All-Star Game Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  February 26, 2012

It’s finally time for the main event of the weekend.

After a three point contest that saw Kevin Love take out two pure shooters (though, to be fair, both KD and James Jones looked off) and a dunk contest that should immediately be erased from our memories ala Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it will be nice to have an actual game to cheer for.

And really, that’s what today’s game should offer: a chance to cheer. While I want the West to win and would like to see good showings from Kobe and Bynum, this is more about enjoying the incredible amount of talent on the floor as a basketball fan. With all the best players in the league in one place, I don’t see how tonight could really be about anything else.

With that said, I won’t just be watching the action on the floor with an eye for good basketball. There are other things I’ll be watching for as the game unfolds:

  • How hard will Kobe go? Last year I wondered before the contest if Kobe would go after the MVP and my curiousness was well founded as Bean attacked from the opening tip and ended up winning the award for the 4th time. Tonight, though, will he go after it the same way? Last year’s game was in Los Angeles and one of the main backstories heading into the weekend was the Lakers poor play with Kobe’s play serving as a strong reminder that he, and his team, should not be dismissed. This game doesn’t offer the same environment or circumstances (though Kobe is close to becoming the ASG’s all time leading scorer) and I wonder if he’ll approach the game the same way.
  • How assertive will Bynum be? This is his first all-star game and there are often a heavy dose of nerves that come with that. Will he be consumed by the nerves or will he put them aside and show he belongs? He’ll be matched up with Dwight Howard at the start of the game but he’ll be sharing the floor with (arguably) the best 7 best players in the league when the game starts (LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Paul, Durant, Howard, and Rose in no particular order). With that level of talent on the floor, how Bynum fits in will be an interesting note on his first all-star experience.
  • Who will be the MVP? In year’s past, the home team guy has a leg up in chasing the MVP. His teammates look for him more and that guy has a bit extra in his tank to go after it. Will this trend hold for Dwight Howard tonight? His situation is complicated by his desire to be traded from the Magic (and thus the city of Orlando) and by the talent of his teammates (LeBron, Wade, Rose) who are all prime candidates to win the award themselves and put their stamps on this game. Personally, I think the MVP will come down to LeBron or Durant but I could also see Rose sneaking in there and taking it.
  • I wonder this every year, but who will take the shots down the stretch if the game is close? In year’s past, for the West, Kobe has been this guy but last year Durant hit a big shot in the closing minute as Kobe sort of faltered. Will KD be the main dog now or will Kobe still be the guy the West goes to? And what of the East? Will LeBron take the shot or play the set up role? Will Wade be that guy? Maybe Rose will carry over his role with the Bulls to the East team? I simply hope we get a close game so we can see how it all goes down.
  • What funky lineups will we see? I love the idea of a Paul, Durant, Dirk, Love, and Bynum super-sized line up for the West. I’d love to see a Nelly inspired Wade, LeBron, Melo, Iguodala, and Rondo lineup for the East where every player could handle the ball, create shots for himself or a teammate, and get out in the open floor and run a killer fast break. There are a million different ways to mix and match the best players in the world and I can’t wait to see what Brooks and Thibs do.
Obviously my list is incomplete, so what are you watching for? Is there a particular player you’ll be watching closely? A trend you hope to or hope not to see? Let me know in the comments and enjoy the game.

Darius Soriano

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164 responses to All-Star Game Preview & Chat

  1. Darius: Enjoy the game + thanks again for this great board.

    Everyone: The posts and the level of thought put into them, put this board on a level all its own.

    That said: This is the ASG, so I am in total Kobe mode tonight !!!

  2. This ASG should be fun. So many, subplots.

    Happy birthday, Mimsey!

  3. At tip off Kobe officially played in his 13th game which is tied for 2nd all time; He also started his 13th game which ties him for 1st all time (he has been NAMED as a starter 14 times which is alone at #1 on that list).

  4. Bynum with the block on Howard.

  5. Kobe lighting it up so far. Robert, we need Kobe to save some of that hot shooting for the 2nd half of the season! :-)

  6. Kobe looks good out there right now. As per Aaron’s prediction…Bynum is just a guy. He looks like he is laboring getting up and down the court. Hopefully he doesn’t play too much so that he can rest his legs.

  7. He’s already passed Oscar and Kareem in total points, only MJ to go. He also moved into 2nd all time in FG’s and is only 2 behind Allen for 1st in 3 pointers. Like I said: Aniliation of the record book : )

  8. What I root for n an All-Star Game:

    1. A good, highlight-fest of a game that gets somewhat competetive at the end (can care less who wins).

    2. Lakers participants to get a few buckets (Drew might of already shot that down).

    3. And last, but definitely not least, No Injuries for any Lakers players.

  9. Real defensive struggle so far…

  10. Joel: You are a KB guy, so let’s root for him to go nuts. He can take out a few records here.

    Mimsy: You too – Happy Birthday

  11. Alright. Now Kobe needs to just get his 6 points and shut it down. No possible way he can win MVP with Durant and Westbrook playing like they are.

  12. Who the hell draws blood in an All-Star Game?

  13. Uh oh. I think we may see Kobe wake up after that foul. That was a pretty hard foul especially for an all star game.

  14. cheap shot by Wade! Kobe aint gonna take it easy now

  15. WTF is wrong with Wade? Was Kobe going hard at him on D?

  16. It is just another reason to not like the Heat. Of course he will take no criticism because it was Kobe and there are plenty of haters.

  17. Then Griffin ignored Kobe for a wide open layup and threw the ball to Durant.

    Us against the world guys. It is the same for Mitch.

  18. Robert-
    You’re absolutely right on that. If the roles were reversed and Kobe would have close-lined Wade, then you would have seen a different reaction from commentators.

    Meh whateva.

  19. Kobe now has scored the most career points in all-star history. Congrats.

  20. Yes – Kobe passed MJ for all time ASG scoring, so that is another item checked off his list. The 6th ring box still needs to be checked however : )

  21. Yes – Kobe eclipsed MJ for all time ASG scoring, so that is another item checked off his list. The 6th ring box still needs to be checked however : )

  22. Does anyone else get pissed off by Durant in the All Star game? His gunning is so blatantly awful. At this point I remember exactly 2 passes. It’s probably just because I’m a Kobe fan and want him to win MVP. But at this point I’d rather lebron take the MVP over Durant.

    At the same time I do appreciate the intrateam rivalry between Kobe and Durant for 2 years now. It’s a bit funny how Westbrook thinks he’s on the same level as those two.

  23. Maybe I just have bad timing, but I’ve been looking up at the TV every now and then for a few minutes at a time since the start of the 3rd quarter, and I haven’t seen Kobe make a shot.

  24. Everclear – at this point Kobe would have to steal the ball from Durant to get a shot attempt.

  25. U got it Snoop. Lakers against the world. We are the Evil Empire !!!! : )

  26. Is it me or does the East do this every year?

  27. Of course LeBron passes.

  28. Kobe is jawing at Pierce and Lebron hard

  29. So here is the Kobe All Time All Star Game Career total run down: Team Selections: 3rd, Named as a Starter 1st, Games Started t1st, Games played t2nd, MVP’s t1st, Minutes: 6th, FG’s: 1st, FGA’s: 2nd, 3PFG: 2nd, 3PFGA’s 2nd, Assists: t9, Steals: 2nd,

    Points: 1st

  30. Why did Bynum play just 5 minutes? Was it at his request because of the recent injury to his knee?

  31. BTW, over the course of this game – was it just me or did anyone else enjoy watching Pierce struggle hardcore?

  32. Did you see Kobe chastising Lebron for not putting the ball on the floor during that last play for the East? It’s obvious who Is the stronger mentally thats why #24 Is better

  33. No doubt KB is better than LeBronze : )

    AB got the injection is the main reason he sat, however at one point they said he tweaked it in practice – that might not be right though. Not sure.

  34. Once again Lebron proves that he is not a go to guy at the end of a game. Throws a bad pass instead of taking on Kobe. Anyone think Kobe would pass up the last shot?

  35. Kobe to LeBron after TO “Bron really, Bron really”

    Kobe, Deron, Griffin all missed. If LeBron would just take the shot. You could tell he took it hard.

  36. Love it Kevin. By the way, I hope you noticed @32 that KB is #9 in dimes : )

    OK – that is it – I am out of full Kobe mode – back into Laker mode.

    We have 18 days.

  37. I agree with the comments that KD was excessively chucking and not passing the rock. I also noticed that CP3 and Blake didn’t want to feed mamba either – even when Kobe was only a few points away from MJ’s ASG total pts scored mark. Bunch of haters

  38. Very entertaining ASG.

    One thing I noticed: There is no one in the ASG, that is Kobe’s age. Everyone is older or younger.

    Another testament to how awesome a player Kobe Bean Bryant is.

    CP3 is the best pg in the league, he looked to pass the ball first. All of the other pg’s looked to score first.

    One of these days LBJ is going to get it in his head that no one can stop him but LBJ.

    Lastly, Kobe is still relevant in the ASG even though he has lost his quickness and athleticism. That must kill the other ASG players.

  39. I feel sorry for LBJ

  40. I find it amusing that over on the daily thunder blog they are accusing Kobe of being a chucker in the game when their boy Durant took the most shots. I live in OKC, there is a very strong disliking of Kobe here for whatever reason. I always remind them that kobe averages more assists for his career than their boy Durant. Of course there is also that 5 rings thing too…

  41. Didn’t like that Wade foul at all. Really cheap and sneaky. There will always be questions about LeBrawn…he has to win it all to silence his critics. He is an incredible talent, possibly the most talented player I’ve ever seen…but his bball smarts and his heart are still an issue for me and for a lot of people.

  42. Please Help Us:

    According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post, the Los Angeles Lakers have sent the Orlando Magic a trade offer in hopes of acquiring the talents of big man Dwight Howard. All indications are that it didn’t go over so well.

    “I can tell you for a fact the Lakers offered Andrew Bynum and the Magic do not want him,” a Western Conference executive reportedly told Vecsey.

    Did not see any other accounts of this, but the trading period is officially open.

  43. Bynum = 5 minutes cuz of a bad knee.
    Kobe = concussion.

    Why did we want out players to play in the All Star game again?

    And that foul by Wade was a cheap shot and would’ve been called a flagrant in a normal game. Thib’s should’ve pulled Wade out for sheer bad sportsmanship.

  44. I agree KD was going for the MVP. A lot of west players were freezing Kobe out guess the next generation is trying to take over. But you have to win to do that, right.

    What a cheap foul by Wade. I’m sure that was built up anger of being in Kobe’s shadow somewhat for the better part of his career. Guess that’s what happens when your on a 18 win team, lol.

  45. Aye yai yai – HoopsHype has a rumor of Bynum & Gasol, for Howard, Nelson, Turkeglu . . . I totally get the Gasol issues (as to his fading value, planning for future, the debates here on blowup v. quick.fix), but I’d miss him if he were gone, such a pleasure to watch him play basketball. (And who the Hell would pay the 4? Sheed? MWP? Someone under 35 (McBob from the deep bench)?
    Ok [deep breath], here comes the second half of the season…

  46. Well, the ASG was a great show, it saved the preceding encore. Another disappointing loss for Lebron and he was not happy the way it ended. Whoever scheduled this year’s ASG was not smart at all to compete with the Oscars.

    Before the hard foul, kobe tried to intercept the ball from D’Wade which caused him to lose it, in return he fouled Kobe hard unintentionally.

  47. The more and more I see the replay of Wade’s foul the more I think it was a dirty play. Kobe was open in the ASG in the 3rd qtr. why did wade foul so hard? Wade needs to get booed hard when he comes to staples.

  48. “I can tell you for a fact the Lakers offered Andrew Bynum and the Magic do not want him,” a Western Conference executive reportedly told Vecsey.

    ____

    This is probably someone working for Cuban or Cuban himself. Hollinger (in between cheap shots at Kobe) re-Tweeted someone saying that the Nets now believe that Howard will not be traded.

    I was a little surprised by the way Howard played tonight; he appeared to take the game less seriously than anyone else out there.

    Anyway. I would suggest to the mods the possibility that they set up an easily accessible trade deadline thread from now until about March 20. I think the discussions are fine and timely given the circumstances, but I am not particularly interested in hearing more complaints from those who disagree–and like it or not, the focus in the media, in the FO (and even to an extent among the players themselves) from now until 3.15 is going to be roster moves and rumors thereof.

  49. Trade rumor season is officially open.

  50. For those who didn’t watch the ASG and missed Wade’s foul on Kobe:

    http://youtu.be/BKeiXktTvN4

    Didn’t look that dirty to me, but definitely weird coming in an ASG. Guess Kobe had a potty mouth during the game?

  51. Kobe gets a nasal fracture in a meaningless game. Obvious cheap shot no apologies afterwards suggest it was some intent behind it.

    Stay classy Wade. smh

  52. So does the tape get reviewed and a flagrant assessed after the fact? Or is this (as the headlines on ESPN would suggest) a non-story? The highest scorer in NBA ASG history gets his nose broken in an exhibition game, but that’s all good?

  53. Wade broke Kobe’s nose and Rondo’s elbow. Funny how these guys are taking shots at 24 when they see his team isn’t as strong. Kobe remained humble throughout. Get Howard so Kobe can win this year.

    Enemies can show respect. Classless move by Wade. No apologies no nothing

  54. I thought it looked dirty…and in an exhibition?

  55. No doubt it was a dirty foul. I’ve watched the history between the two evolve, and as big a fan of Kobe as anyone here, no one here can deny his snide arrogance. This clearly rubs Wade the wrong way as he believes he is better (at least now). There’s a slight feeling amongst Wade and some of the other younger generation guys that Kobe is a ballhog. No doubt there is respect but there is also a lot of jealousy. Just my two cents. Also Kobe had locked Wades arm on the play in order to get the first step and position baseline, which obviously pissed Wade off. Nevertheless, Wade deserves heat (NPI) for a bush league move and at least should have gave him a sorry of some sort after his nose was bleeding…to think if that happened to anyone else in the NBA, it’d be a bigger deal (an injury caused by a flagrant foul?? Wtf) sad to see but it’s still simply a testament to Kobe’s passion and will to be great. The new school all see MJ as God. Kobe has always dared to be better.

  56. Based AB’s 5 minutes a lot if teams are going to have second thoughts on him. He looked wounded. I have a bad feeling about him 2nd half.

    As for Howard I have been saying for 2 weeks he is not going any where. You don’t throw away $30 million with new CB agreement about to scare away most.

    Lakers must make some bold moves and fast. This is and has been a 5th/ 6th seed and that’s one and out.

    Make a move Mitch. NOW.

  57. DWade broke Kobe’s nose with that cheap shot. Because it was done in the ASG, the likelihood of any repercussions to Wade is very small.

  58. Reports are coming out that Kobe suffered a nasal fracture due to that flagrant and totally unnecessary cheap shot by Wade. I wonder if there will be any action taken by Mr. Stern (doubt it coz its Kobe and the Lakers). I hope Laker teammates MWP McBob an Barnes will return the favor when the Heat visit the lakers next week

  59. Agree that Wade needs to get knocked down. I am guessing Barnes. Of course, he will probably get suspended 5 games by the petty Laker hater Stern. Oh how different the narrative would be if the roles would reversed. Can you imagine all of the ESPN vitriol directed to KB24 if he did something similar to Wade?

    Orlando would be exceedingly foolish not to move Dwight before the deadline. He was clearly uninterested yesterday. Even his comments before the game were forced. No chance he remains in Orlando, even the supposed financial advantage is a mirage. The only real advantage is an extra year, but that is largely irrelevant because this won’t be his last contract. As someone above said, any stories about Orlando not wanting Bynum or not trading Howard are likely directly attributable to Cuban.

  60. Wade did comment on the play (see below):

    “Yeah, I obviously didn’t try to draw no blood, but I took a foul,” Wade said afterward. “Kobe fouled me two times in a row, so he’s still got one up on me. But I’m glad that everything was cool and we got back to being competitive and having fun.”

    -@weaksauce

  61. I don’t know 1/2 D & R whether hurting someone is the best revenge. I believe victory at Staples should be the focus on 3/4. Whether there is jealousy involved or not, these all stars have been playing with each other for many years now, represented US in many international competitions and formed a fraternity in protecting each other during the recent lockout. Don’t be fooled by the Show or the Entertainment. IMO, they all can handle those hard fouls without any childish reaction for retribution.

  62. I think Orlando trades Dwight there not getting past Miami maybe Chicago. But there not getting out the East.

    If Dwight gets to FA. Too many better options Dallas, Brooklyn, Boston. That pregame ASG speech sounded more like a farewell.

  63. Judging by Wade’s comments about the foul, what he did was in retaliation. Not cool at all. To me, that cast a pall on the entire game.

  64. I’m not saying Wade deserves a Bynum elbow to the face on Sunday. I’m just saying if it does happen, I may or may not applaud.

    The difference is Kobe closes out the game with a broken nose, while Wade would require a wheelchair and make his crying face. Based on Wade’s comments afterwards, it seems premeditated and he has no regret – Kobe must have done something to really get under his skin.

    I’m sure this is going to get a lot of “wtf”s, but I was hoping near the end that Lebron would get the MVP over Durant. Putting their off-court personalities aside, Lebron’s game is pure and unselfish. He was a head and shoulders above everyone else on the court. Durant’s gunning for the 2nd year in a row made me want to vomit. Kobe still had long periods where he stood in the corner and let other guys shine. Durant hunted down the ball on every possession and rarely gave it up once he touched it (unless it was to Westbrook).

    Kudos to James Harden and the rest of the Thunder. Just watching Durant and Westbrook last night made me want to turn it off.

  65. Hard foul by Dwade (expecially considering it’s an All Star Game), but nothing Dirty and definitely not a Cheapshot. Do to the fact that Kobe ended up with a Broken Nose, I feel that kats are being overly sensitive about the foul. I do agree that if it was Kobe who would have commited the foul, the Media would tear him a new a**hole. Looking 4ward to hearing what Kobe has to say regarding the incident.

  66. Ken,
    Don’t get crazy. Bynum has three of these injections a year. It’s preventative. You aren’t supposed to take part in strenuous physical activity for 48 hours after the lubricant is injected. He was ordered not to play many minutes and take it easy out there. That’s what he did. If you want to take anything out of what we saw in the ASG it’s that LeBron is on a different level than the best players in the world. He is super human.

  67. ““Yeah, I obviously didn’t try to draw no blood, but I took a foul,” Wade said afterward”

    He’s pulling the old double-negative trick there!! Pretty crafty, D-Wade!

  68. It’s crazy the rumors already floating around about a deal for Dwight Howard, seems like a ton of smoke screens without any real indication of what is going to happen.

  69. Here’s a little more context to Wade’s quotes regarding the foul on Kobe and the game itself…

    “Yeah, I obviously didn’t try to draw no blood, but I took a foul,” Wade said afterward. “Kobe fouled me two times in a row, so he’s still got one up on me. But I’m glad that everything was cool and we got back to being competitive and having fun.”

    and…

    “Tonight, he does what he normally does,” Wade said of Bryant. “He got 27. He’s Kobe Bryant. He scores the ball. He’s a tough cover. But it’s great being a little piece of history. He’s one of the best of all time. We will one day say we had the honor of playing against one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.”

    So put down the pitchforks and torches, for now =)

  70. What goes around, comes around.

    ____________________________

    Nah. The problems with that are

    a) Wade doesn’t play for Dallas.
    b) This ASG is just an exhibition.

    Also, Kobe got a broken, not a bloody, nose. So you are wrong on the facts as well

    Bynum deserved to be suspended for his hit on Barea–arguably for 10 games rather than 4. But that has nothing to do with what Wade did.

    If Wade gets elbowed in the face here on Sunday, I assume you wil say, ‘What goes around, comes around.”

  71. Kobe is still relevant 14 years after his first ASG. DWade was a freshman in college when Kobe played in his first ASG. They are all wondering when this guy is going to go away. Remember when Paul Pierce thought he was better than Kobe Bryant? He did that for one year. Look at Paul Pierce this year in the ASG, I was embarrassed for him and the way he played. Non-factor!

    DWade did not intend on hurting Kobe. Foul him, yes. Injure him, no. Believe me, they may not like Kobe, but they all respect what he does. Just look at who they turned to in the Olympics.

    Because of this game, LBJ will turn the corner and take the last shot regardless of the results. He is unbelievably talented.

    Was he trying to pass the ball to DWade or Melo?

    Kobe asked LBJ, why’d you pass it, man. Take that shot! LBJ will never forget that about Kobe. Good to see Kobe extend some advice to LBJ. If LBJ hung out with Kobe instead of DWade, LBJ would become the greatest to ever play the game.

    Waiting with bated breath for management’s next move.

  72. sbdunks – All the full quote shows is that it was a deliberate act of retribution. He felt he got fouled so he hit Kobe around the face and shoulders. Minimal (if any) attempt to play the ball either. Not saying he was aiming to injure, but in another game, that looks flagrant 1 to me.

    But from my perusal of the media, it’s apparently a non-story. Do we have a persecution complex as Laker fans? Perhaps justified in this veto season…

  73. 78,

    There was blood. Anyone who watched the game knows that. And if it were a regular game that would be a flagrant I at least.

  74. The bottom line in any ASG is that the players want to entertain AND avoid injury. Wade’s unnecessary aggression crossed the line.

  75. 79 – Regardless, he also brought the East back single-handedly, basically out-playing Kobe and Durant and Westbrook combined. I can’t believe I’m actually defending Lebron, but looking at only the last couple plays overlooks his superlative play the rest of the game. While it was funny to see him fail at the end again, you also have to acknowledge how he took apart a court full of future Hall-of-Famers.

  76. Jon Ireland has been saying a few interesting things on 710 ESPN for the last forty five minutes. He said several reliable sources in Orlando said that come the trading deadline the Magic would trade Howard for Andrew Bynum. He also has heard from several Lakers sources that the Lakers most likley wouldn’t do it. Why you ask? Not because they want Bynum more, but because Dwight has told the Lakers several times over the last four months last he will not sign an extension with Los Angeles. The thinking here is Howard and Deron Williams have a pact to go to Dallas in the offseason. They want to play together and the Magic have no interest in anything the Nets have in their roster excluding of course DWill. Some in the Lakers organization are considering making the Howard trade anyways and hoping to convince Dwight to stay in LA. The problem here would that Kobe and Gasol are old. So Dwight isn’t interested in playing with them. That could change if the Lakers could of course find a third team that would turn Gasol into DWill. We will see how all this plays out but if you trust Jon Iralands “several reliable sources within the Lakers and Magics organizations” it does not look like Howard and/Deron Williams are on the table. The Magic and Lakers are hoping Howard changes his mind… But as of now Dwight has basically handcuffed Orlando. Nobody is going to give up much to get Dwight for six weeks.

  77. Snoopy2006, couldn’t disagree more, Lebron is not a great 3 point shooter (he tied the record with six 3 pointers last night which was a fluke), the guy is shooting a career high % in 3 pointers this year because of the simple fact that he rarely even shoots them anymore. The last time he hit 6 3 pointers was probably close to a year ago. He wouldn’t shoot that well again if given the chance (especially in a real game because if he could shoot that well he would have done it to bust the Mavericks zone defense against him).

    Also Keith nobody on this planet would bash Lebron for shooting that shot and hitting it, in fact all of America would be like “Finally that’s what we have been waiting to see.” That’s how heroes are made, nobody calls Kobe selfish after a game winner.

    This is a trend that keeps coming up, if Lebron wasn’t bothered by his poor finish he wouldn’t have been so dejected in the post game interview and admit he should have shot the ball himself. Until he shows he has that it factor like Kobe or Jordan he will keep getting this flack and scrutiny.

    Also my two scents, you can’t watch that play and tell me Wade didn’t mean to foul Kobe hard. If that crap happens in streetball Wade would get his butt kicked, you can guarantee that. Friends or not, nobody stands for that garbage. It’s the freaking all-star game, it is simply inexcusable.

  78. Keith,
    I would add that people are jealous of how good Lebron is. Just like they were when Kobe was in his prime and before that when Jordan was in his. People would say MJ would never win because he was a ball hog and players that lead the league in scoring can’t win a title. It’s sad that most fans and players won’t enjoy LeBron’s historic season. He is a special player having an historic season. Just enjoy him. If you can’t do that than why be a basketball fan?

  79. AusPhil and T.Rogers, I agree with you both, if it was a regular game it probably would have been a flagrant. But you never know; Wade is a superstar who actually gets superstar calls (see MIA vs DAL finals 2006).

    But then again, when’s the last time a flagrant has been called in the Lakers favor? I’m still shocked that Haywood foul on Gasol in Dallas was not reviewed and upgraded to a flagrant. He made no play on the ball and made direct contact with Gasol’s face with both forearms/elbows.

    The Lakers, as a whole, fail to earn the same superstar/favorable calls afforded to others not wearing purple and gold.

    Remember when Kobe was actually suspended for an “unnatural basketball act” when he flailed his arms after receiving contact on a jumpshot? Not once, but twice in the same season if I recall correctly.

    “Unnatural basketball act”. We should have seen “basketball reasons” coming, guys. The league office has to coin new phrases when they screw us. Just because you throw the word “basketball” in the phrase doesn’t mean it has anything to do with actual basketball, Mr. Stern.

  80. Re: Lebron

    I sometimes feel bad for the guy. He seems to shy away from the big moments and defer to his teammates because he’s afraid of the ridicule he’d receive if he takes and misses the shot. The thing is, and I have no idea why he doesn’t see this, is that he is receiving more ridicule by NOT taking the shot. Kobe had the cajones to take those shots early in his career; I painfully remember, as most of you do as well, the multiple airballs in Utah. He was smart enough to get those airballs out of his system early. Or you can replace “smart” with “brazen” and it works as well.

    Either way, Lebron just needs to start pulling the trigger in those situations. The more he does, the more comfortable he will be. Once he does, he definitely has the potential to become the greatest ever. I for one, as a Laker homer, hope that he never does and his fear increases with each game. Unless he one day dons purple and gold, in that case I’ll just shoot him a text and get him over it, because of course, we’d be on texting terms in that dream world.

  81. Regarding LeBron:

    His so-called lack of clutchness is overblown. On that team LeBron doesn’t have to be clutch. He can run wild for three and a half quarters and then let Wade close it down. As I see it, the problem is not LeBron’s lack of being clutch. It is him not accepting it and beating a dead horse by trying to score game winners. It’s just not in the cards for him to be that player. And that is okay. The sooner he accepts this and adjusts the sooner he will win a title. He is still a phenomenal basketball player and will be first ballot HOF.

  82. LeBron is the best in the league.Just not in his nature to shoot the last shot. He makes the right play. Statistically this is the greatest season ever. He’ll win then we can get over all these silly reasons for him not being great.

  83. Keith, Aaron is the most sensational poster on this message board, he is the equivalent to Skip Bayless in my eyes so everything he says I take with a grain of salt (and many other people on this board would agree with me).

    I am not jealous of Lebron James anymore than you are, I just don’t worship the ground he walks on like you and other people do. I see his faults and I see his strengths instead of thinking everything he does is certified gold. Your comment about how people would bash Lebron for shooting the shot and hitting it shows you don’t understand the why people are critical of Lebron.

    I do not like Lebron as a person I will admit it, he is a douche and his comments/actions over the years have proved this. I am more unbiased than anyone you will ever meet when it comes to sports, you do not know me so you can’t say otherwise. However I will say he’s probably the greatest athletic talent this league has ever seen and if he truly taps his potential he could be the greatest ever, however with that being said the guy has done nothing other than put up statistics though impressive mean nothing without rings or context. Sure he will probably win 2 or 3 titles, but he has proven time and time again he doesn’t have what Kobe/Jordan/Magic had and thats the it factor when you need someone there when it matters. He scores his buckets on layups and dunks 75% of the time, has no reliable outside/midrange game and has to ride the coattails of a guy like Wade to get a title. You have your perception but I look at the facts.

    And oh yeah Lebron hasn’t hit 6 3’s in any game since April of 2010 showing last night’s shooting performance was just a fluke.

    I never once said Lebron wasn’t the best overall player in the league because he has a total package nobody else does and that’s what makes him the best, however I would take a guy like Durant over him to build my team around. I don’t want someone who is afraid to take the last shot, I want someone on my team who will take it and make or miss bounce back strongly.

  84. Keith,
    All that needs to be said is that Lakers8884 said Carmelo is a better offensive player than LeBron.

  85. Keith – what is up with your man crush on Chris Paul? Yes he’s great but I don’t even think he’s the best point guard. Did you see the Clippers vs Bulls game this season? Derrick Rose outplayed him. And personally, I think Deron Williams is better than Paul as well. Yes I believe everyone would agree LeBron is hands down the best player, but I don’t agree with you singling out Chris Paul as being on that level where he is head and shoulders better than everyone else.

  86. sbdunks:

    They did upgrade the Haywood foul to a Flagrant.

    And as I remember, the unnatural basketball acts of Kobe wasn’t his flailing arms, but actually his leg kick while he was in the air.

    You know… the shot that Dirk basically trademarked through the playoffs last spring and now Kobe uses again because Dirk was allowed to do it.

    And I’m sorry. I watched the game live. I watched the replay.
    Wade’s foul was a cheapshot. Plain and simple. He didn’t go for the ball, he grabbed Kobe’s face. If Kobe has slipped on the ground, he would’ve ended up head first on the ground.

    Plus, this happened 1 play after he whined to the officials (IN AN ALL STAR GAME) because of Kobe’s steal. It was a retributive act. He should’ve been tossed out of the game.

    While I appreciate that play in playoff basketball, where the intensity is expected to be high and the players are ready for it, I do not appreciate it in an exhibition all star game, where everyone is there to showcase for the league, have some fun, and stay healthy.

    Sure, Wade’s apology would have been more genuine if he hurt Kobe’s shoulder, or knee, or ankle, as opposed to his nose. But if that same play had happened to Wade, he would’ve wheel chaired off the court ala Paul Pierce style and cried bloody murder.

    And Lebron would’ve cried bloody murder. And Bosh would’ve cried bloody murder. And therefore Stern would literally try to sentence Kobe to murder.

    Don’t get it twisted in any other way. DWade has always been one of my favorite players – but now I seem him for what he truly is….

    A. Dirty. Player.

  87. Aaron, Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller agreed with me last night, both said Carmelo and Durant are better offensive players, which they are. Look outside of the paint and Durant and Melo both consistently put up better numbers than Lebron shooting. Sure Lebron is the better passer but being an offensive player takes into account more than passing and dunking.

    I clearly think that having two hall of fame players agree with me supports my case more than you and Keith having a crush on Lebron.

  88. Melo is shooting 43% LeBron is at 55% huh?

    Deron Williams is on a 9 win team right now. Chris Paul took the Lakers to 5 games. Lakers beat Deron’s jazz 3 years in a row in the postseason.

    LeBron is the best player. Durant is the best scorer. It’s not all about making the last shot it’s about making the right play.

  89. Kevin look at before this year, Melo has been hurt this year and last year he played uninspired ball. I’m not advocating his actions because he can be an inconsistent head case at times but the fact remains over his career he has consistently been a better shooter. Not to mention he’s never played with anyone near as talent as D Wade.

    I agree Lebron is the best player, but as far as skills like post game (he posts up 7% of the time compared to Melo who is double his post ups), mid range, 3 point shooting Lebron is behind Durant and Melo. Yes he’s a better playmaker and passer everyone can agree there.

  90. Kevin,
    See… I just can’t call Durant the best scorer when LeBron scores as much as him with far greater efficiency. I mean… We have seen Artest completley shut down Durant in play off series one on one. He makes him a 30 percent shooter. When Artest goes against LeBron he gets torched. Forget about all the other evidence that’s the one that makes it a no brainer. Durant is a heck of an offensive player but he isn’t LeBron. One could say Durant has a prettier/smoother offensive/scoring game but nota better one.

  91. For all of those on here who think we shouldn’t have traded Lamar Odom for a TE and a first round draft pick… Well… We wboth can win. Apparently it is being reported he might be getting cut from Dallas. So if we still want a flabby old back up PF we can get one for the vets min.

  92. Ugh, this thread is horrible.

    Dwayne Wade’s foul on Kobe was not a “cheap shot.” It was a hard foul that was retaliation for what he saw as Kobe’s physical defense on the two prior possessions. People here are making a big deal of this simply because Kobe got hurt, but I’m always opposed to ranking fouls based on the degree of injury it causes. There are times that a perfectly “normal” foul ends up causing injury (because of the size differential between players, or because the offensive player is off balance or unable to brace themselves when they land). That’s just basketball. It’s true that Wade’s foul was a departure from normal All Star Game protocol (in which no defense is played), but that doesn’t render the foul “dirty” or “cheap.”

    Yesterday’s game showed Lebron James exactly as he is: simply the best basketball player on the planet, but also a guy lacking the killer instincts of a Kobe or MJ. In my book, that’s not exactly a huge “knock” on the guy, since the same could be said of virtually every other player who as ever played the game. What is (or should be) clear is that LBJ is currently the best of the best. He dominated that game, and none of us under the age of 50 have ever seen a combination of size, speed, strength, and agility. Dismissing his 6 three pointers as a “fluke” comes off as ridiculously petty, and totally biased. If the MVP for the game went to the best player (instead of the highest scorer on the winning team), Lebron wins it in a walk.

    I did not hear John Ireland’s show today, but Aaron’s report is pretty interesting (and potentially daunting). Who would have thought that the Magic would trade Howard for Bynum straight up and the Lakers be the ones to reject the deal?

  93. Mojo,
    Then why is LeBron so much better offensively than Melo of thatbis true?

  94. Aaron, that was 2 years ago when Durant was in his 3rd year when Artest stifled him, he couldn’t do that now. One could say Lebron has a better TEAM offensive game, but Durant and Melo have better Individual offensive games. Lebron’s numbers are much more efficient in Miami because of Wade and Bosh, Durant plays with a PG who thinks shoot first that’s why I said context must be considered in any statistical consideration.

    Sorry Funky it is a fluke otherwise you would see the guy do it more often, and in a game where they actually play defense, not some exhibition game.

  95. Kevin – you’re really going to go to records to make a case for Chris Paul being better than Deron Williams? If Deron Williams was on the Clippers and Chris Paul was still on the Hornets, who would have the better record?

    Also, you bring up the fact that CP3 took the Lakers to 5 games (It was actually 6 games, and that same Lakers team got swept the next series), but in 2008, Utah took the Lakers to 6 games as well in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

    In the past Deron Williams usually got the better of Chris Paul when they went head to head.

  96. Aaron, I tend to agree with Lakers8884 about Carmelo. Yes LeBron scores more and shoots a higher percentage, but a lot of that is on fast break dunks and the like, he was so bad from longer range he stopped taking those shots this year. Carmelo’s offensive game is more refined. So to say we should just disregard Lakers8884 is nonsense. Half of what you say is opinion and you present it as matter of fact.

  97. Rudy I am an advocate of ranking Deron Williams ahead of Chris Paul as well, plus he doesn’t have the questionable knee that Paul has.

  98. Aaron: right Durant is the more smoother player I can see him avg. 35 ppg one year not too far down the line. But right now LeBron does everything better than everyone. He’s like Kobe at 26 when he embarrasses you offensively and defensively every night. Durant did just drop 33 on mwp. That series was 2 years go doesn’t carry much weight now.

  99. Ah shoot, I missed the Haywood foul being upgraded to a flagrant, thanks Cdog.

    I know for sure the first “unnatural basketball act” was a flailing arm that hit Ginobli in the head (@Staples 01/28/07). Not sure about the second, or if there was a second. The first resulted in a one game suspension (he missed the game @MSG that year). Everything seems to point to the second “unnatural basketball act” occuring in Minnesota on March 6, 2007. He received another one game suspension for hitting Marko Jaric in the face.

  100. Based off where the comments have gone, I need to put up a new post. Hahaha.

    I’ve been out of the mix today with some work comittments, though, so a new post will have to wait until later tonight or (more likely) tomorrow morning.

    As an aside, my two cents on some of above topics are as follows:

    *The only player that really threatens LeBron as an offensive force is Durant. Efficiency still matters here and I’ll take the guy that shoots a higher percentage on less variety of shots than the guy that offers more diversity but is less efficienct. Especially when the scoring numbers are equal. I’d equate this to arguing who was the better offensive player: Ewing or Shaq. Ewing offered a more diverse game but Shaq’s efficiency and dominance in those three (or four) in close shots he’d take made him better, imo.

    *The best PG is a difficult choice but for my money give me Chris Paul. Again, he’s the most efficient player, possesses the best feel for being a floor general (of the Rose/Deron/Paul group), and is a killer in crunch time due to his competitiveness. That doesn’t mean those other players aren’t sensational.

    *I don’t think Wade’s foul was a cheap shot but I do think it was the result of some frustration from him not getting calls at the other end. I think the fact it was in an all-star game makes it less defensible though. That said, Kobe goes hard in these games and we respect him for it. The fact that Wade went hard at him (though with a foul) shouldn’t be that crazy a thing that riles everyone up. I wish Kobe wouldn’t have gotten hurt, of course but that happens when play gets physical. Fwiw, I’d prefer a more competitive game where guys go harder rather than some of the jokey stuff that happens in these games.

  101. Just like steroids in baseball…this era needs an asterisk buy it..lebron, wade, Paul , bash and every point guard dies the same thing…accept the pick then charge to the basket…its either a layup/dunk…assist to the roll man or foul.

    Imagine if barkley or Jordan could just go to the basket unmolested…then get the foul if they happened to miss.

    I love basketball but the stats are inflated, just like the 5000 yard seasons QB’s are having.

    Lebron is great but he has a clear weakness and that is…when the ref swallows the whistle at the end of the games and he can’t barrell over the defense he gets flustered.

  102. Rudy: Chris Paul was never on a 10 win team. I’ve seen NJ play this year Deron has only got up for 2 games this year vs NY and ORL. Chris Paul never quit on New Orleans. Just like when Kobe’s help was poor he never quit. I’d put Paul, Rose, Nash, Rondo, Westbrook ahead of Deron. Just my opinion

  103. Lakers8884,
    Look at LeBron’s numbers in Cleveland when he had nobody around him. They were the best offensive numbers in the NBA for three years in a row. You can’t compare Carmelo to LeBron. You can’t do it. They are in different leagues. If you want to talk about Durant that at least isn’t laughable. But again… Durant doesmt score as efficiently as James. Does he have a better three point shot? Yes. But Jordan was a 25 percent three point shooter… That doesn’t mean Kobe is a better offensive/scorer than MJ.

  104. Marques, that’s exactly my point couldn’t agree more.

  105. RE: PGs,
    My opinion is on good teams I would rather have DWill as he can play much better defense, doesn’t have knee injuries, has better size, and plays much better off the ball. CP3 needs to dominate the ball to be at his most effective. If you have a team with nobody on it it would take CP3… If you have a good team I would take DWill. But if I got to choose any PG it would be Derek Rose.

  106. Aaron, like I said you have your opinion, I have mine. I just have analysts/coaches/GMs who back my viewpoint up. Melo when inspired is just as gifted as both those players, but he’s a gunner and doesn’t show up all the time, however when he does he’s hard to stop.

    In the annual coaches and GMs poll they were asked who they would take to start their franchise around and Durant and Lebron were tied at 37% each. So once again you have your viewpoint I have mine. You can really go either way but when a guy like Lebron shoots close to 68% of his shots in the painted area when talking about offensive skills, Durant is clearly better just not as efficient. Efficiency isn’t everything, Jordan wasn’t as efficient as Lebron, neither is Kobe but I would still take those guys over Lebron.

    I will agree with you that D Rose is the best PG (GMs and Coaches voted him so), even Lebron said he has changed the PG position. I think Westbrook has that potential that rose does but he has attitude issues and thinks shoot first too much.

  107. Lakers8884, I think you inadvertently already explained why Lebron isn’t shooting enough three point shots to knock down 6 in a game very often. Let me quote you:

    “He scores his buckets on layups and dunks 75% of the time, has no reliable outside/midrange game and has to ride the coattails of a guy like Wade to get a title.”

    If a guy can contend for scoring titles year in year out by relying on layups and dunks (despite having “no reliable outside/midrange game,” which ought to make him EASIER to defend…) then he’d be pretty foolish to be jacking up three pointers.

    I’m not arguing that LBJ is purer scorer than Durant (or even Melo, who I think is hugely overrated), but that’s kind of what puts him in a special category. He scores right up there with the purest scorers in the game, all the while playing far better defense than either of those guys, and while grabbing rebounds, making assists, and running the floor like nobody ever has at that size.

    I guess this is why I prefaced my last comment with “Ugh,” because I’m anything but a Lebron enthusiast but I felt compelled to at least point out that while you mentioned that a Hall of Famer like Barkley shares your position that Melo/Durant are better offensive players, you neglected to mention that Barkley has consistently (for the last couple years) and loudly proclaimed Lebron as the best basketball player on the planet. I think yesterday LBJ showed why–but also why you’d want Kobe taking the last shot instead of Lebron every single time….

  108. marques: LeBron has shown he can take over games late and win them. vs Boston, Chicago last year. He makes the right play Deron was WIDE OPEN and airballed. Wade fumbled the ball out of bounds like he did vs Dallas in the finals. One bad series and LeBron is a bum. Wade played in the finals too. He has as much burden as LeBron for the loss. But he has a ring so gets a pass.

  109. Aaron – that’s a really good observation on Dwill vs CP3.

    Kevin – I just don’t think it’s fair to judge Deron Williams on this Nets team right now especially since Brook Lopez has been out the whole season. Had David West been hurt the whole season last year instead of late in the year I’m pretty sure New Orleans wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

  110. There’s an easy way to settle this argument. Define the word “better” in “better offensive player”. If that means more efficient stat-wise, regardless of the types of shots taken, then ok- give it to Lebron.

    But if the issue of “better” includes (and I believe it should) diversity of offensive skill set, then it’s just plain nonsensical to even talk about Lebron having a better offensive game than Durant OR Melo. Period. That’d be like arguing Shaq had a better offensive game than Kobe. He didn’t- he was bigger, stronger and played closer to the basket. The difficulty involved in taking and making a shot from range should mitigate some of these cold-stat type efficiency arguments.

  111. Also, what Marques said.

  112. Joshua,
    The last time I checked you don’t get more points for different style shots. Two point shots are worth two points and three point shots are worth three points. Nobody needs to define what a better scorer means. A better offensive player means a combination of passing and scoring along with how many double teams are sent to you to help free up your teammates.

  113. The next few days until the trade deadline are going to be interesting. I can’t wait to hear about rumors, rebuilding, trading, etc. This is my favorite part of the regular season.

  114. +100 to joshua, -100 for Keith

  115. Keith: It’s good to see the passion of your response, but to denigrate those who disagree with you as “jealous haters” seems a bit much.

    As a long-time Laker fan, as the team stands right now, I would prefer Deron Williams in forum blue & gold than Paul. I just personally believe that he is a better fit as a player with the personnel that we currently have. Not too say that Chris Paul wouldn’t have been amazing (and if we’d somehow swung Dwight in a follow-up deal, I would be arguing that CP3 would be a better fit with that team), but as currently constituted, the Lakers would work better (I think) with DWill at the 1.

    As far as the Wade foul, I don’t think that it was cheap/dirty, but it was a hard foul, from behind, at and above neck height, and afterwards, he basically said that it was an intentional foul. And the blood isn’t the outcome that has riled people here (as far as I can tell). It’s that it was a hard enough hit to the face to actually cause a fracture. Personally, that bothers me way more than a blood nose.

  116. Joshua, does passing or offensive rebounding play any role at all in your definition of an offensive player’s skills? If not, it’s easy to see why you’d rank Melo or Durant at the top. You’d also, then, rank Dominique Wilkins much higher than Magic Johnson, I assume.

  117. Off topic, but does anyone know where Kirilenko is this year? Is he washed up?

  118. Keith – nobody is hating on Chris Paul. We all know he is great. I’m refuting your claim that Chris Paul is on the same level as LeBron James. I think that’s ludicrous. If he’s as great as you’re saying he is, then the Clippers would be the favorites to make it to the NBA Finals to meet up with the Heat. I doubt that happens.

    I understand efficiency is an important aspect of the game, but not the only thing. Dwayne Wade has a better shooting percentage than Kobe Bryant does for his career. Does that mean he’s been the better player?

    Lastly, you’re saying that we all REJOICED when we thought we had Chris Paul in the trade that was vetoed. Of course we did. Chris Paul, just like Deron Williams is an elite player. We would have rejoiced had we gotten Deron Wiliams in a trade as well.

  119. Offensive skill set is shooting, passing, handles, mid-range, post game, driving ability, off. rebounds, foul line. LeBron dominates every player in the league in all those categories. You can say Durant has LeBron in shooting range, but that’s it. Melo is not a diverse scorer his game is mid range. LeBron, Kobe, Wade have the best skillsets in the league.

  120. In conclusion, I respect your opinion, Mr. Anonymous. And if Wade gets elbowed in the face here on Sunday, I for sure will be saying “What goes around, comes around.” FOR SURE.

    I think you need to focus a little less on big stuff like karma and a little more on simple stuff like “What did this player do and was it necessary?”

    Also, I never said Kobe would not be fine. I said Wade’s foul, particularly in an ASG, was out of line. Haven’t read an argument or seen any video that makes me think otherwise.

    Have a nice day.

  121. Has anyone heard anything about Antwan Jamison getting bought out of his contract? I read rumors a few weeks ago I just don’t know if there were any merit to them? He may be old but he’s not a terrible veteran pickup.

  122. When Mike Brown is Lakers’s coach, before i knew LeBron is good player, but now i like him more, how can Cleveland team win over 60 games in one season ? If LeBron play with Bynum, Gasol, what is the record of Lakers right now?

    The bad thing, LeBron didn’t have a chance to play for Phil and Tex Winter. Kobe was lucky, he came to NBA and he got one of the great coach of NBA history, and Kobe have good players around him better than LeBron in Cleveland.

  123. Marques,

    I agree with you in principle. However, I do remember Jordan getting some pretty special treatment from the refs has last few years with the Bulls. I also remember him being given a lot of defensive leeway when he guarded other players. Speaking of defense, teams were not even allowed to guard those Jazz players in the Delta Center during the years when Malone and Stockton were in contention. And Malone would rebound with elbows all game long and rarely fouled out.

    I acknowledge how much star players are allowed to run amok today. The 90’s were only marginally better in that regard.

  124. DJ Lebron had 3 of the top 5 3 point shooters in the league on that team. Offensively people here have acknowledged that Mike Brown’s offense is designed to produce big numbers for a guy like Kobe/Lebron (as evidenced by Kobe’s earlier performances in the year)

    Considering that Lebron would have nobody to pass to on the wings in LA just like Kobe doesn’t it’s hard to imagine that they would be that much better. Like many have said on here, defenses will not let you feed the post 60 times a game, you have to have a consistent balanced attack which is something this Lakers roster lacks (adding Lebron wouldn’t change that considering he doesn’t shoot 3s this season).

  125. 120) Joshua,
    “That’d be like arguing Shaq had a better offensive game than Kobe.”

    Shaq had a more effective offensive game than Kobe; I guess it depends on whether you give credit for style points or not.

  126. Keith @ 124 – thanks for the funniest post I have read in ages. You will fit right in with the new tenor of blog comments here.

  127. One thing i never understood is that all the analysts say it’s more likely NJ Nets trade Brook Lopez to the Magic for Dwight Howard. Also, Magic rejected the trade offer of Bynum for Howard swap.

    Why does this make any sense? Bynum is a lot better than Brook Lopez, and Lopez can be seen injury-prone now. Why would Orlando prefer Lopez over Bynum? The Lakers even have draft picks to do the trade.

    I hope this doesn’t count as trade talk –i’m just trying to understand the reasoning behind Orlando’s front office. There is no way they can get a better big man than Bynum to replace their star that is one foot out the door.

  128. Chearn
    He is playing in russia. Now that it is clear howard will not resign with lakers I would like all my wasted time reading Roberts posts back.

  129. Thanks. I always liked his game, before the injuries anyway.

  130. A few things here… I have been reading this post all day, but haven’t had a chance to chime in with my two cents.

    First- Wade absolutely meant to foul Kobe hard. ie that foul was intentional, but *not a cheap shot. However, if Kobe would have fouled Wade like that he would have been excoriated for it by the media. D-Wade got a pass, of course. The foul was uncalled for and borderline dirty because it was so damn unexpected. There is no reason to do that in an all-star game especially when no one had been playing that way prior.

    Second- Lebron is the best all-around player in the game today. He’s a beast. Nearly unstoppable. He’s not the greatest shooter though and he doesn’t have the offensive array that Durant or Melo have. If he adds a post game and works on that 10-15′ mid-range jumpshot, then he will easily be the greatest offensive player. When you take away LBJ’s easy drives to the hoop, then he can be limited to tough jumpers.

    DJ- I’m not certain how great Lebron would have been in the triangle. He has no post game and isn’t the greatest shooter. If you want to compare Kobe and Lebron then take the Kobe of equal age to Lebron and compare them in MB’s offense. Kobe can’t explode by his man any more like Lebron can. If Lebron were on the Lakers right now- This team would be 7 or 8 games better I think. The reason? Lebron would be able to fill the hole at PG/creator that the Lakers currently have.

  131. Kenny

    Orlando is trying for both Bynum and Gasol. L.a has all the power here. They have the best chip in Bynum. I was listening to the radio today and the opinion was at the deadline the Magic would probably accept Bynum without Gasol. Only problem, all signs point Howard not wanting to sign in L.A. The FO is very upset with Kobe and his remark that Howard would be the 2nd or even 3rd option in L.A. I guess that rumor was real.

  132. Kenny

    Dwight wants to be the number one guy not only in New York/New Jersey but the world. Never happen with Lakers. With Russian billionaire owner DH would make more on East Coast and Russia then he will make being behind Kobe.

    New arena plus cap room and drafts choices make lots of sense to him and his agent. I tend to agree plus Magic turned down Andrew due to his long history of injuries. Lopez has had one injury and his numbers when health were on par with Andrew’s.

    Reality is less and less players want to play for Lakers. Bad salaries and Kobe are reasons. Kobe dosen’t help when he talks down to James, Wade and Pierce at ASG. He is not generally not liked by many NBA players.

    It is Kobe’s world and we are all just guests.

  133. Michael H, there is no way someone with Kobe Bryant’s basketball IQ would tell Howard he would be the third option on his team. Who would be 2nd option over him if Pau is traded as well as Bynum? Fisher? Metta?

    There is no way a guy like Kobe with his intelligence would tell him he was a 3rd option guy, maybe Kobe said 2nd option, but nobody on the Lakers roster is as dominant as Dwight even with his offensive skills. This is a made up rumor to blame the trade not going through on Kobe’s ego, while Kobe loves to shoot he would never say something to damage his chances of landing Dwight like that.

  134. Nose: It WAS a CHEAP shot – period. We can all have our opinions and mine is that Wade is a jealous punk. The ASG was like a Globetrotters game and for Wade to do that was inexcusable. It sickens me to read this thread, because our leader was just PUNKED and we are debating it.

  135. Have a comment in moderation hell, but I don’t think that Wade meant to hurt Kobe. It was borderline though because, as Robert said, this is an exhibition game! Wade just didn’t want to be posterized by a Kobe dunk.

  136. Interesting debate going on. It all depends on how you define ‘best,’ like Joshua said. We have to be more specific – are we talking efficiency, or diversity of repertoire? It’s the exact same Lebron-Kobe debate that lit up the Internet a couple years ago.

    Lakers8884 (#88) – What exactly in my comment are you disagreeing with? I never said Lebron is a great 3-point shooter. I never even talked about Lebron outside of the All-Star Game. I agree, he played way over his head in terms of 3-point shooting last night. He was on fire last night, and I was talking about his one game performance. I wasn’t extrapolating it to anything outside of the ASG, except to say that Lebron’s game is generally unselfish (which has nothing to do with his 3-point shooting last night).

    I’m with Darius on the PGs. I’ll take Paul over the other two, but it’s a lot closer than it was a couple years ago. Rose has shrunk the gap very fast despite not being a true PG, and Williams has his own great strengths.

  137. im pretty sick of wondering about Howard, can we just forget about it, if we can get him for Bynum great, if not, lets move on, we’ll survive. The Magic dont know what their doing and Howard cant make his mind up so why speculate?

    And whats with all the Lebron praise?? What sort of Laker fans are you! We all know he’s the best player in the league but no need to kiss his ass

  138. Yes – James @151 – I agree – what is with the LeBronze praise? You can’t be the best when you have no rings. You can’t be the best when you can’t take the last shot and close. You can’t be the best when the only thing you have lead a team to, is a Bronze medal. Thanks for the reminder James @151 – We are Lakers – and LBJ, CP3, and D Wade are NOT

  139. Having not heard the John Ireland radio show today, I’m unclear about this “development” that says DH12 would re-sign with the Lakers. How does one reconcile this position with the fact that Howard identified the Lakers, Mavs, and Nets as preferred destinations?

    Did Howard change his mind about the Lakers, or is this report more B.S.

  140. Google John Ireland + Dwight Howard, and most of the first page is covered with the fact that Mr. Ireland predicted that D12 would be traded by 12/20/2011. Now he is making more statements. These new statements could be true, because even a dead clock is right twice a day.

  141. RE Howard: He’s been hinting that he’d opt out of his contract regardless of where he was traded. Understand, that under the new CBA, extending a contract is bad business. The maximum years on an extension is only for a total of 4 years and that includes any remaining years on the contract. Dwight has one year left (after this season) on his original contract so he’d be signing an extension for 3 years. That’s bad business for him.

    This, in and of itself, is not news and is the main reason he has a “list” of teams that he’s willing to be traded to. It’s because if he lands where he wants he can either opt in to his contract and then extend after next year (which is what Chris Paul will likely do w/ the Clippers) or he can still opt out after this year and then use his bird rights to re-sign with the team that traded for him for maximum years and maximum dollars. Thing is, what’s now being hinted at and being pushed through the rumor mill is that Dwight wouldn’t “re-sign” with the Lakers even after opting out. THAT is the concern with a potential Howard trade at this point. It’s not he won’t sign an extension (he’s not doing that anywhere, imo) but that he won’t stay after opting out. And, really, that’s the risk any team takes with him right now (not just the Lakers).

  142. Howard isn’t coming to LA never was. Just using Lakers for leverage. NJ or Dallas Mark Cuban knew something he wouldn’t clear space for nothing just like Riley knew what he was doing. Focus is on Lowry, Rondo and clearing cap space. No way you keep these max player salaries with a average team. Lakers would be in win-win situation to get metta, blake, mcroberts, pau off the books while getting lowry or rondo.

  143. Snoopy I wasn’t really disagreeing with any of your points other than his turnover where he should have shot instead of passing, I was merely saying it was a trend we keep seeing from Lebron and it can’t be dismissed just because it was an all-star moment because things like this have become a habit for him late in games. All your other points I agreed with

  144. Darius, that is how I understood the options, but is there any explanation for why Howard would encourage a trade to a team (like the Lakers) but then not re-sign (after opting out first)?

    If his maximum financial return comes from opting out of his contract but re-signing with his current team (as of his opt out), why would he include any team on his “trade list” that he wasnt happy to re-sign with?

  145. Darius everything you’ve said from the 1000000 rumors I’ve read seems to sum up all the stories completely.

    Kevin, absolutely NO to Rondo, I could write an essay on why he is the last starting PG the Lakers should trade for.

  146. Don’t sell the barn just to get Howard, or you might get out an empty account next season. I think Gasol and Bynum will continue to have values even at the end of the season, Lakers may not be contending but at least you’re secured with your investment, it is in your custody. With Howards, the guy is turning to be a comedian who changes his mind every week. He wants to be with a Championship team that will give him big bucks immediately. That’s not the mentality of a good actor who is applying for a job in Hollywood. No matter how good he is in this field, you gotta to show it first, get demand for tickets, get ratings then you get your money. If he’s not willing to take the risks, then he can’t be a Laker.

  147. Lakers8884: Rondo would be a nice pickup. A true PG one of the only few left him,nash and cp3. He’s playoff tested, has dominated games w/o having a reliable jumpshot, and he knows how to play with vets.

    That was a cheap shot wasn’t going for the ball trying to prove a point. You foul me i’ll foul you postgame quotes said as much. Wade broke Rondo’s arm too. Repeat offender.

    I do think LeBron shoots those shots now that Kobe’s challenged him. That’s the diff. between Wade and Kobe LeBron still isn’t ready for those moments after a year with Wade. Kobe would’ve had him mentally ready for the moment.

  148. Here is what Howard is missing, a foresight of huge income and a magnanimous career. Kobe and Gasol’s contract are expiring in 2014, that’s $49M per year. If Howard would sacrifice his first two years with $ 15M a year, hey in two year’s time this is your team and cherry pick your teammates too. Where can you find a bigger market than LA except NY Knicks who can guarantee him those opportunities in the next five years. Cuban could promise heaven but if it’s not good for the billionaire’s return on investment, he’ll trade him like what happened to Barea, Butler, Chandler, these are the guys who gave him Championship yet did not think twice in letting them go. Why? it’s profit taking move. Howard best bet to earn much is to stay with Orlando, no need of being ambitious of being a Champ.

  149. ^^ I guess that’s my point, we used to judge the best based on skills..footwork, jumpshot, the use of both hands etc…now its based purely on inflated numbers and PER(which I hate).

    Maybe I’m getting old…but the fact that the lakwrs have two skilled 7 footers and an all time great wing..but yet need a marginal point guard like sessions to take advantage of the rule change that allows pick and rolls to dominate the game.

    Lebron may have all the skills but he mostly uses one…the same one all the best players minus Kobe and Carmelo use…put your head down get the foul or the basket….Jeremy Lin figured it out..John wall just figured it out..lebron and wade mastered it.

    Hes the best in the game…but I can’t pretend he uses a multitude of skills to do it.

  150. 164) Not sure which LeBron you’ve been watching this year. He’s evolved his game this year scoring from everywhere on the floor.

    Jordan earlier in his career dominated off athleticism and a brute force. Same thing they were saying about Jordan they said about Kobe now there saying it about LeBron. Same narrative different player. Right about this time age 26 him and Pippen took over the league.

  151. marques: shows you lebron’s feel for the game when he makes PnR look so easy but Kobe and Melo have a hard time at it.

    You can’t be poo pooing lebron’s numbers. no way. if it was so easy everybody would be doing it. have to recognize greatness as a basketball fan.

  152. @#127…

    What Wade was the very definition of a flagrant foul. He didn’t make a play on the ball and he delivered the blow above the shoulders and to the face. Even if he hadn’t drawn blood, it was still flagrant and totally unnecessary in an exhibition game, IMO.

  153. Darius @155: So given your understanding of Howard’s stance with regard to extensions (or lack thereof): Would you consider trading for him anyway, or would you drop the D12 idea unless he agrees to extend? You closed your point by defining the “risk”, but I would like to know if you would take the “risk”.

  154. I don’t think there is much point in discussing D12 anymore. It seems pretty clear to me now with Ireland’s sources saying he won’t re-sign with the Lakers that he and DWill have decided to team up in DAL. Guess we will find out soon enough if Marion is traded for an expiring contract or two.

  155. tviper: Why are you taking what Ireland says as gospel? According to Ireland – D12 was in NJ on 12/21/2011.

    I agree that Cuban is the favorite, but if you check the archives, we have been talking about that on here for months.

  156. Robert: I don’t treat it as gospel, but rather think it nicely explains the rumors over the past few weeks that did not previously make sense to me. Viewed through the lens of a pre-arranged agreement between the parties, I understand the seemingly conflicting stories. It may not be true, of course, which is why the marker for me is whether Marion gets moved at the deadline (assuming nothing happens with DWill and D12 prior to that).

  157. Robert,
    I take the stance that I always have: first, I don’t believe every report run through the rumor mill. So, to that end, I don’t know what Howard would or wouldn’t do at the end of the season in terms of his decision to stay/go/opt-in/ect. As for making a deal (and this applies to any deal), my desire to do so is still very much dependent on who’s involved.

  158. Darius: Agreed on rumor mill: Ireland does not have a history of accuracy on this. Of course, we do not know the facts. However, “if” Howard said no deal to the signing at this point, I still pursue it. It is worth the “risk” you define. If we take the risk and he leaves, then we will obviously be in re-build mode, but since that is a valid option anyway – I am game. In any case, we wait – 03/01 being the next big date.

  159. I seriously doubt that any of the (Gasol) trades discussed would be anygood for LAL if we aren t going to obtain (and resign) Howard.
    And the reason is simple: Bynum s knees
    He hasn t been at full capacity for more than a complete year in all his career.
    If at any point, and I should replace that “if” for a “when”, he breaks again and we get as a result a froncourt Wallace/Murphy Scola/Wallace that means no-playoffs for sure and maybe LOTTERY.
    What a terrible word isn t it?

    Plain and simple