There’s Got To Be A Morning After

Kurt —  June 17, 2008

First things first — congratulations to the Celtics and their fans. Boston was the better team in this series, the team that played with more focus and a more veteran mentality. They deserved the title, and I’m happy for Jeff and other Celtics fans I know.

Personally, I’m not that happy today. That was a hard way to lose, and that leads to a lot of frustration — for the fans, the players, the coaches. Everyone. There’s going to be a little venting that goes along with an effortless loss like that in game six of the Finals.

But as that frustration ebbs out we need to remember this season for the fun ride that it was. We started in October thinking we had a second-tier team in the West with an ugly soap opera swirling around it. The goal was to get out of the first round of the playoffs. Then seemingly out of nowhere Andrew Bynum emerged as a force in the paint, the Lakers were getting out and running, they were fun exciting and fresh. And winning. At the end of the 2007 the Lakers were flirting with the best record in basketball and we were all wondering if we really could compete with the best in the West when it mattered. Then Bynum went down, for what we thought would be a couple months. The team reverted to what we expected before the season, a streaky and frustrating .500 team.

Then came two trades, one good and one unfathomable. The first was getting Trevor Ariza, giving the Lakers a real perimeter defender to go with Kobe. Then there was the Pau Gasol theft. And it was a theft, the Lakers gave up a prospect and a pick and a contract for a seven-footer built for the triangle. Suddenly there was amazing energy around the team again and the offense was humming as it never has before. It was a joy to watch.

All of that led to a fantastic playoff run — an impressive sweep of the Nuggets, an hard-fought battle with the improving Jazz then a five-game win against the Spurs that made us feel like we really belonged, like we had really reached the elite.

In the Finals the Lakers ran into an aberration — a team that didn’t need to learn to win as a team (I think because its Big Three were veterans and there were a lot of veterans coming in off the bench). Most teams have to learn the hard way. Jordan’s Bulls lost to Detroit three times in the playoffs before they became a dynasty. The three-pete Lakers lost a lot in the playoffs plenty before they won with that unit. The list goes on and on.

And I think that’s what we ultimately take from this — the Lakers saw first-hand what it takes to win a title on Tuesday night. They saw the commitment needed on defense. They saw the will needed to get the rebounds and the loose balls. They saw the focus of a team that didn’t deviate from who it was or what it wanted to do. They saw a real hunger.

As Lakers fans we hope — we believe — that our team will come back next year with that fire. We know they will come back better with Bynum being the shot blocker and rebounder so needed in this series (and throughout the playoffs). We know they will come back with the best and most passionate player in the game. (Although, you have to wonder who will be first in the mainstream media to start suggesting Kobe wants out. We should start a pool.) We know we have a coach who knows how to make that step to a championship.

And we know we will come back with a core roster good enough to compete for a title and win one if they learned the lessons from this last series. There may be some roster tweaks, but the bottom line is the core of this team is a title contender and not much needs to be done to improve upon this year’s finish. The key for the players coming back having put in the work to take that next step. The hope is that this game six disaster drives them this summer, drives them into the gym and into the workouts.

It’s okay to be frustrated today. But know that tomorrow looks damn good. And next season it is going to be a lot of fun to be a Lakers fan.

Kurt

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216 responses to There’s Got To Be A Morning After

  1. The lakers did not have a leader. Their coach was non-existant and their star player cared more about bitching about missed plays than trying to inspire his team to greatness. We played like a bunch of spoiled brats and it hurts because I think a lot of people remember “tragic johnson”, but they also remember, “we’re not not going back to LA”. We need more that interior defense, we need heart.

  2. By the way, since many of you found this site recently, know that we keep this place going all summer. We will talk about free agents and other moves the Lakers are considering, talk about the draft (and that vital #58 pick) and other off-season moves. Then in August we’ll be doing plenty of Olympics and USA Basketball.

    Also know that even in the off-season there are no random discussions of fantasy trade proposals or the like. Meaning if you just randomly write “The Lakers should trade Odom for Artest” that will get deleted. The reason is simply that this site would get overrun with random trade speculation, and there are already plenty of Lakers sites where you can go do that if you wish.

    In a few days we’ll break down the Lakers roster for next year, who is back and who they have to resign and how many roster spots are really available, etc. And of course we’ll talk about the draft in general as well. But that is a few days away.

    Just wanted to put that out there. Carry on.

  3. 1. I love how Phil Jackson is suddenly an idiot because he lost a Finals. They guy has nine rings, he’s forgotten more basketball than most of us will ever know. It was not his best series but this wild over reaction stuff is exactly why this post is up. I could say the same things about Kobe — everyone says “he’s brilliant for chewing out his teammates and motivating them” when the Lakers win and an idiot for doing the same thing when they lose. Vent away if you must, I guess.

  4. Hillary Ocholla June 17, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Last night was the first time I ever went to bed before a Lakers game was over. Sure when I woke up, the result was just as I expected. I’m just as drained as any other Laker fan.

  5. While there certainly are reasons to be optimistic about the Lakers’ future, I don’t think that we should rush to conclude another Finals appearance is a likelihood as a coping mechanism for tonight’s catastrophic loss. Indeed, as SI writer Jack McCallum observed, tonight’s complete dismantling reveals some real concerns on a going forward basis:

    “The Lakers played hard for one quarter, but right after Eddie House and James Posey hit back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second period, the latter giving the Celtics a 14-point lead, it was all over. The fight was gone. Which suggests a certain collective lack of intestinal fortitude to the team from the Left Coast on that big a stage.

    Second, a glaring lack of physicality was evident in the Lakers, particularly from Pau Gasol. The tag of “soft” has trailed Gasol like a stray dog throughout his career, … But along came the grind-it-out Finals, and Gasol’s effectiveness was reduced. In Game 6, he struggled to get up seven shots.

    Third, Lamar Odom remains, to dig up what Winston Churchill said of Russia, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” One game he’s great, next game he stinks. He had a terrific year and there’s no reason that he won’t have another one next year. But he has to get it done in the Finals, and he, too, often went AWOL in this one.”

    You can read the rest at the link, but the bottom line is that while we can enjoy the stunning turn-around of the Lakers from near implosion to NBA Finals contender, the front office needs to do a realistic, serious analysis of the roster because a Finals return is no sure thing. That may require a major trade or just a minor tweak. But the bottom line is, it would be a mistake to blindly stand pat out of the erroneous belief that Bynum’s return is going to solve some deep-rooted problems that did not preclude a deep playoff run, but did end up costing us the championship this year.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jack_mccallum/06/18/lakers/index.html?eref=T1

  6. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but how do we ‘know’ we have andrew bynum in any good shape next year? The nba is littered with the wrecked bodies of should haves and would haves. The whole bynum saga seems very fishy to me, and I don’t have any confidence at the moment he will be back in good shape next year.

    On the positive side, I still don’t think we need bynum to win a championship, this team will be one year older and more confident next year. Its unfortunate that we dropped so close to the finish line but as Kurt said before any of the greats became great winners, they were celebrated losers. Even magic who won in his rookie year went through it as we have mentioned…

  7. Mike in the Mountain West June 18, 2008 at 12:13 am

    3. I completely agree Kurt. This Lakers team is a good team at it’s core. It was extremely frustrating to see them lose in such a poor fashion but people forget that we are something like the third youngest team in the league. Experience matters. There was a great guest post on FB&G this season that looked at the make-up of past championship teams and almost all of them had strong veterans coming off the bench playing with energy and mental focus.

    We lost this series because of rebounding and turnovers. Or in other words, energy and mental focus. We weren’t prepared for a tough series because we basically coasted through the last half of the season and the first three playoff series. That’s fixable.

  8. the other Stephen June 18, 2008 at 12:16 am

    i really do like our team as is, although vladi pushes it sometimes. will the lakers need veterans to win the championship next year, or will hard work, the return of andrew bynum, and this year’s experience be enough? is it possible that any championship-hungry veterans would even eye our team?

    what’s going to happen about our crowded big-man situation? there’s bynum, gasol, mihm, mbenga, turiaf, odom, and technically, radmanovic.

    also, i’ve always felt since this year’s trades that we are thinnest at the guard positions. would any sort of tweener who’s known for both an outside shot and inside bruising and cruising be able to fill in behind kobe, and perhaps split some time at the 3?

    considering the arrival of thibodeau in boston this year, and their enormous spike in defensive efficiency and dominance, do we need to hire someone to really hammer out the lakers defense? if tom was able to turn it around, why shouldn’t we?

    let me reiterate that i really love this team as it is for all its chemistry and talent. it has been beautiful watching this team this year, and i’m not jumping to trade speculation. i’m just welcoming some responses to some issues i feel are relevant, and entertaining some possibilities.

  9. Writing from Oz (thats Australia~)
    Firstly what an awesome season. as stated before to go from what the situation was at the beginning i thought it was going to be another doomed season where kobe jacks 50 shots every game. but things just started to fall in place and we ended up 2 games and 39pts away from a title. what a ride.
    secondly just notes on the series. it was evident from game 1 that kobe defence wins championships. that has been the mantra for so many past champs and it was clear that lakers need alot of improvement in that area. Having said that, alot of credit needs to go to the celtics who didnt give kobe an inch of space to create, clogged up the lane and forced the lakers to become perimeter shooters. which will all know can be inconsistent at the best. is vlad on crack? some of the plays he made in this series made me wonder about his mental stability. pau tried hard, but dayum he needs to hit some weights. maybe with bynum back he can play the PF position, sliding bynum in centre and odom at SF. Odom was again inconsistent.
    positive – the effort was evident but we lost to a better team. point blank. period.
    cant wait till next season and also to watch Kobe play for team USA. should be fun to watch.

    peace

  10. Please don’t delete this post. I’m just ASKING. I’ve heard two names in conjunction with the Lakers this offseason, one that seems realistic, one that seems crazy, but tantalizing. Those of you out there in the know, or with a firmer grasp of the roster realities, let me know about the following two names:
    1. James Posey
    2. Agent Zero

    Regardless of this loss, the Lakers are not that far from being an NBA Champion. that is the only thing that is going to keep me warm until next season, when, let’s be honest, only two regular season games matter, in the way that it was in the 80′s.

  11. Tough loss. I stopped watching halfway through the second quarter til about the fourth, and by then it was over. As much as I hate the Celtics, I’m happy for Doc, KG, Pierce and Ray Allen. They are all good dudes that worked hard for this and deserved it. Also as much as I hate the Celtics, after seeing my first Lakers-Celtics final firsthand, I wouldn’t rather have it any other way.

    I always figured that this year would be where we’d go through the trials and tribulations of learning what it takes to be a champion, so I’m not all that surprised that the Lakers lost to a Celtics team that wanted it a lot more. I know we have a team with the best player in the world, the best coach in the NBA, and a lot of young and talented players. The most disappointing thing has been the way the team handled themselves this series. After beating two very tough teams like Utah and San Antonio playing Lakers basketball, they didn’t even show up vs the Celtics. The loss would’ve been a lot easier to take if the Lakers competed til the end, but it just doesn’t seem like they did.

    Not getting into trade speculation here at all, but the one thing I got from this loss and Phil mentioned in his press conference as well was that they’re going to need players who are going to be more aggressive and have a tougher mentality if they want to get back to the Finals. Hopefully a lot of that will come from internal growth, and I honestly believe guys like Sasha, Farmar, Pau, etc are gonna grow from this series and become tougher mentally. Some of the other players I’m not so sure about, and it wouldn’t hurt for the Lakers to pick up another veteran or two to help Kobe and Fish teach the young dudes how to win, execute when it matters, play defense, keep their poise, and things like that. But I’m not going to speculate because theres really no point to that – Mitch will figure out what to do, and I think he’s earned all Laker fans’ trust this year.

    Either way, what a great and very entertaining season and I can’t wait for the next one. Despite the loss, I’m still really proud to be a Laker fan.

  12. This hurts..we can sell our souls to the devil to get back here next here if thats what takes. sign anyone, trade anyone, just don’t let us flounder with that as our last memory of the lakers…bynum will bring change to the team, but we also need someone who can shoot and defend in the 3 spot, so thats a no go on vlad rad or lamar…

    we need some players with heart and desire to match kobes’s intensity and desire to win a championship I’m not trying to sound like someone jumping ship, but some change must be made to this roster…we need guys that will show heart, thats all i ask of next year

  13. Hi Kurt,

    What are we doing writing about NBA basketball games when June is almost over? If this was ice hockey, there would already be big puddles in the pond. Must be the NBA championship–and I only saw two of the 6 games on TV. I didn’t see the Tuesday or Thursday games–just the ones on Sundays. I guess I was lucky to miss game 6.

    The NBA championship was uncharted territory for me with this team anyway–a Laker team that we might expect to win next year. This caterpillar has not fully transformed into a butterfly yet.

    Andrew and Trevor will be there at the very beginning of training camp. Many players on this year’s roster will have new assignments next year. Phil, in his last post game interview of the year, mentioned a need to find players that could rebound-especially on the offensive boards. “Tweaking” may be more extensive than previously thought.

    I’ve already got some new ideas.

    She’ll sleep through the night soon–and then you will sleep too.

    Becoming a father again and losing to the Celts all in one week may take a bit of time to recover from!!!

  14. In the words of Alfred Pennyworth: “Why do we fall, sir?….So that we might learn to pick ourselves up.”

    They will bounce back with a vengeance.

  15. Well, if you can’t win I suppose it’s something to bring a little joy into someone else’s life. You know what I hate about the Celtics? That shamrock on the back of the uniform. I have no idea why I feel this way.

  16. 1–I told myself I was just going to sit back and enjoy the fact that the Lakers are in the FInals regardless of the scoreboard or the zebras. I kept envisioning some mad-cap soccer fans chanting ‘ole, ole-ole, ole… ole’ and banging on drums outside, inside and back outiside the stadium without their team’s performance putting a damper on the party. But this was tough to swallow.

    2–Did anyone else feel the Lakers just should floor the next Keltic doing a finger roll in the lane? The tv crew didn’t mention anything about sprotsmanship or ‘showing up the opposition’ but I got tired of the Lakers letting the Keltics dunk on them then helping them up after the and-one. I told my brother if I were in there I’d just knock a Keltic on his ass even if I got thrown out. “They should’ve been doing that all series. It’s too late now.” Am I evil for feeling that way? Should I be happy the Lakers don’t have any ‘dirty’ players or hotheads?

  17. the other Stephen June 18, 2008 at 1:23 am

    oh man. kobe’s postgame presser was dead, dead serious. the game was terrible. i think i spent most of it today shooting tennis balls into a wastebasket with friends.

  18. I was reading the link under ‘Categories – Site News’ and the posts were very interesting. They explain why I am here and what I get out of these Blog sites. Very good writing Kurt, I am looking forward to draft and team USA posts from you.

  19. i noticed that although most opinions are that the lakers are going to be better next year with the addition of bynum, NOBODY has thought of how they’re going to get better by subtraction.

    dumping kwame, cook and smush was huge in itself, nevermind actually getting gasol, ariza and fisher to play their minutes. with bynum out there, shifting gasol and odom (or equal caliber player via trade) down the line, the lakers get better in defense, rebounds AND post presence. why’s that? because we won’t be wasting minutes on radman the daydreamer and walton. i love walton’s court game has but he’s not a $5 mill per player, and certainly not a starter on a championship contender. boston attacked our weakest link (SF) with reckless abandon and the luxury of having odom playing at SF with ariza/walton as backups (def/off subs), i personally think that takes us to the next level. unfortunately we still have to keep radman around with his disgusting contract so we’re limited in how we can beef up the bench, but i think that’s a pretty good start.

  20. Good point tuna.

    I think the best thing we can do to the roster is leave it alone. Bring Pau in for a full training camp, let him develop even further in the triangle. We can worry about wholesale changes in a year, when Lamar’s contract expires.

    Kurt, I find that feast-or-famine approach to sports commentary both fascinating and frustrating. Funny how the end result retroactively changes our perception of past events — if the Lakers had gotten one defensive stop in Game 2 they suddenly would have the Greatest Comeback of All Time.

    I think we far exceeded expectations, and are in great shape for next year. Sure Kobe will steam for the summer, but steaming about losing the Finals is quite a different animal from steaming about going out in the first round.

  21. gasol reminded me of kwame yesterday. he looked lost, showed no heart, couldnt catch a ball, and it took him forever to make a dicision once he finally had the ball. i thought he was the go-to guy in memphis. wouldnt every go-to guy jump for joy seeing leon powe or big baby davis guarding him?

    it was sad seing the lakers going down like that, but im still one of those people who think we shouldnt change up the roster. we have a good core of young guys, and they will continue to get better. ariza might fill the needs that we have at the 2 and 3 spot (athleticism and defense) after a full training camp with the team.

    i thought luke played a great first round, and then lost minutes to vlade. i dont know why phil lost faith in him, but he showed us that he could provide good help given the right amount of playing time.

    i guess its just hard to win a ring when nobody is scared driving to the rim against your starting center. bynum will help a lot.

    lets keep the team as it is… maybe add a few veterans (im pretty sure that there will be plenty of players that would like a chance at a ring in LA). dont trade lamar, i think he is really special.

    it was a good year! next year will be even better!

  22. I guess I should feel worse about this loss. I honestly don’t feel like the die hard fan I’ve become; last year I wouldn’t have touched a sporting site for days after something like this. Yet, I feel thankful that the Lakers even made it this far this year. This team hasn’t even played a whole season together and they’ve only had Gasol in the lineup for 20 something games.

    And I know that the media members are saying that Bynum won’t do much for us. I don’t believe them. They’re going to be riding high on the Celtics for awhile and that’s fine, but remember that Bynum adds a lot for a few reasons. I think they are: 1) rebounding at center (obviously), 2) defense against penetration (ha) and shot blocking, and 3) ability to finish strong at the basket. So, I don’t think he needs to add a lot to make this team championship material.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but I have a good feeling about this team. I’ll be sticking around for the summer and hope you guys do too! Btw, you might see me as USC Mike as I’ll be starting grad school there this fall.

  23. This is a punch in the gut. I don’t want to see Radmanovic back next season. I want to see Gasol put on 15 pounds and work on his cardio. I want to see Odom with balls, I want to see Kobe to be Kobe, I want to see the Machine to be really a Machine beyond the arc and I want to see Bynum back healthy. I think had Ariza’s foot not break, it could have swung the series around… We probably could have came back and won game 2 and we probably could have beaten the C’s in game 4 and we’d be Champs by game 5.

    It was much more close than what Game 6 showed. I think last night was exactly like Rocco Mediate on the 91st hole against Tiger Woods on Monday. We just collasped. We had opportunies but our legs just gave out under us.

    What I can’t stand is the media bashing on Kobe… I hate Bill Simmons, I hate Curt Schilling, I hate the Boston media and ESPN for railing against Kobe. Kobe’s just 29 years old and he is still learning. I hope we win at least 2 Championships in the next 5 years.

  24. I don’t think Phil Jackson is an idiot, but he was exposed as a below-average defensive coach in this series.

    The Lakers’ deficit on the defensive end was more than a personnel shortcoming (though we’ve often heard that Phil’s influence in these matters tends to favor slower, less athletic triangle players over quick athletic defenders). But we were way too slow to adjust to their pick-and-roll, didn’t offer the full court pressure (wth Ariza and Farmar) that produced great results for Cleveland and Detroit, etc.

    On the other hand, aside from Posey, Perkins, and Garnett, each of the Celtics regulars (especially Pierce and Allen) seemed to play well above their defensive reputation all season long, and especially in the playoffs.

    This is basically a repeat of what happened to us in 2004. Phil couldn’t make adjustments on the fly to the defensive schemes, players got frustrated and thrown out of their rythyms, and collapse ensued.

    Again, I think this is a coaching issue more than a personnel or “heart” issue. This grisly morning after, I might feel a lot better about our future if I know we had a powrhouse defensive-minded assistant like Thibodeau.

  25. laughing hard June 18, 2008 at 5:52 am

    My money is on Ric Bucher being the first, and I predict it will happen sometime this morning.

    Thanks for putting it all in perspective. We all knew that, if the Lakers lost, it would be tinged with hope for next season, so my plan, in one year, is to be here celebrating with you all.

  26. Just a thank you to you fans on this site for being class acts all the way. Great year for you and I know you guys will be back next year.

    Let’s run it back!

  27. Disappointing loss. Actually turned the game off with about 3 minutes left in the first half. Hopefully the Lakers take this as a learning experience and work hard this off season and come back next year knowing what it takes to win. Bynum needs to work really hard to get back into shape, Odom and Ariza need to work on shooting. I’m not too worried about Farmar he is a hard worker and I know he will work really hard to get better. The only thing that worries me is that Kobe might be really tired at the beginning of the season. He is not going to get any time off (Olympics) then he will have to have surgery on his hand. But this might be a blessing in disguise because it might make the Lakers have to learn to play with a limited Kobe for a few weeks.

    I think this team is a title contender the way it is built. They just need to work on defense. Maybe hire a defensive minded coach that can implement a system and get the players to buy into it (Maybe we can steal Thibadough from Boston, or someone from SA). As far as roster tweaks I don’t think we need anything major, the only weaknesses I see is depth at the 1 (because of an aging Fisher) and defensive 3 that can also score, and maybe one more player on the perimeter that can create for themselves.

  28. Celtics fan here.

    First, I wanted to thank Kurt for the wonderful site and the Lakers fans that post here — many of you are class acts, and it truly is a pleasant surprise to find. Gracious is the right word for it, I think.

    Second, I hope that Bynum does indeed stay healthy for next year. Watching this series, I got the impression that there was a hole in the Lakers lineup that needed to be filled by a quality big man. I hope you get him, even if it’s someone other than Bynum. Really, I think that was all the Lakers lacked — someone who would fight in the paint.

    See you guys next year, and take care of yourselves!

  29. It was a terrible game #6 but a great season overall. I get so tired of Kobe being maligned by the media-”He’s not MJ blah,blah blah. Kobe has never ever compared himself to MJ. It’s pathetic how its near impossible to hear “Hey they had a very good season and are up and coming and have Bynum next year”- and instead hear all the bashing (as though the Lakers made themselves the favorites to win it all!), Naw, this was a year I won’t soon forget and I am excited to be a Lakers fan. 29 times in the finals- I’m damn privledged to be a Lakers fan. I’ve followed em for 44 years and I’ve seen ups and downs like you wouldn’t believe- the Wilt,West and Baylor “guarantee ” of a championship- now that!! was deflating. A young upcoming team like this getting blown out- tough but nothing compared to whats gone down before. We will be okay!

  30. As I was watching the game last night and saw the deficit balloon up to 20 points – I knew it was impossible to catch up in an atmosphere like Boston. I felt the Lakers had 2 possibilities:

    1.) put a nice run together and show that they belonged on the court.

    2.) take the worst loss imaginable – and leave a lasting impression of this loss into next year.

    Out of pride – option 1 seemed to be the best way to go out. With honor. After a restless night of reflection, option 2 may be the way to go. This is a young Laker team that got its swagger a little too quickly. And lets be honest – after that unexpected run through the western conference, the Lakers got cocky.

    I think Jeff Van Gundy made a very keen observation. To paraphrase – he stated that even though Boston had a far superior team defense, the Lakers had far superior individual defenders. The Lakers are quicker, longer, and more athletic than the Celtics.

    I think this observation is very key. If this works out correctly, I really hope the Lakers can take this experience and really harness themselves for an unforgettable run next year. We know the Lakers will be ridiculously talented in the upcoming season….

    But they may have just gotten that killer instinct for next year with this loss from the celtics….

  31. I still dont see how we should have lost this series. Its one thing to lose to a clearly better team, but I just didnt get the feeling that was the case this time.

    As to the future, Kobe now enters his final year before he can opt out. Any insight on what is being done to get him signed to a long term deal. No matter how good we are next year and how foolish it would be to let Kobe go, I just dont think you can have the opt out issue hanging over the teams head as every bad stretch only fuels the rumor mill and distracts from the team.

    Without Bynum, getting to the finals was really a good year, especially where it began. Lets get Kobe locked up and then tweak the roster as needed.

  32. I respect Kurt’s optimism and consistency. Yes, teams have bounced back from games like this. The 1990 Bulls come to mind–getting blown out by the Pistons in Game 7 of the ECF in the “Pippen Migraine” game and then winning three straight rings. Yes, it is important to remember what a great year it was. And yes, the Celtics were better. Power to them.

    But as I said yesterday, I think it is important to see both sides. The Lakers are blessed to have Kobe Bryant, but I see little reason, comparing him to LeBron James in particular, to call him “the best and most passionate player in the game” today. The Lakers, in building around him, need to see his many limitations. Phil Jackson, as great as he has been, needs to look in the mirror as well. He failed to get the team to play better D and to play more phyiscally, even within its athletic limitations, and he needs to be held accountable for that. There is no guarantee, even as young as some of them are, that the Lakers will get another chance with this group. This loss may be a prelude, but we simply do not know that that is the case.

    Moving into the off-season, I hope that we can start by talking a bit about the current roster in terms of contracts–who is owed what and for how long, who is unrestricted, restricted, etc.

    One bit of idle speculation (not trade-related): I think we can all imagine how one Earvin Johnson is feeling today. Those of us who remember the 1980s teams know that Magic, Riley and others brought an urgency and toughness to them–Game 2 of the1985 Finals was IMO the greatest moment for that team.

    So, I wonder if he can talk more to Kobe Bryant and some of the other guys, and maybe work with Phil Jackson a bit, and bring some of that to this team.

  33. Warren Wee Lim June 18, 2008 at 6:39 am

    This is the part where every Laker and Laker fans alike feel soreness in every part of the body. You somehow feel hung over from a long night of nightmares – every part of you wishing that you could’ve played that 2nd quarter differently. Every aspect of that forgettable game was so hard to digest it still gives me muscle cramps until now.

    I tip my Purple and Gold hat to Boston. The men showed the kids what it took to win it all. Never mind the howling and sobbing from KG, I think that guy deserved it. No one plays with puke-passion like he does. RayRay was inexistent from the start of the playoffs and came out when it was needed – and came out he did. Lastly, as much as I hate the guy, Paul Pierce did a magnificent job exploiting our weakness. He showed the world he too had what it took to carry a team to glory after all the years of dwelling in the cellars of the league. So Congrats to the whole Boston crew, I still don’t like you one bit, but I respect what you have done.

    Is it time to get serious just yet? It seemed so long ago that we had early-May vacations. Now we are deep into June and we are still digesting what had just happened. Well I guess the thirst for perfection never stops. And as bitter as the tastes of our mouths are at this point, its never too early to start going back to the drawing board.

    (to follow in case it might get too speculative)…

  34. The thing that I’m pissed off about the most was the way the lakers just bent over and accepted their fate in the second half. They had a chance to come out of the locker room with a commitment to defense and not making the rout more embarrassing than it had to be.

    Instead they just gave up and let ray allen hit wide open 3s and random scrubs throw down alley-oops and fastbreak dunks.

    Like Kevin (14) said, they had two choices – and they picked the wrong one. That’s what hurts the most.

  35. but i will say this – like Kurt, i believe life is all about the journey, not the destination. This year was the most fun i’ve ever had as a lakers fan and as an NBA fan. Whether it was through repeated readings of the blogosphere, watching every lakers game on my friend’s NBA League Pass account, or following this excellent site – i just had a great time being a fan this year and i’m sad that it’s over.

    mostly, i’m sad that all i have to watch is baseball until august. go team usa!

  36. I hope the team had to watch every second of the Celtics celebrating. Let that get ingrained in their heads all summer. They need fire.

    Arenas: hell no. Terrible fit for the team (he’ll resign with Washington). Posey…. would be an upgrade, but i doubt we go after him. 2 time champs come at a cost, and we’re way over the cap with our own big 3.

  37. Warren Wee Lim June 18, 2008 at 7:00 am

    MKDB: (Mitch Kuchak’s Drawing Board)

    1. Draft – well its not #1 in priority but it comes next in chronology to all the soreness from Game 6. I personally don’t think there’s anyone too “bright” from this spot, it could just be another Euro or Asian stashed elsewhere. It could be traded or sold or it could just be another Leon Powe waiting to happen. My money is on stash-out.

    2. Free Agency – Ronny and Sasha are the 2 names that stand out. Every player hits free agency twice or thrice only in their lifetimes – so usually, while they are still young and able and full of life, they usually hunt the best contract out there. Sasha could get ringed by some team that won the championship several times this decade, Ronny could get a call from an Eastern team with no real PF and has the most cap-space.

    3. Free Agency #2 – this is the part where the cash-strapped Lakers ponder on spending the MLE. FA#1 matters in how this is decided but ultimately, Mitch will be thrift this year unless some really good deal comes our way. If Kurt is ready to open a thread for this, you’ll see my point.

    4. Trade Front – this is my favorite part and conversely Kurt’s least. As it does indeed flood this site from guys like me from the old days, its best to keep the options clear and open. I have no one for now. I think its better to spend the MLE to improve at this point. But that costs double too.

    5. LLE/Bi-annual – this is still free agency but its limited to the Sam Cassells and PJ Browns and other older guys of this league.

  38. Defenitley congrats to the Celtics. They were the better team. That defense is just suffocating.

    Anyone feel that Kobe didnt have his legs when he was playing the last few games? Sure a majority of that could be the defense. I just hope everything is ok for next season. I am looking forward to next season.

  39. Clearly the Celtics roster is stronger than the Lakers roster. The Celtics had home court advantage. And still the Lakers came very close to winning the first three games that the Celtics won. And people are blaming the coach?

  40. Thanks to Kurt and the other writers for making this an exceptional site!

  41. “They overran us,” Jackson said of the Celtics. “[Kevin] Garnett knocked Pau down in the lane and scored an easy basket in the first four or five possessions and set kind of a tone that they were going to establish an aggressive form, and we never met that energy all night. So we have to get some players if we’re going to come back and repeat, to have that kind of aggressiveness that we need.”

  42. frustratedlakerfan June 18, 2008 at 7:46 am

    it hurts. like hell.

    for this team, we need change we can believe in–because frankly, all this talk about ‘inexperience’ is getting old. and next year, it’s going to be just bs, with or without bynum.

  43. I am at a loss. If you look at the season as a whole, we weren’t supposed to be this good this fast and I think that we can only improve. I hope that this beat down will be burned in their minds because we have too much talent not to get back to the biggest of stages.

    Thanks Kurt, et. al. for a wonderful site. I will most certinaly be on this site for as long as you have it.

  44. Anyone read J.A. Adande´s piece on the lakers? http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2008/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Lakers-080618

    I don´t really know what to think. On the one hand I do realize that the team will be better on defense next year, but I still think the Lakers need players to match Boston´s and Kobe´s intensity. It just seemed like the Celtics wanted it more than the Lakers, except for Kobe, who was doing all he could. It´s no wonder he looked exhausted in the 3rd and 4th quarters of Game 6.

    But I still the Lakers will make a great run next season, and I actually think they´ll make a better run the season after next, because by then Bynum and Farmar will both be more experienced.

  45. R.J. Abeytia,

    I hope this doesn’t get deleted, but just responding to your question. Agent Zero rumors to “LA” was for the Clippers, and not the Lakers. Sorry if you got your hopes up. LA has no cap room to sign him since they’re over the salary cap, and he’ll want a near max deal. The Lakers can’t even if they wanted to for other reasons as well. 1st is that they need to resign Sasha and Turiaf and will have to ink Bynum next year or renegotiate this year, so that’s probably going to add at least another 15 million, and Buss is reluctant to go too far over the luxury tax. As for Posey, the rumors are out there that the Lakers may pursue him, but I think the Celtics will do whatever they can to hold on to him, both because he played well this year, and also to prevent him from going to another contender like the Lakers.

    I do think that I agree with Phil Jackson that they need to add someone or make some changes for next year. Although their defense should improve with Bynum, the Celtics revealed an serious flaw in the Lakers. It’s that they truly only have one guy who can create his own shot. The Lakers of the 1980s had at least 3 guys who could create his own shot, Magic, Worthy, and Kareem. The Kobe/Shaq Lakers had 2. The Bulls Dynasty had 2 with Jordan and Pippen. The 2008 Celtics have 3, although Allen is more of a catch and shoot guy, he was able to take create his own shot multiple times during the series, especially with the time running down on the clock.

    Unless someone like Farmar becomes the next Tony Parker, they do need to add someone else who can carry the team when Kobe is on the bench or double or triple teamed. So we’ll see what happens this summer!

  46. all this talk of drastic change is complete nonsense. We had pau for a half season. this group needs to grow together. continuity is the key in building championship. with kobe and pau as the center pieces, we can win with lamar, bynum, and a few more defensive minded players. what we need is patience and better support from the fans, not more trades and free agent signings. with that said, vlad and luke need to shape up or be shipped out…

  47. this team has alot of probles beneath the surface, kobe blaming his teammates openly on the court is a BIG ONE, i just hope he picks up some things while playing on the olympic team

    god this loss hurts

  48. The lack of heart in last night’s loss was disgusting to watch. In particular, one play when Ray Allen had a wide open three and had just about 5 seconds to set his feet, gather himself, and bomb away – and the entire Laker defense just stopped to watch. Not even give a little bit of the “fake hustle” Van Gundy was mentioning in Game 5. In particular, I thought Radman and Vujacic had horrible games. Vujacic, by my count, was directly responsible for two 8 point swings and one 6 point swing.

    As much as Vujacic has improved this year, I felt that after Game 3, he started shooting just because he was open (and sometimes when he wasn’t). And Van Gundy’s comment about “fake hustle” was so on the money – we would try to draw charges out at half court, but when the Celtics players were driving through the lane we’d go for the strip or the block.

    Next year we need a renewed commitment to defense and rebounding – our offense is at its best when we have leakouts and fast break opportunities, and that’s impossible without solid defense and strong defensive rebounding. Here’s to hoping.

  49. robz – you are so right. So many times we would just go down and jack up a shot. The “D” was anything but. We just needed a world class effort from everyone and we got it from no one.

  50. well, we certainly can see who are the “glass half full” people and the “glass half empty” people.
    I for one see this season as a glass half full season.
    when it started, my hope was that we got out of the first round of the playoffs, experience the taste of the second round and also experience the pain of elimination after a tase of victory.
    well, we did better than that. and no doubt the growth that will come from these playoffs will benefit this team in the LONG RUN.
    I do not like seeing all these posts about our poor coaching, I respectfully disagree.
    think about this, now that we had this hard loss in the finals, think about the fire in the belly this team will grow all summer, and come back next year with a vengence, we expect this right?
    so, what do we need the most? someone to guide the team so that they don’t peak too soon, get burned out, but rather build on each game throughout the entire season, to end the season playing the best ball of the year, and people, isn’t that also what he did this year?
    PJ isn’t a game to game coach, he is a season to season coach.
    it’s the players who win and lose games, it’s the coach who pilots the cruse ship, something that takes 2 miles to turn, start or stop, long term guidance.
    hasn’t he shown this year after year? I for one believe in this coaching staff, and feel lucky to have them.

    I know you’ll probably do this Kurt, but I thought it might be fun for us all to discuss what the “exit strategy” PJ will say to each player, you know, like for -

    Pau- “Bulk up, hit the weights, cause you know you are going to see KG again next year.
    Andrew – same thing, for the same reasons, develop a sky hook, strengthen the legs to support the knee.
    Trevor – study tapes of Artest, Bowen, and Michael Cooper, cause we want you to become a defensive specialist, who can hit treys and do the alley oop.
    and so on…

    I am now going to go enjoy my half full glass of OJ.
    cheers folks, it’s been a great season to watch and enjoy, and share with you all as well.

  51. Obviously tough game. Being there was more then I ever expected out of this team so I’m not as upset as some. I’ve read a lot about Odom having an off game last night but I didn’t see it that way. The first half was rough for everyone not named Kobe in the first 8 mins, but come the 2nd half I thought Odom showed a lot of heart/care for this team and franchise. Driving to the basket, taking (what little) offensive load on his back and going at Garnett/anyone in his way. I liked that he got up in the Celtic’s face and showed some passion. I learned a lot about him last night, definitely not his best game, but he showed leadership.

    Going into next year I think Odom comes back with a fire we haven’t yet seen. I saw flashes of it last night and if he brings that every game next year we might see the NBA’s newest most improved player wearing the purple and gold.

    Great season, tough way to end it but think of all the positives from this year. We’ll be back in the hunt next year and with the proper dedication from our young core we can/will improve a ton.

  52. I don’t know how I can put this into words because I am in no means a grammatical person. I’m sick of hearing and reading the stories about how Kobe’s career is somewhat tarnished now. For instance, there are numerous times that I’ve read that his career is incomplete, like he’s going to retire tomorrow. That’s the impression I keep getting from the writers, and the talking heads. I just can’t see what the point is. He’s 29 years old. He’s got a minimum of 5 more seasons of basketball. Who knows what’s going to be accomplished, or what he’s going to accomplish. I guess this is the way it is nowadays, but for me, I don’t like it. Wait until he’s done before the comparions begin.

    An additional thought, the bench for the Lakers, a strength all year, was not a strength in the Finals. I’m sure having Ariza healthy, and Vlad parked on the bench (or moved) definetly strengthens this, but I think the main problem is still there, the softness of the team in general. I don’t know if they need to start taking pages from Tom Izzo, but whatever mind set they’ve had, needs to be changed. Maybe the embarrassment of this final game fixes that, probably not.

    I’d really like to see Radmanovic become someone elses problem.

    Also, is there a way that the Lakers could get Chandler and Paul w/o giving up too much?

  53. cahuitero – i was thinking the exact same thing. farmar should have hit rondo harder.

  54. all great teams need to go through adversity together because that’s how they learn to be champions.

    nobody thought we’d be playing in the finals yet. with bynum healthy, every single unguarded layup the celtics had this series would end up in the fourth row.

    we know that. the league knows that.

    enjoy your parade, boston.

    next year, your ass is ours

  55. As good as the Celtics were and as poorly as the Lakers played this entire series…due to their lack of toughness and horendous defense, they took it to game 6. With more mature players next year…a even more hungry Kobe…and a returning Bynum, I think the Lakers have a good shot. But they need to want it, just as much as the Celtics did. I feel that the Lakers played as if they were happy to be in the finals…proud of what they accomplished..(besides Kobe). Though the Lakers now know how good they are as a team, and they need to believe in themselves next year and play with passion and a desire to win it all. As for the bad team defense..the Lakers should have better defense with Bynum in the middle. Maybe if they can acquire a tough defensive guy like Artest it would help to.lllthe defense needs to improve and I think this should be the main focus…we know the team can score, but please improve the defense.

  56. Last night’s loss was embarassing and very tough to take. However, I don’t think it’s all gloom and doom in Laker land. We took this series to 6 games, no matter how you look at it. Boston played their hearts out, as best as they possibly can, and it still took them 6 games to beat us (and 5 really close ones that could have gone either way). We did not play up to our potential in this series. I believe that we got too caught up with offense. We should have focused on how to answer Boston’s challenge and shut them down on the other end too. That would have lead to easy transition offense. That was the key in this series, we let it become our offense vs their defense. As good of an offensive team as we are, Boston is that much better on defense.

    I am very optimistic for next year. I believe that our offense will get better with a full training camp, I am not worried about that at all. Where the growth will come is on defense. And Bynum will make a huge difference. We were a much better team on defense with Bynum playing center as opposed to Gasol. If he comes back and plays the way he was playing before his injury (the big question, but I hope and i think he will), then it makes all the difference. As Garnett proved, the foundation of a great defense is an anchor in the middle that will protect the paint . Gasol is just not a defensive anchor, and we payed for it in the finals. He is however a decent man defender and he can help us on that end by making things difficut for the PF’s in this league by using his length.

    Odom is very long and athletic and with the right motivation, i believe he can defense. We also have good to decent perimeter defenders in Ariza, Kobe, Sasha and Fisher. Kobe needs to come back and refocus his energy on defense like he did with team USA. Ariza will get to play much more next yr, which is a good thing because he’s a hell of a naturally gifted defender.

    Jeff Van Gundy said last night that he believes that the Lakers have players with better individual defensive talent than the Celtics, and I agree with him. Garnett and Rondo are the only superiorly gifted defensive players in their entire roster. Yet they play amazing team defense simply because they all promised each other that they will give their absolute best on that end.

    As much as i hate to give an Celtic related thing credit, they are truly inspiring to watch. There is no reason why our team cannot make the same commitment. Starting in training camp, we need to bring in some new players to add toughness and defensive will (Mcdyess? Posey? ) , identify the players in our current roster that are willing to sacrifice their bodies for the team , and start practicing some god damn defense. No reason we can’t do it. We have the talent, we just need the desire. And i’m pretty sure a 40 point rubbing in the biggest stage will provide that desire.

  57. I was telling friends and family back in December, I think the Lakers are a season away. I still think that.

    It would have hurt more if I really thought the Lakers were a better team than Boston, but that clearly wasn’t the case this year. There is a lot of room to grow, great pieces are in place, and the team gained great experience to draw upon going into the future.

    I can only hope the Lakers hold on to the feeling they had after the final game and uses that as motivation to work hard in the offseason – and more than that, I hope players, coaches, and front office will all take a realistic look at themselves and see where they fell short, and need to improve.

    It was still a great season, and the team made a far bigger step forward than I would have dreamed. Let’s hope the Lakers come out on fire from the start of training camp, and take over the league wire to wire like their archrivals did this season.

  58. I don’t think that this was the main reason why the Lakers lost, but I did see the Celtics doing a lot of veteran moves that the Lakers weren’t doing. I read on ESPN or SI about how the Celtics do a good job of “fouling” without getting caught. Lots of veteran players have figured out how to jab at the ball or the other players without stretching out their arms and the refs have a hard time with these even though they should be called. The Lakers on the other hand, try to swipe for the ball when the ball is away from the body and even if it’s all ball, it seems like a foul so the refs call it. Pau got called for a couple of these and Fisher’s constantly getting called for this. Another move is to lean into the defender to draw the foul. The only Laker to consistently do this is Kobe. Fisher and Vlade try to jump away from contact. Pierce was leaning into the defender all the time as well as Allen and drawing the foul. I think the NBA needs to review this rule and if the offensive player moves his body away from the basket in an unnatural motion just to draw contact or prevents the defender from landing by leaning into him, it should not be called or it should be a foul on the shooter. Finally, the Celtics were always making timely fouls such as on breakaways whereas I didn’t see the Lakers take one intentional foul to prevent a basket.

  59. As bad as last night was, the real blow was game 4. The series was decided right there. The Lakers can blame no one but themselves.

    Still, I wish they had gone down fighting.

  60. I really dislike the morning after freak out session that has occurred regarding the Lakers future. There is no need to panic. This team made it to the finals, and they did it without one of their stars.

    I do believe we are better off without a couple players on the team, but the core is solid. Kobe, Pao, Odom, Bynum, Fisher, Farmar, Turiaf, and Ariza are great pieces.

    I’m excited for next year already.

  61. I think the fans and the team were on the same emotional level for these playoffs.

    We knew we would be in there, but knowing how far we could/would go was a complete mystery. We were the underdogs all the way through the Western Conference Finals and we played like underdogs. Fighting and scrapping for everything and playing as inspired D as this unit is capable of playing.

    The problem is we ran into a team that was even more inspired than we were. They had 3 veteran all-star players who wanted it more and played like it. We were simply not ready to rise to this level to challenge.

    I truly and honestly believe that next season the guys that come back from this season will understand after taking some days and probably some evenings of hard liquor of what the Celtics did and what they didn’t.

    On top of that, Ariza in spurts looked great out there. He provided energy, a great defensive presence (steals and altering shots) as well as a guy who can put the exclamation point on transition buckets or just open dives to the rim. I truly wondered how we would have faired if we had Ariza at full strength to guard Pierce instead of Walton and Vlad Rad.

    Nothing against those guys, but they looked like they were wearing weights on their feet or something because Pierce would blow by them AT WILL without screens or really any ball fakes.

    I don’t feel the need to touch on Bynum because obviously everyone here knows what he could be for us next year. We just had to take our lumps this year…though good lord…those were some hard lumps to take…

  62. Guys, I love this team, for its history and its style. Even last night, when things were getting borderline taunting, our Lakers did not resort to the cheap fouls (although we did get a flagrant foul on one play). Honestly, if you watch how Garnett played during the last 5 mins it was pretty clear his intent was to rub salt in the wounds more than “be the consumate competitor” as some in the media now claim. Yet, our frustrated team kept their professional attitude and moved forward.

    Not sure if many of you stuck around to watch the post game celebration, but when Kobe, Lamar and others went out of their way to congratulate Garnett, Pierce, and Allen they were mostly ignored by the players. The only exception was Doc Rivers who made eye contact and hugged each player and said at least a kind word. Pierce did a half hug to Kobe, with no eye contact, and walked away. Garnett did the same – and he’s suppossed to be Kobe’s friend. In my opinion, this was a greater insult to my dear Lakers than losing by such a wide margin.

  63. Nice run for the Lakers, there’s no shame in losing to a better team, but it’s a shame they didn’t go down fighting. A couple of days away from the disaster we’ll all see there’s no need to panic.

    Gasol is what he has always been. I think we overestimate the feasibility of personality and physique and skill transplants. The man, like Nowitzki, is a skilled player, but not a force of nature. It’s unfair to him to expect him to be anything than what he is. But get this: the Lakers _already_ have a Force of Nature in Bryant.

  64. Not to say I told you so, but yesterday I did call for the Celtics in a blowout. A few of my posts were deleted, guess the Truth (yes pun is intended) hurts.

    Hate to say it, but I don’t see the Lakers much better off than say the Hornets, the Jazz, or up and coming Portland.

    One thing is for certain, its not just the Lakers who are soft, but the entire fraudulent Western Conference.

    Good luck next year, you most certainly need it.

  65. Great summary, Kurt.

    Congrats to the Celtics. They were the better team this series. We got out-muscled, and out-hustled.

    This season was a fun ride with a disappointing finish. But, all in all, a great season. The Lakers have a bright future ahead of them.

    Thank you, Kurt and all the other regular posters for being such a great complement to a great season.

  66. Just wanted to start of with a word of thanks to Kurt for running a great site and to the commenters for keeping this one of the most intelligent boards I’ve read. As everyone has stated before, this was a pleasant surprise from the start of the season. I remember thinking we could make the Finals the day that the Pau trade was made and it happened.

    Just some quick thoughts:

    I agree with one of the commenters above that said the Lakers got too cocky too quickly (paraphrasing).

    Also agree with another commenter that stated that the “slide down” for our roster will do us wonders. Everyone keeps forgetting (especially the media) that Pau is not a true center. I thought he looked gassed because he was constantly having to deal with Perkins and Brown when he isn’t a true low post back to the basket and grab 10-12 rebounds a night type of player. With Bynum at center providing rebounding and shot-blocking, Pau will be able to return to where he is most comfortable. Same for Odom, I think he really shines when he is able to play SF and not have to worry about a big body defensively. Sure that puts a lot of pressure on the guards to shoot well from outside but we have enough shooters coming off the bench to make up for that.

    The only roster move I think we should make is to pick up a veteran big man like PJ Brown for the Celtics this year. Someone that doesn’t want big minutes but can be a veteran presence and teach the younger guys.

    Can’t wait until next year!

  67. 59) You are right the East does play a tougher brand of basketball and the West has more finesse teams. Although, I wouldn’t call the Western conference fraudulent as their 9th best team was better than the 4th best team in the East. When Boston and Detroit can feast on these mediocre teams they are going to have a better record and therefore home-court advantage for the Finals. Just something to think about.

  68. I will come back and read all the posts…when I have time later this afternoon….but…

    Congrats Boston. and I am most happy that PJ Brown got a ring…I have always liked that guy and…good for him.

    Lakers go 98-0 next year!!!!

    on being bummed….hey look…they werent even supposed to make it to the playoffs…I am proud of them….all of them.

    on last thing…did any one notice the Game Clock was still running after the Celtics scored prior to Lakers inbound in first quater? I recall a few times….around the 10 minute mark and a few others…

  69. My comment was meant for Realist’s comment just in case the number changes again.

  70. This was a great season and the Lakers went much beyond any of us expected, but still a loss is a loss and is a little disappointing. Now to think for the future.

    I hate that Phil’s every response to media questions is about the offense. I agree that we were taken out of our offense in this series but what exposed us really was our defense. We were not able to stop penetration, not able to close out on 3-pt shooters due to bad rotation, not able to defend the pick and roll even to the standards of an average NBA team, let alone a Finals team.

    The biggest change that neds to happen is to get a defensive mindset during the offseason. Coach defense for a change. Get maybe one defensive minded player.

    We need to have some variations to the offense too. Simple ones. Like getting our 3-pt shooters open using screens.

    I really hope that Phil understands that these have to be addressed and not just personnel changes. Sometimes Phil is so stubborn you don’t know if he’s even going to even change any of his ideas. I neve saw Jordan’s bulls but I know they had a great defensive team. Would any of you know if they played the triangle offense the whole game long or had variations during parts of the game?

    Coming to personnel:

    I don’t think it’s a given that Bynum comes back and leads us to a championship. He’s only 20 and has had maybe 25 good games in the NBA. I agree he has shown lot of potential, but expecting him to contribute as a starter on a championship team at his age is a bit too much. And that’s if he comes back healthy. We don’t know what exactly is happening with his injury. He has taken much longer than expected to heal and there’s no guarantee that he comes back heathly next season.

    IMO, Lamar does not have a place on this team as a starter anymore. It’s probably upto him to play from the bench or else get traded. We don’t know if Jerry Buss wants to pay 13m to a bench player. Why he cannot be a starter is because of two reasons:

    - If Bynum comes back healthy then we need a SF, who can shoot 3s and play good perimeter defense. Lamar is neither.

    - If Bynum does not get back healthy, I don’t think anybody wants to see a starting frontcourt of Lamar and Pau anymore. We ned somebody who can complement Pau with physicality, rebounding, shot-blocking.

    I definitely have more thoughts on roster changes but I will wait till Kurt puts up his post on that. I just had to get my frustration about Lamar off my chest for now.

  71. At least the Lakers still have something to celebrate…

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ILD-_kjJ8BM

  72. The Denver Nuggets won 50 games solely because they played in the West. Atlanta would have crushed the Nuggets and either Cleveland, or Detroit would have beat the Lakers just as Boston did.

    Mark my words, the path to the Western Conference title goes through Portland this year.

  73. Bingo T. Klown June 18, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Well it ended a bit uglier than I would have hoped for, but I expected the Celtics to win. I think they had the “look”, the desire and veterans whose opportunities are fleeting. And I’d rather emphasize that they beat us rather than the Lakers suck, because this season proved we clearly don’t. Everyone in the media is harshing on the Lakers big time, but I think it’s only because the Lakers didn’t back up the medias lofty predictions.

    I don’t think now is the time to go into what changes (if any) the Lakers need to make. The fact is they beat everyone but the Celtics; as many teams proved with asinine trades (suns going for Shaq to contend with the Spurs) you don’t remake your team to deal with one team. And as I said I think the Celtics are a team of the moment, not necessarily one built to compete for years.

    So hold your trade of (fill in the Laker name) for a bit and let’s breath and be happy our team was as good as they were.

    I am sure they will only get better (remember what 84 was to 85/87)

  74. i was wondering what paul pierce was saying yesterday, how the celtics fans stuck with them all along…he must have a really short memory, or a selective one rather

    http://www.espn.go.com/photo/2006/1206/nba_g_celtics_395.jpg

  75. Kurt: “I love how Phil Jackson is suddenly an idiot because he lost a Finals. They guy has nine rings, he’s forgotten more basketball than most of us will ever know.”

    Unfortunately for the Lakers, Phil seems to have forgotten some of the good stuff along with all the forgettable stuff… I wouldn’t call him an idiot by any stretch of the imagination, but he seems to have lost a little somethin-somethin since his heydays in LA and Chicago (perhaps it’s the Pippens and Rodmans and Shaqs?)

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but how about the difference in volume at the Garden than at Staples Center? I hate to pile it on the day after, but the sheer passion and volume of the Boston crowd was tangibly, palpably more evident than what the Blackberry jet-set in LA mustered up. At least, that’s how it seemed on TV…

  76. There are so many new names on this blog since the last series. I home a number of you stay with us through the summer and next year.

    This was a tough loss, but like MarkR, I have followed the Lakers for over 44 yrs and have seen this kind of thing before – even worse in the 60′s.

    This was a very young team. When they finally met their match, they didn’t know what to do and – therefore – got clubbed to death. That this is a common occurrence has been mentioned. It is important what comes next. While there are changes that need to be made – in my opinion – there are also changes that have to come from within the players. We no longer have a young and inexperienced team. What the players do with this knowledge will determine their NBA futures. Fortunately, we have an organization that has also been through this, as recently as Kobe-Shaq.

    October will tell us a lot about our current players and coaching staff, but we may not be able to surmise much before then. In October we will see how the players come back and approach the game. What did they work on over the summer, or did they work at all? Does Phil upgrade an emphasis on defense, or continue with the triangle offense solves all?

    While we speculate until then, remember we are all growing older and hopefully wiser.

  77. The other thing I wanted to mention was how EVERY time a tough defense wins a championship, the old, tired sports cliche of “defense wins championships!” gets trotted out like it’s some kind of grand epiphany. Yet every single time a top-notch defensive team goes up against a top-notch offensive team people get totally suckered by the sparkly, sexy allure of high-octane offense and the tired, cliche mantra of “defense wins championships” gets hucked out the window. Sometimes, tired cliches are so tired and cliched because they’re pretty much true. I’m willing to bet, though, that the next time a team like Boston or San Antonio or Detroit is pitted against a high-flying offense like your Lakers or Suns or Mavs, everyone is going to get blinded by the glitter and forget about the fundamentals like they always do.

  78. Thanks to the board members for the intelligent commentary all year. This year was an incredibly fun ride, one of the best I’ve had as a fan. Of course, I skipped through most of the horrific Game 6 on TiVo, so perhaps I’m not as emotionally scarred. Also, strangely, if we have to lose, I’d rather lose in a blowout that gets us mad and burning to prep all off-season, rather than some oh-so-close Game 2 style comeback.

    At the end of last year’s playoffs I felt the way Kobe did. Today, I feel pumped up to start next year and get a rematch with the Celtics.

    I know we aren’t discussing trade stuff on this board. I’m dying to have some intelligent conversation about what to do with the roster (not necessarily specific trades, but whether we trade Odom, etc.). Any recommendations for good sites? Clublakers.com and lakersground.net automatically turn any thread with “Odom” or “Luke” in it into a flamefest.

  79. This is a very depressing day, but doesn’t hurt nearly as much knowing the future is bright. At the beginning of the year, we couldn’t have dreamed of truely competing for the title, and the ease and flow of the team at times this year was something to truely behold.
    The future is bright, because most of our growth next year will come internally. Farmar and Sasha will continue to get better, and thus more confident. Pau might get bigger and stronger, or maybe just more confortable. Ariza will learn the triangle, and therefore deserve more time to showcase his other skills. Lamar will continue to do the things he does well, and hopefully dissapear less. Bynum return to health will allow him to re-join a team that obviously needs him, hopefully he works on things that will help him be more durable (core, fitness).
    In all, we had a great run, with lots of positives to build on. Maybe the bad taste in our mouth will provide the kick-in-the-ass that they guys need to focus on improving. Can’t wait for next year…

  80. 75. I will say this again about Phil and defense — when the Lakers had Bynum in the first half of the year they were in the top half of the league in defense, they were playing solidly. Having Bynum in back allowed Kobe and others to gamble a little more on steals, or at least not get as burned when they made an error. Gasol was asked to fill that role and that’s not what he is or does. It wasn’t in Memphis and it wasn’t here. If you expect him to play like KG or circa 2000 Shaq is asking him to do things he can’t do.

    Gasol needs to be paired with a big body along the front line to do the rebounding and dirty work. If only we had someone like that who was just injured but will be back next year…..

  81. Gasol needs to be paired with a big body along the front line to do the rebounding and dirty work. If only we had someone like that who was just injured but will be back next year…..

    ***

    This is a good point–made before, but bears repeating.

  82. Kurt,
    Some of our new bloggers may also have forgotten how spectacular Kobe was while working with Drew. Pau will have to alter his game next year, but I suspect it will work to his strengths, rather than restrict him.

  83. 78. We will get to some roster talk and the like in the next few days, it’s just that today the nerves are still a little too raw. We’ll look at what needs to be done. What this site will avoid is the random, not discussed anywhere trade rumors where people decide “Mitch should trade Vlad for X” that drag down discussions on any site. The only specific trade talked allowed is of discussions known to be going on. And Peter Vessey does not count as a source for that.

  84. Like most of you, I feel pretty wiped out with a flurry of emotions. But if you take the entire season into perspective, WHAT A RUN!! Bynum WILL make us better. Not just because he is a presence in the middle, but because it allows LO to cover the 3-spot, and it allows Pau to play Robin instead of Batman. The Lakers have a lot of interchangeable parts, guys who can play multiple positions. I like the makeup of the team, and I would not change it, or the chemistry they have. Defense-wise though, that is a different story. Boston’s team defense is a great model to aspire to. We need to be as disruptive as Boston was. Boston’s relentless effort on defense and rebounding and doing the little things, made the young kids look like students of the game. They were absolute beasts. We’ll be back next year — I have no doubts, but hopefully with the kind of soul and energy that the Celtics displayed. Congrats to them.

  85. I think Boston looked at how Utah played the Lakers and decided that was the way to win.I t worked and I am sure other teams watched closely.Unless the league makes changes in the way games are called,you are watching the future.And it sucks.

  86. realist, hasn’t it been over 20 years since the C’s won a title?
    and I’m not sure, maybe you can answer this, how many have the lakers won in since 1980 ?*
    maybe you should give the gloating a break, and come back next june, and let’s see what heppens then.
    *by the way, we’ve won 8, you’ve won 3
    I’d say that “in this era” the lakers have dominated.

  87. For all the injury talk and “heroics” of Pierce, let’s not forget what the Lakers were forced to go through. Not having Bynum and Ariza’s foot trouble have been well documented, but Kobe has been playing with a finger he should have had surgery on, and Fish was playing with a torn tendon in his foot since March. Despite all these obstacles and our youth, I’d say we had a tremendous season. Just really hurts losing to Boston…I’m looking forward to a rematch next year

  88. Well, now I think I can write something about what I’m feeling.

    I love the Lakers, since the 80’s and all of their history and I’m waiting for the Gatinho’s posts of great stories of the past.

    I don’t think this year was bad because we lost the finals. I disagree with Kobe, who said yesterday that “second place just means you’re the first loser.”

    It wouldn’t care to me if we were defeated 4-0. But what I’m concern right now is about our lack of character. I saw yesterday a team without heart, no soul in those players. Every time we crossed the mid court, the Laker player with the ball, gave it to Kobe… Nobody wanted the ball… Amazing…

    Then Bill Russell killed us in the post, in our glass, everywhere… Wait, that guy wasn’t Russell… We was… No, really? Kevin Garnett!!! Wow… I can’t believe it… Only a very softy team could make him a decisive player in a Final… And we did it.

    So that’s my point. This team would be remembered because of the great season, but this players are going to carry in their memory the collapse of the game 4 and the “I don’t know how to call it” game 6. I think that you have character or you don’t. You don’t built character. Like everybody knows that Lamar Odom is never going to be a leader because he’s not a leader.

    This team is softy. Imagine a Celtics’ collapse in the Garden like the one we had in the game 4… Yes, it’s impossible.

    Kurt, you said that the Bulls lost series against the Pistons and then they became a dominant team… What about the Sixers in the early 80’s? (1 championship) / Or the Drexler’s Trail Blazers? (none) / The Ewing’s Knicks? (none) / The Webber’s Kings? (none) / The current Mavs or Suns? (none, none) and so on…

    I hope you’re right… I wish Bynum become the next dominant center in the NBA but I don’t know what to expect after a knee injury. Maybe next year, in june, I’ll find this players celebrating the 15th title. I hope so.

    But the season is going to be very tough. The Celtics will be coming back, the Pistons, Spurs, Hornets and Jazz too. And remember Portland, if Oden comes back healthy, they’ll be young athletic and they are going to have Rudy Fernandez, a great great Spanish player (he plays very similar to Manu Ginobili).

    I want to be a contender and fight hard for the ring. If we loose, we loose, but we must fall with dignity not the way we lost this Finals. It was horrible.

    Now, let me tell you some mini bullet about the Olympics. Manu Ginobili arrived today to Buenos Aires and said the injury in his ankle is worst than what he had imagine and said he’s in doubt for the Olympics. That, for us, would be like the Lakers playing the NBA playoffs without Kobe.

  89. Just posted this about people that are blaming this series on PJ:

    http://jonesonthenba.blogspot.com/2008/06/so-pj-is-overrated-now.html

    And as Lakers fans, we have to remember that we are spoiled. Since 1980, the Lakers have been in 14 of the 29 NBA finals, and won 8 of those times. We’ve also been in 5 Finals this decade. Being a Lakers fan is not about one series. It’s about being here through thick and thin. Remember those numbers and how lucky we are before you jump of the wagon or before you become critical of the Lakers organization.

  90. Found this website talking about how the Lakers are better set for the future than the Celtics. Pretty good read.

    http://bigtuna2.wordpress.com/

  91. I don’t have much to say today. I have never been more disappointed in the Lakers then last night. That was pathetic. They owed it to us Laker fans, NBA fans, and basketball fans to give a better effort then that. I don’t know what else I could say. IT was a fittng end to sum up the passion and hustle of Boston compared the the Lakers.

  92. 80) Kurt

    Seems like a match made in heaven. Before Bynum went down, we were one of the best defensive teams in the nba, and after Drew went down and we acquired Gasol, we became one of the best offensive teams in the nba.

    This summer, our priority is acquiring a perimeter defender. Imagine adding a perimeter defender along with the return of Bynum to this team…that’s a big improvement defensively.

  93. you people who feel you were let down and the Lakers OWED you anything are missing living in the moment, this was a great season, you can’t see the forest for the trees.
    this team had a great season, learned a VERY valuable lesson in these finals and have an amazing future.
    sit back and chill for the summer, then next year, enjoy every game, and enjoy the ride, cause it’s going to be a very strong season.

  94. Kurt,

    While it still is fresh in my mind, I’d like to use the Celtics as they exist now, as the basis for considering matchups for next year from a possibly reconfigured Laker team–primarily from a defensive posture. This may not be the best way to think about a Laker team for next year–and Boston is sure to change–but here goes:

    I believe that Gasol-Bynum will match up against KG-Perkins quite well. I believe that VladRad or possibly Luke can matchup when KG is out, and Turiaf with whomever when Perkins is out. If Mihm retires, there may be someone else to back up Bynum–and I’m not thinking Mbenga moves up.

    I believe that Jordan Farmar matches up well against Rondo, but no one on the current Celtics matches up with Fisher. I’d expect Boston to work on that.

    Kobe matches up well on Ray Allen. When Ray Allen is out, Sasha could match up with Tony Allen quite well. I do not see Sasha matching up against Ray Allen or Paul Pierce.

    The mismatch is at small forward. The Lakers have no regular starting matchup for Paul Pierce. Lamar might well play power forward or Small forward against Posey, or match up against Powe or even Davis, but he is not a natural matchup for either Pierce or Garnett. Rather than Lamar, Ariza might well do better against these same “non Pierce” challenges.

    I think that it is a real stretch to think of Ariza as a matchup to Pierce for an NBA championship series, but I’m sure that some will disagree.

    I believe that there are several players who could matchup with Pierce on defense and possibly generate their own offense through putbacks or takeaways, but they are expensive and may not be available–even through a trade.

    If the Lakers actually believe that they must prepare for a possible rematch with Boston, I believe that the Pierce matchup is the biggest obstracle–and I’m not alone.

    How much should the Lakers think about a Celtic rematch? If the goal is to get through the Western Conference, small forward defense may not be the key issue, and the team configuration may be terrific as is.

    Nonetheless, expressed in various ways, I believe the small forward issue will dominate blog speculation for the Lakers next season, just as power forward dominated discussion earlier this season.

  95. Great comment from the David Thorpe Chat today:

    john (nyc): You mentioned lack of D and energy as the reason for the lakers coming up short. Do you think the lakers energy level is negatively impacted by Kobe’s harsh treatment of his teammates?

    SportsNation David Thorpe: No.

    SportsNation David Thorpe: Magic and Bird would have killed Vlad and Walton after the first 2 games.

  96. Scot, I can’t disagree with you more. A 6 game finals loss, without Andrew Bynum does not mean that the Lakers “have deep-rooted problems”.

    This was truly a special season.

    As a life long Lakers fan, even knowing the game was over in the third, I still watched until the end. I will not EVER turn off the last game of our Lakers season prematurely. I will probably watch it again as I recorded most of the Lakers games this post season. In fact I bought my DVR just for that purpose. I work until 10pm, so I have to watch the games at work, without sound. Then I come home and watch the game over again, read all of the comments and if I have the energy post a few lines.

    Anyway, I despise the “fatally” “fundamentally” “flawed” words that have been flying around this room the past week. I feel it allows us to weed out the true fans from the band wagoners.

    When people say things like “I am never watching again” and we should trade half the team it is just ridiculous. I hope they do never watch again, that way I could read only intelligent comments on this great site.

    This team has only been together for one half of one season and they just played game 6 in the NBA FINALS!

    I think we need to look at the big picture and I echo Kurt’s thoughts whole heartedly. Excellent post to sum up the season.

    I discovered this site at the beginning of t his season and didn’t start posting until Bynum went down. I just wanted to let Kurt and all of the great regulars know that I have had an awesome time reading all of the great analysis. As long as this site is up, I hope that I am welcome to continue to share my thoughts. I have needed a place like this and I am so glad that I found FB&G.

    I can’t wait to see Kobe dominate the rest of the world this August!

  97. I don’t know that the Lakers are going to have to make any off-season moves. They were 1 blown lead away from at least a game 7. With that said, speculation will run rampant because the Lakers have good bargaining chips: an expiring contract and young prospects. And the versatility of Kobe and Odom allow for the insertion of a big off guard into the starting lineup, or something unorthodox like that.

  98. To piggyback off what many have already said, let’s let the media be the one’s to blatantly overreact. Because, seriously, if L.A. had lost in 6 competitive games to San Antonio in the conference finals, people would have rightly concluded that L.A. was a talented young team with an incredibly bright future who simply needed another year to take it to a championship level. The fact that they beat San Antonio and got to the finals, only to lose the last game so miserably, has given the media (who, let’s not forget, predicted a major Lakers rout over the Celtics) license to undermine the entire team and demand unnecessary trades for Ron Artest (team unity got us to the finals, so let’s bring in the worst locker room presence in the league) and Antawn Jameson (another scorer to boost an offense that was already the best in the NBA).

    I expect reporters to be this reactionary, but true fans need to keep their heads. Let the team that we all were praising two weeks ago have the chance to develop together for an entire season before you run them through the mud.

  99. For all the people hating on Phil Jackson…you ought to read Phil’s book “Sacred Hoops”. It gives a good insight into him and why he is (and he still is) the best coach in the league.

    The thing about the old Bulls and the Shaq/Kobe Lakers is that they were filled with veterans who knew that you had to play defense to win championships, which is kinda why Phil supposedly doesn’t put so much of an emphasis on it in practice. It was just inherent. You look at the Celtics, and they all say they new they needed to play defense from day 1, Thibbodeau or no Thibbodeau. Guys like KG, Pierce, Ray Allen, Posey, PJ Brown, Cassell have been around long enough and played enough games to know what it takes to win, and they knew they had to play their hearts out on both ends of the floor. Doc Rivers is definitely an underrated coach, but if you gave him the Lakers and Phil the Celtics, the Celtics would’ve probably still won a championship and the Lakers would’ve been one and done again.

    What Phil did with this year’s roster was incredible. He brought a young team who hadn’t played together really for a full season in it’s current incarnation within two wins of a championship. Unfortunately those young guys just didn’t know what it takes to win just yet. Hopefully this will give them some idea of it, but we still need another veteran or two who can play defense and help stabilize the young core.

  100. The Dude Abides June 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I believe the root of our problem against the Celtics (aside from their being the best defensive team in the NBA over the past ten years) is a matchup problem:

    our WORST position is their BEST position–the one guy on their team who consistently creates his own shots (Pierce) is matched up with two of the worst individual defenders in the league (Vlad, Luke). That’s why I was disappointed in Phil for:

    1) not having Kobe guard Rondo beginning in Game 1, so he could double down on Garnett and Pierce

    and 2) not using Ariza more often, when it was clear to every single observer that neither Vlad nor Luke was going to rise to the occasion. Let Ariza play his way back into shape, as it was clear that:

    an improving Ariza>>Luke+Vlad.

    Even with these adjustments, I don’t know if the Lakers would have been able to beat these Celtics over a seven-game series. The Celtics peaked at the right time, and also clearly played as if the pressure had been taken off once they got past Cleveland. They were a great team this year, even if the press glosses over how classless they are.

  101. Has anyone heard the term, “you have to get your heart broken before you can win a championship” ? Some players have to know the pain of losing this deep in the season before they are hungry enough to win a title. I think this best describes the Laker team. Obviously Fisher, Kobe, and Phil Jackson are not in this category. Think about the other Lakers, these guys were clearly satisfied by hoisting up that western conference trophy. Look at how Pau, Lamar, and Radman played at the begining of the playoffs. It was like it was their dream to just get to the finals. Hey we were the ones that broke Kevin Garnett’s heart in 2004 when he was the MVP in Minnesota. I’m not saying we should keep everybody on this team. Walton and Radman would be playing somewhere else if I was the GM. I’m saying as a team we will know what level of intensity to play with next year, and there will be a far different result.

  102. can we please get rid of vladamir

  103. 96- We didn’t get the ring, but at least no Celtic’s player is going to get the gold medal this summer. While a there is Laker getting it.

  104. 103. Do you mean Kobe with the USA or Pau with Spain?

  105. A GREAT run this year. It was fun and surprising to follow a REALLY good Laker team again! Plus, like I’ve been telling my friends, the Lakers were essentially playing with house money this year. No one expected or predicted this Finals run. Next year is our year. Would like to see some more addition by subtraction (Odom, Vlad) over the offseason. We need some basketball junkies! Also, looking forward/crossing fingers to the continued development/health of Bynum, Ariza, and Farmar.

  106. I would be more critical of Vlad getting 20+ minutes than Luke getting some minutes. Yesterday, when he was put in the 2nd, Luke was the only one cutting and even attempting to move off the ball. Why Vlad was in there so long, I will never know.

  107. Just got done reading Simmer’s piece on the Lakers…. Man, I hate that guy. Why the LA Times continues to employ him makes my head spin. He NEVER has anything positive to say about the Lakers, Dodgers, or any other home team. It’s always complain, complain, complain, and complain.

    I mean, he takes the point of view that the Lakers were entitled to the championship and blew it. Did he not notice the Celts had 3 all-stars on their team vs our single all-star? Did he not notice the Celts had the best record in the NBA? Did he forget where he predicted the Lakers would not even make the playoffs?

    Jeeez!!!! This guy is a jerk. Hands down. Like other so called “sports journalists” who don’t know anything about playing sports, he is a bandwagoner and now he is mad at the team because the bandwagon did not take him where he wanted to go!!! True fans, like myself, are saddened today but are thankful of the good times we shared this year. This jerk only began supporting the Lakers during the playoffs so of course he is mad. JA Adande was right, Simmers and Plascke have no business writing about sports.

  108. Kurt, I just wanted to echo many of the thoughts that are on the boards right now. You have given us fans a great forum to express our views on the team, and also ran a tight ship that doesn’t allow any downward spiral of crap to get air time. FB&G is the best.

    To the Celtics and their fans: congratulations. The best team won. A strong core of veteran players played with purpose and passion and accomplished the ultimate goal. If it didn’t come against my team, I’d celebrate for/with you. I respect those players and as a fan of basketball, it’s a good thing that great players like KG and Pierce and Ray Allen have won a title.

    To the Lakers fans: Keep your heads up. We had a great year, but a dissapointing ending. But when taking stock of everything that happened, if you told me before the season that we’d be in the Finals, I would have laughed it off, but been intrigued at how it could possibly happen. Well, as the season played out, we saw the growth of the players and great moves from the front office and we got there. We didn’t win. But what seemed so far away is now a reality for us. We are a contender. The best thing about the way it all ended is that there are no illusions: we are not there yet. More growth from our young players is needed. More moves from the front office are needed. But we are not far off. Motivation (beyond the normal *get better over the summer* mentality) is there for every single one of the guys, Bean included.

    I know we’ll talk changes and possibilities at another time. I’m not ready yet any way. But, for now, I want to bask in the feeling that we have come so far. That we achieved more this year than even the most optimistic Lakers fan would have thought. For that, I’m thankful. I’ll leave it at that. I hope to see all of you on the boards this summer…

  109. We have a number of coaches/ex coaches on this blog who understand the triangle quite well. I would like to hear from them about how Vlade fits into our system. I understand his outside shooting and increasing ability to get some boards, but he doesn’t have the talent of Lamar and he (like Lamar) just seems to disappear periodically during games. I, personally, can’t see why Phil starts both these players together and plays them a sizable number of minutes together.

    I am not trying to bag on these guys, but just to get informed comments on what Phil might be thinking. Or is it that there was no one else (Ariza in the finals??).

  110. Man, I don’t think we can make it out of the west next year…….. the conference is stacked and only going to get better…… I’m afraid of New Orleans and San Antonio…… both teams, if healthy, could definately outplay us…… NO with their athleticism and SA with their experience……….. we need to get tougher…….. man, seeing Pau flop his arms around like a girl annoys me to no end

  111. For those who need a refresher on why Kobe today has it harder then Jordan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kYBeNQdSCc

  112. Bynum’s health is key for next year’s run. Many of the concerns expressed here will be alleviated by his presence in the middle. Most importantly, the defense will improve due to his shotblocking and defensive rebounding (a real sore spot in the Finals). Plus, I believe that, because of his passing skills and mobility, he and Gasol can effectively run the high-low attack we saw so much from Odom-Gasol. Can you imagine Gasol catching in the high post and throwing alley oops to Drew? Awesome.

  113. Craig W.,
    I’ve talked some about the qualities that a SF has to have in order to play well in the Triangle. From my standpoint, ideally, the SF must be a versatile player that does many things well. I mean, a SF in this system should be a good ballhandler, be able to shoot with range, be able to score inside, be a good passer, move well off the ball, be able to read defenses, play strong perimeter D, and ultimately have a high BB IQ (think Pippen and, though a much lesser athlete, Rick Fox). In my honest opinion, we don’t have the prototypical Triangle SF on this roster, but we do have guys that possess many of the traits/skills needed (just not all of them in the same player). In terms of RadMan, I think he can really provide the shooting, movement off the ball, the passing, and the ability to score inside (remember when he was getting layups against the Spurs when he was using the motion of the offense to cut to the inside?). But he is only an adequate ballhandler (he rarely if ever keeps the ball in fast break situations), he is only okay at reading the D, he is an avgerage to below average perimeter defender, and his BB IQ is only decent. I think that the positives he brings are important, but his mental lapses on defense and his (seemingly) indifferent attitude at times (on both O and D) can really hurt us. But, for the first unit to be effective, I think he’s the best we got. In terms of playing RadMan with Odom, I actually think it’s a necessity. I say this because Odom can not space the floor and if we replaced RadMan with Walton or Ariza we would end up with an even more crowded lane and poor spacing for our inside players (remember the other name for the Triangle is the Triple Post Offense). That’s why, ideally, we’d have a guy with a more all around skill set (or possess all the skills I mentioned above for a Triangle SF) in order to make this offense run even more smoothly. The perfect SF for this roster is a combination of RadMan’s shooting, Walton’s movement/ball skills/BB IQ, and Ariza’s defense/athleticism. But look, a player of that caliber does not grow on trees or is not availible just because we want him. So, I think Phil does the best he can by using RadMan as a starter to space the floor for Gasol/Bynum/Kobe, he uses Walton in the hub of the offense with the 2nd unit where his passing/feel/off-ball movement keep the offense flowing well, and he uses Ariza as a defender who also moves well off the ball and can really finish inside. He mixes these guys in and out of the line-up and tries to put them in positions to succeed. I know that Phil has gotten a lot of blame in this series from his lack of adjustments to some (seemingly) desperation substitutions. But what I’ve always loved about Phil is that he does his coaching in practice. He prepares teams very well, puts them in positions to succeed, and trusts them to execute. He is what he is, in this regard. When the players are mentally tough and have the ability to execute in pressure situations, he’s a 9 time chamionship coach. When his teams fall short, he looks like he’s been outcoached (many stated the same criticisms they are saying now in 2004 when we lost to the Pistons). Phil expects his players to perform when the lights are brightest. He trusts them. Sometimes players can not perform. As a team, we were not ready to beat Boston. We relied on some young players (Sasha, Farmar, Turiaf) that were inconsistent from game to game, and other guys that underperformed really had bad matchups (I mean, RadMan < Pierce, Odom < KG, and while Gasol is better than Perkins, Pau is bothered by really physical defense). These aren’t excuses, they are the facts to this series. I hope that with an offseason to reflect on this loss, the players will grow and maybe we can add to the roster a player or two that can help in our shortcomings, including a healthy Bynum. I know having the Finals MVP be a SF only heightens our awarness that SF is not our strongest position. Maybe what we have is not good enough. Then again, maybe what we have will improve. Maybe we’ll make a move or two to get a guy that is a stronger fit. Only time will tell.

  114. I have to say if you listen to the national media the lakers are the worst team ever. They lost in the finals where they won two games and historically blew another and yet they’re the worst team ever. I think after a loss like last night it’s easy to over-react. This team will be better next year no doubt. That doesn’t gaurantee another trip to the finals, but they have as good a chance as any other great team in the west. I wouldn’t necessarily make sweeping changes but some veteran presence might be all they need to take the next step. James Posey quite possibly could be a free agent this summer if he opts out, so they might want to take a look at him. If not him someone like him. A dude off the bench playing stellar defense who can knock down the open 3 pointer. Sorta like what Bruce Bowen does for the spurs. I’m disappointed in how it ended for the lake show but I’m optimistic that these guys can rebound and use this experience as fuel for the fire. Andrew Bynum get well…I’ll be praying for your knee every night at dinner time for the next 3 months.

  115. Can’t remember when the last time was that I actually had genuine optimism about the next season. Even during the three-peat years, there always was the worry of them imploding. This year, however, I can’t see much going wrong at all, and we’ll be in the thick of things one way or another.

    As far as this year’s finals go, I think it was both us being lucky and the Celts not peaking that created the lofty expectations. In retrospect, the results seem just right, considering that they won 10+ regular season games despite coasting for the last month or so.

    We are truly just one consistent Lamar away from contention year in and year out. Or a consistent Bynum. And if we retain Lamar to provide streaky yet sometimes unstoppable offense as the first guy off the bench, hell with defense, we’re running away with the title…

  116. Boston has shown the formula on how to beat the LA Lakers. What will the Lakers do to adjust to the Boston style of play?

  117. (100) (102)

    Guys,

    Saying that VladRad and Luke are the two worst defenders in the NBA is an extremely irresponsible statement when made by a Laker hater. To have it come from a Laker fan is a stab in the back. Saying that one wants VladRad dismissed from the team is equally irresponsible. Get a grip.

    Every starting player on the Laker roster is a truly great player with a proven history. Google them and check them out. VladRad came to the Lakers as a highly sought after free agent, and could have chosen to sign with a number of teams. Luke Walton worked his way into the Lakers starting lineup for his intangibles. He will always be loved and appreciated.

    Laker management has long term plans when they give players long term contracts. Judging them be performance even across a season may be extremely short sighted. What makes you think that you know more than the coaches and management?

    Individual payer momentary greatness as Lakers depends on their “chemistry” with teammates against any particular opponent at the moment. Phil Jackson and his coaching staff are alchemists that try to blend teammates together against all sorts of opponents. If you see a player that appears bad or out of place, it may not be that players fault.

    Both VladRad and luke have been injured this season and may be playing through injuries. Van Gundy suggested that they may have been given impossible assignments against the Leprechauns. Maybe they did what they were supposed to do and it didn’t work out. Who knows?

    The only thing a true Laker fan knows is to feel bad when one of our players looks bad, but never never attack one of our own publicly by name. If the player no longer contributes to the chemistry, he will be eventually be gone–you don’t need say anything. If you criticise one of our players falsely, what kind of fan are you?

  118. Ugly. That was the best single word I could come up with to describe the events of last night. Sure, I could have chosen Embarrassing, Disgraceful, Gutless, or even Shameful, but none of the have the simple, starkness that Ugly does.

    I thought I’d lived through the worst Lakers loss in my short 9 year history last Thursday and wouldn’t have to face another so soon. They showed up for game 5 and saved some face. I was back to believing that we wholeheartedly had a shot.

    Then *BAM* they drop a 39-point egg. Yea, that’s right Thirty-Nine Points! When I type it, it makes my stomach turn. But wait!…this can’t be the worst ever, is it? Well, there has only been one other 30+ point victory against the Lakers in the last 6 years based on boxscores on ESPN. The last 30+ point home loss happened on 11/23/1969 with the Baltimore Bullets trouncing the Lakers 129-97 at the Forum. Granted, this wasn’t at home, but it almost doesn’t matter.

    It was on the biggest stage. At least when NY got schooled by the Celtics 104-59, they were playing a regular season game in November. I wonder what the odds are on team with a +14 steals advantage? I’d say close to 100%. No hussle by the Lakers.

    Kobe!? Where were you? You’re my favorite player of all time and I’m always trying to convince people you’re as good as Jordan. You’re making it very difficult on me here. Did you run out of gas? Is your finger bothering you? I hope this year is a learning experience for everyone. You’re without question the greatest player at this point in time, but LeBron in nipping at your heels. Can Kobe truly complete his transformation and win with a team where he doesn’t contribute 50%+ to the total team effort? I hope so…we’ll see next year.

    Speaking of next year, what are we going to do with Sasha and Lamar? Sure, I’d like to keep both and I think they both work well in the triangle, but teams are going to throw some serious cheese at Sasha and Lamar is at the peak of his trade potential (expiring contract, coming off a pretty strong season with Finals experience).

    Do the Lakers need a change of identity? They certainly need to have more inside presence. Bynum will help, but we need someone else (and no offense Mbenga and Mihm, but you don’t cut it). Even someone at a strong at SF could do the trick (like Artest). We may be able to do it with our current squad, but that would require some toughening up by Pau and the blossoming (and strength gain) of Andrew.

    Lamar is Lamar. A great rebounder and ball handler who can score, block shots, shoot from distance, finish in the paint, and create plays. Only, never all at the same time and never consistently. I think he plays with heart and passion. It doesn’t even bother me that he chews gum like he’s out at the park, laughs frequently throughout the game, or helps opposing players up after they get fouled. (Although maybe that last one a little…but just with the Celtics). Lamar just loves playing basketball. He has fun and I have fun watching him. Sir Charles put it best earlier this year when he said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Lamar Odom is just a really good basketball player.”

    Welcome to LA Pau. Yeah, that whole first part where we give you praise and treat like the second coming of Kareem is over. Now it’s time to play. You made it all the way to the NBA Finals, your dream. But you just weren’t prepared. Whether it was the length of the postseason or the physical play of the Celtics, I’m not sure. Your performance (and I count performance for you the same way I do for Kobe, points) waned as the playoffs dragged on. Remember that 36 point outburst to win your first postseason game? Yeah…I bet you do. Scoring like that must stick out when you haven’t put up more than 20 since mid-May. But you’re a rookie when it comes to this (that playing for Spain in international events BS only counts for the mental part of the game – nothing prepares you for the physicality of the playoffs until you play in them) and I expect you to learn and be better next time. But don’t worry, there’s a next time right around the corner.

    All Lakers under the age of 25, this is what it is like to compete against a team of grown men on a mission. Learn from this experience. Farmar – you had a great WCF/Finals and played without a doubt the best of this bunch. Sasha – too spotty, but great attitude. Keep shooting, but continue to add some judgment to your game. Ronny – keep doing your thing, you’ve been forced to play out of position for 2 years now and have done great. Ariza – you showed some great effort out there and had flashes of your pre-injury self.

    In the end though, I’m a fan of the LA Lakers and that means that when my team makes it into the NBA Finals, there is only one expected outcome. Victory. There’s always next year.

    Ugly.

  119. First off, congrats to Celtics and their fans.
    Next, big kudos to Kurt for one of the best maintained sites out there and a great place to kill some time.

    I agree with a lot of you that the Lakers would be better positioned to win if they had a SF that fits all the requirements of a good SF in a triangle offense. But how common are such types of SF’s? It’s easy to see a problem, but it’s much harder to try to fix it. My point is that we are just as likely to head into next season with the same roster as we will make changes to it. Sure, a SF like Caron Butler would be nice, but how realistic is that?

    The main problem with the Lakers from my point of view is that we lack heart and fortitude. When the going gets tough, everyone from Phil to Kobe to Lamar to Jordan fails to rise to the occasion and to summon the will to fight back. We’ve made two huge comebacks against the Spurs, but that was at home. That is, I guess, where this painful experience will payoff in the long run for the Lakers and also how the 2 tough rounds for the Celtics helped them this season.

    But, I’ve said this before, but I have serious doubts about the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers era. I still have questions about his leadership and it sounds hypocritical when Kobe was unanimously called a great leader for the first 3 rounds, but believe me, everyone’s a great leader when the organization he/she is involved in is doing well. It’s when things aren’t going so well when a true leader is born. What I saw from the Lakers when they were getting manhandled was Jordan and Sasha arguing, Kobe and others whining about calls, and Kobe foolishly saying “Not Tonight” to a courtside fan. What a phony leader he is.
    Another aspect I question is his play. Sure, it seems like the best in the world when things are going well, but there is an astronomically big difference between the “facilitator Kobe” and the “scorer Kobe” when he faces tough times. I have never seen a player of his talent have two completely polarizing different dimensions of his game. In the first quarter of Game 6, he had 7 shots but no assists. In the first half of Game 4, I believe he had around 6 assists but no field goals. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if even his own teammates are confused as to how to adjust to their “leader’s” play.

  120. Sorry for the typos. I’d blame the editor, but he is me.

  121. # 116 — bynum, hunger and a more defined D if only to counter. Go Lakers!

  122. first of all i want to thank kurt and everyone on here for a great forum. it has been an amazing season and this forum (since my summer discovery) has made watching the lakers and basketball in general much more fun and exciting.

    about last night…that was a very emotional rollercoaster game that kept dropping and dropping to new lows to a point where i was screaming for mercy at the 9min mark in the 4th. it was so bad and depressing that i ended up reacting not to the bad play of the lakers but rather the good plays of the celtics. being a fan of the lakers since i was a kid watching them in the 80′s, that felt horrible and traiterous.

    i have hated the celtics for so long and still do, but i must give them the respect that they deserve. They played an amazing game and showed that they are true champions. They came at it with a hunger and passion that the lakers lacked. They deserve much props from the coaching staff on down for the drive and determination they had all year long. Their story as much as ours started during the summer and to think that this is how it ended for both teams is quite amazing. congratulations boston.

    as for our team…the playoffs have convinced me that this team is soft. there’s much room for improvement and i think that starts with developing a defensive minded group of players. if we can’t get “tough” being that gasol is who he is (a finesse player) and odom is who he is (a magician who’s favorite act is the disappearing act), then we need to learn how to play defense better and be consistent with it. we don’t have to be the best, but it has to be consistent and there has to be more effort.

    i agree that bynum when he returns will help a lot on defense. my problem with this is that if our defense is focused around bynum, what happens if (knock on wood) he doesn’t come out strong and it’s clear that his knee has changed his game for the worst or what if he got injured again? we would be left with the same. i think pj and the staff needs to put a little more emphasis on defense, not to change us into a defensive minded team, but we need to think offense AND defense.

    lastly i am very disappointed in pj. not saying that he isn’t a great coach, it was just disappointing. the team played like they had already achieved their goal of getting the series back to boston. that was it. it’s done. as a coach it is your job to get your players into the right mindset and inspire them to play their best. the fact that no one from the lakers showed up for the game is a reflection upon pj and the coaching staff.

    keeping things in perspective, the lakers had an amazing year and went far beyond expectations. that’s something to be proud of.

  123. We dont need Vladamir Radmanovic we need to give his minutes to Trevor

  124. Phil Jackson outcoached Greg Popovich and Jerry Sloan to get to the finals. Both of those guys are twice the coach that Doc Rivers will ever be. Rivers had the advantage of coaching hungry veterans and leaving the defensive schemes to his savant assistant, Tom Thibodeau. If the defense is what won this title (and there’s little doubt that this is the case), Rivers can take much less credit for his team’s success than any coach in recent history. (By the way, it will be a miracle if Thibodeau isn’t a head coach somewhere besides Boston next season).

    As far as I can tell, RIvers’ job consists of reminding the players how good they are, reading super obvious statistics from a green legal pad, cussing out the refs and shouting “inspirational” sayings in the huddle. His rotations can be just as inscrutable as Jackson’s, but without the history to back up his hunches. I will give him credit where it is due, however: in the Finals, he did manage to call some good timeouts, keep his team focused and play the guys who weren’t hurt. That’s his version of “stepping it up”… competence.

  125. The Dude Abides June 18, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    (117) I said Vlad and Luke were two of the worst, not the two worst. Big difference, and I should clarify that I meant two of the worst at their position. I don’t think there is much of an argument there. Both guys consistently let their man blow by them, and both were consistently slow rotators in overall team defense during this series…and let’s face it, Luke is always going to be injured. He inherited his dad’s feet.

    [edited, even though this part was well said it was a response to a now deleted post regarding an unlikely at best signing]

  126. Last night was the worst. Worse that losing on the finals to Detoit. The Celtics really enjoyed pouring it on. They were repeatedly punching the Lakers in the nose and not one Laker responded. I could SEE the lack of respect KG had for the Lakers. I saw one look on KG’s face and it was the look of him thinking to himself that HIS team would NEVER give up and not fight back.

    the most telling stat?

    The Lakers shot 42% FG%……….and got ONLY 2 OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS?

    Pathetic.

  127. the other Stephen June 18, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    since it seems that everyone’s intent on just venting and ranting, i’d like to point out Darius’ input up at #113, which i found to be highly edifying and relevant. go read it.

  128. I think most of the improvement the Lakers are gonna have to come from within themselves

  129. 96 – As someone who expends a disproportionate amount of time attending games as a season ticket holder in the 300 level at a burdensome financial cost and as someone whose heart bleeds purple and gold like most who visit this board, I strongly take issue with your implication that I am not a “true Laker fan” just because I happen to do some critical thinking about the current state of the roster.

    First, I’m not sure what qualifies anyone on this board to judge who is and who isn’t a “true fan.” Fandom comes from within. It can’t be judged by whether someone happens to agree with your wholly optimistic view of the team’s future.

    Second, the irony is, and contrary to what you may assume, I throroughly enjoyed this season. The team’s long playoff run was an unexpected delight. And yes, it is terrific that Bynum and Ariza will return next season. But I don’t think that view is inconsistent with asking some critical questions of our team. When a team blows a 24 point lead at home, loses a close-out game in the NBA Finals by a near record 39 points, and has a front court that doesn’t make a single basket in that game until well into the second half, I don’t think it’s unfair to at least raise questions about the team’s heart, toughness, passion, grit and desire. And to me, those are intangible qualities that might not be solved simply by Bynum’s return. Those possible flaws might not preclude a WCF win, but it might an NBA championship. I don’t think raising those legitimate concerns somehow excommunicates me from “true fandom.” Indeed, our own coach essentially acknowledged the same in his post-game presser when he surprisingly and strongly suggested the need for some roster changes to address the Lakers obvious lack of aggression.

    I do not make this post intending to antagonize anyone. I think this is an incredible forum for high-minded discussion, and I respect everyone’s views on the team’s future, even if they are different than mine. I just would hope to be extended the same courtesy, without my fandom belittled or degraded just because I happen not to share your wholly rosy view of what the future holds for the Lakers. And it goes without saying, no one would be happier than me if your view on the team is proven correct and if my concerns are proven to be unfounded.

  130. As a Laker fan, I am disgusted, perturbed and generally enraged still two days after……

    However, the future is bright for this team, as has already been said…toughness, heart and another veteran presence is what the Lakeshow needs

  131. I’m afraid the Celtics not only crushed the Lakers this year but may have destroyed their title hopes in the years to come. The blowout in game six, coupled with the game four fiasco, cannot exactly be a big confidence builder for our team. I’ve seen series sweeps that were more closely contested! They would have been better off missing the playoffs altogether.

    And I doubt the return of Andy Bynum is going to save the day, even if he does fully recover from his injuries. Which is far from assured, by the way …

  132. Watching KG scream like a madman, my opinion is that the Lakers could not match the Celtics’ intensity. I don’t know where this really has to start. For Boston, is starts with Garnett. I think Kobe is capable of being a similar spark for us, but I’m not trying to put all blame on him–ultimately, the team needs to step up. But, regardless, the Lakers need that fire. Maybe Bynum will solve this, maybe losing like that Tuesday night will. I don’t know, but I do have one thought…

    [edited for trade speculation]

  133. Darius,
    Thank you for your post. I totally understand your saying the combination of Lamar and Vlad are the best we have and that having either Walton or Ariza would really pack the defensive paint, because the defense doesn’t respect Lamar’s outside shot. Really then, where does this leave us next year, when Lamar is moved over to the 3??

    I don’t think Phil can have Bynum, Gasol, and Lamar as our front line players – the defensive paint will look like an enemy ambush. Also, lateral speed is likely to really kill us. Lamar may have to be on the 2nd unit. This move might just destroy any confidence Lamar might have and ruin team chemistry in the bargain. I bet Phil and Mitch are losing sleep over this question.

  134. Conspiracy, I am not alluding to, but let’s look back at the last season.

    0. Donaghy. A lot of ‘other’ things need to happen to turn attention elsewhere.

    1. Kobe throws a fit in LA. Lakers, forever the attention getting franchise, gets even more attention and just can’t seem to get off the headlines. YouTube happens, trade rumors fly, Buss gets thrown under, PJ re-signs…

    2. Boston gets Allen, then Garnett. Garnett they get for spare parts really. Celtics all of a sudden become the counter-argument to the Lakers. Everything the Lakers are, the Celtics are against. Unselfish stars, un-attention seeking stars, stars loyal to their franchise during the lowest of low, defense… we have a plot emerging.

    3. Boston opens with a sizzling record. Talk of the East. Obligatory LeBron love thrown around.

    4. Bynum emerges and Lakers open with sizzling record. Talk of the West. Hornets are also given tons of love.

    5. Bynum injury takes air out of Boston-LA finals.

    6. Pau happens. Now we have a completely Euro-lakers to go against the American-Celtics. Quick, how many foreign players in the Celtics roster? Thought so. Also, they are as Anti-Jazz as any team could possibly get. Not that I agree with what was said before, but how many clean-shaven (forgot the term) guys on the C’s roster?

    7. Shaq happens.

    8. J-Kidd happens.

    9. Talk of even more LA-Boston.

    10. LA peaks, winning the West a couple games before the PO. Kobe wins MVP after what was probably his least-deserving year in terms of personal records. Not that he wasn’t deserving, but I would argue CP was more deserving.

    11. Boston hits a low, coasting after clinching the conference and the league-best a month ago.

    12. LA plows its way through the postseason flashing dominant O. Jerry West shows up to validate KB24. All of a sudden KB24′s sins are forgiven, strengths magnified, and idolatry about to happen.

    13. Boston trudges along, looking vulnerable, based on its D. For some reason, media finds the need to bring Russel back and do some corny stuff with KG. It was cool, but a bit transparent.

    14. LA is firing on all cylinders, Kobe delivers.

    15. Boston is missing Ray Allen, uncertainty all around.

    16. LA suddenly decides to have players not show up, Boston decides to have everyone show up, even its non-marquee names.

    17. Sprinkle of other theatric moments, such as Pierce’s wheelchair, Perkins coming back to make couple big plays in game 6, and Boston win.

    I’m sure I missed a lot of things, but all in all I think a LOT of things happened this season, and a LOT happened to both the Lakers and the Celtics including pivotal (no pun) trades. The similarities and the differences are very striking and stark, and it’s almost as if somebody scripted the whole season.

    Too bad we weren’t scripted to finish on top, but if we do win next season (I don’t see why we can’t. I do see why it will be difficult, though) this season will be the perfect ‘obligatory fall before glory’ needed to enrich every movie.

  135. carter blanchard June 19, 2008 at 12:28 am

    A few unsorted thoughts:

    -Using this series as any sort of referendum on Phil needs to stop everywhere immediately. The fact that he got this team to where he did is absolutely incredible. Sure we could have done without things like the Mihm sighting, but don’t forget how much he’s brought the young guys along (a recurring Phil criticism) and how seamlessly he adjusted to both a key injury and roster-shaking trade. (Basically ditto to what Jones said in his post)

    -I’m hearing things like “we need to improve our d by signing a couple defensive specialist.” Umm.. that’s what Ariza is. Don’t forget he’s 22, hasn’t had a training camp with us to learn the offense, and was coming off a broken foot. He’ll be even better next year. Also I hear this Bynum fella might be pretty good. You think the Bynum-Gasol-Odom frontcourt is going to give up the points in the paint we did in this series?

    -The whole “this series proves Kobe’s no MJ” thing might be the most absurd of any meme out there. Somehow I think just about every major columnist echo something along these lines. You seriously needed this series to prove that?? What’s awful about this logic is the implication that had they won, then somehow Kobe would have joined the GOAT which is just stupid. This series shouldn’t have done anything to change Kobe’s legacy one way or another. He’s the best we got today, and there’s no reason to think that he and the Lakers shouldn’t be right back.

    Our record with Pau (if my math is right) is 36-11. That’s almost a 63-win season with a central player who we haven’t even had a training camp with. Bottom line, we should definitely be in the hunt for home court all the way, and as good as the C’s were this series, you hafta imagine homecourt advantage would have helped the cause. Take a deep breath Lakers fans (and columnists). Don’t overreact because of this series and start calling for wholesale changes.

  136. Horrible way to have lost the series. I’m still feeling the after effects of that loss. Lots of hope for next year. Here’s to hoping Bynum makes a strong return next year.

    Representing Lakernation from Laos.

  137. The Dude Abides June 19, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Well, the draft is almost upon us, and the trade speculation is starting at the national level. I think we need a trade thread here fairly quickly, because the Lakers have one particular piece who has a lucrative expiring contract, is moving to SF next year, and isn’t known for his outside shooting, and the Nets have a decent SF who can run, defend against other SFs, and shoot from the outside…and the Nets want to clear cap space for Lebron in a couple years. The Nets also have the 10th pick in the 2008 draft. The Lakers could also offer their #1 picks in ’12 and/or ’14.

    Kurt, I saved this post in Word, so if you want to delete it (or better yet move it to a new trade thread), feel free. Congrats on the new addition to your family and thanks for this great blog.

  138. Compared to other years and other teams, the Lakers appear to be in enviable shape. In an ironic reversal, Andrew Bynum was the only Laker big who was healthy at the start of the season last year. This season, every big appears to be reasonably healthy. Kobe needs surgery on his finger, and Derek on his leg, but no one will be rehabilitating from anything major.

    There are three Lakers with expiring contracts: Ronny, Sasha, and Trevor. I’m sure that the Lakers will try to sign all three ASAP. At some point, the Lakers will sit down with Andrew to hammer out a longer term contract, but my guess is that it won’t happen for awhile. Pau Gasol and Kobe need to decide that they don’t want to be traded, but that should be easy enough.

    In relatively short order, the Lakers will be able to look on a largely complete team: Kobe/Sasha, Derek/Jordan, Vlade/Luke/Trevor, Lamar/Ronny, and Pau/Andrew. That’s 11. Chris Mihm needs to decide whether to play or retire–it’s his choice. The Lakers need to decide on Mbenga, Newble, and Karl. That makes 15. I’m going to take a wild stab that only Kobe Carl survives, giving the Lakers 12 players–but I could imagine all 15 surviving.

    I don’t think any player wants to leave–and the comeraderie has been unusually close and supportive. There are at least 2 former Lakers that are free agents that might make a reappearance under certain circumstances. In the event that Sasha was lured away by another team, Maurice Evans might be lured back to his old job behind Kobe–his performance during the season and during the playoffs with Orlando was outstanding. Kwame Brown is a free agent with Memphis who might be able to back up Bynum.

    The Lakers are likely to take a 2nd look at Sun Yue, a 6′ 9″ 2007 second round draft pick from China who may be the starting point guard on the Chinese national team. Their second round draft choice this year may be similarly stockpiled.

    The Laker trade situation is almost a carbon copy of last year. If the Lakers intend to land a veteran of any stature through a trade, it will most likely involve Lamar Odom–though other scenarios are possible. Unlike last year, there is no urgency, and there will be many opportunities–though a key trade could happen fast or not at all.

    The Lakers may prefer a boring summer without drama, in which integrating Trevor and Andrew fully into the rotation are enough of a challenge.

  139. Stephen Crockett June 19, 2008 at 6:37 am

    It is obvious to this Celtic fan (since the mid 1960′s) that the Lakers were in over their head . Kobe was inconsistent, Gasol and Odom showed up to make the sides even and Rodmonovich and Fischer had the look of deer caught in the headlights of a Peterbilt semi approaching at full throttle. Phil is not free of blame. He couldn’t solve the Celtics defense and couldn’t stop them on offense. The bench should return their game checks because they stole the money. The entire Lakers organization should hang their heads in shame. Kobe should go back to wearing # 8, because the implication of #24 that he is one better than #23, MJ. Also , Kobe should give Chris Paul the league MVP honors that Kobe stole from him with the help of the butt-kissing media and others who voted for him.

  140. 136, Yeah it was SO obvious how overrated the Lakers were all this time, that’s why you waited until 2 days after the series was over to proclaim your wise prognostication and hostility, you couldn’t even show up when the Celtics were up 3-1 because you knew like the rest of the league the Lakers could still pull it out

    I look forward to the Celtics next .500 season so all of these guys can stop pretending they’ve watched their games for more than 2 months

  141. Craig W.,
    While I think Lamar will have some issues being a more perimeter oriented player, I do think he is versatile enough to pull this off. His skill set is more well rounded than any other SF on the roster and the only skill that I mentioned before that he is not at the level that I would be comfortable with is the *shooting with range*. Though he is a capable shooter, he knows his limits and has not settled for the long jumper as much lately and preferred to try and score around the basket.

    The one reason that I would not want to let go of Lamar or rush to a judgement that he is the odd man out is because of his versatility within this offense. I mean, Bynum and Pau are only 2 guys. Even if they start, they will have to come out of the game at some point. And it’s when one of those guys goes to the bench where having a talent like Lamar is really valuable as Lamar can then slide back to PF with Pau/Drew moving (or staying) at C. I’d much rather have Lamar on the court to start the game and then have our first sub be a SF that replaces one of our bigs. If our PF/C rotation is Pau/Drew/Lamar (with Lamar also getting minutes at SF) we will have a long and athletic front court that is versatile and have diverse games. We’ll also have enough minutes to keep everyone involved in the game.

    Like I said in a different post, it makes sense to evaluate our roster and try to decide what pieces fit and which ones don’t or could be improved. But I’m not that worried about Lamar. His game is diverse enough to adapt to different lineups and to playing multiple postions. Can spacing be an issue with a Pau/Drew/LO front court? I think it will be, but realize that we were running a simplified version of the offense for most of this season. I remember watching this offense hum in the title years in 2000-2002 and in the Bulls 3 peat years. We were no where near that level even though we were very effective and one of the better offenses in the league (which is what happens when Kobe is on your team and we can add a gifted big like Pau while also having a rising physical force in Bynum). I guess my point is, I expect to have LO play a role similar to the one that Ron Harper played in the Bulls title years where he was the 4th option on offense and got a lot of his points on curls into the lane and on spot up jumpers. I know the *spot up jumper* is what worries most about Lamar, but he is super talented and can also create off the dribble when he’s left open and will have twin 7 footers and Kobe to use as pressure releases when he creates off the dribble; he will be setting up his mates.

    As far as how the offense develops, I’m not worried. What we need is better execution on defense…

  142. The morning after the morning after feels really good. Bright and sunny (but then again I live in PHX so its always sunny).

    Think about it…

    Who among us thought before the seasonthat the Lakers would make the playoffs or even if they did, get past the first round?

    When Bynum was clicking at the beginning of the season, we thought the team was good but how many of us would have thought of them to even go past the second round of the playoffs in a loaded WC?

    When Bynum went down and Gasol came in, the idea still was that next season would be the big run because it would take time for Pau to be integrated into the offense.

    When Pau was integrated well into the offense, it was still “we need Bynum for interior presence”. Even at the end of the season, when Lakers were 1-seed, how many of us thought that the Lakers would go far in the playoffs without Bynum’s return.

    The fact is that the Lakers have overachieved the whole season and the whole playoffs. They failed to overachieve in the Finals, that’s it…

  143. Kurt, I don’t know if this is allowed… But Gail Goodrich, in this article (http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_9630449) wrote exactly what I felt during the Finals and what I feel about our team.

    Best wishes

  144. One personnel question. If restricted free agent Sasha is re-signed for presumably about $5-6 million/year, can the Lakers still sign someone else for the mid level exemption?

  145. First of all, congrats to the Celtics. As a young Laker fan who hasn’t developed the hate for them (yet), I am happy for KG, Ray and PP, who, coming into this year, were a few of my favorite guys in the league (mainly because the media labelling them as ‘losers’).

    We cannot be complacent and just say “we’ll be back.” We have NO IDEA how Bynum’s injury is going…there is no guarantee that he will even be lacing them up come next October. Also, we’ll have a healthy SA to deal with, plus I KNOW there are a couple pretty good PnR teams workin up a sweat right now and determined to get over the hump. There is NO GUARANTEE that we’ll ever get back, and playing as if there was was the worst thing about what happened in this finals.

    There are some key things we have to consider when breaking down this team for next year looking at the roster. And this is assuming Bynum comes back.

    1. The single most important thing for next year is that Ariza needs to shoot 300 corner 3-pointers for next year. He needs to become our Bruce Bowen. Without this ability, the floor will become more packed, and this hurts Kobe and Pau a great deal (as with what the Celtics did).

    2. Kobe needs to put on some muslce. I remember a few years ago he came back 15 pounds stronger, then the next year he shed it. He needs to put them back on. He struggles against bigger defenders, and if a team has bigs that can rotate, he’s relegated to jumpers. He needs to get stronger so he can get to the lane.

    3. Pau’s got to put on some serious muscle. No joke.

    4. VladRad and Walton need to go. They are dead minutes. VladRad is 1 dimensional and Walton is 0 dimensional. We can have Lamar/Ariza at the 3 and bring in another player. Or we can bring in another 2-guard and play Kobe at the 3 when we go small.

    5. We need a 2nd Center. Gasol and Turiaf are 4′s. We need a guy who can come in there and just bang and get boards. I’m thinking Scott Pollard-type.

    6. Lamar needs to come off the bench. He will be rendered useless in the clogged lane that will be Bynum/Gasol. He acn come off the bench and play the 4 when we’re going small. Unless he decides to perfect his 17-footer, he can’t operate with a lot of people in the lane. With the money he is making, if we can get a good offer, I am not averse to getting rid of him. He will be our 4th option next year, and we can fill a lot of the smaller cracks with the players we get back for him. He is NOT essential to our success in any way if Bynum is healthy.

    Yes this team is very good, but if we stay complacent we don’t come out of an EVEN BETTER West next year. Lets incorporate the lessons we learned from this series and work AROUND THE EDGES, to make the 7-10 spots in our rotation even better, and also make sure they fit better.

  146. Stephen Crockett,
    The Celtics were a little better than the Lakers, that’s all. They deserved to win the series, but it could have easily been a Lakers sweep, too.

  147. carter blanchard June 19, 2008 at 9:52 am

    The draft fun begins! From DX:

    “Look for the Los Angeles Lakers to try and land an early second round pick (possibly from Seattle) in order to draft IUPUI’s George Hill. He worked out in Los Angeles and reportedly was very impressive. His college team actually ran the triangle offense, and that is always a big factor in the Lakers’ workouts. ”
    http://www.draftexpress.com/blog/Jonathan-Givony/

    I haven’t seen/heard of this kid, but it sounds like him and Sun can battle for who will be Farmar’s backup once Fish has to head into the sunset.

  148. 146. It depends. The Lakers could just re-sign Sasha (the have the rights to match any offer) or they could use some of their mid-level exception on him, keeping their luxury tax bill down. I would not be surprised if the Lakers split the midlevel (not evenly) between Sasha and Turiaf.

    I’ve got a roster post for next year I’m working on, should be up tonight or early tomorrow, depending on what time I get home from work tonight.

  149. The surprising thing to me about the finals was that neither of the teams looked like the teams that played in the earlier rounds. More so for Boston – I thought they looked pretty average in their earlier rounds. And this was the first round where I thought the Lakers really looked tentative. I give Boston’s defensive effort and intensity a fair amount of credit for that, but at the same time Boston sure didn’t have that when Atlanta was running over them, or when they could barely break 80 points in a game. (There was a reason most analysts picked the Lakers to win it all.)

    Other than Boston finally raising their game when they got to the end, I think a big part of what happened was due to the paths that they took to get there. In the Western Conference, the Lakers had to play hard in the second half of the season, with no games off right until the end; Boston’s season was essentially over after the first half. That’s probably one of the reasons it was so hard for Boston to get things going in the Playoffs. And I think the Lakers finally wore down mentally as much as physically.

    One of the indirect ways that this team’s inexperience showed up was that they hadn’t really had a lot of experience with the triangle (and Phil’s coaching approach), which I think limited his options. (I read somewhere where it was suggested that Thibodeau could defend the triangle at a higher level than the Lakers could play it; there seems to be some truth to that.)

    I think Gasol is getting criticized unfairly given that he has had to play out of position and, oh yeah, defend Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett in successive series while still carrying the offense on the inside. And Kobe now seems to get killed if he performs anything less than miracle level work.

    Finally, I think this should be viewed as a good season for the Lakers. Based on where we were a year ago, I think most of us expected FB&G to spend May and June talking about draft picks and inexperienced college kids (if you even bothered to keep reading). Even after they picked up Gasol, I don’t think many people would have picked them into the finals. Instead, we got four rounds of playoff basketball. That would be a great result for a team that came into the season on solid footing, much less one that started the season the way the Lakers did.

  150. 142. Darius, I agree that Lamar is versatile enough to play SF and move to PF when one of the bigs is out. My biggest problem with Lamar is that he tends to become invisible in big games or big moments. He commits mistakes or fails to make the right decision at several crucial moments during big games. This is not something we have seen this season. We have seen this over and over again for a long time now.

    I am not doubting his ability as a basketball player. But I doubt his heart. I dount that he could be the starter for a championship team.

  151. -136 Stephen Crockett
    Chris Paul was obviously more deserving than Kobe and proved in the playoffs when he let the Spurs back into the series and let them win it, while the Lakers and Kobe beat that same team in 5 games.

    But Kobe lost in the finals so lets take his MVP away and give it to somebody even less deserving and proved less in the playoffs.

    It really bothers me that people are crucify Lakers players and coaches because they lost in the FINALS!!!. Nobody thought that they could get there at the start of the year and many people had doubts they would make it to the Finals without a healthy Bynum once the playoffs started. Except Lakers did so WELL that people raised their expectations each rounds and since the Lakers kept responding the expectations got way too high.

    This team has a LOT of talent. They have the best player in the league in Kobe, the best Coach (yes he is still the best) great surrounding cast and bench. They also have trading chips if they really do need to make a change in the middle of next season.

    Not to mention the Lakers are not very attractive for vets looking for a championship.

    This team has went for dogs to extreme potential with NBA finals experience and yet we need to find faults.

    We need to be excited about next year now and how lucky we are to witness this turnaround so soon.

    I know I went off on a little tangent here, but I am at work and don’t have the luxury of putting together a well thought out post.

  152. Harold,

    You forgot Kobe (as the guy in the black hat in the Westerns) vs. the good guys wearing white hats (the Celtics).

    What you are referring to is called “marketing” in the newspeak of the business class. All year long, the league and the media work to develope “story lines” to hold the public’s attention and build toward the climax of the season. There are several “scripts” being written at any given time, with all except for one (the champion’s script) being subplots which are picked up the next season to keep anticipation and drama moving foward into the next installment of “As The NBA Turns.”

    The ratings for this year’s final indicate this year was a successful step foward over last year (as the Spurs and LeBron failed to create compelling drama).

  153. I agree with everyone saying that Lamar is a valuable ‘swing’ player (can play 3 and 4). However, Lamar will have a 14 million pound weight on his neck all year thanks to his expiring contract, and I do believe it is far better to get this situation resolved in the offseason than during the Feb. trade deadline, as we will then repeat the whole situation of getting a newly acquired player acquainted with the system.

    There are plenty of teams out there that would be willing to part ways with very good players, to have the financial breathing room to make a run at the 2010 free agents. I doubt the Lakers will be big players in that market (re-signing Bynum, Kobe, etc.) so it seems logical that THIS summer is the major free agent summer for the Lakers. Lamar’s value is enhanced by his amazing versatility and his expiring contract.

    I know we’ll discuss this in length all summer, but it’s important to understand why any possible trades need to go down in the offseason, and not during the year.

    That being said, it’s pretty tough being a Lakers fan here in the East coast. But we will be back…we are back.

  154. DY, I understand your logic about off-season vs. mid-season trades.

    But you’re also assuming that the Lakers are commited to that large a payroll beyond Lamar’s last year. Trading Lamar at all means taking back a salary that is pretty close in value to what LO makes. Will the Buss’ really want to take on that kind of money considering Bynum’s extention and we’ll most likely pay Sasha, Turiaf, and Farmar?

    Also, what ever happened to letting that contract come off the books or trying to sign LO after his contract expires to a more reasonable deal?

    There are so many questions to consider; it’s not as simple as dump this guy and get that guy…

    And believe me, I like to play armchair GM just like everyone else. I don’t do that here because this is Kurt’s site and he has rules about that stuff (and with very good reason) that deserve our respect. But there is so much more to consider than just how personnel will fit…

  155. Darius. Its fun to play armchair GM. Especially when its not your money. Most fans are not going to take the financial situation into too much consideration for that very reason.

  156. 154. I agree with everything you’ve said, in particular, the statement about the money not being ours. My only point was that through the course of the Finals, an in particular, after our loss, that a common refrain was “give us a full season to acclimate the pieces.”

    The whole LO situation will definetely be a distraction if it’s not resolved and I believe it will seriously affect how he plays. Just wanted to point that out.

  157. #156. Point taken.

    How LO handles his role and adjusts to any changes in it are going to be key.

    I’m just one that has a little more faith in LO than many others. I’ve defended him for years now, but I do see the other side of the argument.

    #157. I’m with you there too. I have damn near passed out playing with the trade machine at ESPN until the wee hours…

  158. Where has John R. been during the playoffs. I thought for sure he would pop up after game 6?

  159. Found this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=sGywI2ijZ_c&feature=related

    Remember and believe! Watching that I was struck by how well Andrew moved without the ball and he was really hitting his stride right then. Interesting enough is the fact that the zone is defeated by going inside. Notice Drew is never hesitant to make a move, unlike Pau. Did the Celtics throw the zone like they did in the Finals against us like they did in the first two match ups? I know he didn’t play well the first two games during the regular season but I would think throwing it in to him at the start would have totally thrown off the rectangle zone they decided to throw at us.

  160. Although I wouldn’t mind trading LO for the rights to a player a la Baron Davis or Ron Artest. I think some of the most glaring problems for the Lakers can be addressed through the offseason with solid coaching and better defensive preparation. This team now has valuable experience and chemistry that you can’t always buy. I think PJ’s emphasis next year (obviously) will be on the defensive side of the ball learning how to defend the pick and roll and also learning how to rotate better on the switch. A lot of our defensive matchup problems with some of the more athletic teams can be solved simply with just running more zone and using our length and size to keep teams from scoring easy buckets in the paint. Although I don’t expect LO to be signed for 14mil if we can sign him for around 10mil I think he’s a steal at that price. Then next year with Bynum as our 3rd option there would be absolutely zero pressure on LO to score. This is when i believe Lamar is at his best! When nothing significant (scoring wise) is expected of him except of cours for rebounding. I still think though that the Lakers needs and enforcer off the bench someone like a Robert Horry or PJ Brown. Someone who can come in and give them a physical defensive presence when needed and hit a shot or two in the clutch.

  161. James Posey = Robert Horry

    Lakers need someone like this.

    What am I gonna do with myself now that the basketball season is over? Is college football startnig anytime soon?

  162. the other Stephen June 19, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    139. stephen crockett, there is no need for that sort of lowbrow inane input, especially from someone of your age.

    145. Ap, i’m not sure if i agree with your fourth point about vlad and walton. vlad and walton bring certain things that are very valuable given the lineups and matchups, but i’m not sure if i’m the person to persuade you. i’m looking forward the the lineup post, kurt.

  163. I just want to say that it’s annoying how people are now calling James Posey “Big Game James”, when that nickname rightfully belongs to James Worthy.

    I’m not opposed to Posey getting his own nickname now that he’s turning out to be one of those Horry-ish role-players who help teams win championships (and, like the post-Lakers version of Horry, knock opposing players to the pine).

  164. 158. Jonesonthenba, John R. did try to post a very baiting comment here yesterday, vintage him. I deleted a few of those as it was just going to lead to a s&$(- fight. Nerves were still a tad raw.

  165. does anyone know how profitable the lakers are as an organization? i’m trying to fiture out just how onerous the luxury tax burden would be in the busses. i’m sure this is horribly simplistic, but If i were an owner, i’d accumulate the best roster i can buy, luxury tax be damned.

  166. So reading this blog everyone seems to think LA is a lock for the NBA championship next year.

    Not so sure I agree. They are still a very young team. Bynum will be 21. Is that the answer in the middle?

    Is building sky-high expections a wis hing? What happens if they fall short?

  167. BTW…Laker exit interviews going on right now. Kobe just got his posted up at LATimes I believe. Also Ron Artest was on the Loose Cannons earlier and it sounded as if he wasn’t against opting out of his contract and going….somewhere. Course he danced pretty well to avoid most of the baiting questions.

  168. otbricki,
    I don’t think i’ve read one comment on this site where anyone guarantees a title. I think we have high hopes, which I think are fair from any logical thinking basketball fan. While we did fall short against an excellent and great team, our core players are all in their prime (or are approaching it) and have gained valuable experience over the past season(s). We have talent, an owner willing to spend money, and a great coach.

    I understand that as a Celtics supporter (I can only assume that you are since you posted several pro-Celtics comments during the Finals on these boards), that it feels great to vanquish the Lakers and be on top of the mountain. But please, don’t come around here trying to stir up trouble or make things up and talk trash. We want to have a good discourse about the Lakers and basketball in general.

    All that said, yes Bynum is young. While some of the comments portray him as some sort of savior, I actually think that most people see him as a missing piece to the puzzle. The traits that he provides (finishing inside, rebounding, interior defense) are all qualities that this team lacked. So, is he some superstar that is going to guarantee a ring? No, but he is a piece that can blend in nicely with a team that reached the NBA Finals and help them in areas where they were deficient.

  169. 166 – that’s a valid point. i think that bynum’s growth was unexpected and therefore more pleasant. setting too high of expectation could hurt (a la kwame). however, i also think it depends heavily on the individual whether they fall or rise above it. bynum has displayed that he is willing to work for it. he has kobe as a mentor in work ethics and he has kareem as a mentor in playing the game and overall basketball i.q. so as long as he’s willing, i think it’s not too much of a reach for us fans to expect a lot out of him. granted, it is something that only time will tell.

    personally i don’t think his age would be an issue. there has been numerous players in all different positions that have made their impact irrespective of their age.

  170. Barring injuries or any other craziness I don’t doubt the Lakers will make the Finals again. Winning is still up in the air but I firmly expect to be sitting watching the Lakers play in June of ’09

  171. Did you guys read what Ariza plans to do in the offseason?

    This summer, he said he will focus on handling the ball and shooting and trying to add 10 pounds.

    NICE

  172. Darius,

    I appreciate your thoughtful inputs, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Bynum is the savior. This guy is going to become a bona fide Top 5 center in the league for the next 10 years. I know that seems overly optimistic but the kid averaged a double-double at age 19-20 over the toughest schedule in the 1st half of the season. If he kept that up the rest of the season (which I can safely assume was going to happen), he would be the youngest center to do that sans Dwight Howard. The kid is for real. So yes……….Celtics fans should fear us. Let them enjoy their well-deserved championship. It is the last they’ll have for a while. The solution to their 17th is our #17 (Andrew Bynum).

    As far as the roster goes…….I like it. Actually, I love it. Yes, we should explore tinkering it a bit and getting rid of Luke and/or Vlad would be fantastic (albeit extremely difficult), but I really believe that we can still win the title with a healthy AB, Ariza (my fav), and a bunch of motivated hungry young gamers who spent the entire off-season improving their game (Sasha, Ronny, Farmar, Ariza).

    We are about to enter the heart of a phenomenal journey that many of us didn’t foresee. Let’s enjoy this ride for the next 5 years!

  173. 171. I hope he really does hit those weights, because Pierce made him look like a chump out there.

    [edited for trade speculation]

  174. Lal v2.0 should be this year’s team with a little more experience. The core doesn’t need to be messed around with too much just yet. Afterall…this team was 2 games away from winning a championship.

  175. Does it not seem odd to anyone that the Lakers have been “learning and re-learning” how to defend pick-n-roll and screen -n- roll since we lost to the Jazz in WCF’s in the late 90′s?

    Why is that? I’m struggling to understand it… Also, I know that P-Jax’s ego would never allow it but, it would be great if we could get a, “defensive specialist” – asst. coach… The 1st name popping to name is Michael Cooper. Essentially functioning in the same or similar capacity as Kareem does as our own personal, “Pete Newell”. As anybody who has planned any-type of organized b-ball will tell you, there are “mechanics” to defense and nuances in how to defend on the perimeter, down low, one on one, help defense, etc. Who better than one of the best lockdown-all around defenders ever? Plus, if you caught his “laker expert” role with Fukuzaki, you see he still has that “fire” in his eyes… and a genuine dislike for all things, Pistons and Celtics.

    Another name could/should be pippen. The best defender on the bulls team next to rodman and jordan. Plus? He could teach Lamar what the heck he should be doing… I know Pip coached with us a couple years back but we need to keep these guys on staff all year like hodges (who has done wonders with outside shooting) and Kareem (Bynum’s explosion this year)… I feel it would be invaluable.

    Lastly, if and only if LO makes a commitment to stay focused (see a sports therapist), maintain excellence in games (it’s only 48 mins and he only plays 39-40 of it) , get an outisde shot, commit to becoming an all-around stopper, get a HEART and stop partying on the eve of the biggest game of his life (re; TMZ video) – - – then we shouldn’t trade him but…

    We all KNOW he’ll never do that. He’s just not a champion…he’s a gamer. A baller. It’s okay. But the Lakers need a Champion. Fox and Horry didn;t have 1/2 the “gamer/baller” skills that LO has now. But? They did EXACTLY what he doesn’t do – - – play hard every damn second and never, ever take a play off. Yet to see LO do that for a season, let alone a series…

  176. sorry for the typos… impassioned writing trumps my sense of grammar…

  177. Kurt,

    Is commenting on a free agent “wild trade speculation”?

    I mean no affront, but am curious as to not step outside the lines of acceptable posting.

  178. Where’s the lurker who said in a post before the finals started that any team with LO in it will never win a championship. That person’s right.

  179. 177. George, I’ll go through my thought process here and maybe again on the end of the post that will go up tonight or (more likely) tomorrow.

    Who are we talking about here? Artest is not a free agent, he and his agent are going around planting stuff right now and testing the waters to see if anyone will give them more than the $7 mil he’ll make in Sactown, or a good long-term deal. He’s saying different things to different audiences — he told Sacramento talk radio the other day there was a 99% chance he would not opt out.

    What he wants is money. It’s always about the money. Where do you think Chad Ford and Peter Vessey and the ilk get this info? Team GMs and assistant GMs? Occiassionally, but they have an agenda to throw other teams off of their actual thinking, the truth has little relevance. Most of the Ford/Vessy info comes from player agents and the like, and those guys also have an agenda. Who told Ford that Jefferson is available from New Jersey, someone credible or someone from Jefferson’s camp trying to get him out of there?

    And this comes to the core of my problem with this speculation — we are talking out our ass because we have a fraction of the information. So whole threads get hijacked about whether the Lakers should go after Artest when the fact is he is not really on the market as a free agent. Or, worse yet, we have guys saying “I love Danny Granger, the Lakers should get him.” I love Granger too (I think he’d be an ideal three in the triangle) but he’s a restricted free agent who is the heart of Indy’s building plans, they are not trading him for LO or anyone else.

    There are plenty of Lakers sites where this kind of trade talk is both allowed and encouraged, and it dominates their boards. Simply put, that is not going to happen here. You can say “The Lakers should get Posey” as he is unrestricted, but you can’t bid on him until July 1 (I think). And so we can discuss at that time if there are free agents worth going after, but I don’t want a whole thrreads taken over for this stuff.

    At some point in the next couple weeks I may (MAY!) put up a thread where this kind of speculation is allowed, and when it happens it will be clearly known, But it will be confined to that thread. But I’m not letting speculation take over this site.

  180. What a difference a year (and NBA Finals berth) makes. From the LA Times:

    “I’m comfortable with what we have,” Bryant said, when asked if the management team led by General Manager Mitch Kupchak had personnel moves to make this off-season. “Whatever Mitch decides to do, he decides to do.”

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-spw-lakers20-2008jun20,0,5166014.story?track=rss

  181. the other Stephen June 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    yo paydawg. where’s he say that?

  182. Thank you Kurt!

  183. aB,
    In my eyes, you’ve laid out the best case scenario for Bynum. And I think he can reach that level. But, and don’t take this the wrong way or think I’m trying to be the wet blanket on the Bynum talk, but I’ll need to see how he recovers from his injury before I let myself drift to where you already are. I’d love for everything you said to be true. And as you said, the evidence was there to suggest this is exactly where he’s heading. But, in my eyes (and even though David Thorpe got grilled by Lakers fans when he mentioned possibly even trading Bynum, he makes a good overall point about our team when he says exactly what I’m about to…) we have a very good front line and Bynum is just another piece to that puzzle. For all the downer talk on Gasol right now, he was a great big man for us from the time that we aquired him and he helped lead us to the Finals. Where are we without his put back against Utah over/through Okur? Where are we without his 19 rebounds in the clinching game against the Spurs? I mean he’s a pretty good player that is simply getting trashed right now for not being the big bruising player that we would have liked to have had against the Celtics. So, while I love Bynum, to me he is not a *savior* and to add to that, we don’t need a savior. What we need is to build a team with players that compliment each other where we have a diverse attack on offense and can cover for each other on defense. Is Bynum important to that? Hell yeah he is, but I’m not putting it all on him, and he doesn’t deserve it to be either. We need everyone to improve, get better, and commit to the idea of *team*. And when we add Bynum to that mix, we will be tough.

    All that being said, believe me, I hope he becomes everything you said and more. I hope the front line of Bynum/Gasol is the new twin towers where other teams just don’t have the size to play with us. I want to see high/low action with Gasol flashing to the high post and throwing lobs to young Drew. I want to see follow dunks and high P&R’s that finish with his hand above the square. i want it all. I just can’t let myself go there quite yet. Not when we’re talking about a 7 footer that is coming off a knee injury, serious or not.

  184. I listened to/watched a few of the exit interviews (Ariza, Luke, and Sasha so far). Luke kinda hinted that he was frustrated with and disappointed about his playing time, kinda expecting the 30 minutes a game he was getting last year. When asked about his performance this year he said his stats were worse than last year but he was still helping his team win. I mean, maybe that’s true, but all I recall in the Finals is one open layup when Pau was double-teamed, one open three (after two missed ones), and a bunch of stupid turnovers and bricked shots.

    At the same time, Sasha – pretty much our sixth man throughout the latter part of the year, sounded like he winning meant more to him than anything else, but still kinda maintained that he’d go to the team that paid him the most. Considering the Lakers are in luxury tax territory and Buss is probably gonna start cutting costs wherever possible, does it bother anyone else that we might not be able to keep Sasha for the same kinda money that Luke is getting?

  185. Darius………well said. Very level-headed analysis and a very cautious outlook on the entire team. I totally agree with you about Gasol. I actually love Gasol and really feel that he would be a great complement to Bynum. I also agree with your assessment on his play during the entire playoffs. For a guy who played out of position, I thought he did a fine and admirable job (except the last game but the entire squad laid an egg).

    However, please let me indulge a little and enjoy the massive potential Bynum has a player. It is the only thing I got to combat the pain of the past few days. Although it may seem that I might be a tad idealist in my thoughts……I actually believe Bynum is that good. Of course, this is all a moot point since only time will really tell if this rings true. But for the time being, I just needed to say it just to dose the rage that has been burning inside of me since Tuesday.

    Be that as it may, keep up the good work and I look forward to more of your insightful analysis. By the way, if you guys haven’t seen it yet……..the Lakers.com website has most of the player’s exit interview video posts up. They are really great!

  186. Sorry for the double post…….but someone else mentioned it as well earlier…….does anyone have any info on how much revenue the Lakers actually make as they go further in the playoffs? Just curious, given our luxury tax threshold and salary cap restrictions. I’m sure the front office is well aware of it and it influences their decision making……but just curious if anyone has done any analysis o research on this (JonesOnTheNBA, our aspiring sports agent).

    It is amazing to me that we have roughly $46 million dollars devoted to Luke and Vlad. It is not that I think they are horrible players, but given their output and limitations, I think its safe to say that they are a tad over-priced:). Of course, at the time their contracts made sense (although I’d argue Vlad signing was kind of redundant b/c we had Cook at the time). I really hope we don’t lose Ariza, Sasha, and Turiaf due to our salary situation. It is going to be very interesting what we do over the course of the next few months.

  187. 175) Someone being great as a player does not mean that they can teach those skills to others. Cooper was tremendously athletic, which is the biggest reason he was able to be a great defender. It’s a lot easier to be real aggressive if you have the speed, quickness, and jumping ability to be able to recover from mistakes.

  188. aB,
    Agreed on the indulgence. I honestly can’t wait to see the team next season. It will be good to have a break though. The intensity of the playoffs had me drained like I was the one playing….all the ups and downs were just too crazy.

  189. It was reported in the LA Times, but it is old news. This is the third year that the Lakers trading prospects are dominated by Lamar Odom, but they all have been different. This year, we are considering the likelihood that Lamar no longer has a starting position that fits well with the rest of the front court. His salary is too rich for a lesser role.

    Rather than speculate about various scenarios, let’s consider how Mitch might shop Lamar–’cause if no one wants him, there’s nothing further to discuss. Mitch would start with his cronies.

    Following established rules, the most acceptable trade goes across divisions, so we might start with the Eastern Conference. The Lakers, within memory, have dealt with the Wizards, Celtics, Pistons, Heat, and Magic. There might be interest with the Wizards, Heat, and Pistons–who are all considering changes.

    In the Western Conference, the Lakers have had dealings with the Suns, Grizz, and Kings, though they’ve indirectly dealt with the Jazz in obtaining Derek Fisher. There might be interest with the Suns, Kings, and Jazz.

    The only team with more than professional interest in Odom is the Miami Heat. Pat Riley still has great fondness for Lamar.

    I can imagine possibilities with all three Eastern and Western Conference teams I mentioned. If there is a deal, we may not hear about it until it happens.

    This in no way indicates Odom will actually be traded. He’s been shopped for two years already–but this is his expiring contract year. Just keep your eye on those 6 teams.

  190. aB: Lakers have been making between 25-30 Mil per year in net operating income for a long time, even when they had to pay both Shaq and Kobe.

    Here are their financials from 2007:
    http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/32/biz_07nba_Los-Angeles-Lakers_320250.html

    The salary situation really shouldn’t be an issue at all for the Lakers. They didn’t sell as much merchandise and didn’t reach the finals last year, yet with 81 million in players expenses (salary, lux tax, bonuses, and benefits), they still made 31 million. And this was after Jeannie, Jim and whatever other Buss kid on the payroll had their salary paid. This also doesn’t take into account the jump in total value for the franchise that will likely occur if they reach multiple NBA Finals. It also doesn’t take into account the increase in advertising/sponsorship dollars that will come in as a result of the teams success or the increased revenue they’ll get from hiking up ticket prices. Basically the Lakers are in good shape, even if they keep everyone.

  191. Before people start talking about trading Lamar Odom, please keep in mind that a lot of the reason we were able to run the way we did this year was because of LO’s ability to rebound and push the ball up the floor. Lamar was a key to this team, and you aren’t going to find any players (at least in exchange for him), that did everything for this team that he did this year. If anything the focus should be more on extending Lamar at a lower price (say in the 9-11 mil per year range).

  192. I gotta agree with JONESONTHENBA about Lamar. His ability to play inside on defense and rebound while still possessing the skills to handle the ball and create offense off the dribble from the perimeter make him a totally unique player, and ultimately a player worth hanging on to. While his value as a *contract* will never be higher, his value as a player is really immeasurable because of the style of play and versatility he provides to a team. I know it’s easy to focus on his shortcomings or inadequacies, he’s the type of player that we would really miss more than we could imagine now. In all honesty, I think losing him would be very similar to how the Suns felt when they lost Marion. Sure, you can get back a very good player (or multiple good players, picks, etc) but replacing *all* of the things he does would be quite difficult.

  193. Lamar is a very versatile player – there is no other like him in the NBA. That is why it is so frustrating that he seems to lack consistent fire in his belly – or his head. With all that Lamar brings to the table, management must balance that with the fact that he can easily cost us a game or a championship because of his loss of focus in the clutch – and even that is not consistent. I think he is a player who needs to be watched constantly and removed from the game at the first sign of loss of focus. The problem with the Lakers is that that is not how Phil manages players. Letting Lamar ‘play through’ his focus issues is a surefire way to lose. Add to that a pass first mentality that will pass to anyone, regardless of their position or skill at the time on the court, and you are looking at a walking turnover.

    This is what we must balance Lamar’s contributions against. The fans often only see the negatives and the ‘talking heads’ only see the unique talents. The Laker management must be able to evaluate the entire situation.

    Finally we must consider his salary. Ironically, his large salary and our team depth argue for keeping Lamar through next year, when we can get the full benefit of his large salary coming off the books.

  194. Basically, I’m hearing nothing but well thought out, intelligent posts and to Kurt – Thank you for the forum ! !

    The Lakers do not need ridicule. To the likes of Bill Simmons, who wants to relieve his many years of Celtics failure on the one team he hates the most (yet he lives there), just because the truly better team won – Good year. Congrats. You’ll make one more run and you’re done. And your next run will lose to the Lakers – Believe Dat.

    But to business – Odom has really gotta go. I appreciate everything he’s brought to the table – the teammate, the talent, the drive, committment – but he really didn’t step up at all. With his contract, it truly is a business decision. There’s no way he’s getting any impact right now – maybe we can even resign him cheap ? I doubt it.
    [edited for trade speculation]

    Here’s to the Year – T’was a Great One
    Learning experience, Kobe turning to the Don
    Pau learning Geometry
    Sasha learning responsibly

    Here’s to the Lakers, faced every danger
    Celtics won’t be nearly as hungry a year later
    So wait til the season, the game will be insane
    If you don’t know the reason, just catch the game

  195. Thanks JonesOnTheNBA for the analysis on the organization’s financial health. Exactly what I was looking for!

    Man, I love this website……..I visit this site about 10 times a day. Just clicking on the “reload page” button on my browser makes me feel like I’m in vegas pulling the lever on the slot machine. Never know when you are going to get a hit (or in this case, a fresh new comment)!

  196. We just need to add a key player. Considering that the Lakers have gained experience and the taste of defeat they are in pretty good shape. Next year we just need to add a Pf-C that can do the little things like rebound, block shots, and play solid post defense for a brief amount of playing time. Bynum well help with a most of that with his height, weight and skill set. But on the bench Turiaf can’t handle the job againts stronger opponents as shown with his ineffectiveness in the finals. Mihm’s durability is in question though he would of been a ideal backup when healthy. Hopefully we can find a role player with experience that’s willing to play for a championship like a Pj Brown or Sam Cassell. Other than that we have a group of talented young players that will continue to improve and possibly create a dynasty.

  197. Here’s my thing. Why is it that Pau Gasol played just as bad or maybe worse than Lamar as well as softer than Lamar, yet everyone is clamoring for Lamar to be moved? That makes no sense to me. Lamar is not a superstar. He never will be. But he definitely is one of the best complimentary players in all of basketball. And he fits in with what we do perfectly. It’s crazy that the Lakers were in a position that 28 other teams and their fans would die to be in, without their young stud center, yet people want to trade a key component to that success. You guys realize that Lamar’s two worst rounds were the conference finals and the first round. He played great against Utah and okay in the Finals. All I am saying is that everyone played bad in the Finals. Don’t just scape goat Lamar. The comment above about Lamar being treated by Lakers fans the same way Shawn Marion was treated by Phoenix fans is on point. You can’t find guys that are going to give you 14-16 points, 10 boards, and 3-5 assists every night without needing plays run for him. And you definitely can’t find another 6’10″ guy with the ability to rebound and push the ball the way Lamar does. Don’t make the mistake of discounting what he brings to the team.

  198. carter blanchard June 19, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I’m going to be so sick of the “trade Odom” movement. Can’t wait until February when it will have no choice but to cease.. until the next offseason at least. The dude was the only one who played that second half with any sense of pride, was consistently among the top 10 rebounders in the league, and shot a career high .52% from the field (a number that was even higher when paired with Gasol). On top of all that, he now has 4 years of experience with the Lakers under his belt, making him great for chemistry and the flow of the offense, which is something you just can’t manufacture (unless you happen to be Pau Gasol). Giving up on him now, after the most successful playoff run this franchise has seen in 5 years, would be downright idiotic.

  199. carter blanchard June 19, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    (I’m sorry, make that 6 years)

  200. (191) (192) (193) Darius, Jones,

    I think that trading Lamar is part of Laker business planning for this year.

    This has been happening for a long time. Here’s what might be their strategy:

    The Lakers, like most NBA teams, identify core players and role players. The salary structure gives it away. Lamar was originally a core player, Kobe’s #2–but it didn’t work.

    The team couldn’t really find a core role for Lamar to justify his salary. They’ve clearly strategized to bring in other players at lower pay to be role players, while looking to trade Lamar for an upgraded core as his guaranteed years of pay dwindled..

    The Lakers wanted KG–and that was a good choice–but Minnesota didn’t want Lamar–even with Bynum. Indiana would accept Lamar–but only with Bynum.

    The Lakers wanted to trade Lamar in the deal for Pau Gasol, but the Grizz didn’t want him–preferring an expiring Kwame Brown to Lamar for two years.

    I don’t really think that these teams didn’t appreciate Lamar’s unique skills–it was primarily that the size of his contract ate up some other players that were part of their vision.

    According to Laker contracts, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, VladRad, and Derek are part of the Laker core. Jordan is clearly Derek’s understudy, and Trevor Ariza may become an understudy for Luke. Andrew Bynum is certain to be added to the Core. It will be interesting to see what they offer Sasha. I’m not convinced they are ready to make him an understudy. Mihm is clearly a role player and would be replaced by another role player. Same with Turiaf. Same with Coby Karl. Same with whoever else they bring in.

    From Phil’s comments in particular, I could imagine Lamar being traded for the complementary three the Lakers need. Luke and VladRad would then be backup 4′s, with Gasol sliding from 4 to 5 sometimes. The Lakers would like to have a core player to replace Lamar, but might not be willing to give out a mutiyear contract right away.

    I don’t think the Lakers want Ron Artest, but the NBA championship may have raised his stock considerably in their eyes. I don’t think they want Posey either–but might try to get him as a role player. Two players that best fit Phil’s requirements are AK47 and Shawn Marion. I’m not sure that the Lakers can get either one, and if they do, I’m not sure that it will work–but that’s what I think they are thinking.

    Like the past two years, they may not be able to trade Lamar–and that’s not a total tragedy to Laker management. They are always willing to wait for the very best opportunity.

  201. either way if the lakers didnt make any move besides bringing back their own free agents I would be happy

  202. With the talent the Lakers have and the chemistry they built, you’d think that they would at least give this team the opportunity to come together and have a training camp before they moved Lamar. The opportunities to move Lamar will be there up through the deadline, so if it doesn’t work out, they can move him then. But I don’t think it makes any sense to move him before, when the Lakers on paper have a awesome team. And don’t forget that Lamar played a large role in keeping this team together during the rough points of training camp. He got a chef and made sure all the guys eat together. He might not meet the expectations of fans, but believe me the guy is one of the leaders of that team.

    Here’s the thing with Artest. Yes he’s a great on the ball defender. But he won’t run the offense or play within the offense, he’ll jack up threes that he can’t make, and he’s not going to be the locker room guy that L.O. is. And then there is always the possibility of him getting disinterested during the middle of the season. I honestly think Lakers fans are taking for granted what Lamar brings to the team.

    One last thing, you guys realize that this will be the first summer Lamar will get a chance to work on his game since 2004. He missed the summer of 2005 due to shoulder surgery, missed 2006 due to the death of his son, and missed 2007 due to knee and shoulder injuries. I have a feeling he’s going to be in the gym the entire summer with Jordi, Luke, Sasha, and the rest of the gym rats getting ready to bring it hard next season.

  203. Salaries used to bother me, when employees doing less than me were getting paid more (I knew this because I was a Payroll programmer). As I learned over the years, there is nothing I could or should do about it at my current company. As a Laker fan, I really could care less who makes what, as long as they keep going to the Finals every year (and hopefully win).

    Kurt, I just received the book you suggested “Basketball on Paper” by Dean Oliver, looks like what the doctor ordered for me about now, Thanks.
    Anyway I’m changing my name to the new two character one’s, there are plenty of lakerfan’s out here (thank goodness huh).

  204. 195/drrayeye – I usually agree with your ideas, but didn’t you just name the two players (Marion and Kirilenko) who are most like LO in the whole league, *including* the flakiness? Plus, Marion is reported to be a pretty bad guy in the locker room- if he wasn’t happy with Steve Nash passing to him (and the Suns winning), what will it take?

    I think this points out two serious and often overlooked aspects of LO. First, he gets along well with the team (and I think helps them get along with each other). Second, of all the people in his salary cap range, he seems the most likely to be able to thrive without getting a lot of shots. A lot of guys that match up salary-wise (whether available or not) would expect to have the ball in their hands a lot, which just isn’t going to happen.

  205. About Gasol, I’m not sure the answer is him getting weight. The real problem with Gasol are his legs. Since he gained 25 pounds in his third year with Memphis, he’s been strugling because of them.
    If the Lakers want him in shape for the playoffs next year, they should not play more than 35 min per game. I think getting muscle in the upper body (ergo gaining more weight) would do more harm than anything, what he really must do, is focusing in cardio improvement and in his lower body.
    By the way Kurt, Imeant Gasol about getting the gold medal (guess dreaming is for free, isn’t it)

  206. I understand many of the reasons to trade Lamar. He is inconsistent, large salary, doesn’t have deep range etc. But I agree that the things he brings to the team will be very hard to replace, mainly his ability to get a rebound and push the ball up the court. That is something that not too many players can do, I can only think of a few players that can do that consistently besides Odom; Marion and Josh Smith (who I think is a supreme talent and will be an amazing player if he works hard at it). But aside from that I think its important to remember that Odom is the Lakers best rebounder. No one knows how Bynum will come back form his injury, it wasn’t serious but it could be a reoccurring problem. Moving Odom makes our front line very thin. So though I think he might be shopped a little unless there is a deal that just can’t be passed up I fully expect to see him as a laker next season.

    Someone up thread asked about the ideal SF for the triangle (I think it was Craig W). A couple of players come to mind for me would be Caron Butler and Tayshaun Prince and Odom if he could consistently shoot from 20 ft.

  207. I don’t see a big summer trade of Odom happening. There are too many variables that need to be tried out on the court and that will take the first half of the year. The main obvious questions are

    - can Pau and Bynum work well together (I say yes, if Pau finds his set shot again, but this has to be tried)

    - will Bynum still be effective post surgery? (Probably, but again we have to see…)

    - will Odom work at the 3? (No idea… can he develop a consistent outside stroke? We have to see.) Will he work well with the twin towers? (we’ll see…)

    - Can Luke recover a decent outside stroke? (I say yes, but can’t quite see him being a starter)

    - Can Vlad get consistent and not space out during games (I say NO, and I would personally advocate moving him to anyone who’ll take him. But he’s just the kind of head case challenge Phil loves.)?

    - Can Ariza develop his outside shot to complement his dunk and D game? (I say yes. and that would make him the perfect 3, once he gets the hang of the offense.)

    - Can the Lakers improve their team D? (Yes.) Who can contribute to that? (Everyone with the right attitude.)

    Two wildcard factors are finances (his contract) and the fact he is the emotional leader of a young team.

    OK, I gave my opinions, and I’m sure you have yours. But no one can really say for sure what the answers are. I think the brain trust is going to say, we keep the pieces in question (unless something unbelievable falls out of the grizzly blue sky of course) and experiment in the first half of the season and figure out these answers, and try to keep in the playoff hunt. We see what’s working and what’s not and we keep our ears open for deals. Also keep in mind that Kobe and Pau will be playing Olympics and that will mess up some of Pau’s development and the team preseason, so only game play will help us sort all this.

    That’s my guess.

  208. JONESONTHENBA,
    Excellent points on Lamar. The thing to remember is that Lamar has a certain personality and his playing style has been consistent since he played at Rhode Island for Jim Herrick. I think he does lack the lateral movement needed to guard good SFs in the NBA and he also tends to cheat a bit to be in position to rebound. Playing with Kobe, this can be a real killer on defense – unless his man misses the shot and Lamar is there to clean up the ball.

    I think it is instructive to look back at how Phil used Lamar this year. Much to my irritation, Phil consistently left Lamar in the game well into the 2nd qtr – making him the starter playing the greatest number of consecutive minutes at the start of games. Thus we know Lamar plays well with the 2nd unit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Phil spends time with Lamar over the summer and starts him as the 1st man in off the bench – with Farmar – next year. This frees the Lakers up to have a different 3 matched up with Bynum and Gasol – my guess would be this spot would be Ariza’s to lose in training camp.

    Vlade did well at the 4 and I suspect he will be backing up that position next year. I think Sasha and Walton will be pieces to be plugged in where ever needed throughout the game or based on matchups.

  209. Lamar has some incredibly skills, we all know that, and his uniqueness is what makes him special. His faults, unfortunately, are part of the pitfalls of this team, however. I do think he can be very, very successful next year if we find out how to utilize his skills.

    I don’t think Lamar can play a good 3 in the triangle. He can’t shoot, and he has no confidence in it. With the twin towers (assuming, of course), the lane will be packed as it is. He worked well playing the 4 and playing off of Gasol, to an extent, but he still struggled in the lane, and his tendency to hang out around 18 feet hurt our offensive rebounding, and our floor spacing (since, when he was at the 3 point line, he was useless).

    How do we utilize his skills? Easy, put him as the four in the second unit. If we assume a Fish/Kobe/Ariza/Gasol/Bynum starting lineup, I like the lineup with Farmar/Sasha/VladRad/Odom/Turiaf. They can RUN like nobodies business, VladRad helps with the rebounding and will be able to space the floor. Turiaf can work either the low or high post switching off with Lamar. The key to this lineup? Turiaf has to work on his offensive game A LOT, and be able to make plays if they try to stop our shooters. But Lamar would be able to run well, board, and also do a lot of his slashing to the basket against weaker second units and with 3 shooters on the outside. He and Turiaf could also work the high post and get Farmar or Sasha cutting to the basket. I think thats a really, really strong and quick second unit, and would make the best of Lamar’s skills.

  210. new post up on the roster. Finally.

  211. You know what I hate about this offseason? It’s that retooling for the Lakers isn’t really that exciting.

    It’s the drafting at 58 part. I mean, mock drafts usually just last until the first round so we’re stuck with a limited amount of laker related things to talk about. (Come on, please tell me anyone who you think the lakers can get at 58, preferably with links to those players’ profiles)

    i know that this is actually a good thing since it means that the roster (with the players coming back and maturing and all that) is good enough to contend again for the next season, but I’m really Lakers dry right now. haha

    And I guess this is a bit late (with all the thanks coming in the other post), but a big thanks to Kurt, for the site. I’m not really active in posting comments (maybe one or two when I’m really enjoying the discussion) but I’ve been a lurker for a while and I have to say I really enjoyed being here.

    Now give me my laker fix!!!

  212. Lifetime C’s fan here.

    I have to say, I’m very impressed with most of the posters on this board. I’ve checked out a lot of different Laker boards, and this one definitely has the most informed posters.

    Obviously, I’m ecstatic about the C’s victory. But I know that our window to win another one is very small.

    You Laker fans have a lot to look forward to. Your foundation is still very young…and as long as Kobe is healthy, you have a chance.

    From a talent perspective, I don’t really think the Lakers need to make a lot of moves. Offensively, you guys are very talented. However, I DO think most of the improvement should come on the mental side of things.

    I felt that the Lakers lacked interior toughness and overall tenacity. If there is an offseason move LA could make, doing something like adding a glue guy in James Posey could work wonders. (As a Celtics fan, I’m desperate for Danny Ainge to pay the man his money…but I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of bidders for this man’s services).

    Kobe is already the best player in the world, so I disagree with one of you posters who said that he needs to add 15 lbs of muscle. He isn’t built that way, and it would take away from his game in other ways.

    But he needs a consistently reliable option who can take it to the rack. And while I certainly don’t question Kobe’s desire and intensity, I think adding another leader/glue guy (i.e.-James Posey) would take a huge part of the leadership burden off of him and work wonders for your team.

    I hope to see you guys in the finals next year!

  213. Kurt,

    For the record, the player I brought into question is not under contract in Sacramento, New Jersey, Indiana. He is not waffling on whether or not to opt out. No, he is a Spanish player, who recently had his contract bought out by an Eastern Conference team in order to play in the Olympics. He is currently not under contract with any NBA team or any other professional club.

    He is a passionate player, who can play both 3 and 4, is able to defend, shoot from deep, and rebound. A player that if he demonstrates that his injuries are behind him, and plays at a high level in the Olympics, I think it would be very fruitful for the Lakers to consider.

    I like that you put tight clamps on trade speculation, and I have no interest taking my readership where such a thing is prevalent. But I was not aware of mentioning this particular player was trade speculation even to begin with.

  214. People really need to cool it with the Ron Artest speculation. Even suggesting that the Lakers acquire Ron Artest is heresy, and highly inflammatory. Let’s not forget that Ron Artest is crazy. When I say crazy I mean like one ear bite short of Mike Tyson crazy!! Let’s not forget that Ron Artest single handedly destroyed an entire NBA franchise in Indiana. If we flashback to the fall of 2004, the Pacers were a dominant team, coming off a great regular season where they lost to the eventual champion Pistions in the 2004 eastern conference playoffs. Coming into the 04-05 season they had high expectations. Reggie Miller was giddy and thinking that his time had finally come with all the talent they had on that roster. They had a healthy Jermaine Oneal, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and the great Reggie Miller. They were sitting pretty just like the Lakers appear to be right now. Then all of a sudden the “Malice at the Palace” happens, and Indiana becomes a shell of what it could’ve been or used to be. Artest was gone for the season and Stephen Jackson and J.O. were lost for almost half of the rest of the regular season. Of course the Pacers went belly up from there. Make no mistake Ron Artest did that! Ron Artest, again, is crazy! Most of us here are Laker fans! Our team is young! Why are we sounding so desperate??? We didn’t just win 37 games last season. We won 57 games and made the NBA Finals. We’re just getting started people!! We just need to tweak this roster with a quality veteran presence and a spot duty big man and we’re home free. Some people might follow my post by offering mitigating opinions about Artest, such as him growing up and maturing, or likening him to Dennis Rodman during the second running of the bulls. But really do the Lakers need to roll the dice like this?? Do we even want the remote chance that we become the next Indiana Pacers?? The Pacers still haven’t recovered, and there are no signs that they will recover for the next 3-5 years. So really think hard about what it is you’re asking for when you mention Artest who is a problem himself, as the solution to the Lakers problems. Remember…Artest is CRAZY!!!

  215. Laker Offseason = Addition by Addition. Moving Lamar to the a sixth/swing man role (ala Jamison In Dallas) or having him initiate the ball as a point-forward are great suggestions by Phil and Mitch. Not in a “rumor” way but since Anthony has announced his intentions to be traded if he gets no clear sign from mgmnt that they want him and… Tay Prince was mentioned as one of the pieces in a rejected proposal… Why not go after Tay Prince in trade? I’m assuming that would only happen in a mid-season scenario but he would seem to fill out most of what we need in a SF and… he’s a local.

  216. what a difference a year makes!