“Free” Agents

Kurt —  June 30, 2008

The term free agent applies to the players and their status, but for the Lakers any signings will be anything but free. Which is why we can expect limited if any action from the Lakers on the open market that starts tonight.

Let’s start with this — the Lakers payroll right now is about $75 million with 10 players signed. Next year’s salary cap will be about $58.5 million, meaning the Lakers can only resign their own players or offer the mid-level exception (about $5.6 million this year) to other team’s players. Those signings are allowed over the cap, which is a “soft” number.

However, the luxury tax is a “hard” number and next season should be about $71 million. For every dollar the Lakers are over that (and right now they are $4 million over it) Jerry Buss and friends will pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty.

So, resign Sasha to $4 million a year and that is actually an $8 million payout by the owners. Throw in Ronny at $1 mil + and suddenly the idea of the Lakers bringing in a big free agent seems less and less likely. Buss is willing to spend some over the tax number to win, but he has never gone Cuban/Knicks crazy with that philosophy. (And, both of those franchises have learned doing that is not the way to win anyway.)

So what do the Lakers do starting tonight at 9 p.m. (Pacific, midnight along the Eastern Seaboard):

1) Call Sasha Vujacic and his agent. There is going to be some interest in him, but the Lakers appear willing to go to up to $5 million a year to keep their key shooter off the bench. And they should keep him, because for all the ribbing Sasha took from fans, coaches and teammates he has developed into a very nice contributor off the bench, a guy who knows the offense and how to work in it. When you look at the list of free agents available, there is not someone out there who better fits the Lakers needs.

2) Call Ronny Turiaf. Like with Sasha there will be some interest in him, although not as much. Maybe his is worth up to $2 million a season. But his skill set is easier to replace, if it comes to that, but Ronny is a solid big off the bench. What would be harder to replace is the infectious energy and how much he is loved by the fans. And the dancing, it would be hard to replace the dancing.

3) Make a couple of free agent calls, and take any calls from agents, just to see what is out there. Don’t expect much, but you’ve got to look and listen. Reality just intrudes on deals. Lakers fans would love to see Posey in Lakers colors but look at the reality: 1) That is going to cost at least $5 million of the Midlevel Exception, which means a $10 million payout by the Lakers owners for a bench role player; 2) There is almost no way he leaves Boston.

Look up and down the list of available unrestricted free agents — it’s not a deep or exciting class. (Forget the restricted ones, anybody worth having the team would match what the Lakers can offer.) Who on that list really improves the Lakers and would really be worth double what you are going to have to pay him due to the tax? Not a lot of names leap off that list. Commenter Kwame a. suggested James Jones as a possibility.

A year ago I would have been thinking about Chris Duhon at the MLE to be at the point, but that doesn’t work well now. That said, in the next couple of years the Lakers need to decide what to do long term about that position — give Farmar the starting job and find a backup, or bring in some free agent and keep Farmar on the bench. Not a decision that has to happen now, nor should it (let’s see how Farmar grows from the playoff experience last season) but it has to be on the radar.

One thing the Lakers can consider is getting a cheap backup center, in case they think Mihm is not really going to be able to fill that role. Someone like Primoz Brezec of Toronto that you may be able to get for $1 million or so. Francisco Ellison and Pietrus may fit into that same mold, and there are other names out there. Again, that is only something to consider based on what the people who have seen more of Mihm think he can do next year. (Don’t base your thoughts solely on the Finals, that was a brutal situation to throw a guy into who hadn’t played in forever.)

The more likely option is the Laker roster looks exactly like last year’s with Sasha and Ronny back and the last two spots on the bench going to the inexpensive Coby Karl and Joe Crawford (both of whom should make the D-Fenders much better next season).

And that would be fine with me — I think some blew out of proportion what happened in the Finals. If the Lakers come back next year with a healthy Andrew Bynum in the paint, a healthy Trevor Ariza to defend on the perimeter and the lessons of the finals burned into those young players memories, they will be a serious title contender next year. And, going into the season, that is all you can ask.

Kurt

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123 responses to “Free” Agents

  1. Great post Kurt.

    I agree. Our roster will look the same,and should. Call me crazy, but I think the Lakers will go 74-8 next year (although 2 losses will come IN Portland). That is, if they can stay healthy. Big IF. They know they need to get tougher mentally, and defend better, and play tougher against tough teams, but they have a 24 point blown lead, and 39 point series clinching loss to think about to make them work at it. they’ll be fine. They ran through everyone else, so what more do they need? I’ll take them as is. I wouldn’t mind Posey, but the way the world works, even if we did get him (hypothetically), I get the feeling somehow, someway, it wouldn’t work out. We get Bynum and Ariza back. Better than anything a trade or free agency could provide. Can we sign some new trainers and medical staff though?

  2. Oh, by the way. 74-8 isn’t just some crazy homerism either. I truly think they will break ’96 Chicago’s record.

  3. I would love to see Childress in FB&G. Kid is long, defends, can handle, shoots a high %, is a team player and adds to our glut of SFs. Anyway, I’m a big fan of Childress and if site rules allowed I would come up with a fantasy league style trade involving sign and trades, joe smith deals, and the spending of another man’s money to get him.

  4. regarding the finals. Ask anyone what would happen to any team that lost two of their three best defenders, what would happen to the team D? We made the Finals under those conditions. I expect the D to be much better next season.

  5. More realistic record would be 60-65 wins…isn’t Kobe supposed to get his surgery after the Olympics? That probably means he will miss about a month of the season.

    Farmar is fine off the bench, but what happens when Fisher starts declining? It seems Farmar isn’t really a triangle-type of guard. I think that’s probably the biggest question mark long-term for the Lakers.

  6. 3. Childress is restricted, the Hawks can match any offer and there is no way they let him walk for the MLE.

  7. I scanned the list of unrestricted FA and i found these names interesting for a back up center:
    Dikembe Mutombo , Alonzo Mouring and DeSagana Diop. Of these 3 I love Alonzo, any chance he comes out west? He was a BIG reason the Heat won two years ago.

  8. Oldie,

    I don’t think Kobe will miss any time. Also, I think 74 wins is realsitic. If healthy. Our record, with Pau, was amazing. What was it? Including the playoffs, we only lost 12 games. Now add Bynum back into the mix, and Ariza. With the line-up we’ll have, it’s going to take a night of everyone being off. That means Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Lamar ALL having bad games on the same night. Too many options. If Kobe was smart, he would average 25 pts, and 10+ assists this year. He could, and should. Everyone went on and on about how CP3 averages 20 and 10. 25 and 10 would net Kobe another MVP, and most importantly let others do the work.

  9. I pretty much agree. I doubt the Lakers do anything significant and you know what – I’m fine with that.
    I know we hear a lot about how hard the triangle is to learn (although Gasol might have distroyed that), and if that is true, I might prefer Mihm over some other backup center. I think all the big acquisitions happened during the season (and I am pretty happy with Gasol/Ariza)

  10. We couldn’t afford Diop.

  11. bring back kwame and smush!

  12. jokes aside, how much would a player like kurt thomas cost us? He is around a MLE player, isn’t he?

  13. Am I the only one that feels the Lakers probably need to consolidate their talent a bit more? Having a deep bench is great, but right now they have 11 guys (12 counting Mihm) who deserve playing time, and while that’s great insurance against injury, having difference makers is what wins games in the playoffs.

    I’d love to see them do a 2 for 1, 3 for 1 type trade that consolidates their assets and maybe even cut down payroll. Something like the Evans and Cook for Ariza!

  14. Great post Kurt.

    I agree that the Lakers need to look at a cheap backup center. Call me crazy, but Kwame will be available very cheap. No one is goig to waste their MLE on him and he is probably the best of the bigs that can be had cheaply.

    I also think the Lakers should took a long hard look at Mickael Pietrus. He’s a solid defender and has a great 3 point shot.

  15. Signing Juwan Howard for a year or two might not be a bad option either. Dude plays tough, has some size, and has long been a thorn in the Lakers’ side. He’s near the end of his career, but some extra toughness, savvy, and size in the frontcourt might be a nice thing. Between hardly playing last year and the coaching changes in Dallas, he might want to look elsewhere.

    James Jones is another they’d be wise to make a move for, but he’ll probably get offered more than MLE money by someone else.

  16. I actually like going for proven bigs w/ a reliable midrange jumper. I say we offer a deal for Kurt Thomas. Solid player, solid signing. This should address issues w/ toughness, rebounding and experience.

  17. Is Kwame cheap and Mihm is cheap, which is better? I say Mihm. I don’t see us getting any new faces unless they are part of some kind of trade.

  18. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I love Laker fans, because we really can get caught up in the good vibes, but 74 wins is pretty crazy talk. For anyone that thinks the Lakers are guaranteed a spot in next years finals please remember that the West was the most competitive it has been ever, and will be bettter because of the young teams (NO, Portland), old teams (Phoenix, SA) and strong teams (Utah, Houston). It is not a given we are a top 3 seed and I truly believe that. This year broke right for us, next year it could break right for another team.

    Re: Free agents. I would be fine with the team coming back virtually the same, but I really do feel we need to address our small forward situation, I am not sold that Odom can work there (I know, we haven’t seen it yet (Gasol, Odom, Bynum), but the lack of shooting is a non-starter for me). Therefore, I would be looking at other options, whether through free agency or trade. The one free agent I would go after is Craig Smith. I love Rony, but Craig Smith (local guy from Fairfax High) brings the same on-court energy with more strentgh and presence. Even if we resign Rony, Smith could be a better back-up option than Mihm or Mbenga were.

  19. 96 – 0…that would certainly silence ALL smack talkers and be a really nice way for me to get over Game 6. Just Sweep all the way thru!

    realistically…I can see 65 wins.

    I want to say that Chirs Mihm is a Great center for the Triangle. And prior to his injury a few years back…he was playing fantastically…at least great D…so…I dont think we need to bring in anyone for Center.

    And if all goes accoding to our assumptions…with Bynum at Center, Gasol at PF and Lamar at small…I dont see a big need for anyone…that is an incredibly potent line right there…with Mihm nad Turiaf coming in for toughness…Walton and Ariza coming in for quickness and smarts. And Fish and Farmar seemed to work well with trading minutes. Sasha did play well…maybe a bit to eratic when he gets shaken…but I think that is true for the almost the entire Side.

    Plus we got that 24 guy…and he seems pretty good (HA!!)

    in Olympic news…I just got my flight for Vegas and my buddy hooked us up courtside tickets to the Canada/USA scrimmage on the 25th….so I am stoked. It may not be the best game I will have ever seen but it sure will be fun I think. I wish there were Forum B&G T-Shirts…I’d rock it there!!! Maybe I will make one…Kurt would that be ok?

  20. Great post Kurt.

    Those payroll numbers scare me. Without including any speculation about who we should move, I agree with Will (#13) that we have a lot of able bodied players and not enough minutes. I love the depth, but I wonder how guys will adjust to Phil using them in ways that are unorthadox. Phil loves to have those 10-12 guys on the bench be guys that he can call on at a moments notice after not playing for 3 or 4 games. Will that work with some of our guys? I’m not sure. All that said, I love our team. And if we come back with the same exact team, I’d love it and think we’d be right there in the hunt again and competing for a title. And like Kurt said, that’s all we can ask for, really.

    As for UFA’s, I really like Pietrus as well, but with our glut of SF’s and Guards, I wonder where he’d fit. And living in Oakland, I know he wants to play and to get paid somewhere around the MLE. I also like Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith but again, I wonder how much those guys would play if we re-sign Ronnie and Mihm is actually healthy. I’m also concerned about payroll. Everyones salary is going to go up in the upcoming seasons and even though Lamar will be an UFA after next season, we still have to eventually extend Bynum and Farmar and look for other improvements.

    So even though I love the excitement that comes from an active offseason, I have a feeling we’ll just be counting the days until camp starts and waiting to see the improvements from the players we already have.

  21. 19. I have thought about a FB&G shirt, but have not researched it yet. The questions really are 1) what would go on it, in terms of the logo and a catchphrase? 2) Who do I get to design it?; 3) How much does it cost? I would not want it to be expensive, but I am not willing to subsidize this as well.

    If there’s interest I can ask Jon from Dodger Thoughts how he got his done (I own one of those).

  22. The Lakers will not use the full MLE. They may use portions of it, but not the entire MLE unless there’s a bargain out there like Ron Artest… and I’m not quite sure Mitch would be thrilled about adding a head case to this team.

    I made a post about the free agents most likely to move cities…
    http://thanknaismith.blogspot.com/2008/06/top-5-free-agents-most-likely-to-change.html

    Kwame is ours if he wants to come back for cheap.

  23. Hey burningjoe, wouldn’t that be 98 – 0?

  24. Re: Childress, this from Chad Ford

    Josh Childress, Hawks: Childress doesn’t get nearly the respect or hype of many of his teammates in Atlanta, but he’s been a devastatingly effective sixth man and who might still be expendable given all of Atlanta’s wing talent. He probably can’t get more than a midlevel deal on this market, but he’d be a bargain at that price.

    Like I said, given a venue that allows it (I fully understand and respect the fact that Kurt keeps the wild speculation to a minimum) I would go trade machine on Childress. I’m not sold on a certain career-long starter managing a transition to 6th man or SF. Childress has proven to be one of the best 6th men in the game. If I could jettison Walton in the deal… cherry on top. I might even think of a way to get Memphis involved in the deal. They helped us get Shaq, they helped us with Gasol. They have a glut of PGs and I know of one young guy on their team who has experience with the triangle. Okay, LO to… dang!!!

    Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing the fullness of this team work itself out. PJ has some adjustments to make and I love the fact that they’ll be integrating two very young, very talented players into the rotation that made the Finals.

    Mihm keeps being given a chance to get healthy for a reason. A team with a healthy Mihm, a healthy Bynum, Gasol and Turiaf is actually a pretty deep team in terms of big men. Add LO’s ability to play as PF and you are dealing with a seriously strong front court.

    As for winning 74 regular season games. I think we need to wait until 2010 to consider that possibility. Yes, the team will have built more experience and gotten even more familiar with each other. Yes, the addition of Drew and Ariza is important but the fact is that both Kobe and Gasol will have played in a very intense tournament in one of the most polluted places on the planet should not be underestimated. If you think playing in front of Boston fans was annoying, wait until the Chinese show their brand of nationalism to the whole world.

    While the team should be very good, I think the Lakers will have to use their bench quite a bit and hope to maintain freshness for the playoffs rather then go for the Bulls’ record wins. By 2010 we hope to have a Drew with experience in the deep portion of the playoffs. We’ll have figured out what is to be done with LO. We’ll have transitioned to a new starting PG and hopefully trying to top a 2009 season in which championship 15 will have been taken. Thats a good season to target 74.

    If anyone thinks we have problems with being too deep, have a look at the situation created by Prichard in Portland. If they can move some swingmen for a PG (they can probably send a big to sweeten the pot) then we can talk. Right now they have a pretty decent Blake and the Spaniard who should be hitting his stride right about now. They have two tweeners in Roy and Bayless. They also have an excellent SG coming from Spain with SF covered by a dude who might want to figure out how to protect the ball when he’s going up for a layup. If Oden stops walking as old as he looks then there should be some serious battles going on between the Blazers and our boys. A couple of things though. They have no answer for LO and Gasol. Aldridge can only mystify one of those two. Bynum is farther along then Oden and has just as much talent (as well as injury problems). I’ll look forward to seeing Ariza show his wares against the likes of Outlaw and/or Roy. Plus, they don’t have the best on player on the planet.

    The Blazers have all the talent in the world but I can’t help thinking that they’ll be the perfect team to bring the best out of the Lakers and add some grit to the legend.

  25. I think the lakers should sign Kwame back for cheap like 1.5 mill a year and also look at pietrus

  26. Renato Afonso June 30, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    21. It shouldn’t cost more for overseas regulars ;) Just all I ask…

  27. i also think we should start trevor and make odom our 6th man

  28. i’d def rock a fb&g shirt if there was one.

    as for catch phrases and all that other fanciness – i say keep it simple. just forum blue and gold or fb&g or whatever. those who know, know.

  29. For P. Ami and the other Childress lovers, this is out of True Hoop (the first paragraph quotes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the sedond is Henry’s thoughts:

    Josh Childress is going to be the target of at least three different veteran-stocked playoff teams that are over the salary cap, meaning they’ll use their mid-level exception to try and steal him away while the Hawks are busy figuring out what they’ll do with Smith.

    Of course, the Hawks can match offers to either, but need to be cost-conscious as they’ll eventually be paying Al Horford and Joe Johnson at the same time. Four fat contracts is one too many even if this is a team on the rise. And you’d want to have some long-term money for a point guard (whether it’s Bibby, Acie Law, or a player to be named later) and, you know, a bench.

  30. Now, following up on the Childress thought — that’s still a lot of money for him when you consider it is $11 mill for the Lakers once the tax kicks in, and it means the Lakers are locked with him for five years. You can argue the merits one way or another, but that is a bug undertaking.

  31. I think the Lakers should just resign their free agents and stand pat. As wonderful as adding Pietrus and Childress might sound on paper, those guys want minutes and can get them for the same amount of cash that the Lakers can offer. Personally, I think Childress will go to San Antonio. While adding Kwame and not resigning Mihm would’t be a terrible idea either, I think Lamar should come off the bench in which case we have no reason to pursue a big man. Odom can’t shoot well enough to hold down the SF spot, and when he is on the court, Gasol can move to C or Bynum can stay there. There should still be 30 minutes for each of them that way with Turiaf getting whatever is left. Radmanovic can still start in that case and help space the floor altho playing him for more than 15 minutes is still probably dangerous. Either way its still really early, but god I can’t wait for the next season.
    By the way I think people are getting a little too optimistic about regular season standings. 96-0 is ridiculous. Besides we all know we’re gonna lose to Memphis at least once so please people lets be realistic and lower our sights to just 95-1. (All joking aside, the west is tough so expect 56-58 or so wins as we try to fit all our healthy pieces together.

  32. actually it would be 98-0

  33. Hey, I found some Lakers free agent ideas at this site

    http://www.lakerslive.wordpress.com

  34. ’98-0′ should be the slogan for the FB&G shirts

  35. nice to see my 74-8 remark get some run. i know i sound like some caught up in the moment lunatic, who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. but i do, am very serious about that. we will see. of course, injuries will be the
    key. this team can be special. AS IS.

  36. I really like Childress, and think he’d be a good player for us. I think he’s been severely underrated as his career has progressed as he has really developed an all around game. All that said, he’s a career 36% three point shooter and a guy that in 285 games has only 258 attempts (making 93). That tells me that he knows what his strengths are and has stayed away from shooting the long range shot (which is further evidenced by his career 52.2 FG%) and stuck to a slashing and mid-range game. Not to burst anyones bubble, even my own because I like Childress a lot, but we have a guy like this in Ariza. Sure Ariza is more raw on offense and is not the ball-handler that Childress is, but essentially, these guys play a similar game. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that Childress is better. And if we were choosing between the two, I’d choose Childress every time. But, if we’re really going to improve the team, or try to fill in the gaps in areas where we are lacking something, is Childress that guy? I don’t think he is. Not right now. If we were looking at adding him 1 or 2 seasons ago, I’d be all for it. But right now, (and I made this point earlier, but will say it again) with our glut of wing men, do we need to add another? If we have any free agent need, it would be for another rebounder/defender/enforcer type of player OR a shooter/defender/ball-handler type of player. And any/either of those potential signees would have to be better players than guys that we already have. For all of Luke/RadMan/Turiaf/Sasha/Odom’s faults, these guys are legit NBA players with good (to great) skill sets and guys who contribute to wins.

  37. As is…is, of course, the operative phrase. We probably should plan for some significant time lost due to injury for one of our top four players (Kobe, Andrew, Pau, Lamar). Look people, if we are able to duplicate our record last year it will be a not insignificant accomplishment.

  38. Also, regarding 74-8 again. take a look at the teams who made runs at it the past few years, like Dallas and Boston. Do any of you here feel that next season Lakers could be/are as good as those teams that won 67. The main thing is to not lose 2 of 3, or 3 or 4. Which the Lakers did 5 times last season. Let’s assume that they only did that once. That would raise the total to 67 wins alone. Then I would like to figure in that they could be good enough to be 7 games better than they were last season. Add that in, along with something to prove all season and there you go. Perfect recipe. That’s why I think that.

    Darius,

    I think the “rebounder/defender/enforcer ” type would be more ideal for this team, but I think that’s something that can also be learned or applied. So, I’d like to see one of the guys step up and fill that role. Just maybe, the threat of what happened, and what could happen as far as a trade mid season, will bring that up. That’s a mindset, not really a skill set. We have guys who can shoot, and handle the ball, but no one showed (when it mattered most) the WILL to rll their sleeves up and outwork the other man. That was the difference. Before this season, besides Posey (who was always a good defender who didn’t mind a cheap shot here or there), who on the Celtics could you say that about? No one. Not Ray Allen, not Paul Pierce, not Perkins, not Rondo, not Leon Powe, defintely not Eddie House, and not even KG. It was a collective effort that infected the whole team this past year. So my point is the one thing we NEED, can be applied. Simple as that. You are right, “do we need to add another?”

  39. The big reason I see as to why the Lakers lost the finals was that some of its interior players were not willing to push players out of the way when they wanted post position or were going after rebounds, even though the refs were letting the players play. So here is my question. Can the Lakers simply teach these players to read the refs a bit better, and do what they need to do, or do we need to go after a free agent that knows how to do these things instinctually?

  40. w/r/t James Jones, I remember a wages of win column that took a look at Portland at midseason. Jones was a major factor in their success, and their subpar play the rest of the way coincided with his being out-due-to-injury. I don’t really believe he’ll be let go by the Blazers; he is a key player for them.

    Buss is a prudent, calculating gambler. If a free agent can be had that will significantly improve his team’s chances of winning a championship, I believe he’ll take that risk. I believe the only player that meets that criteria is James Posey. Artest is really kind of a wild card, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable betting on him to put the Lakers over the top.

  41. 37-Exactly, we need to appreciate how amazing this last season was, while still realizing that next year is a new, different animal.

    I think bringing Odom off the bench is a bad idea. Either he works with the lineup or we move him, I don’t see any other option. The question is, do we wait and see (meaning move LO at the break) or move him over the summer (without getting a chance to see how that lineup would work).

    Best case scenario is LO tells the front office he is going to MAKE 1,000 jumpers a day and problem solved!

  42. Long time, no post. Been sleeping off the flogging my liver took from the G6 debacle. I’m still burning, but the doctor’s say it’s not serious and I should learn to play golf. Idiots.

    If we don’t re-sing Sasha, which I would think is a nightmare, we need to “full steam ahead” on James Jones. Nice replacement there, though not exactly the same, could limit the grief. Turiaf is signable, easier. Not many teams pony up the big money on “intangibles” and the Lakers know how import he is in the locker room. It’s like the K-Bro’s on LATimes Lakers Blog say, “if you don’t like Turiaf as a person, it’s your problem, not his”. You can’t question the guy. If he goes elsewhere, maybe we can throw the whole MLE at Posey and hope for the best. Sasha is passionate, and maybe too much so at times, but developing as a real match-up problem on both sides of the ball for significant teams we will be up against.

    Zo and Mutombo aren’t coming. Zo’s done. The only big African center in our future is Mbenga, if any. Mihm has legs of glass, can’t be relied upon (at least not at this point). I’ve heard his ankle looks like an abstract art piece. Sweet, let’s jump on that. Need some muscle that doesn’t kill us on the offensive end, so let’s agree to stop talking Kwame Brown. Are you serious? He has the basketball hands of your average hockey player. Leave it alone.

    Point is, I feel, we have very little problems if the huge front-court can work and we can stay healthy. Big if’s, but what team doesn’t have big if’s? That’s why it’s played in quarters, games, seasons, and decades…sometimes dynasty’s. Welcome to ours.

  43. Ok, let’s not overblow this. Here’s is what I think:

    Give Posey the MLE. If he re-signs with Boston (gulp), then go after Mickael Pietrus. He’d immediately be starting SF, bumping Odom to what I would envision as a high-tempo 2nd unit.

    As for lower-end deals, try to get Kurt Thomas and Kwame Brown. Here’s what I see the roster looking like after that:

    1) Fisher, Farmar
    2) Kobe, Vujacic, Crawford*/Lofton (yes, I want Chris Lofton over Crawford)
    3) Pietrus, Ariza, Walton*
    4) Gasol, Odom, Turiaf, Radmanovic*
    5) Bynum, Thomas, Brown

    *Inactive (if Lofton were in place of Crawford, then Brown is inactive)

    Opinions please

  44. I agree we will probably see the same team from last at the start of the season. Another big man would not hurt as you said and I think a little more depth at the PG; a lindsey Hunter type player someone that can pressure the ball and hit the occasional J, but I don’t think anyone like that is available for cheap (Lindsey Hunter is a UFA but he is 38). Of the FA two names stick out. One is Kurt Thomas but I think he will ask for more money than the Lakers will be willing to pay. If he wanted to play for a contender for little $, like 2 yr $4 million with a player option for the 2nd year than I’d say it was worth signing him. Peitrus also stands out, but with the glut of SF on the roster and likely a full MLE size contract he will be seeking he will likely not be realistic.

  45. carter blanchard June 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    This might just be my Cardinal homerism, but I absolutely love Childress and would be thrilled to steal him for the MLE. I’d also have no objections to stealing back Mo or Kwame for cheap. I hate Kurt Thomas, but hafta admit he’d be useful to have. Posey would also definitely help, but I feel like the finals have probably overrated him some. I think I’d prefer someone like Mo who’s younger/cheaper and already knows the system and has some chemistry with our young guys. I guess my wishlist in descending order would be: Childress, Evans, Posey, Thomas, and Kwame. Bringing any one guy off that list would be just fine with me, but coming back with nada would be similarly ok for the reasons Kurt detailed.

  46. If we lose Turiaf, I will be devastated. DEVASTATED.

  47. Anybody think that bringing back Kwame Brown is a good idea if it cost nothing over $1 million/year? He has bad hands and all, but he was a good low-post defender and would be a good backup center to Andrew Bynum.

  48. Kwame,
    I agree with you about Odom. I think we have to see how he fits with Bynum back and Gasol in the mix and go from there. If Odom’s our 6th man, that must mean it’s not working and then a decision is made to either trade him or let him walk and let his contract expire (a real possibility in my eyes).

    Also, I have high hopes for him over this off-season. Whether or not that includes 1,000 made jumpers, I don’t know, but I do hope he’s thinking along those lines. I think back too and recall that in the last 3 off-seasons he’s dealt with 2 separate shoulder surgeries and the death of a child. I hope that with him healthy and with (hopefully) no more personal advsersity/tragedy he can really work on his game to try and fit with this team. My affinity for LO is well known at this point, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think we have to give him a chance to prove that he can play with this team in it’s current form. I think he’s earned that much. If it doesn’t work out, then the team can figure something out at that point. His contract will be valuable all the way up to the trade deadline for dealing purposes and his overall talent (as a part time SF and PF) is very valuable to a front line that has suffered injuries historically and could use the versatility and his skill set.

  49. Oops…Looks like previous commenters already brought it up.

    I think it would be a good idea to bring him back. Kwame should come on the cheap because I don’t think other teams would give him anything over $1 million/year.

  50. FB&G shirt, yes please.

    Perhaps something esoterically Laker, so that I won’t draw the vitriol of low information fandom. Maybe a Chick quote, because all real basketball fans can get behind him. Chick really made an effort to be an innovative voice, just like what blogs (and this one in particular) represent today. I would definitely buy one (whatever style is chosen).

    With respect to offseason moves, keep in mind that teams in modern era have “Big Three”s. That is because “elite” level players make about 12-15 million a year. Three “elite” players run about 40-45 million themselves, and just two mid level players on top of that puts a team right around the salary cap (about $55 million).

    We have our “Big Three” in terms of contract size. Committing to Bynum complicates Lamar’s situation as an elite salary player. If Lamar is going to want to get paid (and he will, as he is only 29 and *still* has upside) Buss is going to have to cough up the 10-15 million per year, plus the luxury tax (making net cost 20-30 million).

    Buss is obviously very well off (I bet he made $10million alone from the playoffs), but doesn’t want to Cubanize the payroll. Choosing wisely at this juncture with respect to payroll is very important. This likely rules out many mid-level signings for the Lakers.

    Childress could be a great signing for a team, but the Hawks will extend a qualifying offer to him and match any mid level exception offer he receives (including one from the Spurs, they are over the salary cap). He would be an excellent value player at that price, and Atlanta would jump at that opportunity.

    My vote is stand pat (resign Ronny) and hope for the best with Lamar/Bynum/Kobe/Pau. Odom as the fourth best option on our team! I can’t believe that wouldn’t be good enough for another deep playoff run if things break our way.

  51. i don’t like the idea of kwame back unless he’s free. even then i don’t know if he’s worth it. How could that work ? How do you think he’d play knowing every Laker fan but Mike Teniente was thrilled to hear he was traded before they even found out whom for ? I remember hearing from Stephen A., and just hearing him say before the commercial break that the Kwame Brown Era was over in L.A. made me jump out of my seat, BEFORE he came back to say it wasfor Paul ! Every time he touched the ball, he would try to prove something, fail miserably and play worse. No thanks.

  52. Like many others have already mentioned, this team doesn’t need drastic changes (assuming Sasha and Ronny are successfully resigned). Our glaring necessities are a backup center (preferably a veteran or a center with tri experience…Kwame) and perimeter defense–Ariza could be that piece.

    Posey is going to get a fatter paycheck from another team with more time to spare at SF. I suggest we make a pitch at Eddie Najera with a portion of the MLE. He can shoot the trey, he can defend, and he is more versatile as he can play both forward positions… something other swing men demanding more PT and more money are not able to do. Also take into account the Nuggets are probably trying to cut payroll.

    I agree with others that we should try to move either Walton or Odom, but it’s easier said than done. Mitch would be better off to wait it out.

    I don’t expect Mitch to make a trade before the Feb. deadline. I think he’s going to make a couple offers to some vets, and wait and see how the SF position works out. At deadline, try to move either Odom, Walton, or perhaps Ariza.

  53. Everyone has to remember that Ariza will be a free agent next year. If the Lakers sign either Pietrus and Childress (highly unlikely but a possibility), I doubt Jerry Buss will want to fork over money for Ariza playing the same position as well. So the question becomes, would you sign Pietrus and lose Ariza or continue to develop Ariza this year and sign him at the end of 09.

    In my opinion, I’d rather the Lakers spend money on someone on the cheap, say Matt Barnes, Kwame, Brezec, Craig Smith, Kurt Thomas or even Najera (best fit for the right price).

  54. Wow! Baron Davis opting out is a shocker. Can’t imagine anyone else paying him $18 mil unless there’s a massive sign and trade deal going on in the background.

  55. You guys need at least 2-3 tough vets who know how to play defense and don’t buckle under pressure.

    Step 1: Figure out whether Artest is serious about signing for the full MLE. If not:

    Step 2: Sign Posey to the full MLE 4 or 5 yrs. If Celtics match, fine, at least you’re making them pay the max.

    Step 3: Trade your net negative players like Radman and Walton for some older big men vets– maybe who have a longer contract thus making the other team willing to do the deal to save future money.

    Nobody is going to be throwing serious money at Sasha or Turiaf. Better try to improve the team first than trying to maintain.

  56. Brand opts out?

    The Wizards could sign unrestricted Brand for 14 million per and then resign Arenas and Jamison. They would have a hell of a team…

  57. Still waiting for the Lakers to pick up some toughness/enforcer-type for the interior. I know our interior D will pick up significantly if/when Bynum comes back, but we need some attitude. Artest provides some bite, he can play on the perimeter or the inside, but he’s a bad fit for the triangle and team chemistry. He’s one of my favorite players in the lig, but he forces a lot of bad shots.

    Maybe he could adjust if he came here, but as has been said (and I definitely agree), Odom deserves a shot at the 3. He played the 4 wonderfully for us this year, snatching the tough boards that didn’t land in Gasol’s hands. He def. earned my respect. At the worst, he’s our 6th man off the bench (a highly paid one). A big man rotation of Bynum, Odom, and Gasol with Bynum as the 1st one to the bench at the 8 minute mark of the 1st for the deadly Gasol-Odom combo that helped us beat every team but Boston is something we shouldn’t complain about. This is an “issue” every team in the league wishes they had. And even if that doesn’t work out, Odom is tradebait as an expiring contract at the trade deadline or we let him expire off our books for cap relief. I’m pretty sure Mitch isn’t trading Odom unless Chris Wallace offers Rudy…nevermind.

    Anywhoo, as a selfish/greedy Laker fan, I really want a rugged 4/5 – one of those bangers who would’ve knocked Pierce to the ground after he drove 5 consecutive times on Radman and Luke. Looking at potential free agents, players I would look at:

    P.J. Brown, James Posey – not gonna happen
    Najera
    Zo & Craig Smith & Kurt Thomas – been mentioned already

    Not seeing any more potentials unless we sign and trade. But I’m not expecting Mitch to do anything too cute. So this is gonna be one long summer, cant wait till preseason/training camp to see how the kids are developing.

  58. As a current San Francisco resident and a person who roots for the Warriors–so long as they represent absolutely no threat what-so-ever to the Lakers–I am pretty disappointed in Baron. He is set to make one of the bigger paydays of 08/09, and he decides to opt out of his contract with a young, 49-win team. Awesome. It can’t be about the money (unless he has the dumbest agent in the world), so I have to assume that missing the playoffs stung him worse than anyone thought. It looks like he’s probably headed for a sign-and-trade, which most likely means he will end up in the Eastern Conference. I assume that’s what he wants, given how his season ended.

    Really, I just feel sorry for my neighbors. The fans in Oakland are some of the rowdiest and most loyal in the league. Oakland is a basketball town and Baron will never get the kind of love he’s been shown there again. The community deserves better. Not to mention the fact that Nelly ball is a perfect fit for his game. If Mr. Davis has any soul left, I have to believe that he will come to regret this decision someday… especially when Monta Ellis lives up to his potential.

  59. Any talk of signing Kwame Brown back to the team needs to stop right now. As #50 said, even if he came at no cost, the black hole in the middle of the floor on the offensive end would completely ruin the team. Just getting him off the team was the best move of the season, not to mention what we got out of the deal. Please, I beg anyone who thinks it is a good idea, to please remember how frustating it was to watch a game with Kwame in the line-up…

  60. # 57 hahaha, brings back memories that black hole in the middle.

  61. #57 LOL

    Kurt,
    Yea, an FB&G t-shirt would be really cool indeed. Probably around $25 will be within most budgets I would think.
    Good luck on it.
    Go Team USA…

  62. Is anyone serious about this 74-8 talk? If so, please just stop… Kurt should impose the same rules on ridiculous predictions as he has on ridiculous trade posts: lose your head, the post gets yanked.

    Should the Lakers be better next year? Ideally, yes, given Bynum’s skill set. But there’s no promise people will stay healthy over 82 games, nor is there a need to set the league on fire all year. The ’96 Bulls are remembered as winners because they won the Finals as well as 72 games. Had they lost to the Sonics that year, we’d talk about them like we spoke of the Patriots earlier this year.

    And the Bulls 72 wins came in an expansion season, which meant easy wins over the two new teams that year, not to mention competing against watered-down benches from the existing teams who lost decent players in the expansion draft.

    I doubt we’ll see 70 wins next season in L.A., and if we don’t, who cares? Just make the playoffs, secure the home court and go back to the Finals to finish off the job that wasn’t done this June. Whether it takes 65 or 55 regular season wins to get there doesn’t matter in the least.

  63. It also shouldn’t be hard to find some designers… I know there’s a lot of GFX artists who will do a design for cheap… look for GFX forums or ask your fellow bloggers.

  64. Also forgot to add that maybe you could have a contest…

  65. Now if the Clips manage to take the money freed up by Maggette and Brand opting out to split into luring Brand back along with either Arenas or Baron… that would be amazing. The hallway series would be on.

  66. We should see our second concrete response to free agency as early as tomorrow with the signing of Sasha V. We’ve already got Trevor and Chris Mihm. It took me quite a while to come up with numbers, but I’d hope we pay Sasha in the $3 to $4 million range. Beyond $5 million, I’d be on the phone to Mo Evans in Orlando.

    I’m not so worried about Ronny at $1-$1.5 million.

    That just leaves Mbenga as a restricted free agent. I wouldn’t be surprized to see Kwame Brown in that slot at about $1 million instead–but Mbenga IS restricted. Let’s not count him out quite yet.

    Coby Karl is likely to survive as #14 over
    Crawford. The Lakers are likely to leave #15 open.

    The real action is going to be in the trades this year–but that may not sharpen up yet for awhile.

  67. I say re-sign Kwame Brown and then promptly get Chris Wallace to trade us Rudy Gay for him.

  68. (57) Kwame Brown was clearly not able to replace Andrew Bynum when he went down–but he did earn a great deal of respect for his defense from his coaches, teammates–and me!

    Bynum actually played both times against the Celtics during the 2007-2008 regular season and was destroyed by Perkins. Perkins had the best game of his career the first night. Kwame weighs about 280 pounds and was unavailable both times. He might well have been a better one on one matchup against Perkins.

    Having “twinkletoes” as a number 3 center for the Lakers rather than Mbenga seems like a clear “win” to me.

  69. Brand opted out but said he wants to resign with the Clips, we’ll see if that is true. He’ll have to at least listen to offers, there just probably are not many on the way, everyone is aiming their cap space for a few years from now. Davis may find the same thing.

    If there is one thing I’m close to putting a moratorium on, it is the Artest talk. He did not opt out of his deal and then said he would never play for less just to get a title. So, he is not coming here. I could get into why I think bringing him here under any circumstances is a horrible idea, but even that is moot because it IS NOT HAPPENING. Give it up.

  70. Does anyone have an idea of Lamar’s offseason progression with the Clippers/Miami? It might give a good idea of what we might expect from his next year.

  71. The Dude Abides July 1, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Nothing frustrates me more than reading the words “Kwame” and “Brown” and “re-sign.” His butterfingers and missed dunks were good for a consistent 15-20 point swing every night. Remember that his turnover rate is already extremely high, and would be much higher if turnovers on dropped passes weren’t credited to the passer, no matter how easy the catch. No amount of solid post defense can make up for all the fast break opportunities off of his missed dunks, dropped passes, and botched dribble drives. Kwame may be the worst offensive player in the NBA since Chuck Nevitt called it quits on his scintillating career. I don’t think he’s even half the player DJ Mbenga is. At least DJ knows how to rotate and cover the rim.

  72. I don’t really agree with the post. I think Duhon is still a plus defender. I’m still not sold on Farmar as a defender, so I think Duhon would be a worthy rotation addition. I think a defensive unit of Duhon, Ariza, Kobe, Odom, and Bynum might be pretty decent, while retaining enough offensive firepower.

    I think the Lakers’ problem for this offseason is a lack of tradable assets. The Lakers only have 3 players that (a) they would trade and (b) other teams would trade for: Odom, Ariza, and Radmanovic. I’m guessing Odom will get traded sometime in the middle of the season to a team looking to clear payroll in exchange for a couple quality pieces. Ariza would probably only be shipped out if the Lakers are desperate for a deal and need salary makeweight. I’m not sure there’s a decent landing place for Radman, though: he could be attractive to a team in need of some outside shooting and size, everything else be damned. Not sure if there’re any teams like that who could give anything worthwhile back in return.

  73. I’m a bit surprised at the idea of Ronny getting less than two million. He has a limited offensive game and isn’t a good rebounder, but having that energy and spark off the bench is usually worth a bit more. Considering who our other backup bigs are, I would think Ronny’s agent would probably negotiate for at least what Brian Cook got. (10 million, 3 years)

  74. The advantage Odom has at pf is that he is so much quicker than they guys trying to defend him. He has no such advantage against most sf in the league. He could back them down but with Gasol and Bynum clogging the paint he won’t get too many opportunities to do so. The only way he can start is if he becomes a much much better three point shooter, the type thats comfortable taking 4-5 a game and making 2 most of the time. He has an entire off season to work on that, but I still don’t see him doing it.
    That being said, other than his ego being hurt for being asked to come off the bench (and we have the great Phil Jackson to help with that) what is the downside of Odom coming off the bench? He’ll check in with 4 minutes to go in the first and immediately have two or three plays run for him. What back up power forward can guard him? He’ll still get 25-30 minutes, but since he’ll often be playing against other subs he can become the focus of the offense for roughly half that time. That three man rotation at the pf/c positions will keep everyone’s minutes down (saving wear and tear which is big when the playoffs kick in) and if all three play at a high level should often put opposing big men in foul trouble. Whats not to love? I mean Odom is versatile enough to also play sf in spots for big lineups and the such, but I think most of his value comes from the pf and we shouldn’t mess with that.
    As for Josh Childress, Atlanta has a terrible situation with their owners so if they can agree to put aside their differences and get Josh Smith signed to a big time deal, they most likely won’t be willing to pay Childress especially with their young point guards getting better which will cause Joe Johnson to spend even more time on the wings and Marvin Williams finally scratching at his potential. If the Hawks keep Smith, look for them to let Childress walk if he can (And will) get the full midlevel. That being said, the guy is one hell of a talent and can play in almost any system. The Spurs should pursue him because he could be the eventual replacement for Bowen rather than Udoka, because Udoka has trouble against speedy wings. Childress can be the consistent 4th scorer the Spurs have wanted for some time without compromising their defense.

  75. I kinda agree with what Simon said in 72. I think the around 2 million offer might be too cheap for ronny turiaf’s agent.

    But, I believe that if there’s one thing that may swing ronny to us is that we are also counting on some loyalty thing going on between the laker organization and him. Something that can be related to the lakers staying with ronny and even helping him out during his heart surgery.

  76. (72)(73) Ronny is currently earning about $770,000. Unless another team competes for him, I doubt that he gets more than $2 million.

  77. 74- Yea. I wouldn’t break the bank for Ronny, but I would make a strong effort to get Sasha back.

    RE: Brand- I think he would be best served to go to a young, talented Sixers team.

  78. I don;t think the market will be big for Ronny. 1.5 million for him. Maybe 2.5 for Sasha? I think they both re-sign though. I’d like to see Sasha learn to finish his drives also.

  79. 98-0…sorry about that…you guys are absolutly right…98-0 my bad…see what I get for doing two things at once….in my head I was thinking 80 games…because I was helping a student here print a document with 80 pages…showing her how to print double sided to reduce the paper use.

    And Kurt… simply “ForumBlueandGold.com” on the front would be cool…anything to busy looses class IMO…we probably cant use the Laker logos or anything like that for licensing reasons…I dont know…you got some pull?

    But…I just went to DesignAShirt.com and did this using the logo at the top of the forum….

    http://www.DesignAShirt.com/design.asp?design=345612

    and pricing all depends on how many get printed….obviously the more volume the cheaper the price. And…being is Los Angles area..there are litteraly THOUSANDS of screen printers that are willing to compete for business…so…we are probably looking at about 5.50 a shirt…especially if we just go 1 print color..maybe 2….better prices can be found but that i just an estimate…but…I might be able to work something else out…I got some friends….I will get back to you all shortly.

  80. To Oldie (5) – Farmar played the triangle in high school, played a similar offense in college, and grew up watching the lakers. Hard to believe he is not familiar with the triangle.

    To 12, 16, & 42- No way do we want Kurt Thomas. He doesn’t play defense. See the SA series against the Lakers.

    To 68 – LOL. He’d be dumb enough. Maybe we could send Chris Mihm over there for another back-up at point. They may want to part with one of the 5 they already have at that position.

    To everybody else: I would try and re-sign Ronny for more than $2 M and actually let Sasha go if he wants over $4 M. Ronny has more heart than Sasha and talented bigs are harder to find than SGs.

  81. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Off-season priorities include:
    1. Sasha
    2. Ronny

    And in that particular order too. I agree with the fact that Ronny’s skillset are dime a dozen (hard to part with that energy though), and I never could imagine Ronny leaving just coz of the money… then again, easy for me to say. Sasha is simply too important to let go, so 10m over 3 years is probably the way to go.

    As for our “favorite” restricted guys, remember that a possibility of a sign-and-trade is always open. Teams would rather get some 30c in return rather than lose the player completely. If such a deal works, then we do not add salary but simply traded a current one for another one. So Childress supporters, insert comment ________ here.

    Speaking of rosters, Walton, Radman and Ariza and Odom is a logjam. I EXPECT Mitch to address this issue before or during the season (same with the wonderful Cook, Evans for Ariza deal). Walton at 4.4m, Radman at 6m, Ariza at nearly 3m, and Odom at nearly 15m has got to be the most EXPENSIVE foursome SFs in the league.

    So I can smell the trade-air all the way from the Philippines. Radman’s contract is easier to swallow now… Walton’s is still ugly and he still could not guard his shadow but its possible some “system” teams will like his IQ.

  82. (76) The Lakers qualifying offer to Sasha was $2.6 million, so he’ll get more than $2.5 million. Neither agreed to the qualifying offer last night. Trevor, with the same number of years as Sasha, agreed to $3.1 million already–if that means anything.

  83. (79) Thanks. Might mean 3.5 for Sasha then.

  84. Kurt,

    If you do decide to make some tees, and need some tall tees, or big tees for our larger fan base. I’m your man.

    stores.ebay.com/wondahshop

    Even regular size tees. I’ll give you the wholesale price. Any color. Purple, yellow, white, black, and/or navy blue.

    Check it out.

  85. Warren,
    When speaking of logjams, keep track of the number of years and $/yr left for each participant. The Lakers have to manage their roster and costs over a number of years and resignings. Each year different players need to be resigned. Therefore, just looking at this year’s numbers doesn’t tell the important part of the story. This is where letting Lamar just walk next year, or signing him at substantially less, is so appealing. It leaves the Lakers with flexibility to resign their own players over time. Just trying to max the salary level this year results in a Knicks situation in 2-3 years.

  86. The Lakers should resign Kwame Brown for defense. Instead of looking at Kwame as a draft pick bust, we should view him as a solid backup defensive center. With Bynum and Gasol the Lakers have plenty of front court offense. Its a role Kwame performed very well in the first half of the season.

  87. the other Stephen July 1, 2008 at 10:23 am

    while i wouldn’t mind having kwame back (despite all his woes, he is fair on defense, and remains a great laker brother), i don’t think it would be wise to spend the money on him when we have more pressing needs. i doubt that kwame has picked up any sort of skills or new mindset in his time in memphis.

    i suppose james posey is more or less out of the picture, and so are james jones, matt barnes, and mickael pietrus, who all earned upward of 2.9 million last year. i don’t know, maybe james jones is still a possibility.

    mo evans, whom we all knew was a solid player behind kobe in LA, still only earned about 1.74 million last year. i know he had a good time here in L.A., but he was really able to get some burn playing for an also-young and exciting orlando team. i think he’s a great bet who’s worth the money, but will he really want to come back to LA? how much does orlando value him?

  88. There seems to be a lot of interest in the T-Shirt idea, and I’ve started to do some research and reached out to a few people on this. Feel free to send me an email with thoughts, but I think we’ll come up with a couple ideas this summer and present them to the group and have people vote and comment. Then I’ll set up a way to pay and get everything shipped. I’m in the early stages but people seem pumped about the idea and so am I, so it’s going ahead. Wondahbap, I’ll be in touch.

    On a separate note, I am not thrilled with the idea of Kwame back at any price. Part of it is he is a step back. Part of it is he has a bad work ethic and drove Phil nuts with his clowning around. The locker room should be fun, but that has to come with work, and I’m not sure Kwame sets or follows a good tone for a young team.

  89. the other Stephen July 1, 2008 at 10:31 am

    sorry for the double post, but can someone verify those salaries? another cheap option (1.2 million or so) next to mo evans is wing player jarvis hayes, who’s done pretty well shooting 37% from the outskirts this past year. the question is whether he will be affected by detroit’s inevitable housecleaning.

  90. I have a question. Since Brand opted out, and Davis did as well. could the Clippers somehow sign both players if they let Magette leave? I don’t think they could give both max contracts but maybe Brand would be willing to take a little less money. That would be a pretty good team.

  91. Kurt,

    What is your email address. I can give you some help on the payment, and shipping info, seeing that is what I do for a living. You have mine. You do not need to post this comment either. It’s only meant for you to read. Whenever you’re ready.

  92. Ah come on Kurt…give Kwame a break….the Cake Incident is Lakers Leged now!!! LOL

    I agree…why bother with him…maybe if he shows he can catch a ball on a regular basis for a year or so…then maybe.

  93. Ummm… My summer league needs another center. I’ll let him start. I’ll even pay him. We have 6 games left. I’ll pay him $20 per game. I won’t sit him all game. Can someone pass that info along to him? You think that’s too much?

  94. 93. Brand opted out but basically told the Clippers they can keep him for a max deal. He is not taking less to stay. Kevin at Clipperblog has a great breakdown, basically saying he is dictating terms to the Clips and part of that is likely trying to get a second option to go with him. Problem is, they are not going to get Barron after what it will cost to keep Brand.

    My email can be found at the top right of the site, but it is kurt@forumblueandgold.com

  95. Kurt,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, or anyone else do the same who has knowledge of the CBA, but can’t the Clippers sign Baron to a max(ish) deal first with their abundance of cap space, and then sign Brand to whatever they want because they own his Bird’s Rights. I thought that if you control a players Bird’s rights, you can sign them to deals that go above the salary cap under the premise that the league wants teams to be able to keep their own players. So wouldn’t it make sense for the Clips to sign BD to a deal in the 15-18 mil range, and then use their Bird Rights to Brand to extend his deal for whatever they want and go over the cap? I would think it wouldn’t matter that after an (supposed) 16 mil commitment to Baron that the Clips would only have 13 mil left under their cap, because by controlling Brand’s Bird Rights they can go over the cap to sign him. Am I missing something?

  96. 98. Once Brand opted out do the Clips still maintain the Bird rights? I’ll have to look that up, frankly.

    Great stuff on Davis and the Clippers options from KD and Kevin:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Baron-Davis-bold-move?urn=nba,91249

    http://clipperblog.com/index.php?itemid=599

    From clipperblog:

    It’s obvious that the organization will extend healthy offers to both Brand and Davis. What’s unclear is what happens if either or both balk. As Dwyer points out, one of these two guys will be “getting the stick in this situation.” Will the prospect of kinda-sorta contending for a Top 4 seed might pale next to getting the max elsewhere? Is so, where do the Clippers go from there?

    Could a Clippers team with both Elton Brand and Baron Davis chase the Lakers into the ides of March? Could sinking half of the team’s payroll into dual contracts for a couple of guys who will turn 30 this spring be ruinous going forward? All good questions, but ones whose worst-case scenarios shouldn’t preclude the Clippers from rolling the dice.

  97. I thought they would still hold his Bird’s Rights. I think back to when Kobe opted out of his contract when he was flirting with the Clips and the media was portraying his stance as “Shaq or Me”. At that point, weren’t the Lakers over the cap but still able to re-sign Kobe to his max deal? *If* that was the case, I would assume that had to do with his Bird Rights. I think this could be muddied some by the Clips wanting to sign Baron AND Brand. But if the timing was right, and Baron was signed first, AND the Clips hold Brand’s Bird Rights, then I would think this scenario would work.

  98. Having Davis and Brand together might be enough to get the Clippers into the playoffs, but even that might be a stretcht. I’ve watched a lot of Baron Davis and I enjoy his game. He seems to have made the commitment to his body to remain healthy for longer stretches of the season, but he still has some question marks there. His defense comes and goes with his shot and he needs a fast-paced offense to employ the full force of his creative playmaking. Brand is a 20-10 machine when is healthy and I think he would benefit from an energetic point guard. But he has never demonstrated the ability to take over games in the manner expected of a franchise player.

    The real issue here is the competition. With the west stacked as it is, I can think of 9 better combos (and trios and quartets) in the W.C. off the top of my head: Kobe-Gasol-Bynum-Odom, Duncan-Parker-Ginobli, Paul-Peja-Chandler, Williams-Boozer, Nowitzki-Kidd, Nash-Stoudemire, Iverson-Anthony, Ming-McGradey, and Roy-Oden (in the very near future). Additionally, most (if not all) of those teams will have a better supporting cast than the Clips.

    For the money it would take to get Brand and Davis, I just don’t see it working. They will see a significant improvement, but they won’t be close to contention.

  99. 101. I still have questions about Davis as well. He is certainly talented enough to be one of the top players in the league, and when he wants to (which is not all that often) he is one of the best defenders at his position. You’re right it might not work, but the clippers are going no where fast and it might be worth a gamble. Davis, Brand, Kaman trio would not be too bad. Otherwise maybe they should look to do a sign and trade with brand to bring back some young prospects, draft picks and expiring contracts (Miami maybe?).

  100. 99. “Player options were previously used as a way to give the player more money. A long-term deal was agreed upon with a player option after the player obtained Larry Bird rights. The player invoked the option, became a free agent, and then the team & player signed a new contract for more money using the Bird exception. However, since the current CBA prevents ETO’s before the end of the fourth year or more than one option year, the usefulness of this tool is now very limited.”

    Not sure if this clears anything up…

  101. anoni,
    That is helpful in that it explains that players have to have a certain number of service years with that team to obtain Bird Rights when paired with ETO’s (early termination options). Brand signed his deal with the Clippers in the Summer of 2003. It has been 5 years (or 4 full seasons) since he signed that deal with the Clips. If I’m understanding your post correctly, Brand would still have his Bird Rights with the Clippers even after utilizing his ETO, enabling the Clippers to sign him to a deal that goes above the cap. I guess I’m still wondering if the Clippers can sign Baron AND THEN still sign Brand after that to a deal that goes above the cap. But it seems like that is indeed possible.

  102. 104. I forgot to add the source–good ol’ larry coon:
    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm

    I’ve been reading a bit, but I can’t seem to find a specific answer…

  103. The Dude Abides July 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    If the Clips can somehow pick up Baron and keep EB, then they are instantly a top six team in the West. Starting lineup:

    PG-Baron Davis
    SG-Cuttino Mobley
    SF-Al Thornton
    PF-Elton Brand
    C -Chris Kaman

    Bench: SG Eric Gordon, PG Brevin Knight, C DeAndre Jordan, SF/SG Marcus Williams, PF Nick Fazekas

    OK, so the bench is a little thin. Maybe not a top six team, but could very well make the playoffs in what will be a brutal conference. I do see Phoenix and Dallas struggling to make the playoffs next season, with Portland a virtual lock for the postseason.

  104. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-clippers2-2008jul02,0,341652,print.story

    Ok, so there’s the credible source. Clippers are looking to add B-Diddy.

  105. Okay, this has been bugging me for a while. What is up with Laker fans wishing for thug-type players from opposing teams we lost to in the playoffs. First Raja Bell and now Posey? Besides, Posey 31 and I doubt Buss wants to add to his collection of dead-weight contracts while being over the luxury tax.

  106. Those “thug-type” players are tough vets who know how to get to their spots within the play, know their roles and know how to execute under pressure on both-ends of the floor. It’s more of a gamble hoping Walton/Radman/Vujacic will start hustling on D than acting like it and then committing stupid, lazy fouls.

  107. I think most people are resigned to the fact that the team returns intact (with the possible exception of Turiaf). As much as we might like, Rad and Walton’s contracts make them impossible to trade. But if we indulge ourselves for a moment…

    Let’s assume the Lakers are like Philip Morris, it doesn’t matter what the taxes (payroll) are, just increase the end price (tickets) because the addict (Lakers fan) must pay for his Marlboro lights. So go over the cap, way over the cap – we’ll keep paying for the tickets.

    Excluding the obvious free agents like Posey (who will resign with Boston for the MLE, I believe) or Davis and Brand (too expensive, even at 1/2 the asking price). I have a few suggestions.

    1. Kenyon Dooling. Unrestricted. Tall, long point guard. Good handles. Much improved jumper. Instantly becomes the 2nd best penetrator on the Lakers. One of the best on-ball defensive guards in the league. He should start but doesn’t because he’s not a classic point guard like Nelson. But he’d make a great triangle point guard.

    2. Bonzi Wells. I know, a headcase – but not as bad as Artest. Tough defender. A Load on the low post. Relentless offensive rebounder. Tough as nails. Don’t think PJ and Kobe can’t bring out the best while controlling the worst? A poor man’s Artest at fraction of the price, agro, and much better rebounder.

    Both Dooling and Wells can be had at below MLE and instantly improve athleticism and defense.

    Of the restricted, Childress will be too expensive (but then again… Marlboros are expensive..). I like Craig Smith for all of the reasons posted on other posts…

    Quick thought. Yes each salary the Lakers pay is actually doubled in cost. But what about the fact that each Laker player will get between 2M and 2.5M each for making it to the NBA finals. (Someone should check the exact figures but this is my guess). Surely any potential candidate has to factor in this “bonus” into overall compensation. So a 4m salary to Sasha is an 8m cost to the Lakers but 6.5M value to him.

  108. RE: Signing Baron then Brand isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    I don’t know the numbers, but I believe Brand puts a cap hold on the Clippers. The only way to get rid of the cap hold is to re-sign Brand or waive the rights to him (which means waving his bird rights)

    As far as numbers go I don’t know what his cap hold is but it is usually around his actually salary. I believe the clippers are still far enough under the cap if they waive Maggette so they don’t have his CAP hold against them.

  109. 110. As I understand it, the playoff money made by players is a bonus paid by the league and is totally separate from their salary as paid by the team. The team salary is paid only during the regular season, not playoffs. I seriously doubt any player would count on that “bonus” money as part of their salary.

  110. Kurt,

    I think you are right. But it is still 2.5m in Sasha’s pocket. My point is that equal salaries from the Clippers and Lakers have different value because of the (likely) significant potential bonus by being part of a winning team. I’d be surprised if Kupchak doesn’t have this point as one of the bullet points on his powerpoint presentation to Sasha in the board room tomorrow morning.

  111. When investigating salaries, both next year and long term, I use…
    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm.

  112. Brian P. (#111)
    You are right. I finally got an answer to my question. Players in Brand’s situation create a cap hold with their Bird Rights for 150% of their previous salary. That means that until he signs with another team or until he signs with the Clippers for less money, the Clips don’t experience any cap savings on Brand (and in fact, their cap is hurt more because of the 150% rate vs. just the actual salary he was set to make). Thanks for your insight though. I was looking for that info all damn day and just got it a little while ago.

  113. 115. That makes sense. Prevents tems from gaming the system. Thats what I wanted to know as well. If I were the clippers I’d look at a sign and trade for Brand for cap space and a prospect. But maybe its too close to when they had a 50 win season for them to do so.

  114. According to ESPN Davis agreed to sign with the Clippers. That was fast. Reportedly a 5 year 65M deal. If (when?) the clips resign Brand they will have a good starting 5 but not much off the bench. Gordon should be able to provide some offense off the bench in his first year.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3470016

  115. Man, i thought the Warriors were the most entertaining team in the league with Boom running the point. I’m going to miss their level of play with him on the court.

  116. I want Keyon Dooling on our team now.

  117. THE BEARD IS COMING TO LA!

    I’m actually willing to pay to go see the Clippers now. All they have to do now is re-sign Brand.

  118. Amazing_Happens July 1, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I think I will be watching 82 home games this year (on TV).

  119. New post up where we can talk Barron and more.