Around the World (Wide Web)

Phillip Barnett —  February 8, 2011

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Just when it appeared the outcome was in doubt, the Lakers secured a sizable lead thanks to some critical shots. It started with Bryant kicking the ball out to the top of the key to Odom, who drained a three-pointer that gave the Lakers an 81-76 lead with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter. On his way to the bench following Memphis’ timeout, Odom chattered in an enthusiastic mood, prompting Jackson to smile in amusement considering the game was far from over. The Lakers made sure Memphis didn’t answer, not only by making defensive stands but by continuing to hit shots when it mattered. Off the timeout, Bryant drove the lane and missed, but Gasol grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to Artest, whose far corner three-pointer widened the lead to 84-76 with 5:46 left in the game. Two possessions later, a pick-and-roll sequence between Bryant and Gasol resulted in El Spaniard receiving an open look on the far wing. He then fed Odom as he cut into the lane, converted on a three-point play and gave the Lakers a secure 87-76 advantage with 4:43 left.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: So far, so good on this little thing they call the Grammy trip. Two contests into their seven-game swing east of the Mississippi, the Lakers have yet to show any ill effects from being away from home. On Saturday they easily swatted away the Hornets. Tonight they visited FedEx Forum in Memphis for a date with the Grizzlies and left with a 93 to 84 victory under their belts. Perhaps a change of scenery is just what the champs needed. Unless you’re a connoisseur of unforced turnovers, should such a species even exist, tonight’s win isn’t one to stash away on your DVR and rewatch over the summer. Neither team ever got into a flow offensively. There were a lot of passes to nowhere and, for a game not taking place in a YMCA league for 8-to-10 year olds, a surprising number of airballs. Both sides were grumpy with the refs, and stoppages caused by minor owies to Ron Artest and Rudy Gay contributed to the overall sense of a night lacking in rhythm. As Laker fans well know, however, any visit to Memphis that doesn’t include a loss or a crippling injury to Andrew Bynum counts as successful.

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Thanks to L.A.’s largess (see below), the Grizzlies entered the fourth with a chance to steal a game the Lakers seemed ready to salt away, but found themselves stonewalled by the champs. Even as the Lakers went over three minutes without scoring, Memphis was only able to shave two points off their lead. After Tony Allen finished with a dunk at the rim to cut a lead for the still-stagnant Lakers to two with 7:01 to play, L.A. clamped down. Hard. Memphis didn’t score again for over four minutes, a stretch featuring two steals from Ron Artest, another from Derek Fisher, and a host of strong close outs (or wise “Hey-Tony-Allen-feel-free-to-take-that-open jumper!-outs). Until a pair of totally meaningless Sam Young triples in the final minute of play, the Lakers had held Memphis to 10 points in the frame.

From Matthew Noe, 3 Shades of Blue: It’s just weird how physically chippy and ridiculously close the games between these two teams have been lately, except that LOVELY blowout whoopin’ the Griz put on the Lakers just a few weeks back.This one didn’t turn out all that close, but it was no blowout.  It makes for great, entertaining basketball..except that the officiating bias the league has for ol’ #24 really shows sometimes. Nothing new there though. The Grizzlies kept themselves in this game twice, sorta: -they got off to a great start, taking the first quarter 29-26….but it shouldn’t have been that close. Had the Griz been able to put a bit more of a lid on it in the first, this game might have turned out differently. Sam Young’s great offensive play (and more-than-credible defensive play) against Kobe was principal among the reasons the Grizzlies looked to make a game of it at all.

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Lakers forward Ron Artest has been known to lose control of his temper, his past often linked to that fateful day when he went into the crowd and punched a fan more than six years ago near Detroit.?? He hasn’t lost control in a game since joining the Lakers, though he certainly wasn’t thrilled about being accidentally popped in the face Monday by Marc Gasol after stealing the ball from the Memphis Grizzlies center.?? Artest ran all the way to the other end of the court, took a knee and put his face in his hands. He then gave Gasol the stare of death as he walked to the bench during a timeout, the referees tracking every step.?? Kobe Bryant checked with Artest a couple of times in the huddle, tapping him on the head, making sure he was keeping his cool, as did Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person, a longtime confidant of Artest.?? Gasol apologized to Artest when the timeout finally ended.?? When Artest doesn’t want to talk about something, he’ll say he doesn’t remember what happened, a tactic he employed with reporters after the Lakers’ 93-84 victory.

From Tom Ziller, SBNation: To call a basketball player a “black hole” is to defile said player’s character. Basketball, like soccer, is a game of collaboration and synergy. No one wants to play with a ballhog on the blacktop, or watch an NBA player go dribble-dribble-dribble shoot. It’s boring and effective. In the NBA, the definition stretches to include any player considered to shoot too much without spreading the love. It’s a bit less of a pejorative, if only because at the NBA level the stars score with so much panache. If you don’t spread the ball in rec league play, the game turns into a series of clanked jumpers and out-of-control layups. In the NBA? It’s flying dunks and, well, clanked jumpers. But you get the point. The amateur game is rarely beautiful when the teams don’t operate as a symphony. An NBA game can be a masterpiece even in the absence of cooperation, thanks to the immutable gifts of the players involved.

Phillip Barnett

Posts

46 responses to Around the World (Wide Web)

  1. Great win. I hope these “reported” Melo-for-Bynum trade talks die down. We can win with what we have. Melo is a great scorer and would be a reliable shooter, but then you have one more hungry scorer to feed. Keep the train moving forward….

  2. With due respect to Darius and Kurt, I believe the one few exceptions to trade speculation is when it hits streamline media.

    Melo is headed to LA folks… not a pretty deal for us financially but it would almost require us to take Andersen and Harrington… not only that, we would almost likely to lose 2/3 of the Killers B’s too.

    Technically, Shannon Brown can veto this deal… Andersen would have to be acquired via the Vujacic TPE and the rest is up to the boards to draw.

    Long time FB&G.

  3. I also want to honor the trade speculation policy here, but as Warren said, this is at least out there now. Whether it is anything but posturing, I do not know.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=6101304

    I honestly don’t see what the Lakers gain from it, so I suspect it is just a leverage move by the Nuggets and/or Melo.

  4. Get the deal done – going into the future, this is what we need…Miami is on the doorstep of taking over 1st place in the East, without a legit 7 footer, and it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Bynum was a great experiment which is not proving to pay off…

  5. So normally I don’t focus on any of these little tidbits that pop up, since they change so often. But this one caught my attention: Isola says Little Buss rejected Drew for Melo, “much to the dismay of Kobe and Phil.”

    Now, I have no idea how reliable that is. And Kobe’s shown us he’s an awful GM, and he loves Melo.

    But pretend that source is reliable. Why the hell would Phil want Melo for Drew? Motivational tactic? Melo would doom our rotation. Where does he get his PT? (I can’t imagine a non-contending team that gives up a big for Artest. Or that even wants Artest.) What happens to our defense without an anchor? Thank goodness Little Buss loves Bynum.

  6. Personally, I think what VoR is saying is 100% correct in that this seems like a leverage move by the Nuggets to try and get more from the Knicks.

    Really, consider the following points:

    *Who has the most to gain from this story leaking? I think Denver has the most to gain because they’re the ones that are anxious to make a trade and their most recent offer from the team that Melo has identified as his preferred destination just issued a crappy offer. What better way to get more from the Knicks than to leak “talks” surrounding better players in marquee cities (like Bynum and the Lakers)?

    *Mitch has always kept deal quiet. Why let this one get out? How likely is it that he’d negotiate in public? I mean that really worked out for Ariza, didn’t it?

    *Salary still matters. Melo wants a 20+ mil extension per season. Do the Lakers pay 3 guys more than 20 mil a year while still having Odom, Artest, Walton, Fisher, and Blake on the books? We’re talking a payroll of $115 mil or more after the luxury tax.

    *Team composition still matters. Bynum, for better or worse, is a key component to the Lakers front line which also happens to be their major advantage over most teams. Lots of teams have excellent wing players, not many flank those wings with excellent size. The Lakers are one. Boston is another. How many think it’s a coincidence that they’re consistently mentioned as the favorites for the championship?

  7. I call Shenanigans. This did not come from the Lakers office. You never hear about trades that happen.

    Why would the Lakers give up Bynum if they would have won the championship in 2008 if he was healthy?

    Silly Denver. Spreading lies will make the Lakers more powerful than you can imagine.

  8. This one’s for W…oh. He’s here instead.

    I really doubt it will happen, given that it’s hit the media. Kupchak is extremely secretive, it’s probably Carmelo’s agent leaking this to get leverage on NY/Minnesota.

    It would be nice to get a wing scorer like Melo in his prime, which staves off the post-Kobe/Gasol rebuilding project in several years’ time, but he’s a) a one-dimensional scorer, b) a bit (a bit, I said) of a head case in my opinion, and c) despite the NCAA championship (he was a man among boys that year), not really a “winner” in my book.

    And I’d hate to see Bynum moved, finally get healthy, and destroy the league for the next 10 years.

    Given that I’m discussing the news and not actually floating trade proposals, please don’t nuke this, Darius. :)

  9. Wow, firestorm of posts while I was writing. Glad to see we all agree at least.

  10. I agree that this is just a ploy. Drive up demand by expanding the market.

    Another interpretation I have is that maybe Broussard’s story is partially truthful and partially false.

    The Nuggets aren’t enamored of Wilson Chandler, I’ve read. Maybe this is about converting Chandler into Caracter(whom the Nugs had tried to acquire before) and cash. The Lakers can absorb Chandler with their TE.

  11. Although it’s certainly a tantalizing thought, with a line-up of Pau-LO-Mello-Kobe-Fish, I don’t like the deal. We’ve all seen how being without Drew for long stretches affects Pau. (Since we don’t have any other decent back-ups.)
    And also: since Kobe, LO and Pau aren’t exactly rookies, the Lakers would in essence be building the team around Mello – and I always prefer to build a team around a big man (Drew ie).
    It takes exceptional talent (think MJ or Kobe), if the perimeter thing is to work. And while Mello is great, he’s no mamba.

    The only way I would do this deal from the Lakers’ perspective, is if there’s any truth to the rumors of Howard coming in 2012. Then I’d do it in a heartbeat, because the Lakers would be great now, and great going forward building around Howard and Mello.

  12. Honestly I have very mixed emotions about the deal.

    When Carmelo Anthony is motivated he is one of the top 5 players in this league. He is a franchise superstar who is still young and has his best years in front of him. If he indeed is willing to sign an extension here then I think there is nothing wrong with exploring the deal to see what’s there. After all they have only had “discussions”, no formal offer has been made.

    Bynum is one of the biggest question marks in the NBA. We have no idea if his health will hold up and we really have no idea how much more Bynum can develop being 3rd option to Pau and Kobe. I really see the way the Lakers are currently constructed that his development will always be on the back burner until Pau or Kobe rapidly declines in their development because they are “the guys” on this team. I can really see him continually putting up his typical 12 and 7 or 12 and 10 numbers. And I don’t see the guy getting the consistent shots he needs to be effective unless he developed a midrange shot like Pau has. His future is bright but we do not know if it’s bright as in being a mediocre player on this team or a Superstar in his own right.

    By trading for Carmelo we solve the issue of having a player like Kobe after Kobe has hit the end of his career. I understand many people may say we lose size by trading for Bynum but let’s all remember this Lakers team has gotten to and won 2 of the last 3 Championships without Bynum. On top of that Melo is a very long SF he could even play some PF because he is strong and long enough (of course Lamar would play PF) on top of that when he wants to be he can be a very solid defender. I see people with the argument of there not being enough shots to go around, but quite frankly I think that isn’t logical. Artest took 11 shots last night and he could take many many more within the flow of the game if he were more confident and decisive with the ball. Having Melo would space the floor because there would be no hesitation on his part and he attacks the glass on both sides of the floor. I also tend to think Kobe would give up many shots to Melo just because they are good friends and the trust factor is there (playing in the Olympics together). Melo may put up the best numbers of his career because quite frankly he’s never played somewhere where there are 2 other dominant scoring threats (Pau, Kobe), as a result he would get more open looks than ever before in his career.

    The whole issue of where this trade gets tricky is who else is included, Barnes, Shannon, Luke, Draft picks? And for who in return, Harrington, Birdman, Chauncey? If this trade were just Carmelo for Bynum straight up I would do it because long term I think the Lakers will be better off, offensively they will be the best they have ever been and defensively they will be on par with how they were the past 3 title runs.

  13. Eh Melo*

    Excuse my Swedishness:D

  14. @Andreas: There’s no way we can keep kobe, gasol, melo AND add howard. That’s 100 million in payroll right there.

  15. I can’t believe more people aren’t considering this trade here, for gosh sakes Melo put up 50 last night. Do people not remember his incredible playoff series against the Lakers two years ago?

  16. Whether this is a good trade or not depends on what Bynum’s health will be like. Whether or not the Lakers would make this trade depends on what they think his health will be like.

    If they think his knee problems are behind him, for the most part, then it’s a no-brainer to not make this trade.

    If they think that his knee issues will continue, then it’s a no-brainer to make this trade.

  17. My biggest fear for this team is Bynum having Yao Ming type injuries the rest of his career due to his size.

    Mojo, I love Nene’s game too.

  18. I don’t believe there’s any truth in these rumors besides Denver trying to get more leverage as mentioned by others here.

    If and when Bynum is healthy he makes this team tougher defensively. he’s quite a skilled big. he has more moves than DHoward (currently). he’s young. he’s huge in the paint and helps with the fast driving pgs. Without him, it’s a layup drill for the other teams gaurds. he’s the Lakers future.

    i don’t care if melo can drop 50. didn’t they lose yesterday? it kinda reminded me of the whole kobe shooting a lot, lakers lose (not that I really believe that). i just rather not have to have that discussion involving 2 lakers instead of just kobe. it’s frustrating enough with kobe.

    besides defense wins championships. not offensively dominant isolation players. bynum is defense. i’ll take a healthy bynum over melo.

    i’m hoping it’s all rumors.

  19. Ric Bucher just reported that last week the Lakers talked to the Bobcats about trading Artest for Stephen Jackson or Gerald Wallace, except that talks broke down when they learned Artest didn’t want to leave.

  20. @ 21,

    Trade makes too much sense. Artest and Blake for Wallace and Sherron Collins. Wallace has wanted out of Charlotte for a long time.

    Charlotte loses an injury prone player in Wallace and the Lakers get another perimeter defender.

  21. Ric and Chris Broussard said that these trade rumors are not smoke screens like everyone here is saying.

    81 Witness, Bucher said that the trade fell apart when the Bobcats learned Artest didn’t want to play for them.

  22. Mimsy’s Hubby (Jim C.) February 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I think people are missing a key point in all of these discussions.

    And that point is: Who do we think the Lakers will be playing in the finals?

    I’d argue that if we’re playing the Celtics, then we want Bynum to match up against Perkins, Big Baby and Shaq. On the other hand, if you’re planning for the future and thinking that, going forward, the Celtic window is closing and it is going to be the Heat every year, then this Melo for Bynum trade makes perfect sense.

    You’ve got Gasol vs. Bosh. (Advantage: Lakers)

    You’ve got Kobe vs. Wade (Slight advantage currently for the Lakers, is going to become an advantage for the Heat in another couple of years.)

    And then you have Melo to match-up against Lebron as Artest is clearly starting to slowdown.

    Beyond that, the Lakers have the better supporting cast. You can bring in an Odom, a Shannon Brown, and a Blake.

    And that’s not even talking about Bynum’s well-documented injury issues. Big men age fast. Bynum’s had REPEATED knee surgeries and he’s not even reached his upper 20s yet. Do we really think he’s built to last the way a Carmelo is? Is he going to ever be a dominant force that we can depend on?

    Beyond that, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone OTHER than Kobe who we can give the ball to in crunch situations to say “Go get us a bucket”?

  23. 11 – ” … if there’s any truth to the rumors of Howard coming in 2012…”

    This current Lakers team is built to win now. I felt that way before the season started and there’s no (well hardly any) reason to think differently now. ‘Drew’s not going anywhere. Yet.

    But it’s more than possible the Lakers go after Howard in 2012 if he doesn’t sign an extension with Orlando and a few other planets line up.

  24. The great thing about Anthony as a Laker would be that SFs like Pierce, Durant, LBJ, etc., would actually have to play defense. Right now, these guys can basically play free safety due to Artest’s inconsistent offense. Of course, Anthony isn’t anywhere near Artest as a defender, but Melo has all the physical tools to be a good defender (like when he was semi-motivated in the LA-Denver playoffs a few years ago).

    Also, Melo would not only be a bridge to the Lakers future, but he would help prolong Kobe’s career. Kobe could still be a closer, but play more of a facilitator. If Kobe goes down with any injuries (very plausible due to his mangled hands and tattered knees), we still have a perimeter offensive threat. If Kobe goes down now, where do we get the points from our guards/small forward position?

    I understand that negotiation ploy angle. I totally appreciate the Bynum is worth $16mil to be a defensive clog in the middle. But to get a player like Melo, you’ll have to give up more than Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer. And for Denver, they would only be committed for one more year, and then have a team option should Bynum go down in flames.

    It’s really not as simplistic as people are making it out to be. There are genuinely good pros/cons to doing this. I just happen to think Kobe needs some perimeter help, and Gasol/Odom can cut it for this year.

  25. Man, if Howard did that Orlando would hate LA forever. However, it’s better to be the town that steals franchise centers rather than losing them.

  26. I just can’t see all 3 of these public media leaks about the Lakers exploring options being just rumors to get players motivated. I happen to think Bynum would like to get traded (and we all know Artest wants to). Yes Mitch has never put stuff like this out in the public, but just because it’s never happened doesn’t mean that it hasn’t this season or won’t in the future.

    I think that the Melo trade talks are the most unlikely, but it makes total sense if the Lakers explored trade options to get a player like Gerald Wallace for Artest.

  27. @21 i’d prefer gerald wallace, but i wouldn’t mind stephen jackson either.

    as for the melo trade, i dont really buy it. it doesnt seem very laker-like to make a big change mid-season. i think its more of a power play by denver to gain some leverage in other melo trade talks.

    personally, im against the trade. im not the biggest bynum fan and i dont really see him as a legit #1 or #2 option on a championship calibur team. i think his ceiling is borderline all-star. with that said, i would rather keep him over melo.

    last finals showed us how important defense, specifically in the paint, and rebounding really are. with bynum in the lineup, we’re better in those regards. oh and we also have the most dangerous frontcourt when hes playing too.

    lakers front office must be really low on artest right now if they really are considering this trade. im assuming the mindset behind this deal is that we usually finish games with gasol and odom and we’re not getting much from artest. with a focused melo in the lineup, the offense will improve greatly, while there wont be much of a drop off defensively, if any.

    having pierce burn energy by guarding melo is certainly intriguing

  28. Is Melo a killer?

    Has Bynum peaked?

    Would Nene be enough inside?

    Who do we match up for in the Finals?

    Or what about San Antonio?

    All this in Phil’s final season, while chasing a second (or 4th) 3-peat, attempting to tie the Celts in total championships, Kobe moving up the scoring list like a kajillion spots, Odom playing the best ball of his career while winning World Chapionships (NBA and real ones) + marrying the fugly K-sister and starring in a reality show, plus Ron Freaking Artest and his non-stop emotional rollercoaster.

    Seriously I think my head might explode from joy/stress/fascination/revulsion/hope/fear/wonder arggggg!!

    LA drama has returned.

  29. Anyone who quotes comments by Ric Bucher should have their entry deleted on this blog. Does anyone have any memory whatsoever regarding this talking head’s history or accuracy???

  30. #31. This is why trade talk needs to be verified by multiple credible sources before we engage here. In all honesty, I’m sticking with the original Broussard report because he’s been known to get things right (Lebron to Miami is his crown jewel) and because he wrote several caveats into his piece on Melo/Drew. The biggest being that the Lakers haven’t even made an offer!

  31. 27 – Well, the Lakers already stole one of Orlando’s franchise centers so they are used to it.

    Nice of them to train ‘em for our benefit, don’t you think?

    “However, it’s better to be the town that steals franchise centers rather than losing them.”

    Mikan … Wilt … Kareem … Shaq …
    … Howard !! It’s inevitable.

  32. what exactly is Henry trying to accomplish with this statement “Isolation offense has been a big focus on TrueHoop lately, and here comes insight that the Celtics do not isolate much. And when they do, it frequently ends in a pass. Just more evidence that’s one of the best teams in the NBA” (Henry italicized best)

    Is he implying the Lakers are not a “team”. Im just a little confused as to what he is trying to accomplish by these statements and his incessant Kobe bashing. I just don’t get it, seems spiteful and petty at this point, all under the guise of stat geekery b.s.

  33. We didn’t trade for Mikan, but your comment is still notable.

  34. oh boy. stephen jackson has been on my wishlist for a while. i love his toughness and confidence. he’s precisely the kind of player you pair with the mamba, because he takes initiative. he also has great all-around skills.

    if the bobcats want to desperately save money we could trade shannon and walton for sjax, and then absorb matt carrol’s 3yr deal with the TE.

    that saves CHA about $25M over three years.

    kobe/sjax backcourt? artest/pau/bynum up front?

  35. Craig W. I’m just relating to everyone here what he said, so why should my post get deleted. I’m pretty sure he has better sources and information on things than you do. That trade scenario makes more sense than the Melo trade does, and especially when you consider the Lakers have a history of dealing with Charlotte.

  36. 34 – Craig – you got me there!

    On Yahoo NBA there’s an article regarding Howard being annoyed about this type of speculation I’m guilty of. He wants to win in Orlando now and let the future take care of itself. Very cool.

  37. Obviously behind all of the speculation for whatever scenario it may be true or not, it’s pretty clear the Lakers feel they are lacking at the SF spot

  38. If the Bynum-Melo deal goes down, forget any chance of a three-peat. Even with Phil’s skills, there’s no way to integrate such a change midseason and come out on top with so many other good teams out there. This deal would all but concede banner 18 to Boston.

    The Lakers sans Bynum would be too soft and too small up front, and an upgrade at this team’s No. 3 scoring option won’t overcome that fact. As I said yesterday, there’s only one ball to go around.

    I can’t believe so many people here will so quickly discount what Bynum has brought to this team.

    Lastly, this looks a lot like the Glen Rice for Eddie Jones/Elder Campbell deal in 1998. One player is better tham the others, stats wise. But what’s the better fit for the team. Just like Rice never thrived once he was demoted from top option to No. 3 option, the same would happen with Melo in L.A. Rice never had the chance to be as good as he could, so his value to the Lakers wansn’t the same as it would have been to another team. Same with Melo.

    Look at Artest’s struggles moving down the food chain and it further supports this point. I don’t see the front office making this mistake again.

  39. Elden, nor Elder Campbell, I meant.

  40. R: And Pau!

    C’mon…after three straight finals and two straight rings, you know he deserves to be on that list;)

  41. Chris J, no offense just trying to play devil’s advocate but what has Bynum really brought to this team? Some modest regular season game statistics? Bynum really hasn’t played any significant role in any of the title runs.

    Your whole argument about Glenn Rice, is valid but you are also forgetting that Shaq was in his prime and Kobe was a young promising talent. Really hard to compare two teams like that when you have the most dominant player in his prime, being the focal point of the offense. Pau and Kobe share the ball better on this current team, Pau is one of the most unselfish bigs in the league (as is Lamar).

  42. Andreas – haha! I’m really getting called out here.

    Point conceded; Pau belongs in the pantheon. :0)

  43. We have to match size with size. If anything, I think a trade sending bynum to memphis for Marc Gasol would be a good idea. The center position is the easiest to learn in the triangle and Marc would make our frontcourt the best in the league in my opinion. I have no trust in Bynums knees.

  44. goddamn im pumped for thursday’s game.