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.

Kurt

Posts

237 responses to Your 08-09 Laker Roster

  1. I agree, I do not think management should overreact and blow the roster up. See what happens with a healthy Bynum (knee), Fisher (foot), Bryant (hand) and Ariza (foot), plus a full camp of everyone together. Yes, they looked horrible against Boston but against the Western conference, they looked great. Keep Sasha and Ronny but don’t overpay.

    If they do look to add a veteran, Posey’s a decent choice but what about Artest. I know he said he’s 99% sure he’s not opting out but he could be convinced considering the Kings are light years away from contending. He could be that missing piece.

  2. 1. Two names that seem to be popping up a lot in rumors outside of Artest are Richard Jefferson and Antwan Jamison. I think both of them, while less talented than Odom, would be better fits on the offensive and defensive end, particularly Jefferson. Thoughts on these two guys.

    2. I think you have to go after Posey and any other guy with his toughness.

    3. My completely out of left field choice would be Stephen Jackson. He’s tough. He can shoot the three. He has championship experience. He can play really well without being the star on a team. I have not looked at any numbers to see if a deal for him would even be possible, but I think he would be a great guy with Kobe.

  3. Smooth – I would love Artest, but I’m not sure he would opt out of his contract, so that means we would need a sign and trade. That’s problematic on two fronts. First, I don’t think the Maloofs are going to want to do anything that could even remotely help us. Second, Artest is even better friends with Odom than he is with Kobe. It’s hard for me to imagine a deal to bring him in without including Odom. Would ARtest be willing to come here without Odom in the line-up?

  4. I posted this before somewhere but I’ll do it again here:

    I hate the idea of Artest. Yes he is tough and can defend, but I think he is a horrific fit in the triangle. He has never played well within any offense, I think like Gary Payton he’d chaff inside the confines of the triangle. I think he’s a bad influence on the youth. He can shoot the three ball (38% last year) but he is not a good scorer in the midrange and he shot 5% worse than Odom overall last year. And worst of all, you think Odom doesn’t show up for games — have you watched Artest? He takes far more nights off. I would rather keep Odom around than bring him in,

  5. I’d have to agree with Smooth, with one caveat:

    I wouldn’t mind Artest, he would bring defensive skill and toughness, which we have been lacking, only thing that bothers me is that I would be wary about him going crazy…he’s kind of a powder keg, but maybe his reputation preceeds him, maybe he’ll be like Rasheed in Detroit, except for us.

    Posey’s great as well, he seems to have taken the mantle from Robert Horry as 3 point bomber, although not as dramatic.

  6. I must admit I cannot come up with any really great ideas. If it is a trade, then it probably involves Lamar and I don’t think we can trade his salary and get equivalent quality back without really messing up the roster.

    Anyone we sign off the street must be able to grasp the triangle quickly and will probably expect some starting minutes. I really don’t think there are any triangle starters out there who are remotely available/affordable.

    Who gets replaced on the starting roster? Bynum – no, Gasol – no, Kobe – give me a break, Fisher – we have Farmar. That leaves Lamar and we have Ariza. I just don’t see any real holes.

    Ok then, we must want to sign someone for our 2nd unit. Let’s see: Farmar/Fisher – no, Sasha – not unless he goes elsewhere, Mihm/Turiaf – not probable, Turiaf/Vlade – possible, but not likely. That leaves Lamar/Walton/Ariza – I just don’t see it. Perhaps, if Turiaf leaves we will need to sign a PF/C, but that is about it.

    After beating myself around the head I don’t see any obvious weaknesses, nor do I see stars coming in to play in a strong 2nd unit.

    I think we sit tight and weight for that offer we just can’t refuse. Of course Mitch will be talking and he will also be creative, but I just don’t see much.

  7. Odom is a versatile player and brings a lot to the table. Nevertheless, with his talent and an expiring contract the Lakers must strongly consider trading him to upgrade the team. I think one thing that could really help the Lakers is bringing in a pure shooter. Sasha, Fisher, Vlad and Farmar are more streaky shooters than anything else. If I was the Lakers – and didn’t mind luxury tax considerations – I would target Michael Redd. If media reports are to be believed, the bucks may be looking to shed salary. Kobe could move the three spot. The one draw back is that he is suspect defensively. Neverthless, if Ray Allen can hold his own defensively within a team concept why can’t Red. A lineup of Fisher, Redd, Kobe, Gasol and Bynum would put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. Moreover, Redd’s shooting would open up the Lane for Kobe to drive and Gasol and Bynum to work down low. It certainly would help against the Celtics stout defense. Additionally, with Ariza, a helathy Mimm and Turiaf coming off the bench the Lakers have the potential to be a solid defensive team.

  8. I agree with Kurt. Artest is a very talented player, but I just don’t see him playing within the offense. He hasn’t done it his whole career and I don’t see him starting to just because he is on the Lakers. Its a huge risk. At the beginning of last year it might have been worth the risk, but now I’m not so sure, particularly not in a trade.

    Richard Jefferson would be a good fit at the 3. But I don’t think there is any realistic way of that deal being done. NJ is not going to trade Jefferson for nothing except Odom’s expiring contract.

    The Lakers could use a player like Battier or Posey; a perimeter player that will hit open shots and play great defense. Don’t think anyone like that is available. If Ariza works hard enough this off season he could potentially be that player. He needs to work with Farmar this summer they are both UCLA guys.

  9. Posey is probably ideal, but a) I now hate him and b) I have faith in Ariza gaining some consistency in his 3 point shot…if he could get up to 35% or so I would be content, and that is what, 8% away from his current average? Totally feasible and a much cheaper option than Posey

    Not sure if alot of people remember this but early in the season after Kwame went down they ran a starting lineup of Bynum-Turiaf-Odom front line, Turiaf was fantastic (I think we forgot how good this guy was at the beginning of the season, he might have just been worn down) but Odom just never got it going…he still doesn’t really know how to post up (Shawn Marion might disagree with that statement) and I don’t think there will be many opportunities for him to post up smaller SF’s with Gasol and Bynum around anyways…his offensive output at this point consists of sizing up bigger and slower guys and taking them off the dribble which just won’t be available at the 3 next year

  10. I only saw game 5 of the finals, and while I hated the defense, I was actually more infuriated with the fact that the lakers were taking a whole lot of jumpshots (granted some of them were open and we just missed).

    Which got me thinking, Offensively, I really would want a player (a guard actually) who’s skill set just consisted of slashing moves and a devil may care attitude who’d just drive and wouldn’t kick out, and force his way in (kinda like a Machine that drives instead of outside shots). Someone who knows that he won’t really be useful outside and wouldn’t mind any misses, blocks, or hard hits and just aggressively get to the rim.

    I’m not saying he will have to be a player that can stay long in the court, even just for 5-10 minutes who can break those spurts when the Lakers are contented with Jumpers.

    Two things however, First is I’m not so sure Coach Phil is willing to insert guys into a rotation just to break a unit’s mentality. And the other is that while I haven’t really seen Ariza’s play but reading his description seems to me like he’s that type of guy (perhaps without the aggression part? but some of his dunks in youtube seemed to be filled with it).

    I say this because a few years back, we got von wafer and my thought was that he was taken as a one dimensional player for spot situations when we need some sniping from the outside (similarly, Mike Penberthy being included in the playoff roster a few more years back). So I got thinking and had this idea that maybe we can get that someone who instead of snipes, drives.

  11. I love having Odom for who he seems to be as a person. He is always smiling and seems to be have a positive attitude. If we are to bring in a replacement, we need to not just replace the stats he posts night in and night out, we need to replace the attitude of the guy. Artest has always seemed to be a loose cannon and Stephen Jackson has a reputation that speak for itself. Chemistry is nor just basketball skills/iq but attitude/personality as well. I think we have a great team and fear making a trade must take this factor into perspective.

  12. This video is precisely why we need Vujacic back next season
    Rated PG and very funny IMO

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uOnCRzBrgg

  13. If Odom is not traded, another option is to bring him off the bench. The idea of Ariza starting (assuming he improves his outside shooting) has possibilities. This would drastically improve the Lakers defensively. Moreover, a second unit of Vlad/Walton/Sasha, Odom, Farmar, Turiaf and Mimm would not be nothing to sneeze at. Its worth a look.

  14. Are there any players that might be available this summer in the Shane Battier mold?

    I really don’t want Odom to go…I’d like to see how the Bynum/Gasol/Odom frontline works. But if we had to make a change, I think someone with the inteligence, desire, and skillset of Battier could be a valuable piece to the team.

    I just don’t know who’s available.

  15. Man, we have a lot of guys who need to work on their jumpshot next year. But if Ariza can learn to hit that corner three and Pau can make that 15 footer from the elbow, we’ll be dangerous.

    I HATE the idea of Artest, I don’t think you guys quit realize how AWFUL an offensive player he is. He chucks up shots, shoots a low percentage, and dominates the ball for no reason. I love his defense, love his intensity, and I’m not even that worried about his attitude, but he’d be a horrible addition.

    I’ll post what i posted about Odom on the last thread:
    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 second unit 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 creep out on our shooters. But Lamar would be able to run, board, and also do a lot of his slashing to the basket against weaker second units. He can use his savvy to set up our shooters, as well. 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.

    I DO NOT believe we should trade him. Firstly, we’d have to take on A LOT of salary for the future, and this expiring contract will help us going into the 2010 season. When we watched our team, we needed two things, and I think a healthy Bynum and an Ariza who can shoot 40% from the corner 3 spot solves BOTH of them. Odom can then fill this niche on the second team, and be very valuable.

  16. carter blanchard June 20, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Why’s Thorpe gotta be such a wet blanket?

    Seriously though, I understand his concerns about Odom, I like him closer to the rim as well, but it’s not like Bynum’s going to be out there for 48 minutes, he’ll have time at the 4 paired with Gasol. And when he is out there with Fisher, Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum he’ll be the forgotten man for defenses, where I think he can excel if he’s aggressive.

    The Gasol concerns on the other hand I don’t really get. It’s not like sliding him to the 4 moves him out to 20 feet. He can stay down low often, and when he’s a little farther back he can use his quick first step to get in closer. And when he has to set up even farther out than that, I don’t mind running the offense through him for his passing ability as the pivot.

  17. Kurt-

    Didn’t read through the whole post and all the comments yet, but I think I read that you emailed Thorpe. Any way you can post his the letter/the response?

  18. Aaron, this may make me seem like a name-dropper, but I have had ongoing email conversations with Thorpe as well as others at IMG that were not really intended for publication. I asked him for thoughts on the front line and he said I could publish those, but I’m not going to publish all of that conversation. I think what was used summed up what he is thinking — he is not sold on that trio along the front line. I’m more optimistic about it than he is, but there are concerns worth discussing.

  19. “Know that I will bring the editing hammer down hard and fast on this if it starts to get out of control.” Maybe you should change the site to DraconianBlueandGold.com? Just kidding, I like the restriction and I think it makes for more intelligent conversation. This is why I don’t even visit any other blogs (once in a while the K Bros at LA Times, but I don’t comment). Good fences make good neighbors.

    Anyway, looking at the roster is exciting. I think Ariza and LO could likely start/bench depending upon the match-up. If we need a speed guy to chase someone around, go to Trevor. A slower 3, go to LO. It may hurt consistency, and I would suggest Ariza starting more often than not. Lamar would be an ideal, if highly paid, sixth man who can play several spots and cause a lot of problems for other teams. Solid first and second unit, if everyone returns:

    1-Farmar
    2-Bryant
    3-Ariza
    4-Gasol
    5-Bynum

    1-Fisher
    2-Vujacic
    3-Odom
    4-Turiaf (Odom)
    5-Mihm (Turiaf)

    Just my humble summer opinion. Go Lakers!

  20. 1st off – and Kurt said it best – no Artest! Yes, he can defend, but he is just too unstable, selfish, and weird. I don’t think that he is a better fit than Odom.

    I like the idea of trying Odom as the sixth man, with Ariza starting at the 3 and Odom coming in either at the 4 and Pau slides to 5, or with Mihm and the rest of the Mob. The only problem is end of the 4th quarter – who sits?

  21. Or Turiaf at center, like carter said.

  22. How did we end up comparing Lamar with Posey? Lamar is a double/double guy with assists. The team will be fine. I would start Lamar at 4, and bring Pau as 6th man. Trevor should work on his 3 pointer this summer, and if it is good enough, start him at the 3 spot. With Andrew back, and more defense and quickness at the 3, the team can run more. With these changes and the experience of this year (baring major injuries) we will be in good shape to go all the way next season.

  23. I have been wracking my brain for the last few days (ie since Game 4) trying to think of a SF who would be able to get his own shot and take some of the defensive pressure off of Kobe. Personally, I think Richard Jefferson is the best option.

    Dont forget NJ called Kupchak last year about the Odom/Jefferson trade and Mitch declined. I know NJ is still shopping RJ and I think Odom’s value won’t get any higher and showed that he is inconsistent in big moments. RJ is a legit SF who is uber-athletic, can shoot/slash and I think would be willing to be the 3rd wheel. His stats were pretty solid as well last season 22.6 PPG 4.2 Reb 3.1 Ast (46.6 FG%, 36% from 3, 17.46 PER)

    Fish/Farmar (who I think will make another big jump this summer), Kobe, RJ, Gasol and Bynum would scare a lot of people.

  24. What is the likelihood of Ariza being the starter, and Odom coming off the bench? That improves the perimeter defense at the 3 (one of the bigger weaknesses on the team), a great finisher on fast breaks (arguably better than Odom there, although not as good a ball handler). It also strengthens the bench, particularly in the rebounding area, which was a weakness. And he would be a mismatch for just about any other non-starting 3 or 4 in the league. In the starting lineup, having both Bynum and Gasol will cancel out Odom’s rebounding to some degree, so you don’t lose much there.

    From what I have seen of Artest, his defense would be a great addition. However, on offense he tends to take too many forced shots. I don’t think he would fit in well enough on the offensive side.

  25. Looks like I was soundly beaten to the punch with the “Lamar on the bench” thought!

  26. I gave most of my thoughts on Odom trade at http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/06/17/theres-got-to-be-a-morning-after/#comment-575649

    Two issues now:

    1. Perspective. After a crummy Game 6, it’s easy to lose perspective. We have a young team which despite roster changes, injuries (Fish, Kobe, Gasol ankle, Sasha toe, etc.) and inexperience, got all the way to Game 6 of the FINALS. Is this a team to blow up? Odom, for all his crunch time woes, is flexible/talented enough that he could be insurance against either Bynum or Pau going down. And as people said, he can play 3-5 to exploit matchups and give players a rest. It is a huge risk to trade the guy for anyone. Yeah, I cry as much as anyone when Lamar disappears or won’t finish strong at the rim… but do we really KNOW Marion/AK47/Tayshaun would fit better with the team and offense? We would be messing with a Finals-level formula.

    2. Coby Karl. What the heck is he? I’ve seen him for about ten minutes total this year. Phil clearly thinks he’s a scrub. And yet he has a decent range and (I think to everyone’s shock) can get up and dunk. Is he Sasha from two years ago? What is his upside and what’s holding him back? I always assumed it was an issue of his D, since he is supposed to have a high BB IQ.

  27. A player that I’ll be watching very closely, and I hope that Lakers are too, in the Olympics is Jorge Garbajosa.

    Not only am I a fan of his style and game, but being just recently bought out by the Raptors, if that man is healthy, I would love to see him on the Lakers.

    A selfless player who can play the 3 and 4, and probably wouldn’t be that expensive of a pickup. He can hit the three, defend, rebound, pass, set picks, just a real team player. His connection with Pau would be a plus, and probably a big factor if the two sides entered into negotiations.

    Yet, the Lakers might not want to create a logjam between Jorge, Luke, Trevor, Vladimir, and Lamar–even though 3 of those 5 can play the 4. Management might be more interested in a legit big man to bring off the bench. But if Mihm can return to his better form, and if Garbajosa is healthy and playing well this summer, I think the Lakers ought to consider and take a look.

    The man is a selfless warrior on the court. I wouldn’t expect any chemistry issues, but only solid attitude and play to benefit the team.

  28. From what I understood, the Richard Jefferson talks were always being initiated by the Nets.

    I just don’t think Lamar has got “it.” I would like nothing more than for him to come back and silence all of his critics once and for all, but I just don’t see it.

  29. The Fanalyst,
    One comment I heard recently that is worth noting – a reason for Fisher to start and Farmar to relieve. Phil has always wanted a 2nd unit that was very uptempo and measurably changed the pace of the game when they came in. Farmar does this, Fisher doesn’t.

    weston,
    At the end of the 4th qtr Lamar sits – definitely. This is where his lose of focus and composure are the most common and most dangerous.

    The WeaselD,
    Richard Jefferson is at the same salary level as Lamar, but has two more years – a big dollar hit and will really hurt when Bynum’s pay increase comes into effect. Besides, why would NJ want Lamar?

  30. For the record, Garajosa is under contract for one more year to the Raptors at $4.2 mil.

  31. I honestly don’t think there’s a great solution to our issues with SF. While I’m an advocate of Odom’s, I do agree with David Thorpe. Odom is best used as a 4 around the basket on defense and to rebound and used as an attacker from the perimeter against PF’s that can’t really stay with his quickness away from the basket and with his movement to the bucket. I also think his ability to pass and catch all while on the move are difficult traits to find in players his size, which greater maximizes his advantages against other PF’s.

    I also agree with Kurt on Artest. While Artest is a great talent, his stock has fallen with me over the past season as he consistently took games off and was not nearly as commited to his defense as he was when he was with Indy. Plus, while I’ve read good things about him as a teammate, he is a big personality that has chaffed at the idea of not *being the man* in recent years. Any guy like that (that means you too, Shawn Marion) is a no-no in my book.

    One guy that I’d love to get is the player that Shon mentioned, in Stephen Jackson. I live in Oakland and have seen this guy first hand for the last season and a half. He’s tough, versatile, and really is a team first guy that has real leadership qualities. But the financials don’t work….JackO makes 6.5 mil and Odom is more than double that. And while GS has a trade exception from the Jason Richardson trade, that is for 9.9 mil and can not be used in combination with any other player to make a deal (so theoretically they could trade for a player that makes 10 mil a year while only giving up a min. salary player or a draft pick, but could not combine the exception with Jackson to trade for a player that makes 15 million). And since Odom makes substantially more than 9.9 mil we can’t just flip Odom for the trade exception and then do a side deal where we trade a guy like RadMan (salary matches) for Jackson, which is what a lot of teams do with trade exceptions. So, while I’d love Jackson, I don’t think there’s any way we can make that work without making the trade much larger or bringing in other teams which I won’t even speculate about, if only because it’s pointless (not only do they rarely work out, I’d then have to go in and edit/delete my own post)…

    And while I do like the idea of Jamison or Jefferson, they are more offensive minded, and to me at least, have not proven to be guys that are real stoppers on defense or even guys that have a defense first mindset. These guys would do well in our offense, but honestly, Jefferson is not a strong shooter from range and while Jamison can shoot from range, he was like Odom in that he has been playing PF and it’s easier to space the floor when you are being guarded by bigger players who would rather defend the paint.

    Like I said, I really don’t know if there is a *great* solution out there. And with that being the case, next season I’d rather go at it with what we’ve already got then trade a really good player who knows this team for a guy who may have his own issues with fitting in the way we need him to.

  32. For our second round pick, I’d love to see them either keep it or trade up a little to get a young European player to keep overseas. 1. Most European leagues are tougher than the NBDL, and 2. Look at what kind of success the Spurs have had with this route

  33. I’d never fault the Buss’s for not using the MLE, but I’d love for the Lakers to make a run at Sagana Diop, who I believe is a unrestricted FA. He’s a huge presence and a very good defensive center

  34. DTC,
    I think Mark Cuban is going to make sure Sagana Diop returns to the Mavericks.

  35. Personally, all this free agent and trade talk is fun, but the reality is that there is no perfect solution. The Lakers were 2 games away from the championship, so the formula they have in place is pretty darn good.

    Take a piece out of Hollinger’s article today, trading Odom for someone like Artest is like “hitting on 19 in blackjack. Hey, maybe the dealer throws out a 2 and everyone thinks you’re a genius, but chances are you’re going to bust. “.

    I’d rather stay on 19 and see if that’s good enough to get the team back to the WCF and NBA Finals.

  36. I think we have been talking about bulk and defense – as well as heart. I don’t think our team lacks heart, just experience (we I guess I cannot say that anymore). Next year will tell all about the heart. I have confidence Drew will be the bulk we need and he, Kobe, Sasha, and Ariza provide the defense. Turiaf could be better defensively if he would just slow down a bit and not swing through blocks quite so much. I also expect Farmar to improve defensively in this, his 2nd, summer of development.

    I like the thought of Steven Jackson, but just cannot get all that excited about trade talk this year.

  37. Correct me if I’m wrong for Sasha and Ronny, but the Lakers own their Bird rights…meaning they don’t have to use any of the MLE to sign them, right? They can go over the cap to sign their own free agents and still use the MLE to get a good, hardworking, defensive minded veteran who knows how to win (Posey is pretty much perfect…except he’s another dude that plays the three). I’m a lot more confident in this team after watching the majority of the exit interviews on Lakers.com, it seems like the blowout and the Finals in general were a good learning experience for them. I think bringing back this roster mostly in-tact plus another tough veteran or two would have them in good shape for next year.

  38. Bingo T. Klown June 20, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    SSo far all of these possible trade proposals involving LO fail to take into consideration two very important facts:

    1) they all involve moving a player whose best fit is at PF for a player that would be the fourth SF on our roster; and to that end
    2) We are loaded at the SF and a trade such as above would leave us very thin at the inside spots with only Bynum Gasol and Mihm under contract (even if we sign Turiaff are we really going to battle with that).

    Kurt has brought up the point, which I whole heartedly concur, that the reason Vlad starts is for his shooting/floor spacing. We need a starting 3 that can shoot and defend. I think though that Bynum’s presence would help Vlad defensively since, as opposed to Pau and LO, he is more of an interior presence.

    Also these are some line up conundrums as I see them:

    Not having seen how Bynum and Gasol will play together, we do know how other line ups involving LO, Pau, Ronny and Bynum have worked this year.

    LO and Pau – great interior passing and generally above average offense, average defensively.
    LO and Bynum – great interior defense, decent interior scoring, but average not the passing skills of Pau/LO

    I think Turiaff is to limited to work consistently with Pau and LO, with I believe his best work coming with Bynum, where he can clean up around Andrew. He is not a good primary big man so putting him out with Pau or LO only does not bode well for either interior O or D. His rebounding, as has been pointed out by many statisticians, is below average. He may be an energy guy and all-around great guy, but I think his game is limited. That said he doesn’t cost much.

    I don’t think we need much tinkering (and I don’t know what we can really do) but I believe Phil made a comment that we could use a tough guy and I tend to agree with that (no Ronny that’s not you, you smile too much). How exactly that manifests itself, I don’t know, but if you look at PJ’s past teams he had Rodman, Grant and Shaq. Don’t think we currently have anyone that fits into that enforcer/tough guy role.
    o far all of these possible trade proposals involving LO fail to take into consideration two very important facts:

    1) they all involve moving a player whose best fit is at PF for a player that would be the fourth SF on our roster; and to that end
    2) We are loaded at the SF and a trade such as above would leave us very thin at the inside spots with only Bynum Gasol and Mihm under contract (even if we sign Turiaff are we really going to battle with that).

    Kurt has brought up the point, which I whole heartedly concur, that the reason Vlad starts is for his shooting/floor spacing. We need a starting 3 that can shoot and defend. I think though that Bynums presence would help Vlad defensively since, as opposed to Pau and LO, he is more of an intereior presence.

    Also these are some line up conundrums as I see them:

    Not having seen how Bynum and Gasol will play together, we do know how other line ups involving LO, Pau, Ronny and Bynum have worked this year.

    LO and Pau – great interior passing and generally above average offense, average defensively.
    LO and Bynum – great interior defense, decent interior scoring, but average not the passing skills of Pau/LO

    I think Turiaff is to limited to work consistently with Pau and LO, with I believe his best work coming with Bynum, where he can clean up around Andrew. he is not a good primary big man so putting out with Pau or LO only does not bode well for wither interior O or D. His rebounding, as has been pointed out by many statisticians is below average. He may be an energy guy and all-around great guy, but I think his game is limited. That said he doesn’t cost much.

    I donlt think we need much tinkering (and I don;t know what we can really do) but I believe phipl made a comment that we could use a tough guy and I tend to agree with that (no Ronny that’s not you, you smile too much). How exactly that manifests itself, I don’t know, but if you look at PJ’s past teams he had Rodman, Grant and Shaq. Don’t think we currently have anyone that fits into that enforcer/tough guy role.

  39. 37. You are correct, the Lakers do not HAVE to use the MLE on Sasha and/or Turiaf. However, they CAN, which would save them money against the luxury tax if they are not going to get another free agent.

  40. Bingo T. Klown June 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    sorry don’t know what happened there…editing please!

  41. lamar for tayshaun prince, prince is a smart and disciplined player, a winner and defender. he can shoot the 3, perfect for the lakers
    plus dumars want to shake things up. trade for him!

  42. Craig W.: You’re probably right about Fish starting, I just like Farmar in that unit myself. Especially since Kurt mentioned PJ probably wanting to limit Fish’s minutes. He’d be a strong veteran force off the bench, coupled with LO in my lineup. Scary good production and leadership off the bench. Besides, Fish may be the 1, but Vujacic can run the point up-tempo and allow Fish to find his spots around the arc. Neither one of them can finish a layup, but whatever.

    Oh, in my last post I forget to mention Radmanovic sliding in at 3 off the bench when Odom goes to 4 and Turiaf at 5 (quicker lineup than Mihm at the 5, Turiaf at 4 and LO at 3). Luke can sit until someone gets hurt.

    Also, I hate Ron Artest. Not just for the Lakers, which I think would be the beginning of the end for this nice resurgence, but I hate him in general. He seems spoiled, selfish, rotten, and generally horrible for any team. Just a bad fit and a bad apple, in my opinion.

  43. Teams that forgo fiscal responsibility to win this year wind up like Dallas – unable to do much once they wake up to the fiscal facts. I don’t think Jerry Buss is against going into luxury tax territory as much as he wants to make sure it is a short stay. Meaning he doesn’t have a 5yr window where he will be over the tax level, regardless of performance. This means some high dollar players should be coming off the payroll every other year or so. Lamar is coming off next year so trading for Richard Jefferson means adding 2 additional years to that window. If the club is going to do that (see the Gasol trade) they are going to be pretty sure the player will fit in long term. Kwame is an example of a gamble lost and the Lakers cannot afford to have more than one (or possibly 2) of those during any year. Is Richard Jefferson that much of a sure thing? Isn’t it too soon since the Gasol trade to expect another long term gamble?

    When discussing trades, I suggest bloggers think through this aspect of Laker team planning – the front office sure does.

  44. I still believe. We’ll be back next year, don’t go too crazy with the trade and signing talk.

    I do think we should leave 1-2 roster spots open so that when veteran players become available i.e. PJ Brown, Ratliff, etc., we will have the flexibility to sign them. They will already see LA as an attractive destination due to championship aspirations, weather and women !

  45. A commitment to playing excellent help defense ought to dispell any worries about Lamar’s lack of quickness on the perimeter; at the same time, his length ought to bother jumpshooters. The Lakers were guilty of stranding guys (like Lamar) on islands. Teamwork to the rescue.

    My greatest concern is the point guard situation. If the Lakers are going to be a better defensive ballclub, I believe we need to go big. The most cost effective way to create a bigger backcourt is to promote Vujacic to the starting lineup. Lamar can share the responsibility of bringing the ball up the court, and Coby Karl can take Vujacic’s spot in the rotation.

    I think Farmar is brilliant and will only get better; but with so many teams(Cleveland, Indiana, Clippers, Heat, Seattle come to mind) angling for an upgrade at point guard, I think he may the most valuable, expendable Laker. So, another option is to acquire a big guard in exchange for Farmar.

    Radmanovic seems untradeable, but so did Larry Hughes; the strategy here is to find another misfit on another team with roughly the same salary and years remaining. Nocioni would seem to be a great acquistion, in keeping with the defensive-oriented direction PJ would like to emphasize, but he’s more valuable than Radmanovic.

  46. Everyone needs to remember that Fish will not come off the bench. He whined about it to the press in Oakland, and will do it again if Phil goes with Jordan. Won’t happen.

  47. I also like the LO for Richard Jefferson deal. Jefferson is a borderline all-star who can contribute effectively on a good team as we have seen in the Nets playoff runs. He is a slasher as well as a good 3-pt shooter. His rebounding seems to be quite good, I am not sure about his passing ability not having watched many Nets games. I think he will be a good fit for the triangle.

    I am sure Nets are looking to get rid of him to clear cap space and the SF position to make a run at Lebron next year. LO is perfect for them because he gives them a big expiring contract and also does not make it seem like they are completely intent on tanking the 2008-09 season.

    This trade goes through on the ESPN trade machine. The other good thing is that his contract expires in 2 years, just 1 more year than LO.

    Downside is he will have to change his jersey No. 24 if he comes to LA. :)

  48. #46, that’s stunning. I’d always believed Fish was a team-centric guy.

  49. I really wouldn’t expect the Lakers to bring Odom off the bench, he gets paid to much money. I’m with Kurt about seeing how the frontline meshs next year.

    I do think the Lakers need some bench help, specifically someone that can play in the post and compliment Turiaf at the 4. Who that may be, I don’t know. I love Turiaf and Sasha, but they’re both expendable. I guess bringing Vladi off the bench is better than starting, but still, if there was someone out there that wanted him, by all means dump him. I think that would actually help the Lakers by just getting rid of him. That way Phil isn’t tempted to play him.

    Where can the Lakers get lucky enough to find someone they want, so they retire, and then the Lakers can sign him?

  50. I made a big mistake in post # 47. Lebron comes off contract in 2010, so Nets could just let Jefferson’s contract expire and not re-sign him.

  51. #47

    I was surprised as well…

    Did some googling…

    ” In contrast, the Golden State Warriors offered Fisher $37 million over six years and guaranteed him a role as the team’s starting point guard.”

    “Fisher had stated that his primary reason for joining the Warriors was the chance to run his own team as its starting point guard.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Fisher

    I’ve always thought that Derek Fisher got away with a lot of things on the court…

  52. Didn’t Fisher come off the bench in Utah? Can’t remember if he did or not.

    I think Fisher will start though, Jordan will just get more minutes through the season, keep Derek fresh.

  53. 46. George, I had not seen that. So, he’s a free agent. However, as you said, I’d want to see how he plays and have a very detailed medical exam before anything. He is on the wrong side of 30 to be healing quickly, and leg and ankle things can take longer to heal than most. He can shoot the three fairly well (34% two years ago) but his offensive numbers have really never been that great. Frankly, I don’t know that much about his game and how it would blend. I can see watching him.

  54. Zach,
    Money actually has very little to do with starting (except among fans), just front office mistakes (Pat Riley). The biggest problem is that high salaried players think they are starters and create chemistry and intensity problems when they are playing 2nd unit.

    pw,
    Lebron’s contract ending in 2010 is another reason for the Nets to keep Jefferson until then. They could always trade him the year before if Lebron’s arrival becomes less likely. Meanwhile he does provide scoring for them.

  55. 43 – Craig nailed it, right on the head. As I scrolled through the prior comments, the one key point I felt was missing from most was the money aspect. Buss is arguably the best owner anyone in this generation will ever encounter, but part of what makes him a success is that he doesn’t try to just throw money at a problem at the expense of the Lakers’ long-term future.

    Anyone think Phoenix is happy to be owe Shaq another $40 million for the next two seasons? Or does anyone doubt that Miami is thrilled that it’s off the Shaq hope (with a ring in tow, no less)? Were it not for Buss thinking long-term, that could be an albatross on the Lakers’ books, back when Shaq was crying for an extension in fall 2003.

    I think resigned Sasha is critical, and I’d like to bring Ronny back, too. Neither should break the bank, and they’re valuable pieces.

    Ideally, I wish the Lakers weren’t paying so much for Radmanovich and/or Luke (though I’d prefer to keep Luke if one could be shipped out). Reality says they’ll both be back, unless we can find a Kerr-like moron who’ll take on salary and little else a la Shaq.

    Which brings us back to the front court. Bynum’s going to get paid. Young, talented bigs always do. Pau is already being paid, as is Odom.

    Set aside whatever (legit) questions exist about how those three will fit together on the court — and I admit, I question if LO can play the three and the idea of him coming off the bench is intriguing — but the bottom line is can Buss afford to pay all of those guys big money, especially given the payroll that’s already committed?

    $10 million to $12 million a year for 10 to 15 points a game is a lot, and given the expected firepower, that just may be what those three average (a piece) next year. If Ariza develops a jumper, or there’s some other less-expensive piece out there to plug in, I think Mitch has to consider shedding some of that salary, and Odom is the most-likely candidate to find a new home.

    And Kurt’s right — Artest would be a huge mistake. It reminds me of the Rodman experiment in ’99. Wrong fit, wrong attitude — he doesn’t belong in purple and gold, nor does he deserve to play in those colors.

    My two cents, anyway…

  56. 55. Craig, yeah I realized that later. I am at work, so I failed to do enough research before I posted.

  57. Regarding concerns about the front line, and Pau’s weaker shooting touch from the distance, it would make sense to keep the paint less stacked , so that Bynum and Pau can work their offense closest to the paint. This means that, the SF we are going to have needs to definitely have a shooting range that will force the opponent defender to respect and stay away from the paint (in the Boston series, pretty much always three defenders stayed in the paint, because of Odom’s lack of shooting). Is there a possibility any of the following happens?

    1. Swing a deal with Miami for Marion giving away Odom? Marion is a better defender at the SF, nice rebounder, runs the transition offense, and also has a goog shooting range. But will he agree to play the secondary role at LA?

    2. If Brand does opt of his contract, and Clippers stand to lose him for nothing, swing a sign-and-trade involving Brand/Gasol? Is Brand a better PF to play with Bynum? Will Clippers/Lakers see purpose in such a trade?

  58. 56) chris j,
    “but the bottom line is can Buss afford to pay all of those guys big money, especially given the payroll that’s already committed?”

    That’s not an issue next season, since Bynum is still under contract.

  59. Yeah, his performance in the Olympics will really be the determinant factor. Spain claims he is healthy, and ready to go, but we’ll see soon. Garbajosa is on the wrong side of 30, but if everything is laid out up front, he is the type of guy who does a lot of the little things, a team player who just makes plays, whatever the need be.

    Even though he hasn’t been in the NBA that long, he seemed to provide the type of stability in Toronto that is common amongst veterans. While you could probably argue his skills are covered on our roster, I don’t see much wrong with adding a savvy and passionate player who isn’t afraid to leave it all on the court. Whether it is December or June.

    I feel the Lakers really don’t need to do much. Get a training camp with what we got right now, see how they bounce back. But Jorge could be a nice minor move that wouldn’t gum up the works.

  60. What we really need Is a concerted effort to Improve defensively. We can speculate about trades, but defense Is what need to be addressed. The reason the squad lost In 6 was because of some of the worst defensive play that I’ve seen in a long time. The lakers have no problem scoring as was evident In all 3 games at home(and if they only played some d for more than one period we might be celebrating Instead of Boston) but when the C’s defense tightened up, and they got going offensively ,the lakers had no answer because they could’nt get any stops I’m sure having Drew back for a whole season will help, but having him back won’t matterIf he stay’s in foul trouble because guys on the perimeter ,let players just blow by them like there nailed to the floor. So next year there must be a commitment to defense. There is no reason why the lakers can’t be a great defensive team lkike the Spurs cavs, or celtics. Offense Is nice but defense Is what wins championships look at the teams that have won the title since the lakers In 2002. Detroit, the Spurs, the Heat ,and the Celtics What Is the common denominater amongst these squads? GREAT DEFENSE and the commitment to playing it for 48 min. We are gonna have to get to that level if we want to celebrate next June. Phil’s Chicago teams ,were known for there defense, and even the Kobe /Shaq teams could get stops In crucial situations but this squad seems to have no clue on how to even stay between there man and the basket( how many times was Ray Allen open In game 6) they must commit to defense ,and a defensive philosophy period.

  61. Kurt – Excellent overview/summary of the team situation.

    I think I mentioned this in another thread, but the one thing that another team might be able to offer one of our RFAs that we can’t is playing time. (Yes, the Lakers can match any offer, but this is the NBA, and a player can always play the “I don’t wanna be here” card to force the issue.) And we probably shouldn’t overlook the idea that someone might overpay a player just to get him away from the Lakers.

    I think Ariza is a little more of a flight risk than you described, because I think somebody might be willing to pencil him in as a starter, knowing he’ll have to grow into the role. If I were the Lakers, though, I’d be quietly pointing out to him that he’s in a great position to takeover the 3 spot the season after next, when the Lakers are unlikely to be able to resign LO in any case.

    FWIW, I’m strongly in the “do as little as possible and give Jackson a chance to work with this team” camp, especially given that we seem to have pretty good team chemistry.

  62. 61) Lewis,
    “Phil’s Chicago teams ,were known for there defense, and even the Kobe /Shaq teams could get stops In crucial situations but this squad seems to have no clue on how to even stay between there man and the basket( how many times was Ray Allen open In game 6) they must commit to defense ,and a defensive philosophy period.”

    That is primarily an issue of the personnel on the rosters.

  63. the other Stephen June 20, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    i love that tight pistons family, but since it seems like management is gonna break them up anyway, we should try to get that former laker and old man of the sea, lindsey hunter. anyone from that team would play and work extremely hard, but lindsey is particularly so. even though, he’ll be like 38, he’s what you would call a basketball connoisseur. he was playing some smart, inspired basketball down the stretch in the playoffs this year. maybe we can get him for a couple pretty pennies.

    what about james jones (if not james posey), and kurt thomas? how’s jones as a defender? i know he’s played at the 2 and 3 over the past couple years with the suns and blazers. he is a great shooter. although it’s possible, i don’t see their teams very high on letting them go.

  64. I thought Jefferson had 3 years left in his contract. So if NJ wanted to make a run at the 2010 FA list, they would have to trade him for some money since his contract is through 2011. According to the information I found (hoopshype) that is correct.

  65. Regarding Odom, I think we keep him and resign him for 9mil or less in the following offseason. We need to dump Radman/Walton but that might be easier next summer when they have less years on their contracts.

    I believe a Euro needs to be picked in the second round and pray he develops.

    We also possibly have Sun Yue coming in this year, unfortunately I don’t see him strengthening our defense which is what we need to focus on.

    Overall I believe our roster is most likely set and will only use the MLE to sign people in the event of not be able to resign Turiaf/Vujacic

    Back to Odom, I believe it might have been mentioned already but Odom will get plenty of time at PF this year as well. So he will still be effective. I believe Bynum will average around 30-33 minutes a game this year leaving 15-18 Gasol playing center while odom can play the 4.

    Also foul trouble can be another source of minutes for Odom at 4.

    I honestly believe we won’t be making any moves this year and next summer we will be more active. We will have a better understand of our team and its needs plus how all the pieces fit together. Not to mention the easier contracts to move by then.

  66. With all the speculation about who may be available via trade, I thought we could at least get some clarity about who will be available for sure via free agency. This is a little old (May of this year) but it is an accurate list of FA players after this season via ESPN.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=2008freeagents

    I think if we are going to discuss potential additions, we could start with who is really likely to be on the market looking for a new team.

  67. Not much talk about trying to get Marion. If Miami doesn’t want to give him a new contract, perhaps a sign and trade will work. The Lakers would have to add another player, but Marion would give us what he need. Plus he is an excellent rebounder so we woulnd’t miss Odom much.

    On the Miami end, Odom’s expiring contract would come in nice for them. The 2nd pick in this years draft, a realtively young Wade and big cap relief for the 2009-2010 season might be appealing to the Heat.

  68. I agree with a lot of posters on this thread and they’ve made the case so I’ll just say that if the Lakers can get Ron Artest (AND another decent player from the Kings) or Richard Jefferson straight up, they should do that. And I love Lamar. The Lakers need to go after James Posey, resign Sascha if he doesn’t command the moon. Try and off-load Walton (he STINKS). I also think bringing Kwame back wouldn’t be a bad move if you could get him cheap (and I do mean cheap).

    The Lakers need toughness. And the 3 spot has to be a guy that has an outside shot. Lamar’s outside shot is balls. I love Lamar, but he doesn’t fit this team nearly as well as someone else we should be able to get via trade.

  69. Everyone talks about James Posey as simply some kind of “glue guy” that “does the little things” and all that stuff. They seem to find it so hard to wrap their head around the idea that he’s just a plain old excellent player. They talk about all his “intangibles”, when in truth, his value is very tangible.

    The Boston Celtics got a lot better this year by adding a lot of excellent players, and James Posey is very much one of them. To look at him as some kind of seasoning on the Celtics menu undersells his talent. He’s just a very good player, and I think it would very much benefit the Lakers to go after him, not for some abstract “mind-set” or “attitude” he can bring, but for the plain and perhaps boring fact that he’s just a very good *basketball player*.

  70. How could you desire to unload Luke Walton under the premise that he “stinks,” but then a breath later call for the return of Kwame Brown?

  71. Lots of interesting comments, might as well weigh in:

    I am anti Artest, he kills the offense with bad shots and I do not see him fitting in the triangle. I am also anti stephen jackson, because his defense slipped noticeable this year.

    I think we need a Battier type, but doubt we have enough to get him (considering they traded rudy gay for him!).

    A couple of possible names: Josh Childress – not sure about his numbers on threes and he might duplicate ariza a little, but that guy is long and extremely skilled – a high PER guy, probably underrated.

    I also thought some about Hedo, I think Orlando could use a true 4 with the skills of odom- the rebounding and passing of odom would be perfect next to Dwight and Rashard – however, Hedo was a top tier player this year, so I don’t know how they consider his value next to odoms – although the length of the deals might tip in our favor. hedo and Odom are very similar – good passers, stat fillers – odom is the better rebounder, hedo is the better shooter.

    Of course focusing on a three is dangerous

  72. John,
    Marion would create longer term contract problems than Lamar, along with possible locker room problems.

    Brand would create paint problems with Bynum – at least more so than Gasol. Also, he would demand a longer term contract – problems noted in my post above. I think Gasol moving in and out of the paint, with an outstanding passing game is much better suited for the triangle. People have to constantly consider the system a team plays in before evaluating personnel.

  73. After looking at that list of FA’s that I linked to in #67, a player that really intrigues me is Pietrus from the Warriors. He’s a UFA and has been clamoring to get out of GS for the past year.

    I know that we are already bursting at the seams with SF’s, but I always thought this kid could play. He’s a pretty strong defender and can hit the 3 pointer okay (he’s much better from the corners ala Bowen). He’s had some problems with shot selection, but he’s a pretty coachable player from what I’ve seen and always plays with energy. He’s also a super athlete.

    I know we would all like a veteran or two…guys who are battle tested, but I just wanted to throw Pietrus’ name out there to see what anyone thought.

  74. alex v.,
    Trevor is not really much of a flight risk. He is really on the upside of his career and has the chance to play in his home town. I would be more concerned if he was 30, but if that were so we wouldn’t all be excited by his presence. His best opportunity is probably to sign with a finals contender for 3yrs to establish his bonafides and then sign his big contract.

  75. I agree with purpleshoes.

    I keep reading about the different possibilities for LO (even though I don’t want him to leave – remember this guy had an injured shoulder and played through it to have a chance against pho), and the most intriguing one I’ve heard is LO for Tayshaun Prince.

    As a small forward I think he is at least average in all the qualities that Darius laid out for the prototypical sf in the Triangle.

    Furthermore, the biggest criticism the Lakers received all year has been their defense, especially inside. With Prince, you have improved perimeter AND paint defense (think Turkoglu). That would also provide a defender against Pierce, Melo, Josh Howard, LeBron, Durant, TMac, etc.

    I’m only mentioning this trade bc Dumars said that nobody’s safe on his roster. It’s very unlikely, but I think there’s a small possibility he may bite the appetizing last year of LO’s contract.

    And to think, we can maybe have Inglewood v. inglewood next year in The Finals!

  76. 73. I agree. I mentioned in the last thread that the two players that first come to mind when I think of a SF for the triangle are Prince, and Butler (though Iguodala would probably fit the mold as well). I don’t think Prince is available though, unless its a deal they can’t pass up and that is not Odom.

  77. I’m still trying to figure out why everyone is hating on LO.

    Basketball is a game of matchups and sometimes a talented player might not match up well with their opponents. That’s exactly the case with LO and Boston. He’s still the same guy that abused Utah in the 2nd Round. Does that mean Utah should get rid of Boozer and Okur?

    The Lakers would’ve been the youngest team to win the championship…experience definitely plays a big part in going all the way. They have that now….maybe they can use it to get over the hump next year.

  78. paydawg,
    It is amazing what the final game of the season will do to otherwise reasonable adults – opps! I forgot – all us here are fans, not adults. Well, a 39pt loss will really test our ability to remember.

  79. Not many teams reach the NBA Finals when they couldn’t get out of the 1st round the year before. It just doesn’t happen. Does anyone know the last team to do that?

    I’m not including Boston because they have several players that have gone deep in the playoffs in their career (KG, Allen, Pierce, Posey). The Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Mavs, Cavs and Shaq/Kobe Lakers all had to lose in the Conference Playoffs (2nd round or Conf. Finals) before they reached the NBA Finals. The fact that the Lakers did this shows they’re FAR ahead of schedule.

  80. @74 well said. I think the team just needs to work on team defense in camp.

  81. Is Luol Deng available? I cannot remember his status, just that he turned down a big contract. I hate posturing about sign and trades though, and he will probably command more money.

    I gotta say though, I am very glad to be where we are now. We are debating moves that could get the Lakers a championship, not ones that make them playoff contenders.

    We are all focusing on the small forward spot, but we might have different needs if Ronny or Sasha end up leaving.

  82. So the need is: Swingman whose athletic, a plus perimeter defender and can shoot well enough to force the opposing defense to honor him.

    If I may throw a name into the suggestion box as far as a trade possibility: the Raptors’ Anthony Parker.

    Positives:
    - Very athletic and capable of running the floor
    - Experience both starting and coming off the bench
    - Dead-eye shooter (.557 eFG%, 44% 3PT, 82% FT)
    - Kevin Pelton named him the best defender at his position as recently as the end of the 06-07 season

    Negatives:
    - No spring chicken at 32 years old
    - While he had his best shooting season, he’s coming off a subpar year as far as his defense is concerned.
    - He’s in the final year of his contract, which pays 4.35 million. I can’t come up with any sensible trade solutions the Lakers could work out as of yet

  83. I think keeping Lamar around would be a good idea, Gasol has shown throughout his career that he can not stay health for a full season, epically with playing in the Olympics this off season. We also do not know how Drew is going to come back, I think the Lakers should wait it out, and if something is there at the trade deadline then make a move.

  84. 75. It’s not just one game. LO had been MIA for the whole of the playoffs except for 5 games (2 DEN 2 UTA 1 SA).

    He is a good player but totally vanishes under pressure and that’s not a good thing for a team who would be disappointed if they did not win the championship.

  85. 78. No Luol Deng. I want Lebron James at SF next year :)

  86. The Dude Abides June 20, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I love Lamar, but just because I do doesn’t mean he isn’t a great fit at the SF position with Gasol and Bynum. New Jersey is shopping Jefferson because his contract doesn’t expire until after the 2010-11 season, and the Nets want to clear space for the LeBron/Wade sweepstakes in Summer 2010. So, this means that a hefty expiring contract like Lamar’s will be attractive to the Nets.

    The question is, can the Lakers somehow acquire the NJ’s 10th pick in the 2008 draft as well? I think it’s possible, for the same reason that the Nets want to clear cap space for Summer 2010. The third year of the 10th pick’s contract is in the $3.75-4.5 million range, correct? The Lakers do not currently have 1st round picks in the 2008 or 2010 drafts. They have to keep their 1st round 2009 pick because NBA teams are not allowed to go two consecutive years without a first round pick. So, if the Lakers want the Nets to include the #10 pick in 2008, we can offer NJ our 2012, 2014, and 2016 1st round picks . This leaves LA with:
    1st round pick in 2008 (from NJ #10)
    Richard Jefferson (three years at ~$12.25 mm/yr)

    This leaves NJ with:
    1st round pick in 2012 (from LA, probably #20-30)
    1st round pick in 2014 (from LA, probably #20-30)
    1st round pick in 2016 (from LA, probably #20-30)
    Lamar Odom (one year at ~$13.25mm)

    RJ gives us a classic SF slasher who can also hit threes and spread the court, and is quick enough to guard other decent SFs. While Lamar would provide plus ballhandling, rebounding, and shotblocking from the SF position, his presence won’t spread the court on offense and he’ll have trouble keeping up with quicker SFs on individual defense. Also, his tendency to double down inside and not get back to his man beyond the 3-pt line will hurt us on team defense. Additionally, Lamar doesn’t post up well or consistently enough to take advantage of his size advantage in the block when guarded by most SFs. He couldn’t take consistent advantage of Posey at the post in the Boston series, and he does tend to drift. With both Bynum and Gasol in the lineup, I fear he will drift a lot.

  87. Darius,

    You mean “The French Jordan”?

    Pietrus is dope, used to live up in the bay area, so watched a lot of Warriors games, but I don’t think he is coming to LA. His big tiff with Golden State has been playing time. I think it’s a safe bet that if Pietrus signed with the Lakers, significant playing time would not be a guarantee.

    Plus, he has been looking to get paid, which is why he signed the one year deal, hoping to exhibit his skills, and cash in.

    Also, after watching him for a few years, he seems to get lost easily on offense. He is a solid one-on-one defender, but if the guy doesn’t know the spots to hit on the floor in a fast-break offense, I don’t think the triangle is a good fit.

  88. How about Matt Barnes?

  89. Just a few thoughts on some of the comments:

    I think Ariza is not going anywhere, based on his exit interview comments:
    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2008/06/19/ariza-on-board-with-lakers/

    Loul Deng is not available. Remember what allegedly killed the Kobe to Chicago trade talk last summer? Mitch rightfully wanted Deng, and Chicago wouldn’t give him up. But sure, they’ll trade him for LO. Plus, after next season he is a restricted free agent, so the Lakers would have to pay him long term big bucks, which would mean long term luxury tax problems with Kobe/Gaso/Bynum/Deng all making 10 mil plus a year. And, because he’s restricted, the Bulls can and would match any offer for Deng.

    If I were Mitch I would see what is up with Jefferson, but that is very unlikely.

    Frankly, pretty much any trade if very, very unlikely. And I’ll give you a key reason why nobody mentioned — a trade like that makes the Lakers stronger, a title favorite for another four or five years. If you have any designs on winning with your team, would you make a trade to make the Lakers better? Especially after all the heat Chris Wallace took for the Gasol trade. The Lakers are going to have a very hard time finding trading partners for any serious move.

  90. “The French Jordan”….ha, indeed. I still remember him being pegged as that when he was drafted.

    I too know Pietrus’ concerns about playing time and money. So, in all reality, I also doubt that he’d come play for us for a portion of the mid-level exception with no guarantee for minutes. But, I’d disagree with you some about how he’d fit as a wing player in our offense. He’s a capable ball handler, can shoot with range, can finish inside, plays some good defense, and moves well w/o the ball. The one area that I question with him is shot selection, which does speak some to BB IQ. But otherwise, I’m right there with you. Speaking of *Frenchy* (it’s what I’d always call him when in the stands at the arena), I actually think he ends up in Miami. Riles lusted after him the entire season but Mully wouldn’t make a deal. I wouldn’t doubt if you see a *Wade/Pietrus/Marion/Haslem/whatever Center they got* line up from the Heat next year. They’ll just push pace and use their athleticism to win some games. I also think if Rose goes #1 to Chicago, Riles is going to hold an auction for the #2 pick and try to find a veteran that he can team with Wade/Marion/Haslem (but then again, if they try to shaft Marion on an extension, all bets are off and they’ll probably draft Beasely and try to sign & trade Marion). Anyway, this ain’t no Heat blog, so I’ll stop now…

  91. Ok. Let’s be honest to ourselves. I think LO is one of the key pieces that made Lakers went to Finals this year.

    His presence in the ball game creates problems to 28 teams in NBA except Boston. LO is a nightmare match up to all 4′s of the league but Garnett. The question, is there any 4′s can play comfortably againsts Garnet this year??

    With Bynum and Gasol back, it would make LO plays 3. The biggest problem with this position is LO can’t shoot outside nor perimeter that well. Also he can’t play fast and strong 3′s.

    LO is a better PF than his SF. He is a dominant PF but a so-so player in SF. Maybe better off playing Radmonavic as starting SF next year than playing LO as starter. Because on paper, Rad can spread out opponents’ defense with his outside shooting threat.

    Also the combination of Fisher/Kobe/Sasha or maybe Fisher/Kobe/(healthy)Ariza in 1-3 positions down the stretch are a lot better than Fisher/Kobe/LO.

    I don’t buy when LO said after the exit meeting that he would spend his summer time practicing outside shooting. Well, he’s been in the league for 8-9 seasons, and I don’t think one summer can change all that.

    With these reasons, I would play LO as backup 4 and 5 positions playing with second unit. It will leave him probably the highest paid backup player in the league. Although it is not financially wise to play LO as a backup player, but i think this is best proposition for Lakers in terms of LO.

    As far as team development goes, the one thing that the Lakers would like to have is to fortify their thoughness. They need couple of bodies who can guard and rebound at 3 and 4.

    Other than that, I would expect to see them again in the NBA Finals. But without adding some toughness element in the mix, I would see the same result again if the repeat finals come next year.

  92. Guys, think about what you are writing. I have started to delete some rather silly suggestions — do you really think the Lakers are going to trade Gasol? Sure, I’d do that for LeBron, but seriously people (I also deleted a rational response to that comment, which made no sense after the initial comment was axed).

    This has gotten about as silly as I’m going to let it get. We are talking about reality here, things that can happen, and I’ve tried to let things go I thought were unlikely but not impossible. But I may have to tighten the reins as this goes on.

  93. #88, I remember a game this season where Matt Barnes shoved Turiaf in the back with both hands as he was going up to the basket, resulting in I think an ugly spill. At the time, I thought that was kind of outrageous. However, the Lakers *are* missing that kind of nastiness.

  94. People are starting to get real irrational here. Next think you know, someone is going to suggest we trade Kobe for Chris Paul.

    Do you think San Antonio traded away any of their core after losing in the WCF to Dallas in 2006? No, they made a few tweaks and ended up winning the championship the following year.

    I think any speculation about Kobe, Gasol, or Bynum should be off limits. LO is borderline b/c of his expiring contract but he’s still a core player.

    People should be discussing potential free agents in case a roster spot opens up and the Lakers are willing to use their MLE.

  95. The Dude Abides June 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Kurt, re RJ for LO: Dave D’Allesandro disagrees.
    http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2008/06/the_rj_conundrum_reprise.html

    He thinks NJ is desperate to unload Jefferson. I say, we’ll take him, but you have to throw in the 10th pick of the 2008 draft. D’Allesandro’s piece even makes me believe that the Lakers might only need to give up one of their own future first rounders, not the three that I cited in my previous post.

  96. Chibi – I’m a UCLA grad, so I’ve followed Matt Barnes’ career in the NBA. He’s not going to be a thug, but he can do a lot of good things off the bench and he’ll come pretty cheap.

  97. I’m with paydawg, and I’ll take it a step further…I don’t think we should be talking trades at all. This group came within a few minutes over a couple of games from controlling the finals. I know if’s are like spliffs, but IF we hold that Game 4 lead we are tied-up with 3 games remaining to win 2 (with one at home) to clinch a title. I like that postion. And it was all done on the backs of our current team.

    Kurt masterfully laid out a projected 10-12 man roster for next season. That leaves us with 2-4 roster spots to think about, depending on what happens with our RFA’s (Sasah and Turiaf). We should be scanning the FA board to see who’s an UFA and who is a RFA. Who’s likely to want to re-sign with their current team, who is likely to want to leave? Who will draw interest on the RFA market? Will teams match offersheets? All of this is relevant. A lot of the stuff that we’ve been talking about today is just the opposite…they are in many ways pipe dreams involving a lot of moving parts and tens of millions of dollars over 3-4 years.

    I say we tone it down some and think realisticly about what a team that was 2 wins from a championship would do in an offseason.

  98. Lamar Odom for Richard Jefferson straight up, boom done. Here’s why:

    Nets want expiring contracts Lamar will clear 14 mil off the books.

    Lamar is not a SF, he CANNOT shoot this is his what 10th year in the league and we think him working on his shot this summer and suddenly he will be a great outside shooter.

    Richard Jefferson would be the perfect small forward for the Lakers. We need a shooter Lamar will not be able to make those drives with both Gasol ad Bynum parked in the paint.

    Who cares about the money, Jerry Buss is making boat loads of cash with a finals appearance, all the merch sold, and such a high ticketing price with promises of more championship runs. Sure I love Lamar as a person I just think we need a true SF.

    Go for RICHARD JEFFERSON!

  99. Kurt,
    Now that we have gotten the immediate anger and trade thoughts our of our system, how about taking Darius’ post to heart and start a new thread with his guidelines?

  100. I think that Lamar is going to go off next year. He is not an “expiring contract”, he is a singular talent. I would hate to lose him at this point.

    With his contract being up next year, he will be extra motivated to pick up his game. Payday can be a great inspiration, and I feel pretty certain he has the talent.

    However, he has expressed a desire to retire at least once in my memory. I would hate to be the team left holding the bag if he choses that route…

  101. Even though this team came within two games of being champions I think we have to talk about trades because getting Bynum back completely changes the dynamic of the team. Lamar is a great person and player but I agree with Thorpe that he will likely not be an effective 3 (didn’t they unsuccessfully try him at 3 this year or last?). He is not a shooter so we cannot play an inside out game, and he won’t help us spread the floor.

    I think the Lakers have to look into players like Marion, Jefferson, Kirilenko and Maggette, none of whom are officially on the market but have expressed a desire to be traded at some point (except Marion but Riley might like the idea of pairing Odom with Wade and the #2 pick).

  102. RE Sasha and Ronny again, from what I’ve read the teams that seem to be interested in them are some of our top western conference rivals like San Antonio, Utah, and Phoenix. Apparently Mitch said in his exit interview that he’d like to keep both of them…you guys think Buss would be more likely to match more outrageous offers to guys like Sasha and Ronny if it prevented teams like these from getting them, as opposed to if like Philadelphia and Orlando offered them similar money?

  103. Don’t know if it has been said, but Mitch basically said the Lakers aren’t looking to make any moves. He suggested that they like the idea of having a long, versatile team, and that on offense they might move Kobe Bryant to the forward spot and Lamar to the ball handling guard spot. He said that they’d at least like to see this team together healthy in training camp before they make any moves.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-spw-lakers21-2008jun21,0,977426,full.story

  104. And by the way, I think that’s the smart thing to do.

  105. 96/99. It is just never that simple to make a trade, there is a reason these things take time. For the Lakers, if you take on RJ’s salary that means in 09-10 season you are going to have Kobe at $23 mil, Gasol at $16 mil, Jefferson at $15 mil and the first year of a big Bynum deal, say $10 mil. then there is Walton and Radman, who together would be another $10 mil. That is about $74 million tied up in 6 players, and right now that would flirting with the luxury tax. Bottom line, you are asking Buss to fork out a lot of money. And, all four of the key guys there are under contract for the next year and their money goes up.

    As for NJ, do you really want to make big salary cap moves in the hope that LeBron and/or Wade decide to accept less money to move, and that if they decide to do that they will come to you? That is a huge role of the dice that if it comes up craps leaves you scrambling for a few years.

    It’s just never that simple. And, as much as a New York area writer may know that team, it’s his job to come up with speculation. To me that matters little.

  106. It is a little implausible to expect Odom and Ariza to add a reliable 3point shot at this stage in their respective careers, in my opinion. We can hope that they will work on that aspect of their game, but shouldn’t they have done so already? And I strongly believe they did work on their perimeter shooting during previous summers, but sadly it didn’t pay off during the NBA season; sort of like how Sasha was a reliable shooter during practice and not during actual games until this season.

    Also, I’m all for Artest. I’m thinking along the lines of Rodman, adding defense and toughness to our soft and heartless team.

  107. I think people underestimate the Lakers negotiation position with Lamar. They probably can extend Lamar for 9-11M per year. That honestly is a bargain for him. Look at the top salaries in the league and tell me what you think:

    http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-player-salaries/

  108. Bingo T. Klown June 20, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    What’s frustrating with these trade scenarios – as I said before – is that not one of you has addressed the fact that we trade a power forward – Lamar – for a SF – Jefferson//Marion/etc. That leaves us considerably thin on the interior (Bynum, Gasol, Mihm and maybe Turiaf)

    I still think that LO can and will play 6th man – and Kurt I don’t buy the argument that he makes too much money- Manu Ginobli anyone? LO can and will get minutes regardless of starting or coming off the bench. The problwm is who starts, and I think that will play out over the summer and training camp with the main battle being Ariza v. Vlad.

    I keep saying it but they need a shooter to space the floor and LO hasn’t proven he is consistent enough for that role.

    JONES – I don’t think it matters what position you say Kobe or LO is going to play. The only difference will be maybe LO will be initiating the offense more, but essentially, their defensive assignments will be the same (I doubt LO will guard the SG on the opposite team). And that goes for the opposing teams defense most likely.

    I think we’ll be okay with the roster intact, though I wouldn’t mind some muscle/toughness ala A Posey/PJ Brown type (or as with prior phil teams rodman/grant). Don’t know who or how though.

    Also I haven’t seen it mentioned (outside of in regards to Artest, specifically) it takes time to integrate someone into the triangle, so I think that will be a consideration working against bringing in anyone new as a significant component.

  109. is it possible to get josh howard?

  110. Bingo T. Klown June 20, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    OMG!!!

    How did Michael Finely con anyone into that kinda $$????

  111. With all our talk about who should be doing what (rebounding, ball handling, shooting, etc.), Jones reminds me of something: this team will be able to switch its approach from game to game, quarter to quarter, play to play. Other teams won’t know what hit them. Once Bynum starts knocking down the three-pointer, we can do anything. (Okay, I’m kidding about that last part, but I think this team will be hella fun to watch.)

    Fantastic news about Ariza opting in.

  112. The Dude Abides June 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Kurt, I agree it’s a lot of money for the Buss family. But there are no weaknesses in that Laker lineup if RJ is a part of it, and consistent success in the regular and postseasons translates into boatloads of Laker merchandise being sold and steady profits to the bottom line, even if the luxury tax is breached. Not only that, but the value of the franchise goes up.

    To me, the biggest sin would be standing pat with this lineup and hoping all our defensive problems are solved by Andrew’s return, and then losing to the Celtics again in the Finals. We couldn’t beat a banged-up Boston team this year because they pushed us around when we were on offense, including both regular season games with Andrew in the lineup. Then when we were on defense, Boston took advantage of our worst defensive position (SF) by initiating their offense with their best offensive player (SF Paul Pierce). I don’t know if Lamar can guard Pierce. I do believe that RJ matches up better with Pierce. If our front office sees this the same way as I do, IMO money will be no object to Jerry Buss. I’m sure he hates losing to the detestable Celtics 100 times worse than I do, AND I HATE THAT TEAM.

    To me, the #1 priority for the next two years is matching up with the Celtics. We just beat everyone in the West without Bynum and Ariza. We will beat everyone in the West next season with those two. We need to stop Paul Pierce. It’s that simple, and you laid out your argument against acquiring Artest perfectly. He’s not the guy, and there is no way Detroit trades Prince for Lamar. The only other defenders at SF I can think of are Posey and Battier, and I’m not sure if I can stomach Posey playing for us (but I’m sure I could get over it). Anyway, I’m sure Boston will re-sign him. They can afford to overpay now.

  113. George, I agree that Garbajosa would be a great fit for us, but the word around here, is that he’s not healthy enough for NBA (over 82 games), so he’s looking to play the Olympics in order to get a major contract in Spain (Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were the options, but since FC has signed Navarro whith a huge deal, my guess is that Real Madrid is the frontrunner).
    I partially agree with Thorpe about the change operated in Gasol four years ago, he was anoother kind of player back then, as a matter of fact, every time he joins the National Team, the coaching staff tries to recover what was lost in Memphis.

  114. 112, have you met Mark Cuban?

  115. To make sure my opinions on Laker needs were reasonably in the ballpark I went to a site that had Tex Winter explaining the Triangle,principles,plays etc. What struck me was how far the Lakers strayed from his basic principles. He was/is constantly stressing player movement,resetting if a play isn’t initially successful and crashing the offensive glass. Yet,esp against Boston,the Lakers seemed way too content to run the initial set-up and then stand around waiting for something to happen. Standing stationary they were constantly getting beat transitioning to defense. (Maybe Phil knew what he was talking about by stressing offensive breakdowns over defensice weaknesses.)
    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.IDuring the regular season it lead to Kobe getting the MVP,but under Playoff pressure it resulted in some very poor team performances. If Kobe is being the playmaker,he’s not scoring.(And voluntarily keeping the League’s best scoring machine from scoring doesn’t seem to be the wisest tactic available.) If he goes into scoring mode,he’s the only one doing anything on offense which leaves the rest of the team standing around watching which quickly leads to defensive collapses. Far,Far better if there is a SF who is the initiator. Even if Kobe goes on one of his runs having someone feed Kobe the ball is much better for the team as Kobe will be coming off screens-and the screener can feel he was a part of the play-and the other players stay ready because they might get the ball or they can dive and take advantage of a defense focused on Kobe.
    So I believe a SF who is an excellent passer is far more important than one who plays D,or shoots 3s. And my suggestion is a player previously named-Josh Childress. It would take at least the full MLE and even then that might not be enough,but I would make the offer.(To clear cap room Radmanavich has to go. Best as part of a 3-way trade before June 30,such as Rad to Cleve,Varejao back to Orlando and Garrity and Reddick to LA. Refusing Reddick’s option knocks some $6mil off cap.)
    I’d also buy an early Second to draft Kyle Weaver. He’s a 6’5″ SG who can’t shoot from outside at all,but is a very good playmaker/slasher and defender. Stash him in D-League where he gets crash course in Triangle and hire a shooting coach to get him mediocre at range. As the backup initiator he doesn’t need to shoot 3s,he needs to be able to feed players who can.

    Re Gasol and his outside shot. For past few yrs he’s been Memphis defacto C. I’d bet in off-season he was working on his post moves and not his jumper. Now that he knows he’ll be moving to the 4,I’d bet he’ll spend alot more time on his J.

    Despite being the guy who declared the Lamar Experiment a failure-and I still believe it-I don’t think Lamar gets moved this summer. First,there is the little matter of whether or not Bynum comes back strong. Then Lamar’s trade value is low right now. His contract runs thru this season,so it’s not an expiring contract til the end of the season. Right now his contract would only gather somebody else’s even longer contract-and that player is either over-paid or has substantial baggage,neither of which the Lakers need. Keep him for insurance,bringing him off bench as part of 3 man big rotation,w/occassional minutes at the 3. Then around Feb,see if there is a need that Lamar can be traded to fill.

  116. I know this is going to sound strange because of what just happened in the Finals, but I think trying to make major roster adjustments solely to matchup with the Celtics is short sighted. I think we should be trying to make other teams to adjust to us, not the other way around.

    I know that we had trouble matching up with physical teams with strong defense, the Celtics being the ultimate example of that. But I still think those things change when Gasol is playing PF rather than C. Look back to when Perkins went down and KG was playing Gasol. What happened? KG got in foul trouble, Odom was having an easier time slashing and finishing at the basket and we win the game. Now, I know I was on this board yesterday talking about Bynum and saying he’s no savior, and I still believe that. But he’s an important piece in that he slides everyone down a position. Now other teams PF’s are going to have to guard Gasol. Name one PF/C combo that has a size/skill advantage over Gasol/Bynum. And even if that means that other teams SF’s are then guarding Odom and are able to collapse the lane more, if the ball then rotates to Odom, he’s still going to be able to either shoot or create off the dribble for himself or his teammates. Does anyone actually think that on a nightly basis, every team we face is going to just not rotate to Odom? That they’ll play him like Kobe did Rondo? What made Boston’s defense so effective wasn’t that they were able to *only* collapse the lane, it’s that they could collapse the lane *and* still close out on shooters. If any of you Tivo/DvR’d the games, go back and look at where the Celtics defensive players feet were. Every player was a half-step from the lane but yet still in a position to close on shooters. That’s defense, right there.

    I know I’ve gone on a tangent, but my main point is that the Lakers have personnel that can make other teams adjust. With a healthy Bynum we have the a great combination of size, length, skill, athleticism, and shooting. And the players are going to get better. Anyone that doesn’t believe that should only look at where some of our players were last year and then remember we just played in the Finals. I know we don’t have the same team, but our major contributors (outside of Gasol and Fisher) are all the same.

    I realize too, that it’s easy to be down on the team right now. You would think it’d be the opposite because of our long playoff run, but game 6 leaves a bitter taste. It makes us feel ridiculously inferior. Well, guess what? We’re not. We could come back with the same exact team, and if our young players follow their own set standard(s) for improvement we’ll be a better team than this past season with just as good a shot at winning a title.

    By the way, I find it ironic that we can talk about replacing Odom in order to space the floor, and then we bring up Richard Jefferson (.338), AK47 (.311), and Marion (.341) whose 3pt. shooting %’s (in parentheses) compare with Odom (.314) in a way that would imply they’d be no better at spacing the floor. We’re talking 2-3% points there. So, for every 100 three pointers taken, they’ll make 2 or 3 more. I’m cool on that type of upgrade.

    This isn’t meant to call out everyone. I’m just as guilty as anyone else in this thread at looking for the sexy upgrade, but honestly, we’re not far away.

  117. Ron Artest is the perfect 3 in this system…plus, he and Kobe are very good friends, imagine, Bynum, Dasol, Ron Ron, Kobe and Dfish………excellent team……….

    Now i dont know his contract status, but i say we go after him

  118. Let me introduce you your 2008-2009 Laker roster:

    PG: Fisher (Starter) / Farmar
    SG: Kobe (Starter) / Sasha (he’ll be back next season)
    SF: Ariza (Starter) / Rad / Walton
    PF: Ga-soft (Starter) / Lamar / Turiaf
    C: Bynum (Starter) / Mihm

    As you see, let the core team intact. Have 2 veterans or free-agents in the market. For flexibility through out the season, let’s have only 14 players instead of 15.

    The characterics of vets or free-agents req’d:
    - One position for PF: specialties –> slightly above average in rebounding and guarding
    - One position for SG / SF –> slightly above average in guarding and scoring (not necesarily three-pointers; as long as a reliable scorer; example: Brian Shaw or Ron Harper type of player in terms of scoring)

  119. Looking at the exit interviews, Gasol seems pissed… and I like that. His anger is under control but boiling there, spicy paella style.

  120. Oh,,, and Ari, please. Gasol is not soft. He is not a center. Dude was playing out of position all year. He battled Boozer, Okur, Camby, Martin and Duncan. The Lakers went up against a defense whose philosophy and personnel was uniquely build to handle a team like this version of the Lakers. I have no doubt that once that defense, any NBA defense, needs to account for Bynum you’ll be as high on Gasol as the fickle media will be.

  121. Well, this thread of trade speculation has been very entertaining indeed. I read the comments that Kurt had deleted earlier and I mean talking about trading Gasol just went over the boundaries of where this Forum was supposed to go (and there were many others also).

    Much work went into the main post and I believe that it is an accurate representation of what will happen.
    Even Kobe say’s he is OK with the team as it is.

  122. After reading this and thinking more about it, the more I think no move is the best move (well, unless another Gasol-quality deal comes along). Like I said in the post, I think we need to see the Odom/Gasol/Bymun front line before we condemn it.

    If we resign Turaif and Sasha, we have two spaces left. I say one goes to Kobe Carl or the second round pick this year, the other one to a veteran affordable free agent pick up. In an ideal world that is a big to give us a little more depth at center (can we count on Mihm?) but we take a Posey-like player (I think Boston is going to keep him). The more I think about the other options the less I like them.

  123. The worst times to make a decision is when there’s a lot of emotions involved, such as from the pain of losing. I think that after having thought about it for a few days, trading Odom may not be such a great idea. I think he can definitely improve his outside shooting if that’s the type of game he’ll be forced to play and if he works on it during the summer. I think that he’s a reasonable perimeter defender despite what he lacks in lateral movement because he can always use his height to compensate somewhat for that, such being able to play slightly off the shooter and still be able to block the shot or alter the shot. He’ll definitely help in regards to the rebounding, which the Lakers definitely needed more of in the playoffs. And the defense around the basket will be awesome. Also, since he can also play the 4 and he’s capable of playing 40 plus minutes a game, he can easily slide over and play the 4 when Gasol or Bynum takes a break.

  124. I personally feel that this is still far too soon to be so specific, but we need to stay focused on real issues. If we trade or acquire, defense must be on our minds.

    Lamar will remain a topic of conversation as long as the Lakers organization wants it that way. If they wanted, they could negotiate a contract extension with Lamar that would include a substantial drop in salary for the next years–say to $6 million or so (possibly with incentives). That would transform Lamar from a role player to a core player. Credible trade talk would stop immediately.

    Without such an extension, we can be confident that Lamar is being shopped–but not any garage sale. Mitch, as usual, intends to go through his usual process with Phil and the Buss family–and wait for the right opportunity.

    One possibility that is specific and will probably settled soon is an extension for Sasha. I hope that the Lakers get in contact with Mo Evans of Orlando just in case there is a money problem.

    Mo is an unrestricted free agent who knows the triangle and was a well respected Laker. Orlando likes him a great deal, but he overlaps with another of their players. I personally would prefer to have Evans over Sasha–and it would probably be less expensive. He can hit the corner 3, plays aggressive defense, and loves to attack the rim. He’s 29 and a vet.

    In terms of big names to watch as trades for Lamar, I would be willing to follow Jefferson from New Jersey, but the two GMs have not been able to negotiate very well in the past. Jefferson might be able to address both defensive and offensive concerns. I think he would be a smarter and more consistent performer than Lamar.

    Given the soap opera that is Miami, Riley might be willing and able to put together a deal to take Lamar back. Shawn Marion would provide almost all the qualities needed in a SF against Boston–including some of that aggressiveness and grit we need. He almost singlehandedly provided Phoenix their defense when they needed it. Shawn would find ways to not only get offensive rebounds–but putbacks against the Leps. He has been a great player in the clutch, including free throws. He makes his points regularly without any plays being called for him. He’s always been a professional and a gentleman–but has yet to win a championship. Given the relationship between Kupchak and Riley, Riley’s familiarity with Lamar (and lack of familiarity with Marion), ways that Lamar night team with Wade (again)–well, you can see how a conversation might take place.

    A trade of Lamar for AK47 of the Jazz might come out of nowhere–but doesn’t seem a credible possibility at the moment. It’s something to watch.

    If Detroit were interested in talking, I’d be interested in listening. If Tyshawn Prince was one of the players offered to the Lakers, I’d listen even closer.

    I’m going to keep my eyes open.

  125. After having watched all the exit interviews on Lakers.com, I’m starting to echo what Kurt thinks that no move is the best move (beyond re-signing Sasha and Ronny). I surprised myself a bit because I really questioned the teams heart and will to win after Game 6, but it seems like most of them now know what it REALLY takes to win a championship, and I think having the one year of experience plus a healthy Bynum/Ariza will definitely make the team stronger next year. It’s interesting, most of the guys, although they are pretty young, still emphasized winning it all as their biggest goal for next year.

    In terms of the final roster spot if Coby Karl is picked up I think a veteran big man along the lines of Kurt Thomas, Theo Ratliff, or hell even Horry, would be ideal – a tough, defensive-minded big man who has played for winning teams and can defend the post, allowing Ronny to play the 4 rather than the 3 and a guy who could help guard people like Duncan and Shaq and Garnett when he actually goes to the post. I’ve read on other boards and such that people would want Kwame back, and I guess he brings a lot of those qualities except the fact that he isn’t exactly tough minded and used to winning. As much as someone like Posey would be great on the Lakers, another 3 is redundant and I guess we’re all crossing our fingers that a healthy Ariza will be the guy who can lock down the other team’s best perimeter player. Additionally, I think Lamar Odom might not do as bad a job as people expect guarding 3s.

    it was interesting, in the LA Times exit interview recaps Mitch and Phil hinted that perhaps next year Lamar would play point guard on the offensive end, with Kobe at the 3 and I guess Fish at the 2 spotting up for jump shots. It’s a really clever way to solve what everyone, myself included, figured would be our issue next year with Lamar’s lack of a jump shot at the small forward. Anyway, I’m looking forward to it and hoping we can bring back Sasha and Ronny and everyone gets healthy.

  126. I don’t think I saw this brought up, but I like Bynum as the 6th man more than Odom if it comes down to that.

    Finals debacle aside, the Pau-Lamar-Vlad frontline was very, very good. Our record with Pau was on pace for 65 wins or so, our offensive efficiency was freakishly good and the Pau-Odom chemistry was one of the most fun things I’ve ever seen in basketball. Even in the Finals, remember that we had two tremendous starts with this lineup and they got choked away mostly because we lost our bench advantage with Ronny and Sasha not playing well to start the second quarters. Lamar really played probably the best ball of his career alongside Pau as the 4 and I’m not sure I want to take him out of that comfort zone now that he’s finally found one.

    The second part of this is that we know Bynum can be great off the bench (though he was better as a starter). He had tremendous chemistry running with Farmar earlier in the season and I really think that Walton, who was definitely a disappointment this season, would benefit from playing with a guy like Bynum who can finish and catch passes, not to mention he’s a good compliment to Turiaf as well. Drew was the biggest reason our bench was so effective early in the season and could often outplay our starters with Kwame. The bench mob was one of the most exciting things about our fast start and as exciting as it was to see Bynum blossom in the starting lineup, our bench was really never the same afterwards.

    This doesn’t mean we never see a Bynum-Gasol-Odom frontline seeing as how with foul trouble and substitutions you never simply have a team A and a team B, and we’ll probably get a lot more Bynum-Gasol in the second half of games, but if the Bynum-Gasol-Odom experiment fails, I’d rather put Odom in a situation where we know he can succeed rather than a completely new one. I think it’s still possible to manage the minutes so that all 3 average at least 30, with more going to whoever plays better on a given night.

  127. Realistically, I think we are going to be looking for replacements for Ira and Mbenga only.

    Having said that, these playoffs proved that the lakers require size. Kwame is a free agent this year and no team out there will be willing to offer him anything less than the veterans minimum. Not one team. Frankly, with all of his faults he is a big guy (270 lbs – compare to Odom at 230, Garnet at 253, Perkins at 280 and Bynum at 275), he will probably come very cheap and he is used to being Bynum’s back up. He would give the Lakers flexibility in that Gasol would not be forced to play Center when Bynum is on the bench and, more importantly, he is useful in keeping constant physical pressure on guys like Garnett so that they get tired and lose efficiency. The only issue is how he feels after the Gasol trade.

    Another spot the Lakers may want to strenghten is the PG spot. I know Fish still has some juice left and Farmar is only getting better, but I think a good third option is necessary to cover injuries and to help guard the new crop of young and quick PGs. Tyron Lue is a free agent that is familiar with the system that may be worth a while looking into because he is so cheap.

    True that none of these deals address the “veteran” factor the experts talk about, but I think that many of the experts were way off in their predictions for the finals. If you look closely, what hurt the lakers was the abscence of a strong inside threat (i.e.Bynum) and a couple of big body backups (i.e. a healthy Mihn at the end of a contract year, and as I said above, Kwame) to keep physical pressure on the big Celtic subs.

    Anyway, just my thoughts….

  128. Warren Wee Lim June 21, 2008 at 2:10 am

    I have decided to skip 113 comments and decided to post immediately. I’m a rather slow reader and if I read fast, chances are they’re well not exactly perfect.

    If you try to understand a trade, there are 2 parties involved. So the missing aspect in all the proposals is: would the other team “like” what they are getting. So its also best to put into the equation as to which teams are INTERESTED in the players we are trying to trade. I think free agency is easier to deal with so… I like trades better.

    Lamar Odom, at 14.5m and expiring, is easily our easiest trade piece. Plus, he is not Kwame-caliber expiring if you know what I mean. So teams will go hard at him knowing he could and should be the odd man out.

    I’d like to center my focus here. Its not a “trade-Odom advocacy” but if we do, and if we must, these are the plausible partners/destinations:

    1. Denver – well they are easily the 2nd fastest team in the league. Who it could possibly be for beats the heck outta me. So I gotta put this in front, though with no one in particular.

    2. Golden State – THE fastest team and Odom would be the best-fit PF for their team. Kinda sucks to trade in-conference, worse-so in-division. But the Warriors are not exactly our direct rival at the moment. They will be scary with Odom, and that would probably be Nellie’s wet dream come true.

    What convinces me this is a very plausible scenario is that they have 2 aging players (well, vets) that fit ours, while Odom is a snug-fit there. I’m talking about Stephen Jackson and Al HArrington. Mind you, the salaries of both players almost exactly matches Odom’s. Plus, Lamar being an expiring and negotiable for a cheaper extension widens Chris Mullin’s pupils. We may have to throw in a player or two, but it will be worth it for both teams.

    What makes me support this even more is the fact that Jax is an above-par defender who can load up the three. He is THE perfect 3-guy for us not named Ariza. And best of all, he’s got the experience to win it all too. Only drawback, he’s got some baggage as well.

    Al Harrington is your versatile forward. You can neither call him power nor small, I simply call him small and powerful forward. Plus, he has the range from downtown and the grit down below. This 2-for-1 would be perfect for us. Plus, who knows, Mitch Kupchak’s sweet tongue might net us the 14th overall pick too. Though I’m not sure where that fits in the scheme of things.

    Lastly, the salaries matter. If one or both do not pan out, they are easier to trade out with only a yr left on their contracts. And they are not exactly pushovers on D and not exactly shy on shooting.

    I love this idea, and for me, this beats all others.

  129. Kwame’s defense isn’t nearly consistent enough to salvage the fact that he absolutely sabotages our offense when he’s in there and is the exact opposite of mental toughness. I really don’t care how cheaply we can get him for. He’s not a winner, he has a poor work ethic and he’s not what the Lakers need.

  130. Sorry for the double post, but it seems to be a growing sentiment that the Lakers desperately need defensive toughness in the front court or more size, hence some fans calling for the return of Kwame. What I don’t understand is why.

    With this “soft” frontline, the Lakers held Boozer in check for pretty much a whole series, and forced both Duncan and Garnett into sub par series especially shooting wise. The guys who killed us were Pierce, Allen, and Posey and somebody like Kwame does little to deter drives.

    We did get hammered on the boards at times against Denver, Utah and Boston, but that’s rectified by Bynum’s presence and there isn’t a big time rebounder available anyways.

    I can understand the appeal of Artest considering how badly Pierce burned us, but there seems to be very little logic supporting the idea that the Lakers need more muscle down low.

  131. 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 37, 64, 69, 70, 110, 114, 124 –
    I have a hunch that after the solid playoff run from Posey, the Celtics are probably going to sign him, that being said, he is solid.

    I agree with anyone who said that we should not pursue any trades, we have a solid core. Re-sign Sash and Ronny, dump Karl, DJ & Newble.

    I think to add some toughness, Paul Millsap would be a great addition, although being restricted, Utah is probably not going to part ways with him.

    If we are a looking for a cheap back up center, why not take a look at the dinosaur Mutombo? He said that he would like to play for another couple of years. He can’t be any worse than DJ, and Mihm hasn’t shown us anything for a couple of years.

    Also I wouldn’t mind if we went after the often injured, but great competitor Grant Hill. I think he would provide a tremendous veteran locker room presence. He showed last year when healthy that he can still play very well. Despite some of his athletic limitations at this stage in his career, he has a high basketball IQ and wants to win.

    I cringe at the thought of Kwame dropping passes and awkwardly attempting to be an offensive presence. That being said, he is one of the best one-on-one defensive centers in is this week free agent class. For the minimum I guess he could be considered….maybe.

  132. After looking over ESPN’s free agent list, some more or less cheap options of which one could turn out useful:

    Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Quinton Ross, Walter Herrmann

    Ross might be the best defender in the bunch, but I’d try to get Hermann to camp. He had a great run with the Bobcats filling in for Gerald Wallace but got no chance at all in Detroit. He would also fit in well with the international flavor the Lakers have going.

  133. Kwame is so bad offensively, what he does provide on defense is more than made up for by the negative effect on the offense. That time would be with the subs, which impacts the offense even more, because there would not be a Kobe and Gasol to make up for Brown’s shortcomings. He was not a good shot blocker or help defender. And how many subs have good post-up offensive games, where his one skill would be helpful? Much better to go with some sort of rotation where Gasol and Turiaf plays some time at C when Bynum is not in.

  134. What is going on here? this discussion is too similiar to another popular Lakers Blog with all these names being brought up. Seriously, I do NOT get the Artest argument. Anyone rooting for this, either doesn’t pay attention to the Lakers system, or doesn’t watch Artest. Other than his good D, I just don’t get it. He makes terrible decisions on offense, and I don’t know if I’m buying that “Phil and Kobe can keep him in check” theory either.

    There is no way Lamar can sit the bench. Period. He starts or he’s on another team. Anyone pining for LO to the bench is wrong. He’d be a waste, and his ego couldn’t handle it. Some people here want to blame him, but it was Pau inability to deal with Perk and KG consistantly that put a wrench in the whole offense. When Lamar went to the hole, we did good, when he drives, he’s confident, when he’s confident, he shoots better. Lamar is good on this team. We should keep him. I agree that the Lakers should sign a wing player who can defend well. BUT THAT”S ABOUT IT. Go after a player like POSEY, or someone similiar and that’s it. David Thorpe mentions Lamar’s inconsistant shot, but did he realize, the Lakers lost to a Boston team that had a starting 5 with only 2 shooters (PP & Ray Allen). Rondo can’t shoot, so why is it imperative that Lamar has to if he plays D? He have many options with Kobe, Fish, Farmar, Sasha and more with a player like POSEY who like Bowen, will hit his open shot, will make the pass, defends, and does not demand the ball.

  135. Wrote something really lengthy, but thought better and would just like to say that a 2nd unit of Farmar, Sasha, Ariza, Lamar and Ronny can’t be bad at all.

  136. Dr. Ray: No guy that gets 15, 10 and 4 and has the talent of Lamar will play for six mil a year. You realize that’s what Vlad makes right? 9-10 Mil should be the Lakers goal with Lamar.

    As for interior defense, Bynum definitely helps in that area. I wish I had video of it, but the perfect example is what Bynum did to CP3 and Chandler in a game in New Orleans this year. He was making CP3 and Chandler think twice about coming inside because he was sending everything back. The Lakers blew them out in that game, and it was totally because of Bynum’s interior intimidation.

  137. 136. What is going on here is after the frustration of the finals I think people needed to vent a little more, and do that through suggested changes to the roster. They saw we had trouble with the Celtics and wanted to make roster adjustments to counter them.

    I think making a roster adjustment for one team is foolish. The Celtics are very good but there it is not a sure thing they make the finals next year. Who is the next most physical team in the NBA? Utah, and we beat them. We need to improve the team to win a title, not make a move to counter one team.

    And the two things we’d want to add, defensive presence inside an a perimeter defender, we get just by people getting healthy. I never liked the arguments for Artest, I think he’d be a disaster, and Jefferson is a good player but he’d put the team in cap hell in three years, and that is not wise.

    A lot of people seem to be reacting like this team lost in the first round again and not the finals. This team went to the finals and went six games without its third best player, its best perimeter defender, it’s main scorer’s finger held together by tape, the starting PG having foot pain and being one of the youngest teams in the league.

    Shaking things up now would be inviting disaster.

  138. For all you Laker fans who think LO should be traded because he had a poor Finals:

    -Should Orlando consider moving Dwight Howard b/c of his performance against Detroit in the playoffs?

    -Should Utah trade away Boozer for the same reason?

    -Cleveland should look to move Lebron b/c he couldn’t handle Boston for most of the series.

    -Portland should look to move Roy or LaMarcus Aldridge b/c they couldn’t even make the playoffs!

    Do people forget the chemistry that LO and Pau had together on the court? Please stop hating on Lamar…he singlehandedly caused matchup problems against Utah. Without him, the Lakers may not have even reached the WCF.

  139. wondahap,
    “He’d be a waste, and his ego couldn’t handle it”
    First of all, it wouldn’t be a waste. REbounding and defense from the bench were a significant weakness this offseason; his presence there addresses both of those issues. On offense, he would be a mismatch for any other non-starting SF/PF to guard. And it gives the backups another good ball handler, which fits in with Phil’s tendency to want that group to run more. With Ariza back, and the improvements with Sasha, there are other options at SF in the starting lineup. Putting Odom on the bench gives the opportunity to give one or both of those two more time, which will improve the perimeter defense, and, with Kobe at SF and Sasha at SG, spread things out much better than with Lamar at SF. He is not a great perimeter defender, which will be a much more significant issue as a SF than as a PF. And Bynum’s presence, with Gasol at PF, will neutralize Odom’s rebounding to some degreee.

    “his ego couldn’t handle it”
    If that’s the case, then I don’t want him on the team.

  140. 140) “For all you Laker fans who think LO should be traded because he had a poor Finals”

    While I would like to see Lamar stay on the team (at a reduced salary), the thoughts about trading Lamar that some fans have are NOT just because of the finals. His play in the Finals was typical of his play throughout his time as a Laker. Inconsistent. And weaknesses in his game that he has been aware of forever are still there. So either he can’t improve them, or isn’t willing to put the time in to improving them; considering his skills and athletic ability, I suspect the latter. This isn’t just a Finals issue.

  141. wonda,
    “the Lakers lost to a Boston team that had a starting 5 with only 2 shooters (PP & Ray Allen)”

    You’re forgetting about KG.

  142. exhelodrvr –

    LO was inconsistent when he was the 2nd scoring option on the team. As the 3rd or 4th scoring option, he was consistently putting up solid numbers and causing matchup problems. Plus, you have to look at LO’s contributions other than scoring. He’s a good rebounder and facilitator of the offense.

    The additional of Pau helped LO more than any other player on the team.

  143. The more I think about it, I concur with Kurt and others who believe the Lakers should stand pat and try the current team out. The only thing I would like is for the Lakers FO to assuage Odom’s fragile psyche and tell him that he has one year to get it done.

    I would like to see a solid big man backing up the Center position (Ratliff sounds about right), and I haven’t lost hope with Mihm. He’s a solid player and I hope sitting on the bench all year has allowed him to recuperate.

    I’d also like to see a physical PG backup, a slightly bigger one to be the 3rd PG as well.

    Going for RJ may be fool’s gold for now. He’s pretty fragile and don’t know how he’d adapt to being option #3 or #4, as opposed to being #2 in NJ. Having Odom to cover the 3 and 4 spot is absolutely vital, as RJ is essentially a 3 and can’t really anything but.

    I don’t know how getting Barnes, etc., will help us. I know they hustle, but imagine the discontent b/w Walton, Rad, and the new addition vying for very limited mintues at the 3 spot.

    As I’ve had some time to digest the tough loss, it’s best to keep this team intact. We’re not staying pat, as next year’s roster with a healthy Ariza and Bynum completely changes everything.

  144. I wrote something earlier that never got posted because I lost my connection for a minute and I don’t want to rewrite. Basically I said that we need to see this team fully healthy before any major changes are made. That if Ariza works hard this summer he can work his way into being a starter he just has to shoot well enough to keep defenses honest, that he brings hustle to the defensive end; gets his hands in passing lanes and goes hard for lose balls. And is a relatively good rebounder. And that the two thinnest positions I see are at PG and C. That a veteran guard that can apply pressure defense and hit the occasional J (a player similar to Lindsey Hunter) and another big body that can grab some rebound and push people around would help.

  145. I like the idea of picking up Kwame, if we can get him on the cheap. The guys in the locker room liked him and he’s better than Mihm. Plus, I can’t think of a better big man defender than anyone else that would be available at that price point. We wouldn’t have him do any (and I repeat, any!) of the scoring, but he could fill up the gaps for us in a defensive 2nd squad. If we need to get some offense going, we could always go with Mihm.

  146. Kurt,

    Have not read the thread yet–was in MX. Wanted to say thanks for the summary; just what I was looking for. Well-done.

  147. The Dude Abides June 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

    All this talk about Kwame glosses over how well the team played in the two games they won after the Gasol trade but before Gasol suited up. Ronny started at center, and the offense flowed so well that we rarely had to play transition defense. Ronny intimidated as a help defender, something Kwame never did. Kwame has always been credited with fewer turnovers than he actually committed, because on fumbled passes, no matter how easy to catch, the turnover is credited to the passer. Kwame might have been only credited with three TOs per game, but in reality it was more like seven or eight. Then there are all those long rebounds off of his missed dunks. That’s a lot of fast breaks for the other team, more than canceling out his solid man-defense in the post when we were in half-court defense. In addition to all of that, the psychological effect all those misses and fumbled passes has on the team is substantial.

    DJ is a better player than Kwame at both ends of the floor. He isn’t as good an on-ball defender as Kwame, but he’s a much better help defender…his hands are a lot better than Kwame’s, and his shot is infinitely better. Why not just re-sign DJ for the minimum?

  148. I’m tired of Lamar being that relative that no one seems to trust. No matter how much he *reforms* every one of his actions is scrutinized that much more than every other relative who also makes mistakes. So, when LO does something even minor (in comparison to the other relatives) he’s the one that everybody rags on. Will he ever lose that whipping boy status?

    LO was so key to all of our successes and only a minor reason for any of our letdowns. Yet he’s the one that needs to go? I just don’t get it. Fans say he lacks heart. Really? The guy who played with a torn up shoulder, came back from a tragic summer of losing his infant child, the guy who clearly outplayed Shawn Marion for two straight playoffs, was key in taking out Okur and Boozer, whose versatility allowed us to scheme the Spurs, who always plays hard regardless of results…this guys doesn’t have heart? Really? I just don’t get it.

  149. paydawg,
    A lot of the improvement Lamar got from playing with Gasol was due to the differences in Gasol’s game from Bynum’s game. Gasol played away from the basket enough to open things up for Lamar. Next season Bynum will be in there, too.

  150. I over reacted to the Kobe situation last Summer, wanted him gone and figured .70 on the $ would be fine. I was wrong. We got to watch the Finals as Lakers fans, not just basketball fans and 28 other fan bases out there cannot say the same. We lost what I think was our 2nd most important player in the middle of the season, for the season, and made the Finals. It just so happens that Drew’s biggest strengths were what we struggled with when up against the eventual champs.

    Boston beat us with a Drew and that might just speak more to howmuch Drew’s continued improvement could put the team over the top anyway. I like the idea of keeping LO in the starting 5 and at the 4. It allows for a number of positives and few negatives.

    A. The chemistry between LO and Gasol remains intact.
    B. You play to LOs strengths and his mental requirements.
    C. The 2nd unit’s chemistry will be phenomenal
    1. Turiaf Walton
    2. Farmar Bynum
    3. Bynum Turiaf
    D. It allows the team to ease Drew back into what, injury allowing, a starting position that will be his for over a decade.
    E. It gives Ariza a chance to bring his athleticism to play in the starting unit, with all those heady passers. His game is predicated on motion.
    F. That second unit will be more effective then many starting units in the league while upgrading a starting unit that won 2 games in the finals.
    1. Ariza being an upgrade to Vlad in all ways but shooting.
    G. Both Kobe and Gasol will have had a restless summer and a solid second unit would do well to help provide the team minutes so those two can be good for another deep playoff run in 2009.

    Injuries, as always, will muck things up but this team has the depth to deal with that.

    Considering their current youth, the experience gained this season and the options available after next season, I think the 2010 team, with Bynum starting, LO either figured out or shipped, Kobe and Gasol rested, and the whole team matured into their roles, will have a chance to be associated with the greatest champioship teams in the league’s history.

  151. I hope Lamar Odom really meant his comments in the Times today, about being a Laker for life. If that is true, then he would be willing to take a pay cut with an extension.

    I love his versatility. He is a gamer, consistently rebounds, defender and makes plays for his teammates, even if not the most consistent scorer.

    KEEP LAMAR!

  152. exhelodrvr (151) –

    Yes, Bynum will be there too. But you don’t even know how LO play in the new lineup. Maybe he’ll be worse….but maybe he’ll be better. The Lakers just don’t know and until they do, they need to give it a go. And once again, you’re focusing on Lamar’s ability to score. LO does so much more than put points on the board….he’s a versatile big man that can play multiple positions depending on who the opponent is. Don’t discredit that fact. Yes there are unknowns about LO playing the 3, but what about these unknowns?

    -Artest’s personality issues and how they’ll affect the team chemistry.

    -Artest’s propensity to hog the ball and not follow the game plan.

    -Jefferson’s desire to be a 3rd or 4th option

    -Jefferson’s defensive abilities

    -And let’s not discount that both players would need time to acclimate to the triangle offense. Sometimes, it takes players a couple years to do so.

    Trading for either of these players has far more downside than upside.

  153. The recent report that Mitch and Phil apologized to Lamar about the trade rumors reported tells me that Lamar is sensitive. I’d rather have a sensitive player over a head case, especially around a young team. If Mitch and Phil apologized to Lamar…I just don’t see them trading him for a question mark in someone like Artest. I’d like for them to explore the idea, but thinking about it now, staying put does seem like the best option.

    The problem with the current roster is that our three best players, aside from Kobe, should start together. However, it remains to be seen how well Lamar/Gasol/Bynum complement each other. It’s everyone’s opinion that Gasol and Bynum would fit in great with each other, and it’s become obvious that Lamar and Gasol complement each other well. The most logical option would be to have Lamar come off the bench, but as discussed, that may not work out well for Lamar. The next option would be to bring Bynum off the bench, but that doesn’t make much sense since he’s our third best player…

    I’m just glad we have the Zen Master.

  154. I think the Lakers have a great lineup for next year…if you look at our starting five and backups, we’re in a good place….

    PG Fisher (Farmar)
    SG Bryant (Sasha)
    SF Odom (Ariza. Walton, Radmanovich)
    PF Gasol (Turiaf)
    C Bynum (Mihm)

    The good part about our lineup is that guys can play different spots
    For instance, Turiaf can play 5, Odom can play 4, Ariza can play 2, Kobe can play 3, Sasha can play 3, etc….

    It’s tempting to say “lets get Artest, lets get Posey”, but if you really look at it, will we be better with any one of those guys???

    We have to take into account that either guy will have to learn the triangle, which could take a long time depending on when we get him. Also, the Lakers weren’t serious about Artest until they lost to the Celtics because of Paul Pierce. What if we make it to the Finals next year with Detroit?? Then, Odom is a great match-up with T. Prince. If Detroit had beaten the Celtics, then the Lakers probably would have won the championship by now.

    I just don’t think we should change our entire team because one player on one team beat us in the Finals. I mean, we did fine against the Nuggets with Carmelo at the 3.

    This is all we need to work on:

    Fisher – Get healthy
    Kobe – Get healthy
    Odom – Work on outside shooting
    Gasol – Work on inside game, and gain muscle
    Bynum – Get Healthy and work on inside game

    Farmar – Work on shooting/scoring
    Sasha – Make sure he comes back and work on Defense
    Ariza – Work on shooting/scoring and Defense (gain muscle)
    Turiaf – Make sure he comes back and work on Defense
    Mihm – Get healthy and work on scoring and defense
    VladRad – Work on Defense and Shooting
    Walton – Work on Defense and Scoring

  155. WTF??? I read on Yahoo that their thinking of trying out Lamar at the 2 and Kobe at the 3 in camp? Wild…I never saw that coming. I think that’s to say they understand neither Bynum/Gasol or Odom is going to be on the bench, so let’s see what we can do to create space. Lamar is versatile, but is he that versatile? The man’s no damn chameleon! Kobe’s physical enough to handle most SF’s in the league, but that might be more banging around than he needs. Anyway, I thought reading that was strange…

  156. (138) Jones, the major issue that Lamar faces is the cost of his contract. If Lamar really wants to stay here, he could do himself a world of good by dramatically reduciong his contract as I suggested. I’d guess that if he signed a contract extension at a very reduced wage, it would be a no brainer. Derek Fisher left money on the table to come here from the Jazz. Maybe it could be higher, but an incentive based contract that starts low would show Lamar putting his money where his mouth is for a change. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    (140) paydawg, the Lamar trade situation has been going on for years. It has nothing to do with hate. This is a business situation. Lamar has a contract for $14 million which effect the possible salaries of all the other players–like Sasha, Bynum. The Lakers have already made major decisions to restructure the team by signing Pau at the power forward, which was Lamar’s position–at about the same salary. We will know that the Lakers are committed to Lamar and they to him only when he signs a contract extension.

  157. As long as he’s healthy Andrew Bynum should start. That commitment needs to be made to him early in training camp. Psychologically it could pay major dividends, letting him know he’s the man from the jump. Ariza should be given every opportunity to win the starting SF position. If he works on everything he said he was going to work on during the exit interviews, then I like his chances of securing that position. The Zen Master then would need to sit Odom down before the start of the season and let him know that he’s a vital part of the team, and we need him to adapt to his new role as the 6th man on this squad. He should liken it to the boost that Ginobili gives the Spurs coming off the bench. Manu Ginobili is easily the Spurs 2nd or 3rd best player but he comes off the bench. Phil Jackson should challenge Odom to not only be the Lakers 6th man, but to be the best 6th man in the league. If Odom is truly a team guy who wants to be a Laker for life he wouldn’t sulk in this role, he’d relish to opportunity to flourish as the first guy off the bench, and an absolute match up nightmare for other teams’ second unit! Of course the Lakers should still experiment with the big frontline of Odom, Gasol and Bynum but Odom should be the new super sub! As far as free agent big men to target, I’m thinking Desagana Diop, Theo Ratliff, and Kwame Brown should all get a look. They all have their negatives but we’re asking for 15-20 minutes a night and these guys should be able to do that. Ratliff’s long list of health issues is a bigger concern than the other two guys’ shortcomings though.

  158. I don’t think basketball contracts can have any incentives

  159. 155, I think Bynum off the bench (atleast initially) makes alot of sense (he can still finish out games with the 1st unit though). That was the plan if he was able to come back from injury after Gasol got traded…remember at the beginning of the season when Bynum played with the second unit when Kwame was still starting? It was n.a.s.t.y and a big reason why our bench was so ridiculous, that lineup of Farmar – Sasha – Vlad – Turiaf – Bynum kind of massacred every second unit a team would put out

    157, would that be a defensive assignment switch? Not sure how it effects offense….you know, Odom should really be a defensive machine when you think about it, quick and lengthy as hell, no reason why the guy can’t be a pseudo-Tayshaun Prince. Here’s hoping his offseason regimen consists of 500 corner 3′s, 500 midrange jumpers, and a ridiculous amount of defensive drills

  160. The thing is, the Lakers don’t have to do anything about Lamar or his contract until after next season. Barring some crazy trade offer (similar to the deal that was made to aquire Gasol) I don’t think a decision will be made on Lamar until after his contract expires. Unlike Baseball and Football, Basketball contracts are not extended or renegotiated until that contract ends or the player/team excersises an option that was written into that contract. So, Lamar’s deal expires after next season and at that point we will hold his Bird rights and then we can make a decision on where we stand with him and he can make a decision on where he stands with us. If he wants to stay and we want to keep him, I’m sure that we’ll try to come to an agreement on what he should make, and like JONES has said I think $10 mil (give or take a mil) is a good rate for a player of Lamars abilities and contributions to this team. Until then, he makes what he makes and we let the season play out. Now we can go back and forth on the merits of his current deal, but in reality that 14 mil isn’t changing. And to concern ourselves with what a player should make after next season is looking too far ahead, IMO, especially when next seasons performance by Lamar will impact his value.

  161. I too, like the idea of Lamar being the 6th man. Also, as I mentioned above, I think Phil has been ‘hinting’ in this direction this year by leaving Lamar on the court longer than any other starters at the end of the 1st qtr and beginning of the 2nd.

    I would love this possible solution as it would show Phil has flexibility in his rotations and could still result in Lamar playing 35-40 minutes in different situations/positions. Everybody could win with this experiment.

  162. odom for turkoglu and battie. turk would be a perfect starting three for us. he can shoot extremely well and he can make plays like lamar. he is a good defender and averaged 20, 5, and 5 last year. and the only reason i even being him up is i think orlando would actually be better with odom than turk. right now theyre playing rashard lewis as their 4. move him to the three and have odom at the 4 and they have a very strong frountcourt with tremendous rebounding plus lamar wouldnt have to defend the beastly 4′s of the west and could guard the chumps in the east. a lineup of

    pg fish
    sg kobe
    sf turk
    pf gasol
    c bynum

    would be a perfect triangle. plus battie is a great 4, 5 off the bench, instead of ronny who forgot how to play in the finals, battie brings more toughness as well.

  163. Hey jro from comment #164 I’d be shocked if Orlando did that deal. Turkoglu was their go to guy late in games. He was top 5 in the league in 4th quarter scoring. I’m not sure how much Tony Battie would bring to the table either. That dude is among the perennially injured. I’m not opposed to a deal like this but I just don’t see why Orlando would do it. Also I want to be clear that unlike half the posters on here, I’m not calling for the trade of LO. If I’m Mitch Kupchak I’m not shopping LO but if Orlando called with this offer I’d listen. In my mind the Lakers would need to throw in a 1st round pick which obviously they don’t have.

  164. What makes anyone think Odom will turn it around THIS year compared to ALL the other years he had the chance. I am sick of that dude not showing up or us having to say “if Lamar just has a good game tonight” then goes out pick up 3 fouls in 3 min and is a non factor.

  165. There’s one name on the list of unrestricted free agents next year that upon my admittedly lethargic scrolling of this here comments section I find astonishing hasn’t been mentioned yet (sorry if it gets mentioned as I’m typing this). Everyone’s basic requests for improvement all seem to be striking the same chord, signaling lack of testicular fortitude and inability to consistently make outside shots. Well, look no further than Eduardo Najera, a player who could be obtained for the MLE with ease, a player who thrives on “hustle” plays and defensive effort that all of the Worldwide Leader is currently praising the Boston Celtics for, a player who had never taken more than thirty three-pointers a season before this last campaign in which he hoisted 147 and made a very respectable 36% of. Signing Najera (plus Ronny and Sasha) leaves our roster in this shape.

    1 Farmar, Fisher
    2 Bryant, Vujacic
    3 Radmanovic, Ariza, Walton
    4 Gasol, Odom, Najera
    5 Bynum, Turiaf, Mihm

    plus the second round pick or Coby Karl, leaving the roster at 14 and adding what is perhaps the final piece to this Laker puzzle.

  166. I’ve been scanning the comments and I think that it’s kind of interesting that everyone’s assuming that Bynum will start next year and thus move LO to the 3. But, given the injury that he had (and how much time he’s been off), well, I just can’t see PJ starting him from the beginning. I think it’s going to be slow going for Bynum for awhile and he’s going to have to prove himself. Because of this, I think it’s silly to discuss trading LO, as other people have mentioned. They’ll need him at the 4 because Pau (I think) would still have to be the 5 for the starting unit. I just think it’s really premature to discuss Bynum as a starter when we (nor the Lakers, really) know what kind of shape he’ll be in next year once he’s ready to play.

  167. We are going to be writing about the lakers and their offseason moves as well as other team’s offseason moves at: dishingdimes.blogspot.com

  168. honestly our lineup is fine. Only TWO teams made it to the finals, and if you’re one of them, your lineup is FINE.

    Odom at the 3 worries me, but if it doesn’t work out, he can be the 4 off our bench. Besides, Bynum will have to play himself into shape & confidence, so I don’t see Pau at the 5 changing from the get-go.

    Hopefully Odom will flourish as our Manu (big long manu) sort. Anyway, doesn’t hurt to try before we make any moves.

  169. Hi Darius,

    Overall, I like your basketball analyses, but you are not on the same business page as the Laker organization on Lamar. You say:

    “The thing is, the Lakers don’t have to do anything about Lamar or his contract until after next season.”

    It’s just the opposite. After next season. Lamar becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers must do something before Lamar becomes a free agent–unless they just want his salary to come off the books and receive no compensation.

    If the Lakers make a trade, I’d guess it would happen before the preseason practice in October–by then, most trades are completed. That means the Lakers would have to decide before they tried out their new alignment strategies.

    Other GMs have botched this kind of situation badly. It will be interesting to see what the Lakers do. Whatever happens, it won’t come easy.

  170. drrayeye,
    I understand your point. Lamar is in the last year of his deal. In order to receive any value on that 14 million dollar contract the Lakers must make a decision before the season starts or risk Lamar losing value in a trade made during the season or risk losing him completely for no compensation. And if you’re talking about the Lakers retaining $14 million (give or take 2 million in order to meet the rules of the CBA) in value for a player or multiple players the Lakers must trade Lamar and get that value.

    But as far as business, I see it differently (and in a manner that also makes business sense for the Lakers). First of all, *if* the Lakers don’t want to be too far over the tax, letting Lamar’s contract come off the books is a reasonable approach and is not a botched situation. The Lakers are over the luxury tax line now and have not yet re-signed Turiaf or Sasha or extended Bynum’s contract. If Turiaf and Sasha re-sign for $5-7 million combined (a reasonable estimate) this offseason and Bynum is extended for $10-11 million a year next off-season when he’s a RFA (also reasonable), having Odom on the payroll for any amount (whether it’s the 6-7 mil you suggested earlier in another comment or the 10-11 mil that JONES mentioned) the Lakers will be in serious luxury tax territory. So we must consider whether or not Buss wants to extend his payroll to those heights. But, if Buss doesn’t mind going into those high payroll numbers, hitting those tax levels, and is willing to spend the money that Odom is making now on either him or another player(s) (through the trade that you’re proposing happen before the season) then the Lakers are also in a good position if they just keep Lamar next season and let his contract expire. Realize that at that point, the Lakers still have Lamar’s Bird Rights and would have the ability to offer him the most money (and not just in overall dollars, but in the types of raises he gets from year to year. Players that are re-signed by their own teams can get larger % raises than if they sign as a FA with another team.) Also, if Lamar is intent on leaving (even though that’s something he’s said for seasons that he would not want to do, saying “I want to retire a Laker” on several occasions), then we could do a sign and trade and get value back then. The only way the Lakers end up with nothing is if they let Lamar play out his current deal, he then decides that he wants to leave LA after saying repeatedly he wants to stay, he then decides he wants to go to a team where a sign and trade will not work, and all of this happens while that team also has room under it’s cap to take on Lamar. Because that’s the other point: when a player leaves during free agency, a team must be under the cap if they want to sign a player to more than the mid-level exception…and I think we can all agree that Lamar is a player that deserves more than the mid-level.
    I mean, that’s a lot of variables that have to go against the Lakers for them to lose Lamar for nothing.

    Ultimately, if you don’t like Lamar or you think that basketball-wise he’s not a good fit for this team, then I think trading Lamar is a valid point and can be argued for. But, if we’re talking financials and business, the Lakers don’t have to do anything but let next season play out and then talk to Lamar about where the organization stands in terms of his play, his value, and also what he wants to do (stay or leave). If he says he wants to be a Laker, negotiate a new deal that’s fair to both sides and he’s ours. If he says he’d rather leave (or we decide that we want him to go), we talk to him and his agent about preferred destinations and ask that they keep us in the loop so that we can help facilitate the best deal for Lamar by signing and trading him and using his Bird Rights to help boost his contract. This is exactly what the Sonics did with Rashard Lewis just last season in the trade with the Magic. The Sonics did pretty well in that deal (getting a 2nd round pick and a trade exception that became a Suns’ 1st round pick and Kurt Thomas and then he became the Spurs’ 1st round pick in this draft when they traded him to SA). So, it’s not like we can’t work with Lamar to either keep him or help him find a team that is better for him while still holding some leverage to get something of value on our end when it’s all said and done. I understand that there’s still a possibility that all those bad things happen, and we lose Lamar for nothing. But I think it’s far more likely that either he really does want to stay and we’ll work out a deal, or if he wants to leave that we can work out a S&T that will get us something useful back at that point. Breaking up the team now just because there’s (what I think is) a small chance that we lose him for nothing is not prudent financially nor personnel wise for the team.

  171. Darius, Very good analysis of Odoms situation with the Lakers.

  172. i also believe that lakers r paying to much to luke walton, Ariza can do better then him

  173. good point #174, I think other than LO, the heat is on our SF roster and it will stay that way with other teams seeing how we were exploited (give or take Bynum in the middle).

    good analysis, kurt, darius, dre and company… this is such a fun blog to read and makes me water more as a lakers fan. great posts guys! let’s keep this up.

    i too like the LO-Gasol-Bynum nightmare combo and I hold LO to a form of bond after what he said. I also like him off the bench but if that be the case, much consistency in performance (not just potential) should be given by him if he is to be a league-6th man. I am however reserved with Lamar at SG bringing the ball up. I don’t know if he has enough gears to run a fastbreak or throw alley-oops (check my spelling). I do admit my mind has been playing around an LO trade but after reading much debate, I think we can give it a try. I still am for tweaking the bench and I don’t favor stacking too many SFs. One has to go.

    As I maintained, the team mentality, plus that of kobe, gasol, odom and bynum’s are essential more than any next year. They have to start strong yet keep dominant. We need that swagger, a founded swagger. Go Lakers!

  174. (172) Hi Darius,

    Very good analysis, but not based on Laker thinking.

    The Lakers have tried to trade Lamar without success–and the cost of his contract was not the only reason they were unsuccessful. Miami has been the only team to realize Lamar’s all star value by building their team around him, and constantly pressuring him to stay motivated. The Clippers did not want to renew his contract–and Miami first gave him a big contract, then peddled it and him to the Lakers for an even larger contract for an even larger guy. The Lakers have alternately tried to work with Lamar and trade him. Lamar may not only have had his best season as a Laker–it may be the best season he will ever have.

    The Lakers never sought Lamar in the first place, but they have tried their best to fit him in as a key player. He just hasn’t worked out–until this season–sort of.

    Right now, there are two interesting classes of veterans with big salaries–those who are totally untradeable, and those who are marginally tradeable. Fortunately for the Lakers, especially after this near championship season, Lamar has raised himself to marginally tradeable. The clincher is his expiring contract.

    As you point out, this is an asset that the Lakers may well use for themselves. If Lamar has an even better season next year, the Lakers can always extend his contract. If not, they can take his salary off the books and get out of luxury tax hell.

    Of course, they could trade Lamar for a player more consistent with the needs of the “new” Lakers. It might even still include an expiring or near expiring contract. That is what I think the Lakers are exploring.

    It is self-serving to for Lamar to say that he wants to remain a Laker when he is earning about $14 million at the best endorsment location in the NBA–and imagines earning more. If Lamar is sincere about remaining a Laker, he needs to get his agent to cut a deal that will keep him here as a core player. I think that would be in VladRad’s range. A $7 million or $8 million drop in salary for Lamar would instantly change Laker management attitude–maybe it wouldn’t have to be that much. Remember, in salary cap Hell, that amount doubles.

    Given the salary cap realities of most teams, Lamar’s not going to do much better as a free agent. Very few will.

    None of these considerations will do much for Lamar’s ego. As he’s indicated himself, someone has been talking about trading him ever since he arrived in Los Angeles.

  175. Renato Afonso June 22, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Darius,

    Where do you think the Lakers organization stands when it comes to LO? In my opinion, the Lakers are actually going to try the LO-Gasol-Bynum combination to see what works best and determine what’s LO value for the organization. We know that LO-Gasol works and Bynum-LO as well to some extent. But what about Gasol-Bynum? Good players always mesh well, but they might not provide what we really need, and Bynum could be relegated to the 2nd unit.

    But let’s assume that the Bynum-Gasol works out and LO does not spread the floor properly at the SF position, therefore decreasing his value to the organization. I believe that the organization will actively try to release LO from our current roster, since he’s not a player suitable to be coming off the bench. Actually, he doesn’t deserve that… He deserves to be starting in the league.

    As you said, and since getting Battier to LA is nothing but a pipe-dream (perfect fit for the triangle), maybe the Lakers could actually trade LO into a high first rounder that we’ll be needing sometime soon. Everyone is focusing on LO, since he’s the immediate problem, but everyone’s forgetting the point guard problem that will come in 1 years time. The Lakers need to find themselves a young and bi point guard with defensive skills to fit our system, and since we’re not getting one via trade then we should draft one as soon as possible so that Fish can tutor him for at least one year. And LO and the PG situation are more linked than everyone is recognizing now.

    Trading LO properly, and in a weird way I now have total faith in Kupchak, could mean that the Lakers get a high first round pick and a SF suitable for the system (or like you said about Seattle, maybe even some trade exception with first rounders). The Lakers would actually build a very young roster and fill their immediate and future needs.

    No, if such trade happens, I don’t know what to do with Ariza/Radman/Walton… obviously there would be too many Sf’s in the roster ;)

  176. hows this…. vladi for shane battier… battier could give us a bit of defensive steel and he can shoot the three…. besides that, a move for artest would be amazing ( if he can get his act together ) but its unlikely

  177. Renato – Darius – drrayeye,
    This is the most interesting and informative discussion on this thread. Thanks.

    I was in the camp that letting LO walk would provide the salary relief to pay Bynum and still have salary flexibility. I still do see the real value in that and am sure the Lakers are considering this option. Sometimes the most value is simply the salary. People that don’t like this option think LO provides a skill the Lakers vitally need and must get in return for his loss. If LO is surrounded by specialists who all do some of the things he does and don’t overlap too much, then he is disposable. His ‘brain farts’ and lack of dependability in clutch situations can be real downers for us.

    However, Renato brings up the idea of a trade exemption and a draft pick as a way to trade Lamar for value and still get salary relief. Whether this is a PG or other projected piece, this is only going to work if we trade Lamar to a lower rung club – just the type of club that has rejected Lamar in previous discussions – or an upper echelon club with and existing trade exemption. Are there any of those? If there are, then Renato’s thought process has merit; if not then we are back to trade now or hold – my position.

  178. Rohan,
    While I agree Battier would be a very good fit w/the Lakers(a new Rick Fox,if you will),the Rockets would NEVER trade Shane for Radmanavic.

  179. Step away from the trade machine… the Rockets gave up a lottery pick to get Battier and didn’t regret it.

  180. Re affordability of Lamars,etc after contract ends. Because so many teams are bumping up against the Lux Tax,players are in for a rude shock as to the kind of money FAs will get. The NBA is headed for the same kind of salary structure as baseball-a few get huge money and everybody else gets comparatively little.
    Smart GM’s who want to stay GM have to look down the road-and keep the owner’s money in mind.
    In 09-10 the Lux Tax will be about $75Mil. Kobe,Gasol,Bynum($8mil or so),Fisher,Rad and Walton will make @ $64mil. That leaves $11-12mil for the other 8 players. So if Lamar resigns for $8mil,that’s effectively a $16mil contract in the eyes of the owner. If Lamar were to be traded,any player’s salary he gets in return will effectively be doubled.(If Lamar was traded for a $12mil player,in 09 Dr Buss will be paying as much for him as he pays Kobe.He better be worth it!)

  181. Good thread. A few thoughts:

    1. I said a few weeks ago that I am on board with Odom as 6th man. I think Ariza can be a good player; so far, he has been jerked around, and then injured, but settling in on a good team, I think he can be very effective. I think the first five should be Ariza/Gasol/Bynum/Bryant/Fisher
    Bench from 6-9
    Odom/Vujacic/Farmar/?

    2. I am not sure the team should keep Turiaf. I like him, but I think I would like to see a Theo Ratliff/Kurt Thomas type in that spot, if Kupchak can find one, as opposed to Turiaf. I would match almost any offer to keep Vujacic. A guy his age and his height who can stretch the defense is key, in spite of his weaknesses.

    3. The biggest problem with the current roster construction is Radmanovich and Walton. I have been a harsh critic of Kupchak, but I am happy to admit in many ways he has been right and I have been wrong. That said, he overcommitted to both of these players, both in terms of money and years. Having one would be ok–but not both. They are not bad players, but I think they are both 10-15 minute a game guys, and maybe less than that on this team. And I see no way to trade either of them at this point.

    As far as trades, I would, as Kurt said, at least ask about Jefferson. Hollinger said that with a really good SF, the Lakers would be “unbeatable, in spite of how cowardly they looked in Game 6.” I would not go that far–but Richard Jefferson at the 3 with a healthy Bynum and Ariza would IMO make the Lakers preseason favorites to win the NBA title. If LeBron’s contract were up after 2009, the Nets might do it. As is, I don’t see it.

    4. Last summer, I, like Kobe Bryant, was very skeptical about the upside of this team, in the persons of Bynum, Farmar, Vujacic and to some extent Turiaf. Other posters, notably dr rayeye, Craig W, Kurt, and Reed, as well as others, said we should give the kids a shot. They were right, so I am ready to see if Ariza can improve the team at the 3, if Odom can be an uber-sixth man, if Farmar, Vujacic and maybe Turiaf can keep developing, and if Bynum can upgrade the interior D.

    That said, I am not in the camp of simply seeing the Finals as a “learning experience.” As Scot and others, including me, have said, blowing a 24-point lead at home and then losing by 39 in an elimination game (and giving up ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-ONE POINTS, almost unheard of in today’s game) while walking around in a daze are inexcusable.

    There is, I want to reiterate, no guarantee this team will get another shot. Phil Jackson, for all his strangths, did not have the team ready to play in Game 6. Kobe Bryant, for all his internal fire, did not spark and lead the team, nor was he gifted enough to take over the game and at least get to the line at will when things went south, as Michael Jordan almost always was and as LeBron James often is. It is important, looking ahead, to recognize the significance of what happened, and to acknowledge the limitations of the team’s coach and its star.

  182. The Dude Abides June 22, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Renato, maybe you missed my posts #87, 96, and 114 in this long thread. I’ve been against trading Lamar until witnessing how poorly we matched up with Pierce. With our three-tower lineup next season, Boston will just pack in the paint on defense and make Lamar run through the high pick and roll when they’re on offense.

    It’s my opinion that Boston is the only team in the NBA that has a matchup advantage with the Lakers next season if Andrew comes back healthy and motivated. That’s why I’ve changed my mind on trading a guy whom I admire.

  183. For teams that don’t have a Tim Duncan (a superstar willing to take less for winning) and that isn’t structured like Detroit (with a bunch of good players, but no superstars), the luxury tax is a reality of winning. The Lakers have been in the luxury tax area most of the years since it’s been in place, yet they still have been making 30 Mil in profit per year. And that’s after all the Buss family members that take healthy salaries throughout the year have been paid. That also doesn’t take into account the jump in value the Lakers make year after year from putting a winning product out there. You guys also forget that AEG owns 30 percent of the Lakers. They are a big money corporation that wants to make sure that their properties stay hot. The Lakers drive traffic to Staples Center like nothing else, and they will be the main thing driving traffic to LA live when it opens up across the street. The financial realities are there, but I don’t think they’re as much of a concern for the Lakers as most people think they are.

  184. thats true…. but i’d still like to see battier at la, or someone like him, we dont really need a great player,what we need is a defencive force, the other option which i see now is this…
    start with bynum, gasol, kobe ( at 3 ), vujacic and fisher

    keeping odom on the bench is a good idea, unless he suddenly becomes a brilliant shooter. and hes a smart passer and a good rebounder ( which the bench lacks… ) and with vladi ( unless he’s traded away as i hope he is ) , turiaf, ariza and farmar… they arent too bad. i really dont know what to do with luke and karl and mihm though…. hows battier for mihm+vladi???

  185. JONESONTHENBA.
    While the Lakers can afford to stay in the Luxury Tax area on a yearly basis, the only way to keep from going way over that barrier is to manage contract terminations. When you make a mistake with a long contract you have to eat it for quite a while – either with the player involved (Shaq, had he been signed @ $30M) or a player traded to make room for your guy (Grant). What this means is that you can’t have all your contracts terminating in the same year and you have to keep things that way. If you don’t then the gradual creep in your luxury tax costs will continually rise and you will wind up like Dallas or New York.

    There will be mistakes made and you can’t have them totally eliminating your flexibility for the length of the contract. As a matter-of-fact you may be able to take advantage of someone else’s mistake if you are managing things properly (a la the Gasol trade – he had 2.5yrs left escalating to almost $18M). The Griz had to get out from under that contract to get better and we listened and were able to satisfy their needs – much like Boston was able to do the same thing with Minny last summer.

    Saying we can afford to be in luxury cap territory each year is not the same thing as managing your cap responsibly. We are gong to have 2 very high dollar players in 2009/10 and one high and rising fast player. We want these players to remain with the Lakers long term and still have room for other good players. That takes some real management skills. That is the environment that the Lamar decision will be made.

  186. Does anyone know why the reasoning behind signing Bynum to a long-term deal this off-season? Considering he will be a restricted free agent next year wouldn’t it be good to test the Kobe/Bynum/Gasol experiment for a year and Bynum’s knee’s durability before committing to him for 5 years?

  187. Does anyone know why the reasoning behind signing Bynum to a long-term deal this off-season?

    ***

    To perhaps avoid giving him a max deal, I assume–but I don’t think anyone is strongly advocating that move.

  188. drrayeye,
    Yes, the Lakers have tried to trade Lamar in the past. But, I would say that had more to do with the combination of his miscast role as the 2nd banana AND his salary, than just a product of his salary. The Lakers figured that if they are going to pay a player $14 mil, they should have a player that is able to provide more consistency in scoring and a guy that is a true 2nd banana for that money (hence talks about Boozer, KG, etc.) After the Gasol trade and the development of Bynum, Odom is no longer miscast as our 2nd option and has performed well for us. This only leaves his salary and his fit at SF as reasons to want to trade Lamar. So like I said earlier, if the Lakers don’t want to go way over the Tax Line (this year they were not too far over it) then letting Lamar walk is not the worst thing and they most likely wouldn’t want to make a trade and just extend their financial commitment to another player (or players) that come back in that trade. If they don’t mind going well over the Tax Line, then Odom’s salary is not really a consideration and they can negotiate to keep him with a new contract after next season. If they feel he doesn’t fit, they have options at that point as well. So, I don’t see how I’m so far off from the business mindset of what the Lakers are (or could be) thinking.

    Renato,
    I agree in that I think the Lakers have to see what they have with the Odom/Gasol/Bynum front court before we go and just trade the guy. It’s been mentioned before in the comments of this post, but even though we question Lamar’s ability to adapt to SF, he plays just fine as a PF. Our front court depth is not strong and Odom is a rock in that rotation. So while having a SF that can better defend the best SF’s in the league is a priority, we can’t just say “dump Odom to get that guy” because we then lose depth in our PF/C rotation that can’t be easily replaced either. If you dig a hole and take that dirt to fill another hole, you still have a hole (the one you just dug). There are no easy answers here, and I think many of us fans look for the quick fix, ie: *Pierce just killed us, so how can we defend guys like Pierce*. And then we look for ways to get that guy. But as Kurt pointed out, making trades to match up with one team is foolish and it rarely works. Look at the Suns, they dealt Marion for Shaq in order to match-up better with Duncan. And Shaq did his part and really did play well against Timmy. But guess what, in order to get Shaq, they gave up Marion and the Suns ended up getting killed by Parker and Ginobili (guys that Marion would normally guard on possessions where the Suns want stops). You can create other dilemmas when you focus too much on solving one problem. And ultimately, for our team, I’m willing to let LO try and be our SF. I just am. I think he’s a good enough player and a hard enough worker to play effectively in that role while also being a major boost in our PF rotation when Gasol and/or Bynum go to the bench.

    If others don’t have that same faith in Lamar, then I understand. He’s the player that most fans of the Lakers want to criticize first. But, I’m an unapologetic Lamar supporter. I think he’s a very good player for our current team, that the qualities he brings to the table are valuable to the make up of this team. If I was really going to try and make the team better at the SF position, I’d be looking for improvements from the guys that we have on the roster, or looking to trade one of those guys who is less versatile and that has also underperformed (like RadMan). But I’m not suggesting that trade either. I think we have a great team. We were in the Finals. I understand we lost, but many are acting like we should have the same level of disappointment and want the same level of roster shake-ups from a Finals loss that we would want from a First Round exit or not making the playoffs at all. I just don’t agree with that.

  189. They should trade LO for Carmello.

    Just kidding.

    In all seriousness, I don’t think Lakers mgmt will be rushing to sign Bynum to an extension after a pretty devastating injury. They probably will see how he reacts in training camp first and see all the conditioning before making a decision. Since he is a restricted free agent, I think it’s a possibility that they might let Bynum become the restricted free agent as to let Odom’s contract expire, then renegotiate both to cut down on too much salary.

    It also helps if Kobe decides to take less money to keep this core together. But what are the chances of that happening?

  190. Renato Afonso June 22, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Darius,

    I never said we should trade Lamar to better match up against Boston. Actually, I’m against adjusting to one team, even if it costs us one or two championships. I’m willing to trade or let Lamar go for the following:

    a) we need a good all-around player who can actually shoot from the 3pt line and play some serious defense. Stop the perimeter and the inside defense becomes a lesser issue.

    b) I’m not biased against Lamar. Actually, in my post about the triangle offense last season I said that he could be the perfect player for the system… but unfortunately, his shooting is not improving and we now have Gasol to fill the PF spot.

    c) Lamar makes 14mil a year and I believe that’s way too much for a 6th player. However, if the owners are ok with that, then this isn’t even a discussion. Just keep the guy.

    d) I believe that Gasol/Bynum/Turiaf/Mihm (yes, Mihm) are good enough to hold our frontcourt. Turiaf is an energy guy that becomes more relevant as his confidence increases. And I believe we could get Mihm from his first year with LA, where he was actually a factor. Would a combo of Gasol/Bynum/LO/Turiaf be stronger? Without a doubt, it would… But if we cover the future PG hole and the SF hole, we would be a team better fit for the system, with about the same overall skill at every position.

    I agree with you in one thing though, there is no need to a complete roster overhaul. We’re talking about small tweaks to make the roster slightly better than it is currently while keeping a core of 10-11 players for the next 4-5 years, maybe.

    But maybe RadMan defense improves this summer or Ariza starts shooting well and is able to spread the floor properly. We didn’t foresee Bynum’s level of improvement. Maybe we get another good surprise and then all this Lamar trade talk is reduced to one thing only: will the Lakers pay 14mil a year for him?

  191. Last year at this time I was saying we should get off Bynum’s back because he was brought in with the understanding that he would take 3-4 years to become productive. Well that worked out pretty well and I don’t see any reason he shouldn’t at least be as good this year as he was before he was injured. I don’t really expect much more from him in November. By April I don’t expect him to be an all-star, but we should have seen some improvement.

    This year the guy I think is on the hot seat is Ariza. He is older than Andrew, but still quite young. While not a defensive stopper, he has a deserved reputation for being a good defensive player. He is improving his offense and plays well in transition. The biggest question mark for me is his feet. This was known before we traded for him and I hope we don’t see a reoccurrence next year or we will start to label it a pattern and his value will decline markedly. Even without a lot of offense Trevor would be an upgrade at the 3 if he can consistently guard the perimeter. We really need this because Fisher can be run on and Kobe wanders – hence his offense isn’t as important.

    I would not trade Lamar if the only reason were that we need a better reading on Trevor Ariza. Lamar can play 1 on offense, 3 or 4 and I feel will find minutes, regardless of our rotation. However, we do need him, at least until we know more about Trevor.

  192. Hi Darius,

    Unlike you, the Lakers have not been convinced by Lamar. He certainly had a remarkable season this year with Pau–but he still was Lamar. It is very unlikely that next season will be nearly as suitable.

    I would definitely be more open to trade scenarios than you–but I’m not convinced they will happen.

    It should be ihnteresting.

  193. 188, 189, here is the thinking on Bynum. To my mind ou want to sign him to the extension early in part to show just how serious you are in him. If you don’t go early, he may think the Lakers are not sold on him, he may demand a three-year deal ala Wade and LeBron. Sure, you do not want to overpay if he is injured, but on the flip side if he comes back healthy and stronger and better, his price goes up — I’d rather get him at $10 mil a year than watch him have a stellar year and demand $12 mil +.

    You run a risk signing early, but you run a risk waiting as well, both fiscally and in terms of showing the future face of the franchise how committed you are to him. Part of this depends on how healthy you think he really is and how well he comes back, and certainly Mitch has far more info here than we do.

  194. Darius,

    You’re very good at this. Keep up the good posts.

    The Lakers are in a good spot. They can afford to let this upcoming season play out before decideng what to do with Lamar, if anything. I feel that some bloggers have selective memory, and continually are back and forth regarding Lamar because of his skill set, and flashes of brilliance, and in turn still expect him to be more every time he touches the floor. We all know he’s not the best shooter. But he’s a true 6’10″ forward, who can handle the ball, rebound, drive to the hole, and pass. He shut down Carlos Boozer, then stopped Oberto from getting free buckets, but yet so many laker “fans” here chastise him for the Boston series. News flash people…there can’t be more than 3 people in the League who can stop Paul Peirce, and when lamar kept at it,he drove to the hole well, when the Celtics stopped everyone else from doing it. If all meshes well, then Lamar will look good no matter what. if not, well then they can make sure he doesn’t go for nothing. But I doubt the Lakers want to move him, unless it’s just for monetary reasons alone.
    I would like to see Kobe and Lamar (with his size and passing ability, I actually think Lamar is the closest thing to what Magic was….in a sense) bring the ball up more, with a starting 5 of Kobe, Sasha, Lamar, Bynum, and Pau. Inserting Sasha would keep another shooter on the floor, and make up, if not improve the loss of Radmanovic as a starter, and keep the offense properly spaced because no one can be left alone. The starting 5 becomes really big, and should rebound well. Now, if Fisher is moved to the bench then, I actually think it’s Jordan Farmar who will be the odd man out. Derek Fisher was signed for too long for anyone to take him in a trade, so expect him to retire a Laker, and Sasha isn’t going anywhere. Farmar has shown he can start in this league (also helped by timely commentating to boost his public awareness). It might be him and Radman who will be packaged in a deal, especially if the Lakers can use their MLE to sign a defensive minded player like James Posey (wishful thinking?).

  195. Renato,
    I’m sorry, about that implication, I know that you had not mentioned anything about Boston in your comment. I should have broken up my thoughts better in response to what you were saying.

    And I agree about the money Lamar makes in terms of a sixth man. If the Lakers don’t think he’s a fit at SF, I think they’ll explore their options. Although I still think they wait until the end of next season.

    One thing I haven’t brought up yet (but when you mentioned Mihm, it reminded me about this factor) is injuries. We need the depth in our front court and Lamar is part of that. Bynum is still injured, Gasol has been injured in the past and is planning on playing in the Olympics, Mihm has barely played in 2 full seasons because of injury. That’s 3/4′s of our front court without Odom. To think that we would trade or let go of Odom and not address our PF depth worries me some.

    Also (and I could write forever on this but I’ll keep it short) I think we need better team defense and not necessarily look to some sort of one on one stopper as a savior. I understand that defense starts at the individual level, but ultimately, when you are facing great players, you need to respond to that threat as a team. Ray Allen or James Posey didn’t stop Kobe from being efficient. It was the 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) defender that obstructed his driving lanes and altered his shot at the rim that helped to limit Kobe. The Lakers have not played that level of team defense. The concept of the 2nd defender was a lost one for our guys against Boston. Were RadMan, Luke, Odom, and Ariza getting beaten by Pierce? Yes, but where was the help? Where was the 2nd defender that deters Pierce from even wanting to attack basket? Where was the help that turns that layup into a pull up jumper? Did we draw one charge all series? These are team defensive issues too, not just individual ones.

    I guess I’m just looking for some solutions from within while still trying to keep our flexibility with Odom open. Only time will tell what is best in this situation. But I do feel that trading Odom now, or before the season starts is a rush to judgement. Ever since we aquired Gasol, we as fans have been saying “wait until we’ve got Odom/Gasol/Bynum together” and now I feel like many are willing to dump that concept completely in order for a better fit when we haven’t even tried anything yet. I’m open to other options, but I’d like to see what’s working and what’s not before those types of decisions are made.

  196. I’m sorry but Lamar does not finish well at the basket. Can he score and get to the rim? Yes. But more time than not (and at least at an avg of 2-3 a game), LO blows way too many layups. This does not include his inability to go right or finish right, his long and predictable stride that result in a lot of charging calls, and his propensity to flip/spin his layup resulting in a miss. Having said that, the prevailing thought after our bitter loss is to find a scapegoat and pin our whole “team” problem on a particular player or two. Especially a guy who all season has frustrated a lot of fans due to his inability to rise to his abilities as well as to his large contract (insert Vlad and Luke here). I get frustrated like everyone else by Lamar. However, the guy is valuable by just considering his versatility alone. Now is he worth $14 million? Certainly not. I believe his true value is more like Kwame A. said…roughly $9-10 million. And he is worth it just simply for his versatility of playing PG, SF, and PF (which is his most “value” spot). Just like Darius said above, LO will be extremely valuable when it comes to injuries. Remember, LO was our best rebounder and to now have Gasol and Bynum in the paint for rebounds, LO can concentrate on shutting down his defender or gambling with his length. Personally, I prefer him coming off the bench in a 6th man role because he would be great with a running team. But with a healthy Bynum and a full roster, we can do many intriguing things with LO depending on who we are playing. Many have wrote this already and I actually proposed this same notion as well as predict our current dilemma the day after we got Gasol on Feb 2nd (comment # 6 when I was formerly calling myself “adb”, instead of aB now: http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/02/02/it%E2%80%99s-a-good-day-to-be-a-lakers-fan/#comments ), but we should have the following lineup next year:
    Starting: Fisher, Kobe, Ariza, Gasol, Bynum
    Bench: Farmar, Sasha, Luke, LO, Turiaf with Vlad & Mihm substituting interchangeably depending on the matchup
    I agree with Craig W. that Ariza’s progress this summer is the key for us next year. However, you guys all know that I’m an Ariza-homer and been on his jock since we traded for him and I strongly believe he will be the difference maker (ala Posey for Miami and C’s) for us come next season (which by the way will piss me off more about this year’s Finals loss b/c I think Phil made a huge mistake not playing him for 20-25 minutes a game this whole series. I personally feel that is why we lost to the C’s). I really think we need to think hard about re-signing him to a long-term contract if he comes to training camp improved….Bynum, Ariza, Sasha, and Farmar is a nice young core that can play well together for a good 7 years!

  197. Sorry for the double post, but on a side note….I suggest all of you take a trip down memory lane and read what each of you guys wrote from last year on a variety of topics. It is hilarious to read some of the comments and thought process at the time given our recent success. Here’s an example: http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2007/07/02/free-agency-day-one/#comments
    Not to pick on you Craig W because I definitely enjoy reading your posts and I probably agree with you about 80% of the time, but you said that “trading Rad for Posey would either be a parallel trade or even bring us back less”. Of course, to your defense, I believe Posey was a free agent and I don’t think anyone would have taken Vlad and his bad contract, but I’m sure you agree that Posey is slightly better than Rad?!
    On another note, checkout this post from Kurt that he wrote in Sept 2007. The title of the post was “Improving the Defense”: http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2007/09/24/improving-the-defense/
    I think a lot of things he clamored for in our team still rings true today. Which brings me to Darius’ point about what we really need to do this summer: Improve on our team defense. Granted this can be done by acquiring players with a defensive focus (i.e. Artest, Posey, Battier, etc.), but a lot of it has to do with the coaching staff’s commitment to adhering to a few defensive principles (namely DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MAN TO HELP OUT WHEN HE IS A 3 PT SHOOTER). Another problem we have although it didn’t affect our offensive efficiency as much, is the fact that we don’t have another “creator/slasher/drive to the hole” type of person sans Kobe. I think Critt would have filled that role pretty well (which by the way, we are going to hear his name a lot next year and the mainstream media is going to realize that he was a pretty good “addition” to the Gasol trade). In any case, here are our main weaknesses as I see it:
    1. Overall Team Defense
    2. Perimeter Defense – Guard & Small Forward
    3. Toughness/Banger
    4. Creator/Slasher/drive to the hole
    Contrast these weaknesses to the strengths of “the contenders” for the crown next season (in no particular order):
    1. Portland – length, matchup problem, athletes
    2. New Orleans – Chris Paul
    3. Utah Jazz – Deron Williams, Physical
    4. Spurs – Big 3
    5. Houston – TMac, Yao, and Great Perimeter Defense
    6. Celtics – Team Defense, Paul Pierce
    7. Detroit – Team Defense
    8. Cavs – Lebron James
    There seems to be a recurring theme to all of these teams: defense.

  198. Through the draft, Dorey out of Memphis might be a good fit (idea taken from mvn.com).

    What’s the status with Sun Yue?

    Most teams have 3 PGs available, and I worry if we only have 2. Even in the triangle.

    Do we have anyone on the D-Fenders worth mentioning?

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

  200. 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?

  201. 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?

  202. 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.

  203. 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.

  204. 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. :D

  205. 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

  206. 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.

  207. 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.

  208. (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.

  209. 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.

  210. (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.

  211. 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.

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

  213. 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.

  214. 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.

  215. 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.)

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

  217. [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?

  218. 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.

  219. 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.

  220. 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.

  221. 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.

  222. LAMAR ODOM FOR MICHEAL JORDAN!!!

  223. 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.

  224. Last but not least…

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

  225. 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

  226. (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.

  227. 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

  228. 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.

  229. 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.

  230. 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.

  231. 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.

  232. 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

  233. 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!

  234. 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.

  235. 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