A Fond Farewell: Wishing Lamar Odom The Peace He Deserves

Emile Avanessian —  December 14, 2011

At what point does a person’s income preclude him from complaining about some of life’s breaks? Is there a line of demarcation? $10 million per year? A million? $500,000? $100,000? At what point does compensation beget dehumanization?

Though I share neither their income bracket nor VIP status, I have a tendency to empathize with athletes and celebrities. Despite the immense financial rewards and public adulation bestowed upon them, in many ways they are, in fact, “just like us.”

I’m talking not about occasional trip to Starbucks or fashion and dining choices that fit within even the strictest of budgets, but preferences, comfort zones, insecurities and emotional vulnerability. A person that has successfully refined and focused a specific skill set in such a manner that it is valued, in a free market, at several million dollars annually, does not cease to be a person.

Somewhere along the line, we as a society came to equate fame and considerable financial means with the complete absence of hardship and dissatisfaction with one’s existence. You don’t need to be just scraping by to love the city in which you live, genuinely enjoy your family, hate your boss or experience heart-shattering pain. Make no mistake, a life free of financial shackles is very often preferable to one that is not, but – and I strongly doubt that you need me to explain this to you – money doesn’t equate to happiness, it simply provides the security required to pursue it on one’s own terms. I lay this before you not because I think the rich and famous are in need of a crusader (though I imagine that would pay pretty well), but because over the past few days we have seen a number of NBAers, men of considerable means all, have their professional (and by extension, personal) lives dramatically altered by forces beyond their control. And regardless of income, they have every right to be unhappy about it – none more than Lamar Odom.

We’ll begin Thursday evening when, as you might have heard, executives from the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets agreed on the terms of trade that would land Chris Paul in L.A., deposit Lakers All-Star Pau Gasol in Houston and send draft picks, the Rockets’ 1-2 punch of Kevin Martin and Luis Scola to NOLA, along with Odom, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year. As you also might have heard, for (basketball) reasons that continue to defy explanation, the increasingly dictatorial David Stern shot down the agreed-upon swap, along with a second iteration submitted by the teams, before the Lakers officially withdrew from talks on Saturday.

In light of the nixed deal(s), there was little doubt that awkwardness would abound at Lakers camp. While an admittedly unhappy Gasol arrived on Saturday at the team’s facility in El Segundo on time and said all the right things, Odom, as deeply emotional (do not confuse this with “demonstrative”) a player as there is in the NBA, was nowhere to be found. He arrived early that afternoon but stayed only long enough to complete a physical and chat briefly (read “request a trade”) with GM Mitch Kupchak, who quickly obliged, sending Odom to the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, in exchange for a $8.9 trade exception (presumably to be used in attempt to acquire Dwight Howard) and a first-round draft pick that may or may not be utilized before the next lockout.

Surely aware that the Lakers’ attempt to trade him stemmed not from displeasure with him personality or on-court performance, Lamar’s reaction is exactly the type that sparks populist drum circles, with accompanying demands throughout the media that he “suck it up” and appreciate that playing a “kid’s game” will earn him roughly $9 million this year.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Plagued by inconsistency and immaturity early in his career, in seven years as a Laker, Odom evolved as a player, grew as a man and found love (say what you will about the show, but over two years and nary a problematic blip). Never a selfish player, Odom emerged as a calming veteran influence on three Finalists and a pair of championship teams, doing whatever was asked of him in the name of victory. His Swiss Army knife skill set created matchup nightmares all over the floor. When called upon, he ran the point. In a pinch, he logged minutes in the middle. Despite having more raw talent than all but a few players in NBA history, in 2008, for the good of the team, Odom agreed, without complaint, to come off of the bench.

On-court sacrifice not really moving you? No worries…

If there is any player of whom “not about the money” rings most true, Odom, a favorite of both teammates and fans and by all accounts the epitome of a gentle soul, is that player. The lone non-Kobe constant of the post-Shaq Lakers, not only did Odom sacrifice on the floor, he left eight figures on the table (anyone doubt that his last contract, 4 years, $36 million, could have topped $50 million?) as a free agent because he loves living in Southern California. If all of that – legitimately checking his ego at the door and foregoing millions to play where he wanted – is somehow still not enough, credit him for the perspective he’s gained, more appropriately, had forced upon him, by having to overcome more heartbreak and sorrow in 32 years than most of us will endure in a lifetime.

He lost his mother to colon cancer at age 12. At age 24, the beloved grandmother that raised him also succumbed to cancer. Three years later, to the day, Lamar lost a child, six-month old Jayden, to SIDS. His father, a heroin addict and absentee for much of his life, has reemerged, hand out. Last summer, while in New York to attend his cousin’s funeral, Lamar was a passenger in a car that struck a motorcycle, leading to the death of a nearby pedestrian.

You really wanna call this guy a me-first prima donna?

Best of luck, Lamar. You are already missed. You’ll always have a place in Lakerland.

Emile Avanessian


to A Fond Farewell: Wishing Lamar Odom The Peace He Deserves

  1. Thank you for a fine article, Emile.

    You did a great job summing up why LO was one of my very favorite Lakers the past seven years.


  2. Even though LO has never become the Pipen-like player that fans were hoping for, but he has earned himself a very special place in the heart of Lakerland. It goes to show nice guys finish last.

    At the end of this season, if Lakers barely make it to the play-off, Jim Buss will have a lot of explaining to do.


  3. Thanks Emile, this was a great read.

    I honestly think Lamar is one of the most skillful players in the NBA, and the Lakers were the perfect fit in the puzzle for him. He didn’t have to be the go-to option and that’s where he thrived. He’ll always be a Laker to me (corniness aside) and I wish him the best in Dallas. Is drafting him to my fantasy team any consolation for the talent I will not see performing at Staples on a nightly basis?


  4. the way odom played for us? sublime.

    the way he left? disgraceful.


  5. Chibi: “Disgraceful” is pretty harsh. He was bummed and said so. Didn’t trash anyone on his way out, reported to the Mavs on time.

    And Cookies37, LOVE the idea of grabbing LO for fantasy. That is now part of my strategy. I hope no one in the league I am drafting for this weekend reads this.


  6. Lamar Odom, forever Laker by heart.

    Much love and respect.


  7. Never enjoyed anything more from the Lakers in the last 10-15 years, than watching Lamar and Pau play together; especially in their first half-season together.

    Lamar was the definition of grace and fluidity.

    I know it’s tough, but a retirement of his jersey as a Laker, when the time comes, would be appropriate in my opinion. These were special times, and I hope revisionist history will never affect him, even though judging by the reactions in this site so far, he is safe.

    I’m ordering a No. 7 jersey, with his name on it.


  8. If the clippers really are allowed to acquire Paul for (what I think is) less than the previous offer after what has transpired, ESP with odom.. You can consider me done with the nba. I’ll always be a laker fan but I won’t support the nba at all anymore. David stern killed it for me


  9. Lamar Odom, I respect you so much for your time with the Lakers. As a starter you put up stats that warranted your remaining in the starting lineup, yet anytime that you were asked to start you did, admirably I might add. When asked to go back to the bench…you did. With neither a complaint about minutes nor a cry about the requisite stats necessary to use as a ploy to get more money on your next contract negotiation.

    Such a fun loving guy, you caused no problems in the locker room.

    How I will miss you grabbing the rebound at one end dribbling the length of the court to finish southpaw.

    You have grown as a man and a basketball player during your seven years with the organization and I wish you well with the Mavericks.

    Lamar Odom you will forever be a Laker! Thank you for your years of service.

    I will cheer your every move when you play against the Lakers, but make no mistake I want the Lakers to beat the Mavericks/Cuban badly.


  10. Amen. Lamar’s a Laker forever in my book.

    The silver lining for me, is that I live in Dallas now and may get to bump into Lamar here and again…


  11. @8 – Perfect!

    Cheers to Lamar.


  12. Lamar has always been, and will always be one of my favorite ballers in the game. I’m glad he went to a team that I had so much fun rooting for in the absence of the Lakers in last years title run.

    In other news though… people on some of the other Lakers sites need to chill out on the anti-Jimmy buss, anti-Mitch rhetoric. The only bad guys in this have made themselves known. Lakers Nation needs to circle the wagons, not start fighting amongst ourselves.


  13. @ SB surfer — Not sure I agree that Clippers offer was worse than what Lakers/Rockets would have sent to New Orleans for Paul, but either way, I agree with you on Stern.

    I’ll never be able to look at the league the same way — it’s proven to be an unfair playing field, and when you don’t have fairness in sports what’s the point?


  14. The reason I think I loved Lamar was that he was probably the most identifiable athlete in the NBA.

    One that genuinely cared about things and did not simply spew off politically correct answers etc.

    He also had more reason to be hurt than any other by the trade as he was really what held us together through thick and thin in the post shaq years, taking less to remain a Laker, then achieving and blossoming… and having all that taken away from him without notice.

    Although I agree that he could have handled things more professionally, the fact that he didn’t is what endears him to me.


  15. On another topic: Simmons is on a roll with his 12 Days of NBA Christmas column.

    Here’s his reformulation of the fact that every relocation of a superstar center in his prime has eventually led to championships.


    Big men >>>>> Small, gimpy point guards if you’re in the business of championships.


  16. Good bye and good luck Lamar, a Laker for life in my book.

    I will always remember the way he would grab a rebound, and at 6’10” run a fast break, then make a play happen.

    You will be missed.


  17. I don’t think anyone could ever call Odom a me-first prima donna, or someone who just chases money. On the other hand, it strikes me as absurd that any athlete in a major professional sport expresses shock or takes it personally when he’s traded.

    It’s part of the business. It’s been part of the business since before any of these athletes were born. It was part of the business when they signed the contract to join a professional sports league. Every single pro athlete must have a close friend who has been traded. They all must know that nobody is untradeable unless it says so in the contract. It takes a special kind of (very large) ego to think that it can’t happen to you.

    So, yeah, whenever a player says he feels “disrespected” because he was traded it rings hollow to me. It’s not disrespect. It’s not personal in any way. It’s just part of the package which comes along with playing professional sports.


  18. This post seems a bit much to me. He didnt die, he got traded–because he demanded a trade and left management with the fear that he’d have a bad attitude all year.

    I appreciate what Lamar did for the Lakers, and he was an important part of the team’s success, but if you defend the way he acted on his way out (starting with the fact that he demanded to be traded) then you are essentially disrespecting Pau Gasol by pretending that there wasn’t a FAR more classy way to handle the situation. Both guys were dealt emotional blows that had to hurt, but only one acted like a professional, and it wasn’t the subject of this post.


  19. Great writeup!

    Too often it’s forgotten athletes are people too. They’re not just robots and insulated by money and celebrity.

    Love LO, appreciate all the things he did for Lakers. I love how he was a skill guy and a glue guy. A great teammate. Hated to see him go.


  20. When Mitch Kupchak talked about our off-season, he mentioned signing people that are “developing” (McBob) and someone who’e earned much in his career and wants to play for a chip team (Murphy).


    JD Hastings and Drew Ungvari cringe at this thought, but it seems I am right in saying that Murphy has the size and is a stretch 4 that we need.


  21. Awesome, Emile. I don’t think we get over losing this guy, any time soon.


  22. Thank you so much for the excellent article about LO. Count me among the longtime Lakers fans who will have a very hard time seeing Lamar in another uniform.

    I’m amazed by how many people there are who call themselves basketball fans, who don’t fully recognize the contributions of Lamar on the court. It might even take the Mavericks fans a while before they realize it too.

    His unselfish play, despite his wide ranging skill set will always have a special place in my heart. I hope he doesn’t hurt us too badly when we play the Mavs, but I wouldn’t doubt that he will.


  23. Lamar, I wish you would have stayed. I will miss seeing you on the court. I wish you and your wife well.


  24. I am sad to see Lamar go, especially for so little in return, but I’m unsure what the Lakers’ best option was.

    In a normal pre-season, there would have been plenty of time to let Lamar cool off, get his head back in the game, and move forward either with him or without him.

    But in this year’s compressed time to prepare for the season and significantly tougher schedule, I think the Lakers’ management had legitimate worries that a prolonged LO funk would both hurt them on the court and damage his trade value.

    Wherever LO goes in life, I hope he finds some happiness. He’s had a pretty tough road despite the good fortune of being a well-paid NBA player.


  25. This is a bit over the top. I liked Lamar and cannot question what he did for the Lakers on the court.

    However, one reason he makes the money he makes is because its a business where life can be changed in a minute. So he was traded for CP3. That is not disrespect, its a good business move. If he has a brain, he understands.

    Then when it falls through, he needed to suck it up and return rather then disrupt things and force a trade. Total lack of class considering that he calls himself a professional and is compensated accordingly.

    Many thanks for what he did on the court for the Lakers, but no additional sympathy or praise from me otherwise because he got traded and didnt like it.


  26. I really wish I understood more about the front office’s mindset going forward; Mitch has pulled off miracles before, but we’re not on 34th Street anymore. I know they know Kobe’s only got a few good years left at best and I pray they don’t squander it, while at the same time being cognizant of the need to plan for the post-Kobe era.

    Did I seriously just wake up in a world where Chris Paul is a Clipper?!


  27. How do you let Odom leave and replace him with nothing? How is an 8.9 million TE going to play power forward? How do you trade such a valuable “asset” which is what players are, for “NOTHING”. I am SERIOUSLY sick of the way LAKER MGMNT has done to this team.


  28. I will miss Lamar, but I still can’t understand how he reacted the way he reacted. The irony is that there is a 100% chance Lamar will either be bought out by Cuban next year, or he will once again be traded out. How will he react then?

    Lamar will be one of the most cherished Lakers, and I will certainly miss him. But I’m sad that it had to end this way, and there are not going to be rosier days ahead for him b/c of his contract and bargaining chip. Wish him the best.


  29. In all this madness, with cp3 tweeting his farewell to his team and all, I still found a way to rationalize all the moves that had been done so far. Of course they require creative thinking more than anything else and they come up to questions of sanity.

    But nonetheless, I insist on making my own conspiracy theory if I may.



  30. http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=f65dd4c0-64d9-492e-9b4f-7a1be9c54874&src=FLPl:share:email:uuids

    Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan find out about the Chris Paul trade and celebrate.


  31. Maybe after this season we can get LO back (crazier things have happened, what with Turk being traded away and then traded back to ORL). I just want the pieces put together to compete. I don’t expect a chip this season (WCF appearance I do expect). Besides, if (a big, fat IF) the Lakers win the chip this season, everyone and their mother will step on each other to put a huge asterik next to the Laker’s 17th and Kobe’s 6th championship.

    So I can wait until next season, when there is a proper off season, a proper trade period, a proper training camp, and a proper pre season. This season is to experiment, next season is to compete.


  32. #18 Funky has this correct

    The only thing I will add is that Mitch overreacted and dumped LO for nothing and that was unnecessary.

    We have subtracted Lamar, Miami added Shane, Chicago adds Rip, they were already way ahead of us, hence our title hopes are significantly reduced.

    If you are OK with another second round exit, then no issue. If you are a spoiled Laker fan like me, that is not acceptable.


  33. I’ll miss Lamar, and I wish him all the best in Dallas. I’m sad to see him go, but roster changes happen every off-season, and trades are a part of professional basketball.

    But why did we trade him for practically nothing? That’s what I don’t get. Mitch has a good track record so far, so I’m holding out hope it’s all part of a gigantic master plan to eventually get us Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and a good back-up center for nothing but the equipment manager and a couple of draft picks, but I remain confused.


  34. Rusty Shackleford December 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Troy Murphy NOOOOOOOOO!


  35. Where are all the owners complaining about this trade to the big market Clippers?


  36. I have a lot of admiration and respect for what Lamar has contributed to the Laker franchise. He was there in the trenches when Kobe was virtually alone. He sacrificed minutes and a starting spot for the good of the team. He took a pay cut (of whatever variety) for the good of the team. Most importantly he was a key contributor in 3 Finals appearances and 2 NBA championships. He made his mark on Laker Nation, and while a jersey in the Staples rafters might be too much, his contributions will not be forgotten.

    That being said, I did not like the trade request. As others here have pointed out it is unfortunately part of the business. While I don’t begrudge him for having negative feelings towards management, a trade request not only hurts them, but his teammates and the fans. The one thing that could justify it is that he had to find out over the news. If Mitch or Jim gave him a heads up as the deal was about to be presented it may have been better than him finding out on ESPN, and going on the Steven A Smith show to give live reactions.

    If somthing does not come before the trade deadline, it’s going to be a lot harder to support an organisation being run by Jim Buss. To say as a Lakers fan that he has been a detrimental force to the team is an understatement. The way he has handled Phil’s depature, the firing of coaching and team staff last year, Kobe’s input (or lack thereof) on team operations, and now this trade saga, I am not encouraged with how the present, let alone the future, of this franchise is taking shape. It’s sad that Jerry has not only seemingly handed over the reins, but is now declining with age.


  37. I’ve been a Laker fan since George Mikan, so it’s not like I’m a bandwagon jumper.. but.


  38. As for the NBA administration and owners, their actions over the last 6 months have made me sick enough to not want to support or watch ANY NBA basketball, bar the possible exception of the Lakers. It was bad enough the the small market owners had their knives drawn on Jerry with the state that he is in, but on top of cutting the top off of his profits because of their own ineptitude in running a succesful sports franchise, theu have now blocked him from acquiring talent through of a legitimate trade, because they didn’t like it. I’m not the biggest fan of capitalism, but for a society and league which is so immersed in it, the idea that not only money but also talent (in the form of players) has to be equally shared is absolutely ridiculous.

    Because the Dan Gilbert’s and Michael Jordan’s of the world have bad teams run by worse people they evny and despise the likes of Jerry Buss. Not only that but they conspire against him to spite him. The CP3 trade to the Clippers is to the exact same market as the trade blocked last week. Not only that, but it is at least arguable that the trade offered by the Rockets and Lakers was far more beneficial for New Orleans, but yet it remains viewed as the Lakers screwing the Hornets (and as a result the league). Now the Clips make a deal it’s okay becuase everyone knows it’s the Clippers.

    I’ve got to say, when a game you love so much is poisoned by these hateful and deceitful people, what can you do?


  39. I wonder if history will look back at the blocked trade last week as the exact moment the NBA officially jumped the shark. With basketball the worlds fastest growing sport… The NBA might not last much longer as currently constructed.


  40. If the assets from the Lamar trade are included in getting Howard in the future,I`m OK with it. Before LO was traded the 2nd time,the rumors said the Lakers were frantic looking for a 1st round choice,which I assume was either for Paul or Howard. Murphy is OK if his medical history, and current condition can pass the Laker docs and coaches. His RB improved in the 2 years before2011,and we need another C-PF.


  41. @Aaron With downturns in ratings to go along with other market factors, the events of the last few months have made a nice black eye on the league. Some part of me hopes that those responsible suffer for it (or those that already are continue to do so.


  42. That’s what makes this so infuriating. The LAL/CP3 trade was blocked because it benefited the Lakers. There was no small market or competitive balance or whatever “basketball reasons” is. It was a legit trade that was within the rules, and the rest of the league took a dump on it. This is unfair on so many levels it is sickening. Chris Paul wastes two years of his career on the Clippers (Lob City be damned), Dwight has to spend another year on the Magic, Odom is gone (to Dallas no less), and the Lakers waste one more year of Kobe’s career.

    It’s not a sky is falling thing (Pau/Bynum/Kobe is still a great team). But the fact that this went down makes me want to boycott the league, even at the expense of the Lakers. Unless Kuptchak is really the magician that people say he is, and pulls a Dwight out of his hat. This season is going to suck for the Lakers, of course this is my reaction to the day’s news, maybe as the season progresses things will change.


  43. One more quick thing. Over a year ago I asked whether it would be appropriate, and if so when, for Kobe to get a spot in the site header next to Magic and Logo? I assume Darius would be the person to ask but if anyone has the power to do so a response would be appreciated.


  44. Darius,
    Has anyone watched Blake Griffin for an entire game? I’m beginning to think people only watch highlights. Blake literally couldn’t score one on one against Gasol and Odom last season. Those guys are not exactly known for their defense. And when Artest was guarding him he couldn’t even touch the ball.

    Blake is a PF version of Vince Carter without a jump shot. He is great in transision and moving without the ball but with the ball in his hands he is a non factor.


  45. I think Lamar is a great guy, but I don’t agree with how he reacted to the trade situation.

    First, he says he was upset that he didn’t get a heads up from management regarding the trade. If you read Mitch’s interviews, it seems pretty clear that due to the lockout, there wasn’t much time for such considerations. A pity, to be sure, but some perspective could have blunted Odom’s perceived disrespect.

    Second, Odom complained about going to a rebuilding situation in the Hornets. He said he was used to playing for championships and, at this stage of his career, wasn’t interested in starting all over. So, the Lakers sent him to the reigning champion Mavericks. That looks like a solid move on the part of the front office. That, to me, looks a lot more like respect than disrespect.

    Third, Odom demanded the trade. Look at how Pau handled the situation in comparison. It’s a case study in behavioral differences. Pau arguably had more reason to be upset (the Lakers didn’t start competing for rings until he showed up), yet he had the maturity to not let his hurt feelings turn into a trade demand that ultimately hurt both parties involved.

    All in all, I love Lamar, but I think he is sometimes a bit too emotional for his own good. I can relate to that, but I wish he had handled it differently.


  46. I think Lamar is a great Laker and will always be so. I wish him nothing but the best and agree 100% that he got the short end of the stick a little bit and has the right to be upset.

    But on the other hand, the trade DIDN’T got through…and it was a trade for CHRIS PAUL. It isn’t like the Lakers were unloading him for some benchwarming scrub. He was a key trade chip in an attempt to bring in the best all around point guard since Magic Freaking Johnson to the Lakers.

    What was it he once said? That he got traded for Shaq?

    Ultimately, he could have acknowledged that the Lakers were doing what they felt they had to in order to improve the team, but that it didn’t mean he was “disrespected” or “not valued”. He could have breathed a sigh of relief that the trade got vetoed, kept a good attitude, and got back to work.

    I’ll miss him. His reaction is entirely understandable. But RIGHT NOW, he’s a Mav and not in LA because he forced the issue after the initial failed trade.

    Having said that, I notice that the LEAGUE OWNED Hornets – who owe the Lakers a solid – just signed one Carl Landry for $9M.

    Does that fit into the Lamar Odom TE?


  47. Farewell Lamar, you will be missed.

    Lakers fans are so ridiculously spoiled. This year the organization has failed [so far] to field a squad that would look to be THE favorite to win a title – and we are up in arms.

    Look at it objectively – we’ve still got Kobe and two of the top 5 7-footers in the game. No other team has this luxury. Additionally, basketball is a team game. As long the players develop chemistry and trust each other, we have enough talent to compete for and win a championship.


  48. 47)
    Nobody is upset because the Lakers are not the favorites to win a title this year. People are upset because David Stern lied and went back on his promise to not interfere with basketball operations in New Orleans along with giving up Lamar for practically nothing at the moment. That’s why people are upset. I’m the only one on this site that gets upset when the Lakers aren’t the odds on favorite to win a title as I was basically the only one here last offseason begging for the Lakers to upgrade the worst PG position in basketball. I was up in arms last year to improve what most consider the worst position in all the NBA because the Lakers were second to the Heat in championship odds. So if anyone here is spoiled its me… But I don’t see anyone else on this site angry because the Lakers aren’t favored to win another title.


  49. 48,

    Boo freakin’ hoo. People wanted CP3 so that we can be the favorites this year, and for years after that. Getting CP3 meant getting D12 in most fans’ minds. Not everything will go our way. That’s my whole point. We’ve been spoiled.

    In the end, Stern did his job and got NO a much better package in return for CP3. A young proven scorer, a young potential-laden forward, a large expiring contract, and a first-round pick.


  50. You know, we could use that trade exception (from the Lamar trade) to let Denver get out of paying Andre Miller.

    For my money, Miller at point is better than Odom at sixth man. Starting point guard is a real problem. Mopping up for Pau and ‘Drew, not so much.


  51. Aaron-
    Pretty much half the regulars on this site were begging for the Lakers to upgrade at PG last year, including me. And it doesn’t even look like we’re going to get our prayers answered this year either.


  52. aaron, i don’t think blake griffin is an all-around superstar, either, but I feel like it’s just a question of time.

    he’s not complacent. he has a good work ethic and he strives to improve.

    he’s a good egg.


  53. 49/firewalker, that’s a real longshot, but george karl does love steve blake, and andre miller’s sorely needed rebounding is probably only second to jason kidd. he’d make the lakers very difficult to beat.


  54. Off-topic … but am I the only one who sees the Grizzlies regressing this year? I see them being just like the 2008 Hornets.

    Everywhere I look on the Internet, extremely smart writers all put the Grizzlies and Thunder at the top of the West. I thought a lot of what they did last year came down to fleeting chemistry, getting everything to click just right (which is rarely sustainable), and also taking some opponents by surprise. I don’t see that “Grit n Grind” placing them in serious contention this year. I think they’ll be a middle seed.

    I guess I just don’t see Randolph beasting at quite that level again, Allen hiding his deficiencies while bringing out his best traits, all the role players locked at the same time…I don’t know. I want to see another great season from them before I start anointing them as the future of the Western Conference like most of the blogosphere.


  55. 51)
    I hear ya… But the only thing I see players really improving at over time has been shooting and strength. The fact that he can’t beat people one on one with his “athletisism” means he either doesn’t have enough skill or isn’t quick enough going left and right. I think Blake is gonna be an all star for years to come… But superstars are superstars because they influence winning. They influence winning because they dominate on defense and offense. To dominate on offense you need to demand double teams.


  56. Lost among all the hype about CP3 joining the Clippers seems to be the fact that the Clips grossly overpaid for Paul, and in doing so they validated the decision by the evil Stern.

    It’s hard to argue that the Clippers’ offer isn’t better than the 3 team deal that Stern nixed. Meanwhile, the Clippers, by offering up probably the best young shooting guard in the league and what will be a lottery pick in an expectedly great draft this year, have given away far too much in my view. They already had probably the deepest PG talent in the league, with Billups, Mo Williams and Bledsoe. Now, they’ve got all those guys, plus CP3.

    To think that the Clips will be able to get away with Chauncey at the shooting guard position is to assume that a 33 year old, 6.4″ guy can guard the most athletic position in the sport. Not likely.

    Frankly, I like the Clips roster better before this trade, particularly when you project forward a year and add what might be the #1 overall pick in the draft. Talk about options and flexibility!

    I love CP3, and think he’s a top 5 player in the league. However, he was leaving the Hornets in 7 months and there are no other suitors who can offer what the Clippers could offer (without Gordon). Instead, the Clips just gave up a ton of points (Gordon) and some huge potential (either in talent or in trade bait, with the lottery pick). It’s one thing if you’re considering moving all that talent to replace a PG like Fisher; but to replace a PG like Billups + Williams? Stern played Sterling for the fool that he is.


  57. Aaron @48

    I am extremely upset about the championship prospects.

    We are the Lakers. 31 appearances and 16 titles (Celtics can’t compare to that).

    By my math that means we should make the finals every other year and win it every fourth year.

    So we missed the finals last year, so we are due this year (don’t hold your breath). We need to win 1 in the next 3 to keep pace on that front.

    Anything less than that is sub-par for the Lakers.

    Add to this that the Kobe window is closing, and you tell me What are we doing ????!!!!?????

    Like I said in another thread, we are 1/2 a step away from Mitch tossing it all in and going to a re-building (aka – we suck) process for years.

    The current roster can’t contend for the title. Is it in the top 7-8 teams – yes. Title contender – no. In the NBA, you need to be one of the top 2-3 teams to win. Yes Dallas did it last year, but that was only because Miami choked and had no heart. At this point, I would take Miami and Chicago vs. the field. No different than any other time in NBA history other than the 70’s: (50’s Lakers vs. the field 60’s Lakers and Celtics vs. field 80’s: Lakers Celtics, maybe Sixers, 90’s Bulls alone, 2000’s Lakers/Spurs

    Point is: You do not win titles being the 6th or 7th best team in the league. Not even the third or fourth best.

    So Aaron, count me in your spoiled group, where I say this is unacceptable, and we are about to go into an abyss. Somewhat like that abyss between Magic’s retirement and the coming of Shaq.

    OMG: Did I just say that?

    Please somebody tell me how this will not happen.


  58. Do you have a sister named Tina? haha. Went to UCI? anyway. Great Article I think the point you are forgetting to make is that no one in Laker Land under values or doesn’t appreciate Lamar. While I don’t agree with trading him or what happened after I think Lamar did indeed overreact to this. You are getting traded for the best pg of our generation and you’re not the only one. So is Pau who is arguably much better then you and has contributed much more then you. You have to understand the nature of this business. When he says I would have appreciated a phone call…..well how many times has it happened that news has leaked and killed a potential trade or influenced the outcome. It is understood why these things are kept under wrap. With that being said, I think the Lakers overreacted as well shipping Lamar to the team that waxed us because “he demanded a trade”.

    You haven’t even given the guy a chance to cool off no matter how heated it was. You could have come out two days later and said with all do respect to Lamar, this is the nature of the business we thought we were getting the premier pg in the league and we were willing to part ways with some of our most prized assets. It didn’t happen (which by the way is complete blasphemy) so we are choosing to keep our players and we would like to reiterate that Lamar has meant everything to this franchise and city and he was not contacted beforehand because that is our policy and it has always been our policy.
    That would have squashed things and Lamar would have had a couple days of practice and he would have gotten over it. I think everything was handled poorly but it all goes back to the veto and that was personal and now the owners and the league has unveiled that big brother theory and really put statements like Bryant Gumble’s in perspective. They are messing with people’s lives now and its personal. It has really tainted the NBA in my eyes as a true fan and all the conspiracy theories have credence now and you can understand why some players have gotten upset.

    Where does the team go from here Emile in your opinion?


  59. I’m going to have a pit in my stomach all season because of the Lamar trade.

    That said, despite the steady stream of bad news since the playoffs, remember how much fun the beginning of the 2008 season was, pre-Pau, when the Lakers were “underdogs” and overshadowed by the Next Big Thing (i.e., Boston). Remember the angst at realizing that LA wasn’t going to land Garnett? The Lakers played out of their minds to begin the season (until Bynum went down)! I for one enjoy when the Lakers are underdogs–that frontrunner role stresses me out.

    I’m pretty excited (or maybe its nervous) to see what can happen with Kobe, Pau, and Bynum each playing with well-deserved chips on their shoulders and the world (foolishly) dismissing them.


  60. chris @ 59

    Agree with you:

    NBA screwed us; then we screwed ourselves; then Orlando screwed us; sooo it is our turn again: I can hardly wait.

    Where do we go: I already told you – the abyss. It will be ugly, because Kobe is going to explode.

    If you think he is going to ride this out quietly – you do not know Kobe 🙂


  61. As presently built, this Lakers team is a second-tier playoff team in the west alone; it has zero shot of winning a championship.

    Kobe showed signs of slowing last season, no one has any idea what was going on with Pau in the playoffs (or if he’ll drop another stink bomb like that again), and really the only player with All-Star upside is the center who’ll miss the first five games and has yet to show he can stay on the floor a whole season.

    I love Bynum and Kobe and Pau, but that just isn’t enough, even if everything breaks perfectly for them this season.

    Objectively speaking, the Lakers cannot beat the Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies or Mavs in a playoff series. Artest and Blake (or Fisher) leave too big a void on offense, and defense against quicker players, and there is no bench depth to speak of if McRoberts and Ebanks and rookies are the top options there.

    We don’t know what the Spurs will do, but they did have the best regular season last year and should be poised to play well this year, given the stability there. And Minnesota will be much better with Adelman and Barea, among other changes.

    If those six squads play up to form, the Lakers are looking at a seven seed. The Kings could also be improved this year with Cousins and some outside shooting from Jimmer. If the Nuggets didn’t have so many guys stuck in China, they too would have more talent than L.A.

    I wish these facts weren’t true, but the Lakers’ point guards and bench are that awful. It’s going to be a long, awful season unless Mitch has something up his sleeve.


  62. You know, I have to speak up and be the counterpoint on all this Lamar love.

    As a fan, I was in the same boat as him on the trade situation. He didn’t do right by ME when he demanded a trade. Pau stood by me. This reminds me more of Shaq.

    Stop giving Odom a pass. He’s acting like a spoiled brat.

    Oh, and he didn’t take a pay cut to stay here. He held out for more money and lost.


  63. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the Clippers and Grizzlies probably will be better than us, at least on paper, this year. I sense a disturbance in the Force.


  64. (62) I’d have to say the Lakers, today, would beat the Clippers, Grizzlies, Spurs, Minnesota (!) & the Kings (!!) in a playoff series 19 out of 20 times.


  65. I find this transition of many Lakers fans to anger and a “woe is us” attitude fascinating.


  66. (66) I have to agree with you, Darius. Sheesh.


  67. 66) Darius,
    Is that what you meant when you said this might be a transition year?


  68. #66
    Very Strange indeed. How many times does the Lakers brass have to prove themselves.


  69. But we’re spoiled Laker fans! Whine and moan at the first sight of anything negative is what we do. That’s what makes us so much fun to be around! 🙂


  70. http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2011/12/15/2637913/the-aftermath-assessing-the-situation

    hard to be patient going into the season with all that happened, but there isn’t really much of a choice. just want to see our team take the floor and have a go at it. and against the clips first, as fate would have it.


  71. I, too, don’t understand the “woe is me” attitude so many are exhibiting, nor do I understand (or agree with) the idea that the team’s championship hopes have been dashed.

    Losing Odom hurts, for sure, but it is not fatal. One needs to consider the fact that Odom was unlikely to replicate the single best (by far) year of his career, and he was also unlikley to get as many minutes under Mike Brown’s offense. Andrew is healthy for the first time in a while, and as such he is going to play far more minutes. This, in turn, will reduce the number of minutes Pau will have to play at the (more physically demanding) center spot, allowing Pau to play more minutes in the PF role.

    Now, as to the rest of the team, Blake had the worst year of his career. It’s reasonable to assume more from him this year. Kobe had a bad knee all year, and reports are that he is feeling better after his long, restful summer and his knee “procedure”. Barnes gave us very little last year due to injury, and now that he’s back he is likely to add much more this season. Ebanks gave us nothing last year, but with a year to develop (physically and mentally) it is likely that he will be better. Aside from stopping opposing point guards, last year’s achilles heel was atrocious outside shooting, and this year’s team has the best shooter it has had since Glen Rice in the form of Jason Kapono.

    Taken together, and combined with the fact that Dallas has most assuredly gotten worse, I like this team’s chances. Despite the horrid memories of being unable to stop their guards, they won last year because they stepped up their defense–and that was all about Tyson Chandler. No Chandler means worse defense. No Barrea means no depth at the PG position, and it was Barrea more than Kidd who destroyed the Lakers at the point. Odom adds to the Mavs’ depth, but isn’t going to get much burn unless he plays alongside Dirk (something that will leave Dallas woefully small if LO at PF and Dirk is at center, or even worse defensively if LO is at the 3).

    OKC will be very good, but they are still young. Memphis will be good, but might have a tough time replicating last year’s lightning in a bottle. The Clippers will be better, but people have suddenly annointed Blake Griffin as a superstar, without a lot of evidence to support the claim besides highlight reel dunking (don’t get me wrong, I think he’s great, but he isn’t as good as Pau). Who else threatens the Lakers in the west? And that’s with the roster in its current form. The TPE could be used to add a guy like Paul Millsap or Andre Miller, and would instantly make the Lakers better than last year.

    So, for all the crying, I’d say that we are fans of a team that has a very, very good chance of winning the western conference, and I see nobody in the east who we can’t match up against with Kobe Bryant, two dominant 7 footers, and a deep bench.


  72. Wow. This is cold. I get that Blake Griffin’s excited about getting to play with Paul, but he’s celebrating within earshot of Eric Gordon. And right after asking who Jordan they gave up in the trade, he screams “We don’t care!” Considering everything about Gordon being an introverted, soft-spoken, humble guy, that’s pretty damn cold. Not exactly professional.


    From the piece Han posted, a Magic writer had an interesting (and very realistic) take on why the Magic did what they did:

    “Magic trying to smoke out L.A. with Nets trade tease. Lakers didn’t bite. Magic want PGasol and ABynum for DHoward. Now what? Wait.”


  73. Mitch is trying to appease the restive Laker fans who are crying “foul” for trading Odom for a whooper of 8.9M that he and jim Buss would enjoy. It is a safety net of his job as an able accountant while enjoying the festive of the 3B bonanza from Time Warner deal. In the meantime, we are the screwy fans, the most exploited for paying the highest price on tickets, cables who keeps on giving these clowns a lot of credit for their haphazardness in General Management of a fabled basketball team.

    Among the poker players in this deal for Paul & Howard, Lakers are the primary losers while the Rockets and New Jersey are the secondary. Lakers got hoodwinked as they buy the bluff of Orlando, it caused us trading LO for nothing. Now we say that this is just a transitory procedure, well until it happens everything that Mitch does is all transitory full of cupcakes. He lost in this poker game and mortgaged his keen awareness by lock, stock and barrel to Stern, Orlando GM and to the Hornets multitude of owners including the Lakers 1/29 interest. No compensation, no redress no complaints and no passion whatsoever from Mitchy, it is a reflection of what Mitch Kupchak is made of as a player and as a GM.

    On the other hand, I moved through this blog that we petition for the removal of David Stern as Commissioner of NBA. It is time for him to go.


  74. Darius,

    I see your point, however it comes down to a question of expectations. If you want us to be content with what a typical NBA fan’s life has been like, well then, we have had more titles than anyone will get close to in 5 lifetimes. So I guess we sit back and shut up.

    However we are not content, and for myself, looking at a period of several years without a title is depressing.

    Lou @69: Lakers Brass: We have had some success, however we have had some failures as well: Handling of Phil at the end of round 1; Handling of Shaq-Kobe situation; Caron Butler to the Wizards for what again? 🙂 and dare I leave out sending LO to the Mavs for a cameo appearance on Entourage or whatever they gave us for him.


  75. according to mike brown, barnes and fisher to start, with artest embracing 6th man/2nd unit captain role.


  76. I really don’t understand how people question why Lakers fans are pressing about the recent developments. When you have a payroll as consistently high as ours is you are expected to contend for a title each season.

    We have an OLD team. It’s not like we have this bright future to look forward to with a bunch of young up-and-coming players. So as Lakers fans we know that the window for us is closing quickly and losing Odom, not getting Chris Paul and the possibility of not getting Dwight Howard should scare any of us.

    The time is now. When it becomes clear that we are in rebuilding mode, you won’t see the “sky is falling” comments from Lakers fans as you are seeing now.


  77. As I stated yesterday, I think the Lakers are going to be good this year, provided they stay healthy. I don’t get why people in the media are so down on them. (I would rank them fourth behind Miami, Chicago and OKC.)

    I am also curious why people outside of Laker fans don’t seem to think much of Bynum. Is it strictly the health thing, or do they really not see him as a good player?


  78. Wait, we got Jason Kapono? When and how did this happen and how on Earth did I miss it?

    This move, I like. He can shoot. 🙂


  79. Fish to start? Blake must be horrible in practice 🙂


  80. Yeah, there is no denying it. Laker fans are spoiled…. but what does being spoiled have to do with being appauled at the blatant conflicts of interest and collusion displayed by Stern and the owners? This is not about Chris Paul, or being spoiled… It’s about David Stern rigging the NBA, and crushing the integrity of the league. There has been a crime committed against our Lakers, and most of us seem content to simply move on. I am shocked at how easily some of the posters here are sweeping this incident under the rug.

    The owners COLLUDED to nix the Chris Pal trade. When the league purchased the Hornets, we were assured that the Hornets management would be allowed to make trades without interference from the league office to avoid any conflicts of interest. Yet, the league has done the exact opposite. Dan Gilbert’s letter says it all. Every reason he provided to oppose the trade was a blatant conflict of interest. The league was continually notified during negotiations and was ready to accept the trade….until the owners started complaining. The fact that Stern found a better trade with the Clippers has no relevance to the initial crime, and in no way, has Stern been vindicated. Collusion and conflicts of interest displayed for all to see can never be vindicated.


  81. I’ve always thought Artest would be much better with the second unit, considering he needs the ball in his hands to be anywhere close to efficient on offense. Although I’m much more interested to see how Blake performs this year.


  82. The news of Barnes starting is a big and positive development. Right off the bat it gives the Lakers more speed and athleticism, and better outside shooting to pair with their two bigs. I like this move a lot.

    Artest may still get decent minutes, with him coming in and Barnes moving to the 2 spot to spell Kobe. Ron has been a very good player in a less structured system (Houston, most recently), and playing with the 2nd unit may give him more confidence in asserting himself than he has as a starter, where almost all of his shots have the look of “I know I’m not supposed to shoot this one, but….”

    I think Fisher starting could be read two ways: either Blake has not impressed in practice, as MannyP suggests, or Brown realizes that with Kobe, Pau, and Bynum in the starting lineup, you need your better offensive threat at the PG position to be with the 2nd unit, not the first. Hopefully, the latter is the explanation, because I’d be very disappointed if Blake is back to sucking….


  83. I still don’t understand the quick trigger on shipping Lamar out. It reeks of a Jim Buss move, it has to be his doing; Kupchak has never shown such heart on your sleeve, quick trigger tendencies. Sure Lamar would have been upset for a bit but he would have came around with Kobe, Fish, and Artest in his ear. And if there was no getting around shipping him out, couldn’t we have got something (read: a contributing player) in return? He’s the 6th man of the year, one of the most versatile in the game, great in the locker room, smooth on the floor, with an extremely reasonable contract in a world of horrible contracts. Ok, so let’s say it has to be done, we have to swap him for a first round pick, atleast get a decent one! We sent him to the Mavericks aka the defending champs, who are, at the very least, going to make it through the 1st round of the playoffs, so their pick is going to be no good. Oh and by the way, there are a conference rival who swept us this past year and stand in our way again this year.

    You mean to tell me there were no other teams with cap space that would have swapped a SINGLE pick for a borderline all star in his prime? We couldn’t have made a few calls, maybe get back a promising young player AND a pick from a team that is lottery bound? Seriously, think about it.


  84. Derek Fisher is my favorite Laker, but man, he is just not good enough at basketball.

    Realistically, I’m not that worried about losing Lamar, because his production can actually be replaced with lesser guys in the lineup.

    For example, Bynum doesn’t even use one-fifth of the Lakers offensive possessions when he’s on the floor. That’s a waste of money. Now, instead of giving the ball to LO, it will go to Bynum or Gasol.

    We’ll miss his rebounding hustle–if it is not replaced. Fortunately, hustle and salary are only very loosely correlated.

    It’s all about the point, baby. Miller or Stuckey seem possible, Nash a dream. Does anyone have a sense of what Denver wants to do with their two starting point guards? ‘Cause we don’t have ANY, and the new Socialist NBA should make them give us one!


  85. Rudy @78: You are 110% correct

    LtMitchell @82: You are 120% correct

    Mimsy @80: You missed the Kapono deal, because you,like the rest of us were watching the ESPN headlines, and searching the web for “big deals”.

    This deal appeared on page 20 of the classified ad sections: under of course “Help Wanted”


  86. I’m glad to hear Barnes is starting because quite frankly Artest should have been playing on the bench last year but Phil didn’t make that move.

    Sucks to think that if LA had not made any moves they would still be a top 3 team out west with a great shot at making it to the finals (I still think OKC’s lack of outside shooting is why they can’t beat LA, as opposed to last year I knew Dallas could because LA struggles with teams that have depth at Center and outside shooters to spread the floor).

    This team is at a crossroads right now, you are either putting everything all in now to maximize Kobe’s last 3 years, or you are building for the future by trading for Howard by giving up whatever it takes and possibly recruiting Deron Williams in free agency. As constructed yes this team could hit a nice stride and make it to the Finals but there is no way on earth they can hang with Miami. They are too athletic, the big men would be in foul trouble within the first 2 minutes of a game.


  87. What will our starting five look while Drew is out?


  88. There’s no way Fisher should be a starting PG at this stage.


  89. I find this transition of many Lakers fans to anger and a “woe is us” attitude fascinating.


    Don’t see why. One of the big misconceptions about Lakers fans is that we are different than other fans. We’re not; the TEAM is. Ask yourself this question: How would any fanbase react if:

    a) There were published reports their team was going after Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
    b) They got Paul.
    c) The league vetoed the deal.
    d) Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert came out publicly against the deal.
    e) A nearby team got Paul.
    f) Cuban’s team directly benefits from the deal being blocked.
    g) Cuban’s team eliminated them from the playoffs the previous year.
    h) They traded a good player to Cuban’s team in reaction to the veto.

    What I find weird is that you seem to expect people not to be mad about it and to stop talking about it.

    The conflict of interest was inherent in the situation, and non-Laker fans are dealing with that three ways:

    1. Ascribing Lincolnesque ethics and statesmanship to Stern.
    2. Saying it’s OK because Stern got Gordon and the draft pick.
    3. Saying it’s OK because, hey, it’s the Lakers (and the Rockets).
    4. Saying it’s OK because, man, the Clips will be fun to watch.

    No one should feel sorry for Lakers fans and no one does. The Lakers are in this mess–and it IS a mess by Lakers standards–in part due to bad management. But the fanbase is going to remember The Veto for a long, long time and anger about it is totally understandable.


  90. (73) Funky Chicken, I agree with everything you wrote. I don’t care at all about the Clippers or how the media has suddenly anointed them the “most exciting team in LA”. To me, winning is exciting. To say Paul & Griffin are the best 1-2 punch in the West is laughable – maybe in 5 years, but right now, Kobe>CP3, and Pau>Griffin. Easily.

    I don’t like how Stern handled the trade/veto, but I’m glad the trade didn’t go through, I didn’t like it at all when it “happened”. Chris Paul is great, but show me the team he’s led deep into the playoffs, please. He had a terrific series against the Lakers last year, but completely vanished in the deciding game 6, which no one seems to remember. I’m not ripping him – I think he’s fantastic, and a great guy to build around if he stays injury-free – but to be talking about him in the same breath as Magic Johnson is a bit ridiculous.

    At some point, the Lakers were going to have to let Andrew play starters’ minutes, and finish games. That meant Lamar was basically expendable, at his salary. I love Lamar, and he’ll always be a Laker and a champion to me, and it hurts to lose him, but it’s not the death blow for this team.

    The guy everyone seems to be sleeping on is Kobe. I know he’s on the downward arc of his career, but he’s hardly finished. He’s healthier than in several years by all accounts, and I really think he has one more transcendent season in him, plus several more run-of-the-mill great ones. In fact, I don’t think it’s that far-fetched to think he could win the MVP this year. Think about it. The storyline is that the Lakers are done. If Kobe has a great season (and he had a great one last year) and the rest of the team plays hard and plays better (Lamar was the only guy playing over his head last year, everyone else save Kobe had a down year), the Lakers win the West, and Kobe gets his 2nd MVP in the twilight of his career. It’s not that off the wall a prediction.


  91. Jodial: Thank you for the optimism. We could all use it.

    I am the most annoying (to non-Laker fans) Kobe supporter ever, and even I can’t envision your pipedream.

    We can’t even afford for Kobe to have an MVP season, because he would have no gas left in the tank for the playoffs.

    I do not think you have made an “off the wall prediction” rather I think you made “an off the PAUL prediction”


  92. If someone already posted this – sorry,
    however I just saw it, and this is brutal:



  93. The first five games of the season will set a standard as to how this season will go. If Kobe has to go into hero mode to keep the Lakers afloat and with a respectable record, say 3-2. Then do not look for Kobe to want to tame it down when Bynum returns.

    Here’s to hoping that the new Lakers will come out hungry and ready to assert its self aboard the leader pack in the West. I believe that Pau will be focused and back to playing stellar basketball, I also know that Barnes has worked hard this off season and will be ready to play at the Magic level if not above.

    I hope that Morris and Goudelock are the kind of rookies that come in and learn the system, and play so darned well that the coaches cannot in good conscience keep them off the floor. I do not think that Fisher should start but I have been saying it for years (as has many on this site). But, one must accept the fact that Fisher obviously has so much chutzpah in practice that he intimidates and outplays anyone that attempts to take his spot. Hopefully, Morris will learn from Fisher and steal his mojo.

    If our youngsters can come out and run, shoot and finish at the rim while playing tough defense, we may just surprise David Stern and make it to the finals afterall.

    I love Kapono, watched him in growing up in AAU and always thought that he would be a shooter that the Lakers should acquire. However, why do we always get shooters at the end of their careers?

    No matter what, the Lakers will make the Western conference finals…my prediction. Why because they know now more than ever that the league is against them. The Lakers are angry about Lamar being traded and angry with Stern, so they will play with a chip on their shoulder.

    A team can come together and bond over the most unusual things, and the Lakers have found two reasons.

    Lakers against the world! LOL, we are going to get after it!


  94. Hello:

    I’m a longtime Lakers season ticket holder and I own a pair of seats in the front of Section 205 (row 2). I am looking for a 25 percent or 50 percent partner for 2011-12 regular season games. Price is season-ticket holder face, which is $92 per ticket or $184 per game.

    If interested, please email me directly at kb9kb9kb9@aol.com. Thanks.

    (We will now return to our regularly scheduled Mitch- and Fish-bashing…)


  95. Brown is considering starting Luke Walton (???) at SF. As CP3 tweeted….WoW.


  96. Jodial, I, likewise, agree with you 100%. Three Laker starters (if you count Barnes, as some reports suggest) will enter this season healthier than they were last year.

    I find it odd how virtually everyone on this board seems to accept the idea that Andrew Bynum is the 2nd best center in the NBA, but then fails to account for what actually makes him deserve that status. Andrew was most assuredly NOT the 2nd best center in the league last year. There’s a reason for that: HEALTH.

    When he’s healthy, Andrew is a guy capable of consistently averaging 20 & 10 (or more). Compared to what he provided last year, that is a huge improvement, and having a dominant, all-star caliber center who is also active defensively (remember how Andrew turned up the defensive intensity last year?) totally changes this Laker team.

    The guy playing center against the Mavericks was not the same guy that people rightly call the 2nd best center in the game. He was a shell of that player. This season, it’s likely that he will start the year (5 games in…) in the best shape and with the best skills that we have ever seen from him. Think about that. Andrew has demonstrated the ability to be a game and league-changing center. What has held him back has been injury. He’s not injured now, so shouldn’t we expect a dominant player at that position? I think so….

    Add a healthier (and hungrier) Kobe, and a super motivated Barnes, and the Laker starting 5 will be considerably better than last year’s edition. I’d say that’s reason for optimism in Lakerland.


  97. Mike Brown is experimenting his starter, he likes Fisher as starting PG and tying the idea of Barnes OR Luke Walton. Playing Fisher and Luke as starter is like saying optimistically that we’ll surely get Paul & Howard before Christmas. Are we in 2004 or in 2011? Can they still play?

    With these two old players, where will be the Lakers strength coming from? Can Fisher guard Derrick Rose and Luke on Luol Deng? I’m not a coach but that’s a mismatch just by reading the names.

    ESPN Media thinks all these moves of Mitch came from who else? Jim Buzz who buzzing like a bumble bee on the ears of his GM whose basketball IQ comes from his Laker hat.



  98. Lakers are also on the hunt for Troy Murphy


    Suddenly, our beloved Lakers are turning into Indiana Pacers. We’re on scavenging hunt for those $ 1M worth of “has-been” players as our austerity objective for 2011.


  99. Edwin, that clip from ESPN shows the media at its absolute worst. These two idiots (Smith & Bucher) are clueless. Literally the only thing different from last year’s roster at this point is the Lakers have switched Odom for McRoberts, and Shannon Brown for Jason Kapono.

    At worst, that is a slight dropoff. At best, it is a draw. But they still have a nearly $9 million trade exception. Think of how many quality players can be obtained mid-season for that. If the Lakers added a guy like Paul Millsap with that trade exception, they would be hands down an improved team from last year’s edition.

    This over the top love of the Clippers is pure hype. Their “star” center is a guy who didn’t start for them last year because Chris Kaman was better. Blake (aka the next Jordan) Griffin is not a better power forward than Pau Gasol. CP3 is awesome, but is he better than Kobe?

    The Clips deserve praise for improving their roster. They did so, however, in part by getting rid of their most consistent player (Gordon). I think they’ll be better, but putting them up there as a championship contender is ridiculous.


  100. “Mopping up for Pau and ‘Drew, not so much.”

    Here’s the team’s schedule:


    5 games in 7 days to end December.

    17 games in 31 days in January.

    13 games in 29 days in February (the most rest month).

    17 games in 31 days in March.

    14 games in 26 days in April.

    So there will be no “mopping up” as the bench minutes are going to get perilously close to starter’s minutes unless, of course, coach wants to wear his starters down to a fine powder.

    To address the remainder of your comments in that post and the one following, starting PG is of less concern than quality of bench this year. Again, see the schedule.

    Lastly, I’m going to call the one new fellow, McStiff. As for why, well, this will go to the matter of others making up for Lamar. McStiff is going to need substantial assistance in that regard, since he finished 75th in rebounds last year with a total of 382. In contrast, Lamar finished 11th with 710. Another Laker that finished with more rebounds than McStiff is the SG named Kobe Bryant (67th, 419).

    Almost forgot, but on an unrelated note, should the time come that the Lakers compete with the Nets for Dwight Howard, someone remember to inform the Magic’s GM that in 27.8 MPG over 54 games, Bynum pulled down 508 rebounds, whereas in 35.2 MPG over 82 games, Brook Lopez pulled down but a mere 488 rebounds. You can add that Kobe played the same 82, though 1.3 MPG less, and pulled down the noted 419 rebounds. That’s how bad a rebounder Lopez is.


  101. I agree with you Funky Chicken. Don’t forget Gerald Green and these young D’ Leagues like Malcolm Thomas or our draftees Andrew Gaudelock and Darius Morris. I think these young kids if directed correctly will really help the Lakers.

    Don’t get me wrong that if we criticize the Laker management and coaching staff, it means that we’re pessimistic with our chances. It is just a free wheeling of opinions for the health of the franchise. I believe that the most knowledgeable NBA fans in the business are the Lakers fans. Yes, they are spoiled in winning and would not relinquish that reputation by importing ineptness from owners or coaches. We carry the tradition of excellence from the time of Baylor-Wilt-West carried over by Magic-Kareem-Worthy to the time of Shaq-Kobe-Horry, must we suddenly become a middle of the road MidWest team just because the leaders are inept and inadequate?


  102. @ 103, saw it this morning and laughed out loud all the way to work.


  103. Smith’s new radio persona is that of taking extreme angles with extreme views. Never take anyone so highly opinionated seriously. Bucher has a 95% miss rate with his predictions. So yeah, please take that clip with a gigantic rock of salt.

    Troy Murphy would be another solid addition. He is a proven rebounder and an outside threat. If the team can stay reasonably healthy, I like our chances against just about any team out there.


  104. Mimsy’s back, glad to see your contributions again, in this brand new exciting season. I want to see what Brown does with the players he has, before making any type of forecast on where the Lakers end up. I see a strong team, with Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol as the core, meaning I need to wait till after the first 5 games (Bynum suspension) to get an idea of how they are playing under the new coaches and system. OKC and Dallas worry me somewhat, but you cannot forecast where they will end up either. I am happy for the Clippers, there is another reason (CP3) to go to one of their games now. These comment threads take time to go through, now that they average over a hundred comments each now days, kind of like a Playoff atmosphere. I wanted to leave a quote about not dwelling in the past, but I will just say it instead. We need to simply move on and forward.


  105. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/24552/countdown-to-christman-worst-case-scenario#more

    Unfortunately I think Simmons has it right about the Lakers this year. The lakers are old and slow and at best 3rd best in the west. It doesnt mean they cant get better but i dont see them advancing past 2nd round as constructed.

    I am intrigued by Simmons’ proposed trade with Houston although I doubt they would go for the trade now that thy hav missed out on Nene


  106. I love how any sort of negative outlook gets ridiculed as a “woe is me” viewpoint.

    I look at this team and see a lot of holes, just like I looked at the team after the Game 2 loss to Dallas last season and said the Lakers were done. People crapped on that thought then, but it was correct.

    I love the Lakers as much as anyone. But to pretend that this team is a title contender as it now stands is delusional. I don’t believe Laker fans are entitled to a championship every season, nor am I Pollyanna enough to look at this deeply flawed roster with a new coach and suggest it’s better than it was last year, when the team struggled in round one and lost in the second round.

    @ jodial — I never said the Spurs or T-Wolves would beat the Lakers in a playoff series; I said they’re likely going to have a better regular season record.

    And why you think the Lakers would beat the Clippers and Grizzlies in a playoff series 19 out of 20 times is puzzling.

    Memphis beat the Lakers once last season, gelled late and made a far better showing in the postseason than the Lakers did. They have size, play good D, and have far better guard depth than L.A. And unlike the Lakers, Memphis hasn’t lost any key players from a year ago.

    Likewise, the Clippers played the Lakers very tough last year; take away a last-second hoop by Fisher and they’d have split the regular season series. With Paul and Billups and a year’s growth, that team could very easily beat the Lakers in a seven game set. The Lakers have no one to guard Griffin or Paul, and Jordan’s size causes problems for Pau and Drew.

    Sorry if people don’t share my glass is half full outlook here, but that’s how I see things. Until the team addresses its point guard hole, it’s screwed, barring a Nick Van Exel like rookie year from Morris.


  107. I already posted my “reasons for hope” a few articles ago, but have to rejoin….we lose Shannon B and his dunk every 2 or 3 games and Odom, and suddenly, we go from second-best-vegas odds of being champion to “will we make the playoffs? (to hear the talking heads anyway)

    Let’s give it a chance…

    Two players from our team, blake and metta, have admittedly never adjusted their offensive games to the triangle…i’m intrigued to see how they perform in a more “traditional” or at least “non-triangle” offense…

    Ebanks, who always looked at least competent on those rare occasions he saw action last year, will see time…and i’m looking forward to seeing how he and other youngsters look….i loved jackson as a coach, but no one is perfect, and his weakness was a stubborn to a fault attitude about playing inexperienced players….

    the complaints about the mcrob signing don’t make sense to me…you all would agree he’s better than anyone who has backed up bynum and gasol other than the departed odom, don’t you? You’d rather have him than our backup bigs last year, wouldn’t you?

    shannon is gone, true, but other than an “out of his mind” start to the season last year, did the wowwwwster do anything to impress last year, particularly after he cooled off after a hot start?

    does anyone doubt that Kobe is going to take all of the crap that has happened so far personally, and make it his one burning mission in life (for this season at least) to stick it to the rest of the league for messing with him and “his’ team….i don’t think so…

    maybe we will be mediocre….but it won’t be because odom is gone, and it won’t be because we didn’t get paul or howard….


  108. 103:

    Keep in mind that Lamar played a whole lot more minutes than “McStiff” when comparing numbers…

    I’m uneasy trying to make the case that McBob is a suitable replacement for LO (he’s not), but don’t dismiss him because he’s a white Dukie. He’s a great passer (like LO), has explosive leaping ability and athleticism for his size (example: he was a runner-up to LA’s own Gerald Green in the 2005 McDonald’s All-American dunk contest), and if you normalize their numbers (using RP40), McBob accounts for only one less rebound per 40 minutes than Lamar (but 2 more than LeBron and 3.5 more than Brooke Lopez)…

    We could’ve done a whole lot worse (especially if we flip LO’s TPE into someone good)…


  109. At Phil Jackson’s exit interview, he was asked about his amazing record. The first word out of his mouth was “Talent” and he went on to say that he “coached some of the greatest talent ever to play this game.” Other than Kobe, Pau, and Andrew, the Lakers don’t have much talent on the roster. It’s that simple.

    McRoberts and Kapono are nowhere near as good as Odom and Brown. Kapono is, at this point, barely an NBA player–check his Basketball Reference page.

    Basically, the Lakers’ chance to have a decent year this year hangs on two guys: Andrew Bynum and Mike Brown. If Kobe and/or Pau get hurt and/or decline seriously, the Lakers are SOL no matter what else occurs. If we assume they hold their value, then it is up to Bynum and Brown.

    I suspect that part of Jim Buss’ thinking in trading Odom was clearing time and touches for Bynum. In Buss’ mind, IMO, the plan is for Bynum to start the ASG, really come into his own, and either make people here forget Howard, or be so good he can be used to acquire Howard without giving up Gasol. Either way, Bynum has to stay on the floor, stay out of trouble, and be the best center in the conference for the Lakers to get anywhere.

    As to Brown, taking this job initially was “challenging”. Now it is even more so. He will need to get through to Kobe, put Fisher on the floor much less without pissing off either him or Kobe, install a new system, answer daily Dwight Howard questions, and mix and match a collection of very limited players 4-11 on the roster so as to get the most out of them.

    And he has to do this in the Laker media glare while sharing the building with a team that has Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

    Expect a bumpy ride.


  110. @ 111

    One plus to Brown is what you say: I think he will put the young guys on the court. Ebanks does have a shot to be a rotation guy for Brown, IMO.


  111. I have been very upset about the LO to Dallas for a bag of chips. I have changed my tune today. Barnes to start over World Piece of the rim! Great news! Now if could get anyone to replace Fish as a starter I would be happier then Santa with a black American Express Card.


  112. The other guys who could make a difference are Ebanks and McRoberts, as they are young enough to grow.


  113. Does anyone know if Bynum’s suspension affects his ability to play in the pre-season games?


  114. @113:

    Exactly right. It’s put up or shut up time for Bynum, Jim Buss, and unfortunately all of Lakerdom. Jimbo has long wanted to make Bynum the key to the Lakers’ future–well, mission accomplished.

    If Bynum plays well the first half of the season–beautiful things. If he get’s injured or underperforms, then 2012 will mark the end of the world (for Laker fans) after all.

    You will see no one cheering more loudly for Bynum than me…!


  115. Robinred, surely you aren’t suggesting that the Lakers are alone in being SOL if either of their top 2 players go down? What title-contending team can lose either of its top two players and NOT cease being a contender?

    Your take on Brown/LO being better than McRoberts/Kapono is fair, but that isn’t the whole story. It is also a better Barnes, a better Ebanks, and a better Bynum. For those reasons I think the conclusion that the Lakers are worse than last year is not only premature, but wrong. And when you add in the ability to sign a substantially better player with the trade exception, I think there are plenty of reasons for optimism.

    We’ll see soon enough (that being the beauty of sports), but in the meantime I will take comfort in being on the other side of the argument as the nearly always wrong Rick Bucher….


  116. It was reported last year that the Hornets had to sell a certain amount of seats last year to uphold their lease or some kind of provision or their status in N.O. was in jeopardy. I wonder if that was only relevant to last season because their attendance is going to be hell without Paul as a draw.

    The party line is that the NBA has wanted to keep the Hornets in N.O. The Lakers/Rockets’ package would have given the Hornets a better shot at the playoffs over the Clippers winning package. So, is the NBA trying to sell a young losing team with a high first round draft pick AND keep them in New Orleans?

    I’m not certain how management gauges talent. I didn’t want Steve Blake over the options available last year. A new system and coach and he still can’t dethrone Fisher as a starter? Blake used to kill the Lakers from the opposing team and last season he killed from within. They’d be better off using Sasha’s TE and bringing back hard head Farmar at this stage. Are there really no viable options other than El Presidente?


  117. I believe in this team, no matter what ANYONE says. We have a good and balanced team, filled with veterans and young guys. The vets will teach the young and the young will help the vets rest up for the playoffs. I expect breakout years for Bynum and to a lesser extent McBob, who I can easily see becoming one of my favs. And for some reason I’m high on Morris, too. He’s humble enough to want to learn. You gotta like that.

    I’d be happy with a top 4 finish in the west. And I expect this team to go to the finals and play the Heat.

    May the best team win!


  118. It is also a better Barnes, a better Ebanks, and a better Bynum.


    Barnes is a good value at 1.9M, but he is a 31-year-old bench player coming off a knee injury. I like Ebanks, but his ceiling is being…Matt Barnes, or Trevor Ariza. He has almost no NBA game experience.

    Bynum, well, same thing as always: he is a very good if he stays healthy. He NEVER has.

    Odom is one of the best 40 or so players in the league. He is now on Dallas.

    Another guy Dallas has that the Lakers should have looked at is Delonte West, baggage and all. He signed a one-year deal in Dallas for the minimum, and a combo guard who can guard 2s some and also run the point well enough to get Fisher off the floor would help. I would rather have West than be comnitted to three years–each–with Blake and Fisher.

    Look, I hope I am wrong, but this team looks like a 4-6 seed to me right now with the possibility of real disaster.

    @ Funky

    Sure, any team is in trouble with two top guys down–and the Lakers top 2 are both over 30, and one in his 16th year.


  119. @ sparky

    With you on all counts there. I hope to be eating crow when the Lakers, led by a healthy Bynum, and Gasol and Kobe, and fortified by a quality add with the TPE, take the 2nd seed.

    But that is not where my money is.


  120. i’m ok that the trade didn’t happen. i like this team. i do want to see a couple more servicable big men but this team is more than talented enough if everyone really does their jobs.

    Pau will play well. Drew will play well, and he might even make it through the season with no more than a couple of mild ankle sprains. Kobe is still Kobe. he’s healthy and he’s just a good as ever, just like he was last year.

    last year, it’s true that Pau had a bad series, but it was shooting that killed the Lakers. you can’t win when you shoot bricks and the other team makes shots. all Dallas had to do was pack the paint.

    peaks and injuries, as well as a few lucky bounces determine a season. the Lakers were only blown out at the end, when the outcome had already been decided. a couple of lucky bounces and at least two of the previous games might have been Laker victories, which might have completely changed momentum. confidence is everything in basketball.

    this is part of what puzzles me about LA media’s coverage of the Lakers. this media must really dislike the team even though they indirectly and directly are on the Laker payroll, because they do almost everything they can to undermine the team’s confidence with such sour reporting and leading questions asked of players. it’s like other cities like NYC, i guess. survival of the fittest, only the strongest personalities need apply.

    which brings me to Fish. yes, i know, he’s not a fabulously gifted player. i think i can tell you why he’s been a key starter on so many championship and near-championship teams, and why he’s expected to start still. it might also be the reason that i can do without Chris Paul. it’s not that CP3 is a much, MUCH better player or that i’m against him. it’s just that sometimes, as a bandleader, i’d rather have a guy who has less talent, but will confidently and flawlessly execute what i ask him to do, within his abilities. the band only needs one or two people who have some kind of transcendant talent. talent can be rattled or misused in a stressful situation. sometimes someone who can be depended to do what he’s supposed to do, no matter how stressful the moment is worth everything. that’s why the internet meme “intagibles” was formed.

    please, naysayers!
    the season hasn’t even started yet.
    if you really need to be negative to feel good then chew on this:
    1. the Clippers are still the Clippers. they will be good, but there’s only one Center, an exciting PF, a broken but decent SF and a whole bunch of point guards. my god! how is that going to work? they must have a plan. or not, it doesn’t matter anyway. the problem is the owner, who in court has been shown to dislike black people, but they work for him. they’ve often had great players.
    2. this league is as crooked as boxing. luckily, the Lakers are Don King big, at least for now, and the games still are played. you can influence a game, but fixing it outright is a little harder.
    3. David Stern really is a slimy smarmy guy, but what are you gonna do?
    4. the Lakers are fully capable of winning the championship, until the point they’re eliminated.
    5. i don’t care what moves you would make because you’ll never make them, even though some are good ideas.
    6. it doesn’t matter what happens anyway. we do this for fun. it is mock combat. if anyone is actually hurt, it should be an accident.

    enjoy the season.


  121. lamar needs talent around him to really shine. do you think dirk is going to enhance lamar’s skill set the way pau has?

    new lamar is not going to be playing for dallas; old lamar is.


  122. Great piece. I certainly feel that way about Lamar’s move. Some here knock LO for his response, contrasting it unfavorably with Pau’s. To me it only shows his heart. These guys are human and given what LO’s done for the team, I can forgive it.

    I really DON’T understand the quick trigger on the deal. As sbdunks @ 85 says, it stinks of Jim Buss dealing. As he says, Mitch has not had a quick trigger.

    The woe is me from Laker fans is pretty pathetic. This is EXACTLY the stereotype other fans have of us. We still have two monster bigs and #24 and we’re a Mo Williams/Jeff Foster away from being right back to being a serious contender.


  123. Not sure if you’ll find this interesting. I remember hearing about Chris Paul being traded to the Lakers while watching Stern conduct a press conference after the CBA was completed. At 4:35 of the embedded video, a French journalist said, ” The whole point of the lockout was for the small market team to have a better chance to be competitive. And now we’re hearing about Chris Paul going to Los Angeles and Dwight Howard maybe moving pretty soon..so it looks like it didn’t change anything.” Check out Stern’s reply. He didn’t seem bothered at all by the trade at that time (or at least didn’t show it).



  124. A bit off topic, but it will be hella interesting to see if the Clippers can paint themselves as the cool, hipster, young, college, grassroots, fun loving Cali team – especially with guys like Blake, Jordan, and CP3, and thus take another route entirely to a huge popular fan base. Kind of like the Warriors but much further

    instead of directly challenging the Lakers fan base and perception as Hollywood, glitzy, big dog, professional type.

    That would be a powerful move imo


  125. LMAO

    “I’m excited to be here in L.A. with this unbelievable franchise with so much history behind it,” Paul said.

    CP3 is apparently still confused about which LA team he’s joining. Either that or he’s referring to the history of fired employees suing the owner for paychecks, or else players having to pool money together to pay for their assistant coach’s chemotherapy. That is some unbelievable history.


  126. I’m trying to comprehend these posts.

    Are we descending from sincere nostolgic personal statements of loss to premature speculations about the fate of a Laker team not yet fully tweeked or blown up during an upcoming 66 game 2011-2012 season?

    This is a time of great uncertainty.

    Maybe we should wait a bit for the smoke to settle while keeping our powder dry.

    We’ll be collecting actual facts on the ground soon enough. . . .


    Lamar Odom Asks Nowitzki’s Forgiveness

    Lamar Odom got so frustrated that Dirk Nowitkzi was having his way with him in the second round of the playoffs last season that he decided to clock the Dallas Mavericks forward with a forearm.

    Now, Odom is no longer with the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he’s one of Nowitzki’s teammates.

    “We joked about it in the locker room the other day,’’ Odom said. “I told him the other day, I said, ‘Forgive me.’


  128. @drrayeye

    I’m with you all of the way. For the first time since before the start of the 2007-2008 season, there is an air of uncertaintainy about what this team will be. That season wasn’t “ultimately” successful, but was still pretty special and, more important to this discussion, fairly unexpected. Few thought the Lakers would make the finals that year. There is something invigorating about getting to speculate about different pieces and parts, and wondering if the pieces will fall into place and lead to a deep playoff run, a la 2007-2008, rather than wondering if LA can “flip the switch” and make clearly-capable parts function, like the last two years…


  129. This is a time of great uncertainty.


    Sure. Howard could still come; they could still use one or both TPEs to add talent. The Vujacic one expires today.

    We are, however, certain that Odom is on Dallas, that Kobe is 33, that Bynum gets hurt a lot, that Fisher, Blake, and Walton are still on the roster; and that Jim Buss and Mike Brown are not Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson.

    Those are all reasons to be pessimistic.

    Two things I am pretty sure of:

    1. That Chicago, with Rose, its suffocating D, all its players back, and having added Richard Hamilton, will make the Bynumless Lakers look bad on the 25th.
    2. That the team will look different–for better or worse–in April than it will on Christmas.


  130. In the other blog, we used to have a term called “Lakerholic”, whatever happens I’m still a Laker fan. It also means I’m a Laker fanatic through and through in good times and in bad, I will suck it up a bad owner and questionable decisions.

    On the other picture, there is also another type of Laker fan who is a perfectionist and spoiled for being a winner in a fair weather city especially at this time of the year. Any little rain or a close freeway, they are ready to occupy Caltrans for not doing the job efficiently. In retrospect, they also expect their team to be productive and competitive every year or else give the job to other fellow who is best for the job. By any measure, this Laker fan will never be a Clipper fan, a fan of Donald Sterling but he is forever a Laker fan who will complain of everything about his team.

    Having said that, perhaps the loss of LO does not mean the end of a Laker team. I think LO should be traded for he represents the proverbial switch, the cocky player who admitted that he can get turn his game on-off during the playoffss, the mediocre Laker who was fond of shorting… short of being Magic or short of being another Pipen and yet everyone had high hopes about his capabilities. He is the best among the scrubs of 2005 to 2007 and the average star or the 6th man among the Superstars during the b2b Championship.

    What is being discussed here now is how he was dealt without anything in return. Fans don’t mind trading Odom if we got Paul or trading his worth $$$ if we got Howard but we got nothing. Don’t expect getting an award in LA for doing nothing. What we got are excuses, cover ups and amends. Is that OK? Yeah, that’s OK because we are forever a Laker fan, a Lakerholic that can easily be duped. We’ll keep on sucking up a lousy young owner who pretend to be successful just because he carries the same surname and wears a Laker hat. Unfortunately, you can’t zero-in all Laker fans in that box, there will always dissenters among us just part of the territory. In the end when the game starts, we are all Laker fans cheering only for one team with one passion and one objective – Championship.