The Rumor Mill

Darius Soriano —  March 2, 2012

Welcome to the Rumor Mill, a place to talk about all the rumors, innuendo, and speculation about potential Lakers moves as we approach the trade deadline. In this space we’ll offer up links to reports, opinions on the speculation of the day, and anything else trade related that crosses our minds. This may or may not be a daily feature at FB&G, but we hope it can serve as a place to capture the craziness. As an aside, this feature will only run through the trade deadline this season. So, get comfortable but don’t unpack all your bags yet. ‘Cause just like the circus the trade deadline represents, this post will be on its way to the next town in a couple of weeks. On to our first installment…

As we touched on yesterday, the Lakers are obviously looking to improve their roster. There have been whispers that their front office has been one of the most active in making calls around the league, seeking out trade partners to try and improve their team to make another push to compete for a championship.

The most recent rumor (as cited in the linked post above) was the Lakers turning down a deal for Michael Beasley that would have surrendered two first round picks in exchange for the mercurial small forward. The Lakers would have simply absorbed Beasley’s 6.2 million dollar contract via the trade exception they received in the Lamar Odom trade.

There are several issues with this type of trade if you’re the Lakers and, to me, it’s no wonder this deal – if that’s what was really on the table – was turned down. First and foremost is that it surrenders every single asset the Lakers have at their disposal outside of their big three. This upcoming draft is thought to be one of the better ones in years due to several potential one and done college players that are likely to declare as well as other talented collegians that didn’t declare for the last draft due to the lockout. By surrendering their own 1st round pick as well as the pick that they will receive from the Mavericks (top 20 protected), the Lakers opt out of a potentially rich draft. Plus, by giving up their TPE the Lakers would have used their only other means to improve their roster without breaking up their core. By any measure, that’s too much for a player of Beasley’s quality.

Second, this trade has the Lakers take on Beasley’s full contract without sending any salary out. As stated above, Beasley earns 6.2 million dollars this season. While his contract is pro-rated due to the lockout and the Lakers would only be picking up the remainder of what he’s owed this season, they still must pay out luxury tax payments on what they pay him. That means whatever he makes from the Lakers that figure is actually doubled. When you factor in that plus the assents surrendered, it’s simply not a good deal from the Lakers standpoint and it’s much easier to understand why this deal wouldn’t have been made.

What would make more sense is if the Lakers were able to dump some salary on the T’Wolves while also limiting their use of some of their assets. This scenario is exactly what Eric Pincus is reporting at Hoopsworld:

A league source tells HOOPSWORLD the Lakers may have an alternate package that might work for Beasley while preserving their exception. If LA would surrender two first-round picks, the Wolves could swap Beasley for seldom-used forward Luke Walton. The Lakers have two selections in the upcoming draft (their own and a protected first from the Dallas Mavericks).  LA would be able to send both from 2012 or just one and a future pick in 2014.

Now, would the Lakers still give up two first rounders for Beasley? Would getting Walton off their books be enough for that? I’m not sure (though I’m dubious). This scenario would relieve the Lakers of having to use their TPE (an asset that could then be used on a PG, presumably) but if adding salary is really a concern why would the Lakers not want to use the TPE on Beasley but then use it on another player after adding Beasley another way? That’s not something that adds up to me based off the way the original story about Beasley to the Lakers was reported.

Ultimately, I don’t think a deal for Beasley is one that’s on the front burner as the Lakers are still likely holding their assets until the Dwight Howard domino falls. At that point, the Lakers may have a new franchise Center or will need to move onto other plans that help fortify their team. In any event, though, it seems the Lakers are still looking at big moves first with smaller ones being prioritized lower.

Darius Soriano

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89 responses to The Rumor Mill

  1. I’m hoping this place will serve as a catch all for all the comments and discussions people want to have about all the speculation that’s out there. I want this post (and subsequent ones just like it) to be the place where those types of comments live rather than having the analysis posts, previews, and recaps inundated with all those comments. So, as mentioned above, fire away.

  2. For any potential deal, the impact on the 2012-2013 salaries will be a major factor in the decision. (Because of the significant increase in luxury tax for “repeat offenders” that will kick in that year.)

  3. Since I don’t love trade talk I’ll use this as a catch for something else….

    WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG WE NEED A PG

  4. Salary is the main issue, and Kobe, Pau and Drew together make up the entirety of it for the Lakers. Any deal for Pau would have to net the Lakers both basketball need and salary relief next season. I doubt that can happen in the next two weeks.

    Also, if we’ve heard about it, it ain’t happening.

  5. #2. I’m not sure if we’re on the same page here so if this is what you were thinking, my apologies for being redundant. But…

    *There’s a higher tax rate that begins in year 3 of the new CBA (so, that’s 2013-14) where instead of a dollar-for-dollar tax, it’s as follows:

    0-5 million over the tax = $1.50 for every $1.00
    5-10 million over = $1.75 for every $1.00
    10-15 million over = $2.50 for every $1.00
    15-20 million over = $3.25 for every $1.00

    *The “repeater tax” is one that applies to teams that are over the luxury tax for 4 years in a 5 year period (with the clock for that starting this season). So, the Lakers will need to be under the tax line by year 4 of the new CBA (2014-15) and then be under it for two straight years to avoid the “repeater tax”.

    The repeater tax is quite punitive; it has the tax amount raised by a dollar at each interval (meaning the first level is $2.50 for every $1.00 over the tax line). The Lakers certainly don’t want to pay that tax ever.
    —————-

    Just thought I’d make that distinction in case we weren’t on the same page and in case some people may not know the rules.

  6. For those who oddly think Odom’s troubles are in his head and not in his old/flabby body… He isn’t going to the D League to talk to a therapist. The guy is still out of shape after half a season.

    http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/7637338/dallas-mavericks-lamar-odom-play-d-league-saturday

  7. Dude,
    Oh… And Dude… It drives me crazy when Bynum doesn’t use the glass with his left hand on the left block with the perfect angle!!!!!!! It doesnt make any sense!!!!

  8. I feel bad for Lamar…what a headcase (his play is a result of his shape which ,to me, is a result of his mental state) and he had so much potential…i echo the sentiment WE NEED A PG our SF’s are decent…kind of

  9. We are not gonna get what we want for gasol at all…so let’s take a look at what we do need: a true PG,and some bench help…as bad as “they are playing” we are only 1 game back in the pacific.I feel we are just now getting into basketball shape no need to deal gasol for nothing…buy out Luke Walton…lol

  10. Lakers may be overvaluing their pieces right now. Boston would of been crazy not to take Pau for Rondo but with last postseason blunder Pau’s stock plummeted. If it happens again Lakers are stuck with him.

    With D-Will and Howard seemingly with their minds made up. Lakers have to take a step back to take 2 forward. You have guys who have been on the block for years who can be had in josh smith, igoudala packaged with a average pg. Get younger more dynamic make a run at a free agent in 2013 with a more appealing team.

    No sense in waiting anymore and be stuck in neutral.

  11. Darius,
    Yes – that’s what I was getting at.

    In 2012-3, If the Lakers are at the same total salary and the salary cap is the same amount it is now, they would pay about 85M in luxury taxes.

  12. It seems there is a consensus so far – Lakers need a PG and then probably a decent back up SG.

    The only way they ship out Gasol or Bynum (my preference) is if they get an elite player back (and maybe some pieces depending on how ‘elite’ that player is).

  13. Sorry, that should be 2014-15 they would pay 85 M in luxury taxes, in 2013-14 they would pay about 50M in luxury taxes.

  14. Just for those who think Dwight Howard is a clear upgrade over Bynum… During last nights OKC/Magic game in Orlando the Thunder double teamed Dwight a total of one time. They would put Nick Colison on him and still wouldn’t double because you can get away with putting smaller players on him since he is only 6-10. I’m all for trading Bynum for Howard (its a no brainer) but only for health reasons. Dwight doesnt have a good back to the basket game scoring most of his points on pick and rolls. Hence why he will only come to the Lakers if they get a PG. In the playoffs we might miss having Andrew as having a guy who demands a double team is so important in creating open shots when open shots are difficult to come by. Kobe has not been doubled this season other than traps on pick and rolls. I love Dwight and think he is the second best player in the NBA behind LeBron but he isn’t a perfect player.

    Ken 2.0,
    So you’re saying Odom got out of shape in the one week between the CP3 trade and his first day in Dallas?

  15. Obviously, it’s not my money, so I can’t go too ballistic over the Lakers wanting to avoid the more punitive taxes. But they knew a new CBA was coming, and they could have tried to pay Fisher and Blake for fewer years, and maybe not give quite so much money to Kobe and Pau (even though once can certainly argue they deserve it, particularly Kobe).

  16. Rumor has it D12 IS NOT coming to the Lakers…. if that’s true, I know a certain commenter who will be jumping off a bridge.

    In other news, the only way the Rondo-Gasol swap *could* work would be if the Celtics threw in Ray Allen in the pot. The Lakers would then get the PG they want and some outside shooting help with an expiring contract. Chances of that happening are about as good as the Celtics retiring Magic Johnson’s jersey.

    If I were the Lakers, I would dangle Pau for DWills straight up. It is pretty clear to me DWills is not in a NY state of mind. Problem with this would be if Dwills is willing to sign a long term contract with the Lakers as I think he would prefer to play back home in Dallas. So, again, chances of this happening are about as good as Paris Hilton settling down.

    So, in short, no trades, no swaps, nothing will happen. Like it or not, this is the squad we have for this season.

  17. McBob, Kapono, and Ebanks for OJ Mayo. This swap (Mc for OJ) almost happened last year at the deadline. OJ gives us bench points and backup for KB24.

    The Grizz do it because McBob gives them energy off the bench missing from the Arthur injury and also gets them under the tax line for the year (according to ESPN’s numbers). Ebanks is a nice young player that can’t crack the rotation with us. Kapono is filler to make it work.

    OJ is expiring, so it gets McBob’s $ off the books for next year. If OJ does well, we can always resign.

  18. Beasley would be great for the Lakers as he could possibly be a replacement for the loss off Lamar Odom. Granted, he’s not the ball handler nor the play maker that Lamar was, but he can certainly bring much offensive production in the second unit.

  19. Pau for Rondo is a big no-no.

    A guy that can score for a guy that can’t score? Please…

    Now, this is my favorite rumor so far:

    Celtics gets Pau + Morris
    Nets gets Rondo + O’Neal
    Lakers get Deron Williams.

    And Howard can stick his head anywhere he wants, as far as I concern.

  20. This is the kind of post I usually stay away from. However, after reviewing the Laker’s salaries, the question that remains is what will they do with the amnesty?

    Bynum’s contract ends before Pau’s and Kobe’s and, assuming we don’t get DH12, he’ll sign a new contract then. The best option would obviously be to trade Pau when Bynum’s contract is up, amnesty Kobe, resign Bynum and rebuild from there…

    Until then, the best we can hope for is some minor tweaks in our roster around the core three players. Obviously, trading Pau for CP3 wasn’t a minor tweak but I simply don’t see a PG out there who’s actually worth trading Pau for. So, the Lakers should JUMP at the opportunity of trading Luke+picks for Beasley unless they’re sure of getting a real gem in next year’s draft. Also, the TE could be used on a point guard a la Ramon Sessions and hope that a starting lineup of Sessions, Kobe, Beasley, Pau, Bynum with the current bench is enough to be a contender for the next couple of years.

    This won’t be an easy transition but Kobe’s longevity along with his mammoth contract will hinder us for the foreseeable future. This is hardly a knock on Kobe and I understand his importance. However, as his play declines the Lakers need to find a way to properly rebuild without throwing us into lottery hell for 4 or 5 years.

  21. MP, only trouble with that rumor is that if the Nets will take Rondo and O’Neal for DWill, the Celtics would rather have DWill than Pau, right?

  22. @rr. yeah because everyone could predict that the details of the punitive lux tax in 2010.

  23. The more likely destination for Pau is Houston still. Then you have to find a team with a need for SG. Philly can’t afford Iggy, Holiday, Young and Hawes. Iguodala can be had and is very good. I’d trade Blake/McRoberts for Felton for starters.

  24. I think the lakers are waiting to see how things shake out. D Howard is the key here even if it is looking like he will not play here. The magic had a meeting with Howard and are pursuing players he likes. Say they satisfy Howard enough and he says he will stay. The Nets know that without Howard, D Will goes to Dallas.

    Enter the Lakers. D Will has said he would like playing in L.A. Now there is no way the Nets trade D Will for Pau. But the Timberwolves loves Pau and they have the young assets that the Nets would want for D Will. A 3 way trade would make sense here for all concerned.

    I think possibilities like these are the main reason you will not see us make a move until near the trade deadline. At that time I think we will make the best available move.

  25. The following is my best case scenario:

    1. Gasol and first round pick for Lowry and Scola.
    2. McBob and Ebanks for OJ Mayo.
    3. Bynum, TPE, 1st round pick, Goudlock for Dwight and Hedo Turkoglu. (Dwight agrees to sign extension with Lowry on board).
    4. Sign Rasheed Wallace for minimum.

    New Lineup:

    PG – LOWRY, Blake, Fish
    SG – KOBE, Mayo
    SF – TURKOGLU, Artest, Barnes, (Kobe)
    PF – SCOLA, Murphy, (Wallace)
    C – HOWARD, Wallace, (Murphy)

    This team will contend for years, and a core of Dwight and Lowry will help transition to the post Kobe era.

  26. due to their new tv contract, the lakers can afford to pay the luxury tax, short-term.

    so, the moves the lakers make or don’t make in the coming days will be determined by their braintrust’s assessment of the team’s chances to win a championship in the Kobe era.

    i think the Mike Brown hire indicates the braintrust believes they can grind out 2 or 3 more championships, Spurs-style.

    here’s my prediction: the lakers keep their core together, but don’t take on any additional salary committments past 2013-2014. they’re going to bring back Trevor Ariza with the LO TE, and in exchange for the salary dump the Hornets will facilitate a 3-way trade with either the Jazz(Devin Harris) or Cleveland(Ramon Sessions).

    non-laker related prediction: if boston can move both rondo and pierce, they’ll have enough cap room to make a run at howard, williams, and one more star–creating another Big 3. would not be shocked if rondo and pierce wind up in Portland.

  27. If we can get away with just trading one 1st rd pick with Walton for Beasley I’d do it. Beasley has potential to be a beast just needs a constructive environment.. I saw that 3 way trade rumor I’d do that for D Will if true. But if only minor moves I’d use the TE on sessions or calderon..

  28. I like Pau for Rondo + Bass plus whatever makes the numbers work.

    I also think adding Beasley + Sessions would make us contenders again. Our big 3 is very good, but no one cane score outside of these guys, we need someone to take the pressure off. I think adding these 2 would do it.

    - Walton + Picks for Beasley
    - Pick + TPE for Sessions

  29. I hope that Walton + Pick for Beasley rumor comes to fruition. That would be a huge lift for the Lakers. I just don’t see why the Timberwolves would make that deal. Makes no sense for them, unless they’re that desperate to get rid of Beasley.

    Can we all just stop dreaming about Dwight Howard? It’s not happening…There are numerous reports out there that make it all but certain that we are not getting him.

    Also can we all stop talking about the Rockets package. The Rockets have already said plenty of times that they are not trading Kyle Lowry…And he’s really the only guy I would want from their team.

    Lastly, I think we should all get ready for a Gilbert Arenas signing. Our TPE isn’t going to land us Sessions.

    I just think everyone thinks of trades from our perspective and doesn’t really see that most of the things that are out there don’t help the other trade suitors.

  30. MichaelH: Agree I think Lakers are waiting to see if ORL keeps Howard and Nets trade D-Will. Question is will you wait too long and get nothing?

    Lakers aren’t using the tpe there trying to save money not take on more salary. The assests just aren’t good enough anymore waited too long. Lakers aren’t coming away with another steal like the Pau trade. It’s best to get younger and more athletic Igoudala or Josh Smith no one else.

  31. I just wished the Lakers FO would do something now…its getting to a point in the season where the team that will be here needs to anchor down and get the chemistry in place for the rest of the year and into the playoffs…

    Id like to keep the big 3 and add a Beasley or a Mayo to the fold. If Pau does go, it has to be for a elite PG, Rondo is good, fills the PG role, but still lacks the shooting needed for spacing…so prefer that if Pau does go it would be for D.Will.

    One way or the other, the Lakers Fo needs to make a stand and go with the guys we have (Big 3 plus pieces) and make that stand soon…

    Sad what the Lakers FO has become….

  32. smoothaswilkes March 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Here’s a good one that helps on all fronts:

    Trade Bynum/Ebanks/Morris to Indiana for Granger/Hibbert/Collinson.

    Gets the Lakers an elite-ish SF, who can play defense when motivated, a top 10 center, and a very competent PG.

  33. I love how Darius sets aside an entire post for us to trade-monger and Robert doesn’t even show up!?

    I would love an top 10 PG, but Rondo kinda scares me with his attitude problems (Reportedly) and he seems a bit frail. Not to mention his lack of shooting.

    I really believe that the best move would be to upgrade to a better PG, with the TPE if possible, but not to get rid of either Pau or ‘Drew.

  34. Rondo can’t shoot from outside. It’s kinda hard to miss that gap in his game – it’s a pretty noticable flaw, actually.

    Why would the Lakers FO add him to a team … that already can’t shoot?

    Better (and I kid) they should look for some more old, slow guys who are overpriced, and preferably nuts.

  35. KenOak: I will show up – right on your queue.
    I am still D12 or Bust. The rumors that say we are out, just mean Bust. I do not see “good” alternatives.
    As a back up I already signed on to the “Keep the Big 3 and add 1+3 Plan”.
    I do not want to trade Pau unless it is a blockbuster and Rondo is not that.

  36. Going back to the “nightmare” that I posted in January: The FO must not go into full re-build mode – else they will face Kobe’s wrath. So – if they can’t get D12, they will need to do things that at least “appear” to be in the “Win Now” mode. I think the best option is to keep the Big 3 and use the picks+TPE to get the best we can at 1+3. If we trade Pau for lesser/younger/better contracts, the re-build will not be “Disguised” enough and things will get ugly.

  37. Is it just me? Everything I’m hearing/reading says this draft is not great (except for Mr. Davis) or deep in terms of top shelf talent. So just how valuable are the Lakers two first round draft choices? Their own pick figures to be low 20′s and the Dallas pick (lottery-protected no less) figures to be about the same. If the thinking is “a solid rotation player”, then it makes me wonder what the Lakers would receive in return in a trade. Especially since the Lakers are keeping a closer eye on the bottom line.

  38. BigCity: BINGO. The Lakers picks are not that valuable. And the TPE is only valuable to certain teams (over cap and/or dumping salary). We do not have much to offer. When bigger names are sought, then we either need to take on salary or include PG in the trade. Part of the “nightmare” is the fact that we will pick up youngsters, journeymen, and problem children, but not much else (that was for rr). This is what is known as the “Bust” which is why I am still hoping for D12.

  39. @rr. yeah because everyone could predict that the details of the punitive lux tax in 2010.

    The exact details? Maybe not. That it would be stricter? No-brainer.

    If you want to defend the FO, try substance, not snark.

  40. The problem with adding Sessions with the TPE w/o trading a PG in return. There would be 3 of that position next year fish (unless he retires), blake, sessions. Getting Beasley alone won’t take lakers to the finals. So you have to get younger and more athletic trading Pau or Drew. Lakers can’t afford to stand pat and have players value decrease again this summer.

  41. Kevin: Yes – younger and more athletic. However, when you consider trades, look at the resultant roster, and ask yourself if it puts the Lakers in the Top 3 (or could next year)? If it doesn’t, it unfortunately starts a whole other unpleasant discussion. One that I am not ready to face (the one Avidon and Buzz have spoken about). But forget me, what is Kobe going to think? He doesn’t want the 6th best team either.

  42. I have a theory I’ve been dwelling on for some time now, and I figure this thread is a good time to share it.

    We all know Dr. Buss is a big time poker player, and I have a feeling that the Lakers are in the midst of a big time bluff.

    Much has been made of the firing of the scouting staff. Every move they have made, from the vetoed CP3 trade, to the jettison of Odom for practically nothing, has screamed salary shedding. Dr. Buss has been practically non-existent and we have rampart reports of instability in the front office, which, by most accounts, is only comprised of Jim, his buddy Chaz and another Buss (Jesse? I forget)

    We know the new CBA is very punitive towards over the threshold teams like the Lakers, and all of the moves the front office has made makes it seems like their primary focus is shedding salary in order to escape all of the luxury tax implications. However, we also know they signed a HUGE tv deal that will pay them enough money to pay the entire roster twice over.

    So, what if, this is all a big bluff by the Buss family? Dr. Buss isn’t around, the whole show is now being run by Jimmy the kid and his brother and buddy Chaz, they are cutting salary left and right. But what if they just want the rest of the league to assume that is the case and are very well prepared to continue to pay well into the luxury tax?

    I just cannot imagine Dr. Buss going out like that. He has run the most prolific professional team in all of sports, let alone in the NBA, in the last 30 years. I have to imagine he wants to see the Lakers trump the Celtics # of banners before he passes. I cannot see him just handing over the reigns to an unproven Jim and washing his hands of the whole organization. Doesn’t it seem weird that we haven’t heard a word from Jerry, or anyone in the Buss family for that matter, while a majority of NBA scribes rip the organization and the Jim era to shreds?

    It just doesn’t add up.

  43. Two trades that work in the Trade Machine (assuming this is allowed in this thread):

    McRoberts/Morris/(pick) for Sessions
    McRoberts/Morris for Bayless

    Any number of 2 and 3-way deals involving Houston and Minnesota that get Howard here work as well.

    Will be interested to see, what, if anything, Buss and Kupchak do.

  44. sbdunks,

    Interesting. My understanding is that Jerry Buss is very ill and out of sorts–the man is pushing 80.

  45. @27 – Unfortunately, our trade exception is too small to land Turkey Glue, and trade exceptions cannot be used in combination with an additional player in a trade. They can only be used to land one player whose salary fits. I think the Magic would insist on us taking back Jameer Nelson, who is having a very poor season by his standards and is now three years older and slower on defense than he was in 2009, when he was already a poor (and very short) defender.

  46. Bresnahan reporting that Lakers refused to give up pick to get Sessions.

    If true, Jim Buss sure seems like to draft picks a lot for a guy who doesn’t like scouts.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-la-lakers-doesnt-want-to-concede-draft-pick-for-ramon-sessions-20120302,0,6685086.story?track=rss

  47. The only move that I would make that breaks up the big 3 would be a 3 way with Minny to land D-Will. Short of that I would just try and add a couple of pieces.

    Young and Athletic is kind of over rated. I don’t consider Dallas, the Lakers or Boston young and athletic yet they represent the last 4 championships.

    Teams constructed for playoff basketball win rings. Defense and rebounding wins rings. And we have both. With a decent P.G and a scorer for the second unit, we will be playing the Heat in the championship.

    There isn’t one team in the league that can match up with the Bynum/Pau combo. No one. And basketball is all about match ups. Pound the ball into the post and it slows down the pace. Slow down the pace and suddenly young and athletic isn’t all that anymore.

    Adding say sessions and Beasly if it can be done would put us not only in contention this year but if we held on to them we would stay in contention through the end of Pau and Kobe’s deals.

  48. rr, that’s probably the unfortunate truth. If he is moderately healthy, it’s odd we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him. We know he wants to win as much as the fans and has always paid for a winner, which makes his absence, health notwithstanding, a bit peculiar.

    Anyways, just an off the wall theory I figured I’d toss in the once a year speculation thread =)

  49. By the way Sessions has 16 points 7 assists and is 2-4 from 3 tonight against the Bulls. Just saying

  50. Michael H-

    Speaking truth to power! Exactly. Unless we net either D-Will or Howard, then do not break up the big 3. Just pick up a PG + SF. Of course if there was a way to grab Monta Ellis + Dorell Wright….maybe do the deal?

    I’m really quite torn on this- If anyone of either Pau or Bynum has to be traded, then I would rather see Bynum go because he is a bit more injury prone and he sulks/pouts and has a little of a dirty reputation.

    He has so much damn upside though! If he could stay healthy then he will be, at least, the second best center in the league for 8 years. Man, being a GM is hard! :P

  51. Yes, if Buss actually turned down a Sessions deal over the Dallas pick…well, I simply can’t see that being a good idea based on “basketball reasons.” It would almost have to simply be a money thing. However, Sessions has a 4.6M player option next year, which means either:

    The Lakers can let him walk if they don’t want to pay him.

    or

    They would only be on the hook for him for a year if he picks up the player option.

    So, I am very skeptical that Buss has some long-range master plan that he is saving his bullets for here. If he does, I will show up and say I was wrong–but Sessions doesn’t cost that much and would help this team a LOT. If Buss is gambling that Orlando will blink and send Howard here for Bynum and the two picks, I think he is going to end up being disappointed.

  52. As I have said – I am no Jimbo fan. However, if anything, we are in trouble, because we spent too much, not too little. At this point, we MUST reduce salary. The only question is when. I believe the FO is in a quandry, because I believe they feel that the only way we even keep salary at current levels is if a title is at hand. Otherwise you may as well start reducing now. However the “x” factor is Kobe appeasement.

  53. rr: Please comment on Michale H’s post @51. It is a plan similar to one’s that you have mentioned, however he has us going to the finals and being contenders through 14 with that plan. Your thoughts – specifically on his conclusions? : ) PS: D12 has nothing to do with his plan, so do not mention in your response : )

  54. @robert your responses frequently indicate futility for having to consider the real possibility that if the franchise tries to kill three birds with one stone it may miss all three.

    I agree with you it isn’t likely that anyone could thread the needle with all these moving parts.

    Common sense then would seem to dictate that you focus on solving the one problem that trumps the others and live with the consequences of the rest for the time being.

    In my view the biggest problem irrespective of when we will win the next NBA title, is not Dwight Howard, or the luxury tax, or the lack of point guard play, or Andrew Bynum’s knees, or even Kobe’s concern over any of that.

    It is that two of our three star powered players are aging and with that their value is diminishing.

    One of those two is destined to be here for the foreseeable (at least three years) given that he is not only star, but superstar and we need to preserve and extend his longevity as much as possible.

    The other star however will be 32 this summer and his market value will diminish in high double figures (probably as much as 40%)

    We need to move him for a comparable star powered player or for one that at least has high potential for becoming a star powered player. This player needs to be less expensive and younger.

    Now that’s the problem we need to address right now if we possibly can. And if handle that well then we can expect to remain competitive whilst we address the next problem.

    Courage fellas.

  55. Lakers aren’t going to add salary unless they get someone to take one of the bad contracts (luke, metta, blake, mcbob) in return. So Beasley and sessions won’t be had unless they accept a player in return or it gurantees a finals appearance.

    I see no point in keeping this roster together after what happen last year. It’s no good enough. The league has become one built of athletes there are no true C in the league besides Bynum. League is full of hybrids. So while our 2 7 footers is an advantage it’s also a disadvantage in foot speed, rotations, matchups. Say OKC plays Durant/Ibaka at 4 and 5 no way you play Pau/bynum. Same for Dirk/Marion, Duncan/booner always gives lakers trouble. Point is 2 7 footers doesn’t favor Lakers anymore still give up 12 offensive rebounds a game. Phil Jackson realized this that’s why Gasol/Odom finished games 95% of the time.

    Have to get faster and quicker more diverse. A Iguodala, Josh Smith with a average PG can create turnovers and would provide fastbreak opportunities thus becoming more than a half court team. Lakers are bigger than Kobe I would hope if something happens he’s not satisfied with he wouldn’t do it again.

  56. I don’t agree with Michael H. It’s a homer-driven impression of this team.

    Small adjustments around the fringe aren’t going to be the difference against the younger more athletic teams that the Lakers haven’t made any sort of an impression on when they’ve played so far this year.

    This team is too big and too slow trying to employ two centers.

    Significant improvement at the point (Lowry or Rondo) at the expense of Gasol could very likely result in more addition by subtraction in added improvement in Bynum’s game.

    And that would go a very long way to improving the youth and athleticism on this team and possibly contribute to a deeper run in the playoffs.

  57. We all agree lakers need changes. i just hope FO isn’t holding out for the big fish who have other plans. Josh Smith can play 24-19-4-3 tonight. If the others aren’t attainable this guy should be at the top of the list

  58. Dave @ 60
    I couldn’t disagree with you more on your characterization of what Michael H. wrote and on your assessment of how athletic we *have to be to win.

    First- Getting a top 15 point guard to replace ours and perhaps picking up a pretty good scorer in Beaseley would not be ‘small adjustments’. This team lacks quickness at the point and a player that can get to the basket and create for everyone else. Sessions would help to solve that. We also lack a scoring threat from the 3. Enter Beaseley.

    Now as for your suggestion that we can’t compete with our old and slow bigs…well who has won the championship for the last 5 years?
    Mavs
    Lakers
    Lakers
    Celtics
    Spurs
    All of these teams were fairly old and slow. Anyway- I think that a substantial upgrade at the 1 and 3 would provide enough juice for us to compete. We are going to be a 3 or 4 seed right now! If we add those upgrades, then we should be able to compete for the 2nd seed in the West which could get us to the dance. Remember, everything slows down in the playoffs.

  59. @ Aaron

    You just don’t get it dude, LO is being sent down to see if he still wants to play the game. I bet he retires. He’s not mentally ready to play. I wonder if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you? Ever had to work while one of your parents were dying?

  60. Dave: You are correct that I am concerned that we do not hit any of the targets. I either want a clear plan for a title while Kobe is playing, or I want a re-build plan while clearing cap space similar to what Cuban is doing. I know it is semantics, but in order to interest me, a short term plan has to have the word “contenders” + not just “competitive” : ) If we can’t do that, then let’s re-build. Pau for picks + a 2nd year player could be the move, but there is that appeasement thing : )

  61. KenOak/Michael H: I appreciate your plan and I wish rr would weigh in. I would reluctantly sign on for your plan if D12 falls through. I am not nearly as optimistic about it as you however. The day after we were swept last year, would you have traded LO (2010 model) + Shannon for Beaseley and Sessions, and thought it made us a title threat?

  62. Robert-

    If we make it to the WCF, then we are contending for a title. What more do you want? We’re not going to be the favorites until Miami breaks up.

    As to your question….Derek Fisher was just as bad last year as he has been this year. An upgrade there would have been pretty huge. Not to mention that Kobe was seriously hurting and Pau was lost. They seem to have it together this year, wouldn’t you agree?

    Honestly though, the Mavs were so hot in that series with us that I don’t think we would have beaten them 3 years ago if they played like that. I just think they were that “on fire” for that month and a half.

  63. Robert,

    Not clear on what you want me to weigh in on, exactly, but I would echo what KenOak said: there are NO moves that the Lakers can make that will make them title favorites for the rest of Kobe’s deal. The last shot at that ended with the Veto, and even if Paul were here AND Howard had forced his way here too, the Lakers would still just be CO-favorites with Miami.

    This is a complex chess board, but one thing I am 99.9% sure of is that the Lakers have no chance of getting Howard AND Deron Williams. It is what it is.

    What I would add to what KenOak says, though, is that:

    1. Kobe knows this.
    2. I don’t think that necessarily means he will want to leave, much less “blow it up.”

    Furthermore, I think if Miami comes here Sunday and waxes the Lakers for the fourth time in a row, Kobe is likely to more or less say #1 above out loud to the media.

    So, like I said a couple of weeks ago, the goal should be a WCF-level team. Get there and take your chances against OKC (maybe SA or the Clippers or even Denver or Memphis or Dallas) and then, well, take your shot against Miami or Chicago.

    As to what to do to get there…there is no “formula.” Any of the options might work if the details are right. Given how tight the West is, yes, Sessions and Beasley might well be enough to get the Lakers to the NBA Final Four.

    That said, based on the recent reports, I myself am preparing for Jim Buss doing…nothing. I think he may have decided that the title shot went out the window with the Veto, so he is not going to take on salary to add guys like Beasley and Sessions. He may figure that if he keeps Kobe and the two big guys, that will keep the tickets and the merch selling and he is better off that way than paying an extra 10-12M including luxury tax.

  64. Aloha Robert,

    To answer your questions, yes I would have traded Lamar and Brown for Beasley and Sessions. Beasley is young and athletic and can play the 3 and 4. he was coming off a very good year, averaging 19 per. And Sessions is just a real point guard. He also played well last year. And yes I would have though they made us a contender. Again how many stars can a roster actually have? We have 3. We need a couple more pieces around them.

    This team is starting to look much better as they learn the system and have a few more days off. We opened with the leagues toughest schedule. That was really hard with a new coach, system and players. We are begining to round into shape. This team is built for playoff style basketball. A tweek or two could get us over the top.

  65. Oh and yes, in this system, as opposed to the Triangle, Beasley and Sessions are worth as much as Odom and Shannon Brown.

  66. Michael H,

    Optimism has its place, but the team looks much better when they are playing Minnesota (in the second game of a b2b albeit one without travel– without Kevin Love) and Sacramento at home. I expect that the game against Miami on Sunday will be a reminder of the context in play here.

  67. rr

    I look at this team earlier in the year when we struggled, win or lose against everybody good or bad. Over the last 10 games(except okc, 4th game in 5 days) we look as though they are starting to get it. I am not saying we are going to win a ring as constructed. I am saying that we may not need as much help as it appeared earlier.

  68. Michael and rr-

    Look, I completely agree that context matters here. We are not in the top 4 as currently constructed. I’ll tell you what though…If we played Chicago or the Spurs in a 7 game series, I think we have a puncher’s chance.

    If we make the changes at the 1 and 3, then I think we could have a chance against the Heat or Thunder. The playoffs slow everything down- we all know that. Having the second best center and one of the best PF in the game can only help. One thing I have noticed lately is that the rotations are looking better. I love Bynum with the second team surrounded by shooters. Dump to the big guy and kick out to the shooters. It gets him his touches and keeps him happy.

    I expect that we will get crushed by the Heat, but if they play without Bosh it should be closer. They won’t have anyone to match up with our 2 big guys.

  69. To piggyback off Michael H’s excellent idea:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=8a9kg8r

    Sprinkle in draft picks as desired.

    Replace Barea with Johnson or Webster depending on who NJ prefers. If you factor in a NJ that’s missed out on Dwight and desperate to get return for Williams, that’s a pretty decent haul for them (the package around Derrick Williams is comparable to the package around Derrick Favors that netted Deron in the first place). While Minnesota gives up a good amount, Kahn should factor in that he still has a Gasol-Love frontcourt along with Rubio.

    That deal seems fair to me, but crazy deals always seem fair to the person that created them.

  70. There’s an interesting mini-debate above on whether or not to break up the Big 3 for anyone short of D-Will or D12. Guess it all comes down to whether you view this core as salvageable or not. While I certainly think this core can win a championship with significant upgrades at the 1 and backup 1/2, I don’t see enough assets outside of our core to net us those necessary upgrades. Barring a team desperate to shed salary trading a key player into our TPE, or Chaz working some miracles and netting us impact players late in the 1st round next year, it’s doubtful we’ll get the necessary complements to salvage this core (while I’m pushing for Sessions, I don’t think he’s enough to get us there). If that’s the case, this might be the best time to trade Pau from a business standpoint, as I doubt his trade value will get any higher (from a personal POV, I’d hate it, as Pau has become probably my favorite Laker).

    I might add Iguodala to the list of players I’m willing to break up our Big 3 for. Perimeter defense that elite would be invaluable, especially considering the Heat and Thunder are our biggest roadblocks. There would have to be other pieces involved, but a package around Iggy and Lou Williams would be attractive.

  71. Aloha Snoopy,

    That is pretty much what I had in mind except I don’t think the T-wolves give up Pekovic. He is developing into a quality center. I think you substitute Miller and his expiring contract and add picks. That would still be a very good deal for the Nets considering D Will will walk to Dallas without Howard. Of course there has to be something from Howard saying he wants to stay with the Magic or if he is traded somewhere else. Without that the Nets wouldn’t move D Will. The Lakers really have some tough decisions to make right now. Do they make a few tweaks to improve the roster now or risk missing a shot at the available players that could help, if they hold out until the deadline. Tough call.

  72. Highly doubt the Wolves are moving Pek. I could see DW on the move for Pau, but not DW+Pek. Reason being is Pau’s relatively larger salary and Pek’s emergence. DW alone won’t entice MN to move DWill IMO. My thought was moving Pau for DW but only as a last resort to shed a bunch of $ and get younger. Something like:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7upk5xb

    Saves $10+M this year and gets under the Lux tax line for next as Beasley and AR are expiring contracts.

    Problem is that this would most likely take us out of serious competition for a championship, but you never know how players will react.

    I think DWill should be the #1 target, but unless he will commit to re-signing or at least opting in for another year, it isn’t worth it IMO.

  73. If you want to have the best chance to win this year here’s what I got.

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6m7kqc5

  74. Ken, very interesting! Haven’t seen that one. Surprised that it nets Lakers a +8.

    Which team says no?

    LAL – Clear a ton of room for 2012-13, getting well under the tax line to permit signing of FA, and going for one more title with a motivated Garnett and an upgrade at PG (although he probably wouldn’t start over Fish).

    BOS – nets Pau and JSmoove to keep relevant in the East and they have room for the added salary.

    ATL – get a big upgrade at PG to stay in the top 6 in the East. Salary neutral for the most part.

    In the real world, would it be difficult for Pau and KG to switch sides in the heated LAL/BOS rivalry?

  75. Which team says no?

    ____

    Atlanta. They are trading Teague and Smith for McRoberts and Rondo–not a net gain. Plus, it reloads the Boston front line for two years.

  76. tviper: I think any team would do a trade if they feel it makes them better. It helps all teams they lose something to gain something. ATL gets the PG they’ve been looking for since 03. Boston has a new big 3 with allen coming off the books. LAL gets a upgrade a PG and get some cap relief still being able to compete this year. Having said that it makes all too much sense which means it has a slim chance of happening. lol

    rr: that’s a good haul for atlanta. smith has been on the block they probably can’t do better than that.

  77. Kevin,

    Rondo’s deal is for four more years; Smith’s is only for two. And I think most people would agree that the gap between Smith and McRoberts is greater than that between Teague and Rondo.

    In addition, the optics are bad for all three teams. That may or may not be as factor in any given trade, but most teams do consider it.

  78. rr: this is the rumor mill. You have to lose something to gain something in trades. Atlanta has been searching for a PG since 03 they would have a top 5 PG. This would benefit all teams for now and the future. These teams wouldn’t get a better haul than this imo.

  79. rr: I concur with Kevin re: Smith. Also, consider that Horford is playing out of position at the 5 and this puts him back at the 4 with Rondo getting him easy shots. Rondo’s salary is very friendly for his production, which is important because Joe Johnson’s isn’t (and will continue to get worse).

    From our perspective, we get a cheap PG who has potential and I could see KG going all out for a final chance at a ring. In the wide open West, KG’s energy and attitude (and defensive mindset) that more closely meshes with KB24 might get us over the top. If nothing else, would present big matchup problems for OKC.

  80. tviper,

    That’s fine, but I could not see Atlanta doing it for the reasons I outlined.

    And I will be quite surprised if Danny Ainge actually pulls the trigger on any deal with the Lakers–particularly one that helps their cap situation.

  81. Sometimes dealing with the enemy isn’t such a bad thing. If the Celtics let the season end without a move there doomed for the foreseeable future. Just like after the Bird-era. Ainge hasn’t made any good moves for a while (McHale gift wrapped KG to Boston) a splash may save his job. This move wouldn’t hurt Atlanta in their selling situation either.

    This is all just talk on our part so it’s not happening but it’s fun to talk about.

  82. but it’s fun to talk about.

    ____________________

    Right on.

  83. Imagine if Minnesota someone landed Pau. Rubio/Love/Pau would be 10x better than Bibby/Webber/Divac

  84. Kevin, don’t forget Darko “Mana from Heaven” also.

  85. Kevin, agreed. I watched MIN/POR last night. Love is one of the best players in the league. Unstoppable. Adding Pau to the mix would make them a serious threat in the West IMO.

    As mentioned above, I think we should consider a Pau for DW swap (if Pau is moved at all) for the reasons outlined. DW is a natural 4 and is stuck behind Love. Would give us the much needed youth and athleticism.

  86. There was a three-way rumor reported in Puerto Rico (Barea is a hero there):

    Lakers get: Howard, Beasley, Barea
    Minnesota gets: Pau
    Orlando gets: Bynum, Derrick Williams

    It works in the Trade Machine, and it still works if the Lakers take on Duhon’s deal, which I am sure Orlando would love to move.

  87. rr:

    Wolves seemingly give up a lot in that trade for a very expensive 31-year-old PF, who’s gonna clog up an already decent frontline. Not sure if they’d be inclined to do that.