Summer League Stats, Thoughts

Kurt —  July 18, 2007

Before we wave goodbye to Vegas, let’s take one more look back at the Summer League. (If you’d rather read my thoughts on Los Angeles’ mood about Kobe, read this post at True Hoop.) Let’s start with the stats — I’m only putting up the stats for four of the Laker players because, well, only two likely will make the team and only two others sparked any kind of interest. So, here are the numbers.

NameeFG%3pt %TS%Reb. RateAst. 40Pts. P40PPG

Here’s a little guide to those stats for those that are new here:

eFG%: Shooting percentage combining two and three pointers
3pt.%: Shooting percentage from beyond the arc
TS%: True Shooting Percentage, think of this as points per shot attempt, it covers twos, three, free throws all adjusted to be a percentage.
Reb Rate: Percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor.
Ast. P40: Assists dished per 40 minutes of playing time.
Pts. P40: Points scored per 40 minutes of playing time.
PPG: Points per game

Now a few thoughts. And from me, just a few because unlike past years I only got to see one game of the Summer League and that was online. So I will rely heavily on the thoughts and comments of Reed, who attended the majority of games live (at great risk to his marriage).

Javaris Crittenton stood out as a pleasant surprise, he was more athletic and seemed to shoot better than I had imagined. I think the stats showed what we all thought going in, that his shot needs to be more consistent, but his form looked good, which is a good sign. While I liked him, Reed loved his game:

I saw numerous games in person last week, and Crittenton has as much “wow” factor as anyone else I watched. He made fans buzz in the stands. Over the course of the week, my stance on him progressed from, “great trade bait pick,” to “maybe he’ll challenge Farmar for backup point guard minutes next year,” to “keep him at all costs, he is a star in the making.” To me, he’s a “type 1 player” – definite star potential…. Crittenton really doesn’t have any obvious holes in his game. He is the total package physically: tall, strong, quick, great balance, explosive leaper. He has a well-rounded offensive game. He combines speed, strength, and a great handle to get to the paint in a variety of ways – isolated on the weak side, splitting the defenders in the screen and roll, lightning fast cut off the elbow weave, etc. Once in the paint, he (unlike Farmar) has the strength to bull through defenders and absorb contact to finish effectively right at the rim (though, he seems to overly favor going right and finishing with the right hand). On the perimeter, he has a consistent, soft spot up jumper out to the college three, but doesn’t seem to have consistent nba three point range. He also seems to lose accuracy when pulling up off the dribble, but the footwork and mechanics are there, suggesting he’ll quickly improve there. Javaris also showed controlled, but effective playmaking, setting up big men for high percentage layups and avoiding turnovers (though his college numbers suggest we should expect a high turnover rate for a while). He played brilliantly off the ball, consistently making smart cuts and finding openings in his wheelhouse on the perimeter when Farmar penetrated. On defense, I think Crittenton has the tools and focus to be a lock down defender. He is long, quick, and strong. He struggled a big in knowing when to come over the top of screens and when to switch, but he took well to Brian Shaw’s constant instruction on the issue.
Now, I’m not suggesting Crittenton is ready to come in right away and start. I’m not even sure that he’ll be a valuable rotation player this year. But, the tools are there for him to eventually be a dominant point guard. And, sooner than I previously thought.

Jordan Farmar.
His stats for the Summer League won’t wow you, but he showed leadership on the floor with a young team, something you like to see from your PG. And, his three-point shooting wasn’t amazing but 33% is an improvement over last summer and last season. But then, we knew he’d get better, his work ethic is one of his strengths. Again, here’s Reed:

Farmar’s game is not tailored to summer league success. Roughly speaking, there are two types of basketball players: (1) stars, aggressors, those who drive the action and carry teams, and (2) role/dependent players, those who react to the situations created by stars and fill in the cracks. Farmar is a classic type 2 player. He is never going be a star or capable of carrying a team offensively; his success will be dependent on him feeding off of the stars…. when placed next to a mishmash of raw summer league teammates, most of whom don’t understand the offense and aren’t concerned with doing anything other than shooting as soon as they get the ball, Farmar is going to struggle a little. We saw that throughout the summer league.

However, we also saw a lot of bright spots. Farmar was at his best when Crittenton joined him on the floor, for then he had a talented finisher to capitalize on his playmaking and deft management of the triangle. Jordan repeatedly broke down the defense with penetration off the weak side screen roll or triangle weave, culminating in him hitting a cutting or spotting up Crittenton for an easy basket.

Coby Karl. The kid can shoot (43% from three, that’s amazing in your back yard, let alone in real NBA competition). And there is always going to be a payday for smart players who can shoot. That may be in Europe, Karl’s lack of athleticism (he gets that from his father) may hold him back in the NBA, but he will get paid to play. Again, Reed:

As I noted in Thursday’s post, he is an interesting case because he does not have the requisite speed or ballhandling skills to be an effective point guard or the size of a shooting guard. Despite those limitations, he played very well in spurts, particularly in the early games, and displayed a coach’s son’s feel for the game. He has deep range with a quick release, rare passing instincts, a keen understanding of floor spacing in the triangle, and a relentless work ethic on defense. The Lakers strongest lineup consistently featured him, Farmar, and Crittenton, with Karl providing spacing on the perimeter and creative passing from the high post (including a crafty between the legs pass to a cutting guard from the free throw line). However, despite these virtues, I just see too many limitations that are unlikely to disappear. On offense, Karl is really only a stand still shooter. If a defender closes down on him and forces him to pick up the dribble, he does not have the speed to create real separation or the leaping ability to rise up and get off a high % jump shot. Instead, he is forced to pass the ball out to the reset the offense, or, at best, bull his way into the lane in the hopes of creating contact for free throws (which he did effectively a few times).

Larry Turner. He’s a bulky 6-11 center out of Tennessee State who proved he could board with the best and showed good effort on defense. It’s a long shot he makes the squad, but he deserves a camp invite. Some final thoughts from Reed:

If the Lakers look to the summer roster to bring in a cheap big body for insurance frontcourt depth, I think it has to be Turner. He is a legitimate 6’11” and built like a chiseled mountain. Huge upper body and fairly mobile. In both the Wednesday and Saturday games, the Lakers made big second half runs to storm behind from big deficits and capture the lead (though ultimately losing on Saturday). During both runs, Turner keyed the defense with aggressive (but relatively foul-free), pick and roll trapping, solid low post defense, strong board work, and a nose for loose balls. He is ok on offense, capable of catching and dunking or throwing up a decent righty jump hook. I see him as a poor man’s Ronnie Turiaf or Anderson Varejao.

to Summer League Stats, Thoughts

  1. Good work fellas, Kurt, Reed, and the FB&G peanut gallery, thanks for keeping my B-Ball fixes alive during the off-season. Like most of you my Lakers addiction puts a bit of strain on my marriage also, at least I know I am not alone. My only hope is that I can afford to pay for my son’s therapy for growing up without a father and season tickets at the same time.


  2. Renato Afonso July 18, 2007 at 5:39 am

    At least you managed to get married… My basketball play and addiction prevents me from it.

    Nevertheless, thank you for the useful info, as usual.

    My takes on the rookies (based only what has been written).

    Farmar: To me that’s the type of point guard we need. Adjusting the game to the team’s primary offensive option and controlling the tempo. Someone able to make good decisions. He and Walton would be the ideal role players for any team featuring a 1-2 punch (SG+PF/C). He will never be a star, but we don’t need one at PG.

    Javaris: It seems he’s headed for stardom, however it will take a while. I personally don’t like shoot-first, always drive to the hoop PG’s, but the game rewards them to some extent. I don’t think he will mesh well with Kobe, but maybe training camp can prove me wrong. I honestly believe he’s the best trade bait we have, in order to get a strong inside presence (KG, JO, Gasol, you know the names).

    Karl: The NBA is… well… at the lack of a better word… biased. If you’re not a player with some athletic ability, you probably won’t make it. The NBA is designed to maximize one-on-one situations, which is a shame. Maybe he can really go somewhere over my side of the Atlantic.

    Turner: A poor man’s Turiaf has no use for us. Even if we traded 2 for 1, with Mihm re-signing, we would be ok, I think.


  3. Is there an appreciable difference between Nate Turner and Kwame? Both big, athletic bodies short on skills. Nate has better hands and always tries to dunk rather than lay the ball up – a big plus.


  4. chris henderson July 18, 2007 at 9:39 am

    during 2 seasons now with Kwame, there’s been only a few times when he did something that made me take notice and say “holy S**t!”
    however, the majority of the time, I’m yelling at him for…1) standing around watching, 2) dropping the ball, or 3) blowing a lay up when he shudda been dunking the ball “with authority!”
    I know we’re more than likely going to see him for another season, and I do hope he shows us all why he was a #1 pick, but I for one, will not miss him when he’s gone.


  5. I think if we find a way a way to get JO for Bynum and fillers without giving Odom, Luke, or Kwame. I think we have the potential for that big, long, and quick starting five that is perfect for the Triangle:

    PG: Critt
    SG: Kobe
    SF: Odom
    PF: JO
    C: Kwame

    6th man: Luke

    All these players are tall and quick and, as a unit, will give nightmares in terms of mismatches to any opponent.


  6. Kwame was surely not worth a #1 pick, but, I think we do forget he does provide a down low presence that we don’t have with either Mihm or Bynum (yet). We do need one good ‘banger’ in our starting unit. This is my problem with playing Mihm/Bynum and Lamar at the same time. Lamar should be the SF and get tough body to compliment Mihm/Bynum and then we can trade Kwame. Incidentally (thanks drrayeye) none of our projected trade targets (KG, JO, Gasol) meet our needs in this area. Maybe Turiaf will really work hard and improve over the summer.

    This is why I think we should invite Turner to our training camp. I don’t have great hopes, just hopes.


  7. Paul S.
    You are correct, but your proposal has two very large holes.
    1) Indiana would have to be incredibility stupid
    2) The Lakers would be so far into luxury tax country, it would make the Knicks look like pikers.


  8. Just to give you perspective. . . .

    I recently did an evaluation of the draft status of Lakers on the roster (+Mihm). Every one was drafted in the first round (or early in the 2nd round) except Mo Evans. Mihm, Brown, and Bynum (our centers) were selected earlier in the first round of their respective years than Kobe!

    Evans came out early from college, was undrafted, and did the back and forth pilgrimmage between Europe and the NBA until he finally made the rotation in Detroit–traded to Lakers.

    Crittendon and Farmar, as first round picks, are signed and have already made the team.

    There is no one on the current Laker team that was picked up undrafted through Summer league. The only player picked up recently that way by the Lakers was the Smusher . . . . .


  9. And I’ll step in and defend the pickup of Smush. For the less than $1 mil he was making, Smush was a good find and provided a lot of value. I think the problem was twofold: 1) Smush had limitations on his game and the Lakers asked too much of him (or thought he would grow more than he did); 2) Smush’s attitude. But all in all, that was not a bad Summer League find.


  10. Yahoo Sports ranks Javaris #3 in Summer League performance
    Published by LD2kat July 17, 2007 in 2007 Summer League and Articles. 21 Comments
    More praise for the young, promising PG. Yahoo wrote up a “winners and losers list” and they ranked Crittenton #3 on their Winners list. Check it out: 3. Javaris Crittenton, Los Angeles Lakers – Crittenton might have the biggest upside out of all the point guards at summer league mostly due to his size (6-foot-5) and athleticism. He showed the ability to get into the lane and finish near the basket. Crittenton averaged 17 points and three assists and, for the most part, outplayed Jordan Farmar.


  11. Thank you drrayeye,
    You make the very cogent point that the Lakers are NOT a rag-tag outfit with players no one else would want. We are either on the cusp of major jumps in performance or we must accept everyone is what they have shown so far in their career. I submit we have a number of experienced players who will not see tremendous change – except perhaps Walton will get a more consistent shot – and several 2-3 yr players who should show a noticeable jump in understanding and endurance in the NBA game.

    Now is the time to hold the line. If we are to make a trade we must be very sure we are not giving up too much.


  12. Gr8dunk,
    Just remember, Farmar was trying to accomplish something different from J.C. during summer league. I wouldn’t put J.C. ahead of Farmar on the depth chart just yet. I too think he has more potential, but Farmar is a gym rat and you know what they can accomplish (Walton, Kobe, etc).


  13. Kurt,
    totally with you on the Smusher analysis. We just gave him a role that wasn’t suited for him. He could be our 9th or 10th rotation player…

    Kwame should be considered an outcast (from Washington and that guy who wore that #23 jersey). Only exception to your rule…


  14. (9)Kurt,

    I looked at statistical evaluations of Smush months ago that had him ranked ahead of Steve Blake and predictions by Pincus (much like yours) written about the same time that Smush would be signed.

    You once thought Smush would get multiple offers that the Lakers would be pressed to match.

    Let’s see what happens when these retrospective stats and forecasts hit the road of reality.

    Most recently in your Blog:

    Here’s what Jon (the Pacer guy) has to say about the Smusher (and Indiana is looking):

    “Nobody’s taking Parker. He’s got a great nickname, but that’s about it. Smush is not a tradeable piece. Sorry.”

    Kurt, When you recently said that you expected Smush to be picked up by an NBA team, I thought I might be missing something. I went to a Smush Parker Web page.


    I went to the Heat website where someone posted a suggestion they consider Smush:


    I went to the Nuggets, since they had purportedly suggested they were interested in signing the Smusher:

    They selected our much maligned former Laker Chucky Atkins that Smush replaced here to bring–as you claimed at the time–at least some defense.

    According to blogs, several other teams considered (and rejected) Smush as a plan B or C if everything else failed.

    It is as if the Smusher has disappeared from the face of the earth.

    There is no evidence that anyone even has the Smusher on thier radar screen.

    Maybe you can get an NBA team interested in him?


  15. drrayeye- Everyone know Smush self-destructed. Kurt was merely alluding to the (what should be obvious point) that Smush was a great bargain for one and half seasons. He helped us win 45 games a year after being in the lottery and started nearly every game he played in. Yes, he imploded, yes, he stopped playing defense. None of that takes away the fact that he made the LA Lakers from their summer league team, and started by Kobe Bryant for a playoff team. Get over the hate.


  16. Now that KG is reportedly off the market… I think we all need to accept the fact that a blockbuster trade is probably not going to happen this offseason. Right now we are playing chicken with the Pacers to see who will cave in first. We claim we will not give Odom and Bynum, they claim they will not give us JO for anything less. Other than KG and JO, there really isn’t anybody worth giving up Odom or Bynum for.

    As we all have seen over the past few seasons, things happen during the season and big name players suddenly become available when you least expect it (Iverson, Kidd, etc.). I know we all want a big trade right now because we are expecting it, but I don’t think we should make one just to make one.

    As of right now, we have to look at bringing our current roster to training camp. We would probably all agree that our biggest flaws this past season were team defense, PG position, and lack of production from C position. Kobe, Luke, Lamar and a couple guys off the bench (Evans, Turiaf) played well. If we are not going to make the huge trade to change the face of the team, we have to at least address our biggest issues.

    I believe the PG problem has been solved. I think we are all pretty optimistic right now about our 3 headed PG of Fish, Farmar, and Crit. We should get much more production out of them this year than we did with the Smusher, Shamu and a rookie Farmar.

    We didn’t dramatically improve the C position, but I think if Bynum’s production increases from last season, and we have Kwame and hopefully Mihm to back him up, that should be an improvement in the C position as well.

    All thats left now is team defense. We obviously had no problem scoring points last season, we just couldn’t stop anybody. If our guys take it upon themselves to be much better on D, I believe this roster as it is right now, can win more than 50 games this season and avoid the 3 headed monster of SA, Dal, PHX in the first round.


  17. “all thats left now is team defense”

    Skigi- I hope and pray that Phillip re-evaluates his philosphy of defense this season. Memo to Phil, it is not the late 90’s anymore. 2 of his biggest strategies 1) handcheck/switch hard on the perimeter and 2)funnel penetration to a shot-blocking center, are not possible anymore. a) the rules have changed. b) we dont have the hoop iq from the center spot to funnel penetration in.

    So, we must either adopt some zone principles, reinforce rotations on the perimeter, and ask the wizard of oz for hoop brains for Kwame and Bynum.


  18. Sad state for Smush, but it was all his doing. He has the God-given body and talent to be a superb player, but does not have the coachable mentality and would have sulked given Farmar and Critt’s emergence.

    As for JO, I wouldn’t do it. He’s just too fragile, not a post-banger, too expensive, and not the ideal triangle player. I understand that he represents ‘change,’ but his past injury history and unwillingness to bang inside make him a very expensive proposition.

    I really hope Critt is all that everyone’s been raving about.


  19. kwame a.,
    Can’t we just hire somebody like Jeff Van Gundy to sit on the bench with Phil and handle the Defense? Kinda like how a football team has an offensive and defensive coordinator?


  20. 14. Don’t confuse me with someone who thinks Smush is great or that we need him back, I’ve been very consistent in saying I thought he’d make a decent backup PG in the NBA but to ask more of him was stupid. Last summer I wanted a defensive minded PG, we got VladRad.

    I have no evidence that he will get picked up, just a gut feel. But, guys like him at the bottom of the food chain do not get asked to camp yet, it comes closer to camp itself when the bigger names have shaken out. He’s a good story, he worked hard to get where he is, I hope he lands on his feet.


  21. Skigi- I think that was one of the reasons behind bringing back Jim Cleamons. I remeber telling my girlfriend how improved the Laker D would be with Clem coming back…I was wrong.

    I think if the D is gonna improve its gotta be from a combonation of Kobe and Phil. Phil and MJ, along with Pip, led by example in the Chicago era, and they prided themselves on D. The Shaq teams played good D in spite of a sometimes bad example by Shaq, but that team had vets like Fox,Harper, Shaw, Horry, Grant, Green. All guys that KNEW how to play D. This current Laker team is different, they need teaching, they need prodding, they need scolding. Phil and Kobe, and to an extent LO, all can help make that happen.


  22. 19. I thought that’s what Cleamons was supposed to be?


  23. Don’tStopBeleebing July 18, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I have the trade trade that will push the Lakers back..

    This solves every problem and gets the Lakers a lot more than they could ever hope for. Enjoy!!!


  24. Don’tStopBeleebing July 18, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    By the way that trade leaves the lakers with this:

    PG: Fisher/Crittenton
    SG: Kobe/Evans/Sasha
    SF: Artest/Walton
    PF: Garnett/Turiaf
    C: Miller/Mihm (re-signed)

    The Lakers pay the tax, but they look a lot better.


  25. Coby Karl the PG version of Luke Walton? Possible.


  26. Kwame A,

    You can take the athlete out of the playground, but you can’t . . . . . . well, you can say the rest.

    Smush didn’t self destruct. Smush Parker was a mistake from the beginning–and the Lakers exploited him and suffered from him at the same time.

    After bargaining extensively with legitimate defense oriented role player point guards from an already low MLE for starting Pgs in the NBA, the Lakers brought in one of the lowest of the lower tiered player in summer league, repeatedly cut by other NBA teams, who still needed significant fundamental skill development–and made him a starter on a day to day basis for almost 2 years!

    At the same time, they paid him an insulting salary and used him as a scapgoat for their own mistakes.

    Smush remains a legitimate rationale for Kobe’s rants. Smush was a significant component of Laker team defense meltdowns. He might well have been included in the group of players whose intellects were portrayed in an unflattering way by Phil Jackson.

    As a team player, especially a triangle or team defense player, Smush was totally lost. When Laker team play was at its best, Smush didn’t belong; when Laker team play fell apart, Smush sometimes saved the day

    As an athlete, Smush was capable of extraordinary plays. He once leaped high above the rim to block a Terry layup and prevent a Dallas Maverick victory–maybe the best key defensive play of the season for the Lakers. More than once, he made a steal or an unlikely 3 point basket to save a victory. Until he was benched, he never missed a game.

    With three first round draft choice pedigreed point guards (like the rest of the Laker roster), we are likely to see a noticeable improvement in team chemistry and coordination.


    The reason that I’m reminding you about your Smush predictions is that there were some rather extreme predictions last season. You and I were several shades of gray apart. Some, far more extreme that me, wanted him released well before the season ended; others thought he would either be resigned by the Lakers or sign a lucrative free agent contract.

    You still believe that Smush will be signed as an NBA point guard backup.

    We’ll see.


  27. Coby probably won’t make the club, unless we do a 2for1 deal, but he has earned an invite to camp – I hope.


  28. drrayeye- I agree that Smush was a scapegoat. Actually, you were one of the people who continually would point out after a Laker loss how the team fared better without the “Smusher” etc. etc. Even now, when nobody really is speaking about an EX-LAKER, you bring him into the discussion. Time to move on to a new scapegoat lakerfans, we now have a wonderful selection of Sasha, Cookie, VladRad and good ole favorites like LO and Bynum.


  29. Lakers: Is Farmar Expendable?
    By Eric Pincus
    Jul 18, 2007, 15:28

    A deal that would likely be very interesting to the Wolves would include Jordan Farmar, Andrew Bynum and Joakim Noah (along with expiring contracts).

    Now if the Bulls were willing to trade Noah and PJ Brown (sign and trade) for Odom in a three-way combination, the Lakers might have a legitimate shot to get Garnett . . . even after Taylor’s statement.


  30. 29 Thats an interesting trade, but I do not think Chicago would go for it. That would still leave the Lakers with the Problem of having a four man line up with no Center. It also removes one of the possible people (Brown) the Lakers could try to sign to replenish a depleted front court after making a trade.

    Besides that I do not think Brown would agree to a sign and trade to Minnesota.


  31. 24. Smush was hardly “a mistake from the beginning”. The guy played solid ball for us in 2005-06, putting up a perfectly acceptable 13.4 PER. He, in particular, was a huge defensive upgrade for us over Chucky Atkins, which was reflected in our move from 30th in the L in points/100 possessions allowed in 2004-05 to 15th in 2005-06. Importantly, he kept his head down and his effort up for 82 starts… and then he got exposed in the 1st round and cracked.

    I think the mistake came in not recognizing the possible long-term effects of this experience on Parker. Management assumed that Parker would reproduce his 2005-06 performance for another year while we developed our first rounder and, instead, decided to use the MLE to address what they thought was our bigger problem at the 3 spot. Since Parker played better than Walton in 2005-2006, I can understand where they were coming from (Walton only posted an 11.6 PER).

    Instead, Walton spent the summer radically improving his game, while Smush spent his cruising LA in his Smushcalade. Walton then spent his season becoming a core player (radically improving his PER to 14.7) while Smush spent his being a basket case (reflected in his PER dropping to 11.6, although this score doesn’t do justice to just how bad his team defense was).

    Of course, since Smush stank from day 1 of 2006-07, it’s hard to understand why PJ stuck with him until game 80. Perhaps, along the lines that you expressed, PJ recognized the value that Smush gave us athletically at the 1 spot, but failed to recognize just how much Smush’s lack of team play outweighed this advantage. Regardless, we would’ve been a lot better off if either Shammond or Farmar had been given the reins much earlier.

    So in retrospect, we would definitely have been better off using our MLE to upgrade our 1 spot (of course, it’s hard to imagine who could have helped us less than Vlad). But given the class of free agents available in summer 2006 (see:, I am not sure who would have been worth the money. Moochie Norris, anyone?


  32. Sean,

    If one goes by the scores you rely on, Smush apparently had a better PER than Steve Blake THIS year. Smush had a PER very similar to Derek Fisher last year. When the PER contradicts what you see, trust your eyes. Apparently the guys who pay the salaries do.

    How could Smush have understood the triangle that first year? How could he have developed chemistry with his teammates sufficient to play good team defense right away?

    The reason the Lakers improved was because they had a real coach instead of a temporary coach. Phil played the triangle rather than just shooting threes and eliminated a lot of transitional scoring. It was not because of the superb Smusher defense.

    We don’t know what kind of defense Chucky would have played under Phil. Defense or no defense, Chucky has continued to be an NBA point guard on other teams. He just signed on with the Nuggets.

    A typical quality starting pg in the NBA is earning $10 million. We had money and contract term “issues” with free agents who were asking for $5 million and a 3-5 year contract in the summer of 2005. When we lost every decent candidate to other teams (much like happened to the Heat this year), we “found” the Smusher.

    Derek Fisher was available in 2006 either as a sign-and-trade or a free agent.

    We haven’t yet learned. We just got lucky Our 3 (count ’em that’s three) pg’s this year earn a total of about $7 million. Bibby, Billups, Williams, (how many more can you name) earn more than that tyhemselves. Derek Fisher himself walked away from $7 million per year. I’m not even talking Steve Nash or Jason Kidd yet.

    Why did they earn so much? They put in the YEARS to learn to be point guards and they became the glue that was keeping their team together. Some of us think that we have an NBA PG in a 19 year old with zero years of experience. Before Phoenix appreciated what they had, they traded Nash to Dallas. Dallas traded Nash back to Phoenix because he seemed to be “too old,” “too slow,” and “too small.” Heard those things before?

    Smush was hired “on the cheap” because he had no leverage. He was given the starting pg position because the Lakers were not willing to take the pg position seriously. Smush became the Fall guy when the roof caved in.


  33. Fine points, drrayeye.

    Derek Fisher is probably the cheapest way at trying to resolve the 1 position. In my eyes, Derek has improved since he left the Lakers, and under the triangle, who knows…we may resolve that position short-term.

    31: Perhaps Marcus Banks, even Lindsey Hunter, Darrell Armstrong, or Sam Cassell would have helped some. Cassell could have been a Laker if it weren’t for Mitch’s interest in Vlad.


  34. drrayeye,
    All the things you bring up are true. However, remember that the key mark of all the continually poor teams in the NBA is that they overpay average personnel, thereby capping themselves out when a difference maker shows up. The Lakers may have been too cautious in the other direction, but remember Lamar and Kwame. These were contracts that are now considered overpaying because potential did not pan out. These are the reason we now are at the luxury cap. It isn’t Walton and Vlade that capped us out – although too many of those contract would also put us at a disadvantage.

    I see evidence that Mitch has learned how to deal with the cap. Add that to the fact that he has been drafting well and I have more confidence in the front office than many fans.


  35. Speaking of Indiana and who might blink first…

    I think LA should be offering the practical instead of waiting for Indy to blink. A Miami 3-way might work

    to Indy:
    Andrew Bynum (obvious)
    Kwame Brown (9.1M expiring contract)
    Jason Williams (8.9M expiring contract)

    to Miami:
    Vlade Radman (no more Posey)
    Jordan Farmar (Riles kind of PG)

    to LA:
    Jermaine Oneal (post presence, interior defense)

    Well a 3-way is harder to comply than a mere 2-way blockbuster. This of course, is another pipe. Knowing KG is off, who knows?…


  36. Derek Banducci July 18, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Several months ago, I was throwing stuff in my Vegas hotel room whenever Smush would get the ball. In other words, I am not Smush Parker apologist.

    However, to argue that Smush was a mistake from the beginning is just plain wrong and what Kurt has been saying is spot on. Smush will make a good backup for some team. Furthermore, you can’t legitimately blame Smush for the fact that the Lakers haven’t had a legit starting PG since Shaq left.

    Here’s the bottom line, Smush is a good story, he was an improvement over Chucky, I wish him the best, and I am happy that we now have better options.


  37. Derek Banducci is right. For what its worth, he was a true Laker for a year and a half…


  38. WarrenWeeLim,
    I really have a problem overpaying for JO the way you propose. We lose two young prospects (Bynum & Farmar), our down low presence (Kwame), and a 3pt shooting threat. All for what? A PF. Now we have 2 PF and no center. Even with Mihm we have down low problems and our payroll for our 3 key stars is in the $54-56M range. We are now at or over the luxury tax to fill out the club and have no down low banger. Aggggggh!!! Now we really can’t get help, except from some summer league PF – oh I forgot, we already have 2 star PF on the club.

    I didn’t mean to sound too sarcastic, but we do need
    1) A big man down low to handle big men in the league and…
    2) We cannot operate for long above the luxury tax limit.

    Our flexibility actually comes in maintaining our rookie contracts, not in throwing them out to satisfy getting another big $ star. If we are going to get a big $ star we will have to trade Odom – period. Now you have to ask yourself — is it worth it????


  39. It was actually just a variant of the thousands of JO deals that are out there…

    Don’t worry Craig W., I welcome any input more so in disagreement because it makes me see the weaknesses I have in some aspects.

    Your point being, that we do need big men to bang, that is valid. But they do not have to be legit centers to be successful in banging down low. We can have the likes of Turiaf to play center for us…

    I also agree that the luxury tax is something Buss is very conscious of…

    I also agree that we need the rookie contracts to be flexible.

    However, we cannot have all of that with the current makeup of the team and the payroll right now. We need to do what we can to improve it, even if it means taking a little risk to get rewards.

    On another note, we already are a playoff team irregardless. Thats the luxury of Kobe. The point is to advance deeper in the playoffs and possibly make a run at the WCF. And then, by next year, possibly win it all.


  40. CraiG W
    The salary cap is at 56.5 million but the luxury tax threshold is at 70 million. any team taht goes over 70 Million pays a dollar for dollar luxury tax on the amount over. Comprende?


  41. Hi Craig,

    Pennypinching at point guard turned into a disaster for the Lakers–and it didn’t save them money. I think that Mitch has done a very good job with player salaries since. A further challenge is to improve the team Without exceeding the budget cap,

    To acquire ANY big time player, it means that the Lakers MUST include Kwame and/or Lamar. That’s where the money is. Since potential targets are power forwards, an apples for apples trade sends Lamar Odom to another team to preserve balance.

    The salary of Jermaine O’Neal’s “apple” is $6 million higher than Lamar’s. The Laker’s must unbalance their team just to sign him–and go further over the salary cap to replenish the team–no matter what they do. Jermaine is too expensive.

    The salary of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are the same. Even if the “apple” is not exchanged right away, a Gasol trade is financially feasible.

    Given that the Grizz could be induced to take Kwame and Bynum for Pau (I’m expecting “replenishments”, but it couldn’t change the basic deal too much) the Lakers could improve their “star value” while positioning themselves for a further trade involving Lamar Odom.

    Such a scenario could involve “name” for “name” while restoring team balance and staying below the salary cap.

    Our blog favorite would feature Ron Artest for Lamar Odom, but the Artest salary in only $7.5 million–about $6 million less than Odom’s! Sacto would have to include another player. That could be Shareef Abdur Rahim or Corliss Williamson–big strong veteran guys who could protect Kobe and Gasol.

    The team would be back in balance and salaries would be below the salary cap. Further smaller trades, if necessary, would be easy to make now.


  42. Derek Banducci says,

    “Smush will make a good backup for some team.”

    Kurt has already said it. Warren seems to agree.

    There were many who suggested that the Lakers would have to be competing with free agent offers about now.

    Whenever any of you come up with even a shred of evidence that any of this is happening, please post it here as soon as you find it. So far, I believe that I’m the only one who’s been looking.

    Maybe after you Google for awhile, your confidence will slip a bit.

    I’m willing to post even a scrap of a rumor that Smush is being considered.

    Is anyone disturbed by the loud silence about the Smusher’s prospects in the NBA on the internet?


  43. Lakerfan,
    I understood the difference between $56.5M and close to $70M, but if 3 players make $55M then only $15M is left for the other 12 players (assuming we stay with the 14 limit). There is absolutely no way we sign 12 players for a total of $15M.

    I too have my questions about the Smusher, but the point is that the bottom end of the free agent market (and Smush is part of that group in everyone’s mind) does not get active until all the better choices are gone. The only exception is usually someone from your own club, where the person has been watched for at least a year. Since we announced Smush’s contract would not be renewed, he doesn’t fall into the latter catagory.


  44. Oops! My math is bad. 11 players for $15M, but the thought is the same.


  45. Here’s how we get JO and keep Kwame and Odom:

    Bynum, Cook, Evans, Mihm (sign and trade one year deal) for JO


  46. PG for the Lakers is not a position that needs a great player. Harper, Shaw, and Fisher played that role and their main contribution was shooting. The Lakers needed Smush to hit the open jumper consistently in order to establish the threat of him scoring. That threat opens up the floor and provides spacing. But against Phoenix, Nash became a rover on D because Smush could not make him pay. That was the downfall of Smush. The Lakers do not need a traditional PG, a player like Stephen Jackson could play that position for the Lakers; he is a capable ball handler and a shooting threat. He also has the size to finish inside off the various cuts and movements of the Triangle. We need a player in that mold (just like Harper, Shaw) to be effective on offense and to execute the defensive philosophy of switching on screen rolls.


  47. Paul #45.: A sign and trade must be for at least 3 seasons. So if Indy would actually want Mihm, they would have to commit for longer than just the 1 season.


  48. If Smush gets picked up it will be late in the free agent game when teams are a little more desperate. I’d be surprised if he didn’t get an invite to someone’s (not ours) camp.

    From a “moneyball” perspective (ability compared to pay) he was a steal.


  49. Derek Banducci July 19, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Smush may not get any offers. That doesn’t change the fact that he would make a good backup on some team. The terms on which he left the Lakers will probably give some teams pause before making an offer.


  50. A lot of people here are saying that Smush could be a good backup PG in the NBA.

    I agree that he COULD be a back up PG, but my question is… does he have the mindset to be a backup PG?

    I would imagine that he feels like he should be starting somewhere making big bucks, and he will sulk because that is not happening. I really can’t see him being a team player and accepting the fact that he is someone’s backup. If he was okay with being a bench player, he might still be on our team right now. His lack of team play and attitude is what got him in this mess.

    I think he would rather go to Greece and be a star.


  51. Sorry folks, but we aren’t getting Gasol, or Garnett, and most likely not JO. This team is best served developing the young guys, adding vets, and hoping Odom/Kwame/Vlad/Walton give them what they are paid to do.

    Memphis aint trading Gasol, they have some nice pieces around him now. Taylor won’t move his meal-ticket and Indy is asking for too much. Its nice that we have pieces that match salary to these players, but there are real impediments that will prevent these deals from occurring.

    I hope fans, and the front office/coaching staff/players can start to focus on the upcoming year, and how to improve defensivley and establish interior offense


  52. 32.


    My rebuttal:

    “If one goes by the scores you rely on, Smush apparently had a better PER than Steve Blake THIS year. Smush had a PER very similar to Derek Fisher last year. When the PER contradicts what you see, trust your eyes. Apparently the guys who pay the salaries do.”

    I do trust my eyes. I happened to ‘see’ Smush playing a lot better in 2005-06 than he did in 2006-07. However, I hardly think that leaving my argument at “I saw it different than you, so you must be wrong” is the basis for a constructive discussion. So, I chose to use numbers to support the conclusion that I had come to based on my perception. I chose PER not because it is the final word on success on the basketball court, but because it is a formula that puts all the statistical measurables of individual basketball contribution into one number. Certainly, there are many contributions one can make on the court that are not measured and obviously a player with strong intangibles may be vastly underrated if one were to go by PER alone (Bruce Bowen is the oft’ used example of this). I’m also not convinced that Hollinger’s formula necessary weighs individual statistical categories appropriately. However, a lot of fine basketball minds are willing to use this formula, including the boys at My take is that if it’s good enough for those guys to use, then it’s good enough for me… at least as a point of departure.

    Having said that, if you would like to bring more than statistics of Smush’s individual performance under consideration, that’s fine by me. If one looks at the measures of team play taken by, it is clear that the team performance while Smush was on the court in 2005-06 ( was vastly better than it was in 2006-07 ( Any way you cut it, the gulf between a +/- of 215, a pts/48 min allowed of 97.9, and a win% of 57.0 and a +/- of -81, a pts/48 min allowed of 105.6, and a win% of 41.8 is huge.

    The bottom line is that Smush put up significantly better individual numbers and that the Lakers put up significantly better team numbers while he was on the floor in 2005-06 than in 2006-07. So, I think it is fair to say that he played better in 2005-06 than he did in 2006-07. Now I’ll allow that you may remember his performance differently, but it’s hard to say that you’re remembering his performance accurately.

    “How could Smush have understood the triangle that first year? How could he have developed chemistry with his teammates sufficient to play good team defense right away?”

    The triangle is still basketball. It’s just that, unlike most basketball offenses that are based on set plays, the triangle is based on defensive recognition with a focus on spacing as the primary modus operandi. So, for a lot of players who are indoctrinated in the former, they find the latter to be counter-intuitive. Obviously, consistently having to go against one’s learned instinct on the court can be frustrating and can effectively slow a player down (and even a ¼ second of delay in recognition and reaction can make the difference between winning and losing on an individual play). It makes sense to me at least that a guy like Smush, who came to the Lakers more a street baller than a formal basketball player may not have had the same some of intuitive baggage that would have slowed him down in the triangle (after all, street ball is all read and react). This is not to say that he necessarily understood the triangle in all it’s intricacies, just that he didn’t have to unlearn his experience first when adopting the offense.

    “The reason the Lakers improved was because they had a real coach instead of a temporary coach. Phil played the triangle rather than just shooting threes and eliminated a lot of transitional scoring. It was not because of the superb Smusher defense.

    We don’t know what kind of defense Chucky would have played under Phil. Defense or no defense, Chucky has continued to be an NBA point guard on other teams. He just signed on with the Nuggets.”

    As far as measuring the teams defensive performance from 2004-05 to 2005-06 is concerned, I’m willing to admit that it’s a little unfair. However, I think you go too far to say that we didn’t have a real coach in 2004-05. Rudy T’s record speaks for itself (.559 win% in the regular season, .567 in the playoffs, and 2 championships) and we were doing just fine under his tutelage (24-19). Obviously, we were hurt by his abrupt departure, but it’s not like Frank Hamblen was unqualified to coach. The man’s been gainfully employed as an assistant coach in the NBA for 35 straight years (for only 5 teams) and was an assistant on 5 championship teams.

    As far as Chucky is concerned, don’t get me wrong, I liked him as a Laker. But dude’s not a defender. His teams have consistently given up more points with him on the floor than without him:,, And while it’s true that he has continued to be an NBA pg, it’s also true than he’s now on his 8th team in 9 years.

    “A typical quality starting pg in the NBA is earning $10 million. We had money and contract term “issues” with free agents who were asking for $5 million and a 3-5 year contract in the summer of 2005. When we lost every decent candidate to other teams (much like happened to the Heat this year), we “found” the Smusher.”

    There are only 8 pgs in the League making $10+ mil this year. If you go down to $8 mil, you can add 4 more to the list. The average salary for a pg is currently $3,672,966 (see

    As far as issues with free agents are concerned, the only issue that we had in 2005 was with Antonio Daniels to whom we were willing offer a 3 year full-MLE while he wanted a 5. Considering that he was turning 30 at the time and had been a back-up for most of his career (the guy has only started 149 of 722 career games), I can understand our decision. If Antonio wanted to play back-up to Gil Arenas rather than actually be a starter, well that was up to him.

    As far as finding Smush is concerned, the numbers obviously show that he gave us great value in 2005-06. $1.5 mil for Smush vs. $30 mil for Daniels seems like a no-brainer investment to me given the salary cap.

    “Derek Fisher was available in 2006 either as a sign-and-trade or a free agent.”

    Fisher signed a six-year contract with the Warriors in 2004, which Utah just let him out of. So he was not available as either a sign-and-trade or as a free agent in 2006 (see

    Of course, we could have traded for him. And, given Vlad’s performance (and Smush’s) we would certainly have been way better off if was had traded Vlad for Fisher (although we would have had to do the trade in season, as you teams have to wait 3 months to trade a player after signing him as a free agent).

    “We haven’t yet learned. We just got lucky Our 3 (count ‘em that’s three) pg’s this year earn a total of about $7 million. Bibby, Billups, Williams, (how many more can you name) earn more than that tyhemselves. Derek Fisher himself walked away from $7 million per year. I’m not even talking Steve Nash or Jason Kidd yet.”

    Which is due to the fact that 2 of these 3 are prospects on rookie contracts and the other is a veteran who actually isn’t overpriced (assuming he actually signs with us of course).

    As far as Fisher walking away from $7 mil/year, it looks like he’s going to take less to play with us. So I don’t really see your point.

    “Why did they earn so much? They put in the YEARS to learn to be point guards and they became the glue that was keeping their team together. Some of us think that we have an NBA PG in a 19 year old with zero years of experience. Before Phoenix appreciated what they had, they traded Nash to Dallas. Dallas traded Nash back to Phoenix because he seemed to be “too old,” “too slow,” and “too small.” Heard those things before?”

    It’s true that many pgs take time to develop. It’s also true that many come into the league ready to play, even the very young ones. For example, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Stephon Marbury, Tony Parker, and Chris Paul all tore it up as 19-20 year old rookies (Crittenton turns 20 in December).

    As far as Nash is concerned, obviously Dallas missed the boat. Although I don’t know how you can say Phoenix did back in the 90s since they traded Nash (and Finley) to get Jason Kidd.

    “Smush was hired “on the cheap” because he had no leverage. He was given the starting pg position because the Lakers were not willing to take the pg position seriously. Smush became the Fall guy when the roof caved in.”

    I wouldn’t say that the Lakers don’t take the PG point guard position seriously, so much as PJ doesn’t value the position highly because of the offense he runs (which makes sense since the triangle does not require a pg to run plays). If you look at PJ’s pgs historically you can see that he has never gotten much production from that spot (see Indeed, the one time he’s had a legit 1 in his offense (Payton), it didn’t work out. And if you look at J. Kidd’s struggles with the triangle in Dallas, one might be led to think that it almost might be better to not try to force a pure 1 into the triangle, where his skills will be underutilized. Just look at how wasted Farmar was in Summer League, where, if he had been able to dominate the ball a little more, he could have shined.

    As far as Smush taking the fall. It wasn’t because the team performed poorly, it was because he played like an a@@hole.


  53. Garnett in L.A.
    The Daily News’ Matt Kredell reports that Kevin Garnett was at UCLA yesterday, watching some tennis. Garnett told Matt that he’s friends with Mardy Fish, who was playing a match against Sam Querrey. Garnett wouldn’t give up any information about whether he might be staying in L.A. on a longer-term basis…

    Also, Kredell stayed to watch James Blake. Blake said he is friends with Garnett’s agent and that Fish is friendds with Garnett’s wife. Professional sports is a small world…

    BTW, tennis observers report that Garnett didn’t look amused when he was shown on the video screen and public-address announcer Ted Sobel intoned, “There’s a team in purple and gold that could use you.”


  54. Sean P- excellent post, quality stuff


  55. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor will join Chad Hartman at 2:20 on Thursday to discuss the team’s summer league success, possible trade options, KG’s future and more. Be sure to tune in

    On in a few mins.


  56. Well, we’ve got Kwame giving up on a big trade–telling us that we’ll pretty much have the same team–and we’ve got Phil Jackson with a cheshire cat smile, unwilling to even consider such a possibility.

    There are many bloggers who would agree with Kwame. There is very loud silence emanatng from Laker management.

    I wonder who I should believe?

    I’m not giving up. Time will tell.

    As I’ve pointed out with quotes from Memphis bloggers, the future of Gasol with the Grizz is unclear, and there is real lust for Bynum–because with all the “pieces” that the Grizz have for Pau–none of them is a true center–and one of them, Darko, newly signed, probably wants Gasol’s job.

    If something happens soon, it will be Pau Pau (that’s what we will shout when he makes two points for us).

    I keep wanting everything to happen today, even though I knew long ago that the Lakers might not be dealing before the season started. The Lakers are doing a magnificent job of preparing for the main event or events–whatever it or they may be.

    Let’s remember our children’s stories–the tortoise always crosses the finish line before the hare!


  57. Ha. Memphis is building around Gasol. That teams won 50+ games the season before last and has completely retooled. The new GM would love to PAIR the skillset of Darko (who operates highpost) and Pau (who is effective on the block). Add in Conley, Gay, Miller and Warrick and that team is building something. Bynum makes only a few million and Memphis won’t take all that other crap we would offer them. Only other trade would be with LO and they don’t want him, look around the league (using the same logic you apply to Smush) and there is not a peep about Lamar. He is a 28 old 12 million dollar a year jack of all trades master of none. So, no, Gasol ain’t comin. This is not a pessimistic view, I like LO and Bynum and would rather have them both than overpay and lose our frontline.


  58. NEWS

    Indiana signs back up PG to
    Jamaal Tinsley

    Travis Diener has agreed to a three-year deal with the Indiana Pacers and the former Marquette star is expected to sign early next week.

    “He’s excited,” agent Doug Neustadt said Thursday. “He thinks there’s a great opportunity. There’s some minutes at point guard and he wants to be the guy.”

    Diener is expected to back up Jamaal Tinsley. The deal includes a player option to void the contract after the second year.

    The Orlando Magic took Diener in the second round of the 2005 draft, and he played 49 games with them in two years. Last season, he played 26 games, averaging 3.8 points and 1.3 assists.

    Orlando was not interested in having him return and let him negotiate as a restricted free agent.

    -Wizards are considering a potential trade with the Heat that would include future draft picks in exchange for the rights to Spanish star guard Juan Carlos Navarro. The Wizards have been shopping Navarro’s rights for weeks but reportedly want to include the 6-3, 170-pound guard in a package deal. But the Heat’s interest in Navarro could become moot if free agent guard Steve Francis chooses to sign with the Heat (Who chose Houston Rocket today)


  59. Steve Francis will be going back to Houston. What in earth are doing there? They have Francis, Alston, Mike James, Aaron Brooks, and Luther Head…all playing the PG/combo position.

    Do they know something that the rest of the league doesn’t (is there a new rule that will only allow teams to be 6’3″ or under?)

    This means something is in the works with Houston…don’t know how/if this affects the Lakers.


  60. Thanks kwame a. I’ll be interested to see what drrayeye has to say.


  61. Hi Sean,

    Great rebuttal,

    but I think that the Lakers are still chinkzing on the pg position (though we’ve temporarily lucked out when Derek walked away from $7 mil), and I still think that the Smush decision was a disaster–and we’ve both mentioned aspects of that disaster. Let’s first talk about the trade scenarios that made it even possible for Smush to be considered.

    I don’t remember all of the details anymore, but Antonio Daniels wasn’t the first free agent we considered–he was the one that was left after others turned us down–and we offered him a take it or leave it short term deal. Such a deal doesn’t show much seriousness or commitment on our part. What we went through that year is a lot like what the Heat are going through this year–hoping to lure sombody to our terms and then scrambling when everyone turns you down.

    A “stat” that you didn’t mention was that Smush had been looked at and turned down by many other teams before we ever saw him. He was clearly at the bottom of the barrel–even as a backup. And he wasn’t really a point guard.

    I’m not opposed to statistics, but the statistics commonly measured focus on scoring, one way or the other. Smush certainly likes to score! As I’ve mentioned in other posts, truly defensive stats are not collected and disseminated publicly (beating offensive player to spots, funneling offensive player in right direction, correctly fighting through screens, switching correctly, nudges, helping correctly, helping a teammate get position, etc.). Team friendly stats are only partially collected. I suspect that if we had compared the Smusher to Fisher on last year’s defensive “decisions,” he wouldn’t have done so well.

    Nonetheless, since the Lakers meet over every game film and most any statistic can be privately collected by them, the Lakers were apparently more focused on deeper problems involving the front court at first.

    In 2005, when Smush was making great contributions in terms of PER, team coordination was developing only slowly.

    No other team tried to make Smush an offer after that first “great defense” PER year–even though he only signed a one year contract–and the Lakers didn’t sign him right away. It’s happening again now that the Lakers let him go.

    You say,

    “It’s true that many pgs take time to develop. It’s also true that many come into the league ready to play, even the very young ones. For example, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Stephon Marbury, Tony Parker, and Chris Paul all tore it up as 19-20 year old rookies (Crittenton turns 20 in December).”

    Phil might have found a way to use some of them, but he has always been rookie averse, and, as you argue, they would not have fared that well in the triangle anyway.

    You remember that Phil would have preferred to have had Jordan Farmar in the development league last year. He was not happy with Derek Fisher (a first round draft pick) in earlier years. Phil would have probably traded most of them for veterans–if he could.

    BTW, It would have been interesting to see how Phil would have used Magic (not as a pg–probably much like he uses Kobe).

    We still disagree, but not as much!


  62. Listen Glen Taylor Radio interview

    He said that he is looking to rebuild and he understood if KG decided that it wasn’t in his best intrest to take on that roll.when they asked him if he tought a trade will take place before the season started and he said yes(without hesistation)

    Interesting .!!. wasn’t that different from what he said “KG is going no where” also the tone more up-beat about trading KG…..1!




  64. Kwame,

    What optimism. I suspect that there is a job waiting for you in Memphis! Ask Jerry West to hook you up.

    The Grizz have systematically traded off most of the big names from their glory years. It took some work to become the worst team in the NBA. Gasol was almost successful in geting himself traded last February.

    Having failed to sign a series of free agents, the Grizz finally got Darko to sign with a strong hope to start or at least play–at power forward. Since neither Darko nor Pau are exactly bangers, aren’t we still primarily relying one or the other at forward, with Stromile Swift at center? Is that one of the pieces you were talking about, Kwame?

    Bynum + Kwame Brown almost exactly equals Gasol’s salary. Bynum plus an expiring contract looks more lucrative to them than a sulking star who wants to become a superstar. Comments that I’ve already posted from Memphis indicate they think it is a waste of money to pay Gasol $13+ million for the next 2-3 years while rebuilding is going on.

    Now, I think it will be more complicated than that to complete the deal for Gasol. And I’m not sure it will happen. It may drag into the season. Like Kobe, Gasol has temporarily stopped complaining. They’d like to unload Damon Stoudemire as well (don’t complain, it could be Cardinal).


  65. Jerry West is not with the Grizz any longer. There new GM, Wallace, was number two to Danny Ainge at …the Celtics, thus making them even less likely trading partners.


  66. So that brings our roster to 14. I guess that means that this could potentially be our last move of the summer.


  67. Or that we signed Mihm so we can trade a package of something like Kwame and Farmar? Who knows.


  68. Kwame,

    You don’t think that Jerry could hook you up with those Grizzlies now that he’s back here?

    Great scoop on Mihm. The table is now set.

    We’ll see who comes to dinner.


  69. Drrayeye,

    Thanks for the shout out. I appreciate it.

    Some, points that I’d like to follow up on:

    “I don’t remember all of the details anymore, but Antonio Daniels wasn’t the first free agent we considered–he was the one that was left after others turned us down–and we offered him a take it or leave it short term deal.”

    Actually, Daniels signed with Washington on the first day of free agency (see Even if he hadn’t, it’s hard to say there was a better guy out there than him. Here the list of PG UFA’s from 2005:

    Darrell Armstrong, Travis Best, Tierre Brown, Rick Brunson, Anthony Carter, Mateen Cleaves, Antonio Daniels, Dan Dickau, Keyon Dooling (opt out), Howard Eisley, Anthony Goldwire, Jermaine Jackson, Damon Jones, Brevin Knight, Tyronn Lue, Jeff McInnis, Gary Payton, Earl Watson (see

    Maybe Watson, but he basically got the same contract as Daniels (5 yrs, $29 vs. $30 mil- either way, a lot of commitment for a career back-up with no experience in the triangle). McInnis certainly seemed better at the time, but his career has been a shambles since. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded getting Brevin Knight, but he did re-sign with Charlotte where he had had his breakout 2004-05 season so I don’t know if he would have been interested in us. Plus, dude’s like 5’8”, so I doubt Phil would have been interested.

    Regardless, the bottom line is that there wasn’t very much out there at pg (which is pretty much how it is every season, especially at the MLE level).

    “A “stat” that you didn’t mention was that Smush had been looked at and turned down by many other teams before we ever saw him.”

    Well Smush had certainly been passed on, but he was passed on as a sg. No one had tried to play him as the lead guard in the triangle before. We gave him a shot in summer league and he got it done for us. That’s what summer league is all about, finding those guys who have been passed on by others but who can get it done for you. Sure the vast majority of those guys never make it, but, every year, there’s always a diamond in the rough or two who break into the league at an older age and make an impact (with Matt Carroll being last season’s example).

    “No other team tried to make Smush an offer after that first “great defense” PER year–even though he only signed a one year contract–and the Lakers didn’t sign him right away.”

    Smush signed a 2 year, $1.5 mil contract with us in 2005 (see So he was under contract in 2006 and only would have been available via trade.


  70. Thanks, Sean,

    I remembered the details differently, but look at the 3 year chronology at STARTING pg: Chuckie, Smush1, Smush2. Sounds like the titles to three horror movies. Sounds like the Lakers had given up. Is that how one rebuilds? Is that how one builds a championship team? Something strategic seems to have gone badly awry.

    You think that the other free agents were poor value in Smush1. They don’t sound like my all star list either. I think that the Lakers were in the wrong price range for a starting pg in the first place. You don’t go to the used car lots at the last minute to find your formula car for the Indy 500. Maybe we needed to trade someone earlier in the season instead? Couldn’t we have stuck with Chuckie if the alternatives were that bad? He would have done a year-by-year.

    There were several others besides Daniels that I remember but I’m very foggy about the circumstances–maybe they were opt outs that didn’t happen or possible trades–Watson was not one of them–but what were we doing on the free agent market at the last minute with nickels and dimes to spend anyway, finally hoping to find a starter in Summer camp?

    I obviously don’t remember the details, butI think that Smush’s 2 year contract allowed the Lakers to opt out or something, because I remember that the second year contract was not automatically signed and Smush was left hanging for awhile.

    In the first year, the Lakers had McKie as an emergency backup. The Lakers ponied up additional money anyway in Smush2, signing Shammond after buying him out of his European contract AND selecting Jordan in the first round. I suspect that didn’t do much to reassure the Smusher during Smush2.

    So the Smusher “bargain” cost us more than his salary and tied up several roster spots.

    We’re still in bargain basement territory at pg–but Derek has given us a (undeserved) soft landing.