Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  July 1, 2008

Lots of news out there, like we’ll be seeing plenty of Beno for the next five years. So, thought it was time for a new thread and some new thoughts.

• If you didn’t see this yet (Ryan had it in the comments), apparently Baron Davis has a verbal deal with the Clippers (remember, nothing on paper until July 9). It’s interesting to watch Barron Davis and Elton Brand seeming to try to recreate what the Celtics did last year, make a contender out of not much else by bringing the stars together. The difference is that Boston’s Big Three were able to go to a place where there was an already established star to create a trio. And, that was a star who meshed perfectly with the games of the incoming player. Davis and Brand make a wicked pick-and-roll combo, but who else on the Clippers scares you? And with Davis’ history and Brand coming off the injury, how many games do they play together? The Clips would get better, 6 to 8 seed better, but I don’t see them as contenders.

• In all the talk about this year’s free agents, one thing little discussed so far has been Andrew Bynum. This summer the Lakers can work out their first major deal with him, even though it would not kick in until the 09-10 season (this next season he is still under his rookie deal). Is Bynum worth max money? I would say a five year deal in the $65-$70 million range sounds about right. But Andrew’s agent wants max money (no shock there). The key here is to work this out without creating bad blood.

• By the way, in case you missed it, the Lakers made qualifiying offers to Sasha and Turiaf, which means they can match any deals. Now the Lakers just have to negotiate a deal they feel comfortable with.

• What does all that mean, how does this cap/tax thing work, you ask? Start herw.

• My favorite comment out of the last post on free agents came from Karl:

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

• I still think Nadal looks like the best player in London. He would have beaten Federer last year had it not been for the injury, I think this year he makes the jump. That said, I’m rooting for Murray.

• Does anyone think Maggettee will make more money next year than he would have with the Clippers?

• Marc Gasol got three years, $10 mil from the Griz. If he turns out to be a solid backup center, that’s a nice deal for both sides. It will be interesting to see what kind of player he is this upcoming season.

• I’m not sure which annoys me more, the ESPYs or finding dog crap on my front lawn.

• It’s starting to come togher and there is interest, so later this summer we will have FB&G T-shirts for sale. A lot of details to be worked out, but the goal is to do something cool but keep the costs reasonable. Then, just for fun, I’ll send one to Henry Abbot (big Blazers fan) and one to Tom Ziller (Sactown Royalty) just because it would make me laugh. COD, of course.

Kurt

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236 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I think a shorter contract for Bynum might be in his best interest if he can not get a max deal (which I don’t think he will get) Something where he can opt out after the third year and then resign for a max deal if he deserves one (which I think he will).Something like 4 years 50-55M. Thats what I would look for if I was his agent. That way he could cash in sooner.

  2. Bynum stated earlier that he was willing to take less cash for to stay for the Lakers which is a good sign. He was really commited on improving his game last summer and he should be ready to begin training within the month. Hopefully next year he’ll be a 100 % ready to help win a championship.

  3. mosdefinitely July 1, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Is anyone scared of the clippers lineup? B diddy, gordon, an improved thorton, brand, and improved kaman is a scary lineup. Although their bench is suspect.Listening to 570am they were talkin about putting an offer to posey and not resigning sasha..i thought that would be a good idea

  4. Maggette is supposedly going to sign for the MLE with the Spurs.

  5. the other Stephen July 1, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    a max deal? i really like bynum, but does barely a quarter season of fairly solid, albeit very promising performance really warrant $65-$70 million?

  6. If you’re going to make a shirt, I hope you use the guys down out Homeboy Industries. Those guys do great work rehabbing ex-gangmembers and run a silk-screening business.

    http://www.homeboy-industries.org/homeboy-silkscreen.php

    Bynum’s agent talking about a max deal has to be just a negotiations ploy. There’s no reasonable basis for demanding one at this point in his career in light of what little he’s done. Yes, he showed tremendous promise, but he really only played at a high level for about 2 months before he went down with the knee injury, and then has been really slow to recover from that injury. .I agree with 1/ryan that a short deal makes sense for both sides, but I think a 4 year deal is a year to long, since he’s under contract still for another year. A 2 or 3 year deal at ~ $12M per would be a great deal for both sides, and would give both sides flexibility down the line.

    Maggette to the Spurs would be a stroke of genius on paper, but could Maggette handle being the 3d or 4th option? The guy thinks he should be mentioned in the same breath as Kobe; being lower on the pecking order than Parker and/or Manu may not sit well with him. If Maggette can keep his ego in check, then this would be a tremendous move on the Spurs part.

    http://theartofsport.blogspot.com

  7. Lebron is going to be a free agent soon. How sick would it be if we had him? I mean why not? Why would we have any less chance? We just need to make a little bit of money to afford his contract.

  8. Bynum on a max deal? Please, no way. NFL fans credit the pay system of the NBA as reasonable, but (though I love Andy) paying a guy who skipped college and was productive for what? 30-or-so games as a pro? I think those NFL people who want the NBA rookie system would find foul there. Keep him, but be smart about it. Maybe it will work out for both sides, short term deal, let him mesh and play a full year, win a title, then re-negotiate the big one.

    6. LeBron? What? Dude….

    Can anyone really ever be scared of the Clippers? I mean, really, The Bad News Bears was a cute movie and all, but it’s not reality. Aren’t they doomed to red-headed (er, red uniformed) stepchild status for eternity? By now, even die hard Clips fans (do they have those?) would agree the biggest thrill of their lives is an 8 seed and a dream. God bless ‘em.

    Trade and free agent talk is moot. We sign the guys we have, which they’re trying to do, and add some small pieces from cast-offs and old guys to fight out the final positions on our deep roster. Posey ain’t comin’ unless Sasha signs elsewhere. Maybe Dennis Rodman would answer the phone when you wild prospectors came callin’ with crazy rumors of “goings on” that aren’t going on. Scotty Pippen? He knows the triangle, I hear. Anyway, kidding aside this is the most boring and fantastic off-season we could have hoped for without a parade. I think it’s a shame to try and make more of it than it is.

  9. 2) Problem is, his agent wants that max money. You can’t blame Drew.

    As I mention here:
    http://thanknaismith.blogspot.com/2008/07/andrew-bynum-or-his-agent-lobbying-for.html

  10. 6. Ben- its not just about affording his contract. We have to have sufficient cap space (especially Lebron) to sign an unrestricted free agent. At this point we would still be well over the cap. Thats why NJ and New York have to make moves a couple years prior just to have a shot at him…

  11. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Craig from the last thread…

    Ok lets suppose for a moment we did what you suggested. Retain everyone and have Odom’s expiring expire and let him walk. Sasha will be signed 10m 3yrs, then Ronny 7m 3 yrs. By the summer of 09, we are not expecting Kobe to opt-out so that leaves us with: 55m + Ronny and Sasha’s 2nd yr of their contracts (about 6m), Ariza’s new contract (2-3m), Bynum’s 1st year (10-12m) and that leaves us with $75m still. With some rookies and some other guys needed to be added to reach the 12 minimum. Overall, I say we have a figure of 78m.

    From what I am trying to suggest, this is what we do (without being too particular about names):

    Trade Odom AND Radman/Walton for some win-now team that will do many things to keep its star player from not leaving. So, if this we did, we “converted” Odom’s expiring into another expiring, dumped Luuuke, got some value back for an otherwise “wasted” talent in letting Odom walk.

  12. The Dude Abides July 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Top 11 on Clips depth chart, assuming they re-sign Brand:
    Starters
    PG-Davis
    SG-Mobley
    SF-Thornton
    PF-Brand
    C -Kaman

    Bench
    PG-Knight
    SG-Gordon
    SF/SG-Marcus Williams
    PF-Tim Thomas, Nick Fazekas
    C -DeAndre Jordan

    This could very well be a playoff team, competing with Houston, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Sacramento, and Dallas for the final four spots. The Kings will probably be on the outside looking in. I see the Lakers, Jazz, Spurs, and Hornets as the top four. I’m sure everyone else sees it that way, too. If Maggette goes to the Spurs for the MLE, look out, he’s their starting SG in place of Finley.

  13. Bynum can patrol the lanes, get the tough rebounds and contribute a little bit on offense. He has an above average ability to pass and is apparently a very eager learner. These are all things to be proud of, but those alone do not make Bynum a max level (80 million) player. Add in the fact that he is now coming off injury and has only been consistent for roughly 40 percent of one season, and I don’t think he is worth 70 million either.
    He is young and full of potential, so he may one day become good enough to be a max level player. The thing is that his agent wants him to get both a lot of money per year and a long term contract while the Lakers don’t know how healthy he is or how well he can mesh with Pau Gasol. The Safest bet in my opinion then is to give Bynum a two or three year extension. If he performs well, then hey he can reap the benefits by becoming a free agent earlier and then getting paid like a max player.
    Another way to do it, which is similar is to have him sign for 5 years at say 50-55 million dollars, but to have him have a player option for year two or three. That way if he never improves he is still signed to a long term deal that the lakers will gladly live with, but if he does continue to improve he can opt out and be richly rewarded for his services. So how to convince him to do that? Remind him that its very similar to what Lebron, Wade, and Carmelo signed during their turn for extensions.

  14. lakeshow, that is true. But what if we just sold Pau, leaving cap room and leaving us some extra money. If we had Lebron, Pau would be obsolete with a healthy Bynum. Here would be the lineup. Bynum at center, Lebron at PF, Lamar at SF, Kobe SG, D Fish PG

  15. 6. Ben, to afford LeBron the Lakers would have to get their $75 million payroll down to about $40 mil so they could offer a max deal. $40 mill is Kobe, Gasol and nobody else. I mean nobody, together they are $41 mil that year. So, what you are saying is you’d give up a couple titles in the next few years to get LeBron, maybe, in 2010? I’m not sure why I even responded to this…

    Bottom line, that is never going to happen and that discussion is over.

  16. If we don’t sign Bynum to a contract extension this year will we be able to match any offers the following summer?

  17. Agents talk big and sports talk blowhards may throw full MLEs around like they’re popcorn,but in the real NBA,teams are far more frugal. Look at the contracts actually signed the past couple of yrs and you’ll notice an awful lot of them are between $2 and $3.5mil. Players getting the full MLE are solid starters or exceptional reserves. The NBA is starting to slot salaries and the heirarchy is getting pretty clear.
    After the rookie contract,serviceable role player or borderline starter @$3mil,Solid starter,exceptional role player off bench MLE-type contract,borderline star,but not quite that marque player,$8mil and the lucky few who get the max.(And if you haven’t established a role for yourself during your rookie contract,take the min contract and get your butt in gear.)
    Quite frankly,the NBA pot of gold is drying up. Before any FA’s are signed 9 teams are over the Lux Tax,2 are w/in a couple mil or so and 2 more have payrolls in excess of $60mil. That’s almost half the League that would have to think long and hard about signing a player to half the MLE,much less all of it.
    Think about the Udrih signing. How many teams are desperate for a decent PG? He was the best one initially available,and all he got was the MLE. 4-5 yrs ago he’d get an offer of $7-8mil to start with. Couple yrs ago the only offer Bonzi got was 1/2 the MLE from Houston after rejecting his team’s offer. Stevenson got peanuts after opting out of his modest deal.
    The point is,it’s highly unlikely Sasha and Ronny get full MLE offers from anybody else.Esp since neither one had the kind of head-snapping performance that causes desperate GMs to think they’ll do that during the reg season and put his team over the top.(See Posey for prime example of this thinking. Let’s ignore he sure didn’t help Memphis win ANY Playoff games and the previous yr in Miami he didn’t do much for them.)

    It may be a tad late,but in the FA discussion a couple of names were mentioned that I’d like to comment on.
    Motumbo had to be talked into coming back by his family. He’s not moving them for 1 yr. He signs w/Houston.
    Bonzi Wells is done. He’s been sulking ever since he “only” got the Rockets offer,came into camp fat and out of shape,has lost much of his lift,and is bad cancer. His last 3 coaches-one of had success w/him in past-have all lost faith in him.

  18. 15- Yes, assuming we give him his qualifying offer of 3.8 mil, which we will, we have the right to match any offer sheet he signs.

  19. Guys, we are not entertaining trade discussions that are not underway, according to a reliable source. A few comments have been deleted and more will be if need be.

  20. Kurt, C’mon, you mean to say Lebron won’t come to LA for Odom, Luke, and Jeanie Buss? LOL

  21. carter blanchard July 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I actually am a a little intimidated by the Clips. Obviously health is a big x factor, but at full strength, that’s about as potent a duo as is out there. I think a lot of their success will depend on how much Gordon and Thornton can contribute on a playoff team. I don’t think they could win as many games as us, but they could definitely provide some matchup problems for us. It would an exciting hallway series for sure.

  22. never thought the west would be this interesting. great, they must be following the lakers’ lead. amazing that just a year ago, no one would ink the lakers as part of the top four. now, they are the benchmark. i mean, teams are loading their frontlines and benches now and it’s no longer about a lethal combo but 3-4 players able to dominate. of course, no one has kobe other than LA.

    i am happy for the clippers. man, both teams can pack the house and it’d be a great year for LA ball. imagine, two shots at something big. hands down Lakers are better but the Clippers should this push will make a big leap forward at least for the mid-term. the spurs can get scary with maggette.

    somehow a part of me wants the lakers to make a move. i maintain that we still need a big enough 3 who can shoot, guard, pound on the boards, slash and pass. if odom is that man, then he easily has to work on his shooting (at least extend it to 20ft), guarding and slashing (i still think he is a bit sloppy). a part of me wants to see the big 5 run full steam ahead. anyhow, just one fan here who wants LA to succeed.

    re: bynum, his agent is clearly fishing. re: not signing vujacic, okay if we can get a solid bench player with the same skill set via trade or mle. re: changes, we need at least one big man to hold the fort, a la kurt thomas. in this way, lamar won’t be reduced to some shooter when he holds the fort down for the bench. i think he can be a good 6th man. then again, imagining him as sg is something i can’t still grapple with.

    exciting off-season. hope we could make the splash we need. bottomline, time to sharpen our pitchforks and for now, that may be enough for the title. =)

  23. Warren,
    If we could trade expiring contracts (LO) for expiring contracts I would not have any financial problem if I were Mitch. However, the only reason to do that is 1) LO is a problem player on the Lakers next year (not likely) 2) the incoming players will fit multiple team needs better 3) at least one of the incoming players will fill a need going forward at much less money.

    What most of the discussion on this site is about is trading for players with 3-5 yrs left on their contract. That can’t happen without totally screwing up the current contract maturation process of our current, young team. We are not like the Celtics last year where we trade almost all of our young talent for a 2 year runs at the championship. Mitch and Buss have been trying to avoid that 5-8 yr window where the team was poor before a run of good years.

    Think about Boston! Bad for 18yrs, good for probably 3 yrs and then what? Probably start over again without Pierce/Garnett/Allen.

  24. I love the way some Lakers fans (and apparently talk radio hosts, although I barely listen to that anymore) think if the Lakers make a decent offer to Posey he will drop everything and come running. He was a great fit on a team that just won a title and wants to keep him, why should he come here? Because we’re the Lakers? That is not the way the world works. He’d only come here for more money/years than the Celtics would offer him, and as the Lakers can at most offer him the MLE (and he is not worth all of it) there is little or no chance he comes. If I were Mitch I’d make the call, but don’t hold out hope for that.

    And the idea of letting Sasha walk while you flirt with Posey is nuts. You get both if you can, but you bring Sasha back regardless.

    Wow, we really are into the silly season.

  25. The Lakers have invested a lot in Bynum (bringing in Kareem to be his personal coach, for instance) and they have been very patient with his development (ignoring lucrative trades, sitting pat through multiple injuries, not pushing him to contribute before he was ready, overlooking Kobe’s demands to “ship” him). As a result, Bynum is a hot commodity. Had he been drafted by a lesser organization, he likely would not have developed into a player that anyone would consider offering a max contract to. In a perfect world, Bynum’s agent would acknowledge these facts and negotiate a shorter contract, pushing back his big payday a few years to ensure that the Lakers can keep the pieces in place to make him a champion. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

  26. I know that Ben is interested in speculating about bidding for “pie in the sky bye and bye” Labron, and many of you are fascinated by expected negotiated terms between Bynum’s agent and the Lakers.

    Hold those thoughts!

    We got trouble. Right now. Right here. A Los Angeles boy–once a UCLA superstar–is coming home–he’ll be playing in Staples–and he won’t be a Laker.

    He saw what the Celtics did last year–and he’s gonna do the same thing. Right here. With the Clippers.

    This is not the time to laugh knowingly.

    If what Brand and Davis have done catches on, it could start a revolution.

    We better get with it.

    The times they are a-changin’.

    Now go back to discussing what free agent we can steal from the defenseless Clips–they’ve shot their wad on two superstars.

    Let me help. Smush Parker is an unrestricted free agent.

  27. #16 UCR Mike, I was wondering/thinking about that also. Does anyone know the answer to that question.

  28. 16,27: Yeah, we will get to match any offers the next summer if we don’t get him signed to an extension..there will be a decent number of teams with cap space unlike this year so I could really see a team throwing out some ridiculous contract to atleast make the Lakers pay some money

  29. the reports have been vague. i believe the lakers are inviting marcelus kemp to training camp.

    http://www.nbadraft.net/admincp/profiles/marceluskemp.html

  30. Shaun Livingston would be an intriguing consideration for the Lakers. Assuming he can recover from his injury, SL is the type of big guard that Phil prefers. Moreover, he is a solid defender. If he can be signed for a reasonable amount, SL may be worth taking a flier on.
    A line up of SL, Kobe, Bynum, Odom and Gasol would be solid defensively.

  31. chibi,

    Don;t mean to sound rude, but condsidering the level the Lakers are at right now, it doesn’t matter who gets invited to camp. They’ll really only be competing for a spot on the Defenders. I honestly don’t see them giving Coby Karl’s seat on the bench up. Why start all over with a player who has ZERO shot at seeing the floor. CDR said it correctly, “…I looked at it in a positive way. Because it’s a blessing to be here (New Jersey). I could have ended up on the Lakers, you know? Somewhere like that, where there’s no playing time.”
    (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-33-7/Chris-Douglas-Roberts-With-a–Big-Chip–on-His-Shoulder.html)

  32. Renato Afonso July 2, 2008 at 8:30 am

    WTS season is apparently open…

  33. Oh by the way…..apparently I’m not the only loon who sees the possiblity of a 72+ win season. Even Celtic homer, Kobe hater Bill Simmons thinks so. Look what I found:

    “I will say that LA is in much better position for the next 6-7 years than Boston. In my opinion, the Celtics will never have a better chance to win the title than right now. For LA, they get Ariza and Bynum back next year, plus their midlevel exception… I mean, that might be a 72-win team next year. If you’re beating them, it has to happen this year. ”

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=20902

    haha…just thought I mention that.

  34. Hey you guys. Now that the Clippers have renounced Maggette, Maggette’s sign and trade options have gone out the window. So outside of signing with Philadelphia, he can only get a mid-level deal. Don’t know if the Lakers are interested or not, but they should get in the mix just to prevent him from signing with the Spurs for the mid-level. Playing in L.A. would be best for him. He wouldn’t have to move, and would be on the league’s marquee team, while making the same money he would anywhere else.

  35. Any word with Sun Yue? I heard Mitch is really interested in him and he thinks he will make the roster. If he can play in the league, the lineup that will run you to hell is:

    PG Farmar
    SG Sun Yue
    SF Bryant
    PF Odom
    C Gasol/Bynum (they both could run)

    I just hope he can play some defense….

    I like me some FB and G t-shirts.

  36. Maggette’s guns and Fisher’s guns?? That is a very muscular lineup.

    I was afraid of this. Just when I was willing to count them out for a second, the Spurs might be the one’s actually benefiting from the Clippers trade and can get Maggette. This will make them very HARD to beat next year. I hope this doesn’t happen.

  37. I believe the Clippers also let go of Shaun Livingston’s contract. I believe the Lakers should look into adding him. He could probably be had on the cheap.

    Livingston can defend and has great court vision. I don’t know how well he shoots, but if we can get him on the cheap. (Less than 2.5 mil) He would be worth the gamble and we can develop him. The kid has a lot of potential, just needs to have a couple healthy seasons.

  38. Renato Afonso July 2, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I would love to see Shaun Livingston as a Laker… talk about a tall PG for the triangle… And the shooting can improve in the off-season. The only question is how is his knee? And how much money is he willing to get to play in LA?

    It would be a solution for a long term problems at PG, with Fisher tutoring Livingston and Farmar for a couple of years before retiring. But again, this is still just a dream… (He’s not worth the full MLE, imo)

  39. If the Spurs are able to sign Maggette for the MLE (though I suspect Philly will offer him 10M/yr or so) they will be really scary. They will have 4 guys that can put up 20 pts a night plus they will be able to keep Manu’s minutes down and really save him for the play offs. I think that they would instantly become the favorites in the west and perhaps the league. I agree I’d offer him the MLE just to prevent him from going to the Spurs (but the spurs can guarantee him a starting job) but its not my money.

  40. The Olympics will be a good measuring stick for the pgoress of Sun Yue. He’s a big guard – and Phil likes big guards. The issue with him is how well he will adjust to the triangle.

    Assuming he makes the roster, I think he would take Newble spot on the team in terms of open spots. Assuming the Lakers keep Coby Karl, then hte only other open spot would be Mbenga’s….. and you all know I think we can get Kwame in there for somehwere near veterans minimum. Sure, he’s not a great player, but for the minimum and as a third backup I don’t think you will find a better deal.

  41. 39. Sorry for the double post. But how is Livingstons knee? does he have any hope of playing ball again in the NBA or his career basically over? Don’t know how many people have seen the footage of him getting hurt (I wouldn’t recommend watching it) but it was painful to watch.

  42. I agree he is not worth the MLE because our team is solid and we don’t need to further our salary cap woes. But for 2.5 mil or less he is very intriguing.

    Again the questions are how healthy is he and will he be willing to accept that kind of money.

  43. Sorry for the double post,

    I would sign Maggette in a heartbeat the for the full MLE. I would then let Odom walk at the end of the year and possibly re-sign on the cheap if he is willing (6-9mil).

    With Maggette he because expendable. We would have our 3 that is great on offense and a very good defender.

    I just don’t see him signing with the Lakers for that money.

  44. When did Bynum become a 12 million/year player? He has a grand total of about 30 good games under his belt and 13/10 and good defense ain’t all that impressive. He still has yet to develop interior post moves outside of “accept dump off pass from Kobe….catch and dunk ali-oop from Farmar” and his defensive rotations are still shaky. PLUS (and a big plus), he’s coming off a knee injury that debilitated him for a couple months longer than it was supposed to…..we have no idea if he’ll even play with any sort of effectiveness EVER again (it could certainly happen).

    I say, if we give him an extension, it should be for around 3 years at TOPS 9 million a year. It’ll appease him because he can get his long-term max deal at his still very young age, and it’ll work for us because by that time we’ll have cap space to get him a nice, long-term Max deal (hopefully we’ll be paying Kobe less by that time and Odom will definitely be off the books).

  45. Just curious, but what is being done to eliminate the problem of Kobe being able to opt out after next year. As good as things look, you can assume he wont if have a bad playoffs next year. Free agency is not even a discussion for us. Get our own players resigned including Kobe.

  46. Interesting, Two weeks ago we all said we needed a defensive stopper at the three, Now people are interested in Maggettee. Have you watched him play defense? Well, of course you haven’t, because nobody has. For the record, opposing threes shot 52% against him and had a PER of 17.4. How is that going to play in San Antonio?

    I really think our best long term hope at the three may be Ariza developing a jumper.

  47. For all the success we have had this year, this summer’s discussions are starting to sound like last summer’s discussions.

  48. Kurt: Honestly, I don’t like Maggette for the Lakers at all. I just don’t want him going to the Celtics or the Spurs. Don’t know how bright that is. But if Maggette signs with the Celtics, that would make Posey more available.

  49. If Maggette is willing to consider the Spurs for the MLE, the Lakers have to make a play for him. Benefits the Lakers, and keeps him off the Spurs (or any other contender).

  50. (11) (17) (23) (30) Craig W, Warren, Stephen,

    You’ve all done a great job of articulating some of the deeper contract problems facing the Lakers (and many other NBA teams). The Lakers are currently committed financially to three veteran “stars” (read high salaries): Kobe, Pau, and Lamar. They would like to retain their entire team–or at least the present salary structure. If everyone’s salary stays flat, they might be able to pay an incremental increase and remain within range of the luxury tax threshold–even though they are already paying a $4 million penalty.

    Adding a full mid level exception this year could add that amount to the penalty. Negotiated increases with Sasha and Ronny would also contribute to the penalty. This year, the Lakers might well be $7 or $8 million OVER the cap without any mid level exception. That means they might be paying a total in the $80+ million range if one includes a penalty payout for the luxury tax. The mid range exception could push the total payout into the $90′s.

    Now comes the bad news. The Lakers intend to negotiate a long term deal with Andrew that would start in 2009. If all the other commitments remained, the Lakers could be negotiated into the $100 million range with no end in sight!

    They would lose all flexibility–except by trade.

    With the loss of Kwame Brown’s expiring contract, there is only one way the Lakers could continue to honor their commitments to other players, keep Andrew, and have some semblance of flexibility: either radically renegotiate a reduced salary for Lamar (in the range of $6 million) or let him become an unrestricted free agent and leave after this year. Increases above that $6 million amount for Lamar could lead to losses of key younger Laker players–but it could happen.

    Given these realities, the Lakers may try to find a trade for Lamar for another expiring contract, negotiate a reduced salary for the future, or release Lamar outright.

    These considerations don’t determine trade decisions, but they certainly play a strong role. Finding the right trade for Lamar is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s not going to be easy.

    In addition, the Lakers must meet competitive challenges from all the other teams.

    Mitch does not have an easy job.

  51. Follow up on Maggette, I asked Kevin from Clipperblog if my memory of his defense was accurate. He said Maggette is a decent man defender but “a space cadet” when it comes to team defense.

  52. In the LA Times today, they say the Lakers have talked to Posey and Brent Barry, as fallbacks if Sasha and Ronny fall through. Posey we have discussed plenty.

    But what are everyone’s thoughts on Barry?

  53. Actually I take that back. Who cares where Maggette signs. This Lakers team (without injuries) will still jack up the Maggette version of the Spurs.

  54. 49) I like Barry for veteran leadership and his shooting and passing ability. But only for the vet minimum.

  55. The Jazz have also contacted Turiaf’s agent along with another slew of players. How much should we match for Turiaf? $3 M? I would rather re-sign Turiaf and let Vujacic go if he gets offered the MLE by another team.

  56. If you wondered who has the worst management in the NBA, you may have to consider Golden State:

    http://ballhype.com/story/nothing_in_return/

  57. Can’t the lakes somehow grab Zo? What would that entail? You know it would bolster the interior defense and rebounding. Also, he’s a tough player, maybe a little rubs off on Gasol and Odom? I don’t see his ego clashing much with KB24′s either. What do y’all think?

  58. Sweet! I’m down for shirts! Let us know when you get them ready. I will definitely floss it in the Bay Area!

  59. 56. Zo is done as a player. If you can get a Delorian that travels through time and bring back the guy from a decade ago he’s a great fit. But Zo now is just toast.

  60. Barry is too old to be consistently dependable. Signing him is basically telling Luke Walton that he’s getting more minutes. If for whatever reason the Lakers can’t sign Sasha and the Celtics do resign Posey as is to be expected, then the swingmen to target for roughly half or less of the MLE should be Mickael Pietrus, Maurice Evans, Devean George, or James Jones. At least one is going to get a market unwilling to pay him what he wants. If thats the case why not swoop in as the team with a winning situation that can give them the chance to showcase their talents deep into the playoffs? Again this is only if we can’t resign Sasha.

  61. I hope Maggette goes to the C’s. Anyways, the Lakers then wouuldn’t have to deal with a better spurs team. This lets them have exemption from what could be an even longer and windy road throughout the playoffs in the West. Orlando is not the right destination, and they have already locked up $$ on Rashard Lewis. Maybe the Spurs will then rebuild, or just get another year older and not so much a championship-caliber team.

    Also, Philly probably wants good perimeter shooters instead, having their weaknesses already exposed (no 3 pt shooting).

  62. RE Barry: If Sasha leaves, I’m all for it. We’ll lose out on defense, but hold steady in the shooting dept. Barry is also a veteran that has been through some wars, and that type of experience is one thing we lacked in the Finals (but hope to gain from those same Finals).

    RE Maggette: Please no. I don’t think we need a slasher or a guy who loves to operate with the ball in his hands or a guy who is suspect on defense. If we add anyone on the wing, it should be a guy that is comfortable moving w/o the ball and playing off of others and a guy who can get a stop or have a good team d mentality. With Kobe, Pau, Andrew, and LO we have plenty of guys who will be using the ball in half court sets. While Maggette is a talented player, let another team work him in.

    RE FB&G Shirts: XL please.

    RE Golden State management: This is what happens when you lowball your players. I was reading somewhere how they consistently offer below market contracts….ultimately if you continue to offer guys less that gets guys upset (not only on your team, but it discourages guys from other teams from even considering you as a FA destination). Plus, Nellie can really grate on players. Reminds me of when they lost Webber….Nellie and Webber weren’t getting along, they trade Webber and the next year they fire Nellie. Now, Nellie benches Baron in that Phoenix game, Baron opts out and leaves, and Nellie will probably retire after next season. Bad times in the Bay.

  63. I saw some comments about LeBron. I know they sound crazy to some, and I think it’s a remote possibilty, but I don’t think whoever mentioned it sounds as crazy as everyone thinks.
    Not saying it would, or should happen, but if managemant really wanted to try, they might be able to by eventually having Lamar’s salary off the books, dealing Pau (and Vlad Rad) in 2 years for expiring contracts, meanwhile having Bynum signed on until, and probably having Kobe re-up in 2-3 years for a 6 year deal worth 17 mill per (maybe).
    It just doesn’t seem impossible to me. That’s all. Not crazy talk. The Lakers are the one of the few teams, who, if they were very smart and played their cards right, would have a shot. If LeBron leaves Cleveland, it would only be for a MAJOR market. NY, LA, or Chicago. that’s it.

  64. (56)

    Zo might look decent playing for some other team, but as soon as he wore the Forum Blue and Gold, bet you he’s look 38, 39, 40 (whatever) real fast. It’s the way of the world. Ever watch some players, and say, why can’t we get a guy like that, but then realize, that he probably never play like that for us. That’d be him.

  65. Lebron on the Lakers is a Cheech and Chong sized pipe dream. Hella Smoke… Doing everything necessary just to have that *chance*? No thanks. It’s just not sound business or basketball. It’s one thing to clear cap space when you aren’t competing for anything more than a playoff spot or the avoidance of last place, like the Lakers were in the seasons after Magic/Worthy/Scott when they went after Shaq. So I have to disagree wondahbap, this team is built to win now and for the next 5 years. Dismantle all that for a chance at the King? When we’d be competing with Jay-Z and the Nets (and possibly the Knicks)? I’d rather roll the dice with what we’ve got while trying to make incremental changes on the edges of the team that can compliment the core of the team. So while the idea of pursuing the (potential) FA class of 2010 isn’t *crazy*, it’s not exactly the most sane thing to do either when we were just in the Finals and have a window to go back for the next 5 seasons.

  66. Warren Wee Lim July 2, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Drray, nice of you to join the convo on this one…

    So the plan I suggested fits that perfectly. Ok its gone now… but for what its worth, this is something that needs to be addressed and one solution to it is: rookie scale contracts. How the heck would we achieve this if we keep trading our rookies? Ok I dont question the Gasol deal AT ALL but at some point, the Lakers need to address the financials.

    Say that Buss is “willing to pay” for a contender all you want, but bottomline, this is business people. As much as we wanna get a run at this one more time, its a matter of time that reality will set in and Odom will don a new uniform. As I said, who wants to give us 1st round picks and expirings? well some team that would move heaven and earth just to keep its star from being too big of a Jay Z fan.

  67. I see Corey Maggette as an uber-talented Maurice Evans. He won’t work in the triangle though, just no way…we don’t need anymore offense anyway, we just need more defense and veteran leadership…Maggette would provide neither at an expensive price…

  68. Guys. I’m killing a lot of trade talk. Some of it rational, reasonable stuff, but I don’t want to start moving the line around. I suppose on one hand allowing the crazy LeBron talk and killing reasonable trade stuff seems a little out of whack, but I think the LeBron talk will die. I just am not going to let the trade talk get a foothold. Even when it’s from quality posters.

  69. I’m not saying it was something we should do. I agree with the rest of you. I just don’t think it was as crazy as it sounded. Things like that don’t happen by chance. Like the “wink, wink” Shaq signing. It was widely assumed he was coming to LA, and he did. My point is, if the Lkaers wanted to make it so, it could be so. That all. I don’t want to sound like I’m proposing these wild trade scenarios, etc.

  70. Also….I didn’t mention LeBron in the 1st place. I was responding to someone else’s comment…..”I just want everyone here to know, that there won’t be any trouble outta me….” Did I get that right? No more Lebron talk from me.

  71. Wow…rumor has it the Warriors offered a deal to Brand…

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/la-sp-clips3-2008jul03,0,6618180.story

  72. The Dude Abides July 2, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    67-Kurt, that’s ok, just as long as you promise to acknowledge my post if the trade happens.

  73. If we can’t resign Vujacic I rather look at Duhon than look at Barry. Duhon would actually be cheaper than Vujacic as well.

    I believe Barry has good games left in him, but brings no value on defense and would not be consistent. Not to mention the extra injury worries we would have at his age.

  74. 71. Dude, it actually is a pretty reasonable idea. And I promise to give credit. In the near future I may again throw open a post to allow some speculation. Just right now, seeing what is coming in, I feel if I give an inch it will fast become a mile. It’s never personal.

    70. No way Brand does not come back to the Clips. Credit due to Falk, who clearly engineered this whole thing behind the scenes.

  75. Warriors offering a contract to Brand looks like saving face. “Hey, well, WE wanted to pair Brand and Baron, and Boom Dizzle burned us. We tried. Don’t blame us…..” Right. Like Brand would fit Nellie’s system. hard to run, run, run when Elton wants to put his back to the basket and back you down.

  76. There is no way Bynum gets a maximum contract extension this summer. That is just ridiculous. All of the players to ever receive a max contract have had at least ONE full season as an all star caliber player. Take a look for yourself: http://www.realgm.com/src_maxplayers.php.

    If his agent has half of a brain, as I am sure he does, he will negotiate a reasonable contract extension in the $10M range. Or he would risk Bynum never reaching his full potential and have to settle for whatever the market offers next year, which the Lakers would obviously match. I have never have heard of David Lee before, so I decided to look him up. I guess you can’t blame the guy for trying to max out his star player, while there are only two NBA players that he represents. The other one is only going to make about $3M next year, our very own Trevor Ariza. If he improves his jump shot and stays healthy, I wonder what Lee will be asking next year…

    I am happy for the Clippers. I have always liked getting a discount for my Lakers tickets, by going to the game when it says Clippers on their floor.

  77. Just wondering: anyone have a reasonable idea when we should hear about a potential Sasha or Turiaf deal? Do we assume no news just means they’re taking their time working things out? I know this isn’t exactly “Countdown 2004: Will Kobe Resign with the Lakers?” but it’s summer, baseball isn’t even at the all-star break, and…….

  78. Kemp close to NBA deal with Lakers
    =====================
    Staff report • July 2, 2008
    Del.icio.us Facebook Digg Reddit Newsvine What’s this?
    Marcelus Kemp is close to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent said Tuesday.
    Kemp, a former Nevada shooting guard, was not selected in the NBA draft last week.
    “We haven’t closed on a deal,” agent John Grieg said. “We are essentially headed that route with the Lakers, but I really can’t discuss it at the moment.”
    Grieg said a deal should be finalized in the next 10 days to two weeks.
    “The Lakers have liked him and have been watching him for a while,” Grieg said. “They’re feeling fortunate to get him where they have, in a sense. He’ll leave on Sunday to head to L.A. to begin his journey.
    “He fits in with their kind of style. The triangle (offense) is a multipurpose guard format. I think he can fit in well with that.”
    Grieg said Kemp, who is from Seattle and did not immediately return a call seeking comment, made a strong impression on NBA teams.
    http://www.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080702/SPORTS06/807020451/1018/SPORTS

  79. All this speculation is getting ridiculous. You are all talking as if the Lakers just lost in the 1st round of the playoffs or something. Seriously? Stop with all the crazy talk…PLEASE!

    Doesn’t anybody want to see how the Lakers will fare the way they’re constructed right now…but with a healthy Bynum? Anybody? Bueller?

  80. Paydawg,
    Those of us who think the team is fine the way it is – pretty much – are generally not saying much about trades, just options. Many people just can’t avoid continuously looking in the cookie jar. Of course that’s how most of us get all our cavities, but that never seems to stop us.

  81. Look, I think KWAME is a space-cadet (moreso than VLAD) and he has some of the worst offensive abilities in the league. At 25, he has been given too many chances and disappointed time and time again.

    HOWEVER, he is a strong post defender, something the Lakers sorely lacked in the post season. If he gets no other offers, I say offer him the Bi-Annual Exception for $1.8 million as a defensive bigman. Gotta be better than MIHM.

  82. I agree lets see the improvement of the young guys if Farmar improves at the same rate he did last summer and Ariza works on his shot …we should be fine. i love Posey’s game …he scared me most on the celts .IF we trade Odom has to be a great deal his expiring contract is too valuable …plus he would be a great 6th man with his versatlity …

  83. 78. For a second there, I thought the Lakers had signed SHAWN Kemp. Lol!

  84. I also agree Kwame could be better than Mbenga or Mihm plus we dont know how health bynum is

  85. Plus we have Gasol bynum or bacup should be all about defense ..if Kwame ever embraced that role he could contribute to a winner

  86. Unless Mihm is not recovered from his injury, I don’t see the point in signing Kawame. When they were both healthy Chris outplayed Kwame and started in front of him.

  87. Talk of Kwame baffles me. Completely.

  88. Lakers top FA priorities:

    1. Posey
    2. If no Posey, Pietrus
    3. Vet Big Man
    4. Shooters: Barry, Jones, etc.

  89. The Warriors management isn’t exactly stellar, but they have some reasonable long-term options in light of the Davis situation. If they bite the bullet and offer Monta Ellis a market value long-term deal, they can let a few of their mediocre players walk after this year, draft high in the lottery and turn themselves into free agent players next summer (which will be a good time to have available money on hand). It’s not the worst cards a team could be dealt, but I have little confidence in the organization to see it through.

  90. What’s crazy when you think about the Warriors is that now they have let Gilbert Arenas and Barron Davis get away with nothing in return. How do you let that happen?

  91. Perhaps what defines the Warriors FO failures is that they gamble on the players resigning (like most other clubs), but also insult them on the way out with low ball offers – increasing the odds the player will not decide to stay and take more money in the short term.

  92. Antwan Jaminson too.

    The Warriors managment has simply been terrible. Chris Mullin is arguably the new most incompetent GM now that Thomas and Knight are gone.

    And its not like they’ll have significant cap room next year as Monta and Biedrins will be getting good paydays. They’ll probably also pay Azabuke, further taking up cap space. Can you say they are better than the Kings or Wolves? Or have more promise than the ?Griz or Sonics? I am not sure that the answer to either is yes.

  93. The mid level exception is a big deal for the Lakers this year.

    See my post and the posts of others about Salary Cap realities and Laker future choices. Think again about signing a free agent for as much as $6 million–at least until the Lakers deal with their priorities.

    Lakers top free agent priorities:

    1. Sasha
    2. Ronny

    Mbenga is now unrestricted
    Ira Newble is unrestricted

    Only one of these slots is likely to be filled by a free agent any time soon–and not for big bucks.

    Things change if Sasha and/or Ronny come in dramatically over budget and are allowed to sign with another team–but that seems unlikely.

  94. Brent Barry, huh? I say do it for the all-legacy team:

    Kobe (Jelly Bean)
    Luke (Bill Walton)
    Coby (George Karl)
    Brent (Rick Barry)

  95. Hey Don Ford,
    You effectively got traded for James Worthy. Sort of the Kwame Brown of the 80′s. Of course the league finally had to implement a restriction on trading away 1st round draft choices just to reign in your owner, but what the heck.

  96. (94) Don, is this an indirect trade suggestion for Mike Dunleavy to make it a quintet?

  97. the other Stephen July 2, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    79. i’m with you till the end, paydawg. but adding one cheap piece wouldn’t hurt me. but what can we afford? not adding one would be fine too, i guess.

  98. What about Quentin Ross or Mickael Pietrus as FA signings for the Lakers? Both can shoot the 3 and play defense. We don’t need much but I think either could be a great fit for a decent price.

  99. carter blanchard July 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    To be fair to Warriors’ management, a lot of that was just pretty bad luck. Look at the contracts Cardinal and Dampier came away and you could argue they were lucky to have dodged those bullets. Arenas was a very unlucky situation, and you have to give them at least a little credit for having picked him in the first place (and Monta). And it’s hard to criticize them too harshly for low-balling Baron when similar negotiation strategies saved them from overypaying Barnes, Pietrus, and even Nelson for that matter. That the Clippers materialized suddenly with capspace was hard to see coming because few saw Brand opting out. They’ve had plenty of mistakes and bad contracts in the past, but they did a pretty marvelous job in the past couple years making up for those mistakes, particularly the awesome Jackson/Harrington trade that made last year’s magical playoff run possible.

    Also, count me in the group that loves hearing updates about the Summer League. I know it might not mean much (or anything) in the long run, but I’m excited about watching Marcellus and Crawford for a few weeks. Last summer’s team was pretty boring in comparison to how this year’s looks to be shaping up.

    Finally, why are people not higher on trying to bring back Mo? His 3pt shooting is just as good as Posey’s, he might not be quite as good a defender, but his chemistry with our bench guys was great, and he’s younger and will be much much cheaper. I have no idea if he’d consider returning, but I definitely hope we try at least.

  100. Carter, I’ll be doing a bunch of Summer League stuff. I love it too, I just wish I could get out to Vegas for it (man, I miss it being in LB). Now I need to depend on NBA TV.

  101. Boy….did you see that Golden State is offering up a max contract to Elton Brand? Sweet Revenge!!

  102. (99) Carter,

    I can’t imagine the Lakers forgetting Mo Evans. He did very well for Orlando last year. If Sasha gets too expensive, Mo may get his job back.

  103. I think the Brand offering just shows that GS reacts to things and doesn’t have a proactive strategy. Brand doesn’t fit Nellie’s style and seems to be a post-Nellie move. Yes, we should give them credit for drafting well, but…

    I would have thought the GM would have had a conditional trade worked out in case Davis opted out. That way they wouldn’t have lost the $10M trade exemption – or was that invalid on 30 June when Barron chose to opt out?

    Remember Mitch had been talking to Memphis for a year prior to the Gasol trade and it went through very quickly after Bynum was injured, in part because of this.

  104. I don’t blame the W’s too much for Arenas’ departure because they were pretty much handcuffed by the rules in place. Based off his status as a 2nd rd. pick, they had only had him for 2 seasons and thus only held his “Early Bird” rights. In that scenario, they could only offer him a deal at around the mid-level exception and weren’t allowed to go over the cap to re-sign him while any team with the salary cap space could offer him much more. I think they even restructured how 2nd round picks’ contracts are written to make sure that this didn’t happen again and it’s hence been called the “Arenas Rule” in some articles that I’ve read.

    But as for the other low-ball offers, I totally blame their FO. Baron leaving is all on them. They could have negotiated with high dollars/low years and tried to get it done that way, but from all the reports/rumors that I read, they were trying to lowball him AND make it a 5 year deal. I don’t know how they expected him to react when not only are they offering short cash, but doing it when he’s 29 and having him be 34 at the end with no way to really recoup the money he’d have left on the table. And while lowballing Barnes and Pietrus may have kept them on the team, it also made them disgruntled and now those 2 are destined to leave as well and they’ll see nothing in compensation for letting them go either. On Barnes, that’s kind of understandable in that they took a FA flyer on him and it paid off. But Pietrus was a first round pick who actually played well for them and is a player that can help them. To alienate him with poor offers and then refusing to deal him to a team that would pay him is just bad business (in that other guys notice how you treat your players). So while I’m sure they can find a silver lining with some cap space or rationalize this with more money for Ellis/Biedrins, I don’t envision any FA coming to the W’s with a shady front office and a coaching situation that’s in flux. I just remember all the reports after Dunleavy and Murphy re-upped and how the FO was saying that “these are our guys” only to turn around and deal them when Nellie said they were trash. I could go on forever about this, but lets just say, I’m not impressed with what they’re doing in my backyard with the pro hoops team…

  105. The ‘talking heads’ are now playing the what if Brand leaves game – as if this entire scenario wasn’t orchestrated by his agent (David Faulk). These people really don’t have a clue.

  106. Has there been any update on the Asian guy the lakers took in the second round last year? Is he supposed to come over anytime soon?

  107. 106. Mitch said all the right things about wanting to sign him a few days ago. Now, whether he really meant that or not…..

    We’ll get a chance to see Sun in the Olympics playing for China. For most of us, that will be the first chance to see him in real action.

  108. Kurt-I would rather watch replays of Tim Thomas’ 3pter in Game 6 than the ESPYs.

    Its good to be a Laker fan, we can just hang back and let teams scramble, while we tinker if we wish to. I would seriously think about letting Turiaf walk though, if a team (like Utah) offers more than 2.5-3 million. I would turn my attention to Craig Smith, who is stronger and a more physical presence. However, I think Ronny will want to stay, and Sasha as well.

    As far as Drew, we have to wait and see, then we can talk extension

    Posey-This guy was my dream….last summer, we missed the boat on that, unless the C’s get Maggettee and we (Dr. Buss) decides to pay the tax, big-time.

    Clippers (with Baron and Brand) are still only a bottom-half playoff team and that is assuming good health. Also, if Baron got tired of Don Nelson, wow, he will hate Dunleavy by December

  109. Kurt,

    Federer is playing great tennis right now. I wouldn’t mind seeing Nadal win, but I wouldn’t bet against Federer either. But Nadal is in really great form too.

    How’s that for hedging your bets?

    One more round to go and then perhaps a real classic on Sunday. If Nadal and Federer meet in the final, it will be historic (either Roger breaks Borg’s record of 5 straight Wimbledons, or Nadal breaks the streak).

    The Federer/Nadal rivalry (3 straight years of French/Wimbledon finals) is putting the Sampras/Agassi rivalry to shame.

  110. I am interested in the details of the Seattle settlement. Its a real shame what is happening to that city. If the Lakers were taken away Los Angeles would riot like no other.

  111. Kurt, I hope you will offer medium sizes (of the shirts) for the kids of the FB&G commenters.

  112. Seattle news….

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3471503

    Very sad. Looks like I’ll be heading to Portland twice next year…

  113. Why don’t we sign Kwame again and then trade him for Dwight Howard this time? haha

  114. Anyone has a suggestion to what the Sonic’s new name is going to be when they move to OKC. The only saving grace of the settlement was that Seattle keeps the Sonic name and the team colors.

  115. (114) Off the top of my head:

    Okies

    Outlaws

    Carpetbaggers

    Stealaways

    Subsonics

  116. Unless they uproot the grass at Wimbledon and fill the court with clay, I like Federer over Nadal in the final.

  117. Every Laker fan should justifiably be scared of an injured Bynum getting a max contract. (Injured 7-footers don’t seem to bounce back all that well, do they?) The problem is, big, young, athletic centres aren’t exactly falling off trees. He looks like an All-Star talent. There are plenty of shite teams in the league who will be willing to take a max contract punt on his potential, which could force our hand.
    All y’all talking about trading Pau Gasol need your heads checked. Show some freakin’ gratitude. OK, he’s not as good as KG, clearly, but he’s pretty damn good – good enough to help us waltz past the Spurs.
    We hadn’t even won a playoff series since Shaq left until Pau arrived. That was one of our greatest trades of all time and he’s a perfect fit for Kobe and Lamar. I love Lamar too, he’d a matchup nightmare (just ask Utah), but he could be gone next season.

  118. The most pressing issue now is what you do with Odom, not whether you give Bynum the max. Bynum is going to get a max contract regardless of whether the Lakers extend him now or wait until next summer. We need to find out how Odom, Bynum, and Gasol play together. Mitch must wait until January to make that decision, because if the front line has trouble then Odom is the most tradeable asset at the deadline.

  119. I’m a Laker fan, not a Sonics fan, but following all that’s happened to them over the past two+ years by the owners, the city officials, and the NBA – it’s just heartbreaking to watch. That along with Donaghy has drastically reduced the appeal of the NBA to me. Of course I’ll still watch games, esp Laker games (won’t miss one if I can help it), but I do wish a curse or something like that on the OKC team so long as Bennett owns it. And obviously I hope the Lakers crush them every time we play, but there’s nothing unique about that.

    But as much as I get annoyed by Bennett, the Shultz/Nickles/Stern collective come off as villainous as Bush/Cheney/Rove (with apologies to Kurt for politics in the forum). The NBA needs to retool it economic model, which I’d be happy to delve into and give my thoughts on, but that’d be way too cumbersome. I will say this though, any team in any city that requires public financing for arenas is at risk of the same thing happening and since half the teams or so don’t make a profit, it’s unlikely that any of those teams’ owner(s) will want to put up such an investment all on their own.

  120. I’m not ecstatic with how Game 6 of the Finals went.

    But… the Lakers only lost 1 game at home throughout the entire playoffs. (OK, so Atlanta can make the same claim, but we played Utah, San Antonio, Denver and Boston).

    We finished top of the toughest Western Conference EVER.

    We were favoured by many to beat Boston. A little more luck and we could’ve won Game 1,2 and 4. (Damn, Game 4 hurt – it really, really hurt).

    DON’T BREAK UP THE LAKERS. THEY’RE NOT BROKEN.

    We are about to kick off another dynasty – another three-peat of Championships. 2009, 2010, 2011 are all Laker banners.

    We will have three guys on the All Star team this year.
    We are a lock for the best record in the NBA and home court throughout the playoffs.
    We were way ahead of the curve to win the West and even make the Finals after not even winning a playoff series in 4 years.

    Show your team some love !!!

  121. With Baron and Brand do they have to change the team’s name to Los Angeles Cripples?

  122. The owners of sports teams want, repeat want, public financing of all stadiums. This is one of the big reasons LA cannot get an NFL team. The owners can make more money if this is the case.

    Then they also want to dictate to the city when to build a new stadium. After 14 yrs with no NFL team I can say I miss them not one bit – screw the NFL. I can see better games every Sunday than I could before our teams left – I am happier and will not vote for any stadium to be funded with public money in LA.

    This is my position with any sports team. I really side with the city of Seattle and think the NBA will be the worse for replacing a reasonably sized city like Seattle with a small city like OKC. Over the long haul their team will not be able to compete as well as Seattle and I will celebrate that. I will never set foot in their stadium – regardless the circumstance and I will never root for their team.

    That is the support the NBA is buying with this move.

  123. John McEnroe is saying the rumor is Nadal’s knee (which he tweaked against Youzney) is bothering him. It would be a pity to have that be a factor as I thought he would won the fifth set last year against Federer if he had not hurt the knee at the end of the fourth set.

  124. Here might be a few interesting free agent names I haven’t heard mention of…

    Quinton Ross is a restricted free agent, and perhaps would be an under the radar target. The Clippers are busy with Elton Brand, and Ross is a tough, hard-nosed defender that could be obtained for about $2-3 million a season. He is an unrestricted free agent, and maybe he wants to stay in LA where he already lives.

    Also, Matt Barnes is an LA native. He has the kind of edge the Lakers want. His competitive spirit is impressive, and he too can be had relatively cheaply.

    Adonal Foyle is a decent backup big that has decent NBA experience and toughness. He is a good teammate and great for the community. If someone breaks the bank on Ronny, he might be a viable alternative.

  125. Ok why are there comments about the Clippers on here?Clippers organization and what little true fans they have are pathetic.The line up is ok, but not as good as everyone is saying.Now on to the real LA team, Lakers.I feel the lakers need to get tough perimeter players.Someone said let go of Sasha and sign Posey? Sasha is tough and you dont let him go and offer Posey a MLE deal.Also see what kind of value you get for Odom, but I’m all for keeping him in the lineup.A lot of people feel just because the Lakers lost they need to start trading and all of that.The lineup is good, a piece or two from winning a championship.Don’t break it up and please once again take that Clipper crap to another forum, don’t taint this page with the blue and red disasters.

  126. I think the OKC new team name is down to four choices…Thunderbirds, Barons, Outlaws and Thunder

  127. I’ve been surfing around the less traveled blogs and websites, looking for teams that lust after our players, especially restricted free agents. So far, so good. I’ve heard good things about Ronny, but a sense that going after him would be futile. Everyone has seen how much the Lakers love him and how much he loves them.

    BTW, I’ve seen a number of teams, including the Jazz, seriously considering Kwame Brown–despite misgivings. It’s the rule of the bigs.

    There are a lot of holes that a lot of teams are hoping to fill with the mid level exception. They’re not looking our way. I’m sticking with about $3 million for Sasha, but Ronny might get more than I thought–maybe as much as $2.5 million. If Sun Yue is added, and Coby Karl survives the summer league–the Lakers may have their team back without breaking the bank–with a few bargaining chips in reserve.

    Of course, that doesn’t preclude a trade . . . .

  128. Look guys, I know this is the offseason and by this time its when playing the GM is fun and the only thing we have regard basketball but… Do you really think its time to make changes?

    I mean, last summer kupchak gave us a BIG LEASON teaching us how doing nothing is better than screwing things up. “Don’t fix what aint broken” people who know say.

    Only the management really knows what this team need because they have seen how our injured guys worked in practices.

    Like Kurt, I’m a fan of Mihm, at least the pre-injurie Mihm. Do you think Jax would have sent Mihm in the finals if he hadn’t shown improvement in practices? I didn’t play well for the few minutes he was out there but it’s completely understandable. I believe in him.

    The same way I believe in Ariza. You could not expect big from him in the finals, he just came out of a big injurie, but shown some flashes that remembered me how excited I was when we acquired Trevor because I can picture him working his shot and play a nice role for the team.

    Bringing veteran leadership its always a plus, see Fisher, but would you really bring a vet to take away Farmar’s minutes? Vujacic’s minutes? Ariza’s? this guys are f***ing young and hardworkers, they have matured and they still have room to improve. I still want to see Walton distributing the ball and even give a shot at radmanovic to prove his corner j before sitting him at the end of the bench.

    Odom, Gasol, Bynum, Turiaf, Mihm. That’s 5 guys in the front court rotation, with Radman looking in and out.

    We haven’t given this core group the chance to prove a full season they are worth keeping together and we are already trying to put extrapieces when it can disturb somebody’s minutes/happiness/chemistry?

    then again… “don’t fix what aint broken”

  129. 106 and 107. I’ve been seeing some of Sun Yue and talking to some people that get to see him.

    Seeing him play the PG at 6-9 is undescriptible. Still very raw but his ball handling and passing abilities are above average for guys his size.

    Putting 13.5 points (46% FG), 6 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 1.9 steals, 2 blocks in the Asian league might not be the best feature in the world considering the opposition but its not a bad indication neither (remember you need someone to put the ball in the basket to get that assist counted). I’m not sure how would he play in europe though…

    He’s got the tools, but his body is still soft, reminds me a lot the new net, Yi, in terms of body strenth but a little less talented.

    In chinese national team he’ll probably share PG duties with Chen Jianghua, also a promising chinese PG. Hope to see more of Sun there.

    If the lakers want to bring him to LA will probably make the Defenders a pretty fun team to watch with Sun and Coby “hey I’m george’s son” Karl (I love when Odom gives Karl some rookie treatment).

  130. 1st. Signing Davis will make the Clippers a playoff team, but not enough to win the west.

    2nd. Bynum is not worth max contract (yet).

    3rd. I wouldn’t bet my house on Marc Gasol’s skills.

  131. (125) haha. LA Arena Red, White, and Bad . . .

  132. This is interesting.

    “Posey And The C’s : The Celtics are denying that they made an offer to Corey Maggette, they are not denying contact with Maggette, who has already confirmed discussions with the Celtics. Why are the C’s distancing themselves from Maggette? It did not sit well with James Posey, who was labeled the Celtics top off-season priority. The Celtics did make an offer to Posey that was far less than the full boat median exception he has been offered from other teams, leaving Posey feeling unwanted. Add the Maggette commentary and Posey wants to talk with other teams. Sources close to the situation content that James Posey would love to be a Laker and that the Lakers are willing to go the full exception to land him. The Hornets are also expressing interest as are the Cavaliers and Rockets, giving Posey a number of suitors who are offering longer-term deals. The Celtics still hold the best trump card of them all, the chance at another NBA championship, but Posey’s camp has been pretty adamant that James wants and deserves a full exception deal, unless Boston comes off the stance of not offering that, Posey could be gone.”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9351

    I don’t know about the Lakers offering Posey the full MLE for all of the monetary reasons that others have mentioned on here. If they did that would probably mean that Odom will not be getting an extension after this season unless it is for a big pay cut (probably around 6-8M, which would be the difference between what he is making minus what Posey would be making). I like Posey he would be a very good back up, but I don’t see a lot of minutes in that spot. Even if you delegated Radman and Walton to the bench the minutes at the two wing positions (SF/SG) would have to be spread between, Ariza, Odom, Kobe, Sasha, and Posey.

  133. the other Stephen July 3, 2008 at 6:34 am

    ain’t nothing wrong with being the okc sooners

  134. 129) I would bet my life on Marc Gasol’s skills ;)

  135. 133. Buddy, I’ve followed Marc since he was 15 and readers here know I’ve always talked good about him but you might not love your life that much… Don’t get me wrong, I like this guy but I would bet my life on more polished centers rather than Marc

  136. They should be the OKC Public Financed Arenas

  137. 125. Dom, this is an NBA blog as well as a Lakers site, we talk everything. Even some tennis and soccer.

    As for OKC, I like drrayeye’s suggestion of Carlpetbagers. But I doubt they go for that.

  138. http://www.fantasyplayers.com/nba/FeedItem.asp?FEED_ITEM_ID=35303

    Posey got lowballed by the Celtics? guess he didn’t get offered MLE money, which he wants. Hope this is true.

    IF so, Front runners are probably us and the hornets, cause I’m pretty sure that management is more then willing to throw full MLE at posey and take their chances with sasha possibly leaving

  139. *busterjonez (124) – Matt Barnes is not an LA native. I believe he’s from the Sacramento area.

    *There’s news that Craig Smith has rec’d a bunch of inquiries from different teams in the league. I wonder if the Lakers are one of them.

    *A Clipper team with Brand/Davis might not be championshiip caliber but atleast they’ll be relevant again and that’s all they really care about anyways.

    *Some team is going to end up paying max money to Josh Smith and he’s not worth it.

  140. I think david Stern allowed a city to lose it’s team of 41 years, because deep down, he knows that after this, the people of Seattle will eventually fold and publicly finance another arena or revovations for Key Arena, after being heartbroken over actually losing their team, andin turn, bring a new Sonic team to the city. Dirty. He wins both ways. 41 years! For Oklahoma City…..wow.

  141. 139-Im kinda hoping we are one of the teams in the mix for Craig Smith too. He isn’t gonna change a team, but he could be a nice pick-up for a good team needing toughness.

  142. (138) Jeff, this is very interesting, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Sasha. Miami may like him back, Detroit is interested, you say the Hornets, the Celtics have not made their final offer–let’s see how the smoke clears.

    I’m not sure Posey is the answer: it may destabilize team rotations–or lead to further trades–or?

    Let’s say the Lakers get Posey.

    Here’s a question: if Ariza gets his 20, Andrew gets at least 30, Mihm gets 10, Gasol gets at least 30, Luke and VladRad each get 10, Turiaf gets 10, and Posey gets 20, how many minutes does Lamar get for his $14 mil salary–and at what position?

  143. wondahbap,
    I think you are right about David Stern and Seattle. However, I restate my case that LA is not worse off for not having an NFL team. This was exactly the issue when the Rams and Raiders left. I really, really support cities telling sports franchises to go “suck eggs” (a nice way of saying *******) when they start demanding public support for arenas. They should pay for the arena and they can then justifiably claim all the profits from said arena – like Staples Center. These owners and leagues that want someone else to pay for the facilities and then want a cut of the profits too just sicken me.

  144. 124- I’ve watched quite a bit of Matt Barnes over the last two years and I don’t think he would do much for the Lakers. I too like his energy, but he doesn’t really fill any of the team’s immediate needs. The Warriors used him at power forward on occasion, because they are a run-and-gun team, but at 6’7″, he would have to play the 3 for the Lakers… which creates some serious duplication issues with Ariza. Barnes doesn’t really do anything better than Ariza except rebound–his jumpshot is equally suspect and, though he plays hustle defense, he is not a stopper like Ariza is. When L.A. needs a shot in the arm energy-wise, they go to Turiaf and Farmar. As long as we keep Turiaf, there’s really nothing Barnes can give us that someone else can’t.

    BTW, while Barnes may not be an L.A. native, I do have some fond memories of his years at UCLA.

  145. Craig,

    But in Seattle’s situation, they were settled to retain Sonics name, and history, most likely in hopes of bringing back a team. I don’t know the situation in LA when the Rams and Raiders left, but it seems that Seattle ultimately didn’t want to be on the NBA’s bad side and utimately end up wit no stick, rather than just the short end. Like the Cleveland Browns. The NBA is going to kill two birds with one stone.

    True Hoop has some good info on it.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-33-16/Wrestling-with-News-from-Seattle.html

  146. 142- I agree, getting Posey would probably mean changes would need to take place, but if they were the changes that made the team better (we need to improve our perimeter defense and Ariza can’t do it all himself) then would you be in favor of it?

  147. In 2006 the Mavericks were up 2 games to 0; they held a 13-point lead with under seven minutes remaining but were outscored 22–7 in the momentum-changing 98–96 defeat. Eventually they lost the series 4-2 and were bounced out in the first round in 2007. How do the Lakers keep this from happening???

  148. drrayeye,

    Good points. If the Lakers DO go after a FA, with the MLE, someone will be moved or let walk. I can’t see it working any other way. the only movable pieces (as far as possible interest) seem to be Vlad and/or Lamar. No one would take Luke’s contract. They would have to save money somewhere, but where?. Maybe let Mihm walk (2.5 mill last year). Something would have to give. They can’t sign a player without giving something up, or completely resigning a player to the bench, and with the cntracts, who could that be?

  149. Drrayeye-

    No! Logic, my one mortal Enemy! DAMN YOU, DRRAYEYE!!!

    It is tricky. But like Kwame a said, if it makes the team better (Which I think the posey signing does. We don’t have an enforcer right now, which I think we need ) then why not go for it? I think Management could work it out if it meant getting him.

    Is the 9th here yet? Cause I’m getting sick of waiting in all this speculation…

  150. (146)(149)Kwame a, Jeff,

    I only took a Posey signing seriously this morning. It would have to be the same sort of deal that he signed with the Celtics–a two year deal. It would change everything for the Lakers, I think.

    Posey has been on the winning side of two NBA championships for two different teams–playing a key role in each. Not too many players can make that claim. This is the kind of risk the Lakers like to take. I might be too cautious to do it this way, but I’m sure that the Lakers would go for it.

    Mitch would go immediately from “relaxed” to “engaged.”

    It would keep us off the streets.

  151. 140 – you’re absolutely right in that this is a win/win for Stern and the NBA business probably. OKC might not bring in as much money as a team in Seattle might have, but that’ll just be for a few years while Seattle doesn’t have a team. And having the threat of a team moving that the NBA can leverage after all of this will very likely make other cities more willing to chip in public financing to keep their teams around.

    But the blatant disregard by the NBA, owners, and Seattle city officials of the fans really illustrates well the vulnerability of fans, which Henry articulated well here: “The fans, who are the paying customers, provide the revenue, passion, and love that make any league worthwhile. But those same fans who are such an essential part of the franchise have no legal standing at all. They have no signed agreements. The team has no obligation to them at all.

    So fans are, legally, vulnerable.”
    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-33-14/A-Shot-to-the-Gut-of-Seattle-Fans.html

    And that is what I find so tragic – those with the largest emotional investment were the most helpless and the most hurt in the end.

  152. Re: Seattle, great point at Supersonics Soul:

    http://www.supersonicsoul.com/2008/07/moving-along.html

    Bottom line, Bennett spent about $162 million to move the team. Renovating Key Arena was to cost about $250 million. If he had come to the city and offered to put up half if they put up half when he bought the team, it would have gotten done and he would have saved $37 million. But it was never about that.

  153. While Posey might be a real possibility, I would like to examine the fallout from such a move. Lamar, Walton, Vlade, Ariza are all playing in his position. We pretty much have to move 1 or 2 of those players to get our team in balance again. If we move them it will have to be for an expiring contract because we can’t just keep increasing our payroll after next year. The other team will have to gain something from our trade.

    I think this must really finish Lamar for our team. Ariza has to be retained to start; leaving either Walton and Vlade to be traded. I really think Vlade will have to be the one moved because I think there would be more interest – I didn’t say much interest, only more interest than Walton. Probably it will have to be Vlade + someone else in a 2-for-1, because we will have too many players on the roster.

    This thing could get really complex and we could also lose a promising young player.

  154. “…he would have saved $37 million. But it was never about that.”

    Kurt, I think you put your finger on the exact thing that so infuriates people and turns them against David Stern.

    How about a thread on how fans could demonstrate to David Stern that this type of ‘business decision’ is simply not acceptable and has consequences for his NBA.

    On True Hoop I read one entry saying to boycott all OKC road games, both in the stadium and on TV. I really like this option, but don’t find it very possible in an environment where sacrifice is not really something people do. If it were possible, can you imagine the TV cameras showing 5000 people in stadiums for road games? Can you imagine if TV ratings were halved for OKC games? If we were able to accomplish this for only one season the NBA owners and, especially David Stern, would really sit up and take notice. They would never admit it but you can bet your bottom dollar it would be part of any future discussion about moving teams.

  155. I like what Shoals had to say as well at Free Darko:

    Seattle didn’t have interest in a losing team, especially once Bennett razed it. In OKC, the NBA will be the only show in town (like the Hornets once were). But all those wild crowds were feeding off of what the roving Hornets stood for, the initial novelty, and, oh yeah, Chris Paul. There will be a honeymoon, but if the team sucks or Bennett is an asshole to his own people — that’s Charlotte all over again. So congratulations Clay, you stole a team. Now you’ve got the daunting task of actually running one.”

  156. Hi Craig,

    I agree with both your posts. The entire process in Seattle was horrible for the fans, bad for basketball, and good for busines–but only in the most short term manner.

    Given the hostility that Stern has engendered, his future may be in danger–ironically because he may think of himself as invulnerable.

    Posey signing. The most likely thing that the Lakers will do if they sign Posey is nothing–it gives them all the tools with some backups for injury–but at a price in the future–for all the reasons you cite above.

    As soon as Posey signs, all the other GMs will sharpen their pencils when they talk with the Lakers about trades.

  157. Ok, so everyone knows it’s a business and teams move for better financial situations, blah, blah, blah. But is there not a value to the league as a whole to keep long-standing franchises where they are? And by value I mean money.

    For example, imagine if the Kings move. Would the Lakers/Kings rivalry survive city/name changes? Would that divest fans from added interest in the games? And by divest fans I mean less money.

    Isn’t continuity with the league’s own history part of the selling of the brand? This alone is what kept MLB afloat during the lean years. Sure a lot of newer teams moved, but baseball had the added bonus of The Record Books. Something neither the NBA or NFL have quite been able to replicate. Now the NFL is currently so bullet proof I believe they could mandate all half time ceremonies include dropping poop in the stands and they’d still be the #1 sport in America.

    For proof that stability in your sports leagues sells look at this year’s Finals. Hyping a much beloved/despised rivalry provided the NBA with it’s largest ratings in years.

    Oh, and they should stop changing all the rules so much. Continuity between eras is important too.

  158. The problem with signing Posey is, where does he fit in? At this point we have two startable 3s (Lamar and Ariza) with 2 expensive backups (Walton and Rad), as well as an extra sf in Kobe when we go small. Where will Posey get his minutes? Unless we move Lamar prior to the season, I dont see how Posey fits in with our rotation.

    As for Seatlle, while I agree with Craig, its hard to see how the city was right in waiting until the last minute, only to cave. It’s like giving some hope, having it almost within your grasp, only to have it knocked away. I also would like to see a movement to abstain from going to the Carpetbaggers’ road games. Finally, Shoals wrote what I was feeling as well. New Orleans had CP3 and Tyson Chandler when they played in OKC. Who do the Sonics have? Kevin Durant, who plays out of position? Talented but unproven Russel Westbrook and Jeff Green? With the recent improvements to the Clips, is there any team you can say that they are definitely better than? It would be great vindication to see the Carpetbaggers end up as a LESS sucessful version of the Bobcats.

  159. I think what I was thinking of was 1) a black eye for the NBA financially (lower TV ratings and fewer fans at road games) and 2) a financial problem for OKC (lower TV ratings and not as much income to split for road games).

    I am not sure the ownership is too worried about the product for the next couple of years; they have the built in excitement of their own NBA basketball in that city. They, however, would be hurt financially by bad crowds at road games and the other owners would be more than a little upset by their hometown fan reaction to this ‘carpetbagging’ team’s lack of drawing power in their arenas. This feature of a boycott would be what changes owners minds about voting for future moves.

    I am not saying Seattle was a paragon of virtue in this, but LA did refuse to put public money into a new, downtown stadium. Of course the NBA could have pulled both the Lakers and Clippers out of the city for this, but it didn’t happen – gee! I wonder why? But Seattle could be railroaded because they were a smaller media market.

    Long term I think moving out of the larger and growing market of Seattle for the smaller and stable market of OKC was a poor business move. As has been noted, the Sonics draw from the northwest, Canada and possibly some of Asia; with a natural rivalry of Portland. OKC draws from ??? (OKC and…) and they have a natural rivalry with who exactly? (Dallas has SA and Houston so they have no time for OKC). This is a franchise that is likely to have a smaller base than Memphis or Charlotte, with none of the surrounding beauty of those cities. Within 10 years I predict there will be pressure to move – a ‘la Vancouver (and that is a larger city).

  160. Who said FBG would be quiet over the offseason, good stuff mates

  161. Let me just say first that I really like all of our players. I think all of them have more pros than cons in their games and that all of them could be contributors on winning teams (they’ve already proven that though, with the Finals appearance). If we were creating some sort of list of skill/traits that our guys bring to the table, that list would be a lot longer than one about what they take off the table.

    All that said, I still think we need to understand that if we’re really looking to add a player (or more) via Free Agency, that the only consideration we should have is if they are as good or better than what is already here and also take into account the difference between a core and a complimentary player. Core players can’t be easily replaced. Complimentary players can be. The way that I see it, the Lakers have 5 core players: Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Fisher, and Odom. I know that Fisher and Odom can be seen as complimentary players, but I put them as core players because of their very strong contributions within the context of last years team (the leadership, the versatility, the ability to play multiple roles on offense and defense, the quality of person…I just think that these guys are NOT easily replaced). My point is, that when evaluating whether or not to add a particular player, I really don’t care if they infringe on Luke, Farmar, Sasha, RadMan, Ariza, or Turiaf’s minutes, as long as they are performing at a level that suggests they *should* be playing over those guys.

    So, ultimately, if we add Posey and that puts a minutes crunch on Sasha, Radman, Luke, or Ariza, then I’m fine with that because we can assume he’s only playing because his contributions are more valuable than the guys that aren’t getting the minutes. And that goes for any other potential addition as well.

    Like I said, I love all our guys. And I’ve been saying this entire off-season that if we bring the entire team back, fully intact, I’d be very happy about it. I think we’re good enough to win now with the team we’ve got. But if we do add a player, we can’t get too caught up in who of our complimentary players gets squeezed. I think Phil can manage egos and ultimately winning is what matters. So (for example), while I like Ariza and think he is a good player for us and think that with some specific improvements (shooting, ballhandling) that he could be exactly what we need at SF, I still think that unless he actually makes those improvements (not a given) then to think that we should avoid a signing to make sure that Ariza gets minutes should not be a consideration. All we should be considering is: does this guy make our team better? (Financial considerations are also important, but if a guy actually signs, then we can assume the FO is comfortable with the $’s). I’d love some feedback on this, BTW.

  162. RE: Darius at 161

    Fantastic post. I feel you hit the nail on the head. It really doesn’t matter to me if Radman/Walton are stuck at the end of the bench, they give us depth in case of injuries.

  163. Darius,

    Your’re right. If he makes the team better, I wold be all for it too, and it doesn’t matter if he takes some minutes. Competition is good, and breeds success (Farmar for example), but considering the contract situations with Vlad and Luke, the 2 guys it would (and SHOULD) affect most, I don’t see the FO doing it unless they know they can move Vlad. Luke’s overpaid, and I can’t see anyone taking that contract, even for a team he might help (I would like to think he would thrive in systems like SA or Utah). Vlad can shoot and is 6’10″, so there will be a market for him. Would I take Posey or even Maggette over Vlad. Hell yeah. At that point, money wouldn’t matter.

  164. I hope everyne here realizes how much flexibilty the Lakers willhave next year. I keep writing down line-ups, and it’s very hard to do it without forgetting someone. The rich get richer.

  165. Thought I’d chime in on the off-season FA discussions:

    Posey – before last season, I would have loved it. Dude plays hard, good defender, great clutch shooter. Perfect for the triangle in that respect. But now, after just having my gut punched by his clutch threes and hard D in the Finals? And knowing that signing him would most likely mean the end of LO’s time as a Laker (I just can’t see room for all of those 3s, and Lamar is really the only trade-able one)? Just not worth it. I’d rather play the hand we’ve got, maybe add one vet big (craig smith, foyle).

    seattle/okc – public funding for stadiums is annoying…if an area can support a professional team with revenues, an investment in building/renovating an arena should be obvious and required on the owners’ part. just another example of our nation’s tolerance of “subsidized” business.

    looking forward to seeing Yue in action in Beijing…

  166. The Dude Abides July 3, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I would take Posey in a heartbeat. The team’s biggest weakness in the 2008 playoffs was the lack of defense at the SF position. Ariza was too rusty after his long layoff, and we got exposed in the Finals because Boston’s best offensive position (SF) matched up with our worst defensive position. Pierce killed us, creating a mismatch every possession that our defense had to cover up. This was why Boston’s offense was arguably more effective against us than it was against their other postseason opponents.

    Getting Posey spreads the court for our offense, gives us tough defense, and lets the backup SF minutes be split between Lamar (who would now be a supersub at PF/SF) and Trevor. Luke and Vlad could be relegated to the end of the bench, where they belong. Their playing time would then be limited to foul trouble, injury, and/or garbage time minutes. Our SF minutes could be divvied up along the lines of Posey-28, LO-6 to 10, TA-10 to14.

    The primary drawback to a Posey signing would be the payroll implications. We might have to let one of our two restricted free agents walk, or come up with a creative trade, or execute a buyout of Luke and/or Vlad.

    I think signing Posey would plug our biggest hole (SF), which was also what an Odom-Jefferson or Sasha-Stephen Jackson trade would have done.

  167. thats a very optimistic post Darius. i agree that we have a brilliant team, but you have to remember that next year will be a lot harder,and with teams like portland, warrior, and maybe even the clips making big adjustments which may / may not pay off, I dont want to risk anything.

    Although, I feel that unless the lakers are absolutely sure of the value of a free agent… they shouldnt sign him. Wait a while. Play a few weeks with the lineup we have. And see what we need. I feel if we improve our team defense ( as many people have pointed out ) it may be better than signing a defense oriented player.And since we play the style of D which depends heavily on big men in the post blocking shots, Bynum’s return will be HUGE.

    But the main reason why I felt Darius was being a little optimistic, was vladi. I see a cause for worry there. his contribution has been minimal over the season, and simply put, I dont trust the guy. I think luke is a decent player, but yeah, surely a backup. unfortunately his contract is [bad]. i guess moving radman would be enough to make me happy this summer, but i dont think its happening

  168. dude abides,

    Please realize Posey wouldn’t start. He’d come off the bench and you’d see him more when we played elite SF’s.

  169. I think that Chris Paul signing that extention for 3yrs 68 million set the market place for his draft class. Since Andew Bynum was in that draft class, the lakers shouldn’t have to go beyond what Paul is getting. Now based on Paul’s extension I see Bynum getting something like 4yrs 50-60 million. A BIG payday is still in the young center’s future after that deal is up as long as he continues to develop.

  170. rohan,
    “I dont want to risk anything. ” Remember that you risk quite a lot when you change a chemistry and flow that is working. Adding any impact player into the Laker mix will definitely change the chemistry and flow. I am not trying to be polyanna here – I have evaluated changes the Lakers could make, too – but we need to be very careful before we dump in one or more players to the current mix.

  171. rohan,
    When evaluating the current roster (assuming Sasha and Turiaf stay on) I think optimism is appropriate. I mean, we did reach the Finals and didn’t even get a full season from Bynum and Ariza. Considering that those players also happen to provide the skill sets that address what most consider our biggest weaknesses throughout the playoffs (rebounding, interior and perimeter defense, toughness) I think that we can stand pat and still be a championship contender. And when addressing the strengths and weaknesses of guys like RadMan and Luke, I still think that they bring more to the table than what they’re given credit for and when used correctly are contributors that have a lot of value. The main point of my earlier post though, was that if we do add another player, that we should only consider how they help the team and not focus so much on who’s minutes they’re taking or trying to figure out the rotation before the season starts. The way that I see it, if they’re able to contribute in ways that other players can’t or are just plain better, then why worry about if one of our complimentary players ends up with a diminished role (especially since I trust Phil to manage players in a way that they all buy into the team concept).

  172. (161) Darius,

    Posey can defend the SF. He hit 50% of his threes on offense in the playoffs.

    Lamar has never been able to defend the SF. Lamar hit 27.5 % of his threes last season (worst on the team).

    Because Lamar has not been either able to command the PF or SF, he is an expiring contract–not a core player

    Lamar has not been traded for the last two years because nobody wants him. Lamar lost his position last year to Pau.

    A free agent signing of Posey wouldn’t put VladRad and Luke on the bench–it would put Lamar on the bench.

  173. I do not care what changes (if any are really needed) the FO does, as long as we do not lose again to the Grizzlies or Bobcats, we are going in the right direction.

    Happy 4th of July…

  174. Before we dismiss Lamar, let us see how healthy Bynum actually is. Bynum needs to be his pre-injury form, especially in terms of rebounding for Lamar to be expendable. Kobe, during the media day for Team USA noted that defense and REBOUNDING win championships. Count me among one of those that would like to know more about how this team will perform, rather than make a move now. The worst that could happen is that we have a very nice expiring contract as an asset.

    If we assume Sasha is coming back, just how exactly would you share the minutes between him, LO, Ariza and (Walton or Rad as Phil WILL give them some burn) and the FA like Posey you desire?

  175. drayeye,
    Do you know who Lamar was offered to and who said they didn’t want him? If so, please share. Rumors of Lamar on the block are the easiest rumor out there from a media perspective because he was the miscast 2nd option that makes big money and he was the only established player that had any value on our team. Who else do you think on those rosters had any value to fetch a good player besides Kobe (and maybe Bynum)?Also, there are always 2 sides to every deal, so whether or not Odom was “wanted” is also very dependent on what the other team is looking for in a trade. I can almost guarantee that we could have offered Odom to the Grizz in order to get Gasol and would have been told “no” because the Grizz wanted an expiring deal. But they took Kwame! Does that make Kwame better than Odom? Who would you rather have?

    I’m consistently amazed at how little you value a player that we couldn’t have won without last year. He brings so much to the table and you want to discount him and basically say he’s an expiring contract and that’s it. Funny, I thought he was a starter on a team that went to the Finals. I thought he was the guy that helped us beat Utah with his ability to initiate offense from the defensive boards and whose versatility on defense allowed us to essentially play a zone against the Spurs.

    I also thought the point of putting a team together was to put your best players on the floor. If you’d play Luke over Lamar, then I really don’t know what to tell you. I understand that against Boston Vlad saw a lot of time in the closing minutes when we needed to score and he provided the spacing we sought when operating in the half court. I also know that against every other team we played in the playoffs Odom was part of our crunch time lineup. If you think that Posey is pushing Lamar to the bench rather than Luke or RadMan, you’re off base. I understand they all can’t play, but if Posey really becomes a Laker, believe me RadMan becomes an afterthought. Odom would start, and Posey would provide the same spacing that RadMan does while providing the defense that RadMan doesn’t. And like I said earlier, I don’t think Phil uses Luke over Lamar either. Also realize that LO will get plenty of minutes at PF when either Bynum or Gasol is on the bench. The fact that all you see is an expiring contract rather than an important part of the team’s success really just blows me away. You haven’t even given it a chance, you just *know* it’s not going to work.

    Also, I don’t want this to come off as an attack or disrespect to you. I enjoy our dialogue and like the back and forth. I’m just looking for some insight as to why you think Odom is so dispensable to the point that you would rather have him gone before the season even starts.

  176. Owned.

  177. Lamar has been in the league for how long now? 9 years and now he decides that he needs to work on his jumpshot? 9 years and still doesn’t know how to go to his right? 9 years and still hasn’t lived up to his potential when drafted at #4. In order to get better, players work on their weaknesses every summer. Has he even shown that he’s worked on his game since he was a rookie in this league? I don’t think so. Lamar’s the type of player that will help get you there, but will never take you over the top. He could never do it in high school (lost in the championship game) , college and now the pros. Yeah, I’m passing judgement on him before he could prove himself worthy at sf with a lineup with bynum and gasol. But, wait and see, when he starts clanking jumpers and committing offensive fouls like he did last season, you’ll finally agree it’ll be time to part with him…

  178. Lamar is here to stay. I believe the Lakers hould keep him and give him an extension like 9-10 mill a year. How about a 3 year extension for 30 Mill. I think that would be good

  179. Elgin,
    I’m not here to sell Lamar to anyone. I only point out what I see as the truth about the guy. He helped the Lakers achieve so much last season and in the seasons before that as well. You say that he’s a guy “that will help get you there”….well I want as many of those guys that I can get my hands on and rely on those best suited to getting us over the top to do so. You say that he hasn’t lived up to his potential….on a lot of levels I agree. When a player has the talent to be one of the best players in the league and isn’t, it’s tough to argue with that. But I’d also argue that despite not living up to his potential, he’s still a pretty damn good player that contributes to winning. Like I said, I’m not here to sell Lamar to anyone or convince people that he’s something that he’s not. But along those same lines, I’m not convinced by trite one liners about missed shots or offensive fouls. Every player does those things. I happen to think that Lamar’s faults are outweighed by his positive contributions. If people don’t agree, that’s fine, but don’t act like he’s out there making mistakes on every play. He’s not losing the Lakers many (if any) games. People can argue for better fits (though, I’d actually like to see some results first, rather than pass judgement like you are) and I do acknowledge that there are better players out there and ones that could potentially fill his role better than him. But, ultimately, I still think that we should see how this works before we just say that LO’s only an expiring contract, or just some guy that we can dump or would be better off without.

  180. I think it helps to distinguish between core and complementary players. A core player is an effective player whose strengths, skills, and abilities remain constant. In contradistinction, a complementary player’s effectiveness is minimal unless he’s paired with certain core players.

    With that in mind, I believe the only core Lakers are Kobe, Pau, and Bynum. As far as complementary players go, the Lakers have a trio of excellent floorspacers like Fisher, Radmanovic, and Vujacic. Odom is costly, but a fine all-around player nonetheless.

    If Bynum can avoid injury for an entire season, he’s going to discourage penetration; not only will teams shoot a lower percentage, but they’ll have to contend for their long rebounds against the likes of quick, athletic, and long wing players like Kobe and Odom.

    I believe Odom will have his best year yet by besting smaller 3s in the rebound dept. and initiating the break.

    I have no appreciation whatsoever for Walton’s game, and while I think highly of Farmar and admire his knack for buzzer-beaters, I’d suggest trading those two along with chris mihm to the Bucks for Mo Williams. The Bucks cut costs while netting a premiere pg prospect; and the Lakers acquire a relatively young pg and deluxe jumpshooter.

  181. Wow this forum lights up at night, huh. Has there been this type of ‘negative’ talk about Odom in the past here? People do not think he is worth the salary he is getting, they do not think he can play SF, which is what I thought Phil had planned for him, so he would not have to bang with the PF’s. Clipper fans say a team with him well never win a championship (what do they know about that?). I do not know what the coaches and FO have planned but I hope they give him a chance here this year to show what he can do with Bynum and Gasol.

  182. (175) (179) Darius,

    We do this for fun. I like your passionate analyses–even if I strongly disagree sometimes.

    Here’s where we clearly have different perspectives: you are giving your opinions about Lamar as if your opinions had objective truth value. I’m sure that they do for you.

    However, the only opinion that matters right now is the opinion and perspective of the Laker organization. That’s what I’m looking for–not my personal view.

    The Lakers never tried to recruit Odom. Lamar had a long stint with the Clippers that ended in free agency. The Clippers let him go. He was picked up by the Miami Heat and became the featured player. Van Gundy had to constantly push him to keep him producing, but it was Lamar’s only chance to burnish all star credentials.

    Lamar was traded to the Lakers for Shack as part of a complex emergency trade–together with his exceptional contract. The Lakers tried to feature Lamar as a complementary scorer, even as lead guard. In the beginning of this year, they tried Lamar at small forward. The only solution that sort of worked was to use him for rebounding and platoon him with the energy guys. There never was chemistry between Lamar and Kobe. Lamar’s exceptional or spectacular games often came with Kobe on the bench. Hollinger sometimes argued that Lamar was being wasted at LA in the triangle.

    Then there were the games where Lamar disappeared or failed to show up–even in the playoffs.

    Among the many frustrating things were his tendencies to choke under pressure: to miss the first free throw, but make the second; to take and miss his famous “Oh no, Dumb” three pointers when things were at the worst; his ability to snag, and then lose rebounds–or go to the basket and fail to finish a layup, or throw the ball away.

    It wasn’t always under pressure. One game several seasons ago, Lamar inexplicably started dribbling a ball from out of bounds, rather than passing it in.

    His salary years had dwindled sufficiently so that the Lakers started to shop Lamar two years ago–but he got injured. Last year, Lamar was aggressively shopped in every possible scenario–power forward for power forward. No suerte.

    When Pau Gasol was acquired, the Lakers organization made it very clear that Pau was their permanent power forward. They didn’t say that Lamar was their permanent small forward.

    When Andrew went down, Lamar get a reprieve.

    Then redemption came in the form of Gasol-Odom chemistry that was infectious. Odom was energized so often, that he almost seemed consistent. His rebounds, assists, and points scored all went up. Unfortunately, as the level of competition increased, the “old” Lamar reappeared.

    Still, without Lamar, our great 2007-2008 season wouldn’t have gotten out of the first round of the playoffs. Lamar did some incredible things–and there were games in which Lamar wasn’t the Lamar we think we know: he made his free throws and he didn’t choke.

    But Bynum’s coming back. Arriza’s coming back. Pau is the PF.

    If the Laker’s pass (or get passed) on Posey, we may get our 2007-2008 team back. Maybe an injury happens, and redemption happens all over again for Lamar. Maybe this time Lamar doesn’t choke.

    I never said I was for the Posey free agency acquisition–only that I thought the Lakers would do it if they could.

  183. 135- Marc Gasol is a big talent, like his brother, so yes, i would bet my life on his skills too :D

  184. Lamar seems to elicit the same extremes that Kobe did before last year. Hummmm! Maybe it is us who have the issues.

    Lamar is a very good player, with unique skills in the NBA. He is also inconsistent (even tho at a relatively high level), has not had large jumps in his game between any year in his career (see Farmar and Bynum and, of course, Kobe), and he does not look at the game strategically.

    This does not make Lamar a savior or a bum. We can all agree he has proven he is not a #2 player on a team. We should also agree that he brings real talent to the Lakers (Phil wouldn’t be starting him throughout the season if he didn’t).

    The real problem is that he is paid like a core player and he is only a very talented and good role player. Our problem is that we think of his salary (because we have to if we want to trade him) and we remember that we expected him to be a core player on disappointing teams. Lamar has not met our expectations. Sorry folks, but he is what he is – no more, no less.

    He, however, is a key part of our chemistry and we should be careful about trading him unless we noticeably upgrade our team. Do not trade him for equal value – this is a sure way to weaken the team, if only by chemistry.

    If we do not trade him I, personally, think he walks next year. There are teams out there who will pay him more than he is worth to us. Besides, that gives us room to pay our younger players what they earn and even to add a needed piece.

  185. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Kurt, I think its time for a new pos(t)-ey.

    I like the idea of Posey as a Laker – regardless that he killed us in the last series or not. I like his toughness and his ability to “intimidate” bigger forwards. He is exactly who we need at SF.

    Now the ongoing arguments put us in these dilemmas:
    1. Luke and VladRad getting buried
    2. Lamar being the odd man out

    What now my love? and so what?

    Here’s the thing: If we so sign Posey, he will be an 11m investment per year ONLY IF we choose to retain Lamar. Not even a 6m salary would help here, signing Posey must mean – trading Lamar Odom.

    So now I ask, would you rather have Odom or Posey?

    They have become almost mutually exclusive in this regard that both cannot coexist because there simply are too much problems to fill. Posey’s D or Lamar’s versatility?

    The REAL problems here have been the MLE signings in the 2 previous years to this. Vlade (put your faith in him all you want) is a mistake – even more so when the Lakers COULD have voided his contract after Skiing in Utah. Mitch was such a wuss to “forgive” him in this regard.

    Next is Luke. Ok he may have agreed to the deal at 9:01 am of July 1st last year and he did agree to take a “cut” from his starting salary to make it work within the bounds of the cap. But seriously, who were we bidding against? I am not a fan of lowballing our players but 3 years 12m would have been enough for Luke.

    So now compound these 2 and you are now supposedly choosing between Lamar and Posey. Not to mention that Ronny and Sasha are still not secured mind you.

  186. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Addendum:

    Luke 12m 3years to a max of 15m 3yrs spread at 4-5-6.

    VladRad did not only ski, he separated his shoulder doing so.

    Lamar Odom being traded – or allowing him to expire.

  187. Warren Wee Lim,
    I too like Posey. However, his salary will go on into the future – like Luke’s. That is the real issue. Lamar’s salary ends next year and the club will have a decision to make. Posey’s continuing salary will make it very difficult to retain all our core players (Kobe, Pau, Andrew) – just too much money being paid out – assuming we get him at your $11M/yr figure. If we got him at $6M, then I see possibilities, but we cannot have 4-5 players taking $60M of our salary.

  188. I’d rather have LO than Posey. Let’s not forget that the Lakers poor defensive principles made Posey look like the second coming of Robert Horry in the finals. Sure his D was smothering, but he hadn’t dominated any playoff series until he saw the Lakers flimsy perimeter D, reaching and perpetually out of position. Maybe the Lakers made him look better than he is. Apparently no one is considering this. He didn’t even average 10pts last season. If they can sign him great, but if they’re choosing between the two then stick with what you have!

  189. I find the anti-Lamar talk amusing. I really do. I think some people here conveniently forget that when Lamar is playing well, the Lakers are unstoppable. Why is he being blamed for the loss to the Celtics? If you want to place blame, then try looking at Pau complete ineffectiveness against Kendrick Perkins, or Vlad’s brain cramps on D. Pau’s inablility to force the issue put a wrench in the Lakers offense. It allowed the Celtics to sag and close the lane, thus preventing Lamar from driving with consistancy, from Kobe’s penetration (Kobe can blame his lack of aggression at times as well), and foreced the Lakers to take too many uncomfortable outside shots. You say Lamr can’t guard SF’s, but do you give him credit for limiting Carlos Boozer, for denying Oberto from easy buckets, and Perkins, or making ‘Melo a non-factor. Give credit where credit is due. I think he can defend well enough, and I KNOW that whatever you think he may give up defensively against SF’s this year, other SF’s have NO shot of checking him. Sure, he needs to improve his shooting, but when Lamar is comfortable he makes alot more j’s. He’s a great passer ad ball handler, and elite rebounder. With Drew and Pau, he will have more room to operate, and to drive. Don’t forget that. I’ve said this before, but I’d lke to see Sasha start in place of Fish this season. I feel that would free up even more space. With the Lakers great pasing, no team can double. If they want to concede the outside shot to Lamar, he’s a good enough ball handler and passer to put it on the floor to find the open guy once they adjust to his dribble.
    Paul Pierce was not a Lamar problem. He wasn’t guarding him. How many times did we watch Pau not step up or drop back on a KG/PP pick and roll, or how many times did help defenders NOT step up in PP’s way? KG isn’t going to take a 3, and PP has to be one of the worst screen passers in the NBA. He’salmost guaranteed to split a hedge and go the hole. He only passes (awkwardly when a guy is TOO wide open to not pass it). Pau had some brain cramps. Lamar too, but stop placing blame on him like ithas to be Posey or him.
    James Posey is not a starter. How frustrated will you guys be when he is the kink in the chain? Offensively, he can hit the open 3. But what else? Cmon….waiting. That’s it. He’d play with 2nd unit, down the stretch in close games, and more in the playoffs.

    All of you are acting like Posey is going to be a savior. We stomped everyone but Boston, and our main problem against Boston was our frontline’s lack of toughness and hustle. Posey can only help that so much. He can’t do Pau’s job, he can’t make the offense run smoother. I wouldn’t mind having him, but you forget all of the things that make this LA team so good in the 1st place. Lack of desire, hustle, and passion killed us. Not lack of talent. Keep that in mind before deciding to go with a specialist over Lamar. You should be focusing your attention on Vlad. He’s the movable piece.

  190. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Craig, call me Warren.

    There is indeed a growing concern with what the Lakers should do about Lamar. I personally am a fan of trading him now – to get some 30 cents for his dollar rather than lose him as a free agent on 2009 where the money is abundant. 2010 is where its most abundant but 2009 has much to offer as well.

    Personally, I seriously doubt Odom takes lesser money. It has to atleast be in the 10m range if he does – to assume he will take 6m is daydreaming.

  191. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

    There might also be many loopholes we can explore being the “cap-ologists” that we are. One is trading Lamar to a team that is interested in him as a rental or as a player they could live with. IE Memphis has space. Philly has cap too and they are hunting for a big man coz Brand looks like set to return a Clipper. One other team would be the rumored Wallace-for-Odom swap w/ Charlotte. CHA can actually absorb more salary by virtue of being under the cap thus the excess we could definitely use to lower our payroll – while getting a similar player (but lesser in talent perhaps).

  192. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Addendum: I almost always neglect to mention GS here… Lamar Odom IS the PERFECT PF for that team. With Monta running the point, and Biedrins most likely staying, GS would be interested if we sent them word that we are considering trading Odom.

  193. Drrayeye,
    I’m not trying to be this full out, at all costs supporter of Lamar on the team. There are acceptable scenarios that make both basketball and financial sense where Lamar would not end up as a future part of the team and that would be fine. I just wanted to get that thought out there, because I know that my support of Lamar is seemingly endless. I think my positive endorsement of the guy can rub some the wrong way…

    That said, your portrayal of Lamar is so negatively skewed that I doubt whether or not you’d ever really accept him as anything more than unfulfilled promise. You only see his mistakes. Which, IMO, is a shame. With no *facts* you portray him as a forced acquisition who the team has been trying to dump ever since he was acquired. I find this interesting just because after the Shaq trade, the first guy we traded was Butler, not Odom. I also have read reports about Odom and trade rumors…but I read that we didn’t want an injury prone Boozer that didn’t play defense. I read that we didn’t want Ron Artest and his headcase directed talent. I read that we didn’t want Jermaine O’neal’s bloated contract and diminishing game if it had to be Odom AND Bynum. So while I acknowledge that there were situations that the FO was willing to trade Odom (and with good reason, they were trying to upgrade the TEAM) you portray these potential transactions as LO giveaways with no one interested.

    But, in reality, all of those things are pointless now. Lamar is a part of the current team and unless he’s an awful fit at SF (something that is not *yet* a fact) and also forgets how to play as a PF in our front court rotation, then I envision him on this team contributing in his usual ways. However, I also think that if/when he’s back, that all you’ll see is the “choking”, and that, to me is the difference. I acknowledge that he makes mistakes. But besides him flourishing next to Pau all you acknowledge are his mistakes. You only see the bad things. Believe me, there have been plenty of times where I’ve been so frustrated at an offensive foul or a missed shot…but guess what, that happens with every player including Kobe. Players are what they are, Odom is not a world beater, but he’s a really good player and he’s been very good for us. Especially since he’s found his niche as the 3rd/4th option on offense and a do it all/intangibles guy with an all court game.

  194. The Gift and the Curse. Should be Lamar’s nickname. His wonderfully versatile game, and size are very “gifts” that he will forever “curse” him and cause us to pick him apart. Not just here. I’ve read sites like HP and FreeDarko, where Lamar is an enigma. He only gets this treatment because of who we want him to be. Who we expect him to be. Is that really a problem? We have Kobe, Pau, and Drew coming back, but yet we still want more from Lamar. 14 and 10 on a loaded team, and that’s not enough?

    Craig W., it is “us.”

  195. Darius,
    You and Drrayeye seem to be on opposite sides of the fence, but I feel you two are trying to address what you perceive as the other’s blinders. I think you both see both sides of Lamar, but feel the other is missing something. The truth is that if this team stays as is, Lamar will get plenty of playing time next year – either starting at times or off the bench and filling in for injuries. There will be plenty of time to see Lamar’s strengths and weaknesses and whether he worked on his game over the summer or not.

    Both of you are correct. Lamar was not a player the Lakers ever recruited, he was compensation in the Shaq trade (Butler’s contract was in its last year and the Lakers were not going to pay him big bucks – the reason he was traded). Lamar has carried our team at times with his talent and heart. Lamar is truly one of the really good people in basketball.

    My feeling is that Lamar’s greatest weakness is his lack of a strategic sense of the game. He sees what is in front of him, but not how the game/court is developing. This causes him to commit offensive fouls unnecessarily. This causes him to pass to the open man without any sense of who that man is. This is the reason he has a hard time in the triangle. This means he doesn’t see the floor opening up on the other side of the court, meaning he can drive to the basket. He doesn’t post up smaller players well for this reason. He is not unique in this respect. However, he is perhaps the most talented player I have ever seen who lacks this basic BBall IQ requirements.

  196. Let’s make it simple.

    If we could make it dollar for dollar, and I had to make a choice, I’d choose Lamar over Posey every time.

    If Lamar had a contract in the range of $6 million, I’d be his strongest supporter.

    If it’s Lamar at $14 million, or the rest of the team–I’d choose the rest of the team

  197. That’s Posey Posey Posey everywhere I read.

    Terrance just said that in comment (188) “Lakers poor defensive principles made Posey look like the second coming of Robert Horry in the finals”.

    Who else feared Posey during the year the way the Lakers feared him? Damn, we are discusing who’s a better player, a better fit in the triangle… and we get to say Posey over Odom?

    The guy might not be our second best player, maybe not even the third, but he’s a fucking glue guy! He does those little things the team need. I’ve seen him doing the pre-games hudle, talking and talking to his teammates during the games… And as many comenters here have said… without him there would not be the Lakers in 08 finals.

    And whant to dump him before giving him a try at SF with Bynum and Gasol? I’m in the bandwagon of holding Odom til next summer and sign him for 8-9 milion per year if he works well for the team or deal him in february if he’s not a good match.

    I would only trade him now if we can get a real steal.

  198. I have only read the last 50 or so comments, but it seems that most of them don’t address the main issue with Lamar – his skill set, on this Laker’s roster (assuming reasonable health), is redundant. And his skill set does not address two of the Laker’s weaknesses – consistent outside shooting from SF/PF position, and perimeter defense. So it doesn’t seem like he is a good fit for this team. And that is without taking his salary into consideration. Him coming off the bench would address the rebounding, and to a lesser extent the defense, issues with the subs.

  199. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Amen exhelodrvr. If its the “talent” we are holding him for, there’s no point paying 14.5m smackers for a “glue guy.”

  200. Let’s hope Lamar has been reading FBG…and shooting everyday, all-day.

  201. Darius,

    I like how you present and support your arguments for Lamar. It is even keel and shows that Lamar brought a decent game and was a vital part of the Lakers success this season.

    Honestly, Mitch Kupchak has the easiest job of any GM this summer. All he has to do is sit on his hands and let the team play come Oct 31. The team as is deserves a chance to play out this season because it is so loaded with talent and needs some time to develop with each other. It will all come down to how we defend teams with the addition of Bynum anchoring the defense and deterring shots. That was a key part of his game that he started to showcase just before he went down. If Lamar can’t handle a quick SF, then we can bring in Ariza. Ariza’s struggles came from lack of exposure to the triangle. He was also a midseason acquisition and then got injured. So it’s hard to have judgment on him offensively until training camp and the first 2 months of the season are completed.

    I see the Lakers FO treating this year as an experiment. If Lamar proves he can make an impact and contribute they’ll offer him a decent offer. If the Lakers don’t get to/win the Finals, I’m sure the FO is letting Lamar walk or actively trying to get some value back. They will let THIS team contend for a championship, but if they come up short, don’t expect Buss to shell out money to Lamar.

    The problem with Lamar is that you hear he’s such a team guy, and how the team always comes first, and then you find out he’s out partying and drinking after a game in the Finals (I believe it was after game 5…and we all know how he played in game 6). I know it’s his body, life, and free time but seriously I want someone that is dedicating everything to winning a championship and getting adequate rest and looking forward to the big game is more important than drinking and relaxing in that way. He has the whole summer to do that kind of thing; I can’t believe he would do that before the biggest game of his life. That is something I would never see Kobe doing and that’s where I thought Kobe got through to the players, about the seriousness about winning. I guess some players will still do their own thing, and provide the effort they are willing to contribute. Disregard this last paragraph if it is found that Lamar wasn’t partying but I’m certain it is.

    I just accept Lamar for what he is and realize that we may need to go in another direction in clutch situations.

  202. Since we once again come around to Lamar’s salary I have a suggestion. Stop all this discussion; leave Lamar with the team, filling in where needed; wait until next year to make any decision.

    Doing this we will accept Lamar as he is and decide on his worth to the team next summer. His salary is a fixed amount for next year – keep him or trade him – so let’s agree to move forward.

  203. Xavier,
    “without him there would not be the Lakers in 08 finals.”

    That’s not a valid argument, unless you are assuming that he would have disappeared from the team in pre-season and not been replaced.

  204. I agree with all your points Travis, except that the FO is gonna treat this upcoming season as an experiment. I think the objective from the top-down is championship, which is why this Lamar thing is such a difficult thing. Say you start the season and by the tradedeadline its obvious Lamar isn’t working at the 3. Then a trade has to be made and the new acquisition is in the same position Pau was in last year. There is no telling if another player can come in as seamless has Pau did, so trading him mid-season is not ideal. However, trading before we even see what a lineup with him at the 3 would look like may be jumping the gun and preventing a great thing from happening. This is what Mitch must deal with.

    Again, ideally, Lamar improves his outside shot, finds out how to cut with Pau at the high post, drew on the block and defend oppossing SF’s. If the FO is confident he can do this, I am confident he stays.

  205. kwame a,
    I agree – this is not a season to be used to “figure out the best lineup for 2009-10, when we’re really going to try to win the title.” The primary goal this season will be to win the title, developing players for the future will be a distant second.

    Craig W,
    The problem with taking a wait-and-see attitude with Lamar this season is that the team loses the value of his contract in a trade, which is significant, on the hope that he will be a perfect fit as a SF.

  206. Warren’s #185 cut to the heart of the problem. The Lakers are paying over $13mil to 3 back-up SFs(Rad,Walton,Ariza.) Kobe is going to play 38+minutes. Where are the minutes for a FA SG/SF?
    Until the Lakers move Radmanavic and/or Walton,the team is severely limited in roster spots and salary.
    Lost in all the Lamar talk is the need for another PG to start grooming for Fisher’s replacement-and overall depth at the position.

  207. Could we move the conversation to Vlad ?

  208. exhelodrvr,
    Lamar’s contract has at least as much value as a space clearing measure so we can pay other players currently on the roster as it does for trade purposes. That is the thing most of the bloggers don’t seem to think about.

  209. Craig W,
    Not if you are trying to address the weaknesses on the roster.

  210. 203. For most of his carreer Lamar has underachieved and its been overvalued. We are talking this because of his contract.

    Who got the rebounds in this team? Gasol? man I’ve seen him since 14 and now in late 20′s and get the same kind of rebounds. Those who fall in its hands. And don’t get me wrong, I love that Gasol guy.

    The ball movement Odom gave this team would be really tough to match. The fastbreak after grabbing the board.

    He has limitations but even if the SF thing didn’t work we could set a 3 man rotation at the PF and C with LO, Gasol, Bynum plus Turiaf and Mihm arround that… heck, It’s killing. Just play the matchups, the league is 82 games long and injuries and foultrouble come and goes.

    As you guys said, some of his skills are redundant but if I don’t get a proven NBA starter by moving him I’m all-in with this LO-at-SF experiment.

  211. The beginning of addressing the weakness on the roster is to get Andrew and Trevor back for the entire year. That is priority one.

  212. Craig W,
    I agree re ANdrew and Trevor – and they make Lamar redundant to a significant degree.

  213. Looks like it will be Nadal Vs Federer as expected in the finals. I want to pick Rafa in the finals but its hard to pick against Federer, the guy is basically unbeatable on grass, but I do think this is Rafa’s year.

    Bynum being cleared for practice is good news (if true) is good news. Hopefully he works just as hard this off season as he did over the last one.

    I agree with Craig W. getting Ariza and Bynum back (and hopefully improved over the summer) for the whole year is priority #1 along with resigning Sasha and to a lesser extent (since he would be easier to replace) Turiaf are priority #1.

  214. That’s why my comment about Lamar’s contract being a bogus issue at this time. Wait a year and we will have money to pay our blossoming squad or trade now and lock ourselves into luxury h**l for the next 4-5 years and limit what our youngsters can get from us.

  215. Sasha & Turiaf need to be signed this year, Trevor next year, and Farmar the year after. This is all on top of Bynum’s contract. We have a steady wave of contracts coming up – the way the FO likes (and planned) the situation. Having them all come at once – like Kobe and Pau – is not a good situation. This is what we need to be discussing – and why I feel letting Lamar walk after next year may be the best strategic tactic.

  216. exhelodrvr,
    The Lakers wouldn’t lose value on Lamar’s contract unless he got hurt. It would be worth something alone just because it would be expiring next season, plus with his versatility, a team would see it as a bonus. Don’t forget, teams take much lesser players just for contracts (Kwame). Teams would just see it as a loaded team that is too loaded and Lamar isn’t the SF, not as Lamar is a failure. The Lakers would have the leverage, because they do not have to deal him.

  217. Its not like there are any great realistic trade options for Lamar. Of the scenerio’s mentioned, Griz are not likely to use their room, Philly will try and probably sign, Josh Smith, Josh Childress, and/or Corey Maggetee, and the Warriors are presumably going make a push for some of the top restricted fa’s if they cant get Brand or Corey. Thus, it seems unlikely that we will find a partner at this point for Lamar.

    So, if we assume Lamar will not be traded, I am back to a point I made earlier about minute distribution. How will the minutes be distributed among Lamar, Sasha (assuming he’s resigned), Ariza, Walton, and Rad? Look, its Phil and he probably will give Walton and Rad some burn. Even w/o a FA we have an issue of time distribution and if we do sign a good FA, how would Phil work it?

    This is where I agree with Craig. Drrayeye, I feel like you are simply dismissing Lamar in assuming that the FO does not like him. However, there is no clear indication that they do not indeed like him. As others have stated, Mitch is in a good/bad place as all he has to do is sit tight. If he moves (Lamar) now, its jumping the gun. If it appears it is not working, the same if not more possibilities will be open later.

    Finally, the midlevel hasnt exactly been kind to us, going back to Gary Payton. We all see how much of a mistake Vlad is now, but who is to say that we wont consider Posey the same type of mistake after 2 years or so? It seems like the Finals, when he played good defense, was gifted open 3s due to the terrible defensive rotations and rebounding, and made some ill advised fallaway 3s. And do we really want another 5 yr deal especially will the impeding extension to Drew, or would we rather wait to see Ariza’s development or how the current team works? I’d prefer the later.

  218. wonda,
    If the main goal is maximizing his value in a trade, then yes, his contract is worth more after the season starts. But if the Lakers are looking at making a serious run at the title this season, then (as others have noted) bringing in other players in the middle of the season is not the best way to do it. That is aweakness of the triangle – the learning curve involved.

  219. Great discussion.

    I think that the Lakers need to stick to their strategy of resigning and reassembling their team from last year while staying in the loop for trades. It is a posture of strength.

    The Lakers already have Trevor, and I’ve seen no dark clouds around Sasha and Ronny negotiations. Coby Karl isn’t going anywhere. If they want Mbega, I think that they have a long window of opportunity to re-sign him. The Lakers even have a backup to consider–just in case: Mo Evans, if Sasha moves into the high rent district.

    The Lakers have Sun Yue as a serious “big time” draftee to consider that could well be as good as a first round draft choice. We’ll see him in the Olympics.

    I do not think that the Lakers, as constituted, are out of balance. Here is how I see the front court depth chart for next year (keeping Odom out for the moment):

    C) Bynum + Mihm +???
    PF) Gasol + VladRad+Ronny
    SF) Ariza + Walton+???

    I believe that Odum can rotate into both SF, PF, (and occasionally PG) positions as a classic 6th man, dropping into a starting role at PF if Gasol starts or moves to Center. Others can move accordingly. That removes the question marks, keeps top players on the floor, allows strategic substitutions, and provides redundancy for the inevitable injuries.

    Unlike some who want Lamar to work on his three, I’d prefer that he take some dance classes (not at the clubs) and spend times in the weight room–maybe gaining weight and agility at the same time–and work on his free throws. I’d prefer that Odum took no three’s at all this summer.

    As Warren and Craig suggested, using the midlevel exception on free agents each year pushes a team toward luxury tax extremes. It is decisions made in previous years that really make free agent and trade decisions dicey this year, and already point to some difficult negotiations next year–even if the mid level is not used at all this year.

  220. Ahhhhhh………..the dog days of summer.

    All of you who are worried about our #3 spot……Ariza will take care of that. With him and LO battling for the starting #3, it leaves us with 2 overpaid bench players fighting each other for the remaining minutes (Luke and Vlad). I’m sure we all agree that if we were to trade anyone, #1 and #2 on the IDEAL list would be Luke and/or Vlad. Since that would be close to a miracle, we all have to brace for the fact that we might be stuck with them, for better or worse. Although, I’d trade one of them for a “bad contract” big or PG (would love to have J Critt back), just to give us some depth.

    Now of course, I’m in the camp of keeping LO and using him as our super sub 6th man. I personally think he’ll flourish in that role. In addition, some of you have mentioned that LO can also be used at the PF spot in certain matchup situations and in case of injury. For that alone, we should keep him. Remember, we have 2 PF (Gasol, Turiaf) and 2 centers (Bynum, Mihm). LO can be substituted in case an injury to any combination of those players, which is highly likely given all 4 of those players’ history. Now of course, LO’s contract is not justified but I think if the season goes well next year…….we should play a little hardball (depending on Ariza’s success which I can guarantee) and offer him 7-9/mil max. If he wants to get paid…..let him walk and use the rest to pay Ariza, Bynum, and Farmar.

    Either way, I think it would be foolish to go after Posey and pay him the MLE UNLESS we can somehow trade Vlad or Luke (maybe package one of them with Mihm’s expiring??). I for one, think that is too much of a risk and the likelihood of trading Luke or Vlad are slim.

  221. What do you all think of Corey Maggette?

    Would you pick the lakers over the Celtics w/ Posey on your side, and CM on their side?

    How about CM on the C’s, and you all with no-posey?

  222. kwame a.,

    Thanks for the feedback, I hope the team can retain Odom and like our team as is. I agree with Craig W. that we can seriously evaluate our team a year from now and must wait to try anything drastic. Our core is excellent and we will be knocking on the door every year for the next 5 yrs… or whenever Kobe’s finished playing at his stellar level.

  223. Warren Wee Lim July 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Jay – Maggette? No thanks. Let him go to the C’s – just not the Spurs.

    Craig, this is the part where our “financial minds” differ.

    So you are saying that we stand pat this year, see how Lamar fits in all this, pay the tax, forego Posey even if he signs with us and just let Lamar expire?

    I think in saying that some of the guys need to be paid argument is valid – but letting Lamar expire for absolutely nothing is quite hard for me to take. Esp now that he has upped his value well enough to be desired. I am not pushing for the Posey trade, better with but fine without is my stance here, but owning Lamar for 1 season just to “test” and lose all of him next is where my GM instincts disagree.

    For instance, a running team somewhere in California is slowly earning its honor for “most disgraceful summer”. Odom for their cap space would mean redemption. AS for us, guess what, its redemption from tax hell as well. But the advantage of doing this is to get out of the tax THIS YEAR as supposed to NEXT YEAR when we see one of our better assets walk out the door. So a trade exception worth 14.5m maybe the answer to all our problems – and here’s the catch: because we are sending out pure value, we can actually demand a pick back or two (the ones we lost to Gasol) and maybe even a little-used rookie from last year.

    All I am saying is that LETTING LAMAR EXPIRE is the “lazy-GM” stance. Mitch would welcome this wholeheartedly if it meant signing Sasha and Ronny was the only thing he was supposed to do this year. So lets not allow the GMOY runner up to be “lazy”…

  224. That’s 25 million in salary on inconsistent forwards. And that’s not including Ronny, who’s not very consistent either.

    There has to be a move made.

  225. Travis,
    “I agree with Craig W. that we can seriously evaluate our team a year from now and must wait to try anything drastic”

    That’s a dangerous game to play.

  226. 225 – And its not dangerous remove a core player from a NBA Finalist whose future looks promising?

  227. Probably one of the important moves a year from now will be signing Sun Yue for the 09/10 season. The ‘Club Lakers’ link has some video of him.

  228. Some inconvenient truths

    Without Sasha or Ronny signed, the Lakers are alredy almost $17 million over the salary cap at almost $76 million. With Sasha and Ronny, we can suppose $81million (13 players). Sun Yue might make it $82 million (14 players). So, the Lakers might be $24+ million over the salary cap THIS YEAR. If the luxury tax threshold is $71 million, the luxury tax could be $11+ million THIS YEAR without signing any mid level exception. Even supposing that the Lakers get some of that luxury tax money back, the team is already in a financially vulnerable position even before the difficult negotiations of 2009.

    Most teams in the NBA have a similar version to what the Lakers are facing in the next few years–and it leads them to do crazy things if they are not sufficiently disciplined in the timing of their contracts. Few of them have had as much success in putting together a balanced roster of players.

    The Lakers have 6 expiring contracts this year (half their team) and they might want to keep all the players for 2009. Four of them might sign contracts that would make them core players. One of them currently earns $3 million more than the other five combined.

    Given that the Lakers are already well into the luxury tax this year, and that players with multiyear salaries will get pay increases for 2009, where is the additional contract money going to come from to sign these key players and give them sufficiently attractive salaries to keep them for 2009?

    This is a question all of us must ponder as we recommend acquisitions and trades.

  229. Happy Fourth everyone.

  230. drrayeye, I had not noticed that, but yes half the team’s contracts are up next year. I read here in an earlier thread about why teams should not have all of their contracts expiring in the same year. Here we are now with many expiring next year. Well unless there are trades of some kind, the Lakers are staying the way they are currently, it would seem.

  231. 226)
    Lamar’s strongest points – rebounding and an inside offensive game – are now provided by others. He is not strong in two of the Lakers weakest areas (outside shooting from SF/PF/C and perimeter defense). Can they address those areas and still keep Lamar? I’m not sure they can. (Perimeter defense would seem to be addressed by Ariza, but you can’t play him very much if you’re playing Lamar.)

    Is it better to take a chance on this roster, or should they try to address their specific weaknesses?

    (Note that my personal preference would be a three-man rotation of Gasol/Bynum/Odom for the C and PF positions, but I doubt that the coaching staff will do that.)

  232. (231) exhelodryr,

    I’m with you, but I suspect that the coaches are already “there” too. That is a very likely scenario if the Lakers continue to be unable to trade Lamar for someone(s) who can respond to the deficiencies you mention.

  233. the other Stephen July 5, 2008 at 8:50 am

    SUMMMMERRR DOOLLDRUUUUMMSSSS

  234. 227 – You mean Odom? I’m not suggesting we trade Odom, I’m just saying that’s almost half of the allotted salary cap on inconsistent forwards. That’s not how Buss rolls.

  235. Interesting discussion on Odom. New post up finally dealing with the three, particularly the favorite of many in Ron Artest. I think what to do about the three (if Posey fits in, what about LO beyond this year) is by far the toughest issue Mitch faces.