One Last Run…Who’s Coming Along?

Darius Soriano —  July 2, 2010

June 16, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02205959 Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson during practice on the off day before game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA 16 June 2010. The series is tied 3-3 for the best of seven games.

You’ve read it in a thousand other places (including right here, yesterday), but Phil Jackson is coming back to coach the Lakers for one last year in the 2010-11 season.  I know many are waiting on the big name players to commit and sign on the dotted line, but in my mind there was no bigger decision looming than what Mr. Eleven Coaching Titles was going to do next season.  And now that he’s made up his mind, it’s time to explore what this really means to the Lakers and to the rest of the league.

Obviously from the Lakers standpoint, this is just tremendous news.  We know that Kobe and Fisher (and to a lesser extent, but still important way, Odom and Gasol) are the leaders of this team.  But Phil Jackson is the leader.  He’s the man that pushes all the right buttons.  The one that empowers others to take leadership roles and guides the rest of the players towards those voices.  The one that plants the seeds of success in practices, the film room, and timeouts.  The man is simply the best and having him sitting in that high chair on the sidelines is a sight that inspires calm from his team and demands respect from the opposition.

But superlatives aside, Phil Jackson is what this particular team needs – even if it’s only for one more year.  Understand that what the Lakers look to accomplish next season – a third consecutive championship – is damned hard.  It’s only been achieved three times since the mighty Bill Russell led Celtics of the 50’s and 60’s had their last hurrah and each time it was accomplished by a Jackson led team.  Phil is the only coach in the modern era to really know what it takes to complete this task and he’s the only one that I’d trust to actually pull it off (no disrespect intended to Brian Shaw or any other head coach in the league).

And really, what Phil will provide to this team is continuity and motivation to achieve.  The continuity part is self explanatory.  Jackson’s schemes – the Triangle on offense and the dogged man to man style on defesne – will remain in tact.  His communication style and established relationships with the current players will provide a stability that will surely be needed considering the task at hand.  There will be no disruptions in how practices/meetings are run; no differences in the points of emphasis that are communicated to the players.  The messages and the style in which they’re delivered will remain the status quo and for a group that needs to stay on the path towards repeating for a 2nd consecutive season, this will be invaluable.

And from a motivation standpoint, there be none bigger than winning one last ring for the coach making his final stand.  Going into this next season, every player will know that this will be the coach’s last season.  Every player’s focus will be on getting Phil that last championship that he can ride into the sunset with.  The want to send out the league’s greatest winner on one last winning note will be strong and will (hopefully) motivate every player on the roster to give their best effort in order to achieve this for the coach that they all lobbied to return.  There is no better way to show appreciation towards one of the best coaches ever than by giving him the swan song that he deserves.  So, besides the standard motivation that will come from trying to win a championship, I do expect this group of Lakers to give Phil their all.


But now that Phil has committed, who will be the players that he’s directing?  In his initial statement to the press, he stated that it’s now time to build a roster that can properly compete.  And the Lakers still do have holes to fill.  They’ve yet to make a free agent signing but they have been linked to several players already.  So, in an effort to gauge what this team will look like come the start of next seasaon, I thought I’d look at a few of the names out there and explore their fit on this particular team:

*Derek Fisher: We’ll start with easiest name.  In my mind, Fisher is a must to return.  His leadership, knowledge of the Lakers’ systems, and dogged comptetiveness makes his signing the first priority for this team.  I do think his minutes will be reduced next season as the Lakers find a suitable player (either internally or on the open market) that will run the offense with discipline and work hard on defense (something that Farmar couldn’t always do).  But, in order for the Lakers to have the type of veteran presence and institutional knowledge that they’ll need on their journey, Fisher is a must to return.  Hopefully a deal to bring back the Lakers’ captain happens soon.  So that the Lakers can turn their full attention to…

*Mike Miller: I’ve stated that acquiring Miller is a pipe dream.  But he’s been the name that has been strongly thrown out as a Lakers’ target and that can’t be ignored.  As Reed mentioned to me in an email, “Miller is the prototypical non-superstar wing player for this offense” as his shooting, ball handling, and basketball IQ are all above average.  Defensively, he’s an above average rebounder (led the league in defensive rebound rate as a SG among players that played 10+ min/g and had a rate in line with Lebron if classified as a SF) and at least tries at the defensive end.  As a SF, his PER against is 15.7 (which isn’t bad, but is 16.9 as a SG) and he has the length to bother shooters and would surely benefit from playing with other elite defensive players that the Lakers could surround him with.  In the end, there are much more positives associated with Miller the player than negatives and he would be an outstanding get for the Lakers.  However, the cost of acquiring his services that are being floated by some media outlets – $30mil/5yrs is high in both total dollars and years commitment.  In the end, I could rationalize a deal like that, but it could potentially be a tough deal for the Lakers to take on both because of the luxury tax implicactions and his status as a 10 year veteran in this league.  Believe me, I’m hopeful the Lakers can land Miller but I’m not holding my breath nor am I getting to committed to the idea of it actually happening.

*Anthony Morrow: This is another player that has reportedly been contacted by the Lakers.  Like Miller, Morrow’s shooting and versatile game would be a welcomed addition to the Lakers.  What hurts Morrow’s chances of joining the Lakers is his status as a restricted free agent.  The Warriors have a chance to match any deal that Morrow signs and would have a week to make up their mind about whether or not to do so.  So, while Morrow would be a good fit, there are a few hurdles to overcome if you hope to see him wearing a Lakers jersey next season.  For those that have put their eggs in the Morrow basket, you may want to adjust your hopes.

*Steve Blake:  Blake is the name that’s been on the Lakers radar for months and is the fall back name for those that want to fill a need, but do so with a player that doesn’t have a lot of cachet.  Blake would be a great fit, splitting time with Fisher at PG and would provide that steady hand that the Lakers need from whatever PG is on the floor for them.  However, Blakes services will be in demand amongst many teams whose needs match the Lakers.  Orlando and Miami are two teams that come to mind immediately that could use a guard like Blake to help them in their pursuit of contending next season.  So, while Blake has seemed like a fall back plan and a guy that would surely be available I say not so fast.  Nothing is assured with this guy, but he is a player that I’d like to have as I think he’d be a real help to his roster with his ability to shoot, lead the second (and sometimes first) unit, and provide that veteran presence that the Lakers have been lacking in their reserve back court.

*Raja Bell: Bell is a player that the Lakers seemed hot after in the days leading up to free agency, but whose name has now dipped below the ones above his in this piece.  Bell’s “3 and D” game would be a welcome fit in the Lakers lineup, but going above a minimum salary offer is unlikely.  And if it’s a minimum offer from the Lakers or one from the Heat (Bell is from Floriday and played his college ball there), I’d have to think Miami would have the upper hand.

*Tracy McGrady: Ahh, the sexiest name of them all.  If there’s one player that many fans would love to see on the Lakers, it seems like it’s T-Mac.  Let’s just say I’m not as enthused.  Yes the upside and potential for a huge impact is there with McGrady.  Supporters see the all around offensive game, the size, and the pedigree and want him to run with LO on the second unit and envision dominant stretches from the LA bench.  Detractors see a player that is habitually injured, as streak shooter, a suspect “role” player, and someone that has never been known to play defense.  What the Lakers could actually expect from T-Mac is the biggest unknown from the group of players that’s been listted to this point.  And frankly, I’d rather have any of them before McGrady (with it being a close call between T-Mac and Bell).

*UPDATED, Dorell Wright: Wright is a sleeper candidate to be picked up by the Lakers this off-season.  He’s likely to be a cheap alternative to some of the other names mentioned (specifically Miller and Blake) and has an intriguing skill set that would blend nicely with the Lakers.  And while his name is not frequently mentioned as a target of the Lakers by folks in the media, Wright is a favorite amongst some fans due to his skill set and potential.  Wright is a multi-dimensional player that has improved his shooting (39% from 3pt range, 88% FT’s) and ball handling during his time in the league.  He’s also a very good athlete that possesses good size and excellent length and could be used as a defensive stopper on both the wing and on PG’s (a recurring problem for the Lakers over the years).  At best, Wright is a slicker shooting version of Ariza (and recent draft pick Ebanks) with a better natural shot and ball handling skills.  At worst, he’s an immature player that hasn’t shown to rise to the moment and could end up being let go by a team that is looking for reasonably priced young talent like he supposedly is.  If Wright could be had for a minimum contract, he’d definitely be worth the gamble as a prospect with upside and could potentially be groomed to play multiple positions on offense while guarding diverse players on defense.  He’d also give the Lakers an infusion of youth (24 years old) while still  being a veteran player (6 seasons of experience).  If the Lakers strike out with Miller and/or Blake, I would not mind if the Lakers took a flyer on Wright to be a multi-purpose back up that could be groomed by veteran players like Kobe, Fisher, Odom, and Artest to play a role in seasons to come.

*Big Men: There really aren’t that many bigs to choose from and it’s looking more likely that the Lakers may keep one of their own free agents here.  Powell and Mbenga have a familiarity that could be a welcome sight after many of the other teams make their pitches to the available bigs.  That said, Kurt Thomas, Anthony Tolliver, Craig Smith, and Joe Smith are all names that seem like good fits and are all still available.  It really just depends on what the Lakers want from a reserve big.  Last season, Mbenga and Powell barely played and surely would have liked more court time (though, being the professionals that they are, they never made waves or openly stated they were unhappy).  So, would Tolliver be happy in that role?  Would Craig Smith?  I have my doubts.  If the Lakers are going to pick up a big from the outside, it’s looking more likely that it will be a veteran player that’s a bit long in the tooth, but one that is a “pro’s-pro” and would be ready to play when his number is called and wouldn’t say a peep when his number wasn’t.  Honestly, if Kurt Thomas filled that role for the Lakers next season, things could be a lot worse.

In the end, there will be a new journey next season and their are good odds that one (or more) of the above names will join the Lakers in their pursuit of a ring in Phil’s final stand.  If I had to make a guess, I’d say that Miller is the primary target and Blake is the most likely addition. But, that’s just my guess.  What’s yours?

Darius Soriano

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to One Last Run…Who’s Coming Along?

  1. @DB Miller is a natural SG, even though he was forced to play SF due to the Wizards lack of depth at that spot last year. Statistically he’s one of the better 2’s in the league (wages of wins even has him up there with Roy & Johnson) last season and throughout his career. As others have mentioned, you can split 96 min betw Artest Kobe & Miller. Even if Artest & Kobe play more than 32 some PG minutes could go to Miller as well. So I don’t think minutes is the issue.

    For comparison Blake vs. Miller on offense (more comparable since triangle doesn’t really have a traditional PG) last season:
    M – .98 pts per possession
    B – .9

    M- 50/99 (50.5%) in 3pt in spot up situations
    B – 55/140 (39.3%)

    M – 82/168 (48.8%) 3pt overall
    B – 77/205 (37.6%)

    not to mention M also shot 49.4% off the dribble vs 40% for blake in two points situations. Which is important when getting chased off screens.

    on defense (less comparable since guarding a PG is diff than guarding a SF)

    M – .98 PPP
    B – .84 PPP

    both defended 3pt @ 33%

    P&R ball handler situations
    M – 1.05 ppp
    B – .78 PPP

    P&R roll man
    M – 1.14
    B – 1.38

    M – .83
    B – .95

    So you can see that Miller is better across the board on offense, esp in the role that he would be playing in the triangle. On defense, he is not as good against traditional P&R sets but the fact that he is better against isolation & P&R roll-man suggests he could do well in LA defense as we like to switch a lot. I think it’s easier to make up these defensive deficiencies with help (and his length) than the offense ones i.e. you either make the shot or you don’t. You either can drive and finish or you can’t.


  2. My first choice is a healthy Bynum.


  3. The ideal player the Lakers need is someone who 1) Can defend quick PGs, 2) Can shoot the 3.

    It sure seems like there ought to be some undersized SGs who might fit the bill. I love Mike Miller’s fit, but he can barely guard SGs, let alone PGs. He would fit well when the Lakers go small with Kobe at SG, Miller at SF, and Artest or Odom at PF.

    BTW, it should be cachet, as opposed to cache. Just a pet peeve.


  4. I don’t think Fisher is going anywhere, but if he did go somewhere that didn’t have a top flight children’s hospital, I would be ticked off if I were a Utah fan.


  5. Despite all their material disadvantages, the English had one great advantage over the French at Agincourt: They had a king with them. While the French were beset with all sorts of chain of command problems, the English had an indisputable commander in chief. For the Lakers, Phil Jackson is Henry the Fifth. His authority is respected by all, and all have signed on. If the Lakers had to break in a new coach, even if he was off Phil’s bench, there’s no telling what problems he might have had with this team of superstars, stars and head cases, how much respect and authority he would have had, or what conflicts may have arisen.


  6. It seems that Kupchak thinks Miller is #1 target, which is good, because he fits Lakers like nobody else. He’s very good+ shooter, VG passer, VG+ rebounder (LBJ rate!), OK defender. His ego is in the right size – he would find his place in the team in a moment. And we kind of struggle against zone defense this season – Miller would help in a big way.

    There’s the money problem though. I think we should think about last season of Odom/Artest/Bryant contracts a price for contending n the next 2 seasons. And if we’re going to the salary hell – why not go all in? With Miller our rotation is the greatest in the league:
    PF/C Gasol/Bynum/Odom
    SG/SF Bryant/Artest/Miller
    PG Fisher/Vujacic

    Walton on IL, some live body as 4th big, another live body as 3rd PG – two rookies to give us 13 players.

    OK, the roster is oldish, but we should get somehow through the regular season – and in the playoffs I don’t any team which could stop Lakers. Even Miami with trifecta would be an underdog.

    So the weakest point of Miller to Lakers movement is – Miller. On this offseason market he could easily get more than Lakers could give him. All he needs is wait till all big dogs will be out of the market. There will be three of four teams with unused max salary slots – and with GMs eager to spend it. And then Miller-like FA will have a great time.


  7. #2. I think we’d all like to see a healthy Bynum. In fact, I’d like to see them all healthy (as you mentioned in the previous thread).


  8. Summed up well, Darius. Miller seems like the dream target overall, with Blake more realistic, and Watson the ultimate fallback option.

    I’m a bit concerned/interested to see what the FO does with our backup bigs situation. They know more of what goes on behind the scenes, but all indications are they’d sign Powell before they’d sign Mbenga. I really hope Powell/Caracter aren’t the 4th/5th big men, as that would leave us vastly undersized. Don’t forget that both Drew and Pau missed substantial time last year. We need a player with the size to play the 5.

    Kurt Thomas for the veteran’s minimum is an ideal situation, to me. A guy like that, for your 4th big? Basketball IQ, savvy low-post defender, and solid midrange jumper? Count me in.

    I love Miller, but I hate the idea of a 5-year deal. I didn’t like the 5-year deal for Artest, because it just doesn’t give us a ton of flexibility moving forward. That said, if it’s a dealbreaker, we have to go for it, because Miller basically brings everything to the table (offensively) that Artest lacks, while Artest brings everything (defensively) that Miller lacks.

    Could the team chemistry handle that? Against teams without great wing scorers, I could see Phil sitting Artest in crunch time and playing Miller instead (it’s what I’d do if Artest is in a horrific offensive slump and there’s no one really for him to guard). How would Artest react to being benched like that?

    At this point, it’s not even worth discussing; I’m just thinking out loud. Playing time issues aside, if we can get Miller at a price where we can still fill other holes, we obviously have to go for it.

    I do have one question. Everywhere I look on FB&G, people are going crazy over the Critter. I might just have not been playing close enough attention (or my hopes were too high after drafting him), but what exactly does he bring to the table? Other than being ‘big’? I haven’t seen any great NBA skills or basketball IQ that would suggest he can play well at this level. Farmar was a knucklehead, but his specific skill (energy) shifted momentum for us a few times in the playoffs. I can’t see Javaris filling the same energy role. From his time with us, I can’t really remember any remarkable skill that he showed. Are we just excited over the promise that was promised by scouting reports when we drafted him? Or has he shown skills at the NBA level that could definitively help us next year?


  9. Wow, these reports can’t be true. NY spends years clearing cap space, and now they’re ready to waste $100 million on Amare frigging Stoudemire? I realize they’re behind in the race for Lebron, but why not wait? If they’re really waiting on Amare, Lebron must have said something to them in the meeting that indicated he wouldn’t be signing with them no matter what.


  10. Oh wow. What an ending. So painful for [the team that just lost]. What drama. That was incredible and awful and great.

    lol I edited out the spoiler in case someone Tivo’d the match


  11. 5) The biggest advantage of the English at Agincourt was that they could hit from outside. Which is exactly what Miller will give the Lakers!


  12. Snoopy,
    Could you believe that shot by $$$$$ that just missed?


  13. Somewhat interesting news: Rob Kurz will be on our summer league team. Kurz has been touted by some as the best shooter not in the league, although I don’t think he offers much more than that. But at least our FO will get an upclose look at him this summer.


  14. In reference to the top part of the post, not to call anyone out, but I would like to now discuss Phil’s “terrible coaching” and “getting killed” by Doc Rivers. I think now that we are out of the heat of the Finals, and playoffs in general, those who had concerns with Phil and his “adjustmets” can now have a more rational conversation. I would hate to see that all swept under the rug until a 2-3 game losing streak sprouts up…or…heaven forbid we lose a playoff game.

    Regard the lower half…great point about big men! I could never see Craig Smith taking DNP CDs. Anyone else? The fact that Powell is a hell of a class act is something we may not find anywhere else. Kurt Thomas is a good example and I think Joe Smith would be another option.


  15. Fisher is the Lakers last priority right now. The Lakers know that no other team even is going to offer Fisher a minimum contract (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fisher camp makes up a rumor of him being offered a bigger deal somewhere else). The Lakers are going to first try and sign a MLE FA and then when that is settled they will re sign Fisher… he isn’t going anywhere.

    I think you are underrating TMac. Players take about a year and a half to recover from that type of knee surgery. With modern medicine and his freak natural talent (length, coordination,skill) there is no reason to think that he can’t have at least a Ron Harper like end of his career.


  16. I feel that Darius keeps dissing me with these free agent posts…sigh 🙁


  17. 15) Taylor,
    “I would like to now discuss Phil’s “terrible coaching” and “getting killed” by Doc Rivers.”

    There’s a Triangle of Offense that needs to discussed. Those poor fools fall into three basic categories; the ones who kept complaining about Jackson’s coaching, those who didn’t like the Artest for Ariza switch, and those who saw the approaching doom caused by Fisher being the starting PG.


  18. Summer league roster: (note the absence of Crittenton)

    4 Derrick Caracter
    3 Devin Ebanks
    8 Gerald Green
    31 Robert Kurz
    7 Ibrahim Jaaber
    34 Ben Cauley
    36 Andrew Naymick
    32 Frank Robinson
    15 Tyler Sanborn
    44 Courtney Sims
    2 D.J. Strawberry

    I went to school at Penn, and saw Ibrahim Jaaber (yes, Ivy League baller)…and he’s a really nice player. NBA quality? Probably not, but a poor man’s Devin Harris. I think he played on Brandon Jennings’ team in Rome.

    Eric Pincus stated that Crittenton’s agent pulled Critt out of summer league to try to get a bigger contract sans summer league play. Don’t know what the long term ramification of this is, but not good for us trying to get Critt on our team.


  19. One name that has gone unmentioned for a backup big is Kwame Brown. Great size, strength, excellent lateral movement and the ability to hold and root out in the post. He wears guys out. And that is the kind of physical presence that can make our reedy bigs lives easier. Great hands (tongue firmly in cheek), underrated team defender. Likable, and admittedly goofy, he was popular with his teammates. If Bynum goes down, he can give serviceable minutes. Would he take a minimum deal? Probably not. There are always teams willing to overpay for bigs. If we were to meet Boston again, I’d feel better having Kwame’s big body on our roster.


  20. i love fisher. Love him, love him, love him. And he was clutch this past season, and really, throughout his last contract.
    However, the Lakers should not pay him more than 2.5 million per year, and should not have him on the roster for more than 1 (maybe 2). Even the great clutch ones lose their edge guys – it happenned to Horry in San Antonio, happenned to Jordan in Washington, and Cassell with the Clippers. As well as Fisher played, going into every series he was a huge defensive liability, and if the team has a speedy point guard (Rondo, Westbrook, Paul when he’s back, the guy in Houston), the Lakers typically get thrashed. Granted, these guys thrash everybody, but it still doesn’t mean we shouldnt try to get some youth and speed to defend them.

    Again – Fisher is amazing. And is a Laker Pantheon player. But the last thing we want to happen is 2003, where our role players become so weak that their is too much pressure on Kobe/Pau.

    Especially since, essentially, unless we sign a guy like Miller, our bench will probably be pretty weak next year (outside of Lamar, we have castoffs, rookies, and Sasha….).

    So let’s not overpay the guy.


  21. Off Topic:

    Wow, that handling thing was pretty awful, but i think that constitutes a smart hard foul / no-layup in basketball, I guess.


  22. The Laker summer league roster has been released. No Critt.

    Ibrahim Jaaber(he played ahead of Brandon Jennings in Europe) is on the team though.


  23. #17, 19. the dude abides,
    Oh, you need to go back up and read the post again. 😉

    #20. DY,
    I just got a twitter update from Eric Pincus who said that he spoke with Critt’s agent and that they’ve yet to commit to playing in the Summer at all, much less for any specific team. That’s a bit disappointing considering the reports that were being tossed out there by many (including myself), but I’m still hopefull that he gets an invite from the Lakers and plays in Vegas.

    As for the rest of the list, besides the Lakers rookies, the names that pop out are Kurz and Green (they’re also the names that I know, so take it with a grain of salt). They’re both interesting prospects and have skill sets that fit what the Lakers would like. That said, I think all those guys are looooong shots to actually make the team and I’d question of camp invites were even handed out.




  25. Anything in caps has to be true.


  26. John Canzano of the Oregonian reports that Blake has agreed to a 4 year deal


  27. 4yrs is great. expires simultaneously w/ pau, kobe, etc. i wonder how much of the mid-level is left.


  28. realgm reports that blake and the lakers agreed to a 4 year deal! it seems as if anything in caps has to be true indeed.


  29. Interesting. Any info on how much money?


  30. nothing leaked about the financial part as far as i know.
    if we got him at about half of the mle it´s a good contract and totally addresses a need.


  31. Someone has probably said this in a prior thread, but there really, really needs to be a moratorium on any suggestion that the Lakers sign Kwame Brown.



  32. Ziller at Fanhouse is saying 4 years $16 million with no option years

    Unfortunately this means no Mike Miller. But it also puts pressure on Fish to come to terms closer to the Lakers liking


  33. If we got blake for the vet min for 4 years, I’m very pleased.

    But if we had to carve up our MLE and this winds up costing us Miller, I don’t know how pleased I am. Miller’s a far better shooter, more versatile… even if we had to use him to guard point guards (lol?) wouldn’t Miller be a much stronger choice?

    I don’t like this for 16 mil over 4, if fanhouse is right. So that’d be starting at around 3.5 I take it, leaving us 2mil of the MLE to pursue big men (our other need)… is 2 mil seriously going to get us Thomas or Craig? Thomas is like 50 years old, isn’t his vet min 2 mil as it is?

    I don’t mean to be a downer but honestly I’d really rather have Miller to spell Kobe and play 2/3 and even some 1. Kinda iffy on this one…


  34. So we didn’t use up the entire MLE to get Blake. Great. We can still sign a back-up center. I know just the guy, and he hasn’t been mentioned yet. Kwame anyone?



  35. Yeah, all reports I’m hearing is 4 years at 16 mil. Not all of the MLE. Probably enough to get a back up big man. No Miller, but a lot more flexible then Miller salary wise.

    Overall, I’m pleased with it. Blake’s a good guy, he ‘s a smart player, and he can do what needs to be done. A Phil kind of guy.


  36. i think $4M is a bit too much. Would have rather given Fish that for 1 yr instead.

    Only way we get Miller now is if Washington agrees to sign-and-trade him for Vujacic, cash, and a pick.


  37. Thanks Darius for mentioning Wright. But it looks like we’ve got Blake now. I’m definitely not pleased with this. Kevin Ding I believe mentioned that when the regular season was over, Mike Miller was telling everyone that he wanted to play for the Lakers. If he truly turned down the full MLE, then he made a big mistake.

    I understand why Mitch signed Blake, but I fear he made a mistake by not thinking outside the box. I guess we can hope that Ebanks develops an outside shot, and perhaps becomes a defensive option at point. I just feel that nobody can truly stay in front of quick PGs, and the best way to defend them is with length. That’s why I was really hoping for a Wright signing, because he already has good peripherals on offense. Maybe Mitch is counting on Ebanks turning into Wright.


  38. I think we’re targeting a backup big with the $1.8 million remaining in the MLE slot. So our options are veteran centers like Kurt Thomas, Tony Battie, and Joe Smith…or younger athletic centers like Johan Petro, Anthony Tolliver, and Ian Mahinmi. Also, younger non-athletic bigs like Josh Boone.

    I know Fish is balking at 1yr/$2.5m, but I think he could be re-signed if we raise our offer to $3m.


  39. Steve Blake is a solid pick up yet im still disappointed. I was hoping for Dorrel Wright or Mike Miller. Someone who can fit in and play 2-3 positions and also bring the shooting touch Blake does.


  40. Based off Sam Amick’s report at Fan House, this is a flat deal at $4mil/4yrs. Honestly, I’m good with this deal. I was prepared to not get Miller and Blake was the most logical addition out there. He fills a real need and I’m good with the dollars and the length.

    As I’ve mentioned this entire time, Miller and T-Mac were the big names; the sexy names and Miller was a pipe dream. And Blake is everything but sexy. But he’s just so solid and smart and is a player that always struck me as someone that new how to help his team win games. He’ll be a very good addition, that I’m sure of.


  41. Andres Garcia July 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Welcome Steve Blake (hopefully)! I’m very happy with this, if true. Had gotten a little carried away with the Miller time rumors so I couldn’t help but feel a bit of quick disappointment, but, now that that has worn off looking forward to Blake sticking that wide open corner 3 all year.


  42. 16 mil over 4 years? i can live with that and that gives us enough room to sign a veteran big or possibly go after bell.

    the only thing im disappointed about is no mike miller


  43. Once again, this is the NBA’s Black Friday we’re going through right now. The others ran straight for the latest Guitar Hero (LBJ) while the Lakers just got a great deal on an awesome vacuum. We may think it’s not sexy, but we sure did need a Blake type of point guard. Good safe move and it won’t disrupt team chemistry.


  44. thisisweaksauce July 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Unless Miller comes for $1.8 million a year!


  45. FWIW scouting report on Blake in 2008 from

    NBA Scouting Reports, Northwest Division (Part Three)
    September 16, 2008
    Overview:A steady distributing point guard that is limited in certain respects, but can be an asset to some teams with his ability to make shots and create opportunities for his teammates. Has good size, but is not a tremendous athlete. Possesses middle-of-the-road size, quickness, and explosiveness for an NBA point guard. Lacks the strength to be a great finisher or defender. Can make an impact with his passing. Capable of doing some scoring, but that isn’t really his forte. Will make an effort defensively, but his lack of athleticism hurts him more than it did on the college level. Won a state championship an Miami Senior HS (FL) before playing at the storied Oak Hill Academy (VA). Had a productive four year career at Maryland. Won an NCAA Championship with the Terapins in 2002. Bounced around the League after being picked in the second round. A complementary player that can be a nice asset for a team with the right players around him.

    Offense: Offers most of his value as a passer and shooter, but brings some things to the table as a scorer as well. Gets about half of his touches in pick and roll situations with another quarter coming from spot up opportunities. Relies very heavily on his jump-shot for production and rarely gets to the basket or free throw line. Displays a smooth shooting stroke, but doesn’t get great elevation or have a high release point. Takes quite a few threes each game, shooting a very respectable percentage. 3-point attempts make up between 40-50% of his total shots, but he is a good enough shooter to make that work. Attractive to some coaches because he can function as a catch and shoot guy without playing on the ball. Shot-selection is excellent. Not all that effective when pulling up off the dribble due to the fact that he can’t create separation against many defenders. Will turn the corner on the pick and roll, but isn’t quick enough to get to the rim without some help. Isn’t going to finish at a high rate around the rim due to his lack of athleticism. Doesn’t go to the foul line at all for that reason. Something of a streak shooter at the charity stripe. Won’t score terribly efficiently, but will set up his teammates at a high rate. Shows very good court vision, always looking for an open teammate. Ideally suited for pick and roll situations since he struggles to get by defenders himself and proves to be a very crafty passer in traffic. Would rather drive and dish than drive and score. Limited as a starting point guard at the end of shot-clocks and game-situations for that reason. Needs to have a great shot-creator next to him. Capable of running the break effectively. A good facilitator across the board. Has cut down on his turnovers as he’s gotten older, and is now regularly amongst the league leaders in assist to turnover ratio for that reason. Mistake-free player with a high basketball IQ. Not an ideal option due to his lack of athleticism and slashing potential, but more than capable of running a team and has the added versatility of being able to see minutes at the 2 as a spot-up shooter. In a good situation playing next a big combo guard in Brandon Roy.

    Defense: A passable defender that will give an effort, but lacks the athleticism or strength to make a big impact. Applies solid ball pressure in half-court settings. Has the size to contest the shots of most point guards, but isn’t strong enough to defend other positions or more powerful players. Doesn’t a good job closing out shooters and getting a hand up, but lacks the quickness to stay with most of the elite point guards in the game. Won’t shy away when forced to fight over a screen, but doesn’t have the recovery speed to keep up with his man when he gets caught up. Shows good footwork and fundamentals when his man tries to get separation with hesitation and crossovers. Has a lot of good qualities on the defensive end, but often isn’t explosive enough to stay with players who are overwhelmingly more physically gifted than him.
    [Read Full Article]



  46. Guess he auditioned well in the last reg season game against Lakers:
    8-12 FG, 4-6 3pt, 23 pts, 10 reb, 11 ast


  47. thisisweaksauce July 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I would rather have Miller at the full MLE. I really think Sasha would have been OK at the backup point.


  48. I like the Blake signing. He makes smart decisions and hits open shots. 4 years at $16M is a good price.

    Wright is an interesting player, but I’m not buying him as the key to defending quick PGs. Good team defense is what’s needed the way the rules are now. Miller would have been awesome, but at some point we needed an actual PG to split time with Fisher and Blake is as good an option as there is available.


  49. During NBA Black Friday, while everyone ran to get the latest Guitar Hero (Lebron), the Lakers went out and got themselves an awesome deal on a top of the line vacuum. Solid.

    Blake will fit right into the team. He’s a tough nosed player, excellent shooter. I particularly like his low turnover rate as well. He’ll initially come off the bench, but will probably end up playing the majority of minutes by next year.

    DUDE…the hope is still alive for Dorell. Give your client a call and sell him on the “economic” benefits of LA like the Knicks did with LBJ. I suppose the FO won’t try to play Critt’s “hard to get” game.

    I also think the FO must really like Ebanks enough that they possibly went with Blake over Miller.


  50. blake had a lot of trouble making post-entry passes during his stint with portland. he can be quite indecisive at times. that’s the kind of trait that leads to kobe bail out shots.

    i’m ok with the signing, but it would be a huge bonus if he could initiate the triangle from up top, and give the laker attack another dimension.


  51. If Lakers are offering 2.5 to Fish and he’s looking for 5, maybe the 1.5 saved from not using the full MLE could be allocated to Fish. Compromise at 4? I’m talking overall budget not using part of the MLE to combine which is against cap rules.

    Then the team gets a vet big man to sign for vet minimum. I think that would just about finish out the To Do list for Mitch.

    Well, it’d be nice if they got Critt on a make good contract too.


  52. Ok look, I’ll stop being a sour puss on the blake signing, at least until we see what else we can do with what remains of our MLE… (No joke, I don’t think 1.8 is much above the vet min for someone like kurt thomas.)

    …but help me out, you guys need to stop talking about trading Odom. as soon as possible. Any post that suggests “trade Odom for [insert backcourt player]” is heresy and you should be flogged.


  53. chris sheridan reporting that blake and lakers reached and agreement for 4 years/$16 mil.


  54. I think the Fish negotiations might emd up getting drawn out…Chad Ford is reporting that the heat and cavs will have interest in Fish

    I dont see how Fish could leave LA with the way he forced himself out of Utah, that just wouldnt look good


  55. I love the Blake signing! Look at it this way, the only player who is for sure gone is Farmar (AMMO doesn’t count) and Blake is a big upgrade over Farmar. He may not be as athletic, but he is better in every other category with passing and 3’s being the standouts.

    Remember all those times when Farmar and Shannon were in as our guards and they hardly ever got the ball to Gasol or Bynum down low? They would pound the ball and swing it harmlessly around the 3 point line and then launch up a terrible 3 at the end of the shot clock. I guarantee we won’t see nearly as much of that this year with Blake running the point with the bench. That alone makes this signing worth it in my opinion!…Oh and not to mention he’s automatic from 3 which was our 1 glaring weakness this past year! (I know fast pg’s can kill us but we beat westbrook, d. williams, nash, and rondo in the playoffs so I think our twin towers down low will get us through another year)

    Welcome to the team Blake!! Now we just need to resign Fish and ShanWOW (his pricetag just got set by Blake, no way we pay him more than what we paid Blake) and either bring back DJ or Powell as a backup big. Love it!!!


  56. #39. I think you’re right that Mitch probably thinks the defensive wing is the kid he drafted. Remember too, that this team was in deep need of a guy they *know* can play PG for them. Wright, when looked at in that light, is a gamble. I agree with you that he’s got the potential and upside (even after six seasons) to be more than what’s he’s shown already, but that upside is a gamble to the sure thing of Blake.

    Also, the Lakers championship window is now and guys like Blake maximize that. I’m all for an infusion of youth, but there are times where you just have to bite the bullet and go with the vet becasue he’s the guy that gives you the best shot at winning now.


  57. Blake got one year too many in this deal. But he should be a solid plug for a pressing need. Now more than ever our D will require Bynum to be healthy. Also, people on the web seem to have forgotten that Yao is coming back. We will need 2 big bodies (Pau is not a big enough body) for him. And no Kwame. I can’t believe people are still suggesting this guy.

    Hopefully Fish’s situation won’t be last year’s LO situation. That’s just unnecessary and dirty.


  58. BTW, I agree that the Lakers will likely up their offer to Fish to the 4 mil range (similar to Blake’s deal) and then chase minimum players like Thomas or even retain Powell or Mbenga. That means the Lakers depth chart would look like this if Fish signs:

    PG: Fish, Blake, Sasha
    SG: Kobe, Sasha, Artest
    SF: Artest, Walton, Ebanks/Odom
    PF: Gasol, Odom, Thomas?/Powell?/Caracter
    C: Bynum, Gasol, Thomas?

    That would be a 9 man rotation if Thomas/Powell plan and 10 if Walton/Ebanks get any time. That’s still an excellent team of veteran players that get the job done. I’d take that team in a second.


  59. Andres Garcia July 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Blake shot 43.7 percent from 3 last year. Wow. He’ll likely get even better shots with the Lakers.

    I’ll also take that depth chart Darius. I’ve got high hopes for Ebanks. Hopefully he leapfrogs Luke sometime during the year to give us that athleticism off the bench.


  60. thisisweaksauce July 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    What about Shannon? Anyone OK with him back? If so, under what terms?


  61. Does any one still think there is a chance they would still target Raja Bell with the remaining MLE?

    Is Bell’s price tag higher than 1.8 mil a year?


  62. I’d like Shannon back, we need an energy player who can take it to the rack off the dribble and give us momentum changing plays.

    I would say sign him between 3-4 million a year for 2 or 3 years. He didn’t get himself as much good press during the playoffs as he would’ve liked. And the one thing he did show was that he is not and will not be a point guard in the NBA which limits his upside since he’s an undersized 2. But I like him on the team! Keep him if the price is right!


  63. According to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo, Lakers had Luke Ridnour willing to join LA for $12 mil/4 years.;_ylt=AgSaP.SOwN8bQ9uBbuHGTRq8vLYF?slug=ys-freeagentbuzz070210

    I think we made the right choice between Blake v. Ridnour, although it would have been for 1 mil less per year. But Blake is the superior 3 point shooter. So it appears the whole Miller talk was probably from Miller’s camp trying to leverage other teams…or did Miller just pull an “Ariza?”


  64. Wow this tweet just from Mark Stein

    STEIN_LINE_HQ RT @ChiTribuneLive: CSN has confirmed that Wade and Bosh are both currently at Henry Thomas’ office with #Bulls management


  65. I’m good with this deal. Blake just does things well and nothing great. The terms are adequate, he probably got a little more than was warranted, but that’s the price to pay. He fits in well with the win now perspective. I hope Fish comes back for everything he’s given to the team. If they up his offer, I think its a sure indication that Shannon Brown won’t be back. With the vet’s minimum there are still guys who are on par with DJ Mbenga that could be signed for the backup Center spot.


  66. Meh, I guess this is a solid deal. It’s better than not shoring up any of our weak spots, so I guess we should be happy with that. And it’s disappointing in that Miller is out of the picture.

    Sasha becomes an expiring contract this year, though. So in-season moves could be possible.

    Sigh. I was really warming up to the idea of Miller. Hotspots is giving me trouble – can anyone pull it up on their computer? How does Blake’s shot look from different areas behind the 3-pt line?


  67. Is a SnT possible with Mike Miller? We can ditch Sasha.


  68. 66. If it’s true, can’t write a more poetic ending to Phil’s historic journey…beating Jerry Reinsdorf’s Bulls in the finals. Let’s bring it on.


  69. In Mitch I Trust

    The man can play poker. Maybe he learned from his boss. He’s dealing from strength in every situation. When the dust settles, we’re gonna be fine.


  70. Too bad it’s not Miller, but it’s a good deal nevertheless. But it’s a shame, after these news he-will-sign-in-just-a-moment.

    I think Fisher is now a luxury. Kupchak seems to get ready for Fisher leaving. I see it as a replay of last season Artest’s signing. First go to Ariza/Fisher, and if the offer is refused, sign the best outside solution (Artest/Blake). I like Fisher but I’m OK with Blake as a starter.

    However Miller would have stregthen the Lakers, Blake instead of Fisher will be at best status quo.


  71. Such a solid signing. Add Kurt Thomas and one other big body and it’s a really successful week.

    Bring on the popcorn. This Wade to Chicago thing would leave LeBron with a lot of imperfect choices.


  72. Great post again, Darius! But I’m hoping the Lakers aren’t looking too far ahead on which new players to bring in. Derek Fisher should be their top priority right now. The flip side to that is if they take too long on deciding if Fish is worth every penny (which he is), then the other names on this list will probably won’t wait around before they sign with someone else.


  73. Snoopy,

    Re: Hotspots

    Last season, he hit 36% of his 3s from straight away and 39% and 34% from the left and right in-between regions, respectively.

    But from the corners, he shot 45% from the left and 46% from the right. Considering how many open corner 3s the Triangle produces, I’m very encouraged by that.


  74. 69/Mark–There’s no real incentive for Washington to sign-and-trade Miller.

    The Lakers could offer Sasha for Miller. To make the numbers work, Miller could get a 1st year starting at around $6.8M. Pretty good deal for Miller.

    The Lakers could offer draft picks and $3M cash to help offset the cost of Sasha’s salary. So, basically Washington has to pay 2.4M for a couple of draft picks. I don’t know if that’s worth it for the Wizards.


  75. chibi, Thanks! 🙂

    But considering our luck, I mean, unless Miller wants to get $1.8mil….


  76. If Walton retires due to injury, could we get a roster exception and with it sign Miller/Morrow/Outlaw? It’s time to buy him out and move him into coaching.


  77. The reason this was a bad signing is because Steve Blake is a 3rd guard. Plain and simple. And now there isn’t the MLE for us to offer to a quality starting caliber player. Blake is however a good back up PG. But we still will be looking for a starting PG… I am crossing my fingers for TMac. Listen… are we a better team than yesterday? Yes.. Blake is better than Fisher and Farmar… but would Blake be better than Mike Miller or Anthony Morrow? Of course not. Mitch obviously felt that we were not going to be able to sign either of them. I will stay on record saying whoever signs TMac will be getting the best player of all the FA’s who are signing for the MLE or lower.


  78. 79, even if we sign miller, he is still just a good backup PG/SG/SF, definitely not a starting PG. i doubt we can find a good starting PG with just MLE.


  79. When one can’t quite make that deal for the Beamer, one brags about the great gas mileage on one’s Corolla.


  80. Blake was the right call. Farmar is gone and I believe there is a significant risk that somebody is going to pay Brown more than he is worth to the Lakers. That would leave the Lakers with only two guards under contract: Kobe and Vujacic. Let’s assume they get a deal done with Fisher. That’s still only three guards, one of whom (Fisher) probably needs his minutes reduced and another (Vujacic) who is unproven as a high minutes producer (after all, Vujacic averaged under 10 min./game over 67 games this season – presumably there was a reason besides injuries that he wasn’t getting a lot burn). There has been a lot of talk about Crittendon soaking up PG minutes for the Lakers, but here we have a guy that is totally unproven. Isn’t there a reason he didn’t stick with the Grizzlies or the Wizards? Now we learn that Crittendon isn’t on the Laker’s Summer League roster like we thought.

    I know that Miller was seen as a “sexy” pick, but getting a veteran guard had to be the Laker’s top priority given the realities of their roster. And why are we even assuming that Miller was actually obtainable by the Lakers? There is some crazy money being thrown around by some teams. I suspect we may see Miller get rather more than the MLE from some team. Were we really willing to bet the roster that he would take less to come play for the Lakers? And what if we were able to get Miller for the full MLE, but then Shannon Brown goes somewhere else? Are we really comfortable going into next season with a three guard roster?


  81. Warren Wee Lim July 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I think Blake was a good signing. Not the greatest one, but a good one nonetheless. I don’t care if we all salivated about Mike Miller at one point but the point is that the Lakers are now free to offer up picks and Sasha for more players to come over.

    Steve Blake shores up the greatest need, priority #2 has to be Fish… and I believe Fish is taking a 3.5M contract to play 1 more for his 2nd 3-peat. He realizes this and his body could be better preserved in the playoffs with a consistent guard like SB running the point.

    After all that, the Lakers just need another big body or 2 to finalize the roster. Its been the plan all along and if we did end up without Shanwow, JFarm, Mbenga and Jpeasy, I don’t think its such a bad thing to have Blake and 1 more guy with a 6’10 frame and a wide body to go for the 3-peat.


  82. 79, I think Mitch should try to use MLE, Sasha and walton to trade for CP3, then we will have a good starting PG, and no more complaints from aaron.:)


  83. Steve Blake’s deal is pretty much fair, imo. And I love the idea of having another long range shooter PG with veteran experience that can run the floor.

    Though, the Mike Miller rumors got me high. But the question is, did the Lakers REALLY offered him a contract?

    What is Blake’s first year salary? I believe the deal has 3.5% raise every year.

    Here’s hoping that the rest of our MLE would still be used.


  84. 81.

    Corollas fit family plans much better than any Beamer.


  85. Well said Kevin. I don’t believe that Miller was ever a viable option considering his eventual price tag. If we are able to re-sign Fisher and pick up a serviceable big, I will be content.


  86. Just to reinforce my point from #82, Farmar and Brown combined to average almost 39 minutes a game last season. If the Lakers had signed Miller or some other non-traditional guard, who was going to soak up those minutes? I know that the Triangle gives the Lakers some flexibility in terms of how the guard position is filled, but that is a lot of guard minutes. Hey, Brown may come back with the Lakers, but I don’t think it would be prudent to count on it. Timing is also an issue there, as Brown is certainly going to want to test the market before making a decision. Timing is also a big reason why Morrow isn’t a good alternative for the Lakers.

    To be sure, small forward is also a need position for the Lakers, I just think that guard was even more pressing. Looking at the Laker’s roster for minutes played at backup small forward last year, it really wasn’t a big number. I am much more sanguine about hoping to rely on Ebanks to give them something there than I would about trying to fill the backup PG spot with a minimum salary player.


  87. Igor, well said. Plus, you have a fleet with a Lamborghini(Kobe), Hybrid Lexus SUV (pau, don’t ask), Hummer (drew), a muscle car in Ron, and perhaps a good old reliable pickup truck in Fisher(to get over humps hah), you really don’t need a BMW. A Corolla will do just fine 😉

    oh, and a transformer in Odom. Just don’t know what he’ll transform into, or when, that’s the problem…


  88. ReignOnParades July 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Three cheers for the Steve BLaker show


  89. It’s not the Lakers fault they didn’t get Miller. I mean, they offered him the full MLE $30M/5yrs. I think the Lakers FO went out on a limb already with that offer (knowing they want to cut payroll starting this season). Obviously the guy didn’t want to come and play here. simple as that. He’d rather play with LBJ Wade or Bosh??? Then Mike Miller, you’ll be watching the NBA Finals from your house or from the stands in Staples next season.

    giving most of the MLE to Blake doesn’t mean we can’t sign any FA’s anymore. Lakers can still get Joe Smith, Thomas or whoever, but will be limited with the vets minimum even if they use up all MLE or Bi-annual exception.


  90. @75

    good job finding the hot spots stats

    so far, lakers have done two things this offseason (get phil back and address backup pg). laker still need to…

    -re-sign fisher…i think theyll settle at 3.5-4mil

    -make sure to have a 4th big man available…powell, mbenga, or a vet. one of those guys will work

    -get a more reliable wing player to back up kobe and artest

    re-signing fisher is a given. when it comes down to the latter two “things to do”, i think theyll only do one.


  91. thisisweaksauce July 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Who knows, maybe we get Dorell Wright with the rest of the MLE? I know a certain someone out there likes…


  92. Who on this team is going to regularly penetrate from the perimeter? Ron’s going to need to study the Tri over the summer instead of clubbing too hard.


  93. 89 You got the pickup wrong. Fisher will definitely be driving his Love Bug all the way to another championship.


  94. Mike Miller would have been awesome, but I am fine with Steve Blake. He will give the Lakers probably 20-25 minutes a night off the bench since Fisher will definitely start to extend his streak (it means a lot to Fish).

    Assuming that the Lakers have $1.8 million available from the MLE, I say they throw it at Raja Bell in a 3-year deal if feasible. A “3 and D” perimter defender would give Kobe + Ron more time off the floor, without losing that defensive intensity.

    I think that the Lakers will bring back DJ + Josh, unless Kurt Thomas or Tony Battie is willing to come in at the veteran minimum, then DJ is probably gone. I think that Steve Blake plus a Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas/Tony Battie will provide the Lakers with a stronger 1-10 rotation.

    If the Lakers make those moves, then the bench will a lot steadier than this past season’s. The athleticism and youth would be replaced by smarter decision-making, better shot selection, and MUCH more focused defense. Hopefully, we won’t see as many blown leads midway through the third quarter or at the start of the fourth quarter next season.


  95. Oh god aaron has found a new target. Im ok with it if he’s as wrong about blake as he was with ffisher


  96. Watching steve blake’s J makes me cringe each and every time. It’s so very ugly.

    That said, quite a few of them go in. It’ll be GREAT to have a solid 3pt thread on the court more consistently.

    Here’s hoping I learn to love that god-awful form due to good results.


  97. 1st & foremost, let’s Count our Blessings because, if you can recall, right after we ‘Retained Our Belts’, there were Media Reports saying that Ownership was tightening the strings due to Luxury Tax Implications & therefore, we would not be adding to Payroll. So we, as Die Hard Laker Fans, need to be appreciative of the fact that Dr. Buss opened up his Wallet (once again) and allowed the Front Office to use the MLE to Upgrade the Roster.

    With that being said, I feel that GM Mitch did an excellent job in securing a NEED. I believe that we’re all in agreement that the PG Position needed to be Upgraded (Not a Knock on Captain Fish) & out of all the Unrestricted FA’s available @ that spot (Ridnour, Felton, Watson ….) IMO, we’ve attained the Best that fits OUR situation. Blake has a High B-Ball IQ, is a decent/adequate defender, is an Excellent 3pt Shooter, Unselfish and an above average Free Throw Shooter. A Perfect Fit for the Triangle. While M. Miller was the ‘Sexy’ choice & could fill another one of our needs (Shooter), the Bottom Line is that the MLE wasn’t going to be enough to lure him out West. The only issue now is that we’ll definitely have to up the Ante for Captain Fish, considerin’ Blake’s Salary (accordin’ 2 reports) averages out to 4 mil a season. Question? What do you think Captain Fish will feel he deserves now. Especially given the fact that he’s the Starter and coming off Back 2 Back ‘Chips?


  98. Funky Chicken July 2, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Aaron, here is why I think you are wrong: as you said, Blake is better than Fisher or Farmar. The two time defending champions just improved the best starting lineup in the NBA by getting better at the one position where they could actually improve.

    Blake will either start or get starters minutes, because there is no way that Fish can log the same kind of minutes next year (if he returns) and still be effective in the playoffs. How often can the best starting 5 in the league be improved in the offseason? The Lakers just did it.

    Moreover, Blake versus Miller talk is entirely academic. If the reports are to be believed, the Lakers made a hugely generous offer to Miller, and Miller did not accept it. LA was not going to increase that offer, so it really was a “take it or leave it” deal, and Miller left it. Once that happened, Kupchak had to move on, and in doing so he made move that will have a more meaningful impact on the team.

    If you have a choice between improving your starting lineup or improving your bench, you improve your starting lineup. Every time. We just did that.


  99. Here’s a recent analysis of Blake from our “brethren” from It’s a little long but worth the read as to why we went with Blake.

    “After Kim Hughes got his first win against Sacramento, Fox Sports’ Dain Blanton interviewed Steve Blake about Coach Nate McMillan’s appraisal of him as an extension of the coach on the floor. Steve answered very candidly that; yes, he studies the game and prepare for every opponent very thoroughly because it is the only way that someone like him can survive in the NBA. In a league filled with trash talkers and players who wear their confidence on their sleeves, such an admission of one’s own physical limitations seems a bit out of place. And though, on the surface, Blake’s comment might highlight that Rudy-like adage of heart and dedication overcoming one’s physical shortcomings, it also provided a glimpse into his confidence and ease with himself. It is difficult to imagine someone like Dan Dickau or Rick Brunson making such an admission, as applicable to them as it may be, for their confidence and place in the league was tenuous, and their insecurity often drove their decisions on the floor toward disastrous results. That Steve Blake was able to admit his weaknesses so readily shows that he is quite aware of his own limitations, but that he is also assured of his place in the league, carved out by his work ethic and dedication to the game.

    When Blake runs the Clippers offense, he seems to exude a calming influence. It is different than a confidence that great players have; that they can lead a team to victory by hitting big shots at crucial junctures like Sam Cassell, or enforcing their will upon the game and demoralizing their opponents like Jordan or Kobe. Steve Blake’s confidence, on the other hand, seems to reside in his lack of ego; the knowledge that it’s not up to him to win the game, that he only needs to manage the flow of it so that superior athletes on his side can have a chance to steal a victory. Because of this, he doesn’t seem to force the issue very often; he rarely turns the ball over, and he gets the ball to the right people at the right spot at the precise time. He only seems to shoot only when he is wide open, or when a defender cheats off him, or when he senses his team’s confidence is ebbing and needs a bucket to stem the tide. Watching Steve Blake play, and you get the feeling that he’s a bit too small, too slight, and not quite fast enough to be a legitimate NBA player. But somehow, someway, the offense flows a bit easier when he’s in the game, and the players around him play with a renewed sense of purpose. Blake might not be that special player that can win the game for you, night in and night out, but he’s not likely to lose it for you either. But for a young team with a fragile identity, one that can easily get discouraged when an opponent goes on a run, Blake seems to have the ability to steady the nerves of young and inconsistent guns that currently make up the Clippers squad.”


  100. We got blake!!!!


  101. ReignOnParades July 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Luke Ridnour was willing to take a four-year, $12 million as well…

    we should sign him too (yeah yeah i know prohibitively expensive not my money etc) if we’re not bringing back jordan and shannon


  102. Mike Miller was kind of a pipe dream. In this free-agent climate, someone will overpay for his services. Miller knows this and chose money over rings. I can’t really fault him, he is the one that has to live with the decision.

    Welcome Steve Blake! I loved your game at Maryland with Juan Dixon. You were a crafty veteran even as a college player. Here’s to a successful partnership (and cheesing off Portland fans).


  103. Going from Farmar to Blake is a huge upgrade in attitude, smarts and team play. The comparison of interest is Blake v. Farmar, not Blake v. Miller. It’s also worth noting that three years ago before Fish became available, Blake was on our radar. I suspect he would have been signed back them had Fish not dropped into our laps.

    Great job by Mitch.


  104. “…he doesn’t seem to force the issue very often; he rarely turns the ball over, and he gets the ball to the right people at the right spot at the precise time. He only seems to shoot only when he is wide open, or when a defender cheats off him, or when he senses his team’s confidence is ebbing and needs a bucket to stem the tide.”

    This is the key section of that ClippersBlog piece.


  105. bill simmons is trying to reverse jinx us by praising the blake signing.


  106. @Darius

    I’m very much liking the Steve Blake signing. Not only does it finally give us a consistent scorer and intelligent guard off the bench, but I’m sincerely hoping that Blake can force Odom into running the offense when the 2nd unit is on the floor.

    When it was Farmar/Brown/Odom on the floor with Artest and Gasol/Bynum, the former three guys were too happy to just pass the ball back and forth around the perimeter until one of them jacked up a long shot, went into a bad iso attack, or took an out of control drive to the basket. The ball rarely went into Gasol/Bynum, and even rarer was an Artest touch (though, it did seem there was a point the whole team stopped passing to him). Things were fine when the shots went in, but when the shots missed it caused the starters to need to play too many minutes during the regular season and almost crippled the team during the playoffs (SEE: Finals games 2, 3, 5, 7).

    I find Odom as the key here. When he’s on the floor with the first unit, he plays great. He gets where he’s supposed to be: at the elbow, on the low post, at the 15 foot wing spots. These three places play into where he excels the most – he’s a good post up player at times, and he’s great off the dribble drive from the elbow or wing. But we never ever see that during 2nd unit time. They were too undisciplined, and Lamar was too lazy. Hopefully Blake, who WILL run the offense the way he’s told to run it will be able to force or incentivize Odom into getting to the right spots, giving the 2nd unit a much more fluid offense.

    What are your thoughts on the way Blake will change our #2s?

    As a side note, I’m also seeing why the timing made sense. The top role players will be the first to sign after the major free agents. Some teams are jumping on them already. Why take the risk of being a bridesmaid with Mike Miller when you can get the moderately attractive sister with Steve Blake, and at a pretty good dowry price. Alright, I took that metaphor a little too far, but bear with me. There were a lot of reports in late June from both the Lakers and McGrady camps that if a deal was going to be done, it would be by mid-July. With Blake signed for roughly 2/3 of the MLE, I think the Lakers next move is to offer $2 million a year for 1 or 2 years to McGrady with a simple “take it or leave it” offer. Being able to have used the MLE already will be great leverage. He can’t demand more of it, and the team can’t be pressured by fans who like the idea of adding another “sexy name” to the team. For the people who thought McGrady would be a great add if he was cheap, thus minimizing the potential damage – I think $2 mil for a small portion of the MLE is cheap enough.


  107. #101, DY:

    I think the key sentence is:
    “He doesn’t seem to force the issue very often; he rarely turns the ball over, and he gets the ball to the right people at the right spot at the precise time. ”

    #100, Funky Chicken:
    The point about Mitch moving on sounds a lot like the Ron Artest signing after Trevor held out for more money. Gotta love that he doesn’t waste time.


  108. This was a very good signing. However, his contract worries me a bit. Not that it’s too much and not worth it, but how will this affect the fisher. It’s being reported that fisher wants about 5 million. Which translates to 10 million. If Blake makes 4 then fisher will certainly want at least that much. I think 2.5 is fair for fish, but fisher doesn’t think so. I think we all want fish back, well most of us, and fisher wants to finish his career here. It’s hard to quanitify the value of Fishers leadership and playoff experience, but unfortunately the lakers have to. It is even more unfortunate that the lakers a fisher are not seeing eye to eye right now.

    I think the lakers should go after mcgrady next. Although he’s injury prone, he can still score and distribute the ball and take pressure off of Odom. The lakers need a go to player off of the bench because we never know what Lamar is going to show up.


  109. How about the fact that Blake took a pay cut from his last season salary in a very giving free agency climate to play for a championship team? Shows a lot of character and desire on his part. Like Ron, I hope he brings some of that ‘still need a ring’ attitude to motivate others. I also really enjoyed that clipperesblog piece on his calming influence, something that reminded me of an excellent recent nyt magazine article on Mariano Rivera. Something tells me that his personality will not only mesh well with others on the team, but bring a needed complementary new perspective. If the opponent goes on a run, I’ll feel a lot better with the ball in his hands than Farmar, Brown, or even Fisher at times when he seems bent on jacking jacking up a ‘hero shot’ as Doc calls it.


  110. Daniel – Thanks for the insight, that does sound encouranging.

    I’ll be interested to see what Blake looks like in a good defensive system. From what I can see, his footspeed isn’t much better than Fisher’s, but he doesn’t have the strength Fisher has to body up and punish screens. But by all accounts Blake seems to have a high bball IQ and good leadership qualities; he is one of the few PGs out there that I feel has “Fisherish” qualities to him.


  111. “And no Kwame. I can’t believe people are still suggesting this guy.”

    Do you have some other C that could be obtained for the available dollars in mind? The names mentioned so far are hardly more inspiring that Kwame. Tony Battie averaged less in all relevant categories than Kwame owing to him playing less minutes per game than Kwame, owing to his greater than Kwame suckitude. Ditto Joe Smith. The Kurt Thomas versus Kwame comp is:

    MPG: 15/13.41
    PPG: 3/3.3
    FG%: 47.6 (99/208)/50 (62/124)
    FT%: 80 (12/15)/33.7 (33/98)
    REB: 4.2/3.7

    Would be nice if Kwame reverted to his usual 50% FT shooting, since in 48 games he went to the line 98x, as compared with Thomas going to the line 15x in 70 games. I would otherwise suggest that the FT opportunities tend to indicate just who presents more of an offensive threat down low (unless some were simply fouling Kwame for sport).

    All that I will otherwise report is the relevant dates of birth:

    KT: 10/4/72
    TB: 2/11/76
    JS: 7/26/75
    KB: 3/10/82

    Sorry, almost forgot, but if you matched up the various and sundry souls, Kwame would eat the others for lunch. And then make sport of them by tossing some birthday cake in their faces. Entirely fair to say that he didn’t live up to the prior expectation. But don’t let that failure get in the way of seeing that the team wouldn’t be asking him to do that now, and of the named souls, and toss in Mbenga, Kwame is the best of them. He otherwise has more familiarity with the team’s system, having played in it before.


  112. thoughts on the realgm blurb that Fish is looking for a $10M/2yr contract?

    5M/yr for an aging PG is usually not worth it, but Fish’s leadership and clutch skills are much better usual.


  113. Love Blake-like everyone else, would have loved to see Miller here, but I guess that’s over.

    Anybody hold out any hope for Gerald Green making the squad? Good reclamation project, thought to be pretty talented for several years.

    I’m also the guy who thought Tony Gaffney should have made the club last year, so I admit I love an underdog story.

    I’m also the guy who always mentions that the Lakers could have drafted Chase Buddinger or DeJuan Blair last year.

    Still not convinced Odom isn’t trade bait..


  114. With Blake on board, (and assuming FO would give a roster spot to Ebanks or Caracter), that leaves the search for a second PG (Fisher), a second (or third) wing player (Brown/Bell) and a back up big (Powell/Mbenga/Smith/Thomas). I would like to see Fish re-signed for $3.5-4 this season, and probably a team or player option next season. Blake is not a slashing guard so we will need one, and Shannon may be a better fit than Bell in that dept. Powell is a 4, and we will need a 5 to truly have a back up for Drew, so Thomas or Joe Smith would be my choices

    PG – Fish?
    SG – Kobe
    SF – Artest
    PF – Gasol
    C – Bynum

    Powell? Caracter?
    Mbenga? Smith? Thomas?


  115. Wow, quite a report for Green coming into the draft of 2005. In the words of Fred Willard, “Wh-appen?”

    What about J-Crit playing summer league, thought he might be a cheap pickup. Suppose they don’t need him now with Blake.


  116. Funky Chicken (100),
    haha… I hear you… but just because Blake is better than Fisher doesn’t make it a good signing because Blake is still the new worst starting PG in the NBA. All we have done is cut the margin a little bit. Am I crazy to want just a below average starting PG? I mean we are the Lakers right? Just get me the 20th best starting PG in the NBA… something right behind a Mo Williams. That’s all I want!!!!!!!!!


  117. hrm. there was a kid that was supposed to go in the 1st round, but did not get drafted due to a heart condition: mikhail torrance. don’t suppose the lakers could use the remainder of their MLE to sign him to a 3 yr deal.


  118. @DY

    I think this last part of your post (from the Clipperforum) is describing exactly the guy we need:

    “…somehow, someway, the offense flows a bit easier when he’s in the game, and the players around him play with a renewed sense of purpose. Blake might not be that special player that can win the game for you, night in and night out, but he’s not likely to lose it for you either.”

    Last year the offense of the Lakers was at times the opposite, somehow, someway, the offense just didn’t flow. Even though the team is packed with special athletes and great offensive players.

    Im cleaning out my pipe, it got a bit overheated with all the Mike Miller talk, and I am starting to believe that Blake can prove to be a great addition.


  119. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Aaron, if you wanted the 20th best PG in the NBA, you’d probably land somewhere near Mo Williams. You said that part very well. Now please consider checking how much he is earning…

    The point is, you do what you can, under the circumstances, play with whatever cards you got. As far as we are concerned, we got 2 aces in this team with 2 others being Jacks and Queens atleast. Then there’s Odom who should count for a Jack (of all trades) himself (pun intended)…

    So having the 37th best PG (just a peg not an actual stat-based ranking) is not so bad considering its half the price of the 20th best. Amidst all of the teams that will be seeking Blake’s services, we made out pretty well giving him the 16/4 contract.

    Atleast its not the 32/5 deal that Drew Gooden got, or the 39/5 deal that Salmons got or much much worse, the 34/5 that AMIR FREAKIN JOHNSON got.


  120. One hopes that Blake will lead the bench crowd next season with a smart up tempo change of pace–think Steve Nash. When the Knicks indicated an interest in Blake’s free agency, he said:

    “If a team like the Knicks wanted me to be there, I’d be thrilled about it,” Blake said. “I love Coach D’Antoni and the way he plays. I’m a guy who loves up-tempo.”

    Sounds like a great tag team complement to Fish, no?


  121. the dominoes are falling into place…and that’s the standing up position.

    well, if any, the lakers’ lineup is shoring up and looks like we’d be finishing this offseason earlier and less dramatic than years before.

    it’s good to have fisher’s bird rights. that means we may send signals to him by signing blake or being aggressive with other players but at the same time we can (and in my mind just right) welcome him with open arms without sacrificing our mle remains and the vet minimum.

    assuming fish is back, i think our 4-guard rotation is already solid.


    the blake signing is BIG. first we get a quality, hard-nosed, triangle (well mostly) PG. this silences any other speculation of a trade that will involve us getting a PG (remember rumors of CP3-OK4 and Jack and Bosh). this also narrows the opened door on the pool of quality PGs and may pressure other teams to overplay their hands by outbidding each other. new york is already doing so with Amare, throw in ridnour.

    we have options and quite a treasure of options but one of them will have to be the legit ron-ron reliever. so far, i am liking all the more the rational behind the ebanks pick. he can change the dynamic of a lineup more than we can imagine if he keeps solid fundamentals. he can be the shanwow we are likely to lose, or rightfully the young ariza who can slash with reckless abandon.

    sf-ron/ebanks/what luke can give (no team will want to take him for only his passing so it’d have to be something big and by mitch’s statements there won’t be any major shakeups).

    at the same time, i am liking the rational behind the caracter pick all the more too. it’d be a choice between powell (safety pick) or caracter (a really wild card). if this caracter guys molds his character into a teachable bench reliever, then he can be a force in the making with bynum in the mid-term future. you can never have too many bruising rebounders with a solid midrange game.

    pf-pau/odom/caracter (with that big IF, if not powell will be available)

    the remaining MLE or vet’s minimum (depending on player # 13 or rotation guy #8) will likely go to the backup center. from what i see, it’s a vote of confidence for kurt thomas. i’d go that way too. this year is win NOW year, and stability is key. thomas is that plus skill, plus attitude. i wouldn’t mind having mbenga if all else fails.

    c- bynum/thomas

    that’s 12. we operate with a 13-man roster and we have the vet’s minimum left. people are seemingly high and low for raja bell and tmac for valid points (particularly on the injury side). to me, this last bench position should go to someone who can be a spark off the bench and another legit option should a starter go down. am thinking more of a mitch richmond guy in his laker stint. both players are risks. but who gives us more in return? am leaning towards tmac here. this guy can be the ultimate blessing in disguise: a broken man on the mission (certainly a project for phil), a former all-star who is already good if he were 60% of what he was, and a high-reward overall guy. imagine blake, lamar and a resurrected tmac (sg-sf-pg) anchoring the bench with thomas to give toughness and sasha for “vigor” and shooting. man, what a great time for those rookies to learn.

    that said, am not so high on miller as i was some days ago (pipe dream for some) and a sasha-luke for miller swap may not be good enough for the wizards (but something worth drooling over if we sweeten the pot).

    the dominoes are falling into place. sorry darius if i have to sound so giddy and lengthy on this one. just my two cents.

    man oh man, look at the mad skills and mad attitude of that lineup! mitch, i trust!



  122. The thing I like about Blake is that he’ll benefit from a system defense as well as having 2 seven footers behind him. His defensive “stats” may be skewed simply because he’s recently played with weak defensive teams.

    Also, the guy is already a champion (NCAA) and has this swagger and mojo (see feisteness against Bogut!) that is reminiscent of Fisher. It’s not a type of braggadacio, where he’s looking to fight people, but it’s akin to Fisher’s leveling of Scola a few years back. I think that’s why Kobe will like playing with Blake.

    I also like how he’s a proficient corner 3 point shooter, and he should find lots of open 3s in his sweet spots. I mean, how many times was Farmar open for 3s last year?

    Hollinger describes Blake as a “game manager” type of quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes. Good pick up for us. He’ll hopefully age well at the back end of his contract, but our championship window is NOW.


  123. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I tried plotting the Lakers payroll and this is what I got:

    Steve Blake 4,000,000.00
    Kobe Bryant 24,806,250.00
    Sasha Vujacic 5,475,113.00
    Ron Artest 6,322,320.00
    Luke Walton 5,260,000.00
    Lamar Odom 8,200,000.00
    Pau Gasol 17,822,187.00
    Andrew Bynum 13,842,332.00

    85.73M with 8 players on board.

    – Our 2 2nd rounders cost over 700k so we’ll peg them both @ 800k.
    – Derek Fisher assumed to take 1-yr 4M deal.
    – Remaining MLE worth 1.8M to a ring-chasing vet like Kurt Thomas.

    To get to 12, the Lakers payroll balloons to 92.4M.

    Now lets assess:

    – Mitch has repeatedly stated he wants to carry 14 players… so probably 2 more minimum guys.
    – Its impossible to assume that Fish won’t be back as a Laker so more or less the 4M suffices.
    – DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell will cost 900k apiece if we do want them back.
    – Adam Morrison will be a potential s&t piece of up to 5M.
    – Jordan Farmar has been let go.
    – Javaris Crittenton for the minimum.
    – Shannon Brown COULD still be signed.


  124. I really like this pick up of blake, mike miller would have been amazing tho. We did pick up a “need” which was better for our team. Everything I’ve read and seen spells Blake is a perfect fit for the triangle. But my question is why then is everyone saying he is not the long term answer to our problems at point. I think Blake could earn he’s way to start and could be our pg of the future. Why does everyone think otherwise including AK and BK.


  125. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I actually think Steve Blake will be starting…


  126. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Further proposals to end our off-season early:

    Sasha Vujacic + Lakers 11 1st anyone? We don’t plan absorb absurd salary here, just the 2-3 years that a certain starter-quality swingman can give. Perhaps Mike Miller can be enticed here with starting salary of 6.3M on the 1st ssn? Wizards would essentially be buying our pick for 3M and paying 2.4M for a Sasha rental (which would also help their backcourt clutter).

    Tony Gaffney in AmMo’s place?

    Use Morrison in a sign-and-trade to get a good backup big man?


  127. THey don’t need any “reclamation” projects this season. They are still figuring out the best way to use Bynum, Artest is still learning the triangle, there will be at least one, maybe two rookies with potential that they be looking at developing, and Blake will be learning the system. There is only so much coaching time available – we don’t need to add extra projects!


  128. 113:

    Thank you, Paul. It’s too bad that some otherwise reasonably astute fans here did not or do not see Kwame’s value. He is way better than the other candidates. He provides real insurance if Bynum goes down again. None of the other available bigs do. He probably won’t be available for the vet minimum though.


  129. 128. only problem with that is we don’t have our 2011 first rounder to trade. You can’t trade first round picks in back to back years. The reason we were able to trade T. Douglas last year was b/c we actually drafted him and then traded him.


  130. From the news:
    The Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed interest in (Derek) Fisher, who “wants to go to a championship team,” said a source close to Fisher who requested anonymity during the negotiation process. “He feels he can be the final piece that can push a team over the top.”

    Von Wafer Preparing to Make Comeback

    Wafer has been training with his high school coach in Lisbon, Louisiana, and feels like he can still make an impact on an NBA team.

    “I bring a lot of energy, a whole lot of energy. I feel like I can contribute. I feel like that one hundred percent but it doesn’t matter how I feel. I need just one general manager out there that feels the same way I do but I feel like it’s just a matter of someone giving me the opportunity to play,” he told HOOPSWORLD.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets have each expressed some interest in Wafer.


  131. Blake is a BIG signing – HUGE!!! He is a PERFECT FIT for the traingle, and of ALL the ‘reasonable’ signings (MLE-level) it is the BEST!

    Mike Miller would have been nice, but everyone knows that the Laker weakness for the better part of a decade has been at PG – WE’VE FINALLY ADDRESSED THAT NEED!

    Around the all-star break I remember talking to my sons about this free-agency period, I remember telling them the Lakers should either, 1) sign-and-trade Odom for Chris Paul, or barring that, 2) target STEVE BLAKE!

    Mitch has done it, he’s struck again. The student has learned well from the master – VERY WELL INDEED! Jerry West must be proud!

    It’s a GREAT DAY to be a Laker fan! The team has upgraded perfectly, the dynasty is rolling along!

    Fisher is negotiating his final deal as a player, so he is going to have to look at the $’s, I don’t begrudge him that. Ultimately, I hope he accepts he’s not a 2-year contract player at 35, and the $2.5-mill the Lakers will pay him really are $5-mill with the luxury tax.

    T’Mac, you had the largest NBA contract on the face of the earth, you made your money. Come in if you are willing to accept a role-slot and WIN A RING!

    Shaq too, I know many are against it, but Shaq could provide some quality 10-12 minutes a game for a last year. Kobe wouldn’t have a problem with it because he’ll ALWAYS have more rings than Shaq if he came to the Lakers.

    Caracter was targeted by a number of teams, the Nuggets even announced they were unable to complete a draft-day deal to get a draft slot to pick him. Ebanks looks like a nice fit off the bench. Sorry to see nice guys like Powell, Mbenga (and the human highlight film Shannon Brown is) but those guys weren’t going to see more than a couple of mins a game on average. Blake > Brown so Shannon opting out just sealed his own fate.

    Lastly, another name I’ve heard little about is Tony Allen, he could be a nice pickup for the remainder of the MLE unused by the Blake signing. He could bring some much needed defense off the bench, and is a decent jump shooter too.

    Nice going Mitch, the student is definitely showing he’s learned well from the master!


  132. Biggest changes I see next year is : 1). A healthy Bynum (just one year, please!)
    2). Pau having an offseason of rest, along with Kobe. 3). Artest being a more consistent offensive threat IN THE POST and inside.
    Now, for the outside changes, Blake is a positive, and Miller would be a coup. Fisher is essential; if he is going to want the top salary that he hears though, he may have to go. The Lakers cannot chase him twice in his career for top dollar. Shannon Brown is the wild-card; can’t pay him even D Fish money; he hasn’t proven it yet. Powell, Mbenga and Morrison? That is a lot of filler at the end of the bench. All 3 have won 2 rings, so I doubt they come back. This team will look different next season, but the coach is the constant, and I am glad he is here.