Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  August 7, 2007

Thoughts while waiting for the next episode of Mad Men on AMC…..

• Jermaine O’Neal wants to be a Laker. And we want him. So, what’s the hold up?

Well, a lot of things. The same things that have been holding it up all summer. And while O’Neal may have gone public with a non-demand statement, this deal is apparently no closer to getting done than it was a month ago. I’m not a fan of discussing trade scenarios in main blog posts, but the level of news here warrants a breakdown (even if this all seems a little redundant after the comments on yesterday’s post, which broke it down so well). Bottom line, this is not a pretty picture for the Lakers.

At the top of the list of hurdles apparently are the trade demands coming from Indiana (or, not willing to be given up by the Lakers, depending on what trade scenario you want to believe). I’ve said before and I think most Laker fans agree — trading both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for JO is a lateral move for the Lakers. To seriously contend fast, per Kobe’s diatribe demands, the Lakers need JO, LO and Kobe.

But centering a package around Bynum, Farmar or Crittenton, Kwame Brown as salary filler and some other pieces (likely sign-and-trade McKie) is filled with flaws as well. Starting with, would Indiana really want that? Could they sell that as a good deal to their fans as the start of a serious rebuilding? We may like to think so from our end, but it’s a hard sell — you are trading an All-Star in his prime for two guys who likely will develop into solid NBA starters/role players in Bynum and Farmar, plus some salary cap relief. Then there is the roster problems for Indy — Hoopshype says they have 15 guys under contract, although other bloggers for that team say only 12 are guaranteed. Still, they can’t take on more than a few guaranteed deals back, and to make the salaries work the Lakers have to send a lot bodies east.

Or, there is the scenario where the Lakers send LO east, somehow convince Larry the Legend not to take Bynum, then all Laker fans go to church and light a candle for Bynum to take a big step forward and be the third offensive cog in the triangle every night. Are you really comfortable with that?

Then, as commenter Mike in the Mountain West pointed out, any trade for JO would mean the Buss family is paying a lot of luxury tax the next couple of years. Eric Pincus breaks down the numbers. We fans tend to scoff at this issue, thinking the Buss family is made of money and not running a business. But they are running a business, it’s not our money and we are spending a lot of it over the luxury tax. That — plus how to get out of the tax down the line — has to be serious considerations for ownership.

There are a lot of hurdles. I still want to see it happen, but there are a lot of hurdles.

• I think the guy at Indy Cornrows said it best about JO’s original comments — he was trying to be everything to everybody, not ticking off the fans in Indiana while stoking the trade fire. That’s a hard line to walk.

• Great stuff from friend-of-the-site Tom Ziller over at Ballhype using graphs to map out the NBA — showing who is fun to watch and who is a little dull. Amazingly well done and researched piece. For those Laker focused, well, much like their record, the Lakers often fell into no-mans land on the charts.

• Long story, but the bottom line is I got to go last weekend for a $175-a-plate fundraising event for a summer arts camp for youth last weekend (my employer picked up the tab). As my wife and I are walking by a silent auction table with very nice items way outside my price range, I see two Clippers tickets that nobody has bid on. They were for a preseason game against the Kings at Staples. So, I bid $20. And that was enough to win.

I’m not sure which is worse — that the best the Clippers could come up to donate to charity is two above-the-luxury boxes tickets to a preseason game, or that $20 was enough to win them. Either way, I get to watch me some Spencer Hawes. Now that is exciting.

UPDATE: One other link worth checking out, especially if you read the odd “Baron Davis should play in LA because h’s from here” column in the LA Times the other day. A Bay Area writer (who used to write in LA) takes that column to task. It makes me miss the old “Fire Jim Tracy” blog which took on the Herculean task of trying to point out all of Bill Plaschke’s logic errors.