Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers News, League News

Phillip Barnett —  February 23, 2010

Again, there isn’t too much Lakers’ news this Tuesday morning outside of Kobe definitely playing tonight in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Land O’ Lakers has some post practice interviews from Ron Artest, Phil Jackson and Pau Gasol where they collectively talk about Kobe’s return to the line up, the game against Memphis, and Marc Gasol. And here is the video of Kobe’s post game interview where he discusses the strength of his ankle and integrating himself back into the line up.

Kobe has been on featured in SLAM and GQ recently, and has now received the DIME Magazine cover which chronicles Kobe’s greatness (note: the story starts on Page 62):

“And now, the rest of the man’s legacy is on the line. Is Kobe a Top-10 player of all-time? Top five? We’ve created a glass ceiling wherein nobody can touch Jordan, Russell, Wilt, Magic and Bird – and often but not always, Oscar, Jerry West, Kareem and Doctor J – that Kobe is threatening to shatter. Why not? Kobe has more rings tha Bird and more buckets than Magic; he’s better defensively than West, better offensively than Russell, more clutch than Wilt. His flair for the dramatic is exceeded only by Jordan.

“Still in his prime at 31, Kobe is moving into a transitional period. The mountains left to climb have only older legends at the top, while at his heels are the younger stars gunning for his spot: LeBron, D-Wade, Dwight, B-Roy, Carmelo, Chris Paul. To that extent, he is constantly extended – both stiff-arming the challengers below while reaching for the crown held by his idols above.”

NBA Fanhouse has a sit down interview with the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss where she discusses the state of the NBA, the Lakers, her father and lets us know that she originally voted against bringing in Phil Jackson to coach the Lakers back in 1999. Thank goodness she lost that vote.

The Grizzlies’ 3 Shades of Blue blog has a preview for tonight’s game from the Memphis perspective where Chip Crain breaks down tonight’s game position-by-position.

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Around The League

Much has been said about Zydrunas Ilgauskas returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers after his buyout with the Washington Wizards. Many fans have been upset with the prospect of Cleveland giving up little to nothing to pick up Antwan Jamison in the three-way trade. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the League would not do anything to prevent Big Z’s return to Cleveland if he chooses to do so. There was no prior agreement of Z returning to Cleveland before the trade happened and “Z was paid more than $20mm by Cavs, missing 2 seasons w/ foot injuries. Cavs then gave him $50 million deal with no insurance protection. A potential Z return will upset people but it is within rules and decision relates to a decade-long, deep relationship w/team, fans, city. Only Kobe had a longer tenure with a team. Deal didn’t have to be pre-arranged, always going to be natural b/c of rare circumstances.” (Quote via Brian Windhorst’s twitter.)

A high-ranking NBA source denied a report that the league would prevent Zydrunas Ilgauskas from returning to the Cavaliers if he is bought out by the Washington Wizards.

The source, who requested anonymity because the league typically does not comment on what is essentially a personnel matter, told The Plain Dealer there was no truth to a report from the Los Angeles Times claiming the NBA would try to block Ilgauskas’ return because the deal was previously agreed upon by the teams.

There has been no evidence of any such agreement.

Also, this video of LeBron James’ pregame handshake rituals is hilarious. ‘Bron has A LOT of pre-game handshakes.

Allen Iverson has left the Philadelphia 76ers again to spend time with his ill daughter – the same reason he missed the All-Star Game.

The Celtics Paul Pierce could potentially miss up to a week due to his injured thumb. They would play New York, Cleveland, New Jersey and Detroit in that stretch.

Lastly, Phoenix’s Steve Nash won’t be making the trip to Oklahoma City to rest his ailing back. Nash’s back has been a problem for a long time now, it must be really bad for him to be sitting out a game against a team that they’re a half-game behind in the Western Conference.

-Phillip

Phillip Barnett

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22 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers News, League News

  1. From what I have read, everyone hates these trades where a player is traded knowing in advanced that said player was going to be bought out and return. That is until it benefits their team.

    Personally I think that there should be a rule where any player that is traded, bought out then resigns with his former team can’t play in the playoffs. That would effectively end these trades.

  2. Chownoir (was J) February 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I’m not thrilled at all about the prospect of Z returning to the Cavs and them essentially swinging a deal that cost them nothing for a major asset.

    But what irks me more is the lack of outcry from around the league or the media. When the Pau trade happened, coaches and GM’s weighed in on the trade claiming how bad it was despite Mitch giving up a lot of assets.

    Now, there’s a deafening silence. Just frustrating to see the double standard.

  3. @1: You wouldn’t even need to have a rule specifically stating the playoff stipulation, just change the amount of time that has to pass before the player is allowed to sign with his former team, from 30 days to (as I saw someone on Truehoop suggest) 6 months. This would mirror the rule about…help, I forget the rule, but it’s either you can’t trade a player until you’ve had them signed for six months (which would seem to make sign-and-trades unworkable), or trade a player within six months of trading for him.

    This way, you could still trade someone early in the season/preseason and still have just about enough time to re-sign them for the playoff run, but you’d (fairly) be without their services for the season.

    And yes, everyone hates it until it benefits them, but I don’t like the rich-getting-richer aspect of this (along with the potential collusion angle) more than anything. To get a Jamison/Stoudemire-level talent for the price of a draft pick and losing your second-string center for a month (to pick an example completely at random) is ludicrous.

  4. While I agree with the comments above, we’re forgetting that this is perfectly legal by NBA policies. It’s up to the team that received said player to decide if they want to waive player or not. I think that regardless of whether Z comes back, here are a few positives for us as Laker fans:
    – Shaq will be forced to play more minutes (wearing him down for the playoffs).
    – Their chemistry is already being tested (0-3 after having the best record).
    – Both Jamison and Z love to hang around outside shooting jumpers, meaning fewer chances at offensive boards.
    – When/if Z comes back, he might be in shape, but not late-season-playoffs-around-the-corner shape
    – More chemistry issues to deal with when/if Z comes back into the fold (note – this is only on the court chemistry issues, we all know he’s well liked/received in the locker room, etc.)

  5. Kurt’s got a nice post up over at PBT on the best in game dunkers.

    http://bit.ly/bXKjhG

  6. hi, Phillip. The link to the 3 shades of Blue (Memphis) doesn’t work.

    the new one is http://3sob.com/

  7. I think, for right now at least, the Cavaliers should be the least of the Lakers concerns. The Lakers have 26 games before the postseason starts, none of which will be played against the Cavs. There are no guarantees that either the Lakers or Cavs will make the Finals, so why bother worrying about a team that may or may not be seeing the Lakers in June. The Cavs and Lakers were 1 and 2, respectively, as far as regular season records went last season — and we all know how that turned out. Memphis tonight, Dallas Wednesday, Philly Friday and Denver on Sunday is what should be on the Lakers mind, not to mention that 11 of 15 games next month will be on the road, with all but nine of those road game coming against teams lobbying for a playoff spot.

    @SULICon: Thanks for pointing out the broken link. It’s been fixed now.

  8. If you think the big Z situation is unfair then you may be assessing the scenario as one single trade – Nada for Jamison. However, it happens in three transactions – 1. Trade Ilgauskas + Pick for Jamison 2. Ilgauskas gets bought out 3. Ilgauskas resigns.
    Each of these three of these transactions is beneficial for the parties involved, so who’s to say that this is unfair? We have two teams trying to make themselves better and one individual who’s trying to maximize his contract opportunities. (As long as there was no prior under the table agreement, which there wasn’t)
    Sure, it irks me as a Laker fan, esp since Ilgauskas has bothered Pau with his length, but it doesn’t bother me from a business perspective.

  9. 8.

    Trade restrictions exist for a reason. One player must be moved for another with matching salaries in a trade. The Cle-Was scenario was not a ‘trade’, it was a business move that required the teams to use a loophole in the rulebook. That loophole allows strong teams to capitalize on other teams’ poor management and/or bad luck. There is nothing fair about loopholes and hopefully the league will patch up that particular one in the near future.

  10. Actually, when teams are under the salary cap – not the luxury cap – they are much freer to make unequal trades. The cap is also supposed to force teams away from very unequal trades. Washington can always waive people if that is what is best for their franchise.

    Any rules changes should probably only apply to teams over the salary cap limit, as they are the teams most likely trying to bend the rules the most.

  11. agewise, kobe is in his prime, but the amount of games he has played, his body is older than that. more importantly, i don’t like it when I start reading stories about why kobe has not signed an extension with the lakers, and it’s linked to jackson’s undetermined contract status. maybe it’s a little early to start worrying about vecsey and simers writing stories about it, but it’s not just what I want to hear going into an important stretch of the season.

  12. Don,

    If Ilgauskas were trying to maximize his contract opportunities, why not play out the season in D.C. and be paid his full contractual amount, rather than take a lesser buyout from the Wizards?

    He’d be giving up money for the chance to go back to Cleveland; therefore, the only reason Ilgauskas would opt to accept a buyout has nothing to do with what’s finanically beneficial and nearly everything to do with competitive balance. The Cavs have a good shot at the title, and Washington does not.

    For that reason, these types of trades should be examined by the league and prevented from occurring later on.

    This deal is OK under the current rules, but that should change. Otherwise we’re always going to see poorly managed teams giving away players to the league’s haves for little to no return outside of financial relief.

  13. Craig, how many championship contenders do we have that are under the cap? Unfair trades don’t matter when the teams involved aren’t already set to make a run at the big trophy.

  14. 12
    Chris, you’re right. I was thinking Ilgauskas would get a mid level or something, which added to his lesser buyout amount would be more than playing out the contract year – but he’ll probably just settle for the min in order to play on a better team. Nevertheless, if that’s what he wants, I still assert that’s its beneficial for both parties. Plus, you never know what could happen in terms of the impact on a player’s value by playing on a winning team for future contract considerations.

    9 Igor, I don’t think the Wizards view it as being exploited, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the trade. If by ‘bad decisions’ you mean their past decisions – well what’s done is done and they can’t do anything about that so why not allow them to plan for the future? If you put additional restrictions on these teams it might take them longer to get out of those burdensome obligations and we wouldn’t see a team like the Grizzlies who had the same philosophy generating excitement at this point.

  15. I think the bigger issue here is fixing the CBA so that teams make trade based on basketball considerations only.

    The fact that teams trade purely out of financial considerations is ridiculous. Pau was a salary dump as much as Jamison was. So was shaq, and look at what NY gave up for t-mac’s expiring contract? Salary dumps have to stop and this is one thing I will be looking forward to getting resolved in the new CBA.

  16. Actually you don’t even have to do a 6 month window if you wanted to prevent these sorts of trades.

    They tend to happen at the trade deadline. Simply make the waiting time between waiving and signing 60 days. That will make anyone waived after the trade deadline ineligible to sign and play for any playoff team.

    Though again, it comes back to “it’s only unfair when you aren’t benefiting.”

  17. I don’t recall the lakers ever taking advantage of this loophole (though there was that one instance where brian shaw was waived and resigned for the minimum). should we have and could we have?

    time to look at the waiver wires.

  18. Im with teams being able to get rid of high salary players on losing teams to get a fresh start. If there is no way that your team is getting to the playoffs your next year begins before the season ends.

    With the amount of talent available this off season, who can blame a team for wanting to land the likes of Bron, Wade, Amare, or Bosh.

    Since NBA contracts are guarenteed, unlike football, there is no other way for teams to rebuild immediately. There are benefits to both sides when you consider that one team is looking for that final piece, and the other is looking to the future.

    If LA had been able to secure a point guard for the likes of Sasha, Morrison, and Fisher(coming back after 30 days). This rule would not have been seen as the anti-Christ that some are making it out to be in LaLa LAnd.

  19. Don, it’s not about the bad teams and restricting them, it’s about teams like the Cavs and restricting their moves via loopholes. It’s not good for the league as a whole to have a couple of teams saturated with talent while there is a much larger number of bottom-dwelling teams. In the end, it’s not about being fair to the teams involved in the trades but about being fair to every other team.

  20. 14
    the main difference is that Memphis actually got something other than salary dumping. 2 1st round picks, Marc Gasol, Crittenton(who was used to regain a conditional pick from washington)
    At least they had potential. Meanwhile, Washington settled for relief, thorton and a 29th/30th pick