Lakers Season Preview

Kurt —  October 28, 2007

Last Years Record: 42-40
Key Additions: Derek Fisher; getting rid of Smush Parker (a clear case of addition by subtraction); Javaris Crittenton

Jean Dixon couldn’t predict what will happen to this year’s Lakers, so let’s just try to answer your questions.

Is it possible to go a few days without being bombarded with Kobe-centric headlines?
Good luck with that. Kobe sells. Kobe fills phone lines for talk shows. Kobe is an easy fallback for a columnist who doesn’t feel like being creative that day. Whether or not there is anything to report, Kobe will get headlines. Trust me, as sick as you may be of all the Kobe talk/columns, Lakers fans are more so. My advice — get used to it.

Still, we need to cover this ground, so let’s get out of the way the conversation about Kobe and the Summer Of Our Discontent. Kobe’s summer rants — in overarching theme — could have been good, prodding a very cautious front office that a needed reminder (or a kick in the ass) that his shelf-life is limited. But alas, Kobe went about this with the subtlety and class of a Dane Cook performance. He treated Andrew Bynum like Shaq used to treat him. He created his own firestorm. We don’t really need to rehash all this again, do we?

Is Kobe going to be traded this season?
Maybe. I don’t know, I doubt Mitch Kupchak or Jim Buss know, and Ric Bucher certainly doesn’t know. Nobody does, really. What we do know is Jerry Buss is not going to panic and trade Kobe for Troy Hudson and an expiring contract. He’s going to wait for the other guy to panic — a GM of a team that thought it was a contender but realizes now it isn’t; or a GM who realizes he needs to blow up his team and rebuild and will send a superstar to the Lakers.

So, the cloud of the Kobe summer thunderstorm will follow the Lakers this season like they were Joe Btfsplk. Kobe is too competitive to pull a Vince Carter in Toronto, but how he and the team deals with the constant questions and distraction will be a key to the season. Especially when the Lakers get off to a slow start (the first month schedule is brutal and the Lakers will be without Lamar Odom for much of it).

Despite all the drama, can the Lakers be any good?
Yes — if everything goes right for them. That means staying healthy (which they are not to start the season), showing a commitment to defense that was lacking last year, and the bench continuing to outplay other teams.

Defense really is at the heart of the Lakers problems. By any measure the Lakers scored plenty last season (they were fifth in points per game at 103.3 and seventh in the league in points scored per possession, 108.2 per 100 possessions). The problem was they gave up as many points as they scored (Los Angeles was 24th in points per game allowed at 103.4 and 25th in the league in points allowed up per possession, 109 per 100 possessions). It’s pretty simple — if you give up as many points as you score, you’re a .500 team. I don’t care how many points you score.

If the Lakers are to improve this season they will have to give up fewer points — meaning better defensive play at the point and in the paint, plus better defensive rotations. At the point, I think they will get that. First, Smush Parker and his matador defense are now allowing point guards free trips to the hoop in Miami. Then, due to some fortune and some generosity of spirit by the Utah Jazz, Derek Fisher fell to the Lakers. Understand, Fisher is no defensive stopper, but he has veteran savvy that gets some key steals and takes some key charges. Behind Fish (and playing as many or more minutes) will be the gym-rat Jordan Farmar, who has bulked up this year and looked good defensively in the preseason. Behind them both is the rookie Crittenton, who also has looked good on defense in the preseason.

In the paint, well, we shall see. Andrew Bynum enters his third year with a much more fit and ready physique, plus more explosiveness. But the question is can he rid himself of the mental lapses that plagued him. If he fixes them, he could be quite good. Kwame Brown comes back with even a better physique than Bynum and the attention span of a gnat. Maybe a contract year motivates him — and maybe he catches all those passes that hit him in the hands and deflect out of bounds — but I wouldn’t bet money on that. Chris Mihm is, well, Chris Mihm. And not one fully back from the injury that kept him out all of last year.

The biggest strength of the Lakers — after Kobe — is the depth this year. When healthy Lakers will roll out a second unit of Farmar, Maurice Evans, Luke Walton, Vladamir Radmanovic and Andrew Bynum. That’s a lineup that can score and will pull away from virtually every other second unit in the league (they have been the best part of the team in preseason).

The key to that second unit, however, is them being a second unit, which brings us back to the Lakers staying healthy this year. Not sure a team can learn to stay healthy, so the Lakers need to hope the breaks — or lack of them — go their way this year.

What are the goals for this team? The Laker front office will tell you 50 wins and reaching the second round. Essentially to be last year’s Utah Jazz. That could happen if everything falls their way — Odom gets healthy and has a banner year, Kobe stays healthy despite the fact every defense will key totally on him, Kobe and the team remain focused, Andrew Bynum has a breakthrough, the team plays great defense, and Jack Nicholson intimidates Greg Popovich at key points during the team’s matchups.

But, when has any team really had a perfect year like that? Well, except the 2004 Pistons.

Prediction (if Kobe isn’t traded)
: 46-36 and out in the first round of the playoffs. Honestly, things health wise for these Lakers cannot go as poorly as last season, and when healthy this not a bad team. It’s also not a contender. Which I guess means a season of drama off the court.

Prediction (if Kobe is traded): I don’t know. Ask your local psychic.

Kurt

Posts

71 responses to Lakers Season Preview

  1. I’ll answer the last one Kurt, its 34-48.

    Depends actually on the package received and due to the Triangle being an intricate piece of material to learn, and depending on how much time they have, I say 30+ wins is quite reasonable.

    I could not recall a Laker team winning 20 games only, have they?

  2. I don’t think things have to go perfect this year… although of course there can’t be major injuries to key players for any length of time, like any other team in the league. This roster has enough depth to handle some bumps in the road, more than most.

    Give this team at least half a season– even if this current lineup makes you puke, you’re giving time for some of the players who appear to have grown a lot to show it on the court, aka accrue greater trade value to get more in return.

    At that point even I will probably say let’s go in a different direction if it appears no significant progress has been made.

    At least Phil isn’t adding to the media firestorm… but that looks to me like another positive development. Too bad we’ll have to listen to it ad nauseum though.

  3. http://www.nba.com/news/494970.html

    Oct 28, 2007 10:17am ET
    Report: Lakers, Bulls Still Working on Kobe Trade
    MSNBC reports, “The Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls have been having daily talks about a Kobe Bryant trade, according to an ESPN report on Saturday. According to the report, the Lakers have asked for Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, but the Bulls do not want to give up that much for Bryant. The other problem is that Bryant would likely not want to play in Chicago if the Bulls gave up that much talent to get him.”

  4. 2. Personally, I’m on the patience bandwagon, I’d ride this out for a while. I’d like to see what this Laker team is like healthy.

    On a side note to commenters in general (not Carolla) — This is not going to become a “The Lakers should bring in Team X” trade talk site or thread. I’ve already deleted a couple. Reasonable discussion of what the Lakers/Bulls might do, although I think the main report hits the problem on the head — by the time the Lakers get a fair deal Kobe will kill it because he’s not going to a contender.

  5. Anyone think P.J.’s recent comments, albeit truthful, are just plain detrimental to the situation. Why call out Kobe publicly like that? Just keep that crap in house for crying out loud. P.J. put Kobe in a really bad spot having to answer questions from reporters when the reporters can quote the coach. This is really getting really stupid and is making the Lakers organization look foolish. Just trade Kobe to the Bulls and start developing the young talent on this team. There is some pretty good yound talent on this squad and lets develop that. Acting like we want to win 50 games and advance in the playoffs is just a PR stunt to sell tickets. Neither of those things is going to happen. So lets play Bynum, Farmar, LuKe, Ronny, and Crit big minutes and start moving in a positive direction.

    P.S.:

    IF THIS TEAM WINS 50 GAMES THIS YEAR I WILL WRITE KURT A CHECK FOR $50 (that’s not to say he thinks they will win 50). ALSO, IF THIS TEAM WINS A PLAYOFF SERIES THIS SEASON I WILL THROW IN ANOTHER $50.

  6. Phil has a long history of tweaking his players through the media. Kobe had a sub-par preseason, Phil let him know it. Kobe gets angry and a little motivated. Not sure there’s much more to it than that.

  7. Kurt I find it very interesting that the Lakers this year have so much cohesiveness among the second unit players – is it Farmar’s leadership or do the guys just really want to make something of themselves?

    On a second that though I want to know if Kobe has a relationship with Bynum on the down-low and if Bynum knows that Kobe is just trying to do what he can to make the team better through the media? Maybe I am glorifying Kobe more than he deserves but I’d like to believe he’s more mature than to treat Bynum as he was treated with Shaq.

    What are the predictions for the Rockets starting line up?

  8. ^On a second thought….

    Please forgive the typo (blackberry-ing at the moment)

  9. Mike in the Mountain West October 28, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Until Kobe leaves Odom won’t be able to flourish. More than the system it’s the two of them that don’t work well toghether in an offense.

    Another one to put under the pro column for trading Kobe; it will let Lamar out of the cage.

  10. JONESONTHENBA,
    I think you can lay the LO mishandling directly on the Lakers coaching staff. Of course most of us are saying Kobe has something to do with it, but…

  11. Kurt touched on why I Kobe is still my favorite player (besides being a Laker OF COURSE). Just like Kurt said, Kobe’s too competitive to underachieve and throw games. He’s a winner and is the epitome of a professional.
    He’s just like Jordan in that both were jerks and had no problem forcing their will on people. They were just winners and couldn’t handle losing in any part of their lives. The difference is Jordan eventually elevated the team’s play and built up his team’s confidence.
    Kobe is taking the same route but is falling short because he can’t instill the confidence needed to win and change the mentality of each and every player on HIS ballteam. With all of the second guessing the FO and taking shots at his average team in the media it’s no wonder the team doesn’t possess excellent chemistry. There was a podcast with Bill Simmons and Steve Kerr that stressed how dire chemistry is to a successful team.
    Just think what would happen if everyone was on the same page and committed to winning and playing at a high level of baseketball. You know what we’d see, Jordan’s Bulls.
    Too bad there’s too much controversy that shadows this team with its each and every move. Players are confused on what their direction for the season is because players are worried about whether Kobe will be moved or not.

    This is Kobe’s last opportunity to elevate his status as one of the greatest ever. Can he rally the Lakers to play above themselves to play hard team defense, to make the extra pass, and to hit the last second shots? Either Kobe will let the drama that follows him finally destroy the Lakers. Or Kobe can rally the troops and make the Lakers focus on their season because this could be their final shot at going deep into the playoffs together. Kobe always seems to thrive under pressure, this is possibly one of his last chances to do so with the Lakers let’s hope he does thrive so we don’t blow this team up.

  12. I disagree. If the lakers trade Kobe I think they’re a better team. We wouldn’t be getting crap from Chicago, these young players have proven that they got what it takes. Whether it’s a combination of Gordon and Noah and anyone else, to me it doesn’t really matter. I’d love to see Hinrich and Gordon in our backcourt. I really doubt they’ll give up Deng. I think Hinrich and Gordon (and other players )is more realistic than Gordon and Deng cuz Hinrich is getting like 11 million or so, Deng is getting less and they would have to compensate for that with more players. Give us Hinrich, Gordon, Thomas, and Noah and we’ll make it into the playoffs alright and be set for the next decade.

  13. 7. Samy, I’ll have a Lakers/Rockets preview with lineups and more on Tuesday morning.

  14. I think… I worry…but I have so much damn hope…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mia3hfXqttE&NR=1

  15. (3)(4) Here’s some of the details I worked through to both convince myself that the ESPN report was hype and that it is virtually impossible to trade Kobe:

    First, take the players mentioned by ESPN (Deng, Gordon, Thomas, Noah) and put them in the trade machine: BLATT. The Chicago team is still $2,000,000 short.

    Now let’s consider what the two sides might want the trade to be.

    If I were Chicago, I’d offer Ben Wallace and Ben Gordon. Voila! Trade works. The Bulls actually lower their cap from $63 m to $62 m. Kobe replaces Gordon as shooting guard. The Lakers get two Chicago starters, two Bens: Big Ben with 3 years of a big contract, and small Ben with an expiring that will have to be negotiated.

    If I were the Lakers, I’d want Deng, Heinrich, and Noah-but I can’t get them. Heinrich only counts for half of his $11,000,00 salary in trade. Same with Nocioni, so I need to add in some other players. So, I get stuck with Gordon, add in Thomas for us (the ESPN deal) and I’m still short–and Chicago only has a few players left to add who’d make the numbers work.

    Even if the ESPN+ deal were approved, how do the teams deal with the imbalance of players. Even if the Lakers cut Koby Karl, they still would have two+ extra players. Chicago would need to “find” three+.

    I’d guess that Kobe would approve the “two Ben” deal. Anyone in Laker management who’d admit to agreeing to such a deal would have to leave town!

    The Lakers might accept the ESPN deal +1, but Kobe would probably be worse off than with the Lakers–and the Lakers might be a year away!

    Flash forward to the end of the season. Heinrich and Smith can now be traded. Gordon and Deng may be restricted free agents.

    What would the wise man say to Kobe?

    Patience, grasshopper.

    Maybe there is some scenario that could be worked right now with another team, but I think it will ultimately come out much the same way.

  16. Taking players off a decent PlayOff team in exchange for an elite player was done by Orlando and LA three yrs ago. How’d that work out?

    That thump we heard this weekend was Phil throwing Kobe under the bes w/his my contract isn’t contingent on Kobe being on the Lakers bit.

    Houston’s starters will be the same as last yr,w/possible exception of Scola might start for Hayes. Unless Laker bigs do some serious scoring rotation will be Yao,Hayes and Scola playing the 4 and 5,Bonzi Wells,Luther Head and Mike James backing up the 1,2 and 3. Steve Francis has come to camp out of shape and has problems w/the system(what a suprise).
    The team is going thru learning pains and throws it away too much. Prob going to see many Laker fast breaks. When Yao sets up down low,he’s been unstoppable,when he sets up high very hesitant as he’s thinking too much.
    Rockets D has been mediocre to poor in preseason. On offense lots of movement w/Mcgrady getting shots off movement instead of creating everything. Scola is adjusting to NBA game and getting bunch of fouls.
    The Lakers second unit should be able to run the Rocket reserves and outscore them. Question is can inside play of Yao make up difference and will Lakers get lost following Rockets or will Rockets throw the ball away too often.

    Still think Kobe isn’t going to be traded but this is Lamar’s last season w/the Lakers. My psychic,Madame Oftwrong,said odds are better Lamar never plays another game in Laker uniform than Kobe is traded this season.

  17. Kobe earns 19M this year. Factor in his 15% trade kicker and that number spreads to 22-23M which the Bulls have to match by at least 75%.

    Who do the Bulls offer?
    Nocioni and Smith cannot be traded till Dec 15th.
    Hinrich – 11M BYC (counted only for 6M)
    Gordon – 4.8M
    Deng – 3.3M
    Thomas – 3.5M
    Noah – 2.1M

    The point of the matter is, unless PJ Brown (s&t) is included, the Bulls would NEED to add in Ben Wallace just to make the salaries match. It does not make sense since Kobe wants to play with Hinrich, Deng and Wallace.

    Who are you left with? Nocioni, Gordon, Thomas, and the brady bunch of bench players which we have plenty already. Might as well let him walk in 2 years time than do this trade – Even if Hinrich and Gordon were offered.

    If we have to be savvy about a possible deal with anyone, do a 3-way with Washington. Offer what we get from the Bulls for Arenas and Nick Young and accept PJ Brown’s 1-yr deal.

    Arenas + Nick Young to LA.
    Gordon + Thomas + Duhon + Noah + 08 1st to Washington.
    Kobe Bryant to Chicago.

    I agree with the Odom situation – If Kobe goes, Lamar will too. It just does not make sense. Perhaps trade him to a team wanting to WIN NOW and trade us some picks and cap room.

    I still don’t get the love for Houston. Projected to win 61 games and win it all? Hmmm. Adding Luis Scola and Steve Francis does that?

  18. Fantasy League Update: 4 more players needed.

    league: ForumBlueandGold
    password: lakers

    site: NBA.com Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner

    Live Draft will be tomorrow, 10/29/07 1030am ET.

  19. Warren,
    I would be pleasantly suprised if Houston won 60 games. Francis signing was huge mistake IMO. Would have been much better off signing an Eddie Jones instead. Sola,James and a motivated Wells gives a better bench. Last yr Houston went .500 against West and mopped up on East. They may do slightly better against West,but the East is better,so I’m expecting 54-55 wins,4-5 seed and another tough First Rd.(I assume T-Mac will miss 6-8 games and the Rockets have yet to show they can win w/out him.That means they would have to win @80% of their games w/McGrady,and I don’t see that happening.)

  20. With the outlook of Bynum and Farmar, it would be folly to trade them. They could be big producers this year but most likely next year. Remember that centers and PGs are the hardest positions to fill in the NBA. I wouldn’t consider trading them at this point.

    Until Odom returns we won’t know what the Lakers can do. He will be on the wing instead of running the offense, which is his natural position.

    The Chi trade doesn’t look that likely, they don’t have the contracts to make a deal that wouldn’t gut the team. .

    I guess we will have to wait until the start of the season to see which Kobe we get. The one that finish the FIBA or the one that played in the preseason. As for Phil calling him out. We all could see that Kobe wasn’t intense. Phil just let Kobe know he won’t tolerate it.

  21. I keep coming here feeling like I should have something to say, but after typing a few words don’t have anywhere to go.

    I’m in a really weird stage of feeling like I’d be almost indifferent at this point if a trade happened, where I’d only care about insignificant things like whether or not Tyrus Thomas was included. Maybe I’m underestimating how much I’d hate losing and missing out on the postseason fun, and maybe I’m still too much in the summer league/preseason mindset where the final score really means jack, but I feel like the vast majority of my enjoyment from watching the Lakers no longer comes from Kobe doing Kobe things, but rather things like Ronny hustling his ass off, Bynum showing flashes of dominance, Farmar playing D, etc. I’ll probably snap out of this funk once tipoff rolls around, but for now I just want closure to the stuff, whatever that ends up being.

  22. Enough of Kobe trade possibilities already. We said everything 3 days ago and are now just repeating ourselves.

    Thanks Stephen for the Houston analysis. Two teams with major changes – one trades and one injuries – trying to put it together at the beginning of the season. One possibility would be to start putting the 2nd unit in sooner and bring the 1st unit back sooner – letting the 2nd unit finish out the 2nd qtr. This might accomplish 3 things: 1) Let the guys on the 1st unit know their time could be reduced 2) Get the quicker unit in sooner against a slower Houston team and 3) Get some additional work for the younger guys against some 1st unit opponents.

  23. I’ll agree with Craig here — we’re done with trade scenarios for the Bulls for now. We all know where it stands, and the difficulty in making it work. And, I’ll keep deleting those third-team scenarios that get posted.

  24. hey warren and everybody, i read your post and joined the fantasy league. im a long time viewer, occasional (rare) poster, and im looking forward to it… my team name is kings of leon.

  25. oops! just realized i cant do the draft tmrw morning so i cancelled. feel free to delete my completely misleading posts ;/
    (keep up the great site Kurt!)

  26. One last thing about Houston/LA.
    Kobe seems to have great games against T-Mac. The Christmas game where T-Mac made aturnaround J that put Kobe on the floor,followed by Kobe flying past the Magic D,slamming the ball on right side and while still in air slapping backboard on left-the greatest oh yeah,take that basket I’ve ever seen. The 4Q where Kobe took on a red-hot McGrady and shut him down while scoring 20 pts to lead the Lakers back from a possible season ending defeat. Two yrs ago when both teams were out of it,McGrady and Kobe played some of the best basketball I’ve seen 2 players do. They only scored 24/25 pts each,but made perfect passes all night long,scored when it was crucial,played D,rebounded,just a beautiful game by the two.
    I think it is a shame that the two will never play on the same team.
    The point for Laker fans is Kobe seeems to get motivated to play great team basketball against McGrady. Having 2 early games against Rockets may get Kobe into all-around Kobe mode as opposed to fire-it-up Kobe,or worse,disinterrested Kobe.

    I was playing w/some numbers heading into last weekend of last season. I added points scored w/points teammates scored off of assists(adjusting for rest of teams 3pt shots made) and divided by minutes played. Steve Nash led w/1.26 pts created per minute. McGrady second at 1.09,Kobe third at 1.06,Arenas w/.99 and LeBron w/.98.
    If you took player’s pts scored per game,added pts created off assists per game and took that number as a % of teams scoring average…
    Kobe lead w/44% of his teams ppg ave. LeBron second at 42%,Nash and McGrady at just over 40% and Arenas at over 39%.
    (No Wade because I wanted players who’d played about 70 games.)
    I adjusted assists for % of 3s made by rest of team. Leaving out T-Macs made shots,25.6% of Rocket makes were 3s. W/out Nash,21.7 of Suns were 3s. W/out Kobe,20.7 of Lakers were threes. The Jazz w/out Deron Williams had the lowest at 9.5%. W/Out Arenas,Wash was also pretty low at10.5%. Would tend to suggest against Jazz and Wiz,pack the paint,while against Rockets,Lakers and Suns stay out there w/the shooters-or it’s shows the effects of Nash,T-Mac and Kobe.

  27. It’s been a while since my last comment
    I’ve been really busy but kept track of everything you’ve been saying

    A couple weeks ago I talked to someone really close to the front office, and told me that 90% options kobe is traded before february.
    the actual lakers situation is the greatest big brother ever done.
    jim buss, kupchak are just the worst FO ever (KG said he didnt wanted to leave sota bcz of the inept front office to land in an other bad FO)
    phil jackson (for what i’ve heard, and i really trust the source) is doing NOTHING, just geting paid big big bucks
    and Kobe although i understand his willing to win, is playing the angry little child role…

    this is going to boom, and as Jim isn’t moving and Jax is dating her sister and also part of the staff will stay too, so guess who’s moving?
    kobe, or kupchak… or both
    kobe will be gone, for sure
    better get use to that quick, and try to get the best with the trade although it will never be a fair trade there…

    the bulls are not really interested in trading for bryant, its just a good option to pick him for a low price
    watch out the Wizards option…
    by next March we will be here competing with gil’s blog to be the best laker blog…
    wich, at the end, might not be that bad if gil is coming with something more under his arm

  28. Kobe kept quiet for a long while, why can’t Buss and Phil shut their stupid mouths now?

  29. Stephen, you a Rockets fan or live in Houston? Great stuff.

  30. Phil Says He’ll Coach Without Kobe
    ====================
    Jackson said in clear terms Saturday for the first time that his Lakers coaching future is not tied to Bryant’s playing future. Health permitting, Jackson is willing to extend his expiring contract even if Bryant — whom Jackson has said countless times he came back to coach in 2005 — is traded.

    Asked if he is OK with a future as Lakers coach without Bryant, Jackson nodded and said: “Yeah.” Then Jackson, smiling, added that the prerequisite of Bryant being a Laker is “not part of my job description.”

    Jackson, 62, said he’s gauging his health and energy before committing to what is expected to be a two-year, $20 million extension, adding: “It’s not about whether I can produce a championship or a record.”

  31. This is off topic but they have predictions for awards at http://www.Hoopsworld.com there are some interesting picks.

    Dallas and SA got the most picks for Champions with PHX up there as well. One person had Denver coming out of the West (I don’t think that person ever watched them play defense).

    Most people seem think James in going to be crowned this year as MVP. But I’d put my money on KG. He will have another season with 20, 10 and 5 making it 10 in row. Bird and Wilt only did it 6.

    ROY was varied with most people going for Horford or Durant, though a few people picked Thornton; he was pretty impressive in the preseason.

  32. By the way, the Lakers now have an official blog on the team Web site and it’s got lots of good info and updates:

    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/

  33. Mike in the Mountain West October 29, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    There are now rumors that Washington is in the mix for Kobe. The deal would be Arenas and filler for Kobe. Now I know this site isn’t for idle trade speculation but I think this possible trade brings up a good question for discussion. If Kobe is traded should the FO try to get another star in return a la Arenas, or go for youth and picks, a la Chicago? My initial inclination would be youth and picks. The only problem with that approach is matching salaries and that’s a big problem. The point of trading seems to me to build for the future. Try to get enough youth and talent that in 3 or 4 years we’ll be competing again. Getting a star, who is presumably older, kinda hampers that plan. What’s nice about Arenas, however, is that he is only 25. He will probably continue to improve over the next few years and be an all-star player for the next 5 – 6 years before he really starts to decline. Put another way, when Arenas is 30, Bynum, Farmar, and Critt will be 25, Turiaf will be 29, and Walton will be 32.

  34. To be fair to to the commenter Lamar Odom, he posted a question earlier that I killed because at the time (as far as I knew) the Wizards thing was only from Sam Smith, and if I allowed talk on every Sam Smith trade rumor I might as well just run a gossip site. But now Marc Stein has given it some legitimacy, so I guess we can comment on this. But I’m not sure how much more we can all take of the Kobe guessing.

    Sounds to me like the Wiz have interest and they are the ones putting the rumor out there. I think the biggest challenge would be getting Kobe to see the Wiz, with him as Arenas, as a contender. Butler and Jamison are nice, but is that three really better than the big three in Boston? And is there anyone outside that three that is any good?

  35. Mike Wise of the Washington Post commented on the Kobe for Arenas trade in an online chat today and said “it’s not happening”. I tend to trust him on Wizards news he seems fairly in the know, and honestly I agree and don’t think the Wiz would do it. I’m going to assume that you all don’t get quite as much Wizards coverage out on the west coast, but I live pretty close to D.C. and Arenas is literaly the only sports story in the city that can draw any attention away from the Redskins, add into that the fact that Abe Pollin is fiercely loyal to his people (more than he should be, look at how long he let Wes Unseld wreck that franchise) and I really don’t think he’s going to let go of Arenas that easily. Gilbert is the biggest draw they have had perhaps ever.

    I will also say if it were to happen and they threw in Blatche along with Arenas, I think LA would be very happy, Blatche is really developing into an NBA player, I’m looking for him to have a breakout this year.

  36. I think that it would be easier convincing Kobe that Washington was a good situation for him than it would be to concoct a trade with Chicago that appeases all 3 parties (Bulls, Lakers, Kobe). As someone mentioned, matching salaries with Chicago, getting good value for the Lakers, AND not gutting the team to where Kobe would not want to play there, is a monumental task. Anything short of the Lakers getting Heinrich and Deng has to be considered a bad trade for LA. At the same time, Chicago won’t do that, and Kobe would then be going to a team worse off than the one he’d be leaving. That’s why I don’t see the Chicago/LA thing happening unless the Lakers back off and take back crap like Nocioni, Tyrus, Gordon, and filler.

  37. I don’t know much about Arenas, but from the little facts I know he seems to have a better personality than Kobe. I think Kobe is the best scorer in the league, but when it comes to personality he’s almost at the bottom. Arenas, however, has a great personality. it would be so ironic if he landed in LA after that 60 point performance and bows to the crowd, after which Kobe minimized in a really immature, child-like manner. I’d welcome Arenas with open arms. [Edited]

  38. To commenter Lamar Odom,

    I think Kurt would let you post as your “real self” if you showed up to a Forum Blue and Gold meet and gave everybody autographed jerseys and other freebies.

  39. I don’t think the Washington trade will happen. I think though that Washington might be interested in it because Arenas seems intent on leaving (though I’m not sure who could pay him what he is going to be asking for) and Kobe will certainly fill the seats. Its good from a marketing standpoint for the Lakers; Arenas is not as big of a sell as Kobe but besides, Mello, wade, Lebron he comes as close as anyone will. The problem is that Kobe will not agree to this trade. Is Washington better replacing Arenas with Kobe? Maybe slightly but not contenders.

    Also if I’m Washington and I can get Arenas to stay, it might make more sense to try and clear up a little bit of capspace and try to get someone like Brand or O’neal who might both be available next year.

  40. Kurt, I think the next time I see someone try and post as a Laker I will protest by not visiting this site as I have since I turned 16. As a college sophomore, continuous sophomoric joking on a forum I take seriously is not going to be accepted.

    Hahaha… but puns will be.

    Keep up the good work Kurt/Forum-ers!

  41. Wow, now that’s what I call quick eye-text recall.

  42. I think an Arenas package would work, particularly better than what would work with Chicago. While many have said the Bulls are the team to lose out on #24, I have never seen it as happening. Not only do I not understand the Bulls’ logic for breaking their bank for Kobe, when they wouldn’t dent it for Gasol (which would have made them better than suiting up Kobe in red), but there are numerous other obstacles that I need not rehash.

    With Washington, the Lakers get a legitimate All Star that can fill seats, please crowds, and be tacked up on billboards. Nick Young would be a nice piece to groom as well. Meanwhile, I think Kobe might sign off on playing with Jamison and Caron, and probably see it as a better option than the gutted scenario in Chicago. He is friends with Butler, and wouldn’t have to worry about producing points. The East would not be handed over, but a new scene, pumping offense, and plenty of hype would make Bryant smile (until they get thwacked out of the playoffs by a deeper team).

    With this deal the Lakers would be stacked in the back court: Arenas, Fisher, Farmar, Crittenton, Young, Evans, Vujacic. A situation giving us plenty of pieces to choose from, and some good trade bait for the future. I’d bet Odom would enjoy Arenas’ company and upbeat spirit, and like said above, his age fits our development timeline.

    Kobe, I love ya man, but this is a freight train that I can’t see myself not getting on. I saw Arenas play in the are here in high school, the man is a gamer, and can be just a good a scorer as Kobe.

  43. Ryan, I don’t think it is likely that Arenas leaves DC after he opts out. According to his blog he likes playing in DC, that the opt out is solely about getting what he feels is his market value and how the Wizards are the only team that can offer him a 6 year max deal instead of a 5 year. I think the only way you see him leave after this year is if the team absolutly implodes and fails to make the east playoffs, and as I wrote earlier I don’t think that the WIzards will trade him.

  44. People can choose (within reason) any name they want to comment under. However, I’m not putting up with people pretending to be said person. This is not the Jim Rome fax contest. Such comments will be deleted/edited.

    On another note, the people out there who think Arenas is a comparable player to Kobe are mistaken or doing way too much meth.

  45. Id take a 25 year old Arenas tied to the club with another good player for Kobe in a heartbeat. The Wizards might think the east can be won with this deal but it isnt likely. The Lakers drop their age, the other guys probably play better as the tension is lifted, and FAs will probably flock to LA. I dont think there is much improvement over the current team by trading Kobe for Arenas, but it sets them up to be better later. Id prefer to keep Kobe, but if he does not want to be here, this a good enough trade to consider.

  46. For the talk of putting points on the board, I admit few enter into the realm of Kobe, but I’d wager a player like Arenas is at the doorstop. For myself, I leave the comparisons at scoring.

  47. So you’re telling me that Kobe, Caron, and Antawn are better than Kobe, Caron, and Odom.

    Kobe couldn’t do it with that group (granted they were in the tougher west) how in the world would he consider his new Wizards team title contenders when they don’t play any defense.

    The only reason a Kobe vs. Gilbert trade is talked about is b/c Gilbert said in his blog that he’d like to go to 4 teams if he didn’t resign wtih Washington, and that included the Lakers. The only way he’d consider it is if the Wizards blew up their team and didn’t resign Antawn or Caron.

    Stop the speculation and let the season play out.

  48. Mike in the Mountain West October 29, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Kurt,

    What do you mean by comparable? Their per game averages as well as their hollinger stats are pretty close.

  49. No one can tell me that Arenas is atleast as good as Kobe, Kobe is the best active player in the NBA and when the BEST player ask for a trade you never get fair trade value.

    Arenas+Blatche+Young (not proposing a trade just stating values) is close to fair value for the lakers but too much for the Wizz…
    Trading your star is soo painfull and difficult…

    Thats why none of us could be GM, you’d better have balls to play with soo much money and fanbase

  50. Kobe talk bores me, to go back to #9 who links to a great post on Lamar Odom, I really hope he gets going this season. After reading, I became reminded of how poor of a coaching job Jackson has done with regards to Lamar. Great post that is linked, all should read.

  51. Mike in the Mountain West October 29, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    If you go to http://www.lakers.com they have a new intro video up with interviews of lakers fans talking about how much they love the lakers. It’s not a bad video and it definitely has gotten me a little more hyped for tip-off tomorrow night. Not big news but thought you all might want to know.

  52. 49. Mike, maybe the statement was a little strong, but I think Kobe is a more well rounded player than Gilbert. On defense Arenas played primarily against opposing PGs (according to 82 games) and allowed an opposing PER of 19.8 and them shooting 52.1% (eFG). Those are Smushesqe defensive numbers Kobe allowed opposing twos a PER of 15.1 (shooting 51.6%) and opposing threes a PER of 14.6 (shooting 48.2%).

    In terms of just scoring, Arenas can hang in with anyone, but in all around game it changes. I think Kobe is by far the superior defender. Plus I think Kobe is more well-rounded and gives you more versatility.

    So, are you a mountain west fan, by the way. BYU will crush Long Beach State to open the season.

  53. @Kurt: I do not think Arenas is as good as Kobe. My point was just that I’d rather take a package of Arenas, Blaytche, Young, whoever, than that pile of manure that Chicago is trying to feed the FO. Honestly, I’m not even sold on Deng, but I am the FO and I deal with Chicago, I better be getting back Deng, and Heinrich, at the very least. A package of Deng, Heinrich, Tyrus, and PJ Brown would be enough in my opinion and still leave the Bulls with a little bit to play with. That package ESPN is totting of Gordon, Deng, Tyrus, Noah is not good enough and doesn’t match salary wise.

    The biggest problem I see is getting all parties to agree with Chicago. I mean, Chicago wouldn’t give up Deng for Gasol, so I don’t see them giving up Deng and Heinrich for Kobe. I don’t see Kobe liking that either, but, I don’t see the Lakers trading Kobe without at least getting Deng. Like I said before, so many obstacles to a Chicago trade.

    That is why I would be more in favor of the Wizards trade. Arenas is better than anyone on Chicago and is only 25. You’d get a young player and a superstar all in one. With the Chicago deal, even if you get Deng, all you get is potential. And Arenas solves the PG debacle. Honestly, if we can get the Wiz and Kobe to agree, this is the best deal that is gonna come our way.

  54. From the Lakers perspective, I think an Arenas/Blatche/Young combo would be about as good as you can get (unless the Bulls lose it and offer Deng and Heinrich plus whatever). But any trade of Kobe is like a three way-trade (as Chise and others said). You’ve got to get the Lakers, the trading partner and Kobe to all agree. And I don’t see why Kobe makes the move to the Wizards, this is no better than the situation he is in now, save that he is in the East.

  55. Kurt, I agree that the situation would not be better for Kobe if a deal went down with the Wiz. Yet, I think Kobe’s logic is if the Lakers were in the East, he could have been swept by the Spurs in the finals too. So perhaps the situation may not be better, but if Kobe really has enough personal beef with the LA front office, distance may be the root of his desires.

    I think Kobe is all about winning, but with how things have played out, while it is likely a majority of the reason, I doubt it is his only one for seeking an early exit.

    Unfortunately, for Kobe, if he departs he will realize that while very valuable, and likely still effective in a different uniform, he is not Shaq, and does not make any team he suits up for a contender. Brings it back to thinking of the big picture…

  56. The WIZARDS??? Good lord.

    I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

    C’mon Tuesday…

  57. I don’t know if I agree Kurt. Without Kobe, the Lakers would have been terrible the past two seasons and they posted decent records both years and came within a game of the 2nd round of the WC 2 years ago. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that had a lot to do with Kobe.

    That said, I think the Wizards deal is the kind of deal that will work for all parties mostly because any trade with Chicago would effectively gut the team, which Kobe would not go for. Even if they take Gordon, Nocioni, and Tyrus, that’s what, 13 mill? Not even close to the 20 required to make the trade work. I just don’t see Chicago as a viable situation unless they get crazy like Kurt suggests and give up Deng/Heinrich or the FO of the Lakers folds under pressure and takes the manure deal.

  58. Regarding my last post, the I don’t agree at the beginning was directed at George and not Kurt. Sorry for the confusion.

  59. For all the dust that is being raised around Kobe’s trade demand, all the phone calls and speculation, Kobe himself will prove to be the biggest obstacle to a bluckbuster deal. What he wants is utterly paradoxical: to land on a contender without breaking it apart. And he doesn’t seem willing to budge on that request.

    If Kobe’s impatience leads him to jump ship prematurely, it will be his undoing, because if the team he ends up on doesn’t win right away, then he will look like a fool… especially if the Lakers get some good young players for him and sign an all-star in the off-season with their newly aquired cap space.

    I still contend that the only organization who can give Kobe what he really wants is Dallas, because Cuban is the only owner willing to pay his own weight in the luxory tax and throw over $100 mil a year away on salaries. If a Kobe deal depleted the Mav’s roster, it wouldn’t take them nearly as long to recover. That said, I take Cuban at his word that he won’t trade Dirk. And, I take Dr.Buss at his word, that the Lakers aren’t going to make a bad deal just to give Kobe what he thinks he wants.

  60. Mike in the Mountain West October 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    If you guys haven’t watched the video practice reports on the lakers website I highly suggest you do. They are mostly videos of the interviews players give after practice. It’s a great chance to see the players and Phil talking and get a sense of their personality.

    I also found it a little shocking how combative some of the questions from reporters are. Some of them are really trying to create controversy by asking leading questions and repeating what others have said in previous interviews and asking for comments. In the most recent video the reporters really get aggressive with Kobe and try to get him to comment about the trade controversies. I have a lot of respect for Kobe submitting himself to that kind of grilling and being able to keep his cool.

    You also get learn things that reporters don’t include in their stories like Kobe is going to be Lord Voldemort for Halloween. How hillarious is that! And you got to love the incredulous look on his face when the reporter asked who Lord Voldemort is.

  61. Kurt,
    I’m a Rockets fan living in LA. Got LP last yr and this yr,so when I’m not watching the Rockets I watch alot of Lakers and Clips.

    Funny how Spurs did not make Kobe’s list. I mean he does want to play for a team w/chance to win it all ?
    If Kobe does get traded,wonder if he’ll be a 1 yr rental and he forces another trade to his favored Suns.

  62. Chise, sorry for the confusion. When I said the situation for Kobe would not be better for him if he was dealt to the Wizards, I meant not better than staying here in LA. In regards to Washington over Chicago, I think the Wizards are a better destination for Kobe, and a better trade partner for the Lakers. I do not see the Chicago deal happening, but with the Wizards, I see potential.

    However, in my opinion, I believe Kobe’s best option is to continue to play in LA, see how our talent develops, maybe a player breaks out, maybe moves are made to bolster the roster with Kobe.

  63. The Wizards rumors are interesting and could potentially work out extremely well for the Lakers. Gilbert Arenas, being a younger player in the league with superstar status, has the opportunity to work with Bynum, Farmar, Crtitenton, Ronny, Walton, and Radman to build a team of more consistency and hard work ethics. I like the topic, but once again, it must just be the media making up some random rumors that motivate the fans but never has a chance to go through. I want to see something happen, either Kobe shut everyone up or see him put on a different uniform. Whatever it may be, I’m annoyed by the drama and want to see some basketball. Enjoy opening night tomorrow everyone. Check out preivews throughout the season at http://www.laballtalk.com

  64. FYI – Lakers signed one-year extensions on Farmar and Bynum.

  65. I personally don’t think Kobe is going anywhere but if he does get traded there are three routes to go.
    1)Trade for several pretty good players. This is most common and has a long history from Kareem to KG. Usually results in a long run of mediocrity.
    2)Trade for another comparable star. Pretty hard to do. The best viable match I see is Vince Carter-and he would be in LA to sell tickets while rest of team developed. Only if Lakers get desperate.
    3)Trade for draft picks and cap space. Which leads to an interesting possibility. Kobe and Cook to Phoenix for Marion,Raja Bell,and the 08 Atlanta First.
    The 08 Draft is also supposed to be deep and the Atlanta pick has a decent chance of being a top 10.
    Make it clear to Marion he won’t get much more than MLE-type money from Lakers and he opts out. Leaves Lakers w/between $15-20mil in cap room. Think Elton Brand would look good next to Bynum? The 08 Free Agent class is very good w/young players like Childress and Wright who might make good facilitators for the Triangle.
    Now as to trading to Suns. The Lakers are looking at 2 yrs before Bynum can start and dominate-if he can. In two yrs Nash will be 35. The Suns will be capped out,so their roster will be the same for the near future.Plus there is the legitimate question of can Kobe adopt to a moving-the-ball offense where he’s not the focus for a full yr,not for a few weeks.
    Just a thought.

  66. This is from Ernie Grunfeld (president of the WIzards basketball operations) regarding Arenas for Kobe (via the Washington Post):

    “I don’t normally comment on rumors but there is no truth to this rumor. We’ve never had any conversations with the Lakers or with anyone else about Gilbert.”

    I think this rumor can safely be put to bed.

  67. Predictions for tonight’s game against Houston anyone?

    If Kobe plays:

    LA 91
    HOU 106

    If Kobe sits:

    LA 85
    HOU 106

  68. Stephen,
    “Leaves Lakers w/between $15-20mil in cap room.”

    The Lakers are 15M over the cap, and that isn’t going to get much better, unless you also let Lamar and Kwame go “for free” at the end of their contracts.

  69. Exhelodrvr,
    For the purposes of my argument,Kwame would not be resigned,Marion would opt out. Adding in Bell’s salary,and assuming $3mil cap increase for next yr and you have the savings. (Actually it’d be a few $mil less because of draft picks,still…) I’d assume Lamar would be traded,but you never know.
    Look at Lakers 08/9 salaries,subtract Kobe,Cook add Bell and the Lakers payroll would be around $42mil. Don’t resign Sasha,add two draft picks and it would be @$45mil,give or take a couple of $mil. Assume the 08/9 cap is $59-60mil and that’s my math.
    It could be sold as Kobe gave the franchise 10 yrs of great basketball,helping us win 3 Championships,and in appreciation we want to do what’s best for Kobe.

    Again tho,I don’t think Kobe is getting traded this yr.
    But,the FO may be laying the groundwork for next yr w/other teams. Saying Kobe can be had,but it’s going to take a package of draft picks and cap relief-or whatever the team makes known to other teams. This way interested teams can make some deals to set up for a run at Kobe.

  70. I am really happy with the start of the season; the Lakers have been a pleasant surprise this year. They have managed to put the Kobe trade drama behind them and focus on playing basketball, by the way I think he is staying with the Lakers the book I bet with http://WWW.Wagerweb.com NBA Lines has the odds oh him leaving at 20/1 so about a 4% chance of him leaving, hope they are right and he sticks around long enough for other players to evolve and have a shot at a championship