Live Chat, and Other Thoughts

Kurt —  July 22, 2008

Because they are masochists (but in a good way), J.E. Skeets and Kelly Dwyer and going to be doing a marathon live chat all day long on Wednesday over at Ball Don’t Lie — going eight hours (9-5 Eastern, 6-2 Pacific time). This is a great way to kill your productivity at work. Because I hate to see friends suffer, I’m going to be part of the chat for an hour or so (2-3 EST, 11-12 Pacific), where we will cover the Lakers, the NBA, and I’d be willing to bet one or two Artest questions (at least KD has my back on that one). Should be fun — by that point in the day Skeets will be punchy. Plus, the end of my time overlaps with Jeff from CelticsBlog, so I’m going to let him have it. With lines like, um….. well, have you seen the photos from our dance team tryouts?

Some other thoughts:

• Team USA practice is underway, and as we move toward the Olympics we’ll be talking a lot about the games in future posts. I think we will learn a little about the USA squad in a pre-tournament “friendly” against Russia, but the real first glimpse will be the late first-round matchups with Spain and Greece.

• That said, remember even the round robin games in the Olympic pool play don’t matter that much — there are six teams in each group, four of those move on to the single-elimination medal tournament. The USA will advance out of that with little trouble (doing well should help get an easier quarter-final game, however). All that really matters (for the USA or any other medal contender such as Spain or Argentina) is winning the quarterfinal, semi-final and final. Three big, NCAA-tournament style single elimination games.

• By the way, in case you didn’t see the Olympic pairings:

GROUP A: Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Iran, Lithuania, Russia
GROUP B: Angola, China, Germany, Greece, Spain, USA

• And, while it gets a lot of ink, the USA’s lack of big men doesn’t bother me that much. For international ball I like a smaller, faster team that can play on the wing. Two teams may be able to exploit that — Greece and Argentina — but I’m not sure either really can do it well enough to beat this USA team.

• I think Kobe Bryant’s sentiments on Turiaf leaving echoed those of most Lakers fans — we get it on a business level, but it still sucks on a fan level.

• Matt Barnes lands in Phoenix. This seems like a good get if they are going to keep the tempo up in the Valley of the Sun, but is new coach Terry Porter going to do that? Can he with Shaq starting 82 games (or however many his body will allow)? And can they keep shopping Barbosa around if DJ Strawberry is the backup point?

• The Spurs signing Kurt Thomas doesn’t bother me much as a Lakers fan because they could have tried to go younger and more athletic and chose not to.

• Any good book suggestions. I just finished a historical fiction book Princes of Ireland, and my one word review: “meh.” But very little historical fiction grabs me. So I’m looking for suggestions, likely non-hoops related and I lean toward non-fiction.

106 responses to Live Chat, and Other Thoughts

  1. Naomi Kline has a new book out, not to get too political on you, just tossing it out there

  2. Try “America Alone” by Mark Steyn. Just came out in paperback.

  3. Not non-fiction, but House of Leaves by Mark Danielski was awesome.

  4. I’m surprised that Barnes didn’t receive more attention on the free agent market. I love Barnes’ skill set. He’s got size and he’s a big game player. He struggled last season, but a lot of his troubles should be attributed to the passing of his Mother.

    As far as book suggestions, have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’? How about Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’?

  5. Since the post is ‘Other Thoughts’ how about this:
    Quoting Dean Oliver, Good teams control four crucial aspects of a game:

    1. Shooting percentage from the field.
    2. Getting offensive rebounds.
    3. Committing turnovers.
    4. Going to the fould line alot and making the shots.

    There really is nothing else in the game. These four responsibilities on the offensive side and these four responsibilities on the defensive side are it.
    If you aren’t shooting from the field, you better be doing a few of the other three things. If you don’t have the size to get defensive rebounds, you better force turnovers. If you can’t take care of the ball very well, you better get shots up before you turn it over, then go after the boards.

    This kind of stuff (including FB&G reading) is what is filling my time up before the Olympics, great huh.

  6. Anything by Stephen Ambrose.

  7. And Jon Krakauer.

  8. I’ll really try to make the chat to show some FB&G love to Kurt and to ask KD random Bulls questions.

    I really can’t wait for some Olympic Hoops. I just want to see if this time we finally do it and get back to winning these international tourneys. The team is pretty strong and I’m hoping that their experience from Japan and the additions of Kobe and Kidd can make the difference. I think Kobe is going to be a man possessed (to steal a line from sleazy Clay Bennett).

    As for Books, it’s kinda old but I’m reading Freakonomics and it’s pretty good so far….I also read Blink when it came out and that was an interesting read as well….but I like those random connection type books; the kind of books that give you some insight or reflect on a topic from an off-beat angle, so maybe those books aren’t for you if you’re more of a historian or if you want some political talk. But if you find something good, let us know, you can start a FB&G off-season/summer book club. It’s not there’s a lot else going on…

  9. Steven Erickson, Gardens of the Moon.

  10. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein

    This is kind of heavy, but then again it is also scary.

  11. Amazing_Happens July 22, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    David Eggers, What is the What

  12. ditto Dave Eggers, but ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’

  13. Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, and This Is Your Brain On Music, by David Levitin.

    And Gerrit’s right, House of Leaves is amazing.

  14. Great book suggestions, a few I have read (Blink, Freakonomics — the later of which I recommend) but it starts to give me a list. The challenge is while I used to be a voracious reader having kids has cut into that.

  15. The Dude Abides July 23, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Guns, Germs, and Steel by UCLA geography professor Jared Diamond. It sure explains a lot about the world we live in and how it has been shaped by its various peoples.

  16. Ball-related: Agree with Kobe’s sentiments regarding Ronny. I totally understand why his offer didn’t get matched, but it sucks cause he’s such a fun guy to have on your team and get behind.
    What’s the deal with Sasha? No news in 3 weeks since the free-agency period started, and while changing agents probably delayed things, you’d think something would be done by now. As great as Ronny is, Sasha’s more important to the offense off the bench, I hope the Lakers don’t let him slip somehow.
    Books: Not sure what you like, but Freakonomics and Blink (both mentioned before) are recommended. Another book is the exhaustive tome, The Prize, a Pulitzer-winning account by Prof. Daniel Yergin about the history of oil. Very interesting, although it is quite long and cumbersome. Simon Singh’s The Code Book from a few years ago is highly entertaining – it’s about the history of crytography (sounds not all that exciting, I know) but it’s told in episodic story form, very interesting.

  17. ‘The Afghan’ by Frederick Forsyth, fiction but close enough to reality. And also a nice introduction into the situation in Afghanistan, the ethnic make-up and the rise of Al Qaida.

  18. A good book suggestion:

    Slavery by another name. By Douglas Blackmon.

    A hard book to read because of the subject matter. But a very important one. A part of US history that I never knew about.

  19. Slavery by Another Name is at your local library, but you may have to get on a ‘hold list’ to check it out.

  20. Agree with Matt – anything by Stephen Ambrose.

    Leon Uris wrote some very good historical fiction.

    All the books by James Herriot about his work as a vet are excellent.

  21. I wish I had a suggestion for you. I pretty much stick to fiction.


    itink that no news is good news fon Sasha for Laker fans. It likely means that there is no offers coming. So the cheaper the Lakers can sign him for, the better.

  22. Books: if you’re interested in finance, read “When Genius Fail” very nice book, “the world is flat” by Thomas Friedman is another good one. For fiction, if you wanna try something completely different, read some spanish fantasy realism like “House of Spirits” or “the Labyrinth” by jorges. Kafkas is also a fun read

  23. Adding to House of Leaves. One of my favourite books of all time absolutely superb, changes your views on books as a whole. Seriously.

    I’ve just started reading “Loose Balls: The short, wild life of the American Basketball Association” by Terry Pluto. Absolutely hilarious and very interesting.

  24. Childress bolting for Europe…… Open the floodgates everyone!

  25. Mind over Golf by Richard Coop – a book about psychological factors in golf and how to overcome . A lot of the ideas can easily transfer over to basketball, or any other sports at that.

    A book about how nba players prepare themselves mentally for games and practices would be intriguing if there is one.

  26. ken follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” is a very interesting look at Europe in the 1100’s, and a great read, an all time classic.

  27. Mo Evans to Golden State, three years for $6.4 mil. Just went down,

  28. This is a scary read, but “Brave New War” by John Robb is a short and thought-provoking book about where the future of technology, terrorism and security could be headed. You can also check out his blog:

  29. oh, and David Thorpe just said this about Coby Karl:

    LS (Southern Cal): Could Coby Karl eventually replace Sasha Vujacic’s production if given the chance? What’s his upside?

    David Thorpe: (12:47 PM ET ) I like Coby’s game a lot. Actually, I love it. You may laugh, but if I could pick 2 guys from his class to bring down to IMG for 2 weeks, he’d be 1. He can shoot and defend, and his heartbeat is first rate.

  30. It’s a good thing the Warriors are filling their void at the Wing Position . . . . . . . .

  31. If you’re looking for a good perspective on the Childress/Europe thing, check this out:

  32. 32. I think bringing in Evans means Golden State lets Azubuike walk.

  33. Kurt – I’d like to thank you personally for provoking people (many of like mind) to suggest book recommendations. Some of these books sound great.

  34. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Historical non-fiction about the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, haunted by a serial killer.

  35. Anything by Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, Baroque Cycle, Diamond Age)

  36. I’ve gotta late summer reading list, excellent. Craig, I think we like the same kind of books.

  37. If you enjoy mystery/thriller books, anything by Michael Connelly is great… Recently I read “The Poet,” and it’s just a great, great novel (Had me thinking the whole time!)

  38. carter blanchard July 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    That Evans deal looks mighty reasonable. I really wish we had gone after.

  39. (29) Kurt,

    No mo’ Mo. There goes my backup to Sasha.

    Good for Mo Evans. He deserves 3 years–and he should have fun with Golden State. He at least knows one guy on their team, doesn’t he.

  40. Mo is another player whose game fits GS way of playing – and he also can bring some defense to them. Now with Turiaf, Mo, Williams, and Magette (sp???) I think they are moving in the right direction. Not sure they can recover from the loss of Davis, but if he gets injured this year I think the developments will be a net plus for them.

  41. I don’t understand Golden State’s “Plan” this summer. They seem to be reacting more than determining their own fate. They weren’t prepared for BD leaving and were cavalier about it once he did opt out, acting like they weren’t remotely interested in keeping him- one of the guys who led them to their greatest triumph in 30 years two seasons ago.

    At the end of the season they probably had too many forwards. Azuibuike and Pietrus both suffered lapses in PT because there were too many 2s and 3s and whatever Al Harrington is. So they draft 2 more swing PFs. They sign Turiaf, when they should be trying to bring along Wright. Then they let Pietrus and Azubuike walk (I’m assuming that the Evans signing signified that) and replace them with Maggette and Evans.

    They have a glaring need for a PG, so they go out and nab Marcus Williams, who NJ pretty much explicitly gave up on. Monta Ellis is NOT a point guard. I don’t care what they say.

    So now their team is basically: Williams, Biedrins, Ellis, who is a 2/3 in a PG’s body, and everybody else is a forward. I’m happy for Evans, but this makes no sense to me. Obviously they’ll use him as a 2, but they can already fill that role with about 3 or 4 other guys. They have no need for Evans. At all.

    Or do they just want to fill the roster with as many former Los Angeleans as possible?

    I think i saw that Brevin knight signed with Utah too. Or was traded. That won’t make or break that team, but its a good fit.

  42. Horry still wants to play and the Spurs don’t seem to want him. I know he can barely move now but it might be good to have him on the roster in case we need to body check someone.

  43. 42-add in the PG they got (local product from Crenshaw) Marcus Williams , along with last years #9 pick Brendan Wright and this years # (?)13 pick Anthony Randolphand GS may be looking better than they were last year


    I really think (aside from the Lakers, Spurs, Hornets and Jazz) that anyone of the following teams can make the playoffs (Suns, Mavs, Rockets, W’s, Clips, Enver, Portland). That’s 7 teams for 4 spots.

  44. j. d. hastings July 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    44- It looks like my last comment was removed, and I see your point from a pure talent perspective, but I think you are being kind in your position assignments. I live up here and none of my warriors fan firends (as die hard as we are) buys into Ellis as a Point Guard. Neither do they buy Jackson as a point forward. And he’s really the only option for that. So they have a team of scorers and nobody to get them the ball, which becomes all the more worrisome given the young talent in their frontline that they should be developing.

    It just seems like they had no plan and got whatever guys they could get at any given time. There’s just been no plan. I got my haircut by a guy who used to work for the Ws yesterday and he couldn’t stop dropping F bombs talking about them.

  45. kwame a.,
    You forgot Turiaf!

  46. with kurt thomas signed, who does that leave the lakers with? are they looking at FA’s or are they prepared to go into the season with bynum-mihm-gasol at C, then Gasol-Odom-Radman at PF, and Odom-Ariza-Luke-Kobe at SF? I seriously think this frontline still needs a banger (maxiell, millsap type) who can play post defense and rebound or at least be an intimidating presence on the block

  47. Bingo T. Klown July 23, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Re Warriors

    JD I concur!

    There is so much that does not seem to jibe with the way Nelson coaches. It’s like he and Mullin are on different pages. And I feel for the rookies and young guys because Nelson just doesn’t like to play them.

    They’ll be running out a line up of Jackson, Harrington, Beidrins, Ellis and Maggette while all the young’uns get pine tar rashes.

    They do have talent but there does not seem to be any focus to it. Lots of good parts not sure how they fit together. I think Nelson’s gone after this year anyway.

    I must confess they are my #2…a distant #2.

  48. The Warriors may be planning on trading for a PG. Before Watson got hurt I could see a Stephen Jackson to OKC(hurts to type)for Watson/Ridnour. Jack plays D and would allow Durant to move to his natural SF. Or they could be thinking Harrington for Hinrich. They certainly have the pieces for a trade.

    I have to ask,is the Hawks GM honest or an idiot? He said as the off-season began that the Hawks only moves this yr were to be signing the 2 Joshes. Now he said that even w/both Joshes the team wasn’t likely to be much better than last yr. He’s basically saying “All we’re gonna do this summer is sign our FAs and even then we’ll s***.”

  49. kurt,is there a chance that sasha might go play in europe? the way he played last season might have garnered the attention of a lot of euroteams.

  50. I’m not sure if Sasha wants to play in Europe, but if I were his agent I would be calling around, looking for leverage.

  51. craig w. – I guess I just can’t accept the fact that turiaf is gone..ha

  52. I suppose I’m a bit late to the party, but as for book recommendations:

    Desmond Young’s Rommel: The Desert Fox is one of the best biographies I’ve ever come across – Young was a Brig. Gen. in WWII that was actually captured by Erwin Rommel, which gives him a unique perspective both on the man, and his military abilities. Biographies aren’t for everybody, but I really think this one comes pretty close.

    Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is a fairly well-known work, but still worthwhile. I feel slightly smarter immediately after having read it, and far, FAR dumber once I stop to comprehend just how far beyond me the true concepts behind Sagan’s explanations really are. The way he thinks is fascinating.

    Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist is a work I would highly recommend if you enjoyed Freakonomics. It’s a bit of a basic economics primer, but it’s written in a very conversational, anecdotal style, much like Freakonomics. If you’re interested in getting a working understanding of Econ 101 but don’t like the math, this is a good read.

    Lawrence Krauss’s Beyond Star Trek is another ‘science-y’ book, but awfully entertaining. If you’ve any geeky tendencies at all, you’ll eat up the numerous references to science-fiction culture, which are then analyzed and explained from the point of real-world science. For example, the Mother Ship from Independence Day has approx. 1/4th the mass of the Moon (according to the movie) – given where it sets up shop, it would exert 25x the gravity of the Moon itself on the Earth – no need for all the explosions, as humanity would be annihilated by the massive shifts the planet would make.

    Lastly, I’ll recommend Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep. It’s science-fiction, and moderately “hard” sci-fi at that (“hard” isn’t as opposed to “easy,” it’s opposed to “soft” – hard sci-fi equates to some actual scientific rigor, and the assumption that being in the ‘future’ doesn’t give a writer license to allow anything to happen without explanation). I have to borrow from the Wikipedia summary, as it sums the book up awfully well: “A Fire Upon the Deep (1992) is a science fiction novel written by Vernor Vinge, an award-winning space opera about superhuman intelligences, well-developed aliens, variable physics, space battles, love, betrayal, genocide, and Usenet.” It reads very much how that sounds like it would.

    Hope these help.

  53. Hrm… Should clarify that A Fire Upon the Deep isn’t really ‘true’ hard sci-fi — it does make an attempt to explain what happens, and works within the reality in which it’s designed, but it’s nothing like, say, Diamond Age, (mentioned earlier by weston) which is much more real-world in its science.

  54. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History by Howard Bloom.


    Four Days to Glory by Mark Kreidler. The absolute best book about high school wrestling you will ever read. Though, being from Iowa, I am biased on this one.

  55. Sorry about shilling my own book, but Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days in the Black Porn Industry is my fifth book and has been called a “must have” for any pop culture library. Check it out. Plus, I’m an Inglewood native, an LA Times bestseller, so you’ve got to support me!!

  56. Renato Afonso July 24, 2008 at 3:44 am

    What? Noone mentions Childress bolting to Greece? C’mon guys, this is important stuff…

    The big stars will not be leaving the NBA, but if the richest european clubs are willing to pay above the MLE, then we might see some above average players switching continents. However, not many clubs can pay that much money for basketball players, since Euroleague does not generate that much revenue.

  57. This situation in the NBA is a real lesson in economics. The CBA was largely designed to protect the owners from themselves so the owners gave in on some player demands for fairness. Well — the clubs gradually learned to use the CBA to it’s best advantage. The only point that wasn’t anticipated was that other forces outside the NBA would have some use for these same players. Now that that situation has begun, the players’ agents are learning how to use these same rules to bite the owners where the sun don’t shine.

    Hey, ain’t monopolies great for owners – until they ain’t monopolies anymore. Maybe Microsoft should take notice.

  58. Renato alfonso,

    I’m sure the top teams generate alot of revenue, and don’t forget the value of the Euro is nearly twice the Dollar, and that’s a big deal. I sell mechandise online, and my business has soared because of that fact. I have more and more Europeans placing orders, because it’s so cheap for them.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if there ended up being some emergency CBA renegotiation before it comes close to ending. This year we saw European players decide to GO BACK becasue of the money, a high schooler throttle the system, and now a player that teams wanted who CHOSE to leave. This is the novelty year. Next year and the years following will be the copycat years. There will be many more. This is not good for the NBA, nor the player’s union. This is serious.
    The player’s union can use it as leverage, but it is a NBA union, they need the players to stay to keep it. I’d be willing to bet, that Euro imports could careless about the CBA. The NBA will be up for a TV deal soon, and they are going to have to remedy this and keep talent here, and with David Stern’s emphasis on having a global game, how can he keep the international market if those players stay home? Juan Carlos Navarro has left, Garbarosa (sp.) too, and they play for the reigning World Champions, Spain. JCN left for more money AT home. What if Pau did in 3 years?

  59. According to Lazenby, there’s drama in the Lakers organization that doesn’t even have to do with Kobe. Interesting read.

  60. Speaking of “The Shock Doctrine,” did you know that Barack Obama’s chief economics advisor, Austan Goolsbee, is a leading exponent of the monetarist “Chicago School of Economics” doctrine?

  61. Kaifa,

    That is a disturbing article

  62. But is it true?

    Anyway, I like the way Bynum worked out last summer, does anyone have a problem with that? I’m sure Kobe did the same thing (working out with personal trainers, etc.) when he was young, is that really a problem? And didn’t Kobe get a knee surgery in Colorado that the team doctors knew nothing about?

    Still, the Bynum injury story has been strange from almost the start.

    The “power struggle” is irrelevant, are Jeanne Buss and Phil J. saying don’t resign Bynum? I doubt it.

  63. Very interesting. If you haven’t you must read the link in comment #61, the latest Lazenby piece. Is it true? Honestly, who knows. But I know I trust Lazenby more than just about anyone else on this stuff.

    Inwit, I think the power struggle does matter long-term for the Lakers, Buss tried to step back for a couple years and last year seemed to rush back into the fray. He may be the strong hand short term, but the core problems are still there.

    And, after all the heat Lakers doctors took for Bynum’s slow recovery, it appears he did not use Lakers doctors or follow their suggestions, he went another route and his personal doctors were responsible for the slow healing.

    And of course, the report that Kwame may be in play. All of this is still rumor, but I will say I give more weight to rumors Lazenby throws out than just about anyone else.

  64. I’m not surprized by the Kwame report. To me, he was the obvious backup if the Lakers failed to sign Ronny because Kwame is already known to the other players and can preserved precious team chemistry.

    I may get a chance to call him “twinkletoes” again.

  65. re: Kwame, on the negative, if he still can’t CATCH the ball, then we are going to have problems on the offensive side. (like playing with 4 guys)
    also, I’ve always thought Kwame has a fear of the free throw line, and this is why he rushes his attempts when he does catch the ball down low, and these rushed attempts come off disasterously, missed dunks or chippies, or layups gone astray…leading to a momentum swing against us, so it hurts in more than one way.
    on the positive, like the article says, he would have been useful against Perkins, cause one thing Kwame does do well, he holds his ground and isn’t easy to push around.
    another possible positive, if our expectations are SOOOOOOOOOO LOOOOOWWW, then maybe the pressure would be totally off of him, and who knows, (and this is a huge assumption) but maybe with no expectations, and the only way he can go is UP…then maybe he’ll surprise us and start to turn it around.

    isn’t there SOMETHING he can do to improve his hands of stone? some kind of hand strengthening, softening, something???
    and he should be shooting 500 FT’s a day this off season.

  66. Chris, I think you just suggested kwame work hard on his game in the offseason. That is just plain silly.

  67. I can live with Kwame as a back-up. If the Lakers had him against the Celtics would they have been pushed around like they were?

    Kurt, I was just referring to the Bynum situation, I just wasn’t clear about it. My understanding is that Dr. Buss has Jimmy set to run the basketball side of things. I don’t think Jeanne would have a problem with that but for Phil. I agree there will be a big confrontation eventually when Phil is ready to stop coaching. But I don’t think Dr. Buss with throw Jimmy under the bus (bad pun) just to make Jeanne’s boyfriend happy. Being responsible for drafting Bynum (at least in part) can only strengthen Jimmy’s hand.

    But we shall see.

  68. I do not want to see Kwame back on the team under any circumstances. I can’t believe the revisionist history that is being indulged in here.

    Kwame would have put the Lakers over the top against the Celtics? Please!!!

    Does anyone remember actually watching him play? Whatever defensive skills he possesses are totally offset by his offensive ineptitude. How helpful is it to bring someone back on board who is “familiar with the triangle offense” when his contributions to the offense consisted of firing layups three feet over the rim?

    The best part of the Gasol deal was the sigh of relief I breathed when I realized I wouldn’t have to cheer for Kwame any more. He joins a long list of Lakers-in-passing who I had to grit my teeth and root for against my better judgment…like Benoit Benjamin, Greg Foster, and Dennis Rodman.

  69. I didn’t say that Kwame would have put the Lakers over the top, don’t misquote me please.

  70. Jeannie Buss should be put in charge of the entire Laker organization once Dr. Buss completely steps aside. She is obviously the most competent Buss child and has proven herself by how well she manages the business side. I trust her a lot more than Jim Buss.

  71. The Laker organization has always had great respect for Kwame’s potential. They could have gotten rid of him one year earlier. He was the starter ahead of Bynum at the beginning of the season last year.

    I personally always appreciated his defense. I’d love to see him have the same type of redemption that Lamar had last year.

  72. if we do pick up Kwame, it had better be for FAR LESS than the price GS paid for Ronnie, far far less, like $2M per year, for 1 year, with team option for year 2.

  73. inwit,
    “I can live with Kwame as a back-up. If the Lakers had him against the Celtics would they have been pushed around like they were?”

    Who would Kwame have been guarding? Perkins, most likely. How much impact did Perkins have? You think he would have gotten in foul trouble guarding Kwame? Look at Garnett – he didn’t have an especially good series on offense, so how much benefit would Kwame have been there? Rotating over to help on penetrators? Hardly – when did he ever do that? And on offense, you just made it a LOT easier for the Celtics to double up on the Laker of their choice. No, Kwame would have been of no help whatsoever.

  74. inwit ,
    You scared the living c**p out of me when you talked about Austan Goolsbee being Barack Obama’s chief economics advisor. If that is true, we really have no where to turn and are due to continue this laisse faire concept toward capital wealth. In my opinion, this, combined with the rise of China and India, would be the beginning of the the end for any real stable society in the United States. I would expect the gap between rich and poor to exponentially grow and for the middle class to continue to shrink. Not good signs for a stable society.

  75. Kwame is not even that good defensively. The one and only thing he could do was use his big body and strength to push opposing players away from the basket when they try to get position in the paint. He not a good help defender or pick n’ roll defender (he was decent on the pnr). He is not a shot blocker and is an atrocious rebounder. And I don’t even have to mention his offensive game.

  76. With all the things we hear wrong with Kwame’s game, is there anyone here would would care to comment on why the Laker organization apparently thinks he has some value? I think that is a better blogging thread than the one just bagging on the guy.

  77. And now it looks like Garbajosa is off the table, he is about to sign with Khimki, the Russian League club. About $10 mil per year American.

  78. Perhaps it is just me, but I thought the Lakers really got pushed around by the Celtics and didn’t control the paint on the defensive end. Kwame is not afraid to mix it up underneath the boards and throw his body around.

    I just wasn’t impressed by how the Lakers’ big men competed in the Celtic series.

    Anyway, we are talking about signing the guy to just provide a few minutes relief off the bench.

  79. Craig W.

    It is scary. Underneath the outward packaging of Obama, as a knight in shining armour riding to the rescue, is the usual assortment of establishment types who will set the policies. Some new names perhaps, but the same old ideas.

  80. I think the “pro-Kwame” people have a point if Kwame can be signed for a low low price. The Kwame pre-Gasol trade was a player making I believe $8-9 million per year, and had the tag of being a #1 draft pick.

    The post-Gasol Kwame, if he’s paid commensurate with his talent, is actually a pretty good deal if Kwame and his detractors finally understand that he was a bust at #1 and that the low contract amount is appropriate for a back-up center hopefully playing at most 10-15 minutes a game. Compared to what’s out there for the price being sought, it might not be the worst move.

  81. Chris, I think you’re pushing it if you think Kwame will sign for 2 mil. There are plenty of teams out there that would give him the mid just to come off the bench you have to remember quality bigs are hard to come by. In my opinion I don’t think we really need Sasha all that much (especially not for Jason K. type money) so i’d let him walk too bring up Coby Karl and Joe Crawford and also bring in Kwame thus giving us the depth and physical presence we need off the bench and saving us cap space at the sametime for Bynum’s extension.

  82. I agree with Anonymous (77).
    Kwame is a disaster on the offensive end.
    Overall, he’s not even good on the defensive end.
    He’s not going to help any team.

  83. Also, it was Austan Goolsbee who made the controversial quote in Canada that Obama doesn’t really want to modify NAFTA, he is just saying it to get votes, or something to that effect.

  84. There is no way Kwame is getting the midlevel. Phil apparently likes Kwame, but I would only consider a deal about this level: one year with team option for two, $1 to $1.5 mil. The hope would be that he would spend most of the year in street clothes because a healthy Bynum and Mihm would man the center spot. But can he be a cheep insurance policy….. maybe. Personally, I wouldn’t do it because of the baggage, I’d rather re-up DJ, but at that level it wouldn’t bother me a lot.

    By the way, keep this discussion going here, but I put up a new post with a little bit of site news. In a couple hours a new history post will be going up, just because it’s summer.

  85. so Luke, are you saying that Kwame is worth more than Ronnie?
    at least Ronnie could catch the ball, shoot a decent free throw, nice mid range, and let’s not forget all the intangables, like team spirit, work ethic, hustle, desire, etc, none of which I have seen from kwame.

    my point was that if the Lakers let Ronnie walk at $4M/yr, then pay mid level to kwame, I would say that was a bad move.

  86. A random question: does anyone know the details regarding Luke’s injury last year, when it occurred, how it might have affected him, how this surgery is expected to resolve the issues, etc.

    Trying to think about whether we should expect last year’s Luke next year or the Luke that we all were glad was signed for six years (at least most of us).

  87. Reed,

    Just going off memory, my impression was that Luke’s injury hadn’t fully healed from the year before.

  88. In previous teams, Kwame was cast as a superstar in the making at power forward. In his early years, as a power forward, his performance was only a bit behind the curve. In his third season at Washington, his free throw percentage was 68+%, he had 7.4 rebounds, and scored 10.4 points with starters minutes.

    With the Lakers, he was asked to switch roles and play as a defensive center. He was spectacular man-on-man, but, like the entire Laker team, was not a good switching defender. Last season, he improved in coming out on the pick and roll, and was very effective until he was injured. When he came back from injury, his defense was not as good, and his offensive game totally collapsed.

    Despite Bynum’s obvious value on offense and as a shot blocker, Andrew was not nearly as quick as Kwame on defense and was not good at bodying a defender. Andrew’s defensive performance never rose to hoped for levels last year (and should be of concern this year). Andrew had an especially bad time last year against the Celtics. It is not clear how much better the Lakers will be defensively next season with Andrew starting.

    There is potentially a place for Kwame on the Lakers next year. I suspect that his market value is about $2.5 million, with Atlanta as his biggest known current possibility.

  89. Reed,
    Not sure if this helps at all but this is Luke’s player page at RotoWorld….it’s interesting just because it details some of his injury history throughout the season

    Based off that, it just looks like he was so banged up last year, that he never got on track after his ankle was bothering him early in the season. First it’s his ankle, then a hip pointer, then a hammy, then a respitory infection. Bad times for Bill’s son. Based off his surgery, which is just a clean up procedure, I just hope that he recovers to his normal self, which seems likely. Luke is in his prime, so I don’t worry to much about him bouncing back. He had some really good games this year (remember the Denver series) and I think he can get back there and be a real contributor next season.

    As for Kwame, I’m for him on the cheap. I’ve said this before, but I think he’ better than Mbenga. He plays better man defense (superior positioning to DJ) and on his help defense he doesn’t just leave his feet everytime searching for the blocked shot like DJ does. Now I do wish he’d go for the block more, but DJ does this everytime and gives up offensive rebounding chances. I’m not full on advocating a return of Kwame, but it’s worth exploring. I think that we need to view him with the proper perspective….Not as the failed #1 pick who starts for us, but as a limited minutes, banger that gives us depth. 30 min a night? NO. 10-15 min a night? Sure.

    On Bynum, I’m worried, but not as much as you might think. I trust Mitch and Phil here and I think that if Phil, Mitch, and even Jeannie are of the same mind on how to proceed on Andrew, I think that Jim will just have to fall in line. Plus, and this is a doomsday scenario, but if for some reason the relationship deteriorates to the point that Bynum doesn’t have a future with us, we’d have options with him and would be able to recoup value from him. Understand, and I want to make this crystal clear that I’m not an advocate of trading him or letting him leave under any real circumstance that can be worked through, but if we have to trade him, he’d have a ton of value across the league and we’d be able to get a piece that helps us in the end. Like I said, that’s a last, last, last resort, but we’re not talking about a player that other teams wouldn’t want. We’re talking about a legit 7 footer with skills. You’d hate to lose guy like that, but until he shows me that his first 35 games of this year is going to be the norm, we’ll have to see where this goes.

  90. Well I guess it depends on how you look at things. If Ronnie was an actual center who could give Bynum quality back up minutes off the bench then maybe he’s worth it but obviosly he’s not! Kwame IS an actaul center WHO HAS ACTUALLY STARTED for Phil before Bynum and you have to remember that Kwame is still in his mid 20s so he still has tremendous upside potential left (7’0ft tall 265pnds) where as with Turiaf I don’t think he has much more upside than what we’ve already seen so far. Now as much as I like Ronny as an energy guy he really had no clue about his defensive assignments which is why I think we saw his playing time diminish during the playoffs. So really what you get with Ronnie is and undersized center with great energy, hustle, and heart. Good attributes for any player but not nearly worth 17mil but what you get with Kwame is a young and impressive physical speciman that hasn’t even reached his full potential yet in the league. We KNOW he can play center (and possibly start ) for us if Bynum goes down I also like him as a defensive 4 as well. He’s not injury prone (unlike Mihm) He knows his defensive assignments and can potentially be a starter material (coming off the bench!) if he can further develope his game. So who would you take?

  91. If the Lakers are lucky, Atlanta (or some other team) will sign Kwame ASAP, preventing the Lakers from having any chance of signing him.

    I agree with Kurt, just for an insurance guy who’ll only play a small number of minutes, I’d much rather have Mbenga on a minimum salary.

  92. drray,
    “He was spectacular man-on-man,”

    Time heals all wounds, doesn’t it? Kwame was NOT spectacular man-on-man. Good, but hardly spectacular.

  93. Jim Buss worries me. If he has complete control of things after Dr. Buss. retires or passes, we are in trouble. Jim’s already made mistakes with Phil, the trades, and made Bynum feel like the golden child before doing anything. Bynum was showing ‘tude and mouthing off at teammates before last season, and let’s not forget Jim Buss is the source of the Kobe’s discontent. He alone makes me nervous when it comes to the negotiations with Kobe when it’s time to re-up.

  94. Also, Lazenby is pretty reliable. I think I should start mentally preparing myself now, then start buidling a plexiglass TV protector to shield me from braking the screen after I throw things at it due to a Kwame Freakin’ Brown induced fit of rage! Ugh….I don’t know what to say. Karma. We don’t need his stinkin’ bad karma.

  95. Kwame coming back to LA for a low offer would speak volumes about his motivation. You would have to give him kudos for coming back despite the negative reception of him while he was here. I can respect that proverbially speaking, he ‘fell’ (got traded to Memphis) but has the gumption to get back up.

    Also, in the god-forsaken scenario where Bynum is unavailable or is limited, we will need a strong back-up center and do we really wanna see Mbenga play that many minutes?

    Does anyone recall how Kwame reacted to having Bynum usurp his starting position? (this is an actual question, not rhetorical) Did he take it professionally?

  96. Luke, I’m not so sure that your statement –

    “(Ronnie) Good attributes for any player but not nearly worth 17mil but what you get with Kwame is a young and impressive physical speciman that hasn’t even reached his full potential yet in the league”

    is accurate. I don’t know that he has more ‘potential’ than we’ve seen over the past 4 years, he barely got off the bench for…Memphis!
    granted he is a “physical specimen”, there’s no doubt about that, my problem with Kwame is all in his head.
    and seems to be lacking some heart, too.
    kind seemed like for Kwame it was “just a game” , not to be taken too seriously, and this is not good, especially on a team with Kobe, who takes it so seriously, I wouldn’t want to see him go off on a teammate for goofing off in a game.

  97. Bynum didn’t show “attitude,” he showed he has the fire and drive to be a great player. He wants to be a leader. There is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself in a competative atmosphere.

    As to Lazenby, who are his sources? Could Phil Jackson be playing the media game again?

  98. (94) The Laker coaching staff said that Kwame was the best one on one defender in the NBA. That’s why they extended his contract to last year. Go argue with them.

    Other than to prove himself, why would Kwame come back?

  99. New “Lakers I Miss: Pat Riley” post up, complete with a 1974 Pat Riley topps card picture to go with it.

  100. drrayeye,
    1) Never believe public statements by front office staff.

    2) If he is that good a defender, why is Memphis making no effort to keep him? A young big, great defender,relatively cheap – seems like the perfect candidate for a team that is rebuilding. Come to think of it, no other teams (as far as I know) are trying to sign him, either. You think he’d be a great addition to a playoff team looking to get “over the hump.” Utah lacks size, why not them?

  101. j. d. hastings July 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Kwame was primarily a disaster because of the money we gave him. When we traded him I saw a strong possibility that we’d get him back at the minimum for next season. I saw that he was working out with the hawks and they were curiously complimentary of him, but if he was paid closer to what a Mbenga or other niche backup earned, he might be worth it. We’re already relying on Mihm for those minutes. I doubt we pick up another undrafted FA, but if the option is Kwame or that undrafted FA or just Mihm, I can understand signing him.

    The rest of the azenby piece is worrisome but not immediately so. It does explain some of the weirdness with how Bynum went about rehabbing. I don’t know if I am more scared by the Jim Buss/ squabbling kids element or Bynum’s aloofness towards the lakers. Putting these allegations with the Kobe incident, and I worry about his loyalty. Though in this business, nobody’s really loyal, so I don’t know why I should worry about it. I trust Lazenby, but if he’s reporting a he said/she said, then the uncertainty would be in the motivation of his sources. But even then the existence of the power struggle would still be accurate…

    Which brings me to my book suggestion: King Lear, by William Shakespeare?

  102. Who plays the fool?

  103. Kwame and Memphis’ run-n-gun offense — what’s missing in this comparison?

    Kwame was never considered by Memphis because his skills just do not fit their system, not because he doesn’t have any skills. If the Laker FO is one of the better ones in the NBA and they say they see something in Kwame after he is gone, then I have to think they see things we fans just don’t. Not exactly a new situation, is it?

  104. I like the idea of Kwame coming back. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It was never his fault he was the #1 pick. Solid defender, strong as an ox, and fun with a birthday cake. He really fell apart after all the booing started-thanks Steve Hartman-and his offense, which used to come in fits and starts, becames mostly fits. Off the bench, muscle up, block a shot or two, make a few putbacks-it’s possible. Lower your expectations people and have fun with the redemption process. It’s what we do in this country… If you’ve ever heard him interviewed, he is a pretty sharp guy, not the sullen cement head you may think he is. Don’t really think Mihm is going to contribute much before he gets hurt again.