Window Shopping

Darius Soriano —  June 28, 2011

The draft is over and the Lakers snagged two guard prospects they hope can make their team next year. That said, the Lakers nowhere near being finished completing their roster as relying on 2nd round picks to contribute to a championship contender isn’t what smart organizations do.

So, there is much work still to be done. Normally at this time of the year we’d be exploring free agent options and identifying who the Lakers could potentially sign and how those players could help the team win next year. But, ongoing labor negotiations and pending lockout have put that on hold for front offices around the league.

Even with that being the case, we’d be remiss if we still didn’t look at who this summer’s free agents are and who could be a good fit with the Lakers. You can bet the Lakers have identified targets to try and sign once a deal is struck between the owners and the players, so we too will look at what options are out there.

First, some caveats:

  • While I’m looking at the entire list of free agents, I’m zeroing in on unrestricted free agents that are have either already exercised player options to opt out or whose contracts have already expired.
  • I’m operating under the assumption that Shannon Brown will opt out of his contract and test the market.
  • With Mitch Kupchak openly denying he’s shopping players while also expressing confidence in the “core” of this team, I’m looking primarily at players that can play shooting guard and ones that can be the 4th big man (preferably a center or someone that can swing between PF and C, though this is not mandatory). 
  • I’m looking solely at players that I think will play for the veteran’s minimum as the likelihood of their being a mid-level exception in the next CBA is not clear and I’d prefer to only look at players that could come cheaply yet still contribute.

Now, on to the list:

  • Shannon Brown, SG: It seems strange that he’d return to the Lakers if he opts out of his contract, but one never knows how the market will treat Brown. There’s familiarity here and if Shannon doesn’t find a deal to his liking or a role that he thinks he can grow in, he may see if a return to the Lakers is his best option. While I’d bet against all of this happening should he actually opt out, he would, theoretically, be an option here.
  • Mike Dunleavy, SG/SF: Dunleavy is a tricky call here because he’d likely command more money on the open market. But, he’s played on losing teams his entire career and may enjoy playing for a contender like the Lakers even if it means taking less money. Dunleavy’s a good shooter (40% on threes last year) and has some ability to create off the dribble in both isolation and P&R’s. He’s seen as an underachiever for most of his career, but as a 4th guard playing 18-22 minutes a game, he could be a very good player.
  • Michael Redd, SG: Redd’s coming off multiple knee surgeries over the past two seasons and his injury history will scare a lot of teams away. However, he’s a very good shooter that before he was hurt played for Team USA and was a perennial all-star candidate.
  • Tracy McGrady, SG/PG/SF: McGrady showed that he was sufficiently recovered from his knee issues last season to be a surprise contributor to the Pistons. He showed good playmaking skills as a PG and should come cheap. At this point in his career, he could certainly play 15-20 minutes a game as someone that sets up his mates and takes smaller defenders into the post. His jumper is still only okay, but he’s enough of an offensive threat to still be taken seriously.
  • Sasha Vujacic, SG: Don’t discount the Machine, here. He’s still a descent shooter and is familiar with the team dynamics in Los Angeles. Yes, he fell out of favor with the last coaching staff (and was overpaid), but those coaches are now all gone and he should come cheaply.
  • Kwame Brown, C: Yes, another former Laker on this list. I know many have a visceral reaction to Kwame whenever he’s brought up, but his skill set matches what the Lakers need here. He plays good post defense, is durable, rebounds well, sets good screens and would come cheap. Plus, by all accounts, his former teammates from the Lakers (many of whom are still here) liked him a great deal.
  • Dan Gadzuric, C: The former UCLA product is available is actually a good fit here. He has size, tries on defense, and is an adequate rebounder. In 3 of the last 4 years he’s averaged around 10 minutes a game and has never been an issue in the locker room. As a fourth big man, the Lakers could do worse.
  • Kyrylo Fesnko, C: He has excellent size (7’1″, 280lbs) is young (24 years old) and is a good athlete. He’s a presence around the rim on defense and consistently works hard on both ends of the floor. If he’d sign for the minimum, I’d be more than happy to have him as a 10-12 minute a night player to spell Bynum and/or keep Pau’s minutes at Center to a minimum.
  • Kenyon Martin, PF: There’s some overlap here as he’s strictly a PF and couldn’t play C unless the team went really small. However, he’s aggressive on the glass is a versatile defender (he can switch P&R’s and cover wings for a possession or two) and is physically imposing. I’m not sure if he’d really fit as the 4th big on this team, but he’d be a good pick up that could provide energy for 15 minutes a night and could step in for longer should he be needed.

There are more players to look at, but this is our first stab at it. There are lots of intriguing names to consider and many that could step in next season and help this team. And while there won’t be a rush this Friday to snatch these guys up, it’s good to do some window shopping now to get familiar with who is available how they may fit.

Darius Soriano

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61 responses to Window Shopping

  1. What about JR Smith?

  2. #1. I don’t think he’ll play for the minimum. I’ll cover those types of players (who may cost more) in a separate post.

  3. I think KMart and Dunleavy and serious reaches on that list for the minimum.

    Would you throw Battier, Reggie Evans, Jeff Foster, Sasha Pavlovic (former Cav), Leon Powe, or Damien Wilkins on the list?

    I’d like to get younger – I love Fesnko or someone like Josh McRoberts, but those younger players will probably get more $.

    Its pretty bleak the more I think about it. Anyone excited about Francisco Elson and Antonio Daniels?

  4. I would love to get TMac as a back up PG and SG if we can’t get a starting PG. I said last offseason we should have gotten him to start at PG and this year he wold be again an upgrade at the lead guard spot. Fresnko would be a solid back up Center to Bynum.

  5. I think Shannon and Michael Redd will be good choices. Shannon knows the coaches and also familiar with teammates. As a fastbreak specialist, he’ll no longer step on the breaks compared when he was in a triangle offense. Besides that, Shannon is eyeing for MLE and I don’t think a team will pay for him that much, maybe 10-12M for 3 years.

    Michael Redd’s injuries must have been healed by the time they resume the season, he’s familiar with Kobe and he’s a good insurance in the perimeter line. He and Coach Person could act as mentors to our young recruits Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, Ebanks and Trey J on shooting 3′s.

    Will Lakers go for JJ barea at MLE? Yes, because Cuban will surely match it or increase by additional 10%. As a result, It increases their luxury cap. I don’t see him in Lakers uniform, he seemed to be interested only on the team that pays him more.

  6. #3. I agree. I only included K-Mart and Dunleavy Jr. on this list because they’ve made a lot of money over their careers (both just came off long deals) and seem like the type that would rather play for a winner than sign a deal with a lesser team for a bit more money. But, again, I agree with your take. The pickings, especially at the minimum, will be slim.

  7. I’d be surprised if Fesenko goes for the minimum. Under the old cap rules, I’d peg him for LLE or a bit above 2.5-3.5 mill a year. I think minimum for a guy with his service time would be around 1.5-1.8?

    I’d definitely take him over Gads and then Kwame would be 3rd choice. Although Kwame is a better individual defender, I think Gads would be a better fit in the new scheme. He’s a better help defender. He also runs the floor harder and has better hands, it would help in early transition opportunities and in half court when being set up for baskets off penetration.

    For backcourt/wing help from that list, I like T-mac first and Sasha next. I think they offer the most versatility and defensive potential compared to Redd, Brown and Dunleavy.

    Aside from his propensity for fouls 60+ feet from the basket, Sasha was playing smart controlled ball the last year and half he was in LA. It really was too bad the injuries and run ins with Brian Shaw stopped him from competing with Shannon. It would have helped both players and the team if Sasha could have battled in practice.

  8. I think I would buy a plane ticket to Alaska and spend the next ten years of my life clubbing baby seals in frustration if I had to spend another five minutes watching Kwame Brown play for the Lakers.

    Good fit or not, i don’t want him or his whiny, clueless, underachieving, fat *** anywhere near this team ever again.

    As for others on the list:

    1. Shannon – Wouldn’t mind him back but only if the price is right. I love the occasional highlight play he makes, but his overall offensive ineptitude have reached the point where I’d prefer seeing what someone like Ebanks could give us rather than overpaying to keep him.

    2. Dunleavy – I like this move, but again, only for the right price. I think he could really come in and give us something in terms of spreading the floor, creating and (most important) making good decisions on the court. I don’t want him being the next Luke Walton on the team though, so the contract specifics would be key.

    3. Sasha – I’m done with the Sasha experience. No more fouls 75 feet from the hoop or other idiotic brain farts. No more jacked up shots that come nowhere close. Sorry, just, no more Sasha. I don’t understand the obsession some people have with him based on a few shining moments from back in 2008. I’m ready to move on and give Ebanks, Morris or Goudelock the minutes.

    4. Redd – Yeah, for the right price I’m willing to roll the dice on his injury history. Former franchise type player, it would be good to see if he could become our Ray Allen.

    5. McGrady – Yes, yes and more yes.

    6. Gadzuric – As the fourth big man…we could do worse. I suspect though that he’d be the next Theo Ratliff or Joe Smith, but he’s worth a gamble I guess. If we could get him cheap, I’m game to see if he could surprise us.

    7. Fesnko – Yep. Bring him on in. I think he’s young enough and big enough and healthy enough and has a good enough attitude that I’d take him as our 4th big in a heartbeat.

    8. Martin – Absofreakinglutely! A bit of an injury history and not as big or as flexible to play Center as we’d like, but a mean attitude, good defender, solid enough offensively to be a threat and an absolute steal if he’s willing to be the 4th big for decent money.

  9. Thanks for the vets minimum list for starters. Redd would be a nice add. He’d definitely spread the floor.

  10. KMART and Metta World Peace on the same team.. No thanks

  11. I think a few of the guys on that list might be a reach. I don’t see K-Mart nor Dunleavy playing for the vet’s minimum. Same for Redd… Yes, he has been injured for a long time, but most people remember is his monster contract. I believe he can get a little north of the MLE in the open market. Plenty of teams could use his skills.

    On T-Mac, while on paper seems great, I remember him being one of the most self-absorbed superstars in the league when he was in his prime. That being said, I find it difficult to believe he would be ready to play 10-15 mins a game. And even if he was willing to do it, I don’t believe he could guard my grandmother.

    I would be ok with getting Sasha back even if it means bonehead shots or fouls from time to time. He is maturing and seems much more controlled recently. Regarding Shannon, I’m ok with him also. I’d rather stick with the known commodities at this positions.

    For the backup big, I actually prefer Kwame over Gadzuric. Yes, he has brick hands. Yes, he whines and all that. But the man is a good post defender and can hold his own against almost any center out there. And in the limited minutes he would play, there are 4 other players on court him that can share the ball between themselves and just leave the garbage points and bunnies (which he sometimes misses) to him. I’m not sold on Gadzuric post defence…

  12. Renato Afonso June 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Ugh, I was the anonymous above…

  13. Kwame Brown?!? Why not just add Smush Parker for SG depth off the bench?

  14. SHOOTING GUARDS:

    1. Mike Dunleavy – Definitely a long shot, but if we can scoop him up, it would surely be a coup. Legit 6’9 (with length), high BBIQ, good shooter and can play either SG or SF. Poor defender, but with Drew & Pau protecting the rim, well worth the risk.

    2. Delonte West – Decent perimeter shooter, excellent post up game (for his size), young, heart of a Lion, can play either guard position, an underated defender & familiar with Coach Brown’s system. Has some baggage, which just means that he’ll fit right in with this collection of Lakers.

    3. Michael Redd – Excellent shooter who will play with a chip on his shoulders (feels he has something 2 prove) and good friends with Kobe. Obvious question mark are the knees.

    POWER FORWARD/CENTERS:

    1. Jeff Foster – Excellent role player, experienced, excels @ keeping balls alive/offensive rebounding and doesn’t care about scoring/shots.

    2. Kwame Brown – Okay, we all know about his past stint as a Laker, but keep in mind, this occured when we were asking him to be something that he definitely wasn’t (and still isn’t). A Focal Point of the Offense. But for 10-15 mins per game, backing up either Drew or Pau, I’ll take Kwame in a heartbeat. Still young, a good defender, strong as an Ox & a good offensive rebounder.

    3. Joel Przybilla – Excellent size, competes/doesn’t back down, solid defensively & also strong as a bull. Recent injury makes him a risk, but for sporadic mins (10-15), I’ll do it.

  15. copied over from last post regarding the collecting bargaining agreement:
    “It is pretty obvious that athletes in America are way too overpaid. THey contribute little to the society (athletes make more than most fortune 500 CEOs, and those CEOs have thousands of people’s jobs on their back). The problem is not just the NBA, it’s that Americans look up to dumb jocks as their ideal idol or celebrity. The reason they get paid so much is because people are willing to shell out money to watch them play –simple economics supply/demand. Until the people of America can change their culture and realize that athletes are, after all, just athletes, and Lebron James is likely dumber than half of the population in the world, this issue will never be resolved.”

    What do you guys think?

  16. if you are one of the 50 best in the whole world, you are deserved to be paid millions+.

    does not matter if the job title is basketball player, computer engineer, dog whisper, or meat cutter.

  17. No way your getting Redd for anything less than the MLE…lets be serious here. You said very good shooter…err that would be knock down shooter and a very good scorer. Was and still is a big time player. The Lakers should be sending him CandyGrams daily…showing him the Love! Would be the consistent 3rd scorer we need….ala Glen Rice.

    Also, there is no way both of the rookies make the squad and if they do then “Houston we have a Problem!” Look for one or both to play in the D-League.

    Good call on Gadzuric he would gladly accept his role and hustles when he does get minutes.

    Shannon Brown is trade bait at this point…while I do like his high-flying he has not developed his game enough to be the consistent player we need at this point. He failed in the playoffs and the fact that he could not guard any1 was even worse.

    JJ Barea please I’m friggin laughing myself to death here. No way the Lakers ever sign this midget wannabe and I can not believe you folks even suggested that garbage. Scrub playing over his head…way over it trust me.

    TMac a PG really…when did that happen? While he might have ran some sets as the PG mostly because the Pistons guardplay has been stinking it up. TMac is not a PG and does not have the mentality of one at all…he would be a horrible fit for the Lakers period.

    KMart – Not too shabby if you could get him for the right price but as mentioned above he and Metta World Peace would be a scary combo off the court.

    Sasha – heck why not and send back Farmar while your at it also. These two were not great but they gave us more off the bench than what we have. Sasha at least can shoot and I would rather have him than Luke Walton warming the pine. Farmar can at least guard the JJ Barea’s of the league and we missed him more than anyone would have thought.

    Fun to speculate but short of Redd and a backup big I would not expect that much in the FA market. Think the Lakers will be saving it up for the 2012 bonanza!

  18. The ceo vs athlete overpaid argument is a false comparison in my mind. Athletes are entertainers. How come no one ever compares singers and actor’s pay to CEO’s?

    Top athletes in the major sporting leagues are also revenue generators. They create jobs and opportunities for other people.

    I think the CEO argument is way too simplistic and false.

  19. The Lakers have a two day mini-camp and they invite Bobby Simmons , Gerald Green, Randolph Morris, D.J. Strawberry, Bobby Brown, J.R. Giddens and Cedric Simmons. WTF!!!! Where are David Lighty (in Atlanta), Greg Smith (in Miami), and Keleeza Azubuike (knee surgery in March). Damn!!!

  20. 15. Please no Delonte West; he makes Metta World Peace…OK, look they’re both crazy. We don’t need more.

  21. 16, I would be careful making ignorant generalizations about America’s cultural view on the athlete using little more than the fact that they get paid a lot. Europeans, Asians, and other countries are not much better, considering Olympiakos was willing to pay Josh Childress somewhere between 5 and 500 times his actual value.

    I would also be careful in claiming that intelligence or influence are more logical metrics to be used to calculate proper value. Many would claim that CEO’s are also paid too much, considering that in comparison to many other fields, business could be considered to require considerably less intelligence than say, mathematics or quantum physics.

    Similarly, one could argue that if influence is the proper measure of value, then politicians should receive much greater salaries, considering the decisions they make affect far more than a few thousand people within a single company. And I think most of us can agree that this should not be the case.

    And one should also not judge value in terms of contribution to society, because a “contribution” requires determination of value. Many of my physics friends claim that art, history, literature, have no value to society, thus should have less emphasis. I don’t believe this is the case, but again, it is a value-judgement.

    So while Kobe Bryant may contribute little to society and never attend college, does it make me, a mathematics education PhD candidate who has taught geometry to poor inner-city kids, worth more than him? Should I be paid more than he?

    If you say yes, plz contact me at….

  22. 20) Is this the summer of 2010? Aren’t these the same players that the Lakers cut last year? Now Bobby Brown, he’s fast and can shoot but I don’t recall how he played defensively at Cal State Fullerton, when I saw him play. So, if I can’t remember he either did not play defense or was not required to play defense.

  23. As many times as I brought up Kwame and you threw me under the bus each time and now you list him as an option???!!!! Wow, talking about hypocritical.

  24. HellsYes to any two of KMart and Kyrylo or Kwame!!!

  25. 24) Maybe the wound was still fresh and you were throwing salt in it.

    I thought that Kwame would have made a good back up last year, too. I think that Kwame has resigned himself to be a 10-15 minute player and would not cause any problems on the team.

    I’d like Fesenko, though, a young player with an upside. However, in terms of age for a backup center Kwame is still young.

    I’d love Michael Redd to forgo money in loo of fame, but I don’t pay his bills. Dunleavy is intriguing and may hit his stride in Los Angeles.

    If D. J. Strawberry has improved his jump shot he’d be a perfect fit. A hungry player that would thrive under Coach Brown.

  26. any_one_mouse June 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    How about Tay Prince? Good defender, decent handle on the ball, and shot 35% from the 3 last year. He’s technically more of a forward, but still averaged nearly 3 assists a game last year. If we are adding Kuester to the staff though, I don’t know about any residual effects from last year’s train wreck of a season.

    As for bigs, let’s be realistic, if health holds up, we will have a hard time divvying up minutes between Bynum, Gasol and Odom. So the fourth big would have to be someone who is a vet – young’uns like Fesenko would pine for playing time. Gadzuric might be the more logical fit.

    A lot depends on Coach Brown’s offense. While the triangle depended more on motion, I think we will be moving more to a drive and dish attack. With that being said, there’s only 2 people on this roster who can do that well – Kobe and Blake (and no, I’m not counting on Darius Morris). I don’t know if that’s the plan for 2012.

  27. Imagine having M. Brown, K. Brown & S. Brown all in the same team? I’d say one brown would be enough for the team. M. Redd & Tmac would be a gem for the lakers. Once a shooter is always a shooter. And as Jelly bean Bryant said we need a pure shooter in this team to open up Pau, Bynum and Kobe inside.

  28. Rusty Shackleford June 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    As far as free agents go I’m keeping an open mind as long as long as they don’t take on more money while not getting any better (i.e. Steve Blake & Shannon Brown IMO). I do believe that Matt Barnes was a great signing and we will see more contribution from him this year. Also, with Mike Brown at the helm I wouldn’t be surprised to see more players on rookie contracts (or at least more economical contracts) be carried at the end of the bench.

    As far as the entertainer/professional athlete vs. the business person/CEO discussion goes I don’t think you’re comparing apples to apples at all. Americans follow entertainers for reasons I do not understand (i.e. Jersey Shore, the family with sextuplits, Gene Simmons and the list could go on forever). Even if you try to think of a glorified business person in the US they are only on reality TV show which is more of an entertainer role anyway. I work in the construction industry and see my bosses sit through meetings and conference calls dealing from totally unrealistic expectations from clients on a daily basis. An oft used phrase in the construction industry, “It is what it is” is the only way any 6′-0″ 185lb sports fan can justify themselves as being a fan of physically superior athletes being offered 6 times the salary they are for playing a sport. I love NBA basketball so I guess I’m part of the problem but what the hell; it is what it is. I do not like that there may not be NBA basketball next season (especially since it would hamper Kobe Bryant’s career; he deserves better) but I will always be a fan of the NBA. The best basketball in the world is played there. Ask Carmello anothony to budget (and be held to) a monetary value for a 500 ton structural steel job into the Berkely Lab (it’s on a hillside incapable of taking trailer more than 25 feet long) can’t be compared to asking my white ass to putting up 30 points a night against the best ballers in the world. Demographics mofos.

  29. Bus Boys,
    I’ve been looking for comments for 30 minutes where I “threw you under the bus” for talk about acquiring Kwame and can’t find it. What I did find was this comment from some time ago, but even in that comment I basically just state that I didn’t want to sign him in the off-season. So, if you can find an instance where I buried anyone for wanting to sign Brown, I’d love to see it.

  30. Funny story about Kwame:

    I was in Detroit in 2009 b/c a friend of mine got tickets for the Cavs/Pistons 1st round series (a 4 game sweep snoozer in which Kwame got 0 minutes in games 3 and 4).

    After Game 3, me and my friend go across the street from the Palace to get a drink. After an hour or so, we see an entourage pile into a corner at the end of an empty upstairs bar. It’s Kwame and his crew. He was sipping a Martini and trying to ignore this dime piece who was practically falling into his lap trying to talk to him.

    For whatever reason, I decided to go say what’s up to him. I didn’t know what to say to him other than that I’m a Lakers fan. He gets this embarrassed look on his face, and then came the following exchange:

    Kwame: “Aw, man. So you came over here to tell me you hate me, right?”

    Me: “No, man I just heard about all the stuff you did while clubbing in LA and thought it was funny. Like the time you stole a cake or whatever.”

    Kwame: “yeah that was just another average day in Hollywood. But honestly, you hate me, right?”

    Me: “No, man. Don’t be so hard on yourself, dude. You’re a pro athlete. That’s the best job in the world”

    Kwame: “Yeah, What do you guys do?

    Me and my friend: “We’re engineers”

    Kwame: “Oh, that’s cool. When I was younger I wanted to be a project manager.”

    Me: “Well, you missed the bus on that one”

    We laughed and shook hands, and I left him alone with his Martini and the dime piece who was clearly looking for some of his attention. I laughed about that one for about a week straight. The former #1 pick in the NBA draft, and one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory failed to live up to expectations because he missed his calling as a Project Manager. Tragic humor.

  31. @Zephid
    “Many of my physics friends claim that art, history, literature, have no value to society, thus should have less emphasis.”

    Whoa!! Are they trying to prove you can have a physics degree and still be a moron? Maybe if they stopped and considered history they’d ask why there hasn’t been an actual discovery in physics in two generations. Sorry, pet peeve. Carry on …

  32. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sasha back but I doubt it will happen – he had a career year in New Jersey (I know, sounds funny, right?) and I think they’ll try to keep him.

    Fesenko is a great call, period.

    K-Mart and T-Mac are a post in of themselves, in so many ways. Bottom line, I wouldn’t want to gamble on their injury histories. Their knees are writhing pain, waiting to happen.

    Dunleavy – very intriguing suggestion. I’ve watched him play a lot over his career. I’m having a hard time visualizing how he’d fit with this team and I don’t know why. I really don’t. Maybe because I rolled my explorer on a freeway earlier today. Car’s history, I’m fine. Basketball evaluation may be a bit suspect right now though, haha.

    I dunno about Shannon, I’m just getting the feeling that maybe it’s time for both parties to go in a different direction. There seemed to be enormous upside at one point. Now, I’m just thinking that we need some recalibrating at the guard slots.

    Finally, a few real “fringe” thoughts. Does Pargo have anything left? What about Arroyo? And lastly (as I wrap myself in protective armor), Telfair?? I know, that last one’s just begging abuse.

  33. Good post, Darius, and some good comments.

    Thoughts:

    As you suggest, the pickings are very slim for true PGs. They will probably bring in a combo guard. The best options are probably Redd, McGrady and Sasha. McGrady will cost too much.

    I think they should think about Vujacic
    –think he might do better with no Triangle and no Phil, and Redd and McGrady are both over 30.

    Kwame will actually get more money than the Lakers will have and may well be starting for the Knicks. Ditto Przybilla and Fesenko re. money IMO.

    So, I think it will be Foster, Gadzuric, or–wait for it–DJ Mbenga.

    Yes, I know. I actually wanted them to keep him instead of signing Ratliff last year, and again, he might do better with Phil gone.

    The true 1s are not really any better than what the team has:

    TJ Ford
    Sebastian Telfair
    Carlos Arroyo
    Earl Watson
    Ronnie Price

    The guy I would like them to get is Ramon Sessions, but I do not see how they could pull it off.

  34. In have been dreaming about Redd as a triangle PG for a few years by now. But now, with a new coaching staff, I am not as sure, depends how much speed there is still left in those old legs. A real lights out shooter would be great though – haven’t seen them in years with the Lakers.

  35. Darius Soriano wrote on February 3, 2011 at 8:20 am
    #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.)

  36. I think it will come down to how much the team can spend under the new agreement, and who will accept what will be smaller $. That said, Foster,Gadzuric, and Kwame. Don`t know if Kwame still has a home here.

  37. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sasha back. I was always a Sasha guy. No more doghouse with Phil gone, and he was always better than Shannon anyway. I doubt it happens though.

  38. I really don’t see us getting any of these players for the vet minimum. But just as someone earlier posted, I would like to see us go after Damien Wilkins. Very underrated player. He didn’t get big minutes in Atlanta, but whenever he was in the game he played very good defense and was able to be a playmaker.

  39. 32, I should clarify: some of those people were also engineers.

    And you think that scientists trapping antimatter for over 15 minutes doesn’t count as a discovery?

    36, I’m not sure I understand how Darius’ comment is in any way, negative. And I definitely see no bus to throw you under.

    As for the subject at hand, the players and the owners are wayyyy too far apart to even begin to discuss what sort of contract possibilities there will be in the new CBA. So making any sort of FA projections, even one as innocuous as veteran’s minimum exceptions, is tenuous.

  40. Javaris Crittendon! (ducking, running and hiding now)

  41. Going now with a more ‘traditional’ offensive system, I really think the Lakers should start surrounding the bigs with knockdown shooters and a young wildcard that can create off the dribble. I may get some flak for this, but I seriously think Jordan Farmar and Vujacic would have been a good fit for next years team. Farmar, like it or not, was someone other than Kobe, who could create for himself and others off the dribble. It kept defenses honest. With Kobe’s advancing age, he will surely try to post up more, so the Lakers need another player than can penetrate and dish or finish on his own. Sasha would be another knockdown shooter, and Darius is right, they have new coaches and he is a FA… so who knows?! Michael Redd is also a good option. the knee injury isn’t that big of a concern as he was never a high flyer or relied on his athleticism to score like Tmac. he can, and will be a spot up shooter and his shooting touch will always be there.

    Battier should also be seriously considered (now that Metta World Peace is rumored to be bolting for Finland). Dunleavy would also be a good pickup, only if he is replacing Walton and his salary! for the bigs, they need some effort and energy guys. Reggie Evans would be a great pickup. Someone like Brian Cardinal who can occasionally injure the other team’s best player! They don’t have to be great talents… just someone who will play like hell every second he’s on the floor. be it 30seconds at the end of the quarter, or 5mins when the bigs get into foul trouble.

    I think that’s what the team lacked last season. they had too many skilled players and with the exception of Matt Barnes, no ‘energy’ and ‘effort’ guys who can change the tempo of the game. Like them or not, that’s what Sasha, Farmar, Mbenga, and Powell provided to the team

  42. Slim pickings to say the least of available guards in this price range. LA’s roster is so unathletic if Shannon decides to fly the coup this summer. If you thought this years squad had a hard time scoring easy baskets imagine what it will look like in the future with such an aging squad. TMac or M. Redd would have been nice two or three years, but this roster needs an infusion of youth. The only way to get such a player is to trade one of the bigs, I dont want to see any of them leave but if LA is going to compete in tommorrows NBA the need of another penetrator on the court with #24 is a must. Counting on Fish or Blake to get to the rim( not a strong point in either of their games) to open up the floor is wishful thinking.

    Dealing Drew or Pau(not LO) for a proven young guard and a big body would be just what this team needs. I know two seven footers is LA’s biggest asset on paper, but if they cant coexist on the court at the same time it is a liabilty. Its as if they are stepping on each other toes when both are in the game, which causes the offense to look horrible against good defensive teams. The times Pau has played well is when Drew has been on the sideline injured or when he has been less than 100%. Expecting Drew to continue to concentrate only on the defensive side of the ball and be happy is fools gold. It works when winning, but any sign of a leak this boat is going to sink as it did in the playoffs agianst Dallas. Hoping that another has been can be added to an aging Kobe & Co is really scaring me about LA’s future hold as top dog in the league.

  43. Delonte West + Gadzuric/Jeff Foster would make this a solid off season.

  44. Kwame!!!!! Also, why are there no PG’s on the list. We need a true starting PG that can defend. That is why we didn’t win last year. Even if we miraculously replaced Bynum with Howard, Howard be stuck on the bench in foul trouble, having to rotate over ever single time the opposing team’s PG makes a move to the basket.

  45. I would take a flyer on Earl Clark. He will be cheap, and was not a good fit for Phx and Orl which emphasized 3 point shooting from their the SFs and even PFs. He’s a Lamar Odom-lite (emphasis on lite) who can swing between two positions, and play a stretch PF position as well. He’s also really young (24) and athletic.

    I would also look at Kurt Thomas. He’s the kind of vet who could start a few games for you, then sit on the bench for 20 straight games, then come off and immediately get you 10 points in a conference finals (see K.Thomas, Chicago Bulls, 2011 Playoffs).

    Then I’d keep Ebanks, Darius Morris, and see if Glock can make the team.

  46. Kurt Thomas would be a nice pickup, even if he is 956 years old. His elbow jumper is still automatic, and his defense is pretty solid.

  47. Where are the young Euro shooters here? Sasha will not accept the minimum while lots of players in Europe would opt out from their contracts just to play in NBA. Renato A. made some players suggestions, I think Asst. Coach Messina should try to convince some qualified Euros to join the D’League or go straight to the Lakers tryout. We need youth, speed and shooting accuracy. Let’s reserve Drew, Pau and LO for the trade of a lifetime. Based on Lakers history, it was a legend’s trade i.e. Gail Goodrich et al that led to Magic Johnson.

  48. 47. (JB). I agree. He’s the type of pro, unlike a Theo Ratliff or Joe Smith, who can actually start 5-10 games in cases of emergency. He will be highly sought after this summer. His jumper would also allow spacing for Gasol/Bynum in the post as well. He’s a true pro and I would be thrilled to have him.

    Oh, the only “injury prone” free agent I might go after is Kelenna Azubuike. However, it would obviously depend on how bad he is injured. But he would be an amazing pick up if he’s ok and just trying to get a better salary in the future.

  49. i like fesenko. there was an episode last year where he tried to intimidate kobe and get under his skin, so he’s following in the footsteps of free agent pickups ron artest and matt barnes.

    there are just too many bigs in Utah presently, so I believe he’s gone.

    i hope shannon leaves. i feel like goudelock is more valuable as a floorspacer than shannon is as an athletic wing.

  50. 43) As I have said to others…”May you never become the GM of my beloved Lakers!” You don’t trade big for small period so do not look for the Lakers to make that trade because they know better.

    Mavs just won the NBA championship with the oldest team in the league people. So, one we are not as bad off as we think. Secondly, rookies rarely contribute on really good teams and I don’t see any of the rookies we drafted making any hay on this team this year. And like I said if they do then we are not very good.

    The Lakers can get another championship with this team and I think they know it. We need perimeter players besides KB24 who can contribute now not projects for the future.

    Signing both Sasha and Redd would be awesome and I hope we do it. Remember Sasha can play the 1 also and is a decent ball handler just needed some confidence and a overbearing Phil just did not abide young players very well. Those two and a vet PG (again I say look to Baron Davis) I would say puts the Lakers back in the promiseland.

  51. Sorry guys… we are the Lakers. Its championship or bust with this group. If we want be favored to win a championship like Miami already is this year we need more than a 11th man. We are going to have to add a quality starting PG without losing Bynum, Kobe, Gasol, Artest or Odom. How can we do that? I have no idea but if we want to feel good about our chances next season and not just sort of luck into a championship like the Mavs last season we are going to have to make something happen.

  52. Aaron – I agree, we definitely have to sign a quality point guard like Ramon Sessions, but why are you constantly bringing up the Miami Heat? I live here in South Florida and I come on this blog to get away from the Heat talk. Their fans are the most obnoxious in basketball. By you saying the Mavs lucked into a championship, you sound just like them. They swept us, beat the Thunder and beat the Heat. They earned it.

  53. Rudy,
    They deserved it for sure. But would you bet on them to win it again if the playoffs started over? History tells us you can win a championship with one star and nice roll players added to a magic in the bottle kind of playoff run… but that is a once in every twenty years sort of deal. The vast majority of the time you need the most talent… or the most talented player in the league shrinking Gasol style in the Finals ala LeBron to win it all.

    that actually brings me to my next point… how the Mavs could possibly beat us. After all… behind Dirk the Lakers had the next five best players in the series. Don’t get me wrong… Dirk made spot up shooters like Terry look nice but if you were picking teams after Dirk the next five players would be Lakers. One of my theories is you can throw out talent if one team has the best player on the floor (Dirk) and doesn’t have the worst player (Fisher).

  54. They beat Portland too.

  55. “Never trade a big for a small, or you’re going to regret it!”
    Sincerely,
    Vlade Divac

    “If you have a choice, always go with the 7 footer”
    Sincerely,
    Greg oden

  56. 56) Good point but that was an exception to the rule which does not happen very often. Because once in a lifetime players don’t come along very often.

    I believe the Jerry West quote was I just seen the best individual workout ever of any NBA I have ever evaluated.

    So with that the Lakers traded Vlade Divac knowing that one Shaq O’Neal was on the horizon. Remember Shaq and Kobe came to the Lakers the same year.

    Also, I liked Vlade and he had a nice NBA career but he is no where near the talent level of the Lakers bigs right now. He was a serviceable player who you are comparing to All-Star caliber players.

  57. Thank You #56, the mantra that you dont trade a big for a small is so overrated. Trading for a penetrating point guard who can score off the dribble and create shots for his aging teammates is far more important than two 7 footers who cant seem to stay out of each others way. If LA got rid of Drew or Pau, they would still have 2 bigs on the roster(LO+) with a better chance to sign a serviceable body in the paint. Come on look at that list of discount guards, their is no way this roster gets better without giving up something in return. Our bigs are this teams biggest asset on the market. Lets go get CP3 once D. West leaves NO, or pry D. Williams from the Nets. Please Mitch dont fall for the big man myth,snap out of past ball and step into the future of the league.

  58. 54) you said….

    After all… behind Dirk the Lakers had the next five best players in the series. Don’t get me wrong… Dirk made spot up shooters like Terry look nice but if you were picking teams after Dirk the next five players would be Lakers

    WTH? KB24 has always been and will always be better than Dirk has ever been or will ever be! Dirk finally came thru and had one good playoff run and now he is better than KB24.

    Child Please!

    You had me when you were talking about the Lakers collapsing but when you started that Dirk best player on the floor crap…dude I live in Dallas and Dirk is a great player but he is no KB24 not even close. He is non-existant on the other end of the court and remember his collapses in the playoffs are well documented. Remember his line during the Golden State series when they got embarrased in the first round…asked why he couldnt be more effective he replied “well they are double-teaming me” lol really Dirk welcome to the big time buddy. Simply put it has taken him awhile to become the player he has…like I said great but don’t think for one instance he will ever be better than KB24 who is still the best basketball player on the planet buddy!

  59. 60,
    I said Dirk was the best player on the floor. I didn’t say he normally is the better player. For that series Dirk played out of his mind and was in everyone’s estimation better than Bryant.

  60. 59) First of all doubt if Pau is going anywhere with his contract plus he is a hell of a player so I would keep him. So, that leaves Bynum who is becoming a hell of a player in his own right. He being the younger of the two obviously is the most attractive trade asset that the Lakers have. So if you trade Bynum and don’t get a big back then Gasol has to play center and while he can do it in stretches I think we all agree he would wear down during the course of a season and so would LO with heavy minutes at the 4. Signing a serviceable body is an option but no one out there to make up for the 16/9 but Nene and if you do that your out of play for Superman in 2012. Nah….I say look to the Lakers to make some moves but they prolly wont bust up the Twin Towers just yet. We have won two titles with this team so I believe Lakers management will see if they can make another run before the 2012 FA market.

    61) Ok Aaron…I have to agree that Dirk had the better series but he is in no way a better player than KB24.