Waiting For Godot. Or Free Agency.

Kurt —  June 29, 2009

LA Lakers Trevor Ariza at LA Dodgers game.
Right about now basketball fans will listen to just about anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay.” So, here are a few thoughts to fill the void.

• First, as is a bit of an annual caution, here is my primer on the trade and free agent rumors you will hear swirling over the next months: When an insider gives a rumor to a reporter, they are doing so with an ulterior motive. Always. And what is being told that reporter may be anything from the entire truth to an entire falsehood, or some level in between (i.e. just telling them part of the story).

There are about 8 million reasons for this. An agent may tell Ric Bucher something to help his client gain some leverage in negotiations. (Say player X is heavy in negotiations with one team, when the agent gets a feeling out call with moderate interest from another team. Why wouldn’t the agent tell a reporter about that second call, let the first team read about it and hopefully drive up the price?) Often, there are different factions within a front office and one faction may leak their plans to gain fan support vs. another faction. Agents or front office people may tell something true as a sign of good faith to a reporter they like and so they believe them next time when the use the same reporter to gain leverage. And that list of reasons goes on and on.

When you look at what is in the media — for example, sudden reported interest of the Lakers in Jason Kidd or Nate Robinson — think about who gains from the information released. That almost always tells you where it came from. In those cases, it sounds to me like the player and his people are leaking this to gain some standing.

• The news about Yao Ming maybe being done for all of next season — if not longer — is bad for basketball. Bad for us as fans who don’t get to see him play. Not many guys over 7 feet, let alone 7-6, with that kind of well rounded game.

• Why I think we’ll see a better Jordan Farmar next year — contract year.

• As for defending little point guards, a popular topic in Lakersland these days: The Lakers have had their best success not with small and quick but with bigger and longer. Look at it this way, under today’s rules Tony Parker could not defend Tony Parker, Jameer Nelson could not stop Jameer Nelson. Defending these guards with bigger, longer players allows some room for mistakes with good recovery. They Lakers had some of their best success this season when Trevor Ariza was switched to a PG. Just something to think about.

• If you want to relive the Lakers season and Finals run again — and why wouldn’t you? — here is a good tribute video.

• Here is a great — but long, 20 minutes — recap of the Lakers path to the title.

• Part two of a tribute to Magic well worth reading.