Your 08-09 Laker Roster

Kurt —  June 20, 2008

I think the best way to start a look at the off-season and any potential moves is to see what you’ve got. So what follows is a break-down of the Lakers roster by position going into next year, with a few comments after each player (some longer than others). At the end we’ll break down the total numbers and I’ll give some general thoughts. Almost all the salary info comes from the best source for that on the Web, Draft Express.

    Point Guards

Derek Fisher. back for sure. Under contract for two more years, about $8 million total. He need to spend this summer getting his foot healthy(remember he played the last couple months with ligament issues). One priority for Phil Jackson is to keep his minutes down during the regular season next year (whether he comes off the bench or starts). He is not getting younger and the legs need to be rested.

Jordan Farmar, back for sure. Signed for next year at $1.1 Mil, team option for 2009-10 at $1.9 mil, restricted free agent after that (meaning the Lakers can match any offer). One thing I’m not worried about is Jordan Farmar working hard this summer — he may have the second best work ethic on the team. He’s always going to struggle some to cover strong PGs (ala Deron Williams) but he is a solid defender (opposing PG’s shot a pretty average 47.5% eFG% against him last year and had a slightly higher than average 16.5 PER). The real question here is, what do you sign him for in two years?

    Shooting Guards

Kobe Bryant, back for sure. On the books for three more years at $69 mil total , but can opt out of his contract in June of 2009. I don’t know about you guys, but I think we should keep him. Seriously, he’s not going anywhere, but if the Lakers want to they could start a conversation about extending his deal after next season (not much negotiation involved, this is a max deal). He’ll play in the Olympics then get surgery. Some guys you worry about not getting rest in the summer, not so much with Kobe. He wouldn’t have let himself rest anyway.

Sasha Vujacic, Restricted free agent. That means he can shop around but the Lakers can match whatever another team offers. After the way he played this year there might be some teams interested, but nobody really makes offers on restricted free agents because if he’s a decent player and its not a crazy Thomas-era Knicks overpriced offer the team with rights matches it. The question is, what is he worth — he made $1.8 mil this year. I’d say somewhere between $3 mil and $4 mil.

Which brings us to the second, and a bigger question: Do the Lakers use some of their mid-level exception (MLE) to sign Vujacic to save the luxury tax problems, or do they bite the bullet on Sasha to keep the MLE for a free agent? Fans always want to spend, but it’s not their money.

Coby Karl, who knows if he is back. The Lakers have a team option for $711,000 for next year. It’s hard to say much about how he’ll fit in down the line because we haven’t seen him enough. However, with a pretty full roster and he likely will be battling this year’s second-round pick and some summer camp guys for the last roster spot.


    Small Forwards

Lamar Odom, very likely will be back. He has owed $14.1 mil for next season but has an expiring contract. He’s become a favorite whipping boy of some Lakers fans after the finals, and he played much of the year at the power forward spot.

Next year, with Bynum and Gasol, he would be asked to play the three spot in the triangle, and ultimately the big question is can he fit in playing that role? What is expected of the guy playing the three? I’ll let Darius explain.

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).

Before you start saying “Odom doesn’t have all those qualities” ask yourself this: How many guys in the league do? He can rebound, he can lead the break, his is a good ballhandler and his hoops IQ is good. The questions are how well he can defend opposing small forwards and can he be a good enough shooter to spread the floor. The reason Radmanovic started in the playoffs and Finals despite mental lapses on defense was he could stretch the floor. Guys can’t sag off Radman, they can sag off Odom. I like that Odom said he planned to work on his outside shot this summer, that will be a big key for next year, and I think he understands that.

For those of you who think Odom may not fit at the three, you have some good company. David Thorpe (the best of ESPN.com’s analysts and the executive director pro hoops training at IMG) said in an email he isn’t sold either:

Odom is not as good of a 3 as he is a 4. His lack of quickness for the position and his willingness to be a “floater” as a 3 are both problematic. Stan van Gundy saved his career by playing him as a 4 and really challenging him to be a rebounder/scorer (that season still marks as his best ever, I think). Playing the 4 often forces him to be near the rim, which both allows him to use his terrific length to make paint plays and keeps him from launching too many three-pointers (he’s just able enough as a 3 point shooter to be dangerously bad for LA) or long and medium range two’s. He’s not good at either. He plays too much of the game, as a ball handler, at one speed, and that speed is 3rd gear (out of 5). That works against many power forwards, but not against most small ones. Yes, he’d be a tough matchup on the offensive glass, but that would not make up for his struggles to score efficiently as a 3. And he’d get exposed often on defense as well. Ultimately, I just feel like his overall effectiveness would drop.

Here’s my bottom line: I don’t know if the front line of Odom/Gasol/Bynum will work. Ultimately nobody does because we haven’t seen it. But getting a player who is a better fit for what the Lakers want at the three is going to be very hard to find. Trades are not going to come easily. The only way I’d make a summer deal is if it was too good to pass up. I think you need to give all that potential of LO/Gasol/Bynum chance then, if it is not working out, see what deadline trades may be available.

Trevor Ariza, almost certainly back. Player option for next year for $3.1 mil. While he could test the market after that injury it would be impossible to find someone willing to pay more than what the Lakers will pay him, so expect him to say. I think he could be what we need at the three save for one thing — his outside shooting. Last year he shot 33% on jump shots and 27.8% from three, that is not going to stretch the floor. Someone said in the comments he should shoot 300 corner threes a day, and I think that sounds about right. How much he plays next year will depend on how consistent his outside shot becomes.

Vladimir Radmanovic, back for sure. Two years left on his deal, plus a player option for a third, next year at $6 mil. You may want to trade him, but nobody wants him at that price. I think he can be a solid player off the bench, a guy who could come in and light up second units with threes, he’s valuable as one of those flexible pieces that Phil can use for matchups. Just asking him to be a starter in the finals is too much.

Luke Walton, back for sure. Four years left on his deal, at $4.2 mil next year. I could pretty much cut and past my Radmanovic comments here. There is not going to be much trade interest at that price and length of contract. He can be valuable off the bench and in certain matchups, but asking him to do things like cover Paul Pierce is inviting disaster. He’s a nice role player to have, though.

Ira Newble, likely not back. Look at it this way — when the Lakers needed a defensive stopper for Pierce in the Finals, Ira was glued to the bench. Phil clearly felt that whatever Ira could give was not going to be as good as what was out there (rumors are he never really understood the offense). That tells you plenty.

    Power Forwards

Pau Gasol, back for sure. Three more seasons on his deal, makes $15 mil next year. As a Laker he shot 58.9% from the floor, scored 18.9 points per game, grabbed 12.2% of the rebounds available and had a PER very close to Kobe’s. Yes, he got thee “soft” tag in the Finals, but again we had to ask him to be what he is not. He is not a banger and a physical force, he is more finesse. Nothing wrong with that if he is paired with a more physical front line guy, right?

Well, again, we have to see it in action to believe it. David Thorpe, for one, isn’t sold:

Four years ago I think Gasol could have been an excellent 4 next to Bynum. But he’s not the shooter he once was, and is far more effective inside the paint or close by. Study his Hot Spot stats at NBA.com. I’ve heard this from International scouts as well, who feel Gasol was a much better face up player on the perimeter a few years back. His very poor perimeter shooting in the playoffs hurt LA. I’m a big fan of his, but not as a 4, anymore. Could he prove me wrong-absolutely, and it’s far more likely than Odom playing great as a 3, but it’s not close to a sure thing.

According to 82games.com, 35% of Gasol’s shots were jumpers and he hit 45% of those. Not bad numbers for a seven footer, but to be sure his midrange game was off in the playoffs. Gasol will be playing for Spain this summer (it’s going to be interesting on this board if USA and Spain meet) and maybe playing international ball helps him find that midrange game again. He needs to because it will be a key to the front line working next year.

Ronny Turiaf: Restricted free agent. I guess we’re going to see what kind of love there is for Ronny out on the open market. First off, I think I speak for most Laker fans when I say we want him back, maybe at a higher price than he is really worth. We love this guy. And as with Sasha, other teams will be hesitant to come after him because the Lakers can match any offer, but you know there is some interest out there. Turiaf made $770,000 last year, and I think his real value is about double that and a contract of three years. Also like Sasha, do the Lakers use part of their MLE here?

    Centers

Andrew Bynum, back for sure. He is under contract next year for $2.7 mil and is a restricted free agent the year after that. This is the summer the Lakers need to make a long-term offer for Bynum, which leads to the question what is he worth? My gut reaction is a five year deal at about $50-$55 mil, not quite a max deal but he is coming off an injury. If I were Bynum I’d want a three-year deal at $11 per, with the thinking I would be 24 at the end of it and in the perfect spot for a five-year max deal. We’ll see what gets worked out.

As for him this off-season, get healthy and hit the gym. Come back in shape like he did last fall (or better) and be ready for what will be a fun year.

Chris Mihm, back for sure. Player option for next year at $2.7 mil. Lakers fans may not want him back but there is no way Mihm does not pick up that option. Personally, I don’t mind having him back because I may be one of the three people left on the planet holding out hope he can return to his pre-injury form. If so, he is the backup big we need. Remember in the 04-05 season he shot 50% from the floor, grabbed 15% of the available rebounds, blocked 1.4 shots per game and had a PER of 15.7 (just above average), plus he was the second most consistent Laker in terms of hustle that year. I want that Chris Mihm back.

DJ Mbenga, likely not back. He’s an unrestricted free agent. I like the guy, but we may be able to find a better backup big out on the open market. If not, he’s an inexpensive fallback.

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Here is where the Lakers are next year as of now: 10 guys who are back for sure, and that makes up the core of the starters and key role guys. That kind of consistency is huge, as is having them all for a training camp and entire season next year. I think the Lakers want to bring back Sasha and Turiaf, so long as another team does not make a crazy offer for them. That would be 12 players, and the Lakers want 14 on the roster. That leaves room to find one veteran free agent with the MLE and keep either Kobe Carl or this year’s second-round pick (either way that guy is spending most of the year with the D-Fenders).

Already, without Sasha and Turiaf, the Lakers salary is at $70 million for next year, way over the cap and pushing the luxury tax. Buss will be paying some tax next year, the question is how much is he willing to pay?

Bottom line, as constructed now this is a roster that will contend for a title next year. Some tweaks may be needed, but even if nothing happens the Lakers are in a good spot. And that makes me as a Lakers fan happy. We are in a position this summer to wait for good offers, not just take what comes along. We can bargain from a position of power.

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Here is how we are going to handle the comments on this post. I am going to allow some leeway in discussing other players the Lakers should go after, guys the Lakers should look at in trades or free agency. For example, to say the Lakers should look at Posey is totally fair game (he is an unrestricted free agent). What will not be allowed is: 1) Detailed five-team trade proposals, those things almost never happen and this is not your fantasy league; 2) Absolute crazy talk, like that the Lakers should trade LO for Wade (I’ll give you a hint, I don’t think Miami is going to let him go). Know this, just because it goes through on the ESPN trade machine doesn’t mean the teams involved want to do it. Think it through. In the spirit of the site, let’s keep this thoughtful and well reasoned. And play nice with one another. Know that I will bring the editing hammer down hard and fast on this if it starts to get out of control.


237 responses to Your 08-09 Laker Roster

  1. well for me let’s keep the roster with bynum coming back next that will be a great development with the lakers. 😀

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  2. Hi aB (198) (199),

    Great comments and analysis.

    I actually liked your February post about the Lakers and Lamar better than your two just now. Your salary number for resigning Lamar after an expiring contract was $6-7 million then rather than $10 million today. You see the need to start Bynum and Gasol with a true sf rather than Odom. I agree that Ariza may be the long term answer, but I think he needs a veteran
    “mentor” first.

    Before raising that issue, I think we need to consider the sobering possibility that Pau and Bynum may not be compatible together. I’ve heard this mentioned by Jerry West in an interview. This could lead to rather complex substitution patterns in which Pau played both PF and C, and Bynum played fewer total minutes–something like Kendrick Perkins does (who averaged 22 last regular season). Such a scenario would tend to keep Lamar on the Lakers this year.

    On the other hand, the Lakers are currently unbalanced because they have not completed the development of their team.

    Adding a veteran to be the starting 3 (and mentor to Ariza for at least one year) rebalances the team.

    By position, we would have:

    C: Bynum, Mihm

    PF: Gasol, VladRad. Walton

    SF: Mentor, Ariza,

    SG: Kobe, Sasha (or M. Evans)

    PG: Fisher, Farmar,

    We should have Turiaf (probably backup center), and three to be added later.

    Just to provoke conversation, let’s suppose the “mentor” was Shawn Marion.

    Shawn Marion gets most of his points on steals, rebounds, and putbacks. He gets offensive rebounds (don’t we know). His numbers are slightly better than Lamar:

    Shawn: 15.4 10.2
    Lamar: 14.2 10.6

    Miami is trying to negotiate a three year extension with Shawn that averages $10 million per year for three years.

    Shawn would be more consistent than Lamar, can play multiple positions, and can defend the 3.

    Would Miami trade Shawn’s 3 year (if they get it) for Lamar’s expiring one year? Would the Lakers want the Matrix for any number of years?

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  3. Update: Shawn Marion will not opt out to negotiate a longer term contract. He will have a final year expiring contract–same as Lamar.

    The Lakers potentially could have the Matrix under the same conditions they have Lamar.

    I can’t imagine Mitch and Riles not talking about it.

    Can you?

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  4. Darius and AB,

    Just beat me to the punch why don’t ya.

    We occassionally struggle on offense, but defense is definitely the gaping whole we have in our armor. Tex Winters talked early on in the year about the defensive philosophies. In particular, not sending help from a shooter to stop penetration, which collapses the defense and leaves everyone scrambling.

    During the Finals it looked like basic concepts to team defense were not addressed and that it was a go on the fly mentality. Pierce and KG were the focal points to the Celtics offense, yet we did not develop a plan to stop their pick and roll. That is the type of issue that needs to be addressed during training camp and something that is executed and perfected during the year. Granted Gasol came midway through the season but P&R defense is something that drastically needs to improve. Defending the P&R has been a problem since we had Shaq, and we used to say that he was slow to move his feet and hedge all the way at the perimeter b/c he needed to defend the basket. Well, we’re 4 years removed and our P&R defense still stinks.

    It’s been said that PJ is superb at meshing egos and minds but often his achilles heal is that he isn’t that great of an X’s and O’s coach. I know he has a solid staff already, but I think it would be in our best interest to hire a coach that has been stellar at composing a solid defense that can contend for a championship. I believe Jeff Van Gundy is available and is great at that sort of thing, even though he was the one that nicknamed PJ the Zenmaster. I think they could throw water over the bridge, besides the point I think they need to bring in a voice (Tom Thibodeau also available) entirely dedicated to defense and teach it to the team at the beginning of training camp.

    We were killed in rebounding and interior defense in the Celtcis series, but we are getting Bynum back. Let’s work him in and I’m certain we’re winning the Pacific division, and have a shot at the Finals again.

    My suggestions for the Lakers:

    1. Have Odom shoot
    a. free throws
    b.3 pointers
    c. pull up and spot up mid-range jumpers

    2.Have Pau work on his jumper
    a. also put him on that Bynum workout plan, he needs to toughen up and get conditioned, so all those weinie shots become dunks a la Bynum.
    b. make him realize he is getting help on the boards with Bynum, but that he did a horrible job on the boards and that is another part of his game that needs to improve.

    3.If Kobe is truly going to move to the 3, then he needs to put on more muscle like he did in the 2003 season. He knows the punishment his body will take and needs some armor, unless he’s realized that his playing size and bulk is the perfected build for his game.

    4. Get everyone healthy and working during the summer.

    Sorry for the long post, would love feedback.

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  5. corrections…

    shaq didn’t hedge screens close to the top of the key b/c he wanted to defend the paint.

    PJ and JVG could throw water under the bridge… never understood that analogy anyway hehe. I also think JVG used to call PJ, Big Chief Triangle.

    Finally, I forgot to say we should make minor changes if that. Keep everyone sign a trusty veteran or a no brainer move like a star wanting to sign for nothing b/c they want a ring. Otherwise I doubt anything falls into our laps, but we are stacked! We just need to improve internally. Let’s hope that happens.

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  6. 203)Drrayeye

    Do salaries match? I would think the Lakers have to add a couple of million to make it work. I’m all for adding Luke or Vlad to the equation. 😀

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  7. If the Lakers are serious about fixing up their defense it’s going to start in the middle, defensive teams are always built on someone to discourage penetration inside and even supposed ‘elite’ perimeter defenders always rely on that weak side blocking help ready to pounce to play their hawking funneling defense…I have no doubt Bynum can develop into that sort of player, and even Pau after a offseason of practice should be better equipped…but it’d be nice to bring in another player who could fulfill that role off the bench (Sorry Ronny I love ya but that’s just not your game)…

    Alonzo Mourning (don’t think that’s happening) or Theo Ratliff (probably not either) would be ideal, even an under the radar move like Patrick O’Bryant from Golden State who never saw the light of day with the Warriors wouldn’t be a bad move for a good price, just coming off his rookie contract and only 21 and can be a pretty good reclamation project

    We can fix our SF woes in house, I mean with $28 million devoted to Walton/Ariza/Vlad/Odom this season the last thing we need is to devote another $30 million contract to Posey or someone similar (yea, I know i just contradicted one of my last posts)..tell Odom to work on his J and to focus on always staying in front of his man and use those lanky arms of his since he doesn’t need to bother with rebounds with Bynum and Gasol to clean up the glass…dangle a fat extension and/or threatening a loss of playing time to Ariza if you must to get him to take it seriously

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  8. Allan – Brazil June 23, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Hey Kurt, why my post was deleted?

    I’m ok with that, it is your right.
    I just want to know the reason.

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  9. 204) Pau did an awesome job on the boards for being in a forced role.

    ‘so all those weinie shots become dunks a la Bynum’ – They are different players, you cannot pretend Gasol to play like Bynum or vice-versa. That’s why they gonna complement each other.

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  10. (206) anoni, you’re right. Marion costs millions more. That’s clearly an obstracle.

    Still, I’m sure that it will at least be a topic of conversation. There will be discussions of risks/rewards. My gut tells me the Lakers won’t do it unless Riley finds a way to make it more interesting. Stay tuned.

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  11. there’s no way i would ever want marion. He fell out with the suns and became a locker room cancer for feeling continually underappreciated by the fans and the media there – imagine what would happen with him playing in LA under the combined shadows of Kobe / Pau / Drew.

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  12. (209) wiseolgoat,

    That’s not what I get from the Phoenix blogs at all. As the “original Sun,” Marion was there from 1999, when he was their #1 draft pick. He was almost worshipped by the Suns fans who stuck with the game, year ofter year. He survived many trades (including the trade of Nash). When he was traded to Miami, his contributions over the years became even more apparent. He’s a great veteran who has never won an NBA championship.

    I believe the issue was almost totally financial–more so than with Lamar. Shawn was a Sun for 8 years. He played with no other team until last year. That really says a lot.

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  13. My concern about LO at the 3 is that he did not seem effective at taking advantage of smaller defenders in either the Spurs or Celtics series. One of the key reasons for the Game 4 loss is that Posey was able to effectively defend Odom for the entire 4th Q with 5 fouls. He seems to be much more confortable using his speed advantage against biggers defenders than posting up smaller guys. I really like the concept of Odom off the bench being defended by backup PFs with shooters like Rad, Sasha and Jordan on the wings.

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  14. kurt, you should take a poll of how many lakers fans think that lamar odom needs to be moved.

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  15. 210 drrayeye,

    fair enough, but it’s pretty well known that he was growing increasingly dissatisfied with his role on the team and in particular the popular acclaim that nash and amare were getting from the media and the fans. check out “7 seconds or less”.

    maybe, as you say, that dissatisfaction stems from his role as “the original sun” – maybe he would be more willing to accept the 3rd / 4th banana role on a team with a pre-established locker room pecking order. I wouldn’t want to chance it, however.

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  16. 214. Mondio, I was going to. However, a recent upgrade of my blogging program (to clean up some hacking problems) left me without working polling software for the site. That will be remedied in the coming weeks, but I just can’t do it right now.

    I’ve gotten a few emails about comments that were deleted. I started cutting ones that just seemed impossible — for example the suggestion that the Lakers trade for Melo one day after the Nuggets told his agent he was not on the table. Sorry if some of this seemed random, the line was not always easy to draw.

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  17. Besides Marion’s seemingly hungry ego, I wonder how he’s actually a better fit for this team than Lamar. Granted, Marion is a much better perimeter defender. But he cannot create well for himself off the dribble nor is he a good ball handler in the open court, his jumper is just as suspect as Lamar’s, and even though his rebounding avg’s are where Lamar’s are, he does not have the size to really play inside as a 4 the way that LO does. Marion, as good as he is, is really just a product of fast breaking teams. Now, that’s not to discount Marion, I think he’s a superb talent, but I still look back to our playoff series against the Suns and remember how Marion was pretty much neutralized by LO. Can Marion get you numbers? Yes, but how many oppurtunities will he get with this team? I’m not saying it can’t work…I’m just questioning if it would work any better than what we have now does. Add on to that the salary considerations (Marion making even more than Odom right now) and the fact that Marion has said that he’s looking for another large extention when his contract expires, and I’m not sure if he’s a good fit as we may not even be able to re-sign him after next season. With Lamar, I still think that if he proves to be a fit at SF (a gamble that is just as real as with Marion, I know), then I still think we can re-sign him after next season for a reasonable contract, at a number that JONES has suggested earlier. (And we still don’t know how that will play out with the Tax, and if Buss is willing to spend, so there are still financial questions besides the x’s and o’s questions.)

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  18. New post up, but continue the trade talk in this thread.

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  19. [117]”To me,the biggest need is for a SF(or SG) who is a playmaker for others.Someone who can see the play develope and make the right pass,who can drive and hit open shooters in their sweet spot. The Lakers have tried Lamar and Walton and neither are up to the task.This yr they tried Kobe and the results were very mixed.”
    Mixed results? A MVP award and a finals appearance is mixed results?

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  20. Gosh how I love us fans. We really like to attack making these minor adjustments to our team with a hammer, instead of a pair of tweezers.

    I think Darius and others are very correct about the Lamar situation. It will take care of itself during the next year and doesn’t need any extra pushes from us. Remember all the trade Kwame and ‘Mitch is an idiot’ talk last year? Well, Mitch waited us all out and look what happened. Perhaps Lamar’s role changes next year to better take advantage of his skills. We are all likely to say the Lakers are really good with personnel if that happens. The Lakers win far more than they lose with their personnel decisions. I am willing to take Mitch at his word that there will be few changes to the personnel and most adjustments will be internal.

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  21. Darius,

    You first need to realize that the Lakers of 2007-2008 are gone forever. The opponents will not be the same for 2008-2009. The Laker team will not be the same–even if the roster will be very similar.

    Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza have been potentially penciled in as starters, though a full starter position may or may not fully materialize for either of them during the 2008-2009 season–and salaries will remain on the low side.

    The big loser in all this is Lamar Odom because his starting position no longer exists and he is earning about $14 million. However, Lamar may be the best insurance policy the Lakers have in case the strategy fails–or in case of injuries–like the 2007-2008 season. He might even be able to improve on the 2007-2008 season he just had!

    If the Laker development plan works, it might be better to have a real veteran pf to play in front of Ariza for a year. That player could be Shawn Marion. The Lakers would definitely match up better with key opponents with Shawn at the 3 than Lamar–but only the 3.

    Neither of them are likely to last as Lakers beyond 2008-2009 without drastically reduced salaries–maybe a bit higher for Shawn if he continues to be the starter. It is unreasonable to think all salary increases will be paid at luxury tax rates.

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  22. I am very proud of this team and what they were able to do this year. Seriously, let’s see what a full year brings and maybe add a piece if something really juicy falls in our laps. Boston may have been beat up, but we were not at full strength either and I think the pain of game 6 will fuel this team for next year.

    I think someone said it best, look at SA. They lost, did some tweaking, and came back in 07 to win.

    We are not far off, it just ended very badly. Had we lost to a buzzer beater in 6, would was want to blow up the team so readily? I don’t think so.

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  23. drrayeye,
    My point with Marion is this: is he actually a better fit than Odom? And if so, how? If defense on the perimeter is your main answer, I’ll give you that and concede the point. But I would point out that if all we’re looking for is an upgrade at defense, than just start Ariza and that’s that. We have internal solutions to that issue.

    But if we’re talking about offense too, then tell me how Marion is better for our offense (and overall depth on offense for our front court) than Odom. I mean, Marion’s 3pt % is just as poor as Odom’s for his career, his mid-range jumper is just as shaky, his ability to create for himself and teammates is not as good as Lamars, and his post-game is even less refined than Odom’s *all left all the time* routine. Marion is better at filling the lane and finishing on the break, but he can’t lead the break like Lamar so I’d say those two things cancel each other out. So, tell me why Marion (a guy whose played PF for several seasons now) is a better SF for the Triangle. Also, tell me how his moody, “I don’t get enough credit”, ‘would rather be the *man* on a poor team than a complimentary player on a good team’ attitude is a better mentor for Ariza than Odom. Especially when it’s Odom that has always been a team first guy. When he’s done everything he could to try and help the team.

    It’s obvious to me you want Odom gone. And I don’t expect to change your mind there. But, you have yet to point anything out to me (whether it’s business, x’s and o’s, chemistry, etc) that makes Marion an upgrade over Lamar for this Lakers team. And while I understand that there could be changes in the season after next, be it from payroll considerations, how personnel fits, or whatever other factors there are, I still don’t see how any of that matters for next season and in terms of Lamar when we haven’t even seen how it fits on the court yet. I’ve said it before, I’m open to change with Lamar, but I’m not willing to do it until we’ve explored our options with him here and in the lineup with Bynum and Gasol. I think it’s short sighted and not worth it. Especially since we were just in the Finals.

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  24. LAMAR ODOM FOR MICHEAL JORDAN!!!

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  25. The Dude Abides June 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I think the only person who we could realistically plug into Lamar’s spot is Jefferson at SF, and IMO we only do the trade if NJ throws in the #10 or #21 pick in this year’s draft. Lamar’s biggest strengths at SF would be rebounding (at both ends), interior passing, and playmaking. He doesn’t post up smaller players very well, and he’ll need to work on his jumper.

    I don’t believe getting Artest, Marion, or Kirilenko would be an overall improvement over Lamar. Artest probably wouldn’t stay within the offense, and is at least a little bit unbalanced. Marion is two years older than Lamar and doesn’t handle the ball as well, plus his strengths on offense won’t translate too well in the triangle. Kirilenko is even less consistent than Lamar over the past few years.

    Anyway, I think this point is moot, as I don’t see the Lakers doing the RJ + #1 pick deal for Lamar. I think the team is going to stand pat and see how well the triple towers works out. The one potential draftee whom I think would be most interesting for the Lakers to acquire in an RJ deal would be Ajinka. Sort of like an athletic Pau Gasol with a longer wingspan (7-8!!). Maybe we could get Dorsey of Memphis with our second round pick to add nastiness.

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  26. Last but not least…

    Your Los Angeles Lakers rap singer of 2008-2009: Shaquille O’Neal

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  27. i think you people who want to keep lamar forget how LA lost the finals, they were taken out of the offense. even the hot first quarters, (except for game 4), there were a lot of kobe *hot* to make it happen. Lamar doesnt work because he got bullied at the 4 and he isn’t a 3.

    on a side note spurs lost their 2nd most important player in manu, cp3 and co are gonna get betta, if boozer figures out that if he makes his move, there are few in the league that can stop him, it might take a bit more heart and toughness(which the lakers besides kobe and fisher don’t have) to win it

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  28. (224) Darius,

    I have complex attitudes to Lamar the player, but it is my commitment to the young players (Bynum, Arisa) that create the current situation.

    There were moments, when Odum played with the Clippers, when I thought Lamar would be better than Kobe. In Miami, Lamar was a legitimate all star. In previous years with the Lakers, there were games when Odom played as well as Kobe or better. Unfortunately, together they have not meshed–and Lamar has stopped developing his game. He only goes left, and his three point shot is the worst of all Lakers who take the 3–.274.

    Although he must have been instructed not to take the three, Lamar chooses the worst times to shoot his famous “Oh no, Dumb” 3 pointers anyway. When Lamar goes to the hoop, he often fails to finish and/or makes offensive charges. When Lamar gets fouled under pressure, he usually misses the first and makes the second free throw. Lamar often gets stripped when he makes a defensive rebound, or throws the ball away. He has twice as many turnovers as steals over the entire season. Rajon Rondo stripped Lamar over and over after he made a rebound in the championship blowout.

    Shawn Marion is a completely different kind of player, who makes his living on “garbage” plays. When he played for Phoenix, he got all his points without having any plays called for him. Rather than being a three, Shawn is more of anopportunistic “anti-three” against other players. They don’t call him “The Matrix” for nothing.

    Either of them would seem to be transitional to Arriza, who will be earning $10 million less than Lamar next year, but will make his big renegotiation upward for the following year.

    To keep players like Bynum, Sasha, and Ariza under the “new” Lakers, who are committed to huge salaries for Kobe and Gasol, even the Lakers cannot afford to keep Lamar beyond his expiring contract. Marion also has an expiring contract.

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  29. btw… anyone here from Kansas, I’ve heard a lot about a guy called bill walker… whos been projected as a second round pick and is supposedly a kick ass perimeter defender…. any thoughts?? we could get rid of sun yue or coby

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  30. rohan,
    Bill Walker was a HighSchool phenom that has had some unfortunate knee injuries at Kansas State. He’s been under the radar some because he played in the shadow of Beasely and because he was not the same player physically due to his recovery from his ACL injuries. But, from my understanding, he started to show that his athleticism was returning towards the end of the college season and that he may actually still get drafted in the First Round based off his potential and the fact that he’s a well regarded prospect but has just had some bad luck with injuries.

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  31. I agree with a few people on here say. Sometimes I can go crazy and think about trades or ufa pickups, but in reality, I would be pretty happy to have team intact next year.

    We need a tougher defensive scheme a commitment, but I think the talent on this team can play tough defense, especially if Bynum can defend the rim – interior d makes the whole thing look a lot, lot better.

    I wonder if Odom would be open to a sixth man role. I think he could really excel with his versatility, skill set, and general leadership. Its just a matter of whether or not he would accept that.

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  32. I guess the other point I would make: I do not think artest or marion are an option. We do not need another big time star – especially a few who have hungered for bigger roles and stats very recently.

    That’s why I floated the idea of josh childress earlier. I would much prefer keeping a known commodity like odom, who knows the triangle and has accepted varied roles for the lakers, than an artest/marion type. Marion bristled at being a third option – how would he feel being fourth? You all saw artest jack up shots against the lakers while the more efficient kevin martin watched. You might make a defense argument, but at the stages in their career, I’d much rather have the younger, cheaper, athletic ariza.

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  33. It would be a big mistake for the lakers to move Odom this off-season.

    If LA brings back:

    STARTERS: Fisher, Bryant, Odom, Gasol & Bynum
    BENCH: Farmar, Vujacic, Ariza, Walton, Turiaf, Radmanovic, Mihm, Mbenga & Karl

    they will win 70+ games during the 2008-2009 regular season AND the 2009 NBA Championship.

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  34. Odom can’t come off the bench making nearly $14 million per year. Odom needs to have confidence in his jump shot. A lot of time he passed up open jumpers looking to take the ball to the basket. Shoot the ball ! I have watched Lamar alot being from Rhode Island. At URI Lamar could do it all. He is very capable of handling the sf responsibility. However, the Lakers really should think of starting Lamar at point guard. This gives us a really long starting lineup of:

    Bynum
    Gasol
    Ariza or Artest see below
    Bryant
    Odom

    Lamar would be a matchup problem for any 1, 2 or 3 to guard. This would force teams to pick their poison. Allow LO to post up lil guys, or put your lil point guard on Kobe. Lil pg’s won’t be able to play LO nor Ariza and definately not Kobe.

    Ariza has a decent jump shot. He got hurt and missed a lot of action this year but should return strong. I think he should have started vs Boston. I’ll take an athlete to try and slow down an athlete like Pierce before I try a stiff. Pierce is too good a scorer. Pierce would rest on defense because Rad stands in the corner waiting for jumpers.. U need a slasher on Pierce to make him defend.

    Phil needs to do a better job of managing his personel. Ariza was having a good first half in game 4, then you didn’t see him but a blink in the 2nd half.

    The Lakers need to run the Offense thru Lamar. When we finally solved Phoenix, it was Lamar who dominated Marion. In order for LA to truly maximize their potential they need Lamar to give them 20 points a night along with his rebounding. He’s gifted enough, they need to go to him more. In the triangle, it’s about ball movement, however an unselfish player like Lamar needs at least 15 shot attempts forced on him per night. When he is in with the 2nd unit, the ball should go thru him every time. he should create the offense. I like Turiaf, but u don’t go to him against PJ Brown (size advantage) when Lamaris out there. Simple logic. Your best players need the ball to make plays. and not when the shot clock is winding down. Give Lamar the ball early, let him work.

    Dreams:

    if only we could only convince Artest to opt out and have the following happen

    Trade Walton, Radmonovic and Farmar to the Kings for Artest and Quincy Douby

    (agreed Artest would want to play with Odom.. )

    anyone down to dump Gasol ? Bosh for Gasol would be str8…

    pick up either Steve Francis of Keyon Dooling to backup at pg Odom and Fisher

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  35. This team WILL WIN! But please don’t trade Turiaf! I believe a team of players with “good” talent that play with the heart and passion of Turiaf can be a team with “great” talent who play for the money. Turiaf and Sasha….we have to keep them. I honestly believe the Celtics just played with more “heart” and they wanted it more. My son and I are CRAZY LAKERS FANS in Alabama where college football reigns. Go Lakrs!

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  36. I think Bynum’s contract next year dictates Odom won’t be traded for another similar salaried player with a long term contract. It only makes sense if they can trade him for two players and at least one of them be an expiring contract to make room for Bynum next year. Odds are Odom will be a Laker next year and his future in the organization will be determined by weather or not hes willing to take a pay cut. I’d love to see him play out his career in a Laker uniform as he has said he wishes to do many times.

    The Lakers appear to have 2 roster spots to fill. They are over the cap so unless a perfect fit player is available I don’t think they will sign a free agent. They have options of Karl who has shown he has range, their draft pick this year Crawford, and don’t forget they still have the rights to Sun Yue. Sun Yue, i think could develop far beyond expectations. I would want to go with Karl and Sun Yue for those final 2 spot.

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  37. the lakers are a great team now but adding a good back up for Bynum like Steven hunter and a good SF like Artest or marion, and we will need help form walton and vlad

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