Breaking down #37

Bill Bridges —  July 9, 2009

Can there be yet another post about Ron Artest? Answer: There can never be enough posts about #37! This post will try to find evidence to support some popular hypotheses – some posed by yours truly.

Let’s start on defense.

Hypothesis #1. Ron is an excellent on-ball defender.

Seems silly to doubt this point as Ron has been a Defensive Player of the Year. But let’s see if the numbers back this up.  Of course defensive stats are notoriously hard to quantify.  One stat is opponent’s PER.

We see from 82games.com that Cleveland has the best PER against small forwards at 12.6 and Houston was second at 13.5. So far so good. Looking into the Cavs and Rockets in more detail shows that Lebron’s defensive PER was a good 13.5. Of course the Rockets also have Battier who was at 12.3. However Artest was even better at 12.2. By the PER-against metric, it is safe to say that Ron is an elite on-ball defender. (Bowen was 16.3 and Ariza 23.0). Versus Ariza, a significant upgrade.

Hypothesis #2. Ron’s true value will be evident against the top teams in the league.

How does Ron play against Lebron, Melo, and Pierce. The three best players on the best teams in the NBA not called the Lakers?

We see that all three performed below their career averages. Pierce came closest to matching his career numbers. Lebron especially has had problems with Artest (No wonder he recruited Artest so hard). James’ 5.1 turnovers per game really stand out. Impressively, Artest’s team has a win/loss advantage against all three players. 7-3 against Lebron is no joke. These records include results when Artest was with losing teams in Chicago and Sacramento. By the way, Lebron’s record against Bruce Bowen with over 50% shooting and at 29 ppg.

Contrast these results with Artest’s record against Kobe.
Kobe has being torching Artest ever since Artest came into the league. 48% shooting, 41% from 3 and a 15-5 record. Are you kidding. No wonder Ron wanted to join the Lakers.

Back to the study. The results seem to support hypothesis #2. Ron seems to be as an effective defender against the big three as there is in the league. check.

What about on offense?

Can Artest fit into the triangle and assume Ariza’s role and possibly even extend it?

Let’s first look at Ariza’s shot chart over the past year. First of all, Trevor has no mid-range or low post game. Almost all of his shots came from the 3 point line or at the hoop via penetration.

Before seeing this chart, I’d thought that most of his threes came from the wing – especially the left. In fact, (by a small amount) Trevor took more corner threes than wing threes. I guess our memories want to retain successful events as his corner 3 percentage was horrible. He shot 31.9% from three point range. But crucially was at 40% from the wing. In the playoffs, it seemed as if Phil tweaked the angle of the triangle to get Trevor wing three pointers rather than corners.

Fortunately Artest has almost exactly the same profile as Ariza from the three point line – but better. Simply great from either wing and straight ahead. The left corner let him down but overall a .399 result is one of the league’s best. He shot alot of wing 3′s and should get wide open shots off of passes from Pau and Kobe – especially on the left wing where he shot 126 3′s and made 44%. Can you picture it? Kobe posts down on the right low block. Double comes. Kick out to Artest for the wing 3…. nothing but net.

That is the good news.

Unfortunately, at least during the last year, Ron was awful shooting from virtually every other location. Most troubling is Ron’s inability to finish at the hoop. A .451 at the hoop is almost Fishesque. Compare this to Ariza’s .619 (Kobe was a stud at .622). Except in Ron’s case, he doggedly takes it to the rim – and misses.  Others have written about these strange numbers. Tom Martin’s hypothesis is that Ron’s ankle injury early in the season eroded explosiveness. This seems to have some validity as previous to 08/09, Artest’s success rate at the rim has been about 55%.

The data indicates that Artest is not a good low post player. Nor does he post up often. This could possibly be due to the systems he played in. In Indiana, O’Neal dominated the post. Sacramento didn’t emphasize it. In Houston, obviously Yao was down low. One thing we can agree on is that if Ron stays on the wing and shoots wide open catch n shoot 3′s we will be happy.

Putting it all together. Artest is a significant upgrade as an on-ball defender versus Ariza. He might not be as effective as a weakside help defender. While data to prove or disprove this point does not exist, his high on/off court differential of +5.9. (Ariza is a -5.3) indicates that Artest is a very good team defender. And as we saw, he is as much of a King-stopper as there is in the league.

On offense he plugs in as the wing shooter. And while we have all seen him bully his way past Walton or Lamar from the low block, the data simply doesn’t indicate that he is effective consistently from there. The key question is whether he can run the pinch post drop pass sequence with Pau and finish at the rim as successfuly as Trevor did.

Finally, will he be a black hole on offense?  Maybe. First why he might actually move the ball; he played the triangle for 3 seasons under Tim Floyd. Second, with Kobe and Pau he isn’t likely to be the initiator. If he remains as the finisher and safety valve the Laker’s highly efficient offense should remain so. With the counter; why might he still dribble for 12 seconds before forcing a contested jumper? He is Ron Artest. #37

Oh and here’s is Kobe’s sick shooting chart.  The man can finish at the rim.

—Bill Bridges

Bill Bridges

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166 responses to Breaking down #37

  1. Good analysis. His low percentage at the rim is a bit odd, you would think that he was certainly strong enough to get his shot off easily.

    What are Kobe’s numbers against Lebron. I don’t remember him taking on the challenge for the whole game in the past like he did this year. Obviously Lebron is quite a bit bigger and stronger than Kobe, but Kobe’s ball denial defense is pretty amazing when he goes into Olympic Kobe mode. So with Artest the Lakers have two elite defenders that can guard Lebron with different styles. The Lakers might be Lebrons worst nightmare this coming season.

  2. Great post….very nice numbers and facts

    Personally I think it’d be impossible for Artest to dribble 12 seconds in the Laker system….it’s not like he’s a PG or something….the Lakers wont opt to give Artest the ball to start the offense.

    And finally, Kobe’s shooting chart is the perfect definition of all around player…..SICK!

  3. So let’s compare how James was doing against Ariza.

    FG% 14-45 31.1% ooops
    3p% 3-13 23.0% double ooops
    TS% 37.5% it isn’t very good
    8.5 rpg
    8.0 apg
    2.0 spg
    0.5 bpg
    3.5 TO/g

    19.5 ppg

    Frankly I don’t see how Artest is defending James better than Ariza. James shooting ratios against Ariza were brutal.

  4. Trad, Kobe guarded lebron this season for the most part not Ariza. Kobe’s ball denial and man defense was amazing against Lebron this year.

  5. Seems to be cut and dry to me: Artest>>>>Ariza. Basketball-Statistics.com actually did an article on players who might be black holes on offense. http://basketball-statistics.com/whosablackholeinthenba.html

  6. Great article, pretty damn convincing. Only thing of note is that Ariza’s shooting sample is very very small, so trying to say anything about his shooting at this point is likely to be highly prone to error.

    On the other hand, Artest’s shooting sample is much larger, so it’s pretty safe to say that we want him shooting from the wings and straight on, not the corners.

  7. The key thing about Artest is that he is good against the best big 3s in the league and the best 3s in the league seem to be on the best teams.

    Ariza had some trouble against bigger 3s, along with Kobe (as measured from his normal high statistics).

    This means we can leave Artest alone against the best teams and use our bigs to help guard against the speedy PGs trying to get to the middle. We don’t have the added problem of having to rotate off the guards to insure the top 3s don’t get to the basket.

    This allows our defense to stay more consistent and we should get fewer problems with ‘scrambling defensive’ situations.

    Against lesser teams we should be able to overwhelm them and won’t suffer from the reduced speed due to losing Ariza.

  8. TRad,

    I purposefully ignored Ariza’s head to head results because prior to this past season his PT was spotty at best. And as Ryant noted, Kobe guarded Lebron head to head this season. Artest’s results go back 10 years (against Pierce) and he had significant PT when healthy.

  9. We can talk and analyze all day (and we have), but the bottom line is pretty simple. If Ron plays hard and within the system, he is going to be an upgrade. If not, then the trade will have been a mistake. (I think 5 years was a mistake anyway. I thought 3 years and 18 mil. was a great deal – this one – not so much.)

    There is no way of knowing the answer to the questions until the team gets out on the court.

    If LO comes back at all, I fear it is going to be a very disgruntled LO. I am a little concerned now. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Artest signing as Ariza would have made the same money.

  10. It still baffles me as to why people feel Ron is a bigger gamble than Ariza. Ron has played consistently well his whole career, while Ariza has had one good year(actually kind of a bad year by Artest standards). Ariza could have easily turned into another Sasha once he signed a fat contract. In actuality, Artest is by far the more known quantity.

    I was watching the Pistons/ Pacers brawl the other day, and so many people are at fault for it, that it seems unfair that Ron’s entire career was tarnished. Ben Wallace choked him out in response to a mildly hard foul, Artest lays on the scorers table obviously trying to regain control of his temper and fan throws a full cup of beer at his face.

    I’m not going to completely excuse his actions, but watch the video and you’ll see that Artest tries to do the right thing all the way until the beer hits him in the face. He backs away from Ben Wallace, doesn’t try to retaliate even thought Wallace continues trying to go after him, and lays on the table to presumably remove himself and his anger issues from the situation. I feel like he was up against the perfect storm there: Particularly rowdy fans, an overly aggressive Detroit team, and facing a loss.

    However, the media and even Kurt, have continually portrayed Artest as insane to the point of disruption. Artest was a cancer on one team full of thuggish personalities. I would be more afraid if we had signed Stevie Franchise or Starbury. At least they have a proven track record of disruption.

    Mitch picked the better, more predictable player(at least as far as production). He also sent a message to agents the league over to haggle with courtesy and respect. Because of the David Lee debacle, Mitch will not be subject to as many hardball negotiations and should be in a position to get better deals. It’s time for people to stop being upset at the best GM in the league conducting himself as such.

  11. Great breakdown! I can’t wait to see how Artest is going to integrate into the Lakers after reading this! Boy, I’m sure most Laker fans agree, people can’t wait til the season starts and the exhibition game #1 numbers will probably top most teams largest nba ratings for the season!

    I think that Yao had something to do in Artest getting low numbers when he went to the rim. Yao sticks pretty close to the basket and draws a lot of attention, so most teams bigs also got to ‘stay home’ near the rim. I’m sure Artest had much harder shots going to the rim in Houston than he did in Sacramento, Indiana, etc due to the congestion near the rim playing in H-town…

  12. Coffee is For Closers July 9, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Nice analysis.

    Varejao gets 6 yr 52M from Cavs. Are you #@%! kidding me? Who exactly were they bidding against?!

    I’m sure this won’t make LO feel so good about the deal he’s going to have to swallow from the Lakers.

  13. completely unrelated, but this article makes me really happy:

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindblazersbeat/2009/07/blazers_gm_pritchard_faces_sle.html

  14. Ariza also got alot of wide open looks at 3′s because he was on the court with Kobe, Pau and Lamar alot. I’d bet that Artest had a much higher percentage of shots contested strongly, if such stats exist.

  15. I’m not sure which is a bigger shock. Varajao for 6 years $50M-ish or Bargnani for 5 years $50M.

  16. LakerPauer,
    You made two, very good points.

    I really like your analysis of the message Mitch sent. Perhaps he may not get better deals because of it, but I suspect agents will not take the Shaq approach of negotiating through the press with the Lakers in the future. This will result in fewer people – both Lakers and players – being perceived as having been backed into a corner. This results in more hard feelings than would otherwise result.

  17. How did you generate those shooting percentage charts? Is there a website?

  18. In case you haven’t see this (you will): Jordan Farmar is kicking ass at the World Series of Poker. Seriously. He had barely played before but is about to make it into day three.

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/sports/basketball/Farmar-Tries-To-Impress-Boss-at-Poker-World-Series.html

  19. 17. NBA Hotshots. Google it, there is a page within NBA.com.

  20. So does Marion’s reported 5 years, $39 million contract set the market for LO?

  21. j.d. Hastings July 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    15- your question made me wonder enough to actually research their numbers. Both are ridiculous, the question is, who is more ridiculous per dollar paid.

    Bargnani has actually become a good offensive player, putting up over 15ppg, while being a below average rebounder at his position, but is terrible on defense. Verejao is the opposite. Both players kind of fit the perona of their teams, but it seems clear Colangelo is literally banking on Bargnani to become a cornerstone of one of his signature euro-style teams. Especially with Bosh likely to leave. It seems like he’s asking a lot for Bargnani to really become Dirk-esque, but if it did happen, 10 mil a year would be a bargain, in which case we can all nickname him “Bargaini”. Sorry for that.

    Verejao on the other hand, is a well known component in their system, but nowhere near a corner-stone. He just kills their cap while necessitating they find other players to spell him who can score with any alacrity. I’m not even sure how much you play him along side Shaq, because both need to be close to the hoop to score, which clogs the lane for lebron. But they paid him a lot more than standard start money for whatever role he plays.

    So, while both are rdiculous and Verejao makes a little less per year, I’m still going to say Cleveland made the bigger mistake here.

  22. 20. I think LO’s people are pointing to Marion (and the deal for Verejao) and saying he should be getting paid more than the alleged $6 mil a year the Lakers are offering. The problem is, there has been no real demand by anyone else to force the Lakers to act and go higher, so why should they? I have argued they maybe should out of a sense of being fair, but in a pure economics thing they have no reason to.

    My guess is that Odom is just starting to come to grips with that reality, and the reality of the market. He can point to Cleveland and Toronto making questionable signings. but it still gets him nowhere. LO may end up taking less money but fewer years in hopes of getting a payday a couple years down the road.

  23. Question for Bill Bridges: what was the source of the shot charts you used for the post?

    Thanks.

  24. Anderson Varejao is 26 years old. He’s continually been a top five player in charges drawn and he brings energy and chaos defensively that is absolutely necessary for the Cavs. I know Cleveland fans love them some Lebron James, but in spite of what they may believe, he isn’t the only reason the Cavs won 66 games last year.

    Andy was a key component to the Cavs being an elite defensive team. He’s arguably the best pick and roll defending power forward in the league, an excellent help defender and though he might lack polish to his offensive game, he’s sneaky with his ability to make shots inside (especially off of Lebron dimes). It’s really a tragedy that Andy didn’t make the second team all defense this year.

    On a non-basketball note, he’s a true team guy when playing (even if his sitting out last year showed otherwise) and Lebron loves him. I’d say the Cavs wanted to show Lebron they were committed to maintaining a young nucleus of players that fit well with him. Besides, who else could they have gotten to fill that void? Once Wallace said he was going to possibly retire (and then they traded him) it became imperative for the Cavs to secure a defensive-minded power forward. Now they’ve done that.

    As for Odom, I hope he comes back. He was the glue that held everyone together this season. His leadership in that way cannot be replaced. Hope the Lakers and he can come to a swift resolution.

  25. 21

    The comparison is even more lopsided when you look at Bargnani’s numbers as a starter: 17.7ppg, 6rpg, 1.3bpg, while shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc. Clearly the guy has talent, and if nothing else you can talk yourself into thinking he’ll become a big-time scorer and a franchise cornerstone (I can see the first happening, not sure about the second). Varejao has already reached his ceiling, and that ceiling is ‘third big on a really good team’. Is that really worth close to $50M?

  26. I have a feeling Lamar is going to command a bit more than 7 mil now… Just be praying that Jerry wins the WSOP so that he feels more comfortable paying Lamar.

  27. 23.

    http://www.nba.com/hotspots/

    check it out. If you want to calculate Artest’s % at the rim for the previous years, why don’t you post the answer?

  28. The A. Bargnani and A. Varejao contracts are pretty outlandish, but it is the potential of these younger players GM’ s are banking on. Thinking that if they develop their game, in two years the 8 to 10 mil deals will be a steal. The reason Marion or LO doesnt get the same deal, are because their age and potential to be great has already pasted. It doesnt make sense for a proven veteran to make less than a one dimensional player, but its all based on potential. You see it all the time when rookies are drafted in any sport and are payed more than veterans that have been in the league for years. I know the signings of Varejao and Bargnani to big contracts will probably make it harder for LO to swallow a smaller contract, but thats what the market is. He should be thinking in the range of S. Marion. If he doesnt get the money he wants, its HOLLYWOOD, he can always endorse candy products to supplement his income.+

  29. 26

    “I have a feeling Lamar is going to command a bit more than 7 mil now… ”

    From which team?

  30. j.d. Hastings July 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    24- Verejao definitely has value, but it’s not 8+ million a year, on a contract that pays him that until; he’s 32. How many charges would he have to drawn per game to actually justify that? And while his p/r defense is going to be needed with shaq, it didn’t help them much against Orlando last year.

    But the bottom line is this: what is the most he would have been offered by any other team? the MLE? I still don’t know that he’s worth it, but I could see it. But which team would throw that at him? If LO can’t get interest, who else is going to pursue him? And even if some team did give him the MLE, the Cavs are still overpaying by ~3 mil a year, 18 mil over the contract, which is all probably going to be taxed, so double that.

    That he might also sulk on the sidelines if the team refused to overpay is not a good reason TO overpay him…

  31. I found it. I was googling NBA HotShots. Its actually NBA HotSpots.

  32. Thats the catch, from who. The waiting game is his best option, hoping a team gets cap space by trading players, to up the ante. If nothing happens then he signs with the LAKERS for less money then he expected. He’s not gaining or losing anything as of right now.

  33. Under the rim only for Artest
    2007-2008: 54.5%
    2006 53.8%
    2005: 55.1%
    2004: 58.2%

    Thanks Bill

  34. Coffee is For Closers July 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    If I were LO at this point, I’d try and get a 2 yr 13M deal with a player option for yr 2.

    If NY can’t lure lebron next year, he might fit in with another player there next year at a significantly higher salary.

  35. @30,

    Actually, Varejao’s contract is back-loaded with a partial guarantee the last season. According to Hollinger, teams like Portland or OKC would have been lurking if the Cavs didn’t go that high. This season he’ll make about $7 million. He’s also a guy who doesn’t survive on his athleticism like Ben Wallace, so at age 32, he should still be a highly effective player, if not still riding the coattails of his prime. Plus, if Varejao takes 400 charges from here to the end of his contract, that’s 400 turnovers forced and far more valuable than blocked shots. Jumping ability fades with age, defensive smarts only get sharper.

  36. @30

    Forgot to add that Varejao got hurt by Dwight Howard, true, but name me one player who can stop Howard one on one? Besides, that’s what Shaq’s for.

  37. Plus you’re a more convincing flopper when you’re older. Just check out Robert Horry’s career.

  38. Here is the interview after the 3rd day. Yes, he’s doing well, but lets pare our excitement as he is about the middle of the field (1088th place out of 2044). To see his interview, click below.

    http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/7163-jordan-farmar-from-the-nba-finals-to-the-world-series-of-poker

    Chip counts:
    http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/7166-wsop-complete-day-3-chip-counts

  39. above is referring to WSOP for Jordan Farmar

  40. Regarding the Varejao/Bargani contracts. Yes both teams lost their heads. You would have thought Dan Gilbert (owner of Quicken Loans) would be highly sensitive to overvalued assets and the potential for the value of said assets to crater in a market correction…

    But folks, Andy and Andy are not valid comparisons to LO. At least not to LO in 2009. LO got his big pay day when he was 24 in 2003 about the same as the Andys. And this is the contract you have to compare against the Andys’ deal.

    In 2003, LO signed a 6 year $63M deal with the Heat. The MLE in 2003 was $4.9M. So the value of LO’s contract on an annual basis as a multiple of the MLE was 2.14 (10.5/4.9). The same ratio for the Andys is 1.71.

    Therefore, inflation adjusted, the 24 year old LO was worth 25% more than the Andys. This strikes me as being about right. Remember that LO was just coming off a suspension for drug use.

    There is an arc to NBA player salaries. Only the very best (Kobe, KG) maintain their value. All others’ remunerations starts a downward path at around 30.

    The 30 year old LO cannot be compared to the Andys. A better benchmark is Marion. At 5 years and $39M this is a significant cut from his 18M last salary.

    Although many on this board have been staunch LO supporters, most would agree that Marion has had the more decorated career. For instance, LO has not made the all star game a single time wheras Marion has played 4 times – even as late as 2007.

    Marion has accepted 33% of his previous salary to play next year. The Lakers are asking LO to accept 60 – 80% . This seems right to me.

  41. Bill Bridges,

    Smart, valid point. Thanks for the insight.

  42. Bill Bridges always has valuable points. Most of the time it is hard to argue with him.

  43. This year’s FA signings have illustrated yet again how unreliable the “market” is in NBA FA salaries. This type of market cannot serve as an accurate mechanism for developing predicitve salaries for a couple reasons:

    1) the sample size of transactions is small. Not only are only a handful of signing made, but the overall FA market, in reality, consists of several sub-markets (e.g., FA small forwards, FA back-up point-guards, etc.). These sub-markets are contracting further as team’s develop more specialized systems. Today there’s more than just five markets (i.e., one for each position), with combo guards, point forwards, and other hybrid or specialty positions emerging.

    2) Players are not fungible assets. Efficient markets are able to determine an accurate market price only within stock, commodities, and other markets, where the assets are generally the same (i.e., one share of Walmart stock does not differ from another). A labor market, particularly a small one like the NBA, does not lend itself well to efficient, comparative pricing. This is also the case in real estate, where one house can go for tens of thousands higher than a house next door to it–no house (or player) is identical to another.

    3) Additionally, the pool of buyers in the NBA FA market are more specialized (not to mention affected by a luxury tax)–one man’s garbage (Varajeo) is another man’s (LeBron’s) ham sandwich.

    I’m babbling on, but players, agents, and fans can’t get bent around the axle when comparing salaries of seemingly comparable players. I can appreciate that Odom might be disappointed in the price he eventually commands, he’s better than both these guys, but NBA players (esp. unique ones like Odom) are not plug-and-play components, and Odom is being auctioned to a single buyer.

  44. Bill +100….nice points!

  45. Kurt,

    In situations such as this with LO, how much value would his agent put on a player option? For example if Lakers offered him an extra year which I don’t think is that bad, since LO would only be 34. But give LO a player option after the 2nd or 3rd year. When theoretically the market will be better, he’s still relatively young and hopefully coming off another championship team as a major contender.

    Does that kind of player option in this situation make it an easier pill to swallow the perceived lower value salary? Or it doesn’t make much of a difference? From a layman’s pov, that’s extra guaranteed money with the upside of getting more by using the option if circumstances change. A win-win for the player.

    It’s the same idea as Brown’s deal. He improves this coming year and market conditions are better next year, he can opt out and get a much higher salary. But this way he’s guaranteed at least another year at 2 mill.

  46. Here is another potential trade that ESPN is reporting.
    Another major multi-team trade might be looming in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls having discussed a deal that would be headlined by Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich, according to NBA front-office

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4317515

    What impact will this have Lamar Odom?

  47. One of these days I’ll write a piece regarding the player / team options.
    These options might have considerable value. Furthermore, this value can be quantified using modern financial modelling. Conceptually these options are the same as puttable or callable bonds.

    The salaries comprise the forward/forward term structure. The distribution of salaries and variance should be a good proxy for the volatility.

    With pretty simple math, a modified Black Scholes should be able to model this option to calculate the present value.

    My suspicion is that very few teams do this and severely under value this option. The one contrarian is the the Mavs who consistently seem to own this option (the put) rather than letting the player own the option (the call). Maybe Cuban hired a professor to model this.

    There is probably a paper here for an enterprising finance PhD student.

  48. 45. J., it really comes down to what the player wants, and to be honest we have done some interesting (and thoughtful) speculation here, but ultimately that’s all it is. We don’t know what Lamar Odom is thinking right this second (other than he wants a Snickers bar).

    I would think there would be value in that for Odom. While the Lakers have some leverage in terms of finances, at the end of the day you want everyone to walk away from the negotiating table feeling like they got something of value. If that is not just cash for Odom, what else would it be?

  49. I forgot to include the word “on”

    It should read what impact will this have on Lamar Odom?

  50. Coffee is For Closers July 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Hinrich to blazers would be an upgrade for them. Article doesn’t say what portland gives up in the trade.

  51. KD on the Marion trade:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/What-grabbing-Shawn-Marion-means-to-Dallas;_ylt=AgBW8sR7DZaA3DFxBuT8ZiW8vLYF?urn=nba,175211

    The most interesting point he brings up is that Dallas has a huge trading chip in Dampier’s contract, and Cuban loves to spend. So they could add a huge piece before the trading deadline. I don’t think it’ll get them to our level, but it could push them into the next tier with Denver.

    That’s above potential trade is great if Boozer stays healthy; they’ve got defense from Noah and their perimeter players, but Boozer will bring that low-post offense they’ve been desperate for. Hinrich in Portland is not something I want to see, especially considering how well Portland matches up with us already (no, they’re not as good as us, but they’ve shown glimpses even as a very young team). The only team I don’t understand is Utah. I get they want to move Boozer, but you can’t do better than Tyrus Thomas? I think he’s a lot closer to his ceiling than people realize.

  52. HInrich makes $9M annually (talk about over-paid), so taking him on would eat up all of Portland’s available cap room. Actually, unless there is a trade exception involved, Portland is going to have to shed an additional $1.7M in salary to make that deal work.

  53. lakerpauer,

    Believe me man, i’ve been attempting to explain the very same angle you wrote about in your post. Artest has been completely villianized by the media over these past 6 years. It reminds me EXACTLY of what they did to Kobe 3-4 years ago –he is a selfish bad teammate, a sexual preditor with a big ego, etc.

    The sad truth of the matter is that it is a natural instinct in humans to wish to do as little work as possible. This is a survival tactic and a damn good one. It’s not even possible for us to study everything in life closely. So what do we do? We assume that information we hear is correct/valid without researching it. Especially if this information is coming from an authority figure like the media. So most people have assumed that Artest is a wild animal without actually looking at the facts.

    Here are the facts. Artest has 2 things on his record. Is this the record of an insane wild animal? I don’t think so.

    1) He did not feed his dog appropriately. Artest claims that he hired an individual and that individual did not do his job. I have no reason to doubt this.

    2) He has a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Now domestic violence is a serious matter. I didn’t even know that they had “misdemeanor” charges. But i guess they do. I’m assuming that if it was a serious matter then he would have been charged accordingly. From the definition below it seems to be threatened force instead of actual force.

    Here is the definition:
    A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is defined as any state or federal misdemeanor that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

  54. Cuban could be stashing Dampier and Howard’s expiring deals to try and snag Chris Bosh at or before the trading deadline.

  55. Two notes on stats.

    1. How amazing is it that Artest, with all his horrible shot judgment, shoots 40% from 3? I just can’t believe it.

    2. Although I may be a crazy optimist about Artest, I acknowledge that for psychological reasons things might not work.

    BUT, arguments about Artest’s ball-hogging based on Usage % (% of team plays used by a player) stats really bother me. It is quite a conjecture to make that a player’s Usage % don’t depend strongly on coaching and team context.

    In fact, let us consider some relevant cases. All my stats from from Basketball-Reference:

    Lamar Odom.
    1999-2003. 22.3-22.4% Possessions Used
    2004. 20.8% in first year with Lakers
    2005-2009. 16.5-19.8% in Phil second era.

    So already it’s clear that entering Phil’s triangle scheme, a player’s usage can drop notably.

    Pau Gasol
    2002-2007. 24.1-26.8% (all MEM yrs after rookie)
    2007-2009. 20.4-21.2% (LA only)

    Karl Malone
    before 2003. 30%+ except in 01-02 (28.8%) and 02-03 (27.8%)
    2003-04. 19.7% (that Last Dance with Phil first era Lakers)

    All the preceding shows me that Usage% is very context dependent and that when stars join Kobe and Phil’s Lakers, their Usage goes down significantly.

    Now the $37,000 question…

    Ron Artest.
    - avg 23.6% over 10 yrs,
    - range of 21.4-26.2%
    22.8% SAC under Adelman
    25.5% SAC under Theus
    24.5% HOU under Adelman

    Artest’s Usage is actual below Gasol’s and Malone’s coming in, and only a touch above Odom’s coming in.

    There is NO statistical reason to believe Artest’s Usage% won’t drop as well.

  56. Snoopy. I could see Dallas adding a big piece before the season starts. Apparently if Dampier does no average 28 minutes a game his contract is up after this year, making it a valuable trading piece. There is a rumor about Hamilton for Dampier.

    Dallas could end up being pretty good.

  57. 57. Its pretty shady how the Blazers are treating Brandon Roy right now. Pay your franchise player!

  58. Anderson Vera-whatever

    He is getting a 6 year 52 million dollar deal? Are you freakin serious? What is wrong with the Cavs? This guy is an absolute DETRIMENT to the team. Why not talk to LO instead? LO would have been a major upgrade over Vera-whatever, and at the same time they would have drastically destroyed the quality of their most dangerous rival: the lakers.

    Mitch, i believe, took Artest, obviously because of his skill over Ariza, but i think more importantly so that Cleveland would not have taken Artest. Cleveland would have had Artest if the lakers didn’t take him. Thus Cleveland didn’t get Artest or Ariza. This was incredibly smart on the part of the Laker’s front office.

    However, why doesn’t Cleveland pull the same trick? Why not take LO over Vera-whatever? Not only is LO way way way better, but this would have made the lakers a drastically worse team.

    I just don’t understand. I remember thinking that “thank god” the cavs have vera-whatever because he is absolutely no offensive threat, cannot guard anyone worth his salt, and all around causes major issues with the Cavs. The guy is no offensive threat, thus it creates horrible spacing issues for their offense, and also allows his defender to cheat off and help out.

    This officially makes the Cavs one of the worst run organizations. They are incredibly lucky to have Lebron or else this would be a perenial lottery team.

    Their coach is also one of the worst in the league –allowing Lebron to go 1 on 5 against the magic while all the other teammates stood around picking their bums was a horrible move. Could you imagine Phil Jackson doing the same thing?

  59. Bill B.

    Call or Put.

    Call or Put options can be bought/sold regarding almost any financial product. Whether we are talking about stocks, commodities, bonds, etc.

    In this case if you were going to explain the player option in regards to puts/calls, then when the player has the option to extend the contract it would be considered a PUT and when the team has the option to extend the contract, it would be a CALL.

    Since a call gives you the option to buy the product and a future date at the strike price. The strike price is obviously the agreed upon contract in this case.

    However, using the black scholes model to price these options is riddled with holes. In the financial markets usually the people who use black scholes end up losing all their money, lol. There are many reasons, but the main two off the top of my head would be:

    1) Black Scholes assumes a normal distribution pattern. Markets do not follow a normal distribution pattern. This is known as the fat tails dillema. Being that markets, instead of following the normal distribution pattern of the bell curve (tales shrinking the more standard deviations you move from the mean), have fatter tails. An example of this would be the 1987 crash —something which should only happen once every 1,000 millenia or so.

    2) An even bigger issue would be insider information. This is probably most relavent to our conversation. For instance, a black scholes pricing may say that a put option is worth $X. However, i may know that this company is going out of business or has a major lawsuit coming. Thus i’m buying put ptions like mad. This is moving up the price, let’s say $X + $Y. So while the black scholes model says its worth $X, and you should sell the put option (actually write the put option), in reality the value is much higher because of this known factor. Thus someone following black scholes continues to write put options, because the price is higher than $X, and i continue to buy them because i know the company is going out of business.

    Sorry for the long, non-relavent post. I just thought i should look cool because i know something about puts/calls.

  60. I really don’t think Cleveland’s performance in the playoffs was surprising. They didn’t do well against the good teams all year. Why should they do well in the playoffs, where the teams get to continually take the measure of their opponent?

  61. As a League Pass subscriber, I watched plenty of Cleveland games. While that contract is a tad too large, Varejao is too good a fit on that team to let go or risk him being unhappy. He hustles on every possession, he is a pesky defender, he doesn’t demand the ball and thus gives more shots to the scorers on the team (LeBron, Mo and Delonte love him for it) and he cleans the boards well. All the intangibles that don’t make it onto the stat sheet (you absolutely must watch him to appreciate the role the guy plays on that team), Varejao possesses.

    On a side note, I find it funny that someone here calls for Portland to pay Roy, yet here we are in a situation where our team is pinching pennies from Lamar. Yeah, the situation is different but still.. funny.

  62. may i just say (since ive studied the bs framework) that if u don’t have an underlying market to hedge the option.. u can’t price it. if u do use the framework ure basically kidding yourself. the more appropriate application is pricing REAL options from corp finance i thinks.

    anywya marion’s deal is 5 years 39 mil.. its a sign n trade so he gets 10% raises? that means starting pay is only 6.5mil+

    if that sets the market for odom.. 8-9 mil would be quite generous. personally i don’t care if odom was never an all star. bottom line is he sacrificed his own interests for the sake of the team in a contract year.. he has the talent to put up a triple double every night but was willing to come of the bench. i say pay the man because if nothing else he’s loyal and thats priceless.

  63. oh and if my calculations are correct (again w/10% annual raises) i think the cavs only gave their andy a 400k bump from the ctt he opted out off..

  64. I actually watched the brawl yesterday too and I have to say ben wallace was the idiot who started it all. Even though Artest should not have gone in the stands and etc, wallace was the instigator, and if I were Stern, I’d give him a heavy punishment. He started the whole thing.

  65. interesting how hollinger or some espn writer thinks the marion move, for the give and take there, could put dallas at best position to take on LA. or that is how it sounded to me. LO sign in now

  66. #59,

    They didn’t make a play for Odom because they can’t. Cleveland is over the cap, so that means the most they could offer LO is the mid-level. Varejao is their own FA so they can pay him whatever they want.

    Hope that clears things up.

  67. Bill Bridges, I like how you laid out the stats for us with your own explanations included. Hmmm, the Call/Put business side is fitting for the comments in a Post of yours, indeed. I just feel that Artest will give us better 3pt percentages than Ariza would have. Not knocking Ariza, but in the 2009 Playoffs he hit more 3′s regularly than he did in the season. Artest just seems like money in the bank and Mitch kept him out of Cleveland at the same time, that is a big plus for the Lakers.

    Kobe and Artest will go to war together next year, side by side to win another Championship, with a work ethic unrivaled anywhere.

    I thought the Posts at FB&G were supposed to slow down in the off-season, it almost seems like they are picking up speed and complexity, no complaints from here though.

  68. 63) “he has the talent to put up a triple double every night”

    Yeah, but how many times has he done that? Odom is not going to change – you need to stop looking at his potential.

  69. my thoughts on Artest. obviously Artest is way better than Ariza on paper. I have 2 concerns:

    1) one is that he will require a lot of attention from Phil to get him on the same page as everyone else. If this is Phil’s last year, we could be looking at a 1 year title window. I don’t see any other coach being able to manage Kobe AND Artest.

    2) the other is that long-term he will have less and less to give us physically each year. he’s past 30 and is a BIG dude. He’s not DPOY material anymore, and this also helps explain his poor percentage at the rim last year.

    As far as the concerns that the Mavs can challenge now that they have Marion. My thoughts:

    1) The last 2 seasons have told us a lot about the real Shawn Marion. He’s not an All-Star, D’Antoni and Steve Nash just made him look that way. He can still rebound, run the floor and defend, but unless Kidd rewinds the clock, I don’t see anybody on the Mavs who can get him those w-i-d-e open 3 pt looks he used to get.

    2) The reason the Lakers own the west is because of Pau, Lamar, and Bynum. The best frontcourt in the league (and we just added Artest). Shawn Marion doesn’t help the Mavs out much in that regard. Now if they can pull off a miracle and land Bosh, different story, but they don’t have any pieces to offer TO now that they signed Hedo.

    Still Jason Terry coming off the bench doesn’t scare me nearly as much as Rasheed off the bench. Or Birdman, Gortat, or Milsap for that matter.

  70. oh, and @ 65. Its concerning to read these comment boards and see how Laker fans are slowly beginning to talk themselves into defending the Artest melee now that he’s a Laker.

    Lets state the facts: He cold-clocked multiple fans. He’d have done jail time if he wasn’t a celebrity. Comparing his scrutiny to Kobe’s scrutiny is like apples to oranges. Unlike Kobe, we have documented evidence that he is a nut case with criminal tendencies.

    Not that I’m not thrilled to have him on my team. But that’s besides the point. The Brawl was atrocious. Don’t even begin to defend Artest on that one.

  71. Looks like Mehmet Okur’s getting more than $10 million a year too. Does this help LO’s case for more money?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4317973

  72. 68.

    That’s why FB&G is the best. I think it really helps when you have a team of guys posting. Kurt, BB, Darius, Reed, and recently Zephid all do an excellent job.

    62.

    Do you really feel that an energy guy like that is worth 52 million. I understand he’s important, but I think that they overpaid big time. I know you need Role Players, 8-9 million dollar role players need to have the ability to score 10 points more than one night a week IMHO…

  73. 73, Varejao’s contract is packed full of incentives, some of which he won’t meet. In terms of guaranteed money, it’s closer to 37-38 mil over the life of the contract, which is more justifiable.

    71, he punched out a bunch of Detroit sports fans. That’s ok in my book.

  74. Just a quick comment from a Rockets fan on Artest.
    We loved his attitude and his quirkiness, but from a basketball perspective he left us scratching our heads quite often.
    He really can’t finish that well at the rim anymore. You could count on your fingers how many times he was able to actually get the ball above the rim even at the end of the season and when he got into the paint he almost always looks for the foul call instead of concentrating on hitting a layup. The other big issue is that he took way too many long 2 pointers. Sometimes he made them and sometimes not. The big issue is that if he hits a couple long two’s at the beginning of games, he keeps taking them without regard to what the offense is trying to do.
    He balanced that bu shooting really well from a set stance on the 3 point line, which should help you all out quite a bit. Just don’t expect efficient offense anywhere other than the top of the 3 point arc and the wings.

  75. about the Artest vilification by the press…He has brought that all on himself.

    The brawl is just one thing that has marred his image. Have we forgotten the Spousal Abuse stuff, or the whole debacle with his Dog’s? How about “i’m quitting basketball to pursue my hip hop carrer”…and then asking Larry Bird for time off so he can actaully do that. Those are just 3 other examples of Ron being Ron. He is a wingnut.

    but he is one heck of a ball player…and if Phil can instill the same teachings, and Kobe can beam the same type of on court focus that Jordan did for Rodman then I dont see a problem what so ever.

    And I have to say that Artest was fantastic last year. That says a lot about his growing up and his seriousness of wanting to win, and also his respect for Coach Rick…a coach he coudl respect…and I think why wouldnt he respect Phil.

    I am torn becasue I really “liked” Trevor, but I’d be a fool to deny the on court upgrade with Ron.

    LO…I bought an away and home Odom jersey as we had jokingly suggested we all do a few weeks back…I dont want Lamar to go anywhere!!!

  76. On 710 talk radio, they posed the interesting question of whether or not the Lakers could win the championship without Lamar. Most felt that it was possible–but that it was riskier.

    Here’s the parallel question: where could Lamar go if he doesn’t sign with the Lakers–and for how much money?

  77. Off topic. Supposedly the Warriors are up for sale.

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/sports/ci_12790002

    The current owner is apparently in some financial trouble (including tax evasion with the IRS). With the financial problems facing some of the teams, I wonder if other teams will be on the market as well. There was (still is?) the rumor of the Grizzlies being up for sale, and with how much money Sarver is losing I wouldn’t be surprised to see the suns sold as well.

  78. 78. If I were a Warrior’s fan I’d be throwing a party. The issues with that franchise the last few years started at the very top.

    77. Odom’s problem is he just doesn’t have other options. I mean, if the Lakers lowball him too much somebody could offer MLE money ($5.8 mil) and he could leave out of spite, I guess. But I think LO thought he was going to get $10 mil, and he’s now figuring out he’s going to make 60% of that (give or take). He’s an emotional guy, he may take a little bit to warm up to that idea. But I still think he comes around soon.

  79. 79. I think you’re right on with this, Kurt. Some people might say Lamar should get more money because he deserves it, but let’s be realistic. Nobody “deserves” millions for playing basketball. The entire justification–one that I view to be valid–for player salaries is the free market. So when the free market says that Lamar can’t get in 2009 what Kirk Heimlich got a couple years ago, then…so be it.

  80. Kurt, do you think we could have played Ariza at the point if Mitch had decided to replace Lamar with #37?

  81. Re: GS; that’s just half the problem. the other half is the Robert Rowell/Don Nelson junta, who basically froze out Chris Mullin, the architect of their resurgence. I will never forgive those guys for not making it work.

  82. @81: Haven’t I been hearing all over these boards how Ariza’s handle isn’t that great? Doubt he’d fit well at the point.

    And about GS, well, I wish my fellow NorCal’ers the best of luck with any changes.

  83. 81. As Mathias said, Ariza does not have the handle to bring the ball up and play point/forward. Also, I think there is logic in saying that Artest is a better version of Ariza, but Artest does not bring everything LO does, I think that would have been a bad tradeoff for the Lakers.

    82. My thing is that the ownership allowed thhe Rowell/Nelson junta to form and thrive, being completely laissez-faire through that process. A new owner can break up said power duo if they want.

  84. hi guys,

    just one thing on artest, phil jackson’s philosophy as a basketball coach is to run the triangle offense and get players to make great on court decisions by giving each individual player the utmost confidence in their skills. And phil does this by allowing players to do what he sees them do very well in practice and individually tells the players to believe in their ability to do the same thing in games.

    some players like sasha could never hit shots in games but was a “machine” in practice, so what does phil do? he keeps allowing sasha to take those open 3′s because he knows that if the head coach and team are telling him to shoot, in his head he thinks to himself that he must actually be a good shooter because everyone believes in him.

    another example: ariza sucked at doing anything but being athletic his whole career but when he came to the lakers he learned to shoot the 3 ball well in the off season, phil took notice and told the man to keep shooting even when he was something like 0-6 some games. and more importantly, his teammates kept passing him the ball because, through phil, they learned to believe in trevor’s shooting.

    and look what the power of belief did, ariza helped us get a 15th chamionship, so this artest is crazy crap is almost nonsense because he has belief and respect in phil as a coach and will follow the system. phil will get the best out of him and he will contribute greatly to our run for a 16th ring.

    and besides, i almost guarantee that ariza’s numbers will drop next season. phil just gets the BEST out of his players. so stop being worried, phil got the best out of rodman too

    (sorry about the run-ons i’m at work and don’t feel like being proper due to not even being allowed to be on sites like this)

  85. I do not understand why the Lakers gave Artest a 5 year deal? They could have gotten away with a 3-year deal and it’s not as if any other team was bidding against us.

    It is debatable whether he is worth his salary now, but in his 4th and 5th year, he is definitely not worth the 7 million or so he will be making.

    Does anybody have any info as to what forced the Lakers to give Artest a 5-year contract as opposed to a 2 or 3 year one?

  86. Negotiation means that both sides get to say wheat they want. The result is usually somewhere in the middle and may be somewhat biased, based on where the power lies.

    We fans want to have the perfect result, based on what we think are the facts – usually different from the actual circumstances.

    What this means is that we will normally be somewhat disappointed in most any compromise reached.

    Artest got 5 years based on his desires and the Lakers needs and estimation of their future abilities.

    I suspect we will be glad for this contract two years from now and the Lakers may be able to trade it four years from now. Artest is not likely to be a bench player until the very end of his career.

    If we – and by extension he – are successful next year, there is no reason to think he will demand changes in the following years of his contract.

    This is not like taking a chance on a budding player – say Sasha, for instance – as Ron is a known quantity.

  87. P.S.
    It is curious we downgrade Ron, because of his age, but we don’t downgrade Kobe – and he is slightly older than Ron.

    The first to age are usually the ‘high flyers’ and the smart ones normally prolong their careers by taking very good care of their bodies and learning not to fly so high so often – ala Kobe. Ron is not a high flyer and now I hear criticism because he doesn’t go to the rim as well as we think he used to. Sounds like we are being very selective with our facts and interpretations.

  88. 86.

    Depending on the economy and how well Artest’s skills hold up he very well may be worth 7 mil. That’s not an exorbitant number and since shooting generally increases with age he maybe be able to make up for his lost athleticism with improved numbers from the field. If he can be an integral player on a team that wins a championship I think that he is due that money.

  89. Now that the luxury tax/cap figures are out, can someone provide updated analysis as to our main rivals for LO in terms of ability to pay/lineup fit? thanks.

    I’m working under the assumption that the Lakers would pay 7M/yr without a problem– who could – and might – offer more?

  90. j.d. Hastings July 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I’m worried about Portland with Odom. THey’ve said they aren’t interested, but if Utah trades Boozer to re-sign milsap, who does that leave them with as a target? David Lee? I wish the Lakers would just suck it up before the blazers have no one else to throw Paul Allen’s money at.

  91. There’s a lot of money flying around the free agent market right now. (see Varejao, Birdman, Ariza, Kidd, Turkoglu, Villanueva, the list of overpaid FA’s goes on and on).

    Any takers on my theory that GM’s aren’t taking the cap seriously because there’s a possiblity that a new collective bargaining agreement will reset the salary cap?

  92. To anyone who can answer this:

    A random thought entering my head asked me how GM’s can overpay star players – not unlike Joe Smith’s situation with the Timberwolves in (I think) 1997. Of course, the league found out and took away 5 first-round draft picks.

    But say Buss (or Gilbert) sets up a new company, say, a toothbrush company. And he pays Kobe (or Lebron) $15-million for one commercial. How’s out there to stop them from doing that? What’s out there to stop the Knicks from using a subsidiary to pay LeBron an extra $20-million (via one useless sponsorship) to join them?

  93. How about that… Smush Parker’s actually back in the NBA:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Who-to-watch-in-the-Las-Vegas-Summer-League;_ylt=AlEiryClhZnVfH0ZXQIvzFK8vLYF?urn=nba,175796

    He’s in the list following Brandon Jennings and Adam Morisson.

  94. 95. Smush’s game fits the Summer League style, he looks good here. But put him in the less playground NBA environment and….

  95. 90 Lil’ Pau,

    I asked much the same question (see above), and Kurt pointed out that it is highly unlikely that any NBA team, if they wished, could offer more than the MLE (less than $6 million).

    There is no rumor I am aware of that any team is interested in Lamar at any price for any term other than the Lakers.

  96. 96, don’t think that’s smush in the picture, though….

  97. Coffee is For Closers July 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Oregonian today made a bit reference that blazers could still show some interest in LO if the henrich move doesn’t pan out, but I’m skeptical. LO and lamarcus aldrigde are basically the same position, so why would they go there when they’ve really been looking to upgrade at PG or SF. They’ve also been rumored to be considering millsap and david lee, which makes a bit more sense if you factor in the greg oden injury factory.

    Really, if i’m them, i sit on that cap space and look for a midseason deal if they can’t make the henrich deal work.

  98. Under the radar but our old friend Chris Mihm’s rights have been renounced by the Grizzlies. An unrestricted free agent, he had surgery last March on his ankle again and now likely out of the league for good.

    He was a starter for the 04/05 Lakers squad and seemed like a good guy. He is another cautionary tale. A hard working, fairly athletic 7 footer, finally starting (for a marquee team) and getting noticed for his good touch around the rim and blocking prowess has what appears to be a serious but routine ankle sprain.

    For whatever reason (rumors of Karl Malonesque mis-diagnosis by training staff persisted), his treatment and therapies make things worse. And now he is out of a livelihood.

    Lamar is only 3 months younger than Mihm. No wonder why guys value guaranteed long contracts.

  99. Excellent analysis. Well written, with one exception:

    “7-3 against Lebron is no joke. These records include results when Artest was with losing teams in Chicago and Sacramento.”

    Artest left the Bulls in ’02. Lebron came into the league in ’03.

  100. 100. True. I meant the record against all three. Of course his bulls records only apply to Pierce.

  101. I’m really amazed Odom hasn’t received 1 good offer. After all, he not only demonstrated he is a good soldier, but played effectively as a 6th man and (during Bynum’s recovery period) a starter. Is there a more versatile guy in the league?

  102. Versatile, but not consistent and also not a good 1 or 2 option for your team.

    These things probably make Lamar a bad investment in an extreme economy crunch.

  103. 86. pw, the rumor mill had many teams interested in Artest, such as Cleveland. The consensus was that Artest could get more than the MLE. Given that, it’s fair to give Ron a bit longer of a contract to offset the limited per-year salary.

    93. Simonoid, good idea. See Larry Coon’s comment on the “toothbrush” workaround.

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q22

    92. Travis. Who knows what the owners are thinking, but the salary cap exists for the benefit of the owners. They will be arguing for the lowering of the cap, so I’m not sure that theory hangs together.

  104. does anyone else hope that the Lakers go ahead and “overpay” Lamar by 1/2 to 1M a year just to make him happy and to show appreciation for what’s he done and how he’s handled the off-season negotiation? I think he’s worth it.

    I’m still worried about POR. If the current deals fall through, Pritchard may get desperate and throw money at Lamar just to have a “win”.

    Dallas a contender? Somehow, that team never worries me. I think the Spurs and Porty will be our biggest Western rivals next year. With luck, maybe somebody else will take care of Porty for us again :)

  105. Portland offered Millsap a four year deal with a big signing bonus apparently. If he signs it and it doesn’t get matched, hopefully Odom gets locked up quickly. I’m not sure what LA is really offering but a deal in Marion’s range sounds reasonable to me.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4320029

  106. I don’t think we should worry about blazers pursuing Odom because of this:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4320029

    In other news, the magic seemed to have picked up brandon bass from the mavs. Is he a replacement for gortat?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4319818

  107. to me, unless vc has a terribly efficient season, the magic just stood pat. signing bass was important to them as they have no frontcourt depth after howard and arguably lewis.

    the blazers pitch in for milsap. good for us. lamar is really running out of options. would like him to get his due but the economy is in crunch time. now somehow my faith is whole that he’ll be a laker and finally, our summer has been a positive one.

    it also helps that phoenix is keeping hill and getting frye. they want to compete but want to save money at the same time. not an easy time for sarver, if any.

    can’t wait for summer and the exhibition games. also, i hope ammo becomes a pleasant surprise this year. i still believe.

  108. For those of you in love with the “Well Lamar can’t get a higher offer anywhere else anyway, why should we give into any demands?” argument.. you must’ve not been watching what unfolded with Trevor. Money can take second place in the ladder of importance when a team shows you no love after you gave them everything. LO is an unrestricted free agent.. if he chose to, he could play for a veteran’s minimum for another contender. “That’s crazy, nobody would take such a drastic paycut” is what a lot would argue.. but “crazy” is exactly what the Lakers might drive Lamar towards. Consider how he did everything possible this last season for our team in helping us to the second best record and eventually the championship. Put yourself in his shoes – lowballing after a season full of personal sacrifices is a stab in the back. Lakers need to offer a solid contract and stop screwing around. The following LA Times article sums it up pretty nicely (my opinion coincides with the author’s)

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/07/ted-green.html

  109. Question: I saw that next year Ammo has a ‘qualifying offer’ of like 6.8m, does that mean the Lakers have to pay him that amount if they want to keep him on the team? What is his status if we do not trade him for his expiring contract and keep him, can we just offer him like a million to stay on, oh IMO he is still worth a few million to some other team, huh.

  110. 111

    I think that if the qualifying offer is made, the player becomes a restricted free agent.. if not, the player is an unrestricted fa. I think AMMO (with his expiring contract) is gone by trading deadline.

  111. Question: suppose Odom walks. Would you rather the Lakers have spent the ~ 7M on Artest + Brown, or on Odom?

    I would prefer Odom, I think.

  112. 113 – Hmm that’s tough. Because as much as I love Odom, that would mean playing Luke at the 3 all year long. Just position-wise, Artest/Brown might actually make more sense so we don’t have a gaping hole at the 3.

    Good news (from my POV, anyway) – Grant Hill’s committed to the Suns. He’s old, but if he had signed with the Celtics, I think he could have done some damage off the bench and added some much-needed depth. Good to hear he’s not going to Boston.

  113. Coffee is For Closers July 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I heard Mitch on the radio again today. Reading the tea leaves, I actually think something is imminent w/ LO. With Portland now locked up for the next 10 days at least eliminating further the hint of competition, I think its time for LO to hold his nose and sign.

    Its easy for people to say LO should be rewarded for sacraficing his game, but lets not forget he was really overpaid the last few seasons. And in light of the economy, 6-7M/season isn’t that big of haircut. Its the market. If he can get a player option for year 2, and the lakers win another ring, he probably stands a decent chance of a better contract next year.

  114. @114,

    One of my C’s fans colleagues was quite PO’d about Hill.

  115. @115

    I hope you are right. I agree with what Kurt and others have said: I think 3/21 is the fair, reasonable offer to Odom. That is a big luxury tax hit, but I think they need him back, and Buss was willing to spend on Artest and Brown.

  116. 6-7 million isn’t a big haircut? I don’t care if you’re a millionaire, six or seven million is a lot of money.

  117. Morrison looks good in summer league. McCaulun (sp?) does too.

  118. 118, elaborate?

  119. Igor Avidon,
    I started to read Ted Green’s article in the LA Times, but after he said Lamar made $14M last year I stopped reading and assumed the guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

    Lamar’s salary counted $14M against the Laker’s cap, but he only was paid about $11M last year. The difference is an advance payment that is spread over the life of his contract, per CBA requirements. If Green doesn’t know how this works I really don’t have much use for his justification for paying Lamar more.

  120. 104) Also, what incentive will Odom have this summer to stay in shape?

  121. It would be silly to lose Odom over a difference of a couple million dollars. He was was worth 8 wins last year, 8! That’s stud-level. No one comes (except Lee/Milsap) close in the free agent market this year. BP pegged him as one of the studs of this free agent class.

    APBRmetrics formulate his value for 2009 to be $9 million. Last year (2008) his worth was $14 million. I don’t have problems paying around 7-8 million annually. I say take the hit financially next year then the years after that the Lakers should be fiscally stable in 2010 and beyond. Math dictates that the Lakers can not bring any player close to Odom’s level for awhile anyway, so why not just keep him, even if it means bidding against ourselves?

  122. hypothesis:
    melo, lebron, and pierce play on the three best teams not called the lakers.

    redaction:
    Orlando and San Antonio are worse than the nuggets. except, other way around. oops.

  123. Thanks, Apricot. Yeah, it’s not completely unbreakable. Especially if the organization’s not affiliated and there’s no evidence.

  124. Lakers vs Toronto: July 10th, 2009 5PM
    Boxscore: http://www.nba.com/summerleague2009/games/boxscore.jsp?gameId=1520900003
    85-84 Final score.

    Morrison looked good, his jumper was smooth. His defense was a little suspect. He did a pretty good job trying to set up the triangle. Also had a few nice entry passes, passed off to McCauley for the shot to put them up 2, then put the game away with 2 free throws to put the Lakers up by 4.He was always looking for the open teammate.

    McCauley looked good. He boxed out and was in good position to grab boards. I like his jumper too and is pretty decent in the paint. He has a hook shot he likes to use, but also had some bad passes that resulted in turnovers. Looked better than a lot of the others out there.

  125. We didn’t miss a free throw in the summer league game. McCauley and Morrison’s stats look very impressive.

    Any chance McCauley hooks on with someone?

  126. Travis –you said that Artest is not DPOY material anymore. As you know he won DPOY in 2004 and you’re saying that his defensive abilities have fallen. I would just like to point out that Artest was voted in the top 5 in the DPOY for 2009 (Howard won the award). The top 5 defensive player in the league tells me that he is still DPOY material.

  127. Travis,

    Hate to correct you again, but you said that ARtest cold-clocked multiple fans. This is incorrect. From this tape, he wrestles someone to the ground in the stands, but i don’t see anyone being cold clocked.

    In fact, Steven JAckson absolutely destroys a fan as does Jermaine Oneal. Both of them did cold cock fans. Here is the entire video, albeit bad quality.

    PS: Where was this ben wallace in this years playoffs?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHZGfKYr3ik

  128. 88 —Kobe will not suffere with age, just like Jordan didn’t suffer with age…of course as long as they are not too old (younger than 36). In fact, Jordan won his last championship when he was 37 or so! His first three were from 29-32 i think.

    Phil Jackson said something very intriguing to me. He thought that players actually get better when they get older as long as they maintain 85-90% of the athletic ability. I agree with PJ.

    Especially players like Kobe. Kobe is NOT a high flyer. He does NOT depend on his athleticism. Lebron definitely does but not Kobe. Kobe depends on his considerable skill level. Whether jump shots, dribbling, form, defense, etc. This guy is the most skilled individual i have EVER seen play basketball. In my opinion, Kobe is more skilled than Jordan. Jordan was a take it to the rim and post up kind of guy. He depended on his athleticism more than Kobe does. Kobe has every weapon in the game. Take it to the rim, shoot off the dribble, pick and roll, post up, etc.

    I believe that Kobe will be an MVP quality player for another 3-4 years and then still be very high quality (top 5 in the league) until 35-36. But then again, that’s just a guess.

  129. Craig W.

    Over the life of the contract, he received what he was owed. Lamar got paid by the Lakers only 11.4 mil but as you stated yourself, he got extra $ this year from that trade kicker. Regardless, it seems to me you’re just nitpicking at this point. Green’s article is still legit as an opinion piece.

  130. kaveh – 129

    I agree. Back when it happened and I watched the different videos many times, I always thought Stephen Jackson was going to get the worst suspension. He seemed to be the one most out of control and hitting the most people. Then Jermaine O’Neal and even Wallace for starting it and never walking away after he got his 2 cents in which helped keep the fans worked up. I didn’t think Artest was the worst and shouldn’t have gotten the worst suspension.

    Seems like Detroit should have had to forfeit some games because of their pathetic security and fans. That would have been a good way to send a message to fans that you’re just going to hurt your team acting that way.

    And stepping to the Dark Side for a moment, it’s hard to feel too down on Artest if it was either a Detroit or Boston fan he jumped on.

  131. Actually, Lamar’s extra payment was made at the beginning of his contract, not this year. Usually, like in the NFL, the player gets the ‘bonus’ at the beginning of the contract, but, unlike the NFL, the team salary penalty is spread over the life of the contract. Lamar didn’t receive any extra money this year.

  132. swedishmeatballs July 11, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Okay, I’ll be the idiot: How is “Ammo” ? Seems like I’ve missed out on a nickname..

  133. swedishmeatballs July 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Correction: WHO is “Ammo” ?

  134. Ammo=Adam Morrison

  135. had to say it, I had a really bad taste in my mouth the first time I saw a photo of Ariza in a rockets uniform…

    i stared at the screen for a while, not really registering anything… it was akin to seeing your moms new boyfriend using your deceased dad’s golf clubs… nothing wrong with it at a material level, but oh, how the anger fills your eyes…

  136. There are three perspectives of Lamar that bear on his value to the Lakers: 1. the organization perspective, 2. the NBA perspective, and the 3. “homer” perspective of fans and bloggers

    #1: The organization inherited Lamar from the Miamai Heat, who had signed him to a long term contract away from the Clippers. Lamar was brought in as a #2 guy–with a salary to match–and, with a great deal of prodding, performed at near all star levels. The Lakers acquired Lamar as the closest thing to a star in the swap for Shaq. The Lakers even had to pay a trade kicker bonus on top of Lamar’s salary, putting his salary close to the salary for Kobe Bryant.

    Although Lamar was nominally a Turkalu style small forward, he was asked to play the 4 with the Lakers, but could not match the productivity of Duncan, KG, Dirk Nowitzke, or other power forwards. Ultimately, in various combinations with other players, Lamar was offered in trade, since only through trade would the Lakers be able to free up the funds to find a real 4. The ultimate failure of that trading futility approach was the failure to trade Lamar and others to Minnesota for KG.

    Lamar was finally replaced at his 4 spot in favor of Pau Gasol, but has come back twice as an emergency replacement at the 4 when Andrew Bynum went down–teaming very well with Gasol. However, the Laker organization intends for Bynum to be a full time center next year, keeping Pau at the 4.

    His changed role as a Laker this year was to fill in, counted for as a defensive rebounder–with occasional bursts of scoring. Lamar’s role as backup at several positions was hardly the #2 guy position he was traded for from Miami. With a reduced role comes reduced pay.

    #2: The NBA perspective on Lamar has mostly fallen from his Miami days–when he was a “go to” guy and borderline superstar. Having unlimited but unrealized potential is much more salable when one is 23 than when one is 29. Lamar has proven himself to be less than a 4, but more than a 3–a jack of all trades but a master of none.

    After his performance in the playoffs the last two years, watched by everyone, one might have seen Lamar as at least a Turkoglu–but when Turkoglu finally chose Toronto over Portland at the $10 million that Lamar is asking, the Blazers didn’t switch their focus to Lamar–they switched to the younger, stronger Paul Millsap–even though Millsap was a hard to extract restricted free agent.

    Even though many might have considered Lamar be at least as desireable as Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess, many teams made MLE offers to Rasheed–and McDyess was in the plans of several teams before they were signed by the Celtics and Spurs. Not a word about Lamar–before, during, or after.

    Even though Orlando has recently been given some money as part of a sign and trade for Turkoglu, and even though Lamar was part of the reason that Orlando lost, there has been no mention of a possible offer for Lamar.

    Lamar this year is much like Sasha Vuyucich last year–highly valued by himself, appreciated by Laker fans, but no offers by any other NBA teams.

    #3: These NBA fans and bloggers nonetheless, want the Lakers organization to give Lamar the pay that no other NBA team will offer because:

    He is the glue that holds the team together–even though the team captain and team inspiration is Derek Fisher–and Lamar was MIA when his teammates appeared recently on TV.

    He has sacrificed his starting position for the sake of the team–even though he had no choice.

    He sacrifices his indivdual play to set up his teammates–even though it is Walton who threads the beautful passes, whereas Lamar has been so inconsistent on his passes that he once threw to Sasha on the bench, and once bounced a pass off a referee–shown on youtubes that continue to be circulated on the internet.

    Unlike other Laker players, Lamar is not known as a gym rat who practices his game during the offseason to develop or refine individual skills–even though he shows, on occasion, an ability to hit a clutch three, or a right handed layup–or makes two clutch free throws rather than his usual one of two–all skills that could earn him additional respect as well as salary–if he were in the gym rather than on the beach or in Las Vegas.

    Even though Lamar can have a string of double double games, he can follow it with a string of single singles.

    Even though Lamar can be great at defensive rebounds, he is far less impressive on the offensive rebounds and putbacks–except for occasional games in which he seems to appear out of nowhere but is spectacular–or the games in which he disappears altogether.

    Over many years, the Lakers under Phil Jackson have found ways to maximize Lamar’s strengths and minimize his weaknesses, creating a unique slot for a unique player.

    Even though Lamar has offered to give the Lakers a discount to stay in LA, the Laker organization appears to have offered Lamar more than the market will offer.

    Even though nearly all the NBA teams cannot offer Lamar more than a MLE (some can’t even offer that), he remains adamant to be paid $10 million by the Laker organization.

    Even some Laker homers find that a bit steep.

  137. Is it possible to structure a contract with a large-ish signing bonus (say 4 million) added on to a MLE sized contract for five years? If you had a player option for the second year of the contract, couldn’t a team get around the luxury tax? Signing bonuses are limited to 17.5% of the value of the contract (a $33 million 5 year contract has a max bonus of $5.8 million)

    The signing bonus gets amortized over the life of the contract (about $1 million/year in additional salary) but the first year is where the player makes the money. The player opts out of the contract after the first year and walks with $10 million for the season. The team is charged, for purposes of the salary cap, $6 million for that year.

    Is there some part of the CBA that prevents this?

  138. 138, damn good summary drrayeye, even if it is a little bit biased against Lamar “homers.”

    I think Lamar’s issue is that the Lakers aren’t limited by the MLE; they’ve already used that on Artest. Theoretically, the Lakers could pay him up to the CBA-allowed maximum, with only themselves as the victims. From his perspective, the Lakers are trying to squeeze as much money from him, not to sign another player, but to save their own financial skins. While this isn’t inherently wrong, it does come across as selfish from Lamar’s perspective.

    I do believe however, that the Lakers will offer Lamar a slightly-above mid-level contract. This is because offering him a mid-level contract could make him indifferent between playing in LA and playing elsewhere. So it makes sense that LA would rather avoid this situation to receive certainty that Lamar will sign here, instead of taking some probability that Lamar will sign here.

  139. 129 kaveh, after seeing that higher quality video I have less issue with Artest’s actions that game.

    He was calm and separated himself from the initial conflict with Wallace, and didn’t react at all until a fan threw a cup at what appears to be his NECK. Artest then jumps into the stands and grabs a fan, possibly (although speculation is pointless) just to shake him up. At that point the most classless fans in the NBA start throwing punches at his back and head. Then, his teammates get up there and start decking people (I’m looking at you, Stephen Jackson). Following the model of his teammates and Ben Wallace, he starts throwing out some bigger hits, generally in retaliation for a fan punching him. One notable exception is the fan that walks up to him on the court, then thinks better of it before Ron Ron just lays him out. While the Pacers leave the court, the Detroit fans saturate them with whatever disgusting backwashed beer/soda and food they have.

    How on earth did they determine that Artest deserved such a steep suspension? Because of a hard foul? Kobe and Pau both took way harder hits than that in the playoffs this year. Detroit fans should have been the ones suspended for 82 games. Artest? 10 games max.

  140. Zephid,
    “While this isn’t inherently wrong, it does come across as selfish from Lamar’s perspective. ”

    Of course, he probably didn’t feel that way in the past when he was being overpaid.

  141. Nice post drrayeye.

    What’s utterly eerie about the Lamar situation is the complete lack of coverage on it. We’re hearing about all these nonconsequential transactions about second and third strings, along with the swirling rumors about what might or may not happen. Even the summer league coverage for players who won’t see more than 10 min a game. What about Odom, arguably the best FA on the market? Is there something our FO does that makes our candidates unattractive to competitors?

  142. Here here drrayeye. The longer that LO stays out there the more I can see our team without him. Now let’s not get it twisted, I would LOVE for LO to get signed and work on his game this summer, but it’s tue that he has never been a gym rat and now who knows what’s going on.

    I just hope for the best, but will support whatever team we have at the start of the season.

    So get with the program LO!

  143. 129 Kaveh. When the guy that looks like Turtle from entourage runs out on the court….BAM!!.. Artest greets him with a haymaker.

    But seriously stop defending Artest in the melee just because he didn’t instigate it, or because the fans threw beer and ran out on the court or because Jackson and Oneal hit fans too. He went ballistic on the people who are responsible for him making millions playing basketball. Unacceptable and I still don’t believe he was punished properly. If I were at a Celtics game and I started brawling with angry C’s fans, I would go to jail convicted of assault and would have a difficult time getting a new job and I would be banned from all NBA arenas.

    And again, I would still like to reiterate, that I’m glad to have him on my team. I just don’t think Lakers fans should get it mixed up and try to defend Artest in the melee. The subsequent villification by the media is deserved, regardless of how misdemeanor his subsequent mishaps were. ……Consequences….

  144. I’ve got faith that LO will resign because looking at the remaining players trying to sign LO from the Lakers are not contenders and LO would not make them contenders. It would be lose-lose.

    The Blazers know it, too. Milsap is their best option for improvement of their roster via free agency. LO doesn’t fit their model. He is a hybrid 3/4 that thrives in transition. They need someone who can bang under the boards for them night in and night out. They don’t play in a free-flowing style like the Lakers do.

    The Pistons are no longer contenders and nothing short of signing a top 10 player in the league will get them there at this point. I don’t even think they’re a playoff team. They need cap space more than they need Odom.

    The Jazz, if they don’t match Portland’s offer for Milsap, have to go hard after LO because they’re probably gonna trade Boozer, which leaves a huge hole for them at the 4, and Odom is the only 4 option left out there on the market.. But same story here as with Portland. LO isn’t a good pick and roll type of 4. He can’t shoot the midrange with consistency, and he’s too left-handed to finish at the hoop when rolling from the left elbow, which is where D-Will is most effective at breaking into the lane coming off screens.

  145. 141. I guess we were going to have todebate this after all. I absolutely despise fans who abuse players knowing the players can never retaliate. I have a perhaps unpopular view that once a month, players should be allowed to go into the stands and beat up fans. They would be treated like someone who got into a fight at a bar, so they might get a disorderly conduct overnight stay in jail. But no league penalty. And in a bar, Artest wouldn’t have gotten much legal punishment because he was assaulted first.

    But obviously, the league is a product and they assure fans that they can do almost whatever they want and be safe, and they don’t want white fans scared of black players. And every other player knows better than to go into the stands. So from that point of view, Ron earned a big suspension. You can debate the exact length. He served it. Let’s see how much he’s grown from it.

  146. drrayeye,
    Outstanding analysis of the Lamar situation.

    The reason Lamar isn’t more in-the-news around the NBA is that other teams don’t consider him ‘the best FA’ available. This is where the Laker fan view is really too narrowly focused.

    Lamar is going to have to come to terms with the fact that he has been overpaid for the last 5 years and now is the time for a readjustment. I find it incredible that the fans can’t even remember two years ago, when most were all calling for Lamar to be traded for almost everyone and screaming because he wasn’t living up to his salary – Lamar hasn’t really changed that much.

    I agree that the Lakers will probably pay him more than the MLE to keep him tied to the Laker organization, but I don’t really see John Ireland’s $17M over 2 years, with a player option for the 2nd year – $15M maybe.

  147. Kupchak Wants Odom Signed
    After years of being the scapegoat in Los Angeles Lamar Odom is now thought of as the last piece needed to be re-signed in order to start another dynasty. We’re creeping up on the second week of the free agency period and Odom has yet to strike a deal with the Lakers, but it isn’t from a lack of interest on their part.

    “I’m not quite sure how it’s going to play out right now,” admitted Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak to KSPN. “We’ll have to just wait and see, but we would like to have some closure soon. I think they would, too. You’d kind of like to know where you’re going to be. Our options if we don’t sign Lamar back would be limited, so if we’re not going to have him back we would like to look at our options and try to fill around the team we have at this point in time. So, the sooner the better, but I’m hopeful it doesn’t drag on too much longer.”

    Although a lot of teams would try to put a deadline in place for a situation like this, Kupchak is not because of past experiences.

    “I think that deadlines are never really constructive or productive unless it’s a last resort kind of a thing,” said Kupchak. “We’re not there right now. You know, the playing field has kind of leveled out a little bit. I think both people, in terms of the organization and Lamar, they’re aware of what their options are, so everybody deserves a little time to work through the issues. But once again, things like this can’t continue to drag on forever. At some point in time, you have to know where you stand individually as a player and, of course, we need to know what our team is going to look like as some point in time. So, I’m not going to say there is going to be a deadline, but I think we’re working towards a conclusion.”

    The possibility of Odom no longer being a Laker is something that Kupchak has to consider at this point. They got extremely lucky with Trevor Ariza because Ron Artest was eager to don the purple and gold, but there is not a better player than Odom available and if he walks the Lakers will undoubtedly have a hard time replacing his productivity and versatility.

    “You always have a contingency plan,” Kupchak stated. “That’s how we ended up with Ron Artest. Going into free agency we felt we had a better than even chance that we could keep this group together; that was Lamar, Shannon (Brown) and Trevor (Ariza). When you go into free agency, it’s really a beast. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. A lot of times, you have to do a 180-degree turn within 24 hours. You have to have a backup plan. We did have a backup plan, to have Ron. We didn’t know he would be available. We knew he would be a free agent, but I think due Yao Ming’s injury, Houston decided not to get aggressive with Ron Artest because they might be in a position where they might have to re-build if Yao Ming misses the season. We didn’t know if that would happen. We put our calls in and lo and behold, the next day when the negotiations with Trevor didn’t go the way we had hoped, there was Ron Artest. So, yes, we do have contingency plans, but you’re not going to find a Lamar Odom at the end of August sitting around waiting to be signed by the Lakers or anybody else. Those types of players, they’re commodities. We’ll do the best we can and we’ll move on, but there is no replacement for Lamar Odom.”

    From Hoopsworld today.

  148. 142, exhelodrvr, very true, and I never said Lamar was justified if he felt such a way.

    But then again, everyone who wasn’t a top 10 player was overpaid in the last 7-8 years. Think Marko Jaric. Can’t really blame a guy when everyone was doing it, right?

  149. I’ll repeat this again – Odom is a vital piece to our team. He knows it, the coaches know it, the GM knows it, and his teammates know it. The fact that some fans still don’t know it can wear on me, but in the end that’s neither here nor there.

    His leverage is both strengthened and weakened by the current free agent market. It’s weakened for all the reasons that everyone cites – limited/no teams with cap space, his fit on other teams, his age, etc. But more people need to understand that Odom is also coming from a position of strength. I mean, he is a vital player to a championship team, there aren’t any viable replacements for him on the free agent market or internally within the Lakers team right now, and even if there were viable replacements that are FA’s the Lakers don’t have any salary cap exceptions to sign those players. So what are the Lakers to do? Tell Lamar that other teams can only offer X dollars this so that’s all we’ll offer? Or do they pay him more than what other teams can offer (like Toronto did with Bargiani, Cleveland did with Varejao, Dallas did with Marion, etc, etc) so that they secure him? I’m not advocating 9-10mil a year for Odom. Last year he only made a touch over 11 million. I think 7-8 mil is fair for what LO provides us. But, the fact remains that no one knows what offer the team has made nor do they know what Lamar really wants. All we have is media innuendo and rumor. I’ll avoid those reports, thanks. The fact that this wasn’t wrapped up at 12:01 on the first day of free agency is irrelevant to me. But to start to use this delay in an agreement as justification for no longer having him around or starting to belittle his role or his importance to the team is the latest example of the frustration that normally surrounds LO – that same frustration that I just don’t feel anymore. At one point I did, but that’s been gone for me a while now.

    I think fans are getting more and more comfortable with the idea that the Lakers can win without Odom and I think that’s a mistake. Maybe some are distracted by our shiny new toy (Artest) or they’re unwavering supporters of Andrew Bynum or they’ve never been too fond of Odom in the first place and they just don’t care if he stays or goes. Again, I think those positions are mistakes. Artest is not Odom. Ron is a very good (if not great) player in his own right whose versatility on offense and defense will surely help the team. But Artest is not the rebounder nor is he the post defender (against big PF’s) that Odom is. Bynum is hopefully the future of our franchise, but if anyone thinks he’s ready to step up to the big time based off his past two seasons must have seen some things that I didn’t or weighted his strong performances in a manner that I have not. I’m not trashing Bynum, I think he showed us all what he’s capable of and I was in support of us paying him his contract that he ultimately received. However, his inconsistency is still quite apparent and his willingness to pout is a concern to me. Odom is not just insurance for Bynum though, he’s a great contributor in his own right and a player that helps win games with or without Andrew in the fold. There’s a reason that he lead the team in adjusted +/- the entire season as a player that played heavy minutes with both the first and second units. It’s not a fluke. Odom is valuable to us. You pay the players that are valuable to you.

    At this point, I just want the guy back. I’m convinced that our ability to win a championship without Odom and with some Free Agent (which would be who? – I don’t even know who’s out there at this point) or Powell/Mbenga filling in his role is a crapshoot at best. With Odom we’re deserved and clear favorites, without him lump us in with the other 4-5 teams (Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando) that are consistently thought of as the better teams. I’d prefer to be in the drivers’ seat.

  150. I really like McCauley. He makes the right passes for a big man and has great court vision. He passes up low percentage shots in order to try and find his teammates. He just said after the game in his interview that he ran a similar offense to the triangle at the college he went to. He only takes “good” shots and continues to impress me. I mean, he does all the little things as well. He’s decisive on the boards and doesn’t try to do too much. Always running the floor and also, going after offensive rebounds. He doesn’t “give up” on a play. The things I’ve seen from him in the past 2 games I wish we could pick him up. He looks like a more refined Josh Powell out there.

    Ammo looked okay today. A little bit hesitant in the beginning and he couldn’t get his stroke going. He kind of reminds me of the space cadet. His 3 is so smooth, it’s basically a rainbow. Pretty pretty shot. If he gets playing time / cracks the rotation next year I could see him replacing what Sasha was for us in 2008. The guy off the bench to bring in some offense.

    The other guys were just okay. None of them really struck me besides Ammo and McCauley. I hope we can add McCauley since we have 3 roster spots open. We’ll have 2 left open if we re-sign Lamar, and so I hope we can get him. Plus we could probably get McCauley for really cheap. I like his attitude too. He said his coach always told him to “clean the glass” and said that we have enough offense on the team (summer league team) and so he wants to grab boards because he learned good habits, etc

  151. Eric Pincus/Janis Carr on twitter got word from Ronnie Lester(assistant GM) the Lakers expect a deal done early next week w/ Odom, having offered $8M+

  152. 148 Darius,

    You say,

    “Odom is not just insurance for Bynum though, he’s a great contributor in his own right and a player that helps win games with or without Andrew in the fold.”

    Let’s be clear. Andrew is in the fold for the foreseeable future. Odom is a free agent–and that didn’t happen by accident.

    There are many things that the Lakers must consider in preparing for next season–and a role for Lamar is certainly one of them. But it won’t be the same role–even if he returns.

    Denver looked at a similar luxury tax situation, found themselves trapped, and literally dumped Marcus Camby in the laps of the Clippers–because the Clippers had cap space–and for no other reason. It was a classic salary dump–and very risky–and it followed the teachings of Mies Van der Rohe: Less is more.

    They lost size–and they lost defensive presence from one of the best big men in the NBA. It forced them to rely on Nene, returning from a testicular cancer surgery disability.

    However, it gave them salary cap flexibility which they used to make a key Iverson/Chauncy trade–and they made it all the way to the Western Conference finals. Nene had a breakout year. For them, less was more.

    If Lamar leaves, the Lakers will be forced to rely on Andrew–keeping Gasol at the 4. If things go badly enough for Houston, they may want to trade Trevor back to the Lakers midseason in exchange for expiring contracts (Morrison/Farmar)–possible just like Denver last year because they are no longer in luxury tax hell. If not Trevor, someone else who would be valuable and available–and many great players will come available for trade during this season.

    The times have changed. Shawn Marion made approximately $18 million last year and wouldn’t renegotiate a longer term deal with Miami at a slightly reduced rate. He’ll be earing approx. $8 million next year–and lucky to do that well.

    Even though I prefer Lamar back, it is clearly not the only option at any price. Every decision has risks and rewards.

  153. any new posts yet?? its been 2 days.. lol

  154. But the sides might not be as far apart as that. Ronnie Lester, assistant GM, told me Saturday he heard the Lakers are now offering “a little north of $8 million.” He also said he expects a deal early next week.

    http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/07/11/can-a-deal-for-odom-be-far-off/20501/

    Orange County Register

  155. Also looks like Sun Yue isn’t likely to be back:

    Sun missed last year’s Summer League because of his commitment to the Chinese National Team. He again skipped this summer’s play in favor of playing overseas.

    Lester said Sun’s apparent lack of commitment to the Lakers and the fact he missed all of training camp last season because of an injury, doesn’t help his chances of keeping his roster spot.

    “It does seem he is the odd-man out,” Lester said.

    http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/07/11/is-sun-yue-headed-out-the-door/20493/

    OC Register

  156. Travis –turtle guy

    That guy came out on the court to FIGHT Artest. Artest is well within his rights at that point to defend himself.

    The running into the stands was Artest’s huge error. Even then he was hit in the face with a beer cup and thus i can understand his reaction. What would most of us do? Well i know that if someone hit me in the face with a beer cup I’d like to kick his ass big time. I don’t think i would take it that far because i can control my emotions. But that’s what i would like to do, no doubt. Nevertheless Artest was very wrong for running into the stands.

    However the guy that ran on the court and approached him was there to FIGHT ARtest. Artest was well within his legal rights and any moral limitations to defend himself. Especially in that type of mob atmosphere.

    What Jermaine O’neal did to the turtle guy was way worse. AFter getting his ass kicked by Artest, this poor dude is attempting to stand up when O’neal takes a running start and throws a haymaker and hits him right on the chin. The guy went straight to the ground dazed and confused. Poor SOB.

  157. It has taken so long for this episode of (As LO Turns) to play out, it has really weakened the amount of replacements for LO. A sign and trade is the only option to replace him and get somebody in return. If he doesnt want to take what his far market value is then he should ride somewhere else. Then he will truly see his numbers wasnt because of his hard work individually, but because the team had other scoring options helped hide his true shortcomings. Im ready for this to be over with so I can stop hearing and reading about how LO cant be replaced. Just because he can make teammates laugh and joke in the locker room doesnt make him irreplaceable. The Lakers need to make a move sooner rather than later.

  158. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    On Twitter Eric Pincus says that Roster Lester, asst GM of the Lakers told Janis Carr the team had upped its offer to LO to 8 mil and they expected a deal early next week

  159. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    erm Ronnie Lester

  160. Wow, this has been some very good discussion about Lamar Odom here, great opinions with the real life ideas about the matter. Just ideas on things I never envisioned. Thanks for the YouTube video of the 2004 Artest deal, hmmm, well, I won’t say anything about that except it is in the past as far as I am concerned. As far Sun Yue, he is not the only player to play in the summer for his country (especially last summer in the Olympics), now being a rookie trying to be in the Lakers future plans, you would think that the Lakers should be a priority for him, but maybe his country is putting pressure on him to play, fine. Kurt will probably put up a new post when LO is signed, IMO, which will hopefully be soon so that I can know what Lakers team will suit up next season and not feel in limbo anymore.

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein

  161. Odom —guys, let’s not get too comfortable with the fact that we won the championship and we upgraded with ARtest. Without Odom, i do not think it is possible to win another championship next year. The current championship team would NOT have won anything were it not for Odom.

    I continue to have to defend Odom on other boards. No one gives him the credit that he deserves. However, I never thought that i would have to defend him on a lakers board!

    This guy is a beast in the big games. Is he inconsistant? YES. Is he lazy? YES. He has not improved his game, perhaps for his entire NBA career. HE is no better now then he was at 20. Nevertheless, he is an invaluable player. If he had the same commitment as Kobe, for instance, this kid would be a 10 time all-star no problem.

    Even though he sometimes disappears in non-important games, this year he was there in all the important ones. And that’s a good thing because we can win the unimportant games without him (against lesser teams), but it is the important big games where we need him. And he shows up to those games.

    Look, i wish Odom would improve with his right hand. I wish he would cut often. I wish he would work on his jump shot and his 15-feet and in turn-arounds, jumpers, etc. Odom has the potential to be a Kevin GArnet. He lacks the work ethic, obviously. Nevertheless, we cannot win another ring without him.

  162. Kaveh-

    Turtle was a pudgy, drunk, 5’6” 180lb I’d guess. Ron Artest is 6’7″ 260lb built like a taller version of Kimbo Slice. I doubt the first thing going throught Ron’s head was “oh no!! this guy is coming after me, I have to defend myself!!”.

    Turtle was in way over his head, yeah, but Artest came back with a right hook that was the equivalent of me throwing a superman punch on a 12 year old.

    Get real…that entire event was indefensible. Please stop defending any of Ron’s actions at the Palace.

  163. yeah and I agree about Jermaine Oneal. in my opinion, he deserved a year’s suspension for that one right there.

  164. Thanks for posting that fight tape. My first reaction to watching Sterns press conference on youtube, was WTF?!?! It seemed totally crazy and haphazard how those suspensions were handed out. But thinking about it some more, it seems that he was working from what he wanted to accomplish. And what he accomplished is instilling a huge fear in players not to be the first to go into the stands no matter what, even if stuff is thrown at you. But yeah, watching the video it seems like Artest was pretty much avoiding a fight with Wallace, and trying to keep himself cool. Terrible, terrible “fans.”

    And I agree with 158 regarding Artests punch on turtle-guy.

    Regarding the whole idea that players should have been arrested and what-not, I think people tend to overshoot what the actual law would do in that case, and I’m with 147 (Apricot) in the idea that, like a barfight, you might spend a night in jail (unless someone is in serious condition or something).

    I remember seeing some hockey footage some years ago of a dude flat out bashing the back of another players head with his stick, and thinking, “umm, isn’t that like assault with a deadly weapon?”

    Same thing goes for many famous sports moments of crazy intentional violence. Also, it’s always funny when sports leagues suspend guys for ILLEGAL DRUG USE (steroids, etc.) and other crimes, and that seems to be cool enough with law enforcement.

    Here is my favorite take on the subject. Just 45 seconds long, and pretty much sums things up:
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56927