Odom Signs — Watching the Sausage Get Made

Kurt —  July 30, 2009

NBA: MAY 25 Western Conference Finals - Lakers at Nuggets - Game 4
Sometimes, those age-old adages are around because they’re accurate. Like the one often referred to when talking about congressional legislation — everyone loves sausage but you don’t want to see it get made.

Welcome to the Lamar Odom negotiations.

We all love how it ended (at least Lakers fans) — four years, 33 million with a Laker option on the fourth year. That works out to an average of $8.25 million a year, which before this entire process started is about what I and a number of people thought was the fair market value for Odom. Odom gave a little, the Lakers gave a little, everyone is happy. With him back in the fold, and the Lakers as title favorites, this is some tasty sausage.

But it was hard to watch get made.

What started out as a quiet negotiation became more and more public as Odom’s camp tried to use Portland (an alleged five year, $40 million offer, which Odom’s agent said later may not have been real) and most often Miami as leverage. Miami seemed realistic on some levels — it was a five-year deal (albeit for a couple million less per season), it’s a state without income tax, Odom has played in and likes Miami, D-Wade was very public in his lobbying. It made a good bluff (and may not have completely been one).

But Buss loves high stakes poker, and this is about as high stakes as it gets — millions in luxury tax and possible championships hanging in the balance. He made his read that Odom wanted to be here and would take his offer over being somewhere else. He pulled an offer out of frustration but he largely stuck to his guns.

Both sides played this pretty well, trying to leverage their positions and get as much as they could out of it.

It was the fans that were buffeted about, feeling like some feudal serf caught between two warring kings and just wanting peace and a happy outcome. It was the fans that fed most off the leaked information, really put out for leverage in the talks. It was the fans that over-analyzed every little bit of information.

Anyone who has been in a negotiation — buying a house, through work, at a bar at closing time — knows it is not a pretty process. Most basketball contract negotiations are like that, ugly and not something you want to be in the middle of. This was a rare glimpse for us fans into that world.

And come next June, we will have forgotten all about it, because the sausage will taste good.

——————————————–

With the end of the Odom saga, I leave on vacation for 10 days (it’s a coincidence, I swear). I am heading East, spending some time on Martha’s Vineyard and in Boston (even taking in a minor league game at Fenway Park). As much as I hate its basketball team, Boston is a great city. Because I apparently don’t value the safety of myself or my family, I have my Lakers championship hat and other gear packed and ready to be worn.

Some of the regulars here will be putting up posts over the next week, so there will be more to talk about than Sun’s contract. Treat them with respect and when I get back it will be time to delve into some “Lakers I miss” columns and more off-season fun.

Kurt

Kurt

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183 responses to Odom Signs — Watching the Sausage Get Made

  1. Oops, -puts dunce cap on- Wonder what this post is about…

  2. great thoughts. still at the office and this post is making me hungry for dinner. hehe

    other than the summer when kobe was testing the FA waters and shaq got traded, I don’t remember another summer as agonizing as this one for a lakers fan. we’ve all earned our keep this past month.

  3. How did LO play it out well? Instead of a 4-year 36 million deal with the 4th year 3 million guaranteed, he has a 4-year 33 million deal with the 4th year team option. He’s making a few millions less. Even though he tried to leverage the most he can, if the end justifies the means, he should’ve just taken the initial offer.

  4. sorry to double-post. just found out ofn hoops world it’s 3 years 25 million, with the 4th year 2 million guarenteed.

    No matter how u look at the numbers, 3 years 27m vs 3 years 25m; 4 years 30m vs 4 years 27m (if the lakers buyout the 4th year), or 4 years 36m vs 4 years 33m (playing out the 4th year), LO lost a few million along the way.
    Pretty bad bluff…

  5. That describes me perfectly: a feudal serf hungry for some tasty sausages.

  6. I think our team is starting to look freakishly unfair to the rest of the league.

    Andrew Bynum
    Pau Gasol
    Lamar Odom
    Ron Artest
    Kobe Byrant

    Just for fun, we should sign somebody whose first name starts with an “E” so we can have a starting lineup that spells “LAKER.”

  7. the other Stephen July 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    the foregone benefits of not signing the first deal are a sunk cost..

    imperfect as jeff schwartz may be, david lee could’ve learned a thing or two from him. now i just wonder about this team with ariza, and this team with artest sans ariza. i hope artest won’t make us rue signing him. i’ve been watching game reels from this past season, and the number of notable plays and points per game (critical steals, fast breaks, clean-ups, put backs, tips, and recoveries) that somehow involve ariza boggles me. he just never stood still. there are at least a few every single game. it just makes me wonder…

  8. One word…checkmate!

  9. Kenny he’s got 3 years $27 million guaranteed because the Lakers will buy him out for $2 million if they don’t exercise their option in the 4th year. The 4 year deal this time is less, as you pointed out.

    Anyway, so glad this got done. I think the numbers are high enough so that Odom shouldn’t be disgruntled. I’ll now hibernate until the start of the season. Cheers everyone.

  10. “at a bar at closing time ”

    Go ugly early

  11. ALso, that will keep Odom motivated in year three.

  12. kurt… did you just say lamar played his position well to get as much as he could?? i thought he passed up a bigger offer and had to come begging buss back.

  13. harold,

    if we could get Eric Gordon, that would be one sick “LAKER” team:

    Lamar
    Andrew
    Kobe
    Eric
    Ron

    Kupchak should find a way to trade for Gordon just for the sheer coolness of it.

  14. It’s a great day to be a Lakers fan. I am glad that my Odom jersey will still be fashionable in LA for another few years.

    I have been checking the news in anticipation daily and finally the good news is here!

    I can’t wait for the preseason to start so that I can witness (and read here!) how Artest learns and fits in their system. I hope that Odom has that instant chemistry like he had when we acquired Pau.

    So are we looking at a starting lineup of Fish, Kobe, Artest, Pau and Bynum or do we start our five best guys, sit Fish, and try the Odom running the point experiment again?

  15. sure, mitch could use the magic beans left over from the gasol deal to get gordon. no prob for the kupster.

    ah, our long national nightmare is over. now what are we gonna talk about?

  16. Yay! Finally, we can just chill and enjoy the rest of the summer as champs.

    Surfs up, serfs.

  17. My question to Kurt and the rest of the forum blue and gold family Is who should start Lamar or Ron? I think Ron would be excellent off the bench but he Is a more traditional SF what do you guys think? Whats your starting lineup for next year?

  18. I have been very critical of LO in past post, only because I kept hearing the words irreplaceable and LO in the same sentence. I am happy this situation is over and the FO didnt mortgage the future to sign him. With this deal LO got his fair market value plus a little extra. If he would have signed the first contract offered I would have been totally irrate, but in the end all is well. GO LAKERS

  19. Harold and Barry,

    NIce! Probably wouldn’t be starting lineup unless Gasol is injured, but surely that lineup would be out there plenty, since its got 1 at each position.

    Eric Gordon! Do it!!!!

    On a serious note, I’m glad this is all over. :)

  20. I think Odom proved very productive coming off the bench, and that Ron Ron might be miffed at the prospect. Plus, Artest should always be on the floor with better scorers so that he has less reason to jack up shots.

    I would, however, LOVE to see the Odom, Kobe, RonRon, Pau and Bynum lineup at some point. Given that Odom’s three-ball has improved this year (to the point where I no longer find myself cringing with each attempt), the lineup might now be feasible from a floor spacing standpoint.

  21. Lewis,

    For whatever reason(s), Phil didn’t play a line up of Gasol, LO and Bynum. I am not sure I see that happening this year either, so I think Crazy Pills slides into Ariza’s spot.

    I am not sure we will ever be best served by a lineup of Gasol, LO, Bynum, RA and KB. It seems like it might be overkill and we wouldn’t get a good return on our investment.

    What excites me is that I think our team is incredibly deep. If we stay healthy, there are just so many combinations we can run out there. I can’t wait to see what Phil does. Mbenga, Powell and Ammo are at the end of the bench and I can see any of them contributing minutes here and there.

    Obviously, in the playoffs our rotations will be much tighter, but Phil may be able to give Kobe and Pau more time off this season. That bodes well for a deep playoff run.

  22. L.O. is now signed
    The Lakers team is now set
    next is the repeat

  23. Yeah, a sigh of relief here, that is for sure. Good, now court (hardwood floor)related basketball talk can resume, not the contact/business stuff anymore. Nothing against you drrayeye, I very much enjoy everthing you add to this forum, just tired of the LO stuff. It seemed that somewhere around $8m per year was what we thought LO would get from the Lakers and it worked out that way. He will work hard that 3rd year to make sure he picks up the 4th year option from the Lakers. I think I will go cook some sausage for a late night snack…

    “Never regret something that once made you smile.” – Amber Deckers

  24. I agree with Kenny. Both sides did not play this well. In fact, both sides made huge errors, though in the end only LO really got burned.

    LO played hardball by rejecting a ridiculously generous offer of $30 million for 3 years. That wasn’t smart, and it cost him a guaranteed $3 million over 3 years. This isn’t just a bad decision in retrospect; it was obvious at the time. He had no other offers on the table when he rejected the Laker deal. Sorry, but to me losing $1 million a year by trying to play hardball with the only team who could (and would) offer that high was an amateurish mistake.

    As for Buss, after the mistake of the first offer (that even he ultimately realized was crazy), he played this quite well. I actually think he could have squeezed another million out of this, but what’s a million dollars between friends….

  25. 20) VoR,
    The ability of 4 (Gasol, Odom, Bryant, Artest) of the top 6 to be able to play multiple positions (plus Walton) really gives the coaching staff flexibility.

  26. Now I can have fun experimenting with different lineups that have Odom with one or two starters.

    Odom & Pau
    Odom & Kobe
    Odom & Bynum

    now… kinda curious to see what

    Odom & Ron

    would look like. will they show telepathic powers? I don’t think their styles really complement each other, but that may be fun regardless…

  27. 7,13 – Eric Gordon must happen …

    Then to make for a perfect LAKERS team, first off the bench, why, Sasha of course!

  28. we will have the most championship in about 5-7 years.

    I smell a three-four peat.

  29. lamar in my opinion is one of the most underrated players in the entire nba. he is a point forward type with improving shooting skilld, already great passing skills and world class rebounding slash defense. vegas oddsmakers put the lakers as 2 to 1 favs for wiining again next year. I agree. this is going to be one hell of a 4 to 5 year run. started in 08.

  30. The Odom negotiation always struck me as the NBA equivalent of the Manny Ramirez signing. There was nobody who could outbid them, so all the Lakers had to do was keep their nerve and not bid against themselves.

  31. I think its good to have Lamar come off the bench as he could come in for Artest, Odom, or Bynum. But we should finish games with the big five on the floor (I think Kobe could still guard PG’s).

    Imagine… just a couple of year ago Lamar was the Lakers 2nd best player. Now he is the teams 5th best player. They are loaded!

  32. Good to hear, most of all because we don’t have to have this mundane back and forth discussion any more. Great to have him back.

  33. If the Lakers are the team we hope they can be, we will finish games next year with Farmar, Sasha, Morrison, Powell, and Mbenga.

  34. Drrayeye…

    If I get to see even one game where we get to finish like that, I’d be happy.

    That’d really be a sign of mental improvement.

  35. Helo/26 –

    Agreed about the versatility – that’s one of my favorite things about this squad. You wanna go big? We can go big. You wanna go small? We can go do that too. You wanna run? We can run. You wanna pack it in and slow it down? You guessed it – we like to do that too. The beautiful things is that, we can eitehr make teams match up with us, or we can beat them at their own game. That was one of our keys last year, and we just got more versatile with the switch of Artest for Ariza.

    7 of our first 10 guys can be effective at 2 different positions (at least). Really, only Bynum, Fish, and Farmar can only play one spot:

    Pau – 4/5
    LO – 4/3/5 (when we go *really* small)
    RonRon – 3/4 (when we go small)
    Luke – 3/4 (when we go small)
    Kobe – 2/3 (when we go small)
    Sasha – 1/2
    ShanWOW – 1/2

    That’s called versatility.

  36. Now if the bench get back on point, I don’t see 72-10 as out of reach. But whatever, a repeat is far more important. The only player on the Lakers that I feel need to step up is Sasha, since if Farmar doesn’t play well, we have Shannon.

  37. Anyone else excited to see devean george return to the pacific division in golden state?

  38. I don’t think I’ve ever been excited to see Devean George

  39. i think what drrayeye meant is that we will blow out most of our opponents and get to see farmar, sasha, morrison, powell and mbenga in garbage time..

    which i think could be a frequent thing in the regular season…

  40. Just in case anyone’s losing sleep over Sun Yue, his deal isn’t guaranteed if he’s waived before Aug. 1. But if he’s waived between Aug 2 and opening day, he’s guaranteed $100K. After that, his $700K+ salary is fully guaranteed.

  41. http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/2009/07/odom-returning-somebody-filled-that.html :

    At long last, we can all finally breathe a large sigh of relief and bust out those red vines and Hi-chews in sugar-rushed celebration (though it’s probably best for Odom to stay away from any candy that has the word ‘Hi’/'High’ in it). I don’t know whether to strangle him or to hug him. All I know is – I’m smiling. A smiling strangle should do. FRICKEN ODOM’!! WELCOME BACK!

    Now, a deep, profound statement from Lamar:

    I’m BAAAAAACK!!!!

    - via Twitter/RealLamarOdom

    Count the number of A’s he put into his ‘Back’ and that should give you a good estimate of how many championships he expects to win with the Lakers in the near future. Back that thing up.

    Continue Reading ‘Odom Makes A 360 Degree Turn-Around:

    http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/2009/07/odom-returning-somebody-filled-that.html

  42. Now that LO is out of the way, we can finally start talking about something else.

    While I understand the importance of Fisher, the guy is getting old now and Farmar is going to be on the fence next year. On one side of the fence is a long contract with the lakers and the starting PG job and on the other side is some other team either through trade or free agency. I say that it would be beneficial to give this kid a shot at the STARTING job and bring Fisher off the bench. Fisher knows better than anyone that he is old but still very important to the team. I’m willing to be that he would welcome this opportunity. Farmar on the other hand, in my opinion, will shine brightly in the starting role. Does anyone remember game 3 vs the Rockets? The guy played awesome. With the starting job comes confidence and drive –give the kid a chance and we will be very surprised/pleased.

    Fisher would still be the closer however.

  43. From Blazer’s edge concerning a purported 5 year/$40 million offer:

    “update: 3:21PM … ESPN has revised its story to remove the 5 year/40 million dollar figures from the report.

    Alright, then.

    Update: 6:33PM … ESPN has revised its story again, this time removing Portland from the discussion entirely.

    One source close to Odom told ESPN that the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday tried to join the bidding with a potential five-year, $40 million bid. Yet that would have required Portland to trade a player such as Travis Outlaw to a team with salary-cap space like Oklahoma City, thereby creating the cap space to make such an offer after the Blazers’ recent signing of free-agent guard Andre Miller.

    “It’s not true,” Odom’s agent Jeff Schwartz said Thursday night. “I’ve had no discussions this week with the Blazers about Lamar.”

  44. Kobe has the opportunity to take a team to the finals 7 out of 11 seasons

    impressive decade..magic and bird had the 80′s..jordan the 90′s..safe to say kobe for 00′s..

    Could be more if smush kwame and atkins weren’t running the show for a while

  45. My favorite do-it-all sausage is back!

    Now who can we trade away or trade for in the next two months? How can I survive such a long period of time with a roster set in stone? I need my drama! ;)

    Also, I immediately checked whether Shelden Williams’s and Candace Parker’s child was boy so signing the father might give the Lakers an early advantage on signing the possibly insanely talented offspring. It’s a girl, so I’m not sure adding Williams’s salary is worth it.

  46. Renato Afonso July 31, 2009 at 4:43 am

    The beauty of it is that we will be able to have a bench deep enough to allow less minutes for everyone during the regular season.

    We’ll have Ron, Luke and Ammo (to a lesser extent) sharing minutes at SF. We’ll have Sasha backing up Kobe for longer periods. We’ll have Fisher splitting minutes with Farmar and ShanWOW. And our frountcourt is more than insured with Josh and Mbenga. I don’t care if we go 60-22 but this team allows the starters to catch enough rest, so that they are good to go coming playoff time.

    The roster is very balanced with each player producing a unique skillset to the team…

  47. exhelo,

    agreed. I think Sasha and the kid with the hops fit that description too, to some extent.

    I’m giddy just thinking about the various lineups that PJ can run out there.

  48. this whole bargaining thing has made me lose my respect for lamar.. he said he’d take a ‘home town discount’ to give the lakers a better chance to repeat.. but in the end it was all about the money.

    sure he took a huge pay cut.. but thats because the economy and his lack of all-star level production.. a home town discount would be a discount from his *market* value.. probably in the 7+ region. but the fact that he turned down an offer for 9 just shows that, despite what he says, he’s just another slut for money.

    nothing wrong with that, most people are, they have the right to be, its a biz, etc etc etc. but at least be honest about it, don’t try to paint urself the good guy.

  49. 41 kaveh,

    I love the idea of Fisher coming off the bench; however, instead of Farmar starting, I think ShanWOW is a better fit with the first unit. Farmar’s strength IMO is playing at a faster tempo; especially with the ball in his hands — which he can more readily do with the second unit, ala last year’s change-of-pace bench mob. Shannon can then focus on just bringing the ball up, initiating the offense, and playing off of Bynum, Pau, Kobe’s touches (in that order) on offense and using his length and athleticism on D. In fact I may get roasted for this, but I think our team would be better served with a starting unit of ShanWOW, Kobe, Luke, Pau, & Drew. That lineup is just screams deliberate half-court offense — especially with Luke always looking to feed the post (think back to when Shaq was clogging the middle for us against Minnesota in the conference finals ’03) — which I think will go a long ways in keeping Drew happy and contributing meaningful efforts on the defensive end (boards & intimidation/blocks) instead of jacking up jumpers from the free throw line (think championship clinching game against Orlando this past year).

    This means that Artest comes off the bench, which may be blasphemous to us, but remember he did come off the bench in Houston behind Battier and T-Mac — he only started when T-Mac went down with injury. I can see how some will argue that Artest can willingly defer to Battier (he is one of the Rocket’s captains — the other being Artest) and will have a harder time deferring to Walton, but don’t forget the power of Phil — he continued to start Radman/Walton even though everyone, and I mean everyone, clearly saw how much more effective Ariza was last season (Ariza started only when Walton volunteered to come of the bench). Same goes for Fisher’s secured starting slot throughout the playoffs. And do not discount his influence on LO’s willingness to come of the bench (rather than starting as our SF). Plus, just because Artest comes off the bench doesn’t mean he won’t play major minutes (reference LO).

    Our bench would be crazy good too — Farmar changing the pace from a very deliberate half-court triangle-centric first unit to a chaotic push-even-after-makes second-unit; Sasha hopefully reverting to Machine circa ’08 and draining treys NOT on the move; Artest playing aggressive as the main scoring option while learning the intricacies of the triangle; and Odom doing what he does best — figuring out what the team is lacking and adjusting for it.

    After everything’s said and done, I doubt we will see a starting unit this coming year without Fisher in it — which may not be a bad thing. It’s fine that Fisher starts as long as the majority of the minutes at PG are given to Farmar/ShanWOW (think AC Green/Horry combination). Honestly though, knowing Phil, does the rest of FG&B think that anyone else sans Fish will get the lion’s share of the minutes at PG next year when the games start to matter?

    Side note: Sasha should also be mentioned in the replacement/future PG debate. He has the size and length Phil likes in his triangle PG. He hustles on defense, has a good looking stroke from three, and don’t forget he entered the league as a PG (i.e., his handles are good). Hopefully former DPOY Artest can teach him to not reach, square his body, and move his feet on D — especially at the half-court line. He maybe can then watch game tape of his performance from 2008 vs 2009 and figure out that his shot is more effective when he doesn’t rush it (like coming off baseline after a down screen taking a fall-away trey, or taking two unnecessary dribbles and pulling up when the nearest defender is more than an arms length away). Rectifiable shortcomings when you really thing about it.

  50. Definitely glad to see Odom’s back. That was much needed for a legitimate chance to repeat.

    Having said that I think everyone’s getting a little ahead of themselves. I happen to think Boston with a healthy Garnett and Rasheed Wallace are probably just as capable of winning the title next year as us. Plus, to say that we are gonna be playing for a championship for the next 4-5 years is probably a stretch, with the fact that a 34 year old Kobe Bryant in all likelihood is not going to be nearly as dominate as we have known him to be.

  51. Wow, an embarrassment of all-star riches:

    Kobe
    Pau
    Bynum
    Odom
    Artest

    The only weakness this team may have is perimeter shooting, but I expect the Machine to fix whatever glitch in the system he had.

    It’s going to be fun to watch. How are you going to beat this team? I’m just talking about the regular season. Seriously, it’s going to take a team’s A-Game to beat this squad, because our defense suddenly looks incredible. I think a 65-70 season is not out of the question — if they want it — and this sets us up to be perennial Finals contenders for the next 4-6 years.

    Let’s do it.

  52. Mike,
    Would you ever hear an owner utter these words: “You know what, I like my guys (players, staff) so much that I’m going to give them 10% raises–just because I’m a good guy.” No, you wouldn’t (unless we’re talking about one particular owner of the Knicks). You wouldn’t ever hear those words uttered because it would be undeniably stupid and a poor business decision. Period.

    Fans wouln’t let it go, “O’ to give a million to millionaires. O’ watch as Buss drives the ship off a cliff.” And they’d be right. For some reason, us fans have a blame the (well-paid) victim mentality. More often than not, fans hope and maybe expect that players will sacrifice money “for the team.” When players sacrifice salary, we call them “good guys” and “real sports”. What do we say when owners spend a lot of money? “Us fans are lucky to have an owner spend so much on this team! How fortunate!” The owner is a dictator to us, and the player a regular guy. When an owner does a bad job or is a jerk, we insist that he’s an under-performer. When a player does a bad job and makes money doing it, he’s a terrible person. Hell, when Odom does a good job and makes money doing it, he’s a terrible person.

    Lamar Odom is a good guy. He’s had me and bevies of others worried, but he’s done right by us. And he deserves the money he’s worth… maybe even more than we’re paying him. We’re lucky the market stunk for him.

    Man this news has really picked up my day.

  53. I’m going to the candy store and loading up. Now that the deal is done, I’m going to resume celebrating the Championship and do it Candyman style.

    Time for a blogging break.

    I didn’t get to post about the PG sitiation in the last thread, but if Jordan or Shannon aren’t able to wrest the starters gig from Fish this year, that is not a good sign.

    I’m not so sure that Farmar will be here after his contract ends, so maybe Brown? All he needs to do is be an adequate defender and hit open shots. Shannon has shown he is a better defender than Jordan and can hit the j as well.

  54. Lamar for Sixth Man of the Year!!! Campaign starts now.

  55. @49

    How about we let Odom play a few games next season, before we start campaigning for his 6th man award. Especially considering that he wasn’t even worthy of the award last year in a contract year.

  56. Tantalizing as a Kobe Lamar Ron pau Andrew lineup is,the problem is on the defensive end. A small ball lineup would put a lot of pressure on Ron Lamar and even Kobe to stay in front of smaller quicker players.

    Prediction: lo will be the 6th man of the year. And if he doesn’t that means that bynum made the Allstar team. Either way it looks real good. Like showtime good.

  57. Warren Wee Lim July 31, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Lets start breaking down our nemesis’ shall we? ;)

    The things I hate about Lamar Odom situation being resolved are:

    1. What do we talk about now ???!?!??!?!?
    2. I have no reason to check BSPN or RealGM no more :(
    3. I can’t make any more trade speculations…

    For the most part, I loved and hated the holdout. I loved the part that it caused a thrill, I hated the fact that something so simple could take 30 days to resolve.

    Kurt, please start breaking the team down… I’d love to see insight being shared here.

  58. I’m just glad that with LO’s signing, there is a sense of stability on the roster for the next 3 years at the very least. Obviously, the only remaining issue is the PG situation but I’m actually not too worried about that at all. I really have some hope in ShanWOW and I still believe Fish has a lot to offer despite his age.

    I think the whole LO situation goes to show that sometimes it takes a gut-wrenching experience like the possibility that LO would have left LA to truly appreciate the guy. Obviously, we weren’t at the negotiating table, but it seemed that LO was really tinkering with the Heat idea. But now he’s back as an anchor for the team. I love what the FO did this summer: retain the core guys and add a player (Artest) who will no doubt be hungry for a ring. Something wonderful is brewing in the midst, and this season may be one to remember…

  59. remember folks, our best run came with Ron Harper running the point. Phil’s perfect PG, tall, and a leader.
    Fish brings the leader, and I think the front office sees him mentoring Shannon and trying to mold him in the guise of Harp.
    but as you say, DY, it’s a nice feeling to think we’ve now got a few years run with this squad, so it’s gonna be a nice run, to say the least!
    remember too, we are going to be watching history in the making, this is quite possibly a team for the ages, so get your HD tv’s ready, and sit back and enjoy the ride! (maybe even save up for a few games in person too)

  60. I just added this to the post but am putting it here as well.

    With the end of the Odom saga, I leave on vacation for 10 days (it’s a coincidence, I swear). I am heading East, spending some time on Martha’s Vineyard and in Boston (even taking in a minor league game at Fenway Park). As much as I hate its basketball team, Boston is a great city. Because I apparently don’t value the safety of myself or my family, I have my Lakers championship hat and other gear packed and ready to be worn.

    Some of the regulars here will be putting up posts over the next week, so there will be more to talk about than Sun’s contract. Treat them with respect and when I get back it will be time to delve into some “Lakers I miss” columns and more off-season fun.

    Kurt

  61. 53 Kareem

    yes. i heard it when buss put that 9mio/year offer on the table.. thats an offer thats way way above (possibly almost double) odom’s market value. no one with cap space wanted to overpay a 30year old on-again-off-again role player. that offer was buss rewarding odom for his personal on-court sacrifices.. i was hoping more than anyone else he would get a deal like that because he truly deserved it.

    but to say ure gonna put the team first financially… and then turn down a offer way above ur market value.. even trying to leverage off other teams to get better offers.. that kinda disgusts me.

    like i said i have no problem with him doing whats right by him.. its a business.. its his career. just don’t try to sound so selfless when ure really like everyone else.

  62. 51. Rudy, Boston was a poor matchup for the Lakers in 07-08 not because the Lakers lacked “toughness,” but because the most important player in Boston’s offensive attack (Pierce) was the toughest defensive matchup for our personnel that season (Vlad, Luke). This past season, we had Trevor guarding Pierce for much of the time, which was a big improvement. This next season, it will be Artest, which should be an even bigger improvement. I’ll qualify the “toughness” statement by applying it to Games 1-5. In Game 6, the team just played scared, so if people want to call it lack of toughness, that’s fine.

    Also, we probably blew the Finals by not putting Kobe on Rondo in Games 1 and 2. We made the adjustment after that and could have swept all three games in LA if Phil hadn’t forgotten about Derek Fisher for that 15-minute stretch in Game 4 when the Leps made their comeback during a Farmar meltdown.

    This season, there will be no matchup advantage for the Leps. They won’t have any defensive stoppers off the bench, a la James Posey. No overwhelming our SF position. Pierce will turn 32 right before the season opener, Garnett will turn 34 in the middle of the playoffs and is coming off a serious knee injury, Ray Allen turned 34 last week, and Sheed will turn 35 in the preseason. Their only hope at making the Finals is if Rondo has a breakout season, and who knows if that will happen after the way Ainge and Doc threw him under the bus for a full three weeks once the season ended.

  63. Coffee is for Closers July 31, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Concur with everyone who’s in the, “now we can enjoy the championship” camp.

    Lakers are securely the favorites going into next season. My concerns about this team, we’re now ridiculously long, bulky and yes, strong. This team will push a lot of teams around, but are we perhaps a bit slower now. I think the switch from RA to TA steals some of our quickness.

    I think that farmar is in a contract year is a huge plus. He’ll come into the season knowing he has everything to prove. His quickness off the bench may be very much needed. I’m excited to see brown get a full season playing in our system. I love his toughness and atheleticisim.

    Some great regular season games to begin circling: denver, SA, portland, boston geriatrics, lebrons and magic.

  64. Coffee is for Closers July 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

    bon voyage Kurt.

    So they’ll be no top chef masters post mortem?

  65. Kudos to the front office for realizing that Kobe ain’t getting any younger and spending to keep their core intact.

    I guess we’ll never know how close LO was to jumping ship but Buss was willing to compromise and be flexible when it mattered most.

  66. Coffee is for Closers July 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Ok, new nike video and with LO back in the fold, this video catches my mood and its got a Kobe cameo to boot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWRfhBlX24&feature=channel_page

  67. 3 things….

    One, I agree that (barring Bynum luck) Odom will be seriously considered for 6th man of the year.

    Two, I will miss some of the intangibles Trevor has, but that will be made up in other ways by Artest provided he plays with a calm head.

    Three, and most importantly, Kurt, go show your Laker love with all the championship gear and rub it in those Celtic lovers faces! They are the worst and I can’t wait for next year to have the Lakers beat them in the finals only to hear an excuse from those sorry Boston fans.

    Have a great trip too.

    Bye.

  68. So… time for joy (I start my holidays today also :) .
    Just for entertaiment a few questions:

    -Do you think that the Lakers will use the vets minimun this offseason or reserve it to see if there’s a mayor need during the season? If they used it now, in who?

    -What would be next season expected rotation/minutes share?

    -In that big lineup of Kobe,LO,RA,PAu,Drew who is supposed to run the PG offensively. If the triangle PG has so limited role do the lakers really need a real PG? Defensively could this lineup be outrunned? Certainly this lineup should be runned for limited minutes as Kobe should waste his sweat chaising fast PGs.

    -Regarding Ariza for Artest the way I see it is that when it’ll matter most, against top teams, the Lakers will have a hounder-stoper for the opponent best scorer that they could cover before(nor Ariza): Pierce, Lebron,Melo. So, even if I’m not sure they’ll win more games during regular season I belive they are better positioned against some of the strongest teams.

  69. Read above:
    “Certainly this lineup shouldn´t be runned for limited minutes as Kobe should waste his sweat chaising fast PGs”

    Now write ten times:
    (“I should read what I wrote before I post”
    “I should read what I wrote before I post”
    “I should read what I wrote before I post”
    “I should read what I wrote before I post”
    “I should read what I wrote before I post”)x2 :P

  70. LO=LOL

    Don’t make a big thing of the signing taking so long or that he was not loyal or for the money or whatever. Lamar probably had a lot of people he had to talk to before making the decision…family, wife, friends..and had a lot to think about and wanted to make sure that this was indeed the best he could do. He just had to go down every possible road to convince himself and his family that it wasn’t going to get any better than the Laker’s offer.

    Now, we have LO, Ron, Kobe, Fish, Shanwow, Farmar, and maybe Luke as people who can handle the ball, so maybe point guard is pretty well covered. Just a thought, maybe giving a lot pg duties to Ron might give him something to do and make him feel important in the system, and that might make it less likely for him to launch untimely shots and go into holding the ball too long. Maybe that’s a good strategy of keeping Ron in the system?

  71. Read above above above:
    “Certainly this lineup should be runned for limited minutes as Kobe shouldn’t waste his sweat chaising fast PGs”

  72. Kurt,
    From Blazer’s edge concerning a purported 5 year/$40 million offer:

    “update: 3:21PM … ESPN has revised its story to remove the 5 year/40 million dollar figures from the report.

    Alright, then.

    Update: 6:33PM … ESPN has revised its story again, this time removing Portland from the discussion entirely.”

    That is why I was surprised a man of your perspective and brilliance (not sarcasm) believed the ESPN initial report.

    Now to basketball… I think the Lakers could play their 5 best players at the end of games especially if the opposing teams PG didn’t dominate the ball to save Kobe for offense. At the end of regulation the game slows down dramatically so size, strength, defense and one on one offensive play usually wins out. I would like to see the Lakers 5 best players out there to finish games. Or else Lamar might only get 25 min a game if Phil doesn’t let him play some SF. What do you think Kurt? Can Kobe guard PG’s still for 5 minutes a night? Answer and then go on vacation.

  73. 41,
    You now how I haaaate correcting people but… Artest did not come off the bench last year in Houston when TMac was healthy. That dark tall guy you saw coming into the games to start the 2nd quarter was none other than all-american nice guy Shane Battier. But i understand how they all look the same right?

  74. Ill correct my self here… that was for (50) not (41).

  75. I repeat: the big 5 should not be on the floor at the same time. Example: against the nuggets. Bynum guards nene. Pau guards Martin. Ron guards melo. Now who guards Chauncey and jr smith? Kobe and…..LO??? Odom is a defensive liability in that situation.

    You can’t play 3 forwards and a center at the same time against a team with good guard play and expect to match up defensively.

  76. In case you haven’t heard, the Lakers did not pick up Sun’s option, so he will not be back on the team next year. No shock there.

    73. My guess at the start was that Portland was in the bidding early, trying to drive up the price, pre Miller deal. Now it is pretty clear they were not in it (maybe some backdoor feelers, who knows).

    My mind was already on vacation. I’ll go with that excuse.

  77. now that LO’s back, what’s the word on signing sheldon williams?

  78. No Sun Yue! How will we ever contend for a title!

  79. 64. Thats what bothers me the most about Farmar. In a contract year he will be under pressure to perform and have somebody(ShanWOW) in his rear view mirror. The combination of both I think will be the demise of this poor kid in LA. He doesnt seem to take pressure too well, without over thinking and allowing his brain to move faster than his body. Although he is quick(not fast) and can get to the rim, that is not something that we need from our point. The occasional jumper and getting the team to start the offense without Kobe having to bail us out at the end of the shot clock by playing 1 on 5.
    D. Fish has kept his job over the years for those simple facts alone. It will be interesting to see how SB is going to adapt with a full year in LA. He to me has the mental makeup(played for Tom Izzo:notorious hard###). The expression on his face never seems to change in good or bad outcomes. Someone with that even personality is what this team needs with all the superstars we have in LA.

  80. Cayucos Surfer July 31, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Against the Nuggets, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea. But with the Magic, depending on what line up they use, going big with lamar at SF might just work out. With Rashard playing SF, i don’t see Ron Artest being the best matchup there. Maybe i’m wrong.

    Lakers
    Shannon
    Kobe
    Odom
    Pau
    Bynum

    Magic
    Jameer
    VC
    Shard
    Gortat/Bass
    Howard

    it seems to be a pretty good matchup all around. You could go with Kobe or Ron at the point and SG, respectively, but again as has been stated, it’s probably not best that Kobe chases Nelson around.

    Just a thought.

  81. Kurt,

    Have fun. If you happen to wander through towards the Providence area. Email me. I’ll buy you a drink.

  82. 77

    “In case you haven’t heard, the Lakers did not pick up Sun’s option, so he will not be back on the team next year.”

    Just when I was exhaling with relief at Odom re-signing, you go and drop that bombshell. :(

  83. Pau can’t win w/out Sun. We’re screwed.

  84. Well with Sun gone, at least Kobe has motivation for next year…

  85. Lakers Waive Sun Yue.

    The Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on guard/forward Bruce Bowen and guard Salim Stoudamire, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

  86. 74,

    “That dark tall guy you saw coming into the games to start the 2nd quarter was none other than all-american nice guy Shane Battier. But i understand how they all look the same right?”

    What a way to make your argument. He simply thought Artest was coming off the bench. Those types of sarcastic and moronic comments belong on the ESPN boards not here. I come to FBAG for mature and insightful discussions.

  87. Anyone see Lamar’s presser? There were some awkward/funny moments early, like when Lamar says, “I guess it’s too late to ask for some more money” to which Mitch responds with silence, until it’s really awkward and he says, “Well, you can ask.”

    But after that I did think Mitch was more, um, candid: Lamar is saying he was bluffing, never wanted to leave, while meanwhile Mitch is talking about replacement plans in the event Lamar did leave etc etc. Oh, and he basically acknowledged that there could be some salary-related moves in the future a la Radman, which isn’t news, but it’s always kind of weird to hear it when at the same time everyone’s saying all the right things about having exactly the team they want. And when Lamar is sitting right next to you, signing a contract, after a lengthy negotiation.

  88. Glad Odom is back. He almost screwed this up by overplaying his hand. But the reality is that Buss wised up and realized that it would be foolish to allow him to walk away.

    http://balmer.typepad.com/keithsmooth
    Sports, Pop Culture, & Satire

  89. 73 Aaron,

    See 44 above. I already posted nearly identical from Blazers web site.

    Don’t you read other posts?

  90. 87

    The worst thing about his statement is that it isn’t even correct. Although he was initially a starter, Artest did indeed come off the bench for a number of games while T-Mac was healthy.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=AkBnEF73AEyKKhwDHpc_TRctPKB4?gid=2008121910

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=An6HEflXtoBWInaB9atHCLktPKB4?gid=2008112219

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=AkDjHSrp_zONn0U.shJphNMtPKB4?gid=2008122016

    I’d post a few more box scores but my point has been made.

  91. So the Lakers will be making salary reduction moves this year. I never understood how that works, since you have to take back the same as you give in the trade. Letting the expiring contracts just walk, seems the only way to save money. Well, there are trade exceptions I guess and also what Denver and the Clippers did last year. Here I go into the business side of basketball again, I’m sorry. Maybe we will see a post in the future on this issue of the Lakers trying to get back into fiscal normality.

  92. To add to my last point, Battier only came off the bench once last season, and that was to match up with Manu Ginobili. The rest of the games he didn’t start were due to injury.

  93. Whoops, looks like my other post is held up in moderation…

  94. Coffee is for Closers July 31, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    80. DC, usually in this league, guys play all out in contract years. if jordan can’t handlle the pressure of this, then that kinda answers our questions if he’s the LT solution, right? And couldn’t agree more re: izzo. i’m not neccesarily a fan of his brand of ball, but that guy does nothing but recruit hard nose tough guys. Curious why larry brown gave up on him.

  95. The best thing about all this are the delusional posts and general panic at the various Celtic blogs across the internet.

    The theme for next season? “The Empire Strikes Back (to Back)”

  96. 95 – for example, at Celticsblog somebody posted “I like our chances”

    whisling past the graveyard, I’d call it …

  97. Anyone have a link to the LO presser? I’ve seen only a 4 minute clip on NBA.com.

  98. I’m not crazy about our depth at shooting guard, or the defensive prowess of our reserve SFs. Bruce Bowen would be a great pick-up.

  99. Bruce Bowen can barely walk so far as I’m concerned. He’s not even a shell of his former self.

  100. 99

    This isn’t 2005. Bruce Bowen is done.

  101. I agree with picking up Bruce Bowen. He would be Ron Artest/Sasha insurance. He can do a decent job defending any player they are guarding and can hit the corner 3, he would be a great add on. He could pull a robert horry and sit out half the season. He has great respect for Kobe I expect him to sign with the Lakers. Hopefully none of the contenders pick him up..

  102. http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/2009/07/general-non-laker-fan-consenus-to-odom.html

    Jewels from the Non-Laker populace. I love being a Laker fan right now… :D

  103. With the lineup and versatility of the players currently on the roster. I think the FO doesnt need to make a move until the trading deadline. Farmar( if he doesnt live up to expectations) and Ammo’s expiring contracts can be used to bring in any additional help thats needed midway thru the season.

    Bruce was let go by the Spurs for a reason, he had become more of a liabilty. He could only shoot that wide open corner three and his defense was falling off. His defense of top wing players was the only reason the Spurs had him on their roster. We got our defensive specialist in RonRon.

  104. j.d. Hastings July 31, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I think free agency should be more like congress. Each team and free agent has 2 “houses”. Each house separately negotiates a deal so that you end up with 2 completely different contracts that have been approved by both sides. Then the 2 houses negotiate a compromise between each of THOSE deals! Then, and only then, they should take the deal to Dr. Buss to see if he’s willing to sign or veto the thing.

    That makes so much more sense! Why don’t we decide all things this way?

  105. 101, he was all-defensive first team up until 2008. And he still shoots 3s at a 40% clip. He spaces the floor and defends better than Sasha, Morrison, or Walton.

  106. Doesn’t it take Congress a few something years just to pass a law though? I don’t want to wait that long for a deal… D:

  107. we’re stacked now. enough of s and t for me. enough of trade scenarious. am open to FA signings though if it gives us more bruisers or lock down d’s or solid 10-5 potential. but that’s asking too much for someone exhaling after this drama. next stop, the season and kobe after that.

    lakers are favorites to win. ceiling hasn’t been reached, yet. with artest, it can only go up. inject artest and kobe’s killer mentality and i think we can demolish teams, and yes charlotte looking at you, at will. again, mindset. though 60 wins will take us to the playoffs, i’d rather make this special barring injuries and gun for 70. people who don’t think lakers are faves are either delusional, in denial or are good loyalists of their respective clubs (did i say good?). people who think artest is a cancer should look at their lineups first. chemistry works sometimes with wacko (or former wacko) people with added determination. who’s to say sheed will be sheed and rondo will be 09 playoff rondo? who’s to say SA’s frontline will hold? who’s to say CLE’s addition of role players and high-flyers (man we could have used warrick with a sitcom offer) is enough to flank lbj and shaq? and VC to ORL? how can their fans smell championship? so let’s be fair to where it’s due.

    right about the salary-shedding. at least to my mind, we get someone back in a mid-season trade scenario a la vladrad and look who it got us?— shanno (he really is a pro) and ammo (if he could be the uprising from the bench, look out nba). our system makes these guys flourish and get the snapshots and contracts.

    i am now praying for a healthy season. i am also praying for an LO 6th man season. this man can take it to any bench lineup. enjoy the east coast kurt and smell the roses for now. GO LAKERS!

  108. Sun Yu officially waived. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent if not claimed by another team before 6 p.m. ET next Friday.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4370109

  109. #50 Gaston,

    If i know Phil, and i think i do, there is little doubt that Fisher will get the most minutes at PG. It is tough because we are certainly talking about the greatest basketball coach in history, and one of the best coaches in all of sports history. So when he makes what seems to me like an obvious mistake, i have to sit back and think that I am wrong and the best coach in history is right. If it was Rambus or something, then i would stick to my Ficsher should sit mantra.

    Regarding Luke in the starting line up vs Artest. No way that happens and no way it should happen. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work Artest in so he gets major minutes with the 2nd unit. It just means that to start the game, it has to be Artest and not Walton. Artest is one of those guys who has incredible basketball skills. Not his shooting or offense per se, but his defense is some of the best i’ve ever seen, and the other intagibles he brings are awesome as well like toughness and PASSING. I was surprised, but looking back on some Houston games, Artest is an awesome passer and has a high basketball IQ even though he may make the wrong decision now and then (chuck up threes). I know it seems like a contradiction, but you can know what is the correct decision and still make the wrong one. Anyway, Artest is one of those guys that when he believes that he is a major component to the team, he will sacrafice everything for that team (play his guts out). That’s why you should start Artest. If you bring him off the bench, it may hurt him psychologically.

    I love Walton as much as the next guy, but he is more of a facilitator, and that’s best brought out with less talent on the floor like the second unit. The first unit the ball is either going into the post through Pau/Bynum or is in the hands of Kobe. Walton needs his touches to be effective, and it seems to me that will come with less effective players on the court.

    Either way, we now have the best team in the league. The most important difference next year, in my opinion, will be the defense. We all saw how dominant we were when the team played hard D. And with Artest in their, a healthy Bynum, an LO and a Pau who know realizes that he can actually play great D, i think next year our defense will be much much better than this year.

  110. #51 Rudy,

    Although a Kobe at 34 will be less athletic than he is now, it doesn’t mean that he will be less effective. Jordan won his last ring at age 37, and he was still very effective. And Kobe actually has a game which will remain closer to its peak longer than someone like Jordan, because i think Kobe relies less on his athleticism than Jordan did. In my opinion, while Jordan was the better player, Kobe is more skilled. Kobe has the better jump shot, and a better mid range game. Jordan was dependent on his athleticism, until he got that turn around fadeaway down perfectly.

    Basically, I think Kobe at 35 will still be very effective. Injuries will change that though, if they happen. Jordan seemed to go injury free his entire career. This probably has to do with work ethic and training.

  111. (74) Aaron — please check your sources before you try to incorrectly correct people.

    Thanks (91) Joel for posting those links. And thank you for rekindling my memory about how Battier came off the bench to specifically match up with and try to neutralize Ginobili. He’s someone that I think can really excel in our system (in contrast to SSoL) because of his high basketball IQ and shooting stroke.

    I keep hoping that by the trade deadline we can turn Ammo’s contract into an asset such as Battier; something Houston might be opened to doing in order to cut salary and start the rebuilding process around Brooks and Ariza if they are not competitive during the first half of the season playing without Yao and microfracture recoveree T-Mac.

    Anyone read Charley Rosen’s assessment of Lamar’s resigning? He mentioned we could use another lively big body off our bench — and Powell is not the guy.

    The things I like about Powell’s game and can’t quite understand what Rosen’s gripe with our 4th big man is: First, the fact that Powell quickly acquired the basics of our offense (I remember Phil praising him about that and his offensive rebounding acumen during training camp last year). Second, he hustles on D and has a nice stroke out to 15′ for those nice pick ‘n pops he runs with Kobe. However, with that said he doesn’t finish consistently enough down low IMO.

    So here comes my next question — What does FB&G think about Leon Powe for the Lakers? Would he be an upgrade to Powell — and become that lively big body Rosen is referring to? Is he a risk we should take (given the knee surgery) if say we could convince him to (and this is speculation on my part) sign him to a 2 year guaranteed minimum contract (keep in mind the risk is essentially doubled because of luxury tax implications)? On Powe’s part, maybe he would do it to be able to play at home in front of friends and family (Oakland boy, Cal grad).

  112. 104) Yeah, ‘cuz Congress does such a great job. Let’s use their system!!

  113. 113. It’s pretty hard for new players to learn the triangle so quickly, and Leon Powe would have to pick it up pretty fast if he joined the team halfway through the season. I think the likeliest position for the team to shore up at midseason would be the backup SF. Both Luke and Artest haven’t been the most durable guys, and Ammo might not be an effective enough replacement.

  114. Everyone should go to espn760 and listen to Lamar’s interview. I thought it was great. Lamar is one of my new favorite players.

    http://www.espn760.com/audiovault/evan_cohen.php#

  115. we got too many SFs as it is.. we need to back up SG. cut kobe’s minutes during the regular season.

  116. gaston,

    Rosen has lost it. I don’t take him seriously anymore. In another recent article, he claimed Chris Paul can’t run an offense. It’s a sad thing given how much of a sage figure he is, but take what he writes with a grain of salt most of the time.

  117. We don’t need Powe and I don’t necessarily believe that he is a “high IQ” basketball player. He’s a bruiser and a body, who also happens to play with some fire. I like Josh Powell and I think, for whatever reason, that he will improve this offseason.

    And, no, Luke should not start ahead of Artest. We would have the best starting five in the league, along with Boston if they start Sheed with Rondo, Allen, Pierce, and KG. Though we have hoped for two consecutive seasons already, let’s hope again that Bynum has an injury-free season. That way, Odom can come off the bench, and hopefully by then, Farmar and Sasha have figured themselves out already.

  118. The Lakers are not going to bring in any more players, the only way they do is via a trade, IMO. Mitch has already said he was only going to carry 13 players this year, we are at that number with Odom’s signing Friday. Besides, they are not going to sign anybody who will be riding the pine with the lux tax hitting them.

  119. 117. I think Sasha and/or Shannon will do fine as Kobe’s backup this season. To be capable backups, all Sasha has to do is revert to the mean, while all Shannon has to do is continue to improve. Our three SGs have had durable careers, unlike our three SFs.

  120. Leon Powe = blackhole.

    Next pass he makes will be his first. Although I feel bad for him that he got hurt before his payday, he’s not for us. The Triangle requires great passing and I don’t think Leon knows what one is.

  121. 111) Kaveh

    You made some really good points as to why Artest would be a better starter than Walton but honestly, no offense, you kinda shot yourself in the foot when you talked about how Luke is a facilitator best served with lesser talent around him. If he is such a good facilitator, shouldn’t he be surrounded by better finishers?

    Again, I already knew the thought of suggesting that Walton start over Artest would get me roasted…but it does make for good conversation. I mean if we trotted out a first team of our twin towers + Kobe and then made a mid quarter whole sale substitution highlighted by a former DPOY in his prime at SF and *arguably* most versatile PF in the game today (who also is in his prime), we would crush every other team’s second unit bar none.

    In lieu of that, I think the greatest effect Artest may/will have in the starting unit is two fold. One, he seems like a guy that is always going to play intense D…hopefully that attitude rubs off on Drew, Pau, and the rest of the team. Two, and this one is more important — vs. Walton [starting], Artest is a vastly superior defender which should minimize the need for our bigs to rotate the weak side as much on ball penetrations and thus keep them from picking up early fouls. Come to think of it a good lineup for Walton should always include Odom since he is the most mobile and quick help defender out of our rotation of bigs.

    118) BCR

    Rosen actually has really insightful articles when he writes about X’s and O’s. It’s just preposterously funny when he covers anything else; such as his overrated/underrated column — I mean come on, CP3 and KG of all people overrated.

    Could you imagine if he was the GM of the Lakers — he’d probably bring back *underrated* Kwame Brown (which wouldn’t be such a bad thing until he lets one of Kobe’s bullet passes coming off a fake trey attempt slip through his butter finger into the stands); or my favorite, the Collin twins! Come to think of it, they are both unrestricted free agents, right?! Hometown (the both graduated from Stanford) boys baby! They probably could pick up the triangle real fast coming from such an esteemed educational institution that produced NBA mainstays like Mad Dog and Childress. since Childress isn’t even in the league.

  122. 113

    I don’t see why the Lakers need another big man. Last season Bynum was out for half the year and clearly wasn’t fully recovered when he came back, and that was still good enough to win a title. Now Bynum should be back to his best, Odom has been re-signed, and even Artest can play some PF in a pinch. Unless there is a another major frontcourt injury, Powell and Mbenga should be fine for the limited minutes they’ll be getting. In any case, I don’t think Powe would be the best fit under normal circumstances, let alone coming off another major knee surgery.

    118

    That was hilarious, even more so than having Kwame Brown as one of the league’s most underrated players. I think Ol’ Charley is just about ready for retirement now.

  123. we don’t need trading or shoring up…

    all we need is good health and chemistry.

    both aren’t givens…

  124. I’ve just read somewhere else that Odom was able to shut down Tony Parker. I don’t remember that but if it is true then he can certainly guard almost any point guard.
    Do any of you remember such a thing?

  125. Warren Wee Lim August 1, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Anyone know the inside info on our PG rotation? Do we do “preserve Fish” during the regular season with Farmar inserted into the starting unit and Shannon Brown playing 2nd PG?

    C: Bynum (30) – Gasol (18)
    PF: Gasol (18) – Odom (30)
    SF: Artest (30) – Walton (12) – Kobe (6)
    SG: Kobe (30) – Sasha (12) – Artest (6)
    PG: Farmar (24) – Fisher (18) – Wow (6)

    If it were up to me, this would be the ideal minute distribution.

  126. Unless Farmar noticeably improves his three-point shooting, I still think Fisher is better in the starting lineup. I don’t think it’s ever good to get used to something you’re not going to use in the playoffs. As Phil usually says, the season is broken into thirds: the first for experimentation, the second for implementation, and the third for preparation. Farmar is not enough of an outside threat to spread the floor like our plodding starting lineup is likely to need. As Bill Bridges wrote earlier, we need to keep Artest either on the wings or at the top of the key, because he’s far more accurate from straight away than from the corners. Because of this and the way the triangle works, we need a PG who can shoot three’s from the corner. Fisher actually shoots much better from the corners than from straight on or the wings (if you look at his Hot Spots chart), so he’s ideal for this position.

    For this coming season, I think it’s best to start Fisher, then bring in Farmar or Brown with Lamar at the 8 minute mark or at the end of the 1st quarter. I think we’ll see a lot of experimentation by Phil in the 1st third of the season, seeing when Brown or Farmar are best suited to come into the game. So, I’d just switch Farmar and Fisher in Warren’s chart.

  127. Odom can’t shut down Tony Parker. Parker is just too quick for Odom. Whoever wrote that LO shut down TP must have been on crack.

  128. Yeah, Trevor Ariza was our secret weapon against TP.

    Speaking of whom, I was raged when Kupchak said they’d brought back everyone who they wanted to bring back in the Odom conference.

    Come on Lakers, can’t you keep the blame on Ariza’s agent?

  129. I think Brown will be getting more than 6 mpg; I doubt Artest will play anywhere close to that much at SG

  130. In the first qtr of games last year our 1st unit often had problems on defense. This is why I think Artest should start. Let’s get the game started right, with some good defense, and we can tighten the screws with the second unit from there.

  131. @81) yeah, that lineup may match up well OK against the Magic, but Phil is smart enough not to waste time with a unit that can only guard half the teams we might see in the playoffs. That lineup has a lot of trouble defensively against the Celtics (Odom has to guard either Pierce or Allen), Nuggets, Spurs (Odom guards Ginobli or RJ), Cavs (odom guarding Delonte). And all these scenarios are assuming that Kobe has the legs to guard the likes of Rondo, Parker, ect.

    Bottom line is that lineup is a recipe for disaster in the playoffs. Phil builds his lineups with defensive balance being the first thing in mind (that’s why Bynum starts and not Odom).

  132. 127

    I don’t like the idea of Sasha playing twice as many minutes as Brown.

  133. Warren, that’s also too many minutes for Bynum. I would be more comfortable with Drew playing 24-28 minutes per game. Give the kid’s ligaments and tendons time to fully mature. I also think that Shannon will get more time at PG than that, and possibly a fair amount of time as Kobe’s backup at SG (if Sasha comes out of the gate the same player as last season).

  134. Kurt, in theory what happens if our point guard situation doesn’t work out halfway through the season? What ability do we have to go after a well priced point guard through a trade?

  135. 135,
    Brown is too small to play SG. You will only see Brown play with another PG when the other team puts two PG’s on the floor.

  136. From the comments I see so far, we appear to be missing the likely change in team focus. Even last season, the Lakers were changing, improving on defense–even during the playoffs. Considering the improvements by our biggest competitors, defense may be even more of an issue next season.

    In the coming season, the Lakers are very likely to play at a slower pace with a more power oriented approach. Why?

    On offense, the Lakers are likely to have a half court advantage with the size of Bynum and Gasol combined with the extra strength of Artest. On defense, the Lakers are more likely to perform halfcourt lockdown defense for more of the game.

    Since the achilles heel of this approach will be the transition game, the Lakers will make extra efforts to avoid turnovers on offense and take fewer risks on defense.

    Sadly, the momentum changing steals, frequently relying on the blinding speed of Trevor, may be more often replaced by a stifling defense that rarely gives up a good shot to anyone at any distance.

  137. 137. Brown is 6-3 with long arms and stellar hops. I don’t see him having too much trouble guarding the other team’s backup SG.

    138. That’s more true than ever for the first unit, but I can see the second unit doing a fair amount of running with Farmar and LO.

  138. With Lamar back and Artest on the 1st unit, I agree the 2nd unit may run more – especially if ShanWOW gets run at the SG spot over Sasha. I expect to see this against teams with smaller 2nd unit guards.

    The key with both units will be to minimize the momentum shifts throughout the game, so perhaps we will call more timeouts if a team gets on a run. Yeah, I know, Phil…but he now has an experienced team and can use the timeout to bring in his depth and shift the other team’s momentum – rather than just ride it out. This will be especially true against running teams.

  139. (139) (140) Don’t get me wrong. I loved the Laker 2nd unit uptempo game–but that was last season.

    With Andrew playing more minutes, Ron Ron with the 2nd unit alternating with Walton, (Trevor in Houston), and ShanWOW possibly leading the 2nd unit, Laker herky jerky tempo with the accompanying steals and blown assignments may be as dead as the Do Do bird.

    It may be more efficient, but not as exciting.

  140. I think Andrew playing more minutes will give Gasol some rest – he needs it after last year. When Gasol goes out and Farmar, Lamar, and possibly ShanWOW are in, I think that spells fast break ability. I realize this will not be like Ariza, but I do think we will see it more than you seem to think drrayeye.

    The first unit is even slower than they were last year, so I see nothing that isn’t a breakaway happening – nor should it (we are too powerful down low).

    The second unit will probably have Gasol or Bynum in most of the time to backstop them, but didn’t lose anyone from last year – Ariza on the 1st team – and ShanWOW should be better this year.

  141. While I agree that we won’t see the high-flying, coast-to-coast drives that we saw last year (like Shannon’s dunk over Birdman Andersen), I do believe that we will push the pace in the first unit. One thing that Kobe, Pau, and Andrew are all very adept at is getting good, deep, early position. We all know that Pau and Andrew run the floor very well for guys their size, and we can a lot of easy scores by pushing the pace and sealing off defenders in the lane. Yes, we will plod most of the time, but when there are opportunities to get out in transition, I know that our first unit will push for the easy buckets.

  142. I believe that all of our possible playoff opponents the coming season (Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, San Antonio, Portland, Denver) tend toward a slower half court defensive oriented approach that generates considerable offense from transitions.

    Going up tempo raises the likelihood the other team will go on a run–especially when the Laker offense goes cold and they miss long threes.

    I hope that Zephid and Craig are right, and they certainly will be on some nights, but I believe that the Lakers overall will be a much more powerful slow tempo team next year.

  143. Zephid, with age catching up with Fish, it might be best to preserve him via shorter minutes in the regular season. This is opportune time for Farmar to show his strut whether he has it in him or not. That said, Fish may still start, but Farmar IMO gets the majority of the minutes.

    Bert (Dude Abides), If Shan-wow does get more minutes, it might be at the expense of Fisher’s 18 (from my chart). Maybe Fish prepares himself to be an assistant someday.

    Based on both of your comments and ideas I’m thinking: Farmar (22) Fisher (14) Brown (12) or is that too spread out?

    Bert, about Bynum, 30 mpg might be the eventual outcome of his “bust-out-of-the-gate-strong-play” year as he establishes himself as a force both offensively and defensively. However, for the earlier part of the season, I agree that that 30 might be around 26 with the scrap minutes remaining going to Powell.

  144. I was wondering… did both sides (Odom’s agent and the Lakers) confirm that there ever was a 4yr/36million dollar deal? I know we received word of it from the press (probably fed through team sources), but can we really unequivocally say that Odom bluffed his way out of a better contract? I’m starting to have doubts that the first deal was really there.

  145. Gaston,

    The reason why Walton’s services are more important with the bench over the starters is opportunity. Sure if Walton had the same opportunities with the starters, then he would have more assists since the finishers are better. The problem is that Walton will not get the same opportunties if he is on with the starters. The offense is going to be run through the post: Kobe, Gasol and Bynum or on the perimeter through Kobe. Kobe is the facilitator and either he or the two in the post are going to dominate the ball.

    With the second team, Walton can be their main facilitator. He will have many more opportunities. Also the bench needs playmakers. The starters have people who can easily create their own shot both on the perimeter and on the post. The bench however can not create their own shots. With the bench the offense needs to come through ball movement and man movement, not someone creating their own shot. Walton is more advantageous in this system.

  146. The Lakers 1st unit will likely run more this season for three reasons. The first being that Im guessing the slow footed Fisher will play a lot less with that unit being replaced by the athletic Shannon Brown, and the 2nd being that the team replaced a guy who couldn’t dibble the ball up the court and lead a break (Ariza) with a guy (Artest) who can. So that first unit will have one more guy who can start a break. The last reason the starting lineup will run more is because they will have more opportunities now with Bynum back healthy blocking shots and controlling the paint… and Artest locking down the perimeter. There will be more rebounds, blocks, and steals to turn into fast break opportunities.

  147. Wolves Will Name Rambis Head Coach?
    Posted: 8/2/2009 7:10:00 AM
    Source: Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

    The word in NBA circles is that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis will be the next Timberwolves coach and Mychal Thompson, the former Gophers star and Lakers teammate of Rambis’ who now is a radio broadcaster for the Lakers, has made a strong recommendation. “I talked to David [Kahn] personally and told him you have to go after a guy like Rambis who knows what it takes to win in this league,” Thompson said. “He would take the job if it was offered to him. I know that. He would be a great teacher to guys like Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.”

  148. It looks like Kurt Rambis will be the Timberwolves’ next head coach
    http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/52270017.html?page=3&c=y

  149. i wonder how this changes our defense? i’d hate to see them spend another training camp installing something new instead of perfecting last year’s defense.

  150. They should still hire Mark Jackson as an assistant coach to mentor Rubio/Flynn

    but more importantly, pave the way for JVG to take over for Phil post-retirement

  151. The Lakers 1st unit will likely run more this season for three reasons. The first being that Im guessing the slow footed Fisher will play a lot less with that unit being replaced by the athletic Shannon Brown, and the 2nd being that the team replaced a guy who couldn’t dibble the ball up the court and lead a break (Ariza) with a guy (Artest) who can. So that first unit will have one more guy who can start a break. The last reason the starting lineup will run more is because they will have more opportunities now with Bynum back healthy blocking shots and controlling the paint… and Artest locking down the perimeter. There will be more rebounds, blocks, and steals to turn into fast break opportunities.

  152. Warren Wee Lim August 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    About Rambis, I would be happy for him to land a head coaching job. I think he deserves it…

    As for LA, its either JVG or Byron Scott in my book. Phil would be auto-piloting the team beyond this year tho… no chance he goes completely out of the picture, not when this team is at this stage. This is another three-peat in the works.

  153. Who the hell is JVG? If it is the master of panics brother please end my misery now

  154. JVG and Byron Scott are too authoritarian for this team. They both wear out their welcome quickly – a la Riley. We are a long term club and make long term decisions – or try to.

    I would say Brian Shaw would have the inside track – i.e. a key reason Kurt Rambis would leave.

  155. “This is another three-peat in the works.”

    Yeah, I like the sound of that statement and agree with it.

  156. (153) Aaron, here are some things to consider. The Laker first unit will be typically bigger, stronger, and slower in transition next year. Their tempo will be slower and they will run less. With improved offense and defense, the Lakers first team will have no reason to run more and plenty of reasons (defending transitions) to run less.

    That tempo is likely to carry over to the second unit as well–avoiding the herky jerky tempo that allowed other teams to go on runs–especially against the second unit.

    This will be especially true against our most powerful apponents.

  157. (158)
    Overall I believe the first unit will be faster because I feel Fisher won’t be playing very much this year after struggling so terribly last year and he will only be worse. The difference between Fisher and Brown is greater than between Artest and Ariza.

    Even if the team is slower it doesn’t always effect your transition game negatively. Its more important to have a good defense that can generate fastbreak opportunities and players that can lead and finish a break. The Lakers will have 5 guys if Brown starts that are great in an up tempo game. The Utah Jazz in the late 90′s had a slow team they out ran the younger more athletic Lakers because they played better defense and had a Stockton who although slow at this time could run a break.

    This years Lakers team has fast athletic big men (Bynum & Gasol) to finish on the break and three guys who can lead a break and finish (Brown, Kobe, and Artest). Thats compared to last year where only one of our perimeter players could lead and finish a break in Kobe. Fisher could neither lead or finish in a fastbreak and Ariza could only finish. Of course Odom can do both also when he plays with the first unit.

    Also no matter how good you are offensively, its always easier to score in transition. So the Lakers will continue to try to get easy bucket on the break and will have more opportunities now with a faster PG and a better defense.

    These are the reasons I feel the Lakers will actually run more with their first unit and be more effective doing so than last season. Phil Jackson is a great coach… and just like he surprised everyone after winning his first championship with the Bulls by benching Jon Paxson in favor of the younger and better BJ Armstrong… Phil will sit Fisher in favor of the younger, better, and more physical Shannon Brown.

  158. @ 155 Kaveh – Agree totally.

    But I didn’t want Artest either …

    —————————–

    “This is another three-peat in the works.”

    Works for me.

  159. totally off topic because it’s the offseason and i’m bored, I’m admittedly looking forward to the cavs pregame shenanigans now that lebron and shaq are on the same team. last seaons mini pregame feud between the cavs and suns were obnoxiously entertaining. I hope they don’t disappoint this season and hope that its more entertaining than it is obnoxious. can you imagine…?

  160. “This is another three-peat in the works.”

    you know,phil likes three-peats ,if we win the title next year,i believe that phil will stay another year to accomplish another 3 peat
    how coool will be that :4 three-peats
    2 with MJ and 2 with kobe

  161. 155, 156. Have to agree. If Rambis takes the Minny job, it’s because he realizes the writing is on the wall and that BShaw will be Phil’s replacement. Every year Shaw is assistant coach means one more year of coaching experience, and he’s closer to Kobe than Kurt is. IMO, it would be imprudent to change systems and coaching philosophies in midstream during a string of consecutive finals appearances. I think Laker mgmt feels the same way.

  162. Anytime any Laker fan feels down in the dumps, he or she can go to this post on Blazer’s Edge for some perspective:
    http://tinyurl.com/l7jcc6

    I can’t say I feel much sympathy for that Portland team. I never liked Sheed, and I never forgave Sabonis (or Coach John Thompson, what a disgrace) for 1988 in Seoul.

  163. Aaron (159) In your original post, you said that the Lakers would run more. In your more recent post you said they would be faster. Then you talked about a better defense allowing the team to run faster. That’s contradictory thinking–and it pervades your posts.

    All the great defensive teams the Lakers will face run at a slow tempo (not uptempo), taking full advantage of transitional breakdowns to score points. The Lakers actually adapted to that tempo during the playoffs, played some lock down defense when it counted, and won the championship.

    Next year, I expect to see fewer games in which the Lakers try to go uptempo and outscore the opponents, not more–especially if Andrew stays healthy and gets his minutes.

    You say, “This years Lakers team has fast athletic big men (Bynum & Gasol) to finish on the break.” Keep saying that about Andrew, and he’ll buy you an ice cream cone.

    We had the same big men last year, but less of Andrew than we expect for next season. More of Andrew means slower transitions–especially as his minutes pile up. It is Lamar, not Bynum or Gasol, that makes the rebounds and sometimes creates the fast transitions himself. Artest may have much the same ability at the 3 this year.

    Your speculations about Derek Fisher for next year are yours alone. Although all of us suppose that Fisher’s minutes will be reduced this season, and I personally have high hopes for ShanWOW getting substantial playing time, it is based on a completely different logic.

    I think that Derek will be saved for starts and ends of games during the regular season–and, of course, a bigger role in the playoffs–all situations in which his leadership means the most.

  164. JVG has too much baggage to step into a situation like this one. Former/defeniding champions, operating in a complex offensive system, with very little room for ego’s around Kobe. Same goes for B.Scott, as good as his track record is.

    It’s probably gonna be B.Shaw if Phil retires. But I’d be willing to bet money that Phil stays on the payroll somehow as a consultant.

    Regarding our 09 lakers getting out and running, we will. Ariza was not the main reason we did get out and run last season. It was Gasol and Odom. These are 2 of the fastest big men baseline to baseline in the game.

    Watching Bynum’s 42pt. game, it’s pretty clear that once he gets in shape, we will be a tough team stay ahead of on turnovers and rebounds. At least half of his 42 were directly attributable to the fact that he was beating Brian Skinner up and down the floor consistently, sometimes by a large measure. Now when you add Gasol and LO, we have 3 big men who are going to make life difficult for guys like Shaq over 48 minutes. And I agree with the comment earlier about Artest. The guy can get steals, AND run a break, and finish a break. Ariza could only do 2 of those things.

  165. btw, my comment above is the main reason that the Shaq trade doesn’t scare me. Lebron will use all his energy switching to our bigs on the break while Shaq catches up.

  166. RE: Walton

    While clearly Walton will play the majority of his minutes with the 2nd team the aspect of his game I love the most is the calming influence his decision making can have on the team. He is able to come in with the 1st team and either by going strong in the post or by making a good pass he stops the other team’s momentum or restart ours. This is where I think he provides the most value.

  167. Re everyone loves sausage but you don’t want to see it get made, that’s an old family saying for sex change operations. I’m sure mine isn’t the only family.

    Re Odom, something in Greek praising the fixity of the stars, even the wandering ones

  168. setting aside all of the excitement regarding the ‘starting nine’, I’d like to focus on the number ten guy, Sasha, for a moment. the consensus seems to be that Sasha’s shot problems this past season stemmed from his trying to shoot while on the move, as opposed to spotting up.

    my question is, why wasn’t our crack team of asst. coaches able to spot this and help him correct it? it seems to be a simple enough issue to deal with.

  169. >the fixity of the stars

    “But the apparent permanence of the stars is an illusion. The truth is that stars lead very dynamic existences: they are “born,” grow to maturity, and finally die, sometimes violently. ”
    oh.. that’s probably not it…

  170. 170)

    This is what worries me, and a lot of posters here about Sasha. Not only did he make poor decisions with fouls and shot selection, he did it consistently for the entire year. I wouldn’t put the blame on the assistant coaches. Anybody who has coached can tell you that it doesn’t matter how many times and how many ways you try to instill a principle, it comes down to whether or not the athlete chooses to execute.

    Sasha’s game in 08 was perfect for Sasha. In 09, he tried to make his game look more like Kobe’s. He tried to become the #1 option off the bench, and was revealed for what he is: A spot up shooter.

    I just think that his competitive drive, and his ego (the contract didn’t help) wouldn’t allow him to scale it back midseason. Hopefully he has more time this summer to come back down to Earth and play his role as a spot up shooter, but who knows. He has replaced V.Rad as our resident space cadet.

  171. (170) Sasha’s 3 pt. % for last year was .363–about average for the league and just a tad below his career average. Problem was that his 3 pt. % was a spectacular .437 the year before.

    Since Sasha has been with the Lakers his entire career, I’m sure that any flaws in Sasha’s form or style would be noticed and corrected. I think that Sasha is hitting a lower percentage because opposing teams are more aware of what he can do and defending him more closely.

  172. (165) Travis,

    Saying a team will run more, be faster, and play better defense is not contradictory.

    And take this excerpt from Travis’ (166) post “Watching Bynum’s 42pt. game, it’s pretty clear that once he gets in shape, we will be a tough team stay ahead of on turnovers and rebounds. At least half of his 42 were directly attributable to the fact that he was beating Brian Skinner up and down the floor consistently, sometimes by a large measure. Now when you add Gasol and LO, we have 3 big men who are going to make life difficult for guys like Shaq over 48 minutes. And I agree with the comment earlier about Artest. The guy can get steals, AND run a break, and finish a break. Ariza could only do 2 of those things.”

  173. Whoops… that was for “drrayeye” and not Travis

  174. I agree that the Lakers will tend more toward slow tempo play this year. The 2nd half of last season the bench was not effective in up-tempo play anyway. Older more experienced teams prefer to “run” by getting cheap transition points off turnovers and bad shots (for example, the Spurs and Celtics). Phil’s philosophy has always been that defense starts with taking a good shot on offense with the court balanced. My hope is that Kobe will gamble on defense a little less this year.

    If Rambis gets the Minny job we are stuck with listening to Mark Jackson another year …. C’mon Minny, you’re better than that!

  175. Great LO quote on Artest:

    “What you’re gonna see is the ultimate competitor: someone that doesn’t care who’s in front of him or what’s in front of him, he’s going to try to get around it, or move it, or go through it, or break it, or something (laughs).”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13496

  176. @164 The Dude Abides…

    Seems like the 91 & 00 Lakers are the winners of inflicting heartache…best post in that thread:

    “two weeks after that game (in 2000) at the Roseland. I had finally gotten over the loss & was enjoying the show when and the duo comes out for an encore…they were wearing “Tenacious D” shirts, asked if anyone wanted them, took them off to give to the crowd and what did they have on underneath? LAKER F’N JERSEYS! The crowd went nuts, we all cursed them, and now all I can do is laugh at how brilliant that was.”

    Unrelated note: The more I look at other NBA team blogs, the more I love this one…not just for content, but also for format/appearance. FB&G is top notch.

  177. 176, draws on a good point. If you consider the Celtics to be a fast-breaking team, then yes, LA can be a very good fast-breaking team next year. But if you think the Lakers will be running like Golden State or Mike D’Antoni, that just won’t be the case. I think there should be a qualifier placed on “running,” because there’s as huge difference between running in transition and pushing the pace. Like I said before, I don’t think we’ll have too many high-flying, open-court steals that lead to highlight dunks. I do believe that we’ll see a lot more dunks coming from semi-transition opportunities, which occur after the ball-handler has slowed beyond half-court, waiting for his bigs to catch up.

    Part of playing good defense is getting easy scores off stops. Lots of teams observe that their offenses get off-track whenever their opponent repeatedly scores on them, allowing the defense to get set up. Getting stops more often allows semi-transition opportunities, as opposed to gambles/steals which often lead to high-flying dunks. The loss of Ariza’s athleticism will probably lead to fewer turnovers, but more missed shots. In this way, we can expect many more semi-transition opportunities than full-blown turnovers.

    And while Bynum’s 42 point game was great to watch, we have to remember that he was playing against DeAndre Jordan and Brian Skinner, two guys not known for playing much defense. Jordan gave up Opposing PER’s of 23.5 for C’s last season, with a PER differential of -7.5. Skinner gave up Opposing PER’s of 18.7 for C’s, PER differential of -10.0. Couple the fact that Jordan is a (statistically) much worse defender, played Center most of the game, and played many more minutes than Skinner, and Bynum’s performance becomes a little less brilliant. While we should celebrate his game (most people don’t get 40 point games against anyone), we should be careful how much we extrapolate from one game. Let’s see if he actually has some more lateral movement and explosiveness before we go claiming we can ride him for the entire season.

  178. Zephid- I agree, Bynum wasn’t schooling great competition. But I was really surprised at his speed down the floor. He was right there with Kobe pushing the break on almost every play. His post moves were not really very effective, even against (by your numbers) poor defenders. Even if he doesn’t get the results like he did in the 42pt. game, he can do a LOT more for our offense by simply running the floor like he did during his “healthy” games last season. Causing mismatches and the like.

    I’m not claiming we can ride him. In fact I’d rather ride Gasol like we did last season. But I like his mobility when he’s healthy. He fits in a lot better. And you don’t have to see much to know that his mobility was not nearly the same with the brace on.

    And I don’t think anybody thinks we’re going to be a D’Antoni-like running team. I just don’t believe we’ll be a “slower” team next year due to losing Ariza. We just might not steal as many lazy passes.

  179. New post up from Kwame A.

  180. I’m not ready to declare that we’ll be a faster or slower paced team next season. The points made about Artest being more capable of initiating a break than Trevor is very true, but Ron does not run as well nor is he the finisher in transition that Trevor is. So, it may be a wash in that Ron may lead the break more, but he’s replacing one of the better players we had at filling the lane and finishing.

    Another key to our pace will be how much Farmar plays in comparison to Brown and what the coaches instruct Farmar to do on offense when he’s in the game. Remember, last season, the coaches essentially gave Farmar free reign to push the pace. This was especially true at the beginning of the season when Trevor and Lamar (two very good uptempo players) were paired with him on the “bench mob”. But when Drew got hurt and LO/Ariza went to the starting lineup, Farmar got out of sorts some and openly complained about his confusion with his “role” – saying he didn’t know what he was supposed to do anymore. My point being, if Brown sees more minutes than Farmar next season or if the coaches instruct Farmar to play a more controlled game, we may look to push pace less by design. I mean, when you look at our roster now: Fisher, Kobe, WOW, Gasol, Bynum, Artest, LO, Walton, Sasha, Farmar, Powell…most, if not all, of these guys are better in the half court than in transition. Don’t get me wrong, every team should look to get out and run in order to get easy baskets. But playing a fast break offense is a different style completely. The only team that I can recall that balanced a great fast break with excellent half court offense were our very own Showtime Lakers, and they had the best PG ever running the show. It’s not an easy line to walk (or run in this case).

    Anyways, in the end, I’m not sure if we’ll run more or less. But based off our personnel, I wouldn’t doubt that we’d look to play a more controlled game and focus on scoring in the half court. But, of course, I still think we’ll try to control the glass with one of our 3 very good rebounders and then have our other big that’s in the game run post-lane sprints in order to establish the deep post (ala Bynum in his 42pt game). Realize too, that one of our best plays is the P&R in early offense with Bynum/Gasol setting a drag screen for Kobe at the top of the key. So, maybe we’ll see more early offense and less outright fast breaking.

    BTW, and it probably goes without saying, I think it’s great to have Odom back in the fold.

  181. All the talk of fast break points and who can lead a break is for not. All that matters during the season, everybody must want to win 73 games, not in the post season. In the playoffs, which matters the most to me, the game is slowed down and the half court game is truly important in a 7 game match up. We are not a team built like the Globetrotters or your And 1 team. We are now a team built to play aggresive man defense with turnovers starting the occasional fast break. All the gambling on steals to try to start a fast break, IMO is what makes for horrible team D. Last year we were caught out of defensive position so many times because of that mindset. The slow downed pace is perfect for sound defense and offensive execution. How come the teams that gambling on defense never make it to the finals(ex. CleveBron) All those wins during the season were associated to a gambling defense that allowed for easy points and high flying highlights. But when it came to the playoffs and a slower pace, Orlando walked the dog with all that gambling. Cleveland’shalf court execution(Bron vs 5), without all the steals, looked terrible and had the fan base calling for the coaches head on a platter.

    I will accept fewer fast break points if our half court offense is fluid and defense is sound. That combination will lead to a confetti covered floor come next June.