Pre Training Camp Thoughts

Kurt —  September 25, 2007

Just some Lakers and NBA thoughts as we are just days away from training camp in Hawaii. Well, by we I mean the Lakers, I get no paid vacations in Hawaii. Not that I’m jealous. Nope, not at all.

UPDATE: For now, all things Marion are being discussed in the comments on this post.

• Maybe the biggest concern for the Lakers heading into this season is health — it derailed last year’s team and this year’s squad can again not deal with missing games from key players. Which is why these notes from Kevin Ding in the OC Register are of concern:

Lamar Odom is behind schedule in recovering from shoulder surgery, will be limited in training camp and might not be ready for the Oct. 30 start of the regular season. Odom postponed surgery last season to play the Lakers’ final 23 games. Then he had the tear in his labrum in his left (shooting) shoulder repaired May 15.

The Lakers hoped he would be ready in time for the start of camp, but the rehabilitation has been a slow process. Odom also had surgery in 2004 for a separate labrum tear in that shoulder.

Kwame Brown is recovering well from his shoulder and ankle surgeries and has already been going full speed on the court, albeit with some discomfort. Fellow center Chris Mihm, who missed all of last season after ankle surgery, is also not yet 100 percent but has no limitations.

• The first, second, third, fourth and likely one-thousandth question asked at next week’s media day will be about Kobe and his off-season demands. There is no way to fully put this behind him — every time the Lakers go into a new city on the road another story will be written on the topic (plus when an NBA columnist needs an easy topic one day) — but Kobe needs to say something that will at least keep the media storm at bay to a degree. Then his teammates and team management need to read from the same playbook. The way to deal with this is make it a non-issue, as much as that can be done. Repeating the same short quotes over and over pretty much will do that.

• Camp hasn’t even opened and I’m sick of the what’s next for Kobe stories. Even the good ones.

• I hope Barron Davis stays healthy for an entire season. He may be my favorite player to watch in the NBA, when he is healthy.

• How good was Kobe in at Lower Marion High School? Pretty damn good. But who were the best of the best in high school?

• Regular commenter Renato Afonso wants to put together a Forum Blue & Gold fantasy basketball league among the regulars here for the NBA season. What say you?

• For those of you who follow the sports blogging universe, very interesting stuff that Jamie Mortram, the man behind the powerhouse AOL Fanhouse blog(s), is taking his magic to Yahoo!. To my untrained eye, Yahoo! has long had the position and power to be the 800-pound gorilla of sports blogging. They are starting to head down that road.

• By the way, over the summer I think Tom Ziller has been the most prolific, creative and smart NBA blogger out there.

• I’m looking at the schedule and thinking about what Lakers tickets to get, but what I really need to figure out is how to get USC/UCLA game tickets in hoops. That is going to be fun this year.

• Be warned, with actual basketball camps and news about to start, my tolerance in the comments for unsubstantiated trade speculation will shrink dramatically. Comments could just disappear, like guys who owe Peter “Shakes” Milano money.

Kurt

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108 responses to Pre Training Camp Thoughts

  1. Thanks Goo, and I put the working link in the post.

  2. That’s quite a high school group, however, there was an obvious – but only – omission — Pete Maravich.

  3. the other Stephen September 25, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    “Regular commenter Renato Afonso wants to put together a Forum Blue & Gold fantasy basketball league among the regulars here for the NBA season. What say you?”

    i said that too, to no response. please chalk me up.

  4. I’ve only been a regular visitor to this blog for a couple months, but I would like to play in the fantasy league if it’s alright.

    About the season, I agree with what Kurt said on the front page. The Kobe issue has to be handled consistently from Kobe, his teammates, and the FO. If it’s a generic response from everyone, the Lakers can move on. If not, it will be a constant distraction all year. Here’s to hoping it’s not a big distraction.

    I honestly can’t wait for the NBA to start. Basketball is my favorite sport by far. I live on the East Coast, in CT, so I do like the Knicks, but I like the Lakers as well. I know that doesn’t make sense but I was a huge Magic fan and have been a huge Kobe fan since his rookie year so that’s where my love for LA comes from. On both fronts, the Knicks and Lakers, I expect interesting seasons to say the least.

  5. I’m down for a fantasy league.

    And I second the TZ praise. How he manages to do what he does for Fanhouse, and Sactown, and now Ballhype, and maintain such high quality, is beyond me. (maybe that Ziller1 and Ziller2 thing in his Festivus post was no joke)

  6. haha I’m hesitant to link because of that last bullet point, but if this comment ends up sleeping with the fishes, so be it:
    http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=277553

    I know this is pretty rehashed. This one’s been discussed for who knows how long, but the word of a “a league source” makes it sort of not unsubstantiated, right? More than anything I think Marion’s own comments on being willing to play in LA make this comment-worthy. I know your feeling Kurt is it’s a lateral move that doesn’t make us a contender, but the upgrade on D and more reliable health would make me jump all over this. Unless we think we can spin Odom into the type of big trade we all have been hoping for, I think the increased contract is worth it.

  7. You know it’s close to basketball season when I try justifying NBA League Pass to myself. Every year I want it, knowing full well I can’t even watch all the local, TNT, ABC, and ESPN games that are broadcast for free. But ooooh, would it be nice.

    Kurt, the site looks wonky on Internet Explorer again, with the most recent article appearing below the Meta category along the left sidebar.

    In fantasy news, KG is often listed as the #1 fantasy player. But going to play with two other bona fide options…. do you really think his numbers won’t fall? Not to say I wouldn’t love to have the guy on my team, I just don’t think he’s #1 overall this year.

  8. That’s not an unsubstantiated rumor, that is apparently two teams talking. It may be Marion’s people who let the rumor out, but there seem to have at least been talks.

    But is Marion really a defensive upgrade? He’ll be playing the four mostly, and last year Odom let opposing fours shoot 50.4% and have a PER of 17.4, Marion allowed them to shoot 53% with a PER of 19.4. I think Odom gets underrated as a defender. Marion would be an upgrade on offense, although both he and Odom are not great from the midrange or three, both need to get close to the basket (and Marion seems to do that a little better).

    The other question, Marion has complained about salary and how many shots he gets in Phoenix, will he really be happier with Kobe taking all the key shots and in a more restrictive offense?

    Overall, I think Marion is maybe a mild upgrade over Odom, and is less prone to injury. But what would really make the Lakers a threat is both of them together. Just no way to make that happen.

  9. Bryan, I’m having my smart tech guy work on the IE problem. I hope to have it fixed again very soon.

  10. Alas. The Marion rumor yet again.

    Kurt, if you allow it…

    I am personally torn between that proposed trade, although, the fact that Cook might possibly be involved gladdens me. For me, the benefits of Marion coming in is balanced by the fact that he has to learn the system anew and that he has to adjust to several key points – Phil Jackson being the biggest one. I foresee no problems though as we know that Marion is a basketball-smart player.

    Related to this POSSIBLE deal, I hope the teams expound to more details such as the possible inclusion of Critt and Kwame to the Suns for Barbosa and Banks to LA. Either way, I think the kicker for the trades will be equivalent talent+cap relief for Suns and roster upgrades and basketball-smart players for LA.

  11. Kurt, I raise a small question:

    Why did LA want to trade Odom for Gerald Wallace earlier on? It was reported that NJ will be getting Odom, Charlotte will be getting Jefferson and LA gets Wallace thru a sign-and-trade until MJ reportedly broke it off.

    Other than the fact that this move gives LA a versatile forward (same as Odom, only cheaper and shorter) and salary relief, don’t you think it was a KG-pitch prelude? LA will be getting roughly 5-6M trade exception on that one…

    LA’s image has not been that good lately but its ability to offer more money than anywhere else makes it a very good destination for players who want to win and get rich along the way. This is one tool we should explore, though I hate to point out that Buss is being thrifty nowadays…

  12. Here’s my 2 cents on the rumor:
    http://westcoastbasketball.blogspot.com/2007/09/crawling-can-be-beautiful.html

    I didn’t argue the defensive upgrade as much as I should have because I didn’t anticipate people questioning it that much. I agree Odom is underrated as a defender, but will argue till the end that Marion is significantly better.

    If you want to go by the by-position PER numbers, it’s worth mentioning that at PF Marion is +6.3, while Odom is -0.0.

    As I say in my post, the real difference is the extra 15-20 games I think we’d get out of Marion. And the concerns about shots and contract extensions don’t scare me away too much. His usage rate is generally slightly lower than Odom’s, his friendship with Kobe could help, and he’s already saying all the right things about the organization and management here. Plus, unlike in Phoenix, he could he really have the front court all to himself here. The second star in LA will always shine brighter than the third in PHX.

  13. Marion may be slightly better defensively, but could probably be defended easier (see the playoffs with Odom on Marion). I actually think he would fit the triangle better than Lamar because he works well without the ball and moves more like Walton than Lamar. He is also a better health risk. He would situationally play the PF or SF in our offense, depending on the opponent and I see he and Vlade playing well together – better than Lamar and Vlade.

    The big minus is his contract, however, Lamar is also overpaid.

    If we can get past his contract then he is more than a lateral move for two reasons:
    1) He places us in a better position to make another trade that would help us down low. Since he is actually a more traditional player, he actually allows more trades with upside for the Lakers. Lamar’s playing style is actually harder to match up when adding other players.
    2) The Kobe-Lamar history of playing together is not likely to change in the triangle system. In this vein Lamar was only dominant one year in Miami, when he was the go-to guy and D. Wade was a rookie. Bynum has more upside than Lamar at this time.

    One big plus is that Lamar is a real fit for what Phoenix needs so it could be win-win for both sides.

  14. Warren, Craig W,

    Down for fantasy?

  15. I’ve never done a fantasy league for any sport before – a real newby here. It might be fun. Certainly it would be more fun with Laker fans than anywhere else. However, I would have to learn the rules.

  16. Don’t like the Marion for Odom deal at all. Marion for Kwame, Farmer, et. al, fine, but not Odom. While I think Marion would be fine in the triangle, he has been whining in a winning situation in Phoenix. What would he do in LA if the Lakers are a 6 seed and he’s still not getting as many touches as he wants? He wants 20 mill per on his extension also and that’s ridiculous.

  17. God bless the fantasy league

    the marion story… I’d better send Odom+Cook to phoenix, Marion to Utah and Kirilenko to the Lakers

  18. I do not like the Marion deal. Marion is a better wing defender than Odom, however, Odom is a better defender in the post (though only slightly). I also like Odom better as a PF than Marion. Also the whole 20 million per extension is rediculous.13M per (what Odom is making his numbers are not that much better) would be more realistic.

    Xavier makes a good point, the kerilenko trade might be doable. Trading Odom for Kerilenko is a good defensive upgrade but hurts on rebounding and scoring. Plus you have the whole chemistry and learning curve for the triangle as well. Not sure if I like it.

  19. AK-47 joining the Lakers? It’s a wet dream… However, if that would be possible, the Lakers would need improved scoring at SF and C…

    Regarding Marion… Salary is too high, doesn’t fit well as a PF in the triangle, wants too many touches and really isn’t a good defensive player… Don’t like the idea.

  20. The solution-Lamar to Phoenix,Marion to Utah and Kirilenko to LA. Throw in small camp fodder contracts as needed.

  21. Neither the Lakers or the Suns would make an Odom/Marion deal if they thought it would make the other team better then then their own team. Not in the same division. Its clearly a lateral move as half of us prefer Odom and half of us prefer Marion and what he brings. It only happens if it is known Kobe wants to do it and the offer is there. I think its all just convenient hype. If Marion wants out, why is equal value being offered/discussed.

    This is just the latest rumor trying to bring the Lakers that third great player. We cant seem to do it without letting go of Odom which defeats the purpose.

  22. I’m not trying to single anyone out here, just clarifying a point:

    When I say unsubstantiated rumors, I mean the sudden AK-Marion-Odom three way trade talk here. There are no reports of this, Utah has not suddenly started saying they are going to make a move, this is just fan fantasy. The first post of the Lakers/Suns talks at least gave a source, even if it is most likely somebody’s agent trying to revive a dead deal with some media pressure. But from there people just spin it off.

    This blog has had a summer with stupid amounts of trade talk and it is going to end until there is an actual trade in the works.

  23. Great post by Henry at True Hoop talking about Marion, his questionable work ethic and his fragile psyche:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-91/Cooked-by-the-Sun–Meet-Shawn-Marion.html

  24. Long time reader, first time posting….

    Kudos to Kurt for having such a great and informative site on the Lakers and giving us all a holistic view of the basketball world.

    Anyway, just wanted to post an article on Bynum’s development this summer. Our first glimpse on his progress before seeing him next week at camp. I’m really pulling for the kid!

    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_bynum_feature_26.3be97c1.html

  25. Wow. Amazing to see so many Laker fans reluctant to swap Marion for Odom.

    Marion posted a 20.8 PER last year, Odom posted 16.1. Marion had a better Rebounding Rate, a much lower turnover rate, and had a significantly better TS% (59.4% to 55.2%). Odom had a lot more assists. Per40, Marion had one more steal and one more block.

    In recent history, Marion’s highest PER has been 23.6 Odom has only posted as high as 17.3 since becoming a Laker.

    Going to 82games.com, Marion has a much better +/- rating. This article rates Marion as twice the defender Odom is:
    http://www.82games.com/nichols2.htm

    This article picked Marion as Defensive Player of the Year:
    http://www.82games.com/dpoy.htm

    Sure, you can raise objections with each of these. But taken altogether, you really don’t think the Lakers would get the better end of the deal with a swap?

  26. 27. On the court I think the Lakers get a slight upgrade, as I said before. But what about in the locker room? Is Marion going to whine about not getting enough shots as he is doing now. He easily feels slighted (read the True Hoop post linked to above). And, he is complaining about his MAX CONTRACT. It’s those things that would concern me.

    If I were Mitch (or whoever makes decisions in the tangled Laker front office) I would have a long talk with Phil first. This is the kind of situation he has made a reputation on, and if he thinks it will work I might go ahead with it.

    But here’s the final thing: let’s say you make an Odom/Cook for Marion trade, how many games do the Lakers win now? How many more than with just Odom? Is the reward worth the risk?

  27. the other Stephen September 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    26. i couldn’t help it–that article made me smile. i also don’t want to hear about trade rumors unless they involve me, jarrett jack, or dj strawberry. i wanna see what some defense looks like!

  28. 24. there are no reports of the ak-marion-odom 3 way deal, but there are reports of a marion-odom and marion-kirilenko deal
    Its about if the suns prefere odom+filler or kirilenko.
    If they pick odom, then if lakers would prefere marion or kirilenko (who I think is a better fit than marion, and cheaper). And of course the jazz would get that small forward they do miss

    there is no 3way trade reports but all trades have been mentioned and this one would benefit all 3 teams

  29. Not sure if anyone has seen this, but I found this article about Bynum’s rigorous training this summer. It makes for an interesting read and seems to substantiate some of what Mitch and others have said about Bynum actually taking the off-season serious for once. Even Luke Walton has a quote saying Bynum looks much improved.

    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/lakers/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_bynum_feature_26.3be97c1.html

  30. I think the three way Kwame/Bynum/Mihm battle for minutes will be the most interesting part of camp.

  31. Amit,
    Thanks for the link to Bynum’s progress. It is really the first definitive information we have received. I would love to see Bynum earn the starting spot, but I will settle for being the 1st or 2nd man off the bench.

  32. I think some of the reluctance on the part of Laker fans to accept Marion or Kirlenko stems from the fact that Odem is a much more compelling human being. The way he stared down tragedy and injury last season, playing through pain in the playoffs like a true warrior… it’s hard to be entirely rational when someone shows you what they’re really made of. And it’s even harder to look at a cry baby like Kirilenko or an ingrate like Marion and say, “Yeah, but they have the higher PER”. True, I think either of those guys would provide more on the court, but our primary star (Bryant) is already such a source of frustration off the court, that replacing Odem with another headcase would be tough.

  33. Don’t get all excited about this trade. It’s not going to happen. No way will either of these teams do anything to help each other.

    He will go either to Portland, or more likely out east.

  34. Kurt, you nailed it on the Marion issue. He would be a slight upgrade over Odom, but there is potential to damage chemistry in the locker room. This trade could be a small step forward, when the Lakers need to be making a big one to move into elite status.

    That said, I would make the trade in it’s proposed form. The team needs a change. So they might as well shake things up. I think Kobe/Marion would be shades of MJ/Pippen.

  35. 35. Thats what phil thought about Kobe/Odom. I remember reading somewhere where he said Kobe/odom reminded him of MJ/Pippen which was one of the reasons he came back to coach the Lakers.

    If you could get Marion to play at SF then it would be a good trade. But he would be replacing Odom at PF and that, in my opinion, is very lateral. I think Odom is a better defender at the 4 than Marion is.

    27. How much of those better stats come from playing with Nash in PHX in an up-tempo style. His rebounding rate is higher because there are a lot more rebounds to grab in a PHX game. His TS% is higher, but how many lobs for dunks, passes for easy baskets under the rim does Marion get a game from Nash. I personally do not think Marion is that much better than Odom, slightly better but the upgrade does not justify the increase in salary.

  36. Just a thought, I know its far fetched but…

    What if you could get Marion to opt out next year (if we traded for him) thus creating cap space to go after a player such as Brand (if he opts out) or JO or someone of that caliber. Far fetched but I liked the Idea of trading Odom for cap space earlier in the summer before Fisher signed for 4M.

  37. Things starts to develop :-
    ================
    Reality or fantasy?

    “I’m definitely interested in the Lakers,” the Phoenix Suns forward said.

    More than that, he said he talked to Kobe Bryant, and Bryant “embraced it.”
    “He wants to make it happen.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Marion&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines

  38. 34. DMO, well said.

    On a seperate note, don’ start to compare MJ/Pippen to Kobe/Marion because Marion cannot play the point forward spot, he is not a good ball handler.

  39. Re: Marion v. Odom

    Marion is a risk as a whiner, but one of the main knocks against Odom is his lack of aggression. And Marion isn’t competing with a player younger than him like Stoudamire for shots, he’s the second option behind one of the greatest scorers ever (assuming Bynum doesn’t emerge as the next Stoudamire this year). Plus, I don’t think Kobe wants to have to score as much. Look at him this summer. He was willing to pass up shots to play great defense.

    Also, I’m no master bball tactition, but Odom had trouble scoring without dribbling, while Marion is well equipped to score without getting the ball much. Isn’t the latter better suited to the triangle?

    Also, Marion can guard EVERY position on the floor. Kwame could still be our go to PF defender.

    And, even if the trade turns out even, it LOOKS like a big move to Kobe, which will hopefully pacify him. And we’d still have Bynum, Kwame’s contract and the young guards if we need to make another move. If those guys improve and a trade isn’t needed, maybe we have the big year we’ll need to prevent a trade demand next summer.

    To me, this is the best option we’ve had in a while.

  40. Oh yeah, and one more thing:

    Phil Jackson has to be one of the best coaches ever to deal with players with fragile psyches, isn’t he?

  41. Mannie Jenkins,
    You pretty much nailed everything in the Odom / Marion debate. I like Odom better as a person, but we need change and, as I said before, I actually think Marion fits better into the triangle better than Odom. I know that flies in the face of most of the commentators, but I feel most observers have a difficult time separating talent from the system in which that talent is operating. Also, most people cannot separate their affection/dislike for a person from their evaluation of that person’s talent.

    Odom has had 3 years and has done ok, but we need more than ok at this point in time and we are asking Odom to be a person his has not been his entire career. I would follow Lamar in PHX (or UTAH for that matter) with interest and affection. I wish him the best, but I now turn my attention to the Lakers.

  42. On the Odom/Marion rumor

    has anyone though about how good that trade would make the Suns? It gives them another big forward to pair with Amare, not to mention a better ball handler. Odom also will improve the Suns half court sets. The Lakers might not want to do the deal because it really makes the Suns that much better.

  43. Make sure to check out freedarko for a deeper look into Marion’s insecurities.

    Really I think he would be so welcomed in LA with more than enough of a spotlight to go around, especially during his first year, that I think he’d be content for a while at least. And really, as FD points out, I’ve never felt like his offcourt unhappiness has ever manifested itself on the floor.

  44. Please, don’t forget that Marion is playing in the fast-paced Suns with a Point Guard named Steve Nash… I honestly believe that Marion effectiveness in the triangle offense would be lower than Odom’s…

  45. marion put up his best numbers statistically when he was playing a half court offense with marbury….hes a four time all star and lamar always has A CHANCE to be one….this deal makes the lakers better but mitch idiot cupcake wont get it done

  46. KrazyAnt-

    I have to disagree about Odem improving the Suns. Marion seems a much better fit to play with Nash in that system. I agree with Carter that the Laker trade probably won’t happen, but I don’t think a Portland/Eastern conference trade is likely either. Players don’t often get traded just because they ask to be. The Suns would like to clear some of Marion’s salary (it seems absurd that he makes more than Nash or Stoudemire), but they would have to get a comparable player (or combo) for the money. Packaging Odem and Cook might work the best, in terms of what’s out there–but why lose a healthy player who can shoot, defend and rebound in favor of a player with a serious shoulder injury who is statistically inferior? Yes, chemistry is a factor and Lamar’s statline would likely be padded by playing with Nash.. And, yes, Lamar is a competent half-court player. But Phoenix rarely waits more than 6-8 seconds to shoot the ball. You don’t take risks with a team that has been as consistently good as Phoenix. Especially when you might make a division rival better in the process. Right now, the Phoenix front office is looking for something to give them that little push they need to pass the Spurs (see Grant Hill), not a revamping of their starting 5.

  47. If I’m the Suns I probably don’t trade Marion for this simple reason — they have a two year window, really. Nash is 33 and hurting, and it’s not a matter of if his game declines/back goes out, it’s when. With that small a window, I keep Marion because he is such a good fit. What I think Odom would bring the Suns is some of the interior toughness they lost with Kurt Thomas leaving, but his health status makes him a bigger risk. What may be interesting is how the obvious fear of the luxury tax impacts Phoenix: The smart on-the-court move for them is to talk to Utah about AK, but that would cost them more in the coming years. Odom is a less good fit for them but more affordable.

    Personally, if I were the Suns I’d wait Marion out.

  48. I think Mannie is exactly right on all counts. Have people worried about damaging the chemistry of the locker room forgotten all about Kobe’s summer? It can’t get much worse if we stay stagnant (although Bynum not having heard/not being concerned by Kobe’s quotes is good to hear). And Phil can massage egos and motivate his troops as well as anyone.

  49. If we try to look at Marion from the Suns viewpoint there are two key points to consider:
    1) With the trade of Thomas they lose some interior toughness in a conference where interior toughness is required. Therefore, the Suns are weaker going into this year.
    2) With Marion the Suns have not broken through into the NBA finals. Therefore, why should this year be any different?

    The Suns need a change as much as the Lakers do. Odom gives them more height, around the basket skills, and a more consistent 3pt shot at the same time. He also is an excellent ball handler and passer who can relieve some of the pressure on Steve Nash – and who loves to operate in this manner. He is a good defender and good team defender, but the Suns would lose somewhat in this category. Finally, he is a locker room team guy – just what the Suns want – with one more year on his contract than Marion has. This probably gets them past Steve Nash’s window.

    The Lakers gain a slasher and cutter who can work without the ball and finish at the hoop. He is also a world class defender who can relieve Kobe of the need to always guard the other team’s best weapon. He is also excellent at guarding the passing lanes and reading the ball movement.

    Sounds like both teams get exactly what they are looking for. I agree that the Suns could get better, but the Lakers also make a jump AND they have a more traditionally aligned squad – easier to trade into and out of this rotation structure. When trades are this balanced they have a real chance of happening.

    Looking at Marion’s past, I still think he would fit the triangle better than Odom. And his contract is one year less so that we have more options next summer. I would love to include Cook in this deal and take on one of our summer signings for development.

  50. 51. Just one small note of correction, Marion is actually the better shooter from three. Odom is a career 31.7% guy, Marion 34.2%. Last season Neither was all that great, Odom at 29.7% and Marion at 31.7%.

  51. One more quick note: Nobody has really talked about what I thought was the most interesting part of the post — Odom is not yet healthy. He will be limited in training camp and may not be ready for Houston opening night.

    That is huge. First because it is a setback for the Lakers. Second, if you were Phoenix, would you still make this trade? Wouldn’t you wait to see how Odom recovers (at the very least)?

  52. yeah…im starting to get the feeling that [if there is talk between the Lakers and the Suns] the Suns will hold out until deadline, or explore other options now.

    A few thoughts regarding marion:

    - I think Marion is a good fit for us, but I have the feeling that if he comes to the Lakers, him and Farmar will spend a lot of time on the court together. I’m not sure Fisher and him would mesh well together on the court.

    - Would Marion play PF? Would Phil want him to become a Rodman replica? Will he play a lot of SF? This could be a problem…because we can’t afford a hole at the PF position unless Phil is willing to start Ronny.

    - We wouldn’t miss Odom playing point forward. I think Luke is a better facilitator.

    - A good dc with Marion and LO/Cook out?
    PG Farmar / Fish / Sasha
    SG Kobe / Evans / Sasha
    SF Marion /Luke / Vlad
    PF Ronny / Vlad
    C Bynum / Kwame / Mihm

    If Bynum and Mihm do well together, I say you trade Kwame out for a powerforward.

  53. If I was a conspiracy theorist, and sometimes I am, I might suggest that the Suns would like this sort of rumor, as it is just this sort of situation that has set Kobe off in the past. Another “failed trade” timed just before training camp. Delicious.

    Kobe + Marion = The Locker Room of our Discontent.

    Marion is better suited to scoring without the ball? So you are taking your (even-more) expensive second option and parking him at a spot on the floor? In the Suns offense, Marion can fill space and Nash can find him. In the triangle, he is supposed to be in a certain spot, then read and react. A certain kind of freelancing is good, but its very different than the Suns style. In the triangle you would want Marion putting the ball on the floor more and creating, probably much much more than we have ever seen him asked to do.

    On the court, I think its a wash. Nothing Marion has showed me indicates he would be great in the triangle. I don’t really have counter-indication either, but is he a better fit than Odom? Unclear. It would be cool to see Lamar in the Suns system though. I think you are trading a 5 tool guy for another 5 tool guy, but even though the 5 tool guy you are getting is better, the peaks of his 5 tools don’t necessarily fall into better places. And then all that to go further into salary cap hell.

  54. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I don’t see Marion as just a slight upgrade. One has been a long-shot, but debatable MVP candidate, and the other struggles to get into the all-star conversation. I’m thinking Laker’s fans are overvaluing their own players.

    Just wanted to respond to a few things ryan said and get out of the way:

    “His rebounding rate is higher because there are a lot more rebounds to grab in a PHX game.”

    That’s not how Rebound Rate works. It’s the percentage of rebounds grabbed out of those available. It’s specifically designed to avoid the problem you mention.

    “His TS% is higher, but how many lobs for dunks, passes for easy baskets under the rim does Marion get a game from Nash.”

    Perhaps. His TS% did improve when Nash arrived. On the other hand, he also turned 26 and started entering his prime — when many players see increases in efficiency. It’s hard to say how much credit each factor deserves.

  55. First,
    Kurt,mea culpa. I posted an imaginary idea to please those preferring AK to the Trix that was half sarcastic.(BTW are there two better nicknames in the NBA?)
    Second,
    Marion offers so much at what the Lakers need help in(perimeter D,help D,esp weakside shot-blocking,rebounding,esp offensive rebounds w/putbacks,crowd rousing dunks,slashing to the basket for lobs and putting pressure on other team’s D that they cannot solely focus on Kobe,better 3pt shooting0,that a trade for Odom would be a huge plus for the Lakers-IF. If Mitch and Co. had another trade locked up that would get them the playmaker the team would need.
    While I agree Walton is a smart player and can read the defense and make the right pass,possibly even seeing something that most player can’t,he doesn’t have the ability to get past his man on the perimeter,penetrate,draw in the defense and then pass out to now open Lakers. I just don’t see Lakers trading Lamar for basketball reasons unless they have another playmaker lined up.

  56. we should get marion.

    this says it all.
    lakertime.blogspot.com

  57. John R.,
    You forget what the triangle is. It is an offense of motion and Lamar is one of the reasons it boggs down in LA. He stands still and waits for something to happen. Marion is always cutting to get his angles and shots, much like Walton – that’s why I used the Walton comparison earlier. That is exactly why I feel he would be a better fit than Lamar.

    I really have nothing further to say about this so I will try to shut up and wait out the time until training camp starts.

  58. If healthy, Odom would be a monster on the Suns. They make out big in that trade.

  59. if i were the suns, i won’t trade Marion. LA would be my last choice if i had too, since it’s very likely to see LA in the first round of playoffs. 3 vs. 6 seems very likely, but 2 vs. 7 is also a good possibility. Then you’d have a fired up Marion (dangerous) vs. Odom (if he’s still healthy at that point). Ouch.

    for the lakers, i just don’t see anyone playing 4 who would be a significant upgrade… KG, TD, Boozer, and others who can be ‘significant’ are franchise players nobody would like to part with. Kirilenko and Marion, at best, would be a ‘minor’ upgrade, each brining with them new holes to deal with.

    also, i think Kobe is OK with Odom. maybe there are words that haven’t got out, or maybe he specifically mentioned other players he wants to play with that would replace Odom, but as much as i’ve heard about him longing to play with Kidd (1) and thinking that Bynum (5) is overrated, he has yet to mention Odom or even Walton… so the front office thing will not be of great help either. friendshipwise, the addition of Fisher didn’t seem to help, so that’s out as well.

  60. The follow up story in the Sporting News has Suns officials saying the trade has been discussed but the Lakers are balking at Marion’s extension, which would be three years at about $65 million.

  61. I find it interesting that Kobe gets trashed when he speaks – then he gets trashed again when he doesn’t speak. We fickle fans want what we want when we want it and have problems with anyone who doesn’t do our bidding. How is that any different from the ‘spoiled’ athletes we are talking about?

    Sorry about my not shutting up.

  62. Here’s the question, with Marion at the 3 instead of Odom, and Bynum at the 5 instead of Mihm, is Kwame more likely to fit in at the 4? This would solve a lot of problems. 2 headed horse at the forwards in terms of rebounding. Good enough interior defense to cover up Bynum’s weakness there. Takes offensive pressure off of Kwame, and defensive pressure off of Bynum. I think that Bynum will score a lot of points if he’s given a bit of a free ride on the defensive end.

  63. When you see his shooting form, you wonder how he made the HIGH SCHOOL team–but he makes 81% of his free throws. Bottom line–he knows the game. Phil would never call him a slug.

    I’m amazed that the discussion has gone this far–but it makes sense.

    Shawn Marion for Lamar Odom would definitely change the Lakers–for the better.

  64. 3 years at $65 million for Shawn Marion in his mid-thirties (33-35, if I’m not mistaken)? That extension is an absolute joke. Say what you will about Mitch, but any GM who wouldn’t balk at that number should be heading the Minnesota front office. Marion relies on his athleticism as much as any player in the league. His numbers are already in decline. He’ll be better than Lamar Odem for a while, but what about in 5 years? And what would that number do to our free agent prospects in the post-kobe-domination era? Take Marion at his current contract or don’t take him at all.

  65. 64. It works on paper, but remember two years ago the Lakers tried this and Mihm and Kwame didn’t play well together, primarily because Kwame never fit in well at the 4. I might tinker with it in the preseason, but it is highly unlikely Marion would be here in the preseason.

    65. DrRayeye (hope your well); I’m not convinced it’s gone as far as some think. Marion has clearly said he wanted to be traded, and the Lakers and Suns talked last week, pretty much every media outlet has that verified. But only one reporter at the Sporting News has an “inside source” that put the deal at 50/50 and that the Lakers are worried about the extension. I wonder what the motive of that source is — someone from Marion’s camp trying to push the deal through? Maybe I’m wrong, but none of the LA beat writers have anything on this, meaning Lakers sources are quiet.

    66. Marion would be 30-33 during the extension. It is a very good question how the Lakers put much around the Marion/Kobe combo with both having max deals for the next four years (if you extend Marion).

  66. Chise, excellent find on that article about Bynum. It sounds like he was doing rigorous training that NFL players accomplish in the offseason. I’m glad he said, “he wants to be the best center in the game.” A lot of the time I see Bynum being passive and not emotional. As he gets better acquainted to the league and establishes his ability to belong I think his confidence will carry him the rest of the way.

    btw…
    Marion to the Lakers is all good and nice to improve the Lakers in the regular season but Odom is better suited to handle the big PF’s that will always be in the playoffs. The only reason to trade for Marion is to appease Kobe. However it seems that he’s calmed down for the most part and unless the Lakers falter this season a trade is not necessary unless they can give up a pu pu platter headed by Kwame.

    I’m excited for the season and hope Odom recovers from his injury as soon as possible.

    GOOOOOO LAKERS!

  67. Just wondering, what is an ideal extension for Marion? $15mil, $17 mil, $20 mil, max? I think $17 mil/yr with a player option in the third year sounds reasonable. How about $17 mil, with incentives to get to $20 mil/year sound?

  68. I’m in the camp against trading for Marion. The tools are all there, but like John R. said… do they really fit better than Odom’s? I don’t think that either really mesh perfectly with Kobe’s game, and unless a true court general emerges from our PG corp, our triangle will always have that occasional hiccup.
    ALSO, along the lines of what DMo said… Lamar already proved last season, he will run through the wall for this team. You can’t put a price on that type of attitude.

  69. @70: Exactly. That’s my biggest complaint about trading Odom in that he has been such a warrior. He owned Marion pretty much in the playoffs the last two years as well. Like I said before, and someone else has mentioned, unless you get Marion for Kwame, Farmar, filler, it doesn’t significantly upgrade the team.

    If Odom can stay healthy this year, a big if I know, we should see the player we’ve been waiting for. That said, I do think they need to move him to the 3 because I think him playing out of position is contributing to the injury problems. If Bynum, Kwame, or Mihm can put together a decent platoon at center, then I’d start Ronny at the 4 for now and either try to sign PJ Brown or look to trade for a defensive minded 4. Odom needs to not have to bang down low with the likes of Boozer, Duncan, etc.

  70. 65- I agree with you drraye. Marion fills two essential needs of the lakers. 1. he can relive kobe of defending the top perimeter player. 2. he can hit the mid-range jump shot.

    Odom cannot shoot the ball well enough to create the proper spacing withing the triangle. Marion would create more open space for kobe, and also allow Bynum to have the post to himself. I love to watch Odom play, but his injuries, and the fact that he hasnt improved his right hand and his jump shot in almost 10 seasons means (as denny green would say) he is what he is. Marion also is what he is, and that is a better fit for the lakers.

    I would start Ronny at the 4 and let vlad back him up

    Bynum/Brown/Mihm
    Turiaf/Vlad
    Marion/Walton
    Kobe/Evans
    Fisher/Farmar/Critt

    Thats 50+ wins, and if they gel, a possible run in the playoffs.

    Too bad we probably wont make the trade

  71. Travis Y,
    I too liked the article on Bynum. Regarding Bynum’s passivity…Remember our sports coverage always spotlights the bold and brassy plays and players. There have been so really quiet assassins in the NBA that are just not given enough credit. Two that I followed through college and the NBA are Jamal Wilkes and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Bynum seems to have that kind of personality and, remember, Kareem is tutoring him. Read through the John Wooden guidelines and you will see that he preaches never getting too high, nor too low – just go out there and put you foot on your opponent’s neck – then press down.

  72. Another point about Marion (sorry if its been made already). Lets say the lakers dont sign marion to an extension. That’s gonna free up huge amounts of cap space, allowing for great sign and trade possibilities next summer. Also, if Kobe leaves too, then thats damn near 40 million in cap space. not bad if they really do have to start over.

  73. For the record, while i’ve pointed out all the potential dangers of a Marion deal, if Phil signed off on it I would make the trade. Then I’d try hard to reduce the amount Marion gets in his extension, because you’re going to need that money.

  74. Hi Kurt,

    I saw quite a few Marion links last night–including an Adande writeup that made this sound serious. When Mitch said (on the radio) that there would be no trades before the start of camp, it was read by many as “no trades” at all. Maybe not.

    I think that the pressure cooker is at least making the front office sweat and consider possibilities they might not have considered before.

  75. 76. I have to hope the Laker FO is seriously considering it, but while there are a lot of links most of the news seems to be repeated from the Sporting News or the Arizona paper on top of the issue (which said today the Suns were not going to make a move).

    If I’m the Lakers, I want to get Marion in before camp to start learning the offense. That said (and as I mentioned before) if I’m Phoenix I’m not doing this deal until I see Odom play in half a dozen games and look completely healthy. They can’t afford to trade Marion for damaged goods. So if this happens I think it’s at least a few weeks into the season, if not farther along.

  76. Hey guys, first time poster here dropping in a few thoughts…

    I really like what Marion would bring to the team in terms of defense and rebounds although i wouldnt call his contribution a drastic improvement over what Lamar already does. But here’s how I see the big picture: Kobe is known to preserve himself on the defensive end so he plays a lot of 1-man zone and stuff like that. Having Marion on the team would, in all likelihood, increase the scoring load on Kobe therefore making Kobe even more likely to conserve his energy on defense to shoulder the increased load.

    I just don’t think there’s much improvement to be had at the PF position for the Lakers. What we really need is a real big man who can score and defend the paint. A viable #3 scoring option that can also play a little D would significantly improve the Lakers on both sides of the court. Taking some of the load off offensive would, no doubt, get Kobe back into the mix on defense. I really feel that if Kobe can relax a bit on the offensive end, we’ll see a lot more of the defense that’s earned him all of those 1st team all defensive awards.

  77. Locke- welcome, good post. however, i disagree with you about marion forcing kobe to shoulder the load more. Right now, Lamar creates several mismatches, but to me, he is essentially a jack of all trades, master of none. Bringing in Marion gives us a guy that can do a couple things very well. With the way the leauge is headed , having specialized players is the thing to do. This is what Cleveland has done with lebron and its working.

  78. I believe that Bynum, as young as he is, can provide some scoring, and may even draw an occasiional double team. The problem with Bynum is interior defense. This is why Marion at the SF with a defensively minded PF could work. Kobe then has to trust that Bynum and Marion can provide enough scoring ad he could play a little more intensely on defense. Kobe and Marion could easily be Jordan and Pippen defensively. What we want is a team like San Antonio that wins scoring 90 to 95 points a game. Kobe needs to be our Duncan. 25 to 30 points a game ad the team leader. Kobe at 25 points, 6 assists, 6 boards, 4 steals. Marion at 17, 2, 12, and 3. Bynum, 12 points, 2 assists, 6 boards, 2 blocks. Turiaf with 8, 1, 6, 2. Fisher with 10, 5, 2, 1 . These are not unrealiastic numbers, and that yields 72 points from the starting lineup. Another 20 or so from the bench and you win games, provided the team play D. This is a damn good defensive lineup:

    PG: Fisher/Farmar/Crit
    SG: Kobe/Evans/Sasha
    SF: Marion/Luke
    PF: Turiaf/Kwame/Vlad
    C: Bynum/Mihm/Kwame

    The weak links defensively are Fisher and Bynum, but Kobe and Marion can be defensive stoppers, and have to step uo to cover these weaknesses. I wisk Kwame was reliable at the 4, because that would be great defensive starting lineup with him at the 4. But we must remember that by the trading deadline we might get another piece by trading Kwame’s expiiring. Marion gets us close, if we’re willing to play him at the 3, and seek deals from there.

  79. Craig W. (73)- For an example of another player that just goes out quietly every night and gets the job done. Tim Duncan; not flashy, not vocal, shows very little (if any) emotion, but is probably the best player in the league along with Kobe right now.

  80. 80. I think this discussion will come up a lot in the next month (or three), but I think which PG plays at the end of the game will depend on matchup and situation. For example, Lakers are down one point with one minute left, Fisher plays because he can hit the big clutch shot. Lakers are up 8 with two minutes to go, play Farmar because of his defense. That may or may not be how it ends up working in practice, but I’d try things like that out in the preseason.

  81. Craig W. I see what you’re saying, it is pretty evident that Kareem has imposed some of the demeanor onto Bynum and it appears he has a good head on his shoulders. The big difference is I see either frustration or indifference when I see Bynum play. It’s probably because Coach Jackson has him on a short leash, he still doesn’t know how to guard without fouling (either block or foul), and because the refs in the league aren’t giving him the benefit of the doubt as seasoned vets a la Duncan get all the time. With improved point guard defense Bynum will be in better defensive position.

    Hopefully the Lakers can help Bynum out by tightening up the perimeter defense on the quick penetrators. With Smush you had a player that kept cheating and going for the steal instead of playing team defense and staying in front of his man. That is where this team needs to improve this year. If Kobe brings that same intensity on defense that he showed at the FIBA tournament and also having Farmar and Fish busting their butts fighting through screens I have no doubt that the defense improves and the Lakers have a great chance at winning games.

    About the Marion trade… people forget how important Luke is to the offense and brings great ball movement and flow to the offense. Look up his PER, people only see stats and want Marion to score. Remember the Lakers play the triangle and play disciplined basketball.

  82. Latest on word on the Shawn Marion-for-Lamar Odom swap

    it seems now the Lakers don’t want to pay Shawn Marion his lengthy extension.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn…c.php?t=277969

  83. Travis Y,
    When looking at Bynum you have to realize he is still only 19yrs old and does not have 9yrs of extensive exposure to basketball behind him. Frustration for a 19yr old in a situation that is very stressful and not very friendly is to be expected. There are very few Lebron’s around and he was in organized basketball programs for 8yrs before he was drafted. Add in Phil Jackson’s preference for vets and you have quite a tough environment for him to succeed in. That is why Jabbar’s assistance was so vital. Of course he could have gone to Utah and that would have been worse, but you see my point.

    These reasons and Andrew’s continued work and improvement are reasons I cut the guy a little slack.

  84. 81- I feel that they idea that Duncan is not emotional is a complete media fabrication. He is constantly complaining to the refs, and makes the most annoying faces I’ve ever seen displayed on the court. Just picture that stupid dumbfounded expression he makes after being called for a foul. Why he hasn’t been called out for that is a mystery to me.

  85. Craig re post 86, doesn’t Bynum’s lack of experience concern you from the perspective that he may not have a passion for the game? It seems that he was not that interested in basketball growing up; if he doesn’t develop that passion that will put an artificial ceiling on how good he will get.

  86. Off topic question. It appears that everyone continuously forgets about the existence of Vlad Radmanovic. He was the Lakers big acquisition last summer and at 5 million a year i really wish I heard his name come up more often. Is there any news on his shoulder and how he has recovered from that injury? How about the tendons in his shooting hand that are the supposed reason for his struggles? Should we be expecting to see him nail 3′s all season or should I start praying for some good offensive rebounding?

  87. Sorry for 2 posts back-to-back, but after reading some more of the posts above I have realized everyone is missing a very important point. HOW MANY GAMES HAS LAMAR ODOM MISSED AND HOW MANY WILL HE CONTINUE TO MISS? The trade questions have nothing to do with who fits better, but who will last longer. Every year thus far since the Shaq trade has been plagued with injury. Things seem to be going alright until Odom messes up his shouler, Vlad goes snowboarding, or even Tomjanovich not being able to last a full season on a winning team leaving the assistant coaches leading the Lakers to a 2-16 finish. Thank you again, does anyone have different thoughts on this?

  88. exhelodrvr,
    I would worry more except for his family. I compare him to people to come to their talent later in life. Again, I have to go back to our obsession with youth sports, pushing kids, and putting kids on pedestals early in life. We equate passion with overt aggressive action and brashness. Passion is much deeper than that and is something that is often acquired. I usually became interested in something, then practiced it, then I got passionate about it. The passion often wasn’t there before I started getting good at it.

    Andrew has a family background that is apparently much less intense than we imagine Kobe’s was. Because of his size and agility he was automatically good in high school basketball. It is only with the NBA that his weaknesses were really exposed. Unlike many young prodigies, Andrew does not appear to feel he is entitled to success, but has to work at it. This often translates, in an anxious public, as passivity.

  89. Vlad is a typical player that thrives off of his offense. When that isn’t going for him his confidence is shaken and then he brings no contribution to his team. While playing with the Lakers he hasn’t been able to drive and play an individual game b/c the Lakers run the triangle. He’s a terrific shooter but still hasn’t found a way to flourish in the offense (catch, shoot, and fill spots) so until he finds a way to contribute let him get healthy as soon as possible and see if he can redeem himself.

    I know Odom keeps getting injured but the fact remains that he gives his all when he’s on the court. His child passed away last year and he still played with fire under his belly. That’s why I respect him as a player and give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Although getting Marion would be nice check out Bill Simmons last bball blog on how much Marion has played the past 3-4 years. With all the playoff minutes he’s been logging how much longer will his body endure? Like other analysts have said Marion thrives off of energy and extreme athleticism. With all the minutes he’s played and the duress that his body has been going through (turning 30 this year) how many years of his prime are left and are we willing to pay $20+ million for it.
    Just some things to consider.

  90. Craig W. I agree that Duncan is emotional, but i was just pointing out that he is very professional, calm, collective. He is not a flashy player. But I do know that look though, the one thats saying, “you’re calling me for the foul, come on I wasn’t even in the arena”.

    Travis Y. (92). You make a good point about how much longer Marion will be able to thrive based off of his athleticism.

  91. The High School All American Team is right on… I’ve seen most of those kids play in high school and each one of them deserves to be on that list.

    DaJuan Wagner was one of the best scorers ever, Felipe Lopez put HS bball on the map.

    Good read

  92. Mike in the Mountain West September 28, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Like a couple of other people who have posted, I’m flabbergasted at the lukewarm reaction a Marion/Odom trade is getting. By every statistical measure Marion is superior. These players are on two completely different tiers. Marion was the 29th best player ranked by PER. Odom was ranked 89th. Plus analysts that I respect, the guys at 82games.com and John Hollinger are high on Marion. Hollinger thinks he was the best player on the suns in 05-06 when Nash won MVP, and he was 82games pick for defensive player of the year!

    Nash is over-rated and should never have won his first MVP, yet Marion is the “third” option on his team and gets mentioned in trade talks like he’s expendable. No wonder the guy feels underappreciated… He is! If you read the TrueHoop blog post about Marion you’ll see that Henry confirms no one would miss him all that much.

    Hollinger say’s it best :

    “2005-06 season: Marion led the Suns in points, blocks, rebounds, steals and minutes, and narrowly missed leading in field-goal percentage. He was by acclimation the team’s best defender, on a club whose improved defense was a major surprise in the first half of the season. So, of course, one of his teammates won the MVP award and all he got was one piddly fifth-place vote.

    Marion, along with Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko, represents a specific type of underrated player in the NBA — the kind that can dominate a game while hardly touching the ball. Our eyes focus on the players who have the rock in their hands, and as a result players like Marion don’t get much attention. When Marion has the ball, it’s usually only briefly — he either gets the ball in his hands and outlets it, or catches the ball on the perimeter and shoots it, or gather an alley-oop and dunks it. You won’t see any isolation plays being run for him, or Marion trying to break down a defender off the dribble.

    But Marion is a true example of substance over style. He filled the stat sheet with 21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.7 blocks and 52.5 percent shooting, with his PER ranking 12th overall and third among small forwards, just a hair behind Paul Pierce. His playing style may not fit our normal definition of what a star is, but at this point Marion is unquestionably one of the best players in the league — and, I would heretically argue, was the Suns’ best player in 2005-06. ”

    Odom will never be that good. He’s got great heart but he’s injury prone and just lacks the talent.

    My guess is that if Marion came he would be embraced by the fans and he would be our clear #2 guy. He would get much much more of the praise he deserves here in LA than he has in Pheonix so I’m not worried about bad attitude issues. His friendship with Kobe would also be a big help.

    To me this is a no-brainer, especially if we get to keep some of our other trade assets like Bynum and Kwame.

  93. Mike,

    No doubt Marion is the better player. Hands down. I think the reaction is a 3 factor issue:

    1. He’s older and has more wear than LO (though you could argue that Odom never finishes a season anyway so that may be moot)
    2. He wants a big extension that isn’t worth it for player that isn’t a 1st-option franchise guy and may be on the decline
    3. He’s a frickin’ Sun

  94. If we can get Marion for Odom and Cook, we should definitely do it. But let’s remember, we’re not the Suns, we’re not playing small ball. Marion must play the 3 in the Lakers’ system Marion is Kobe’s Pippen. The real problem with the post Shaq Lakers has always been the 4 position. We don’t need a star here, we need a guy who can a) play significant minutes without getting tired; b) create havoc on the boards, not necessarily rack up large rebounding numbers; c) Defend the post well, not suberbly, just well enough that help can come without having to get burned on the other end before the rotation. f we get Marion, finding our starting 4 is the nest step.

  95. paul (97). I agree I think is the superior player. But the problem with this trade is that he is replacing our starting 4 and I don’t like Marion at the 4 in the triangle. I think Odom is better at the 4 than Marion is. If the Lakers can find a way to play Marion at the 3 then I really like the trade but I don’t see a starting 4 on our team besides Odom.

  96. Sorry for the double post but just one more thought. Why would the suns do a trade of Odom for Marion. I would think that they could do much better if they were trading Marion. Maybe a deal with NJ. Marion for Jefferson + filler. Jefferson would fit in better in that system. The only reason that I can think of for why they would rather have Odom is that they think that he can relieve Nash of some play making responsibility, saving him more for the playoffs.

  97. A- Odom’s health is a really undeniable factor here

    B- Regardless of A, this is still going to look like it was the fault of the Lakers not pulling the trigger because they’re being stingy even though the Suns are the ones that shoulda been wary.

    We can’t win!

    (I’m saying stingy because that’s how it’ll look, not trying to dismiss the important salary cap considerations)

  98. We are making an assumption here that Phoenix will make this deal with the Lakers. From other blogs and articles I have read this is not considered the best deal Phoenix could make, should they want to trade Marion. It is not even in the top 10. As Odom has gotten older and his injury jinx continued, his perceived value has gone down. This may well not be Phoenix’s position, but it is that of those looking in from the outside.

    Should Bynum continue to develop and Vlade come back to form – not very large ifs – we may need Odom’s talents more than we perceive today.

  99. Salary cap or none. Get Marion, he’s a better player. Furthermore, if you get Marion, we have a better chance of bringing of Webber on board for the veteran’s minimum. Lastly, if Baron Davis still doesn’t have an extension by the trade deadline, I’m sure we can get him for Kwame, Vald, and Fish. Now you have a starting lineup.

    Baron Davis, Kobe Bryant, Shawm Marion, Chris Weber, Andrew Bynum.

    Drew will do fine with these guys.

  100. Paul,
    You CANNOT run a business in the red for a number of years and remain in existence. The luxury tax finally brought Mark Cuban into line here and he has far, far more money than the Buss family.

    Marion AND Baron Davis – yikes! – you would have to print money to afford that for very long.

    Oh yes! If any of our youngsters pans out (and many observers think the Lakers have some good, young players) you would not be able to pay them. This quickly becomes New York toilet time.

  101. Craig,
    We don’t know what the revenues are for the Buss family off the Lakers to know what they can and can’t afford. We do know that their last local broadcasting rights deal was big enough to boost the MLE a couple million dollars.
    I can think of several reasons to make a Lamar for Marion deal.
    1) It makes Kobe happy as it shows team is willing to make moves to get better.
    2)The Lamar era has not been successful so far. If it’s time to move Lamar,Marion gives the most right-now talent.
    3)It solidifies the line-up. Right now the Lakers don’t know where to start Lamar and as a result don’t have either a starting SF or PF. Marion would be a SF,concentrating Laker efferts to straighten out their big situation.
    4)It would open up trade possibilities later in the season as well as the possibility of huge cap room next summer. Tell Shawn they aren’t extending and he exercises his option. Combine w/Kwame,Evans and Sasha all expiring and the Lakers can be players in next Summers’ deep FA class.

  102. This is why my pen’s ink is reserved for deals like this…

    First, the Suns have the “urge” to trade the Matrix for some Locker-room peace and most of all financial flexibility. Not to mention that Odom will be a downgrade they would be very much be willing to make (if its a downgrade at all for them and their system).

    Second, Marion offers cap flex for the Lakers too. While he may seek that sick 65M extension, I think being the TRUE 2nd option in LA, he can be talked down to a “reasonable” extension. One that pays 50M in 3 years. Remember, early next year, Lamar will ask for that extension as well. It wont be the Max, but it will be nearer. If we could do that with Marion, why do it for Odom?

    Third, Marion gives the Lakers a legit 2nd option to ease Kobe’s burden on offense. Kobe and Phil will sign on this deal knowing what Marion brings to the table. Kobe can be the playmaker once more and Marion can be the recipient of all those passes and shots that Odom and Kwame will normally pass up on.

    Fourth, Marion gives the Lakers a chance to play Bynum. As it has been said, we can revisit the “Kwame at 4″ project or flip him to another team for a legit PF – giving Mihm a crack at the center once more, with Bynum now having a chance to show the world his stuff.

    I can always find many teams most-willing to take on Kwame in exchange for a decent 4. One would be Sacramento’s Kenny Thomas or Seattle’s Chris Wilcox.

    Fifth, this will effectively give the Lakers 2 very good players off the bench – Walton and Fisher. Luke will come off as the team playmaker / facilitator as Fish comes off for Farmar for those meaningful minutes.

    Sixth, I bet a crack at CWebb or PJ Brown will be easier to negotiate to play the 4. Both are true PFs and are veterans of the league.

    Seventh, the price difference between Odom and Marion is negated by the fact that we would possibly get rid of Cook’s dead weight on the process. That for me, is a significant change in the payroll. Spin him off in the deal and acquire Strawberry in the deal as well. That might work well.

    And as for Marion fitting in the TRI, I don’t think basketball-smart players will have more than a month to acquaint themselves of this system. The camp and the whole of November will be enough for the adjustment. By no means is he a Slug.

    P.S. The Suns will be a better team too. I think us getting better is STILL more important than being concerned of how good they will become. As long as we can get out of our playoff woes, I frankly don’t care how the Suns do.

  103. The way Warren breaks it down there is kinda hard to argue with. If the trade was Cook/LO for Marion/Strawberry, and you were able to turn Kwame into a Wilcox type player, that might not be such a bad trade. That’s all contingent on getting the 4 though. I’d still prefer to keep Odom and look for another 4 (Wilcox, PJ Brown, etc.)

    That said, I like what Stephen said as well. If you get Marion, I wouldn’t give him more than a 2-3 year extension in the 14 mill per range. He’s not worth 17 and definitely not 20. If he balks at that, let him walk. If him and Kwame come off at the same time, that’s a lot of cap room.

  104. Warren,
    I think an overall better deal would be Kwame,Evans a second and cash,or an 09 First,to Seattle for Thomas,West and Wilkins. Wilcox is another talent tease. He has it,but won’t use it game in,game out.
    Thomas is a decent vet PF w/an expiring contract who can give solid minutes,freeing the C for Mihm and Bynum,and who can play some C if small ball is needed.
    Delonte West is the kind of PG Phil likes,big,smart,plays good D,hits the 3pt shot at an acceptable ave,has the ability to score big if needed.Allows Fisher to come off bench where he’s matched up against other team’s second PG so Fisher’s D is not such a liability.
    Damien Wilkins plays D,passes decently and can score on the drive.Has a much better all-around game than Evans and gives Phil somebody off bench who will play D on the quicker SG/SFs.Played very well when injuries put him into starting SF role in Seattle.
    BTW,I’d do this even w/out a trade for Marion-or Kirilenko. A lineup of West,Kobe,Wilkins,Lamar and Mihm would be much quicker,much better defensively.

    These guys won’t make any All-Star teams,but they are the kind of solid,productive NBA players the Lakers need to start getting so that when they add the second-or third-elite player,they don’t have to waste a couple of yrs building a supporting cast.

  105. We have to admit, other than Kwame being a decent-enough defender and a huge expiring contract, he sits next to untradeable.

    However, there might be some teams that will be willing to take on him for a mere 1-yr rental and let him come off the books next season. Such teams are those that are also trying to part with unnecessary veterans that hamper the rebuilding process – such teams and players are the ones we need as well.

    I use the example of Seattle and Minnesota. After blowing up the whole team by the respective blockbusters, these teams are set for the future. 4 years wouldn’t be so far to see knowing that Al Jefferson is prepared to dominate and Durant seems NBA-ready with batteries included. So with this, both teams could use the additional cap space for more cap flex.

    Assuming they do not mind dealing with us, Minny still has some veterans with contracts spanning 3-4 years in guaranteed dough. LA could explore this willingness to move some players in exchange for a “mere” expiring contract in Kwame and Sasha and Evans – Blount (C), Howard (PF), Hassell (SF), Davis (SG), Jaric (PG).

    As for Seattle, Wilcox for me seems promising at PF/C. Wilkins also interests me but we are somewhat G/F loaded already. Perhaps Ridnour can be had and be swung to another team like Miami for Haslem (another decent 4).

    The 3-way looks like this:
    LA gets: Haslem and Wilcox
    Seattle gets: Kwame + 08 2nd from LA and Doleac
    Miami gets: Brian Cook and Ridnour

    These are merely options. Even without a Marion trade we still get better. Much more so if we do the Marion trade then Cook would be replaced by Vlade Radman or a combo of Sasha and Evans…