces to win in that system. To remake the roster into a Suns-style contender would require a major overhaul that would take years. The Lakers don’t have those kind of athletes right now, nor a point guard who can run that kind of offense. (And how many of those PG’s are there? Nash, Chris Paul, Baron Davis when healthy. None of them are available. And those kinds of talents don’t grow on trees.)

The Lakers are a triangle team, and that can win. The key is finding players that fit the system.

Kurt

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79 responses to Winning Now, Part I

  1. chris henderson May 6, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    did you see that phx vs San antonio game? Nash looked like Jerry Coonie and they couldn’t keep him out of the game. it was actually hard to watch, bleeding all over the place, couldn’t stop it, and he kept trying to stay on the floor.

    honestly, i couldn’t help but think/wonder, what would Kwame do if he was in that situation? I get the feeling that KB doesn’t even want to be on the floor sometimes, just like punching the clock in a job he doesn’t like, waiting to retire. he seems to go out if he gets a minor floor burn. this is something the Lakers need more of, guys playing with heart like Nash did today. I have to think much higher of him after that display today, not that I didn’t already respect him for his game.
    so, besides the talent level, defensive stopper, etc, our management needs to find guys who play hard, play through injuries if possible, players who want to win so bad they don’t feel a gash across the nose cause they need to be on the floor to help the team win!
    I know that’s hard to find, and isn’t really on the resume, but good scouts can find that if they look for it.

  2. Excellent post.
    My only area of dissagreement is with you judgement that this is a mismatched roster due to the presence of young and veteran talent.

    People always turn to Pheonix right now as a model for team building, despite the fact that they have yet to reach the finals, and you pointed out that why the Lakers shouldn’t try to copy the Suns. A better example comes from the team that beat the Suns today: the San Antonio Spurs.

    The Spurs have successfully transitioned from a dual-superstar roster with Robinson/Duncan to the current team. They rebuilt the roster around a superstar and a hall of fame coach. But they didn’t do it by complementing Duncan with a grizzled, veteran roster. The key to their resurgence was the drafting and development of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. Those two went from raw talents, to interesting role players, to allstars. It took time and didn’t happen overnight.

    Luckily, they hade young talent in place before Robinson retired, something the Lakers should have done before Shaq’s departure. Like the Spurs, I’d rather the Lakers add solid veterans without sacrificing the young talent. I see the roster as balanced rather than mismatched.

  3. 1. Didn’t Kwame Brown stay in the game after rolling his ankle in game 4? And Lamar Odom played bleeding and with an injured shoulder that needed surgery? And Luke Walton stayed in game 5 despite an injury as well. I think this team needs to get injured less – there might be a lack of mental toughness, but not physical toughness.

  4. 2. It’s not the young talent that bothers me, so much as the young talent they chose to keep. Sahsa and Cook got extensions in the last couple years, and I really don’t get that. Their nice players at 8 or 9 in the rotation, but those guys can be found elsewhere. I understand they know the triangle, but to me those are not the signings of an aggressive team moving ahead.

  5. I hope we bloggers keep your post in mind when proposing a number of ‘massive’ trades to redo the roster.

    Rather than picking out people to get, I think the Laker organization is putting together Kurt’s strategic plan and will implement a tactical plan only AFTER the strategic plan is complete. If they are not doing this they should be replaced immediately.

    Discussing this plan with Phil and Kobe is the next step and then I suspect you will hear nothing from either of them unless management makes a tactical error in implementation.

  6. The Cook extension was terrible, especially when you consider that we already have Vlad-Rad locked up for four more years…

  7. Totally agree Kurt. Cook and Sasha are passive players with no heart. The same goes for Vlade. All three are examples of signings that puzzled me. Why did we give these guys contracts on this team?

    We need guys like Fisher, Fox, and Horry used to be. Those guys make up for a lack of talent with disipline, heart, and a drive to win every game.

    Find some guys that played for winning college teams. Guys like Salim Stoudemire, Juan Dixon, Delonte West, Jameer Nelson, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Gerry McNamara, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Hakim Warrick, Shane Battier, Chris Duhon, Morris Peterson, Jason Richardson, Ray Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants. I could go on forever. These are the kind of guys we need on our team.

    Gerald Wallace is the epitome of the kind of player we need on this team. He hustles, he has heart, he has athleticism, and he wants to win.

    The pressure is on the Lakers’ management to make smart moves in the offseason. Not just a trade to say we did something… the moves need to be SMART moves.

  8. I totally agree with you guys on this post! If the Lakers can add veteran players without giving up their young talent that would be great for them but in the real world we all know you can’t get something for nothing. So the only players that should be on the untouchable list are Lamar, and Kobe everyone else should be a possibility this will open up trade scenarios with a lot more teams. This doesn’t mean the Lakers have to do a complete overhaul but just look at all their options before making a decision.

  9. Exactly Luke… the Lakers just need to cut out the fat.

    Smush, Kwame, Cook, Vlade, and Sasha should not be on this team next year. Trade them away for anything you can get. And Mckie should be retiring.

    The keepers are Kobe, Lamar, Farmar, Turiaf, Bynum, Evans, Mihm and Walton.

  10. Kurt can we expect changes in the Summer especially with Kobes demands?

  11. warren (philippines) May 6, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I have a few points I’d like to raise:

    1. The Lakers NEED to go with the triangle’s flow. There is no other way for them right now.
    2. Kobe is the pinnacle of this team. The very heart and soul and thus the team NEEDS to go through his play.
    3. Its hard to exclude Lamar Odom from trades as he is our only legitimate trade asset. Andrew Bynum counts for one too but him alone will not land us a big name in the likes of KG. In the real world.
    4. Due to the roster-contract situation, It makes me think that Farmar is off-limits as well. I don’t think Smush and Shamu will be back.
    5. I think Luke Walton can be a trade bait. I’d rather see him go than Lamar, though, the business side of things might dictate that he is the one to keep.
    6. Isn’t Lamar Odom an over-sized 3? Not the 4 he’s in now. As I remember, the lineup last season was – Smush, Kobe, Odom, Kwame, Mihm. Or was I just hung over?
    7. The problem with our frontcourt is that its too “weak”. We need finishers and rebounders. We need someone to draw the foul and even draw the double team.

    In the light of all these, I am one with Kurt with the gameplan. Specifically, I’d like to see Andre Miller run the point and Camby to play center for us. These two guys aren’t huge names but they are, IMO, what we need – for now.

    As I’ve said, we still won’t be an elite team like San Antonio or Phoenix, but we will definitely be in the mix of the Dallas’, Houstons and Utahs.

    PS. I’ve put Dallas as one of the 2nd tier teams. Thats just me.

  12. I agree with your first point (defense first) as a guiding principle, but with two caveats:

    1) If Kobe Bryant doesn’t make defense a priority, it won’t matter who the Lakers bring in. As the leader of the team, he sets the tone–when he decides to play a one-man zone, gamble for steals, fails to close out or fight trough screens, it rubs off on everyone. Kobe has always been a sporadic defender, but his saving grace has been that his teammates have covered for him, and when he wants to be, he’s as good a defender as there is in the league. But times have changed. I don’t expect him to morph into a consistent defensive stopper, but he will have to take reponsibility to be more fundamentally sound.

    2) When the Lakers are getting good post production, their defense is much better because our wings are in better position to get back. Game 3 was case in point. What has become clear is that we can never count on consistent production from Kwame. Bynum has shown flashes, Mihm might help. That being said, one way to improve the defense would be to acquire a player that can score consistently from the 4 or 5 position.

    The more that I think about the latter, the more I think the Lakers should be targeting Pau Gasol. I think he would be a perfect fit for the triangle–he can shoot the mid-range jumper, but he also has a nice assortment of post moves. He can also rebound, block shots and hit the open man. He’s not a great defender, but he played for a Spanish team than played great team defense with him as their anchor.

    If Memphis doesn’t win the lottery, I think there are a couple of different deals the Lakers could offer that would be attractive. Here are two as examples:

    a) Brown, Bynum & filler for Gasol
    b) Odom & Bynum for Gasol and 1st round pick

    I think it would be possible to get Gasol without giving up BOTH Bynum and Odom. I like Gasol for the Lakers a lot more than I like JO.

  13. Guys, we can’t just get rid of Kwame for anything we can get. I know he is a whipping boy extraordinaire, but his interior defense is absolutely crucial to the Lakers being a playoff team. Unless we can replace that physicality, we don’t just give it away. You can’t find that size and strength. Look at our record since he got injured.

    I personally think Kwame is a great fit for the Lakers and we would not be able to trade him for anything as valuable as he can be. His value is very low right now to other teams based on his injuries and his poor playoff play. Who is knocking down our door for Kwame?

    However, it all changes if a blockbuster trade comes down the pipe and his salary is the difference. Then, we have to be sensible. But I would hate to lose Kwame. He gets blamed quite unfairly I feel. He is not a superstar but a great role player in our team. I feel really bad for him professionally. He’s in between a rock and a hard place.

  14. Kurt,

    I agree totally with the big picture that you lay out, but let’s add some nuances.

    The Lakers already have one type of point guard–Jordan Farmar. Jordan is a classic point guard who can do far more than bring the ball up court. He is not a liability on team defense. One of his best qualities is leadership–a quality that he displayed at UCLA and in the preseason.

    It would be nice if the Lakers could find another point guard to complement Farmar. Jason Kidd might be a dream, Derek Fisher would have been perfect, but it might be better to find someone waiting in the wings, ready to assume a Chauncy Billups role at less than a Chauncy Billups price–or as a part of a big trade.

    The Lakers might not have as much choice as we would wish. If the Lakers are to trade Bynum to obtain a “big” star, the deal would almost have to include Odom and/or Kwame to reach necessary pay levels. It would be relatively easy to expand these deals to include another player.

    So, if we get KG, we may well get a Minnesota point guard. If we get Jason Kidd, we may well get a New Jersey “big.” If we got Nowitzke from Dallas, we might get Harris. If we got AK47 from Utah, we might get Fisher. ETC. ETC.

    In a deal for Jermaine O’Neal with Indiana, could we or would we want to get Dunlevy as our PG tandem with Farmar? Or would we get Darryl Armstrong to back up Farmar?

    See, this kind of thinking can lead to all sorts of wild conjectures!

  15. And that Spurs/Suns game was fantastic! I can’t wait for the rest of this series to play out. I feel strange, but I can’t help but root for the Spurs this series. Something about Duncan exploiting the Suns interior defense was quite beautiful to watch.

    Maybe the bad taste in my mouth regarding the Suns doesn’t hurt either. But these 2 squads along with the Pistons are the class of the league.

  16. This Rumor could have feet after the draft ..

    Presume Boston would be able to draft Kevin Durant..

    What about Paul Pierce? Would Danny Ainge do a deal in which he could get Lamar Odom, Bynum, and a re-signed Luke Walton and send Pierce and Telfair to the Lakers? ..

  17. I think Paul Pierce will play at least another season with the celts…

  18. As I understand it,this post is about the team’s philosophy in general,not specific players. So I will state that the very first question Lakers Management should be asking…is the Triangle a viable NBA offense,or is it a system that requires a once-in-a-lifetime player like Pippen to make work?(Much like debate over Nash vs. Suns system.)
    Before you dismiss this as totally idiotic question,let’s look at the history. Tex has repeatedly expressed his disgust w/Shaq totally distorting the Triangle while he was a Laker-far more than Kobe did. After two yrs w/the same core,the Lakers abandoned the Triangle for the stretch run and the recent Playoff series-just as last yr the Lakers abandoned the Triangle against the Suns in favor of low-post isos. If in the Shaq yrs the Lakers were not really running the Triangle,but a bastardized version and after Shaq left they abandoned it for the Playoffs,just how viable an offense is it. Pippen led the Jordan-less Bulls to 57 wins,a total exceeded only twice in LA. I will certainly admit that the scoring ave is very good,but on the other hand how many NBA scoring leaders played on low scoring teams?(And the team did pretty much abandon the Triangle for a good chunk of the season.)
    To be the playmaker in the Triangle requires being able to shoot from outside,driving and finishing,incredible court vision,making the right initial pass,finding the open man and getting him the ball where he can do something w/it,driving and kicking out accurate passes to open players,accepting lower individual numbers for the greater good of the team and an ego healthy enough to accept being called the second banana to the team’s designated scorer. I can only think of three players who come close to that-Nash,LeBron and T-Mac-and I doubt LeBron being able to accept the lesser status.
    Which brings me back to,is the Triangle a viable enough system that it can work against pressure even when it is run by a sub-optimal triggerman? That’s the first question the Lakers should be answering.

  19. First off, agree entirely with both starting with guiding principles, and with the principles you propose. I know you’re going to get into the meat-and-potatoes eventually, but I’ve been mulling this one over for a while and want to vent it out.

    I’ve heard so many people say something along the lines of, “All we need is a point guard that can hit big shots and play D a la Fischer.” Why not go for the actual Derek Fischer? I know this one’s going to take some persuading, but hear me out: solid defense, can hit the 3, knows the triangle inside and out, has an established relationship with Kobe/Phil, exactly the type of veteran we’re missing, for concerns about his age he’s still looking very productive to me. While we’re at, let’s get Horry back too.

    But seriously, other than the size of his contract, I think he’s perfect for a lot of our needs. Plus unlike someone like Chauncey (who we couldn’t afford anyway), he will provide the steadying veteran influence we need without crowding out the development of Farmar. Plus, Utah with Deron becoming the all-star he’s gonna be doesn’t really Fischer all that much anymore, so he shouldn’t be too hard to pry away.

    Obviously this wouldn’t be an isolated move, but, as suggested by others, would have to be part of getting AK from his unhappy home. To make the salaries work, it would require both Lamar and Kwame, which I know sounds like a little too much, but consider this: in 05-06 when AK was playing his natural position before getting pushed aside by Boozer he was easily more efficient than Lamar. A lot of that can be probably be attributed to not having to share the ball with Kobe, but Lamar to AK wouldn’t be nearly the downgrade it might appear to be. Even with his recent offensive struggles, he’s still been a defensive force, instrumental in stopping McGrady at crucial moments (something we could really use).

    Obviously I’d prefer a KG, but I think a trade like this is much more realistic, especially considering Utah’s position. It would definitely be a risk, and an expensive one at that, but I think both these players fit in nicely with your principles. We could even probably get Collins thrown in, who might be a bit of a stiff, but he’s got alright D in the post and as a Stanford grad I’m partial to him. Think it over..

    Also, Kurt, total aside out of curiosity, I’m no expert on salary rules, but doesn’t the Bird rule mean that we can re-sign Luke without touching our mid-level exception?

  20. 14. I agree, I tried to lay these out as broad strokes, but I love Farmar which means the Lakers can find a veteran who can play just 30 or so a night, and let Farmar have the rest.

    I also agree that you can’t just fill one hole. I was avoiding specifics for the next post, but to use an example, trading Odom and Bynum for JO would give you an upgrade at the four but force you to stick with the Kwame/Mihm combo at center, and unless there was an upgrade at the point I don’t think the team is significantly better.

    As for Kwame, I think he’s a fine backup center, but is overpaid as a $9.5 mil starter.

  21. 19. Chopperdave, yes the Bird rules allow the Lakers to resign Walton and still offer the midlevel. However, it would move the Lakers over the luxury tax, meaning a dollar for dollar penalty. I’m not sure Buss would do that, especially for just Walton.

  22. Sorry for the utlra-long post and the adendum. I just felt that that trade needs a lot of defending, which is probably a bad sign. My non-Lakers fan friend of mine insists I’m just too nostalgic for Fisher, and that the Lakers would be even more of a mess with only one player who could create a shot and no viable second option. Plus huge sums of money would be tied up for 4 years, killing any chance of future moves. Just looking at the players’ PER’s should tell me that it’s a bad move. But even knowing all that, I still can’t shake thinking it’d be worth a shot.

    (also, I mispelled Fisher throughout that post, sorry)

  23. Stephen (18),

    You’ve stated the issue of the triangle boldly and baldly. Maby too much so–but I like it. You don’t say so, but I’m guessing that your old fashioned strategizing is being lured away from bedrock by those Suns–and driven wild by the Warriors!

    I’ve had similar thoughts, but expressed in terms of “paradigm shifts.” J. A. Adante may have also been going in a similar direction when asking that the Lakers consider reinventing themselves in the image of the Suns. Kurt keeps reminding us that a good coach will adjust any system to the players he coaches–and that the uptempo dreams of Adande could come true without abandoning the triangle or imitating our rivals.

    Like Kurt, I believe that the most fundamental philosophical basis for rethinking the Laker team involves defense. If “defense” philosophy were the Laker management theology, I’d be accusing them of losing their religion!

    Those of you who lust after scoring and scorers, I won’t ask you to wash your mouth out with soap. Instead you can pledge support to the Laker’s defense by chanting these three words:

    KWAMEE KWAMEE KWAMEE

    I knew you could do it!

  24. warren (philippines) May 7, 2007 at 3:30 am

    I must say I cannot wait to see Kurt’s meat on this matter. Im with the philosophy and I see him making more “realistic” offers than most of us do. Instead of flooding the post with less-than-realistic proposals, I have chosen to send them personally for his consideration. I just hope one of mine gets to be considered.

    Its hard to see things this far away from the world. All I have is a mere rundown of all the salaries and the ruling restrictions and the rumor mill spinning. I know, somehow, in principle, we might get to be one on the idea. I honestly don’t like to see Fisher and Horry back. They had their time, now its up to management to find others. They can only do so much at this point.

    I have rooted for the acquisition of AK since news came out of his game1 sub-par peformance. However, if Odom is involved, No way.

  25. The problem here is this. No one wants the Lakers to give away any of these pieces that they view as nice. However, the truth remains that we don’t have 5 legitimate NBA starters on our team. Some of these pieces, are good solid bench players. That should be the priority: get a starter at every position. You have the best player in the NBA and 4 legitimate starters and you will contend for championships.

  26. Paul,
    You need 5 legit NBA starters + a couple of solid bench players to contend for a championship. Remember, every time we trade 2 for 1 we probably lose something from our current bench, or else 2 current starters.

  27. On another note…
    There is an interesting article on ‘the PG revolution’, featuring (of course) Steve Nash at…http://thestartingfive.wordpress.com

    It is long, but worth the read.

  28. Paul (26),

    I don’t agree that we don’t have 5 NBA starters on the squad.

    Projecting for next year, with everyone healthy, we may have as many as 7 or 8: Kobe, Kwame, Lamar, Luke, Jordan, Chris Mihm, and VladRad. Mo Evans and Ronnie Turiaf are not far behind. We may well turn up a PG to add to the list either by trade or “exception.” We’re deep, but we’re thin. We’re on the hill, but we’re on the level.

    The real problem is that with a guy like Kobe, at least one player needs to be far more than a starter. KG obviously fits the bill, but there are a others that could play that role–and you probably know them all.

    In a lot of ways, we rescued Miami from this very dilemma when we traded them Shaq–or, expressed in another way, they transferred that problem to us.

    Is there a team in the NBA that will punch our ticket and give us that needed “get out of jail free” superstar card so we can rush out, put hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, and . . . . put the other guys out of business come next year this time?

  29. 1) Farmar will be improved next year. I know the kid, and he is going to be in the gym everyday working on his game. Unless the Lakers miraculously trade for a top PG, he’ll be the starter next year. And he’s going to be very good. Don’t count him out…

    2) The more I think about, the more I think the Lakers should give the mid-level to Jerry Stackhouse. Did you see him in the series against the Warriors. The only player on that team with any kind of Balls. He would be our perfect 6th man, and keep up the level of play when Kobe goes to the bench. Plus he has the playoff experience that this team needs. A two year deal at the mid-level might get him here. Remember Devin Harris is going to be looking for an extension in Dallas and Diop is going to be a free agent after next season, so Dallas can’t just dedicated a chunk of change to him that easily.

    3) We need to keep Odom. You guys that say trade Odom are CRAZY. Odom is a double figure rebounder and a 16ppg scorer. How many guys in the NBA score than many points and get that many rebounds? About 10 players, right? And we’ve got one of them. He was having a fantastic season until shoulder and knee injuries hobbled him. And look how he performed in the playoffs. There is no way I trade that guy. The Lakers need to do a better job getting him involved. I never have understood why they don’t run pick and roll with Lamar and Kobe. They run it with Kwame and Kobe, and Turiaf and Kobe, and Cook and Kobe. Imagine how deadly of a P&R combo Kobe and Lamar would be. The guy is maaad talented. We just need to utilize him better.

    4) Figure out a way to use Bynum, Kwame, Vlad-Rad and Picks to get KG.

    5) PG is not as big of a problem as you think, as the Lakers were playing good team ball before all of their injuries. In January, George Karl called them the best passing team in all of basketball. And as I mentioned above, Jordan Farmar is going to be ready to step in and start full time next year. Don’t discount that. As mentioned before, the Lakers just need someone to play good D and hit a J. With Farmar, I think we’re going to get that, plus a little bit of playmaking

    My Dream L.A. Lineup Next year:

    Lamar
    Luke (re-signed Bird)
    KG (at Center)-(Via Kwame, Vlad Rad, Bynum, and Picks)
    Kobe
    Farmar

    With a bench of:
    Stackhouse (Via Mid-Level)
    Ronny
    Mo Evans
    Mihm
    Cook
    Back up PG (via free agency-league min/veterans except?)

    That team is athletic and really doesn’t have anyone where would question their heart (maybe B Cook, but with KG and Kobe on the team, they would straighten him out fast). They obviously would still need a back up PG, but I think the Lakers with their system can run line ups where either Stack and Kobe are in the backcourt or Mo and Kobe are in the back court to make up for the lack of a back up PG. Pick and Roll defense wouldn’t be as much of a problem with that team, because KG is latterally quick enough to show on screens and then get back to his man. Same with Lamar. Lamar and KG have the rebounding and interior D on lock, and KG also gives them an uprage on interior scoring. And our Pick and rolls…Imagine Kobe/Lamar or Kobe/KG or even Lamar/KG. The Lakers pretty much become a match up nightmare. They also can press and trap on the defensive end with a center as mobile as KG. KG is also a much better shot blocker than anyone we currently have. Stackhouse, Walton (based on his shot from the first half of the year), and Cook would be the teams main shooters. Farmar would hopefully come in with an improved shot and help in that dept as well.

    I know Jermaine O’neal and others like Gasol have been mentioned, but personally, I don’t think either of those players help the Lakers the way that some fans think. It’s KG or bust for me (while Keeping L.O.) KG is an offensive and defensive force. But more than anything, he’s all heart and intensity. He’s been bottled up for three straight seasons in Minn. Imagine how hard he’d play if he was sent to a team with a chance to go after a title. Teams are hungry for Bynum. The Lakers need to get the most out of him now.

    If I’m Mitch, draft night, I’m on the phone with Kevin McHale and doing everything in my power to make that deal happen.

  30. So let’s say, hypothetically, that I’m an NBA GM. I was thinking about rebuilding and sending my all-star to the Lakers for Odom and Bynum and whatever other pieces make the deal work. I think I’m about in the same situation as the Lakers. I have been trying to win now AND later and have gone with a soft rebuild and have ended up in basically the same situation as the Lakers, treadmilling going on three years. But I just got some good news…

    Kobe is issuing ultimatums.

    If I’m Minnesota and I just got this news, why do I now consider a KG package for parts when in 6-12 months time I can try to put together a package of parts for Kobe instead? Same for the 3 or 4 other teams who are considered LA’s trading partners.

    Kobe’s ultimatum just rendered the trade value of every other Laker more suspect. All the other GM’s have to do is wait one more year and Kobe starts making Shaq like moves.

    Trade Kobe. If he truly is the best player he should be able to return an all-star swingman and a border all-star prospect big. Then you have your five legit NBA starters and a decent bench.

    All it takes is one move, but that move takes rationality and balls. You might alienate the base to start the season, but they will bandwagon right back up as soon as the Lakers start winning.

  31. Don’t even respond to John R. Responses only encourage him.

  32. Here I was worried about trading Lamar and getting 75c on the dollar…. and John R. just figgured out how we can get 75c back for our $20 bill…

  33. The biggest issue we had all year (ignoring the obvious) is our lack on consistancy with the traiangle… We would abandon it in a heartbeat… and it seemed like half the time mamba mode was the response not the cause. We need some players with some discipline and intellegence.

    and since when are running the triange and pick/roll mutually exclusive… we have the best wing player in the world! exploiting it with a little movement may jumpstart the cutting of the triangle again.

    ps. poor smush summed up the last two years… from a pleasant surprise to massive dissapointment. blah.

  34. The first move Mitch Kupchak should be looking at is calling around asking what gm’s would give up in a sign and trade with Luke. Luke cannot be on this team next year as a starter, and seeing how we paid Vlad, we should not waste resources on another bench player. Luke is not an NBA starter, he had 15 good games, he was playing terrible before he got hurt, his shot has never been consistent and to put him around kobe, with Lamar already having a suspect J is bad strategy. This does not evn take into account the way Luke allows opposing 3’s to compromise our defense in a variety of ways, whether being posted by Carmelo or letting Nocioni set career highs, hes a defensive liability. We need to follow what Houston did and put an athletic defender who can shoot the 3 next to Kobe. that means, bye luke

  35. 11-
    Excellent post Warren. You know what you are talking about when it comes to the Lakers. We enjoy your posts as long as they are realistic.

    Smush, Shamu, Mckie, Sasha, Cook, Vlad and Kwame all did not EARN the right to be back next year. Kobe, Lamar, Luke, Jordan, Ronny and Mo Evans did, enough said.

    My first priority for this team is obviously KG. At this point I would be willing to give up Odom, Bynum, Vlad and maybe even Farmar to the Twolves (Thats 4 starters for KG). I think every Laker fan would be okay with this at this point. But I do not condone Odom and Bynum for JO. First off all he is not worth both. Secondly, the Pacers seem a lot more willing to move him than the Wolves do KG, which means they will need less convincing.

    If the KG deal is not going to happen, I say call the Nets and see if they will swap Bynum for Kidd straight up. Then Package Odom with everything else leftover for another solid player. Who knows… maybe with the right combination we can get JO for Odom and spare parts. That would bring in Kidd and JO. I know this is a long shot but my point is that if we cant send Odom and Bynum for KG, nobody else is really worth giving up both in the same trade when we can trade them seperately for two good players.

    Any thoughts?

  36. What good is a $20 bill if you are in the poorest part of India? I can tell you, not much. A wise man will realize how he can get from where he is to where he wants to be even if it means taking one step backwards. An idiot keeps banging his head into the same wall because he believes that direction to be forward.

    The Lakers should have traded Lamar last year. I said it then when I believed they could get Deng for him. Once again, I was ahead of the curve. That ship already sailed.

    Kobe just screwed over the trade value of every other Laker. At least KG has had the class to not do things like this.

    You can respond to me or not. But if I were you I wouldn’t, since there is no rational rebuttal. The best answer for the Lakers is the same as it was 3 years ago. Trade Kobe. (Well trade Shaq AND Kobe and make big moves like West used to, but that ship sailed as well.) Trade Kobe now before in 3 more years it becomes perfectly clear that, despite winning 3 championships, he has been a drain on this organization all along. Maybe the biggest poison the Lakers organization has ever known. West, Jackson, Shaq, Malone. How many more Hall of Famers will he alienate before enough is enough?

    Free yourselves from the Stockholm Syndrome. I promise to aid you in your recovery.

  37. And some team out there has got to want Cook or VladRad. Some time out there that likes to run a lot of pick and pops should be interested in one of the two. If not, then lets just package Sasha and Cook to some team for draft picks only to add some salary cap space.

  38. Kobe is the best player in the NBA hands down. Championships very often (not always) are won with a team with a player that is better than anyone else on the court. We’ve got that piece. Now let’s try to find a way to go get the others. I would venture to say that the current Lakers have only two players, Kobe and Lamar, who would be starting on any of the top tier teams in the West. Luke is a great sixth man keep him. Kwame is better defensively than our other bigs, but that is the end of his upside. But do you start a guy like this? At $9 mil a year no less for a bench player on any other team. Get what you can get for Kwame, he is an expiring contract after all.

  39. Last year, Phil said that the difference between us being an ok team and being a great team will be Kwame Brown. Phil said that if we get 15-10 from him every night, we will be a great team.

    I guess we can pretty much say that we are just an ok team right now.

  40. John R. reminds me of one of those 9/11 conspiracy theorists…

    Check the Cavalier having fun at Laker fans expense:

    http://www.yaysports.com/nba/2007/05/laker_fans_want_kevin_garnett.html

  41. John R-

    I will give you the face that he didn’t get along with Jackson, Shaq, and Malone. Some of that is his fault, some are the other guys.

    However, I’m not sure why on God’s green earth you put West in there. West was probably the closest guy Kobe had to a mentor on this team, they both respected each other, even through the difficulkt times. I don;’t recall ANYTHING sazying that Kobe alienated West.

  42. Dude, I know one of the logo’s sons, and he personally drove the logo to Kobe’s house during his 04 free agency so that the two could talk about Kobe’s decision. And this was while he was already the GM of the Grizzlies. If not for the Logo, Kobe would probably be playing for another team. As usual, John R. has no idea what he’s talking about.

  43. I’m with ya Mr. Jones. (about a number of things, John R is one of them).
    but for me personally, I hope we don’t have to move Lamar, I agree that if used right, he’s an extremely difficult match up for our opponents.
    I think we’ve seen the best we’ll ever get from Kwame, and I doubt we’ll ever see that upside on a consistent basis. I get the feeling with Kwame he’s just punching the clock, taking his paychecks, waiting to do what he really wants, just lie around on a beach somewhere. I don’t really see any hunger, desire, focus, or intensity from the guy. maybe he’s our best big on defense, but that’s not enough, I say we do our best to move him.
    and the thing with Andrew, I agree that he might have a great future, but the way he ended this season, I’m of the mind that we need to get what we can for him now, while the league still thinks he’s the next great big man. I don’t see it in him, maybe in 3 to 5 years, but then we’re missing our window with Kobe.
    if they can get KG for Kwame and Bynum, (and what other filler are required) then they have to make that move.
    really, any other scenario still puts us in a couple years at best situation, KG is probably the only move that vaults the Lakers into serious contenders in one off season.
    guys I wouldn’t miss-
    Cook, Vlad, Kwame, Bynum, and Sasha …
    guys I’d hate to loose-
    Ronnie, Mo Evans, see if Mihm can come back, and of course, keep Farmar, resign Luke.

  44. My guess on things: KG stays in Minn for one more seasons then opts out. So, he won’t be available, or if he is the price is outrageous. If he opts out, he could come to the Lakers for less (ala Malone). But if you want to make a move this summer, would the Pacers take Bynum, Kwame and Cook plus a pick for O’Neal? Then your starting five is Farmar, Kobe, Odom at the three, JO at the four and Mihm at the five. So you have to get a backup PG and center to go with a good bench of Luke, VladRad, Evans, Turiaf and whoever you sign. I think that’s a pretty powerful group.

  45. By the way, great stuff from Kevin Ding today in the OC Register:

    Who cared: Bryant, Odom, Turiaf, Luke Walton. Who sort of cared: Maurice Evans, Jordan Farmar, Aaron McKie, Sasha Vujacic. Who didn’t care: Kwame Brown, Bynum, Brian Cook, Smush Parker, Vladimir Radmanovic, Shammond Williams.

    “There’s a certain sense of dedication that players have to the game and to their responsibilities,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “Kobe matches that in all points. He sometimes overmatches it. And the intensity he brings to the game is sometimes not on a level guys can live up to. That frustration, more than anything else, is why our team didn’t survive and flourish, even though we had injuries.

    “Even though guys came back at the end of the year, that was the disrupting element. Guys didn’t work hard enough. There was some selfishness that came along with it.”

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/sports/homepage/article_1682642.php

  46. Yeah Kurt, you’re right about the O’neal/Odom combo being strong, as well as more realistic. I just hope they at least try to go for KG. BUT NOT FOR BOTH BYNUM AND ODOM. Any deal they do cannot be for both Bynum and Odom. Odom must stay for a trade like that to work.

  47. One last thing about KG and his opt out. I think the threat of that give Minn even more incentive to trade him now. If he tells them he is opting out, they know they are going to have to trade him before they lose him for nothing.

  48. That article by Ding says it all.

    “Who didn’t care: Kwame Brown, Bynum, Brian Cook, Smush Parker, Vladimir Radmanovic, Shammond Williams.”

    I don’t want to see any of these guys on the team next year. They do not have Laker pride.

    One of my favorite Ronny Turiaf moments of the season was back in Nov or Dec… Kwame had gotten hurt and there was a question as to whether Bynum would start at C or Turiaf. Turiaf’s respnse was “Jackson is the man, he has 9 rings, whatever he wants to do… I will obey”

  49. Jones, I agree, they need to at least make the KG call.

  50. Some of you who subscribed to the theology of defense sure gave up your religion fast. Those of you who are still on board, say these words:

    KWAMEE! KWAMEE! KWAMEE!

    Those of you who said it with enthusiasm, stay happy. Though stranger things have happened, he’s almost certain to be here next year.

    Try snooping around the other sports blogs and see if you can find even rumors of other teams that are trying to lure Kwamee away from the Lakers. Try the Wizards first. Then try Charlotte, and see if Michael Jordan is trying to pry him loose.

    Then do the same for Odom or Bynum.

    Any more questions?

    Since I haven’t given up my religion, I think that is very good. Despite chronic injuries all year, Kwamee is beginning to grow up. Kurt can explain to us why Phil keeps saying that Kwamee is the key to Laker success. Skigi and Nate may have to clench their teeth.

    Considering his contract situation, it couldn’t come at a better time for us. If the Lakers truly emphasize defense next year, he will be the anchor.

    Nate, I know that you have KG penciled in for Kwamee on your dream Laker team for next year with Odom at his side. Better get out the eraser.

  51. 50. Saying Kwame was the best Laker interior defender this year (which he was) and saying he is a good interior defender are two different things.

  52. 51- Good point Kurt.
    Just because Kwame is a better defender than Bynum and Cook doesn’t mean he should be on the all-defensive team. He just looks good compared to the other guys we have who either foul somebody everytime or get scored on every time

  53. Here is a different take on the psychological effect of Kobe and Phil’s words about the need for the Lakers to win now.

    If I’m a veteran player looking to move, hungry for a championship; I want some level of assurance I’m going to a team looking to win now. I want assurance that the head coach and lead player are thinking now, not later.

    If I’m a GM or owner and want to throw chum in the trade waters without plummeting trade value, I don’t make official statements. (I seem to remember official statements before the Shaq trade. That’s what plummets trade value.) Instead, I get non-management team sources to throw the bait.

    I’m not saying this is what has happened. Perhaps Phil and Kobe have acted together without Buss/Kupchak’s involvement. But I’m giving another possible psychological reading of what has transpired so far. The demands in the press could prove useful in bringing in veteran talent.

  54. What about Ron Artest?

  55. 54- not worth it… too much baggage. Not only did Artest not get along with his team, he had all sorts of legal issues and distractions off the court and then he started rumors about wanting to retire. Good player but way too many distractions

  56. that lineup at 29 by nate is solid. i would love to have marion on the lakers somehow (KGs status notwithstanding) but i don’t think there’s any way he could fit salary wise. Anyway, I’m on board with nate. doesn’t sound like KG is a realistic option, but that seems to be the only reach. Even though it leaves us really weak at PG next year unless Farmar steps it up like whoa, i still think it’s a huge upgrade from this year.

    And i second all of the kwame = not a great defender talk. Just because he’s the best defender on the team doesn’t make him a great defender. (Have you ever seen him try to play help side defense?)

  57. Kwame plays great defense when he wants to. When he wants to, he can be considered one of the best post defenders in the league IMO. The problem is his consistency.

  58. Derek Banducci May 7, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    OT

    I love Jordan Farmar’s attitude, it reminds of Kobe. This is what’s lacking in guys like Kwame and L.O.:

    Question: Is it ever surreal for you to put on the uni of the team I assume you grew up rooting for?

    Farmar’s Answer: Not really. Growing up, I kind of expected it. Not necessarily to be a Laker, I just expected to kind of be in this situation. When you expect something and you know you can do it, it doesn’t really overwhelm you.

    Source: http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2007/05/report_cardexit_7.html

  59. Damn the Pistons look good…Team of Grizzled Veterans…

  60. warren (philippines) May 7, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Here’s my take on the matter:

    1. KG is a dream. I personally love him and his effort but chances look slim. Still, should it happen, Odom is required. Unless they’d take on Kwame, Bynum, Vlade, Cook which is far fetched. I doubt it.

    2. JO is a near-possibility. He is rumored to have said he likes to be with the Knicks, but he also said he’d like to be with LA. I like this trade only if Odom is not included. So perhaps Kwame and Sasha’s contracts, Bynum and Cook’s potential.

    3. Kidd or Bibby would be nice to have but I believe you’d be giving up so much just to accomodate their contracts. I’d hate to see big-for-small and retirable. I love J. Kidd. He is the next OscarRob, Magic, Stockton. But not with the current situation. I prefer to pass on Bibby.

    4. I have arrived at a certain scenario that I think might work for us. Instead of a personnel-draining mega trade for KG or JO, why not make “good” trades to upgrade the roster? Trades that are significantly relevant to the theme and our “winning NOW” campaign.

    a. I believe Camby is on the trading block. Due to Denver’s situation (77M already even without Blake), They’d want Kwame’s 9M so bad. Straight up it won’t happen, so I planned to ship out Kwame + Bynum for Reggie Evans and Camby. Denver’s jaw will surely drop on this one. Possible? YES, very.

    b. Make a pitch for the best PG out there aside from Nash, Kidd and Billups – ANDRE MILLER. Package a sign-and-trade for Luke Walton and Brian Cook plus the #19 pick for him. I think Philly’s eyes will widen on this one. Possible? YES, very.

    c. Vladimir the Slalom King Radmanovic has a weighty contract but was not utilized fully. He can be retained or he can be traded for either Mike James or Nazr Mohammed. They have the same UGLY contracts. Possible? YES, very.

    d. I belive the Pistons are looking for someone who can handle the ball and shoot. Sasha for Flip Murray.

    Assuming my trades push through, here is your 08 Lakers:

    PG – Andre Miller / Jordan Farmar / Shamu ?
    SG – Kobe Bryant / Flip Murray
    SF – Mo Evans / Reggie Evans
    PF – Odom / Turiaf
    C – Camby / MIhm / Mohammed

    Two 2nd round Draft picks will take care of the roster blanks.

  61. Does McHale owe it KG to trade him somewhere that he wants to be for all his years of dedication? I have heard of GM’s punishing players who asked to be traded. Nick Van exel to a then horrible Denver Nuggets ring a bell?

    We can assume that McHale doesn’t want to help the Lakers, but if they offer the best deal (and the only way I see that happening is if McHale has a man crush on Bynum and has nocturnal emissions of teaching some of the 372.4 post moves that he knows to the youngster) then he shouldn’t care who he’s dealing with.

  62. Here’s a simple barometer for where the Lakers are going as a team: is Kwame Brown the starting center? As long as he is, the Lakers are a long way from being a contending team. This is not a player that can be counted on game to game, or especially in clutch situations.

    His defensive abilities are very much over-rated. Kwame’s rotations are slow because he has no ability to anticipate what’s happening out there on the court. He rebounding and shot-blocking are pitiful for a player of his size for the same reason. The guy is bad karma, plain and simple. Stop chanting his name, and stop it fast.

    The best thing about him is that he has only one year left on his contract. So even though other teams are not clamoring for him, a team looking to get rid of the big contract of a certain disgruntled superstar might be willing to take him on.

  63. Guys, c’mon. Players like KG and JO are not going to be Lakers. In December, we might have gotten one of them for the price of Odom and Bynum plus something else. But, at that time, I would not have been in favor of the deal because we don’t really know how good Bynum might turn out to be. At this point, those deals are out of reach because Bynum did not play well the second half of the year. But, ya know, I kind of think that is a good thing because, in my opinion, we still don’t know how good Bynum can be. Despite Kobe’s comments, Bynum needs another year before we give up on him (look back at Kurt’s comments when he was drafted about what we could expect by the end of his second year – hasn’t Bynum met those expectations?).

    The bottom line is that we basically need to stand pat for another year. Get a D-minded point guard if you can but I am not interested in being a “contender” next year if it means giving up championships. Kobe, Lamar and one other star player means a realistic chance for championships to me. If Bynum can be the third star the players we need are already here. We are not going to get the third star by trading Bynum alone and we will be going backward to trade Bynum and Odom for any reasonable possibility at this point.

    And quit ripping Kwame. He is never going to be a great NBA player but he is a good, solid, player. He does his job (when healthy) every night. He defends and rebounds. The Lakers are not going to improve on defense (I agree with Kurt that this is their current failing) by getting rid of their best post defender.

  64. Those of you who are demeaning Kwame (though I prefer KWAMEE) may not fully appreciate the irony of your comments:

    “His defensive abilities are very much over-rated. XXXXXXXXXX’s rotations are slow because he has no ability to anticipate what’s happening out there on the court. He rebounding and shot-blocking are pitiful for a player of his size. . . . . . . . . ”

    There is a former Laker who now plays for the Miami Heat that has heard these words more than once on blogs just like this in Los Angeles.

    Kwame’s been injured all year; he may be having ankle surgery. Give him a chance; practice that cheer; you know that when he gets heavy minutes next year, you won’t switch your loyalty to the Clippers

  65. Trade Kwame to Detroit for a sign-and-trade for Billups, assuming Chauncey wants to come to LA. Two reasons why this could work:
    1) Detroit could use a legitimate center.
    2) Kwame would take 9M off the books the next year.

    Trade Half-Pipe, Bynum and #1 pick for Gasol. Unlikely, but if Memphis is serious about a rebuild and if the new GM is as smart as Billy Knight, then who knows?

  66. Phil said it best: Kwame is a pussy. His expiring contract is the only way we’ll can get someone back of any value. Nate’s KG trade simply won’t work because of the size of Garnett’s contract. Plus no one wants Vlad. At all. My limited understanding of how contracts work, for the Lakers to give up the 20m necessary for someone like KG of JO, both Lamar and Kwame need to be included.

    I want KG as much as anyone. I’d also love to keep Lamar if possible. I just don’t see either happening.

    Other then the Odom/Kwame for Fisher/AK/Collins trade I’m growing increasingly fond of while watching AK’s D, I think the Lakers should take a page from Golden State’s book (no, not by going run-and-gun like alarmists will argue): go for the redemption stories. Will Sac take Kwame’s expiring contract for Artest? Can we get Bonzi for the mid-level? I’d take the risk. Phil’s proven he can handle headcases as well as anyone. While I don’t relish the prospect of rooting for someone guilty of domestic abuse or a guy who quit on his team before the playoffs via text message, I’m currently have no qualms about rooting for Stephen Jackson hitting 7 3’s in a row. Hell, we gave Kobe the benefit of the doubt when it’s quite possible he committed one of the worst crimes thinkable. I still love rooting for him on a basketball court. Do both those guys fill needs we have? Can we get them both at huge discounts? Hell yes. To some extent I think AK fits a different type of redemption story: just a few years ago he was his team’s leading scorer, a DPOY candidate, and an all-star reserve. We could get him in a fire sale.

    (just for clarification, I’m not saying go for all 3 of these players, but just more generally these are the types of moves we should think about: proven players who’ve hit a tough patch either on the floor or off that we’re willing to take a chance on)

  67. warren (philippines) May 8, 2007 at 2:37 am

    The problem for the Lakers is clear : PG and C positions. While we’ve continually said we needed Kwame’s defense, It was such because we didn’t have any other. Phil is quite content with Luke Walton and he is one of Kobe’s friends. However, these 2 along with Bynum’s potential are our trading pieces.

    Improving defense on the PG position is a consensus no one argues. Interior defense is a gimme given how we have struggled with the big men who can play around. Mega trade deals (in the real world) are really hard to come by. Thus the change in heart for me.

    Day by day I am growing more fond of the idea of Andre Miller. He is the best PG out there apart from Kidd, Nash and Billups. Philly is one team in need of as much of young prospects as possible. They’re in that kind of stage. A pitch of Luke Walton and Brian Cook and our #19 might be enough. It might even be a little much but that’s what it takes to get deals done.

    On the flip side, Marcus Camby is being shopped around. But do not mistake Denver’s intentions, as Kurt said, they wont take just anyone for MR DPOY 07. Therefore, I’m giving Denver what they want – something nobody else can offer – A combo of future talent plus an expiring 9M contract in Kwame. Im taking in Reggie Evans as a veteran addition defensively. Who knows, Denver can throw in a first rounder for 09 with this one.

  68. warren (philippines) May 8, 2007 at 2:46 am

    For months my trade imagination has been given an exercise. Looking for the best possible deals, with the best possible players. KG is surely on top of the list. But he costs too much. 22M means Odom must go. I hate it. Odom for me is a keeper.

    A scenario that I have been toying around for months has been that of KG, Mike James, and Trent Hassell. They amount for nearly 32M. Almost half of the Laker roster and an automatic inclusion of Odom’s 13M and Kwame’s 9M. Not quite worth it. If KG has to be, It has to be in this path – Kwame, Vlade, Cook, Bynum, Sasha.

    Bullcrap. That’s why I tell you, KG aint possible. (without parting with Lamar Odom)

  69. The last 4 draft classes, not including this season’s rookies, have really started to show impact all across the league:

    ’02: Yao, Amarae, Tayshaun Prince, Caron Butler,Boozer
    ’03: Lebron, Bosh, Carmelo, Over-Waded, Hinrich, Diaw, Barbosa, Josh Howard,
    ’04: Dwight Howard, Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Luol Deng, Igudola
    ’05: Chris Paul, Derron Williams, Monta Ellis, Villauneva

    This is not to say the Lakers should have drafted these guys, or were able to, just pointing out the influx of talent into the leauge. It’s no mistake the tides of power have been shifting, in this new collective bargainning agreement the draft is one of the most important tools to reshaping a roster, many of these players are playing or having recently played in the playoffs, so youth is not just important for the future, but the present as well. Lakers need to take due diligence this year and find a player who can contribute and will continue to get better, easier said than done

  70. Redemption stories are my favorite–and redemption stories may be the only stories that the Lakers can listen to right now. But many great redemption stories are already here.

    Lamar was already redemptioned in college, getting his best chance at the University of Rhode Island with a redemption seeking coach exiled from UCLA. He was redemptioned to Miami from the Clippers after concerns surfaced about his character. He was redemptioned to the Lakers from Miami with an opportunity to prove himself as a true all star. The saga continues.

    Kwame didn’t make it as far as college. He was redemptioned after many frustrating years to the Lakers one step away from oblivion. He’s done better here–found out that he belonged at center. But many Laker fans seem even quicker to judge him than the Wizards–who may not ever have noticed his defensive potential.

    Chris Mihm was redemptioned here from Boston. If he had been healthy, he might well have been the starting center this year. If he is healthy and the Lakers don’t sign him, he will be redemptioned somewhere else. If the Lakers do sign him, he may reward our investment handsomely.

    VladRad already redeemed himself from Seattle as a Clipper last year. After this year, he may need to repeat that performance. Being healthy can make quite a difference–especially when one is a 3 point shooter with an injured shooting hand.

    All of these guys were injured and will be in various states of recovery for many months. Opportunities for redemption next year may be the only practical business choice the Lakers have.

    Shammond, with a strong heritage, but cast aside by the NBA, got a near miraculous opportunity to get back, but little chance for redemption until the end of the season. He convinced me. I’d like to see him back.

    The Smusher clearly had the longest lasting redemption opportunity of any Laker in recent history. He needs another one.

    Numerous redemption opportunities out there might be the only way for the Lakers to get the missing pieces. The only question might be redemption of the guys we already have–or redemption opportunities for Jermaine or Ron or Bonzi or Dirk or ???

  71. Once more, with feeling…
    It is amazing how fast we 1) forget that what we need is more defense, not more offense when discussing trades and 2) forget that most of our ‘redemption’ projects this year were badly injured and will possibly require surgery – reducing/eliminating their trade value until next year.

    Let’s pick one thing (I want a defensive point guard) and go after that and give the rest of the trade talk a rest.

    One other request: Phil… please give both Shammond and Farmar a complete chance next year.

  72. Redemption is not a verb.

  73. Craig- I agree with you about Shammond and Farmar, but we should only have one of those guys because Sasha is still gonna be here, and we need a legit starter.

    The MLE should be spent on the best avaiable talent. We are like a football team that needs to pick up the best player avaiable. We have so many holes thta no matter what talent we add, it will be filling a need.

    MLE targets

    James Posey
    Andres Nocioni
    Charlie Bell
    Steve Blake

    These guys can all do what we will need the supporting players around kobe to do: defend the perimeter and hit the 3. The other need, offensive and defensive presence will have to be added through a trade and the draft pick should be used to supplement our attempts at obtaining said big-man, if not find a player that can spell Kobe or play with him (Nick Young, Crittenton, Brandon Rush).

    Veteran’s Minimum should be aimed at

    Mikki Moore
    Janerro Pargo

  74. 70) I don’t think those guys (Kwame, Lamar, Mihm) fit the kind of redemption story I have in mind. They’re more of the “Can they ever live up to the potential?” plotline. I’m interested in the players who have already proven themselves, but are currently struggling either on or off the court (a la Bonzi, Ron, Kirilenko, etc).

    Honestly, thinking about Kobe playing alongside a defender like Artest or Kirilenko has me kind of giddy. How about.. Kwame+picks for Artest, and AK/Fisher for Lamar/Luke? It’d kill me to lose those two, maybe we can trick em into taking Vlad instead of Luke. Regardless, just imagine the five of: Jordan/Kobe/Artest/AK/Bynum. That team would be damn near impossible to score on. And with Fisher/Evans/Ronny/Mihm and whoever we can get for the MLE (Bonzi?) we’d have a solid bench. There’d still be some defensive weaknesses at the point and at C, but I guess I’m banking on Farmer and Bynum stepping up big in that area next year.

  75. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 8:47 am

    I dont see why the love for AK and FISH over LO and Luke chopperdave. Those two do not provide offense and do not facilitate the offense. Defensively they are upgrades but after making that change, we’d now be looking for another offensive player to balance on Kobe.

    My eyes are on Farmar and Mihm. Those two players, when coming off the bench playing 20-25 mins, we are quite solid on those positions. I suggest that we move Mo Evans to the starting lineup and Walton to be the 6th man. I personally like Luke’s game but I see him more as a trade bait this summer. If no improvements are made, we can still keep him.

    Again I don’t see how no one seems to like the Andre Miller idea. The possibility of a deal done with is quite distant yet, but defensively and offensively, Andre’s the guy for us. Then Camby can be swapped for Kwame. I dont think anyone would argue on this. I’d only assume Bynum is required then Reggie Evans or Najera is added. I’d still like it.

    I made a run at the lottery machine today and saw the possibility that Philly could land Acie Law on the 14th. That should make them consider that dealing Andre might be an option to clear off the payroll. Get Luke and Cook and another draft pick, possibly Tiago Splitter or Javaris Crittenton.

  76. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Draft Lottery Day is a special day to determine what goes and stays. Here we can now surmise on who teams could possibly be getting. I like the idea that Dirk Nowitzki will make history as the 1st ever MVP dealt after the year he exited the playoffs through a huge huge upset.

    Assuming the odds are followed, here are some assumptions I’ve made:
    1. Oden to Memphis, Gasol stays.
    2. Durant to Boston, Pierce could be dealt.
    3. Horford to Milwaukee, Mo Williams re-signed.
    4. Joakim Noah to Phoenix and Marion is considered to be traded.
    5. Yi Jianlan to Seattle and Rashard re-signs.
    6. Corey Brewer to Portland, Zach Randolph stays. Magloire released.
    7. Brandan Wright to Minny, KG still hostaged.
    8. Julian Wright to Cats, GWallace signs new contract.
    9. Spencer Hawes to Bulls, packaged for something.
    10. Roy Hibbert to Sactown, Bibby and Artest shopped.
    11. Mike Conley to Atlanta. Nothing happening there.
    12. Acie Law to Philly, Andre Miller dealt to Lakers
    13. Jeff Green to New Orleans, Mason not re-signed.
    14. Jason Smith to the Clips, they remain mediocre.
    15. Al Thornton to Detroit, Billups re-signed.
    16. Thaddeus Young to Wiz, Haywood traded. (Knicks?)
    17. Tiago Splitter to New Jersey, Carter opts out.
    18. NIck Young to GSW, Nellie for Mayor.
    19. Javaris Crittenton to Lakers, dealt for Andre Miller.
    20. Brandon Rush to Miami, Posey out, Jwill shopped.

    Ok I’ll stop here. Obvoisly no moves are made until after the Draft is official. It will tell teams where they are heading.

  77. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 9:22 am

    FASTBREAK THOUGHTS ON SHAKEUPS:
    For shake-ups sake, I’m entertaining the trades of Major players this summer:

    PAUL PIERCE – possibly to Dallas
    SHAWN MARION – possibly to Boston
    DIRK NOWITZKI – possibly to Boston
    MIKE BIBBY – possibly to Cleveland
    RON ARTEST – anywhere but Sacramento
    ANDRE MILLER – possibly to LA Lakers
    VINCE CARTER – possibly to Orlando

    I like the idea of Boston making a move for Marion. Give up Theo Ratliff’s contract plus Al Jefferson and Telfair for Marion and Piatkowski. It will surely make Pierce happy.

    I think Vince Carter will opt out and sign with Orlando.

    Bibby for Snow and Gooden, then Cleveland re-signs Varejao.

  78. warren,
    I think that Andre Miller is an upgrade over our current PG situation, but I don’t think he’s worth any of the guys we’d have to trade to make up 8m salary…

    we’re getting back 14ppg & 7.8apg, but only a 20% 3pt shooter…. and that’s among the most critical pieces in our offense…
    not to mention, he’s not THAT good a perimiter defender, he jumps passing lanes w/ lanky arms… but I’ve never seen him prevent quick guards from doing what they want
    and he’s short (6-2), and getting old (31)

  79. Warren, Andre Miller moving is not likely, and even if he does LA is not a likely destination. Eric Pincus (who I like) throws a lot of stuff against the wall at Hoopsworld and Laker Ground, but that doesn’t make it likely.

    And it’s pointless to speculate on what the Celtics might do before the lottery, same with Memphis and other teams with a good shot at a top two pick. Everything for them hinges on that.