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David Lee, Shunned by Many, Liked by Few

The art of negotiation is one of mankind’s most evolved skills. Humans evolved into our present relatively properous state because of our ancestors (for the most part) realized that bartering and trading increases overall wealth and welfare and the means of maximizing ones welfare is via negotiation. Reasonable discussion to reach understanding, history has shown, and all of us agree, is preferable to fisticuffs.

So it is not surprising that negotiation has evolved into a discipline, a science. Taught at the finest of higher learning establishments, fueled by gurus such as Bill Ury, most people agree that superior negotiation skills is an important corner stone to career success. Unless you are a sports agent.

Bill Ury’s seminal work “Getting to Yes” speaks of reaching common ground with your adversary. Ury espouses quite common sense concepts such as:

  • Treat your opponent with respect
  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Don’t deduce their intentions from your fear
  • Don’t blame them for your problem
  • Discuss each other’s perceptions
  • Face saving: make your proposals consistent with their values
  • Be patient
  • Speak about yourself, not about them
  • Speak for a purpose
  • Build a working relationship
  • For a wise solution reconcile interests, not positions
  • Ask “Why?” Ask “Why not?” Think about their choice
  • Realize that each side has multiple interests

Unless you are a sports agent.

If you are David Lee, and your qualification as “training” as sports agent is repeated watching of “Jerry MaGuire” on late night TV, you eschew any serious study of the science of negotiation.  After all, didn’t you take audit “So you want to be a Sports Agent, Intro” class at your junior college? Instead of learning from the master negotiators and teachers, you adopt the Hitlerian techniques of:

  • Denounce your opponent in public
  • Paint your opponent in a corner
  • Threaten your opponent with consequences and repercussions
  • Complain about lack of appreciation from your opponent (Boo hoo, my feeling is hurt)
  • Blame your opponent for the lack of agreement

Especially since you saw that when Shaq publicly called out Jerry Buss (“Pay me”, “Pay me”) he caved and paid Shaq whatever he wanted….. wait, maybe Jerry and the Lakers didn’t cave. In fact, the Lakers have demonstrated time and time again that they will not be bullied, like to handle matters in private; and when you treat them the right way, they always treat you fairly.

In John Belushi’s immortal words, “But Noooooo….”

If the failure to learn from history is a sign of stupidity, then consider yourself labeled. It takes a special sort of skill to achieve what David Lee has been able to achieve.

Your client is a role player one year removed from a season ending foot fracture. (There are well-reported fears of a congential foot defect). Your client was a bench player for half the season and his highest points per game was not double digits. Yet he has certain advantages:

1. His team has just won the championship and the GM has stated publicly that his intention is to re-sign your client (You sneered at such weak negotiation skills)

2. Your client is a native of the city, with family and friends.

3. The system the team plays is a perfect fit for your client, who cannot create his own shot

4. Your client is part of a tight community. His teammates and coaches love him and vice versa

6. Your client wants to continue to play for the team

7. The team is the marquee team in the league, playing in a top 2 market, for the champion. Your client will never have more chances to maximize his celebrity into endorsement money.

8. Contrary to how you are spinning it your client, not the burly guy with the words in his hair, was option A , not option B.

Thus, even during the worst bear market for free agents – a buyer’s market – the team is willing to pay your client more than any other team.

And you still can’t get the deal done. Instead, your client has to sign for a team out of contention in now his fourth state (you know that it is hot and humid in Houston right?) for less money than he was offered by the Lakers. This takes a special skill. Your client should have stayed home with family and friends, playing for a champion, in the spotlight, and for more money. But you blew it.

The only reason David Lee does not take the “Worst Sports Agent” in history is because in 2003, Anthony Carter’s agent, Bill Duffy (now gainfully unemployed as a mortgage salesman) failed to file papers with the Miami Heat that his client was exercising his option to remain with the team for $4.1 Million. Surprised at not finding such paperwork, Pat Riley immediately cut Carter and signed Lamar Odom with the increased cap space.

So in the pantheon of worst sports agents in history the standings are as follows:

Gold: Bill Duffy

Silver: David Lee

Bronze: Everybody else.

Don’t worry David, you have plenty of time to catch up to Duffy. Or maybe not.

—Bill Bridges

Reader Interactions


  1. couldn’t agree more, this one is squarely on the agent.
    not the brightest guy around.
    too bad for Trevor, and the Lakers, and the fans.
    lots of upset folks because of this poor handling in the art of negotiation.
    well said.


  2. I wonder what Trevor is saying. I think #3 should have stepped in during the negotiations. We’ll miss you Trevor. But you’re agent hella screwed you over!

    Great post! 🙂


  3. It feels like when Ronny left for Golden State. The fan favorites always leave I tell you


  4. Bill Duffy actually paid Anthony Carter out of his own pocket to make up for his error. He is Carter’s agent to this day.


  5. I agree David Lee did not help Trevor with his antics, but I don’t think that was the reason Trevor isn’t here.

    Again I wonder if Ron wasn’t really the #1 option rather than Trevor. I think Mitch wanted Ron at the MLE price and believed he could get Ron at that price. Until that was a done deal, he had to keep Trevor in play. Now if he couldn’t get RonRon, he was fully prepared to offer Trevor MLE money.

    I think Mitch was looking at what the other teams were doing or planning on doing, and I think given some of their moves, he felt he needed to upgrade as well.

    I don’t think this was a spur of the moment uh oh Trevor might not come back let’s call RonRon decision. Given Ron’s history, Mitch needed buy-in from Phil and Kobe. If Mitch knew Phil wasn’t coming back, this deal doesn’t get done. If Kobe said no, same thing. This didn’t just happen. Mitch had thought this through beforehand.

    That David Lee spouted off was an expected gift because it drew the ire of all the fans and gave everyone a convenient scapegoat.

    Well played, Mitch. Well played.


  6. Thank you for this. It makes me love Ariza more and hate David Lee’s guts so much, I want to burn them on a spit. He got into Bynum’s head, then wiggled his slimy ways into our beloved Trevor. David Lee, I hope you are fired, and are publicly scorned until you are no more. Trevor, we love you, and will always remember your clutch D and 3s. I hope someone such as Brooks can develop enough to earn some double teams so that you may score some points and not fail.

    Go Lakers.


  7. When the money is not an issue (LA offered the most) shouldn’t the determining factors include: the client’s comfort level with the situation – LA is his home, all his friends and family are close by, great relationship with team and understands the system; the opportunity for gains off the court – Lakers are on national TV all the time, defending champs, Kobe attracts all sorts of coverage; and common sense? Instead this giant douche tries a powerplay that fails miserably and messes things up for his client. Like many, I’m sad to see Ariza go mainly because of his agent’s incompetence. I hope Drew fires this guy as well, if he hasn’t already.


  8. It’s official Pau is playing this summer the Eurobasket in Poland. As spaniard it’s amazing news, as Laker fan I don’t thinkof it as a good idea…


  9. You forgot one of the core tenets of Getting to Yes; namely, know your BATNA (Best Alternative To No Agreement).

    Knowing your BATNA tells you that, righteous indignation aside, the alternative only becomes better if and only if some well-defined conditions fail to be met.

    BATNAs specifically avoid the type of hurt feelings type of decisions that lead to bad decisions.

    Now, if TA’s goal was to be somewhere where he could get better, feel wanted and be in a position to win, then only if the Lakers violated one of these attributes was another alternative better.

    It wasn’t and they didn’t so this was pure ego play manipulated by an agent feeding a young player. That stated, I agree with Plaschke in LAT that the Lakers could have/should have done more before closing the door, which suggests that the Lakers BATNA is working with players (and their agents) that don’t break protocol by going to media first or questioning the honor of the team.

    Either way, it’s a shame, as Ariza is at least a couple of years from being on a championship caliber team (if ever), and it’s not like TA was Houston’s first choice. At least he goes into an environment where he will hopefully get better, albeit without the advantage of the types of open looks one gets when Kobe is your teammate.

    He’s now a receiver without a quarterback.


  10. Arggghhhh!!! After reading Jacqueline’s comment in the last thread, it prompted me to respond, with that same Hoopsworld link that Bill just put up in his post. Anyway, here was my comment in the last thread, which got hijacked by the evil Bill Bridges 😀 when he put the new post up.
    I’ve only gotten through Comment #227 today, but I think Jacqueline hit the nail on the head. The people of LA love Trevor Ariza, and we hate to see him go. David Lee is a tool. And now there’s this Hoopsworld article that clearly shows that retaining Trevor was Plan A, but La Gran Duchabaga sabotaged that route:

    However, now we have a Plan B that could conceivably result in utter dominance next season, and if the Celtics make it to the Finals against our guys, the series could result in a Laker victory in four or five games. Leave it to the Laker organization to have such a great Plan B in their back pocket. One has to respect that.


  11. 14. Of course, a more accurate Spanish translation could be La Gran Duchabolsa (or Bolsaducha), but either way, I’m just going to refer to David Lee as LGD in the future.


  12. Now that I’ve settled into the reality of what’s happened something popped into my head. It’s been said before here at the Forum that a few years back Kupchak made the ballsiest move by making no move. He didn’t panic trade Andrew, Kobe, Lamar, etc. Well, Mitch has certainly displayed his huevos once again by making a move nobody anticipated (perhaps dreamed of, but not anticipated).

    As for a Laker specific Artest nickname, what about CPR? (Initialism for Crazy Pills Ron.)


  13. No mention of Scott Boras as the worst agent in history? I know he’s chiefly a baseball guy and this is a basketball blog, but Boras is destroying baseball utterly with his ridiculous behavior.


  14. i dislike the signing and the way it’s gone down. Ariza was well-liked and contributed mightily. I think someone should send this to Ariza. Maybe he can call Mitch directly and tell him he wants to come back.


  15. I could not agree with this post more. TA was a humble, deferential, and intangible presence that was a perfect cog in the Championship machine run by Kobe Co. The Lakers had to know the short-person-suffering-syndrome agent was unequivocally bluffing when he publicly decried TA was feeling shunned and estranged, emotions completely out of character and lacking any sense of proper truth when compared to earlier comments. And then, in one of the greatest tail-between-your-legs face-saving acts of crow consumption in the history of baby-diaper-humble-pie, he con(vince)s his bewildered client into “accepting” a traumatically equal contract of lottery-bound proportions. From hardball to kicked hard in the balls. And despite my disoriented excitement in anticipation of the Crazy PIlls era, I will truly miss the quiet storm of hustle and flow that was Trevor Ariza.


  16. If you guys think we feel like crap, imagine what Trevor must feel like. He’s taking a paycut to leave his hometown and the organization that he grew up rooting for. He also will not be there when the banner is lifted or when the rings are given out.


  17. I haven’t jumped off the ledge–maybe because my girlfriend went skydiving today and I decided I liked being on solid ground much better.

    *I wonder what if this will prompt Bynum to re-assess his relationship with David Lee.

    *Earl Boykins also opted out leaving something like 4 or 5 mil on table. (I think no one signed him that off season and he is out of the NBA. Of course, he claimed he had ‘no regrets’ about opting out).

    *Feel bad for Ariza but in the end he calls the shots not his agent.


  18. who’s more of an idiot? the agent that can’t get a simple deal done, or the player that hires him?


  19. Maybe I should feel better about this. I know that, talent wise, Artest is a better player than Ariza at this stages of their career. I understand that with his bulk, he can do a better job guarding guys like Carmelo and Lebron.

    But damnit, there is more to following and rooting for a team than just whether they win or lose. I LIKED Ariza! I liked his personality. I liked how he had just enough of an edge to be fearless (jawing with Hedo) but not enough to be crazy (ala Artest chasing down Kobe after an elbow and getting tossed).

    Moreover, I liked Ariza’s clutchness. I liked his quiet ways and hard work ethic to improve.

    Now, lest this sound too much like a bromance, I’m going to TRY and learn to like Artest. After all, he does have some admirable qualities. He’s tough and physical, and willing to do the dirty work when needed. He can hit the three and wants to win badly enough to take a great salary to play for a winner.

    God I hope this works.


  20. My only question is, now that the media has lost the “soft” angle they like to harp on, what will be their next shtick?


  21. wait, wait, wait….

    david lee has the time to be both agent and play for the knicks?? ;)jk

    …any word on LO resigning yet?


  22. I just hope a certain Andrew Bynum is reading this kind of fan feedback and learning.


  23. As I posted on the “other” blog today, I can only imagine how bad Ariza feels now–walking around in a daze, mumbling over and over, “How did I get mixed up with this guy? This can’t be real!” Then he finds some consolation at his favorite chinese restaurant…until he opens up the fortune cookie that reads, “He who lies down with dogs, gets up with fleas.”


  24. Bynum needs to learn many things

    1) fire David Lee
    2) Learn to not get in foul trouble in the 1st 5 mins
    3) Watch your steps while playing the Grizzlies. Better yet, skip those games
    4) Continue to learn under Kareem


  25. 20, bruinsfan,

    Ariza is not taking a pay cut. He’s getting about an 80% raise, from $3.1m to $5.6m.

    He’s just not getting as big of a raise as he could have gotten if he’d hired a competent agent.


  26. Trestles – great take on the whole thing. Dead on!

    Trevor – this whole thing makes me sad for you. It would be one thing if you got another 1 or 2 million $, but you’re going to a place with much less for the same money. Please fire your agent and dump all of the responsibility in his lap so no one thinks you were the tool that did this. If this fiasco doesn’t lose David Lee his clients and livelihood, there is no justice.


  27. Bill- Genius! Fantastic! And LGD (awesome nick-name from TheDude) deserves to lose all his remaining clients.

    Trestle-Probably true. Which still does not change the fact that LGD is stupid and incompetent. 😉

    I feel bad for Ariza, not necessarily for where he’s going, but because his agent has screwed him over and most likely completely blew the negotiations for him and didn’t at all get him the best he can get.

    I hope Ariza and Bynum are smart enough to get themselves another agent.


  28. @29

    The only thing I see is a dude who’s got passion, desire and absolutely no fear. Not to mention he made great hustle plays down low with put back baskets. I’m becoming more of a fan of this signing with each hour.


  29. Yes, it’s fun watching him being crazy on and destroying other teams (especially Kings).

    But now consider that he will be doing that on the Lakers.


    Not so funny anymore, is it?


  30. Oops…Yahoo just reported that Turk reneged on Portland and is headed to Toronto. Getting ahead of things a little bit, but I think Portland’s next target will be another versatile forward that can handle the ball and help initiate the offense. I think Lamar’s price just went up.


  31. Six seconds or less, eh? Toronto has a nice starting 5 equipped to play up-tempo, pick-and-roll, d’antoni-style offense. That bench is pretty thin though.


  32. this is getting crazy. if lamar walks i think we can make a couple of moves and still be ahead of the league. but i believe lamar stays, we make moves and trump the league on paper even more. this silence gets me a bit worried though. pj going back adds another reason to stay for less. just don’t want to wake up and find a different headline.

    toronto gets a tat better but for what they lose, they end up about the same place. another orlando clone around bosh? 6 seconds or less? hmm. we could take a look at their free agents should lamar not get a deal. hey, we were debating lamar vs. marion before. sheed is up there. man, who wouldn’t want to play for LA?

    am also sending props to mitch for somehow still keeping us competitive beyond kobe’s days. we could redo and rebuild a lineup in 2-3 years just banking on name and climate.

    reading orl and sa blogs. do they really think that they’re better than us? geesh. orlando gained and lost. sa’s depth remains in question. if sheed and ai go to other teams and guys like marion goes another way. we come out on top. goodness, why not court them all? stupid, i know, arms race. GO LAKERS!


  33. Well, now Portland could make a run at Odom, but would they really go that high? And Marion is on the market, rumor is Portland likes him but wants three years or fewer.


  34. Would LO actually be willing to play for Portland? Man – that would suck!!! Of course not as bad as him joining the celts – but to make their team better. Oh well – hope Mitch has another awesome Plan B!!!! This could work out for us!!!


  35. dude, odom has always got into it with portland…i remember him always getting in their faces. i don’t think he wants to go there…AND WHY IS HEDO SO GREEDY. ONLY 6 million more??? portland is a much better team. now toronto probably has to give up a bunch of players including, but not limited to marion, parker, and delfino. it might be easier to win in the east, but…now he’s causing us all sorts of trouble.


  36. I have a feeling that Portland/Pritchard will get involved in the LO sweepstakes simply to drive the price up for the Lakers. They know LO will re-sign here. Fortunately, LO’s agent is not LGD.


  37. Apparently Hedo is going to Toronto not for the money but because his wife prefers the city to Portland.


  38. I think I would go as high as $9 million with Odom. I’m not sure about the years because he’s already 30. Maybe three years with a team option for the fourth.

    The alternatives aren’t all that promising considering the Lakers have already used their MLE. They don’t have any assets to used in a sign and trade. Hopefully, it doesn’t get that far.


  39. David Lee does not understand supply and demand.

    The league has lesser demand due to bad economy. Free agents are in higher supply due to many expired contracts. As we know, price drive down in this case. Mitch was actually giving David Lee a hint (he told David Lee to ask around the league).

    Now, David Lee could have tell Ariza to sign a 3 years deal instead of a 5 years deal. He double failed. Ariza could have find himself in a better situation where he can find a better money 3 years from now when the economy is better (free agents are lesser). Instead, Ariza is locked in a 5 years cheap contract with a lesser team.

    This just demonstrated David Lee doesn’t know anything about economics 101.


  40. Even if the Lakers didn’t make a firm offer to Trevor, as has been reported, they still might have kept him if LGD hadn’t been so emotional. As an agent, you’re supposed to be able to read between the lines, and apparently LGD went back to Trevor after meeting with Mitch and told him that the Lakers didn’t offer him anything, just told him to go out and test the market and maybe they’ll match. That is sheer agent douchebaggery, folks. How old is LGD, twelve?


  41. even though i agree that david lee is a total douche bag, dont you think its the right thing to do, as an agent, to let your client know exactly what is going on in the negotiations?


  42. Yes, agent should let client know what’s going on but Trevor is young. He never had to go through these big negotiations – probably just wanted to be a Laker again…and get a fair payday. To me, that is what the agent is getting paid for – to know what the hell is going on and to properly advise the client…not fill his head with messed up thoughts. Again, Trevor is young and will probably just eat up whatever DLee said. I guess it would make a difference as to what Trevor’s real first and second priorities were….Was it be a Laker first and then pay me….or was it Pay me big and then I’ll be a Laker?

    If it was to be a Laker first – then DLee really f-ed up for TA. If it was to pay me big first – then maybe it’s on Trevor.

    Just saying that if one of us was so lucky to be in the NBA – man I’d be like Artest to my agent….Make damn sure I come out a Laker – I will take less pay – but bottom line make sure I come out a Laker. Lakers are not totally unreasonable – it’s not like they offered RonRon only 1 million dollars to play even though I thought he said something to the sort of he’d play for free.


  43. Yes, an agent needs to let his client know what’s going on in negotiations.
    That means, knowing what’s going on in the marketplace as well.

    Saying “the Lakers will only give you x, but the rest of the league will only give you x too” is different from “the Lakers will only give you x… but I think you’re worth a lot more”.

    Does that make sense? Because that’s what went down here.. Lee played hardball and lost. Could the Lakers have waited a little more? Sure. But I think that this time, when Lee went public, the Lakers said “it’s over”. They were not going to have some two-bit agent make them look bad. They showed him what real leverage looks like and kicked him in the ass. Unfortunately, Trevor has to suffer for picking a crappy agent.


  44. BREAKING NEWS: CBS Sports reporting Sarah Palin to sign with Lakers. Lamar Odom becomes Alaska Governor.


  45. Again, the harping on Lee is pure speculation. This article is dramatic, sure, but it really has no substance.


  46. Sorry to shift topics for a second here, but am I the only one that finds it hard to actually hate Manny Ramirez and is glad he is back?


  47. Manny makes the Dodgers relevant…really hope it is Dodgers/Red Sox, what a media feeding frenzy that would be.

    As for LGD, what if the economy doesn’t turn around in three years? Then, the advice doesn’t look nearly as bad to take the years when offered.


  48. 60. Manny is too much of a lovable knucklehead for me to hate. Disappointed in him? Yes, but when you think about it, the hilarity of his situation relative to the other PED users comes out. Who else but Manny would test positive for a female fertility drug?


  49. Bill Bridges, another great Post here at FB&G, it should be linked from ESPN (oh, it is, huh) so that everbody in the NBA can see it, especially Mr. Bynum.


  50. If only Ariza sign with Cleveland, it would probably make one of the best rivalry ever. They already sign Shaq so i don’t get why they won’t just get Ariza by persuading him with revenge or something haha.


  51. 66. Yes, it was the only way the Lakers could sign a free agent (unless Artest wanted to play for the veteran’s minimum).

    By the way, previously people suggested the Lakers should trade Ariza for Artest with the Rockets in a sign and trade so both teams maintain their MLE. That cannot happen, because Ariza is getting more than a 20% raise he is a Base Year Compensation contract. Long story short, that is basically cannot be traded.


  52. I dont get when players say that this free agent stuff is all business and not personal, than make a decision based entirely on emotions. If it was just a business, there would be “no feelings hurt” or none of that “being wanted” thing. Yes Trevor, we know that you are a great player and that you deserve all that money but you knew the Lakers were trying to keep Odom as well and were way above the salary cap. Respect and feeling wanted is starting on a championship team, and that is all you got.

    All im saying is if players are always stressing the business aspect of basketball, they need to stop making decisions based on emotions. At a business perspective, it would be wise for Ariza to stay in LA . Obviously, Ariza and his agent were too caught up in feeling wanted and respected when in reality, Ariza was the most respected he had ever been here in LA.

    I don’t understand how you can not feel wanted here.

    I seriously hope Trevor comes back, I know there is no chance in hell this will work, but I hope he realizes what mistake he is going to make. It is not too late..look at Hedo!


  53. We all know David Lee is an amateur hour agent, but apparently he’s such an amateur he used to hang around Lakers message boards at and Amongst the ridiculous things he posted was a long paragraph about why Bynum deserved the max last year, or why the Lakers didn’t appreciate Bynum, and why Ariza would opt out last year. It’s hilarious. Check it out:


  54. Portland making a run at LO seems likely now, which I guess makes Marion our plan B?

    I hope this doesn’t turn out in a way that a lot of fans speculated years ago when they wanted Odom traded…

    But since Hedo left for Toronto, Lamar’s price went up and we should discuss plan B no matter how much we like Lamar here.

    How is Marion’s defense compared to Lamar? How is his 3 pt shooting? Did he lose some of his athleticism? Who will be the bonding guy if we lose Lamar?


  55. Harold – I agree. Wish someone smart with the $ could explain our options. Even though LO is a big piece – he is no Kobe. So if he gets too greedy then let him walk too. I’d rather him stay – but I was sick of his inconsistent play anyway. He may be the most versatile that everyone keeps talking about but he is still always going to be inconsistent. I think he could be a part of this dynasty but hey – if these players want to make a bit more somewhere else – let them go. We want players who want to be Lakers!!!! Even if we don’t get the right piece right now – Mitch will do his magic and fill in the missing pieces – we all know that now!!!!

    What’s our possible plan B, plan C, so we don’t get stuck with bad contracts that have been mentioned so many times.


  56. Correct me if I am wrong, but we only can sign a player using the ‘Veterans Minimum’ salary, now that we used our MLE already (on Artest), right? We could always do a trade I guess with our existing players to replace a lost LO. I had Lamar Odom last year in my Fantasy teams (3 of 4 believe it or not) and when he plays like 25 minutes a game as he was doing all the way before Bynum got injured, he does not do very much for you (in Fantasy anyway) and you wished you had not picked him with like your second or third round pick. I am not saying we do not need him (remember my pro LO comments here at FB&G), but it is just that maybe we could still win a title without his 25 minutes, no double figure stats in any category and as our sixth man, IF there are no injury’s to one of our 7 footers. I mean, with the lux tax will he be worth like even 18m, if you think the last guy signed is responsible for the tax amount taken on by the owners.

    “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost


  57. Outstanding job bill….

    we all know trevor wants to stay as a lakers..since that parade…he wants to stay home..however, DAVID LEE , wants a celeberity status for himself.acting like his client is a superstar…mitch himself offer a contract to david lee for his client…but what did david lee do?????

    But, at least the lakers get something in return…ARTEST….which he can fill shoes for trevor…

    its not trevors fault why he go to houston..its his AGENT DAVID LEE….


  58. OK, so Lee is an a**, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have replace Ariza with a lesser player (at least for Lakers, as a 1st gun I’d probably choose Artest). He screwed Ariza, but are screwed as well.

    As for Bynum – why exactly should he change his agent? Lee gave him a nice contract.

    As for Turkoglu – $6.5M is a _lot_ of money. I envy people, who could write “it’s _only_ $6M”. Players (almost) always choose bigger contract, right?

    Blazers are supposed to go after Marion, not Odom. Too bad we have used our MLE on Artest, because Marion would have been a nice 2nd prize, should Odom leave.


  59. aaron…no i don’t. not ever recall. and i am still hoping to God we get odom.


  60. >>14. That stated, I agree with Plaschke in LAT that the Lakers could have/should have done more before closing the door, <<

    While I agree they could have done more, I disagree with the tactic of trying to do so, but only because that tactic had very little chance of success and a large chance of catastrophic failure. Overall I would rather have Ariza than Artest, if just for stability’s sake.

    Lee’s tactics were designed to squeeze the most money possible out of the Lakers. I don’t fault Lee for this desire, because it’s good for his client. However, the consequence for the Lakers is that the negotiations drag on and on (Q: how much is “the most he can get”? A: the amount that the Lakers finally stop at, and that no other team is willing to match), and eventually the Lakers have only one option: sign Ariza or nobody since everyone else has already signed.

    It is short-sighted to look at the situation and say, “well, the Lakers only technically offered him the MLE and he signed with someone else for the same money. Therefore the Lakers are (at least partially) at fault for not improving their offer.” A more accurate view of the situation is that the Lakers did the best they could within a short timeframe to give themselves the best chance of re-signing LO and SB (remains to be seen, of course) and maintaining a good player at Trevor’s position.

    So the only way to make Plashke happy would be caving in to Lee and giving Ariza probably around 7 mil a year. That not only raises the price for Odom and Brown, but makes it likely the Lakers don’t get those guys signed at all.

    If the Lakers were dealing with a rational sports agent, I think Ariza’s a Laker for 6.3 mil a year. As it stands, the team is still okay, Kupchak has grown in stature with me as a very solid GM.

    I absolutely hate sports agents.


  61. I think the Lakers only have the Bi-Annual Exception ($1.99 million) and Veteran’s Minimum Exception left, I think. If Odom signs with a different team, the Lakers will have only those exceptions to sign a player, or they could trade for someone. There aren’t many creative players available for the Bi-Annual Exception.


  62. I think that many basketball fans are underestimating Artests talents and overestimating his limitations (if you find yourself in the anti-camp).

    1. Artest is a defensive bear trap. Every fan has watched Kobe–who arguably ‘sons’ Artest on offense–struggle and scrape and tire to free himself of the physical behemoth. Ariza scrapes and hustles and plays safe, secure, tight defense, without a doubt; but Artest destroys opponents, leaving their shots flat and their legs tired. People will say that he’s declined since such and such a date. Not the Artest I watched last season. Artest is a defensive bear trap, make no mistake about it.

    2. Others will bemoan his character. Okay, moan away. If we can forgive adulterous politicians (and basketball stars), the tens (or hundreds?) of millions of Americans who drink and drive, and the millions of people who comit crimes and serve time, isn’t it time to forgive Ron Artest? The guy has done nothing but act out his ridiculous and flamboyent personality since the fateful brawl. So what if he pounds his chest. Who cares if he engages in other theatrics. That type of passion and zanery makes my day. I respect someone who is honest with himself–and the public–about who he is. People may not want his stream-of-consciousness twitter-celebrity, but he is honest about himself. He places the onus on us to be judgemental or accepting, listen to his rap albums or throw them in the trash after the first track. Hasn’t he proven himself a reformed man? Besides chest pounds and ref-begging, Artest is harmless and very passionate. Very passionate. He seems stoked for this opportunity… he will play for us.

    3. “Oh, he’ll destroy their offense…” because he takes too many shots? Because he ball hogs? Because he refuses to acknowledge his teammates? Do these arguments sound strangely familiar? Coach after coach gave Artest the green light to dominate the ball on offense. He is one of those players with the physical talent but the technical dearth to flounder on offense. How much can we blame Artest for this failure and how much should we blame the coaches and FOs he’s played for.
    The Houston Rockets weren’t an offensive juggernaut when he came to them; and they wanted him partially because of the perceived salience of his offensive game. T-Mac declined and it became the Artest-Yao show.

    Everyone always talks about what Artest should do and shouldn’t do on offense. “He shouldn’t dribble into poorly chosen fadeaways,” as our offense demands that he spots up, shoots, and rebounds. Brilliant.

    “He’ll take touches away from Pau” if Kobe or Lamar, or whoever is running point on offense, makes the mistake of going outside-in, instead of inside-(to Pau)-outside to a quick passer and wide-open shots. This may very well make Artest a much more efficient scorer. Open threes are, in fact, much easier to manage than contested threes.

    “He will destruct our chemistry,” and ruin relationships with a coach that respects him, a superstar that respects him, and a Queens Bridge eccentric-friend like LO? Doubtful. If there is ever an environment for Artest to succeed and stabilize, it’s in Los Angeles, playing for the champs. It is not in the nature of our system, our superstart, our coach, or team culture to let a player self-destruct his way through our lineup. Phil has no problem benching anyone not named Kobe Bean.

    Will Artest work? I don’t know. I sure hope so. Would Ariza have guarenteed us another title? I don’t know. But I think our chances are better now. There’s no need for doomsdaying. We’ve got an exciting team that should be even more exciting to watch than last year (for many reasons!). I can’t wait for the season. Two-months-plus is too long, too long, too long to wait.


  63. Reading the most recent comments, it looks like Odom has a lot of leverage now since we used up our MLE on Artest. If he walks away from the Lakers’ offer, there is basically no way we can replace him with similar caliber.

    Odom will be back without a doubt, and most likely closer to his terms.


  64. Oh and I wanted to add a thought experiment: Bynum and Odom and Artest and Sasha and Farmar. That’s a starting lineup for a team in playoff contention.


  65. Lee is by all indication a monumental idiot but keep in mind we don’t know how it really went down. It’s entirely possible that Mitch, knowing Lee’s penchant for agent douchebaggery, carefully maneuvered him into making an ass of himself and screwing over his client. Mitch pulled off the switch that the Lakers wanted all along, perhaps right after it came out that Yao would miss the season and Artest started putting out feelers. Mitch did it while putting the blame squarely on Lee and leaving the Lakers FO looking like the picture of integrity.

    Or, maybe the Lakers really wanted TA as plan A, and deftly moved to plan B when the opportunity presented itself, with a great big assist from Lee. This is what hoopsworld claims, but we don’t know if the “source” for their article isn’t Mitch himself!

    Either way, I feel bad that TA ended his time with the Lakers so acrimoniously. Like many Laker fans, I’ve gotten to really like TA and love his plays and contributions during the playoffs. I realize his skill sets are replaceable, but I do root for the players as well as the team, and it’s really nice to have a guy that you feel is “ours”, TA being a home boy who has really blossomed with us. Now he’s away from his family, stuck in lotteryland, making a little more than he would have if he’d stayed — thanks to TX zero state tax. But I’d gladly pay tax just to stay out of that hellhole, where you basically stay in your house all the time b/c the second you open the door, the heat and humidity hit you like a ton of brick. Contrast that with some place like Manhattan Beach where it’s basically 68o year round. Not that there’s much to DO in Houston so I guess you may as well stay put.

    Couldn’t Lee at least try to finagle a deal with Cleveland or a contender? And 5 years? So little confidence in TA despite so much blustering.

    Bynum’s to do list:

    1) Fire my agent.
    2) Fire my agent.
    3) what? the d-bag’s still here? fire him!


    Anyway, Hedo spurning Portland is giving me the heebiejeebies over LO. Not that I think we need LO to keep Artest in check (I think having a friend around may just as easily exacerbate his tendencies, the way some guys regress to fratboy behavior when they get together with their college buddies). Artest for Ariza is arguably a net plus (though I’m rather apprehensive about that), but I don’t see anyone we can reasonably replace LO with that isn’t a net loss. He’s so unique and so vital to team chemistry.


  66. I didn’t like this article. I am as upset as anyone about Trevor leaving but the truth is no one on this board including the author knows what happened or what David Lee and Ariza were thinking. This just comes across like a blog typical snarky and attacking post that doesn’t inform or promote discussion something Forum Blue and Gold has avoided since I started reading it at the beginning of this season.


  67. Portland can go after Odom, but I don’t see it. Odom does not play SF, though I guess he technically could. Maybe they go after Marian.


  68. Is it possible Ariza wanted a more prominent role in an offense (ie, more shots / points)? He could get that in Houston.

    We fans are so fanatically loyal to our team that it’s easy to forget most of these players are loyal to money and their own big egos. No doubt, Ariza’s ego would have grown if he’d been reading this site.


  69. Jeremy,

    Are you saying that David Lee’s public comments were justified? Reasonable? Practically every hour a news story hit the fan with unnamed sources claiming this and that about the Ariza-Lakers situation. I realize that it’s business–and business is war–but Sun Tsu, David Lee is not. He should not have ran a public smear campaign against Laker’s management. It didn’t help his client. It didn’t endear him to the fans (most of whom interpreted it as agent theatrics). And it certainly didn’t work!


  70. I guess we’ll never know, we’re not insiders. It is interesting to wonder if Mitch truly wanted Artest over Ariza all along, and maneuvered Lee into being the scapegoat. He’s clever enough to do it.

    Why is that significant? Because it changes how I feel about the move. Mitch has 1000 times the basketball intelligence that I have, and if truly believed Artest would work on this team better than Ariza, then I trust him.


  71. I think the prospect of Odom signing elsewhere is basically nil. I can’t see Portland throwing sums of money large enough to deter us at him, especially because Odom hasn’t played the three for a while now. Marion is a better fit and will come much cheaper. OKC has taken itself out of the free agent hunt, Memphis nuked most of its cap space with the Randolph trade, and Sacramento isn’t willing to play. Plus, we just brought his best friend in.

    $21-24 million for three years sounds right. A year longer or a couple million either way wouldn’t bother me that much.


  72. I believe the easiest way to deduce the signals of what went down is to follow the links in Comment #72. It’s quite apparent that LGD was an occasional commenter on a couple Laker websites, breaking news himself on transactions involving his clients. If one follows the links, they will see that LGD planned a year in advance (Summer 2008) to move Trevor elsewhere, and bad-mouthed both Phil and Luke Walton in some of his comments. I’m very disappointed that Trevor trusted this tool.

    Q: What kind of agent bad-mouths his client’s teammates, coach, and executives on a Laker-oriented website?

    A: LGD


  73. @jon

    lol…i couldnt stop laughing after the “…uuhah” before ron-ron starts singing


  74. 17) Rob L.

    I like CPR as a moniker. Because that’s probably exactly what he needed when he found out he was going to have a shot at a championship with the Lakers.

    Why does the verse “Still Crazy After All These Years” keep running through my head.

    Artest,(CPR) was in the exact same position that Kobe had been in in previous years. Responsible for carrying the offense on a bad team. CPR was just on worse teams than Kobe.

    Sorry, to lose Ariza so quickly, I can truly say, “I hardly knew you” as a Laker because we have no idea who he was as a player. Remember when he came to the Lakers mid-season he was just happy to be home and getting playing time; then he got injured. This year he developed under a Kobe Bryant program and took full advantage of wide open shots. Just makes you wonder why another Laker, that’s supposed to be a shooter, did not and could not do the same!

    Here’s wishing Ariza well, but I can truly say, “I hardly knew you!”


  75. Bottom line is, Kobe and Odom were in full support of this Artest signing.

    That’s saying something. Says a lot of things, actually.

    I think internally, the front office and the players, as much as they liked Trevor, must have realized what we fans usually don’t want to admit – TA hit his ceiling, and that in our system, there isn’t room for his offense even if he does improve, while he will be inadequate to defend bigger 3s.

    That’s I think what the bottom line was. He was great, a feel good story, liked and all, but everyone knew they had to improve, and although they made the offer to Trevor because he was adequate (and we didn’t have to use the MLE) when a better player was available, we jumped on the chance.


  76. Interesting thought…
    if Andrew Bynum didn’t sign the extension last year, he’d hit the FA market this summer.
    I bet the lakers would probably only offer him around the MLE money considering how much he sucked…


  77. From the previous thread:

    Ron Artest is ours at this point, and I personally believe that it will work out very well, with a few adventures–but not too much drama. What’s hard for me to imagine is that I will enjoy it more than I did this championship season with Trevor.

    The selfless and dramatic role that Trevor played, peaking in the playoffs, was almost like it was out of a fantasy Disney movie: Trevor making threes against the very Orlando team that doubted and traded him–after a series in which he stole the ball from Chauncy Billups to win a game against Denver.

    I thought that Trevor would be the one player that would span the Bryant era into the Bynum era. After three years, maybe the Lakers can trade to get him back?

    On the other hand, it will be interesting to see what the fanatical determination of a second quality player can do to drive the Lakers to another NBA championship–especially against a Shaqtacular Cavalier team determined to “win one for the King”–a King who has yet to comprehend how much a “team game” basketball really is. Of course, our new “Artest” may still have the same problem.


  78. Aaron – 104

    We don’t know if Odom and Brown will be back yet, so how can anyone guess unless…

    If you assume they’re back, everyone stays reasonably healthy, etc., then around 60 games.

    The WC teams have improved and they play them 3-4 times. EC teams only twice.
    The Lakers will be worse with Artest replacing Ariza for a larger number of games than the other way around.
    For example, with Artest, the Lakers may be better playing LeBron and Pierce, but they only play them twice.
    The Lakers with Ariza would be better against teams with above average PGs such as Paul, Williams, Parker, Brooks, etc. and they play the ones listed 3-4 times.
    There are more above average PGs than big physical All-Star SFs to worry about.

    So I would guess there will be fewer wins this year. But that’s OK. Many think that Jackson would prefer to get to the playoffs as a top 4 seed and be healthy and not exhausted rather than be the top seed, but be physically or mentally worn out.

    If Brown or Farmer have career years, the Lakers might get back to 65 games.


  79. 107. HAHAHAHAHAHAH. that is without a doubt the most astute observation yet made under the boundaries of this topic.


  80. Lakers will win only 65 games next year. They will struggle to find their rhythm and chemistry with rings in hand and a new look (Artest).

    But as the season unfolds, come February/March, the Lakers will start to get it together and dominate.

    This is all pending Odom is signed and playing with the team.


  81. The Lakers will win 83 games. The extra game will come when the league asks the unbeaten Lakers to take on the Eastern All-Stars in the All-Star Game. The Lakers will respond by destroying them by 50 points. Artest will be named All-Star MVP will a triple double: 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 errant three point attempts.


  82. My thoughts on Ariza/Artest–have not read the threads yet. Apologies for repeats:

    I think TA’s basketball age is a little younger than his calendar age. He played one year of college ball and then never saw extensive playing time in the NBA until this past year. I think he can still improve a bit. And even if Ariza stays about where he is, I don’t think getting Artest makes the team any better. Artest will be 30 in November and while he did, uh, get a year off, he has a lot of mileage. He has traded speed for bulk, and Ariza was the only guy the Lakers had who could really play the passing lanes and was the only set of young legs getting heavy minutes. Also, Artest likes to hold the ball and thinks he is more of a scorer than he is. Maybe playing in LA will cure that; maybe it won’t. And all of the above does not even include the meltdown factor. Having Ron-Ron to body up Anthony, Pierce, James, Carter and Jefferson may make people feel more secure when the Lakers play those teams, but they beat them last year with Ariza at the 3.

    The issue in Lakerkland, now, though, is Odom. With Turkoglu apparently going to Toronto, Portland can offer Odom a huge contract if they want to. The Lakers already have 81M committed to 11 players. Given the financial limitations of Jerry Buss relative to guys like Paul Allen and Mark Cuban, I was prepared for the team to only keep one of Ariza/Odom. I will not be happy, though, if they lose both of them–paticularly to western teams, and particularly after selling the draft picks. I have been too hard on Kupchak, but that doesn’t make him flawless. I was oppsed to the Walton contract. They overpaid Bynum and Fisher. Vujacic’s contract looks like a disaster. They are paying for it now.


  83. I hope you all managed to catch the Federer/Roddick match this morning. it was epic.


  84. nomuskles,
    Epic indeed. I felt bad for Andy. That would have been the type of win that validated him as a player. He looked so very disappointed. Good on Roger though. He is a true champion.


  85. Ariza’s agent sold him out. David Lee put his emotions and personal interests ahead of his client’s. Lee defintely misrepresented Ariza. Total incompetence.


  86. #9, Trevor already knew he would be getting the MLE before the Lakers signed Artest. Yeah, sure, he was upset that the Lakers didn’t come out and say “MLE!” but I feel that he was more upset with such little pay raise.

    Either way, I’d have thought Ariza would be easier to re-negotiate than Odom. Now, at least, we need to re-sign Odom.


  87. I don’t like David Lee for two reasons: First, he bungled the Ariza contract talks and now Ariza’s going to the Rockets. Second, he managed to make the Lakers overpay to keep one of his clients – Andrew Bynum, who I think is not worth $58 million for 4 years, or $14.5 million/year.

    Had the Lakers waited until the end of the season, Bynum would have been a restricted free agent. The Lakers could match any offers to him. Given his most recent injury, however, I doubt any team would have been willing to spend more than $10 million/year for his services. The savings could have been used to sweeten offers to Odom and Ariza, both of whom were key ingredients in their run to the NBA title.

    I’m not really too high on Kupchak. Case in point: giving $5 million a year for 3 years to none other than Sasha “I Haven’t Seen A Shot I Didn’t Like” Vujacic.



    “Putting it simply, David Lee made a mess out of this entire situation and screwed Ariza over. If there is any similarity between the agent and the soon-to-be ex-player from the Knicks (also David Lee), it’s that both love to scramble for rebounds. In Agent David Lee’s case, the Houston Rockets became their desperate rebound option, and sadly for Trevor, it was his agent, not him, who let the ball slip with the Lakers. David Lee betrayed his client and ironically tried to pull a Trevor Ariza and ‘steal’ some extra cash from a Laker front office that simply wasn’t going to budge. He should have known that the Lakers had an ace in the hole in Ron Artest and that he couldn’t win in a bluffing game with Mitch and Jerry, one that he initiated.”