Shaking Out The West

Kurt —  September 17, 2007

I’m a little late to the Greg Oden “woe is us” party, but I genuinely feel bad for the guy. Really, is there any basketball fan that didn’t feel saddened by the news that Greg Oden will be out for next season? Even those who wrote hubris-filled “I told you so” columns felt bad. Anyone who loves basketball wanted to see what Oden — paired with so much great young talent around him — could do in Portland.

And we still will. I think the brilliant Shoals was the first to mention this (that I read), but here is a teenager whose game is more about defense, rebounding and back-to-the-basket scoring. Is it possible he’s never be quite as explosive as before the surgery? Yes. Would that dramatically curtail his game? Not so much. Plus, at his age he should bounce back well.

But all of that is two or three years away — what about this year? My first reaction is that without the defensive anchor in the middle Portland becomes a bit of a donut (insert Zach Randolph joke here), and while they will win more than 32 games, they are not quite a playoff threat.

So, where does that leave us in the West? Well, here’s a rough sketch, pre-traning camp breakdown.

The Big Three

San Antonio. They are the defending champions, they were second in defensive rating and fourth in offensive rating in the league — and they basically have the same squad back. So by default they are the favorites. My guess, losing Jackie Butler doesn’t hurt them much. (Yup, that’s a big statement, but I feel strongly about it.) Think about this: Next year they get better by adding Tiago Splitter to the mix. Ugh.

Dallas. Had the best record in the NBA last season, then got a bad playoff matchup and got tossed early. Yes, there is a blueprint on how to beat them, however not many teams have a Barron Davis to help do it. Dallas had the second best offensive rating in the league and a surprising fifth best defensive rating. They are still very good and still a contender.

Phoenix. I didn’t love their off-season. Yes, Grant Hill > Kurt Thomas, except when you’re trying to defend Dirk or Duncan. So maybe they are better in the regular season but take half a step back in the playoffs. Their defense got better but was still 13th in the league, and losing Thomas doesn’t help that. Bottom line: if Steve Nash’s back feels good come the playoffs, they still are contenders.

The Next Tier

Houston. If everything comes together for the Rockets, they can compete with the big three. But that means a healthy T-Mac and Yao for the majority of the season (and for the playoffs). I like the additions of Luis Scola and Steve Francis and how they fit in with the existing pieces. More importantly, the addition of Adelman on the bench helps this team win by opening up the offense. I think they will be in the mix with the big three, but until they prove it I keep them here.

Utah. This is a good physical team with a top point guard that didn’t do anything earth shattering in the off-season. That means they are still a good, physical team with a top point guard. Remember, this team was third in the NBA in offensive efficiency last year (trailing only Dallas and Phoenix) and their defense could get better if AK-47 shows up focused. The Jazz won 51 games last year and they are going to win a lot of games this year too.

Teams With No Margin For Error

These teams will likely make the playoffs, but it doesn’t take much (injuries, chemistry issues) to knock them out of the running.

Denver. Bringing in Chucky Atkins gives them a good outside shooter to complement the slashing of Iverson and the inside/outside game of Carmello. But with Iverson/Melo/Atkins on the floor, who is playing defense? Marcus Camby is just one man. They were ninth in the NBA in defensive efficiency last year, but can they maintain that level? I think not, but if they can they are a force.

Lakers. This could be a good team — if they play defense much better than last year, if they can stay healthy along the front line, if the Farmar/Fisher/Crittenton combo can be a good point guard situation, if they execute the offense and don’t try to go one-on-one too much. That’s a lot of ifs. Just like last year, a potentially good team but can they maintain that level of play for a season?

One Playoff Spots, Six Teams

I think any of these teams could get the final playoff spot (or slip past one of the two above if they falter). I’ve put them in my early order of likelihood, but all of these teams could be better or worse than suggested here — these teams will likely all be fighting it out for a trip to the post season.

New Orleans. Despite Chris Paul running the show this was a horrible offense last year, 23rd in the NBA. This year they get Peja back from injury and add Mo Pete to shoot from the outside. They get better, but imagine if Tyson Chandler could score….

Golden State. Last season’s playoff run (and the last month of the season) was magical and so much fun to watch. It was also a fluke — it happened because Baron Davis and Jason Richardson were healthy at the same time (and they got the perfect playoff matchup). Now Richardson is gone and Marco Belinelli may be good but he can’t make up for the losses. I think they take a step back, but I’ll still love to watch them play.

Sacramento. They add Mikki Moore to bring some youth and athleticism to an older front line, they bring in a new coach, and they still have Mike Bibby and Speedracer. They could be better than last year, I think they will be, but good enough to make the playoffs?

Memphis. Mike Conley runs the show and the combo of Gasol and Darko Milicic could bring some scoring to the front line. I think Rudy Gay will thrive in the more open offensive system of Marc Iavaroni. While everyone talks about Portland and Seattle as teams of the future, Memphis could be quite good in a couple years. But probably not playoff good this year.

Clippers. They still don’t have a great point guard, and now whoever does handle the ball can’t just toss it in to Elton Brand. This could be a tough season for the Clippers, but they do have some good, professional players still on the squad and they won’t roll over.

to Shaking Out The West

  1. thanks for the break down Hurt, always informative. trainning camp just 2 weeks away, cannot wait til the this thing unfold – just so tired of all the trade talk and speculation really.

    i actually like our chance guys, if we can keep the CORE of LO, Kobe, Luke and Kwame intact and healthy. Kwame is actually important to this whole thing (i m in awe myself for saying that!!), though his body and his positional D do secure our last line of D. Young guns of Farmar/JCritt/Turiaf/Bynum also seem promising, if they continue to grow at a good pace, watch out come playoff time.

    Trainning camp will also be interesting this year, with the C position is Kwame to protect, we will have a better understanding of what we ACTUALLY HAVE during and after the camp… cannot wait…

    i did said the same thing about injuries around this time LAST YEAR, and 3 of the 4 miss major time, so i m keeping my finger cross this year…


  2. Nice post Kurt, I have one point of contention: Houston. I like that team on paper, but they have lots of question marks. First, I think they made a bad move firing Van Gundy, that team defended hard last season, and Adelman will not focus on D like Van Gundy did. Second, their Big 2, McGrady and Yao, have never won a playoff series in a combined 15 seasons. I think the lakers can be better than them and Denver, maybe Utah.


  3. For a nice story on the Griz take a look at this blogger link. The GM actually met with a group of bloggers…

    NIce to know the Griz people feel some of the same feelings we do.


  4. Here is another interesting link concerning teams that, seemingly, didn’t do much this summer – and why…

    How this relates to the Lakers is that there are serious financial repercussions for clubs that make ‘win now or bust’ types of moves. Boston avoided this by trading off all their young talent. I would cringe if the Lakers had done the same thing, but having good rookie contracts also means you will – hopefully – have to pony up a lot of money in the near future. This is a part of everyday life that us bloggers don’t pay too much attention to.

    Walker’s contract may be the one that handcuffs Miami for the next two years. Think about that all you fans that want to trade for a 30+ vet (I am not talking about JO here).


  5. 2. kwame a., hope Beantown is treating you well.

    Everyone says Adelman isn’t a good defensive coach, but in his six years in Portland they finished in the top three defensively four times, then in Sactown they were in the top 13 five of eight years and in the top 10 three times. Yes, there are some clunkers thrown in, but on the whole he’s not a bad defensive coach, not Van Gundy but not bad, With Yao in the paint and Battier they will still defend. And the offense gets better.

    That said, I’m still not totally sold on them yet.


  6. The Rockets are certainly going to be interesting to track this year… They might be the most difficult to forecast of all. If all goes right, they are a legit championship-level team, and I tend to think they will be. But T-Mac/Yao have injury/failure issues in the past and Francis/Scola are question marks, though ones with a lot of potential.


  7. 3. I just read that link, and that is amazing. A GM sat down with a blogger? Can you imagine Mitch doing that?


  8. Kurt,
    You have to remember – Memphis is NOT Los Angeles. But, no I cannot imagine Mitch meeting with any group of bloggers.


  9. Nice Post Kurt – and I love the fact that I could stir up more controversy on these things you wrote. Anyways, here is my take on your topic:

    Top Tier : SA, Phoenix, Dallas
    2nd Tier (almost there): Houston, Utah
    3rd Tier (treading on thin ice): LA Lakers, Denver
    All for one for the 8th: NOH, GSW, Sacto, Memphis (or so they think).

    Clearly rebuilding: Minny, Portland, Seattle

    Lost in Space and loaded with a series of unfortunate events, much like the Lakers in 06 – LA Clippers.

    In all these, I have a BOLD PREDICTION to make:

    Either Dallas or Houston, more probably Houston, will not meet the standard of ranking they are assigned to right now. Dallas has been very consistent over the last 2 years but the probability of an implosion is VERY POSSIBLE.

    Ok, its me again. Mr. Controversy. But I hope you recognize that I called it first.

    Houston could very well slip to 3rd tier (30% probability) or become a very surprising Top Tier team (20% prob) and the rest, is they stay as predicted (50%) – a team almost there that doesn’t seem to get the brakes.

    LA Lakers meanwhile will surprise more people than expected. They too, have the volatility and potential like Houston. The sad thing is, just like Kurt said, LA has a VERY LITTLE or NONE AT ALL margin of error.


  10. the other Stephen September 17, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    defensively, portland is not much worse off without randolph and you know it. the problem is on the offensive end. maagloire isn’t going back, and the only other big bodies are two increasingly ineffective vanilla gorillas, so the question is whether frye can step it up and what mcroberts brings to the table. is there a possbility that frye starts at PF and aldridge gets moved to C like last year? we had a short glimpse of greatness when they paired him with randolph in the frontcourt.

    it’s not often that you get to see so much real young talent gathered in one place, but if it’s true (at least historically) that championship contenders must be composed of a core of superstar(s) and veteran role players, and portland decides to structure itself in that fashion, then it will be hard for me to see this team broken apart. i hope oden turns out to be a star…


  11. I’d get rid of the “Teams With No Margin For Error” category. Bump Denver up to “Next Tier” and the Lakers down to “Two Playoff Spots, Seven Teams”. I’d probably separate the Lakers, Warriors and Hornets as well, as those other teams would have to come out of nowhere to compete for a playoff spot.


  12. Love the breakdown, especially because I am a Utah fan. We drafted well with Almond and Fazenko. It is great that you can step back from your beloved Blue and Gold and spell things out like they are.

    Playing Basketball in the day or night?


  13. Mikki Moore is in his 30’s.


  14. 10. Brian, I struggled with both the Lakers and Denver, because I think they both could be really good or much worse than we think. So, I gave them their own category. But you suggestion may work just as well.

    12. Youth maybe wasn’t a good choice of words. But Moore is certainly more athletic than Brad Miller. Of course, I’m more athletic than Brad Miller and I sit at a desk most of the day.


  15. 11- You’ll come to find that Kurt is the embodiment of ‘objective’, and in the blogesphere that only becomes clearer. A

    As for your Jazz, I wouldn’t be so sure they are any better off than last year. They were 4th last year, and lets not forget that Dallas would’ve handled the Jazz in the 2nd round. Luckily matchups dictated your path to the conference finals, but can you be so sure that Boozer and Okur stay healthy for a season, AK 47 doesn’t blow his top if he’s the 3rd option, and Derron Williams doesn’t tire without D-Fish to spell him. Add it up and they may equal their win total, but not go deeper in the playoffs next season.


  16. Great breakdown, except for one thing … the Clips have absolutely no shot to even come close to the playoffs with Elton Brand out for the majority of the season. So they should be left off the list just as you left off Seattle and Portland. (Now if we could get a time machine and bring back the 2003 Sam Cassell, they’d probably still have a little bit of a chance without Elton Brand)


  17. Kwame is an idiot. “Deron”. It’s got to be tough to be a Laker fan. Good analysis Hurt.


  18. The best of the worst:
    Minnesota – no chance to make any noise. #1 pick in next year’s draft. Without any competition for the top spot. If I’m them, I take Michael Beasley over Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo. They have enough PGs on the team.
    Portland – I feel so bad for them. That said, second worst record in the west.
    Seattle – I put them in the hunt for the playoffs, ahead of the Clippers.

    I give the 8th seed nod to NO, as well, since they’re going to have all their pieces healthy (knock on wood), staying ahead of GS and Seattle for the 8 seed, as Sacramento falls by the wayside at the end of the season.
    GS has a weak schedule the last month of the season.
    NO has an average difficulty for their last month
    SEA has a BRUTAL schedule the final month of the season.

    The Lakers? During their playoff push, they run into Portland twice, Sacramento twice, and the Clippers (all good). They run into San Antonio the second to last game of the year, when Duncan and company could have already shut it down (also good). The tough ones will be Dallas and NO (and figure they lose one of the Sacramento games). Not bad for securing the 7th seed.


  19. One thing to consider with regards to Golden State is that they don’t have to play any games this year with Mike Dunleavy or Troy Murphy. Having Jackson and Harrington for a full year will hopefully off set the 20 points and almost 7 rebounds a game that Richardson would bring when healthy. I think they are a better team than the Lakers. However, they cannot lose all 4 games to LA or else, they will finish the season below them in the standings again.


  20. I agree with 19/Gabe. Richardson was the 5th leading scorer for Golden State, and he shot poorly, percentage-wise. Pietrus, Barnes and the Italian can easily replace his production and probably provide better defense. GSW upgraded.


  21. 19/20. You guys may well be right (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’m wrong). My other concern would be you still need a healthy Baron Davis as the straw to stir the drink, and I’d hate to bet on that. At best I’d move them up to the “no margin for error” level. But we shall see.


  22. it’s a kind of sad state of affirs these days for us “spoiled” Laker fans.
    man I miss the Magic/worthy/kareem/chicky baby years.
    back in those days, we’d expect to finish first in the west, and be in the finals.
    back in those days, a loss was so rare that it hurt for days, remember picking up the Tiimes every morning to read what Larry’s team did? or Isiah’s? we had to keep pace, and the losses were usually between 13 to 16 for the year.
    now, we are saying we should have a solid chance at 7th seed.
    I know, every team has to rebuild, players age, but the Lakers have had such a winning tradition all these years, well, that is why we are such loyal fans.
    of course, i’m hoping we can come together as a team this year, all it takes is one guy playing above his head, leading and inspiring others to follow suit, maybe derek is that player, followed by Ronnie for the hustle, and that gets guys like Kwame and Andrew to get out there and FRIGGIN HUSTLE!
    no team wins if they don’t get out there and scrap, dive for loose balls, all that stuff is what it takes. we have the “elite” player, or 2, and they should be able to deliver what we expect…it’s that “unexpected” player who will take our team to the next level.
    I hope one of them comes through.


  23. memphis, is not that far removed, of course, from being a playoff team, and the significant steps they’ve taken to improve this offseason might be enough. perhaps them or the hornets as number 8. the bubble teams of the west have improved, and i expect the lakers to not return as a playoff team in the next year, but one can count on all other teams making a return in more or less the same rankings.


  24. 22. Hopefully the Lakers can sign Jimmy Chitwood for the league minimum. If he can’t motivate Brown and Bynum, then no one can.


  25. Kurt,
    Given the rosters as is and everybody healthy,I’d say you were pretty on the mark,except I doubt that Sacremento and the Clippers will contend for a Play-Off spot.(BTW,1 spot,6 teams and I only counted 5 listed? Trying to see if we’re paying attention?)
    Houston’s problems last yr were rebounding,toughness and bench scoring. Scola and James semm to address those problems. Still hating the Francis signing.Would much rather have seen Rockets sign Eddie Jones instead of Francis.
    GS made Play-Offs last yr because Clippers collapsed. I don’t see trading away their heart and soul makes them better. Their fortunes depend on when and how long Davis is hurt.
    Utah will be better this yr because of experience gained and because Williams just spent the summer getting a post-graduate degree in PG play from Jason Kidd.
    A dark horse I like is Minnesota. Teams that take them for granted or are tired may be in for some tough times.


  26. Maybe it’s shell shock from years of being toyed with by their team, but no Warriors fans I told about Kurt’s prediction flinched. Esp after hearing the rationale. They are not stoked enough about Bellinelli to not still be pissed about the JRich move (or the squabbling with Nellie over money).

    This may be oversimplified, but I’m looking for a Laker team that upsets some teams above them (as they have in past seasons) and more importantly one that takes care of their home court and beats the teams that they are supposed with consistency on the road…


  27. I would really question whether the Lakers are even competitive for a playoff spot, much less “no room for error.” As great as Kobe is, he’s just one guy. And his well-publicized criticism of Bynum (he’s no Jason Kidd) has got to have crushed the young guy’s confidence. Kwame is terrible, and Chris Mihm, if he recovers fully from his injury is average. Lamar Odom seems like he’s walking on eggshells whenever he and Kobe are on the court at the same time.

    They’re just isn’t enough firepower on the team to get the 7th seed, or even the 8th seed. I like your 1-6 picks, would put pick GSW 7 and NO 8.


  28. the other Stephen September 17, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    27. your view of the Lakers aside, and not to mention your placement of Golden State, I think Peja is pretty questionable. i’m not doubting his skills, but he’s 30, and that’s a big surgery/break to be coming off of. he’s sure to continue to have leg problems. and while he could yet come up big, there definitely need to be additions to the backcourt besides Mo Pete (who is also 30) and Rasual Butler. i dunno.


  29. Oh by the way, I did respond already to the PER post re: JO=AB+LO…

    If we are to gauge the West’s 8th, I think at this point in time, NOH and GSW has the advantage. Memphis ONLY thinks they can grab that coveted 8th but I do think they will eventually lose steam mid season and finally deal Gasol – to the Bulls or to us. Its imperative that Bynum plays well until February so that Memphis can decide to jump in on him and Kwame’s expiring to go along with several fillers to make the trade work.


  30. the other Stephen September 17, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Warren, I think you’re one of the most consistently hopeful people on this site. If you’re right about Memphis, I’ll donate a hundred beers to the charity of your choice. And I look forward to seeing Bynum put in the hard work to trade himself. Hehe.


  31. I still hope for Bynum to put enough hard work in so that we don’t trade him. That would be the best scenario.


  32. This team is pretty poorly constructed. I would have waited Shaq out, like they’re doing with Kobe, and saw what I could have gotten on the free agent market the next year with all the cap space I had. I think we could have found someone better than Odom, and not had to take on Brian Grant’s contract. That and Jerry West, with all his wisdom, drafted players for Shaq and not for Kobe. The draft picks post Shaq have actually been pretty good except they’re all going to get competent all too late for the liking of Kobe and the Laker fans.


  33. This is what I think will happen next NBA season.

    1. San Antonio has NEVER Repeated as champions. I assume that will continue so scratch them off the list.

    2. Dallas will have a decent to good regular season , but will be too mentally scarred from there collapses the past two years. They are bringing back the same team that collapsed last two years. I figure that trend will continue. Scratch them off.

    3. Phoenix will have a great regular season. But as usual will run out of gas. Since they only play 7 deep the entire season. They will be totally fatigued and worn out and get knocked out before the Finals.

    4. Utah will probably have a good regular season but will lose in 1st round.

    5. Lakers will be what they always been a 1st round knock out.

    6. The 8th seed will lose in the 1st round whoever it is.

    My two contenders for the Title Out West.
    1. Denver I think Denver will be really good this season with AI and Melo. I think carmelo will be a legitimate MVP candidiate. I think this team is going to do very well and well make WCF if they dont play the next team I am goingto talk about until the WCF.

    2. My Western Conference Champ is Houston. They are going to win the West. I think Tracy Mcgrady will win the MVP. They will have a good regular season. They filled all of thier holes in the offseason quite nicely and have lots of Depth. I think it will all finally come together in Houston with the new coach Adelmen at the Helm. They are my favorite to win the West.

    The Nba Finals
    I think Boston will come out of the east to face Houston in the Nba finlas in a rematch of the 86 finals i think but am not sure. I think Houston will be a favorite coming in the series but anything can happen in the finals. although I think Houston will prevail and become the 2008 champions

    I would love to hear your guys’s feedback on my Thoughts. Thanks.


  34. Phoenix. I didn’t love their off-season. Yes, Grant Hill > Kurt Thomas, except when you’re trying to defend Dirk or Duncan.

    I’m sorry Kurt, but phoenix doesn’t use KT to guard Nowitzki. Never tried that. Dantoni would rather use Raja over Thomas to shadow Dirk.

    And no, the suns as is is capable of beating Dallas. But not San Antonio.

    What the Suns need IMO, is to acquire their own “Mychal Thompson” to put them over the edge vs. the bigger San Antonio. The lakers got theirs after being dethroned by Houston back in 1986, and it led to back to back titles.


  35. I think a lot of people sleep on Denver, but with AI and Melo (who btw is among my favourites for the MVP provided he doesn’t sucker punch anyone) together from training camp they have a good chance of becoming as explosive offensively as the Suns. At the same with Camby, Nene and possibly Martin they will not give up too many easy points on the paint. If they are healthy, I see them being on the same level as the Rockets and with a better possibility to upset one of the Big 3 (SA, Dallas, PHX) than Houston, since on paper they seem more able to play equally well on a fast tempo and on half court sets. Of course, Chucky Atkins for Steven Blake is a downgrade, and there is always the possibility that George Karl will say something that will turn the whole team against him. As for the Lakers, if Kobe comes in with a positive attitude and keeps it after the forst four game losing streak of the season (easier said than done, I know…), Lamar is healthy and Bynum continues to grow, they have a chance to grab the 8 or even the 7 spot. From there, we’ll go as far as Kobe can take us, i.e a hard fought first round loss or, if hell freezes over, a big upset and a second round elimination. Is that the type of season Laker fans and f.o. want? And given their salary cap situation shouldn’t they at least see what they could get for Kobe?


  36. Keeping it simple, my list of playoff teams in the west

    1. Phoenix
    2. SA
    3.. Denver
    4. Houston
    5. Dallas
    6. Lakers
    7. Utah
    8. Golden State

    Denver/ Phoenix WCF


  37. Some people have a lot more faith in Denver than I seem to have. Yes they have Iverson and Mello who should be able ot put up a lot of points, but their only defender is Camby. Martin can be a good defender, but he has his knnee surgically repaired twice and I am not sold on him coming back strong. If he does then maybe they could be a contender this year. Maybe, but Camby and Martin need to learn to play together. I Would put Denver at the 6th or 7th seed, they might sneak in higher is Dallas, Houston, or Utah Falters.

    Houston can be a legitimate contender if McGrady and Yao are healthy all year (as that ever happened). But their ability to beat the top three teams will depend on how good Scola plays, and how they fit all their pieces together. It would be helpful if Francis learns to throw the ball into the post.

    The top three teams are still (in order, playoff seed in parenthesis) SA(2), PHX (1), Dallas(3). Then I would say Houston (4) and Utah (5). Houston can move up tp a higher seed if Dallas falter ( I wouldn’t bet on PHX or SA faltering). After that, not sure. I’d say if Denver stays healthy then they will be a sure playoff team.

    The Lakers can be better or worse than what people think. It’s hard to picture them not making the playoffs (if healthy). I would say 46-48 wins but it could easily go 4 or 5 games in either direction.If they can play as a team and play some D then I would say that they will be up their with Denver in the 6th or 7th range. I think Kobe is going to play with a chip on his shoulder this year. We will see how his teammates respond.

    After that….. GS has the best chance of making the playoffs if Davis stays healthy and plays hard all season (which he should because he is up for a contract extension, but staying healthy is a different matter). NO is a good team if they stay healthy as well. Not sure how much Peja will have left in him after this last injury. Not sure about Memphis, I think they really miss Battier on defense. I guess how good they do will depend on how they build team chemistry and how good Conley Jr. can play this year. Though I really do like Lowry, I think he is the scrappiest player in the league. He will surprise a lot of people this year if he plays the entire season. The other teams in the West do not have a chance to make the play offs. Sac maybe but that a very long shot.


  38. The Lakers signed another power forward is Elton Brown. They’re up to 17 players now after signing Coby Karl and Larry Turner as well. I know teams do this every year for training camp and some guys get cut during camp, but maybe there’s something brewing on the horizon? Only reason I can think to add any more front-court depth now when we already have Kwame, Odom, Radmanovic, Mihm, Bynum, and Turiaf.


  39. (33) Jayson…

    And TMac has never won a playoff series – so scratch them off.

    Denver is the only one with no precedent for “bad luck” or bad trend but I doubt they make it past the 2nd round. A team that plays little or no defense at all will be such a blunder to succeed. Remember, they had just traded Reggie Evans to Philly for Steven Hunter. This move signifies 2 things – getting deep into the playoffs is not considered or Camby is definitely on the move.

    As for Stephen #2’s donation of beers… I live in the Philippines Stephen, and charities here are quite a rarity where I come from. The only thing here is an orphanage with 23 kids run by dedicated nuns. So sad if they get some beers for this move. LOL. Anyway, I will personally donate some groceries to this orphanage the moment Memphis gives up the chase for 8th.

    Anyway, I seed Houston to be either 4 or 5 as well but the word I’d like to use to describe their team would be “volatile”. A little spark from Tmac’s back and Yao’s leg and the Texas doomsday will begin. Still, the Lakers are one of the better positioned teams out West – whether they do the proposed Indiana deal or not. Much more if they pull it out while keeping Odom.

    To cap it off, please do not mistake my willingness to trade Bynum for not wanting to see him develop. For what its worth, Bynum will still be my man as long as he dons that #17 jersey for LA.


  40. Off-topic controversy: Why not a euro-Laker team?

    Trade Farmar and future 2nd rounders to Toronto for Jose Calderon… then use the 08 1st + cash to Portland for Rudy Fernandez.

    By deadline, when Memphis gives up the chase for 8th, Pau will feel right at home in LA with brother Marc, Rudy and Jose.


  41. 38. Elton Brown is just a guy for Kwame Brown and the rest of the front line to practice against, then he will likely end up in the D-League. Good chance for the kid to impress, but like you said all teams hire some extra bodies for training camp practice. That’s it.


  42. If Seattle was going to lose Rashard Lewis anywy, and since we’re already overpaying Kwame, why couldn’t we have done a sign and trade Kwame for Lewis? At least Seattle gets to go after a free agent next year with cap space in Kwame’s expiring, and theyget somebody who can marginally play down low for one year.


  43. 42. The way they acted, I’m not sure Seattle thought they would lose Lewis. But if they opened the door for a sign-and-trade, they could have done a lot better than Kwame. I just don’t think that door was ever open.


  44. 43. I think you are right. i think they wanted to keep Lewis at least for a little while to sell tickets (though Durant will do a pretty good job of that himself), win a few games and teach their young players. I also agree that they could have done better than Kwame. But if Bynum was offered they would have had to at least considered the offer, considering their bad luck with center prospects in recent years.

    Not that I would necessarily have condoned such a trade; I am not a huge fan of Lewis (and he is maybe the most over payed player in the league right now).


  45. Has Kobe said he’s going to report to camp this year? I’ve been assuming he won’t. That would put us outside the margin of error. If I get past the thought of watching him score 90 points for another team, I still think we’re a decent, young team without him. No doubt we could use more help, but playing well to start the season will be our biggest bargaining chip both to get Kobe back and to convince other teams we aren’t desperate.


  46. 45. I’d be surprised if he’s not in camp. He’s worked too long to restore his image to thrash it again by holding out like that.


  47. heres some Jazz news. But I will take it with a grain of salt after the misquoting of JO a month ago.

    Pincus: Kirilenko Requests a Trade


  48. o my, sorry Kurt, i know you dislike speculations and all, but do we make a move for him before the camp starts? what do we have to offer that the Jazz wants…
    i always like him alot, better than shawn marion!

    sahsa and kwame’s expiring add up to be about 11m… will they be interest in radman and evans? i dont even mind giving them bynum either! whom ever they like, but we can keep LO-Kobe and add AK, this could be something…


  49. For months I have been surmising about the possibility of “adding” a 3rd star between Kobe and Odom. The choices are not that plenty – KG, JO and Pau have been the famous threesome. Yet, for some reason, our problems emanates defensively and not on offense. Thanks to Kobe’s newfound enthusiasm in defense, adding AK MIGHT BE a good idea.

    AK may be on his lowest trade value at this point in time. Though that Hoopsworld article does not mean anything to me, I still think the Jazz are better off trading AK anyway – trade request or not.

    If there’s any possibility of dealing AK to the Lakers, I doubt the Lakers will be parting with players of serious value considering the tax burdens of the AK contract. Probably the best offer would be Farmar, Evans, Radman and Kwame and an 08 1st for AK and Collins. This offer, if taken by the Jazz would seriously help the Laker cause. Anything more, talks break off.

    Should we be able to nab AK while keeping Odom and Bynum, then the promised big trade would be partly fulfilled already. Both sides are happy – Kobe gets more help, Jimmy gets to keep baby Bynum.

    Just like I said before, if we are to pay the tax, we pay it in fashion.


  50. Warren
    I know Tracy has not won a playoff series but this years team is a WHOLE DIFFERENT TEAM. The rockets brought in so many new players. Trust me they will be successful this season including the playoffs. This si their year. Remember me when Tracy is holding up the finals MVP award. “Damn that dude on the forum blog was right” Warren Wee Lim. Then ill be saying “I told ya so”


  51. Want AK47? Believe that what is still missing from last year is defense? Willing to pay the price?

    Here’s the test:

    apples for apples: AK47 for LO

    salaries almost exactly match.

    I think Utah would do it.

    Would you?


  52. 51. i would. why?

    AK is what we are missing, really! Block. Steal. Rebounding. he does all the dirty work. the LO experiment should officially end, its been three years and we have seen that LO is best in other system with ball in his hand. he is a gifted player, a stat stuffer, but his game stall whenever he is on the court with kobe. AK is more of a complimentary player whom doesnt need the ball much, with him and kwame we formed one of the toughest and strongest frontline on D. kwame play positional D with his strong bosy while AK play good from the weak side with his long arms and long body.

    again, offense is not our woe, triangle is designed to best-utilize aveage offensive players like luke, radman, turiaf, farmar, etc… we will be ok as long as we run our offense with kobe. D should be our focus from the get-go; and AK could be the answer.


  53. I agree with sam, none of the aquisitions this summer address our primary need of defense, unless you count Chris Mihm, who is still questionable as to a full recovery (probably why so many teams past up on him next to the high salary request) If the lakers obtained AK, and recommitted to shutting teams down first, then executing a great offense, i believe more opportunities would be created for not just kobe but other players on the team. btw, I love this site, everytime I read the fluff on the lakers at fan sites, I come here to read the actual insightful stuff


  54. I don’t like AK at the PF posiiton. If we make another deal for a PF, who rebounds, and can score, then we can play him at the SF. We need a defender like AK, yes. But we also need a scorer who can move without the ball.


  55. I am wholeheartedly against an Odom for AK deal. That is not a good idea in my opinion.

    That said, as Warren suggested, something with Kwame, Farmar, filler, and a pick is something I would do if I were the Lakers. A front line of Bynum/Mihm, AK, and Odom would be solid.

    Another thing I think of when I think of this deal is a 3 team deal with Indy. Call me crazy, but, I think something like this would work for everyone invovled:

    – Lakers get JO.
    – Utah gets Kwame, Farmar, filler, pick
    – Indy gets AK, Bynum, filler, pick

    That is definitely something I would do and can see all teams involved doing. With AK and Bynum, added to Diogu , Indy would have a nice, young, core up-front to build around. The Jazz get cap space, a backup point guard, and most importantly get rid of AK’s whining and large contract. It also helps Indy in that they can’t really rebuild totally and this team could actually make some noise in the lower half of the top 8 in the East. Win-win all around.


  56. Jayson, I am one heck of an optimist. I also appreciate what players do to their teams even though I might hate that team to its bones. (Tmac in Houston). But I must say I like your optimism. Even with the Lakers down 1-3 last April, call me crazy, but I was actually hopeful they’d still go 3-0 in the next 3 games.

    But you know what, I seed Houston higher than LA in the regular season games, but I would pick this LA team over Houston come playoff time. Even if Houston ended up with the 3rd seed and LA gets 6th or 7th to face one of the West’s big three. Nerves is something Tmac has that Kobe doesn’t. Come playoff time, it makes all the difference.

    Chise, I like the proposal as well. But as good as that might sound, I doubt Indiana takes on more money for a chance for young players, cap relief and Bynum. Quite honestly, Indiana MAY actually decide to take the Plan B offer instead. I predict we will have a better 1st half of 08 than Indy. Then again, I’m no Bird.

    The reason why I am intrigued by the prospect of AK is he is one player who could run with Kobe and match his intensity on D. Yes he is overpaid, and so is Odom. But having the comfort of playing with 2 players like Odom and AK who never cease to hustle to win is one luxury I know Kobe would appreciate.

    Drrayeye, the thought of trading Odom for AK straight up also crossed my mind. I think it might be a good idea to some extent since we get upgrades in the defensive end, but I think the “safer” thing to do would be not to deal if Odom was asked of. I would much rather trade Bynum on this deal than Odom, no matter how unpopular it may sound.

    If we should decide to part with Bynum for overpaid AK, the deal should include Millsap in return, possibly Utah’s 08 pick as well. Whereas, if Utah decides to take Kwame, Farmar and fillers, I would willingly add the 08 1st on this deal.

    There are also angles of a third team such as Orlando, Seattle and Minnesota that we could use. Turkoglu is reported to be available, Ricky Davis and Blount could be useful for Utah as well, and Wilcox and Ridnour could also fit their needs although the latter is a little far off.

    However, I see Utah holding on to AK despite all this talk. Sloan and the rest of the Utah Jazz management are known to be very conservative in making deals. Should they decide to ACTUALLY trade AK, I know of 28 other better offers than what we are mentioning here. Quite honestly, a straight-up deal with Richard Jefferson is the one that I know will make very good sense for both teams.


  57. Chise,

    That trade actually makes sense on a couple of levels. You could even go further and say that Jim O’Briens system fits what AK wants/thrives in to a “T”.

    Of course it would never work because it makes sense for all involved. Thanks for playing.


  58. AK wanting to be traded and Utah being eager to trade him are two different things. I doubt they are in any hurry.

    My thought about the Lakers getting in the AK bidding is the same as it is about JO in this sense — if the goal is to become a contender now (and that is the goal) then you need both Odom and AK-47 on the Lakers to do that. Trading LO for AK means the Lakers get better on defense but lose offensive flexibility in the triangle (last season AK shot 49% eFG% to Odom’s 51%, AK grabbed far fewer rebounds and, just as an overall measure, his PER was an pedestrian 14.3 (Odom was 16.1)). Yes, when his head is right, AK is a better defender, and he was injured last year, but this guy does not make the Lakers a conteder unless you can pair him with Odom.

    Also, think about this — to me part of AK’s complaint was feeling that Sloan’s highly structured offense is not AK’s best fit. Would he be happy in the highly-structured triangle? Maybe, but I have that conversation with him before we talk deal if I’m Mitch.

    My guess is Utah is going to be very patient, and if they move him at all it will be closer to the deadline,


  59. And by the way, from a purely practical sense, AK kills the Lakers against the luxury tax for years. That reason alone likely keeps the Laker front office on the sidelines.

    And finally, in the same practical mode, there is no way that Utah trades Millsap. Know the team you’re talking about.


  60. (59) Kurt,

    You say,

    “And by the way, from a purely practical sense, AK kills the Lakers against the luxury tax for years.”

    His salary and Odom’s salary are almost exactly the same.

    You regard deals that are fairly even (like AK47 for LO or LO and Bynum for JO as “lateral”–and therefore not worth doing. Look what has happened as the Lakers search for that “championship” silver bullet!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I suspect that if the Laker team no longer had Andrew or Lamar and had at least one new “star,” Phil would not throw a tantrum.


  61. Odom has two years left, AK has four years left on his deal climbing to more than $17 mil the final year of the deal — matching just this year’s salary makes the trade “work” but AK’s is a much larger sum and is a much bigger limitation on what the Lakers can do in the future.

    To me, Kobe put this team on notice that it needs to contend now, the clock is ticking, and I think any “major” trade needs to get the team into the elite category. I can’t believe anyone thinks the up-and-down AK-47 replacing Odom makes this team a contender.


  62. Talking trades invariably leads to ‘making the Lakers better’ territory without too much thought about finances or how the other teams operate. When we add in the fact that we cannot entertain scenarios that ‘just’ get the Lakers better – without making them championship caliber – the conclusion is that we really must stand pat for the first half of this next season.

    If we just want to make the Lakers better, we have as good a chance of that with multiple younger players improving noticeably this year as we do in trading for a veteran.

    For this reason I suggest we ‘cool’ the trade talk for the next couple of months and just analyze what we have and how do we grow it.



    Try this trade on for size. Sorry about the speculation, but there is only so much we can re-hash before you need to get into hypothetical territory to keep things interesting.



  64. They just showed the Nash-Yao charity game on NBATV, the one where someone said Sun Yue was very impressive. I only saw the last 2 miniutes of a double digit, for fun game where everyone was just dunking. But the announcer was praising Sun Yue saying “he can ball”. Did anyone else see it.


  65. I doubt the lakers neven have a chance at the playoffs, especially when you considered all the different things jackson said about kobe


  66. the other Stephen September 19, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    heyyyy. anyone want to do a forumblueandgold fantasy basketball league this season???


  67. the other Stephen September 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    =) =) =)


  68. Kurt, I sincerely get your point. And I also realize what Craig is trying to tell us – instead of that silver bullet, look for the gold chip deep inside.

    I’m scratching my head in saying this, but WHAT POSSIBLE MOVE CAN PROPEL THE LAKERS TO ELITE CATEGORY?

    Top of my head would be if the Lakers are able to nab JO without losing Odom. But then again, as soon as I say it, the cap-conscious FO could very well dissipate that thought. Next would be Pau. And then some kind of Memphis-inspired theory comes to say: “we are making a run for the playoffs this year. No way we are trading Pau.” Yeah right – in the East maybe.

    In all this, is there by any chance that the Lakers “cash in” on Kwame’s futility and replace him with a more useful player? (not necessarily AK) I mean I gave the TradeMachine a workout last February concerning JO and Pau, and it was Kidd that was news then. During the lottery, these 2 names sprouted like a beanstalk off the backyard and people started buying it. Back then, when someone suggested we trade Odom and Kwame for AK and Fisher, people tend to laugh at it. Now it has become a staple thought. While we may have gotten Fish for free, there is also a chance we can get AK for less his market value. Buy Low in him… Sell High later on.


  69. Just a couple general thoughts regarding some things said here recently:

    – First, if you are planning on trying to “win now,” you are not necessarily looking at the luxury tax. “Win now” doesn’t say just makes moves to make moves, but you can’t sit here and say “we won’t trade for All=Stars like JO, Pau, or AK because we don’t want to pay the luxury tax” or whatever. It boggles my mind that teams in sports worry so much about the luxury tax when they can both afford it and also it is the ONLY way for their team to actually contend right now. Let’s not kid ourselves: anything short of taking on the contract of an all-star caliber player is a move for the future. It also sets in motion Kobe’s next rant, trade demand, etc.

    – Second, Odom for AK is a terrible move. Who scores on that team? Kobe, Luke, and Fisher. That’s it. Terrible move. That’s not even a lateral move. It’s a step back in my opinion.

    – Third, Marion is available. I know there were rumors the Lakers were gonna swap Luke and Kwame for Marion in a sign and trade deal earlier in the summer. While I didn’t like it at the time because I was waiting for JO, that might not be a bad trade for LA. It provides a 3rd scoring option, improves the defense, and adds another solid rebounder to the team. Might be something worth exploring if all else fails.

    Now, I am all for taking a wait and see approach and see if we can get a better deal at the deadline. Conventional wisdom says any team that finds itself as a “seller” at the deadline is not going to get fair value for their available players (see Gasol, JO, AK, Marion, whoever). The price tag seems to come down at the deadline (see Vince Carter a few years ago). If the Lakers don’t show big strides of improvement by the deadline, they have to ship out Bynum. I don’t see any other way to keep Kobe unless we’re rolling along. At that point, I just hope Bynum retains his value and teams don’t cool on him…even though it appears they have somehwat already.


  70. Other Stephen… you really should think of another screen name 🙂 anyway, I have been playing ESPN Fastbreak for 7 years now… back then it was still called NBA Virtual GM.

    Stephen, from the previous post – So its actually suggesting we trade Odom for a guy like Tayshaun Prince, although not necessarily? The best team to find these type of players are teams that are trying to WIN NOW and that may be able to expend their younger talent for a chance to contend. The Bulls could also fit this one, if they offered Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Chris Duhon and Ty Thomas for Odom – but I doubt it would happen since that is the package they are preparing for Pau Gasol.

    Furthermore, Kobe might also question that by trading Odom for younger players, it confirms the Lakers direction to trade Kobe next year and stick to rebuilding which is already Kobe’s impression on this team. That being the case, we should have gone for Gerald Green + Ratliff + #5 for Odom before draft day.


  71. Ryan,
    I saw the game(except part of 2Q where I dozed off) and the First Half was the Yi show. Sun Yue had a couple of impressive dunks at end when game turned into total junk. At start of Second Half Nash joined Chinese Team and Yue when to NBA side. He showed nice court vision and made several nice passes. He looked much better playing w/NBA players than he did when he was on China’s “side”. But overall he looked like a young project third PG-and very erratic on his shot.


  72. Chise, I might have something to add to that Marion proposal: Marion’s contract ends in 09 wherein Kobe can walk out and Odom can become an unrestricted Free Agent. I do know, for flexibility purposes that this might be a good idea, but somehow, Marion might ask for that 3yr extension as soon as a trade kicks in. He will have little doubt that LA can offer that and it puts much pressure to the FO to “unwisely” spend on that extension.

    That is why a move for Gasol, though he has 4 years left, will be a much better proposition considering Pau does not have an opt out nor does he qualify for an extension.

    This offseason is probably no different in the past. Big-named players are being talked about such as Marion, AK, JO and the likes… However, this offseason also has nothing compared to the past – a trade demand by the best player in basketball Kobe and the actual trade of perennial all-star KG. All in all, this offseason falls nothing short of a big bang.

    In short, there might be indications that unless you have cemented your place on the team like Duncan has, or you are as young and potent as Wade, Melo, d12 and LeBron, there is no guarantee for your stay.

    Finally, I must concede to the fact that my #1 aim for the Lakers to contend would be Pau Gasol. Drrayeye should agree with me on this one – he is the prize where I have put my eyes. By no means is he overpaid, and he can surely bolster this team to contention. This is the motherload deal I am eyeing on, which makes me concede to the fact that no deals will be made until Memphis realizes chasing the 8th is harder than expected. Of course, with a new front office and a new coach, everyone seems to be excited and optimistic. Once reality sets in, its a whole new ballgame.


  73. How can we get word to Kobe and Andrei? And dont think thats just overzealous fan talk. Its a legitimate question. I have been sending emails to writers for months saying AK47 should end up with the Lakers. He’s a perfect fit (maybe only garnett would be better). Now that he has gotten the ball moving, is there anything we can do? Email their fan sites? Email Laker management or PROffice? Start a website? Online petition? I am really anxious to get the ball moving on this…If we could get AK47 without giving up LO or Bynum, we would be set as a team for many years to come.

    Lets make it happen Kurt. Now is the time


  74. Kurt (61)

    You say (KW)

    Odom has two years left, AK has four years left on his deal climbing to more than $17 mil the final year of the deal — matching just this year’s salary makes the trade “work” but AK’s is a much larger sum and is a much bigger limitation on what the Lakers can do in the future.

    I say (RB)

    If the Lakers do well, and we have Odom, only having him signed for 2 years might make him more expensive than AK. Because of Kobe and Phil, isn’t that what we expect?

    Your argument works if the Lakers do poorly, but it seems to me to be a very pessimistic way to think. Are you really unconsciously assuming that the Lakers will crash, so they can dump Lamar and Kobe at the same time and start over?

    You say (KW): To me, Kobe put this team on notice that it needs to contend now, the clock is ticking, and I think any “major” trade needs to get the team into the elite category. I can’t believe anyone thinks the up-and-down AK-47 replacing Odom makes this team a contender.

    I say (RB): For almost one year, the Lakers have apparently been shopping Odom and Bynum to every team and come up empty. Maybe AK-47 and Bynum gets the deal done. Meanwhile, the Lakers have made a statement about the direction of their team: defense. They still can make another trade.

    If a simple serial trade that would take the Lakers to a championship could have been made, it would have been done already. A “lateral trade” (as you call it) for Jermaine, AK-47, or someone else is the only way to deal with serious internal problems and perceptions AND change the trade mix possibilities to fulfill the “win now” mantra.


  75. Craig (62),

    Here is why I keep examining every apples for apples trade possibility:

    1. That is what I believe that the Lakers are doing.

    2. I believe that Phil and Kobe would have expected one or more deals that would AT LEAST have moved Lamar and Andrew–the easiest to trade. Their mere presence will be a constant irritation (to P and K).

    3. Even though the current Laker team might do really well, the atmosphere has been poisoned. The team is not respected at all at home. If they are not respected at home, how will any other team respect us? Kwame has been so defamed at home that he has become totally untradeable. Radmanovich has almost been defamed as much. I won’t go through the entire list. The entire team has been insulted by Kobe; how far behind is Phil with his “slug patrol?”

    For better or worse, Craig, I believe that things will change no matter what–trade or stand pat. Though I kind of like the team we have, it is not a stable entity.


  76. FYI everybody, Lakers just signed 6-9 forward Elton Brown – man I wish that was Elton Brand, even if he was injured, :). He went to University of Virginia, and played for a Greek team where he was the only player in the league to average a double-double. Now, do you think the signing of this kid is a sign that a trade is brewing between the Lakers and ………….???


  77. 76. He is just a camp invite. Teams do it all the time, they invite people to camp, which gives them extra bodies at camp and gives the invitee extra exposure. The lakers already have 14 people with guaranteed contracts so it will be highly unlikely that any of the camp invites (Karl, Turner, Brown) make team.


  78. 68. The Lakers didn’t get Fisher for free. They’re paying him roughly $5M per year, which is about $5M too much for a guy who shot 38% from the field last year.


  79. drrayeye,
    I really like your analysis, but I think your view of the current Laker team is far, far too pessimistic.

    Phil Jackson has been consistent in his career in being an extremely manipulative force from the bench. I NEVER take what he says without also taking a ‘grain of salt’. Phil, after trying to dump Kobe, has really taken him into his confidence to – I believe – teach him the manipulation ropes. Therefore, I also take Kobe’s rants, and current silence, with another large grain of salt.

    As a 45+ year Laker fan, I do not consider any player – either Kobe or Magic or Kareem – above the team. This doesn’t mean I don’t want some players treated well – and listened to – I think the best players have a really valuable perspective.

    We have to show some real progress this year – Kobe or no Kobe. It is time the FO proves they have what it takes. Most front office’s make very few big deals – the Lakers haven’t since 1996. The ones that try big deals more frequently usually end up like New York or Atanta. Teams have a cycle and we have to live within that fact. Sometimes clubs can beat the odds (see Miami and maybe Boston), but they don’t do it for very long and then usually end up in salary cap he*l for a number of years.

    I think our FO hasn’t done a good job trading for players for the last 8yrs or so, but they have learned to draft in the last 3 yrs. This should pay off, starting this year. These days it takes about 3yrs to get a line on players because they are so young and inexperienced when drafted. Lebron is the exception who proves the rule.

    For all these reasons (and background) I feel we need to wait for the trade deadline to make decisions about this team. If we are doing poorly and don’t make any move in FEB, then I am in favor of finding new FO personnel.


  80. Drraye: Sorry, but Utah ain’t trading Kirilenko, they’ve said as much. Gasol, Kirlienko, those kinda guys won’t be traded becase they are on teams that are on the cusp of being good or are already good. Only type of players we can aquire are disgruntled players who are underachieving.

    That’s why it’s gonna be tough to improve via trades. Best hope is that we are healthy, Kobe plays defense and leads like he did over the summer and Radmanovic and Brown give us what they are paid for.


  81. kwame a. (80) I’m not saying Utah is going to trade Kerilenko (though I think they might after this year if they can get a good return for him), but he is a disgruntled, overpaid, underachieving player. I think after this season if Kerilenko is not producing for Utah they will try to move him for an expiring contract (and a good player) to free up cap space.


  82. 81- Ryan: I agree with you, if it doesn’t work this year they will move him, but not this year.


  83. Everything seems to be falling into place. I am one of eager nature and one who can’t wait to see a deal done. Heck I even think of possible deals in my sleep. Yet, something convinced me that, for some reason or another, the next big deal will be coming on the deadline.

    WIth this in mind, knowing that “hope springs eternal” this time of year, why not try to move spare pieces of this team for a chance to improve? Understanding how cap conscious the FO is, why not try to move Brian Cook and Sasha Vujacic to teams that might need size and shooting (idk about this one) and get a little cap relief or some future 2nd rounders for them… this team could use a little shakeup like Sun Yue. A move like this could effectively lay out the plans for the summer of 08.

    Just throwing out peanuts to the dogs, but can we not trade Cook and his BYC to some team below the cap or with a trade exception? If we cannot get a useful player out of him, we might as well dump his dead weight.


  84. (80)Kwame,

    The Lakers may not trade for anybody, but pressure is rising–and the Lakers are better prepared to do something. There is no need to even go into the scenarios.

    AK47, Gasol, Jermaine O’Neil, and Jason Kidd are all players who are on everyone’s radar screen. One of the things that makes it interesting to be a fan (or fanatic) is to try to anticipate.

    When I was in the forest service, I used to know guys who sat up in towers and looked for smoke. If they found smoke, sooner or later we would find fire.


  85. Speaking of Kidd, why not accept NJ’s previous deal of Kwame and Bynum for Kidd? Then go to Bird, with what we have left what does it take for JO? The Kidd trade makes sense and would mkae Kobe happy irregradless of the JO deal.


  86. 85 – Paul,

    Last year, at around February, the Nets were holding onto the East’s 7th spot treading on very thin ice. Vince Carter was at the culmination of his contract and there was no assurance of a playoff spot given that New York was chasing the spot and so did Orlando. The Atlantic, surprisingly, was won by an obscure Toronto squad who had learned to play team ball under Mitchell. Nobody could have predicted that at the beginning of the season.

    Given the situation NJ was in, they tried to gauge what they could do since Carter was also hinting on moving to his home in Orlando and therefore, the team was better off rebuilding than get nothing in return. After the deadline, Kidd showed in the playoffs averaging a triple double and even upsetting the Atlantic Division champs.

    This year, VC has signed a near-Max contract for NJ and RJ is still locked in for the next 4 years. It would make ZERO sense to trade Kidd now, coz as little a chance they have of winning the East, it is actually the more logical thing to do than rebuild with 2 near-Max contracts at hand. My assumption is, Kidd will now retire a Net.

    In all honesty, it would have been easier for this Laker squad to head into last season’s playoffs without a center than go into this season with how it is made up. Kidd was offered for a bargain and the Lakers did not think well. In the end, we now regret that decision EVEN IF Bynum breaks out this year. We could have done that deal to contend THIS YEAR.

    NJ could have taken: Mihm, Kwame, Bynum, Shammond, McKie for Kidd and Collins

    If we are to assess “what could have been”, this is how the Lakers would look coming into draft day:

    PG – Kidd, Farmar, Smush
    SG – Kobe, Evans, Sasha
    SF – Walton, Radmanovic
    PF – Odom, Cook
    C – Collins(from NJ), Turiaf

    With the Lakers picking 19th, the way the draft went up till 18, the Lakers could have picked Jason Smith from Colorado for the 19th, Miami would surely take Crittenton, or remain with Cook (IF NJ picked Critt at 17).

    On the 2nd round, at #40, Josh McRoberts would have made sense, and at #48, Marc Gasol would still be selected.

    For the MLE, the Lakers could have negotiated Jamal Magloire’s 4M per year (very cheap) and could have re-signed Mihm anyway since NJ would have certainly not re-signed him. The remainder of the MLE could be used to select a veteran like PJ Brown who would almost certainly appreciate playing with Phil Jackson, Kobe and Kidd.

    Kidd / Farmar / Sasha
    Kobe / Evans /
    Walton / Radman /
    Odom / PJ Brown / Turiaf / Cook
    Magloire / Collins / Jason Smith


  87. 85. Kidd is no longer available.


  88. @85: Bird wouldn’t deal JO without getting back Bynum either.


  89. @Warren (86): Back at the trading deadline, I was not really keen on including Bynum in the deal for Kidd. My thinking was that NJ was in a possible fire-sale mode as they were going to tear down and build up around RJ. The news that the Nets were considering trading Carter to the Knicks for Crawford, et. al, played a part in this. That deal never got off the ground because the Nets wanted Balkman or Lee thrown into the deal. If that is true, I figured LA could have gotten Kidd without surrendering Bynum. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case, but I thought Thorn would blink before LA did.

    That said, after seeing Bynum sulk for the rest of the season and not really improve at all, it was probably a move that LA should have made. No way they get run ragged by the Suns like that if Kidd is on the team.


  90. TSU center likes chances with Lakers

    Larry Turner didn’t exactly bounce right from college basketball to the NBA.

    There was plenty of unfinished business the 6-foot-11 Turner needed to tend to after graduating last spring from Tennessee State.

    Eventually he signed a two-year free agent contract with the Lakers. He arrived in Los Angeles just this week, and Wednesday went through his first workout, a one-on-one session with Lakers’ forward-center Kwame Brown.

    “I’m excited and looking forward to it,” Turner said. “It’s always been my dream to play in the NBA.”

    Hearing that Turner, who averaged 5.8 points and 6.1 rebounds for TSU, had signed with the Lakers came as a surprise for some. The 2005 transfer from Oklahoma was never a consistent contributor for the Tigers and didn’t even stay in the starting lineup.

    After leaving TSU, Turner relied on a local training facility, Velocity Sports Performance in Cool Springs.

    When Turner showed up, he was 233 pounds and determined to get bigger and stronger, according to Mick Weber, Director of Sports Performance at the facility. Working two-hour sessions, five times a week, Turner increased his bench press from 300 to 335 pounds, and bulked up to 255 pounds. Turner worked feverishly to improve his game. He worked one-on-one with Pistons star Nazr Mohammed and the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo, and played in the NBA Summer League.

    Under the deal, Turner will have to play well in next month’s camp to make the team, said his agent Holman Harley. He’ll be guaranteed his yearly salary — which Harley refused to disclose — if he can stick until Jan. 10.

    “I was able to run the floor pretty well in the summer league,” Turner said. “I led the Lakers in blocked shots and they liked that.”

    “He’s a big guy that runs the floor, plays hard, listens, blocks shots, rebounds the basketball,” Lakers assistant coach and former player Kurt Rambis told “He’s big and strong and has a big body.”


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  92. The top 6 of the west are monsters.

    Houston, Spurs, Mavs, Nuggets, Jazz, and Suns


  93. All the lakers would have to do to become a contender and have a chance to get thru the bigboys top 6 out west is just trade odom and bynum for j oneal and then sign webber.

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    that simple, pull the trigger.