Slot Machine

Reed —  July 25, 2008

How much is a stubborn, awkward head-band-sporting Machine worth?

Unfortunately, that has become a complicated, perhaps even messy, question and one that must be answered by Mitch in the next few days. I’m not going to delve into the suddenly competitive Euro market issue, as that’s been covered deeply elsewhere. What I do want to look at is whether LA should pay Sasha what he’s asking – a reported $5 million a year over several years (4-5?).

The problem is that there is a fundamental disharmony between what Sasha is worth (i.e. what others would pay him on the open market) and what the Lakers can afford to pay him, given their payroll problems and the opportunity cost.

First, his market value. Sasha is undoubtedly worth the $5 million a year he seeks. Our feelings on this are tainted by the unfortunate (and similar) contracts recently given to Walton and the Vladrad. But, putting them aside for the minute, a player’s market value is best determined by what others with similar skill sets have recently been paid. And (as no doubt put out there by his agent in the recent news bites), players with similar skill sets consistently receive the money he now seeks. Comparable players:

• Posey, (2008 stats) 31 years old, 24.6 minutes per game, 12.08 PER, 4 years, $25 million.
• Pietrus, 26 years old, 20.0 minutes per game, 12.76 PER, 4 years, $25.1 million.
• Gibson, 22 years old, 30.5 minutes per game, 11.77 PER, 5 years, $20.8 million.
• Miles, 21 years old, 11.5 minutes per game, 14.30 PER, 4 years, $15 million.
• Kapono, (2007 stats), 26 years old, 26.4 minutes per game, 13.87 PER, 4 years, $24 million.

These 5 players comprise the most recent free agent signings that compare to Sasha in terms of skill set and team role when they hit the market. How does he compare?

• Sasha, 24 years old, 17.8 minutes per game, 15.06 PER, ? years, $?? million.

Sasha has the highest PER by far (Miles doesn’t really count given the low minutes and non-role) and is younger than the three highest paid (Posey, Pietrus, and Kapono). While he’s only had one good season, he is as “proven” as any except Posey. Furthermore, that line doesn’t really capture Sasha’s production and value to the team last year, as he was not given regular minutes until almost halfway through the season. (True, that might also be said of the comparables listed above to varying degrees, but none of them were buried on the bench early, only to emerge during the second half and playoffs with starter’s minutes and production). Sasha’s season in two halves:

• November-January: (34 games): 14.1 minutes per game, 6.8 points per game, 1.0 threes per game, 40.6 3fg%.
• February-April (38 games): 20.6 minutes per game, 11.7 points per game, 2.3 threes per game, 46.5 3fg%.

It took the Machine a little while to find his groove and the trust of Phil and his teammates, but find it he did. The second half stats are really remarkable. Only two players shot higher than 46.5% from three over the year (none making as many) and only five made more than 2.3 per game (none as accurate). You can argue there was no more proficient three point shooter in the league than Sasha during the second half of last year – when he finally had a defined niche and his teammates’ trust. Remember, this production came during perhaps the most competitive conference race we’ve ever seen. Every game counted.

This ability to spread the floor became particularly dangerous once Gasol joined the equation, providing consistent low post offense and passing to spot up shooters. Consider that the single most offensively efficient 5 man unit in the league last year was: Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, Odom, and Gasol, which had a mind boggling points per possession of 1.37, along with a dominant .99 defensive rating – by far LA’s single most effective lineup. The number three most efficient offense? Also Machine inclusive: Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, Odom, and Turiaf – at 1.28. By the end of the season and the playoffs, he was the de facto fifth starter, playing all of the key minutes instead of the Radman.

Defensively, Sasha was somewhere between very good and above average, holding opposing SG’s to a 14.9 PER. He might not possess Prince’s quickness and length, but he is tenacious, dogged, and annoying. Who can forget the time during the playoffs where he was floored while defending a screen and roll, bounced up to scream in the offender’s face with woodpeckery head movements, hairband almost coming dislodged, and then returned to pestering his man a little too closely. We remember painfully Allen beating him for the fateful score in game 4, but we also need to remember Sasha glued to Korver’s fortunate mug through screen after screen, severely outplaying him in an important matchup (Korver shot 37.5% from the field in that series and 33% from three, compared with Sasha’s 45% and 43% from three). Sasha may have been inconsistent in the playoffs, but he’s certainly proven that he plays with heart and is not scared of the moment. Of all our role players, he’s the one with the most “Rick Fox” in him. The one most likely to become an icy, arrogant, effective role player in title run after title run.

So, given the market and his production, Sasha is not being unreasonable in asking for $5 million a year over a few years. Something like 4 years, $22 million. Given that he hasn’t yet hit his prime and the cost of similar players in free agency (much less the ability to sign any at a comparable age given the nature of restricted free agency and the budding European market), why doesn’t LA just pay him, retaining a proven triangle performer and 6th man?

As we all know, the problem is Buss’s budget. While he’s notorious for being willing to go all in for splashy, high priced acquisitions (Shaq, Pau), Buss is (or should be) equally notorious for always trimming fat in often painful ways to make room for those stars. Yes, Buss is a golden owner and committed spender (and we can’t forget that given the only reason we got Gasol was because we were willing to trade straight expirings for his long term contract when Chicago wouldn’t), but he imposes limits. Remember how thin the Shaq-Kobe teams became with time. Remember Buss’s refusal to grab Pippen for peanuts when available during Houston’s firesale.

Right now, there are rumblings that LA’s bottom line budget (before taxes) cannot exceed $81-83 million. If you assume Karl is back for minimal salary, that is 11 players signed for $76 million. It becomes clear there simply wasn’t room for both Turiaf and Sasha, given the size of Turiaf’s front loaded offer. It also becomes clear that if Sasha is signed for $5 million, LA is stuck with the vet minimum or second rounders when filling out the other two roster spots, one of which needs to go to an insurance big. So, given that opportunity cost, what do you do? Pay Sasha and rely on something like Mihm and Mbenga as your backup bigs? A fairly reasonable plan given that Bynum is essentially taking Turiaf’s place on the front line. But, with Ariza likely leapfrogging Luke and Radman on the depth chart, bringing Sasha back probably relegates one or both of them to expensive non-rotation players. Or, do you divide Sasha’s money and throw $3 million per year at two players – something like Kwame and Evans? Thoughts?

(Permanent damnation to the first commenter to turn this discussion into another lifeless trade Lamar debate. Just kidding. Kind of.)

As for me, I agree with the always prescient Dwyer: pay the Machine.

–Reed

Update: This issue might be resolved very quickly… OC Register is reporting possible decision this afternoon.

Update:
The USA Today has confirmed it as a done deal.

Reed

Posts

121 responses to Slot Machine

  1. I say pay the machine, we can’t lose both Turiaf and Sasha. What made this team so great was the fact that Phil could pull 4 starters off the floor during the 2nd and 4th quarters, to try and replace Turiaf and Sasha is just to much to ask especially in the triangle offense.

  2. I agree pay the machine. The man has heart, is a hard worker, and is not afraid to take a big shot. He is the main reason the Lakers Bench was so good last year.

    Besides he has the coolest nickname. I love yelling out “machine” at the TV when he hits a shot.

  3. Sasha had one good season. Given what others are getting paid in the NBA, he does deserve the 5 mil per year he wants, but not a long term deal like Luke and Vlad got. 3 Years, team option for four. If the NBA really wants to have the best players (rather then losing them to Europe), they really need to do something with the cap. The free agency period has been awful, mainly because teams have no money to spend. Sasha is going to cost the Lakers $10 million a year. Yes, it’s easy to say do it but it’s not our money.

    And I would bring back Kwame in a heartbeat. Pay him 2-3 million a year to be the back up. He knows the offense (if he could only catch the ball), but more importantly he plays defense. My guess is the Lakers want a 12-14 minute back up who can play defense while Bynum and Gasol get some rest. We don’t really need offense from this back up, as either Bynum or Gasol is likely to be on the floor while the other gets a rest.

  4. Great stuff, Reed.

  5. i think looking at the big picture and how this team reached an elite level last year, you can’t afford not to bring back a contributer of Sasha’s caliber and still expect to make it back to the Finals, especially considering that there is little else out there in the market for us. Sasha is a proven fit for the triangle [don't underestimate how hard it is to find those in today's NBA] and has the temperament to be a key figure on this team. i say pay him what he’s worth [~$5mil x 4/5yrs] and start getting really creative with filling out the rest of the roster or possibly even trying to dump salary in order to balance things out a bit to make Buss not sweat so much. it’s not ideal given our cap situation but i’m more concerned as a fan [and not the check signer] with not taking a step backward in the brutal West. last year we were quite deep and it payed off through the season, especially with with all the injuries. and even though our rotation shrinks come the playoffs you still have to have a steady, reliable bench to win it all.

  6. Pay the Machine. Inherently, there are costs involved with training up a player to be familiar with the triangle and the Lakers have made a very good investment in Sasha. To let him walk after putting in all this effort would be a tragedy. Also, he seems to be a hard worker and someone willing to get better, so giving him a contract that pays about $5mil/year does not worry me.

    I’d say that the Lakers should round out the roster with Kwame (if it’s in the cheap range) and someone like Elton Brown. I think the Lakers could use another slightly undersized but hungry player like him. Forgot the prototype power forwards and such at this point.

  7. sign the machine July 25, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    pay the machine!

    here are some news on Bynum: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_9987372

    Talks between him and the lakers will resume in september. how would the lakers salary look with bynum’s max contract?

  8. I do not see us being able to replace Sasha. If we don’t resign him, our ability to spread the floor and shoot the 3 will be in the hands of Kobes, Fish, Farmar, and Radman.

    If some other team signs him, I say we trade Odom for him :P

  9. Reed,

    Let’s agree that we want Sasha back for next year at a fair salary. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s fair.

    Trevor Ariza is the guy we have signed already who opted in and accepted $3.1 million. What kind of message will that send to a potential STARTER who could have opted out and negotiated this year if Sasha gets some sort of homer deal after getting no offers? What will Trevor want next year?

    Several players you chose for comparison are wildly different: Posey–who is almost a BIG, a veteran, and a defensive presence. Kopono was not signed as a 2.

    Of the ones who were more comparable, the numbers are much lower–and some were signed by teams who could have offered Sasha terms. Here are a few you missed: Brent Barry signed for less than $2 million to Houston. Roger Mason got $8 million for two years from San Antonio. James Jones got a bit more than $4 million for two guaranteed years with the Heat. You might have mentioned Mo Evans and Azabuike, who both signed at $3 million or less. Mo’s record with Orlando was excellent last year, and he did BETTER in the playoffs. Azabuike has worked himself into a prominent role at Golden State. One of them is probably available from the Warriors.

    Shouldn’t we hear what kind of offer Sasha is getting from Europe before throwing that in the pot? Sasha is probably worth a bit more than Mo Evans and about the same as Trevor (who opted in and accepted $3.1 million). An offer of $4 million for three years is too generous–but Mitch is kind and patient.

    If Sasha can’t get an offer from Europe, maybe he can get one from Disneyland?

  10. I hope the FO’s evaluation isn’t overly colored by the image of Ray Allen blowing by the machine for the game clinching lay up.

    I watched alot of Celtics games over the past year and I can’t remember a single instance where the Celtics spread the floor and gave the ball to Ray at the top of the key. Furthermore, I can’t remember single instance of Ray driving to his right to the hole from the top. When he (rarely) takes it to the hole, it is to his left and baseline.

    So for Sasha to play Allen for the jab step and pull-up J is the smart defensive play. If you are shading a player for a particular move and he makes a counter, you are beat, whether you are Bowen or Sasha. I don’t think that Sasha suddenly lost a step.

    Allen was a man possessed the entire series. I think he played the entire 48 that game. Of course, on that play, I think the results would have been different with Bynum protecting the rim.

    So pay the machine. No doubt about it. I’d lock him up for 7 years if I could. 5M in 6 years time is the equivalent of 3M today. Cheap. Sasha has what only a fraction of NBA players have – fearless self-belief. Other than Kobe, I want Sasha taking the game winning shot at the buzzer.

    Another point is that as a Slovenian national, without world wide taxation (like the US and Childress), Sasha’s pay from a Euro team really is all but tax-free .

    The big question really isn’t whether to pay Sasha the MLE but whether to max out Bynum now.

  11. I’ll ask it again, since this is a new thread.
    has Pargo signed with NO, or anyone else? is he still available, and if so, what do you think his price range would be?
    I think he’s a solid pick up, maybe even better than Sasha, good outside shooter, played here before, knows the triangle. (plus there’s the bonus of knowing we plucked CP3’s back up away from NO).

    and, what’s the latest on the league implementing a rule against “flopping”? 1) is there going to be a new rule, and 2) what would it be? ie; does the flopper get hit with a foul?
    I think this could hurt sasha’s value, as he is, in my opinion, quite a flopper. (except of course as Reed mentions, he really took a charge in the playoffs, no flopping that time, think he got a concussion on that one)
    any thoughts on Elton Brown, could we invite him to camp at least? (i guess that is if he would still be unsigned) anybody know anything about him? might be better than going the Kwame route.

  12. TRADE LAMAR! Just kidding, gotta get a jab in.

    Not sure about signing Machine to 5-6 year deal though. If he wants 5 mil a year, get it to him for 3 years but maybe at the cost of Bynum and/or the next big FA we have to deal with after this coming season. Bynum wants a max deal, or close to it, and it sounds like his agent isn’t playing around about that. I’d rather have Bynum than Machine. Odom’s contract is to be considered (won’t again mention a trade, per suggestions from Reed above) and then Kobe/Pau in another year after that. Locking Sasha up for that length of time at that amount of money would only make sense if (1) he’s going to take over at PG when Fish hangs it up, or (2) you think Kobe’s going to opt out and walk. Otherwise, that’s a long, tall commitment to a bench player that’s had 2/3 of a quality season.

    Sorry to say, just like it hurts to lose Ronny before, Machine may have to walk for the long term health of the team. At least we wouldn’t have to see Machine anywhere other than EuroBall. Do you think the new NBA flopping rules are driving Sasha that far east? Is Stern to blame? :-)

  13. Another way to think about this is the following:

    Sasha was the crunch time player for the Lakers in the stretch run and the playoffs. A crunch time player. Fish, Sasha, Kobe, Lamar, Pau. That was your crunch time line-up. What is the average salary for a crunch time player for a championship contender? A lot more than the average salary for all players – which is what the MLE represents.

  14. Reed, you strike again. Fanstastic stuff.

    I think we have to pay Sasha and work around the edges of the roster like others have suggested. Realize too (even though this has not come to fruition), that Sasha is a capable ball handler and that in the upcoming seasons, he may be able to play some PG for us (as a few have talked about on this site before). Fisher comes off the books after 2 seasons (next year and the year after) and at that point, Sasha could easily be the first guard off the bench replacing either Farmar or Kobe or the SF, sliding Kobe to SF. Sasha’s shot making and defense (even if it just stays at the level it is now) is worth the investment considering the fact that we can groom him to be more than just a SG.

    Ultimately, even if Sasha makes 5 mil next season, our tax burden wouldn’t be more than $1-2 mil higher than last year. Buss should be willing to pay that, I think. And lastly, without trying to cause a big backlash, Sasha is a proven player to me, while other guys on the roster are not. His contributions are real and he was a major factor in our Finals run last season. So (and here comes the controversey) look at a player like Ariza. We are all assuming that he’s a future part of the team. But what if he doesn’t improve his jumpshot or his handle? Is he still worth an investment long term? He makes a little over 3 mil next season and if his deal comes off the books and Sasha fills his role (to some extent) as a wing defender AND provides the spacing I think we’re still a pretty damned good team. That’s not to trash Ariza (whom I really like) it’s just to point out that we can’t let a more than solid contributor walk with no one proven to take his place. I think we have to pay him…

  15. Drayeye–

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. First, Ariza. He picked up an option on a contract that was designed several years ago — not in today’s market. He also played TWENTY FOUR games for the team this year at 18 minutes a game. Received ZERO relevant playoff minutes. Hasn’t played more than 57 games in 3 years. While I love his potential, he has never sniffed Sasha’s production. None of the other players you note were young, productive, crunch time performers on title contending teams (read Bridges).

  16. I actually like the idea of signing Sasha to a long term deal. A player of his caliber will probaly command a salary of seven to eight million a year in four years when he is 27. So if the Lakers give him a five year deal at four to five million a year, they would actually be getting him at a discounted price the last two years of the deal. One problem with the longer deal is that it is harder to trade players with longer contracts. Of course I am not the one paying the luxury tax this year and Buss has to be concerned about Bynum’s extension.

  17. PeanutButterSpread July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    PAY THE MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!

    He played most of the fourth quarters, despite being a bench player, throughout the playoffs. That’s crunch time play. Enough said. Plus, that Finals series would have been a lot shorter if Sasha hadn’t gone crazy for 20 points when Lamar and Pau were taking their siestas in game 2.

  18. I’m starting to dislike Andrew Bynum. I understand there is a certain level of posturing an agent makes but dang, the kid has achieved nothing in his career. The Lakers took a big chance on him in drafting him so early (after a high-school career in which he showed nothing as well), they paid for his education (ala Kareem), suffered his many growing pains and just as he was showing the team some serious value (and I understand he was showing very serious value) he was seriously injured. Its not as if the kid hasn’t had knee problems in the past. So, forgive me if his lack of atrophy and getting himself into great shape doesn’t quite make me feel confident. The kid had no atrophy to start last season and was in great shape then as well. That didn’t stop him from missing half a season and the playoffs with an injury everyone though should take 8-10 weeks to recover from.

    As for Sasha, keep him at fair market value.

  19. pay him.

  20. (15) Reed,

    It’s you that is comparing apples to oranges. What one needs to do is go over the signed free agents for this year at the position, calculate the value.

    My comparison to Ariza was his approach vs. Sasha’s this year. Ariza could have opted out of his contract and gone on the open market. Instead, he chose to sign the player’s option. Sasha probably could have signed a $4 million contract (or even better) right away, before his stock went down. Firing agents because they don’t tell you what you want to hear, and holding out to the end creates friction. This milk has been out in the sun too long.

    I gave an analysis before I knew about Mitch’s statement and came to the same numbers. I don’t think my analysis is too far off from Laker thinking.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for The Machine, but I’m on a different page.

  21. People keep on mentioning that the MLE is the average pay in the NBA and is market value for an average player.

    However, the pay structure in the NBA is that a few players make significantly more than MLE and most make less. So even though the MLE might represent the average pay, it is (or at least I believe it to be) significantly more than the median pay. So the MLE should only be given to players who are significantly better than average.

    Reed makes good arguments that Sasha might still be worthy of the MLE, but I want to emphasize that there are really two relevant questions: (i) what is the value of Sasha to the Lakers, relative to their pay constraints (which Reed addressed); and (ii) what is Sasha’s value relative to other available options.

  22. drrrayeye,
    I think Ariza excercised his Player Option for the same reasons that almost every player excersises that option, he knew that there wasn’t more money out there for him on the open market (and while I also think he likes it in LA, I think if there was SURELY better money out there, he leaves). So, I don’t think using him as an example for what Sasha deserves to make is relevant. Realize that Ariza is coming off another season that he missed a lot of games. For a player that has had injuries in the past, that’s not exactly the way you want to hit the open market. Also realize that he didn’t come back to play any meaningful minutes after his injury, so if he goes out on the open market he’s taking a big risk that teams would want to sign him strictly off his performance pre-injury. I don’t think that really gives him a position of strenght in negotiations. The best play for Ariza was to make his 3 mil next season, have a great year, and then draw interest for himself on the open market and create a bidding war (relatively speaking).

    I also think that Sasha not signing a deal has nothing to do with his value around the league, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The fact is that Sasha has not signed a deal because his value is relatively fixed (and is in the range that Reed laid out in his post). If another team signs him to that contract, the Lakers match, and in a heartbeat. But being a smart negotiator, Mitch has decided that he doesn’t need to offer Sasha *that* money himself, that he can bid lower because there is no one else actually offering that money to Sasha. Why bid against yourself. The market is trickier for Sasha because of his restricted status. Another team must really over-pay to get him, but teams only overpay for superstar types. Sasha is not that caliber of player. The same thing happened to Childress. No team wanted to offer him a very high contract as that hurts their payroll, but no team wants to offer a fair contract because then the home team matches and all you’ve done is tied up cap space (in the form of the offer) for a guy that you will not get. That’s a waste of time. What’s muddied this is the draw of Europe. Now Mitch must decide how high to go because the option of matching disapears if Sasha signs with a Euro club.

    Basically, pay the guy already. The negotiations have been derailed by the Euro appeal. Mitch wants him, so just give him his 5 mil already.

  23. P. ami, I’m not a big believer that players have a great loyalty to teams because some team drafted/trained/nurtured them. It’s nice when that happens, but look at the reverse — if Bynum had not shown promise we’d be showing him the door without loyalty or mercy. As much as we don’t look at it that was as fans, this is a business.

    Reed made a good point to me in an email (and it’s been made on this site before) — if Bogut is a $10-$12 guy, you’ve got to pay Bynum more. Yes, it is a risk because he has not shown a lot over a long period of time, but game-changing bigs are maybe the hardest commodity to come by in the league. You overpay for those.

  24. I don’t really understand how there could be any debate on Bynum. If the doctors give the green light at camp, he’s getting the max.

  25. (22) Darius,

    We have totally different analyses, so rather than eschew philosophy, let’s see some data. I think that both Sasha and Mitch are asking Perlinka the same question about that supposed Euro deal:

    “Show me the money.”

    If Reed could actually get that kind of money for Sasha from anywhere, HE should be Sasha’s agent.

    Based on what I’ve seen of Mitch, if you want Sasha on the team, you better tell Sasha to “take the money on the table” while it’s there.

  26. I don’t think the Machine wants to be out of the country until he gets his US Citizenship…he might lose the naturalization process (and cannot be repeated perhaps) if he works/stays in Europe for extended time…

    So, don’t worry, he’ll stay here in the US…he’ll stay with the Lakeres…and thus, Atlanta is not LA…who wouldn’t play in LA??

  27. I suddenly have an opinion on whether the Fed raises interest rates. If we lose nexxt year, I’m blaming Bernanke.

  28. Drrayeye,
    You’re not taking into account the circumstances that surround an RFA vs. a UFA. Look at almost every RFA that’s been on the market. How many have actually gotten offers (from other teams, I know that Ellis just re-upped with the W’s)? Ronny is one, and Kelena Az. is another. Can you name another one? Off the top of my head I can’t (besides Childress, who coincidentally may mirror what Sasha is doing right now), but maybe there was another one out there. Anyways, Ronny was offered a contract that we think was too high, and Kelena was offered a fair contract. Ronny walked and Kelena was retained. But overall, the market on these players is non-existent. The reason is that when you offer an RFA a contract, you better make sure that you propose the right deal, or it’s not even worth it as you either won’t get that player or could end up wildly overpaying for that guy. And what have we seen, guys like Deng, Gordon, Iguodala, JR Smith, Josh Smith, Okafor, Kristc, Gomes, Louis Williams…not one of these guys has been offered a contract by another teeam or their own team. So, I don’t think it’s fair to say, that the money isn’t out there for Sasha (or any of these other players). The money isn’t out there for ANY RFA as the burden/uncertainty surrounding their status is what drives the offer. Saying that Sasha isn’t worth what his camp is saying he’s worth is just a circular argurment/reasoning that doesn’t add up (The $ isn’t there because no one has offered it is true, but the reason WHY they haven’t offered it is complex and involves nuance). So, all I’m saying is, pay the guy what he’s worth, we can lock him up, so do it. The market place is much more deliberate for UFA’s but for RFA’s it’s tricky, that’s all I’m saying…

  29. This is a good article. Personally, I’m torn. In an ideal world, especially after losing Ronny Turiaf, 4 years and $22 million sounds pretty good for a player of Sasha’s caliber as one of the best sixth men in the league, but it’s not my money. It is a very generous offer though, and considering there are no other NBA offers for him the 3 year, $12 million contract the Lakers are offering him doesn’t seem terrible either. Unfortunately awful Luke’s awful contract last summer set a bad precedent, and it seems like Sasha is comparing himself to Luke. While I see where he is coming from, I don’t think it’s right to compare himself to Luke, even though he’s a significantly better player than Luke. Hopefully the front office listens to the fans and the Lakers can keep Sasha.

    On that note, I saw this link posted in the comments of the previous thread, http://hoopshype.com/articles/brown_lazenby.htm

    Reminded me of something I’d forgotten about after Bynum’s development and the trade for Pau and all the other great things that happened last season, until the Lakers lost. The ownership situation is pretty messed up, and it’s just going to get worse after Buss gives the team to Jeanie and Jim. We got lucky with the great play of the team last season, but who knows if that’ll keep up with the front office’s inability to keep key role players or address issues that need to be addressed (toughness, defense). You’d think the money that flows with a trip to the finals would’ve been the end of Buss and Jim being cheap and stubborn but apparently not.

  30. And sorry for the double post, but look at it this way too:

    you said “I think that both Sasha and Mitch are asking Perlinka the same question about that supposed Euro deal: “Show me the money.”

    But name one job where when you have the oppurtunity to secure a valuable employee and you say “go find a better offer, and then we’ll talk”. That’s a slap in the face and no one wants to work for you under that philosophy. So, again, we know what he’s worth, and the market has been set for other players of similar skill, so why not ponie up the cash?

  31. How many games do they play in europe each season? That could be something to consider. If they play fewer games then they’d also be getting more per game, less wear etc.

  32. JD, I think they play 50 games or so (Including Euroleage). So the Dollars per Game is definitely in Europes favor.

  33. Quite frankly, like a commenter mentioned above…if there is a last shot to be taken and Kobe can’t take it, the next guy I want is Sasha. I think that says a lot. Though he stunk it up the last few games of the Finals, he’s too essentially for our team. one bad year over the cap is fine…don’t forget Buss can let Odom walk (which I bet happens) next year.

  34. Shooters to replace Sasha:

    Ricky Davis
    Jannero Pargo

    Just thought I’d throw that out there

  35. Sure, “pay him” — – – but, Sasha, you’ll have to give Childress 10% of what you get . . . without Childress, Mitch is still smugly waiting for another team (“Bueller? Anyone?”) to make an offer to the Machine . . .

  36. Sasha Vujacic to remain with Lakers
    July 25th, 2008, 4:21 pm by JANIS CARR, OCREGISTER.COM

    Sasha Vujacic, who was being courted seriously by at least one European team, got a three-year, $15 million deal from the Lakers, according to his agent, Rob Pelinka.

  37. Sasha between February-April shot 2.3 three’s per game at 46.5% occording to Reed’s post. I guess the Lakers FO have to ask if he will pick up where he left off.
    Three-point bombers generally are pretty high-risk guys. When they make their shots they are valuable. When they don’t, they get yanked. There are good three-point specialists and there are not-so-good ones. I think Sasha is a good one, but finances are an issue though. I hope we sign him.

  38. Take this with a grain of salt as I haven’t seen it anywhere else yet, but Hoopsworld is reporting that the Lakers have re-signed Sasha for 3 years, $15 mil.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9596

  39. We got em. Nice mitch 3 /$15mm

    Now get Kwame for a few million as a insurance big an we’ve got a VERY strong team.

    I’ve been on the resign Kwame train for a LONG time. Check the record.

  40. I definitely think that Sasha was overpaid. I think the Lakers, and other teams as well, need to re-evaluate how important their role players are when it comes to free agency.

    At least give the Lakers some credit since it is reported to be only a 3 year contract. So if or when Sasha starts to become a “disappointment” like Luke and VladRad, at least the team can get out of his contract 2-3 years sooner.

    Personally, I rather would have matched Turiaf’s offer than give Sasha $5 million a year. In my opinion, Sasha is too one-dimensional.

  41. Kurt,
    Come on, I had one of the better trade LO jokes on the post. Did you have to cut that Trade Machine/Bill Simmons joke out all because some commentators don’t understand sarcasm? ;p

    “if Bynum had not shown promise we’d be showing him the door without loyalty or mercy.”

    — If Bynum hadn’t shown promise then he was getting paid an insane amount of money to play garbage basketball. Can Kwame be a verb? If Bynum had Kwame’d then so be it. He was paid for his services. Bynum’s career, up to now, consists of a nice pivot move dunk on Shaq and a half season of above average basketball and he got paid over two million a year for that. Now he expects to make LeBron money for the next few years and if he Kwame’s or another knee goes out, guess who keeps paying his salary?

    I don’t know if its the right thing or the wrong thing. I’m just saying, I have a bad taste in my mouth with this Bynum kid and if he manages to get a max deal, so be it, but I don’t like the posture taken by his agent. Of course, making me like him is not David Lee’s Job.

    Luke Walton and LO for Crawford, David Lee and a year’s supply of Juniors’ Cheesecake. Trade Machine likes it almost as much as The Machine likes $15m.

    I hate to admit it but I appreciated my Celtic fan buddy’s renaming of The Machine to Vaginivic. Hadn’t heard it before.

  42. good to see the machine is still on our side.

  43. and pretty reasonable contract, imo

  44. Great news about Sasha. I think it really would have hurt the team if they had let him walk. Let’s hope he hits the gym hard and continues to improve his game over the summer.

  45. Would have liked to seen Ronny get 1.5 mil a year and Sasha 3.5 for that 5 mil Machine has locked in for the next 3 years, but whatever. He better keep shooting and spend the off-season running up the mountains of Slovenia to earn this…

  46. The Machine is back!

  47. So if that’s right and the contract is close to flat throughout the years, based on Kurt’s post, that puts us at about $81M, right? If the upper end is $83M, there’s $2M left.

    We still need one more big, right? And with Sasha, I think that’s 12 players. We just stop at getting one more big and call it a summer? Or hold on to one of the summer league players?

  48. P. ami, I owe you an apology. I would like to blame the lack of sleep due to a young baby in the house, but I deleted that and 2 seconds later thought “he was being sarcastic.” My bad. But there was no way to undo it. Sorry. I owe you a beer.

  49. There was alot of talk about how Kobe is going to have to take less money. Sure don’t see any other Laker taking less money,so why should Kobe?

    If the terms are as rumored it would have been smart of Lakers to reverse the order from probabale $4.6mil,$5mil,$5.4mil to $5.5,$5,$4.5.

  50. 43 – How exactly is Sasha one dimensional? He can shoot the 3, which will help us spread the floor, and is arguably the 2nd or 3rd best defender on the team.

    That being said, what’s been really suprising is the difference is the price for guys like Azabuike and Evans when compared to Posey and now Vujacic. Looks like ability to shoot the 3 and some defense lets you get the nice money for being a role player.

  51. Woah, trippy, sorry and delete please.

    Now that Sasha’s deal is done, I suppose we’ll probably look at a backup big (Also I hope my premonition is wrong that Horry will end up a laker) Atleast training camp should be fun if we have an open roster spot.

  52. kurt,
    Considering your work on this site, I owe you a one night run through all the micro brews within a 2 minute walk of either the trimet or streetcar here in NW Portland. Dechutes, Rogue, Bridgeport… All of them, on me.

    On an aside, Desmond Mason and his family have become regulars in my store. Really nice people.

  53. Awesome news. And Mitch scores a big coup by keeping it to three years. But I guess from Sasha’s perspective it doesn’t hurt to go back on the market at 27.

    I’m fairly confident that LA is now “done,” meaning no more non-minimum signings. I’d be very surprised (though happy) if they now get Kwame, as I assume he’ll command $3 million plus.

  54. At this point in Sasha’s career, the Lakers bid against themselves.

    Hope they won’t have to trade him.

    For this year it will be good to have Sasha.

    Wonder when the wheels are going to fall off the cart….

  55. Bingo T. Klown July 25, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Kurt,

    Have to disagree with you on your point about Bynum’s value relative to Bogut’s value.

    Bogut has played a significant number of games in comparison to Bynum – He EARNED his contract (even if it seems high). I believe an earlier commentator mentioned that all we have to go on with Bynum is about 20-25 games of solid play (with a nice upward arc). If you factor in his actions SINCE his injury – I’m sorry there is just no way you give him more money than Bogut.

    As of today I think $9-10 Mil based only on what we know if he is healthy. I say let him participate in training camp. Make him a somewhat conservative offer at the end – maybe Bogut money – if he doesn’t take it let his play dictate his contract next summer.

    We will be able to pay him more than anyone else.

  56. Why the negativism Drayeye? Just because Mitch didn’t agree with your sentiments and pick the guy you wanted?

  57. Three years, $15 million is the best case scenario. My hat goes off to Mitch.

    I wonder if the Lakers would have been willing to match Golden State’s offer to Turiaf if it had been three years instead of four.

    I know there’s been a lot of talk about Kwame. I would be open to bringing Kwame back at the veteran’s minimum. But if I were to sign Kwame, I would have to be 100% certain that Mihm was going to be at full strength next season. Kwame is a reliable defender, but he gave us next to nothing on offense.

  58. Bingo T. Klown,

    I see what you’re saying in regards to Bogut and Bynum. Bogut’s body of work is more complete.

    Even though Bogut has played more games, the Bucks signed Bogut to a $12 million per year extension because of his potential. There’s no way he was worth $12 million last season and he probably won’t be worth $12 million the season after next.

    The Lakers will sign Bynum to an extension just like the Bucks did. It will be based upon his health and his potential. Bynum is three years younger than Bogut and it’s clear to anyone that has seen the two play, that Bynum has a higher ceiling.

  59. 60 – Kinda the same feeling Ive had.

    Drrayeye, as for your Ariza comparison lets look at some comprable players, Kelena Azabuike and Mo Evans who signed deals of 3 year 9 mil and 3 year 7.5 mil respectively. For Ariza, playing out on a 3.1 mil deal builds good will as well as allowing him to showcase his talents on a possible championship deal (as we all know what a couple of rings brought to Posey) such that he can get a far more lucrative deal next summer especially when the market had too little buyers this year.

  60. I wonder if the European market is going to drive up player salaries. If I were Josh Childress I would definitely play in a beautiful place like Greece for more money and an opportunity to experience what the world has to offer. I think that could become an alluring prospect to a lot of players. I wonder how the NBA will adjust and if they might raise the cap to stay competitive.

  61. (60) Reed,

    I have mixed feelings. I first wanted the Lakers to sign both Ronny and Sasha–then I began to see salary cap issues pop up all over. I began to see the need to hold the line, even if the Lakers lost both Sasha and Ronny.

    I think I had it pretty well pegged when Mitch gave Sasha the ultimatum. I think that the Lakers decided to “go for it” this year, somehow finessing the salary cap issues for next year.

    Even a $2 million difference won’t put the Lakers out of business, and they kept the deal to two years. On the other hand, I’m sure that Trevor, Jordan, and Andrew’s agents took notes.

    We’ll have to see what happens with “twinkletoes” Brown.

  62. Correction–another boo boo. I meant three years not two for The Slovene Machine, of course.

  63. #61, saying Kwame gave us “next to nothing on offense” is being way too nice…

  64. A three year deal is ideal for us. It gives us the flexibility to move on quickly after a couple of seasons if Sasha is not performing up to standards being that trades are a lot easier when a players deal is set to expire. And it also gives Sasha a chance to up his value and still get a great deal when he’s in his prime. To me, this is a win-win…Not too long a deal where we are handcuffed by the contract, but long enough where we can gauge accurately how well Sasha improves and truly determine if he’s a long term solution for us.

  65. Nice job on the Sasha signing. I still think the Kwame for defense backup, Mihm for offensive backup is a good solution. Go Lakers!

  66. Quick question, does this go against the Lakers’ mid-level?

  67. In bang-bang-bang steps (within hours), Warriors match Clipper offer and sign their restricted free agent Azabuike, Atlanta signs Mo Evans to Childress slot(previously contacted by the Warriors), and the Lakers sign Vujacic. All three year contracts. Interesting. Are any or all of them related?

  68. Warren “Addendum” Lim July 26, 2008 at 6:35 am

    I give Mitch a 9.5 over 10 here. The 0.5 difference is a slight deduction only to what has took forever to do and somehow had to scare us over the Europe issue.

    Now we got Sasha, the consensus is to go for my favorite Kryptonian/Kryptonite.

    I say I would even pay KK some 3m max. Offer him a 6m deal with the 2nd year being a player option. That way, he would have a little security rather than just playing out his contract year. We all know how he acts under pressure.

    After that, call it a day. Continue to leave the phone lines open for teams that have trade exceptions to offer for Vlad (I’m sure he’s more marketable than Luke) and Luke is generally, in my opinion, more versatile and useful compared to Vlad. Plus, he’s less expensive in terms of per year basis.

  69. Warren “Addendum” Lim July 26, 2008 at 6:35 am

    OK my post didn’t go through. Must’ve said something weird.

  70. Warren “Addendum” Lim,
    Hey man; you gotta be patient. We are used to these things being instantaneous, but they sometimes aren’t in the early AM PST.

  71. Karl,
    No, it does not affect the MLE. Of course, it may affect the Lakers decision to use the MLE, based on whatever they feel their salary limit is.

  72. Glad to see the Machine re-signed. I would really like to see Kwame brought back at about 2 mill per year and re-sign DJ for the minimum as insurance.

  73. Glad it’s over with. I think Sasha is worth the $5 million and will prove to be a great deal by the time the contract is up.
    I haven’t been able to post as much, because my keyboard just hasn’t been right since I puked allover it from the “bring Kwame back” talk. I can understand some people’s points (sort of), but if yu’re looking for toughness, it’s not Kwame. It’s easy to sac up against the Steve Nash and Boris Diaw. So what. Kwame isn’t tough. Relationships never work the 2nd time around, and that marriage ended for a reason. Honestly, I do think Kwame could be salvaged somewhat, but not In LA. Maybe playing with a player like KG (reminds me of Ray Lewis at times), who uplifts teammates, like Perkins and Powe. That’s taking nothing away from Kobe, or Phil, or the Lakers, it’s just that the dynamic is different.

    Team USA turned it up in the 2nd half. Wow.

  74. Now the Lakers are all set…the only other type of role player we need would be a bruiser. Especially if Kwame is going to command $3 mil, “no” to him. Any bruiser Lakers can sign for the minimum to back up the 4 and 5 positions.

  75. The Dude Abides July 26, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Although Ronald Lazenby just wrote in Hoops World that the Lakers are considering bringing Kwame back, I find that hard to believe. The relationship between Kwame and the Staples home crowd has been irreparably damaged by Kwame’s last performance against the Suns and the crowd’s booing. There is no way the front office should consider bringing the guy back. For one thing, Phil will be tempted to play him. While Kwame probably only averaged four or five turnovers per 40 minutes, in reality he was probably responsible for 12 to 15 TO per 40. Turnovers on dropped passes are credited to the passer.

    I hope everyone remembers how much we struggled to defeat Seattle in January when Kwame played big minutes after Andrew went down, and then how easily we beat Toronto and Washington on the nine-game road trip after Kwame was traded and before Pau suited up. Ronny was our starting center, and we had two blowout wins on the road because we had a center who caught passes, made dunks, and defended the rim.

    Any talk of re-signing Kwame before we re-sign Mbenga is crazy talk. Getting rid of Kwame is the ultimate “addition by subtraction” move. The man is a one-man killer of a team’s efficiency. He is by far the least-skilled big man in the past ten years, and will take playing time away from more deserving bigs. Kwame = Andruw Jones v2008.0.

  76. The one man team killer might be the guy who signed the current version of Andrew Jones.

  77. 79/Dude Abides

    a)I trust PJ knows what he’s doing out there. Are you saying he’s incompetent for playing Kwame Brown?

    b)Does the Front Office really care if fans have booed KB in the past? I don’t believe the grumblings of self-important fans have any effect whatsoever on their decision-making process.

    c)Of course KB embarrassed himself last year; of course the Lakers were highly ineffecient with him on the floor. But he’s still only 26, and the potential is still there. For a modest salary I can live with him on the Lakers again.

  78. The Dude Abides July 26, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Chibi, I’m saying that Phil has developed soft spots for certain players over the years. Kwame is one such player, Smush was another. Kwame’s biggest strength is his post defense. He’s also not a bad passer. Those are two skills that Phil values highly, but IMO they are obliterated by his terrible hands and abysmal coordination around the basket. The guy had the 10th highest turnover rate in the league last season, and fumbled passes are not counted as turnovers by the fumbler!

  79. wondahbap/The Dude Abides

    Your concerns about Kwame’s weaknesses are legitimate and you have a good understanding of his strengths. I’m not sure what your opinion is on Lamar. But you’re both knowledgeable about the Lakers and probably recognized how Pau’s arrival made Lamar more productive because he didn’t have to do as much for the team to be successful.

    If Kwame returned, his role would be reduced in a similar fashion. The team would have the flexibility to use him only in specialized situations that accentuate his strengths, like when a physical post defender is needed. I think he struggled so much in the past because he had to overachieve for the team to win. That wouldn’t be necessary anymore. I think it would simplify the game for him and reduce the pressure he felt to produce.

    I still have horrible memories of Kwame fumbling the ball out bounds. But he is familiar with the offense, players, and coaches, and can play a physical style. He’s even capable of having a big game here or there on offense. You’re right that he may end up being a disaster, and it may be better to look at Mbenga first. But given the role Kwame would likely play, and as long as the Lakers can get him cheaply, I think he could be worth the risk.

  80. Dude,
    I think that playing Kwame and Smush was out of necessity, not out of a soft spot. I mean, who did we have besides Smush that was a capable PG (or a PG period) on the roster? And with Kwame, the only other Bigs on the roster were Bynum and Mihm, so who does Phil turn to. Plus, you try to maximize players and use them in positions that you think they’ll do best in. For Kwame, with the team that we had, it was best to play him as a starter at C and to give him the minutes. I don’t think Phil is going to go all sentimental on us and play Kwame at the expense of better players (Bynum, Gasol, and Odom). Now, he may play him over Mihm, but to me, that’s a toss up and I trust his judgement if he goes that route. But in the end, Kwame isn’t even back. At least not yet. Hypothetical arguments about what a coach might do IF a player is on the team is really….I don’t know…the offseason sucks.

  81. I just don’t get NBA fans sometimes.

    Kwame Brown gives a team 80% of what Ben Wallace gave a team in his PRIME. Kwame is a big body, knows the triangle, gets along with the team.

    Staples Center is full of a bunch of babies used to winning. I know. I’m there for a LOT of games.

    Bring Kwame back at $3mm a year and it is an absolute steal for THIS particular team. The Lakers fans should embrace him. Encourage him. And give him cake.

  82. j. d. hastings July 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    85- wouldn’t 80% of Ben Wallace’s Prime correspond to around 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game?

  83. Bingo T Klown July 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Darius,

    yeah it’s slow alright – we’re arguing/debating the merits of signing the last guy on the bench…sorry I can’t get up about discussing the merits of crawford, karl, Kwame or DJ (the unfab four)

    And I thought watching the Lakers summer squad was boring.

    At least last year we had possible Kobe/Bynum/Lamar trades to ponder.

    Anymore Artest to Lakers rumors?

    Even the guys over at Hoopsworld are desperate (but then again when aren’t they):

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9603

    And I’m not sure the olympics are going to cure it, at least not until the final round. on that note, Check this out:

    http://www.brewhoop.com/2008/7/25/576370/poll-olympic-gold-or-nba-t

    guess which got my vote?

  84. Great job by Mitch in resigning Sasha! I think the structuring of the contract favors the Lakers because although they slightly overpaid for him (with only a 3 year deal) he becomes a very tradeable piece in any trade deals that may come up in the future.

  85. Glad to hear Sasha’s coming back and not closer to home. $5million is an excellent rate for him, definite kudos to the FO.

    Kurt-
    I never understood why bigs got drastically overpaid in this league. I understand that whole “you can’t teach height” saying, but really it’s been an awful trend over the years. I’m talking about Dampier signing for $55 million, Reggie Evans for something like $16-20 mil, Sam Dalembert for $12 mil, Kenny Thomas for $9 mil, and Bogut for $12 mil. The list goes on and on. The deal with Bogut is that Milwaukee HAS to overpay, b/c who really wants to stay in Milwaukee? Gilbert Arenas was laughing when he heard Richard Jefferson got traded there. We all acknowledge that Bynum was shaping to be the center we all imagined him to be until he got hurt. But there is no way I’m giving him a max contract.

    But b/c other FO’s are overvaluing talent it’s driving up the price for Bynum. I just hope Bynum and his agent get reasonable and accept a generous offer. People with max contracts are people that are the face of the franchise and can sell tickets just on his star power. Last I checked people come to see Kobe Bryant. He works the hardest, he gets people in the seats (star power), AND he’s a proven winner = Max contract.

    As for Bynum: works very hard, does not bring people just to see him play, and is not a proven winner. = Good player on a championship team. I juast wish his agent would wait for Bynum to make a SIGNIFICANT contribution to a championship before making max demands. That’s all I’m saying. Your thoughts?

  86. The last that I heard was that the Laker FO told Bynum’s people that talks about his future would not begin until September. I do not see how they can begin with that until it is seen how he will be playing this year first.

  87. The Dude Abides July 26, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Sharky, IMO Kwame deserves the minimum and not one dollar over. I could only accept us signing him if a) we sign Mbenga first and b) Phil only uses him in extremely specialized situations (post defense against Duncan, Sheed, Boozer, Jefferson).

  88. Bingo T. Klown July 26, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    okay bye!

  89. Anyone watch the Margarito-Cotto fight? Through the first half of the fight, Cotto was coming through but in the second half, Margarito dominated. KO in the 11th round… left him with a bloody face and a damaged ego… according to Cotto himself, he was in no condition for an interview (at least that’s what I heard… stopped watching after the KO).

  90. I don’t think a player needs to make a significant contribution to a championship to be worth the max. D. Howard, LBJ, Bosh, Garnett (uh, at least until a few weeks ago), McGrady, etc… All these dudes deserved the max. What I see David Lee doing fir Bynum is say, “Lakers, you can overpay Bynum now in the hopes of paying him what he very likely will be worth in 3-4 years. If you don’t, then understand we will likely hold it against you when his next contract comes up.”

  91. A few thoughts after watching USA/Canada:

    • USA fans can’t take much away from this, in part due to the talent disparity and in part due to the fact all the Canadian players are essentially American trained, so it’s not like playing a team gifted in the International style of play.

    • It was midway through the second quarter before the USA started to pull away. At the heart of the reason seemed to be they were adjusting to the physicality allowed in international basketball (Canada had been playing that way for some time, having just come from China where it was in the qualifying tournament). That adjustment was needed on both ends, both getting to spots they wanted on offense and just how much they could get away with on defense.

    • Midway through the first quarter the USA went with a lineup of D. Will, Chris Paul, Kobe, Melo and Chris Bosh. I like that this year’s team uses pressure defense and I like that lineup to be able to play aggressive defense then get out and run.

    • The USA looked so good in transition.

    • One thing this team can do, that other USA teams couldn’t, is shoot the three. I get the feeling Redd will have a couple of huge games in Beijing.

    • USA still looks like it’s trying to get its defensive rotations and even the flow of the half-court offense down, which is to be expected at this point. In the half court, particularly early on, Canada got some good looks. Just a trend to keep an eye on.

    • Same thing can be said of desire on the boards, it was spotty from the USA but that was more a function of the game. Still, if you want to run you’ve got to board.

  92. One other note for those of us playing “fill out the roster.” Check out the Daily News story on the Sasha sighing, where they talk to Mitch. He hints that they may just have 13 on the roster this season, not 14. Meaning basically Karl and some yet-to-be-named big.

  93. With Sasha in the fold, and a budget lost in luxury tax sin, the Los Angeles Lakers are well on their way to becoming the LA Lurkers, looking for a chance to improve their team and repair their budget.

    With players a phone call away, the Lakers could fill out their team any time they want with familiar faces. They return an improved team that played for the NBA championship and has great chemistry. They don’t have to trade anyone for anyone. So . . . . . . .

    They lurk.

    The Lakers look for teams with contract or chemistry issues, knowing that great players from other teams would be more than happy to be traded to the Lakers.
    Where should they lurk in particular?

    In the East they might peep in on the Pistons Dumars has threatened to break up the team–but nothing’s happened–yet. The Bulls landed a Rose, but they are engaged in warfare with their own players. The Heat landed Beasley, but their budget might go over $100 million for a possibly dysfunctional team. The Charlotte Bobcats have an Okefor problem–and so much more. Atlanta already lost Childress–with more turmoil on the way. Have I left anyone out?

    In the West, we’re aware of Sacramento. OKL is sure to make moves once it gets settled. The Nuggs aren’t through. The Warriors are still shell shocked. The Jazz worry about Boozer. Most fireworks has already happened here.

    There are rumblings everywhere, but few visible signs. If any Laker trade happens, it will be like last year–coming out of nowhere.

  94. 97 – Hmm.. that’s actually a pretty reasonable idea you have there drrayeye.

  95. I love it — the Los Angeles Lurkers…

  96. For all the movement so far,the Western Conf Playoff teams are pretty much returning their same starting lineups,just doing some bench reshuffling. Going to be fun this yr. And I expect a wild trading season around the Feb deadline.

    Hornets,Rockets,Jazz,Suns,Mavs the same.
    Lakers may start Bynum-hardly a new face.
    Spurs replace Finlay-prob w/Ginobli.
    Denver may replace Camby w/Nene.

  97. Has anyone else heard anything about those Josh Smith rumors? Dime Mag is saying that a contender from the west and one from the east has offered a sign and trade for him. I’ve heard the Pistons mentioned in the east, while the Lakers, Blazers, suns and spurs have been mentioned from the west.
    Anyone got more info?

  98. (101) Edwin, I don’t have any inside information, but I wouldn’t leave out the Nuggs–they’ve got a $10 million trade exception and they’ve got the need.

  99. 102. That actually makes some sense for Denver. Not sure what their plan is though, are they just trying to save money? or did they trade Camby for cap space to try and get a different piece (like Smith)?

  100. DrRayEye,
    Problem w/Denver is they dumped Canby to cut payroll,so it’s hard to see them suddenly spending the money Smith wants. And I don’t see Atlanta taking on Nene or K-Mart for Smith. I can’t see Denver parting w/Carmelo and the other option makes too much money.

    Edwin,
    I think we can safely rule out the Lakers,Rockets,Spurs. I don’t see Atlanta doing Boris Diaw Part II. The teams I see have a player that would be in the price range and the team might wish to trade are Utah and Dallas.

  101. The Dude Abides July 27, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Biedrins re-signed, 5 yrs $63 million…the market is set now.

  102. 101. This is really not the place to come and find out more about rumors. Right about now NBA writers are desperate for stuff, and the willingness to publish rumors seems to go way up. August is the king of that.

  103. The Dude Abides July 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Now they’re saying 6 yrs/$63m for Biedrins…that helps.

  104. A little late for this summer,but I recommend recording as many games as you can to watch in the summer when your basketball jones* kicks in. I find I see alot more of the “background” stuff than when I’m caught up in rooting for a victory.

    *All due apologies for using the name. :)

  105. Bring back Kwame! I always thought too much was expected of him, and he really fell apart when the booing started. C’mon Laker fans, enjoy the redemption process, let’s support the guy and see what happens. Off the bench, couple of blocks, couple of fouls, couple of putbacks-it’s possible. Plus, he’s fun with a birthday cake.

  106. Am I alone in favoring the veteran’s minimum (or something not far from it) being offered to Mbenga over Kwame?

    Out of those two, who do most of you all prefer? I’d much rather the Lakers employ DJ, I feel his heart and experience merits an NBA contract much more than what Kwame has shown. Although, Turiaf isn’t around to speak French with him anymore, but still.

    Is one really much better than the other? I haven’t checked the numbers. And some will probably say that Kwame “knows the offense,” but does he really even “know” it all that well?

    I’d say most of us fans favor the Lakers bringing aboard another big body, out of the lost these two guys standout. Would most people here really prefer the return of Kwame, over the return of Mbenga?

  107. out of the list*

  108. I would absolutely prefer seeing the Lakers sign Mbenga over Kwame.

  109. Well, I decided to go over to YouTube and search for Kwame’s plays. After seeing the missed free throws, dropped passes, missed dunks and good defense (some very good plays indeed), I just can not find it in myself to want the Lakers to sign him back. Go check this out for yourself do not take my word for it..

  110. Let’s not commit the either/or fallacy.

    Mbenga is mbad.

    Kwame played good enough defense for the Lakers to earn a one year extension on his salary.

    As a starter for the Wizards in 03/04, he played nearly 30 minutes per game, was close to a double/double on points/rebounds, and shot almost 70% on his free throws. The next year, he was injured, and he has not had a completely healthy season since.

    Kwame clearly needs an opportunity for redemption. If you hate him, why not try a little self desensitization. Just practice saying: “Kwaa meee Kwaa mee Kwaa mee” out loud with enthusiam.

    I knew you could do it!

    With that said, I’m not sure that the L:akers are in any hurry to fill that slot. You never know what a trade might bring!

  111. I’m not really one for bringing in Kwame again, but I’d just like to point out that basing Kwame’s whole performance on YouTube clips is pretty unfair to him, since most of those are only focused on his worst possible moments.

    It’s pretty much like how most videos of Bowen brand him as a very “shoddy and dirty” defender, even though he doesn’t really exactly do flying dropkicks every possession each game intentionally.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhTjSrZi91Y

  112. Birthday cakes aside…

    I definitely prefer signing Mbenga at the vet’s minimum for 1 year with a team optioned second. He shows some of the traits we liked in Ronny such as enthusiasm, spirit, etc.

    It doesn’t help if Kwame knows the offense, since he can’t execute it. Passes to the post or for alley-oops get turned over or fumbled enough to destroy the timing of a play. He can defend decently one-on-one, but he’s not so good at rotating to help or on the pick-and-roll (where the Lakers often get beaten).

    Neither will make a huge contribution, but Mbenga is much less frustrating. He’s easy to cheer for.

  113. 114. Drrayeye, you can make a good point about bringing Kwame back, but bringing up what he did with the Wizards seems irrelevant. Kwame, by all accounts, is not someone with a great work ethic or passion about basketball. He is what he is, a big body. I’m fine with bringing him back on the cheep for a limited role, but he’s never going to live up to the potential.

  114. By the way, new post up, in case you missed it.

  115. I for one like DJ over Kwame. He really surprised me with some of his play last year.

  116. @h.f. in H.D. – Faul huh, lol

    Your are exactly right about the YouTube clips. I never saw that flying drop kick before, it’s great…

  117. marvin PHILIPPINES July 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    hey kevin how about sun yue? is he going to make it in the lakers roster this coming season?