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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401 responses to Free Agent Feeding Frenzy

  1. 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?

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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

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

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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

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  9. 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.

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  10. 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?

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  11. 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.

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

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  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

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

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  17. 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?

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  18. 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.

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  19. @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.

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  20. “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.

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  21. 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.

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  22. 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.

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  23. Shaky:

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

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  24. 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.

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  25. 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.

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  26. @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.

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  27. 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.

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  28. 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.

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  29. 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.

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  30. 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)

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  31. 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.

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  32. 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.

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  33. 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. =)

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  34. 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!

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  35. 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.

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  36. 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.

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  37. 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.

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  38. 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.

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  39. 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.

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  40. 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.

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  41. 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.

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  42. 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.

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  43. 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.

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  44. 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.

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  45. 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.

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  46. 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.

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  47. 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.

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  48. 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.

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  49. 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.

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  50. 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

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  51. @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?

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  52. 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.

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  53. 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

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  54. #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.

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  55. 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.

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  56. 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.

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  57. 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

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  58. 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.

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  59. 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.

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  60. 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.

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  61. #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.

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

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  63. 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.

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

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  65. 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.

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  66. 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 😉

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  67. 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.

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  68. 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

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  69. 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.

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  70. 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

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  71. 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.

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  72. hey whereis this salary list?

    defence or no kevin martin > ariza

    he’s too efficient on offence.

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  73. 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…

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  74. Cleavland anyone?

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  75. 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.

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  76. 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?

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  77. 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.

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  78. 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.

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  79. 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..;)

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  80. 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.

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  81. 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…

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  82. 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.

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  83. 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…

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  84. 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.

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  85. 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.

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  86. NO.

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

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  87. 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.

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  88. 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.

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  89. 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.

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  90. 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.

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  91. 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.

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  92. 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?

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  93. 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.

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  94. 297

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

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  95. 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”.

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  96. 296, Artest was not the focal point of the Rockets offense. He made himself the focal point. If anything, Scola and Brooks should’ve been the focus of their offense, because both of those guys seemed unstoppable at times, whereas I was jumping for joy with every dribble Ron Artest took. And if you re-read my comment, I do say that I did like his play when Yao Ming wasn’t hurt, but that doesn’t mean he still didn’t jack up some terrible shots in those first three games.

    Fisher, Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, all of them took PUJITS.

    Artest will not put us above anyone else because he will not “play his role.” He believes he’s a bona fide 1st banana when he’s at his best a 3rd banana.

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  97. People, please stop going all caps, it’s very annoying. Just make your point.

    re: Ariza’s pay, we don’t have to overpay just because other teams overpaid. So comparing those contracts to overpaid players is a moot point.

    re: Kobe taking less. It’s arguable that it’s just as much a business decision for Kobe to take less as it is for Buss. Winning with a better team and the repercussions for his image could translate to dollars for the Kobe brand.
    But I want Buss to pay Kobe.

    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?”

    I can’t believe this is still a question. You don’t have the hunger and work ethic Kobe has to get better unless you really want it. There’s no faking that.

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  98. 300
    I agree with you that Ariza is the best option because he already knows his role and he knows the offense. I do think however, that you are shortchanging Artest a little bit. Does he take some bad shots? Sure he does but I think I might like having the option of a guy like Artest, who can get his own shot, on this team. Brooks completely disappeared in a couple of those games because of the way we played D against him. On a Rockets team with no Yao Ming…Artest should have absolutely taken 15 to 20 shots a game. I think your wrong about Artest not playing his role in Houston though. He played well for them all year long. Houston actually wants him back but he wants to play for a winner.

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  99. I agree that Kobe deserves every dollar he makes. He is making his employer very rich.

    That said, the NBA is part business and part game (because of the salary cap).

    The “game” of it all is that you can’t make business decisions like: “Pay Kobe, Ariza, Odom, and Brown what it takes to keep winning. We think we will continue to be profitable even in that arrangement.”

    I think Kobe deserves every dollar he can get, but I also think, if it would help the team stay together AND reload (because let’s face it, everyone else is loading up), Kobe should ask how he can help the team play the salary cap game.

    There is no evidence that he did or dod not do that. The Lakers very well may have said, “Look Kobe, there’s really nothing you can do here that would make a difference.”

    We have no idea. We can only speculate. I am certainly no expert on the cap or the tax and will not pretend to be.

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  100. The whole Ariza discussion is stressing me to the point that weird free agent scenarios are popping into my head. After reading that Houston is thinking about making an offer to now unrestricted Oberto, why not go the full distance and add FA’s Walter Herrmann and Carlos Delfino. Then trading Artest for Ginobili and trotting out the Argentinian national team as their starters.

    (Just a joke, in case some don’t get it. Would be amazing though, just like one team collecting alle the Spaniards – except Pau of course.)

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  101. Despite his agent’s public statements, it still makes the most sense for Ariza to return to the Lakers.

    The Cavs can’t offer more money and his PT would be uncertain, given the fact that he plays the same position as LBJ.

    Random comment…New nickname for Shaq: The Big Coattail

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  102. If Ariza leaves, the Lakers simply need a defensive minded 3 with the ability to catch and shoot the 3. Artest fits the skillset, but the Lakers under Phil’s second regime have always emphasized character in addition to skill. I personally have mixed feelings on Artest, but generally couldn’t see Mitch going there.

    There are lots of options in the worst case, and Mitch probably has some no one here has even thought of. I’m not worried, repeating with everyone back is no guarantee anyway.

    Personally, I’d love to see the Cavs land Artest so we can see a truly disfunctional team.

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  103. The whole Artest character thing has been well hashed out here. It’s not practical and won’t happen.

    But the basketball fan in me would be really curious to see what happens with Artest under Phil. All the skills are there, and Artest could handle being second banana to Kobe. Really, after the job Phil did with Rodman, nothing would surprise me about Phil reclaiming any nutball in the league.

    Artest under a coach that he doesn’t respect will be trouble, which is what Cleveland is asking for if they get him.

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  104. Ariza isn’t leaving. If he were actually that disrespected by the negotiations as his agents would like the public to believe, then it wouldn’t be an issue. He would announce he found a better deal and that he’s leaving. He is merely trying to get a better offer form LA, *because* he wants to be here. Cleveland is the #1 place to say he’ll go, because that would put major pressure to re-sigh him. So, they’ll use Chris Broussard (what’s new).

    Just look at how everyone here is on a tizzy.

    Nothing but negotiations, like LO’s agent putting out that SA and PHX are interested in him at $10 mill per. Yeah right.

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  105. How much game does Bruce Bowen have left?

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  106. Not to stoke fires, but more for the sake of levity, if on some off chance the Lakers were to sign Artest, could we form a petition to get Rasheed Wallace too. That way he, Ron-Ron and Kobe could form some sort of Super Technical Foul Trio.

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  107. Mike in the Mountain West July 2, 2009 at 9:54 am

    It would be great to get Ariza back because he fits so well and knows the system but if he doesn’t return I think we would be better off targeting a PG that can do more to defend the quick PG’s that give us so much trouble.

    That is the team’s biggest weakness, even without Ariza in the lineup. We have a great wing defender in Kobe and Sacha isn’t bad either, plus our SSZ helps too. With Gasol, Bynum’s maturation (he played great in almost every regular season game even after returning at the end of the year), and help from Odom, Kobe doesn’t need to carry the team on offense and can devote more energy to wing defense.

    But we don’t have any way to successful defend PG’s at the top of the key driving or executing the P&R. Our already great defense would jump up another notch with an improvement at PG.

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  108. Sasha defending a James, Pierce, Carter, Ginobli, etc. instead of Ariza…is a frightening thought.

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  109. Excellent link to AK’S blog at LA Times. The history of David Lee is one to make the Lakers look like they are lowballing their player and that they have no problem walking away.

    Kupchak has stated from the final day of the regular season that the Lakers’s stance is to look at what the market rate is for the following players and then make an offer. Like many have said before they don’t want to be outbidding themselves.

    We know that there are two teams that will still have funds to give a ridiculous offer to Ariza, but does Ariza really think he will have a chance to thrive in Portland where there is a real logjam at the 2/3 positions? Can he accept the role Toronto gives and the outcome of rough seasons?

    I would assume yes, because this is Ariza’s first real payday and he has become a journeyman across the NBA and has finally tapped into some of his potential (with hard work and an excellent attitude, see letting others start) and craves to get paid for it.

    Ultimately, the Lakers threw out a low figure to see what the other teams in the league would respond. If other teams would throw out $9 M/yr figures I don’t see how the Lakers respond to that. However, if teams are throwing out $8 M/yr figures, I have no reason to suspect that the Lakers would increase their ante to $7 M/yr. That is just how negotiations and reading the value on the market.

    Now if I’m Ariza, would I sacrifice $1 M dollars a year to play for a crappy team, or to stay with the team that has a chance to be a dynasty? That is going to be the question. With all the factors of him being a hometown product etc. etc. I don’t see him leaving unless a team gift wraps a REDONKULOUS offer, and if Ariza gets it the businessman in me says Ariza would be a fool NOT to take it, but obviously the Lakers fan in me would slide that piece of paper across the table and say, he’s always been a Laker.

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  110. 310-The way Pop let him rot on the bench in crucial games tells me that Bruce is done. Even in the ’08 playoffs Kobe abused him

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  111. To all the true Laker fans (i.e. those that are willing to pay anything for Trevor),

    I wanted to thank you for the uproar you’re creating about re-signing Trevor. While I don’t except Mitch to follow the perfectly rationale suggestions of all you more experienced GMs masquerading as fans, one can always hope that he comes to his senses and learns how to negotiate, which means immediately offering Trevor a max contract when there is no competing offer on the table or even a discussion with another team.

    As for Kobe taking a paycut, I think that’s another example of why you are smarter than Mitch. You should always underpay your best performers and overpay the role players. After all, in the post-Shaq era, Kobe hasn’t been to the Finals or won without Trevor. Hmmm. Come to think of it, Kobe also hasn’t won any of his championships without Rudy Garciduenas as equipment manager. Note to self: contact Rudy about representation – max contract coming, baby!

    Of course, if Kobe were my client (damn you, Pelinka), then asking him to take a pay cut would be craziest idea this side of wishing Mike Dunleavy was the Lakers GM. Actually, I wish Dunleavy was the Lakers GM, because these discussions would be over faster than you could say Chris Kaman.

    So kept those Mitch and Dr. Buss rants coming, because the economy is tough and every little bit helps me earn more fees…er…helps bring Trevor back to the only team he ever wanted to play for (except any team willing to pay him more money.)

    Regards,

    D Lee

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  112. j.d. Hastings July 2, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Looking closer at the Detroit signings, is it just me or does it only really make sense if Dumars and co consciously decided to become a run and gun D’Antoni/Colangelo type team? They needed to shore up their front court, while they were set in back court scoring, but instead flipped they ratio of money you’d expect them to spend (you’d expect to spend the 11 mil/year on the front court and 7/year in the backcourt). It’s not like this was an accident, either. The Gordon signing was rumored for weeks (and also implies they were illegally tampering)- they were dead set on signing him. The Charlie V choice was more of a compromise since Hedo wanted too much $.

    So maybe what seems nonsensical in terms of what we expect of Detroit is just a 180 shift in philosophy. Get out, run and drop points on people in lieu of defense. That could also explain why they fire a coach who didn’t really have a chance to do anything with team in a rebuilding phase- they want to find someone who will play to the style they’re looking at. A style that may put more butts in the seats than defense, even if it wins fewer games…

    Or am I giving too much credit here? The names of coaches I’ve heard thrown out there (Avery or Doug Collins) aren’t exactly the run and gun types. If they build a team for one style then hire the opposite type of coach, I’m giving up.

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  113. The whole “Kobe should take less” thing – It’s not like he’s the only guy getting paid big $$$. Gasol is around $16 and Bynum is at $12, Odom will be close to $10. But of course, the media will love to poke fingers at Kobe, seeing what drama they can stir up. You have to look at it as Kobe will only make money for so long as a career has an expiration date. Jerry Buss practically has an indestructible commodity – a cash cow. For Buss to take a decrease in net profits for one or three years is a much easier hit than for Kobe to take a pay cut when his professional income will probably expire within the next ten years. Granted, Kobe will be making some money after he retires, but nothing near while still playing (endorsements won’t be like what Jordan’s got set up). Kobe busts his $#& and plays through injury after injury. Why shouldn’t he get every penny he can in a structured labor union? And doesn’t Buss net in a normal economy like at least $40 mil or something? I just think it is more on Buss, even though he has to pay double, to take the hit.

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  114. j.d. Hastings July 2, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Seriously, I don’t get the passion people feel for Artest here. Its kind of like those otherwise sane women who fall in love with imprisoned serial killers.

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  115. JD, you may be on to something. Also, Charlie V (his new alias) has got the capability to stretch the floor playing the 4 spot. The only thing is they need a center to actually be in the mix. If they can swing a deal that nets them a guy like Gortat or something, with Gordon and Maxiell first off the bench, I’d say Dumars had a great off season. But if they’re starting Kwame next year, tsk tsk..

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  116. Bottom line is. I’d rather have artest over ariza. If you would rather have ariza, than you dont know too much about basketball. Team chemistry will fall in place because we have the best coach in basketball history. Do you really think the lakers will stop playing the triangle because artest is on the team? or he will just launch 3 pointers for no reason? Artest shot bad against us in the playoffs because we played good defense on him and they really didnt have any offensive firepower. They won the games because of their defense and artest was a big part of that. Dont be dillusional, artest is a better player than ariza. If we play the cavs, who will guard lebron in the post?
    Ariza is a great defender but he is pretty weak in the post. We would just get a different type of defender in artest.

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  117. 318

    I have no idea what Dumars’ latest plan is, but the saving grace of the debacle that was the AI trade was supposed to be the cap room that would be available this summer. Now you tell me, does using all that money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva sound like it was worth the trouble? They still need a replacement for Wallace at center, and I’m not convinced that the team they have is good enough offensively to be a great run-and-gun team.

    Frankly, I think Dumars was too hasty. He should have at least explored the trade market for a bit before committing to Gordon and Villanueva.

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  118. 320- Sufian
    Lebron’s post up game is his weakest link. Ariza plays Lebron fairly well. In fact, he would probably do a better job of staying in front of Lebron on the perimeter. You’re right that Artest is a better player but I think Ariza fits the defense and the triangle offense better than Artest.

    Not to mention the fact that Ariza already knows the offense and his role. He knows and accepts the fact that he may only get 3 shots a night. If we can’t sign Trevor then by all means grab Artest as quickly as possible, but don’t tell all of us that we don’t know anything about basketball because obviously Kupchak and Buss will take Ariza first as well if the price is right.

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  119. 322, team chemistry doesn’t just fall into place, the 2004 Lakers are a very prime example of this. As we’ve seen with Kobe, it is very easy to get away from the triangle if we over-dribble or take quick shots; these are what Artest loves the most. Yes, he will jack up threes for no reason; if you re-watch the playoff series, you’ll see he took a number of ridiculous threes in all 7 games, he just happened to make them in games 1-3 and miss them in 4-7. We didn’t play good defense against Artest; whenever he bull-rushed his way to the hoop, he got there. As you said, Ariza is not very strong, and he couldn’t contain Artest when Artest drove to the hoop. Luckily for us, Artest has a one-sided love affair with three pointers. And just because Artest is a better player than Ariza, doesn’t mean he’s a better fit on our team. I think we can all agree that Allen Iverson is a better player than Derek Fisher, but do you think he would be a better fit for our team?

    And Lebron doesn’t play in the post, so we don’t have to worry about that. But if you mean strength-wise, I don’t think anyone in the league can stop Lebron. The only way to contain him is with ball-denial, and Kobe showed us exactly how to do that in January.

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  120. Book Review up. Feel free to continue your discussions here…

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  121. A few posts here have mentioned Sasha as a solid defender. Let me say that if this thought EVER crosses your mind, you officially know nothing about basketball and should be banned from posting on this and all other sites.

    Sasha’s only defensive skill is getting opponents into the penalty in record time to start the 2nd and 4th quarters. If someone keeps stats on this sort of thing I’d be very interested to see if anyone in the league commits more penalties 25′ from the basket.

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  122. mikeinchitown July 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/article/659530

    Looks like TOR is likely out of the Turkish Jordan bidding war, which ensures that POR is going to land him. So now no other team will be able to snatch TA from the Lakers with a big blowout offer.

    Mitch, cut to chase, top up the MLE a bit and be done with it. DLee, you have no leverage, take the deal and stop trying to ruin people’s 4th weekend.

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  123. I usually lurk and this silly season really doesn’t motivate me to comment a whole lot. But when I see a quote like what #320 Sufian says

    “Bottom line is. I’d rather have artest over ariza. If you would rather have ariza, than you dont know too much about basketball”

    Wow, I guess Kurt and Darius know nothing about basketball. I have a ton of respect for their basketball knowledge.

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  124. I think it’s hilarious that Ariza’s agent, Lee, is acting like the Lakers are disrespecting Ariza by offering him the same deal that every other team will be able to offer (with a couple exceptions).If Portland or Detroit–oops, scratch them–offers him more, he should definitely take it. But, in this free agent class, I think Portland would be overpaying.

    He could continue to grow–who knows. If Im Portland, I’d consider it. But Mitch is absolutely right not to offer more. If the Lakers want to pony up and spend–as many fans have been urging them to–why not offer Turk the money. Oh, yeah, they can’t. See how this works?

    Seriously, if Lee is going to convince Ariza to leave for the same money elsewhere because the Lakers disrespected him, I will boo his a** every time I see him. Hey Lee, who should be thanking whom? As I recall, Mitch plucked him from total obscurity and made him the starting 3 for a championship team. At that time, I had never heard of him. What sort of contract would he be looking at if he was still on the Magic?

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  125. “Team chemistry will fall in place because we have the best coach in basketball history.”

    See 2003/04.

    “Do you really think the lakers will stop playing the triangle because artest is on the team?”

    It happens a lot already and he isn’t even on the team.

    “or he will just launch 3 pointers for no reason?”

    That’s like asking if Shaq will miss free throws. (Although to give Artest his due, he has become a decent shooter from beyond the arc when his feet are set. If only he’d stick to taking those shots.)

    “Dont be dillusional, artest is a better player than ariza.”

    He’s ‘better’ than a lot of players, yet he keeps getting traded. I wonder why that is…

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  126. “He’s [Artest] ‘better’ than a lot of players, yet he keeps getting traded. I wonder why that is…”

    You don’t know it? It’s easy to explain:

    GMs, coaches etc “don’t know too much about basketball”.

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  127. Tyler, it’s not unreasonable to say Vujacic is a solid defender. By solid, I mean moves his feet, orients his player toward the rights spots in the team concept, can chase down and stay in front of players a fair amount of the time. Just because he isn’t a stopper doesn’t mean he’s Adam Morrison or Nash. He did a solid job in covering Von Wafer. He picks up dumb fouls but at the same time he applies a lot of pressure to ballhandlers.

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  128. Consider this a warning shot across the bow:

    Do not come in here and say “if you don’t see X then you don’t know anything about basketball.” To use the Artest example — do you think GMs agree on him? Do you think a discussion of his fit is going on in Lakers front offices and everyone agrees? We debate things here, and we will at least be civil.

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  129. For the record, I expect Toronto to make and offer now to Ariza, but Lee will find the number just what the Lakers offered. So he will try to play one off the other, and these are two smart GMs who will not play that game.

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  130. The vitriol against Artest is slightly disturbing. I’m totally aware of where it’s coming from, but it’s encroaching a bit too much into an emotional standpoint than an objective one. If Ariza goes (hypothetical, not saying he will), then I’m not sure there’s a better defensive wing on the market we could get. Marion is a nutjob as well, Hill is aging, Kleiza is overrated, and Atlanta would match a midlevel offer to Childress. Obviously, the best situation is to have Ariza back, but Artest would be a better alternative than some of the other wings on the market. If there’s a coach in the league I’d trust to have Artest (try to) play in a system, it’s Phil.

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  131. from Ball Don’t Lie

    Bodog’s odds to win the 2009-10 NBA Championship have been reassessed and posted following last week’s NBA Draft and trade activity. Unsurprisingly, the Shaquille O’Neal-to-Cleveland, Vince Carter-to-Orlando and Richard Jefferson-to-San Antonio deals have altered a few of the favorites’ lines.

    Some notes, courtesy of Jimmy Shapiro, comparing the updated odds to ones released June 15th:

    * Cleveland went from 3/1 to 9/4
    * L.A. Lakers fell from 2/1 to 9/4
    * San Antonio sky rocked from 16/1 to 11/1
    * Orlando jumped a bit from 15/2 to 6/1
    * Boston dipped slightly from 9/2 to 5/1

    Interestingly, the Rockets still remain at 15/1 odds despite Yao’s foot scare.

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  132. Kurt – thanks for the heads up. If Tor makes and offer and DL starts mouthing off more crap – this blog will go crazy!!! No wonder you hate trade talks.

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  133. That’s why we better improve – other contenders have definitely improved their teams – we can’t just stay the same. If TA wants to walk – that might work out best for us – none of us really knows. I just don’t want any more luke walton/sasha contracts. i’d rather the player walk then get stuck with more crappy long term contracts we can’t get rid of. we need flexibility.

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  134. Toronto’s dilemma: any long-term contracts would cripple their ability to lure a big-name free-agent and retain bosh, but if they don’t acquire more talent, that could discourage bosh from signing an extension.

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  135. If Toronto offers Ariza way more than the MLE, they won’t be able to re-sign Marion, will they? So couldn’t we rent Marion for a year for our MLE? He probably will want money in the supposed Odom range (around 10mil), but there are no suitors at that price for him as well. He would at least be a nice stop-gap.

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  136. BCR – How is Shawn Marion a nutjob?

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  137. When thinking about Toronto, remember that everything they do this year is in an effort to get Bosh to re-sign.

    So yes, if they let Marion walk they can make a big offer to Ariza. But, would that make Bosh happy?

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  138. Re: Artest

    Kurt,
    You bring up some good points regarding the risks of signing Artest, but you understate the potential rewards, which are enormous. I am a big fan of Ariza’s game. He seems to have what it takes to improve his game every year, but I cannot ignore the advantages of bringing in Artest.

    Although Kevin Martin is the better offensive player, Artest was the top dog on that Sac team. He will know his place playing with Kobe and Phil. Kobe has stated that he “could put Artest in check” the last time his name came up, and I believe him.

    Every potential threat to the next Laker Dynasty (Denver, Cavs, SA, Orlando, Celtics, Portland) has an elite SF (Carmelo, Lebron, RJeff, Vince, Pierce, Hedo). Who better to guard these guys than Artest? Lebron has come out and said that Artest guards him better than anyone else in the league. I watched Houston play the Cavs this year, and Lebron is telling the truth.

    Yes, Artest takes too many contested threes and makes bad decisions, but he will see more wide open looks than his entire career on this team. His decision making will be less of a factor on this team as well. If Smush can pose as a real NBA player alongside Kobe, what’s Artest going to look like? Even though he has lost a step, he might be just as deadly as he was in Indiana playing on this team.

    He also brings the intimidation factor. We won’t need DFish to respond from getting bullied by punching anyone out ever again because Artest’s mere presence will strike fear into the opponent. This is pure speculation, but I am sure that Pierce, Lebron, Vince, Carmelo, RJeff and Hedo would much rather face the Lakers with Ariza than Artest.

    The entire league will be trembling in their boots if we sign Artest.

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  139. Well, Marion probably overvalued himself a little when he complained his way out of Phoenix. I guess the stops in Miami and Toronto might have changed his perspective a little. I can’t recall hearing about him being a distraction on these teams.

    I’m sure he’s not willing to sign a multi year MLE-based contract, but he’s also hopefully clever enough to see where he would fit in the pecking order of a championship team like the Lakers. And at some point the financial reality of this summer’s free agent market will become too obvious to ignore.

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  140. The Lakers dilemma: they’re over the luxury limit already with three free agents to sign.

    Solution: make offers to Lamar and Trevor at the MLE, which is the only offer that could be made by most teams.

    Risk: if both Lamar and Trevor sign with another team, they will be limited in what they could offer established remaining free agents to one MLE–which they want to save for an emergency later in the season.

    Player’s dilemma: value may be more than MLE, but market value may be no more than MLE.

    Solution: ask Laker’s for more than MLE and/or seek out offers from other teams.

    Risk: Lakers may re-sign only one above MLE to partially limit luxury tax, saving the MLE for emergencies later in the season.

    Possible Lakers/players compromise: moderate increases above the MLE and/or number of years of contract and/or save higher payments for later years in contract.

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  141. So celts are pushing for sheed – if they get him and kg is healty – freek – we better improve our team!! Cannot just stay with this current roster.
    http://tinyurl.com/5b3d5f

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  142. If you haven’t seen it, CBS reporting Artest to the Lakers, with the source as Artest. Trying to get confirmation.

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  143. The players risk is not as great as ownerships risk as time goes on. If said players present market value is at MLE level, then the only thing in their favor is time. As more players are signed to different teams that ownership thought about as replacements for said players, then the risk is greater for ownership. Now ownership has no plan B, because the talent pool of free agents has diminished. The said players now are in the drivers seat now, knowing you dont have any other options, and if I leave now ownership is screwed. Teams will be continuing to try to dump salary to create cap space, so the longer this drags out the better for the players. This is why players hire agents like D. Lee.

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  144. If this is true, I didnt want the LAKERS to have to use their MLE this early because of our point situation. But it seems as if TA and his agent are trying to play prom night virgin. Good luck TA no hard feelings.

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  145. I was with you up until “the source as Artest.”

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  146. Oh YES!!!! I know there are a lot of ronron haters out there – but for this to happen, Kobe and LO had to talk to him first and buy off on it. RonRon will keep his head together for the ring…he can do it – he’s older (maybe not wiser). Look at Starbury – he’s a total basket case and did ok on the celts. When it comes to winning the ring – he’ll be able to control himself. Yes, I think there might be some bumps in the road – he’ll end up taking some really bad shots at really bad times – but he will more than make up for it with his tough d…especially when our offense isn’t clicking on all cylinders.

    Let’s wait for a real report.

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  147. One thing I like about Artest his ability to play 3 positions. Say what you want, he’s very versatile.

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  148. It seems that ownership didnt want to take the risk and wait on TA to find out what he wanted to do.

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  149. Kurt – you obviously did not want this to happen. If it’s true – what do you think? Can you welcome him to LA or does it just run too deep for you? I’m not being a sarcastic pig – I really admire your well thought out opinions on things.

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  150. EXERCISE THE DEMONS!

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  151. If I were Trevor Ariza, I’d be reluctant to play for Houston. With Yao being a huge question mark, there’s a chance he won’t enjoy very many open looks. Without Yao, defenses are going to suffocate the perimeter. It’s an unfavorable situation.

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  152. LA TIMES is reporting a deal is close 5 yrs/$32 million

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  153. Another link on the Artest-thing: http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/07/02/report-ron-artest-will-sign-with-lakers/

    If nothing else, it will certainly make next season even more interesting.

    I have to admit, I’m a sucker for these deals – whether they make sense or not. Sometimes I actually wish basketball was like soccer and the Lakers could sign people like Real Madrid are doing currently. They already spent upwards 300 million dollars on new players this summer (Kaka, Ronaldo, Albiol, Benzema), and that’s just counting the transfer fees. I know it would probably kill the competition in a sport like basketball (the outcome in soccer is a lot more random due to fewer goals), but imagine the Lakers signing Lebron and CP3 – while still keeping all the guys;)

    But I digress, sorry.

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  154. Artest is a talent. Sigh. I just hope it doesn’t blow up in our faces if it turns out to be correct.

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  155. What does this mean for LO, is he going to try to play hardball like TA? If he does lets do a sign and trade, got to get somebody for him. No money left to sign outside free agents who match his skill set. Mitch showing his toughness in the trenches. D### I didnt know he had it in him.

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  156. gaining artest while losing ariza… if this were to happen, I’ll probably feel the way I did when we gained glen rice while trading away eddie jones. mixed feelings.

    one of many random thoughts: next 5 years worth of playing under kobe’s wings… would it really do more for ron-ron than it would for trevor?

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  157. NOOOOOOOO /darth vader

    … ok guys, talk me into this. This is a good move, right?

    btw, this doesn’t actually rule out Trevor coming back as our 7th man. Totally serious. Of course you don’t pay above the MLE for a guard off the bench… unless you’re Joe Dumars.

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  158. another random thought: can this possibly mean that they’ll try to match whatever deal trevor gets, and then *gulp* brace for LO leaving?

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  159. 364

    Not a chance. If Artest does sign, Ariza is gone.

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  160. I see Artest as more of alternative to Ariza than LO, don’t you guys agree? It seems to me like LO is mostly being used at the 4, and that Artest would be playing the 3?

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  161. 363. G. Rice was strickly a shooter, Eddie J had that all around game that people rarely appreciate till its gone. TA and Artest have a similar skill set, unlike Rice and Jones.

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  162. update from ESPN 3yrs/$18 million for Artest

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4303679

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  163. my birthday today, and last week a friend gave me an ariza jersey. nba… where stormy free agency and a no-win ebay situation happens… hehe

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  164. … I can’t wrap my mind around this right now. We got crazy pills artest? I thought that was the backup plan?

    Either Trevor’s agent just lost a major game of chicken, or he was completely serious that Trevor was going to walk. I cannot believe Trevor was seriously going to walk for equal money, it still boggles my mind.

    (PS I’m still holding out hope that somehow, some way, we can still bring back trevor and LO both — still possible, just means about $6m more tax in addition to trevor’s contract… yeah…)

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  165. 369: great value for a player of Artest’s caliber. Sweet!

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  166. 368. yes, but trevor just helped us get our ring. that 2nd quarter in game 5, man…

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  167. This is a sad day for me. Trevor had become my favorite Laker over the course of a season and I would not say I’m a Artest fan. Doesn’t mean I can’t become one but I liked that this year’s team consisted of a bunch of “good” guys who were fun to root for. I hope it works

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  168. I like it.

    Artest may have some issues and problems, but if Marbury can subdue himself for the Celtics, certainly Artest can do that here.

    Moreover, I like our approach better than the other teams’ around the league – we decided to improve by adding defense, not offense. I’m fairly certain that if Artest does sign, he was explicitly told that they were getting him for his defense.

    We’ll have versatile defenders at the 4 (Pau), 3 (Artest) and 2 (Kobe), with varying degrees of strength and speed to create favorable matchups.

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  169. The Dude Abides July 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I’m definitely not happy right now about Artest to the Lakers. One of the joys about this team was that so many were such likable guys. I think Trevor got bad advice from his agent, and is going to regret that he took equal pay from someone other than his hometown team. Ugh…if this is true, I will feel just as bad as I did that day in February 1999 when we traded Eddie Jones away.

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  170. New post up in a little bit.

    But know that Ariza did not take equal money — the Lakers could have offered MLE money with bigger raises each year (by not using the MLE itself). Ariza will now play for less. Not in his home town. Not with the team he won a ring with.

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  171. yet another random thought: if pj retires after next season. what kinda anti-crazy-pill-pills can rambis and b-shaw come up with?

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  172. The more details that come in, the more it seems that the front office wanted Artest over Ariza from the get go. Perhaps Artest was Plan A, and Trevor was plan B all along. David Lee might have actually been speaking the truth when he said the Lakers do not want Ariza. Hmmmm.

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  173. 3 years 18 million for Ron Artest, that’s a great deal for the lakers, especially since Ariza wanted 8-9 million a year.

    Unfortunately I think Ariza and his agent just lost a game of chicken.

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  174. Not at all excited about this. I was really looking forward to watching Ariza blossom here as a Laker.

    But there’s no question that Artest is, in the short term, a much better player than Trevor is. He’s a headcase, sure, but he’s a superior on-ball defender who (and this is most important) has the respect of the referees. He’s also a good rebounder and a solid shooter (when his feet are set). He should get a lot of open looks here (unlike in Houston). Maybe even more importantly, this significantly weakens Houston’s perimeter defense insofar as it is geared to stopping Kobe. (If Houston turns around and signs Ariza I’ll be curious how he will do in that system).

    Whether he can fit in with this team is a different question altogether. We shall see.

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  175. I think a lot of real laker fans have mixed feelings

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  176. who else thinks that mitch kinda got a little scared by the arms race that’s goin on since draft day?

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  177. For the love of God, please re-sign Odom. Adding Artest is a risky move on its own, but at the expense of Ariza and Odom it would be downright lunacy.

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  178. I certainly have mixed feelings. I love Ariza, his game and how his personality seemed to mesh with the team. I am most worried about how Artest will affect team chemistry and morale.

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  179. What I am semi-worried about, is, of course, Karma.

    Ariza played a role in defeating the Magic in the finals, and if he joins Houston, Cleveland, or Portland… I can see him exercise some of that Karma on us as well.

    But still, if we can get some good years out of Artest, which I think we can, we should be better off.

    Just a tad worried about our T’s next season. Hope we don’t have to resort to signing Rasheed over Odom or something.

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  180. 387

    Artest doesn’t normally pick up that many Ts.

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  181. The fireworks started early in Los Angeles. Definitely alot to analyze and discuss about Atrest’s impact on the team. LA needs Odom to match the moves by the Spurs, Cleveland and Orlando

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  182. on the positive side:

    – 3 yrs < 5 yrs
    – better on the ball d
    – stronger sf to check the likes of bron and pierce
    – more refined player for now (instead of waiting further TA development, even if it’s soon) means we get more out of kobe’s prime years

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  183. I am just as apprehensive as others here about this decision, but lets remember that Trevor was a twice-traded bench player who blossomed in the Lakers system.

    I think management decided to add talent and toughness rather than just keep the same team together because they anticipate next year being a much harder road to the title. In other words, they took the dynamic approach rather than the static approach and only time will tell if it was the correct decision.

    One thing for sure, however, next year is going to be unbelievable!

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  184. What do you do when your the Lakers and Ariza says, you have to overpay me to keep me and if not I’ll take the MLE from another team and Artest basically says, I’ll play in LA for a discount in years and money.

    I do think the Lakers hoped Ariza would turn the MLE offer down so they could sign Artest and say “we offered Ariza a fair market value deal and he turned it down, and Artest is playing for us for below market value”.

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  185. Gonna miss all those highlights involving Ariza, that’s for sure.

    Hope we get Brown back and see him blossom like Ariza did.

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  186. We definitely sign LO now, if he stays thats another question. Mitch has shown he has a few tricks up his sleaves. Artest was in the plans all along when he was chill’n at those LAKER games.

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  187. lets be honest, we have no idea how this will shape up until november, im more worried about getting lamar back

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  188. It’s awfull. Ariza has produced just more. He’s already better player than Artes – and he’s going up, while Artest is going down.

    I could understand it if Ariza had some stupid offer – but he will probably get similar money around MLE. I don’t understand it at all. From all teams Lakers decided to chase a name instead of a player.

    Mitch, WHYYYYY?

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  189. 384. I dont think he got scared it was just the fact that the longer we waited on TA to make a decision the list of options for his replacement was going to get shorter. TA had to as the old saying goes “either s### or get off the pot”

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  190. Sorta tough and unexpected development, since Ariza said in his exit interviews that he felt a lot of love. A lot of love.

    I really wonder how exactly events unfolded (sure will hear a version from David Lee), but I’m guessing it was part Artest lobbying and Ariza not accepting the MLE.

    Now, for Ariza’s sake, I hope he does get signed for something more than the MLE. Would make both sides feel really awkward if Ariza signed for the MLE, or worse, less than that.

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  191. New Artest Thoughts post up.

    While nothing can be finalized until July 8, everyone is now telling me done deal.

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  192. spurs and cavs got rj and shaq without giving up much. celts are lookin to build the big-4 with sheed. ours is a horizontal move in comparison to those vertical ones. high-risk upgrade at a position that didn’t have such a bad time of it last season.

    when danny ainge traded for ray allen, many thought that it was a horrible trade getting an aging pg with good name but bad knees. it turned out to be just the first half of a 2-punch combo trade. can this possibly be mitch’s first of 2 punches? does he have some secret admirer who’ll take our garbage for draftpicks or something?

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  193. My guess is the Lakers looked at the contract year stats of Luke Walton and Sasha and decided that Ariza’s 3 point shooting is fool’s good and will most likely revert back to the mean (as it did for Sasha and Luke). Now I love Ariza if he’ shooting 50 % from 3 as he did in the playoffs, but is Ariza’s game worth 8-9 mil a year (what he was asking) if he really is just a 29 % three point shooter? When teams start chasing him off that 3-point line next year will he adjust or will his shooting go in the tank like Sasha’s?
    Another question is, does Ariza do anything that we can definitively say Ron Artest cannot do? If not, then why should the Lakers pay Ariza more when they can get someone for cheaper and who arguably is better right now.

    I understand the mixed feelings from fans but I agree with the Laker management on this one.

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  194. The argument against Artest wasn’t never whether he could be a good fit, but whether he would be. Certainly, if he plays within the system he brings toughness and strength to a team built on quickness and length. He gives us a solid shooter, another option at the post so teams can’t hide Redick on Ariza, and someone who can guard Pierce, LeBron, and Carmelo with his strength.
    But the bigger question remains to be whether he will conform to the system and play 3rd and 4th fiddle. The more I think about it, the more I see differences between the Hou situation and ours. He had to be the ballhandler and creator when Aaron, Luis, couldn’t create for themselves and Yao couldn’t get the ball. On a team of established players like Kobe and Pau he may defer a little more. I may question his commitment and stability but I don’t question his respect for Kobe. Secondly, I like how management decided to be proactive instead of reactive. They got someone who can not only play Ariza’s role but also Odom’s at the 4. Sure he will be not as good at some things but he will be better at others. And chances are Odom will be back.

    So I’m not sold yet, but I can start to see some things that make sense with Artest being on our team.

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  195. Was this the plan? I just have a feeling a 24 year old Ariza leaving will haunt us Lakers fans.

    Does the Lakers FO think so little of Ariza? Is it a giant middle finger to his agent? No chance he’s back? Really, that’s it?

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  196. Is there some reason you guys aren’t making a run at Kidd? Apparently he’s considering a MLE one year deal from the Knicks. Why would he not consider the same or better from LA? You guys could really use him, and your starting 5 would be insane. Am I missing something?

    -Timberwolves fan

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