Final Notes from Vegas

Kurt —  July 18, 2009

KINGS - Bucks
As the Lamar Odom saga unfolds, here is one reminder — nobody tells a reporter something without a motive. For example, the Jim Hill exclusive that Lamar Odom called Dr. Buss (which I’m sure happened), who would benefit from that being leaked? Odom would: The Lakers said Buss was angry they got no response at all to their offer, the way to counter that with PR is to not only make the call but leak that you made the call. We have no idea what actually was said on that call, by the way. Read Stein’s ESPN piece and he is clearly getting info from the Odom camp (including an inflated savings number on state income tax). Read Turner at the LA Times or Teaford at the Daily News and they are clearly plugged into the Lakers front office.

As I said before, in the end the Lakers and Odom need each other to get any kind of deal done that makes everyone happy (I still just don’t think he settles for a full MLE offer, and the Lakers don’t want him to go for nothing). They will be talking again because, at the end of the day, they have no choice.

• Rumor here in Vegas is the Lakers are going to offer Chinemelu Elonu and Tony Gaffney invites to training camp. Neither really has any chance to make the roster, but a camp invite is a good way to get noticed. I would love for the Lakers to find a way to keep Gaffney in their system; he has a world of potential athletically and has a great work ethic. He was slowed here in Vegas due to injury, but showed some flashes in the Lakers last game and people in the know are high on him. He’s the kind of guy who starts the season as the 14th man and by the end is getting regular minutes. He is going to be a fan favorite somewhere next year.

• Tyreke Evans could develop into a good NBA PG. He is long and quick for the position, and that could make him a good NBA defender. Something he showed flashes of here — he has caused problems for guys with his length changing shots and deflecting passes. He has a good first step on offense. The first few games it was if he forgot how to pass — at one point at the end of a close game he came down the court five straight possessions and never gave the ball up — but by Friday he was doing a better setting up teammates especially on penetration. Still some things to work on, like finishing among the NBA trees, but that should come.

Craftsteak at the MGM is amazing.

• The two bigs the Kings drafted, Casspi and Brockman, could turn out to be decent bench minute guys. Casspi really battles, particularly on the offensive boards. Needs some bulk but the fire is there and he has a nice outside shot.

• Jordan Hill, the Arizona product taken by the Knicks (after Curry was taken, crushing the hopes of Knicks fans) may be a good NBA power forward, or may be a bust, but we won’t know for a while. He doesn’t operate well in a crowd, but showed flashes in space. He needs to develop a jumper and a consistent passion for rebounding. Simply put, it will be two years before we really know if that was a good pick of not. That shouldn’t be a problem though, the fans in New York are renowned for their patience.