Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  May 23, 2007

Jim Buss said in a radio interview that the Lakers couldn’t do anything until May 23, after the lottery was finished and teams know where they stood heading into the draft.

So, it seems Lakers fans expect things to happen May 23. People, exhale. When was the last time you saw a major trade before the NBA Finals ended, let alone started?

The lottery does open possibilities for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, but as is the long-standing policy of this blog, ideas will only get discussed in a post once there is some substance to them (meaning reports of talks at least, not just a talk show host or writer taking guesses). And, before we all go nuts in the comments wildly overestimating how many teams are willing to take on Kwame Brown (expiring contracts are not as big a deal these days) please remember the commenting guidelines.

That said, let’s have some lottery and other thoughts:

• The first prediction for the 2011 NBA Finals — the Chicago Bulls vs. the Portland Trailblazers.

• He was mentioned as a possible defector, but if you ran Seattle, wouldn’t you try to keep Rashard Lewis and put him and Durant and Ray Allen on the court at the same time? (Or, if Portland goes with Durant — playing him at the three with Randolph at the four and Aldridge as the five — then Seattle gets Oden and they still want to keep Lewis and Allen.)

• The Sonics can’t go wrong either way. The fans in Oklahoma City are going to love either of those guys.

• San Antonio’s defense got to the guys who brought Utah to the Western Conference Finals — Harpring, Fisher and Okur were a combined 5 for 25 from the floor. Boozer and Williams are good, but they are not guys who can just take over the scoring load (ala Kobe/LeBron) for extended periods. Utah is going to have to get better balance to get back in this series.

• I don’t think Utah is going to get back into this series.

• I feel for Jeff and other Celtics fans. Much like Portland, that is a team that one big draft pick could have made very good in years to come.

• Who do the Lakers take at 19? (That is, assuming they keep the pick.) Here are three projections: Javaris Crittenton, the 6-5 Georgia Tech point guard (via Chad Ford at ESPN.com); Brandon Rush, the 2/3 combo player out of Kansas (via Draftexpress.com); Derrick Byars the 6-7, 2/3 combo out of Vanderbilt (via nbadraft.net).

• Balance of power? What balance of power?

Kurt

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33 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Lewis – The problem with keeping Lewis for the Sonics is the cap. I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t see himself worth, at least, Odom money. A $3mil+ jump right now for him and that moves the team’s salary figure to $63mil before signing Durant, which will be another 3+mil moving them to 66mil+ with only 12 players signed. Then they are (basically) required to grab two more.

    That puts them over the 06-07 tax. Not knowing how much the tax will move, even if it moves another full 3 million this year as it did last (which was an artificial increase), they are in the danger zone after signing a couple more to the minimum.

    I mean competition-wise, of course keep all of them. Finance-wise, I bet the Sonics see it as a problem. I don’t think he will leave from Seattle because he probably can’t get 13mil as a straight free agent, but I would be surpised not to see him signed-and-traded.

    That’s all assuming Portland takes Oden. If Portland takes Durant, I think that’s probably a win for Seattle, but they still have the same tax problems. The difference is then maybe Wilcox becomes available for a draft pick and relief. (Which still doesn’t help because Kwame for Wilcox puts them definitely in the cap this year while waiting for that relief.)

    IGNORE ME!

  2. Is it not in the Lakers best interest to add a couple vets with the MLE and then holding tight until the trading deadline?

    I mean, they get a longer look at Bynum, Farmar, and Turiaf, they get Kwame in a contract year and his expiring becomes valuable as the season progresses, and they have whoever they take in this draft as well as the 2008 pick to use as trade bait.

    With the majority of the same team coming back, and if the injury bug stays at bay, this team should be in the thick of the playoff picture.

    Every year at the trade deadline some All-Star type becomes available for what amounts to pennies on the dollar and every year that team gets a boost of energy from a deal.

    As for the 19th pick, I go with Nick Young if available. I think it helped having an athletic guard (Mo Evans) on the squad who could come in and guard the other teams best perimeter player, saving Kobe’s legs a bit. I just don’t know if Young will be there at 19.

  3. What about Rodney Stuckey? He could be a steal.

  4. Excellent Post Kurt As Always WIll Acie Law Be Available If Not Where He Be Taking At?

  5. Mannie Jenkins May 23, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    I’m going to cry when we trade Lamar Odom for Zach Randolph.

  6. Kurt tell us the % chance of us making a big trade I’m dieing over here!!!!!

  7. ^^^He’s a fan, not a psychic… :p

  8. What if we trade Bynum and some bad contracts (Vlad Rad, maybe Cook) to the Knicks for Lee/Frye and 2 1st round picks (swapping one of them with ours). Then…

    a) Bynum will not pan out (he is a Knick)
    b) Lee gives us rebounding, defense, and energy
    c) We get 2 lottery picks next 2 years
    d) We clear up space for next year for KG to opt out

  9. The Knicks deal is way too far-fetched. Consequently, I think it is probably the most possible out of any deal that’s been posted in any of the comments the past few weeks. :D :D :D

  10. CA-Born: Stuckey’s my guy right now…

  11. Far fetched? For an Isaiah Thomas-run team?

    I’m not really serious (don’t think the Lakers would do it) but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks did something like that. They did give up 2 lottery picks for Eddy Curry, in a sign-and-trade when he was a free agent.

  12. Here are two moves, bold and possible:

    Kwame and Luke for Marion

    Odom for Kidd

    These trades make the Lakers better and they make the respective trading partners better.

  13. I share your optimism and outlook for the promising players on the upcoming draft, especially the guards, but we all have (and hopefully the lakers front office) to consider that kobe’s prime years is NOW! Hopefully it’ll carry on for the next 3-4 years, so getting young guys aside from (bynum farmar, turiaf) is not such a good idea. There simply won’t be enough playing time for another “developing” player on the team. What the team needs is the inside (nightly double double threat) in the form of Pau Gasol or JO, that would take the lakers to the elite level. Sorry to say but it won’t be kwame brown, nor LO. They need to get a legit scoring and rebounding threat and I feel Pau Gasol is that guy. For the PG, Farmar is still a year or two away but he can handle the back up spot, and the starter should go to a proven veteran. Not necessarily a “pure” PG, but a “ron harper” or “derek fisher” type of a player. Someone who has a lot of experience, a proven playoff performer who may be past his prime, but can still contribute and can nail that outside shot. Any suggestions on who that may be?

  14. I think it’s been posted before, but Gabe Pruitt for the 2nd time in his short college career was declared academically ineligible. Don’t wanna read too much into it but doesn’t that raise some possible red flags or does it mean he just wasn’t a “college-guy?”

  15. The news is saying that Gopher Joel Przybilla will be traded from Portland ..

    Do we need him? upgrade in center position?

    I think Joel Przybilla/Jack Jarret will be great package for lakers? but what players?

  16. I actually think Odom is a great rebounder for his position, and I don’t feel Gasol will be much of an improvement. His blocks don’t really tell the story- Gasol’s a bad defensive player. JO, on the other hand, is a true defensive presence inside, something we need. I’d give up Odom for JO, if a bit reluctantly. I consider trading LO for Gasol inching sideways.

    I’d rather hold on to Bynum and try to use him as the deal-maker in a trade for a veteran star instead of trying for draft picks and David Lee (not to mention if you try throwing in someone else you’ll have to take back one of New York’s ridiculous contracts). Bynum could’ve landed J-Kidd if we’d been willing to ship him. That suggests we can get a little more for him than David Lee (Turiaf is already our energy guy; I’m not saying he’s as good, but that slot’s filled) and a couple picks.

    We need a move to get us back into contention before Kobe slows down too much.

  17. k_swagger8, what about Jamal Crawford? I know he’s expensive, but I think he could fill that shooting PG role we need, not sure if it’s doable, but I have read somewhere that a trade involving him and Channing Frye was being considered. I guess it would also come down to what NY is looking for as well.

  18. Ok everybody…
    WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
    Can somebody, Kurt, ANYBODY, tell me why Lebron did not get suspended for this?

    STERN HATES KOBE!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGnnN5BMXwE

  19. 19 – I agree skigi. Consistency with the law is key in the NBA, right? So, is this play even being reviewed?

    I can’t even imagine how much trouble the NBA would be in if they suspended LeBron. Especially after that Diaw and Amare incident.

    But you have to think that the league office saw the blow to the face, and they’re doing everything they can to avoid the topic. It’s pretty sad that the NBA excluded Kobe for the SAME EXACT incident months ago. Truly pathetic management of the league.

  20. Thanks DR, good to see that somebody else feels my pain. This sucks.

  21. I love Lebron and want to see him play every game and play well, but this is just not fair.

    All last week we heard that “the law is the law” when people were talking about the Amare/Diaw incident.

    So this is the law too right? Apparently not when Lebron is involved.

    Also, you guys remember back around the same time that Kobe got suspended… Lebron “clotheslined” D-Wade right in the face at the end of a Heat/Cavs game and the NBA did nothing about that too.

  22. skigi – I posted it on the True Hoop blog on ESPN yesterday and he (Henry Abbott) ended up posting it in his “Thursday Bullets” section today. Now it’s there for the nation to see.

  23. Wow. For all the KG to LA rumor mongers, Minny was but a coin-flip away from landing Durant or Oden:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-24-109/Life-as-a-Blazer-Fan–May-2007.html

  24. skigi and DR, good work. No way LeBron get suspended in the playoffs, but the point is valid.

  25. 24. Remember, a coin flip was the difference between the Lakers drafting Magic or David Greenwood. How different would the 80s have been if that coin flip had gone the other way?

  26. The Radical Reactionary May 24, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    I hear Detroit (at 15) is interested in Rodney Stuckey. He may not make it to 19.

  27. yep…done watching these playoffs. LeBron has received a free pass twice now this season. He clearly elbowed Webber in the face. The league is making a joke of itself. if the goal is to follow the letter of the law in every instance, why isn’t this a no-brainer suspension?

    I’m not watching anymore basketball this year until LeBron gets suspended 1 game for his infraction.

    It’s not just a Kobe thing for me here, it’s the consistency factor. Can’t make exceptions or sweep things under the rug.

  28. This draft is absolutely gonna sink Kobe’s boat if the brass don’t make some moves. I really don’t be fighting against an Aldridge/Oden combo to win the 8th seed.

  29. I see the Lakers trading Odom over Phil’s dead body. There has to be a playmaker who will drive and kick out to open players to keep them in the game-and do it even when they are missing. Kobe has too much faith in himself to either score or get the foul(and he’s quite justified in that respect!) to be the guy setting up others. Walton can move the ball along the perimeter,but he doesn’t have the ability to get past his man,draw an interior defender and find the open shooter.
    There are very few in the NBA who can blow past their defender,penetrate and then consider the pass their first option. Odom is one of them,so unless the Lakers are getting Kidd,he’s not going anywhere.

  30. warren (philippines) May 25, 2007 at 2:46 am

    The silence of Laker news is deafening. Its quite disappointing that it now looks more likely that no moves will be made till there are players made available. Among the top 3 mentioned, it would seem like JO is the only real player that provides an upgrade to our roster that is nearly half available.

    With all the silence, I’ve decided to root for other things apart from my own Laker pipe dream. That is, for the NBA to improve with loads of talent coming into this year’s draft. Top of the heap: Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. The next 6 players are ones of immediate impact as well.

    Speaking of Oden’s wish, the best way to pair up Oden and Conley is to trade for Atlanta’s #3 pick. That way no team will be drafting Conley other than PTB themselves. I am looking at possible scenarios in which this is possible. I know too that Zach Randolph has technically been made trade available.

    ZBo is the best player that the Hawks might possibly be interested at. Though his salary is quite heavy, he is a good match to their star Joe Johnson. He compliments his game and would seem like a good fit for the Hawks. I have been thinking about this for days now.

    Lorenzen Wright, Tyronn Lue, #3 pick
    –for–
    Zach Randolph, future 1st rounder (1-5 protected)

    Due to Atlanta being below the cap, they can absorb a little bit of salary. These helps the Blazers that while they lost Randolph, they get the #3 pick and choose Conley, while Wright is an expiring contract. The Hawks get rid of Speedy Claxton’s contract and start anew with the upcoming combo of JJ and ZBo.

    Oh and to add a little, Portland will now be sporting this lineup:
    PG – Mike Conley Jr.
    SG – Brandon Roy
    SF – Travis Outlaw
    PF – LaMarcus Aldridge
    C – Greg Oden

    Sick isn’t it?

  31. Kobe wants change but, I really believe this
    team needs to play next season together, wait
    until the trade deadline, and then figure out what it needs.

    Kobe should SHUT UP and realize that (1) kwame and
    odom played hurt and DESERVE to rest as much as they need to. So, (2) Kobe shouldn’t complain now, and rather, wait for them to come back, and in the meantime, even watch tapes with them to improve their chemistry.

    when they come back healthy, they will play better D,
    like in the 26-13 portion of this season.

    If this is KOBE’s TEAM, that means Kobe must help them out. I haven’t seen many games, but I have the impression that LA couldn’t execute on offense. There is no more RON HARPER to help out, or Fox, or Horry, or Ho. Grant, or A.C. Green. It’s Kobe and Lamar’s team now.

    Once Kobe finally understands his new duties as team leader, then the pressure will be on his teammates to perform, and THEN, ONLY THEN, we will see who needs to be traded and who can win a championship with Kobe.

  32. as for the 19th pick in the draft, I would look for a
    good defender. The best defender they can get,
    regardless of position.

    PG) Great !! we needed one anyway
    SG) Kobe plays SF in the end of games
    SF) Great. Luke is a liability on defense.
    PF) Lamar plays SF int the end.
    C) If he defends better than kwame, awesome.

    We must defend better, that’s imperative.

    but, if there is absolutely no defender left, then
    maybe find a shooting PG who will make open shots
    when they collapse on kobe. Much like paxsxon, B.J., craig
    hodges, you know what I mean.