Lakers Moves And Draft Day Fun

Kurt —  June 25, 2009

We all knew two things: 1) The player selected at 29 by the Lakers was not going to see any meaningful court time on a stacked Lakers roster; 2) The Lakers needed money to resign Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.

So the deal that the Lakers apparently struck with the Knicks makes sense. ED Note: Okay, I’ve got confirmation on this now from several sources:

The Lakers cannot trade this pick, only the right to the pick once it is made. So on the dias tonight they will say “The Lakers select X” but said player will instantly be traded for cash once the selection is made. That deal just cannot be executed until after the pick is made. NBA rules prohibit the trading or selling of first round picks in consecutive years, and the Lakers 2008 and 2010 first rounders belong to Memphis in the Gasol deal.

And if that number is right and the Lakers really get $3 million for that pick, that is a great deal by Kupchak. Combine that with the money saved not having to pay a first rounder and it is more than $4 million in savings, which covers a lot of what Ariza will get next year.

And I’m good with this. The Lakers need the cash more than a Euro player to stash away for a couple years. And I expect them to take at least one of those guys in the second round anyway.

Now, a few final thoughts heading into tonight.

• My short and sweet take on the Shaq to Cleveland trade: Cleveland is a desperate team and this is a desperation move, but it’s not a bad one. Now you will have Shaq taking up Big Ben Wallace’s useless minutes, and that will be an improvement. He will split time with Big Z (I bet 26 for Shaq, 22 for Z, in that range) so Cleveland gets some frontcourt depth. Shaq has defended Howard well in the past. Shaq can still score in the paint pretty efficiently. I think this makes them better if everything goes right.

But there are 423,856 ways this could go wrong. Shaq brings a lot of ego to Cleveland. He and Big Z are not exactly known for staying healthy. And this is just one piece of what Cleveland has to do — they shot 32% from three against Orlando and Shaq makes it easier to just pack the paint on Cleveland and dare them to beat you with the jumper. They still need some guys on the wing to compete with the Lakers and probably a healthy Orlando or Boston. And I have serious questions if Mike Brown is the coach that can pull it all together. Still, this is a step forward for them.

• I don’t put much stock in these, especially with all the trades we will likely see tonight, but here are the Final results from some top mock drafts regarding the Lakers:

DraftExpress: Nick Calathes 6-5 PG/SG, Florida and Greece (Jon Brockman 6-7 PF Washington; and Lester Hudson 6-3 PG/SG Tenn. Martin in the second round)

Chad Ford, ESPN: Toney Douglas, 6-2 SG, Florida State. (Rodrigue Beaubois, PG, France; and Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova in the second round) Toney Douglas, 6-2 SG, Florida State (then traded to Knicks). (Darren Collison 6-1 PG UCLA; and Courtney Fells, 6-6 SG NC State in the second round).

• I like Top Chef Masters, but it lacks the drama of the regular Top Chef. The problem is these chefs, while great, have made it to the top. And they all like and respect one another. So if they fall short they still publicize and get a little money for a favorite charity, then go back home to being a rock-star, James Beard Award chef. In the regular Top Chef, these people are cooking for their careers, that gives real drama to it. Still, with no hoops on it’s a fun summer watch.

• Top Chef Masters has about all the drama of the #1 pick in the draft, basically. But what the Clippers do the rest of the summer will be much more interesting.

• Now a little technical site stuff. This post will be up and going through the draft if you want to make comments here and we can discuss the trades and moves here. Later, closer to the draft, I will post the TrueHoop Network Chat up, which you can read/participate in as you choose, or just keep the comments flowing here.

At some point during the draft when we have Lakers news to discuss, I’ll start a new thread where we can break down what they and everyone else did.