From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers just won a title depending on Ron Artest and Sasha Vujacic to be their three point threats. Which is to say, they won despite having no consistent outside threats. They just count on things like Artest getting hot in Game 7. Mike Miller would change that. That’s why the Lakers are negotiating with him, as has been reported in multiple locations. The Lakers, with the highest payroll in basketball last year and all the key parts back, are way, way over the salary cap. So all they can offer is the mid-level exception (about $5.8 million) or some part of that. The negotiations are about how much. The Lakers would like to save some of that to bring in a point guard, as well.
From Brian Kamenentzky, Land O’ Lakers: Those were not the Santa Ana winds you just felt, but instead the collective exhale of Lakers fans across Southern California and beyond. Phil Jackson, the Lakers announced this afternoon, has decided to return for the 2010-11 season. This is good news, to say the least. “Count me in,” Jackson said in a statement. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”
From Kevin Ding, Orange County Register: Here’s what Phil Jackson wants now. Not just to go out on top. He wants to go out with the greatness that is appropriate to the greatest coach of all time.He wants his Lakers team to win gloriously next spring. He wants this fourth three-peat of his incomparable career to be a suitable capper. He wants dominance, excellence, grace. He wants this Lakers team to be better than those that handled an unworthy Orlando Magic team and staggered against a tough Boston Celtics team. There is plenty of room for improvement, and he wants the Lakers to move into that room, smell the incense he’ll light in there and be living there on self-built pedestals every single day.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Sasha Vujacic’s eyes lit up. His smile widened. And his enthusiasm bubbled. A reporter had asked him about the possibility he’d play more at point guard next season, what with the uncertainty regarding the future of Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, as well as Mitch Kupchak’s contention that the team’s back court is the biggest area of concern during the off-season. Though the Lakers’ roster for 2010-2011 is far from complete, the mere chance that Vujacic would assume a greater role at point guard left him giddy and excited.
From Dave Mcmenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: The idea of his fourth three-peat must have been too much for Phil Jackson to pass up. The Los Angeles Lakers coach told the team Thursday that he will return for his 11th season on the bench in L.A. and an even 20th to cap his NBA coaching career. “Count me in,” Jackson said in a statement. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: The Lakers have opened discussions with free-agent swingman Mike Miller, a source close to the situation said Thursday. Miller is a former NBA rookie of the year and sixth man of the year. He averaged 10.9 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent shooting on 3-pointers for Washington last season, his 10th in the league.