Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  December 16, 2011

Having completed one week of abbreviated camp, the Los Angeles Lakers are heading down the preseason home stretch – the regular season is little more than a week away.  Mega-deals mostly seem a pipe dream now – Dwight Howard’s off the market and CP3’s now one of the kids down the hall, joining another Clippers’ squad full of sound and fury. What that signifies, remains to be seen. For the Lakers, it’s become the annual rite of filling gaps and plugging holes, including the rather large sucking wound left by a departing Lamar Odom. With recent events still ringing fresh, some writers weigh in below:

Brian Kamenetzky, ESPN’s Land O’Lakers: The problem for the Lakers is one of timing, because fundamentally, that obsession with Howard/Paul is based on two basic fears surrounding the team. First, that it’s not good enough to win a title this season, squandering one of Kobe’s last years as a truly elite player. Second, that the Lakers don’t have another superstar in the fold to take over for Kobe when that day comes, ensuring a seamless, star-to-star transfer of power. Kobe runs his flag down the pole, the other guy runs his up. Easy peasy. Except it’s very difficult to do both of those things at the same time. Rebuilding, which is really what we’re talking about here, is never a fully painless process in the NBA. Think of a Venn diagram in which one circle is “Improving Now” and the other is “Securing the Future.” The overlap between the two, that sweet spot where the colors change and all good things happen, isn’t very big.

Ben Rosales, Silver Screen and Roll: Altogether, the message, as it was yesterday, is patience. We all want some recompense for Odom immediately and to go into the season with more confidence, but there is little for the Lakers to gain by rash action right now and a potentially big reward by seeing how the season plays out until the deadline. At worst, the Lakers find themselves in the same spot they are in right now and are forced into offering Gasol and Bynum for Howard. However, with both the Howard trade saga and the Odom TPE things that could produce very different results in the long-term, it behooves the Lakers to wait and see what can be garnered at the trade deadline. And before then, the Lakers will still have one of the league’s best frontcourts between Gasol and Bynum, a certain Kobe Bryant on the roster, and a system that should work well for the strengths of the aforementioned players. The last few days have not been kind to the Lakers franchise or their fans, but this is not the end. Far from it.

Kevin Ding, the OC Register: One look into Pau Gasol’s eyes Tuesday showed his emotions. Yes, the so-damning word applies, and I’ll go ahead and use it freely: Gasol’s eyes were soft – representative of the pain he feels from lifting the Lakers to three NBA Finals in four tries and becoming more disposable than the razors he rarely uses. Even so, what we’re getting from Gasol is as great a display of mental toughness as we’ll see all season. You can have soft eyes, because you’re only real if you do feel things. But if you still get your you-know-what done, stay true to your goals and can even be inspirational rather than a weak, shameful drain on those around you (cough, Lamar Odom, cough) … that’s being a man.

Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Kobe Bryant swears he’s moved on from the three-team trade that was nixed by NBA commissioner David Stern last week, ultimately preventing the Los Angeles Lakers from acquiring Chris Paul. But that doesn’t mean Bryant is buying Stern’s explanation that he acted independently of the protests of owners and vetoed the trade purely because of “basketball reasons.” Bryant, “I think other owners did not want the Lakers to make significant improvements again,” Bryant said after practice Thursday, hours before Paul’s introductory news conference with the Los Angeles Clippers, less than five miles across town. “We always contended as players that the lockout was really more so about the owners fighting amongst themselves, which is what you just saw [with the vetoed trade],” Bryant said. “You got Chris Paul coming here and the other owners weren’t with that, because you don’t want another great player coming to L.A., and all of the sudden Los Angeles has another player that can carry them on well after I retire. So, it’s more about the owners bickering amongst themselves.”

Mark Medina, L.A. Times, Lakers blog: The Lakers continue to make moves. But in this case it has nothing to do with the “big deals” General Manager Mitch Kupchak wanted to make. For the pessimistic, it has everything to do with shuffling the deck of a sinking ship. For the optimistic, it has everything to do with making adjustments and upgrading from within. Or perhaps, a bit of both. After the Lakers missed out on acquiring Chris Paul, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he’s planning on starting Derek Fisher at point guard because of his experience and locker-room standing, though he stressed it’s not a binding decision. What appears more binding involves playing Metta World Peace off the bench. And the player formerly known as Ron Artest loves the idea. “It’s going to be good,” said World Peace, who last season averaged a career-low 8.5 points per game in 29.4 minutes per contest. “I get a chance to come in with extra responsibility, which I’ve had my whole career. It’s going to put the other team off balance. When Kobe [Bryant], Pau [Gasol] and [Andrew] Bynum are out, you still have to double-team me. You can’t leave me open. At all times on the floor, there will be a threat.”

Emile Avanessian, Hardwood Hype: As has been the case with countless inefficient markets comprised of valuable assets, the NBA is now a playground for financial engineers. What’s resulted is fascinating, if simultaneously infuriating. Always seen as the most stage-managed of the sports’ insular old boys clubs, the NBA is now a near-perfect microcosm of the world’s corrupt oligopolies. There is the appearance of a general rule of law, and economic and human rights rules are followed sufficiently to justify continued relations, but, from the manner in which the Seattle Supersonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder, to disputed claims of financial distress that led to, and prolonged the lockout, to the inexplicable veto of an agreed-upon trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers, it’s clear that business-as-usual is pretty shady.

***

As it stands today, the Lakers are at that awkward in-between state – not long removed from greatness, but aging rapidly and lacking some key elements. Add a new coaching staff and a greatly enhanced role for Jim Buss, and you’ve got a team heading into uncharted waters. The good news is that most of the league is in the same boat. Dallas and Miami seem poised to take up where they left off, but a truncated season could well end up being a messy roman chariot race to the finish. If there’s a theme to Lakers’ discussion over the past few days, it’s about what we don’t have as opposed to what we do. The lingering anger is understandable – David Stern is playing handicapper when it’s not his business to. Nonetheless, we begged for the season for five long months and now it’s here. So what comes next?

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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48 responses to Friday Forum

  1. What comes next?

    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.

  2. They are still contenders, but (at this point) with no room for error. Typically, that doesn’t work out especially well.

  3. Robinred, I appreciate your thoughtful comments from yesterday’s thread. I am a bit more optimistic about the team’s prospects than you, but i definitely share your concerns.

    Ex, yep, i’d be cautiously optimistic if the Lakers took their current roster, if healthy, into the postseason–but it is always dangerous to rely on the “if healthy” qualifier with an old roster (other than an injury-plagued young center). It could end well, or it could end disastrously….

    It might violate the “no trade speculation” rule of this site, but a post on the potential uses of the trade exception would be entertaining. Seems to me that come the trade deadline there may be significant opportunity to make a big upgrade.

  4. i would be satisfied with the team just playing better bball than last year, and were more fun to watch. but there won’t be any more rings until the team has a new owner.

  5. I have realized how fortunate we are to have such room for error for our laker team. It dawned upon me that every time the lakers went to the playoffs, we felt such security in winning the series. It would be interesting but deep down, we know that our lakers will still be able to pull it off except last year’s playoffs. I guess the thing that i would appreciate now is that we’re back from being up there alone. This time, every game would be more emotional in the playoffs, meaning it would taste/feel better like how the lakers won against boston. It took everything out of them just to win that game 7.

    I still have faith on that kid called bynum.

  6. LMAO at MWP saying it will be good for us if the comes off the bench, ’cause then teams would have to double-team him and there would be a threat at all times on the floor. Dude, seriously? Smart money is on him actually achieving world peace by changing his name other than him COMMANDING double-teams leading our second unit. Once one of the best two-way players in this league, Metta is a shell of the baller formerly known as Artest the Brawler.

    And the Bulls shouldn’t have a hard time shaming us on our league debut. Rose is too much for our backcourt to handle, and if Hamilton finds his steady mid-range game, we are done for.

  7. Bynum is going to be a terror this year. I’d prefer that he’s going berserk in a Laker uniform. A back up big, using one of the trade exceptions for one of Milwaukee’s/Clips/Raptors/Piston’s extra guards and The L’s can make the league cry again.

  8. @ Funky

    Thanks. Like I said, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. But Odom was a big, big part of this team, and as #8 notes: still no backup 5 and still no backcourt upgrade.

    If Kobe were 29 and Pau were 27, I would feel differently.

  9. Even if the team makes no major moves because this team is not a lottery team. The only problem is that it not constructed for the long haul, that is all currently. I am curious to see if Brown can help maximize what the team has versus last year. Will Bynum finally be a breakout player? Will the D really be better. How about the O without the triangle. Will be nice to see a more conventional set and so forth.

    There are so many teams that wish they were in our shoes despite whatever anti-Laker sentiment there may be.

    Lets sit back and enjoy the show.

    Bye.

  10. @6 KL – I’m totally with you. We’re not exactly the bad news bears, but it would be sweet to win with a squad that’s not front-loaded via mega trades. Would I have dug having CP3 and/or Dwight? Sure. But we all know that it would have brought a giant asterick – other teams’ fans and other team owners, would have screamed bloody murder. That certain level of empathy out there for the squashed trade, has been safe and convenient because it DID get blocked. And after all, certain owners’ screams are exactly what did us in. So now, we’ve got a good team that’s got its work cut out. I’m really hoping that the guys band together and send a giant FU back to Mr. Stern. I’m particularly interested in watching a healthy Matt Barnes out there on the floor. And, Kapono bombing from long range. Yup, I said it.

  11. The 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14, seasons are going to be difficult from a front office standpoint.

    In 2014/15, we will have $0 in committed salaries (as of today, but may change). However, a look at the free agent crop in 2014/15 is not full of any franchise players (unless you want one of the three from Miami).

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/2014-nba-free-agents/

    So does the FO operate the Lakers with the notion that it still considers itself a championship caliber squad, thereby keeping the new triumvirate of Kobe-Pau-Bynum? Or do we blow it up (give up two bigs) for that dude in Orlando, fully knowing we will most likely be out of the running for the next year or two? That is the $64,000 question. Don’t get me wrong, most teams would kill for our trio, and they still make up a very good Lakers team. But the next three years will be tough if we straddle the middle line and are indecisive about it.

  12. What do you guys think, are the Lakers underdogs this season or are they non contenders?

  13. Is the consensus that the Lakers let the Sasha trade exception expire today? I don’t really see anyone out there who would be both available and worth taking on salary for so I am expecting the deadline to come and go.

  14. Jim Buss is pretty stupid. The NBA decides that they don’t want the Lakers to be good, and nixes the Paul trade. Utterly corrupt, no doubt. But the aftermath of this trade is all on Jim Buss. When Odom plays crybaby, don’t trade him right away. Get off your a** Jim and go look for any point guard out there who is a better defender and shooter than Fisher and trade Odom for that piece. Then if you don’t get Howard, you have fighting chance of winning another championship. What a fool.

  15. With the glaring holes at PG and backup center, the logical conclusion is the front office has plans to use the trade exception and draft pick from the Lamar trade to address these holes…. but it is certainly possible that the Lamar trade was nothing but a salary dump.

    Today is the deadline to trade Sasha’s exemption, and if the Lakers fail to unitize this trade asset to improve the team, the logical conclusion would be the Lamar trade was nothing but a salary dump.

    I have my fingers crossed that the Sasha exemption will be traded today. One way or the other, I think we will have a better understanding of the motivation behind the Lamar trade based on what the from office decides to do with Sasha’s exemption.

  16. Pretty much agree with Mojo. I do think we need to upgrade at PG, and ship Blake out,since Fisher isn`t going anywhere. Injuries could be very damaging; lack of quality depth.

  17. Yeah, Jim Buss = train wreck. The Odom trade should be all Jerry needs to know he can NEVER allow Jim to take over decision making. Simple example: why not send Lamar Odom to Indiana for George Hill ? You’d get a young (25-ish) combo guard who’s a long-armed 6’2″, plays great D and is super fast, can bomb outside and play catch and shoot and run limited offense when asked (i.e. Kobe’s out, so he has to push the ball in to Gasol-Bynum or eventually Howard. This was a gimme deal. The next day or two Indiana paid 20 million for David West. Odom is better, plays D, and is 8 mil with a TEAM option. For sure they could have grabbed hill and they’d have covered their biggest weakness, instead of the # 22 pick. Even if they get Dwight, this was an unacceptable waste.

  18. We should get Pryzbilla. Has he been taken already? I like Leon Powe as well. But I’ll take Pryzbilla over Powe.

  19. Kobe being angry is all over the news now. We need to trade for Howard or this thing is going to blow up.

    Kobe is not going to coast out his last few years with a sub par team.

    I agree with the comments on the motiivation behind the LO trade and feel that it was a salary dump.

    Once that is evident, Kobe will start demanding a trade and we are in complete re-building mode.

    This sounds like the sky is falling – because it is for us.

    Yes – from a spoiled – need a title every two years – Laker fan

  20. 21. Not Kobe’s fault, but his $25mil salary (not that he needs to, or can the team modify the amount downward) this year has some part in the Lakers’ salary cap inflexibility, no?

    I’m of the thinking that we dumped LO to get the TPE to immediately make a move for Howard. The FO was rebuffed by the Magic who may have been showing them some “skin” that they would trade with the Lakers for Howard. however, no one was under any obligation to consummate the deal. The deal fizzled and now we have the salary cap corpse that was formerly known as Odom.

    It remains somewhat dubious about how teams can flip TPEs for meaningful players. We may be overvaluing Odom’s TPE in that sense. But we have to go all in for Dwight now, or I feel this team may be emotionally sunk for the year.

  21. Comment #19 from Mike is why we don’t do trade speculation at this site. What makes you think the Pacers give up Hill? Have you read *any* reports from Indiana about what their plans are this season? Hill’s been great in Pacers camp and local reporters think he could end up starting over Collison for them. Yet now a comment appears that it’s a “gimme deal”.

  22. Yup, it is easy to say they need this or that, but you need someone to make the deal with you.

    The trade deadline is 3 months away, there is still time to add pieces. Letting the Sasha trade exemption expire isn’t great, but maybe they cannot get a piece they like.

  23. DY: Yes – the Lakers have high salaries including Kobes, however we did not need to dump LO except to save taxes.

    This will be completely validated if we let Sasha’s TPE expire.

    You are right about being emotionally sunk, but it will be for longer than a year.

    Like i said – Kobe will want out – this is getting press in main stream sites – not just in blogs.

    OMG – the Clippers home and home next week is a potential disaster for our emotions, and the Chicago game looms like like a spectre over the holidays.

    For all those who say relax or don’t over-react, there will be plenty of time for that later. Those statements were being made when Magic retired, and when Shaq left and we ended up with years of bannerless nothingness.

    Yes – I am in a panic – and I hope Mitch is as well.

  24. I just hope Bynum can stay on his feet all season. If he can, he’s going to be a monster.

  25. Never thought I’d say this, but could the Lakers pick up Kris Humphries? A combo of him and McRoberts just might do ok at the 4….Lamar was streaky as they come, but he did board every night. Must be more to the story for Mitch to ship him out quickly.

  26. How about we all just wait till they throw the ball up at center court a few times before we write the season off completely?

  27. jodial: It all depends on what you mean by writing the season off. You see, we can still do something about this (well Mitch can).

    My opinion just happens to be different than yours. I feel that if we do nothing (now that we have let LO go), we will be writing off the season (I think DY agrees).

    Keep in mind I would have been fine standing pat, but now that we traded away a 7 foot swing player for nothing and damaged everyone’s attitude in the process, we must act.

    Just wait – Kobe’s fuse will not be long on this.

    He had the knee surgery, he worked harder than ever, and he comes back to this? No way.

  28. I still don’t get it….

    We lose a back-up “2” who has shown flashes of ability, but plenty of bone-headed play as well, (so his loss could be addition by subtraction if Ebanks or someone else gets his minutes and shines) and one valuable, but arguably only fourth-most-valuable player on the team and we are in full-on rebuilding mode (and Kobe is going to start asking “out” any day now)? The Clippers are the best….the Bulls are going to run us off the court?

    You aren’t giving the other guys on the team much credit….maybe they will step up….

  29. Robert just go jump on the clips bandwagon already.

  30. Lou: No flaming remember? :)

    I will never jump off our bandwagon. I put up with the Del Harris years, and I put up with the Kobe one man show that did not win.

    Soooo, I will put up with whatever is in store for us.

    I am just voicing my opinion about what should be done about it.

    There is a new thread up called “swapping chairs on the titanic” I mean swapping starters if you want to hear something else :)

  31. Maybe someone can answer this here, but why would any team want an expiring TPE? It seems useless to me, unless we give up picks as well. The only player we could expect to pick up would be one that another team has no desire to keep.

  32. TPE’s are not generally traded – they are used.

    In order to use a TPE, you must first “make a trade”. Generally this is a draft pick for a player. Thereby you are blatantly adding salary, and if you are at the cap, like we are. you must have a TPE to do this.

    So in the case of LO’s TPE, we would need to find someone under $9 million we would want to trade for, we would have to give picks for them, and then we would use our TPE !!!!

    Do you see how little we got for LO now?

    Nobody trades for a TPE? Do they? Cuban probably thought he was buying a Tequila company on Entourage when he got that phone call.

    If we ever use the thing (which we are not doing in Sasha’s case), we will need to give up draft picks and the TPE all for one player under $9 million. Effectively that means we gave up LO and a couple of picks for this fictitious $9 million player who is probably an, over rated 2nd teamer (think someone like Josh McRoberts).

    Now do you see why some of us are so upset?

  33. Darius (from # 23) – I haven’t spoken with anyone in the Pacers organization, if that’s what you are asking. And I didn’t write that there is a gimme deal, but that it would have been a very easy deal, in my opinion, to obtain. The reasons are pretty clear: # 1 – Hill isn’t a true point, and averages under 4 assists per 40 minutes. # 2 – They already have set up Collison as a starter. # 3 – Unless they trade Granger, they are going to have to give George significant time at the 2 spot. # 4 – They didn’t have David West at the time that Odom could have been traded to them. Odom is a significantly better player, both in terms of defense, and rebounding, as well as ball movement and versatility, championship pedigress, didn’t just come off a serious knee injury and is 4 million dollars cheaper, AND has a team option to make him expiring in 5 months. If you are telling me that the Pacers wouldn’t have made this trade a week ago, I don’t believe it. I think it is an easy call from money, winning, defense, all of the above. Sure, George Hill is a very good player for a team like the Lakers, or a team like Miami, but for a team that requires a true point, and has no defensive success on the front line, I can’t imagine this would have been an easy call. Either way, my point is still valid; they could have gotten something to address the point guard position, or at least the frontcourt depth issue. Instead, they got zero.

  34. Yes, Kobe is upset. He is surely confused. But I find the idea of him wanting a trade laughable. Stephen A. Smith likes to over exaggerate. It’s what he does. Kobe is a Laker and will be one until he laces them up for the last time. Plus, what team with real assets would take Kobe’s contract at this stage of his career? Kobe and Jim Buss are stuck with each other for the next few years. Both parties may as well make the best of it. I actually think that is what they are trying to do. We can only hope they succeed.

    Including this season, Kobe has three years left on his current deal. If the Lakers could squeeze out one title in those three years I would be satisfied. And that is still possible.

  35. I hope I am wrong, but I think a lot of the optimism (maybe Ebanks will break out, maybe Morris will help, Odom wasn’t really that good, Bynum will be a beast) will dissipate once people actually see the team play. The Lakers haven’t solved their rotation problems
    –point guard, backup 2, and backup 5–and have given away one of the ~40 best players in basketball to the defending champs.

    Their skillset issues were three-point shooting and athleticism/quickness.

    They added Kapono, a three-point shooter, but again, he has no athleticism and is barely an NBA player. McRoberts was a nice add at the mini-MLE, but both of them make much more sense if:

    Paul trade had gone through (McRoberts cheaply replaces Odom)
    Howard were here (need pure 3-point guys, his D covers for Kapono)

    It looks as if Buss made moves based on getting Howard and Paul–which didn’t happen.

    One way to look at it is this: some people in Boston are still mad at Danny Ainge for trading Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green. Odom is a lot better than Perkins,and what Buss did would be like if Ainge had traded Perkins to Miami for a TPE, to help them cover their hole at the 5.

    Darius will do what he does–Xs and Os and talking about the team on the floor–and he should. But these other issues aren’t going away.

  36. Mike,
    All your reasons are logical. That said, you’ve done little to change the fact that what you’re doing is speculating on what *you* think the Pacers would or would not do. Believing it to the point that you’re convinced of it doesn’t make it any less speculation. It only makes *you* more entrenched in your belief.

    And, there’s a reason that we don’t do that stuff here. It’s because anyone can come up with reasons another team would do something and then believe them to the point that they’re convinced. It doesn’t change the fact we actually don’t *know* they’d do it. We deal with fact based reports here, not “I believe it to be so” thoughts when it comes to trades. If you’re not down with that, it’s okay. I only ask that you respect the guidelines of the site (which are posted at the top of the site). If you can’t do that, your comments will be moderated accordingly.

  37. robinred @39: thanks for that post – agree with all.

    T Rogers @38: One title in the next 3 years for Kobe. That was my thought exactly before this debacle started. Now I am hoping this is not a decade that will be a replay of the 90’s. (PS: He is not stuck here; Shaq wasn’t stuck and neither is Kobe; once he demands a trade – it is a 3 hour window).

    The X’s and O’s: Yes that is OK if you are a coach. It is also OK if you like to root for Princeton in the NCAA tournament. However it does not win titles. Mike Brown will soon see that when he starts a season without AB, in a city used to winning, and with a roster with a poor attitude.

    Not sure who to feel more sorry for: Byron Scott last year or Mike Brown this year.

  38. #39. I don’t understand how you can say that Kapono’s skill set meshes with what Howard provides on both ends but not with what the Lakers have. I’ve seen the numbers that outright say Bynum’s defensive impact in the 2nd half of last year were equal to what Howard provides. Their rebound rates were similar, Bynum’s block rate was higher, and his foul rate was lower. He was a monster. You combine that with another true 7 footer in Gasol and somehow they can’t cover for Kapono in a similar way to Howard can? That makes little sense.

    #41. X’s and O’s do win titles. As the Mavs who tortured every team with varied P&R sets that utilized Dirk as both a primary offensive weapon and a decoy to great success. Ask the 2008 Celtics that schemed defensively and executed wonderfully on both sides of the ball to take home the trophy. Obviously X’s and O’s aren’t the only factor, but they sure as hell matter. Anyone that thinks different is fooling themselves.

    Also, where’s the evidence of a poor attitude? The poor attitude that I see is on comment boards, on twitter, and in the streets from so “fans” that would rather the team be the outright favorite with every star player in the league on the roster (except LeBron becuase he’s a choker!!!! – *sigh*) so that the team is essentially guaranteed to win the title that is the Lakers’ birthright to win because we’re all spoiled brats of fans.

    I tire of this nonsense. There used to be a time I enjoyed the comments at this site. Recently, not so much.

    This team has issues. So does every other team in the league. The Heat just signed Eddy Curry to help at Center and will rely on a rookie PG to play major minutes. Oh, the outrage! They can’t win!!!

    I think Laker fans have forgotten what a bad team looks like. I haven’t. I remember all too well the 2006 team that needed a super human Kobe to even be competitive. I remember the years after Magic retired where this was a middling team.

  39. Darius: I won’t speak for the other pessimists, however I will apologize if I spoiled your enjoyment.

    I remember the post Magic era, the Kobe 81 era, and I even remember the pre-Magic – Jabbar era. I do not want the FO to allow us to enter another era like that and that is what I see coming.

    Having a down decade due to someone contracting a career ending medical condition is one thing; slashing your own franchise’s wrists is quite another. It is hard for me to watch without – well yes – whining.

    The boards are for both optimists and pessimists. I appreciate the optimistic comments that you and others make, but I am sorry if Josh McRoberts and TPE’s are not making me smile right now.

    I will give it a rest (no posts after this) until after the first Clippers game (unless Mitch’s big move comes this weekend).

    So you guys can go ahead and debate whether MWP should lose 20 pounds and start or lose 25 pounds and come off the bench :)

    “Peace Out” for now

  40. Darius,

    Bynum did that for about a month and a half. Howard does it every year and has missed seven games–total–in the last five years. Also, the Lakers already have three small forwards on the roster who are better then Kapono. I suspect that they are going to try use him (or Ebanks) at the 2, which to me, seems like a bad idea.

    As to Xs and Os, sure, they matter. But Dallas won in large part last year because they got Tyson Chandler to tighten the interior defense and provide a spine for the zone. You respect Phil, right? On a thread the other day I quoted his exit interview. When he was asked about his record the first word out of his mouth was “Talent.”

    You are an X/O guy–one of the best on the net, and you are an optimist. That’s great, but that is not the only way to look at the team and at the game. As long as people are following Kurt’s original guidelines: no personal attacks, no profanity, no politics, and no trade spec, stay on topic, there should be room for people to express concern about the team’s roster–which has a ton of problems right now.

    And as to the “spoiled” stuff and “2006” stuff, that would be fine if the team were in a rebuild and we knew that and were expecting it. But Kobe and Pau are under contract for a combined 143M through 2014 and are both in their 30s and the Lakers have the one of the highest payrolls in the NBA. This team was put together to compete for championships. Right now, it is almost certainly not good enough to do that.

    And, again we are dealing with the veto and the Odom giveaway. Any fanbase would have some trouble with that. You should cut people some slack.

  41. Also, I have been a Laker fan for 30 years, and I remember those weaker teams well.

  42. Robinred,
    I’m not blindly supporting the team here. I have questions about the Odom trade. I wonder about Kapono (I think he’s barely serviceable and actually hope his one skill isn’t needed so badly that the rest of his deficiencies have to be exposed with legit playing time). The Lakers are not as good a team as last year.

    All that said – and I made this same poin on twitter – seasons and games don’t happen in a vacuum. The Lakers played about 400 games in 4 years and had been to three straight Finals. To think that didn’t have anything to do with how their season ended is small picture thinking. Do I think this team can win this year? Sure. Do I think it’s likely? No. I don’t ever think it’s likely, though. The games are played on the court and what I ask is that fans actually let the games happen rather than playing them out in their heads and then taking those results to the boards to complain about them before a W or L is even recorded.

    These are trying times for fans because the Lakers have been an elite team for a long time (relatively, in this run). But if fans take a step back – away from the Odom trade, the Paul veto, etc – they’d see this team is still very good with high level talent at SG, PF, and C and role players that have shown they can contribute to winning teams.

    I don’t know if it will be enough. I really don’t. But I tire of people saying that they do and being negative all time because they don’t see it that. I’m entitled to an opinion too right? Also, I run the site and I read every single comment on here every day. I’m not looking for sympathy in that, but I can tell you that if you go through the past few days of threads and read the 100’s of comments that I’ve read you’d find it old too. Just sayin’.

  43. I should add that even when the Lakers were favored in 2009 and 2010 I didn’t think it was likely. I thought their chances were good. This year I think those chances have gone down but still think they have a chance. Many are outright dismissing them and I wonder how they’re coming to those conculsions based off the roster the Lakers actually have. Yes, I say that even with the holes at PG and back up big (the latter of which I think will be addressed some point soon).

  44. @42, Darius, I do not supply a lot of X’s and O’s here, just the way I see and feel about my beloved Lakers. I am also tiring of the recent type of comments at this site, but I keep coming back and will continue too, maybe the talk here will get back to where it used to be, as the season plays out. I will still enjoy watching Laker games, and reading your posts.

    Kobe is now getting divorced, what other negativity can happen in Lakers Nation.

  45. Bynum’s a huge question mark, at best.

    Sure, Bynum’s looked good – at times. When he’s not on the shelf, which is much of the time.

    What’s the basis for any belief he’s somehow become durable? Does that EVER happen with oft-injured young players?

    That’s similar to the suddenly popular inplication in the media that D Sterling is now a good owner. At 78 years old, he’s finally figured it out. I digress, but what a laugh that is. As CP3 will discover. The hard way.

  46. It’s closing on 3:00 am in Austin, and this thread feels ready for bed. The differing opinions have been pretty evident but I also think there’s a backstory. It’s been a weird year – for the NBA, and for the Lakers specifically. We got blown out in the 2nd round, said goodbye to Phil, and watched as B. Shaw and a whole lot of familiar faces were shown the door. We went through a terrible lockout – it was long, divisive, and the resulting CBA will have a pronounced effect on the league for many years to come. If it wasn’t for the players disbanding their union and suing the owners in federal court, we’d still be in a lockout. That’s more than a little stunning, all by itself. The league came back, shunted into an overcrowded cattle chute that will spit out on Christmas day. And when the Lakers managed to put together a 3-way trade that looked good across the board, they got the door slammed on them by a group of pickpockets. Adding salt to the wound, a much-loved player was traded to the team that shut us out in the 2nd round and CP3 wound up across the hall. So yeah, it’s been a long off-season.

    I think we all need some live basketball again. Regardless of how we feel about any specific aspect of the game, or even our general prospects, we need the season to start… we’ve been stuck inside the house for too long.