Around the World (Wide Web)

Phillip Barnett —  November 30, 2011

From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: With the lockout now ended, we can actually examine questions beyond, “When will we see basketball again?” One topic, of course, is how the Lakers’ offense will run under new coach Mike Brown. Since October 2005, we’ve seen this Lakers core run the triangle under Phil Jackson. Really, that system represents the Lakers’ look since October 1999, save a brief period under Rudy Tomjanovich. It’s safe to say the aesthetics under Brown will be different. How different, you ask? Well, that’s difficult to answer with real certainty. Since July 1, when the lockout began, access to Brown has been limited. When he has been available, league rules have prohibited him from speaking publicly about current players by name. Thus, specific details have been in short supply for quite some time. But we have been offered hints, along with some templates, to stoke our imaginations.

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Mitch Kupchak is facing some tricky questions. Without a lot of money to work with, the Lakers have critical holes to fill around a championship caliber core. Point guard gets most of the focus, though prospects for quick improvement are slim thanks to a lack of solid free agent options or suitable trade chips. They need a shooter, and must get a viable backup to Andrew Bynum at center. A little speed would be nice, as would a dose of athleticism.  If there’s one more open question perhaps not getting enough attention, it’s this: Who exactly is going to back up Kobe Bryant?

From Wandahbap, Silver Screen and Roll: Months of scare tactics. Weeks of threats. Then, just days to resolve. I really feel like the NBA just wasted countless hours of my time during this whole lockout soap opera. All of the SportsCenter segments I watched about it, the stupid sports talk radio bits I listened to, propaganda articles I filtered through and read to find the real story. All a waste of my time. The facebook post, the tweets, the conversations. All a waste of my energy. We’re sitting back at ease. Our minds relaxed that there will be an NBA season. As if the possibility of a lost NBA season was ever real. Still, we played their game. We took our sides and fretted over the outcome. An outcome that sure seemed like it could have been made a long time ago. The NBA should have known it was coming to this and spared us the suspense. Instead, they put on the show. Waited until the players actually decertified, then negotiated in earnest. Making us wait as they wasted time swinging their stuff around. This was the deal it was always meant to be. They just had to grind it out until we got the point. The chickens don’t run the coop.

From Zach Lowe, The Point Forward: We’ve all been obsessing for months over the new amnesty rule, which will allow each team to cut one player currently under contract and have that player’s salary (which the team must still pay) vanish from its salary-cap number. Teams will be able to use amnesty once over the course of the new collective bargaining agreement. The rule comes loaded with moral issues: Why should teams that signed or acquired overpaid, non-productive players be rewarded with a get-out-of-jail free card, especially since the new, harsh luxury-tax penalties won’t come into effect until the 2013-14 season, giving teams two years to prepare? And wouldn’t the rule be unfair to teams that have kept their cap sheets clean for this crop of free agents? They might face more competition as rivals shed salary, and players who end up as amnesty cuts might view such teams as unappealing destinations, since such players could sign minimum-level deals with glamorous contenders.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Congratulations, NBA owners. $3 billion! You can rightly celebrate, because $3 billion is one heck of a haul to jerk from the players’ side to yours, as is projected over the course of the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum celebrate the Lakers’ last NBA championship in 2010. But, um, how much are the Lakers – all by themselves – getting from Time Warner Cable for its new regional sports networks? $5 billion. I’d add a “Cha-ching!” sound effect, but no one is fitting $5 billion in any cash register. That $5 billion is over 25 years – or it’ll be merely $4 billion over 20 years if the future option isn’t exercised. It has been widely and wrongly reported as less.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Kobe Bryant serves as the perfect symbol for the argument by the players’ union that they drive the NBA’s popularity. Yet, the Lakers star reportedly urged his colleagues to accept a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. Bryant definitely loves making money, and is paid lots of it, ranging from his remaining three years, $83.5 million with the Lakers and his Nike endorsement deals. But he also recognizes he has limited years left in winning as many championships as possible. Whether Bryant wants to admit it, time also appears closing in on his chance to climb up the NBA’s all-time scoring list.  He is sixth on the list with 27,868 points, trailing Shaquille O’Neal (28,596), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). So it’s only realistic he can pass O’Neal this season and possibly throw a parting shot at his former nemesis and teammate. Even with a compressed 66-game schedule, however, Bryant will likely surpass Chamberlain and Jordan before his contract ends.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Finally, we can talk about money and contract lengths without feeling further agitated about the NBA’s labor dispute. With both sides agreeing to the overall framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, we can now apply those economic terms to free agency, slated to coincide with training camp beginning Dec. 9. The CBA affects how teams will approach free agency, but there’s something more tantalizing about discussing this issue than over the previous fight between millionaires and billionaires. I put together an extensive list this off-season of free agent profiles. But below are the four free agents who both fill the Lakers’ needs and appear to be feasible in acquisitions.

From Mark Heisler, LA Times: It’s Showtime! Or, at least, its latest incarnation hopes it still is, as a brilliant dawn rises once again over Lakerdom … It’s not hard to tell who won this war–the owners, especially the big ones. Nor is it hard to tell which of them won the most: That was Jerry Buss, the biggest of all. When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison. If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa. Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both. (Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”) Nor will finances be a problem, ever again.

Phillip Barnett

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12 responses to Around the World (Wide Web)

  1. Well… It looks like Dwight Howard is out of Orlando but here is my question… How much will it take to get him in LA? Other teams can’t offer Orlando very much so it begs the question… Could the Lakers pull off the biggest steal in NBA history after just pulling off the biggest steal in NBA history (Gasol trade)? If the Lakers sent Gasol amd Odom for Howard and Hedu would that be enough? The Lakers would imidiatley use their amnesty cut on Hedu of course. Usually teams like Orlando want to rebuild and old guys past their primes like Odom and Gasol wouldn’t be very apitising but Odom just came off his best season in LA and both still have a championship shine of two championships in three years. The Lakers would then have the two best big men in the NBA for a decade. Rebuilding after Kobe would no longer be an issue and the team would imidiatley overtake the Heat in Vegas as title favorites. If there is any concern of floor spacing with the 6-10 Howard and 7-0 Bynum it would quickly be forgotten when we see teams struggle to score 60 points against them. Let’s not forget both also have average midrange jumpers. This isn’t a fantasy… I mean the Nets are offering Robin Lopez and pics.

  2. #1. Players acquired in trades going forward can not be cut using the amnesty provision.

  3. And that’s why they pay you the big bucks :)

  4. 1 – The Nets are sure using a clever negotiating tactic by offering Robin Lopez, considering Robin Lopez plays for the Suns.

    I can’t see the Magic trading us Howard. Let’s pretend you’re Thorpe or ownership for Orlando. You were denied a title in 2009 by the Lakers. You watched your last great player leave for LA, and that left bad blood with the fans that still exists today (if you don’t think Magic fans today care about Shaq ditching for LA, spend a month at any Magic forum).

    If the lockout showed anything, emotion matters. The Magic have every emotional reason NOT to trade Howard to us.

    Now if we have the best offer by far, then they might pause before rejecting us. But do we? It all comes down to whether Thorpe focuses on Bynum’s glimpses of potential, or his injury history. We don’t know what the Magic’s views on Bynum are.

    But the Nets offer is not horrible. You get a guy who showed a ton of potential in his rookie year (albeit an awful sophomore year). But more importantly, the Nets will absorb Turk’s contract AND offer two very high draft picks (possibly more).

    It all comes down to what Orlando values. If they want to rebuild, 2 high draft picks are extremely enticing (especially considering how strong next year’s draft is projected to be). That’s compounded if they’re wary of Bynum’s injury history. And all that is compounded by the fact that Orlando management and fans have every emotional reason not to want to see Howard in purple and gold.

    Meaning if you look at all the factors, it looks like it’ll be a very difficult sell for Mitch.

    Also, I find it hilarious that Paul reportedly turned down the Celtics, saying he wouldn’t sign an extension with them.

  5. The magic owner has stated that they don’t want to trade Howard. They feel, which I agree with, thatthey can be a serious competitor with Howard ad the current surrounding pieces so they’d rather be a serious competitor this year and deal with rebuilding next year than having to give up their star and no longer be a competitor this year. So well have to wait for the free agency where well probably pick him up.

    Then the question is do we seriously have enough to get Chris Paul? He’s the next great pg and I don’t think the hornets would trade him for a pau who isn’t getting any younger and has shown to shrink come playoff time, or an injury prone bymum who is still yet to fully show his potential, or doom who is a very dependable double double machine but isn’t great by any means. I don’t thinkany combo of those players would enough. The only hope we have is that no one offers a better trade cause if we don’t get a trade done and he goes to the fa market, he’s gonna end up in the garden.

    I feel like we are definitely going to get Howard and have a very small chance to get Chris Paul. We should focus on picking up baron Davis or person Williams

  6. Sorry for all the typos I’m doing this from my phone haha.

  7. The New Jersey deal doesn’t seem so great – put Deron Williams and Dwight Howard together and those two first round picks are 20th or 25th, no big deal.

  8. I’m not a fan of trading Gasol for CP3. I know people are falling all over themselves for Chris Paul. But let’s keep things in perspective. You don’t need an out of this world PG to win the title. Recent history backs this up. However, size is a must. Even with last years issues taken into account Gasol is still one of the best big men in the league. I believe he will have a bounce back year.

    And unless its netting Dwight Howard I am not a fan of trading Bynum for the same reasons. The Lakers need a back up big man. They need a decent PG. They don’t need an all world PG.

  9. I just love how Boston’s trying to dump Rondo again.

    While hacks like Simmons, Ian Thomsen and other Celtic apologists drone on and on about how great the guy is, what a leader he is, blah, blah, blah, most everyone else sees things through the same prism as Danny Ainge: Rondo is a guy who can’t make an open jump shot, can’t shoot free throws, and therefore can’t be counted on to remain on the floor in a close game without significantly hurting his team’s chances.

    Ainge would be lucky to replace Rondo with an Aaron Brooks or JJ Barea; landing Chris Paul for that stiff would rival the Kwame-for-Pau deal.

  10. #9. Rondo has his limitations, sure. But he also has tremendous court vision, is a 1st team all defense performer, and is one of the best “pure” point guards in terms of feel for the game in the league. He’s not as good as Chris Paul, but if you think he’s equivalent to JJ Barrea or Aaron Brooks, that’s off base, imo.

  11. I’m not saying Rondo is equal to Brooks or Barrea at all, but the teams that have those guys know they can play those guys down the stretch, and that becomes a huge factor in the playoffs.

    I can’t imagine being a coach having a quarterback on the floor, leading my team all season long, then not having any trust to keep him on the floor when the key games (or a series) get tight because he’s a huge liability as such a poor shooter.

    If Rondo sucks it up in the fourth quarter of a game at Detroit in March, it’s not a big deal in the regular season. You take the upside, which outweighs the bad.

    But playoff games are often close, night in and out. Teams figure each other out, and the little things are magnified. And at that point, there’s nowhere to hide Rondo’s glaring deficiencies. That’s why I’d favor a Brooks or Barrea or many other guards over paying Rondo All-Star money to be an albatross come playoff time.

    That’s my point, and likely what’s driven Ainge to continually trade the guy (first for the rights to Tyreke Evans, then for Westbrook last summer, now for Paul).