Sensationalism Sells

Kurt —  June 19, 2007

The Kobe situation feels like it went tabloid this week — first the rehashing as new the two-week-old rantings of Kobe’s Web site, then this subversively shot video that reportedly says what the Web site said but with a few F-bombs thrown in.

There’s no new news here — but how individual reporters and news organizations are handling this situation can tell you a lot about them.

First lets talk about AP making the mistake of taking Kobe’s 18-day-old post last Sunday, seeing an updated date on it and running it as “new.” I think that was an honest mistake — the date listed the post as new on, and AP reporters are not the kings of sensationalism. However the fact they didn’t know it was old is a sign of just how closely they pay attention to the details.

What I found interesting is what happened next — a number of sites that should have known it was dated ran it big. ESPN ran it on Sportscenter, with a graphic and a reading of what he said. Just as they had done not even three weeks earlier.

A lot of other national media and a blogs also ran this as new. Some like the sensational, some like to stir the Kobe pot because it’s good for hits/ratings/papers sold. Sensationalized Kobe draws eyeballs, it gets readers and viewers. If they are willing to go with the sensational here, what about trade rumors? Playing up the Buss family squabbles? Anything that titillates?

Notice that the beat writers here in LA new better — every paper debunked it as old news instantly. For all the grief they get, the beat writers covering the Lakers are a good, professional group.


Then there is the Kobe video — is there anything that doesn’t feel sleazy about this? That starts with the guys who see Kobe and surreptitiously video him, then start figuring out the best way to make a profit off it. (No way I’m linking to them, by the way.)

Media outlets that choose to play this up are going the “US Weekly with Parris Hilton” route. So be it, that’s their right. But we don’t have to buy the publication. (By the way, not talking about Eric Pincus verifying it story.)

What I’m saying about all this is simply this — times like this can teach you a lot about the people giving you their news and their motivations and goals. And knowing that helps you better filter the news they provide. Just something to think about.

to Sensationalism Sells

  1. Sports news is slow right now. Barry Bonds is taking his time getting to the record so they need other athletes to demonize and more non-stories to make into stories. I’m a journalist myself, so I speak from experience when I say there are times when there just simply aren’t any news worthy stories to do, but you have to do one anyways.


  2. Well said, Kurt. As a sidenote, the local sports radio people (who should all know this Kobe stuff is old hat) are also jumping on the Kobe video thing, talking about Kobe-to-Chicago trades as if they’re a given conclusion, taking every given opportunity to blow things way out of proportion (the garbage being spewed at 570 being the most frivolous example). It’s a shame that everyone’s buying into what the demagogues and propagandists are selling them.


  3. I dont agree with the post entirely….Isnt the media suppose to tell everything that goes on?? I agree that the old post on his website shouldnt have made a big of a splash as it did, however this new video being released is a pretty big deal if you ask me… Kobe has turned on our beloved Laker organization, he is even bashing his own teammates now. He wants out and we should all suck it up and let him go before its too late. The media will continue to hype this situation because, quite honestly, Kobe is making it a big deal. He wants out, and he wants everyone to know it…this maybe will put the pressure on the Lakers to deal him to Chicago for whatever they can get. I dont see GM John Paxson trading 2 of the following players:Deng, Hinrich, Thomas, Gordon. I think the best player we will get in return is Ben Gordon and other supporting contracts along with their #9 pick of this yrs draft. If we can get more it will be a miracle…Goodbye Kobe


  4. (3) The media is supposed to present fact… not hearsay. Public figures do no deserve to be tried through the media.

    ESPN is getting more and more tabloid every day. And Yahoo is the leader in my mind.


  5. I heard this discussed by a journalist on ny radio; it works salary wise, makes sense for all involved at least as per the context of the situation:

    LAkERS SEND KOBE TO THE KNICKS ( I know, but keep reading)

    KNICKS send Channing Frye, David, Lee and Jamal Crawford to the WASHINGTON plus QUENTIN RICHARDSON TO THE LAKERS


    So simply:


    Wizards get: David Lee, Channing Frye, Jamal Crawford (maybe another draft pick from Knicks)

    Knicks get Kobe Bryant

    again, it works finanically and salary cap wise..


  6. Well said Kurt. Someone wake me up when Tyrus gets a Laker jersey.

    Marginally related, am enjoying the backforth at FD between Jones and others on the salary cap issue and the difficulties of rebuilding/re-tooling:
    Am curious for thoughts from folks here. I’ve been trying to cement my own opinion on the matter for a while now. Am not completely convinced by Nate that the rules are fine and that bad management is to blame. If there were a handful of teams that shot themselves in the foot and were screwed, then maybe I’d agree. But when just about every team (even typically well-managed ones like Phoenix) are in a bind because of cap issues, I feel like changes need to happen.

    Basically if you’re not willing to overpay a guy (see Sterling, D.) any marginally good player’s going to jump ship to someone who will. This puts almost all your hope in getting lucky with the draft or getting lucky with someone else’s trash, which happens occasionally, but is that really how we want the fate of our teams to be guided? I’m not smart enough to come up with an cure-all fix, and definitely don’t want the extreme disparity of the MLB or the extreme parity of the NFL, but think extra flexibility, whether through a higher cap or additional loopholes, could be necessary at this point. I don’t think it’s entirely that all GMs are stupid, I think it’s that well-meaning GMs have no choice but to compete with other desparate and stupid GMs.


  7. The media is what it is–partly because we are what we are–but this is all about Kobe.

    Kobe’s carefully crafted persona was nearly shattered by scandal even before he was humbled by defeat. Along with the switch from 8 to 24, his endorsements are coming back, but they can’t go much further. His rehabilitation ultimately depends on championships–championships that may not happen at all in a Laker uniform.

    He now finds his contract protections and superstar salary an albatross around his neck amid a realization that he was more victim than victor at the hand of Jerry Buss in a business world that he doesn’t understand so well after all!

    In the West, he will be run down by Phoenix, slapped down by San Antonio, and humiliated by rapidly rising teams from Utah, Golden State, Portland, and even the lowly Clippers–teams that had been his door mats.

    In the East, he could face off directly with Labron and Dwayne on a team shadowed by a legend he wants to surpass–playing in an NBA championship next year.

    Locked into a contract and forbidden from direct contact, how could he cross from West to East and get on the Bulls radar screen?

    Bring on the circus.

    Talk to ESPN. Call in to talk shows. Sound confused and disoriented. Participate in radio therapy with Vic the Brick. Drop hints to waiters when going out to dinner. Allow telling videos to be made by strangers. Allow his agent to talk “Bull.” Leave “definitive” messages on the 8/24 web site.

    We should blame the media???


  8. Chopperdave,

    I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve loved the NBA since I can remember and I must say that the new CBA works good for the league.

    A caveat before I expand: the altruistic goal of a league is to create parity which allows for ANY team to contend for a title if well run. On that point, the real world dictates that financial realities prevent that goal from ever truly being reality. HOWEVER, the CBA in place does a good job of it.

    The severity of the Luxury Tax really prevents teams that aren’t recovering that $ through playoff games from going over and prevents nearly all teams from going drastically over the limit. You can look at the Blazers and Mavs from a few years ago as good examples of that (Portland quickly traded away it’s squad when they stopped winning, the Mavs had to use the amnesty clause on a stud like Micheal Finley).

    The Cap room alloted to each team is enough to provide for two MAX players. The reality is that championship teams have AT MOST 2 of these players. There’s perhaps a dozen players worthy of that title in the whole league. This isn’t the 80’s anymore. With league expansion there simply aren’t going to be 4 Hall of Famer’s on a championship team anymore. The Spurs just won it all with a 3 star system (Duncan, Ginobli, Parker), but only Duncan is a MAX player. That’s how it should be. The Lakers are in financial difficulties, in part, because Odom is making near Max money when he should be making about 3-4 million less a year.

    When a team overpays for a player, they shoot themselves in the foot. Overpay in one area, you need to save in another. The Suns have 3 max players, but do they all deserve a MAX? Nash definately does…but Amare AND Marion? Perhaps, perhaps not…that becomes their challenge. The CBA allows for teams to build well, but not dominate for decades unless they can be both flexible and adaptable to the talent on their team. The Suns can lose Marion, but Barbosa is in the wings. When the Spurs lose Duncan, will there be another player their to step into the spot light? Based on Buford and Popovich’s resume I’d say most definately…i doubt the player is of Duncan’s stature, but certainly a player that can lessen his loss.

    And in addition, the loss of one of the Spurs key 3 or the Suns key 3 players is only of benefit to the league. The PARITY of the league really is paramount. That’s how you support 30 teams. LA, NY, Chicago will all have fan support regardless of the product they put on the floor, but Milwaukee? Salt Lake City? Sacramento? New Orleans? Charlotte? Toronto? Parity in the league keeps these smaller market teams viable for the league.

    Really what this does is force the cream to rise to the top. Who has won the NBA championship in this decade? Look at their GM’s. Is it coincidence? We’re talking about the Spurs, Pistons, Lakers, Heat. Buford, Dumars, West (he built the team, not Kupchak), and Riley. The only question mark is Riles and if you notice the Heat are now suffering under old age and injuries as a result. It’s no suprise really.

    What other GM’s are providing real challenges to the top? Paxson in Chicago, Colangelo in Phoenix (once again, he built that team not D’Antoni – you think he’d have signed Marcus Banks and screwed their caproom?), Nelson in Dallas (Jr. not Sr.), and the guy in Utah. You could include Ferry in Cleveland, but we all know he’s made some bad moves re-signing Ilgauskas (a bad fit with LeBron) and signing Jones and Hughes (it will screw them before it’s all over, unless he can pull off some seriously sweet deals).

    These GM’s are the best because they can find good talent and because they are adept at managing the transition between the now and the tomorrow. The Spurs are the prototypical example of this: They win with Duncan and Robinson…Robinson retires, but they bring in Parker and Ginobli and they are back on top. What an organization! If only the Lakers had been that good…had thought that big…which is what excited me about Bynum…it was thinking big – such a change for this Laker team! But I digress…

    Most of the other GM’s haven’t stood up to the test of time (isn’t it amazing the turnover rate?) but my guess is most of these I’ve listed will.

    Ok. I think the ramble needs to end now. Hope that makes sense. Just my thoughts that the new CBA is great for the league. Good in general. Too many players think they are worth the max and too many GM’s want to stoke their ego about it.


  9. Holy crap that was a lot…apologies all around…


  10. of course it’s sleazy, it’s grown men spending ridiculous amounts of money to watch other grown men get uncomfortably close, play with balls and bitch about the millions they didn’t make. it’s america baby!!!!
    what i want to know is, what are your thoughts on how kobe’s actions impact his ability to be a part of the organization and team. do you think that Bynum can play with Kobe? Do you think Phil can keep this team in one piece(and, being a Bullsfan, I believe he’s one part Freud and one part Dr. Phil).


  11. Re: the video, we are in the age of You Tube so every citizen Joe has tremendous power to shape the news on a scale that was not previously possible. Like the GOP has been telling its candidates, be careful about what you say b/c people are watching and remember ex-Sen. Allen from Virginia basically lost his campaign due to his slip of tongue.

    I don’t know if anyone has voiced this “theory,” but I think there’s a decent chance that if Kobe is in Chicago next year, KG will follow him the year after. It makes sense, b/c winning in the West is so difficult and a core of Kobe, KG, Wallace, Hinrich would be devestating. Maybe that’s the plan Kobe has hatched in his mind and perhaps he’s even talked it over with KG…who knows?
    This whole situation makes me sick.


  12. BTW, apparently there are talks to potentially trade Luther Head for Brian Cook. Might be enticing…especially since Houston now has a bevy of PGs and combo guards…


  13. chopperdave,

    I think the new CBA and the salary cap are relatively new, therefore it’s too early to judge whether or not it’s entirely good for the league. I think what will happen is teams will begin to be a little more stringent on who they deem deserves “max” money. A guy like Rashard Lewis would probably have been given a max deal a few years ago (like LO did) but this offseason I don’t see him getting near that, simply because GMs have to ask themselves if this is a guy who you can build a franchise around, or just a very good “role” player.

    I think it will take about 3-5 more years to shake out, to let a few of the “mistakes” expire and ultimately, I feel there will be quite a few less of the really big contracts, and those will be reserved for true “franchise” guys.

    In that regard I think it’s best to have 4 guys making $10 million per than two guys making $25 and $15 million per, if that makes sense.

    That’s why I’m in favor of trading Kobe for young prospects, cap relief and draft picks. It’s a new environment GMs work in these days where free agency isn’t exactly the way to build a championship team and developing talent from within is. The more talent we have on the roster, the better our chances going forward.

    God Bless the Bird Rights.


  14. That Cook for L. Head trade would be a great one to pull off. Luther Head can shoot and is a pretty good defender…him and Farmar would be a nice combo at point.

    While it makes more sense for the Lakers and for Kobe to trade him to Chicago (combo of Deng, Gordon, 9th pick, PJ Brown) to get some cap space, and Kobe would easily win the East with Hinrich, him, Nocioni (if they resign him), Ty Thomas and Ben Wallace, I think keeping Kobe can work. Everyone balks at the high price tag for O’Neal, but if we resign Walton we can have a Head/Farmar, Kobe, Walton, O’Neal, MLE/Mihm starting five that is AT LEAST as good a team as the Rockets and the Jazz. If we can also find a way to keep the 19th pick we can look at a big like Dudley to give us some toughness. I also heard as part of that Luther Head deal that Bonzi Wells might be involved…and he’s an excellent scorer and tough player. That team right there would have vastly superior defense and wouldn’t lose that much offense (don’t forget how often Odom disappeared), better shooting and everything. We could put ourselves in that top tier in the West, which, as good as the Mavs, Spurs, Suns, Jazz, Rockets already are, is pretty impressive.


  15. i think a lot of people forget how little Kwame and Bynum offered us last year. Poor defense (they couldn’t rotate or defend a screen roll) and inconsistent offense (especially Kwame). If we are in the mode to win now, which we shoud be with a once in a generation player, that trade is just fine. O’Neal, while injury prone (as much as Odom) will score much more than Odom, rebound just about the same, and provide incredibly better defense. If Walton can step up like he was in the beginning of the year, he is a decent third scorer.


  16. This discussion of the CBA is why I come to this blog first. Really great discussion.

    In that vein, Drew Boy: If we trade Kobe we are left with one max player in Lamar. He must not only be able to draw in customers, but also produce in ‘crunch time’. Lamar doesn’t seem to have the personality to do either of these things over the long haul. That is why his salary is 3-4M more than it should be. Every winning team needs the finisher to get to the championship round – Lamar is not that guy.

    The rest of our trade talk is about moving the deck chairs on the Titantic. Bynum and Farmar are two pieces that could develop like Parker and Ginobli. That is why I say – don’t trade them – but continue to develop them around Kobe. Keep Kobe for the remaining two years of his contract and we stand a great chance of his resigning with the Lakers at that time.

    The test of this organization will be to see if they can stay the course while all around them are losing their heads.

    Mitch’s immediate task will be to do a better job of signing veteran’s – this has been his greatest failing in the last 2-3 years.


  17. chopperdave,

    Thanks for the link to the discussion on freedarko. That was awesome to read.

    In addition to what they said, it seems like establishing a 10 year plan is the way to go. Suck for a couple of years, clear cap space and stockpile young talent, develop that talent to a higher level and then sign a nice free agent to put you over the top. Ride said team out for five years (probably in cap hell) and then blow it up and start over.

    The problem with the Lakers is that they never tried to blow it up. They got Shaq and Kobe in 1996, had a great run, and then forgot to blow it up in 2004 when they kept Kobe and took on B.Grant’s contract for THREE years!!

    I think they are presented with an opportunity to right there wrong here and contrary to what most believe, I still think they can win games and put butts in the seats.

    I know Kobe makes Dr. Buss a lot of money, but ultimately it’s about winning games and titles and since the Lakers are in cap hell (and have a crazy Kobe to deal with) I don’t see it coming without moving Kobe.


  18. Chopperdave, thanks for that link. Great stuff, I had not delved into the comments on that post, but Free Darko is a personal favorite and Shoals a guy I admire for a reason.

    I’m with the opinion that the CBA, as currently written, severely punishes teams for mistakes, particularly in free agents or overpriced extensions. To me the real crux of the debate centers on this — is that a bad thing? Should the Lakers pay a cap price for Radmanovic not producing? Shouldn’t the Knicks pay a penalty for their free agent and trade moves? I suppose this sucks some of the fun out — great players can be stuck in bad spots. But what is the alternative? I don’t think you’re better off with the financial models of baseball, football, English soccer, F1 or anything else. They are all flawed. As convoluted as the basketball system is, it may be the most fair to all.


  19. Kurt,

    In some regards, the CBA and the business of the NBA is now more popular than the games itself. Bill Simmons wrote about this a little recently where more people talked of the draft, trades, and free agency than the NBA Finals.

    Go to any forum or blog and 90% of all talk is based on trades, etc. and the rest maybe on defensive schemes, offensive sets, match-ups, whatever. And that’s any time of year, not just the offseason.

    Frankly, my two favorite days of the year are the Trade Deadline and the NBA Draft. Not sure when that happened but the business of the NBA is more attractive than the product on the court right now (although I have to admit I love watching the Suns, Bulls, and Spurs-can’t help but admire that execution).

    I think we need a couple more years of organizations operating under this CBA and learning how to deal in an open market (Nate made a great point about this on freedarko) to get the product on the court back to a more entertaining level.

    Until then….only 8 days until the draft, WHOO HOO!!!!


  20. By the way, unrelated note, but Chad Ford’s latest mock draft has Acie Law falling to the Lakers. Never going to happen, I think Draftexpress is closer to reality (except I’ll throw up in my mouth if we take McRoberts). But if Law fell like that, I’d be doing cartwheels.


  21. Drew, part of those two particular days being so popular is the intrigue of a particular player ending up on your team. Everyone loves a new face on their team. Fans have grown increasingly impatient with their team developing into a contender. It’s win now or trade everyone.

    The new face becomes a symbol of a new identity for your team. If I were a Portland or Seattle fan, I would be very excited about draft day.


  22. I heard about the Cook for Luther Head trade. I like it but my only question is… are we sure we can’t trade Cook for Duhon? Beacuse Duhon would be my first option, Head the second option. All I know about Head is that he is a good 3point shooter, which we need. I don’t know how well he keeps guards in front of him (obstacle #2). But either way, Cookie’s gotta go. Down the stretch of the season, there were a handful of players who were clearly holding us back with their lack of production, defense, and attitude and Cook was definetely one of them.


  23. Living in Texas, i will vouch for Acie Law. He’s dropping because he’s not a workout warrior. But I have heard him compared to a Sam Cassell-type player. He is a $$$ player and will be able to step in and mesh with the triangle quicker than almost any other guard in this draft.

    That’s a lofty comparison but i would take a Sam Cassell-like player any ol’ day of the week.

    Teams are bluffing a bit in this week before the draft. There is a oh-so small chance of Law falling that far, but this is quite unlikely. Other teams would trade up in a heartbeat if either Noah or Law fell any further than 12.

    Oh, Kurt, what a terrible month it has been to be a fan of this team. thanks for your heartfelt coverage of this mess.


  24. Its funny how the Knicks keep trying to throw themselves into the Kobe discussion but all the NY newspapers keep coming out with stories laughing at Isaiah and the crap he has to offer us.


  25. Acie Law won’t fall past the Clipps. The Lakers will not trade Kobe for Gil Arenas, if Kobe goes its for 3-4 players, picks and cap space, or a real superstar, not 30 pts on 42% shooting ones.

    Would defintley do that Luther Head for B. Cook trade, adding in pieces to make the salaries work. Luther is a perfect triangle pg, similar to BJ Armstrong/Janerro Pargo, and Cook fills the role Howard played for Houston.


  26. Mannie Jenkins June 20, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Kobe who?


  27. I heard that the Houston trade rumor would actually be Cook and Sasha for Head and Bonzi Wells.


  28. The CBA discussion was very thoughtful. I tend to agree with Kurt and others in arguing that the problem does not lie with the system but with mismanagement. Drew Boy may be right that it will take teams a few years (and mistakes) to figure out how to work within the current rules, but I think the win-now mantra of nba culture will largely cut against teams scaling back in any meaningful way. General Managers and coaches face such tenuous job security that they really have no incentive to build patiently and cautiously for the future. To keep their jobs, they need to win now. There are a few exceptional cases of front office stability, but I think they are few and far between. This means that players are signed to overpriced contracts in the hopes of immediate gratification. Often, the GM who makes the signing that ruins a team’s cap for years is not around to clean up the mess. – so why sweat it? This is particularly true of coaches, who must exert enourmous pressure on the front office to sell the future for the present. So I think we will continue to see the lion’s share of teams make bad cap-moves in an attempt to win now.

    Sifting throug the latest round of Kobe drama and reading what is coming out of Chicago, I increasingly agree with Kurt that Kobe has stripped the team of all negotiating leverage. I think a large section of the nba sees Kobe as a team cancer — a me-first prima donna. The public rantings, video, negative media coverage, etc. just chips away at Kobe’s trade value bit by bit. Kobe’s on court value is swept aside as his off court troubles fill up the talk shows.

    So, we read of Chicago media and fans talking about Hinrich being “untouchable” and Deng, Thomas, and #9 being WAY too steep a price for Kobe. A few months ago, such talk would have been unheard of. In Hinrich’s four years of play, and Deng and Gordon’s three, the trio is yet to have one all star appearance among them. In the talent-shallow East. Despite their virtues and potential, you could reasonably argue that Deng and Hinrich would be fortunate to EVER make an all star team in the West. While this isn’t the point of team building, it does say something about the relative talent present in any Kobe-Chicago deal. Kobe, while certainly a lightning rod, is one of the twenty most talented players in the history of the league. I wouuld have laughed at a Hinrich, Gordon, Thomas offer six months ago. Now, I am desperate for it. What a sad time for the franchise.


  29. Where’d you hear this , skigi?


  30. ca-born-
    I heard the rumor initially here
    (notice how much Kobe articles there is and such little anything else)

    Then I heard on am570 during my lunch hour that Sasha and Bonzi were also part of the discussion.


  31. Its almost making me mad how many KG rumors are being thrown around (latest one involving Suns, Celtics, Wolves 3-way) and none of these rumors include the Lakers.


  32. Wow! Some sanity.

    Luther Head and Bonzi Wells for Sasha and Cookie is exactly the type of deal the Lakers need to be talking about. Luther fits the Laker triangle requirements perfectly and can hit the 3. Should be OK on defense. What an upgrade from the Smusher!

    Bonzi is a unique player that can post up and has killed the Lakers in the past. He’s the type of veteran that the Lakers need to find-and he’s a steal compared to his value just a few years ago.


  33. How far have we fallen where a rumor having us acquiring Luther Head (?) gets us excited.


    One thing I wonder is how the dollars stack up in a win vs. manage the cap comparison. For example, how far would the Lakers have to go to justify Dr. Buss going over the luxury tax and paying more in salary? Second round of the playoffs? Win it all? After all, it is his business, and the new CBA basically forces teams to think of goals more directly related to finances than to championships.

    I mean, if was all about winning, would you ever hear the phrase “He would have to pay the luxury tax in order to contend” ? Of course not, it would be a no brainer.

    The more I look into this the more admiration I have for the San Antonio franchise. I don’t think there is a team that could be run more successfully than the Spurs.


  34. Great point.


  35. Whoa people, slow way down.

    The Houston Chronicle said today that the Rockets/Lakers are thinking about a Cook for Luther Head deal. However, we all know that doesn’t work under the cap. After that there is nothing but speculation on the part of people about how to make the numbers work. And there are about 47 early trade talks a day right now, about 0.5% amount to much.

    Also, thanks to everyone. The CBA discussion is very well done and smart.


  36. Kurt,
    I see your point about not getting too crazy over rumors. I mean, a couple days ago we spent like all day talking about Marion as a Laker and we saw where that went (into the grand canyon).

    I was just making a comment about how I thought the trade would be a good move and I hope Mitch can pull it off. Luther would solve our PG problem (for the moment) and the Rockets need a PF that can space the floor for Yao.

    Also, I think I jumped at the opportunity to talk about something non-Kobe 🙂


  37. skigi, I hear ya, and Drrayeye, just trying to slow the Bonzi thing down. I don’t think there’s anyone here who wouldn’t do a Cook for Head swap. (Man, I swear if this rumor becomes reality there will be some double entendre headlines in papers, let alone comments here.)


  38. Kurt,
    Looks like you’re not the only one saying “hold your horses” about the Houston rumor…


  39. Kurt-what’s so funny about Cook for Head… ha. i’ve been laugin at that all day.


  40. So it appears I’m in the minority about the CBA. I understand where people are coming form, but still have my reservations. The Knicks aren’t a great example because their mismanagement is so off the charts bad and they do probably deserve the hell they’re in. My issue is more with teams like the Lakers (no surprise) where a couple bad deals (that really weren’t that atrocious) like the Cook extension and the Vlad signing can screw you over indefinately.

    I agree with Jethro about almost everything he said, I guess I just disagree with how I feel about these things. For example, you’re right that only the absolutely best GMs have been able to succeed with these rules, but is that really what we want championship to be decided almost exclusively on? The Suns example is one of the reasons why I feel iffy about the situation. Amare, Marion, and Nash, whether or not they all merit max deals, will get max deals in this league from somewhere. If the Suns don’t bid competitively, their core walks away from them and they’re again stuck hoping to get lucky elsewhere.

    I think Portland will provide an interesting case-study in the coming years for the fairness of this CBA. They have been pretty wonderfully managed, and have a head a great combination of brilliance and luck in the draft. But in 2010 when their youngsters are going to have to get paid, how are they going to keep their core AND ensure some left over for Oden in 2011. I know that’s looking a little far ahead, but I have this sick feeling in my stomach that because they have at least 3 guys (Oden, Alridge, Roy) that the market will probably give max deals, they’ll be in a bind when it comes to filling the team in with role players. Maybe I’m completely off-base, and the owner’s deep pockets combined with the Bird rules will make it work out just fine.

    Again, I’m not talking about massive philosophical overhauls that bring us anywhere near the MLB or the NFL. The extremes of the Spurs deserved success and the Knicks deserved failure is not what I’m concerned about really: it’s the everyone in between seeming to be constantly screwed because of 1 or 2 mediocre moves. (sorry for the long-winded)


  41. Remember the trade deadline. Fluff… nothin but fluff.

    KG headed to Boston! Kobe going to the Bulls!

    Oh… actually the teams haven’t even spoken to each other. ESPN made it up to cause a stir. And then they come out with an article that negates what they claimed earlier, and blame other media sources for coming up with false material.

    Can’t wait for football to start.


  42. chooperdave,

    I see where you’re coming from, basically saying that the margin of error is so thin in making moves in the NBA that you are punished too severly for making them. Did I get that right?

    However, if Buss and Company would have taken a deal from a team and instead of taking a three-year contract in Brian Grant they took an expiring, this team would be completely different right now. Do you think the same mistake would happen again? Could you imagine Kupchak taking back a three year deal to make salaries match in a Kobe trade? This is what I meant by teams and having a learning curve with this new CBA.

    Hell, if Grant was expiring when they got him, we would have had the cap space to offer as much money to Steve Nash as Phoenix could have. Kobe, Caron, LO, and Nash would have looked mighty nice!!!


  43. The CBA is the second best document in this country after the Constitution. The players get rich in agreed-upon proportion to how rich the owners are getting. Teams that make smart decisions and are a little lucky are rewarded and teams that make bad decisions can still get very lucky and make waves. Owners are free to spend as much money as they want, but not without reasonable consequence. Long live the NBA CBA.

    42: The aspect of not wanting bad contracts is not new to this CBA. That’s gotta go back to at least 1999 and probably earlier. The new CBA is just a few tweaks on the concept. A percent here, a year off contracts there. Same solid idea that has been in place for some time. The Lakers’ front office just kinda sucks. No excuses.

    We should be celebtrating citizen journalism. As sloppy and ill-conceived as it was in this particular case, it is a wonderful thing that everyone with no more than a reasonably new (Zach Morris need not apply) cell phone can now gather information, that cannot later be refuted by handlers, and publish it quickly to the internet. Long live the inexpensive democratic free press.

    Finally, as to all the “false” rumors, I bet everyone involved is telling the truth when they say the teams haven’t spoken. This doesn’t mean Kobe’s agent isn’t on the horn, with the Lakers’ blessing, trying to make things happen. That’s how I’d be handling this at this point if I was Buss. I’d tell Kobe to bring me 5 offers that I can choose from. If I found one to be acceptable I would honor his trade request.


  44. Look up in the sky, are pigs flying…check. Has hell frozen over…check. Do I agree with basically everything in John R.’s post…check. Good post, I agree with the 5 best deals suggestion, and appreciate the Saved By the Bell reference. Speaking of Zack’s cell, how bout his sneakers, or Slater’s jeans, ha.


  45. forget about the cell and sneakers, i want screech’s lucky buret!


  46. I’ve been mostly staying away from all the Kobe discussion because…well, just cuz. But I must slightly disagree with you Kurt on how the media has handled the maelstrom. I agree with your point that we can tell quality journalists right now by their level of guardedness in buying into every rumor that flies. But I must disagree when it comes to the “sensational” angle. It may be blown up, but it wasn’t exactly microscopic. Kobe set his pants on fire. Now everyone’s reporting that LA’s burning. That’s bad journalism for certain. But the original flash point was still pretty dramatic. I can’t make the journos take all the blame on this one.


  47. Very interesting piece at LATIMEES.COM by Mark Heisler (the dude who wrote the article containing the “laker insider” who started this whole mess),1,5687795.story?coll=la-headlines-sports


  48. warren (philippines) June 20, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Indeed the CBA was crafted with a stroke of genius. Thats mainly to protect the Jim Dolans and Marc Cubans from spending it all. Bottom line is, the NBA, is a corporation of all the 30 teams, where, when one takes a major hit, the incorporators suffer for it. When one team suffers, its like a toothache to the NBA. You may just be a Portland, Seattle or Memphis but you are definitely causing the fan base a whole an injustice.

    If only Derek Fisher was listening, they might want to reconsider “conditional contract re-structuring and selective buy-out options” in order to make the league a more dynamic one. I am suggesting that “errors” like the Vlade Radmanovics of the world will be addressed to in a manner that the signing GM cannot shake off the blame and pass it on to the succeeding one.

    I am not well-rounded in any way, but I am quite familiar. It protects the players being the “employees” of the whole NBA. Injuries should also be a factor in assessing the “buy-out or re-structuring” of the salaries. Take KMart for instance. He has 5 more years left of his now horrid contract. The moment he signed it, It was a little off but a little ok as well. Now its a nightmare.

    Being a little specific, I have looked into the Lakers Roster and immediately see 2 things wrong – Radman and Cook. I was even suggesting a Cook + 48 for Arroyo until the Head-Bonzi combo sprouted up. I think this should be a good deal. Now we only have to deal w/ Valde’s. I was suggesting that if an Indiana deal insists we take on Murphy, they should be willing to take Vlad in return. Other options for Vlade will be a straight up trade for Mohammed, though its merely a lateral move. I was even pitching for Rasho Nesterovic or Adonal Foyle for Radman. In desperation that he wmight come off the books in an earlier time.


  49. That article was rather calming. Thanks, Skigi.


  50. 49. I saw that and wondered if that person really understood the Lakers needs? Why take Jason Smith when we’re better off resigning Chris Mihm?

    46. Rob L., no doubt Kobe started the original fire, but I think the media blew a minor flare up into another fire altogether this week.

    47. And I think Heisler is right, as of now the Lakers have no intention of really trading Kobe, and he’s going to have to turn up the heat higher, otherwise the Lakers will wait until next summer. I bet that is what they are thinking, going with the plan 1 “build a contender that will get him to stay” theory.


  51. Chopperdave,

    First off, I’m a newcomer to this blog, but am loving it so far. You’re a pretty regular poster, and so far I’m on board with most everything you’re saying. Even the CBA thing, I understand where you’re coming from because when you support a team with a mediocre front office it drives you batty when they screw up.

    It’s almost like the CBA has an inherent 3 strikes you’re out clause.

    Still, 2 things I want to point out:
    1) Teams are the genius of the Manager that builds them (team president, player personnel or GM) not the players themselves. The fun of the game itself however is the genius of the players. This is why the Lakers were a blast to watch, but are now a pain to love (aka, Kobe is great, but the management team sucks). The management has become mediocre – making poor to average moves both in regards to the cap and in talent. No way a Caron Butler for Kwame Brown trade is made by a good/excellent management team. No way a Vlade Radmonavic signing or (combined with) a Brian Cook extension is made by a good/excellent management team. Both talent and $ management is well below average…or at very best mediocre. As a result, we now suffer.
    2) I too wonder what teams like Charlotte, Orlando, Chicago, Boston, Portland, Atlanta, Phoenix will do when their young studs become stars wanting to be paid, and their older stars are still on the payroll. There’s a lot of teams in the adolescence of their rebuilding that will be facing these dillemas. It will be those teams best at addressing these changes that will prove winners. Phoenix can make it happen, even if it will be difficult. So too will the others if they have the character in their front office to successfully manuever in the future. I mean, Phoenix should be able to turn 2 1sts in this draft, Boris Diaw and Marcus Banks into expiring contracts and a solid contributor or two, right? They only have to trade Marion or Amare if they aren’t creative enough to adjust to the changes. Besides, didn’t they see this coming? Can’t they plan ahead? The Bulls have done a great job of that by front-loading contracts for guys like Heinrich.

    Basically i think the CBA is a good contract. I think GM’s just have to be more creative and selective than they have been in the past to make it work…I mean EVERYONE is under the same restrictions so it can’t be that bad, right?

    Unless you’re a Laker fan of course, in which case you want to hang yourself right now….


  52. I really don’t understand the Cook signing, but the Rad contract value is still not a factual ‘bust’. Rad has more flexibility than Cook and then there was that injury to his shooting hand last year. This year he may very well be worth it. and we will look at things differently at this time next year.

    Also, the Kobe pressure is really not that different from other stars in the past. I don’t know why everyone is saying the pressure is on the Lakers to trade him this year or next year. So the Lakers keep him for two years and he then can decide on his own what to do (like in 2004). I management has been doing their homework in the draft, then we will have a really up-and-coming team two years from today. This is the Spurs model.

    Management will be in ‘fan hell’ for two years and will take all kinds of flack about holding on to Kobe until he can leave without any compensation, but they will have build a solid foundation that Kobe should want to stay in. Remember, this is LA – Kobe has lots of marketing possibilities here that he doesn’t have in, say Portland, and his family is also settled here in Newport Beach – not exactly pergatory.

    Besides, if Kobe leaves we will have $20+m dollars to offer on the open market. This is where I think Mitch has to improve – evaluating available free-agent talent.

    Sorry, but I think the Lakers sit tight and hold to their development plan – again, like the Spurs.


  53. Did Vlade end up getting all of the necessary surgeries he avoided all year? Kind of important considering his “strength” is shooting.


  54. One week from the draft, what do people think, who do they want?

    (19) Sean Williams (pf/c)
    (40) Big Baby (pf)
    (48) Bobby Brown (pg)

    Williams has the potential to be dynamic on defense, Glen Davis has found a great playing weight, has soft hands and can finish. Bobby Brown would be a perfect tri-fit combo guard (assuming King Kobe is here) and would also let us trade Farmar if we got Luther Head.


  55. an important point to realize is that even if Kobe does opt-out in 2 years, where would he go? Would the situation be any better or more advantageous than the Laker situation (at that time)?

    I think the Lakers have all the leverage, should not panic and make a foolish trade. You don’t trade the two of the best players of all time within a 3 year period unless Kupchak wants Jack Nicholson to pimp slap him.

    Drop Kupchak and bring in a competent GM. Even when the Lakers were winning titles, Kupchak made very poor moves (Samaki Walker, Mitch Richmond,etc.) that did not help the Lakers sustain their championship level.


  56. The modern media is becoming a joke.

    They spin and twist matters, spews percesptions/rumors as facts, and even make up stuff to fit their agenda.


  57. Somebody, pleasll move Kobe for #9, Nicocioni, Hinrich, Thomas and PJ Brown with a signing of Wallace to add to the mix. We just need to move Vlad for a low draft pick to someone with cap room and wants a 2 dimentional role player with 3-pt range. The team would rock.The point would be set. The two is set. Nicocioni and Walton would keep the 3 warm for Thomas (if we even need Walton at that point). LO stays and flourishes while Bynum just focuses on rebounding and learning to rotate on D. If we have all that in place I don’t even mind taking a stab at Yi at the #9 cause we will be fine either way. I would rather get a strong and fundamentally sound low post play so we can just let Brown walk when his contract is up. Wallace is unrestricted and the only restriction on getting him is Kunchak’s restricted intellegence.


  58. ur an idiot KOBE IS GOING NO WHERE!