With it being a bit of a slow news day around the Lakers, it’s time to take a look around the league and see what’s going on in the rest of the NBA world…
*The Lakers have posted their roster and schedule for the upcoming Summer League in Las Vegas. This is a list that has been floating around for a few days, but it’s good to see this right from the horses mouth. One name that’s notably absent is Javaris Crittenton who was reportedly going to play for the Lakers in Vegas. That is seemingly not (or no longer) the case. The last I heard (which was before the holiday weekend) Crittenton’s agent said that his client had yet to commit to playing Summer ball and surely had not yet chosen which team he would play for if he did suit up. So, with that up in the air, we should get used to the idea of Critt not joining the Lakers this summer or next season. And, for me, that’s a shame. I was hopeful the Lakers could get Javaris back into the fold and hopefully restart his career and development process with the Lakers. And while that’s still a possibility, I’m less hopeful if he doesn’t actually join the team this summer. Any team that picks him up would want to see him in some game action and since he’s still such a young player, some summer action would give everyone that chance. We’ll follow this situation and give updates when we get them, but for now, it looks like Critt won’t be wearing a Lakers jersey.
*However, there are some interesting names on that list of invitees. Gerald Green and Rob Kurz are players with NBA experience and enough talent to play in the league. And, they actually play positions (Green – SG/SF, Kurz – PF) that the Lakers have needs still to fill on their roster. Plus, Lakers’ draftees Devin Ebanks and Derek Carracter are going to suit up. I actually think it will be an interesting “competition” to see if the veteran players outperform the Lakers’ rookies as that could make an impact on roster decisions as we get deeper into the summer. If Kurz plays a lot better than Carracter will that spell doom for the #58 pick? If Ebanks can play as well or better than Green, doesn’t that make him a lock to make the team? What if Green plays extremely well – will he be the extra wing player that the Lakers grab? I don’t know the answer to these questions or if they’ll even happen but I’ll be watching closely to see. And no, I won’t be in Vegas (so no first hand takes from the stands this year), but I will be watching online (click the link and you can too).
*Despite the fact that summer league is getting started and there are actual NBA games on, the focus is still on free agency. If you want a good place to follow all the agreements and the latest news as to where players are leaning, you can’t do much better than Pro Basketball Talk’s “top 25 free agent tracker” post that Kurt is updating daily (sometimes multiple times, daily). In it, you’ll see that despite there not being a lot of movement at the top with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh still all undecided, we’ve already seen a fair amount of deals agreed to. Pierce, Dirk, Amar’e, Rudy Gay, and Joe Johnson all look to have agreed to terms with teams (with Amar’e being the only guy that left his old team to join a new one – the Knicks). Salmons, has also agreed to terms and a few other players are close to getting a new deal signed.
*One piece of interesting free agent news is Shaq potentially getting a contract offer from the Hawks. I’m neither for or against this move for either side. At this point in his career, Shaq is who he is and will help with an offensive post presence and can still defend stationary players and rebound reasonably well. He’ll hurt his team in other ways, but at least he’s a known commodity and a team could do worse than signing the deisel as a back up Center (or starter that plays limited minutes). But, I’m more interested in this deal because this would completely cement Shaq as one of the NBA’s best players that also happened to be a vagabond. The Hawks would be Shaq’s 6th team. That’s a lot of unis for one of the league’s “best ever” to have worn (and Shaq is one of the game’s best ever). No one will ever be able to take away what Shaq’s done in this league – the championships, the MVP awards (league and Finals), and the complete dominance his showed during his peak – but to have gotten around as much as he did, I don’t know how that will impact his legacy. Maybe it won’t at all, but I think it’s a question that will get asked 15 years from now when looking back at Shaq’s career.
*And it wouldn’t be a free agent update without exploring what’s going on with the Lakers. Derek Fisher is still unsigned and it looks like the parties are still a bit apart on getting a deal hammered out. If you ask Fish (and Ramona Shelburne did- h/t to Land O’ Lakers) he’d say that there aren’t any players on the market that can provide the Lakers with what he does. And, to a certain extent, I agree with that as Fisher is a leader in a locker room of some out-sized personalities and his experience and stature with the team are irreplaceable. That said, putting a price tag on that value will be tricky and it’s situations like these why I try not to knock general managers too often. They’ve got a tough gig and I don’t envy them. Anyone can play armchair GM and assemble a roster on paper that’s a world beater, but there are players like Fisher that transcend stats and provide so much to team besides on court production. Deciding what that’s actually worth is something that I’m glad I don’t have to do this summer.
*Lastly, I’m still planning on doing a mailbag for Forum Blue and Gold. All you have to do is send me some questions and I’ll pick and choose some to get answered in a post for the site. I’m happy to touch on any Lakers topics or even other questions from around the league if that’s your cup of tea. All you have to do is email me and in the subject line write “mailbag question”. I’ll try to do this at least once a month (or more depending on the volume of questions), so drop me a line and we’ll go from there.