Game One Thoughts

Kurt —  October 31, 2007

A bit of a frustrating loss because, even though they were outplayed for most of the game, that was one the Lakers could have stolen at the end. Plenty of room for improvement, but not a bad outing for the first game either.

I think there were two key areas that cost the Lakers the season opener against Houston:

1) The Laker second unit didn’t have the success it did in the preseason — all five Laker starters were positive in +/-, but every Laker off the bench was in the negative (except Coby Karl in his very short stint). A large part of that of that is that Houston is one of the few teams in the NBA as deep (or deeper) than the Lakers. To cut one other guy some slack, I think Bynum had a good second half off the bench, playing some good defense. . I think the preseason will be more typical, but this was not a great night for the bench guys.

2) Too much Kobe — he used 43% of the Laker possessions for the game. This isn’t all on him, for extended stretches the Lakers got away from really executing the offense and became “Kobe watchers.” Guys didn’t move without the ball, and when they got chances they missed (which leads Kobe to not make that pass the next time). But a lot of this is on Kobe — he didn’t look to pass and get other players involved, instead he’d just put his head down and drove into the lane. (Throw the ball to Bynum on the block once or twice.) Often the Lakers would push the ball up the court but when nothing materialized quickly they would make a couple passes around the perimeter then all but clear out for Kobe (or maybe give him a screen on the wing at best). Without the option of Odom as a second person who can create their own shot the Lakers can’t do that.

The lack of Odom hurt in another way — it meant extra minutes for Brian Cook, who was a team worst -14.

• A few other Lakers stats, courtesy Rob L. who sent me some spreadsheets right after the game.

Kobe shot pretty well, considering the volume, ending with a 51.3% True Shooting percentage (think of that like points per shot attempt, it includes free throws as well). A lot of that came because he got to the line so much, even if he had an off night there. Fisher had a great night shooting (79% TS%) and Turiaf continues to be efficient on the offensive end with a 63.3% TS%.

However, no other Laker was above 42%. That hurt.

A few other notes from the game.

• Kobe got boos during the pregame introductions, but the fans should have saved that sentiment for the first four minutes of play (from both teams).

• The Rockets did a good job of getting back on defense most of the night.

• The tempo off the game and the Lakers offense — even in the half court — picked up when Farmar entered.

• Rockets hit 4 of their first 20 shots, a sign they are just not comfortable with the new motion offense of Adelman. Yao just looked far better on the low block. That likely will change some as the season moves on.

• Yao has such a nice touch from 10 feet, including a beautiful fade away he used a few times, and that makes him so hard to defend in the low post.

• Interesting lineup the Lakers went with when Turiaf picked up his third foul with just under 5 minutes left in the second — Farmar, Fisher, Kobe, Walton and Kwame. Going a little small, and that unit was -1.

• At 5:30 in the third Lakers go with Mihm at the four and Kwame at the 5. That unit was -1, but it was because the Rockets were outworking the Lakers, tipping balls and getting offensive rebounds. Then LA went to Bynum/Mihm combo up front and that also was a -1. Still, I like the idea of giving Mihm a chance to see if he can be a backup four. Especially if it means fewer minutes for Cook.

• The three inactives for this game were interesting — Odom (expected), Crittenton (rather than Sasha?) and Radmanovic (huh?).

• Congrats to friends of the site Carter and the boys at Plisken at the Buzzer, who will be doing some subbing in over at Free Darko. That’s a great fit and well deserved. As a present, here’s a link to a good thesaurus.

Kurt

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66 responses to Game One Thoughts

  1. are the lakers more competitive than they are on paper, or are the rockets less formidable? maybe a bit of both, but for the sake of sanity and some peace i’m trying to convince myself that a healthy lakers team is actually good for the 2nd round of the postseason…

  2. Rob L, any way to get in on any future spreadsheet emails?

    Americansquirm (at) yaHOO dot com

    Strange, but pretty orthodox game. If that’s possible.

  3. I was pretty disappointed with Kwame’s play tonight. He did have moments of skill, but mostly, he was still a bad help defender and on the ball he wasn’t that effective (granted, not many people are very effective against Yao Ming).

    I was also noticing heavy doses of Kobe Time. Too many possessions where only one or two lakers touched the ball, especially in the third.

    I liked seeing Kobe and Ronny hustle back after turnovers to contest the breakaway layups. Obviously it’d be better to not have the turnovers in the first place, but good to see some fight, even when they were down by a fair number of points.

    I’d be interested to learn why Radmanovic, Sasha and Javaris played so few minutes. I wonder if PJ explained those decisions.

  4. The Lakers ran the offense until the second unit couldn’t score the ball. Then Kobe (probably rightfully so) began shooting the ball to keep us in the game. The problem I forsee is how will the Lakers get back into offensive balance after oneof Kobe’s scoring binges.

  5. Also, I was very surprised to see Colby Karl get the nod to be on the active roster over Sasha, and for the love of basketball, please put Cook on the inactive roster. He played so bad that Phil ran Chris at the 4 for a long (also somewhat unproductive) stretch. We will be too slow with Mihm/Kwame, Mihm/Bynum minutes, but its good that Phil finally had a breaking point with Cook’s worthlessness.

  6. I continue to go back and forth on Kobe. I hate how hes handled things, yet you cant deny his talent and game changing ability. If we could just add one big piece and get Odom healthy, the team would be worth watching again.

    However, no matter how good Kobe is, I dont like the fact that the team I root for so totally relies on a player who thinks he is above the team and is clearly not loyal to them. Id rather trade him for some young players who want to be on the Lakers and finish near the bottom with some room for improvement, then to finish with a .500 record this year and next year while they try and trade for the piece Kobe wants with no guarantees that he is satisfied after the trade.

    What Kobe does not seem to get is now that he has made it clear that he wants to be a traded, other teams will try and take advantage of the Lakers in trades because they all know we are desperate to trade Kobe so it will he harder to trade him. Unless Kobe comes out and says he wants to be a Laker and signs an extension, he will be traded. Its just a matter of when. Until then, the Lakers will not improve and I dont see the front office making a deal for the superstar Kobe desires until he signs an extension and makes it clear that he wants to be here.

    The Lakers are better then the Rockets when healthy, but this game was indicative of how the season will be and why the Lakers are a 7-8 seed at best. Its Groundhog Day in Lakerland until Kobe is traded.

  7. I think there was a couple good things that could be taken from this game. The Lakers played pretty good defense in stretches. The only point where there defense looked really bad was in the 3rd quarter but that was mostly due to horrible offense. Its hard to play good defense when you turn the ball over. Also too many second chance opportunities. The lakers really need someone to be an enforcer on the defensive boards. Also Bynum looked good off the bench. He played maybe the best defense I have ever seen him play.

    On a bad note Kobe looked very fustrated out there. Too many times it was Kobe Vs all 5 Houston players. Not all Kobe’s fault, guys stop cutting but a lot of it was. Two plays that really stuck out to me.

    Towards the end of the 4th qtr there were two plays in a row where the Lakers hustled and played great defense forcing two turnovers. Kobe lead the fast break both times. One time Ronnie hustled with him and all 3 defenders converged on Kobe leaving Ronnie wide open for the easy pass and basket. But instead Kobe decided to dirve into all 3 defenders. The next play Walton forced the turnover then ran down the court with Kobe who had the ball. Again the defneders converged on Kobe leaving Walton wide open under the basket; but again Kobe decides to go against two players instead of passing for the easy basket. I know he was frustrated and the other players were not producing but….

  8. Jeremy,
    Kobe is not stupid, just very, very stubborn. He now understands how the trade market works, he just thought more of himself. I’m not even sure he originally wanted to leave – he was just extremely frustrated with the FO (Kobe doesn’t deal with frustration well – he is used to getting his way) and then painted himself into a corner. I think the key for the Laker organization is to try and ‘unpaint’ Kobe’s corner, then try to give him some options – not just try to satisfy his current state of mind.

  9. Definitely some bright spots last night, but too many recurring trends (turnovers, ball-hogging, porous defense).

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the team plays harder and looser when Kobe’s not on the floor?

    I’ll be the first one to say that Kobe’s the best player in the world, but also the first to say “Let’s trade him.”

    How about for a guy who scores within the offense and doesn’t make his teammates afraid of failure? A couple of those late plays that ryan mentioned were just comical: I know Kobe was trying to get to the line, but he’s got a bunch of other guys who get paid millions to put the ball in the hoop, too.

    Is it too far-fetched to guess that Phil’s decision to move Kobe back to the wing was so that he could in effect “audition” for other teams as a scorer?

  10. Ryan- I saw Bynum playing his ass off on defense too. I never have seen him rotate like that. He may be starting by Thanksgiving.

  11. I’ll say this again. I love Kobe, but he has to look for Bynum and playmake for others. He looked off Bynum so many times in that game. He also drove into crowds of three and four guys and didn’t look for teammates, but instead tried impossible shots. The game was close, but the Lakers could have actually won if they would have gotten everyone involved more. Look how Houston utilizes Yao. They make sure to go to him. Not saying Bynum is Yao by any stretch, but he is a good offensive center. Lakers have to get him involved. And for the long term health of the franchise he needs to start.

  12. Questions answered:

    Bynum vs Yao and Mutombo – Bynum went up against smaller centers. Bynum pushed them around. Yao and DM won’t let that happen. So how will Bynum match up?

    Bynum did push Mutombo around on the offensive glass and had a decent second half defending Yao. However, Yao 10 ft from the basket looked unstoppable last night. Kwame and Bynum guarded him well, but Yao’s talent was too much.

    Kobe vs. Battier – Which, Kobe shows up? Pre-season or Olympic trials Kobe?

    Kobe the Olympian showed up last night. However, missed free throws killed him and the other Lakers. Does anybody else find it ironic that the Lakers lost becuase of blown free throws against Rick Adelman? Living in Sacramento, I get plenty of crap still about the fouls from the playoffs.

    Luke v T-Mac – Can Luke contain T-Mac? Can T-Mac stop Luke from being the excellent facilitator?

    Pj played Luke and Kobe against T-Mac at times. T-Mac had a successful game against this duo shooting 50% from the field and getting 12 freebie attempts at the line. This is one area the Lakers need to improve.

    Rick Adelman vs. himself – Will he turn the Rockets excellent defense from last season against itself? He stresses defense less than Nellie. See the Kings a few years ago. Will the Houston players figure out the Houston offense? Brad Miller could hit the jumper from 15-20 feet? Can Yao? Do the Rockets have a facilitator to operate the offense in Houston?

    In the first quarter, the Rockets broke down on several occasions, which led to easy buckets. They settled down in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and started playing defense. Yao looked uncomfortable running the offense at the top of the key and eventually settled in off the block to create problems with his height advantage.

    The Moving Triangle – Will the Lakers use this tempo with their starters and the bench? Or will they stand around when Kwame and Kobe have the ball?

    The Lakers had success in the first quarter, but played flat afterwards. Everybody just kind of stood around when #24 had the ball and few cuts were made to the basket. I think PJ specifically put the game in Kobe’s hands to win or lose.

    Overall, not bad for missing Odom, but the Lakers need to improve on rebounding, practicing the moving triangle, and free throws.

  13. 10) Bynum is the real deal. I’m telling you guys. He is no oaf center. I honestly feel like this is Shaq v. Kobe part two. Bynum is good and Kobe knows it. He needs to get the kid the damn ball. I wish Bynum would yell at Kobe like he did at Sasha last year:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=6mOzQnwhqFE

    Also, Phil has a way of saying things as not to get under Kobe’s skin.

    “He got tired out there,” Jackson said. “I had to talk to him a little bit about hitting the open guy and not crashing in there as often as he did. I thought there was a lot of times when his competitive zeal brought him in there hell or high water, and he didn’t get the call, and as a consequence there were some things that happened that turned into layups for them or easy run-outs for them.”

    In other words, pass the darn ball, baby!

  14. I hate to say it, but i think a lot of you are being just plain naive. You’re hurt that the guy you thought was in your corner isn’t in your corner any more, so you’re going to support pulling the trigger on a deal that probably won’t help anyone, and won’t be content til its done. Gee, sounds like somebody else I know…

    The fact is, and this game showed it as much as any, the Lakers sans Kobe are barely a basketball team. It sucks the way Kobe handled the summer, and it can’t be helping the other guys on the floor, but the only reason the lakers were in the game at all when they were is Kobe. Saying the other guys play “harder and looser” or more comfortably when he’s on the bench is all well and good, but they also have no idea how to put up points consistently, no first option, and can’t hold their own for long stretches against any decent team. Kobe played frustratedly, he took shots he shouldn’t have and missed passes he should have made; he also was part of the reason the lakers had a shot at winning the game (without kobe’s three that cut it to six, we don’t have a shot, without his pass to an open fisher to tie it, etc.). There are only a handful of player’s in the world that can even come close to replacing him, and we were never going to get them before the season started anyway. So i know everyone is hurt and mad at the guy, but I would like to watch a lakers that can at least be competitive out there, and that means keeping Kobe. try to make your peace with it.

  15. Yao Ming was extremely impressive. I guess I did not realize last year but when he is in the game he controls the game both on the offensive and defensive side of the court. And that ten foot set shot and hook shot anywhere near the hoop is just plain unstoppable.

    As for Kobe I think his wrist really hindered his performance yet somehow he still put up 40+ points. And anyone that thinks Kobe doesn’t want to play for the Lakers, well you may be right, but the guy sure as hell wants to win as badly as anyone on the court.

    Tough game that the Lakers should have stolen but couldn’t pull it out in the end, damn Dookie.

    BTW- The Jazz looked awesome last night versus GS. Everyone was playing well especially the trio of C. Boozer, A. Kirilenko, and D. Williams.

  16. Kobe Affecting Bulls’ Extension Talks?
    ———————————-
    Deng suggested there will be more negotiating before he settles on a final answer today. One byproduct of Deng and Gordon not signing extensions is it would be easier for the Bulls to trade for Kobe Bryant. Whether that’s good or bad news is open to debate.

    “I’ve never played with Kobe, but I see how good he is,” Deng said

  17. JONES – I totally agree with you about Bynum. Although, he started out pretty impressively last year, too. I think, whether Kobe stays or not, if we run the damn offense and keep up that energy on defense and the boards, we will win some games. I’m finally coming around on the Lakers’ “other” players and would love to see Bynum/Farmar/Ronny really start to assert themselves as the core of this team.

    As an aside, Tuuuuriaaaaaf was showing some mad hops last night (if a bit recklessly).

  18. Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio said this morning that Kobe was at the game 3 hours before tipoff shooting around and the Buss’ savior, Andrew Bynum, showed up late for the game.

    Good Job Dr. Buss in deciding to build your team around Bynum.

  19. The Lakers really need to remedy so many missed unguarded 13 footers. (27-45 from the stripe?)

    Another surprise was only 8 three pointers attempted. That is a trend I could get used to.

    I think with Odom in the mix the offense runs better and the Lakers are leading for most of the game rather playing from behind for the whole second half.

  20. jeremy,
    “The Lakers are better then the Rockets when healthy”

    I don’t think so. The Rockets got off to a very slow start, new system, new coach. I think that they will get a lot better as the season progresses; I don’t think

  21. 15
    Sorry, hit “submit too soon”.

    I don’t think this Lakers roster will get a lot better as the season progresses. That will take another year or two.

    80% of the time Kobe is making appropriate decisions on offense. It’s that other 20% of the time that he hasn’t figured out yet; when a teammate is wide open for a makeable shot, and he doesn’t pass to him.

    Kwame does not work to get into position for rebounds. Why?

    Bynum definitely looks better than last year.

  22. Friendly suggestion: Maybe instead of briefly explaining TS% and eFG%, maybe you should have a glossary list somewhere on the site? So you can just hyperlink from the term to the detailed definition? Just a thought, anyway.

  23. Kurt, your analysis is right on. Kobe took on the mindset of scorer and did not relinquish control of the ball in the 2nd half. Instead of passing to the block to start the motion of the offense, he called out the big to screen for him so he could continue to attack. The mentality of holding the ball spread as even guys like Fisher and Evans took a few shots without trying to move the ball.

    One positive that I did like was the defense of screen and rolls. Our bigs showed hard on the screen and agressively cut off driving lanes. Bynum was especially disruptive with his length and active hands on these plays.

    This was only one game, but there are a lot of positives to take from it. The team played faster, they were agressive on d, and they nearly came back by pressuring the ball and forcing turnovers. But the same offensive problems from years past are still here. The holding of the ball, the lack of movement off the ball, the cuts were not sharp nor were players really running the offense (especially in the 2nd half). We need the full team to really compete, but there will still need to be concessions from Kobe to share the ball more and make a real effort to make sure that the offense doesn’t stall. I’d almost prefer to have Kobe play off the ball for the majority of the shot clock and try to create for himself in the last 10 seconds of the clock. Walton, Bynum, and even Fisher work well out of the offense to get shots so the team shoud try to cater to their strengths to get them good shots within the offense. And since Kobe can get a decent shot from almost any spot on the floor at any time, he needs to play more within the offense for the benefit of the other players.

  24. 4. Kwame a. that is a great point. Once Kobe gets in that mindset he is incredibly headstrong.

  25. Interesting post at True Hoop:

    To try to get an idea of how Kobe’s seeing his teammates, let’s examine how (his fourth quarter) passes turned out.

    Five passes to Luke Walton. Four times it comes back to Bryant, one time Walton gets fouled.
    Two passes to Jordan Farmar, leading to two missed jumpers by other players.
    Twice to Ronny Turiaf. One time it comes back, the other time it’s a missed jumper.
    Once to Maurice Evans, who passes it right back.
    Once time to Andrew Bynum, who passes it back.
    Once to Derek Fisher for the game-tying basket.
    After considering how productive Bryant was on his own, and how little came out of his passes, one could make the argument that in his head, most of his teammates were not worth passing to with the game on the line.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-246/Thinking-Like-Kobe-Bryant-in-Crunch-Time.html

  26. Blessing or Curse!
    ===========
    The crazy thing about Kobe is that he is always the best option on offense and its too hard to call someone elses number. The rest of the team has no balls to do anything when he is around. He is so much better then the next guy you just can’t bypass him for the sake of the team. Only Shaq could command similar respect, or fear.

  27. IMO it appeared the the laker players were timid of Kobe. Not really sure how to play with him.

    Kobe, himself played well but the team lacks a second scoring option (at least until Lamar gets back). I was surprized at the number of midrange misses, they made those during the preseason.

    Bynum played well until he tires, the quality of his play drops off quickly.

    Mihm was tried at PF, he is a better option than Cook. Has Cook relaxed since he signed the contract? He is actually playing worse over the last 2 years.

  28. What can Cook do that Radman can’t? Anything?

  29. Hopefully the Lakers can count on personal bests in FTA every night, or they are already sunk.

    Ah, the gifts the Lakers receive on national television. Why does it seems like the worse the Lakers are getting blown out, the more FTA they receive? Its so weird.

  30. gr8dunk (26). I agree with that. I think what Kobe needs is another player that can be vocal and demand the ball like what Shaq used to do. Someones whose personality is as forceful as Kobes and whose ego is just as big (a la shaq). That way when Kobe takes over for periods of the game, there is someone there that will demand the ball and get back into the offense.

  31. By the way, quote of the day comes from The Coimmish:

    Asked about the state of the Knicks, Stern said: “It demonstrates that they’re not a model of intelligent management.

  32. Kurt, thanks for sharing that link from truehoops definitely shows why Kobe ALWAYS tries to take over. Most of his teammates are afraid of making a play and rather are content with just not screwing things up. You know what that is? Confidence. Fisher looks like the only player that wants to take a game determining shot,(Lamar when healthy) and he didn’t use to be like this. His game has really developed since he’s left the Lakers and seems to be more agressive and CONFIDENT on offensive.

    Think back to the Bulls and when Steve Kerr hit that wide open jumper. After the timeout he went up to Jordan and said I’m going to be open get me that ball. That confidence in wanting to succeed and believing in his ability is what most of the Lakers are missing.

    With Kobe being so great I don’t know why he can’t rub off on some of his teammates. If he really wants to win he’d take some players under his wing and improve their play.

  33. I think Farmar can be a guy that will have that confidence. However guys like Kwame (based on skill) and Luke and Lamar (based on their pass-first mentality) aren’t guys that will ever have that confidence.

  34. Its pretty awesome that the margin of victory for the Rockets exactly equals the points they got from the accidental basket Walton gave them. Not that I blame Walton, but it feels pretty apt. We’re literally beating ourselves.

    Kobe and the rest of the team barely looked like they were on the same team. Yeah the other guys didn’t do much to support his passing to them, but once it becomes clear he’s going to do his own thing I think everybody else’s confidence shuts down. They don’t expect anything from themselves.

    Bynum’s play was much much better than the box score would indicate I thought. Much better than I’ve seen him play before period. He was active, he was thinking about what he should be doing and trying his damnedest to do it. More than once I saw him box out Yao or Dikembe, which enabled somebody else grab the rebound. His defense on Yao was better than it seemed to, since Yao was hitting those 10 footers. There’s obviously a lot of room for growth, but if he continues to play that hard and smart, I’m excited to see him grow. Hopefully he’s not the only reason to watch this season though.

  35. Last night and this pre-season I figured out why Kobe Bryant is not the best player in the game (contrary to popular belief). As an individual player he is, but he’s not a complete player because he just absorbs the ball so much. But that would be fine if he distributed the ball a bit, but doesn’t. The real problem with him is, he’s too athletic for his own good. If he played the game much more fundamentally, he would be ridiculous, and all this trade circus would stop once and for all. Instead, he always tries to get the shot that is a 100 degree difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10. If he just made a simple layup or simple feed, the lakers would be so much better, and they would be in a better position to win, especially with the seeming coming of age of Bynum. Instead, we will continue jumping on our feet wondering if when we wake up kobe is still a laker or the new team captain on planet pluto.

  36. By the way, VladRad sat last night because of the flu (just read the OC Register details). He should be back soon.

  37. I was about to say, please reserve the DNP for Cook, not Vlad, but with that news, hope he is better soon. I hope it rains from the Eastern Bloc!

    What’s up with Sasha? All through camp he is getting a lot of hype, and then Coby gets 10 seconds over him?

    JONESONTHENBA, I agree with your points on Bynum, but disagree that he has to start. While I would not object to it, I think he could be effective coming off the bench. Yet, I think whatever his role is, Phil needs to give him a good amount of minutes, and let him play through a few lapses. He will improve at a much faster rate with more time on the floor.

    I love to see Ronny getting more burn. LOVE it! Nice to also see Mihm shaking some rust off last night. Once he gets back in the groove of playing, I think he could be a dependable player off the bench.

  38. Brian Cook has got to be the worst player in the NBA.. Other than outside shooting, he simply has no other basketball skill.. And even the shooting is shaky.. Plus he tops it all off with a lazy demeanor.. How and why does he keep getting minutes??

  39. I was really impressed with Fisher last night. His game has really grown since he left LA and it showed last night. For my money, if it’s not Kobe, I want him taking that last shot. It’s been awhile since there’s been anyone on the Lakers that I had that much confidence in at the end of the game but it’s there.

    That said, I was actually impressed with Kwame’s play last night. I believe he caught two slick passes from Kobe and,either Fisher or Walton, and turned them both into dunks. At one point when he got the ball at the elbow of the free throw line, he made a strong move towards the basket and the ball rimmed out. I really thought he played a lot better than anyone seems to be giving him credit for. And he shows on defense on the pick and roll more than anyone else. His active hands also led to some deflections that led to turnovers that led to Laker points. Bynum was effective as well and Mihm wasn’t really that bad either.

    Now, the negatives. Hmmm…how about no one being willing to go to the basket in the 2nd half. I mean, really, the Lakers were terrible in the 3Q especially. Kobe missed a lot of shots he shouldn’t have taken but far too often his teammates were sitting and watching when he got the ball. That’s got to stop. Kobe and his teammates deserve equal blame for this because if they cut or got open and they were in his field of vision, he probably would have passed in some of those situations.

    Defense? I was really impressed with the rotations for the most part. It seemed like they were legit trying out there to shutdown the Rockets. The problem was when they rotated, the weak side was left open far too often for offensive boards. That will come with time I suppose.

    The second unit was atrocious, for the most part. Even with Kobe out, they were getting outscored like 10-2. When Kobe went to the bench in the 3rd quarter, they nearly gave away the game.

    Overall, I’m optimistic. I think Magic is right though; they either need to come out and say Kobe isn’t going to be traded or trade him. I think it will settle the team down. I am passively optimistic that he mentioned the JO trade talks being revisited as well. Either way, a resolution needs to come quick. If LA says Kobe stays, then maybe everyone gets the picture that he won’t be had for cheap if they do end up trading him.

  40. I’m starting to wonder whether Kobe is too strong a personality for this team? I think this group might be better without Kobe simply because they’d be able to assert themselves in a way that they can’t do so now.

  41. I thought the crowd booing Kobe was a bit shocking. How convenient that Buss never puts his face out there to get some of it. On TNT I thought Magic’s comments about the fans booing Kobe was like the pot calling the kettle black. Magic Johnson even had beef with his coach during his reign in the NBA and demanded a trade if Paul Westhead was not removed during his hay day. You don’t see Buss talking about looking at trade offers for him. Why now with Kobe and right before the season too. Kobe did his thing during the offseason. Not very business like in my book.
    Back to the game you could see when the 2nd unit was in they all turned into mush. Cook, Farmar, Evans, & Bynum were garbage. That 1st qtr lead just evaporated and James from Houston was just making 3s with no pressure defensively what so ever. Phil of course didn’t call a timeout to bail them out of their funk so of course they end up barely holding onto a tie game at halftime. There is just no 1 – 2 punch when Kobe leaves the game. All the other top tier teams have that sometimes 1-2-3 punch. Is that Kobe’s fault too? I hear people say they hate that we have to rely on Kobe only to score. Let’s trade him for younger talent. Yeah that’s like having a high school team and recruiting 4th graders to my team to build for the future and have these 4th graders play against other high school teams until they figure it out and develope a killer instinct and get trained by 60 year old coaches who need surgery on their hips. Great formula. Right now we have a high schooler playing with 4th graders trying to compete against teams with all high schoolers. The experience is just not there. And who put togther this team? Kobe did it’s his fault. right? He made Shaq leave? Well how about Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Glen Rice, Lindsay Hunter, Tyronne Lue…..I’m sure it was all Kobe’s fault that no all-stars were produced or acquired since their last championship. Why don’t we just have Mitch put on a uniform because obviously he doesn’t see that Kobe needs help. Buss thinks he’s like Steinbrenner and is pushing his weight around trying to be the Billy Martin to Reggie Jackson. When they overhauled the Lakers after 2004 they should never promised Kobe they wanted to win now because they haven’t lived up to there promise.. We’re watching 4th graders and blaming the highschool player why he doesn’t make them better. And I’m mad that the Spurs will win more championships because of mgmt lack of ability to keep all-stars and acquire more talent. Wordy i know but when you see it as a business well it is from the top down not from the bottom up.

  42. Back in the preseason, Kobe declared a “trade me” open house. There were a few “looky Lou’s,” but when they found out about the terms, they decided to stand pat, figuring the market was soft and the market price was bound to go down. The marketing rhetoric has gone up, but the price has not come down. Even the looky Lou’s don’t want to look anymore.

    He needs to take his house off the market until next year. Maybe someone can do a tax free exchange then.

    This situation needs a hard dose of reality.

    Kobe’s all packed up with no place to go.

    Either the Lakers have to say that Kobe won’t be traded this year, or Kobe needs to say it.

    Then Kobe needs to listen carefully to the words of “Hotel California.”

  43. From the news today
    ============
    Odom suffers concussion in two-car traffic accident
    ESPN.com
    Odom, who is inactive for the Lakers because of left shoulder surgery in the offseason, was on his way to the team’s pregame shootaround prior to Tuesday night’s season opener against Houston, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

    The paper reported that Odom went to the hospital in an ambulance and was given a CT scan. That showed the slight concussion.

    Odom’s Mercedes-Benz was totaled, the paper reported. The woman driving the other car in the accident had to be taken out by the jaws of life.

    Odom later attended the Lakers’ 95-93 loss to the Rockets.

  44. It seems like the general impression outside of this blog is that Kobe will be traded sooner rather than later. But, it seems like most people here think things at least have a chance of being resolved between Kobe and the Lakers. Is that about accurate?

  45. I feel that unless some team blows the Lakers away with an offer, think Dallas with Dirk + filler, Suns with an Amare package, or Chicago with Deng/Heinrich/Tyrus, there is no way they trade Kobe for the Pu Pu Platter that’s been mentioned thus far.

    And really, as last night showed, the Lakers are not very good without Kobe. They weren’t great with him, but he was also injured and they missed a ton of free throws. Be that as it may, the team showed flashes of cohesion last night. If they can build on that and get healthy, they can be a pleasant surprise.

    I forgot to mention earlier how much I loved Ronny’s play last night. He was all over the place, hustling, chasing down loose balls, rebounding, scoring. If he could do better at not picking up some silly fouls, he will be more than enough at the 4 spot for now. I think both Ronny and Kwame, though, played well last night once they got into foul trouble. I was surprised fill stayed with Kwame after he picked up the 4th early in the 3rd but Kwame was okay for the most part after he picked the 4th up.

  46. 44. I’m not sure things can be resolved between Kobe and the Lakers, unless Bird relents and sends JO without Odom in the deal, or some other massive change of heart like that.

    All that said, I think Chise sums up the general feeling here that the Lakers should not be under pressure to trade Kobe right now, that they should wait for other teams to get desperate and make a reasonable to good offer. (The problem is that what the Lakers should consider reasonable may take enough pieces away from said team that Kobe kills the deal. It’s a no-win.)

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the sense I get from this board.

  47. Players get confidence in their game when they work hard to get open and get the ball where they can then shoot in rhythm.
    Last night in 4Q of a close game T-Mac passed to an open Alston who was 0 for the game. Does anyone think Kobe would have made the pass? Until he does the Lakers will continue to be a very disjointed team.(Or a playmaker is brought in who will involve the rest of the team.)

    The frantic trapping at the end of the game is something Phil might want to consider using at the end of each quarter.

  48. Stephen- I feel that T-Mac is an underrated passer. This goes both ways, its good that he is so willing to give it up because he creates so many open shots for teammates, but he has not been able to advance past the first round of the playoffs, and I think a contributing factor is his inabilty to rip the heart out of the opposition by imposing his scoring will on them (even if doubled) late in the game. its a fine line, Kobe shoots too much, T-Mac passess too much. Ginobli may be the best decision maker on the perimeter, mixing the threat of scoring and passing nicely

  49. Truth heals wounds. The problem is that the world may be a bit too savvy for the truth. Kobe wants to be a Laker and he wants to give 110% for this team. He also wants the management to give 110% and to be behind him. Of course, they can’t work miracles, just like Kobe, no matter how great he is, is not going to take a bunch of freshman and sophomores to the NBA finals. However, the mgmt. can say we’re behind you Kobe, and we are going to do our best to put a few more veterans on this squad. I don’t know if this means a championship immediately, but we’ll get better each year, give you the proper rest, so you don’t bang yourself up, and you’ll still have something left when we do get in a position to win it all. If they don’t do this for him, what’s his incentive to stay?

  50. Kurt,
    Bill Walton on the ESPN pregame pretty much stated the whole Kobe drama this summer was over Kobe wanting a huge salary extension. Anyone know if there is any truth to back-up Walton’s assertion,or is he talking out of his a** as he so often does?

    BTW,I still believe Kobe had a hissy fit because the media seemed to be going gaga over LeBron vs Detroit. He said the one thing guaranteed to bring attention back to himself. Whether he meant it at the time-and I don’t think he did-it put him in a position where he couldn’t back down and things just spiraled out of control. Like in a relationship when you’re p***** at something else but you take it out on your partner by saying the one thing must hurtful to them and you can’t take it back and it festers and festers and so often it just kills the relationship.

  51. 50. I’d say this was vintage Walton BS. Kobe has two years as a max contract, plus two more years on the player option, starting at $19.5 this year and ending at $24. He does have a trade kicker, but is that really the motivation here? Say what you will about Kobe, I just don’t think this is a money thing for him.

  52. ESPN is reporting that a three-way trade involving the Lakers, Bulls and Kings is now dead but has been discussed.

    The Lakers would acquire Ron Artest and Ben Wallace; the Kings would acquire Ben Gordon and P.J. Brown, while the Bulls would get Kobe Bryant.

  53. So, in order to allow Bynum to grow, they want to give Ben Wallace all his minutes and add yet another 3 to the mix when you already have Walton and Odom? That’s gotta be the stupidest trade “news” I’ve heard yet. Not only are the Lakers gonna “give” Kobe to the Bulls, they are gonna take Ben’s albatross of a contract as well? Please.

  54. Kurt,
    Assuming there was anything to it,I didn’t believe it would be just about Kobe getting more coin. But if there were prelim talks about an extension and the Lakers stated-or implied-they only had enough money to either extend Kobe or sign talent and Kobe agreed not to press for an extension so the Lakers could get more talent….it would certainly help explain Kobe’s anger.

  55. Here is what I don’t understand, proably because it makes too much sense. Why can’t the lakers just tell Kobe to hold on for this year, then sign someone from what people are calling the best free agent class ever. Kwame’s ridiculous contract (along wih vujacic and evans) will be off the books, plus mid-level and bi-annual exceptions. We could offer a legitimately large offer to one of these marquee free agents: Arenas, Brand, Jamison, J. O’neal, Artest, Maggette, Iverson, and B. Davis. Look at that list. Some of those guys are even rumored to be traded for kobe. Deng and Gordon might even get added. All the lakers have to do is not panic and trade kwame for someone. If they don’t want to pay the luxury tax, they could dump radmonivic or Cook. What’s left plus a new FA would make a great team.

  56. Anyone who even repeats any ESPN report is showing a lack of knowledge of what ESPN is about.

    Wait until another, more reliable, source confirms things. These Kobe trades are things just floated out there because they get hits/ratings.

    I think we should stop talking Kobe trades until something actually happens. Until then all this is just extra ink to read through. I would rather talk about other Laker matters.

  57. 55. It’s just not that simple. The Lakers already have about $60 million committed for next year, even with those guys off the books, and the cap is going to be in the $58 million range, the Lakers will be over it. Meaning they can only offer the mid-level exception, which will get none of the guys on that list.

  58. I guess that means we should have traded Shaq for as many expiring contracts we could get, and then waited it out until a players that compliment Kobe went FA.

  59. Craig W you are so right. Anything ESPN reports has to be taken with a grain of salt considering their need for timeliness instead of truthfulness. Just look at the Eli Manning injury story earlier in the year.

    All ESPN is doing is they need a talking point for OTL, ATH, PTI, and every other show on their network so they blow this up like crazy. I am not saying talks aren’t going on between the Bulls and Lakers but I would definitely wait till SI or Yahoo or someone cream us over the story like ESPN is right now.

  60. I didn’t care about the rape issue. Wasn’t there. Wasn’t me. Wasn’t mine.

    I didn’t care about the Shaq issue. I could see Shaq was loafing and would never try hard for the Lakers again. Saw Kobe worked his ass off and sided that way.

    I was a touch irritated that the Bryant family soap opera got Karl Malone to give up on one more year with the team but with Divac injured, I’m not sure it would have made a difference. BTW, all you Kupcake bashers, he put together a team hit hard by injuries that year. With Malone, Kobe, Vlad, Caron and LO, that team could have been a condender of sorts.

    Now, after reports that including Deng in a trade is keeping Kobe from okaying the deal, I am over him. He talks about loving the LA fans but obviously its just talk. He expects the Lakers to send him to Chicago for far less then value so he too can leave the team and win a title, leaving us fans standing with no Deng in our hands.

    If Kobe was better at letting his teammates develope he would not be in the position he is in. Guys like Bynum, Turiaf, Critt and Farmar need to make things happen for this team and Kobe does not let a flow develop for anyone else.

    Its about time Kobe goes and when he goes, the Lakers can settle for nothing less then young talent and the best player on that team. If they can’t get that then lets watch as these borderline Eastern Conference Contenders continue to toe the borderlines. Its not up to the Lakers to give another team a championship other then one for themselves and for LA. The one team that wins the championship is the only one happy in the end and those with talent but fading hope get desperate. There is only one “Best Player in the World” and to get him and the tickets, ad space and network appearances that go with him, you need to give up allot.

    Lets just see Kobe opt out after next year. What team with a chance at winning will have the cap space to sign him? If he signs a small contract, lets see how the NBAPA likes that.

    A signed Deng, Thomas, Noah and a fat contract. Let that contract go after one season, let Brown go or sign him for what he is actually worth, make some roster moves to free space and go after Arenas.

    Critt/Farmar
    Arenas
    LO
    Thomas/Noah
    Bynum

    That is a pretty solid starting five in 2008. Farmar, Fish, Noah/Thomas, Walton and Turiaf off the bench. Let me know how that works capwise.

  61. Appreciate the kind words Kurt. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little bit intimidated to be joining that company, but luckily Ty’s off to a good start it seems.

    Also, the Ben Wallace/Ron Artest rumor, while being hilariously defensive-minded, made no actual sense. The worst thing we can possibly do is trade for someone like Big Ben.

  62. Kurt,
    I understand the Lakers don’t want to go over the salary cap b/c Buss treats the Lakers like a business as well he should. But shouldn’t Buss look at the scenario he’ll create if he trades Kobe w/o getting a star in return. He loses earnings b/c he won’t get the same movie stars filling up all the expensive seats anymore. The franchise will be dormant for a good period of time definitely losing the interest of the casual fair weather fan (most LA fans).

    Instead why shouldn’t Buss spend more money and go over the salary cap next year. He keeps Kobe and gets another star to add to the team. Seats keep getting filled and then he’ll have a reason to charge more for his premium seats.

    Yet it looks like Buss is trying to follow Donald Sterling’s approach to putting out the least competitive team that will make him the most money. = angering the fans of the franchise.
    I wonder if Buss will come to his senses, or if he’s just like Kobe and want to do things his way.

  63. I wouldn’t go that far with the ESPN thing Craig. While they may sensationalize things, Chris Sheridan and Mark Stein, in particular, seem to be more on the ball than the others. I’m not saying they are right all the time or anything, but I’d be more inclined to believe some of what they say over anything that comes out of Ric Bucher’s mouth.

    That said, if this whole “if Deng is included, I’ll veto the trade” thing is true, Kobe’s gone insane. Either he doesn’t really want to be traded and is too proud to admit it, or he’s gone off his rocker. There’s no way he goes to the Bulls without Deng being included. I can’t see the FO getting suckered into taking a team’s 2nd or 3rd best player over their best player again ala the Shaq trade.

    Anyhow, I’m all for the “let’s not talk about it until it happens” pact. If the Lakers take that a la carte menu being trotted out by Chicago tho, I may cancel my League Pass…

  64. Chise,
    I didn’t hear about the ‘Deng thing’ until I read it here. I do follow my own prescriptions about ESPN. Now we are reporting on what we think Kobe might have told management about a trade that Chicago probably didn’t propose or agree to. Great!!! This is what I mean when I say we need to halt all this senseless talk. We are driving ourselves nuts because we keep talking in circles. I read a comment above that a reader was now all through with Kobe because of the ‘Deng thing’. The highest probability is that Kobe said nothing and someone put words in his mouth because they thought that’s what he would say. Agggggggg!!!!!!!!

  65. I agree with a lot of what you said in 64, Craig. And I’d just as well prefer we don’t discuss it anymore but it’s hard when it’s all you hear or see on tv, talk radio, the papers, etc. One thing is clear though, we need a yay or nay one way or the other so the team can move on to focusing solely on the season.

  66. Kurt,
    The Lakers could-could-move Lamar and a First in a sign and trade for a pricey FA that the other team doesn’t want to sign at the price the Lakers are willing.
    Add a MLE contract(Josh Childress,Dorell Wright?)and the Lakers prob could still get under Lux Tax territory.