Winning Now, Part II

Kurt —  May 9, 2007

As was said in Part I of this series, the challenge the Lakers face is that if they want to be contenders in the next couple of years they have to do it via trade. They can’t do it through the draft (picking 19) nor do they have the cap room to sign a major free agent.

The Lakers have three pieces other teams will be interested in, but really, the bit issue is “The Andrew Bynum Question.” Lakers fans desperately trying to think of a great deal are vastly overrating the desire any NBA team has for Radmanovic, Cook, the barely-able-to-walk McKie (spare me a sign and trade with him, please) — rose-colored glasses wearing fans are seriously overvaluing every available Laker on the roster. Other GMs are not.

There are only three key cogs for talks. (To be fair, GMs may ask for Farmar or Turiaf as part of a deal, but as throw ins, not key pieces.) Let’s look at the three big trade pieces the Lakers have, starting with the big question first:

Andrew Bynum. This is the big test not because of Bynum but because of what it says about Lakers’ management. Bynum was Jim Buss’ pick and the young Buss is trying to establish a reputation for himself within the organization and around the league. Bynum was the sticking point in Jason Kidd talks back in February, the Lakers refused to part with him.

The question now is: Has a second straight first-round playoff loss, this one in ugly fashion after a season that was a step backwards, changed any minds? Or specifically, one mind?

It’s easy to see the Lakers reluctance to part with him — legit back-to-the-basket seven footers with loads of potential are a rare find. He’s not yet 20 and improving, there were flashes this season of a guy who could be a force in the paint. He shot 55.8% this season. And while he struggled the second half of the year, reports are this has not tarnished his trade value (GMs love them some potential).

But there are questions. One is his work ethic, something questioned by Phil Jackson (and some other writers close to the team). He has come a long way in two years and clearly has worked hard to improve his game, but if he is not as passionate to keep improving how good does he really become? Frankly, we can speculate but the only people who could answer this well are Kareem and some assistant coaches. Their input should be given heavy weight.

Then there is this issue raised by ESPN.com’s David Thorpe (in an email to Henry at True Hoop): How many true big men are left in the playoffs? Who is left? Look at it: Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming all out; remaining is Golden State without a true big, Utah and Phoenix playing fours as the center, the Bulls have a center who is 6-9.

I’m not sold that the league is dramatically changing — if Greg Oden pans out then three years from now every GM will be looking for his clone and writers will be asking, “Where are all the great bigs?” The point is that with the right guys along the front line to fit your system, you don’t need a “classic” center to win.

And, the triangle offense (in its pure form) prizes versatility. I’m saying the Lakers can win without a “true” center, if they have guys who can still defend the paint. And offering up Bynum could bring someone like that.

If some minds within the Lakers brass think Bynum should be traded at all.

Kwame Brown. Don’t overestimate how much teams want him — what they want is his expiring $9.5 million contract. Kwame’s reputation around the league may be better than it was when he came here but it’s not good. He fills in the salary for a trade if one happens. Nothing more.

And, despite what Bill Simmons may suggest, the demand for expiring contracts alone seems to be waning among GMs. The Lakers were far from alone in the last couple years of eating expiring deals because there was not much interest from teams to take on your poor, your tired, your oversized-contract players yearning to be free, just to gain a little cap room. You seem to have to offer more than that now, although some fans are a little slow to see that trend.

Lamar Odom. With everything that happened to him physically and mentally in the past year, I don’t think you could have asked more of Lamar Odom. As was evidenced in the playoffs, he is one of the few Lakers who “brought it” this year.

And, I think with another scorer on board, he would fit just fine in the triangle. But, if you are going after someone off All-Star caliber, then Odom’s name will come up. I’m not completely opposed to moving him — but a number of criteria have to be met:

Moving him removes the Lakers best rebounder (he grabbed 14.5% of the available rebounds while on the court this season, only Bynum had a higher percentage and I hesitate to call the youngster a better all-around guy on the boards than Odom). He is one of the few guys who can be a presence inside on this team. If you are going to move him, you’ve got to get someone who can do more than just replace those skills, you need someone who can do them better and bring more defensive presence inside. There are not many guys who fit that bill.

And since more than just Odom would likely be part of such a deal, you need to solve the PG spot as well to make this a viable option.

Here’s my thinking on Odom — the Lakers are better off keeping him and bringing in front line or back-court help to pair with him and Kobe. If you bring in a “classic” power forward and move Odom to the small forward, the Lakers become long up front and a real match up problem for other teams. Bring in a great PG and Odom will get the ball in better positions to do damage.

Bottom line — if you are getting rid of someone like Odom, who gave so much to the team this past year, you had better get a blockbuster back. One that makes you an instant contender.

Kurt

Posts

66 responses to Winning Now, Part II

  1. Kurt,
    You put things very, very well.

    The most likely scenario is Bynum, or Bynum and Kawame going to fill out salary. This means the Lakers lose two players off a front line that was racked by injury last year. I don’t think we can afford that, unless we get an all-star frontcourt player back.

    Tie that information with the need for a veteran PG and our options get increasingly small.

    No matter what everyone says, I don’t think we can afford a major trade, unless it is a blockbuster – and most of the time those are things you can’t predict in advance.

    We may have to explore some entry into luxury tax territory to get help in PG, defense, and rebounding. Mitch is going to have to improve in picking up veteran help – or he should be gone next year at this time.

  2. I agree with your comments on Odom. He stays unless they get somebody that makes them an instant contender. Unfortunately, there’s really one player that does that (Garnett) and I believe that with McHale still living in very dated rivalry it’ll be near impossible to make that move.

  3. Last night the guys on 570AM claimed to have some inside information. Jim Buss is not being groomed to take Kupchak’s job as GM. He is being groomed to take over for Jerry Buss when he retires as owner. If this is true, I wouldn’t be shocked.

    What do you think will happen with Bynum if this is true?

    Just because Jim picked him up, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t trade him in the right deal. He would still get credit with the pick that brought “Player X” to LA.

    I’d be tempted to not do the trade over the summer. Let’s see what kind of strides are made by AB when he shows up next fall., his second year playing in the league. Growth from within can be just as powerful as importation of talent.

    It may even be the most realistic option.

    Bottom line for me: You trade AB for KG if possible, but I’m not sure there’s another deal that I’d make. AB’s upside is still there, closer even. The Lakers have never shied from taking big gambles.

    Right now the biggest gamble is sticking with AB. But if the dice fall right…oh goodness the payoff.

  4. 3. It’s always seemed to me the plan was for Jim to take over for Jerry, but he was coming up through the GM ranks to learn the game. The whole “he’s taking over for mitch” thing never made a lot of sense to me. Like his dad, he’ll do big picture and leave the day-to-day parts to others.

  5. Kurt is something gonna happen this summer?

  6. 5. That’s a good question. Nobody really knows.

    If they are willing to move Bynum the chances of something happening this summer goes up dramatically. If not, they likely add some veteran via the mid-level and hope for improvement by players and more health. Option 2 still makes the Laker better but not contenders. Option 1, well, depends on who they get and who they give up.

  7. Kurt what do YOU believe will happen? i know its more easier to go to the “Nothing will happen” route but can you take a risk and tell us if there is a good chance that we’ll make a big move this summer?

  8. I am not one to throw out random trade scenarios, but I wanted to get opinions on this one. It is a 3-way trade that passes the ESPN trade machine.

    Lakers:
    Trade:
    Odom, 19th pick (to denver)
    Brown, Bynum (to Seattle)

    Get : Ray Allen, Marcus Camby

    Denver:
    Trade:
    Camby (to Lakers)
    JR Smith (to Seattle)

    Get: Odom, 1st pick

    Seattle:
    Trade:
    Ray Allen

    Get:
    Brown, Bynum, JR Smith

    Reasons it works
    Denver:
    They now have Nene playing to his potential and have martin coming back so they have extra bigs. They get rid one which is Camby and get Odom in return and a lottery pick to fill a need. Odom can play the fast paced game and doesn’t need shots to go with Melo and AI.

    Seattle:
    They are losing Lewis anyways so they need to rebuild. They get Bynum which is a great prospect to build around. They also get a young guard in JR Smith with potential and an expiring Contract in Brown. Plus if JR doesn’t work out his contract expires as well.

    Lakers:
    Well they get Camby and Allen (two all-stars). Lakers will be thin at PF with only Turiaf/Radman. So they need to spend the MLE on a PF. Mikki Moore/Travis Outlaw possibly

    Lineup:
    Allen/Farmar
    Kobe/Vujacic/Evans
    Camby/Mihm(resigned)
    Turiaf/Radman/MLE
    Walton/Evans

    We get thin in places, but dominate in others. We can throw 2nd picks to make some ppl happy as well to make the trade work.

    I know this is a pipe dream, but it is one hell of a trade. I want to know opinions on this. (I know it has zero chance off happening)

  9. Finally, someone who got it right. We have a young team. We have 2 young guys that will improve next year and contribute. It wasn’t the teams core players that were bad, it was everyone else. When we were healthy at the begining of the year, we were a very good team. Guys that can’t play defense killed us. I’m naming you Radmonovic, Cook, Smush, Vujacic. Those are the guys that need to go.

  10. 7. Not to cop out, but my answer is “I think they’ll try.” But there are a lot of variables beyond their control. Who is available will depend in part on the draft lottery. KG may not ask out of his deal. Maybe he does but McHale will only trade him to the East. The Pacers may decide to build around JO and not trade him for anyone.

    I think the Laker management gets that it is “go time” but may not be able to get others to cooperate for a big move. They can’t make a trade just for the sake of making one, it has to be a smart move. No move is better than a dumb one.

  11. 8. Brian, it’s a nice wish, but I don’t think Denver is going to part with Camby. And Jesus Shuttleworth is more of a two guard than a point.

  12. Brian P.,
    I gotta admit you are creative.

    The problem I see is defense in the backcourt and the assumption that Turiaf or Rad can start and play 30min all year.

    Our backcourt killed us this year and would be worse next year with Allen.

  13. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    First Off, Denver would not like to add another 13M to their roster dude. If there’s anything they’d like from us it would have to be Bynum and Kwame’s 9M expiring. Do that with a trade for Camby and Najera and its a possibility.

    I’d prefer it if the Lakers kept Odom. Camby will be a huge upgrade defensively. The downside is that Camby is now 33, while Bynum is 19 and Kwame is 25. Chances are, if they are only getting Camby from Bynum, they’d gamble on staying with Bynum.

    Looks like a stalemate to me.

  14. To anyone who doesn’t understand why I want Fisher and Kirilenko so bad, I hope you’re watching this. Fisher’s got so much frickin heart. I’m rooting for the Warriors but I couldn’t help but get sentimental seeing him go straight to the scorer’s table. I love this guy.

  15. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Yes he and AK would be great but I maintain that NOT at the expense of LAMAR and LUKE. LIke them all you want, but I like my guys better.

  16. I love Derek Fisher so much. I’m not even that disappointed that the Warriors lost because I’m so happy for him right now. What a great competitor. And I’m relieved to hear it sounded like his daughter’s operation went ok. From the second he came on the court, I just had a feeling something phenomenal was going to happen. From his gutty stops against Baron to that insane dagger 3, brought back so many fond memories.

  17. That heroic game by Derek Fisher just showed why he was so easy to root for during his 8 years as a Laker.

    I get so nostalgic for those years.

    He is such a bulldog, but tonight showed that human element that makes sports even more special.

    He is a true champ. A Laker for life in my eyes.

  18. It was absolutely fabulous to see D. Fish have that finish.

    That said, the Lakers let him go because GS gave him that absurd contract. Because of Utah’s situation, they could absorb the contract and get all that grit and heart. Los Angeles CANNOT absorb D. Fish’s contract, period, period, period.

    Let’s not take this any farther.

  19. i’m sorry marcus camby is a shot blocker and a rebounder, and thats
    it. He provides no interior defense or presence. You’re trading the most versitle players in the game for a shot blocker, and a very old one at that. Don’t you think there’s a reason why dever is shopping him? That’s because he was exposed in the last series for what he is at this point.

    c’mon

  20. After this post I promise to relent from my naive dream of seeing him back in purple and gold, because I completely agree that his contract is absurd. But not before saying, would you rather have the $20m we owe Vlad over the next 4 years go to him or Fish?

    At the very least I hope Fisher shows us that in the NBA talent really only takes you so far. If you don’t sincerely love the game (as I believe guys like Kwame and Vlad just don’t), all the physical gifts in the world will leave you short. I just hope whatever moves we make this off-season will be guided by searching for that intangible toughness that guys like Fisher consistently provide.

    As a side note, as much as our early exit hurt, how fun has it been watching Horry and Fisher come up big for their teams when it counts? Just drives home how truly special that team was.

  21. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    I’m no fan of Vlade Radman either. I can’t even imagine Kobe calling him and say “we need your shooting”. But his signing is the genius of Mitch “the cupcake” Kupchak. This man has been around so long and yet he continues to be invisible. No strides whatsoever. Year by year he continues to disappoint. Maybe he was the move Kobe was looking at.

    Now looking at the Laker roster based on contracts vs. output, I’d say it was the meager millions who came out to play. Injury will always account for something but your heart is whats at stake here. Luke Walton, Ronny Turiaf, Jordan Farmar. With the exception of Smush in that category, everyone else showed class. The top two salaries of course played as they should, while everything in between sucked.

    Brian Cook had a 10M extension? Why? Smush wouldn’t have sulked and whined so much if not for that. A reserve playing limited minutes is given 10M while the starting PG, was for less than a million with no security. I feel for Smush there. Maybe he could have improved as a back-up. Improved defensively too. But the rift is now as far apart as can be. Even though we don’t get a top flight PG, I doubt if Smush is still asked back. Again, cupcake genius.

  22. I’d be surprised if something big went down this summer.

    I do see them making a Radmanovic type push at someone this summer, but another solid piece is all I see being added.

    And as far as LO is concerned, if I can be so arrogant to quote myself from about a year ago:

    “The problem with trading Odom is not emotional attachment, but time invested by the franchise. Bringing too many new starters to this offense creates the problem we had last year with a majority of our starting line up essentially learning on the job. Odom is one of the main reasons that Jackson chose to return. Trading Odom would have to net a top 10 player, not just a high draft pick and a point guard. If his growth stagnates in the coming season, then consider it a failed experiment, until then I would consider trading Odom as throwing a lot of hard work out the window.”

  23. D Fish does a good Willis Reed impersonation.

  24. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Kurt, me got query. Pls help.

    1. Assuming we are willing to go over the luxury tax, lets say for around 5M more. Can we now sign Mo Williams for say 8M a year for 5 years?

    2. We are currently at 57.6M. The cap has not been set yet but it will not be far away from what it was this year. Assuming we resign Mihm 2M, Turiaf 2M, then Walton (bird) 4M. Our salaries will now be at 66M still without the rookie contracts. Assuming McKie, Shamu and Smush are renounced, do we still have the MLE at this point? or has it been used to re-sign Mihm and Turiaf already?

    3. Would it be possible to dump salary to another team? Say the Bobcats, Bucks, Magic. Trade Cook and Vlade to any of them for 2nd round picks (I’d assume they are sent separately). At least our payroll is relieved, we can now have 9M at our disposal to go after MoWIll or even Chauncey. Those teams aren’t built to win yet. A shooter or two could help their cause.

    4. Assuming we trade Bynum, #19 pick, Kwame , Cook to Memphis then we take in Gasol and Memphis ok’s the trade, does that mean we can now have more cap room? we would’ve dumped salary to Memphis in the process but the restrictions pass the requirements. We’d have freed 3M from our books.

    thank you in advance for the help.

  25. I think that we need to keep Odom for sure. He has given his all during this playoff run. I feel that Bynum should be moved because we can’t wait for him to grow into an All-Star player. For Kobe’s sake, the Lakers have to win now. Bynum can also give Kupchak a “do-over” on some bad contracts like Vlad, Kwame, and Cook. Their contracts would be needed to match an All-Star player’s contract like J O’Neal, KG, or Kidd. The only players I would keep from this roster are Kobe, Lamar, Turiaf, Walton, and Farmar.

  26. 24. Warren, I’ll try. If I’m wrong others please correct me.

    1. No. Even if the Lakers were willing to go over the luxury tax they would still be restricted by the salary cap. I know, sounds weird, but it’s the way it works. The Lakers can only offer the mid-level exception (MLE) because it is an “exception” and does not count against the salary cap. However, it does count against the luxury tax (the cap and the tax are totally unrelated numbers).

    The only way to get Mo Williams for $8 mil a year is a sign-and-trade (which the Bucks would not do).

    2. The Lakers do not need to use the MLE to rresign Turiaf, Mihm or Walton, they have the “bird rights” and can just sign them (under the “bird” rule you can go over the salary cap to resign a player you already have). They could choose to use the MLE to sign a player they had under contract, but it would be a choice not a requirement.

    3. You can give up some salary for picks, but the NBA has some ratio for that (I’m not sure what it is). The rules, however, prevent a big salary dump, the Lakers could not just get under the cap that way.

    4. If the Lakers made said trade, they would save s the about three mil, but that would only help if the Lakers got three mil under whatever the cap number is for next season. Maybe that scenario frees up a couple mil, but with draft picks to sign I’m not sure its enough to get any player of consequence.

    By the way, the cap is a complex thing that I have a limited understanding of. For more info I suggest reading:

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

  27. kurt,

    can you re-post that list of FreeAgents you had up the other day? I can’t find one as consise as that…

    I think that what we need most, while keeping Lamar, is that PF position to shore up our D, rebound, and hit the 15footer… and without a trade, we can probably get one of several (aging…ok) guys that have that ability…

    McDyess
    PJ Brown
    Joe Smith,
    Maglore
    Kurt Thomas
    Cato
    Malik Rose (no jumpshot on these last 2)

    we only need them for 2 years, and then there will be someone else to fill that spot (god forbid we draft a PF that can actually rebound… mr. cook)

    seems much more reasonable (but not as fun to dream of)… although this might not be the “SPLASH” that everyone is hoping for….

  28. On a realistic front, how about a trade of Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar for Jarrett Jack and Zach Randolph? Maybe I am way out of line one way or another but I believe it is at least a possiblity. Living in Portland, I know the Blazers would most likely be willing to deal Randolph especially if they are able to get another big man in the lottery. Even if I am Laker management I don’t know if I make this trade, it is simply one idea.

    I don’t think I give up Bynum for anybody outside of Kevin Garnett or possibly Jermaine O’Neal. Getting Randolph still leaves the Lakers with Mihm (resign), Brown, and Bynum in the middle while significantly upgrading the PG position. Note that Hollinger has Jack as one of his up-and-coming defensive PG’s. Watching Jack in person over the past couple years several times I think he is going to be a terrific defensive PG with a some solid offense if not outstanding jump shooting ability. I am with most of the people posting in that I don’t want to give up Odom but it seems that it is the only way we get an established post presence.

    Finally, again, I don’t know if I would want Randolph and his inevitable headaches but the man can score in the paint if not defend. But hopefully with Kwame and Bynum in the paint we can prevent too many poor mismatches. Something to toss around…

  29. Kurt, there’s an extra period in your link to Larry Coon’s salary cap page. The correct URL (just to save people fixing the typo in their browser) is

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

  30. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Thanks Kurt, it helped a lot.

    I was actually looking at it on the point of view of not just this year but the next 2-3 too. I was on the assumption that Bird rights can only be awarded to one player thats why I had Walton, being the bigger among the contracts to be signed that way. Ok so it is still the threshold that matters in talking about the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax right? The total salary you have on the payroll regardless of exceptions. The exceptions simply allow you to exceed them a little bit. OK I get it.

    There you go. There is very little space to wiggle around. There is a very unlikely event of a major player coming in too. Ayayay.

  31. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 2:54 am

    Now it looks like a salary dump would make more sense. Urging Buss to pay the dollar-for-dollar tax is the other option. Go figure which is easier.

    Winning NOW for Kobe seems a distant reality. If I were cupcake, I’d simply make positive moves instead of dumb ones. Such as:

    1. Find what value you can get for Radmanovic and trade him. Mike James, Marcus Banks, Nazr Mohammed, Jarred Jeffries, etc. Look for those who “failed” with their MLE last year like we did. Maybe we then can both agree to swap “uglies”.

    2. The better but more difficult option is to dump him to teams that are below cap. Bucks, Bobcats, Grizzlies, etc. Get a 2nd rounder for 09 in return. They couldn’t be much worse anyway.

    3. Brian Cook is someone much like Radman. Big man who is soft, can shoot but is inconsistent, ugly contract per output. Trade out or salary dump. He is a little more acceptable thru a salary dump than Radman’s contract.

    4. If these 2 moves are achieved, the summer of 08 would be a much better scenario. We have under contract Kobe and Lamar, with extensions for Luke, Mihm and Turiaf already made this year. We now have to worry about Mo Evans, Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum. While being only at 43M. Pretty nice cap room for KG’s opt out time. Maybe he can sign for 10M/year for 3 years and win some with Kobe and Lamar. Whatta Trio! Yeah!! While the core can still be retained.

  32. I can’t see the Lakers parting with either Bynum or Odom this off-season. I know they need to make a move, but trading either seems like a huge mistake.

    Odom obviously had a heart-wrenching season (especially off-season) and to trade him after his heroic performance this year is terrible. Morally and Professionally. You can’t find versatility like Lamar anywhere outside of KG (and to give up both Odom and Bynum for KG isn’t a solution either – look at Denver with AI and Melo).

    Bynum, for all his inconsistencies, is only 19! I just look back on my life at 19 – how much work do you expect him to put in? Let’s get it straight that he’s not Kobe. That kind of work ethic just isn’t in him. But also look at the strides he’s made. With very little basketball experience (he didn’t play too much in HS either) and in just one off-season he’s had serious stretches of playing like a man possessed! Gotta give the kid at least one more season…after 3 years you can judge his consistency a little better.

    What does that leave us with? Kwame. Obviously we’d all love Radmonavic and Cook to skip town, but short of a miracle there Kwame is the meal ticket in town. Now at only 25(?) he’s still got a lot of room to grow and it’s a shame his value around the league is so low (not unexpected though). But the best chance it seems to me is moving him for Artest. Salaries work and there’s few teams that could accomodate the felon like the Lakers could. I was hoping AK-47 would melt down further in the Playoffs and that his value would drop to a Kwame level, but c’est la vie. Still the biggest move the Lakers could make would be to dump these unmotivated, uncommited dunces for a few less talented guys that will feed off of the desire Kobe and Odom exude every game.

    Still, baring a trade (which realistically is not the Lakers best option) I’m pretty certain this team isn’t too far away from serious playoff contention. Farmar reminds me of Deron Williams last season – and we all know that turned out pretty good for Utah. We have a plethora of bigs, especially if Mihm returns healthy. The biggest question really becomes who steps up next year: Bynum or Farmar? If either of those two can become a consistent offensive and defensive contributor then the Lakers fill a major hole.

  33. Oh hey, what about picking up Bonzi Wells? He seems like he’d be an ideal 3rd scoring option in the Triangle…

  34. Haha, I love your enthusiasm Warren, but there’s no way one of the top 5 players in the league, at the prime of his career, is going to sign for less than 20m. I’d also love to dump our junk on other teams but I think you way overestimate any teams willingness to take it. Truthfully at this point if we didn’t make any major moves at this point I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I’m just terrified we do something stupid like going Steve Francis.

    In addition to all the stuff on ESPN about Derek, I enjoyed Mad Dog’s thoughts on his former teammate:
    http://markmadsen.com/blog/PermaLink,guid,67cfbdb3-575b-46db-8768-9c567a624b86.aspx

  35. Trading Bynum and Kwame (unless its for KG) doesn’t make sense. We lose all our bigs. You can’t trade Bynum and fillers for anyone good because the salaries don’t add up in terms of trade restrictions.

  36. Here is the reality. The Lakers must make Kobe feel like they are doing something to help him WIN NOW. Or in two years he will opt out to test the waters.

    Jerry West would figure SOMETHING out.

    “sigh”

  37. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 9:22 am

    After all the discussion for trades, it would seem like KG is the only way to go. It would not be a guarantee for playoff contention still but KG and Kobe play way above their heads. They may be at 5th or 6th seed team but they will be heavy dark horses.

    However, the current media swirl might urge Mr. Cupcake to do something. Even Phil J endorses a shakeup. Looking at it from the Laker point of view, we’d want the uglies outta here. But on the other side, they are looking at our keepers. Remember that this is business folks.

    At this stage, where the bigger question is “to trade or not to trade”, I am rendering the uglies as fillers to contract situations. That of Radman being considered as the worst amongst else due to its amount and the years remaining.

    Top of the list is Andrew Bynum. We shop him around and try to see which teams might toss up a cute proposal. His value of course is merely 2+ mills. There aren’t much good players out there at that amount especially if they are vets.

    Player #2 is Kwame Brown or should I say, his 9M contract. I know Kurt regards him for this and nothing more, but I actually think he has value to a team that has a disgruntled star wanting out. His salary relief is surely something of interest. Maybe not as much as Bynum’s name, but definitely something to consider. Again, at the end of the day, this is still business.

    Player #3 is Lamar Odom. Can’t help but reiterate how important this guy is. I refuse to comment further on how teams would inquire on him. For what its worth, he is actually our #1 asset on the block.

  38. The interesting thing about Vlad is that he was progressing quite nicely this year, before the BOARD. There was some activity and intensity shown on defense that we hadn’t really expected. He was driving to the basket more – perhaps because of the injury to his shooting hand. He was looking a lot more versatile than B. Cook. I felt this would not be a great year for him BECAUSE of his hand injury. Then came the BOARD.

    Now, like fans everywhere, everyone has forgotten any good things he did and is just calling him a bum. The jury should be out on Vlad until next year. If he can regain that 3pt shooting touch and board a bit, then that allows Phil to force Lamar inside more and I bet we become pretty good on the boards.

  39. What is the best we can get for Kwame? Can we get a traditional PF for him? Slide Odom to the 3, Luke is the sixth man. That leaves Bynum and Mihm for the center position, but that’s OK if the PF we get is great defensively and rebounds well. Takes a lot of pressure off Bynum. I think Bynum can be made into a scorer in the short term. Let him work on the rest of his game over time. The next step is to get a veteran PG. I think we are going to have to find someone who has always wanted to live in LA, as the salary we can offer is not enough.

  40. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 9:31 am

    The best combo we actually have, our best asset is this:
    Kwame’s 9M and Andrew Bynum. Together.

    I cannot imagine a big time player coming in without involving the two as a package. Even Marc Stein had these two packaged for Pau Gasol before the Deadline.

    The problem is, who do we get from the 2? Draft pick #19 can come in handy too but it is valued at zero. Therefore, we have 2 very young bigs with a trade value worth 11M afloat and a “decent” enough player from the draft. Pls see Farmar at 26th.

    Surely the list goes on. KG, JO, Kidd are the famous top 3. But who else are there? Marion? Surely inter division rival Phoenix ain’t fancy about helping us. So we have to dig deeper into the player pool. I disapprove of moves for players like Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis due to their “scoring” nature and their deficiency in defense. They are better off being franchise players for other teams rather than be #2 here and being discontent.

  41. Paul,
    Remember Kwame is a positionally good defender, but not a lot else. How do you expect a team to give up a multitalented player for Kwame. Right now Kwame’s trade value is pretty low, however his confidence in our system is growing. If you want to trade him I think the trading deadline next season is the place to do it. I do expect him to continue to improve next year – without all his injuries. Incidentally, his trade value drops severely if he has the expected surgery.

  42. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Maybe its best for all of us to figure out a possible trade scenario for Bynum, Kwame and our #19 pick to help our cause. I have given it up on the others. I have just realized how “blessed” we are for no having these people: (not in order)

    1. Eric Dampier
    2. Raef Lafrentz
    3. Darius Miles
    4. Steve Francis / Stephon Marbury
    5. Peja Stojakovic
    6. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL – all caps for emphasis
    7. Antoine Walker
    8. Troy Murphy / Mike Dunleavy
    9. Troy Hudson / Marco Jaric
    10. Kenyon Martin

  43. warren (philippines) May 10, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Maybe we should get Pau Gasol for them Andrew and Kwame? then draft Marc Gasol at 40th.

  44. Is Troy Murphy really that bad?? My fantasy line always showed him as a 12pts-10boards guy with a decent three pt percentage..I would rather have him than Halfpipe at this point…

  45. What about this? Odom, Kwame, Bynum for Gasol, Mike Miller, and Rudy Gay. Use MLE for veteran PF.

  46. I dunno warren… I wouldn’t mind having KMart…

    Here’s an idea that seems more likely than anything else.. We do nothing big… we sign a mediocre PF to shore up defense (Maglore, Joe Smith?), and a young backup PG (Blake?)… we resign Walton and Evans

    we make do… and run the triange, emphasisng the low post…

    December, Kwame’s $9mil expiring (with only 4 months to go) will start to look REAL enticing… much more so than it does this summer…

    we will likely get a much better value for him then… and might be able to package a cook or vlad instead of Lamar to get one of the superduperstars.

  47. If Kwame (likely) or Odom have surgery this summer they are ‘off the trade market’, for all practical purposes, until they recover. There is a very real probability we won’t have any valuable trade assets this summer.

    Better build this possibility into your trade scenarios.

  48. Hey guys…
    Turn to am570 right now. Jim Buss is about to do an interview

  49. I was rooting for the Warriors to win last night (they blew the game just like game 5 in Dallas) but I was SOOOO happy for Fisher. I knew something really serious had to be going on for him to miss 2 playoff games. When he came into the game in the 3rd, I gave him a standing O in my living room and I KNEW it was only a matter of time before he nailed a trey and brought the house down.

    I’m truly happy for D-Fish and his daughter. Last night could not have happened to a better guy.

    On a side-note, is there any way we can pry AK47 away from the Jazz? That guy had stretches in the game last night where he was just DOMINATING. He was scoring, passing (playing PG for a while) and defending his ass off. I have heard him say a few times this season that he feels left out of the Jazz offense.

    Does anybody think we can get the Jazz to take Cook or VladRad or anything like that for Kirilenko? I’m thinking maybe they would be interested in Cook seeing as to how he played at Illinois with Deron Williams and Dee Brown. Cook and a filler for AK47? I would ask for Fish too but I really don’t see the Jazz giving him up this summer

  50. I like lamar’s game, he can score, pass, rebound, dribble.
    He showed he belongs here, and he wants to remain
    a laker. You don’t trade guys like that unless garnett
    is coming.

    kobe,farmar, luke, cook, turiaf, bynum, all started
    in LA. Lamar wants to stay, became an “adopted”
    laker. kwame also found a home in LA.

    on the other hand, I remember well that 95 team who
    went to the 2nd round and lost to san antonio:

    van exel, eddie jones, ceballos, campbell and divac,
    plus peeler as 6th man, george lynch and others.
    that core had 6 drafts, and ceballos who was traded
    for another 1st round pick. Turned out, none of
    these guys were there in 2000′s championship.

    So, if this team is at the 95′s level, then yeah,
    start rebuilding…and kobe waits another 5 years
    to win. Shaq waited 7 years for his first, jordan waited 7
    too.

    BUT, if this team is better than 95′s, which I believe so, then we should not break up the core yet, give it one more chance to develop.

  51. 50 – I don’t think they’ll give him up that easy. After his performance yesterday, I don’t know if they’ll let go of him at all.

  52. claudio,
    I like your analysis. Perfect foil for really frustrated Laker fans.

  53. Skigi, I would love to have AK, I think he fills a ton of needs. I do worry that this stretch of dominance will make the Jazz more reluctant to deal him, but if they think back to the season long frustration of him not fitting in ever since Boozer’s come back, I think we could pry him away. Unfortunately I don’t think Cook’s Illini cred would be enough to do the trick. I think it would come at the expense of Lamar which I actually wouldn’t be too opposed to. I understand the reluctance a lot of people here seem to have about dealing Lamar, he’s been a true warrior for us, but I think the case for AK is much stronger than some people think.

    His +/- from last year was among the best in the NBA, largely because of what he gives defensively. Even if he’s only scoring 10 a game, the opportunities he provides through blocks and deflections can potentially alter the game as well as any offensive force. The job he’s done on Steven Jackson, who came into the series smoking hot, has been nothing short of phenomenal. I think one of the biggest gains would be the pressure he would take off of Kobe defensively, really allowing Kobe to dominate the game the way he should. I think we’ve all seen when Kobe gets tired he becomes too reliant on his jump shot and his efficiency suffers. With someone like AK (or even Artest), the pressure of covering the opposition’s primary scorer goes away. Lamar’s typical stat line is slightly better than AK’s (excluding this year’s aberration because he was playing out of position in my mind), but the impact he makes on the other side of the ball more than makes up for it in my mind.

  54. Some Guy in San Diego May 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    I think making a major move will be exceptionally difficult. That being said, I think this team can move into the the 50-win range without one.
    I think a league-average point guard (Steve Blake??) and a healthy Vlad Rad significantly upgrade this team on both ends of the floor.
    Blake is a much, much better defensive point than Smush– Blake’s smarter and works harder. Blake could also be trusted to handle the ball much more and make better decisions, thus alleviating the need for Walton to be in the starting lineup.
    You also have a more experienced Farmar backing him up.
    That means Vlad Rad can be out there dropping bombs (Walton doesn’t have nearly the same range) cutting to the hoop to finish (bigger, with better hops and finishing ability than Luke) or posting up.
    I think this will space the floor out so much better for the entire team: Kobe, Lamar, Bynum/Mihm/Brown to run the offense.
    That means all your trade pieces remain in place, so you can make a move for the best player available and upgrade the overall talent on your roster.
    Health, as always, will be key.

  55. Some Guy in San Diego May 10, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    P.S.
    I know it seems like I’m counting an awful lot on Vlad Rad, but really.. I’m just looking for him to perform at career levels.

  56. Getting healthier is a sure way to improve. However, aside from the part where this is business and pleasure, there is also politics involved. Politics stat when people start demanding something – like Kobe and Phil. Then what happens is management starts to do something to “accommodate” their requests although they may not necessarily be what’s best. So, expect something to happen this summer.

    Remember that Kobe and Phil are the two superstars of this team. Lamar is a far cry 3rd. He is still on star mode and yet to achieve to the elite status. What looks to me is, if Kobe somehow pushes for the JO trade, it could happen. Even at the expense of both Bynum and Odom. Even though this move is not necessarily an upgrade to our current roster provided we are healthy.

    What I am looking forward to is Mihm’s health. That will be a very big factor on what they actually do. I’m rooting for the guy. He will be as good as a backup center as can be when healthy. I still think Kwame is a PF by nature forced to play center by circumstance. So is Lamar, who is quite effective playing the 3. If that can be arranged, they will improve immediately.

  57. I am quite convinced that the easier path to do is to trade Bynum and Kwame. Together they are an irresistible commodity. Other teams might want Bynum alone but for sure we will not like what is offered without a bigger name coming into the picture. Will Memphis take it? Maybe. But the prospect of Oden coming in negates the need for Bynum. Pau can play the PF very well. Together with Oden, it is a very young twin tower concept with loads of potential. If the draft does not land them Oden, assuming its Durant, they might be keen on the Bynum idea.

    Assuming this trade goes through, Cook and Warrick are added to match. Memphis will now sport a Durant-Bynum-Gay combo who has an average age of 20 yrs old. Kwame playing at 4 and all they need is a PG who can run the show.

    The Lakers on the meantime will have Farmar-Kobe-Odom-Gasol-Mihm. We can then make a run at Mike James to help the PG spot as Farmar improves.

  58. I am quite convinced that the easier path to do is to trade Bynum and Kwame. Together they are an irresistible commodity.

    Seriously? A 19 year old whose coach questioned a work ethic and a chronic underachiever who is having ankle surgery are irresistible? People, the demand for the Laker players around the league is not near has high as you all seem to think it is. There is some interest in Bynum, but Kwame and irresistible should not be in the same sentence. Well, except that last one.

  59. Residing in the Philippines makes you understand the dirty nature of politics. There is no honor involved in that system. Its each to his own. Whoever wins (won by cheating) while whoever lost (was cheated). It sucks but that’s reality. I really think there is politicking in the NBA corporate world. Fans just don’t see it that much. Underground deals are made every other day but only the Joe Smith deal was caught.

  60. I agree Kurt…when i look at other blogs posting deals I just laugh because there’s no chance they’d be considered yet we seem to be following the same path…an expiring contract by itself doesn’t mean anything and any starting point for Jermaine O’Neal (most likely trade target I think) is going to be something like Odom, Bynum, and Farmar and I just don’t see anything working out with Indiana or elsewhere…

  61. I have a hunch that Larry Bird won’t make a deal with the Lakers unless HIS team gets SIGNIFICANTLY upgraded in doing so. Same with Kevin McHale.

    So the Laker brain trust had better get their thinking caps on and figure something else out(Pau Gasol)
    They had better make Kobe feel like his team is getting the talent to compete for a championship. They have 2 summers to do this or Kobe will walk….and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.

  62. Ok Stu Jackson, David Stern, et al, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on Kobe’s arm flailing since I believed it would cut down on other, much more egregious backhanded plays…so I am still awaiting judgment on dirty play posterboy Bruce Bowen and his latest move

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4yz__akIU

    Consistency Stern..that’s all I ask for

  63. The Lakers need to keep Lamar and Kobe thats it. Theres no reason to keep Bynum he is not going to be that good. He doesnt play with passion and is very soft. The Lakers need to trade him while his stock is very high right now before he is exposed of not being that good. Also he might get injured like Shaun Livingston did. Shaun livingston was not that good and should have been traded also. We should learn from the clippers mistakes. Bynum wont get as good as you guys think he will be. ALSO get rid of FARMAR. I cant beleive someone compared him to deron williams here. WHAT A JOKE. The guy sucks. He is quite small and does not have much athleticism. His Shot sucks. THE MAIN Reason Kupchack drafted him was because he is from UCLA. He is a backup point guard at best.

  64. Also you guys are so funny in thinking people will just take radmanovic and cook. They freakin suck. Also the reason the Lakers are not doing good is cuz they cant draft for shit. Look at there 1st round picks for the last couple of years.
    2006-Jordan Farmar-backup Pg at BEST
    2005-Andrew Bynum – he is potentially good in 3 years and its not a gurantee. The lakers could have drafted someone that could have helped out right away at the 10th pick that year.
    2004-Sasha Vujacic- WHAT A JOKE
    2003-Brian Cook- See Sasha
    2002-Chris Jeffries- Who da fuck is he
    As you can see they cant draft for shit how come the lakers couldnt find the Josh Howards, Leandro Barbosas, emanuel Ginobli, kyle korver, wille green? I can go on on. They need to DRAFT better Please.
    I cant beleive you guys are complaining that we lost in the first round. YOU guys should be marveling at how Kobe got us so far with all these rejects besides LAMAR. I mean KG missed the playoffs 3 str8 years with a better team. KOBE is crazy dude. PLaying with these rejects i cant beleive we got this far.

  65. Jimmy Buss has chosen to have periodic interviews with “The Loose Cannons” on AM570–most recently yesterday. Jimmy addressed many of the issues being considered here, including the timing of trades. It was thoughtful and wide ranging.

    It appears to him that other teams are reluctant to talk major trades until AFTER the draft (when they know more clearly what they have), and AFTER a player recovers from surgery. He mentioned specifically that Kwame was likely to have ankle surgery soon.

    Craig W (48) (42) seems to have already factored this into his thinking.

    Have you been saying, “KWAMEE, KWAMEEE, KWAMEE,” out loud to yourself every night like I suggested? Does it feel better?