On The Eve Of Free Agency

Darius Soriano —  June 30, 2010

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In a week of waiting for Lakers fans, today is the day the entire league waits.  Today is the prelude to the free agent frenzy that teams have waited years for.  Stories about where Lebron, Wade, and Bosh would end up this Summer started circulating the day after they signed their short term deals back in the summer of 2006.  And now, big names like Dirk, Pierce, Amar’e, Boozer, and Joe Johnson have joined the party and are also high priority players that teams will look to add.  So when the clock strikes midnight on the east coast, the phone calls will begin and some of the league’s biggest stars will be courted and recruited and asked to changed teams (or stay with their current ones) to start their careers fresh with the goal of winning (and making a boatload of cash) at the front of everyone’s minds.

But the Lakers have their free agency questions as well.  They may not be looking at grabbing the big name to bolster their championship hopes – the rest of the league is trying to catch the Lakers in this regard – but they do have issues to work out in terms of their head coach, players to make decisions on, and a budget to look at when deciding what they plan to do in this summer of change.  So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Lakers situation on the eve of free agency.

What to do with your own free agents?
Here’s a quick review: The Lakers have six free agents. Farmar and Morrison are restricted free agents that the Lakers can either offer contract tenders or renounce their rights and turn into unrestricted free agents. Fisher, Powell, Mbenga, and Shannon will be unrestricted free agents that will be free to sign with whatever team offers them a contract once the clock strikes 12 tonight (9 on the west coast).

Now that we’re up to speed on the Lakers FA situation, the question is who stays and who goes. The only player that the front office has openly said they’d like to have back is Fisher. So, we can only assume that the Lakers will look to make a deal with Fish early in the process to make him a Laker for at least another year.

As for the other players, I would not be surprised to see them all on different teams next year. While Farmar and Brown have shown flashes and were solid contributors to the the Lakers in their two championship runs, they’re both players that are looking for more money and (for Farmar at least) bigger roles on whatever team they play for. I still think there’s a chance that Shannon comes back, but a lot of that will be determined by what offers he receives from other teams and what the Lakers are comfortable paying him beyond what he was slated to make next season had he not opted out. Sad to say, I expect both Mbenga and Powell to be on different teams next year. I liked both of these players for their hard working styles and positive attitudes, but both players are likely looking to provide more of a contribution than “practice player” and hope to see more playing time than they have in their tenure with the Lakers. Plus, money may be a factor as the Lakers drafted Derrick Carracter who, if he makes the team, could fill the same role that Powell or Mbenga provided the Lakers this past season.

So, by my calculations, the Lakers are likely to lose at least 5 of their free agents with the possibility that Brown and one of Powell/Mbenga (with Powell being the frontrunner) also returning. That means the Lakers have some holes to fill that were not addressed in the draft.

What free agents do the Lakers target?
If you haven’t done so already, you need to go read the posts that the K-Bros put together over at Land O’ Lakers on the free agent guards and front court players that the Lakers could be looking at as additions to the team. They’ve done their homework on this and have used solid criteria on paring down their list to reasonable and realistic options.

In my opinion, the Lakers will likely be looking to add at least one backcourt player and surely one frontcourt player in free agency. The key to these players will be their versatility and how many roles they can fill for a team that likes to has specific needs but still does have a lot of talent returning. For example, I think Steve Blake is a very good option for the Lakers as he can come in right away and play PG in relief or in place of Fisher (moving Fish to a back up role) and soak up 20-25 minutes a night of work at the point. I also think Raja Bell is a very good option for the Lakers as he’s a player that defends well, shoots the three at good clip, and can play SG and SF for sure, and may even be able to play some PG in the Triangle. Both Bell and Blake are practical players that make a lot of sense based off cost – neither should demand more than a portion of the mid-level exception, and Bell may even be a minimum salary player – and from the standpoint of their status as veteran, no nonsense players that are proven to be guys that only care about winning and playing their role the best way that they can. As for front court players, the names Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith are ones that I think would fit quite well with this particular group of Lakers. They too are hard working players that have proven their worth in this league and could contribute in part time roles.

However, there are sexier names out there – namely, Tracy McGrady and Mike Miller. Both of their names have been linked to the Lakers over the past few weeks as both have said that they’d like to join a “winner” and are willing to take pay cuts to do so. Personally, I like Miller much more than McGrady. Miller possesses an all-around game, is a great shooter, and has a pedigree as a performer that could really help the Lakers on the wing and in the back court. In certain situations, I could even see him as a primary ball handler on offense (a de facto PG) while defending wings and having another player (Sasha?) defend the opposing teams’ point man. But, realistically this is a pipe dream. Miller is still a serviceable player that could help a lot of teams at both SG and SF. He’s a starting caliber player that would maybe see 20 minutes a night from the Lakers. There’s a dollar value on those types of players and, for a tax paying team like the Lakers, it’s less than the mid-level that Miller could demand from several other teams. As for T-Mac, I’d be okay if he signed for the minimum, but would not want the Lakers to pay any more than that. He’s injury prone and would be making a big adjustment from being the player with the ball in his hands a great deal to the player that spots up and slashes from the weakside. How well he’d fit in that role is a mystery, but for a cheap price, I’d be willing to find out.

So much still depends on Phil’s decision.
Despite everything that’s been said in the above paragraphs, the biggest free agent of them all is Phil Jackson. The Lakers are a different team without him at the helm and if he doesn’t return it’s a step backwards for the Lakers franchise. This entire roster is built for the Triangle and has been groomed to play in that system. So, while it’s nice to discuss if Blake, Bell, T-Mac, or Miller are the next Lakers, the bigger question is if Phil will remain one. We should know the answer to that question on Friday, but this really is the biggest decision of them all. Here’s hoping that Phil gives it one last run and that he can come to an agreement with Dr. Buss to coach the Lakers at least one more year and try to lead this team to a third straight championship.

Darius Soriano

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67 responses to On The Eve Of Free Agency

  1. Phil is definitely the key. It seems like this post could have almost started with the last paragraph, then gone into a “with Phil or Shaw” set of options, then a “with non-triangle coach” set of options.

    Also, Bell has stated that his first choice is to go home (where he’s from and his family lives) to Miami. We are hoping to land free agents with the “ring-chasing” discount, but it sounds like the Heat may trump that with the “I get to sleep in my own bed” discount.

  2. I totally agree with you Darius. It’s all about Phil. Can he give us one more shot at the ultimate prize? I have to think so, but you just never know.

    Here’s to hoping…

  3. Unsexiest sweetest fit – the intelligent, vet Joe Smith.

    Per K Bros article – I would pay Matt Barnes to stay away…can’t stand the guy personally.

    I’d say 50% of their guards/forwards were a reach at best, but good article to put a few things in perspective.

  4. i think our 11th and 12th men should be fabricio oberto and walton. our 9th and 10th men will be caracter and ebanks. our 7th and 8th men are iverson and sasha. our 6th man is lamar. fish to start, iverson to finish.

    10 man rotation. no need to use the mid-level before the season begins. wait for a good vet to be waived, and select the appropriate one to fill a need at a pro-rated price.

  5. lakers top priority: phil, steve blake and kurt thomas

    then…
    mike miller, raja bell, or t-mac…

  6. Darius, I’m surprised you are missing Darko Milicic, he’s an Unrestricted Free Agent and he’s a good quality backup center behind Bynum, plus he’s way way way more cheaper than any of them. He’s a European so he can easily adapt himself to the TO. He’s a poor version of Pau Gasol, which is acceptable because he’s not yet in his 30s. Just watch his game and you’ll see why I said so.
    What are your thoughts?

  7. I’ll take a Pig Mac to go along with that Fish!

  8. Here is hoping we get Craig Smith!

    This guy has a load of talent. He is one of those too short big men like big baby, or Jason MAxiell, or the rookie on the Spurs last year, etc.

    He is a hard working banger with a very good touch around the hoop. Incredibly efficient shooting a ridiculous 57% FG%, not just this last year, but basically for all 4 years he has been in the NBA.

    His TS% has been around 60%, again, very consistant for the last 3 years all within a percent of one another.

    He is just coming into his prime and if we can get him for a cheap price, he is well worth it. He doesn’t play as much as he should. Looking at his per-36 minute numbers, he pulls down 8-9 boards, 2.5 assists, 1 stl, 17 points! Again, similar over the last 3 years. Last year his per 36 minute numbers showed 18 points per game!

    This guy is VERY productive and VERY efficient. You can’t really compare with with over the hill Kurt. Craig is the best name i’ve heard this offseason. Let’s hope we can nab him!

  9. No mention of Dorrell Wright? I’m waiting for the outrage from The Dude and at minute.

    Preference:
    Phil Jackson, Blake, Miller (Mike not Brad), Thomas (Kurt not Tim), Bell (Raja not Charlie), Smith (Craig not the other zillion Smiths), Travis Outlaw, or Ryan Gnomes.

    T-mac is about 3496 on the list just behind Candice Parker.

  10. Andres Garcia June 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Would love Steve Blake. He’s always killed the Lakers, especially on the short corner three (the shot that is seemingly always open for our role players).

    Intrigued by TMac, since it is apparent that we need someone to create shots on the second unit. Even a diminished TMac (coming off the bench) could probably accomplish this against other bench players.

    Excited about our 2nd rounders (especially Ariza-esque Ebanks) and hope they stick.

  11. “I’m coming back,” Rivers said in a text message to The Boston Globe. “I want another crack at it with this group.”

    “This group?” Really Doc? I think it will be far from the group he is expecting. I’m suprised though, really thought he would step away for a while.

  12. Last post as I leave the office ; )

    A look at the end of the (regular)season Hollinger Power Rankings…
    LA-10 BOS-12

    Top 12 (in order)
    ORL, SA, PHX, UT, CLE, ATL, POR, DEN, OKC, LA, MIA, BOS

  13. #9. Ha. I completely forgot Dorrell Wright. I do think he’s a potential get and I agree with those that have mentioned him in the past. I do think he’s one of those guys that will be around for a while though. I don’t think he’s in that first group of role players that teams will look at and that he’ll still be around on July 8th as teams start to settle in and see who else is around after some of the bigger/more recognizable names sign first.

  14. just read the grizzlies didn’t give ronnie brewer(whom they traded a #1 pick for) a qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

  15. wow. richard jefferson pulled a bonzi wells.

  16. Darius,
    I think you are looking at the Mike Miller of 2 years ago… he has really slowed the last couple years ( age and injuries) and is no longer the all around player he once was. He is now mostly a spot up shooter. However I do think there will be a couple teams that might offer him the MLE… but I don’t think that is a slam dunk either. Having said that… he would be a great guy to back up Kobe and RonRon. As far as TMac goes I think he is more likely to fill the de-facto PG role ala Ron Harper. Those two are eerily similar… an early 30′s former high flying star guard who’s career was slowed with a serious knee injury. I can see him starting at PG next year if he signs with the Lakers. In what would be another 90′s Bulls mimic along with Rodman/Artest… TMac was the guy always compared to Kobe as some argued he was better than Kobe once upon a time. When Harper was with the Cavs he was always compared to Jordan. Phil might love the idea of TMac starting a championship role player type career in LA as Harper did in Chicago.

  17. Via Twitter -

    @Chris_Broussard The Cavaliers are in contract negotiations with Byron Scott. He will be the club’s next head coach. 4 minutes ago

  18. Michael Vicktim June 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Kyle Lowry will be a Laker

  19. Brian Shaw withdrew his name from the pool of potentional Cavs coaches. Maybe he knows Phil is exiting stage left and the Lakers job is his? I don’t know. I do know Phil needs to make his decision, like, yesterday.

  20. 19. I agree that Shaw may have been told the lakers job is his, it seemed the cavs were more into him then Scott. Also is Richard Jefferson out of his mind?

  21. 20) Yes. Richard Jefferson is out of his mind. Did his agent talk him into opting out? Who knows, someone may overpay for his services.

  22. the cavs had said beforehand they wanted to sign a coach before july 1. so, i have two interpretations:

    1. shaw wanted to string out the hiring process until he knew whether or not lebron would be there.

    2. the cavs brought in shaw to get scott to lower his price.

    the “timing” excuse is just an attempt to save face.

  23. Chibi, Why can’t the timing excuse simply mean that the Cavs wanted an answer before July 1st, but Shaw couldn’t give the answer without knowing whether or not Phil is coming back?

    It would be reasonable for Shaw to decide that there is less risk in staying with the Lakers, even if it means as an assistant for a year two more than taking the job in Cleveland without knowing if LeBron will be there…

  24. My choices…..Steve Blake, Craig Thomas with a dark horse being Ronnie Brewer. I only bring up Brewer as a possibility because of his year ending due to a terrible hammy injury. That may diminish his value a bit, but I doubt it. He’s not a prototypical triangle player, but damn good defensively. The other two would be great and wouldn’t even have to move. Other options at backup C should Kurt Thomas not come include the two guys the W’s did not pick up options on in Tolliver and Hunter. They don’t scream glamor, but neither does DJ.

  25. WTF, did Jefferson actually opt out of his ridiculously large and insane contract? No one is this stupid. I think there are other things at work. I’m going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, and say that perhaps he had some sort of verbal agreement with the Spurs, that if they trade for him and it doesn’t work out, he would opt out of the last year. Or perhaps he took it upon himself and said, hey, this is just too unfair. My value is about 1/100 of what I’m getting. I can’t live with myself if i continue cheating people out of money. So i’ll do the noble thing and opt out.

    There simply is no other explanation for someone like Jefferson opting out of his massive contract.

  26. Warren Wee Lim June 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I have a completely different view on FA. This team has the opportunity to re-mold its image while contending. I believe if you want to survive as a winning team in this league you need to do that. The Lakers have done that with very minimal rebuild over the last few years and the Shaq deal just signified that.

    So I’m picking players and contracts that will be consciously considered by Kupchak and Buss, looking mainly at our cap situation for the next couple of years.

    You would be seeing alot of 2:1 deals to be made where the Lakers get 2 bench depth in lieu of 1, the main candidate being Sasha Vujacic.

    Lamar Odom might be traded. I think the Lakers kept him specifically to re-peat and now that they’ve done it, he will kill their payroll over the next few years if they don’t trade him.

    It would also be very interesting how the Lakers might try to swoop in on Michael Beasley here… baiting Odom to be Miami’s 3rd wheel for Bosh and Wade. It kills cap but Miami only does it after securing Wade and Bosh to ink.

  27. I am outraged. No mention of Dorell Wright? :O
    I’m in a very undude-like mood right now.

    Edit – I just saw comment #13. Nevermind :D

  28. My idea for next season’s lineup:

    C: Bynum, Tolliver @ 1/2 MLE to play C and PF
    PF: Gasol, Odom, Caracter
    SF: Artest, Walton, Ebanks
    SG: Kobe, Sasha
    PG: Fish @ $3.0-3.5m, Dorell Wright @ 1/2 MLE, J-Critt @ minimum

    Wright can also play SG and SF, and Sasha can also play PG. Caracter can probably play both SF and C. The departure of Ammo, Shannon, Farmar, DJ, and Powell combined with the signing of Wright, a free agent PF/C, J-Critt, Ebanks, and Caracter…plus the reduction of Fish’s salary by $1.5-2.0m, results in a reduction of approximately $5 million for those six roster spots. I don’t know how the other seven salaries change from last season to next, but I believe the overall payroll would be lower.

    Snoopy was the first guy to mention Dorell Wright about a year ago, but I think it was my idea to try him at the point in the triangle. Snoopy has mentioned that Wright is not known for having a high bball IQ, so he could be a work in progress. I guess I’m just in love with a perimeter defense featuring Kobe, Artest, and Wright. That’s a whole lot of long arms getting into passing lanes.

  29. Warren – I just don’t see any way Miami lands LBJ and Bosh along with Wade, and the idea of adding Odom to a payroll that features those three guys just isn’t feasible.

    Bosh wants max money and he’s not a max money player; the idea that the Lakers would deal Bynum for him cracks me up. The only upside for this Lakers team in that scenario is the injury history. But when healthy – pause for, “yeah, but when is that?” response – Bynum is a better fit for this Lakers team.

    A front line with Pau and Bosh and Odom wouldn’t be enough to bang with the bruisers in this league come crunch time.

    I’m sure it’s a leverage play, but the Times’ story that Fish next season wants closer to his recent $5 million salary was troubling. I don’t think he’s worth that to any team, and he’s worth more to the Lakers than he is to anyone else.

  30. Warren,

    I am interested to see what the Lakers do. Staying pat is not an option. Artest didn’t truly look like an upgrade until the playoffs came around. I think Mitch saw that all along. So now the key is to try to see the future again (easier said than done).

    The Lakers options would be a lot more flexible if they could count on some relative health from Bynum. But they can’t, and that affects everything. Trading Lamar for Beasley is giving up size. Size was the main factor in LA’s back to back titles. I am not sure if there is a good enough big out there who could be had to replace Odom.

  31. Why can’t we have had guys like Jefferson, who opt out for the sake of the organization?

    If I learn that it was because someone in SA somehow played mindgames with RJ, I’m putting him on my wishlist after PHX’s fountain of youth.

  32. Lakers should sign Blake, Bell, T-mac and Erik Dampier

  33. Hey Darius,

    So the whole collective bargaining thing, what is it exactly and how would that affect the Lakers and league as a whole?

  34. 32. Dampier has one year at $13 million remaining on his contract. His contract isn’t guaranteed, the cutoff date is right before the season starts. Dallas will try to use him in a sign and trade.

    T-Mac is washed up. No speed or explosion remaining. I doubt Blake will settle for 1/2 the MLE. Signing washed-up veteran guards to play in the triangle has never worked. The team signed Mitch Richmond, JR Rider, and Jim Jackson at the end of their careers. None of them ever became a rotation player in the triangle.

  35. http://www.48minutesofhell.com/2010/06/30/spurs-free-agency-a-short-appraisal-of-available-wings/

    Spurs blog, and their wishlist coincides with ours a bit :)

    Thought a bit more about the RJ thing, and now I’m not so sure if him opting out was a good thing for the Spurs. I mean, it’s stupid for RJ regardless, but for the Spurs, he was a large expiring contract that could have been traded for competent pieces.

  36. And the first FA signing is…T-Wolves sign their 2008 2nd round pick to 3 yrs/$13m total. Serbian center (not Darko) who kicked butt in Greece.

  37. @35. Noooooooooooooooo Spurs!!!!! You don’t want Wright! DUI DUI DUI !!! Bad citizen!

    :D

  38. Would love Steve Blake and Craig Smith. Move on down the hall, boys. Intrigued by TMac, who wouldn’t be..I agree, no Matt Barnes please.

  39. For the Dude’s peace of mind, I hope the Lakers sign Dorell Wright. :)

  40. Hey careful Lane, there’s a beverage here!

  41. Steve Blake is the only player I really want. I’ve always liked his game, and he’s always given us fits. I’d be fine with Dorell Wright as well.

    As for Craig Smith, aren’t we basically hoping Caracter turns out like that?

  42. grizzlies released ronnie brewer

    i wouldnt mind picking him up for cheap

  43. Brain Shaw explains why he withdrew his name from the Cavs coaching position

    http://cbs2.com/video/?id=138499@kcbs.dayport.com

  44. @42. The problem is that Brewer would miss the ocean if he tried to throw a basketball into it from a boat. He’s had several years in the league to work on his shot, and it still sucks. Ebanks is cheaper at the wing (450K-500K), and Wright’s defense would be similarly effective as Brewer’s, plus Wright’s a 39% 3-pt shooter and an 88% FT shooter.

  45. Kurt Thomas? Can’t we get at least a little younger, he’s 37…

  46. @44

    i agree that morrow would be a better fit for the lakers. i know brewer cant shoot well, but he would be more ready to contribute than ebanks.

    i think hes still a decent option for a backup sg/sf, not the best option but still decent

  47. For those who wonder where Mike Miller is–he’s eating lunch in Spain with a former teammate (July 1 in Spain):

    http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=eElIalVocWuRpSUMxWEU&pau-gasol-and-mike-miller-enjoy-lunch-in-spain=

  48. @45

    never thought he is that old. agree! why don’t we get young ones?

  49. @15,

    The difference is Bonzi played his heart out in a contract year. RJ forgot to do that playing much better after the contract was signed than near the end of it.

    The funny part was everyone knew Bonzi did that and he totally didn’t get paid.

  50. The Dude Abides July 1, 2010 at 2:20 am

    I believe Bonzi turned down a contract offer worth $35 million. Don’t remember if it was five years or seven, but he didn’t get anything close to that once the new season started.

  51. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2010 at 2:23 am

    The thing with Miami is, they wont get Bronze. I am at 80% that they are getting Wade n Bosh and with that arises the need 4 vets like Odom.

    Beasley isnt necessarily the best fit 4 us but Phil would do wonders 4 d kid.

    I’d still love 4 us to use Sasha + on a trade 4 Turiaf since Powell and Mbenga might be headed elsewhere. In here could be Morrow or Buike but the salaries restrict us if its the latter.

    MLE will be used on Randy Foye. I think he lost his spot in WAS when they got lucky with Wall.

  52. Warren Wee Lim July 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

    C: Bynum – Turiaf
    PF: Gasol – Beasley
    SF: Artest – Walton
    SG: Kobe – Morrow
    PG: Foye – Fish

    minimums are Ebanks and Crittenton

  53. Brewer is great, wrong position (he plays mostly 2, maybe defends some 3).

    RJ is, moving on…

    Miller seems like a solid triangle contributor and willing defender, but too expensive.

    Blake seems perfect. I could get suckered into using the entire MLE on him, but only for 4 years.

    Dorrell Wright is interesting, a risk, but I too LOVE the idea of an imposing 1/2/3 defense of Wright/Kobe/Artest.

    Bell is cool, potentially too old and banged up, but if he could handle 1 duties, could be pretty darn useful if his 3s and defense are good.

    Craig Smith is awesome at moments and uninspired, lazy and overweight at others. I’m not impressed with him based on what I’ve seen, except as good potential (which we already have in Odom and with Bynum’s health).

    I’m down to workout T-mac. If he takes the vet minimum, I’d take him with no workout at all. Let’s see if he really wants to get out of the first round otherwise. T-mac does distribute the ball very well, but that also means he may need the ball in his hand a lot for ego or to be effective (let’s hope not because it’d be fun for Kobe and T-mac to be on the court together).

    Kurt Thomas is VERY unsexy, but he seems to be around a 10/10 guy with like 20 minutes on every team he’s been on in the least 3 years, playing solid D. For the vet min we could definitely use him, but he could easily go down with injury due to age.

    I think Beasly is a poor fit for us. Undersized 4 that isn’t very into defense.

    Other players I’d consider are Ridnour and Chris Paul. I’m not sure whom I’d release for Paul, however. Odom and Sasha? Paul isn’t due for a pay raise/new contract for a few years which does work out well (he’s signed until 2012-13).

    Brian Shaw feels like LA is home. Well spoken, sir.

  54. Wow, Washington has Arenas, Wall, Hinrich and Foye? Something definitely has to give there!

    I’m not sure we could use Foye so well. He’s a tweener guard and we have the 2 covered very well. I think I’d rather sign Shannon Brown for 3M/yr.

  55. If the Lakers let Powell & Mbenga go their definitely goin to need to replace atleast one of them. They cant depend on a rookie big to hold down the 4th big spot in the playoffs.

    I hope Farmar stays, he’s a good change of pace to Fisher’s style of play. Without him we lose our best dribble-drive guard after Kobe.

  56. I know that Ray Allen has been a leprechaun… but wouldn´t he be pretty awsome as first guard of the bench. Give him some time at PG, some at SG as main scorer, some as Kobe wingman (either as big PG or in a small lineup with Kobe at SF).

    He plays solid D, plays a team brand of game, and we all know how hard the entire Lakers team worked to force the bad shooting numbers he ended up having in the finals.

    Is he just too GREEN to go after with a two year MLE offer?

  57. Farmar is officially an unrestricted free agent. I am unsurprised.

  58. thisisweaksauce July 1, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Quick question: are the Lakers still running the Strong Size Zone on the defensive end, as constructed by Rambis? I thought it was mentioned earlier in the year that the Lakers played defense a little differently with Phil taking back the reins on D. Is it Phil’s version of the SSZ?

    Also, if we somehow get Steve Blake and Mike Miller this offseason, I will go nuts.

  59. I love how on the biggest free agency “ever” (histrionics aside), our first call goes to Fisher! It reminds me of Black Friday, and everyone is rushing to get the latest Guitar Hero and PS3, while the saavy consumer heads over to appliances section and gets a new washer and dryer for a bargain. We go for what we need, not WANT.

    That being said, seems like Miller (notwithstanding Drraye’s video of Miller in Spain) is priced out because teams that miss out on the big free agents will go after Miller. Blake may want to test the market, so it’ll be a while before we get him. Dorell Wright seems to be within reach, but he should realistically ask for the $3-5 mil range, since he just came off a $3 mil contract. Will the Lakers get him now that we drafted Ebanks at 1/10th the cost? Don’t know Dude…

    The FO mentality should be to continue going to the “appliance” section while the frenzy continues at the electronics section. It’s Black Friday for the League, time for the Lakers to find a great deal!

  60. @47–The copyright on the video of Pau and Miller in Spain was 2009. Miller is in LA right now meeting with teams.

  61. How many days till the regular season starts?

  62. Simmons has posted his first full-length column since the Finals.

    Amazingly, it is “20 Questions on The World Cup.”

    Silence is (purple and) golden.

    As to FAs: Miller would be great, will cost too much. I think Thomas on a one-year is a good idea if he will come.

  63. Did the Bucks really just offer Drew Gooden a 32 million dollar contract? Lol really? What a terrible decision if that’s true.

  64. 60–Sorry. The July 1, 2010 date I saw was the most recent date it was posted to Google. The actual video has apparently been around since at least 2007–so my assumption that Pau and Mike were in Spain eating paella together yesterday was unfounded.

    If Mike is here in LA today, I hope he is talking with the Lakers–and if the meeting leads to a contract, maybe he and Pau can revisit that paella/shrimp place.

    When I originally mentioned the availability of Gasol from the Grizz on this blog, it was not considered credible. My spider sense is that Miller could be a similar case.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mike can finally join Pau and the Lakers next year. After a career with the Grizz, Timberwolves, and Wizards, Miller deserves better luck.

  65. i think the byron scott to cleveland is very significant.
    it means LBJ is more than likely staying in cleveland;
    and more importantly for laker fans it means that Brian Shaw has been told that he will be the next Laker coach–after Phil leaves. which makes me think that Phil prevailed on Shaw to stay with him one more year after the buss’ agreed on making shaw head coach.

    buss said earlier this year that he had the lakers coaching successor in his mind for a long time and was very fond of him but wouldn’t obviously say who that was. i thought it was scott, but i heard from someone that buss has been close to shaw since his playing days with the lakes

  66. The Hawks must don’t like their money. They are giving Johnson about 2x more than they should. I knew some GM would catch the overpay bug. I have a hunch that aliment may infect a few other GMs before this is over with.