The Broken Building Block?

Darius Soriano —  December 8, 2011

Emile Avanessian runs the fantastic site Hardwood Hype and is a friend of FB&G. He’ll be contributing to FB&G periodically and his first effort looks at Andrew Bynum as a building block and franchise player of the future. Please join me in welcoming  him. You can follow him on twitter here.

Barring a league-altering trade that for the second time in a decade and a half would deliver a Sunshine State Superman to Staples Center (yeah, I know Shaq first arrived at the Forum, but I wanted to ride that one out), there is a good chance that Andrew Bynum will be the next face of the Lakers franchise. And on the surface it makes perfect sense.

I’ve maintained for some time that when healthy, Andrew Bynum is the NBA’s most skilled pure center. When healthy, he’s one of a small (and dwindling) number of old-school big men capable of dominating the paint at both ends. At his best, thanks to an ungodly combination of physical tools and mastery of the game’s finer points, to say nothing of the tutelage of the Captain himself, Bynum resembles an evolutionary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

At seven-feet and nearly 300 pounds, Andrew Bynum goes where he wants on a basketball court. On offense, he does an outstanding job of carving out post position. Once there, he creates a “big target” for a passer, and has great coordination and soft hands with which to receive the ball. Once those hands are on the ball, be it off of a pass or a rebound, he- a la Kareem- does an exceptional job of keeping the ball high, where few, if any, members of the human race have a realistic shot at acquiring it from him. A defender’s job gets no easier when he goes to work in the post, where he possesses excellent footwork, strong, fundamentally sound post moves and- the aspect of his game in which Kareem’s fingerprints are most visible- an outstanding eye for passing lanes and great finesse on his passes, out of double teams as well as to cutters, both on the baseline and in the lane.

At the defensive end, Bynum’s jumping ability and incredible wingspan make him a terror for anyone looking to attack the paint. Not only is he excellent at changing shots near the rim, he addresses a significant Laker-specific issue by helping to negate, at least partially, the team’s shocking lack of speed and quickness at the point. Derek Fisher (now 37) and Steve Blake are still in the mix, as is Darius Morris, a talented youngster from Michigan that could have an impact as a rookie, but is little better equipped than his veteran counterparts to deal with the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.

Just 24 years old, 20+ PER each of the past four seasons, at least 9.7 rebounds/36 minutes each of the last five seasons, 12+ twice (12.2/36 last season) and a Block Rate superior to Dwight Howard’s (4.8 v. 4.5). A double-double waiting to happen and a virtual lock to put up no worse than 18, 12 and 2.5 blocks over an entire season. Simply put, when healthy, Andrew Bynum is potentially a franchise cornerstone.

When healthy.

That, my friend, is the rub with Andrew Bynum. Over the past four years, injuries have sidelined him for 124- or 37.8%- of’ 328 regular season games- costing him no fewer than 17 games per season during that stretch- shelved him for the entire 2008 postseason and limited him to less than 18 minutes per game in the Lakers’ 2009 title run.

Now, there is a case to be made that while ‘Drew has been frequently bitten by the injury bug, the freak nature of his injuries (landing on Lamar Odom’s foot in 2008, colliding with Kobe a year later) point not to a chronic Bill Walton/Greg Oden-esque pattern, but simply an extended streak of bad luck. Perhaps. But whatever the circumstances surrounding the injuries, there is one fact that persistently lingers- they keep happening. These things keep happening to this guy. And if history is any guide, Andrew Bynum is unlikely to spend his NBA future leading a dynasty.

Without fail, regardless of talent, injury prone stars, particularly those that get hurt early in their careers, seldom find themselves on teams that do a great deal of winning. This is not to say that a durable star ensures success, but throughout the entirety of NBA history, the inverse relationship between winning and the lack of a durable front line guy is truly staggering:

The 1950s were dominated by the Minneapolis Lakers and basketball’s first superstar, George Mikan. In his first six seasons as a pro (1948-49- 1953-54), five of which ended in Laker championships, Mikan personified durability, missing a grand total of two games. The second best Laker of the era, Vern Mikkelsen, a member of four title winners and another conference champion in 1959, was every bit as reliable, failing to suit up just five times in a decade-long career.

In the 1960s, Red Aurbach’s Celtics not only picked up where the Lakers had left off, but took their dominance to unprecedented and unrivaled heights. The Celtics were unquestionably captained by Bill Russell (who missed 24 games as a rookie, but never more than five in a season again), with Bob Cousy (no more than seven DNP’s in a season), Sam Jones (missed 10+ games twice in 12 years) and John Havlicek (missed more than six games once in 16 years) assuming the role of First Mate at various points.

In the aftermath of the Russell era, the first team to accumulate multiple rings was the New York Knicks. While remembered as the epitome of a singular unit, the Knick had a clear-cut top two in Walt Frazier, who played 74+ games every season prior to his 30th birthday, and Willis Reed, who is synonymous with injury only because of the desire and willingness he displayed in trying to overcome it.

On the short end of Boston’s dominance of the ‘60s and the Knicks mini-run of the early ‘70s were the Lakers, led by the all-universe duo of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. Of the legends mentioned already, as well as those we’ve yet to discuss, no two primes were more impacted by injury. Though Baylor did a fantastic job of answering the bell throughout his career, injuries plagued him for much of his NBA days and cost him the 1965 postseason, which ended in a 4-1 Finals loss at the hands of Russell & Co.

West, meanwhile, overcame not only repeated disappointment at the hands of the Celtics but also frequent injury en route to becoming one of the very best two-guards of all time. Four times in his first ten seasons, West was sidelined for 15+ games, three times missing at least 20, and in the spring of 1967, West, like Baylor, missed an entire postseason.

Despite all of this, individually and in concert, they led the Lakers to within shouting distance of championship after championship. With seven Finals appearances in 12 seasons for Baylor and nine in a 13-year run for West, any question about their worthiness of the “champion” tag can be summarily dismissed. With all of that said, however, it is worth noting that these two men- symbols of toughness and competitive spirit though they are-disappointingly tallied only a single championship between them, due (at least in part, we can safely assume) to the fact that much of their legendary careers were spent battling injury.

Not convinced? Let’s run through the years.

Only once in his first 15 seasons did Dr. J take part in fewer than 74 games. Moses Malone played 71+ games in 16 of first 18 pro seasons. In his first eight NBA seasons Larry Bird missed a total of 21 games, while Kevin McHale suited up 77+ times six times in his first seven seasons (both through 1986-87). As their durability began to fade, so did the conference titles.

Twice in his 20-year career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar failed to take part in at least 74 games (and that 74 was at age 41) – neither after 1978. Magic Johnson did lose 45 games of his second season to a left knee injury, but in the remainder of his first dozen years, Magic took the floor 72+ times on ten occasions.

Like Magic, injury wiped out all but 18 games of Michael Jordan’s second season. However, in 12 other seasons as a Chicago Bull, he missed all of five games, eight times playing a full 82 game slate. Before missing 38 regular season games in 1997-98, Scottie Pippen had played at least 77 games in eight of his 10 seasons, never taking part in fewer than 72. The “least durable” of this lot, Hakeem Olajuwon, missed 88 games in his first 13 NBA seasons, though it’s worth noting that 1985-86 (26 missed) and 1990-91 (14) account for nearly half of this total.

John Stockton? 19 seasons, 22 DNPs- 18 of them in one season. And the Mailman? 10 in 18 years in Utah. Shaq missed plenty of time, though I’ve long suspected that “DNP- lazy” played as a big a role as any injury. Kobe Bryant has turned playing injured (not to be confused with “playing hurt”) into a personal pastime. Tim Duncan has missed 63 games in his 14 seasons- a whopping nine in his first six years. LeBron? Eight seasons, 29 games missed. And Dwight Howard? Seven and three.

You get the picture?

At first blush you might think this a silly exercise, an apples and oranges comparison. Is it really fair to measure young Andrew Bynum against this collection of NBA icons and superstars? I mean he’s just six years in, he’s only 24, it sounds like he’s in great shape (link to Kevin Ding’s recent article), assuming everything’s properly rehabbed…

Stop it. Seriously. Stop.

No job title in NBA history is more synonymous with winning and greatness than “face of the Lakers.” Given the role for which he is being groomed, it’s not unreasonable for Laker Nation to demand more of the star to whom our wagons will be hitched. For more than 60 years- from Mikan, to Baylor, to West, to Kareem, to Magic, to Shaq and now Kobe, the leaders of Laker dynasties have not only helped define the eras in which they star, they’ve been central figures in the shaping of the NBA itself.

I like and root for Andrew Bynum. He is, by all accounts, a really good guy. I wholeheartedly believe every word of praise that appears above. He’s got the tools, both mental and physical, as well as a strong work ethic and, as evidenced by his repeated returns from injury, the determination needed to star in the NBA. Thing is, after this season (assuming he is not dealt), the Lakers will be into Andrew Bynum for seven years and more than $50 million  (with a $16.1 million team option for 2012-13), without so much as one full campaign to show for it, and a major decision looming.

For all of his youth and potential, there is no precedent in NBA history on which to build a case for Bynum joining the pantheon of NBA greats. This is not to say that it can’t happen, but before another half-decade and $80 million are dedicated to him, it’s worth noting out that it never has.

-Emile Avanessian

Darius Soriano

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74 responses to The Broken Building Block?

  1. When healthy …. that is the big IF. I’m old enough to remember the early years of Bill Walton’s NBA career and how the most skilled big man who ever played became a shell of himself because of injuries. I opt for a healthy and super Dwight Howard.

  2. other than the redundant introduction, a very interesting article.

    what i would have liked to see out of bynum — instead of whining and pouting — is him going at it with his teammates, and dominating them for touches. even to the point of hammering them into the floor during a practice or two. *that* is what a league altering center would do to establish his primacy. but prince andrew wants the crown handed to him on a platter. at the end of the day, he is a mama’s boy.

  3. Wow, great write up. All during the same read, I was first thinking that a straight-up deal for Howard was a loss for us, and then changed my mind and thought we she let Bynum walk at the end of his contract. Nice job.

    I am wondering where Bynum’s head is through all this media talk, considering how young he is. Every potential superstar trade gets his name attached as the bait. Does he want to be a lifetime Laker? Does he want to continue to be Kobe’s second fiddle? Or does he want a team that he can officially be “The Man”?

  4. Great read as always! It’s time for Andrew to shed the “potential” label. I’m confident he can. Obviously he’s not going to give us AC Green durability but nevertheless he can be a franchise pillar. Good luck Andrew!

  5. Awesome write up.

  6. In summary, the key to winning championships is through durable superstars. To those who think Bynum can become one:

    “Stop it. Seriously. Stop.”

    I am reminded of Phil Jackson’s take on Andrew’s future:

    Another significant injury will result in Andrew becoming a “situational role player.”

    Dwight anyone?

  7. What a great post. Nail…on… Head.

    BREAKING NEWS…………..
    Lakers Aquire Paul, Howard… Phil Jackson to come back ;)

  8. When you throw numbers into a container almost anything can come out.

    Here are some facts to ponder…
    1) Bynum is the youngest player ever to be drafted in the NBA (remember Wilt, Russell, Kareem, and all the old greats had to finish college before joining the NBA). For 7′ers it takes longer for their body to develop – even more so for 300lb people.
    2) Bynum played less basketball than almost any other player drafted to play in the NBA in the last 40 years. He was drafted on potential, not proven talent.

    This is not to say that we can ignore his injury history; just that he was a younger and less developed person when he came into the league.

    As fans, our one consistently outstanding characteristic is that we make snap judgments based on what happened just yesterday. We also try hard to find statistics to back up our biases, rather than try to test our what we think against opposing opinions – I am as guilty of this as anyone. This is not a luxury successful GMs can indulge in.

    This thread may be exactly ‘on the money’, but it certainly isn’t the only way to look at things and it also doesn’t tell us how the future will pan out – just what one of the more probable options is.

  9. “you win again, math!”

  10. Great news for Lakers fans… The Heat just wasted their MLE on a broken down swingman for the second straight year.

  11. Once it becomes clear to Orlando that Howard is not resigning with them and will limit the teams he signs extensions with, I think Orlando will be lucky to get Bynum straight up for him.

    If they could land Bynum and Odom for Howard and either Turkoglu or Arenas’s bad contract, they would jump at it now. The Lakers dont need to offer that. I think it will take more to land Chris Paul then Howard.

    Who can make a better offer then Bynum to Orlando where Howard once traded to will sign an extension?

    Be patient Mitch.

  12. Aloha
    I agree with everything that was written in the article. still the lingering question for me is, do you trade Andrew if Howard doesn’t sign an extension. That is a very real possibility, given the nature of the new CBA. Howard clearly makes more money if he waits until the summer to sign. For me that is a real gamble.

  13. 12)
    All reports are that Howard will stay in LA long term

  14. Bynum was also injured in high school, and his body structure (wider than normal pelvis for his size and knock-kneed) makes him more likely to suffer these types of injuries. Not a good risk for the Lakers if they have other options.

  15. Can we stop with the “Andrew needs to grow up” line? We sometimes forget our current franchise player has struggled in the maturity department for years. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

    I know everyone is buzzing with Dwight Howard talk. But until a deal is done (if a deal is done) Bynum is the Lakers center. They can let him walk next year. But even with his injury history there are not many prospects out there outside of Howard. And there is no guarantee Howard ends up in Los Angeles. If the Lakers let Drew walk who replaces him? It just so happens some of the more serviceable centers will be picked up this season by other teams. Nene will be locked up, as will Chandler and Dalembert. Heck, Eddie Curry will be employed again. Oden just picked his option with Portland for nearly $9 million dollars. If the Lakers are not committing good money to Andrew Bynum over the next few years (excluding Howard) who are they going to paying it to? I think some have considered Dwight in Lakers uniform to be a foregone conclusion. We may need to reel that in a bit.

    Lastly, considering the current crop of NBA centers, Howard is the only one in the league who could possibly be added to the pantheon of legendary centers mentioned above. And even his inclusion is debatable.

  16. Mark spears at Yahoo just tweeted about a three team deal that is being discussed. Pau to Rockets, Scola and Martin plus picks to the Hornets and Paul to L.A.

  17. Aloha Michael H., is it cold in Hawaii? boo!

    Yes, good analysis from Emile with the “yes… but” argument. It is like Brutus praising Caesar before stabbing him. lol!

    I also agree with Snomass Dave….a big IF followed by the word “youth with potential” in joining the pantheon of NBA greats. Two conditions to be met 1) when healthy 2)if matures enough he could be one the best Centers in NBA. Here are my questions: how long had we have Bynum in purple in gold? He has been with the Lakers since 2005 together with Farmar and Turiaf. Bynum is the byproduct of the Laker meltdown in 04-05 season, meaning the replacement of irritant Shaq did not pan out and Lakers have been developing since that time. By all measures, Bynum got the best training from the Cap and the best medical treatment on various injuries, where are we now? Still under the radar of being a “potential”. On the other hand, Bynum became a great chip in order to improve the team and he has better assets compared to other Center except DH. Will Bynum become the next Kareem? Not even close, I knew the greatness of Lew Alcindor as Bruin before he becoming Kareem playing with the great O. Bynum never been considered in the MVP, All Star, Olympics, never consistently played the last five minutes of the 4th quarter under the coaching of the great Phil Jackson….again he has all the potentials but we have to attached some caveat to it with the word “if’s” and the “when’s”. Shall we subject this great franchise to an “if-when” player while Kobe is fading fast like a candle in the wind? Case closed.

  18. Chandler heading to NYK to permit an Amare-for-CP3 swap? http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/7330900/tyson-chandler-dallas-mavericks-nears-deal-new-york-knicks-sources-say

    The Lakers are hopefully putting all of their eggs in the DH12 for Bynum and LO basket, with the intention of inking Bynum (if still healthy) to an extension if the trade deadline comes and goes without a DH12 trade. Forget CP3.

  19. Throwing numbers into a container? Is that all it was? Your “facts” are accurate, but not persuasive. He was tutored by Kareem. He’s seen up close the habits of Kobe and listened to the greatest NBA coach ever. Bynum is a smart guy. If he had the talent (and perhaps the type of desire found in the greatest players), he would be playing at a higher level than he is now. He can still get there, but the article makes painfully and simply clear the risks involved. Trade him while you can!

  20. Wow, if New York gets Chandler, they suddenly become a very good team. Chandler playing at the 5 allows Amare to play his natural 4 position, which he was basically only allowed to play when Shaq was with the Suns (during which time he absolutely exploded). With that, the Knicks have a lineup of

    Billups
    Fields
    Melo
    Amare
    Chandler

    with Toney Douglas and Ronny Turiaf off the bench. Fill out that lineup with some role players and you have a contender.

    As for Gasol for Paul, I’m not so sure I like that trade, as we’ll be one Bynum knee injury away from not having any centers for the whole season. I’d almost rather give up both Gasol and Odom to get Paul and Okafor, because at least that way we’d have some Bynum insurance.

    And I think this article makes it pretty clear that a 1-1 Bynum for Howard deal is pretty stupid for Orlando.

  21. Aloha Edwin,

    Yes it’s chilly today only around 65 and rainy.

  22. I take it back actually.

    If we can land CP3 and only give up Pau without giving up Odom, that may cause the Ray Allen Effect to push Howard to force Orlando’s hand, and Orlando should be happy with a Bynum, Odom package in exchange for Howard.

    Also, another thing to consider is that CP3 would probably make all of our role players play tons better.

  23. the hornets want to rebuild. why take on the expensive, long-term contracts of scola and martin? this is just dell demps trying to pressure the clippers into giving up eric gordon.
    i think chris paul will be a clipper, and all it will cost them is bledsoe or aminu, chris kaman’s expiring contract(tradeable in its own right), and most important of all the unprotected minnesota pick.

  24. Has everyone forgotten how well Drew played during the latter half of last season?

    Or against the Hornets and Mavs, when he averaged 14 and 10 and was more often than not the best player on the floor for L.A.?

    People act like the kid’s never put up numbers before.

    If that Pau for Paul three-team deal were available (including the Rockets), I’d be all over that one.

  25. 21)
    Gasol is not a Center. The Lakers are always one Bynum injury away from not having a Center. This of course would make our frontline very thin. The Lakers would make this trade in a heartbeat because Buss always swings for the fences. We would be trading big for small. But we would be trading a good PF for a great PG who is also much younger. Age is a big factor here for a couple of reasons. Having CP3 as a Laker would basically guruntee the Lakers get Dwight Howard. Let’s say Howard is pushing 75 percent to LA right now… With his good friends Kobe/Chris already on the team with now another young superstar (CP3) Dwight sees his long term winning future set along with of course the winning present.

  26. this 3-way doesn’t add up. why would no want expensive, long-term contracts in exchange for paul?
    i interpret this as a ploy to pressure the clippers into sweetening their offer and including eric gordon.
    there is no way any team can match what the clippers are offering: aminu or bledsoe; chris kaman’s expiring contract(tradeable in its own right); and the unprotected minnesota pick.

  27. Just saw the new rumor. While trading Pau for Paul seems like a good deal on the surface, it makes me nervous. Say the Magic land Iggy or Ellis and Howard decides to stay. Then we’re really depending on the health of Bynum.

    While Bynum/Paul is a better combo than Gasol/Paul, it also much more risk. If Bynum goes down, we’d be left with Odom and some scrub up front. That’s a very, very bottom-heavy team.

    Gasol has not only fit with Kobe well, but he has been an excellent cover for Bynum’s injury history. Trading him away with no guarantee of Howard makes me nervous, even as the idea of Paul makes me excited.

    (Of course if Paul is completely healthy then I go for it anyway, he’s too good. Now I have some durability concerns).

  28. Latest reports are Butler to the Clippers (solid fit) and Shannon Brown to the Suns.

    Zephid – the Knicks will have to amnesty Billups AND dump Turiaf in order to sign Chandler as a free agent. I haven’t seen any reports of a S&T out there. So they won’t be nearly as good from that angle.

  29. No Brown this year. The Phoenix Suns will sign free-agent guard Shannon Brown(notes) to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

  30. 28)
    Def risky. Big risk but giant reward and Buss always goes for broke. Think about it this way… If Bynum gets hurt or doesn’t play at a high level we aren’t going to win a championship anyways. So how risky is this really? We play for championships.

  31. I guess I’m too conservative for my own good. I just can’t see moving Pau Gasol for Chris Paul. Paul is playing with a knee injury of his own. His knee is about as bad as Kobe’s and he depends more on speed and lateral movement. Gasol had a bad run last season. But the guy is still one of the best 7 footers in the game. I just can’t seem giving him up for a 6 foot point guard whom could very well be sitting in street clothes next to Bynum in the near future.

    Maybe that’s why I’m not an NBA GM.

  32. poor Pau (if the houston deal is real) — they want him to play the #5!

  33. With all due respect to the very talented, entertaining and knowledgeable members of this site, this is the best article I’ve read on this site in quite some time.

    Not because other content isn’t very good, but this was absolutely exceptional.

  34. 33)
    I’m sure they are going to continue to try and bring in a Center. There is no way they are bringing him in to play the 5

  35. I can’t see the Knicks trading Amare, why would they? Although I do agree that signing Chandler makes them a talented team in terms of starting 5 but their bench will be as bad as we have ever seen without Turiaf and Billups there as well.

    I’d like to point out that if current things keep up as far as Dallas losing half their roster, then they are no longer the favorite to win the west. They are maybe the 3rd best team, maybe even 4th or 5th but losing Chandler, Butler, and possibly Barea makes them much weaker as a team. This instantly makes LA better by default. And quite frankly I still think LA would beat the Thunder in a seven game series with their current roster. The Lakers weakness for years now has been teams with size to negate their bigs’ effectiveness as well as 3point shooters to wreak havoc on perimeter players. Going into the playoffs last year Dallas and Miami were the only teams that scared me, Oklahoma City never really did because as long as you keep the paint protected they have trouble scoring. They didn’t and still do not have the 3 point shooters to cause trouble for LA.

    This doesn’t mean I think LA should stand as they are with the roster because I still think they can’t beat Miami, I just think the chances of winning the West become that much more likely.

  36. kharma is a bitch :) for his sins in dallas, pau must pay his penetince in houston. would that make him a prodigal forward?

  37. Why would the Hornets want Pau? They want to rebuild, so how does a 31 year Pau help them with that. If GS doesn’t offer them Steph Curry and the Clips don’t want to offer them Gordon, then maybe they’d take Bynum if we took back Okafor as well.

    I really like Chandler on the Nets. Amare is a beast at the 4 (on the offensive end) and Chandler can cover for him on the Defensive end.

  38. that’s why they call it “reading”

  39. Congratulations Mitch….thank you, gracias tambien to El Cid Gasol for restoring talent in LA and helped in getting us our current need. Paul, Kobe & Bynum not bad at all for the first few months till end of the season when Dwight moves in without the blessing of any team. Miracles do really happen, it maybe sooner or later but if you are with the Lakers the probability of getting superstars is much higher compared being with LA Clippers. Everybody knows the latter is not a destination but just a rest area. It also appears that Mike Brown has a better influence than Phil Jackson in making things happen.

  40. 37 – The deal being talked about is a 3-way with Pau to Houston and Scola/Martin to NO. I have to admit, I don’t see how NO can get excited about Scola, Martin, Patterson, and a draft pick, but that’s what is being reported.

    Also, Amare does not play for the Nets. You seem confused.

  41. The Hornets have started to inform teams that they’re sending Chris Paul to the Lakers for Bynum and Odom, league sources tell Y! Sports. -@WojYahooNBA

    Really?

  42. will Paul be playing the #5 spot then? :)

    if the lakers canceled pau for paul, how does bynum+odom for paul happen?!

    “it’s a trap!!”

  43. 42)
    Jesus… This is an awful move. We didn’t have to give up all that. And if we did its def not worth it!!!!

  44. According to Adrian Wojnarowski The Hornets have started to inform teams that they’re sending Chris Paul to the Lakers for Gasol and Odom, league sources tell Y! Sports.

  45. haha, Woj just issued a correction:

    Correction: The proposed deal to the Lakers is Chris Paul for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, source says.

  46. oh no,

  47. Feels like BS to me– is Character our starting 4?

    Woj’s correction: now *this* I can believe.

  48. That Gasol and LO rumor MUST INVOLVE more players. Is it Ariza? Okafor?

  49. That is not possible. Pau makes 18m and Odom 8m, while Paul makes 16m. There would have to be more players involved.

    It also doesn’t seem to make sense for NO, who should be trying to rebuild if they are trading Paul, not adding highly paid players in their 30s.

  50. Sigh. This is getting real tiring. Reports change every 5 seconds.

    I think it’s the Hornets using us as leverage to get other teams to offer more (the Warriors to give up Curry, the Clips to give up Gordon).

    Dell Demps is calling up other teams saying “Ok, we’re trading him to the Lakers!….I’m going to trade him as soon as I hang up…no, seriously, I’m not bluffing….unless you want to throw in Eric Gordon, I’m sending him to the Lakers…last chance, think about it….I mean it….please…?”

  51. Sorry to keep retweeting Woj basically, but latest does make some sense…:

    Hornets working to finalize details on 3-team deal to send Chris Paul to Lakers, Gasol to Rockets and Odom, KMart, Scola to NO, sources say.

  52. 52. It still doesn’t add up. Lakers can’t send away Pau and Odom and only get back Paul.

  53. so 2 bigs for 1 small, that’ll leave us with 2 pairs of fragile knees?

    drew for howard straight up… couldn’t chicago offer a better deal to the magics with “any two but rose”?

  54. It’s the Hornets that need to give up more. They can’t take Scola, KMart, and Odom and only give up Paul. They have to have given up someone else, and I’m really really really hoping its Okafor and not Ariza.

  55. I’m just gonna trust Mitch to not be stupid. He hasn’t let me down yet. Even if we give up Gasol and Odom I’m confident we will have a good starting PF to start the season. But we had all the leverage… I doubt we are giving up Gasol and Odom and only getting back CP3

  56. for god’s sake, we just landed chris paul, and you are worried about who is carrying his bags when he lands at LAX?!

  57. 53, yes, would have to involve Trevor or Okafor, unless we get some change from Houston (unlikely). I’d prefer Okafor if we’re trading away 2 of our bigs for one small.

  58. Does trading away lamar mean that the Lakers are no longer players in the Dwight Howard trade talks? It seemed the most likely deal for Howard was Bynum + Odom for Howard + a bad contract. What is left to offer with Bynum if this deal goes down?

  59. Can someone tweet Woj and point out that the #s don’t work as he’s reporting? I am the only nonTwitter user left on earth, methinks.

  60. Zephid’s right, NO has to give up another player or two. It’s gotta be either Ariza or Okafor. The problem with Ariza is there’s a logjam at SF. But with Okafor, does he come off the bench to backup Bynum(Howard)??
    Also, that leaves us with Caracter as our only PF?? Unless we get a PF from Houston.. Patrick Patterson? Hey can we get Courtney Lee as our Kobe backup while we’re at it?

  61. The odds of landing Dwight was already high, but after today’s news, it’s almost a slam dunk.

    I would speculate that if Okafur is included in the Chris Paul deal, he might subsequently be included, along with Bynum, in a trade for Dwight. (I can’t think of anyone else Orlando would want for Dwight/Turkolu).

    Either way, this is a great day for Laker Nation. Get ready for the biggest, baddest big 3 since Magic/Kareem/Worthy!

  62. 55)
    There is no way we accept Ariza. He was the worst rotation player in the nba last year. Maybe a sign and trade with David West? Maybe we do get Okefor and have the best back up Center in the NBA. Who knows.

  63. Zephid, your probability scenario may be coming true

  64. IT’S DONE. CP3 IS OURS!

  65. If true, I’m happy (Paul!), nervous (Paul’s knee!), and sad for our two outgoing players. Pau and Lamar felt like family. They were great talents and classy teammates. And together they played a role in two championships. I will miss them.

    Lamar Odom to @710ESPN @stephenasmith “L.A. is home…maybe I rubbed people wrong way w doing the show”

    Thanks for everything you did in LA, Lamar and Pau.

  66. I used the NBA trade machine and as currently reported the Hornets are getting Dragic, Scola, Odom and Kevin Martin. As that sits the trade would not go through because of New Orleans’ finances. Trading Ariza to LA would not even work in that deal, however Okafor in return would work with the numbers.

  67. I’ll reserve comment until we see the true final deal. But giving up 2/3 of our championship frontline…even for Paul (who I love) makes me very nervous.

    This doesn’t feel like a slam dunk. At least not an emphatic one. Maybe one of Ron Artest’s barely-clear-the-rim drunks.

  68. Why don’t the lakers give up some small guys? We now have a logjam at PG, paying 3m/year to Fisher and 4m/year to Blake when Paul can play 35min/night…

  69. Wow, we now have the 2 most competitive dudesin the nba in the same backcourt. Much like the triangle, this is the pass before the pass, the precursor if you will.

  70. Henry Abbott hates the Lakers. He also spent all last year talking about how great Chris Paul is the clutch while how poor the Lakers are. Constantly building up a case for how clutch Paul is.

    Henry Abbott is in a real dilemma now.

  71. Brian K has a great tidy summary of our current situation:

    “So while the Lakers now have their next superstar, they are, at this very moment, not a better team. They could be, but right now, they’re not. They have given up a ton of material and left their roster unbalanced. The luxury of two 7-footers (more or less) as skilled as Gasol and Odom is very, very difficult to overstate.”

    I will miss seeing such elite passing skills from our bigs. A true rarity.

    Also, I think it’s safe to say we can move away from complaining about our PG situation and onto complaining about our PF situation. Reminds me of the Shaq-Kobe days, always trying to find odd pieces like Green and Walker.

  72. This doesn’t make sense unless there is another shoe to drop.

    Remember our trade of Vlade for the #14 pick in the 1996 draft? Then we signed Shaq.

  73. My next question was going to be: since the Hornets are owned by the NBA, how the hell did the owners OK this?

    Now Ric Bucher is reporting owners squashed the deal.

    Whether or not the deal was a good one, this has me really pissed off. I’m going to calm down before I post anymore because it will turn out obscene.

    Buss should refuse to share any of his TV revenue with the league in protest.

    (Yes I know technically he can’t do that if he wants to stay a part of this league…but I’m angry…and on top of that, this league NEEDS the Lakers).