Free Agent Feeding Frenzy

Kurt —  June 30, 2009

Hornets vs. Lakers
The chum has been in the waters for days and as of the stroke of Wednesday (or, 9 p.m. out here on the West Coast) the free agent feeding frenzy begins.

Like an actual feeding frenzy, the water is murky, there are sharks everywhere trying to get their piece, it’s really hard to tell who is doing what and what is actually happening. Rumors and reports will be flying around for the next week, many of them false as agents and teams try to game the system and gain leverage.

Through it all, the Lakers goals are really clear: Sign Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. My gut read on the market — the Lakers shouldn’t have much trouble getting Brown and Odom back at a price management is comfortable with, while there is some demand for their services it is not out of line with what the Lakers would be willing to pay. Ariza, to me, is the one guy who could get a crazy offer.

But that’s my gut. Here’s what we know (and check back for updates) at the bottom:

• Kobe Bryant has chosen not opt out. It amuses me to read the occasional headline on this saying “Kobe chooses to stay with Lakers” as if that was actually in doubt. This was about business.

What this means is that he will save the Lakers no money next year. His two options are to sign an extension of the existing deal or he can opt out next summer, then re-sign a new Max deal. Rather than me explain it, read Larry Coon’s excellent primer. The bottom line is this — with an opt out next summer he makes about $135 million over five years, with an extension it is $127 million. That $8 million would be doubled by the luxury tax making it a nice savings for the Lakers, but only over the lasts few years of that deal. No money will be saved this year or next.

For the record, I know there are those that think Kobe should take less money for the good of the franchise. I’m not one of them. The money he is paid is but a small share of the money he makes this team because it is Kobe that fills the seats, sells the jerseys, gets people to watch on television. Right now he is the Lakers, and he is making the Buss family a lot of money. He deserves every penny he gets.

• For all the buzz of the free agent market, there seems to be a few teams taking on salary — ones in title contention — and ones shedding it due to the economy. It will be a rich get richer summer. The question is how rich they get in comparison to the current World Champs.


401 responses to Free Agent Feeding Frenzy

  1. this one’s for Warren, and hoping for some good luck that we sign our trio of FA’s!

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  2. Nice work Chris. I’m hoping that luck pays off and we get our 3 guys locked away asap.

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  3. Here’s a slightly scary question:

    If the Lakers are outbid for Ariza, are there any viable FA alternatives out there to replace him?

    Odom would obviously be a major loss, but at least then the likes of McDyess, Wallace, Bass, or even Joe Smith are available as backup big men. As far as I know, Ariza and Turkoglu are the only above-average SFs on the FA market.

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  4. j. d. hastings June 30, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    The fact that kobe could sign the extension and save the team money may be more important as a symbol, than financially. Just showing that basic willingness means that Odom and, to a lesser extent, Ariza won’t feel like they are the only ones being asked to sacrifice. Also important to remember that Bynum didn’t force anything last year and took less than he might have demanded. And Fisher also took less than he was under contract for for his daughter. These gestures -and Buss’s willingness to spend more- could be important if appealing to the guys to be loyal.

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  5. With any negative could bring a positive, for example, if brown leaves – more stability for farmar and he could become more consistant. If Lamar goes, more room for bynum’s progression. Doesn’t seem to be a silver lining to the potential loss of Ariza though.

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  6. I agree…Ariza could get $8 million/yr offer from DET or POR. That would be hard to match. We could match that but I’m not sure if Ariza is worth $8 million/yr. If we didn’t have Luke and Sasha’s bad contracts, sure we can sign him. But $8 milliion for a SF who has limited but valuable skills seems quite a bit. For $8, we could possibly get Marion or Hill and a decent PG. Of course, I’d rather have Ariza even over Marion and Hill, but at $8 million…whoa. I do hope Ariza gets as much as he can get from the Lakers, not from other teams.

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  7. Much better replacement options for Ariza than Odom — Marion, Childress, Barnes, Hill, etc. I’d much prefer Ariza to all of those guys, but they could replace most of what he does for a year or two (and longer for someone like Childress). After Sheed, I don’t know if there’s any available big that comes remotely close to approximating Odom’s value.

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  8. Let’s hope we get them both signed, but honestly, I wouldn’t panic even if we failed to sign either. It’s going to be a year of trades with teams desperate to clear out cap space and there may be deals that were unthinkable now that take place during the year.

    And as much as I’d like to see the whole team back, I think everyone on our team is entitled to a payday and I hope they get their worth recognized in this market. That’s the whole fun of this fandom anyway.

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  9. I don’t think Ariza is worth $8 million, that’s a lot of money. Plus we already have Luke and Sasha in for the long run. Had we not had their contracts on the books re-signing Lamar, Ariza and Shannon would be easy

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  10. would be easier* not easy

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  11. Not sure if this was posted earlier, but reportedly Ariza’s camp looking for long-term contract in 8-9 mil range.

    http://tinyurl.com/lldgdq

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  12. I think we could get Ariza for cheaper as long as Mitch stays adamant about not meeting to the agent’s demands of 8-9 million. His agent won’t like it, but Ariza will probably go a bit lower in order to stay. Mitch just has to make sure to put him in that position. There’s no point in overpaying and his agent wants WAY too much.

    Ariza has a lot of friends here and grew up here. He’s best friends with Matt Kemp on the Dodgers and they hang out ALL the time. There is no way he would leave L.A. Especially not for somewhere like Detroit unless they give him an offer he just CANT refuse.

    Either way, Mitch has to stand his ground and not panic. If he panics he could just end up out bidding himself, without taking into consideration Ariza’s real price / value. I just don’t want something like Luke’s signing and contract to happen again. I mean we have Luke until 2013 and pay him roughly 5-6 million each year. For his production he should be make about 40% of his current annual yearly salary.

    Mitch has been bad with re-signing guys a la Luke and Sasha. Both were signed banking wayy too much on potential instead of realizing they weren’t worth the money that was thrown at them. Mitch better make sure to realize Ariza’s value and know that he isn’t worth 8-9 million, nor is it worth paying more then necessary. (Again Sasha and Luke being prime examples of this)

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  13. 11

    That’s crazy money for a guy who’s had basically one decent season in 5 years. If they’re really set on that figure I’m already worried.

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  14. Good going chris h, I can go to sleep, peaceful tonight, knowing Warren’s good luck post is out in FB&G.

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  15. j. d. hastings June 30, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    8-9 million for Ariza is INSANE. He can play a great part on a great team, but that’s the kind of money Boozer was looking at getting if he opted out (according to that same article). A solid starting big man is worth this much. Your energy/ defensive specialist with the ability to hit shots when he’s left wide open because of other talent on the team? I have to think that’s an agent throwing stuff at the wall hoping something sticks. 5 years is reasonable. I could see 7 million, which may still be above the market for what he does, but 8-9? I’m sorry but you should have more concrete “tangibles” to get that.

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  16. It’s 10:30. Tell me our free agents have been signed by now.

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  17. It is Ariza’s agent’s job to aim high, to get as much as he can for his client. If I were him I’d throw out some 2007esq salary numbers, which is what he did. But I don’t see any way anybody offers Ariza more than $6 mil (and that seems high). Love the guy but he is a role player, you pay $8 mil to a guy who is your #2 guy. Odom is like an $8 mil guy, Ariza is not. But his agent is doing the right thing for his client, but he is not going to get that.

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  18. I go back and forth on whether Ariza’s worth 8-9 million. That’s probably what Turkoglu’s about to get from somebody and one could argue that Ariza’s ability to defend and run the floor is just as valuable as Hedo’s shooting and ball handling.

    @Joel 13- True, he’s only had one good season but it was so much better than any of his previous seasons that you have to wonder if he’ll make another huge leap next year.

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  19. 9 Million for Ariza does sound excessive. However, he’s younger, more athletic and just plain better than most of the competing free agent small forward (Barnes, Hill, Childress, M. Williams etc). He’s also a much better defender than any other small forward currently on the Lakers roster (Ammo I’m looking at you).

    Ultimately, in Mitch we trust. He’s let guys go when they got offers that he thought were too much (Derek, Ronny) and he’s paid to keep guys around when he thought they were worth it.

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  20. i’m getting bad feelings about all our FA signings. Keeping my fingers crossed that we can sign all 3…but I think another team is going to outbid us on TA. I truly hope that we keep him but no way do we make more contract mistakes like Luke, Sasha, Vlad, AB, etc… kobe should get paid all he can get – if we didn’t have him then this team would be crap.

    I hope TA will be willing to take less – but think another team will make some huge offer just to get him out of LA. (of course he will meet their needs…but it will be gravy to the rest of the league to break up our possible dynasty)

    Freaking Luke should be the one to take a pay cut – he should be embarrassed to make that much money with his production.

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  21. $6-7 million is the most I’d be willing to go for Ariza. He does two big things right now: hit threes and defend. He’s definitely expanding his game and has a lot of room to grow, but his primary two skills that he has can be replicated by a host of threes available on the market this year. I’m definitely not advocating for letting Ariza go, which would be a big failure of Kupchak’s part (unless someone makes an absolutely insane offer), but I’m pointing out that his current skill set (and even his potential) don’t justify $8-9 million.

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  22. according to the houston chronicle, the rockets have contacted gortat; and according to cbssports, the blazers are negotiating w/ turkoglu.

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  23. So we have to fight a Blazers team that will field Oden, Aldridge, Roy AND Turkoglue?

    Fun stuff ahead.

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  24. @Kurt and others: I agree that Kobe deserves every penny he can get out of the Lakers. But given the ridiculous amounts of money that premier ballplayers make (and Kobe makes tons in endorsements, too), I see this as less “what does he deserve?” and more “what are his priorities?”

    I’m not anywhere close to the situation, but if it did in fact make anything easier in terms of signing other players…I guess the way I see it is, does Kobe owe it to the Lakers to sign for less, in order to pave the way for signing the FA’s? Absolutely not!

    But maybe he owes it to himself.

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  25. P.S. Mike Bresnahan reporting that Kobe is planning to sign a three-year extension worth in the neighborhood of 85 million on top of the remaining two years. Plausible, but I guess I’ll believe it when the ink dries.

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  26. I know it’s all hearsay at this point but does that actually make any sense (re: Kobe signing 3-year extension)?

    In other words, if Kobe opts out next summer (let’s say) to resign a max deal, how many years + money would that be?

    If Kobe did sign the 3-year extension, I guess I’m asking, is that hedging?

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  27. Note I just realized I needed to go back to Kurt’s original post, but even still I’m lost. All these numbers.

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  28. this is a fun page to check on as the night goes on, hoopsworld keeps updating it-
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13143

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  29. 24/JD Hastings: so much for ubuntu.

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  30. The one rarely discussed topic this FA season: Where does Iverson end up? First, don’t think for a second I want him here. But the bidding will be interesting. If I was a bottom feeding team that needed to put some butts in the seats, I’d consider a two year deal while I set up to clear cap space/hoard draft picks/start to rebuild. But even then how much would you really pay him?

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  31. Kurt,

    The best fit for him seems to be Charlotte, which is in desperate need of scoring and has Larry Brown, who can give Iverson some semblance of familiarity and comfort. Aside from that, the obvious best fit is a contender somewhere, but Iverson has already stated that he doesn’t want to come off the bench and that’s a negative influence no one wants to deal with after Curry horribly mismanaged the Iverson-Hamilton issue. Boston’s team culture is so strong any bad influence Iverson would have is limited, but outside of there, I’m not sure where he’ll end up. Your idea about selling seats is a decent one — one team that seems rudderless at the moment and could use the cash is Sacramento, but I’m not sure they would be willing to shell out more than $5 million or so a year for him. I think Chad Ford is right — retirement might not be as ridiculous as we once thought.

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  32. Boozer not opting out and the Bucks being cheap on CV = great news for us:

    Pistons now want Gordon and CV, because they think that will equal the amount they want to spend and fulfill their desires for a 4 and perimeter scorer

    This leaves Portland as the lead contender for Turk, which makes sense given that Paul Allen told Pritch to “upgrade the roster,” and adding turk would do that

    Then there isn’t anyone else who would offer Ariza beyond mid-level money.

    Now, if gordon decides to stay with the bulls, which he may, then pistons have options, but if they get CV (which they probably will) they won’t go for Odom and Ariza doesn’t make sense for them with Prince…but who knows.

    Still, the dominoes seem to be falling in the right places

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  33. hey guys! i’m curious with how the extension for kobe works.. will his privileges stay the same? the trade clause i mean? coz if it were to remain.. he would definitely retire a laker instead of being traded.. right?

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  34. i think w/a bunch of the upcoming all-star calibre free agents, chemistry and (poor) attitude will be a big issue.. iverson (pride), marion(can of worms), boozer(loyalty), artest(crazy), marbury(too much to list), gordon (possession killer)

    generally not the kinds of players u want to add to a contender or build a young team around for fear of disrupting the chemistry.. and then u have odom.. sacrificed his minutes and starting spot in a contract year for the good of the team.. selfless to a fault and locker-room glue guy.. ball handling power forward who can rebound, push the pace, play the high-low post and has easily 6-7 good years left..

    how is ariza going to be ‘more difficult to sign’?

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  35. I’m guessing that the Lakers have picked up the option on Mbenga since there was no news of him being placed on waivers today. My question is: now that the Celtics have made Leon Powe and unrestricted free agent, what are you thoughts on having Powe replace Powell if both were willing to accept a similar contract at the veteran’s minimum?

    I am a little scared away by Powe regarding the knee injury, but I do think he would be an upgrade over Powell if healthy. Plus he’s a home boy like Farmar and Ariza.

    A link from a prior comment made by Zephid from which I got my information from

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  36. lakerfan08, the Laker FO will never trade Kobe, EVER. Is that what you are worried about?

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  37. kobama,

    I’m not that worried about teams under the cap throwing big money at Ariza, largely for the reasons you’ve pointed out and the fact that a number of quality wings are already available on the market. Going more on Detroit, they have no room for Ariza with Daye developing and Prince still in town (although that could definitely change in the near future).

    The more worrisome thing is interest in Odom, especially because nearly all the teams under the cap — OKC, Memphis, Detroit especially — want a good four, but I can’t imagine they go after Odom with a huge offer given his nature and his age. I’d expect Lee, Millsap, and Villanueva to get offers before Odom.

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  38. Kurt,
    I haven’t seen anyone say that Kobe “should” take less money; clearly he has earned a max contract. But a reasonable argument can be made that if he did take less, it would improve his chances of winning more titles, which ultimately is better for him. (At least according to what he has said his priorities are.)

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  39. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 7:08 am

    I will post my thoughts in bits and pieces so as not to dilute the whole thought-process. First up, Kobe and “his” money.

    Can I just say, how many players in the league can be paid “3-4M more than what he deserves” can deliver something that Kobe can? Tax aside, I’d pay this guy 5M more than what he thinks he is worth. So lay off on the “sacrifice” mantra coz its not Kobe’s persona nor his “deserved contract” to be taking less. Him alone will earn the Lakers a profitable season even if the team goes to a 29-53 record. God Forbid that happens again.

    Kobe deserves more than max, and if its such a luxury to pay him, think double the luxury to have him on your team. You ingrates :p

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  40. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Second point, props to Chris H and sT for keeping up the “winning” tradition. While I have laid low for quite awhile, my thoughts and spirit is with FBG all the time.

    Third, Iverson needs to go to Charlotte. Larry Brown will give him a fitting end to his glorious yet controversial career. Michael will support this too.

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  41. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 7:25 am

    For the ones that refer to the payroll and our FA threesome, this would be my train of thought:

    a. Lamar Odom is a rarer gem to find, and it seems that he boosted his stock by being unselfish. The act is commendable in itself… worthy to note that we would not be bannering 15 without it. 8-9M is his market value and he SHOULD be getting this much.

    b. Shannon Brown is a good budding player. But he should not be plan A-F at this anxious moments in time. He just has to be called in the JKLMOP moments just so he won’t feel left out and be considered an XYZ priority. He can wait, and its easier to replace him if it comes to it.

    c. Trevor Ariza breaks my heart.

    This is the part where the cap-ologists like Craig, drrayeye and me preach about contracts like Sasha, Luke and now the seemingly scary 8-9M for Trevor. To get to the point – you just don’t do it. Not for the economy nor the present market value, you just don’t do it.

    First of all, Trevor has 1 good year last year and 1 very good year this year. He has given us approximately 3 quality playoff wins with his defense and his surprisingly clutch shooting (with awesome accuracy too) and it goes to show what kind of student he is to the game. He would be a perfect guy to keep and have long term, but the question is always about: at what cost?

    Secondly, the wing is both easy and hard to replace. The 2 seasons we had with Trevor has had Phil getting confident and comfortable with him starting at the 3. The move allowed Phil to be creative about his matchups and his rotations and he is indeed a legitimate “core” player. But I am with Kurt 100% on this one… 8-9M is reserved salary for #2 or #3 guy, particularly a big (since we already have a max guy at small) or in more conventional offenses, the PG spot. You do not see wing players, even as good as Trevor earning 8M per unless they are quality wings that can create shots of their own and are heavily “relied” on offense or some sort of specialty ala Marion.

    The reason I babble is because the FA market and the trade market has wings available that could easily replace Trevor’s spot if he gets greedy and forgets his roots. I don’t mean to speculate on an unfounded trade idea, but a deal like Posey for either Sasha or Ammo is a plausible route for LA. The other team is looking to cut salary, we want gritty vets who defend, and have range. This by itself is leverage that Trevor should not get way over his head.

    Lastly, the home team, esp one that just won the Championship ALWAYS gets the hometown discount. Esp that you consider the Lakers are not only Trevor’s home team, but LA is his hometown.

    In the end, the leverage is simply too high for Trevor to refuse. I believe he will get slightly higher than MLE, meaning 6M if MLE is 5.4M and that should be the long and short of his deal. I see it being 4-5 yrs so that the Lakers can match its longest contract in Luke to possibly plan FA fishing that glorious year.

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  42. Although free agents can make verbal commitments and receive front office courtiers, no free new contracts can be signed until July 8th.

    That means you don’t have to break your keyboard’s F5 button refreshing the ESPN page. Rest easy Laker fans, no one can sign Ariza or Odom out from under us for at least a week.

    Things seem to be shaping up well for us… no one hot on the trail for any of our Free Agents.

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  43. 43. Busterjonez, my concern has long been that someone would come after LA/Ariza after they lost out on who they went after first. I really expect the Lakers were the first to call those two, but the worry for me is who enters the bidding in a few days, and at what price. And once you get a second offer, if I’m LO/Ariza, I am not signing on the 8th, I’m playing this out a few days.

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  44. If I had to take a guess at what I think their contracts will look like (at least what I think they are worth) I would guess Ariza 5 yrs 32M (with a ETO after the 3rd year if he feels he can get a larger contract) and 5 years 44M for Odom. I think Odom would sign for that, Ariza might get a higher offer, but I don’t think he is worth more than that.

    Of the teams with cap space I am not sure if any of them are that interested in Odom, or that Odom would be that interested in playing for them. Oklahoma City is rebuilding around Durant, Green and westrbook, Memphis is well memphis, Toronto has Marion to resign, Atlanta has josh Smith, and Portland has Aldridge. That leaves Detroit and perhaps Sacremento and I don’t see either being that interested in Odom.

    I think its a safe bet that Odom will be back. There seems to be a higher chance that Ariza will be back as well, unless someone offers him an absurdly large contract which I don’t think will happen in this economic climate.

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  45. re Kobe and money

    1) Kobe deserves the MAX and more.

    2) It’d be good for the team, the org, the city, Kobe’s image, his prospects for more rings, his legacy, and ultimately, his pocketbook, if Kobe took less money to help sign LO and TA.

    I think these 2 proprositions are simultaneously true and don’t conflict with one another.

    I’d prefer to have Dr Buss loosen the purse string but for all I know 1) the financial bottom line difference between b/t winning a championship vs just contending for one is not large enough to warrant the payroll and tax increase; and 2) the Lakers are lower on his priority list than, say, poker or women.

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  46. If you haven’t seen the rumor in the LA Times today, it is that Odom will be courted by San Antonio and Phoenix and that he wants $10 a year. The guys at 48 Minutes of Hell (the Spurs blog) say no way, the only way the Spurs can offer Odom more than the MLE is to shed $15 mil in salary, and that is just not going to happen. Phoenix is trying desperately to stay under the tax, so they are going to pay $10?

    Sounds like Odom’s people are trying to get some leverage.

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  47. Question about the salary cap. PHX now has Ben Wallace’s contract going against there salary cap. But say they buy him out and he retires. Does his contract still count against there salary cap?

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  48. 48.

    Yes, his contract still counts against the salary cap. All a buyout does is just reduces the actual payroll.

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  49. I hadn’t followed NBA that closely until the start of this year’s playoffs. Could someone tell me what was the rationale behind Sasha’s and Luke’s contracts? Were there any comments from the Lakers FO on this, any articles detailing the thought process? Were other teams interested in them which increased their price?

    Maybe I could come to terms with Sasha’s contract since he seemed to develop into a solid spot-up shooter last year and nobody probably could have expected him to fall off the cliff like he did this year. Luke’s contract was a clear mistake, his limited talent and potential as a player were obvious at that point of his career.

    Sorry for bringing up the past when it is all about the next couple of weeks now but I just have a hard time understanding it and it will be a damn shame if Lakers lose Odom or Ariza because they overpaid Luke and Sasha.

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  50. Wait, Kobe is making the Busses a lot of money? I thought the whole point here was that they’re not making enough or possibly going into the red due to salaries and the luxury tax. How do you think Odom and Ariza (not to mention Buss) will feel about taking a 25% paycut when Kobe has decided he won’t take a penny less of his $20+ million? Obviously I understand that Kobe has earned the money and has every right to take it, but by doing so he makes it more likely we will lose either Ariza or Odom (probably Ariza).

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  51. Keep in mind that Ariza’s stock rocketed in part because of the Lakers’ offense. If it weren’t for the triangle, which always end up in an Ariza super-wide-three, he wouldn’t be nearly as effective. If he goes to another offense, or if he simply plays the next season, other teams are going to defend him at the perimeter differently, the same way Sasha spreads the floor despite sucking the whole season. Therefore, it is important not to make the same mistake with Ariza as Sasha and Walton. That said, defense is something that if/when committed, you can always keep at the same level, which is something Sasha and Walton doesn’t have. I think Ariza deserves the MLE, but anything more than that he will have to prove himself.

    Another thing to look out –there are way too many ways to replace an athletic defender and better 3-point shooting. Marion, Artest, and Prince (if Pistons get Ariza) are all an upgrade over ariza, and they are all 29 or 30, in their prime.

    I don’t know about u guys, but I personally think Bynum’s contract was just as bad as Walton…Bynum is completely playing by his potential…and he should be paid after showing more than just a handful of glimpses on his potential. Although Bynum is the future, currently, Odom is way better and more important than Bynum, and it makes NO sense he is getting 13 million starting next season while getting in foul trouble every single game. On some teams, 13-million salary is the money the #1 player makes.

    If Odom leaves, Rasheed Wallace is a great replacement at the MLE. He is selfless, rebounds, good defense, and can shoot the three better than Odom.

    Lastly, although Kobe “is not required” to sign less money, doing so will not hurt him at all but increase his value. Rational and non-retarded people will NEVER say he is selfish ever again, and keep in mind he is making tens of millions. People like to talk nonsense about how short a athletes career is, so they should make as mucha s they can…but we’re talking about tens of millions, not including his endorsements. 20 million vs 23 million does not affect his financial status at all, whereas making 50k vs 60k affects us a hell lot.

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  52. in 06-07, Luke started all 60 of the games he played in, and averaged 33 minutes, 47% shooting, 38% from three, 1 steal, 5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 11.4 points per game, all career highs. At that point, the Lakers were circling the drain and Luke was one of the few bright spots. To say his potential was obvious at that point, or even at this point, is unreasonable. Luke has a very good post-game, as we saw him abuse Courtney Lee in the post in Game 1 of the Finals. The fact that the Lakers don’t need him to post up is more a testament to the skills of Gasol, Odom, Bynum, and Bryant than it is to Luke’s inferiority.

    And when our bench lineup consisted of Jordan, Sasha, Trevor, Lamar, with one of either Bynum or Gasol out there, they were the most feared 2nd unit in the league at the start of the season. Little by little, this waned as the 2nd unit started giving up leads and Jordan and Sasha both showed regression. But there was a time when they were considered good enough to be starters in the league. Seems like aeons ago now…

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  53. sorry I had a typo…3rd paragraph: “Bynum is completely being paid by his potential…”

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  54. @51: The Lakers are doing okay, with or without luxury tax:
    http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/32/nba08_Los-Angeles-Lakers_320250.html

    And, Kobe sells more tickets, jerseys and tv contracts in an hour than ariza will sell in his career.

    The beginning and end of the notion that nba stars should take paycuts afaict comes from duncan and the spurs, which is a dramatically different situation; the spurs are in a small market, with small revenue, so they only have so much money to go around.

    Whether or not the Lakers bring back Ariza and Odom is entirely dependent on whether Buss wants to make 100 million next year, or 97 million (and perhaps even more so on whether he thinks he can actually make even MORE money if he retains Ariza and Odom, due to the sorts of lucrative deals that surround 2 and 3-peat teams…)

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  55. Do the Lakers really want to sign Kobe to an extension?

    I’m a firm believer in paying someone for what they’ll do – not what they’ve done. Kobe’s at the end of his prime years and has a lot of mileage on his legs. Let’s be honest – he’s not the same explosive athlete he was even two years ago.

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  56. Some of you may be forgetting that if the Lakers aren’t successful in signing their three free agents, they only have one midlevel salary to offer anyone not already signed. The Lakers would still be significantly over the salary cap.

    Also consider that whatever the Lakers offer will be doubled by the luxury tax. Lamar at $10 million costs the Lakers more than Pau Gasol or Bynum. Trevor at $8 million is just a bit below that.

    Considering luxury tax horrors, it is very unlikely that the Lakers will offer long term contracts to any of the three.

    There are only a few teams capable or willing to offer any free agent not their own more than a mid level, and then only one. The Lakers might end up bidding for these free agents against themselves.

    Think about those things before you speculate.

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  57. 55. Those numbers are Forbes estimates, the actual Laker books are a closely held secret. But some leaked figures say that Buss and partners (he doesn’t get all of it) probably makes in the $40 million range in profit a year — not $100 mil. And, if the Lakers resign Odom/Brown/Ariza we are talking a roughly $25 million increase in expenses with the tax. So, what we are asking him to do is cut his profits in more than half. That is no small thing to ask or to be taken lightly.

    56. You have got to be kidding me. You want to play hardball with the biggest thing the franchise has going? Really?

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  58. I think this is a situation where Kobe played the “politics” of this situation right. The Lakers gave him help. They won a Chip and can win more, and he comes off as being willing to do what it takes to get it done by sacrificing some money. Now, the onus is on the Lakers to bring everyone back. Smart move by Kobe.

    I also thought Kobe deserves every penny he can make, BUT I also think he’s better served in the long run to appear to take one for the team. The continued image resurrection will bring him even more money.

    P.S. I also agree with Lazenby. I think Kobe put hin for the parade, and I think that played a huge role in why he didn’t want the Mayor “pimping his popularity” on “his” bus.

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  59. Mr. Sanchez,

    I’m regret to inform you that you just suffocated father reason and mother wisdom with your comment. Please take back your sacreligious words and resurrect our cherished parents.

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  60. 58. I don’t like the idea of paying a diminished, broken-down player upwards of $30m/yr. Let him play out his current deal. What is he going to do?

    I guess what I’m saying is that two things are going to happen that the Lakers have to deal with.
    1. Kobe will at somepoint NOT be a max-type player.
    2. Kobe will retire.

    I doubt that Kobe will go out at the top, he loves playing too much and will play as long as someone will pay him. Do we want to be in the situation Miami and Pheonix were with Shaq?

    I don’t have a problem rebuilding around Bynum/Gasol.

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  61. Odom and Ariza could get huge offers from other teams but I doubt it. Why?

    Both have shown there are championship level third of fourth best players on a team. They would be great complimenting other great players. In this economy you don’t throw away money getting a third or fourth piece without the number one or two piece in place.

    But what team in that situation has the cap space? If Detroit got Wade or Lebron, but that is a year from now. Portland? They have a glut of young players, is Ariza or Odom the missing piece? Andre Miller more likely is.

    And do Ariza or Odom want to go to a bad team for more money?

    Those who say the agents are searching for leverage are probably right.

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  62. 62. I agree with your questioning giving Kobe an extension right now. If he’s not opting out, what’s the hurry? The Lakers would still be able to offer him the most money when his current contract ends, so why commit that money now? Kobe is a fantastic player and has done a lot for the Lakers, but we can all see he is starting to decline physically (his basketball IQ is so high that it compensates for this right now). In two years, I imagine that he will slow down even more. What if (God forbid) Kobe suffers a serious injury? If he doesn’t slow down or get hurt, give him the extension when his current deal expires.

    It’s not like Kobe immediately re-signed with the Lakers when he was a free agent – he waited to see what was the best situation for him and then committed. Why should the Lakers do anything different?

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  63. Sanchez101, This will be my last thoughts on this rather silly topic, but I can’t resist. 1) We like to think of basketball as a basketball business, but it is not — it is an entertainment business. And, to use a musical example, U2 is not what they once were, but from a record company perspective (or basketball owner) they still are a top seller, fill stadiums and generate a lot of revenue. So you pay them (the finances are different but the idea is the same). 2) Kobe is not Shaq — Kobe is in the best shape of his life and has a very, very strong work ethic. He takes care of himself like no other. Kobe was just the best player on the court in the NBA Finals and he is not going to drop off the cliff in the next five years and become useless; 3) Kobe is very concerned with his legacy and for that reason is more likely to leave near the top than to go Jordan with the Wizards. Kobe learns his lessons.

    The bottom line is this — there are only a couple transcendent superstars in all of basketball, a handful in sports in general. When you have one of those, playing near the peak of his abilities, you DO NOT SCREW WITH THAT. Anything else is just bad, bad business. Being pennywise and pound foolish.

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  64. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

    From espn:
    Stephon Marbury | Celtics
    Stephon Marbury believes star players should be cautious about signing with the Knicks because of Mike D’Antoni’s offensive scheme and the way the organization treats people.
    “I wouldn’t want to play in that system,” Marbury told The Post. “That system can’t win championships. You can’t win championships if you don’t talk about defense. In Boston, the coaches even play defense.”

    If there’s oine thing in life I’ve learned it’s this: When Stephon Marbury talks about championships -or defense- you listen.

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  65. Speaking of Marbury, is he even going to playing in anyone’s system next season? I would think Boston has seen more than enough of him by now…

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  66. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Oy. And Turkoglu reportedly turned down a 4 year 35 milion offer from the Magic. Seriously, Hedo? At 30 you think you’re a 10 million a year guy? If Portland comes close to offering that I’ll laugh myself silly. I’m not even sure why they’re so interested in you in the first place, but good luck with your bad self.

    And the Pistons are reportedly banking on going after Charlie V and Ben Gordon- did Dumars go to UConn? Because if he does this while keeping Rip he’ll have a virtual Uconn all star team. He should replace Curry with Jim Calhoun and do a sign and trade of Sheed for Okafor (to make sure the North Carolina all star team is set as well). Then they just need to swing a deal for Ray Allen or Caron Butler and they’ll have a full starting Uconn starting 5. Sure there’s no PG, but it’s the principle of the matter. Or maybe they can find Kalid El-Amin from wherever he ended up…

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  67. Kobe is the biggest thing the Lakers ever had. Bigger than Magic.

    The NBA is a star driven league and Kobe has done nothing to prove he will not be productive in 5 years. He’s worth every penny now and will be in 5 years. Lakers fans pay what they do in large part because of Kobe.

    Kurt is very right. Shaq didn’t do what it takes to make that investment in him. Kobe plays through injury and plays meaningless road games at the endd of the season because “the fans paid good money to see [him] play, [he’s] gonna play.”

    Shaq was the man who thinks if he gets hurt on company time, he should heal on company time.

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  68. Um, just as a point of reference, Michael Jordan won his last championship in 1998. He was 35. Kobe will be 36 if he signs a max extension for max years.

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  69. Sanchez101 – Extending Kobe to a deal that may expire when he’s 35 is smart business. Kobe generates a lot of interest in the Lakers with his court game, plus the jersey sales, memorabilia, and pretty much owning China helps. Of course Kobe will decline physically. All athletes do. What about Randy Couture? He is a money making machine for the UFC at the age of 45. Check the numbers for Couture vs Lesnar pay per view. Kobe and Couture have unmatched work ethics in their respective sports. The reward outweighs the risk.

    By the way, if a career ending injury happens, insurance would pick it up.

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  70. Joel – I disagree. Marbury was solid for the Celtics in the playoffs as he received extended playing time. His defense and effort was there during his stay with the Celtics. Marbury’s jumpshot was off A LOT, but that is to be expected with a long lay off.

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  71. I’m not sure what exactly Dumars is up to. That one championship 5 years ago seems to have made him untouchable in Detroit, because he’s barely made a decent move since then. Now he wants to sign a SG in Ben Gordon (who wants to start) just a year after giving Rip Hamilton a 3-year extension? That should work out nicely.

    Not sure why Portland is going after Turkoglu. I’m a fan of both Turk and Roy, but they both need the ball in their hands a lot to be effective. Besides, Portland’s primary problem is its mediocre defense, and Turk would be replacing their best perimeter defender (Batum or Webster) in the starting lineup. I don’t see this as the move that lifts them into the West elite.

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  72. I agree with Kurt and everyone else who says pay Kobe whatever he wants. In fact, the Lakers should pay Odom and Ariza (within reason) to keep their championship core together. I would argue that making less profit is worthwhile from a business argument. Think about how much more revenue the Lakers stand to make if they were successful in putting a string of championships together from merchandising, raising prices, and residual fan loyalty (not just during the championship years, but also the years after that). So I would make the argument to Buss and partners that rather than thinking in a linear fashion (the profitability for the upcoming year), think strategically over the next 5 years, not to mention how much the Lakers franchise would be worth if they won multiple championships (if one of the partners really needed the extra money, he could sell his share and make lots of profit). Bite the bullet now and pay Kobe, pay Odom, pay Ariza.

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  73. At the age Kobe is now Jordan had played 25,842 min. in 667 NBA games. Kobe has played 34,531 min. in 948 NBA games. Kobe has almost 10,000 more minutes (40% more) than Jordan at the same age.

    After Jordan’s last season with the Bulls (age 34) he had 35,887 min. and 930 games played. Essentially, Jordan had as much mileage on his legs then as Kobe does now. And Kobe didn’t get a 18 month baseball ‘sabbatical.’

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  74. 70

    His defense and effort had to be there or he would have been waived. Unfortunately, his game was mediocre at the best of times.

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  75. “Oy. And Turkoglu reportedly turned down a 4 year 35 milion offer from the Magic. Seriously, Hedo? At 30 you think you’re a 10 million a year guy?”

    You’re kidding me? I don’t know what shocks me more:

    1) the magic offering 9 mil a year after bringing in vc
    2) turk holding out for more

    Yeesh. I know he’s not a sexy pick anymore, but if I’m the Magic I’d rather have VC than Turk as long as Jameer is healthy and facilitating the offense. I’m not shy about it: I am absolutely rooting for Portland to take Turk for a lot of money.

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  76. If there’s one thing in life I’ve learned it’s this: When Stephon Marbury talks about championships -or defense- you listen.

    GOLD. It’s time like this I wish we had sigs.

    Instead of this ridiculous idea of not re-signing Kobe, we should spend our time developing an Elixir of Life. Can someone honestly tell me that Dr. Buss, with all of his resources, doesn’t have one Sorcerer’s Stone? We need some way to preserve this Kobe forever.

    Seriously, I don’t know how we’ll recover when Kobe finally retires. He is, through and through, interwoven into the threads of that purple and gold. He’ll always be a Laker, and he has every right to play out his career with this franchise, and I’m almost positive he will.

    On the FA talk, those numbers being thrown out are a result of agents trying to do their job. I’m a little worried, but don’t think anyone’s giving Odom $10 or Ariza $8. And if they do, we walk away. (Ariza’s skill set can be replaced fairly well with Barnes, anyway). I also think we’ll re-sign Brown. He’s less of a priority, but the FO knows how desperate we are for potential and youth at the PG spot.

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  77. Joel – I get where you’re coming from, but I think it can work. Jameer and Turk both played with the ball in their hands and were effective together. I think, for the first 40 minutes, Roy and Turk can work well together.

    The question for me is this – who gets the ball at the end of games? Roy’s their closer, but Hidayet’s been pretty damn good at the end of games too. It could be a blessing, having 2 closers, but I think it can also backfire. Turk was successful because of the immense faith SVG showed in him, and the huge role he had. If he’s relegated to watching Roy near the end of games, does it affect the rest of his play? Will he, as Thorpe says, have Odom-esque disappearing moments and disengage?

    It’s interesting to think about. From one point of view, I think Roy and Turk can dominate together, but I can also see the other perspective.

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  78. with our possible interest in artest, do people think he would be a good replacement for ariza, He does shoot the 3, defend and can post up and his respect for Kobe should keep him in check, but we all saw what his shot selection was like in the houston series, nevertheless I think he might be the best Ariza replacment (if nesassary) avaliable

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  79. Dumar is smoking crack if he signs Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Neither of them play defense that particularly well. Richard Hamilton gets shafted again and possibly Stuckey, if they play Gordon with Hamilton. Who’s going to man the middle? Kwame Brown? Yikes!

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  80. I do not know how anyone can consider not extending or re-signing Kobe for the max, from a business and a basketball standpoint. From a business perspective, he sells tickets and he’ll keep on selling at age 36. During Jordan and Magic’s comeback, they were anywhere near the players they once were, yet still sold tickets.

    From a basketball perspective, Kobe is only 1 year removed from being the MVP of the league and current Finals MVP so he’s still in his peak. As Kurt said, he’s renowned for his conditioning and his focus so he’ll still be in quality shape for many years. Plus, 75% Kobe is still better than 75% of the league.

    Lastly, what is the alternative option? Just let him opt out of his contract next year, give him a lesser contract just because you think he’ll diminish in the next 3 years while other teams with tons of cap space can offer him the max?

    Final thought, you had Jordan or Magic at age 32, would you not re-sign them for 4 more years for the max? Would you tell any of them that they won’t be worth it in a couple of years so they should take a lesser salary?

    Just food for thought.

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  81. What fairy tales will be like for the children of the future:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/BDL-story-time-The-Power-Forward-Who-Tweeted-T?urn=nba,173847

    Pure Skeets awesomeness.

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  82. wondahap,
    “Lakers fans pay what they do in large part because of Kobe.”

    Kobe deserves the max if that is the approach he decides to take. And he’ll get it.

    But I disagree with the above statement – it’s not like the Lakers would be playing 4 on 5 without Kobe. They would have found an intelligent way to spend the 20M per year. They would still be competitive without Kobe, would still be selling out, may have won titles. And remember that Kobe gains as much from being on the Lakers, perhaps more, as the Lakers gain from having Kobe on their roster.

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  83. 78

    That’s true to an extent, but Nelson’s All-Star year did coincide with a slump for Turkoglu, who had his own breakout the previous season while Nelson was struggling.

    I don’t think it would be a disaster, but my point is I doubt you would the best out of both players. More importantly, if you’re going to give someone that kind of contract, shouldn’t it be a guy who adds something you clearly lack, rather than duplicating the skills of your best player?

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  84. I am not sure they would have found a way to intelligently invest their $20M. Replacing a superstar is nearly impossible. Look at how long the Bulls languished after Jordan left. Or the Knicks after Ewing left. Or the Celtics until the gifts of KG and Ray-Ray fell into their lap. Or the Rockets after Olajuwon retired. The examples are endless.

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  85. Oldie (#73) is right. There is so much money to be made if this unit can bring home multiple championships that will dwarf the profits (still talking about profits here) of this year. I am sure that the value of the club went through the roof during the last run so it stands to reason that it could be the same if not more this go around.

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  86. Question – Let’s say for some odd reason the Lakers are unable to sign Ariza and Odom. Who would you like for the Lakers to sign as their replacements?

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  87. Have crack pipes been passed out today? Let Kobe dangle, pissing him off in the process? Seriously?

    Kobe’s the reason Lamar and Ariza won rings. Neither is a guy who leads a team to the Finals, but as role players — even ket role players — they get the job done. But don’t think for a second the Lakers would be close to what they are without No. 24 on the floor.

    Could they rebuild around guys like Pau, Bynum? Yes. But one could argue that Jerry West did a phenomenal job of rebuilding the Lakers in the early-1990s (prior to ’96) with pieces like Van Exel, Eddie Jones and Vlade Divac. That was a playoff team, a fun team to watch in the post Magic/Kareem era. I’d much rather have followed that team than the post-Jordan Bulls. So yes, the Lakers can rebuild once Kobe leaves.

    But the post-Magic Laker era wasn’t a championship contender until the stars came aboard in Shaq and Kobe. And while Pau and Bynum are great building blocks once Kobe retires, let’s not kid ourselves into believing that the championship window can be easily propped open once he’s gone.

    Guys like Odom and Ariza (hopefully) understand that, and they’ll take a fair Lakers offer for the chance to win in June again.

    Portland, Detroit and others may have more cheese to throw around, but those who take it will need the cash to buy a fat plasma to watch the Finals from home next summer.

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  88. I’m not sure of the veracity of this report, but one Rudolfo Fernandez seems pretty ticked by the Blazers very open yearning for Hidayet Turkoglu. Curious to see how he feels about them trying to sign Ariza.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4300407

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  89. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    As usual, Kelly Dwyer puts it better than I could:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Does-Portland-know-that-Hedo-Turkoglu-is-30-?urn=nba,174139#remaining-content

    I just hope the Blazers don’t listen to him. Have they officially given up on Outlaw? If they really are interested in Ariza or Hedo, it seems like they must not believe in Outlaw, despite his being a fantastic offensive player, as well as clutch. But shhhhh. Don’t let them know any of this.

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  90. Question:
    Does anyone know if a player tells (team A) that he has an offer for x amount from another team (team B), how does team A know that is a valid offer? Does everyone always tell the truth about offers they get or do they fudge? Are there ways to check on the truth of said offer?

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  91. I want to know who we think would be some good guys to fill out the roster with assuming we get Odom, Ariza, and Brown back (or some comparable MLE player).

    This may not be popular but Kwame Brown may not be able to get more than a veteran’s minimum and I think he, although very lacking in offense or catching passes, was a decent one on one post defender that could be used if our bigs got in foul trouble.

    Also people like Royal Ivey, Flip Murray, Ronald Price I think are good options to help fill out the roster. I doubt anyone at the end of the bench will be getting much playing time so I would go for young players who have been in bad systems and just hope to strike gold or get a consistent spot-up shooter.

    One I would love to get for cheap would be Ime Udoka but I think some team will pick him up for more than the minimum.

    Can you think of some Veteran’s minimum talent that could help fill out the 1 or 2 roster spots left and make an impact next season?

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  92. mikeinchitown July 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Here’s a thought- Artest and Villaneuva as alternates for TA and LO.

    I can see Artest absolutely hounding LeBron or Pierce or RJeff- he is a better on-ball defender than TA. He’s obviously a headcase but wondering if PJ and Kobe could tame that down. Plus, as streaky as his shooting is (or is it just pure shot-selection?), he’s a decent 3PT shooter so net-net, he might be an improvement over TA.

    Villanueva is more of a reach, seems like Pistons will offer him big$, but seems like a younger LO.

    Worst case scenario, if TA and LO were lost to FAgency, signing Artest and here’s another crazy thought, Nate Robinson, could be interesting.

    Just want to throw out there that even if TA/LO are our clear #1 options, there are players out there we can acquire with similar $.

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  93. 92

    Have to agree with Mr Dwyer. Seems to me that Pritchard is looking to make a splashy move rather than one that makes sense for the roster he’s assembled. If the story about Fernandez is true, that’s just another reason to look elsewhere.

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  94. #94

    Unfortunately, if for some reason the Lakers are unable to sign both TA/LO, they can only offer the MLE since they’re over the cap. It’ll be extemely difficult to replace both players.

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  95. I know they can only offer the MLE, I’m talking about veteran minimum players. You have to fill out a roster either way

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  96. exhelodrvr,

    I agree with what you said, but my point was the Lakers can raise the prices and still sell out because they have a guy that people continually want to watch. Of course, there are other guys in the NBA that might provide a similar effect, but Kobe is someone who fills the seats in every arena, and keeps the fans tuning in, and justifies every penny you spent watching him.

    The Lakers are the Lakers. As long as they are run right, they will continue being the premier team in the league, but Kobe puts them just a notch higher.

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  97. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    90. Really happy to see DJ and Powell back in the fold 😀

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  98. mikeinchitown July 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    ah, gotcha.

    so perhaps the realistic worst case scenario is that the lakers lose one of their two FAs, that would enable to them sign the other (assuming both aren’t offered ridiculous $$$). then the hole created by the departure could be filled w/a MLE player. assuming TA is the one attracting more attention, i still like the Artest deal (with Ammo coming off the books next year, and assuming Artest plays nice, probably can offer him a decent deal).

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  99. #77

    I know the feeling of “how will we ever move on after playerX.” I remember thinking the same thing when Magic retired.

    It really depends on who’s there to carry on. If we’ve still got Bynum and Gasol, then I think we carry on just fine. This is the Lakers, we don’t get real droughts like other teams do (or at least we haven’t since Buss took over). I’d imagine a huge drop-off, maybe a lottery year, but in the 90’s we survived losing Magic, we survived saying goodbye to Shaq 7 years ago, and we’ll survive when Kobe leaves. 😉

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  100. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Guy- the lakers have picked up the options on Powell and Mbenga. Assuming we keep our FAs, we essentially have a full roster. In fact we will have 1 more guy (Sun) than Mitch has said they want on the roster (13). And they are leaving the slim chance open to sign their 2nd round pick if he shines.

    In other words, there will be no pickups. Trades, maybe, but I wouldn’t bank on much.

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  101. Oldie:

    It’s called poker. Maybe Player is bluffing. Maybe not. How much are you willing to lose to find out?

    The only way Team A knows for sure Team B has made an offer is if Player is a restricted free agent and Team B signs Player to an offer sheet, which Team A has the ability to match. Otherwise, it’s all smoke and mirrors. Or maybe it’s the truth.

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  102. No team will pay more than MLE for Ariza in this economy. He is the fifth best player on his current team after Kobe, Pau, Lamar, and Bynum.
    Posey was older but still a better overall player than Ariza when he signed for MLE for 4 years with the Hornets. He played the role of Ariza for Boston and went to New Orleans, but was not a difference maker for them.
    Ariza will not make a contender out of low quality teams. He is the definition of a role player. If he goes to a another team where he has to be the number two or three option, he will struggle big time.
    Artest is a much, much better all around player than Ariza. Not even close. Yes, he is a headcase at times, but talking purely about basketball and talent wise, it is not even close.

    It would be crazy for any young, non-playoff teams to spend more than MLE on Ariza. He is not the answer for that kind of a team. He needs to go to a well-established playoff team with two superstars to be effective and play off of those kind of players. And ALL of those teams are over the salary cap!

    Lakers just have to be patient and not offer much beyond MLE to Ariza. He might play hard to get for a while, but he is not going to get a better deal. No way!

    Just Don’t Panic!

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  103. If Portland is going after Hedo and Detroit is concentrating on CV and Gordon, then the market for Ariza and Odom just dried up. Who else is going to offer them more than MLE money?

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  104. God, I hope all seven days — remember guys cannnot sign until July 8, aren’t going to be like this.

    First, a couple comments have been deleted because of trade speculation. For those new here, we do not allow you to suggest trade ideas out of the blue, only discuss existing, legitimate rumors (otherwise it takes over the thread).

    Second, there is no rounding out of the roster if Odom/Ariza/Brown return. First, that makes 14 with Sun, and the Lakers can cut him any time before Aug. 1. Which would not be a shock.

    The level of worry among Lakers fans never ceases to amaze me.

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  105. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I say we let Ariza walk and sign Smush Parker instead.

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  106. 107

    Second that, and let LO go for Brian Cook. He’s like a poor man Villaneuva .

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  107. Oh, and I hope it doesn’t come to me having to do another long “why Artest is a terrible fit here” rant. I’ve written it so many times. The idea of getting him remains a pet peeve of mine.

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  108. 88/e-roc: I think Grant Hill may be a safer option(roughly the same price, and shorter deal) than Ariza. There’s no getting around it, though. No one could replace Odom.

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  109. I with Kurt (I’m a homer). Sure, the off-season’s going to be boring if we just resign the 2008-09 roster, but the Lakers are the champs precisely because of their even-handed, conservative approach.

    (With the arguable exception of the Shaq trade) the Lakers do not make knee-jerk off-season transactions. How many teams blew-up their rosters through ill-fitting FA acquisitions in the wake of Pau’s arrival. We’re the DEFENDING-FREAKIN’-CHAMPIONS! It feels good. Enjoy it. Ride it. We do not tinker with our roster, over-spend and doom our future because the Spurs picked up RJ, Cavs Shaq, and Orlando VC (which I think are similarly desperate aftershocks of the Pau-Kobe union).

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  110. Kurt, just link to the Post’s that you have already written about Artest, you were very convincing in those, as I remember. This is going to be a very loonnngggg 7 days I can see. I am sure that we will sign at least one of our main FA players, but just not sure about anything, you know what I mean here. Only one MLE at our disposal to get anybody other than our own FA players, I hope we sign them all.

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  111. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    108- we may be able to talk Detroit into trading Pau for Kwame Brown…

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  112. It was only a suggestion(Kurt), I was only stating a sign and trade deal for one of our top free agents, if we couldnt sign both, would be a viable option. It allows the LAKERS to get something in return for losing one. A win win situation. You let others post replac ing players(95) and mentioning specifics players names so whats up with that. Ill just reword it as REPLACING. LO, Ammo, YounG Farmar replaced by Hinrich, and Tyrus Thomas. Is that better.

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  113. This was my Artest rant:

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/07/05/lamar-odom-ron-artest/

    And I think this season proved my point. What did we want to happen against the Rockets? For Artest to take over the game. For him to piss off Kobe. How many of our matchups did Artest cost the Rockets this year?

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  114. KURT – you may have already posted this, but what is your feel on what Lamar, Ariza and Brown *should* get from the Lakers?

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  115. 115. DirtySanchez, it was not personal, and you were not the only person. The no trade talk thing is a long standing rule here not because some (most) of the ideas aren’t valid, or something Mitch should consider, but because comment threads literally only become trade-fests, with little else discussed. It just tends to dominate the discussion no matter the time of year or topic, everyone always has a trade idea. So, I made the decision to ban all of that talk.

    Again, nothing personal to you or your idea (you know I covet the player you wanted).

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  116. 111. The only player on the roster who is irreplacable is Kobe. LO is replaceable, meaning one player couldnt do it all but the combination of two veteran big men could. One who is a defensive rebounder and a second with a little better offensive game.

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  117. 117. LO $8 mill (four years?), Ariza $5.5 (three years with player options), Brown $1.5 (two years). That is what I think/want at the end of the day. If I were Mitch I’d try to make it lower (and he is the only one who knows how high he can actually go).

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  118. 113 the salaries wont match up … cant do that.

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  119. Ive heard a lot about ariza to cle or portland.

    which is it

    a. these teams are actually discussing this
    b. david lee raising the stock of his player
    c. reporters just trying to upset laker fans

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  120. The thing that sucks about the next 7 days is that we are going to be overwhelmed by stories from so called “insiders” telling us that player X is getting paid top $$ to go play for a team where he clearly does not fit. It would not surprise me if these “insiders” turn out to be the player’s own agents (or the players themselves) trying to drive their value up.

    Like many have said, don’t panic. Wait and see what happens. The teams that rush to sign players are the one’s that always end up regretting it.

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  121. 122. While B (David Lee) is part of it, both Portland and CLE are making runs at the players on the top of their FA boards right now. If that falls through, they (or someone) will make a run of some kind at Ariza. I think he will sit back let things shake out a little bit.

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  122. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    If I was trying to dissuade the Artest Brigade, I’d just print his offensive efficiency numbers from the last 4 games of our series against them. They were historically awful. I’ve heard unsubstantiated rumors that Darryl Morey had to turn off his vaunted stat crunching machines at the time because the screens on which they displayed their results started bleeding. Usually not a good sign.

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  123. 122. It depends on how much LO would be signed for. Then the numbers would match up.

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  124. Brian,

    Right, poker…
    But if a player (or his agent) bluffs and a team declines to match, thus exposing the bluff, I suppose that agent will lose credibility with the team, right? But probably not with other teams…not exactly the same thing, but remember Boozer and Pelinka reneging on their handshake deal with Cavs years ago, and neither is hurting for business in the NBA because of it. As far as I know the Cavs don’t have any of Pelinka’s clients, so I guess the risk to bluffing/reneging on deals is burning bridges with a team.

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  125. D###, Artest has a harder time on this site than a pound cake at a weight watchers convention. He is a viable commodity when it comes to basketball , when surrounded by other talented players. The Rockets did not have any other true star that wasnt hurt, so he was trying to do a little to much in the playoff, not his MO. That’s probably why his numbers where so shady during the games against us. He is still a defensive hound who will shove and push his way thru a wall and his jumper is not all that bad. I have a feeling he is the type of player you hate on the other team, but loved to have on yours, because you appreciate a teammate who is willing to do the dirty work. If he goes to a contending team with veteran leadership he will thrive. All I know is, I hope we dont have to see him again with a better supporting cast next year in the playoffs.

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  126. Wondabhap (#68),

    You must be really young to write this:

    “Kobe is the biggest thing the Lakers ever had. Bigger than Magic. ”

    Kobe will never be bigger than Magic. Ever.

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  127. KURT has it right – I think there’s a lot of unnecessary panic, and unwarranted speculation.

    Personally, I think LO and S. Brown will both sign relatively quickly, as I think both will get a pretty good idea of Market Value sooner than later, and the Lakers will compensate accordingly.

    BUT, David Lee is Ariza’s agent, and as he showed during the Bynum negotiations, he’s a grand-stander at best, and a ham-handed amateur, at worst (probably somewhere in between). Lee even said it in the papers, he’s going to drag this out as long as possible to try to wring every last nickel he can get.

    Technically, that’s his job.

    It doesn’t help much with Laker Fan sleep patterns, but the guy is doing his job…or the version of it that makes sense to him, anyway.

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  128. Looks like Dumars is inexplicably going to sign Gordon to a $50M/5yr deal.

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  129. looks like gordon to DET is done. 55 mil/10 yrs.

    Guess Rip is available.

    Dumars must have just hated how things went down last year and is just gonna clean house.

    also artest at the two in cleavland wound be scary

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  130. 128. That is exactly Artest’s MO. It was in Sacramento, it has been everywhere he has played. He is a good player who thinks he is a great player and cannot play within himself or a system. When he does stick within a system he is a valuable asset, but he cannot do it consistently over time. He will break out and he will screw things up.

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  131. correction 55/5yrs

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  132. 131. unbelievable. but it’s even worse than that. from espn: “Former Bulls guard Gordon will receive a five-year, $55 million deal, while former Bucks forward Villanueva gets a five-year deal for $35 million, sources told ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard.”

    Question. Does this put Lamar at 7 per based on the Charlie V deal?

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  133. “Kobe is the biggest thing the Lakers ever had. Bigger than Magic. ”

    Not yet. Maybe not ever. Let’s revisit this statement when/if Kobe snags another couple rings …

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  134. I’m glad Chuk V goes to Chi-town, I think he would’ve really helped the Cavs.

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  135. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    131/133- to be fair to Dumars, there’s a chance that Gordon could start pulling down 10 rebounds a night next year. At least I assume that’s what Dumars is banking on, because otherwise, that number don’t make no sense.

    When they put out a starting lineup featuring Charlie V, Gordon, Stuckey, Rip and whoever else is involved, they will be one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Poor Tayshaun.

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  136. j.d. Hastings July 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Man, am I glad I sold my Joe Dumars stock YESTERDAY!…

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  137. With Charlie V getting 7 mil a year…there’s no way Ariza would even command a salary that high. It’s looking good for us.

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  138. Cross Detroit off the list of potential LO suitors. Unless some other team clears some significant cap space, I can’t see anyone else making LO a significant offer.

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  139. What is Dumars doing? That’s just terrible management of $20 million worth of capspace. I don’t mind the Charlie Villanueva deal. That deal is defensible but Gordon’s is not. Gordon can’t guard his own shadow and undersized. What happens to Rip Hamilton and Stuckey? What about their playing time and the development of the latter? The Pistons still don’t have a good supporting cast at all. Just terrible.

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  140. AB & R,

    I’m 30. I grew up on the Showtime Lakers. My favorite player ever is Magic. I practiced the baby hook because of Magic and like to run after a rebound because of Magic, but I think Kobe has surpassed magic in Lakers popularity. Not the greatest Laker….Yet. To me, it’s still Magic. But I think he’s the most popular Laker.

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  141. I am curious who people think is better?

    Tayshaun Prince or Trevor Ariza?

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  142. 141. I don’t think Tayshaun is the athlete Trevor is, but he’s superior in pretty much every other regard.

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  143. no. 129 kobe is bigger than magic. You must be old

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  144. Wow, are we going to have a debate on who is bigger? Kobe vs Magic? I guarantee Magic trumps Kobe if we put this to a vote. I’m 34 yrs old and I’ve seen both play at their prime. Kobe’s closing the gap, but until he has a couple more rings…it’s not even close.

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  145. Brian P – Tayshaun Prince.

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  146. 141- if we’re usin the present tense i’d say ariza, tho at his best tayshaun was more skilled and better at d than ariza, tho ariza is more athletic

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  147. Magic sells much better than Kobe, that’s for sure. Not sure who I’d take first, but if I had access to all our Laker guys in their prime, I probably would take one of our centers 😉

    As for Lamar and Ariza, the reason we want them back is NOT because they are irreplaceable. Everyone is, including Kobe. If we have a Kobe-sized gap in our salary, I think we could entice either LeBron or Wade to come here, really 😀

    Got carried away, but the reason we want Lamar and Ariza back is because they are already familiar with our team(mates) and because Phil is familiar with them, and we can save a lot of time.

    Remember, before Bynum was injured, Walton was starting and both Odom and Ariza were on the bench, and we had no trouble winning – in other words, as great as those guys were for us in the finals, if we get a healthy Bynum, we just need able bench guys and not miss a beat.

    Regarding the topic about Kobe and his worth… ridiculous. Not having Kobe is like the new Transformer movie where half the new Decepticons don’t even transform, or worse, are Terminator clones. Lakers are Lakers because we have superstars. We build around superstars. We follow superstars. We buy superstars. With Kobe we have ourselves a Megatron (or Starscream, depending on your take on Kobe/Shaq) instead of an Optimus Prime, but still, we’re not a team that’s known to cast Bumblebee and the Chevolret twins.

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  148. Who else was after Villanueva and would the Pistons signing cause them to go after LO instead?

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  149. I’d take Tay over Trevor. Longer, better individual defender (though Ariza is closing the gap), can create his own shot off the dribble better than Ariza. If Trevor can shoot the 3 like he did in the playoffs than he is the better outside shooter, but I am not convinced he can do so over the course of a full season (though I would welcome him proving me wrong).

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  150. It’s not so much who was after CV who might now possibly want LO as a substitute, but a) who has the cap room to offer LO $10M a year, and b) whether that team is a desirable destination for LO.

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  151. holy crap. the clippers actually made a decent move. traded z randolph to memphis (who else) for q-rich.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-clippers-randolph2-2009jul02,0,238192.story

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  152. Eric Pincus from Hoopsworld has this:

    The Los Angeles Clippers are very close to a deal with the Grizzlies sending forward Zach Randolph to Memphis for former Clipper Quentin Richardson.

    More to come . . .

    What are the Grizzlies doing, lol?

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  153. LA Times reports Zach Randolph headed to the Grizz for Q-Rich’s expiring contract. That ought to take the Grizz out of the running for LO.

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  154. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I can’t believe that the signings of Gordon and Charlie V are Joe’s final offseason moves. Either Prince or Hamilton is getting shipped out. Detroit has to keep Stuckey now, unless they swing that megatrade with Boston, but I don’t see that happening now that they’ve signed Gordon to a cap-killing contract.

    This is great for the Lakers, and now all we need is for Hedo to sign with Portland, killing their cap and their chemistry, and preventing them from making an above-MLE offer to Trevor.

    The other teams below the cap are especially targeting Milsap and David Lee, and probably going after Gortat, Marvin Williams, and maybe Ramon Sessions. All those guys are 25 or younger. Williams is the only one who would more or less duplicate Trevor’s skills, and I believe other teams will sign him to an offer sheet before they go after Trevor (the Hawks could let him walk). I’m sure other teams are interpreting our cap-saving trades and our draft pick sales as a sign that the Lakers will match any reasonable offers. So, why would they risk losing out on a more available free agent by wasting time pursuing TA or LO? I think we’re re-signing Lamar for $8-9 million per, Trevor for the MLE, and Shannon at around $1.5 million per.

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  155. This David Lee (agent) guy sounds like the biggest a$$hole in the universe. Threatens to bolt to another team without bringing an offer back to the Lakers. More posturing? Trying to stir up the fans to put more pressure on Kupchak?

    http://blogs.pe.com/prosports/2009/07/ariza-contract-talks-not-going.html

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  156. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    154, 155. Too funny. I love Chris Wallace. I would love to see him, Dunleavy, and Kupchak locked up in a room for a week, which would inevitably result in the Lakers getting Rudy Gay and either OJ Mayo or Marc Gasol, and subtracting Luke and Sasha.

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  157. 156, Alridge’s source in this article states BG agreed to come off the bench for the Pistons.

    http://www.nba.com/2009/news/features/david_aldridge/07/01/pistons.signings/

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  158. wow the clippers did something right!!!

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  159. Wow, Memphis was really determined to get Randolph. They’ve been after him for at least a couple years it seems. Good move for the Clippers. I’m amazed that teams are still trading for Randolph… Scratch that, the 3 teams that trading for him were the Knicks, the Clippers, and the Grizzlies. Not amazing at all.

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  160. OKC, POR, TOR, and ATL are the only teams remaining w/ enough cap space to offer LO a contract greater than the mid-level. If and when their capspace is used up, the Lakers can outbid any competitive full-midlevel offers. That’s got to be the best case scenario.

    Worst case, they sign 1 yr deals and wait for ’10.

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  161. 151. Cleveland and San Antonio were interested in signing Charlie. I think Cleveland has only a MLE and San Antonio with the signing of Jeffersons in the same boat.

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  162. 159 – Dumars just used $55 million to sign a 6th man? It’s amazing how quickly executives go from being geniuses to making, ahem…highly questionable moves. Those numbers boggle my mind. By that token, Turk is worth $15 million, Lamar close to that, and Ariza the $10 he’s looking for. Thank God our GM has perspective.

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  163. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    159. Chibi, that’s a lot of scratch to pay a 6-1 shooting guard who comes off the bench and doesn’t play any defense. Anyway, thanks Joe! And, Memphis is now virtually out of the David Lee and Paul Millsap sweepstakes. They were never going to sign LO, but what this means is that a team that would normally have targeted LO could go after David Lee instead.

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  164. people can there be another offseason so loaded, so potentially-altering as 2010? kobe’s in the mix too. or it could end up being the most predictable should most of them re-sign with their teams.

    on the 2009 arms race, bynum landed a great deal for himself via his agent. i am a bit divided about this. he can turn out to be another sasha but that’s too dismissive of me of sasha and too judgmental of ariza’s motives. so i am with most of you here. anything beyond 6M is ridiculous. lamar should command 8M at most seeing charlie go for 7M. turkoglu looks like a blazer and look at their glut at the sf position now, or ar they just that loaded? bottomline, i believe still we get all 3 back. thanks josh and dj for being back!

    and look at how other teams go! cleveland can get a bit scarier with a compromising wallace or artest but that hasn’t happened. if ron-ron is looking for a team and to tame himself, is it possible to get him for cheap even with TA and LO signed? i mean, a lot of us don’t like him but who wouldn’t want what he can still offer say as a 7th man? man am i dreaming! but what do we know of this man’s plans?

    detroit built a first-round-exiting team around the promise of stuckey, the declining rip and what we know of bg, cv and tp. how about 2010?!

    again, i still believe everybody’s chances to get home the trophy next season is hinged on how healthy and greedy we play. when in sync, we can be devastating! GO LAKERS!

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  165. I really really hope that q doesn’t hurt himself after being traded for darko one week then back to the clips the next. they should have a clause in the cba that if you’re on the clippers more than once you’re contract is voided and you get to start from scratch. or are they planning to bring darius mils back too? I feel bad for bandys kids- they could have had kobe as a father instead…

    was that wrong to says? i’ll trust kurt to edit as necessary.

    as bad as we think zeebo is consider this- would you rather have darko or him? randolph is definitely more productive on paper, tho he probably is terrible for the growth of oj mayo and gay.

    anyways, to david lee he was bynums agent too no? that turned out alright. all agents are paid to be scum. wait for events to play out before making that voodoo doll…

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  166. Thanks wondahbap,

    Order is restored. However, I still disagree with you in regards to who is more popular. I still think (and judging by the fans reaction to his face appearing during games and even in the most recent parade celebration), Magic is by far the more popular Laker than Kobe. Of course, Kobe is definitely a better athlete and more skilled than Magic, but I don’t think he compares to Magic’s basketball IQ and impact on the game. NBA has a bigger presence now and world is a lot smaller……but Magic is undeniably the greatest and most popular Laker ever. If Kobe wins 6 rings….then I’ll reconsider.

    By the way, for the “young” (aka Taco B) Magic averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game in his rookie season. More impressively, Magic had 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in the clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals ON THE ROAD (without Kareem) while starting as a CENTER! And this was as a rookie!

    Imagine how much the media would be drooling if LeBron, Jordan, or Kobe had done that in their rookie season.

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  167. How much stock do we put in (agent) David Lee’s rant about the Lakers not showing Ariza love and Ariza having firm offers, etc…

    Ariza couldn’t possibly have a firm offer above the MLE (maybe the Raptors, but they are pursuing turk now). He’s just pissed that Mitch only wants to pay 7 mil right?

    (Kurt, you’re right about the absurd level of worrying from lakers fans…myself included!)

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  168. I think Trevor is gone. Lee is going to burn the bridges and TA is not going to get what Lee Is looking for, but probably more than the Lakers want to pay.

    I think we have a good shot at getting LO back at a reasonable price.

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  169. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I honestly don’t think BG is gonna come off the bench. You do not pay star money to do that. CV is a bargain at 7M but we can expect more contracts like this in the coming days due to the economy and bad moves by teams.

    I would agree that Hedo to Portland increases our leverage to Ariza. 6M is still my bar, the 10% greater than MLE contract.

    Odom is integral therefore he gets my 8-9. After all, who would you prefer? CV at 7 or Odom at 9?

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  170. NOTE to Joe Dumars: No matter how you try to look at it, Ben Gordon is not your buddy Vinnie ‘Microwave’ Johnson 2.0, he’s just not.

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  171. http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/sports/nba/090701_artest_return_unlikely

    Ariza has to compete against both Turkoglu and Artest now. Good news for the Lakers, bad news for Ariza’s agent.

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  172. @161 Joel
    “I’m amazed that teams are still trading for Randolph… Scratch that, the 3 teams that trading for him were the Knicks, the Clippers, and the Grizzlies. Not amazing at all.”

    My favorite comment in the entire thread.

    The options are looking pretty good at this point, definitely for retaining at least one of Odom/Ariza, and I hope both (at reasonable contracts).

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  173. Assume the opposite of everything David Lee says in public.

    “Has offers in hand” – Not if he is annoucing that in public.

    “Mitch won’t make an offer” – well, this one I believe. Why should he until the market establishes what teams are paying?

    But still, the more David is negotiating in public the weaker his position really is.

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  174. Seems as if Artest is looking for a contender to play for. The Yao situation might persuade him to leave and sign as a MLE with a championship calibur team. I would hate to see him in Cleveland w/Bron. Maybe we dance with devil under a pale moon light, if TA’s agent drives his asking price up to high.
    1.Fish
    2.Kobe
    3.Artest
    4.Gasol
    5.Bynum
    Bench: Farmar, Walton, Sasha, LO

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4300950

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  175. Uh, the Clippers have become a bit more attractive to 2010 free agents. There is a lot of young players on that team like Gordon, Thornton, and Griffin. There is also DeAndre Jordan and Kaman. They may even trade Kaman.

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  176. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Agree on the Clips. ZBo was actually a fine move to get the logjam out of the way…

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  177. Kuster, thanks for the reassurance.

    Yeah, I’m thrilled that the Clips got rid of Zbo….I’d really love to see them do good things at some point in my life. Can we all pitch in and buy Chris Wallace something nice? Nothing too fancy, but, ya know, just to let him know we care?

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  178. Chris Boussard is reporting the Ariza may leave because the Lakers aren’t willing to offer more than the MLE

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4301414

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  179. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4301414

    That Artest scenario may actually become reality…

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  180. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    170. Actually, I think Gordon might be better than Vinnie on the offensive end. He’s just not worth $11 million per season. The more I think about this, the more I believe that Hamilton is on his way out of Detroit.

    Man, it sure would be great to see Portland kill their chemistry AND their cap by signing Hedo, plus creating a logjam at the SF and PF spots and discouraging TA and LO from going there. That would leave very few teams with enough cap space to sign LO or TA.

    The Thunder? They’re targeting Millsap, if they miss out on him there’s no way LO would want to go to a place that’s 500 miles from the nearest beach, and if they miss out on LO there’s no way TA would sign on to be Durant’s caddy.

    Memphis? They’ve got Z-Bo, Marc Gasol, Thabeet, Rudy Gay, and Darrell Arthur in their front court now.

    The Suns and Spurs, being over the cap, can only offer the MLE to LO or TA. They’re out. That leaves SAC, ATL, and TOR as the only teams under the cap who could conceivably offer a deal above the MLE to Trevor or Lamar.

    Here’s what Chad Ford says about ATL and TOR:

    “The Hawks could get roughly $14 million under, but it would require their letting go of Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby and the rights to Josh Childress. More likely, they’ll re-sign at least Williams and Zaza Pachulia, and won’t have significant cap room.

    The Raptors could be around $9 million under if they let Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham all walk. That’s a possibility. However, Bryan Colangelo has been saying he’d like to re-sign Marion. If the two come to an agreement, the Raptors’ cap room is essentially gone.”

    Basically, that leaves SAC. Well, they’re already committed at SF to Nocioni, Donte Greene, and Francisco Garcia. I can’t see them throwing money at TA with that logjam at SF. How about PF? Well, they’re already committed to a young, cheap, and talented Jason Thompson, and they’re going to try and re-sign Ike Diogu near the league minimum to be his backup.

    Conclusion: we’re gold 😀

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  181. 172. You dont pay LO 8 to 9, that would be above market value so far. What other team is gonna pay him that amount thats left with cap space. TA is the one that worries me until the Blazers make a decision on Turk. Then we will know what we are up against.

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  182. And on the subject of the Z-Bo, trade, I actually think Memphis didn’t blow it really. 20/10 guys don’t grow on trees and as atrocious a defender Randolph is, they got Thabeet to shore up their interior defense for a reason. Great move for the Clippers though. Davis-Gordon-Thorton-Griffin-Kaman is a solid starting five.

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  183. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    180-Vincent, it says in that article that Cleveland is pushing hardest for Trevor, but can’t offer more than the MLE. The “sources” close to the situation are surmising that even if the Lakers also offer the MLE, Trevor will be so disappointed with the Lakers that he’ll go to Cleveland for the same salary. To me, those “sources” are David Lee, and that “source” is talking out of his a**.

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  184. 180/181: I think that’s just more of David Lee’s sabre-rattling. He’s trying to drum up interest for his client while the Lakers wait-and-see which teams, if any, are willing to give him more than the mid-level.

    As to the interested teams, which will offer him major minutes? Toronto? Maybe the Rockets? That’s it. Without PT, he can’t increase his value or his chance at his next big contract.

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  185. God I would hate to see Ariza leave, but if he is willing to leave the team to play elsewhere for the same amount of money…then I guess that’s what he’s willing to do.

    I’m honestly in the camp of “Kobe should voluntarily make a little less to help sign other players.”

    I’m not saying this because I feel that Kobe doesn’t deserve every single penny he makes. I’m saying it because it would be a good thing FOR KOBE. It would torpedo, FOREVER, the “he’s selfish!” meme. It would bring his team together around him like nothing else. It would give him the best chance to win more championships and move up the “best player” lists.

    He’s got plenty of cash at this point, and further improving his image will pay off more down the road as well.

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  186. 180. Looks like smoke is arising. D### this Lee is earning every penny.

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  187. The logic in that Ariza article is questionable. He isn’t happy w/ LA that we aren’t offering more than the MLE, so he will go to another team for the MLE? Makes no sense to me.

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  188. You know, Chris Broussard has kind of been a longtime Lebron homer and Cavs guy…

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  189. David Lee is working his magic. He has to know that he has no leverage at all. There are alternatives on the market and cap space is drying up. Lee isn’t doing a very good job.

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  190. Will board members still respect me in the morning if I confess that I am at least a little intrigued by Artest to the Lakers?

    (head down in the corner waiting for the slap)

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  191. I actually think Josh Childress would be a good replacement for Trevor Ariza. Decent 2point shot, lanky body, solid overall game, great FG% and pretty good defender. The only question is whether he wants to come back for the MLE and America.

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  192. I don’t want Artest playing for the Lakers. I don’t want him anywhere near our team.

    Not for any amount of money.

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  193. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Oww…I think I bruised the palm of my hand when I slapped VoR.

    Give it up, David Lee. There’s no way Trevor is leaving his hometown for the same salary, plus giving up starter’s minutes in order to play sub’s minutes behind LeBron.

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  194. Thanks Dude. I’m back to my senses now. 🙂

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  195. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    LOL at VoR… I’ll join you in that corner. While I would dare claim MAJORITY of FBG hate the idea, we still have not seen him play under Phil.

    Ariza’s agent is a pure class-act. He is acting as if he is the only FA market on the most-easily replaceable position in the NBA. Props to him for doing his job.

    Now watch him say: “Trevor has decided to stay with the Lakers because he feels the Lakers is his home and that overshadows 1-2m more from another team.”

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  196. If Ariza signs elsewhere for the same money that is cold, haha. Hopefully this is just another over blown rumor for the day, we’ll see.

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  197. VoR,
    How did that 2×4 feel?

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  198. Yea, the Broussard article had David Lee’s greasy little fingerprints all over it. Usually he’s brash enough to whine about things to the media out in the open, though.

    What worries me is if Lee is TELLING Trevor where to/not to sign. I could see that happening, and it’d be a shame if Trevor and the Lakers couldn’t come to terms (even though they both want to) just because of one D-bag’s histrionics.

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