Talking Chris Paul

Phillip Barnett —  July 22, 2010

January 20, 2010: Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the Memphis Grizzlies during an NBA game in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

Where to start with Chris Paul is tough because there are several ways to look at the potential of bringing in one of the best point guards of the last decade to the two time defending champions. Before getting into the ramifications of what it would mean to bring a talent like Paul to the Lakers, I think it’s important to understand the situation that the Hornets are currently in.

Chris Paul, as most star athletes do, wants to play for a contender – and he wants to sooner rather than later. As of right now, the team is built around Paul with David West as his number 2, some young talent (Darren Collison and Marcus Thorton), and a coupe of really bad contracts (Peja Stojakovic and Emeka Okafor). This team is hardly a championship contending basketball team. As reported by Ken Berger, Chris Paul will demand a trade if the Hornets can’t put together a championship caliber basketball team. With the young talent that the Hornets likely won’t want to move and the contracts that will be extremely hard to move if they tried, it doesn’t look like Paul’s wish for a contender in NOLA will be likely. This is a team that reached its peak in 2008 when they finished first in the Southwest Division and got knocked out in the second round by the Spurs in seven games. As Kelly Dwyer put it:

CP3 signed his extension in 2008 soon after the New Orleans Hornets gave the defending champion San Antonio Spurs all they could handle before losing in the second round of the playoffs. With David West screening and Chris Paul rolling, the team seemed poise to break through to the next level by anyone who wasn’t really paying attention. But really, this was the best the Hornets were ever going to get as presently constructed.

Why?

Because you have to look at this roster. All of the main components of the team’s rotation played in upwards of games in the high 70s. Including Paul (who missed 18 games the year before that), Peja Stojakovic (who missed 69 games the season before), and the perpetually fragile Tyson Chandler. The rest of the contributors, including Peja? Already sliding or about to hit the first downslide in the descent from their respective primes. Bonzi Wells, Bobby Jackson, Jannero Pargo — all men we’d already seen the absolute best from.

And yet, Paul signed the contract extension.

Why?

Because the Hornets were a good team the year before, and players like money. They talk themselves into believing their current situation is better than it is, because the money is better with an incumbent team than it would be with a squad you’d have to jump to, so they talk themselves into thinking that Peja Stojakovic (who had just turned 31) was a proper third wheel on a championship team. That things were going nowhere but up.

So now New Orleans is faced with the impossible task of turning their current roster into a title contending team or they’ll be faced with moving their superstar and re-beginning their rebuilding process, which may make more sense for the franchise in the end. With this current roster, the Hornets will be stuck in a limbo between early playoff exits and mid-round draft picks – not a place any team wants to be in a never-ending quest to get better. This almost ensures that Paul will be leaving in 2012 when his contract ends, putting them in the same rebuilding dilemma that they’d be facing now, except they’ll get no return for him because he’ll be taking his talents elsewhere as one of the most coveted free agents of that particular summer. As TrueHoop’s Henry Abbot writes:

A more pragmatic reality is that Hornets are a middling team who, league sources say, have been calling around looking to dump salaries. There are a lot of different stories you can use to rally your fanbase — good ones include: we’re young and growing, we’re fun to watch, or we’re contenders.

A less compelling story: We’re on the playoff bubble, and likely to stay there. In other words, it’s entirely possible they won’t be exciting in the playoffs nor the draft.

There have traditionally been two ways out of that purgatory: To go cheap, by trading away big contracts and amassing draft picks and cap space, or to go expensive — like the Celtics did — by bringing on expensive players in their prime.

It does not seem likely that the Hornets are about to go the expensive route.

Which means that, as a business, they’ll have a sales job to do. The ownership needs to sell the ticket-buying public, sponsors, even coaches and players, on the idea that they have a real plan in place.

The whole pitch becomes nearly impossible if the eye of the storm — the one superstar in the building — is on record as not wanting to be there.

However, Chris Paul still has two years left on his contract, so a move might not happen at all. Paul doesn’t have much leverage with so much time left on his contract – and he is a superstar, something sports franchises don’t like to move, especially in the primes of their respective careers. And over here at Forum Blue and Gold, we have seen this kind of situation before. In the summer of 2007, the Lakers were placed in a similar position when Kobe Bryant was demanding a contender or a trade out of Los Angeles. That summer, the Lakers essentially did nothing. They didn’t make any major moves to contend and they didn’t move Bryant. From the keys of Kurt Helin:

The Hornets do not have to give in. They should not give in. There are not other Chris Paul’s out there, the Hornets need to try to build around him, not move him.

Certainly Paul and Kobe’s situations are different. Don’t confuse the rudderless ship that is Hornets ownership and management right now with the proven winner Jerry Buss at the top and a patient Mitch Kupchak at the wheel. Kobe did not see the big picture (and nobody saw the Pau Gasol trade coming). Paul doesn’t see the big picture, but nobody does. We’re not even sure who will own the team when the season starts.

Hugh Webber’s rush to fill in the vacuum of power does not instill confidence.

The Hornets can rebuild — this is the last year of Peja Stojakovic’s oversized deal, he is a trade chip. David West is still good. Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton show promise. There are pieces there. Things can improve.

But things will not get better without Paul. Trade him and you start to rebuild from the ground up. New Orleans shouldn’t do that. Not until they have to.

Now, considering all of that, I find it highly unlikely that Paul would become a Laker. There would be too many names involved in a trade for the young stud at the point guard position and could potentially break up some key pieces to the three time Western Conference Champions and two time NBA Champions. It is believed that, if a trade between the Lakers were to happen, both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, along with maybe one other Laker (maybe Sasha Vujacic or Luke Walton) would be sent to NOLA for Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor’s horrendous contract. In an e-mail exchange with Darius, he had this to say on Paul potentially coming to Los Angeles:

The prospect of getting Paul is one that needs to be looked at from many angles if you’re the Lakers – and that’s not the case with other teams.  If you’re Orlando or the Knicks, wanting to acquire Paul is a no brainer.  He’d instantly become their best player (or maybe tied with Dwight if sent to the Magic) and he’d be the leader with the ball in his hands on nearly every possession.

In LA that wouldn’t necessarily be the case and the Lakers would be dismantling a championship team to acquire a player that really isn’t needed right now, in the short term.  This isn’t to say that Paul couldn’t make a difference – he’s one of the best players in the NBA and if not for injury concerns he’d easily be the best PG in the league (but as it stands now I think he’s still in competition with Deron Williams for that fictional title).  So, yes he’d help.  But how much would he help?  Kobe is a ball dominant guard.  In order to get Paul the Lakers would surely have to give up Bynum and potentially Odom in a deal that includes Okafor.  And if that’s the deal, the Lakers give up the the thing (besides Kobe) that makes your team special (versatile size) to get a player that who plays a position that may not even be maximized considering the other personnel that remains (Kobe) and the system the Lakers run.  In essence, I see the allure and whenever you can acquire the best player in a trade it’s definitely worth looking hard at.  But, this is still a team game and getting the pieces that fit together to make the strongest team is what matters most.

The flip side to this argument – and something that I can easily see as well – is that as this Lakers’ team and the league evolves, a team with a dynamic point guard that is flanked by Kobe, Gasol, and Artest is theoretically one of the best in the league still.  When you look at Kobe, his game is moving more toward one that is more effective in the post than on the perimeter and Gasol is a player whose game is so versatile that he’s comfortable in nearly every spot on the floor out to the three point line.  So, when looked at any potential acquisition of Chris Paul from this angle, the Lakers would have a team whose post game revolves around the exploits of Gasol and Kobe and whose perimeter players would be Chris Paul, Artest, and Kobe (as he slides in between the post and the wing based off the motion of the offense).  If Odom is in the mix over Okafor, this formula looks even better as the Lakers would still have the most versatile team in the league with “do it all” size and two of the top 5-6 players in the league when healthy.  However if Okafor is in the deal that changes some things…”

Darius presented us with some of the positives and negatives of a deal like this, and as I mentioned this morning and Darius just two paragraphs ago, this really takes away from the size that the Lakers have used to dominate the Western Conference and even the rest of the league. Yes, a Paul-Kobe-Artest-Gasol-Okafor lineup would be a formidable one, but it isn’t as menacing without the likes of Andrew Bynum, who is heads and heels above Okafor as far as offensive capabilities go. A healthy Bynum can go out and put up 20 and 10 on any given night while Okafor will go out and get you only 60 percent of that production. The Lakers are better served keeping their roster in tact and adding one or two more minor pieces to the team.

It was reported earlier that Matt Barnes will consider signing a one-year, 1.7 million dollar deal with the Lakers if the Cavaliers don’t raise their three-year, $3.5 million offer for the wing. Adding guys like Barnes make more sense than breaking up a team that has an opportunity to win its third straight NBA title.

Phillip Barnett

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145 responses to Talking Chris Paul

  1. Considering the fact that Darius and I have talked rumors in this post, feel free to open up dialogue about trades and/or Lakers/NBA rumors. If they are posted in this thread, they will not be edited — but please keep them here.

    Thanks

  2. I hate to squash trade speculation… but we don’t know what the Hornets would want from the LAKERS. We are guessing Andrew Bynum because he is the Lakers most talented young player… but who says the Hornets would want his big contract? They might be more interested in the expiring contracts of Lamar Odom (team option) and Sasha as a team that has been wanting to cut costs in such a small market.

    ***********************************************
    Re: Theo Ratcliff

    Theo Ratkliff will be joining the Lakers barring a physical that he just took this morning in Inglewood.

  3. You mean Theo Ratliff? as opposed to Ratclif/Ratkliff???

  4. Starting to suck being a small market NBA team.

  5. Funky Chicken July 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    If there is even the remotest chance of the Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for Chris Paul, I would hope that prospect gets squashed very quickly. A front line of Bynum and Gasol is precisely what makes the Lakers the most formidable team in the league.

    Giving up one of the two seven-footers to acquire even a fantastic talent like Paul would be a huge mistake in my estimation. For all of his brilliance, Chris Paul requires the ball in his hands–as in all the time. That is hardly a recipe for success on a Laker team with Kobe and Pau.

    Simply put, Bynum for Paul would convert the Lakers from having perhaps the worst starting PG among playoff teams to the having the best, all while reducing their chances in the playoffs and making them vulnerable to teams (like Boston…) who have size. Had the Lakers lost this year, I could understand the desire to shake things up, but this is the two-time defending champions we are talking about, and you NEVER trade a young center for a young guard….

  6. Brought Over From The Previous Post:

    When the Chris Paul ‘Power Play’ was first announced, it Shocked me to find out that one of the Teams that he was Pushing to be Traded to was our Lakers (along with the Knicks & Magic). My reasoning was for the fact that he recently hired Lebron’s ‘Management Team’, led by Maverick Carter, to work with him in some type of capacity (not clear if it’s as his Agent or just Managerial). Being that he’s now being Advised by ‘Bron’s ‘Team’, I concluded that there’s No Way in Hell that they would ‘Allow/Persuade’ him to Force a Trade to the Lakers. I came to this conclusion because, IMO, one of the Main Reasons why ‘Bron decided to ‘Robin’ himself (along with Bosh) and join Wade down in Miami, was for the Purpose of Stopping Kobe from getting So Far away in ‘The Rings’ Department. He feels that if Kobe goes on ahead & wins another 1 or 2 ‘Chips (before he gets his first), Kobe would be Out of Reach & he (’Bron) wouldn’t be able to catch/let alone, surpass him. Remember that during the 1 hour ‘Ego Massage’, one of the Host (I can’t recall if it was Wilbon or Stu Scott) asked ‘Bron if there was any Truth to the Rumor that he (’Bron) told Confidants that he wanted to Put Together a Team that could Immediately Defeat the Lakers. Of course ‘Bron denied it, but with that being said, why would ‘Bron’s ‘Team’ basically go against the grain & support a movement of Paul to L.A.? That would be Defeating the Purpose of having ‘Bron head down to Miami. Correct? So now, this morning, it’s being reported (by ‘Bron’s Media Caddy nonetheless, Chris Broussard) that the initial report was incorrect, but only in regards to the Teams that Paul would like to be shipped to. As stated earlier, the original teams were N.Y., Orlando or L.A. Now the Blazers and Mavericks have been added, but take a Guess @ which Team has been deleted. If your guess was our Lakers, you happen to be 100% Correct. Hmm, I wonder why?

  7. Okafor and Bynum on offense are pretty much a wash. Okafor averages 13 and 10 a game; Bynum has produced about 14 and 8 a game over the past three years. However, as someone else brought up, Okafor has played 82 games for three straight seasons. Bynum has played 35, 50, and 65 games in the past three seasons, not to mention missing the 2008 playoffs entirely and playing hurt throughout the entire 2009 and 2010 playoffs.

    As Phillip says, Bynum is much more a defensive presence than Okafor, which I would agree with, but it’s more like comparing a B student with an A student.

    Okafor has never played in the playoffs, but it’s tough to believe his production would be worse than Andrew’s 7 and 5 averages in his playoff career. Again, like almost everything involving Bynum, it comes down to this value calculation.

    Bynum has some sort of probability that he will be hurt during the playoffs, and it will hinder his production to a certain level if he is hurt: Using whatever utility function you wish, is it worth it to keep Bynum on the hope that he will be healthy, or is it better to take the safer, albeit slightly worse option in Okafor?

    For me, if we give up Bynum, Sasha, and Walton for Okafor and Paul, I’m all for that. But if we have to give up both Bynum and Odom, then I say no way.

    And I think we should give up on the pipe dream that NO will take just Odom and Sasha for Paul; their new GM will be fired in his first month on the job if he accepts that.

  8. Mihms the word July 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    The Matt Barnes link isn’t working…

  9. Zephid, I was going to say the exact same thing. If we can just give up Bynum and two other players like Luke and Sash for Paul and Okafor I am ALL for it. Trading Bynum would hurt but realistically the Lakers have been to the finals the past 3 years and won 2 of those titles without the help of Bynum. Odom is the real key here, losing him would be the one way I wouldn’t do this trade. With Bynum there is no guarantee he will ever be healthy and play a full season year after year as bad as his knees are and to get the best PG in the league who can create for others as well as give an aging Kobe a break offensively, why not roll the dice. Odom is the key player on the Lakers team, we all know when he starts he gives the team a more fluid offensive team and a solid defensive team as well. Bynum isn’t untouchable, I like the kid but we are talking about getting the best PG in the league for the next 10 years. DO IT MITCH, but just dont include Odom in any trade.

  10. While the number of games each guy has played definitely hurts ‘Drew’s case, I still don’t think ‘Drew is anywhere near as limited offensively as Okafor is. Drew averaged 15 and 8 sharing touches and boards with Kobe and Pau. With Pau gone, Bynum averaged 20 and 11.5 in October and an 18-10 line while working Pau back into the line up. In the 07-08 season, Bynum was averaging nearly 17 ppg and over 12 rpg before he was injured. The only thing that has been able to stop his development as an offensive player has been injuries. I try not to get caught too much in the “what ifs” of sports, but if Bynum wasn’t so injury prone, I think its fair to say that his offensive productivity could be rivaling Dwight Howard’s right now. Bynum is still improving, showing us something new every year while Okafor has seemed to reach his peak as an offensive player a long time ago.

  11. Mihms,

    Sorry about that and thanks for pointing it out. The link is working now.

  12. Co sign with Zephid: I loved the way Drew gutted it out, but right now statistically it’s a wash between Mek and Drew. Now if someone could throw out adjusted +/- and DRtg,I’d be all ears.and Mek’s a decent shot blocker and rebounder. addendum Paul’s a much better 3 point shooter than people give him credit for. Look if the argument for Drew is post Kobe centerpiece then I’d much rather take my chances with Cp3 over Drew.

  13. @Phil: But with status quo Drew could at best hope to be 2B on offense. And for all his soft touch around the hoop, Drew’s primary role has been bringing the nastiness and protecting the hoop. Mek should provide a reasonable facsimile of Drew’s defensive presence. Paul, is one of the best rebounding guards (not just PGs) in the Lig and a certified defensive whiz. I’m a lot more interested in this trade cos the upshot might be getting to watch one of the greatest defensive teams of all time, rivaling the 91 Bulls and 69 Celtics

  14. Darius or Phillip –

    Who do you think would be better for the Lakers to sign. Shannon or Matt Barnes? I love ShanWow, but he has proven time and time again that he is not a point guard and his D has definitely gone way downhill since he first joined our squad. As for Barnes, I like his toughness and rebounding ability at the SF spot, and he has been know to make the open 3…but look up the word Journeyman in the dictionary and there he is. So my question is, who would you rather have on the team?

    And there is no way that Chris Paul is coming to the Lakers. I would only make that trade if it meant keeping Lamar or Bynum, if it costs trading 2 of our 3 bigs then I’d have to say no to it.

  15. I hope the Matt barnes rumor is true. He is definitely an upgrade compared to shannon brown as far as shooting and defense, and certainly at a better price. Signing him will provide more minutes for Sasha which may increase his trade value. Now only if the Lakers could find a taker for luke walton ( the worst contract given to any Laker in the last 15 years)…..maybe Minnesota since he is very familiar with the triangle and can mentor their young players?????

  16. Chris Paul being represented by LRMR would be like letting a fox in the henhouse if you’re the Lakers…in my opinion.

  17. Actually Lakers could take Paul+Okafor by giving back only Bynum (plus Vujacic plus Morrison or Mbenga in s’n’t). The numbers fit.

    And while replacing Bynum with Okafor isn’t great, Paul is one of the most productive players in the whole NBA. And Lakers need some additions to have better chances with Miami. Heat were scarry with Big 3 plus scrubs, but they’ve signed some very good role players. They are favourites, not Lakers, no matters what Wade is saying.

    There is another thing: healthy Blazers plus Paul are scarry too.

    So I’d do Paul+Okafor for Bynum+bodies in a second. Paul+Okafor for Bynum+Odom? Ehmm… That’s another story.

  18. I don’t think the Lakers have the assets to make this happen – but then most teams really don’t have much to offer right now.

    Bynum would have to be the cornerstone, and he is still 1 week away from knee surgery. So NO wouldn’t consider that for awhile, until he has proven he is okay in rehab. The point of NO dumping Okafor is that he has a horrible contract – why would they take back Walton?

    And the whole Okafor/Bynum thing is getting ridiculous. Check out Okafor’s stats as a Center: http://www.82games.com/0910/09NOH15.HTM

    Not shocking because Bynum has a solid 4 inches on Okafor. So if this trade is going to be worth it, its really about Chris Paul. Let’s forget the 4 years and 52 million still owed to Okafor.

  19. TNT’s David Aldridge just tweeted this on Theo Ratliff:

    @daldridgetnt Lakers planning 2 address likely loss of Josh Powell 2 ATL by signing veteran bigTheo Ratliff for one year, $1.3M. Story up soon on NBA.com.

  20. Tried Bynum + Sasha and Luke for Okafor and Paul and the numbers add up.
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

  21. thisisweaksauce July 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    What do you guys think of Theo Ratliff? Would you rather have him or Kurt Thomas? What are their respective strengths and weaknesses?

  22. I think Nj has the best offer:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

    They can add Derrick Favors to that on Aug 15th. Favors, Harris, Terrence Williams, and Courtney Lee for Paul and Okafor!

    NJ would still have Morrow, Outlaw, Lopez. If they can find a way to keep Lee (by throwing in Damion Jones instead), that’s a great offer for NO.

  23. It appears to me that Lakers fans overrate Bynum and Odom in that we’ve grown accustomed to supporting both players for so many years.

    Bynum is a dead weight in the playoffs. For what he’s paid, his contributions are far from value due to his inevitable injuries. He’s obviously better than Okafor, but Okafor may prove more serviceable come June, simply by default that his knees will not likely be the size of an inflated fun house.

    Odom brings much needed versatility to the front line, but Chris Paul will bring more to the table than Odom ever will. Yes, the Lakers front line is weakened with the departure of Odom, but the perimeter of CP3 and Kobe just becomes the most feared in the league, with Okafor and Gasol being more than adequate in the middle.

    Giving up both Odom and Bynum (plus Sasha likely) will hurt the Lakers bench, but I think the starting lineup is much more improved with CP3, Kobe, Artest, Gasol and Okafor holding the fort for the most minutes come playoff time.

  24. okafor is terrible. he has the body of a power forward with the skills of an offensively limited center. he’s not quick enough to hang with 4s and not big enough to hang with 5s.

  25. yall forget that paul cameback early from a major knee surgery during the season. when he was back he wasnt excatly the same paul from before

  26. Wow…Aaron was right about Theo Ratcliff…Ratkliff…or whatever his name is…haha. Kudos!

  27. Theo Ratliff?? Really? That guy is still in the NBA?

    …why should we pay him 1.3 a year when we can get Mbenga back for that or less? Or at least go for Kurt Thomas over Ratliff…

  28. Theo is a much better player than DJ. He is a solid back up Center.

  29. Now that Lakers signed Ratliff and Barnes is leaning towards signing with the Lakers and assumming we sign both our 2nd rounders. That’s 13 players signed. Do we still attempt to sign ShanWOW???

  30. 27. Theo is still a very capable player. Averaged 1.24 bpg in only 16 minutes last year. He will defend the rim (not so much the paint b/c he’s a little slight of frame and has a high center of gravity).

    He’s much longer than Kurt Thomas, but I’m sure LA tried its best to get Thomas, and Ratliff was the only reasonable offer out there. I bet you Thomas settles for more than the veteran’s minimum.

    He can step right in to play 10-15 minutes if/when Bynum gets hurt, and he’s a consummate pro. Love DJ but he played like a kid who was let loose after being locked in a box for 5 days. Good pickup and much respect to Aaron for the call. Wait, is Aaron really Mitch K.????

  31. 12, I never said Okafor and Bynum was a wash. I think Bynum is a much, much better player, offensively and defensively. But Bynum has not been effective in the playoffs the last two seasons, and I think a healthy Okafor is better than an injured Bynum.

    18, those are some pretty damning numbers for Okafor as a C. I’ll admit I haven’t watched Okafor that much, maybe 3 games a year, but -3.7 net PER is really bad. Although, he was playing for the Hornets, and they weren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut last year.

    Anywho, this all doesn’t matter because Paul isn’t coming to the Lakers.

  32. Again we are throwing statistics around like they explain the worth of an individual, especially a center. Bynum is clearly 1+ steps above Okafor.
    1) Statistical measures
    2) Each year his injury days have decreased
    3) Watch the games – he simply changes the game in the middle of the floor

    All this means we will alter more shots and get more rebounds with Bynum in the game – regardless who gets them.

    The down low game is where championships are won. The Lakers have many of these and they also have a history of having some of the best centers ever to play the game; as do the Boston Celtics, incidentally.

    Point guards have more highlights on ESPN, but they are responsible for fewer championship games – even with today’s changed game flow. I think we have to distinguish between the regular season and the playoffs for these comparisons.

    Be careful of what you ask for. We just might get the best regular season record, but go out in the conference championship round.

  33. Do lakers still go after ShanWow even tho Barnes is leaning towards signing with the lakers??

  34. once again chris paul major knee surgery

  35. 31

    I’d rather have Barnes for 2 reasons: he’s a better defender, and he can play the 3.

  36. 31/Joseph: I don’t believe Barnes is going to take less money. That would be pretty irrational, especially with a lockout looming. If i’m the Lakers, i keep the lines of communication open.

  37. DY (30),
    I cannot confirm nor deny those reports ;)

    Kidding aside my childhood friend and current roommate is a sports manager/agent. He mostly has football players over to the house but he does handle some basketball players. So occasionally I share some inside information. Last weekend JCritt was over at our place. Actually it was last Thursday.

  38. @33

    Agreed. Barnes is better than Brown, but it doesn’t seem likely he’s coming to the Lakers. I hope I’m wrong though!

    Theo to me seems like the only realistic player to dress in purple and gold this fall. And he’ll be a decent addition to the end of the bench.

  39. Theo Ratliff??? John Salley wasn’t available?

  40. 35. (Aaron)…and what did you talk about with Critt? Wall Street reform? 17th century English rap music? The Greek economic situation? Twilight?

  41. I’ve just been assuming Shannon hasn’t re-signed yet so the Lakers can make some UFA signings like Barnes and/or Ratliff without impacting the cap. I certainly haven’t heard any rumors of interest from other teams. The contract is probably written, but it’s reasonable to assume they’re holding off signing it until the rest of the roster is filled out.

  42. Did a double take when I first saw this on ESPN.com

    “Source: Bryant, Dallas agree to $11.8M contract”

    Draft pick Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys.

    I need to get some other hobbies.

  43. 30. I stand corrected. The net +/- diff between Mek and Bynum is too vast to write off as an anomaly. Are we signing Theo for the Vet min? AS in is the vet min 1.3 mill?

  44. DY,

    I don’t like giving too much personal info on these guys… but I will say that when JCritt was over at my place it was just him and my roommate and 4 girls. And they made enough noise where the cops showed up and asked them to keep it down at 4 am.

  45. Theo Ratliff WAS an excellent shot-blocker but recently, seems to be ALWAYS injured! A few decent games with the Bobcats and he gets a deal from the Lakers???? There was no one better, younger??? If not, why not sign someone from the D-league and pay 480,000 instead of 1.3??
    You might as well flush 1.3 million down the toilet, or better yer, 2.6 million with the luxury tax. The lakers need to get YOUNGER not older! Sometimes, I just can’t believe the decision making of the management.

  46. Some of you guys are REALLY overrating Chris Paul. Question: How many speedy, penetrating PGs can be found in the West? You are looking at Paul, Williams, Parker, Westbrook, Lawson, and I’ll throw Evans in there. And I may be missing someone. Now, how many effective, true seven foot front lines can be found in the West? Just one, ours.

    The point is Bynum is no Kareem or Shaq. But he helps give the Lakers a look no other team in the West has. That is why they just went through four rounds against teams with speedy PGs (but no 7ft front lines) and still prevailed. And Okafor is underwhelming to say the least. He is small for his position and slow. The distinct advantage the Lakers have would be gone with Emeka. Even a hobbled Bynum was a handful for Perkins base on his sheer size alone.

    But some of you can keep being in love with Chris Paul. At least Deron Williams has excelled in a structured offensive system. The Hornets have basically given Paul free reign with the ball. Their offense is basically set multiple screens to get him moving and wait for him to pass you the ball. Is there any guarantee he would even excel in the very structured system LA runs?

  47. I co-sign with those emphasizing Bynun’s injury risks. He contributed nothing to two of our three recent playoff runs, and was a limited role player last year. Expecting january Drew to appear in june is misguided. He simply isn’t bult for 100 game seasons. Sad, but true. As such, he’s overpaid and okafor would be a more than adequate replacement for a playoff run. A big body to grab rebounds and play defense. It then boils down to odom vs. paul, and the answer is clear. One is a solid, versatile role player, the other is a top 5 superstar who addresses our weakest position and extends our title windo by several years. We could find an odom replacement down the road through trade or the midlevel. Someone like paul will never again be available during kobe’ window.

  48. lakers dont need chris paul. let him go to orlando.

  49. Theo Ratliff was a terrible signing. They could’ve saved 600,000(luxury tax) on resigning Congo Cash.

    As for the Chris Paul, I agree with Zephid. If lakers can get Okafor/Paul for Bynum/Walton/Sasha they have to do it. Yes, Bynum is talented and I’m a huge Bynum fan, but the lakers have Pau Gasol and Okafor will be perfect strong body to bang with guys like Howard and Perkins. Okafor is a good rebounder and defender and he’ll be willing to do all the dirty work. The lakers have basically been to 3 finals without Bynum making an impact. If the lakers are willing to give up Bynum, Paul to the lakers is the most probable from a player standpoint because I don’t think any other team would be willing to take back Okafor’s contract and the lakers would need to take it because they’ll need a center.

    Chris Brussard is reporting that Paul doesn’t want to go to the lakers but I don’t trust him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul in Laker uniform, but I’ll definitely understand if the lakers stand pat with what they have.

  50. @Radmd

    There simply isn’t a backup center worth picking up out there that the Lakers can afford, other than Kurt Thomas, who’s likely to get more than the vet’s minimum. And a backup center is a need for the Lakers with Powell gone and Bynum likely to get injured. I see Theo as a slight upgrade over DJ, even though Theo is older than father time.

    I doubt we’ll see much playing time from Theo anyways, and he should invest in a nice suit and seat warmer. I would also like him to grow a mustache to fill Morrison’s void.

    Considering the Lakers used their veteran’s minimum to sign Theo, and still has $1.7 mil left from the MLE for a new signing… this is where they could possibly invest in a young talent if Barnes doesn’t work out?… likely re-signing Brown with that money.

  51. I think the Lakers can get it done with this deal:

    CP3 and Okafor for Bynum, Vujacic, Walton, Ebanks and/or Caracter and 2 First Round picks.

    NO receive a young stud, 1 or 2 young, high potential/ low salaried players, cap relief via expiring contract and lower priced contract and draft picks.

    LAL receive the best PG and still allow Gasol to play at PF. Lakers can still keep intact their versatility in the line-up without giving up too many of the core players.

    LAL roster would be:

    PG: CP3, Fisher and Blake

    SG: Kobe and (wing player-to-be-signed? or Blake can fill-in)

    SF: Artest and (Barnes? or Odom can fill-in)

    PF: Gasol and Odom

    C: Okafor and (Ratliff? or Big player-to-be-signed?)

    This is nice.

    Feedbacks?

  52. To me, the Triangle offense does not require a star point guard so Fisher and Blake are more than capable of carrying the team to another championship…

    The problem with Bynum is his health… He’s had way too many injuries and can’t play a season without being sidelined…

    So how about this Trade Involving 3 teams!!!

    Lakers, Hornets and Magic:

    Magic get: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Character and Sasha.

    Hornets get: Bynum, Brandon Bass, Vince Carter, Shannon Brown/Luke Walton + a few draft picks

    Then Lakers get… Dwight Howard, Stojakovic + a rookie or another average player…

  53. I know we’ve had some highlight videos of Kobe lately but I thought I’d switch the theme around and post possibly the funniest thing you could see Kobe do.

    Absolutely Classic!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgTO0OCh3zw&feature=PlayList&p=A93A151D649CDDB7&playnext=1&index=14

  54. Ratliff is a competitor and will be a plus. A very good pick-up. Mbenga was an incredible physical specimen, but he was prone to fouls and lacked a sense of how to play the game. Ratliff is a proven big man; he’ll rebound, block, defend and score some put-backs. I think he will fit in perfectly.

    You can never have enough big men.

    Mitch is assembling a team where all the pieces fit.

  55. Only good thing about the Ratliff signing is that he’s a vet who can step in for 5 minutes every couple games and not embarrass himself. Hell, he may even block some shots since that’s about all he can do these days…and I’m sure Mitch and Buss like that he signed for the vet min which means the league will pay half his salary. So he basically costs us 650k plus the luxury tax.

    Still bummed that DJ is officially gone now…

  56. We signed Barnes.

  57. Kev Y,
    They don’t have to use the MLE on Brown since they have partial Bird rights.

  58. Dunk Specialist July 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Really, everyone would take the worse player because of the chance that Drew might get hurt. The difference in a game between an elite team like the Lakers and a average team like the Hornets is pretty small. The reason the Hornets are so average is because they don’t have another really good piece, but instead have Okafor. Remember when Chandler was healthy they were a second round team that was barely in the WCF. The next year Chandler gets hurt. Then they trade Chandler for Okafor thinking it was better to get a guy just about as good but that is durable. Yeah how did that work out.

    Plus do people forget that centers peak at 27-30. Bynum will get a lot better. And as another counter, the whole injury prone thing is a little misleading. Drew is getting hurt because his body is breaking down from being too heavy (Like Yao). It is getting hurt from people falling into his knees. The injury for the playoffs was from LAST year. And not getting it cleaned up because the Lakers and Bynum’s doctors thought the tear was too small. Yeah Bynum may miss a few games for something minor like his foot injury at the end of the year but that happens to 90% of big men. Gasol missed time at the beginning. Bosh missed at the end of the season. Boozer, Amare, Etc all miss time. Only Dwight plays every game. I am sorry there is no way I would trade Bynum this year. Not even for the best PG in the league (and I think Paul is amazing).

    Lastly and sorry for the length of this post, You change the team so much by adding Paul and Okafor. The triangle would not be used during half the plays as Paul is a Pick and Roll guard. The team right now is comfortable playing it’s game (well except for Artest and hopefully he can get it this year).

  59. wow. i underestimated Barnes. he decided to go for the ring instead of the money.

    Lakers are getting tremendous value at that price. what a bargain.

    kupchak puts the finishing touches on one of the best off-seasons in recent laker history, right?

    ebanks. caracter. blake. fish. ratliff. barnes. incredible!!!

  60. Dunk Specialist July 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Ok I have one more point to make, if we are playing the Heat in the finals, the best way to beat them would be with size. Both James and Wade drive the ball alot and twin towers are important towards making them less effective. On the other end, the Heat only have Bosh as a good big (Haslem is only 6’8 and not bothering Gasol). If you take away Bynum and that advantage you are really hurting yourself. Bynum would help put Wade, James, Miller etc in foul trouble because Big Z isn’t even slowing him down. But Paul would be guarded by Wade so you wouldn’t have teh advantage you normally would with Paul (though CP3 isn’t being stopped by anyone and I could see him getting layups on their bigs). Still a healthy and IMPROVED Bynum (and the improved is a promise, healthy not as much) is dominating the Heat.

  61. According to the report on Yahoo, it looks as if Barnes will be signing the contract by Friday. 2 yrs for 3.6 Mil ($1.7 million next season and a player option for $1.9 million in 2011-12). Might be time for another post Darius & Crew, based on Theo & Barnes.

  62. DY,
    Literally 10 minutes after I wrote that… Montario Hardesty, the rookie RB of the Browns, just walked in my door. Haha.

    And if we did sign Barnes what a steal that is. He can guard 1’s, 2’s, or 3’s., he can shoot and handle the ball. Great back up player. He played starters minutes on a very good and deep Orlando team last year.

  63. I thought Barnes wasn’t making his decision until tomorrow?

  64. Looks like we go our gaurd/sf and our back up center we needed. I dont think well get anyone else unless maybe they resign shannon. I read mitch wanted 14 men this year so maybe one more guard but I think barnes can fill in on sf and sg behind kobe. so there isn’t much need for brown.

    Fish/Blake
    Kobe/Barnes/Sasha
    Artest/Walton/Ebanks
    Gasol/LO/Caracter
    Bynum/Ratliff

    Im happy with this offseason!

  65. here’s a very thorough evaluation of matt barnes from the intelligent guys over at
    http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com/2010/6/1/1494535/evaluating-matt-barnes

  66. Now that Barnes is officially signing with the Lakers, that is 13 players under contract assuming both 2nd rounders are signed. Do we still go after Shannon to add more depth at guard?

  67. I’m kinda iffy on any trade involving CP3.

    I’m not so sure if he’s a good fit in the locker room, with his personality and all, as well as our system, except…

    our system will probably need a shakeover once Phil retires, and we do need to think of going forward.

    A core of CP3 and Pau Gasol alone would be quite promising, and whatever Kobe has left will be more than formidable. Then we have guys like Artest to provide us some defense, and a center or power foward (depending on how long or small we want to go) with some defensive inclinations won’t hurt us.

  68. Holding my breath to see if the Barnes report is true.

    If it is – I think Barnes will thrive in the triangle. He is the kind of active player the triangle was designed for.

    It gives us one tough team. Really tough in the best sense of the word.

  69. I dont like the idea of trading Bynum for Paul. Although I see Chris being the better player, Im not too confident hes the right player for our team. The triangle has never really required a pass first PG, rather just a big guard that can hit shots from the perimeter. If the Lakers are willing to get Paul, I think they have to find a way to do so w/o gettng rid of Bynum which sounds unlikely. Odom, Sasha, draft picks is the only way they can get this done & i dont see that happening at all.

    I really get the feeling that with LeBrons move to Miami affected Chris’s decision to want to leave. Its a shame to even see great players to quit on their teams…I hope Paul stays..if not somehow get him to wear the Purple & Gold.

  70. our roster is most likely complete. im gonna miss shannonns electrifying dunks. i wish him well wherever he lands

  71. So is there any hope for Shannon to remain in LA? The depth of our team would be ridiculous with him but I see why he’d want to bounce and why LA would be hesitant to keep him for $3m+.

    I’d still like to see a young, “athletic” shooting guard off the bench. Maybe a Strawberry for the minimum?

  72. Before you guys completely tear down the Theo signing, I just want to remind you that Celtics fans were saying the same things about P.J. Brown going into the 07-08 season (his 15th in the NBA). He was old, slow and merely a fraction of the player he once was. He only played 18 games that season, and 11 mpg when he did play — but came up HUGE in that post season and retired a champion. Don’t under estimate these veterans who have had very serviceable careers and are in one last stint to get a ring before they leave the league. I guarantee you if he’s still around come the post season, he will come up with at least one game changing play that will help put the Lakers over the hump. The savvy vets always do. Always.

  73. It’s nice to know Matt Barnes wasn’t using LA as leverage like Bell. Of course many of us Laker fans couldn’t stand him last season, but now that he’s a Laker, he’ll be much appreciated.

    Lakers have completely changed the culture of this team from 08. With the additions of Artest, Barnes, Blake and hell even Theo, the Laker are now a get in your face lock down slug it out team.

    Despite the stuff surrounding CP3, I’m very happy with the direction the lakers are going heading into next season.

  74. @57

    I also visioned CP3 with Gasol as the core for the immediate future when Kobe starts to decline. Also with Phil retiring and a new coach looming who may not adopt the triangle, CP3 is an ideal player to run the offense.

    The price to pay to get Paul is ofcourse Odom AND Bynum, as New Orleans trading for Bynum/Sasha/Walton as some suggested is a lopsided recipe for getting fired as GM, unless your last name is Kaaahhhhhnnn (!!!). But I would even give this only a 2% chance, as New Orleans is likely to trade with a team that can take both Okafor’s and Posey’s terrible contracts… which Lakers can’t absorb.

    @55 & 60

    I’m also happy with the subtle improvements this summer by the Lakers. Mitch did well.

  75. I wonder if Shannon now regrets opting out of his contract. Free agent dollars are drying up and he may end up taking a deal for less than he would have made without opting out. As with Odom last year and Fisher this year I think the Lakers will avoid bidding against themselves for his services.

  76. Seems as if Barnes was headed to around 3 or 4 different Teams this off-season, so until he actually Signs on the Dotted Line, I’ll put my comments on the Back-burner.

  77. Bringing in CP3 now at the expense of losing Bynum would be a disaster to the Lakers’ three-peat ambitions. If it were NBA 2K11 or NBA Live ’11 , I would jump on it easily. but to tell you all out there, a ball-handling PG in Phil’s system would NEVER work! (just look at the Gary Payton experiment in 2004). These PG’s are so used to initiating everything on the offense, and they feel so lost when they don’t have the ball in their hands 80% of the time. It’s like bringing a fish out of the water. Another case in point is Jordan Farmar. That’s the reason he would dribble away the shotclock most times… that’s just how he is and most traditional PG’s. They are so used to the team or the play revolving around them. Maybe if Phil didn’t return and they had a different coach, maybe CP3 would work. But not on this team… not right now. I could also argue that CP3’s presence would take away the ball from Kobe’s hands to be the focal point of the offense, and we won’t be seeing Lamar grab the rebound and immediately start the fastbreak.

  78. 61, you should read that Orlando Pinstriped Post evaluation of Matt Barnes’ play, because it’s pretty clear that he can’t shoot and has no handle. He’s a career 32% three point shooter and he has the highest turnover rate of any SF playing 25+ minutes a game.

    One of the main reasons Boston beat Orlando is because they didn’t have to guard Barnes. He’s going to be an offensive liability, probably moreso than Ron Artest was in the playoffs.

    That being said, I like him because he’s a competitor and he’ll probably do other things like rebound and play good defense, plus his price is cheap and that’s good for a backup that’s only likely to see 10-15 minutes a game and probably less in the playoffs. Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise me and have a great season, but it’s troubling that his worst defensive performances came against the pick and roll, which is only the most common play in basketball.

  79. The Orlando article recapping Barnes is solid. To me, the glaring weakness in that write-up was his turnover problem. Similar to what we had in Shannon/Jordan, I hope he isn’t the one to fail on the entry passes this year. He does have a little more height, hopefully that helps.

    I’m waiting to be converted. Don’t like his attitude, but let’s see if he can make me a believer.

  80. I’m also slightly iffy about Barnes. Yeah, I like his skill set, and the toughness he can bring to the team. But signing him means no more Brown. Who then would be the slashing speedy threat on this team now? Blake? Fisher? Sasha? Barnes? they are all more comfortable spotting up. I mean, we all can’t have 48 minutes of half-court sets… right?! That leaves the team with Kobe (who is starting to shoot more jumpers) and Lamar as the only REAL penetrators and slashing threats.

    Ratliff is an ok signing. Again, to those who say “just sign a d-league player for 480k”, its not that simple. this team is very much set on everything and roster spots 9-12 are very much ‘on a need basis’, and what we need for the 4th big is an insurance, not a unproven youngster. someone who Phil knows can provide quality minutes even if he hasn’t played for 3-4 games straight and won’t complain about it. Yet, be able to also play 20mins per game if one of our bigs goes down to injury. Those are guys like Thomas, Ratliff, and Joe Smith. Consumate professionals who will not grumble or complain about fluctuating playing time

  81. ESPN finally announces the Barnes agreement.

    If they don’t break the story, it doesn’t exist.

    Sports Leader, my ###

  82. 79, Zephid: You Must have me confused with someone else because my comment (#61) didn’t mention anything about whether I approved or disapproved of the eventual signing of Barnes. All I did was state the Length & Value of the Contract, according 2 the report.

  83. Orlando as a whole did not take care of the ball very well. If the ball isn’t in Jameer Nelson’s hands, there’s really nobody else skilled enough to create for themselves or others out on the perimeter.

    As a Laker, Barnes is going to be surrounded by better ballhandlers and playmakers. He did well for himself playing off the notoriously turnover prone Dwight Howard. He will be more productive and efficient playing off premiere passing big man Pau Gasol.

    And he’s a guy long enough to pass into the post without much trouble. Finally, our 2nd unit should be able to *consistently* run the offense, establish a rhythm, make the opposition take the ball out more frequently, and cut down on transition baskets.

  84. Didnt think it was going to happen, Matt Barnes has fell out of the sky and landed in LA. With a second lineup of Odom, Barnes and Blake I am confident that LA will be putting alot more teams away and keeping Kobe and Gasol minutes down compared to the last two years. LA’s bench and point guard play(not just Fish) were it’s weakest links. Mitch has went out and assembled a veteran group to hold the fort down, I must give him props. Chances of retaining the crown is looking ooh so sweet. Three golf claps for a job well done this offseason Mitch, bring them Three Blind Mice in Miami to LA and see how they run.

  85. Guys, let’s remember that we signed this guy for $1.77m/year. Think about that for a second. He was offered $9m/2 years by Toronto, and $7m/2 years by Clev. We got him for a fraction of that price.

    Also, he’s going to inject a great deal of toughness and hustle into the second unit. Can’t say that Farmar, Brown, or Walton can be classified as bringing “toughness.” Also, these guys really failed on the defensive end and did not (except Luke) initiate the offense. That will be changed this year with Blake and Barnes. And think about this, we got Blake AND Barnes for basically what Toronto was offering to Barnes, and for a little more than what Darko got in Minnesota. Think about that last one for a second and smile at the bargains we got this summer. Plus, I think Caracter and Ebanks will be effective contributors a few years from now, and should have their moments next year. A+ to Mitch and Buss.

  86. Kevin Ding at the OC Register Lakers Blog remarked that the payroll for the upcoming season is already more than it was for last season. So Jerry Buss has been willing to spend.

    I wonder when Phil Jackson will officially be signed.

  87. Odom, Blake, Ratliff, Barnes, Caracter, Ebanks – looks like a significant improvement on the bench from last season’s group. Add a healthy Walton (any word on his back?) and they will be a potentially exceptional bench.

  88. Depth Chart time!

    PG: Fisher, Blake, Vujacic
    SG: Kobe, Vujacic, Blake, Barnes, Artest
    SF: Artest, Barnes, Walton, Ebanks, Kobe, Vujacic, LO
    PF: Pau, LO, Caracter, Ratliff, Artest
    C: Bynum, Pau, Ratliff

    Looks full to me. Shannon would only be a luxury at this point; so if Sasha is playing bad we could give the team a different look with Brown or vice versa.

    On a side note: Maybe Walton will retire if we offer him a lengthy assistant coaching job or head coach of our D-League. Joking… but seriously, we really don’t need him! On the other hand, I hope Sasha can contribute as our backup sg or we may need to put guys out of position more than they may like. (Blake at sg or Barnes at sg.)

  89. Philip,
    Is it possible to see a list of the strings that put a post into “awaiting moderation”? Or is it just random? Asume (with the additional S) seems to do it, which I guess I can understand, sort of. But most of the time there is nothing remotely offensive, which is somewhat irritating.

  90. Didn’t know Barnes was a doctor, thanks us for our “patients” on his twitter. Geez….

    That said, never could stand the guy as an opponent, but he does bring a certain swagger. If he can guard some high profile wings and knock down the occasional trey, he”ll earn his stripes. Effort is not his problem, good on the offensive boards.

    I too fear 48 minutes of set offense, and 3’s taken with 1 second on the clock. If this is the end of Shannon as a Laker, thanks for the memories Shan-wow, you’re a class act.

  91. Nice to see Barnes come back to LA. Great off season addition. Way to go Mitch!

  92. We lost one bruin (Farmar) and gained another one in Barnes. If Barnes leaves down the road, do we pick up Collison?

  93. 90, a lot of times it’s linked to your IP. Some IP’s just trigger the spam filter more often.

  94. The Machine no like this signing of Matt Barnes.

    Machine need minutes this season to get big paycheck to spend on lovey, Maria.

  95. kurt thomas to da bulls, says chicago scribe sam smith.

  96. Looks like we’ll be seeing if Lebron or Wade flinch with our new weapon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4QJfiHGh6s&feature=related

  97. The Lakers second unit should be much improved. Hopefully Kobe’s, Fisher’s and Gasol’s minutes will be reduced next season. The roster has been upgraded for another run at the title.

    It looks as if Shannon Brown may not be back unless the Lakers carry 14 on the roster

  98. The hope I hold onto vis a vis beating Miami is thatbthey can’t match up inside with the Lakers. Bosh is on record as saying he does not want to guard centers, and he will have to at least guard Gasol, who will definitely be in center mode. That leaves ‘Drew to go to town on Z and Magloire. Artest and Kobe will have their hands full with The Prince and Wade, and now Barnes gets Miller. Still, does any other team have a better chance of defending those guys? I think we have the best wings to defend them, and look what is waiting for them if they do get past their men!
    So breaking that up is a steep price even for Paul. But will we have another shot at that kind of talent?
    In the end, if you get a break and can swing it with Odom, spare parts and draft picks, you have to do it. Not likely though. I think our big move to compete long term with the Threevildoers (since everyone is making up stupid nicknames for these guys) will have to come later.

  99. Lakers, unlike the past 2 years, look to have very good depth. Very good, actually.

    Lakers now have 10 players who are apt offensively AND defensively.

    All of the bench players know how to play smart at both ends- Blake, Barnes, Walton, Odom and Ratliff (I exclude Vujacic but he isn’t too terrible either).

    They had the reputation for being a deep team the past 2 years without actually being one, but this time around, the word “deep” seem to fit.

    Cannot wait until the season starts.

  100. Barnes for the rest of our midlevel is great, considering it looks like we were priced out of Kurt Thomas… Ratliff as the vet min consolation prize, I can live with that. Great signings in tandem.

    I can’t emphasize enough how much I don’t want to give up Bynum for Paul. Okafor isn’t enough of a replacement, he’s really just not big enough. Bynum + Gasol is what has put us over the top, and considering we still haven’t seen Drew in a postseason at even 80% that’s saying a lot.

    And one last thing: people that think kobe’s going to let his minutes dip significantly… don’t hold your breath unless it’s the first night of a back to back.

  101. Barnes is a good move strategically, but I can’t stand the dude. Oh well, if he helps win a few games I guess I’ll get over it.

  102. There is one more benefit that nobody is talking about – Phil Jackson.

    Next year is likely to be much easier on Phil, because he can…
    1) Teach veteran players, not rookies, the triangle, and
    2) With a 2nd unit that doesn’t give up leads, but, hopefully, widens them, he will be able to rest his starters more

    With a more rested Phil he might opt to stay one more year because…the following year is likely to be shortened by a lockout and he wouldn’t have to coach 82 regular season games – the very thing that aggravates his health the most.

    Now that would be a real present.

  103. The lockout is likely next season, right? So that helps veteran teams like ours… and probably hurts young teams in need of building chemistry… like the Heat.

    For that reason alone I don’t think the Heat are coming out of the east. I harbor no ill will towards LeBron, but if he fails Kobe-puppet for the third time and not meet in the finals… wow…

  104. I love the signing of Matt Barnes. He’s the type of guy you hate when he’s on the other team (Magic), but would love to have on yours. I think there wouldn’t be too much of a drop in toughness/defense when artest sits and Barnes can hit corner 3s.

    While we have great depth on paper, I really want to see what all of these changes will mean for the triangle offense. Last year, we only had to bring in Artest, this year, its Blake, Barnes, Ebanks, Caracter, Ratliff. Thats the entire Taco Unit.

    So I want training camp to start now!!

  105. The lockout – when it occurs/not if – will be after the next season is over. It may start when free agency starts, on 1 July 2011, or later. However, the owners probably don’t want to spend money on free agents before they get their CBA agreed upon.

    Since this is likely to get ugly, I would expect the lockout to extend into the season. That is why I think Phil might rethink his retirement decision. If the season is shortened Phil’s body would take less of a beating before the playoffs start. The playoffs are much easier on his old, creaking bones. Of course I am older than Phil, so I can talk about such things.

  106. If I remember correctly, Ratliff doesn’t have much of a jumpshot, does he? I think that’s where Kurt Thomas or PJ Brown differ from him; don’t underestimate that midrange game. Those players can come in, and because they’re not paid too much attention defensively, can change games with 3-4 jumpers in a row. Ratliff, from what I remember, is a shot-blocker and little else. I’m sure Mitch tried to get Thomas and couldn’t get a deal done, so I guess this was the next best option. And as a 5th big man, a decent signing overall. I guess the disappointment just comes from people expecting Thomas to sign.

    Barnes can be valuable, especially if he hits the 3 more consistently. I remember early in the season Magic fans were irate at his awful 3-point shooting. I don’t think it improved much over the course of the season, 32% for the season. If he can bring that up to 37-38%, a huge steal.

    I believe Mitch always thinks ahead. He’s proactive, not reactive. Last year he signed Artest with the expectation of facing stronger wings (esp. Pierce). I think Mitch may be looking ahead to Miami, if they should reach the Finals. Barnes, Kobe, and Artest give us an extremely versatile perimeter defensive vise to unleash on Miller, Wade, and Lebron. I loved Shannon Brown since college and was ecstatic when he came here, but he wouldn’t match up well against that team. I still hope a deal can get done, but I expect Shannon to look elsewhere – he knows that minutes will be scarce now in LA.

    All in all, a good offseason. A great offseason, actually, when many (myself included) thought Buss wouldn’t authorize any big moves. Mitch did the best that he could with the limitations he had, and I’m pleased overall.

  107. Warren Wee Lim July 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Lockout question: what happens to the players’ contracts if and when this happens?

    Until nothing gets resolved I assume no checks will be issued? How does teams recover from that?

  108. Just read the OPP post, and it reinforced what I felt about Barnes. It was interesting that he shot 36% from 3 while in the starting lineup, but it might have been a fluke. If that Ariza shooting program kicks in though, this could be a great signing. But I’m not nearly as high on Barnes as I was 2 years ago, when I considered him at about Ariza’s level. Definitely wrong.

    Not talked about much, but Orlando definitely improved their 3 position by exchanging Barnes for Richardson. Health is the only concern with Q, but he’s a lights-out shooter and his defense last year really, really impressed me. I thought he was one of the more underrated perimeter defenders in the league last year, although I don’t know if that’s sustainable. But I would have loved to pick up Q if we could have gotten him.

  109. CP3 isn’t coming here, at least not this year. I think that CP3+Kobe+Pau would be better than what we have with Andrew. I’d take him if Phil retired this year. But we’re still a triangle team and we have Kobe for a few more years to dominate the ball.

    I’m not sure about this Ratliff signing.. offensive stiff his entire career, his lauded D has faded for the most part with age. But we need rim protection from a back-up big, and he seems to be better than Kurt Thomas for that.

    I do like Barnes, especially at that price. He’s a guy you hate when he’s playing against you, it’s nice to have him on your team however (like Artest) We can now trot out a super-flexible defensive line-up of Kobe/Barnes/Artest/Odom/Gasol to shut down any speedy line-up. They can switch anything – this will be useful when defending the p&r. Also, this is definitely a signing with Miami Heat in mind, I think. He’s good insurance for wing D in case Kobe or Ron is in foul trouble. This offseason has been a success imo. Well done Mitch!

  110. 106

    Quentin Richardson a lights-out shooter?

    I wouldn’t even call steve blake a “lights-out shooter” and hes much much better than richardson look at their numbers man

  111. Mbenga a better option than Ratliff? Please…

  112. Very happy with the Barnes signing. I would have preferred Bell, but he wanted more money, and I don’t blame him. But Barnes is a very aggressive rebounder on both ends, a solid defender, and he hustles. All of those are very good things to have on your second unit.

  113. I hope kobe is ok with playing 34mpg. Beginning of 2008-2009 when the lakers kept winning, at one point his mpg was at 34…
    I was envisioning the minutes more like:
    PG: Fish: 24; Blake 24
    SG + SF: Kobe 34, Artest 34, Barnes 18, Sasha 10
    PF+C: Gasol: 34, Bynum 28, Odom 28, Ratliff 6.

    THat’d be a perfect 10-person-rotation!

    not to mention that our 5-man second unit of Blake, Sasha, Barnes, Odom, Ratliff (even tho it’s unlikely) will probably not lose leads either!

    I’m sooo excited for this upcoming season and the flexibility/possibilities!

  114. snoopy, i completely agree with you. Q rich would have been the stronger pick up but i think matt barnes will be guarding d wade with kobe on chalmers. Q rich is more of a stronger small forward, we already have that in artest. Matt barnes give us a differnt type of options defensively.

  115. I know rookies, especially 2nd round rookies don’t have much of an impact but I think Derrick Caracter will add to the front line depth. As some one mentioned, he can match up with guys like Kendrick Perkins.

    Regarding a trade, Chris Paul for Andrew Bynum, the rebounding stat has a correlation to wins in the post season. Defense around the perimeter gets tighter and it becomes a much more physical inside game.

    Question: Should the Lakers obtain Chris Paul, what do you do with Derek Fisher?

    I do like Chris Paul but when Derek Fisher and the Lakers slowed down Nash, Deron Williams, Westbrook and Rondo it kind of showed me that a really good point guard can be neutralized.

  116. Renato Afonso July 23, 2010 at 2:45 am

    This post is huge, so I’ll just give my 2 cents without looking through the comments…

    Chris Paul is a terrible fit in the triangle. The triangle is not suited for his strengths and therefore, we would lose any advantage that could come by trading for him. REMEMBER GARY PAYTON!

    Also, while Bynum is a liability healthwise, he’s the reason why the Lakers are a matchup problem for other teams. You can’t guard a wing (Kobe) and 2 centers (Pau and Drew) without giving something up. But you can guard a Point Guard, a Wing and a Center more effectively. We don’t need him and let’s not fuel this absurd rumour.

    Theo will play as many minutes as DJ. Not worried about it.

    Matt Barnes is overrated, but since he will be a bench player, I’m cool with it.

  117. Renato Afonso July 23, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Also, on Luke Walton, for those of you asking for his retirement.

    If he overcomes that back injury, like it or not, he is one of the most valuable bench players (not talking about his contract now). Do you think that Barnes or Ebanks or Caracter will give any fluidity to the triangle? Is this your recreational league? Are they playing streetball where athleticism trumps all?

    This is professional basketball and Luke does bring something to the second unit that no one else brings. Also, he’s not THAT bad on defense. A second lineup with Blake, Sasha/Barnes, Luke, Odom and Gasol/Bynum will allow the team to keep running the offensive schemes and hold the lead the starting lineup has built. Serious, everyone is all about the “upside” this and the “FG% there and the “Shannon Brown has some mad hops” elsewhere.

    Luke’s contract is an albatross. But even if he was playing for the minimum the Lakers wouldn’t get anyone else since they would still be in luxury tax hell. He fits the system and does bring something to the table. Let him be and support him. He’s not playing 30 mins a night and he’s just fine for 10-18mins during the game.

    Learn fundamentals first. Learn about the triangle after. And then, only then, try to see how each player fits the Lakers system or not.

    Sorry about the rant, but I’ve been posting since FB&G was created and now and then some guys just come here to rant on Luke Walton. Some of them are the same that ask for Chris Paul. Seriously, I’m just wondering if they actually watch the games or if they just watch the week’s top 10 plays or something…

  118. the deciding factor in minute allocation is simply how productive our units are.

    how productive our 2nd unit will be will depend on offensive execution and defensive effort.

    offensively, i’m not too concerned. they’ll turn the ball over a lot less and be able to get into their sets faster.

    defensively, this is going to be a very long unit. this is a trapping unit. this could be a boston-style defensive unit, but only if the effort and high-level organization we see in the celtics is there.

  119. I highly doubt that the Laker organization would want Chris Paul; If they wanted him, I can’t imagine how they could entice him away from those pesky Hornets. If they somehow got him, I’d be expecting a nightmare, not a third consecutive championship.

    The selection of Theo and Matt is further evidence of an even stronger defensive mind set for next year’s team. I’d still like to see ShanWOW return, but realize that may not be good either for him or the Lakers.

  120. mikeinchitown July 23, 2010 at 6:07 am

    anyone else think TOR/ORL front office are filled with buffons? how can they come to terms on a sign-trade w/barnes by misreading the partial bird rights so badly? oh well, opened the doors for us.

    also, i think barnes+blake =/> miller and our bench unit goes to a very solid one vs. the sieve that was our bench last year.

    odom, ratliff, barnes, blake, sasha.

    veterans, exactly what we need to backup the starters, though it will never get the love of the taco unit.

  121. Re: The Ratliff signing.

    I’d just like to recall that Phil released a statement during the finals that said Powell was ready to step in for Bynum if need be, but Mbenga wasn’t.

    I’m pretty sure that PJ is not going to have to release a statement like that about our savvy vet. next year.

  122. When you think about it, LA for a similar salary of over $5 mil gave up Adam Morrison to get Blake and Barnes. I’d say that’s a HUGE improvement from last year.

    Great job to Mitch this summer in getting the players he got AND getting the best coach of all-time to come back.

  123. Chris Paul has no leverage b/c he has 2 years left on his contract?

    Shaq had 2 years left on his contract when he was traded to Miami. He managed to demand a trade. Paul can do the same. Especially as Collison develops.

  124. Matt Barnes?!?

    I’m dancing on rainbows! He is exactly the type of player that is a compliment on a championship team. He doesn’t complain and just goes out and plays his heart out. Hometown boy, taking a discount for the ring, nasty streak, never says die (member of “We Believe”)… plus he fills the “neck tattoo void” left by one Trevor Ariza.

    Getting hard to believe that people used to call our GM Mitch Cupcake. Screw Pat Riley, this guy is a flippin’ genius.

  125. The only remaining question is whether Caracter and Ebanks will sign for the minimum contract for 2nd rounders.

    According to Hoopsworld, King’s center Hassan Whiteside was the 31st pick and signed a three-year deal with a first year salary around $730,000 this year. Toronto’s Solomon Alabi, who was the 50th pick, signed a three-year deal as well with a first year salary worth roughly $750,000.

    Note, these two teams have room under the salary cap to accomplish these deals.

    I hope these two players are willing to accept the minimum, but if they don’t, the Lakers would keep their draft pick rights I believe and hopefully sign them next year. But it would be instrumental for these two to stick with the Lakers, even if they’re receiving minimal playing time, to learn the system, etc.

  126. NO and Paul are most likely in cahoots together to get this trade going. Let’s face it, CP3’s game is hugely based on speed, quickness, agility, i.e. all around athletic ability, along with his skill. He reminds me of Barry Sanders with his quickness, etc. Now, the problem is that this guy has now had 2 major injuries, the last one a serious knee injury. If you think Bynum is injury prone why don’t you think that CP3 is injury prone?

    This last injury of Bynum was a minor injury which required minor surgury and a few weeks off. It unluckily came at the most inopportune time, which is the reason that it felt much more serious than it really was, at least to us fans.

    CP3’s injury last year, was very serious. He has actually had a couple serious injuries. How many of you have seen CP3 after his last serious injury? When he came back he looked like a shadow of his former self. There is no doubt that what NO is thinking is that they have a young stud who can rival CP3 even when healthy in Collison. Post injury, Collison is far better than CP3, at least what he has shown thus far (at the end of last season).

    However, CP3 still has the huge name. NO would be wise to trade this piece away, depend on the young talented and cheap Collison, and get some young talent in return. There is no doubt in my mind at all that NO would jump over everything to get a piece of Bynum for CP3.

    And from CP3’s side, he must be looking at things from a financial perspective. If the guy plays next season as though he played the last part of last season, post injury, he will be removed from top 1-3 PGs in the league and be put in the average category. Why not take advantage of the big name before anyone has seen your diminished skills/ability?

    He forces a trade while his value is still metioric, BEFORE anyone has a chance to see him next year play ball post-injury. After a trade, the team will likely want to tie up CP3 and so they offer him the max extension.

    CP3 makes his max contract before anyone has a chance to see him post injury, for a whole season. NO lose absolutely nothing, in fact gain with Collison if you factor in how cheap he is, and then gain huge with a young stud like Bynum.

    For anyone attempting to say that Okafor is basically Bynum, i mean, i have no words for you. It is like saying Harold Minor is like Michael Jordan. Bynum is a 10 and Okafor is a 3. Attempting to use skewed statistics to “prove” your point is even more insane.

  127. kaveh,
    CP3 is not coming to the Lakers. All this is much, much more likely to end with him in NY than anywhere else – especially using your logic.

    Besides, with NY the winner the NBA will be much stronger if CP3 is ok. Now there are strong teams in Boston, NY, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles. With very good contenders in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Portland, and perhaps Denver. Even then I have left out a couple.

  128. I’d prefer for us to sign Caracter, hold Ebanks’ draft rights, and re-sign Shannon to the minimum. We’re in win-now mode, and while I like his youth, I just don’t see Ebanks contributing this year, particularly in light of the Barnes pick-up…

    Shannon has more speed and knows the system. Plus, I want him to be in a Lakers uniform the moment he jumps clean over his defender and finishes a dunk.

  129. Funky Chicken July 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

    It is simply shocking how many people fail to see what makes the Lakers the two-time champions. Nobody in the league can match up with the Lakers size with Drew and Gasol. The best other teams can do is put two big bodies out there, but that invariably means one of them (at least) is a scrub that can’t do anything.

    As great as Chris Paul is (was?), he flourishes in a system where he controls the ball for virtually the entire shot clock. That is not going to work on a team with Kobe Bryant.

    Moreover, you don’t continue your dominance over the league by trying to replicate what OTHER teams are doing (signing and playing good point guards); you continue your dominance by doing what you and only you can do, which is dominate the paint with two excellent low post scorers and defenders.

  130. “Chris Paul has no leverage b/c he has 2 years left on his contract?

    Shaq had 2 years left on his contract when he was traded to Miami. He managed to demand a trade. Paul can do the same. Especially as Collison develops.”

    Shaq didn’t have the necessary leverage to force a trade; all he had was a no-trade clause (effectively, a trade veto) that he could use to dictate to which team and for whom he could be traded (see Kobe circa 2007). At the time, it was Kobe who had all the leverage as a free agent and he wanted Shaq gone before he re-signed.

    From Hoopshype http://hoopshype.com/general_managers/mitch_kupchak.htm :

    July 15 2004
    Re-signed guard Kobe Bryant.
    July 14 2004
    Traded center Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat for forwards Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant and a first-round pick.

  131. Renato,
    What exactly does Luke bring to the table? He had inflated numbers in 2006-07 season due to the horrible roster the lakers had that year and he played 33 minutes a game, and then the lakers gave him a six-year contract. He is unselfish, but that is because he can’t score himself and HAS TO PASS to somebody who can! That is now known around the league, as everybody tries to pick off his passes. He can’t shoot, he can’t defend because he is way too slow. He was at best a minimum- salary player WHEN HE WAS healthy, and now with his bad back, any d-league small forward would be an upgrade over Luke. If he has any sense of loyalty, he should agree to a buyout and retire, given that he has been heavily overpaid for 3 straight seasons.

  132. 110 – Richardson shot 41% from three in the playoffs last year, and 40% for the season. The question with him is health. In all the seasons he’s been healthy (let’s say 70 games plus) he’s shot 36, 38, 37, and 40% from deep, not counting his rookie year. If you watched the games, you’d see he was the major floor-spacer for Miami last year.

    He’s been hurt and subsequently out of shape, but last year, when he was completely healthy and motivated to stay in shape, he shot 40% from 3. Moreover, if you check out Hotspots, you’d see that he shot 54% and 47% from the corners. Whether or not you call that a lights-out shooter depends on your own standards.

  133. DY – That’s an interesting question. Personally, I’d rather sign them to 3-yr contracts if possible. I have high hopes for these guys, especially Caracter. Look at what happened to the Jazz and Wes Matthews. If one of our rookies comes out and shows he’s worth much more than a 2nd-round contract, then we’ll likely lose out to a higher bidder very soon. For me, I’d rather see them locked up for 3 years, if Mitch has that much confidence in them. I’m not sure if they will break out – summer league has fooled tons of people before – but if Mitch really believes they will, then I wouldn’t mind seeing slightly longer contracts.

  134. 131.

    “What exactly does Luke bring to the table? He had inflated numbers in 2006-07 season due to the horrible roster the lakers had that year and he played 33 minutes a game, and then the lakers gave him a six-year contract.”

    Luke didn’t just put up bigger numbers because he played more minutes in ’06-07. He had career highs in his Per 36 Minutes numbers as well as virtually all of his rate stats, which were more than acceptable at .474 fg%, .387 3fg%, .745 ft%, 2.15 a/to.

    The bottom line is that Luke played above-average basketball that year, fit the team’s system to a T, and was only 26 years old- and nobody else was coming here to replace him. It was an easy decision to re-sign him given all that- which is why the blogs generally supported the decision at the time. Having said that, there is no way that Mitch should have given him (or any non-superstar for that matter) 6 years, a fact that Luke’s subsequent injury history has reinforced.

  135. 131, if you had $17 million guaranteed over 3 years, would you retire out of “loyalty” to the organization that was paying you? And keep in mind you have no source of income coming after you retire out of “loyalty.” Please be sensible.

    And for all those saying that CP3 wouldn’t improve the team, please remember that when you’re bashing Derek Fisher in mid-March, about how he can’t stay in front of anyone, how he can no longer shoot, and how his “intangibles” are meaningless.

  136. Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff are two very good additions to our bench, which was our achilles heal last season. For those who suggest trading Bynum and anyone else for Paul, must not understand that Defense and Rebounding wins Championships. I doubt very seriously that that trade would improve our team in those areas.

  137. 131 – Zephid and Sean P. said it. His contract is bad but that isn’t his fault and he is valuable to the organization, belive it or not. It’s all about the system we currently have in place. Plus, any d-leaguer is not an upgrade over him, but it’s not worth to keep arguing about this. You just don’t get the principle of the triangle.

    Zephid, the problem with getting CP3 is what you have to give in return. If you have to give Bynum and/or Odom, what he brings his not enough to compensate what he lost. That being said, anyone would take him if he was available without giving up anyone from our frontcourt.

    About Derek Fisher, I’ve been saying this since Farmar got drafted. We should’ve addressed it long ago. Bring a guy who plays defense and can shoot the 3pt and groom him within the offense.

  138. 136, indeed, there’s been a near-comical dismissal of Paul’s talents here. The notion that our offense wouldn’t be unbelievably awesome with him in the roster is patently false.

  139. Good article here, some interesting information. I have written a blog about Chris Paul and his wish list for my blog, pardonmybias.com. Here is the direct link to my post: http://pardonmybias.com/chris-pauls-wishlist/

    Feel free to comment.

  140. Adande mentioned this trade proposal (Bynum, Odom, Vujacic for CP3 and Okafor) a month ago. It makes a lot of sense. Not just for this year; but for the transition of the Kobe/Gasol era to the next generation of Laker greats with CP3 as the cornerstone.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/17119/a-way-to-add-chris-paul-to-lakers-mix

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2bon52f

  141. The only trade that makes sense is to send CP3 and Okafor to Denver for Chauncey and K-Mart. The money matches and it makes financial sense for a rebuilding New Orleans and it makes Denver a hell of a lot tougher to beat. Remember you heard it hear first.

  142. To those that say the Lakers system will be changed when Phil Jackson retires, I say not necessarily. Brian Shaw knows the triangle and could step in, retaining the system. I believe he already has KB’s endorsement, and that’s the direction I’d go. He would be much preferable to Byron Scott, and Byron Scott is off the table for now anyway, unless he’s fired. While I’d love to have CP3 on the team, I would not diminish our front line to get him. The advantage the Lakers have over the Heat is inside in a halfcourt game, offensively and defensively. Ratliff and the potential signings of the two rookie forwards reinforce this. The Heat would be forced more to the perimeter, and the perimeter defense has been improved with the addition of Blake, Barnes and likely Ebanks. The Lakers outside shooting has been somewhat suspect and should be improved with the addition of Blake and Barnes. This should spread the floor and allow room for the bigs to operate against Miami’s undersized center position. Team toughness has improved. Miami lacks center and point guard talent and quality depth. They likely will continue to add pieces via the mid-level exeption over the next years, but it will take time, maybe two or more years. I am concerned about a possible earlier closing of the Lakers window, but it remains wide open for now, barring major injuries.