Missing Luke Walton

Darius Soriano —  February 17, 2010

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Over the years, Luke Walton’s tenure with the Lakers has been a bit of a touchy subject.  Many fans take one of two stances on Luke: he’s either an overpaid player that isn’t very good or he’s a valued contributor whose feel for the game and the Lakers system makes him a player that truly does help this team.  This is a never ending debate amongst Lakers fans and I’m not sure if it will ever be resolved completely.  The truth is probably in between these two views as Luke is overpaid for his contributions to the team, but those contributions do have value.   So now, with the recent news that Luke is out indefinitely, I think it’s worthwhile to examine what his prolonged absence will mean to the Lakers.

Let’s take a look at this from two persectives, player rotations/substitutions and X’s and O’s:

Rotations/Substitutions:  Whatever you think about Luke’s value to this team, the fact is that he is the Lakers primary back up at SF.  After Artest, Luke is the player that is next in line at that position and, for that reason alone, his absence is meaninful.  This season, Luke has been a bit player primarily due to the fact that Phil has found a comfort in the Farmar/Shannon back court with Kobe playing SF a lot with this group.  This means that Luke’s minutes have been reduced because Phil is (seemingly) much more comfortable with a better scoring option and better defender at SF when he goes with this smallish back court.  But, even though that has been the case, Luke has still been called upon to help this team even with that small back court in place.  And, even though Luke has seen his minutes reduced, he’s still a viable option at SF in a variety of lineups through varying circumstances.

Take last night’s game for example and you find a scenario where Luke is missed.  Obviously, Ron Artest is the starter at SF.  But Ron will not always play well (in his last two games, Ron has shot 5/13 and 1/7 ) and in these instances, having a viable option not named Kobe (who has been banged up plenty this season and his minutes should be monitored) needs to be available to play SF for us -  that person should be Luke.  This is even more evident because of the player that sits behind Luke in the SF rotation – Adam Morrison.  Right now, Ammo is not a quality player at all.  He’s a shooter that is not making shots and has never been a player that plays even passable defense.  If Ammo plays meaningful minutes in any game, it is a problem for the Lakers.  Sure there are other solutions outside of Ammo and Kobe.  The Lakers could go small with either Shannon or Sasha playing spot minutes at SF or the Lakers could go big and play Lamar there.  However, those options involve playing a guy out of position and asking him to do things outside of what his normal role is, which is not typically how Phil operates (Phil is the king of normalizing roles and often sticks with players and/or lineups seemingly out of the want for familiarity).

In the end, understand that we need a player (or several players) to take up some minutes at SF.  As the season wears down we want to not only start to peak as a team, but we want the team to be fresh going into another deep playoff run.  So, do we want Kobe playing 40+ minutes with 5-10 of those coming at SF where he’s guarding and being defended by bigger, more physical players?  And if it’s not Kobe, do we want Ron playing 40+ minutes on feet suffering from plantar fasciitis in cheap shoes?  Do we want Ammo playing 10+ minutes a night?  I’m pretty sure the answer to all those questions is no.

X’s and O’s:  We all know that Luke has limitations on offense.  He’s not the best outside shooter and his limited athleticism makes him an average finisher in the paint on fast breaks, penetrations, and post ups.  But one thing that Luke does do well is pass.  Combine that passing acumen with his knowledge of the Triangle offense and you’ve got a more than serviceable player for the Lakers.  Earlier this season, when Luke was sitting out for the second time with his back injury (we’re now up to injured list trip #3) many fans (and even the Lakers coaches) were clamoring for a return of Walton to help a sluggish Lakers offense find its groove again.  We all saw how the Lakers ball movement was limited and how players cuts and screens were executed with little zeal due to this lack of passing and teamwork.  Everyone knew that, even in limited minutes, Luke could help with that.  And when Luke did return his assist totals may have been low, but he did intitiate better ball movement when he was on the court and got players cutting harder and moving more off the ball just because of his penchant for passing.

Beyond Luke’s passing, he’s also a post up threat for the Lakers.  Now, missing another post up player may not seem like a big deal when your team has Pau, Bynum, Kobe, Artest, and Odom.  But, the difference between Luke and those other players (save Gasol) is that when he’s posting up, Luke is not only looking to score, but he’s looking to pass just as often.  Plus, because Luke is not a strong offensive player, the opposing team often puts a small defender on him and that further allows Luke to go to work on the block and make the game easier for his teammates.  Overall, Luke in the post helps this team as he’s both a capable scorer on the block and a more than willing passer.  He creates easy buckets for this team and helps in the smoothness and efficiency of our sets.  From an execution standpoint, Luke (even in limited minutes) helps this team.  He can bring the ball up and put our other wings into positions where they can play off the ball and take advantage of more of their strengths.  Last season during the playoffs, we often saw Luke in the game whenever Shannon was playing PG so that WOW could play off the ball more and not have to initiate offense.  This season, Luke’s ability to initiate offense has clearly helped players like Bynum and Gasol just because Luke is one of the players that is constantly focussed on running our sets and making sure our bigs get post touches.  Considering our bigs are our most efficient players, I’d say this is pretty important.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying Luke Walton is some savior that can’t be replaced and whose presence would be the difference between a bunch of wins and losses.  As I mentioned above, Luke is a bit player for the Lakers who is only averaging about 8 minutes a game this season.  But, in the larger scheme of things, someone else is now going to have to play those minutes and this roster really doesn’t have an answer to that question that doesn’t lead to more questions with broader considerations and implications.   Hopefully, Walton can recover from his injured back and return as a contributor to this team down the stretch of the season.  But, if he can’t there will be some obstacles to overcome when dealing with that absence.  Whether they’re in tangible or intangible ways, Walton is a player that helps this team.   So, my hope is that you get well soon Luke because you will be missed.

Darius Soriano

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132 responses to Missing Luke Walton

  1. Good read. I agree very much with all of this. If only Luke would learn to shoot, then he would be a perfect triangle bit-player.

    His effect on the play is like an anti-kobe. Not overly talented, but patient and hungry to pass and play team first ball.

  2. Agreed. With Luke out indefintely, the Lakers will probably have to find a replacement at the SF position (don’t even suggest AMMO) during the trade deadline, utilizing AMMO’s expiring for a rental SF. Kobe’s injury plus Artest’s various ailments = little depth at the SF spot, which is chock full of talent around the league.

  3. “The truth is probably in between these two views as Luke is overpaid for his contributions to the team, but those contributions do have value. ”

    Sums it up perfectly.

  4. why don’t we give LO some run at the 3 position? That gives Bynum and LO both more time on the floor.

  5. Luke is a player I can never really hate. He had that one good year (yes, another contract year player) and since has been very injury prone. I see Luke and I see a guy whos basketball IQ just doesnt live up to his god-given natural athletic ability. (That was a joke, and if you didn’t get that…shame on you!). I don’t mind Luke being on the team because he is a chemistry guy. Every player in the locker room (including Kobe) likes Luke. You need a player like that. In fact every championship team does. The year Boston won, they had Scalabrine (or scal-a-weeny as my cousin calls him). We had Luke last year. In 2007 when the spurs won they had guys like Horry and Bonner (insert immature giggle) as their ‘chemistry guys’. So as you can see, every family has one.

  6. Kobe out on Thursday.

  7. Your breakdown is good…on paper…

    There are certainly games when Luke plays like you described above: focussing on passing, making sure the traingle is run properly, passing out of the post, etc.

    Unfortunately, though, there are many other games (like the game against Utah), where a team puts a smaller player on Walton, and he turns on “scorer mode.” I actually think this is a detriment because you get consecutive possessions like this:

    1) Walton receives pass in the post, ignores kick out pass and/or short quarter pass to Bynum or Gasol and attempts an awkward turn out jumper – missing badly.

    2) Walton attempts to post up his smaller defender again, only he’s so busy trying to get position, when the pass comes, he’s not ready for it, so he fumbles it away.

    3) Walton attempts to post up his smaller defender AGAIN…this time, he makes a move to break free, gets the pass, then blows the layup on the move.

    4) Walton posts up his smaller defender a fourth time, puts the ball down, looking to pass, and gets it stolen.

    I believe that is the way the fourth quarter of the Utah game last week started (perhaps, with a bit of hyperbole).

    In order to be effective, Walton needs to be playing with high calibur players, and be guarded by someone around his size to keep him from going into scorers mode. That’s why he’s most effective when playing with Kobe – he sticks to his role.

    All that being said, my biggest issue with Walton is not that he’s overpaid, or that he isn’t very good, it’s that in 6 years in the league, he’s gotten WORSE.

    He had that one season in 2006 (which by the way, was his CONTRACT YEAR), where he was able to makes shots (though, he still only shot 38% from three), and since then it’s been a steady decline.

    He gets a bit of a free pass because he’s Bill’s son, but it seems to me that he’s just as bad as any other player who works really hard during his contract year, then mails it in through the remainder of his contract.

    I mean, honestly, have you ever heard a story about Luke being a “hard worker?”

    I’ve heard about his BBQ joint. I heard a story that a few summers ago, Bill kicked him out of the San Diego house, because he was partying too much.

    There’s a good reason that Luke shows up on EVERY “Worst Contracts” list even though he only makes $5M a year.

  8. and luke smokes a lot of weed, so I can’t hate on him for that. Same with Ammo.

  9. Luke does not deserve to be a Laker anymore. There I said it.

  10. WhiteLightnin’ February 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Lukes my boy! Burgundy, you’re right on with some of your points, but I’m glad you admit the hyperbole. I wouldn’t consider Luke incredibly overpaid simply because his understanding of the triangle can’t be bought and sometimes can’t be learned.

    LOfan, are you an LO fan because he seems like such a pothead? Also, I’m pretty sure Luke does harder drugs than weed…

  11. Not sure, why several people have tried to turn this into a trade thread, but that’s not going to happen. There was a thread a couple days back where you can float any of your ideas.

  12. No Laker in history has missed more wide-open layups than Walton.

  13. 3 TEAM TRADE:

    Cavs get Jameson and Telfair

    Clippers get Drew Gooden

    Wizards get Thornton, Big Z, Skinner, and 1st round pick

  14. >>>No Laker in history has missed more wide-open layups than Walton.

    Anyone remember Tony Smith? He still haunts my nightmares. I thought he’d changed his name to “Smithblowsthelayup” with how many times I heard Chick connect the two.
    But point taken, Walton’s probably a close second.
    I know he has to shoot occasionally to keep the defenses honest, but I cringe every time he does.

  15. I’ve never been a big Luke fan. Yea he did well in his contract year, but I can’t stand when people try to justify Luke’s play by trying to point out how “smart” he is or how good of a “passer” he is. Often, I think he causes a lot of turnovers because he tries to force a “smart” pass. I feel for his injury woes, but I just don’t think we miss Luke Walton. By far the worst contract remaining on the Lakers. Sasha comes in second.

  16. DAMN IT ALL.

    Jamison to Cavs. I think this is what many of us were most wary of. And Telfair too. Without giving anything up.

    I’m calling you out, Grunfield. You have no heart. Lebron humiliates your franchise year after year and now you’ve given him another key to a championship. Save yourself some dignity and keep Z for the rest of the year.

    Kudos to Gilbert. The guy keeps spending with no regard to price, only trying to make his team better.

    This will be interesting, to see how everything plays out.

  17. So the Cavs get Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair for giving up Z for 30 days. Really? That doesn’t make the Pau deal too one-sided now. I mean atleast Marc is a good player, and has a good contract.

    The whole trade away your player knowing that he’s going to get waived and re-sign him 30 days later really irks me. I really hope the Wiz hold on to him for the season just to slight the Cavs, or hey, maybe Z doesn’t appreciate being traded away after all the years of service to the Cavs.

  18. I like Luke’s game overall, but I could never understand why he’s such a terrible inbound passer. He always struggles with that role. Also, he needs to improve his 3 point shooting to be valuable in this offense. He also takes too much risk in his passing and often turnover prone. If his contract were a bit more reasonable (like 2 more years at 3.5-4 million), he could be a contributor to this team. But right now he’s pretty much a dead weight even when he’s healthy.

    One SF I really wish we had is Battier. He would be a perfect fit as a backup SF for our team. Rasual Butler or Dorrell Wright would be a decent fit, too.

  19. 12,14

    Kwame Brown anyone? Even in a short stint as a Laker I think he blow the passes under the rim (that he could catch)

  20. I hope Z falls in love with DC and gives Gilbert his ginormous middle finger.

    I’m with sb, I hate this rent-a-player deal. Stern needs to ban the player from returning to his old team for the rest of the year.

    pb – I’ve liked Wright for a while as an Ariza-type player (not as good defensively, but much better handle and better jumpshot than pre-Lakers Ariza). Too bad he decides to be good this year, I doubt Riles gives him up now.

  21. Man, Antawn Jamison to the cavs. Scary as a lakers fan.

    A starting five of Lebron, Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Shaq, and Gibson is formidable. Not to mention they got to keep hickson who pesters the lakers quite a bit.

    I just don’t see anyone beating CLE. And no, I wasn’t saying that last year.

  22. It is no coincidence that the bench has struggled this year with Walton out.

    He may not put up big numbers but something positive happens to the other benchies when he is out there.

  23. i too cant believe the cavs got jamison for nothing, assuming big Z comes back, grunfeld has really screwed over us with his panic money saving trades

  24. Im not a Luke Walton fan, I kno what he brings to the team but bad contracts irk me.

    Regardless this is going to hurt the Lakers because it gives Adam Morrison minutes.. who just might be the worst player in the NBA

  25. Mitch only got a few more hours to trade deadline. Please do your magic. This team is not going to beat Clev as is. No way with their new mates. Need PG and outside shooter. Oh well – stupid clippers giving players away.

  26. Grunfeld couldn’t get a better deal than that? And why does everyone keep trading for Drew Gooden?

    I know I’m off topic but WTF?

  27. clippers give away camby, then they facilitate this. STERLING@@!@#

  28. Jamison really doesn’t scare me. I think he’s a liability defensively. I understand he stretches the floor for them, but I personally would have been a lot more frightened with Stoudamire going to Cleveland.

  29. This is a risky move by Cleveland. If Lebron leaves, they won’t be able to rebuild right away. If I were GM Danny Ferry, I would have preferred STAT. Worst case scenario, his contract expires.

  30. 27) – I was thinking the same thing. They give Camby to the Blazers and then help Cleveland get even better.

    You have to love Donald T. Sterling.

  31. So Big Z is getting a Buyout and cavs add 2 players for peanuts?

    Waiting for Pop’s rant.

    this is the steal of the year!…until the hawks knocks them out the in the second round.

  32. How did we end up with crap like Walton, Sasha, Morrison, Farmar (better lately), Vlad ( not that long ago)….bunch of trash that no other team wants. Can’t even give these suckers away!!!!

  33. The league stepped in during the 80s and stopped Cleveland’s GM from making abysmal trades left and right, eventually taking the keys away fully. When is Stern going to take Sterling’s keys away? The past couple days of Clippers news have been utter, pointless lunacy.

  34. Freak – clippers should give the Lakers Davis, Griffin, Kaman, or even Gordon.

  35. 28) – This move is a make or break move. Anything other than a title means LeBron is gone. The pressure is on.

    So the Cavs will have Shaq, Hickson, Varejao, Jamison and Z (when he returns) rotating in their front court. Add in the ocassional small lineup with LeBron at the 4 and that is an imposing group. Still Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are better than anyone in that group (except LeBron). The question is can Drew at least cancel Shaq out? I’m not sure.

    I know everyone keeps harping on getting a PG. I am starting to think another solid SF may be a better move.

  36. so lemme get this straight.

    the Wizards trade their 4 most talented guys behind Arenas (2 All stars included) for:

    1) Josh Howard
    2) Z’s expiring contract
    3) A high first rounder
    4) Al Thornton

    that makes Chris Wallace and Don Sterling look sane.

  37. 32, the camby trade is questionable. But being able to trade telfair and thornton gives the Clippers a lot of options. Now they can afford another max contract free agent.

    Also, they can use both their capspace and their young, talented, and inexpensive players like Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, and Outlaw in a sign-and-trade for a max player.

  38. I said a couple of days ago that I wish we could get Camby because that Front line of Cleveland just got a lot better, and crazier if Z returns to Cleveland.

    If I were Mitch, I’d be making calls to Z’s agent right now. Maybe we can sway him? LA or Cleveland?

    Point guard wont be the weakness now. Cleveland has a lot of fouls to hack Pau with now.

  39. 32.
    Walton and Sasha made sense at the time. Walton was the 3rd best player on the team before he got hurt. He was leading the league in 3 point percentage for awhile and looked to be exactly the kind of player we need, someone who understands his role as a facilitator and would make Kobe’s life easier for years to come. And then he got hurt and has been battling bad feet and legs ever since. And nobody saw this coming, who would have thought that a guy named Walton would be ruined after an ankle problem???
    Sasha was almost a no brainer at the time. He was the MVP of a finals game, someone who could play 1, 2 or 3 and he was a crunch time player. Our default end-game lineup that year was Fisher, Sasha, Kobe, Odom, Gasol. The choice was between Sasha or Turiaf. We figured that with Bynum coming back we didn’t need a 4th big man, so we took Sasha and hoped he would keep making shots, his defense would improve and he’d become a good enough decision maker to become the primary ball-handler. We went 0 for 3 on that one.

    Morrison was us trading our junk for someone else’s. We didn’t want Vlad Rad anymore, and we got a rotation player out of the deal. Of course, we were wrong at who the rotation player was going to be, but it worked out OK in the end. Ammo might be the worst player in the league at this point and we still won that deal, if we would have traded Vlad Rad for a sandwich, we would have won the deal, you gotta understand how much Phil hated him.

    And people like Farmar. He may not be meant for our team, but after this year if we get rid of him, he’ll be someone’s back up point guard and his numbers will go way up.

  40. Freaking Clippers!!!

    Don’t blame this on Grunfield, this is all Mike F**king Dunleavy. They just gave the championship to the Cavs for Drew Gooden (an expiring contract). My God, what is wrong Dunleavy. They made Portland better now the Cavs. I’m just sick.

  41. Contracts like Walton’s and Sasha’s may have cost LA Ariza last year. The FO was not trying to get burned by another contract year overachiever. It seems that Ariza was the player they should not have let go. Now LA is stuck with dead weight and no moves to make with these fish still on the hook, eating the bait and swimming off.

  42. Oh sorry Darius, great article. Luke is a $3 to $4 million a year player max. He was and has been injury prone since the beginning. He is invaluable to the triangle but the guy sucks as bad as Kwame on making layups. Ron Ron can’t jump so he has reason to miss (some) but Luke misses them on a constant. He is just scary with the ball, that’s why he passes so much. He doesn’t have any confidence in his shot.

    I’m a billiards player and I see the same thing with alot of players. They come close to making shots but always seem to rim out or barely miss. This is because of pressure. My favorite saying is “Pressure breaks pipes”. I think the pressure of the NBA game gets to Luke, he plays because he loves the game and it’s all he knows. He isn’t terrible, he just sucks. I’d take him any day instead of Ammo.

  43. I didnt think the Lakers could beat the Cavs in a seven game series before, and now well I am more afraid than ever before. That Cavs team runs 12 deep, heck they even have Leon Powe coming back from injury I mean are we kidding ourselves? The Lakers HAVE to make trades, before we were able to stand pat and see how it went but now this kind of forces Mitch’s hand to make a trade to help the team.

  44. it is not the 1st time, nor the last time, that a player plays exceptionally well on the contract year. is it the GM’s responsibility to identify those anomalies, and act accordingly? sasha/walton/that clipper’s Most improved a coupel years ago… countless more.

  45. I agree with Dirty Sanchez

    If we could have kept Ariza with Artest coming in we would not be worried right now. To tell the truth we could have under league rules because we would be offering Artest the mid-level and Ariza was our free agent and we could have paid him what we wanted. That would have been the team to beat even with Cleveland getting Jamison. We would have been able to match anyone in any situation. I said this earlier in the season, Ariza’s agent screwed the pooch on that one. He may have cost us a championship.

    I really want to win this one more than ever. I always want to win, but now that we have been cheated (especially when Z goes back to Cleveland) I want to give everyone the middle finger and win the championship. We need someone who can play small forward and run the offense, but no one wants what we have. KH may have been our only hope.

  46. 40 – Yea – I thought dunleavy was the biggest loser of a coach. Now he tops it off by being a bigger douche bag GM. WTF is wrong with this guy? How is he even in this position with an NBA team? He should pair up with MJ and they can make a team worse than the Nets!!! Who cares about a clippers curse when you got dunleavy on your side?

    I’m still for the Lakers but it’s going to be a tough road to the ring.

  47. I hope Jerry Buss is watching ESPN because if he wants his team to win he is going to have to shell out some more money from those deep pockets.

  48. Jamison really makes the Cavs better…Bassy doesn’t fit in with the type of guards Cleveland uses.

    Now that they’re reporting that Chicago is trading Salmons to Milwaukee, it looks like the Lakers shot at Hinrich is over.

    Lakers better hope that their point guard situation doesn’t kill them during the playoffs…………….I think they’ll make it to the Finals, where they’ll get absolutely torched by Cleveland’s guards while Lebron shoots 20+ free throws a game.

    Well, Lakers won the title in 2009. Back to back titles are tough. Especially when you employ, literally, the worst starting point guard in the league (and a back up who’s not good enough to overtake him)…

  49. Luke was handy to have to make the team coachable when it was going outside of the triangle.

    He is a good passer, was a good 3 pt shooter when open, and had some limited but useful offense.

    Come to think, everyone we seemed to ‘overpay’ were ones that were good 3 pt shooters at the time…

  50. Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, this is gonna be one mighty finals!!!

    The Lakers should offer the wiz something for Z! JK…….or not

  51. Man, are some of you Laker fans? Why don’t you just jump on the Cleveland Bandwagon if you believe the Lebrons are definitely winning the Title this year.

  52. Are fans really in full panic mode because of Jamison? I’ll have more analysis on all the deals (save Dallas’) after the deadline passes, but my first impressions are that this is a great trade for the Cavs but doesn’t “hand” them anything. So much will depend on Big Z and whether or not he returns, but I’m no more “scared” of the Cavs than what I was before this trade happened. The Cavs were always going to be a tough out for the Lakers (or any other contender) and that hasn’t changed. To think that any team is going to walk to a championship is crazy. Every team is pushed on its path to the title (save the 2001 Lakers and the ’83 Sixers) and this year will be no different whether the champion ends up being from Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, or California. Anyone that thinks this season is over is probably over reacting.

  53. Only time will tell if this trade pays dividends. As I have read in earlier post there have been little trades at the deadline that pushed the ensueing team to an NBA ring that same year. Jamison takes minutes from Hickson, V, and Z(after 30 days) in a crowded front court.

    It allows CleBron more roster flexibility between the big and small lineup, and resting their bigs(Z and Shaq). Mike Brown is not known for his coaching ability, so a smooth transition into who gets what time on the court and who sits will be the most challenging task with this new flexible roster.

    Having too many players to feed the ball to can be just as challenging as having to little talent. Somebody is gonna have to give up some shots to make sure everyone is sastified. What looks good on paper does not always translate well on the court.

  54. Call me insane, but I really feel that Jamison to the Cavs is the R. Jefferson deal v. 2.0.

    Not too worried about this one… or maybe I’m just still confident with our Lakers right now. *shrug*

  55. 11- Sorry Darius, it appears this has become a trade thread…

    As far as Walton goes, I’m a fan, I hope he gets his bounce back (remember when he had mad hops? durr). In the 06-07 season the lakers got off to a pretty decent start then as I recall, started tanking when Luke picked up injuries in jan/feb… so once he was nursed back to health the deal didn’t bad at that time. Seems like a long contract for a role player, but at the time, as many have stated before, he was probably the 3rd best player on the team and a great fit.

    I really hope he’s not out for the season as he provides a bit more stability than the other options for backup SF.

    as far as this trading block madness:
    In facilitating these deals (camby, Jamison) Dunleavy has made it clear he wants to wreak vengeance on the Lakers.

    I can’t believe the Cavs actually got Jamison. With Powe and Williams nearing return from their injuries… and the possibility Big Z will just get bought out and return, the cavs seem to be going from strength to strength…

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s only February, there’s a lot of season remaining, Cleveland has not won the title.

  56. Darius:

    I’m not conceding anything to Cleveland. In fact, strategically I’m not sure it benefits the Cavs to have multiple bigs on the floor at the same time. I’m not sure that the numbers back this up, but observation seems to show that the Cavs play best when they play Varejao + Lebron + 3 shooters.

    I’m interested to see how they actually play together before awarding them anything.

  57. Anyone think Amare is showing Cleveland what they missed out on so far? 15 & 11 in 14 minutes against the newlook Mavs. Although admittedly the Suns are still losing…

  58. Great article. The truth does lie somewhere in between. But I think there are two points needed to be discussed that push Luke more to the side of being grossly overpaid. First, as mentioned earlier – Luke has gotten worse every year since his new contract! Second, Lakers could have potentially kept Ariza if not for the absolutely crappy contracts of Sasha and our boy Luke. SF depth would be a complete mute point. Concern over Jamison to Cavs likewise would be ho hum… But Luke has really helped kill the Lakers cap, and has not shown any improvement (quite the contrary he is hardly a factor when Lakers at full strength). So no way to really spin this but to state he has been more an albatross to the Lakers than a help.

  59. No doubt, Cleveland is stacked now.

    However, we Lakers fans can take solace in one simple fact: they can still play only five of ‘em at a time.

  60. Don’t overreact folks. We still have Sasha, Luke, Ammo and Fisher. We’re fine!

  61. I know clips are dumping salary but dunleavey is such a dumb pile of rocks – maybe he’ll absorb the contracts of sasha, walton, and morrison for us.

  62. ****! The one day I sleep in (I work grave yard) the biggest trade of the season happens. I don’t think this season is over by any means but I’ll say it once again, let’s get a shooter. We just need papa Buss to slip a couple papers out the billfold and we’ll be just fine.

  63. Busboys – Are you sure that’s right? I thought we didn’t have Ariza’s Bird rights? He wasn’t with us for 3 years and I thought I remember someone saying his Bird rights weren’t traded, so I don’t think we could have matched any offer – only what was left of the midlevel. Unless my memory’s going. Anyone have a verdict?

    Maybe Dunleavy was pissed at being fired as coach, and now he’s secretly wrecking havoc on both LA franchises. Only thing that can explain some of these moves.

  64. #44,

    If we kept Ariza and Artest, we wouldn’t have had the money to keep Odom. It was one or the other.

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They look good on paper, but let’s see if A. Jamison makes Cleveland a better team or does it mess them up.

    We really don’t know.

  65. Ray. You are missing the point! It is because of Luke’s ridiculous contract that we could not keep both Ariza and Odom! This is what many of us are stating here. Luke’s contract is a weight on the Lakers, and coupled with the fact that he has gotten much worse makes it clear that he has overall hurt the Lakers.

  66. Brian -

    Hindsight is 20 20. We also could have let sasha go to europe and saved from his contract as well. At the time Luke was a glue guy, who played the triangle well and was and is still a Phil Jackson favorite.

    Did we overpay for Luke? yes. Did we overpay for Sasha? yes. Did we overpay for Bynum? yes. That’s what happens, you keep them by overpaying them. Well, that’s what happened before the economy tanked.

    Luke’s biggest problem has been his injuries since he signed the contract. Sucks, but what can you do?

  67. Ray,
    I don’t see it that way. Yes he has had injuries but when he is on the court every meaningful stat has dropped. For all of his so called intelligence his assist to turnover ratio has gotten worse, his shooting is poorer, he still cannot defend, and I challenge you to name one new move or shot that he has added to his repertoire. His plus minus rating is worse too(the idea that he somehow makes everyone around him better). He is an affable guy with a famous dad that is about it. As for Bynum being overpaid not sure about that for all the criticism he has shown improvement, and can be a true difference maker and most likely will be an All Star next year. Luke could not start for any team in the NBA that is not hyperbole just fact…

  68. Well, the Cavs got Jamison!

    This royally sucks since they gave up virtually NOTHING in order to get him. On the other hand, they may have picked up Amare, which would have been an absolute disaster. I don’t want to hear any crap about Amare not fitting in or playing defense. Amare is an all-star level talent, and it is ALWAYS a positive when you add those to your team. Especially on a team with a lacking offensive threat from its bigs. Varajoa/Hickson/etc are scrub role players. Don’t get me wrong, they can dunk the ball and get cheap points. But they do not come close to Amare. That said, Jamison is very good at what he does. He will make the Cavs even better.

    I think the Cavs now have the most likelyhood of winning a title. Unless Mitch makes a move in the next day and gives us some support, we are looking at a TOUGH 7-game series against the Cavs. That’s assuming we get that far since the Nuggets are better than both the Magic and the Celtics.

    Unfortunate. I was hoping nothing would happen. The Wiz gave away one of their best players for nothing. If only Mitch could somehow trade for Mike Miller. Maybe we can give them nothing for Miller? That would be a steal. He would be an absolutely PERFECT addition to this team. His shooting is, i would say, the best in the league or on that same level. If the Wiz are giving away players, maybe they won’t mind giving us somebody.

  69. The complaints about the contracts are getting ridiculous. GMs aren’t psychics. Do you guys realize that almost every team in the league has bloated contracts? We should be lucky we don’t giant killers like Curry’s contract, the former ghost that was Theo Ratliff’s contract – massive cap killers like those.

    Ray’s right on. It’s easy for us to sit here and bitch about contracts years later. But to expect every single contract on our payroll to be “just right”? Please. Anyone who follows the NBA knows that overpaid contracts are as common as tattoos. Our front office has done a fine job overall.

  70. We haven’t seen one game of the new look Cavs but people are jumping the gun on saying they are the greatest team and we don’t match up unless we do something to counter.

    Am I the only one that is thinking “Eh, we’ll see what happens in the playoffs?”

    This trade’s main goal for the Cavs was to tell Lebron: “So, you think you can go somewhere else and have a chance for a championship?” That was the main point of this trade, to make sure Lebron comes back next year.

    On Paper, they look good. On paper, the addition of Ron Artest looked great as well. So why don’t we wait for them to play at least one game, or 10, to see how they will be with this new addition.

    It doesn’t look like the Lakers will be making a trade this year guys. No one will take Sasha’s contract except the Clippers, and the only person that would have helped us has already been traded to the Blazers.

    Lakers in 6.

  71. Brian

    So the only reason that Luke got signed to his contract was that he had a famous dad? Some times stats tell great stories, especially for starters and for scorers, but Luke was a glue guy who kept the ball moving and understood the triangle offense.

    I don’t buy into the whole idea that Mitch and the Lakers brass would spend money on a guy they didn’t think would help the team. This year, has been Luke’s worse, but he’s been injured, and a bad back is not an easy thing to come back from.

    I don’t buy that just because you have a famous basketball player that the Lakers would give a contract, especially if that famous dad was a Celtic.

    If the Lakers sign Michael Jordan’s kid, then you may have a point.

  72. #52, Darius

    I don’t think anyone believes that the Cavs are handed the championship. But no doubt a team which has proved to be the best in the league just got better. How much better?

    Well, not “that” much better, but better. I don’t think Jamison is as good as people give him credit for. First off, he is 33 years old now. His numbers look to have begun to decline. Also, i’m not sure how good of a “fit” he is going to be in Cleveland. People say he is going to stretch the floor, but he is not even close to their best 3pt shooter. Jamison shoots 35% from 3pt range. Not that good. Especially when compared to the other 3pt threats on the team. They already have the best 3pt shooters in basketball when taken as a group.

    Also, his defense is not as good as Varajoa or even Hickson. Whose minutes will Jamison be taking? Also, he seems to be an inefficient VOLUME shooter which is always a negative, most notably when a player is moving from a bad team to a very good team. Since on the bad team he is the #1 or #2 option, while on the very good team he is not.

    Jamison’s TS% is paultry, at 52.8%. This is VERY low for a big man. Compared to an elite player who is very similar, Dirk at 57%. And compare to another very similar player who they also were looking to get, Troy Murphy, who is off the charts at 60%.

    If the Cavs would have got Murphy, I would be VERY VERY VERY upset. Murphy is only 29, so still in his prime, unlike Jamison who is in decline. Also, Murphy is so much more efficient. Jamison’s inefficiency is what makes this trade a lot worse than you would think.

    Anderson Varajoa and Hickson are going to be sitting because of Jamison. And they both are much more efficient, coming in at 58%. Also, those two are much better defenders.

    Is Jamison going to be covering Pau/Lamar? I don’t think so. Jamison will be torched by them.

    So, while this is a good trade, it by no means is a great trade. Jamison looks a lot better than he really is because he plays on a bad team. He reminds me of Richard Jefferson going to the Spurs. Everyone thought this made the Spurs contenders, except for me because i saw just how inefficient jefferson was. Jefferson even had a NEGATIVE adjusted +- before going to the Spurs. While Jamison’s +- is positive, it is only slightly positive at 3.9.

    Basically, a good trade but not a great one. Jamison has horrible defense and his offense is inefficient. This changes the cavs, but i’m not sure if it is for the better.

  73. this is off topic, but i wanted to give the heads up to everyone here

    Kobe is the shirt of the day at teefury.com. One shirt comes out to $11.79 after CA tax and shipping.

    and as for the cavs trade, i find it pretty scary.

  74. I really don’t understand why we didn’t at least make a call on Salmons. He would be a good fit in my opinion with our lack of SF depth.

    Apparently Conley is on the block for the right price too. Worth kicking the tires on…

  75. I agree with earlier posts. Not the time to panic. The chip isn’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter…not after the shock of trade season 2008.

    For us fans, it’s just great.

    We are the class of the west (DAL isn’t up there in my book) and somehow CLE is locked up with BOS and ORL in the east…STILL. Yes they look stacked, but they can only stack 5 players on the court at a time. I still think on paper, ORL can fight fire with fire with these guys…IF D. Howard plays at least an average game every playoff game.

    We have seen how 3 big flexible men can do for the Lakers…it wasn’t pretty against the Kings. Now imagine Shaq, Z/Hickson, Jamison and LeBron sharing space and touches. If any, Cleveland just made clear how they intend to get to the chip — by size and weight, live and die by LeBron or an in and out game.

    I am fine with the Lakers not making any move. We have Bynum, Pau (who will be bullied only as far as they allow to be bullied), LO, Ron and Kobe to headline our devastating mix of players. It’s still a game of matchups and LeBron does NOT own kobe (as a shout out to bandwagon fans in espn). Kobe is simply that good and that determined. I’d be more concerned about his foot and finger than LeBron shutting him down. Be careful watch you wish for.

    I am not convinced though that the Lakers are standing pat. I have been wrong before but if true that we are willing to spend on what it takes to be better, I say there are some moves worth making. I am not patronizing a discussion on this though.

    So surprised don’t be surprised tomorrow, the Lakers are a contender. As far as I am concerned, only one contender gets all the way. This one will have to pass through them. Tomorrow against BOS is the perfect opportunity to make some waves.

    Kobe get better. This team needs you. GO LAKERS!

  76. how is it that people assume the cavs are gonna make it to the finals and the lakers might not?

    nothing is certain but this is my dream turn of events: cleveland, orlando, atlanta, boston in order of seedings. in the semis, we will see a resurgence of the 08 celtics and they will take out the cavs in 6 games. atlanta will upset orlando as vince carter (the cancer) tries to take over but shoots 30 percent from the field for the series. boston, completely exhausted, will lose to atlanta since the hawks have their number this year and the lakers take out the hawks in 5.

  77. The best part about this trade is it’s going to force mike brown to do some coaching. Should be interesting come crunch time.

  78. I love this site but this is really turning me away.. ive only commented a couple times but I can’t believe everyone thinking we have this one lost now because the cavs got jamison. We have 5 guys in the all star ballot. We can still beat the cavs if they even make it out of the east.

    On Kurts new site Probasketballtalk there arent so many bad post like here.

    And the other thing is all this talk about heinrich being the answer is ridiculous, what we really need is a 3 point shooter. if you watched our team you would know that ron is starting to shoot the three a little better except for our last game but I would be stoked if we somehow got a 3 point shooter before the deadline tomorrow

  79. It really is sickening to hear so many fans enthroning Cavs after this trade. It’s a good pick up, but the Cavs haven’t even made the finals with very good teams the last two years (and damn good records). Good regular season teams don’t always become champs because the playoffs are a different game.

    And I’m sick of hearing all these cries about Derek & Luke. Personally, I find ungrateful fans disgusting. Luke didn’t make the check out to himself, that decision was made by Mitch. And Derek brings just about every intangible most championship-aspiring teams would kill to have. Stop the finger pointing and grow up.

  80. Starting Five:
    PG: West vs. Fisher
    SG: Mo Williams vs. Kobe
    SF: Lebron vs. Artest
    PF: Jamison vs. Gasol
    C: Shaq vs. Bynum

    Bench:
    Gibson, Parker, Moon, Anderson V. JJ Hickson, Leon Powe, Big Z

    vs.
    Farmar, Sasha, Brown, Luke, LO, Powell, Mbenga

    Who’s bench is better? Who has the better shooters? I’m sorry, but Cleveland has 3 of the Top 3-pt shooters in the League (Parker, Mo, Gibson) and that does not include Jamison (better on the 3 than Lamar) or Lebron. They also have the #1 defensive team in the league and arguably a player who is on par with Kobe as the best player in the league.
    Nevermind the fact that they beat us twice (1 without Mo) this year. And for those who say that the regular season wins doesn’t matter since they beat us last year and didn’t get to the Finals, well let me remind you how we all felt when the Lakers beat Boston twice last year and we lauded the victories as good for their psyche come playoff time. Plus, last year the Cavs didn’t have the right players and now they have Shaq, Jamison, 2 SF in Moon and Parker, and Leon Powe!!
    Yes, Lakers fans, it is fair to be very concerned. We don’t measure ourselves to just making the Finals but WINNING the Finals. Yes, it’s all about the journey but please don’t be naive to think that the Cavs aren’t a more formidable opponent this year and they can really beat us. Shaq is still a force and renders Bynum useless since Bynum can’t bully his way to position. Thus, it boils down to shooters and Kobe vs. LeBron. They have the shooters and we don’t.

    If we lose to Shaq and LeBron…..that’s going to hurt Kobe’s legacy. This sucks!

  81. Did we just have a entire post dedicated to the Lakers 11th man? Wow… Luke should feel honored.

    Back to things that matter… now that Lebron actually has an above average starter playing with him they might get out of the east this year… but I don’t think they have a shot at beating the Lakers.

  82. Wow, guys relax.

    Even with the best record, Cavs still have to beat either the C’s or Orlando. And both have fairly solid frontcourts, and have good PGs, good shooters, and a go-to guy who may not be as reliable as LeBron, but can get things done.

    And if the Heat land Amare, the east will have good teams in that bracket that will make the journey rather tough for LeBron and company.

    As for Jamison specifically, the best case scenario for the Cavs would be for him to act like a sparkplug out of the bench, which has not been tested. I’d be worried if Jamison was an efficient scorer and a good defender, but my impression was that he was neither and thus he’s just going to be either unhappy or ineffective.

    And regarding Luke and Sasha, well, if the front office foresaw that they’ll have Pau in the near future, I’m sure they would’ve been more conservative.

    But Luke was our starting SF, who could space and pass, and at the time, fairly deserving of the contract, since I remember him starting alongside Smush, Kwame and Cook or something.

    Sasha was, at the time of his signing, a hot thing, almost at the Linas Kleiza level (Ok, i stretch), but a great shooter with willingness to defend. Add to that that he is a hard worker, I can easily justify the team wanting him and thinking that he had room to grow.

    And what would have been the alternative had we not signed Luke and Sasha? Ariza wasn’t there yet, and we were so low on our team that we were contemplating trading Odom for Marion or Kirilenko.

  83. To say that the Cavaliers, with the addition of Jamison, don’t “have a shot” at beating the Lakers is homerism at its worst. Will they beat the Lakers? Who knows. But do they have a chance at beating the Lakers? Hell yes.

    Anyways, does Ilgauskas plan on getting waived and re-signing with the Cavs in 30 days?

    Also, I hope the rumor regarding a certain Chicago player becomes a reality. I hope that didn’t break any rules.

  84. jimmy – FYI the cavs did not beat us last year

  85. Is this a joke?? I mean really

  86. Snoopy,

    Haha… how long ago were we paying Brian Grant?

  87. Also Jimmy The Magic swept us last year during the regular season and we see how that worked out for them in the finals…all I have to say is last year Nike Vitamin Water and everyone in the media hyped up a Lebron Kobe final but the cavs didnt even make it out of the east…if I recall correctly they were one of the most breathtaking buzzer beaters of the decade from being swept by orlando

  88. Cavs fans please go back to your blog newsflash Antwan Jamison is NOT PAU GASOL

  89. @ comments number 52 and 72: When exactly did the Cavaliers prove they were the best team in the league? Did they hold some sort of tournament where the top half of the teams for meach conference palyed eachother according to seeding byt their record, and the winner of the conference tournaments played a final tournament? See this is funny I can not recall such an event but there is no doubt I could have missed it…maybe you could jsut tell me when it was?

  90. Breaking News: Kings agree to trade Kevin Martin to Rockets. The goal is to make it a 3 way deal with NY getting McGrady/Sergio.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4923777

  91. jimmy, i can’t believe the level of pessimism that your post shows. jamison hasnt played one game yet with the cavs and you’re already annointing them as 2009-2010 champions. they have good shooters and a deep bench but i would take our top 6 over theirs any day of the week. how quickly some fans can become disillusioned. if i remember correctly we are the team that won in June last year-we are the reigning champs. the cavs had the best regular season record last year and then their shooters got cold and they fell to orlando, a team we handled in 5 games. im not attempting to discount the cavs, i think this “trade” for jamison improves an already excellent team, but let’s not name them champs. do you really trust guys like anthony parker, mo williams, and daniel gibson to come through on the biggest of stages? even antawn jamison? im not sure if i do as it’s yet to be seen. ill take my chances with guys who have proven themselves as champions. guys like kobe, pau, fish, and LO.

    Overall my point is that championships must be earned and we proved that our core group is capable of earning one through our triumph last year. this cavs team has not earned a championship and until they do so i remain unwilling to hand them anything.

  92. @Jimmy,

    The reason why people were so amped about beating the Celtics was because they killed us in the finals, so we needed the emotional boost.

    Let’s not crown the Cavs just yet yah?
    And let’s not crown the Lakers either.

    The Lakers are a good team.

    But Denver has a shot. Orlando. Boston. and yes Cleveland.

    “That’s why they play the games”

  93. Thanks for the back up snoopy

  94. What about the T-Mac trade to Sac? I hear Sac is gonna waive T-Mac and T-mac wants to go to either Cavs or Lakers!

    Whatcha guys think?

  95. @Steven

    No on the T Mac idea. Hell no.

  96. Dallas and Cleveland really seems to have made great trades.

    For a team already running on full steam, I think Jameson is a good bet, since he won´t be a lockerroom pest. He also has experience coming of the bench from his time in Dallas, and coming out of DC-Hell must prime anyone for a humble approach to any other situation.

    I am not so sure if this will make Cavs THAT much better though, since he will be taking time from other players that have functioned at a really high level this year… its not like he is filling a major gab in their rotation. It mainly adds depths and versatility.

    And lets face it, we could not expect the rest of the league to stand pat while the Lakers kept beaming as the clear cut top team talentwise, and Im not sure this means the Lakers should dive into the trade market either.

    But what Dallas and Cleveland now have to work out, is the kind of problems the Lakers have… how do you make this much talent thrive at one time? They too can expect problems like the Pau-Bynum-freeze…

    I think this makes for a thrilling season, and I am happy Lakers´ front office has enough time to react. If they really believe they have a trade on the table that will help us win now (though it might be a tad too expensive), then they still have the time to pull the trigger.

    From here on, its ´lights out´… no more fooling around, go get em Lakers.

  97. Back in early Jan I mentioned in an e-mail to Kurt that I thought there was good chance McGrady would get bought out and try to hook up w/Cavs,Celts or Lakers.

    By his 6th game he was shaking off the rust and showing he could still contribute. My thinking was he’d come cheap and would accept a back-up 1 yr rental role on a contender to wash away the “never out of First Rd” stink.
    He has connections to all 3 teams-good friends w/Shaq,Doc coached his best yrs and Phil has long wanted him.(Of course he and Artest did not get along at all,so…)
    Right now think of him as a much better passing Turkoglu,w/a much worse shot.

  98. The biggest problem that the lakers have is at the point guard position and w/ bench scoring. After being scorched time and time again by opposing point guards the lakers should get some one Like Hinrich.

    But, with that said I doubt the Bulls are dumb enough to take on Sasha’s contract and the Lakers simply just don’t have enough to entice the Bulls to give up Hinrich. But, what about Mike Conley? I hear he is on the block but, I don’t know how much of an upgrade he is over Farmar/brown combo right now.. so it’s a bit cloudy right now especially w/ the upgrades that the Mavs and Cavs acquired recently.

    Honestly, I just don’t see the Laker’s making any moves at all.. that’s why I’m thinking with Luke maybe out for the year that T-Mac wouldn’t be so bad. But, that’s if he checked his pre-Madonna attitude at the door and I think that if Kobe can get Artest to fall in like I think T-Mac can do the same.

  99. Please take when band wagon jumping. It’s doubly treacherous out there when the sky is falling.

    Luke: makes a great pass for every forced pass. He hasn’t had a good stretch of games in awhile.

    The Lakers will repeat unless they’re playing 4 away games against the Bobcats in June.

  100. If this was three years ago I would sign TMac. Unfortunately he cannot move anymore without a cane. Heck… if this was 3 years ago we would have Artest, Lamar, Gasol, and Kobe in their primes and an Andrew Bynum on two healthy knees. Plus I believe this was before Derek Fisher retired. Those were good times. Can this be 3 years ago :(

  101. Well, I get home late after my Algebra class, which I have not done any of since ’83, and I get very happy with the Luke Walton post by Darius, after a grueling day. I saw some 85 comments and thought that I would skip through them quick, of course not, I start to get depressed with all of the talk here about other teams improving to the point that now my Lakers are not going to re-peat as champs anymore. Today I just got my 2009 Lakers Championship doormat, and I still think that I will be buying a Lakers back-to-back Championship one after June for the back door.

    As far as Walton is concerned, he provides what we need off the bench, he is the only bench player, besides LO who will run the Triangle Offense as it is supposed to be run, we will miss him very much, as we kind of have this year. We were talking here about how much we wanted him back, after his last injury. You saw ‘The Machine’ and Ammo play the 2nd quarter last game, and what happened? Luke would have been in there running the show like clockwork. I do cringe though when he takes a J, it will probably miss, but oh well. Yeah, let’s sign McGrady while we are at it this year to keep him off the Cav’s roster.

  102. I’m sorry. Can we stop with the T-Mac stuff? He is a ball dominant guard. He needs the ball to create shots for himself. He has never worked with a flowing offense. He was a pick and roll guy every place he went. He has been known to be a clubhouse downer. And he doesn’t play defense.

    There’s a reason why Houston hasn’t played him this year even though he’s been healthy enough to play.

    But that would be a terrible addition. If (BIG IF) we pick up someone we need a guy with a skill set that can be put in as a roll player. A defensive point guard who can hit 40 percent three pointers.

    So no on T-Mac. And let’s drop it.

  103. @Aaron,

    yes 3 years ago was great. 42-40 record. First round playoff exit.

  104. yes on t-mac.

    Especially if Walton is out for the year as rumored. I think given his injuries, his age, and the realization that this is his last hope to get another contract I think T-mac would fall in line. Plus, don’t underestimate the rehabilitation and “miracle work” of Tim Grover. The guy is the ultimate personal trainer (trained Mike Jordan, Kobe, D. Wade, etc.)

  105. I think T-Mac would fit in with what the Laker’s do. I mean can you imagine a line up with Brown, Kobe, T-Mac, Odom, and Gasol?

    Hell, when Kobe rests T-Mac just steps in and it’s like the Lakers won’t even miss a beat. I think T-mac can legitimately help Kobe get some real rest for once.

    Plus, if other teams are stacking their line ups to take us out then why can’t we do the same? If the Lakers meet the cavs in the finals who they gonna double when Kobe, T-Mac, and Gasol, Bynum on the floor? Man, it’s like pick your poison.

    But, that’s if T-Mac is back 100%.. wishful thinking on my part anyway.

  106. Taking a shot on Tmac wont hurt.. he cant be any worse than Adam Morrison.. he jus has to kno his role and not jack up pull up jumpers.

    Low risk move.. if he isnt working out.. whooosh cut him and goodbye

  107. @102 “Man, it’s like pick your poison. ”

    …in other words, its like 2004!? Like Gary Payton boosting the Lakers´ backcourt and finally relieving us from dependance on the lowly Fisher!?

    I have followed Rockets closely for years, and I was very happy to see the team shut him down and go in a different direction this year.

    Not that he is a bad guy or a cancer, just a former super talent that has not mastered his craft to make up for the lost youth. If he was a true vet and teamplayer like Jamison, then maybe…

  108. it’ll be different from 2004! It’s not like T-Mac is going to be a starter. He’ll come off the bench and do his thing. Like #103 said he can’t be worse than Ammo or Sasha, so why the hell not?

    Who knows what T-Mac will do though.. he can change!

  109. @105 – Sure, it is a different discussion, but I think the mindset of “Pick your poison” just often is to narrow.

    Sometimes less is more… like we saw with Kobe on the bench, and I think the “big time talent” T-Mac is a prototypical example of something big that might make the result on the bottom line shrink :)

  110. @106, true. It may affect the team’s chemistry and it’s true that less may be more but, there is always the other side of the argument. “what if this is a key piece to repeating?” “what if they click and it’s all gravy?” No one knows and it’s all about Mitch’s willingness to gamble.

    Especially with the lakers looking like they aren’t making any more moves this could potentially be hitting a small jackpot. But, I do agree that it could also possibly be dynamite.

    Oh well.. it’s all still in the air anyway. I’m sure we’ll find out more tomorrow.. plus it doesn’t seem like the Lakers are interested anyway. =T

  111. Houston, a team that doesn’t have a clear cut superstar decided that TMAC wasn’t worth it. Healthy. He played what 2 games for them before they shut him down?

    That is telling.

  112. Mitch has a few assets to work with. Fisher/Ammo’s expiring contracts and a 2.6 million dollar trade exception.. Id be surprised if he didnt use them.

    *Fish would obviously be bought out and return to LA

    The key would be not picking up any terrible contracts.

    Lakers needs: Backup SF for now and the future seeing how Waltons back might be a problem

  113. @ray – Houston doesn´t even have a “normal”-star ;)

  114. Once again you guys show little faith in your team. Who cares what the Cavs or everyone does? We could beat the Eastern Conference All-Star Team in the finals. We just need to get healthy to defend “our title”.

    Come play off time our experience, coaching staff’s game plan, and Kobe being Kobe will prove all you guys wrong. See you all at the parade in June…

  115. LA needs to use that 2.6 mill trade exception on Dorrel wright (2.75 mill).

    They’d be getting an early look at him before his upcoming free agency and would own his bird rights if im not mistaken.

    Could be a diamond in the rough.

    Miami needs to do it so they can get under the luxury tax

  116. Houston has to give up Carl Landry to Sacramento in the deal for Martin…he was a big part of what they do and he always killed the Lakers

  117. 109, they can’t, the numbers don’t fit. Trade exceptions can only be fudged by 100k, there’s no +25% on them like it is with player salaries.

  118. 97, not to poo poo on your parade, but Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson won a championship with the 2003 Spurs, but that doesn’t wash away the stench of being a career loser.

    If T-Mac wants to play for the minimum, I have no problems with signing him. Worst thing is we waive him later.

  119. Lakers: Most talent, best player, best coach, hungover from last year.

    Cavs: Really really good on paper, mediocre coach, leader who has never gotten it done.

    If anything, I think we should see a more focused Laker squad in the wake of the Jamison trade.

  120. Ammo is doing nothing more than riding pine and being the last man to come on the floor as part of the taco unit. He is the one and only trade asset we have and there are no players out there making $5m this year that are an improvement over Ammo. Bottom line, we’re stuck with this roster and the only way we are adding to this roster is via waived players.

    I’m mad about this trade because it is a big improvement to the team that I see as the biggest threat out of the east. Having said that, we have other big dogs to worry about here, including Portland, the Cavs, Houston and Denver. If we are ever to make it to the finals, we have to worry about these guys first.

    Having said that, if we have to look at a silver lining here is that this gives an incentive to Kobe to take time to heal his body by not starting. This gives him the chance to get as close to 100% as he can get for a deep playoff run and allows our guys to get more playing time and find become less Kobe dependent which will make us a more deadly team come playoff time. Additionally, it allows our FO to showcase potential trade bait – though no trades are coming.

  121. Who here really thinks that Jerry Buss is willing to sign someone right now? If it ain’t gonna sell Kobe/Lebron type Jerseys for a cheap salary there’s no way in hell he’s signing someone. Yes, T-Mac is a popular player but Jerry isn’t looking for that. We’d be lucky to get Big-Z like someone pointed out let alone T-Mac. Last I heard Jerry’s mind set was, “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”

    Just read that Mavs will pursue Big Z if there’s a buyout. Good for us.

  122. On T-Mac- I remember a guy who could hit consistently from just over the half-court, was a willing passer and used his quickness and length to swallow up just about anybody. Then the back happened and his range learned limits, his defense wasn’t quite so oppressive, but he was still an effective floor leader and shot maker. I don’t know what happened to his game since last he played in anything meaningful but he got darn close to upending a Utah team that wound up making it to the conference finals. I mean, did anybody think Bob McAdoo was anything more then a volume scorer with injury problems until he won with the Lakers?

    The Lakers could use a guy to stretch the floor and keep the ball moving.

    Does it make sense to think of T-Mac as a P&R guy because he was the hub of a limited offense?

    A jump-shot is the last thing to go for a player and if he can move around, I think he could upgrade Sasha’s contribution on both ends of the court. There is no way he matches Walton’s familiarity with the offense but he just might use the last couple months of the season to comprehend the following- pass to the tall guy being single covered, shoot when open, keep moving and when stuff goes wonky, pass to the stern faced fellow who is shouting for the ball.

  123. My problem with Luke is that the guy is made of glass. He’s overpaid because he can’t play half the season, not because of his limitations as a player. How many games has he lost to injury since he signed that big contract?

  124. I know we’ve had the whole “it’s Buss’s money” conversation ad naseum, but I find it hard to fathom why the FO wouldn’t try to find a rental at the SF position to add at least an athletic backup. We are so razor thin at the SF position, and are one Artest concussion away from being absolutely decimated by the Carmelos, Pierces, LBJs of the world.

    I like the confidence that the FO is showing in the current lineup, but with the glaring SF need and lack of PG opportunities out there, I think it would behoove the FO to find someone with AMMO’s expiring contract.

  125. anyone else suprised that rockets gave up landry for martin? I know martin is a good fit but landry was their best player

  126. James,
    Great point. I feel the same way. Wow a real trade that was not for cap relief, and basically both sides getting a very good player!

  127. James-
    Not really, seeing that Martin was, at the time of the trade, Sac’s best player too. That is not to say that Reke isn’t amazing and that his ceiling isn’t much higher then Martin’s, but the limits to his current game are still fairly huge (can’t go left and has no shot). Besides that, Houston has players that provide plenty of the type of production that Landry does (slightly less efficient, not quite as powerful) but they now, and in the future need a player who gets to the line and stretches the floor. You get Martin hitting from outside and drawing fouls, you couple his ft% with Yao’s, and there will be lots and lots of games won on the line by that team.

  128. Ray,
    I hope you are joking… we didn’t have Artest or Gasol

  129. Aaron,

    I hope you are joking. To say you want the players 3 years ago that we didn’t have.

    But yes, I was joking. I hated those years.

    I actually liked the Vlade Divac/Sedale Threatt years better than 3 – 4 years ago.

  130. Lakers are so disapointing. Sissy game, soft players. Missing FT. Brown was so bad. Why Fisher is still playing anyway? Can Bynum jump at all? Can Gasol ever shoot without yelling a foul? Is he trying to top Vlade? Farmar’s new name is Airball Farmar. Why did coach change the team after a 13-0 run? What’s wrong with Jackson lately? Lakers showed they know how to lose a close game – again. Shame on the team for losing such important game. Kobe, are you alive?