Around the World (Wide Web): They’re Back…

Darius Soriano —  February 16, 2010

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With the NBA taking a league-wide day off, there wasn’t much news to be reported since no major deals have been made just yet (although it looks like Miami is making a hard push to acquire Amar’e Stoudemire). However, there was much good news and a bit of bad news in the Lakers camp on the Monday following the 59th Annual All Star Game. There were reports of both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum working out and practicing with the team. Bryant missed the Lakers previous three games before the all star break, and Bynum missed the previous two and all but 10 minutes of the game in Portland. Both Bryant and Bynum will suit up and play tonight against the Warriors. Kobe didn’t talk to reporters after practice, but Phil Jackson talked about Kobe’s mobility.

“He said he didn’t have the normal strength he’d like to have, but it’ll come back,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “That’s just getting back in the flow and getting some strength there again, re-conditioning it. He hasn’t played in two weeks so there’s a lot of things that he was trying out and trying to figure out — passes that went awry and shots he was reluctant to shoot — but he’ll come [around].”

 Even with the good news about Bryant’s and Bynum’s respective returns, the Lakers were hit with the news that Luke Walton will be out indefinitely with a pinched nerve in his back. Even though Walton hasn’t been the same Luke that I grew to love on the floor in 2008, the Lakers will definitely be able to use his passing ability down the stretch and in the postseason. When Walton was getting his most minutes from PJ, he was brought in after stretches of isolation basketball to get the ball moving from one side to the other. Hopefully this latest setback won’t keep him out for an extended amount of time.

It’s been well reported that the Mavericks have seemingly improved with Caron Butler and Brendon Haywood now on their roster, and this has had Lakers fans wondering if a trade is now imminent. I won’t get into the details that Darius got into yesterday, but Mitch Kuptchak told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that a trade is unlikely for the Lakers.

“There is no compelling reason to dramatically change this team, in particular its core,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We won a championship last year and we feel like we can be as strong this year with the one change we made — the Ron Artest change.

“If this is the team we go into the playoffs with, we’ll be happy with our roster, provided we stay healthy. The caveat, as always, is we’ll look at roster flexibility and areas where we can tweak the roster.”

 Also, after the team’s practice, Phil Jackson was interviewed after practice on everything from Kobe, ‘Drew and Walton’s injuries to their upcoming games and their poor practice to the possibility of making a trade. His thoughts of possibly moving anyone mirrored those of Kuptchak’s saying the Lakers won’t be forced to make a deal. And historically, this makes sense. The Lakers seldom make deals around the trade deadline. Since 1997, the Lakers have only made one trade in February, and that was to acquire Pau Gasol. I think it’s safe to say that the Lakers roster as it is now is going to be the one that they take into the postseason.

-Phillip

Darius Soriano

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33 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): They’re Back…

  1. Please keep any trade speculation to the previous thread. We can discuss the Camby trade here and how that helps and/or hurts Portland, but all of the wild “superstars X, Y, and Z end up together on Orlando” fantasy discussions can live in the trade thread.

  2. Actually, I am pretty optimistic about the next 28 games – and beyond. We now have a definitive look at how to play our offense. We have increasing depth down low and, hopefully, Drew will progress as the season winds down. We have Kobe and, with his having to round into shape, a good chance he will integrate well into our style of play.

    I think Phil’s home stretch coaching should ratchet up our average level of play so we feel really good going into the playoffs.

    I really like our chances — and that’s really all any team can hope for. Nothing’s given.

  3. If you have the time, go check out this article in GQ on Kobe:

    http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/201003/kobe-bryant?currentPage=1

    Hat tip to TrueHoop.

  4. That GQ article was great.

    Do GM’s have to do very much? I mean it doesn’t seem like a full time job..

  5. Who is the NBA’s superman?

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/13304/nbas-true-superman

    I think this one is good for a nice laugh.

  6. The Lakers should stand pat and not mess up the chemistry that they currently have by making a trade at this time of the year. They are good enough as currently constructed to make a run for the chip, I am not a fan of seeing trades happen just for the excitement of it. This off season we may see more money saving moves done to the roster, like letting the expiring contracts go and signing min players to fill out the 13 we have to field a team with.

  7. This table is absolutely fascinating:

    http://www.red94.net/?p=1024

    I wish we could get something like that for other teams, just out of curiosity.

    The source site has a number of interesting tools, although I’m sure most people have seen it already: http://www.basketballgeek.com

  8. What exactly are the Clippers getting out of the Portland trade? An injured player, Blake and $1.5M? They are getting nothing in return for their best defensive player and a guy who actually wanted to stay and play for them. They are not even shedding any salary for next year to try and get a big name player.

  9. Wow. Just when you think maybe they’ve turned a corner, the Clippers prove they’re still the Clippers.

    Not that Portland is an elite team on the verge of a Championship, but this is the type of trade that may work for contending teams. I can’t even remember the last time a team traded for a major piece in Feb., then won it all that year. When teams do trade and then win it, it’s usually a minor deal that brings in some veteran depth. For me, this doesn’t quite put Portland into the elite category, although it’s definitely a good pick-up for them.

  10. 6 sT, I am a fan of seeing trades happen just for the excitement of it, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of our chances to win. Let’s face it, the long NBA season gets boring after awhile and we need things to make it interesting – and while it’d be nice to be Cuban and play fantasy basketball in real life – not all of us have that luxury of dealing with the boredom.

  11. Ford has just said that the Lakers were in talks for Hinrich, but would not do so without shipping out Sasha’s contract. You can choose to believe whatever, but I think Ford’s probably right on this one.

    Nothing groundbreaking. I’m with Don, I like to see blockbuster trades happen as long as they don’t hurt our chances of winning.

  12. Here are a couple links on the Clips/Blazers trade.

    Mcmillan talking about the trade here:
    http://bit.ly/aBE1TR

    and Zach Harper at talkhoops.net analyzing the trade here:
    http://bit.ly/akIXgN

  13. Let’s be honest, any Hinrich trade wouldn’t be considered a “blockbuster” trade. Pau’s trade fit in that category.

    At best, this kind of trade is tinkering around the margins, thereby making it feasible contrary to the whole “Lakers rarely do blockbuster trades at the deadline” talk out there. Just saying, any hopes for this trade to come through may still be alive, and Chicago may just be desperate enough.

  14. Outlaw’s got some upside for the Clippers, once he’s healthy. And they’re not going to win anything this year, so getting some financial relief isn’t a bad thing, either.

    This is the kind of trade that reminds me why I’m happy to be a Lakers fan. The Clippers fan base — all 17 of them — will react to this with a, “Ho hum. They’re officially writing of this season in mid-February.”

  15. Can anyone explain to me why Miami seems to continually dangle Michael Beasley in trade scenarios (or at least reported to do so)? I don’t see Miami enough to know how he plays. The limited time that I’ve seen him play, he seems like a Durant-style talent without the hopes of an entire franchise on his back.

  16. 15 Hale, I agree with you, I would much rather have an injury free, young, developing, and motivated (though somewhat of a headcase) Michael Beasley than a Amare. He is scoring the ball much more comfortably and getting better on defense. I thought he was the future of that franchise. Maybe they’re trying to acquire Amare while keeping Beasley?

  17. Kobe’s a scratch tonight. ESPN just reported that he seemed to have a setback after his first practice.

  18. ESPN is reporting kobe is out tonight.

  19. With Butler leaving Washington, another trace of Kwame Brown’s legacy is wiped from the books.

    Beasley isn’t a franchise player on a great team the way Durant is. It’s hard to describe what exactly is wrong with his game – I think even Thorpe or one of the ESPN guys was having trouble identifying it too.

    My personal take – one problem is the mentality. He’s a soft outside player, when he has the physique to attack and mix it up inside. When he does drive, he doesn’t have the craftiness, hangtime, or array of midair adjustments that other players have – so he often struggles to finish against good, long interior defenses.

    He can often get by his man, but on teams with strong defensive rotations, he has problems scoring on the helper. And his court vision/skills are low enough that he can’t pass out of that position.
    He doesn’t have the length or strength to guard 4’s or overpower them offensively, but too slow to handle 3’s.

    That said, his jumpshot is so, so pretty. Just feathery-smooth. I think if he continues to grow, he may be an All-Star. He can be a great 3rd option on a championship team. And I’m very puzzled as to why Riley is trying to trade him. I’d keep him over Amare, especially with a chance at Bosh this offseason.

  20. Kobe being out changes things a bit. Sorry everyone, but this will delay the preview for a little while longer.

  21. Having snooped around (probably too much), and thought through the possibilities, I’ve sniffed out some feasible scenarios which I don’t think will happen because: just like me, the Lakers like this team–and they like each other. Phil seems to like his options–even including Sasha and Adam.

  22. Looks like the Lakers have been doing alright without Bryant but that just goes to show the quality of their rotation. As far as the deadline, last I heard Hinrich for The Machine and Walton was the only possible trade out there for the Lakers.

    @Mojo – “only miss 2 games”????? you guys are hosting Boston on Thursday brotha, whatcha trying to say? lol

  23. Take your time, Darius. That might give Warren time to arrive. Good luck for the stretch post-All-Star break run.

    Warren, if you’re here, feel free to announce your presence.

  24. They’re playing the Warriors tonight, missing Kobe won’t matter.

    I’d like to see him against Boston in a couple days though.

  25. Who else is worried about Kobes ankle? I know i am. It began as “oh he needs to just rest it a litte” and now it looks like its getting worse after workouts…

  26. Does anyone know what the time off will do for Kobes finger? Will the time off enable it to heal at all?

  27. “27, seems the fingerthing wont heal unless you start resting 6 weeks…

  28. The finger is broken. Kobe has said it won’t heal this season, at least.

  29. Just saw this in a Chicago Paper:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2010/02/who-blinks-first-bulls-or-lakers.html

    Now they’re trying to get Minnesota involved? I have a feeling that the Sasha issue is going to kill this deal. Any time Mitch gets into a “who blinks first” contest with another GM, nothing happens (Artest back when he was with Indiana, JKidd when he was with the Nets, and J. O’Neal when he was with Indiana are the most recent examples).

    This potential deal almost feels like it’s been in the press too much to actually happen, if that makes sense.

  30. 29. I can’t remember where I read it, but I read finger injury would take 4-6 weeks to heal. Obviously its been past 6 weeks. But If that were true and kobe said it wont heal this season. It could be because he decided to play through it rather than sit out a month. I’m not a doctor and I have no idea If what I just said is true. But obviously kobe can play with that injury so thats the good thing if it can heal this season.

  31. Will cinderella (Lakers without Kobe) keep winning, or will clock strike midnight tonight against the Warriors?

  32. 32,

    No knock on your point but I think the Lakers’ wins were more work than fairy dust. Though, to be honest, I expect this one to be a high-turnover game, after the All-Star break. Hopefully this won’t dissuade the team from making the extra pass.