The Lakers Always Seem to Manage

J.M. Poulard —  December 11, 2011

For years we have heard of the Boston Celtics and their famed Celtics Pride. Bill Russell’s team literally put a stranglehold on the mid-1950s as well as the 1960s, winning 11 titles in 13 seasons. Although many thought Boston would struggle with Russell’s retirement; the team managed to win two more championships during the 1970s with Dave Cowens and John Havlicek leading the way.

And then the 1980s hit and Larry Bird helped revive Celtics Pride with three titles. Boston then went through some dark times as the team struggled to make the playoffs. Fast-forward to 2008 and the team won a title on the strength of their defense and the brilliant play of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

The franchise has won an unprecedented 17 NBA championships and yet they are not the league’s marquee franchise. That title belongs to none other than…

The Los Angeles Lakers.

The franchise’s prestige, rich history and multiple national television appearances make it oddly enough the easiest team to love but also the easiest team to hate. Indeed, the constant exposure of the Lakers to the public either turns some people off or makes them easier to follow depending on whom you ask.

Thus, when news broke out that Chris Paul would join the Lakers, there was an outcry from fans and owners that the L.A. had once again pulled off the improbable and strong armed another franchise into giving them their goods for almost nothing.

Forget that the trade benefitted all parties involved, but several shared the opinion that the purple and gold had committed highway robbery.

The trade has since been blocked and it seems as though the Lakers have put an end to talks of bringing Paul in to play with Kobe; focusing instead now on bringing in Dwight Howard.

But here’s the undisputable truth (some readers may want to sit down for this one): fans, owners and GMs that are mad at the Lakers should actually be mad at themselves (once again, make sure you are seated).

Believe it or not, there used to be a time that the Los Angeles Lakers were a nearly broke franchise that could barely get decent attendance. Consider this: during the 1960-61 season, the Lakers were next to last in attendance. And that was back when they had Elgin Baylor and Jerry West on the team; you know, just two of the 50 greatest players ever.

Instead of feeling for sorry for themselves and selling one of their stars to the highest bidder, the Lakers got creative. They played numerous exhibition games against the league’s signature team at the time (Boston Celtics) in multiple cities to get exposure, create an intriguing rivalry and also get fans to watch their stars play. In addition, new owner Jack Kent Cooke wanted his team to become the city’s main attraction and thus had a glamorous stadium built that he would name the Forum that opened its doors in 1967 and became the home of the Lakers.

The team would no longer have to worry about attendance figures, and instead could focus on the obvious: winning.

At a time when most teams were afraid of taking on the talented but ego-driven Wilt Chamberlain; the Lakers took the gamble and traded for the Big Dipper to have him play alongside West and Baylor. Although Baylor retired at the start of the 1971-72 season, the move helped the Lakers finally bring an NBA title to the city of Los Angeles.

The team not only won the title but became legendary. One can make the case that Jerry West was the face of the league (he is after all the NBA’s logo) and that Wilt Chamberlain was perhaps the league’s most interesting player. The dynamic made the Lakers a must-see attraction.

Years later, both players would retire, but the franchise would find a way to get history to repeat itself. Indeed, they would bring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the team via trade and then acquire the greatest point guard of all time through the draft.

Many think that drafting Magic Johnson was a no-brainer, but general manager Jerry West actually wanted to draft Sidney Moncrief. Jerry Buss actually made the call on Magic; and never regretted it.

The Lakers consistently made smart basketball transactions to set up the team to be dominant throughout the 1980s.

With the number one overall pick in the 1982 draft, they selected James Worthy instead of a ball dominant Dominique Wilkins, they traded for Byron Scott and also acquired Mychal Thompson. Years prior, they had selected Michael Cooper in the third round of the 1978 draft.

These moves allowed the Lakers to win five world titles during the 1980s.

In the early 1990s, Kareem and Magic had retired and the team was stuck in a rut; looking for the next great superstar.

By the summer of 1996, the Lakers were desperate. Thus, they gutted their roster in an effort to create enough salary cap room to acquire Shaquille O’Neal. It’s worth mentioning that had O’Neal signed elsewhere, the team would have seen some truly dark days since they had no contingency plans set up. Nonetheless, they offered Shaq a mammoth contract (seven years worth $120 million) and stroked his ego to get him the join the team and also acquired the draft rights of a young high school player named Kobe Bryant. By the time the 2000s rolled around, the Lakers had become a dynasty, winning three titles in a row.

O’Neal was eventually traded away in the summer of 2004 and Kobe became a free agent. Although the superstar guard re-signed, things turned ugly for a franchise accustomed to winning. The team missed the playoffs in their first year without the Diesel and then was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons.

By 2007, Kobe Bryant had grown tired of the losing as well as the blame that was directed at him for O’Neal’s departure. He made it clear that he wanted to get out in the worst way possible. The Lakers had a trade lined up with Chicago, but Bryant felt as though the Bulls team he would be joining would be no better than the Lakers team he would be leaving.

And then, Mitch Kupchak hit a grand slam, acquiring Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol and a few draft picks.

The trade helped the Lakers get to three straight Finals and win back-to-back titles. Make no mistake though, although Gasol’s contributions were certainly a huge part of the Lakers success, Lamar Odom (obtained in O’Neal trade) and Andrew Bynum (drafted by Lakers in 2005) were also a huge part of what made the squad a championship team.

For whatever reason, there seems to be this idea that the Lakers have had it easy for the most part. But the truth is they have not. They have been faced with tough times and have had crucial decisions to make in their rich history; but what sets them apart from most teams is that they have been able to exhibit a tremendous amount of patience and make great management decisions (remember after the Lakers won the 2009 title; Buss refused to overpay Odom and managed to re-sign him).

As a result of these facts, players are much more willing to play for the Lakers as opposed to say the Clippers who play in the exact same building.

The issue isn’t so much the big markets (although that helps) as much as it is the notion of playing for a winner.

The Los Angeles Lakers have won 16 NBA titles, made an appearance in the Finals in every decade, have had three of the five best centers ever play for them and also three of the five best guards of all time wear the Lakers jersey.

Given the Lakers’ excellence in shaping up rosters, why wouldn’t a superstar want to join the team?

J.M. Poulard


to The Lakers Always Seem to Manage

  1. Fantastic. Don’t forget Jerry Buss’s creativity when he took over as owner. Starting the Laker girls, modifying the game-experience for fans, and giving tickets away to celebrities to get Hollywood into the crowd and make Lakers games the hottest place to be.

    I wish every Lakers hater that cries about big market status actually studied the history of the Lakers and how exactly this franchise turned into a giant. There’s a reason the Clippers were a laughingstock despite playing in the same city.

    Recent tweets from

    Kobe on Odom trade “I don’t like it.”
    Kobe: “I don’t see Cuban protesting this trade.” (lmao)
    Kobe: “Mitch has proven over course of years that he’s been able to build great team here. Have to all trust that’s he’s going to do that.”

    The feed also includes some good notes about how the new coaching staff ran the 1st practice:

    -Brown talks to Ebanks about body language tells him wants him to do drill right. Ebanks does, Brown follows w hug “that’s how do it”

    -Nothing is improvised. Each assistant had a practice plan in hand. Just like football coaches

    -Brown asks for 3 guys for a drill. Kobe 1st one to step up

    -Pau on y he practiced “because I love to”

    -Brown allowing media to watch practice. I know only 2nd day but intensity is def high. Lots defense

    -Wow! Mike Brown up and down with team, coaching, cheering. His enthusiasm has me ready to lace em up.

    Also, for anyone who wants to see the new World Peace jersey:


  2. Seem to manage? I am amazed at the silence by Buss and the Laker front office in light of the trade fiasco.

    They should have begun litigation immediately and gotten an injunction against any team making trades until the matter was resolved. Instead nothing and no correction.

    The Lakers are screwed beyond belief. You make a deal for a player in CP3 that was not expected and once that was done, everyone was so afraid of Bynum getting dealt for Howard, they nixed the deal.

    The Lakers then have an unhappy Gasol and Odom. Yeah they didnt want to leave and its not like they were traded for trash. It was for CP3. Gasol seems to get it and is back in the fold as much as he can be yet its not good. Odom cried and pouted like only a man married to that Yeti Khloe could so he gets shipped out for nothing. Not only were we screwed out of a trade but we lose Odom for nothing.

    Orlando now knows that the Lakers are going to desperately try and fix this and if we get Howard we overpay. We are not getting him for Bynum straight up so even if we get him and Gasol and Bynum are gone, without CP3, we are not as good as last year.

    The team was not perfect going in, but it was still built to contend. There is a 2-3 year window with Kobe. I understand making some deals to rebuild a bit, but only for CP3 and DH. Now that seems to be impossible, I think when all is said and done, we will not be as good as we were before all this mess started and once Kobe sees that, he is going to make waves as he wanted another run.

    The Mavericks are weaker and even if we held still, we could have added a cheap guy or two to fill some holes. Instead we have created bigger ones through not our fault.

    There should be litigation against the league immediately.


  3. for WARREN
    bring us some good mojo
    here’s to hoping Mitch’s plan unveils itself in he next 24 hours so we can get down to some Bball


  4. An injunction against all other teams from taking action in signing or trading players before the season began? Yeah, I am sure that would have gone over well.

    Considering the other owners were the ones who pushed Stern to nix the deal (cough…Cuban…cough), I am sure they would have been delighted to forgo building their rosters because the lakers/rockets/hornets/knicks all got screwed.

    And I’m not sure the Lakers had standing for litigation – as the league and commissioner has the right to reject any trade it wants – regardless of the fact that they owned the hornets.

    That the lakers gave away Odom must mean they were asked to get that trade exception for a future trade, otherwise thats just stupid.

    Odom could pout all he wants about almost being traded, but eventually as the season began he would’ve gotten over it.

    This team wasn’t good enough last year to even win a game against the Mavs in the playoffs – and may in fact need a shakeup.

    But acting as a sore loser over a blocked trade is just silly.


  5. Who is this guy on here and why is he as smart as me???

    Edwin Gueco wrote on December 11, 2011 at 10:33 am
    Nothing to fear on Kupchak’s corageous move, I think they’re daring and it takes time to sink it in the whole picture.

    I think they need those picks, TPE + Bynum to get Howard. That’s is really a new trade behavior of the management today. Kupchak & Co. were not as daring when the scrubs populated the Lakers.

    Thanks LO for the memories and in helping the Lakers determine their future now. He will still be part of the Laker legacy of the b2b championship.

    Magic GM is not convinced with the NJ offer of Lopez et al and I believe Dwight got the hint, so he defuses the focus of small market rebels by being more condescending on the NJ. I think they’re are all waiting for the package that Kupchak could come up with Orlando. I just go with what DH says that he prefers NJ but also open to the Lakers. Magic GM makes the decision where to trade him among the the three choices.

    Kupchak has to withdraw their offer of the new NO deal because it limits their choices or lose their pieces or advantage in going for queen (DH). The moves reserve for horse (CP3) will come later.

    LO becomes the necessary sacrificial lamb in all of these. Lakers has to raise cash in form of TPE’s reduce luxury taxes and package it to DH offer. Simultaneously, Lakers wanted to take away the NJ advantage of having D’Will in NJ so they let Dallas grab him thereby weakening the NJ attraction for Howard.

    CP3 deal is not over yet though it was derailed by new front that Laker has established. It will be revisited to whatever1) the remaining chips available after the Howard deal; 2) CP3 can opt out to his new team or NO at the end of the season; 3) Perhaps Lakers will just go for decent PG but maintain the two tower concept in DH + PS or PS + AB.

    Undoubtedly, Howard and CP3 know the gold mine reserved for them with the Lakers. They are young and soon there will be the passing of the torch at the end of Kobe’s contract to the Superstar or stars on the Laker roster.


  6. Jim Buss is going to get excoriated if this goes south, but in fairness to him, it is pretty easy to see the chessboard, as he probably saw it, now:

    1. Demps doesn’t want Rondo.
    2. Paul is unwilling to commit long-term to two orgs with a history of failure and forego the FA $, so Gordon and Curry are not offered by LAC and GS.
    3. The Lakers, lacking young assets, make the best offer they can: Gasol and Odom. They do this because the Lakers figure that Paul’s presence here would sway Howard to put his reservations aside and want to come to LA.
    4. Howard would then go to Otis Smith and demand to be sent here, forcing Smith to take a Bynum + package, perhaps making use of the TPE.

    Would it have worked? We will probably never know, but I think we should leave open the possibility that the Odom/Dallas thing is not to go after Howard, but, instead, to take one more run at Paul. We do know that the Howard NJ announcement came right after the Paul deal was killed.

    So, if this all falls apart and the Lakers crash, we should remember that they had a two-step plan and completed Step 1 until Gil-n-Stern stepped in.


  7. This is Hollywood drama to the tenth power, the highs(trade for CP3) the lows(trade vetoed). If this preseaon was a movie it would have you on the edge of your seat. The FO was about to give up LO for CP3 anyway, so him going to Dallas doesnt change anything but the destination. It is still a move that will allow the Lakers to wheel and deal for what they want.

    I trust that some move is in the making, the longer these GMs hold on to their disgruntle employees the less leverage they have. LA truly needs just CP3 or Howard to contend for a title, both would be nice, but is not mandatory. Just relax folks Tinsel Town never disappoints in the drama department, by the end of this LA will be the talk of the league.


  8. Gil & Stern! LOL I like that. Where’s Rosencrantz?


  9. I have faith in Mitch/Buss that they’ve got something in mind. But again, I ask, why drag out this process? If the TPE from Odom was that important, how long are we gonna wait until our next move? Why not hold off on the LO trade until whatever deal we have for Dwight is ready to go? I really don’t like this lull, giving other teams (and potentially Stern) the extra time to figure out our plans and muck it up.

    To quote Disney’s “Mulan”: “You must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon.” We’re not being swift, forceful, or strong right now. Just mysterious…


  10. Rosencrantz?


    Dead, like Gil-n-Stern should be. 😉


  11. Everyone keeps saying that Mitch must have something up his sleeve, but honestly who’s left in free agency?

    The whole Howard situation is all we have left.

    The only other thing I can think of is if after trading Gasol and Bynum for Howard we’ll make a run at Marc Gasol. Not sure if we’d have the money but how ironic would that be?


  12. The reason the Lakers always managed was because Jerry Buss ran the team. If the two Jerrys were still the ones running the show, CP3 and D12 would both be in Laker unis by now.

    The Jim Buss era is off to a very rocky start.


  13. Rockets about to sign Marc Gasol. Would’ve been fascinating to see a Pau/Marc front court.

    And per Kevin Ding, it sounds like Lakers traded LO so quickly because he was “disgruntled” and felt unwanted. And Lakers didn’t want an unhappy LO at his high salary, figured they could get cheaper/younger 3rd big. That’s really too bad to hear. And it’s also not encouraging for those of us who believed Mitch/Jimmy had some grand strategy in mind by trading LO. Might actually have been a panic move instead…


  14. Jim had CP3, who knew that Stern and the league would do what they did. Its not his fault, lets just see how this plays out before we judge.


  15. We can’t blame Jim Buss for the Paul trade falling through. Not even Dr. Buss could stop David Stern and B*tch Gilbert from jumping in. No one could have predicted this; it’s unprecedented. We can say whether or not we think it’s wise to give up Pau and Lamar for Paul; that’s a valid criticism. But the Jerrys worked in a very, very different environment. Hard to blame Jim for the Stern/Gilbert mess.

    Wait, so now David West is going to Indiana?


  16. maybe the lakers are just going to go through the motions of competing this season, and pick up a couple of stars for free, next summer.

    get under the salary cap so that gilbert and the other fleas don’t get any luxury tax $$. let the new coach get his system ironed out in an asterik year.

    this 66 game nonsense is going to do a lot of physical damage, to anyone who takes it seriously. back-to-back-to-back-to-surgery-to-rehab is how i see it playing out.


  17. Aloha,

    I would not be surprised to see Howard with the Laker’s but I am beginning to think it may not be this season. First Howard has stated that he will not sign an extension until after the season. Under the new CBA that makes sense from a business perspective. Then he says he prefers to be traded to NJ. And oh ya, Dallas is also clearing cap space. It would be a huge gamble for the Lakers to trade for him under these circumstances.

    Under no circumstances would we offer both Pau and Andrew for him without some guarantee that he will sin here next summer.

    I think we play out the season, save our amnesty piece and see who we can pick up with one of the trade exceptions. Then this summer we can offer Andrew and two 1st rounders for Howard. Offering Andrew and Pau would be bidding against ourself. Neither NJ or Dallas would have anything better to offer. If he ends up signing with one of those two, then we still have a competitive team in place for Kobe’s last years. If he signs with us, then we still have Pau to team him with.

    If you read the above article patience has always been a Laker virtue.


  18. I have no idea how an $8.9M Odom TPE is more beneficial in any trade scenario than having Odom himself to trade. Sure, Odom may be super pissed off, but we have two weeks to trade him before opening night. You can’t possibly convince me that a Bynum + TPE + picks package is a better offer for Howard than a Bynum + Odom + picks package.


  19. If you read the above article patience has always been a Laker virtue.

    Fair enough, but in that case they should have tried to work with Odom on his issues and kept him. He is only guaranteed 2.5M next season.

    If they felt they absolutely couldn’t keep him, then they should have looked around a little to find a less damaging landing spot for him, from a competitive POV, than Dallas.

    I know the season starts in 13 days, and the Paul/Howard saga is still playing at a website near you. But it might have been a good idea for Buss and Kupchak to catch their breath before handing a guy as good as Odom is to Mark Cuban and the champs–unless it leads to a big payoff and was already in place as a lead-in to Plan B or Plan C.

    If it was just a salary dump, then they DEFINITELY should have tried to find abother spot for Odom.


  20. Article fails to note that ownership decisions have moved from Jerry to Jim, and the young Buss isn’t about building a great franchise by always keeping the target on WINNING to keep the fans streaming in the door at always-escalating prices, but on AVOIDING the luxury tax and maximizing present gate income and the new TV revenue package in a weak economy coming off a lock-out that may, at least temporarily, soured many fans on the product.n I, for one, am very worried about the message in the Odom trade without securing a multi-team deal that would address deficiencies in the lineup.


  21. You can’t possibly convince me that a Bynum + TPE + picks package is a better offer for Howard than a Bynum + Odom + picks package.


    Depends on who the TPE is. As I and another guy mentioned in another thread, Paul Millsap is 26, has two years on his deal, is from Louisiana, and makes 8.1M. Utah may be looking to move him to commit fully to Favors and Kanter, and they can’t move Jefferson.

    One issue that the Lakers have is that their three trade assets have basic flaws that, in spite of their obvious value, complicate dealing them.

    The other issue is that do not have trade “stocking stuffers”–picks and young cheap guys who have proven they can play in the league–to sweeten deals.

    Those things make it harder to maneuver, so the Odom decision was probably made to create more maneuverability.

    But yes, on another level, I agree. I think everybody, meaning Buss, Odom, and Kupchak, should have stopped for a couple of days and re-evaluated.

    This is, I suspect, a time when Phil’s cool head would be helpful (no knock on Brown–none of this is his fault at all).


  22. Every hour that passes without news of the “next step” after the LO trade makes it look more and more like this was just an attempt to eliminate the salary of a disgruntled player who was probably not going to regain his career-best form from last year anyway.

    For me, this whole week has been a little over the top. The Lakers were going to pay an obscene price for Chris Paul, which would have left them with a tremendously thin front court. This team, in its “current” (as of yesterday) form had the 2nd best odds by Vegas bookmakers of winning the title this year. Last year’s champs are undeniably worse after the loss of Chandler, so who was going to come out of the west other than the Lakers?

    The two areas of need this offseason were point guard play and outside shooting. By signing Kapono, the Lakers have their best shooter in over a decade. With the totally predictable release of Chauncey Billups, the Lakers have (or had…) the chance to bring in the best PG they’ve had since Magic.

    These were easy moves to make, and they cost the team next to nothing. A lineup of Billups, Bryant, MWP/Barnes, Gasol, and Bynum is the best starting lineup in the NBA. By far. A bench with Odom, Barnes/MWP, Fish, Blake, and Kapono would be as good as the Lakers have had in years.

    So, instead of keeping their calm and simply adding two small and cheap pieces that virtually guaranteed a conference championship, the team got caught up in the excitement of adding a superstar (or two). Would’ve been neat if it had worked, but it is increasingly looking like a disaster.

    As for the odds of signing Billups now, I’d put those odds at next to 0%. Leaving loyalty aside, would you join an old team with a new coach and a fractured locker room, or the reigning eastern conference champs to be the missing piece for a team that is poised to be a title contender for years to come? Expect to see Mr. Big Shot in Miami next year….


  23. >Under no circumstances would we offer both Pau and Andrew for him without some guarantee that he will sin here next summer. [sic]

    I thought that was supposed to be one of the attractions here, in LA. 😉


  24. Thanks Aaron, I’m just summarizing what you posted. I’m lucky to have you as my mentor.

    If this plan does not pan out, Lakers are on a dead end with Jason Kapono replacing Odom and Morris has to be instant or it will be a long season. By 2012, Lakers will try to dump salaries and go for the available FA’s.


  25. The team should hang a “Team Forced To Break Up By League 2011” banner. Really, it’s a rarer honor than a title.


  26. Aaron,

    Edwin’s being typically modest but he was much beloved and respected at the LAT blog from its inception and it’s great to see him hanging out here now.


  27. Apparently Lamar Odom asked for a trade and the Lakers granted his request. He was hurt by being included in the potential trade for Chris Paul


  28. I agree pretty much with everything 22 (Funky Chicken) says. I WANT to believe we’re all not seeing the big picture and that Mitch/Jim are 10 steps ahead in their grand plan. But the lack of movement right now indicates the LO trade didn’t immediately set up their next move. And the longer our roster remains in limbo, the more I pine for the now-lost security and comfort of Pau-Bynum-LO


  29. Hey guys, I know the trade machine is pure fantasy, but I figured that since Houston really wants Gasol, maybe they could be included in a three-team deal with the Magic. My trade was approved. Check it out:

    Lakers get: Howard, Scola and Courtney Lee

    Rockets get: Gasol and Turkoglu

    Magic get: Bynum, Martin, and Dragic

    Rubenowski for GM of the year!!! Woo!!!


  30. Um, what is going on? Per LA Times, Coach Mike Brown says this today:

    “Unless you know something I know, Mitch has not told me anything. He may have contacted you before me,” Brown said to a reporter. “As far as I know, [Odom’s] still on our roster. We’ve given him permission to stay away these few practices of training camp because of the last couple of days. That’s what he’s doing.”


  31. If the Odom news is true, it was a very decent thing for management to do, trading him to a really positive situation. Not sure it helps the Lakers’ own cause much, but LO was such a positive team guy, I am happy for him.

    Given that I do not trust “sources,” I am not entirely sold on the veracity of the report yet.


  32. Ironic that Larry Bird stole West from the Celtics.

    Good signing, though. Two years is a nice, reasonable contract without over-committing.

    Kobe sounds angry about the Odom trade (reasonable) which brings two thoughts to mind:

    1) This new-ish ownership continues to work without consulting its star player. There’s something to be said for not caving to a superstar’s demands (a la Dan Gilbert), but it’s also professional to keep Kobe in the loop. Suggests a more callous attitude towards the players.

    2) Kobe may have a right to be angry, but I haven’t seen any reports that he stood up as a leader and talked Odom off his trade demand. Would it have made a difference if he had told Lamar to get his a** back in line and that we needed him? Possibly. Not saying it didn’t happen (not everything gets reported), but I’d expect that as the minimal step from the team leader and I hope he at least tried, if he was aware of the situation.


  33. i hope we wind up with nick calathes, whose rights belong to dallas.


  34. kobe also said he trusted kupchak because of his track record. it’s not the end of the world.


  35. I already posted the Kobe-Kupchak quote earlier. No one’s saying it’s the end of the world. Some anger over a confusing trade is expected and natural.


  36. C’mon, on its face, this trade makes no sense other than as a salary dump.


  37. I shudder at the thought of the comments here becoming like the LAT blog.


  38. I feel like Frodo when Gandalf the Grey “died.”. As every LOTR fan knows, Gandalf reappeared in resplendent form. Right now, we are at the precipice. Did we lose our hope in the form of lost opportunities in cp3, Howard, and odom? Or is this the pregnant pause before something glorious?


  39. by trading Lamar, are we under the cap? Can we go after amnesty players who hit the waiver wire (e.g. Chauncey?)


  40. It’s not the end of the world, but unless Orlando does what it has thus far refused to do (trade Howard for Bynum straight up) it is the end of the Lakers’ 2011-2012 title chances.

    No less a source than Magic Johnson said the Lakers were not title contenders with their previous lineup. I’m not sure I agreed with that sentiment, but last year’s team minus L.O.? That is most decidedly NOT a championship roster….


  41. 28. Rubenowski. That has been my thought as well. If their goal was to obtain Gasol, then we still have him available for the formerly proposed pieces. We can use them for a Howard trade or keep Bynum plus Rockets pieces (or trade them off independently).


  42. Come on, guys. By all measures it appeared that Jim Buss was swinging for the fences trying to get both Paul and Howard. The fact he had the moxie to even attempt to have three of the league’s five best players on one team says a lot about his thinking. It is not his fault that Stern and Gilbert played dirty. If he was selling off quality players left and right, then I could understand the accusations. But the man clearly was out to shake up the league and create a contender for the next seven years.

    To attempt something like that means feelings will be hurt. Odom didn’t like it and asked to be traded. There it is. Let’s cut the man some slack.


  43. T. Rogers, I’m with you on the moxie of trying to add two superstars, but that doesn’t explain simply dumping Odom. He “asked to be traded?” So what?

    I understand L.O.’s disappointment, but he’s paid a ridiculous amount of money to be a professional, and he would have been on a title contending team (that needed only add Chauncey Billups to its current roster to be the best team in the NBA). I think he’d get over his bruised ego. And even if he couldn’t, you don’t accommodate a player’s trade request by just giving him to the team that beat you in the playoffs last year. If so, Chris Paul would be a Laker right now…..


  44. 26,

    Dave M, thank you for your props but was not aware that you can be a moderator too, love your Search for Slava.

    That move last night of Mitch was a real gambit that surprised everyone. At first, I thought we are being taken for a ride by the media and as the news spread, then it’s indeed true that LO was traded for TPE @9:30pm on Saturday night. Don’t you think Mitch is hiding some aces on his sleeves and he has to act fast or else that opportunity slips away. There are behind the scenes communication that cannot be divulged. Here is a quiz: Why Dallas and Cuban who is also interested of DH? Why are you feeding your enemy? In Chess, this is a Queen’s Gambit Accepted where the white pawn occupy the center to launch an attack. By offering LO to Dallas, it removes them from using TPE to compete on DH and at the same time open two fronts by pressuring NJ on D’Will; while offering Magic an offer in dangling the money and a young center in Bynum. If you were the Magic GM, it is a dream offer compared to Lopez and it also removes a cash cow, the Turk which hurt the Magic cash position or avoid paying the vultures (small market owners who depend on luxury taxes and accumulated fines. How come Kobe and MBrown are not aware of the plan? It’s too complicated and dangerous to discuss in the open because there are the rebels in the midst.

    In a global analogy, this is like having a confrontation with the Iranians but you have to please the Pakistanis who got the weapons, so you use your arch enemy, the Chinese by feeding their needs and ask them to placate your enemies. You have to be careful with the Al Qaeda (Mr. Gilbert and small market owners) who are a bunch of opportunists and Laker haters. While the Congress i.e. Kobe & Brown wants to know more about the situation, so they’re angry, confused but they remain loyal to the Lakers. During the lull, I hope I entertained you. haha

    If we are wrong and Lakers are just playing cheapskate, whoaaaa! Cupcake will be burned on a stake at the middle of Pershing Square. lol!


  45. @ 39, We’re not under the cap, but we can still go after guys who get amnestied and pass through waivers. To use your Billups example, if he goes unclaimed and he’s threatened retirement if he is claimed, his former team pays him the entirety of the salary and then he is free to sign with another team. In this likelihood, the Lakers could offer him a minimum deal or with the mini mid level if they wanted to. What I’d do is offer him the vet minimum. Golden States just rescinded Reggie Williams qualifying offer. I’d go after him with the mini mid level since GSW can’t match. I know we’ve get a plethora of small forwards, but he’s better than anyone on the roster right now. The trade exceptions can be saved for a pf or whatever the next move is.


  46. I understand Stern better after looking at the Houston
    roster. They have a ton of young, valuable assets (Lowery, Patterson, Budinger, Morris) that they didn’t dream of offering up in the deal.

    Instead they were content trying to move high priced vets (Scola and Martin) in an attempt to both dump salary on Nola and get a player of need out of what amounts to a fire sale.

    The Lakers are far less draconian about it. they only have high priced veteran assets to begin with so of course that’s what they brought to the table.

    If the Lakers were to offer Gasol straight up to the Rockets for some of those younger assets, watch how quickly Houston would lose interest in a discussion like that.

    That tells you everything you need to know about what was involved here.

    Maybe Stern is right. maybe the best thing would be for Paul to play out the string with Nola and then just walk.

    At least Nola wouldn’t be strapped with three over priced veterans (Odom, Martin and Scola) on the back part of their careers, costing Nola about $60K in cap and luxury tax. And at least Nola wouldn’t have donated a championship to another team just because they had to let go of a superstar during a fire sale.

    Don’t see how a new prospective owner would find that to be terribly lucrative at all.


  47. dwight howard isn’t going to make our perimeter players magically more quick and athletic. our perimeter play is the reason we didn’t go further in the playoffs.

    magic johnson isn’t an authority on basketball. have you heard him attempt to analyze games? anything he attempts beyond the most simple descriptions and tropes becomes inchoate mud. holding him up as some sort of authority is ridiculous.

    matt barnes helps address our poor perimeter rebounding; we need him to be healthy. Ebanks is also a very good rebounder at his position and hopefully he grows as well.

    we need more athleticism at the pg position. fisher isn’t going to cut it, and hopefully Morris or Goudelock can step up and take the lion’s share of the minutes, or that TE is used to bring in an adequate pg.

    otherwise Mike Brown is going to have to scheme to solve that problem. we may not need a traditional pg, just a defender athletic enough to contain them.

    i’m confident we can win a championship if our perimeter play improves.


  48. given what’s come down from the league office of late, why would the L’s officially announce *anything on the weekend, with the office closed?!


  49. This must be an M. Night Shyamalan movie because I smell a twist coming. It’s definitely not over yet because, at this point, all the front office has done is make the team weaker, and we know they’re smarter than that.


  50. Problem is, Shyamalan movies have had the worst twists in the past 10 years


  51. May I?..

    Drrayeye could not have explained my sentiment any better. Odom WAS SUPPOSED TO BE part of the deal that landed us Pau Gasol, except Memphis preferred Kwame ++ that time. The rest eventually became history…

    I somehow knew in the summer of 09 when Odom, Ariza and Shanwow were free agents… the entire blog acknowledged that the payroll was a major concern, we had been able to convince Lamar to stay on this contract, Ariza left but we replaced him with TAFKARA. We convinced Shanwow to stay a bit as well.

    The summer before that, there was decision regarding Sasha and Ronny – except we let Ronny go to GSW and retained Sasha – eventually cost us a 1st rounder to dump last ssn – and now we are in dire need of a guy of Ronny’s skillset and passion.

    In the end this is the tail-end of the inevitable. Except us fans always hunger and strive as if it was our money to spend. Easy for us we don’t pay Lamar Odom 17.8M worth… same goes with all other free agents we would have wanted to retain.

    There is very little comfort zone we have. I am saying this in plain English that WE TRADE FOR DWIGHT USING BYNUM ++ but we keep Pau (and Kobe). If the Magic require Bynum AND Gasol, then we can tell Otis Smith to find another team or take NJ’s lame offer.

    We aren’t getting better with Dwight alone. We arent’ supposed to be overpaying aka including Gasol AND taking back Hedo. Its one or the other. And if all else fails, then just like my brother from another mother said, Kobe, Bynum and Pau ARE the Lakers’ big three.


  52. Is there any way they could use the trade exception in the deal for Chris Paul? The league wanted the hornets to take back less salary and younger players, right? Odoms pretty old.


  53. There is no way we are giving up Pau along with Bynum for D12.

    Unless Prokhorovs figure out a way to sweeten their deal substantially, there is no way Lopez + 2 1st rounders is better than Bynum + 2 1st rounders. With D12 in NJ, NJ’s picks are in the low-20’s just like LA’s picks are. At that point the choice boils down to who’s better – Lopez or Bynum. Even given Drew’s injury history, he is still head and shoulders above Lopez in all aspects (current skill level, potential, ability to influence games on both ends). So once all is said and done, unless NJ comes up with a way to send another talented starter back to ORL, our offer trumps theirs.

    On a side note: if Drew stays a Laker this year and has another knee injury, we are screwed beyond belief. I still think we should sell high. We don’t want our team to be one of those who held on to ‘potential’ for too long.


  54. I agree with SB surfer. I think they will try to use this pick and trade exception for Chris Paul.


  55. Chris Paul will probably end up with the Clippers, he wants out so bad he’s going to tell them he will sign an extension there and LA will give up Eric Gordon for him finally. Or so that’s that is being reported by Stein/Broussard


  56. Plus Stern would love to have the Clippers get CP3 even if it meant Sterling would heckle him at the tail end of his contract when he won’t re-sign with them.


  57. @46

    Patterson has a chance to be good. If he hits his ceiling, he will be about as good as Luis Scola.

    Budinger is a rotation player–that’s it.

    Lowry is above-average, but he makes about 6M a year. I do think Morey sees him as a key guy.

    Morris is not considered likely to be anything special.

    There are five problems with saying, “Stern was right:”

    1. According to all accounts, he told Demps he had autonomy. That turned out to be BS.
    2. It is reasonable to say that Demps should have gotten some younger guys back, but Pau makes 19M a year. There needed to be at least one expensive piece in the deal. Kaman is going to be part of the Clippers’ deal if Paul becomes a Clip.
    3. Odom, Martin, and Dragic have contracts that would be easy to move–ask Buss and Cuban about how easy it is to move Lamar.
    4. No one saw the deal as heinously one-sided–not even national media guys who are Boston fans (Zach Lowe, Simmons) stood up and applauded Stern for saving the Hornets’ franchise.
    5. Stern screwed the Rockets severely–many of their fans are perhaps even more upset than Lakers fans.

    You can argue the deal sucked for NO–but it wasn’t a “travesty” as Dan Gilbert suggested.


  58. 17? The Lakers have won 16 championships.


  59. Kobe is taking the right stance.

    He’s voicing his unhappiness as a teammate, letting everyone know that he was not involved (even if he was that’s the correct stance), and showed faith in management. Flawless.

    As for the Odom dump, we’re an organization with some class. If our player who has contributed as much as Odom asks for something, you grant him that, especially if you’ve hurt him in the first place AND if his request does not truly hinder our plans.

    Just because nothing surfaces through the grapevine does not mean nothing is happening. Maybe this time they want to keep things under the table better as to not create any more disgruntled and shaken employees… as has been the case with Mitch.

    Also, as the article puts so eloquently… we are the Lakers with or without all our players. Even if we gut the roster to nothing but Kobe, marquee players would want to join us. Kobe will be disgruntled, but even he knows that he isn’t as valuable as he was in 2007 so he’ll play along.


  60. Bucher says Paul will sign with Clippers through 12-13, making deal a go.


  61. I am happy for the Clippers, that franchise will be relevant once more. Besides, what would make the best pre-ssn game than the locker-room rivals that they are… cp3 was both a member of the Lakers and CLippers all on the same week.

    Also, won’t be surprised what poetic justice Stern will give the Hornets later on to find out that MIN 1st rounder will be #1 overall pick next draft.


  62. I’ll say this – I have never seen a Lakers training camp roster without veteran back-up bigs. Never, ever. Smith and Theo aren’t coming back and all we have behind Pau and Andrew is Caracter, Majok and Daniels. That is bizarre. Look at any training camp through the years and there are always guys that have been around. They may not last, but they’re in camp. And look at regular seasons – we always have at least 5 legit guys with height and usually 6. Go back just a few years – Bynum, Pau, Odom, Mihm, Turief, DJ and Vlad on the roster. That’s 7. So Vlad’s a swingman, but the length is still there. Mihm was injured, it happens. It’s why you always have depth. There are always bigs with actual NBA experience. So what gives? Please enlighten me. Don’t say, well maybe we get Dwight. Or maybe we trade for Andy V. I want to know why there are not guys on the floor who can body up our starters in practice, and actually contribute minutes in real game time. What happens on Christmas day with Andrew suspended? Seriously. If we don’t get Dwight, who’s on the floor?

    Sorry to vent. Mitch is a good GM and he’s stealth. I’m sure he’s got something in the wings. But the season’s two weeks away.


  63. Above – Andy V, not K.


  64. I for one is very understanding of Odom’s outburst. I think many have forgotten that he took a paycut to stay in LA, and by signing a friendly contract he got shipped. Sad to see this happen, and it always seemed to happen to other teams.

    So contrary to many here, I think this is not a set up to get Howard. This was really Odom going to Mitch and say, remember when we did our contract, you promised me you would do this to me? I agreed to a flexible contract for you, and so I am calling you out with this. So Mitch and the Buss family, know already that they backstabbed Odom on this, had to do a bad deal.


  65. Mike Brown steps into a muddy but good terrain… he expects the vets to act like adults in the locker room. Esp with a team filled with consummate professionals, he comes over and tries to sell them his lowkeyness by virtue of his work.

    When the Zen Master decided to leave for good, he knew that LA was in transition. Whether that Dallas series was a fluke or not, whether the Lakers feel like they are strong enough to contend with what remains of that team, the writing on the wall was clear – the word is TRANSITION.

    The Lakers transition into a dynamic defensive coach – from a laid back super genius, we now have a blue collar hard working coach that never fails to demonstrate his emphasis. Mike Brown gives you a very good idea what he wants his team to be, and with that said, anyone putting up less effort than he is, doesn’t deserve to be on the team.

    When the news broke out that the Lakers were using Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom to acquire CP3, the writing on the wall became even clearer. The Lakers will be using the leaving of Phil, or the hiring of Mike Brown, as the revolution that brings a new attitude and color to the team. If there was any other time to do such moves, it will be this year.

    Out with the old, in with the new. The Lakers will have alot of new things this year, and while we all thought that dealing with the old would be good enough, unlike all of you, I have come to the conclusion that the Lakers, as they were, were a ruined bunch.

    How do you expect different results when you keep doing the same things? Albert Einstein mentioned that only an idiot would expect different results given that he is doing the exact same things as before.

    And so here we are… as teary eyed as we may be for having lost Lamar, to Dallas or Indiana or Toronto or Miami, it didn’t matter. Change has come. Our comforts with the familiar will all be rocked. There is no more of the old, we start by changing things around here.

    The best thing we can do is accept, move on and have faith. The Laker management, Jim Buss included, will not stand and see star by star pass the Lakers by. If anything, the Cp3 deal was the exact opposite of what many thought Jim Buss is.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like the guy as much as I adore his father, but I gotta give him props for doing things right and doing the right things, even though at this point, not many of us can see through yet.

    Let me be the 1st to sign in on CHANGE and the beauty of the butterfly as it transitions from caterpillar to coccoon and ultimately to the beautiful creature.

    I will forever love and cherish Lamar Odom, same with any other Laker present and past, but it will not waiver my faith into a team that has 4 decades of greatness to show for.

    – Warren.


  66. I think i have been in the minority here regarding two things that happened this week: 1. The cp3 trade (I did not like it at all); 2. The trade for Lamar Odom (it does not bother me as much as most here). Though I cannot believe Stern did this in the best interest of the basketball operations of the Hornets. I can only believe cancelled the trade to save the League owners money.

    If CP3 stays in NO this year and plays out the contract without a trade, the Hornets will save an insane amount of money compared to the financial Ramifications after the trade. If Paul stays at NO that would cost the team (meaning the other owners) 15 million more for this year alone. Why would the other owners allow that? If I were the Celtics or Knicks, I’d probably complain. (Not the way Gilbert complained, hewas pissed that a better team with better weather was gonna get another superstar and he’s still pissed about last year.).

    On a side note, if Stern wants to get in the way of basketball operations at NOH, a team with no owner and no apparent suitors, why not just contract the team? There are only 5 people on the roster. I have no numbers on this, but wouldnt it be cheaper to let those go to free agency, pay back the 8 people with season tickets, and cut their losses?

    Second, the Odom trade doesnt bother me. It seems consistent with what Mitch was trying to do: save money. He just tried doing it while getting a once-in-a-lifetime pg in cp3. But now, the lakers saved a bunch of money for a sixth man (albeit an amazing 6th man). Why should the Lakers, with the a high payroll even after the Odom trade, be subject to the new tax guidelines in the new cba. Why should the Buss family pay the likes of Gilbert and the Maloofs as they make minimum salaries? As of now the Lakers have a core of Kobe, Bynum, Pau, MWP which is still pretty good. Odom would have been helpful but I dont see it as big a loss as if we lost Pau.


  67. Very eloquent, Warren. I mean that, and I respect it.

    But, unfortunately, Fisher, MWP, Blake, and Walton are all still on the roster and take up $22M in payroll–and not one of their contracts expires this year. Those contracts is where change needs to start.

    Odom’s contract was probably the best value, dollar-for-dollar, that the team had.

    The team has made one veteran add. Kapono has a nice three-point stroke, to be sure, but the Lakers managed to sign the only 3 in the NBA with less athletic ability than Luke Walton and already had 4 small forwards on the 15-man. There is no backup 5, nor a backup 4, other than Derrick Caracter.
    The only new PG on the roster is a 20- year-old second-rounder.

    Kobe’s and Pau’s deals alone take up around 73% of the cap.

    It is my belief that Dwight Howard wants to play with either Chris Paul or Deron Williams. I think Buss knew that, and that was why pounced when LAC and GS balked at including Gordon and Curry. It was a bold stroke but it appears to be dead now and it is my opinion that if Paul is traded to the Clippers, Howard will go to the Nets.

    Emerging from this cocoon looking like a butterfly will be a challenge, and they shedded the wrong deal.


  68. Great comments Warren, as usual. What I remember from the dual with Dallas, was that their team seemed to be playing and acting like a TEAM. On the other hand, the Lakers did not appear to have that in them any more. So, I welcome change, period. I still have hope in our two 2nd round rookies.


  69. My first intstinct was that this must be a move to get the right pieces for the Paul deal: you don’t want Lamar? How about another first rounder? Remember, Gilbert pointed out that the Lakers needed the picks to get Howard in his little diatribe. Well, now they have 3 first round picks over the next two years…. Rumors are to the contrary, and maybe the Clips got a little smarter after seeing the Lakers’ commitment and decided that maybe they could spare Gordon (um, nice player, but come on, it’s Chris Freakin’ Paul). Still, you never know.
    The Lakers have some great pieces still.

    On a seperate note, someone needs to explain to Howard and Paul that they shouldn’t give their teams a bunch of options–it just drives up the price their new team has to pay to get them.


  70. Sorry, i meant if The cp3 tradewent thru, it would cost 15 million more.


  71. You know what. I feel really bad right now. I went on a long rant about no back-up bigs and I forgot about Kapono. I just…. don’t think of him that way. But he’s like, 6-10. And R.R. just wrote that awesome post about him. And he fills a real role, stretches the floor at the position. My bad.


  72. Dave M–

    Kapono is listed at 6-8 and is a 3. He is completely one-dimensional; he could, however, help a Dwight Howard team.


  73. 64,

    If Lakers would back stab Odom why did they submit his name twice i.e. original deal that was revoked and the re-worked deal by NO Gm? Suddenly, they pulled his name after the DH announcement of preferring NJ and Magic Gm announced also the three teams chosen. Lakers got out of the deal and immediately traded LO to Dallas TPE? If Mitch/Buss wanted just the TPE, they should have traded him from the beginning Odom to Dallas just to save salaries/taxes. In fact, if there was no announcement from DH, Lakers are still in the re-worked deal because the agreement will be reviewed and approved on Monday as agreed by all parties.

    I think there is more story into it because Mitch hastily backed out from the re-worked plan at midnight in Orlando and NJ, I think in order to abort a decision about to be made. What decision? It remains to be seen by next week.


  74. Kobe’s getting older every day, and this season is shaping up to be a lost one two weeks before the first game tips off.


  75. all this is making me depressed, go lakers (whimper)


  76. Here are two new developments:

    DH agent ruled out the Bulls, Howard will only sign long term contract with these team in following order: NJ, Lakers and Mavs.

    CP3 will sign with Clippers for two seasons only and his long term signing will be contingent to Blake Griffin’s long term commitment with the Clips.

    Khloe tweeted that she has nothing to with LO’s trade. lol! (0h-oh of course she has nothing to do with the trade, are we seeing another Kardashian divorce in the offing)


  77. I had a secret fantasy about signing Blake Griffin (S&T) when his rookie contract expired. I figured if he loved the city but hated Sterling, walking across the hallway in Staples would be tempting. But if Paul goes the Clips, it’s going to be hard for either one of them to walk away, unless Sterling does some even more egregious things.

    76 – Interesting that Howard ruled out the Bulls. He seems to want to play with great PGs. Chicago is also a good market. I almost wonder if it has anything to do with Reinsdorf. He’s worked on his image quietly in recent years, but he had a reputation of wanting to underpay and (even when he did pay) making comments to players that made them feel underappreciated. Ownership makes a difference.

    I don’t know why, but the Odom trade is getting me more down in the dumps as time goes on. Lamar was the heart of this team, he felt like family. Who do the Lakers gather around for their pre-game circles? Who keeps everyone loose and organizes team dinners and social events? I’m seriously going to miss what he brought on and off the court. Laker forever, in my mind.


  78. @77

    In addition to the personal angle, (Odom was one of the more likable guys on the team) he was the team’s 3rd/4th best player and was basically handed to the team that swept the Lakers in last year’s playoffs. This happened, literally, within an hour after the Lakers were told they are not getting Chris Paul.

    So, I think now it is just sinking in–saw this with the players on video, too, when they were asked: LAMAR’S GONE. NEXT TIME WE SEE HIM HE WILL BE IN A DALLAS UNIFORM. AND WE GOT NOTHING BACK FOR HIM. And there is no young PF ready to step in.

    It is getting buried behind the endless D12 stuff–but trading Odom to Dallas is in Lakerterms, a big deal.


  79. For the guy who said the LO give awY didn’t bother him! Clearly you missed the SWEEP by the team he is now with. Giving tbe champs one of your best players for zip is stupid move. Righ up there with long term contracts to Walton and Peace. Perhaps Mitch is not so smart since we all no that West created the Pau deal. Trouble in Lakerland.


  80. Why does the Mavs want odom anyway? He’s a bit too old to play at the 3 (he used to be athletic enough to get by playing the 3), and playing him behind Dirk is just a waste of talent…


  81. Also, all the talk about Magic insisting anyone to take on a bad contract (Hedo), why don’t the lakers insist the Magic take on either Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, or Luke Walton’s contract?


  82. ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
    Clippers would send Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu to Hornets.

    Palmer claiming the CP3 to Clips is ‘almost done’. I’m not sure I believe this, but someone explain to me why this is a more attractive package from NO’s perspective.

    If it’s just about Kamen’s expiring, I’m wondering if Stern is planning just to close the team down at the end of the year.

    I’m still hoping for a miracle… would like to believe we traded LO as part of a larger gameplan.


  83. Kenny, because after all, they STILL own Dwight Howard unless otherwise, thats why.

    In the light of all this, I know I haven’t been the staunch defender of Bynum’s game, but I actually feel more confident now that he CAN BE an all-star this year with the developments in LA. Still my mind is heckling me that NOW is the best time to trade Drew. But thats another story.

    A good GM should have foresight beyond what is on the table. Remember, trades such as the CP3 to Clippers will cause a ripple effect all throughout the league. Mavs’ Cuban went a complete 180 when asked about the non-retention of Chandler, but jumped onto the prospect of adding Odom (while weakening LA)… so its the one who gets to foresee things before they happen that come out of this with the rings.

    The Lakers do not live and die with Dwight Howard peeps. There are plenty other deals to be made, lots of considerations towards the future but not discarding the present. I for one AM ADVOCATING CHANGE but such change will not come for change’s sake.

    I have a few on my drawing board, some of them incomplete, some of them wishful thinking for now. But you never know. Gasol was a multi-million pipe dream for everyone till it happened. So who knows, one of those kinds of deals drrayeye and me will leak out soon.

    Till then, we patiently and painfully wait.


  84. The Clippers would get an unprotected almost-certain lotto pick (Minnesota’s) in that package.

    If the LAC deal includes Eric Gordon and the pick, that deal is better. That is what Bucher said it would have if Paul agreed to a two-year deal, which he supposedly has.

    If Paul goes to LAC, the Lakers and Clippers will become rivals in a hurry.

    If the Clippers get Paul without giving up Gordon…they will be a very dangerous team.


  85. Guys, I want to believe in Mitch/Buss, but I’m getting despondent. This emotional roller coaster has been too much. First, “losing” Pau/LO. Then, losing CP3 after Stern got his Grinchy hands all over the deal. Then, losing LO again for real! Now, losing CP3 to the CLIPPERS! The CLIPPERS!

    I know we should respect them, but growing up a Lakers fan has twisted me into a Los Angeles basketball elitist, a snob, yes I admit it. So yes, it blows my mind that they might acquire CP3 without even giving up Eric Gordon or anybody in their core (retaining DeAndre, signing Caron). But our soul-draining sacrifice of Pau/LO couldn’t seal the deal…

    I’ll probably look back on this next week and chuckle at how awesome a job Mitch/Buss did. But in the here and now, with the emotional backdrop of everything that’s happened in the past few days, realizing that CP3-to-Clippers is the end game? That prospect is absolutely maddening.


  86. The CP3 trade scenarios with the Clippers are, in my opinion, not even close to the gains of the rejected trade involving the Lakers and the Rockets. As such, I am in the camp that Stern is making these decisions not based on “basketball reasons”, but rather for his own agendas (whether it be selling the team, closing it down or just preventing the Lakers from getting better with more stars).

    What David Stern did was a travesty. I don’t understand how something like that can happen and the only backlash is some bad PR that most seem to have forgot about already. I will admit that I am no expert on the legality of it, but it feels so… wrong.

    On a more hopeful note, Kobe was clearly irritated about the Odom trade as he spoke to the media. However, after a 15-minute meeting with Kupchak, his mood was reportedly much improved. Perhaps our GM filled Kobe in on some current ongoing negotiations or laid out a master plan that has a high probability of success? I can only hope. LO was my favorite player on the Lakers, so I really want to believe that he was not traded for nothing. Also, I don’t see the Lakers making such a trade just to get rid of a disgruntled player.

    Still excited about basketball!


  87. I am a die hard Los Angeles Laker fan, but I have to make my statement. This will be moderated and I know that because everytime I speak this strongly that is what happens but……

    Screw Kobe Bryant and his utter fakeness. He was all aboard when it came to trading Lamar for CP3 which was in and of itself a trade from hell. To lose your best two big men (yes because they posess a myriad of offensive and defensive traits that allow them to play more than one position) for a smaller player is insane. Reports have him waiting at the airport to pick CP3 up. And then to complain when one of those men is traded because he is mentally devestated by being traded by the team he had grown to love made me sick to my stomach. Kobe is a hypocryte.

    LO will be missed in more ways than just his play on the court. He was the antithesis of Mr. Bryant. He loved not only playing basketball, but playing as a Laker. He could not imagine playing for another team, in another city. He loved US and our team. He was not after records or trying to be the best that ever played, he was happy just being an Angeleno and playing for the greatest team in the history of basketball. Which the Lakers were until Jim Buss took over. Jim Buss has screwed all former employees (big and small) and is leading us to the land of Mr. Sterling next door. We are in a world of freakin’ trouble people, because we are becoming a business that does not speak to our players are warn them of impending doom. We just show them the door and treat them like chattle instead of men that went to combat wearing our colors as their shield.

    There is such a thing as honor and I don’t see that in this new regime. I see a dictator sitting on a throne who will run us into the ground. The Lakers may have always stood on top after making changes, but that was under other leaders. This buffoon is already leading us away from being a class organization that takes care of his own. How long before we end up being a team where no one wants to play? We may never be Cleveland, but we can quickly become the Knicks of the 90’s or the Clippers of old.


  88. There’s also a possibility that they are trying to get the house in financial order, to be better able to compete in the future, and that they are willing to give up this season to accomplish that. There’s almost always a price to pay when teams stay at the top for an extended period of time – it’s almost impossible to do that and to build for the future at the same time.


  89. This whole story really does seem to have left the Lakers in a weaker position team wise and negotiation wise.

    Orlando knows that the Lakers only have one route to go know, and that Gasol might be ‘damaged’ goods now.

    Such a mess… I wonder what will happen next. I am quite sure that Lakers have a specific plan for that trade exception; otherwise it is a horrible deal.


  90. why don’t we bid on arenas, baron davis, or chauncey billups? Seems like areanas went un-bidded (surprising..because someone could’ve gotten him for the vets min through bidding…)


  91. Trading Odom accomplished one very important thing. In a league that is losing its integrity and is willing to throw its players under the bus in the process, the Lakers satnd as a shining example of the opposite to that. This management knows that even if the short term may be painful, integrity always wins out. They do this consistently for the people in their organization from doing a hurt Odom right all the way back to trading Mihm back in the day when they knew he was going to get little playing time on a Lakers team.


  92. Question with the amnesty clause: what’s the window of time when under-the-cap teams can bid? After what date is a player “unclaimed” and free to sign with whatever team he wants?


  93. Absolutely incredible. The ESPN report is stating that the hold-up in the current Paul deal is not Eric Gordon, but Eric Bledsoe. That is awful for 2 obvious reasons:

    1) The Clippers are so damn greedy that they really don’t want to give up Eric frickin Bledsoe for Chris Paul?

    2) David Stern is NOT asking for Eric Gordon.

    Look, I like Aminu, but he hasn’t shown anything but potential. Kaman is an aspiring. Even with the single draft pick, this deal is horrible compared to the Lakers offer. The Lakers/Rockets deal would have kept the Hornets relatively competitive, which is attractive for a buyer.

    This is outright, definitive proof that “basketball reasons” is the simple fact that owners are jealous of the Lakers success, still bitter over the Pau trade, and want to keep superstars from going to the Lakers – not from going to LA or other big markets.

    Stern must go.


  94. Should read that Kaman is an expiring contract. Although I’m sure he aspires to great things too. Not sure why, but I’ve had problems editing my comments recently.


  95. Hey guys, I dunno if its allowed but I’d like to plug in here my silly attempt to be a blogger:

    Its generally about basetball, although it might sometimes tackle other things.

    Also its a good way to vent out the 500 trade scenarios I have in my head.


  96. The Nets are basically stacking their team with reasons for Dwight to come, rumor is they will sign Arenas if Dwight comes there. That adds 3 of Dwight’s great friends that could be on that roster, DWilliams, Anthony Morrow, and Arenas.

    Things are looking more and more bleak for getting D12


  97. @ exhelo

    I agree in the macrosense, but:

    Odom’s deal is cheap for what he does. It expires before the new tax kicks in, and he is only guaranteed 2.5M next year.

    Also, they have committed 143M to Kobe and Pau through 2014. Those are not the moves of a team on an austerity kick.

    And they have the Time Warner money coming.

    So I see your point, but I can’t agree with that rationale if moving Lamar was a money thing.


    As to the CP3/Clippers deal, Stern’s media optics on this will be FAR better on this if Eric Gordon is in the deal. That will chill everyone out, except for Lakers and Rockets fans (again, the Rockets got screwed worse than the Lakers did). I would assume that he is pressuring Olshey and Sterling on that very hard.

    If the Clippers keep Gordon, Stern will have simply created a new potential powerhouse in LA, one run by an arrogant, sleazy owner who has been an embarrassment to the league for 30 years. After the “Ha, ha, the Lakers got screwed” gloating calms down a little, in a year or so, people will start to notice, even as popular as Blake Griffin is.

    Get Gordon and the lotto pick, and selling this as potecting the Hornets is far easier.


  98. 95) Robin,
    The Odom deal doesn’t make sense from a basketball perspective, which makes me suspicious that it could be the opening move in a rebuilding phase.


  99. @98: Makes you wonder why David Stern didn’t step in and block the LO trade as well…

    “Basketball reasons”…


  100. Everyone should take the time to read this. It won’t make most happy, but it does make more sense than a lot of the conspiracy theories I see floating around.


  101. The Odom deal doesn’t make sense from a basketball perspective, which makes me suspicious that it could be the opening move in a rebuilding phase.

    Perhaps, but rebuilding when you have 83M committed to the game’s most intense, volatile, vocal, 33-year-old future HOFer and another 60M committed to his 31-year-old big man complement makes little sense.

    The thing is that while the West is deep, there are no great teams in the conference. OKC is very strong, but has flaws and may be a year or more away; Dallas has lost Chandler, and today, Barea. Memphis and San Antonio have made no big upgrades, and Memphis is apparently shipping out Mayo for McRoberts. Add a couple of decent bench guys to last year’s team and the Lakers are in the mix in that scenario. A little time and some game action–along with the standing O he would have gotten on the 25th might have calmed LO down.

    Trading Odom to Dallas for a TPE makes sense only if it allows them to get Howard while keeping Gasol, and I think the chances of that are south of 5%. If the cost of Howard is Bynum + Gasol, plus taking on Turkoglu, having Odom here would have been a necessity, as they need a 4 and his face-up game/handle/passing complements D12 very well.

    If Howard is traded here and the entire front line is gone and there is still no PG, that situation is only marginally better than the one he left.

    I am not saying that you are incorrect; I am just saying that if that why Odom was traded, I think Buss and Mitch blew it big-time.


  102. Rudy F & Corey Brewer are being moved by Dallas. If Lakers will hold on Pau, Rudy F will be a good pick up. The perimeter shooters are in place Kapono, Blake and Rudy F.

    The silence is deafening on the Howard trade. Latest from Chris Broussard, Magic is asking for Bynum-Odom for Howard and Hedo. I think anytime now, Mitch will counter with Bynum, LO’s TPE + one more player instead.

    On the other picture, NJ is below cap @ $39, how will it work in absorbing the incoming trade of $28.4, while giving away only Lopez who has a contract of $3M? Would it mean that they will be buying the tradeable players of Orlando?


  103. Darius,
    People were outraged because Stern promised when the Hornets went belly up that if Hornets Managment made a decision the league would automatically not stand in the way. That was obviously a lie.


  104. Darius,

    Four points:

    1. The fact that a small-market blogger likes what Stern did is thoroughly unsurprising. 8 points 9 seconds is a Pacers’ blog run by Tim Donahue, who is one of the loudest hard-cap advocates on the net.
    2. The problem with Wade’s argument is that, in his own words, the deal created a “solid squad.” Wade–and Stern–cannot really anticipate whether a new owner would see it as bad investment or not.
    3. Stern and the league told Demps he had autonomy.
    4. To do this, Stern seriously screwed Houston. Daryl Morey has been patiently collecting assets since Yao retired, waiting for a chance to pounce. The Gasol/Nene plan was his shot; Stern took it away.

    If the Hornets do in fact get Eric Gordon and the pick, it is clearly a better deal for them. But I don’t think what Demps did was anywhere dumb enough to justify Stern shutting it down.

    And, frankly, I do not think Stern would have shut it down if Dwight Howard had already signed an extension in Orlando. You are free to disagree.


  105. Sources say in addition to Bledsoe, league asking for another pick from Minny. Stern is trying to make this impossible.
    13 minutes ago


  106. robinred,
    I’m not taking sides here. However, you’re essentially claiming the author has a bias that influences him yet nowhere do you acknowledge that as large market fans as well as fans of a team involved in the deal, we have our own agendas. You also point out how Houston got screwed, but I don’t see how that’s relevant. If Stern’s operating as owner of the Hornets, why should he care what happens to Houston?

    Lastly, and this goes to you and Aaron, yes Stern stated outright that appointed management would have the green light to make deals. However, as the de-facto owner, he can change his mind can’t he? This was a big trade for NOLA, one where they were trading not only their best player, but one of the league’s best players. It was also a trade that brought back a lot of salary commitments to the Hornets.

    My only point is that Stern had a right to do what he did based off his role in this.

    That said, I’ve long believed the NBA even owning the Hornets was a slippery slope with conflicts of interest waiting to jump in and make everyone look bad. And, here we are. I don’t know what a good decision would have been in this case. But, I think we’d all be best served to get off the “the NBA wants to screw the Lakers” tip because I don’t believe that’s the case.


  107. Darius,

    Never said I am not biased. I am saying Jared Wade is.

    And, sure, Stern “had the right” to do what he did. Having the right and being right are two different things.

    As far as Houston, yes, I think it matters. Stern’s role is “de facto” owner as you say. But it is not the same as being a regular owner.


  108. @Ken

    Dallas is a different team from last year. The key to their championship last year, arguably, was Tyson Chandler. I feel Odom replacing Chandler is a downgrade for their team.

    And of course I didn’t miss the sweep. That was last year.


  109. If Stern acted out of the best interest of the Hornets, then, yes, he acted within reason. However, if he acted in the best interest of the NBA (as Dan Gilbert and others urged him to), then he overstepped his boundaries. This is because Stern has different duties as Commissioner (to act in the best interest of the league) and as Interim-Owner (to act in the best interest of Hornets and the other league owners as investors in the Hornets). Time will tell if he was right or wrong, but I will say that the original “basketball reasons” excuse seems to point to him caving into Dan Gilbert’s of the world. However, proving such a thing is impossible – short of Stern coming out and saying that he acted in the best interest of the league and not the Hornets.

    Anyway, in terms of the Lamar trade, I now believe that that was a big FU finger to Dan Gilbert by Jim Buss. By dumping Lamar’s salary, the Lakers just saved $18 million (I’m assuming that Lamar’s $9m contract would create an additional $9 in penalties for being over the cap). So to the few teams under the cap, this is a huge loss in “free” money.

    I realize many of you think we should wait and see what develops, but I don’t think anything else will come out of this Lamar debacle. For all intensive purposes, I think this trade exception will go to waste. I just hope I’m wrong.


  110. #107. I think my point still stands: this is a conflict of interest issue, not a right or wrong issue. And, ultimately, if everyone has some sort of bias, what’s the point of arguing right or wrong? If we both acknowledge that Stern had the right to do it, that’s what matters most.

    Disagreeing with him is fine. I think a lot of fans have reasons too. But can we get off the “Stern wanted to stick it to the Lakers”? Not saying you did that, just saying in general.


  111. Darius,

    It goes without saying that any Laker fan is biased about this. That is why I didn’t say it.

    And, yes, I think the Houston situation is relevant. Stern, again, is not a typical owner.

    You also leave out the fact that Gilbert barely mentioned the Hornets and did not mention the Rockets at all.


  112. This all almost makes me regret that the lockout is over. What are we going to do? The team (especially without Odom) now has no chance of contending for a title.

    There are just about no more free agents to go around and we have an incomplete team. What back up bigs do we have, and who will be our starting point guard?

    I don’t think I can go through another season of seeing Derek Fisher as our starting point guard.

    Thanks for screwing us David!


  113. I don’t think Stern wanted to ‘stick it to the Lakers’ per se as much as he wanted to avoid SuperTeam II right after the CBA.

    And I disagree that Stern’s “rights” are the main issue here. As Kobe said, “He’s commissioner, he can do what he wants.” The question is what he should do.

    As far as people talking about it: A lot of the fanbase will go on believing that “get Paul=get Howard.” You may have to make it an off-limits topic here.


  114. bascially that article is stating that having an nba team in NO is more important than having a credible and viable league at all.

    i read that article and it was totally un-persuassive, in my opinion.

    stern was ethically obligated to resolve the Hornets ownership before this season began. he did not. no matter how you argue it, david stern is a failure and a disgrace. the antithesis of what sport and athletics stand for.

    just to be clear, i don’t think stern has it in for the lakers, or conspired with gilbert or any other owner. he is just a confused old man who stuck around too long.


  115. Darius,
    Yes… Everyone has the right to lie. But that is why everyone (mostly non Lakers fans) are so outraged. Plus Stern’s stepping in severly hurt Lakers and Rockets.


  116. The writing on the wall was that the deal was just seemingly Gasol + Odom = CP3 but it essentially was Gasol for CP3 with Odom being donated.

    Either way, Odom was a goner.


  117. From Ken Berger….

    Even then, two people who know Paul tell me this morning they’ll believe it when they see it. Dubious of CP desire to be with Clips.
    2 hours ago

    Clips “have not, and will not” give up Gordon in a trade for Chris Paul, source says.
    2 hours ago


  118. We are short two big men,who will be expected to play extended minutes thru at least the first 5 games. Where will these guys come from? Better find out soon,Christmas is coming fast.


  119. 110:

    But a conflict of interest issue IS a right or wrong (and potentially also an illegal/legal) issue! The NBA had allegedly put a system in place (led by Demps and Weber) that was supposed to protect against conflicts of interests, but David Stern inexplicably jettisoned that with the veto and, in the process, willfully interjected conflicts of interest into this process.

    After the veto, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the Hornets to trade CP3 without both the appearance and potential actuality of a conflict of interest. Stern is a fiduciary for the league and ALL 30 owners. By intervening and then allowing another trade outside of the original framework for Hornets’ trades (i.e., Demps/Weber), Stern himself will be allowing a single owner’s interests to take precedent over the other 29. He NEEDED to stay out of this as a fiduciary (regardless of whether his subjective belief is that the overall value of the co-owned Hornets and owners’ collective interests would benefit from the veto–that doesn’t do away with the conflict of interest or the damage he has done to the league through his actions). With the veto, Pandora’s box is wide open!

    This is the most disgusted I have ever been with any sports league–the head is rotten and has to go.


  120. 101) If they don’t think they will get either Paul or Howard: they could probably upgrade at PG and backup C/PF with the trade exceptions, and gamble on Bynum staying healthy, getting solid play from Barnes MWP at SF, and some contributions from the rookies, and hope that they get relatively good luck.

    Or, they could be looking at getting younger and shedding salary. That could include a Bynum/Gasol trade for Howard + ? That’s the only way that I can make sense of the Odom trade – they didn’t want him hanging around the locker room moping, and that’s the best, quick deal they could get for him. (They didn’t do it just to be nice to him.)


  121. ex-

    Not saying you’re wrong. Just saying I think sending Odom–to fricking Dallas, no less–was done way too hastily, even with the short schedule.

    We will know within about a week what it all means, I think.


  122. 110 – “But can we get off the “Stern wanted to stick it to the Lakers”?”

    For one thing, this is less about Stern and more about the owners that pushed him to do what he did. Stern made no move to step in until other owners protested (unless you believe Tim Frank). Although he made the final decision, he did so on their behalf. So you have to ask what motives the other owners had for doing what they did.

    You don’t think Mark Cuban wanted to block a chance for the Lakers to build a contender for the next 5-6 years?

    Nothing is black and white; the reasons behind this were complex and I doubt we’ll ever know exactly what happened. But I strongly disagree if you think CP3’s proposed destination – specifically, the organization, not the city – was not a large factor in this. I think robinred said it well: “I don’t think Stern wanted to ‘stick it to the Lakers’ per se as much as he wanted to avoid SuperTeam II right after the CBA.”

    The owners (mainly small-market) are tired of seeing players dictate where they play. They’re tired of seeing hoarding of stars, and feeling like they cannot compete. This lockout was about not just money, but control.

    There also seems to be some lingering resentment among many team about the Pau trade. Many still consider it a “steal” that resulted in 3 straight trips to the finals. I believe many owners have a genuine fear that the Lakers will be able to reload like this whenever they want; that we will always be able to attract stars and that the playing field is not level. Some of that is the big-market aspect, but some of that also has to do with who we are and our past success.

    Feel free to disagree, but while I don’t think Stern specifically wanted to “stick it to the Lakers,” I do think there are owners out there who saw a chance to block us from extending our championship window, and took it. And Stern – who just barely managed to convince many of these owners to accept the new CBA – felt the pressure to act to appease them.


  123. In spite of how pissed I was at the time, now that a few days have gone by, and the heat of the moment has passed, the blocking of the trade is looking quite a bit murkier than it did. I, too, don’t believe that Stern was trying to screw the Lakers, or even trying to prevent another super team.

    The most difficult part to understand is why Demps wasn’t given clearer orders for acceptable trades, and why it wasn’t blocked earlier. The first part is the most troubling. It’s possible, though, that in the closing week of finalizing the new CBA, they dropped the ball in monitoring the NO trades progress. Put that together with the new world order of social media, and it’s not hard to imagine the news coming out as it did, and someone in the league office saying, “wait a minute, how did this get out? We haven’t even had a chance to vet and approve it as the owner of the team”.

    My initial thought on the trade was that they were collecting assets to flip, not building a team. And if that was Demps’ plan, then it’s hard to see how why it was blocked. But I do agree that the current Clipper deal as reported is a better deal for NO, so perhaps that’s vindication enough.

    They royally screwed up the PR of the situation, though, however you slice it. If their motives were something like those described in the Hoopshype article, then they would have been well served to call up Howard Beck or Adande and walk them through why they thought it wasn’t good for the NO organization.

    Ugh, the whole thing was ugly for Lakers fans, though. And the swiftness with which Odom got dealt has really put us all on our heels. We’ve become so accustomed to Kupchak being extremely methodical and patient, that to see a move happen so quickly, without an obvious endgame, or obvious reason why it couldn’t have waited, is extremely unnerving.


  124. ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
    RT @Chris_Broussard: Hearing rumblings that league may have pulled out of CP deal
    about a minute ago     


  125. WindhorstESPN Brian Windhorst
    After meeting with team, Dwight Howard seemed to re-open door to staying with Magic if there are “changes.” Story coming.
    about a minute ago


  126. I am very sad to see Odom go. He’s a cool cat and I love his game. Losing him for very little sucks, it just does.

    That being said, if Bynum stays healthy for the entire season and if we are able to complete our bench with some 10 minute a night big men then basketball wise we will still be able to compete with any team in the league. We just won’t have an automatic advantage like we did over the last 4 years. Pau – Bynum (again when healthy) is either the best or second best front court (Amare – Chandler is right there) in the League.

    San Antonio is going to be a year older, Dallas has absolutely taken a step back, Portland is rebuilding again, NO is out. So basically with the exception of the Thunder the entire western conference is weaker than last year and not nearly as good as the Lakers.

    Without any more changes I see this as a 5 team league right now; Heat, Thunder, Celtics, Bulls, Lakers and its too early to tell who is the favorite with health being the wild card (let’s not forget wade & Garnett and by no means injury free players)