Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  July 8, 2009

2009 BET Awards - Arrivals
So many things to get to today, we go to the bullet points….

• The real numbers that should concern us about Ron Artest: 56, 70, 57, 69. Commenter Stephen pointed out that is how many games Artest has played in each of the last four seasons. Meaning in his best year he missed 12 games, and he has missed as many as 26 in that span (and the last time he played nearly a full season was his second year in the league). It seems weird to think of Artest as injury prone, but the numbers don’t lie (can you imagine the calls of “soft” if Gasol or Dirk had those stats?). As long as he is healthy come playoff time this is not the end of the world, but we should expect him to miss some games this season. We really will need Odom as well.

• Artest said all the right things at his press conference. That the conference took place on a basketball court is about all the impact that has on the court, but at least he said it. My favorite line, when asked how he is different after the Brawl: “”I don’t lay on tables no more.”

• I know the pace of the Odom signing has frustrated some Lakers fans — Hey, they got Shannon Brown done! — but I’m not one of them. I think Brian hit the nail on the head. Odom’s people have patiently waited out the market so they could get some offers on Odom and try to drive up the price (a good idea but a strategy that has not worked as well as they planned). Soon, the Lakers and Odom’s people will hammer out a fair deal, my guess is in the $7 mil range. He wants to be here, he was texting with Artest already, the Lakers should be fair, I think this gets done fairly soon.

• I love how professional the Odom negotiations have been, especially from Odom’s agents — no whining in the media about what he deserved or a perceved respect. Just working hard quietly to get the best deal they can for their client, and trying to land him in a place that makes him happy.

• Yes, Artest will be wearing #37 in honor of how long Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” sat on top of the charts. One thing we can say about next season — the Lakers are going to be more entertaining with Artest around. The ogranization is pretty button down. Kobe is pretty corporate. Artest is not.

• If you fancy yourself a baller, the Lakers are sponsoring a 3-on-3 tournament at LA Live the weekend of Aug. 14. If you want to show how you could have dunked on LeBron (and had Nike confiscate the tapes) you can register here.

• I think Sheed in Boston is a little like Shaq in Cleveland — anyone who thinks these are the guys from their prime will be sorely disapointed. That said, they still have some game and will be an upgrade over the minutes they are taking from scrubs. Basically, I think both teams got better, but enough better?

Kelly Dwyer has my click as the first hoops blogger I read every mornong,

• I just bought this (via BDL).

Kurt

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88 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. KD is solid.

    A repro jersey with “Fletch” would be so much more tempting. Better yet, how abut a hat with Lakers logo and unobtrusive 99 and Fletch. See how many people pick up on that.

    Anyway you can get and sell that here Kurt?

  2. So far, so good on the track Odom and his reps have followed, as Kurt noted. It’s been handled professionally, at least outwardly. Let’s hope that is a sign a deal will soon follow that keeps LO in L.A.

    The video link of Chris Broussard at right made me chuckle thinking of how Odom’s agents have been do different from those of Ariza.

    Anyone want to bet that David Lee was not the “source close to Ariza” who leaked that LeBron is staying in Cleveland rumor a couple of days ago? We know Lee had Broussard on speed dial given the early “L.A.’s offer offended Trevor” stories Broussard served up, and really, who benefits more from this LeBron rumor than Trevor?

    It keeps his name in the headlines as a desirable player rather than a guy whose agent just led him from a title to a future full of first-round playoff losses. And at the time, Lee may also be dumb enough to think that the Ariza to Cleveland rumor might panic the Rockets into kicking up a few more bucks.

    It’s been said a million times before, but I too wish Trevor well but ultimately see him falling off into the abyss based on the choices he and his agents made this summer. Let’s stay hopeful that Odom doesn’t make the same mistake.

  3. Kurt

    I’ve read conflicting reports about the length of the contract. cbs sports is reporting a 5 year deal while most believe it is a 3 year deal. Both at the MLE plus maximum raises.

    Hoopshype already has a 5 year projection, the last year of which is not comforting to look at.

  4. adrian wojnarowski is reporting dallas is close to acquiring shawn marion.

    i would prefer that they didn’t improve, but at the same time I’m happy for Dirk. It’s solid of Cuban to pry that window open for a couple more years.

    They kind of remind me of the Blazers of the early 90s, in that they’ve assembled an expensive but talented team.

    anyone surprised by artest’s revelation that the Lakers contacted him at 12:01?

  5. We are so quick to look ahead to tomorrow that we sometimes forget about yesterday. Whereas I am excited about next season and the addition of Ron Artest, I, for one will miss Trevor Ariza and the contributions that he made. He never demanded the ball, the attention or the limelight yet he rose to the occasion.

    Thank you and good luck Trevor Ariza.

  6. j.d. Hastings July 8, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I’ll always have a soft spot for Ariza. They can’t take away the memories [cue music].

    Something else I’ve been thinking about: the Western conference is going to take a step backwards next year. Not that the top won’t still be great, but the next tiers are going to start suffering. As I see it:

    Contenders:
    -Lakers
    -Spurs
    -Maybe Denver

    Definitely in the playoffs
    -Dallas
    -Portland

    Probably in the Playoffs, but looking ugly:
    -Utah (they still have DWill, Boozer and Okur, but need to cut salary and things could go south)
    -New Orleans (outside of CP3 and David West, everybody is falling apart or needs to be upgraded. They could freefall from here or get it together a little bit)

    Competing for the 8th spot:
    -Houston: because they have a history of executing and should beat teams that don’t come prepared
    -Phoenix: IF they keep Amare, JRich and Nash, otherwise they’re headed in the wrong direction
    -GSW: IF Nelson doesn’t destroy the team AND they live up to their talent and/or trade for Amare
    -The Clippers: IF Griffin comes out gangbusters, the rest of the frontcourt is healthy and effective and Baron comes in determined. Probably won’t happen
    -The Thunder: IF they make a sudden leap and get the most from their young talent a la Portland 2 years ago

    Might as well sit out the year:
    -Minnesota
    -Sacto
    -Memphis

    The first round of theplayoffs should be a series of massacres. Not that the other conference is better, but they’re used to it. There’s still a lot more that can play out in Free Agency and trades, but I don’t see this changing much.

  7. Kurt, I agree about Sheed and Shaq, but I will admit that Sheed in Boston still scares me a bit.

    I mentioned it earlier and I will again, I really hope Bynum wasn’t 100% during the playoffs and shows some signs of the 40 point against the clips 25-15 against Duncan Bynum from earlier last season.

    That said, I’m almost ecstatic to see Kobe and Artest playing defenst together. With Bynum partrolling the middle or Pau with his massively underrated defense, the Lakers should be a fun team to watch.

    As a side note: I really think Shaq will have a positive impact on CLE. That said, I expect there will be times where he clogs the middle for Lebron and disrupts that offense. Lebron’s main move is to get a running start from beyond the arc and dive into the basket and get the call. That will be a bit harder with the Shaq in the middle.

  8. Didn’t get to see the Artest press conference. Does anyone have the Q&A for me to read? Thanks

  9. The new salary thresholds released are going to make the Lakers think long and hard about signing Odom to anything much above MLE . If they haven’t alreay, I think the Lakers are going to drop their offer for odom.

    ESPN.com is reporting:
    “A significant drop for the luxury-tax threshold is also projected going into the summer of 2010. If basketball-related income drops by 2.5 percent in 2009-10, league officials are projecting a 2010-11 salary cap of $53.6 million and a luxury-tax line of $65 million.”
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4312837

    Even if they sign Odom to MLE for the next 2 years, meaning 5.8 and 6.3 million, their total salary committments are going to be about 91 and 88 million dollars even if they fill up the rest of their roster with minimum salary playes. So are the Lakers going to want to pay over 20 million in Luxary taxes in consecutive years and possibly beyond?

  10. About Sheed going to Boston – I’m not sure how much it helps them other than as KG insurance/depth. In fact, it almost screams to me that maybe they’re worried about KG coming back. Very similar players in their skillsets – KG’s a better defender but Sheed is no slouch, and Sheed has 5 feet more of range on his jumper – except Sheed is nowhere near the emotional leader that KG is.

    It will help them against smaller teams that don’t play with a true center, but against their main competition now in the East – Cleveland and Orlando – they’re not going to get away with playing KG and Sheed together all that much because neither of them can handle Shaq or Howard. And if we can get Bynum back, healthy, and playing like he was in January of this past season, neither of them can handle AB either. He’s a nice insurance policy, kind of the way LO is for us, but Sheed doesn’t bring them the different dimension that LO gives us.

  11. Radmd. It will b interesting to see how these projected salary cap numbers for 2010-11 effect FA signings and contract extensions for possible FAs in 2010. It will also be interesting to see how this effects negotiations for a new CBA agreement (which is up after the 2010-11 season?).

  12. 3. Bill Bridges, Artest has a three year deal with a player option for an additional two.

    9. Technically, the Lakers cannot offer their MLE to Odom as they just gave it to Artest. If the Lakers offered just MLE money to Odom (which they can do) I could see that leading Odom to have another serious round of talks with Portland. Look, this guy did exactly what we always want players to do — put what is best for the team first. He went to the bench, he didn’t just try to compile stats. You can say he didn’t have a choice, but how many players would have whined to the media, had their agents bitching about playing time to the press, and done everything else they could to get back those minutes? Most? Maybe you can force Odom to take the MLE, and he is not going to get $10 mil a year anywhere, but be fair to a guy who took one for the team. I still think $7 mil a year is fair to everyone. Odom is a quality player.

  13. That last post was mine.

  14. 10. With the cap expected to fall big again next year, how pissed are you if you are the Knicks? The hot rumor has been LeBron and Bosh both going there, but no way they can afford that now. I never really thought that rumor made a ton of sense, but it is dead now. I still think the smart money is he stays in Cleveland — Nike has to realize in today’s instant media world playing in NY or Cleveland is irrelevant. Especially when trying to get people buy your gear in china.

  15. 9, I think your numbers are a little bit off since Morrison, Farmar, and Fisher come off our books after this year. This coming year is really the only year that the team will be well into the luxury tax. After that, the Lakers will have a bit more breathing room.

  16. Thinking back on Artest’s career I don’t think he’s missed many games due to injury… Unfortunately I think a lot of those games he’s missed are due to various suspensions. Not that that’s any better but at least he’s not “injury prone”. Hopefully with Phil and Kobe helping to reign him in he can cut back on the type of behavior that has gotten him suspended in the past, and therefore play more games.

    P.S., The Trevor Ariza situation sucks how it turned out, but, he will be missed.

  17. Two questions:

    1. Could Artest spell Kobe at the 2 so we could drop Sasha to 3rd string?

    2. Anyone else here licking their chops at a lineup of Kobe-Artest-Odom-Pau-Drew? Might produce the first shutout in NBA history!

  18. The Rockets were granted a Disabled Player exception(an amount equal to the full-midlevel) and used that to sign Ariza.

  19. So while we can’t sign FAs, we do have $7 million in expiring contracts this year (well $12 if you include Fisher but he’s not going anywhere). Along with a young talent like Farmar, those contracts could be used to fill the one need we still have – a better backup SG. Do I think it’s going to happen? Of course not. Buss selling picks and being this deep in the tax makes it likely he’s looking forward to taking a smaller hit next year, and he’ll simply sit on the contracts.

    But if Sasha continues to suck and it becomes bad enough that we have a void to fill, a trade is feasible. I wouldn’t mind seeing Maurice Evans back in a Lakers uniform, I always liked his style of play. I’d prefer a sharpshooter, but you take what you can get. Bottom line is, we have options if it comes to that – but I think this team is complete enough that Sasha’s suckitude won’t affect us too much.

  20. Any idea when Artest jerseys will go on sale?

  21. Good point about suspensions. Most of the games Artest didn’t play were because of David Stern.

    Regarding TA’s departure, one thing I noticed when I looked back at this year’s Laker playoff games is how much FASTER Ariza was than anyone else on the court. Kurt’s previously mentioned his ability to check guards on the switch. His speed will be missed more than anything.

  22. Kurt,

    I don’t agree that Lamar’s agents “professional” delaying tactics have worked to Lamar’s advantage. By accepting a salary offer near the MLE, Lamar could legitimately have argued that we was giving the Lakers a “homer” discount–and perhaps negotiated a five year contract.

    Now that it is clear that Lamar can do no better than the MLE, his bargaining power declines daily and the Lakers can consider not signing him at all, using the trade of expiring contracts to bring in a player if needed, or finding ways to dump even more salary. The Lakers might even be a ble to trade midseason to Houston for Trevor–giving them more expiring salary and giving us back our heart.

  23. Sorry,

    Correction–should read: “By accepting a salary offer near the MLE, Lamar could legitimately have argued that HE was giving the Lakers a “homer” discount–and perhaps negotiated a five year contract.”

  24. 16

    I’m pretty sure most of those games were missed due to injury. The only major suspension I can think of over that period was the 7 games he missed at the start of 2007/08.

  25. Lmao the current PTI question they’re debating:

    “Are the Pacers too white?”

  26. GR8Scott-

    The Artest jerseys are on the Team LA website, all 3 colorways. They also put up a white version of the Kobe 4 fingers shirt.

  27. I really like the Sheed deal for Boston. I think it puts them back atop the East.
    And, assuming Odom comes back, it makes an LA-Boston final that much more intriguing.

  28. Coffee is For Closers July 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Kurt its true re: the knicks being screwed by the new cap figure, but look at it another way – what were they going to do with that team anyway? Its an isiah abomination, and needed to be nuked. lebron or no lebron, that had to happen.

  29. Coffee is For Closers July 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    22. aren’t you assuming there was a way to work that 5yr offer from the get-go? lets say the lakers made an opening offer of 3yr/$19M. LO’s agent comes back and says 5yr/$30M. Lakers response, hmm, go see what’s out there and get back to us.

    I say regardless of tactics, there’s not a big market for LO over the MLE, and no amount of negotiating is changing that. I see no other players for LO over the MLE. Why would the lakers negotiate against themselves. This is somewhat reminiscnet of the manny/dodgers negotiation last winter. (hmm, I’m also having a Blazing Saddles flashback when the new sheriff gets into town…)

  30. I’m sorry, but I think Rasheed is standing on the edge of being washed up.

    He looked tired and uninterested last year. Although I do think he was a decent pick up for the Celtics. Anyone who thinks that this moves puts them over the top or addresses major problems for them is wrong.

    The Celtics were old and thin last year, and they *still* are. Check out Rasheed’s stats in this years sweep by the Cavs. 6.3 ppg, 6.5 rebs. He started.

    The Celtics will be good, because the are a good team, and Rasheed will fill a role for them, but he is not the player that will make up for the ills of last year.

  31. 16/21: No, actually it is by and large injuries that caused Artest to miss games.

    Artest has missed 76 games in the last four seasons (almost 1/4 of his teams’ games). Of that, 11 games (15%) of those were due to suspension or “personal reasons” which means the team suspended him.

    November 23, 2007 Missed 1 game (personal reasons).
    November 14, 2007 Missed 7 games (suspension).
    March 2007, missed 3 games (personal reasons).

    Last season it was a sore right ankle that made him miss games. He missed 26 games due to a wrist injury and 2006. There were elbow and other assorted injuries over the years.

    SB Nation has a nice list of the missed games:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21629/Ron_Artest

  32. By the way what about the Grizzlies trading away Pau Gasol to free up cap space and then stuffing it back up 18 months later with Zach Randolph?

  33. RE: The Luxury Tax and signing LO. Just read this on TrueHoop…

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-42-41/The-Silver-Lining-of-the-Salary-Cap-Cloud.html

    It basically says the NBA is about to make payments of 6.5 million to EACH team because of some escrow account. Apparently this happens in “down years,” such as this, in terms of NBA revenues, economy, etc. If that’s the case, and we can probably expect some sort of similar payment at least next year given the dire reports on the economy, I don’t see why we don’t just offer Lamar 8 per year for 3-5 years. I mean, that *should* get it done no? If we went 3-5 with Artest, this seems like a no-brainer. I’d even do 5 years/45 total, but it’s not my money…

    Regarding Mo Evans, I’d pass. When he got on the court, he took way too many shots. I like his game, but he seemed to be “trying to get his” every time he stepped on the court, especially when Kobe was on the bench.

  34. credit goes to some poster on lakersground.net :-) enjoy

    Ron Artest Press Conference Recap: No Homo
    by Jonathan Hernandez

    I didn’t mean to walk in the shower with him. Yeah, I walked in the shower. I’m not a homosexual, but Kobe – he had no clothes on.

    On a day when many reporters were asking him how he much he’s truly changed from his Indiana days of punching people in the stands, Ron Artest calmly provided many new punch-lines for people to mull over (the tickling variety as opposed to the one that bleeds and swells). To say the least, it was very entertaining. It may not have been as extravagant as most of Shaq’s previous press conferences, but the constant stream of random one-liners that flowed from the jovial and upbeat Artest sure made it seem like the newest Laker had taken some comedic lessons from the Big…Whatever.

    Make no mistake about it, coming from a guy that Lakers fans had once always hated and been wary about for so long because of his bad boy image, past history, and annoying bouts of showboating – it’s hard to decipher Ron Artest during such celebratory, formal speaking engagements such as this when he’s seemingly always on his best behavior, ready to put his best face forward. Here are some quotable highlights (I divided them up between the good and thed..strange):

    What You Want to Hear As a Laker Fan (The Good Ron Artest):

    * On winning his teammates and coaching staff over: “I gotta win myself over. Make sure I work on myself this summer – come back in tip top condition. He’s right. It’s not a given that just because you add me to a team.”
    * “Last couple years, Kobe’s really been devoted to defense. And I respect him even more now. He’s not gambling as much. He’s more focused on stand-still defense.”
    * “They’re a tough team. I thought they were tougher than Boston. I’m a Laker fan. When they were struggling against Boston, I felt bad.”
    * “My priorities are straight now – play ball first. And then everything comes second.”
    * On having doubters and the pressure that comes with being a Laker – “That’s great pressure to have. I want people to come down on me. That’s why I like having Kobe, he likes the pressure. I like to prove that I can be
    * “They love their team. The fans are so confident. The fans are tellin’ me, “are you ready to get your ring?” They know they’re going to win. That’s a great feeling.”

    Ron Ron’s Comedy Time (The Strange-er-Funny Ron Artest):

    * “Is TMZ here? Oh, they’re not. That’s good.”
    * “Hopefully my clothes make it to LA, if they don’t – they can just stay in Houston.”
    * On hooalizing the Lakers: “I hoodalized ESPN. I didn’t say I hoodalized the Lakers. Noo, I was just playing. It was a joke. I was just off the top of the head at ESPN. You gotta have fun. It’s summer time. That comment has nothing to do with the season.”
    * “Once again I’m vastly underpaid. But it’s ok. At the end of the day, if you can’t live with $35 million…you can’t live.”
    * How he’s changed since the brawl: “I don’t lay on tables no more.”
    * “Following Kobe Bryant – that’s a no brainer and I didn’t even finish school, you know?”

    The No-Homo Ron Artest:

    * “I didn’t mean to walk in the shower with him. Yeah, I walked in the shower. I’m not a homosexual, but Kobe – he had no clothes on.”

    You’ve got to hand it to the guy – he was real, down to earth, and at many points, quite hilarious. He was poised and very sincere at times, too real to the point of hilarity at other times, and just plain Ron, the attention grabbing media whore for most of the times. Sometimes his rough play, ridiculous antics on and off court, and his thug-like image can overshadow just how striking and down-to-earth this guy truly is. I’m not sure if he gets some PR help when it comes to his speaking engagements, but…he sure said all the right things to help alleviate the doubts of many skeptic Laker fans out there…and then he said some other things that let us know that we’d all be in for one fun, bi-polar Laker ride this season. And Kobe? he had no clothes on.

  35. Here’s an excerpt from Artest’s press conference…

    http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?t=93754

  36. Expected move by SA, but still surprising given their past reluctance to exceed the luxury tax threshold. Kind of courageous considering they’re a small-market team and the forecast for next year is gloomy.

    Spurs are going all in.

  37. I’m officially worried about SA. You could get away with double teaming TD before with another front court player because SA had no one that could hurt the double team consistently.

    SA has been looking for a solid front court partner for TD ever since the Admiral retired.

    This coupled with RJeff and the steal of Bergin gives SA a very strong starting unit along with a deeper bench.

    Their big weaknesses before was lack of depth and huge holes in their staring five. Opponents could exploit one or both. SA did their damage when the big three was on the floor but couldn’t sustain leads when they sat down. Now that problem won’t exist.

    Lakers at full strength would still have beaten SA with RJeff. Now it will be an even battle. Especially since I believe integrating Artest into the Laker scheme will take longer than Dice and Rjeff will to SA’s schemes.

  38. Coffee is For Closers July 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    It’ll be interesting to see next year how much popovich “baby’s” duncan’s minutes during the regular season, hoping to save him for the playoffs.

  39. 34. In practice, the teams get a payment like that every year from the league escrow account.

    Long, complex story short: Under the CBA, players can get only up to 57% of the “basketball related income” (BRI) the teams and league make in a year. Every year, with every check, 9% of a players check is held back by the team and goes into this league escrow account. Then, at the end of the year, when the league bean counters come up with the official BRI number, they compare that to the 57% threshold. Then, the teams get a refund out of that escrow account to bring the percentage down to 57%, and the players get the rest back. (What has happened in practice is that if a guy is making $10 million, $900,000 is held out of his check over the course of the season, and once the BRI is figured out he usually gets about $90,000 of that returned to him).

    What was different this year is not that the teams got a payment, but that player salaries were so far over the 57% that they are getting no refunds back.

  40. http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm I wish that in 2012 instead of a player option Mitch made it a team option..

    You can watch the press conference on here http://cbs2.com/video/?cid=193 The “WEB EXCLUSIVE” video

  41. “I think this was the best place for me,” Ariza said. “I think I have more of an opportunity.”

    I couldnt help but chuckle when i saw the above statement by TA. He doesnt really believe what he is saying right? I mean did he even say it with a straight face?

  42. Trevor looked like he just wanted to get the interview over with as fast as he can. Tragic.

  43. The Spurs are like roaches; they never really seem to die off.

    That said, their addition of a 35-year-old, injury riddled forward who hasn’t averaged double-figures in seven years doesn’t put the fear of God in anyone.

    Richard Jefferson can score but he’s not nearly as good as his reputation (driven by playing in the New York market) suggests, and Ginobili’s been battling injuries for the past couple of years. Duncan’s got a lot of miles on him, too, and it showed last season as the games piled up.

    Provided L.A. retains Odom, a whole lot would have to go right for San Antonio to stop the Lakers in a seven-game series.

  44. Imagine if the Spurs had kept Scola…

  45. 15 Zephid
    Check out hoopshype numbers for yourself. Even if you take Morrison and fisher off the list, they already have committed to 75.7 million for 2010/11 season. Add only 6.3 million for Lamar and 4 million for 5 minimum players and you are looking at 86 million already! If they pick up Jordan’s option of 2.8 , you are clos to 88.8!
    If Luxury tax level is 65 mil next year, even without Jordan and with 5 minimum players, you will have to pay over 21 mil in luxury tax.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm

    I just can’t see the lakers offering more than 6-7 mil/year to Lamar now that it is obvious nobody will give him more than MLE. If they do much above MLE, they are not being very smart; they are being extremely generous and loyal. The competition is gone!

  46. radmd, while we can state things like -
    I just can’t see the lakers offering more than 6-7 mil/year to Lamar now that it is obvious nobody will give him more than MLE.

    just between us as a group of fans, we really don’t know what’s going on in their world. there could be offers from other teams that we don’t know about.
    it’s great that we have this place to share our opinions but we should remember that very few people outside the very inner circle really know what is going on between the teams, and even they work hard to keep certain things secret.

    it’s no big deal, we are always stating something we want to believe we are correct about, but, for me, I have to trust that our GM and owner know what they are doing, based on past performances, and, what can we do about it anyway?
    they knew we all liked Trevor, but for whatever reason, they let him walk, (apparently the agent really blew this one in hindsight).
    peace.

  47. After playing awful for the last 4 months of the season including the playoffs… do you think Fisher is now done or do you guys feel he just had a 4 month slump and will pick it up and rebound next year at the age of 35? And if you think he is now washed up… who do you guys think should start, Farmar or Brown?

  48. @Aaron (49): I don’t think washed up is the right word, but I would really like to curb his minutes this year. I’d be in favor of slowly transitioning the starting PG job over to Shannon/Farmar, but it’s kind of hard. By that I mean that I’m not really sure Phil has the inclination to make either Shannon or Farmar the starter over Fisher. That could change with training camp if one of the two backups has a great camp, but I doubt it. If Fish’s minutes can be curbed to somewhere like 25, I think that would be the best action at this point. Unless either Farmar or Shannon are vastly superior in camp, I just don’t see either starting though.

    You could always throw Lamar in there in a pinch as the starter too and have Kobe guard the PG position on defense. Just a thought…

    That said, I am more worried about next year than this year when it comes to the PG situation. If Fisher ultimately retires after this season or is signed purely as a back-up, what do we do then? I know it;s getting ahead of ourselves a bit, but it’s a fair question. Farmar is a RFA next offseason and Shannon has the PO.

  49. Ron’s player option is a double edged sword:

    On the one hand, his goal is probably to play hard, win some rings, and then opt out after 3 years to get a bigger contract (or a long term one at the same price). SO we get a motivated Ron (at least from a financial stand point)

    On the other hand, if he doesn’t play well and doesn’t think he can get a long term deal after 3 years, we’re stuck with someone that no one else wants for two more…

  50. http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/

    The Oregonian is reporting Blazers will make a run at…Paul Millsap.

    I guess that takes them out of the running for Odom, if Utah doesn’t match. Will Utah match?

  51. Sheed to Cs.hmmm…Solid starting 5, albeit an aging one, but who’s on their bench? Eddie House can’t do everything. Powe and Davis, last I heard, won’t be re-signed. Not as scared of them as w/ previous posts. I’d still take CLE & ORL over them.

  52. 45 Chris J, Mcdyess avg’ed 9.6/9.8 last year, which is not ‘double digits’ but to me says he’s still a solid player. You don’t need “fear of God” players when you’ve already got 3 established superstars. You need solid role players that can contribute. I don’t know that Duncan and Ginobili can dominate like they did in their prime, but they were never ones to depend solely on their athleticism, so I think they’ll still have some good years left.

  53. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Apparently the Cavs signed Verejao to 6 years 50 million.

    Wow. I hate to say it, but if I’m Odom, I’d be pretty upset if Verejao ends up making more to me next year.

  54. I do not like the two-year player option, unless they have something under the table that says he will not use it.

  55. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I’m guessing if that Verejao number is correct (per Eric Pincus on twitter) that Lebron will have Nike confiscate the contract before they are stuck with it for too long.

  56. have you guys seen this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rkja_lZJhc

    it’s ronron’s elegy to mj. he says that he hopes to see michael michael next year. that sound you hear is a collective gulp by lakernation.

  57. 45. And to add on to 53, Don’s point. Dice has been playing 77-82 games a season the last five years. The only reason he didn’t hit the 70′s again this year was having to sit out after the trade before rejoining Det.

    If you had a chance to watch any of Det’s games, he was still a very effective potent player for them. Put him in SA playing next to TD and he’s only going to be more effective. Not only that, it takes some of the burden of TD, keeping him fresher.

    A large part of TD’s problem this past year was he broke down under the burden of carrying that team. He played well the first half but with lots of minutes, just so SA could win games.

    Along the same lines Rjeff might be overrated, but he’s still a substantial upgrade over Finley. Finley couldn’t be depended on to score consistently or defend anyone. RJ gives them speed and athleticism to break out and get some easy points with Parker pushing it. SA struggled to score, RJ and Dice in the starting lineup will help them score a lot easier. Making that D a lot tougher.

    I also think Dice and RJ will acclimate to SA’s system a lot faster than any of the other contenders big name acquisition. If you think about it, Ron’s transition has already been covered here a lot. But Shaq and Clev is a big change in philosophy. Sheed in Boston and VC in Orl. Out of all five teams, Dice and RJ would seem to have the easiest path to fitting in right away to their teams existing system.

  58. From Slam Magazine’s “What’s My Name” Contest for Shannon Brown:

    And the winner is…Taranvir Sandhu of Brampton, Ontario wins with the nickname “Shanwow” after the popular absorbent towel and marketing sensation… Your prize is on the way.

    Do you think this guy is an FB and G reader?

    From SI Letters:

    Finally Kobe puts to rest the question of whether he can win a title without Shaq. Now he needs to prove he can win one without Derek Fisher.

    John Fure, Anchorage

  59. 54, Utah probably will match unless the offer to Millsap is exorbitant because Carlos Boozer can leave after this upcoming season. If they don’t match, they could lose both Millsap and Boozer.

  60. Oops–my comment was actually a response to 52 (not 54).

  61. @Snoopy (60): The picture just makes him look goofy (especially with the shorts above the knee).

    Anyhow, the Marion deal just got a whole lot more complicated. Four team deal with Orlando now (Turk in a sign and trade to TOR)…

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Apj5AikTs6qb.KiJssegRaU5nYcB?slug=aw-marionmavericks070809&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  62. @J.D. (54): That contract for Varaflop is terrible. Odom must be thinking he’s gotta be worth at least that much (and he might be right if AV can get that). Insane deal. So much for Cleveland having a ton of cap next year (it will still be around 10 mill or so but not great given what they were looking at).

  63. Dahntay Jones to the Pacers. I hope we don’t face them in the Finals, now that they have their own Kobe stopper.

  64. 61 – Wow an average of $8 mil for Marion is more than I expected in this economy. For all the talk about cutting payroll, the teams with cap space have mostly overpaid this offseason. If Odom’s judging by this summer’s deals, I can’t blame him for asking for more than $7-8 million (he’s probably thinking “Charlie f’n vill-a-new wave-a? Are you kidding me??”)

    Obviously that’s not how his current market value is determined, but I’m just saying from a human standpoint I can’t blame Odom for wanting more.

  65. I just rewatched game 5 vs ORL. TA earned a contract with that performance alone. FWIW, that was a better game than any I saw Artest played (I know, apple, orange) One thing for sure, we lost a lot of speed. I’ll really miss Trevor.

    It sucks that Odom, compared to some contracts we’re seeing, will be underpaid whether he signs with us or not. Meanwhile, Ariza is off to lotteryland. Such is life.

  66. Artest’s shower quote was the quote of the night.

    If anybody missed the interview or wants a compactly compiled summary of it, you can go here:

    http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/2009/07/ron-artest-press-conference-re-cap.html

    Ron Artest Press Conference Recap: No Homo

    “I didn’t mean to walk in the shower with him. Yeah, I walked in the shower. I’m not a homosexual, but Kobe – he had no clothes on.” – Ron Artest

    On a day when many reporters were asking him how much he’s truly changed from his Indiana days of punching people in the stands, Ron Artest calmly countered and jabbed back with many new punch-lines for everyone to mull over. To say the least, it was very entertaining. It may not have been as extravagant as most of Shaq’s previous press conferences, but the constant stream of random one-liners that flowed from the jovial and upbeat Artest sure made it seem like the newest Laker had taken some comedic lessons from the Big…Whatever.

    Make no mistake about it, coming from a guy that Lakers fans had once always hated and been wary about for so long because of his bad boy image, past history, and annoying bouts of showboating – it’s hard to decipher Ron Artest during such celebratory, formal speaking engagements such as this when he’s seemingly always on his best behavior, ready to put his best face forward. Here are some paraphrased quotable highlights (I divided them up between the good and thed..strange):

    What You Want to Hear As a Laker Fan (The Good Ron Artest):

    * On winning his teammates and coaching staff over: “I gotta win myself over. Make sure I work on myself this summer – come back in tip top condition. He’s right. It’s not a given that just because you add me to a team.”
    * “Last couple years, Kobe’s really been devoted to defense. And I respect him even more now. He’s not gambling as much. He’s more focused on stand-still defense.”
    * “They’re a tough team. I thought they were tougher than Boston. I’m a Laker fan. When they were struggling against Boston, I felt bad.”
    * “My priorities are straight now – play ball first. And then everything comes second.”
    * On having doubters and the pressure that comes with being a Laker – “That’s great pressure to have. I want people to come down on me. That’s why I like having Kobe, he likes the pressure. I like to prove the doubters wrong.
    * “They love their team. The fans are so confident. The fans are tellin’ me, “are you ready to get your ring?” They know they’re going to win. That’s a great feeling.”

    Ron Ron’s Comedy Time (The Strange-er-Funny Ron Artest):

    * “Is TMZ here? Oh, they’re not. That’s good.”
    * “Hopefully my clothes make it to LA, if they don’t – they can just stay in Houston.”
    * On hoodalizing the Lakers: “I hoodalized ESPN. I didn’t say I hoodalized the Lakers. Noo, I was just playing. It was a joke. I was just off the top of the head at ESPN. You gotta have fun. It’s summer time. That comment has nothing to do with the season.”
    * “Once again I’m vastly underpaid. But it’s ok. At the end of the day, if you can’t live with $35 million…you can’t live.”
    * How he’s changed since the brawl: “I don’t lay on tables no more.”
    * “Following Kobe Bryant – that’s a no brainer and I didn’t even finish school, you know?”

    The No-Homo Ron Artest:

    * “I didn’t mean to walk in the shower with him. Yeah, I walked in the shower. I’m not a homosexual, but Kobe – he had no clothes on.”

    You’ve got to hand it to the guy – he was real, down to earth, and at many points, quite hilarious. He was poised and very sincere at times, too real to the point of hilarity at other times, and just plain Ron, the attention grabbing media whore for most of the times. Sometimes his rough play, ridiculous antics on and off court, and his thug-like image can overshadow just how striking and down-to-earth this guy truly is. I’m not sure if he gets some PR help when it comes to his speaking engagements, but…he sure said all the right things to help alleviate the doubts of many skeptic Laker fans out there…and then he said some other things that let us know that we’d all be in for one fun, bi-polar Laker ride this season. And Kobe? he had no clothes on.

    Welcome to L.A. Ron-Ron,
    Jonathan Hernandez (Chick’s Fridge)

  67. ariza’s press conference reallly was awkward.

    I had a feeling and I think he did too that he didn’t belong there. IT seriously just felt really weird, and that it wasn’t happening. I still think of him as a Laker and always will. I might even buy his laker jersey now, lol. They kept asking him questions about LA too and he repeated many times that he Loves LA.

    Seriously I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up back here in the future.

  68. harrydoballin July 9, 2009 at 1:08 am

    This may be a reach in the dark but Crazy Pills Ron Ron and the Worm are similar in many respects. DPOY both of them in their career. Fiery both on court and off the court. Ron is taking #37 playing with Lakers, Dennis took #73. Trust me, I got the Rodman Jersey. As a true purple & gold fan I can only hope for the best and believe that Ron will “reverse” the fate of that number combination in hollyhood. Perhaps make it further than a few minutes here and there for 10-15 games haha. This time at least we got PJ….

  69. Yeah, it is kind of funny, the Artest press conference I must have watched a few times, most parts of it, but I could not even finish Ariza’s for some strange reason, it just did not feel right, you know what I mean.

    “Optimism: The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong.” – Ambrose Bierce

  70. “Pessimism: The doctrine, or belief, that everything is ugly, including what is beautiful, everything bad, especially the good, and everything wrong that is right.”
    -Aaron

  71. Not sure if this has been mentioned already, but a potential advantage to having Artest from a psychological standpoint is that he hasn’t won a ring. He ISN’T a defending champion. People sometimes claim (whether or not it’s true) that champions have a hard time working up the same motivation the next season. So from this angle, perhaps Ron’s hunger for his first can keep some of our younger guys focused on another ring.

  72. Watching Ariza’s interview was just sad. Man, it’s like watching somebody trying to act happy winning a raspberry or something.

    And i’m not a real fan of putting players who aren’t ready into the fire. Ariza has developed, but will he flourish with the kind of attention other teams will be giving him considering the rest of the Houston roster?

  73. Some new Kupchak quotes on Odom in this Hoopsworld article.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13240

    He says he hopes to get some clarity in the next 1-3 days – yes please! And the good kind of clarity while you’re at it

  74. i have a question.. since nba players really love higher salaries.. i dont live in the states so im not sure on how the taxes work.. how much do nba players get at the end of the year.. for ex.. kobe earns 21m.. ? how much will he get after the state taxes.. and the 9% thing..? thanks!

  75. Snoopy2006 – Maurice Evans is a good player, but the Lakers may not think that salary is attractive. If the Lakers don’t think Sasha will bounce back, why not sign some veteran to a minimum salary contract such as Keith Bogans, Gerald Green, or Mickael Gelabale?

  76. The only way the Lakers will sign another player is if Odom goes elsewhere. And then it will be a vet minimum big (which, whatever you think of Odom, will be a considerable drop off in talent).

    We are living with Sasha next year, at least to start.

  77. What’s with people coveting Gerald Green all of a sudden? Granted, I don’t know what he’s like in the locker room or on the practice court, but there has been nothing I’ve heard or read that suggests he’s a hard worker or blessed with even average bball IQ. There has to be a reason he hasn’t panned out remotely close to expectations despite being blessed with such physical gifts, right?

  78. 4 team trade lands Marion in Dallas.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13241

    With this, and Gortat (assuming he comes) Dallas is better (on paper) but not in the discussion with LAL, SAS DEN. I guess Howard will be playing SG?

  79. new post up, Bill Bridges breaks down #37.

  80. Dallas gets Marion in a 4 team trade.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13241

    Marion and Gortat (assuming he signs) makes Dallas better on paper, but not in the discussion with the Lakers, Spurs, and Nuggets. I guess Howard will be playing SG?

  81. Wiseolgoat- No one covets Gerald Green. However, he is a minimum salary player. If some team signs him, its a low risk-high reward move. There isn’t much downside with it.

  82. I’m really not one to court controversy here … and I’m loathe to come across as a humorless scold … but I’ve got a real problem with the phrase “no homo” (which I’ve only recently become aware of, but which made a couple of appearances further up on this very thread).

    I don’t even know yet if I’m saying this to be critical of Jhun’s and his post or even of Ron Artest himself. Crucially, I can’t really tell from the context how Jhun intended “no homo” to come across.

    I am saying in no uncertain terms, however, that I think that phrase has no place in civil discourse. It’s got to go.

  83. Joel R – 85

    Lighten up, please stop being so PC.
    His quote of Artest
    “I didn’t mean to walk in the shower with him. Yeah, I walked in the shower. I’m not a homosexual, but Kobe – he had no clothes on.”
    seems to be correct.
    Hetero, homo, hetero, homo, hetero, homo.
    There, I feel better now.

  84. If the Lakers upped their bid to 8 mil.
    I hope LO takes it, It is actually 16 mil. because of Lux Tax. I hope his agent doesn’t get greedy like Trevor’s

  85. new post up, something to fill the time.

    I was out of touch today commuting to Vegas for Summer League. I’ll be there starting Monday afternoon with some reports on the games, and where we are with LO (hopefully settled).