Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

Darius Soriano —  May 22, 2012

There was a point in yesterday’s game that, to me, fully encapsulated what this Lakers’ season was about.

The 4th quarter had just started and Kobe Bryant was getting his normal rest, sitting on the bench with an anxious look on his face. Mike Brown was in an uncomfortable bind here, his team sitting on the precipice down by 6, seeing the Thunder with their big three on the floor, knowing that his key closer had faltered down the stretch in previous contests and need to get some rest, and needing his bigs and reserve wings to hold the line until he could insert Kobe back into the game. In less than 90 seconds, that hope’s expiration date came and went with OKC rattling off 8 straight points to turn what looked to be a close game into a blowout. A roster that was put together on the fly over the course of the season fell short. Kobe’s face showed the frustrated expression of a player that saw the reality of not being on the better team, of being on the team that would lose and be eliminated.

The Lakers simply didn’t have it this year. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to 29 a teams a year, so in this way the Lakers are not alone. The roller coaster ride of a new coach with his new schemes, a vetoed trade, the loss of leaders like Odom and Fisher, the initial boost from Sessions, the emergence of Bynum and everything in between gave this campaign so many twists and turns it was tough to keep up. The highs and lows were so great that even a team as used to living in the eye of the storm surely found it difficult to stay balanced.

Ultimately, I respect this team for what they achieved under the circumstances in which they achieved them. For the most part they played hard if not always smart. They won some big games and lost some head scratchers. They frustrated and wowed and the entire time I cheered for their success. Yesterday they lost to the better team and while I can understand and rationalize that, it doesn’t make it any easier. The Thunder deserve all the credit they’ll receive but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m struggling today. Losing is losing, after all.

Today, the Lakers organization must look in the mirror and be critical about what they see and about the choices they’ve made. They have a team that has some top level talent, some okay role players, unproven youth, and veterans at the bottom of their roster that likely needs some churning. For the second straight season they’ve come up short and while there are legitimate circumstances that played into those failures, those variables can’t be at the center of the analysis. They’re contributing factors, but not the reasons.

This front office must make decisions about the construction of this team and whether or not the model they’re using – two low post centric big men and an aging wing superstar – is the one that will get them where they want to go. There aren’t any easy answers here and that needs to be taken seriously. Fans will over-react and push hard for change but, like any other choice that’s made in life, it better be the right one or you’ll end up running in place, like on a treadmill. The right decisions are the ones that will get this team where it needs to go and those won’t be made today. The wounds are still a bit too deep for sorting out those issues.

And beyond the pain of defeat, there are real variables that must be accounted for. The new CBA limits what they an spend in free agency. The Lakers will pay out a hefty dollar amount in revenue sharing. There will be luxury tax payments to dole out as well, with the amount they pay going up exponentially in two seasons should payroll stay above the tax line. This makes it a priority to think long term while living with the reality that short term success is also a major goal. I mean, Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger.

Of course there will be plenty of time to dissect what may come next, what should come next, and what actually does. We’ll be doing that here at this site while also talking draft, summer league, and everything else Lakers up until the start of the season and beyond. Sadly, we’ll be doing that for a bit longer than we’d hoped, with the Lakers again falling short of their ultimate goal.

Darius Soriano

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150 responses to Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

  1. Everyone,
    If you want to blame failure on statistically by far your best player over the course of the year (Andrew Bynum) go ahead. But if we want to live in reality we probably should be blaming the players who played poorly. Just a thought. Kobe Bryant had his worst season since his rookie year. And I’m sorry if I go by advanced metrics. I’m a stats guy. The advanced metrics are now very accurate and the tools by which every NBA team judges players. Kobe Bryant had his worst season since his rookie year. Pau Gasol is no longer an elite player based off his advanced statistics. Andrew Bynum is one of the top offensive players and defensive players in the league based off those same statistics which also say LeBron James is by far the best player in the world. So I am assuming those who think the Lakers should trade Bynum are the same people who think LeBron James is overrated. It’s easy to hate on the young great players of the NBA. I’m sure you are the same people who hated on Kobe when he was young and disliked. But it’s important to live in reality. When teams want to get better it’s smart to keep your best player and replace your worst player with a better player. Thats how teams get better. Please tell me teams that have improved by replacing their best player who is a seven foot big man? It’s not rocket science.

    It’s funny some think Bynum is my favorite player. He isn’t. My favorite Laker is Ron Artest. My second favorite player is Kobe Bryant. But I don’t let my feelings make me biased. I speak about skill and talent.

  2. http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2012/story/_/page/5-on-5-120522/nba-playoffs-los-angeles-lakers-future

    “5. Fact or Fiction: The Lakers will win another title in the Kobe Bryant era.

    “Soriano: Fiction. The teams they’d have to leapfrog to win another ring are younger and have just as much, if not more, star power and elite talent on their rosters. For an aging team built around a still great but slowly declining Kobe, winning another title will prove too difficult.”

    Oh good. So there’s no reason to bother coming to this site anymore for a few years. Thanks.

  3. Darius: You have alluded to many of the right questions, and like you – I do not profess to have the answers. This is a total mess though. My basic question the Lakers should ask is:

    Are we truly going to try to get Kobe another title? And by truly that means becoming an elite team, not the “6th” best team that I started talking about last pre-season.

    If we go for it, we need to go for it fully. No unused TPE’s and no worry about taxes. It would be difficult for MK to make us an elite roster, with a blank checkbook. Throw in worries about revenue sharing and taxes, then it is impossible.

  4. Darius was in the 5/5 at ESPN on the Lakers that is up. People should check out his answers.

    Aside: I called ESPN yesterday and cancelled Insider. Asked why by the service rep, I said, “Henry Abbott, Beckley Mason, and the decline of the NBA coverage.”

    I also sent a two-sentence email to Abbott explaining my decision.

  5. When can we start talking about trades and possible offseason strategies?

    I saw some stuff being edited but now this is really what we have left to analyze and hope for

  6. The first paragraph hurts. Leaving Kobe on the bench was not smart rest or no rest. It was a 6 point lead OKC scored now 8. NO timeout. Durant made a 3 lead 11. NO timeout. (Brown sent Kobe to the scorer’s table). Durant makes another 3 lead 14. Timeout. That’s been happening all year the timeouts come too late when they other team has ALL the momentum instead of some. 6 to 8 to 11 to 14 without a timeout in an elimination game in the 4th quarter.

    We saw who cared and who didn’t. Kobe, Pau, Ron, even Sessions, Hill played hard all game trying to fight off the inevitable. Bynum coasted all game.

  7. Indeed, if forced to choose between the Lakers definitely winning or not, I’ll choose not. I never expect, nor think the Lakers will win. I hope they will and try to explain how they might. If that bothers fans I’m okay with that. If you come to this site for an opinion that the Lakers are going to win the title, you’re probably coming for the wrong reasons. As an aside, in that format I’m asked to give a 60 word response to a complex question. There’s not much room for gray area. That said, if circumstances change my mind can change with them.

  8. Everclear: In fairness to Darius, all 5 participants answered the same way : )
    Darius: I would like you to reconcile your answer to #4 (yes-we will be better next year) to your answer to #5 (no more KB rings). So, are you saying that we had no chance this year? Perhaps you and I have more in common than I thought : ) I had us as “6th” best and I have said that a “6th” best team has little chance. However if you think we will be better next year – than .. ?

  9. Robert: I think management is ready to go for it. They traded for cp3 and that means they were willing to have 3 max guys on the roster. That can still be done.

  10. “I’m not the most patient of people, and the organization is not extremely patient, either,” Bryant said after doing all he could, pouring in 42 points but still losing, reminding us all of the days post-Shaq and pre-Pau when that was his same fate. “We want to win and win now. I’m sure we’ll figure it out. We always have, and I’m sure we will again.”

    ____________

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7958280/los-angeles-lakers-need-make-big-changes

  11. No one ever talks about these guys in the postseason analysis, but I’d like to give props to Gary Vitti and the training staff for the job they did this season. I thought injuries would be a potential disaster this season with the schedule – as was the case for many other teams around the league – and for the most part, Laker personnel stayed healthy and was managed well.

    This has sometimes been an issue with the team in the last decade – people have talked about the superiority of Phoenix’s training staff, etc. – and while fortune obviously plays a big part in this, I’m glad to see the training staff had a good year. That bodes well for a team with an aging superstar.

  12. Shaun,
    Feel free to talk about any Laker you want traded. I’ve never really cared about those comments. However, what I do care about are the comments that speculate about who the Lakers can get when they trade a player. That is speculation and this board is not the place for that. There plenty of other places to propose deals that work in the trade machine. Here, we’ll discuss deals that are reported by reliable sources as being worked on by the Lakers and another team. It’s why around the trade deadline and when the Howard reports were strong, we discussed those pretty thoroughly here and why, when those talks died down, we stopped discussing them.

    Robert,
    As I said all year, the Lakers had a very thin margin for error this year. The fact they didn’t win it all shouldn’t be a surprise. I mostly talk about how the team is playing and what they can do to win and the general state of the team. As for my answers to those questions, the Lakers can be better next year and still not win. As I said in one of the answers the teams they’ll have to leapfrog are quite good. If asked to make a definitive decision today on whether or not that happens, I’d say it doesn’t even if they improve in the ways I think they can. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen different than I think it will as of today. And, as I said in a comment above, if the landscape changes my mind can change with those circumstances.

  13. Aaron: Kobe’s job has been will always be to put points on the scoreboard for Lakers. We’d all like efficiency but that’s his job to score he does it and does it well. Many fans thought trading Shaq was a bad idea look how that turned out.

  14. I think management is willing to spend the money but not as loosely as pre current CBA. Their willingness to take on Beasley’s salary for this year’s run is to me an example of that willingness.

    But I do think it’s always wise to be judicious how to spend the money. Just because they have the ability doesn’t mean they should start overpaying for any available player. That’s detrimental to the long term health of the franchise.

  15. trade Bynum for you know who, trade Gasol for 2 or 3 wing players who can shoot and are athletic, amnesty Metta and bingo we are contenders again. Simple!

  16. I think a key question for the Lakers is whether Bynum’s attitude issues have affected Jim Buss’ and Mitch Kupchak’s view of him at all the same way that they have affected many fans’ view of him.

    Bynum is clearly a very fine player, among the best 25-35 in the league, maybe even higher, depending on which numbers you like and how much you value big men.

    But he does not appear to have the kind of competitive edge/attitude that teams usually want in cornerstone players, he has a long injury history, and his trade value is high. I also do not personally think he will get much if any better.

  17. Darius: Understood. Thin margin yes. And yes – they could move up to say “5th” or “4th” best and still be a long shot. I several times posted to everyone, how often a team outside the top 3 wins the title, and it is rare. In #7 you say you never expect them to win the title. Well for most fans/teams this would certainly prove to be correct because after all, the basic odds are 1/30, but for the Lakers, we have won approx 25% of all titles in history and made the Finals approx 50% of the years. Call it entitlement if you will, but I “expect” a title more than once every 30 years : ) This is not a knock on you, but man do you really feel like you hit the lotto every year the Lakers win? If so, part of me envies you : ) Many years – I just feel like – OK – mission accomplished – I mean, I love it – but I am not all that ecstatic, because I am expecting it. I guess we can finally reconcile all those “entitlement” discussions we had this year : )

    In any case Darius – you and your site made the season more enjoyable and interesting and for that I thank you.

  18. Funky Chicken May 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Aaron, you must be pretty disillusioned to be a fan of a team whose “best player by advanced metrics” was outplayed in the first round by Javale McGee, and in the 2nd round by Kendrick Perkins.

    Seriously, after this playoff run, I am not sure how you can defend the idea that Bynum is this team’s best player. He is totally and completely unreliable–in terms of both production and, indefensibly, effort.

    Building a team around a guy with an undeniably bad attitude, huge injury history, and inability (7 years into his career) to do absolutely anything against a simple double team or fronting defensive player is just ridiculous.

    The league has changed. It’s a guard’s league, and building around a lumbering seven footer who shows up only when he feels like it is unnecessary and imprudent.

    Andrew is what Lamar was: a guy with huge potential but a simply dreadful motor. You don’t give max contracts to guys who can’t be relied on to play hard in every single playoff game, much less an immature, apathetic, and pretty classless one.

    Coming into the year, the biggest argument against re-signing Bynum to an extension was his health. That issue remains. At best, you are talking about a 24 year old with chronic arthritis and a structural predisposition to hip and knee problems; at worst, you’re talking about a guy one injury away from becoming Greg Oden.

    Now, we’ve got all of that, plus an obvious attitude problem and the knowledge that Andrew is very easily taken out of games with simple double teams. Hardly the making of a franchise player…..

  19. Can’t blame Kobe, he played like a champion with his back against the wall. Can’t really blame Pau, he was never meant to be on this year’s team in the first place. I’d like to blame Mike Brown, but it’s hard when you consider the circumstances of a short season, no training camp, and trades looming all year. I want to blame Bynum, but I give him a pass since this is really his first rodeo if you think about it. Can’t blame Buss or Kupchak, they tried to get CP3.

    Gotta blame the commissioner. Seriously, he screwed 2 franchises for the foreseeable future.

  20. Definitely a tough way to finish the season, but for whatever reason, last night’s final defeat didn’t feel as heartbreaking as games 2 and 4 for me. Probably because our collapse happened so much earlier last night, leading to a not-so-surprising Thunder blowout. Our collapses in games 2 and 4 are really where the series as a whole slipped away.

    I know it’s a little soon after an elimination to talk roster/personnel changes, but it’s bound to happen anyway, so here’s my thoughts right now:

    Any talk of amnestying Kobe is silly. He is getting older, and his game has changed, but I still don’t think he’s really slowed down. Past his prime, maybe, but he was pretty far beyond incredible in his prime. Mike Brown worked him like he worked Lebron in Cleveland all year, and yet Kobe still put up MVP-candidate numbers and often seemed like the only guy really ready to play in the playoffs. I will admit that a good share of the blame for the game 2 collapse has to fall on his shoulders, but that’s going to happen every now and then when the rest of the team locks up and makes him play 1 on 5. He turned around the next game and came through huge in the clutch leading to a victory, and his effort last night was truly inspired, even if it was in vain. Plus, no one puts more effort into his own longevity than Kobe does. And speaking of his stats, I’ve started to realize that his sometimes poor FG% might not be all his fault, either. He does occasionally force bad shots and is guilty of hero ball from time to time, but to me, these things are symptoms of the team making him go 1 on 5 or giving him the ball with 3 or 4 on the shot clock after a broken play.

    A lot of Lakers fans are probably going to call for a trade of Pau Gasol, but I would honestly much rather see Andrew Bynum go. Sure, he’s younger and is a promising talent, but I’m tired of his fleeting level of effort and I truly don’t feel like he has much passion for the game. I also feel like his emergence as a star as our center has forced Pau into a role that does not fit his skill set and almost entirely ruins his chemistry with Kobe. I would love to see Gasol move back to center and be paired with a versatile, outside shooting power forward again. I’d take a one-for-one trade of Andrew Bynum for Kevin Love in an instant.

    As for Mike Brown, I have mixed feelings about him, but I’m going to give him one more year before I pass too much judgment. You have to admit that he took on a tough, tough job this year, especially with the shortened season/training camp.

    I’m glad I discovered Forum Blue & Gold this year and look forward to following it next year! You guys are doing a great job.

  21. everclear,

    I surely don’t agree with Darius on a lot of things but his analysis and this site is really awesome.

    I am a huge Laker fan and have been for years. I used to go to the Forum and watch them in the days of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, etc… I qualify that so I don’t get called a troll due to my unbelief in the currently constructed team.

    To me the past two years have wasted Kobe’s chances at that 6th ring. Last year they never looked that great – very inconsistent – lack of heart – no pride in some players, etc etc… This year, more of the same.

    As Darius pointed out, this team is NOT going to win another championship if they keep it as is – sad but true. Of course this is not fact as the games have to be played but we all know that the Lakers are not even an elite team anymore. Good, but not great.

    Then add in Mike Brown into that mix – i think he was the wrong guy to hire but that’s just my opinion.

    anyway, my point was to fully back Darius – I think how he stated it was perfect. Too many young, athletic teams, still improving, and we have an aging team with declining talent…and a bunch of players with no heart and pride. How you going to win a championship with that?

    Just because Darius hosts this site does not mean he has to blindly just say that the Lakers are going to win it all, every year. Who would want to come to this site if that was the extent of his knowledge?

    Maybe I did not fully understand what your post was about or where you were coming from. Not trying to attack you but think it would be a horrible blog if the writers here just blindly always said that the Lakers are awesome and that they will win the ring this year with no analysis or insight.

  22. And yeah I admit that there was a bit of trade speculation in my comment but don’t take it too seriously. Just an honest thought.

  23. Robert,

    To me, it is simply a question of what the options are/were and how the team is structured in determining how I feel about the team. I said this in pre-season, and now that the team has done more or less what I expected, it is the same.

    I am OK with the Lakers not being contenders; I have issues, however, with the team having older players in key roles, having a massive payroll–and not being contenders.

    What they should do about that is another question, and a complex one. But I think it quite reasonable to be discontented with those circumstances.

    At the same time, though, we always need to account for the Paul veto in evlauating this FO. The Lakers likely would still not be as good as SA and OKC with Paul instead of Pau, but we would be looking at a very different picture and would be having a different conversation in that case.

  24. Darius:

    Thanks for the great writing as usual. I’m 53 and it’s taken me a long time to get even a bit philosophical about these kinds of seasons and results. Your post hit exactly the right emotional and intellectual notes. That’s why I went to FB&G first today and always. The Lakers were not going to win this year given everything that’s happened. Nevertheless it hurts especially with the uncertainty facing us in the new CBA era and with the liklihood that Pau, one of my all time Laker favorites, is likely to be moved. Two final thoughts to break the wistfulness:

    1. (edited for trade speculation)
    2. Will the Spurs be the first ’2 asterisk title* team’ (*bogus shortened season title)

  25. The Lakers need build around the point guard position to be dominant again. That is where the league is at now. I’m not sure if Sessions is the guy or not. Either way, they need to run their offense from the point. Kobe needs to be off the ball. His handling has declined due to the injuries on his right hand. Let him move off the ball for catch and shoots and post ups. They need another slashing wing. Maybe Ebanks is that guy. They need true power forward who can move his feet and help space the floor. The floor spacing part is important because it would allow Kobe to play more in the post without clogging it up. Overall they need a serious injection of youth and athleticism.

    Regarding Bynum: I don’t think the organization needs to think too hard on what to do. His comments yesterday back up what Ramon Shelburne said a couple of months ago. Bynum seems to want out of LA. He doesn’t seem too high on Mike Brown. And he may be tired of playing with Kobe. At this point I think trading him should be automatic.

  26. Nice job by okc closing it out.

    Considering all that’s happened this year, I thought the lakers did pretty well. I expected more from some of the coaching staff and some players. When you’re the lakers, you’re always a target and it’s not always easy to get equal value in a trade, so I tip my hat to Mitch for what’s he has done and has tried to do.

    That being said, I don’t think Bynum really gets it yet, and I don’t know how much more time he deserves to figure it out. There’s a window of opportunity for Kobe to get another ring, but pretty soon you will need the Hubble telescope to see the opening.

    I don’t know how much time Kobe has put into developing Bynum. It seems like Pau has made more of an effort. Mike Brown has not been that successful. It’s really in Kobe’s best interest to find ways to get Bynum to consistently play at a higher level.

    I wonder Kobe has fully learned the lessons of the Shaq era, because it seems like he might be riding solo again, and that didn’t work out so good the last time.

  27. Not really sure why people are upset with Darius calling it like it is. If you only prefer to check out Lakers sites when they’re winning, well … I guess the term fair-weather comes from somewhere. We have limited assets to retool with, no point in beating around the bush.

    I’m not a knee-jerk reaction type of person – I still believed after last season that our front line was still championship-level – but I think the model has run its course. It has less to do with height and more to do with foot speed. In a league of lightning-quick penetrators who rely on the pick and roll, it’s not the initial defender that matters as much as the big. When you have two bigs that are relatively slow guarding the PnR (and one who prefers not to show hard during the regular season) you’re fighting an uphill battle.

    This year, Pau was used as a glorified Brad Miller. I still think he has plenty of game left, and his trade value doesn’t reflect that. Lakers Nation will be divided on which big to keep.

    But whichever one we keep, the target should be to find a 4 with foot speed and elite PnR defense, not just the biggest name possible. That’ll give our frontcourt the best balance.

  28. Let’s fix the mistake and move on, Stan Van Gundy should be next Lakers head coach (too bad Rick Alderman is not available ), his Orlando team didn’t have outside shooter like Kobe.

    The defensive cheme of Mike Brown can’t stop either Brooks or Durant, remember both Durant and Brooks don’t have the experience playing in the NBA Finals like LeBron or D-Wade, eight players rotation of MB is the dumpest thing.This Lakers team won championship 2 years ago, we can’t say that players don’t know how to win in the big games. Jim Buss should look at the defensive scheme of San Antonio did to CP3.

  29. Now that our season has finally ground down to its conclusion I am going to be very interested in how management chooses to approach the (very unenviable) task of sorting through the wreckage and rebuilding around the constraints of the new CBA.

    Assuming that Jim still wants to give winning with Kobe one more shot I expect a Gasol trade (or at least an attempt to trade). If management thinks we’ve gone as far as we can with the current core then (as bad as it sounds) applying the amnesty to Kobe might be the best thing for both sides. He will be free to try sign on and win one more with another team and we will finally begin to rebuild in earnest rather than the patchwork tinkering-around-the-edges we have been doing on and off since the Shaq era.

    Either way, a great deal of uncertainty coming over the next few months :/

  30. Everyone outside of Kobe is on the block. It’s up to Jim Buss to realize that Bynum may not be the “it” guy he thinks he is. AB is probably never going to be a number one option guy, and he’s so inconsistent being the clear number two option might even be a stretch (I hope otherwise but that’s just an assessment).

    It would be nice to keep Kobe and Bynum. Gasol should start looking for homes in the Houston, Atlanta, Orlando areas.

  31. @RR, agreed. FWIW, Jim did state earlier in the year that he wasn’t opposed to moving Bynum. If they’re not convinced he can carry the franchise after Kobe, why not move him now?

    @RR and Greg W.

    Given a choice between moving Bynum and Pau, I’d move Bynum at this point. I think Pau can flourish again when moved back to 2nd option. Bynum has a higher trade value to be able to get picks and/or bodies to fill a starting PF/C and backup PF/C and backcourt depth.

    Still even with the willingness from Jim/Mitch to move Bynum, that’s still a lot of work to find the right pieces. I have faith in Mitch and a regular summer would give him enough time. But it does come down to what direction are they going to go. That will determine what Mitch does.

    There’s a two year window before the hammer of 2015 super lux tax kicks in. Currently all contracts including Kobe, Pau and Bynum end in 2014. Any extensions will probably be negotiated with that in mind. Starting at zero for that year and keeping it under lux tax penalties.

  32. rr: Ah yes the pre-season. I often concluded posts and e-mails to you with “we must either be contenders, or have a plan to get there”. You said the same and are saying the same in #23 above. We can drop out of contention to set ourselves up for the future, but having an $80 million payroll + not contending is not smart or desirable. Well, we are in a major quandary. We are not contenders, and minor moves (adding journeymen, youngsters, or problem children) will not make us one. So, do we stay at about the “6th” best level for the next couple of years, or do we take drastic action? And Pau is not drastic at this point – because he is devalued. Drastic would have to involve 1 of what is now a Big 2. Or do we avoid the pain, keep the core intact, add the journeymen, stay at about the “6th” best level for the next 2 years, and deal with this in 2014 (this is what I think the Lakers are going to do by the way – and in many ways – they do not have much choice).

  33. Everclear,

    I think Darius has a point in raising the bar of this site by being an active Mod. He has some policies that he believes have to be followed in order to make it more palatable, orderly and a sequential site.

    Just be patient, eventually opinion changes as the tradewinds developed. A friend of mine who is a judge in Superior Court told me one time that his opinions are based on the law. Sometimes the law itself changes too, therefore his opinion changes as well which he referred as O.B.E. (Overcome By Events).

    Having said that, I still don’t agree from a journalistic point of view to censorship. When you hide some criticisms through constant moderation or adamantly parry objections by sticking only to one’s own point of view, then freedom of expression by some posters are suppressed. The writer also feel controlled and sequestered. Of course as a good Mod, it is difficult to please everyone.

    Overall, I have to give my salute to DM & FBG writers, although they’re under the aegis of (big business) ESPN, I consider FBG as the most insightful, informative and truly representative forum blog for Laker fans.

    Nobody has a monopoly of perfection, not even the late genius Steve Jobs.

  34. The obvious move is to trade Bynum. His trade value is at its max and he is just one tweak of the knee away from losing most (if not all) of his value. I know this will devastate aaron but he can just become a fan of whatever team Bynum joins. I think Pau can still be a useful player (although overpaid) if allowed to play in the post offensively rather than as a pseudo-stretch PF as he was forced to play this year.
    Unfortunately even if Bynum is traded for an All-Star PG, the Lakers’ young players improve, and Pau returns to early 2010 form this isn’t a top 3 team as Robert has pointed to as being the benchmark.

    There are too many other young teams that are going to get even better because they dont sell or trade away their draft picks every year. The FO (at the direction of ownership) has kicked the can down the road for several years now by overpaying players to resign and selling draft picks to raise cash and avoid paying rookie contracts which ironically are gold in the new CBA economy.

  35. Aaron- What does Kobe’s stats for the season have to do with this playoff series? Absolutely nothing.

    In fact, more precisely, what do regular season stats have to do with the playoffs at all other than positioning? Also, nothing. In this elimination game Kobe shot 54% and poured in 42 points. What did Bynum do? What did Bynum do all series long really? The only game that LA won in this series was because of Kobe. Period. It’s as simple as that. You can be a metrics guy all you want- but that’s no more “reality” than a commander sitting in a tent with his maps and plans while his soldiers are actually out fighting the battle. You sound totally clueless. If Bynum doesn’t really want to play in L.A. and doesn’t want to give max effort, he shouldn’t be here. Plenty of other teams in the league who are advancing don’t have the supposed “best offensive and defensive center in the league”. What they do have is depth, quality pg’s and actual shooters. Those things would help us considerably more than Bynum does about half the time.

    People compare Bynum’s laziness to Shaq…but for Shaq a “lazy game” was 20 points and 10 rebounds. For Bynum a 20-10 game is supposed to be proof of his emergence as the best center in the league. Do you think Howard would have given us 10 and 4 last night?

  36. The team will never trade Kobe and they probably shouldn’t but I think they should have an honest assessment of whether or not they can put together a championship team with the parts they have. If not they should be honest with Kobe and inquire as to what he wants.

    I say this because it only takes a few swipes at the trade machine to realize that our options are incredibly limited. Yes we can trade Gasol or Bynum or both but do they actually become better than the 3rd best team in the West? This is the hard

    But of course Kobe will not be traded nor does my heart want him to be.

    In that case , priority number one is to figure out exactly what kind of system and what types of players Kobe needs to be a title contender

  37. As much as Pau fail at scoring or being efficient, I seriously wish Lakers will trade Bynum, as much as he stack the box score, it is the little things such as not being there during rotation that screw the Lakers vs Thunder, in some sense he remind me of a little kid that only care about himself and work only when he is in trouble and whine when it doesn’t go his way. I might sound bias but remember we won those two championship because Bynum was either out mostly or on the bench and Lamar and Pau was playing together in late game.

  38. I believe to make Lakers competitive, we should find a suitable replacement of our 2 bigs. I think there is a solution but I cannot reveal it now since it will fall under speculation.

    Drew will not change his habits as well as his attitudes which is not really that bad. all players will seek their own identity. What is bad, that his moods affect his productivity. He does not welcome criticisms being slow in defense and one dimensional in offense. Maybe, he is also searching for higher inspiration from a Coach that he could respect and rely on.

    Pau from 2008 to 2012 went to a downward trend. He can still be a productive Center in other teams. As a Laker, he helped this team tremendously in the first three years, I don’t think we can extract fresh juice from Pau, he has given us everything that he’s capable of, which is short to the team’s costs and benefits.

    They have a salary of 16.4K and 19K. I think we can get quality players out from them. Centers are in demand in this league.

  39. I am not sure what to do with Drew. I do know this: We will most likely exercise the team option. This will start a year of D12 type action. Do we want him long term? Does he want us long term? Does he pout ? (hint – yes). Does he demand change? Does he want MB gone? Does he want KB gone? Is Jimbo in a minsdset to cave into his demands to retain him? I can hardly wait : )

  40. What exactly happens when a team amnesties a player?

    I LOVE Kobe the warrior – he is the ONLY one who shows up for every game – especially playoff games. I hated what happened in game2 but hey, he is still human. However, the dude does everything in his power to constantly improve and win at all costs. I think the Lakers need to keep him – HOWEVER, is it in the best interest of BOTH parties if he gets amnestied?

    It frees Kobe up to go to a team that is ready to win a ring and it frees up the Lakers to start rebuilding. (hopefully not around bynum as he has shown his true colors and does not have the heart of a true Laker player) Again, I want Kobe to be a Laker but I would love to see him get that 6th/7th ring.

    Don’t see how the Lakers can build/trade enough pieces with the CBA to give him that elite team to win a ring in his closing window of opportunity.

    Like others have stated – no team and Stern really wants to do much to help the Lakers.

    Mitch/Buss are going to have to do some incredible magic to get them elite in a hurry.

  41. The lakers only choice is to tweak the roster in the best way possible to get them over the hump while Kobe can still be a superstar. The best way to do that is to deal Gasol. They won’t be able to get a superstar or even an all star but they have to try to get some depth. Gasol is essentially Big Z from 06-10, a floor spacer who will grab some rebounds but doesn’t provide much else, can’t defend and fades in the playoffs. I do believe Gasol is much more talented and can provide more, but the key is will he or can he in this offense?

    They have 3 young players that they have to keep and develop in Hill, Sessions, and Ebanks. They have to let go Matt Barnes and Troy Murphy. What’s the point of keeping Barnes since we know he never shows up in the playoffs.

    My biggest concern is Bynum. He’s shown he can be an all star, but he’s regressed mentally and shown he can let that affect his performance.

    They should amnesty Blake since Ron Artest still has some value when he’s in shape.

  42. west coast ram May 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Bynum to the team that wins the lottery for Davis, amnisty Ron Ron, no new contract for Barns or Murphy. Use MLE for 3pt. shooting wing and pick up a back up center. Force Brown to develop the three young guys (Morris, GLock and Ebanks) as the Spurs are good this year because they have more than just Tim, Mano and Tony.

  43. @35 – If the Lakers amnesty Kobe, they lose the respect of every player in the entire league. Kind of like how players do not want to go to Cleveland – star players will not want to come to the Lakers (and would probably choose the Clippers if they wanted to be in Lala land.)

    Sure there may be some upside in saving salary cap money – but who praytell do you think the lakers are going to get to replace their best and most passionate player and still a top 2 SG in this league?

    Also – what star player is going to WANT to come to L.A. if the management is willing to throw Kobe under a bus for taking a big salary when he rightfully deserved it.

    It gets even worse when you consider they would be playing with #17 – a no heart big man who doesn’t play hard in most games.

  44. truehoop seems intent on saying that Kobe cost the Lakers this playoffs that we still have a dominating front court and therefore Kobe should be the one that goes. I really despair….How can anyone who watched the last two weeks think that Bynum and Gasol are “dominating”, particularly on the defensive end, is bemusing

  45. Interesting tactic. Call a guy out for having his “worst” season ever, but not put that into context. Yes, using statistics only Kobe had his worst season since his rookie year. Of course, his worst year also meant that he had a 21.9 PER (if I remember correctly) and ended up top five in MVP voting. You’re comparing Kobe to himself. Yes, this was a down year by Kobe standards, but it still made him one of the best players in the league. Keep in mind, too, that his numbers were affected by his myriad injuries, particularly the fluke wrist injury in the preseason that hurt him all year, and the compressed schedule. Is it fair to expect a 16 year vet to fall off just a bit in a compressed season? I think so. By the way, while we’re touting Bynum’s durability, let’s keep in mind that while he played every game he was available for this year, it was a short season. There’s still no proof that he can stay healthy for an entire 82 game schedule.

    My biggest issue, though, is no matter how talented Drew is, and he is talented. No matter how much he can affect the game on both sides of the court, something he can do like only a few other players in the league. All of that comes with a MASSIVE caveat…he just doesn’t seem to give a damn. I don’t trust him to show up. You want to sign him to a long term max deal? Talk about rolling the dice.

  46. Lakers have to add someone who is better than Kobe at this point. Kobe will always be Kobe and close but he needs help and needs a player who can help the Lakers more than he can. Deron or Dwight. If it’s not those 2 Lakers have to be a team ten deep. 2 deep at each position with players who you know can come in and produce. If your not going to get a superstar put together a bench that can average 40. That’s the only way to compete for a title next 2 years. Somebody like Deron or Dwight instantly makes everyone better.

  47. chownoir.
    Pau can flourish as a number two option again? how did that play out last year? He shot under 40 percent in the playoffs and didn’t show up. He played better this year in the playoffs as the third option. Maybe he would play even better as the fourth option?

  48. Trade Andrew for a tough rebounder and defender and a wing player that can create his own shot. Neither of them need to be all stars.
    Then build the team using the Spurs mold.
    Pau – Duncan
    Kobe – Ginobili
    Sessions or an aging white canadian PG – Parker.
    -with a tough rebounder and defender in the post
    - a wing that can come off the bench that can break a man down and get a shot off

    This way Kobe and Pau have a shot at competing for a title for the next 2 years and then you reload and rebuild after that.

    Google Joe Barry Carroll.

    A talented offensive center with no motor for defense or rebounding.

    THAT is Andrew.
    He’s not going to change or grow or evolve.
    That is who Andrew is.

  49. I do agree with Aaron on one thing Darius Morris should be the backup PG. And Eyenga in brief stints is explosive and can run the floor. Blake has to be bought out he’s dead weight. With an upgrade at PG McRoberts can be useful if not buy him out too.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm

  50. @ 43, Kevin_

    Seconded. The Lakers either need a younger second star who can consistently take on a significant offensive burden so Kobe can pick and choose the spots where he asserts himself or a committee of good players who can start runs and hold leads. As we are now the two big men have overlapping skill sets and are too easily taken out of games while our role players fail to make opponents pay. Kobe then tries to pick up the slack and do too much.

    He is still effective but simply can’t be playing such heavy minutes because the bench can’t keep a lead or be forced to spend most of his energy keeping things close or maintaining a lead in the first three quarters.

  51. Aaron-

    I have to disagree with you that Bynum was our best player.

    After his tremendous effort in game 1 against Denver I never saw the same commitment to defense for the rest of the playoffs. The problem with Bynum is that his game is predicated on whether he gets offensive touches. When he is scoring his activity level on both sides of the floor increase. He is controlled by too many outside factors instead of himself, which is why his “motor” comes into question.

    In the final game of the season he was getting questionable fouls called against him. Instead of playing smarter, digging deep, and playing with more energy he was LETHARGIC! There is no excuse for that type of energy level in a close out game. What Bynum said was true, “If you jump out on a team early on close out games are easy.”

    If he really was the best player he would have fought harder, simple as that.

    The main problem the Lakers suffered from is not devising a better 4th quarter offense. The coaching staff needs to do a better evaluation of play calling. Throughout the playoffs we try to get the posts the ball with 14 seconds left in the shot clock. They are crowded so Kobe gets the ball with 7 seconds left and has to take very difficult contested shots.

    That is unacceptable. Kobe has bailed us out time and time again, but relying on an offensive set like that is a recipe for a 1st or 2nd round defeat.

    And because that is the only offense that the Lakers feature, Bynum and Gasol are left to get their points on offensive rebounds. Those two are sick and tired of “getting theirs” off offensive rebounds. If the Lakers win the game it’s Kobe’s greatness, if the Lakers lose, it’s because the bigs didn’t bring forth the necessary energy. That is why Bynum said he’s willing to go elsewhere and that is why Gasol is tired of getting the brunt of criticism. Their way of getting at the Lakers is by passive resistance, which is seen by a lack of boxing out, setting tough Perkins-like screens, and giving the effort on defense to compete like champions.

    “We just weren’t committed to one another.” Ron Artest

  52. KB: The post by Jerry Ross @39 is interesting. You might expect me – the Kobe Alert guy – to scream heresy. However, not the case. This is going to be an issue at some point. If we simply let him play out the next two years, then what in 2014? How much of a pay cut do we expect him to take? What type of team will we have? Do you think KB will simply “fade away”? Not likely – so should we not face this issue with KB now? The options I see listed in order of preference:

  53. 1) Build a contender around KB in LA so he can get his 6th ring here. This means paying max taxes, using all TPE’s, sacrificing the bottom line, and mortgaging what remains of the post-Kobe future. The problem with this: Is it achievable? Darius was not the only one who said that it was unlikely.
    2) Use the “A” word on Kobe: Let him seek a 6th ring elsewhere, meanwhile the Lakers start their re-build 2 years early. Heresy – maybe – but a better basketball move than #3 below? – absolutely.
    3) Do neither – futz around by signing a couple of Sessions level add-ons like we did this year; finish in the 4th seed and get bounced from the second round. Repeat in both 2013 and 2014. Then, in 2014 have a difficult decision to make with KB anyway, because he is not ready to retire and we are trying to re-build.

    As I said earlier in the year – I will be fine with #3, because I am a KB fanatic and will simply root for him, recognizing that team success is not achievable (sounds like 2006). However, while I do not think #3 is a smart thing to do, I am resigned to the fact that it is the most likely, especially factoring in things other than “basketball reasons” such as the bottom line. Kobe is a money maker and Jimbo loves that, so Jimbo will be in a bind soon when he has to choose between his ATF Andrew, and Kobe the cash cow. My bet is Kobe will be a Laker for Life which is a great thing and for that I will be thankful, even though as a spoiled Laker fan, I feel I am “entitled” to that and much more : )

  54. Boston has given Lakers a blueprint to follow. Get a elite PG who can extend vets career and make their job easier. Ebanks proved he can play defense Hill proved he can extend plays. It’s pieces here LAkers aren’t that far away.

  55. There were 3 reasons we fell short this year.

    Lack of outside shooting

    Lack o depth

    No training camp with a new system and short condensed season.

    Andrew, Pau and Kobe all need to operate in the post. Without shooters defenses were basically playing 5 on 3, crowding the paint and daring shooters to beat them. With shooters the twin towers concept could be successful. Going forward even if we trade Pau or Bynum without shooters you can’t have a consistent inside game.

    We plain wore down because of lack of depth. Going forward I like the Spurs model, surrounding the older players with young legs.

    As far as coaching, other then the Knicks we were the only team in the playoffs dealing with a new coach and system. Fortunately this will take care of itself next year.

    Personally I would like to keep Pau if we could find the shooters. Not only would we have to replace our starting PF but also our back up center. However with the new CBA it will be extremely hard to balance the roster so we maybe forced to trade him. We would really need a couple of the young guys to develop but unfortunately the decisions need to made at the draft and In July. It will be an interesting summer.

  56. Honest question. Can the Lakers truly “build” around Kobe at this point? Kevin is correct above when he wrote the Lakers need a player on this team who is *better* than Kobe. Maybe at this point Kobe in his career Kobe needs to be complimentary piece. I know that is blasphemous to some. But it has to be at least considered.

  57. we may as well go all out for a championship in the last 2 years of Kobe’s contract, dont sign any long contracts beyond 2014 unless its for DH and then we can just reload from then, either through free agency or draft

  58. Question- If we want a pick n roll offense, then who would be a better coach than Jerry Sloan? Kobe would respect the hell outta him and he is defensive minded.

    My thoughts are that Bynum has to go. He doesn’t want to be here and, to be quite honest, we don’t need a player who can’t be bothered to play hard every night. I would actually hate losing Pau more than Bynum at this point. I can’t deny Bynum’s ability, talent, size, and promise, but I can’t abide a player who doesn’t seem to care.

  59. question for darius and anyone else with an opinion: what should be our 2013 identity?

    mike brown was brought in to run his idea of the twin towers. it seems (before the playoffs started anyway) that the front office understands the constraints of a shortened season, and is willing to be patient with him in bringing the team along. at the trade deadline, mitch got rid of baggages, added sessions and hill (at the expense of losing fish, who didn’t fit the role of the MB-plan pg). and without any real time to gel, MB still managed to win one more game in the playoffs than phil did last season.

    what I’ve seen of this season made it hard to trust brown’s in-game decisions. but as far as his plan and our identity goes, giving his system a shot for a regular training camp + 82 games seems to be the most pragmatic. teams won’t be knocking down our door to try and steal a devalued, soon-to-be-32 y/o white swan who’ll make $19+mil for the next 2 seasons, who is our most valueable trade asset, outside of our injury-prone allstar center with a questionable motor. not if we want true value for them anyway. interchangeable journeymen placeholders are easier to come by.

    then again, blowing the whole thing up, trading pau and drew for athletic parts, hiring d’antoni and signing nash to give SSOL in LA a shot sounds hellalot more fun.

  60. Trading our players without changing Mike Brown will not solve anything. There is just too much evidence that he is not qualified for the job.

    I will cite one example in form of a question: Has he used Kobe, Bynum and Gasol effectively in these playoffs? Kobe became a one-man crew in order to win games; Bynum and Gasol were boxed out in their posts dominated by Ibaka and Perkins in 2nd round and McGee & Faried in 1st round.

    Should the Lakers continue with Brown’s ineptitude in coaching? Which should come first, change players or change the coaching staff? IMO, if you continue with MBrown, Lakers will have 7 years famine like Dunleavy, Del Harris time in the 90′s.

  61. With all of the options the Lakers have available to them this off season, there’s one thing that has not been discussed: Will the Buss family be fine with being the no. 2 team IN the Staples Center?

    If the answer is yes, then amnesty Kobe and build the team around Bynum.

    If the answer is no, then get rid of Bynum and maybe even Gasol and get players that play all out to win!

    Get players with the hunger and desire of Kobe, MWP, Hill, Barnes, and Ebanks.

  62. realistically looking at the hoopshype salary data there is just no plausible outcome in which we extend Bynum & keep Gasol. I think it’s a lock that the Lakers are going to want to be under the 86million in salary they spent this year. As they should as it’s ridiculous. If I had to guess I would say at most they will want to be around 79million tops.

  63. Barnes and Murphy will not be re-signed, though they can be used for packaging a group of players. Their contract with Lakers will end by July 1st.

    What do we know about Ebanks and McRob? Nothing, because they were used sparingly.

    What do we know about our rookies? They are cheap in salaries but also have doubts because G-lock was a good shooter, then suddenly got benched. Darius Morris was also in the same category. I think he was the player whom could match the speed of Westbrook among our PG’s but that alternative was never tried.

    With Blake and Session, will the Lakers continue paying them 4M each for the talent that they bring on the floor?

    Therefore, after analyzing all these players who occupy roster, salary cap are there better players out there among F/A’s, incoming drafts and euro league players? On the latter, Greek players good PG’s and SG’s are having some problems with their teams due to the economic situation in Greece, is there anyway we could get them to help the Lakers?

  64. Realistically one of the two big men has to go, and one reason a lot of people aren’t mentioning is that it will free up the paint for Kobe to operate and create open looks. We know he can’t penetrate with the dribble like he used to.

    I recall back when the Laker offense was really clicking in 2009, and it was because we had LO complimenting Gasol and Kobe in the post and playing an inside/out game, creating spacing for guys like Fish and penetrating in transition. Now we have Kobe, Gasol, Bynum and Artest clogging up the paint and one PG just trying to force feed the ball. The offense is so predictable and it puts us in fast break defensive situations that our legs are too old to keep up with. Having LO and Gasol (two relatively soft big men) came back to bite us in the 2008 finals, but I think we overcorrected in trying to get bigger and more post-oriented when the best post player in the world is our shooting guard.

  65. all this talk about advanced stats saying Bynum is our best player is precisely the reason I think stats are limited.

    When push came to shove, he disappeared. Not talking his attitude, but his production, his efficiency, his dominance simply vanished.

    Don’t peg this on Kobe; if he was half as talented as the stats claim, he would have made things happen. Something, ala Kobe’s 15 rebounds when his shots don’t fall.

    Bynum is simply a glorified number two at best, who thrives when there is another player that prevents the defense from focusing on him. Kobe, on the other hand, gets his regardless (although inefficiently) and more importantly, is willing to battle through it and not afraid what it will do to his stats.

  66. Aloha Michael H.

    You said 3 reasons that we constantly hear from the Coach during interviews:

    Lack of outside shooting

    Lack o depth

    No training camp with a new system and short condensed season.

    Let’s tackle one at a time.

    1. Outside Shooting – isn’t that the reason why we got Murphy, Blake and rookie, G-lock. They have the potentials but lack of development. Can you consider that their Master Sgts. failed to develop these snipers to effective weapons?

    2. Lack of Depth – Of course, we have no more depth because we continuously experimenting throughout the season. If fans are confused on the rotations, what more of the players? We only used 8 players in the last game while Thunder was using 10 with Cook played for 5 mins. What do you expect to happen in the 4thQ? Can you maintain the same energy at the 4th Q w/ 8 players?

    No Training Camp – All teams undergone same changes too. Pacers got a new coaching staff too as well as Sixers. Are the plays of Brown more complicated than the PJ triangle? All of these players are professionals who have undergone rigid training from high school to college to NBA, is basketball too complicated that you need one season of fraternizing and pre seasoning?

  67. Darius – Do you think the lakers should use the Amnesty claus on anyone and if so who in your opinion would be the best fit.

    Is there anyway to reconfigure Kobe’s contract if he was willing to do so? (I’m all for him making what he deserves because he makes this franchise a ton of money but considering the complications that have come from the new CBA. Do you think this is any possibility? Since his contract makes putting a solid team around him very difficult.

  68. “I say this because it only takes a few swipes at the trade machine to realize that our options are incredibly limited. Yes we can trade Gasol or Bynum or both but do they actually become better than the 3rd best team in the West?”

    Have you considered the team re-signing Lamar for the mini-mid-level? The glass rather more full if that comes to pass. Then trade Bynum or Pau (and Blake as part of the package) for someone who can create his own scoring chances, is willing to play a Harden like role, and add in a role player or two in the transaction. Then use all or part of the TPE on another part, preferably someone who can hit a shot beyond 15 feet.

  69. My guess of what the Lakers will do is try to retool around Kobe for the next two seasons and then start from scratch after the 2013-2014 season, when all current major contracts are off the table. Kobe may possibly still be on the team around that time, but he would likely have a more reduced role and on a much smaller salary. It might also be time that the Lakers try and stockpile 1st round picks. With the way the new CBA is, it seems like it has become much more important in drafting well, as they’ll likely make the backbone of good role players for a team. Especially when star players will eat up the glut of the salary cap.

  70. one thing the lakers didn’t have this year is the ability to capitalize on their defense. the lakers didn’t have the personnel to convert stops into transition opportunities. instead the lakers walked the ball up and waited until there were 13 seconds left on the clock to initiate the offense.

    it’s one thing to slow tempo; it’s another to really control it–to slow it or speed it up when you want. see: spurs.

    if you’re going to slow the game down, you can still win, but not if you turn the ball over too much and can’t shoot from deep. continuity will clean up the turnover problem, but we need better 3pt shooting.

    we can win with gasol, but we can’t win with artest–regrettably. we need an athlete that will rebound the ball, take it coast-to-coast, and space the floor by hitting the corner 3.

    guys like that may seem kind of rare, but if he’s on a bad defensive team, that kind of game won’t stand out.

    the lakers are going to be fine. it’s in good hands.

  71. People who look to True Hoop for accurate Laker information or insights simply haven’t done their homework on the people employed there. I don’t even go there anymore and suggest other bloggers here do the same.

    People looking for the front office to amnesty Kobe, or criticizing them for not considering it, simply don’t have a firm grasp of business fundamentals – and this is certainly a business we are commenting about. Kobe still puts bu**s in the seats, not only in Staple Center, but all around the league. Regardless of anything else, he is certainly earning his salary for the Laker owners. For that reason alone the Lakers are not going to consider amnestying Kobe. Further discussion on this topic is simply silly.

  72. The Lakers are in a bind. They’re way over the cap, with big money going to players on the wrong side of the age curve (except for the inconsistent Drew). Fans complain about the bench being composed of players like Kapono and Murphy–well, it’s because that’s all the Lakers can afford now. They desperately need a better bench, but the only way they can get one is by trading Drew and Pau, and I think both players value have dropped these past two seasons. 

    The intent of the new CBA is clear–the era of paying big money to get big stars is over. Instead, to build depth you need to draft well and develop players like the Spurs and Thunder have done. Unfortunately, the Lakers haven’t gotten the message–their first pick in a good draft this year is at 60 and they fired all their scouts. 

    I realize Kobe needs to win now and can’t wait for draft picks to develop, but the reality is we’re looking at 2 more seasons like this one–the Lakers signing cheap veterans, wearing their star players down due to a thin bench, and ultimately falling short because Kobe can no longer win games just by himself any more.

  73. No one knows what the value for Bynum is – we have some idea for Gasol, based on Houston’s interest last year – but it’s true he’d likely bring back much greater value than Gasol. Still, I’d rather keep Bynum. The guy has added something to his game about every offseason; I’m looking forward to watching him improve his passing out of doubles. And while he’s the better facilitator and ideal for the triangle, I don’t think Pau will again command a double team in the low post the way Bynum did this year (even against a defender as good as Perkins). Surrounding Bynum with elite shooters seems the simplest way to go.

    Yes, Bynum loafs around and is inconsistent … but is Pau really the model of consistency? To me, the biggest issue with choosing Bynum is that now your key big man is too slow to hedge on PnRs (at least long-term) and recover. Offensively, I’m not really sure it’s a contest at this point.

    Pairing Bynum with a 4 who’s a veteran, a good midrange shooter, comfortable at the high post, an elite PnR defender, and arguably the most fiery/crazy player in the league would prove to be a good balance. Very unlikely considering how little we have to sign FAs, but that should probably be at the top of Mitch’s Moves to At Least Attempt List this summer. If that were to work, Pau would be able to net us the complementary shooters and pieces that could be used to build a superior bench. I have specifics in mind but obviously this isn’t the place/time for that right now.

    The one thing I’ll be interested to watch: will Mitch try to move a player for a draft pick? Our drafting history is OK – good, but not great. Is it worth the risk of moving Pau when our scouting department has been so thin all year? Rookies rarely contribute right away, but if you do strike gold you have an easy way to reduce payroll and get good value out of a small contract.

  74. The Lakers are not amnestying Kobe for a simple business reason–they still have to pay his salary. Dr. Buss is not going to pay Kobe $30 million to play for another team. 

    And just a reminder–Kobe CANNOT restructure his contract.

  75. Let’s be real about the Lakers…Let’s talk FACTS about the game of basketball. A lot of the so call experts like to point to Kobe as the demise of the Lakers; his will; his competitiveness; his stoic personality, but the fact is in the last game of the season the Lakers benched played 41 minutes and scored 5 points.

    Bymun, whom some think is the Lakers future (not me) grabbed 4 rebounds in 39 minutes. Where’s the dominance? His man Perkins grabbed 11, 5 of which where offensive…Where’s the inside presence that Bynum is suppose to bring.

    I could on and on, but these are the little things that win and lose games. Some say Kobe shot too much, OMG he shot a whopping 55% from the floor, the best for the game on both sides.

    This team lost last year with one of the NBA best coaches, therefore, something has to change. Did Dallas have an inside game last year when they kicked the Lakers in 4 games? Did OKC has an inside game? Does Miami? Heck, the Spurs really don’t either. Does Denver who gave the Lakers all they could handle? No. NO. No.

    The Lakers need to rethink this game and stop living in the past. If they want this current roaster to work then someone needs to convince Pau to be the 6 man of the year next year, and tell Bynum the ball is yours if it comes off that rim and the Collisons of the world should never out rebound you.

  76. David Friedman sums up our plight rather nicely-
    http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/2012/05/thunder-domination-conclusively-proves.html#links

    I couldn’t believe Magic Johnson last year when he said that we needed to blow this team up. He has never been more right about anything.

  77. I give one example of bad coaching of MB, Durant is the last guy to shoot the ball in final minute in game 3, game 4 at the same spot on the floor. If MB is good defensive coach, he will let Gasol guarding Durant, you don’t let Ron 6-7 to guard Durant 6-9 or 6-10, it is not difficult to figure it out. The good coach will find out the weakness of players. When i saw Durant walked up to the center of the basket, i said oh no, he is going to make it, Lakers should force him to the left to shoot that ball.

    Good coach will say, ok if you beat me , you got to beat me with Durant or Westbrooks, but i don’t allow both of you can beat my team. That’s the way Dallas team beat Lakers last year, they let KObe beat them but not Gasol, or Bynum.

    In LA, you saw game 3 OKC can come back, in game 4, you try everything to make sure the lead above 12, 13 pts, try Gouldlock few minutes, if he has hot hand, keep using him, there are different ways to beat OKC in LA. OKC still young team, young coach (not like San Antonio, Miami), they still can make mistake.

    Lakers will get some good players, but does MB have a system for them to win ?

  78. According to another blog – ebanks said that the Lakers are interested in him. But he had supposedly tweeted “it’s all about the benjamins baby”. Man if that’s true ship him out. Of course maybe the comment was out of context or it’s just one comment – need to get the entire picture.

    I know people want to make money but wow, he hasn’t proven himself and think this is the exact type of thinking that the Lakers don’t need. More of “me me me”.

    We need players who want to really excel, play hard and with passion for the game, they also need to be team oriented, they have to keep improving their game, so lucky to be a part of the Laker organization – man this is a damn game they are playing and are so blessed to have these God given talents.

    To me, if it’s just about the money, then don’t be a Laker – go to another organization.

  79. When PG Jameer Anderson went down with shoulder injury, Stan Van Gundy lets Turkolu running P@R offense, and then they win the East. Good coach always find the way to win games.

  80. The perfect ending to dark Brown season.
    Guy must go!

    Metta on Mike Brown: “It was a drastic change and took getting used to. But at the same time, we should still be up 3-2…”
    “…Mike wasn’t out there guarding Kevin [Durant]. That was me. Mike didn’t miss three point shot. I missed it. Mike didn’t come in out of shape…””
    “…Wait he did come in out of shape. Mike is a fat a$$.”

  81. No amount of coaching will work when the players shut you out.

    MB had his hands tied behind his back when Bynum stopped joining the time outs, so I’m willing to cut him some slack… only if we’re cutting Bynum.

    I get that he ‘can’ be great, but he can also be injury prone, and he sure is a cancer on the team. And I seriously don’t care if players enjoy playing with or for Kobe; his approach is the one they SHOULD try to emulate regardless of whether they like him or not.

    And really, let’s get over the size fantasy. Sure we have size, but the size we have is soft at best and shrinks when it matters most.

  82. @79 I think he mean it isn’t Mike fault, which in some sense is true, Mike can threw up all the plan and stuff but if people don’t follow it then well it doesn’t mean anything. Kind of like how Mike Antony got blame even though it was two players whining and playing like a kid, hmm kind of remind me of a certain someone haha.

  83. People who look to True Hoop for accurate Laker information or insights simply haven’t done their homework on the people employed there

    If this is directed at me, you are way, way off in your approach.

    Incidentally, I exchanged emails with Abbott today about it.

  84. Robert,

    The guy at the link in post 75 sounds exactly like you.

  85. Just because you exchange emails with Abbott doesn’t mean he has anything resembling an objective take on the Lakers.

  86. Henry Abbott in my opinion is the smartest bb writer around. Truehoop is great. They are all really smart guys. It’s actual smart people discussing bb instead of ex athletes.

  87. Henry Abbott was on mason & Ireland. He continues to say he’d rather have the open man shoot instead of a covered Kobe because the defense knows what’s coming. His numbers that say the Lakers offense suffers in crunchtime because the defense knows what’s coming I would agree with. My problem is when guys like Melo, Dirk all finals and throughout the playoffs, Wade. They all take the same hero ball shots that Kobe takes. But he puts Kobe up as the poster boy and NEVER writes a article about Melo, Dirk, Wade failures in the same situation. Maybe because Kobe is touted as the best clutch player but him not writing on others failures is what gets me. And his continuous articles on Kobe pushing a single agenda. One is enough for us to understand.

  88. Think many people are not seeing what the problem really is with this team and Kobe.

    1) Kobe at this point in his career shoots way too much. While he is still a hell of a player his ego is getting in the way of the teams success. This is a better team when he gets fewer shots and is more of a facilitator. He had some crucial turnovers and bad shots during crunch time. He is refusing to adapt and allow the younger star to have his place at the table…Tim Duncan is a great example of a Superstar that is doing what is best for the team by allowing Tony Parker to be the focal point of the offense.

    2) Bynum/Gasol need more touches period. Bynum is getting better and he does have a mean streak in him…all good things just needs to mature more but that will come. Keep working on your game big fella and start demanding the ball more! Gasol…sigh! Great player talented but I think he might be satisfied with the 2 rings. Played more like the old Gasol than the guy who was a beast during the back to back championship runs. Hate to trade him but might be time for a change of venue.

    3) Deron Williams…more important than ever to land this guy. Lakers need a PG that can combat the Parker, Westbrook and Paul lineup your going to face in the west. Don’t forget about Rick Rubio as he gets better also. Sessions is a nice young player and he will get better (pls work on your jumper!) but he would be better coming off the bench. Blake can play the 1 or 2 becuz of his shooting so he will still contribute. Remember the Pistons had 3 guards that could play both positions and it was super effective.

    Bottom-Line Kobe will have to accept his role as the number 2 guy if Williams shows up and also allow Bynum to become the star he can consistently be.
    Going to be tough because Kobe’s ego which makes him a great is the thing that is holding him back also….going to interesting to watch.

  89. Just because you exchange emails with Abbott doesn’t mean he has anything resembling an objective take on the Lakers.

    Craig, again, you are way, way off. I cancelled ESPN Insider today (even though HA’s stuff is not behind the paywall) specifically because of the biased way Abbott writes about the Lakers, his tiresome, backhanded attacks on Kobe–and sent him an email telling him that. He answered, and, as expected, didn’t own it and was a bit condescending.

    Aaron,

    Well, let us just say that IMO that is a minority viewpoint among thinking fans. I know non-Lakers fans, and people who can’t stand Kobe who think Abbott is a joke.

  90. Aaron-

    Yeah well, in your opinion the guy who in reality scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in an elimination game is the best offensive and defensive center in the league. He’s the guy who “routinely owns Perkins” but didn’t have one genuinely all-star caliber game this entire series despite the fact that Perkins was hobbled. Lots of people have brought this up and you’ve just totally ignored it.

    Abbott is just one more in a parade of dull stat geeks with a hard-on for trashing Kobe. Kobe’s 0 assists in game 5 are a case in point. Did he tally zero because he didn’t pass the ball? No. He tallied zero because everyone else on the squad shot 38%. That’s reality. Just looking at a stat line and proclaiming it gives you the whole story is like reading a technical manual and deciding you know how something works. Until you put in the time and the hands-on work, you don’t.

    Your comment shows me where myself and a lot of people here differ with you- to use the battlefield example again, whose reporting of the on-the-ground realities in a war is more trustworthy: The commander in a tent or the soldier in the trench?

    You seem to prefer the former while most of us here prefer the latter.

  91. Aloha Edwin,

    Just wanted to answer your questions.

    First on shooters, both Murphy and Blake are old vets. What you see is what you get. Plus they both regularly passed up open looks. It drove me nuts. as far as G-lock, if you remember he lost his place in the rotation when his shots stopped falling. By the way he was perhaps our worst defender which is saying something on a team with Murphy and Kapono. Think about this. You didn’t mention a starter. That’s because none of them are consistent deep threats. When you are kicking out to Metta for the 3 you have problems.

    On the issue of depth, how good are our young guys? the only one I wanted to see more of was Ebanks. Now remember while they may have potential, with no summer league, training camp or practice time none of them in my eyes really seemed ready to play. And by the way, eight man rotations in the playoffs is not that unusual.

    As far as everyone had to play under the same circumstances, you are right. But only Indy had a new coach(this was Collins 2nd year) And I don’t think any of the playoff teams had to assimilate 7 new players over the course of the season.

    Next year I do thinks Ebanks will step up. I also feel good about Sessions, Hill and even McRoberts. But none of them are what we need the most, shooters to space the floor.

    Aloha

  92. rr- I would live to read the exchange you had with Abbott

  93. Aaron-
    Haha! I mean I usually only read what a few people write here on FB&G and you are one of those, but I am really surprised to hear you say that about Henry Abbott! I mean because anyone who knows anything about the NBA, basketball, or writing in general- knows that Henry Abbott is a hack. I’m sure that you were just joking because you are usually such a smart guy.

    I mean obviously Abbott wants the open guy to shoot when Kobe is in that situation, but when it is any other superstar, then he doesn’t mind if they shoot.

  94. Manny,

    I had more to say than he did; I was surprised he answered. Basically, most of the new-breed analytical types have reached the point where they can’t get through three paragraphs about the Lakers without a cheap shot at Kobe. That includes writers like Zach Lowe, who are far more talented than Abbott.

  95. It’s one thing to say Hollinger is smart, quite another to say Abbott is.

    Hollinger, while being an even greater stat geek and stat believer, has some objectivity and does not push a certain agenda. He lives and dies by his numbers, but inherently understands that stats are just stats – probability and likelihood, to be exact.

    Abbott, on the other hand, is a superficial stats guy, who is incapable of analyzing the data given but instead limited to using what’s given. Now if it stopped there, he could be just like everyone else with an opinion. However, he not only uses stats, but he abuses them to push his agenda. He ignores data that does not fit his agenda and presents data that support him as the only data regarding that subject. And he does this repeatedly without a hint of shame. In short, he’s a hypocrite and has 0 integrity.

    Simmons, while never professing to be a stat guy and an overt Celtic fan, is actually more respectable in that he keeps his priorities straight – that is, ‘accurate’ basketball talk over whatever his sentiments and agenda may be. Surely his writing can be flavored with Laker disses, but he keeps it level and within reason.

  96. So, I’m sure the fair minded arbiters in the league office will hand out six-playoff-game suspensions to Haslem and Dexter Pittman, proportional to the one they gave Artest, right? (yeah, right)

  97. rr,
    You shouldn’t be surprised Henry replied to you. He’s pretty good about responding to emails from readers.

  98. KenOak/rr: Yes – I especially liked the last paragraph of the article linked @75.
    Slappy @67: You ask a good question. Can we move up from being 3rd in the West (or “6th” best as I like to put it), even with big trades ? Well if I was Jimbo, I would ask MK that very question (after buying a new wardrobe of course). If MK said no – then I think full re-build is in order.

  99. Henry Abbott has probably never played in a basketball game on any level that meant something.

  100. Aaron, I would rather have the opinion of an ex athlete who knows the game because he understands it and has played it first hand compared to some statistician geek who only dreamed about playing.
    Someone who understands the game has a more valuable opinion than someone who can read a number.

  101. I want to say thanks to the moderators at Forum Blue & Gold for all the excellent game previews, recaps and analysis for this past season, it greatly enhanced my viewing of the Lakers games and certain things to look for during the games. I appreciate the links to the other blogs for the opposing views on the games, not every blog does this. I am looking forward to your insights on the Lakers off-season, how the team can improve, exit interviews for players (some will be very interesting, Bynum for one) and hopefully a post or two on the Olympics.

    If the Lakers retain Pau Gasol, I hope he as well as Kobe both get some “Tim Duncan” rest during the regular season so they will be fresher for the playoffs next year. Thanks again and keep up the excellent work at FB&G.

  102. Lot of emotion today fellas. Darius and Aaron just present the facts as they see them. Stats aside i think the biggest question moving forward for the team is what to do with Drew. Picking up his 16.5M option is a no brainer but thats not the issue, the bigger issue is the max contract he wants. Do you extend this guys for 80-100M. No friggin way. We are talking about albatross contracts, that currently exist. Kobe’s and Pau’s but at least they brought something to the party and between them two rings. Drew brings potential and you do not go 5 years with a head case who isnt fully vested. See Amare stoudamire. Yes Pau and Kobe are off the books before the super luxury tax kicks in. Why would you keep Bynum knowing the kinds of dollars he is going to demand. Demand with his crap ass me first elitist I dont care if im here or not attitude. As was mentioned the league is changing athletic skilled bigs and fast athletic skilled young players are the wave of the present and the future. We need to accept the fact that this construct is done. It is based on a methodology that doesnt work any more. Trade Drew, trade Pau, get more favorable contracts, an identity and move forward. Sometimes you have to subtract to add.

  103. I am not anti-stats, at all. I am anti-bias and anti- passive-aggressive cheap shots. So I am anti-Abbott.

  104. I would love for the Lakers to make the huge mistake of releasing Kobe via amnesty.

    Kobe can easily go to Miami to create a FOUR-HEAD MONSTER team. He would completely complement the skills of Lebron, Wade, and Bosh – filling in where they are missing and bringing in more. And Miami would then have 3 alpha-male stars who are extremely hungry. They would win the NBA championship for at least 5 straight years. Guaranteed. It would be like the Celtics with Bill Russell. Kobe, Lebron and Wade can easily score 90 points or more a game. Miami would be easily able to reach 150 points a game while playing strong defense against anyone. I would love their attitude – win, win, and win.

    I would cheer for that Miami Team to win the championship, even though I’ve been a Lakers’ fan for over 30 years.

  105. Surely after this latest playoff failure, we all can agree Bynum is not the player to build a team around. His attitude and competitive drive is weak. Very disappointing. Blake and Sessions make up one of the worst back courts in the league. Me thinks Kobe will have to retire with five rings. Pau was a big help in the championship runs but his playoff stats show he is fading fast. What to do with this team? I don’t know. It m aybe a few years before we are elite again.

  106. Amnesty isn’t a magic ticket to the chocolate factory. There are multiple repercussions throughout the process. Were it so simple, Rashard Lewis wouldn’t have been playing for Washington in February.

  107. I say let’s wait to see who gets 1st pick. Hope it’s Charlotte or Cavs. Be happy to bundle some contracts in exchange for Drew and that pick. Davis will be a better teammate and all around better player.

    Maybe we can pull a Pau type deal in reverse with either of these bad, desperate franchises.

  108. Here are my keepers.

    1. Kobe
    No brainer in all respects. Regardless of where he is compared to the apex of his career he was by far the best player on our team this postseason.

    2. Pau
    Contrary to popular opinion, he is a keeper, if only because he bleeds purple and gold. I tend to see last season as an aberration and this season being put in a very awkward spot with the failed CP3 trade, but he soldiered on and, while spotty, produced at crucial junctures. Also, I think he is the type of player that we need if we were to utilize any youthful wing types that will cut. The man can read and pass, and those will be valuable skills when developing or integrating new wing talent.

    Other than these two, the only other player I have a strong preference either way is Bynum. I want him out, ASAP.

    His problem, I think, has to do with Kobe no doubt (infamous video) but the guy was practically given the keys to the franchise and wilted (or shirked off). Part of it perhaps was the FO’s seeming willingness to trade him for DH12, which put him in a similar bind as Pau mentally.

    Difference is that Pau at least never tried to let his teammates down, and did not do anything to risk the game like hoisting threes he had no business of shooting. While his interview was also annoying (I can play anywhere), that I can let slide just like his close-out game comment – Drew being Drew with no particular intent. But not joining the team huddle during timeouts? No.

  109. As far a MB goes I think he deserves another chance, he is a good coach.

    My main beef with him was how much he played Kobe, Gasol and Bynum in the regular season it was clear they were gassed by the playoffs but what else could he do? The team is so thin that he had to do this dont forget the Lakers were only 1 game from losing home court in the first round.

    I guess it could be argued that settling for a lower seed with rested players is better than top 4 seed with exhausted players but the west is to competetive to take that risk.

  110. You can say a lot of bad things about Rona World Test, but he still drops hilarious interviews (here from ESPN insider):

    In his exit interview, Metta World Peace was asked about coach Mike Brown.

    Compared to Phil Jackson, he said, it was a “drastic change.”

    But then World Peace went to some trouble, apparently to make clear he was not blaming his coach for the Lakers’ playoff departure.

    “Mike wasn’t out there guarding Kevin [Durant],” he explains. “That was me. Kevin scored on me. Mike didn’t miss that 3-point shot. I missed it. Mike didn’t come into camp out of shape.”

    Then he paused.

    “Wait … he did come in out of shape. Mike is a fat ass.”

  111. Ko, unless that team also has a huge trade exemption, that means the Lakers would be taking back a ton of bad contracts in order to get that 1st pick. Since you were one of the loudest critics of the Lakers bench, blaming ‘nepotism’ rather than legitimate payroll/tax/flexibility issues for the presence of McRoberts, Kapono, etc. , one can only imagine your posts next season if the Lakers were to take on a bunch of bad contracts for the rights to acquire a single player.

  112. Plus I’m not sure how the Unibrow would fit in with Hollywood. Other than the Kardashians, I’m not sure the glamorous crowd would appreciate it as much.

  113. Renato Afonso May 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

    So, basically everyone here is doing an exercise of what they would do if they were Mitch Kupchak/Jim Buss. What should the plan be?

    a) Try to get one more ring with Kobe before blowing it up at the end of his and Pau’s contract?

    b) Start rebuilding now, trading whomever is needed to be in a better place in two years?

    c) Do nothing and give this core one more go before blowing it up?

    Apparently, the easier way would be c) but we all know that we won’t win a title as we are now and b) is not a real option given Kobe’s mammoth contract. Therefore, all the text below will be typed under the premise of selecting option a).

    In order to compete, in my opinion, the Lakers will have to change the coach. Event hough he is adjusting on the fly, MB showed a lack of ability to adjust the offense to what the defense gives him. Sure, he can make defensive adjustments, but what about our offense? We cannot lose a playoff game where the opposing team scores less than 80 points. Step 1) must be to correct the mistake made when hiring MB and get a veteran and respected coach.

    Step 2) is obviously trading one of our core pieces. I have been praising Bynum in this blog since the day he did that spin move on Shaq and came back to shove him near our rim. However, his demeanor on and off court, all his talk about playing anywhere and not caring just rubs me the wrong way. While Gasol may be declining he actually says the right thing and talks about staying in LA. So, in this 2 year window we should trade Bynum and keep Gasol (moving him to the 5 spot, naturally). The Lakers failed in exploring the twin towers and, since both can hit the elbow jumper, all we had to do was station the one being defended by the weakest big near the rim and feed him the ball. Deny that pass and the ball will enter the elbow where the jump or the feed to the other 7 footer is easy… But I digress, back to trading Bynum. (edited for trade speculation)

    Sure we would still be in luxury tax hell but we know there’s only a two year window. The contract that needs to be amnistied is Steve Blake’s. Steve Blake makes 4mil a year while Ron Ron will make 7.2mil next year. To me, the difference in game between Ron and Blake is much more than the 80% difference in their wage. Ron is still valuable defensively and allows us to go small by playing him at the 4 or posting him up against a weaker 3. This would leave us with a core of:

    Kobe – 27.8mil
    Pau – 19mil
    player(s) from Bynum trade – 17mil
    Ron – 7.2mil
    McBob – 3.1mil
    Eyenga – 1.1mil

    Depending on who comes in we’ll either need an extra PG or an extra big. But the solution is as follows.

    Resign Darius Morris, Ebanks and Hill (unless his rumors about the benjamins are right, then we should dump him fast) at a low price for 2 years with a team option for the third. They won’t have much market as is, and we can probably get them cheap. Now, we do need a 3pt specialist who can provide 9 to 12 points off the bench to rest Kobe. Just someone who cannot be left open and provides some space down low to our center (Gasol) or our bully wing (Ron).

    Now, here’s what can bring us to the top again… Kobe will never relinquish the ball handling to someone he doesn’t respect. See what happened with Sessions. Kobe feels the need to dominate. However, since he’s no longer capable of doing so, the right combination of coach (a Sloan, Adelman, Larry Brown type) and ball handling PG who has his respect can keep him check. Convince him to work more off the ball and be a more efficient shooter while leaving room for others to shine down low (Gasol and Ron). This means doing an incredible recruiting campaign and spending some money in that PG whom would have to be a Jason Kidd or that guy with 2 MVP’s. This is a 2 year window and we’re not stopping opposing guards as it is. Sign Nash (if he wants to, obviously) for 2 years at the MLE and go for all the marbles. If it fails, in 2 years we’ll have no contracts except for the team options on those 3 players mentioned before. And LA is still a desirable location for most FA’s.

    Sorry for the length of the post.

  114. Kevin Ding as usual tries to knock some common sense into Lakers fans heads… Saying Gasol needs to go…

    “After his feeble Game 5 that Bynum called his worst playoff game, it ended up that Oklahoma City outscored the Lakers by 17 points while Bynum was on the court in the series. Not good.
    But Bryant was twice as bad as Bynum, with the Lakers outscored by 34 while he played. Metta World Peace had his moments against Kevin Durant yet posted a minus-35.
    And then there was Gasol: minus-53.
    He was terrible in the Lakers’ second-round sweep vs. Dallas a year ago, and he didn’t find redemption this series. Minus-53 is not exactly getting your money’s worth when the guy is on the books for $18.7 million (pre-lockout proration) this season.”

  115. After a couple days of deliberation, I want to test a theory but need some help.

    I want to see half court offense, PnR’s. General breakdown but can start simple with simply PPP.

    On-Ball Screens set by Kendrick Perkins, screens not set by KPerk.

    Our D is about funneling to Bynum. KPerk neutralizes Bynum’s greatest weakness on D, covering Hi-PnR. At the same time, KPerk is probably the best [il]legal on-ball screen setter in the NBA.

    I think a breakdown of this, both generalized and specific could be very enlightening.

  116. Lil Pau

    So you don’t think it would be a upgrade to acquire Corey Magette and either Augustine or Kimba Walker and Ist round pick Davis fpr Drew and Blake?

    Salaries match up and Jordan is desperate to get a player who can be a star. Current center not one guy on this sight could name.

    Just a thought since it’s going to be very hard to change the bench and spots on starter due to no drafts and cap space.

    I’d make those moves.

  117. Scoop Jackson says the Lakers overachieved this season. I can’t say I really disagree.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7960319/2011-12-los-angeles-lakers-overachieved

  118. Ko’s most recent comment is why trade speculation is fruitless and a great example why it’s in our commenting guidelines that we don’t do that here. He’s already projecting that the Bobcats win the lottery and created a fictional deal that he’d sign off on as pseudo GM of both teams.

    Fantastic.

    Not only does that comment jump to multiple conclusions that we can never know to be true, but it ignores that the #1 pick in a draft with a sure blue chip player is one of the most valuable commodities in the NBA. It’s second only to an in his prime superstar (like LeBron and Durant) due to the fact that 1). due to salary restrictions, draft picks – especially elite ones – are dramatically underpaid and 2). for teams like the Bobcats (small market cellar dwellers) drawing interest in the team via hope through the acquisition of a top end young talent is golden.

    So, why would anyone trade that pick? Davis is viewed by every talent evaluator as a can’t miss prospect. He’s seen as a defensive juggernaut that can evolve into a KG like force on the defensive end with a solid offensive arsenal even at the age of 19. But yeah, the Bobcats will gladly take Andrew Bynum for him. The same Andrew Bynum that you’re only trying to trade because you don’t think he tries hard, has a bad attitude, and isn’t a franchise cornerstone. Please.

  119. Renato Afonso May 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Darius,

    The possible trades I posted were not checked on the trade machine but an example of what I consider a blue chipper of Bynum’s caliber who could or could not be available. Maybe I expressed it wrong (and sorry about since english is not my mother tongue) but in all these years that this blog as been around I never ventured into the realm of wild trade speculation.

    Anyway, my point was to show what kind of players we need to get in return for Bynum and not those player per se.

  120. I’ll say this again too, since it seems that a lot of people want to do it. If you want to speculate on trades the Lakers should make, this isn’t the site to do it at. There are countless other Lakers sites around that I’m sure don’t care if you post countless comments about the Lakers trading Pau Gasol for Deron Williams, Andrew Bynum for the #1 pick, and a combo of Artest/Blake/McRoberts for Andre Iguodala. Hoever, this site isn’t one of them.

    If you want to counter w/ “this is America, we have free speech!”. Indeed, those things are true. However, we have guidelines here that we follow. I’m not stopping you from going anywhere else to say these things, I’m asking that you respect the guidelines that we have in place here.

    We’ll have threads down the line that encourage this type of stuff. This isn’t one of them.

  121. Again… Not many championships are won by trading away unquestionably the best Center in the game who also happens to be 24 years old and coming into his own. Is he perfect? No and he never will be. Name me one superstar Center over seven feet that could be accused of playin hard all the time? Just like shot happy SG’s will never be perfect either will giant and talented big men. You need to take the good with the bad. The only players worth trading Bynum for is LeBron James or Dwight Howard (if he fully recovers from a very serious back surgery). The only player I would trade Bynum for in LeBron although if Dwight comes back healthy it can be argued Dwighy although not as good in the post on both sides of the ball at just 6-10 is better suited for today’s NBA game that relies less on post play and more on PnR on both ends of the court. It’s not rocket science guys. To hope to trade away the most dominant two way player in the NBA is almost as silly as all the Magic fans who wanted Shaq gone from Orlando because “he doesnt try hard and doesnt want to be here.” Do those reasons sound familiar? Unless you want to force the NBA’s biggest and baddest man out of town like Orlando did years ago I would zip it. Because unfortunatley sometimes you get exactly what you want.

  122. Renato Afonso May 23, 2012 at 9:51 am

    And on a side note, I still believe that Bynum can be dominant. He just won’t be dominant in LA playing alongside Kobe Bryant. Hence is value in a trade may be higher than what we (Lakers fans) perceive it to be.

  123. Renato Afonso May 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Er.. Just checking but, Darius, is the post 120. a direct response to my post numbered 119.?

  124. #119. Renato,
    I understood what you were getting at, but I’ve moderated countless comments in the past two days that read just like yours. Just because I knew what you meant, doesn’t mean I can change the standard I’ve been holding others to.

    In the future, simply state what type of player/package of players you’d like to see instead. For example, a package of an elite defensive wing, a big man that can fill in the rotation, and another shooter. I know your package was different than that, I’m just posting an example.

  125. Renato Afonso May 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

    124., Darius

    Thanks for clarifying that. Will explain it without using names in some other occasion.

  126. Darius is spot on. The new CBA has made draft picks even more valuable than before due to their tiered contracts. Trading into the top few picks of the draft is an absolute pipe dream for the Lakers… but then again so was getting Gasol for Kwame.

  127. While we’re thinking draft, just trying to clear up the transactions in my mind…

    Our only current pick is the last pick (60) from the Vujacic trade, correct? It’s the Bulls draft pick, which went to the Bucks (Salmons trade) and then NJ in the CDR trade, and then to us, if I’m not mistaken.

    We would have had #55 but sent that to Dallas in the Lamar trade. The Dallas 1st-rounder was top-20 protected so we wouldn’t have gotten it anyway this year, and that’s Houston’s now.

    So by my count the only real pick of value we would have had this year would have been #24, which went to Cleveland.

    Keep the hope alive. Isiah Thomas was taken with the last pick last year and put up some good production.

  128. At this point Bynum has more questions than answers. Bynum is still judged off potential this is his first season where you can say he lived up to the 2nd best center in the league. Before it was by default. And 18/10/2 isn’t eye popping. You don’t find a imposing figure with the size as Drew but you can find those numbers very easily.

    Bynum has the luxury of playing with 2 highly skilled players with extremely high IQ’s. That makes it easier for him to score. many of his points came off assists. Bynum has proven he can recover from injuries, has proven he can play through injuries and proven in single coverage he can be successful. Except when Perkins puts a body on him and pushes him out 15 feet with ease.

    Bynum is a solid contributor but so is Monroe, Cousins, Howard, Lopez, Horford, McGee. And those guys have something Bynum will never have. Moblility and that is necessary now. Bynum rarely finishes and 1′s and takes some time to gather himself to make a move. (The German knee surgery may help). Tree Stumps are no longer as valuable to win the league has gone hybrid. Defense and Rebounding win rings but mobile players who hustle can do just fine as guys who stand tall with their hands up.

    He is what is he is the 3rd best player on a team. If he isn’t in line with Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq. He doesn’t deserve a max from the Lakers.

  129. Kevin,
    You do know that you can’t compare Bynum to anyone other than Howard right? Numbers, eye tests, and scouting reports all say the same.

  130. Bynum is not the best center in the game.

    There are not that many 7 footers who play as centers, so it’s a ridiculous statement for starters.

    Bynum is certainly one of the better centers, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    Bynum has given glimpses of greatness, but his character, heart and drive are questionable, to say the least.

    And frankly, as big as a pain in the ass Kobe is, the guy is one of the greatest players ever. And what does it say when he can call out Pau but does not question Bynum? It says to me, that Kobe has more confidence in reaching Pau than Bynum, more confidence in getting something out of Pau over Bynum.

    Bynum’s a kid. He’ll say dumb things. But this was his year to step out from the shadows and it’s been a stumbling, bumbling effort. He’s had plenty of time to prepare for this, and it seems like it will take him 1-3 more years to get it right – if he can stay healthy and continue to develop. That’s a big gamble.

    His mobility and lack of speed at 24 (!) is a serious problem. Will he get faster and quicker the more he plays? How will his body adapt and absorb the punishment of an 82 game season? How motivated is he to take care of his body during the offseason and between games? How much is he going to adapt game to game (not very much if you look at Denver and OKC).

    There are certainly positives, but there are plenty of negatives.

  131. Not many championships are won by trading away unquestionably the best Center in the game who also happens to be 24 years old and coming into his own.

    ________

    Zach Lowe at SI.com:

    “And even if the Lakers could swing the Howard/Bynum swap, it still leaves Gasol floating around the perimeter for much of the game. Howard’s defense would be such a huge upgrade that the awkward fit might not matter, though.”

  132. This is a time in basketball history that is pivotal. Shaq (in his prime) and Howard are examples of big guys that can play in today’s NBA. They are big powerful and run like gazelles.

    A big man with sluggish feet and minimum basketball IQ has no place in the NBA’s model that plays far into the playoffs and advances for an opportunity to win a championship.

    If the Lakers retain Bynum (please not at a maximum contract) then they need to work tirelessly the next couple of weeks to invent a model that will allow he and Kobe to co-exist. A model that provides the Lakers with an identity for the next couple of years.

    The problem with the twin-tower identity is that it never came to fruition. Neither on the offensive side nor the defensive side. When the twin-tower offense was utilized first with Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwan and then with David Robinson and Tim Duncan; one need only say those two duos names and one gains an instant idea of what those games looked like with those players on the floor. The Lakers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are less identifiable. In approximately, 10 games this season and one playoff game they meshed wonderfully which offered Lakerland the hope that the light bulb had finally gone off between the two.

    However, one of them balked at the notion that they should merely rebound and play defense. Thinking that the only way to a max contract was by getting ‘my numbers.’

    Jim Buss, management, coaching staff and Kobe needs to pow-wow to come up with what is best for the Los Angeles Lakers going forward. This is not me thinking naively, this is me thinking of how everyone can get on the same page. If the Lakers include Kobe in these discussions he cannot later say that he had no idea of what was expected of him.

    Someone came up with a model to win an NBA championship several times over the course of the NBA. So, the Lakers can do the same. The Detroit Pistons took on a three guard, defensive identity on their way to multiple championships: The San Antonio Spurs have won championships by getting a starter to play off the bench: The Chicago Bulls won with Michael Jordan and the triangle: The Lakers have won using several different models.

    The Lakers can make history by inventing a model that propels them into the future with championships by long jumping over the current model of three stars that are athletic and can shoot.

    What is that model? I don’t know but neither am I getting paid to come up with one, nor would anyone take my advice even if I did.

    I think the Lakers can and must come up with one, as they are hamstrung with several awkward contracts.

  133. Couple of thoughts:

    1. Worth noting that SA stuck with their aging core after getting swept in Rd2 and losing in Rd1, and is now riding an 18-game winning streak into the WCF. Of course, Buss isn’t Buford and Brown isn’t Popovich. But other than Tiago Splitter, the Spurs are doing this with guys like Gary Neal and Danny Green around the Big 3. The Lakers need to do better getting cheap help.
    2. Kobe is not going anywhere. I can’t see the Buss Family paying Kobe 30M to wear another uni, and I can’t see Kobe’s pride allowing him to say the Lakers would be better off without him and he has no shot at a ring here.
    3. It is important to remember that a rebuild doesn’t work like a prison sentence. Starting early doesn’t mean that you get out early, and there is no guarantee of getting out at all.

    Also, Sam Amick at SI.com is reporting that Howard still wants out of Orlando, even with SVG gone. Three guesses where he thinks Howard should be traded.

  134. Snoopy@128: Yes, and to add to your dismal (+ accurate) summary: We also downgraded in the 2013 draft (we have Miami’s or Cleveland’s pick – whichever is worse). As Darius and others are saying – draft picks are like gold – and the picks we have are like unpolished brass.

    Yes – but Robert – you were one of the ones screaming for a better bench.

    Correct – but I also have many posts where I said for us to go all in or re-build. We did the worst thing which was go at it half way (unused TPE’s – cost cutting trades). We should go all out to win or re-build. I have no interest in being “6th” best which seems to be the rut the FO is intent on.

  135. Finally, while Aaron’s endless pimping of Bynum as a dominant force is silly and tiresome, we need to remember that Bynum is a very good player. I understand the reaction: people want big changes, Bynum is frustrating, and Bynum has trade value. But we need to keep perspective.

  136. >>>I can’t see the Buss Family paying Kobe 30M to wear another uniform

    if a player is amnestied, and later is paid by another team, the previous team only needs to pay the balance. so if another team pays kobe 10M/year, lakers only need to pay 20M. not sure about the tax.

  137. Aaron: you can compare Bynum to any one in the league that plays center. He’s not close to Howard and not far ahead of those other guys I mentioned. Consistency is key.

  138. rr: I like your prison sentence analogy, because this definitely feels like jail. We are locked in. The league is unlikely to give us any time off for good behavior either. A simple check of our contracts yields the fact that we definitely do not have any Get Out of Jail free cards : ) Do not pass go – however Jimbo does get to collect quite a bit more than $200.

  139. Funky Chicken May 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    The league’s most dominant player had 4 rebounds in a closeout game?

    If you are “dominant” only when you play hard, and you don’t play hard very often, you’re not dominant.

    If you are “dominant” you don’t get taken out of a game and a series by a 6’10″ defender in one on one coverage.

    If you are “dominant” you can be relied upon to outplay your opponent every night.

    Andrew Bynum is arguably the third most dominant player on the Lakers, and to elevate him to #1 status in the league is laughable.

  140. i sure hope aaron does not (sports) bet his house on Bynum.

  141. Amnesty doesn’t count against the tax or the cap. As to the other point, you are correct, but 10M is about the most he would get, I think. That still leaves the Lakers on the hook for 20 or more.

  142. Regarding the Amnesty and it being applied to Kobe- The Lakers would be on the hook for whatever portion of his salary isn’t covered by the bid made by the winning team. Teams can only bid with money they have under the salary cap. So, there is no way Kobe ends up in Miami. They have no cap space. So, just looking at who has cap space and wouldn’t have to give up their key FA to make a substantial bid on Kobe, you have CLE, TOR, CHA, PHX, DEN. In other words, middling to bad teams in middling to small markets. Also, these teams will be bidding against each other to gain the services of one of the most marketable players in the world. I have now way to know what Kobe would be worth to CHA but I would guess they may wind up picking up one third or close to half of his salary to make sure they got the winning bid. So, ultimately Buss would be saving quite a few million dollars in salary and then double that with the current luxury tax. It is more likely that amnestying Kobe would send him off somewhere to begin his Jordan in Washington phase of his career, then to a team vying for the championship.

    I’ve thought it worth it for the Lakers to either amnesty Kobe or leverage this nuclear option to get him to approve 10 or so teams he would forgo applying his no-trade clause for. I mostly lean in this direction because I think the Lakers play a better brand of basketball without Kobe and if you can get a couple of good young perimeter players for Kobe and maybe a couple of picks w/veterans to make the salaries work, it is as good a time as any to do so. Take the way the Lakers played with Kobe gone and add a few young guys to increase the depth of the team (as compared to the Kobe-less team) and you might have a really fun team that plays together and doesn’t fall into the Hero Ball trap.

    I spoke to a few people whose opinion I respect and understand the argument of Kobe’s marketing value, plus I enjoy watching the amazing things Kobe does. His $30 mil salary, to me, is truly difficult to justify on a purely basketball sense. You have to consider his age and then there is the fact that the new CBA, even without the repeater tax, has gotten very punitive. Every dollar up to $5 mil over the tax is double. $10 mil over is 2.5x, $15 is 3x and $20 mil over is 3.5x. The Lakers are currently $30 mil over the cap. If the new rules were applied to this team today, the Busses woud be forking over $100 mil to the league. This is all before the repeater tax penalty kicks in.

    As ChowNoir has told me in the past, the Lakers will be negotiating an extension with Kobe and he thinks $20 mil will get it done. Meanwhile the Lakers have to trade Pau to get his $19 mil out of the way. That is near on $30 mil. By then Ron is also a FA and Bynum will be offered an extension. You have to assume that with such a punitive system in place, one that gets the Lakers to watch their pockets, the rest of the league will be doing similar things and all but the elite player salaries will see a significant decrease. That is still a few seasons away, but it will be effecting OKC (How do they keep Harden, Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka). It will effect the Heat. It will effect Boston etc… Right now, the Lakers and Dallas are the teams it effects most of all. I’m hoping we get the adjustment out of the way quickly and are ready to compete in a couple of seasons. We need to find our next superstar.

  143. Financially Ammestry is worst than keeping him, put it this way, he is a star that attracts ticket buyers, and killing him off as mention before by someone is like killing off all the respect players have for the organization. Remember he is a legend, it is like Dallas cutting off Dirk after saying he is a Maverick for life.

  144. “To hope to trade away the most dominant two way player in the NBA is almost as silly as all the Magic fans who wanted Shaq gone from Orlando because “he doesnt try hard and doesnt want to be here.” Do those reasons sound familiar? Unless you want to force the NBA’s biggest and baddest man out of town like Orlando did years ago I would zip it. Because unfortunatley sometimes you get exactly what you want.”

    This can’t be serious, right? Dear lord…

  145. @P Ami. slight correction. I’m guessing 20 mill is a compromise that would work for all parties and factors. Kobe, Buss and cap flexibility. Whether or not that actually happens, who knows.

    I do agree that 30+ year for Kobe while trying to avoid the repeater tax level and having cap flexibility is impossible.

    It’s going to be up to Lakers to convince Kobe they need him to give some money back to have the room to add players.

    Duncan did so with his current contract, hoping Kobe can see that.

  146. AB: The convo seems to center on people wanting him gone. The more likely story is going to be a year of AB negotiations, just like the Magic had with D12. Does he want to sign long term or not and what demands does he make?
    KB: Obviously the “A” word is unpleasant + unlikely. The reason I discussed it in my case, was to show that it made more sense than what we have been doing – which is almost nothing (and if you consider subtracting LO, DF, + SB and adding RS, JH, + JM, doing something – then you have different standards than I do).

  147. Kobe: 2nd Team All Defense – Full Kobe Alert to Follow Later

  148. Anonymous, winning attracts ticket buyers.

    Also, players understand this is a business. They are mostly effected when the business end gets stuck in them, but form a distance they know the same applies to all players. Teams need you until they don’t. Players have no problem leaving their teams for more money. Shaq was sent away and he’ll be happy to stand middle-court at STAPLES while #34 is put up in the rafters. No free agent will forgo the LA market because KB gets amnestied.

  149. Whomever thinks Bynum is the answer to any question that is facing this franchise must be high. You can’t win with losers. Bynum is a loser, he is apathetic, petulant, lazy, selfish and immature. For some reason folks think he has value. If that is true trade him immediately. Whatever you get will be an improvement over this overrated slacker.

  150. P. Ami, Kobe is worth upwards of 90 Million a year to the Lakers. In terms of what they pay him, he is a huge bargain. You talk about the Lakers “playing a better brand of basketball without Kobe”. How did that Brand of basketball work in the beginning of the 4th quarter against OKC??? Please open your eyes and let your mind follow. Stop listening to senseless ESPN talking heads who are following a script. It is a horrible basketball and Business decision to amnesty Kobe.