Three (Not So) Little Things

Kurt —  June 15, 2009

Game 5 - Magic vs. Lakers
The big things in that get a team a championship are obvious — the trust in Derek Fisher to hit the key threes, Kobe Bryant’s daggers, Pau Gasol’s work on defense.

But a championship is a combination of a million things little and big. I want to put a little spotlight on these three.

1) Mitch Kupchak. While everyone has talked about how this title completes a cycle of redemption for Kobe, it does the same for Mitch as well. He just tends to avoid the cameras.

Jodial said it very well in the comments.

No one has earned this title more than him — here’s a guy who was being roasted alive two years ago, had season ticket holders telling him to his face that he needed to resign at a town hall meeting, and even when he was shepherding championship teams earlier this decade, was seen as nothing but Jerry West’s puppet.

For all the great moves Mitch has made (getting Lamar for Shaq, stealing Pau, nabbing Ariza for Cook and Evans, etc.), none was more important or gutsy than the one that seems the most obvious today: He did not trade Kobe Bryant. Many a lesser GM would have panicked and blown the team up, but Mitch recognized that you can’t win a title without a superstar, and he had the best in the league on his roster. Seems simple now, but it sure wasn’t then.

2) Lamar Odom, Team Player. Remember back in training camp, when Phil Jackson went to Odom — a guy entering a contract year — and asked him to come off the bench. He asked him to sacrifice numbers and prestige for the good of the team.

Odom may have been reluctant at first, but he did it. But how many guys would have? How many people would have traded the likelihood of a bigger payday for the potential of a title? Not many.

The Painted Area has a great post on this topic.

3) Kobe Bryant Helping Trevor Ariza Become A Shooter. Great story I had never heard before from my favorite of the Lakers beat guys, Kevin Ding of the OC Register.

“I used it like it was the Bible,” Ariza said.

What we were talking about was the shooting-practice program given to Ariza entering the summer before this season by one Kobe Bryant.

The meaning of the gesture to Ariza – and its net effect in transforming his jump shot and thus this Lakers championship team – make it the quintessence of the latter-day Bryant as a teammate…

“I just got in the gym every day and worked. I used what he told me, used some things that he gave me to do. And I just worked.”

It worked. Ariza had made nine 3-pointers in his first four NBA seasons. This season, he made 61 as a prelude to his 47.6 percent playoff marksmanship that Bynum described with bugged-out eyes this way: “His shooting is ridiculous at this point.”

Those are just three of the seemingly millions of things that have gone right at the right time.

Kurt

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172 responses to Three (Not So) Little Things

  1. kurt – thanks so much for the blog and thanks to all the great posts by the regulars.

    on a side note – where was jerry, jeanie and jim? Why did the younger buss family members accept the trophy?

  2. Thank you Kurt, and the entire FB&G community, for being so great. I am happy to bask today, and ready to start talking about defending the title!

    Your post really made me think of how much luck it takes to put together a championship team. I can name probably a hundred things that had to break right for this day to come.

    I am glad you gave props to Mitch. He really deserves it, for putting this group around Kobe.

  3. hi Kurt!
    It’s been a great season for your team and I hope we’ll face again in the Conference Finals next year!

    It’s been a privilege to be using this site with heads held up high. This has been probably the best sports site I’ve ever been into. I hope we’ll see you soon there in ESPN Front Page so at least there could be some sensible, critical analysis yet not prejudiced stuffs from *coughs*.

    Pay me if you want your team to be undefeated throughout the season, I’ll be there for 82 games. :D

    JK.

  4. Thanks Kurt for remembering to point out all the other little things that came together to bring us this championship. My favorite Lakers were always the lesser known guys like Coop.

    I was born in L.A. and was a Laker fan ever since I was a kid. I remember Jamaal Wilkes, and my dad (a Celtic fan, unfortunately) telling me that Magic got his name b/c when he stole the ball so often it was like a magician (Magic led the league in steals in 1982) I changed my favorite color from blue to purple when I realized that the Laker uniforms were, if fact, purple.

    I’ve watched every Laker championship team since 1987 and I gotta say that this I might just treasure this championship more than any other. (If I’d been old enough to watch 1985, that mighta gotten my vote) Lotta reasons why – I love the maturation of Kobe and how he learned from both success and failure to get where he is today. I love the youth and the hustle and how it all came together when it mattered most. How awesome was it to see EVERY Laker getting EVERY loose ball in Game Five? I love that we came so far from such a low to achieve this high.

    Also, people – this is a rarity for Laker championship teams, but this team only had one Hall-of-Famer; Gasol might be a second someday, but probably wouldn’t be considered now. I love L.A, love the forum blue and gold and love being able to hear from other Laker fans out here in Ohio.

    Let’s bring back Candyman and Trevor and do this again.

    (also @ 1) Jerry was probably at the clubs in Orlando, stealing all the babes from the local guys.

  5. Not Charlie Rosen June 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I think, one thing that’s driving me nuts today (in a good way), is how much better we can get over the next few years.

    Yes, Kobe will inevitably “decline” slightly…more wear on the knees = more jump shots and less driving, more facilitating, more picking and choosing when he goes all Mamba on teams…and who knows who will be around over the next few years (though, good lord and jerry’s checkbook willing, we’ll get Ariza and Odom locked into fair 3-5 year deals, and any move we make will be minor shoring up, not replacing major pieces)…but then I realize:

    - With just one summer of work, Ariza went from “solid defender, decent slasher, don’t let him shoot (or let him shoot all night if you’re on the other team) to “decent shooter, deadly in the playoffs”. Imagine what he’ll be like in 2-3 years, if he puts the same amount of work into improving his shot even more, plus adding some basic post moves and passing recognition. And adds even more wisdom and experience into his defensive athleticism and instincts.

    - Farmar and Bynum had their “arrivals” detoured badly by mid-season injuries. At some point, they’re going to be healthy the whole way…and be able to combine experience, rhythm and momentum into a season-and-playoffs long work of art.

    - 2 to 3 more years of Odom, Bynum and Pau learning each others’ instincts, refining the high-low game through thousands of hours more work together.

    - Somebody taking a 2×4 to Sasha until he stops shooting off the dribble while drifting sideways (or dribble driving like he’s Tony Paker’s evil twin) and remembers that he can make his shots if he just spots up in the corners…hey, it could happen.

    - Our defense can get ridiculously better. This year’s incarnation was based on effort, length and some very rigid, pre-planned schemes. Rambis said he had to map it all out for them because they didn’t have the experience to be able to read and react on their own. Imagine 2-3 years of working together and turning those rigid rules into a thinking, living, breathing 10-armed entity that knows what the other team is going to do before they do…

    I know it’s a lot to hope for. Injuries happen, as do trades, and personalities not working out exactly the way we hope in our hearts. But the notion that we won it all this year, in (mostly) dominating fashion, and a stat-geek like Hollinger has us as one of the 10 greatest playoff teams in history…and yet there are so many areas where we can significantly improve?

    Has me a bit giddy, it does.

  6. j.d. Hastings June 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Just a thought- Phil Jackson only win championships 3 at a time…

  7. Let’s get it straight — in effect Kupchak traded Shaquille O’Neal for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. That’s genius. Maybe not planned genius, but genius in effect. It’s sticking your hand in the terlet and coming out with a gold ring. I remember people saying back when he was deep in the shadow of Jerry West what a talented executive he was going to be, and I wondered how that was going to show itself. Fortune favors the prepared mind.

  8. Man, if you factor in the brutal injury Mitch suffered as a player, this title is validation from the MBA he got to prepare for his post-playing days all the way through his trials and tribulations as a GM. Must be the most stress free day Mitch has lived in ages.

    PS-Mitch was instrumental in the Lakers winning in ’01 and ’02 with some shrewd moves (i.e. getting Ho Grant in a tricky 3 team trade), so just like Kobe, his perceived need to win a title to cement his status is silly to, but so is the world we live in.

  9. kwame: Not sure how stress-free today gets to be for Mitch. The curse of being the Lakers’ GM is that you need to be building for the NEXT championship at all times.

    In a month no one will care that he built this champion…all anyone will want is the next one.

    Lamar, Trevor, and Shannon all loom over the team. It will be interesting to see what Mitch does over the next few months.

    No rest for the weary – even when they deserve the break.

  10. It hasn’t even been a full day and I’m still as giddy as my young 7 year old son about the title. I came on board witht the back to back teams in 87-88 and this current team has all the ingredients to possibly make this another 2 or 3 year title run. And remember that Kobe and Pau will actually not compete this off-season in international ball. Next year can be great – this year was great. I’m waiting anxiously for my championship gear to get here and for the DVD. Wow. What a run! This site will help cure my daily fix for all things purple (forum blue) and gold.

    Kurt and all – thank you. This site is great.

  11. It’s a beautiful day! Though the site is “active” during the off-season, it’s still the off-season. 4 and a half months until tip-off.

    It was a night to call your dad, your uncle, your brothers. Anyone else you knew was smiling like a maniac.

  12. RE: point #3, maybe Kobe can give Sasha a similar program for this summer. :P

    5

    Of all the things you listed, the most exciting is the possibility of having Bynum healthy for a full season. This guy was supposed to be the missing piece for the Lakers, but was out of sorts throughout the playoffs. I just want to see him get 80 games under his belt and get back to the level he was at in January just before his injury. That Bynum was looking well worth his big contract.

  13. Great point about Lamar putting the team’s best before his own paycheck, and handling his reduced minutes in a very professional and mature way. He deserves serious credit for that.

    Keeping Lamar is VERY high on my wish list for next season. It’s tied with keeping Trevor Ariza. They both deserve a nice fat contract, but… decisions, decisions… maybe if we can unload Sasha on someone we can use that money to keep our two new heroes?

  14. In 2004 Kobe told the Lakers through his actions that now that the choice was his he didn’t want to play on a team with Shaq anymore, and if that meant leaving the Lakers that’s what he’d do. So unless Kobe meant that he never wanted to win another championship winning a championship without Shaq was a standard Kobe himself set. Of course, signing with the Clippers would have been the equivalent of declaring he never wanted to win another championship . . .

  15. Robert Fiore – I disagree that Kobe would’ve never win a championship if he played for the Clippers. Did you see the players on the Clippers roster in 2004?

  16. I’d modify it to say that Shaq was traded for Gasol, Lamar, and Farmar.

  17. Robert,
    In 2004 Dr Buss decided that he didn’t want to pay Shaq $30M and that he didn’t enjoy being threatened publicly.

    While he knew at that time the Kobe and Shaq wouldn’t work together any longer, I don’t think you could put this all on Kobe – as the media insisted on doing at the time. I also don’t think we should be making pronouncements about what Kobe was thinking – we still don’t know.

  18. I think the sweetest Laker championship has to be that first one over the Celtics in ’85. It was another team that suffered a defeat in the Finals the previous year. It was sweeter because of the fact that they defeated the same foe that had defeated them the previous year.

    That said, this championship definitely ranks right there with ’99 title, which also came after years of disappointment in the playoffs. We all remember the Utah airballs by then rookie Kobe. Yes, Kobe used to AIRBALL shots in the 4th quarters and in the OT before he became the best closer in the game.

    I think this championship is sweet because of the way the team came together. Truly, the sum of parts is greater than the whole. We have great collection of talents who are skilled, versatile, and driven. Although some are more individual goal oriented than others, as a group, they were playing for one thing–NBA Championship.

    I just think that this is just the beginning for this team. I’m not predicting another three-peat or anything, but our team has a great understanding of how to play this game. When they start to play defense as a unit and execute on offense, only thing that compares is the Showtime Lakers’ patented fastbreak offense anchored by Kareem’s hookshots. I would say that this team is even more enjoyable to watch because it truly come from playing the game right way through execution rather relying on talent alone. Of course, when that fails, we do have the most SUPREME talent in the league in Kobe, who is probably the most complete offensive player ever, surpassing even Jordan. I still think Jordan was a greater player up to this point of Kobe’s career, but it can change with a few more championships.

    I just think the Laker fans have entered a golden era of watching beautiful basketball, which is so rare in the league that used to be dominated by the ugliness of Spurs, Pistons, and even the Celtics.

  19. @Robert Fiore (5:23 p.m.): I personally find it difficult to draw the conclusion out that far. Yes, from a cool and rational perspective, if you make that choice, then if you want to win further titles, those titles have to be without Shaq. But that doesn’t mean that the desire to win without Shaq was at the heart of that declaration. Whether or not you think Kobe “engineered” Shaq’s departure (frankly, I think this is laughable–I don’t think Kobe understood people nearly well enough at the time to manage such a feat), it seems clear, to me at least, that Kobe’s 2004 stand was more about his aggravations with Shaq, not his desire to establish a Shaq-less legacy. He may not have been particularly shrewd about people, but he must have known that Shaq would decline long before he himself would, and that his time would come.

    What’s more, I think reporters are sort of misinterpreting Kobe’s post-game response to that question. What he said was that he was relieved that he wouldn’t have to face that question anymore, but it was then represented in the media as he’s finally scratched that itch, conflating an external annoyance and an internal impulse.

    All that being said, I would hazard a guess that Kobe is probably privately pleased that he did win one without Shaq, even if won’t come out and say so. I realize this is not exactly going out on a limb!

  20. I’m not “putting it on Kobe,” I’m saying that if Kobe didn’t want to be on a team with Shaq, which I presume to be the case, he was completely within his rights as a free agent. And that motivation wouldn’t necessarily be ego; it could be he resented a teammate who didn’t work to keep himself in top condition the way he did, it could be he just didn’t like the guy. Those are perfectly valid reasons. In the end the Kobe situation forced the team to make a hard decision, which in the end worked to the team’s advantage.

    I think I will not be contradicted when I say that along with any other wishes for next season, WE WANT BOSTON!

  21. @E-ROC (5:51 p.m.): Oh, well, you know the Clippers would have found some way to louse it up. It’s hard to imagine a more snakebitten sports organization–provided you can picture Sterling slithering along the ground.

  22. Those are also 3 reasons to smile….as if we’re not already all smiling

  23. #1, I read somewhere that Dr Buss has a tradition of not going to road games in the finals. it was an article about the Lakers players and staff families all boarding a plane for Orlando on the morning of yesterday’s game. So, that’s why he wasn’t there, and his kids were, (not actually hanging out in a club)

    remember how Jerry West could barely watch the finals as well? (when he was our GM).

  24. Only tangentially Laker-related but… I’m still celebrating the championship, so I thought it fitting to link:

    13 year old kid singing “I Love L.A.” and doing a darn good job of it. :)

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

  25. I’ve been busy all day, but I wanted to make sure I came here to congratulate all my fellow Lakers fans.

    No Championship I’ve ever experienced meant as much as this one, not even when I saw the Sox overcome an 0-3 deficit against the Yankees in the ALCS, then beat down the Cardinals in 2004. That couldn’t come close.

    Thanks for having this blog, Kurt. I enjoy coming here and it’s wins like last night that make everything we discuss here worth it.

  26. I think it’s sort of a 21st century thing, but I find myself scouring the web for Laker tidbits, as I am sure we’ll be flooded with mini episodes and such that shed some more light into this season.

    Loved the Ariza piece, and I hope to see something about Brown too…

  27. if we can get t.a. and l.o and unload (not naming them) some contracts and maybe a nice steal via trade for a desperate role player, then we’re set.

    interesting to see how teams shake their lineup to play our team.

    would like to see more celtic and cavs games against ours.

    i think this team is still peaking. we still have to find our persona on the defensive end. if that happens, that’s so scary.

    and i agree, phil wins his titles 3 in a row and he’s in the right time before his contract expires. hope he’s back onboard for some wicked wild ride next season. a rested kobe and pau…that’s icing on the cake!

    mitch, you’re very good man, but this offseason, it’s on you. just remembered how quick ariza was to re-sign last year.

    GO LAKERS!

  28. Well, when it was all said and done, the only team the Lakers couldnt figure out this season, was the BOBCATS haha. The only team could not beat.

  29. Robert,
    “the Kobe situation forced the team to make a hard decision,..”

    The is the media interpretation of the 2004 situation. Remember, the media didn’t like Kobe at all — Shaq played nice with them and Kobe didn’t.

    Shaq was the one who demanded $30M in preseason and publicly berated Buss. Buss, also, has a sizable ego and doesn’t like that type of challenge. Also, it was Shaq that demanded a trade after Jackson was let go – sensing that Kobe was the preferred alpha male in the camp at that time.

    With those two key salient facts, the media still went out to lynch Kobe — the public largely followed along.

  30. Anyone read the latest Sports Guy reaction to the Lakers championship?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090616&sportCat=nba

    It goes without saying that as a Celtic’s fan he has a less than objective view, but all of the points he makes about people not realizing Lamar’s sacrifices, or how great Pau played are all things that are regularly discussed on this blog, this makes me very happy :)

  31. It’s a schizophrenic article. He gives Kobe some large credit in the end, but only after spending the first 18,000 words knocking him – and quite ignorantly, as it turns out.

  32. sorry Ian, but what I see in that article is enough hate to keep al Qaeda fueled for 100 years. any compliments he gives to any player is designed solely to knock Kobe down. I mean, wow. I only read enough to get the gist but man, only on the internet do you ever see that much bile.

    whatever, let’s move on.

  33. I’m with you luubi. I read most of what Simmons writes and I can generally ignore the anti-Kobe/Laker current that runs through it, but I couldn’t come close to getting through this one. He comes off like a rank amateur crying like a 5 year old who just had his balloon taken away.

    His constant harping about the Garnett injury is ridiculous, especially considering the fact he never mentions the Bynum/Ariza injuries the Lakers had last year. If he’s going to rely on an argument as futile and self-defeating as “if things were different, they would’ve been different!” the least he could do is be consistent in his application of said ridiculous argument.

    Okay, that’s all the energy I’m going to waste getting mad about that. Back to my happy place where the Lakers won the 2009 title–reality.

  34. Oops, that last comment was me.

  35. I came on the FB&G to vent about Simmons. What the hell? I guess he has some sort of litmus test for Kobe to pass for him to REALLY live up to his standards. I actually wrote him, telling him that I didn’t (and don’t) believe the whole Kevin Garnett is INTENSE (mainly from scowling and cursing at opponents) theme throughout last year’s playoffs. I still saw the same guy who couldn’t win a playoff series for like forever in Minneapolis. Was he intense then? Or did he go to a better team and find his place?

    ESPN is going to have to examine that column. If it’s simply a Boston centric, everything is fine as long as it’s the Celtic/Red Sox, then I’m moving to Yahoo Sports.

  36. For me, this 2009 championship is by far the most meaningful because this is the first title since we almost lost it all … twice. In 2004, when the team was demolished by the Pistons, the Lakers were in tatters. Phil gone. Malone gone. Fox gone. Payton gone. Possibly BOTH Shaq and Kobe gone. A GM who had not proven the ability to construct a championship team on his own. Three consecutive titles but a team in ruins, with coaches and players dwrowning out wonderful winning memories with slander and ugliness.

    2007 was just as bad, if not worse. Our superstar player openly saying he wanted out, brutalizing the front office and dismissing his team. Daily Rick Bucher reports that Kobe would “never” don the Forum Blue and Gold again. An infirm coach who seemed to possibly be beyond his time. A GM who seemed either powerless or unable to do anything about it. A teenage center — the alleged future of the franchise — who probably played less than 100-200 competitive basketball games in his whole life.

    It is from that impending disaster and its rubble that this last championship was built, and that’s why I think Phil is the greatest coach of all time, why Mitch is a tremedously skilled and artful GM, why Kobe is the real MVP, and why his teammates are the perfect compliments. It’s why the Buss family are the best owners in all of sports. And it’s why I could not believe our good fortune to be Lakers fans last night, today, tomorrow and going forward.

    Now Mitch, re-sign Lamar and Trevor. Phil, get those legs checked out. Andrew, get some rehab. Kobe, Pau and Derek, get some rest. Lamar, enjoy your Skittles. And let’s do this again. Same time, next year.

  37. My view of 2004 is that if Kobe had signed an extension during the year rather than filing for free agency at the end of the year the Lakers would have had the option of refusing to trade Shaq, as they refused to trade Kobe when he demanded it. Instead the Lakers were in the position of risking losing Kobe if they kept Shaq. In that sense I would consider Kobe to be at least partially responsible for the trade. Is this wrong?

  38. that simmons article makes him seem so petty and bitter. his analysis of the media’s coverage is right on, in my opinion, but so what? no one who actually follows basketball gives an F*** what the talking heads parrot back and forth. they rarely, if ever, come up with fresh takes on sports stories.

    the fact that mr. simmons spent 2/3 of his article knocking kobe just to “pretend” to make a point that the media coverage is bad… it just makes me so sad, and strangely disappointed in him. he is the one who takes pride in coming up with fresh takes on sports stories — why not do it here instead of just complaining?

    also, bonus points for him for thinking so highly of his 2008 celtics: a team that only performed exceptionally in the final against a lakers team that he thinks is not so great to begin with.

    really billy? if the THIS years Lakers team is only “very good” then why should we think last years celtics (which beat an INFERIOR Lakers teeam) is any good?

    christ, he can be so pathetic.

  39. @Robert Fiore (10:08 p.m.): As I understand it, yes, but again I think it is misleading to put everything in the context of “does this force Shaq out.” Kobe had earned considerable leverage through the years, and signing an extension would have burned through much of it. From my outsider’s perspective, that seems much more of a “maintain my bargaining position” move than a “make things harder on the Lakers to keep Shaq” move.

    Honestly, it seems as though you’re trying to view all of the 2004 events in the light of “Kobe vs Shaq.” Undoubtedly that had some effect, but I personally find it much easier to believe that Kobe was being self-serving than that he was trying to burn Shaq’s bridge. Indeed, Shaq’s later comments revealed that he was perfectly good at burning his own bridges, and not just with the Lakers.

  40. Yeah couldn’t even get past the first paragraph of Simmons article. I’m on too much of a Laker high to be brought down by him. The fact that he hates Kobe personally will always factor in to any argument he makes. Anyways Kurt and FB&G community, I found this site 2 years ago and have been a daily venturer ever since. I have not stayed in touch with many buddies from high school, so I couldn’t enjoy this championship with them, but I’m glad I can enjoy it with you all.

  41. Only in La.

    The top sports columnist on the web (who just so happens to loath the Lakers on principle) writes an interesting post title analysis where he says that the Kobe’s 2-year run is one of the greatest in the history of the league. Yes he points to breaks they got, but every title team gets breaks. Hell, without two insane trades, neither his team nor years are dominant.

    It closes with “What Kobe Bryant accomplished over the past 20 months ranks up there with anything that ever happened in the National Basketball Association. He walks among the NBA gods now. Like it or not.” Instead you look for anything that can be seen as a slight.

    You’d think a title could bring contentment or perspective. I guess not.

  42. No, Kobe and Shaq really did hate each other. And Kobe proved with his ‘trade me to Chicago’ tantrum that he’s perfectly willing to pull everyone around by the nuts to get what he wants.

    So, your point about Kupchak not panicking is totally valid. I’m just glad we didn’t end up with Luol Deng.

  43. Wow… it’s less than 48 hours after winning our 15th ring as a franchise, Phil’s 10th as a coach, and Kobe’s 4th, and we already have a “whose fault was it that Shaq left” discussion going on. You couldn’t wait even two days?

    If this is the most sane and mature Laker community on the web, I’m now a bit worried what types of conversations are happening in the other.

    I’m going to ignore all of you if you keep talking about the pathetic 2004 media circus, neatly manufactured by a massmedia pack of wolves literally BEGGING for an excuse to hate the team that kept crushing theirs, and enjoy the moment.

    We won! We’re the champions! What’s so wrong with just sitting back and enjoying that for a while?

  44. Robert Fiore,
    Yes, I think you are wrong.

    Players don’t sign extensions at the earliest possible moment for very good reasons – spelled out in the CBA. Their options are much better if they wait to exercise their options.

    This is the only time a player really has much in the way of options – short of pulling a Vince Carter and dogging it – is in their option years. Shaq had gotten his big money option and when it came Kobe’s time to exercise that same option, the media and fans tended to blame him for looking out for himself. Sorry what’s good for the goose (and owners) is good for the gander.

  45. Off topic, on tangent:

    Anyone hear that Shaq wanted to fight a Korean MMA fighter?

    It’s a big deal here in Korea (though I doubt he’d last even one round, as conditioning for fights are truly different from contioning for games… and we’re talking Shaq here) and Shaq did make that request (to fight) but not sure if that was some joke or if he was serious…

  46. I’m so, so happy for Lamar.
    Enjoy those peach rings.

    And Lamar, you’re more than half-way there.
    Those two big 3′s to push the lead from 5 back up to 11 were huge.

  47. i hope they will maintain the present line up of LAKERS…well sacrifices will be made for sure to free their salary so they can offer those free agents next season a higher salary :) damn i was hoping sasha will be a gunner this finals but it didn’t happen the way i expected it to be…anyway he got lots of contribution during the regular season everytime kobe rest in the bench…hopefully he’ll still be in the laker’s roster next season….go lakers another 3 peat yeahhhhhhhh!!!!! kobe kobe kobe….lakers rulesssssss!!!!!!

  48. Yeah, the Lakers seemed to be raining 3′s frequently from like everybody. I believe we shot more than the Magic and I know we had a better percentage than them. Mitch, Lamar and Kobe certainly deserve much credit for their contributions in this Championship title.

    You will never know the joy of success until you have experienced the sorrow of failure.

  49. And I’m so happy for Pau.

    Imagine being stuck on the Grizzlies and then waking up one day to find out you’re a Laker and playing with Kobe.
    Meaning you’ll finally have a real chance to go deep in the Playoffs.
    Then in the very same year making it all the way to the Finals, although it ends in disappointment losing to the hated and despised Celtics.
    But working hard to improve, and in the very next year, making it back to the Finals and winning it all.
    With an Olympic Silver in between.
    Must seem like a dream.

  50. And of course, I’m so happy for Kobe to get his 4th ring, the first as leader of the team.
    Enjoy!

    And so happy for Phil to get his historic 10th.
    It’s hard to comprehend a coach winning 10 championships in a major pro sport.
    Doing it with 2 different teams and 3 different groups of guys.
    Just amazing!

    All the players told how proud they were to have been on the team that won that 10th for Phil.

    The sheer joy shown by all the players was fun to watch.

  51. PeanutButterSpread June 16, 2009 at 1:19 am

    I’m crossing my fingers, hoping against hope that Mitch somehow pulls another miracle and we’re able to resign both LO and TA.

    Because goodness knows, we’re going to need both of their contributions if we want to compete in the Finals again.

    Maybe Mitch can somehow trade away a draft (or Sasha or Morrison) for some extra money?

    Or maybe Dr. Buss is feeling amazingly generous with his money and on a championship high so he’ll approve of being way way way over the luxury tax?

  52. Took my daughter to Disneyland for the night for her birthday, so I’m a little late to comment in tonight’s party. I didn’t read Simmons article yet, so no comment on that.

    The other topic of the night is Shaq and Kobe? Great. A topic usually reserved for lazy LA sports talk radio hosts trying to drum up ratings on a slow day (either that or Pete Rose in the Hall). Robert Fiore, I think the flaw in your logic is to think that Shaq was not trying his hardest to force management to get rid of Kobe at the same time. These two players had, sadly, come to the point they could not play together. Kobe had the FA leverage and forced the choice, but Shaq was doing the same thing behind the scenes — remember he would not let Gary Vitti tape him up before games because Vitti was a “Kobe guy.” To me, Buss had hoped that another title in 2004 would have changed the dynamic, but when that didn’t happen he had to chose between the aging big with a questionable work ethic and the young, motivated guard. And in that case there really was no choice. The fact Kobe gets the blame because he had leverage to force the choice is sort of the simplistic view, from where I stand. It was a complex and ugly situation. But no matter what, they were not going to be playing together in 2005.

  53. I think you guys need to reread that Simmons piece. The article makes great points from beginning to end. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Simmons fan but he is giving Kobe his due there.

    Kobe does in fact shoot way too damn much. Kobe jacks up long jumpers for no reason when he is out there in garbage time. Kobe will go one on five when he gets it in his head that he is going to score. Apparently no one other than his wife and kids can stand to be around the man. All of that is true and to deny it is to have Purple and Gold blinders on.

    The thing is though, so what? As a Laker fan since 1979, I have never seen any player bring it harder or for longer than Kobe Bryant. He lays his heart and body on the line EVERY SINGLE GAME. Whether the Lakers are playing in the Finals or against the KIngs, Kobe is out on the court playing with the dedication and the desire to win. He doesn’t take games off and he doesn’t lay down, ever
    .
    I really don’t care if the man is a jerk. I don’t care if he has an ego the size of a New York winter. I don’t even care if he needs to jack up every garbage time shot for the rest of his career. What i do care about is that Kobe, the best player on the team that I live and breathe, plays hard. Sounds simple, but this is the highest accolade a basketball player can get, he plays hard all the time.

  54. The only point I was really interested in making was that winning a championship without Shaq was as much a goal and a criterion for Kobe as it was for those who tried to impose it on him. As for the events of 2004 I agree they had many levels, some of which we’ll never know. I think what we see in Kobe is not selfishness or a desire to match Michael Jordan but an appetite for glory. And again I don’t mean personal or meretricious glory but glory as a Platonic ideal. That’s why the Olympics were such a priority for him, I think. Glory is out there to be had and he pursues it.

    Kobe is as maladroit at projecting an image as Jordan was adept at it, and a lot of what people react to are failed attempts to present himself, rather than what he actually is. Witness the recent documentary.

  55. Here’s my message to Simmons regarding his latest column:

    Simmons, you are one crazy cat. You’ve got one guy living inside your head that’s a rabid, emotional, irrational Kobe hater who exaggerates and embellishes all Kobe’s negatives and either ignores or diminishes all the positive aspects of the Kobe Bryant experience.

    Then there’s this other dude living in your head, the Kobe respecter, who can rationally evaluate facts, statistics and achievements, balance Kobe’s positive and negative contributions, and can logically determine Kobe’s contribution to his team and his position in the history of the game.

    I wish these two could meet, undergo some counseling sessions and co-author a column about Kobe Bryant, because it would be very interesting to read. As it stands, your post championship column reads like each guy taking turns to write a few paragraphs while the other guy takes a nap.

  56. 31 & 54

    That pretty much sums it up. I can’t figure the guy out – one minute he’s playing armchair psychiatrist with Kobe’s facial expressions and trying to convince us his teammates don’t like him, the next he’s praising Kobe’s greatness and accomplishments. It really does seem like his two personalities are fighting over the keyboard.

    Anyway, I tried to read this article but couldn’t get past the first paragraph. The constant psychoanalysis of Kobe’s every move is too much for me.

  57. For me, the NBA Championship was not only validation for this year but vindication for last season as well.

    These last two seasons (which have kind of melded together in my mind) have been a roller coaster of fun and excitement. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings. I just hope all the regular cast memebers are back.

  58. Started reading the Simmons article then quit this morning. I may struggle through the whole thing later, but it epitomizes why Simmons can’t write about the Lakers (or Boston teams).

    He asks did Kobe change from 08 to 09. And, wonder of wonders, he concludes no. Well how about comparing 09 Kobe to 04 Kobe? or 00 Kobe? Phil says he’s grown. Fish says he’s grown. But what would they know? Simmons has the inside scoop.

    The Lakers celebration was staged. They don’t really like each other. What evidence does Bill use to substantiate this claim – well none actually. He just knows. Oh wait – he produces the Penguins celebration as proof. Pitt = sincere. LA = contrived. Plain as day.

    LO has been with Kobe a while and yeah, everything he says indicates he can’t wait to get away from Kobe – not. How unhappy does Pau seem? How about Trevor (especially in light of the Ding article)?

    Look, if you want say Kobe is aloof – has a prickly personality -okay. I may defend him, but I can see where you are coming from. I have no idea how close various team members are – but I bet it is no closer and no more distant than other teams. I guess when we can no longer criticize Kobe for on court performance we have to speculate about other facets of his life to denigrate.

    (Hey Bill, I am sure that somewhere in a dusty attic there is a portrait of Kobe that is turning increasingly hideous as time goes by – maybe you can produce that as evidence of the real Kobe.)

    Until then, maybe we can entertain the possibility that Kobe has matured (I know you haven’t Bill, but not everyone is stuck in frat boy mode for their whole lives). Maybe just maybe, Kobe’s team mates appreciate him for who he is – demanding, hardworking, driven and that is just fine with them.

  59. The question isn’t Kobe’s growth from 09 to 94 or longer since that’s not what everyone emphaised before and during the series. Furthermore, it give Kobe credit for last year (calling him a great player with a cast that’s not quite ready) and even for 04 (saying that Shaq was not 100 percent into it and ripping on Payton and Malone). But believe what you want. If you want, Kobe grew into a leader and before this year didn’t have what it took to lead a title team. Simmons disagrees, but you seem to dislike his view.

  60. Let’s not forget that MJ was every bit as demanding and a jerk to his teammates as the only thing that mattered was winning. Why is it ok for MJ to be “driven” and Kobe is a “me” guy.
    Ridiculous.
    And Simmons column is like most that he writes about the Lakers, filled with back handed compliments, jabs, and small concessions to their potential. However I would agree with Ben (#41) that the end of the article is very succinct and on point, the last 20 months have been the best run of most in the history of the game.

  61. @Ben #41…

    I see your point, and Simmons does give Kobe due for his last two extraordinary years. And I agree that Kobe still does things on the court (not passing) at times that just make me scratch my head. But I’m really tired of the way Simmons constantly focuses on subjective issues, such as body language and facial expressions, interprets them with his considerable bias, and doesn’t even acknowledge that bias. To call the Lakers celebration contrived is so ridiculous, it boggles the mind. To describe the Lakers roster as an “‘arrangement,” when the Celtics magically acquired Garnett for NOTHING in a deal between two former Celtic teammates and great friends, is despicable. What team ISN’T an arrangement? This isn’t small-town Indiana in the 50s.

    I take nothing away from last year’s Celtics. They were a great team, they deserved to win. I didn’t sit there looking at Garnett in his “intense” state and think, “He’s terrorizing his teammates. He’s an asshole to everyone, and they’re playing scared of him,” because they won, which is freaking hard to do. So to say the Lakers’ role players just tolerate Kobe, and that it’s all about the sacrifice of Pau and Lamar, is ludicrous.

  62. isn’t WOW also a FA come July? Does anyone know what his preference is between leaving or staying?

  63. Wiseolgoat – Shannon Brown is an unrestricted free agent. I think he’ll re-sign for a cheap price like a million.

  64. kobe thus indeed become the true cathalyst of this team…thus, making good his teammates valuable in every aspect…see what happen to trevor;s unbelievable shooting performance during the playoff runs…kobe always trust him…

    Thanks mitch kupchak for always being not in the limelight in making such tremendous trades that sometimes shock all laker fans worldwide….

    Hope that lamar and trevor STAYS in LA.. Lamar (6.5-8 million range) and Trevor ( 4.5 – 6 million range )…They form part of the future lakers dynasty…

  65. shannon at around 1-2 million range

  66. hopefully, phil play the four legendary horseman next season..

    Trevor
    Kobe
    Lamar
    Pau
    Andrew

    CAnt wait 2 see this lineup….hehe

  67. Before I get to what i realy thought of Simmons article, I want to say that he did say something very insightful (I thought). I’m not sure if it was brought up here or not. The fact that Trevor was on the floor (and playing realy well at that), was a huge difference between this years finals and last years. Last year we had to play Vlad at the 3 spot. This usualy didn’t last long, and at many points in the finals we had to go small by moving Kobe over to the 3, and bring in Sasha to play the 2. What we saw was Kobe struggle at times against bigger longer 3s. Lets not forget how close we were to a 3-2 advantage going back to Boston (24 point collapse). With Ariza healthy, I think it could have totaly changed the look of the series. Not just because of his play, but because of how it would have helped Kobe.

    However, it’s things like this that make Simmons so annoying. He brings up a good point which contributed to the Lakers losing last year, which in turn helped his team win. Yet, he decides to discuss how fortunate the Lakers were this year with all the breaks that went their way. In doing so, completely ignores the point he just made as a break that went toward helping his team win.

    Look, Simmons is funny and that’s why he gets payed by ESPN. But, what amazes me is his double standard. Because of his bias he can see something questionable about the teams/players he doesn’t like, while completely ignoring or even rationalizing the same things about the teams/players he does like.

    And what is with his point about the celebration being contrived? How can any team win a championship in any team sport and not be sincerely happy/excited about it. It just goes back to my last point. These Lakers players have been together longer and gone through more then his beloved Celtics team last year, and he wants to question whether they are realy happy for each other.

    Honestly, I think he wanted to say something nice about Kobe, but just coudn’t until spewing a bunch of crap first.

  68. I don’t care much for Bill Simmons’s work. That was probably the second article I’ve read that was authored by him. He seems to pick and stab at topics and people when things don’t go his way like children are the dreaded “terrible twos”. Simmons just seems like a dude who is on his man period all year long.

  69. At a certain point every great player is selfish. Without that selfishness they don’t achieve greatness. If you want a nice and very talented guy – try Lamar Odom.

    Most people now agree, Kobe has been the best player in the NBA for at least the last 6-7 years. I don’t care what your comparisons are with Jordan or anyone else, that is pretty rarefied air. To get there you have to be talented, hard working, and determined. That determination will inevitably leave a lot of blood on the ground and that will upset many of the rest of us who don’t have that talent, work ethic, or drive.

    When you also have to put up with the self centered, egotistical, writers/talking heads who have hubris in their middle names, it isn’t very surprising that people without Magic’s flair for gab don’t do well with the media.

  70. Well I finished reading the article.

    Ben – Laker fans don’t need BS to tell us that Kobe is an amazing player. We have known that for a while now. :-) What is interesting about the BS article? He says Kobe has had an amazing run over the past two years. Wow – what an insight there!

    Maybe the interesting part is that it has become so obvious that even BS has to admit it. But not before getting a few digs against Kobe in.

    A great line from the article -

    “Kobe, Odom, Gasol, Ariza, Bynum, Fisher, even Jackson. All of them had something to prove — not as teammates, but as individuals. Now that’s a unique angle. I wish I had thought of it first.”

    BS lifts this thought from another writer. It is indeed unique – most of the world saw the Lakers only achieve their potential when they played as a team and shared the ball. I mean, it is totally nonsensical.

    And last year’s Celtics? Paul P wasn’t desperate to prove something as an individual? KG came in as nothing but a hired gun hoping to win a championship. Ditto Ray Allen. What is unique here?

    Well, I am done with my ranting.

  71. check this out – its a t-shirt i just found on the internet.
    http://www.kickz.com/show_detail.aspx?artnr=350798&farbe=147
    i think that express pretty good how kobe must feel with that 4th ring. ;)

  72. Shannon played way better for us than he did for Charlotte and PJ didn’t help anything by moving him to the 1st off the bench for Fish for that long stretch of games after the break. I’m sure other teams’ management noticed it. Considering that I don’t see how he doesn’t get any outside offers for around 3 – 3.5 mil per. I definitely think he’s worth 3 – 4 years, 9 – 14 mil.

  73. 41 & 59 Ben: you’re right that the article ultimately gave Kobe credit, but only in the most grudging and condescending manner possible. That’s what bugs so many of the commenters here (myself included). Most folks on this site are pretty level-headed–you’ll find very few comments of the “KOBE RULEZ MAGIC SUXORZ!!1!” variety, but it is difficult to read an article that basically amounts to a 2,500-word backhanded compliment without getting a little peeved, especially when that article gets top billing on ESPN.com.

    You’re right that a title should bring contentment and perspective, but it clearly didn’t for Simmons.

    Anyway, Dex says it better on his site than I ever could: http://k24-8.blogspot.com/2009/06/bill-simmons-wanker-1.html

  74. I would be really really suprised if Shannon gets paid in the 3-3.5M range. Teams are losing money right now and most are trying to find ways to cut salary, especially teams looking to save money hoping to land a big name FA in 2010. Shannon has a few games where he contributed. Granted they were in the playoffs but it was still just a few games and he didn’t even make it off the bench in the finals. Not too many teams are going to risk giving him a 3-4 year deal particularly at 3.5M with as little playing time as he has gotten in his career. I think he gets a small contract (1-2M) for a year or two with a player option for the 2nd or 3rd year.

  75. To everyone who noticed that Simmons did give Kobe some cred in the declining seconds of his PTSD fit, also note that this is the quintessential mark of a bounder

  76. Clutch824 – I wouldn’t pay Shannon no more than $2.5 million a year.

  77. Simmons articles are ridiculously funny. I don’t take him as seriously as I used to. He’s so pro-Boston/anti-Lakers that it shows in all he writes. That is the center of his sports being. Add to this that he has Clippers (not Laker) season tickets and you can see why his outright loathing is what it is. He’s just crying because his team didn’t win again (and likely won’t). Meanwhile, we have a team and a title to celebrate. Let’s resign Odom and Ariza and keep the train a rollin’. Go Lakers. Boo little Billy Simmons.

  78. I read the Simmons piece. It is, for a Lakers fan, pretty difficult to read, but it’s hard to say that any larger point he makes is really wrong. Of course, a lot of it is subjective; there’s no concrete measure of how leadershippy a person is. But I would agree that Kobe doesn’t seem to be any more leadershippy than he was last year.

    All that being said, it was only one year. And when people like Fisher talk about Kobe’s growth, I don’t think they’re just talking about this one year. They’re talking about the last five years or so. But it’s like all the awards for Return of the King, when the other two movies were just as good: It didn’t make much sense to sum up Kobe’s growth last year, when there was still manifestly so much left to do (they hoped).

    And while Simmons makes some decent points, he does like to twist the knife more than is seemly, in my opinion. Everything the Lakers did is invested by him with a sort of joylessness that apparently only he among sportswriters can see. It’s this perceptiver-than-thou attitude that rubs me most the wrong way.

    So in short, you make some good points, Simmons, but you can blow it all out your ass anyway.

  79. On Sports Guy. My schema for understanding him is that he is an eloquent version of the typical idiotic sports fan: passionate, irrational and knows some little statistical details but doesn’t know much past the American ideology of sports=character. So, what do you expect from the guy when his team’s biggest rival wins everything and eclipses his? Let’s not make him out to be an expert. The best case for Sports Guy is that he writes a great column about the experience of being a dumb fan (and there are a lot of great columns about the levels of horrible pain, etc.). If you want to complain about a column, go after the awful LA Times post-victory column whose author I will not mention but surely you know who I mean.

    On Shannon. clutch, I disagree with you about Shannon. I think, surprisingly, he really fits the Tri system. Most teams simply haven’t played him because at PG he couldn’t create his own shot off the dribble, nor that of others, nor run a pick and roll well. In the Tri, he doesn’t have to do any of that. He has to hit cutters (so-so so far), cut and screen (not bad), hit spot-up jumpers (shockingly good under pressure) and finish on the break (!).

    I don’t think he gets off the bench for another team. With the Lakers, he has an outside chance (depending on his learning the system and maintaining his shot) of becoming the PG of the future.

    Given that most other teams will not pay him much, I don’t think the Lakers will have to go to 3M+ to keep him.

    On the future. This is obvious, but I will say it anyway. It’s looking good, but four things need to be sorted out.

    1. PG. My guess is that if they can move Farmar for a steadier PG, they will. Too volatile and too much downside for his considerable upside.

    2. C. Bynum healthy = more rings. Recall how dominant he has been right before injuries.

    3. Post-Phil. If they keep the Phil-developed core intact, that bunch can probably buy into a Shaw or Rambis regime that continues the Tri. But for all the disadvantages of the Tri, key players like Ariza, Brown and even Gasol are not going to be as effective in a more standard system.

    4. Kobe’s decline. I think if Bynum/Gasol can motor through the first three quarters, a reduced Kobe can still save energy and play closer. Kind of like the Shaq days without the psychodrama.

  80. Re: Simmons

    half way through the article that i tried so hard to read earlier this morning and all i can think of is how stupid he sounds. I dont mind people making opinions, but justifying them with no real evidence is another thing. Billy boy doesnt know it all and he needs to stop writing like he does.

  81. PeanutButterSpread June 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Free Agents:

    Lamar Odom
    Trevor Ariza
    Shannon Brown

    Here’s the breakdown of all the Lakers players’ salary for next year:

    Kobe Bryant ($23 million) doesn’t opt out
    Adam Morrison ($5.2 million) 1 year left
    Derek Fisher ($5 million) 1 year left
    Jordan Farmar ($1.9 million) 1 year left
    Sasha Vujacic ($5.25 million) 2 years left
    Pau Gasol ($17.1 million) 2 years left
    Luke Walton ($5.4 million) 4 years left
    Josh Powell ($959,000) option
    DJ Mbenga ($959,000) option
    Sun Yue ($736,000) option

    I say if Mitch can somehow get rid of our bench, we’ll be fine.

    Throughout the playoffs, it was evident that our six man rotation was clearly the best.
    Kobe-Pau-Fish-Trevor-Drew-LO was lethal and were what made us a step above everyone else. Then again, when you do go through a playoff run, your six man rotation has to be godly to win. Even if Drew wasn’t so great, imagine that 4 to 5 game stretch when he was beastly. Our six man rotation would be godly.

    But when it came to the rest of our bench, Jordie didn’t improve like we thought he would and Sasha laid a goose egg.

    Luke did a pretty good job. He contributed on both ends, I was happy for him.

    I don’t know how badly we need to exercise options on Sun Yue, Josh Powell, or DJ Mbenga … but if we can keep JP, I think he’ll be a good backup.

    Obviously, it’ll be awesome if the core of the team can stay intact. I really love love how this team just works together. It was evident in game 5 just how beautifully this team worked together to defeat Orlando.

    My wish is that we see,

    Kobe, Drew, Pau, LO, TA, D-Fish, (Luke, JP) all come back. The rest of the players, as callous as this sounds, can be replaced.

    Obviously, Mitch has a lot on his hands. Does he sacrifice the “future” by trading young players like Sasha, Morrison and Jordie to keep TA and LO? Or is willing to let go TA and/or LO to save money and somehow hope the Lakers can make a championship run with how one or both of those guys.

    I don’t think the Lakers would have beaten the Nuggets and the Orlando (easily) if it weren’t for LO and TA. Same with the Jazz and the Rockets. We needed LO and TA to defend against other team’s big men, especially when Drew got into early foul trouble.

    I see Drew getting into early foul trouble next year as well. When that happens, if we don’t have LO coming off the bench, we’re in deep trouble. And if we don’t have TA using his crazy athleticism to be disrupting team’s wing players or his much improved shooting to spread the floor, we’re in trouble as well.

    Re-signing TA and LO is a huge priority. I’m interested to see how Mitch and Dr. Buss handle re-signing both players.

    Hopefully neither TA or LO will get sucked into the James Poesy syndrome.

  82. Great insight. I love coming to this site to get all different angles of the Lakers. I think what makes this title so special is Kobes maturation and the fact the players seem to like each other.

    The talent and the future speaks for itself, but its great to root for a team where you actually like all the players. I know its about the logo, but I feel better then other years because these guys seem to work as a team like the Showtime teams of the 80s.

    I think everyone gets signed and comes back and Kobe should be a Laker for life.

  83. We have paid in the past to keep the team together, I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that now.

    Let’s keep the good times rolling!

  84. A couple of comments about the post-victory riots – I don’t condone the bad behavior, but the relatively few people (considering we’re the second largest city in the U.S.) who rioted don’t represent the majority and one could argue that statistically the number of people was a smaller percentage of the population than that of other cities. Look at the links of videos from the post-victory riots in Boston and Philadelphia and the number of people looks similar to those for the Lakers. So given that LA is much larger than Boston and Philadelphia combined, the percentage of idiots was actually small.

    http://snipurl.com/k8qkm
    http://snipurl.com/k8qvz

  85. Just took a look at some names that should be around when the Lakers pick (remember, the bad drafts were a key reason we couldn’t continue the last run, you need to keep stocking the team with young talent). I wouldn’t mind the Lakers getting any of the following players:

    Sam Young, Tyler Hansborough, Jeff Pendergraph, Patty Mills, Wayne Ellington, Jodie Meeks, Josh Heytvelt

  86. PeanutButterSpread – I doubt anyone would take any of the Lakers bench players, except for maybe the Morrison’s expiring contract. Sun Yue’s contract is not guaranteed for the Lakers. He might be in camp as a body but I think that is about it for him. The Lakers could sell their first pick, though I would be opposed to doing that. I like Jonas Jerekbo at that spot for the Lakers in the draft.

    If the Lakers don’t re-sign Brown, I would be somewhat disappointed given his possible upside as a back-up. If not Brown, I like Dontell Jefferson.

  87. PeanutButterSpread June 16, 2009 at 11:21 am

    No matter what other fans or critics say, they can’t take this championship away from the Lakers and the Lakers fan.

    The record books say the Lakers defeated Orlando in 5 games, 4 to 1.

    The record books say Kobe and D-Fish won their fourth championship ring.

    The record books say LO, Pau, TA, Jordie, Sasha, JP, Sun Yue, Adam Morrison, Drew, DJ, WOW, have tasted sweet sweet victory and their first championship ring.

    The record books say that Phil has gotten his 10th championship ring with this hardworking and deserving Lakers team.

    The record books say that the Los Angeles Lakers have won their FREAKING FIFTEEN CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

    Eat that haters. Nothing they can say can take away what the record books say.

    And that is the Lakers are the 2009 World Champions.

  88. 84 – I just had to stop reading that article at the second paragraph, because I started laughing so hard at the sour grapes. The writer “wanted to punch Pau Gasol in the face so bad. No joke, he looked as smug as the guy on the highway who thinks he’s cool because he has his windows down when it’s pouring rain.”

    hmm, here’s a thought: maybe he’s exactly as smug as someone who just won the NBA championship through grit, hard work, and determination. I think that’s a better analogy.

  89. As far as Billy Simmons, I never read the guy, for the reasons all of you have mentioned. However, if he claimed the Lakers celebration was contrived, what did he think of KG trying to sneak in his Addidas slogan during his celebration interview (which KG promplty bungled). That, to me, is the low of the low. Imagine if the first thing Kobe said after winning was something about the Puppet campaign? he’d have been roasted.

  90. Kwame a – I would like for the Lakers to draft the following players with their picks: Jonas Jerekbo, Dionte Christmas, and Goran Sutan.

  91. 81..i like your six man core in kobe,pau,trevor,dfish,lamar and andrew, throw it luke….it would be a good solid team…if farmar and morrison will be traded, who do u think wil be a good back up point available that is cheap and good for the tri?

  92. Peanut butter,
    Unlikely that anyone would trade for Sasha, unless it’s to give the Lakers a worse player for one year or a worse contract. I suppose they might be willing to take a worse player on a one-year contract, to save luxury tax a year from now, but at this point what other teams would want Sasha, based on his play this season? (Note that personally I think he will bounce back next season; I think this season was due to his lack of a pre-season combined with fewer minutes because of Ariza, and he was never able to get into a groove.)

  93. i read the simmons article, even though his a laker hater at most time…i agree the comparison about 2008 lakers lineup (finals)against 2009 lakers lineup (finals)…substitute sasha with trevor…and a healthy andrew…

    My question is what if teams like detroit offer lamar and same with the blazers for trevor? will jerry buss match it? or a sign and trade will do?

  94. thanks Chad ford from espn…from his recent chat..

    ” don’t know how they can. From what my sources are telling me, they are absolutely keeping Trevor Ariza. I think Odom will come down to what he’s looking at as far as amount and length of contract. Lots of teams would be interest in Ariza including the Blazers and Pistons … two teams with cap room. I think Odom may have to do the midlevel thing unless the Pistons come through with more money. There just aren’t a lot of teams with lots of cap room this year”

    any comments?

  95. Feel free to discus what is coming next for the Lakers, PBS and others have gotten the ball rolling. Personally, I’m not really in that mode yet. I know that’s not how blogs and the current news cycle is supposed to work, and I’m not going to be cutting off the conversation. Just know that by the end of the week I will be having posts on the Lakers finances and cap/tax situation (Buss will spend but not spend like Cuban) and then build from there. Of course, some draft posts are coming too, in a day or two.

    However, the rules of the site still apply. PBS said he thinks a few players should be traded (I’d question if they are all that tradable, but that’s another discussion). What I will cut off is the “The Lakers should trade Sasha for X” posts and the ilk. For those new here, we do not allow trade speculation. If there are quality reports of a rumored trade, we’ll discuss it, but we are not home to everyone’s trade theories. There will be moments to get into a little of that this summer, but that is not the MO every day.

  96. I think the Lakers sell their pick to save the 1.5M (salary + tax) or so to try and resign Ariza and Odom. I think we see the same team we had this year on the court next year. It just depends how much interest there is in Odom and Ariza. Not too many teams have cap space (4 I think) and I don’t think any of those teams will be too interested in signing Odom. Maybe Detroit if they can’t get boozer, milsap or pull of some kind of trade for another PF. Ariza probably will not get any offers over the MLE and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did not get one for the full MLE. I could see SA offering him a contract to try and get younger and more athletic on the wings.

    The draft should be interesting. Memphis with the second pick in particular will be interesting. They do not need a 1, 2, or a 3 but no 4 or 5 available then is really worth that pick.

  97. For everyone going to the parade tommorow, try to wear your FBG shirts, and make sure you aren’t on TV doing any knucklehead things while wearing it. I’ll have mine on!

  98. Re: the Simmons article

    I generally enjoy reading his articles, but when it comes to an article regarding the Lakers, you have to know it will come with a heavy dose of his Boston bias.

    For example, he compares the Lakers celebration with the Celtics from last year and concludes that the Lakers just didn’t look like they were as genuinely excited. Well, Bill, did you consider the fact that the Celtics were at home and the Lakers were on the road??? You think the Celtics crowd, the confetti coming down, the celebratory music, the fact that they had just thoroughly beaten their ARCH RIVALS, had just a little role in getting the players more pumped up? Naaaaahhhh. The reason the Lakers’ celebration paled in comparison to the Celtics’ is because all the Lakers secretly loathe Kobe and the entire team is like an “arranged” marriage. That has to be it!

  99. And for the record, the lakers CANNOT sell their pick this year. NBA rules prohibit you trading your pick two years in a row, and the 2008 and 2010 first round picks were given up in the Gasol deal. So the Lakers must make a pick.

    Now, they can pick someone and trade him, and that would not shock me, but they cannot give up the pick itself.

  100. Honestly, we shouldn’t be getting upset at Bill Simmons and his ilk. If anything, let’s revel in their misery. While some Celtic fans and blogs have been classy in offering their congratulations, it’s funny, really, to see a lot of the Boston media bunching up its collective panties. It’s another VERY enjoyable byproduct of the Laker championship to see them sputter and spew their party line of “Kobe’s still selfish / If we had KG the Celtics would’ve won because KG is MORE INTENSE THAN YOU / Red is still better than Phil, nyah nyah nyah” Check out this Boston Globe article for a laugh:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/articles/2009/06/16/these_lakers_fans_are_living_in_la_la_land/

    Even Celtics fans are calling the columnist out for giving Boston fans a bad name. Priceless.

  101. If you read Simmons’s article all the way through, I don’t think he’s that insulting. The tone is bitter, but what he says is largely accurate. Kobe DIDN’T change this year. The big shift came last year, which is why he won the MVP. It was every other part being shored up that made the difference this year.

    And if you get to the end, he’s got nothing but praise- almost gushing- for what Kobe accomplished over the last 2 years. And you KNOW that had to hurt for Simmons to do. I’d actually recommend the article overall.

  102. I am die-hard laker fan
    I have waited from the heart break of 2004 finals for the champioship to happen
    I have waited patiently for Kob and Phil to be vindicated as the games greatest
    I have waited patiently for LO to succeed
    I have waited for Pau to muscle up
    I have waited Drew to grow defensively before he sets his mind on offense

    Now that all of the above have been done, what do i do with my time henceforth…what do i look for next year? I desparately need Phil/kob to sya that we will repeat…it will give me a reason to look forward with passion towards next season..otherwise how the hell should i look at next season?

  103. Regarding retaining players, what worries me about Odom is his willingness to stay on the bench. He was a great soldier this year, but is that the role he wants for the remainder of his prime? If the Lakers want him to stay on the bench AND take the expected pay cut, that’s easy to read as disrespectful by him. If he can get the same money elsewhere but start and be seen as a mentor/ main guy, even if they have less chance of winning it all, isn’t it easy to see him leaving?

    Ironically, we may have to pay him MORE to be a bench player.

  104. I agree with JD (101). The last two sentences are:

    “But I do know this: What Kobe Bryant accomplished over the past 20 months ranks up there with anything that ever happened in the National Basketball Association. He walks among the NBA gods now. Like it or not.?”

    How can an article with that conclusion be considered disrespectful? Of course I think that Kobe was among the “NBA gods” even before this year, but in a way , Simmons is also saying the same thing by emphasizing that Kobe was no better this year than last year.

  105. PeanutButterSpread June 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Who’s going to the parade tomorrow?

    I want to attend the parade so badly.

    But my brother’s high school graduation is tomorrow as well.

    I live in Orange County, traffic is going to be terrible, but I’d be able to attend.

    I’m debating between my brother’s graduation ceremony or the Lakers parade.

    Priority tells me my brother’s graduation, but the Laker fan in me sings parade.

    I guess I might have to resort to watching the parade on TV.

  106. The parade hasn’t even happened, and we’re already talking about Free Agents. I agree with Kurt, it’s sad how in this sped-up society, that’s kind of how things work.

    I’ll be honest, I’VE been guilty of already thinking about the next step, myself.

    But I also can’t shake the smile that’s been on my face for two days now. This championship was more a labor of love/sweat/pain than any other by the Lakers in my lifetime. It was pretty cathartic, for many reasons.

    All that being said…Ariza, Odom, and Shannon Brown are must re-signs. LA can figure out the other details later.

  107. Pau has gotten a lot praise here, but for some reason I still feel like he hasn’t gotten his due. The guy is absolutely brilliant, I just think that he kind of gets taken for granted for how good he is (I think top 10 in the NBA). Interstingly Kobe gets so much attention (rightfuly so) for playing for 2 years straight. But, lets not forget that Pau also led his team to the gold medal game in the olympics, after a season in which he helped his team reach the finals after being traded and had to move mid-season. All this from a supposed soft big man who beasts it down low, day in and day out.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen with LO and Trevor, but with Kobe and Pau I just feel like we will be in very good shape no matter who comes back.

  108. Damn, we wont have Shaq for rapping entertainment in the parade, and no Madson doing a dance…..rats haha.

  109. Maybe I missed it the past few days, but while everyone has been so focused on ripping Simmons, did anyone ever remark about that steaming pile T.J. Simers dropped in Monday’s L.A. Times?

    The premise was that Kobe and Phil and Pau aren’t likable, so therefore any fans who care about them are foolish.

    How he holds a job with an outlook like that is beyond me, other than his editors like him to stir the pot.

    I’ve met Phil once at an airport; he was nice. Never met Kobe or Pau. They could be nice, or they could be jerks. I don’t care either way. I’m not asking them over to dinner; I’m asking them to help the team I have loved since I was a kid win basketball games.

    Fans don’t need a person-to-person tie to players or coaches to still feel a personal connection. This year’s team was a love-hate thing for many fans, but in the end we’ll remember that they got the job done and made us joyous in the process. Does anything more matter beyond that?

  110. Another thign I worry about with the free agents- If other teams know the Lakers need these guys to repeat, why not at least try to inflate their prices. As Portland’s epic with Miles last year shows, teams are aware of such maneuvers, ESPECIALLY portland. Maybe they throw money at Ariza knowing the Lakers will definitely match, just to make it harder for us to retain Odom.

    If the Lakers are the obvious cream of the West, why not make them pay to retain that title?

    Otherwise, I’m not sure why Portland even needs an Ariza, what with Outlaw being similarly solid.

    Similarly, even if Detroit knows Odom would never go there, why not just inflate his price to weaken a contender?

  111. I’m going to the parade. I have to drop my mother off at the airport at an ungodly hour in the morning, so I figure I’m going to get up the ridiculously early and beat all the traffic by waiting :)

  112. The Dude Abides June 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    81. PBS, you left out a pretty huge salary hit in your compilation of next season’s salaries. I’m sure you’ll realize which player you excluded.

    Anyway, I see Buss re-signing LO for something close to 3 yrs/$27mm and making an initial offer to Trevor for three years at the mid-level exception, which will probably be around six million per season. LO’s deal can be structured so that his salary is lower next season (perhaps 7.5 to 8 million range), then increase to the ten million range in 2010/11 and back to nine million in 2011/12. The reason his salary would be lower next season in this scenario would be because the Fisher and Morrison salaries will be on the books next season but off the books after that.

    This past season, LO’s salary was $11.5mm, and I would imagine that there would be very few teams with enough cap room to offer $10mm per season. So, he could take a 10% discount to stay with the Laker Show and win some more championships.

    As for Trevor, if we use three years at the mid-level as a starting point, we can let him know that we’re willing to go longer at the mid-level, but we think he’ll be worth more than that in his fourth season, so he could decide that he wants to stick to three years and then go for a bigger contract when he’s 27. I’m sure the Lakers would be delighted if Trevor decides he wants a four or five-year deal at the mid-level, as he would be underpaid for the final two or three seasons of that contract.

    All of this would be made easier for Buss if Kobe opts out and signs a five or six-year deal at around $20-21mm per year. That would save some dough for Trevor, LO, and Shannon. I would hope that the team picks up the options of Powell and Mbenga. Those two certainly proved their worth this past season.

  113. #104, Simmons basically used the entire article to say that Kobe isn’t really as genuine as he looks, his teammates don’t really like him but they tolerate him for the sake of a championship, Jordan is the greatest ever and Kobe has no chance of catching up, let alone surpassing, him, and then finally concede what everyone has known all along.

    Did we really needed Kobe’s 4th to solidify him as one of the greatest ever? No, the argument that Kobe was overrated until he won without Shaq was what the doubters and anti-Lakers fans presented. We, the Lakers fans, are all happy because Kobe and Fish won their 4th, the Lakers won its 15th, Phil won his 10th, and Lamar, Gasol, Ariza, and everyone else won their first.

    If Bill Simmons’ article had a comment section, I’d link him the OC article in Kurt’s 2nd point. At the end of the day, I’m sure we could all care less about what Simmons has to say as a blatantly biased Boston fan.

    And I’m also pretty sure BS did not watch all 82 Lakers games like most of us did. If what Simmons said was right, that the Lakers were all pretending to be close-knit to tolerate each other until winning the Championship, wouldn’t both Odom and Ariza both bolt for more money elsewhere?

  114. To The Umbudsman for ESPN,

    Bill Simmons is a self proclaimed “Boston guy”, who is bringing a level of Karl Rovian bias to his “opinion pieces” on ESPN.com. He makes derogatory statements and debased arguments about any and every thing Lakers. Paints the city, it’s team and it’s star player as something with less real value than toilet paper and frankly is annoying the heck out of the sizable corner of non “Boston guys” reading these pages. His delivery is samey enough that there is a write like Bill Simmons website out there. He practically plagiarizes himself every week, churning out the same psycho babble about people families, character, moods, personalities and integrity while admitting that he does not know what he is talking about and is basing all this on the television and his emotions.

    Normally, it is just of mild curiosity to me that he stays employed but to regurgitate the nonsense he just put out this morning, after all the garbage he has been spewing all week is more than I can bear. This is the same imbecile for whom we had to endure his over the top celebration of Boston Celtics championship, on these pages last year. If he is only here he to express his biased views about Boston and her perceived rivals; should his work not be restricted more to his target audience, pre pubescent adults from New England? Why subject the rest of your readership to his childlike tantrums and indulge this irreverent and scathing attacks on entities and personalities that he does not like, is this Sports or TMZ? He virtually uses this Magazine as toilet bowl for airing all his personal grievances and dumping all his juvenile personality disorders.

    If he wrote an original column every once in a while it would not be so bad, but the guy has been mailing it in for about three years and is relying on the stale aroma of previous entreats to keep the customer coming. Considering how his always harping on athletes for being lazy, out of touch and phony, I sometimes wonder if the man owns a mirror? His megalomania is such that on the few occasions when this “gift of the Gods” to sports journalism does come down from the mountain he expects to be greeted with thunderous applause.

  115. This may seem absurd, but I would like to take this time to defend Sasha and say that he has contributed to this championship. Well, let’s start with this year: he did hit some (though not very many) timely shots, such as against Denver. But his true contribution comes from last year: he was part of a Bench Mob that gave Kobe Bryant faith in the Lakers. Also, without his shooting, the Lakers would have lost some important games last year, such as Game 3 against the Celtics (even though we lost the series). What I’m trying to say is to try not to hate on the guy so much; he has a work ethic that Kobe admires, and even though he had an off year, I believe he has the skills necessary to be a great shooter in the NBA for years to come.

  116. The last? MVPs puppet video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ri65Spg0Ts

    Love the accompanying song, by the way.

  117. With regard to the Simmons article, I read it (I read all of them), and it irked me for a while, but then I got over it. I am generally a fan of his work (he’s as consistently entertaining as any sports writer alive), but you just have to take anything he says regarding the Lakers, and especially Kobe, with a grain of salt.

    And, to be fair, he does praise Kobe. Faint praise. Damning praise, even. But praise nonetheless. And that had to be incredibly hard for him. :)

    I sent him an email to the Kevin Ding article, pointing out that someone who actually has some insight and knowledge into the situation, but also some objectivity, would likely disagree with his main premise.

    I do not expect a response. :)

  118. The Dude Abides June 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    As for the upcoming draft, the three college guys I’m hopeful are still available when the Lakers choose at #29 are:

    Darren Collison UCLA
    Patrick Mills St. Mary’s
    Nick Calathes Florida
    Toney Douglas Florida St

    Calathes would have the added bonus of the team being able to stash him for a year with the Greek team for whom he’s already signed. Then he could be brought back to be Fish’s replacement and be part of our three-headed monster at the point. The other three are all lightning-quick guards, with Douglas having an incredible vertical leap as well as an unusually long wingspan for a 6-2 guard.

    The one foreign player who could help the team the most (if all four of the others have already been selected) is Rodrigue Beaubois of France. He’s 21 years old and is 6-2 1/2, with a 39-inch vertical leap and three-point range on his shot. He is one of the fastest guards from end to end in the draft, along with Collison, Mills, and Douglas. He can play both the point and the two-guard…and he has a wingspan of……wait for it…….

    …six foot and ten inches…I’m not freaking kidding. We could select him with our #29 pick and keep him stashed in the Euroleague for one more season.

  119. I see Bill Simmons has everyine in a tizzy again.

    He’s not worth our time to worry about. It’s beneath us to discuss trash when it’s written. He’s entertainment. The best thing you can do is what Lawrence mentioned:

    “ESPN is going to have to examine that column. If it’s simply a Boston centric, everything is fine as long as it’s the Celtic/Red Sox, then I’m moving to Yahoo Sports.”

    It’s that easy, your click throughs and discussion encourage articles like these. Justifies them. I could care less what he thinks. I just find it funny that the same things he hates about Kobe, he ignores about other players like LBJ. He actually praised LBJ for shunning the Magic and the press because it was old-school. But yet, he over examines Kobe’s faces, or whether or not his teammates like him. Does it matter? Scoreboard does.

    He likes his high school analogies because he thinks like an adolescent. He can’t stand that Kobe stripped away the criticism so he has to throw in his “thoughts” and mix them with some praise and call it an article. But at least he doesn’t pass it off as journalism like Henry Abbott does.

    The ring’s the thing. We have it.

    In the words of Kanye West, “Excuse me, was you saying something? Uh uh, you can’t tell me nothing…”

  120. The Dude Abides June 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    As for one of our 2nd round picks, I like Sergiy Gladyr of the Ukraine. He’s either 19 or he just turned 20, 6-5 with a decent vertical, and one of the purest shooters in the draft. Another guy we can stash in Europe for a couple years. He’s been playing in one of the weaker European leagues, so maybe he plays one more year in that league and then moves up to a tougher Euro league for one year. Then he comes to the Lakers and takes Sasha’s place when Sasha’s deal expires.

  121. for those of us who cannot attend the parade, will it be on tv, or on the internet somewhere?

  122. 119- I think the parade will be on (locally) on FSN. Not sure about the internet.

  123. As for LO/Ariza/ShanWOW, I expect all 3 to be back. Well, definitely LO and Ariza, but probably Brown as well.

    Dr. Buss has always paid whatever it takes to keep a winning team together, and I see no reason why he would stop now. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Mihm and VladRad deals were made so as to enable us to re-sign whoever we needed to. We also have Bird rights with Odom and Ariza, which means that we will likely be able to offer each of them more than they could get anywhere else. And while Brown impressed in some of his limited minutes, can you see anyone really offering him that much money? He’s not a traditional PG – he can’t create his own shot consistently, he doesn’t run the pick&roll very well, and he can’t create shots for anyone else. He’s almost a perfect triangle PG, but that’s about it.

    One thing to keep in mind, is that as Simmons pointed out in a very good (and sobering) article in February called “The No Benjamins Association”, this off-season could well be a major disappointment for free agents, guys who two years ago were looking forward to a big payday this summer. Because of the tremendous stock market losses that many owners have taken (both individuals and corporations) and the overall poor economy, most of the teams are losing money at a pretty good clip right now. So this could quite possibly be the ideal time for the Lakers to have to deal with resigning two key free agent starters.

    LO is on record as saying that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, and that he will only play where he can live on the beach. That pretty much leaves 3 teams: us, the Clips, and the Heat. The Clips are out for obvious reasons. Miami doesn’t have any cap space unless they can get rid of JO’Neal’s ridonkulous contract. Besides, they have a *ton* of expiring contracts *next year*, when the summer of 2010 awaits. So the Lakers it is. ;)

    Even if he was just kidding about the beach, and would go somewhere else if they wowed him, who is going to pony up that much cash for LO? Only one team was under the cap this year, and that was Memphis. They have a ton of cap room next year, but he’s not going there. Portland has about $8M in room next year, but are they going to pay LO double what they pay LaMarcus Aldridge? Doubtful. There are other teams that could clear some room by dumping some of their expiring contracts, but I don’t see that happening. I think LO has made a good deal of money in his career ($75M in contract earnings alone), he enjoys his life in LA living on the beach, and he has developed a taste for winning. I think he comes back for a reasonable number – somewhere in the $8-$10M range.

    Ariza is a bit different. He is far younger than Lamar, which makes him more desirable in some respects, is long and athletic, and is an rapidly improving defender and perimeter shooter. But his game has significant weaknesses too – he can’t create his own shot or consistently create penetration off the dribble. He’s a below-average passer and cannot create shots for others. He really has no offensive game besides 3-point shooting and finishing at the rim.

    All that said, he is a player on the rise, and his stock is undoubtedly on an all-time high after his playoff performance. He also is looking for his first big payday. But he, like Brown, is kind of tailor-made for this team and this offense. His strengths are accentuated in the tri, and his weaknesses covered up by the tri and by the brilliance of Kobe and Gasol. Furthermore, Trevor is an LA kid through and through, and has found a home back home, after failing to do so in New York and Florida. He made $2.9M this year, and is likely going to be asking for something in the $6-$8M range, and I think the Lakers will gladly pay it.

  124. I know this comes late as reply but right now it seems that Pau is most likely going to play for Spain this summer in the Eurobasket, so no real free summer for him again.

    I am amazed with Vujacic contract, he getting that money, while the likes of Delfino or Navarro were “forced” to coming back to Europe it’s kind of ridiculous…

  125. I think Sasha can turn it back around if he goes with what got him the contract in the first place: Strong spot up shooting and decent D.

    It was apparent he worked on some new things over the summer, but they made him worse. Too many running jumpshots fading left. Too many stupid fouls playing up too close on a ball handler 3/4ths down the court. Being up in a player’s face (especially with no hand checking), does not make you a good defender. It makes you foul magnet. He forgot what he was good at. He was feeling himself a little too much. I’d like to see him simplify things again.

  126. Fox Sports will have the parade here in LA. Tomorrow AM I will also post a link to the ESPN360 live coverage for those of us streaming at the office.

  127. Wondahbap- I agree. Going forward, giving Kobe as much rest as possible during the regular season will be paramount. Part of being able to do that while winning will take Sasha becoming a productive player next year. Simplifying his game seems to be the perfect remedy.

  128. The Dude Abides June 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Here is a link to Silver Screen and Roll’s NBA championship photo album that was apparently lifted from Nike Talk msg boards…pretty cool stuff!

    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2009/6/15/910457/celebration-photo-album

  129. I’d love to see Kobe take a paycut, just to keep the team together for the next 3-4 yrs. I mean really, once you have 200 Million in the bank you’d think taking 5-6 million cut to 16 mil a year would still be fine and well worth playing for a championship EVERY year until you retire. Odom I’m sure is on that page… And Trevor too… Didn’t Tim Duncan do something like that ? Maybe I’m just blind to the business end of the NBA, but is there anything more Kobe could do to show how much THIS team really means to him? OK OK …somebody pinch me and I’ll wake up.

  130. RE: Sasha

    Wondahbap & Kwame a….nothing short of an exorcism can save Sasha.

    He is who he is…last year was the exception, not the rule. He works his behind off, but when the bright lights come on, he turns into an emotional and mental wreck.

    You can talk about having him “simplify” his game all you want, but that’s not going to stop him from getting overexcited and fouling guys 30 feet from the basket, rushing (and missing) his wide open 3′s, and worse, pump faking on his 3 point attempts, careening into the lane and turning the ball over.

    He is who he is.

  131. Did anyone else notice Barkley’s frozen
    smile mask when he congratulated Kobe
    on the NBA TV post-game show? The
    moments when Barkley are clearly uncomfortable are priceless; this one almost
    as good as the one where Karl Malone
    threatened to beat his ass right there (and
    meant it) for dissing Karl’s rookie draft day garb.

  132. 130. Texas, Duncan was different. First, he was at the end of the contract. Second, he did not take a paycut, he just did not force a MAX deal. He could have forced $51 million for two years, he took $40 million. He is still making $20 mil a year (Kobe was at $23 last year).

    The other side of this — if Kobe opted out to take less the Players Union would howl. This may be the way of the world in the NFL but it is not done elsewhere, and the union has always been about increasing max dollars for the top players (to the detriment of the guys in the middle class). I don’t think he does this and sets a precedent (can you imagine the heat this puts on the LeBrons and Wades of the world?).

  133. dave in hillsboro June 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    My understanding is that if Kobe opts out and signs a new max deal, he will actually end up making around $1mil less next year than he would if he did not opt out, simply because of the way the multi-year contracts are written. Is that not correct?

  134. Anyone with questions about our current Lakers and free agency need only read The Dude Abides comment #113. I completely agree on all counts. The key will be the guy’s being open to back-loaded contracts, including Kobe after opting out and signing a back-loaded extension, to save us some short-term luxury tax pain.

    I believe it is also very important to pick up the options on Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga, as well as re-sign Shannon Brown. Teams aren’t going to throw money at Brown, who is nothing more than a bench, role player at this point in his career, so it’s highly unlikely that we’ll have to spend over $1 mil to keep him. Those three guys, Powell, Mbenga, and Brown, are ultra-cheap, talented-enough guys that have shown they can play competently when called upon. That being said, they’ll only be really useful in practice and if certain players get hurt, although Shannon may get an expanded role with Fisher’s age.

    Yes, it’s true that Sasha had a horrible year this year, but I think giving him more minutes will actually alleviate his problems. Anyone who is a shooter knows that getting into a rhythm is the key to shooting well. The fact that Sasha’s playing time was so helter-skelter (mostly due to Ariza) really affected his shooting. So long as he works on his game and gets some more time while Kobe rests, I don’t see any problem in bringing him back (plus he’s nigh untradeable at the moment).

    Overall, I really like our cap situation. We have Fisher and Ammo coming off our books next year, which will free up 10 mil (although Fish will probably re-sign for the vet’s minimum), then we’ll most probably have Kobe, Odom, Bynum, Ariza, and Walton locked up through 2012. Barring anything crazy happening with Gasol, we should be able to offer him a near-max extension in 2010-11, so we’ll be able to keep this team together for a long time.

  135. 134- According to everything I’ve read, that sounds right.

  136. 134. You are correct, it would be less next year but would extend Kobe out at huge numbers for five years. Not that he won’t be good for about five more years.

  137. PeanutButterSpread June 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    To Kurt and the rest of the FB&G community,

    I didn’t mean to drag up the impending free agency talk.

    I just got excited thinking about the future and how much I love this current Lakers team that I don’t want to see any of the core players leave.

    And here is Trevor Ariza’s exit interview for all those who haven’t seen it:

    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2009/06/16/trevor-ariza-exit-interview/

  138. I second that Simmons is getting too much attention. After all the psychoanalysis Simmons ends by saying he doesn’t know if Kobe has changed after implying that he hasn’t. What a waste of space.

    Simers also deserves nothing but ignorance.

    I don’t care if the Lakers are best friends with each other, from my view of the locker room it looked like the guys were getting along fine.

    Thinking about this great year, what I will treasure the most was Kobe’s 61 against the Knicks after Bynum’s injury, the statement that Kobe was fighting on and how the team then beat Boston and Cleveland back to back. That gave me the confidence the Lakers could beat anyone no matter what happened the rest of the year.

    See you all at the parade!

  139. A lot of people are saying that they were surprised by Pau’s excellent defense on Dwight Howard … a lot of people, except for Forum Blue and Gold readers!

  140. To those that said Shannon isn’t worth 3.5 mil, I admit defeat. You’re probably right. I forgot about this NBA financial climate. I still think he could potentially get an offer like that 4 years ago, but not now and not to be a backup (which I still think he is). However, I really think 1 mil per is a lowball offer for his 2nd contract. I think he will end up getting more than that from another team or the Lakers.

    Also, goat’s initial question got a little lost. He asked if Shannon wanted to come back. I don’t know if he does or doesn’t, but I’d bet cash money that he wants to PLAY. I thought he and Anthony Johnson had similar faces at times during the Finals. With this 3 PG rotation that PJ is likely to run again, Brown can’t feel too confident he’ll get a substantial increase in minutes next season. Does anyone have any insight on Brown’s thought process?

  141. I think we can keep our team as long as Trevor and Lamar are willing. I know Odom is, just not so sure about Trevor – he’s young and is just tasting what it’s like to be trusted.

    And, if Mitch can trade the likes of Sasha, Adam and Luke at all, it will be quite an accomplishment. Besides, I would thinkthat Sasha and Adam can only improve compared to this year, although I’d like to hear more about Morrison’s work ethic and progress…

  142. re:sasha

    Has anybody seen the “Bruno” movie poster? Doesn’t Sascha Baron Cohen look like the Machine????

  143. Also, for everything you ever wanted (or didn’t want) to know about the NBA salary cap, see the excellent FAQ put together by uber-capologist, and Lakers fan, Larry Coon:

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

  144. Clutch- I think that for the right price Shannon will come back. If you think about it, there won’t be much of a market for him, and this will be Fish’s last year. During the regular season I wouldn’t expect Fish to avg more than 24-26 mins a game. Shannon could get around 15 minutes a game if he plays 10 minutes at the PG and 5 at the SG. I think those 15 minutes, on a championship team, that will be losing Fisher after next year, may be enough incentive to get him to come back for less than 1.5 million per.

  145. As far as the draft goes, a point guard is a priority at #29. Similar to A Dude Abides, my top choices are:

    Toney Douglas (Florida)
    Darren Collison (UCLA)
    Nick Calathes (Florida)

    Douglas is a tenacious on-the-ball defender. I mean really good. His aggressive style plays right into our system because he has two shot-blocking bigs at his back. He’s also a good spot-up shooter and slasher. The main reason he isn’t being considered higher is because he isn’t a true point guard and his distributing skills aren’t up to slack. That isn’t a problem in our system because the primary ball-handling responsibilities won’t belong to him.

    Ford currently has drafting Darren Collison because Chicago will draft Douglas at #26, but that’s the highest I’ve seen him in any mock draft, so we probably have a shot at him.

    Collison would be my next choice, namely because he brings a lot of the same things Douglas has to the table, including shooting and defense. The only quibble against him is his size, which definitely isn’t something Phil would like.

    Calathes fits more of the mold of a guard Phil likes with his size (6’4.5”) and his shooting and distributing are fantastic, but he’s slow on defense and I don’t think his Greek contract has an opt-out clause for going into the USA now.

    The only other thing we could look for is a replacement for the backup SG job and a designated spot-up shooter, but it’s a lesser concern, especially if Sasha is hard to move. Marcus Thorton, Jodie Meeks, and Wayne Ellington are possible choices, but I’d say the point guard situation needs resolving first. We’re probably bringing back Shannon, who definitely can be more effective after going through a training camp and becoming more familiar with the system.

    As for the #42 pick, I’m leaning towards an international prospect, as we’re going to have a crowded roster unless we start trading people. Problem is who will be available that would be worth drafting at that point. Victor Claver is likely off the board at that point, so Sergio Llull, a Spanish prospect, might be a good choice. Patrick Beverley had a terrific Eurocamp, but he’s probably a first-round sleeper. Paul Harris is another interesting prospect, as he’s been a beastly defender but has little-to-no other game to speak of. He’s a bit too close to Shannon for my tastes.

  146. I’d think that Shannon would take a deal like a 2 yr/3 mil (the most) with 2nd yr team option. Perhaps 1.25 for the first year, and if we want to pay him another 1.75 or slightly less the next year, he is obviously worth it and has a role on the team. He’s getting 3 mil in two years. Also to go along w/ what Kwame said – he is still very young and he’ll have time in the future to earn money. The fact that he can play under guys like Fisher, Kobe, and obviously the coaching staff should give him reasonable incentive.

    With Ariza and Odom, it gets confusing. I think at least a couple teams will offer Ariza close to the full mid level (i think around 5.6) and I am interested to see how much he’s willing to drop down. I say lock him up with a 4-5 yr contract with the back load, but not exceeding 6.5 or so. That will help us short term, and I think Odom would take something around $8 million. Maybe a 3-4 yr deal with player option but still modest. I have confidence Mitch can make it work, if it does mean moving Morrison.

    Also, someone talked about trading the player we draft, but with such a deep pg class I hate to pass when it is one of our weaknesses more or less. Dude, If there is any way to get Calathes, I think that’d be ideal with the way we wouldn’t have to pay him this season (i think correct, right?). But I have a feeling someone is going to like him ahead of us with that “bonus incentive”. We can cross our fingers on it

  147. Just starting work on both a draft post and a finances post for later this week, but I think the two merge in this way:

    If the Lakers can’t draft Nick Calathes or someone else they can keep overseas for a couple years, they will trade whoever they take. The cost of a first rounder in that slot is about $1.5 mil. Sun costs half that. May not sound like much, but on this team the draftee would see almost no playing time anyway, so why not save cash. The second round pick actually has the better chance of making the team because he would cost less. He can be a real project who plays all season on the D-League but fills a roster spot.

  148. The idea of having back-ended contracts makes a lot of sense to me. Wouldn’t that allow the Lakers to use them as valuable trading assets 3-5 yrs from now or whenever they expire if it ever comes to that? Probably would be around the right time for the Lakers to start planning ahead and thinking about rebuilding after Kobe and Odom slows down. I know it’s near blashemy to talk about that right now, but just thinking ahead.

  149. kwame & Adam, both your points are solid. You sold me on Brown’s contract situation. Now that we worked that out, someone just needs to tell him.

    If thinking about the Lakers post-Kobe 2 days after his 4th chip is blasphemy, then get ready for some more. I’ve seen several times here already that Odom should get more than Ariza during their upcoming negotiations. In what universe is that right? IMHO if Odom isn’t willing to accept a substantial cut and it’s between Trevor & him, I say let him walk. And I’m definitely thinking less than 8 mil.

  150. question:
    I read this in hoopsworld today, about the ratings for the finals-
    The Finals also sparked ABC to dominate in all key demos, including the following five-game averages:

    M18-34 (6.8)
    M18-49 (7.1)
    M25-54 (7.4)
    P18-34 (5.7)
    P18-49 (5.7)
    P25-54 (5.9)

    so here’s my question, what’s the “P” for?
    Pfemales?

  151. I disagree with everyone who believes we should ignore Simmons and Simers etc. It is much more fun to mock them. How many jokes alone are latent in “Simmons’s mailbag”? Billions. Ta-dum ching.

  152. Actually emailed Simers and asked him why he makes his living covering people he obviously has contempt for …

  153. Change of pace: what’s everyone looking forward to tom’w? For me, it’s hearing Mbenga address the crowd. Should spike the Richter scale….

  154. Will the championship parade be on TV?

  155. Bryant, fans of God. Zijin on the 24th, this season, mature, notched, low-fat is no longer a red crown, the high-spirited 8. This summer did not calm, because the rough Lakers, the Lakers because of a roller coaster, because referees take bad call . Until today, all is full of hope. Kobe will always be that of God admit defeat. Recalling the journey to the western series.
    Lakers VS Jazz Chapter
    Since the matter of the heart, and the grass still Health; fleeing the World does not escape, and may keep the smell of mutton is still set SIMULIIDAE
    Last season there is no more than a four-beat jazz, jazz that is still strong. Drilon, however, the new leader of the digital control of growth and maturity, although less of the long-range artillery shells Okur, Jazz is still played ball admirable wind, Salt Lake City were never made to give up. The key moment of Delong lore, remained fresh in his memory. Jazz is great, but it is sad. Always look up at the foot of the giant remote O’Brien trophy. The previous 23, current 24, have repeatedly blocked their footsteps. Salt Lake City, the cold and pressure, could not drag the heart of Bryant for the victory and could not dampen the pride that Dominating position. Collective Lakers basketball superstar Kobe Bryant of the effect. Sir Harry did not catch their breath. Once again, four to one. Los Angeles Lakers fans feel let’s hope.
    Lakers triangle offense is technical Basketball League representatives coordinate Gasol, Lamar Odom of the roll, and finally become a mass within the inner and outer space shot. Tactical implementation of a strong and thinking outside the stability of the attack, and is a magic weapon for the Lakers. The Lakers are the biggest advantages is the insider. Bynum’s return is enough fans hanging appetite. But it was one of disappointment, not a small shark domineering and self-confidence. Is inside difficult, but also deeply troubled foul. Lakers Lakers bench has been resistant to support the secret weapon. None of this season into a coolie, France Kumar in a crisis of confidence. But Vujacic Foul King into a pitcher. Wharton’s passing ability and speed the pace of contrast. Brown has a power factor of instability there. Lakers in the first round of the regular season but the shortcomings of Bryant has been on their own era. Gorgeous still continue to attack. There is no regular season mvp, Kobe is more commendable, because his role is greater than the value of a mvp. There is no single amazing 81 points, there is no market for 9 of the gorgeous 40 + data, in return for a clear-cut victory. This is not to be a secular king about it. Let all Chinese fans can look forward to is the Rockets against the Lakers.
    Second Lakers VS Rockets
    disaster, many people in negligent; filled with the power, often lose out to do fine
    Rocket into the semi-finals at last, into the second round, Yao Ming, a giant from the East together, China’s business cards have finally been able to feel proud of. Who has the NBA into a champion’s heart, and in the struggling season around after six, and finally see a ray of hope, but the Lakers face the powerful, rocket low-key, but also ailing breath as the outside line that they can only win a maximum, NBA, after all is a man’s battle, a wild site full because one finally has a stubborn heart, this miracle has taken place at any time, but this series has been without regard to technology, without regard to wins negative discussion. But indelible in the hearts of Chinese fans of a lens. Lens 1: an old face looking at the sky, eyes closed, body fell to the ground, face pain, hammer in his hands. Mutombo’s injury, Goldfinger, sad career of the scenes with this call. Union finally collapsed Heat defense. Rocket deep crisis. Lens 2: Two dark-skinned, his mouth never stopped talk about again and again, by the way, Kobe and Artest is the infighting. For the fans in Lens in China, caused a great uproar. Rockets and the Lakers led once again opposing fans, it was the beginning of the old Bryant opened. Some people began to take stock of the League of dirty, it was the start of the Lakers of today. Lens III: the face of a face with blood, there is no bluster, no quarrel. Shane Battier’s grace, so that people admire, but also stirred up again the contradiction between the Lakers and Rockets. And so on.
    For the NBA this materialistic place, move forward only way to survive. Permission in principle, all sorts of means. So, do not harsh to blame the people who work hard. All the money game, as a spectator, only disappointed the expectations of the true basketball skill performances, remember I was moved to the right lens.
    Third Lakers VS Nuggets
    Chang Chun birds were secret, why waves of Health resurrection; old trees with new flowers with the business, do not jump ugly woman Hu Yan
    96 golden generation, only lonely Bryant, in the face of the challenges of 03 gold generation. Lakers did not dare effect, Nuggets to be labor-yi, the Lakers hit the first one by surprise. Antonio’s full-blown, so the Lakers can hardly breath. Loading dragging footsteps, stumbled into the western final. Bryant led the Lakers, but it is difficult to attack his gorgeous, it is difficult to play a triangle offense. Nuggets young is lost at a crucial moment in the young. Ariza achievements of the age-old one off. But the vitality of the Nuggets have made the Lakers. For the second paving the way for the Lakers defeat. The second turned to become the Lakers still have the Lakers. In addition to Bryant still shining superstar effect, the Lakers almost disappeared in other players. The suppression of pent-up emotion so that the overall suffering from suspected Lakers players. The third, Bryant lost patience. Royal finally decided to have the League of scoring at critical moments of the team to come out to stir up the burden offensively and defensively. Attack on the decisive and quick end so that there is no way the Nuggets, defensive end Chauncey Billups and the anti-and anti-Anthony, but also put JR. Bryant is no longer to play as a result, after the exhaustion game. Fourth of the exhibition is the Nuggets, but also their last performance, the birds were great shine. In the air bombing, JR fired long-range, Billups stabbed with a knife inside the Lakers. Lakers in the bombardment to allow people to her disappointment, it was the 24th suspect in the face of the young generation fell 03. But never suspected of having a champion’s heart. Disappointed not to, because you know he will always give you hope. Lakers battle to take over the race fifth overall attack shows once again. Successfully winning the fifth war, but also the arrival of the next before the First World War to give people confidence. Lakers finally ended today, perfect, with a championship team’s strength, to conquer the Pepsi Arena. New era for the old people, Bryant is still shining. Union is still the first man.
    Far-sighted: Magic Lakers Finals, although there was no 24 of 23 pairs of gimmicks, no alliance of the first person to battle. NBA technology but it is representative of fighting hunger. Bryant on this summer will not let the opportunity slip away from him is when the name.O’neal not, he still lines. King will never succumb to. King will always have a proud heart, the eyes of a pair of tenacious. Bryant refueling tanker Lakers.

  156. j. d. hastings June 16, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Oh man. Guys I gotta be honest. I’ve got the shakes pretty bad. Chills running up my spine every couple of minutes and sweating something fierce. It’s only been a couple days, but I’m hurting without basketball.

    I know I know we have the draft and free agency to occupy us, but lets be honest- that’s not really feeding the beast. And even it will pass soon enough, and then there’s a long couple of months with nothing.

    And of course all the good tv shows are during bball season. What am I supposed to do with my time this summer? Crochet?

  157. Oops sorry. Just read the parade is on TV on FSN

  158. kobe do it,he make it. His dream comes tue,as a fan , i am very happy.

  159. Parade will be on FSN and also KCAL 9.

    I’m looking forward to hearing Sun Yue scream “CAN YOU DIG IT”!

  160. clutch, I disagree. I feel like Odom has much more talent than Ariza, and is thus valued higher on the open market, which really dictates his price. While Trevor is simply a role player, Odom can be a bona fide 2nd or 3rd banana on a contender (as we just saw during this championship run). His skill set is just too vast and his versatility too crucial to our defense to give him up on lack of wanting to pay an extra couple million dollars. Odom will be paid at least 8 million dollars a year, though as Dude Abides outlined, I too expect him to sign a 3 yr $27 mil contract.

    I can understand that Trevor was a crucial part of our championship as well, but he needs the correct environment to succeed. Lamar Odom can be placed on any team and be an asset. And that makes him worth an extra 3-4 million dollars per year.

  161. Well, I have my route to the Coliseum all laid out for the ceremony, it includes a trip on the Red Line (subway), cool… and waking up before the roosters crow, not so cool. I will be proudly rocking my gold FB&G T in front of millions, IMO. It was a tough decision, parade or ceremony, you can really only do one, but they will have sceeens at the Coliseum to watch the Figueroa parade anyway with the Laker girls as entertainment. For those fans not in LA, enjoy the parade in the safety and comfort of you own place on TV or the Internet.

  162. It’s important that, while we know LO is willing to sacrifice, we also can’t low ball the guy. He’s our ultimate spirit guy and one of our most vocal leaders. He plays in crunch time. His contributions plus intangibles I think gives him around 8 mil, perhaps 7 or 7.5 in the first year, with a nice backload/player option in the future. Sure he can be a bit aloof at times, but we know the dynamics he brings and he deserves a fair contract.

  163. Kurt,

    Is that conjecture or are you hearing that from someone with knowledge?

  164. Live streaming of the parade can be found here

    http://cbs2.com/kcal/

  165. Draft question: we all know about the rookie scale – the max contract drafted rookies can signed based on when they’re selected – max money and years.

    But is it the max, or is it the only contract they can sign? If it’s the max, could Blake Griffin sign a one year deal with the Clippers and get the heck out of there as soon as possible?

  166. Bryan,
    No, he can’t. The Clippers can tie him up for four years, before he can leave on his own.

  167. Bryan,

    Rookie scale contracts will provide for two guaranteed seasons with two separate one-year options in favor of the team for seasons 3 and 4.

    more info on contracts can be found here
    http://www.draftexpress.com/article/NBA-CBA-Principal-Deal-Points,-Rookie-and-Minimum-Salary-Scales-1065/

  168. 164. I have not heard that from anyone credible. I will say it’s a fairly common belief amongst the people I talked to who cover the Lakers, but it is just media talking around while getting a coke and waiting for interviews to start. But there is a logic to it that makes sense to me.

    166. No, he cannot. Rookie contracts are on a scale, the term “rookie max” means that under the CBA the Clippers can sign Griffin from 80% of said scale up to 120% of that scale. In practice, everybody is signed at 120%. The CBA stipulates all rookie contracts are two year contracts with a team option for the third and fourth year. So, in practice, any rookie first rounder who doesn’t bomb out will be with his team for the first four years. Griffin is not going to bomb out. Even if the Clippers wanted to get rid of him after a year they would have to trade him, they could not just cut him and his salary.

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q41

  169. The Dude Abides June 16, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Hmm…after reading one of the comments tonight, I believe I’m having one my occasional acid flashbacks. I think I’ll go drive around and find a bowling alley.

  170. great article. i think ariza’s improvement from the three point line is one of the most important least talked about topics in these finals. This demonstrates a very important point. Kobe’s impact on his players that we don’t see on the court or on the sidelines. Many Kobe haters are praising his teammates for stepping up but what they don’t realize is Kobe’s work ethic, energy, and hunger proliferates and that is how his teammates were able to step up. Of course experience played a factor but without Kobe’s leadership these role players would not have stepped up the way they did.