Drama? Surrounding The Lakers? Yawn.

Darius Soriano —  February 2, 2011

Silly me.

After yesterday’s talk about Lakers and trades and some smart people saying the same things about the likelihood of the Lakers making a deal (hint: not likely), I thought we could all move on and focus on the games – a Lakers win vs. the Rockets first on deck – and get back to our analysis of the team. Not so much.

Today it’s being reported by Marc Stein (a reporter whose word and credentials I trust and respect a great deal) that if the Lakers do make a deal, Ron Artest would like to be the one to switch teams. As Stein explains:

I’ve nonetheless been assured this week that Artest — though he hasn’t outright demanded a trade and is likely to publicly deny it — is serious about wanting to be dealt somewhere “he can have fun again” less than a year removed from the pivotal role he played in that ring-clinching Game 7 with Boston that the Lakers so nearly squandered.

More from Stein:

It was stressed to me that Artest has actually coexisted better with Jackson since it emerged in December that Artest asked his coach to stop criticizing him so publicly and keep displeasure in-house. Despite Artest’s increasingly regular stints on the bench in crunch time, I get the distinct vibe that settling for offensive scraps in the shadow of Kobe and Pau while absorbing the hottest heat on afternoons like Sunday when Paul Pierce erupts for 32 points has soured Artest far more than Jackson’s frequently sharp tongue.

All I can really say to this is, I can’t believe it took this long for something like this to happen.

You see, this is nothing new. Like birds flying south in winter or bears hybernating or the Lakers Grammy road trip, this is a yearly occurence. You can set your watch to it. Two years ago it was Bynum’s injury (along with toughness talk). Last year it was the the Lakers’ complacency (and a late season swoon). And this year, it’s this (among other things). There’s just an expected amount of drama when discussing the Lakers. Just the other day, we discussed the scrutiny of being a Laker in relation to the criticism that Pau Gasol has been receiving lately. Even the head coach knows this, mentioning after the Boston loss that he may not embrace the adversity, he certainly doesn’t hide from it.

In the end, I don’t think Artest is being traded. Aside from any issues with unloading a contract that isn’t quite payroll friendly (though far from the worst deal considering his talent – and yes, he still has talent), the Lakers need Artest. Snicker all you want at his 1-10 shooting or his career low output in a lot of statistical categories, but both Phil and Kobe know Ron’s value to this team. His ability to defend is rare. You can point to Paul Pierce’s explosion on Sunday, but I’ll happily counter with the fact that all great offensive players are capable of great days and all defenders are capable of bad ones. After explaining that, I’ll happily point to the combined 18-42 shooting that Carmelo and Durant put up against the Lakers in the last two weeks (which fall in line with how he’s performed against them in the past). And when it comes to the playoffs, I’m betting on more performances like the latter.

I can surely understand that Artest may be frustrated. Fans love to point out where players are falling short and there’s a fair amount of ammunition in relation to Ron’s recent performance. I know his role isn’t what a player of his overall ability is used to performing and that even after reaching the mountain top, players still have egos. I’m sure he thinks he can be more than a 4th option and a guy that isn’t guaranteed crunch time minutes. But, again, I think he’s here to stay. When the games slow down and the Lakers face off against elite wings, this team will need Artest. The guys that are in that lockerroom understand that.

Darius Soriano

Posts

70 responses to Drama? Surrounding The Lakers? Yawn.

  1. I’ll take all this turmoil as a good sign. Team needs to get that frustration and being on edge to focus and play correctly. Or maybe the drugs are finally hitting me.

  2. Reign on Parades February 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Some tweets from Mike Trudell:

    http://twitter.com/LakersReporter

    “# Artest, usually mum on injuries, did admit that he’s been bothered by a Shaq knee to his thigh in the 1st Q vs. BOS. 44 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone

    # Artest repeated his message from past 2 seasons: he’s just fine being a role player on O & focusing on D, stepping up in big games. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone

    # Artest on what he thought when he heard the Stein report: “I want to get some breakfast.” about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone

    # Ron Artest: “I definitely don’t want to be traded.” about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone

    # Phil & Fisher said the team is generally aware of trade rumors, reports & such, but they really don’t/can’t worry about them. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone

    # Phil Jackson said that Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are his whipping boys, & that Ron Artest doesn’t get picked on. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone “

  3. I have to echo the thoughts of others on radio and on this site… Although Artest isn’t playing as bad as some would like to believe (I mean he at least isn’t at a Ariza level, so it could be worse) hen clearly isn’t at the level he is capable of playing. Could he be on meds? He has been a model citizen the last two years. Could it be maturation or medication or both? Something to think about.

  4. Artest is playing at career LOW numbers Aaron, Career LOW. So explain to me exactly how he isn’t playing as bad as some would like to believe?

  5. #4. Not to defend Aaron, but his per 36 minute numbers are in line with what they were last year. His total averages are down this year because he’s playing less minutes.

    Now, it’s then easy to argue that Ron was bad last year too if you think he’s really bad this year. I for one, think he’s been below average on offense. His defense has been more up and down this year than last, but overall I think he’s still been quite good on that side of the ball.

  6. Darius, that is my whole point, his averages and minutes are down in part in particular because the Lakers have a more athletic, younger, better fitting alternative at SF. Yes the Lakers have more options, but the case can be made that Barnes should have been starting a quarter of a way through the season when Artest began underperforming.

    Artest defensively was consistent last year, that was his calling card, by being up and down this year effectively negates the need to have him on the floor, just don’t get me started on his offensive game.

    Statistics don’t always tell the whole story of things, and anyone who watches basketball can see that Artest isn’t who he was last year and also that he is overall only having a negative impact on the team.

  7. After watching the Lakers last year I said to myself the only person I have no confidence that Ron Artest can’t guard is LeBron James. Since a human hasn’t been born yet that can guard LeBron straight up, there is no shame in that. This year it’s been a different story and I was especially surprised to see Paul Pierce light him up. If Artest can no longer guard the Paul Pierce’s of the world then he is major, major liability because at this point he’s bringing nothing else to the table.

    This might sound radical but seeing as were getting so little at the 1 and 3, why not give Odom a few minutes a game at each spot? The way he’s playing he needs to be on the floor 40 minutes a game.

  8. I think its clear from earlier in the season that if Barnes is healthy and playing well, he will close games out over Ron. If this does happen in the playoffs, I think Ron will speak out.

    I think Barnes gives the Lakers so many things on offense, and is a decent defender that he can be a big addition (not as big as say, adding OJ Mayo) but he can give the team that oompf, that spice, that hunger that we are all asking Ron to bring. Lets just hope he gets healthy soon because we could really use some additional wing scoring.

  9. I see two issues here. First is that, yes, this season the Lakers have a viable alternative to Ron in Barnes. Last year that wasn’t the case and the Lakers had to live with whatever negatives (and lots of positives) that came with extended burn for Artest. So, in the long term view of the rest of this season, the Lakers should be able to deal with any slippage from Ron by plugging in Barnes.

    However, issue #2 is that even by saying that, the Lakers will still need Artest. He’s still the best defensive option against most SF’s and his varied offensive game is still helpful. Folks can (rightfully) argue his offense is substandard this year. You’ll get no argument from me. However, he’s still a *capable* offensive player that provides a different skill set than that of Barnes. It will be hard to convince me that the Lakers are better off with just Barnes and without Artest.

  10. I just want to state that I do not think the Lakers will trade Artest (Not for a lack of trying, Marc Stein even said they would like to trade him), it is due to his unfortunate contract remaining as well as his baggage, rapidly declining age and play. I sound completely negative but I don’t mean to be, he just has severely underperformed the expectations the team and fans have for him so far this season. I think he just needs to have a fire lit under him and have his competitive hunger somehow resurface.

  11. Also, I’m moderating trade speculation comments that appear in this thread. Those can live in yesterday’s post about Gasol. So far, the only comments we have from the actual player are that he’s not seeking a trade. Now, I still stand by the fact that I trust what Stein reported. But without some sort of confirmation from Ron that he wants out OR from the front office saying that they’re shopping him, there’s no point in coming up with fantasy trades to get the Lakers a player that you really like.

  12. Ron’s not going anywhere. He knows it, and so does everyone else. He is still one of, if not the best defensive 3 in the league. He is dealing with some nagging injuries right now. I imagine if Barnes were healthy Ron could nurse his ailments more. Those ailments are the best explanation as to why Pierce lit him up the other day. The group we see now is the group that will go to battle in the playoffs.

    As fans we will simply have to ride out this rough patch and hope things getting. If this team is going to win it will be because the fixed themselves from the inside.

  13. Number one, if you’ve got two straight championships in the bag, you’re basically playing with house money. To expect three is kind of greedy. Number two, we’ve already seen them spend a whole season looking like anything but a champion, failing every regular season test (except Orlando) or so it seemed, then turn around, not just in the playoffs but in the middle of the playoffs, and suddenly become a team that could beat the world. The problem with number two is, it’s not much fun to watch during the regular season.

    If you take their performance up to now at face value, the Lakers seem like a devalued currency — the face value is the same but it doesn’t buy as much. If your only basis was what they’ve actually done this season, then the conclusion you would come to is that they’re not an elite team anymore, and the reason they have to battle to beat teams that play around .500 is because that’s their level. I don’t say that’s what it is, but it would certainly be a surprise if this iteration of the Lakers got old before the Celtics. Then again, weren’t we all thinking last year that the Spurs were at the end of their string? The Lakers could bow out in the second round this year and come back just like they did.

  14. This is why I cringed when they acquired Artest. He generally has one and a half great years with his new team, wears out his welcome and loses his mind shortly thereafter. It got us a second championship, but it’s going to turn into Sacramento/Houston/Indiana all over again quicker than you’d think possible. I was hoping his therapist would be of some value in the Lakers situation, but apparently not.

  15. A lot of players lose some of their “edge”/drive when they win a title.

    Can’t completely blame them – it takes a LOT more work to play at 100% than at 85-90%, not to mention the longer season, and they are getting paid basically the same whether they win or not.

  16. I haven’t posted in a while. Actually a very long time. I don’t post on any other laker blog, simply because the idiotic talk on the other blogs sickens me.

    That being said, this blog has always shown a level of class and basketball knowledge that is far above the ‘competition’. Thank you, and for this reason i will start posting again. The Ron Artest rumors are just that, ‘rumors’. The media last year brought up the story line that Kobe was ‘too old’ to carry a team. And yet, that is exactly what he did. Also last year, Ron was being criticized, but that was all forgotten once he stepped up in games 6 and 7.

    It is a long season people. Two months from now, we will see a laker team that is sick and tired of being questioned, and one that will demolish the opposition. Trust me, losing to Boston was the best thing that could have happened to us. The lakers being questioned for their defense is a good thing. It will increase their focus and make the team have a feeling of ‘us against the world’. The timing of all this happeneing could not have been better.

    Does anyone remember the Celtics team of last year? Their fans were in all out panic mode! and how did they do? Well, they ended up making it to game 7 of the finals with a 13 or 14 point lead. Ours is a veteran team, much like the boston team of last year. When it comes to the playoffs, this team will be ready. I have no doubt. Trust me, this too shall pass. Even for Ron Artest.

  17. Mimsy’s Hubby (Jim C.) February 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    It surprises me that Artest is getting so much blame for the Paul Pierce explosion and Luke Walton so little.

    I wish I’d DVR’d the game, but it sure seemed to me like the biggest explosion came in the 3rd quarter while Ron was sitting where I was having nightmare flashbacks to 2008 when it was Walton and Radmonovic guarding Pierce.

    Now, granted, Artest had a bad game…but why isn’t Luke getting any flak for Pierce’s points? Not like all of them came while Ron was guarding Pierce.

  18. I DO believe that certain changes need to be made in the lineup. First of all, start odom and gasol. The Level of play Lamar is playing at needs to be taken advantage of. This may go against what others believe, but I think starting Steve Blake at pg may be a good risk. I love Derek, but Blake needs to play with the starting 5. He needs more minutes to be productive. I would end the game with Fisher at pg, which would give him more rest.

    This would be our bench.
    FIsh
    Brown
    Artest
    Odom/Gasol
    Bynum

    and our starters
    Blake
    Kobe
    Barnes
    odom
    gasol

  19. 14, that’s why we need more crazy incentives in player contracts. Imagine if Ron had a $500k defensive incentive clause, something like “When Artest is on the court, holds players X, Y, or Z (think Melo, Durant, and Pierce) to under 40% shooting and under 20 points,” do you think he would try a little harder in the regular season?

    3, it’s hilarious that you’re still beating the anti-Ariza drum, because that’s the only thing you can do in defense of Ron Artest’s play. He’s been borderline horrible on offense and marginally effective on defense, so you have to take digs at an ex-player in order to hide Artest’s faults.

  20. 17, because Luke is terrible and everybody knows this. We all know that if Barnes was healthy, Luke Walton would’ve played exactly 0 minutes.

  21. the only criticism of Ron i have, is that he doesn’t watch tape of the player he is suppose to guard. I think if he did, he would know the habits of the player he is guarding much better. Ron is a naturally gifted defender, and watching tape would make him much more effective.

    Pierce literally has 3 moves. One, is the step back. Two, is getting a screen and knocking down a jumper or taking it to the rim. 3, he drives to rim, head fakes, gets the opposing defender in the air, and gets fouled while shooting. Ron will shut him out in Boston, if he watches some damn tape!

  22. I am sick of Luke Walton as a player. He is smart, so make him an assistant to Brian Shaw and let him learn to be a coach next year. He is less athletic than Brian Scala-weeny!

  23. Darius,
    “Not to defend Aaron” Why does everyone hate agreeing with me? I guess nobody likes the smartest guy in the room. Don’t worry about me guys. Old Aaron will be just fine. But I do have feelings… Do I not bleed when I am cut? Do I not run when I’m chased? Do I not cry when I watch Luke Walton on the court of a meaningful game? I am human guys. I mean… The one time I was wrong about the NBA was when I said Kevin Love wouldn’t be quality starting PF. But I still do feel he is amazingly overrated. But maybe I’m wrong for thinking defense is half the game. I also did say that Shannon should have started at PG last year… And Fishers fourth quarter of game 3 shut me up. And maybe I’ll be wrong again if the Heat don’t win the NBA title. But I doubt it.

  24. I’m with LOfan in that there should be some shuffling of the rotations. I’m still not convinced Bynum should come out of the starting lineup for LO, but I would be interested to see what happens with Fish coming off the bench. Steve Blake looks like he’s struggling to get in rhythm until the 2nd half of games, and Fish isn’t giving us anything we will miss until crunch time.

    I hope Barnes gets back so we can get back to having more options. I don’t like watching Kobe get pushed around by 3 guards when Ron is out of the game. He’s more effective when he can use his strength and size as an advantage over other 2 guards.

    It would also be nice to have Ratliff back so Phil can pull out Pau when he’s stops playing hard. Pau has far too often fallen into complacent funks when the momentum of the game is shifting, and he needs to be sent a message once in a while. A Ratliff/LO frontcourt can still get some work done on offense without sacraficing much defensively.

  25. #23. I said it because my point wasn’t to defend you.

    #18. I don’t think benching Bynum or Ron is the answer. The guys that deserve to play more during the course of the game, will. Phil just said that when Bynum’s back healthy he’ll likely play between 28-30 minutes…that means there’s 66-68 minutes between LO and Pau. I think LO will get plenty of run. As for Blake, I hope last night showed him that he needs to be more aggressive regardless of his minutes played.

  26. Oh well! I guess this fantasy trades and requests to change the lineups is standard, but it sure does get old.

    Maybe the next thread will spark more original comments.

    At least I generally really like the writing for the topics.

  27. Darius,
    I know… I was jk. But everyone else actually say “I hate to agree with Aaron”

  28. #27. Sure, that’s probably because they do. ZING. ;)

  29. Aaron the reason people tend to not agree with you is because you quite frankly make troll-like statements more often than not.

    Also the guy who tends to believe he is the “smartest in the room” is typically the last guy anyone would go to for any meaningful knowledge. Just sayin’ ….

    As for Kevin Love, you don’t put up numbers like that and it be overrated, the guy is legit and deserves to be an all-star.

  30. ANd what exactly is wrong with reshuffling of a starting line up??? The point is to win. Who cares how we do it?? Asking Bynum to come of the bench to be the scoring focal point is not a bad thing. and if fisher and ron art with him, they automatically become the second and third options on offense.

    Just because people go against something Phil does does not make them less of a fan or less supportive. I dont want ron traded. I dont want anyone traded, not even luke. I just want a change to what we have been seeing lately, and to infuse some energy into the players.

  31. @18 what artest needs is motivation/appreciation. he has lost a step but he’s certainly not used up. benching him will only guarantee he doesn’t emerge from this funk. artest is untradeable and everyone knows it so the only option is to help him get out of his funk whatever that means.

    as far as pau’s recent play goes, let’s look at the body of work especially last two years finals

  32. @ 31.
    Thats a good point. Benching him may not be the answer.

  33. “reports of a Laker demise have been greatly exaggerated”

  34. “Drama? Surrounding the Lakers? Yawn.”

    I had to laugh in agreement when I saw the above heading. So very true.

    This ain’t nothing compared to the Lakers’ 2003-2004 circus (complete with a Colorado sideshow). That season set the standard for basketball insanity.

  35. All of this manufactured Laker drama is beyond tiresome at this point.

    Wrote about it today. Be interested in any feedback from Laker fans:

    http://sonofsambowie.blogspot.com/2011/02/that-commotion-you-see-is-angry-mob.html

  36. One thing I’ve always found interesting is how the media describes this current Lakers like they are some ultra talented team that is somehow underachieving if they aren’t pushing 65-70 wins.

    The fact of the matter is we have two elite players (Kobe, Pau) two very good players (Bynum, Lamar) and a bunch of average to below average players backing them up. There are about 7-8 teams that have a similar talent pool then the Lakers.

    The fact that this team has been to 3 straight finals says more about Phil Jacksons coaching and Kobe Bryant’s brillance then it says about our talent.

  37. There’s a reason no NBA team has been to four straight finals in a quarter century. It’s hard to do.

    That said, I still like this team in the spring in any 4 out of 7 series. Especially since they’ve been through regular season funks EXACTLY like this one en route to titles.

  38. @26 Preach on.

  39. The biggest issue I’ve seen with the Lakers this year — and I’m no self-proclaimed genius for spotting this — is that they’re slow to defend the perimeter, which lets shooters get good looks, consequently get hot, and then the opponents go on runs that put the Lakers to bed.

    Look at the losses and you’ll see the same pattern over and over again.

    Phoenix dropping 22 threes back in November with Richardson hitting 7 of 10; Mike Conley dropping 28 in Memphis; Battier & Lowry going off from downtown at the Toyota Center; Earl (f-ing) Boykins dropping 22 while wearing adult diapers for the Bucks; Bonner & Neal hit big shots for the Spurs; LeBron dropped 5 of 6 threes on Christmas; Gordon made big shots for the Clippers; Kidd just killed them in Dallas; and then we saw Wheelchair Boy get hot outside again Sunday. The Lakers can’t/won’t/don’t rotate well, and it kills them time and again.

    In any sport, you give something to get somewhere else. The Lakers are big up front, and as a result they’re usually stronger on the interior. But that leaves them very susceptible to smaller, good shooting lineups that move the ball more quickly than the bigger (and usually older) Lakers can move. Artest is better at wrestling with SFs inside, and is less effective when chasing guys off screens. Teams have figured this out – it’s the Ray Allen blueprint from Game 2 last June. (Thank God he turned to crap for the rest of the series.)

    I don’t see a good solution on the roster now, unless Ebanks morphs into a 2009-level Ariza. Is that a crippling weakness? The playoffs will tell.

  40. @34 I followed your link from FB&G and I’d like to say that hopefully with people leaving the Lakers’ “Bandwagon” we’ll finally hear less useless drama about the team. I’m interested in Lakers basketball, not “how did who say what, when, where, and why?”

    As your post said, “Keep things in perspective.” However, I do disagree slightly with your PG remarks. Even really athletic PGs have problems guarding other athletic PGs. That’s just how offense and defense works. Defense is always going to be more difficult, because you have to respond to the movement your opponent makes, even while trying to force them to play against your defensive schemes.

  41. Why is everyone overreacting? Its not even allstar weekend yet.

  42. Getting to the Playoffs healthy, reasonably fresh, and with good scouting reports based on trail and error during the regular season.

    Sound familiar? It should. That is Phil Jackson’s style, and it has won 11 Championships.

    I trust it.

    Wake me when the Playoffs begin.

    In the meantime, just enjoy the occasional flashes of brilliant basketball.

  43. @40 true, but the Lakers’ PG problems are real, especially when neither can hit his shot consistently (both are around 38%). Of course, they have been for years, dating back to Farmar (who never got it mentally, always pressing guys 40 ft from the basketball while they’d consistently just run right by him) and Smush Parker, one of the most athletically gifted yet utterly clueless defenders I’ve ever seen.

    There can be little doubt that if the Lakers are looking to upgrade, this is where you start. Regardless of Ron’s Struggles, SF will be fine when barnes gets back.

  44. Darius,

    Why so much hate toward possible trade talk? I mean the Lakers are good and do have a shot of winning it with their current roster, even though me and many other doubt it. However, as good as this team is and with all their talent, it may only take one good move to make this team better. I mean this team has some weaknesses man. It isn’t just that the Lakers don’t play up to their ability in regular season. What if you could get a defender that may not be able to guard the big stars quite as well as Ron, but could do much better fighting through screens and rotating to shooters, which as Chris said, had killed the Lakers the whole year. Quite frankly, the amount of open shots Boston got the other game was sad compared to the amount we got. Offensively I think a sharp shooter from 3 would be helpful too and may open things up more for our bigs who always seemed to be triple teamed whenever they get the ball.

  45. Just throwing it out there.. what if this is all actually pre-meditated by Mitch & Ron? Ron wants a trade. The team wouldn’t mind accommodating him since he’s not playing well. What if this is the cleanest way (in terms of PR) to get Ron’s name out on the trade market? Have everyone deny it, but this certainly will make GMs call Mitch. Trade market is similar to a game of poker, and I’d imagine Mitch has learned well from Dr. Buss & Jerry West.

  46. #44. Joe,
    It’s more a disdain for trade speculation; what players the Lakers should acquire in any deal. Read the commenting guidelines. It started with Kurt and I happily continue the trend. Fans rarely are considerate of what it takes to make a deal and within minutes of when we start to let that kind of chatter go in the comments, the Lakers end up trading Luke Walton with the Lakers getting Derrick Rose (hey, their salaries match!). Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but read the last thread for an example of what fans talk about when the floodgates get opened to trade speculation.

    Look, I’m all for improving the team. But, I think if you’re being honest, you’re someone that is less high on the team right now than others. Not saying you’re wrong (or saying that those that disagree with you are either) but I bring that up just to point out that the Lakers are a pretty good team already. Every team can improve, but often times doing so means a major cost. Few times do deals like the Pau trade come along and even in that deal, the Lakers took on a lot of salary and gave up the younger Gasol (who has turned into a rather good player and was the reigning MVP of the Spanish league when they dealt him). Don’t get me wrong, I’d do that deal in a heartbeat, but my point is still that it’s rare to get that done and most deals don’t involve such major upgrades to a roster. So yeah, I’m happy to improve the team. But I also think the Lakers are a title contender as is. And, really, that’s all I think we can ask for.

  47. @44: It comes from Kurt’s ban from when he ran the site [EDIT: Darius got in before me, I had to go on and on…]. I have to say 99% of the time I do enjoy the lack of wacky Trade Machine links in the chat here, which helps keep things grounded in the real world–I saw one on TrueHoop today that was completely insane…can’t find the link now, but the gist was Iggy to Denver for Al Harrington and a giant trade exception from. There was a third team, and J.R. Smith was somehow involved, but you get the idea of its stupidity.

    That being said, I’d like to register a formal request for a semi-regular “trade speculation ban holiday” on certain posts–specifically, times like now, leading up to the trade deadline, in the dog days of Jan/Feb while the team is playing lackadaisically, and if there’s 3 days (or more) between games. It needn’t be any more often than every 2 weeks or so, just so we can get it out of our mutual systems, and I wholeheartedly agree to keep enforcing it strictly on the remainder of posts.

    @45: I really doubt it. Nothing will submarine a trade’s value more than a guy that wants out and lets it be known publicly. Add to that the utter secrecy that surrounded the Gasol, Morrison/Brown, Sasha, and Ariza trades, I think we see Mitch’s MO.

    That goes for any contending team. They want to keep plans under their hat to keep a big-spending owner of another contending team (the guy I’m thinking of rhymes with “Park Reuben”) from undermining the deal with a counteroffer or spoiler. Trading a minimum-salary player for a 2nd round pick to get the trade partner “under the cap” probably has much more subtext than we tend to think about.

  48. I, for one, love the fact that this forum doesn’t allow trade speculation. Blogs/forums that do allow it tend to be plagued by trade ideas by the brilliant resident GMs-in-the-making. It simply hijacks threads/entries and takes away from any integrity of the place.

  49. Ok Darius, I did not know all of that about the guidlines and stuff. Though any trade talk that I have read so far has seemed pretty reasonable. This forum is actually filled with some very intelligent basketball fans that know this team pretty well. But hey, its your forum and and I will accept your rules.

  50. This site is and has always been fine with the guidelines set forth, nothing should change. The drama is wild lately around Laker country, huh?

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill

  51. Trade Ron Artest, Kobe is a ballhog, Pau Gasol had a quantumleap…..the drama that sorrounds the lakers every sason. When the sason started everybody was focusing on the boys from south beach and it kinda made me wonder if the lakers would win the title this year. It has become a tradition for this laker team to be sorrounded by drama before overcoming all adversities and winning the title. Now with all this drama facing the lakers I am now confident that we will threepeat. This team is like Manny Pacquiao of boxing, the more controversy during training camp the more focused he is come fight time. Come playoff time our team will buckle down and will win it all with or without HCA.

  52. @37: Couldn’t agree more.

    If you want the Lakers to play like it’s the playoffs in January, great. But then don’t expect them to play that way in May. Yes, they should always play hard against Boston. But Jackson doesn’t set his clock by the regular season and high profile losses didn’t stop them from winning last year. Remember Christmas ’09?

    BTW, there is one other coach who (up until very recently) didn’t push his team to peak until late in the season. His name is Greg Poppovich. He and PJ have combined for 15 of the last 20 championships.

    If you want to freak out now, that’s your business. But don’t hop on the Derek Fisher/Ron Artest bandwagon if they make it to the finals.

    But who am I kidding. Of course you will.

  53. I’d normally assume Lakers trade talk to have a short shelf life… maybe the Ron rumors would stick around a bit longer just because he makes good copy. But, what happens if they slip back into on/off switch mode again? Is Mitch at all on a spot because he already linked trade and performance? That said, I have a hard time seeing any major moves. I wouldn’t mind a shooter though, somebody that wouldn’t cost us much in trade value. Like the kid that’s been lighting it up in New Jersey? Ohhhh wait… never mind.

  54. on espn.com, here, espnlosangeles, everywhere:
    laker demise this year.

    then i look at the standings. #2 in the west. #4 in the league, and we still have a little less than half the season to go. barnes has been hurt. bynum was hurt for a lot of the season.

    trading artest is awesome for marc stein’s column, but practically impossible. Trade him? ok. for who exactly?

    pau isnt playing at the level we are used to. the team flashes great offense, and occasionally great defense. if it focuses…

    but isn’t that always the case for every season? IF? thats the fun part. i hate the losses to the heat and the celtics as anyone else, but its not the end of the season yet.

  55. Darius,
    haha… I know my role here. Kurt had me on the payroll to agitate and entertain.

    Everyone,
    The good news is we were number one in hollingers power rankings today… So that should let us rest easy tonight. I think the anxiety comes from knowing that Kobe is aging so well, Lamar is playing as good as he ever has, and nobody is really playing worse than expected and the team is losing. I understand everyone’s frustration. But I’m a guy that believes in talent and match ups. And if we are healthy the only team with the talent to match up with us is the Heat. I wouldn’t be too concerned with anything else besides making sure we are healthy heading into the playoffs.

    And if this isn’t edited… I’ll be doing some stand up comedy at Aqua Lounge in Beverly Hills tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 PM. It’s on Beverly next to Nate N ALS

  56. 29)
    I guess you are one of the many who don’t appreciate satire, sarcasm, and sexiness. Alliteration is my friend. Cause that’s all I have to offer. Who says they are “the smartest guy in the room” and aren’t trying to be funny? Especially when it’s sandwiched between a healthy dose of irony and hyperbole. I’m getting good at typing on this iPad. You cant tell but my fingers are moving pretty fast. I just typed this in a. Little under 34 minutes.

  57. Not to jumpstart trade speculation, but if Ron would get traded, it could very well be to Orlando – since they are just not reaching their peak this year, Ron brings championship xp, and Magic are sorely lacking pre-defense.

  58. It’s funny how so many people miss knees into thighs of other players. I spoke about how Artest took Ray Allen’s legs during the 2010 Championship after he had the great game by first kneeing him in the thigh and then hip checking him on a screen and causing an injury that affected Ray’s ability to use his legs on jump shots. Low and behold Shaq does the same thing to Ron Artest. Most people don’t understand the nature of the game. It is a contact sport. Pay attention.

  59. For all you Kwame Brown haters, who would you rather have right now Kwame or Theo? The guy is exactly what you want in a back-up, the ability to start a freaking game. He has three double doubles in his last six games. Do you think Theo could have done (can do) that??!!! Admit it Darius, you are wrong sometimes.

    Last point, I think the front office is regretting not getting more for Sasha right now. Joe Freakin’ Smith. Saving money is not all that it’s cracked up to be when you’re trying to win championships. Either Sasha could have helped at point (especially on D) or we could have acquired a capable back-up big.

  60. First off, generic trade question: We have the exception from Sasha deal, does that mean that we can get a 5mil/year player without giving anyone in return? If so, is it possible to take on a 10mil/year player if anyone would be willing to take Luke’s?

    And as for the rest of the trade chatter:
    Once we get Barnes back, we’ll be okay. He is better than Ariza, and him and Artest will give us interesting looks to throw at Paul Pierce + Kobe. So that’s that.

    In general, all we need is some inner growth and it’s not like we even need that growth to be skill-related. Some initiative from Pau, health from Bynum and we’re good.

  61. 59, trade exceptions cannot be combined with player salaries in trades. They must be used on their own, and without the benefit of the 125% rule.

    However, Vujacic’s MLE salary is lower than those of MLE’s signed this past summer (Sasha makes $5.4M, Drew Gooden, an MLE signing this past summer, makes $5.7M), so we can’t even get back an MLE level player for Sasha’s exception. At best, we can get a high busted draft pick from a team wanting to shed money (think OJ Mayo), but there’s no way teams will give up their young players for nothing. So really, there’s not much we can use the exception on. The only benefit we have is that if we make a trade, we can afford to take on a little more money because the exception, when renounced, could offset the amount gained in a trade.

  62. 58 (Busboys)

    Considering Kwame Brown makes 3 times as much as Theo Ratliff (roughly 4mill vs 1.35mill) , which would translate into about $5.3mill more (after lux tax) – I don’t think this “who would you rather have talk” is even based in any kind of remote reality that would make financial sense.

    Plus, Kwame Brown and his tiny baby hands should stay away from triangles. He had his chance with us. This isn’t me hating, it’s me recollecting past memories of him as a Laker; a period where he lacked any sort of success.

    Now if anyone brings up Smush, I’m going to lose my mind!

  63. Aaron, 56.

    I think a great deal of us appreciate satire, irony, and all that stuff. But there’s something sad about making a statement for entertainment purposes when you’re the only one who’s entertained. That is trolling, my friend.

  64. #59. I’ve no problem with admitting to being wrong (have I ever come off like I’m not willing to do so?). I wasn’t for Kwame in the off-season and don’t want him now. That said, good on him and the other day (when he had a breakout game, I believe grabbing 18 rebounds) I applauded him on twitter. I’m happy for him. I have no ill will towards him and hope he does well. If anything, I was one that never quite understood the outright hate towards him while he was here. He was obviously trying, he just wasn’t successful. Sometimes things don’t work out. With Kwame and LA, that was the case. (On a sidenote, RE Kwame: I’ve read recent quotes from him that he’s really been helped by Charles Oakley – a recent addition to that coaching staff after Paul Silas took over for Larry Brown. Good to see Oak contributing to the NBA again. If there’s any player that Kwame should try to emulate, it’s Oakley. Strong, good rebounder/defender, limited on O, but a hard worker that wouldn’t back down from anyone. Those guys help win games. Sounds like a good role model for Kwame.)

  65. 64) Darius,
    In the handful of interviews I saw with him, Kwame came across as an intelligent, nice person. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a very good player. I think that the animosity towards him is based on jealousy – some people see someone like him in a position that they feel isn’t merited, and they can’t stand it.

  66. @ 62 Arhithia

    Sorry, you’re mistaken both Kwame and Theo make close to the same amout of money. Theo makes the league minimum and Kwame was signed for $1.3 million.

    Kwame didn’t work here because he was the only big and he has small hands so he was a terrible fit as the low post scorer for the Lakers. He was good with the other players, can rebound some, Phil loves his pick-and-roll defense, he has a strong base to stop bigger players for easily posting him up, and has a little mean streak that the Lakers need. Plus he is younger and played in the triangle.

    People let their hatred get in the way of common sense. We would be five games better if we had him. Yes he was hurt in the beginning of the year, but that was a freak injury from stepping on a ball in practice that may not have happened here.

  67. @ Zephid

    The Lakers can pick up players like Jamario Moon for $3 million of the trade exception and Ben Wallace, Jason Thompson, or Mareese Speights for $2 million dollars of the trade exception. Not that they would, but they could.

  68. A point against Kwame would be that Shaq went for 23/7/5 (pts/boards/blocks) against Charlotte in 35 minutes and Kwame played 25 minutes and went for 8/7/0. But I still say, what would Theo do?

  69. 67, very true, but do we really want any of those guys? None of those guys are going to make an impact unless Bynum stays hurt for long stretches or Matt Barnes never returns. I’d rather keep it and let it expire than use it on one of those guys.

  70. Zephid

    Think never having to use Luke Walton again (with Jamario Moon).