Mitch Kupchak Speaks, We Try To Sort It All Out

Darius Soriano —  February 7, 2012

Right now, the Lakers are a competitive, yet average team. They have been close enough to win many of their games but have often fallen short, to the frustration of everyone that wishes success for this group. Whether you’re an outsider watching the games, or an insider who has access to practices and the mindset of the coaches and front office, it’s seemingly obvious that this team has holes to fill, despite their ability to compete. Point guard and small forward play, bench production, and outside shooting are all glaring deficiencies and it’s up to the coaches and the front office to find solutions to those issues.

With that in mind, what those key organizational minds think about the roster and where it can be improved matter. So, it’s helpful when we get insight into their thought proccess, especially when it’s general manager Mitch Kupchak’s. It just so happens that Mike Trudell of Lakers.com was able to sit with Kupchak before the Lakers went on their road trip and was able to take his temperature on a variety of subjects. A few responses to Trudell’s probing caught my eye:

*In response to questions about the Lakers continuing to look at deals and if there’s something he (Kupchak) would like to accomplish before the deadline:

It’s my job to look at everything, small or big, to try and improve the team. We continue to look at everything, and if there’s something that we can do today to improve the team for this season and into the future, we’ll consider it….if there were a way for us to get a 25-year-old, All-Star, ball-handling guard we’d love to do it … but that’s not likely in February. So you look at other alternatives, and see if it’s better than what you have. That’s all.

*In response to a question about Mike Brown and his staff’s performance in what has been a very busy Lakers’ schedule so far this season:

A coach and his system is going to help, but at this level when you play 82 games, it’s about talent. If you have a lot of talent, coaching staffs are typically going to win a fair share of games. Our staff has had a tough act to follow, with Phil Jackson’s Hall of Fame, 11-championship career as a coach, but they’ve embraced the challenge. They had a shortened training camp, but there’s no question to their dedication and how hard they work. They’ve been received by the players with great enthusiasm, and I think our players want to play for them. They do a good job at practices, as well, so that’s all good. As I mentioned, there are certain areas of our roster that need to be improved, which falls on my shoulders. Having said all that, we have had a favorable home schedule that we mostly took advantage of, despite the two games (vs. Chicago and Indiana) that you could argue that we should have won, but we need to win some road games. All in all, I think we’re probably within striking distance of where many thought we would be. But we played an awful lot of games in a short period of time to start the season, and I think you can look around the league and in a week or two begin to tell how things will play out. For the first third of the season, especially for a new staff, much of the time is spent figuring out the rotation, but when we get back from this trip, we’ll be almost 30 games into the season, and we should have a better idea.

What I take from all this is pretty straight foward. Kupchak understands that this team is weak at PG while again acknowledging that getting your hands on an impact player at that position will be difficult. Furthermore, he seems to think that the players are taking to Mike Brown’s coaching well but that the roster limitations are real and that it’s his job to correct them.

———————-

This brings us to the million dollar question: What are the Lakers going to do about it? It’s clear that the team needs to make a trade but that’s not always easy. Beyond the fact that it takes a partner to make a deal, the Lakers must decide if they want to move forward with this big three intact or if the need for an impact player at a different position will give them a better chance to win, thus facilitating a trade of one of their big three. After making that determination, they need to target who they want and try to get that player (or those players).

For what it’s worth, I think the Lakers are focusing more long term than they are on this season. The new CBA is set to hammer them financially so cutting payroll is surely a consideration. Plus, Kobe looks to be in good enough condition that he’ll play at a high level through the end of his current contract. When you add in the hiring of Mike Brown – and with him the removal of the only system several key players have known – and dropping him into a truncated season where training camp was almost non-existent and practice time will be severely limited, the balance between this year and the future seems even more tilted towards what happens next rather than now.

This isn’t to say the Lakers can’t be a contender this year. The trade of Lamar Odom – irrespective of how we all feel about it – does give the Lakers options and an additional asset (Dallas’ protected 1st round pick) to make a trade. The Lakers can absorb a contract directly into the Odom traded player exception or sweeten any deal with a draft pick to try and get a player of interest. Considering Kupchak’s comments about wanting a PG (even though he mentions a 25 year old all-star level player) is telling in that it directly acknowedges his team’s biggest weakness. It also shows a desire to better balance his team and (potentially) take some of the load off Kobe Bryant in the coming seasons. The trick is, of course, getting that player in house.

And that brings us back to that million dollar question above. The Lakers are obviously waiting for the bigger names on the market to get sorted out (Howard and, potentially Deron Williams) before they make a move. This is an approach that I agree with as I think chasing the best players in the league when they’re realistic gets is one of ways you build a championship contender in this league. When you run a storied franchise in a glamour market, I think those types of moves make even more sense. However, when does the pursuit of those players become too burdensome? And, when should those pursuits be abandoned to instead make smaller, less impactful, deals that could help the team now but may not set you up for the future as well?

These are questions the Lakers front office is facing daily and I don’t know that there’s a good answer, to be honest. In the meantime, though, we wait.

————————-

UPDATE: Reports have been confirmed that the Lakers have released 2nd year forward Derrick Caracter. If you read the Kupchak interview in its entirety, a move like this was hinted at as February 10th loomed as the deadline day to cut unguaranteed contracts before they became fully guaranteed.

Caracter never really got a chance to play meaningfuly minutes for this team as he was part of a crowded front court rotation that up to this season included Bynum, Gasol, and Odom. His injury coming into this season also put him behind the 8 ball as he was now looking up to Pau/Drew and Murphy and McRoberts with few, if any, minutes to be had.

That said, when Caracter did get a chance to play last season he flashed a solid offensive game with good post moves and decent range on his jumper. His rebounding and defense needed work but those are things (especially the defense) that can be improved over time with more exposure to the complex schemes and multitude of responsibilities big men have as back line defenders.

Ultimately, I wish him nothing but the best and do think he will land on his feet somewhere. Some team will certainly take a chance on his talent and try to develop him into a contributing big man. But, whatever team does give him a shot will need to make sure he keeps his nose clean and stays committed to keeping his weight down. These have been issues in the past and could resurface if not monitored by the team. Good luck to him, though.

Darius Soriano

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100 responses to Mitch Kupchak Speaks, We Try To Sort It All Out

  1. I say we stick with Fisher. He has all the experience, makes clutch shots and gives great speeches. I love his speaking ability. Eloquence is an underrated quality when ranking PGs. I would put Fisher in the top two for speech making at the PG spot.

  2. I find this post to be a welcome relief from the hysterical Mitch-bashing that’s dominated this site for the last couple of weeks. There are two huge fish in the sea – DWill and DH12 – and, given that these players represent two realistic possibilities for the Lakers (as opposed to the ‘let’s trade the bottom of our bench for Lebron– look! I got it approved on Trade Machine!), it behooves the Lakers to retain all their assets until those first two dominos fall.

    Still, like others here, I remain concerned about the possibility that this team is more concerned with cost-cutting than stockpiling talent– most notably, the failure to use Sahsa’s TPE makes me concerned about the future of Lamar’s larger TPE– I’ve been one of the few on this board who has argued that Lamar’s TPE is likely worth more than Lamar himself, even despite how much we’re struggling right now and could use a second player who can create his own shot, but it’s up to Mitch to use it effectively. I don’t expect much to happen in the next month, then I expect all kinds of fireworks as the trade deadline approaches as, in addition to the Big Two sweepstakes, moribund teams look to dump decent players to cut salary– but let’s be clear that the possibility of picking up those players is an opportunity afforded to us only by losing Lamar. This is worth it, imo, even if we don’t win another roadgame for a month.

    Amidst all the hand-wringing here, Mitch pulled off the perfect trade– selling high on Pau to get imo the single best (realistic) player they could grab, only for the veto to kill the deal.

    PG is, according to established wisdom, the easiest kind of player to find and I am confident we will have a decent once by the trade deadline. Then again, what should nearly be as easy would be a reliable shooter, but here is the one place where I agree Mitch has struggled– when was the last pure shooter we had? Radman? Murray? Rice? In a curious way, this a further argument for the Howard trade– not only are we the trading partner with the most to offer, we may be the only potential partner who would find Turk a valuable contributor (as bad as he is, is there any doubt he would start ahead of MWP or Barnes?)

    In the meantime, I’ll keep watching the games, painfully aware that these players will likely not be the same ones I’m rooting for in 6 weeks…

  3. I don’t think Dwight is the panacea that lots of us make him out to be, especially if he will cost us Gasol and Bynum. This trade probably won’t be consummated until well after 3/1 (when the free agents signed this summer are eligible to be traded). I believe Orlando wants to get rid of not only Turk, but also Big Baby or JRichardson.

    Though NJ presents the weaker proposal, I think Dwight really wants to play with Deron and the Nets offer a package that will substantially reduce the Magic’s salary cap situation as NJ can take back a lot of the Magic’s junk.

    Don’t get me wrong, if Orlando would take Bynum for Dwight straight up, I’m all for it. But that’s not the case IMO.

    So where does this team stand? Can we use the TPE to get modest upgrades to our backcourt while keeping our Pau/Bynum duo? (I like this the best for this season). Or, do we sit tight and wait for the last dance, not knowing if Dwight is going to dance with us or the Nets? I guess that’s why Mitch is paid the big bucks to make that call. Actually, unless Jerry Buss has taken the reins completely.

  4. Well said lil Pau. I do wanna say again though that I am against the Artest bashing. Bash him for his shooting. Yes. I agree he can’t shoot anymore for some weird reason. But nobody should lump Artest in with Fisher just because they both can’t shoot. Everything else Artest does better. The guy again (sadly) has been our best one on one defender. The guy is so smart defensivley. When to double when not to double when to shade over. When to give up a jump shot and when to make the guy go to the basket. I hate when knowledgable NBA fans pretend defense isn’t half the game. Again… Yes he can’t shoot and that hurts the offense. But now that he is getting back in shape I wouldn’t be suprised if he became the 35 percent three point shooter he has been for us in the passed.

  5. Great post. I agree completely that the Lakers are thinking longer term, particularly as the full impact of the new CBA go into place. I’m not sure how they can keep a “big three” together unless that big three are willing to potentially take less money.

    For this year, though, I do wonder about Ebanks. Is he that bad? We all have our own ideas about Metta, but can Ebanks do worse? Seems strange to me that the kid cannot get off the bench at all.

  6. The fans are clamoring for trades, but it needs to been kept in mind that with only two tradeable assets (Pau and Bynum), they need to make the right deal – you get one shot at it, only. There is no room for mistakes.

    If they don’t get the deal they want this year, I would wait till the off-season. Assuming they still have their first round draft pick (true?), they could get lucky in the lottery if they don’t make the playoffs.

    At any rate, I don’t trade Andrew or Pau unless I get a too-good-to-pass-up deal.

  7. Lakers waive Derrick Caracter. Move/FA signing coming?

  8. Trudell just tweeted that the Lakers have released Derrick Character opening up a roster spot

  9. The real question is what Mitch’s budget is for the next three years. At this point, that appears to be the driving factor.

  10. Looking at the roster and contract lengths, Mitch just needs to ride out the season making no moves. During the offseason they need to amnisty Peace and try and trade Walton’s expiring contract. They are going to have to eat Fisher’s contract and let him end his career setting on the end of the bench.
    As for this years team, it would be much better if they split Bynum and Gasol up and only played them together about 8 minutes a game toward the end of the 4th quarter. That provides scoring for the second unit and provides more touches for each during the time on the floor. My line up would look something like this:
    Gasol, McRoberts, Ebanks, Kobe and Fisher/Morris; Bynum, Murphy, Peace/Barns, Gouldelock, Blake/Morris. With each of these line ups the bulk of the shots still come from Kobe, Pau and Drew(s). The mix allows for more energy guys like McRoberts and Ebanks to move without the ball and crash the offensive boards and be quicker on defense (covering up the old and slow Fisher). The second unit has the outside shooting with Murphy, Gouldelock and Blake to keep the double teams off Bynum. At this point I think that much of the Lakers problems are that the coaching staff can’t or won’t get a rotation together that makes everyone as productive as possible. Player efficiency should be a bigger evaluator than who is in the starting lineup.

  11. Kupchak understands that this team is weak at PG while again acknowledging that getting your hands on an impact player at that position will be difficult.

    ___

    Sure, but I think the main point was actually tweaking Stern.

    I am not a big Jonny Flynn fan; I think I would prefer Dragic, but maybe he’s not available. Dragic’s deal is up this year, which may be a factor.

  12. Robinred,
    Yes… But we would have to give up peices we might need later to bring in a better layer to get Dragic. Better to give up nothing and get Flynn (who might be as good) and would right away be our best PG and still keep all our assets.

  13. Tough situation for Mitch. Orlando’s trade demands are too high to give in at the moment. You can’t really move Pau for any of the non-DWill PG names floated (although I’d take Sessions & Varejao for Pau) as long as there’s a possibility of landing DWill.

    If Orlando moves Howard to someone other than the Nets (or Lakers), then a straight up trade, or an offseason sign & trade of Pau for DWill seems like a real possibility, since NJ has no way of re-signing Williams if they don’t land Howard.

    Much has been written about Howard, but unless he is available for Bynum straight up, I think the team would be better served by acquiring Williams–something they can’t do today, and won’t be able to do until the Howard thing shakes out, if at all. So, in the meantime do you get rid of the asset most likely to bring Williams (Pau), or do you sit tight or just tinker around the edges?

    Tinkering/sitting tight is not hugely satisfying, but it may well be the smartest approach for now….

  14. I’ve updated the post with news of Derrick Caracter’s release.

  15. Have to admit, I am wondering whether Dwight Howard is worth it – all he seems interested in is glitz and glamor. Is he really a winner? Los Angeles can have a strange effect on players (Metta World Peace drinking a little too much Kool Aid) …

  16. Kupchak is direct, honest, and realistic. He had his hands on the greatest PG in the game and I salute him for that. But if we’re more realistic now, OJ Mayo is an option. He’s not an option that gets me too excited, but realistically there aren’t many jump-out-of-your-seat-exciting options that are realistic.

    Mayo serves a purpose. Shot-creating, size, spacing, learning from Kobe. The Grizzlies need front court depth, and tried to get McRoberts for Mayo once (though I’d hate to give up McRambis).

    —–

    My bigger concern is how serious Jim Buss is about avoiding the repeater tax. Even with massive revenue sharing, we should be pulling in more $$$ than ever thanks to the TV deal. I can’t fault a man for wanting a bigger profit (esp. when this is his family’s primary source of income) but if he’s insistent on getting below the tax line, then we’re on a downward spiral that will culminate in the lottery. You just can’t fill so many holes and cut over $20 million in contracts at the same time.

    If we are on that unstoppable downward spiral, I’d almost rather get there sooner rather than later.

    This is not to say I think we’re currently too far away. I agree with Aaron somewhat. Plugging up 2 huge holes (starting PG, and a speedy backup PG* who can catalyze the disparate pieces of our bench and bring them together) and a medium sized hole** (the 3 spot) can bring us back to contention very quickly. But to get value, you have to give up value (few teams are going to dump value just for a TPE). So patching up the PG hole (e.g. Mayo) could create a big hole along the frontline. It’s a delicate balance.

    To me, it all comes down to Jim Buss’s philosophy. If he really does want to avoid the repeater tax, then it’s almost impossible to see our team filling all its holes. You just can’t fill that many gaps and slash that much payroll.

    *If Goudelock proves to be the answer at the PG spot, he needs a better backcourt running mate than Kapono. Either way, we need a guard.
    **It’s not that I don’t think the 3 spot is a problem, Ken. But I think if we shore up the bench and PG spot, we can survive with an Artest/Barnes combination.

  17. Zeke had a curious proposal in the previous thread of adding Bargnani and Calderon.

    If such an acqisition cost us Pau would it be worth it? We’d add a nice PG and could play Bargnani at the 4. He has a DIrk lite sort of game.

    I really think it would make us better so there must be a problem with the idea.

  18. Should be noted that today is Darius’ birthday, folks.

    Happy birthday and thanks for putting up with the best and worst of us!

  19. I’m sure Lakers will sign Arenas. How bout Kobe, MWP, Barnes, Drew, Arenas we would have some personalities. Should be fun for media members.

    Still think Lakers go after a Jared Dudley, Delfino type player. need a better 3

  20. I don’t care if its a 1,2 or 3 anyone that can handle the ball without turning their back to the defense and play the pick and roll with any consistancy would be a welcomed addition.

    I just don’t think that player will be made available this season…not when players are dropping like flies.

    The solution is to revert to the triangle for one season.

  21. PAL – why trade 1 soft Euro for 2?

  22. Happy bday Darius.

  23. Snoopy,
    Exactly. I would love a better SF and maybe that’s the best option depending on what’s available. But we can win with Artest/Barnes… Especially in the playoffs where Artest seems to shine with his physical play, defense and tenacity. While sllender fennesse players like Lamar Odom/Eddie Jones seem to fade. The spot on the floor that is killing us on both sides of the ball is PG mainly because every team in the league has two good PGs and sometimes three. It’s a loaded posision in the NBA now where a guy like atony Parker is an average starting PG. I mean that guy is fantastic and he is now anywhere from 15-20 depending on who you ask. The offense the Lakers use is a heavy PG offense. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that with a PG the offense will look completely different.

  24. Happy birthday Darius.

  25. Billups out for season. I assume that means JR Smith as another piece on the powerful, big-market Clippers.

  26. Happy birthday Darius!

  27. With the newly created roster spot, we have space to make the Ramon Sessions trade with Cleveland for the Dallas 1st Rounder and the Odom Exception.

  28. I know we all agree on this… But it never hurts to reinforce the truth… I just disagree on Kobe hogging the ball this time. He wasn’t shooting over double teams. The play calls just should have gone differently

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/36574/lakers-crash-at-the-finish-line

  29. I note that Abbott failed to mention coaching, and that after Kobe closed well in the Minnesota game, while James played poorly at crunch time, concluded that those games didn’t “mean much.”

    It’s an old story with Abbott. His fixation on Kobe borders on the bizarre.

  30. 29) I agree the whole kobe clutch thing is played out. I don’t get the purpose of trolling so hard anymore. Abbott needs to move on

  31. Chauncey going down is bad news for us as well. Mo Williams would have fit perfectly in Odoms TPE, not to mention he’d only have to lug his sneakers across the hallway.

  32. Thanks all, for the birthday wishes.

  33. My ideal situation is if not a PG trade for Stephen Jackson or Jared Dudley

  34. 36 – Anon

    That’s because he’s the primary scorer off the bench for the Clips. He wouldn’t average as many attempts playing with our squad, but I’d certainly enjoy seeing him take shots away from Fish, Metta, Barnes, Kapono, Murphy etc.

  35. Been hearing Gasol for Rondo rumors. What you guys think?

  36. I think there is no way Ainge does that.

  37. I can’t imagine Ainge doing that, either.

  38. As long as Mitch K is aware of the current problems, that’s OK to us. Let him evaluate the pros and cons on who is available out there and others who will be up for trade by ASG.

    Add me as one of the greeters, Happy Birthday Sir Darius, so you’re also an Aquarian. I knew because I celebrated mine last Wednesday which coincides with Pau coming to LA in ’08. Enjoy the evening with Mrs. Soriano and your baby.

  39. re: open roster spot

    or just another salary dump? (his contract would have become guaranteed, elsewise)

  40. Someone said something about Bargnani/Calderon for Pau. I cannot imagine that is a deal TOR would even consider that deal (and that is assuming it even works in the trade calculator doohickey) –TOR loses a Center/Forward (a soft one, but a big man nevertheless) averaging 23.5-6.4-2.1 and shooting 34% from three and a true PG averaging 9.5-3.3-8.3 in exchange for Pau? I don’t see it.

  41. @ 24, han and 40, wavenstein:

    While we’re all n agreement that an upgrade @ the PG Position is our major concern, I personally do not believe that Rondo is the answer. He’s much more effective n the open court, where he can get out and use his athletic ability to his advantage. However, with the current personnel on our roster, we’re definitely more of a half-court team and being that we have playoff asperations (when the game slows down), Rondo would be a liability because of his inability to hit perimeter shots. This fatal flaw n his game allows defenders to not only go under the picks that can be set for him, but it also allows individuals to lay off of him and force him to beat you with his jumper (The Kobe System). He’s also a terrible free throw shooter for a 1, which is unacceptable n my book. I respect his passing ability and solid D for his position, but if we’re talking Pau, I would prefer to get much more.

    On another note, Happy Bornday Darius. Enjoy it to the Fullest and thanks to you and your team for maintaining this Excellent Site/Blog. A Must Read everyday for me and I’m sure, plenty others … Real Talk

  42. A lot of buzz about Mitch’s comments regarding a 25-year old All-Star ball-handling guard. I thought it was just a mention of what nearly happened w/CP3, but if it WAS a hint at interest in Rondo.. intriguing. I’m a fan of the guy’s game, even with his shooting woes, plus his contract isn’t ridiculous for a top PG.

  43. Gasol for Rondo is preposterous, for many reasons. But playing along…

    Rondo wouldn’t help the Lakers much, at least not this roster. He can’t shoot; he’s best when driving, and on the Lakers there’s no equivalent of a Ray Allen or Paul Pierce — someone to whom he could kick out the ball for open looks on the perimeter after Rondo drives the defense inside.

    This L.A. roster would totally negate Rondo’s positives (which are way overrated, in my opinion, but that’s another story…). The Lakers need a guy who can spread the floor in the half-court sets, and Rondo isn’t that guy at all.

  44. I still dont understand why don’t we bring in sasha vujacic? He plays the point well (was extremely solid when Jordan Farmar was out), and has a very quick dribble, and is fast enough to keep up with quick defenders (the ones he can’t he’s tall enough to play Kobe-style where he can challenge shots)

  45. Rondo can learn to shoot. That’s the only thing players can improve. If he does he would be the best PG in the NBA. Thats a big if though.

  46. I agree with Aaron. Rondo would fit in just fine in this offense. Bynum would get even easier looks than he has been lately. (when set up by Kobe or Pau.) I think that the move would also have to include one of their bigs to make the money work too.

    Could you imagine KG and Gasol on the same team? Completely interchangeable and would instantly become the greatest passing duo of big men.

    lmao- How many times would KG cause our sensitive Pau to cry do you think?

  47. Happy birthday D!

    Snoopy mentions that Mitch had his hands on CP3 and I think it goes to show how rare some of those opportunities can be for teams that face obvious CBA/budget challenges and restrictions. We haven’t had meaningful cap space for eons. Our only FA signings for a very long time, have been big-name veterans who will come at the end of their careers for low money, journeymen whose bread and butter is low money, and fringe players. Am I forgetting somebody?

    When you build a tent pole team, your options become very limited. Our base and midsections are not trade pieces, except as filler or financial chips for trades that could be built around one or more of of top three players. And Kobe’s not getting traded.

    Our starting point guards for the past 14 years have been guys like Harper, Fish, Payton, Chucky Brown, Smush, and Fish. So, unless we somehow tank and have a 2004/2005 season, I’ll be looking toward the second round draft again this spring, and veteran players on one leg. As far as PG help this season, my guess is that it’s not coming or it’ll come from between the cracks somewhere.

  48. Ken (prev thread): I have stated b4 that my D12 wish is flawed, + it does not solve many of r issues inc PG. It is IMO the best thing we have to prevent freefall both now and post Kobe. Can u reply in kind? Ur posts imply a state of no hope (+ u might be correct). Please state what we can (practically) do to fix this. And Ken – u know we agree on much, however if Ur reply starts with firing MB, JB, and cutting players 6-12, that is not practical : ) though I see y u say that : )

  49. Great post by lil’ pau @2. We must wait as painful as that is. Not just cause i want D12, but cause all deals are impossible until that dust settles. I think MK is trying to keep us a contender, + he, like us is realizing how hard that will be. I think MK believes that we are more than a decent PG away from the title, so he wants a blockbuster. I agree with that logic. If u feel that we can pick up ok players at 1/3 + be champs, then we can agree to disagree. I also do not see it as hopelsss. Not yet : )

  50. Happy Birthday Darius.

  51. Happy birthday, Darius. Enjoy, happy birthday 2 ya, happy birthday!

    A trade between the Lakers and Celtics will NEVER take place. LOL.

  52. Robert I do have hope but only if moves are made. A one up trade dosen’t help because there are so many holes.
    1-PG
    2-SF
    3-bench
    4-cheerleader
    5-hot dog vendor.

    Hard to get all those things with one trade.

  53. Ken: Our cheerleaders are still probably the hottest in the league, so I am taking #4 off ur list, + people in LA do not eat too many hot dogs (a sushi vendor or sommelier is unfortunately more like it : ) so I am taking #5 off as well. So I have already cut R issues by 40%. As for the other 60%: We wait : )

  54. I think a reasonable hope for this season is getting a decent upgrade at either PG or SF, along with Goudelock improving with more time. That would give them a shot in the playoffs, with the slower pace and the Gasol/Bynum/Kobe trio.

  55. Rondo, at least would be an upgrade in D as well.

    Kinda jealous looking at Lin, he was a cheap signing for little risk (and great marketing value).

  56. 49/Kenny – we can’t bring in Sasha, he’s locked to a full season in Turkey and that’s how he wanted it. After their season’s over, there’s a mutual option for year two. Not sure when their playoffs are,

  57. The goal of 2 of those trades were to unload a contract (MWP) while getting value in return & keeping the core intact. Those moves are doable while working for all 3 parties. Lakers should make a small move like those if progress is shown.

  58. I hate to be blasphemous, but the Miami cheerleaders are hotter than all the other dance squads combined. But after that, ours are up there.

    Happy Birthday Darius!

  59. Rondo is perhaps the NBA player I most dislike, but he would help the Lakers a lot.

    But again: I think there is no way at all Ainge does this. Rondo makes 11m a year and the Celtics like Avery Bradley, so I think Rondo might be traded. But for a 31-year-old power forward who makes 19m a year through 2014 and the entire Boston fanbase hates/thinks is “soft”? No way.

  60. I’m all for trading Pau Gasol, but for Rondo…absolutely NOT! I don’t think Sessions is worth using any of our trade exception for. With the lack of options out there I would actually ride this out until Blake comes back. I’ve been pleased with Goudelock.

    I know we desperately need a true point guard, but what about the small forward position. Our small forwards are giving us nothing. I wouldn’t mind Mitch looking to upgrade that position.

  61. Ok Robert but————–

    I married a Raiderette Cheerleader 10 years ago and it ended up very bad.

    So I put 4 back on.

    And if you ever went to Pink’s you would have to put 5 back on.

    Matter of fact I would trade 3 Pinks for one Metta!

  62. Also how bad has it become when someone us asking for Sasha the 3-pointer foul machine. Does anyone remember how many times he fouled guys 30 feet away from the bucket?

    If I hear a Smush or Kwaime request I am smashing my iPad like a World Piece Jump shot.

  63. Happy Birthday Darius!! Trading Bynum for Howard even straigth up would not solve our problems. We will still have the same bench and the same PG & SF’s. All we need is an upgrade from the bench, our first five can compete and beat any first five in the league. It is when our second unit comes in that disaster comes along and our first five gets to be called off the bench and play longer minutes than the opposing teams first five. If Steve Blake comes back then he can probably play longer minutes than Fish. Our main concern is the supporting cast. If we can only get two or three decent bench players then we will be fine.

  64. @69…First Monta can’t play the one and second between he and Kobe there’d be about 4 shots per game left over for Bynum.

  65. Spartacus

    How do you plan on getting those 2 or 3 decent players? Kidnapping? Computer generated? Robots?

    We have nothing to trade and in case you missed it Jimmy fired all our long time Laker scouts and replaced them with friends from tbe horse stables.

    Maybe we can pick up Odom, or Shannon, or Farmer. Those 3 average more then our entire bench and Metta combined.

  66. Happy birthday Darius!

  67. I know I’m late to the party but Andrew Bynum is starting to dominate. At 24 he may be turning into the guy we’ve been waiting for and Jim Buss has been reluctant to give up.

    Double digit rebounds in 15 out of 21 games– 2 20-20 games

    1 block on 18 out of 21 and 2+ blocks in 14 out of 21

    56% FG avg. 35 mins. and seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on

  68. There is a little snippet of video on Grantland.com with Bills Simmons and Larry Bird.

    Bird says: .”… You know, Kobe [Bryant] was always my favorite since I got out, but LeBron James is by far our best player is this league. I don’t really think there’s anyone next to him. I think he’s there, and then you go down the list.”

    But adds that Kobe always was his favourite. This is followed by Simmons asking him, which playr he would prefer to play with, if he could step into the league today.

    Bird answers: Kobe, and explains; “Probably Kobe. Of course he wouldn’t be shooting as much as he does now [laughs]. But just his desire to win, his dedication in the offseason to get better, and he’s just tough. He’s just a tough cat.

    “But if you want to have fun like I did with Bill Walton, you play with LeBron. But if you wanna win, and win, and win, then its Kobe.”

    Simmons is flabergasted.

  69. Listening to the BS report now, it’s fun.

    Simmons, hearing that Kobe is Bird’s favorite ;)
    “I don’t like that by the way”

    Anyway, fun stuff.

  70. Darius celebrates birthday by ignoring baseless trade speculation. Yay for day off from moderation!

  71. @ Ken how about clones? Let us try to clone Kobe, Pau and Bynum. Imagine if we can have those three guys playing fresh for 48 mins lol

  72. Happy Belated B-day Darius!!!

    JR Smith is essential because he wants to be here, comes cheap (vet min.) requires no trade or TPE usage, and immediately improves the team. With Caracter being released we have a spot for JR. But alas, the Clippers karma catches up to us again with Chancey being out for the year, we not only will lose out on Mo Williams now, but JR will probably sign with them too.

    There are several other players the Lakers could really use. This is just my opinion based on my personal scouting. I ranked them in order of need, listed what it would take to get them, and their strengths. I would love a conversation on this because it’s not a trade scenario, it’s a need scenario with the answers built in.

    1. Deron Williams (would have to trade one of the big three). He has been the ideal point guard for the Lakers for years.

    2. Mo Williams (Clippers would have to take TPE). He can do everything we need: starting point, back-up two, secondary scorer). And he’s good at them all. Chancey’s injury may have ended this possibility.

    3. OJ Mayo (TPE with Caracter or draft pick). A cheaper and less effective Mo.

    4. Michael Beasley (TPE with Caracter or draft pick). He can score in bunches, young and athletic (can actually be our new LO).

    5. Anthony Randolph (TPE or Caracter and a draft pick). He provides cheap athleticism and decent back-up semi-big. Can guard two and half positions and can score.

    6. Kirk Hinrich (TPE). He is so low because he is a replicate player of Blake. He is more of a back-up than a starter.

  73. Just a simple note.

    Boston has won 5 in a row.
    They are 9 and 1 last 10
    Holding teams under 94 per game

    Lakers are 4 and 6
    3 and 9 on road
    Lost 2 in a row

    Boston now has a better record at 14 and 10 and people were writing them off 2 weeks ago.

    Not sure but I think Lakers have lost all national televised games this year.

    Just curious why several people on here think the Lakers will win without a problem.

  74. What Mitch is saying is all rhethoric. They’re trying to save money and in the process becoming less talented. If they really wanted that young point guard, they would have kept cybaby Odom and traded Gasol for that young point and a backup 4/5. Then we would an attractive team for the amnestied 2 guard to play backup for Kobe. Thanks, J Buss you frigin’ cheapskate.

  75. Finally someone who understands what us going on with the Lakers. It’s all about the MONEY and protecting Jimmy B’s allowance. Thanks Paul!

  76. Why in the hell would we want Jonny Flynn!?!

    From Hollinger:

    + Quick, shoot-first guard who can push tempo. Poor decision-maker.

    + Decent defensive mobility but undersized and needs to play harder.

    + Doesn’t draw fouls. Poor outside shooter. Floater, midrange game need work.

    Flynn didn’t just take a step back last season, he did the moonwalk. After missing the first third of the season with a hip injury he came back to play 53 excruciatingly awful games, in which he showcased a near total inability to run an NBA offense. Flynn ranked among the bottom six point guards in six different categories — PER, TS%, shooting percentage, free throw rate, turnover ratio and pure point rating. Ouch.

    The biggest problem is his poor decision-making on the move, which resulted in an astronomical turnover rate for a shoot-first point guard. Flynn’s other problem is nearly as serious, however — he’s a scoring guard who can’t score. Flynn can create shots, but he’s neither a good outside shooter nor adept at drawing fouls, and his size is a problem when he goes into the paint to finish. Even if his percentages improve, his shockingly low free throw rate will have to improve dramatically if he’s going to offer much in the way of an offensive boost.

    The defensive end did Flynn no favors either. Opposing point guards had a 17.4 PER against him and Synergy rated him among the league’s worst performers. He also had the eighth-worst rebound rate among point guards.

    If there’s good news, it’s that his shooting percentage will almost certainly improve from last season’s disaster, and that he’s likely to be used differently in Houston than he was in Minnesota. Flynn still has some potential as a Bobby Jackson-type third guard who can create a lot of shots at middling efficiency for the second unit, but to get there he’ll have to make more shots, draw more fouls and throw the ball to the correct team.

  77. Thanks to everyone again for the birthday wishes. I do appreciate it.

  78. #78. Considering Caracter has been released, I don’t see how he can be included in any trades.

  79. Still don’t know why Brown benched Ebanks. He showed promise early gotta let him learn from his mistakes.

    How many shot attempts should Drew get?

  80. ATTENTION LAKERS FANS: New Rule

    Just because the Lakers trade Bynum for a Howard doesn’t mean Stern won’t allow them to trade Gasol for a PG. So everyone here is allowed to say trading for Howard doesn’t improve this team very much. And you also are allowed to say getting a PG is more important. All those things are true. But trading Bynum for Howard has little to do with trading or not trading for a PG. They are pretty much mutually exclusive. New Rule: Noody is allowed to say we can’t trade for Howard because we need a PG. Anyone who does will imidiatley be moderated by me.

  81. Why would JR Smith come here for the veterans minimum? The Knicks at least can offer him the mini-midlevel. JR Smith is not gonna happen here.

    Paul – I absolutely agree with your assessment in how the Lakers SHOULD have done things. In my opinion, Pau Gasol needs to be traded. That is really the only way we can improve, get younger. Not sure about the money but I have to believe we can net Scola and Lowry for Gasol, or try to go after Iguodala and Lou Williams or Holiday for Gasol/Barnes.

    The Howard for Bynum thing isn’t happening.

  82. Aaron,

    Can we also include a “Don’t-Link-To-Abbott” rule with that?

  83. Just to be clear, Aaron has no authority to say such things nor does he have any moderation powers. Carry on. :)

  84. Kevin,
    Good question regarding Drew’s shots but the real question is how many scoring touches should Drew get. Shot totals are not really important or a good way to see what the a lakers offense is doing. Shot totals more show what the defense is letting the Lakers offense do. Bynum is now for some reason being treated like Wilt… Teams are doubling and tripling him on the catch or right before the catch so he won’t be getting many shots anymore especially without a PG. Most of his 13 shots the other night came off of lobs amd of penetration by guards since every time the team through it down to him he was doubled right away. So to answer your question… I would say the team should throw it down low to Bynum for “scoring touches” about 30 to 50 percent of the times down the floor depending on Matchups. Teams that have a big man that gets doubled as much as Bynum even use that more than 50 percent of the time since its a great way to get everyone easy shots. But we have Kobe so you can’t except too much ;)

  85. Darius,
    Just to be clear I was saying I would moderate them by making fun of dumb comments on here ;)

    Robinred,
    Sorry my Laker brother… But I usually agree with Abbot and think he is a smart basketball guy

  86. Rudy,
    If we could get Iggy and Lou Willams (something I have wanted in my head since the offseason) the zlakers do that in a second. I love Pau Gasol. I love him. I think he is equal to a Kevin Garnett for their careers. Gasol will go down as the most underrated player to ever play because nobody knew he was in the NBA in his prime ove rather in Memphis. In Memohis that guy was a seven foor SG. He was an athletic marvel.

    Unfortunately he is over 30 and has never kept his body in good condition. He is on the downside and is being paid a lot. Right now he is still a fantastic player. But teams know he is being paid a lot and is on the downside. You can’t build around him anymore. His trade value is not very high, I think the Lakers are better off keeping him. But I hope I’m wrong and if the Lakers can get something like an Iggy and Lou Willaims package that would be ideal. I think Iggybis a Scottie Pippen like player. I’m just a giant fan. But maybe it’s because I drool over defense like most do over offense.

  87. Teams that have a big man that gets doubled as much as Bynum even use that more than 50 percent of the time since its a great way to get everyone easy shots

    _____

    Assumuing Bynum passes out of the double-team at the right moment. And assuming the guy he passes top can actually shoot.

  88. To win a championship while kobe is still around you just add pieces to our big 3. A lethal 3 pt shooter would work wonders. Don’t count on Howard or D-Will it’s clear who their top choices are. Lakers don’t need to be used as leverage.

    Abbott is a fanboy of stats who loves LeBron. His point was proven a while back now his tireless trolling of Lakers fans is old. Kobe’s a great player. End Of Story

  89. Kevin,
    He never said Kobe isnt a great player. He says Kobe doesn’t use his teammates enough down the stretch and that he takes awfully impossible shots at the end of games when he doesn’t need to. Does everyone know he is right? Yes. Does it upset people because he says it over and over again? Of course. But sometimes you need to keep ihitting your head against a wall over and over before the wall finally moves. And yes that’s why I now have brain damage.

  90. Sorry Darius I forgot to clean up my post. As you know it was moderated from a couple days ago.

  91. True bad percentage shots. But so are Melo’s and Dirk’s he harps on kobe’s fg% in those situations and praises melo and dirk for their precentage when they all take bad shots. If a play was called instead of Kobe Iso’s Lakers would have a better chance of converting this year. Coaches should call a play. It’s more of a playcalling problem than player problem imo.

  92. Kevin,
    In the passed Kobe had help defenders shading over to him and often draped all over him and instead of passing to the open man Kobe would take a ridiculous fade away. That’s why Kobe’s FG percentage was so low in the clutch where other players like Dirk and Melo had better numbers…. Because they were not taking those bad shots. That’s what Abbot has been correctly saying for years. Do players take bad shots occasionally? Of course all of them do. But Kobe took those bad shots twice as often as his contemporaries. And when it comes to the actual last shot I still want Kobe one on one. Centers like Shaq and Bynum can’t get the ball in those spots because they don’t have fade always and jump shots. The defense will swarm last second and force that kind of shot. Hakeem and Kareem were the two centers who you could go to pas the clock goes to zero even if you had a Kobe.

  93. For those who question Kobe’s shot selection and usage, do you think that he would still take those shots if another player on the team was hot or making shots at a clip that he felt he comfortable getting the ball to? Now, for those who want D12. Would Kobe really want to dump the ball into him knowing his woes from the freethrow line? The Lakers need a point guard who can scare the defense enough that they will not pack the middle on our bigs and a shooter good enough to make the outside shot in crunch time. It would be wonderful if that quality could be found in one player. Hench my list above of what I consider as capable individuals.

  94. Busboysfornme,
    We already know Kobe doesn’t pass the ball very often to Bynum in the post when Bynum is making 80 percent of his shots and is constantly double teamed most likely opening things up for Kobe on the outside. We already know this. Kobe is a killer who wants to be the one to win the game. Thats why he is so great and also his main weakness.

  95. I’m so glad more people on here aren’t taking this Pau for Rondo deal seriously, Rondo is the most overrated player in the league and his skill set is a bad match for this Lakers roster.

    Aaron, Rondo will not improve his jump shot, he has shot the exact same way since high school and his jumper has not improved at all (partially due to the size of his hands).

    The Lakers need a scoring PG because that is what this league is shifting to in terms of what PGs are needed to do to win.

  96. 101)
    I agree… If anyone can’t improve his shot it’s Rondo. To be honest I have a hunch we are liking this rumor because the guys we really want will now think they have a Rondo type player to compete for Gasol with.

  97. 102) I disagree Kobe has been passing to Drew and Pau every since the 40 point barrage. Focus is on the last 3 mins which makes it seem like he doesn’t.

  98. Aaron,

    The problems with Abbott are:

    1. He is very biased and won’t admit it.
    2. There are holes in his methodology and presentation you could drive an MWP-sized truck through.