Talkin’ Finances

Zephid —  June 22, 2010

I have to confess something: I’ve been on such a high since the Lakers won that epic Game 7 last Thursday that I’ve been scouring the net for any Lakers coverage I can find.  To this end, I even watched the parade on the Fox11 stream online.  After forcing myself to listen to statements like “Derek Fisher could be coming back for 7-8 million” from the broadcast crew, I decided I needed to get some thoughts out about the Lakers financial situation.

Update: I messed up on the calculation the first time.  Thanks to any_one_mouse for pointing it out.  I should proofread more…

First, some assumptions.  If we assume that Adam Morrison’s rights are renounced (as certain as certain gets), Jordan Farmar’s rights are renounced ($2.8 mil), and Shannon Brown opts out ($2.2 mil), both of which are highly probable, the Lakers will have $81,728,202 in salary under contract (not including bonuses).  The luxury tax should come in at around $68 million according to the NBA front office.  Doing the quick math, this implies that the Lakers will have $94 million in player costs this upcoming season.  This is a significantly less than last year’s $112 million, but it is also assuming that the Lakers don’t re-sign Derek Fisher, DJ Mbenga, or Josh Powell.  Needless to say, the Lakers are taking it up the wazoo from the luxury tax, and every dollar that we spend is doubled (refer to Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ for more details).

This also includes the Mid-Level Exception, the only tool available to the Lakers to sign free agents due to being over the salary cap (way over in our case).  The value of the MLE is dependent on the average salary of all NBA players, and usually floats somewhere between $5-6 million.  In the case of the Lakers (and any team over the luxury tax), the use of the MLE is actually $10-12 million dollars due to the doubling effect of the luxury tax.  So if the Lakers actually want to use the MLE, they’ll have to keep in mind that doing so puts them at $104-106 million dollars in player costs next season (and even moreso beyond).

Of the 6 players listed above, the one’s that I think are “most likely” to return are Derek Fisher and Josh Powell.  As Kobe stated in his postgame interviews, Derek Fisher is the heart and soul of this team, and I find it difficult envisioning this Laker team without Fisher next year.  Rest assured, Fisher won’t be signing for $7-8 million like the Fox11 crew were trying to shove down my throat.  The minimum salary for a 10+ year veteran (Fisher is a 14 year veteran) will be $1.35 million, and the best part is that it doesn’t count against the luxury tax, so no doubling.  I have an inkling that Fisher will be fine with $1.35 million, especially considering that other teams are not likely to pay him any more than that.

The one thing supporting Josh Powell’s return is simply this: Kobe Bryant likes him.  As highlighted in an excellent article by Dave McMenamin, Powell is one of the few players that Kobe has genuinely liked as a person and not just as a player, and Phil Jackson also praised Powell’s work ethic during the playoffs.  However, Powell will be a 5-year veteran after this season, putting his minimum salary almost squarely at $1 million.  By comparison, a 2nd round draft pick will make $473,604 next season, less than half of what Powell will make.  This is also the main reason why I don’t expect DJ Mbenga to be back.  While DJ has been a fan favorite, his production can easily be re-produced by a big selected at either #43 or #58 (the Lakers 2 second round picks), and at half the cost.  Whether Powell sticks around will largely be dependent on Kobe’s endorsement.

Assuming the Lakers re-sign Derek Fisher and Josh Powell for their respective minimum salaries and they keep both 2nd round picks, that brings the Lakers total player costs to $97 million, exactly the same as last year’s player costs.  (Update: The veteran’s minimum exception is only the amount above the 2-yr veteran’s minimum amount, so the Lakers still have to pay the 2-yr veteran’s minimum to both Fisher and Powell if this were to happen.  Thus, the Lakers total player costs would actually be closer to $98-99 million.  Thanks to Exick for the correction). This precludes, however, the usage of the Mid-Level Exception.  The best thing about the Mid-Level Exception is that it can be broken up into pieces.  If the Lakers only want to use $3 mil of the MLE, they can use that much and renounce the rest.  Some names that have been brought up in the comments include Steve Blake, Dorell Wright, and Earl Watson in order to fill the void at PG that would result in Farmar and Brown’s simultaneous departure.  Fisher is also not getting any younger, and the need to groom a suitable replacement grows more pressing with every year (although Fisher really knows how to turn it on during the playoffs).  None of the three guys above deserves a full $5 million in my opinion, so I expect the Lakers to try and sign them or someone like them for a little less than that, say $3-4 million, and pocket the rest.

The one thing to keep in mind is that the Lakers are a business as well as a sports team.  While Dr. Buss has shown the willingness to spend on a winner, he also understands that over-spending can severely handicap a team going forward (the New York Knicks are a great example).  While some moves may make absolute basketball sense, it is often the financial side which wins the day.  It’s getting a deal to make both basketball and financial sense that is the goal.

Zephid

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149 responses to Talkin’ Finances

  1. Another point that isn’t touched on is Sasha’s contract. He is owed $5.475 Million next season. I believe (correct me if I a wrong) that the team’s salary number for tax purposes is calculated at the end of the year. Sasha could play half of the year and then at the deadline if the Lakers feel he isn’t worth the price they could trade him to a team that is under the cap. It would be done similar to how the Lakers handled Chris Mihm a couple seasons ago. Sasha would be owed roughly half of his salary (the Lakers would have already paid the other half for his services in the season to that point) and so they would send him to another team along with enough cash to pay for the remainder of his salary. Basically the other team gets Sasha for free and doesn’t have to pay any taxes as they are under the cap and the Lakers lose Sasha but save on the $5.475 Million in tax payments they would have owed.

  2. They should use the mle on raymond felton pg for the futue

  3. cesar o,
    You miss the point of the thread. Financially, the Lakers are not going to use the MLE unless some miracle drops out of the sky.

  4. Zephid, ain’t reality a *$*$*? I’ve had this dream that we’d sign someone like Mike Miller this offseason with the MLE, but I agree with you that the MLE will be cautiously used, if at all.

    The PG situation presents a conundrum because the crop of candidates at a $2-3mil range are not that uber impressive, though they can get the job done. However, the FO nees to be careful not to over-commit (i.e., negotiate the contract to be 2-3 years max) to whomever is picked up. That player merely represents a cog in the system, and we as fans should not have delusions of finding the next great PG.

    I also agree Fisher, Powell will be back. I’d like to use the MLE on a PG, actually two. Blake/Ridnour work for me. D. Wright is an intruiging prospect. But the one other guy I’d take a look at is Crittenton. Sign him for a non-guaranteed minimum, test him out this summer. Critt’s stock can’t be any lower right now, and he will be a good return on investment (if he’s terrible, cut him). I’m not getting “Critt Fever,” or anything, but he’s a low cost move.

    I’d also try to bolster the center position with the veteran’s exception, looking at guys like Kurt Thomas or Brad Miller (he can get way more elsewhere, but why not make the pitch?)

    Great analysis of the state of the Lakers’ wallet. Looking forward to the offseason.

  5. Quick correction about how the veteran minimum salary works. It’s possible that not all of a minimum contract would be taxed, but some of it definitely is.

    For players who have 3+ years of experience and are playing on 1-year contracts, the league reimburses the team for any amount paid over the amount they would pay for a two-year minimum salary player. Also, the only amount taxed is the amount paid by the team.

    In Derek Fisher’s case, if he were paid the minimum ($1.35m) the Lakers would only pay the two-year minimum amount ($854k) and the league would pay any amount over that. But that $854k is still taxed, so their bill for adding Fisher would still come to a shade over $1.7m.

    Keep in mind that that ONLY occurs in the situation where Fisher is playing on a 1-year minimum contract. Anything besides that, and the Lakers assume responsibility for all salary and taxes.

  6. Quick addendum to my correction. In that 2nd paragraph it should say:

    “For players who have 3+ years of experience and are playing on 1-year MINIMUM contracts”

  7. That also explains the logic behind the “Phil Jackson will need to take a paycut” stories.

  8. There is also the option of not signing another PG, and seeing if Vujacic can fill that role.

  9. The other aspect of all this is that we need at least 13 players on the squad. In the above discussions we have 9 players named to stay. Add a PG signing and our 2 second round picks sticking and we get 12.

    Might it make sense to buy a 2nd round pick, fairly high up in the round and use it for the 13th player? This is a deep draft and we could get some insurance with an added pick.

    Also, I hope Mitch & Co are looking into drafting the injured D’Sean Butler with the 58th pick. If he fully recovers he is a high upside player who might have gone in the late 1st round, except for his injury in the NCAA tournament.

  10. I am not as optimistic Fisher will agree to play for the Vets minimum of 1.35 million

    Fisher is very prideful and very confident in himself. I do think he will resign but i am not sure it wont be somewhere in the 2-3 mil per year range….Maybe a 2 year deal for 5 million with a club option for year 3

  11. The Lakers find themselves in a hard place this off season because they need to add depth (primarily in the back court) but are very limited in what they can do because they do not have a first round pick, and have a gigantic pay roll.

    As exhelodrvr pointed out, Sasha could possibly fill the role of PG but the Lakers still need depth at the guard position (and SF since Walton has back issues). If both Brown and Farmar leave this leaves the Lakers with 3 guards and 2 SF (one of which is injured and only gets spot minutes anyways). So they will still be looking to add at least 1 more player that can play either guard spot (like Brown did) or a wing player that can play SF or SG + a cheap PG.

    A shooter like Mike Miller would be great as a back up wing player but Miller would have to take a huge pay cut. Laker Fans should probably get used to the idea of Blake Griffin or Luke Rinnour as those seem the most likely candidates at a price the Lakers can afford.

  12. Remember the exercise when we were resigning Sasha? We all were comfortable in the $3.5-5M range.

    How much would you spend to resign these four players?

    I would say…

    Fisher: $3.5 M

    Powell: $1M

    Brown: $3M

    Farmar: $2.5M

    I understand that we’re essentially doubling the salary of each guy, and would keep everyone but Farmar if it could be done.

    Hopefully after that we could spend $2.5M on Steve Blake and call it an offseason.

    What about you guys?

  13. Honestly, I don’t see the “logic” of “Phil Jackson will need to take a paycut.”

    Really? Really? After being the last coach standing this year and last?

    I somehow thought that the Lakers playing thru a seven game Finals and winning the Championship would positively impact the organization’s bottom line. I wonder how many other coaches could have accomplished this.

    I’ve seen first hand what half PJ’s salary buys. Don Nelson – who is actively harmful to the organization he works for. Buy hey, at least he’s (relatively) cheap.

  14. Travis Y.,
    You are living in money fantasy world.
    A) Farmar most likely wants out of this organization at this time
    B) You are just doubling paper $, while the Buss’s actually have to come up with those millions in cash. If it meant you had to move into a small apartment and sell your car, would you do it? Yeah, I know, the Buss’s have more money than that, but to get the feel of the decisions they make I have to relate it to what we mortals can imagine.

  15. Ryan,

    Blake Griffin would be fine ;)

  16. That was supposed to say Steve Blake not Blake Griffin, though I would gladly take Blake Griffin.

  17. I am with Dude Abides. If somehow Mitch signs Dorell Wright, I would be ecstatic.

  18. 5, Exick, you’re right, I forgot that part about minimum salaries. I’ll update the post.

  19. I don’t know how they are going to realistically trim the payroll with Kobe’s enormous salary, Pau’s, and Lamar’s.

    Kobe and the team deserves as much as they get but it would sure help if he (and the others)could restructure things to help make the team get right under the luxury tax limit.

    But I also know I’m dreaming. ;)

    The team better keep winning or Dr. Buss better win some poker tournaments if he’s that concerned with being over the cap.

    Bye.

  20. @10

    I don’t think it’s about pride. Fish has gotten five championships in LA and is a better fit for the system here than anywhere else. His leadership won’t be as appreciated or necessary anywhere else and he know it. I highly doubt that after 14 years in the NBA and knowing the end is near, he’s going to leave over the vet’s minimun. Makes zero sense in terms of team (what other championship contender can use him?) and family (why he came back in the first place).

    You guys all really think Brown will opt out of glorious LA after being stuck in Bobcat hell? Wow.

  21. 1, that’s a good idea, except the other team will have to pay Sasha in excess of $2.7 mil, which is just barely offset by the $3 mil they could receive in cash considerations. Basically, they’d be doing the Lakers a favor and receiving nothing in return (except half a year of Sasha, and I don’t know many NBA teams that want that).

    9, second round picks are expensive this year. There was an article on ESPN.com a couple weeks back where it said the asking price for a 2nd round pick was $3 mil, because teams like the Knicks, Nets, and Heat need to fill out their rosters with cheap players because they think Lebron James is going to eat up all their cap space. I think the Lakers just keep their picks and maybe farm the D-League.

    10, I agree that Fisher may well want more than the vet’s minimum (and he may well get more than the vet’s minimum). But I don’t see any other team offering him more than that, especially when he needs to be here for his daughter’s care.

    20, everyone wants a long-term deal with the CBA expiring soon and player salaries looking to be hampered severely. If players can lock into a new long-term deal, it won’t be affected by the CBA. The high-level stars will still make big money; it’ll be the mid-level and low-level players that will get hit the “hardest.” So I think Brown will be wanting a longer deal, something like 3 yrs $9 mil.

  22. In 2011, Luke Walton is going to make $5.26 million and Sasha Vujacic, $5.475 million. This is a gross misallocation of resources. I was never a fan of the Lakers giving either of them their current contracts. You could easily get a D-league player to mimic their production, if you look at it objectively. In fact, signing a younger player with more of an upside could be a better idea soley based on the fact that at this point in Luke & Sasha’s careers they are unlikely to blossom into anything more than what they already are. Guys like Steve Nash are a freak of nature.

  23. 13) R,
    The issue is that the Buss’ are (understandably) trying to maximize their profits while still being competitive. Just like any other business. That is why they didn’t sign Artest and Ariza last summer. It’s why they let Turiaf go after 2008, even though the team could have used him on the bench. It’s why the Jackson, Fisher, Mbenga, Brown salaries are an issue. It’s why they are (I’m sure) at least considering not using the MLE.

    Because they are already WAY over the cap.

  24. The elephant in the room has absolutely nothing to do with the salary cap. I have seen it reported that the Lakers earn a net profit of approximately 2 million dollars per home payoff game, with slight increases in profit as the team gets deeper in the playoffs. If Phil is resigned for say 12 million, but is good enough to get us to at least the Western Conference Finals or the Finals, that is at least 12 million dollars of profit through the Western Conference finals – (more if the series go longer than 4 games and depending on home court advantage). If the teams were to go about 6 games, assuming a healthy squad and at least 2 rounds of HCA, that Lakers net about 12 million dollars of pure profit by the Western Conference Finals. So not resigning Phil and having another coach – in the 6 million dollar range, would only make the lakers money IF, with that coach, they continued to make the Western Conference finals and the finals. This is no given guys, with either coach of course, but my feeling is they is a higher % chance if they have a coach that all of the players in the locker room respect.
    Also, if the Lakers were the Memphis Grizzlies, or the New Orleans Hornets, or any other small market team, and did not net a profit every year, I would cut them some slack with the salary restrictions. But the fact of the matter is that the Lakers, even in bad years, are still the most nationally broadcasted and watched team in the country – a la the Yankees – and should have more latitude for the financial mistakes. Talks of Phil taking a pay cut are absolutely absurd.
    And talk of not using the MLE on players that are capable (which, by the way, I am not sure Blake, or Felton are) would be absurd as well. The lakers might not use the MLE only because the players do not warrant the investment, not because money is tight and their is a bottom line to worry about. But the Buss family does know, as I am sure the rest of us understand, that the Lakers cannot sit relaxed and not try to improve either through the draft, or through free agent signings and trades – or we will end up the 2002-2003 Lakers, old and out in the second round. And that would hurt the bottom line way more than the signing of any player that would put us further into the luxury tax.

    We got through 4 great point guards this postseason – Westbrook, Williams, Nash, and Rondo – but do we really wanna hedge our chances again next season, in a point guard dominated league, with an older fisher, an older Kobe, and Vujacic as our only reserve that is not on a minimum contract – or a minimum level player? Because next season running into a say CP3 with a legitimate big around him – or even the OKC thunder with a shooter at the 2 spot, could serve as trouble for this laker team.

    Also, do we really want teams next year to play the same zone defense on us (with relatively good success overall and with a need for a little bit of luck on our part btw) because we have absolutely no shooters (consistently) on this team outside of Vujacic (who didn’t play much), and Kobe (who had 2 broken fingers).

  25. I still feel Mario Chalmers is the next B.J. Armstrong. Can really stroke the 3 ball, plus defender and clutch (well, atleast in college). Since Miami have picked up his option, its probably day-dreaming, but I like Chalmers a lot more than Blake and Watson. Blake cannot defend, period and Watson is a woeful shooter at best. Plus isn’t Watson around 30? The greater worry IMO, is the 2 guard depth behind Kobe.

  26. Craig W-

    If you think about how much we’re spending on a FA we’re going to be at 2-3M.

    I already said we’re not retaining Farmar, he wants to follow the Fisher route and I applaud him for his team play throughout the years.

    If you think about Brown $3M is a steal considering we’re paying Sasha $5.5M and Luke $5.2M.

    The Lakers are savvy, and they know Brown is a bargain for a 3yr/$12M offer.

    Don’t forget about the time it takes getting used to the triangle. Brown isn’t great it in, but has a year and a half of experience. While these FA’s don’t.

    Fisher played ALL 82 games for the past 5 SEASONS. Do you know how crazy that is? He stepped up in the Finals and playoffs and you’re asking him to take the minimum after being the starting guard on a championship team. A minimum offer is a slap to his face and you all should realize that. $3.5M is not just for being a player but essentially an assistant coach that hits clutch shots.

    Finally, Buss is financially smart and runs a business. He knows his bottom line, but at the end of the day, he gets his jollies negotiating, being tough, and winning. The Lakers are worth over $600M. I find it hard to think he’s needing to “refinance his mortgage”.

    He will give fair market offers while spending in the $120M range with the tax.

  27. I was reading Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ and came across something interesting:

    “If a team is below the cap, then their Disabled Player, Bi-Annual, Mid-Level and/or Traded Player exceptions are added to their team salary, and the league treats the team as though they are over the cap. ”

    Does this mean the MLE is added to the cap number of every team under the salary cap? That would reduce every team’s buying power considerably…

  28. I read an article saying Orlando is going to draft a PG this year which means Jason Williams would be available, he should probably come very cheap if we cant find a suitable replacement and he can shoot the 3 and isn’t a bad defender.

    What about the Lakers draft pick from last year Chelonu or whatever his name is? Could he earn a guy like Dj’s spot?

    We should draft Da’sean Butler at 58, it would be the best pick in the second round of the draft for his value. And at 43 we should find a rotation player that will work out well to fill roster spots.

  29. Travis,
    “If you think about Brown $3M is a steal considering we’re paying Sasha $5.5M and Luke $5.2M.”

    1) If you think that the Walton and Vujacic contracts are bad, then you shouldn’t be using them as points of reference for a new contract.

    2) Those were signed several years ago. SInce then, there have been significant changes in the general economy and the income that teams are getting, which affects what the Buss’ will be willing to spend.

    3) The upcoming CBA expiration likely means that the middle level and lower level players will be cheaper.

    4) Brown has been very inconsistent.

  30. Since someone mentioned that Javaris got an invite to the Laker summer squad, what is the impact in the unlikely event the Lakers decide to sign him? (i.e. what is the league minimum for him)

  31. the lakers will probably look to resign everyone except farmar (since he is the only guy who obviously wants out).

    i think dj will stay on the team even if he is more expensive than a second round pick. he is a good teammate, rebounds well and its just hard to find a guy with that kind of body under the minimum salary.

    i have a feeling that sasha will get more playing time next season after showing that he is finally willing to listen to phil and do the necessary things to stay on the court. i think next season will be great for him. he is our best shooter on the bench and is a very capable defender. his attitude has gotten better and he always plays hard… its going to be a good year for sasha.

  32. Exhelodrvr-

    I agree that they were bad contracts and the economy was different at that time.

    The great players are still getting paid like great players and the 10-12th man on the bench are still getting the minimum. Shannon was far from the last man on the bench $1M in salary.

    Yes Shannon has been inconsistent, but hearing about his work ethic, (always among the first to come into the gym) his athleticism, (sorely needed on this roster) and ability to shoot and finish on the break. $3M is not too much to ask from the 7th man off your bench.

    I’m saying I’d rather have someone that is acquainted with the triangle and offers the Lakers athleticism. He’s humble and has a great work ethic. $3M for him is better than $2M on Ridnour or Jason Williams. FACT

  33. Players are going to want longer contracts this offseason, the Lakers need shorter contracts because we’re already over-committed to our core group of players.

    Kobe deserves the money he’s getting paid, but at the same time, it really hampers our ability to keep talent around him. Then factor in the ridiculous deals that Walton and Sasha got and we’re in a bit of a bind.

    The Lakers did make a profit this year in the double-digit millions. The problem is that, from what I heard, it’s down double-digit millions from the year before.

    I think Buss is looking at maybe a 2 year championship window remaining with our current core, but contracts keep us obligated well-beyond that.

    That means that we will be less effective down the road, making less money, and paying more money to players that aren’t winning championships.

    Either he has to really gamble on someone with the MLE or play it safe, see what he can get out of the starters for 1 to 2 more years, and use that as a cushion for the lean years that are likely to follow.

  34. you thought fox was bad– ABC 7′s reporters suggested farmar would ‘definitely’ be back because ‘you don’t break up a winner’.

    someone could use a little FB&G in their life…

  35. about the point guard issue.

    How about if we draft Sherron Collins? Its projected that he might fall into the 2nd round. He played 4 years in College so he is mature. He is a big body guard like Phil likes. And he is pretty basketball smart it seems. that is of course he falls that low…

  36. NO to Jason Williams! Bad enough I had to sit though Isiah Rider! No more headcases, please!

  37. @ 36–

    The team’s most recent head case worked out OK. ;-)

  38. Travis,
    It’s not 3M, it’s 6M because of the tax. And based on this past season, it’s a crapshoot on how much he will improve. I think that Ridenour would be a safer, cheaper bet. And again, you can’t look past the financial implications. A couple of million DOES make a difference to the Buss’.

  39. I’m not sure I understand the math. If the tax kicks in at 68M, and the Lakers are at 82M, wouldn’t that mean we are paying an extra 14M? Which would put us at 96M, no?
    Per hoopshype, this year we were at 91M, which means we should be around 9M below last year’s level, not accounting for Fish etc.

  40. 35, burningjoe, I thought about Sheron Collins the other day, Loved watching the kid in college he is a winner and a great shooter. To me he kind of reminds me of a Ty Lawson, underrated and could be a steal especially at 43 in the second round.

  41. @ 40 Lakers8884…that is of course if he falls that low…we can hope right?

  42. No to Sherron Collins. He’s been overweight for all his workouts and hasn’t impressed.

    Chad Ford has Willie Warren falling to us at #43, which doesn’t surprise me that much given how much his disastrous sophomore year has tanked his stock, but that would be a huge steal.

  43. I am very much in favor of the “don’t break up a winner” idea, however to me that means:

    - re-sign Fish and Phil (great name for a bait shop once they retire); and Powell

    - Convince Shannon to exercise his player option (could be a long-shot)

    - Stop all the Bosh for Bynum nonsense

    - Say goodbye to Farmar, Ammo, DJ

    - Sign a back-up PG like Blake or Ridnour

    - Add big depth via 2nd round or D-League

    That leaves us with the same starting lineup, same bench (except Farmar), and a couple of different towel-wavers. What’s not to like?

  44. 39, you’re totally right. I messed up because I added twice the difference between the Lakers’ salary and the luxury tax, as opposed to just once on top. I guess that’s what I get for not posting for almost a year; lost my proof-reading ability.

  45. Let’s break this down methodically.

    These are the only guys who are guaranteed to return:

    Kobe – 24.8
    Pau – 17.8
    Drew – 13.8
    Lamar – 8.2
    Ron – 6.3
    Sasha – 5.5
    Luke – 5.3

    Total – $81.7

    As Zephid pointed out, HALF of our roster is essentially more expensive than the entire roster of over half of the rest of the NBA.

    A couple of things to consider:

    1) Jerry Buss has certainly shown he is committed to winning, but he’s not insane. This is still a business, and his primary source of income.

    2) I don’t think it makes sense to trade Chris Bosh for Andrew Bynum for three reasons:

    A) The Lakers already have a better version of Chris Bosh in Pau Gasol. Bosh and Gasol are the same type of player, so I don’t know if they’d compliment each other or cancel each other out. Pau and Bynum are different. Pau and Lamar are different.

    B) The Lakers are a much, MUCH better defensive team with Bynum (see Game 4 of the 2010 Finals for evidence). As we just saw, defense wins championships.

    C) Chris Bosh is going to require a salary of around $18M a year, so to do the Bynum trade, the Lakers would actually be adding $4M (or $8M when you consider luxury tax) to their payroll.

    3) Josh Powell is a great guy, and he’s Kobe’s buddy, but ultimately, he’s a big who is a terrible rebounder, and doesn’t have any other skill to compensate for it (it should be his shooting, but he’s not that great a shooter, either).

    4) The skillset DJ Mbenga brings to the table, can most likely be found in the second round of the draft for half the price.

    5) Jordan Farmar is not coming back.

    6) Shannon Brown is probably not coming back. He now has two rings, and wants to move forward with his career. There is going to be a team that is going to offer him around $3 or $4M a year, and unfortunately, his skillset (minus the dunks, of course) is pretty replaceable. The Lakers need a point guard, and Shannon has shown for two years now, that he isn’t a point guard.

    7) There’s no way Fish takes the vet minimum. His salary will be in the $2-$3M range, but he will be coming back.

    8 ) Adam Morrison will be playing somewhere in Europe next year.

    So the adjusted roster (estimating for Fish) will look like this:

    Kobe – 24.8
    Pau – 17.8
    Drew – 13.8
    Lamar – 8.2
    Ron – 6.3
    Sasha – 5.5
    Luke – 5.3
    Fisher – 2.5

    Total – $84.2

    That’s only 8 guys…that leaves 5 roster spots to fill.

    The Lakers roster cost $91.4M in 2009-2010, so going under the assumption that Buss wants to keep at around that budget or lower in 2010-2011:

    That leaves $7.2M to split between 5 guys (let that sink in…the Luke and Sasha contracts look REALLY bad now, don’t they).

    The Lakers have two second round picks…let’s say they keep both at the cost effective price of about $500K each…

    So now they have 3 spots to fill with $6.2M left in the budget.

    We know based on Broderick Turner’s LA Times article, that they also want to bring in a veteran big man and a point guard.

    That means Kurt Thomas/PJ Brown type, which will probably cost around $2.5M, and Steve Blake/Luke Ridnour type which will probably cost around $3M.

    That leaves $700K to fill in the final roster spot with a Summer League invite (like Javaris Crittenton).

    Consequently, I think the Laker’s roster look like this next year:

    Kobe – 24.8
    Pau – 17.8
    Drew – 13.8
    Lamar – 8.2
    Ron – 6.3
    Sasha – 5.5
    Luke – 5.3
    Fisher – 2.5
    Vet Big – 2.5
    2nd Tier PG – 3.0
    2nd Round G/F: 0.5
    2nd Round F/C: 0.5
    Summer League Guy: 0.5

    Total – $91.2

    That’s how the roster is going to fill out. The discussion should more be WHO is going to fill in the following 5 spots:

    Vet Big – Kurt Thomas?
    2nd Tier PG – Steve Blake?
    2nd Round G/F: ?
    2nd Round F/C: ?
    Summer League Guy: Javaris Crittenton?

  46. Per Hoopshype we are at $74M next year with 7 players. This does not include Fisher, Farmar, Morrison, Powell, Mbenga or Brown. We are required to carry 13 players minimum.

  47. Zephid,

    Ok, thanks for confirming. So, does that mean, we will loosen the purse strings a little bit this year?

    I love Mike Miller, who is capable of playing the 1,2 and 3 and a great shooter to boot (48% last year from the three).

    Both Miller and T-Mac have expressed an interest to play for a “winner” (and that would be us :) – yeayY!). If we can get T-Mac for the MLE, on a 3 year deal, it would help us with the bench production, and help save Kobe’s legs as well.

    Dorell Wright would be great too.

  48. #45:

    Why would (should) we pay 2.5 M for a PJ Brown, Kurt Thomas type, if we have both Powell and MBenga for 2M total?

    If Bynum is healthy, and I know that’s a big if, we don’t need any one else. Pau, Bynum and Odom can split the time at the 4/5 – say 32 min each?

  49. Burgundy,
    Thank you for the detailed breakdown.

    Since Sasha is in the last year of his contract he might be worth a trade for 2 players at the same $. I, personally, think Sasha is likely to be pulling his weight next year and would prefer to keep him, but if he adds another body at the same cost it is something to consider.

  50. Burgundy, solid breakdown. I started looking up salaries to try and figure out something the same. Glad you did it, it looks so much cleaner.

    The only minor thing I might add is that Powell may return because he and Kobe are so close. For the approximate 1 million (or double what the 2nd rounder) he’s going to cost, Buss might consider it Kobe write off.

    Possibly you could see a partial guarantee and a make good type contract going into training camp. That would give the team the most flexibility to see how Powell would do against the big man 2nd round pick. Winner keeps the spot.

  51. #47

    Totally agree with you! I would take Mbenga and Powell at 2 million total than pay the same price, if not more, to a Kurt Thomas type vet. Both of these guys helped us win back to back championships and honestly, I’d say they’re each individually better than a 38 year old Thomas.

  52. FB&G commenters, (not a rhetorical question), but what were we saying about Buss’ purse-strings last summer after we won a championship and Artest and Odom were free agents?

    Didn’t Buss surprise us with his decision to pay $14 mil/year for Artest and Odom? I think when it comes down to it, I trust Buss to do what it takes to be competitive, even if he takes a “hit.” He hasn’t been a cheap-skate this regular season too (extensions for Pau and Kobe), so I’m done criticizing him about any moves he makes. I believe if Mitch is absolutely convinced that we need to use the full MLE (on a Miller or other impact player), Buss will do it.

    I’m looking forward to the moves this summer, and especially with a possible lockout looming, 2011 may be a spectacular year for us. A three peat is on the line, a trip to the rarified air of being a dynasty is at stake. The Lakers will do whatever is necessary.

    P.S. I do believe Critt can be a difference maker, don’t have any solid evidence but my gut (or whatever I ate for lunch) tells me so. And he’ll be cheap.

  53. The Buss family makes money hand over fist. The Lakers are probably worth more than the $600 mil, that somebocy mentioned above. They can sell the Lakers tomorrow for 1 billion no problem.

  54. Why would (should) we pay 2.5 M for a PJ Brown, Kurt Thomas type, if we have both Powell and Mbenga for 2M total

    __

    I hit this earlier: simple–Andrew will probably get hurt, and the team needs a 4/5 Phil will play 10-15 minutes a game when that happens. The current way that is handled–”Do more, Pau” has “worked”, but is not a long-term plan. Obviously, everyone LIKES Mbenga and Powell, but it is clear Phil doesn’t really want them on the floor.

    I read the McMenamin piece. Whether the team spends 1M to bring Powell back will be interesting to watch. My guess is they do, since the team won, and Powell will be gone as soon as they lose.

    Another thing to look for: how does Jim Buss feel about Tracy McGrady? Buss is on an ESPNLA Podcast today, talking about how was the #1 advocate for Artest, and we have heard that Artest reached out to TMac. There is an historical parallel, from the beginning of the Buss years: Bob McAdoo. McAdoo had been a scoring star in the 1970s NBA, but was dogged by injuries, attitude issues, questions about his age and commitment. With his career on the wane, he came to the Lakers as a bench player, instant offense guy, and was a key guy on the 1982 title team.

  55. I love the way people talk about the Buss’s money as if it were water. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to make money and more to maintain that wealth in the face of tremendous uncertainty. The Buss’s have been doing it right for more years than Jerry has owned the Lakers.

    I agree with DY – in Buss we trust.

  56. #53. Lou,
    We all understand the Lakers are profitable, but if you believe Stern (and on this, I do) this is not the norm for NBA teams. Most NBA teams lose money and as it’s been stated countless times, the Lakers are Dr. Buss’ sole business venture. He doesn’t have Cablevision dollars to support his team (ala the Knicks) nor does he have billions of net worth to supplement losses (ala Mark Cuban or Paul Allen). So, I don’t begrudge him for being a business man that wants to see his business make a profit that he can use to live off of and keep the lifestyle that he wants to live. I’d say this approach has been quite successful for him and the franchise during his stewardship of the Lakers. Basically, I don’t think us fans should be so quick to spend another man’s money.

  57. Craig,

    I am just saying that the Buss family is not going to starve anytime in the near future.

  58. I think Shannon returns. What did he do to make a team overspend for him? I think any offer he receives will be similar to whatever he may get from LA. Considering that, there’s no way it would be in his best interests to leave. He will make more in his next contract by staying on a Championship team that has a coach, in Phil, that likes him. He comes back.

    We all know Farmar is gone.

  59. If you notice the way Josh Powell was used less this year, I think the Lakers have every intention on keeping him. I think they gave him less minutes this year to keep his stock from rising, and his asking price.

  60. no doubt, the main focus of Mitch & co will be a new PG this offseason. Not because of anything to do with Fish, he’ll come back, but because we’re probably going to lose one or both of his backups.

    Farmar is gone, let’s assume. I hope SB sticks around because he’s a nice combo guard, playing backup to Kobe or running the point when we need his physicality to guard big PG’s.

    We have to use the midlevel to get a backup PG and that guy has to be starter quality, given the uncertainty with Fish beyond next season, and his need for limited minutes.

    Here are some FA names that I’d be pleased to see in a Laker uniform filling that role with our Midlevel:

    Steve Blake
    Ray Felton
    Dorrel Wright
    Jannero Pargo
    TJ Ford (player option)
    Luke Ridnour

    And… I’d like to give a summer camp invite to:
    Carlos Arroyo
    Critt
    Acie Law

  61. #54:

    If Andrew does get injured, we will need more than 10-15 min a game – at least 20. And I’m not sure if there are that many PF/Cs out there that can get you that much time without breaking the bank. Would a Kurt Thomas really be better off than a Josh Powell today?

  62. 48, I think it really depends on what Fisher takes. If Fisher gets something like $4 mil, then the Lakers purse will probably remain tight. If Fisher takes $2 mil (or the vet’s minimum), then I think the Lakers will comfortably spend the entire MLE.

    If T-Mac is healthy and willing to play for a small portion of the MLE (not all of it), I’d be ok with bringing him in. But if he wants the entire MLE? I’d rather get someone like Dorell Wright.

  63. The vast majority of players will go for the biggest contract rather than the greater chance at a ring; the Paytons and Malones are pretty scarce. Expect Brown to go wherever he gets the most financial security; that would include playing time considerations (which presumably would lead to bigger future contracts). California tax rates aren’t going to help either, if push comes to shove.

  64. Fisher is really the only one that the Lakers need to worry about, aside from his play he is such a big leadership presence and really balances out Kobe.

    aside from Fish I would prefer if the Lakers let the rest of the FA’s leave, Farmar is a near certainty to be gone but Brown should be right behind him, he is not only inconsistent but is a horrible decision maker with the ball and dribbles way to much usually putting his head down and just going one on one. I never was a fan of his

    Powell and Mbenga can be easily replaced by second rounders at a much lower cost. and I dont need to even mention Morrison do I?

    resign Fish, get one of either Blake/Ridnour/Wright/Watson then fill out the rest with 2nd round picks and minimum guys.

  65. perhaps the Hinrich discussions will be revisited when the trade deadline approaches and Sasha’s expiring deal becomes much more valuable.

  66. Would a Kurt Thomas really be better off than a Josh Powell today?

    If you go by numbers, yes. Thomas is still a far better reabounder than Powell is:

    REB % 2009-2010:

    Thomas: 15.8
    Powell 11.7

    D REB %:

    Thomas: 23.8
    Powell: 13.7

    TS%

    Thomas: .489
    Powell: .407

    Recall that Andrew Bogut missed the playoffs–Thomas started every game of the MIL/ATL series and being 38 years old and not great to begin with, had some games in which he did nothing. But he also played pretty well a couple of times and the Bucks did extend the Hawks to 7.

    I am not advocating Thomas per se, but, yes, I think he would help the Lakers more on the floor, even at age 39, than Josh Powell does, and I also think Phil would actually give him some burn. The Lakers need another back-up big and another back-up guard who can help the team. Will they get either or both? Don’t know, but they need to keep trying to get better if we want to have a shot at a parade next June.

  67. @ 62–

    To be clear, I am not saying “Sign McGrady.” To be honest, I have not studied the players the Lakers might have a shot at in enough detail to know who I want the team to try to get. When I first heard the TMac stuff, I thought it was all smoke, but thinking about it, I can picture it maybe actually being considered by the FO.

  68. perhaps the Hinrich discussions will be revisited when the trade deadline approaches

    ___

    Maybe, but I think the Bulls expect to have James or Bosh and be about 32-10 or so at the deadline.

  69. Interesting what DJ Mbenga said about how grotesque and swollen Bynum’s knee looked through the course of the year. Self-preservation? Perhaps. But this is stark insight into Bynum’s knee injuries. I am praying for abatement of this reoccuring issue, but seems like it will haunt him for his career.

    Why do people lump Dorrell Wright as a point guard? He’s a 6’9″ small forward with questionable handles.

    The Lakers need to plug in their holes with players who fit their established criteria. At the PG, we don’t really need a dribble and trigger happy PG. The Blakes of this world may suffice for a year or two. We desperately need some outside shooting from the SF position. And we must find a backup center who can play 15-20 minutes (Brad Miller would be nice).

    But exhelodrv is absolutely right. Basketball is how these athletes earn most of their livelihood. They have a finite window to maximize their earnings, because there is no telling what career-ending injury lurks around the corner. That is why Farmar and Brown will leave (I wish them luck. They’ve earned their two rings, but playing 20 mpg somewhere inToronto should be fun!). Other vets like Miller and Miller have made quite a few dollars in their careers, so we are talking about a different set of players.

  70. Couple points:

    Tracy would be an incredible threat off the bench. Considering his downward spiral of a career he should come relatively cheap (3 mil in the MLE). Javaris should be great for the system, that’s why we drafted him. With a litle experience Phil may be willing to utilize him (he has a hatred for rookies that is unmatched).

    MBenga? He’s a large body who understands the system. He’s a shot blocking force and can hit a j within 12 ft. Why Phil does’t give him more burn? No idea. But considering the triangle has RUINED careers (hello Gary Payton) I’d rather keep him on the cheap (1 mil) then try to infuse older vets into the system for more bucks. Powell? His bball value is extremely low. Mbeng-MBeng would make more sense. I hear the ‘Kobe likes him’ thing but, so what. Fish is the only guy that carries relevent weight there. I wouldn’t keep Powell because you can find what he offers in the draft but not MBenga’s size.

    Speaking of Kobe enorsements: Ammo receive the highest of compliments from Kobe on the Tonight Show (think I’m right). Anywho (on purpose) he will be exceedingly cheap next yr and for the rest of his career. If he can, in fact, ball like he did in college then he’s young, eager and inexpensive. He also has had time to understan the system. He could be the diamond in the rough.

    Jordan is gone, not really the Lakers option. He wants to start and play his game, which is not the triangle. The only way he stays is if he is allowed togrow into the starter role from the starting position. Honestly? I think he can do it. Brown won’t leave. Nobody will offer him enough for him to go. Teams are all looking at the CBA expiration and wouldn’t spend big on a run-of-the-mill athletic tweener. I love Shannon but in bball terms he doesn’t knock your socks off. He is more than serviceable for the Lakers, though, and it is his option to stay (with his current agreement).

    Sasha’s last year in a trade for two pieces is genius. I’m sure they are seeking that option, as well.

    Luke’s contract has to be one of the top two worst moves the Lakers have made in the last decade. Back problems are no joke and he may never contribute on his previous levels again (which was never monumental). There are two good things about his game: (1) keeping the system fluid and (2) posting smaller players – he does both well aaaaand that’s pretty much it.

    That’s a lot to digest but I think its logical thinking. Who’s with me?

  71. It’s all up to Shannon on whether or not he wants to opt out. If he does, then I believe the Lakers will wish him well.

    I don’t believe for a minute that the Lakers would offer Fish the veteran’s minimum, not after the way he came through in the playoffs. I believe they will split their MLE by re-signing (notice the hyphen, people) Fish at half the MLE for one year, and then offer someone like Wright (please, Mitch!) the other half, probably for something like three years.

    I do expect Crittenton to accept the team’s offer to play summer league, and then make the team and sign for the minimum. I’d be less confident about his making the team if Shannon were to pick up his option, but I do believe Shannon will opt out.

    I’d love to see DJ back. He had some very solid games earlier in the season when Drew and/or Pau were out with injuries. The guy possesses a very important skill, and that’s shot-blocking. The only thing that should factor into keeping Powell or not is his friendship with Kobe.

    A number of mock drafts have Dexter Pittman falling to the Lakers at #43. If he’s available, it’s a no-brainer to take him. He’s 6-11 with shoes, and has lost 85 pounds during his four seasons with the Texas Longhorns. He’s right around 300 lbs right now, and he has a 7-6 wingspan. If he’s still available at #43, then DJ is gone. Pittman could develop into a slightly longer Kendrick Perkins-type player. Not bad for a fourth big.

    I also agree with the Da’Sean Butler advocates at #58. We could use some more SF depth, and if the team signs Dorell Wright and Javaris Crittenton to play PG (and re-signs Fish, which is inevitable), then our PG depth would be just fine and we could afford to add Butler. Keeping these two 2nd-round picks at about $450-500,000 each would be substantially cheaper than keeping two guys at the vet’s minimum. I’d love to see these two as Lakers next season.

    Again, though, Dorell Wright at 6-9 and a greater than 7-foot wingspan would be a devastating defender at the point, IMO. Remember that 6-6 Ron Harper was the starting triangle PG for five of Phil’s championship teams, at ages 32-37 and on one rebuilt knee. I would submit that Wright has much more quickness than Harper did. He finally blossomed on the court this past season, and the Laker coaching staff is strong enough to help him improve his basketball IQ at both ends. He also has the desire to improve, as he used to have horrible, Jamaal Wilkes-type shooting form on his jumper, without a Wilkes-type success rate. Last season he shot 39% on threes and 88% from the line. I think by the time the 2011 postseason comes around, Wright will be primed to play significant quality minutes. Imagine a perimeter defense featuring the length of Kobe, Ron, and Wright, backed up by Drew and Pau.

  72. Oh, the T Mac thing: it will make the best of his biggest investment – Kobe. He can play 30 mins a game for as long as Tracy is on the squad. Major break for him and would save his legs and health, maybe add another year of high level performance to the end of his career (making it 3-4 more years at his prime instead of the projected 2-3 that everyone is talking about now). Tracy gets 20 mins off the bench which is plenty for him to performance but thrifty enough to keep him healthy. He plays free because he is on house money – Mamba, Spaniard, Drew, Queensbridge and Candyman are all in line for ‘pressure’ before he would be. Then the full bench substitution – Fish/Sahsa/Javaris (?)/Shannon (?) as the 1/2 pair, Tracy at the 3 (at 6’8″ he often plays it and against bench guys he’d kill) Candyman and whatever big Phil puts with them. I think MBenga would be even more useful with this line-up ( he doesn’t need the rock, he’s a strong presence on D and would rebound well with LO) maximizing personnel and keeping starters fresh. This would also be a different attack than the starters but should have the same threat level. TMac and LO do the drives, Sasha and Fish spot up, MBeng-MBeng enforces. This squad could have 35 wins as a starting unit, maybe 40.

    No doubt that is the makings of a powerful bench. Candyman and TMac would give us 2 starter talents off the bench. Using the defensive scheme the Lakers now employ I think they could be effective there, too.

    While TMAc is not a premier defender, he’s decent and he would only face bench talent. Of course, you could put him at the 2 with Kobe in crucial, playoff situations. Who could defend Drew, the Spaniard, Queensbridge, Mamba and Tracy? Nuts!

  73. I don’t think the lakers will resign farmar, unless the other f.a. pg’s ask for to much money. The ideal signing will be either a back up pg that can defend and spot up or a instant offense pg.

    I’m really not sold on shannon brown being able to take over more minutes at the point. Shannon probably understands that as well. So I think he doesn’t opt out to try to get more money. I think he’ll wait and try to become a more consistent contributor. Shannon can play a few minutes here and there. But I think the lakers know and established last season that he’s not a point guard. For him to be a pg, he’ll have to improve his decision-making, play making ability (for others), and ball handling. With that being said there’s aren’t any pg’s that can really provide either instant offense(iverson???) or defense/and 3 point shooting. Steve Blake is the most reasonable pg out there. But is Steve Blake a quick fix or someone the lakers are willing to invest a few years in. Felton is the best pg out there but will ask for around 6-8 million. Ridnour is second but will probably ask for the 5 million or so. Those guys are out of the question because I don’t think they’ll take a pay cut and come off the bench behind fisher.

    That brings me to Fisher. Is Fisher really going to take a pay cut? I mean he should because how bad he’s been the last 2 years in the regular season, but then again he shouldn’t because how good he’s been in the playoffs. I know Fisher believes he’s worth more then the vet’s min., but he is a reasonable guy. I think he resigns for $2.5 mil.

    Also, what’s the thing with Dorell Wright? He’s not a pg. He didn’t play pg in Miami, hell he was a back up in Miami. If anything, the lakers will take a look at him to fill a trevor ariza type role. (edited for trade speculation.) But Dorell is a good 3 point shooter so he’s worth looking at but not at the pg position.

  74. Sorry for the repeat postings, got the Lakers on my mind today!

    For the Wright advocates, here were his numbers against the Celtics in the 1st Round: 5 ppg; 22mpg; 25% 3pts (2-8); 9-25 field goals; .4 SPG; 0 bpg; 3.8 rpg.

    He shot 38% from 3s (61-157) for the regular season, but his playoffs performance tells me that in a more scrutinzed environment, he completely underperformed.

    With our tight budget, the Lakers actually do need some luck (i.e. solid vets willing to play for less money, yes, this is luck). That being said, if Bynum stays healthy and Kobe returns healthy (dude was seriously hurt all year long), we should be in a good position to compete for a three-peat.

  75. Do we have Fish’s bird rights? His salary wouldn’t count against the MLE right?

  76. OKC will be a problem not only for the Lakers, but for every team in the NBA. They are young, talented, and well coached. Old man Buss has to wake up!!!! The Lakers are getting older by the day. They need to have more than 13 players to win especially when you consider four of your players are Luke Walton, Adam Morrison, DJ Mbenga, and Josh Powell.

    They need to go after Allen Iverson for a second scorer which they desperately lacked against Boston, Jarvis Crittenton to replace Jordan Farmar, Dorrell Wright to replace what Trevor Ariza brought off the bench plus Shannon will probably go for the money, and Drew Gooden to replace Josh Powell. Gooden is a good defender and has above average scoring ability. He can slide in a starter when either Pau or Andrew get into foul trouble. That keeps the Lamar on the second squad which keeps or rotations consistent. DJ stays because he gives it his all.

  77. (edited for trade speculation.) Were I management, I would still make the TMac move and add a pg (again, Crit would be wies while retaining Fish and Shannon). Trevor, Candyman and Tracy with any two guys is a starting five off the bench! Would be wicked, certainly a dream, but really wicked.

  78. busboys – Drew Gooden might do the trick. Again, everything with this over-the-cap organization has to be about smart financial choices right now but I think he would fit. He is definitely more of a force than Powell looks comfortable being and he’s experienced at adding his influence. He would be a solid bench player.

  79. 75, yes we have Fish’s Bird Rights.

    People liken Dorell Wright to a PG because the triangle doesn’t require a really quick, penetrating PG like most other offensive systems. However, he does have to be able to bring the ball up the court, and I haven’t seen enough of him to know if he has the handles.

  80. I know we have some new readers and commenters in the aftermath of the Finals win. However, please see the commenting guidelines. We’re not getting into random trade speculation that is based solely off “rumor”. There needs to be a credible source reporting that a deal is on the table before we start to discuss what the implications of that deal would be.

  81. Roger that Darius. My bad. However, I hadn’t heard of it as a trade it was just wishful thinking. In watching the league and how the year panned out I figured the team may want to make a move. The contract for Sasha is unfavorable but in its last year. Playing armchair GM just seemed fun to do.

    However, I don’t wanna be outside of the rules so the message is clear and has been noted.

    And I’m not a new reader. Just hadn’t commented much before.

  82. Holy crap. The Warriors just traded Maggette to Milwaukee for Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell. That is a MAJOR salary dump for Golden State.

  83. I appreciate it, Thorough. And believe me, I like playing armchair GM as much as the next guy. ;) It’s just conversations like that can get out of control rather quickly. We’ll have threads that touch on trade scenarios down the line though. But we’ll keep those discussions to those threads.

  84. #82. Whoa. What are the Bucks doing? Are they going to keep Salmons and play him at SG?

    And what about the Dubs? Either they’re finally getting serious about Randolph or Maggette was just that bad a contract for them that they basically gave him away. Bell and Gadzuric? Oh my.

  85. Wright played all three non-big positions for Miami. If Riley and Spoelstra thought he could handle the ball well enough to play PG in Miami, then he ought to be able to play PG in the triangle. The only question is if he can bring the ball upcourt against pressure, which Zephid already touched on.

    @74. So if he made one more three (2-8), his playoff average would have been 37.5%. That’s a very small sample size on which to base a judgment of his shooting. Remember that Fish shot 2-10 in the Finals. Just about everyone shoots worse against the Celtic defense than they do against the rest of the NBA. Zephid hit the nail on the head regarding the most important issue with Wright. Can he bring the ball upcourt against pressure?

  86. Wow, a lot of interesting discussion. Much of it does not jibe with what I’ve read from sources with insider information (K bros).

    What K Bros say (which isn’t gospel, but they do talk with the team a bit):

    1. Farmar is gone. The Lakers don’t feel he’s a good fit for what they want. I’m sure in part because he has done a poor job of focusing on defense and in many cases wanted to jack up his own shots. He also wants a starting gig somewhere (and more money than his rookie contract) and he’s not getting it here with Fisher starting.

    Additional consideration: Farmar did step up near the end of the playoffs, playing more within himself, less selfishly and played better D. How much can a few playoffs games of that get him given his pattern thus far?

    2. DJ and Powell are likely gone. I think the conventional wisdom is that they’ve earned a pay raise with their play that we can’t afford for 9th/11th man off the bench. I have a mixed feeling about these possibilities. I felt they’ve both contributed when their number was called earlier this year (Powell) and last season (DJ). I like how both have a very positive contribution to team chemistry. DJ is just great. Powell is Kobe’s BFF. Keeping Kobe as happy as possible is always a priority. The triangle is difficult to learn as well so there’s greater value in retention. If we could get these guys back for about the same price as last year, I’d strongly support it. My inference is that we can’t. I guess we can give guys similar roles with drafting, but I think there’s added value to the ones we had, certainly worth an extra 2M in payroll (assuming veteran’s min of 1M each, so 500k extra each so another M in luxury taxes beyond what we’d pay a 2nd rounder at around 500k).

    3. We’re not going to chase Shannon if he gets expensive. He’s been an inconsistent contributor, but a good guy in the system and an offensive spark off the bench. That said, we can’t afford and don’t want to pay a great deal for him. He may be able to make more elsewhere. If he does he’s like Turiaf, we like you, but we can’t afford you.

    4. Fisher is definitely coming back. He’s good in the clutch in the playoffs and his leadership is invaluable. Shocker.

    5. Ammo is gone. Too expensive, not good enough for us to use early in rotation. He seemed like a nice guy, heh.

    6. We’re going to get a better “point” guard in free agency. We’re looking for poise, defense and outside shooting. That means a vet. The short list has been Steve Blake, Luke Ridnour, Earl Watson and Raymond Felton.

    I’ve heard Dorrell Wright bounced around due to good outside shooting, atheleticism and the ability to defend 1-3 well. We don’t need our “PG” to be a primary ball handler so that could work. We just need someone to defend the faster, better 1s, shoot well from outside and not screw up. A little athleticism/youth certainly wouldn’t hurt.

    I’ve heard other names bounced around like Shaun Livingston (seriously, watch the vid of that horrific knee injury again and tell me you still want him–that happened spontaneously at like age 21) and Jason Williams (I think he’s too old and we don’t need a traditional point guard)

    I’ve also hear mention of CP3 (he’s on the trade block possibly) and Gilbert Arenas (he’s fast, gets steals and he can shoot, but I think he’s too expensive and I’m not sure his steals equal real defense or are AI steals). Both would require giving something up and greater expense.

    7. While we’d like to improve our bench, financial limitations create some uncertainty and we’re just going to have to see how it shakes out.

    Some of my own thoughts, many heavily influenced by other blogs/comments:

    1. Sasha is getting a bigger role. He stepped up in the Finals and shows more poise than Shannon Brown. It could be to highlight him for a trade (wonderful considering his overly expensive contract). I’m down with a 1/2 rotation of Kobe/Fish/new guy/Brown/Sasha, but is that really something we can afford? Even moving Kobe to the 3 sometimes, it seems like a horribly tricky puzzle.

    2. Phil is coming back. If he can make it work with his health, I’m fairly certain he will. Most signs have been very positive. Anything he has as an older guy can probably be helped enough by medication. Our entire health system caters to the heavily utilizers that are 65+. That includes the pharma industry.

    3. Buss is smart. So is Kupchak (and it surprises me to say this now). They will make sure we have a workable team next year, including reserves that perform better. It’s a weakness and it made life more difficult for us this year. I feel safe in assuming this will include limited roster turnover and leveraging to get lower contracts for guys that aren’t competitive on the market (like Fisher).

    4. Some decent vets are expressing interest in joining us. These include so far Bosh, Mike Miller and T-Mac, of all people. Bosh had said he’d take some pay cut. T-mac would obviously require a huge pay cut. There’s utility in all of these guys. Mike Miller feels like too much of a luxury to me (unless super cheap) as we already have plenty of 2s and an amazing 2-way 3 in Ron Ron. Maybe another 3 point shooter would help, but seriously he seems like a luxury. T-Mac would be pretty awesome to give us bench scoring. Let’s assume he’s only at 50 percent. Still pretty awesome. What price, of course? How much do you REALLY want to be on a winner?

    And Bosh. That’s the big controversial one. It’s possible we’ve already offered Bynum for Bosh. If that’s the case then none of us get a say. The FO pulls the trigger if we can do it. Bosh may force a sign and trade and has expressed a desire to join a winner. He also says he wants to be the centerpiece, says that he is a centerpiece, but I think that could be a hedge to return to Toronto or just something his agent told him to say to maximize his value. And to be fair, he’s good enough that on many teams he would be the centerpiece.

    I was curious about +/- for Bynum versus Bosh as I hate just raw numbers comparisons which are too subjective, easily manipulated and offensively biased. On basketball-reference.com, Bynum’s +/- numbers were a little higher than Bosh, as were his win shares/48 mins (both playoffs and regular season). However, there could be some issue that Bosh plays on a crappy team and Bynum adds to an already excellent team something big so it could alter the numbers a bit. Interestingly, that’s the very crux of the argument. Bynum helps us so much that we can’t let him go. However, the other problem is that Bosh’s WS contribution or +/- contribution will be available many more games (most likely). I mean if you had to bet on Bynum’s regular season games, what would the +/- line be? 58?

    I think most people have made up their mind on Bynum/Bosh. How you answer the following questions probably will determine your stance:

    1. Which player is a better player, Bynum or Bosh?

    2. Which player is a better fit for the Lakers?

    3. Which player helps our rotation most, providing a needed position (center or PF) and helping others play their positions better (allowing Gasol to play PF)?

    4. Which player is a proven winner?

    5. Which player has better upside?

    6. Which player is better now?

    7. Which player is riskier to have or to trade?

    8. Do the Lakers want to win now or build toward the future? corollary: How do we maximize both Kobe’s remaining years and the remaining years of our biggest contracts?

    9. Which player is a greater locker room cancer risk?

    10. Which player will net us the most total championships?

    My answer is Bosh. I feel Gasol has proven himself against anyone not named Kendrick Perkins. Bosh and Gasol can trade off duty on the other team’s biggest guy. Bosh provides better outside shooting (stretching the D), better rebounding (surprisingly than anyone on the Lakers roster), better athleticism (than any Lakers big) which are all things the Lakers can use.

    I’m also scared to death of Bynum being in as bad of shape as he was in the this playoffs. I’m not sure we can afford that again. I think it could cost us a championship because not every year shapes up like this year.

    I feel Bosh has the hard-working attitude, basketball IQ and personal attitude to fit into the Lakers and the triangle under the direction of PJax and with leadership by Kobe Bryant, Odom and DFish. Bosh was very good on team USA. Gasol’s good fit makes me thing Bosh would fit here as well (though I don’t expect him to excel as fast in the triangle, that’s too much to ask).

    I think it’s going to be very interesting how these things shake out.

    My prediction: We’re going to have to give up on some things we love about this team, but we’re going to have some pleasant surprises to make up for it.

  87. I’m feeling a maturing Sasha is the future PG. It really looked like he was getting it mentally (finally) the last half of the season and in his limited playing time in the playoffs (less that one stupid a## foul; you know which one.)

    He was drafted as a PG, and he’d be perfect for the system if he’d just try to be like D.Fish as far as when to call his own number, but a better defender and shooter.

    He should have all the confidence in the world right now after the late game 7 free throws (even being put in the game there showed a lot of confidence from Phil), as well as, waking up next to Sharapova ;)

    What other player in the NBA that we have a reasonable shot at is a better fit for the Lakers at PG than Sasha?

  88. Here’s a thought: besides making bank for the league offices, how are the salary caps working out? They are supposed to create balance for the smaller market teams to keep them competitive. However, these guys are just using the relief from cap money to be profitable, not competitive. There is a reason for the lack of parity in the league. With the exception of San Antonio and the Pistons, guys that spend win all the time. I don’t think it is the money, though, it is the desire to make the moves that win. The focus on winning itself. We are witnessing a league-wide all-out expense cut these days. How is that helping the league stay competitive? Teams are tossing good players out the door to save money basically ensuring they won’t be competitive.

    Bottom line, I don’t see the system working. Actually its the opposite. Teams that win consistently, like the Lakers, always have their hands forced. They have to trade to get talent because they have miserable picks. They always have miserable picks because they have to trade away for players because THEY HAVE BAD PICKS TO BEGIN WITH! My point is: if the cap (and draft rules) are designed to keep the league equally competitive then when are we supposed to see that in action? The league has a few ‘haves’ and gangs of ‘have-nots-and-never-have-hads’. Doesn’t look like its working to me.

    But that’s just me. Soapbox surrendered.

  89. Wow, these suggestions are certainly creative – and mostly within our financial constraints. This blog never ceases to amaze.

    I am going on vacation and won’t be commenting much beyond the next few hours, but you’all have certainly given me a lot to think about between now and 1 July. I am going to have to figure out a way to get on line and at least read what is happening.

    Thanks people.

  90. Mbenga’s exit interview:

    - (On his meeting with Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak): “It was great. Really interesting. They definitely want me back, so we’ll see where it goes.”

    Other highlights:

    -Shannon said he’d like to return
    -Odom said he’d like to play some SF next year.
    - On his exit interview: “It was quick.” Odom did add that he’s thinking of playing a little more small forward next year.
    - More on playing small forward: “The triangle offense, our team, my size … using our ability to post up to kind of slow teams down. Our defense is predicated so much on our offense, I think I can help our team. That could be one of the lineups that we go to.”

    Farmar is gone.
    Morrison is gone.

    Everyone wants the Phil and Fish bait shop back.

    Bynum got his knee drained again and will have surgery around July 18.

    More confirmation from Ron that Kobe is the hardest worker and respects his leader.

  91. I’ve been reading FB&G for a while and never commented on anything. I just want to see your opinions on Anthony Morrow? Yes, he’s an restricted free agent, but with the Warriors in full on salary dump mode, we might be able to snag him to fit into our pg slot. He’s got good size at 6-5 and can obviously shoot the 3 at a high clip, a 46% shooter from long range. He’s got good speed which will help with the quicker guards in the league. I don’t think he’ll be asking for too much money, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 mil or so. And I really do like Dorrell Wright, but I think he’ll be backing up the 3 spot instead of point. Finally, I was researching Critter last night. It seems like Kobe really took to him during his short stint in LA and he actually ran the triangle in high school. I think he can be a great pickup by the Lakers, even with his legal problems. I’ve heard rumors that he already got an invitation for the summer league, but haven’t been able to find any official reports. Can anyone confirm this?

  92. The exit interviews are being posted at this link:
    http://twitter.com/LakersReporter

  93. Good bet Jordan lands in Indy.. they need a point guard badly, and they are a young team – sounds like they are a perfect fit for each other. Not sure what Shannon will do – there isn’t a big market for athletic 2s without a stable long-range shot. Still, he must be thinking that he’d like to be locked in for at least 3-4 years before the new CBA kicks in. Looks like a complete 50/50 to me.

    At the point guard position, I would actually prefer Ridnour over Blake. He’s statistically slightly better in most areas, especially when you look at the advanced stats (www.basketball-reference.com) I’ve watched him play last season a few times, and he is a very hard-nosed player who plays solid D – reminded me of a Hinrich Lite. The dude doesn’t get phased in tough games and seems to relish the competition. Reminds me of my favorite Lakers point guard at the moment. Best part is, he should be available for an even smaller price than Blake (2-3 mil)

    I do think that Powell needs to go. He gave us nothing in the playoffs. His sweet 20-foot J abandoned him in the second half of the season + the playoffs. That was all he was good for, so when that went he was essentially useless. Considering he’s an awful defender and a poor rebounder at the 4, he doesn’t merit the $1mil salary for next season. Replace him with a 2nd round pick – cheaper and comes with at least some potential.

    DJ should be retained at the min – not too many athletic 7 footers in the league. He actually showed some decent game in some instances of the regular season. He’s a regular season contributor though, and for the playoffs we’ll need a solid vet who can man the 4 & 5 positions. Hopefully a chunk of the MLE will take care of that.

    This is going to be an interesting summer for sure..

  94. #91. Draft Express stated in this article that Javaris will in fact play for the Lakers at the Vegas Summer League (scroll down a ways).

    “Javaris Crittenton (#13) made $1.4 million “playing” for the Washington Wizards this season, but was cut midway through the season and did not have the fourth year option on his rookie contract picked up last summer. He’ll try to earn a contract playing summer league with the Lakers in Las Vegas from July 9-18 .”

    I don’t know how firm that is, but it looks likely this will be the case. Another point about Critt is that he was supposedly Bynum’s best friend on the team when he got traded and that Critt was one of the guys that always encouraged ‘Drew to take the ball strong and told him to “try and dunk everything”. So, having Critt potentially back in the fold (at least for the Summer) should be quite interesting. But, I’ll touch on this more in a future post.

  95. 88) Thorough,
    “There is a reason for the lack of parity in the league.”

    Two things: stability in the front office, good analysis of needs and talent, not overspending, and learning from your mistakes. OK, four things.

  96. 95. “OK, four things.”

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gldlyTjXk9A

  97. Has anyone thought of Sasha?
    He has been playing extremely well under control (besides a few stupid fouls here and there), but his bball IQ is WAYYYYY higher than Shannons (who has zero bball IQ). If we can get a lineup with minimal changes which looks like this:
    PG: Fisher, Sasha
    SG + SF: 3 man rotation of Kobe, Ron, and TMac
    PF+C: 3 man rotation of Pau + Bynum + Odom

    obviously this 8-man-rotation is mostly for the playoffs –in the regular season it is fine to add a few spare minutes for luke walton, and perhaps whatever backup big we have.
    This will give us the minimal change with best outcome (TMac can be the Kobe of the 2nd team, running a triangle featuring TMac as the primary weapon as opposed to kobe)

  98. Zephid

    I’ve spoken about Dorrell Wright and Jarvis Crittenton all year and got bombed because of it. I’m glad to see that everyone has come to the light now. DWright would be that athletic long individual for teams such as OKC and Phoenix. Those teams who like to run and Ron Ron can’t match up against. JCrit knows the system and is as good as Farmar but will be much more willing to do what the coaches say given his almost career ending stay in Washington.

    The only thing that supprises me is that no one wants to consider AI. He doesn’t have the same physical problems as TMac, he can handle the ball better than TMac, and is the hardest working man in the NBA (next to Kobe). Plus which guy is more likely to take the veteran’s minimum?

    This is going to be a very interesting off season.

  99. T-Mac rumors I can stand, but for our collective sake.. let’s not even mention AI as a possibility. Keep him away from us. Far, far away.

  100. 96) … and an almost fanatical devotion to the Lakers.

  101. @98. We don’t speculate much on personnel on the FB&G site due to the ground rules. But when we have a post regarding finances, it’s OK. I do believe that Wright could be a long-term answer for the triangle PG.

    He could have the length and quickness to guard the top-flight PGs well, but he’ll probably have to learn how to funnel them into help. I would imagine he’s mostly guarded SGs and SFs, but a guy with his size could present a unique problem to opposing offenses. He could switch with effectiveness on both pick and rolls and pick and pops. He could use his length and leaping ability to contest passes into the post. He could use both those attributes to tempt/force opposing PGs to be jump shooters.

    And on offense, he could use his length to pass the ball to our big men with effectiveness. OKC defended us well by fronting the post while the man guarding the ball played in-your-face defense, making lob passes difficult. Both Kobe and Fish were at a height disadvantage relative to the men guarding them, but it would be a lot easier for Wright to make that pass over Westbrook than it was for Fish, Farmar, and Brown.

    I think all of us here already believe Sasha can play some PG. His decision-making has really improved over the past season, and he’s deserving of more playing time. His shot appears to have returned, too. A PG rotation of Wright, Fish, Sasha, and Crittenton would be solid (and affordable).

  102. @100. There will be plenty of comfy chairs for our guys during this off-season :D

  103. I think we should quell the, “Dorell Wright is/isn’t a PG” talk until we actually see the inklings of a deal getting down. For now let’s leave it as Wright may be an imperfect option amongst a group of imperfect options.

    I like the thought of Javaris Crittendon coming back; he’s had a rough time since he left the Lakers. But he also got zero playing time at all the stops he’s been at, so I would temper our expectations as to his abilities. He seemed really well-liked in the Lakers locker room, and we can only hope that the problems he’s gone through will motivate him to work harder.

  104. Has anyone heard what the specifics were on that Sasha issue that got him in the doghouse during the regular season.

  105. Here’s a new one out of Kurt’s camp, our old friend Raja:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/06/kobe-lakers-want-raja-bell-in-free-agency.php

    What did we want again?

    - Can shoot from distance. Check.
    - Can play defense. Check.
    - Can bring ball up court. Check (somewhat).
    - (Bonus) Pass the Kobe-like test. Apparently check as well now.

    If he’s willing to take half the MLE or less, heck, I’ll be all for it. The only concern in his play is whether or now he can still chase around quick points with the aging knees.

  106. re: Sasha’s play..

    never underestimate the power of a contract year. his last good season for us was his last contract year. something tells me he’ll play well for us next season, backing up the PG/SG slots. it won’t necessarily mean he’s the long term answer though.

  107. Raja Bell…very intriguing indeed. That’s some out of the box thinking if he’s going to be the Ron Harper/Brian Shaw big point guard. I can’t say that Bell has that elite level perimeter defense or that his 3 point shooting remains deadly (hit like 200+ in 2006), but if the last year off helped preserve his body (aka Grant Hill), AND he accepts a veteran’s minimum or a small part of the MLE, then it may be worth it. He’s a heady player who knows his limitations, and happens to meet one of our biggest weaknesses (3 point shooting).

    I suppose the FO knows: 1) ShanWow is opting out; 2) that it won’t spend the full MLE on a player like Mike Miller; and 3) wants to maintain that physical brand of defense that Fisher brings, albeit in a 6’5″ frame.

    We shall see. I’d still try to find some younger legs to replace Farmar and ShanWow though (give Critt a chance!).

  108. I personally believe that the more changes we have with our role players, the better the result will be next year.

    This year was a worry, but next year will be even worse! This team has made it to the NBA finals 3 times in a row and has won 2 in a row. Let that sink in for a second. That is an insane amount of winning. Forget the fact that it should have been a 3-peet were it not for Ariza/Bynum injuries in 08. That is a lot of winning, and this type of winning creates problems with role players.

    They stop working hard for peanuts and begin to think that they are something more than role players. They begin to think that they are stars and want, money, playing time, hotter women, acknowledgement from the president of Russia, etc.

    We really need to keep this team fresh as Phil Jackson did with the Bulls and later even with the first 3 peet Lakers. Out with the old (Farmar, DJ, Powell, Brown, Luke, Sasha) and in with new players. I would not give Fisher a penny over the absolute minimum. Let’s face it, this guy would get absolutely no offers for more than $5 per year (yes, that’s $5 bucks, as in 5.00, or half of $10, or 5 single 1 dollar bills) from any other team in the league.

    The Lakers organization cannot be emotional regarding Fish. He is a horrible PG who made some big shots this year. But let’s be honest, if we had say Mo Williams instead of Derek Fisher, the Celtics would have been swept. And i actually think that this team plays better with Farmar/Brown/Vujacic than Fisher at the PG spot. And let’s be clear, Fish had one “huge” game in game 3 where he hit 5 shots in the 4th quarter while only missing 2. Besides that game, it was his 3 in game 7. And that’s basically it for contributions from Fisher in this years playoffs. Fish’s “huge” improvement from the regular season was his PER moving from 9 something to 10 something. And let’s not forget how much more effective this team was in game 6 when Fish barely played at all due to foul trouble.

    But i digress. Back to the topic at hand. Farmar is gone, Brown is probably gone. Sasha is an expiring contract. Now, i would make Sasha the starting PG. Because he has the skills to be a perfect one for this team. However, Phil always has other ideas. If Sasha is not getting major minutes, we may trade him for a better player at the deadline while not effecting our luxury tax situation. Regarding Luke’s contract. Just get rid of it somehow. Maybe we could get a better player that some team wants to get rid of? I think Luke has a 3 year contract left. Find a team that is losing and wants to cut salary in the long term, with a player under a 4 year contract that would be of major service to us, and trade him for Luke. Because as of now, Luke is completely a waste of space.

    PGs i would love? Mo Williams would be perfect for this team, in my opinion. (edited for trade speculation.) Also, Raymond Felton is an incredible player. Very underrated. Dorrell Wright is a great cheap option. I would stream him on my fantasy team all year last year and he can put up some numbers. There are a lot of options to this team.

  109. Benjamin-

    Awesome post. You hit all the points that I have been trying to make about Bynum/Bosh.

    I like the idea of Dorell Wright.
    Raja Bell is an intriguing idea as well.
    T-Mac I am not so sure about…he would have to take a huge pay cut and come off the bench. If he would do that then sure bring him in.
    I love AI, but I don’t think he would be the best fit here.

  110. Bell is a tough competitor and elevates his game in the playoffs. I don’t see him as a good enough ball-handler to bring the ball up court though. Plus he’s aging and much of his quickness and agility is well on its way out. Not to mention he was so injured last year he didn’t really play. I would take him for a vet’s minimum as a security blanket on the wing, but Sasha’s contract year should provide us with plenty of backup 2 play.

  111. @108,

    Thanks! I try to think a bit about things. We (well, the Lakers) have a lot of important decisions to make.

    As for Raja, that would be interesting. He is definitely a solid 3 point shooter. He’s tough. He also was a premiere defender at one point. I think he’s also a bit crazy which doesn’t both me one bit.

    Bringing back the Critter would also be cool. I liked his improvement with us and his attitude (the locker room gunfight notwithstanding, but Gil is a bad influence, fun as he is). I’d gladly replace Farmar with him for a cheaper price. Farmar was like too ambitious, Crit will roll with the system, play within his role.

    Ideally…

    I’d pick up Fish for the minimum, mostly put him in storage until the playoffs, but give him enough to keep rhythm and so everyone is still used to playing with him. Cold storage just like Robert Horry.

    We let Farmar go. He gave us great minutes, but he’s not a great fit, too much ego and ambition. We pick up Crit to replace him, assuming he looks up to the task in our Summer League extended interview.

    We pick up a solid pseudo-starter in Ridnour or Blake. Or, we pick up Wright to flesh out our rotation at the point and the 3, giving us another shooter when we need O. If Wright is near as good as the hype he ought to be our first choice.

    I’d like to eventually trade Sasha because his contract costs us too much. Same with Luke. Could be nearly impossible for the latter. For the former there is salary cap relief.

    If Shannon stays, cool. If not, we use our 1/2 depth to replace his minutes.

    I think then we’re doing fine.

  112. Without getting into all the contract ins and outs, I would love to see Steve Blake, Craig Smith or Travis Outlaw join the Lakes. I was impressed with them during their stint in Clipper prison..May come cheaper just for a chance to play on a winner..

  113. I don’t think Shannon should opt out. If he does and a team is willing to offer him 4 mill or so the lakers will just wish him luck. Does shannon really believe he’s worth more then his contract. I dont think so. I like Shannon, but im just not that big on him. He’s just not that much of a cerebral play, although he has out of this world athleticism. I believe shannon is improving but still has a ways to go. If shannon can get more money now more power to him. But if he want to keep gettin better and learn from the best then there’s no better place then la. And the busses are pretty loyal to their players. I like the idea of raja bell. The lakers bench missed everything that raja can bring 3pt shooting, defense and raja is a very smart player.

    If the lakers can get raja for 3 or million I say do it. I like farmar, but he’s gone. The lakers will resign Powell, not so sure about Congo ca$h.

    If the lakers can’t get a defensive minded guard that can knock down 3′s, IN THEORY, Iverson would work. We all know that won’t happen so on to McGrady. He would fit, money isn’t a big issue seeing that he made about 40 million over the past 2 seasons for nothing. He would be a good back up come sf and 2 guard.

    In short, if the lakers can grab a good back up pg, mcgrady or raja would be good pick ups

  114. #108 Wins for the comment of the day. Fisher’s now worth a foot long sandwich from Subway and Mo Williams (aka mister disappearing act in the playoffs) is the perfect PG for *this* team.

  115. Fisher, won’t ask for anything unreasonable (he is a team player which is why we love the guy here) but we should NEVER low ball the guy because his contributions were significant this year whether even his biggest haters want to admit it or not.

    Let’s all just be honest about one thing though, the answer for a long term PG of the future will not be solved this year sadly. It’s a pretty low quality draft in terms of PG’s as well as the available free agents out there at that position. So with that being said the Lakers should not invest in more than a player is worth just because we need someone at a position. Raymond Felton is probably the best PG talent wise available but there would be better players for the triangle and at a cheaper price.

    Dorrell Wright is not a PG, he does not have the ball handling ability to be a full time player at that position, might as well use Sasha because it’s essentially doing the same thing (using someone who plays another position to fill that spot).

    So basically we all know who will be back and who wont with the except of Shannon and Powell.
    With pick 43 in the draft you’re kind of forced to take the best available talent, you can’t be picky no matter what position it is. We just have to hope guys like Vasquez from Maryland or Willie Warren or Sheron Collins are available at that spot. If they aren’t take the best available big man. Somebody earlier mentioned Dexter Pittman, and the guy is a beast if someone gets him into shape he could be a serious presence down low, in limited minutes last year (because of his conditioning) he dominated last year, but we may even be able to get a guy like Lance Stephenson at that spot in the draft and he is a real talent.

    I cant stress enough a guy like Da’sean Butler, the guy is a flat out star. If he doesn’t hurt his knee in that Duke game in the Final Four I honestly say he would be a lottery pick but the reason he isn’t is because he can’t workout for teams so they wont waste that pick on him. He has the chance to be a special guy at the SF position who can really spread the floor kind of like Trevor Ariza did for us. The great thing is we could use pick 58 on him and basically have him rehab and sit on the bench as one of the fillers for the roster spot until he is fully healthy and ready to play. When Artest is starting to decline he would be ready to step up and be the guy at the spot. PLUS if everyone remembers Kenyon Martin tore his knee to heck his senior year and still got drafted (both played for Bob Huggins) and look what a fine player he turned out to be.

    If these TMAC rumors are true he would be a great scoring threat off the bench with Lamar, however he would have to be willing to come at the right price. Due to the salary constraints the Lakers have it makes no sense to sign TMAC to the full MLE if we have little money left to fill out the roster and bring in a PG free agent. Mike Miller may be a better option at a cheaper price at that position.

    Darius or Kurt, what is going on with the Lakers pick from Oklahoma State last year? Does he have a chance to make the roster should a guy like DJ leave?

  116. Oh yeah also Jordan Crawford, if he is available at 43 take the kid. He can flat out play, and so far I’ve read the biggest knock on him from scouts is that is doesn’t draw fouls on offense. Well if that’s the biggest knock then he’s worth the pick alone because he can score in anyway possible and he is athletic enough to be a potential lockdown defender if he applied himself.

    I also read a report saying the Lakers like Brian Zoubek from Duke, goodness can we please say NO to this guy. He is basically a less talented Shelden Williams and that speaks volumes, Luke Harangody would be a much better pick. He may be undersized, but just like Glen Davis he makes up for it with muscle and he is actually a better scorer than Big Baby is.

  117. Here’s my take:
    Split the MLE between Dorell Wright and Drew Gooden…and re-sign Fish for about $3m next season. Let Ammo, Powell, Farmar, and Shannon go. If Dexter Pittman is still around at #43, then let DJ go. If not, re-sign Congo Cash. Look for SF depth at #58. Also, offer J-Critt a contract after his solid summer league performance that is soon to happen.

    Laker depth chart becomes:
    Centers: Bynum; Pittman or Mbenga
    Power Forwards: Gasol, Odom, Gooden
    Small Forwards: Artest, Walton, #58
    Shooting Guards: Kobe, Sasha
    Point Guards: Fish, Wright, Crittenton

    The versatility of this roster would be amazing. Kobe can play both SG and SF. Sasha can play SG and PG. Wright can play SF, SG, and PG. Artest can play both SF and PF. Odom can play PF, SF, and even C. Gasol can play both PF and C. If Wright, Kobe, and Artest are all on the court at the same time as our three perimeter defenders, I can just see Jeff Van Gundy going into a five-minute rant about how this lineup is unfair to the rest of the league.

  118. While comment 10 went to the extreme, he had some good points that I agree with. I think only one other team would be willing to sign Fisher and that’s the Utah Jazz. I don’t think up and coming teams will be willing to to bring fisher in knowing they aren’t going deep in the playoffs. Fisher is essentially in the only situation that he can be in, yet it’s the most perfect situaton that he could be in even if other teams wanted him. I just hope Fisher doesn’t go diva, which has never been his character, and ask for more then 2.5 (no that’s not 2 dollars and 50 cents).

    Another good point is Sasha. He really has the tools to be a good contributor at the point position for the Lakers. I really hope that Phil puts him put there and the beginning to see what he can do. Sasha works hard, really hard, he knows the system, he’s a pesky defender that can bother both guard defenders an teams have to respect his shot. I think all the injuries and him trying to do too much really messed him up the past 3 seasons. In stead of spotting him up the lakers continuously team him off of screens and he was rushing his shot and often shooting off balance fading sideways. Doing less may be the lead to Sasha’s success. I have a feeling in a contract year, Sasha may play really well for the lakers. Let’s not forget Sasha can play he didn’t get the nickname for nothing.

  119. @115, 116. Last season’s 2nd round pick Chinemelu Elonu played for Spain’s #2 league this past season, and his club did well enough to get moved up to the ACB, Spain’s top pro league. If I recall correctly, he averaged about 6 pts and 6 rebs per game in about 17 or 18 mins per game. He’s not as good as Dexter Pittman, who might be available at #43 on Thursday.

    The latest projections on Jordan Crawford have him going between 24th and 30th. I don’t think he’ll be available by the time the Lakers pick.

    I like the idea of Da’Sean Butler at #58, but I’m seeing him in the mid-40s in some mocks.

  120. 119, Yeah I’ve seen Butler gone before 58 in some mocks and still there in some as well as not even drafted in others.

    Same goes for Crawford being available at 43, in some mocks hes there and some he isn’t.

    That’s part of the fun of the draft to me, there is really no best plan of what’s going to happen. I’m still so happy about the Lakers winning but I have always been excited about the possibilities of the draft I almost feel spoiled that I’m looking ahead already and not enjoying the moment.

  121. BTW, there’s an article about mutual interest with Raja Bell:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-belllakers062210

    And I heard a summary of DJ’s interview in which he said there was mutual interest in DJ returning.

  122. I didn’t watch many Heat games this year, but as far I can tell from looking at stats on 82games.com, Dorell Wright didn’t play any pg last year; or at least not pg in the any of the Heat’s 20 top 5-man units. He’s a decent player player and he might be capable of some minutes at pg in the triangle, but that’s really just speculation. If we talk about him as a possible starting point guard we might as well be talking about Lamar or Kobe starting there. I just don’t see it happening.

  123. 122. I’ve read some Miami articles where Spoelstra put him in the game to shut down opposing PGs (Arenas, etc.) who were giving the Heat problems. Basically, we just need our triangle PG to be able to take the ball upcourt without dribbling the ball off his foot and then make the initial post entry pass. If Wright can do that as well as Ron Harper did, our PG position could be in pretty good shape if we sign him.

  124. Hmm…just been watching YouTube videos of the guy. In one, he brings the ball up the court, does a couple shake and bake moves, makes a 5-foot bank shot and gets the and-one. In another, Iverson isos on him and tries to take him off the dribble. He stays with Iverson, who tries a pull-up jumper that Wright blocks and then rebounds himself. And a few of these videos have him penetrating, then making a behind the back pass to an open man for a layup. Mitch, are you watching?

  125. thisisweaksauce June 23, 2010 at 2:24 am

    If (most likely “when”) Farmar leaves, who will be our dribble penetrators (Lamar, Kobe, FA)? If I remember correctly, dribble penetrators is something of a rare and valuable commodity on this team, according to Zephid. I loved how Farmar could drive to the basket. I know it’s not a big priority, as it’s not really something the Triangle offense emphasizes.

  126. 108, I think I said this to Aaron once before, but it’s obvious that our players are just statistical pieces of meat to you. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it blinds you to the social and human nature of basketball. Any team sport is in fact a social event; players are constantly interacting with one another and not necessarily through words. And like any social event, players can have unrest or be upset or secretly want more, like the role players you describe. But, a leader like Fisher quells all of that. He is the voice that sways all of our guys, including Kobe. Read the exit interviews; they’re all full of guys saying that Fisher is the leader of this team. See Kobe’s post-championship interviews; they’re full of comments saying Fisher is the only guy he listens to.

    It’s easy to say that can be ignored because these guys aren’t people, they’re just basketball playing machines. But they’re not, and Fisher’s importance transcends his on-court production.

    115, if we can get Butler at the #58 pick, I’d say why not, because the talent level at that point is so low that you just go with the player with the biggest upside. That being said, I once thought Acie Law was going to be the next big thing in the NBA after he hit like 4 game-winning shots at Texas A&M. The guy seemingly had all the skills; could shoot, pass, run the point, hit off the dribble, hit in the mid-range. But his career flopped because he wasn’t athletic enough to play defense and he just couldn’t get his shot off against more athletic defenders. The same thing could very well be true about Butler, but then again the same thing was said about Chris Douglas-Roberts, and he turned out pretty good.

    I don’t think we’re going to bring in a big for the minimum unless it’s a player with less experience than DJ Mbenga or Josh Powell. That player is going to see maybe 4 minutes per game during the regular season, and then none at all during the playoffs. And both of the guys above have more experience in the triangle and more familiarity to the organization.

    Anyone who thinks Allen Iverson is still good is stuck in 1999. We want a solution to PG that goes for the next 2-3 seasons, not for the next month before his buyout.

  127. Agreed on Iverson the guy has had all the chances in the world, no reason to give him a chance to screw up our team chemistry on waste money on a buyout when he gets unhappy with his playing time or scoring figures. He should just retire.

    As for the reports that the Lakers have interest in Raja Bell, I know he was once a great shooter and defender for the Suns but this is 2010, who has seen the guy play in the past 2 years? He’s 34 years old and may be on the decline, the bench really needs an injection of youth that can be consistent and give some great minutes. If someone can convince me he has a few years left in him then great but if not then he’s only worth a One year contract at a small price.

  128. re: Mancrush on Dorell Wright, the dude earned $2.8mil last year, doubt he’d be taking a part of the MLE ($2.5 to $3 mil) especially since he’s a young player trying to get his first decent contract. If he settles for the split MLE, fine with me. Wonder if he’s a knucklehead given his DUI and other transgressions. Is he ready to compete on a repeat championship team?

    Can you believe Chris Douglas Roberts was pawned off for a future 2nd round pick? I know we aren’t as active on the trade front, but hope we had at the very least, made a phone call about this with NJ.

  129. Zephid, regarding Critt, you may want to go back and check some game logs. He got some solid minutes in Washington once he got traded. He averaged 20 minutes and started a few games. Overall, it looked like he was solid not spectacular. If he could do that here, that would be some good role player minutes he could absorb.

  130. anyone else miss Toney Douglas (Lakers’ first round pick last year)? maybe it’s a by-product of D’Antoni’s offense, but he looks like he’s going to be a solid backup PG in this league. good defender too.

    i forget, can someone remind me what we got in return for him?

  131. 131. Cold hard cash, which went towards re-signing Artest and Odom. Can’t say I disagree with the FO’s decision to parlay Douglas into a championship.

    I’d say if we get Blake, Bell, and Critt, that’d be a great offseason to bolster our perimeter players.

  132. I have been enjoying all of the interesting possibilities being presented–but they are premature. At the very least, we need to know whether or not Phil is coming back, management decisions about the 5 free agents, and ShanWOWs decision.

    Based on this early speculation, it appears that this will be quite a summer.

  133. So there’s rumors of the Laker’s interest in Raja Bell on ESPN.

    Its interesting in one regard, we could bring in a career 41% 3pt shooter, something we really needed this year. Also, some veteran defense coming off the bench would help make bench play a little less of an unknown from game to game.

    On the other hand, we would be using our $$ on Raja instead of a backup PG. This makes me think that Mitch sees Sasha as a solution for PG. Really interesting.

  134. Since the Lakers have the opportunity to remake seemingly remake their bench, I have been thinking of what its composition would be if I had all the power. As it currently stands the bench consists of

    PG: Jordan Farmar
    SG:Shannon Brown/Sasha Vujacic
    SF: Luke Walton/Adam Morrison
    PF:Lamar Odom/Josh Powell
    C: D.J. Mbenga

    Let’s assume that Shannon does not opt out and the Lakers lose the rest of their free agents (not likely, but a scenario).

    Assuming that the MLE is worth about $5.5 million, I like the idea of splitting it with a larger portion going towards a PG and the smaller portion towards a veteran SF/PF.

  135. oh, and regarding the frontcourt….

    Mbenga’s probably gone… we need a backup C. Somebody on the Dan Patrick show today suggested… wait for it….. Shaq

    Also, re: Bynum/Bosh. Its a bad idea to have a PF play full time at the C position, which is what would happen to Pau. Why? Look at what happened to Tim Duncan when he became the full time C for the Spurs.

  136. This is not the time for the Buss family to go cheap.The Lakers have a real chance to to a few things in the next 2 years that we may never see again.
    1. Kobe wins rings 6/7 to pass MJ and the Cap.
    2. Phils 1st 4 peat (he is coming back for sure this year)
    3. Pass the C’s for most titles.
    Go for it now because we may never see this chance again.

  137. @136

    That’s one curve of a much larger pretzel. And analogies to Duncan break down when you realize just how much older he is than Pau or Bosh.

  138. I also am in the “Sasha is in a contract year” camp and expect 2008 Sasha to reemerge. I was pleased with his decisionmaking and the way he played after he got out of the doghouse late this year. I also hope that this year’s title and the 2 free throws he hit against the Celts will remove some of the funk he went into since those 2008 Finals.

    Re: Dorrell Wright, I like the idea of a 6’9 kid with a functional J, some defensive flexibility, and youth/athleticism bolstering the bench.

    The fact that he doesn’t have much handles isn’t that big of a factor in the triangle (as stated earlier). Also, if he plays most of his minutes with Lamar, Lamar seems to bring the ball up most of the time when he’s in the game.

    I’d be happy with something like this:

    Laker depth chart:
    Centers: Bynum; (Gasol), Mbenga
    Power Forwards: Gasol, Odom, Powell, #43 or 58
    Small Forwards: Artest, (Wright) Walton
    Shooting Guards: Kobe, (Sasha), Brown(Wright)
    Point Guards: Fish, Sasha, (Wright) Crittenton

  139. The Lakers have an opportunity to completely remake their bench this off-season. Our top 5 is etched in stone, barring any massive trades.

    I am going to stay away from making proclamation on who I want as the PG. For the starting PG, I honestly think that Derek Fisher is still the best PG for this team. He organizes the offense very well and does great work defensively in the overall scheme. He is a porous one-on-one defender and his shooting definitely can come and go, but he fits this team better than most PGs out there.

    However, with Farmar gone someone will need to be brought in and also help bring Fish’s minutes down to the 25 minutes or less mark during the regular season.

    Assuming that the Lakers’ free agents sans Fish & Powell are gone and Shannon does not opt out, the bench will look like this:

    PG: Sasha Vujacic
    SG: Shannon Brown
    SF: Luke Walton
    PF: Lamar Odom/Josh Powell
    C:

    For the backup positions, I want a Shane Battier/Grant Hill-type SF and a high-energy, hard-working C.

    For a SF, Dorrell Wright is a name that has been bandied about, but I do like Joey Graham. He is a strong player, who gives you good minutes and is a decent shooter. If the Lakers want to spend the money, JJ Reddick would be a nice addition.

    Of the centers available, I personally like Earl Barron & Anthony Tolliver as backup centers.

    Both are hard-working guys and won’t come as very costly. Most likely would be picked up for the veteran’s minimum. Tolliver is a D-League call-up for the Warriors who played well against the Lakers during the regular season. Earl Barron is a guy I have been watching in summer league since Bynum was drafted. He works hard and rebounds well.

    Just a few names to toss out there for the PG debate: Will Bynum +Sergio Rodriguez

  140. 140, I like Bynum and Rodriquez as well for PG both young energetic players with lots of talent, although Sergio is a restricted free agent. I’d say the Knicks match any offer just so they have a roster to flesh out in case someone like Lebron comes there.

    One name nobody has thrown around is John Salmons. He struggled being the go to scorer in Chicago but for the Bucks he was dynamite when he became a role player. He can still score like crazy and he would be a very welcomed scoring threat off the bench. Probably is a more realistic option than TMAC.

    Also Shannon’s agent says he will more than likely opt out so we may as well consider him gone too. I may be one of the few but I liked the kid he hit some big shots and had some nice games for us during the year, especially when Kobe went out with an injury. Shannon single handedly carried the Lakers to a win against the Magic at home during the regular season.

    Truthfully if we are adding a PG, we need a somewhat youthful one. Guys like Steve Blake and Ridnour are 30 and not getting any younger. It doesn’t make much sense to add someone on their way out, we need youth to build for the future on that bench especially so Fisher can mentor them.

  141. We’ll have a new post up soon. Sorry for the delay.

  142. no problem Darius. We are still basking in the afterglow of the championship.

    If we get Bell, who’d of thought that Kobe would be surrounded by guys who were once Kobe “stoppers” (Bell and Artest). That’s one tough backcourt though if we get Bell.

  143. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn4HISB3vk0

    Here is my pick for the PG of the future, and he will be available at #43. Jerome Randle from Cal. His only knock is his lack of size, but really the Lakers don’t need a guy with size they just need someone quick enough to keep up with the quicker PGs like Aaron Brooks. He would be a monster in transition with Kobe, and his jumper is a thing of beauty. Really he has upside all around and with the shot blocking and length the Lakers have his lack of size wouldn’t be that big of an issue.

  144. Jeff has a new post up. More of a celebration of Phil rather than focussing on today’s word of which way he’s leaning.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/06/23/a-course-in-championships-from-phil-jackson/

  145. 141. If John Salmons opts out of his contract it’s because he believes he can get a deal that’s better than the $5.8 he’s set to make.

  146. 144- I really like Randle too, he reminds a lot of Brooks in fact. A small, quick guy that can also really shoot. I know Phil prefers big point guards for the triangle, but the Lakers should still consider him at pick 43. He’ll struggle defensively against bigger point guards like Williams, Billups, etc. but there’s not a lot of those types in the league and he wouldn’t play much against them anyways.

  147. 146, but if he wants to win a title then he would need to take a paycut. Plus he’s 30 realistically if he wants to win the time is now for him.

  148. Hypothetically speaking, if Phil doesn’t return that could mean significant extra spending on players, right? We save AT LEAST 6 million a year as no other coach makes 12M (next highest is 6) so we could afford 3M more on players assuming a set budget.

    Budget may go down without Phil due to assumed risk of less playoff revenue.

    I know. I know. I don’t want to think about it either.