Rehashing Kobe

Kurt —  August 6, 2007

Well, NBA news has slowed down considerably. KG in the East storylines are tapped out, Team USA has yet to start playing a game, what is an NBA writer to do to drum up interest…

Kobe. He’s gone silent. Los Angeles is tired of hearing from him. But maybe that flame can be stoked.

So Ric Bucher said he has heard nothing new from Kobe since the summer rants, so that is the word that stands. Henry Abbot did a more thoughtful riff off of that, comparing Kobe to Pistol Pete. (The difference ultimately being Kobe has rings.) TJ Simers and crew were talking Kobe on the radio this morning because, well, that probably draws more listeners then more Beckham talk.

Despite all the talk around them, the principals in the saga remain quiet.

Maybe that’s because there is nothing to say. Nothing to be gained by spouting off by either Kobe or the Lakers’ front office.

For the Laker brass, Kobe is the guy selling the tickets right now, and trading him to start a rebuilding project this late in the summer would lead to a revolt from season ticket holders who have already paid to watch him play. Not to mention the anger from big-bucks paying sponsors trying to reach those ticket holders. At this point, with two years left on Kobe’s deal, fans want the team to build a winner, not throw in the towel. And Laker brass has said consistently in public he is not on the market right now. What are the Lakers going to say publicly that could seriously smooth the waters?

If he’s not being traded, what are Kobe’s options? He could sit out, but for a guy who has spent the last few years working hard to rebuild his reputation — and his marketing presence — coming off as the ultimate prima donna would be a huge step backwards. Kobe would risk his legacy being about petulance rather than the championships he craves.

He could say he gets injured playing for Team USA and miss most of camp and even some games of the season. But what message does that really send? I’m unhappy so I’m going to sit out for a little but, but ultimately come back to you? Does that strengthen his position?

Or, he plays the good soldier and comes to camp ready to compete, to see how far he can take this team. This Lakers squad is not a contender, but it is not horrible either. It has little margin for error the way it is constructed, but it can be a good team. Kobe could do what he does again this year, come up with a standard line when asked about this past summers rants (along the lines of “I just want this franchise to be the best it can be”) and let his actions remind Lakers brass and fans why they don’t want him to leave.

None of those three options are bettered by him doing another cathartic round of media interviews.

Ultimately, just as he did in the Shaq situation three summers ago, Kobe has the hammer. He has the opt out in two years. He can walk. He knows it, the Lakers know it. The front office knows there is a deadline to find a way to compete. Maybe they worried about this before Kobe’s summer rants, maybe they didn’t, but they sure do now.

If a move to make the Lakers a contender can’t happen by around the next draft, maybe Mitch starts to quietly ask around about what he could get for Kobe. Maybe.

But for the coming season, the die are cast.

And I don’t think talking to the media about it does anyone any good.

Kurt

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121 responses to Rehashing Kobe

  1. Before anyone mentions it, yes I get the irony of me doing a Kobe post asking why people are talking about Kobe. Honestly, I feel a little sick feeling the need to do it.

  2. SI article on JO talking about wanting to go to the lakers:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/arash_markazi/08/06/oneal.trade/index.html

    I think LA and the Pacers are too far apart on what they want, but maybe this will put some fire back into talks.

  3. Bynum/Farmar/Kwame/Sasha/Cook for JO

    Mihm/Brian Skinner (sign with remaining money)
    JO/Turiaf/Vlad
    LO/Walton
    Bryant/Evans
    Fisher/Critt

    That is the best team we could have, and with LO/JO and Kobe all being under 30, this team could play together for 4-6 years. That is as good a window as you can get. The main obstacle to this trade is getting Indy to agree to what we are offering. If we relent on Bynum, then Indy would most likely agree to an offer.

  4. 3. Did you mean relent on Odom? As I understand it that is the sticking point, that Indiana is demanding Odom and the Lakers won’t part with him. (Nor should they in this deal.)

  5. Too many people assume what Kobe is thinking or doing. The fact that an ESPN headline article can be put out that “Kobe isn’t saying anything” is ridiculous. It’s an article full of assumptions and guesses.

    Sports writers want contoversy, they want arrests, they want to stir up the pot. Sports can never just be sports.

    I for one am looking forward to watching the players play the game. The USA team should be fun to watch. I’m not going to sit here and wonder what the players are thinking or the salary cap issues certain organizations face in building their team. That is a bunch of crap.

  6. By the way, nice interview with Evans by the brothers over at the Times Lakers blog, no basketball but good stuff:

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2007/08/talking-with-ma.html#more

  7. Kurt- My understanding, which could be entirley incorrect, is that the sticking point is Bynum. The Lakers have offered Odom-centered packages, but Indy, like Minny, doesn’t want LO and his 2 years of 20+ million of salary. If Indy is gonna trade JO, they are gonna rebuild, and they want to do it around Bynum.

    Along with Bynum, the Pacers want a Pg, that’s why we would have to give up Farmar or Critt. The rest is salary cap filler, and draft picks. To this day, it seems that the Lakers are still unwilling to offer Bynum for JO.

  8. kwame a., maybe I have/had it wrong. I had read (Bucher most recently, but other places) that the deal was Indy demanding LO and Bynum. I had thought, because it’s what I think, that giving up Odom in that deal is the mistake the Lakers are making. I love Drew and Farmar, but I would do that deal you suggested in a heartbeat if I were the Lakers.

  9. This goes along with what Kwame a (7) said. But i’m confused because I thought Jerry Buss said Bynum could be traded. Everyone else is reporting that it wasn’t Bynum that was the trade killer it was Odom and Bynum.

    “The Pacers and Lakers are believed to have discussed a trade involving O’Neal this summer, but have been unable to reach agreement. Various reports have claimed the Pacers are holding out for Lakers center Andrew Bynum to be included, while the Lakers have refused to do so.”

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070806/SPORTS04/708060426

    I would hope that it was not an unwillingness to trade Bynum that would kill a deal for O’neil. To me it seems that a deal of Bynum, Brown, Critt, Sasha, Cook (if Mckie would a gree to a sign and trade for 3.5M than he could be included instead of Cook and Sasha) is a better deal for Indy if they are rebuilding. They get two young talented players and two expiring contracts.

  10. 9. It has been suggested that the original request by Walsh and Bird (LO and Bynum) was to eventually end up with Bynum, a pg, draft picks and filler. The Lakers, who never would do LO and Bynum, countered with a LO package with fillers. I’m not sure the FO is willing to deal Bynum for anyone but KG. Now that the ship has sailed on that, they may be ready to go with what they have. However, with JO healthy, Odom moving back to his best position as SF, the Lakers have to consider a move centered around Bynum, while not giving up Odom.

  11. I completely agree with you. I would do that trade in a heartbeat. If it happens soon maybe we could still convince PJ brown to come to LA. But I think he is looking for a bigger contract than what LA can offer.

  12. 10. Assuming that is true, and you’re not one to throw out random crap, that makes me a little ill. Yes, the team would need to fill in some depth at C and PG, and they may not knock off the Spurs this year because of that, but the roster above is on the doorstep and knocking at a title. JO, Odom and Kobe would be a force as a trio, and with the Evans/Walton/VladRad others there would be a decent bench. That is a deal they just should do, Bynum is going to be a nice player (I think) but no JO, plus there is the whole window of opportunity thing.

    So it begs the long-standing question of “Is it Jim Buss who does not want to trade his boy?”

  13. I believe that Jermaine honestly wants to come here. I believe that the Pacers really want Bynum. Odom fits with the Pacer approach both in terms of team style and the philosophy of never fully rebuilding. Two starters (Bynum/Odom–sort of) for an all star makes sense. The cash amount is only slightly off.

    Since signing Deiner, the Pacers don’t need a pg any more. They already have 15 players under some kind of contract.

    To make the deal work financially, the Pacers might accept Coby Carl (or one of our unsigned 2nd rounders) at the exact necessary amount. To get full value for a true all star, they might require a first round draft pick.

    So,

    Odom, Bynum, Karl, first round pick

    for

    Jermaine O’Neal

    Something like that seems to be blowing in the wind.

  14. From what the article said, JO is really set on coming to the Lakers, saying he would become a free agent after this year anyway meaning Indiana will get nothing for him. So it looks like Indiana will be a bit desperate to trade. This is really the best piece of news the Lakers have had in a while. I could see the trade kwame outlined above happening and that new Laker team would be an instant championship contender.

  15. 13. But to me, that is a lateral move for the Lakers, they get a little better inside but lose versatility. Bottom line, again they become marginally better, not a contender. To me, you need Kobe, Odom and JO for the Lakers to be serious contenders in the next few years, trade Odom for JO and you are still out looking for a third key cog.

  16. 13- The Pacers do not want LO, because, as Lamar stated, if he is traded he wants an extension, near the tune of 3 yrs, 45 million. If they trade JO, they have no choice but to completeley rebuild. Thus, no Odom in the deal.

  17. Trading Odom and Bynum for JO would be a huge mistake in my book. The Lakers need Odom, Kobe, and JO to be contenders. In fact, if it weren’t for his being prone to injury, I would say Odom is a better asset than JO. But then JO himself has been injured alot the past 3 years though he says he is at 100% now. Odom+Bynum would mean the Lakers in the same place they finished this year and missing a good prospect in Bynum to boot. Kobe+Garnett=instant contender. Kobe+JO is about the same as Kobe+Odom.

  18. Is it possible that the Lakers might be better off letting Kobe opt-out in two years rather than trade him? Would you rather just start a full rebuilding process with a clean payroll.

    I almost think the Lakers are better off letting Kobe walk than trading him (as counterintuitive as that seems). If that is or becomes managments’ conclusion, Kobe really doesn’t have any leverage.

    It’d be interesting to play some counterfactual history in regards to the Shaq trade: what if the Lakers had simply held on to a disgruntled Shaq for a year and let him and his 30 million salary off the books? Where would the Lakers be today?

  19. “I think Kobe’s in a position right now where he understands that he needs some help,” O’Neal said. “He needs some help to get to the position where he wants to be. I think he’s the best player in the NBA and the world, but obviously no player can do it by himself. He has a nice group around him, but he needs some help and I can give him some support. … He wants to prove to people that he can get back to the NBA championship, and I’m at a point in my career where I want to prove to people that I can help a team get to the championship.”

    Inspiring words from JO. I completely agree with Kurt and Kwame A., the trade proposal Kwame makes would be the ideal situation for us. And from Indiana’s point of view, that is a very solid group of young talent to build towards.

    I believe that with so many good teams in the NBA now, especially in the West, a team needs a good trio of stars to succeed. The days of the two headed Kobe-Shaq or MJ-Pip monsters are over. The Spurs are dominating with Parker-Duncan-Manu… the Suns have Nash-Amare-Marion… the Mavs have Dirk-Josh Howard-J Terry… the Celts now have KG-Allen-Pierce. I think from a FO point of view, building around Kobe-Odom-JO with good role players could be very good for the next 3-5 years and the fans would be very happy with that trio. I know they love baby Bynum, but you have to give something up to get somthing back.

  20. Kurt,

    I’d trade Kwame, Sasha, and VladRad for Jermaine, but it’s not going to happen. You take what you can get.

    Marginally better is not so bad!

    If i t happens, we may be able to compare marginally better LA with hollowed out Boston (and Phoenix, for that matter).

    The one thing that I have gotten from Indiana blogs is that they really love the attitude and consistency of Jermaine O’Neal. To make it simpler, they just LOVE Jermaine. I’ve been converted.

    With Kwame and Mihm at center (probably the guys who would log most of the minutes any way),
    Jermaine won’t get beat up so much playing out of position–and the Lakers would still have an expiring $9 mil contract to play around with in trades.

  21. I’m not sold on getting JO, but if the deal happens and we give up Lamar, it’s just like Kurt said… a lateral move.

    We need Kobe with LO and JO, while keeping the following players:

    Fisher, Farmar or Critt, Evans, Walton, Vlad, Turiaf and Mihm. Anything less than that and it isn’t worth doing a trade at all.

    Let’s wait and see

  22. I think you need to realize that if the deal is LO AND BYNUM that holding onto Kwame Brown gives us a guy who can D up the best big on the other team, letting JO play more help defense, which he excels at.

    More importantly, holding onto Kwame’s expiring deal gives us an extremely valuable trading chip as the season progresses.

    I’m convinced that whatever the deal is with Indiana, as long as we don’t take back Troy Murphy or Mike Dunleavy would be a good one.

    If we don’t give up LO in the deal we’ll be contenders immediately. If we have to give up LO, a later deal (trade deadline?) using Kwame’s contract will be that much more important. If done well, a deal with his contract could make us extremely formidable going into the playoffs.

  23. It takes two to tango. Read the Pacer blogs. It’s not just making the money match, it’s a matter of respect for a much loved super star.

    They care for Jermaine so much, they kind of wish him to LA–for his sake–but not unless the Lakers appreciate what they are getting!

    Many of the “Kwame style” trades have already been presented to them. Kwame’s deal not only loads up the already full roster with players that the Pacers don’t want–it doesn’t show proper respect.

    I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing–just looking at what the other guy says.

  24. Keep Odom and Farmar! If we are going to trade for JO, the present is what is imperative. Perhaps Javaris will be a better player than Jordan, like many summer league spectators have speculated, but ought we wait for that to become the reality? Farmar has more experience and is ready to contribute while sharing minutes with Fisher. Having Jermaine doesn’t do anything to place the Lakers in a contending position if we do not have Lamar.

    This trade works: Kwame, Bynum, Crittenton, Vujacic and Cook For Jermaine O’Neal.

    The Lakers could sport a lineup of Fisher/Farmar, Bryant, Odom, Jermaine, and Mihm.

    We will have a bench of either Fisher or Farmar, Evans, Walton, Turiaf, and Radmanovic. Not dazzling off the pine, but quite solid as they come. Walton/Fisher/Farmar would each be a solid option for a quality 6th man. Turiaf is solid as well, and would likely be able to leave his finger prints consistently on games next season. As long as Vlad figures out the triangle, and can hit from outside, it will deflect our loss of shooters (Sasha and Cook).

    Perhaps we sign Karl on the cheap as well, who at the least, could be as productive a shooter as Vujacic has been for us.

    Personally I enjoy Bynum, I like his game, and love his potential. Aside from a lot of work, he is a good player. However, this is Jermaine O’Neal. He came right out and said LA is where he wants to play ball, and live with his family. Leverage is in our favor. Indiana is staring at a dooming future of him opting out, a fate that shakes the boots of all LA Kobe fans. They are being left with little choice to watch tape of Bynum and roll the dice.

    The Pacers also would have two solid prospects down low in Diogu and Bynum, along with a true gamer in form of Granger, and stellar shooting from Diener. While their future isn’t a red carpet leading towards contention and trophies, it is indeed quite significantly more favorable than their static present that is the likelihood of missing the playoffs in the lowly East.

    As for Los Angeles. Fisher will provide a steady hand for the offense, Jordan will maybe fill it up on occasion as well. After teams have to negotiate between Bryant and O’Neal, look out for lefty mismatch King Lamar Odom wrecking any single coverage thrown his way. Oh yeah, Mihm is all alone under the basket, and while prior to injury he wasn’t a bona fide stud, I can’t really recall his game filling me with anxious frustration the way Kwame has.

    It seems as though if not this year, O’Neal will have the Lakers on the top of his free agent list after he opts out, but do we really want to continue to toy with Kobe? Why not give him a new toy to play with in Hawaii? Will anyone be talking camp hold out then? No.

  25. All you guys wanting JO to come to L.A. better place your hopes in one man. That’s right…Arn Tellem. That guy really knows how to broker deals for his clients. And luckily he’s JO’s agent.

  26. If the pacers just wanted Bynum and not LO and indeed this is true. That makes me very upset that the Lakers still have not learned anything. I can only imagine how that would make KOBE feel.

  27. 23- If Indy is gonna trade JO, which increasingly looks to be the case, then they will want to rebuild. Thus, the team will want Bynum and young PG (diener is not a prospect, he is a 3rd stringer). Therefore, a deal centered around Bynum/Farmar, or Bynum/Critt, is where INDY would want to start from.

    C’mon, we know you really wanted Gasol, but I tried to tell you, that wasn’t happening. In this case, all I’m saying is that to get JO we have to come up with a package based around Bynum, who cares what fans think of JO. You think Minny fans thought Al Jefferson and scrubs was market value for KG, please, at this point, they are set on trading JO.

    Bird, today, announced that he will move him for fair market value. What did Philly get for Iverson (Joe Smith, picks and Andre Miller), what did Minny get for KG (Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, picks and filler). What makes you think JO ( a player that didn’t make the playoffs last year, and has never been to the finals) is worth more than Iverson or KG?

  28. drrayeye,

    Kwame in any deal is strictly for cap relief, period. I don’t think Theo Ratliff was disresepctful to the Wolves, he served a purpose.

    In the grand scheme of things, Kwame is more valuable to Indiana than Odom. Odom plays the 3/4 and some of their brightest young prospects (Granger, Diogu, Williams) play those positions. You give the Pacers prospects at Center and Point Guard coupled with cap space and draft picks and they quickly move forward with a rebuilding plan.

    And remember, most of the teams with the bright futures are out West (Seattle, Portland, Minnesota, Memphis). If Indiana wants to stock up to peak when the Detroits, Heat, Celtics, Cavs, etc. start declining then this deal with LA would be a nice move.

    It’s also good to note that history proves that the team that deals a superstar always comes out on the short end of the stick. Since we’d be getting the star in this deal I’m all for it.

  29. Straight From the Horses Mouth:

    O’Neal said the Pacers have been unreasonable in their trade talks with the Lakers.

    “Larry Bird is a hard man to deal with,” O’Neal said. “He tries to make unfair trades. He wants to gut a team, but the Lakers are trying to get over the hump. I want Indiana to benefit, but with some nice young players and draft picks. I want to make it clear that I don’t want to gut a team that I come to because then it’ll be like I’m in Indiana all over again

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2963647

  30. I think the deal could be expanded upon and it would make more sense:

    Lakers give:
    Lamar Odom
    Kwame Brown
    Andrew Bynum
    Jordan Farmar
    Koby Karl

    to Indiana for:
    Jermaine O’Neal
    Jeff Foster
    Danny Granger

    Granger and Bynum are of equal value (young talent). Odom, Farmar, and Karl make up for losing O’Neal. And Kwame is of equal talent to Foster, but gives Indiana cap relief next year also.

    Worth thinking about.

  31. From my understanding, there is no way the Pacers are giving up Granger. If they are going young they want him to be part of the new core.

  32. kwame a,

    Isn’t it nice to be on the good end of a franchise guy kicking the front office in the nuts?

    I don’t understand how Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Maurice Evans, Sasha Vujacic, $3 million in cash (to buy out a couple cheap expiring deals), Kwame Brown, and two first rounders doesn’t work for Indiana. That’s approximately $12 million in expirings, two young prospects at positions where they don’t have prospects, and two draft picks.

    We get JO and jump to one of the top teams in the league.

    It’s a win-win all around.

  33. Jesus Gonsalves August 6, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Look jefe,

    You guys aren’t talking straight. The Lakers will be bad with or without Jermain O’Neal. TD and the frenchman Tony (lucky bastard married to Eva Longoria) Parker will destroy them. The only way the Lakers can be good is to trade Kobe.

  34. drew’s post makes a lot of sense. teams don’t get fair value for their superstars (see kg, ai, shaq, etc).

    from today’s truehoop bullets, it sounds like the kg deal got legs once kg himself decided where he wanted to go. jo announced his desires today. there is now finally a team with more pressure on them than the lakers.

    i’d bet a deal happens within a couple weeks.

  35. 31.I agree. I’d assume that the FO’s ideal situation is to keep Bynum and move LO for JO. I don’t know why they don’t see that keeping LO and moving Bynum would not only grease the wheels of a trade, it would give the Lakers 3 legit all-star caliber players, one of whom is the best on the planet.

  36. 29. Sigh. All these goddang former Celtic players-turned-GMs, they must make Laker general managing life hard.

    That Bird quote is probably a good argument that coaches (or players) shouldn’t be GMs as well. GMs have to try and make a deal mutually beneficial to succeed, not “gut a team”.

  37. 33.

    Dude, The Spurs were never able to stop Kobe, so, with proper backup for #24 they don’t worry me at all. Now Dallas and Utah worry me a bit more.

  38. 38. Technically that is correct, in the SI story JO doesn’t directly demand a trade, he says he’d like to be traded. Word play, but that’s what Tellum is doing here.

    But I think Jones is right in 25, if this deal happens Tellum will be the one that makes it. Behind the scenes, but he is key here.

  39. 38) I think that’s just agent speak. Believe me, Arn has to want JO in L.A. too, because he knows the Lakers will actually pay him the extension he’ll be seeking.

  40. 41. Yes, JO has threatened the opt out, but do that and he gets nowhere near the $20 mil he makes now. JO needs a trade.

  41. Carter,

    How can you offer Odom, Bynum, and Kwame. The last two dudes I am perfectly happy parting with, and allowing them, and their particular moments (Bynum Vs Wolves, and the “Kwame, Kwame, Kwame” chants at Staples) to live on solely in my memory.

    Why am I so contently filled? Because the Lakers have long been saying that they are piece or two away. Well, we did just get Fisher back, and by adding Jermaine to go along with Kobe and Odom Los Angeles would be legitimately interesting again, and not because the Clippers are competitive for the first time ever. Rather, we would have a solid lineup, and a solid bench. Bye bye Andrew, Javaris, Sasha, Brian, and Kwame. Hello Jermaine.

    Can we get through this paperwork already and fast forward to Hawaii? I can’t wait to see the smiling faces of Kobe, Fisher, and Odom after practicing with a worthy cast of role players and a stellar post player like JO.

  42. 42) I never understood the max player threatening to “opt out”. Has any guy scheduled to make max money ever opted out? That’s why I don’t buy the Kobe opting out stance. Both he and JO would leave too much money on the table, especially considering they both “want to play for a contender” and every contender will either be near or over the salary cap and offer them peanuts compared to their current contracts.

    It’s a nicely spun threat though, so they have that going for them.

  43. The JO is a better fit for the Lakers than Garnett ever was. This is a deal the Lakers need to work out. Kobe, JO and LO is a great combination. Compare this threesome to the threesomes of Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio and now Boston. I think a KJL is superior to all except possibly the San Antonio trio. Comparing these teams top three here it goes:

    First, Kobe is the best player on the planet and trumps every teams’ number 1.

    Second, JO as the Lakers number 2 I think is superior to Dallas’ number 2 Howard, Boston’s number 2 of Paul Pierce but inferior to Amare but significantly minimizes Amare’s impact, and inferior to tony parker or manu (which ever is number 2).

    Third, LO is superior to all of the elite teams’ number 3 with the possible exception of San Antonio. Everyone knows LO owns Marion, is a better number 3 than Ray Allen, and better than Dallas’ number 3 Terry. I think this is the best part of the trade that keeps LO. Making him a third option- he certainly would be one of if not the best third option on any team.

    Lastly, the trade leaves a great group of role/bench players. Fisher, Walton, Turiaf, Mihm, Evans and Vlad (if he can find his spot and stroke).

  44. I think that if you are making a deal for O’neil and a PG needs to be sent, Crittenton would be the better choice. Crittenton may have more upside but he has never played a game in the NBA before. As things stand right now I would suspect that Farmar is the starting PG. Fisher will com off the bench for about 20 minutes so that he is rested for the playoffs. Do people really want Crittenton as a starting PG?

    But I don’t think I would make that a trade killer.

  45. What the article does is give the Lakers back some leverage they lost with the Kobe outburst.

    Off topic…what happened to Reed?

  46. Mike in the Mountain West August 6, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Another key to this deal that we’re not talking about is the luxury tax implications for the Lakers. If the Lakers trade Bynum, Kwame, Vujacic, Cook, and Crittenton for JO, they’ll have outgoing salaries totaling $17,789,151 and incoming salaries of $19,728,000. Meaning they take back $1,938,849 more in salary but with the luxury tax the actual cost is $3,877,698. And , by my calculations, our salaries next year would be at least $75,867,400 not counting Turiaf, Evans, or Karl (Evans contract ends this year, Karl isn’t signed yet, and I couldn’t find information on Turiaf). The luxury tax threshold for 07-08 is $67.865 million which means it’ll probably be somewhere between $70.5 and $71.5 million for the 08-09 season. That will give us a tax bill of anywhere from $4 million to $9 depending on any players we sign. Now I’m not an expert on the CBA so some of that tax may be lowered by some clause I don’t know enough about (Bird rights for instance) but Buss is gonna have to bust out the check book for the forseeable future if we get JO without giving up Odom.

    Now, I’ve got two questions. If some of you are right that Lakers management is trying to build a deal around LO instead of Bynum, how much of that do you think has to do with financial implications instead of an attachment to Bynum? Second, does anyone have an informed opinion on whether Buss would be willing to pay the tax?

  47. Since Farmar is far more ready to start,I would think Indy would prefer him as then they could trade Tinsley.

  48. 48. That is a very good point and the financial side could be part of what is driving this. It is clear from his actions Buss does not want to “Go Knicks” (or early versions of Cuban) and just pay the tax in an effort to stockpile talent. But, would he be willing to go a few million over to field a far more competitive team? (And theoretically, get more money from playoff gates and other ancillary revenue?) I don’t know for sure.

  49. Mike in the Mountain West August 6, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    From Pincus’s column on July 25th:

    The Lakers have 14 players under contract for a total of $70,532,742. The luxury tax threshold this season is $67,865,000 which puts LA $2,667,742 over the mark. In addition to the dollar for dollar penalty, LA would also lose out on the corresponding tax redistribution which may total $2+ million. After the season the tax paid out by teams over the tax gets redirected back to teams under the threshold.

    If they were to sign a rookie like Coby Karl to a minimum salary of $427,163 . . . the price tag with the tax is $854,326. If LA uses the $1 million they have left of their mid-level exception . . . that’s a total outlay of $2 million.

    Barring a cost cutting move, the team’s total salary would be roughly $75 million (including the $2+ million in lost redistribution.). ”

    Using Eric’s $75 million dollar figure as a base, if we trade for JO our salary (including luxury tax and missed redistribution) would jump to almost $79 million dollars for this season. Wow!

  50. Placate Kobe, field a winner and garner some extra revenue from increased ticket sales and retail sales via JO or pay an extra 9 million? I am sure the business folks are making that cost/benefit analysis.

    Without JO, the probability of Kobe skipping in 2 years becomes fairly high. Without Kobe, the Lakers’ revenue drops dramatically. I am sure in evaluating the cost/benefit of acquiring JO, the Lakers are looking at a 5 year horizon and are including the revenue stream Kobe brings in and could possible take with him. In considering the Kobe factor, it appears that the luxury tax becomes less of an issue.

    I’m sure JO is looking at the bottomline as well. This would be his first big market team. The endorsement/business opportunities would certainly increase for him.

  51. Mike in the Mountain West August 6, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    In that same column Pincus claims “The team has publicly indicated they’d be willing to pay extra for a contender. ” He doesn’t support that claim with a link and I don’t remember hearing anything like that but it would probably be sound financial decision on Buss’s part. A contending Lakers team could probably make up the lost money through added fan interest and consequent willingness to shell out more moolah.

    On another note, I haven’t seen much praise for Mitch completing that great deal with Mihm. Although he can opt out after next year we got a legit starting center for second or third string money. Plus, he’s in a contract year and he’s got even more to prove coming off that injury. If he plays like he did 2 seasons ago there’s no doubt he’ll get a big raise probably in the $6 – 9 million a year range. To quote Hollinger, it’ll be time to get himself some of that Dampier money. So Mitch did good and at least for next season I think we’ll have plenty of depth at C even if we trade Bynum (Mihm and Kwame withTuriaf and JO in a pinch) .

  52. 10milliondollarzen August 6, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Why just because JO has said he’d be happy with a trade to the Lakers does this site and Lakers fans seem to think it’s more likely to happen than it was 24 hours ago? JO also said he’d happily play with the NJ NETS (the full recorded interview is up on HOOPSWORLD) –and if the Lakers stick to not wanting to trade both Bynum and Odom (which would be a sideways move at best – in fact, trading only Odom would be a sideways move) what if Jersey offers Jefferson and Krisitc and Marcus Williams, which I’ve read they’e dicussed. That sounds like a better deal for Indiana—-

    Remember Kevin Garnett not only said a few week ago that he wanted to play for Phoenix, he actually said he specifically didn’t want to play for Boston-and now he’s happy……

    So we’ll see. I wouldn’t get my hopes up…

  53. We are just throwing out assumptions…
    “Without JO, the probability of Kobe skipping in 2 years becomes fairly high.”

    Why??? Because Kobe said so???

    The same logic that applies to JO opting out after the season – comments made that he would lose a bundle of money if he chose to do that – apply equally well to Kobe.

    We fans are according Kobe much more leverage than he actually has. He can threaten, but if he goes through with it he is likely to lose a very large amount of money. He also won’t want to bankrupt the team he goes to – just like JO’s comments about the Lakers.

    Remember one of the reasons KG signed with Boston was that they gave him most of his extension money. While players may sacrifice some cash to move where they want, there is a practical limit to what their financial advisors will allow/recommend.

    We need to build a contending team here because the owners will make more money and gain more league power, not because Kobe says so.

    “A contending Lakers team could probably make up the lost money through added fan interest and consequent willingness to shell out more moolah.”

    Another questionable sentence. The Lakers are the biggest draw in the NBA at the present time. How much more will Buss stand to gain? There is a point of diminishing returns in this business – that’s what Cuban found out.

    We may gain money by going deeper in the playoffs, but I doubt we will get much more outside the playoffs. The luxury tax is a very stiff penalty for any team. We can’t just go ‘over the top’ by an arbitrary amount without a real long range plan.

  54. If we get JO and keep LO and Kobe, then we will probably be looking at losing LO in a couple of years because we will need to cut his paycheck – something I bet he won’t be amenable to.

    If this becomes the plan, then we better keep one of our youngsters who we think will become a dominant force. We will need that 3rd option on our team after Lamar leaves and we should plan for it to come from our younger, higher value-to-cost ration players. If we are left with none of these players because of our JO trade, then we are in the same position in two years. Kobe will then be making his decision whether or not to opt out.

    While we will not have resolved our nightmare, we will have at least bought 2 years of contending.

  55. I wouldn’t fear New Jersey too much. I do not really see Bird trading Jermaine within the Eastern Conference. Hence the fact that the only way KG would end up in Phoenix was if Amare was the center piece. There is no way the Wolves would deal with the Suns, play against Garnett four times a year, if STAT wasn’t involved.

    Plus, as much as Jefferson has been rumored to be involved in trade talks, Nets management and ownership alike have both repeatedly confirmed to him that they are not interested in trading him. How far their word goes though, I am not 100% sure. Although, I am almost willing to put it all on the table that the Pacers do not want to see JO four times a year in a Nets jersey.

    If the issue of Farmar over Crittenton would bust the deal, I wouldn’t nail the Lakers front office to the wall if we were forced to have Javaris share minutes with Fisher, as long as it meant O’Neal beasting it down low. Although, Javaris has just as much, if not more, upside than Jordan, which hopefully is enough to make Bird bite.

    Bottom line, KG was a pipe dream, Gasol is a pretty picture, but not too probable. Artest, well I need not say more. With Jermaine O’Neal however, this deal has to get done. This is Los Angeles, the money will take care of itself if we are sporting KB, LO, and JO. Furthermore, while I fully agree it is not likely for players to take pay cuts, Lamar is just about as level headed as they come in the NBA these days. Who knows, if he gets a good whiff of the big trophy, anything can happen. All summer we have been begging our management to roll the dice. They’re hot, hot, hot hot! Let ‘em fly!

  56. George,
    You are correct that this team could compete for a championship.

    That said, you CANNOT say, “…the money will take care of itself..”.

    The money will NOT take care of itself – for either ourselves or for Boston. The next 2-3 years are going to be very, very expensive for Boston and the team will likely lose money. The fans may not care, but the ownership is going to have to make some very difficult decisions.

    The Lakers have a larger pot than the Celtics, but not that much larger. If we do this deal we will be very strapped for the next two year, with no way to relieve ourselves. We fans may be too excited about the possibility of winning a championship, but the Buss family will be looking under every rock for some extra $. Do not expect to sign Lamar after his contract is up, if he doesn’t agree to a pay cut. If he can get his money from some other club we may not have any choice. We can only hope others will not be willing to pay $15M+ for a very talented #3 player on their team.

    All that said, this may very well be the best thing we can do. Just don’t come back in 2 years and say the FO is stupid and why didn’t the Buss family plan better.

  57. The most exciting part of this, to me, is Jermaine’s line: “I want to make it clear that I don’t want to gut a team that I come to because then it’ll be like I’m in Indiana all over again.”

    I think between his quotes and Bird’s they’ve passed the point of no return where it’s clear he’s being moved. Now the only question is to where, and at what cost. I agree with George that we have a big leg up on New Jersey when factoring in conference alignment and JO’s strong preference. That really only leaves the question of cost. And that kind of sentiment about “gutting” (that as Jones points out, will only be expressed more strongly by Arn behind closed doors) tells me the Lakers have a strong shot at coming out of this with LO in tact.

  58. I share Big Buy Kurt’s view on this one. We need JO to play alongside Kobe and LO. The pieces of my mind are here:

    http://lakers.topbuzz.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-4111.html#56194

    and this

    http://lakers.topbuzz.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-4108.html#56190

    I guess that was the greatest piece of news for LA in a long while. Its game time now.

  59. Amidst all this debacle, didn’t KG state he did not want to play for Boston? Why is he smiling through his ears now? It is largely because Ray Allen has been added to the crew.

    With the Laker’s situation, we must believe that “if we build it, they will come” thing. Next year, veterans who wish to play for a contender will be flocking at Staples calling Mitch by the minute. JO is the first step.

    As for Craig’s salary cap hell scenario, we can always find a better trading partner for Odom in the aftermath of the JO deal, if it needs be. Remember that a deal with Charlotte almost went through last month. We could still consider trading Odom for another cost-efficient 3rd-cog like Gerald Wallace.

  60. Though I like/dislike various aspects of the “LO, JO, Kobe superstar” scenarios, I’ve been continuing to monitor Pacer Forums to see if I can find something realistic.

    The ideas of a “Kwame a” type trade (that keeps Lamar a Laker) have two flaws. Craig W has done an excellent job of laying out the financial hazards on this blog. The other one is contractual/logistical:

    ” . . . .and the Pacers already have 12 fully guaranteed contracts and 1 partially guaranteed contract, and thus they can’t take back an 8 for 1 deal for Bynum, Evans, Cook, Vujacic, McKie, Farmar, Brown etc…. ”

    http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=700988&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=432

    That’s the core reason why the Kwame a type deals are dead before they are proposed–even if the Busses are prepared for luxury tax hell.

    Maybe you need another quote:

    “OK let me explain this in simple terms. We are not infatuated with Odom. Are you aware that you can’t trade Bynum+Critt for JO? . . . .

    See the problem with Bynum+Critt is you have to add filler. If you add Brown it is still short, we’d have to sign Mckee and he is worthless, or you add in 3 players from the end of your bench who we have no need of, or you add in Vlad who has negative value.

    If you do some reading on this board you will see that some of us are not sold on Bynum becoming a star or even any better than Stanley Roberts, Greg Ostertag or Benoit Benjamin.”

    I began to see from quotes like the above the dilemma that bedevils the Pacers. There is an out.

    In thinking through the options, I completely missed the most obvious and simple compromise–given the Lakers won’t allow a trade that includes Bynum AND Odom (even though I would):

    Kwame and Lamar–for Jermaine.

    It gives the Lakers Jermaine as well as a needed $2.5 mil reduction in salary. The Pacers get two solid players for now that become expiring contracts in successive years and fund rebuilding in two bite sized chunks. We keep Andrew–for now.

    That’s the deal they see as workable–and dreaded:

    “On the other hand, if we cave, I hope it’s for Bynum/Brown/Filler, and certainly not Odom/Brown.”

    (same link as above, p. 3)

  61. Not much talk about draft picks here. The Lakers need LO and JO if they want to contend right now. Otherwise, I’d say they’re better if with the current team (which was one of the better teams in the league prior to the injury mania). But JO means that they instantly contend. A swap puts them right back where they were, plus or minus (for the record, I’ll say minus).

    Ditto for Indy. Do they want to rebuild or want status quo? Swapping for LO get them a big contract and a commitment to build around him. He’s a fine player, and one of the most versatile in the league, but injury prone and not someone who wants to final shot–hence, not the player you build around any more than JO, and not cheaper. So why?

    The L’s are probably the deepest team in the league, meaning they can offer up an assortment of players and draft picks that best suits Indy. For them, the Kid is a no brainer due to upside potential, add Kwame for his contract and the fact that he can play enough so they can still compete a bit. Guard of choice, maybe contract of choice, and throw in some future picks. Indy gets a smorgasboard of rebuilding options and the Lake’s instantly contend. If they trade w/ the Nets they then have to compete against JO and there’s a new power in the east.

    What would you do?

  62. The financial and the guaranteed contracts force us to think about an Odom/Brown trade.

    I contend that is a sideways move for us and puts us no closer to championship contention.

    JO is as injury prone as LO. JO has not been able to ‘close out’ games any better than LO. JO has actually taken more banging-down-low than LO has. We have lost a down-low-banger and a talented wing for a quasi-banger-shooter. We no longer have a 3-headed monster, no expiring contracts, no tradeable assets.

    We are now screwed and near the luxury tax level.

  63. For the people who believe paying $79 million is outrageous or a problem if they got JO. Because of Brian Grant the Lakers have been paying around $77 million a year for the last few years. That isn’t Luxury tax induced either, if they didn’t use their amnesty on him they would have been paying above 90mil.

    These numbers aren’t exact because last time I looked them up was awhile ago, but I am confident they are close enough. If Buss had to pay 2 mil more a year to have JO on his team he would definitely do it.

  64. I’m sorry, I forgot we do have Bynum and he may take over the down-low banging in 2008-2009. He would be our 3rd head, but he must come through for us to do anything.

    Bynum is not a trade asset because his value-to-salary level is too high (we would have to package him with Vlade and even then he would not bring enough to justify).

    The Odom/Brown scenario means we must totally rely on Andrew really stepping it up this year. I really like him, but I don’t know if I would gamble it all on him in the 2007/8 season.

  65. Planing for going into luxury tax territory also means you have to plan how you are going to get out of that territory, as well. This is where ownership really starts to have problems.

    Contracts tend to escalate as years go by, putting you further and further in tax he$$. Salaries tend to go up at a higher rate than the luxury tax level during this time cycle. Once you accept being at the luxury tax level you get no relief from other clubs over the level (you become one of those clubs) and you will soon have to accept the loss of one of you really good players as a way to cut salaries. Lamar is the key guy for us because he is not only very good, but overpaid.

    After you have lost your very good player you are probably still above the salary cap level so you are still restricted in how you complete trades (see Kwame’s contract next year).

    The only way out is to finish out your existing contracts and let the players go and bring in minimum contract players or rookies. Any trades you do will bring back equally bad contracts.

    If we are not careful, in 2 years we will lose Lamar and start down this road. This is just when Kobe will be prepared to exit, stage right. That is when LAL become the next version of the Atlanta Hawks.

  66. I think what the tipping point will be one way or the other is the probability of a team taking back one of these three contracts from the Pacers: Jamal Tinsley, Mike Dunleavy, or Troy Murphy.

    If a team is willing to do that, then the Pacers will send JO away.

  67. (65)(66)(67) Craig,

    I’m not sure of the financial origins, but the Lakers appear to still be financially structured for 2 stars–with a temporary 3rd at best.

    I realized that when I combined the salaries of Lamar with Kwame–financial leftovers from the Shaq trade. That buys us the new O’Neil–who becomes the financial equivalent of Shaq–with about $2.5 mil to spare. With the cooperation of Jermaine and Kobe, the pay of the two superstars could be stabilized–or could even decline in later years–allowing reasonable role player salaries and the inevitable transition to happen gracefully.

    Add a 3rd star, and things start to destabilize. The team hollows out.

    The fantasy of JO, LO, and KB is a great dream. If there were some sort of “Celtic swap” to make it come true, the financial reality is a nightmare.

  68. I agree with drray the financial situation is bad with a JO, LO, KB trio. but I think that is the only way that the Lakers can contend within the next few years. Trading LO and Bynum for JO is a lateral move (its even worst if JO gets injured). It makes the Lakers financial situation even worst than it already is. That trade might make the Lakers slightly better defensively but it does not make the Lakers contenders.

    Its not my money so I can’t make the decision.

  69. drraye: The only dream, was the dream of jvn and gasol coming to the Lakers. Now that was a dream. Gasol never said ‘i want to take the lakers to an elite leve’, JO did. The Lakers aren’t moving fast because they have leverage, but don’t confuse that with the viability of this deal. Because a JO/KB/LO lineup has far greater potential for becoming reality than Gasol to the Lakers.

  70. ryan,

    I honestly think the LO and Bynum for JO package makes the Lakers better. Last year, Bynum should have been our third string center. This year, his production and affect on the game will more than likely not be any more than Mihm’s. Not taking into consideration salary cap, potential, etc. would you make a LO-Mihm for JO deal? Of course you would. I know it’s not as easy as that, and potential and futures, etc. have to be taken into consideration, but I think most people are underestimating the impact of this deal NOT going though, and what will be made of it in the media, and to a greater extent, the impact it will have on Kobe.

    I know it’s a bit dramatic, but I think if we fail to land JO, we should just kiss Kobe good bye.

    JO or rebuild, there really isn’t a middle ground in my opinion.

  71. kwame a,

    I completely disagree that the Lakers have leverage in this deal. Indiana will be a playoff team in the East if they keep JO and stay relatively healthy. They will be fringe playoff team, but in the post season nonetheless. By JO coming out with the comments he did, he’s basically saying that he, AND KOBE, have talked and would love to play together and think they can win championships. What’s the casual fan to think when Mitch doesn’t get it done? Front office doesn’t care about winning, just making money. Kobe was right, the front office sucks. I side with Kobe, I’d want to leave too! These will all come out, I guarantee it. And Kobe will be the dude wearing the white hat again.

    I say Lamar-Cook-Bynum-1st in 2008 for JO.

    We still have Kwame’s expiring to pick someone else up at the trade deadline.

  72. All this financial discussion points to the possibility the the FO chooses to ‘grow their own’ 3rd star player to fit with Kobe and Lamar. The logical possibilities are JC and AB, with Farmar and Turiaf as good support players. In this way the Lakers could maintain some financial stability and get stronger over the years.

    This may be why the Lakers finally learned to draft well, as opposed to becoming trade experts. I know, they should have been both, but if you had to pick one skill, I would say expert drafting would yield more stable returns.

    I realize I have really pi**ed off most of the bloggers, but it also may be the reason the FO seems unresponsive to all our screaming – other than that it is only August.

  73. Craig W,

    I believe that the way to build championships and long term success is the model the Bulls (and to a more drastic extent, the Celtics) use. That’s draft well, develop your young talent, and position yourself to cash in your chips for a proven All-Star when you’re ready to make the leap.

    This is the only reason that I wouldn’t be horribly depressed if the Lakers made a deal for Kobe. If we could stockpile young talent, draft picks, financial flexibility and most importantly, a definitive direction, I think we could be back contending sooner rather than later.

    The enigma that is Kobe Bryant has made it almost impossible for this front office to go one way or the other, with prolonged thoughts of the “what if’s” paralyzing any moves.

    I think it’s time for the front office to make a bold move one way or the other and stop sitting on the fence.

  74. drew boy-are you sure that indy is even one of the ten best teams in the east (remember, they added nothing to their team, won’t use the MLE and are young in key spots)

    1. Detroit
    2. Miami
    3. Cleveland
    4. Chicago
    5. Boston
    6. New Jersey (Kidd is coming off an amazing playoffs, they can keep or move RJ and have Kristic coming back, with Maglorie, a lock to make the playoffs)
    7. Toronto (they won their division, and are gonna have better chemistry, with Kapono, they’re a lock)
    8. Orlando (added Lewis, Howard imrpoving)
    9. New York (added Randolph, have drafted well, might surpise)
    10. Charlotte (added Richardson, Felton is improving)

    I find it hard to belive that Indy makes the playoffs.

  75. (71) Kwame a,

    Until reality sets in, Memphis sees themselves as “ready” and rebuilt–a contender for the 8 spot. A Gasol deal may have to wait until midseason–like last year. Financially, it may be our only hope to keep Lamar. I think he’d work out well with Pau and Kobe.

    For his health and for financial reasons, I’d like to see Jermaine in a lineup with Kwame rather than Lamar. That’s my sense of chemistry. Kwame can be himself on defense–and Jermaine will make it work.

    If Lamar continues to be himself, and Jermaine “makes it work,” Jermaine may get injured posting up. If the other two remain themselves, Kobe may do more driving to the basket–and get injured/beat up. If Jermaine remains Jermaine, and everyone else remains himself, we will have three players whose shot selections overlap–and limited inside presence–no “stopper” on defense. We could become “Celtics West”–hollowed out, missing key role players that we learned to love.

    Your idea of “Celtic-ating” the Lakers is obviously not my cup of tea.

  76. ha, your nicknames are ‘cute’ drrayeye. I dont want to “celtic-ate” the Lakers. Trading Bynum/Kwame/Cook/Sasha and Farmar still leaves these role players for the Lakers

    Walton
    Turiaf
    Vlad
    Evans
    Critt
    Fish
    Mihm

    That’s 7 solid role players to add to the ‘big 3′. A 10 player rotation is more than adequate to contend, and Boston wouldn’t come close to that type of supporting cast.

    Also, Gasol will never come midseason, nor will any other player, Phil NEVER trades during the season because of the triangle learning curve…so that’s a no go on Gasol (plus his team is far closer to contending long term than the Lakers, but thats another story in itself)

  77. (76) kwame a,

    I think Indiana battles for a 6-8 seed. I honestly think the only guarantees in the East are Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, and maybe Miami. After that I think it’s free game. There are so many question marks with the other teams that Indiana’s veterans, given an entire training camp together, could edge out some younger teams or team’s that are more than likely going to have a tough time finding chemistry (New York).

  78. I have to agree with Kwame a. Gasol will not be traded. Memphis is doing everything they can to make the team better. They h ave done everything that Gasol wanted. They were a 50+ win team just a year ago. I think they are much better if healthy this year. I think Gasol coming to the Lakers is wishful thinking at this point.

    What does NJ have to offer Indiana to get O’neil? Jefferson, Kristic, plus ???? Does anyone know what Indiana wants. And would you trade Jefferson and Kristic for O’neil? Does that trade really make NJ that much better? And does having Jefferson’s 4 yr contract at 12M + work for Indiana if they are rebuilding? I don’t think trading O’neil for Kristic and Jefferson makes Indiana a playoff team. For that matter neither does trading for Odom and Bynum. If you are trading your best player I think the best bet is to get young talent, draft picks and salary relief.

  79. I’ve been buried between work and arranging a miserable cross-country move, but this O’Neal story has forced me to jump into the discussion. Just a few thoughts on recent Laker news.

    1. Everyone seems to be at different levels of angst regarding the Kobe watch. Put me at the “scared” end. Reading the tea leaves, I honestly believe that unless something very, very significant happens to improve the team, he will force his way out. Kobe sees his window to establish a legacy slipping away on a young, mismanaged team and is determined to finish his prime on a true contending team. I originally thought that there was no way Kobe would miss training camp or sit out part of the year to force a trade — given his love for the game — but I think it is becoming clear he is not bluffing. His stance has not softened or changed. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced Kobe holds all the leverage. Even if Buss would rather die than move his cash cow for less than full value, he simply will lose in any face off with Kobe. If Kobe decides to hold out, the Lakers lose all negotiating leverage, incur a PR nightmare, and will eventually have to take pittance for their superstar. Kobe, on the other hand, has little to lose by holding out. Eventually, the Lakers will have to give in and he will be traded to a team that had to give up even less to acquire him, leaving more pieces to contend with. And, when he is dealt, he will be EMBRACED by his new fan base. The same way we would embrace O’Neal or Garnett or Kidd if they had forced their way here. The same way Iverson and Carter and Artest were embraced by their new teams after messy divorces. If Kobe missed 10 games and then ended up in Chicago, no one would hold it against him (but bitter Laker fans) when he suited up, led the new team to wins, and generated spiked tv ratings. When disgruntled superstars face off with their teams, they win. Every time. And Kobe has more cache than almost any other unhappy superstar in history. So, I think the Lakers are in an absolute bind. If they offer Bynum/Crittenton to bring in a star to placate Kobe, and then find out Kobe still wants out, they have ruined their future. If they cannot land sufficient immediate help, Kobe will force his way out. I am really nervous about this.

    2. If Kobe does unconditionally want out (none of us are sure what level of change would appease him), I do think the Lakers can still set themselves up for a bright future. While a few of his disclosed “preferred” destinations seem to lack viable trading pieces/contracts (NY and Phoenix), Dallas and Chicago do. Neither team has an attractive expiring contract, but I think it is quite likely either could ship out Jason Terry or Ben Wallace for a large expiring (someone like Jason Williams on Miami), and then reroute the contract plus Deng/Howard and other young players/future picks to LA. If the cards are played right, the Lakers could add a nice young star (Deng/Howard), other attractive young pieces, and have cap room next summer (plus Odom’s expiring deal). Maybe they don’t get quite that much, but I think there are decent deals to be made there (provided they get both quality youth and cap room). That said, I don’t want to go this route as Mitch tends to get absolutely de-pantsed in trades.

    3. When hypothesizing as to the “right price” for Oneal, we need to do so with Kobe’s status in mind. I tend to think that in a vacuum, giving Odom and Bynum is ridiculous, and giving Kwame/Bynum/Crittenton/filler is just a little too much. But, given the need to keep Kobe, I would now jumpt at the latter deal (but still refuse the former one). I think there is absolutely zero chance Indy makes the deal without Bynum, so Odom-based offers seem far-fetched. Our problem is that NJ is well-positioned to trump an Odom and Bynum-less offer. If they offer Jefferson, Krstic, and Marcus Williams, they give a young center and point guard, along with a Odom-level talent in Jefferson. This deal is a little odd for Indy, as Jefferson is fairly duplicative of Dunleavy/Granger and Krstic is up for a huge extension next summer, but it is still quite a block of talent. Hopefully NJ refuses to take that offer and/or Indy wants Oneal out west.

    4. On finances. I just finished The Show, which I know several of you have read. It leaves me with a mixed impression on Buss’s willingness to spend. He definitely is on the conservative end up the financial spectrum for owners — he repeatedly refused to take on high-priced third stars in the Kobe/Shaq era because he didn’t want additional payroll (even nixing an unbelievable Pippen for trash deal that West engineered, the same summer Pippen was moved to Portland). But, Buss also has been willing to open up the coffers and really aggressively spend at key moments (as with the Shaq signing, when he basically was willing to spend whatever it took). When considering/dreaming of a Kobe/Oneal/Odom trio, I really don’t know what Buss would do. On one hand, it would take the team into salary regions he has not previously wanted to navigate. But, this is one of those critical crossroads for the team when we could either lose Kobe or make the leap into true contention. There is so much at stake. Buss has come through in these critical moments in the past. From what I read in The Show, I tend to think he would dish out the cash to bring in Oneal and keep Odom, but I just can’t say for sure.

    5. Finally, some thoughts on Oneal’s actions yesterday. I know he retracted a little today and there are varying reports on what he actually said, but it strongly appears that he knew what he was doing. This was no accidental disclosure spun by the media. In fact, if ESPN is reporting his comments accurately, I think he went about as far in pressuring a trade to a specific team as I’ve ever seen a star go. He talked specifically about helping LA win championships; he went into great detail in defending Kobe; he talked about living in the city with his family; he talked about Bird not gutting the Lakers in a trade; etc., etc. When was the last time someone of his stature made such specific, detailed comments about playing on another team? This all seems very scripted. I think he is desperate to play here and he (with some guidance from his agent and possibly Kobe) is trying to make it happen.

    That’s all. Sorry for the typical lack of brevity.

  80. Our role players are not bad at all. The problem is that on this team, guys like Luke Walton aren’t allowed to just be role players. Luke has to be our third wheel, when really he should be no more than our 4th/5th wheel. Lamar is our 2nd wheel, yet he’s probably more comfortable being our 3rd wheel. Were missing someone to be the number two guy on this team. Add that without taking away Lamar or Luke and you have a very good team.

  81. ryan,

    I agree that if you’re trading your franchise guy, the norm of expirings, young prospects, draft picks is ideal, but the thing that is different with Indy is that they have three other contracts that take up a HUGE chunk of cap space in Murphy, Tinsley, and Dunleavy. Unless they can move one or more of those along with JO, expirings for JO doesn’t help much.

    That being said, my guess is they look for multiple players who can contribute for JO. Jefferson and Krstic are both upgrades at the 2 and 5 for them and for that reason it makes sense.

    I really don’t think Indiana is rebuilding as much as “restructuring”, and not because they want to, but because they have no other choice.

    As bad as we think things are with us, our third biggest contract expires this year, our second next, and then our worst is a MLE guy. If we were to rebuild, we could be in exceptional financial position after next year.

  82. 79- I defintley agree that they could challenge for a spot. Injuries could cripple other teams, and Indy could surprise, but you have to acknowledge that NJ and Toronto will make the playoffs. NJ has not missed the playoffs since Kidd arrived, and Toronto is the defending champs of their division. Also, Indy doesn’t have too many veterans worth salt. Tinsley is terrible, Dunleavy and Murphy are worthless. Granger is a nice piece, so is Diogu. Foster is a rebounder, but who is gonna make an outside shot?

  83. 81) EXACTLY!!!

    I’ve been saying for awhile that we have one of the best supporting casts in the league, it’s just that they’re all playing 1-2 spots higher in the rotation that they should be.

  84. Jones/Drew Boy- Yup, we are so deep. We’ve built the team backwards. Great role players 3-10, and a mega superstar. Just need that number 2 guy, preferably a low post threat both on offense and defense…aka Jermaine O’neal.

  85. The thing I like about the a JO/LO/KB combination is the versatility factor. Against a team like PHX, the Lakers can roll a front court of Walton, LO, and JO out there, be quick enough and versatille enough to defend PHX and yet still be big enough to pound them inside on the other side of the ball. JO is not only a good low post defender and shot blocker, but he’s also quick enough to step out and show and recover when defending the pick and roll.

  86. Kwame a,

    Don’t get me wrong, except for Jordan Farmar, I’d trade the same guys. The problem is, the Pacers don’t see it that way. I’ve read more than I’ve pasted, but it is very clear.

    If we want Jermaine, stick to the simple deals: either Odom + Bynum or Odom+Kwame.

    I’d do either one.

    I’d also be interested in seeing how we do if we don’t trade!

    I like Lamar-that’s one reason the Gasol possibility came to mind. The Grizz wouldn’t want him. If they trade Pau, they’re starting over and would take Kwame +. The Memphis Grizz might get realistice well before mid-season. If we stand pat, we can’t afford to ignore that source of hope.

  87. Larry Bird will not trade Jermaine O’Neal within his own conference to the Nets. New Jersey has no intention of parting with Jefferson, and Indiana would have no desire to extend Krstic’s contract after next season.

    LA has what Indiana wants, and it isn’t Odom’s gargantuan contract. If they agreed to a package for him, he would be their man to build around. It would make way more sense for Indiana to dump their roster, and retool around Jermaine, rather than Lamar. Furthermore, without Odom, the acquisition of O’Neal does nothing for Los Angeles. Putting our chips on Bynum to be consistently solid is a stretch.

    I wonder if Kwame slipped something into our water supply because otherwise I cannot imagine why we should fool ourselves into thinking we could dump him at the deadline. His expiring contract possesses way more value when lumped in a deal with other players. Is anyone really going to give us quality for Kwame and his expiration? No.

    However, when packaged with legit prospects like Bynum and Crittenton, Kwame seals the deal. This trade works both on the books and on paper:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=981~2748~1998~3197~2421~615&teams=11~11~11~11~11~13&te=&cash=

    Pacers will have a solid young core of Javaris, Granger, Bynum, and Diogu. Meanwhile, the Lakers are more than capable to be legitimately competitive, not only with a veteran core of Fisher, Kobe, Lamar, and O’Neal, but a sufficient bench to boot. Walton, Farmar, Turiaf, and Evans are all capable of putting their finger prints on the game. Hey, why not some threes from Vladimir as well? Sign Karl on the cheap, there is another heady shooter to spread our floor.

    It makes far too much sense to hang onto Odom, since teams would be forced to pick their poison. Double Kobe, or Jermaine, leaves Lamar and Derek with good space to play. Even Mihm could do some occasional damage from night to night. If Walton stays healthy, we have consistent offense off the bench. Farmar could also be an occasional offensive spark, along with Evans, and we all know our man Ronny Turiaf will bring it night in and night out.

    Bynum is the key to the package, Javaris is the bow on top, Kwame’s contract is the nice wrapping paper, while Vujacic and Cook provide the stuffing needed to get it done.

  88. Great Post Reed (#81) I have a good reply but at work so can;t write it all. I had posted most of it the other day. I think 20 days into the season we will know all. I will explain after work but great insight and logic. I liek the long post with evalutation with the brain not just the heart.

    KB

  89. (83) Drew Boy.

    I think Indiana is rebuilding. If they stay with the team they have now they have a small chance to sneak into the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed and lose in the first round. I think O’neil has gone as far as a player can go to demand a trade to a specific team without being fined by the NBA. It may have gone to far for Indy to keep him (maybe he will sit out; just kidding).

    I think Indiana is in as bad a situation as NY is. They have so many large contracts but they can not contend right away, nor can they rebuild. To put crudely, they are screwed. I don’t see any moves they can make to make them contenders and with O’neil’s salary they don’t have the money to extend the contracts of Granger and diogu. They can’t just let O’neil opt out and get nothing in return nor can they afford to keep him.

    I don’t think they have the money if they trade O’neil to NJ to extend Kristic, Granger, and Diogu after next season. Nor do I think NJ would offer Jefferson and Kristic for O’neil.

    I think Indiana is stuck, they have to make a move sooner or later. they may wait until after the season starts but they will have to do something.

  90. ryan,

    Great points about extending Granger and Diogu, I have to admit, I forgot to think about that.

  91. ryan,

    If the deal was Kwame and Odom, that would be $9 million saved this year and LO’s $14 million coupled with the $12 million in Daniels and Foster. That $26 million two years from now falls right in line with when Diogu and Granger get extended.

    I’m trying to convince myself that Indiana will go for a Lamar-Kwame-draft picks deal. I’m not quite there yet.

  92. Drew Boy- I just don’t see them going on Lamar. Lamar stated he wanted a 3 year extension if he’s traded to Indy. Indy wants to rebuild, Lamar is not the way to do it. The way to do it, the ONLY way to do it, is with Bynum and Critt or Farmar as the starting point. Young talent, picks and cap space. That is all you get for a disgruntled superstar.

  93. There is no way on God’s green earth that you trade Bynum AND Odom. Why do that? As others have said, it’s a lateral move at best. Walton is not a #3, nor is Fisher. Odom, at best is a 2A, and at the worst is a viable #3 option. If you make the trade revolve around Odom/Bynum, how much better are the Lakers? They lose an intricate part of their offense/defense in Odom and their young stud in Bynum, and they’d still have to probably throw in Farmer or Crittenton. Plus a pick. That’s nuts.

    Personally, I think Crittenton has the most potential on the Lakers and I’d rather trade Farmar, who doesn’t seem to be a good fit in the triangle and is undersized at that. Critt is 6-5 with shows and Phil loves his big PGs.

    As for Bynum, like Kobe said, ship him out. I probably would not have done the deal for Kidd at the deadline unless NJ threw in a draft pick or something. Bynum is our most valuable asset, but for JO, he goes. No questions asked. To me, LO is more valuable to the Lakers than Bynum is. Let me put it this way, I wouldn’t have traded Odom and Bynum for KG and he’s definitely better than JO. Again, a pretty lateral move. We’d be slightly better with KG, but how much if we had to give up Odom too? With JO, LO, and KB? Very very good.

    Now, I’d even welcome Murphy’s contract dump if it meant they took Vlade. Murph + JO for Bynum, Kwame, Vlad, picks, Farmar, and filler. Why not? You’d get a nice rebounder off the bench in Murphy who would be a perfect role player in the triangle. He wouldn’t play much but his deal is only for 4 years. If that sealed it, do it.

    As for Indiana, they get an expiring in Kwame, draft picks, Bynum, Farmar, and fill. Why wouldn’t they go for this? Who is trumping this offer? I’m sorry but even if Bird was inclined to deal with NJ, an offer of RJ and Kristic is not better than LA’s. If they do Kwame + Bynum + Farmer + picks + filler for JO, Indy has a solid core of Farmar, Bynum, Diogu, and Granger to build for the future with a few vets in Tinsley, Murphy, Foster, Daniels, and Dunleavy. That’s a pretty good start to rebuild. Add in that they could dump Dun or Murph with one or two of the draft picks from LA to get an expiring or a better 2 guard at the deadline.

  94. If Indiana has 13 signed contracts and they send 2 to us, how do they take back 5? They would have to buy out one contract and would add that cost into their trade calculation to see if it was good for them.

  95. kwame a,

    Indiana could just look at Lamar as a two year rental, ignoring the request for the extension.

    As for getting expirings, prospects and picks when dumping a disgruntled superstar, I agree, but the Lakers don’t have a very good package when it comes to that, especially considering it would take 5 or so guys to equal the salary if you don’t include Odom.

    Just like in the KG pursuit, we lack a package that is enticing to a team trying to rebuild.

  96. Craig W,

    Good point. I think all the comments ultimately lead us right to another Kobe meltdown and him being sent out. The only thing that I feel would change that is us getting extremely lucky in a deal.

    Since everyone knows we have no leverage due to Kobe, their going to try to screw us over, and more than likely we’ll have to take it if we want to keep Kobe.

    By the way, has anyone heard ANYTHING from Kobe that would lead you to believe that he has changed his mind at all about wanting to play somewhere else? Just curious.

  97. Drew Boy I think the Lakers do have a package that would be enticing to a team that is rebuilding. We have a couple of good young prospects (Bynum, Farmar, Critt), and expiring contracts (Brown, Sasha, Mckie (if he would agree to a sign and trade). The only thing the Lakerrs lack are high draft picks. The reason we didn’t have anything to offer Minesota was because to match salaries for Garnett Odom basically had to be included ( or some longer contract). That and they really wanted Al jefferson. But an O’neil deal could just be Bynum, Critt, Brown, Mckie (S&T for 3.5M or Sasha and Cook). McKie’s contract is only guaranteed for one year so they could just buy him out and let him retire; his salary would only count for 1 yr.

    Would Indiana ever take such a trade? I don’t know.

  98. ryan,

    I think Indy would only want that package for financial reasons. I don’t even think their fan base would be as excited as Minny’s with the Jefferson acquisition. Bynum is still such a HUGE question mark. If he was a little more of a “can’t miss” prospect, then I think this would be easier to do, but he’s not, therefore I wouldn’t count on Indy agreeing to anything less than a LO-Bynum package.

  99. drew boy- I have to agree with ryan (which i have been all day). I think we have some young exciting prospects. Bynum and Critt or Farmar is not a bad place to start. PG and C are the hardest positions to field, and we have the abilty to give Indy both, and picks, and cap space, and a guy like Cook or Mo to go along with that. Now I know that is a lot to give up, but it leaves us 7 quality role players to surrond Kobe, JO and Lamar with. Thats as good a situation as the Lakers will get for the next 4-5 years.

  100. With the KG deal the basic outlines of the trade were known fairly early and both sides could see some positives. That is not true with the LAL – Pacer negotiation. I hope that is because both organizations are keeping their mouths shut, but doubt it.

    LAL have some good pieces, but too many bodies. Indiana has supporting players who are a much bigger problem than their superstar.

    What this leads us to is a wait-and-see situation. I agree that we will know much more 1-2 months into the season. If we put aside our fan paranoia for a moment, we would see that waiting is much more likely to help the Lakers. The longer this goes on, the more pressure Larry Bird will come under to do something. He is actually in worse shape than we are in. The wait-and-see game could very possibly result in the Lakers deciding not to trade anyone. Our injured players come back as good as hoped and Farmar, Turiaf, and Bynum show more maturity than most of the bloggers currently give them credit for.

    Stop trying to tweak the trade to satisfy Larry Bird and simply remain open to any suggestions he has, but examine each one carefully. Actually, the FO may be doing just this and we wouldn’t know any better. Indiana has more decisions to make than we do. Our key is to make sure the communication line is always open.

  101. kwame a and ryan,

    I hope that Indy feels as highly about Bynum, Crittendon, and Farmar as you do, I’m just a tad skeptical.

    I also don’t understand how Indy takes back the 5 or so players it would take to make the deal work and not have to buy out a few guys.

    And lastly, they still have the three horrible contracts that keep them from fully rebuilding. If they lose JO for Bynum and Crittendon plus fillers, more than likely they are a bottom 5 team in the league that’s way over the cap.

    I know that the level of suckiness that is the Pacers salary situation shouldn’t downgrade our prsopects value, but I still think they would LOVE to include another crappy contract in the deal, with Murphy leading the pack.

    I’m just glad I’m not a Pacer fan, that situation doesn’t look very good.

  102. kwame a. and Ryan, I think you’re right that the Laker offer described is a pretty good one, and about as good an offer as Indy is likely to get. That said, it is not going to be an easy sell to Indy fans, Drew Boy is right about that. Bynum is not a sexy sell, and at PG you get the solid Farmar or take a gamble on Crit. Again, you’re trading away an All-Star, getting those guys back will lead to some serious bashing in the press.

  103. Also, making a JO for prospects, expirings, and picks doesn’t make enough of a dent in their payroll to have the effect you want in that kind of deal. The “untradeableness” of the other three contracts makes a JO deal the only way they could package one out. My guess is that Indy either totally tries to swindle a team for only JO, or relents a little if another team takes back another bad deal.

    For example, Lamar/Kwame/Vlad/Crittendon/1st rounder for JO and Murphy works. They only get Kwame off the books this year, but after next LO, Foster, and Daniels all come off the books and they’re just left with Vlad’s contract, which is a gem in comparison.

    In no way, shape, or form am I endorsing a deal that involves bringing back Murphy (especially with Kobe so up in the air), but my guess is that’s what Indy would want to do.

  104. @ Craig W: I’m all in favor of not rushing into a trade, but when the Lakers wait too long, like with Boozer and Baron Davis, they lose out. Someone either makes an offer, like Golden State did, or the team stands pat as Utah did. They didn’t want to trade Caron Butler for Boozer but they jumped at Kwame? What happens if JO then is traded elsewhere? Where do the Lakers go then? Every time a big name gets traded it just reinforces Kobe’s position and makes him madder. If they want to keep him, they can’t do that.

    As for the comment about not being able to trade 5 for 1 or 2 because Indy has too many contracts, I believe 3 are not guaranteed so problem solved there. And someone who has an expiring, like if McKie gets signed and traded here with one year guaranteed, they can just waive him. Same with Sasha.

    Now, as far as having to take Murphy back, I am not against that as long as LO is not going to Indy in the trade. Odom is terribly undervalued I think because teams don’t fully appreciate his versatility. The way he played last year with all those injuries at the end of the season made me an even firmer believer in not giving up Odom in any deal. He’s a warrior. That’s the kind of player you want around Kobe.

    Anyhow, as I said before, JO/ Murphy for Kwame/Bynum/Vlad/Farmar/McKie (re-sign one year guaranteed)/Sasha, 3 mill in cash, and 2 first round picks works for cap purposes. Sasha and McKie could be waved right away, Kwame comes off at the end of the year, and you lose Murphy’s 9 mill per. So, in essence, they’d save 21 mill by the end of the season (they save 6 mill right away cuz they’d be sending 6 mill more in salaries, 9 for Kwame, 5 for McKie/Sasha). Plus, they’d get 3 mill in cash bringing the total to 24 mill at the end of this season. That’s a lot of space. They also save 20 for JO next year and Murphy 30 mill for the next 3 years. That will be more than enough to lock up Bynum and Farmer, and probably some of their upcoming FA’s. They’d save more when they cut non-guaranteed contracts to trim roster size. This deal works on so many levels for Indy it isn’t even funny. And they would have a couple draft picks to boot.

  105. Chise,
    Yeah, but does it work for us?

    We bring in 2, large, long contracts to a situation already at the luxury tax level.

    The deals for JO are not such an obvious benefit that I want to expand them just to make sure I get JO before someone else jumps for him. I still think Boston is going to have more problems than expected and that’s only for this year. Each year they are going to pay a higher price for this bit of ‘joy’.

  106. Craig,
    I agree that there are parts of this deal that are disconcerting, like the luxury tax, long term bad contracts (Murphy), but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

    Let’s say it goes down as I mentioned. The Lakers have to pay Murphy 30 mill or so after this year, JO and LO need extensions, and they pay the tax for awhile. Now, look at the pluses. You have a big 3 of JO/KB/LO, which is arguably the first or 2nd best big 3 in the league. Then you have, as someone mentioned, a lot of depth from 4-10 in Fisher, Crittenton, Mihm, Turiaf, Coby Karl, Luke, Evans, Cook, and the two draft picks who will play overseas. Plus, they’d have Murphy. That’s an awful lot of depth even with the 6 for 2 trade. Most of those guys don’t make much money, it eliminates the Bynum extension, Farmar’s as well, and these guys mostly have short contracts that allow the flexibility to sign minimum players/mid-level guys. Getting rid of the draft picks also alleviates the need to pay first round picks for a couple years.

    Now, with all these factors, don’t you think the 4-5 year window they’d easily have with this team is worth the luxury tax implications? I’m not saying go right out and offer to take Murphy, but if you get rid of a guy in Vlade who is horrible on defense and can’t even perform his one-trick pony anymore (the 3′s) and get Murphy who can space the floor with his J and rebounds quite well, a perfect triangle guy I’d argue, why not? If taking Murphy is the deal killer, wouldn’t you do it? I think it’s not a bad gamble.

  107. Drew Boy and Kurt. I agree. I don’t think that will be an easy sell. But i also think they are in a bad situation. They are not in a position to contend but because of bad contracts they are also not in a position to rebuild. What does taking Lamar give them? Are they going to resign him in two years? Is he basically an expiring contract? Will they try to use him in a sign and trade?

    I don’t see Indiana resigning or extending Odom’s contract at the same time that they have to extend Granger’s and Diogu’s. I also don’t understand Jefferson either. He has what 4 yrs 50M or more left on his conntract. Why do they want another SF when they have Granger? I think what Larry Bird really wants is someone to take one of their bad contracts (good luck with that). That is why he wanted LO, Bynum, Brown for JO and Murphy. But I think that all the pressure is on the Pacers. They can not just let JO opt out and get nothing in return. You can say that he’s not going turn down all that money, but I also don’t think Indy can afford to extend his contract.

    It may take a few months into the season, but I think eventually one side has to give in. And my bet would be on the Pacers (unless Kobe has another hissy fit).

  108. 1) We really no nothing about Vlade. He is more flexible than Cook and should be able to shoot – since his shooting hand is now well.
    2) Not having any picks for a couple of years really straps us to improve on the cheap – we are good at drafting at this time – and when our team gets old, it will probably all go at once.

    The only good thing is that we keep Crittenton. I would really try to avoid taking Murphy. Trade proponents always feel we have to act now and get it done. The idea is that we may lose out. Well, I don’t mind losing out and going into the season with the team we have. That gives me a very big advantage when dealing with Indiana. If I have a deal that would fit them better than others and I am in no hurry, I am less likely to either 1) overpay or 2) take more back than I need to. There are not that many teams that can trade for JO at all – he wants to go to a viable contender, after all, and not a stripped club.

    I just am not in the hurry that you’all seem to be.

  109. I’m just saying that if Murphy is what it takes, then by all means, go for it. I don’t think they can let that get in the way of the deal. Again though, this is contingent on the fact that Odom is not part of the deal.

    That said, I’m fine with keeping Vlade and just removing him and Murphy from the trade. And the draft picks, if the Lakers do this deal, they have 11 or 12 guys who can play with 6 or 7 of them having reasonably cheap contracts. Add in Gasol and Sun who will play overseas and ask yourself this: do the Lakers really need those two first rounders that we’d likely have to give up in this deal? I’d think not.

    Also, going into the season as presently constituted is sure to infuriate Kobe. He’s image conscious sure, but he’s also stubborn. I can see him holding out or just causing a big distraction while playing. They need to head that off before camp and get JO in here. I’m not saying they need to get suckered into a bad deal, but Kupchak needs to rediscover his set and make something happen here. LIke they said on ESPN, when you have a star player openly saying he’d welcome a trade to a team, that team embraces it, and the stars team wouldn’t mind moving him, these things get done. They need to do it smart though and not get suckered into giving up Odom.

  110. 1) I think Sun and Gasol are really flyers that may pan out, not people who we should plan on replacing 1st round picks the next two years. Talk to me about them again in Feb 08, after they play some more.
    2) Kobe, Kobe, Kobe – forget Kobe! We make our plans to best our club going forward. The most likely result of our jumping up and down to appease Kobe would be a lateral move at best. This would result in our getting swatted out of the WCF this year and then the downhill slide would begin. NO NO NO!

  111. I honestly think the Kobe issue is going to remain huge and nothing is going to change his mind. I don’t know if he’ll sit out or come to camp and raise hell, but he’s going to be an issue all season one way or another.

    For that reason alone, I don’t do any trade that brings Murphy back. That contract would kill this franchise for years, even more so than Brian Grant.

    I’m fine with trading for JO for the simple fact that if Kobe did freak out and want to leave we’d still have an All-Star big man with only two years left on his deal.

    I don’t know if anyone heard Bucher’s latest but he said that Kobe hasn’t changed his mind and even if JO came to LA he still wants out.

    Now, whether you like Bucher or not, you have to believe that if he was making all these bold statements and they were different from how Kobe felt, we’d hear something from Kobe or his agent denying them. The last thing we heard Kobe say is that he wants to be traded. At Team USA practice he had every chance in the world to take that statement back and didn’t.

    Unless a deal comes up that seems to good to be true, I say we start thinking of possible Kobe trades.

  112. Bucher is paid to attract attention, not to be correct.

    I am not saying he doesn’t represent a part of Kobe’s stratagy, but Kobe runs his own game. So far I think things have ‘snapped back’ on him more than he had hopped and, after talking to the FO, he is going to lay low until at least after USA b’ball. Anyway, he is on Jimmy Kimmel tonite and if he sounds off you will be right.

    Look, Kobe trades will result in the same thing the Shaq trade did, a big junk contract coming back. The only recent trade that didn’t result in a long, junk contract was the KG trade – Ratliff for a year only. That was one of the reasons McHale did that trade – he wouldn’t be saddled with a Brian Grant contract. We are actually better of if Kobe just walks, than if we get a Murphy-type contract back that keeps us inflexible for the next 3-5yrs. That’s why I say to ignore Kobe and move forward with improving our team – it is the most prudent course – even for keeping Kobe.

  113. I can’t see Kobe leaving if the Lakers land JO and are able to keep Odom. He’d be nuts to think any team he could go to would be better than the tandem of JO/LO and Kobe. Bucher is blowing smoke as that’s all he’s good for. Kobe is playing him just like he’s playing the FO. And even if he did want to leave then, I wouldn’t trade him and he wouldn’t sit out cuz he’d have nothing to complain about. He’d play, they’d win a lot, and he’d shut up.

    @Craig: Of course it’s just not about Kobe, but he is the franchise right now, like it or not. Making the team better and appeasing Kobe go hand in hand. They will not be a top 5 team as presently constituted unless a lot of big “if’s” come to fruition. Do you really want to bank on Kwame, Bynum, and Farmar/Critt or JO and whichever PG is left? If it means Murphy, who cares? With all the depth the Lakers have and would still have, they won’t need big changes anytime soon.

  114. Craig W,

    I agree that Bucher is paid to bring in attention, but not hearing any retractions from Kobe, knowing that it would help the Lakers in trade negotiations, speaks volumes to me.

    As “reed” mentioned before, why not get a third team involved. HE mentioned Dallas and Miami. Howard, Harris, Diop, J-williams to LA-Kobe to Dallas-Jason Terry to Miami. Jason Williams and Diop would be solid role guys who both expire this year (about $12 million), Howard is a young all-star and Devin Harris is a top PG prospect. I’m sure we could get a draft pick or two in the deal as well.

    With this we are young and talented at the 1,3, and 5 and have over $20 million coming off the books at the end of the year. I would even say that we could win as many games as we have the past three seasons with Kobe leading us.

    I’m not in the camp of those who think that trading Kobe is the end of the world.

  115. It’s not the end of the world, but can you see Kobe waiving his no-trade clause to goto a Dallas team that is basically Dirk, Dampier, and Stackhouse? Losing Diop, Terry, Howard, and Daniels would make that Dallas team pretty thin and really, would it be that much better for him than the current Lakers situation? I’d argue no.

    If we trade Kobe, there really isn’t a good deal that can be had that placates both the Lakers and Kobe at the same time. A trade to Boston was probably the best way to get that done where the Lakers would have taken back pretty much what the Wolves got for KG. That would have left Boston with Allen, KB, and Pierce and little else so I’m not sure how that would work for Kobe either.

    This Bulls deal everyone talks about, looks terrible to me. Nocioni, Deng, and Gordon basically for Kobe? I’m not sold on Deng being a worth centerpiece to this deal and that trade would leave Kobe in Chicago with not much around him besides Heinrich and Ben Wallace. There are really no good options in trading Kobe that would do good for both sides. Chicago lacks the capspace freeing contracts and high draft picks that would make that deal attractive. Plus LA would have to take Nocioni who is totally unnecessary.

  116. Chise,

    I agree that there are very few deals, if any, that both the Lakers, Kobe, and Kobe’s new team are going to love, but a lot depends on how eager Kobe is to get out of LA and if the reasons are more to be an instant contender or because he’s “lost trust in the front office” for those “insider” issues. If it’s on a personal relationship level, I think Kobe would be more open to more teams as destinations. If it’s strictly to go to a team that would be instant contenders, well, he’s got another thing coming for the reasons you stated.

    I don’t think Kobe would mind going to Dallas in that deal. Sure they’d be thin immediately, but he’s got to believe in Cuban and his ability to get players in there.

    But I’m also STRONGLY AGAINST taking back anything other than an expiring deal. That’s why Chicago doesn’t look good to me. I like some of their youth like Deng, Thomas, and Noah to a lesser extent, but so help me god if Kupchak takes back Ben Wallace in a Kobe deal, I will go postal in El Segundo.

    Anyway, I believe that the Kobe issue will not go away all season and will have an increasingly negative effect UNLESS he makes a statement saying he’s here to stay and excited to play for a championship in LA. Until then, I believe the Kobe-Lakers relationship is coming to an end sooner rather than later.

  117. 1) It is interesting that the people who get all excited about the current Kobe-gate follow his complaints exactly, but seem to slide over what his demands mean for the team he would go to.

    2) The people who do not get excited about Kobe-gate concentrate on how his demands defeat his stated purpose of going to a winner and slide over what he has done to the front office.

    I admit I am in the 2nd camp. However, perhaps we should all take a breath and admit that he was somewhat serious, did damage to the FO and trade possibilities, may have been simply trying to get the FO to move off dead center.

    Maybe everything has a bad smell to it, but isn’t as bad as the doomsayers are saying.

    In any case, the FO must plan for Kobe both going and staying. I say this means we do the best for the LAL and let Kobe make his decision in 2 years. Any earlier and he loses tons and tons of money.

  118. Craig W – you need a girlfriend !!!

  119. Haven’t you said that once before??