Game One Thoughts (and more)

Kurt —  June 9, 2007

• I haven’t watched every one of their games the last three weeks, but I haven’t seen a lot of brilliant adjustments through the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’m curious to see what they do different in game two. Or, do they think it was just a fluke the shots didn’t fall and they are on the right path?

• Folks, that is how you defend the pick and roll. The Spurs did a great job having their big (and each of the bigs, even Horry, got their chance) hedge out on LeBron when he came off the screen, taking away his quick turns to the basket. When Bowen recovered, he stayed a few steps off and dared LeBron to beat him with the jumper. Right out of the textbook.

• LeBron and other Cavs did get some chances inside but seem bothered not getting off uncontested shots, the length of San Antonio really got to them. Gibson did well but he pulled up a lot rather than drive the lane — that guy can just plain shoot, too.

• Let me joint the chorus: Gibson needs more minutes.

• I like Cleveland’s Sasha more than I like the Lakers’.

• Great post over at True Hoop talking about the little things the Spurs do well, about their basketball IQ.

• When fans of the New York Knicks or Chicago Cubs or Green Bay Packers keep supporting struggling teams, they are lauded as “loyal, true sports fans.” When Laker fans renew season tickets at a high rate despite a less than stellar season, media members looking for an easy column/radio topic call the fans fools.

• Shammond Williams is close to signing to play with Pamesa Valencia of Spain (via Hoopshype). Maybe he wants a close up view of the America’s Cup (starting June 23 off the coast of Valencia). I hope it is a good move for him.

• Happy Birithday to my daughter Sasha, who turns 3 this weekend. (And no, we named her Sasha months before the Lakers drafted Sasha, that is a coincidence.) Big party this weekend (although, for those that didn’t already figure this out, 3-year-old parties are a little different than the ones you go to; well, save for that they both have greesy pizza).

Kurt

Posts

43 responses to Game One Thoughts (and more)

  1. Subject: OPEN LETTER TO KOBE BRYANT: PLEASE STAY

    I wrote this in italian not only because it’s my mother tongue and i’m italian but cause i know kobe himself has an “italian heart”… so i just want to talk to him that way. Anyway there’s an english version below. I hope he can read this… who knows… I’d like him to read this in italian…

    LETTERA APERTA A KOBE: PER FAVORE RESTA!

    Caro Kobe,

    chi ti scrive è un tuo grande tifoso… chissà forse uno dei più sfegatati che hai in Italia! Abbiamo una cosa in comune… sono cresciuto nella zona di reggio calabria, ho solo 3 anni più di te ed ovviamente tifo anche per la Viola Reggio Calabria che è stata la squadra del tuo papà… se non sbaglio fece addirittura qualcosa come 69 punti una volta! Amo il basket tantissimo… proprio come te e chissà forse ti ho anche visto una di quelle volte che mio padre mi ha portato a vedere la viola… nei miei ricordi c’è un bambino che giocava sul parquet all’intervallo… chissà forse eri tu. Prima di diventare un tuo tifoso mi sono innamorato dei nostri “amati” lakers!!! Il basket mi piaceva già molto e guardavo le partite della nazionale… ma quando scoprii per caso tramite un gioco per computer “lakers vs. celtics” il basket NBA ne rimasi folgorato ed ovviamente come te del resto… rimasi affascinato dal grande Magic Johnson ed i suoi showtime lakers! Purtroppo quando ho cominciato a seguire l’NBA… allora facevano solo 1 partita a settimana in italia… avevo 15 anni… era già l’autunno del 1991 e mentre aspettavo con ansia di poter seguire per la prima volta i lakers e magic giocare… ci fu l’annuncio al mondo della sieropositività di magic… inutile dirti che mi spezzò il cuore come credo a tanti altri appassionati di basket e tifosi dei lakers. Ma per me fu devastante in quanto riuscii a vedere solo le sue due ultime preseason games del mcdonald’s open di parigi. E’ stata dura vedere i lakers stentare… per 9 lunghi anni da allora fino a che siete arrivati tu e shaq e nel 2000 siamo tornati a vincere. Il grande Jerry West aveva colpito ancora! Grazie davvero per le emozioni che ci avete dato… che squadra formidabile… ricordo ancora le emozioni di gara 7 con Portland (meno male che ero giovane… altrimenti mi veniva un attacco di cuore… ho pianto davvero tanto), gara 5 con i kings ed il titolo con i pacers! L’anno dopo il dominio più assoluto… 1 sola sconfitta in tutti i playoffs! Ed infine il 3peat sbancando l’Arco Arena in gara 7 ed il miracolo di big shot rob in gara 4! Aggiungiamoci anche 0.4 Fisher con San Antonio… anche se poi fu sconfitta con Detroit quell’anno! Quante gioie e sofferenze condivise “with you guys”! E pensa che siccome qui in Italia non fanno ancora tutti i playoff… per stare con voi… mi alzavo spesso alle 4.30 di notte per ascoltare la partita alla radio via internet. Ora non voglio entrare in quel che è successo dopo quella rovinosa sconfitta… si è parlato tanto e anche a sproposito! E sicuramente è stato ingiusto dare la colpa a te della trade di shaq. Quel che ti voglio raccontare è come anch’io… nel mio piccolo di tifoso ho vissuto questi ultimi 3 anni difficili. Sai… c’era una cosa che nei successi del 3peat non mi dava gioia… era quando ti vedevo non completamente felice! Da quando ti ho visto segnare il tuo primo punto NBA con un tiro libero al Madison Square Garden mi sono accorto che c’era qualcosa di speciale in te… e quando ho capito che potenzialmente eri già a 19-20 anni il miglior giocatore del pianeta ero così felice di averti proprio nella “mia” squadra, nella “nostra” squadra: I LOS ANGELES LAKERS!!! Ma quando ti vedevo sempre costretto a far da “spalla” come hai detto tu… a Shaq… (che per carità meritava tutti i riconoscimenti individuali che ha avuto… è stato davvero un giocatore sensazionale!), quando vedevo che Phil, i media, ti criticavano oltremisura… soffrivo perchè sapevo che dentro di te soffrivi anche tu perchè il tuo spirito competitivo, la tua voglia di affermarti e diventare il giocatore n.1 al mondo e di tutti i tempi non venivano capite e riconosciute. Non so forse… sono un pò di parte ma per me sarai sempre il mio giocatore preferito ed n.1 di tutti i tempi!!! E credo che ci sia qualche altro milione di persone che la pensa come me! Ne hai passate tante, questi 3 anni sono stati durissimi. Hai ragione… sono frustratissimo anch’io per i mancati arrivi di Baron Davis, Ron Artest, Jason Kidd e Carlos Boozer! Eppure quest’anno sembravamo giocare cosi bene fino a Febbraio… si diceva che eravamo 1 player away… no? Forse ci siamo sopravvalutati… forse gli infortuni ci hanno tagliato le gambe… non so… sicuramente tu ne sai più di me! Anch’io non vedo l’ora che il management dei lakers faccia qualcosa per migliorare la squadra. E se ti hanno ingannato dicendoti una cosa e facendo un’altra perseguendo il long-term plan… beh hai pienamente ragione ad esserti cosi arrabbiato!! La prima cosa è la fiducia… e ti capisco per essere esploso quando hai letto che un laker “insider” dava la colpa a te… (credimi mi si è gelato il sangue anche a me leggendo quell’articolo)!! Di sicuro devono riguadagnare la tua fiducia. Di sicuro meriti più rispetto… e i lakers devono rendersene conto e soprattutto come dici giustamente tu… it’s all about winning!!! Certo svendere Odom e Bynum per avere Jermaine O’Neal non so quanto ci migliorerebbe… dare due giocatori per uno… è sempre pericoloso! Non sarà facile costruire da subito una squadra da titolo ma sono sicuro che Mitch, Jerry, Jim e Ronny ce la stanno mettendo tutta per riuscirci. Ma una cosa voglia dirti dal cuore: TU SEI I LAKERS, I LAKERS SONO LA TUA FAMIGLIA ed hanno bisogno di te!
    Sai… lavoro come insegnante in una scuola superiore e come te, devo avere molta pazienza e lavorare molto duramente per raggiungere i miei obiettivi… cercando di aiutare i miei studenti a migliorare, apprendere, sviluppare uno spirito critico che li possa aiutare a sviluppare il proprio progetto di vita. Mi piace paragonare la scuola ad una nave, ogni insegnante ha tante navi quante sono le classi che gli vengono date, questa nave si trova in mezzo al mare e non si può riportare in porto per ripararne le parti malfunzionanti. Quel che l’insegnante può fare è salire su quella nave in mezzo al mare e cercare di guidarla verso nuovi e migliori orizzonti. So che questo è quello che tu hai fatto in questi tre anni con i lakers… e ho molto apprezzato la tua serenità e la tua naturale capacità di essere leader positivo… spero solo che tu possa ancora saltare sulla nave dei lakers che ora si trova in un mare in piena tempesta dalla quale forse solo tu puoi aiutare i lakers ad uscire.
    Ovviamente rispetto qualsiasi decisione prenderai… Sai… già nel 2004 durante la tua free agency ho temuto tanto che te ne potessi andare… e l’avrei capito ed accettato anche se mi avrebbe fatto male… sei l’unico giocatore per cui forse non potrei non continuare a tifare anche se andasse via dai nostri amati lakers! Sono sicuro che come allora ascolterai il tuo cuore e prenderai la decisione giusta per il tuo futuro. Non posso che sperare che sia ancora in purple & gold.

    Ti voglio tanto bene,

    Giopurple un tuo tifoso dalla tua adorata italia.

    OPEN LETTER TO KOBE BRYANT: PLEASE STAY!

    Dear Kobe,

    who’s writing is a big fan of yours, maybe one of the biggest you have in Italy. I guess we share something since I grew up in the area of Reggio Calabria, i’m just 3 years older than you are and obviously I’m a fan of the local team Viola Reggio Calabria, which was your father’s team… (I guess he posted a record breaking 69 points in one game)! I love basketball so much… just like you and maybe I even saw you in person one of the times my father took me to viola games and I remember the son of a player playing on the court during halftime… maybe that was you! Before becoming a fan of yours I fell in love with “our” beloved lakers!!! I already loved basketball and I watched italian national team games… but when I discovered NBA basketball thanks to a computer games named “lakers vs. celtics” I was so amazed and fascinated… (just like you) by the great Magic Johnson and his “showtime lakers”! Unfortunately when I started following NBA basketball… they would just broadcast a game a week in italy… I was 15 yo and it was the autumn of 1991! While I was looking forward to see my first laker game and see the great Magic play for the first time… I was stunned by his announcement of having tested positive to HIV virus and consequent retirement from basketball! I don’t need to tell you how heartbreaking and painful that was for me… as I guess any laker and basketball fan felt almost the same way! But for me it was a devastating blow… since I just succeeded in watching Magic’s last 2 preseason games at the mcdonald’s open in Paris. It was very hard watching the lakers stumble and play poor basketball during those long 6 years but finally when you and shaq came we got back to be a championship team in 2000. The great Jerry West struck again!! Thank you for the great moments and emotions you gave to us fans all over the world… what a great team… I still remember the unbelievable emotions of game 7 vs. Portland (hopefully I was young enough… I really risked an heart attack… and cried a lot), game 5 that same year vs. the kings and the title vs. the pacers! The following year… the total domination with just one loss in the entire playoffs! And finally the 3peat winning that dramatic game 7 in Arco Arena and the miracle of Big Shot Rob in game 4! Let’s add even Fisher’s famous 0.4 shot with San antonio even if that year ended with a loss to Detroit in the finals! How many joyful and dramatic moments we lakers fan share “with you guys”!!
    Since here in Italy they just just broadcast a few playoff games i usually got up at 4.30 a.m to listen the game on radio via internet and be next to you guys! Now I don’t want to get into what happened after that bad and unlucky loss with Detroit… a lot of people talked… and probably they talked with too much and being unfair and unjust… especially to you! It was a shame to put the blame on you for the shaq trade! But what I want to tell you is how, in my heart of a far, little, laker fan, I live these last difficult 3 years. You know… there’s one thing in the big success of the 3peat that didn’t make me happy… That was when I saw you weren’t completely happy!
    Since I saw you score your first NBA point with a free throw in Madison Square Garden I felt there was something special in you… and when I realized that based on potential you already were at 19-20 the best player on the planet I was so happy to have you just in “my” team, in “our” team: The Los Angeles Lakers!!! But when I saw you obliged to be, as you once said, Shaq’s sidekick (not to take anything away from Shaq who deserverd all the individual accomplishments he got… he really was a sensational player!), when I saw Phil and the media blaming and criticizing you beyond any reasonable limit… I suffered because I knew you suffered as well in your heart because your competitive spirit, and your will to become the n.1 player in the world and the best in all times weren’t always recognized and fully understood. I don’t know… maybe as a big fan of yours I’m biased… but to me you will always my favourite player and the best of all times!! And I guess something like a million other people feel the same way I do!
    During these tough 3 years you went through a lot. You’re right… I’m so frustrated as well for the lakers missing on the possible arrivals of Baron Davis, Ron Artest, Jason Kidd and Carlos Boozer! We looked so good and were playing so well this year up to February… everybody was saying we were one player away from contending… Maybe we overrated the team… maybe injuries had their part and took their toll… I don’t know… you surely know more than I do! I do look forward as well for the laker management to step up and make the necessary changes to improve the team. And if they misled you saying one thing to you about winning now and then embarking on a long-term plan… you’re quite right for being furious!! First thing in a family is Trust… and I really understand you exploded after reading that a laker insider blamed you and said it was your fault! (believe me… I was really stunned and felt so bad… like… feeling ice in my veins when I first read that article!!). Obviously they have to regain your trust… and that doesn’t come easy! You deserve more respect for sure… and the lakers need to understand that and beyond that as you say… they have to realize it’s all about winning now rather than later! I don’t know if overpaying trading 2 good players like Odom and Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal would improve us a lot… giving 2 good players for one is quite dangerous… but it’s not up to me to evaluate. I guess it won’t be easy to build a title contender right away… but I’m sure Mitch, Jerry, Jim and Ronny are doing their best to make it happen. But I just want to tell you one thing from my heart: YOU ARE THE LAKERS, THE LAKERS ARE YOUR FAMILY and they NEED YOU! You know… I work as a teacher in high school and as a teacher I need to be patient and work very hard to achieve my goals… and possibly help my students improve, learn and support them to develop their own life plan. I like to compare a school-class to a ship… a ship that is right in the middle of the sea… and you can’t just take the ship back to the port and fix all the malfunctioning parts… the only thing you can do is jump on that ship in the middle of the sea and try to lead that the best way you can towards better horizons. I know you did that these last 3 years with the lakers… and I really appreciate your calmness and natural leadership you showed… just hope you can still jump on that lakers ship, that is in the middle of sea and facing a big storm right now, and help them right the ship.
    I will obviously respect whatever decision you’ll take… you know… I feared you could really go in 2004 during your free agency… and I would have accepted even though it would have hurt so much… you are maybe the only player I would continue to support and be a fan of even if you left “our beloved” lakers! I’m sure you will listen to your heart and take the right decision for your future. I just hope you will still end up playing in a purle & gold uniform.

    Love, strength and honor

    Giopurple

    a lakerfan from your beloved Italy

  2. Wow! Thats a heck of a letter. I wish I knew Kobe’s email address so I could forward the letter to him for Giopurple.

  3. How can John R argue with that?

  4. Wow, three already? Happy birthday to Sasha!

  5. Does anyone else think it’s a little strange that we’ve already let go two of our point guards, without the appearance of much of a back up plan? Like most on here, I have faith in Farmar’s development and agree that almost any one else would be as good as Smush or Shammond, but at the same time it seems like either one of them might have been important just in case our off-season moves don’t go right. I’ve been as critical as anyone of Smush, but I think people forget what a huge bargain he was in terms of what he produced. Obviously I’m hoping we can get a quality point to share time with Jordan through trades or free agency, but with those two gone, what’s our worst case scenario contingency plan?

    Not a huge deal, but it seems too me like the order should have been: acquire at least one or two reliable guys, then announce we’re not going to re-up those two.

  6. I hope the bday party was fun Kurt, thats exciting news.

    ChopperDave- They have to bring in another PG. Id say they go for Janerro Pargo, I was just watching an old finals game on ESPN Classic, and BJ Armstrong was hanging out on the perimeter, drilling open shots created by Jordan. I have no doubt Pargo can hit those same open shots, and thats really what we need from the point.

  7. Hey guys… thanks for the support… and sorry for the mistakes but english is not my mother tongue… anyway i corrected what i could and sent the letter to kb24.com’s site administrator. I even posted it twice in the forum section on his official site. I know it’s a long shot for kobe to read that… but who knows…

  8. As for the point guard thing. I believe that if (and that is a big if) we didn’t have to trade any of our core nucleus away and were to get a medium to medium high tier point guard, the team as stands would be a contender. I say we find a way trade Kwame for that person, and trust in Bynum’s development. Not an easy task, but I bet West could find a way to do it.

  9. Is there even a scintilla of possibility that Agent Zero (Arenas) would come to LA? He’s opting out of his contract and will be a free-agen next summer…what do y’all think?

  10. Well, it seems we have a plan for the PG spot, we just don’t know yet… I just hope it doesn’t involve Tinsley…

  11. Maybe Steve Blake is on the way… :)

  12. Kwame a, I agree completely that there’s no question they have to bring someone in and almost certainly have some sort of plan. I was just saying it seems like those guys could have been important “in case of emergency” guys if whatever plan they do have falls through and maybe we shouldn’t have turned them both away before the future of the position’s a little more secure.

  13. Hey guys, read this article from Hoopsworld.com… it kinda paints a nice picture as to whats going on right now.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_22247.shtml

    I am a believer that a starting lineup centered around Kobe, JO, and Artest could be very effective.

  14. OT – Happy birthday to Sasha. My daughter Maya turned 3 on thursday so we had a little party this weekend. My wife revisted our pre-baby days by taking her to a family event called “Baby Loves Disco”. Check out the website to see toddlers pseudo-clubbing.

    There was an article indicating that Gibson avoided many NBA teams during the draft to end up playing with LeBron on a 2nd round contract. Crafty. Maybe Bynum did the same thing for the Lakers.

  15. Well…Gibson shoulda looked to land on the Spurs…because they’re whoppin arse and taking names.

  16. chris henderson June 11, 2007 at 9:20 am

    hey Kurt, after watching bits and pieces of last nights game, I got to thinking about how well Horry is playing, assists, blocks, the things a savvy vet brings, and then I remembered how we traded off sam perkins and how he came back to haunt us for years after that, which got me to wondering if it would be a fun discussion topic on “when is the right time to trade a player?”
    on this subject, I once heard that West had a trade lined up with Houston for Akeem, (who was disgruntled with the Rockets at the time) for James Worthy, (who was pretty much still in his prime). I heard Dr. Buss nixed the trade because he promised James he’d be a Laker for life, and he had to keep his word. West was livid, saying “how can I do my job if you do things like this?”
    well, it turns out that James was done atfer that year, remember his legs gave out pretty suddenly, and Akeem went on to win 2 titles, (with Horry, Casell, etc), and I used to think, (cause Magic was still around) can you imagine Magic and Akeem on the same team?
    does anyone know if this story is true?

    and for my 2 cents, I don’t think we need to dismantle the team we had on the floor last year, especially for JO, what we really need is a PG who can defend fast PG’s, and distribute the ball ala triangle, and hit an outside shot with consistency. I’d like to see LO play forward ala Horry, and not have to be a facilitator, maybe Andrew could’ve been much better if he had a guy who hit him in the right place, (ala nash), easy pick and roll slam dunks to the hole.
    is there a PG out there who could fill that bill? if so, could we get him and rethink this whole dismantling scenario?

  17. Chris,

    I’d say T.J. Ford or Andre Miller. Could we get any of these guys in a trade for Kwame?

  18. Giopurple,

    great letter… Let’s hope the team makes intellegent moves, and that everyone works hard to get the most out of next season.

  19. Still wouldn’t mind moving Walton to PG, and using Farmar when we play small ball.

    If we did that, moved Lamar to SF, and pick up a legit PF via trade… I like this team next year.

    Still not a fan of a Jermaine Oneal trade, and definitely not an Artest fan either. There are quality players out there with lesser known names.

  20. DR: Walton could play the point on the offensive side of the ball, it’s just on the defensive end where he would have trouble. The Lakers don’t need to get better on offense. There problem (as it has been for three seasons) is defense. They were in the top ten in pretty much every offensive category last year, but near the bottom in every defensive category. And that’s why a JO trade helps them. He’s one of the top defensive bigs in the league and is agile enough to come out and defend well on the pick and roll…

  21. The differences between the Western Conference and Eastern Conference have been masked over the last three years because there were two good teams represented the East in the finals (Miami, Detriot). This year people are finally getting to see what the differences are all about.

    Cleveland, a 50 win team in the East, probably would’ve been a 6th or 7th seed out West, and most likely would’ve been bounced by the 2nd round. Also, it may be argued that the only reason Detriot and Miami were able to win was because of the brutal Western Conference regular season and playoffs.

    Its time David Stern, it’s time. Time to change the format my friends, becaue right now I would rather be watching a rematch of the Phoenix v. San Antonio series, minus the suspensions, or insert Dallas in place of Cleveland. I know its cyclical, but look at the confrences and tell me when it’s going to change.

  22. Kwame A: I agree for the most part. But wasn’t Miami down 2-0 going into there three game stretch at home in last year’s finals. Everyone had pretty much written them off. Don’t do the same thing to Cleveland. I still think SA will win the series, but until they go up 3-0, anything can still happen…

  23. Jones- Unfortunatley for Cleveland there is no Joey Crawford to the rescue, although they tried Dick Bavetta last nite. Conspiracy theories aside, Miami and Detroit were legitmate teams, I would compare them to Portland and the Lakers of the late 80′s early 90′s when the East was dominant and there were only 2 good teams out west. Cleveland isn’t in the same league as the West’s top 3 and would probably not get past Utah or Houtson.

  24. One more point…

    Detroit had not faced teams with dominant wing players as frequently as San Antonio did all season. San Antonio had to deal with Kobe, T-Mac, Melo, Ray Allen etc. on almost a nite-to-nite basis. Also, look at who Cleveland went through to get to the finals, Washington (without Arenas and Butler), NJ (who barley made the playoffs in the East) and one tough series against a terribly coached Detroit team. Look at SA, they played a red-hot Denver, a title-contending Phoenix and a great executing Utah, not even comprable.

  25. It would be pretty sweet to get a guy like Josh Smith from Atlanta or Gerald Wallace from Charlotte. That would be a HUGE upgrade defensively for this team.

  26. I hear you Kwame, but I saw the Pistons get clobbered by the Spurs in the Finals two years ago and then come back to win two straight. They would have won three straight if not for Robert Horry’s 25 point second half. Same thing happend with Miami. The Cavs rebound and defend really well. Their problem is that they haven’t been able to score. Once they get home, the ball will fall for them a bit more. But like I said, I still expect them to get their butts kicked. I’m just hesitent to say it will be a sweep after watching the last two Finals…

    DR: I love Gerald Green, but am not really a fan of Smith. Smith has highlight film dunks and comes from the weakside for nice blocks, but he gambles to much on defense, so he’s not a very good one on one defender. Also, outside of his athletic finishes, he really lacks much of an offensive game…Wallace though is REALLY good on defense and becoming a capable player on the other side of the ball.

  27. Giopurple, do you think you could do something about extending the Sopranos run? No? Oh, OK.

  28. Argue with what? A gigantic emotional appeal? Its rather pointless to argue against irrationality, don’t you think?

    Strength and honor? C’mon that’s the second corniest thing I have heard in a while. Right after a dude giving HIMSELF the nickname Black Mamba.

    Your heroes are hollow or worse.

    I’m sticking with trade Kobe and get under the cap. And now you have a target. Gil, the Anti-Kobe. Git er done Lakers.

    JONES: We’ll see if JO is one of the top defensive bigs if he actually plays in the varsity league. When asked to play big, even in the LEast, he doesn’t appear to be that hot. http://www.82games.com/0607/06IND17C.HTM Doubling his attempts vs Duncan, Garnett, Nowitzki, Brand, Boozer…and on and on might let us see where Jermaine stands in 08. Shutting down Etan Thomas, Zaza Pachulia and Drew Gooden is significantly less of a feat.

  29. John R….relax dude…..with the Italian letter…..it was a joke…..to quote Bad Boys 2. Wusaaaaaaaaaa, wusaaaaaaaaaaa; relax. They were joshing with you.

  30. Who was “joshing me”? The Author? Doubtful.

    You’ve got to understand. I don’t really get worked up because for the most part I lack feelings.

  31. John R.- we know you love your role as “that guy” on this board, but Kurt instituted the no personal attacks rule and there is no need to demean Giropule’s letter as being ‘corny’. Let it go Johnny, we know where you stand, why does someone writing a heartfelt letter bother you so much, to the point you have to make another one of your pointless agitating comments. not necessary

  32. John: just lighten up…..

  33. I was “joshing” you. Of course it’s an emotional appeal, but it’s so dang heartfelt and sincere that there really is no arguing with it. Kobe has helped bring a lot joy to Lakers fans all around of the world, to the point where even if it made rational sense to deal him, a lot of people would never feel it’s the right thing to do because our involvement in this sport is not strictly intellectual. There’s an emotional investment that by construct is impossible to argue with. That’s all I was saying.

    In fairness kwame I think he was calling Kobe corny and not Giropule. And I do appreciate the dissenting voice John provides among the Kobe faithful. But ya, no need to be so serious all the time.

  34. Chopper Dave- The”strength and honor” comment was refrencing the end of GIropule’s message, that’s what I was referring too.

    Im not thrilled with Kobe, so Johnny isn’t the only one with a dissenting opinion on Kobe. It’s more the approach, I guess I just don’t like to argue/name-call/put-down/dismiss, I’d rather make my point, maybe make it again, and then agree to disagree.

  35. Oops, so he was. I guess I just wanted to assume he was mocking Kobe rather than Giopurple.

  36. John R.: You act like Eastern conference teams never have to play western conference teams. Every body always plays at least 30 games against the other conference…

  37. Well actually my “open” letter to kobe was private… who knows… he or his administrator might answer me somehow! :) Actually i didn’t want to make that letter a topic to discuss… i just wanted to let you guys read how i felt about kobe’s situation and what i’d tell him on what my feelings of a far, little italian fan are! You’re right John R. no need to argue with irrational feeling… but i don’t think any person can really say there’s no need to feel for anything in life. I know basketball is just a game… but to me it’s just not all about doing always the most rational thing. Any fan has the right to feel and support any player… i’m not the gm or a laker executive even though i’d probably like to be. So what I say… is based on sentiment… i just love kobe too much to trade him for anyone… maybe even one for whom it would make sense from the rational standpoint (say lebron!)! The closing word “strength and honor” were chosen because i couldn’t find the exact way to translate in english the italian “ti voglio bene” so i decided to go with those 2 words that kobe likes as he uses them at the end of any message he posts on his site. “A person who can’t feel is a person who’s missing something of a little great thing called life”

  38. Thanks to Rico and all the other guys who appreciated reading my letter. Anyway… dear John R. fortunately my english is not good enough… so i don’t even know what “corny” means. Sorry… maybe my letter doesn’t make sense at all… i invite you to read the italian version… i’m sure you know italian… so maybe reading it you could come out with the original and rational meaning of it! Maybe you should do the same with Donald T. Sterling asking him why the pretty rational reason of not paying anyone caused the clippers to miss and give up on a lot of talent and players. :)

  39. Gio, do you have any insight on Marco Belinelli?
    http://www.draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=198
    If we could play him as a combo guard it sounds like he could be a great fit. An experienced 6’5″ guard with solid ball handling, great outside shooting, and used at times as a defensive specialist? Sounds pretty perfect for us. The fact that the Spurs are reportedly interested in him pretty much seals it for me.

  40. Giopurple, you should try sending it to him through the mail or e-mail personally. He has more chances of reading then than through here. :)

  41. A depressing note: the Spurs are better positioned to maintain and improve their roster than any other team in the league. They have managed the cap, free agency, and draft to utter perfection. So, I fear that no matter what the Lakers, do, it will be ultimately irrelevant.

    Take a look at their cap situation:

    (1) Every relevant player on their team is signed next season (with the possible exception of Jacque Vaughn — who is easily replaceable). So, they will bring their entire roster back and be the favorites again.

    (2) After next season, EVERY player’s contract besides Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili expires. (Except for Jackie Butler, but his contract is so small it doesn’t really matter). Brilliantly, the Spurs management constructed their team so that every non-core player was signed to a short, reasonable deal AND would expire all at once. That’s right, eight contracts expire at once.

    Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili’s contracts add up to 42M. This year, the salary cap was 53M, and it should be around 57-60M after next season. So after next season, the Spurs will be way under the cap (10-17M, depending on if they sign a draft pick and use their midlevel) and able to sign a max-level free agent to add to their trio of stars. They will also be able to resign their own free agents (such as Bowen, Oberto, Elson, Finley, Horry) without eating into this cap room.

    Possible free agents next summer: Elton Brand, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Kidd, Richard Hamilton, Corey Maggette, Ron Artest, etc. Imagine the Spurs adding one or two of these players to Duncan, Parker, Ginobili. And, we know they won’t sign the wrong player — they never do… Yes, they are better at this than everyone else.

    I could contrast that roster management with an analysis of Kupchak/Jim Buss’s decisions over the last few years, but ‘ll spare you the frustration.

  42. By Mike Bresnahan, Times Staff Writer
    6:55 PM PDT, June 11, 2007

    Lakers Coach Phil Jackson is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday morning to have his left hip replaced eight months after having his right hip replaced.

    Jackson, 61, was able to walk with a cane within a week of his operation last October. He required a month of recovery before he was able to travel with the team. He is expected to be fully recovered for his September induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

    The procedure will be performed by Lawrence Dorr at the Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Inglewood. Jackson is expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday or Thursday.

    Jackson, who played 12 seasons with the New York Knicks, took the first step toward eliminating a years-long limp with his hip-replacement surgery last year. He still sat on a specially designed chair on the Lakers bench during games, but reported feeling markedly better overall.

  43. SCOUTING MARCO BELINELLI

    I know Marco Belinelli’s game pretty well. I’ve seen him play different times. He certainly is one of the brightest talents we have here in Italy. He really resembles the kobe bryant of the first 2-3 season. He shows a lot of talent and competitiveness, despite he’s very young he already show great leadership skills and the desire to take over when it counts. And he did that not only in the italian league but in the Euroleague and leading the Italian National Team to very good results in the last world championship. He looks like a poor man’s kobe bryant but i doubt he can be a combo guard. He’s a pure 2 guard, he can create his own shot and really has great skills and good athletism. He has to improve his in between game and has great potential. He clearly has a bright future ahead and could really get close to Emanuel Ginobili. He’s certainly a steal at 19. On the downside he’s not ready to play in the NBA from the physical standpoint. He needs to get stronger and despite he shows good defensive skills in the italian league i don’t think he can really be a good defender in the NBA right now. He has instincts and could be a good on the ball defender but i don’t think he can guard quicker and stronger guards right now. To sum it up… on offense: the sky is the limit for this guy… but don’t count on him to be a point guard… or a lead guard in the triangle, he clearly is more suited at the 2. on defense: he has to get stronger and despite having good feets i expect him to be abused by stronger, quicker and more experienced player. So I’d say if the lakers have a chance and want to go with potential… get him… he’s going to be a steal in 2-3 years but if they want an NBA ready player… he’s not ready yet. Anyway he’s not even the most gifted and talented youngster we have in italy. This year exploded a 18 year older, look out for Danilo Gallinari. He’s a 2-3 and can really do it all… Look for him to be a lottery pick next year! I guess the Lakers would really need a scout in Italy.