Odom Equilibrium

Zephid —  July 14, 2009


In Game Theory, there is a canonical game known in the academic world as “Hawk-Dove.”  Colloquially, however, it is more commonly known as the game of chicken.  For those who have never experienced such an event (and those who have stupidly attempted to perform this game using automobiles), the game entails two players engaging in some activity until one person stops, in which case the other person wins.  One of the most common versions of chicken is to drive two cars at one another on a road, and the first person to veer off the road loses (yet, stupid, I know).  This game has been used to model numerous events, from possible nuclear conflict (dramatized in Dr. Strangelove), or in our case, contract negotiation.

We’ve had plenty of discussion regarding the arrival of Ron Artest, the departure of our dear Trevor Ariza, and articulated some thoughts about Shannon Brown’s new deal. Yet, the question of which we covet the most clarity, but remains the most enigmatic is, “What the heck is going on with Lamar Odom?” Many fans have grown frustrated with the prolonged process, often seeking the comfort in even the bleakest of certainties, growing more and more restless with each passing day. Many attempt to rationalize the thoughts of each side, analyzing Odom’s free-market value as compared to our championship probabilities. Yet, in the end, it all comes down to two players: Lamar Odom vs. the Lakers front office.  As both parties rumble headlong towards one another, it is a question of who will blink first and give in to the others demands: Will the front office acquiesce to Lamar’s $10 million dollar demand, or will Lamar come to accept his paycut and come back to his championship teammates?  For that, as always, we must find out who has the most to gain, and who has the most to lose.

While there is debating as to how much Lamar Odom’s presence impacts our success, there is no question that his presence improves our chances of winning the championship; A line-up with Lamar Odom is no doubt better than a line-up without Lamar Odom. Yet, with an eye to the future, remaining financially flexible is a huge issue, especially during this economic downturn in which the salary cap is anticipated to decrease by as much as 15%. Because of this, it is important to sign Odom to an economically sound value, both in a financial sense and a tradability sense.

It is here that we have a conflict of interest. As in the rest of rational free-market economics, it is Lamar Odom’s right to seek the maximum possible value from his employer, and it is the employer’s right to receive the greatest utility from Odom, this being the value Odom adds on the court less the value of his contract. In this manner, the front office is trying to gain Odom’s services at the least possible cost, and Lamar is trying to hold out as long as possible until the Lakers will not offer any more money. The question that many of us have is how high the Lakers should go. Back in December, I (in retrospect, rather foolishly) made the conjecture that at least some team would offer Odom a max contract. This is obviously not the case anymore, and the most any team outside of Portland and Oklahoma City has at most the Mid-Level Exception to offer. Many have claimed that this gives Odom little leverage, and thus the Lakers straying too far above the mid-level would be a complete blunder.

However, we need to consider exactly how much leverage the Lakers have. Having already used the Mid-Level Exception on Ron Artest, the Bi-Annual Exception on Shannon Brown, the Lakers are left with sign-and-trading Odom and minimum salary players as options outside of re-signing Odom. Given that the Lakers are already deep in the luxury tax, they won’t sign-and-trade Odom unless they receive an absolutely absurd offer (think a high-profile young player, a #1 pick, and an expiring contract) or non/partially guaranteed contract). And as for minimum salary players, well, they won’t come anywhere close to fulfilling the roles that Odom plays on our team.

Odom and his camp know this fact full and well and are exploiting it to no end. Even with reports of Odom refusing an offer upwards of $8mil per year, Odom still knows that the Lakers need him more than he needs the Lakers, or at least that is the front office’s perception. This led to them repeatedly upping their offers, with some rumblings that Lamar will stubbornly hold out for his $10 mil per year till the bitter end.

I recently bought an apartment and the one thing my real estate agent told me is to not make incrementally increasing bids. If you initially bid $220,000 and they refuse, don’t continually up your offer by $5000. If you bid $225,000, then $230,000, then $230,000, the seller will realize that you are willing to pay more and just keep refusing to squeeze as much money out of you as possible. The correct play is to make an initial bid, and if that bid is refused, make a final offer and be prepared to walk away. This forces the seller to make a decision and either accept your offer or face the uncertainty of having to accept something less at a later date.

The Lakers have already made this mistake, and Lamar has caught onto it. His holdout may end today, or tomorrow, but it may last until next week, next month. Lamar senses weakness in the Laker camp, and his plan to hold out from the beginning has worked. With respect to the free-market, Odom was expected to command at most a little bit above the MLE, a slight premium for giving the Lakers certainty that he’ll sign with them. Yet, he has gained much, much more than that, and is even holding out for more. Even the staunchest of Lamar Odom supporters feel that $9 mil per year is too much, especially given how deep we are in the luxury tax, but the fact that the negotiations have gotten to this point is indicative to the success of Lamar Odom’s strategy.

Personally, I believe that Lamar brings enough assets to our team to justify the tax bill.  Yes, I agree that $9 mil per year is too much, and we should be careful to make sure the deal isn’t too long term, as Odom’s production is highly correlated with his natural ability and athleticism, which are bound to deteriorate with age.  But, now that it has come to this, the Lakers have to bite the bullet and take the luxury tax hit.  If winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and nothing comes close to it, there’s no question that the right move is to re-sign Odom, regardless of the price.  Re-signing Odom gives us the best chance to win a championship, and when it comes to choosing between dollars or glory, I choose the glory.  Then again, it’s not my money either.

Whatever the case may be, we as fans can only wait.  We may gripe with the front office’s unwillingness to pay Lamar his due, or Lamar’s unwillingness to give a discount to the team that never lost faith in him, but in the end, it all comes down to who’s willing to stay the course longest in this proverbial game of chicken.




260 responses to Odom Equilibrium

  1. If I’m the Lakers, all offers are revoked and negotiations must start fresh. Lamar’s agent overplayed his hand.

    While he is certainly valuable, his flaws are well-documented. Take a walk. The free market giveth, and the free market taketh away. Enjoy your $6 million in Miami–it has a beach.

    What is absolutely critical in the NBA is to not mess up by writing bad contracts, and this one stinks. He’s never been the kind of guy that wins you championships, and he won’t change now that he has one.


  2. The way people are talking; with Lamar the Lakers are a sure thing and without him they don’t have a chance to go to the finals.

    Do you realize how schizophrenic we fans sound? How many of us have really competed at a high level in sports?

    The Lakers winning next year is not a given, regardless what happens with Lamar. Two years ago we were picked to finish 8th in the west and we went to the finals. Teams develop over the year and that is one of the specialties for which Phil Jackson is noted. We are going to have a different team next year and it will develop with a different personality. We should stop trying to put last year’s experiences and fears into next year’s team.

    Next year is going to be unique – with or without Lamar Odom. That’s all we can say with certainty at this time.


  3. P.S. The Laker organization is not just about next year. They have to worry about how the team will function 2-3-4 years down the road. That is the key thing to keep in mind when evaluating whether-or-not an additional year is warranted for Lamar.


  4. 186, exhelodrvr, the bench was terrible after Lamar went to the starting lineup. The only reason the team went 26-7 was because Lamar was on the team, and went into the starting lineup. I’m sure you remember all the complaints we were fielding about the terrible bench, how the team needed to trade Jordan/Sasha/Luke/Josh/everyone not named Kobe or Pau. There were high hopes for our bench at the beginning of the year, but a year of stinking will take the confidence out of even the staunchest of supporters.


  5. 203,

    Excellent point. With every team there is a turnover, even championship ones. If we were talking about Kobe or Pau, then I would understand, but LO is an MLE type player. I know he’s a chemestry guy, and that’s why we all love him, but I like our chances next year regardless.


  6. 204, Craig W, I’d much rather have the greatest possible chance to win a championship now, than to skewer the present in favor of the future. We don’t know what will happen in a couple years, be it a catastrophic injury or whatever, and we have to take advantage of our talent when we can.

    202 Firewalker, I don’t understand “He’s never been the kind of guy that wins you championships, and he won’t change now that he has one.” Lamar is a guy who sacrificed his role for the sake of the team, did all the little things asked of him, and selflessly accepted whatever the coaches asked of him. Isn’t that the exact type of player that wins championships?


  7. I don’t understand what is going on here with Lamar.

    $9m for 4 years ($36m) or $10m for 3 seasons ($30M) versus the alleged offers of the Magic/Mavs for $5.8 yr for 5 years ($34m).

    Looks to me like the offers are almost identical in earning power, but LA’s offer are only less in years. I can understand Lamar willing to take a 5 year deal whose total is worth more than a 3 or 4 year deal, but that’s not the case here. In fact, we have almost the same amount of cash.

    I have no idea what his agent is doing here. Is one extra year really worth all this trouble when the money is about the same? Can someone please explain why in the world this is better for Lamar OR why Lamar can’t just fire his agent (like A-Rod) and call Buss up?


  8. Zephid,

    The collapse of our bench had just as much to do with Ariza being inserted to the starting lineup as it did LOs. When your 2 best bench players become starters in middle of the season, it’s hard to keep up production.


  9. If there is any chance that a Lamar for Haslem/Beasley sign-and-trade can be done, that is the best possible option for next year and the future.


  10. Sure, next season will be unique. I’d argue that, without Odom, it’ll be unique in a very, very bad way.

    Odom is perfect for the triangle. He has skills that guys his size rarely have. He was a huge part of the Lakers’ success last season and those who diminish his contributions by saying “he was only their 4th best player” are both wrong and missing the point. If he leaves, who takes his minutes? Josh Powell?

    I am not a Laker fan, but I’m a basketball fan who loved watching the Lakers last season, and I really, really don’t want to see them without Odom next season. I don’t care about all the drama with this negotiation, I just hope something gets worked out.


  11. Maybe Lamar isn’t confident in his ability to save money and wants a paycheck guaranteed for as long as possible.


  12. MannyP, recall that Texas and Florida don’t charge state income tax so the numbers aren’t really all that far off.

    Then again, LO won’t be winning any more titles in Texas or Florida.


  13. The Laker organization has always taken a multi year view of player signings. That is why the Lakers have only finished out of the playoffs twice in the last 50 years. Part of that success is not repeating mistakes in signing mid-level players to overpriced/longer contracts. Last year we were all screaming about the silly contracts for Sasha, Vlade, and Luke. These were thought to be decent decisions at the time, but turned out to be a bit of a drag on our choices later on. Lamar’s demands fall into the same category.

    This organization will not sacrifice the next 4-5 years just to win the championship next year. That path is for the Miami’s of the world, not the Lakers.


  14. My only question for Lakers management is this: Where did these cajones come from, and why hadn’t they dropped last year during the Bynum negotiations??


  15. Kobe spoke on ESPN Radio and he told Odom to do what’s best for his family first and foremost, even though he want him back to get another crack at the championship.

    Rick Puker said the Lakers are planning to speak to Joe Smith and Drew Gooden today. Puker said Mitch thinks those two players would fit in well within the triangle. All of this was said on Sportscenter.


  16. Zephid,
    The point is that you don’t need Lamar coming off the bench for the Lakers to do well.

    And at this point, it looks like the Lakers likely starting line-up (Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Fisher) will be stronger than last year’s starting lineup while Bynum was out (Gasol, Odom, Ariza, Bryant, Fisher).

    Powell played reasonably well while Bynum was out; if he gets increased time (sans Odom) his performance is likely to improve (increased familiarity with the triangle).

    And the ability of Artest to play both SF and PF gives Jackson some of the same flexibility he had with Gasol (although I don’t think Artest is as good at PF as Gasol is at center).


  17. This contract negotiation is getting ridiculous, but understandable. Buss and LO’s agent are doing exactly what they need to do. It’s just sad that they can’t have a little more trust in each other. I guess that’s the business side of NBA. It doesn’t matter what you have done for each other. It’s always, “What have you done for me lately?”

    Has LO always earned $11-14 mil that he has been collecting the last few years? Does he really deserve $10 that he wants for the next 5 years in this economy and the current cap situations in NBA? The fans have been saying that LO deserves 3-4 year contract in the 8-9 mil range, even though no one else can give anything close to that. No one else is willing either. Then LO has to realize that Buss is looking out for LO as well as being fiscally responsible for the team. The good will between them seems to exist no longer. I hope it’s just posturing, and not the reality. Is $36 mil for 4 that far off from $40 mil for 4? Sure, he wants $50 mil for 5, but that’s just not going to happen. Wake up, Lamar! We all want something. We don’t always get it. If the Lakers offer $36 mil for 4 + $7 mil team option, he should just take it because even that is way too generous offer.

    Yes, Buss family has the money to pay $50 mil for 5, but the cap situation in 4 or 5 years will be completely jacked up if he does. LO needs to come down a little on his demand. Otherwise, he will be the loser as well as Buss family, the Lakers team, and the Laker fans.

    Don’t SCREW this up, LO!


  18. Joel – That’s true. Odom was moved into starting lineup. The VLad trade didn’t help as well as Ariza moving into the starting lineup. However, bench nearly always played with Pau and Odom on the floor together, yet couldn’t string together semblance of consistency. Brown was probably a statistical anomaly (highest PER of any Laker bench player not named Odom) given that there is a small sample size. Everyone took a step back. That just doesn’t exude confidence in me, though I have a belief in Walton and maybe Brown. Possibly Powell


  19. I understand the concept of planning for the furture. But in a realistic world, what is this team’s future after Kobe? Does anyone really know? We’d all hope that Bynum will end up taking the next step and would assume the mantle of the next Lakers’ great and become the focal point of another decade of contention. I know I do – it’s why I was in support of extending his rookie contract. But that’s only a hope at this point and by no means a sure thing. So, at this point, I would think maximizing the window that we have with Kobe would be the best course of action for this team. I’m not saying pay Odom whatever he wants…I’ve consistently said that an 8 mil offer is very fair. I too wish that Odom would just come to terms with what is actually attainable for him and sign on the dotted line. But, I don’t think we should turn on Odom. The front office sure hasn’t. Every quote that is leaked to the media has a qualifier at the end that basically says the team will listen if LO and his agent come back to the table. I just think the team is tired of being the pursuer; tired of chasing. I’m still hopeful that this is going to get done, because both sides still understand that they are the all that is really left for eachother. Sign and trades may be the other *out* for both sides, but that involves another team and another negotiation with another back and forth and haggling over terms that I don’t think any side really wants.

    Also, I agree with zephid in that this stalemate has to be about years, and not completely about money. Artest just got a 5 year deal (essentially). Rumors are that Kobe is going to extend his contract for an additional three years – pushing his contract to five more years. I think it’s also clear that the Lakers will try to re-up Pau at some point before his contract expires to maximize the Kobe/Pau pairing. So, LO must be thinking “I want that too”. More years also equals more security financially. One point that people aren’t talking about in relation to any current contract negotiation for any player (though it came up some during the Ariza stuff) is that the collective bargaining agreement is going to expire in the summer of 2011. Basically, that timeline means that any contract now better maximize your value and do it for the longest period of time beyond that date because any contract you sign after that point probably won’t be worth nearly as much. Especially if the players union makes as many concessions as are expected in the next CBA negotiations. If you’re Odom – a 30 yr old player – do you want to be a FA again in 3 seasons, and sign another deal when the structure of contracts will likely be much more favorable to the teams/owners than they are to the players than they are now? Or would you try to sign as long a deal now as possible and try to get that extra money knowing that this will likely be your last contract worth anything (this same logic surely came up between Trevor and “snakeoil salesman” Lee)? And while I agree with Kurt and others saying that this is really on Odom and he could tell his agent “let’s sign” today and it would be done, I also think he’s had some long talks with his agent where a lot of these side bar points (points that have nothing to do with the Lakers or championships or legacy) have come up and that these talks have skewed his perspective on what is actually best. When I hear quotes about being a “business man”, to me, it’s these side issues that are being referenced, not just the basic numbers 50mil/5yrs – it’s what those numbers mean in the context of the uncertain and changing landscape of the league’s next CBA.


  20. Here is a cool article about a basketball player on the Mavs summer league roster. The young man is 7-4 and can touch the rim while standing flatfooted. Moussa Seck seems like a good athlete if believe the article.



  21. This is really tough –

    Point for the Lakers: every dollar spent is a dollar they have to pay the league. Their first offer of 7 million is actually 14 million.
    Point for Lamar: Whatever he takes from the Lakers, there will be big time state taxes on it.
    So the Lakers sign him to 10 million a year: the Lakers pay 10 MORE million to the NBA, while 3-4 million of Lamar’s money goes to Arnold. So the Lakers are paying 20 million for Odom and he only gets 6-7 million. Now, I know I get a little upset when I look at the gross/net on my paycheck, and I don’t make anywhere near what Lamar does. Imagine how he feels!
    I won’t blame him either way. If he goes, we have no sixth man.


  22. Sad to say this. But I am Over it.

    Lets move on.

    We are the LA Lakers. He is Lamar Odom. Where was he before he got to us.


  23. This article in the LA Times on Tex Winter is worth reading…



  24. Darius,
    I think we should all suspend the “when Kobe retires” projections.

    Kobe and Pau are both about the same age and about the same build. Kobe is one of the smartest players in the game and reminds me of Oscar Robertson, in that respect. Kobe is there in crunch time, but he is doing less and less of the heavy lifting. With his build, he is likely to be able to play much longer than smaller, light guys or taller, heavy guys – see Kareem for an example. Pau also fits this same body type and should be able to play for many more years if he keeps in shape and isn’t asked to bang all the time.

    What all this means is that Pau and Kobe should be able to play together for 5-7 more years and we should be competitive for that time. That is about all we should ask at this time.


  25. When people point out players making more because of no state sales tax, you must remember that the players earn the money in the state they play each individual game.

    A player from the Mavs doesn’t pay income tax on the games they play in Texas, but they do pay income tax for the games they play in California, same way as touring musicians. You do make more money for a contract in Texas, but not as much as a cursory calculation would tell you.


  26. travis, where do you get that CA state taxes are 30 to 40%? I think that’s more like Fed tax rate, and that % is true(the same) in every state. I agree, some states don’t have a state tax, but the worst that could ever be is no more than 8% (I think) not a cpa, but I think you’re confusing state and fed tax rates.

    wrt this LO business, could this be the year we remember for 2 agents misplaying their hands in negotiations with the lakers front office? let’s hope not, man, if anything LO’s agent should have learned, is in watching the Ariza situation unfold, anyone in the know of sports, knows that Trevors agent plain and simple, “blew it”! poor negotiation skills, nothing else on that. now we’ve got another situation where it’s looking like the player wants to stay here in LA, (who wouldn’t?) and the agent overplays their hand and blows it.
    man, what an off season so far.


  27. Craig W,
    No doubt about what you’re saying. I too expect Kobe to play many more years. He’s fanatical about his conditioning and is as competitive a player as I’ve ever seen. But, I should have been more clear – I’m talking his window as a truly elite and dominant player. While Jordan was that player until he was 35/36 years old, asking Kobe to do that is a stretch considering the mileage on his legs and minutes played over his career (playing heavy minutes and making many deep playoff runs). Pau may have a bit longer as he has not had the deep playoff runs that Kobe had and has not been in the league as long, but I think my point is still valid. Realistically we have another 3-5 years with both Kobe/Pau playing at or near peak level. I think with a healthy Odom in that mix (as well as Bynum/Artest) we would have a core five players that could be at the center of a contender regardless of what other pieces fill in the gaps. That group has the versatility to play all five positions on the floor together if needed (I’m not saying they would or should, just that they could). So, I just think when we talk about the future, we need to really think about what this team will be in 5 years – will Bynum be ready? Will Kobe still be the player he is now? What other young players will we acquire and how will they perform? Those are a lot of questions that we would all be hopefull for positive answers, but ultimately we’re unsure. So, should we bet on that future or should we make our push now? I understand there has to be a balance between the two and the organization has to make the final call on which way it will tilt in the end. I just hope we can continue with what we’ve established for the now becaus I know it works. And then I’ll be optimistic about those unanswered questions for the future and root for all the success to continue when it’s time.


  28. CA’s income tax for top earners is 10.55%. I also believe their is surcharge for those making a million a year of more to pay for mental health services. Add in property taxes, and sales taxes and Cali is not a cheap place to live. And the way things are looking taxes are going to keep going up.


  29. The income tax rate in CA for people making more than $1m a year is 10.3%.

    So, I can see Lamar and his Agent thinking that Laker’s $36m for 4 years is worth roughly $32.4m, compared to the Heat/Mavs offer for $5.8 yr for 5 years ($34m), which would mean a difference for them of $1.6m over the life of the contract. I can also see them arguing that cost of living is less in FL and TX, so Lamar would be able to get a bigger mansion and probably spend a little less buying his fancy suits.

    Still, a $1.6m difference over 5 years is really not enough for Lamar to walk away from this team. First, because if Lamar’s intent is to play at least 5 more years, the Lakers 4 year offer would allows Lamar to hypothetically sign with a team for year 5 at the MLE – which should certainly allow Lamar to make up the aforementioned $1.6m difference. Since money is clearly not the biggest factor here, what’s the real issue?

    I’m with Kurt on this one. This is on Lamar. Unless his agent withheld the Lakers offer from him, It’s Lamar’s decision to accept or play hardball. Unfortunately for him, he is not in a position – and this is not the market – to play such game. Additionally, the Lakers know exactly the type of money the Heat/Mavs can offer him, so they can simply wait for LO to come to his senses. The only thing I can think of here is that LO and his Agent are gambling that Portland does a 180 and decides to pursue him.


  30. >$5.8 yr for 5 years ($34m).

    (plus no state taxes) but it’s not even that simple. the 5.8 (MLE) is only for the first year, then it escalates each year by some %-age. (10-15%?) some salary expert can come up with the real total, but it’s significantly more than $34m! (more like 45m to 50m over 5 years?)


  31. Not So Sweet Goodbye: LOw On Sugar
    by Jonathan Hernandez

    Was this really the team that just won the championship? I hope this isn’t the start of some really bad snowballs rolling our way. Too up and down a Summer for me, and I think I might throw up soon.

    Recap of events in the last month and a half:

    Trevor Ariza leaves. Sad turn of events.

    Ron Artest signs for a relatively cheap contract by his standards. Repeat here we come!

    Sasha Vujacic is still a Laker. And still getting paid $5 mill a year. “Why?” – some child in Africa.

    Shannon Brown turns down a more lucrative contract with the Indiana Pacers to resign with the Lakers. Heart of a champion!

    Lamar Odom and his agent turn down a $9 mill a year for 3 years deal after the Lakers raised their offer from $7 mill a year. Odom’s been chewing on those sour patches a little too much. Sucks like a month old lollipop Odom forgot under his bed.

    Adam Morrison seems fully healthy and ready to revive his career, avg 20 pts through his first 4 games in the Vegas Summer League. Resurgence of the Bird Apparent!

    And in recent developments, the Lakers front office has seemingly pulled the offer from the table, obviously frustrated with how negotiations with Odom’s agent have gone. Don’t play hard-ball with the front office. EFF!

    [Update: Odom was offered $30 mill/3 years OR $36mill/4 years…Odom’s camp rejected both. Odom led the Lakers with 1.3 rejections last season. He’s good at rejections. Thus, offer officially withdrawn.]

    Well, fans who have clamored for a Lamar Odom trade almost every summer that he’s been a Laker will finally get their wish – although this summer, it’s probably their biggest dread. There will be no sugar rush in L.A. next year, but there will still be rush hour…

    What was shaping up to be a Summer of Greater Expectations for the 2009 World Champion Lakers has quickly turned into a Summer of Absolute Discontent. How could feelings of champagne bliss switch to grievances of contract piss so quickly? But really, after the unfortunate mishandling of Trevor Ariza’s contract (who still desperately wants to be a Laker despite symbolically stepping into T-Mac’s #1 jersey), and the recent signings of Shannon Brown and Ron Artest (who both turned down more money to play for the Lakers) – how has it come to this?

    The Lakers aren’t betraying their players, the players aren’t betraying their teams – it’s the agents who are betraying their own common sense.

    I’m not sure what to make of this recent speculation that the Lakers have withdrawn their offer from Odom’s camp, but I do know that it will be a very sad day in L.A. when Lamar Odom officially leaves signs with another team – regardless of who we may think is in the wrong . Unfortunately, it is pride and greed that have made their presence known more than anything else this past summer when it comes to the arena of cordial diplomacy and contractual business – and that’s never been a recipe for anything sweet.

    Expect the worst. Be surprised by the best.



  32. I’m sure it’s hard for Lamar to accept that Andrew “Ride the Pine-num” is going make 50% more than him and do 75% less. Hey Lamar, you gotta decide. We will win more championships with Kobe, Pau and Ron on board. We can a) slide Ron down to the four (at 6-7 and 270 lbs, no problem) while Kobe plays some 3 or b) bring in Josh Powell for a good 6-10 minutes a half, or scour the NBA for that next catch. David Lee? yes, Michael Beasley? no, too small. Don’t worry Lamar LA will be fine with or without you. Please stay though, most of us like you, you’re a good dude. Higher a nutritionalist and you’ll be fine.


  33. One factor worth mentioning is the economic situation for the league and for the country as a whole. Remember the Great Depression had about 3 downturns over a period of 9 years or so, with periods in between where it looked like things had already reached bottom. The underlying fundamentals don’t look good in the US, with high budget defecits foe the Feds, 46 of the 50 states in the red, pressures on the dollar, and still rising unemployment.

    With most teams in the NBA losing money and with the need for a new collective bargaining agreement on the horizon, locking in an extra year or two now might lock in a higher payday than will be available down the road.


  34. I am at the same place I was with Ariza. I believe that we need Odom but as someone just reminded me in an earlier post…we are the L.A. Lakers. We make players who they are. If Odom does not want to except a more than fair deal, let him walk. I have faith that our front office will do what it takes to make sure that we fill the gap. One thing about our organization, they will do whatever it takes to make sure we field a team that will not just make a push for the playoffs, but a possible finals birth. Look at what happened with Boston. We got beat bad but against all odds we made it back the next year and won the whole thing. Everyone team in the NBA are making changes, not to make their teams better, but to keep up with us.



  35. I agree with Musicfan. Bottom line is that if Lamar goes, we need a backup 4, Powell isn’t a proven solution there.

    I really like David Lee. If he can excel in that franchise given all the B.S. they’ve been through the last few years, imagine how bright he could shine as the 6th man on a contender. Plus, I have faith in his ability to do the 2 things that Laker big men are notoriously weak at: Rebound and defend the pick and roll. He also has a high basketball IQ which is a must in the triangle.

    I think a large reason Lamar leaving scares so many is because the triangle takes so long to learn. Plus we’re already bringing in Artest, which means two of the key pieces for our title run last year are gone and we have 2 new names to drag through a learning curve (Artest and Free Agent X who will fill the 6th man role).

    However, Shannon Brown and Pau are proof that all it takes for a newcomer to excel on this team are a willingness to learn the system, and the ability to match Kobe’s intensity. Lamar didn’t always possess either, especially the latter. I think D. Lee may be a better option.


  36. Where Mitch clearly messed up with Lamar is in the area of benefits.

    How many of you doubt that Lamar would have signed immediately for the MLE plus an unlimited career supply of candy bars?

    Not to mention the endorsements.


  37. #188…Bill Bridges,

    I think you might be on to something there with the incentives…

    how about something like a 7 mil per for 5 years offer? And an extra million for each round of the playoffs the Lakers win.

    That will ensure Buss gets his money’s worth in the last years of the contract and keep Lamar hungry. A win-win?


  38. This contract haggling is only doing one thing.

    Giving us something to talk about. Traffic is crazy all over Lakers blogs. Once they get this contract signed all we’ll have to talk about is………when NBAtv replays the Finals.

    Thank you, Lakers FO and LO. It’s been slow.


  39. the other Stephen July 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    225. Craig, thanks so much for providing that touching Bill Plaschke column about Tex. No, it’s not about the triangle again, although it does mention it. I want to recommend it again here:



  40. “What all this means is that Pau and Kobe should be able to play together for 5-7 more years and we should be competitive for that time.”

    That is very optimistic, given their mileage. The Lakers should be thinking about the next two years, then we’ll see. That is true of pretty much any team–but particularly of one where all the key guys except one are around 30 and the most important young guy has seriously injured both knees.

    I am very optimistic short-term–but this is a short-horizon team.


  41. 181. Craig W,

    Ever see the Lakers’ pre-game huddles? Who’s the guy in the middle getting the team around him and riling them up? Hint: It’s not the universally adored or the #1 spectacular option. If you’ve ever been a part of any team (not just sports) you’d know that the heart and soul of the team is not your best performers, but the guy who keeps your team together and motivated.

    On a sidenote, Lamar to Miami significantly improves them. I think he would fit well with them. They might push for 3rd in the East.


  42. This has been very entertaining, but uncertainty brings about anxiety. Good player, agreed, worth 9 to 10 mil, debatable. The FO has really been thrown a changeup here. Thoughts were that it was going to be easier to sign LO, than TA, it turned out to be the opposite. Let him leave, it will not be the end of the world.


  43. David Lee? I haven’t head much about him lately but I thought I remember him wanting more than $10 mill. Being young and considering what Bargnani and Varejao got I’m sure he wants at least a similar contract from the Knicks.

    Also I’m not sure how his offensive skill set fits into the triangle, and it goes without saying he isn’t as versatile as LO and lacks his shot blocking ability. He also hangs around the basket a lot on O and D.

    Seems like he’s not even an option right now so I don’t know why he was brought up.


  44. New post up, for Odom talk and some Summer League notes.


  45. Yeah lets pay 10 mil for a great cheerleader. Let’s just bring back Paula Abdul, heard she can be had for the veterans min.


  46. @232 – Contract raises for signing with a team without your Bird Rights is 8%. Signing for the MLE for 5 years at maximum possible raises from year to year comes out to $34 million. This is the same deal that Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza both got from the Lakers and Rockets.

    Does anyone have any info on how a player is paid for playoff games? IE, if a player is paid x amount per game during the regular season, how is it calculated for y number of playoff games? Do all players have contract bonus rates set for postseason games?

    @227 – While your correct that players pay state income taxes based on where the game was played, there still is a difference between playing in Texas versus California (or Florida). For example:

    The Lakers play 41 home games in Caliornia. They also play an additional 6 more games due to the Clippers, Kings, and Warriors in the state. That’s 47 games in California. In non-state income tax states (FL & TX), the Lakers play 8 games total; six in Texas, two in Florida.

    Now the Mavs on the other hand, they play 41 home games in Texas, plus 4 more games due to the Spurs and Rockets. That’s 47 games un-taxed, including two Florida games. The Heat play 46 games un-taxed. This is in comparison to the Lakers, who only play the 8 games all season un-taxed.

    However, like #231 said, the rough estimate of taxes paid to the state is somewhere between $1.5 and $1.8 million for a $10 million contract.

    Let’s break it down, with alot of guestimation of course.

    $10 million dollar contract is broken down into $121,951.22 per game. Now, as established, the Lakers play at most 74 games that are state-taxed. Let’s put state tax at the high number of 10%, just to play devil’s advocate. That’s a tax cost of $12,195.12 per game. Total cost is of taxes is $902,438.88 over the course of the season.

    Now let’s look at it from the Mavs point of view. A player’s total cost at 35 taxed away games is $426,829.20 over the course of the season.

    Miami’s, FYI, is $439,024.32 total state-tax on 36 away games.

    Over the course of a 5 year contract, here’s the loss in state taxes:

    California: $4,512,194.40
    Texas: $2,134,146.00
    Florida: $2,195,121.60

    So if LO had a 5 year/$50 million contract, he loses the above totals from it from just state taxes alone. While these seem like huge differeces to us (since we’re not millionaires), remember that this has been the case for quite awhile in all pro-sports, yet Texas and Florida aren’t exactly well-known for gathering the best free agents every year.

    And of course, this all assumes that each year of the contract is at $10 million (unlikely), that the every state has it’s income tax at 10% (impossible), and that the tax rate never changes over 5 years (improbable).


  47. I posted the Tex article like 50 posts earlier… lol proves my theory that people just scroll down to the people they know and read their posts.


  48. Lamar is not taking a pay cut nor is he leaving money on the table to stay with the Lakers. Saying he is taking a paycut from $14 million/yr to $10 million/yr is not accurate. He would only by taking a paycut if the Lakers’ offer was not the highest. This is why Lamar is being ridiculed here. He is not leaving any money on the table to stay with the Lakers. I used to believe his mental lapses were only on the court. Evidently, this happens off the court as well.


  49. the other Stephen July 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    sorry, samy. i don’t have time to read through every post. i was scrolling from the bottom up, and I saw an interesting link. not so sure about your theory…


  50. Some of the stuff I’ve been reading in terms of Buss being “angry” at not getting a response, combined with retracting the offer and the additional threat of providing a lower offer if Odom comes back..it all seems pretty petty to me. Odom has been a class act in terms of handling the negotiations. He did not pull a Shaq move. I don’t think his agent acted like Ariza’s. But the blind quotes coming out of the Lakers camp – splitting the agent and the player, complaining about the no call back…all you are doing is exposing your weakness. The lakers have always been tight lipped. I’ll bet that when the LA Times and Daily News ran their stories, the lakers had pretty much given up. That was the hail mary. LO thinks he’s worth a certain amount of money. He runs the risk of not getting it from LA. Let’s leave it at that. Do the Lakers think they can get something better than LO that’s out there? I don’t think so, or they would have pulled something similar to Ariza/Artest. This seems more personal at this point than anything, and that’s sad. I don’t think losing LO over the amount discussed is worth this – but I certainly understand why the lakers would rather let him go. But the way this is being played out sends a message to most of the other players on the team.


  51. Rejecting the Lakers offer still doesn’t make a lot of sense from a present value standpoint…the Lakers higher near-term salaries can be invested to yield some of that 4th and 5th years income Lamar seems to be looking for…


  52. “Success is often the first step toward disaster. I call it, ‘the disease of more’. People start thinking, ‘I’m really the key ingredient. It was my quality minutes off the bench. It was my outstanding defense. People who were quiet during the lean years suddenly want more money, more playing time, more recognition. And they get aggressive and jealous about pulling in their ‘more’. The disease of more takes away their perspective.”
    -Pat Riley

    I quoted this on an earlier thread about Trevor. I get the feeling we’re headed down the same road with LO. The disease of more continues to spread.


  53. 207 Zephid

    you wrote:
    amar is a guy who sacrificed his role for the sake of the team, did all the little things asked of him, and selflessly accepted whatever the coaches asked of him”

    I’m sorry, but i didn’t realize that Lamar had a decision in the matter. Before Bynum was injured Lamar sucked the place up to high heaven! Only after Bynum got injured and Lamar got his starting role / playing time back, did he actually give some effort in some games and played excellent in the playoffs.

    I would love Lamar back and if it were me and my decision was: lamar with 10m or not lamar, i’d pay the man. But i’d also trade him for Beasley without second thought, and we have options if he leaves. All is not lost if Lamar is not a laker.


  54. kaveh, perhaps he didn’t have a choice, but he did perform his role without complaint or making any sort of a fuss except for one sentence to the media in October.

    Think of it this way. Say you got drafted into the military, went off to fight in a war, and came back here. Sure, you didn’t have a choice, but you damn well deserve some praise for actually going and doing it.

    And you’re completely wrong about Lamar sucking before Bynum got injured. Lamar was leading the Lakers in +/- for the entire season, especially in the beginning of the year. The bench was absolutely destroying other teams in the beginning of the year, and a lot of that had to do with Lamar (and Trevor, of course). So you’re just completely wrong about Lamar playing terribly when he lacked minutes.


  55. If I’m understanding this correctly, though – Lamar doesn’t have jack to work with until another team tenders him an offer, right? Until that happens (if it does), the Lakers own his rights, yes?


  56. robinred,

    You’re mistaken on a few levels. Firstly, an NBA players PRIME years are typically anywhere from 27-32. Pau is 28, Artest is 29, Odom is 29, Kobe is 30.

    Secondly, Jordan didn’t even win his first title until he was 29! He won his last at age 36-37. I fully expect Kobe to be an MVP caliber player until 34.

    Thirdly, when you say “mileage” it doesn’t make much sense. It’s as if you don’t recognize any “mileage” of a player before their NBA days. Kobe skipped college to play in the NBA while Jordan played a few years years in college. There is no difference between their mileage –it’s just that they played in different leagues. Not to mention that Kobe only played like 15 minutes per game in his first year or so.

    What really matters is age, genetics and work ethic. Kobe is 30, still in the middle of his prime. Kobe has that body that looks to last. Like Jordan, Kobe has never really had ANY serious injuries (no jinx please). And both have work ethics rivaled by none.

    Even Shaq, who’s like 38 now, won a championship 3 years ago at age 35. His body is made to break down and yet he wasn’t that much off of his MVP level he played at with the lakers. I fully expect Kobe to be far closer to his peak at 35 than Shaq was. Shaq has the body which is basically made to breakdown, while Kobe has the exact opposite body.

    Also, I think Phil Jackson said it best on age –he said that players actually get BETTER as they age as long as they keep roughly 90% of their athleticism. Kobe is far better today than he was in his early 20’s, while he had more jump in his step back then. Kobe will continue to improve his playmaking ability and shooting ability, not to mention his overall understanding of the game. This will more than make up for his slight loss in athleticism over the next 5 years or so.


  57. Kobes stays in great shape,hes got 5-7 years left barring injury. If we get him a dependable backup 2g,we can cut his minutes down.. Shannon brown or sasha can fill that void i hope. When hes done whe will bypass mj….pc


  58. Also does anyone know where i can find those defensive ratings ive seen for odom and fisher? Speaking of Fish,how pissed is he,hes making $4.7 mil. and hes way more clutch than odom who wont take 9 million… Makes him wanna puke i bet..pc


  59. Any word on Odom?

    I’ve checked the headlines, Miami, Portland, no even the Knicks.

    Just wondering if you guys had any fresh takes.


  60. I think how long Kobe has left is totally in his own control – if he realistically is going to play 5 – 7 more years at the top then it will come down to how he looks after himself off the court. I guess how he is managed on the court ie: minutes etc will also play a role, but the main role will be on his own shoulders.