How Much Can The Lakers Improve?

Darius Soriano —  February 28, 2012

This is the question that drives every conversation about the Lakers right now. And it drives the conversation because it’s become as obvious as the nose on your face that the Lakers do, in fact, need to improve. They need it to make a deep playoff run; they may need it to make the playoffs at all in a tightly packed Western Conference that has them in 5th pace but only 3 games from 9th.

If you listen to the players talk, they certainly think improvement is possible. Heading into the all-star break, Derek Fisher spoke of where the team is now and what he hopes will happen as the season progresses:

We have done a decent job at times. But right now, essentially Kobe, Pau and Andrew are having to score 70-plus points, and then everyone else is pitching in here and there. I think if we can improve our execution and ball movement where we can actually utilize the full capabilities of everyone on the team, I think we can give ourselves a better chance.

The notion of better ball movement and better execution is one that you’d expect from the players. It shows an inherent confidence in the abilities of the guys on the floor and implies that with more time together, the results will improve.

That said, it’s not that simple either. While Andrew Bynum also thinks better ball movement and execution is needed, he also asks for more diversity and for the schemes to shift and for more adjustments to be made. From Sam Amick:

Offensively, we need to come up with some new tricks in the second half of the season … new sets, new plays, new actions. All I’m really talking about is how to play basketball together, figuring it out and putting ourselves in spots to win games, changing up cuts that we’re making. Teams are starting to adjust to me on the block, double-teaming me, triple-teaming me, so outlets should be a little bit different, should be more what I’m comfortable with.

Bynum’s not really wrong here. The Lakers’ sets are pretty predictable and when the defense starts to tighten up (for example, late in a close game), passing lanes vanish and precious seconds on the shot clock get eaten up. So, diversifying the offense and tweaking what’s already in place is certainly a way to get more out of the team. At least you’d think.

However, these types of changes on the fly aren’t always easy, especially for a team already in transition. The Lakers are already in the process of learning new sets (and unlearning some old ones) and it takes time to get comfortable. Making adjustments is the logical progression, of course, but doing so before everyone has mastered what they’re supposed to do could lead to more confusion and worse results.

Of course, better execution isn’t the only way to improve a team. There’s a sense of restlessness amongst the fanbase to make personnel changes, and for obvious reasons. The Laker roster, as implied by Fisher, is top heavy and overly dependent on their best players to produce nightly. If the Lakers could get better production from their point guards and their small forwards, improvement is sure to follow. Some, too, are looking for more drastic change than that, with upgrades to superstar players for both short and long-term growth.

All of this is quite logical and I can’t argue against it. The Lakers are in dire need of consistently good play from players not named Kobe, Pau, or Andrew Bynum, and getting people to provide it should be a priority. We’ve seen how productive nights from non-big three Lakers leads to victories, and getting that type of play consistently can only help this team.

All that said, I must also caution that simply uprgrading players doesn’t come without risk. The same arguments for how changing/adjusting the schemes has potential to disrupt the team can be applied to making roster changes. Chemistry amongst players and how quickly guys can make the needed adjustments to new roles, in a new city, and with new teammates are intangible variables that can’t accurately be measured before a trade is made. For every Pau to the Lakers that is seemless and successful, there can be an Odom to the Mavs that doesn’t go smoothly at all. Any potential roster move must be viewed through both prisms, and not just the one that reflects a positive light equating to better net results.

And so, the Lakers are in a bit of a bind here. There are only 32 games left in this season. With time being that short, the Lakers must start to prep themselves to not only make the playoffs, but to perform well once there. That means growing together as a team and improving as the rest of the season unfolds. However, the roster is (seemingly) deficient and unless certain players raise their level of play from what it’s been this season, the Lakers’ flaws are likely fatal.

It’s now on the entire organization (players, coaches, management) to get this team to take a step forward, but there’s no obvious way to do it. So I ask again, how much can the Lakers improve? The answer to that question will mirror how successful this season ends up being.

Darius Soriano

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110 responses to How Much Can The Lakers Improve?

  1. Good post.

    Unfortunately, given that Kobe and Pau have played every game, and that Andrew has played every game other than the suspension, that Ebanks is in the DLeague and McRoberts is in DNPCD-ville,; and that 7 of the nine rotation players are over 30, the Lakers are actually as likely to be worse over the second half as they are to improve, absent roster changes.

  2. Your Personel is built around the Triple Post offense. We do not have a point guard who can execute a Pick & roll set. I for one feel you have to break up this team if you want to free up offensively under Mike Browns Scheme. If we wanted continuity Brian Shaw was there for the taking. I guess the 11 championships that Coach Jackson produced means little, very little. I for one enjoyed the spacing and ball movement.

  3. Actually, there is hope. A simple deal like a bench player and a 1st round pick for Kirk Hinrich in Atlanta. Works for both teams. A competent PG like Kirk could honestly make the difference for 5-10 games the rest of the season, and maybe an entire series in the playoffs.

  4. I know we should never let the facts get in the way of a good story… But…

    Career Three Point Percentage:
    Jordan: 32.7%
    Kobe: 33.7 %
    Lebron: 33.1%

  5. Darius: Good write-up. You mention the risk/disruption of changing schemes/players. This does not go away with time. If we change now/later, it will be disruptive, so – there is no time like the present. We need to make our moves, then deploy the on the court schemes for the rest of the year. The question is will that combination be enough? I will be interested to see if the Lakers do any moves which clearly indicate a “win now” attitude, as opposed to the “disguised” re-build mode.

  6. Aaron: Nice : ) Why is LeBron on a list with KB + MJ? Perhaps you wanted to list 2 guys with at least 5 rings, along side of one guy with zero? Perhaps you wanted to list 2 guys who defined their franchises for more than a decade, along side of one who left his in ruins? Or perhaps you wanted to list 2 guys who led their international teams to Gold, along side of one who led them to LeBronze?

  7. Oh…
    And unless the Lakers throw the ball down low to the bigs way more often the Lakers will likely get worse as they have been very healthy so far this season. Without a PG to run their PG centric offense this team can’t improve.

  8. Lakers improve by roster changes to acquire a PG to take the load off Kobe on the perimeter. PG is a major strength in the west need someone to slow those guys down.

    Lakers know there takers for Pau. Question is what happens with Bynum? Can’t sign a injury prone big to a max deal. Bynum used to have a market now it’s seems Dwight or bust for Drew. That should be the focus did Lakers wait too long to trade Bynum.

  9. So much has been written around here about the woeful state of our PG situation and our needs at the 3, but what seems to be of lesser concern, for some reason, is that Kobe has gone turnover-crazy. My hope is that whichever PG we end up with – whether its a superstar like DWill, a B-list guy like Sessions or Lowry, or a ‘stiff-that’s better-than-our-stiffs’ like Heinrich, this will at least take pressure off Kobe and allow him to play more off the ball. In a number of our losses, we’ve had superior FG% and rebounds, but we just got killed on # of possessions due to turnovers.

    In this regard, I feel that even a small improvement at PG can cause a big ripple effect in terms of the improvement of the overall team. The pessimist in me says, however, given Fish’s Lakers Emeritus status, how much will this new PG play and how soon? If by some miracle we end up with DWill, of course Brown can tell Fish to sit from game one– that’s an all-star player who can’t be expected to come off the pine. But let’s say we get Sessions– is there any doubt the politics of the situation would necessitate that Sessions would be required to earn his starting position and that will take a great deal of precious time before that switch actually occurred, which means less time for him to get familiar playing with the starters….

    I do think we will improve substantially in the next month – whether that’s by using the TPE to build around our big 3 or by trading Pau – but I’m skeptical anything we can do can put us in contention with the best of the best. I can even see us getting past OKC, but struggle to imagine how any conceivable trade would enable us to compete with MIA or CHI.

  10. Kevin,
    Hahahahahaha. I hope you were joking? The reason the market is Howard or Bust for Drew is because Bynum has gotten so good that there are few players in the NBA the Lakers would trade Bynum for.

  11. Robert,
    Sorry to disappoint you Robert. But so far in his career the only guys you can compare James to is Jordan, Kobe, and Oscar from a performance standpoint. In the prior thread people were saying how LeBron gets by just on athletism (that isn’t a bad thing) and how he does not have a good enough offensive skill set compared to even a Carmelo Anthony. The thing all of us agreed upon was that LeBron can’t shoot the three ball. Well… He shot from longrange with the same accuracy of Kobe and Jordan.

    As a giant basketball fan… And I’m sure all of you are as we are all on this blog… It would be a waste to not appreciate one of the greatest players to ever play the game. If we can’t appreciate and enjoy LeBron James now, why even watch basketball. He is the most entertaining player to watch play in the world. We need to enjoy him while we can.

  12. The current roster can improve noticeably by just moving without the ball, and pa ssing. Too much of the time three or four of the other players just stand around while Kobe, Gasol, or Bynum go iso.

    That would also decrease Kobe’s turnovers.

  13. Aaron: Kevin is correct that the value of our tradable players has gone down over time, and will continue to do so. This is more extreme with Pau, however AB’s value will always be held down due to the “perceived” (please note the quotes) injury propensity. Hence, it is either D12 now, or we probably hold AB for the duration. He will be worth more to us than anyone else.

  14. Aaron,

    Teams did not respect Jordan’s 3 point shot for most of his career, and as a result, a large portion of his 3 point shots were wide open looks. Kobe, on the other hand, has been a 3 point threat for most of his career, and defenses have had to cover a larger area of the court to defend Kobe, including the 3 point line. Did Jordan ever get double teamed from beyond the 3 point line? Defenses were happy to give Jordan those wide open 3’s.

    Context man…context.

  15. 10) Aaron: That’s my point you only trade Bynum for another superstar and how many more are available. Lakers have passed on plenty of them for the hope that they land Howard.

    What happens if/when Lakers don’t get howard? They sign Bynum to a max deal and mortgage their future on someone who isn’t a superstar. The master plan may backfire.

  16. And Robert,
    I’m not picklng on you. I promise. In fact,
    You’re in the norm amd not even just today. Most fans since the 80’s have “hated” on the top talents in the league. In the late 80’s it was Jordan. The fans would call him a ball hog amd declare that a scoring leader could never win a championship. They said that Jordan didn’t come close to Magic and Bird. “Just look at the titles” the fans would say.

    A decade ago it was Kobe. He could never win without Shaq. He was overrated. Without Shaq he would be an Alan Iverson. TMac and Vince Carter were better.

    Today it’s LeBron James. He can do no right. The player who is having the best offensive season in the history of the modern NBA amd is also the NBAs best defender gets slammed by most fans and many media members.

    The irony is this incredible amount of hate Lebron is getting now simply acknowledges the historicially supreme talent he has become. What a player. Your grandchildren will be asking you what it was like to see James play live. And unfortunately you will have to tell him you were too busy hating on him to enjoy his once in a generation talent.

  17. LT Mitchel,
    You’re close to the logical conclusion. Unfortunately the hand check was legal when Jordan played and teams couldn’t back off Jordan at the three point line or he would blow past them. What teams did was get in on MJs body wherever he was on the court and try to lock him up. Is Jordan as good of a three point shooter as Kobe used to be? No he isn’t. The reason Kobe doesn’t have a better percentage is because he takes a lot of contested one on one threes off the dribble as James does as well. Jordan for the most part took threes of the spot up variety.

  18. Drew is maybe 1or 2 injuries away from retirement maybe he’ll be before D-fish Do we realy need Another Yao ,Oden,Roy
    This is where he is going fast, We need to pull the trigger now or in july.We can’t play two Tower game where 4 of our 5 guys need to be in the paint that aint happen.As silly as it may sound but i think we need to start Kapono at the sf.If kapono gets rhytm with more minutes hes a scoring machine he can average 20pts in 20 mins if he had a chance And put our floor General Fish behind the bench maybe 1st or second row

  19. Robert/Kevin,
    Bynum’s trade value has only gone up. It has been two years since he has had an injury and is now one of the best players in the NBA and really is the only one of those guys who is a seven foot true back to the basket Center. It’s not a bad thing that he has gotten so good that we will only trade him for superstars now. Amd what’s funny is that he isn’t worth more to us than to the rest of the NBA. It’s the opposite. We already have another skilled seven footer who can score in the post. The rest of the league would kill their first born child to have an Andrew Bynum on their roster. Amd Kevin, yes… If we can’t get Howard and Bynum’s contract runs out he will presumably be healthy for over three consecutive years with no serious knee injury (injury that has lasting effects like Microfracture surgery or ACL). Won’t be a tough choice for anyone in the league.

  20. lil pau @9: (your last paragraph): OK – now – with that in mind: Are we competing for 4th place here? And if we are, should we be? I believe this is the FO’s dilemna. Do we go all out to win, or do we realize that is mission impossible as you are stating, and just work for the future? This decision makes a big difference in the type of moves you make.

  21. Been awhile since I posted here. This was a good, thoughtful piece by Darius. How much improvement can we realistically expect this year, even with a big trade? Any big shakeup tends to throw a team’s chemistry/rhythm off for a few games or more.

    I’m excited to see what the team does before March 15th, but kind of scared now that Jimmy-boy seems to be running things.

    I keep thinking about Luke Ridnour up in Minny…maybe we can get both he and Beas for Pau…not that I would like to see Pau go, but we certainly do need a better, more stable PG.

    Sessions and Heinrich are also solid options. I especially like Heinrich because of his potential on defense. We need someone who will battle some of these athletic lead guards in the West.

    If we don’t make any moves, we certainly need to find ways to get Kobe to play just a little smarter…a few fewer turnovers and maybe get something a bit more effective than a one-on-three fade-away at the end of tight games!

  22. Robert: I love your comments buddy, but, what will you do when we don’t land D12? Will you become a Clipper’s fan?

  23. #23. Hahahah, that’s the article I linked in the post.

  24. JM Moon is right.

    Personnel for the Triangle. But Jim Buss wanted to change the culture a lil bit (culture of winning???) and not use B. Shaw who would have used the Triangle. We can’t throw it into our bigs because we don’t have the sets that give them space or allow the bigs to use a seal once an entry pass is taken away. Which is exactly what the triangle did.

    A new point guard is not going to change how we get the ball into the paint. Trading for D12 will not change how we get the ball into the paint.

    I still believe that in a playoff series, the Lakers will be a tough match up, but ONLY if they learn to maximize Pau + Bynum as the co-primary option. I love Kobe’s will, but sometimes it gets in the way of making the team better. And in the 4th quarter, you go through Kobe. But you still need to find a way to convince your guards and your wings to get the ball to pau and bynum in the low block where they can do something with it.

  25. Manny: I already covered that : ) A) I am always a Laker fan – thick or thin B) I do not like other teams – especially Celts, Clips, Spurs, LeBronze – just about everyone C) I would become an irrational KB supporter and root for his records (some think I am already that anyway). D) I am not giving up on D12 until 03/15 !!! D12 or Bust !!!!

  26. Lakers are good!…we dont need dwight!….we need a penetrating point guard that will make life easier for kobe & the bigs!…think about it!…before jeremy lin got into the game novak, landry, jeffries, were struggling!…its amazing what a penetrating point guard can do!…it creates help defense, which in turn equals wide open shots for players like kobe, bynum, pau, blake….i’m convinced we have a great team!…we lack that pentration!…and its very noticeable…steve blake, fish, goudelock all camp out behind the three point line…its hard to create angles & passing lanes when your looking at the court from behind the arc every play!…session is a penetration PG…he splits pick & roles, drives the lane, and kicks!…i haven’t seen one of our PG split a pick and role and drive the lane!…the paint has become foreign territory!…so my plee is for a penetration PG!…my picks would be sessions!….or steve nash if possible!…i’m sorry but i love my squad!…i really dont want dwight!…i had to sit through shaq missing every free throw in the 90’s!…i’d rather see my lakers get their backs from off the wall & show weak lebrick & griffin what time it is!…winners win!…Losers lose!…Number 17 coming soon LA!

  27. 1st things 1st. I want to see how Bynum performs tomorrow night vs the T’Wolves. Plenty of rumors have circulated pertaining to A.B.’s knee since the last quarter of the Laker’s last game before the All-Star break. And Bynum’s unproductive total of 6 minutes in his 1st All-Star game didn’t make me feel any better.

    As far as the Lakers”improving” for the balance of the season…sometimes times are so simply & clear, we can’t see it because we don’t want to. There is an offense that works very well when a team is weak at the one. It’s called the “triangle offense”, and the Lakers are rather familiar with it.

  28. The current roster can improve noticeably by just moving without the ball, and passing.

    _____

    No, it can’t. The Lakers are old, slow and have major personnel issues. The article that IIRC you linked in whch Brown talked about the O demonstrates this.

  29. Your Personel is built around the Triple Post offense. We do not have a point guard who can execute a Pick & roll set.

    Correct. Brown himself said as much.

  30. I don’t believe there is a quick fix out there. Championship rosters take time to build and gel, and the Lakers’ window has been on a downward trend since the summer of 2010.

    The reason the Pau trade brought such immediate results was because that year’s team was already very good — only a game out of first place in the Western Conference at the time Bynum went down. Kobe was in his prime, and the squad was getting solid contributions from young players like Ariza, Farmar, Sasha and Turiaf. Fisher was also a huge upgrade from Smush.

    Over time, for different reasons, the Lakers have let go of those young guys with upside and replaced them with vets. That strategy paid off in 2009 and 2010, but in 2012 the roster is in a different place.

  31. Are we competing for 4th place here? And if we are, should we be?

    —-

    By that logic, Dallas should have rebuilt last year.

  32. Aaron @16: Your points come down to how one appreciates the NBA. I am more of a homer than you, so everything is Lakercentric for me. I did not like Bird, but I recognized him as a talent. Same goes for LBJ. I do not like him, + do not root for him, but I recognize his talent. Magic I loved + rooted for everything he did, + now it is the same with KB. My personal history of the NBA revolves around Lakers, + lucky for me, Laker history + NBA history are very similar : )

  33. Lakers FO number 1 priority is sheding salary. The past 2 trades prove that to be the case. I’d be shocked if Pau is still here by trade deadline. Try to get Blake and mcroberts off the books too. Get Rondo and trade bad contracts is a start.

  34. rr @32: Don’t forget to also bring up the 04 Pistons : ) As I have said, I am talking about the other 98% of NBA history. It is not that we would have zero chance, but you yourself have said that the chances would be small – true? : ) Most importantly, I am on board with the plan to keep the Big 3 and add 1+3 as a back up to the D12 plan.

  35. “How Much Can The Lakers Improve?”

    Bring Lamar back!

  36. Robert,

    Kitchen sick for Howard still = “playing for 4th place.” It’s OK with me if they try that, but it is what it is.

  37. rr: You could be right. However “IF” he signs, we have D12 around which to build. I still say that we need to watch for the disguised re-build. I am interested to see if they go all in for the KB ring, or whether everything is towards less salary + future talent.
    Kevin: you want shedding, but when a dog sheds, there is a mess to clean up. It is almost impossible to shed, and still win 1st in the dog show : )

  38. Robert: True, but adding C type players i.e. Sessions, Beasley and still being a 2nd round team. With those additions Lakers aren’t beating OKC, LAC, SA, Dallas 4 out of 7 times not happening. Those benches are too strong. Turn a 31 PF to a 25 PG shed salary to possibly get the mid level in the summer. Rondo/Kobe/Bynum is just as big a threat as the big 3 we have.

  39. The question of how much can we improve, is based heavily on how efficient Kobe Bryant will be the 2nd half of the season. Not sure if he got tired but Kobe played poorly (for his standards) in the month of February.

    I know everyone wants him to throw the ball into the post more, but when are we going to learn that he just isn’t going to do that. “I eat first,” that’s his motto and he’ll always stick by it.

    So regardless of moves and schemes unless Kobe returns to the efficiency in which he was playing the first month of the season with, the Lakers aren’t going to improve much at all.

    Although our schedule to start off is a little bit easy – minus the Heat on Sunday.

  40. I am down with a Pau for Rondo trade.

  41. With those additions Lakers aren’t beating OKC, LAC, SA, Dallas 4 out of 7 times not happening

    _____

    WRT OKC, you’re probably right. Not at all sure that is true of those other teams, however.

  42. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think Jackie Moon and Coffee Black are free agents.

  43. As I said the last time, that came up I simply cannot see Ainge doing that.

    I think HOU will keep Lowry, but I think Pau for Lowry/Scola is far more likely than Pau for Rondo.

  44. More time to gel as a team in a new system, Steve Blake’s health, less minutes for Fish, more minutes for Blake and Goudlock, an aggressive Pau, a less fatigued Kobe, Artest making open shots, the bigs addressing their bad habit of giving up offensive boards, a less strenuous schedule, and fewer panicked decisions from Mike Brown will hopefully improve this team in the second half.

    Will that be enough to be serious contenders? It’s possible, but I highly doubt it. There are still too many holes on the team. All the pressure will be on Jim Buss in the next two weeks to upgrade the roster. He’s had nothing but bad PR for the past few years, and as a result, has avoided the media. This is his chance to silence the critics, earn some faith from Laker fans, and start the transition to new ownership with a bang.

  45. Bynum’s USG is up from 17.6 to 22.3. Pau’s is the same as it was last year. Both Pau and Drew have seen their efficiency numbers drop.

    Odom and Brown had very high USGs (19 and 22) last year, and have been replaced by Murphy, who can’t create his own shot at all, (USG 10.1) and Goudelock, who has a USG of 21 but only plays 11 minutes a game.

    So, the whole “Kobe needs to go to the bigs more” thing is very questionable. Getting better perimeter talent is a far bigger issue. Kobe does need to take fewer contested jumpers in the 4th quarter. According to NBA.com, in “clutch” time (defined as game within five points, five minutes or less to go) Kobe has a USG of 45 and is 9/35 on mid-range jumpers.

  46. rr,
    They’re not mutually exclusive. In order to get the ball to Bynum more we need helpl in the backcourt.

    Darius,
    Haha. Sorry. I guess I read through your post too quickly this am :(

  47. I hate Mike brown…I repeat I really hate Mike brown.

    We have 4 years of evidence of what works on offense…but brown is determined to implement his garbage version of an offense because, and I quote “I can only coach what I believe in”.

    This guy is a clown

  48. They’re not mutually exclusive.

    ____

    Didn’t say they were. That is why I used the phrase “far bigger issue” rather than “the only issue.”

    And obviously, unless they get a PG who can get Bynum some cookies, I see no reason to believe that he can jack his USG up to 26 or so, like his fans seem to want, without his efficiency cratering. The guy’s offensive game is just not that diverse.

    And, in truth, if they do get Sessions or Calderon or whoever, my guess is that Bynum’s USG (and Pau’s, if he is still on the team) will stay about the same. It will be (and should be) Kobe’s that drops down to about 33 or so.

  49. Ok, hopefully I’m not regurgitating something already discussed, but I saw a post and some discussion on Rasheed Wallace supposedly planning to sign with L.A. on other Lakers blog. Can anyone veryify this? I haven’t been able to find any information about this on any other site, so I’m skeptical, but I thought I’d check here. I have to be honest that I was getting dumber by the minute reading the comments on the other site. Thanks for keeping things a little more under control around here. Keep up the great work on FB&G!

  50. The Lakers can improve a lot. The can also get a lot worse. In both cases, it’s really not within their control.

    The case for significant improvement: Houston relents and agrees to trade Lowry & Scola for Pau. Next, Orlando trades Howard for Bynum, and the Lakers “risk” Dwight walking away from a championship team, the best organization in the game, the entertainment capital of the world, and the team that can pay him far more than any other (in other words, low risk). That’s a championship team.

    The case for significant decline: Houston won’t give up Lowry, Orlando won’t trade Howard straight up, Cleveland won’t take McRoberts & trash for Sessions, and any one of the big three gets injured. In this scenario, we can start calculating the odds that the Lakers win the ping pong ball lottery and get a better pick than their standing would call for.

    At this point, something in between these two outcomes may prove to be the most likely result, which probably means marginal improvement whose upside might be a 2nd round loss. Then it will be on to a very uncomfortable summer….

  51. Barry,

    That rumor came from a Boston source, and no one in the LA media that I know of has confirmed it. I even asked Brian Kamenetzky about it directly on the Land O Lakers chat board, and he said the KBros were not commenting on it since they had not gotten hard conformation. Wallace has no to my knowledge even worked out for the Lakers.

  52. i think the lakers are the complete opposite of teams like the Heat and Thunder. Those teams depend on transition baskets to compensate for their halfcourt attack; the lakers depend on their halfcourt attack to compensate for their transition baskets(the lack thereof).

    i don’t see how the lakers are going to maximize their potential without the addition of a ramon sessions. they need more easy baskets. they need to add the drive and kick game to diversify the offense.

  53. Good post, Funky. Personally, I don’t think Morey will give up Lowry. McRoberts/Morris/pick for Sessions makes sense for the Lakers (and keeps the TPE) but I don’t know if Gilbert would do that. With Varejao injured and Jamison expiring, I think it actually makes sense for Cleveland too, but as we know, Gilbert hates the Lakers like he hates lima beans and fat hairy spiders. Plus, Cleveland might be able to make a better deal.

  54. Agree with chibi.

  55. This team has room for improvement, but not through a blockbuster trade. I would like to see the team go after solid role players that can help fill up holes without breaking the bank (think of Sessions and Beasley if they can be obtained on the cheap).

  56. 1. Doesn’t want to follow n Shaq’s Footsteps.

    2. Doesn’t wish to b the 3rd option behind Kobe and Pau and was totally turned off to joining the Lakers after speaking with Kobe over the phone.

    3. Recently stated that he wishes to b ‘The Closer’ (Kobe’s Title) at the end of games.

    4. All along, preferred destination has been the Nets and out of the 3 teams on his list, the Lakers have always been a distant 3rd.

    5. Looking to team up with DWill n Dallas next yr.

    6. Most importantly, will opt of the last yr of his contract and not sign an extension with, if traded to, the Lakers.

    Don’t know about everybody else, but all signs (if rumors and inuendo are to b believed) point to Dwight not wanting to have anything to do with the Lakers. Either that or he’s a helluva bluffer. Looks as if we might have to move on to plan C.

  57. Anonymous,
    “The current roster can improve noticeably by just moving without the ball, and pa ssing.”

    No, it can’t. The Lakers are old, slow and have major personnel issues.

    __________

    Yes, it can – they should be able to get another 6-10 points a game on offense by doing that. That wouldn’t be enough to make them favorites against the top few contenders, but it would at least put them in the area where getting hot and winning it all is not a ridiculous concept. But it’s a moot point, because it’s not going to happen.

  58. With Lamar’s lack of adjustment to an offense not named the triangle – we should probably take back some of the vitriol aimed at the front office over this trade.

    Lamar took years to get used to the triangle. If he were here I posit that he would also take a long time to get used to Mike Brown’s offense. Don’t we have enough of that already?

    We Lakers understand his talents – and his inconsistency – but it is very likely that, this year, he would be more inconsistent. Just what we need.

    Yeah, I know, we need a ball-handler, but we don’t need the turnovers his less than brilliant reads would create.

  59. Gary @46: The summary of your post: A) We are old/slow B) NBA players no longer want to say “Tell me about LA” (didn’t D12 star in that commercial?) C) “Problem Children” D) Jimbo E) Evil Empire.

    While I agree with almost all of your points, I refuse to “yet” agree with your conclusion. D12 or Bust !!!!

  60. Tra @59

    1. Yet he chose to use one of Shaq’s most famous nicknames, and yes, although the Big Aristotle had a lot of them, he has the logo tattooed on his arm.

    2. Doesn’t wish to be the third option but he only averages 13.3FGA a game with inferior teammates. For reference, Gasol averages 13.8FGA and Bynum 12FGA. He’d certainly get easier buckets if he’s playing with Kobe & Gasol, no matter the pecking order. In their last game before the ASB, the Magic lost to the Hawks. Turkoglu shot 16 times, Anderson 13, Richardson 10, Redick 10, Duhon 9 and Smith 7. Dwight put up 7 shots in 40 minutes, the same amount Ish Smith did in 21 less minutes. I’m pretty sure playing with Kobe & Gasol would be a refreshing and pleasant experience for Dwight.

    3. If you shoot below 50% from the free throw line you cannot be “the” closer. No matter how much he wants to be, that just doesn’t work, he’s a liability whenever he touches the ball.

    4. I can’t say much about his preference. It changes regularly, and who’s to say which sources are correct and what those sources agenda is.

    5. He could team up with DWill here, via trade. Then he could play in front of Jack every night rather than that bearded disco dancer from space we saw the other night in Dallas =)

    6. No matter where he goes I think that he’d lose money if he signs an extension. It’s better to opt out and sign a new deal with whomever traded for him, because they have his bird rights and can offer him an extra year and more money, if I remember correctly.

    Also, Larry Coon’s recent tweet “They could generate lots of room, but not enough to sign both to full max. RT @Atip4: Will Dallas have cap room to sign Deron & Howard?”

    I believe that’s because they would be signing as UFA’s, rather than signing as previous players of whatever team (bird rights)

  61. For those wondering about a potential Deron/Dwight pairing in Dallas, Zach Lowe did the math and explains what it would take for it to happen. It’s a very good read:

    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/02/28/crunching-numbers-how-dallas-could-get-dwight-howard-deron-williams/

  62. Look at the posts above! Even the optimistic posts are now concluding with statements like “we still aren’t beating OKC” or “struggle to imagine how any conceivable trade would enable us to compete with MIA or CHI”. I miss the pre-season where many wore rose colored spectacles. I am staying in my fantasy world for 17 more days – cause I do not like this reality : )

  63. Awesome, thanks for the link Darius.

    So essentially, Dallas would have to get rid of everyone except for Dirk, which includes amnestying Haywood, moving Marion and somehow getting rid of Odom, Carter, Jones and Beaubois, which Lowe says would be “unlikely and perhaps impossible”. Even then, Dwight and Deron would be taking less money than they would if they stayed in Orlando or New Jersey, respectively, and less money than they would if they were traded somewhere they’d be willing to extend or resign with. On top of that, Dallas would only have Dirk, Dwight and Deron signed and would have to fill out another 9 roster spots minimum with one room exception and the rest veterans minimums.

    In short, highly unlikely. Even if they got both of them to agree to taking much less money, they’d be surrounded with a team that makes our 4-12 look like the Globetrotters.

    I suggest all of you should read that article, its a great breakdown and will make your outlook more optimistic.

  64. Question for anyone who has seen this answered (or anyone who wants to speculate):

    Since Howard’s maximum financial return comes from opting out of his current deal but re-signing with whoever he finishes this season with, why would the Lakers still be on his list of preferred destinations if he doesn’t want to be here?

    The “talk” he had with Kobe (where Kobe is said to have told him he’d be a third option) was a long time ago–plenty long enough ago for DH12 to have taken the Lakers off his list.

    If New Jersey is really head and shoulders above everyone else in Dwight’s eyes, shouldn’t he be copying Melo’s approach last year–specifically identifying the team he wants to go to so there’s no chance of any misunderstanding? Doing so would allow him to re-up in NJ for a lot more than he’d get in Dallas, and more than he’d get signing there as a FA.

    I’m still a bit skeptical that Dwight has ruled out L.A., especially when his arrival here would almost certainly coincide with Pau’s departure for an upgrade at the PG spot–thereby immediately moving Howard up to the #2 option (something he can’t do better than if he goes to Dallas…).

    So, is Dwight more open to being in L.A. than what’s currently being reported, or is he really as much of a flake as he’s appearing.

  65. does anyone else feel this new concussion rule is going to cost at least 1 team a playoff series?

  66. exhelo,

    The problem with that assertion is that you can point to almost any team and say something like that–“if we just execute better” etc etc etc.

    As Brown himself said, the Lakers’ lack of playmakers or “break-down guys” as he put it, means that they need to execute multiple passes down to third or fourth sets, possession after possession. It is hard to win that way aginst NBA defenses, particularly when you lack consistent long-range shooting. Add that to the Lakers being 30th in TOs forced, and the team cannot get enough easy baskets to have a good offense–which puts more pressure on the defense. Brian K wrote a nice piece about this negative synergy today at L’ O L.

    Darius,

    Thanks for keeping the reins loose and letting the discussion run. Good work.

  67. Funky,

    My opinion FWIW is that Howard wants to play with Paul or Williams. I think he would have gone to Otis Smith with a one-team wish list absent the Veto. Stern knew that, and also knew that the backlash from a Paul/Howard/Kobe Superteam forming here one week after the lockout would have made Stern and the hawkish owners look like complete fools. Hence the Gilbert email and the Veto.

    Now…Howard wants to play with Williams, but both destinations have serious issues:

    NJ has little talent beyond Williams, and Howard would still be dealing with MIA and CHI in terms of getting to the Finals at all, much less winning a title. Howard, like James, still has 0 rings and is now mid-career.

    Dallas makes plenty of sense but may not be able to clear the cap space.

    Orlando could still conceivably land Tyreke Evans or Steve Nash.

    So the dance continues.

    As to where the Lakers fit in…I can certainly see Kobe saying something to the effect of “third option”, although he might not have. But I would guess that Howard actually has the same issues with the Lakers that most of us here do:

    Roster problems
    Cap problems
    Buss
    Brown
    Kobe’s age and salary

    Also, the fact is that I think MOST Lakers fans, incuding Jim Buss, don’t really want Howard. I mean sure, if Orlando wants to be dumb about it and trade him here just for Bynum, then yeah. But I don’t think Buss is going to kill himself and Kupchak trying to set up a three-way or trade Bynum and Gasol for Howard and Turkoglu. And I think Howard knows this.

    That said, there is no advantage for Howard to taking the Lakers off his “wish list” and if he were traded here, I think he would “give the Lakers a spin”, so to speak.

  68. this rumor that Kobe told DH12 he’d be the 3rd option implies a criticism of Kobe I’ve never heard alleged before: unfathomable stupidity.

    Kobe’s hubris is out of control, for sure, but he’s one of the smarter guys in the league– does anyone really believe that Kobe called DH to recruit him but, whoops!, accidentally made a mistake and let slip that Howard would be the 3rd option. ‘Uh, did I say third? I meant, uh, first… yeah, that’s the ticket.’

    either kobe is so unbelievably stupid that he botched a simple phone call or this is one of the least credible rumors of all time.

    Finally, if Howard cared so much about being top dog, he’d stay in Orlando rather than pairing himself with one superstar or another. He certainly wouldn’t play with Dirk and DWill at Dallas, right? Nonsense.

    My take on this is that Howard hasn’t made up his mind (or keeps changing his mind), so rival teams are spinning stories like mad. We should be grateful we have a GM who doesn’t play these crazy games.

  69. 70,

    I agree 100%. This “sources say” thing irks me to no end. Who are these so-called sources? For all we know it could be the guy who shines shoes outside of the barbershop where Dwight gets his hair cut. I am over this whole situation.

    I really don’t like the idea of the Lakers basically begging free agents to come the team. That is not the kind of organization Dr. Buss built.

  70. rr, that’s a good analysis. I totally understand why Howard would have listed the Lakers as one of his preferred destinations when there was a chance he’d be playing with CP3 (the draw, in that case, being CP3, not Kobe…).

    I guess I’m just a little curious as to why he isn’t more forceful about having Orlando trade him to NJ if that’s where he really wants to go, since being traded there by the deadline maximizes his financial outcome.

    The most likely answer, I think, is that what lil Pau said is correct: Howard hasn’t made up his mind. As the article that Darius linked to made clear, the difference between what Dwight gets by opting out & re-signing with his “current” team (at season’s end) and what he’d get if he signed a max deal as a FA is only about $10 million. Perhaps he’s just willing to roll the dice and let things play out knowing that his ultimate downside is still a huge contract with the team of his choosing.

    One way or another, the next two weeks should be very interesting, and I hear there will actually be some basketball played tonight….

  71. http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/kobe_bryant_injury_update_2012_02_28.html

    Now day-to-day with concussion symptoms. Just a soft bump to the head clearly…

  72. I said it before and I’ll say it again what a cheap shot by Wade. It was a retaliation foul with ill intent. Wasn’t going for the ball just wanted to send a message to Kobe. Wade did this with Rondo he intentionally pulled Rondo to the floor and broke his arm. Repeat offender. The guy is a borderline dirty player.

    And everyone who says it gets competitive in the ASG. It was 4 minutes into the 3RD quarter.

  73. Watch for LeBron to try to give Kobe a concussion next Sunday too, since he does whatever his man D-Wade does.

  74. Call the Waaaaahmbulance. If the team can’t win the title every year then there’s got to be something wrong somewhere, huh?

    The FO needs to make the moves that position the team to get us back on top as soon as possible.

    We have very good components on this team that nobody else has on theirs. We need to give our new coach a chance to succeed by not ramming everything his predecessor did down his throat including this personnel.

    Despite some of your pessimism, I’m fairly confident that we will pull the trigger on a Gasol deal that brings us a young star powered PG (Lowry, Rondo, Holiday) along with some other assets that will move the team forward.

    I’m not convinced that we will make a serious bid for a title this year and I’m totally fine with that as long as we’re putting ourselves in a position to do that again as soon as we possibly can.

    And for the billionth time. Dwight Howard isn’t going to be a Laker. So what! The guy is easily the least impressive superstar center in practically all of our lifetimes.

  75. I am not sure if Kobe told Howard that he would be the 3rd option in L.A. But if Pau was still here, the truth is, he would be. Pau is just a better offensive player.

  76. If the team can’t win the title every year then there’s got to be something wrong somewhere, huh?

    Nah. If a team is old and 30M over the cap, then it needs to be a serious contender or re-evaluate. Since this team is not the former, we are discussing the latter.

  77. 80,

    Michael H, what can I say of the players of today, too immature that a statement such that becomes a big deal! If Kobe really said it, what’s the purpose of saying it? Isn’t it, he wants to win? On the part of Howard, well his weakness is FT so he’s really the 3rd option because he needs to be in the post for possible follow ups or rebounds. No need of ‘hackHow’ strategy. Why make a big deal of 1st, 2nd or 3rd option, the objective of the game is to win as many games during the season in order to be seeded #1 during the playoffs. Once playoffs begin, defense is the first and the only option in order to win the Championship. Lastly, two years from now Kobe and whoever is the 2nd option are gone, you can hug the ball for yourself as the only option until you become worn out by age 35. LMAO!

  78. Kevin @77: Yes – Total cheap shot + D Wade is a complete PUNK. This ASG was even more of a circus than most + nobody was even attempting to play defense. For Wade to reach over Kobe’s back with both arms, when he had a clear path – PUNK maneuver. The fact that half this board thinks it was OK doesn’t sit well with me. Go ahead and reply with flames at me, because I will come back with a bazooka. I am sorry – but Kobe is my guy + he and the Lakers were PUNKED by D Wade.

  79. Aside from high profiled Superstars, there are other teams with great players on the trading block:

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-am-who-is-available-in-trade-part-1

    I like the Warrior players, Monta Ellis is my type of PG, it will really open up the lane for Bynum and Kobe.

  80. What a year…

    Phil leaves
    staff fired
    Brown hired
    lockout
    Veto
    Lamar traded to DALLAS
    Dr. Buss hospitalized
    Kobe hurts wrist in pre-season
    Endless trade rumors
    Kobe gets a concussion on a hard foul in the THIRD QUARTER of the ASG…

    Wonder what’s next.

  81. I agree 100% with all the wade bashing. Pretty shady play/foul to say the least. Now knowing that it also gave mamba a concussion, would love to see stern suspend wade. However I doubt that happens. Knowing our luck, the foul won’t even be upgraded to a flagrant.

  82. Robert,

    Pau and Andrew were diplomatic but both said it was out of line….and it was, particularly in an exhibition game.

    With the new concussion protocol as part of the CBA, Kobe may well miss tomorrow’s game.

  83. It’s not looking good for Kobe to play in tomorrow’s game since he suffered a concussion with the NBA’s rules for concussions. After concussions, players must show they are symptom-free after each 1 of a series of tests. He must pass a series of physical challenges with increasing stages of exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills — while ensuring the symptoms don’t return after each one. Earlier this year Kyrie Irving missed 3 games because of concussion is an example for how long a player can be out, but each situation is different. Hopefully Kobe will not miss any games.

    Devin Ebanks has been recalled from the D-Fenders, the Lakers D-League affiliate.

  84. nice job Nets, now T Wolves

  85. Think back for a moment to 2010 right after, Game 7. Now only 1 1/2 years later + many are wishing for a trade that involves our #2 guy from that series for their #4 guy. How did we get here? Oh yea, see rr list @85. Generally – I would think that the Celts would never deal with us, but they just might on this one.

    http://www.celticsblog.com/2012/2/26/2826960/why-the-celtics-should-trade-rajon-rondo-for-pau-gasol

  86. After reading that celticsblog post…I think that I have changed my mind about the Rondo trade. I was all for it, but now I’m not so sure that it would be good for us. Not unless we can get more than Rondo/Bass.

    Pau has greater value right now than Rondo. I would be more interested in picking up just an average PG with the Odom exception or trading McRoberts.

  87. I must say out of all the rumours, the Pau for Rondo is the one I dislike the most. Rondo would be a terrible fit for us and is overated anyway

  88. James:

    The team needs a young quality point guard and Rondo is right up there. It’s not supernatural

  89. Lopes had 38 points tonight for New Jersey, playing in Dallas.Hmmm. Derrick Williams, whose name has come up repeatedly in rumors, has 27 against LAC with about 4 1/2 to go in the game.

  90. Beasley is doing wonders for his trade value right now

  91. Lopez–not the old Dodgers 2b.

  92. Another great job of sitting on your hands Jimmy and Mitchy. Beasley has been out of control tonight 27 points against Clips. Now we have little chance of getting him as he made 7 shots in a row from all over the court. Made more 3’s then Metta all season.

    Keep waiting and all that will be left is Wallace, Iverson and and D league players.

    Great front office!

  93. Who is the genius by the way who claimed Orlando was clueless wanting Lopez and their draft picks for Howard.

    Jersey would not trade Lopez for Bynam straight up. First game back 38 points.

    You see unlike the Lakers Orlando actually has real scouts with basketball experience.

    Don’t be surprised if Minn runs Lakers off the court tomorrow night. Especially without Kobe and a limping Andrew.

  94. Beasley’s agent had to of gave him a heads up about the Lakers rumors. He was in rare form tonight, lol

    If he duplicates this performance tommorrow does FO let him leave LA?

  95. I am sure the Timber Wolves understand that Beasly is capable of nights like tonight. He has had them before. I’m sure their management isn’t sitting around saying “Did you see beasly tonight? Man we better not trade him” After all he did average 19 pp last year. His name is in the rumor mill because

    A. He is inconsistent
    B. He doesn’t always give a solid effort
    C. He is a bit of a head case
    D. He doesn’t play much defense
    E. He will be a free agent and will probably want more money then they are willing to pay someone with the fore-mentioned short comings.

    Adelman is old school and has cut his minutes by 7 this year. If Beasley was all that he would be playing more.

    Still he could help us but I am sure the Lakers will explore all of their options first. There have been zero trades made lately. Nobody is willing to trade until after the all star game. Plus players that signed with a team this year will not be eligible to be traded until March 1st. There have been no trades because it wasn’t time yet. Things will begin to happen soon.

  96. Any chance we can move Pau for Nash and someone else? All we gotta do is be competitive for as long as Kobe’s contract and then we can rebuild. Nash can play two more years at a high enough level to compete. Nash, Kobe and Bynum plus a good chore. So Pau for Nash + a decent starter/bench guy. Any takers?

  97. Ruben

    No way. Who is your PF on your team. McFloberts, Slow Foot Murphy, Metta Mess or are you bringing back the $5 million dollar cheerleader Luke.

    Let’s think younger not older. Nash is of course better then Fisher but then so is my 7 year old son. The guy is older then Fisher with a bad back.

    Now if we get him for $9 mill trade exception and Metta, then that’s a deal.

  98. anti Dwyer Abbott February 29, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Cheapest shot Dwyane should be happy now,so is Stern.

  99. ken: Nash doesn’t fit in the exception, and you can’t combine exceptions with players (or other exceptions).

  100. Haus

    Thanks

    You need to be a genius to figure out these rules. It’s like doing taxes.

  101. Michael H

    Were you talking about Beasly in those points?

    Or the entire Laker team.

  102. 100)
    Beasely plays the same position as that other guy who scored 27 points last night. That’s why his minutes are down. And Williams is a rookie in the first year of his rookie contract. A lot cheaper. They are looking to move Beasely because he isn’t gonna resign In the offseason with them anyways. He would be an amazing addition to our team and the best SF we’ve had since James Worthy. If you don’t want Beasley on the Lakers you aren’t a Lakers fan.

    Ken,
    And I’m glad someone on here recognizes Nash’s numbers are way better than he is at this point in his career. He is basically washed up if you ask me. He can still dribble and shoot yes. That’s about it. We can get a better PG at the deadline.

  103. Examples:

    1. What Bynum did to JJ Barrea = Cheapshot / Dirty Play.

    2. What Raja Bell did to Kobe yrs ago = Cheapshot / Dirty Play.

    3. What McHale did to Rambis n the 80’s = Cheapshot / Dirty Play.

    If anybody can’t tell the difference between these 3 examples and the foul that Dwade gave to Kobe, then they must not have watched much NBA Basketball n the 80’s – Mid 90’s or they’re extremely biased towards / n favor of Kobe.

  104. Tra: I respectfully disagree. I think the key ingredient here that some folks are not considering is the following: “context.” In the context of an exhibition game, that has absolutely zero impact on the standings of ANY team and where the players play as an HONOR of being selected to play by the fans, that type of foul was completely out of place. I agree with you that if this was a regular season game that foul would be a hard foul and it would be questionable of whether it would be flagrant – BUT THIS WAS NOT A REGULAR SEASON GAME.

    The fact remains that Wade admitted he was peeved that Kobe had fouled him twice, so he was looking for a bit of payback. That, in itself, is intent. Nevertheless, even if you think the intent was to foul not to maim, you also have to remember that Wade made no play on the ball. Finally, look at the outcome: broken nose and concussion (think about the force necessary to break a bone and cause a concussion).

    The issue here is that if the All Star game is purely “show” and not part of the regular season play, then I agree that Wade can get off scott free. However, I wonder how the league would have reacted had Kobe retaliated by fighting Wade. Would they both have been suspended? What if teammates came off the bench – or the stands? In the end, the fact that the league has said nothing means one thing for sure: Someone in the Lakers team will be Wade hunting on Sunday. I just hope that the designated hunter is McBob and not a key player like Bynum.

  105. Tra: Minus well add Wade’s dirty play on Rondo last year. You know the one he was dominating before Wade broke his arm. Wade has a past of these types of plays. So does Bynum.

    It’s all about intent. What was Wade’s intent on the Kobe play? It wasn’t to play defense he didn’t go for the ball. It was to retaliate his postgame quotes said as much. If Kobe, Lebron, KG make that foul it’s a totally different story. Can’t defend Wade on this one. Sorry

  106. Tra:

    I can tell the difference between those three incidents and what Wade did. But the fact that what Wade did isn’t as bad as three of the worst cheapshots involving the Lakers doesn’t mean it wasn’t a cheapshot. Wade admitted his intent. End of story.

  107. The Lakers are only short of one guard player that is confident, loves dribble penetration, can make his own shots & can pass the ball to bynum/pau closer to he rim. I see that in arenas, iverson(if they want to save money)

    Unless they can get a Point guard caliber of deron williams, or Shooter guard that is capable of making 30points like Monta ellis, lowry or dominant defensive player like Dwight. They can’t trade Gasol or Bynum period.

    & They can’t let go of metta & Barnes!!! Kobe recruited them himself for defensive purposes & not for offense so don’t ever criticize metta.
    They are the lakers VIP against Lebron, Durant, Pierce, Melo, Caron Butler.

    Gasol can bother Blaker Griffin, Duncan, Zach Randolph, Chris Bosh, Lamarcus, etc… Kobe is slowing down, There Length & defense is the only reason they are winning. &

    Just short of that Dribble penetrating guard, can create his own shots to win it all.

    & most of all, the Lakers guard should be more aggressive in attacking the basket & get fouled. Blake, Goudelack, Fisher should consistently be aggressive, making dribble penetrations to break defense, holding the ball more in early clock & be the leader in ball distribution so kobe will not be tempted to ball hog.

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