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Kareem Talks To FB&G

We are exceedingly fortunate to have the a new relationship here at Forum Blue and Gold with the greatest center to ever play the game — the six time NBA champion, six time MVP, leading scorer in the history of the game Kareem Abdul Jabbar. A great player, more importantly a great person who has lived (and is living) a rich and full life, a man who brings thoughtfulness to whatever he does. No enough of those kind of people in the world. Plus he’s a huge jazz fan, always a plus in my book.

You need to visit his Web site, where he talks everything from basketball to Michael Jackson. Most athlete web sites are little more than PR vehicles, rarely to you get genuine thoughts and an understanding of the man. This is real.

We will be asking the living legend a couple questions regularly around here, and this is the first installment:

How has the role of center changed in the NBA from when you played to now? How has that manifested working with Andrew Bynum?

KAJ ANSWERS: The role of the center has not changed at all but people feel that it has because there are so few centers playing the game effectively but the requirements have remained the same. I try to give Andrew a clear understanding of what he can do to help his team win basketball games.

You have had a friendship with Red Auerbach, were coached by John Wooden and have watched Phil Jackson up close — maybe the three greatest coaches the game has ever seen. Can you compare and contrast them, and say what similar traits they shared?

KAJ: Its impossible to contrast them because they have all played in different eras of the game. Coach Auerbach coached when the NBA had only had 8 teams. Coach Wooden coached at the University level and Coach Jackson coached in the modern NBA which has 30 teams, so each area required different management skills. I don’t think they had much in common because the needs of their jobs were different in each case.


I hate to add a little free agent note to the bottom of the post, but this the season. Good signing by the Lakers to bring back Shannon Brown and his potential — two years at $4.2 million, with a player option for the second year. I don’t know if he is the long term answer at PG, but after last season he deserves a chance to see.

Most importantly, this is a guy who does what we fans seem to always call for — he took less money to play here. One thing in today’s age of free agency we rarely see is person who is puts wanting to play for a specific team ahead of money. I am comfortable with the deal, it is a little less than market value and if he has a great year and opts out to get a payday, well, he will have earned it. Not going to begrudge a man his money.

Reader Interactions


  1. As if I needed one more reason to read this blog!

    I never actually saw him play, except in ESPN classic games, but that kind of intelligence and focus is admirable in anyone. And… well… it’s Kareem.


  2. Moving up in the world, are we? Cool stuff. Can you ask Kareem what his relationship was with Bruce Lee? I’m a ginormous MMA fan.


  3. This is going to be a once a month thing for as long as Kareem wishes to do it. Obviously, there is a long list of questions, but if there are things you want to ask about let me know.


  4. Very exciting to have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking to FBG. Speaking as one who watched the 1980s teams, thanks, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, then and now. Interested in learning more about his work with Bynum, among other topics.

    And compliments to Kurt and Co.


  5. I’ve said it on this blog many times before and I’ll say it again now: Kareem was the best player the NBA has ever seen.

    Jordan was hyped to no end by NBC and Nike. The Bulls would have been lucky to win a pair of titles at any point in the 80s, when the Celtics, 76ers, Hawks, Bucks and Pistons all had great to very good teams (depending on the year), and getting past those squads usually meant a date with L.A. come the Finals.

    Like Kareem said about the coaches, different eras meant different skills. But I’d put the late 80s Lakers up against any team, any time.


  6. I would like to know about what he is teaching Bynum and if he had a plan laid out as to what to have him do in the future. Does Kareem work with PJ as to what he does with Bynum. I heard Bynum does the Sky Hook in practice, but never in game situations, just lots of questions for Kareem about his work with Bynum.


  7. I have often wondered why Kareem doesn’t enter the discussion of greatest player ever more frequently.

    Personally, I am not into picking one player as the best ever (too many variables), but I don’t think there is any way for Kareem not to be part of that discussion. Whatever the criteria are – he meets and exceeds them on every point. Amazing player. Fascinating person.


  8. Would be Interesting to have Kareeem’s take
    (skills, playing with, approach, comparision) on 2 great Lakers SG he’s seen : west and kobe. As well as the take on PGs – Magic Johnson and Oscar.


  9. My favorite player on that IBM-XT game that was about Lakers vs. Celtics. He was the bald guy with weird glasses that i’d use with Magic to win games (back then, I couldn’t speak a word of English and knew nothing of the NBA).

    Now, the questions I’m dying to ask are probably asked a gazillion times over, but I have to ask…

    Q: Skyhook. Bynum. Why (or why not).

    Q: What Kareem thinks his most underrated aspect of his game was.

    Q: What Kareem thinks is the most underrated aspect of each of our guys’ games are.

    Q: Which team today would he like to play for, in terms of style, if he was in his prime.


  10. great back-to-backs kurt. guys, read the espn article on lebron luring ariza and perhaps making known his plans? am not sold out on this.

    man is lebron desperate or what?


  11. Rid bucher just tweeter that per two sources ariza is wavering on commitment to rockets an that the amazing David lee is not returning phone calls. Like bucher said “prob nothing” but at least interesting.


  12. I’d like to ask KAJ his thoughts on high schoolers who jumped straight into the NBA and David Stern’s desires to up the age limit to 20.

    Kareem had to wait 1 year before he could play with the UCLA varsity team. Does he feel he benefited by waiting a year? Does he think he could have made the jump straight to the NBA from high school?


  13. Great stuff again Kurt, I’m really excited to hear more of Cap’s pearls of wisdom.

    Also speaking of us resigning Shannon Brown, it’s a very good move and I feel it was a rare but ultimately wise move for him to stay in the limelight another year in LA as he tries to develop and hopefully earn more money in future years.

    Plus, I’m pushing a petition of sorts to change his nickname from ShanWow to something else. Nothing against whoever came up with it, but a lot of folks just don’t jive with it. It’s a thread over at so check it out if you have suggestions or just wanna put in your two cents.


  14. LeBron saw Boston add Sheed. I’d be desperate too. Especially if you want to win a championship before moving to New York.

    But this is really funny, because in a strange way LeBron’s situation oddly compares with Kobe’s, again.

    Kobe said he’s not going to opt out and hinted at extension, first thing.

    LeBron, he never made a commitment either way and now it seems to be on EVERY free agent’s mind.

    Way to make your team better!!

    (I’m still suffering from the media deluge of LeBron overhype… I’m usually not a LeBron basher).


  15. re Harolds comment re Bynum and the skyhook, it would be sweet if Pau would incorporate it too, imagine?


  16. just another reason why FB&G is a must read blog. I was able to see a few games in person of the 80’s Lakers and want to thank Kareem (CAP) for answering some questions. I am looking forward to reading his insights in the coming months.

    I also want to know what Kareem thinks of the age limit in the NBA and what his favorite movie role was


  17. I second Chris J’s sentiment. Kareem was the greatest to ever suit up, in my humble opinion. Thanks to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar for taking the time to talk to FBaG.


  18. I’d like to know if Kareem works at all with Pau in practice or does he solely focus on Bynums development. I think Pau would be far more able to add the skyhook to his repitoire.


  19. If you want just one fact that points to Kareem’s unmatched dominance and longetivity on the basketball court, think about this: He won the NBA Finals MVP twice…FOURTEEN years apart (’71, ’85).

    Just think about how impressive that feat is. For some perspective, Kobe has been in the NBA 13 years.


  20. It will be great hear from Kareem on a regular basis. I’m sure that we can ask him some interesting questions–such as Bynum and Gasol working together on offense and switching on defense; how Andrew might respond to being so much younger than the rest of the starters now that Trevor has left . . . . . .

    I can’t express how delighted I am that we signed ShanWOW. I hope that he has found a home.


  21. I’d love to hear Kareem’s thoughts on some non-basketball stuff. I understand this is a bball blog, but it’s rare to have this opportunity with a NBA player who’s as well-rounded and thoughtful on a variety of social aspects as Kareem is. His website definitely gives a lot of that.


  22. lol at first i read that as KAJ is a UTAH jazz fan…took me a couple mins to figure it out. KAJ is one of my favorite players of all time. the skyhoop is one of the most awesome moves ever utilized (practically unguardable).

    also great to hear shannon browns coming back. homies had some seriously amazing plays…


  23. Was really somebody offering Brown more than 4.2/2??? Time is out of joint.

    I’m speechless. We’re cutting expences left and right, and we just gave a 3rd PG 250% of minimum salary? I’d rather have a token live body for minimum and spend extra million on Ariza. I see absolutely no reason to overpay for 10th player from the bench.

    One caveat: if Lakers make something interesting with Farmar (i.e. Brown is a 2nd PG), then maybe I’ll change my mind. But it seems like another Vujacic to me. A shorter and less expensive one, but still.


  24. Kurt, one thing I ask:

    Would you want Gerald Green on your team?
    He is a free agent as I know, and I’ve been a great supporter of this guy, I just think he isn’t getting much because of the wrong systems and teams he has played in.
    I think, the guy is a hard worker and considering his long arms, he could be an Ariza-type of defender and LA could probably make use of him.
    I don’t want to sound pesky but would you like him on your team?


  25. Wow, just when I thought FBG couldn’t get any better, they bring in the big guy….

    About the ShanWOW deal, I have a couple of thoughts. First, I think we needed another alternative to D-Fish besides Farmar and we got it for relativley cheap. Second, I think this means that we’ve got Odom now as well. I don’t think the :Lakers make a deal with Brown if there is no deal ready for Odom. I think we all can agree that if we could only get one, it’s Odom. Also, getting the commitment from Brown now sends the message to other GM’s that we’re committed to Odom too so they won’t be rolling out the red carpet for him when they think he’s staying here. Third, this is a band-aid for the next year (possibly two) at the PG spot. At the agreed on salary, if Brown gets some run and looks good, he’s going to fetch a much higher price next year or the year after. A prive we won’t be able to match given our salary issues (only if there is some sign and trade will we be able to do that). If he doesn’t do the trick and is mediocre, then we will still be looking for another PG. Either way Brown won’t be it without sacrificing another player.

    Overall, I love the deal. The next year or two we might be shocked at how well he does.


  26. Shannon Brown turned down more money from the Pacers to re-up with the Lakers. Its win-win deal.


  27. its good SHAN WOW back to the lakers for good..but the scenario now is how much really will the LAKERS will offer to lamar,now we know the lakers are above the luxury tax…

    maybe a 4year deal (7-8US), which is more appropriatte for lamar becuase he is 30 years old..


  28. Great job Kurt. Kareem is a living legend, though he is probably to modest to admit it. He has a reputation as being a gentleman, an intellect, and obviously knows basketball inside out.

    But I would love to hear Kareem’s story — well, this may see silly — about his Bruce Lee cameo in the 70s.


  29. I honestly don’t know much about Shannon Brown’s strengths and weaknesses as a player. So, for those who know more, what do you see in Shannon Brown that makes you think he has the potential to be a starting PG in the NBA?


  30. Great to have Kareem on FB&G. I’ve always thought the Kobe as GOAT discussion is silly when he’s not even the greatest LAKER I’ve personally seen in my lifetime. Greater than Kareem or Magic? Not! And the Showtime Lakers will always be the best team ever for me.

    When will Bynum unveil the skyhook? Yes I want to see Pau try it too.

    Re ShanWOW getting higher than 4.2/2: yeah that’s what playing with Phil and Kobe in the finals does for your perceived value.


  31. “I honestly don’t know much about Shannon Brown’s strengths and weaknesses as a player. So, for those who know more, what do you see in Shannon Brown that makes you think he has the potential to be a starting PG in the NBA?”

    I think the key is can he be perfect for the triangle (and then also adequate to a post-phil world):

    He’s a top flight athlete, only 23-24 years old, and is taller than most pg’s, I think at 6’4″. These also feed into the idea possibly guard faster pg’s with his superior quickness and length. Maybe most importantly, he’s a decent and improving open-look shooter, particularly from 3, at least in the sample we had. He’s also very unselfish and active on cuts to the basket.

    Ron Harper, with no knee tissue and declining skills, was a more than adequate pg in many triangle championships. Brown is a way better athlete at this point, and can possibly be groomed to be a very efficient decision-maker.


  32. btw not one of those points is my own, that’s all basically stuff people posted in the FA thread.

    I have no point. But I do like Shannon.


  33. KAJ was always my favorite and absolutely needs to be in the discussion for GOAT. I personally don’t know why he’s not, other than its more romantic to think about the incredible moves and artistry of the guard play (Magic, MJ, Kobe, Lebron) that people forget that the most devastating thing ever unleashed was/is the sky hook.

    The Best.


  34. Coming into the free agent signings, Lamar talked the talk about taking less money to stay a Laker–but Shannon walked the walk. With Ron Artest capable of playing much of the Odom role next season, Lamar needs to find his walking shoes as soon as possible.

    In fact, Lamar might be better served by wearing his running shoes so that he gets to Mitch before he hears from Portland. If he tries too hard to pull a Trevor, he may end up begging for a MLE to play in the Rose Garden–and they might not even want him.


  35. Drrayeye

    Either your moniker is being used by someone else or you’ve lost it b-c Odom is the head of this draft class, especially with Gordon gone.

    As for SB, I think he will help solidify the PG spot and maybe be a ‘half Derek’ to compliment Jordan as the other ‘half Derek’. Essentially shaping two relatively cheap PGs to become insurances for an older PG and eachother.

    Also, look to see Derek play 20 min a game this season, maybe 1st and 4th. This guy is well built but SB and Jordan need to build some Pau 07-08 endurance to face up with Parker and Rondo.


  36. on the contrary im getting a little worried abt the whole odom situation.. he’s too versatile and too good to not get paid for a little lack of focus/candy usually before big signings are made theres very little smoke (unless ur agent is david lee) and i’d be real sad if lamar were to walk.

    frankly i hope the lakers pay him.. if nothing else for his loyalty and selflessness. he’ll have to take a paycut for sure.. but the lakers bring in alot of $$ and have the financial pull to pay him his real worth.. not his recession-market-worth.. say 40-45mil 4 years?


  37. 41 Sammy
    42 Mike

    Neither of you seem to have studied the salary cap/luxury tax situation–nor what other teams are doing.

    Except for Portland (who may be able to scrape up $10 million) there is no other team that can offer anything higher than the MLE to any free agent anywhere.

    These are difficult times–even for NBA teams.


  38. I don’t think the acquisition of Artest really impacts Odom. Ron’s going to be our starting SF and Odom is likely to retain his role as our swing front court player. If anything, I actually see Ron playing some SG next season in relief of Kobe moreso than him playing PF in place of Odom. If Sasha continues to struggle, Ron has the skills to be a focal point of offense as a primary wing scorer with the second unit, and I could easily see a lineup of Farmar (or WOW), Artest, Luke, Odom (assuming he’s back) and Bynum as our second unit while Kobe/Pau get some rest. This is one aspect of the Artest/Ariza tradeoff that really does favor Ron – he’s a player that can be a primary offensive player (at what efficiency in this offense remains to be seen, but he’s at least familiar with the role) while Ariza is not yet (and never may be) that type of offensive player (he seems a better fit as a player playing off of the primary guys).

    And really, we don’t know what is going on in either LO’s camp or with the front office in terms of talks. Unlike the Ariza negotiation, there has not been much “going to the press” with details of the communications, so I’m remaining patient with this. I do think both sides understand the symbiotic relationship between LO and the Lakers and because of that mutual need a deal will be worked out. The only rumor I’ve heard is the 3yr/24mil offer and even that might not have any truth to it. So, I don’t think Odom’s hand is weakened by Artest signing, but I also think both sides have a level head about role and are probably pretty close on dollars. I bet we have news in the next couple of days.


  39. On ShanWOW.

    35. Shaky (37) gives a nice list of ShanWOW’s strengths. He was actually a McDonald’s AA out of high school… he once upon a time did have “mojo”.

    It is instructive to consider his weaknesses. The book on him coming to the Lakers was that he didn’t have “PG skills”, so couldn’t create off the dribble for himself or others in the halfcourt, didn’t run the pick and roll well, made bad decisions, had weak midrange game. Also he was too short (6’4″) to be a SG, and also didn’t get his shot fast enough. Classic “tweener” case.

    This is why three teams with two excellent coaches — the Cavs (Mike Brown), Bulls and Bobcats (Larry Brown) — all gave up on him.

    Fortunately, the triangle conceals most of those weaknesses. There are plenty of options for a guard to screen, cut off-ball, and spot up for open looks. Shannon could improve his midrange game, but he’s caught on pretty well for a guy pigeonholed as low hoops IQ.

    Here is a good collection of amateur observations from his rookie year:

    On Ron.

    One more nugget from Musselman, his coach at Sacto: “As a guy who’s coached Ron and prepped to play against him, the time you spend in shootaround preparing to play against him is a lot more time than what you take preparing for Trevor. The ultimate respect for a player is how much time is spent preparing for him. Ron is one of 20 guys in the league that you have to spend time as a staff to say, ‘Alright, what are we going to do to stop him?'”


  40. Sorry for the double post, but I should qualify my last statement a bit more. I do think Artest has the ability to play some PF for us. He’s obviously got the strength and the mentality to play that role. I should also say that I think he will end up playing some PF for us (though not as much if Odom is actually retained). I’m just saying that I don’t think Artest now being in the fold weakens Odom’s hand in negotiations. I just don’t think the team is looking at Artest as a player that is going to be both our starting SF and the guy that takes Odom’s role as our backup PF – so essentially Odom is still a need and that both him and the front office would likely see this the same way.


  41. 45-46 Darius,

    I don’t think Lamar has any leverage in negotiations other than an extremely unlikely possibility with Portland.

    If he were to get such an offer and try to do a Trevor, financial realities (plus his going back on his promise to take a salary cut to stay with the Lakers) may make them seriously consider the financial consequences of paying $10 million (plus $10 million) for a sixth man.


  42. At this moment we have $76,8M tied to 11 players. Brown gets $2M. Artest about $5,7M (give or take couple hundred k$). It makes $84,5M. If LT starts at $70M, we are talking about $99M spending – without Odom’s contract.

    So I don’t think Odom’s gonna get $10M per year. Even including several millions Lakers took for their draft picks it would put us above $110M and I seriously doubt Buss is going that high.

    40/5 (Odom is 30 y.o., so extending the length of the contract wouldn’t make him any good) means in the next season he would get $6.6M. $112M in salaries less $5M (or so) from draft picks – maybe.

    Getting rid Morrison’s and Vujacic’s contracts looks essential.

    And how good look last season’s trades of Mihm and Radmanovic? With their contracts still with Lakers – forget it.


  43. Kurt,
    Ask Kareem what has happened to the center position in the NBA over the last ten to fifteen years. 

    Back to the basket play from the center position has almost disappeared.  Now that Yao is injured and Shaq is getting on in years, Bynum is almost the last of the breed. The best center in the NBA is Dwight Howard? A 6’10” guy with one post move?

    It is one thing to say there is no Kareem or Wilt or Russel in the NBA anymore but there is also no Robert Parish, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, Nate Thurmond, Akeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Bill Walton, Pat Ewing, David Robinson, Alonzo Morning, etc.

    What happened?


  44. Yeah, the only rumor regarding Odom was the 3 yr 24-25 M rumor that Darius mentioned (which seems fair value for Odom to me). The only team that has any cap space left is Portland (since Wallace spent Memphis’s cap space on Randolph, is Wallace the worst GM in the league?) and I don’t see how Odom fits in with Portland long term, unless they are planning on going with a small line up with Aldridge at the C. 10 M is a lot to pay for a back up. Technically he is one in LA but he is part of a 3 headed monster here since Gasol has the ability to play both PF and C. No one in Portland has that ability.

    Going back to Wallace, seriously he is the worst GM in the league. They moved Gasol to LA for cap space. Then he goes and spends that cap space in acquiring Zach Randolph?


  45. drrayeye,
    I think if you’re only looking at leverage from the standpoint of the economics and what another team can offer, then you are right. However, I’m talking leverage from the standpoint of Odom’s role on this team and the ability for Odom to either be replaced internally or by an outsider. And since I don’t think there is a current player on the team (even Artest, who I agree has the potential, but are we really going to ask that a newcomer play that role as well as the one we signed him to do – start at SF?) or an outsider that can fill Odom’s role, I do think he has leverage. Also consider that the Lakers no longer have their mid-level exception and Odom’s leverage becomes greater. I say that because the Lakers can no longer offer any free agent any contract larger than their bi-annual exception or the veterans minimum. That lessens the likelihood that the Lakers would really find a suitable replacement. Odom (or at least his agent) and Mitch all know this. That’s why I’m saying leverage exists for LO. On a side note, this is also why I don’t see how you can continue to say “if LO tries to pull an Ariza” because Trevor didn’t really have as much leverage as his agent or the media were saying. His value across the league really was capped and few teams (if any) saw him as an above MLE player. And when you couple that with real alernatives at SF on the market (Hedo, Artest, Marion) that perceived leverage is even less. Ariza and Odom were never really in the same boat, especially since I don’t think it’s arguable that Odom was and is the more important player to the Lakers success (and I mean that with as much respect as possible to Trevor).


  46. So far I’m really happy with the other team’s moves in the offseason.

    In the West, San Antonio is better with Jefferson, but if they don’t add anyone else I don’t see them as better than the healthy Lakers. Houston is taking a step back, the Jazz will lose either Millsap or Boozer, Portland is always tough for the Lakers but neither they nor the Mavs have done anything significant yet, Phoenix is dumping everyone but Nash, and Denver is standing pat.

    If Amare goes to a contender, that will be a problem, but other than that I see the Lakers with a great chance to repeat as conference champions.

    In the east it is even better. I still see a top three set of teams with the Magic, Cavs, and Celtics the teams to beat, with Detroit as a possible wild card. I think Orlando will be the same with Vince instead of Hedo, and the Cavs should be the same or worse with Shaq.

    I think Boston will be better with Sheed, but since I think the Lakers would have beat the healthy Celtics this year, how much better is the question. The addition of Wallace coming off the bench may make them the favorites in the east, but I think the Lakers will have a good shot against them, especially if L.A. can get home court again.

    Ariza and Turkoglu are not going to burn us, both going to non-factor teams. Of the teams in the second round of the western conference playoffs, only the Spurs have gotten significantly better so far. In the east, if LeBron is telling the truth, he’s not going to bolt for a contender, ensuring an easier road for the Lakers for the next few years by diluting the powers. Meanwhile the Celtics continue to get older. Orlando may be a beast in a few years, but for now they are who they are.


  47. 5 & 48. On Jordan. I was a guy who grew up on Walton and Kareem and then Magic and Bird. I am a guy who never liked Jordan. I remembered him as yes supremely talented, but a bad teammate and not someone to emulate. Definitely did not Want To Be Like Mike. I despised the 90s Bulls (and Phil in a way) because that team gave Jordan enough support to win rings and I knew the media would swing to considering Jordan a positive hero and ignore his many many flaws and never give enough credit to his role players.

    Okay, this year, during a project of mine to understand the Triangle better, I downloaded a bunch of 90s Bulls playoff games and watched them. I also downloaded a few 80s playoff games (these are harder to get).

    And I have to say, that Jordan was really pretty damned talented, much better than I remembered him. He was a force on D and his offensive decisions were excellent. In fact, to the naked eye, he set up his teammates more than Kobe does to this day. I’m not saying anything about Kobe vs Jordan. I’m just saying that I remembered him as a reluctant teammate, but in reality on the court, he was an outstanding triangle player. (And on this topic, the first Bulls threepeat played the Triangle way way better than the Lakers do nowadays. )

    In short. Jordan the legend, the hero, the smily Gatorade guy — mainly hype. Jordan the basketball wizard — not at all hype.


  48. Back to the post at hand, I think it’s great that Kareem is in the mix here and that we have access to him to get some of his thoughts on various subjects.

    As for his place in history, I think he’s often overlooked because of his somewhat frosty relationship with the press (many called him aloof during his playing days) and also his understatedness as a player, especially in comaparison to a player like Wilt during his era or Shaq now. You see some of the same things with a guy like Rick Barry, who was a fantastic player, but is never one of the first players mentioned when talking about the better players from his era or of all time. Barry was probably equal or better than guys like Clyde Frazier or Earl Monroe or Pistol Pete, but those players are consistently remembered more fondly than Barry.

    On a side note, I know that Duncan is a player that is currently thought of as one of the elite players ever, and I think that will continue to be the case after he retires. But 20 years from now, I would bet that he’ll be mentioned after Kobe, Shaq, and probably even Lebron as one of the elite players ever even if those players’ accomplishments never exceed his. History often remembers the players who were most marketable and those that sold themselves best before the ones that weren’t or didn’t, even if their accomplishments end up being similar.


  49. Regarding the Odom/Portland situation: I recall some people mentioning that since Hedo up and left for Toronto, that Portland might be pursuing Shawn Marion maybe. However, now there’s rumors that Marion may be heading to Dallas? If so, what does that leave left for Portland to spend on? Hopefully not just Odom?


  50. I think that ShanWow’s willingness to come back for less money (if, in fact, this is true) says a lot for Phil’s coaching/communication/player management skills. Remember that after coming up big against Utah and Denver, Shannon got almost no run in the Finals, which would have annoyed most players to no end, especially in this generation of NBA players. Now, maybe bouncing around the league a bit has altered his perspective a bit, but I have to think that Phil did a nice job somewhere along the line of telling Shannon why he wasn’t getting any run now, but why he had big hopes for him in the future.

    As for the RonRon signing, I was out of town for the weekend so I was stuck reading this blog and getting Twitter updates on my BlackBerry, and as such I haven’t read most of the comments, so I’m not sure if this has been discussed before. But it should be noted that Artest already has experience with the triangle – the Bulls continued to run it under Tim Floyd (although not very well) after PJ left, so Artest played in the system for 2 1/2 years.


  51. That’s spot on Apricot. I also didn’t like Jordan for all of the reasons that you stated growing up, but let’s not get it twisted. Jordan the basketball player was truly great.

    The greatest? That’s debatable, but he certainly evolved from his earlier days to the assassin that everyone remembers at the end.


  52. Some Qs for Cap:

    -Who was the most cerebral Laker teammate you ever had? What did you two discuss?

    -What was the most difficult aspect of playing for Pat Riley? Was it satisfying to stick that towel in his mouth?

    -What did Larry Bird say to you when you popped him in the head with that elbow in the Finals?


  53. Anonymous wrote on July 7, 2009 at 9:53 am
    “Going back to Wallace, seriously he is the worst GM in the league. They moved Gasol to LA for cap space. Then he goes and spends that cap space in acquiring Zach Randolph?”

    Crazy, isn’t it?


  54. Please don’t go social/political. Please don’t go social/political. Please don’t go social/political.

    I love Cap. I love his basketball insight. I’m glad he is here. I don’t mistake him for a social-political expert and in fact find his insights on such things rather droll.

    Please don’t go social/political. Please don’t go social/political. Please don’t go social/political.


  55. Jordan was a fantastic player but when a shooting guard is able to dominate the league you know it is a down time. Jordan didn’t have to beat a team with a dominent front line to win any of his titles. The Celtics and Lakers of the 80’s were not only loaded up front but had to play each other.


  56. apparently the jackson memorial is costing $4 mill, which LA city is paying for, and the mayor is asking his fan to donate some money. Where are all the people who were against the $1 mill for the laker parade, as well as the talk about so many city employes that have recently lost there jobs because of budget cutbacks.

    I’m am not trying to belittle jacksons death, i just thought this was interesting.


  57. Darius (53),

    You’re supposing that the Lakers need to find a replacement.

    We’ve had these discussions before. As Phil jackson said recently, the Lakers can’t be thinking about how things are now–they need to think about the future Lakers in terms of the expected competition. And they need to think about transitions. Kobe has already indicated that next season, the Lakers will be a different team. How different remains to be seen.

    Lamar’s salary for next year was essentially spent on Andrew Bynum already. With that expenditure was the expectation that Andrew will be relied on for more and more minutes each season as the center–diminishing Lamar’s role replacing Pau at the 4. Artest’s diverse roles for the next three years reduces the Lakers need for Lamar even more.

    It is a testament to Lamar’s redemption over the last two seasons that the Lakers continue to find a role for him–and it is not easy. As far as I can tell, there is no other team in the NBA willing to create similar opportunities for a tweener like him with unconventional skills.

    Making the financials work requires a possible risky salary dump involving Morrison’s expiring that might almost offset a MLE range salary for Lamar–if he appreciates the effort on his behalf. Otherwise, the Lakers may be forced to go back to plan A, and Lamar, dear as he is, like Trevor, may become no more than a Laker memory.


  58. Always liked Kareem.Don’t know if he was the best ever,but they changed the college rules (no slamdunks) for him then changed back when he was gone.Had to be one of the least injured big men.Always played.Glad he’s back with the organization.


  59. drrayeye,
    Yes I am assuming the Lakers would need a replacement if Odom left. I don’t think you lose a player like Odom and then think that Artest is going to play his role (while also starting at SF) or that Powell is going to be our third big man or that Bynum is such a sure thing that Odom is essentially expendable. So I’m happy if we agree to disagree on this point.

    Over the years you’ve taken the stance that Odom is pretty much expendable. Every time his name has come up, you’ve talked about Pau taking Odom’s salary or Bynum taking Odom’s salary and now it’s Ron that’s taking his role. I am on the opposite side as I think Odom is a necessary piece for us to contend (with or without Artest, with or without a fully healthy Bynum). I’m all for a healthy Bynum contributing more. I’m all for thinking about the future. But if this past season – one where we don’t win a ring without Odom, where Odom proves he’s more than just an insurance policy for Bynum, one where it’s his ability to do essentially anything we need from him in contributing to wins – didn’t convince you of Odom’s value to the team, then we’ll never agree on this. And I’m fine with that. But, understand, as I’m likely to never convince you that Odom is more than a placeholder player whose departure would be (likely) too much to overcome if a championship is in the cards, I’ll likely never be convinced that Odom is not a vital part to our success. Yes, I have a soft spot for Odom. But my position has little to do with affinity for left handers and more to do with the structure of our team, measuing contributions, and considering how losing a player of his value (both on the court and in the locker room) would affect the team. This is why my stance on LO vs. Ariza is what it is. As much as I love Ariza and see his value as a contributor, it is not at the level that Odom’s is in my opinion. And in the end, I think we need him. I also think he wants to stay. And like I said, I’m hopefull that in the next couple of days we’ll hear of an agreement reached between the LO and the team.


  60. Not to get away from the post, but I always enjoy drrayeye and Darius going at it (no hatred of course) on the value and need of LO on the Lakers the last couple of years here at FB&G, interesting reading I might say. Hopefully I will keep enjoying these conversations, because that means that the Lakers found a way to sign LO for a little while longer. You know my opinion about LO; he is a useless fantasy player, as 6th man and I just really like him, for all he brings in life and also to the Lakers big man rotations.

    Good going Kurt on having Cap around here at FB&G regularly for a while.


  61. Off topic, but of note: Coby Karl is tearing it up for the Celtics at Summer League. Best player on the floor against Orlando and has turned the head of David Thorpe, and probably a few scouts and GMs looking for some guys at the end of the roster. Good, I want him to make it, he had skills it was just a numbers game here.


  62. Also what should insurance cost the Lakers, for one of the 7 footers going down for like a half a year, it has happened around here right? Did not Gasol even miss some serious time at the Grizzlies during his career there. We have Mbenga for Mbanging, I guess. I not saying the Lakers should end up spending like 20m for it (insurance), but anyway, just a thought.


  63. Darius,

    I’ve talked about Bynum as a replaceable player, because that is how the Lakers have considered him. Almost from his first year with the Lakers, he was available with no takers for his multiyear contract–when he was healthy. Considering that no one wanted to pay as much as $14 million for his salary, he was untradeable. The Lakers tried to trade Lamar for KG, and would have traded him for Gasol–but no other team would have him as a position player. The Lakers essentially agreed and considered him too small and too soft for the 4 and not suitable for the 3. He became a player without a position officially this season. When his contract was expiring last year and this year, Andrew went down–and the rest is history.

    Well, Andrew is not expected to go down every year, Pau will play most of his minutes at the 4, Ron will now man the 3–and Lamar is the odd guy out.

    When Lamar at $10 million + the penalty ($20 million) costs the Lakers almost as much as Kobe Bryant–and when Lamar can interrupt the development of Pau at the 4 by requiring him to constantly switch to the 5–placing Andrew on the bench–something has to give. There can’t be 6 players on the court at the same time.

    The Lakers, uniquely in the NBA, are giving Lamar an opportunity to remain with the team at least next year on terms as good as any other free agent currently available–without a home team discount.

    If i were Lamar, I’d be knocking on Mitch’s door with pen in hand.


  64. I think the addition of Artest makes Odom more valuable, if only because of Odom’s locker room chemistry. We’ve documented here on FB&G Odom’s impact in the locker room, where he’s the guy doing all the crazy pre-game routines, he’s the guy cracking jokes and making people laugh, and he’s the guy going around passing out candy to all the guys. We should not understate enough the fact that Odom and Artest have known each other since elementary school; they know each other well and can relate to one another.

    Ron Artest is walking into a championship locker room as an outsider and a lunatic. It is only natural that he’ll feel isolated at first. Whether that isolation will affect our chemistry remains to be seen. But having Lamar Odom around, someone who knows Artest, whom Artest can trust, will be invaluable in bringing Ron from the fringe into the fold.

    I agree that Odom is over-priced at $10 mil, but saying he only deserves the mid-level because he lacks leverage is severely understating the situation. It’s one thing to play hardball with your players; it’s another to completely disrespect their value simply because you think they have nowhere else to go.


  65. Allegedly Odom’s camp is looking for $10+M per season and Lakers are balking. I don’t see how Odom could get 10+ on market that weak. Lakers are bidding against themselves.


  66. Kurt, I like Gabe Pruitt too. He has been playing under control, which makes wonder why Doc Rivers hasn’t given him playing time as a back-up.


  67. Zephid,

    At this point in time, no free agent in the NBA is getting more than the MLE (probably not even from Portland). That includes some very good players. Shawn Marion, for example, had a salary last year even higher than Lamar’s.

    The MLE is not disrespect. The MLE is reality in the NBA these days.

    These are hard times. How long will it take Lamar to face reality?


  68. I don’t see how Odom can seriously be looking for an 8-figure salary. Even under normal circumstances that would have been a stretch, but the way things are now it’s a pipe dream. So much for the ‘hometown discount’.


  69. Robert Swift is competing hard out there, but those injuries taken away some of his athleticism.

    JR Giddens is chucking it.


  70. I’m not understanding some of the frustration over Brown’s deal. It’s not that we’re paying 4.2 for a normal third PG. This is a young player who showed flashes of potential last year, who we’re hoping could snatch the starting job this year. Fisher is almost at the end of his rope, so we’re almost paying for a 2nd-string PG who we’re hoping can be more.

    This is a league in which, for decades, you pay for potential. We all know PG is our weakest position, we were all screaming to draft or bring in a new PG – if we can get that with internal improvement, with an avg $2.1 mill/year contract with Brown, what’s unreasonable about that?

    I had a feeling Karl would do some work in the summer league. I always felt that he had the talent to play in this league, and I think he just needs to find the right situation. To be honest he might have been useful even for us, given the impact Sasha’s corpse had for us.


  71. Speaking of Celtics, I think the biggest free agent signing could be their assistant coach Tom Thibodeaux. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it really seems like he’s the brains of the operation, especially on defense. Doc might be a great motivator, but with X’s and O’s, it just looks like he lets his assistants do all the work. Their defensive scheme during the 2008 finals (I hate to say it) was excellent. Losing Tom Thibodeaux might just cripple them….I hope.


  72. Aaron,

    The Lakers want Lamar. Almost all of us want Lamar.

    The Lakers just want to pay Lamar what he’s worth–not what he wants.

    If Lamar wants to pull a Trevor and end up somewhere else for an MLE or less, he’s far from honoring his word to all of us before the negotiations.


  73. #78. Kurt, that is the most classic response I’ve read in a while.

    As far as the other conversation, I grow weary of talking about Odom so much. You’d think I was his agent looking to make commision on his deal. Ha. I do agree that Odom’s value isn’t at $10 mil. But I’ve consistently said that 7-8 mil is a very reasonable contract for a player of his skill level and contribution. If Mitch/Buss could make that 3yr/24 mil deal happen, I’d be very happy with the result. I do understand the financial implications of a deal like that, and I’ve said before it’s not my money. But in the end, I just think our ceiling as a team decreases a good deal without Odom in the fold. And focusing on the past is just that – the past. I don’t care that Odom was once the bait that never got claimed by another team. For all intents and purposes, that worked out best for the team as champagne flowed and the Lakers have another trophy to display and banner to hang. From my seat, Odom has played himself into an assured position on this team, not played himself out of one.


  74. Bottom line is that LO is a great player, but at what cost. His worth on the team only became an issue really the last couple of years because of Bynum. Yes, if we wouldnt have had LO as an insurance policy, then we wouldnt have had as much success as we did. But you cant keep an insurance policy on the bench when he could essentially bring other players in return. LO’s worth now is based on what he can do for the team. Either in a reduced salary way or in a sign and trade option. If it is true that LO wants in the 10 mil range, the LAKERS will not match this outlandish salary. That money range is only for starters who you would never question their dedication and hustle, neither of those reply to LO. The inflated NBA economics in the past years have had players like R. LaFrentz making 13 mil a year, so in todays economic climate players worth are over inflated by bad contract signings throughout the past 5 to 6 years in boom times. There are only three nonreplaceable players on this roster and that is Gasol, Bynum, and Kobe, and thats based on the amount of their salaries in the future. The rest of the team is and will be replaceable, for the next 3 to 4 years no matter how much you like them. You might as well get use to it, cause it is what it is.


  75. Thanks for the insights on Shannon Brown, for those who responded to my question.


  76. Since this is a Kareem post and we’re talking big men, I really hope Yao makes as speedy a recovery as possible. It says he may be deciding on a treatment option soon, let’s hope for the best.

    Rewatching the 2nd-quarter run from Game 4 right now. Watching Kobe is truly awe-inspiring. I wonder if the gum-chomping will carry over into next season.


  77. drrayeye, let’s say you had a job. You’ve been working for this particular company for a number of years now, and you’ve never really had too much success, a couple sideways moves here and there, but no real progress up. Even though the economy took a huge dump this past year, you still had a large part in a project which really takes off and earns your company a lot of money. Now, economic times are tough and that company, which you have worked under for for 5 odd years now, wants you to continue working there for half your previous pay. Would you feel disrespected? I know I would.

    As for the Brown contract, I don’t really have that big a problem with money, especially if there was competition, but I do have a problem with the player option. It’s just a lose-lose situation for the Lakers, giving Brown a player option. But, it would make sense if that was the reason he chose to come back to LA instead of signing elsewhere.


  78. Just wondering out loud, but why are most the Lakers contracts end in 2012. If the rumored Lamar deal is for 3 year $24M plus Artest’s 3 year $18 plus Bynum’s contract all end in 2012, that’s $30M in expiring contracts. Seems like Mitch has a plan for that particular year.


  79. 87. I call it life. You take the bad with the good, right now is not a good time to be a free agent, thats all. Think of the 14 mil he was getting the past couple of years. Was he worth that? It works both ways.


  80. Remember what I said about Tom Thibodeaux, Doc Rivers and the Celtics? Replace that with John Kuester, Mike Brown and Cavaliers. Kuester is now the head coach for the Detroit Pistons.


  81. Interesting that Dumars goes with an offensive coach over defensive wizards in Johnson and Thibodeau. I guess he’s looking at his personnel and saying, “Can anyone really get Ben Gordon play defense?” You maximize your personnel, I guess, and he probably feared a guy like Thibodeau would pull a Mike Brown and wouldn’t get the most out of his offensive talent.


  82. K.D. says it all

    “Odom has already sacrificed, for this team. Sacrificed numbers, sacrificed awards (this is a man who could have screen and rolled his way to a Sixth Man of the Year award), and definitely sacrificed money. Extend the man, to appropriate terms. Don’t make a player whose gifts were created for this team above all, waste the final years of his career somewhere else. ”

    Just Do it Dr. Buss…


  83. I am lucky enough to never have gotten into the what-is-Odom’s-absolute-worth debate and I won’t start now.

    Zephid, I don’t think your analogy quite works because the Lakers inherited the contract from the Heat. So it’s more like a guy was getting a massive salary at a dot-com and they get bought out by new management, and when it’s time to renew his contract, they’re saying, we’ll that was the good old days.

    Anyway, in reality, there’s a different practical question in play, because of restricted supply. That is, let’s say you ar the Lakers and don’t think Odom is “worth” $10M/yr. So you say, hell I could replace your production with $7M/yr! But then… you can’t. Because we can’t spend the money because of the cap. (And there isn’t anyone we’d want for the money anyway.)

    So you say, hell, we’ll overpay the guy. But then does being near your hard internal salary cap cause you trouble down the road with future decisions? And for how many years? What is it worth to maximize our chances during Kobe’s prime? If the contract is too big, he’ll be immovable if he gets disgruntled.

    If I were the Lakers, I would want to be strong for Kobe’s window now, and worry about the aftermath when it comes. But I acknowledge that there are going to be playing time issues as Bynum (we hope) grows.

    So it’s delicate. I hope what’s happening now is what people are guessing – Mitch offered $24M/3yrs and said we’ll match if you can get anyone to offer more. And Odom’s agent is beating the bushes now. And eventually they will come to an agreement because neither side has anywhere better to go.


  84. Just a note to everyone about Summer League:

    RARELY does Summer League success translate into NBA success.


    1) Marco Belinelli looked like the second coming of Manu Ginobili.

    2) Randy Foye once looked like Dwayne Wade incarnate.

    3) Joey Dorsey absolutely tore up the competition

    4) Devean George looked like the next Michael Jordan.

    5) Smush Parker was so good the Lakers gave him a contract.

    6) Jerryd Bayless was a man among boys.

    7) Matt Freije has had a 16 point game.

    8) Michael Harris once looked like the next Corliss Williamson at the Vegals Summer Pro League.

    9) Ike Diogu was an absolute beast.

    10) Julius Hodge looked like the second coming of Scottie Pippen.

    I’m just trying to say – temper your expectations.


  85. With regards to Lamar Odom’s value:

    When humans get together in groups to work together towards a common goal, they inevitably create a hierarchy of sorts within the group, based on how they interact with each other. They assume roles, defined by their own behavior as well as how they are treated, and of course, a Leader is eventually chosen.

    But there’s never just one leader. At the very least, there are two: The task leader and the social leader. The task leader focuses on the task the group needs to accomplish–for the Lakers, to play basketball well enough to win the Championship. Obviously, that would be Kobe. He’s the floor general, the focus, the assassin whose personality and drive we all saw become emulated and internalized by the other players last season. The task leader sets the goal, and drives the group forward. He cracks the whip and he makes sure everyone else works as hard as he does. The task leader keeps the group focused and keeps them working.

    The social leader keeps the group together.

    He’s the one who will hire a chef to cook team dinners during the summer, because he’s worried about locker room chemistry and the players not spending enough positive time together. He brings everyone candy. He gets the team in a huddle before the next game in Boston to remind them that there’s nothing like good road-kill. He goofs off and makes people smile, he leads by example by putting the team first and not his own stats, by agreeing suddenly come off the bench after being a starter almost all his career, and doing it with a professional and unselfish attitude.

    For a group to function and to be successful, it needs to have BOTH a task leader and a social leader. In other words, ignore the stats–we need Lamar for reasons that have nothing to do with his numbers.


  86. Burgundy, great notes on one of those things I try to remind people every year. Summer League is just-drafted rookies and the guys trying to be 10-15 on an NBA bench (or get a good contract in Europe). The talent level is somewhere in the land between college and the NBA, but these teams are thrown together and not that practiced. Combine that with guys doing things like not passing because they need to get noticed, and the play can be ugly.

    I’ll be in Vegas starting next Monday and I’ll get a look at Ammo for a couple nights, and post a bunch of other Summer League thoughts. But for the Lakers, there is almost nothing to see.


  87. Love this from Brian K:

    “Plus, KG is far nuttier these days than Wallace, so this could be a chance for Sheed to blend into the wallpaper a little.”

    For anyone who hasn’t seen it, Kobe and Magic’s speeches at Michael Jackson’s funeral should be coming up on SportsCenter in a few minutes.


  88. Did the Lakers have to use the Biannual Exemption to resign Brown, or were they entitled to go to the moon to bring him back because he was “their” player? I am still unclear on this — do the Lakers still have the BAE in their holster, or are they done with it?


  89. My aunt used to be a VP bigwig at a big insurance company. They had tickets at the Forum. Baseline….second row. Right next to Lou Gossett Jr.
    She wasn’t much of a hoops fan so she would give me the tickets about 4 or 5 times a year.

    I still remember seeing Kareem do “Worthy Spin” and dunk on both Hakeem The Dream and Ralph Sampson.


  90. I agree that it’s obvious we need to re-sign LO. A few weeks ago during the early rounds of the playoffs, I had said we could probably get him for 3 yrs/$27m. Obviously, the market has changed. If the team has already offered 3 yrs/$24m, that’s very close to what he’ll re-sign for. No other team except Portland has the cap space to offer more than the MLE, and they’re already set with Aldridge at PF. I would imagine that the team will try to preserve Bynum’s minutes for the next two or three seasons in order to let his ligaments and tendons come to full maturity, so LO should still get at least 30 minutes per game.

    One additional thing I should point out is that for the final season of LO’s contract, he only received $11.5 million. Some clause in his contract meant that even though he only got paid $11.5m, it somehow showed up as a cap hit of $14m.


  91. 103, I don’t think the Lakers used the bi-annual exception. It calls for a $1.99 million 2009-10 salary with 8% raises, and there’s no way these parameters can produce a 2-year figure of $4.2 million.

    I’m not an expert but I think the Lakers used the “Early Bird” exception to sign him. He signed with the Bobcats for the 2008-9 season and satisfies the early bird requirements because he has not changed teams via free agency for the last two seasons. He’s eligible for a league average salary and 10.5% raises. So if his 2009-10 salary is about $2 million we can get the $4.2 million total with a 10% raise.

    The only wrinkle is that Early Bird contracts must be for two years. I’m not sure if the CBA allows the second year to be an option.


  92. 107, i don’t think Brown qualified for early bird rights because he signed with another team as a free agent(charlotte).

    I believe he does qualify for the non-bird exception, which allows the lakers to sign him to a contract starting at 120% of his previous salary.


  93. @ Dude.
    LO had a trade kicker upon being dealt to Lakers. His original salary with Miami was 11.5 but because of kicker was paid 14 per by Lakers.


  94. 108, you’re right. He signed with Charlotte as a free agent in August 2008. So he only had the 2008-9 season without free agency.

    The salary numbers don’t fit with the non-Bird Exception because he made $800k and a 20% raise would give a starting salary of only $960k. With 8% raises, there’s no way to get to a total of $4.2 million over two years.

    Maybe the Lakers did use the bi-annual exception.


  95. 109 and 106.

    You both are right. Based off my understanding, Odom had a trade kicker in his contract that raised his cap number. But, I believe I read somewhere (when the trade happened) that Buss ponied up the cash all at once and gave him his full payment that first season. But due to CBA language, the actual kicker was applied to each season and thus his cap number was higher than his salary every season. Granted, I could be wrong about all of this, but I recall reading this at the time.

    Note: Larry Coon’s verbiage on Trade Kickers

    This doesn’t state whether or not a player must be paid the “bonus” right away, but like I said, I believe Buss did pay Odom his full “bonus” when LO was acquired, but under the CBA that bonus was spread out over the remaining years of the contract. I believe Odom’s trade kicker was for 15 mil, but again, I could be wrong about that – which would have added 3 mil to his salary cap figure (hence Odom’s cap charge of 14.5 mil) for all 5 years that he’s played for the Lakers.


  96. 110–according to the faq, the lakers can offer a salary starting at 120% of the previous salary. I thought the wording implied the Lakers can exceed that amount. Perhaps I’m wrong.

    And if the Lakers did use the bi-annual exception, the most they could offer falls short of the $4.2M that has been mentioned.


  97. NO. 89) The contract’s are up in 2012 because everything will change in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar, jk.

    Question for Kareem: Why are the skyhook and the bank shot so maligned in the game of basketball, today? Kareem, had a long and storied career by using the skyhook and of course, Magic won a championship with it. And, Tim Duncan has also had a great career by using the bank shot. I know that in today’s game of 3pt shots and dunks, that neither the skyhook nor the bank shot are considered, sexy.

    LO, needs to sign soon! I can not imagine LO leaving the Lakers and allowing Artest to win more championship rings than he did, with the Lakers. So, I fully believe that he will resign. He just needs to do so, without burning any bridges with the Laker front office.

    So happy we signed S. Brown, but still bummed about Ariza, he’s a nice kid. We are all pretty emotional about Ariza, but no matter how he left the team, the Lakers didn’t make an offer, his agent was greedy, etc., Ariza just got a huge payday, one that he probably would not have gotten had he been with Orlando, buried on their bench. He needs to realize that the Lakers gave him a wonderful opportunity, Kobe gave him the program to improve his game so that he could get paid this summer and the Lakers gave him playing time to showcase his game. He could easily be on a plane to Europe to play, ala, other notable UCLA players, he needs to count his blessings. Yes, he helped the Lakers win a championship and for that we are all thankful, however, as we all know this is a business; and Ariza is none the worse for a) Kobe helping him with his shot. b) Winning a championship! c) Getting a huge pay increase.

    As I noted on several posts previously, I knew that Ariza would be gone because for some reason every player that Kobe befriends, management finds a way to get rid of them or to let them go in free agency. Ariza will be a good player on the Rockets, as have every player that has left after working with one Kobe Bean Bryant! That list includes: Caron Butler, Ronny Turiaf, Eddie Jones and now we can add Trevor Ariza.


  98. For the record, I didn’t say Jordan wasn’t a great player, nor did it seem that anyone else on this string questioned that he was great.

    We simply said that he and his Bulls weren’t as great as many would have you believe in terms of their place among the league’s all-time best.

    MJ and Chicago won six rings, and I would never say they weren’t among the best. But too many people in their 20s and 30s have been spoon-fed this “Jordan was the best ever” mindset since they were kids.

    The facts say that’s just not a cut-and-dry, no-room-for-debate kind of issue. The Bulls had no great rival to challenge them, and in the end, that’s really what (in my mind) lessens their place vs. the league’s other great teams.

    How many rings would the 80s Lakers or Celtics have won if they didn’t have to play each other in the Finals? How many rings might Dr. J had if not for Bird & Co., or Magic and Kareem and Worthy?

    It’s not so easy as to say, “Jordan was the greatest” because that’s the T-shirt all the cool kids wore when you were in grade school, yet that’s too often the “debate” fans are subjected to.


  99. Wow! KAJ @ FBG! Kurt, please tell us how you got him for some Q&A!

    In line with going old school with the Captain, I keep thinking about the 80’s Showtime teams; I could not remember any contract dramas from Magic/Kareem/Worthy/Scott. I know those times were pre-internet but I could not recall an off season filled with so much uncertainties (especially after winning the championship).

    RE: Artest

    Aside from Bynum learning from the GOAT, I hope Andrew picks up some rebounding tenacity from Ron-ron.


  100. Laker fan in Raptorland,
    Ron playing SF for most of his career has ave’d 5.1 rebounds a game over his career.
    Kobe has ave’d 5.3 over his career.
    Perhaps Ron picks up some rebounding tenacity from Kobe.


  101. I think they need to bring in LO, and I see that $8M/yr number makes a lot of sense. Its over the MLE, and as painful as it might be for LO to swallow, its what the market is now. That said, LO also has to understand that the team is far from disrespecting him, as this costs them $16M/year.

    I think were all eager for this to get done, as we all pretty much see the Lakers as strong favorites to win it all again next season with LO back in the fold.


  102. Those Knicks teams the Bulls played were pretty awesome plus PHX had an excellent team with an amazing player in Round Mound. Those Payton, Rainman teams put up a great fight. I’ve seen mention of the 80s Philly teams or Nique’s Hawks and other then the fo’ fo’ fo’ team, I think the teams the Bulls went up against were better.

    LO is coming home. No worries.


  103. hey anyone familiar w/buyouts and the salary cap rules? can we buy out ammo to save luxtax?


  104. The bi-annual exception is $1.99m for the 2009-10 season, and it qualifies for an 8% raise. It is also limited to two years. The most the Lakers could pay in the second year is $2,149,200. The combined total for those two years would be $4,139,200. That’s a whopping $60,800 shy of the reported $4.2m. Maybe someone ignored traditional rounding rules to make the contract seem just a tad bit more rich than it is. Crazier things have happened.

    I believe the Lakers used the Bi-annual exception to re-sign Brown, because no other option makes as much sense. However, if Brown was claimed off of waivers after Cleveland waived him, then I take that back. Larry Coon writes, “If a player is waived and is claimed by another team before he clears waivers, then it is treated as a trade and does not affect his Bird clock.” That means he would have his full Bird rights, which means the Lakers could pay him whatever they felt he deserved, without having to use the bi-annual. After looking for an answer as to whether Brown was waived and picked up off of waivers, all I could come up with is that the Bulls had no plans for him circa April of 2008, and that the Bobcats signed him on August 6th, 2008. I suspect the Bulls did not exercise their team option on the third year of his rookie deal, which made him a free agent.

    Thus, it is more than likely that Brown does not qualify for the Bird exception or the early Bird exception, because he only played the one year with Charlotte/LAL after his rookie deal was not picked up. The non-Bird exception is limited to 120% of the player’s previous salary, which means there’s no way you can get to $4.2m over two years. The only exception that both applies and that gets you close to the $4.2m/two years figure is the bi-annual.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.


  105. I’d love to hear Lamar explain how much money he is forfeiting in contract negotiations by staying with the Lakers over the next 3 years. Even at $7 million (a hypothetical Laker offer), I see the Lakers giving Lamar an extra $1 million over what any other team in the NBA might offer him–and all $7 million is luxury tax dollars–so multiply by two.

    Lamar might want to remember what the Denver Nuggets did last year: they “gave” the Camby contract to the Clippers to get out of luxury tax hell. It forced Nene to be “the man” and forced the team to more carefully define roles and responsibilites.

    Without one of the greatest defensive players in basketball, the Nuggets substantially improved their defense last season and met the Lakers in the NBA Western Conference Finals.

    Before Lamar acts offended, sticks up his nose at $7 million and forgets his home team discount promise, he should call Marcus Camby and ask him what he thinks!


  106. “However, if Brown was claimed off of waivers after Cleveland waived him, then I take that back. ”

    Er, I meant after Chicago waived him, which I don’t think they did.


  107. Odom is a must. He went to war with Kobe the longest after Fisher/Luke and is, by all reports, the kind of a presence LeBron was during the Beijing Olympics.

    But, I think the FO will hardball him into taking something around 7~8 mil/year, which I guess shouldn’t be that bad although it does cut his earnings by nearly half.

    Still, he never seemed that interested in money, and I always thought he was far more mature in that regard due to the tragedies that befell on him. I also thought he had a better idea of his health and all…

    If something is of contention, I think he may be pushing for length of contract more than the actual dollar amount.


  108. @116, there was no contract dramas back then because there was no cap. Buss also had a reputation for rewarding players down the line if need be. He always ponied up to pay the player if deemed necessary.

    The ratio of salaries to revenue was also much better then. I still remember when it was a huge deal for Buss to sign Magic to a 25m/25yr contract. My friends and I were amazed at an athlete making a million dollars a year for twenty five years!

    I also remember Worthy getting a huge contract towards the end of his career. He really wasn’t worth it at that point, but it was Buss’ way of rewarding Worthy for his loyalty and the undermarket contract in previous years.

    Pre-cap and monopoly money, Buss always paid for any player worth it. You could say he still does that now but has to be somewhat fiscally sane and work within cap rules.

    As for LO, I still maintain that the silence is good news. Agent and Lakers now that the 24-25/yr is on the table. LO has expressed he was willing to comeback. Everyone knows only Portland has the 9 mill to give a counter offer, even though they haven’t shown any willingness.

    LO’s agent is probably trying to flog some interest to the point where he can go back to Lakers and say, I’ve got a 9m/yr offer, can you at least match or throw an extra year to make up for us taking less.

    Agent is being professional and feeling out the market. LO is probably ready to sign and get it over with but agent is counseling him that there’s no hurry. The offer is there and Lakers have no plan B. Therefore, at worst they take the offer. At best, they get another year or some extra dollars while LO still gets to stay with Lakers.

    The fact that the agent isn’t going around blabbing makes it easier for everyone. Heck even the 10m/yr offer being floated could be a ploy just to make LO look even better. He could say, I signed for considerably less than what I wanted. Even though, no one was going to match 10m.

    The silence is good in this case, IMO.


  109. What matters for Lakers fans is that the luxury tax threshold drops to $69.9 million. So every dollar the Lakers are over that number they pay a dollar in tax.


  110. 120. The Lakers cannot buy out Ammo, his deal is guaranteed for next year. (Well, technically the Lakers could buy him out but his salary would still count against them, so what is the point? You don’t save any money.) The better bet is that he is part of any trade the Lakers make this year.

    That, or he shocks us all and becomes a regular contributor at the three. But I’ll bet trade.


  111. @Harold
    What does this mean?
    Odom is a must. He went to war with Kobe the longest after Fisher/Luke and is, by all reports, the kind of a presence LeBron was during the Beijing Olympics.


  112. 131 – Just taking a stab, but it seems clear to me: Harold’s saying that Lamar’s been with the Lakers and Kobe the longest after Fisher/Luke and been through the most battles alongside Kobe. He’s also the locker room presence that Lebron was during the Olympics. Lebron was the goofball who got along with everyone on the Olympic team and got the team to sing Kobe Happy Birthday and it seemed all the other teammates enjoyed being around him. Lamar’s the same way in our locker room. Correct me if I’m wrong, harold.


  113. Snoopy2006, wow, I couldn’t have said it any better. Was kinda worried that what I said was a bit too cryptic for anyone not too interested in what happened within the 2008 olympic team.


  114. In Coach K’s book, he said there were 3 notable leaders within the 2008 team, namely, Kidd, LeBron and Kobe. LeBron was the vocal one, the one that got people amped up, so to speak, while Kidd brought attention to detail and Kobe brought focus.

    Anyway, if anyone’s planning to buy the book to get a glimpse of the olympic team, i’d advise against it since K focuses on team-building and what he did, and only brings up nuggets of 2008 team tidbits that are mostly filtered 😉


  115. Wow, sorry if this has been mentioned already…but a $25/3 yr deal for Kidd? For Jason Kidd? Mark Cuban, I admire your passion, but…wow. If you really want to be paying him $8 million in 3 years time, by all means.

    Frustrating because Lamar probably looks at that and thinks if Kidd can get that money, then deserves at least 9-10. But guys like Kidd and Villanueva are getting overpaid. It all comes down to what Portland is willing to offer, but Lamar is overestimating his market value. I can’t blame the guy, after that Kidd contract..


  116. OK, let’s not blame the last or last few guys signed for the luxury tax bill anymore. Is it better to think that maybe Sasha is costing the Lakers 10m a year with another 20m for the next two seasons, I hope not, I cannot live with that thought.


  117. On Blazers $.

    Blazers Edge analyzes it, but it’s a little confusing. I read it as $7.7M unless they waive a couple of players Freeland and Koponen, which then puts it at $8.9M. But this doesn’t include their three 2nd round draft picks, who I believe do count against the cap.

    But the latest rumor I read was that the Blazers wouldn’t sign a FA, but would use the cap space to make an unbalanced trade, which makes the most sense to me.



    Blazers may use cap room on a trade:

    After being spurned by Hedo Turkoglu, general manager Kevin Pritchard might decide to use the Blazers’ estimated $7.5 million cap room on a financially uneven trade, The Oregonian reports.
    The newspaper also reports Pritchard has spoken to Andy Miller, the agent for Andre Miller, and that the Blazers have no interest in David Lee’s price tag.


  119. Some Kobe tidbits over at Hoopsworld:

    Among those his perception of the Ariza/Artest situation and how it came about, apparently just like most of us expected it to have gone down.

    Also in this article, Shannon Brown’s salary for next year is reported to be 1.99 million $, which should confirm that it is the bi-annual exception.

    And Artest has supposedly signed for 3 years, not the also-rumored five.


  120. I thought people might enjoy video of Ron-Ron signing his new contract along with Mitch’s champagne toast. (Shannon makes a big cameo as well.) Of course, we’re not even in the honeymoon phase yet, but it is nice to see Ron appearing to be genuinely happy and honored to finally be part of the Lakers and commenting on the Lakers’ winning tradition. It’s interesting that Ron referenced Lamar as his Lakers teammate, though I’m sure that’s just his optimism talking as opposed to any insider knowledge or insight.

    Glad that Mitch has his eyes on the prize, noting that the next time they will be drinking champagne is next year’s NBA Finals. I like your thinking, Mitch. You know what you need to do to make that happen.


  121. Let’s imagine Ron Ron doesn’t work out. What would be the Laker’s options for trading him. Compared to his production, his contract is a steal and the Lakers could place him in a bundle with expiring contracts like Ammo or Farmar. I could imagine the Lakers getting an above average role player for a deal like that. Not that I wish for this to occur. I’m just wondering if, in the worst case scenario, the Lakers would be able to salvage their season and turn lemons into another championship parade.


  122. If Artest doesn’t work out hte options to trade him would be next to null. Take a look at salary cap projections for the next offseason. There will be an amazing financial squeeze. The demand for 30+ years old wingman with bad last season will be non existant.


  123. If Ariza doesn’t work out in Houston, we can swap right back – the salaries match! 😉


  124. It’s pretty awesome to have Kareem on the Blog. I have a very different type of question and I hope that it is one that he wouldn’t mind answering.

    Kareem, you played with renowned abstinence advocate and evangelical christian A.C. Green. With the way most NBA players treat sex was this something that was talked about much? How was it being team mates with A.C.? Being a Muslim yourself did you and A.C. talk much on matters of faith?

    I know that question has a few parts to it, but would love to see KAJ’s answers if you feel that’s a suitable question Kurt.


  125. Could we ask the Cap what it was like to play Roger Murdock on the big screen?


  126. also, I’m excited to watch mike brown defend his bogus coach of the year award next year now that his offensive coordinator is gone to Detroit. Get ready for an ENTIRE SEASON full of plain vanilla LBJ iso offense next year…


  127. “definitely sacrificed money”

    Odom has NOT “sacrificed” money with the Lakers. In fact, the opposite is the case. He has been overpaid for what he provided.

    If no one wants to offer him more than $8M per year now, he would NOT be “sacrificing” money to stay with the Lakers – he would only be “sacrificing” money if he took less than what the market value was. And even if that was the case, he would be “sacrificing” money in exchange for stability and a very good chance at another ring. Is that really a sacrifice”?


  128. 152, exhelodrvr, the point of the KD article was that Lamar purposely sacrificed his game and his stats this past season in order to give the team the best chance to win the championship, in spite of being in a contract year. It makes reasonable sense that LO could’ve dominated the ball on the 2nd unit and PNR’d his way to the Sixth Man of the Year award and a nice pay day. Yes, that would’ve killed our offense, and could’ve jeopardized our championship, but it would’ve given LO much better stats and he could be the one receiving the idiotic 5 year, $55 million contract instead of Hedo Turkoglu. So in a way, he did “sacrifice” money, by not playing himself up as much as possible and getting a big contract now.

    Yes, his production was low for his salary, but his production being low was due more to his sacrificing his own stats for the offensive flow than it was for his lack of talent/effort. The point is he already sacrificed for us; now is the time to give him his due.

    That being said, $10 million per year is not his due. I feel like $8 million per year is the right amount, and it’s just a matter of time until we get there.


  129. Zephid,
    Lamar “purposefully sacrificed”? He had a choice? I don’t think so. He could either accept the new role gracefully, or pout about it. But last summer, the reality was that Gasol’s play and the presumed level of play from Bynum created Lamar’s new role, not his own sacrifice.


  130. 155, exhelodrvr,

    Yes, he did have a choice. Yes, he could have pouted. And as I said above, he could have easily destroyed our offensive flow in favor of getting his own numbers. Look at what Allen Iverson did to the Pistons. Lamar could’ve done all those things and been reasonably justified, considering Bynum’s less than spectacular play (barring a couple games versus the clippers). But Lamar kept quiet, accepted his role, sacrificed his game for the good of the team, and helped us win a championship.


  131. Zephid,
    “he could have easily destroyed our offensive flow in favor of getting his own numbers”

    And how long would that have lasted?

    “Lamar could’ve done all those things and been reasonably justified”

    How can you say that? When is it ever “reasonably justified” for a player to put his personal statistics ahead of the team? You’re using Iverson as an example of what is “reasonably justified”?


  132. Zephid,

    judged by Lamar’s contribution to the team–or comparing Lamar’s salary to other similar player could lead to wildly different numbers of his worth–depending on who is doing the evaluating. It is that kind of logic that leads you to “compromise numbers” like $8 million as an appropriate salary for Lamar. Others would value him at $10 million or more.

    You’re missing the point.

    Lamar is an unrestricted free agent. Any NBA team can bid for him. You’d have to look far and wide to find any other team willing to spend even an MLE on him today.

    In real estate, one’s house might have been worth $1 million last year. If no one will bid more than $500,000 this year, why should anyone pay $1 million?

    Whatever his “value,” Lamar is “worth” no more than $6 million–probably less. Rather than Lamar giving the Lakers a “homer” discount, the Lakers may already be offering Lamar $1 million or more than he is worth.


  133. I know this is a bit off topic, but what is the sudden infatuation with Sheed. We’ve all heard the nonsence in the past about how he could be an MVP if he just brought it every game. But the fact is that he’s way past his prime, which wasn’t so spectacular to begin with. I just don’t get it! The Pistons couldn’t give this guy away in a trade, and now all of a sudden he’s the difference maker in the Celtics chances of winning a title. I’m not even going to get into the fact that he’s a major head case (who, by the way I think fits in perfectly with the other head cases, err tough guys in Boston like KG, Rondo, and Pierce) I’m just talking about his ability.

    I don’t know, I just don’t think he’s that good. I know you’re gona tell me that he’s only going to be playing a 6th man roll, and the Lakers made a similar move with Artest. But let’s be honest, noone is suggesting that Artest is the factor that will put the Lakers over the top next season. In fact, most of us are wondering if he’s adequete enough to replace Ariza. The only thing that will help Boston be any better then this year is if all their guys stay healthy. Can we please stop overrating Sheed like we’ve done his entire carrer.


  134. Franky,
    I think the Celtics are taking a calculated risk with Wallace. They didn’t think that they could compete “as is” (“as was?”) with Cleveland and Orlando, so they are gambling that he will give them a “big man” spark off the bench. If it doesn’t work, then they are no worse off than if they hadn’t resigned him, because they (probably) weren’t going to be better than both Orlando and Cleveland with their roster from last year.


  135. This is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard. Nike, I spit on you. Lebron, your attempts at image self-preservation are so transparent and feeble, I actually pity your enormously inflated head.

    For those who haven’t heard, Lebron gets posterized by a college kid at his own camp, and then quickly tells Nike officials to confiscate any videotape of the dunk. Wow.


  136. 163: LeBron is taking a beating in the blogs for that one. As he should — confiscating the tapes (doesn’t anyone shoot digital?) might have worked 10 years ago, but now the word leaks out, spreads like wildfire and you end up looking like Nixon, where the coverup looks worse than the crime itself.


  137. Okay, I’m not trying to be a jerk here and aren’t trying to make a point, but I went back over some box scores after talking with a friend at work wondering how the rockets plan to score any points next year and did some math.

    Ron Artest, in the final 4 games against the Lakers, shot 17-61 for 38 points. On 61 shots. Wow. That is ridiculously horrific.

    He was nowhere near as bad otherwise in the playoffs though, and won’t be playing against Kobe anymore, so I’m not seriously taking that as a sign of things to come. In fact generally I’m doing well talking myself into this thing. It’s just something to keep in mind.

    Also, pencil in Aaron Brooks in you fantasy leagues because the Rockets are going to be ridiculously dependant on him.


  138. J.D

    Shush! I was hoping to keep the fantasy value of Aaron Brooks on the downlow. He’s my 2009 Villenueva.

    BTW: I heard that Kwame Brown has a ridiculous fantasy “up-side”.


  139. In other news, Chad Ford, whose qualifications for everything he reports escape me, has ranked all teams’ offseason moves so far:

    Good news: We cracked the top 25!

    Moves that landed teams above us:
    -NOH signing Darren Collison
    -POR losing Sergio Rodriguez
    -DAL adding Marcin Gortat
    -The Clippers drafting #1 and regaining a probably suicidal Quentin Richardson lands them at #2 on the list.

    Ford also calls Ben Gordon “arguably the best free agent on the market.”

    Admitedly though, where even I’d rank us on this list depends entirely on the Odom situation.


  140. j.d.,

    Fordes rankings actually prompted me to post about the Celtics and Sheed. It just pushed me over the edge. He ranks them 5 for the Sheed aquisition alone!


  141. J.D. The clipper ranking is probably fair. They did manage to move Randolph and save a lot of money both this season and next.


  142. 162,
    I hear what you’re saying, but there are 2 things at play here.

    1) The pick up is not being portrayed as a gamble, like in the case of Artest.

    2) At best he will be a spark off the bench. And if that’s true, what’s all the hoopla for a spark off the bench?