Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  July 9, 2010

LeBron James (L) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots as Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat watches during practice for the National Basketball Association All-Star game in New Orleans, Louisiana in this February 16, 2008 file photo. James said Thursday he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the Miami Heat next season in the hope of winning an elusive NBA championship.   REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

There’s a bit too much on my mind to offer any sigular idea today.  So, you get some fast break thoughts on Summer League, Lebron, and the future prospects of the Heat…

*The Lakers have their first Summer League game today in Las Vegas so we finally get a chance to see the Lakers two 2nd round picks playing actual basketball against other pro-quality players.  If you haven’t bought the NBA’s Summer League Broadband service you can actually watch the Lakers vs. the Pistons at 5pm (PT) online via ESPN at this link.  I won’t say the game itself will be entertaining, but it will be interesting to see if Ebanks and Caracter can perform well and if any of the other pick ups show enough promise tonight (and in future games) to maybe earn and invite to training camp.  If you’d like to know more about the Lakers’ roster, check out Land O’ Lakers’ breakdown of the team or Silver Screen and Roll’s take on what the summer sqaud has to offer us Lakers’ fans.  Personally, I don’t think any of the Lakers’ pickups (outside of the draft picks) are going to make the team, but I’ll still be watching intently because the Lakers still do have some holes to fill and one of these guys may be the inexpensive player that shows enough promise to get picked up.

*I really can’t say anything about Lebron’s decision that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll give my two cents anyway.  First of all, I thought Phillip had an excellent take on the subject this morning and if you haven’t read it, you should stop and go that now.  As for what I think, I look at the desicion two ways – from a basketball standpoint, I think he did the right thing.  Lebron went to the place where he thinks he can get the players and can play for an organization with great owners, a very successful GM in place, and two of the best players in the league to flank him. Some may want to disparage him for that, but I won’t do it. He’s giving himself what he (presumably thinks) is the best chance to win. And while his singular ability would likely give him that chance anywhere, if given the option to choose your teammates and you know who is really great and who is merely really good, I think I too may choose the guys that are really great and see where that takes me. Why should we expect a guy to put himself in a situation where he’s potentially less likely to be successful based his own judgements? So he can prove his own greatness? Based off what many have already said about him and his outsized ego, he already thinks he’s the cow’s milk so do we really believe he thinks he has to prove anything to anyone? Based off what he’s said, winning matters most and based off how fans respond, he’s right. And on a side note, we consistently have said that Kobe’s great and that those who tried to discount his performances and contributions during the Shaq era were fools. And we’d be right to call those people fools. I don’t care what trumped up stories the media throws out there, Kobe was a champion before 2009 and he was integral to those teams. If he retired with only three titles because he never had another team good enough to win, I wouldn’t have thought any less of him. So, at this point, I’m not going to say that Lebron is less a player because he’s on “Wade’s team” and they happen to win a title. I’m pretty damned sure if the Heat end up winning with this group, Lebron will have a big hand in why it happened. The man is a great, great player and trying to tear him down or make him seem less of a talent comes off as petty to me. As fans of one of the most divisive players of the last 25 years (that guy that wears #24), I would think we’d understand this phenomenon best.

But from the standpoint of how the decision was made – the one hour special, the Jim Gray interview, etc – I thought it was a poor decision and it made me feel awful for the Cavs and their fans.  The people that root for that organization and the employees of that franchise got kicked in the stomach on national television and it didn’t need to be that way at all.  Lebron chose to advertise himself and turn his leaving the Cavs into a spectacle.  It was done behind the good will of charity and seemingly with no malice intended, but in the end I can’t agree with the way this played out nor with how it was presented to the viewing public.  A simple press conference with his new team with a heads up to the Cavs that he was leaving would have been a more mature way to handle this situation, but that’s just my two cents.  In the end, I think Lebron could have saved a lot of people some grief and torment and the reactions that he’s receiving right now would not be nearly as harsh.  So, yeah, I wouldn’t have done it this way.

*As for the Heat as a team moving forward, even though Lebron, Wade, and Bosh gave us their answers, I’m still left with more questions.  I’m interested in which players fill out the roster.  Can they get the shooting necessary to flank their big three?  The signing of Mike Miller would be a good start, but he’s only one player and they’ll need more than just him.  Can they find the types of defensive minded big men who can protect the paint, rebound, and play selfless basketball in the name of the greater success of the team?  Those guys don’t grow on trees and every team in the league is looking for more of those guys.  The market for those players has exploded to the point that Brendan Haywood got over $50 million and Shaq is receiving interest from multiple teams for the full mid-level.  Even guys like Jermaine O’Neal and Brad Miller will likely command more than minimum salaries.  So, I have my doubts Miami will find the big men they need to effectively ensure that Bosh is not on an island defending the likes of Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, Pau, Bynum, etc – at least next season.

I also have questions about the X’s and O’s that will be employed by Coach Spoelstra.  By all accounts he’s a very good coach that will take advantage of these players’ fantastic gifts.  However, there is some duplication in Lebron and Wade’s respective games and it will be interesting how this all comes together and what plays/schemes will be used to ensure that both of these players excel.  The first comparison that comes up when discussing Wade/Lebron is Jordan/Pippen.  However, it must be noted that those two had their greatest success running a read and react system where they were used in a variety of areas on the court and developed their games to the point that they were effective attacking from nearly every position on the floor.  Whether it was shooting from the perimeter, posting up, driving to the basket, or slashing off the ball Jordan/Pippen developed games to match the needs of the system.  And despite the greatness of Lebron and Wade, they’re not that well rounded yet.  Both have been mostly isolation players or ball handlers in the P&R for most of their careers and have been the primary offensive creators for their teams.  Both have good mid-range games (Wade’s is superior to Lebron’s) and both are okay three point shooters (and that may be generous).  So, since both players excel at driving the ball, it will be interesting to see how their games diversify or how the schemes employed ask them to grow their games in order to better mesh.  I don’t have concerns about chemistry because both players are unselfish and have typically made the right basketball play when on the court.  But finding the right sets to get the most out of them will be an issue that needs to be resolved.  And I haven’t even mentioned Bosh yet and how his particular skill set as a turn and face post player vs. being a traditional banger probably means fewer double teams on the post and a heavier reliance on either P&R’s or isolations to get him going.  Which brings me back to what scheme is going to work best for everyone.  There’s a lot of talent in these three but cultivating it to the point that it flourishes is on the head coach and we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Darius Soriano

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159 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I hope the Lakers find a few young, athletic players to fill out the roster. I really hate the Phoenix scenario where you get no return on draft picks and overpay veterans. If any second round player can contribute, that’s huge because its young, cost-effective talent. The Lakers have a core right in their 30s and its good to reload with some youth.

  2. Of course, who’s the first person to discuss some x and o’s…it’s Darius. And thank you for doing so. It seems that every one so dazed and awed by those three playing together, they actually forget these guys have to actually play together.

    But its not just duplication in wade and lebrons game, its triplication if you really look at bosh’s game. Bosh is essentially a big man version of wade and lebron. Bosh almost never plays with his back to the basket, instead he face’s up on the perimeter and attacks or settles for the jumper. When he’s not isolating, he’s in the pick and pop.

    People want to say well there has been other trio’s that have gotten the job done (won a championship) such as magic, kareem, worthy and parish,mchale, and bird. But no one wants to mention that Magic, Kareem, Worthy and Parish, McHale and Bird all had different games and because they all have different games they filled different roles and meshed. Magic was a pure point guard who didn’t care about scoring, Worthy was a scoring wing and Kareem was a post player (past his prime at that).[And as I’m typing this Woody from the show Around the Horn just mention Kareem, Magic and Worthy]. And Bird was a scorer, McHale was a post player and Parish was the guy who did most of the dirty work. But nobody want to mention the trio that didn’t work Wilt, West, Baylor, essentially 3 scorers. And because Bosh, Wade and Lebron essentially have the same games, they have to sacrifice a lot and change their games. Wade is going become more of the scorer, lebron is going to have to be the pg and Bosh is going to need to play in the post more. They are lucky that Lebron and Wade are very versatile players. But can they almost completely change the way they play and beat a team like the lakers. I think don’t think so, not in one year. Maybe when Kobe is old, but not now.

  3. for some comic relief –

    johnhollinger Say WHAT?!?!?!?!? RT @SpearsNBAYahoo Clippers sign forward Brian Cook to two-year deal worth about $2.5 million

  4. beyondblue,
    Mitch is not in the Phoenix mold. He has consistently gotten at least one player each draft to add to the club – and he frequently hasn’t had a 1st round draft choice. Also he has been astute in trades. Where he has not excelled is in free agent pickups (I treat Artest as almost a trade). I do not have the same worries as you do about the Lakers ability to fill the roster with contributors.

  5. i still wholeheartedly disagree, i still thinks he should’ve tried again with the cleveland squad. he had a great team there and honestly, their shortcomings this year where more of a reflection on his game and the coach rather than his teammates. a new coach and some hardwork in the gym and a little tinkering could’ve easily put them over the top.

    and his legacy may definitely take a hit now.

    i don’t know about you, but i sure as heck believe that kobe’s been catapulted into top 6-8 status (and possibly higher) with the last 2 titles. as opposed to a 12-13 ranking without them.

    lebron winning multiples in miami VS. cleveland may definitely bump him down a notch.

  6. Brian Cook? Brian Cook? Why not just keep Novak? Or better yet, just flush 2.5 million down the toilet. OMG, I liked them getting Foye and even Gomes, but this stinks of Ghost of Clippers Past. Wow.

  7. I’m 100% behind Darius putting the “drama” aspect behind us and getting to the X’s and O’s.

    Spoelstra’s system seems like it’s based off isolations – so I think what you’re going to get is basically the big 2 (Wade, LeBron) taking turns going one on one, with Bosh getting about half the opportunities Wade and Bron get.

    I think they’re probably going to “talent’ themselves to 50 or 60 wins, too.

    But once the playoffs start, they’re going to have to actually be able to defend the post.

    What’s going to happen when they throw Bosh, Joel Anthony, and rookies/journeymen at Dwight Howard? What about the Celtics big men?

    What happens when “the dream team” has to face Boston’s BUZZ SAW defense? You can’t try to beat Boston with offense. That’s why the Lakers lost in 2008.

    You can only beat Boston by matching their defense. That’s why the Lakers WON in 2010.

    So who on this Heat team is a defensive ace? We know LeBron and Wade can make spectacular weak-side blocks, but what about the suffocating positional defense that prevents a team from getting a good look over 5 – 10 possessions in a row (Like Artest on the wing, the way Pau and Bynum covered the paint, or the way Kobe used smarts to prevent Rondo and Westbrook from getting to their “spots.”)?

    Bosh is no defender. That’s for sure.

    See, I actually think Miami doesn’t even make it to the Finals next year. They’re either not going to be able to handle Orlando’s inside/outside game (and excellent, interior defense), or Boston is going to choke the life out of them.

  8. re: x’s and o’s

    LBJ and Wade are the two most devastating open court players in the league today. Bosh is definitely athletic enough to run. Remember with Team USA, those three played aggressive d (Bosh, in particular, was great defending pick and rolls, getting low and using length and quickness to cut off lanes).

    Their half-court sets will be interesting, but for the most part, they are all capable of getting a lot of steals and then exploiting teams on fast breaks (especially in the regular season ala the suns effect).

    Also, those three players ALONE averaged 27.7 free throws a game last year (all were in the top 6). That number is second in the nba last year (between Denver’s 30.6 and Utah 27.2). They average a .586 true shooting percentage (just better than phoenix’s .585 last year).

    At least for the regular season, it is crazy not to think this team will be a devastating offensive force.

    Now for the playoffs, when everything slows down and wade/lbj are facing a strong side zone against boston and chicago, I’m not sure whats going to happen.

    But make no mistake, their ability to create turnovers and run the break will lead 82 Sportscenters.

  9. Mark your calendars!! Christmas Day 2010 – LAL at MIA, 5:30pm EST

  10. I love how the old guys have absolutely no respect for what LeBron did…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5367298

    And apparently Korver was worth about 5M/per to the Bulls. Too pricey for us anyway.

  11. Anyone who thinks the Heat are going to sign WNBA players are kidding themselves. I assure you they will hire male professional basketball players to play alongside 3 dream teamers. It won’t be hard to find bad nba basketball players like Fisher, Farmar, Brown, Walton, and Powell (all guys who on the open market would get nothing more than the minimum except for maybe Jordan) to play alongside 2 of the top 3 basketball players in the world and in my opinion the best PF in the NBA today (slightly ahead of Gasol). After all… it worked for the Lakers 5 times in the last decade didn’t it? Last year the Lakers had 5 guys who would get more than the minimum. The Heat next year will have 4 guys getting more than the minimum presuming they sign Mike Miller. So we would have one more good player than them. And that helps us… especially at Center. However… they would have 3 superstar/great players while the Lakers only have one. That helps them… especially having Lebron who is in my opinion the best player in the game.

    As I see it now… assuming Riley brings in the right guys (and who would assume otherwise… the guy is a legend) these two teams are very evenly matched depending on a few things. It will be fun.

  12. General questions to those of you that are way more NBA-savvy than me:

    What do you think about the Lakers chasing down Matt Barnes? I think he’s solid on D and the type of scrappy player that we can throw both at a D-Wade and LeQueen to frustrate them and get them off their game.

    How about at Center? Do we try and make Shaq an offer on the theory that it is better to have him on our team than on a loaded Heat Squad?

  13. 12.)

    I don’t like Barnes attitude. He does play some good defense…but remember the whole “fake” ball throw into Kobe’s face? He’s not what I’m looking for.

    Shaq wants tons of money for what he’s worth. If it was vet min here or MIA, he goes there. Maybe he can still keep his lame “ring for the King” motto. Shaq helps LeBron, who helps Bosh, who helps Wade win?? I heard reports he wouldn’t take the full MLE. Besides…really? I think it’s better than Kwame, but near the bottom of the list. For money and value, bring back DJ, or go find a Joe Smith type player.

  14. Matt Barnes – An Espn Analyst said it best (don’t remember which) he has never got a big pay day, so he isn’t going anywhere on the cheap. Meaning slim chance for Miami or the Lakers to get him.

    Miami filling out their roster interests me greatly, but this “how will they guard Dwight Howard” business make no sense to me. My answer is don’t worry about Howard, worse he can do is drop 30 on somebody on the most IDEAL circumstances. They have the pieces to guard the rest of the team with easy.

    On the flip side I don’t think Orlando can guard Wade AND Lebron together effectively. And each of those can crush a team.

    Lakers on the other hand matches up well both offensively and defensively against Miami. I will like to watch the next two/three years (Lakers Window) battling against the Heat.

    This will be fun. Good time to be a Laker or Miami fan.

  15. Great Posts Darius and earlier Phillip, I was waiting for the Darius X’s & O’s with Miami, more to come I am sure. Lot’s of good comments under both of those Posts.

  16. Aaron,

    Bosh is not better than Pau. come on

  17. Aaron, I’m pretty sure everybody was certain that the Heat would be signing male basketball players already, but thanks for the reminder =).

  18. 12

    Barnes
    I would have endorsed him before we had Artest. Too similar, especially as they can be destructive forces, they have moved around a lot, and they both shoot more 3’s than they should. They both have upside, but you really don’t want two of those guys on a team.

    Shaq
    No way he comes to la on the cheap, who needs the headache? The last thing the Lakers need is a big who cannot defend the P&R; we saw how ineffective Bynum was against Phoenix because of that.

    Remember, the Lakers won 2 championships with Powell and Mbenga as the 4th and 5th bigs. Those guys are solid pros who didn’t complain about pt and were ready when needed.

    I think the Lakers could use another wing defender (If they are unsure of Ebanks), A wing Shooter (unless they trust sasha) and possibly some extra guard speed. Those guys can be found all over – Dominic McGuire, Dorrell Wright, Luther Head, Rasual Butler, the list goes on and on.

    Mainly, I would not expect to see bigger names like Barnes and Shaq join the Lakers are 7-9 bench guys.

  19. Aaron,

    You make the argument that Bosh is slightly better than Pau, but then make the argument “However… they would have 3 superstar/great players while the Lakers only have one.”

    So that slight difference make Bosh a superstar/great player while Gasol isn’t? Unless you mean to say that Kobe isn’t a superstar.

    I get what you are saying, but I think you are giving Miami too much credit and Lakers too little.

    Either way, competition is good and we will get to see some good basketball this year.

  20. Looking forward to that summer league game. Really can’t make time to watch a lot of them but this one is actually doable.

    I’m most concerned about caracter. Post players/defenders are what we need, especially if DJ and/or powell are on the way out. Front court first, please.

    And someone get ahold of kurt thomas!!! Or that Craig guy!

  21. Since last year at the trade deadline, I have been coming in here advocating the Bosh/Bynum trade. You guys jumped all over me and came to Bynum’s defense time and time again. I had two arguments why the Lakers should make that trade:

    1) First and foremost: even though I like a healthy Bynum over a healthy Bosh due to his Bynum’s defense at the rim, we can no longer rely on Bynum. He has been hurt almost every year in the NBA and had a major knee injury in high school as well. We need someone we can rely on, even if he is a bit inferior. Bynum made almost no impact in our three runs to the finals.

    2) This was a lesser argument but I brought it up several times: Trading for Bosh keeps him from teaming up with LBJ and making a super team that could threaten the Lakers’ dynasty. (At the time, I was thinking about Chicago, NY or NJ — I never could foresee this Miami thing happening) Trading for Bosh was actually a defensive move to limit the Lakers’ competition. I got killed for this comment on this board with people saying you don’t make personnel moves based on what other teams might do. I disagree.

    Now in retrospect, trading for Bosh would not only give us someone we could count on, but it would have helped preserve the Lakers’ dominance in the NBA as well.

    All I’m saying is 24 hours ago, the Lakers looked as if they would clearly be the dominant team in the NBA team for the next 3-4 years. Now that is up in the air.

    I still think the Lakers win the championship next year, but the following years are in doubt. The events that transpired over the last 24 hours could have possibly shortened the Lakers championship window by a few years. This makes me sad.

  22. Summer league thought,

    Gerald Green has a ton of talent, but hasn’t been able make that translate onto the court.

    I wonder what a year with Kobe would do for him. I actually am a believer of Kobe making the players around him better.

    He got the most out of Smush Parker, and Shannon was doomed to be in the development league until he played with Kobe.

    If Kobe and the Lakers staff can hone that skill, he can be very useful wing off the bench for us. (He can shoot the 3)

  23. RE: Heat

    They’ll sign players, and regardless of whom they sign, they’ll be a threat. Wade, Bron and Bosh all are good enough to single-handedly carry their teams to the playoffs, and even if they fill the remaining two starting spots with Kwame and Smush, they’ll contend. Period.

    RE: Lakers

    Have you guys stopped to think what it would mean to Kobe and Phil’s legacy if the stars align and we do meet and beat them in the finals?

    First, we’ll have a good chance to beat them in a 7-game series, if we have a healthy squad. Now having said that…

    Kobe will have an unprecedented chance at beating not just one, but two big 3s made up of surefire hall of famers. First it was the Boston trio, and now it’s the Miami trio. The first trio was the hated Celtics, the second trio is probably the most uber-talented, uber-prime trio to be assembled ever.

    And by beating them, Kobe would have a chance to settle ‘greatest in his era’ once and for all, and match the Celtic’s championship total, MJ’s championship total, and forever go down as somebody who cared about winning for all the right reasons.

    LeBron cares about winning, no doubt, but he does because it will enhance his brand. That’s why he was willing to sacrifice so much for it, and although I admire his intent to win, he wants to win it not because he has basketball ambitions but because his ambitions go beyond basketball. Not the same with Kobe, whose ambition is basketball.

    I am giddy as hell just for having this opportunity, this historically unprecedented opportunity that will really cement Kobe’s place in Laker lore and in basketball lore, and may even tilt the public view of him as an antagonist to the ultimate protagonist going against the ‘conglomerate.’

  24. If the argument is “Bosh > Pau” I say, no way.

    If the argument is “Bosh (playing with LBJ and Wade) > Pau (playing with Kobe)” I say, possibly, but we will have to wait and see.

  25. @harold

    Great Point. It’s what was most puzzling about LeBron to Miami – there is such a thing as a more meaningful championship. Ask Kobe about beating the Celtics this year.

    From a Laker’s standpoint, this is a chance to go down as an all-time dynasty. That’s pretty exciting, and we all know Kobe has already realized it. I bet he’s calling Ron to get him out of the studio and back in the gym.

  26. Is the Miami press conference preempting the Lakers Summer League game? If so, BOO!

  27. Does Ebanks really need his pants so high?

    Jaabar looks like a player. Then again the comp isn’t that great.

  28. TMZ.com is reporting that the Miami Heat are in hot pursuit of Derek Fisher. Check out the story.

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/07/09/derek-fisher-courted-by-miami-heat-lebron-james-los-angeles-lakers/

  29. hey fish, retire as a laker!

  30. Here’s the same story on Fisher meeting with Miami from ESPNLosAngeles. Interesting that the report is saying the Lakers offer is higher than the reported $2.5 million.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5368125

  31. great post by darius. i suspect riley will be coaching by the end of this year – there’s just too much riding on erik. my guess is the offense will be “showtime in miami beach.” fast breaks galore. as others have eloquently said, bosh is not a great interior defender, and the game always slows down in the playoffs – which benefits the magic and celts. defense win championships – and it’s quite possible that riley will find a way to get them to play lock down defense. that type of defense is great for team chemistry, and if that happens, they could be a serious threat to the world champs. But that type of cohesiveness does not happen in a year.

    i don’t think the heat will have a problem finding role players to take less money to join them, but they do need a center (haslem?). call me crazy, but i could see shaq apologizing to riley and wade. i think shaq would have hard time hearing for the rest of his life that kobe has more rings than him.

  32. While I’m SURE this is just a leverage ploy… I’m still a little nervous about Fisher potentially defecting.

  33. Are they chanting BEAT LA in Miami? Oh shoot! It’s on!

  34. Fisher thinks he’s hated in Utah…can you imagine the reaction in LA if he went to Miami? Frankly the fact that he is even speaking to them has reduced my opinion of him a bit.

  35. Damn…a perfectly good summer league game watching two Laker rookies with potential is now ruined by a lebacle in Miami. [click]

  36. This Heat conference is such a joke has anyone ever seen such tasteless promotion? On a more positive note I think Caracter is going to make the Lakers roster, he has more upside and talent than a guy like Josh Powell has.

  37. 33. I don’t know, because I refuse to watch. To illustrate the depths to which I will sink rather than watch the douchetastic spectacle that’s unfolding in South Florida, I’m watching NASCAR right now.

  38. Although I was a huge supporter of a Bosh-Bynum swap, I’m glad we did not trade Bosh for Drew after all. Now I know that he would have left us at the altar and jumped ship to Miami and we would have been left with a huge hole and little options.

  39. had a good feeling about our rookies from draft day feedback, am loving them a bit more (it’s just a game) after this. ebanks can finish and will eventually be consistent from outside. caracter has some solid post moves and a soft touch. if he keeps this up, this would end up to be a steal at #58. both showing hussle with guys like strawberry and kurz. hoping green does better…

    @manny. yes, and now we match better with their superteam size for size, pound for pound and heart for heart. just hoping the dfish substory is just a ploy to get more bucks. now that you’ve mentioned it, got this evil wish that toronto gives bosh a slap in the face by helping us out in this new arms race. i mean, is the sasha/luke-turk swap that bad for them (provided luke retires ans sasha’s contract is expiring not to mention turk whining there which he won’t be allowed to do here)? okay, so i’d stop speculating there.

    miller to the heat is a sign of what a lot of these players really are thinking of. it may not always be about the money, and not always simply about contending but being part of the “it” movement. hey, there is such a thing as bandwagoneer right? ouch.

    and more ouch with the GMs and fans outside miami now respecting kobe and for now, seeing the sunnier side of purple and gold.

    cue, “winner” by j.t. and foxx.

    “i never get cut, i make them cut the check
    so hate on….you know that i can’t miss
    i know they want me to fall, but nothing bigger than this, so just pass me the ball…
    can’t lose, cause you’re looking at a winner.”

    GO LAKERS!

  40. #23/harold:

    You’re labeling Bosh a “surefire HOFer”? To quote a Bill Simmons tweet: “Chris Bosh: 7 seasons, 1 2nd-team All-NBA, 0 All-D’s, 5 lotteries. Career: 211-320. Playoffs: 3-8. No more calling him a “superstar” please.”

    If he’s not a superstar, how does he become a surefire HOFer? Sure, maybe he wins 1-2 titles in Miami if they can fit the right pieces around him, but at best he’s the 3rd best player on his team. How many 3rd bananas make the HOF?
    I don’t see it happening unless the Heat become a dynasty along that lines of the Celtics in the 50s/60s. If they roll off 5 titles in a row or something, then maybe.

  41. Pistons trainer gets ejected from summer league game

  42. Glove, what happened?

  43. 36. I was VERY impressed with Caracter in the first half. The guy’s post-up skills are already heads and shoulders above Josh Powell’s, and he can also face up and hit the 18-ft jumper. Ebanks looks and plays so much like Trevor that it’s uncanny. Very good at slashing to the basket.

  44. The trainer got technials at differnt times during the game, must of said something the refs did not like and was tossed. The announcers did not provide alot of info other than he was ejected from the game

  45. Someone in the Simmons mailbag just gave “The Nazgul” nickname to Wade, Bosh, and the Regent. ROFL

    Felton just signed with the Knicks for $7 million per season. Double ROFL. Why not sign Ridnour for $4m-5m and save some cap space? He’s a much better fit in D’Antoni’s offense than Felton. There’s a reason some franchises stay crappy.

  46. From Bill Simmons inbox:

    City: Southampton, Pa.
    Name: Steve L
    On ESPN last night, they were wondering what the nickname for the new trio of free agents in Miami should be. I vote for …

    1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling That’s Never Called

    2. The Fly Girls
    3. The Unholy Trinity
    4. Florida’s Second-Best NBA Team
    and my personal favorite …
    5. The Nazgul
    The Nazgul were the characters in “Lord of the Rings” that were former kings who turned into demons that were constantly chasing the ring. It completely consumed them and robbed them of their humanity. I think this sums up the situation in Miami.

    I really like the Nazgul comparison. Only that these three (not so much on wade) have to prove kingly to be even considered such.

    I think this sums up 60-70% in people’s minds and hearts after this fallout.

    GO LAKERS!

  47. Caracter (#58 pick) is owning Greg Monroe (#7 pick) down low in this game. Posting him up and finishing with both hands. Good job Mitch! :D

  48. Ebanks looking sharp.

  49. Yeah, Ebanks really moves well without the ball, and has a decent mid-range game. Also, Caracter is a better rim defender than I expected. But Ebanks is getting schooled by Daye at the other end. And as I type this, Ebanks hits another jumper off a curl, and Caracter gets the assist.

  50. Just caught this game at the tail end of the third. Dude, I echo your sentiments on Ebanks, he’s looked real smooth. Caracter is undersized but he seems to have good hands and footwork down low.

  51. I like what I’m seeing from Ebanks and Caracter, but how well will their skills translate to the NBA stage?

  52. I saw the Nazgul nickname in the Simmons mailbag, and I loved it. Incidentally, one of the under-appreciated great things about all this is that Simmons is going to have to start siding with Kobe in the LeBron-Kobe debate. In fact, it’s already started. (Of course, he still can’t give up the 6-24 digs. But he’s still bitter over the loss, so I’m letting it slide).

    Is it too early to be absolutely giddy over our draft picks? For 2nd round value, they look unbelievable right now. What really sticks out about both is how smooth and poised they are. Both have 20+ pts on extremely efficient shooting.

    Caracter has great low post footwork and moves, a nice shooting touch from about 18 feet and in, and can finish around the basket with both hands. He’s not super-athletic, and not super-long, but he’s handed it to Monroe (#7 pick) pretty good all game. He looks like he can handle the Josh Powell role just fine.

    As for Ebanks, super-smooth, with great body control in transition. Long and athletic, with a better shooting touch than advertised. He has a nose for the ball and the basket, and just got continual good looks by moving within the offense.

  53. thisisweaksauce July 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Anyone OK with James Jones? I’m just dying for a pure shooter. Any other suggestions? Not sure if I want to rely on Sasha’s shot coming back. Artest isn’t really an awesome spot-up shooter, either. Fisher’s regular season 3 point percentage wasn’t great last year either.

  54. thisisweaksauce July 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Also, if our offense goes back to 07/08 and 08/09 season levels, and our defense remains as good as it was last year, we will be extremely, extremely difficult to beat. But that requires a true commitment to running the triangle, which we didn’t see until the playoffs (no more standing around with a jump shot out of rhythm at the end of shot clock, cutting with purpose, etc.).

  55. 53. The problem with James Jones is that spot-up shooting is the only thing he does reasonably well. If Wright somehow gets lost in the free agent shuffle and we still have our partial MLE, I’d much rather have him. Also, Sasha’s shot already returned toward the end of the season. He was playing very well until he sprained his ankle, then did well in limited minutes until that “flagrant” on Dragic in that Game 6.

  56. James Jones is a really good 3pt shooter and an underrated defender. He’s also quite long, with 7ft+ wingspan.

    The problem is he has been plagued by injuries.

  57. Great games from Ebanks (21 points) and Caracter (20 pts, 10 reb) in the first summer league game. Caracter did have 9 fouls, but otherwise this has to be encouraging for the Lakers.

  58. I am happy with the performance of our two picks – turned off the channel when they switched to the Miami stuff. However, 9 fouls for Caracter? I think he will have to slow down a bit. I liked his bulky body and back-to-the-basket game, but he is definitely not going into the center spot against anyone with a big guy – strictly a possible Powell replacement. Ebanks doesn’t seem to have Trevors hops to throw it down, but he is a better shooter than I expected. A bit weaker on defense, but he was playing a 2nd year player who was his equal in length.

  59. Bosh just said that he, the Regent, and D-Wade are “the best basketball trio ever.” Umm…Chris, how many playoff GAMES has your team ever won? Three? I’d say that Jordan-Pippen-Rodman, Magic-Kareem-Worthy, Bird-McHale-Parish are all above you three.

  60. Re Fisher and Miami:

    Pat Riley is just trying to force the Lakers to pay Fish as much as possible in an effort to reduce the competition for the few veterans out there willing to take the vets min. He knows that if Buss drops $5m on Fish then the Lakers will fill the rest of the roster with our existing picks thus minimizing our opportunity to strengthen our bench advantage over them.

    This guy is crafty.

  61. Judging from the size of the contracts we’re seeing, I don’t know if we’ll be able to pick up Kurt Thomas or Rasho with the remaining $1.7 million on the MLE. If we’re forced to sign a backup center for the vet’s minimum, I’d just as soon bring DJ back. But I’d still prefer the other two bigs over DJ.

    Also, as Kurt mentioned, apparently the team has increased the original offer to Fish. I’m guessing it’s for one year, and $3.0-$3.5m. Fish, Miami is going to sign Mike Miller, which means they can only offer you about half what the Lakers are offering.

  62. if beat la sounded nice to the “others”

    how about “beat the heat!”

    has rhyme to it.

  63. The Dude Abides,
    West, Baylor, Chamberlain never won titles together, but I would say they might also be better.

  64. I sincerely don’t think Fish will take less to sign with Miami. Therefore, it would seem the only reason is to play a little poker with Mr. Buss and maybe push him into a multi-year contract.

  65. unless bosh and the new mrs wade get heart transplants, i don’t see them being any tougher to bounce in the play-offs than before. changing teams isn’t going to make mrs wade any more of a champion than she was in cleveland.

  66. Yeah, Craig, Elgin’s explosion was never the same after that mid-1960s knee injury. I wonder if an Elgin Baylor at full strength combined with Wilt and the Logo would have been able to overcome the Knicks and Celtics in the late 60s/early 70s. I always regretted Elgin’s retirement in November 1971. He had too much pride to come off the bench and play ten minutes a game, and his retirement was the catalyst for that record winning streak and the first LA Laker title. Those were the days, swiping my dad’s transistor radio in the afternoon before a game, getting sent to bed at 8:30, then listening to Chick in the second half with the lights turned off and the radio under the covers, muffling the sound so I didn’t get caught. :)

  67. 60. Don’t let Riles play you, Mitch!!!

  68. Just got back from the gym… I just tuned in and it’s Eric freaking Spoelstra and Pat Riley? And they’re talking NOW about how they’re building a new dynasty? WHAT?

    Where’s my summer league game? What the heck is happening here I feel like I’m taking crazy pills?

    EDIT: Has Riley always been THIS much of a blowhard, or is it just because this is the first time I’ve heard him speak for more than 30 seconds at a time since the ’80s?

  69. I think we’re all forgetting the most important signing of this offseason…

    San Antonio with 4 more years of Matt Bonner! With Brian Scalabrine on his way out of the league, we are in desperate need of goofy white centers to watch lumber up the floor and launch ridiculous looking threes. Thankfully, Bonner will be there to fill that void for years to come.

    The next most important signing still to come? Adam Morrison signing with the Heat for the minimum! That would be awesome. Nothing would be better than having Ammo be first man off the bench to replace Lebron.

  70. i’m a little irritated by the fisher situation. not because of fisher, really, but because it highlights a big flaw.

    fisher’s one of the few perimeter players who asserts himself and doesn’t defer to kobe. that’s one reason he’s valuable. without his leadership, i fear the rest of the lakers are just going to yield to kobe.

    a while back, i really wanted a guy like stephen jackson to share the backcourt with kobe, because he’s clearly not afraid or in love with him. i really wish another laker would step up, stand-up for himself, and defy kobe.

    i also would not be opposed to fisher leaving. in the long run, the lakers are better off having to emulate fisher, instead of depending on him.

    he’s been around forever, but he’s not going to be around forever.

  71. Splitter signing with the Spurs. That is a really good get for them. They now have to be considered competition.

  72. Caracter looked way more polished than I expected. Seems like, on draft night, there were only a few knocks on his talent, but most of it was off the court/work ethic issues.

    Ebanks can have good games offensively – he was very inconsistent at wv, but I was surprised at his subpar D. It may be a summer league thing, but thats really how he makes this roster.

    Fisher – can the heat offer him any more beyond vets min for 3 years? I would think Lake Show could match that easily. Its all those other teams with A LOT of money that worry, but if he wants to contend quickly, its a really small group. If he doesn’t want to uproot his family, the there is only one choice.

    Ammo – He would become the “ring-leader” of that group!

  73. Who is Splitter?

  74. Sasha could be damn useful and efficient. On offense, he just can’t over-dribble, ’cause that’s where everything breaks down for him.

    He’s not somebody who can put the ball on the floor. Has to move off-ball for the quick catch-and-pop, catch-one-dribble-pop, catch-and-dish, catch-one-dribble-dish. PERIOD. To reiterate, PERIODDD.

    We already know he can play great pesky defense with all that energy and hustle. The guy can be one of the best sharp shooters in the league. The Lakers already know he’s probably the best 3pt shooter on the team.

    It’s so damned obvious. NO fancy bull crap coming from him. If he keeps it plain and simple, it’ll reduce his retarded turnovers and increase his shooting efficiency. As byproducts of this simple play, he’ll have increased confidence in himself and from teammates which leads to more touches and more shots, which leads to defenses respecting his shot, which frees up teammates down low for easy dishes, which results in Laker championship #17.

    Somebody, PLEASE, explain this to Sasha and the Lakers organization! Seriously, PLEASE!

  75. didn’t fish come to LA for his daughter? what would it mean if he left LA because of money?

  76. His daughter is (from what I hear) okay now and no longer in need of regular treatment.

  77. barryg —

    It could mean that her condition is stable and much better now.

    Honestly though he’s almost definitely just using them for leverage against the Kupchak. They could really only pay him the min, and for a guy as senior as Derrick that’s still not going to be over 1.5 mil to start. Nobody would give him a 3 year deal at this stage, so at best that’s two years at 1.5 and 1.6m.

    I think our offer was probably about that just for year 1, so I’m not even sure what he hopes to gain here– if he’s deadset on playing for three years, he should just bargain again next year, we’re already offering basically as much as he can get in a multi year offer from the heat for just 1 year of service. We shouldn’t blink.

  78. 73. Tiago Splitter and Josh Childress were the two best players in Europe this past season. The Spurs picked him in the 1st round of the 2007 draft.

    74. I share the same sentiments about Sasha.

    And, brought over from the last thread:
    I agree with Woj. Let’s face it. The regent’s marketing team probably pushed this graphic for the show on ESPN:
    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/content/Image/07-08-2010/The-Decision.jpg

    If I had watched that show, I would have felt dirty.

  79. Why do we cherish sports competition? Because we cherish the sports heros in competitions where the stage is direct and transparent. This is why sports heros or superstars’ words carry more weight to our kids than that of politicians.

    What Miami did to get this trio together is outright tempering, and the deals were made under the table way before LeBron’s 1 hour show.

    Once LeBron and his circus of advisors took on this route of self-promotion at the expense of these Cavs fans’ support, the “King” had just made himself as cunning and deceptive as politicians. For that lack of integrity, he should never be considered a sports hero. He is still one of the best athlete of our time, but under that shell is an evil and selfish politician-like character.

    For Cavs fans, I really think they should gut their team, and give away their pieces that were built for LeBron to Magic and Celtics. Just send Jamison to pair with Dwight Howard, and make sure that cynical trio of politicians never get out of the Florida, let alone Eastern Conference.

    I feel so sorry for the Cavs fans, with all the support, the tickets they paid for making LeBron’s enormous wealth. They deserve at least a direct and honest answer.

  80. I caught ESPN News on MIA and the “big 3″. First, Wade uttered the words “greatest trio of all time”. Um, pretty sure that is not even close. Second, Lebron said it is all about family. Um, didn’t this guy just stab everyone in OH (his hometown) in the back with an hour long “show”? Then tried to hide behind his “charity” effort? Third, Bosh should just stop talking for a while. Unbelievable.

  81. Redick to the Bulls – they are going to be an interesting team next year.

  82. C’mon Fish, you got to do this right. Wouldn’t it be more fun to BEAT LeBron than to join him? Coop retired as a Laker, you should to.

  83. Did anyone catch the Laker summer league game earlier? Looking at the statline, Ebanks and Caracter looked really good. Can anyone give a more in-depth assessment as to how they played within the triangle and individually?

  84. wow. miami’s big 3 1st yr salaries start at around $14.5M–i believe that gives them enough capspace to sign 2 guys to $5M/yr deals.

  85. *AHEM* “WILL ALL THE VETERAN/ROLE PLAYERS THAT HAVE A DECENT GAME/CARE ON THE DEFENSIVE END PLEASE COME AND PLAY WITH THE HEAT (AMIDST A NEW COLLECTIVE BARGAIN AGREEMENT THAT WILL SURELY CUT ANY POTENTIAL CONTRACTS INTO A FRACTION OF WHAT IT IS NOW) FOR THE VETERAN’S MINIMUM”… *cricket*… *cricket*…

    So I suppose that ESPN will peg the Heat as the favorites to win it all… well sometime amidst the whole “he’s the best player of the game this week” and “he’s the best player of the game that week” and “they are surely gonna win the title: They beat the Lakers!”, people will realize (around game 3 of the NBA Finals) that size/matchups matter. Swarming defense matters. Specific types of players matter. What doesn’t matter is all the glitz and the glamor a team can condor up during the regular season. If that did matter, surely we would have NEVER won the title. What also doesn’t matter is what ESPN “sees” as opposed to real fans who watch their favorite team 4 times a week.

    So if we talk matchups and double teams and blah blah blah, we still have all the tools to cover each of the trio single handedly, something that NO OTHER TEAM can boast. We also run on a system that does not only cater to one player’s strengths, but each of the player’s strengths, drawing the most possible out of each player (well attempting to, anyway) that enables that player to matchup well against many different defenses. (except laughably against a zone). Oh and by the way, we have three athletic and skilled 7 footers, who can run the point and the break.

    So even though they literally have an Olympian’s roster, matchups and height are always key in the playoffs, so even contending with Magic/Celtics will be a task, unless they somehow convince Shaq that he’s a minimum type of guy. I’m still rooting for my Lakers any day not because I’m blinded, but versatility is truly at play here. Three HOFs and rooks won’t get it done, so unless they get some really good role players, they’re stuck.

  86. Yeah the fact that they were able to move beasley and didn’t use his 5 mil space to flesh out the last 500k for each of their maxes means they can actually say this is not about the money.

    They should have around 9.5 cap space right? Report was 5 years 30 mil for Miller, so assuming they went small to big, that means he’s gonna eat about 5.1m to start (going up to 7 in year 5). So they have 4.5 leftover. (Note: not a capologist, just jotting)

    … ok now I’m a tiny bit worried about Fisher and leverage. Normally I’d say that I don’t believe they’d offer 4m to Fisher, but who knows.

    EDIT: also, Orlando will almost definitely match on Reddick right?

  87. 82. is that confirmed?

  88. I cannot believe cleveland signed and traded lbj. That allowed the big three to get 6 year deals with max 10.5% increases, making it easy to take a 14.5 first year salary. Toronto made some sense, they recouped their own draft pick.

    Larry Coon is tweeting they have about 8 mil left over. They can sign Miller for half (probably get close to 30 mil for 5 years with raises) and one more for 4 mil, or two for 2 mil a piece. I am now officially worried about losing Fish.

    Brad Miller? Udonis Haslem? That should be enough, right? chalmers, wade, lbj, bosh, haslem, mike miller?

    This is pretty unbelievable.

  89. Nevermind. Never ever trust an amateur.

    Just look at larry coon’s twitter feed any time you want a definite answer:

    http://twitter.com/LarryCoon

    I’m getting a lot of questions on the Miami accounting. With big 3, $44,054,389 in committed contracts, $1,544,172 on James Jones’ guarantee
    …$1,060,120 on Anthony’s qualifying offer, $3,315,228 in roster charges, total is $49,973,909, leaving $8,070,091.

    So they have 8 mil. And just over 5 mil of that is going to Miller (if that is finalized).

  90. How dedicated is that…Ty Lawson playing summer league ball. That is legit. I respect the kid.

  91. Ok. Larry Coon reports Miller for 4.5, leaving them 3.8 mil for other signings above min players. Gotta use that for Haslem, right?

    Haslem + Chalmers > Joel Anthony + Fish

    Right?

  92. Maybe farmar to heat? will he take it in the behind?

  93. 87. where are you hearing Cleveland did an S&T for LBJ? It’s probably BS. I can’t see Dan Gilbert helping LBJ in ANY way after his rant last night.

  94. 82/kswagger: espn did a feature on the notable players from day 1 of summer league, and both caracter and ebanks received plaudits. there’s a little blurb on each player highlighting what they did to stand out.

  95. Jeff

    here’s the link from espn
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5368003

    But i’m not sure why dan gilbert would do it, despite the trade exception they get from lebron. But it looks like each player signed a six year deal.

  96. ROFL at Simmons twitter page:
    ———————————————
    They’re re-running it on ESPN News right now. Where is Jim Gray??? RT @mschmitty24: please tell me you saw the Heat celebration.
    about 3 hours ago via UberTwitter

    They should have had LeBron quit 2/3rds of the way through this Heat celebration – it could have been like the Boston series.
    about 2 hours ago via UberTwitter
    ———————————————

  97. Brian, ok, I went a bit overboard on Bosh a HOFer thing, but yeah I do think they’re pretty good. Wade and James alone can catapult the trio up there.

    It’s pretty amazing if the Cavs signed-and-traded him, I mean, granted that you can’t let him go for nothing, but what do the Heat offer in return?

    Still, it’s good times to be a Laker fan… a true ‘evil’ to fight against in addition to the Cs…

  98. looks like there is some Matt Barnes to LA chatter (espn rumors + apparently his twitter accounts) Thoughts? seems like a good fit no?

  99. from Truehoop on Caracter:

    David Thorpe on the Lakers’ second-round pick Derrick Caracter: “His nine fouls show how aggressively he moved around the floor. He looked like he was in good shape — very nimble and agile. He was composed around the basket with both his left and right hand, but he doesn’t have a plan in the post yet. Still, he played with great attentiveness and a willingness to share the ball. Botttom line: He looked like a first-rounder.”

  100. I mentioned in an earlier post that the LeBron news has overshadowed Pat Riley and what he’s doing.

    So far, he’s played this masterfully. He got these guys to sign and presumably take much less than they would have had they stayed with their own teams. Then he swung S&T deals with TOR and CLE (can you believe it!) so that he could give them more than they would have made w/o the S&T but less than the max deal.

    Now the Heat apparently have $9 mil or so to offer to other players. Supposedly $5 mil/year to Mike Miller with rest possibly going to DFish.

    If Riley swings this, the Heat will be a contender to win it next year and he will be the GM of the decade.

    I am impressed that he got CLE to agree to a S&T. He calculated correctly that the businessman in Gilbert and not the teenager would realize that getting something was better than nothing. Wow.

    I hate that team, but it is impressive what they are doing.

  101. Oh the Heat sent FOUR 1st round picks to the Cavs/TO from what I read earlier. That’s a lot of draft picks. Why even bother for the S&T’s? I guess the extra year but that’s a lot of picks, even if they are late first round.

    Anyhow, since Darius won’t say it, I will: Lebron is a clown. He’s a primadonna. He did quit on the Cavs in the last two games against Boston (at least in the 2nd half). And I figured out what he is all about (I’m sure everyone did): he doesn’t want to be Batman…he wants to be Robin. More power to him. He’s now Queen James (tho I never called him King James anyway).

  102. The fact that those guys took WAY under the max has me a little bit sick to my stomach. And of course they can do it because over the next year all three will get a TON of endorsements so the contract $$$ wont really matter. And if they win, the money won’t stop coming.
    So they can sign Miller/Haslem now. Thats a pretty formidable unit, and there are going to be offensive and defensive problems for every team in the league.

    Kind of makes me sad. I like a competitive league. Its not like the Lakers the last 2 years were really all that dominant (much to the chagrin of my fellow Laker fans), we really did have a below average bench and played pretty poorly in different stretches throughout both years.
    And, btw, Chicago is going to be able to shoot the ball like crazy next year, especially if they manage to get Reddick and Korver…
    I feel like the Lakers need to get younger and stronger very very very quickly, cuz as much as I love Kobe and Pau, and even Ron, nobody really understands how fast starting units are going to foul out while guarding Wade and Lebron…
    And I don’t buy the Orlando/Boston premise as being better teams at this point – Orlando has noone to throw at their 2 best guys. That would be a series of extreme mismatches. Nelson vs. Scrub PG and Howard vs. Bosh/Haslem, but also Lebron vs. who (Vince Carter?) and Wade vs. who (Reddick if they resign him)?
    For Boston, I don’t know, Paul Pierce does an admirable job on Lebron, but their plan was to basically make the OTHER players on Cleveland beat them. The same went for the Heat. How can they focus a D that forces away from Bron’s and Wade’s hand. That will be very interesting.
    Right now we have two guys that can sorta kinda put up a little resistance against Lebron/Wade, and 2 guys who can more or less wreak havoc on Bosh (but one of those two is always injured…). And remember, Artest got killed by Lebron last year in Cleveland (just didn’t have the speed to keep up), and Wade thrashed us both times he played us as well (I believe Kobe needed a game winner against that heat team, and it was a WOW shot..) We need two more long, quick wings on D, of the Tony Allen variety, to be able to defend a team like that or we just aren’t going to have enough bodies come the fourth quarter.

    The next few seasons are going to be very interesting, because the Miami heat have just become a Video Game cheat code team, and other teams are continuing to aid them in their development (see Minnesota/Beasley) and (sign and trade/Cleveland).

    There is one big issue though. Wade gets hurt…. a lot. If he gets hurt for an extended time and Lebron has to become the man, that is going to crush this so called “Chemistry” that they all believe they have.

  103. This is what I say- If Kobe, Fish, Pau, Lamar, Ron, Phil and the rest of the Lakers can beat this new “uber-team” then they will truly go down as the greatest team with the greatest run ever in my opinion. Over the years, starting with the acquisition of Kobe, Phil, Shaq, Fish, until present, this team has beat everyone that stood in their way over many years… The Spurs several times in their Duncan prime, Iverson’s Sixers, Reggie Miller’s Pacers, the Chris Webber Kings, those great Blazer teams with Rasheed Wallace & Sabonis, Pippen. Many incarnations of the Suns over the decade did not stand up. I could also recollect the Jason Kidd Nets, Yao Ming’s Rockets, Steve Nash on a couple teams, Novitzki, and so on… The Lakers are also 1 of 2 so far against the Celtics big 3. Over the decade, these Lakers have chased the likes of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, Jermaine O’neal, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Shawn Marion(but he’s now in W), & Brad Miller out to the East. Last year it was Shaq,… again! This year it was 5? time Alll-Star Amare Stoudamire and 2x star Carlos Boozer out eastward. Maybe others like Carmello will do the same and move East or team up with other All-Stars to escape the Lakers, and there are rumors of Chris Paul and Tony Parker circulating eastbound as well. The one and only team that has got over on the Lakers recently was the Piston team in ’04 that caused the premature break-up after the first 3-peat. But when they broke up too, LA has continued to torment their only 2 real remaining parts in Rasheed Wallace (Bos) & Chauncey Billups on Denver.

    The years when the Lakers were down and rebuilding (’05-’07), the Heat and Cavs were pretty good (without the Lakers around). The Cavs with Lebron made it to the Finals, but were swept by Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili’s Spurs. Wade did lead the Heat one year ’06 over the Mavs, but they were only good for Shaq’s last stand (where he was actually a benefit to the team for more then 5 minutes), where I will speculate that since the Mavs upset the Spurs and Suns, and the Mavs having no big-man to challenge Shaq, were out-sized, and really had no Finals experience themselves. The Shaqless Heat were swept out of the playoffs the following year. The Lakers, upon their revival the last couple of years have been able to prove themselves against these top West teams for 2 more championships, jumping over everyone in the West including those the Spurs, Suns and Mavs anually.

    In these last 10 or so years, the Lakers have never got their full chance to dance with either Wade or Lebron who are widely considered 2 of the top 3 players in the league during the Lakers runs this decade. The reason these “top two of three” did not get there “by themselves”, we have already witnessed over and over. What remains to be seen is who the true #1 of this so-called pack of 3. If history has shown us anything, I would put my faith in the guy and the team that has decidedly beat every other team in their way for the last 10 years. Will this tarnish Lebron or Wades legacy? That is yet to be determined, but one who’s resume it will certainly bolster is one Kobe Bryant as the leader and stand out of the proud Laker franchise, should they be able to continue their winning ways. As a side note, unless Shaq goes to a competitive team, this current Laker team will not be able to test themselves against their former teammate whom has yet to declare his current East coast bias. Oh, and remember, Riley is an ex-Laker too. I say BRING IT ON!!! When the Lakers win banner #17, they will be tied for the all time lead with Boston Celtics, Kobe will have 6, tying Jordan, and the so-called “top two of three”, despite teaming up, will not be able to stop the most powerful and relentless force in all of pro sports, that which is The Los Angeles Lakers. And yet, all of this will not even measure up to the imminent march toward #18 and the all time record…

    my tribute to Thiller Ron
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHiQnccuJpQ

  104. J.D. Hastings July 10, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I’ve seen people mention it, but one of the main big picture elements of the summer so far is a complete flip of conference dominance. This is based on speculation and there’s still a lot to play out but hear me out:

    In the East we know of the big 3 teams:

    1- Boston
    2- Miami
    3- Orlando

    (Until Miami proves they can instill an effective defensive system I put Boston ahead of them)

    But I believe Chicago in in the same tier. They have the coach to be a defensive force and a great anchor in Noah (though Boozer, Korver and Rose have a long way to go). Offensively they’ve added the shooter and low post scorer they’ve needed forever. They’ll need some breaks to beat the 3 ahead of them, but if you’re looking for a good long odd shot to make the finals, I think they’re the team.

    Then below those 4 teams you have (in no order):

    5- The Hawks. Same team as has been the consistent 4-5 spot for a few years. For better or worse they’re a veteran team now. And likely sinking among the rising competition.

    6- The Bucks: They were solid last year before Bogut went out (very underrated 2 way player- pray he never ends up on Miami) and STILL took Atlanta to 7 games behind Jennings and Salmons. They now have Jennings, Salmons, Maggette, Bogut and Drew Gooden. No, they won’t be winning any awards for passing, but they can get to the line and rebound well enough to compete and if they listen to Skyles, they’ll defend (similar to the Bulls, if you have a good defensive center and coach, the rest of the team can overachieve). This team could over or underachieve, but could easily overtake Atlanta if the playoffs are any indication.

    7- New York: Yes New York. Amare may be underwhelming as a defender and rebounder, but as we saw during D’Antoni’s phoenix days he can be effective in the right system. They just added Felton, who isn’t Steve Nash, but isn’t Duhon either. But the real catch is Anthony Randolph, Kelena Azebuike and our beloved Ronny Turiaf. I’ll let Kelly Dwyer explain: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/The-Knicks-trade-David-Lee-for-three-Golden-Stat?urn=nba,254883
    Are they a powerhouse? No. But they have a system and some solid players and they should still have some ability to develop (though like d’Antoni’s PHX team they won’t build through the draft). Side note- Barbosa should try to get himself over hear shouldnt he?

    8- As has happened in the West the last few seasons here’s a battleground. The Bobcats were in the playoffs last year but the 76ers, Wizards, Raptors and Pistons could take this spot based upon any number of variables swinging their way.

    Meanwhile in the West, Phoenix and Utah could still be playoff teams without Amare and Boozer, but 2-8 won’t be jostling nearly as hard as they’ve been the last few years. Instead there is a clear cut #1 (the Lakers), DEN, DAL and SAS hoping to they can overcome their limitations to beat the Lakers and POR and OKC as the up and comers. A healthy Chris Paul and whatever the Clippers, Kings, Warriors (longshot) and Grizzlies can muster up round out the top 8.

    To me it looks like the East has usurped the West and the Lakers’ main concern will be beating whoever they face in the final round. From that persepctive, the Lakers may end up the biggest winners from this summer…

    But things aren’t done playing out yet,,,

  105. Those of you who think, Fisher is actually going to go to Miami and now look down on Fish are idiots. He’s just going over there to get more leverage on his new contract, cash in an extra million, that’s all. Don’t be stupid.

  106. Wow I just can’t wait to watch our guys play (and hopefully beat) the Heat next season.

    Mostly because of Lebron. I got no problems whatsoever with Wade and Bosh. Well, except that Wade just called them the best trio to ever play basketball together and they haven’t even played a game, let alone won.

    I’m all for the Nazgul nickname.

  107. It seems like Cleveland got two 1st and two 2nd round picks and Toronto got two 1st round picks for doing the sign-and-trades.

  108. quick hitters:

    1. Heat going after Fisher. we need to sign him. we sign him, I’ll take my chances going into 2010-11

    2.Any guesses as to what the Christmas game’s gonna be?

    3. if Miami’s less than 39-2 at the break, Pat Riley takes over for Spoelstra. No doubt.

    4. Anybody doubting the importance of Lamar now is crazy. Our advantage over Miami in the finals is three 7 footers. Period. Bynum can be the difference…which leads me to…..

    5. any jokers who wanted to trade Bynum for bosh….they don’t play the same position!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we have to bet on Bynum, this was the smart non move no doubt.

    6.Kobe’s in the gym RIGHT NOW. PHil Jackson’s prepping for his final season. B Shaw will almost certainly be assigned Miami in his cluster of scouting assignments……Heat are the title favorites per Vegas, so a Lakers’ title would constitute an update as of now…..Let’s go. Now.

  109. David Thorpe on the Lakers’ second-round pick Derrick Caracter: “His nine fouls show how aggressively he moved around the floor. He looked like he was in good shape — very nimble and agile. He was composed around the basket with both his left and right hand, but he doesn’t have a plan in the post yet. Still, he played with great attentiveness and a willingness to share the ball. Botttom line: He looked like a first-rounder.”

  110. Anyone who bases their evaluations on what Las Vegas says about a trade/signing deserves to lose their money. That’s just a giant public opinion generator – they make their money on the vig between the bets.

    Miami is now like the Yankees, only with a salary cap to keep them from reloading themselves. They will win, but have no monopoly on each year – especially the 1st. Also, Riley has set it up so they will have to use their mid-level exception each year or have little new blood at all for the next 6yrs or so (can’t trade your 1st round pick every year).

  111. Ebanks and Caracter are locks to make the squad. I love Ebanks’ shots and slashing. Caracter, as a backup to the backup PF will be more than adequate. He looks like the type who can improve significantly.

    I liked my Penn boy Jaaber (they kept calling Jabbar, like Kareem…) He’s a poor man’s Devin Harris.

    DJ Strawberry may be an intriguing player. Good athleticism and speed, classic tweener. Just wish he was a better shooter.

    Gerald Green is done. His low BBALL IQ is astounding.

    I think the Lakers have some true lookers on this squad. For my money, I think Ebanks + Caracter are locks, and Strawberry and Jaaber may get invites. I know it’s one game, but I think the better players showed up.

  112. 101 Cdog —

    I gotta debunk something here: the new big three did NOT take major paycuts to sign extra guys. 2 mil less is about 14% off the max. To put it in perspective, they state/city income tax as millionaires in NYC would come to about 12.5% (and in California it’d be 10%).

    Now throw in the fact that they get 10% raises each year (because they did S&T’s instead of signing directly with Miami, which would have given them 8% raises). By year 2 they’re already all making clear more than they would have with NY (or the Clips or Nets), and by Year 3 they’re well ahead of what they would have made with the Bulls too!

    Summary: they took basically a 0 paycut relative to any state with a legit progressive income tax. This allows them to sign an extra couple above average guys.

  113. Isn’t there’s another angle here that’s not being talked about in terms of the CBA. Simmons (and posters here) have pointed out that many vets are going to decline to pay for the min when there’s sooooo much money available out there and the rules may change next year.

    But what about what Craig W alludes to: that Riley is going to have to us the MLE to keep adding quality pieces. …

    Am I crazy or, given how it’s allowed teams like the Lakers and Boston to go 30 mil over the cap and 20 mil over the luxury tax threshhold (and seriously, we’ve used it on guys like Walton)… is it possible that tools like the MLE won’t be available in their current form soon? This would mean you couldn’t give FA’s a big contract until you had their bird rights in hand, right?

    Basically… in year 1, let’s agree the Heat are going to face significant obstacles to fielding a good quality team (starters + 2 benchies). In year 2-5… it’s really too up in the air to say they’re going to have it so easy. Kind of would explain why they all have ETO’s after year 3.

  114. 113, that’s a great point, shaky. There’s a very good chance that the MLE will disappear in its entirety with the new CBA. Much like a corporation always goes after its middle-managers first when things go south, NBA teams will look to squeeze out the mid-level players first, because NBA stars will always make bajillions of dollars. And if the Heat don’t win it all next year, they may face a lockout, then have no way to add new talent (with half their draft picks being shipped out and the rest probably being in the latest portions of the first round).

    Now, if the CBA instead goes after max-salary players and ups the MLE instead, then the Heat will be dangerous for the next decade, barring injury.

    Needless to say, the next couple seasons just got a lot more intriguing.

  115. FWIW,Second-hand Gossip Dept:
    Suppsedly Fisher was told by his financial advisors he should spend no more than X on the house he’s building. But his wife went a little crazy and spent 3X on their new home.
    So Derek is looking for more money and yrs.
    Also was claimed Lakers had offered 3 yrs/7mil. I imagine that would be fairly easy for someone here to check.

  116. .. Yeesh we offered Fish 3 years?

    I’m more shocked by the duration than the amount (the amount per year is actually below what I would have expected, since I thought it was confirmed we offered more than 2.5).

    Giving your woman a blank check for rennovations is a disaster. For all your veteran savvy, this was a newlywed mistake, Fisher.

  117. “I don’t want to go ring chasing. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a champion.”

    -LeBron James, 2006

    (Source: http://i.imgur.com/yA35a.jpg)

    There was nothing wrong with LeCrab using free agency to change teams, but he should at least have the admit the truth up front. He’s a great mercenary basketball player, perhaps the greatest ever. Betraying your hometown team by lying to them from the outset and then dissing them with a massive live television audience and lying about the process the entire way is really bad mojo.

    Karma has a way of repaying old debts when one least expects it. As most everyone in the know is expecting a lockout in 2011 in anticipation of a new collective bargaining agreement to adjust player salaries to fit BRI, the piper may have to be paid much sooner than any of these men realize.

  118. Is this what we’ve come to? Talking about rumors on Fisher’s new house and unfounded reports of what contract was offered? ESPN Los Angeles reported in their story about Fish meeting with the Heat said that the reported figure of 2.5 for one year was wrong (implied the offer was for more – though it’s only implied), but at this point no one knows. No one. So why the speculation?

    This entire time Fisher said he was going to explore his options. Miami is showing interest and he should listen to their pitch. The Lakers can offer more than any other team and LA is his home. I think he returns and this process is just that – a process. Let’s not get all bent out of shape because he didn’t sign the day after the parade.

  119. The mid-level players in the NBA are the ones most frequently squeezed with the current CBA. The mid-level players make up the majority of the players covered by the CBA.

    Does anyone think that the mid-level player will organize any time soon and pressure the union to represent their interests better? If so the next CBA could be an interesting document — possibly saving the owners money at the expense of the rookies and top money earners.

    Something to keep in mind.

  120. If talking POTENTIAL earnings, it was the stars who got screwed the CBA before last with the maximum salaries, etc. Part of the reason Kobe was one of the few players to vote against it…

  121. I think some sort of MLE will be in place regardless. It was put in place because the vast majority of players were being squeezed out by top heavy stars and cheap rookies.

    I really think the main target will be the max contract and number of years. Something to protect the owners from themselves if a signing goes bad. Possibly some unguaranteed money the last couple of years or better way of opting out. The rank and file will fight to keep their share just like how the sliding scale vet minimum was put in place and league subsidizes it.

    Otherwise, it would be too easy for teams to just stock the back end of rosters with cheaper younger guys. That’s why I think there’s always going to be some version of a MLE.

  122. Inevitability there are good businessmen and bad businessmen. There is no contract that can save the owners from themselves. The only thing David Stern can really do is limit the damage to the entire league – does anyone remember Ted Stephien from the 70’s/80’s?

  123. let’s not start pegging Heat the best team yet or that the Lakers will have a hard time beating them. A lot of people made the same mistake last year around christmas and February saying that as it was constructed the Lakers had no chance of beating Cleveland or Orlando in the Finals. Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen. This isn’t the Olympics. The competition is going to be much more difficult. Also, this isn’t Boston’s big three. I see Boston’s big three complement each other more than the Heat’s big three. Then again, we don’t know what the system will run. Lebron is an amazing scorer, but he is also a great passer and I would love to see Riley/Spoelstra attempting to make him into magic’s role, big man point guard. As a basketball guy, I’m very excited and interested to see how they play out. Aren’t you? I mean, it could be the best team ever assembled, or it could be a train wreck.

    Watching Bosh last night, you can tell he is starving for attention. His speech? The made up nickname (Bosh Pit), the fake laughter of Lebron and Wade when they were giving him that nickname, and the fact that he is still not the headliner of a team. I mean, if he gets hurt by that, how will it be.

    This isn’t like Garnett and Allen who could find their role on Paul’s team. This seems extremely different from that.

    Also, I know it’s blasphemy to think about, but could you imagine Phil Jackson next year? After he gets his three peat, retiring from the Lakers then going… hmmm… triangle would work over there…. Thankfully, Riles will never hire him… but still… Also. Doc Rivers next year, another coach proven to handle 3 big time players. He wants to get back down to Florida to be closer to his kids.

    I know its a lot of looking down the road, but these were thoughts in my head.

  124. Darius, why are you so reasonable?

  125. Well I guess it needs to be said. I love fisher as much as anyone and always will. However just like last year with Ariza we should not overpay for him! If Miami offers more than what he should really be paid then Mitch should wish him well and go to plan B. This is exactly how teams get into trouble with the cap by getting overly attached to players and convincing themselves they can’t afford to lose them.

    Again I love fisher, always will, I hope he does resign. However he is not irreplaceable and there are other options out there especially if we go the S&T route with someone like farmer.

  126. 124, perspective and veteran blogging experience.

  127. #124. As Zephid implies, there are just too many sides to any story to get caught up getting too high or too low. Not to mention there actually has to be evidence and facts for there to be a reason to react. And then, the reaction needs to be measured by what’s possible and what’s not and what options can be explored to counteract the situation that’s developed. Honestly, I wasn’t always this calm/sane but over time these are the realizations I’ve come to. Plus, I’m a robot.

    #125. Jeremy, a S&T with Farmar is no longer an option after the Lakers renounced his rights. They no longer have his bird rights and could only offer him the rest of their MLE or the vet’s minimum. Farmar is as good as gone and the Lakers will have no say in any of it.

  128. On the Miami front. I really think this team is being way overrated right now. No question this is an impressive group of players. Riley did a great job and if I was a Heat fan I would be excited about the future. Will they be in the title hunt? Absolutely perhaps even favored but people & reporters (& yes they are sometimes different) are acting like we’ve never seen anything like this. Excuse me?

    Go back and look the Bird led Boston teams, or the show time Lakers or Michael – Pippen & Worm these teams had just as good and probably better superstars + great role players & coaching. And you know what they too were still beatable, they too had to work hard and play hard to win. And they did not win 7 championships or whatever crap is being floated today.

    Also please remember that this league is not static. It reacts. Remember what happened after the Gasol trade? There are a lot of owners, coaches and players who also want to win and are super competitive. Miami has raised the stakes and now other teams will respond in kind.

  129. Darius,

    Thanks for the correction. Still I stand by my original point that no one is irreplaceable and the Lakers have options. I’m just not going to freak out regardless of what happens.

  130. 124, yes, Darius is extremely reasonable. Thankfully, that somewhat offsets much of the knee-jerk reactions and master of panic attacks. We need more Dariuses here… and less Stan Van Gundys :)

  131. Good to see Buss at the Summer League game. I’ve felt like he has been much more engaged (at least more than he says in interviews) since the Odom negotiations. I definitely think some of the summer leaguers have a shot at the roster.

    We’re not that old of a team. Gasol just turned 30, Artest is 29, the role players are younger, Bynum should lead the team for years and years. I would expect Buss will put us in contention well past us taking the championship lead with 18 in 2 years.

  132. Craig W. Agree that any agreement can only limit the damage but not stop the owners completely. Still, a tweak in the back end of big long contracts would limit a lot of the damage that is hitting the league. Most clubs can begrudgingly deal with eating the first few years of a bad signing and working around it. Hedo’s for example. It’s the last two or three that makes it tough for Toronto to do anything with that contract.

    Ted’s impact? aka the “No consecutive 1st rounders can be traded” rule? LOL! Yeah, that’s the exact definition of limiting the damage.

  133. For us fan types who blow with the wind each and every hour…

    It is instructive to look at the Chicago Bulls and how they are reshaping their team. They made room to sign Labron and the ‘talking heads’ said, if they don’t get him these moves are going to look awfully bad. Now look…they signed Boozer before Lebron made his decision – deciding, correctly in my opinion, that he was a better fit in their system than Bosh whether or not Lebron signed…they signed Korver and have an offer out to J.J. Reddick.

    They drafted well and addressed their holes without trading out their key pieces. Now they are in a position to develop a good team under a great defensive coach. I would say their future is bright.

    The key is that they didn’t panic or react to circumstances by wildly swinging this way or that. The Laker organization is similar in its outlook. The key is to look at your situation and what you want, not to react to someone else’s decisions. This goes for Kobe, Ariza, Fisher and the future.

  134. chownoir,
    I expect just this sort of offer from the owners in the new CBA agreement – shorter contracts. I also think the owners allowing the cap to rise, but shrinking the distance between the cap and the luxury tax, plus perhaps changing some of the max targets to be a key demand.

  135. #129. Jeremy,
    I’d agree to a point. The truly transcendent players are damn near impossible to replace. Over time, teams can be rebuilt or other valuable players come along but next year Cleveland will be in a world of hurt without Lebron. Also, building a team is like cooking and certain players bring that special ingredient that will change the recipe up if they’re no longer included. It doesn’t mean the dish won’t taste good, but it will likely taste different. The Ariza/Artest swap is a perfect example of that. Both were major contributors that came up huge in specific instances that spurred a championship run. But both brought their specific skills to the team concept and it worked both ways. As Kobe said the before the season, the Lakers may not be “better” but they’d be “different”. So while technically, we could say that Artest effectively replaced Ariza, he didn’t do it through duplication of skills or style. And when looking at what Fisher brings, a lot of it is intangible. It’s leadership, presence, a counter balance to Kobe, poise, confidence, clutchness. Those are things that *are* difficult to replace because it’s hard to find those specific qualities in players. The things that Trevor/Artest provided were tangible, with Fisher not so much.

  136. darius: what the lakers did is decline his qualifying offer. that changed his status from restricted free agent to unrestricted free agent.

    players are renounced when a team needs to remove their caphold, so as to free up room to sign a free agent.

    the lakers could sign and trade farmar.

  137. Summer League Game no. 1-

    Ebanks-I like the fact that he is so comfortable in the triangle, moves well without the basketball gets to the spots in the triangle that suite his skill set. He is not a Trevor Ariza! TA plays above the rim in the paint, Ebanks is a slasher that plays below the rim effectively. His jumper is decent and should improve over the summer, if he hits the gym. Was very disappointed defensively, he is long but does not know how to utilize his length on the perimeter defensively! Does not have a good defensive stance out in the open, and does not recover to his man quickly once he sags in the paint. However, these are all things that he can work on in the next two years!

    Caracter is adept at scoring down low with either hand. A bit undersized but will definitely be an improvement over Powell, plus he has an upside. An okay defender in the paint with quick active feet. Also, has a nice jumper! Not much of a rebounder, yet and needs to drop a few pounds to reach optimum abilitites.

    Jaaber was impressive as a pg in the triangle, making the right assists at the right time. So he’s got a handle on the triangle and basketball IQ. No jumper, though–he could develop an adequate jumper, as Fisher came into this league lacking a jumper also. Never saw him drive to the hole, either.

    Strawberry was intriguing when I learned he was on the roster I was excited (LA player)! I lost track of him after Phoenix, actually thought he was still there. Athleticism and speed are top notch. Less than stellar though are his passing, defense and jump shot and the fact that he’s a tweener! The Lakers are desperately in need of young legs to develop. A core unit that can work together to someday contribute in games this year and for the next few years is of optimum importance for the future!

    I liked Kurz for his basketball IQ.

    The Lakers lost at the end of the game because Strawberry missed a driving layup that was makeable, lost his man on defense thereby giving up a baseline drive and one. Then he got a charge call late in the game (if memory serves me correctly).

    Nothing is a given in the NBA, that’s why 82 games are played for HCA. And then the playoffs and finals. No need to react to the newly loaded Heat until we face them and lose a game!

  138. oops. sorry for the double post.

    indiana is rumored to be interested in farmar. they also drafted two promising players in paul george and lance stephenson. if they want to develop them, that leaves little room for swingman brandon rush.

    and brandon rush is the kind of wing the lakers could use: good defensive tools + 3pt range. his salary is $2M this year, which is right around what a guy like farmar might expect to make, i figure.

  139. #136. Chibi,
    You’re correct, the Lakers did not submit a qualifying offer. Renouncing is a different animal. However, I’m looking into to this further. I want to find out if the Lakers still have Farmar’s Bird Rights after he’s become an UFA. If they do, a S&T is not only possible, but could be likely. If they don’t, a S&T is unlikely as all the Lakers could offer Farmar is a minimum contract and he doesn’t want that. This is what I was referencing earlier.

  140. LeBron was a UFA and was signed and traded…

  141. Billk,
    But the Lakers didn’t offer a qualifying offer to Farmar and that forced his free agency. Lebron was a UFA because his contract actually ended. That “triggering” that the Lakers had with Farmar is what I’m seeking clarification on. Does that equal a “renouncing”? I can’t find language on it.

  142. Re Miami’s roster situation: I think this is different from the Boston situation in two ways. On the one hand, the sheer talent is greater – Garnett was obviously a class above Bosh but Wade and LeBron are 2 of the top 3 wing players in the league – you couldn’t say that about Pierce or Allen at any point in their careers. On the other hand, there is a lot more duplication of skills at play here: Wade and LeBron are very similar in terms of style, strengths, and weaknesses; the fact that Bosh also favours isolation plays makes things even more complicated. By contrast, with Boston’s troika you had a lot of key areas covered: one-on-one scoring, outside shooting, ballhandling, passing, post defense, rebounding, etc.

    With LeBron and Wade starting on the wings, Miami is already at a deficit in terms of outside shooting. The same can be said of their post D with Bosh at PF. It’s an open question whether either LeBron or Wade can relinquish their gambling styles to play the type of solid contain defense you need against the likes of Kobe, Pierce, and Carmelo.

    My point is that there are a lot of key championship elements that are not covered by the talents of Wade, LeBron, or Bosh. Where are they going to find those players when most of the top free agents are off the table? Mike Miller would be a helpful addition but if he shares the floor with LeBron and Wade then someone is playing out of position. I would also be particularly concerned about how they will defend in the playoffs with say, Shaq or Big Z as their center backed up by Joel Anthony.

    Again, I’m certainly intrigued as to how they pull it off, but filling out their roster with the role players needed to win a title will be a major challenge. I’d be shocked (and extremely impressed) if they gelled Boston-style and came out of the East in their first year together.

  143. You can sign and trade even a renounced player…

  144. It’s too early to say how good the Heat will be next season. They have too many roster holes to be filled, and how those holes are rounded out will determine how well they finish next summer. At the moment they’ve got a huge hole in the middle and that would be a huge concern if I were a Miami fan. You’re not going to beat Boston from the perimeter, and there’s always Dwight Howard to deal with. And then the presumed matchip with Pau and Bynum and Odom after that.

    Also, if Fish went there it would surprise me. Money issues aside, he’s far more valuable to L.A. than anyone else, for myriad reasons. What would he bring to Miami? They don’t need a ballhandler with Wade and LeBron on the floor, and they could do much better in finding a spot-up shooter than Fish at this point.

    He’s clutch in the playoffs, yes, but if they’re looking to spend millions for Fish to lead that team when it matters, then they’ve really got to question why they’re paying those other three guys $300+ million.

    Lastly, that “arguably the greatest trio” comment at the rally was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. 21 seasons in the league for those three guys and they’ve got two Finals appearances and one ring between them. STFU.

  145. this is quoted from Q#19 from cap guru larry coon’s faq:

    “There is one more limit to the maximum salary that can be given using the Larry Bird exception. If the player was a first round draft pick, just completed the third year of his rookie scale contract, and his team did not invoke its team option for the fourth season (see question number 42), then this exception cannot be used to re-sign him to a salary greater than he would have received had the team exercised its option. In other words, teams can’t decline an option year in order to get around the salary scale and give the player more money.”

    so, from what i gather, farmar only loses his bird rights if the lakers attempt to give him a new contract starting at $2.8M+.

    since the lakers are over the cap, they couldn’t give a contract greater than $2.8M.

    so, if the lakers do sign-and-trade farmar, the contract *must* start at $2.8M.

  146. Darius,

    From Hoopsworld:

    “Steve Kyler – 06/30/2010 7:50pm EST-

    The L.A. Lakers have opted not to give Jordan Farmar a Qualifying Offer, making him an unrestricted free agent tomorrow.

    The Lakers would have had to issues a $2.84 million Offer Sheet to gain the right to match any offers Jordan received on the open market.

    Sources close to the situation in L.A. said that Jordan has been talking about leaving the Lakers for most of the season and often quipped that teams “would be lining up to sign him” in free agency.

    It seems the Lakers are going to allow that to happen.

    The Lakers will still retain Farmar’s “Bird Rights” and still could sign him to a new deal if they opted to, they are simply not guaranteeing $2.84 million for next season.”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16647

  147. oops. sorry. the last line of my last post should read, “the contract must start below $2.8M”

  148. Chris J.

    I was thinking something similar today especially with their great trio claims. Why is everyone so concerned about who they sign? If this really is the greatest trio EVER, as they have said, it shouldn’t even matter.

    Come Playoff Time, if Mike Miller gets hurt before the first round, is everyone going to say “They’d be the favorites with Mike Miller!” I doubt it will make a difference. If depth is that important, then Wade and Bosh could have went to Chicago. For them, its about stars, its about those three, plain and simple.

  149. Simple solution to defending the Miami Heat: zone defense. That’s how the foreign teams snuffed out Team USA in 2002, 2004, and 2006 before Kobe got there. Make Wade, Bosh, and the regent beat you from the outside. Take away the pick and roll. And on offense, pound the ball down low, taking high percentage shots, to limit the Heat’s transition opportunities.

  150. Here’s how I view a NBA team (generally speaking). A successful team, like a successful corporation, has clear demarcations of hiearchy and order. You have the CEO, then other high level execs (CFO, COO, etc.). Below that rung are the VPs, and below them, lower level execs, then managers/supervisors, and then the ordinary “foot soldier” employees. (sorry for all the MBAs out there, but indulge me for a second).

    The Miami Heat are attempting to create what I believe is an intrinsically unsustainable corporate model. They have three CEOs (maybe more like two CEOs), who basically state that on any given night, they would sublimate their “CEO” title to whomever is ‘hot.’ They basically fired everyone, and are attempting to backfill positions. However, they are trying to fill in the VPs and lower-level execs with the salary of an entry level worker, while demanding the output of a VP.

    So even looking at it from this basic viewpoint, you have too many CEOs, and you have grumbling VPs being paid entry-level salaries. You have entry-level workers being paid accordingly, but that has to foster some resentment from the VP level players. If the Heat can somehow make this work out, wow! Also interesting is the fact that all three players have an option out in the 4th year of their contract…

  151. A new post is up. Some thoughts on game one of the Summer League.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/07/10/summer-league-thoughts-game-1/

  152. 151. I hope Fisher was on a spying expedition to Miami. Alternatively, I hope Fisher whispered in Lebron’s ear “I think you should be the leader of the team, not Wade…you’re way better than him and this should be James County…”

  153. to all.

    If for some reason Fisher does decide to leave for Miami can we please please not rip him to shreds? The guy is a stud, a sports hero and has given us as many sports moments of joy as anyone. If he does, he does it won’t be the end of the world and it doesn’t take away anything he did as a Laker.

    That being said – please God no!

  154. If Fish goes to Miami, I look forward to reading daily posts from Aaron about how they can’t win with the 55th ranked point guard in the NBA.

  155. >>>If Fish goes to Miami, I look forward to reading daily posts from Aaron about how they can’t win with the 55th ranked point guard in the NBA.

    zing!:)

  156. Fisher would be a back up behind Chalmers in Miami. So you wouldn’t be reading that post from me ever.

  157. FormerNBA fan July 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I refused to watch the “It’s all about me..Labron” show. Charity or not, I won’t watch crap like that. I hope the Lakers 3-Peat! How can 3 guys that last year handled the ball 60% of the time for thier teams gel?? Would love to see it fail……this can’t be good for the NBA. you would never see the true NBA professionals like Magic, Bird or Jordan even attempt to pull something like this off. It’s time to watch College ball!

  158. Oops!
    Aaron – It appears Miami is offering Fisher the STARTING job at about 2M/Yr and 2Yrs.