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.

Kurt

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405 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!

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

  10. would be easier* not easy

  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

  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)

  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.

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

  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.

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

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

    Fun stuff ahead.

  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.

  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.

  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?

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

  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

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

  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?

  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.

  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

  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?

  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’?

  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

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

  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.

  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.)

  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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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?

  48. 48.

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

  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.

  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).

  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.

  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…

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

  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…)

  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.

  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.

  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?

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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?

  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.

  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.

  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…

  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…

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.’

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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.

  83. In today’s market both Ariza and Odom are MLE money players. Ariza is a roll player that can’t create his own shot so other teams know that and know his success is due to playing with great players and being left wide open. No other team will pay Ariza more than the MLE to play team D, slash, and spot up. Most teams have an Ariza like player or better.

    Moving to Lamar… if he ever reached his potential he could command 10 million a year. But he hasn’t and he is coming in on 30. We know who Lamar is at this point. His last big contract he was being paid on his great potential in a different economic world. Most teams in this day and age can only offer the MLE on a free agent.

    So don’t be surprised when the Lakers resign both Odom and Ariza for maybe 6-7 million a year. And don’t be fooled when both parties tell everyone they took less to stay in Los Angeles because that won’t be true. They will get paid what they are worth… just like we all do. And what they are worth is around the MLE, because that is what other teams are able and willing to pay.

  84. 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?

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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?

  88. 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.

  89. 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

  90. 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.

  91. 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?

  92. 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?

  93. 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 $.

  94. 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.

  95. #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.

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

  97. 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.

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

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

  99. 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).

  100. #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. ;-)

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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!

  104. 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?

  105. 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.

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

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

  107. 107

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

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

  110. 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).

  111. 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.

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

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

  113. 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.

  114. 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?

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

  116. 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).

  117. 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.

  118. 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).

  119. 113 the salaries wont match up … cant do that.

  120. 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

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

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

  125. 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.

  126. 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.

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

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

  130. 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

  131. 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.

  132. correction 55/5yrs

  133. 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?

  134. “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 …

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

  136. 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.

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

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

  138. 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.

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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.

  142. I am curious who people think is better?

    Tayshaun Prince or Trevor Ariza?

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

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

  145. 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.

  146. Brian P – Tayshaun Prince.

  147. 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

  148. 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 :D

    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.

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

  150. 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).

  151. 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.

  152. 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

  153. 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?

  154. 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.

  155. 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.

  156. 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

  157. 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.

  158. 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/

  159. wow the clippers did something right!!!

  160. 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.

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. 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.

  165. 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!

  166. 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…

  167. 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.

  168. 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!)

  169. 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.

  170. 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?

  171. 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.

  172. 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.

  173. @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).

  174. 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.

  175. 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

  176. 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.

  177. 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…

  178. 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?

  179. 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

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

    That Artest scenario may actually become reality…

  181. 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 :D

  182. 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.

  183. 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.

  184. 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**.

  185. 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.

  186. 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.

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

  188. 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.

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

  190. 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.

  191. 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)

  192. 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.

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

    Not for any amount of money.

  194. 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.

  195. Thanks Dude. I’m back to my senses now. :-)

  196. 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.”

  197. 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.

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

  199. 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.

  200. I absolutely HATE it when people say dumb stuff like: “Kobe should take a pay cut so we can sign TA and LO.”

    Under what criteria do you make such a claim? Kobe is worth every penny and deserves every penny. Do you think that Jerry Buss became a BILLIONAIRE by giving people MORE money than they deserve? This is a BUSINESS and like every BUSINESS the company is out to MAKE MONEY. Do you suppose that Buss is giving money to Kobe because in his heart he just loves the guy and wants to give away money? No, of course NOT. Buss is making a BUSINESS decision. He is making the move which will benifit HIMSELF the most. That move is to pay Kobe $20million plus per year. He does this because it is the best BUSINESS move available. He does this because Kobe brings in many times that amount in revenue/profits to Jerry Buss and the lakers.

    Secondly, who do you think gets the money if Kobe doesn’t get it? Do you think that whatever money Kobe leaves on the table is gift rapped in tiny boxes and sent out to homeless children around the world? No, of course not. The money that Kobe does not get goes into the pockets of the OWNERS of the lakers. So you would rather see a billionaire owner make the money and Kobe not make the money?

  201. j. d. hastings July 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Man, Chris Broussard doesn’t know anything. His next big breaking story would be his first. People are just stirring up crap with that. Seriously, I’ve never heard anything from Broussard that mad eme think he knows more than someone who reads every espn story and happens to have access to some media events. He wrote that because he was thrilled someone was talking to him.

  202. Kaveh: My reasoning for what Kobe gets out of taking a pay cut is given a few posts above.

    Do I think Kobe should HAVE to take a pay cut? No. Do I think that he is worth every penny AND MORE than he is currently getting? Yes. Do I think that the Lakers are in the situation they are in because they dramatically overpaid for both Walton and Sasha? Yes.

    Are there definite upsides to Kobe taking a little less in terms of image, leadership, team chemistry, moving up the “best players” list with more championships, etc.?

    Absolutely.

  203. Guys, reading the Chris Brousard nonesense is nothing compared to watching on TV. He says that LA was unwilling to go above the midlevel and that Trevor (not his agent, Trevor himself) considered a “slap in the face”. And so because of this he talked to Cleveland and they could only offer him the Midlevel (the same midlevel that was a slap in the face a couple hours ago). And so now Trevor is leaving his home, where he just won a world championship, where he was a starter and where he grew up rooting for the Lakers to move to Cleveland with the bad weather so that he can be Lebron’s backup. He’s doing all this for the exact same amount of money. Exact same!

    So two weeks ago he was in the parade. Yesterday he was bleeding Purple and Gold and today he’s leaving for the exact same amount of money.

    I’m convinced.

  204. Come on, Phil Jackson just called and said if he could tame Dennis Rodman. He could turn Artest into a choir boy. TRUST IN ZEN

  205. let’s get some karma…let’s sign powe…

  206. Does anyone know the state of Powe from the celtics? How injured is this guy? He was, in my opinion, the biggest x-factor in the celtics win against the lakers in 08. If this guy can get healthy again, it would be a VERY VERY good choice for the lakers to sign him. They can now get him on the cheap and he has been absolutely kicked in the balls by the celtics. I bet he would love to come to LA and get the celtics next year. If i was mitch, i would look into this pronto.

    The celtics are a sad organization:
    Leon Powe is Unemployed

    July 1, 2009 1:40 AM

    Forward Leon Powe played hard for the Celtics on a rookie contract. He helped them win a title. His coach called him a kid who had “done everything right.”

    And in the course of duty, he severely messed up his knee. Shortly after that, as luck would have it, his contract then came to an end just when he was due to get his first really big contract (his salary has always been six figures, not the seven he had coming).

    There is certainly no legal obligation for the Celtics to extend Leon Powe a qualifying offer, to keep him employed as he rehabilitates. But is there an ethical one?

    Powe’s agent, Aaron Goodwin makes the case that extending a qualifying offer would have been the proper course of action:

    What does it say when a player like Leon Powe, a great human being, who played through injury and pain for three straight years for the Boston Celtics, including in a playoff game after tearing his ACL, is rewarded by the team saying to him “we only have a short window to win, and you are not a part of our plans because you are now injured.”

    It shows you the true state of the NBA.

    The Celtics are traditionally a class act. I have great respect for the organization as a whole, but they truly missed it on this one.

  207. I hope Ariza leaning towards leaving the Lakers is just a ploy to get a little bit more money or to speed things up. I hope this is a bad rumor

  208. I don’t know why you guys think it’s so implausible that someone would bail for basically equal money if they’re irritated — in a roundabout way, this is essentially what Ben Gordon did (though I guess he might have expected more when he took Chi’s QO last year).

    I’m not happy about artest exchanged for Ariza, and Odom is irreplaceable here. We can only sign one FA that isn’t on our team already, so I mean I guess I could talk myself into loving Artest for the MLE and Odom at 8-9…

    =( Uggg now I wish Kobe had left some money on the table as a gesture of good faith. Can’t do that now that free agency has started, right? I know that’s irrational, just give me some time to digest how much I hate Ariza’s agent.

  209. Kaveh,
    The assumption (pretty obviously, I would have thought) is that Kobe would get a guarantee from Buss that, if he took a contract for X, the Lakers would then offer Odom and Ariza contracts for Y and Z.

    Question – do you believe Kobe when he says that winning titles is the most important thing to him? Or do you think he’s just saying that because he thinks that is what people want to hear?

  210. Let me repeat something so that it is perfectly clear and acceptable to anyone out there:

    ARTEST IS NOT A VIABLE PLAN B!

    The man is a headcase. Period. Plain and simple. He destroys team chemistry, gets into personal battles on the court that lead him into ball hogging and jacking up terrible shots constantly, and he thinks he’s a top-10 player in the league.

    I don’t care if he’s a superb defender and extremely talented or even if he is willing to play for less money to come to LA. I do not want him anywhere near this team. He is certifiably nuts.

    Bringing him in is the equivalent of placing bacon near your nuts with a hungry pit bull around.

  211. Koko– YES

    I would be 100% behind offering Powe a minimum deal. Celtics fans are probably 50-50 between “I can’t believe the C’s are cutting this guy loose after he basically reinjured himself coming back too soon from an injury” and “It’s a business, he’s just a hurt commodity” — I wonder how that would turn if the Lakers signed their lunch-box-hard-worker guy because Ainge was too cheap to give him, what, an extra $300k for the half year he spends rehabbing?

    Diabolical. I love it. Makes me feel better.

  212. Might want to settle down on the caps, folks. Internet yelling is annoying.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AlvIWvWSfIDpC9IPHbCaDAq8vLYF?slug=aw-celticswallace070109&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Not saying Rasheed wouldn’t make the Celts better – despite his drop-off last year, I think he could thrive in a reduced role, and him and Garnett would fuel each other (or explode). But I do think Perkins is being underestimated. Sheed’s solid (even very good), but Perkins, IMO, is elite defensively. Their interior defense might take a small hit if Perkins gets relegated to the bench. Not a huge issue, I guess, if KG is healthy and active, but Perkins is a stud. In a demonish, children-eating (as Zephid likes to say) kind of way.

    Damn it would suck not to bring Ariza back. Most likely just smoke screens, but I’m starting to get a little worried. I don’t want this to be a Boston/Posey type deal. If push comes to shove, I do think Barnes is an intriguing idea for replacing a lot of Trevor’s production. But I love this kid, we all want to see him back in a Lakers uniform.

  213. So basically you’re saying that Ariza is going to be motivated by irritation alone?

    Forgive me if I don’t think he’s that low.

  214. Wallace will go to the contender that gives him the longest deal at MLE, which will probably be the Celts bc the Spurs hate paying the tax and the Cavs are hoping to resign lebron/lure bosh in 2010.

  215. 211. How can the Celtics sign Sheed with their MLE, and also sign G. Hill? I thought the C’s where over the cap.

  216. DirtySanchez:
    Apparently the Celtics are willing to go over the cap and spend what is necessary to maximize their chances at a championship.

    I wonder if Buss is watching?

  217. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Here’s the thing: the Lakers can always come back and offer TA 1/2 million above the MLE, add more years to the deal, and make the final two or three years player options. If that’s what David Lee has in mind, it’s certainly within the team’s power to make it happen. I think Lee realizes by now that no team will be able to offer Trevor anything more than the MLE, so he’s posturing, trying to squeeze a little bit more out of Buss.

  218. @DirtySanchez
    There are multiple exceptions not just the MLE. There is also the Biannual and the veterans minimum. There might be some others than I’m not aware of.
    The other thing to keep in mind is that the MLE doesn’t need to be used in one piece it can be split up between multiple free agents or part of it can be used on a single free agent.
    So in theory, Boston could sign both Sheed and Grant Hill. Although why a team that old would want to get even older I can’t say.

  219. “So basically you’re saying that Ariza is going to be motivated by irritation alone?”

    I’m saying it’s plausible that he would be honestly pissed and would leave if money were equal. Again, Ben Gordon just did exactly this because he felt Chicago low balled him last year (when they were basically bidding against themselves) so he and his agent bounced. I could think of some other examples with max players in years past if it would be helpful — my point is that players actually do let subjective, emotional elements into the equation.

    Do you think Brand left the clippers for I think barely 1 mil more per year or something, or do you think the money was only part of the equation (along with 0 confidence in the franchise and possibly a bad relationship with Dunleavy)?

    I do think this is really weird considering you’d think the Lakers were on Lee’s good side what with paying out the nose for Drew’s extension on the basis of like a third of a season of success, but I guess that’s wishful.

    Or it’s all posturing. Not gonna rule it out, just saying anyone saying it’s X or Y for sure is really not sure.

  220. Trevor and his agent are pissed the market for Ariza is so small. The Lakers are smart to only offer him the MLE. Like I said earlier today…thats all he is worth. If you’re Trevor and you think you are a better player than that… you sign a 2 year deal and at 26 years old try and sign a bigger long term deal.

  221. curt #55

    Lakers organization makes rounghly $40 million per year. You said that signing LO and TA is going to increase cost by $25million, thus cutting profits by more than half.

    The numbers seem a bit off. Firstly you i don’t see how signing TA and LO will INCREASE the payroll by $25 million. The two players cost the lakers X amount this year —are you telling me that they will get a combined increase in salary of $12.5 million (plus 12.5m lux tax)?

    Secondly you are assuming that revenues will stay the same next year. This seems very unlikely coming off of a championship season. Surely revenues will INCREASE. Also this last year was one of the worst economic climates in recent history. As the economic climate improves, then revenues should rise.

  222. Trevor simply won’t be as good anywhere else. His offensive numbers will plummet anywhere else, because a) Lakers have one of the best shooters ever as the team’s shooting coach and b) he needs confidence in order to knock down shots (something Phil is very famous for, bringing out the best in players and squeezing out the most out of them) And he’s STILL a streaky shooter, even with those two aspects aiding him on our team. The only thing that would remain is his defense, and even then it wouldn’t be enough to give him significant playing time because his offense would drop off significantly and it wouldn’t be enough. Not to mention, there’s a number of athletic defensive-minded 3s on the FA market right now (Artest, Moon, Marion just to name a few) who are good at catch-and-shooting the 3. I dunno, I’d obviously rather have TA, but it’s not like we’re gonna have a shortage of veterans willing to play for the defending world champs.

  223. Shaky:

    To be fair, it is entirely possible that Brand left the Clippers because they were/are, you know, the CLIPPERS. ;)

  224. Jim C–

    You mis-read his question. Sanchez, the answer I believe is there are other smaller exceptions besides the MLE (the MLE Is the one people talk about because it’s big).

    There’s a veteran’s minimum exception and also a million dollar exception that is called the LLE. If they signed Hill, he’d probably have to take $1m, the same way I think Malone did for us in 03 I think it was.

  225. 188, 209 – Kobe IS taking less money by signing an extension this year. Believe me, any NBA player will understand and appreciate that.

    201 – If Lee is whispering where to sign in one of Ariza’s ears, that ring on his finger is whispering in the other ear to stay.

  226. @Shaky

    According to Lee, Bynum was being generous when he took that lowball 58 million dollar extension. Seriously.

    I wish much ill will upon David Lee.

  227. None of us know Ariza on a personal level, so it’s pointless to try to speculate about his personality (if he’s the type to get irritated and leave or if he’s too noble for that, etc). All we really know is that he does have a temper.

    I agree, 5.6 is reasonable for Ariza. I’d be willing to go a bit higher, maybe 6, maybe a tiny bit more, but no more.

  228. Shaky:

    That makes sense. Thanks.

    I know that there is an instinct to want instant moves/results in Lakerland these days, but I am just feeling a bit uneasy so far this offseason.

    Cavs, Spurs, Pistons and Magic have all improved themselves. (Assuming Turk resigns with Orlando)

    Celtics are trying like mad to improve themselves.

    So far the only news we have out of Lakerland is that Ariza isn’t happy with our offer and is considering leaving. I know that news is suspect, but I’m still nervous at this point until we see some positive developments.

  229. But it also comes back to the deals that Sasha and Walton signed. Lee figures if they paid X amount of dollars for these chumps, whats it gonna hurt to make the organization sweat it out a little for TA.

  230. Igor–

    The problem is that since we’re over the cap as it stands, unless we do a sign and trade we can only lure 1 quality FA that we don’t have the bird rights to with a full midlevel (unless it’s for the LLE or veteran’s minimum).

    If you know of some people we can plug in for an Odom or Ariza type for $1m, chime in. If we lose one of these guys, the MLE can cover a replacement plausibly, but I’m not exaggerating when I say we all but have to retain one of them.

    (If anyone’s got really good NBA salary cap chops, please chime in if I’m getting this all wrong)

  231. Shaky,

    I think L.O. will get his $8-9 mil a year and we’ll use the MLE on the one player to replace Trevor. Also, I’d like to think that Farmar will play much better (contract year) and Sasha won’t have such a horrific year (or he gets traded and the resigned Shannon Brown gives us solid play)

    Keep in mind that we also have a pretty interesting bargaining chip in this tough economy – Adam Morrison’s $5+ mil expiring contract.

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

    Interesting update on Hedo’s situation possibly going to Portland. If Portland decides to stop going after Hedo, then maybe they become another player in the Ariza market again.

  233. Jim C–

    “To be fair, it is entirely possible that Brand left the Clippers because they were/are, you know, the CLIPPERS. ;)”

    Yeah that’s what I meant when I said subjective elements. Leaving for a “contender” (Philly as a contender? seriously? Who sold him on that one?) vs. leaving because you feel snubbed — they’re both factors, not easily monetizable.

    You guys are probably right that he’s just trying to squeeze a little more juice out of the orange. Personally, if I’m Trevor and I basically command the midlevel by default, if my agent only gets me an extra $100k per year from the Lakers I think I fire the guy. =)

  234. sanchez and #74 —mileage

    What you are assuming is that the only basketball Jordan and Kobe played was in the NBA. Kobe barely played his first year or two in the NBA while Jordan played college basketball. You are leaving out Jordan’s basketball time from age 18-22. I would bet that he was working his ass off (Jordan) during that time with a lot of practice and game court time.

    Kobe is 30 and he is making $20million plus. Forget about all the overpaid players, and just take a look at what people normally make. An average “good” player in the NBA will make $10-$12 million. Now is Kobe good enough to make double what the average player makes? The fact is that in a purely FREE market, that is without a salary cap or any limits on contracts, Kobe/Lebron/Wade/etc would probably be making $50 million per year, because that’s how much they are worth to their teams. It is due to the limitations put in place (salary cap, other restrictions) that make these guys SUCH deals to keep. A team probably gets by paying $30 million LESS than they are worth to the truly GREAT players. This is an insane deal to any team and they take advantage. Why else do the teams do everything in their power to hold on to the great talents like Kobe? Even if it means letting go of shaq in his prime!

  235. 223. Kaveh, revenues will not be up for the Lakers or any team next year, the Lakers will be lucky if they stay flat. This has nothing to do with ticket sales, prices will stay the same next season and the Lakers will sell out virtually all games. But the Lakers and all pro sports teams are having to take less in sponsorship deals, in-arena advertising and the like. Simply, companies are not spending on that like they used to, and while the Lakers face fewer issues in this regard than probably any team in the NBA, people who know such things say they and all teams are feeling the pinch.

    Also, that $25 likely will include whatever Brown goes for.

    And as for the Ariza to the Cavs rumor, as has been said, this reeks of agent noise through the media. He wants more than the MLE for his client, may have said he would get more to his client. So he is playing the game. But as has been said, the Lakers have options at the three with free agents who would take the MLE to come here (you could even argue that if no Ariza you can start Luke and find a better PG for the MLE). But in the end, I think Ariza and his agent will realize he is an MLE guy and come back to the Lakers for that money.

  236. You know, I have to also think that there is more money to be made in terms of endorsements and television exposure playing in LA than there is playing in…Cleveland.

    I wonder if the Lakers are reminding Ariza of that angle or not?

    I understand where Trevor is coming from. His performance during the playoffs was off the charts awesome. He’s highly desired and coveted around the league, but has the misfortune of becoming a free agent in a truly miserable economy and his employer knows that and is, in Trevor’s mind, lowballing him.

    I’m pretty certain that a couple of us know what that feels like.

  237. Enough of this anyhow. I’m gonna go to a bar and think about how amused I am that Varejao opted out for a payday. He and Big Baby both.

    Now that’s good times.

  238. 233. 8 to 9 mil is over market value for LO. There are maybe 4 teams under the cap that could pay him that. One is Portland and they have their hands full with Turk. The second TOR is trying to sign Marion back. The rest of the teams I dont think LO would even consider. You havent seen any speculation on LO for a reason. We might have got him at a discount price.

  239. Oddly enough one of the reasons that Elton Brand left the Clippers is that his agent (Dan Fegan?) held a burning hatred of the Clippers since they passed over Mike Bibby in favor of Mickael Olawakandi.

  240. How can 8-9 mil be ‘over market value’ for a guy who can pretty much play any position, doesn’t demand the ball, is better off playing second or third fiddle and is a good locker room presence? In my opinion, Lamar is in his prime and should easily command $10+ mil/year as the second banana on a contender. That’s not ‘over’ anything, the Lakers would get a discount from him if they land him for anything less.

  241. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 1, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    People-

    Hello, I am currently under contract to speak on behalf of semi-regular poster at this site, J. D. Hastings.

    First off, I want you all to know that J.D. bleeds purple and gold, and this is his first choice as an nba website hangout.

    However, he believes that in accordance with his occasional semi-coherent ramblings, it is reasonable to be expected to be compensated for his time here. Without declaring any ultimatums, a certain cavaliers blog is willing to pay J.D. up to 3 million dollars just to read and occasionally post his nonsense on their site. The silence from forum blue and gold has frankly left him in a dark place. While his first choice would always be to stay here, he may have no choice but to go to the other site for the sake of his family and self respect.

    PS- if anybody else from this site has possibly suffered an injury at work or at home and wants to make free money-call me. Thx.

  242. And I don’t care if it’s a down year/the economy is weak. Contenders should covet Lamar more than any other player in this season’s free agency.

  243. What I don’t get is that in the Broussard piece it says that the Raptors and Blazers are the only two of the interested teams that could offer him more than the MLE. If he wants to go there for more cash, more power to him, but he won’t be as effective – he needs someone who is going to find him for those open threes. He’d def work with LeBron, but if they can only offer him the MLE then why leave? As Kenny Smith pointed out there isn’t much difference between Ariza and Pietrus or any other three-point shooting/defensive specialist small forward. He’s a nice piece, but still just a piece. The question is, What’s his ceiling? I think some of us wonder if he will still get better.

  244. Sportsguy Hate July 1, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Ben Gordon is getting $11/year….don’t you think Odom is better and more valuable than BG? I think so.

    Charlie is getting $7MM/year from Detroit. Don’t you think Ariza is considered more valuable than CV? I think so.

    Either Detroit overpaid or the Lakers are going to lose Odom or Ariza. You make the call.

  245. Igor:
    Market value isn’t determined by how good a guy is or how valuable something is. It’s determined by what the market (in this case the various NBA teams) are able and willing to pay.

    Basic economics.

    Right now, the market value for ALL NBA free agents is down because:

    A. The economy sucks and therefore teams have less money to spend and the luxury cap looms large

    B. Everyone wants to be a player in the 2010 market.

  246. Sloopy Hang On July 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Didn’t the Lakers just use the MLE on Mbenga today?

    I think they should let Ariza go and sign Andre Miller.

  247. MLE is for players not on your roster. Mbenga will be signed for a near-minimum salary. The team had the option to terminate his contract, which they did not do.

  248. Bill,

    Off the top of my head, the MLE can be used to resign players on one’s roster, although it’s certainly not a smart thing to do if one cares about signing free agents to more than the minimum.

  249. Sloopy Hang On July 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Remember that the Lakers could be a player during the mid-season trading deadline with Adam Morrison’s expiring contract.

  250. There are other exceptions like trade exceptions. The only team that I can think of off the top of my head that has one is Denver (10 million from the Iverson trade) but some others could have it.

    That being said most teams with trade exceptions got those from salary dumps (usually owners demanding to get below the tax) and probably wouldn’t be as active to pursue a free agent with that money

  251. @Jim C.
    Exactly.
    A player is only worth what teams are willing to pay.

    @Sloopy Hang On
    Why on earth do the Lakers need another old point guard? And why get one who can’t shoot?

  252. The Dude Abides July 1, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    243, check out my comment #182…it pretty much summarizes the market for TA and LO right now. Also, Villanueva signed for $8 million per. Sure, LO is worth more right now than both those guys when you’re talking relative value. However, when it comes to how much the market will pay, there isn’t anyone left who can sign LO or TA, unless Portland doesn’t sign Hedo AND Toronto doesn’t re-sign Marion.

  253. artest tweeting to add sparks to the fire. so is the unreal amare. much like what am reading off the blogs and sports sites — a lot of hush hush and noise at the same time. smoke screen or what have you. would rather hear the straight up news that’s true than all this buildup

  254. #211 exhelodrvr

    You wrote:
    “The assumption (pretty obviously, I would have thought) is that Kobe would get a guarantee from Buss that, if he took a contract for X, the Lakers would then offer Odom and Ariza contracts for Y and Z.”

    What you are missing is that Buss CAN offer Odom and Ariza contracts for Y and Z REGARDLESS of what Kobe gets. He would have to pay the luxury tax. Would you rather see Buss, who is worth around $8 billion (source: forbes), yes that’s BILLION, pay the extra millions or Kobe? Kobe has deserved the money and is worth it.

    This is why i said that there are two sides here: Buss and Kobe. At least in your argument. You are on Buss’s side and believe that Kobe should take a pay cut so Buss does not have to pay extra. You say that winning a championship must be important enough to Kobe for him to forsake a 10 million or so, but not important enough for Buss to make the same sacrafice, even though he’s worth $8 billion.

    My point is simply that Kobe and Buss must do what is in their own BEST interest. Kobe should take his money, because he has earned it. Buss should then decide if he wants to dig into that massive bank account to give a few more million to Ariza and Odom. This is the correct position to be in —Buss is the OWNER, and he must decide if it is in his and HIS TEAM’S best interest to spend the extra money. To ask Kobe to sacrafice is childish and immature.

  255. You worrywarts need to break out some old school Public Enemy, specifically “Don’t Believe the Hype”.

    Lee is an agent. This is what he does. He is supposed to be the a-hole saying all the things he is saying because he’s trying to build a market for Trevor that currently isn’t there. He can be the bad cop so that Trevor can be the good cop, and say all the right things when he comes back and signs for a slightly-above MLE contract.

    And those of you talking about “market” value – Gerrit and Jim C have it right – the market value of a player is whatever the market will bear, i.e. what teams are willing to play. In a down economic year with so many teams losing money and lacking cap space, market values go down.

  256. If Ariza leaves the lakers only to sign for MLE just because he is pissed off no one else is willing to pay him more, it just would tell you what kind of person he is.
    The way I see it, Ariza OWES the Lakers some gratitude and loyalty. Laker’s management decision to trade for him and save him from Orlando where he was getting no playing time made him the player he is today. Phil jackson gave him the minutes to showcase his talent AS A ROLE PLAYER, despite having two other highly paid small forwards, Walton and Radmonovic. KOBE’s and PAU’s ability and willingness to repeatedly pass him the ball for wide open 3’s, in spite of his terrible percentage during the regular season (32%!), put him in the position he is today.
    Yes, Ariza is a good defender, a hard worker and improved as a player and deserves a raise as he took good advantage of the opportunities given to him by the Lakers, but how about some loyalty and gratitude?
    He is only 24. He can sign a 5 year contract for MLE with opt out after 2 years. If he is really as good as he thinks he is , he can opt out and get another big raise when you are 26!
    The guy gets hot for a few playoff games and he think he is really a shooter!?
    Are we to forget that he shot 32% for the season and that is probably a lot closer to his real shooting percentage in the future, especially when he probably won’t be as wide open as he was this season?

    If the lakers don’t want to give him more than the MLE, good for them. MLE is all that he is worth. Just because they overpaid for Walton, Sasha, and Bynum, doesn’t mean they should compound the problem by making another mistake.

  257. Also Cleveland has a biannual exception worth $2 million dollars in addition to the MLE of $5.6 million. Can these two be combined towards one player?

    As for Ariza, no matter how “offended” he could be from a “low-ball” offer I highly doubt he would/could uproot his family from LA where he’s from.

    In LA his family can come watch him play in every home game, I bet if money is the same they’d be in his ear to stay rather than see him play once a year

  258. Guy –

    No you cannot combine the MLE and biannual exception (sometimes called the LLE, or lower level exception). Nor can you combine the MLE with the veteran minimum exception.

    See the sidebar for Larry Coon’s excellent salary cap FAQ. It’ll tell you all you ever wanted to know.

  259. In the end the Lakers will resign both Ariza and Lamar for no more than 14 million a year next year. But here is the question.. this is the Lakers, they have the money. Ron Artest’s brother said today that Ron’s first choice is to play with the Lakers. The Lakers should use their MLE on Artest and start Ariza at PG. How about a lineup of Trevor, Kobe, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum with Odom off the bench? Those guys would never give up a basket.

  260. Comment 241 from JD is brilliant.

    I swear the people who love Artest have not watched him play the last couple of years. Or in the playoffs against us. Or when he kept costing his team games against us. And spare me the Rodman crap — off the court, Rodman was a disaster, but until the very end Rodman was a beast on the court and just a nutcase off it. Rodman was not a big problem between the lines. That is not Artest.

  261. And I can’t stress enough people — CALM DOWN!

    Don’t freak out at every little rumor, don’t run with every report. I said before, think about who has to gain from a report, because right now everyone is gaming the system. Everyone. Artest’s Agent. Ariza’s agent. Mitch. The teams trying to weaken the Lakers. Everyone. And it is always about the money. Always.

    I really hate days like today.

  262. #260 Aaron.

    I totally agree with you regarding Artest. It seems that this board’s hatred for Artest is higher than its hatred for any celtic, which is amazing. What about Paul Pierce in last year’s finals –being carried off the floor as though he broke his knee, punctured his liver/spleen/heart/brain/testicals, only to “play through the pain” and come back two seconds later running onto the floor, lol.

    Why hate Artest more than Pierce?

    I personally love Artest and believe that he would be an AWESOME fit here. Artest is like a 14 year old teenager. If this teenager is in a single parent household, then there is the real possibility of him getting into drugs and serious problems. However, if this kid is raised in a strong family, with the father there to keep him in line and the older brother there to watch over his actions and make him stay on the correct path, then he will become a success.

    Artest has the tools which the Lakers need desperately –toughness and defense. Say what you will about him, but this dude is tough, strong and relentless. When you see Lebron and Shaq next year in the finals, do you want Walton gaurding Lebron or do you want Artest gauring Lebron? Artest is perhaps one of the only players in the league which could shut Lebron down. He is physically STRONGER than Lebron and tough as they come.

    I say if we can get Artest, then we give him a chance. The father (PJ) and the older brother (Kobe) will keep him going down the right path. His talents will be needed in order to repeat. Especially if Ariza is gone. Artest is far better than Ariza! It is a huge upgrade.

  263. Aaron, we won’t see Ariza fulfilling much (if any) PG duties. He doesn’t have nearly enough handle, bless his heart.

  264. Well said Kurt. It’s only day 1 it what appears to be a very weak free agent market, at least with teams throwing out big bucks. The economy is not in good shape, even here in LA. I had lots of trouble selling early rounds of the playoffs this year (even at face value), so you can imagine what teams are feeling in small markets where they don’t have the large season ticket base to make up the bulk of their sales.

  265. Is anybody else wondering if Isiah Thomas has somehow commandeered his old buddy Joe Dumars’ mind and body?

  266. I keep posting the same thing because for some reason my posts are invisible to everyone but me ;)

    Just remember we have Kobe, Pau, and Bynum who aren’t going anywhere. As great as Odom and Ariza were, if you put it in perspective, that sort of production could’ve come from journeymen veterans who gets plucked just before the playoffs. Well, that may be going a bit too far, but once Bynum rounds into his pre-injury form, we’ll only need that much.

    In the end, there is only ONE ball on the court, and that ball will have a hard time being shared among the aforementioned three, meaning that the other spots can be filled with stopgaps and we’ll still be able to compete.

    Playoffs, we got there with Kobe, Smush, Kwame, Evans and Cook. Sure, we did not go much further, but I dare say Pau and Bynum are better than Kwame and Cook.

    Also, don’t underestimate the power of the Kobe and the triangle to make players around him better. We’ve got career years out of just about everyone we had, especially if they were nobodies.

    Plus, ask any free agent out there how enticing it is to play for a big market team, defending champion, alongside Kobe and Pau that grabs the attention of the opposing teams. Even if we lose Odom AND Ariza, we’ll get somebody, and that will be that.

  267. and re: artest to LAL.

    Jordan & Phil & Rodman.

    Kobe & Phil & Artest.

    Can’t escape comparisons. I’m not too worried about it even if we have to ‘resort’ to Artest.

    I kinda think Artest will hit a good % of his threes if they were the kinda shots Ariza got. Just a tad worried about the things that will happen if we leave him with the 2nd unit tho ;)

  268. Kurt, thank you for remaining calm and sane through the FA craziness. That ak post was spot on.

    I don’t understand why the talk automatically gravitates to Artest. I’d rather try to steal away Josh Childress, or ideally, Marvin Williams, than go after the nightmare that is Artest (and I am not referring to the off-court stuff, I mean the declining-lateral-quickness and horrendous-triangle-killing-shot-selection).

    Also, to anyone who thinks Kobe or Ariza owe the Lakers (and should take less), just look at the Leon Powe situation. Players owe billionaire NBA owners nothing. Ariza is 25 years old and has maybe 10 years of maximum earning power. He should do whatever he thinks is best for his family and career. I hope that is staying in LA, but I won’t judge him for making another choice.

  269. Well, this thread has been tiresome to read in its entirety, as I have just done. It was good to see Warren again in action as his usual self, which was very cool indeed tonight. Drrayeye had a good comment about Ariza that is the way I feel also. Maybe I will take a break for awhile and let life calm down, you know, get ready to enjoy the 4th of July festivities and not worry and think and read about basketball for now.

    “Bargaining has neither friends nor relations.” – Benjamin Franklin

  270. I meant Warren Wee Lim about the Ariza comment, heck, there are so many comments here I can not keep track of who said what anymore.

  271. i just read on ESPN that trevor might be leaning towards leaving..plz tell me y’all heard otherwise..we really need him and i dont see why we shouldnt give him more than the mid level exception, why not 7 per or smthg

  272. There were 14 players last season with salaries between $8-9M.

    Biedrins
    Diaw
    Dunleavy
    Miles
    Walker
    Kevin Martin
    QRichardson
    Crawford
    Thomas
    Blount
    Okur
    Nesterovic
    MoWilliams
    Maggette
    Ford
    Nocioni

    Now tell me: who on this list is better/more efficient than Ariza? Okur and Biedrins are starting centers, OK. But after them? I’d take Ariza over anyone else from the list.

    Those are places 78-92 on salary list.
    Now I know that WinShares aren’t everything, but Ariza was 58. in the NBA in WS. From the list above only Okur and Mo Williams were higher. And the usual answer: “Win Shares overlook the defense” doesn’t work here – Ariza is a very good defender, probably the best from this group.

    So please, don’t tell me Ariza is worth MLE and nothing more. We could and should hope that the present economy will lower the salaries, but Ariza at $6M per year would be a steal. Maybe THE steal.

    Ah, and his last season has nothing to do with Ending Year of the Contract. He’s no Vujacic, his stats were stable. Except for 3p shooting, but it isn’t strange that so young player develop the ability to shoot open threes.

    I think underestimating Ariza has a lot to do with “Isiah Thomas fallacy”, i.e. looking PPG as the most important indicator.

  273. hey whereis this salary list?

    defence or no kevin martin > ariza

    he’s too efficient on offence.

  274. Everything is happening the way our projected dream scenario would have it. The team with the biggest cap space took care of its own business fast and completely changed the FA market landscape.

    Now all the calculations who to sign, how much to offer and for how many years have become a bit easier with one less player in the market. Presence of Detroit’s monster cap space (20 million) instilled fears in the fans of all teams with significant free agents they hope to re-sign this summer ( a la LO and Ariza in our case)

    So Detroit is out. That can only mean good things. Blazers appear to have the hots for Turkoglu and even so much that it might cost the Rudy (who is pissed off and is threatening to play in Europe (To see more, check out: http://www.hoopsworld.com/HeadlineStories.asp?lc=NBA&c=1&TEAM_ID=&PLAYER_ID=&hd=20090702#STORY_20001)

    The other teams with cap space (Memphis, OKC, Toronto) are not really the top destinations for the best players. They are all losing teams at the moment with little or no marketability (especially Memphis).

    Most importantly, it is always a good thing when your FAs are not considered to be “the top of the list”. Yes, LO and Ariza are skilled. But no one is talking about targeting them as, say, Turkoglu and David Lee, or even Millsap. The above-mentioned teams with cap space are more interested in signing young prospective bigs (Lee, Millsap, Gortat) or Clutch alpha males (Turkoglu) than very good complimentary guys. And that is great news for the Lakers, no matter what Ariza’s agent is raving about right now. Less interest in our players, less demand in them, lower their stock, less they can command and easier they are to sign.

    And let’s not forget about the fact that we just WON the title and these guys sure would like to stick around here if a. they get a decent market offer and b. Organization wants them back. We know Lakers want them back and, considering the developments in the FA market so far, MLE is probably best what each one can get in the open market, and I am sure Lakers will match that.

    So, let me repeat, everything in the FA front is working in the way that Lakers fans would actually ask for. I am happy Detroit did not get Turk and I sure hope Toronto can not negotiate with Marion, because that would mean that Ariza would be the 3rd best SF free agent in the market.

    As for LO, I think all the teams have realized that it is worthless to try to pursue Lamar, because Lakers will surely match. Instead teams are talking Millsap and D-Lee these days.

    Once again, so far so good…

  275. Cleavland anyone?

  276. I think everyone needs to step back away from the stat sheets and the player profiles and look at Artest seriously and rigorously. On paper, I agree, Artest seems to have everything we want: He plays good, solid, hard-nosed defense, he shoots a decent percentage from the three-point line, and can get to the hole and get his own buckets. Yes, his 17.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 3.3 apg seem nice, on paper. But think about a few issues that we had even without Artest this past season:

    1.) Too few shots for Pau Gasol
    Everyone, and I mean unanimously, everyone wanted more shots for Pau Gasol. He’s so efficient, so skilled, so damn good with the basketball in his hands, that not giving him the ball seems like it should be punishable by benching. Gasol is the hub of our offense and everyone unanimously agrees that the offense is best run through Pau in the post.

    2.) Lack of ball movement from the strong side to the weak side.
    The only time the offense began to get sluggish was when we held the ball in the strong side triangle and didn’t rotate it to the weak side. This way, teams were able to lock in on three guys and prevent the crisp, well-placed passes into the post and out to the wings.

    3.) Questionable shot selection
    How many times did we cry “OMG PUJIT!?” during the regular season? Again, this relates to offensive efficiency, but we repeatedly called for the guards to hold up the break if there wasn’t anything immediate and run the offense instead of going for a PUJIT, which more often than not, led to a long rebound and a fast break going the other way.

    Now, take all those problems, and multiply them by 10. That’s what adding Ron Artest will do to our team, because those are his biggest weaknesses. I repeat, he shot 4-19, 4-15, 6-17, and 3-10 in his last for games in the series against us, including 0-6, 1-7, 2-7, and 1-6 from three. What does this tell us? Not only was he shooting poorly, but he continued shooting. And every shot taken by Artest took away a shot from Scola, from Brooks, or even from Battier, who were far more efficient.

    Ron Artest is a very good player; there’s no doubting that. I also think that he played extremely well when he was 2nd banana to Yao Ming. But there are too many headaches and too many negatives to think bringing him in would be a huge improvement over last year’s team.

  277. Whats with the Artest fascination? He is a black hole on offense, gets in stupid head battles with players on the court, and his defense, though good, is not anywhere near what it was when he won DPOY. No way should be be allowed near the Lakers. I’d rather have Ariza any day over Artest. Zephid is correct in saying that our problems on offense that he mentions would be magnified 10X is Artest were on the team.

    Ariza’s agent is trying to get the biggest deal possible for Ariza. Its his job. So of course he wants more than a MLE deal. Will another team offer him a deal bigger larger than that? Maybe but I wouldn’t be surprised if that did not happen. What teams have cap space? Detroit just spent all their money of BG (ummm doesn’t he play the same position as Rip?) and Villanueva, Memphis will not be spending, and OKC has no need for a SF at that price (they have a pretty good talent in Durant). That leaves Portland and perhaps Toronto. Toronto wants to resign Marion and will likely not spend too much after doing that, and Portland wants Turkoglu and they have Outlaw. Is Ariza that big of a upgrade over outlaw who they have for less money?

  278. Artest is an absolute no-no. I’ve never considered him a very good fit for the Lakers, with or without the on-court nonsense. He takes awful shots and massages the ball too much, because he has an overinflated view of his offensive capabilities. On a team where he needs to be the fourth or fifth option (as opposed to #2 or #3 last year in Houston) these problems will be magnified. Throw in the likelihood of him eventually becoming a distraction one way or another, and it just isn’t worth the trouble.

  279. TRad:
    I want to reiterated the definition of the words “market value”.

    I’m aware that there are players on that list that Ariza could or already is better than. That’s fine. But those salaries are two things:

    1. Legacy of a different economic era in the NBA than the one we’re presently facing.
    2. Not all GOOD contracts

    I really want to drive this point home. A player’s value isn’t just how good he is compared to his peers. Ariza can’t just, for example, look at Luke Walton’s salary say, “I’m twice as good as Luke, I’ll take double what he is making!” A player’s value is also impacted by outside forces.

    These days, those outside forces include the fact that there are damned few teams – and after Portland signs Hedo ZERO teams – willing and able to pay Ariza more than the MLE that the Lakers are already offering.

    I’m the designated team lead on the team that I work for at my job, but I’m one of the worst paid people on the team. This is just something that I currently have to work with based on the economic climate and the raise freeze that my employer has in effect currently.

    Is that fair? Nope. Is life always far? Nope.

  280. trish1999 – PHILIPPINES July 2, 2009 at 7:34 am

    many stories popping out whether who will be a valid replacement for Ariza, now that we all the lakers will not give him that MLE or overpay their own players…Ariza, help the lakers win their championship..remember that 3rd quarter spurts by Ariza on game 5?
    Undoubtedly, money matters always talk..specially the agents themselves need a cut on the players salary..we cant blame them, its their job..

    Then comes to the point, who will be the next starting SF for the lakers.. artest, marion, barnes, Artest is a lockdown defender, however, i dont like his stats in the lakers-rockets series, smething like 17-60 fg with less than 10ft attempts(not sure about his exact production). MArion is widely known as a player that thrives in a high octane , free flowing offense like the nuggets, knicks, warriors, suns, raptors,….

    Lets not forget,,,ODOM is ALWAYS an insurance at the 4 position…and brings many intangibles to the lakers…

    LEt see who will be the next starting small forward of the lakers…it will be interesting how mitch do his magic wand again..;)

  281. mikeinchitown July 2, 2009 at 7:36 am

    RE: Artest.

    The assumption is that Artest can turn a new leaf. If you think he’s going to be a basketcase, then clearly he gets a restraining order w/in 5 miles of Staples. But the question is can PJ/Kobe get Artest to work within the system? Also, can Odom, given his past connections, encourage Artest to fit? Can the triangle make him better?

    I think the answer to those questions are yes, partly based on Artest’s own desire (if true through his brother’s comments) to be on the Lakers. He understands that he is not going to be a #1, #2, or even a #3 option on offense. He knows that since they’ve won, they’re not going to change things up. You come in to fit b/c you want to win. He knows Lakers are cap-constrained so it’s not about $.

    I think the people looking at Artest as a viable replacement to TA are assuming the above b/c if the experiment works, then the Lakers possibly have upgraded at the position.

    It’s a thought worth debating but the final conclusion- TA is coming back b/c basic economics. The concepts of :

    a) supply and demand (POR and TOR are the only true suitors- neither are going to be there at the end) and,

    b) scarcity (other GMs also know that SF/SG are the easiest positions to fill and TA’s performance is largely driven by KB/Lakers. His value w/the Lakers has been clearly enhanced, so you take that away in a different system and you have a good, not a $10MM SF, worth the MLE+ ($6-7MM), which the Lakers will ultimately pony up for.

    TA gets his ego bruised a bit, earns his keep w/ a nice salaray bump, and then gets re-upped if/when his game continues to round out after another strong run at a ring or two. Is that such a terrible outcome for a guy at the end of the ORL bench a couple of years ago? His agent’s tactics look a bit junior varsity, but oh well, that’s their job.

  282. trish1999 – PHILIPPINES July 2, 2009 at 7:39 am

    btw, who will guard the carmelos, lebrons, pierce. if the lakers cannot get a replacement or ariza…

  283. I am still confident that TA will come around. Lee is doing what agents do. Ultimately it will come down to playing for a ring, or playing for a little (if any) more money somewhere else.

    I just want LO to be signed, we really would be hurt to lose both.

  284. trish1999 – PHILIPPINES July 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

    If the lakers have no other option…hopefully, mitch can get ron-ron at full – MLE before he bolts out to other team..assuming ariza will land on the cavs…

    imagine this..

    dfish/mo
    kobe/west
    artest/ariza
    odom/lebronze
    pau/shaq…

    its always good 2 imagine…the 2010 nba finals…

  285. 285. Artest said he was going to turn over a new leaf in Houston. He didn’t. He said he was going to be a good team leader in Sacramento. He wasn’t.

    I think you’re right, if he turned over a new leaf and played within the system and deferred he could be a good fit. My question is simply this — what actions in his past make you think at this point in his career he will be different? It is like the people that still expect Odom to be different and change now. What you get is what you get with LO. And what you get is what you get with Artest. This is the Artest that a couple years ago was taking awkward game-ending shots rather than passing out to an open Kevin Martin, the best shooter on that team. It is the same Artest that tried to take over games at the end (and this was with a healthy Yao on the floor). It is the same guy who decided to go mano-a-mano with Kobe and lost. Who cost his team big games by trying to take over.

    I really don’t see why people think it will be different this time. Houston was a good team with a strong locker room culture and they could not control him. Why would he be different? Because his brother said so? His brother is doing what David Lee is doing, trying to drive up the price.

  286. From the twitter account of Brian Winhorst the sports columnist for Cleveland
    Cavs in thick of it for Artest, Ariza or R.Wallace.Though I get the impression Ariza may be trying to sweeten LAL offer. 2moro may be wild

    Even the guys in Cleveland think Ariza plans to resign with the Lakers.

    I, for one, find these freak outs and armchair GM comments to be rather humorous.

  287. NO.

    That’s all that needs to be said regarding Artest.

  288. Please let’s just stop with all of the Ron Ron talk. Not a good fit for us, or anyone really.

    Just need to lock up LO and if we need to replace TA we do so. Again, I still feel that TA comes around in the end.

  289. exhelodrvr,

    re:”Question – do you believe Kobe when he says that winning titles is the most important thing to him? Or do you think he’s just saying that because he thinks that is what people want to hear?”

    Either way, does it matter? As long as it get done, for real or for show, it all adds up the same .

    I think Kobe realizes that giving a little, whether he actually wants to or not, is better in the long for his image, perception, and historical view. Which lead to more money anyway. For him, at least.

  290. mikeinchitown July 2, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Kurt- I agree it’s a big if but I’m also assuming that Mitch throughly vets this idea and gets everyone’s buy-in if this is to happen. So what I am saying is that if he ends up on the Lakers, it’s b/c he’s cleared those hurdles.

    re: to your core question as to why Artest would change- age and options. He’s running out of both. People act differently when they have leverage vs. when they don’t. You’re exactly right- a lot of people believed that Artest could change w/SAC, HOU. I’m now guessing there are fewer and fewer GMs willing to give him a shot, esp. those in position to win rings- which decreases his leverage. So b/c of his past actions, he has put himself into a corner, presumably understands this, and in my mind, “readier” to toe the line.

  291. Kaveh,
    Whether or not Buss COULD overpay for Lamar and Ariza is not the question. The question is WILL he. Is he willing to sacrifice the majority of his income next season for that? And his worth on paper is not as significant a factor in this issue as the net income each year.

    You are also ignoring the positive PR impact for Kobe had he taken less.

  292. You’re failing to remember something about the last 3 or 4 games against the Rockets Zephid. Yao Ming was hurt and Artest was the focal point of the offense. That’s when he really starting forcing shots. I’m with you in that I would rather have Ariza, but Artest would be an enormous addition to this team if he would play his role. Also Derek Fisher was taking most of those damn PUJIT’s you were talking about. If we could limit Fish to less than 6 shots a game we would be fine. Artest would put this team so far above anyone else that it truly may be worth the risk of signing him. Especially if we could get him to sign something like a 3 year deal with a team option after year one. That way we could dump him next summer if he doesn’t perform.

  293. 286

    luke walton. honestly he played decent D on melo this year.. played smart, took advantage of mismatches within the offense.. the ball movement is so sweet when he’s in the game..

    qn though.. why hasn’t kobe given luke his 3pt shooting program?

  294. Off topic, but has anyone seen this.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13153

    Randolph (LAC) to the Grizzlies for Richardson. I think its a great move for the Clippers. They move basically what I thought was an unmovable contract in Randolph for a smaller shorter contract in Richardson. The Clippers if healthy (big if for the Clips) have a pretty decent line up.

    PG Davis (assuming he is healthy)/?
    SG Gordon/Richardson
    SF Thornton/Davis
    PF Griffin/?
    C kaman/Camby

    The bench is short but the starting 5 might be pretty good if healthy and Baron Davis plays well. If they could move Davis (unlikely) for a young PG, back up PF and a little they would have a good young team.

    I will just wait and see how the FO for the clippers mess it up though.

  295. 297

    Probably because Luke’s set shot is so ridiculously ugly that Kobe doesn’t want to touch for fear of infection.

  296. mikeinchitown July 2, 2009 at 8:45 am

    One more Artest comment and I’m going to shut up b/c TA is coming back anyways.

    Who would you rather have throw the forearm shiver to prove a point: Fish or Artest? Isn’t it a little sad that the smallest guy on the floor had to step up b/c no one else would?

    I think adding guys like Artest, and if Leon Powe can be worked in somehow given roster limitations, could be great since one of the things lacking on the Lakers is a defensive toughness that says “I’m going to pound and grind even if we’re not scoring a 100pts”.