Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  June 15, 2007

• Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs and their fans — this was the best team in the NBA after the All Star break and it’s a deserved title. What is really impressive about the Spurs — and speaks a lot to their defense — was how they won games and series of widely varying styles. Run and gun Phoenix, grind it out with Utah, shutting down superstars, whatever they had to do the Spurs did it well.

And, as Reed pointed out, they could be doing it for a while.

• This is the thing that made me laugh the hardest the past week.

• Regarding the SB Nation mock draft — check out all the latest at host Indy Cornrows.

First, here are the picks so far:

1. PORTLAND-Greg Oden (Blazers Edge)
2. SEATTLE-Kevin Durant (Sonics Central)
3. ATLANTA-Al Horford (Impending Firestorm)
4. MEMPHIS-Mike Conley (Clips Nation commenter mp)
5. BOSTON-Yi Jianlian (Green Bandwagon)
6. MILWAUKEE-Brendan Wright (With Malice)
7. MINNESOTA-Corey Brewer (I Heart KG)
8. CHARLOTTE-Al Thornton (Charlotte Blogcat)
9. CHICAGO-Spencer Hawes (Blog-A-Bull)

Sacramento traded the 10th pick to San Antonio for Luis Scola, and the 28th and 33rd picks.

I have worked it hard for a trade (numerous talks and potential trades for JO, Duhon, Randolph and others), and something still may happen, but it looks unlikely. The trade demands are high. It looks as if I’ll be making the pick this weekend. (Note, that as this is a mock draft I am only making trade offers involving the 19th or other picks, the Lakers front office has more potential options.)

Now, the big board is a little bit behind the actual picks (just a couple slots), but I can tell you that Javaris Crittenton will not be available at 19. So now I’m hoping Nick Young free-falls (or Joakim Noah). Unlikely. This brings us around to two favorites of the board — Rodney Stukey and Sean Williams. Both come with risks, but personally I’m leaning Williams right now. Anyone want to make a case for Thaddeus Young or someone else instead?

At this pace, my pick likely will come up Saturday evening or Sunday, look for an update then.

• This was the funniest thing I saw written on the Soprano’s finale — what if it had been on broadcast television? (Hat tip to LAist.)

to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Mock draft followers, I didn’t want to put this in the main post and usurp another blog, but here are some updates.

    10. SAN ANTONIO (from Sacrament)-Acie Law (Pounding the Rock)
    11. ATLANTA-Javaris Crittenton (Impending Firestorm)
    12. PHILADELPHIA-Jeff Green (Passion and Pride)

    With the 13th pick in the draft, the New Orleans Hornets select Julian Wright out of Kansas.


  2. What do people think of the trade that recently occurred in the League: Minnesota acquires Juwan Howard from Houston for Mike James and Justin Reed?

    I don’t understand why Houston did this, actually. In Mike James, they get a back-up PG for $6MM each of the next 3 years. Where does this leave Rafer Alston, Bobby Sura, and Luther Head, all of whom are PGs under contract? I think this makes Houston smaller without gaining anything in return.

    For Minnesota it makes more sense. In Howard, they get a solid back-up for KG. His contract is a year shorter, and only $1MM per year more expensive, so they get cap relieft, too. Plus, this clears the PG log-jam they had with Hudson, Jaric, and Foye.

    The question for Lakers fans… are the T-Wolves using Howard to prepare for life without KG?


  3. Do it! Bynum, Odom, and Kwame for KG.


  4. Kurt,

    Its amazing that both Green and J. Wright would fall that far in the fantasy draft.

    Can you put up picks 1-13 so I can get an idea what’s gone on, thanks!!


  5. Stuckey over Williams. Young and Noah over both. In fact if you can make a move to go up and grab Noah, make it. He’d be the perfect player for the Lakers: smart, hustle, good chemistry guy. Really an ideal fit for LA right now. Think a taller, longer, more athletic Turiaf with ball skills.

    Offer Detroit Bynum and Kwame for Sheed and #15
    Offer the Clippers #19 and #40 for #14…they can grab a PG at #19 and another guy later…Shoot offer all 3 picks…
    Offer Detroit #19 and a future 1st for #15


    You want guys who wont quit. Who work hard. Who are good defenders. Joakim Noah is that guy. If he falls this far -GET HIM!

    And off topic: What the hell would Sacramento be doing trading out of the top 10 for Luis Scola and two late picks? Friggin ridiculous move…


  6. Jethro- I was thinking the same thing about SAC, thanks, give the Spurs a top-ten pick, and for what Scola and two picks of little consequence. Funny thing is if SA ended up keeping the picks they’d probably strike gold and find newer versions of Ginobli (2nd rd pick) and Parker (late 1st rd pick)


  7. The Kings must think highly of Scola. They do need a big man really bad. You might want to considering dealing Bynum to the Kings, Kurt. 😀


  8. Lamar and the 19 to Detroit for Prince and McDyess. Detroit saves another $1.5mil to use for Billups,and their coach values offense over D and Lamar is an upgrade on that end. Plus two mid


  9. In a deal that makes even less sense than the Kings deal, the Clips traded their pick to the Suns for two lower picks. Why let Phoenix get Noah at 14?? And why do I care about this mock draft as though it were real?? I’m not as high on Noah as others, but he is absolutely perfect for the Suns, and no way he should be available at 14..


  10. Prince would be a dream. That’s a nice trade, I like it. Though if only Lamar can get us Jermaine, I wouldn’t pass that up. Lamar would be a very good move for the Pistons.


  11. Bryan,
    As a Rocket fan,I am still PO’d over the trade. The Rockets’ reasoning is that James can come off the bench and get off his shot at any time creating instant offence.
    I look at the PGs in the West and ask who could he guard? He’s 32 and has more than a MLE contract for another 4 yrs. Plus there’s the little matter of his major sulking when the Wolves benched him.
    I would have rather seen Juwan traded to a team needing a vet mentor and bringing back a quality young player.


  12. 9 – Probably because all the good point guards were taken. Bad trade nonetheless, imo.


  13. warren (philippines) June 16, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Talking about the Matrix from the previous post.

    The Marion deal, be it far-fetched, would be a wise deal to make. His contract comes off the books the same time as Odom’s and Kobe’s opt out. Adding Marion to the team will certainly energize Kobe. We still might lose to the Spurs in the WCF but it certainly is an adrenaline boost for Kobe.

    Odom and Marion are almost the same players in terms of versatility. Marion just plays the power side better and Odom plays the finesse aspect. Together, they can swap 3 and 4 while choking the defense with the length of their arms.

    Oh and Marion will not be the 3rd option… He will be the 2nd. Odom is still a happy camper being the 3rd.


  14. 9. There have been some interesting moves in this mock draft. The Clippers move was a bad trade, I think made because the three PG they wanted were gone, but still an odd (and poor move). Now, would I put that past the Clippers……


  15. By the way, in the mock I’m trading the 40th pick overall (second rounder) to New Jersey for Hassan Adams. Good defender, very athletic, and to me worth a second rounder. Unless someone can convince me thats a stupid move.


  16. Oh, and the Marion rumor. If you’re Mitch Kupchak and you’re trying to get Indiana to back of their stance for JO (Odom, Bynum and the 19), would putting out a rumor to say you’ve talked with the Suns help that? Maybe.

    That makes more sense to me than Phoenix actually wanting to do that deal, trading Marion within the same division.


  17. warren (philippines) June 16, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Yup I know. Its more of a counter offer from the Lakers to threaten the other in trying to ask for too much.

    Talking about JO, what would be fair, Kurt?
    Kwame, Bynum, #19, and FAs 1 year guaranteed? I can live w/ that. Then perhaps swap Tinsley for Radmanovic.


  18. Keep the 40th pick. Adams ain’t doing nothing as an undersized PF or under-skilled SF. Like a younger Mo Evans. Trade #48 for him if you want…but #40 will have some value. Someone will drop for sure…

    And there’s no way the Pistons are trading Prince. Sheed I could see, but Prince? No way.


  19. warren (philippines) June 16, 2007 at 1:13 am

    In applying the “spurs model” in doing business, I have come up with several moves that could help us Win Now, yet be prepared for the future. They are not reported but they are not too fantastic either. Atleast in the bounds of reality and possibility.
    Kwame, Bynum, Walton, #19 and salary fillers for Shawn Marion, #24 and #29.
    Brian Cook, (#48 pick) to Orlando for Carlos Arroyo.
    Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujacic, for Rasho Nesterovic.

    First off, Phoenix will not “worry” about Marion to LA as they will also have Bynum. The #24 and #29 will be in exchange for the #19.

    Arroyo will serve nicely as a TRI PG, if not, he expires anyway…

    Rasho Nesterovic is a stiffy but comes of the books at the end of next year. He could be valuable in next year’s trade deadline.

    The idea is to make up for what was a “terrible” signing in Vlade Radman and an “upsetting” extension for Cook. Replace them with not-so-significant players that come off the book either end of this year or the next.

    Marion’s contract will expire at the summer of 09 together with that of Lamar Odom. Should things not fall into place, we can have 50+ million coming off our payroll after Kobe opts out.

    If by then we are already contending, Marion will be re-signed or signed-and-traded, Odom can be re-signed thru Bird Rights, Kobe can waive the option, we will still have a handful of Stars without destroying our cap flexibility.

    Much like the Spurs from here to 2010.


  20. Trade Kobe for Ray Allen, Durant, and next year’s #1


  21. I got no problem with the Hassan trade (even though I haven’t seen him play in the NBA yet), but unless we really think Pruitt or Dudley will fall to 40 (which I don’t think we do), he’s just as proven as anyone who’s gonna be available.

    And the Marion rumor is just hilarious in every way. I understand that Luke’s a local fave, but c’mon. Of the trade rumors floated this offseason, that one hasta take the cake.

    And I’d be more baffled by the mock trades that the Kings and Clips made, if it wasn’t for the Howard and Delfino trades being just as bizarre. The thing with the Clips, I understand that you need a point and are disappointed that the 3 guys you wanted aren’t there, but there was still a TON of talent left at 14, (same with KIngs at 10) and for either of those teams, you just can’t be that picky to be trying to fill needs. You got lots of room to improve at lots of positions.

    And of the guys available (assuming PHX goes Noah which I’m willing to bet at 100-1), my preference goes: Nick Young, Stuckey, Thaddeus, Williams, Belinelli. Honestly if we want Sean that bad, I’d look into bundling our two 40s picks for one in the 25-35 range. He’d probably still be available, and at the rate teams are trading down, we should be able to make it happen. And even if we get unlucky and Sean doesn’t slip to 30 or whatever, someone like Pruitt or Dudley or Marco or Hardin probably will. Hardin’s got many of the physical gifts that Sean has, is much more raw, but much better attitude. (Again, “attitude” or “drugs” don’t bother me a whit, but the not caring does)


  22. Kurt,

    I can’t tell you exactly why I feel this way, but the most exciting thing that the Lakers could do would be to trade up and draft Joakim Noah.


  23. warren (philippines) June 16, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Some say Noah will be a bust.


  24. Ok I really wasn’t looking forward to waking up on saturday morning to see in the Times that Kobe still wants out. What a headache. I think I need to stay away from tv and internet for like a week or two just to take a breather from all this drama!


  25. What is interesting about all the scenarios – it does not address the one and only need that Lakers truly have needed since Kobe was re-signed. I’ve seen scenarios for JO (from all the media outlets), Marion, etc – but why dont the Lakers pursue a point guard? Bynum, Farmar, and the #19 for the #3 pick and get Conley. Theres no doubt in my mind he will hold his own vs. Chris Paul, Deron Williams – and a long term upgrade vs. Jason Kidd (factoring in his age). Long term – I see Conley as a Tony Parker with more talent.

    What do you guys think?


  26. Wasn’t anonymous sources leaking news to the press one of the things that got us in this mess? It feels like there’s at least some faction in the office that’s trying to get Kobe to push himself away. Bleh.

    And I don’t think Noah can be a bust in the usual sense. He tries way too hard and has enough skills that he will be a quality energy guy at the very least. I just am not a fan personally, and think the quality of his teammates has most people overestimating how good he could be.


  27. If it is true that after meeting with Dr. Buss, Kobe still wants out, then trade him and get the best value back and let’s move forward. This will continue to be a distraction during the regular reason and will intensify during a loosing streak. Although, if he does go, then so should others in current management for a lack thereof.


  28. Pargo opted out of his contract. The Lakers better pursue him.


  29. CA-Born,
    Suprisingly there are more PGs avaiable this yr than I can remember in yrs. Vets,good young ones(Duhon,Jack),guys coming off rookie contracts that haven’t worked out and may need a change of scenery,and a decent crop of draft eligibles.


  30. Problem is, we have not much to give. Though I do think either of those teams would swap Duhon or Jack for Farmar.

    Stephen- The Blazers might be interested in Kwame Brown’s expiring, but I don’t know if they are able to match his salary without us picking up useless Darius Miles. I do like Jack and Webster.

    The Bulls do need a wing player to backup Deng, perhaps a deal around Evans and Duhon?

    Actually, thinking about it now, if it weren’t for that Chi-Det rivalry, the Pistons could have swapped Delfino/Nazr for Duhon.


  31. I’d like us to look at Almond, the SG from Rice…by far the best shooter in the draft, he’d fit well in the triangle, and the more I research the draft the more I like this kid. Going for a home run with Williams seems much too risky, epsecially since we have young bigs already in Bynum and Turiaf who aren’t major head cases.

    Draft Almond, or offer the pick and minor player to Chicago for Chris Duhon. Chicago is shopping him, he can defend, hit the three and doesnt make mistakes…sounds like a good gamble as a triangle PG.


  32. CA-Born,
    I believe either Duhon or Delonte West of Boston would be a very nice Triangle PG. Problem is I don’t see Lakers having the right player for a 1-1 trade for either of those players. As part of a bigger package or a 3-way sure.
    But #1 on Laker Management’s mind has to be Kobe. Keeping in mind Kurt’s reminder on leakers’ agenda,the leak doesn’t seem to indicate getting O’Neal would be enough for Kobe. The comment attributted to Dr. Buss about trades taking time would indicate the Lakers are trying for the big trade but Kobe wants something NOW!
    By the end of the week the Lakers have to decide they need to go Cavs route in full superstar coddling or(in the Simmons lovely imagery) throw up in their mouth and trade Kobe.(Thereby vindicating Phil who asked for Kobe to be traded back in 04.Ulp again.)
    If,a highly unlikely if,if Kobe is to be traded do you want to go the nuclear route and trade Lamar and start over,or do you try to get enough to keep competitive and hope for a free agent/draft pick to raise title hopes?


  33. For the mock, I have a hunch GS will go Thaddeus leaving you with the tough choice between Stuckey and Sean Williams. I’m personally strongly on the Stuckey side, and a little surprised that you’re leaning Sean. Whereas it’s extremely lucky that Rodney’s even on the board still, it’s at least somewhat plausible that Sean could be around at 40. Even Nate, who was one of the biggest Sean proponents, has been a Stuckey guy from the get go. To me, Stuckey seems like much more of a sure thing.

    Anyway, not to talk you out of your choice, you should probably go with your gut. Good luck with the choice. (still not sure why this feels so important to me)


  34. This is totally unrelated to this post but if I read one more commentator suggest Kobe could be traded to the Knicks for half a team of scrubs I’m going to go out of my freaking mind! OK, had to get that off my chest.