Trade Rumor Primer

Kurt —  June 4, 2007

Artest is going to LA. No wait, Chicago. And that is where Jermaine O’Neal is going, too. Unless he comes to LA. Or New York. And what about KG trades, or Kobe for that matter. Maybe they can both play together in Chicago or New York.

Potential trade rumors are flying around the NBA faster than people are being killed off on the Sopranos.

And most of those rumors are not going to happen, in fact they are out-and-out, um, fertilizer (still trying to run a family blog here). There are a host of reasons NBA trade rumors get started this time of year, and often they have little to do with a deal actually getting done.

So, since the entire Web — including this blog — seem to be following and fueling the rumor mill right now, it seemed a good time to talk about rumors. This is not focused on any one or two rumors in general (although I’ll point to examples) but this is meant as a broad outline of concepts.

Just a few examples of how rumors get started:

1) A team “insider” as a source talks to a newspaper. If a reputable beat reporter for a team says a front office source told him “player X for players Y, Z and a draft pick” then we can trust it, right? I mean, it came from a trusted source, right?

Not so fast. Here’s what they don’t tell you in Journalism 101 — your source has a motive too. People don’t tell beat reporters things off the record because they like them, it’s because they want something or are pushing an agenda. This is as true in sports as it is in Washington D.C., no off the record source is neutral. That’s not to say their information isn’t accurate, but that it’s coming to the reporter for a reason (and the reporter, if it is news of a potential trade, pretty much has to go with it).

For instance, let’s look at a deal a few writers have mentioned — Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and the #19 pick for Jermaine O’Neal. Everyone has agreed that the two sides have talked, but what organization has a motive to float that rumor? Do you think the Lakers would put their three most tradable assets into a deal for JO alone? However, if you were part of the Indiana front office, would those be the things you are asking for out of the gate? And because of everything going on in LA do you think you can put pressure on Lakers management by tantalizing the fans with a deal for a big name regardless of price? And, would Indiana be trying to up any bidding war for JO by saying that is what was offered? Or, maybe you’re a clever Lakers front office guy and want to float a rumor to show you’re doing something, but one with so high a price tag many fans would balk at it. Just a few options.

When you see a printed rumor, ask yourself who had the motivation to leak it. There are exceptions to the above rule, but the vast majority of “leaked” info is a leaked for a reason.

2) Is it a trade both sides can “sell?” Fans tend to look at trades in the “how can we make our team better mode” with almost no regard for the fact the other team and it’s front office is thinking the exact same things. Most GMs don’t make stupid, one-sided trades. When looking at a trade rumor — or trying to come up with a trade yourself — think about it from the other team’s point of view. Does if fill a need for them? Is it something team management can sell their fans without fear of a lynching.

To use another example, and since this is a Lakers blog and all, the Kwame Brown for Marcus Camby rumor — as a Lakers fan I love it. But, if you were Denver, do you really think you’d trade the defensive player of the year for Kwame? Do you think AI and Melo and the entire fan base would quietly watch that trade go down? Yes, the Nuggets have long-term cap issues but Kwame actually makes their problems worse for next season, and this is a team that already could pay $10 million or so in luxury tax. This move makes no sense for Denver, but Lakers fans love it so it stays alive.

3) A newspaper columnist suggests it. Seriously, this has about as much weight as any deals I suggest in this blog or you suggest in the comments here. Not to say the deals aren’t thought through or would even benefit both teams, but GMs don’t turn to media or blogs for trade ideas. Unless he or she says it came from a source, it’s columnist making up stuff to fill space (said columnist will later complain that bloggers make stuff up, but that’s a separate topic).

Kurt

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87 responses to Trade Rumor Primer

  1. despite true hoop’s persuasive analysis that lebron and co. are a tough matchup, i’m going to call spurs in 5. i’m hoping tim duncan dominates and we get a bunch of “tim duncan is a great guy and is exactly the kind of leader you want on your team” stories. i’m tired of hearing about bruce bowen.

    good points kool kurt on the leaks. I feel like Kobe also had something to do with the maelstrom of trade rumors…just maybe. =P speaking of which, all seems quiet on the home front since last week’s craziness. Lebron’s ridiculous game 5 had something to do with that.

    I don’t have any potential trades to leak or to propose. Doesn’t seem like the pieces we need are really available since we have no one to trade except maybe bynum (is he even worth that much?).

  2. I’m going to put up a post talking about the Finals on Wednesday, but I think Spurs in 5 is about right.

  3. Kurt, no matter what the Lakers are gonna overpay for JO i have said this before. even before they lost leverage the asking price was gonna be high.

  4. I like Ron Artest, but he wont fit here. It has nothing to do with his attitude or unpredictability, its more about is inefficent offensive game.

    He takes forced shots and holds the ball too long, he’d be a terrible fit offensivley for this team. While we need perimter defense as desperatley as we need interior defense (and offense).

  5. Lakerfan, no doubt they will have to overpay to get JO or anyone else. But there is no way the Lakers started the negotiations offering Bynum, Odom and the 19, and that was what I was trying to drive at in the post.

  6. What makes you think they didn’t? before Kobes trade demand the Lakers were probably offering Odom / Kwame / filler and thats it Indy told them to go away and now that the management has tremendous pressure they called Indy and told them that Bynum will be added.

    there is no apples and oranges over here. its the managements fault that they couldn’t react sooner rather then letting a bomb tick ( Kobe ).

  7. Spurs in 3 (they’ll impose the mercy rule after 3 20+ point blowouts). Popavich isn’t afraid to send someone in to “sweep the leg” and take out LeBron if he goes on a 5 on 1 binger.

    JO is not the answer to the Lakers problems. Unless we can keep a lineup of him, Kobe, Odom (SF), and Kwame, we don’t improve. I think if we trade him for Kwame, we actually get worse.

    Dude! I just read on a blog somewhere in a bathroom stall that the Lakers are signing OJ Mayo and Magic Johnson! Our PG problems are solved!!! (echoing Kurt’s sentiments about “rumors”).

  8. Kurt,

    To confirm the thrust of your post, I think the LO, Bynum and #19 rumor for JO was first published by Chad Ford over at ESPN.com. IIRC, he has a history of publishing one-sided rumors in favor of Indiana.

  9. Lakerfan: Let’s put it this way. The Lakers want to get better, not stay the same. Getting rid of Odom and Bynum and the 19th for JO doesn’t really make them any better (IMO)

    Kwame A: I agree with what you on Artest and the offense. He probably wouldn’t be that great of a fit on the offensive side of the ball. He dominates the ball too much and doesn’t make very good decisions. However, on the defensive end, we really could use a guy like him. Too bad luke can’t steal his defensive superpowers…

  10. 6/8, LG Gold and Lakerfan: The basic thrust of the post was to suggest people analyze every rumor out there, I just used Laker examples because, well, this is a Lakers blog. Chad Ford talks to a lot of people and I have no doubt the information he publishes comes from front office guys (Indiana and otherwise). The point is those GMs and scouts have agendas as well.

    Lakerfan, I think we are on the same page here — I said I doubted the Lakers STARTED by offering Odom, Bynum and the #19 and that’s what you said (“before Kobes trade demand the Lakers were probably offering Odom / Kwame / filler “). But, for sake of argument, let’s say it goes down the way you suggest and after Kobe’s outburst the Laker front office changes tunes and makes that offer. The point of the post is this — who has the motive to make that public? If that is the Lakers offer, it makes sense for Indiana to “leak” that info to Chad Ford and others, let other teams hear what the going price is and see if anyone will step in and beat it.

    What I’ve tried to say is all information has context, and thinking about that context gives you insight into the information. I am not trying to suggest specific trades. (Although, I have said before that I think Odom, Bynum and the 19 for JO is overpaying and doesn’t really make the Lakers remarkably better, if at all.)

  11. Bryan: You think if we traded Kwame for JO we get worse? Are you serious?

  12. Kurt – nice dig at Sam Smith….

  13. “What makes you think they didn’t? before Kobes trade demand the Lakers were probably offering Odom / Kwame / filler and thats it Indy told them to go away and now that the management has tremendous pressure they called Indy and told them that Bynum will be added.”

    First of all, what filler would they be adding to Odom and Kwame? Their salaries are more than enough to cover Jermaine’s salary, and while he’s good, he isn’t _that_ good so as to require other pieces to compensate Indy. And regardless of what Kobe has done, Laker management isn’t going to start frantically calling people up and offering them whatever they want just because Kobe got hot under the collar for a couple days. Bynum was probably not part of any initial offer the Lakers may have made in pursuit of O’Neal, but I’m willing to bet that Indiana wasn’t going to just accept their fate until Kobe opened his mouth. Asking for Bynum was going to be their counter no matter what.

  14. Alright guys, I know Kurt said that we have to analyze trade rumors. I’m just not really sure whether to believe this one or not. I trust Hacksaw because in the past, when I have heard rumors in his daily headlines, they have never been too far off from the truth.

    So here it is guys, judge for yourself.

    “…The Indianapolis Star is reporting the Pacers and Lakers have held two conference calls to discuss a blockbuster 6-player deal. The Lakers would acquire unhappy center Jermaine O’Neal and guard Jamal Tinsley. The Pacers would wind up with Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown and Sasha Vujacic in the deal. The trade would also allow the Lakers to then package Brian Cook and their lst round pick for Ron Artest of Sacramento.”

    – Courtesy of Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton at am 570 online.

    Heres the link-
    http://am570radio.com/cc-common/mainheadlines2.html?feed=153290&article=1583850

  15. I know this is just a rumor, but heres how we would look…

    1- Farmar / Free Agent PG
    2- Kobe / Mo Evans
    3- Artest / Luke (resigned)
    4- Turiaf / VladRad
    5- JO / Mihm (resigned)

    The defense for this team would be solid with Kobe and Artest guarding the perimeter with JO and Ronny watching the inside.

    Scoring would not be a problem with #24 out there.

    What do you guys think, is this something we should be interested in? (assuming theres any truth to this rumor)

  16. 11. LaFleur, yup, I am. One, I think Kwame is a better defensive player than JO (this belief comes mostly from posts on this blog about +/- stats, and seeing the Lakers defense suffer without him). Offensively, he’s unfamiliar with the triangle, and Kobe still has to be convinced to share the ball. Would I trade JO for Kwame straight up? Probably, but it would be against my better judgement.

    Main reason: JO isnt a winner, and he shows no fire. I can get dispassionate NBA players any day of the week, why overpay for this one?

  17. Kurt, good enough- but i still think if Kobe did not demand a trade this management was gonna be a statue all summer long.

    Overpaying comes from big trades if you tell any Pacer fan they will think its equal and i believe them because there intelligent and smart fans.

    Here’s what i wanna know Kurt… whats worse overpaying for a unproven player like Kwame or overpaying for a superstar who is actually proven?

    you add JO.. use the MLE to get Grant Hill or Blake then accomplish another trade through you’re other assets.

    the fact is with JO you have a dominate big-man there is no complaining when you’re talking about a arguable superstar here. the fact is overpaying is what happens in this league almost to all trades. short-term this trade favors us.. and thats what Kobe is shooting for.. “Winning now”.

    if you think Odom/Bynum is overpaying then what is the Shaq trade or the Kwame trade? in this trade you get a star and you set yourself to win now its that simple.

  18. Nice little case study for the primer from the Chicago Tribune:
    http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-070603smith,1,4344066.column?page=1&coll=cs-home-headlines

    I love both
    “Rasheed Wallace has probably received his last technical in a Pistons uniform”
    and
    “The consensus is Knicks GM Isiah Thomas will be thwarted by the Lakers in trying to get Jermaine O’Neal”
    Not so much as an anonymous insider to back either statement up. Where’s this consensus coming from? Nevertheless, the guy sounds so confident (and they’re both reasonable sounding predictions) that it’s hard not to take him seriously. How can you argue with the consensus? It’s kind of magical.

    Look, it already worked on me, because I can’t help speculating:
    I know there’s no chance of him coming to LA, especially if all our trade bait ends up in Indiana, but how great would Rasheed be as a Laker? Hits big 3s, plays great D, rebounds, been there before, still loses his temper, etc etc. Somehow through all these years playing for Lakers rivals I’ve always remained a huge Sheed fan. He seems like the type of player opposing fans should love hating, but he was really the only Piston (cept maybe Prince) that I loved watching.

  19. My wife despises Rasheed. I’ve tried to convince her otherwise, but she puts him into the same “crybaby” boat as Tim Duncan. Not me. I can’t figure it out, but I love Rasheed. I have no idea how we’d get him away from Detroit, but Rasheed as a Laker would make me happy.

  20. I like Rasheed too, I think he would work well under Mr. Jackson’s tutelage…i’d pretty much give them whatever they want for Billups and Wallace (file that under the “keep dreaming” trade proposals)

  21. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&id=2893692

    Apparently Lamar is not too happy about going to Indy. Can we blame him? Does he even have a say in the matter?

  22. Doesn’t look like Stackhouse will be available for the Lakers to sign. He would have been a good veteran pick up…

    http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/story/2007/6/4/111657/9813

  23. I wanted to make a quick comment to all of the contributors to this blog who think that giving up Odom and Bynum for JO is too much and our team would not be any better.

    This trade is too much, ON PAPER, not in real-life.

    On paper, Odom’s stats are only slightly below what JO brings to the table. If you add Odom’s stats to Bynum’ stats, they are slightly more than JO’s.

    The problem is that in real-life, Odom and Bynum are soft. Now let me explain, Odom is by no means a soft human being, his courage and strength to play through so many injuries late in the season was truly remarkable and I praise him for it. I mean he is soft on the basketball court. I think all of us who have watched him in LA for 3 seasons can agree that he can have a 20-12-7 game and follow that up with a 4-4-2 game and no one would be surprised. He definetely has all-star talent, just not all-star consistency.
    JO has the consistency. A 6 point 4 rebound game is not going to happen from JO. He has been on Indy teams in the past who have had the best record in the East with him running the show. That demonstrates how consistent he can be.

    Also, for Lamar, its almost a chore for him to score points and that’s why his style does not help Kobe. Teams know that if they double Kobe all-day, Lamar is not happy with having to carry the scoring load. Its uncomfortable for him. If teams double Kobe with JO down on the block, he will demand the ball and is very good at putting it in the hole.

    As for Bynum, great upside, just not what we need right now, but this is all just my opinion for you guys to ponder.

  24. 21) You know, I don’t blame Lamar. I think the Lakers need to take a stance that they are not trading both Lamar and Bynum. Because trading both of them for J.O. does not really make this team any better…

  25. 16, Bryan, just a couple things abou +/-. First, they tell you how your team does with you on the floor and off it, but that is not really transferable team to team. For example, Kwame was +4.3 per 48 this season (second best on the team, behind some guy named Kobe), but how much better would that number have been if, say, Yao Ming played his minutes? +/- is good for looking within a team, but hard to compare too much between teams.

    More importantly, +/- doesn’t really tell you who the better player is. For example, in game 5 of the Cleveland/Detroit series, Donyell Marshal was +21 for the game and LeBron was +2. Still, I feel pretty safe is saying LeBron is the better player.

    By the way, I’m not saying it isn’t fair to question what JO would or would not bring to the Lakers in replacement of Kwame. Just saying +/- is only a part of the picture.

  26. 23) Let’s put it this way: I do think we probably would be a bit better with JO over Bynum and Odom, however, I feel the Lakers should play hard ball and figure out how to keep Odom while bringing in JO, because if those two played together the Lakers would be a very good team. Bynum and Kwame was going to net Kidd. Andre Miller, picks, and Cap space secured A.I. So why do we have to be the one team that overpays for an unhappy superstar?

  27. I’m not quite sure whether Odom/Bynum or JO is the better add..but does JO make this team better than the Spurs? Suns? Mavs? Even the Rockets or Jazz? I don’t see the point of killing flexibility if it doesn’t result in anything substantial

  28. I am not as well versed as you guys but….I have a few thoughts…..

    Some one above posted this line up (I added the Tinsley part to the PG spot since that is the rumor right).

    1- Farmar / Jamal Tinsley PG
    2- Kobe / Mo Evans
    3- Artest / Luke (resigned)
    4- Turiaf / VladRad
    5- JO / Mihm (resigned)

    I am sorry….I love Ronny and his heart(literally)….Vlad can choke for all I care….but…the West is very very very tough at the 4 spot….and I think that Duncan and KG and Nene and others would eat the Lakers up here. I know JO/Mihm can move over to help defend that spot…but…I dont know.

    And Ron Artest is a loose cannon….we dont improve by bringing that nut case to town. He is awesome…I am not taking away his ability…but…I dont know. And Phil cant fix him….everyone points at how he reigned in Rodman….well….Rodman had to play with Jordan…..who was larger than life and checked Rodman…Kobe may be a better player (he certainly is in my book) but…he has no where near the Charasmatic Dominace that MJ had/has.

  29. Re: Tinsley, Marc Stein said today the Lakers don’t want him in any deal. With good reason. What is the two things a PG has to do in the triangle: play defense and shoot jumpers well.

    Tinsley is not a good shooter, last season he shot a week 42.4% eFG%, 31.6% from three and 39.8% on jumpers. He also is not a great defender of point guards, who shot 50.8% against him last season and averaged a PER of 18.5. And that was with JO behind him blocking shots.

    We need a PG, but Tinsely?

  30. When Lamar is good he is really good. Remember early this past season before his first injury? However, I’ve never seen the consistency a championship team would need out of its number 2 player. For that reason alone he should be on the trading block. I think that O’Neal would provide a low-post presence that has been missing that past few years, and I think that would compliment Kobe’s game more than Lamar’s does. Lamar is too 3 happy, where as JO is a legitimate go to guy if you need a score. I think Lamar, Bynum, and Kwame or #19 is too high, but Lamar and Bynum’s trade value is too high right now not to trade them. I don’t think Bynum will ever turn into a truly great player anyways just because he doesn’t seem to have that competitive fire all the greats in any sport have.

  31. When Lamar is good he’s really good……which is about 15% of the time. Had he played with a level of consistency in the plus column he wouldn’t be worrying about a trade to Indiana right now. But instead he deferred deferred deferred and basically deferred himself to Indiana if it goes through. I don’t blame him for being upset about being uprooted but you can’t say the man has been what he really could have been for us. And if there’s one thing worse then just plain stinking, it’s being incredibly gifted and not living up to it.

  32. Putting on my David Stern Conspiracy Theory (DSCT)hat, I am going to go with Cavs in seven games. I have been using the DSCT system throughout these playoffs and will use the system to predict a finals victory for the Cavs as David Stern crowns him the king of the NBA. DSCT had the pacific northwest doing well in the draft lottery (dont want them moving to KC). The DSCT has the Houston Rockets (Yao Ming, China = largest growing NBA market) as 2008 favorites.
    vr, Xeifrank

  33. Sorry when I made my last post I hadn’t seen 14/15. If the rumor is true, Artest and O’Neal are pretty huge upgrades in my book. I seem to be one of the few that doesn’t mind headcases at all though. My view is, if Kobe wants him, and Phil’s up for it, Ron’s talent easily compensates for his “attitude” problems. Has anyone been able to find on the Indy Star where they talk about this rumor? I haven’t on their site, seems like if they had insider knowledge of these conference calls they’d share it prominently. Agreed that this leaves our PG and PF positions a little vulnerable, but I do trust Ronny defensively, and with Ron/JO/Kobe it’s not like we’d need him to carry plays offensively.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about, people make a big deal out of Kobe’s no-trade clause, but if you can demand a trade (a la AI) or refuse to go to a city (like Steve Francis) it seems like every (decent) player effectively has one. If Lamar says he doesn’t want to go to Indiana, can’t he kill any trade involving him? Indiana’s not going to replace their unhappy center with an even less happy and less talented forward, are they?

  34. Do we consider JO more of a 4 or a 5? I consider him a 4. That’s why I think including Kwame in any deal for him leaves us too thin down low. I’d be okay letting Lamar and Bynum go (Odom has to be included in any blockbuster because he’s the only tradable big contract we have. And Bynum… give me stars today, not another kid with ‘potential’ please).

    Even without Artest, I’d feel good about a lineup of Luke/Vlad, JO, and Kwame. Mihm and Ronny are solid backups, with Luke running the second unit (If we tell Luke he’s in the second unit, I don’t think he resigns with us, though).

  35. Talking about JO and Artest… what about our PG situation? It wouldn’t upset me if Luke played the point, with Kobe, Vlad, JO/Odom, and Kwame. He’s big and proved early last year he can shoot from deep. He knows the offense, and plays smart at both ends of the court. We could do alot worse.

    free agent PGs: Luke Jackson, Howard Eisley, Billups (unrealistic), Charlie Bell, Mo Williams, Chucky Atkins, Jacque Vaughn, STEVE BLAKE. No one else available can shoot and is over 6 feet tall.

  36. I have to agree that we don’t need a traditional PG with this team. Look at what the Cavs are doing these days. They are taking a page from the old Bulls teams by playing without a PG. Their lineup:

    PG: Larry Hughes
    SG: Sasha Pavlovic
    SF: LeBron James
    PF: Drew Gooden
    C: Z Ilgauskas

    This gives them more athleticism on the floor, better outside shooting, and stronger defense. I think we can play with a similar lineup:

    PG: Walton
    SG: Kobe
    SF: Trade Player (K-Mart/Artest/Battier/Simmons)
    PF: Odom
    C: Bynum

  37. Well DR, the Cavs don’t compete with the likes of Steve Nash and Tony Parker.

  38. Kwame Brown is 6’11” 270, J.O is 6’11” 260. Both are listed as forward-centers. JO is capable of playing both positions. Trading Kwame would not leave us too thin. We would just have to find a stiff to play back up for the 10-15 minutes J.O sits on the bench everynight.

    Deshawn Stevenson shot 40% from three last year is 6-4/6-5 and is known as a good defender. He’s also a free agent. Although not a traditional PG, he would fit the bill for what the Lakers need…

  39. DR: on the offensive side of the ball Luke would be fine, but the problem would come on defense. He cannot defend guards. The Cavs get away with their lineup because Hughes is a good defender that has been matched up against both point guards and shooting guards throughout his career.. He made the all-defensive team in 05.

    And forget about K-Mart, he has had the microfracture procedure on BOTH knees. Plus he needs to play in an uptempo style system to be successful.

    Simmons is coming off of surgery on his foot.

    Why would Houston trade Battier? Dude is the perfect role player for them.

    Artest would be GREAT on the defensive side of the ball and on the boards (for a small forward), but the real question is what would he do on offense. He stops the flow of the offense and takes too many dumb threes. Maybe PJ could get him to change his ways?

  40. Jones, you like Stevenson don’t you. I like his defense, but can he really handle the point if Lamar is not on the team?

  41. To be honest I didn’t get to see Stevenson play too much this year, but just glancing at his numbers I’m skeptical. Playing 30 min a game for the Magic in 05-06 he made only two 3 pointers the entire season. Does anyone know the reason for the jump in attempts between then and this year with the Wizards? As far as the reputation as a defender, this year he allowed an eFG% of 52.5%, 1 percent higher than Smush allowed. Finally, this was his first season ever with more assists than turnovers, barely hitting an A/TO ratio of 1.

    I know numbers aren’t everything, but to be honest he doesn’t look like much of an improvement over Smush. Are we sure his higher 3 pt % isn’t just a factor of Smush having more than a hundred more attempts than he had?

  42. Chopperdave – what site do you use to find defensive eFG%?

  43. As a Pacers fan I’ll tell you that a trade where we send JO and Tinsley for Bynum, Odom, Sasha, and Brown would leave Indy with way too many frontcourt players, potentially 10 with little backcourt help. I think Indy wants a slashing 2 guard type and the closest LA has is Mo Evans. We had a very poor FG% last season because we had no one to keep the D honest. I love JO but he can be defended 1 on 1 in the post so IF LA gets him dont expect him to command doubles too often out West, good thing Kobe can do it. As for Artest… dont do it to yourselves, plz.

  44. Interesting you say that about JO, DVWJR, because I was just thinking the exact same thing.

    Do we really want a player that Tim Duncan can take care of for a potential big man [Baby Bynum] and a player who can absolutely murder the Suns [Lamar] (and possibly the Spurs and Mavs)…not to mention a 1st round pick?

    I don’t see how this would help us get to the finals in the West.

  45. Chopperdave and Kwame: Stevenson has improved a lot since his Magic days. He was calling himself Mr. 50 for much of the year because of his near 50% shooting percentage during the first half of the season. I don’t know about his opp field goal percentage, but I do know from scouts and others I talk to that he is considered a good defensive player. Maybe his opp field goal percentage is high because every team he’s been on has matched his up againt their opponents best guard. I mean, when he was on the Magic, it was him and not T-Mac guarding Kobe. If anything it’s his offense that has always been suspect, and he seems to have gotten that together. On Paper it’s easy to compare Smush to Deshawn. But I’ve watched both play enough to know that their is a major difference between the two, because DeShawn actually plays hard. Smush gambles too much on d and doesn’t give it his all when he is out on the floor. In regards to the point guard question, just watch the Lakers. The triangle offense does not need a playmaking point guard. The offense is initiated by a pass, not a dribble and triangle point guards are rarely given an opportunity to play make in the traditional sense. I mean, were Ron Harper, BJ Armstrong, Derek Fisher, or John Paxson play makers? Not really. If anything they were either spot up shooters, defensive specialists, or a little bit of both. People often don’t realize this, but Stevenson came into the league out of high school and hasn’t really had the opportunity to play a lot of minutes. So it’s taken him a little bit more time to get confidence in himself. In the right situation he could do well. He’s not a guy that is going to take over games or take guys to the cup one on one. The reason he was successful last year is that he was playing next to Gilbert, Caron, and Antawn, meaning he often found himself wide open for spot up threes. I don’t think he’s ever been in a situation like that before in his career. I mean, he never really got minutes on a good team, and was probably in situations where people expected more of him than what he could actually do. But I’m confident that if he’s just being asked to nail open jump shots and defend, he can do it. And don’t forget, Farmar is going to be ready for next season. I know that for a fact. He’s probably in the gym working on his game right now. So if they bring someone in, it’s not like we are going to need them to play more than 20-25 min per night…

  46. I remember watching one of the Lakers/Clippers games this year and I was watching it on Channel 5. Just for a change of pace. I remember one sequence where Lamar was indecisive and the shot clock expired and Ralph Lawler said “Same old Lamar”.

    If Lamar id depressed or angry about being traded he has no one to blame but himself. He had 3 years to prove his worth.

    The Lakers need a REAL #2 scorer next to Kobe. One that you can write in the box score 20-10 before the game even starts, and Lamar isn’ that.

    JO is.

  47. 42) I got that from 82games, which in fairness also points out that Smush’s opp production was 17.9 while Stevensen’s was a much more reasonable 14.7, so take that for what it’s worth. Jones is probably right that you can’t look too much into the eFG% allowed because a lot of it depends on defensive assignments as well as team defense. For example, everyone on the Spurs has pretty great eFG allowed numbers partly because it’s so hard to score on them as a team. And I agree that our point doesn’t need to be a traditional playmaker, but obviously I’d prefer if he was someone with solid ball-handling.

    Truthfully, I’m not as opposed to the idea of DeShawn as much as I may have come across in the previous post, just a little skeptical (especially after seeing only 2 threes made during all of the previous season). Most of what I do know about him I’ve heard from DC Sports Bog and he does sound like a fun guy to have in the locker room. If he brought the “I can’t feel my face” to L.A. I admit I’d be kinda excited.
    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/04/06/deshawn-stevenson-printed-up-3000-i-cant-feel-my-face-t-shirt/

  48. “He takes forced shots and holds the ball too long, he’d be a terrible fit offensivley for this team.”

    -kwame a.

    Huh, that sound like someone who already plays for us, but i can’t think of his name, darn!

    Muddywood,

    well that may be true, but for as much as you can’t “count” on lamar, you can count on Jermaine missing 20 games give or take.

    How would we do then, who would be the second otion for about a quarter of the games we play? You know with our team being gutted by this asinine trade!

    for me trading kobe is the only option at this point, we could actually build a team, by just trading him alone.

    I would suggest trading the mamba to atlanta for the third pick, joe johnson, and josh smith. We could use the pick on either corey brewer or mike connelly, either would suffice.

    Plus, kobe would still be on a pretty competitve team, and they still have second lottery pick.

    This is the direction i would prefer the lakers to take.

  49. Buss is not going to trade Kobe. Kobe is a star. Kobe has the best selling jersey in the world and that generates a lot of income for Buss.
    LA basketball is star driven. Watching a star play is the only way that people will pay ridiculous amounts of money for courtside seats.
    Once upon a time Buss had 2 stars. And one was older and starting to break down so Buss traded one of his two stars. But he’s not going to trade Kobe and be left with no stars.

  50. Sigh, so many Laker fans underestimate Kobe Bryant.

  51. underestimate him how?

  52. That was directed at 48.

  53. 48. Among the flaws with your Kobe trade scenario, Kobe has a no trade clause. Basically, he has to approve any deal to move him. Think he wants to go to Atlanta to be part of a worse-off rebuilding project in a smaller market?

  54. 48- Don’t be silly, we’re not trading Kobe. You don’t trade the best player in the world when he’s in his prime.

  55. what are those flaws, we would actually be building a team!

    despite the greatness of the mamba, he’s really not figured out how to play with a team. He holds the ball on offense for 10 second streches, he takes ill advised shots, he dribbles entirely too much, and either passes too much or shoots to much. Oh, and his complete lack of dedication to defense this year wasn’t that forgivable either

    as far a kobe being in worse situation, well not exactly, and he said he wanted to leave, no matter where he may go. Well that may be rhetoric, but ultimately if he wants to go, then he wants to go.

    the atlanta hawks next year with kobe bryant.

    pg: tyrone lue, royal ivy
    sg: kobe bryant, josh childress
    sf: marvin willams, slava medvedenko
    pf:shelden williams, jokim noah
    c: zaza pachulia, who ever may be availble ( they have some cap room i believe)

    that team could really make some noise in the eastern conference next year.

    the lakers without kobe:

    pg:lamar odom, jordan farmar, shammond williams
    sg: joe johnson, maurice evans, sasha vujcic
    sf: corey brewer, luke walton
    pf: josh smith, ronny turiaf, glen davis
    c: Andrew bynum, kwame brown

    that could be a recreation of a modern day showtime. Maybe nowhere near as good, but a heck of a lot more entertaining then watching the mamba do his thing. And afterall this still is just entertainment

  56. I would like to seekurt rambis coach that team. With kobe gone, i’m sure jackson would leave.

    And with rambis the onus would be on defense, much like we saw out of training camp last year. With a more wide open triangle offense, and a more up and down approach; now quite the suns pace, but some running none the less.

  57. the lakers are more than about kobe bryant, and he should realize this!

  58. warren (philippines) June 6, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Right now, at this very moment, Kobe is the Lakers. Many might disagree, esp Adam Kiley but I do think we have to give the “trade Kobe” a rest.

    My mind has been around the NBA shopping for a PG who can play defense and knock the three. I also recall the Bulls being loaded with BJ Armstrong, John Paxson and Craig Hodges. Then the next set of Bulls were Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper. As did the Lakers, Derek Fisher, Rob Horry, Rick Fox, Ron Harper.

    So why not Eddie Jones? I just woke up one morning and thought of it. The stats do not show it but he is, a decent defender and shooter and a veteran rolled into one. He might come in for 2M per as part of our MLE and do some damage sharing time with Farmar. Lets say 24 mins apiece. Plus he is vital in the clutch. When Kobe and JO draws doubles, Eddie Jones can be the 3rd option for us.

    Thoughts?

  59. warren (philippines) June 6, 2007 at 1:34 am

    If we can, in any way facilitate a 3-team deal w/ Seattle or Sacramento and Houston, Battier would come in handy.

    Perhaps sending Rashard Lewis to Houston, Lakers getting Battier and Seattle getting Howard, Walton and the #19 and #26.

    Or Mike Bibby to Houston, LA gets Battier, and Sacto gets Alston and Walton and the #19 and #26.

    Eddie Jones
    Kobe Bryant
    Shane Battier
    Jermaine Oneal
    Chris Mihm (if healthy)

    JO can slide to 5 as Turiaf comes in for Mihm to play 4.
    Its just some sort of random thought.

  60. Haha, embarrassed, earlier when I talked about Stevenson’s A/TO I was entirely wrong, I had been looking at TOT (rebounding) and not TO. No wonder I thought ball-handling was in issue. Scratch that entirely. Sorry bout hating on your great idea Jones.

  61. Cavs in Six, anyway, the Kidd to LA deal stil can be done

  62. Indiana needs cap space and young talent. Here’s my offer:

    Kwame (expiring contract), Luke (sign and trade, one year deal), Farmar. Advantage for Indiana. They can play a season with Kwame at center, dump his contract and go after KG next season.

  63. No prob Chopperdave…Can someone get me a GM job so I don’t have to go to law school?

  64. warren, I loved Eddie Jones when he was here the first time (especially Chick constantly confusing him and Kobe… *sigh*)
    but we traded him because he was too inconsitant from 3.

    55. If we can’t avoid trading Kobe, that is a much better deal than anything else I’ve heard. I just hope it doesn’t come to that…

    People who complain about kobe need to remember, replace our team with ANY all-star 2 guard, and we are not a playoff team… To go further, replace him during the Shaq years… we don’t win a single championship. I firmly believe this, and for thisreason alone…

    HE’S THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE, BY FAR!!!!!!!!

  65. Right on, Rico.

  66. To be sure for a myriad of reasons,we don’t have an option of letting Kobe go with the major one being financial…But seeing Jones’s post reminded me of another proposal that he’s put up a while back..Wat abt Chris Duhon for the PG spot?? Guy’s 6’3..Can shoot..Defends adequately well..He may well be this Laker team’s Dfish…And have completely given up on getting Garnett??? And lets not automatically assume tat JO is gonna be the low block saviour we need..He’s expressed a very clear desire to move out of the post and DEVELOP a mid range game..That is Lamar’s present role in the Triangle and O’Neal doesn’t have near the passing and ball handling skills that Lamar has..Which totally messes up the Triangle cos in the absence of a dominating low post presence/skilled passer (a la Shaq) the Triple Post is most effective when the guy at the pinch post can handle the rock effectively whilst making a read of the defense and delivering a well timed entry pass..And with kobe occupying the scorer role in the Triangle,I jus can’t see who the “initiator” is going to be if we trade Lamar..

  67. I still think Duhon would be a great fit, but that would require us to trade for him…

  68. How bout Janerro Pargo, he played very well in Chris Paul’s absence, has triangle experience, is lightning fast and can shoot the ball very well. I would give him a part of the MLE and try to give the rest to PJ Brown.

  69. hey Jones or Kurt or whoever understands the arcane rules of the CBA and the Salary Cap,answer me this…
    1)Can we sign any free agent,even if it means exceeding the cap and paying the luxury tax??
    2)I heard that the “salaries matching to 125% ” rule for trading comes to an end from July 1..Is that true?? If so,doesn’t that put extra pressure on Kupchak to cut a deal right now??
    2)How many ways can we split the MLE??
    And finally if we are committed to getting Jermaine for Lamar,where do v go with regards to the Triangle..Cos it’s not gonna be at peak efficiency with JO in it due to the reasons I outlined above..I still maintain that after Kobe that the Triangle is the most important part of our overall setup… PS:Pls pls shell out some serious cash for JVG as our defensive coach…If he can make a team having Skip To My Lou at 1 one of the the best defensive units in the NBA,he’s damn well good enough for us……

  70. Kwame A: I like your Pargo/PJ Brown Idea too.

    Anand:

    1) Whether or not a team wants to pay the luxury tax is up to them. I mean, if you can afford to pay it, than there really is no concerned. But because the Lakers are over the cap, the only way they can sign a free agent is through the midlevel exception

    2) The 125% rule is a part of this collective bargaining agreement and will be there at least until the next one is negotiated.

    3) The mid-level may be given to multiple players, but remember, that there are minimum salary requirements based on how many years a player has been in the league. And the full mid-level is the average salary around the league. So you aren’t going to find a bunch of worthwhile players willing to sign for half or a third of that allocation.

    4) The Lakers will still likely have Luke Walton, so even if Lamar goes (which I’m against), they still would have someone to fill that role for them. I really would like to see the Lakers figure out a way to use Bynum, their pick, and the expiring contract of kwame, a re-signed mihm for one guaranteed season, and chash to get a big man while still keeping Odom.

    Lamar Odom isn’t a big time scorer, but he does so many other things well like Rebound, Defend, Hustle, Pass, Initiate the offense. People forget that he played basically the entire second half of the season injured. I don’t think the Lakers should be so quick to give him up…thats all…

  71. Outside of the Mid-Level, the Lakers can also sign anyone they want to the league minimum.

  72. 69. Jones answered the Cap questions before I could respond, but in part to #4:

    The Lakers are not going away from the triangle. This is the offense Phil is comfortable with and won nine titles with, JO or anyone else that comes in will have to fit to that box. It can work fine, it’s pretty flexible (at least in Tex’s design). I still feel that teams that change systems — rather than get players to fit their systems — are the ones that struggle to get better.

  73. Julius Hodge would be a good guy to take a chance on with the league minimum…he was the 20th pick in the 05 draft, but fell off because he was shot at a night club in denver his rookie year…During the 2005 my friend that is a scout was pissed that his team didn’t select Hodge. Then again Hodge is also probably pissed, because if he didn’t go to Denver, he probably would have never been shot. If you only have to give him a few hundred thousand and a non-guaranteed contract, it’s definitely worth a shot. I mean he’s 6’6″ with the ability to play the point guard position. Might be PJ’s kind of guy. They should try to bring him in and put him on their summer league team…

  74. Re: #14

    This “rumor” really makes Kurt’s point. The Star story actually says merely that: a) conversations between the Lakers & Pacers have been widely reported; and then goes on to b) propose two trades that would work under the cap, one of which is the one Hacksaw describes.

    In other words, the story doesn’t even confirm actual talks, let alone report on a proposed deal.

    (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070602/SPORTS04/706020475/1062/SPORTS04)

  75. thats a great idea nate jones. I remember watching him at nc state, a real verstile guy who plays with passion.

    I also would like to see the lakers take a look at deshawn, like you had mentioned, but i’m not sure he will want to leave washington.

  76. It is refreshing that there is a Laker forum out there that (1) seeks to be realistic, and (2) largely avoids nauseating i.m.slang. Tired of reading: “Radman + 2nd round 4 Artest what u think!!!!?” . . . .

    On the Oneal trade. It is inevitable and both Odom and Bynum will be included. Mitch’s job hangs on his ability to bring Kobe immediate help, and Oneal is the only “star” available. A few thoughts:

    While giving both Odom and Bynum (in addition the filler needed for cap purposes) is “overpaying” in terms of overall talent swapped, I do believe the trade results in an improved team. Odom and Oneal are fairly equal players. Odom is a mildly superior offensive player with his ability to both score and playmake (and Oneal is a very inefficient post scorer), and a great team defender. But, Oneal is a far superior interior defender and finisher.

    The Lakers need Oneal’s virtues far more than they need Odom’s. The team was ranked 5th in points per game last season, but 25th in points allowed. Every great defensive team is anchored around interior defense — if you can take away close, high % shots, you force teams to shoot a low %, eat up the shot clock, force turnovers, etc. If you watched more than a handful of Laker games this year, you know the Lakers probably had the single worst combination of point guard and center defense in the league. Every opposing point guard penetrated at will and the Lakers big men were unable to effectively cover (Kwame, Turiaf, and Bynum are okay defenders in their own ways, but they foul at an alarming rate and make poor decisions). So, the Lakers were incapable of getting consistent stops and gave up layup after layup all season long.

    Oneal, by himself, would go a long ways towards solving this problem. He is the second best interior defender in the league (after Duncan). No other big man has his combination of length, strength, agility, footwork, shotblocking, and intelligence. He can defend on the ball and is an elite help shot blocker. Others like Camby, Garnett, and Ben Wallace do some of these things well; but only Oneal and Duncan excel at all of them. On 82games, Oneal was second in the league in “points saved” (one of the more accurate defensive statistics) and had a huge defensive +/-. After looking at various stats, Hollinger of espn picked him as the defensive player of the year.

    Odom’s main asset is often wasted with the Lakers. He is goot at many things, but he really excels with the ball in his hands. He creates so many matchup problems and has so many offensive skills, that he needs the ball in his hands to reach his full potential. With Kobe needing the ball and the Lakers running the ball movement triangle offense, Odom simply spends too much time standing around to be maximally effective.

    On offense, the Lakers are a very, very good (5th in points, great shooting and assist #’s). And, Oneal might also improve their offensive efficiency. Kobe and Walton create numerous scoring chances for Laker big men, but these opportunities have largely been wasted this year as Kwame/Bynum/Turiaf are too raw. Oneal is a finisher and could better capitalize on Kobe and Walton’s passes. When he doesn’t havethe ball, Odom is usually standing around on the perimeter.

    So, while trading Odom and Bynum for Oneal is overpaying in abstract talent, I think it would improve the team. Oneal fits a glaring need on defense and would balance out the offense. His shooting percentages would likely imrprove on a team where he is the second option.

    And, if the Lakers added Artest with Oneal, they would be a true contender, but a huge injury/chemistry risk. The ’04 Oneal/Artest Pacers won 61 games and held opposing teams to a league best 85 points/game. Add Kobe’s scoring and defense, and the team would be a top 5 offensive AND defensive team. But, at the risk of imploding at any moment. I hope they go “all in,” bring in Oneal and Artest, become a dominant defensive team, and become relevant again.

  77. Reed, great thoughts and well said. Welcome.

    I think you’re right, bringing in O’Neal (who may be inefficient but is a credible threat in the post) plus using the MLE on someone who can defend PGs a little (Steve Blake?) would make the Lakers a lot better just by improving the D. Odom and Bynum may ultimately be the price for JO, but if I’m the Lakers I work hard to lowball that for now. It’s a negotiation, start low. (I have an upcoming post about how Kobe’s rant made that position much harder to maintain.)

    Also, I’m not sure O’Neal wants to play with Artest again.

  78. sorry for the length of this post. Just some thought i wanted to convey.

    Yes, but the problem wasn’t with the post-help defens, it’s the perimeter that is the issue. If the lakers could improve the 1 and three spot, they’d be much improved from the start. Not to mention, the mamba’s porous excuse for defense these days’s!

    Oh, and maybe the mamba could be less dependent on his need to have the ball, and play off more, you know since he’s a proficient shooter and a shooting guard. That would be an incredible sign of leadership on his part, allowing for other players to play to their strengths; like you mentioned odom, for instance.

    I believe a lot more problems could be solved, by simply trading bryant. With all players the lakers would garnish in such a trade; it makes too much sense not to.

    By the way, that’s how you play basketball. Great job san antonio! Way to move the ball around, unlike certain superstars (kobe, lebron, and A.I.) I can’t stand ball stoppers (talk about bad for a motion based offense, don’t you love seeing the mamba dribble 12 seconds off the clock)! The spurs, still rusty from their layoff, put on a clinic on how to play basketball, and we call them boring. Not me, i really enjoy watching the bulls and spurs of the nba.

    the mamba could take a tip or two from Mr. Duncan!

    p.s. did you just say “add kobe’s scoring and defense” was that meant to be a joke?

  79. Thanks for answering my questions Kurt and Jones…To be sure,we do have a gaping hole at the 1 and the 5,but don’t u guys think a team-wide re-focussing on defense would have a more positive effect on team defense?? Atleast on offense you can get away with a Kobe isolation over and over again..But defense is more a function of team wide communication and an attitude of helping out one another by switching and picking up guys and generally being interested in playing D…..

  80. First, any suggestion that Kobe should learn to play without the ball is silly. Largely because of him, the Lakers are one of the very best offensive teams in the league. Last season they were: 5th in points, 6th in fg%, 6th in assists, 5th in threes, 8th in ft’s per game, etc. Kobe’s ability to score and create open shots for others is the primary reason for this. Taking the ball out of his hands and putting it more into Odom’s would seriously undercut this. Kobe was 5th in the league in player efficiency rating (which primarily measures how efficient a player is at creating points per possession); if rebounds were taken out of the equation he would be top 3. Odom was 89th. While I think that misstates Odom’s offensive abilities, the point is that Kobe is a vastly superior and more efficient offensive player. The team should run the offense through him on almost every possession — so long as they do, they will be a top offensive team.

    My point was that because Odom in many ways is just a less efficient version of Kobe (on offense), it is redundant to have him. The Lakers would be far better to trade him for an interior defensive force that could generate consistent stops. It is no mistake that the two teams in the finals are both top 5 defensive teams and have strong interior defenders/rebounders (duncan/oberto/elson; varejo/gooden/ilgauskus). If the Lakers ever want to win the playoffs, they must become a dominant defensive team and that starts in the paint. Oneal would provide this. It would be much easier to find a good defensive point guard with the midlevel than a dominant interior defender — they are too rare and expensive.

    Finally, I think the triangle offense would run better with Oneal than Odom, even though I think Odom is a little better offensive player. The triangle works best when the big men are skilled passers, scorers, and finishers. Kwame is the anti-triangle big man. Having a good post scorer would open up the weak side of the triangle for kobe and provide a better finisher for when kobe and walton create open shots (which they are so good at for laker big men).

    So, while I desperately hope they can get Oneal without giving both Odom and Bynum (a core of Kobe, Odom, and Oneal would be a dream), I don’t think it is possible. And, while including both would be overpaying in overall talent, I still think it leads to a much improved team.

  81. thank you for your response, we can agree to disagree!

  82. Wow, I agree with everything you just said, Reed…I still would like to be able to keep Lamar because I think he and O’neal together would make the Lakers great on the boards and on interior and pick and roll d. However, if the cost to get O’neal and his great defensive pressence is Odom and Bynum, so be it…But not the 19th pick as well. But also, I’m with Kurt on trying to play hard ball. Just don’t give up Odom that easily without putting up a fight.

    Maybe we can use Kwame’s contract and the 19th pick to get a better shooting, better defending PG?

  83. Another argument could be that kobe is much more unguardble playing off the ball, despite how effective he may be with it in his hands. Though he may be doubled off the ball as well, that will only create more opportunities for others. And not only that, but when kobe runs the offense, the ball tends to stop moving around; there’s just too much dribbling, and it’s clear that players just tend to stand still! However, when he is a finisher, the ball tends to move quite a bit; as we all saw at the beginning of last year, which was catalyst to their early success.

    Despite the efficiency kobe possesses, in terms of stats and tangibles. In my opinion him facilitating the offense is a hinderance on the team’s success, as we saw in the phoenix series this season. (kobe shot the team out of games 4, 5, and the end of game 1)

    Teams that move the ball around: like the spurs, jazz, and bulls are not only more entertaining, but much more effective in the long term, and not the short (mamba’s 5 game outburst)!

  84. I’m going to be a complete heretic and say the Lakers should not let Kobe and/or the “fans” panic them into making a trade for a Superstar. There is not a player in the league-except maybe Duncan-that can team w/Kobe and what’s left after the trade and vault the Lakers past Phoenix,Dallas and San Antonio. Why gut the team to max out in a second rd exit when staying the course could result in another run?

    Heresy 2. Mitch is doing a much better job than most credit him w/. Coming off the Shaq trade LA had a SG,a SF and a tweener SF/PF and not much else. He has drafted a potential starting PG and C,and thinking Lamar would be a SF took a chance on a talented-but potentially flawed PF-who didn’t have a killer 4/5/6/yrs left on his contract.(Note how Kobe’s choice for GM was willing to trade for a similarly talented but flawed PF he’d earlier let walk.)If Walton re-signs,there is the nucleus of a strong bench w/the steadying hand of Walton,an energy PF,and a long-range sniper.
    Assuming Odom is the PF,the only starter needed long-term is a SF in the Bowen/Prince/Howard/Patterson/Artest mold-a strong defender who rebounds and can hit the open 3.

    I suggest instead of forfeiting a possible glowing future for meaningless instant gratification,use this yr to groom Bynum and Farmar and try to get this yr or next the SF. Use the MLE on Stevenson-or as little as possible on Patterson,or try and pry Ross from Clips(who by the way was undrafted-this is where the scouting dept has to come up big in identifying a player who can be the stopper.) Use whatever combo of Sasha,Evans,Cook it takes to get a vet PG in to mentor Farmar. Sign Darryl Armstrong to the vet min for his lockerroom leadership and his willingness to call out his team’s stars-in private.) Bynum doesn’t have to start,but he does have to get 25-30 min every night,and Farmar should be getting 15-20. By the trading deadline the Lakers should know if Bynum can be a stud C,if Farmar has shown he can run the team. If not,then panic and try and rebuid on the fly.

  85. Face it… it’s purple.

  86. Dudes!!! Lakers should go after Krilenko. That guy does just not fit on the Jazz anymore….He does not get enought minutes to play up to his potential…The Lakers could steal him. Think of the D with Krilenko and Kobe!!! Come on management…..do something….soon!!!!!!! KRILENKO!!!!!!!

  87. well said, finally a good report on this stuff