Can’t Lose Situation

Darius Soriano —  June 19, 2009
NBA: MAY 25 Western Conference Finals - Lakers at Nuggets - Game 4

Those who frequent this site know that I am a big supporter of Lamar Odom.  Much like LO’s addiction to candy, I have an overwhelming need to sing the praises of our lanky left hander.   Over the years, despite my many frustrations with his play, Lamar’s flashing of his unbelievably diverse skill set has consistently captivated me and kept me firmly in his corner.  And while Odom has always been the guy that has been mentioned in trade rumors or the guy that many would have happily given up to get a more established #2 player to pair with Kobe (thanks again, Kwame Brown!), Lamar ultimately stuck with this team and became a key contributor to our Finals birth last season and our long awaited Championship this past season.  But, today, we find ourselves at a crossroads with Odom.  The debate isn’t whether or not he should be traded, it’s whether he should be re-signed and what his value is.  So, as the off-season has arrived, it’s pretty ironic that as an unrestricted free agent that can sign with any team that offers him a contract and after finally establishing himself and finding a role as a the X-factor of our three headed monster front court rotation, Odom could be on his way out the door.

As I mentioned, over the past two seasons, Lamar Odom has found his niche with this team.  Once miscast as Kobe Bryant’s Pippen-like sidekick, Odom has finally found his role as the jack-of-all trades forward that would fill any role that the team needed.  Starter, sixth man, rebounder, scorer, offensive initiator, defensive fulcrum, post up player, outside shooter, secondary role player, team leader – Odom has done it all for this team.  Many players would chafe at the prospect of having the multitude of roles and such diverse responsibilities while also being depended on to perform nightly.  And while Odom did struggle with his role when the season started and displayed his penchant of inconsistent focus and production, no one can say that he didn’t show up when we needed him most or play with extreme heart when the team needed a spark.  I mean, when Andrew Bynum suffered his knee injury it was Odom that stepped right back into his old starting spot and played his best ball of the season.  And when Bynum came back at the end of the regular season, Odom re-embraced his role as the leader of the second unit.  Then when the team moved into the playoffs, Odom oscillated between starter and sixth man based off match ups and team needs – starting games to match up with Okur or Luis Scola then returning to the bench when he would have been matched up with Kenyon Martin or when Bynum was thought to be a better match for Dwight Howard.  And (after his pre-season venting) he did it all without complaining about his role or causing any controversy.  I’m having trouble thinking of one other player (besides Manu Ginobili) that could pull this off in the manner that Odom has for us.

Really, Odom has distinguished himself as the ultimate team player.  In our second round playoff series against the Rockets, Odom crashed to the floor on a drive to the hoop and injured his back.  Many at the time said that Odom would likely miss at least a game and maybe more.  However, when the next game started he was right there with the rest of his mates competing and driving towards the ultimate goal.  And even though his stats suffered (and fans were ready to ditch him again), I don’t think you can overstate how much it means to the players you go to war with when you show up and battle through any and all issues in an attempt to help the team.  I mean, when you’re battling an injury and still able to come through, it can really inspire your team.  It’s that dedication and commitment that endears Lamar to his teammates and his coaches.  It’s that focus on team that has earned him crunch time minutes when lots of fans thought it should be someone else playing with the game on the line.  In the end, I think it’s obvious that Lamar almost always puts the needs of the team above any personal goals or individual wants.

So here we are.  We’re at the point where Odom’s true value to this team is no longer a mystery.  When you talk X’s and O’s, he’s the player that makes our strong side zone work as he provides the mobility and length to move from one side of the court to the other, pick up flashing big men, guard perimeter players, trap the ball handler, and still recover to the paint to rebound.  He’s the player that helps create our tremendous offensive spacing – playing as a PF that can initiate the offense, play on the perimeter (and be effective with the jumper or the drive), find creases in defenses to take advantage of the double teams that Kobe and Gasol face, and also play in isolation from any position on the court (wing, top of the key, low block, elbow, etc).  And when you talk team building and chemistry, he’s also a real leader for the Lakers.  Many will point to Kobe or Fisher as our leaders – and rightfully so - but it’s Odom that has been the stabilizer for our squad.  He’s been the bridge between our first and second units, the guy that organizes team dinners and brings in a chef for training camp, the guy that is in the middle of the huddle motivating and inspriring our guys for the battle ahead, and the guy whose lighthearted nature and devotion to the team keeps the locker room loose.  We need this player.

I understand that money will be an issue.  I understand that another key player – Trevor Ariza (more on him in a separate post) – is also a free agent and is a needed ingredient for our future success.  And I know that there are times where none of the superlatives that I’ve typed even seem relevant as we watch Odom pull a disappearing act and hinder our chances at securing a victory.  But I’ll say it again, we need this player.  Does anyone think we win a ring without Odom?  Without him stepping in for Bynum when our young center was either injured or ineffective?  Without him stepping up in Games 5 or 6 against Denver?  Without him hitting those key three pointers against Orlando in the closeout game?  Sometimes tough decisions really aren’t that tough.  Sometimes you have to bite the bullet.  But it’s not my money and I don’t write the checks.  I am, however, fully invested in this team.  If we expect to turn this one championship into an extended run of contention for the trophy, resigning Odom isn’t just a wish, it’s a necessity.  But this is only my opinion, what do you think?

-Darius

Darius Soriano

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154 responses to Can’t Lose Situation

  1. This post is dead on. Really all that needs to be said.

  2. it would be a big loss for locker room morale if lamar odom and his candy are not present next season. he really is the “x-factor”, as cliche as that sounds. He’s the yin to kobe’s yang. when kobe is too intense, odom brings a smile. I hope the lakers do the right thing and resign him!

  3. I think that Odom is a must sign, and a higher priority, than Ariza.

    Not to say we don’t want Trevor as well, as we most certainly do want both. But, if we could only have one, that one should be Odom.

    His skill set is so balanced, and unusual, for a 7 footer that he almost seems like a “Create-A-Player” from the “Owner Mode” in a basketball video game.

    Add in his leadership, what he brings to team chemistry and his obvious growth as a player and teammate, and frankly that MUST be rewarded. To not sign Odom will have very bad repercussions, and kharma, for the Lakers.

  4. Well said Darius. We need LO and TA both. I just hope that management (and ownership) see it that way as well.

  5. I completely agree. What Odom brings to the team will be almost irreplaceable by one player because he does whatever is needed. Yeah, sometimes he has a lack of focus, but he is who he is and his skill sets will be extremely hard to replace.

  6. Great analysis, Darius. So many reasons to keep Odom, both on and off the court. The box score stats don’t do him justice as they reflect inconsistency — but I see that more as a sign that Odom is willing to be flexible on any given night in doing what’s needed. Sometimes it’s rebounding, others scoring, others strong defense — he just fills in the gaps. The crazy +/- and team efficiency numbers with him on the court support this — we’re simply at our best when he’s on the court. And that was true even when Bynum was strong early in the season. Then there is his good cop yin to Kobe’s schoomaster yang.

    I see Odom as absolutely indispensable, Ariza as nearly indispensable, and all the other role players as totally replaceable. If we need to trade Farmar, picks, etc. to unload a bad contract or two and free up the room then that sacrifice is more than necessary for these two. A core of Kobe, Pau, Odom, Bynum, Ariza wins us another title or two even if we have to fill the rest in with minimum salary castoffs.

  7. outstanding job daruis!!

    for me, odom is the power forward in the small forward body…his tremendous skills is unmatched by anybody in the nba…can you name an nba player at the 4 with such kind of versatility as LAMAR ODOM??..maybe not to many…..maybe the closest one is josh smith….i cant imagine the lakers winning the 2009 championship without lamar….who will sub for pau or andrew if they are on foul trouble…dj or josh???(no offense to them)…but lamar is the true X-FACTOR of this team…his contributions to the team are cannot be measured by stats alone….

    hopefully lamar can be resign at around 6-8…

  8. Lamar comps: Should be worth 8.5 to 9mm given his ability to rebound and defend bigs.

    Jason Terry: 9.5mm
    Ginobli: 9.9mm

    Ariza comps: Given age and scoring ability, should be worth 7mm

    Shane Battier: 6.7mm
    Pietris: 5.3mm
    Posey: 5.6mm
    Bruce Bowen: 4mm

    What do you guys think? Fair? Obviously, we may need to drop the numbers a bit given the demand -side economics (most teams saving for 2010 free agents, economic downturn, etc)

  9. I would pick Lamar Odom over Trevor Ariza if it came down to making a decision. Ariza is easier to replace (Jonas Jerebko!!!!!). Odom is a unique player that does not come around often, though Josh Smith might be his clone.

  10. SPOT ON.

    LO has become such an important part of what the Lakers do offensively and defensively, he really has become indespensible.

    More than anything, though, from a chemistry perspective, the team needs the “good cop” to Kobe and Fish’s whip cracking “bad cops.”

    You need the Yin and the Yang.

  11. Josh Smith at 10mm/year. adjusting for age, lamar getting 8.5-9mm is still pretty fair. Obviously, this is only half the issue – there is still the matter of how many years?

  12. Agree 100%.

  13. Darius,

    I love reading your column. Your comments are always well taken because you do it in a very professional and informative manner.

    In regards to LO, I believe you have the fan base support. What’s there not to love about this guy who plays with heart and soul every night. We definitely want him to be a LAKER for LIFE!!!

    Reed has the right idea… if anybody needs to be traded, exclude Lamar and Ariza from those trade talks and trade ANYof the role players but keep these two talents in our roster.

    WE NEED BOTH!!

    GOOOOOLAKERS!!!

  14. Darius, someone on ESPN earlier asked a great question that I think should be asked to you: Do you think that Odom coming back will limit the production of Andrew Bynum the next couple of years due to the shared minutes that they seem to have? I’m sure this would be adjusted, but Bynum does need to learn how to stay on the floor and not count Odom saving his butt in the middle of the first quarter. Thoughts?

  15. Totally agree!

    Ariza is great and we’ve got to try and resign him too,
    but Ariza benefits from the system and style we play.
    There are a lot of guys out there who could plug in and do what he does. Lamar on the other hand is so unique. Our system and style benefits from the way HE plays.

  16. As much as I love Trevor’s development and relative youth, if I had to pick one of the two, I’d rather keep LO for…

    rebounding
    ball-handling
    defense
    slashing
    spacing
    leadership
    and
    ocassional outside shooting,

    than Trevor for…

    defense
    and
    outside shooting.

  17. sorry, forgot “slashing” for Trevor, too.

    Still heavy in favor of LO.

  18. #15. Kevin,
    I don’t think Bynum will suffer one bit from having Odom around. There are 96 PF/C minutes in a game. That averages out to 32 minutes for Pau/Andrew/Lamar. To me, that is plenty of minutes (even if you give or take 3-5 minutes) for any player to establish themselves and find their rhythm.

    Another important point is the Bynum has an agressive offensive mentality. He’s going to go and try to get his (remember his 11 shots in the first half of game 5 against the Magic – he’s not bashful). Ultimately, I think ‘Drew will be just fine as long as he’s healthy, regardless if Odom is signed and they continue to split minutes. I must also say though, that Bynum must improve his defensive intensity and want to dominate the paint and the glass. That’s how he’ll earn Phil’s trust and end up playing crunch time minutes. I think Phil has done a good job of showing ‘Drew (through his substituion patterns) that he must do the things that truly help the team if he expects to play extended minutes. And since ‘Drew is still young, I think he’s learning and will develop into the player that we all think he can be. And *that* has little to do with Odom and everything to do with Bynum’s mindset and drive to get better. If he does the things he’s supposed to do and he earns the minutes, the production will be there.

  19. My seven year old daughter’s favorite player is Lamar so he needs to stay or I am going to be stuck explaining the salary cap and free agency to her next October.

  20. I agree with all of this, but an additional factor perhaps worth mentioning is that the Lakers have frozen their season ticket prices this year– I wonder if they’re regretting that decision now that this team has a ring. On the flipside, another economic X-factor is the AEG question– given the LA Live development and that monolith of a Mariott/Ritz Carlton across the street, does or will AEG have a financial interest in insuring the Lakers remain at a championship level (and, hopefully, kicking in $ to resign LO and maybe even TA)]? In some ways, the Lakers are at the center of bigger financial questions, which is good for us as there are those who may not want the team to fall from grace. My gut is that we get them both back– the loss of PJ Brown and Posey is a recent lesson for defending champs.

  21. Lamar’s combination of size, strength, skill, savvy, passion, and now experience, is nearly impossible to replace and certainly not with one player. If this market allows the Lakers to keep LO for $9 mil or less, this would be huge. I think one needs to have a look around the league and consider who else has money to throw at players. I’m restating what many have already brought up but the FA class of 2010 and the economy are huge factors for most teams. The Lakers are the only team in the league to be selling championship gear plus Kobe’s jersey is still the top seller. Consider also that when teams win championships you start selling the jersey of role players too. I would not be surprised to see Ariza and maybe Farmar jersey sales go up in the way that we used to see Fox, Horry and Fish selling during the 3-peat. Point being, the Lakers are one of the few teams who can take on costs that other teams just cannot. Plus, with everything that Turiaf brought to the team, it was sad to see him go to the Dubs. The fact is that LO brings such a lot more to this team, any team, then Turiaf ever will. Turiaf was a peripheral role player for us. LO is a central player on a championship team. You keep LO and considering the variables that this particular market and championship run bring to the picture, I think the team can get him for 5 years $43 mil.

  22. Jed — good luck with that. Plenty of 40-something professional sports writers struggle with the cap.

    This is slightly off topic, and I may link to it again over the weekend, but here is a great primer on Kobe Bryant and his contract options. Larry Coon is a stud:

    http://www.realgm.com/src_feature_pieces/791/20090618/the_official_kobe_bryant_free_agency_primer/

  23. I agree with Darius. I think that Lamar is a keyplayer for LA.
    I hope that the Lakers will keep him.

    I live in the Netherlands and big fan of LA. I saw the finals live on tv.
    I have question: is there sombody who can sent me some stuff from the Lakers Team and where I can get t-shirt.

  24. Buss might keep them both, since the extra income from reaching the Finals probably outweighs the salary and luxury tax paid. And we can’t reach the Finals without both of them…

    To me, we have the following players who we must keep to have a chance…

    Fish (but we need to start looking for a replacement soon, and Farmar is not the answer)
    Kobe
    Ariza
    Gasol
    Bynum

    Odom
    Walton (he understands the triangle better than anyone and we’ve seen his utility deep in the playoffs!!)

    All the others can be roster fillers who can actually prove to be useful (ShanWOW anyone?)

  25. Man this is an incredibly tough choice. For the Lakers, it’s all about future development. The SF used to be our weakest position on the floor and opposing teams would capitalize on that opportunity every game. You can make up for poor PG defense with strong team defense – though it doesn’t always happen – but you can’t compensate for poor SF defense. The operate in areas that are outside of the view of the entire defense – and, the SF position is gradually getting stronger and faster throughout the league.

    That said, Lamar is the best team defender on the Lakers. If we lose Lamar, do we have the potential of transforming another one of the guys or picking someone up who can be the anchor for us?

    Ultimately, I believe that the choice lies on Lamar, not the team. Let’s remember that Lamar was a very valuable trade piece last summer because of his expiring contract. The team showed faith in him and took a massive financial risk by keeping him around, and both sides benefited. If Lamar starts thinking about money as the top priority, all I can say is James Posey. It’s time for Lamar to be holistically intelligent.

  26. This will prove to be one of the most interesting offseasons since Shaq was traded. So many question marks. The one thing the Lakers have going for them is having won the championship this year. The economy sucks, money is tight, and we have some free agents to sign that were vital to this year’s success. If Mitch and Jerry can pull it off (cause it sure seems that LO, TA and SB all want to stay) I’ll be ecstatic.

  27. I agree that we need Odom, but if a team comes along and offers him 11-12 million, we can’t do anything about that. In the case that he does leave, I’ve always thought we need one more solid defender, so Mitch could spend some money on a Ron Artest or Chris Andersen, both free agents. They don’t nearly bring the overall floor game that Odom brings, but I think he’s irreplaceable in that regard.

  28. I agree with Darius. Keeping Ariza and subtracting Odom no longer makes us the favorites in my opinion. If we lose Ariza and keep Odom I still think we are the favorites to repeat.

    I LOVE Ariza but I suspect some of that 3 point shooting was fools gold, I think Mitch will take that into account and the Luke Walton and Sasha contract (players rewards for outlier year shooting) before paying the farm for Ariza.

  29. I agree that LO is a must sign. People keep brining up the fact that ariza is younger. however ariza need kobe to score and kobe only has 5 years to win more rings.

  30. I personally think we’re going to be able to keep Odom and Ariza, I just have a good feeling about that. If Phil Jackson has a good feeling about it, so do I.

    On the subject of Odom: I think someone may have said something similar along these lines, can’t remember who or in which thread, but I have a sense that now that Lamar is a champion and has climbed his own personal mountain, that it is really going to make the game easier for him. He’s always been a player who has struggled against the burden of his potential, of what his role should be, of what people wish he could do instead of what he does. I believe that all comes off the table now and he can just settle in to being a great, versatile, championship basketball player, the way a guy like Robert Horry carried himself, and that we are actually about to see the best ball of his career in the next few seasons.

  31. 22) P ami,
    ” Consider also that when teams win championships you start selling the jersey of role players too”

    Just heard Jeannie Buss on the radio the other day – she said that under the league’s revenue sharing agreement, the income from those sales is split evenly. So that is not a factor.

  32. We may not win the championship next year without Ariza; we won’t win the championship next year without Odom. I think the key difference between Odom and Ariza is that Odom should receive at least $6 million per year, whereas Ariza should receive at most $6 million per year. In all likelihood, I think both re-sign, with Lamar receiving a much-deserved 3yr/$27 million deal, and Ariza receiving the full MLA of around $5.8-5.6 million per year, something to the tune of 3yr/$17 million with a player option for the fourth year.

    Also, I think Shannon Brown will sign a two-yr, near-minimum contract, probably something along the lines of 2yr/$2.5 million.

    I have a strong feeling that Kupchak will unload Ammo’s expiring contract on someone with a large trade exception, considering it’s our best cost-cutting option, particularly someone with 2010 implications. This should ease our tax burden.

    I also believe Sasha and Farmar deserve another shot at backing up Kobe and taking over for Fish, respectively. Yes, they had down years, but young players need a chance to develop. They deserve one more solid run to try and prove their worth. If anything, we may be able to package them in a VladRad-esque mid-season deal.

  33. They will get as much additional income from making it to the finals as from winning the finals, and they don’t need Gasol, Bynum, and Odom to get to the finals (if healthy)

  34. This is not about Lamar vs. Trevor, or Lamar vs. anyone else. It is Lamar’s role as Andrew’s expands and cost/benefit.

    The Laker’s starting five does not include Lamar for good reasons–reasons that brought the Laker’s Pau Gasol. Mid season briefly saw that combination of Bynum-Gasol-Ariza-Bryant-Fisher in all it’s glory, until Bynum’s crash.

    Lamar has reinvented himself with Pau as center, and arguably has been the x factor that led the Laker’s to the NBA finals last year, and, with Trevor, to the NBA championship this year.

    The question is, with the Laker’s financial commitment to Andrew, Pau, and Kobe using up an increasing portion of the total salary, can the Laker’s afford a mature player of Lamar’s quality in a 6th man role?

    Until this season’s injury to Andrew, and Lamar’s ability to step up and play such a major role in the NBA championship, the answer has been a clear “no.”

    Simply eliminating Lamar’s salary put the Laker’s budget in near balance. It was not Lamar vs. Trevor, it was Lamar vs. the rest of the Laker’s team.

    Somewhere during last season, it appears that the Laker management seriously considered the 6th man value of Lamar rising to that of the “big budget three.”

    The response may have been a plan B, that allows the Lakers to retain Lamar–and Ariza/Brown. This plan B began with the trades of Mihm and Radmanovic, but depends on additional factors to reach budget sanity.

    The first requires Lamar to take a salary in the $6 million range, possibly starting even lower. The second requires Trevor to come in at no more than a similar amount-with Brown no more than $2 million. All of these proposed free agent salaries are likely to be below market–to be made up if the Lakers go on another playoff run. A third involves developing Ammo and using him as a salary dump. And the fourth requires Jerry Buss to still maintain possibly the highest total team salary in the NBA.

    There are clearly other odds and ends that require great finesse–there may be other players involved in trades, but, for the Lakers the goal is another championship–signing Lamar, the other free agents, and finesse seems to be the way to go.

  35. You nailed all of the arguments about keeping Odom exactly, Darius, except for one: the Bynum Insurance Factor (BIF).

    With Odom as the BIF, we know that we have a squad that can at least make the Finals, with or without Trevor’s contribution. But if we keep Ariza and lose Odom, then there is no BIF, and we are couting on Bynum to stay healthy while playing starter’s minutes. Something he has thus far not shown that he is capable of doing.

    Look at this year – early in the season (before Ariza stepped out, and before AB went down again) many fans were openly calling for LO to be traded for a “real” SF who could properly complement Bynum and Gasol. If we had made a move at that time we probably don’t get out of the 1st round.

    Odom = Irreplaceable
    Ariza = Difficult to replace, but not irreplaceable

    So it all comes down to ownership – to Dr. Buss and AEG. Will the $48M the Lakers made in pure profit from this postseason, along with the $40M or so made last postseason, plus the added boost from championship merchandise sales, plus the cash influx to AEG from LA Live and the financial boon to LA Live for having a championship team play next door 50 nights a year (at least) be enough to incur the drastic increase in payroll and luxury tax (since we’re looking at about $40M in overall increase)?

    We can only go on past history for our guide, and Dr. Buss has never let finances get in the way of a championship team. The 2000-2002 dynasty crumbled not due to finances, but due to an aging core that could not easily be replenished. We have just the opposite right now – a young core coming into its own. But this will be the biggest test of Dr. Buss’ philosophy, as this will be a financial commitment like none that he has made before.

  36. We all know that some of our players are flexible to play multiple positions (i.e. LO playing 1,3,4, or the 5-spot, Kobe sliding to 3-spot, Gasol to center, etc.), which is a great strength for our team. Length and interchangeability…

    However, let’s think ahead. What exactly are we expecting out of Bynum? Yes, he was injured for the past few years and LO more than filled the void. But going forward, aren’t we all expecting Bynum to average 15/10 next year and play about 30/min? Thereafter, averaging 18/10 and playing about 34 min/game?

    With Gasol, who is bound to have 19/10 for another few years and Kobe to be at 27pts/game, how many shots/opportunities will LO get? What exactly would be his role as a 6th man given that Gasol, Kobe, and especially Bynum will garner most of the minutes? Now granted, Odom has played admirably the past 2 years and has been the perfect insurance policy on Bynum, but if we have committed about $12-14 million/year on a center who is about to make a name for himself, shouldn’t he get every opportunity to do so? The reason Odom was able to play really well these past 2 years was b/c Bynum didn’t have that many minutes on the floor. Will Odom be okay playing about 18-20 min/game? How much is that worth? On the flip side, if Odom can re-invent himself and learn to play PG with his back to the basket (ala Magic) as well as continue to play the “insurance policy/glue” guy this would make us all the more formidable. But again, how much is that worth? Remember, his impact as a PF will be a lot less the upcoming years b/c of Bynum’s increased minutes & productivity.

    On the other hand, Bynum’s increased minutes will have no impact on Ariza’s minutes. More importantly, Ariza is not only the ideal SF but can alleviate the burden of Kobe playing the best offensive player on the other team. This alone, is a reason to keep Ariza because it would allow for a more efficient Kobe in his waning years. Plus, he can shoot the 3 which opens the floor for our bigs (and he is only going to get better; imagine him with a mid-range jumper and some better ball-handling skills).

    My point is that it is not a matter of choosing between who is more valuable: Ariza vs. Odom. It’s a matter of paying the appropriate value for a player going forward knowing that Bynum will have a larger role on our team.

    Having said all that, I strongly believe that keeping BOTH players will really solidify our chances to compete. In fact, I surmise that with the upcoming free agency the next 2 summers and the weird confluence of the economy and bargain-based opportunities for championship contenders (Boston, Cavs, Spurs, Portland, etc.) to get some legit veterans (i.e. Rasheed, Iverson, Artest, Andre Miller, etc.) will result in winning a championship in the coming years all the more harder. Imagine if Boston got Artest or Marion next year? Or Spurs got Marion or AI? Or if the Cavs got Shaq and Rasheed? Portland getting Jason Kidd?

    I believe that the length and interchangeability that BOTH players provide us gives us the ultimate opportunity to succeed versus all comers. Keeping a core of Kobe, LO, Ariza, Gasol, and Bynum would be devastating (especially if we played them all at the same time!) since they are truly are 5 best players.

    Now all we need is a PG (I’m still hoping we get back J. Critt)….

  37. If Odom goes elsewhere, who is available for MLE at PG or backup PF/C, or if Ariza goes, and Odom stays, who is available for MLE at the SF position?

    That will also factor into the decision.

  38. @22/role players’ jerseys:

    I was in the mall during the 2nd round of the playoffs and saw a Kareem Rush Laker shirt for sale!

    Thought that was kind of a reach…especially since two Lakers have worn #21 since he left…

  39. Great analysis, Darius. I would like to offer one Naïve idea. Why doesn’t Kobe re-structure his deal so that we can sign BOTH?

  40. Odom’s passing really makes the triangle click. And his post game is vastly underrated. I don’t think there’s any question that LO is a more valuable piece than Ariza, despite what PTI has to say about it.

  41. You know, there is something we as fans can do to help re-sign our free agents: Buy a lot of merchandise. I just wish that as we bought it we could let them know that this is the reason we are buying it. The Laker website should have a “Keep Ariza and Odom Fund” section. Maybe buying their jerseys would be equivalent?

  42. that year that Lamar’s child passed away, and had the torn Laburm and still played his heart out…that is when he won me over completly.

    I recall talk from him earlier in the year that he would take less money to stay, lets hope that holds true. He made, what 14 Mil this year and the past several right? So, maybe the 8Mil figure some of you have thrown out there, while a paycut is still a nice chunk of change (at least to us little guys).

    And I dont want Ariza to go anywhere either. The only Laker I could care less what happens to is Sasha. I am just disappointed in his performance this entier season.

  43. @ 30 exhelodrvr
    Thanks for that.

    @ 34 jodial
    Of course that proves the point seeing as they probably sold out of Turiaf jerseys and needed to fill the 21 slot;)

    I’m waiting for Powell’s parade do to go on sale next to Manny’s dreds.

    Cuban on the BS report mentioned- well more then mentioned, it was a real point that sparked some discussion with Simmons- that this last season’s revenue does not effect the cap for the coming season but rather the season under that. This is the first time I’ve heard this and seeing that I figure Cuban knows what he’s talking about, why is the accepted information out there off?

    Another point on Ariza. I was happy to see his growth in terms of understanding the offense. Earlier in the season, when he tried to make things happen, he sometimes penetrated and since his handles aren’t great, he could be funneled into areas where a mid range game makes up for what athleticism won’t provide, but all he really had going for him is some hope to force a finish at the cup. Or, if hope was lost, he would look for Kobe to dump the ball off to after having lost a number of seconds on the shot clock. I was really happy to see that Ariza started to be able to penetrate with some ideas on what his options will be once he found the lane to the cup narrow. He just got much better at understanding where his teammates would be and created scoring opportunities within the context of the offense. Again, growing into the offense benefited his game as this very likely made him a more comfortable partner in the O, which could have contributed to the rim sort of getting bigger for him from 3 territory.

  44. I want to believe PJ when he said it’s a false choice to think we have to pick between Trevor and LO. Why can’t we have both. That’s the mentality I hope Buss will have going into this offseason. Think about how we can keep both guys, rather than going in thinking we need to lose one and how to make up for it.

    But if we had to lose one, then yes, I agree with most folks here: LO is the one to keep. As a none too astute watcher, I’ve always got the sense that when LO plays well, everything goes right for the Lakers. His PER and ridiculous +/- bear this out. Even if we can find someone else with his skillset, we can’t expect that guy to have the same positive chemistry with the team, to be just as enthusiastic and confident starting or coming off the bench, to step up or step back depending on Bynum’s status, or mesh so well with Pau, all the while not complaining about his role or chafing over the criticism thrown his way. If you combine Magic’s and Rambis’ personality and split the difference of their skills, I think you get LO.

    @Kevin H: I think foul trouble, his knee, and matchups limited Andrew’s minutes much more than LO. Of course, if we don’t have LO, it’ll put a lot more pressure on Andrew to stay in the game and to score more, not just play D and rebound. LO is sort of Andrew’s safety net, which I guess is both a plus and minus from Andrew’s POV (Andrew gets to take more chances and has less pressure on him; OTOH, it also lets him take dumb fouls and maybe slack off a bit). From the team’s POV, though, we need LO there.

  45. Man I love this forum…Thanks for a great read Darius.

    Lamar is really good. So good in fact that when he has a so-so night it makes me want to kick my dog.

    Yes he was crucial in each series. Yes he played through pain (I love him for that). Yes he is critical to morale.

    It just pains me to think of letting Ariza go, as his contribution to victory was not a small one. It’s just wrong to bust this team up. I like j.d. Hastings fund idea. I need a new jersey anyway

    My pipe dream is that Kobe loved the taste of victory so much he negotiates his own salary down to keep the team intact. He would be the pied piper of Los Angeles, the market would skyrocket, countries would stop pointing nukes at eachother and free love would make a triumphant return!

    - Hey a guy can dream.

  46. I posted this in the last thread, but felt it was in line with some of the thinking on this thread about the value of winning, the finals, merchandising, licensing, etc and the “added value” of playing in LA, exposure, etc, this benefits not only the team, it’s brand, but individual players as well-

    drrayeye, I see your point. I was coming at it more from the value of the Brand, and that is not a value for the players but most def a value for the owners, and their families, (over a longer period of time).
    but your point is very valid, if the players are to receive additional income from the added games, that should count towards their annual salary.

    and, add this to the equation, (I’m coming back to Brand…and not Elton… but “Brand-name”) do you think Posey would have become more of a known (Brand) name if he hadn’t been such an important part of last year’s finals? the answer is NO.
    when a player gets the exposure in a deep playoff run, his own individual Brand becomes greater.
    same could be said for Shannon Brown.
    You could even say that Trevor and Lamar have just experienced this increase in Brand value for themselves not as a part of the Laker team, but rather as Individual Players. (I’ve seen an awful lot of Gasol jerseys lately)
    Believe me, the Agents are very much aware of this.
    This factor, and that living in LA isn’t so bad, (as someone above mentioned, LO had an appearance on Entourage), and that the Lakers are known as a winning franchise, is all a part of why players (and their agents) want to play for the LA Lakers.

  47. Did someone say….Artest ?

  48. Agents love their players being popular in big markets. Does Ariza take over the endorsement market share that will soon be vacated by Channing Frye? What can Detroit pay Lamar that makes up for the weather and adds security that endorsement deals don’t? The more I think about it, the moreI thin the Lakers can keep the core intact.

  49. One thing I really hope doesn’t happen is that the Lakers, assuming he’s willing to take a hometown discount really lowball him and give Odom an offer that’s perceived as a slap in the face. Anything less then 7 mil a year in my opinion is an insult to LO considering his value and his skill set.

    On the other hand I think we will have to overpay Ariza to keep him. Overpaying in my opinion would be anything over the MLE.

  50. drrayeye, I think I see your premise, but there’s absolutely no chance that Lamar and Ariza will accept the numbers you’ve placed on them. The most likely options out of the three you posed were some combination of the 2nd and 3rd, involving relieving ourselves of Ammo and Jerry Buss having to bite the bullet. That being said, there’s absolutely no chance (almost infinitesimal) that Lamar takes something less than $6 mil per year, and there is no chance that Ariza signs for any contract less than $4 mil per year. I think these are absolute lower bounds on their prospective salaries. Lamar will almost certainly make something in the $7-11 mil range, whereas Ariza will almost certainly make something in the $4-6 mil range.

    And if anyone brings up Ron Artest ever again, I need only say “4-19, 4-15, 6-17, 3-10,” Artest’s shooting number in the last 4 games in the Houston series this year. He will not help this team and I would be in favor of not signing anyone over signing Ron Artest (yes, I was in favor of signing Artest before this season started. And yes, I’m also an admitted idiot).

  51. I seriously doubt anybody who brings up Artest watched him destroy the Rockets offense multiple times this season by trying to take over games himself. And spare me the “well this is Kobe’s team so he’ll fall in line” crap because he was on Yao’s team and didn’t, in fact he has never done that. During a short stretch of the playoffs he was better, but as Zephid said look at his shooting numbers from the end of the Rockets series, plus the long term pattern is a disaster. Finally, right now the Lakers have a great locker room, you want to bring that cancer in? I’ve long opposed this move as a bad fit for the Lakers, and it would be worse now.

  52. The issue boils down to what roles a player handles, and how easily can those roles be filled by others should Player X no longer be around.

    There’s a shortage of 6’10 forwards with handle, outside shooting skill, championship experience and the personality that’s willing to put the team first. And by shortage, I mean there’s one guy like that in the league at the moment.

    Ariza brings toughness, defense, slashing and outside shooting to the table. All valuable traits – but all traits that are much easier to replace than those of Odom.

    For example, Linas Kleiza is a restricted free agent with much of the skill set Ariza enjoys. He’s become a lesser part of Denver’s rotation of late, so he may be a more-affordable option should Trevor bolt. My point isn’t to chase Linas; I’m only noting that there are other fish in the sea if this one gets away.

    Luke and Sasha could step in and (hopefully) earn some of Trevor’s minutes if that situation comes to that.

    But if Odom doesn’t return, honestly, who fills his shoes? No one. Which makes him the priority if it boils down to one or the other, at least in my view.

  53. Any statistical analysis available on Lamar’s outside shot over the past 3-4 months, vs the previous 1-2 years?

    It seemed to me that it had improved somewhat.

  54. RE: 52

    THE VOICE OF REASON!

    I hope that ends the “we need Artest” speculation.

    Artest would be terrible for the Lakers. How are you going to feel about Artest in Round 2 next year, when he’s got Pau open in the block, Kobe waiting for the ball on the wing, and he decides to jack up a bad 3 pointer, instead?

    All the Lakers need to do this offseason is re-sign Odom, Ariza, & Brown (and see if they can move some combo of Morrison, Sasha, & Farmar for money reasons).

  55. The market will dictate what Odom and Ariza are worth. Can’t really fret about it until they begin to get offers.
    vr, Xei

  56. I would feel confident with resigning Odom because he has a larger and consistent sample size regarding to his statistics. His body of work suggests that he won’t his statistics won’t fluctuate if you adjust it for minutes played and pace. There’s little chance his production will fluctuate negatively (Sasha ’09), because statistically, it’s unheard of due to the large and consistent production Lamar has produced since his inception to the league. The only thing to worry about is injuries, which has not hampered Odom, which is of not a concern lately. Ariza has also has an amazing year for the Lakers, 6.2 WS and a 15 PER is great production. Easily worth the money he’s seeking (which should be MLE). The only thing that worries me is that technically, this is really his first year with a large enough of sample size in regard to minutes played. His first four years offers little evidence in regard to his production this year, so somewhat we have only this season to evaluate him. The production Ariza has given is insanely good, which would make me wonder if it will go back to equilibrium soon or that his ’09 his true output, in that case he is worth every bit of a long-term MLE-size contract. But for Odom, he is the better and rarer commodity to find a replace.

    It is difficult to find an ample comparison to Odom because he is such a unique player. There might be a couple more, but the only one I could think of one if you think about physical similarities, age, and production: Rasheed Wallace

    Barring his ’09 season dip in production, Wallace up to this point was a very productive player. With pace adjusted and mintues/36, there statistics are similar, with Wallace being a bit productive toward offense (due in no small part toward taking more shots and being involve more in his team’s offensive possessions). Both are tall, mobile players that produced decent offense (Wins Shares) and great defense (WS). I think that Odom (age 30-34) would produced a similar line to Wallace (30-34), which is, by big men or even NBA’s standards, excellent. A salary that would be befitting to someone with his production and physical attributes (both a rarity these days) would be around the 10-12 million range.

    You can’t just take away someone with a 7.1 Win Share and nothing much will change. It’s actually a rarity to find someone with that WS without taking a big part of their team’s offense, much less being a bench player. Sure you might someone else, but they would be more expensive (think 10-15 mill) and would probably limit the possessions and production from Kobe/Pau.

    (Please do not say Ron Artest. I hear a lot of dialogues regarding Artest and all that I have to say is there Artest wish he could produces half of Lamar’s production. I hurt my eyes looking at his statistics. With someone taking a high volume of his team’s offensive shots, his metrics sticks out like a sore thumb. To put it simply: Ron Artest is half the player Lamar is offensively ( which I find funny) and as of these last few years indicated, will never come close to Lamar’s productivity on defense ever in his lifetime ( that ship has sailed a long time ago, he was close to Lamar in 03/04).

    In Roland Ratings, he has a sexy +9.2 in playing 60% of the team minutes over a year. This is no surprise, considering Lamar always done well in RR. Even if some people think that RR doesn’t tell the whole story, it does say that when Phil uses Lamar, the Lakers score more then their opponents. Most amazing from a bench person.

    Fun Fact: LeBron leads the league in overall Roland Ratings. Guess who’s the second is? Hint: his initials are L.O

    In regards to his supposed “inconsistency”. People say that he is inconsistent. Does inconsistency correlates strongly to overall performance? In the advanced statistics world, especially in baseball, consistency means relatively nothing to overall success. If I could do a study, I bet I would find that the best players are not consistent. For most players, inconsistent is more valuable than consistent. There are probably a few exceptions from great players where a small variation around their outstanding average performance means that they always have the opponent at a severe disadvantage.

    For everyone else — where 1 standard deviation better than their personal average would rank high in the league, but 1 standard deviation below wouldn’t drop their rank much – I think that Lamar’s inconsistency gives a better chance of being productive and winning a game, at the expense of a few bad games where his production tanks. As Eric Seldman said in BP in regards to FLAKE, this is not to say that consistency lacks importance, as the low volatility of steady performers brings with it the knowledge of what to expect, which helps general managers feel better about investments, and keeps managers and fans from pulling out chunks of their hair.

    Of course, because of financial restraints, that probably is not possible. With all that is said, barring a massive contract thrown his way (Fisher ’04), I think that he will take a smaller contract (think 7 mil) to play with the Lakers next year.

  57. After reading the article about Kobe’s opt-out/extension/free agent options, we’re all not going to be happy when he’s 35 and making 30mil… i guess we have a 5 year window and then it’s back to rebuilding for this team.

    given that kobe will basically kill this team in 2013 or 2014, i think buss needs to sign both LO and Ariza now and just go for 2 or 3 more before we go back to rebuilding and waiting until 2016-2020 for the next thing to come along to the best franchise in sports.

  58. Great Lamar quote from the LA Times:

    During his exit meeting, Odom was asked to “stay in shape” during the off-season, he said.

    “They know I’m a socialite,” he said. “We win a championship, I’m 29, decent-looking. When we go out, I’m well-received, know what I’m saying? They want me to take care of myself and sleep correctly, stay in the weight room and stay strong. That’s a good sign. That means they want me back.”

  59. Zephid (51),

    You’ve just explained why the Lakers finesse may fail. I didn’t say that Lamar was worth an average of $6 million (possibly starting even lower), I said that it would begin to be a number that could keep him in LA. Ironically, Lamar’s performance this last year has given his stock considerable redemption–and number’s up to $11 million may be offered–especially on a shorter term deal.

    Dispite his love of LA and fans love of him, the comments in the LA Times by both Odum and his agent sounded like he will be like every other NBA player–trying to get the best contract possible from wherever. We’ll see.

    I think a similar number (about $6 million) works for Ariza, who is a much younger player–and may not look at a number too much higher.

    Even with those concessions, there will have to be many small steps to keep budget sanity–such as a salary dump or two, Kobe’s renegotiation–none of which are for sure.

    The Lakers have already obligated themselves to big money contracts with Gasol and Bynum. Bynum’s increase next year is essentially Lamar’s salary.

  60. Darius, my hat to you. I think there is a sort of gambler’s fury that drives many fans, already rich and lucky, to try just one more hand. If a million bucks is a pretty good haul for one night, why not a million and one etc. It seems stupid to fret about Odom’s shortcomings when his long ones clinched a championship. It is like all the hand-wringing and disgust over Fisher prior to Game Four. It seems self-destructive (like the gambler) to become hypnotized by the possibilities of a player like Artest to the detriment of the actualities of a player like Odom. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, etc. Plus, I love Odom.

  61. 59 – You just beat me with that great “socialite” quote from LO.

    How can the Lakers possibly let somebody like him go?

  62. What we see from head-to-head matchups last season is that the elite teams in the league are very evenly matched right now, so I think you’d have to be very careful about weakening your team. Me, I think of Odom as Andrew Bynum’s insurance policy.

  63. Regarding Artest:

    no, no, a thousand times : NO!

  64. Of course you sign both if you can but if not I think it’s a no-brainer. I’ve always thought Odom was underappreciated by Laker fans. I actually think with the exception of Lebron James and maybe Ginoboli, Odom is the most unique player in the NBA. Sure he has mental breakdowns now and then but how many players can you say this about: Relentless rebounder, versatile and high energy defender, decent 3 point shooter, can lead the fast break, and make the correct pass, willing to subordinate game for team. Very few if any players fit that description. To me Odom is a very, very poor man’s version of Lebron James which is another way of saying he is a rich man’s version of 90 percent of the players in the league.

  65. If Kobe is the brain of this lakers team, Lamar Odom is it’s heart and soul. Lamar is the emotional crux, the glue of this team and as such, letting go of Odom will have far deeper consequences than just the loss of a skilled player. It has the potential to ruin the team chemistry.

    In my opinion, BOTH Ariza and Odom need to be resigned if the lakers want to maintain their competitive edge.

  66. As a pure basketball fan, I’d like to see Lamar Odom starting every night, getting full starters minutes against the other team’s best players and always on the floor in crunch time. That just isn’t going to happen with the current Lakers roster. It’s good for the Lakers if they keep him, but I think something is lost if he just plays a sixth man role.
    It’s fine if Odom is happy with a lesser role, but I think most of us agree he could be an all-star (and a ton of fun to watch) if he were in a situation where he could bring it every night.

  67. When you really start digging into team performance numbers it becomes impossible to overstate Odom’s positive effect on the team. While he struggled pre-Gasol as a true #2, when cast as a #3 or #4 he has a special ability to make everyone and everything better. Consider that he led the team in +/-, by a wide margin, during both the regular season and playoffs. During the regular season he was +16.4, Kobe was second at +12.1, and Fisher third at +8.1. During the playoffs he was first at +15.8, Kobe second at +13.2, and Gasol third at +5.6. Consider also that Odom is featured in the Lakers top 5 regular season lineups by point differential per minute. And those numbers came when he was usually replacing the healthy Bynum. In the playoffs, Odom is involved in the Lakers top six lineups.

    Even if his box score stats come and go, he is consistently on the court when the Lakers put together their runs that decide games. To me, he’s not insurance for Bynum, he’s the superior player. While a healthy Drew might surpass him in individual production, potential, and all of those things, the Lakers are simply a better team when Odom is out there. That might change some day, but it’s not the case right now and with Kobe’s window that’s what ultimately counts.

  68. PeanutButterSpread June 19, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I completely agree with Reed.

    Our core players are too indispensable to replace, tinker or change.

    “A core of Kobe, Pau, Odom, Bynum, Ariza wins us another title or two even if we have to fill the rest in with minimum salary castoffs.”

    As evidence from the playoffs, our six man rotation was just too good against the rest of the teams we played.

    The rest of our bench players barely made a blip. Not to say they didn’t contribute one way or the other, but they didn’t shine in their supporting roles. Although I have a fondness for ShanWOW.

    We basically relied on our six man rotation of Kobe, Pau, LO, TA, Drew, and Fish to get us to the championship.

    And I think if the Mitch can pull it out, he’ll somehow find a way to keep LO and TA. Maybe make some salary shedding mid-season trade or a trade after draft night. don’t know how he’ll do it, but I really hope he’ll first sign LO and then TA.

    We need both back if we want to make another run. Because seriously, I don’t see another player in the NBA that can replace either of those guys. LO and TA work in our system, they’re a good fit. I don’t know how well they’d fit in other places or if they’d get half as much success they’d get with the Lakers if they go somewhere else.

  69. Odom +/- during the season- 16.4 (3rd in the league)
    Odom +/- during playoffs- 15.8 (5th amongst players in the playoffs)
    Odom also had a 12.50 adjusted plus minus in this year’s playoffs (fantastic) and 16.64 in the regular season, both of which placed him in the top 5 in the league. Plain and simple, he was one of the most important and best players in the league this year.. think about how many “hockey assists” he had that wouldn’t go into his stats, etc.

  70. PeanutButterSpread June 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Ah, what a difference a championship makes.

    I remember last year, there were so many fans wanting LO to be traded for Artest.

    Safe to say, no one want that trade happening.

    LO is a Lakers for Life. I hope he stays. I really can’t imagine anyone else taking his place.

  71. Darius
    You’re absolutely right that without Odom we wouldn’t have won. However contract decisions aren’t about the past – they are about the future.

    Odom had a big, BIG role because of Bynum being not 100%. Lakers believe in Bynum. Lakers have given him a hefty contract. Lakers can’t afford to keep Odom “just in case”.

    Listen, the times when Niners could afford to play Montana and keep Young on the bench are long gone. Roster has to be cost effective. Odom is a great player to have – but he is oldish and he would be a backup. A GREAT backup, maybe the best since McHale, but a backup nevertheless.

    Some time ago the Forbes has published the financial data of NBA franchises. Lakers were in a brilliant state. But this is the only business of Busses – they can’t spend to win a la Cuban/Allen, because they don’t have any other source of income. From Forbes data one could infer that Lakers have maximum $105M to spend. It’s coherent with numbers written in the last B&G post.

    Suppose the luxury tax will be set at $70M (I think it will be lower, but this a good, round number). Lakers have already guaranteed $74M. For 8 players. Suppose we keep Odom and Ariza – we need 4 more bodies. Giving them a league minimum (no upgrade on PG) gives another $3M. So now we are at $84M (including tax) – without Odom and Ariza. To stay under $105M we could spend on them no more $10,5M.

    And it’s not only one year problem. In the next sezon we have already guaranteed $67M – on _five_ players (Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Vujacic, Walton). In 2010/11 Lakers will spend on Bryant, Gasol and Bynum only – $56.5M.

    And remember, we will have not only one of the biggest players budget – we will would have also the most expensive coach.

    Basically I see only three ways to keep both Ariza and Odom (I don’t believe in Bryant agreeing to substantial lowering of his salary – it’s his job after all and he’s quite good in it).

    1. Jackson retires and leaves money on the table. The replacement coach would be much cheaper, extra $7-8M should be enough.

    2. The market goes down in a big way – and leaves both Odom and Ariza at or even below MLE.

    3. Kupchak somehow finds a way to get rid with Morrison and Vujacic (Vujacic and Radmanovic – they were the biggest mistakes of Kupchak, IMO).

    BTW the situation would be a much, MUCH better if the luxury tax level would be higher. For example had it keep its speed from the last decade it would be next season close to $75M, and it would leave us $15M for Odom and Ariza (assuming $105M limit is right) even without finding a suitor for Vujacic and/or Morrison.

    Oh, and why I’d rather keep Ariza? First, I think he will be cheaper. Second, because Fisher-Bryant-Ariza-Gasol-Bynum is a better lineup than Fisher-Bryant-Walton-Gasol-Bynum. With Gasol and Bynum playing in high 30s there isn’t a lot time left for PF backup. Odom as a PG would be very nice to have, but without Ariza (Odom-Bryant-Walton-Gasol-Bynum) our perimeter defense would be seriously handicapped.

  72. I want Lamar back and Trevor, I believe tey both are equally needed for the Lakers to succeed. The players I want to see gone is Sasha(sorry machine), Adam and Sun Yue because then Brown can slide into Sasha’s spot and be more better at it. Adam and Sun Yue can just get off the books, Lakers don’t need them.

  73. Ariza and Lamar are both role players, not first and second option type of guys. The important thing for the lakers is not to panic and offer expensive and long deals to either one too fast. Let them test the market; I can’t see any team in this economy paying more than 6-8 mil/year to Odom and much more than MLE to ariza.
    Ariza to the lakers was what posey was to the celtics. He got full MLE for 4 years from the Hornets. Since Ariza is younger, he can get MLE for 6 years.
    Even though Odom’s skill set are unique, he is still technically a role player, ie the thrid option, not the first or the second. The veteran teams that have their first and second options already set and are looking for that third guy to push them over the hump are over the cap space and cannot offer more than the MLE. The teams that are under the cap sapce enough to offer more than MLE don’t need Lamar. Portland has aldridge. Toronto has chris Bush. Detroit needs a first or second option type of guy like Boozer and are not going to give Lamar at 29 a big and long offer. Memphis is in cost-cutting mode and too young of a team to give Lamar at his age a big contract, when he is not a first or second option type of player. Same thing with Oklahoma city and Sacramento.
    Bottom line, currently, there is not a single team that should be able ( or should want) to take Lamar away from the lakers. His role is perfect with the Lakers.
    Having said all of this, anything can happen during the draft with trades opening up cap space.

    The key is not to PANIC (as they did with Bynum last year) and come in with an offer so big for one guy, that keeps you from signing both.

    MLE (maybe +1-2 mill/year) at the most for Ariza for 6 years and 6-7 for Lamar for 4-5 year will get it done.

  74. I think it’s too soon to give up on Sasha. He improved steadily with the Lakers, up through a very solid 2007-8 season. But he missed the entire preseason with the ankle injury, and was never able to get into a groove after that, especially considering the limited minutes he was getting. I expect him to bounce back next season.

  75. PeanutButterSpread June 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I’m watching the “Sounds of the Finals: Parts 1-4″ on the NBA website just because one can never have enough of behind the scenes fun, but I noticed when Drew goes up to Trevor and Jordie saying “injuries and everything baby, that’s what we go through,” they’re teary eyed with joy and sadness in the locker room celebration. They were sitting side by side and just seemed to be in deep awe over everything.

    I think that’s what so interesting to watch the behind the scenes because we all saw them celebrating, but then there’s the calm, when they all realize how much their hard work and effort culminated to the apex and I think when they soak it all in him, the tears come out.

    At one point, Kobe was talking about the sacrifice and not being there for his family enough and he got choked up.

    It’s all really fascinating to watch because you couldn’t be more proud of these guys.

  76. I’m wondering if there has been any thought re: Kobe or Pau restructuring their contracts to make it easier to keep LO and Ariza. I think there is precedent in Duncan doing this for the Spurs in order to keep the core intact. It would be very interesting to see what this team could do with another year together, another year for Ariza to get better moving in the triangle, a full season out of Bynum…

  77. HI there,

    remember one of Josh Tucker’s last posts: “Where were you when Gasol was traded to LA..?”
    i don’t precesily remember where ( it has to be in front of my computer at 8 am before going to work – you know, time zone differences and Europe..)
    but i do remember me thinking “i really hope they didn’t get Gasol for Odom”.

    i’m not an expert of salary cap and financial thresholds – European ballclubs don’t have such restrictions, that’s why the same teams keep winning in any team sport, be it soccer, basketball etc. – but one issue will be the willingness of both parties (Ariza and Odom; Mr Buss & co.) to get a compromise.
    i’d love Kobe to cut his payoff, but frankly don’t see that happening.

    GO LAKERS

  78. It’s called the James Posey Affect. Your become an integral part of your championship team, your stock soars, and suddenly a middle-market team offers you a contract you can’t refuse:

    http://www.ocregister.com/video/index.php?bcpid=1127694947&bclid=1127690720&bctid=26881704001

  79. Question: will the league allow an incentive-based contract with the incentive being the team’s playoff longevity? In other words, is it legal to make a deal in which Lamar (or Trevor) gets paid, say, 6M base, but then an additional 1M per playoff round? This would start him at a manageable base re: the cap and allow him to be paid out of the profits derived from additional team playoff revenue. I know it doesn’t help the tax issue – assuming of course that the Lakers go deep into the playoffs – but it at least ties the severity of the tax to the Lakers success, making it perhaps less of a bitter pill to swallow.

    Again, I don’t know if LO and his agent would go for this kind of deal, but is it a viable possibility for his contract or is it disallowed for some reason in the CBA?

    (I also like the idea of rewarding players financially for team success.)

  80. Terrific post today by Darious. I too love LO and what he brings when I look at things from a fans perspective. However, when I put on my GM cap I can clearly see the writing on the wall for LO in LA. I think he is gone for the following reasons:

    -Mitch will probably be asked to keep the payroll at or very near to its current level. From a Gm’s standpoint the most realistic way to do this is by increasing Treveors salary by 3-7 million and adding another veteran from the free- agent pool (@4-6 million).

    -As to the thought of Odum taking less money, WAKE UP, FORGET ABOUT THAT. Players always say they will take less. However, when free agency begins and his new suiters arrive he will do what any of us would do in his place, that is secure his families financial future by accepting the best available offer.

    -Although I conseed that Odom may have more value to the team at this point in time I also believe that the chemistry between the younger Arisa and Kobe better than its Odom/Bryant counterpart.

    -Finally if the GM invests millions this year it will likely be on the younger player. Ariza’s peak will be closers to that of Bynum and clearly Mitch see our future in the Ariza/Farmar/Bynum core for the long run.

  81. Come on you know that LO is not going to accept a offer of 6 to 7 mil when this is his last big contract. It will have to be in the 8 to 9 mil range to sastify him. A good player(30 years old), but not worth that when you can have two physical players(Birdman and Mcdyess unrestricted) at a cheaper price. We need some muscle to go with Gasol and Bynum, both would be willing to come to LA for a chance at ring. Sign Ariza and Shannon come 2010/2011 we will have more cap flexibilty allowing us to sign a true point guard to follow Fisher(a bigger need that cant be replaced by anybody). To me its not that hard of a decision, everybody is so sentimental over LO, because of the championship. But you are the same people that were cursing your tv screen this year when he was coasting, like he was on more than candy. I can honestly say I never seen Ariza give less than 100%.TRUTH NOT FICTION

  82. 68 Reed,

    This discussion has been going on for several years. Odom’s performance and this analysis is coming very late in his multiyear contract. By now, Lamar’s job has been taken by Pau Gasol, and his salary for next year (even at a discount) has already been spent mostly on keeping Andrew Bynum. It will be interesting to find out what Lamar’s market value is.

    The fact that the Laker organization is trying frantically to find a way to keep Lamar while advancing team development is a tribute to his personal character and professional performance–and his role in winning the NBA championship. We’re in a world in which finesse counts a great deal–on all sides.

  83. j.d. Hastings June 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Kareem just posted this on his twitter account:
    http://twitpic.com/7uq2c

    Where are they?? I really hope that isn’t Bynum’s room. I mean, he could afford chairs that fit him and cap, right?

    Kareem also has this photo in his profile:
    http://twitpic.com/7pv3l

    Yes, that’s Florence Henderson. Apparently my late 70s/early 80s childhood decided to have a reunion without informing me. If only they were on the set of 3′s Company…

  84. I think a lot of these comments are sort of missing the real question. The question is not whether or not to re-sign Lamar and Trevor but how much to pay them. I have been a longtime critic of Lamar’s attitude, and for the most part his lack of production.

    It is undeniable that he stepped up big time in these playoffs. It is also undeniable that he would make winning a title next year a lot easier. However, his importance to this team is inversely related to Bynum’s production. If you can project Andrew being another 6 point 4 rebound guy next year, then I would re-sign Odom at almost any cost.

    That said, I am one of those who believes that, when healthy, Bynum is a monster. Another offseason to improve his game, his strength and his conditioning, and I would expect him to be a lot closer to the guy he was before this latest injury (recall his nearly 26 point 12 rebound average in the 11 games prior to injury). If Bynum becomes THAT guy again (an outcome I think is more likely for next year and the years to come than reverting to a 6/4 guy) then I think Odom’s importance wanes considerably.

    Odom’s versatility was key because he was relied upon to a degree that is unlikely next year if Bynum is healthy. This doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be re-signed, but I would NOT re-sign him at the risk of losing our best small forward. You don’t let a 23 year old starter with loads of potential (but accomplishments to boot) walk to re-sign a reserve whose minutes will go down as Andrew’s go up.

    Frankly, I’ve long advocated trading LO for Ron Artest, as I felt it would give the Lakers one of the greatest starting lineups in the history of the league. That “deal” was always predicated on the assumption that Bynum would be healthy, so if anyone knows anything I don’t about Drew’s availability next year, I’d love to hear it.

    All in all, LO won me over with his playoff performance, but he made $11 million a year in his last contract, and he was WAY overpaid for the production he gave us. You can’t pay a guy just for one playoff run (see, e.g., Devean George). I’d love to see him back, and if he takes less money and agrees to an Ariza-friendly deal, it would be the best outcome for all in my mind.

  85. If the Lakers screw up this situation by not bringing both back, we deserve to win the title next year.

    I don’t want to wish bad things on the Lakers, but we really have to get this thing done correctly.

    Give Lamar his 3 year 27-30 million.

    Give Trevor his 4 year 22-26 million.

    Yes, we are overpaying a bit, but we have a shot at another 3 peat with them. With out them, we could be one and done. I know that the luxury tax will kill us, but that’s price Dr. Buss has to pay to get more championships than the Celtics.

  86. LO for Artest is a BAD deal. Not only are we losing the ability to guard mobile 4s, we lose the locker room presence. Out goes our glue guy and in comes a guy thats almost crazy.

  87. Leo said it correctly that LO importance is placed on Bynums production. I would rather see the team give 8 to 10 milllion to a younger version of LO(Charlie Villanueva(restricted)). He’s 6 years younger, averages 16 and 6. You cant spend this kind of money on a 30 year old role player when youve got Kobe/Gasol salaries on the books.

  88. Plus Bynums next yearWOW

  89. I meant to say that we deserve NOT to win the title next year.

  90. While, like everyone, I hope we re-sign both L.O. and Tevor, I think the reality is that we have seen Lamar in a Lakers uniform for the last time. His fate was sealed, right or wrong, when Mitch gave Andrew a 10-figure salary (and, to a lesser extent, Sasha his $5 mil).

    I can’t dispute a single thing in Darius’ analysis or argue against Lamar’s essential role in the Lakers winning the title. I love Lamar for his remarkable abilities and his indomitable spirit. But on a going forward basis, I find it hard to believe the Lakers will agree to a Knicks payroll without Cablevision money backing the enterprise. And if forced to choose, I think the Lakers will go with the the 24-year old starter with upside rather than a 30-year old bench player, no matter how valuable a role player he is.

    By committing like they did with Bynum — basically giving him Lamar’s previous salary — the Lakers already made the decision to roll the dice that Andrew will stay healthy and increase his production to the extent that Odom will be a luxury rather than a necessity. No doubt that Lamar is a platinum insurance policy, but an unaffordable one. Surely the Lakers aren’t going to pay Andrew superstar money and continue to expect only 20 minutes, 10 pts and 8 rebounds a game.

    Right or wrong, Kobe repeatedly has said that balancing the Lakers checkbook is “not my responsibility.”. Phil isn’t going to take less either. So while I hope I’m incorrect, the math seems to indicate that somebody has gotta go, and I’m afraid that’s L.O.

  91. I had a question moderated into oblivion about the possibility of structuring LO’s and TA’s deals to incentive-ise going deep in the playoffs (i.e., X million per year guaranteed, plus (let’s say) 1 million per round as a bonus). Is this a legal possibility? It would allow the contracts to be partially paid off through playoff revenue.

  92. I disagree that Odom’s importance to the team is based on anything that Bynum provides. The two players don’t play the same position, have entirely different skill sets, and execute different roles for this team. To me, both their roles are vital to our success but are independent of each other. I understand the view point that they share minutes, but (to me) that is more based off substitution patterns than anything else. If LO consistently subbed in for Pau or if LO wasn’t the player that had to replace ‘Drew when he got injured, I’m not sure we’d be talking about Andrew/LO in this manner. When we’re talking about the Drew/LO issue, it really comes down to LO’s success as a player for this team and the coaches’ great trust in him – that’s what leads to this idea of competition for minutes and the focus on how their production is linked to team success. In my opinion, if you really want to look at comparisons, it’s Pau/Drew as they are the guys that trade off at the position that Andrew actually plays. I say all this because we truly have three starting front court players in Pau/Drew/LO. And based off what the coaches have shown us up to this point in Andrew’s career, the LO/Pau forward-center combo better for team success than the Pau/Drew one. As Reed said, this may change in the future, but for now (and isn’t that the only thing we can go on?) it’s the truth and we need to acknowledge how dismantling that would affect our team and it’s ability to compete for the championship next season and for seasons to come.

  93. Darius,
    For all intents and purposes, they do play the same position, because of Gasol’s flexibility and the three-man, 2 position rotation. If Gasol and Bynum are both healthy, then you only need 14-24 minutes from their backups, maybe less, depending on how much time per game Bynum will be able to play. The emergence of Ariza (assuming that the last half of the season wasn’t an anomaly) with Walton as a solid backup means that Odom at SF isn’t as important a consideration.

    If the team views Odom as a “necessity” it is because they aren’t comfortable with the idea of Bynum yet. (Presumably because of health issues.) That concept probably doesn’t sit well with Jim Buss, whether or not it’s accurate.

    I’m trying to look at this from what I’m guessing is the perspective of management, to anticipate where they view their priorities. FWIW, because I think that Odom-Gasol is a better PF-C combination than Gasol-Bynum, and I would have preferred they waited with signing Bynum until he had demonstrated some durability. Personally, I hope they keep Odom. I think that re-signing Odom and Ariza makes the Lakers as close to a lock to win the title next season as there has ever been (assuming a reasonable injury level.)

  94. I’m not sure that some bloggers fully understand what the Laker organization faces. Because they have already committed funding at or over the luxury tax limit (primarily becuase of Pau, Kobe, and Andrew), everything that they commit to free agents will require them to pay double. Thus, $11 million for Lamar costs the Laker organization about $22 million–the same as Kobe, $10 million for Lamar would cost $20 million–more than Pau, and even $8 million would cost the Laker organization $16 million–more than Andrew. The same would be true of Ariza and Brown. Under these circumstances, even $6 million for either Lamar or Trevor may be too much.

    The Laker organization might be able to unload some of their current obligations to get somewhat less over the luxury tax threshold as the season progresses–but possibly not.

    By agreeing to negotiate with Trevor and Lamar, the Laker organization is proving that they want to win championships. Without some kind of major sacrifice by the players, but especially Lamar, it can’t happen.

  95. Contract size is an ego issue with most pro athletes. Stars like Kobe or Lebron make several times the amount in endorsement deals that they make in their NBA salaries (I read today that Kobe made almost $50M last year from that source); why don’t they play for the veteran’s minimum if winning is really the most important thing? They are as interested as the owners are in making as much as they can. I don’t have a problem with them doing that; let’s just be realistic about their motivations.

  96. To me, whether a player is a starter or bench players doesn’t increase/decrease one’s value. I examine production consistent based on minutes. Even coming from the bench in the playoffs and playing only 735 minutes of the whole playoff, Lamar’s metrics just blew away most starter’s production. It may not be a whole season, but maintaining those stats in 23 games is downright impressive.

    Either way, even starting from the bench around half of this season, Lamar was on the floor 60% of the maximum total minutes a player could possibly be on the floor the whole season. Kobe was 75%, Pau was 71%, Fish was 61%, Ariza was 50% and then there’s a big dropoff for everyone else.

    Even coming off from the bench and with Bynum healthy, Lamar can play plenty of minutes. Just because Lamar is not one of the five players on the court during tip-off doesn’t mean he is in a second tier or should be not befitting of a deserved salary.

  97. Saber,
    “Even coming off from the bench and with Bynum healthy, Lamar can play plenty of minutes.”

    You think management wants to pay Gasol and Bynum their salaries to play 32 minutes per game?

  98. drrayeye,
    Your point is well made. The finances are the hurdle – without them, this isn’t a discussion. But just because LO and Ariza are the players whose contracts are up doesn’t necessarily mean that their potential deals are the ones that push the Lakers over the top. We could just as easily point to any players contracts as the ones that are hurting the team or putting them in this predicament. I mean Luke or Sasha or Andrew (or even Kobe or Gasol’s) deals could just as easily be viewed as the culprits that are hurting our cap situation. I’m not saying they are, but all our contracts count against the cap and are the ones pushing us deeper into the tax.

    To me, the question is not only can we afford potential deals but are we spending the money wisely. Our current group, regardless of what they cost are proven. Potential replacements, while theoretically cheaper, are not. And therein lies the rub. Earlier in the thread, names like Artest and Birdman and ‘Sheed came up. We could also float names like Matt Barnes or Marquise Daniels or any other player that serves as a potential replacement to our current free agents that can be had this summer for (potentially) cheaper contracts. But are those players better for *our* team? Will the chemistry be the same? Do those guys truly fit – and not just in the position they play or the skills they bring but in how they mesh with the rest of the group? Those are questions that are difficult to answer. They’re also questions whose answers the team must put a dollar value on. Because if the front office really believes that any potential replacements would not only work just as well but also be cheaper, we’ll know by how they move forward. If they don’t, they’ll bite the bullet and sign our current players. I think everyone knows where I stand, but the real answers will be provided by what happens next season on the court. It is a great discussion though.

  99. Dirtysanchez, the Lakers cannot offer Charlie V. or any other player not on their squad right now more than the MLE — over the cap that is the rule. They can offer Odom and Ariza more because of bird rights. I’ll ignore the question of the worth of Charlie V because it is moot, the Lakers can’t offer him more than the mid-level (about $5.6) and that would be matched. So the Lakers will not get him. Cannot get him.

  100. The only free agent that I think would mesh well with the Lakers is Anthony Parker.

  101. Two things.

    1. Odom/Ariza. I love the two and want them to stay. But this is going to come down to the external market. Let’s try to look at the players objectively.

    I am not convinced that there are so many teams able to and dying to throw $8M/yr at Odom. Can we name even one team with the cap space and motive? He is passive in the best of times. He would probably thrive in a D’Antoni run and gun, but not other offenses. He works wonders as the #3 option and glue guy. How many teams can afford to shell out $8M for that?

    Ariza I can see people taking a flyer on because of his youth and work ethic, but even so, a wise observer will see that he is, on any other team, a not-that-accomplished slasher and spot-up 3 shooter of uncertain reliability. He is a great help defender and stealer, but not far above-average on-ball defender. I really think he is much more valuable to the Lakers than to any other possible suitor.

    2. Mitch said in passing at his presser that “if we bring back the players we want to we’ll have at least 13 players on our roster”. There are currently 14 Lakers. Was he implying there was definitely someone not coming back, or just speaking imprecisely? If they really only want 13, who’s the unlucky guy? Sun is the obvious choice with a team option for $736k… but perhaps I’m overlooking something.

    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2009/06/19/mitch-kupchack-season-ending-presser/

  102. Great post Darius, I know you are a LO supporter and fan like me. I forgot about his crazy stats after Bynum was injured, Rodman like stuff. Drrayeye always adds the business side to these conversations, good additions throughout this thread. Did not Gasol have a history of being injured over at the Grizzlies? The Bynum knee injuries were just a fluke of bad luck, I believe. LO is great insurance though and a big part of the rotations, the second unit is a disaster without him and he is always out there in crunch time. Can the Lakers afford what he will cost them is the question now, I do not think so, unfortunately. I mean, that would be four players way up there in salary, would it not be. Detroit could give him an offer that he cannot refuse, right? I understand that the financial hit would basically be for next year only, somewhat. The management/owners could roll the dice and hope to shed some salary before the trading deadline next year, if they wanted to and all would be OK again.

    We would not have been in the Finals last year or this year without Lamar Odom on the Lakers.

  103. 98,

    Why 32? Why not 36? Per/36 is an ideal time for a productive starter. Kobe and Pau average 36 minutes last year. Anything more is pushing it. That leaves Lamar with plenty of minutes. Powell? Mbenga shouldn’t get any meaningful minutes before Odom does. per/24 are reserved for the highest producing subs, which Odom’s role could be, if Pau and especially Andrew stay consistent and healthy. Comparisons to players who played similar minutes on a consistent basis earn roughly the same amount as the MLE. In Lamar’s unique circumstance and production, it should be higher but what I hope is he would take a lower yearly contract with the Lakers *around the 6-7 million range*

    This is my own thoughts, by the fact that Andrew hasn’t shown he can maintain his great pace for even half the season while playing many minutes and also the result of his two consecutive injuries in the last two years, I really wonder how confident the Lakers if Bymnum could maintain and per/36 pace.I think it would lessen the chance of injuries while being very effective if Andrew would play closer to 30 minutes average. Physics-wise, it’s more probable of some of Andrew’s stature (height/weight) to cause stress to his feet then most big men. I thinking limiting his minutes would reduce the stress cause by playing and while maintain great production at a pace suitable for him.

  104. I do not understand what the debate even is: Ariza or Lamar? It is absolutely insane to me that anyone would even say that there is an argument between the two. You must must must must keep Lamar. Ariza is a good player, but when you compare him with Lamar it is not even fair.

    Ariza is good, but there are 10 or perhaps 20 players that can replace him. There is no difference between James Posey from last year’s celtics, or Patreaus from this year’s magic, or Prince from Detroit or a bunch of others that posses a few characteristics: very athletic, great defense of stopper, can shoot the three.

    Ariza is all these. But as i said before, so are 10 or 20 other players in the league which you CAN get.

    Lamar Odom on the other hand is an absolute star with unequal physical traits. Everyone talks of his versatility, but to me the most important trait he brings is his length. Whether you are talking about on the defensive end against a player like Rashard Lewis, or Rasheed Wallace, or you are talking about on the boards where Lamar brings you a small forward who can rebound like Dwight Howard.

    Furthermore when Lamar gets the ball down low, cutting into the lane under control and catching the ball with his back to the basket close to the hoop –he is indefensible.

    Lamar has traits that you will NOT be able to duplicate. He brings you defense, most importantly rebounding, and a killer scorer when put in the right position.

  105. @exhelodrvr: Kobe’s endorsement money is est. at 16M for 2007.

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/fortune/0711/gallery.endorsements.fortune/6.html

    He’s behind Michelle Wie, the golfer. It has obviously increased since, but I doubt it’s at 50M level. Even Lebron made only half that much.

    Even though I think it’d be wonderful if Kobe voluntarily took a pay cut, I don’t expect it of him or think less of him if he doesn’t (same goes for any player in his situation). I think most NBA players come from poor or working class background, and for them to make it to the NBA is like hitting the jackpot. I don’t blame any of them for trying to make as much money as they can to assure themselves, their families, and extended families, financial security. And it’s not like they’re pitted against poor working stiff; the owners are all multi-millinaires and billionaires.

  106. Apricot, the only team I can see making a run at Lamar and offering him money, a chance to win and a starting spot (the one thing he won’t have with the Lakers) would be Cleveland. If the Cavs trade for Shaq, I can see them making a run at Lamar. They simply have to do whatever it takes to get over the top next year to have a shot at retaining LBJ.

    LBJ, Shaq, LO, Mo Williams and whoever at the 2 would be a pretty nice starting unit, and a huge upgrade over this year’s Cavs team (that was pretty damn good, but couldn’t deal with Dwight Howard).

    I was pleased to see LO apparently dismiss the idea that a starting job would be an enticement, and if not Cleveland, I simply see no other team that would offer him a reasonable chance to win. Again, this comes from a longtime LO critic, but he really seems to relish the notion of being a winner and a champion, words that NOBODY would have used to describe him until now.

    LO is an oddity, in that I don’t think he is worth a whole lot of dough to a bad or average team (e.g., the kind of team that could afford to pay him) but is worth considerably more to a contender (e.g., a team that is likely to be cap constrained and therefore unable to offer the big bucks). I think these factors work in the Lakers favor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back for somewhere around the 7 to 8 million range.

  107. Why doesn’t Kobe take less money so we can keep both?

    I’ve heard this comment come up over and over and I find it insulting. Kobe is worth 2X what he is getting paid! This is his livelyhood after all. This is how he makes his living for himself and his family. For someone to ask Kobe to take a pay cut is ridiculous. This is the best player in the NBA and one of the best players of all time. I think Rashard Lewis and Shaq are still making more money than Kobe. It is insulting to ask Kobe to take less money. Kobe is well worth what he is getting paid.

    Jordon, over a decade ago, made 30 million per year for his last 2 championships (if memory serves).

  108. 99 Darius,

    I am supposing that any new “replacement” players will be obtained on the extreme cheap–not the players that the Lakers would like to have. If we lose Trevor, Lamar, and Brown, it will hurt!

    The Lakers have contracts in place for next year for about $72 million. That includes Ammo, who would be no loss at all to the Lakers, might reemerge as a quality player next year, and will be a magical expiring contract. On the other hand, Walton has a multiyear contract remaining as does Sasha. They will be around next year.

    Turning Ammo into a salary dump may require both a team looking for cap space the year after and a quality player–probably Jordan Farmar. That could eliminate up to $7 million of luxury tax for the Lakers–but not for sure. Even if he wanted to, Kobe could not give up much more than a few million.

    Signing Odom, Ariza, Brown, and other players to fill out the roster will cost more that $7 million–requiring the Laker organization to pay a substantial luxury tax under the best possible scenario.

    Even though Gasol, Bynum, and Sasha may have created the problem, the solution must come off the backs of Lamar, Trevor, and Shannon + anyone else.

    I’m hoping for a miracle.

  109. anybody here have any thoughts on Morrison being a good backup for Kobe? Sasha isn’t bringing it. Can he play the 2 guard? I’m sure PJ can find a place for him in the triangle that maximizes his potential. I’m just not sure what his skills are. Can anyone share their thoughts on this if they got any?

  110. From Kurt’s analysis, signing everyone at a “fair” value would push the salary up to around $115 mil. So if Kobe, Lamar and Ariza can accept $7.5 mil. being shaved off their collective paychecks, everyone should be happy. Tough to see that happening though, with agents whispering in ears, unless all involved badly want to keep the team together.

  111. “Rebounding is not about size and strength; it is about timing and positioning.” – John Wooden

  112. Well said,

    Both LO and TA are eseential to this team’s success. With Bynum disappeared from the playoffs, LO and TA are practically our 3rd and 4th best player (behind Kobe and Pau)

    You absolutely must keep both of your 3rd and 4th best players

  113. it is a hard choice for us. Ina my opionion, LO and Ariaz are both important fot the lakers if we want to win next season. And I hope that we can make a good deal. trade Sasha, Walton ,Adam and Sun ,then a better choice to get the draft, we can save a big space.

  114. re 108

    Jordan did make big money (30 plus million per annum) in his final two Chicago years, but he had never made more than four million a year as a player before. I’m not saying that Kobe will take a massive pay-cut (he’s locked into the NBA paradigm) but I think that a very modest one can be reasonably hoped for.

  115. one nice post daruis…
    i am an avid odom supporter because of his versatility and intangibles…since we are fresh from wiining the 15th hardware…i think jerry buss will spend every penny to keep trevor, lamar, and shanWOW…lets not forget the magic wand of mitch in pulling out magnificent trade…imho, kobe will opt out next year…

  116. or maybe be give lamar longer contract that fluctuates per year…ala hinrich…maybe 3 or 4 year deal..

  117. Odom is indispensable. If you watch this team you know it. He plays 2nd team minutes in the first half and 1st team minutes in crunch time. His versatility is invaluable and Darius, you nailed it w/ the jack of all trade line (which you’ve stated in past comments). I just hope and think these guys talk to each other and settle within negotiations that neither agent Call me crazy but these two are there come training camp

  118. Here’s an idea – if the fans really want the Lakers to keep both players, regardless of cost, how about raising ticket prices ever so slightly?

    Let’s say the average Lakers game attendance is 18,000 people, +-1000. Multiply by 41 games and get 738,000. Lets round up to 750,000, because average game attendance was over 18,000 this year, and may be higher next year as we’re the defending champs. So, if the team raises the cost of each ticket by 1 dollar (who’s complaining about a buck, and even season ticket holders only pay 41 bucks extra), the team gets an extra $750k. So, let’s say the team can charge 6 bucks a ticket extra without significantly affecting demand, they get another 4 mil, which could seriously help towards an effort to keep both of these guys.

    In reality, a simple flat increase in price over all tickets is probably totally un-optimized; anyone who studied economics and comments here could elaborate better; demand on the cheap seats probably falls more for each incremental price increase than demand on the expensive seats does. For example, to not hurt attendance too much, maybe the cheap seats go up by two bucks, but second-tier goes up by 5, first-tier by 10, and court-sides by 20. Think Jack cares about an extra 800 bucks a year for his seat if he gets to see the whole title team come back together to defend? Putting this over 41 games and 18,000-ish seats results in a lot of cash. This could help the Lakers keep the team together, and displace some of that financial burden to the fans at a very modest ticket price increase, which many of us would be happy to pay to see this team defend.

  119. Sorry I mentioned Artest, I did lose my mind there for a second. In the unfortunate case we do lose Odom, who would be a good fit to take his spot as a big off the bench? The FA market and late draft picks have slim pickings, to say the least.

  120. THERE IS NO OTHER ODOM

  121. I disagree with all of you, well mostly all.

    I think Trevor’s unique combination of hearth, defense, and youth make him a higher priority to retain than Odom. Also, the price on Odom is likely higher.

    I think Odom is a nice guy, but his inconsistency as a result of candy, pot-smoking, general boneheadedness, lack of seriousness (enjoying the lifestyle more than competing) or some combination thereof is a huge problem.

    Which guy fits better on a team with an alpha dog like Kobe? Which player is more fitting a long championship run?

    As much as Lamar can rebound like nobody’s business, can do a lot of things well (but let’s please admit the experiment with him at point guard failed) and has turned it up many times later in seasons and the playoffs, I question whether he is worth what we’re going to have to pay him and whether he can keep focused enough to earn his keep.

    He straight up told the press that he didn’t need to learn to use his right hand because using his left in an extremely dominant manner had worked since grade school. What? Really? That kind of attitude simply does not belong on our team.

    I’ve waited since we traded for the dude to really contribute something serious. He finally did in these playoffs, but it almost feels like too little too late to really devote myself to him.

    There are many good reasons they Lakers tried to trade the guy multiple times.

    I respect his redemption and the “what have you done for me lately folks” love him, but my memory is longer.

    How much would I pay given I’m still really not sure what to expect from him on a consistent basis?

  122. I wonder how much uncertainty about Bynum’s future effectiveness will factor in to the Laker’s decision making. Remember the quickness and explosiveness that had us all drooling over his potential greatness? At this point he can barely lift off the hardwood. Maybe he will recover, maybe not.

    This might be an argument for keeping the big instead of the 3, if forced to choose.

  123. Darius,

    Great job. You covered it.

    I think Lamar is practically begging to stay.

    Fortunately, there aren’t really any teams able to overspend on him, and he is willing to take less. So long as the Lakers don’t low ball him.

  124. Kaveh (108),

    Why should Kobe take less money. It’s a matter of spending the money. The Lakers make it, so it boils down to Jerry Buss spending more of his money or Kobe. This situation is different from a small market team with only so much to spend. It’s not Kobe’s job to give away money when he makes so much of it for the Lakers. The onus is on the organization.

  125. Wake up people, LO is not worth 7 to 10 mil plus luxury tax. Thats why you have role players in this league that make 4 to 5 times less than he does. It is unfortunate to say but if the LAKERS sign him they will have a headache the size of a empty tequlla bottle on a sunday morning.

  126. ON a random Note-

    Lakers on Jimmy Kimmel? Utterly hysterical.

    DJ has a terrific sense of humor, and Kimmel’s comment about Ammo being baked made me fall out of my chair.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9OkMq8oShg Part 1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Oj4D37VPg&feature=channel

    Part 2

  127. 104) SAber,
    “In Lamar’s unique circumstance and production, it should be higher but what I hope is he would take a lower yearly contract with the Lakers *around the 6-7 million range*”

    If they can resign him for 6-7 M, I suspect they will. I will be very surprised if he is willing to take that much. 10M is too much for someone who only plays 24 minutes per game, which is what he would probably get with a healthy Gasol and Bynum.

  128. 106)llubi
    You’re right about the amount; sorry, I misread an article. But the logic about the relative importance of winning vs money is still the same whether he makes 16M or 50M from endorsements. (Of course, the same applies to Jackson and Buss.)

  129. 127 – Great interview…I loved it. My favorite part was hearing Kobe say, “he ain’t going anywhere” in reference to Lamar’s free agency. That statement, combined with Trevor and Shannon being on the show, made me feel good.

    It was also cool seeing Derek joke about Kobe…the guys clearly recognize that Kobe is “god status” compared to everyone else but they’re able to joke about it. That’s gotta help with keeping the team level-headed.

  130. 122,

    I really do think this whole “inconsistency” is overblown. I seriously doubt that Lamar supposed inconsistency could come from those things you described, but the statistics in the NBA seems to indicate that the most inconsistent players are great players. Mathematically, it’s impossible for an average or bad player to be inconsistent, because the standard deviation that regress from their mean wouldn’t be great enough to be called inconsistent.

    Looking at Lamar’s peripherals, I can see that in his Lakers career, outside of injuries, his production for a PF is above-average from the mean in comparison with the league. So in terms of his salary, he earns his salary for his production. I don’t why some people expect top-tier production; there was nothing except unrealistic expectations from the day he was drafted that would indicate he would be Pippen or whatnot.

    126,

    Technically, he is worth more, given the scarcity of what the product has to offer. Lamar probably does have a high Value Over Replacement Player, so what player of similar VORP could we get for substantially less? We could hope that the Lakers’ production could be enough next year, but I’ll doubt it.

    I have to wait to see where the luxury cap is going to be and what the market dictates for Odom and Ariza to see how viable it is from a financial standpoint to retain them. I’m also not sure if Dr. Buss has a limit of how much he is going to spend. Either way, I think that the best maneuver is to take take a hit debit-wise next year; Mitch should try to maneuver with some of his lesser contracts to try to lower salary. Either way, the next few years the debit will gradually decrease.

  131. I was picking up on things Lamar said in his exit interview and I get the impression that the Lakers intend to do whatever it takes to sign LO and play him as a point forward at the 3 next year. I think LO basically implied that, and that’s why the really need him to stay in shape this summer so he is able to defend 3′s this year.

    If I were Phil Jackson I would tell LO to work on his 3 point shot this summer because that’s whats needed from the 3 in the triangle.

    (Maybe working on making a contested layup with his right hand would be good too)

  132. I think everyone needs to remember that the number of teams that have cap space to throw figures greater than the MLE is rather small: OKC, Memphis, Detroit, Sacramento, and Portland (if they renounce the rights to a whole lot of players). OKC is developing Jeff Green, I can’t imagine Detroit going after Odom before Boozer, Millsap, and Lee, Sacramento is developing Jason Thompson, and Portland isn’t going to burn its cap space for getting a super backup to Aldridge. That leaves Memphis, and I don’t believe Heisley wants to throw a ton of money ($9-10 million) at LO when the team is looking at the lottery next year as well.

    People here are really underestimating how important 2010 is. The only players getting big money this summer are big-name players; teams aren’t going to wreck their cap space for a player who isn’t a game-changing proposition for them, especially with the precarious situation a lot of teams under the cap are finding themselves in financially. It’s more beneficial for these teams to eat another year of losing (and another high lottery pick) for a chance at a first-rate star in 2010.

  133. Lamar in a contract year has his post-season for the ages… It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving man.

    He seems as though he isn’t getting into foul trouble, which was not the case in previous years. His increased aggressiveness early in games paid dividends later in game. His three point shot certainly seems more effective.

    He is going to remain a bench player, though. How can you justify giving a bench player a $10 million dollar per year contract?

    Why do I have visions of Tim Thomas running through my head?

    I want Lamar the human being to make as much money as possible. I love his game and he’s so likable.

  134. everyone needs to watch that link with the lakers on kimmel. it was seriously so funny and makes you feel great about the team.

  135. I agree with someone who said earlier that the question is not whether we should keep Lamar but how much we should pay him. If it was just about wanting to keep players, we would still have Turiaf and a host of other players.

    Based upon LO’s production and the fact that his minutes will probably be around the 24 minute mark with Bynum healthy, any salary above the MLE is paying too much. But, assuming that we want to keep the roster together, and given his versatility, we might consider paying him in the 6-7 mil range. Anything above that is over-paying.

    For those claiming that Lamar is not really Drew’s backup, that is not really true. We have 3 players sharing the front-court rotation and with Pau and Bynum getting about 36 minutes per game when healthy, Lamar only gets about 24. If you don’t think that’s going to happen, check out the playoff numbers this year. Inspite of Bynum not being healthy, Lamar only averaged 30 minutes a game.

    For those saying, Lamar is a going to be a backup to Pau, not Bynum, then it dilutes their case to keep Lamar even more. Pau will probably play 36 regular season minutes per game and 40 playoff minutes per game. So you are saying, you want to pay someone 6-7 million just to play that 8-12 minutes per game?

    In summary, I think Lamar is a useful piece and will be good to keep given that his salary is at the level of his production. And it my estimation that salary is in the 6-7 million range.

  136. “I don’t why some people expect top-tier production”

    Saber, really? Maybe it is the $14 million the guy was on the books for this year. As for his inconsistency, how is this overblown? LO is a hugely inconsistent player, who is as likely to follow up a nice game with a 6 point effort as he is to drop 20.

    I think the frustration that many have with LO is that he flashes glimpses of ability that suggest he is able to be one of the best players in the league, and yet the guy has a career scoring high of barely over 30 points and has never made an all star team. That is a tremendous under performance for a guy with that talent.

    Of course, if you price him as a guy who can play great at times, and very, very average at other times, then you get a guy who should probably make around $7-8 million, which is probably what the Lakers can re-sign him for.

  137. Doesn’t Bill Simmons write for Kimmel sometimes?

    I wonder what he thought of it?

  138. A bit off topic: Pau is going to play the European Championship for Spain, no rest in this offseason for him

  139. Darius, love the way you wrote this article.

    Question: If you combine the salaries of Sasha and Luke, at what about 10 million, are either of these players capable of giving you what Lamar Odom does (even inconsistently) in a basketball game? No!! Ergo, Odom is worth 10 million coming in off the bench or starting due to injuries.

    Factor in his willingness to do what ever it takes for the team, without much grumbling, and remaining a guy the other members on the team like to be around, then he is priceless!!

    Lamar has been in the league a long time, but he played on teams that never went far in the playoffs, thus his legs do not have the wear on them like a Kobe. The kid is just 29 and just coming into his prime, he has another 4-5 years in that 6’11″ frame and as one ages their shot gets better and so it has with Lamar.

    Ariza is more likely to NOT sign with the Lakers because it seems as though there is a long history with the Lakers that any player that Kobe befriends is either traded or signs with another team. This dates all the way back to Eddie Jones and includes Caron Butler, Ronnie Turiaf, and Laron Profit??.

  140. In case you missed it here’s the guys on Kimmel last night.

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9OkMq8oShg
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Oj4D37VPg

  141. Laker Nation Petition to keep our free agents in a Laker Uniform here: http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2009/6/20/919715/petition-jerry-buss

  142. New Lakers draft post up. Plenty more draft talk next week.

  143. Saber,

    Let’s just say sometimes simple mathematics is inadequate to characterize dynamic situations, such as the performance of a player on a basketball team.

    I understand if a player has a higher maxima, he is more capable of higher variance in his performance. Really, that’s obvious.

    I don’t really care that much about his mean performance. What concerns me is his impact on his team. Later in the season people are quoting impressive +/- stats for Odom. I’m concerned about the limited sample sizes for that. I don’t want him “stepping up.” I want him playing decently 3 out of every 4 games.

    When Odom doesn’t show up, when you can’t count on him to defend well, or not get into foul trouble, or score at least 4 points, or not get another obvious offensive foul because he wants to go left EVERY time, etc., etc., I feel it puts an enormous strain on the team and the drop off can be catastrophic to the team’s overall performance.

    I’m not really sure where I say I expect top tier production from Odom. In fact I’m quite sure I don’t say it, imply it, or insinuate it.

    My real, implied question which you didn’t really address is, “Given what we’ve seen in terms of how Odom can disappear for extended streaks of games and his obvious mental condition(s) underlying that disappearance, is he really a better priority for resigning than Ariza?”

    I see major observer bias in Odom. People appreciate him lately and on a personal level and I think it really clouds their judgment. They want to do anything they can to keep him.

    I haven’t even brought up his propensity to get injured. He plays through injury pretty well (following Kobe’s excellent example) partially offsetting that issue, but I still see that as an issue. Some of those injuries come from the aforementioned, foolish, predictable drive lefts that also result in an offensive foul because a player read a scouting report from 4 years ago that’s still relevant today.

    Maybe I’m just a sucker for strong defensive players with a lot of heart and effort that are younger. I don’t see wasted talent with Ariza. I do with Odom (which is his prerogative) and I hate being dependent on Odom having an okay game to win because I never know what to expect. I have no idea what Odom needs to step it up, but I worry that it may always require an adjustment (Bynum going down) or a novel situation (concern about showing Boston and Cleveland what’s up or fighting for a first title). I don’t want to count on a perfect storm for us to win.

    And I do still remember Odom playing Marion very well in the 2006 playoffs, but I also remember him blowing the rebound in game 6 that allowed Phoenix to send it into overtime.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Odom a total no show in last year’s Finals?

    Ariza shows up in this year’s Finals, Bynum is “healthy” with an approximately 6 inch vertical jump and we win.

    I don’t hate Odom and I always want him to do well, but I don’t feel I can count on him to take the game seriously and focus when we need him. For that, I believe he deserves a pay cut and a lowered priority compared to perfect attitude, often very focused, strong defender, ever improving his game, Big Game James reminiscent, younger Ariza.

    And Odom needs to be told to stay in shape in the offseason?

  144. chearn,
    “Question: If you combine the salaries of Sasha and Luke, at what about 10 million, are either of these players capable of giving you what Lamar Odom does (even inconsistently) in a basketball game? No!! Ergo, Odom is worth 10 million coming in off the bench or starting due to injuries. ”

    That’s a meaningless argument, because at this point you can’t do anything about those contracts.

  145. Question: If you combine the salaries of Marbury, Iverson, Francis ana Lafrentz, at what about 75 million, are either of these players capable of giving you what Lamar Odom does (even inconsistently) in a basketball game? No!! Ergo, Odom is worth 75 million coming in off the bench or starting due to injuries.

  146. TRad,

    That’s pretty funny. “Star”bury, AI, Francis, Raef Lafrentz, ouch!

  147. “Lamar Odom cleaned out his locker Thursday and left the Lakers’ training facility, perhaps for the last time as part of the franchise that has employed him the last five years”…from Mike Bresnahan of LA TIMES….maybe this article points out that lamar odom will be gone for sure…i hope that Jerry buss will keep lamar at all cost…

  148. wondahap (125)

    I agree with your post –Kobe should NOT take a pay cut. The guy is worth every cent plus 2X. I think you misread my post.

  149. 144,

    “I don’t really care that much about his mean performance. What concerns me is his impact on his team. Later in the season people are quoting impressive +/- stats for Odom. I’m concerned about the limited sample sizes for that. I don’t want him “stepping up.” I want him playing decently 3 out of every 4 games.”

    -But he does produce similar or above average production from his constant, more so then the .75 ratio you have given. It’s just that people remember the few bad games then the many good ones.

    “When Odom doesn’t show up, when you can’t count on him to defend well, or not get into foul trouble, or score at least 4 points, or not get another obvious offensive foul because he wants to go left EVERY time, etc., etc., I feel it puts an enormous strain on the team and the drop off can be catastrophic to the team’s overall performance.”

    -For the few times his production drops from the mean, there are far more numerous times where his constant/above-average production puts his team in a higher level to succeed.

    “My real, implied question which you didn’t really address is, “Given what we’ve seen in terms of how Odom can disappear for extended streaks of games and his obvious mental condition(s) underlying that disappearance, is he really a better priority for resigning than Ariza?””

    -Yes. Scarcity/Production of his position at least to me gives him more value the Ariza, who is has a lot of value for himself already. Of course, that answer precludes to the circumstance of choosing one or the other.

    “Maybe I’m just a sucker for strong defensive players with a lot of heart and effort that are younger. I don’t see wasted talent with Ariza. I do with Odom (which is his prerogative) and I hate being dependent on Odom having an okay game to win because I never know what to expect. I have no idea what Odom needs to step it up, but I worry that it may always require an adjustment (Bynum going down) or a novel situation (concern about showing Boston and Cleveland what’s up or fighting for a first title). I don’t want to count on a perfect storm for us to win.”

    -Even though it’s not well known to most, Odom is an elite defensive player. Even though not proficient in steals (which plays a small part in the equation), he does well in PER/against, opp/eFG%, opp/TS% etc. In short, his opponents’ efficiency drops off against him.

    “And I do still remember Odom playing Marion very well in the 2006 playoffs, but I also remember him blowing the rebound in game 6 that allowed Phoenix to send it into overtime.”

    -I remember that last sequence, but I doubt Lamar “blew” it.

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Odom a total no show in last year’s Finals?”

    -No-show? So his production went down previous to the last 3 rounds, but so did the entire team.

    “And Odom needs to be told to stay in shape in the offseason?”

    -I doubt that was serious, but Lamar never had any issues being in shape before the season starts.

  150. ““Lamar Odom cleaned out his locker Thursday and left the Lakers’ training facility, perhaps for the last time as part of the franchise that has employed him the last five years”…from Mike Bresnahan of LA TIMES….maybe this article points out that lamar odom will be gone for sure”

    All potential free agents (and maybe others) do this. It is not an indication of anything…the same article was written about Hedo, etc. etc.

  151. Amen to that! Bring back LO or languish. (OK, we’d do better than languish, but we wouldn’t get a ring.)
    Were fans really ditching him in the playoffs, though? I don’t seem to remember anybody jettisoning him, or asking Phil to do that. He seemed like our most reliable guy for much of the playoffs, ‘cept for a few bumps after that back injury.

  152. @150

    “But he does produce similar or above average production from his constant, more so then the .75 ratio you have given. It’s just that people remember the few bad games then the many good ones.”

    I’m saying I wish he did have that percentage of games in which he was positive on the Lakers’ results. Since 2004, that’s not at all what I’ve seen. And I acknowledged many specific situations in which he did play well.

    “For the few times his production drops from the mean, there are far more numerous times where his constant/above-average production puts his team in a higher level to succeed.”

    Few times? Have we been watching all the same games since 2004? Your argument here is practically tautological.

    “Yes. Scarcity/Production of his position at least to me gives him more value the Ariza, who is has a lot of value for himself already. Of course, that answer precludes to the circumstance of choosing one or the other.”

    Okay, direct answer, I appreciate that. However, does overall value have to imply resign priority? If Odom were worth 14M or even 11M (and I would argue that currently he is not), would we really want to sign him instead of Ariza for 6M?

    “Even though it’s not well known to most, Odom is an elite defensive player. Even though not proficient in steals (which plays a small part in the equation), he does well in PER/against, opp/eFG%, opp/TS% etc. In short, his opponents’ efficiency drops off against him.”

    I do not agree. The people that vote on all-NBA defensive teams do not agree. I don’t care about steals or blocks (though they are nice, useful ways of characterizing an individual defender). While Odom may have a positive impact on team defense, I think saying he’s an elite defender based on the stats you’ve mentioned is not unlike John Hollinger saying he believes Ginobli is a better player than Kobe based on his stats.

    “’And I do still remember Odom playing Marion very well in the 2006 playoffs, but I also remember him blowing the rebound in game 6 that allowed Phoenix to send it into overtime.’

    ‘I remember that last sequence, but I doubt Lamar blew’ it.”

    Watch it again. If by blew it, you mean anything other than didn’t focus at the right time, didn’t box out and the result was the Suns got the rebound and tied the game to send it to overtime, then you’re right, he didn’t blow it.

    His lack of attentiveness did manifest in that moment in a game-changing situation with a negative result for the Lakers.

    Odom also lost a game for us in the regular season (I think 07-08) by deciding to drive left at the end of the game with something like 15 seconds left and 10-12 seconds left on the shot clock with maybe a 2-3 point lead. He got an offensive foul and we lost.

    “‘Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Odom a total no show in last year’s Finals?”’

    ‘No-show? So his production went down previous to the last 3 rounds, but so did the entire team.’”

    That’s a fair point. However, he still didn’t step up when he had a chance. Making him a priority for resigning should mean he was “that” guy, the guy that continued to play well.

    “’And Odom needs to be told to stay in shape in the offseason?’

    ‘I doubt that was serious, but Lamar never had any issues being in shape before the season starts.’”

    I’m sure it was serious. You really can’t have an important guy on your team not play or train all summer. Last season’s end, Odom clearly didn’t appreciate that. He’s also known as a big nightlife guy, living an unhealthy lifestyle.

    I get the sense you don’t see any of the negatives about Odom or that you will just refuse to acknowledge those things in this discussion. And I don’t care about points at all. I care about overall impact on the team winning.

    I’m not a hater, but I do see some flaws that are serious concerns to me that make him less valuable to me.

  153. I hope we can get them both, but we can only wait and see …i do think we need LO, but if he does not come back it does not mean that they can not not win it all again.

    http://lakerscorner.net