Just What Can The Lakers Afford

Kurt —  July 10, 2008

As we wait for what the Lakers will do about Ronny and Sasha ( JONESONTHENBA, who has some good NBA contacts, heard the Lakers will match for Ronny Turiaf, but they resign both? And if not which one is more crucial to the current team and its makeup?) an interesting discussion of what the Lakers can afford and be reasonable with has come up in the comments.

We don’t know all the financials, but Bill Bridges (who, without getting too much into his background, knows plenty about the business side of professional basketball) says the Lakers can afford the increase:

The Lakers as an economic agent operate in an almost perfectly vertical inelastic supply market. That is, there is a fixed supply of seats on offer and a high demand for those seats. This equals pricing power. Also the consumption of these tickets is inelastic to exogenous factors such as overal economic state of the community. A 10% decline in mean wages of greater Los Angeles does not precipitate a commensurate decline in ticket prices.

If Ronny’s fair market salary is $2.5M per annum (for argument’s) sake, the incremental $1.5M “over payment” works out to an average increase in home ticket prices of $2 per ticket. Due to inelastic supply and demand properties, the Lakers have ample ability to absorb the extra $1.5M with no impact on team (and the Buss family) finances.

The only time that salary levels matter is if you under the cap and need room to make a big signing. Once you are over the cap the only thing that matters is the elasticity of your local supply – demand market. The Lakers are fortunate to have an inelastic one.*

* They have to keep winning to keep the markets inelastic.

Then Reed added this followup:

There are really three parts to a free agent signing: (1) will the player make your team better (fit and skills), (2) is the player’s salary at fair value (based on the market, length, age, risk, ability to replace), (3) does the salary fit within the team’s bottom line payroll budget without costing them a greater need.

I think we can safely analyze prongs (1) and (2). First, Ronny unequivocally makes us better. He is better than our other existing backup big men and as good as or better than others available on the market. Second, I believe the proposed contract is fair value. While we remember overpaying for role players the last two summers with Luke and Radman and are now reaping some of the consequences, that does not necessarily mean that Ronny is overpriced. There is a much shallower supply of quality, young big men that are sure to contribute in their minutes than there are of role wing players. These big men are almost always “overpaid” in free agency, but that really just means that the market dictates them being worth more per production than players at other positions. Ronny is big, active, has decent skills (high post jumper, good passer), provides great chemistry, and has proven he can produce when called upon to fill in as a starter when injuries hit. In today’s big man market, that is worth $4M a year, which means the contract would almost surely be movable at any point in the future. Yes he hit some kind of wall late in the season, but don’t forget how critical he was on the road trip before Gasol arrived, or after Gasol sprained his ankle.

That leaves us with the final variable — payroll budget. This is what we don’t know and why we are probably all over the map on the issue. If Buss’s bottom line is something like $77-80M for the final 14 man roster (probably a reasonable assumption given the past), then matching on Turiaf has serious consequences. It means we either need to move one of Radman/Luke (unlikely) or pass on Sasha. Between Ronny and Sasha, I think we all prefer Sasha, so that means Turiaf has to go. However, if Buss’s bottom line is a little higher, then matching on Turiaf becomes very reasonable given how he helps the team and the moderate contract amount.

Finally, JONESONTHENBA adds this:

I just know that in 2007 with a decently high payroll and with a team that was not even close to as good, the Lakers still made $31M in profit. Revenue from advertisers, ticket sales, merchandise, and concessions (although people might have drank more during the down years out of depression), seemingly all go up when a team is winning. The Lakers have one of the best business operations departments in the league. They will figure out how to capitalize on the team’s success and make even more money, which would allow them to go over the luxury tax and still have a bottom line that is satisfactory to them. People also forget that this team is also owned by AEG (30%). They are well capitalized and will likely be very willing to do anything to keep this team winning and rolling, as the Lakers are key to driving people downtown and making the other AEG properties (L.A. Live) viable. The real concern for the Lakers is not if they can afford it, but if it ruins cap flexibility in the future. But sometimes, when you’ve got a team that is capable of winning for years to come, you just have take your chances, roll the dice, and worry about the future burden when you get there. I mean, look how it is paying off for Boston. Their salary Burden with the big three is pretty ridiculous, and will stay that way while those guys are on the roster. They pretty much have no cap flexibility beyond the mid-level. But they don’t care, because they are making money and are winning. Just some things to keep in mind when discussing the Lakers and their financial situation.

Kurt

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191 responses to Just What Can The Lakers Afford

  1. I love this…I love how all this stuff actaully starts to make sense…how the Dollars add up and balance. Thank you guys for sharing your knowledge.

    I see more Artest/Odom stuff over on Hoops hype. PLEASE LAKERS….DO NOT DO THIS!!!!

  2. This was very informative. Thanks Kurt.

  3. From my understanding, Buss only profits from the Lakers. Unlike most NBA owners, he doesn’t have a lot of outside business interests. Is this true? If so, how does that effect his decisions on whether or not to exceed the luxury tax? Take James Dolan for example. Both Dolan and Buss own teams in the largest NBA media markets. The Knicks and Lakers have the league’s two highest tickets prices. But Dolan owns Cablevison and can afford to lose money with the Knicks because he profits elsewhere.

  4. This was a great post, but as noted, it ultimately depends on Buss’ bottom line, not the econimic ecology of the NBA, althought those two thigs are related.

    As to the team on the floor, I have not read the Turiaf therad yet, but I would not match. I would match on Vujacic, partly because I think either Utah or San Antonio will sign him to the offer sheet, and try to get Kurt Thomas on a short deal. The team is already overcommitted years-wise to Radmanovich and Walton. Doing that with a third decent, but replaceable, talent, would be a mistake IMO.

  5. This site is so blessed to have the commenters that we do. Thanks for the insight and analysis that can’t be found anywhere else on the internet…

  6. Brandon Hoffman,

    Good point. That’s why Isaiah lasted as long as he did. Dolan still makes money with theother companies, and still profits with the Knicks, but is not as concernd.

  7. Radmanovic has been mostly a disappointment, but the Walton deal is one I can live with. He’s not a starter, not a star, but when he’s playing well (which is depressingly infrequently), he’s a classic “glue guy” that you need on a championship team–he passes, he can handle the ball, isn’t afraid of taking the big shot, and can defend several positions.

    Not well, mind you, but he makes switching easy on the defensive end if you’ve got, say, Kobe-Walton-Odom at the 2-3-4. As long as it’s not a widebody (like Boozer) or a center playing the 4 (like Duncan), they can swap out each other’s men for broken possessions.

    The other thing about the Walton deal is, the day he signed it I knew it would be a bad deal, cap-wise, for 2-3 years. But since there’s no automatic pay bumps built into it, $6 million a year for your 7th or 8th man isn’t such a bad deal in a year or two. Posey, another glue-guy type who’s on the market, is looking for the midlevel from suitors, which this year is $5.8. I’m not saying Walton = Posey, though it would be nice if he could have Posey level of impact consistently, but please, stop killing Luke for the bad first three years of his deal. In 2011, with a victory parade or two down Figueroa between now and then, we’ll praise Kupchak as the genius who overpaid Luke a bit on the front end of the deal, but now that he’s an integral bench player on the multiple-champion Lakers, he’s content taking a 5-year, $20 million deal to finish out his career as a Laker.

    What? Too optimistic?

  8. Now imagine what happens when the Knicks are good? Ca-ching. Prices up. Then sell when high.

  9. In case you haven’t noticed: Ronny is hot, Sasha is not.

    Ronny’s agent is sending over a signed offer sheet today to Mitch.

    Sasha’s agent said that he would touch base with Mitch next Wednesday in Vegas.

    Is it another example of the law of the bigs?

    At this site, Sasha may be worth more than a mid level–and much more than Ronny.

    On the market so far–not so.

    Why?

    I have my theories. What do you think?

  10. Bingo T. Klown July 10, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Have to disagree with Reed’s sentiment that Ronny “as good as or better than others available on the market”. I think Ronny is a decent bench player. I think when we put him in as center he is out of position. As I have stated in the past he is NOT a good rebounder and commits too many fouls. I also do not see him as being that physical. Even the play on Utah which he was ejected for was more a product his lack of athleticism than toughness.

    Ronny is a great guy and all but when it comes to your 8th man, I think there are plenty of less-expensive equivalent options.

  11. from ESPN Insider Rumors:

    Mitch Kupchak said Andrew Bynum, who had surgery on his left kneecap on May 21, has been seeing his doctor in New York but has “not been cleared yet” to start training.
    But Bynum’s agent, David Lee, said his client has been cleared.

    “I don’t know if he said it or not,” Kupchak said, referring to Lee. “But I’m just saying he has not been cleared.” — The Press-Enterprise

    Sounds like negotiations.

  12. This also:

    Kwame Brown, an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, worked out Wednesday at the Cousins Center in front of Milwaukee Bucks officials and coach Scott Skiles.
    “He was good,” Skiles said of Brown’s workout session. “Nothing that we didn’t already know he could do. He’s got enough of a background now. We’ll take a serious look at him. We’re weighing some other options, too. But we were fortunate enough to get him in for a workout.” — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  13. Another money maker is the luxury box suites. Given that the Lakers are going to be a powerhouse next year, those prices will skyrocket. When they went into Staples we were told a big reason was the suites – I guess they are a real cash cow these days and the push for new arenas is often connected to that potential revenue source.

  14. Brandon Hoffman,
    You are right in the comparison between Buss and Dolan, however, there is an interesting corollary. Buss has to be smarter, not cheaper to survive. The oil rich countries are notorious for not building up their infrastructure and education for the entire population, creating social friction; while countries without a single overwhelming advantage did build up their infrastructure and education with profits and became stronger societies. This is a simplification of history, but the point is that Buss may be in a better position to succeed precisely because he has to pay constant attention to his product and bottom line.

  15. drrayeye,
    Sasha is more valuable to us because he knows the triangle. That is what may keep him a Laker. I agree his skill set is replaceable more easily than Turiaf’s, but he knows how to move in the triangle and with Kobe.

    He was a young European star before he came here so I wouldn’t worry about his ‘bagging it’ after his contract. He does seem to want to work on his game and he has been around Kobe for quite a while. That the players play with Kobe and Phil may be one reason they seem to get more money than we might think they deserve. Kobe and Phil demand workers and those that don’t are quickly, and publicly, washed out. My guess it that other clubs are more willing to take a chance on Lakers because of this.

  16. My guess is that Mitch has a pretty definitive number he can not exceed salary wise from Dr. Buss. The reasons have obviously been stated, and the fact that Buss has proven that he can win rings without going over that number is enough to convince him that it can be done. It’s not to say that Buss is cheap, he’s got the 7th highest payroll in the league and pays his coach more than any other.

    All that being said, I don’t think the issue completely boils down to how much Buss pays in luxury tax, but what paying that amount means in regards to the flexibility Kupchak has to make adjustments to the roster if the need arises.

    If you match for Ronny and something happens with Sasha where we match for a similar salary later on we’re then stuck in a position without much roster flexibility to address weaknesses as time goes on, and those situations will arise.

    I love both guys, I think they were vital parts of a fun and endearing team last year, but ultimately I have more fun rooting for a championship caliber team than a bunch of nice guys.

    I wouldn’t match for Ronny and I wouldn’t pay more than $3.5 mil for Sasha for maybe 3-4 years.

  17. 3. Yes, the Lakers are Buss’ only source of income (well, outside of some sucker with deep pockets at the wrong table at the Mirage poker room). I think, as Craig W. said, it makes him spend less but try to be more prudent.

    The financing of the Knicks is more complex because this is Cablevision money, which owns MSG and what the Knicks do on the court impacts cable television revenues and money from the arena. Money easily shifts from one pocket to another, so to speak, so if the Knicks went way over the tax to win that would be countered by revenue from other sources. It’s much the same way the Yankees and Red Sox control their cable stations, allowing them to outspend everyone in baseball. While there are revenue sharing agreements (I’m sure) the Lakers and Buss lack those other options.

  18. The Dude Abides July 10, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Not too many teams with a lot of cap space, so that’s one reason Sasha hasn’t signed an offer sheet. For the teams willing to offer the MLE to various free agents, it’s possible that the top Western Conference contenders will just assume that the Lakers won’t want to let Sasha go to another contender, and thus won’t sign him to an offer sheet. I doubt that HOU, PHO, DAL, UTA, or SA would have any interest. It appears that HOU is targeting Barry, PHO targeting Lue, SA just signed Roger Mason, and DAL just used its MLE on Diop. UTA already has Korver in Sasha’s role, in addition to CJ Miles.

    In the next tier, DEN probably has re-signing restricted free agent JR Smith to worry about, and POR already has too many players with too few open roster spots. That leaves GS, and the Warriors have plenty of cap space. If the Lakers match Ronny’s offer sheet, I can see the Warriors signing Sasha to one. They might overpay, too, going above the MLE. That’s where my theory of working a sign and trade with GS for Stephen Jackson comes in. Jax is 30, has two years and $12.5-13 million total remaining on his contract, and would be a perfect SF for the Lakers. We could keep Lamar next season, wouldn’t have to worry about Artest and his locker room issues, and wouldn’t have to worry about taking on someone like Kenny Thomas or Shareef Abdur-Rahim. We wouldn’t have to consider signing Posey to the MLE. We would have someone who can guard a healthy Ginobili and an “injured” Paul Pierce, and also hit the open three. With Jax and a healthy Andrew Bynum added to our lineup, our defense would be among the best in the league.

  19. I hate to re-catalyze the Odom-Artest discussion (as we’ve beat all seven lives out of that horse), but the buzz is increasing:

    “According to a league source, the Lakers already have contacted the Kings regarding Artest and are believed to be offering forward Lamar Odom. As of Tuesday evening, the Kings had not returned the call. They are expected to insist on forward Kenny Thomas and his $18 million of remaining salary (over two seasons) being included in that potential trade. Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie declined comment on whether the Lakers had called.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/100/story/1072665.html

  20. It’s interesting, all the buzz about the potential trade is coming out of the Kings and Sacramento. Not sure what, if anything, that means.

    Off topic, but if you haven’t read this you should:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Still-waiting-for-Shawn-Chacon-s-Sports-Illustra?urn=nba,92849

  21. It probably either means that they have a leakier front office (whereas ours has been buttoned up lately) or they they trying to pressure the deal by making it public, as you suggested yesterday.

  22. Bingo T. Klown July 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    full – and probably a bit large – Summer roster

    http://www.nba.com/summerleague2008/team/index.jsp?team=lakers

  23. 22. I was just looking at that. By the way, Summer League post tomorrow priort to the first game. The Friday and Sunday games are on NBA TV.

  24. Dosent teh Buss family have a ton of Real;estate as well thru out LA County? OR did they sell all that off? And, I still think they have a chunk of what is now Fox Sports West…didnt he just get a star on the Walk of Fame for this? Prime Ticket it was called right?

  25. Kurt,
    That right there is why I love KD.

    And I agree with your assessment of LO….I would think that if Sacto could get a good talent in Odom and some salary cap relief by including Thomas, that’s a good deal for them. Even moreso when you consider that Artest is not going to be a member of the team beyond next season. So, for this info to be out there, it makes sense that it’s coming from the Kings. Realize too that the Lakers have nothing to gain from Odom’s name being out there in even more trade rumors. Didn’t the FO apologize to him in his exit meeting for his name already being out there in rumors that close to the season’s conclusion? Why would they risk any good will they have with Odom by floating his name in more rumors when there is no certainty that this trade would even happen?

  26. When talking basketball economics, I can’t stress enough how much winning affects the bottom line. If a team goes deep into the playoffs, the team makes significantly more money. I suspect very little of that comes from ticket sales and even luxury boxes, while most of it comes from TV-related income and memorabilia sales. I’m saying that when judging a signing, the potential wins need to be considered.

    On the other hand, Donald Sterling has shown a new way to be profitable in the NBA: create very little expenses and collect luxury tax dividends from the rest of the league. Since the Clips are in a big media market, they can make money while being a bad team. Maybe this philosophy has changed a bit recently however

  27. 9 – “Ronny is hot, Sasha is not.”

    This is silly. To conclude that Ronny is more desirable than Sasha because Ronny has signed elsewhere is absurd.

    For all we know, that was and will be Ronny’s only offer, and it came from a team who has wildly overpaid before. There aren’t crazy rumors about Sasha, because, well, he’s a MLE or less guy. Is that really newsworthy? “Bobcats rumored to have lukewarm interest in Sasha” doesn’t really scream #1 on latimes.com’s “most emailed stories”.

    Again, you may be right, but its not because of no reported interest in Sasha versus a contract offer to Turiaf. I’ll bet though, that 4M per year is the lower end of what Sasha gets, with his contract ceiling being what Kapono got (which I think exceeded the market value for Jason).

  28. Bingo T. Klown July 10, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    On Kelly Dwyer article:

    I actually didn’t think the straight comparison of the two incidents was valid. Even he mentions that there are a ton of variables and with out really accounting for them, it doesn’t make good journalism.

    However the subtext of the article about how violence in basketball is treated differently being indicative of race, I tend to agree.

    Violence is much more prevalent and accepted in the other sports (it is sad that a “basebrawl” is seen as part of the game). One reason I don’t follow the other sports.

    I think basketball has far more beauty to it; I just love watching Kobe glide through the lane and dunk, or some rapid fire interior passing between Pau and LO.

    (That last sentence just made me smile)

  29. A-Hole Carolla July 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Let’s raise the money ourselves!

  30. Re comparison of Ronny & Sasha:

    Ronny played much better on offense as a starter than when he came off the bench last year (52% FG%, 79% FT% vs. 45% FG%, 73% FT%). He’s actually a passable starting big man (11 pts, 2 blocks / game) if you have another starter who can take up the rebounding slack.

    $4m/year is a fair salary for someone who is a passable starting big man.

    Sasha, OTOH, is a career back-up SG. I think he’ll end up getting similar $ to Turiaf because he’s developing into one of the best outside shooters in the NBA. I don’t think he’ll quite get Kapono $ b/c he’s not as consistent as Kapono yet.

  31. Holy crap, if the Lakers traded Odom for Artest I would flip out. Our biggest problem in the playoffs was rebounding. With Bynum’s ability to produce throughout a full year with heavy minutes being questionable, why on earth would we trade our most consistent rebounder for someone who doesn’t bring anything that we were particularly lacking and has a history of undermining offensive systems he plays in?

    The Kings would be stupid not to trade Artest for Odom. This makes no sense to me. But what could the Kings get out of putting this out there?

  32. I don’t get the logic in comparing the Lakers and Knicks in terms on their owners’ money. It’s apples and oranges, and the time-proven fact is that the Lakers have been great under Buss for multiple decades and the Knicks have been nothing but a joke under Dolan’s tenure, albeit it a shorter one.

    Whether Buss makes nary a nickel or $100 billion outside the Lakers doesn’t matter in this comparison. Just let him keep doing what he’s been doing; Dolan’s lavish expenditures haven’t resulted in anything good in New York.

    In the Ronny question, I agree with those who say, “Thanks, and good luck in Oakland.” He’s just not worth $4 million+ a year. This is Mullin overreacting to losing Baron Davis. It’s an overpayment, no different than Fisher’s deal a few years ago. No ill will to Ronny for taking the money.

    Let’s just hope Kobe doesn’t get upset over something the front office does and then play the, “Mitch didn’t re-sign my best friend” card like he did after Butler was traded to D.C. I’d like to think we’re past that stage in Kobe’s career, but I’d be lying if I said the chemistry question didn’t pop into my mind.

    Losing Ronny makes the idea of Lamar playing off the bench more interesting. You’d get some size off the bench, a good rebounder with a lot of position versatility, and you wouldn’t have the concerns about whether or not he’s capable of playing at the 3.

    Let’s just hope these Artest rumors are Ric Bucher-level crap, like the Halloween report that Kobe had been traded to Chicago and the Lakers were going to get Ben Wallace and some other sack in exchange. Leave Lamar a Laker, at least until we see how next season’s team gels.

  33. Sorry for the second post, but it relates to the earlier discussion I saw on here about this: A lot of the speculation to trade Odom regards his ability to be effective at the 3, which implicitly has Bynum starting at center right away. I don’t make that assumption at all. Even when he was thriving at the starting position last year he was average 31 minutes a game. And that was after he spent his offseason improving his conditioning and BEFORE he had a major knee injury that may or may not still be an issue. I don’t see him coming into the season ready to jump into 30+ minutes a night.

    I do see some issues with Odom, Pau and Bynum all on the floor at the same time. Their roles will overlap if Odom plays more inside as we all prefer. However, I think any 2 of those players together will work great. We’ve already seen Pau and Odom excel, and we’ve seen flashes of Bynum and Odom. I think Pau and Bynum will just take some time together. If we start the season with Bynum on the bench, we can fully explore these combinations and maybe keep all their minutes down so that we can avoid the injury bug we’ve had lately. (This is even more important if we lose Ronny).

    Hopefully, by midseason Bynum will be ready to start and we can get the second half we’ve been waiting for for 2 years from him. At that point, we’ll know how well they all fit on the floor together and Odom’s expiring contract will be at its most valuable (though I don’t see the Busses being too eager to replace Odom with another large contract- instead they’d probably give Bynum a big extension).

    PJ often balked on putting too many expectations on Drew last year. This has only continued through his recovery process. I don’t see it changing at the beginning of next season. For the time being, I see Drew as more of a super sub who we can bring along at the best pace for him.

  34. Please dont trade LO for Artest…. please. Makes no sense to bring in a volatile player like him, particularly with Kobe on the team. The FO should focus on a backup plan for Ronnie (Kwame?) or get going on other options. Some of the cheap free agents are being taken up and the Lakers cant afford to sit and wait.

  35. The Great Piggly Wiggly July 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    IT’S ALMOST OFFICIAL!! … atleast according to this afternoon’s latest report from a Sacramento Newspaper.

    Lamar & Farmar for Artest, Sharif Abdur-Rahim and Francisco Garcia!! WTF!!

    Who’s our PG now??

  36. Artest is in a contract year, you don’t think he is going to play hard and keep under control in the spotlight to hit the big cash cow. Lamar cannot guard the three, JD how is getting Artest not addressing a problem for the Lakers. Did you not see Paul Pierce tear the Lakers a new one.

    Artest could guard the other teams best perimeter player, prolonging Kobes career. I love Lamar as a person but I think the move makes the Lakers better.

  37. No please say it is not true. Lamar AND Farmar. Are you friggin’ kidding me? My day just went from bad to Sh%$ty…

  38. 35. Link?

  39. Looks like Piggly mistook this site for Clublakers or Topbuzz.

  40. Holy crap, I will flip out if Kupchak is dumb enough to trade Odom for Artest. Stick to Posey damnit!

  41. 34, J.D. I agree. I also see Drew coming of the bench and not starting, at least not right way. I could see most the minutes at the 4,5 being split between Pau, Odom, and Bynum in order to keep their minutes down. This will be important for Gasol in particular because he will be playing in the olympics and has had a history of injuries for the last 2 seasons.

  42. The key is that all the information is coming from Sacramento. Until the Lakers say something I will believe nothing.

  43. Incidentally people, Kobe will be in the Olympics, as well as Pau. This means we should probably give him fewer minutes for the 1st half of the year. Do I hear Sasha anyone?

  44. Craig W. hit it on the head, until I see Laker sources (or LA-based sources) with some facts and details, I am not buying that a deal is on the table. Because there is some verification of a conversation I’m letting the talk go, but up to a point. This is not going to get out of control.

  45. I am listening to ESPN AM 710 in Los Angeles. They 1st interviewed David Falk and followed it up with an interview with Mike Dunleavy.

    Falk claimed no knowledge of any deals with the Clippers.

    Dunleavy claimed he had emails from Elton Brand and David Falk about wanting Baron Davis and then wanting to resign after the Davis signing. He says the Clippers have a contract David Falk marked up to his liking that was to be signed by Elton. He said Elton talked to Davis and other team members about next years team. He talked about Falk’s demand of $150M for Elton last year and how he didn’t get over the Clippers rejection of that.

    Falk AND Elton Brand come out as real sleezebags in this. Actually Dunleavy said all this was an understanding and not legal. So they were within their rights to go back on their verbal word – just that they should admit that this was the case and not blame Donald Sterling.

  46. 36. Jonathon — what makes you think Artest will behave like a normal person and be a good boy for a year just because its a contract year? Has he shown this kind of self control in the past and I missed it?

    Besides people, let’s say Artest comes here and does not blow up, he fits in and has a good year. Now, next year do you just let him walk or do you pay him AND Bynum bigger money? Artest is not a one year rental if he worked out.

  47. I would match, but only because, in the nba, no contract is untradeable. In other words, it might be possible to unload vlad or luke (not now, but when there are just a few years left on the deal) if they combine them with a legit asset (like a draft pick).

    And Ronny would seem affordable compared to some other contracts for backup bigs in the league.

    The more serious concern is how this affects sasha.

  48. You guys REALLY out did yourself on that one!! Amazing coverage, comments and analysis… I LOVE THIS SITE!!!

    P&G Foh’ Life!!

  49. This Odom/Artest stuff is hogwash I hope! And why would Sac-town package Garcia as well? Ain’t he Artest’s backup right now?

  50. Kurt,

    Why would a comment about Kobe potentially missing the first month of the season for finger surgery get deleted?

    After all, the estimates are 12 weeks for recovery. They will need a shooting guard in his absence (Sasha?).

  51. I just hope the Lakers are putting in work this summer like Kurt and all the commenters, good stuff people, good stuff indeed.

  52. 50. I don’t remember deleting that, if I did it was an accident. Sorry if I did. Not that I think he’ll miss a month, my guess is training camp, Kobe bounces back fast. But you never know.

  53. The Dude Abides July 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    AK over at the LA Times blog says that it’s against the CBA to match a signed offer sheet for a restricted free agent, then trade him. I thought that’s what Phoenix did when Joe Johnson signed an offer sheet in Summer 2005 with Atlanta. I could be mistaken.

  54. 53: That was a sign and trade. Joe Johnson was prepared to sign with Atlanta, and he begged Phoenix not to match. Instead, Phoenix orchestrated a sign and trade to get back an asset .

    You can sign a restricted free agent and trade them – however, I believe, like all free agents, they can only be traded after three months of signing or december 15th, whichever is later.

  55. carter blanchard July 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Man I love our summer league squad. James White too!??! I really need to get NBA tv again fast.

  56. Sorry to post twice, but I should add that, Base-Year Compensation rules apply. There is a good resource for all this info:

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm

  57. 35. 42. The Lakers were involved in two trades last season and neither one was leaked. There were absolutely no sources talking to the media and no ‘insiders’ that could give us even a sniff that something was going down. Until something official happens I’m with Craig W.

    Also why would the Lakers trade LO now before knowing Bynum is ready? If he’s not, then LO might the starting PF and with Ronny possibly gone LO becomes more important.

  58. 57. Along those same lines of thinking, it could be Artest’s agent trying to orchestrate a deal and making all kinds of leaks in hope of drumming up support on both sides.

  59. Kurt or anybody who might know,

    Why is Yi Li on the Lakers’ summer league roster and not Sun Yue? If the idea is that China is holding Sun Yue due to the upcoming Olympics, then does that mean Yi Li is not on the Chinese Olympic team? Then, is someone not even on the Chinese Olympic Team really good enough to sniff the NBA through some summer league ball?

  60. I have no clue who Yi Li is, but I am assuming that like most summer league players, he is a borderline prospect trying to find a home, whether it be in he NBA, NBDL or overseas.

    We need to sign Sun Yue first. Its like that for ‘we;; regraded 2nd rounders’ They probably have offers elsewhere, (ex. Marc Gasol) and thus would not come over until they have a deal.

  61. Who’s James White? Is he any good? Is Crawford already signed or is he still trying to get a spot on the team?

    Interesting to see Mata-Real and Bozeman on the squad. Could you imagine a lineup of Farmar, Bozeman, Ariza, Mata-Real and a center? That would be disgusting but as a UCLA alum, I would love it anyways.

  62. carter blanchard July 10, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    60) Oh boy, you need to treat yourself to some youtube. You can start anywhere really.

    And NBA Center: Mata-Real in any form would me the happiest person on earth.

  63. 59. Sun Yue is scheduled to be on the Chinese Olympics team. Why Yi Li? Good question, probably to gain experience.

  64. Anyone with a Flash Player can head over the ESPN NBA page and watch our old pal Ric Bucher talk up the Lakers interest in Artest. He even goes as far to say that some execs consider Ron-Ron a “top 5-10 player” in the league and that he can’t see the Kings doing the Lakers the “favor” of dealing Ron to the team and adding him to our powerhouse, while conveniently forgetting to mention any other specifics like how any deal would work with the cap or considering anything with the Lakers payroll over the next several years. On many other teams, I respect Bucher’s opinion, but his take on the Lakers constantly frustrates me. From his take on Kobe last summer to him fanning the flames on the Bynum/Kidd stuff, he just gets me going. Anyways…

  65. Coud Sun Yue come and play in the summer league if he wanted to then, play one more year in China while the Lakers still hold his draft rights? Or would they lose the right to him if they did not sign him to a contract?

  66. 65. Players do not have be signed to NBA contracts to play in the summer league. Teams can bring their unsigned foreign prospects to the summer league, then decide afterwards whether or not to sign them.

  67. If-if-if-the rumor turns out,Francisco Garcia could end up being huge for Lakers.(I’ve been wishing Rockets would go after him….sigh.)
    Garcia is a tall SG who Sac used some at point-sound familiar?-who is familiar w/an Adelman motion offense. Last yr due to a rash of injuries he started several games and ave’d 20ppg. He’s backing up Kevin Martin,and they have Quincy Douby who is a dreaded combo gd(ie,not a good PG,but too short to start at SG).
    Salmons is the other SF,who is better as a starter than a back-up.

    Re Ronny,not Sasha.
    Sasha is seen as a back-up SG and the market for those is pretty set at $2.5-3mil(Bonzi Wells,Stevenson,Mason,etc) and most teams prob figure the Lakers will match that.

  68. 67

    I do not agree that all teams view Sasha as a backup SG. He is a player who has way more value to contending teams. Wells and Stevenson are swingmen/slashers (way more common), Sasha is a shooter with a reputation as a good defender. Sasha could start at the 2 for a few teams and be very effective (Think of Utah, Orlando, Philly, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Denver).

    I am not trying to overstate his value, just saying that his shooting from the two would be very useful to a lot of teams. If Roger Mason was 6-6, he would be worth more than the 2.5-3 he got from San Antonio. James Jones (four years older than Sasha) got 4+ Million guaranteed for 2 years, so I think that has to be the starting point

  69. Not a shock, bot Ronny has officially signed the offer sheet. The ball is in Mitch’s court (where it can sit for seven days).

  70. Man, I step out for a few hours and and there’s more LO for Ron Ron talk. C’mon. Maybe Sacto will trade Artest to my summer league team. Our defense is terrible lately. It’s also probably more likely too. Face it people, #57 hit it on the head, if a trade does go down, most likely we will not hear anything in advance. The Lakers FO has been very good on keeping a lid on things. I might have to stop by the LA Times Blog and have Mamba24 start a NO MORE LAMAR GETTING TRADED fro RON RON bandwagon going here….haha. Playing. But seriously, it’s not going to happen. Kurt brought up a good point, ” let’s say Artest comes here and does not blow up, he fits in and has a good year. Now, next year do you just let him walk or do you pay him AND Bynum bigger money? Artest is not a one year rental if he worked out.”
    Artest is too big a gamble to take based on that. Whoever the Lakers would trade for, would have to be brought in under the thought process of trying to keep, and only if they completely gave up on Lamar. If you’re going to “rent” a player for a year, then you just keep the one you have that’s BEEN HERE. It’s kind of simple. Stop the trading Lamar talk. Please.

  71. I propose the new Oklahoma City team be called the Slickers. Yes, it took me all day to come up with that.

  72. New LA times article makes it clear Ronny (and/or his agent) don’t want us to match. I understand, but surprising they too such a clear stand.

  73. I’d be really surprised if Ronny didn’t want to stay a Laker (assuming the money’s right, of course). They stood by him through the heart surgery when a lot of teams would’ve kicked his ass to the curb.

  74. Wow — Reed, I agree. I definitely understand and am as happy as can be for the guy, but I’d misread his enthusiasm. I remember originally a part of me feeling almost bad that the Lakers would probably not match, and that Ronny would feel a bit slighted. (I mean, slighted and $17 mill richer, but still.) I guess I don’t have to worry about that.

    Good for him, though. He will be remembered as fondly as can be.

  75. Reed,
    Yeah, it sure sounds like Turiaf would like to play for the Warriors. His agent makes some good points about minutes…with Gasol and Bynum in the fold and mainstays for the future, Ronnie will never really get an oppurtunity to start and he may end up with that chance in Oakland. He’s a good fit for the Dubs too. He can run the floor, play some pick and pop, defend the rim, and finish inside. And while he’s not the best rebounder, he’ll help them there too. Also, I’d hate to create any animosity with Ronnie and match his offersheet if he really wants to go. I’ll always love the guy regardless, and only wish him the best wherever he plays. Good luck to him.

  76. Can’t fault the guy for wanting to play more and start. That the passion for the game that made him the player he was. I think Phil usage of him or lack of down the stretch discouraged him.

  77. Well, Charlie Bell made a clear stand about wanting out of Milwaukee and his offer was matched, so these comments don’t rule out Mitch matching the offer, but the signs seem to pointing to no, in which case I am legitimately worried about our frontcourt depth and hopefully the Lakers realize we basically have to keep Odom now.

  78. Re: Ronny – Seems like the guy is ALWAYS in foul trouble. If he fouled less, methinks it likely he would have earned more minutes in L.A.

    How will playing for GS change this for him exactly?

  79. Bingo T. Klown July 10, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I think that Ronny and his agent know the Lakers are not going to match so they are trying to put a positive spin on it – Ronny really WANTS to play for the Warriors (yeah right).

    That being said and in all likelihood that Lakers do NOT match the offer sheet, anyone out side of Kurt Thomas or Craig Smith…I mean I am sure they are out there but we need a tough defensive presence and rebounding coming off the bench – Hey how about Rod Benson?

    (btw – I recall Smith not having very good rebounding numbers but decent scoring numbers….maybe he’d be a bit too much like Ronny).

    And I am with those that think the whole Artest to Lakers charade is just that, cooked up by Artest and or Sacramento.

    Sacramento could be trying to send a clear signal of what they do and don’t want in a trade by using the LO scenario for other teams to take note. (if you want Ron you must take a bad contract).

  80. Has anyone else seen the Lakers 07-08 Championship DVD on BDL?

  81. In reference to Kurt’s point about the ball being in Mitch’s court, I think the next week will be key in what direction the FO goes for this off-season.

    I think a lot of us fans thought that out of Sasha/Turiaf, that Turiaf was more of a sure thing to stay on with the team. I think we took that for granted a little bit and didn’t consider him leaving nor how it would affect our front-court depth. Realize that if Ronnie does indeed leave, our PF/C rotation consists of Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Mihm, and RadMan. That’s a guy coming off an injury that limited him to less than half a season, a guy that hasn’t played a full season since his 2nd year, the guy that has been the focus of numerous trade rumors, a guy that has missed almost 2 years and basically needed a new ankle, and an undersized 4 (and more of a SF anyway) known for his shooting and not for his inside play. And while there’s a ton of talent there, it’s mixed with a fair amount of uncertainty.

    Now is the time where Mitch & Co. are going to have to make some decisions about the direction they want to go for next season and our F/C depth is going to play a big role. Assuming we don’t match Turiaf’s offer, is there a FA worth signing to fill his void? Can we even get K. Thomas? Is Craig Smith really a good fit? And what about a trade….is trading Odom even a possibility now? If so, wouldn’t we *need* to ensure that big man that’s a good fit for the team is a part of that deal? And if we do insist on a big man that can play for us in any potential trade, does that weaken our bargaining position? Would we even be able to get a premier type player that would be the real focus of any said trade? (I mean, the main concept behind any proposed Odom trade is to sure up the SF spot right? But if we insist on getting a capable big man in return as well, doesn’t that make our ability to get that upgrade player more difficult?) Lot’s of questions that will be answered in time, but in the next week, we may actually have some…

  82. Bingo T. Klown July 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Darius,
    I have been against the trade of LO for a small forward from the first mention after the Finals for the reason that it compromises our interior play. The difference between losing Ronny or Odom is that Ronny is a serviceable back power forward/center(though I feel he is out of position at center) who can hit the mid-range, plays okay defense but has below average rebounding numbers. I think you could probably fill that role with one of your summer league/D-League standouts.

    Lamar on the other hand is an excellent rebounder, an average defender, a great passer, can occasionally finish and hit the out side shot. I think there is a huge difference between trading LO for a small forward and not matching Ronny’s offer sheet.

    I am sorry but I just don’t see why everyone is so worried about losing Ronny; he was a great guy and filled a need but he is not irreplaceable.

    And I think Sasha isn’t that far off from Ronny in that sense. But we do have to spend money to keep our team going and the chemistry strong and I would hope that they could get Sasha for somewhere between 4-5 mil per year. I also recall that there were times when he and kobe were the only guards on the court (meaning he may be looked at as a 3rd pg).

  83. Cavs need shooters. Cavs have an unhappy big they’d like to move.
    Lakers might suddenly need a big man. Lakers have a 3pt shooter who could be moved.
    Just a thought.

  84. Bingo,
    *I’m an advocate for keeping Lamar and feel that way regardless of what we do with Ronnie. I don’t think you’ll find a bigger supporter of LO on these boards and I agree wholeheartedly with you about how a team without a significant addition to the front-court and without Odom being extremely thin in the front court.

    *I think that people would rather not lose Turiaf just because he is a good player and his spirit is infectious. His team mentality has been very good for the team and he fit in seemlessly while also aiding our chemistry. While I do not see him as irreplaceable by any means, I do see the side of the argument that as team we’d be better and would rather have him than not. His price tag makes it a tough call, but it’s debatable.

  85. Stephen,

    Who is this unhappy big from Cleveland? That the Lakers would want? For Sasha. As much as you think we need another big, we can’t afford to lose a guard. We have 4 guards. That’s it. Coby doesn;t count. Neither does our new 2nd rounder, Joe Crawford.

    Bingo is right. Sasha plays a big role for Phll. He is on the floor with Kobe alot, 2nd and 4th quarters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the starting 5 this season. He’s versatile. He played in just about every situation imaginable this year, plus he’s 6’7″. Besides Kobe, our other two guards are 6’2 or shorter. The Lakers will match whatever is offered to Sasha.

  86. Speaking of Cleveland.

    i was just looking at their roster. It seems that they have about 36 million worth of salaries coming off the books after this year. Wow. If that’s so, they will have money to spend, and do everything in their power to make LeBron happy. Perfect timing for them.

  87. I’m in the camp of being against trading Odom…no matter what. I went to games 1 and 2 of the finals (being on the East Coast) and I wore my Odom jersey to Game 2. I do not think the Lakers need to make any moves, unless Ronny or Sasha signs elsewhere. If pressed, I’d rather keep Sasha. While I love Ronny and want him on the team, I look at it this way: who is more likely to step up and be a key reason we win an important game? I think in game 3 of the Finals, Sasha proved he can be that guy. I just don’t see Ronny as the same kind of player. I love him, but I’d rather have Sasha.

    That said, I’ve always considered LO a warrior. From last year when he needed two surgeries and still gave his all (even a 30+ performance against the Suns where he averaged about 20), I’ve just felt that I wanted to go to war with him. I don’t know. I don’t like LO for Artest in any form (esp if it means giving up Farmar as well). If Ronny goes, I’m all for Craig Smith or Kurt Thomas. Short of that, I want the team as it.

  88. And while I’m at it, I don’t get the whole LO is gone after this year thing. I mean, we ha Shaq at 30 mill, plus Kobe at damn bear 15-20, which is 45-50 mill, why can’t we have Kobe, Pau, LO, and Bynum at about 50 or so mill? I am pretty sure the Lakers paid the Luxury tax from 2002-2004, so why not re-sign LO? I’d really like Kobe to opt out and sign for a starting of 15 or 16 mill to keep the big LO around…

  89. Yea, I do not remember seeing Turiaf in the playoffs very much, because he was averaging 9.8 minutes a game apparently. He played more minutes in the regular season, but still, 4m (8m w/lux tax) for less than 10 minutes a game, at least when the playoffs arrive. How critical was he, after all, to getting us to the Finals. He apparently also does want to leave, occording to LA Times. I wish him the best in his career where ever he is.

    btw – this site is just as addicting after the season ends, as it is while basketball is playing. Kurt, you need to add a disclaimer to your site warning of this.

  90. Renato Afonso July 11, 2008 at 3:40 am

    We need to keep Sasha, even if it would cost us the full MLE. Who else on this team can play the 1, 2 or 3 spot? Who else can consistently hit open shots and play good D?

    As much as I like Ronny, having to choose, I would no doubt sign Sasha…

    Regarding Odom for Artest, no way it’s happening… For all the reasons stated by everyone else (thin front court, no rebounding ability, one year rental, locker room issues).

    The problem we have is Radmanovic, who’s earning too much money for what he can actually produce… If we could turn him into a tall young PG with defensive skills… (assuming Ariza improves his shooting)

    We got one more year of LO, and our roster is good enough to reach the Finals as is, assuming that Mihm can fill in for Turiaf’s minutes.

  91. I have read in the spanish press that both the Lakers and Spurs have approached Jorge Garbajosa (“Garbo”), in the Lakers case already having made an offer to him. He would serve as backup for either Odom or RadMan, they speculate. If that is true, I think he would definitely offer some of the toughness and ‘intangibles’ that the Lakers missed against the Cs, and also some inside/outside threat flexibility as he can play 3-4. I don’t know if the Lakers’ offer will be on par with the offers many top Euro teams are offering him, given the salary cap limitations the Lakers have. But I really think it would be a good fit.

    If you can read Spanish, you can check the story here: http://www.marca.com/edicion/marca/baloncesto/nba/es/desarrollo/1144924.html

  92. (89) Chise, Darius,

    I’m more and more certain that you have not studied the Laker payroll and thought things through.

    Go to ESPN trade machine (or any listing of Laker salaries) and do the math yourself. Right now, with only 10 players out of the 15 they need to have, the Lakers (at $75 million) owe $4 million in luxury taxes.

    Think about that for awhile.

    Every dollar they pay for any additional player (Sasha, Ronny, free agent) will cost the team double. Without getting rid of anyone (which is mostly impossible for this year) or signing anyone new, the Lakers could pay a luxury tax of $14 million or more THIS YEAR!

    That is without any free agents. It could easily get worse than that.

    Supposing the Lakers keep everyone next year, it gets even worse–salaries go up and up.

    At the end of this year, there are Lamar’s and Mihm’s salaries that can be subtracted from players that we have (which may include Sasha and Ronny)–unless you want to eliminate key young players. The team would still be in luxury tax HELL.

    Even if the Lakers don’t sign new contracts for Andrew Bynum, Trevor Ariza, and Chris Mihm for next year, the Lakers will STILL paying luxury tax and minus three more players.

    No matter how much it hurts, the Lakers have to do some subtracting.

    You need to spend an evening or two just doing the math.

    Take some long walks.

  93. 88. They would be paying Odom, Bynum, Gasol, Kobe a lot more than 50M. Kobe and Gasol alone get paid 40M. Plus than you have to resign Odom and I don’t think he will be willing to take a pay cut of 50% or more so that means at least 10M for Odom. Then you have to extend Bynum’s contract. His agent is asking for a max contract but thats what agents do. I don’t think he will get a 5 yr 80M but Bogut just signed a 75M deal and you have to expect that Bynum is going to require close to that amount lest say 12M/yr (though I suspect it will be closer to what Bogut got)

    So that means you are talking about 23M for Kobe, 16M for Gasol, 10M for Odom. and 12M for Bynum. Thats 61M for for players. Meaning that the lakers will be over the salary cap with just those 4 players. Then they will need to extend Ariza’s contract (and if he can develop a J you can expect his value to go up).

    This is why a lot of the people here are saying that Odom may have to go after next season.

  94. Looks like the Turiaf signing is front loaded – $5M the first year and decreasing. Crafty move by the warriors. Makes it much harder for LA to match, and increases the tradeability of the contract after this year if they want to cut bait.

    I’d really welcome the rumored Garbajosa signing. If healthy again, he would be a great first big off the bench. Very versatile too — perfect for the triangle.

    I don’t understand the argument about not trading for Artest because he’d be a one year rental. Both he and Odom are on expiring contracts. With either player, LA would have to sign them to a pricey extension or let them walk. The only difference is the question of which player you prefer. And just as I talk myself out of Artest and fully embrace keeping Lamar, the chatter mill explodes, with Sacramento papers, Bucher, etc. all pointing to Odom being shopped. Would be disappointing.

  95. Totally unrealistic but perfect scenario: Kobe tries to complete his turn-around image-wise and opts out, then signs a new contract for 17-19mil per over six years, enabling the Lakers to re-sign Bynum and keep Odom on a slightly reduced contract.

  96. Warren Addendum July 11, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Drrayeye, thanks for raising this topic up. If it might not be very clear from what I said in the last thread, but the point I am trying to raise is that WE CANNOT AFFORD 12 guys earning what they are supposed to earn – overpaid, underpaid or evenly paid.

    We need 15 guys on the roster – and Buss might be setting a budget of 5m over the lux only – meaning 10m in taxes. We need to work with this number and be mindful that while Bill Bridges knows economics too well, breaking even is not exactly a businessman’s goal.

    So now I raise this issue – basketball and business aspects combined – give me a Laker team with 10 guys and a total of 76M on its payroll.

  97. Warren Addendum July 11, 2008 at 7:51 am

    If I remember it correctly, somewhere between the discussion of trading Bynum and Odom for JO lies a silver lining of contention raised by Craig. It was for the fact that keeping rookies and/or cheap developing players is the only way to be fiscally sound while owning a championship team. So now that we have thrown all that plan because the Pau Gasol opportunity presented itself, is it not wise now to revert to the very same concept that lead us here?

    If its not too off-topic, I own several SIM league teams. AS you know, in these leagues, you try to win the whole thing, making yourself the proverbial GM of the particular team, planning your team, mindful of playing time and of course, the salaries.

    Going back on topic, back on January, an offer of Kwame + Bynum for Pau Gasol would have been signed by (I would assume 90% of fans). Another one that sends Odom + Crittenton still for Gasol would have been signed as well. Then again, the impossible happened. Memphis “fleeced” us of our cheap prospects (Critt earning rookie scale, the pick we supposedly own this year turning out to be Darrell Arthur, Kwame’s relief, and Pau’s Brother who would have been a cheap option with his 3-yr 10m contract) and we kinda liked it. The only difference is now, we now have to live with paying for this team we now have.

    So if we did consider for a moment that Lamar Odom was tantamount to Marc, Kwame and Arthur combined, the Laker payroll now would have been 9m cheaper. We would already have 12 players instead of 10 and we would still maintain the fiscally-soundness of our payroll.

    So now that we have the luxury of being able to choose a nice package for Lamar, and I don’t mean to Sacramento, why not take the chance?

  98. Wondahbap,
    Varejao is unhappy,wants more money and the Cavs are alledged to be resigned to moving him.
    The Laker I had in mind is signed for several yrs.

    One of the many reasons this is such a great site is Kurt refuses to let it get bogged down in “would you trade X for Y?” I was trying to show there are possibilities w/out getting into the my X guy would be so much better than the current Y because…

    Re Ronny:
    Is the fact that the deal IS slightly front loaded neccessarily bad? While it makes for a bigger hit this yr,ensuing yrs would be relatively more affordable as caps rise and his salary decreases a tad.

  99. Warren’s logic is probably similar to what Mitch was thinking around the time of the trade. Lamar allegedly was included in earlier trade proposal with Memphis.

  100. Renato Afonso July 11, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Drrayeye,

    Remember that for the Lakers, being over the luxury tax does not mean Buss will be losing money… The revenues might be enough to still have profit at the end of the year.

    About needing to move Lamar, since his contract ends next year, then we would have about the same payroll we have today. Which apparently is ok with Buss. Also, I got this question… Doesn’t the MLE means that the salary doesn’t count towards the luxury tax? (honest question here… I don’t know those things)

    Basically we would be losing Ronny, but keeping the same payroll due to the increase in Sasha’s salary… (And ideally dumping Radman on someone, if possible)

  101. Great Post Kurt. Really sheds some light on the financial picture behind the moves. I mean ths is a team that went to the finals, and with that all of the money for those extra games and the like I can’t see the harm in throwing a little extra chedda to Ronny. I mean who would be dancing on the bench for us otherwise?

  102. Renato Afonso,

    Regarding the MLE it does count towards the Luxury Tax. In fact that is one of the main reason (that and extensions) that teams end up in the Luxury Tax.

    The MLE does NOT count against the Salary Cap though and that is why some people get it confused with the Luxury Tax.

    I hope that answers your question and other people that weren’t sure.

  103. What would be the point in trading Odom for a headcase who can single-handedly destroy a championship contender and sink a franchise (see Indiana Pacers 2004-05 to the present) before even trying to figure out if the current Laker line-up with Bynum is effective? Sure, Artest MIGHT be a better fit but are we willing to put a team that just went to the NBA Finals on the line to figure it out?

    If Odom does not fit I am sure there will be some team around the trade deadline with a quality player available that would love to trade for a $14m expiring contract.

  104. The “exception” in Mid-Level Exception means it’s an exception to the cap limit, not the tax threshold.

  105. Good post Warren Addendum, I’m feelin the name change too

  106. Warren is right. We did lose all our inexpensive, young, talent in the Gasol deal (also a 1st rnd pick in 2010). To be fiscally responsible we need to get this flexibility back. This means we reverse the Gasol trade – trade quality for picks. The problem is that our quality is expensive (LO @ $14M) so we have to get back salaries almost equaling that. On top of relieving someone else of a bad contract, we want picks. Now the problem gets really complex. Who has picks that are of any real value next year? Why, teams that will finish out of the playoffs next year. Who needs a quality, expensive, expiring contract next year? Teams that will finish in the playoffs and want to top off their squad. Anybody see a problem here?

    If we were to trade, we would need to find a bad team that wanted to rent a good player for one year. Suggestions anyone? I didn’t think so.

    I think this year is set. Next year we may be able to trade Vlade for some picks and a body, but I think we are done at this time.

  107. 106) “If we were to trade, we would need to find a bad team that wanted to rent a good player for one year.”

    Are you missing Isiah Thomas as much as I am?

  108. Anybody know anything about Jorge Garbajosa? Looks like the Lakers want to sign him. I’ve heard some really good things about him but don’t really know his game.

  109. 108. From what I know of him he would be a good pick up for the first big man off the bench. He could replace ronnie nicely. But the biggest question is how healthy is he? Is he playing for Spain in the Olympics?

  110. Paging Xavier-your expertise on Spanish players hook us up with a scouting report on Garbajosa. I liked what I saw of him as a Raptor in his rookie year, from what I remember he was a solid defender (physical) and good shoot well.

  111. Wayman Tisdale Fan July 11, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Come on Lakers. Give me some good news today. I’m getting killed in the stock market!!!

  112. drrayeye,
    I’ve looked at the numbers. Several times over. I’ve worked out potential trades that alleviate that burden (that I don’t bring up in this forum) and I’ve thought of ways of reducing payroll in future seasons while still fielding what I consider a championship level team. I, like you and many others on this site, am a basketball junkie and look at this stuff obsessively…

    Anyways. The numbers say this: without a salary commitment to Sasha or Koby Karl and without matching Turiaf’s offersheet, the Lakers payroll for next season is approx. 72.42 mil. for 10 players (Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Fisher, Odom, Farmar, Ariza, Walton, RadMan, Mihm). If the Lakers guarantee Karl’s contract next season, the payroll rises to 73.13 mil. I don’t really want to speculate about a salary for Sasha because I’m trying to talk *hard* numbers here but I realize that if he signs for 4-5 mil that would put us up to 78 mil, give or take a hundred thousand. I am not going to discuss the rookie, Crawford, here either, but I would think his deal would mirror Karl’s deal, and would be a non-guaranteed one in the $600,000 range, so you can tack that on as well if you want, but for my purposes, I won’t.

    The luxury tax threshold for next season is established at 71.15 mil. So, that means, without signing Sasha or committing to Karl (or the Rookie), the Lakers would pay a dollar for dollar penalty to the league of about 1.3 mil. With Karl, it raises to about 2 mil. With a resigned Sasha, that could go up to 7-8 mil. This past season the Lakers paid 5.13 mil in Luxury Tax. So with a re-sign Sasha in the 5 mil/yr. range, the team would be paying about 2-3 mil more in Tax next season. I’m not Dr. Buss, but is that really that bad? If you add another cheap(ish) big man (to replace Turiaf) in the 1.5 mil/yr. range. that tax number goes up to 9-10 mil. Now, that is a little steep, but this past season, Boston paid 8.2 mil; Miami 8.3 mil; Denver 13.5 mil; Cleveland 14 mil. So, in comparison to these teams that 9-10 mil number is not that bad, IMO.

    So, I guess my question to you is, have you looked at the numbers are you just intent on shaking up the team? The salary/payroll numbers I lifted are straight from Draft Express and HoopsHype. The Luxury Tax numbers are from TrueHoop. I know the info is out there. Another question I have for you is: How do you propose the Lakers reduce payroll for next year? You’ve supported the idea of trading Odom, right? But how do you reduce payroll through a trade of Odom when you have to take back almost as much in salary? At most (unless the trade gets very large with multiple players and at that point you really start to break up a team that went to the Finals) the Lakers save a mil or two off next years payroll. Is that worth it when you’re breaking up the team? And then you still have to consider the size and lenght of the contracts that are coming back in any trade, not just the talent. I understand that there are players out there that would help the team. Many argue for an Artest or argued for R. Jefferson or argue for Marion or argue for Kirilenko. But there are salary considerations with all those players and if you want me to get into those I will, but this post is already too long. (as an aside, I do realize that we could trade Odom to a team under the cap and then just reduce the payroll by a large margin. But that is a dump job. I do not support a dump job. I also don’t think we could get any good young player for Odom while also trading him to a team with that cap space. Most teams with cap space want to keep their young players because they are rebuilding and want that young cheap talent.)

    So, really, just answer me those 2 questions. Are you just looking to make a trade and shake up the team? *and* How do you propose we reduce payroll for next season?

  113. I can’t believe some of you are actually talking about “reversing” the Pau trade. If you feel that actually having a few young players and financial flexibility over a championship contending team…..you’re out of your minds.

    Stephen,

    Why would you want to take the east coast version of Kwame (with a lil more heart) for 9 million? People here are talking about what the Lakers could or should afford, and he’s NOT worth more than Ronny. His numbers were comparable to Kwame’s. He’s a dud.

  114. Ok well Varajao is a slightly better rebounder than Kwame, but that’s about it. What a waste of money.

  115. Garbajosa is the type of guy I’d love be part of the Lakers. Health is a concern, but we get a nice preview in form of the Olympics to see how serious a concern it really is. If all is good on that front, he is the type of passionate player that any team values. He leaves it all on the floor, and just has a knack for simply making plays. You need a three, he’ll likely be set in the open spot, ready and able to knock it down. Some in your face tenacity? Check. His game would mesh perfectly in the triangle. Being the sort of versatile forward, 3 and 4, able to knock down shots, play physical down low, isn’t afraid to go grab boards or dive to the floor, and sees the court well enough to complement his solid passing skills. Just a great intangible guy that fills whatever holes present themselves during the course of a game.

    Just youtube him, and you’ll get a good example of what he is about. Making plays. Plus, with many concerned about health, likely would not be a costly pickup. Also, against the Spurs, Lakers have the obvious edge in form of Pau Gasol. Likely can’t offer him as much as he could make in Europe, but the guy is a winner, and playing with LA would give him a chance to win where he has yet to.

  116. Darius,

    Although I tend to agree with more of what you said than DrRayEye I believe his concern about the payroll was more for the next few years than the upcoming year.

    Where if we resign Odom to a reasonable contract 8-10mil and give Bynum an extension and give Ariza a decent contract 4-7mil we will be extremely over the cap at that point. Farmar will eventually need a contract as well.

    DrRayEye point is also during that time we are not shedding enough contracts to make up for all the extensions that we have to do.

    So from this time to the next 2-3 years we will have to “shake” something up.

    To me it seems that the only solution we have is let Odom walk after next season, or pull off some miracle sign+trade that nets us draft picks or cheap talent from a team with salary cap room a la Orlando/Seattle with Rashard Lewis.

    (Keep in mind I hope that we find a way to keep Odom, I really do believe he is much better than we all give him credit for)

  117. The Lakers have seemingly contradictory goals: win an NBA championship, and limit the luxury tax. So far, they have taken the only credible posture open to them: keep the ones that got you to the finals.

    Ronny is the first challenge to that strategy. If they keep him, they are raising the luxury payments by $2 million or so above expectations. Sasha we apparently won’t know until at least wednesday, so nothing will come down until thursday.

    By that time, I believe that the Lakers will make a decision best in tune with “love the one you’re with.” That may not, however, be to sign both or either of them. There may be other familiar faces to bring back at lower cost.

    The Lakers next must fill out their roster. That won’t happen until the end of summer league.

    Unless there is an unusual opportunity, I don’t see any trading or free agent signing until the roster is determined.

  118. Wondahbap,

    I don’t think he was referring to trade Pau back for Kwame. He meant do the reverse of the Pau trade using Odom. So trade Odom for cheap talent/picks.

    Why am I defending other people’s comments today. Bah. I am going to go back to lurking here. Love this site.

  119. wondahbap,
    Reversing the Gasol trade does not mean taking Kwame back. It was only that we needed to stock up on some rookie-like salaries and the only way to do that is through the draft. Mitch has shown he can draft well and this aspect of the Laker club composition needs to be recognized. That’s essentially what Warren did.

    I have said before I think letting Lamar walk is the highest probability outcome of this coming year. We need his salary to pay other players. To replace him we need some of our youngsters to develop further AND we need to draft well to flesh out our club.

    We are constantly talking trades. The problem with this is that the names are known and the prices are high. The only way to get good, low priced players is to draft them or trade for rookies. This is a high risk approach, but all organization that persevere over multiple years learn to do it. That was Warren’s point.

    No we won’t have heard of these players so we will be aghast at the Lakers taking them over know commodities. That’s life – get use to it.

  120. Brian P.
    I’ve stated several times that my desire for Odom to be on the team is limited to next year at his current salary. I don’t think I could’ve been more clear in numerous other posts and I’ve been met with the same logic of I need to look at the payroll numbers.

    So ultimately I agree with you. Keeping Odom beyond this upcoming season at a high salary just doesn’t work. My argument is, why change that before the season? And I’ve been responded to with comments about “Lamar has lost his job to Pau” and “We need a mentor for Ariza in the Artest or Marion mold”. So, honestly, you’ve got me. That’s why I want some clarification and would just like those questions answered. I’m all for moving forward with what makes sense for the team. If some amazing deal transpires for any of our players and we end up trading what I think is a key piece, I’d accept it if the talent and finances looked good for the short and long term. What I don’t understand is the need to change things now when there aren’t any options that fit that model of short and long term success/prospering.

  121. Sorry Renato Afonso, I know you are too and expert on Spanish/Euro players, your thoughts on Garbajosa would be much welcomed too.

  122. I know it wasn’t meant as Pau for Kwame. I didn’mention that. I was referring to multiple posts. A few talking about somehow regretting the assets we gave up for Pau (Critt, Marc Gasol, saving money).

  123. 92/93: I understand it may be a little more than what I mentioned, but the premise to me is still the same. My big thing is that I feel Lamar is more valuable to this team than some of you seem to realize. Good teams let role players making 5-6 mill walk when their contracts are up because they can easily be replaced. You don’t do that with core players, especially just to save a few bucks. Say you let Turiaf walk this year, fine. There are guys on the team who can pick up the slack and I am sure there are others that can be had on the cheap. But if you let Lamar walk next year, who is going to replace his versatility, rebounding, ball handling, passing, etc? Luke? Radman? Ariza? These guys are good but please.

    I’d hope Kobe realizes LO’s value to the team next summer and does the right thing (opt out and take a lesser starting salary). I just don’t understand what these guys think they can do with 20+ mill that they can’t do with 16 mill or so. Garnett killed the T-Wolvles’ flexibility with his gargantuan contract and so have plenty of others. It’d be nice for once to have someone with a big picture view for once.

  124. 123-Thats what Duncan has done in S.A.

  125. 123, 124 ….

    I agree. I have said plenty of times that I think Kobe has to make some concessions if/when he opts out. It’s also a situation he put himself in by demanding the FO make this team a contender.

  126. Lakers need to address their defensive situation at the F spots. Artest, Marion, whoever. They can’t start every game next season with easily exploited mismatch at 2 positions (one if Bynum returns healthy).

    PS Quit whining, Dunleavy. That ship has sailed (no nautical pun intended)

  127. carter blanchard July 11, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I don’t think this has been commented on yet, and I hesitate to add to much fuel to the fire, but the Kings owner publicly commenting on the trade possibility definitely changes the complexion of things:
    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2008/7/10/569200/joe-maloof-talks-on-espn-7

    From my read of it, they do like Odom, and our management does like Ron, it’s just the (very large) matter who gets tossed in to make the whole thing work.

    Between possibly losing both Ronny and Lamar (two of my personal favorites), and picking up Artest and someone who may or may not have legs, this could be turning into a bummer of an offseason.

  128. 115 – George is bang on with respect to Garbojosa’s game. I’m from Toronto and watched many Raptor games with Garbo in the rotation and he’s a banger, one of the toughest Euro players you’ll find. Missing him in Toronto this past year hurt the Raptors D and rebounding.
    He would mesh very well in triangle and could definitely teach some toughness to guys like Vlad & Walton and he would be an excellent replacement for Ronny T.
    He brought a blue collar style to Toronto and has plenty of high pressure game experiences on his resume from international play. The main reason why Toronto cut him was for the offseason decision to play for his country while recovering from his knee injury…a lot of politics and insurance money was invovled in the deal to unload his contract – it also cleared cap to resign Calderon.
    If the signing goes down, heck of a pickup for the Lakers!

  129. 126,

    Is that referring to Lamar or Pau. I hope it’s Pau, because Lamar is a decent defender. I really don’t understand why Lamar gets such a bad wrap. He limited ‘Melo AND Boozer, stopped Oberto and Perkins from geting easy buckets,but yet so many people here point to him.

  130. Die hard Laker fans like the commenters on this site should know by now that Kobe will never leave money on the table.

    If he can find a way to get paid AND help the team, he will do so. But he will not accept getting paid less to help the team.

    The reason Kobe is so great at basketball is the same reason he would not take less money – He believe with all his heart & soul that he is the best basketball player on the planet, and he acts accordingly.

  131. Lakers, Spurs Interested in Garbajosa?
    Posted: 7/11/2008 7:14:00 AM
    Source: Daily MARCA (translated by Preetom Bhattacharya)

    Jorge Garbajosa has open doors to initiate a second adventure in the NBA. He would return to the best league in the world on a red carpet, like the one in Hollywood. Precisely, the team that is closet to the Mecca of Movies is the one with the most interest in him. The MARCA newspaper reports that the Los Angeles Lakers, of his friend Pau Gasol, have made Garbajosa an offer.

    José Luis Martínez y Nacho Duque report that Garbajosa would have to negotiate his contract as a free agent. He may be a spare part with Lamar Odom or Vladimir Radmanovic, but both are surrounded with trade rumors. San Antonio also has shown interest in Garbajosa.

  132. 36- Jonathan- Paul Pierce ahd a good series but he didn’t single handedly beat the lakers. If you look at the box scores we lost because we gave up extra possessions. The Celtics offense wasn’t THAT much more efficient than ours, they just got a lot more chances. The exact issue we had against Utah. Paul Pierce just happened to be the offensive player to give them the points they needed to win during those extra possessions. Beyond which, as Kurt shows in the numbers he crunched, Artest is overrated as a Defender.

    And did you watch any of the Kings-Laker games? Every time Artest was on the floor in crunch time he dominated the ball and KILLED their team. he outright lost one game for them and got himself benched before he could do so in another. My Sac Fan Friends can’t stand him. You really want that on your team?

  133. 128 – Garbajosa

    Spain says the man is healthy and ready to go in the Olympics. With that aside, I echo Armogeddon’s sentiment in what would be a “heck of a pickup” for the Lakers. Some nice clips below. First is a general mix that won’t blow your mind, but should make you smile. Second is a short one with some commentary. I fully support this movement.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=cMh3oYLi4rg

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=lYMflrYSK2w

  134. The issue isn’t Lamar’s talent. It is his place on the team and his salary. Our high salaried players after next year will be Kobe, Gasol, Bynum. Our mid salaried players will be Vlade, Walton, Fish, Ariza, possibly Sasha. When you add up all those salaries you can’t even afford a mid salaried Lamar. Now we come to his taking a severe cut from his current salary and everything comes across as the Laker organization disrespecting a good, contributing member of the team. Under those circumstances, Lamar’s agent will be one popular fella with other GMs. Unless Mitch blows up the current plan – which I don’t see him doing – I just cannot fathom any circumstance where Lamar would stay after next year. For this reason I say keep him this year, get as far as we can (maybe a championship) and be prepared to lose him next summer.

  135. I think you all know where I stand on an LO/Artest deal, and all the info continues to come out of Sactown (even their owner), but here’s a thought if the Lakers really are interested:

    I’m sure that the floated deal is what Sac would want, Odom for Artest and Kenny Thomas. The question is: Is Kenny Thomas a deal breaker. Look at his numbers from last year, he had a PER of 2.6. He shot 42% and almost never got to the line. He can rebound some but he does not play good defense any more (opposing fours had a PER of 16.4, somewhat above average, and centers were much higher). Bottom line, the Kings were -15.5 points per 48 minutes while he was on the floor last season.

    Not only is he due $7.5 next year (he and Artest cost a little more than Odom) but he is due $8.5 the following year, when you are going to have to pay Bynum, Ariza and Artest if you keep him. Thomas, the throw in here, is going to cost you A LOT of cash once you think about how far over the cap the Lakers would be next year.

    Is that a deal breaker?

  136. Here’s the DraftExpress scouting report on Garbajosa. It’s 2 years old but still informative:

  137. 134 – Definitely a deal breaker. I believe Artest would provide intangibles for the Lakers that go beyond stats, but the inclusion of Thomas will destroy our finances. In this scenario, I say keep Odom for now and if he does not fit in during the first half of the season, explore moving him at the Trade Deadline.

    The Lakers showed that they could integrate a player acquired mid-year quickly (Pau), and I am confident they could do it again if need be.

  138. 135 – Attachment is missing. Also, Garbajosa suffered a major injury in those 2 years.

    From what I remember, he was a very tough player who could hit from the outside. Hopefully he has a good relationship with Pau.

  139. I think Kenny Thomas would be the deal breaker. The Buss family doesn’t mind spending money as long as it’s ‘efficient spending’. Kenny Thomas’ contract is definitely ineffecient.

    When’s the last time the Lakers have made a trade to bring in bad contracts? That’s not how they do business.

  140. Kurt,

    I’d hope that’s a deal breaker.

    Sal,

    I haven’t spent time around the two together, but I’d feel comfortable saying their relationship is solid at worst.

  141. Kurt – I am 100% with you on the Artest trade. All Sactown leaks, and the Kenny Thomas thing makes it that much more unlikely.

    Re: Garbajosa – He is a good player (if healthy) but from what I recall he isn’t a very strong rebounder, and I believe we need somebody who can rebound to come off the bench for us. He may be tough, but I think he is also slow on Defense. Again I haven’t seen much of him, but those are my impressions.

  142. I don’t know what the Lakers are thinking. I’m hoping the proposal involves 3 teams, because that 2 for 1 swap is ridiculous.

  143. The Artest/LO rumors remind me of the J. O’Neal/LO rumors from last summer.

    The Lakers are clearly interested in trading LO for a more talented player who would fit better if everything fell into place (Good Ron makes Bad Ron go into hibernation / O’Neal stays healthy).

    But the other team wants to scr** the Lakers. So the other team keeps on leaking one-sided trade ideas (the Lakers taking on Kenny Thomas / the Lakers trading LO + Bynum for O’Neal), hoping to pressure the Lakers into a bad trade.

    Mitch holds the line (presumably requiring the Kings to take on Walton or Vlad Rad / requiring the Pacers to take only LO + Kwame).

    The internets go crazy with the trade discussions, but nothing happens.

    Hopefully, the story will end the same way this year as last year. Mitch will wave his magic wand and conjure up a trade that wasn’t being discussed publicly, which takes the Lakers back to the finals.

    Maybe LO/Walton/Farmar for Hinrich/Nocioni, or LO for Charlotte’s SF.

  144. Having recently participated in Sactown Royalty, I understand their need to reach closure on Ron Artest. The Ron Artest/K-9 (Kenny Thomas) for Lamar is really a Sactown dream. If there were serious negotiations, there could be many other possible substitutions of players from the Kings that could provide Salary relief next year for both the Lakers and the Kings.

    Ron Artest/K-9 should be a nonstarter.

  145. 130)
    “Die hard Laker fans like the commenters on this site should know by now that Kobe will never leave money on the table.”

    When has that been an issue before? That would not have made a difference with Shaq.

  146. One other point on the Sac/Indiana analogy. Both teams were decidedly mediocre and a reasonable trade (i.e., something that would make sense for both trade partners) wouldn’t excite their fan bases.

    So it might be in Sac/Indiana’s best interests to stoke public rumors of one-sided trades in order to excite their fan bases and make it seem that the clubs were proactively trying to make their teams better.

    What I’m getting at is that the other team is leaking the rumors not to pressure the Lakers into a one-sided trade (though they would love for that to happen), but to generate fan excitement and support for their front offices.

    Basically, I’d be shocked if we traded for Artest over the summer.

  147. Guys,
    Considering the group of free agents, which ones are good rebounders ?
    I saw Garbjosa”s youtube and he looks like Okur too me.

  148. As for the Lakers possibly signing Garbojosa, he and Mihm could have an ankle injury twist-off to determine whose ankle/foot injury was worse. With the Lakers’ crack medical staff, Garbo would have a good shot of playing no more than 50 minutes/year.

  149. OT: i absolutely love the “Machine” movies.
    I will miss this if he leaves. =)

  150. I agree with everyone-we shouldn’t take the albatross that is Kenny Thomas’ contract. I do like Francisco Garcia though (6’5 PG with 3ball range).

  151. Has Sac ever used Garcia to guard PGs? According to 82games, Garcia mainly played SF, with a little bit of SG thrown in.

  152. carter blanchard July 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Definitely no Kenny Thomas unless Buss just doesn’t care about finances.

    After spending some time cozying up to Jorge’s 06-07 stats on Basketball-Reference and 82games.com, here are some random thoughts:
    -Overall he put up numbers that for the most part look very similar to what Posey’s done the past couple years, with the major difference being 3pt accuracy. If he’s healthy and you get him at a discount, it could be a nice steal.
    -He mostly split time between the SF and PF, with a few stints at Center although numbers and anecdotal evidence suggest he absolutely shouldn’t play center.
    -Offensively, more effective at PF (PER of 14.6) than SF (13.0), but defensively more effective guarding SFs (giving up PER of 14.6, eFG of .479 compared to PER of 15.9 and eFG of .535 for PFs). Not quite as good defensively as his reputation might suggest.
    -His rebounding for a SF is solid, but relatively average-to-poor for a PF.
    -For someone of his size and position, he doesn’t get to the rim nearly as much as he should (86% of his shots were jump shots), but maybe that could be a good fit with Bynum and Gasol already crowding the lane.
    -His TS% of .501 is not great (eFG of .48). 3pt shooting around 34% is decent.

    Bottom line for me, if he’s healthy and we got him cheap because of the health question marks, it could be a good signing. I’ve always liked him when I watched him, he plays hard and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. At the same time, he’s not going to blow us away, and he doesn’t help our weaknesses all that much. Maybe the toughness and 3pt shooting could be helpful, but between Gasol, Odom, Vlad, Luke, and Trevor, I’m not sure how much he brings to the table that those guys don’t in some combination.

  153. I think he is a “triangle pg”, in that he can handle the ball well for his size and shoot. Fair question about his defense of PG’s, I’m not sure.

  154. 146)
    My intention wasn’t that this has happened in the past, but that Kobe’s personality traits would not allow this to happen in the future.

  155. In terms of payroll concerns, I wonder if there is significant amount of money to be made with opening up new markets with Gasol (and potentially Garbojosa, I guess).

    This could justify trading for Gasol and the serious salary implications – does it justify expanding the payroll too?

  156. Summer League post finally up. Let’s try to keep the free agent/Artest talk here and the Summer League there.

  157. 134- Definitely a deal breaker. We’ve all been obssessing over the Lakers salary situation. For them to take on another bad salary in a deal we’re all largely in agreement would be unwise even if it was head to head would be beyond bizarre. We should be insisting that the Kings take on a bad contract, not the other way around.

    I also agree that its very unlikely Odom comes back for the season after next unless he agrees to take Chris Mihm’s salary. And I’m not dead set against trading him, but in doing so we’d have to take back at least 75% of his salary back. Why would we want anything other than an expiring contract, which he already is? Knowing Lamar, this uncertainty could affect his play even beyond the trading deadline, where his security at not being moved usually improves his production. But he might also accept the situation and still appreciate the chance to play for a title. Half of Boston’s team because free agents at the end of the season, but they all stayed interested.

    If we do trade Odom, though, his value may peak at midseason like Kwame’s. Again, though, why would we take on extra contracts instead of just letting Odom’s contract go off the books? And I also believe we will need his production more at the start of the season while we see what Bynum can give us.

  158. Renato Afonso July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    About Garbajossa…

    As you said, he can play the 3/4 spot almost to perfection. He’s big, plays defense, dives for loose balls and he’s clutch… I mean, if you leave him open, he will silence the hostile crowd over and over again. However, although having a big basketball IQ, physically he is limited, specially defending athletic wingmen… He can disguise that when playing for Spain, who plays excellent team defense and individual mistakes are less prone to be seen. But Xavier is actually from Spain (I’m next door) and can shed more light into him…

    Personally, I believe that signing Garbajossa means that Odom is walking after this year. Garbajossa can fill Odom’s role to perfection. He won’t gain as many boards, but he’ll make up for it on offense. Garbajossa has great fundamentals and can hit the 3pt consistently, or take advantage of a weaker player inside. It is a switch I could live with, specially considering the salaries involved on both sides…

  159. I think that there have already been some good answers as to why Ronny is “hot,” and Sasha is “not.”

    Laker “values” and market values are not the same.

    The Warriors were not the only team interested in Ronny–just the team with enough risk money to go after a restricted free agent.

    In addition to the “law of the bigs,” Ronny is looked upon as potentially much better than an “energy guy” if given the chance. Ronny has been very good as a starting or backup 4 with the Lakers. He may not be a natural “energy guy” Laker–as hinted by his agent recently. He does seem to be a natural for Nellie ball.

    On the other hand, Sasha has been developed to be Kobe’s backup and has gradually learned the triangle. He is extremely valuable to the Lakers, but might be lost in a new system.

    I have personally never valued Sasha higher than Trevor–who’s earning $3.1 million. We’ll see what the market brings.

  160. drrayeye,
    Trevor is coming up for another contract next year. If he does well this year and is able to start – along with Lamar – he will earn a nice increase. That is why I classified him as a mid-salaried player in an earlier post. He will probably make more than Sasha.

  161. Turiaf also had some of his best games against the Warriors. At the beginning of the season before last he had a 20-10 game against them I think (23 points that night, his career high), mainly going off in the 4th to almost single-handedly beat them. It came out of nowhere and he soon thereafter settled to earth. Then he had 16-6 and 11-8 in the epic B2B against the warriors in March when Pau was out. I think this is why they overvalued him to the extent they did. Same basic reason we overpaid for Vladrad.

  162. (161) Craig W,

    I’m a big fan of Trevor at the 3. I want him to become our starter.

    However, I can’t imagine Lamar at the 3–either as a starter or as a 6th man.

    I can just visualize Lamar starting at the three–with the defender playing off him–rotate the ball to Odom–defender steps back even more–Odom has no choice and nervously launches his famous 3–Oh! No! Dumb–opponent grabs the rebound and launches a fast break. I bet you can visualize it too.

    I just can’t see our best rebounder trying to spread the floor when he’s our worst 3 point shooter.

    Unfortunately, Trevor may have the same problem. Orlando wouldn’t allow Trevor to take 3 point shots.

    We may see Vladimir getting his job back!

  163. 163-Trevor is a much better shooter than Lamar and a smarter player who is going to keep improving, Lamar is overpayed and the only improvement he has shown is in his shooting less outside shots. His freethrow shooting is getting worse and whenever I see a player’s freethrow shooting going down I say there is a mentaly weak player, or a player that doesn’t put in the time. I don’t think you will ever say that about Trevor.

    Basically I agree with you but don’t be so quick to assume Trevor can’t shoot he hasn’t had enough opportunities or gotten completely comfortable in knowing his role.

  164. Trevor is not a better shooter than Odom. Last year, Odom shot an unimpressive 40% (eFG%) on jump shots, but Ariza shot 33%. Their shooting from three was almost identical (although Ariza’s percentage improved with the Lakers, but neither takes many threes). Both prefer to get to the rim, and while Ariza finishes with a higher percentage there (72% to 65%) a lot of that can be the attention from defenders Odom draws compared to Ariza.

    And don’t discount the wisdom of a player knowing his weakness and not taking outside shots.

    That said, I think with Odom you get what you are going to get from the outside, I’m not sold he can improve his jumper much at this point in his career. Ariza on the other hand is young and, if he spends the summer with a shooting coach, could improve, maybe dramatically. That’s the hope.

  165. The big difference in Ariza’s favor is his basketball IQ. Trevor reacts to what other players are doing and one of his specialties is cutting off the weak side. Those are two things Lamar is weak on – he plays the game around the man in front of him. It is for this reason I feel Trevor will be the superior triangle player. Lamar definitely has much more talent and size, but he has never been able to harness all that within the game.

    I think the ideal teams for Lamar are Phoenix or Golden State. He does much better when not in a cramped space and these are running teams. Ironically, the triangle is a motion offense, but it is based off reading what the defense and your teammates are doing – again not a Lamar strength.

  166. Craig W.,
    I think we should also note the roles that Ariza and Odom play when considering their IQ. Ariza, as you have said has a great IQ and excels at playing off the ball. As you noted, he does a great job at cutting from the weakside and finding the open areas of the defense in order to score. But, Odom does this as well. In this past season, Odom did a tremendous job of roaming into the open spaces of the defense and being very effective finishing and/or passing for a score when he received a pass. One of the reasons that Odom (and Ariza for that matter) was able to effectively do that this season and not as much in prior seasons was the addition of Gasol. Pau, with *his* ability to read the defense, was able to pass to open teammates and reward cutters better than others that had played his position in the past (namely Kwame). So I think where you give Trevor credit, Odom should be given the same recognition. Many analysts have even stated that one of the reasons that Odom had such a good season (and a key reason for the Lakers boost in offensive efficiency) was that Odom embraced his off-ball game.

    Getting back to my earlier point about IQ and roles, while Ariza is not asked to handle the ball or make plays for others with the ball in his hands (especially in isolation sets), Odom is. So while Odom seemingly makes more mistakes, I think that needs to be measured with what he is asked to do and the role he plays on the team. Also, while Trevor is mainly a SF and has lesser rebounding responsibilities, Odom has played PF and is asked to clean the boards. And when performing that task, he is also asked to push the ball out of the backcourt himself and make plays for his teammates. Now, I acknowledge that Odom makes turnovers (including offensive fouls), but he also makes plenty of plays for his teammates in the open court and in the half-court, which I think speaks to his BB IQ.

    Anyways, it’s not that I necessarily disagree with you about Odom and his “playing the game around the man in front of him” because I think that when Lamar is creating for himself in isolation situations, that’s an accurate assessment. He knows his limitations with his jumper (and his defender does too) so he would often rather attack off the dribble to create a shot for himself or a teammate than just shoot a jumpshot. This can lead to more unsuccessful plays and thus reflects negatively on Lamar and his BB IQ. But it’s a bit of a double edged sword in these scenarios….If LO shoots the jumper and misses, it’s a bad shot….If LO drives and makes a bad play, he’s a limited player who didn’t make the *smart* decision…meanwhile, if he makes a good play off the dribble, it’s what he’s supposed to do.

  167. Good points Darius.

  168. I am glad I came back to this thread or I would have missed what Darius is talking about. It will be interesting to see how the team plays with Bynum, Ariza, Odom and Gasol all healthy for once.

  169. Good Job Darius. I almost don’t want to post..haha

    As far as Ariza goes, I think that most of the push for him is reactionary. I want him to do well, and think he can, but he has not shown enough YET to earn such praise from some posters here. So far, the only things anyone can definitely say about him is he’s a good finisher and decent defender, BUT can you say or sure that he does those things better than Lamar? And if that answer is yes, does he do them well enough to offset the things Lamar does better? I don’t think that answer is yes.
    I have yet to see Trevor consistanly be able to take his man off the dribble or shoot well. Most of his points come off of a cut, but can he create his points or points for others. That’s the key. We are going to need that also from the SF postion with Bynum and Pau together. We know Lamar can do that already. So Ariza has to show more than what he has.

  170. All eyes are on the SF position. If we are to suppose that all Lakers players come back healthy and ready to go, Laker combinations will have to change. I’m not sure that Ariza is ready for the SF position as a starter. I’m also not sure that last year’s rotations make sense any more.

    We were unhappy with Vladimir–but he may end up backing up Pau this year. Walton may be able to play the sf role on some nights, but his outside shooting may be questionable. Maybe he could be the “mentor.”

    The best option to play the sf in tandem with Ariza may well be The Machine. Sasha was given that role against San Antonio without Andrew to back him up. With some work, and Andrew as a stopper behind him, Sasha might be the best offensive answer.

    He is the Lakers best three point shooter and could definitely spread the floor for Gasol and Bynum. He is not a total washout on defense, but clearly not the defender that Trevor hopefully will be.

    Coby Karl may be ready for some backup work to Kobe as a shooting guard.

  171. The Dude Abides July 12, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    I would imagine that Trevor will be shooting 300 corner threes every day this off-season, hopefully with a shooting coach observing.

  172. I wanted to add that I really like Trevor. As Kurt pointed out earlier, he’s young enough to really still improve his game while Odom would seemingly have limited upside for drastic improvement. So while I happen to think that Odom will still be quite useful and fill several roles for us this upcoming season, I’m anxious to see Trevor next season and hope to see an improved player (especially as a shooter and ball handler).

    What I really like about Ariza (and Odom showed a lot more of this trait this season) is that he knows his limitations. Trevor rarely settles for the long jumper, he’d rather just go to the next option in the offense and make the pass. Hopefully, next season, an improved shooting and ball handling Trevor will be able to do a little more with the ball in his hands while continuing his strong play off the ball.

  173. Garbajosa should go to Lakers!!!

    He’s skilled, plays good D and his a veteran, just what the Lakers need.

  174. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

    —> An informal survey of team executives and agents here in Vegas has turned up pretty much no one who thinks the Lakers will match the four-year offer sheet worth an estimated $17 million that Ronny Turiaf has signed with Golden State, as much as the Lakers went into free agency hoping to retain Turiaf and Sasha Vujacic.

    The theory in circulation holds that minutes will simply be too scarce in L.A.’s frontcourt next season with Andrew Bynum coming back from injury to partner Pau Gasol to sanction a long-term contract to a clear-cut backup.

    And as my man Sam Amick from The Sacramento Bee points out, retaining Turiaf leaves the Lakers with no hope — thanks to luxury-tax concerns — of taking on the extra contract (Kenny Thomas) they’ll need to swallow if they can convince the Kings to agree to a swap featuring Lamar Odom and Ron Artest.

    The Lakers’ interest, by all accounts, remains hot after their toughness and defense were repeatedly punked in a six-game NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics. Word is L.A. believes that any fears about Artest’s reliability can be assuaged by the fact that Phil Jackson would be coaching him and that Kobe Bryant would be his teammate. Kobe and Ron-Ron share a mutual respect that suggests no threat to the Lakers’ pecking order.

    Insists one source close to the process: “[Lakers owner] Jerry Buss actually likes Ron Artest’s game and his personality.” <—

  175. I really believe The Lakers Plan A was to come back this yrw/the same people they had last yr. They prob thought they could sign Sasha at a little over $3mil and Ronny w/the rest of the MLE. Otherwise they would have bought into the draft and picked up a cheap PF in the second rd.(Second Rd picks typically start at less than $500,000 in salary.)
    Now the Lakers are in scramble mode. Fortunately they have plenty of time to think this one thru.

  176. I would be more inclined to support rolling the dice on Artest if Ariza were not around. One thing I go back to is the Christmas win over Phoenix–Ariza basically played Marion even. Yes, it is just one game and yes, Marion may have been dogging it a little, but Ariza, in his brief time in the NBA has often been a 16-17 PER guy, with the athleticism to play good D. He has never had a stable role anywhere and is still only 22. I think he is OK now with no improvement and can grow. If he looks ready to go in camp, I would make him the starting 3 and use Odom as 6th man. It will be up to Jackson to sell it to Odom.

    There are many things Ariza has not shown he can do–but I think he can finish at the rim, play within the offense, and most importantly from the Lakers’ perspective, provide athletic D on the wings. To me, he is 25-30 min a game guy, spelled by Walton.

    Odom should get 25-30 too, at the 3/4, depending on game flow and matchups.

  177. It’s true that the Lakers can just easily increase the price of Lakers tickets to compensate, but they have already increased the prices. It’s already the biggest jump in Lakers tickets costs ever, and if signing those players would mean an even higher jump, I’m not sure whether Dr. Buss, as a businessman, would do it.

  178. (lol) I agree that the price (tickets) to go to a Laker game should be reasonable for the majority of fans. I go to maybe 5 games a year at Staples, so if it is even $10 more now, it is worth it if I am going to see the Lakers win. Now if I had season tickets where I am commited to buying into 41 games a year, that is a different story for me. I know season ticket holders do sell their tickets to games they do not want to go to, so I do not know what the financial situation is for them.

  179. Artest is desperately needed, but not at the cost of Farmar if we still had Crittenton that could happen not now, not the way Farmar plays. Espn is saying its now the Lakers holding it up which is hard for me to believe as they are saying we dont want to trade Lamar for Artest, who the heck else would we trade. Everything else is bad contracts maybe a sign and trade using Rony? I think Odom for Artest would work out for everyones best. I really can’t wait to buy a Laker jersey with Artest on the back HELLS YEAH!

  180. Coming in to 2007-2008 Lamar Odom was at a low point in his career, just happy to be a Laker, but facing a team in total turmoil. By the end of this season, Lamar was so so close to total redemption–the x factor that may have brought the Lakers through to the championship series. By game six of that series in Boston, the dreams of the Lakers had turned to dust, and Lamar’s season had lost some of it’s lustre.

    Even though Lamar never played the small forward against the Celtics, that would have been his position this year–and he never did fit the job description. Lamar had really lost his starting job the year before to Pau Gasol–but fate kept him in the starting PF slot when Andrew went down–and kept him there all the way through the playoffs.

    This season, the Lakers find themselves severely financially constrained by the consequences of the Pau Gasol trade of the year before, already in luxury territory, and it may be in their mutual best interests for Lamar to move on. An expiring $14+million contract is a huge bargaining chip that can inspire trade negotiations or create needed Laker cap space–or both.

    One of the few players that does fit the new job description is Ron (or is it Will?) Artest. He also has an expiring contract, but it is far less than than Lamar’s.

    The Lakers need to preserve the bulk of the expiring contract amount and find a win-win balance between team contracts for this year in any trade. The Kings need to trade players not in their future plans and create cap space. Ron Artest may need to be traded ASAP as an asset before he becomes a liability, so time is of the essence for the Kings.

    There are two realistic possibilities. If the Kings want to trade 2 for 1, the Lakers could possibly accept Mikki Moore and Ron Artest. If the Kings want to exchange starters for starters, the Kings could exchange Brad Miller and Ron Artest for Lamar Odom and Vladimir Radmanovic. There are other possible combinations, but it is hard to see both sides agreeing on them.

    These trade possibilities could address team balance, future plans, and contract flexibility for both Lakers and Kings.

    Neither of them may ever see the light of day, but they illustrate an ongoing Laker dilemma.

  181. Assuming ESPN is right that the Lakers aren’t offering Odom for Artest (and I think they aren’t), that means that the Lakers are almost certainly offering Ariza. He’s a young player with significant upside potential and an expiring contract.

    To help make the math work, Mihm is probably included in the trade proposals (expering contract, plus a good big man if finally healthy).

    Finally, the Lakers are probably offering either Coby Karl (to make the math work) plus early second round picks (the Lakers don’t have any 1st rounders to trade until 2012; but they do have second rounders from Charlotte and Memphis); or Farmar.

  182. If the Lakers aren’t offering Odom in a deal for Artest, the deal makes no sense to me. Sacramento needs cap space and they need to unload contracts of older players–they don’t need multiple small expiring contracts to replace a bigger one. The Lakers need all the players and draft picks you indicate the Lakers would trade for Artest.

  183. If the report is true, I hope the Lakers hold to that stance. Think about it; the Lakers have a huge negotiating advantage here. The Kings essentially have to move Artest. The Lakers do not need to do anything. If the Kings were flooded with offers for Artest, it’d be one thing, but I doubt they are. Anyone who trades for him is not going to offer a great deal because of all the risk. Look at what the Pacers got for him: an injury prone Peja who was half the player he used to be. You think is stock is any better now (Artest that is). I wouldn’t even give up Farmar or Ariza.

    That said, I’d imagine the Kings would want Artest gone ASAP so they would not have to deal with the distraction all year. Plus, keeping him around keeps them playing well and in their rebuilding state, I’d imagine they want better draft position. Mitch has shown patience: if the Kings really want to move Artest, I’m not sure I offer much outside of Radman (or Luke), Mihm, and Coby Karl. Given their negotiating position, Artest’s volatility, etc., I doubt they get anything much better than that. If they balk, walk away from the table.

  184. Sorry…that last comment (184) was me.

  185. drrayeye,
    In #181, you said “Ron Artest may need to be traded ASAP as an asset before he becomes a liability, so time is of the essence for the Kings.”

    So, wouldn’t LG Gold’s scenario make sense? I’m sure there are better deals out there for Sacto than the one that LG presented, but based off your own statement and the distinct possibility that Artest becomes a problem for the Kings, isn’t it a possibility that they’d be open to this type of deal that nets them a serviceable player like Ariza (a guy that you and me and many other Lakers fans are pretty high on) and other expriring deals that just get Ron off of their team?

  186. (182)(184)(186) Guys, I don’t think Sactown thinks that the Lakers hold the cards at all. Some of them think that they just shouldn’t trade with the Lakers at all because Artest may straighten up and lead the Lakers to multiple NBA championships–and they could never live with themselves then.

    I personally think that they need to move Ron (Will), but they go back and forth and think that they hold the cards. He is considered the best player on their team–and way better than Odom. They have no doubt that they can unload him any time for an expiring contract. They want more. They think the Lakers are the most desperate and would make the best deal.

    Go to Sactown Royalty to see how wide the chasm is between your thinking and their thinking. Trading Artest is an art form over there. That’s just about all they blog about.

  187. drrayeye,
    Check out this link to NBA Fanhouse.

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2008/07/11/artest-for-odom-trade-in-the-pipeline

    Ziller also links to a fan who transcribed an interview with the Maloof’s and they give their take on Artest, Odom, making a deal with the Lakers, and more.

    Based off that transcript, it looks like the Kings aren’t hesitant about dealing with the Lakers, but it’s obvious they like Odom and I think would do that deal. And obviously we can’t proclaim too much from an interview transcript, but I’m not sure if we can assume that they think Artest is way better than Odom. If anything, Odom may help them more than Artest just from a chemistry standpoint and clearing up playing time for Salmons (who played very well as a starter last year) and getting more time for Garcia at SF. But as for the idea that Sacto holds the cards, we still need to wonder if (as Kurt has pointed out) the Lakers are willing to take on K. Thomas (which I think is *no*). And if they hold firm on that, then who really holds the cards? Do we need Artest more than they want to dump him? I would *no* to that as well.

  188. Darius,

    Ziller is one of the driving forces with Sactown Royalty. I actually joined just to participate in the blog and try out various ideas. If you go back a week or so, you can find my dialogue with them–and my summary that I entitled, “Chasm” expressed how differently Kings and Lakers fans viewed a possible trade.

    Neither side is ready yet.

    Every deal must happen in its time. It is my view that the Lakers are not ready to trade yet with anyone for anyone.

  189. Here’s the specific wording from the espn article:

    “But NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Sunday that the Lakers — fond as they are of Artest and confident as they are that they can get the best out of him through Phil Jackson’s coaching and Artest’s respect for Bryant — are reluctant to part with Odom in an Artest swap. That stance, if the Lakers hold firm, would almost certainly prompt Sacramento to look elsewhere for a trade partner.”

    That makes a lot more sense to me, at least from a need standpoint. Odom may not be the toughest guy on the planet, but I don’t think it was HIS toughness that was the biggest issue in the finals. And as I’ve said repeatedly, he’s one of our few consistent rebounders. If we lose Ronny, he’s even more important. Without losing him, Artest would help meet a lot of needs, including replacing a platoon of SFs with one main guy.

    But I don’t really see Sacto making this deal without Odom. I also don’t see the Lakers giving Artest a lucrative contract either. There’s just nothing to give him, really. So that makes me wonder about his ability to stay cool while he was here.

    This may be the type of deal that needs to happen during the season when both teams know their predicaments better. I thought the same about the J.O. trade last year. We waited on that and lo and behold we didn’t need him and he was continuously injured. Had Bynum not stepped up and JO not been hurt, that trade may have gone through. In this case if we wait and if Bynum is ready to take up the slack that Odom’s departure would create, we suddenly beocme a lot more willing to deal.

  190. JD, I’m with you every step of the way.

    I still believe trading Odom before the season (especially if we lose Turiaf) isn’t the best set up for next season. And when you consider that the Olympics haven’t even happened (potential Gasol hiccups) nor have we seen anything from Bynum (potential relapse) it becomes even more prudent to hold on to our proven assets that provide key skills necessary for winning (ie your point on rebounding).

    Drrayeye,
    I saw your stuff from a little while back on SacTown Royalty. They seemed hostile over there. I guess that’s how it goes at other sites when you’re the *enemy*. And I agree, while they are willing to part with Ron-Ron, they also want the best deal available and want to accomplish more than just getting a good player back (ie they’d like to clear cap-space as well). I’m not sure if Sac is going to get what they really want from anyone. Especially not if Ron is really just a rental for next season whith him intending to test the market as an UFA.