Around the World (Wide Web): Wednesday Reading

Phillip Barnett —  July 27, 2011

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: If there’s a position on the floor where the Lakers have quality depth, it’s power forward. When reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom is the backup, clearly things are going well. Between L.O. and Pau Gasol, L.A. likely sports the league’s best two-man rotation at the 4. Still, it wouldn’t hurt for them to find a viable third PF for the roster, not so much to bolster the Gasol/Odom combo — though someone to lighten the load is always welcome — but as a hedge against injury, whether at the 4 or the 5. The time Andrew Bynum spent sidelined last season proved pivotal, sucking heaps of energy from Gasol’s legs and setting the table for what would eventually become a physical and mental meltdown in the postseason. While he has a chance to start next season healthier than virtually any in his career, Bynum still can’t be counted on to stay that way. The Lakers have to assume he’ll miss some games, meaning they clearly need a backup center more viable than Theo Ratliff proved last season. It also means a little more support at PF could constitute a reasonable use of roster space and resources, even while representing a lower rung on the priority ladder.

From Wild Yams, Silver Screen and Roll: You know, as an NBA fan typically July is one of the most interesting months of the year.  I’m talking about if you’re a real fan who actually watches all year long and reads up on everything you can, rather than someone who just waits for “the second season” to start before you tune in.  July is usually free agency, trades, signings and getting our first glimpse of up and comers playing in the summer league.  July is quite often where conversations and debates which dominate an entire season often begin (look at last July’s big signings in Miami if you doubt this).  August is usually a pretty slow month, while we basically wait to see how all the new teams will begin to look in training camps, but July is usually quite entertaining.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Even through his storied legacy includes collecting five of his six NBA titles with the Lakers, establishing himself (in the opinion of many) as the best center of all time and finishing as the league’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has lately made public gripes about his former employer. He’s argued that the Lakers’ failure to erect a statue in his honor symbolizes the organization’s slighting of him. He felt offended he was never offered a significant coaching position beyond being a part-time special assistant coach. And he believed that his introverted — and to many — off-putting personality made him a distant figure in the organization. At the time, I expressed the opinion that some of his grievances were exaggerated, but that was how he felt. But there’s at least one memory with the Lakers that hasn’t soured Abdul-Jabbar: having the opportunity to coach Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

From Lance Pugmire, LA Times: As the NFL wrapped up its lengthy off-season collective-bargaining battle, the NBA’s lockout of its players continued Tuesday with no progress in sight. One major sports labor deal down, one to go. As the NFL wrapped up its lengthy off-season collective-bargaining battle, the NBA’s lockout of its players continued Tuesday with no progress in sight. “If there’s one thing us labor lawyers know — and the public will see in this [NBA] case — there’s nothing like the prospect of deadlines, in this case, missing games, that forces action,” said Seth Borden, a partner in employment and labor law for the Washington, D.C.-based firm McKenna Long and Aldridge. The NBA regular season isn’t scheduled to begin until Nov. 1, so expect a slow summer. Representatives from both sides — but not NBA Commissioner David Stern or union head Billy Hunter – are to meet soon for their annually scheduled discussion about the past season’s audited financial reports for all 30 teams. The next labor negotiating session is likely to take place in early August.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The NFL’s deal is officially done after four-plus months of its lockout, leaving the NBA alone in its work stoppage. If the NBA were to stay that long in its lockout, it’d lose at least two months of its season (because the league would still have a training camp to gear up for the regular season). The scary thing is that the NFL’s discords and distances in negotiation were not as substantial as those plaguing in the NBA today anyway. If some of the NBA regular season is lost, it’s no fun for anyone – but it actually figures to help the veteran-laden Lakers. They have always had understandably more interest in the postseason in recent years, and they admittedly lack the fresh legs of their youth.

Phillip Barnett