Your 07-08 Laker Roster?

Kurt —  July 19, 2007

The Lakers have resigned Chris Mihm for the coming year, so far the terms of the deal are not public. (Hat tip to Kwame a. in the comments for the link.)

That brings 14 players under contract on the Lakers roster (once D. Fish puts pen to paper), and the team said they were only going to carry 14. So, baring any big trades, this may well be it for the fall:

PG: Jordan Farmar/Derek Fisher/Jaravis Crittenton
SG: Kobe Bryant/Mo Evans/Sasha Vujacic
SF: Luke Walton/Vlad Radmanovic
PF: Lamar Odom/Brian Cook/Ronny Turiaf
C: Kwame Brown/Andrew Bynum/Chris Mihm

(Yes, some of the SF/PF may play out differently, but this is fairly close.)

How does that lineup make you feel? As I said before, I think this roster (if it stays healthy) is marginally better than last year’s roster, maybe more than marginally. Then again, much of the West is better, too. One thing is clear, this roster is not a title contender.

Kurt

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85 responses to Your 07-08 Laker Roster?

  1. Mannie Jenkins July 19, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    It seems like we’re going into the season paying to see the flop, so to speak. Minnesota, Indiana and us have all talked about possible deals, but really want to see how the season starts shaping out before we pull the trigger. In Indiana or Minnesota start out terribly, they’ll start to consider making the trades they balked at previously. How Bynum plays will affect the thinking of us and other teams. As the season moves, Kwame’s expiring contract may look more appealing. So, maybe -hopefully- it is the smart move. Hopefully we start out as strong as we did last season and get some sort of karma points on the injury front, so we stay healthy. That gives us more leverage to be picky when addressing these teams.

    Or am I just desperate to spin this?

  2. Mannie Jenkins,
    I don’t think you are rationalizing. We all want to know for certain that things will be better. Baring that, we want things to be different. That is not happening for the Lakers.

    However, good/developing teams rarely make a combination of moves and then get better. Usually there are some small things and one opportune thing that takes teams over the top. That one thing may be a key player (Nash) or the unexpected development of a young player (Amare Stoudemire).

    We have three young players that could surprise – assuming Phil lets them play. Your scenario about waiting making our current injured players look better to teams that are doing worse than expected is a yearly occurance and we can take advantage of it if we are patient.

  3. YES!!! I love Chris.

    I don’t even think much about the Kwame factor. I see Bynum starting and Mihm coming off the bench. I wish that could be reversed, but damn Chris and his foul trouble…

    If Kwame’s a more reliable factor next season and they rely to much on Mihm as a backup, then the Bynum experiment might officially be down the toilet. Gonna be a tough juggle.

    This roster could be a title contender. I do expect the defense to improve dramatically next year, as well as the overall focus. The notion isn’t all that ridiculous, or
    what should be expected.

  4. I like the Mihm signing. Unlike some of you, I don’t see Bynum getting the starting nod unless he earns it. If healthy, Kwame will start at center. It’s gonna be interesting if they’re all healthy though. It would be hard to get significant minutes for all 3 unless Kwame plays some at the 4, which will not help Turiaf’s minutes.

    That said, I still think the deal for JO is doable. As Indiana is figuring out, they are not going to get much for Jermaine. They really like Bynum and I can’t see anyone giving them anything close to the caliber of player that Bynum has the potential to be. I still think, in the end, the Lakers will pry JO away for Kwame, Bynum, a draft pick, and one other player. To be honest, I’d rather keep Crittenton and surrender Farmar in that deal. Of course, if Indiana will take Vlad, Cook, Sasha, or Evans, then by all means.

  5. #1: Or am I just desperate to spin this?

    No, but this is not a championship team nor IMO one in the making. Internal improvements might get it to 48-34 or so, but that’s it, and some other teams will be better as well. By the time Crittenton and Bynum are ready to it hit their ceilings (and Bynum’s is not all that high IMO–do not know yet about Crittenton’s) KB will be 31 or 32 and at or past opt-out.

    It occurs to me that Mihm might now be a reasonable trade piece at a low salary. I suspect the Wolves are more likely to move KG mid-season than now once reality sets in again.

    Having read all of these threads, I think the Gasol idea makes the most sense from the perspective of the other team, and when I evaluate possible Laker trades, I always start there. (Emotionally, I want KG at almost any cost. As a Laker fan since I was a little kid the 1970s, I believe you get superstars first and ask questions later).

    Objectively, though, Gasol has indicated he wants out, and adding Crittenton, Bynum and an expiring contract in Brown + enough to match salary makes sense for a team that won 22 games, just picked a 19- year-old PG in the draft, is stuck in the West, and has to play San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston regularly. From the Laker POV, having Mihm re-signed allows Gasol to move to the 4 if they need to go big against teams with big 4/5s.

    This roster–

    Odom/Turiaf
    Walton/Evans/Radmanovich
    Gasol/Mihm
    Bryant/Evans
    Fisher/Farmar

    would have major quickness/perimeter D issues, but would also be a matchup issue for opponents and would have some flexibility and firepower. Would it work? I am not sure.

    You would want at that point to get a quick wing or PG even if that guy could not score at all, just to get perimeter D when faced with matchup issues, and I think you would want to play a half-court type game, but still try to win games by being more efficient on O than the opponent rather than having a shut-down D. Radmanovich would be the obvious bait there if you trried to do this by trade, but he would be tough to move. (drryaeye IIRC advocated trading Odom for Artest after getting Gasol –he called it his “fantasy).

    While the Lakers were 5th in scoring, I still think they need a legitimate post threat like Gasol to take the pressure off of Bryant, to help with crunch time half-court situations, and to facilitate floor spacing by increasing the cost of perimeter double-teams on Bryant.

    Also, for those of us like me into subtext, you have West’s connection with Memphis, which might or might not make the Grizzlies more likely to deal with Kupchak and the Buss family. But it is easier for me to picture Memphis trading a big name to Los Angeles than to picture McHale or Bird doing so.

    Props to Kurt, reed and others. Good discussions here.

  6. I should add:

    “Has signed Darko Milicic” to the Memphis reasons-to- move-Gasol list. Wallace may state publicly they are “building around Gasol” and can contend again, but to me

    Conley
    Miller
    Bynum
    Milicic
    Gay

    with Crittenton getting time at the 2 and the 1 to see where he fits and Brown as a trading chip makes more sense than paying Gasol 12M to see if you can get the 7th seed or something. The Grizzlies, like the Celtics, needed Oden. But Wallace may reasonably disagree.

  7. BTW, his name is “Javaris.” I don’t want to nitpick, but he is our new guy. ;-)

  8. The signing of Mihm can signify 3 things:
    a) that we now have 14 players and we are all set
    b) that a deal is brewing. Since our assets are pretty much PFs and Cs, we should therefore bulk up to compensate the loss of bodies.
    c) absolutely nothing – Mihm signed for cheap and was therefore a logical thing to do.

    With all these, it could also be a mix of these 3 things. Mihm could have agreed to a short and cheap deal like 5M 2 years, as a way to “pay back” his injured years for the team. For sure he also found out that all the “other” teams that were interested in him were expecting a rip-off deal to sign him with the minimum.

    Regarding trades, any trades, we will have to wait for the Aug. 3 date. It will be during this day that Javaris Crittenton CAN BE officially traded. While I agree that Critt is a keeper, I feel teams are more interested in him now more than ever. He will make an interesting trade bait to the bigger fishes.

  9. Also, remember Memphis, with Gasol, got swept in all its playoff appearances. He is a fine player, but not a #1 guy. Starting over and seeing if Milicic/Bynum can be complementary bigs and adding Crittenton to go with Conley seems like a better long-term idea.

  10. Lakers re-sign free agent Mihm to multiyear deal
    The new deal is for three years. No other terms were announced.

    “I gave a big sigh of relief,” Mihm said in a conference call Thursday. “I’m excited to be back here and put on a Laker uniform, which I wanted to do from the beginning.”

    Paid $4.2 million by the Lakers for last season,Mihm underwent surgery in November to repair a ligament and tendon in his right ankle and to realign his heel bone.

    “I have the utmost confidence in myself and this ankle, that I’m going to come out and show everyone that not only am I back, but that I can be better than I ever was,” he said.

  11. Why is it that the people on this site push so much for Ron Artest? I understand that he is a good one-on-one defender, but from my perspective he is a cancer. He has never shown any loyalty to any team, and has shown the responsibility of a five year old. I would never want him on my team. I can respect his talent, but am quite content to respect him from afar. To think that Buss would consider trading Lamar for Artest makes me shudder. We would be losing a ton of boards, a bunch of intangibles, and be gaining a loose cannon.

    Further, I cannot see Lamar being traded to any team where he is forced to become the man. He has shown that he isn’t the man, although he gets paid like it. I only see him being traded to a team where he can do his thing (quiet 18 points and 12 boards) , a team like Detroit or back to Miami or the Clippers. I just don’t see that team being Minn or Indy or Memphis.

  12. Better be a trade happening or I’m gonna hang myself.

  13. StuckInBeantown July 19, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I’m glad to hear that we have Mihm back in the fold, as we have all noted the front court decimation we would encounter with any of our 3 dream trade targets (Garnett, JO, and Marc’s brother). However, I wonder what the rest of you guys think about bringing back ex-Blazer (and former Laker) Ime Udoka? He looks like a guy with great defensive focus and ability, and can hit the 3-ball pretty well (40% last year). With Kobe slowing down due to age/injury, we really lack any shut down perimeter defender for the coming year. If I recall, Phil mentioned that he hopes to implement an aggressive trapping defence as the main means for improvement in the coming season. If this is true, I can’t help but feel that we’ve struck out in free agency in this regard.

  14. 11. “Why is it that the people on this site push so much for Ron Artest?”

    He addresses a major team need perfectly, people feel Jackson could handle him for about two years, and perhaps he could be had cheaply (although Sacto doing that with the Lakers seems unlikely).

    I wouldn’t really wnt him either, though, unless it was just a giveaway. The Lakers have enough off-court stuff going on.

  15. 13:

    I have not seen Udoka play, but as I said in #5 , I think that a cheap wing defender is a huge need for this team, whether they make a big move or not.

  16. Derek Banducci July 19, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I am surprised that Mihm agreed to, and the Lakers FO offered, a three year deal.

    A shorter deal seemed to make sense for both sides b/c it would allow Mihm to command big money after one year if he’s healthy and would protect the Lakers from salary cap hell if Mihm is still not recovered.

  17. Is it possible that Lakers-and esp Laker fans-are concentrating on the trees of this yrs’ roster and ignoring the forest of the future. If we ask WWWD(what would West do?)this might be one possible answer:
    Lamar Odom,Brian Cook for Rasheed Wallace and Lindsay Hunters’ contract. Rasheed certainly gives you the inside defender you want,the rebounding and a little edge-okay,a bit of crazy on court behaviour,but he’s good in lockerroom-and he only has 1 yr left. In 2008 when Kwame,Rasheed expire,Sasha’s rights are renounced the Lakers will be some $18mil+ under the cap. Think you could go shopping at Tiffany’s instead of Wal-Mart w/that cap room? Take a look at the 2008 Free Agent class. This is what West did to get Shaq,cleared room so he could make the offer.
    Detroit gets rid of headache,gets another unselfish playmaker,clears minutes for young bigs and can field an athletic lineup that can run and that gives Flip a KG-lite.)

  18. 15. Larry Coon (of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ fame) posted on Lakersground that the AP story (which was used by ESPN) was wrong and that Mihm in fact got less than 3 years and that the amount was quite reasonable.

  19. Great to see Robinred back in action.

    Nice find LG Gold. It makes me laugh to think of Larry Coon roaming the laker forums with inside info.

  20. Looks like the Mihm deal is 2 years for 5 million, with the second year a player option. Nice work Mitch.

  21. The Mihm signing strikes me as one of two things.

    No moves will be made until the season has already started, which (as has been said) might strengthen the Lakers position on the market.

    or

    This is it.

    I wouldn’t mind if this is it, although it isn’t a team that could be considered a contender, it is a team I would enjoy rooting for.

    Did I want something bigger to happen?

    Yeah, but if you decimate your team to gain a big name, isn’t that just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

    What if? and it’s a big what if, we do stand pat and all the pieces begin to fall into place. Bynum develops (year three is the water shed year for big men), Critt shows he can contribute right away, Farmar shows he belongs in this league, we get the Seattle version of VladRad (a torn tendon in your shooting hand and a boneheaded decision may motivate him to prove that he’s not that guy), etc. etc.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s my Forum Blue and Gold colored glasses.

    But I see another solid player coming in through trades to even the keel of the team (signing Fisher is another move that does that), not the big splash Kobe was pining for, but a move to put more guys around him with experience. Guys he can trust. Guys who don’t make him feel like, “Man, I have to do everything around here.” Hasn’t that been the real issue all along?

  22. ^ Since the Lakers are over the luxury tax threshold, that’s a $5m contract for this upcoming season. I think that Buss might not have sprung for D. Fish and Mihm were it not for Kobe’s ranting and raving.

    As a result, the Lakers now have an extremely deep team. They go 12 or 13 deep with players who are worthy of being in an 8-man rotation.

    Assuming they’re healthy next year and that no trade for a star PF is on the horizon, they’ve actually improved quite a bit over last year.

    PG: New starter (D. Fish) who is a big upgrade over Smush; Farmar is a year older and hopefully better; J.C. should be an upgrade over Shammond.

    SG: According to ESPN, Kobe has dropped something like 19 pounds since the end of the season, so that he can defend better. Mo should also be better with a year of triangle experience.

    SF: VladRad should be healthy for the first time as a Laker.

    PF: LO and Cook will probably be the same, but Ronny should be better.

    C: Bynum supposedly has looked good this summer; Kwame and Mihm will be in contract drives.

    Coach: Phil will be relatively healthy and mobile (which according to him is important for coaching).

    I actually think the Lakers will be the 5th best team in the NBA next year. Unfortunately, the top 4 teams will all be in the West — Spurs, Mavs, Suns, Rockets.

  23. Is it confirmed yet reed? Mihm’s contract that is?

    Dr Ray, on Pau Gasol…

    Last February, when I was new to the trade machine and the intricacies of the CBA, I always thought that Pau was going to the Lakers in spite of the Bulls talks.

    After all that’s said and done, it still looks like Pau is the best deal out there if only it is available. One of ESPN’s writers (I think it was Chad Ford) proposed that a trade of Kwame, Bynum, Farmar and McKie would seal the deal. I had my fingers crossed on thats one more than the purported Jason Kidd deal, as it was practically healthier for the payroll. It must also be noted that Gasol was asking out at that stage. At present, Pau seems to have lost interest in leaving Memphis, though, unlike Kobe, management has all the power to send him away anytime they like.

    Just before the lottery took place, everyone (Laker fans) was hoping Memphis falls of the top 2 although the odds suggested they wont. By being in the top 2, it would most certainly negate whatever need they will have of trading away Pau as now they will have a shot at Oden or Durant. On what seemed to be a twist of fate, not only did Memphis lose out on the top 2, but they slid way down to #4 which was actually the worst they can ever go down. If my computation was correct, Memphis had 25% chance #1, 50% chance #2 and 75% chance #3. Those numbers look good on paper.

    Now, they have Conley as the #4 pick (good choice) and a very young core of Pau, Gay and Mike Miller. Add Warrick to the mix and they are a team to watch in the upcoming days.

    As Dr Ray logic points out, it would actually be better for Memphis to trade away Pau and his HUGE 4yr contract yet retain the promise they still have. By the time they will even smell the playoffs, Pau Gasol would have to at least be 30. Meaning, the time frames do not jive. It is not more so on Laker fans wanting Gasol to be here, but more on Memphis’ need to do it anyway.

    Memphis will have cap relief and yet retain the potential dynamic duo of the future in a Conley-Bynum combo. Bynum will be Conley’s version of Greg Oden.

    In conclusion, IF ONLY Memphis realizes this, the deal actually works better for them than it does for us. Perhaps this was why the Lakers drafted Marc Gasol at #48 and Buss was in Barcelona? Time will tell…

    If this was the only deal that happened this summer, I’m a happy camper.

  24. The Lakers may be done for the year, roster wise. Houston, on the other hand, has 12 PGs, so look for them to make a move. Still, I agree with LG Gold who commented that almost no matter what we do this year, 4 teams in the West will be better than the Lakers. Unless Duncan, Nowitzk, McGrady, and Nash all get in an All-Star riverboat gambling accident in New Orleans, we’re looking at being the 5th seed at best.

    I’m against going out and getting Gasol, KG, or JO right now, as I don’t know that it will vault us among the championship contenders in the west. Long-term planning is the way to go, sorry Kobe.

  25. 21. Well said. This team as it stands is pretty good if — and it’s a big couple of ifs — everyone stays healthy and players play up to their potential. A deal may come later, as was already said Kwame’s deal looks better closer to the deadline, when you only have him for half a year then get the cap relief. We’ll see if things develop.

    23. There continues to be the hope on this site that Memphis is going to move Gasol, but to me all the logic seems twisted. Memphis was in the playoffs two years ago and was a solid team, had a bad year last season, but now is better and likely will be competing for a playoff spot this season. That is a good young team and Gasol is just 27 — he can wait for the youngsters and still not be old. Bynum may, may, develop into a good offensive player, but Gasol is now — why trade away what is for potential? Others have floated the “Major League” theory that the owners want the team to suck so they can move it easier. That doesn’t work for me either. I don’t know how else to say it — Memphis has put themselves in a good position for the future, why would they give up a key part? Gasol isn’t going anywhere.

  26. Nice to meet you here warren,

    but the following is Chris Mihm’s contract and our cap situation according to LATimes:

    “…Chris Mihm signed a two-year, $5-million free-agent contract Thursday to stay with the Lakers, and Derek Fisher will sign a three-year contract today worth about $14 million to return to the team he left three seasons ago as a free agent…The Lakers are also in line to pay luxury taxes, with a current payroll of about $70 million. A $1 tax is assessed for every $1 a team is over the luxury-tax threshold of $67.87 million. Only five teams paid the tax last season…”

    i would think Chris would reject any deal below 2m per, so i guess the lakers get a reasonable signning at 2.5m. also, Chris was a decent defensive player down at the low block, that would be an upgrade to our inexperience bynum from last year.

  27. I like the optimism Gatinho/LG/et al. The additions of Mihm and Fisher/Critt and the improvements of Bynum and Farmar will go a ways to addressing two of our biggest holes last year. If Kobe decides to actually earn his all-D status and the rest of the crew follows suit, makes marginal improvements and stays healthy, this definitely feels like a second tier team that could make some noise. Something I’d be satisfied with for next year at least.

  28. This team is already much deeper and stronger than the one which surprised everyone before the injuries last year. And it will be a major title contender (even favorite) if we can translate Kwame+Bynum (and either Farmar or Crittenton if absolutely needed) into O’ Neal or Gasol. This blog is collectively underestimating Odom, specially now that he has finally learnt how to play with Kobe and avoid mental mishaps. I am glad a KG trade didn’t go through and I hope it doesn’t. Lamar was playing at an all star level before he got injured, and his effort in game 4 against Phoenix stole my heart forever. What’s more, I have watched multiple games where LO played KG almost to a draw. KG is still KG. but it wouldn’t be worth LO + another significant piece. We are much better off acquiring O’ Neal/Gasol for guys other than LO.

  29. If this is the squad we put on the floor come November I would not mind. Though the previous season did not end as I hoped, I had a great time watching the first forty games or so. How much fun was it to watch these guys beat Miami, SAS, Phoenix, The Mavs and the like early in the season?

    Mihm is inconsistent away from home and oft in foul trouble but I like his hustle and attitude. D-Fish is D-Fish, the man will always have a home at Staples, call me nostalgic I don’t care. Everyone has their GM hat on at the moment because it is off season and wants something, anything, to happen. I have a great time rooting for the underdog and no matter what trade happens that is what the Lakers will be in the stacked western conference.

    Whatever happens I will pop the cork on Belgian ale, cheer, and boo whoever the Lakers field this year.

  30. Everyone here agrees that the current roster will collectively be better this year as supposed to last year. We would have recovered from the plaguing injuries that struck late last year.

    It is also important to note that we enjoyed such a “comfortable” 1st half of the season playing at home for most stretches.

    The daunting question now would be: How do we become a top-tier team in the ever-strong West? I would have to agree on Kurt on this one, that while we improved a lot, we will STILL ONLY BE MARGINALLY BETTER.

    Nice to see you here samus…

  31. (25) Kurt,

    You should post this in one of the Memphis blogs. It would cheer them up.

    They already blew up their playoff level team. Trading blue chip star Shane Battier for a draft pick and the return of Stromile Swift (as they did just before the collapse last year) is not the most promising trade for a team expecting to rebound from the cellar. I think Shane and his former Grizz teammate Bonzi Wells are happier in Houston.

    True, the seeds of rebirth have already been planted, but the Grizz are not quite ready for the power and polish of theTexas three. To be honest, they may not be prepared to run with the Warriors, Nuggests, or Suns either. I’ll leave it for you to paint the opportunity side.

    Pau Gasol is the only glory guy they have left–primarily because the Bulls backed away from a trade in February. Pau is still complaining–but in Kobe mode.

    Gasol can’t be too pleased as he watches sought after “targets” sign with other teams in this free agent signing circus. Robinred (6) sees the recent signing of Darko not as a San Antonio “twin tower” preparation to rumble into the playoffs next year, but a replacement for Gasol at PF.

    Given that they have a coach who specializes in the big man, and they just drafted a guy who specialized in setting up Oden, it must be embarassing not to have any true centers on his team.

    I’m not ready to volunteer to teach Andrew some Elvis songs quite yet, and I don’t want you to make your index fingers into pistols and practice saying “Pau Pau” every time that Gasol makes a basket.

    Still, you might be a little strong in saying:

    “Gasol isn’t going anywhere.”

    Robinred (5) (6) presented the type of trade scenarios Memphis would have to consider and a starting lineup that would bring smiles to their faces.

    I can’t imagine anyone saying it better.

  32. I’m fine with this, actually, as much as I wanted a blockbuster trade. I think the idea is you bring back the same team, injury-free, add Fisher to stabilize and help run the triangle.

    Do your best in the first half of the season, see if you can flirt with a 50-game effort, and then look in February to make a decisive trade.

    Even though it’s not flashy, in a way I prefer this approach over gutting the team to get Jermaine O’Neal or KG.

  33. The current roster is a 7-8 seed in the west barring a big jump in effectiveness from Bynum or Kwame. This is possible but not likely. If the Lakers are a fringe playoff team, why would they make a deal for KG or JO after the season starts? They need to do it now while they are even with everyone else in the standings.

    I do not think you trade Critt in a deal for JO or KG unless you get to also keep Odom or Bynum. I think he is very similar to Dwane Wade in what he will ultimately do for the Lakers. Wades value was at its lowest before he ever played an NBA game. I think the same with Critt. The Lakers need to be very careful but they are in a tough spot. Without a deal for another superstar, they are not championship contenders although the draft and offseason have not been that bad considering what they have to work with. If we dont deal and let Critt develop into a star, Kobe runs out of patience and probably leaves or we are forced to trade him and rebuild. I just hope they are both playing for the Lakers in three years. That would be an awesome backcourt.

  34. Odom To Nets Falls Through
    ==================
    July 20, 2007 — The Nets’ summer makeover came close to being far more drastic.

    According to multiple league sources, the Nets were “very close” to completing a three-team trade that would have landed Lamar Odom from the Lakers while sending Richard Jefferson to the Bobcats. The Lakers, in turn, would have received Gerald Wallace from Charlotte.

    “It was very close, but just didn’t happen,” said one league source.

    . . .

    The three-way talks flourished a few weeks ago, and one source insisted Charlotte part-owner Michael Jordan squashed the deal. Wallace, who shares the same agent, Rob Pelinka, as Kobe Bryant, yesterday re-signed with Charlotte (six years, $57 million) after averaging 18.1 points. Odom averaged 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for L.A. while Jefferson averaged 16.3 points. So the Nets’ Big Three of Jason Kidd, a re-signed Vince Carter and Jefferson nearly evaporated. Again.

  35. Here are a couple of interesting stories I found.

    This one is a 3-way deal that would have sent Gerald Wallace to the Lakers for Odom.

    According to multiple league sources, the Nets were “very close” to completing a three-team trade that would have landed Lamar Odom from the Lakers while sending Richard Jefferson to the Bobcats. The Lakers, in turn, would have received Gerald Wallace from Charlotte.

    “It was very close, but just didn’t happen,” said one league source.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202007/sports/nets/deals_fall_through__big_3_stays_intact_nets_fred_kerber.htm

    This one does not have to do with the Lakers directly but I still think it is pretty interesting.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202007/news/columnists/nba_in_a_fix_columnists_murray_weiss.htm

    July 20, 2007 — THE FBI is investigating an NBA referee who allegedly was betting on basketball games – including ones he was officiating during the past two seasons – as part of an organized-crime probe in the Big Apple, The Post has learned.
    ………………….. One source close to the probe counted the number of games on which the ref and his wiseguy buddies scored windfalls in the “double digits.”

  36. What does that trade mean? Do they have plans in moving Kobe????????????

  37. 31- No I think it is more of trying to get a better defensive player for the SF spot. I don’t know, I just found it this morning.

  38. I hope we don’t sign Mihm to a multi year deal. He could be used as filler in a trade if it is a one year deal. Can we go Bynum, Mihm, Farmar, Vlad for JO? I think JO, Odom, Kwame would be a formidable frontcourt. It would be nice if we could make it happen this way.

  39. JO, Odom, Kwame + Kobe. We don’t have enough money in the bank to pay all these guys.

  40. That ref betting and fixing games story is very interesting (follow the link in 35 to read it). I’m very curious to see who the ref was, if he (or she) worked a lot of Lakers games and what happened in those. Was the fix in on national ESPN/TNT games or was it just on lower profile ones? If you think about it, it’s pretty easy for a ref to give a team a few points by calling fouls that send someone to the line (or not making said call). After years of watching Kobe we have seen him hacked and not get calls, then get get calls where he was barely touched. You don’t need to change the game’s outcome, just swing it to the other side of the point spread.

    This is going to be interesting to watch play out.

  41. Odom To Nets Falls Through
    July 20, 2007 – 6:28 am
    New York Post -
    According to multiple league sources, the Nets were “very close” to completing a three-team trade that would have landed Lamar Odom from the Lakers while sending Richard Jefferson to the Bobcats. The Lakers, in turn, would have received Gerald Wallace from Charlotte.

    “It was very close, but just didn’t happen,” said one league source.

    The three-way talks flourished a few weeks ago, and one source insisted Charlotte part-owner Michael Jordan squashed the deal. Wallace, who shares the same agent, Rob Pelinka, as Kobe Bryant, yesterday re-signed with Charlotte (six years, $57 million) after averaging 18.1 points. Odom averaged 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for L.A. while Jefferson averaged 16.3 points. So the Nets’ Big Three of Jason Kidd, a re-signed Vince Carter and Jefferson nearly evaporated. Again.

    For all those that ask why, pls see:
    http://lakers.topbuzz.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=47326#47326

  42. I think the proposed 3 way with NJ and Cha was actually part of a larger plan that would have in turn sent G. Wallace to Minny with Bynum and Kwame for KG.

  43. (23) (25) I agree with Kurt, I do not think that Memphis is moving Gasol.

    (21) I do not think that the Lakers are the 5th seed in the West. I think that Houston will be much better this year with the addition of Scola at PF. I also do not think they are done making moves because of their overabundance at PG. Maybe Miami will revisit the Haslem for Alston trade that was rumored about. I think the Lakers will be the 6th seed in the West if they stay with this current line up. Unless one of the young Players has a huge breakout season. Or Kwame Brown and Bynum learn to defend the pick and roll much better.

  44. Houston is overloaded at the PG/Combo Guard Position. So why not try to use Houston as a 3rd team in a trade.

    Trade Vlad to houston, Bynum, Brown 2008 1st rnd pick to Indiana. Houston sends Alston to Indiana and Indiana sends JO to the Lakers.

    Houston needs to move a PG and they might be willing to get Vlad as a back up PF/SF for shooting/scoring purposes because their offense was pretty stagnant last season. Indiana needs a PG and taking Brown gives them Salary relief. The lakers could also throw in Sasha to Indiana as well and get back Orion Greene or another small contract back along with O’neal.

    The problem with this trade is that the Lakers would need to sign another big man such as PJ Brown for front court depth and they would be well over the luxury tax (about 6-7M) so that becomes very difficult. Also, the financial risks of such a trade are enormous especially if you consider the track record of injuries for Odom and O’neal. I don’t know if it is worth the risk (probably not). But a line up of:

    C: Brown/Mihm
    PF: O’neal/Cook/Turiaf
    SF: Odom/Walton
    SG: Kobe/Evans
    PG: Farmar/Fisher/Crittenton

    might be pretty good. Like I stated earlier, the financial risks are enormous so I am not sure it is worth it. But I think if it did not work out, the financial problems could be fixed in 3-4 yrs with smart moves. But for LA that is a long time.

    You also still have the problem that you do not have a true post player. But it is an idea that might work.

  45. I fear opening up myself to the wrath of drrayeye and his precious spaniard, but I also see little to no chance Memphis moves Gasol.

    Gasol is young, reasonably priced, memphis’s only seat-filler and go-to scorer, and a perfect fit with their other young pieces.

    1. I see no incentive for them, as Kurt said, to trade an actual 20/10 player for a potential one in Bynum. Drrayeye overstates Memphis’s need for a “true” center. The West has two good “true” centers — Yao and Oden (and I’m stretching with Oden right now). Every other team either uses an out of position power forward (e.g. Amare) or someone offensively limited. In Gasol and Darko, Memphis has two legit 7 footers, each over 250 pounds. While they are not “bangers,” they can adequately match up against almost all of the Western frontlines. Sure, they will have a hard time with Yao and Duncan, but who doesn’t. Not sure Bynum helps there.

    2. Memphis has no need to cut salary. They are miles away from the luxury tax and under the cap. They were way under the salary cap entering the summer and are still a little under it with the Darko signing. Next summer, they will be at around 48M — also significantly under the cap. I would understand if Memphis wanted to deal if they had Oneal or Garnett instead of Gasol. Both those teams are in salary/luxury tax hell and have aging, 20M+ salaried stars who didn’t fit with their teams youth movement. But, Gasol’s salary is reasonable for a 20/10 big man and Memphis is in a great financial state. The very reason some prefer him over Oneal (lower salary and lower trade cost) is a reason for Memphis to KEEP rather than move him.

    3. Gasol is young. I disagree with drrayeye on their rebuilding efforts. They did the right thing in trading for Gay — who has great potential (the swift inclusion was meaningless). The addressed their primary holes this offseason in adding a dynamic point guard (Conley) and another frontcourt talent (Darko). A team of Conley, Miller, Gay, Darko, Gasol is young, talented, and balanced. All they need is time to develop and progress. They probably won’t ever win a title, but that’s not always the goal for the small market teams; they can at least be very good and exciting. Gasol is young enough and gives them a ticket seller and go-to scorer in the process. And, he seems to have backed off of his trade demands and is pushing the team to sign his Spanish teammate, Navarro. Doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere.

    5. On top of all of this is the fact we have no knowledge the Lakers ever once talked to Memphis about Gasol. While we obviously don’t hear of every trade discussion, we do know the team talked to Indy, Minnesota, Denver, and NJ about Oneal, Garnett, Camby, and Kidd, respectively. These things tend to come out. I think we’re just speculating when we draw up Gasol proposals.

  46. I don’t like the number “4″.

  47. Gerald Wallace is a good player, but aren’t we essentially duplicating Kobe’s skill set by bringing him in? We need inside players now, not more good wing guys.

  48. I think this is our team guys, at least until the trade deadline in Feb 08…
    this way we get to see who “brought it” this season, and who didn’t. last season was so frustrating because we had some guys on our etam who just phoned it in.
    Andrew phoned in the second half of the season.
    kwame and Smush played hard sometimes, and then other times, they seemed like they were unhappy being out there, (these guys need to spend a week working with a roofing crew in mid summer, working for $150/day…maybe then they’d appreciate the position they are in).
    Guys like Ronnie, and in my opion, Mo Evans, always “brought it”, (when healthy) and for me it’s all about EFFORT!
    that’s one of the main reasons I’m happy about FISH, he’s a pro, he knows he’s living a “blessed life”, he appreciates it, he has a good perspective on life, something these young kids can learn.
    Fish will bring leadership.
    Ronnie brings HEART, hustle, energy.
    LO and Radman have something to prove this year, they can be a force I’m sure, and last season for various reasons was just stacked against them. Let’s see how they play this year before we toss them out in desperate trades.
    Farmer has another year under his belt, and we all know he’s got the potential and desire to be a solid PG for our team. javaris sounds exciting and a good pick up, let’s see how he develops.
    I hope like hell that Kwame and Andrew come to play this year, they were my real sore spots last year, (along with Smush).
    I also hope to see Chris Mihm anchor the middle like we haven’t seen in a while, (since Shaq), I know he’s not Shaq, but he was playing pretty good the last time he was out on the floor, and he has a nice mid range jumper. mostly, I’d like to see him rotate on D, teach our other bigs how to rotate, and BOX OUT!
    we really got beat on the boards last year, maybe with guys like Ronnie back at PF, his natural position, coming off the bench, he can keep our guys focused on D and boards.
    all we really need this year is for some of our guys to have A BREAKOUT SEASON, someone like Ronnie, or Farmar, maybe even Bynum, or Evans, or Radman, anyone of those guys breaks out, it changes everything.
    I’m kind of tired of reading all these trade scenaios, I think this is our team for this year, and we need to just start believing they know this is a year they better BRING IT!
    of course, all the above, not one mention of our pretty good shooting guard…what’s his name? Kobe? something like that, he can play too, so add all this together, and I think we can surprise some people this year.

  49. G Wallace is good, but I would not give up Odom for him. If it was part of a bigger scheme to land KG, then OK, but for a straight up trade, no way. Odom does a lot of little things for our team like pass and rebound. I would only be in favor of giving him up if it is really worth it.

  50. The suns traded Kurt Thomas to Seattle for a trade exception. I think that might hurt them a little bit in the playoffs. Thomas play some good D and hit some open shots for them.

    Jul 20, 2007 12:37am ET
    Suns Trade Kurt Thomas to Sonics
    In THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, Paul Coro reports “the Suns traded center Kurt Thomas this morning in a move that relieves some salary-cap pressure. Thomas goes to the Seattle SuperSonics, along with the Suns’ own 2008 and 2010 first-round draft picks in exchange for a future conditional 2nd round pick and a trade exception, worth about $8 million.”

  51. The Mihm signing and the Fisher signing, to me, indicate the Lakers hate cap space. Now when Kwame comes off, it won’t matter again already. This is the danger of not dedicating to rebuilding and just trying to maintain that 6th/7th/8th/9th? seed status.

  52. chris,
    You have to remember Andrew was a 18/19yr old with little experience or endurance. We gave him way, way too many minutes last year – and often starting minutes against the opponents 1st team. For a young big, without NBA endurance yet, that is a prescription for trouble. With somewhat reduced minutes this year – and mostly on the 2nd team – I expect Andrew to be upset, but to improve much more throughout the year. By the end of the year he may even earn playoff minutes.

  53. John R.- Good point. For instance, if the Lakers hadn’t foolishly guarnteed Kwame’s contract for this season they would have had the capspace to go and sign Wallace outright. Or Nocioni, or Varajo, or any free agent. Instead, as you said, they tried to walk the tightrope of “win now/build for the future”.

    That said, Mihm may be a bargain, and Fish will be able to contribute for 3 seasons.

  54. Reed,

    Even though a 3 way trade involving the Lakers and Wallace was apparently bantered about for weeks, we (or at least I) never heard about it until today, when we heard it failed. There are others we never will hear about at all. In fact, many deals wouldn’t happen unless they happened in secret. I believe that many of the KG scenarios that were extensively analyzed and even presented as news were never considered at all.

    We can use the logic of an outsider to evaluate possibilities. Once in a while, our evaluation coincides with reality–and trades are made. Usually an evaluation makes no sense whatsoever–and it happens anyway!

    In discussing trades from a a management perspective, one of the Maloofs said that management consensus on trade considerations could remain constant for months and then change in five minutes for many reasons. Business decisions have a logic all their own.

    The first time I thought of a deal for Gasol, I posted it as wild speculation, based mostly on Gasol’s desire to get out, his meeting with Kobe in Spain, the drafting of Gasol’s brother, and Jerry West leaving the Grizz. I quickly realized how egotistic it was for me to think that it was an original thought.

    The first one to seriously propose Pau Gasol as an alternative to KG or JO in FB&G was Warren. He had already proposed it on another blog. In tracking it down, I descovered the indefatigueable Eric Pincus had made a similar suggestion in greater detail weeks before. At a Memphis blog, I found several other variations and rationales for such a deal from their perspective.

    Though you see Darko and Gasol in a starting lineup together, the prevailing view in Memphis has been that the starting 5 would have Swift (that “meaningless inclusion”, remember?) as the starting center with Darko on the bench. Robinred has much the same view.

    You imply that the acquisitions of Milisic and Conley were strategic. There is strong evidence that they were more or less accidental. They could easily have been drafting #1–and it would have been Oden. With the worst of luck they drafted #4, took Conley and let Chucky Atkins go–to Denver.

    They tried for a series of potential “Latin temperament”
    companions to Gasol–but were rebuffed. Apparently the free agents weren’t as optimistic as you about this year–or maybe La Bamba doesn’t sound that good as bluegrass! Orlando made an impulse move for Lewis and gave Darko the shaft. He ended up on the rebound in Memphis with the hope of starting at power forward.

    Being a center is not a state of mind, a matter of height/weight, or scoring/rebounding potential–it is a skill set–a skill set that takes a considerable amount of time to develop. I believe that the Grizz are very much aware of that.

    Having “lost” Oden, they’d like to develop their own!

    The Lakers now have two “true” centers (Mihm and Bynum) and one who is well into the conversion process (Kwame). Regardless of style or prominence, most teams in the NBA have at least one–or are actively looking. The Nuggets have Camby, the Warriors have Biedrens, the Mavs have Diop, the Clippers have Kaman, etc. Duncan may be a PF partly by accident since San Antonio already had Robinson at center and San Antonio didn’t want Duncan on the bench.

    As presented by Robinred, a Gasol trade is desireable from a Memphis point of view. It is credible from a financial point of view. It makes sense from a marketing point fo view.

    It is no more speculative (and possibly considerably less speculative) and no less likely than any other scenario.

  55. These moves are mostly “playing it safe,” but they do keep options for a future trade open.

    This team has the potential to be a 50-win team if things work out right. More likely they’ll be a 45-49-win team (a noticeable but not huge improvement over last season, I’d wager), but I’ll be cautiously optimistic.

  56. drrayeye- Your basis for claiming nobody wants/wanted Smush is that you haven’t seen any reports or heard anything suggesting its possible. The same thing applies with Pau.

    Re: Mihm- getting Mihm back hopefully signals a Kwame trade. Kwame and Farmar can get us 1 more piece to the puzzel.

  57. Derek Banducci July 20, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    56. I think that if we are to see a Kwame/Farmar trade then it will come before the trading deadline, after we know what we have in Mihm, Bynum, and Crittenton and closer to the time when other teams will want to take on Kwame’s expiring contract.

  58. Thanks for the feedback, guys. I hope that we can discuss the game-fixing story as information develops. It sounds pretty serious.

    WRT Gasol:

    As I said up in #6, Chris Wallace may not see it at all like I do, may see it like reed, Kurt and others, and may see Gasol as the centerpiece. And, I agree that it is for the most part speculation. The facts that support it possibly occurring are:

    1. Gasol supposedly almost went to the Bulls.
    2. Gasol posted on his web site that he wants to play on a non-rebuilding team.
    3. The Lakers need to make a big move to appease Kobe Bryant.
    4. Phil Jackson wil coach this year no matter what but I think is expecting the FO to add a big piece.

    But, I think if Wallace sees it that way, he is reading it wrong and I think Gasol may be, too. Gasol is his prime and unlikely to get better, is not a true superstar, and by the time the other pieces are hitting on all cylinders, will be about 30. 30 is not old, particulary for a good, tall, player, but it is hard to picture Gasol wanting to be part of a rebuild for 2-3 years. If the Grizzlies were in the East, maybe. Instead, they are dealing with Mark Cuban’s wallet, the Spurs’ unique efficiency and stability, and the ever-dangerous Yao-McGrady duo in Houston. Both potential franchise players in the 2007 draft also landed in the West. If, as people here seem to think, Bynum is a potential 20/10 guy and Crittenton is a potential All-Star, it makes more sense to me to start over with a group of kids, particularly in a small, relatively low-pressure market with an expansion franchise.

    One interesting thing to me is that ,as drrayeye pointed out, Bryant and Gasol are in somewhat similar situations. Star in his prime, several young guys needing to step forward. In July, it is easy for fans, players, FO people and coaches to visualize everything going well. In colloquial terms, neither the Lakers nor the Grizzlies has lost a game in two months. So, Pau and Kobe may be OK now, but I think that will, unfortunately in some respects, change.

    But I am certainly willing to concede that I am speculating, and I know Kurt discourages that. ;-)

  59. (56) Kwamwe,

    I’ve heard lots of speculation about “Pau Pau” Gasol. I’m aware of direct communication between Gasol and Kobe in Spain. I’m aware that the Lakers drafted his brother. I’m aware of all sorts of indirect communication and speculation. Something is said by someone about Gasol most every day.

    One thing that has NOT been said is that the Lakers have made the Grizz an offer for Gasol.

    If there are negotiations, they are very private.

    In the case of the Smusher, it is as if he disappeared off of the face of the earth.

  60. I think RobinRed is hitting the nail on the head with somethings. Rebuilding is going to be hard for teams that aren’t named Seattle and Portland. I just don’t find this Laker team as it is currently constituted having great future prospects. I feel you need to either rebuild, and decide to cut salary, be bad for a couple years to get high draft picks, and then come back strong and watch teh roster develop, or you need to shoot for a championship. And with Kobe on our roster, and chips that, while solid, aren’t the greatest thing ever, we need to make a move to vaunt ourselves from being a 6 or 7 seed, to being part of the Big 3.

    If we do keep the same roster, prospects on this season are solely based on the defensive developmetn of Kwame and Bynum. If they are exponentially better, this is a around 50 win team, if not, expect about .500 because teams 4-8 in the West (not including us) will be better next year (GS, Denver, Clips, Utah) as will the Hornets. I just think we need to stop talking about how we’d be “mortgaging” the future becuase these guys just aren’t that special. Maybe that’s just my opinion on (Bynum in particular), but I haven’t seen a thing out of him besides size. I’d be willing to get rid of him and future 15-20 picks for a shot at glory with Kobe.

  61. Ap,
    On thing wrong with your analysis of the west is that all the teams are going to get better. Remember last year? The Clipps were supposed to get better. There are always teams that fall of from what was expected. Maybe one of the big 3 will also drop off in performance. Our guys are young, but at the right seasoning that we could very well see good improvement this year. Sorry you are so down on Andrew – some of the rest of us are not.

    Regardless, we are better served now to let our guys heal from their injuries and perform. I should increase their trade value at the very least.

  62. 53 Kwame A. – Perhaps the Lakers thought an expiring was going to be more useful than the free agent crop available this year?

  63. Kwame a,

    Sorry about the “Kwamwe”

  64. If the Lakers offer Bynum, Crittenton, and Kwame for Gasol, then yes, I do think Memphis would be very interested. However, it would be a disaster for us. We’d be a poor man’s version of the Phoenix Suns (lots of fun stars and scoring, but no defense), with Kobe close to an opt out, and no young talent to build around — a four seed and second round exit. I’m all for trading our young talent IF it makes us a realistic contender. But that means adding defense. Gasol/Mihm inside would be scary against the Duncan/Amare/Boozer/Yao/Dirk’s of the world. If a big trade only makes us marginally better in the playoffs, we have to pass and maintain our youngsters. Please don’t panic into pleasing Kobe, Mitch…

  65. drrayeye- no worries brotha. and by the way, lost in our back and forth…I’d love to have Gasol too!

  66. reed 64: “If the Lakers offer Bynum, Crittenton, and Kwame for Gasol, then yes, I do think Memphis would be very interested. However, it would be a disaster for us. We’d be a poor man’s version of the Phoenix Suns (lots of fun stars and scoring, but no defense), with Kobe close to an opt out, and no young talent to build around — a four seed and second round exit. I’m all for trading our young talent IF it makes us a realistic contender. But that means adding defense. Gasol/Mihm inside would be scary against the Duncan/Amare/Boozer/Yao/Dirk’s of the world.”

    Like I said in #5, I am not sure that roster would work. You would be trying to win with great offense and decent defense. But that can be done. That conceded, I find myself disagreeing/quibbling with a couple of comments:

    1. The Suns defense, acording to a lot of metrics, is not that bad. That hypothetical Laker team’s D might be, but recall I did say they would need to add a cheap D-first wing. Also, Gasol is, as you say, only 27 and under contract for four more years. The Lakers by adding him would have presumably chilled KB out and would have time to add small pieces to get from 50 wins to 58. f your view of the hypothetical team is correct. Kupchak needs to add D on the wings no matter what else happens, and the Wallace thing indicates he knows it.
    2. As you yourself said in 45, about the Grizzlies with Pau:

    “Sure, they will have a hard time with Yao and Duncan, but who doesn’t. Not sure Bynum helps there.”

    So I find this in #64 a little odd:

    “Gasol/Mihm inside would be scary against the Duncan/Amare/Boozer/Yao/Dirk’s of the world.”

    I don’t see that Bynum and Brown are really going to contain those guys, either, conceding that Brown is better on D than Gasol. And Gasol will score 20, not 7.

    Really, as I said at the beginning of the summer, what one thinks the Lakers should do depends almost entirely on how one perceives Bynum and Farmar, and now, Crittenton. Those who see those guys as being very valuable will want to hold on to them. Those who don’t want them to be traded for a star. My take:

    Andrew Bynum is a nice prospect, but he lacks the wow factor athleticism you see in the HS guys who become stars. If he had it, IMO, he would not have lasted until the 10th pick and he would have been able to take away minutes from Kwame Brown even with Phil Jackson’s vet preference. It is not like Phil is a big Kwame booster. I think Bynum will be “pretty good” in about three years, but never great and maybe not even an All-Star. As such, if the Lakers are going to keep Kobe Bryant, I see little point in keeping Bynum.

    As to Crittenton, you saw him in summer league and I didn’t, and I repsect that. I did see him in college, twice, and was not overly impressed. He is athletic, but did not score all that great on the Hollinger scale. Again, IMO he may be a good player in about three years, but I do not see that he has enormous short-term value to a team that is paying Derek Fisher the MLE, and has Jordan Farmar and Kobe Bryant–unless about 12 GMs missed the boat and Crittenton really should have been a top-5 pick. And with Kobe Bryant on the roster, you are in a two-year-or-less window.

    As to the other issue–how much cred we should give speculation about a Gasol deal–you are correct that there have been no rumors, which would indicate it is a dead issue. That said, I am fairly sure if Kobe really talked to Pau they likely talked about playing together. Gasol’s brother’s NBA rights are owned by the Lakers. One would think that coming to Los Angeles to play with Kobe Bryant would appeal to a guy with Gasol’s off-court background and on-court skill set. Chris Wallace and Mitch Kupchak may see it like you do. However, I think they are wrong. Both teams should look into it.

    On another issue, I do not have attendance numbers or any citations in front of me, but I seriously doubt that Gasol himself is a big draw in Memphis. (On the team’s site, there is a feature on Gasol’s UNICEF work, but the slogan is “SEE THE FUTURE” with a picture of Mike Miller. Milicic, not Gasol, is on the masthead). That could change in an hour of course and means nothing empirically, but I don’t think Grizzlies fans would have a fit if they traded Gasol.

    Will it happen? I doubt it. I am feeling now that if the Lakers make a big move, it will come in-season, after these teams we are talking about have played the Spurs, Suns and Mavericks a couple of times, and are reminded of where they really are.

    I will close by saying this: I hope your perceptions of Bynum’s and Crittenton’s value is clsoer to reality than mine is.

  67. This team is crap. When Kobe leaves, I’m jumping off the Laker wagon as well. I mean, consider best case scenarios between this coming season and the one after. Best case, Bynum develops into a Dwight Howard type force inside. Crittenton turns into a more disciplined Jamal Crawford. Radmanovic shoots lights out. And Lamar, Evans, and the rest basically do what their career numbers say they do. Even with all of those things happening this team is still a first, maybe second round out. And that’s with Kobe scoring 40 a night. Wake up folks. Stop buying those tickets and put some pressure on Buss to put together a real team. Because what he’s given us the last 3 years is crap. What a way to waste one of the best players of all time.

  68. 64

    I doubt Mitch is going to panic. If he was, JO would already be a Laker.

  69. Reed,

    If Memphis were truly interested, there are very many options that would be considered. The Grizz might want a first round pick for next year instead of Crittendon this year. They might want us to take Damon Stoudemire (or worse, Brian Cardinal) as part of the deal to further dump salary. These types of preliminary negotiations may have already taken place.

    Let’s keep it simple.

    If the Grizz did the Kwame+Bynum+first round for Gasol, we would, in turn have many options that could strengthen defense after the deal. The easiest would be to simply add someone like Chris Webber at the vet minimum to the 14th spot on the roster. We could also add in Marc Gasol at the 15th.

    My favorite would be to trade Odom + Evans to Sacto for Ron Artest and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. I think it would be very doable. That would address both your “veteran” issues and defense at the same time.

    Replacing Odom, Kwame, and Bynum with Gasol, Abdur-Rahim, and Artest would put us right in the thick of the fray–still leaving us the position to bring in a Chris Webber or Gasol’s brother at center.

  70. Quotes on Fisher

    Here’s what Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson had to say about the return of Derek Fisher to the Lakers today:

    “In evaluating our team at the end of last season, we said we needed help in the back court, primarily a veteran ball-handling guard” said Kupchak. “As we began looking at free agents, we never imagined that Derek would be available. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the opportunity to sign him became an option and we are pleased we were able to do so.”

    “With Derek, we’ve added a veteran player that is familiar with the offense we run and who has had great success in doing so,” said Kupchak. “He will also be able to mentor and help our young players develop. He brings leadership and stability both on and off the court and is a consummate professional in all that he does. I am very happy to welcome him back to the Los Angeles Lakers.”

    “The Lakers are thrilled to get back a key member of our three-time championship team in Derek Fisher,” said Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson. “Derek has been one of the clutch players for our team and I anticipate that he’ll have many more chances to contribute to our successes.”

  71. An article on 82Games.com about defense. Supports reed’s case if you look at #s on Brown, Bynum and Gasol:

    http://www.82games.com/nichols1.htm

  72. Good stuff Robinred. Very cogent thoughts. I’ll respond when I find a spare minute.

  73. Lakerfan, you have been edited once again.

    Please respect the tone of the site.

  74. Robinred (71),

    There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. As someone who teaches statistics, I become very uncomfortable when statistics contradict common sense.

    This analysis fails on the face of it. If one is evaluating “defense”, it should make no difference which of the five positions on plays. Without even doing calculations, it is obvious that centers do much better than point guards. Although there are quirky outliers, like Eddy Curry, the average center has a dramatically better score than the average point guard. The difference would be highly significant with a t test for porportions–and it shouldn’t!

    To have any validity at all, these scores need to be broken out and ranked by position–and then (especially the outlyers) reevaluated and possibly rescored for special circumstances.

    Certain teams (like Houston) do better than others (like the Grizz) suggesting that individual players suffer or benefit because of their teams rather than their individual defense. Within teams, the results seem reasonable, but the same contamination by teammates happens between starters and the “energy” team. Though Bynum scores quite well on this scale–and his rank is almost as good as Kwame’s, his defense as evaluated game by game by the Laker coaches was much poorer than Kwame’s. Though Kwame’s defense was quite good in many ways, neither Kwame nor Bynum were good at preventing defensive breakdowns on the pick and roll by popping out and denying. None of this shows up in these stats at all.

    It also especially effects players forced to play out of position–like Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol.

    As Reed has pointed out, Derek’s statistics look misleadingly bad because he functioned as a sort of point guard from the shooting guard position.

    Pau Gasol played on a team that didn’t have a center–coming off a broken foot injury. Maybe that might have given him a lower score?

    If Pau Gasol were allowed by the Lakers to play and defend his natural position, there is a great deal of contradictory evidence that suggests his performance at defense would be quite good.

    The numbers don’t really support or contradict Reed’s concerns.

    They just get me in trouble with my students!

  75. DrRayEye,
    And sometimes perception is reality. Gasol played for Hubie Brown and Mike Fratello,both known for emphasizing defense. Gasol was not known for his defense while playing for them. He has often stated his desire to play PF rather than Center because he doesn’t like banging down low.
    When even a Darko can talk trash about Gasol,you know Gasol has a bad rep for being soft.

  76. Robinred– We need to remember that Memphis and the Lakers do not share the same immediate goal. Memphis is trying to develop young talent into a playoff team. The Lakers are trying to immediately contend in Kobe’s window. I think Gasol and Darko provide adequate frontcourt defense for Memphis’s goal, but not ours. A team with Gasol anchoring the interior defense would be hard-pressed to beat the Spurs, Suns, or Mavs in a playoffs series, even if strong defensive wings were added. Look at the blueprints of the past title teams — we need excellent, top of the line interior defnese, not average ones. Kwame and Bynum certainly don’t qualify, but trading them for someone that doesn’t get us over the hump makes no sense. We are better served to keep our young talent or seek someone that can lock down the middle at a championship level — Oneal or Garnett (both of whom, incidentally, are openly available for the right price and have been sought by us). I agree with your thoughts about this summer depending on what we think of Bynum/Critt. I’m not sure where I stand myself. I certainly am happy to cash them in for immediate veteran talent to help Kobe in his expiring window, but only if that is what they bring. The Nichols article of 82games was interesting. I disagree with his ranking approach as he overweighs some factors and overlooks others. But, he identifies most of the relevant defensive rubrics. I may talk about this in an upcoming post.

    Drrayeye– I think you are arguing to a conclusion. When the numbers help, you cite them. When they don’t, you “trust your eyes.” Gasol, under any defensive measure, is a below average defender. My eyes tell me that. The numbers tell me that (Gasol’s teams give up more significantly points when he is on the court per 100 possessions than when he sits EVERY year; his value is in offense). He’s not the missing piece. Though, I’d happily take him if we can keep/acquire another strong interior defender. Adding Artest is even interesting — he doesn’t solve the frontcourt problems, but he may make up for it elsewhere. The problem is that any trade for Gasol would strip us of most our key tradeable assets.

    I have a post coming on interior defense that further analyzes these issues. So, I’ll save the rest of my ammo.

  77. You’re right. Pau Pau is in the same mold as Jermaine and Kevin, except that he posts up more on offense and plays the wing more on defense (that’s what you call soft). They are all more like ballet dancers than football players. There is no way that Pau’s going to bump Shaquille out of bounds!

    Darko’s comments were translated from a Yugoslavian Nationalistic paper. That was only part of the trash talking. The Yugoslavs are expecting to take the European world championship away from the Spaniards.

    Back in Grizz land, Darko would play the high post and Pau would play the low post. Despite the boasting, he wouldn’t be doing much banging either.

    I wonder how they will get along as teammates? Or, does Darko expect Pau Pau to move on?

    When Navarro (the Spanish guard) was asked if he wanted to return to Pau’s side, he said:

    “Memphis would be good because at the moment they have Pau, but at some point he could be changing teams.”

    http://myespn.go.com/profile/truehoop?tag=juan%20carlos%20navarro

  78. Reed,

    You finally say,

    “The problem is that any trade for Gasol would strip us of most our key tradeable assets.”

    That’s not arguing to a conclusion?

    There are so many qualifications in that above statement that I don’t know exactly what you mean. I’m not sure even you know what you mean.

    “Gasol’s teams give up more significantly points when he is on the court per 100 possessions than when he sits EVERY year.”

    You’ll need to go into much more detail on that one.

    I would be amazed if Pau’s performance didn’t change over the years when virtually his entire team was traded away from him. Don’t you think their true center (I forget his name), Eddie Jones, Shane Battier, and Bonzi Wells made a difference? Wouldn’t many things change on defense when one goes from more than 50 wins and the playoffs to 28? How do you split off Pau the individual from these enormous changes and precisely measure his individual defense in terms of baskets, blocks, and rebounds?

    Maybe it has to do with attempts. Do they give up more because they score more frequently and therefore there are more attempts? That might be true for all the years–but it wouldn’t have much to do with Pau’s actual defense, would it?

    Or does Pau make a basket and then watch his man race down the court and score? That would be bad defense. What exactly does he do that’s bad?

    How do we know that the “statistic” you report has any relation to Pau’s assigned team defensive conduct at all?

    You’re missing the complexities. Let’s compare the three (KG, JO, and Pau)–forgetting cost or feasibility–or “damn statistics.” On offense, Pau is the guy that posts up the most, giving Kobe the most help. The other two are more like Odom–prefering the outside shot that clashes with Kobe. On defense, both Jermaine and Kevin give much better weak side help–but they are by no means “bangers” who close down the center. Far Far from a Shaquille O’Neil.

    It is possible to work with any of them. All of them can play good team defense–even Pau.

    With Pau only, there is money left in the budget for defensive specialist help. He doesn’t have to do it alone.

  79. Looking at that 82games article there are a few problems with their statistical analysis. I will just mention one. Good defense requires 5 people. A player can be a great defensive player but if he is on team that does not focus on playing good team defense his numbers will be down. The same thing can be said for the reverse as well. A player on the Spurs will automatically have better numbers because of Tim Duncan. The numbers are affected by the other players on the court. They are also skewed by the coaching style. For example CLE was not a good defensive team before Mike Brown became coach. He emphasized and taught the players to play good team defense. Therefore, everyones individual numbers as calculated by the DCS statistics would go up. But if they were put on a different team then their numbers would probably go back down.

    It is very difficult to come up with a statistical number to determine how good a individual is on defense because the other 5 players on the court greatly influence any numbers. Also the NBA is tailored towards individual scoring. Rules are in place to give the offensive player the advantage. That is why chemistry and communication is so important on the defensive end. Without good communication and team defense a team would not be able to stop anyone.

    Also most of the good defensive clubs have great interior defense; Houston, SAS, Det. I think it is much easier to have a good defense if you have a good interior defensive players.

  80. WRT DCS:

    drrayeye/ryan-

    I take all stats with three tablespoons full of salt, particularly in basketball, in which players act interdependently. This is why I chose the word “supports.” There are any number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. This article, while based on a methodology that has its faults, has some merit and is IMO a point–one point in the context of a 50-point game–in support of the idea that:

    Bynum and Brown are adequate if inconsistent interior defenders.
    Gasol is below-average in that area.

    Visually, this is my impression as well. I should have phrased it better originally.

    reed,

    Well-said about the differing goals. What I would add to that is:

    1. Gasol makes around 13m as opposed to 20m+ and is 3-4 years younger than KG or JO. The Lakers, if they acquired him, would perhaps have more time , depending on Kobe, and more money, to fill in the rest of the blanks, which would be:

    1. A cheap d-first wing player
    2. A very cheap banger

    Players like this are available. Pietrus and Udoka are still available in free agency, for example.

    2. You don’t specify what “Memphis’ goal” is, but I assume it is to be a playoff team. And this to an extent is where we part company. I don’t see Memphis with Gasol as a likely playoff team in the next 2-3 years. If they are, they will be a 6-8 seed and out. Their earlier playoff forays with Gasol resulted in an 0-8 record. No games won, much less series. So, to me, a better goal for them is to get several young, cheap players together, and build towards being ready to do something in about 2010-11, when:

    Steve Nash will be 36 and maybe retired
    Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be 34
    Manu Ginobili will be 33 and the Spurs will have had to re-tool
    Shawn Marion wil be 31 and may be playing elsewhere
    Kobe Bryant will 32 with 35 year-old legs
    Dirk Nowitzki will be 31 and Dallas will have had to re-tool many of their older spare parts

    IOW, the Portland plan, with, as drrayeye said, Bynum and Crittenton effectively replacing Oden.

    You mentioned earlier that Memphis is well under the cap, with Gasol, and that is a fair point. OTOH, you and I are not signing his checks. I am not sure in a market like Memphis that there is great value in having a second-tier star lead you to a 37-45 record as opposed to going 21-61 with kids, and $12-13m is a lot of money. In LA, playing in front of Jack Nicholson and under the banners, I can see why Buss is afraid of 21-61 and wants to keep Kobe Bryant on the team at all costs. Memphis is a different market. There is an ancillary issue: the kids might get overwhelmed with all the losses and it might retard their development. Gasol, like Paul Pierce in Boston, is a security blanket, albeit one with a few holes.

    To be clear, I want KG 1st and JO second, if they can get JO while retaining Odom. I am not a huge Odom fan, but as the #3 guy behind KB and JO he would look good. I would also (and I am in the minority here) move Odom, Bynum and Brown for KG, put him between Mihm and Walton, and hope Kupchak could get some cheap help and, that given KG and KB, the Buss crew would be OK with a luxury tax hit.

    But I don’t think Minnesota and Indiana are going to do that, at least not until mid-season, and who knows where the Lakers will be then. If Memphis wants to do this–and they may not–I think they would just as soon do it now.

  81. If Memphis was going to move Gasol because they are building for the future they would have moved him before the draft when teams w/low picks in an excellent draft yr were willing to move their pick.(Boston #5,Bulls #9,definitely,Milwaukee #6,Minn #7,Charlotte #8,probably.)

  82. “If Memphis was going to move Gasol because they are building for the future they would have moved him before the draft when teams w/low picks in an excellent draft yr were willing to move their pick.(Boston #5,Bulls #9,definitely,Milwaukee #6,Minn #7,Charlotte #8,probably.)”

    This is a reasonable point. The thing is that what Memphis would have wanted in addition to a pick–Jefferson, Deng–are likely not players those teams would give up for Gasol. I don’t think CHA, MIL or MIN had the bait.

    Just to be clear, I am not *predicting* a trade. I just think it makes sense.

  83. Hey, does anybody know how I can get ahold of a video of 2002 WCF game 6 Lakers-Kings?

    Thanks.
    Rick
    rickindavis@yahool.com

  84. sorry to say this but lakers wont be a championship contender this laker team sucks

  85. I actual think that the Lakers roster, if healthy, is respectable. If you look at each of the position’s depth, it is good.

    Point guard: I feel a lot better that DFish is back to provide some stability to the PG position. His outside shooting should spread the defense out to give Kobe and Lamar more room to work. Jordan will be coming into his second season and has shown that he can handle the position with his hustle and defense. He just needs that consistent outside shoot. Crittenton will probable not play much early, but don’t be surprised if he makes a big contribution late in the season.

    Shooting Guard: If Kobe’s head is straight and plays professionally, then this position is great. Mo Evans, which people should give Kupchak some credit for getting, was having a very good season until the injury bug hit him. Good outside shoot and a potential stopper on defense. Sasha is still to streaky to depend on in my opinion.

    Center: A decent three-headed monster. Mihm if healthy is a very good shot blocker but needs to stay out of foul trouble. Kwame is the Lakers best low post defender, just don’t give him the ball much on offense. Bynum is going to have a breakout season because he won’t have to play heavy minutes and may have a chip on his shoulder to prove the nay-sayers wrong.

    PF: Lamar Odom was on his way to an All-Star breakout season until injuries caught up to him. If he was healthy, I feel the Lakers could have gotten has high as 4th in the West. Turiaf is great as a hustle and energy guy by grabbing rebounds and playing defense. He even shown in some games to have a nice 15 foot shot. Brian Cook may be the odd man out because he and Vlad Rad are basically the same type of player.

    SF: Luke Walton is the ultimate glue guy on the team. Not great in one thing, but very good all around including his outside shooting. Vlad Rad, if healthy, should be able to give at least 12-16 points off the bench if left open and his shot returns. Remember, the reason he was brought in was to spread the floor similar to what Byron Scott did for the Showtime Lakers of the 80s.

    I know I sound too optimistic, but I think the Lakers will surprise us this coming season as long as they keep their heads straight and their priorities in order. No championship, but at least 48 wins.