Lakers/Jazz: 40 Again, Plus The Bigs Deliver In Crunch Time

Emile Avanessian —  January 12, 2012

Box score: Lakers 90, Jazz 87 (Overtime)
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 90.6, Jazz 86.1
True Shooting %: Lakers 49.8%, Jazz 43.5%

The Good:
Through three quarters not only was this not a contest, I was hard pressed to identify an honorable mention.

As he did last night against the Suns, Kobe Bryant set the tone early for the Lakers, hitting five of seven from the field in the first quarter, for 14 points.  While he was characteristically aggressive offensively, Kobe did an excellent job of operating within the offense, finding his own shot and creating a couple of easy buckets for Matt Barnes and Andrew Bynum. He continued his efficient assault in the second quarter, connecting on three of five to bring his halftime total to 21, on just 12 shots. By the halfway point of the third, sitting on 27 points on 16 field goal attempts (he had 31 on 11-19 FG after three quarters), it looked as though Kobe had not only picked up where he’d left off against Phoenix, but would actually manage to trump Tuesday’s brilliant showing.

That he finished the overtime tilt with 40 is somewhat disappointing (I know, right? We are spoiled), though not because he managed just nine points in the final two stanzas, but because of how he got there. The efficiency and team play of the first 36 minutes became a distant memory, as the offense stagnated while Kobe tried to singlehandedly put the Jazz away. He made just three of 12 shots after the third quarter, and took three less-than-stellar shots in the final 64 seconds (he was bailed out on two).

Make no mistake, the Lakers do not sniff this win without Kobe, but this game was sealed at the defensive end. After allowing the Jazz to rack up 30 points in the paint in the first half, the Lakers’ bigs staked their claim to the lane, allowing just 10 points inside in the second half, with Andrew Bynum racking up five blocked shots (more on this in a sec). The effort was not limited to the inside. The Jazz connected on less than 39% of their shot attempts (43.5% TS) for the game, and with the exception of the red-hot Paul Millsap, who scored 29 on 14-of-24 from the field, the Jazz hit just 22 of 69 shots  (32%). Additionally, while the Lakers continued to have difficulties protecting possession, turning the ball over 17 times, the stellar defensive effort prevented their carelessness from coming back to haunt them, as Utah managed just seven points off of those 17 takeaways.

One last thing… DARIUS MORRIS PLAYED! And he looked pretty good too! Sure he overdribbled a couple of times and forced a drive attempt that resulted in a turnover, but if his first 13 NBA minutes are any indication, this guy has a place in the NBA. His first meaningful touch came in the final seconds of the first quarter, when he led a perfect 2-on-1 break and found Metta World Peace for a dunk. He also made both of his field goal attempts and later found Steve Blake for a late-third quarter 3 that put the Lakers ahead by a bucket. Not saying this guy is the next Chris Paul, but given the (let’s be kind) suspect play turned in by Blake and Derek Fisher at the point, a young lead guard that adjusts nicely to the pace of the game and avoids mental errors in his pro debut is probably worth a look.

The Bad:
I had initially planned to call out a pair of “B’s” here, but the Laker Bigs, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, while lackluster offensively – a combined 10 of 27 from the field and 5-of-8 on free throws, for 26 points – and lit up by Paul Millsap, played hard in the paint and made a series of vital plays down the stretch (more on this in a second) without which the Lakers would not have registered the victory.

The other “B,” however, the Lakers’ Bench, a night after contributing to a nice home win, was virtually nonexistent. The bench logged a total of 72 minutes Wednesday, combining to score 11 points on 5-of-13 from the field (no free throw attempts), grab nine rebounds (none on the offensive glass) and hand out two assists. Pretty ugly. Pull out the contribution of the aforementioned Darius Morris and this crew was downright brutal, scored seven points (on 3-of-11 FG) and grabbing eight rebounds in 59 minutes. By comparison, in 34 minutes, Utah’s sixth man, ex-All-Star-turned-veteran-castoff Josh Howard, managed 18 points and four rebounds, while the rest of the Jazz backups combined for 17 points, 17 rebounds (five offensive) and five assists, and made up for a putrid 5-of-20 FG by earning 12 free throws and making nine.

The 2011-12 Lakers are a top-heavy team – we know this. With Matt Barnes healthy and seemingly carving out a valuable role with the starting unit, it may not be long before we can call the Lakers a “four deep” squad. However, looking beyond that quartet I am hard pressed to identify a single player capable to consistently contributing in crunch time. Hell, at this point I think I trust Darius Morris more than anyone else on the bench.

The Ugly:
The Lakers entered Wednesday’s game as the NBA’s second-worst 3-point shooting team, connecting on an unbelievable (and not in the good way) 23% of their attempts from beyond the arc. The collective 4-for-9 effort does technically represent an improvement, but within that number is perhaps the most disheartening statistic of the young season: with their combined 0-for-3 effort on Wednesday, Derek Fisher and Metta World Peace – two guys expected to create space for the bigs and receives the kicks following Kobe’s drives – have now combined to hit on just 10% (4-of-40) of their 3-point attempts this season.

The less said here, the better.

Play(s) of the Game:
Not a whole lot to choose from in the first 51 minutes of this one. Early candidates included Darius Morris finding Metta World Peace with 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter (0:52 mark) for his first career assist, Kobe Bryant’s picture perfect pump fake/pivot/step-through jumper (0:55) – also in the final seconds of the first, and Andrew Bynum stopping his massive frame on a dime and finding Matt Barnes to finish off a third quarter fast break (2:10).

Ultimately, however, the nod goes to the Lakers’ big men in the clutch. On most nights, the first runner-up- Pau Gasol’s nothing-but-net 3-pointer from the corner (3:09) in OT to cut a four-point deficit to one- would win going away.

HOWEVAH…

On a night when his shot was simply not falling, rather than allowing himself to become discouraged, Andrew Bynum focused his energy on denying Al Jefferson (one night removed from a 30-point performance) the post position he so covets and protecting the rim (five blocks!).

It was this effort – roughly 50 seconds after Bynum hit the offensive glass to tip in a wild miss by Kobe (3:24) and return the Lakers to the lead – that ultimately wound up sealing the win. With the clock running down and the Jazz trailing by a point, Gordon Hayward drove the lane (3:30 mark), drawing two defenders to the rim, before dropping the ball off to Jefferson. One of the best inside scorers in the game, Jefferson gathered the ball and, at point blank range went to secure the win, but…

Full highlights – Lakers at Jazz, January 11, 2012

Emile Avanessian

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104 responses to Lakers/Jazz: 40 Again, Plus The Bigs Deliver In Crunch Time

  1. Pau’s first really poor game of the season, mitigated a bit by that clutch 3 and decent effort on the glass. I’ll give him a pass since he’s likely fatigued from the crazy ass schedule with major minutes; sadly, Pau doesn’t have Kobe’s stamina and crazy drive.

    Big ‘Drew with the major contributions defensively. Excellent to see after a lackluster showing yesterday. Teams have clearly adjusted to him and put size on him with orders to fight for every inch of position with him and secondary defenders swarming him when he makes his move. Time to counter adjust big man.

  2. Kobe does most of his dribbling with his left hand, sometimes he awkwardly brings the ball up on the right side, dribbling with his left hand.

    Bynum might not fly as high as Deandre Jordan, but he sure gets up for the second jump fast for a bigman. That block on Millsap (in the highlights above) with 40 seconds left in the second show that really well.

  3. Does anyone know why doesn’t World Peace go down to the block anymore? He hasn’t been playing *that* much while Andrew or Kobe is on the floor…and even if he has you can still have 2 people on the block. He needs to stop floating around the perimeter like last year. I’m sure the coaches insisted on putting him down low, so why is it that in the past 10 games he hasn’t?

  4. Excellent write-up!!! I am so impressed by this site with the numerous contributors.

    To the game. This was an excellent, gritty game as far as I’m concerned. We lack depth, a second true scoring option, and we really miss LO. With that said, we are doing it with defense and that is impressive. We are playing playoff basketball and you have to be impressed with that.

    We desperately need additional depth, I know two of our main contributors were out, but Murphy and Kapono WERE scorers but aren’t anymore and neither can create their own shots. McRoberts though would address alot of the concerns I have with the team right now concerning depth. But, when you miss your 7th man, you are not deep in the least bit.

    Given how are big man tandem plays together and with Kobe, I don’t want D12. Give me Deron Williams for anyone but the big three and call it a day.

  5. @3 – I’ve asked that same question twice in the past few days but haven’t gotten a response yet. Maybe yours can elicit one.

  6. The suns just signed Michael Redd. Why the hell didn’t the Lakers do that earlier? He would be the perfect backup to KB and allow KB to play 33 min like last year…

  7. I hate to say it, but this team could really use Jordan Farmar.

  8. anti Dwyer Abbott January 12, 2012 at 3:29 am

    @6 and others,
    why o why some people are obsessed with KB playing 33 mins?
    If he and MB feels OK about it he can play however he wants.
    I am adamantly insisting Kobe should play around 36-38 mins to be in the top form and make Abbotians eat their words.
    cheers!

  9. @Kenny
    We don’t need Redd. We need a PG who can slow down the quick guards (eg. Barea), feed the bigs and able to shot consistently from the 3pt range.

    Arenas would be a good fit for us IF he could accept his role in this team and adjust his game. Unfortunately, this is unlikely and the managment wouldn’t like to take that risk.

  10. @Blaise
    I agree the PG issue is bigger than the backup SG, but we still don’t have any good backup. gouleluck is way too undersized to play any meaningful minutes, jason kapono is too slow or unskilled to do anything but shoot. michael Redd is the perfect guy at vet min.
    That said, if Arenas can buy into Mike Brown’s system, even with his surgery-repaired knee, he should be able to consistently contribute 10 pts and 5 assists/game, which is more than our current PGs.

  11. Rusty Shackleford January 12, 2012 at 6:16 am

    The Lakers are definitely going to need more from Bynum and Gasol on the offensive end if they plan on having a decent road record this season.

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned the PT that the rookie out of Michigan got last night. Erratic – but I saw potential. He looks to be a difficult cover (something that can’t be said about Fish & Blake). As a fan it is really encouraging to see rookies finally get a chance on this team. That said, I know there are 3 regulars who didn’t suit up last night but I have no handle on what this Laker rotation is going to look like.

  12. Found a nice little article on Bynum and double teams on SI.com, it has some video samples showing every passing lane that he missed. It looks like he sees most of them, but is still at a stage where he is thinking the game and consciously analyzing his options, which is just too slow for the NBA game, as the defenses adjust and close the lanes.

    But this is on the other side seems to be a step in his development. Practice and experience will get him there, maybe already this year.

    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/01/11/andrew-bynums-next-step-post-passes/?sct=nba_t12_a1

  13. @exhelo–

    Lamar will always been one of my favorite Lakers. That article is truly sad. Many forget that his offseason didn’t just include the Stern-vetoed Paul trade–after losing a child earlier in his career, Lamar’s life was touched by death not once, but twice, this year.

    I hope he can rebound and succeed in DAL.

  14. 6

    It amazes my how people always want the Lakers to acquire players on the strength of their name alone. Michael Redd has played 61 games in the last 3 seasons. There’s a reason he was still available when the Suns signed him in late December. We don’t even know if he can still play 15 minutes a night.

  15. OK – I have been extremely positive of late, largely due to KB, however also due to the fact that the team is slightly ahead of where I thought we would be. That being said: Issues:

    Bynum/Pau: Again, we need to quit grading on a curve. they need to play in the elite-All NBA class, and they are short of that – period. Not acceptable. The fact that they are gassed and Kobe is not – is pitiful. They are younger and there is no excuse. Tough it out and get in shape.

    Murphy/McRoberts/Kapono: Again – Kobe is playing with a torn ligament in his wrist, and these guys have tummy aches, stubbed toes, and now Kapono is changing diapers. And spare me the PC comments about witnessing the birth of his twins. He has missed too much time and we need help. The fact that these three feel comfortable sitting around bothers me, because they are all lucky to even have jobs. McRoberts is the only one who has done anything.

    Walton/MWP/Fish: We need MWP for defense or we are going to be in trouble (especially against teams like the Heat). MB needs to get MWP’s head in the game (perhaps he can consult with Phil). The other two – well – Ken has covered it.

    The above 6 players at this point represent about 1300 pounds of expensive overhead. What would General Electric do in a case like this?

    Blake(status?)/Barnes: There is hope here, and they need to see the bulk of the minutes.

    Morris/Ebanks/D League: Go ahead and play them, because the bar they need to exceed is low, and we need to find out where they stand. We have a couple of guys doing well in D League. Play them – send Kapono to D League.

    PG/DH12: I know Mitch is working these deals. He does not want to stand pat. Will he be able to get it done? If you think we can try to go through a journey this year, without roster changes, then you have a different destination in mind then I do. Or than Kobe does. And thankfully, than Mitch does.

    Kobe: I think everyone knows where I stand on this legend, however we can’t expect to go through the year with him playing huge minutes, and pouring in 40 points every night, as our strategy. This did not work for the team in 2006 and it will not work now. However, it is the best strategy we have now.

    We need to take care of business against Cleveland tomorrow so we can go into Saturday with a 5 game winning streak. Saturday is shaping up to be the NBA’s game of the year to date. Looking forward to it, as I know all of you are as well.

  16. You go to your bartender to tell him that you have been drinking a few too many yourself and not buying enough rounds for the guys, and he says, “Let’s talk about it. But first, how about a free beer on us?”

    Kobe secretly goes to see coach Brown and says that maybe the team should blend better, and he says, “You know, Kobe, I’ve figured another five ways to get you the ball in scoring position.”

    The coach has become the enabler, and the Lakers are winning with Cleveland style basketball–and a distinctive clogged toilet closing game.

    It has been exciting as the Lakers outlasted the Grizz, and held off the Jazz last night. A win is a win. Kobe’s the talk of the NBA–maybe candidate for MVP.

    Can it continue for the rest of the season and through the playoffs to the NBA championship?

    I guess we’ll find out.

  17. I think people should give Pau a little slack. As usual, he is the only big (now that Odom is gone) who suits up every game:

    Caracter injured
    Bynum suspended
    McRoberts hurt
    Murphy sick

    I have brought up Farmar a couple of times; the way things have worked out, it is arguable that both he and the team would be better off had he stuck around.

    I was glad Morris got to play a little.

  18. For some bizarre reason I couldn’t get the game last night (I’m guessing it was blacked out), so I had to settle for the box score. It’s kind of hard to draw conclusions from just that, but one thing that stood out was the scoring of Pau and Bynum, or rather the lack of scoring. From the comments and recap it sounds like they made up for that in other ways though.

    Another thing that really stands out is that we have five players inactive/DNP. Five! That’s way too many. We need to get our backup players back. McRoberts especially… I knew we’d miss him, but I don’t think I realized just how much.

  19. @ exhelodrvr

    Trust me, the players miss LO as much as he misses them. He was our glue and caused all kinds of mismatches. This was an obvious fiscal move by the FO, but at what cost? There have been at least three games where LO was the exact person we needed against certain personnel, and we don’t have him. People forget all that the man went through in losing family members (including a son), the death of a pedestrian and coming out of his shell to marry into a Socialite family. LO needed his team and his team mates to make it through the day. Instead, our FO treated him like chattel.

    I know it was a business decision but to me it’s akin to Buzzie Bavasi’s comment about Nolan Ryan “We can replace him with two 8-7 pitchers.” How do you replace your heart and soul? You can’t. Watch interviews with the Lakers after games, they are not the same. They are not having the same fun that they have had. Business has it’s place, but you want your players happy, not looking over their shoulders wondering if and when they’ll be traded. If, LO was on this team instead of Murphy we would be talking about being a point guard away from a championship. IMO.

  20. “Not saying this guy is the next Chris Paul, but given the (let’s be kind) suspect play turned in by Blake and Derek Fisher at the point, a young lead guard that adjusts nicely to the pace of the game and avoids mental errors in his pro debut is probably worth a look.”

    I couldn’t have said that better myself. Nobody is saying Morris is even a starting caliber NBA PG but he probably is our best PG already :( . One thing Darius didn’t mention is he looked very good defensivley with his length and quickness. There are a few things it’s easy to tell Morris is already more talented at then any of our other PGs… Penetration, dribbling, passing, and defense. So I will start questioning Mike Browns ability to judge talent if Darius doesmt get more playing time to show what he can do for this team.

    Amdrew Bynum is getting into game shape. His legs might be a little tired as his conditioning improves for now resulting in missed fighting through double teams. But I really don’t like how he is shooting through or around double teams. I don’t like when Kobe does it… And if I don’t like when adobe does it I definatley won’t like when Amdrew does it. The kid needs to pass the ball and learn to pass the ball when he is being swarmed in the paint. In fact… If he keeps trying to fight through doubles he will continue to see help defenders all over him all the time.

  21. The worst part of it all is that the man will be looking for a new home next year. He was just rented by Dallas. They will definitely (IMO) buy him out even if they don’t get D12.

    For those who doubt LO’s worth track what he did to Brandon Bass. Bass has been on a tear until Boston played Dallas. This is his first game under 10 points in a long stretch, the next game LO had 15. So he is starting to step up. Good luck LO.

  22. Loved the win last night, BUT the Kobe iso from 25 feet out on every possession to end the game will not cut it come playoff time. Bean has done well the last 4 or 5 games playing off the ball, using screens and back picks, to free himself of a defender. I dont know if he resorted back to hero mode last night because DFish closed the game out at the point(Blake Injury) and had no chance of creating offense for anyone on the floor.

    I am hoping this was the case, because it is truly hair pulling ball to watch with too much standing around. I was waiting to see Phil rise from his chair on the sideline and go to the locker room it reminded me of so many games lost last year at the end.

  23. I don’t see the Lakers addressing their biggest need…pg this season. Hopefully they can beat out Dallas for Deron Williams services in six months when he becomes a free agent. My biggest fear in regards to D-Will is OKC moving Westbrook for D-Will in a sign & trade. D-Will, Durrant & company will have at least a 5 year window for NBA titles.

    As for Bynum, yes film is out and teams are now game planning against him. So it’s now up to A.B. to adjust. I really like this kid, always have & I’m so happy he finally appears to be healthy. But this is the next step. If A. B. is to become a consistent 18 pt/ 12 reb/ 3 blk/ performer with a fg% of at least .550 he has to put in the work, in the gym, the weight room, & the film room. And let’s not forget the free throw shooting. What’s happened? A. B. is only shooting .558% this season. He’s a career .680% ft shooter.

  24. As predicted, Lakers will have 8-4 record and first W on the road, however it leaves a lot to be desired. After the Utah game, I switched to Staples with Clippers against Heat, boy it was a classic game with All Stars on play. Therefore, these will be Lakers opponents this weekend and next week, so we need more help from Drew and Gasol. Kobe cannot do everything in every game, there has to be a mixture of other blend. So far, only Barnes comes out ready to play, Drew and Gasol play smart b’ball in spurts. Of course, with the 3 pts of Pau and the defensive block of Drew in the end spelled out the victory, I think Lakers should have more firepower to extinguish the lowly Jazz. Anyway, any kind of W, we’ll take it.

  25. I keep checking LO’s stat line waiting for that breakout game that hasn’t come. With the Lakers, LO could be quiet for a while, but then he would throw together a game with some huge rebound total or all around numbers. Haven’t seen that this year and it sounds like he is in a real funk.

    Maybe Buss should call Cuban and ask for a Mulligan?

  26. On the coaching staff, I also noticed Asst. Coach Kuester designing the play, motivating Blake which is good being a former head coach. More heads on strategies are better than one. If they can only teach Metta how to shoot again accurately, it would be nice or to harp on Fisher to be error-free being the master veteran PG, that would be great. Well, at least they were able to unleash Luke for 20 productive minutes, saw Morris and Goudelock get exposed. Lakers are getting there but coming out slowly and surely with diesel fuel. Thank God, they have an80% Kobe. Supposing he sat down in the last 10 games, where would the Lakers be at this time? I dream the day when Bynum goes for double-double in every game, Gasol seizes his turf in the post as a 7 footer while Blake, Kapono, Murphy providing double digit perimeter production, that’s auto pilot towards Championship. Right now, we have a team that is manually driven powered by the sole extra terrestrial battery named Kobe.

  27. 17) BusBoys4me,
    “This was an obvious fiscal move by the FO, but at what cost?”

    I think it was more aimed at concerns about his attitude after the trade fell through. (Likely valid concerns, IMO.)

  28. @20,
    Mitch Kupchak was asked about the trade, and commented, in passing and quickly moved on, that he appreciated Pau’s staying professional about it “much better than Lamar”.

    Take that for what it’s worth, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that a player at least tries to stay mature and professional in that situation.

  29. @Busboys4me

    I don’t think we are much more than a PG away from a championship… and maybe just some 10 quality minutes per game from Morris could do it. If this team stays healthy, I think they could put a monster playoff stretch together.

  30. Finally Mike Brown decided to stop with Andrew Goudelock experiment and threw in Morris. I was waiting all season for this move! As it was, Morris looked much better than Goudelock in the preseason. Morris definitely shows some promise and something we need.

    Fish and MWP have gone ice cold on wide open looks. These are shots they simply have to hit at a higher percentage for defenses not to throw doubles and triples at Kobe without worrying about any knock down shooters. Only Steve Blake has commanded some respect so far for knocking down some open jumpers.

  31. 17,

    All of us like LO but do Lakers really miss him? I think it is the other way around, he and Shannon miss the Lakers camaraderie, cheering fans and lucrative side jobs. Lamar got Kloe and Shannon hooked up with Monica because of being Laker stars. I wonder whether they were that attractive when they played with other teams.

    In the post Odom, we moved on with Jason, Troy and JoshMac I think it created more opportunities both financially and perimeter shooting. It developed Blake and Barnes with more playing time. Lakers are still developing and learning new plays but in IMHO, we’re better today than last year. LO worn out the welcome mat after his cocky claims on the proverbial switch that can easily be turned ON during playoffs while resuming the reality TV antics. Hollywood life and its excesses got into his system. Secondly, he failed to recognize the business decision that CP3 could only be traded if LO and Pau were in the mix. When the deal fell through, LO’s pride was more important, disregarding the fact that he has a value as a player in this league. By being too sentimental after the trade, his value is slowly going down like a watered stock.

  32. Although the LO trade could have been fiscally motivated, I don’t know if there’s enough public facts to come to that conclusion definitively.

    What if the motivating factor was precisely because LO was the emotional leader of this team? Here are the Lakers with a brand new coach, new players to integrate, new system and they’re trying to get over the failed trade.

    Meanwhile LO is still moping about and refusing to practice. He’s gone to Mitch asking for a trade. What if Mitch just determines it was too detrimental to the teams growth and progress to have LO moping about dragging the team down and distracting their focus.

    LO’s strength as the emotional leader became a weakness in this case. That’s not to say finances didn’t come into play either.

    More likely it was a combination of the two. Finances and emotional effect on a new team. If one or the other didn’t have such a big impact on the team, they likely would have rode it out.

  33. Most things in life are not simple “A because of B”. The Lamar situation, IMO, is also more complex than it might appear.

    - Lamar was a fantastic “Swiss Army Knife” type of player.
    - Lamar was the definition of inconsistent.
    - Lamar always reported to camp slightly “out-of-shape” – except last year, when he played USA Basketball and look what happened. He had a longer off season this year.
    - Lamar took a long time to acclimate to the triangle – and probably would have taken a long time to adjust to Mike Brown’s defensive style of play.
    - The Lakers had to make some change, if only to accommodate Mike Brown and last year’s failure.

    These are all parts of what when into trading Lamar. Then he asked to be traded and pretty much solved the front office’s problem for them.

    I wish Lamar well, but he had gone about as far as he could with the Lakers. I also agree that, with the group of more specialized players, the Lakers will probably be stronger without Lamar by the end of this year.

  34. Odom got what he wants: playing for Dallas. Dallas coach wants Odom to concentrate to play ball. What does this tell us ? Dallas should pay Odom 20, 30 mil a year so he can concentrate more to play basketball ? I only feel sorry for those who make minimum wages to bring foods to their family everyday. Odom refuses to grow up and be a man.

  35. It won’t be pretty for Odom. I’m 100% sure that Dallas will either 1) flip him once again at the trade deadline since he has a buyout of only $2.4 mil on a nearly $10mil contract next season, or 2) will be bought out next season. He obviously knows this because it’s in his contract. How is he going to react to that? How will it affect his play close to the trade deadline?

    I think the FO must have seen this coming because of the speed of their decision to ship him off for a TPE. I also agree that he would have been slow to adjust to Brown. He eased his way into the Triangle, and would have took time to ease out of it. I loved Odom, but the way it all went down was sad.

  36. Lamar was the third most valuable Laker for a team that went to three straight finals, and was the insurance policy for the yearly Bynum injury. The Lakers might have two less championships without Lamar’s contributions.

    This team lacks a second playmaker, and with the injuries to McRoberts and Murphy, Lamar has been sorely missed thus far in the season. Mike Brown’s defensive schemes require agile bigs who can rotate and recover quickly. Sounds like Lamar to me.

    I always felt that Jim Buss viewed Odom as an obstacle to Bynum’s emergence. There was a power struggle between Jim and Phil. Phil preferred Lamar (over Bynum) in the lineup, especially during crunch time, and I felt that Jim was never too happy about it. Jim’s hesitation to extend Lamar’s contract only confirmed my beliefs. I think Phil conceded a bit by naming Bynum the starter (in name only), but it was clear that Phil viewed Lamar as the real starter, and thought the team ran more smoothly with Lamar in the lineup. When Lamar demanded a trade, it was the perfect excuse to get rid of Lamar, or rather, get rid of the one main obstacle standing in the way of Bynum’s minutes.

    Say what you will about Lamar’s inconsistency, but he was a valuable asset for this team. It’s unfortunate that fans have already forgotten how much he meant to this team.

  37. Re: Odom:

    If the Lakers get something good with the TPE, it may be worth it. As it stands now, it wasn’t a good idea.

    And, again: Dallas can use the buyout in Odom’s deal to clear cap space to add to their effort to reload with Howard and/or Williams. This is not spec; it has been reported and Cuban has talked about it openly.

    Even if Buss and Kupchak wanted Odom off the roster and/or really wanted to have the TPE, trading him to the Mavericks was a huge risk (not to mention the fact that he could burn them in the playoffs).

  38. For Odom’s sake, maybe he can latch on to Knicks (please do not go to Miami b/c I will be contractually obligated to hate Lamar, which I can’t do!) after he gets traded this year, bought out, etc. Just would like him to finish his career out on a bright note.

  39. Lamar asked for a trade and he got it. Good riddance, enough of the reality shows. Josh’s energy and athleticism is a better substitute.

  40. 24,

    Exactly. Trade exceptions don’t mope when trade rumors swirl around. Looking at it realistically, Lamar was the best most ‘available’ trade chip the team had. Instead of going into the season with him under-performing and killing his own trade value, the team exchanged him for a versatile trade chip. The TPE isn’t a player limited to a particular position or particular talent, and given how small market owners cry about finances, it will surely be a much more valuable trade asset than a mopey Lamar.

    P.S.

    I love Lamar, and wish him the best. This is directed to all the fans who think this was a straight salary dump. It wasn’t. It’s Mitch doing a good job.

  41. I agree, lets let the LO trade go. It would be better if he were still here and I still root for him, but he asked for a trade and got it.

    But the lakers really need a back up sg. Preferably one that can create his own shot. The lakers offense goes straight to the toilet when Kobe takes a rest. It’s pretty much Bynum getting trapped every play down, leading to contested shots and turnovers. Then when Kobe reenters the game, Kobe feels the need to take over, which is good for a few games now and then, but not a recipe for sustained success.

    There aren’t too many shooting guards out there. The only one with the ability to give the lakers something is Arenas. What do the lakers have to lose by signing him? He isn’t any worse than Goudelock or Kapono. And at the vets min he’s worth the risk. If he doesn’t pan out he’s just buried on the bench which is better than what he’s doing now.

  42. If McRoberts were on the floor and playing like he has so far, we’re not missing Odom much.

    Also, I’ve been pleased with Blake’s play for the most part this season. Emile’s write-up was a little harsh, I thought… Blake’s done what we want a backup PG to do.

  43. Chris J is right. We’re crying for Lamar right now because we have an injury-ridden roster. If all the new guys were healthy and active on the floor, I doubt we’d care that he’s gone.

  44. The point is the new guys are NOT healthy, and Lamar is exactly what this team needs right now. Murphy and Bynum have a poor track record of staying healthy, so don’t be surprised if the loss of Lamar will prove even more significant down the line.

    Any way you slice it, losing Lamar hurts this team.

  45. 46/lt mitchell: an out-of-shape sadcase is not exactly what the team needs right now.

    off-topic: al horford is going to miss most if not the entire season. i think atlanta looks to unload kirk hinrich if they aren’t going to make a playoff run. that’ll lead to more losses and a better lottery odds.

  46. @38. LT – I’ve always thought that Jim Buss was more eager to trade Lamar than Mitch was, and the reason you cite was a factor, IMO. I just wish they hadn’t been so impatient. We could have gotten Mo Williams from the Clips instead of the TPE, and both Lamar and the Lakers would have been happier overall.

    I also think Blake is playing better on both ends of the court than he’s been getting credit for. He defends the P&R much, much more effectively than Fish does because he believes hanging on the PG’s wallet is more valuable to team defense than getting hung up by the screener and hoping to draw an offensive foul by waving his arms wildly. At least Fish played marginally effectively on offense last night by setting up guys for a bunch of buckets.

    I’m much more forgiving of McBob’s injury than I am of Kapono missing two games. An injured toe can get a lot worse without rest. Kapono’s wife gave birth on Tuesday. Get your butt up to Utah for the game Wednesday evening and don’t leave your team shorthanded.* As for Murphy, a gastroenteritis diagnosis means that the doctors have to rule out some serious conditions as the cause, and have to decide if it’s bacterial or viral in nature, and that can take a couple days.

    * If she’s experiencing complications, then I and everyone would understand

  47. thisisweaksauce January 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Dude (48),

    Seriously. That TPE might just expire. LO is much more appealing IMO to teams than cap relief, especially with this salary floor in place. Mo Williams would have gone a long way to solving our PG problems.

  48. @49 – Exactly, and the Clips have a problem with frontcourt depth as well.

  49. Chibli,
    Are you kidding? Mike Brown is being forced to give Luke Walton significant minutes with all the injuries. Even with Lamar being out of shape, he is clearly more valuable than Luke, and would have played significant minutes… not only to compensate for McRoberts and Murphy, but also to reduce Pau’s minutes.

    Dude,
    Agreed on all counts. CBS Sports just reported that Mo Williams is a likely trade candidate. I wonder if the Clips would be willing to trade him for the Lakers TPE and a first round pick.

  50. @48,
    And if Murphy’s stomach problems are viral, I don’t think we want him in the locker room with the rest of the team…

    I also think that Blake is playing a lot better this year than last year. The triangle didn’t suit him well, but Brown’s system lets him play to what he’s good at, passing and perimeter shots, and he’s a lot more effective now.

  51. Thanks to ex for posting the LO link. A lot of different opinons here and somehow, they all seem to make sense. It’s complex, and a little sad. Like Lamar himself. He has lost so many people over the course of his life. I hope he finds his way back to the sanctuary of good basketball.

  52. Nice write up. Good to see Andrew Bynum concentrating more on the defensive end rather than focusing on scoring. I do believe in Kobe that Drew will still have to fall in line when it comes to heirarchy of shots. As of now I still see him as a third option behind Kobe and Pau. Though I hope he will learn to decide quickly on what move he is goi g to do when he has the ball on the offensive end and learn to read the defense and kick the ball out to his open mates. Should pick up some moves from the book of Shaq in the Big Fella will be the monster that we all want him to be.

  53. LO is no longer part of this team, however since everyone else wants to talk about him: He was great for us and I loved him while he was here. Like many relationships, it ended badly, and he acted badly (unlike Pau). He damaged his spot in my Laker book. Mitch also could have done better. After all, DH demanded a trade way more publicly than LO. It seems the Magic have waited a little longer than 3 hours, have put up with the media storm, and consequently may get more than a TPE to show for it : ) However can we move on to something that may help us win? : )

  54. Is it bad that our starting PG is the 64th of 64 PGs in the NBA? Seriously. Check ESPNs stats ranking of the 64 PGs in the NBA. Derek Fisher is 64th. Behind guys who are 11th men on bad NBA teams. Anyone who does not think replacing Fisher with an actual NBA player will dramatically improve the Lakers is kidding themselves. We can talk about LO all day… We can discuss who is better Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum as they have on first and ten… Or we discuss the real issue with this team. The Lakers are starting possibly the worst starting PG to ever start for an NBA team and we complain about Kobe’s shot selection. There needs to be more pressure on Mike Brown to make a change in the lineup with Blake and Morris far superior than this 37 year old version of Derek Fisher. I mean Fisher in his prime was backing up Speedy Claxton in Golden State and he is now starting on a championship caliber team ten years later? The Lakers are playing 4 on 5 on both offense and defense. This is unacceptable. I understand Mike Brown and the Lakers owe Derek Fisher for his long tenure with the Lakers but when does it end? How long do you let him embarrass himself on national television. Darius Morris is a rookie second round draft pick and unless he is a diamond in the rough the guy will barley have an NBA career. And my grandmother can tell you after watching Fisher and Morris play for two minutes who the real NBA player is. I feel like this is Superman where everyone pretends Clark Kent and Superman don’t look exactly alike. So we go along with the story like its normal. This isn’t normal… The emperor has no clothes. The fans and media need to start pushing for change.

  55. Steve Blake is listed as day to day and has suffered a costochaondral fracture, which is a fracture of the cartilage connecting the rib to the sternum

    Darius Morris might benefit with some playing time if Blake is not ready to play.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7456547/los-angeles-lakers-steve-blake-day-day-fracture-ribs

  56. @57 – Ugh…that’s gotta hurt. Cleveland is an ideal team for Darius to get some minutes. Let’s hope MB gives him at least 20 if Blake’s out.

  57. LT Mitchell, if you’re going to make wishes, you could do better than to wish Odom were never traded.

  58. So instead of Chris Paul we get the Clippers Injury Curse? So not fair!

  59. Mimsy,
    Come on now…you know it’s just the gods saying to Mike Brown, “Now you have to play Darius Morris”.

  60. Just when Blake was starting to get his stroke and confidence back, this occurs. Hopefully, this injury doesn’t keep him out for a substantial amount of time (day 2 day doesn’t have a time-frame; as evidence, view JoshMac). Definitely bad timing cause after the Cavs game, we’re looking at the Clippers, Mavs, Heat, Magic, Pacers and the Clippers again. We need to get healthy and the sooner the better.

  61. Aaron @56: Excellent tirade; you really made me laugh; and so much of what you said is totally true.

    Blake: This sounds like the old Shaq injury. This is another one that can linger around for a while. We will see if he goes the Kobe/Pau route or the McR, Murphy, Kapono route.

    Good news is – I hear Kapono is probable for tomorrow. He is deciding whether to play or take more pictures, and he thinks he will have enough photos by game time – he will let us know.

  62. 63)
    Yea… I just needed to get that out. It’s been killing me. I feel like everyone is living in a fantasy land. Or like in communist Russia where we aren’t allowed to point out obvious things.

  63. I’ve been sick as a dog for the better part of two days but got out of bed to read comments about players needing to play even if they have personal reasons not to or injuries they don’t feel they can play with. I should have stayed in bed…

  64. We appreciate your efforts Darius. You make infinitely less $ for this board than any of the Lakers do for their jobs, and yet you are putting forth more of an effort than some of them. What is your 3 pt shooting %? We could use a guy like you on the floor : )

  65. i hope steve blake injury won’t hender him the whole season he’s our best 3pt shooter and we stink in 3pters. and I like the way Kobe is playing within the offense even though he’s shooting alot some are bad shots but most are ones we can live with. and where did this everyone needs to get involved nonsense come from. i saw the game last night and we were running the offense even though kobe wound up taking 31 shots. lakers were running the O inside out the bigs played horrible for 3 1/2 qtrs. so I see progress all around.

    and how about Mike Brown the guy EVERYONE mostly doubted if he was the guy. we look like a defensive juggernaut and we play together. i like our chances vs anyone

  66. I love Derek Fisher. He seems to be an excellent person in and out of the court.

    Having said that, no question his best playing days are behind him. This is no secret to anyone who watches an NBA game. Having said that, Mike Brown is no fool. There must be a logical reason why Fish remains a starter and gets more burn than Blake and Morris – I just don’t know what that reason is.

    In terms of injuries, some of those are pure bad luck. Others are due to player’s not being motivated in the off-season to stay in shape and then having a one week training camp. I will let you decide who falls under which category.

  67. @Craig W.
    The gods are wise and we should heed their words!

  68. @MannyP

    The reason is apparent from watching Morris play–because, right now, for all of his physical advantages over Blake and Fisher (i.e. speed/quickness/handle) the offense grinds to a halt when he is in the game because he insists on pounding the rock–Blake and Fisher, for all of their “liabilities” are at least keeping the ball moving.

    Some of that will improve over time, but he is raw raw raw

  69. thisisweaksauce January 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Darius (65),

    Haha, I think that’s because the Lakers fan base has been spoiled by Kobe. I can’t speak for Kobe, but I don’t think he would miss games for the birth of his daughters (eh, maybe 1), gastroenteritis (stomach flu), or a sprained big toe. It appears that’s what fans have come to expect from everyone, not just Kobe. Sorry all, not everyone is built like the guy – that’s what makes him so special.

  70. Darius,
    …yup! You shoulda stood in bed. We is havin’ us a real serious discussion ’bout how the Lakers is run…an it ain’t real perty.

  71. our best 3 point shooter this season may be Pau, that’s the state of our 3 point shooting…

    as for LO trade, thinking about it I’m more at peace although world peace’s struggles may be related to odom’s departure. In the end though, I think it was much better to send him where he wanted to go when he wanted to go rather than holding onto him and add even more drama in the locker room.

    remember, Kobe’s divorce was rumored to take a toll in the locker room and with all the changes it was just probably too much a risk to have a sad lamar hanging around.

    all in all though, i think we’re fine and i’m even fine with the TPE expiring without getting anything in return. not great for fans, but understandable decision for the FO or at least the owner.

    also, i think Luke may finally be healthy enough to provide quality minutes off the bench, and the additions of McBob and such does improve our depth compared to last year. once Fish gets back into game shape and gets his mojo back, we’ll be fine even if we have the 64th PG playing for us.

  72. Sharky H Towers January 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    15- I couldnt agree more. Michael Redd? Gilbert Arenas? Just stop people.

    As to the state of the current roster… I wish someone could sell Artest on channeling a bit of Rodmans game and just focusing on Defense and rebounds. He could really reinvent himself if he would just stop shooting the rock.

    Great to see Luke contributing! Morris looks like he’ll have a good shot at being a legit NBA player. This has been a fun season so far…

  73. Sharky H Towers January 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Oh and as to the LO trade- im pretty sure Lamar was goen no matter what. Reading between the lines… Mike Brown calls Artest after he gets the job to sell him on a Sixth man role. I mean… You dont do that unless you know Lamar is gone right?

    Always ought Lamar is a great fit for the Knicks… Maybe Phil will bring him in for the 2013-2014 season. I jest of course.

  74. Darius you need to invest in a smart phone/iPad so you can read the comments while in bed to see if you need to get out of bed and comment.

    But I enjoyed Aaron’s rant also and I totally agree. What really bugged me is when mike brown would play steve Blake and Derek fisher at the same time.. Whaat? Derek fisher should play 15 minutes max a night

  75. the Lakers is run…an it ain’t real perty.

    ___

    Sure isn’t. MWP, Walton, Blake and Fisher are owed ~$22M this year and next.
    ___

    I agree with J that Fisher should be a spot player. MWP as well.

  76. Howard had a 45/23 tonight–attempted THIRTY-NINE free throws, making 21.

  77. I wanted to get feedback from those in the know. Why was there so much Kobe iso at the end of the contest? Is it Mike Brown’s call? Is Kobe insistent? It seemed to me that the other four guys stopped calling for the ball, stopped moving, stopped their effort on the offensive side. I don’t imagine its Kobe’s unilateral decision to run the lakers offense that way. From the end of the third onward, there was a slow decline in the level of play from everyone else.

  78. Darius,

    Since Derek Fisher will certainly remain an active Laker for the remainder of this season, I’m breaking FB&G rules just a tad by suggesting we trade our DFish bashers to other blogs for virtually anyone else who’d be willing to comment here.

    some candidates:

    San Antonio fans still hate Derek for that .4 second basket he made.

    Celtic fans hate Fish for his miracle drive against them to win a key playoff game and a Laker championship just two years ago.

    Houston fans hate DFish for decking a key big man on their team in the playoffs two years ago.

    The Jazz fans hate Derek for leaving Utah after mentoring Deron Williams and leading them into the playoffs.

    Just about every other fan from every other blog hates Derek for all of those phoney charging flops he takes to erase breakaway scores.

    Commisioner Stern may be happy if he never sees Derek again, but I suspect that even #56 would support DFish over the Commish.

    Heat fans might not welcome Fisher bashers, since Pat Riley tried to lure Derek away from the Lakers to be the starting PG for Miami last year.

    Fisher bashers (you know who you are), when Darius notifies you that you have been traded–even if it is to the Boston Celtics blog–be professional about it. No whining. Take it like a man.

  79. @80 – seconded

  80. There appears to be a new rule. Live your life in denial and the past and stop telling the truth about Fisher or your comments will be pulled.

    That should increase the readership. It’s called censorship?

  81. #80

    well, i hate fish for still playing, so theres that. just retire. please.

  82. Lastly on LO

    Who was our second best ball handler? Who was considered our point foward? Who spelled both Drew and Pau when they got gassed? Who was not as inconsistent as people thought but had to be a jack of all trades (maybe a master at none)? Was asked to be the top rebounder most nights? Guard the more agile quick, big man on the court? Play the fourth quarter when the other bigs were ineffective? Initiate the offense and sometimes take his man off the dribble and create his own shot? Yes LO.

    He was out of shape after the lockout, point granted. It was a long layoff and MWP among others came back out of shape. Most NBA players did. Kobe, as always, was the exception to the rule. He complained and was less professional that Pau about being trade bait. Don’t get it twisted, look at Pau, he is still moping around about the trade. He looks miserable, waiting for the other shoe to drop and to see where he ends up (wondering whether he will be traded for Deron Williams or packaged for D12). LO loved his team and didn’t want to leave (the same as if your wife or husband left your ass). He had a tough off-season and couldn’t understand why the team he loved so much and had done so much for didn’t want him anymore.

    We tend to get caught up with the money that these players make and forget they are human. We all go through the bs life throws at us, some of us act differently, some of can handle it and some of us can’t. Lamar did not want to leave this year. In his mind he was gone next year, with the early buy-out clause. I think he did it as a favor for the team. And they (the FO) repaid him by trading him. Any one of you who have been fired from a job because the company was losing money or got a new CEO who wanted to go in another direction, or were part of a merger and your position was eliminated will understand. It is a life altering decision and most of us hate that kind of change.

  83. In other news (boy is this Fisher story getting old…): http://nbaplaybook.com/2012/01/12/andrew-bynums-physical-presence-against-the-jazz/

    NBAplaybook has a nice writeup on Bynum and his post-double-struggle.

    Enjoy

  84. @drrayeye

    Don’t leave the ORL fans out. They still hate Fish for his two dagger-threes in Game 4 of the 2009 Finals, one with about five seconds left to force overtime, and one with about half a minute left in overtime to give LA enough breathing room to seal the deal and go up 3-1, when they could have very easily been staring at 2-2.

  85. @Ken

    It’s not that there isn’t truth in what everyone is saying about Fish. There is no doubt that he is barely hanging on by a fingernail, and there have been nights that even I have found myself muttering “dang it, Fish, what the heck.” But unless we are all going to assume that Coach Brown is an idiot (which I’m not willing to do yet), there likely is some rational reason Fisher is getting the minutes instead of Morris.

  86. drrayeye,
    Add if a Fisher-basher trade falls through for some reason, no moping around the blog. They are still expected to contribute.

  87. 80,

    Drrayeye, it is not really Fisher bashing but Aaron just want to point out the weakest link with the Lakers. What we all knew of the Fish two years ago or past 15 years do not really apply of what he is today. There is really need to change.

    On the contrary, if you are in the FO, where will the change come from? Who is available out there less expensive and much better than Fisher? Is Morris ready to do the job or Goudelock prepared to take the PG role? Both of them are too greenhorn to play long minutes, their presence is on experimental basis. As a result MB has no choice but to go to the veteran.

    As fans, we are all caught on two hard rocks of reality, a waning veteran who commits a lot of TO’s and two rookies who are error prone. If you leave the matter unsolved, Kobe is taking a hard toil in bringing down the ball, facilitating and also doing all the shooting. This is the right moment when Mitch has to find an alternative while Lakers are 8-4, not when other teams catch-up and Lakers are back to a record of .500 again. Even in a manufacturing plant when the best machinist is out, management don’t just remain idle. They go out of their way to find an alternative to keep the production at right pace.

    All I’m saying is that we don’t know the available market for PG’s but this is not the time to sit back and watch when everybody is saying we need a PG. Go to any blog, TNT crew, ESPN crew any knowledgeable b’ball people are saying Lakers need a PG. We’re sorry that the NBA league are against us in getting CP3 but that should not stop us in trying harder especially after Blake’s injury. For Mitch Kupchak, this should be 9-1-1 calling all scouting units to hunt for the Lakers PG even for only two months.

    Aaron is just a messenger in searching for hard truths and asking “Why?”. We don’t need to export a messenger to another blog if we can’t answer him, perhaps it is best to reason out with him, “why not?”

  88. Edwin Gueco,
    Mitch has never been a GM who advertised his moves in public – quite the reverse.

    Just because we – all knowing – fans don’t see anything going on doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Also, it is not the best negotiating strategy to flail around aimlessly while you are trying to accomplish something.

    Finally, because nothing happened doesn’t mean nothing was tried.

  89. The Fisher issue points out the downsides to guaranteed contracts, what can happen when you try to keep great teams together for that last season or two, and the potential penalty of sticking with a veteran as opposed to taking a chance on a younger player. It’s a balancing act that front offices have to manage. With someone like Fisher, his history with the team, relationship with Kobe, and character/locker room presence may have led them to go to far on the “keep him” side. On the other hand, considering the limitations that the salary cap put on them, and the fact that they were in the middle of a great three-year run, did they really have other options that clearly outweighed the benefits of keeping him?

  90. (89) Edwin, the “messenger” has been telling the “truth,” saying pretty much the same thing, for years–and he’s been wrong for years.

    Derek has not been that different this year from any other year–except adjusting to Brown’s Cleveland style offense. He’s always exhibited Brown’s hustling team defense. His most recent inspirational play of the game this season was his successful dive to the floor for a ball going out of bounds that saved the Lakers a possession–and led to a victory. Remember?

    The Laker organization has looked for a pg that could push Derek’s minutes back to 20 or fewer for years–and Blake has been doing part of the job quite well this year.

    That doesn’t mean that the Lakers aren’t still looking for another pg veteran–perhaps a bigger combo guard. They may have come close to landing Kirk Heinrich several times–and they might surprise us tomorrow with him or someone else.

    Meanwhile, our rooks are adding some good minutes. Just as Kobe will always be Kobe, Derek will always be Derek–and you should be grateful for all that he continues to represent.

  91. Apparently the Warriors tried the “Smite-a-Dwight” tactic in last night’s game.

  92. I think its funny that some of you are getting on Kapono for not playing a couple of games so that he can help take care of his wife and kid my wife and I just had a baby and I took off time from flipping burgers to help take care of my FAMILY. Does that mean ill get harped on for missing work? I applaud him for being a good father and husband.

  93. Everyone,

    CHILL. Drrayeye was just kidding. It was a good joke, well written, perfect delivery. I don’t think there are (m)any Fish backers left. He’s our man through thick and thin. Mostly thin now. Hopefully he gets sit for more and more minutes, but you can’t pay bills on hopes and dreams.

  94. Drrayeye,

    He’s harping the negative of Fish while you’re pointing the positive side which is the wall defense and occasional three’s or successful fast break. It is balanced reporting from different point of view. However, I think both of you have the same purpose which is Lakers victory.

    Craig W.

    That’s also so true on what you said that we really don’t know the machination of FO, they already attempted to get the best PG, perhaps waiting for the opportunity of Brooks, the opportunity of Dwight + JNelson, we really don’t know. Another criteria is who is available at this time? Some fans could not just bear the 20+ TO’s that mostly comes from the get go or feeding the ball to the post or to Kobe. Therefore they’re impatient for proofs from Mitch K “what’s going on with the prolonged research that leads to prolonged agony too?” As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  95. You can take Don Nelson away from Golden State, but the legacy of “clown basketball” apparently remains.

  96. I acknowledge that Fish is past his prime, but no need to panic this season. I’m sure the FO is focusing on getting a caliber PG this off season. Remember: D Wills is a free agent at the end of the season, we still have the LO trade exception AND we have the right to waive a monster contract. Things are not as dire as they seem for next season and beyond – so I’m OK with keeping Fish and giving Blake and Morris more burn this season.

  97. Speaking of “getting old”, anyone care to guess what Abbott’s podcast today is about? ;-)

  98. darius: as u can tell, we’re pretty much ready for your next update…….pls

  99. exhelo,

    I think that the 2010 title and his role in it meant that they had to keep Fisher. What I question is:

    1. Giving him the two player options through 2013. Supposedly Miami was after him, but still.
    2. Brown’s continuing to play him this much, post-Triangle. Some of that is probably Kobe. But Fisher is a spot player if you are going to play him–a 10 MPG guy.

    I said last year that I thought Blake should only get two years. I said many years ago that giving a Walton a contract for that length and of that money was a mistake, as did others.

    MWP…they needed to replace Ariza, and MWP was key in the 2010 run. But again, I question the two player options that carry him through 2014.

    Kobe and Pau are different, of course, but I think the balloon payments should have been on shorter deals. Kobe I can kind of see…he’s an icon. Pau not as much.

  100. Craig W.,

    Yes, I was at the Portland game last week and a Blazer fan sitting next to me told me he is good friends with a recognizable name from Phil Jackson’s staff. This person informed him last season that the Lakers had made a serious behind-the-scenes run for Gerald Wallace.

    Management is trying …

  101. While I’m not opposed to trading our resident dead-horse-beaters, you have to think of what we’d get in exchange, and if any other blog’s GM would approve it.

    Then there’s the salary cap. This case has got a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous.

    So let’s focus on the big picture here, all kidding aside. Yes, the team’s point guards (and bench) could be better, but they’re also far over the cap with a hideous penalty looming coupled with the fact that no one in the league wants to make the Lakers better. As fans, we lucked out with the Pau trade as Memphis’ owner was looking to dump salary, and Mitch has made some sneaky moves that he rarely gets credit for–the husk of Radmanovic for Ariza, anyone?

    This team’s far from perfect, but we’re completely spoiled to have three of the best players at their position in the league in the starting lineup. So we have to settle for journeymen at the other two spots, big deal. When they come up big it’s like free money.

    We all know Fisher, Blake, and World Peace have their limitations. A.C. Green, Rick Fox, and Robert Horry weren’t Hall-of-Famers either, but they were all integral parts of championship teams.

    Look at it from, say, a Blazer fan’s perspective (I know, it’s tough, bear with me). They see us going, “Our point guards suck! We may not win our third championship in four years!” One of their best two players just retired at age 26, and their #1 pick/hopeful franchise cornerstone probably will never play again, almost certainly not for them. Oh, and they haven’t won a championship in THIRTY-FIVE YEARS. And they’re still mad when our guys beat them TWELVE YEARS AGO.

    Yes, the playoffs last year were a bummer. But this team, with upgrades or not, looks like it’s rounding into very competitive shape, and in a short season already peppered with injuries, anything can happen. Ask the ’99 Knicks.

  102. A new post is up

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2012/01/13/friday-forum-5/

    The game preview will be up in a few hours. I’m finally recovering from being sick and appreciate the patience with the lack of a new post yesterday.