Kobe and the Lakers in the Clutch

J.M. Poulard —  February 11, 2012

So far this season, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled with their late game execution. And that would be putting it lightly. Opponents have given the Lakers a multitude of different looks with the intent being on forcing the purple and gold to think about when and how to best attack them. The end result has been that Kobe Bryant has often been placed in situations where teams have essentially sat on his every move and at times completely ignored his teammates.

For instance, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Kobe was in terrific rhythm in the first half, scoring 24 points. Mind you, come the second half, they put Andre Iguodala on him and then looked to trap him every time he caught the ball.

When Bryant finally became comfortable and understood the 76ers rotations, they switched things up on him and defended him with Iguodala only. Mind you, once Kobe put the ball on the floor, they sent additional help his way to force the ball out of his hands. On a few very rare occasions after halftime, the Lakers superstar had the opportunity to go one-on-one.

And late in the ball game, this proved to be somewhat problematic for Bryant.

It’s not so much that defenses have confused Kobe in late game situations, far from it actually; but the issue is that the Lakers all time leading scorer is now pressing. With defenses converging on him much faster this season in comparison to previous ones, Bryant’s best opportunities in late game situations typically come once he catches the ball. If he waits any longer, teams are able to load up on the strong side of the court against him to cut off his angles and they can also send either a soft or hard double team at him to get another player to beat them from the field.

The end result has been that Kobe has gotten himself somewhere near the elbows or on the wings from midrange and taken a bevy of contested shots. Normally this would be a win for the Lakers (Kobe often looks like the best pure shooter in the game whether his jumpers are contested or not), but with the added defensive attention and players rushing to contest his shots, Kobe hasn’t been a good marksman from the field.

According to Stats Cube, Bean is converting a mere 28 percent of his field goal attempts in clutch situations (clutch situations are viewed as the last five minutes of the game with the scoring margin within five points). If we dig a little deeper, Kobe Bryant has shot 8-for-32 from the field on midrange jumpers in the clutch so far this season.

And yet, the Los Angeles Lakers are 8-3 in games decided by five points or less so far this season. So what gives?

Often we associate clutch situations with scoring and remain blind to other facets of the game. Thus, Kobe may not necessarily convert his shots at a high rate late in ball games, but he does several other things quite well in the last five minutes of ball games. Indeed, Bryant sports a +12.4 rating because his assists and rebounds increase in these situations. When we project clutch situations to a full game, Kobe averages 8.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, all the while getting to the stripe 9.1 times. In addition, his offensive rating in late game situations (103.9) is superior than his regular averages so far this season (102.2) and his defensive rating of 92.2 in the clutch is vastly better than the 98.6 he has sported for the season.

The contest against the Boston Celtics Thursday night proved to be a good indicator to the Lakers scoring issues late in ball games. Matched up against Ray Allen for most of the final minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime, Bryant was able to get to spots on the floor that he wanted for midrange jump shots, but he missed most of them. Indeed, Kobe only converted 2-of-8 shots in the clutch against the Celtics, with his two makes being arguably the two toughest shots he took in the game. Despite his inability to convert from the field, his team was victorious.

His defense on Rondo proved to be one of the biggest reasons for the win, but the Lakers still needed to score on a few trips to put the game away.

How do the Lakers manage to close out ball games then? Two words: twin towers.

Andrew Bynum is shooting 81 percent from the field in clutch situations so far this season. 81 percent! Logic would dictate that the Lakers should just feed the big man the ball and ask him to operate on the low block and ride him to victory; but that wouldn’t necessarily produce great results.

Bynum has been terrific from the field in late game situations because teams have had trouble keeping off the offensive glass and also because he is usually the benefactor of lob passes from his teammates when opponents choose to double team Bryant. This explains why the Lakers starting center has converted 12-of-13 shots at the rim in clutch situations.

Hence, fans can rightfully complain about Kobe’s shooting percentage with the game on the line, but the truth is that his misses have helped his teammates who now anticipate going after the ball whenever Kobe puts it up. And in a nutshell, this explains why teams have problems figuring out how to defend the Lakers late in ball games even when they are missing shots. Throwing a double team at Kobe essentially allows for a player to get an uncontested shot and it gives the purple and gold the chance to crash the boards; but when Kobe faces single coverage, he has the talent to make just about any shot possible on the court, but should he miss, Bynum and Gasol have proven more than capable to bail him out by crashing the glass (Pau is shooting 4-for-7 right at the rim in clutch situations, but is 0-for-3 from inside the paint but outside of the restricted area).

The Lakers could perhaps execute better in fourth quarters when defenses place an added emphasis on stopping Kobe Bryant, but the truth is that so far the team has gotten by with their current strategy of asking their closer to shut door on opponents. Perhaps he does not always come through, but the team sure seems to do so.

Can this strategy continue to hold up? Tough to tell. But so far it has served the Lakers well if we judge them on the end result; and that’s what makes any change in the philosophy rather hard to commit to. It’s often hard to argue with the methods provided that the end result is a positive one.

And what more positive end result can one ask for than wins?

J.M. Poulard

Posts

107 responses to Kobe and the Lakers in the Clutch

  1. From the last thread:

    All the screaming for Jim Buss’s head reminds me of the Kupcake fury pre-Gasol trade. I’m not saying it’s misplaced, just that perceptions can swing very quickly in this business, with just a couple moves.

    My biggest beef with Jim Buss isn’t the Brown hiring or the LO trade (although if we end up not using our TPE, that moves up) – my biggest problem is his firing of Ronnie Lester and all our scouts. As far as I know, he hasn’t replaced our scouts, has he? That screams cheapskate, and there’s no way around it.

    I share Funky Chicken’s concerns. If we still want a chance of competing (whether around this core or around a Kobe-Dwight or Kobe-Williams core), we will have to fill out the roster with late draft picks and savvy minimum signings that turn into serviceable role players. Our chances of doing so are severely handicapped now that our scouting staff consists of Kupchak and Buss. I don’t really see any way to defend Buss cleaning out one of the best front offices in the league, and he’ll have to find good scouts if this team has a chance of competing in the future.

  2. Kobe feels it’s his job to take the last shots. Coaches seem to feel the same they keep calling Kobe Iso’s giving him no other option. This could fly with PJ he had a track record plus we saw it works many times.

    Mike Brown 1st words were “I’m here to coach. Mitch pays me to coach. I’m going to coach Kobe and everyone the same”. Kobe’s doing what he wants, MWP had a meltdown in 2nd qtr. I said then Brown getting tossed wasn’t good for the team even if he was standing up for his players. Mike doesn’t have a handle on his team.

    Brown also said “Defense can carry from team to team. But you have to tailor your offense to the personnel you have”. He gets credit for our elite defense, but this is the same offense as CLE. Lakers have 2 7 footers who aren’t utilized right. He brought in 2 offensive minded coaches and that doesn’t seem to be helping. Where’s the Twin Towers offense? Where’s the high low action?

    Mike Brown doesn’t want to step on Kobe’s toes and Kobe knows this.

  3. Nice read. Very nuanced analysis of Kobe’s value to the Lakers. This reasoning also closely mirrors 20 Second Timeout’s David Friedman arguments. And might I add, I think it is a winning argument.

  4. Darius, to answer your post in the previous thread, perhaps you read this link:

    http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/2012/02/lakes-considered-signing-jerem.html

    Mike Bresnahan: Coach Mike Brown said the Lakers pondered signing Jeremy Lin two months ago, one of “a million names” they discussed. They obviously passed.” Twitter

    ~~I hope I have proven that I’m not making it up. With regards to our discussion on Lin on LAT Lakers Blog, refer to the archives that Lakers were just matching the offers of Warriors.

    Anyhow, that was past and of course it was a hindsight in digging up the past. It goes hand in hand that when they made timely picks in Gasol/Ariza then Artest, Mitch got an applause of approval. Today, there is a future move – I hope Mitch K will be given a free hand to decide. Indeed, Jimbo is not Dr. Jerry Buss. It is so sad that all past Laker stalwarts already left the team from scouts; Showtime legends like West, Kareem, Coops, Magic and others; PJ and Jeanie Buss. This is all Jimbo Show

  5. This is a great write-up! Great analysis. If Kobe gets the ball and defenses rotate over to be in help position, then they are leaving our bigs just enough to allow for easier offensive rebounds. Couple that with the fact that Pau and Drew are both extremely long and good rebounders, and you get great opportunities for put-backs.

    Let’s turn that around and say that we dump the ball in to Drew or Gasol in late game situations. The opposing team comes with a double team and our bigs do the right thing and kick out to a wide-open Fisher/MWP/Barnes/Blake- a brick fest ensues kicking out longer rebounds which are typically easier for the defense to corral.

    I’ll say it again. I would rather have Kobe shooting contested jumpers 15 feet and in than have our current group of shooters putting up wide open 3’s. Except for Goudelock cause he can shoot for me all day.

  6. If Kobe was playing like someone in his 16th season Lakers would be out the playoffs

  7. #4. I know of those reports. I’m saying, logistically, the wording that’s used in those reports doesn’t accurately reflect what would have needed to happen. If the Lakers couldn’t “sign” Lin. He was “claimed” off waivers by the Rockets and then, the Knicks. Plus, if the Lakers considered “claiming” him, their ability to do so would have been impacted by waiver rules (who has the higher waiver priority, how full their roster was, etc). I too, am not making this up, since I actually researched this via the transaction pages through the NBA’s records.

    UPDATE: I should add that I only did this research as a follow up to what Eric Pincus was stating on Twitter last night. He addressed the specifics of the timeline of Lin’s movement around the league and I wanted to confirm that. The dates that are relevant to Lin are 12/9 (waived by GSW), 12/12 (claimed by Rockets), 12/27 (claimed by NYK). The transactions page doesn’t say when Houston waived him but it could have been when they signed forward Jeff Adrien (12/21). Here is the link if you want to search for yourself: http://www.nba.com/news/transactions/2011_12/index.html

  8. Nice post J.M.: I think ur balance with the Kobe topic was fair. KB is simply the Greatest Laker and will continue to move up on the All Time list. I just do not want him to “be like Mike” in terms of how he finishes his career. Not just in terms of staying with us, but talking results. BTW: If any1 needs further depression – take a look at the 03 Wizards roster. Their 4-12 would trounce us. I have Kwame envy – that is how desperate I am.

  9. Same crap, different day.

    To beat the Lakers:

    Defense:

    1) Double-team Kobe

    2) Pack the paint

    3) Dare any other Laker to hit a jump shot.

    Offense:

    1) Put a half-decent PG on the floor
    1a) Run pick-and-roll

    2) Run whomever Kobe is guarding through picks. Kobe will eventually tire and start playing “free safety”

    Once that happens, move the ball and the Lakers’ defensive rotations will go to pot.

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    This will not get better because there are only two possible options:

    Option #1: Stick to executing the plan and lose games until the Lakers figure out what they are doing.

    Kobe and coaches/management will not accept this.

    Option #2: Kobe goes into “hero mode” , dominates the ball, wins a few games single-handed, and further disengages his teammates.

    This is what the Lakers have been doing.

    It worked to an extent in 2005-2007 because Kobe was surrounded by youngish players who were just glad to be here.

    Now he is surrounded by proud veterans who mentally disengage (standing around on offense, weak effort on defense) when Kobe shuts them out.

    At most, that gets the Lakers a 6-8 seed, maybe a first-round win against a favorable matchup, and another 2nd-round drubbing.

    This will not be solved by bringing in Ramon Sessions or Gilbert Arenas.

    I don’t think it will be solved while Kobe is still a Laker (unless teams suddenly start trading the Lakers max-contract talent for MWP, Walton, and a bag of Cheezy-Poofs).

    The Lakers need a new foundation, and Kobe needs to go somewhere to compete for a championship, instead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record.

    Blow this &%$#@ up!

  10. One thing I’m not lamenting is passing up on Lin. The circumstances were just right on the Knicks for him to shine: 1) Davis out and no other option at PG; 2) No Amar’e or (especially) Melo which gave a chance for Lin to be a leader instead of having to defer to an established star; 3) Adequate secondary players that can make shots when set up by Lin; 4) Others have pointed out that D’Antoni runs an offense perfectly suited for Lin.

    Even if the Lakers got Lin, the offense would still have gone through Kobe, not Lin. The second unit is so weak, I don’t think CP3 could do anything with it, much less Lin. Lin would have been getting equal or less time than G-Lock, so would never gotten the chance to prove himself. And I’m not convinced MB would know what to do with Lin anyways.

    In short, Lin got a chance with the Knicks because they had no other options and nothing to lose. If he had been on the Lakers, he wouldn’t have gotten that chance. He’d play a few minutes, look confused out there, and we’d all be saying “Why do the Lakers continue to sign these scrubs?”

  11. OK everyone, I think Mr. Lightyear pretty much summed it up @10 above (he is going striaght to option B @35 in prior thread). I am “slightly” more optimistic than him, because i am not ready to blow it up “yet”. I will wait until 3/15 and then we will see. However I would request a board optimist try to counter this dire, yet accurate post.

  12. Kobe is awful on defense….even when he is playing free safety he is just standing there.

    None of our guards know how to negotiate the initial pick…and our bigs don’t show hard enough
    At the very least we should trap the ball handler on the PnR in 4th Q.

    Can’t believe things got so bad in a year…

    We have become the Jackson 5 with 4 tito’s and Jermaine

  13. Clearly using Kobe so many minutes early in so many back to back games results in tired legs and tired shots.

    Another reason Brown is a liability. This is not a 21 year old James out there.

    Brown is burning out Kobe and Pau due to his self imposed pressure to show he is as good as Phil or Pat.

    He is not even better then Rudy sadly.

  14. Scott

    Brown would not have played Lin. He would be sent down to the d-league or waved like Character. He can’t not identify talent.

    Starting Eubanks. Now no minutes.
    Starting McRoberts. Now no minutes.
    Starting Barnes now off the bench.
    Not play Gou the first month.
    Starting Metta no basketball skills.

    Daaa!

  15. Kind of curious why all the blame is going on Kobe here. Sure, the offense is running through him, but most of the time he’s making the right play.

    The 10 foot jumper with 10 bigs under the baskets is a good basketball play because it allows for offensive rebounds.

    While I don’t love that nearly all of his shots now are simply high degree of difficulty, when Kobe separates from his defender to avoid the double and takes the quick midrange shot, that allows for short rebounds which are simply easier for the bigs to create.

    Also, in the 4th the Lakers CANT play inside out when they don’t have anyone that can consistently hit from out. With the paint so packed there is just often nowhere for the bigs to go.

    And don’t give me this nonsense that we should just give the ball to Bynum, because he struggles with double teams and is very slow to get into his shooting motion. If Bynum had a consistent left hook that he could go to quickly, then maybe you run the 4th Q offense through him. But right now, if he’s deep in the post, he squats low, backs in, turns right, and tries to use his strength to overpower every time. That transition allows the help defender to come and not only leaves him with a tough shot but leaves the Defense at a rebounding advantage in the paint.

    For Kobe or Gasol, when the double comes, they naturally pass out of it, and one of the other players catches it and stares off into space.

    Seemed like 15 times last night Kobe passed out of a double to a wide open shooter, only for that shooter to hesitate. Maybe they are looking for the spectacular play, idk, but if your in the game to shoot and spread the floor, then shoot the darn ball and stop thinking so much.

    Its how miami uses James Jones. How Chicago uses Kyle Korver.

    Misses are one thing. But hesitation, which allows defenses to recover and prevent the team from setting up another play because of lack of shot clock are much worse.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but why didn’t GLock play much last night. Blake couldn’t buy a shot, and Fisher and MWP were 0-fer. Glock may not be crazy talented, but at least he’s a pretty solid shooter, and can get up and excited for games.

  16. Meant to say 10 ft jumper with bigs (not 10 bigs)

  17. Did anyone else see MWP’s pre-game interview yesterday? Are we all pretending like that didn’t happen? He looked crazed and ranted about kissing Madonna on the mouth. Then he went out on court and absolutely embarrassed himself.

    Only 2.5 more seasons to go!

  18. J.M.

    Sorry… Kobe is getting single teamed on ISOS pretty consistently down the stretch of games. Which is a bad sign when you realize the Lakers don’t have any shooters on the floor. Maybe as Kenny Smith said it has more to do with defenses being afraid of Andrew and Pau. Nevertheless, Kobe needs to make the defenses pay for all the late game single coverage.

  19. Aloha Robert,

    O.k I will take your challenge and provide an optimistic counter.

    1. 3 stars. Very few teams in the league have that kind of star power. You don’t blow a team up when you have that because it is nearly impossible under the new CBA to assemble 3 stars on one team. About the only way now is to get really bad for a number of years and hope you are lucky enough in the draft to grab some future stars and maybe sign a free agent after you have. And then of course you have to wait for them to mature. So it would be like a 5 year plan IF you are lucky. I might be in favor of moving Pau for the right multiple pieces but no way I blow it up completely

    2. A championship caliber defense. While we all get caught up with offense, rings generally speaking are won on D. Yes we do get creamed by P.G’s but the bottom line is points given up and we don’t give up a lot.

    3. Existing quality role players. Yes guys we do have some. We just at this point do not have the glue to make them work. Steve Blake is a decent 2nd unit point guard. I am cutting him some slack on his shooting over the last two games because there is no way he should have even played those kind of minutes after missing 13 games. He was shooting well before the injury and should return to form after he gets his conditioning back.

    Matt Barnes is a decent 3 off the bench. He is exactly the kind of energy guy a lot of teams would love to have.

    McRoberts is another energy guy that isn’t playing only because the 2nd unit shooting has been so putrid.

    G-Luck. Not there yet but he should find some consistency with experience.

    4. What can be done. We need two guys. Two guys that can shoot and or create offense. One for the starting unit and one for the 2nd unit. They do not have to be stars, just upgrades. They can be PG, shooting guard or Small Forward. It doesn’t matter, just two of them. A shooter for the first unit and an offense creator for the 2nd.

    The hardest part of course is waiting. If you have noticed there hasn’t been much trade action going on lately. That will continue until after the all star game. Also March 1st is also a big date because teams can trade players they signed this year. We have 2 1st round picks and a TPE to work with and I am confident that there will be moves available.

    Looking a head at our schedule, I think we have a good chance of winning at least 4 of our next 5. If we do that and split the Dallas/OKC road trip, before the All Star Break, I think we will be in good shape. We need to make the playoffs and be playing winning basketball when the playoffs start. I am not as concerned with how we look at this moment. Just 2 guys.

  20. Darius,

    Frankly, i’m not really enamored of Linsanity, we were just analyzing of the opportunities that happened in the past when he came out from the D’League. To make points clear, I’m not accusing you that you are making it up, I just don’t like the way you imputed in the other thread that I’m making it up based on a hindsight. Well, fine, you have your take on what went on and I have mine based on the news reports. Lets agree to disagree.

    Lin as a PG is slow tho’ he’s athletic enough to torch the Lakers PG’s. Will he better than CP3, D’Will, Westbrook well that has to be proven in one season, not on just on few games? I’m happy for the Knicks to have Lin as the savior and also for his new following from the Asian community in NY.

  21. #21. Not to make a big deal of this, but I’m not going to agree to disagree when the reports that you read and cited are inaccurate. That’s not a knock on you, it’s a knock on those reports that either didn’t explain things properly, used incorrect language that misrepresented what the Lakers were actually able to do, or didn’t research things all the way through. The facts of Lin’s situation state what the Lakers could or could not have done to try and get him due to him being *claimed* off waivers. And unless we go back to when he originally came into the league as an undrafted free agent where the Lakers didn’t over-bid for an unproven player, I don’t know why fans (not just you) think the Lakers could have reasonably had him.

  22. Also, one of the reasons why I think this is even semi-important because having folks make claims about what the Lakers can or can’t, should or shouldn’t do while not dealing with accurate information is how we get people talking about trades that don’t work under the CBA or fans clamoring for the Lakers to sign Aaron Brooks when he’s a RFA and the Suns have the right to match any offer (while also not acknowledging that there aren’t any S&T’s after the start of the season as part of the new CBA). Or fans saying the Lakers should sign JR Smith with the mini-MLE when the Lakers already used that on Josh McRoberts.

    Not all fans say these things, of course. But enough do that it taints the conversation about what is possible for this team to do to improve – which we all agree needs to happen. And since that’s the case, we should deal with the facts and not what we think is correct.

    *rant over*

  23. 27 games in this team has no offensive identity. Some games bigs get the ball going early other games they are completely forgotten. What is Brown trying to accomplish on offense?

    This is the worst Lakers offense since the shot clock era

    Lakers have scored 100 pts. in 3 out of 27 games

    Kobe has led Lakers in shots in all but 5 games

    Lakers are -14 when MWP is on the floor and the win % is 33% (seems Lakers offense was running better when he got those DNPs., right. Lakes are +16 with Luke on floor (do with that what you will)

    For the guy who said Kobe plays no defense Opp. SG are shooting 49% . Kobe is shooting 38% in Feb. avg. 4 assists

    LA starting PG and SF have a under 10 PER. That’s worst in the league at both positions.

  24. 23,

    so you don’t agree also on this article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/ny-knicks-find-a-loss-lakers-article-1.1020856?pgno=1

    That Lakers had an opportunity on getting Lin as offered by Mitch K but MBrown don’t know him.

    Darius, I know this is your blog and we don’t claim to know all the info like the way you do. Perhaps, the best way to settle an issue is to clarify things rather than accusing people that we are making it up. We all want to improve the team based on what we can gather out there. To put us in bad light just because we differ our source of information is also deemed unfair. OK, if you don’t wish to agree, then let’s end it there.

  25. Solid article with actual numbers to back up your point JM – something that many regular posters here tend to forget to do when making their highly-opinionated-but-unsupported statements.

    However, that’s the glass half-full version of it. Kobe is a self-proclaimed scorer first. A scorer must score in the clutch. This season his shots simply aren’t falling. On top of that, he is no longer getting the calls he used to.

    So let’s call a spade a spade. Kobe is no longer good enough to go ISO in the last few minutes of a game and produce points. Welcome to the beginning of the end.

  26. #25. No, I don’t agree with that article quoting Mike Brown’s representation of the situation. And the main reason is because there is no timeline given and thus none of the important details can be confirmed. For instance, when were the Lakers discussing Lin? The day he was waived by the Warriors the Lakers signed their draft picks and Jason Kapono. Four days later, they signed Gerald Green and Malcom Thomas.

    Also, the terminology “signed” is quite different than “claimed”. The Lakers never had a chance to “sign” Lin. Did they have a chance to claim him off waivers? Maybe, but they needed to act fast because he was claimed off waivers by Houston 3 days after he was cut by the Warriors which was one day before the Lakers signed Green and Thomas as camp invites. By the time Lin was picked up by the Knicks, the Lakers season had already started and they had a full roster, thus they would not have been able to claim him off waivers unless they released a player themselves.

    Lastly, I never said anyone was making anything up. You said “I hope I have proven I’m not making it up” and you used that language for whatever reason you decided to but it wasn’t in response to me using that phrase. When I replied to that comment, I said that “I too am not making this up” because I actually did the research showing the transaction history. Something that none of the articles cited have done nor did any of those authors ask Mike Brown about that based off the quotes they continue to run. I really hope this is the last of this conversation because if you can’t see that I’m not blaming you or claiming that I never said you were making something up then this conversation really isn’t going anywhere.

  27. Edwin, Lin was simply not available to the Lakers. These reporters don’t know how the waiver wire works, and neither does Mike Brown. When Lin was cut by the Warriors, he had to go through waivers. The team with last season’s worst record gets the first choice to claim him, then it goes from there in order of next worst record. He made it all the way to Houston, who claimed him and sent him to the D-League. Once the Rockets cut him, he went on the waiver wire again, and the Knicks claimed him.

    If you want to get on Mitch, then criticize him for selecting Caracter with the 58th pick in 2010. According to Kevin Ding, the Lin family was under the impression that the Lakers were going to select Jeremy with that pick. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, just another example of Mitch’s inability to evaluate available PG talent in the draft (Crittenton over Aaron Brooks, Sun Yue over Ramon Sessions, etc.).

  28. Here’s the question Lakers management has to answer: Are we one player away from competing for a championship NEXT year?

    Because this year is shot.

    I read recently one Laker (Kobe?) saying that their offense is basically the veterans playing off of experience and knowledge of each others’ tendencies.

    We’ve all seen how well that’s been working…:-P…

    News Flash!: That is NOT going to get better. Thanks to the compressed schedule, the Lakers will not have the necessary practice time to get a real offensive system in place.

    Adding a “tweak” talent won’t help matters. Unless someone is willing to trade the Lakers LeBron and Derek Rose, just adding an increment of talent to a dysfunctional system won’t make the Lakers a contender.

    So, are these Lakers + a “tweak” trade + a mid-round draft pick good enough to contend next year?

    I don’t think so.

    And if mediocrity is the future, than THIS YEAR is the year to blow it up.

    This year is the year that AB17 has a team option in his contract.

    This year is the year that Pau Gasol will have his highest trade value.

    This year is the year when amnestying Kobe will cost the least.

    This year is the year that Deron Willliams and/or Dwight Howard might come to the Lakers (if they have cap space).

    This year is the year that the NBA draft is exceptionally deep.

    What would you rather have between now and 2015: The same old, slow, uncompetitive Kobe-resenting way-over-the-cap Lakers we’ve seen since 2011? Or a fresh start and some hope?

    Because if we don’t blow it up this year, we’re basically stuck with what we have until 2015.

    I don’t think my love of the Lakers can stand another 3 years of Kobe chucking up 27-footers over double-teams, followed by the opposing team’s center dunking because ‘Drew was too bummed about Kobe busting the offense to hustle back on D.

  29. michael h @20 Excellent response and effort. Especially since it appears that Kevin has gone to the dark side : ) Your post supports a well articulated version of what I called option 3 from 35 of the prior thread. The good news for you it is likely going to be attempted, so we will see if it is successful. My major concern is that we are investing 2-3 years in what could be a long shot for a title, then having to re-load post Kobe. This is how decades are lost (see Lakers in 90’s). However I believe you have made the argument well. For the other optimists, please read Michael’s post. He is stating “reasonable” things that we “can” do. robinred has also attempted to do this. I am not agreeing that this is the best option, because I want D12, however I am pointing out that Michael is not merely making off the wall statements that we are going to sign a bomb squad via FA in the off-season or trade MWP for future all stars. We can’t do those things. We can trade AB in a blockbuster or we can nibble at the edges as Michael is proposing.

  30. #28. You can add not selecting Isaiah Thomas from Washington (who was the last? pick this year) this past draft and instead drafting two international prospects (one of which has already been traded) that will likely never play for the Lakers. I’m not trying to bash Mitch here – he did try to fill the PG spot in the draft by selecting Morris and Goudelock (though not a true PG essentially played that spot in college) – but when taking chances in the 2nd round, I feel you might as well use the shotgun approach and see who sticks. Especially when you have four 2nd round picks like the Lakers had this past year.

  31. “So let’s call a spade a spade. Kobe is no longer good enough to go ISO in the last few minutes of a game and produce points. Welcome to the beginning of the end.”

    —-

    This sums up my position on it. We can debate if Kobe should shoot or pass in crunch time for the rest of the season. Truthfully, that is futile at this point. The bottom line is, either way, its not working.

  32. 28) Not that it matters now Crittenton was playing well in 08 before the Pau trade. PJ was playing him and he never plays rookies.

    29) Why would we amnesty Kobe. When he’s gone throw our contender status out the window

    30) If Lakers can get McGrady, Sessions, Rasheed Wallace. We can really contend.

  33. 28,

    Thanks The Dudes Abides, it shows that Mbrown didn’t know the CBA rules too, he should not have answered the reporter in that manner. The NY Daily News reporter should have corrected that misinformation.

  34. Incredible discussion everyone. We all love the Lakers and we are talking about the soul of the franchise and its future. Great stuff !!!!

  35. Edwin, Mitch could simply have been discussing with Brown the idea of acquiring Lin if he were to become available. He almost did become available.

    33. Kevin – Crittenton only got enough playing time to light a fire under Farmar. For example, Critt wasn’t playing nearly as well as Goudelock was during his string of recent15-20 minute games. Aaron Brooks was better as a rookie than Critt was, and remained better as they both got more experience.

  36. If I was FO I’d do this if you can’t trade for Rondo

    Sign Gilbert Arenas

    Trade for McGrady that would give Lakers 3 playmakers on perimeter. 4 in total

    Sign Rasheed Wallace. Can do everything Murphy does and more

    Lakers have 2-3 year window. Need to get vets who want to win now

  37. Hello forum! Been a long time but have been doing a lot of passing by save for now that I really like the outpouring of passionate support for our embattled lakers. I’m with the one who mentioned we need just 2 players for starting lineup and bench. We need a decent point guard who not only can find people and give us speed at least to front or body the lins and pauls but CAN shoot. This said, sessions may not be the answer. I don’t know how brooks has done and I am not using china stats to make evaluations. The other player has to be a backup sg who can sparingly interchange sf roles depending on the need. This player has to be a shot creator, can wreak havoc inside through penetration esp when no post presence is in. I can only think of jr smith but it will take a lot of convincing to do that. We can send picks and filler for the cheaper one t and the pick and tpe for the costly one. I was once on yhe dwight then dwill bandwagon but that looks bleak a scenario and we should not concece this season as well. Go Lakers!

  38. “Can do everything Murphy does and more”

    Kevin: Please come up with something more compelling than this : )

    Also Arenas and Rasheed in the same locker room? Too much. Sorry – but

    The Ball Don’t Lie

  39. 36,

    I also recall Mitch K was selling his 2nd round draft pick in the past, he may have been very confident with the Laker roster that there is no need to get young draft picks. He traded LO for a TPE and didn’t sign Shannon Brown and let Sasha’s TPE expired. What also happened to that PG Trey Johnson who played few minutes during the NO playoffs? Today, Lakers are on a hunt PG, SG, PF that would replace the void from former Lakers PPG’s.

  40. Arenas had the knee surgery kobe had and kobe has endorsed the signing. He’ll be signed after the road trip. He can create and would instantly be our 5th best player.

    Wallace can stretch the floor, play defense, hard fouls and can play C too. Him as our 3rd big man would be nice. He’ll set the tone for our bigs with the same defensive menatlity as KG.

    This wouldn’t be the jailblazers. lol but these guys want to win. Be a diff. story if they were playing for money.

  41. Aloha Robert

    Thanks for the props. I believe since there more then likely not be many trades made until after the all star game, I’m trying to stay patient. I do know you don’t blow it up when you already have many of the pieces needed to win a ring in place. I’m not concerned about the future after Kobe at this point. If there is a move that makes us contenders and builds for the future I’m for it. But I think the focus should be this year and
    next. Rings are too hard to come by not to take a shot when you have the chance.

  42. Kevin: OK – I will agree to Arenas + Rasheed, if we can cut Kapono + Murphy. Done?
    michael h: Rings: Yes – that is my only focus. Just consider this. There is no bigger KB fan than me. He is my ATF. Yet I do not dismiss what Lightyear says above, because I want the option that gets us the ring faster. His option mortgages the next 2-3 yrs, but w yours we our gambling about 6 yrs.

  43. Edwin/Dude/Darius: I have lost track of what u guys have been talking about, so what is the conclusion? Does the FO have any clue or not? : )

  44. @Kevin #33

    We amnesty Kobe because it’s the best thing for BOTH Kobe and the Lakers.

    Kobe gets to go to a real contending team of his choice and chase that sixth ring.

    The Lakers don’t have to pay double-max-contract money for a player who has become arguably a taller version of a late-career Allen Iverson (doesn’t defend, doesn’t get to the rim, doesn’t pass well, teammates get frozen out on offense)

    There is no way to get the Lakers out of salary-cap hell with Kobe still on the roster.

    Suppose the Lakers trade Gasol for depth and picks (taking back about 1/2 his salary), decline Bynum’s contract option and waive MWP.

    That leaves the Laker payroll at approximately $57 million

    That leaves the Lakers with:

    Kobe
    Fish
    Blake
    Walton
    McBobs
    Goudelock
    A couple of serviceable bench players (say Luis Scola and Johnny Flynn)

    and $4 million in cap space to sign draft picks, their own free agents, and any free agents who might want to come to the Lakers for cheap.

    If Fish retires, that adds another $3.5 million. If Walton retires (would you? or would you collect $6 million to show up to practice and sit on the bench during games?), that adds $6 million

    Best case scenario: The Lakers can offer $10-$12 million to a free agent.

    Likely/worst-case: The Lakers can offer $4 million.

    Is THAT going to make the Lakers a contender? No, it will just be more Kobe chasing Kareem’s scoring record.

    THAT is why the Lakers have to blow it up ***this year***, when the have a chance of lopping $60 million off of their cap and turning that cap space into a significant talent infusion.

    It was a good run. Three NBA Finals, two championships, and sweet revenge over the Celtics. But inevitably championship teams tend to get old all at once. It happened to the Lakers in 2004. It happened again in 2011. The Lakers had the guts to trade Shaq one or two years “too early”. Now do they have the guts do what’s best for their current players and their franchise future?

  45. This is how decades are lost (see Lakers in 90’s).

    Well, in that case, Magic had to retire, and West actually did a good job of getting guys late in the draft/through trades–which were big reasons Shaq came: there was some talent here and the org had a great rep. Not exactly the situation now.

    One problem with making adds is that the Lakers have virtually no chance to get JR Smith, since they burned the mini-MLE on McRoberts. Smith will likely go to New York. McRoberts can be traded after March 1, so that may bear watching.

    As far as Kupchak, again: he has gotten the big things right, including the Paul deal. That is why the banners are up. Little things such as contracts to role players, converting low draft picks, adding foreign talent to stash overseas and use as trade chips–spotty.

    The PG draft thing–some of that may have been “looking for Triangle guys.” Sessions, for example, is not a Triangle guy, as Rambis found out the hard way. Lin is not a Triangle guy, either.

  46. #45 & 47. Lin never cleared waivers. Houston claimed him after the Warriors cut him and the Knicks claimed him after the Rockets cut him. The Lakers could not have gotten him unless he cleared waivers which is, presumably, why Mitch and Brown discussed him.

  47. Yet I do not dismiss what Lightyear says above, because I want the option that gets us the ring faster
    __

    That is a very speculative position, buddy. Even If the Lakers got good again in a hurry, putting together a team better than Miami/Chicago/OKC from scratch will be very hard and will require tremendous luck. The cap will be clean in 2014 with no blow-up.

    Buzz is not wrong on everything, but there are a lot of holes in what he says, one being that he fails to mention that the Buss family DOES have to pay Kobe his money. If they amnesty him this summer, they would be paying Kobe another $58M–and not getting the profits that accrue from his presence in a Lakers uniform. Imagine paying Kobe 30M and watching him hoist the trophy in another uniform. Wouldn’t hurt us as fans in in the money department, but ownership might well find it intolerable.

    Also, Kobe would have to go through waivers in reverse order of the standings. Baron Davis cleared amnesty waivers, but Billups didn’t. Kobe might well get claimed by a team that he preferred not to play for.

    Also, while Buzz argues it is “best” for Kobe, if we are thinking about that, then there are pride issues involved. The fallout would be huge; I can see Abbott’s post now: “Would the Bulls have amnestied Michael Jordan?”
    I am not saying it is impossible, but it would probably be with Kobe’s approval and with one year left on his deal.

  48. rred; I like the abbreviated handle. Can I suggest R2? : ) I am not agreeing with Buzz. He obviously doesn’t have my love for the Kobes, however he makes good points. I agree that JB would probably not do this, however the money, the sentiments, all of that has nothing to do with rings. My point to michael h was that if we attempt to get titles with Kobe, then that invests 2-3 years, followed by 2-3 years of re-building. Buzz’s plan skips the first 2-3 years. True? Now – I would prefer to get a title in LA for KB. Where we differ is if nibbling at the edges will allow us to do that. I think not, therefore I hold on to my D12 pipedream. Creating the 5th or 6th best team in the league is not a plan I favor. Keeps you from hoisting banners, keeps your salary high, and keeps u out of the lottery.

  49. Wow Lin embarrassing the Lakers just made national news. Did I mention how I find the Knicks annoying because of how overhyped they are?

  50. 46) NO way Lakers amnesty Kobe he said he’s staying so put some pieces around him so he can win. The problem isn’t Kobe it’s the offense and coaching.

    What are the coaches trying to accomplish on O? No one knows. This isn’t team ball it’s 1 on 1 for everyone.

    Problem isn’t Kobe, Pau, Drew it’s the rest of the guys. Lakers bench avg. 20 points Odom and Brown last year avg. 23 themselves.

    Letting them go hurts. Trading Sasha and 1st for Joe Smith 2 2nd hurts. It turned into Goudelock but Nets got Marshon Brooks with our pick. Giving MWP 5 yrs. instead of 3 knowing the your getting only 2 solid years if that. Not signing McGrady this off-season instead Murphy. The cp3 trade was BIG it bought Jim & Mitch time and showed he has an IMAGINATION and thinking big. They’ll do something to improve our team. Not the apocalypse your suggesting.

  51. Buzz,

    … no professional fo would ever dump a superstar that helped their organazation win 5 championships. (And go to 7 NBA finals)

    Kobe is in his 16th season!!! 16th!!! What he is doing is simply amazing!

    I am not dillusional, I know the Lakers will not win another championship without a major shakeup (with kobe still on this team)

    How about we just enjoy his last few seasons in the NBA.

  52. Kevin: U R right – KB is not the issue – he is our only hope. U never agreed to my deal @44? done?
    Buzz: U R on your own from here dude. I understand where u r coming from but this board is not ready to discuss such items : ) Also we differ greatly on Kobe, because watching him hoist fadeaway 27′ shots while doubled is a large part of what I live for : )

  53. Rob & 1/2 D&R:

    I’m not also sure about the conclusion. What Darius is recommending that before we post it on his blog it has to be factual and verified. Well after pointing out link through two reliable news accounts one in NY and the other in LA, both sources were not accurate. I wonder as posters how else can we say something if what we read is not really that accurate. I’m not complaining nor ranting but as ordinary posters whom I consider also as respectable bloggers or else we will not spend time sharing our views….. there has to be a judge on who is telling the truth. Shall we ask the agent of Lin? lol!

  54. Creating the 5th or 6th best team in the league is not a plan I favor.

    ______

    That is probably about what you will get from trading Bynum and Gasol for Howard and Turkoglu. That is probably also about what you will get from seriously upgrading the 1 and the 3. Either way, you will need some breaks to get from there back to the top before Kobe is done. Dallas did it last year.

    If you blow it up, you are trying to go from being the worst team in the league to the best, with no guarantee of success and no timetable.

  55. 53,

    Amnestying Kobe is not the way to go, I absolutely agree with that statement. We don’t have that much problems with the Big 3, the present predicament is that they cover almost 70% of total salaries while they also accomplish 75% of the point production. There is not much elbow room for improvement on the 30% from remaining salaries and 25% measly production 10 other players.

    One reason why we are posting trades, amnesty, sign this one or that player because we are accumulating losses and as longtime fans we are not used to be a mediocre team tagging along the .500 mark. It is a sense of pride as a Laker fan and that goes with passion why we share our views in this blog with fellow fans. I doubt if the fans of Clippers, Warriors and Kings all California teams are as passionate as the Laker fans trying to discern on what is possible, trying to find ways to contribute ideas to F/O or to the Coaching staff no matter how stupid the suggestions could be, it’s still an idea from concerned fans. Shall we accept the fate that this is a lost season so stop contributing and stop talking about it?

  56. Robert, I agree done deal if they signed have to cut those 2. But would probably keep Murphy because Lakers cut Caracter already.

    Lin is doin work. He’s really good

  57. Stop with tbe Kobe stuff. There would be no reason to watch this team without him. Lakers are one game out of 11th place. They would be last without him. Sure he shoots to much but why shouldn’t he. What pass to 20% shooter on 3s Fisher. Or Metta Mess at 16%. Or Mick Rick Murphy or Kapono?

    Management has throw out the worst supporting cast in 20 years and brought in a coach with no plan who is scared to death of Kobe.

    No move right now will save this team and forget about Andrew as Jimmy will never trade him. That’s his claim to fame. Trade for Sessions, release Metta who is becoming a negative on and off the court and try to at least make the playoffs.

    Maybe we get lucky and draw someone our bigs can beat and be happy with a few playoff games like last year.

    That’s what we have become. No more no less.

  58. Lakers management is at fault for: 1) Not knowing how long PJ would stay as a coach. 2) Not preparing the team in advance for the day when triangle players would not fit their system. 3) Not developing and retaining draft picks over the years.

    Farmar and Sasha were let go a year before PJ retired. These two players would have been useful in this offense, so would Brown and LO.

    The Lakers have needed shooters since they drafted Sasha, and we all know how many years ago that was.

    A pg. has been needed since the Lakers re-signed Fisher.

    Over the summer the Lakers had an opportunity to sign McGrady and/or Redd, but decided against both.

    All of these factors are why the Lakers roster looks the way it does.

  59. I heard the radio ESPN 710, they talked about people in NBA circle knew about Lin two years ago. In 2010, Lin played great in Summer League, at that time Golden St and Lakers want to sign Lin, but GSt gave him guaranty contract and Lakers only offered him non-guaranty contract, so he signed with GSt. One gentlemen called in and he said he was Chicago Bull’s scout from 1989 to 2000 and he confirmed this information right. I think the GM of Houston made a bad excuse that nobody knew Lin was good, this not true. If you look at the way Lin playing, he can’t play like that overnight, he had these skills long time ago. Mark is the host of ESPN 710, he complained that Kupchack was slow to sign Lin in 2010.

  60. @Various people who object to my plan.

    I respect the heck out of Kobe. At times during his career, I even loved how he played. But he’s not the dominant player he was up through 2009. He needs his teammates more than ever, but he doesn’t trust his teammates more than ever.

    If Kobe were willing to restructure his contract (I believe the CBA allows some restructuring) so that he’s only a 1/4-cap player instead of a 1/2-cap player, I’d keep him.

    But until someone comes up with a realistic scenario that allows the Lakers to add at least one Lamar Odom-level player along with 2-3 decent support players ***without*** breaking up the “Big 3″ (or substituting equivalent talent in a trade), the Lakers will be stuck in Kobe and the Kobettes salary-cap hell.

    If we know the 2014 draft and free agent classes will be as good as 2012, then maybe the Lakers should stay the course. Otherwise, it’s two more years of ugly ugly basketball with nothing to show for it.

  61. Any mentioning of amnestying Kobe is reflective of a lack of appreciation for great players in relation to how franchises are built. It also shows a lack of understanding and/or appreciation for how franchises go through ups and downs. The Lakers have been incredibly lucky in building fantastic teams but they’re not entitled to win every year. The fact the fans still believe that they are continues to baffle me. I understand *wanting* them to. But I don’t understand the approach that this should happen at all costs regardless of loyalty (which matters in how franchises are viewed as a viable destination).

  62. Lakers and Celtics are not just lucky, they designed to be always contending for Championship. From the 50’s, it was dominated by Minneapolis Lakers, the 60’s owned by the Celtics, the 70’s the Knicks and Celtics; 80’s the Lakers and Celtics; 90’s Bulls and Spurs and ’00 to ’10 Lakers and Spurs.

    Therefore, there is a tradition of winning among these teams and it created a fan base perception that their team should always contend every year. They are paying a huge premium on tickets, promos, cable, why would we accept a mediocre team? The ups and and downs may be a realistic expectation but to any Laker fan whether in this board or the fans on the streets, they expect their team to be in contention always….that is not a baffling expectation but that’s attributed to passion of winning tradition.

  63. Darius: While we are talking about loyalty, What about Lamar? What about Ronnie Lester? What about all the scouts? What about Brian Shaw? Just sayin : )

  64. @Darius, Yes.

    Kobe could have signed his contract and become a bum like most players in their 16th-sixteenth-XVI year. Yet, he has not faltered on his competitive desire. Some of you think that he is chasing Kareem’s Laker scoring record. I doubt it! He’s chasing GOAT. And, he knows that rings are the only way that he can do that.

    Many complain about Kobe’s shot selection. Rightfully so. However, no one can complain that Kobe does not expend every ounce of his energy on the floor in each and every shot that he takes. Can that be said about other players on the Lakers? No. We have all watched our 7footers go up with weak shots at the rim that are either blocked, or fall woefully short of the rim.

    Still I say, Kobe is on the floor with a bad wrist, mangled fingers and a surgically repaired knee, in his 16th season. Show me another franchise player that has done that, or is doing that.

  65. It isn’t about “entitlement.” It’s about the team.

  66. Robert,
    Ill respond to that last inquiry.

    There is a difference between loyalty and wanting to change directions. Upper management decided that they no longer wanted to follow the route of the triangle (since only 1 coach has ever won with it and that coach is gone), and so Shaw was not such a bright and shiny object. That’s not a loyalty issue, he had many good years here, and was able to secure another job elsewhere. It’s not like the lakers threw him under the bus.

    Nobody has any idea why the scouts were dismissed – so maybe theres some claim there.

    We also don’t know what happened to Ronnie lester, aside from that he was dismissed before the lockout. Their are only speculations of what happened their and it would be unfair to call the organization disloyal because they parted ways with an individual.

    And for Lamar – we were going to trade him for a star in CP3. That doesn’t show disloyalty in professional sports, that shows its a business where the Lakers were trying to improve themselves. Last year the Lakers four best players were Kobe, Pau, Lamar, and Bynum, and at no point in time could all four of our best players be on the floor together. Thats a problem, and is inefficient. So after getting swept for lack of guards, it makes sense that the Laker management would want to go in a different direction.
    And after the trade went through, Lamar went to management and asked out. Management acquiesced because they don’t want players on the Lakers roster that do not want to be there. That sounds like a pretty loyal action to me.

  67. Buzz – if I understand amnestying correctly, the Lakers are still on the hook for whatever portion of Kobe’s salary the team he signs with doesn’t pick up.

    So for the next two years that would be 27 & 30 Million. Let’s say a team picks him up for 10 million a year (I think that is high) the Lakers get to spend close to 40 million dollars to watch Kobe play for another team for the next two years. Sure it is off the cap – but it is not off the books.

    Plus it is a PR nightmare both with fans and other players watching how the front office treated (arguably) the greatest player in franchise history.

    And finally, who do you replace him with, that you know you are going to get? What if they come up empty? Lakers are the most valuable franchise in the NBA (so we are told) – who out there replaces Kobe’s value? LBJ and ……?

    I just don’t see it. Am I missing something?

  68. Cdog there are plenty if players currently on this team test don’t want to be here. They are the ones standing around watching when Zkobe is going one on five.

    Also people stop crying about Lin. Brown would have left him on the bench and jimmy would have released him to acquire another slow footed, bad shooting sub.

  69. I’m hoping its the lack of training camp…maybe tired legs…but I have to believe eventually some of these wide open shots will fall.

    Barnes, Blake and even peace should be hitting those shots. We have one athlete(mcroberts) he has got to play more.

    Bynum needs to either learn a counter move to the drop step or accept his limitations and be a spirited rebounded and defender.

    And for gods sake…can someone teach Mike brown how to make in game adjustments…its no coincidence we have the same stagnation problems Cleveland had.

  70. Cdog: Meant to compliment ur post @16 earlier. U + I see i 2 i on KB. #8 +24 on the Wall !! Loyalty: Just search the web for stories on Jim Buss and see if most of them are negative/positive + draw ur own conclusions. Here’s the story: Owner’s health starts failing, son takes over, sibling rivalry, most of upper management leaves, strategy changes, and most of all – results are declining. Sounds like a soap opera not a basketball team.

  71. I agree have to find a way to get MWP off the books. Had the chance last year he wanted out and Lakers kept him. Could the Lakers do something like the CLE-LAC trade where Lakers dump salary and a pick for a marginal player for cap space. Don’t need another situation like Luke 5 years ago.

    And play the young guys get them experience.

  72. You nailed it Robert. Plus his own sister won’t talk to him. Mitch will leave. Sooner then later Jim will start thing about the $58 million they owe Kobe. McCort equals Jimmy Buss. Dudes with no knowledge and never played the game.

    We have problems Laker fans. Maybe a 11th spot in the West will bring Dr. Buss out of the poker room to save the day.

    Maybe.

  73. The only way we can get rid of MWP is amnesty him. We need him now for defense. MB just can’t coach him (who could at this point other than PJ?). We can’t dump salary on any1 unless we give them something in return. That would be picks, AB, or PG. We have nothing else of value. MWP is $7-8 million thru 14 : ( Luke is $6 thru 13, so that is 1/4 of our cap : (

  74. Also, the Lakers do not need to dump salary – there is no use in it unless u own the team and want profits. Dumping salary only helps you if you can get under the cap. The Lakers can’t get under the cap, unless we do something extreme (see Buzz). The cap will be $60 million next year and KB, PG, and AB will make $63. No FA, no amnesty players, no rabbits out of the hat.

  75. 74,
    74,

    Good summary on the state of the Lakers inside/out. That’s what Roland Lazenby said in his book unless they are deemed considered inaccurate. How come we don’t hear anymore on Jeanie Buss? What happened to the friend of Chick – Bill Berthka? gone. Kareem was so disappointed with his tenure with the Lakers. Elgin Baylor, never heard anymore after departure from Clippers tho’ his jersey still prominently hanging there at Staples. Magic J. prefer to go after the Dodgers than invest on the Lakers. I don’t hear anymore about Bill Sharman or Tex Winter and Jerry West opted to go to the Warriors (6 hours away from his house in Bel Air) while he’s still the Executive Director of the Northern Trust Open which is coming soon. Why not be a consultant of the Lakers? It was also reported that including Mitch K is getting tired of acting as a bridge in teaching this Buss kid, listening to his new Coach and in the hunt for the right players with limited scouting. These are the foundation of the franchise, it was not an overnight experience that suddenly became Champions. Don’t tell me that these people abandoned the Lakers just like that. There seems to be relevance to your description of the dysfunctional family commingling with our beloved team.

  76. Kevin it was a matter of time. Metta is plain terrible on offense. The worst by the way in tbe NBA. He has some points on his criticism of Brown who had tbe same type of problems in Cleveland.

    Bottom line is you can’t put two bad offensive players like Fisher and Metta on the floor at tbe same time. It creates a double on Zkobe and a double on Andrew. A 5 year old can see that but it appears Brown can’t.

    It’s time for Peace to peace out. He is unstable and is now a distraction on and off the court. He proved his point last night by scoring zero in 12 minutes and almost starting two fights while getting three fouls. He us a ticking time bomb and with a weak coach like Brown I see a disaster in the near future. Get rid of him NOW!

  77. One game away from a great win against the Celtics, and this is how people react? i’m not one for making excuses but 5 games in 7 days would take a toll on the best of them, and playing a back to back after a playoff-like OT game. this is my humble opinion.
    and yes it was sickening to see our team lose like that… however I still stick to thinking we truly have been spoiled to have had one of the greats play/played for our team this long.

  78. One game away from a great win against the Celtics, and this is how people react?
    ___

    The Boston game was fun, but it wasn’t a “great win.”

    We are 27 games in and the Lakers have major problems. That is why the conversations are focused the way they are.

  79. Edwin

    I feel very confidant about my sources and they say it is worse then we think. Jeanne and Jimmy don’t even say hello when they pass due to prior conflicts between Phil and Jimmy.

  80. Ken, I hope it’s not too late to trade him. Last year would’ve been a good time. We’re stuck with a cancer.

    My main thing is the team identity. 27 games in no offensive identity. And actual NBA players are shooting 28% from 3 last in the league.

  81. David ever team plays back to back and 5 games in 7 days. Knicks just won again today on the road in a back to back.

    That is a tired, over worn excuse and the same one Brown has been crying about after every game. Maybe if he played Kobe less minutes and allowed Eubanks and McRoberts, who were starters 6-weeks ago to get any minutes it might help!

  82. Ken,

    They can’t get rid of Metta right now. Who would take him? If they sat Fisher, the team would be addition by subtraction. Brown is too stiff minded thus far to stray from the known whether that known entity is sinking the team or not.

    Fisher is reminding me of a boxer who stays in the ring too long. 2 years ago he got snuck some haymakers in and made a difference. A man has to know his limitations. Hang ‘em up, dude. Honestly though, as long as they’re paying, he’s staying.

  83. 1/2Decaf: U better check those expiring contracts. We will not be under the cap until 14-15. KB, PG, MWP, + SB = $62 million through 14 – painful I realize, but don’t hope for stuff that can’t happen : ) I didn’t even include AB (option yr) in that total : )
    David R: Haven’t seen u post too much, so stick around. Some of us are really sick and we say this stuff after wins too : ) Cause it is still just as true then.

  84. Hale I would rather start Barnes and use Eubanks off the bench. If I am coach Metta dosen’t get off the bench. He will emplod which could cancel his contact if he has a morals clause like he had in Houston.

    This is called a big win by subtraction?

    At least Fisher has class. Just no skill.

  85. 1/2 Decaf: I just looked again and it is even worse than I thought. The only non-min deal that expires after this year is Barnes @ $2 mill. If we let him go we can get to within $27 million of the cap. So if u have an idea as to how we can shed about $30 mill in salary, we will be able to “land some help” like u want : ) Sorry – misery loves company – so i am drawing u into the nightmare : )

  86. decaf,

    As long as they are over the cap, all they can offer FAs is the mini-MLE and the minimum. You probably know this.

    As to next year, my guess is that Fisher will wind up accepting a buyout. They might be able to trade Walton’s expiring–Walton is known for his great attitude, etc. They could also exercise the team option on Bynum as you suggest and may be shopping him next deadline. He may want out by then. It is unlikely that they could get a better player than Bynum in such a scenario, however.

  87. Luke is locked through 13; Fish has a player option through 13; u are correct on AB, but are u proposing we release him? u are also correct on the amnesty, so we could use that for MWP. So if we excercise our option on AB (where is Aaron when I need him?), and amnesty MWP, we will be at $80 mill +/-, The cap is $60.

  88. Robert it’s worse then you think. The new deal starts to come in next year so $30 million over goes to close to $45 and the next year $60 with penalty.

    Buss made $30 million 2 years ago with a full slate of playoff games.

    Lakers broke even last year with at least 10 home playoff games lost and if there are no playoff games this year they will actually lose money. Hence the Sasha non-use and the Odom give away they may never be used, add in the savings of $8 million with coach change, $2 million with long time scout firing and dumping coaches making more like Shaw and you can read between the Dollie signs.

  89. Ken,

    When does the Time-Warner deal kick in, and with revenue sharing, how much of that does the team get, approximately?

  90. Kicks in next year. We all will know because we will have to pay between $9.95 and $15 more on our cable bill per month to watch Laker games. Just like the Yes Network to watch Yankee games in New York.

    Don’t know second part of your question but I will ask on Monday.

  91. Ken: I am with u, it is depressing to even look at. Can u imagine being Mitch, working with this payroll, and having to answer 2 Jim? No wonder the rumors r there.
    rred: Luke is @$5.8. Kmart just signed for $2.5 to put light on this. Please elaborate : ) Just ribbing u : ) i think u and i both know we r stuck w Luke : )

  92. It is possible that a team might take Walton’s deal next year, use him as a mentor etc. and then use his deal to clear cap space before the luxury tax kicks in. I don’t see Walton taking a buyout when is owed almost 6M. But with all the cost-cutting, it is hard to see the Lakers doing what they would need to do–take on a decent player with a bad contract.

    Houston has passed the Lakers in the standings; they are 16-11. That might make Houston think about a Pau trade again, if they feel he can get them into the Top 4 in the West.

  93. Decaf

    Trading Pau and KO is easy.

    Trading Walton, Fisher, Metta, Murphy is impossible.

    We have only 2 trade assets. Pau and Andrew since few teams can even afford Kobe’s $28 million. I think that is higher then Charlotte and Washington.

  94. The best idea is amnestying B.Lightyear!
    Cheers!

  95. Using the amnesty clause on Kobe will change the perception of our franchise from the most storied, respected franchise in the league to the cold-hearted b**tard willing to do anything and everything to win, without regard for its employees.

    I understand these arguments:

    -Kobe didn’t show loyalty in 2007 when he was ready to jump ship before his contract expired
    -We’ve already done disloyal things (Lamar, our scouts and employees)

    I’m just pointing out that amnestying Kobe Bean Bryant will have more far-reaching consequences on future free agents than … “They let Ron Lester go!?!? No way I sign there now!”

    I’m not suggesting loyalty for Kobe’s sake only (he made it clear in 2007 that this is a business only). I’m suggesting it for the sake of attracting future free agents and players. Right now we remain one of the most respected franchises in the league to players (I’m talking in general terms over several decades, not at this particular point in time). Using the amnesty clause on Kobe would be a Palin-esque gaffe in our PR rating among players.

    Sometimes, the intangibles matter.

  96. Kobe is NOT getting Amnestied UNLESS he asks out which to me is a real possibility given his desire to get to 6 rings. quite frankly I’m shocked that Kobe hasn’t shown his displeasure with this team already

  97. Paul L: Bingo. Not even Jim Buss is so selfish as to do this w/o KB’s permission. Further it would be difficult to do this so that KB would go somewhere attractive. There4 he is probably staying. The issue is getting him a ring. Being “patient”, “letting them play the games”, and allowing MB’s system to gel, do not appear to be getting him that. Call it entitlement if u wish, I call it rooting for the team.

  98. Can we forget about j Lin? He did’nt show anything w the warriors and that,s probably only one reason he’s been bouncing around.

    I’m guessing he’s nobody’s answer.

  99. Ken,

    Though I never said a “big” win, it would be a win. All class but his game is gone except in rare spurts. I had hopes for Metta, but for 2 years now he’s situational. Slow guys he can handle. As a specialist, he should only be a break glass in case of emergency type.

    I’d start Ebanks to see what you have so Barnes is what he alway has been.

  100. Paul L–

    Right, as some of us have said. And I agree–a scenario could develop such that Kobe asks out.

  101. 105,

    I respectfully disagree on what you said about Kobe’s rant in ’07. Without that rant, the sleeping giant would not wake up because they were satisfied w/ Walton’s skills, Smushcalade and Kwame’s big calves, at that time Mitch K was saying they just need a little tweaking and waiting for their beast to develop i.e. Baby Socks learning his basketball from the Cap. After Kobe’s rants, the Dr worked his way to get back to the fold and attend to the team. He followed Kobe all the way to Barcelona to explain to him the grand plan, Mitch amends and met Kobe. Because of that framework, we saw the emergence of Laker wanting to win from infusion of Ariza then Gasol and Lakers went on the Finals in ’08 despite the absence of the well fed beast. Therefore, what I’m saying don’t misinterpret Kobe’s action as disloyalty but more on “concerned” like those occupiers today protesting on the state of government.

    BTW, as we speak Mitch K is working hard to upgrade the Lakers even to the point of inviting the “has beens” like Iverson and “skip-to-my-lou” Alston. I think there is still speed on those legs and would be an improvement than we currently have. Will it be good for long term? Idoubt it, you won’t know until you try it but if Lakers have Arenas, Iverson and Alston @ $1M each, hey it would help purple and gold. I would take that with grain of salt that they could intimidate other teams with their longstanding basketball reputation, pride is still in their heart in chase of a ring.

  102. Bargnani is not playing today.

  103. @103 I would add Blake to that list as well.