Patience, Grasshopper, Patience

Kurt —  September 4, 2007

I don’t normally talk much about the space-filling “Off season report cards” that tend to come out during this dry time of year for NBA news. However, I think Sport Illustrated’s Marty Burns’ thoughts on the Lakers were a good jumping off point to talking about the overarching theme of the off-season.

Grade: D

When your superstar player rips the organization and demands a trade, it’s not a good off-season. Only Fisher falling into their lap has kept it from being a total disaster.

It’s a valid point, and one we’re all going to hear a lot of. Basically, Kobe went off and the Lakers need to make a BIG move to appease him, either making Kobe happy enough to say or trading him away.

But that’s why (if forced) I’d give the Lakers a B- for the summer. Not for what they did, but for what they avoided.

Plenty of franchises would have panicked once Kobe took to venting his frustration on the airwaves. Within a couple weeks, while their bargaining position was at its nadir, they would have made a trade just to make a trade. Maybe they trade away the farm (for example, both Bynum and Odom) to get Jermaine O’Neal, giving the Lakers two good players but nobody around them and about the same record they had last year. Or, they could have panicked and traded away Kobe and not gotten nearly enough in return. Then they could have had the fun of selling a rebuild to Lakers fans.

Instead, the Lakers stood pat, eventually (and after too long, frankly) sat down with Kobe and didn’t make a trade they would regret in a year or two. Sometimes, standing pat is the best move.

The Lakers did make a few nice little moves this summer that gives them some solid role players — resigning Luke Walton, bringing back Derek Fisher, signing Chris Mihm, and drafting Jaravis Crittenton. All that adds nice depth.

But no, the Lakers didn’t make a big splashy move. Yes, they should look for one, but not at any cost. They were smart to wait until a better offer came along. That’s a successful off-season to me.