There Are No Easy Choices

Darius Soriano —  May 25, 2012

Mitch Kupchak has a difficult road ahead of him.

For the second straight season, his team fell short of their ultimate goal. He understands that the Lakers are judged on their ability to hang banners in the rafters and by “only” reaching the 2nd round in back to back seasons he, his coaches, and his players have failed at that.

With that failure, a plan of attack to do better must be put into action. But, when looking at this team it’s not so simple to say what direction the team should move in. Consider the following variables:

  • The Lakers are a luxury tax paying team. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, they will only have a mini-mid level exception and the veteran’s minimum exception to sign free agents.
  • The Lakers have three cornerstone type players but trading any one of them comes with their own issues. Kobe is a franchise icon with a no trade clause. Dealing him is a non-starter on nearly every level and that’s before you get to his $27 million dollar salary next season. Pau Gasol is still very effective as a player, is extremely skilled, but also makes a lot of money. Andrew Bynum is young, very productive, and on the rise as a player. He also has an injury history and has shown maturity issues. All three of these players are extremely valuable to the Lakers while also having deficiencies that must be taken into account when thinking about their future, be it with the Lakers or not.
  • The Lakers have two key free agents in Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill, both of whom showed they could be impact players but now have the ability to play for other teams next year.
  • The Lakers have aging veteran role players that are difficult to trade and young players who all have questions about their utility as players.

In summary, the Lakers have a fine roster but one that was proven not to be good enough to win the championship. In the following seasons their main competitors will only improve and if the Lakers hope is to surpass them, they will need to improve at a level that exceeds them. Again, this is no easy task.

From where I sit, the Lakers have three choices for how they move forward. None of them are obviously better than the others and all of them come with uncertainty:

Working Around The Edges
There may not have been a team – and surely not a contending one – that was more hurt by the lockout than the Lakers. Of the 16 teams that made the playoffs, they were the only one that started the season with a new coach than the year before. They also started the season with a vetoed trade for a superstar guard with the resulting fallout being a trade of their best bench player (and 6th man of the year) from the season prior. Add to that 5 new players on the team to start the year, a non-existent training camp, and a condensed schedule that limited practice time and the Lakers had a difficult season of acclimation on their hands.

Even with all these variables and even more change throughout the season, the Lakers still finished with the 3rd seed in an ultra-competitive conference. They had an up and down playoffs but all and all did well for themselves by advancing past a Nuggets team that had all the ingredients to attack their weaknesses and then pushing the Thunder much harder than a 4-1 series defeat would imply.

And when looking at the roster as a whole and the results from this season, I think it’s more than fair to say that the problem with this team wasn’t its top end talent. There are certainly things to pick at when it comes to Kobe, Andrew, and Pau but in reality Kobe was 1st team All-NBA, Bynum was 2nd team, and Pau’s averages looked almost identical to those he’s put up his entire Laker career.

So, that leaves us with the role players. The non-big 3 Lakers all had up and down years. Ron didn’t come into camp in shape and dealt with some injury issues that didn’t allow him to be at his physical best until late in the year. Matt Barnes had another solid year but was again injured before the playoffs started and never regained the late season form that had him playing his best ball. Blake is a solid but unspectacular back up PG that still shoots a low percentage from the floor. McRoberts had an up and down year, starting out solid but then injuring his big toe and falling out of the rotation. Troy Murphy is no longer a viable contributor at this stage of his career.

These players – and Derek Fisher and then Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill – made up the entirety of the Lakers rotation throughout the regular season. Their inability to play at sustained productive level meant the big 3 played heavy minutes nightly. It also meant that leads were never that safe and deficits often grew when they were on the floor.

Suffice to say, if these players are improved, it makes sense that the Lakers could be a much better team next year. Getting this done is another issue entirely but if the Lakers feel good about their core big three and can choose 2-3 role players they’re happy with moving forward, the rest of the roster can be churned (or at least attempted to be) and the Lakers try again with this group and those new additions.

Of course, there’s big risk in this approach. This core of players just fell short for the 2nd straight year. Taking this approach would be the third year of tweaking around this core with the expectation that it would somehow be different this time. With Kobe and Pau a year older and Bynum’s history of unavailability, is that really the wisest choice? And, can this team really find the role players it needs with the limited cap exceptions and non-big three trade chips they have at their disposal? Answering no on all those counts is totally reasonable.

Trade Pau Gasol
The Lakers already did this once. In a move that would have netted them Chris Paul, Gasol was sent to Houston only to be told his bags needn’t be packed after all. So, this wouldn’t be an unfamiliar direction for the Lakers to move in. Gasol is a highly skilled player, but he’s also redundant with Andrew Bynum in terms of position both technically (they’re both Centers) and where he likes to operate on the floor (the left block).

Gasol still value around the league. He’s a low post scorer with a very good mid-range game. He’s the best passing big man in the league and can be a focal point offensive player due to his ability to be scorer and set up man. He’s not the ideal number one on a championship team but he’s more than capable as a number 2. Don’t let his shifting and murkily defined role this year cloud how good he still is. In the playoffs, when the Lakers needed a strong performance from one of their big men, it was Gasol who raised his game both by rebounding and being more assertive on offense.

What he could fetch around the league is another question. Being that his prime years aren’t still in front of him and the salary he’s owed, a package for multiple contributing players seems like the best approach. Gasol makes nearly $20 million a year for the next two seasons. That’s more than most young superstar caliber players (Rose, LeBron, Wade, Durant, etc). So, just getting back a single player would prove difficult unless that player were a seasoned veteran AND was being paid handsomely. That’s a tough match. Plus, as mentioned above, the Lakers lacked consistent role players and if a package for two to three players who could either start or be impact reserves were on the table the Lakers would likely consider it. The Lakers are always looking for their next impact player but with Kobe and Bynum in the fold, maybe supporting them better through a group of players is wiser than trying to get another top level talent to share possessions with them.

Of course, losing Gasol would be difficult for the Lakers to deal with. Of their three key players, his combination of skill set and size is totally unique. He offers an offensive arsenal that both Kobe and Bynum possess and brings them to the table unselfishly and only in pursuit of the team’s goals. There’s a reason he was the guy at the elbow in the Lakers “horns” sets making all the key reads: he’s the only player that could do it successfully while embracing the role with nary a complaint spoken. He’s the epitome of a glue player as his versatility and selflessness allow him to contribute without getting in any of his teammates’ ways. There’s extreme value there that would surely be missed regardless of how good the players are that would “replace” him. Surely it’s difficult that he’s had to be reminded to raise his game as often as he has, but the fact is when he’s asked to do so he actually does it. Giving that up for another player (or group of them) may seem wise but they may offer their own set of concerns. The grass isn’t always greener, after all.

Trade Andrew Bynum
If there’s one way  to try and improve your team quickly, it’s to use your best trade chip to acquire a player (or group of them) that fit better with the team in place. As mentioned, there’s skill and positional overlap between Bynum and Gasol. Relying on one of them to man the pivot while sending the other out may just be the solution.

Bynum just made 2nd team All-NBA. He’s a monster of a man with an ever growing skill set that continues to be refined. He has soft hands, can finish over both shoulders with hooks or turnaround jumpers, and can still run the floor well enough. Defensively he has the ability to impact the game like few others can. This season he’s posted a 30 rebound game and a triple double that included 10 blocked shots. His enormous wing span means that even when he’s out of position or not able to fully gather himself to jump, he can still alter and block shots just by extending his arms. Bynum is only 24 would be on his third NBA contract and could be paid a reasonable amount considering his talent level and his impact on the game.

Being such a valuable commodity what Bynum could fetch in a trade seems limitless. Could he bring in a 3rd star to flank Kobe and Pau; a star that could be the cornerstone of the Lakers after those two are no longer elite talents? Could he bring in an even better group of players to support Kobe and Pau? These are only open questions because one has to look at this from the other side. If Bynum is so good, why would he be the one to go? In other words, what do the Lakers know that other teams should be worried about? Is his attitude really bad? Does his motor really not rev to its fullest consistently? Despite his growth into an elite level talent this season he also had his share of turmoil and that may affect his value.

If he were to go, though, the Lakers would also miss him. Young, skilled behemoths don’t grow on trees. In the Nuggets series Bynum faced double team after double team and created open shots for his teammates simply by being on the floor. Against the Thunder his ability to score efficiently gave the Lakers points they needed and shifted the defense his way in a manner that freed others to make plays. During the regular season his endurance may not have been  top shelf but there were many times his sheer size was the difference, grabbing an extra rebound or getting a post touch that led to an easy basket. We all remember the game vs the Celtics where Bynum buried KG under the rim and scored what was the game sealing basket. Does another Laker make that play so easily? Do you really want to give up the player can is capable of making such a play?

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All of these options have their merits and all of them scare me to a certain degree. It’s obvious the Lakers need to change things up but how far do they go? Last off-season they showed they’d go all in for Paul but those opportunities are quite rare. To think that another chance to grab a franchise altering talent will just materialize is a bit naive. But if it does present itself will they pull the trigger? If lesser quality deals come up that can change the complexion of the roster but still cost a cornerstone player will that be made? Add the back drop of finances, salary cap rules, and that tiny detail that it actually takes two teams to make a trade and there’s no easy answer here.

Darius Soriano

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124 responses to There Are No Easy Choices

  1. Very good post. One minor quibble: while the team was hurt in some ways by the lockout, it is important to remember that Pau played 65 games, sitting out the last game in Sacto, Kobe around 60, and Bynum all but 5 or 6, four due to suspension.

    That is not all luck–Pau is very durable, Kobe is Kobe, and Bynum has worked hard on the knee. But they cannot count on that happening again in 2013.

    But yes, “no easy choices” sums it up.

  2. The hardest job for Mitch is how to convince Dr. Buss to switch the main decision making from Jim Buss to Jeanie Buss to prevent a team from downward trend. If he’s not successful to such attempt, deja vu we’re back to a vicious cycle of skepticism and dead-end strategies.

  3. Long time lurker and huge fan of the site. Darius, glad you changed your tune and allowed a trade thread.

    I know you said in the past that if you want to see trade rumors, go to another site.. but it’s good to read them on this site (where posters are actually knowledgeable and mature..)

  4. It’s going to be tough. For me personally, I would dismiss Option #1 of retooling around the edges as fool’s gold.

    I just think that the “twin towers” approach with a single perimeter threat doesn’t work that well in today’s NBA UNLESS you really have the three point shooting to make opposing teams pay for sagging in the paint.

    There’s a certain truth to a couple of things:

    1. How many open looks Bynum helped to generate in the Denver series
    2. That Gasol was playing out of position and it impacted what he was able to accomplish

    I think what you want to do depends heavily on whether or not the Lakers are still in “win now” mode. If you are, then it’s time to go all-in in poker vernacular. No half measures.

    If you’re not, similarly I would say it is time for a fire sale. If there’s not one, or AT MAX two, moves that get you a championship, then it’s time to very quickly start building for the future. ALL THREE stars on this team have varying degree of value, and all three can get you a LOT if handled correctly.

    If you want to win now, then I think you need to AT LEAST trade Gasol or Bynum. I just don’t think the supporting, aging cast around the current Big Three can get things done. A big three with a young, athletic, driven supporting cast can be deadly, but that isn’t what the Lakers have. They have a big three and then a huge dip to their fourth best player.

    When two of those big three have motivation and head case issues, that won’t get it done. Look at the Heat. They have the best Big Three the league has seen in probably fifteen years and I still wouldn’t make them the title favorite over the Spurs or the Thunder. Simply having three exceptional players isn’t enough if the supporting cast is beyond terrible and/or is a poor fit.

    For me, here are the options that the Lakers should be looking at:

    Option 1: Trade Bynum for Howard, trade Gasol for pieces

    Howard still wants to move on. ESPN is reporting that the Magic will look to trade him in the offseason.

    I’m sorry, but Bynum is an All-Star. He is not a superstar. Being a superstar is as much mental as it is physical. This year was the very best year Bynum has ever had from a physical standpoint. He was healthy, he was made the second option, and I still think that we’ve reached his ceiling. Basically, I don’t think he gets any better.

    I think he is an overvalued stock that needs to be sold high before others realize he’s overvalued. If you can get Howard, a true stud, then you have to do it.

    And then, if you can trade Gasol for MULTIPLE pieces, I think you can create a championship roster for at least the next couple of years behind a Kobe/Howard/above average supporting talent dynamic.

    It isn’t perfect, but it’s an option.

    Option #2: Trade Bynum, move Gasol back to his preferred position

    Another option is to look to see just how big of a haul that Bynum can bring in. As Darius said, seven foot behemoths don’t grow on trees, and Gasol played out of position.

    If you think that Gasol could see a resurgence being moved back to his natural position, and that Hill can be a starting caliber PF, then what package of players could Bynum bring in? Could he get you both Deron Williams and Brook Lopez and is that good enough?

    Can you use him in a threeway trade to get Williams and Andre Iggy?

    If you really think that Gasol has been hurt playing out of position, and that being moved back to the left block and the low post could make him a top-5 center again, then could you get three or four pieces for Bynum that could instantly move the Lakers into contender status?

    The issue with the Lakers currently is that they aren’t a well constructed team. We aren’t maximizing EITHER Bynum or Gasol. We have too many players who need to be in the post to be maximally effective. Bynum, Gasol and Kobe ALL prefer to operate from there.

    Option #3: Blow it all up and rebuild

    Not going to be a popular option for Laker fans, but there are two ways you can go about this.

    You can either trade Gasol and Bynum FIRST and then basically force Kobe to waive his no-trade clause when he sees that the Lakers are DEFINITELY building for the future, and then trade Kobe. (Imagine how many assets and high draft picks we could get trading ALL THREE of the big-three at once.)

    OR…

    Trade both Gasol/Bynum and then amnesty Kobe if he refuses to go along.

    The latter option would be one hell of a cold, calculating approach, but I think this entire scenario needs to be considered. If you don’t think that the Lakers are going to contend in the near future, then you need to shorten the rebuild time as much as possible.

    Can you get nine different first round draft choices for the combo of Kobe/Gasol/Bynum? Nine different picks plus some young talent? What can you get?

    This option needs to be in play. If we could make the Lakers into the Thunder within two years time, would you do it?

    Personally, my hope is that we can do a trade of either one or both of Gasol and Bynum and put together a team that can content and get Kobe his 6th ring, but barring that, if we aren’t going to be serious title contenders QUICK, then it is time to blow this up before people realize that’s what the Lakers are doing and start reducing their offering prices.

  5. Great post. Any changes that involve moving a core piece would leave a hole in that area. 2 straight 2nd round exits I think means major change has to happen. Nothing easy about what Mitch has to do after the lottery he’ll have a better picture of things. We’re rooting against Brooklyn in that scenario.

  6. Uh, this isn’t a thread to go wild on trade speculation. And, to be honest, commenters here are no better about coming up with wild ideas about trades that don’t work under the CBA. This is not a rumor or speculation site. I haven’t changed my tune on that one bit.

  7. Unfortunately, I don’t think option one, as much as I would like, is viable. I watched just about every Laker game this season. And I think a major part of the problem is that Kobe & Bynum don’t like playing with each other. And it appears Gasol is tired of Kobe’s antics.

    That’s what my “eye test” tells me. We hear how great Kobe is as a finisher, how he’s always willing to take the last shot. And that’s one reason misguided fans don’t like LeBron’s game, because he’s a willing passer in big spots. But how about the guy EVERYBODY loves. Kobe’s biggest idol, Michael Jordan. Check out the following numbers:

    regular season:

    M. J.: 5,633 assist in 1072 games. Avg: 5.25
    K.B.: 5,418 assist in 1161 games. Avg: 4.66

    post season:

    M.J.: 1,022 assist in 179 games. Avg: 5.71
    K.B.: 1,040 assist in 220 games. Avg: 4.72

    Both guys played under the same coach & same offensive system (the triangle)for most of their careers. And neither played with an All-Star point guard. The biggest difference is Jordan’s only All-Star offensive threat was Pippen. Kobe had Shaq, Gasol, & Bynum. Both had very good spot up role players. M.J had Kerr & Paxson, Kobe had Horry & Fisher.

    Bottom line: Kobe just isn’t that willing a passer, and at this stage of his career, if he wants any chance of winning another ring, he’s going to have to improve on sharing the ball.

  8. There are only a few true impact players available (or close to available) this offseason. These are:

    D Will
    D Howard
    Steve Nash

    I would easily give up Pau for Williams, and Bynum for Howard; preferably both. Either of those guys is a true upgrade and a cornerstone that you could build around for a very long time. We could do a sign-and-trade potentially for Nash or he could come over for the mini-mid-level.

    Other options?

    Lamar, might come for way less dollars. He’d offset this by raking in the proceeds from his reality show. This could cover for losing either Pau or Bynum.

  9. Under the old CBA the Lakers may have been able to tweak the line up with some needed shooting to make the big three work. After all no one in the league can match up with Pau and Andrew together.. However with only the 3 million mini MLE and vet minimums available it would be extremely hard to do. Josh McRoberts is a good example of what the mini MLE buys you.

    Unless the Lakers can turn one of their big assets into D Will I think they will probably go the Pau route in a trade. While he may not bring a huge star in return he is still good enough to bring back a few quality pieces. Perhaps a young player or two with upside and a draft pick. If those pieces can stretch the floor for Bynum and Kobe in the post, we could actually have a better chance for another ring.

    All that said, I am not in favor of completely blowing up this roster because the overhaul is set to begin in 2014 anyway. Why not shoot for another ring in the meantime?

  10. #6: Darius

    Not sure if you were referring to my post at #4 or not. Wasn’t intended to propose specific trades and I certainly am no expert on the new CBA.

    My post is intended to be more of a general “here are the various roads we can decide to take” thing in line with your article above than direction to do specific trades.

  11. What I want to avoid are comments that basically say “we should trade X for X” because those comments add no value. Bringing up a target players name is even dicey because the implication is that those players are somehow gettable and that’s really speculation at it’s highest. Reports do say that Dwight Howard is on the trade block. Steve Nash is a free agent. But Deron Williams has not yet opted in or out of his contract for next season. Reports from earlier in the year had him opting out of his contract. If that happens, he’s a free agent and is not gettable unless it’s via sign and trade. As an aside, there are rules that govern sign and trades under this CBA when a tax paying team is involved.

    This is why I always say trades are complicated and we deal with real reports on the Lakers being involved in actual talks at this site. Few people do all the research that needs to be done when they start to speculate on trades. And even if they do, there’s still the fact that the other team has to agree. That’s too many ifs for my taste.

  12. If Brooklyn gets a high pick it’s clear cut who is in the lead for the last 2 more talked about superstars. That would eliminate trading one of the bigs unless Lakers take 1 step back to take 2 forward.

  13. Excellent post. Yes, either Gasol must learn to shoot reliably from 15-16 feet or one of the two, Gasol or Bynum, must go. Gasol can’t play 15 feet from the basket unless he can make that shot every time he gets it. Of the two, I would rather trade Gasol but with his salary, you won’t get back what you give up if you trade Gasol (Gasol is now under-rated by the league). So, Gasol must learn to shoot from 15-16 feet or Bynum must be traded.

  14. Hope this doesn’t count as speculation, but there was a report from a NY reporter than the Nets would rather let Williams walk than take back Pau, they prefer the cap room. Take with salt.

    The 1 thing I trust is that Kupchak will explore all possibilities.

    The problem with speculation is that when we’re in our purple and gold shoes, it’s hard to understand how other teams and their fans value our players.

  15. Man. This takes a lot out of me to say… but… I’m going to agree with something that Aaron says on this site. Pau is better when he is slotted at his natural position of PF. Unfortunately, this year, he wasn’t at his natural PF position, more like a tweener 3/4.

    Pau is most effective offensively in the low post. This team would have worked really well if Bynum were a defensive minded center and allow Pau to work from the low block and make the reads. But Bynum is not that type of player. If Bynum stayed out of the low block, lots of people would say it was a waste to have him not utilize his offensive skills.

    Unfortunately, that most likely means one of the two has to go. I am a bigger Pau fan than I am a Bynum fan. Even this year, he sacrificed because it was what the team needed. Even after he was TRADED/NOT TRADED, Pau brought a very good season for someone playing out of position. I doubt that Bynum would have handled it as well as Pau if he were the traded party to NO. And Lakers didn’t start winning playoff series until Pau got here in 2008.

    I don’t want him to go. But if money is the factor, it makes the most sense for Pau to go. He is owed more money and is older than Bynum.

    I can’t help but think, that no matter which player goes on the trading block, that it will be a buyers market. Teams will be able to look at the weaknesses of both players in an attempt to get the best deal they can. They can point to Pau’s “decline” ,age, and salary. They can point to Bynum’s effort, his immaturity, and his antics. Just looking at it on paper, it would seem Bynum would be the biggest trade chip the Lakers have.

  16. I’m not trying to argue over whether Kobe should or should not be traded. I do think he is tradable if the Lakers choose to leverage the amnesty possibility. Here is the situation. Kobe puts people in seats. Teams like CHA and others that are plenty under the cap could, should, and would bid on Kobe if he were amnestied. I’m guessing Kobe does not want to play in CHA, TOR (I suppose WAS may not be horrible with a high pick, Wall and Nene but it’s hard to see him wanting to play out his contract there) or any other small market with a weak team. The Lakers FO asks Kobe to sign a favorable extension on his contract. If he won’t the Lakers offer to amnesty him. With the threat of amnesty and no choice in where he would be going, I would then suggest that Kobe choose 10 teams he would agree to drop his NTC for.

    This is hardball, and the Lakers may not want to play this game for a variety of reasons, but the amnesty did provide the Lakers with a lever if they think they need to use it.

  17. The Lakers are not going to Amnesty Kobe or Trade Kobe. They know how much he brings in and how big his fanbase is and how big that makes the Laker fan base.

    It would be like trading Magic Johnson. They won’t do it. They’ll let Kobe play out his contract and let him decide what to do from there.

  18. Both from a basketball and a PR standpoint, trading or amnestying Kobe would be [a very bad idea].

  19. the Nets would rather let Williams walk than take back Pau, they prefer the cap room

    _____

    I said this a few days ago; it is quite logical from Brookyn’s POV. Bynum in an S/T is the only shot at Williams, and I have no idea if that is realistic in terms of the actual decision-makers and players.

  20. @Radius1238

    I have to agree with your post at #14. One or both of Pau/Bynum needs to go just for the fact that there are too many players on the roster who want to operate from the low post and CAN operate from elsewhere but are not ideally suited to doing so.

    Basically, there is too much duplication of skill set on this team. Pau is too good to make a Rich Man’s Udonis Haslem shooting jumper after jumper with the new luxury taxes in the CBA.

    If we could still spend extra to surround our big three with superior, or even AVERAGE role players, then sure, why not try that route?

    But I think the Laker front office was on the right track when they tried to bring in Paul for Gasol/Odom. They figured out that Gasol and Bynum are NOT optimum fits together and that you’re not maximizing the bang for your buck.

    Whether or not a player like Deron Williams would be available in a trade for Gasol or whether or not Howard would be gettable for Bynum is hard to know for certain, but I think if you want to win NOW then you have to start thinking about trading one or both of Gasol and Bynum.

    It isn’t what people want to hear and it isn’t exactly what I want to say, but this core isn’t going to do it without a substantially better supporting cast and you can’t get one with the restrictions the Lakers currently have.

    That’s why I called Option #1 in Darius’ post fool’s gold. It’s treading water or kicking the can down the road or pick your analogy. Basically, I think it is wishful thinking that a full training camp and lots of practices will deliver what basically 66 games of regular season and a postseason failed to give you.

    If you think of this year as one long, glorified scrimmage and working the pieces together, then I think we can see the results. This current roster build is suboptimal for the new restrictions that the Lakers have.

    So we are left with trading one or more of Pau/Bynum since those are the only pieces anyone wants OR…blowing the entire thing up and getting maximum value while we can.

  21. I haven’t made up my mind as to which route I’d like to see the team go in but I think any proposal of trading Bynum and Gasol w/o the return of a big man that’s better than them (there’s only player that fits that description) is foolish. Elite size still matters in this league. If the Lakers could have created the space for them to operate and/or gotten more three pointers to fall with consistency to make the defense pay for defending the paint the way they did, I think this team may still be playing.

  22. Eric Pincus (I’m not always a fan) has an interesting post on Hoopsworld which makes clear that financially, the Lakers cannot possibly go forward with their three max or near-max players on the roster. Trading Pau for several young players and a player with an expiring contract seems like the most logical way to go. Minn. could be a willing trade partner.

  23. Lakers are 9-13 last 2 postseasons. Two 2nd round exits the other 7 west playoff teams are younger and faster. Clippers with a full year together will make another leap, Denver took us to the brink, SA system never fails, Grizz will still be tough, Utah is not going anywhere. Lakers have to match those teams now. We matched Boston big 3 by getting Pau. Everyone matched Lakers in the frontcourt. Now OKC and Miami are the model perimeter heavy. That has to be the plan.

    One problem with trading Pau would be who would you pair up with Drew. A Bynum/? frontcourt. Pau has played with Odom/Hill/Bynum/Ron and had success with each. Bynum has failed to have sustained success with Pau a elite player. An ideal match would be a stretch 4 but then you’d be putting Drew on an island on defense. Having Pau at center and a gritty PF who only wants rebounds and blocks would be a perfect match. Instead of asking Bynum to be Howard on defense.

    As the headline says there are no easy choices. Quite a task to be a GM having to think about a thru z.

  24. I think Bynum’s trade value is at an all-time high. The fact that a Bynum for Howard straight up trade is within the realm of possibility and not laughed out of hand (like it should be) means Bynum is being massively overvalued. Seven footers don’t grow on trees, true but the guy just had a 10 and 4 in a playoff elimination game. A seven year vet had a 10 and 4 and he’s our franchise guy?

    I think we trade Bynum for Howard or another team’s 2 best assets, move Gasol back to his natural center position and go from there.

  25. Darius:

    I agree with your statement that trading Bynum AND Gasol without the return of a good big man is foolish.

    I would, however, certainly support the trading of Bynum OR Gasol without getting an elite big man back.

    Or, to put it another way, with hindsight being 20/20, would the Lakers have been a better team if that Gasol/Odom trade had gone through?

    Put another way, I agree in general terms about not trading small for big, but the Laker front office was obviously willing to trade Gasol/Odom for Chris Paul before the season, and I think they’ve been vindicated since. Would a core of Paul/Kobe/Bynum been more optimal than Kobe/Gasol/Bynum?

    I would say so.

    I haven’t fully decided what I would want to see the Lakers do in the offseason. Too many variables at present. But if you can trade Bynum for Howard and then move Gasol for multiple pieces to improve the roster from top-to-bottom I think you have to do it.

  26. Darius,

    Re: #21

    Of course, size does matter but Gasol is clearlying playing out of position at the 4. If you could trade one or the other for a real 4 who had the ability to shoot from 15 feet you must do it. I think Gasol has the ability to make that shot if he would take it but he needs to be willing to take that shot when it matters. Right now, he is not willing to take the shots he gets as a 4 but he took and made shots from the 5 position to win championships in the past. So waddayagonado?

  27. I think Darius is saying you shouldn’t trade both without getting that big man back. I agree, but elite size to me means more than just post scoring. I’d take a defensive anchor / defensive only type player if it means upgrading our backcourt. One of the players that fits that description won’t happen because he’s got a huge contract in NY, but just saying I agree in principle, but there’s more than 1 way to define elite big man. Give me (just for an e.g. sake, not trade speculation) Chandler and a quick PG and you have a great offensive weapon right there.

    All depends on the final players we’re getting in return. But I agree the greatest backcourt in the world won’t matter if we’re starting VladRad at center.

  28. Hmm.

    Trade the guy who skills have begun to decline, but still sacrifices himself for the good of the team, steps up big in clinching playoff games, and is a teammate guys love to play with because of his elite passing skills?

    Or trade the guy who gives little effort in multiple playoff games. Pouts excessively when he doesn’t get his way. Stays away from team huddles. Can only try on defense once in 10 games. Despite all the double teams, still tried to shoot over them. And was manhandled in the post in both postseason series by the other teams non All-star centers. Oh – he’s also majorly injury prone – and is going to take the summer off by getting another knee procedure.

    If the 2nd guy is the more valuable trade asset – then you’d be crazy not to use it.

  29. Nice job laying out the main scenarios and the arguments for and against parting with one of our bigs.

    Kobe will have the lowest return of our three stars even if he waived his NTC so I agree he will not be going anywhere. He makes the most money and has the most mileage, and I don’t see many teams who would have the requisited expirings, draft picks and young players we would be interested in to take him and still be competitive afterwards. I don’t see that anyone would be willing to take on Kobe’s deal unless he were the missing piece to lead them to a title.

    At this point if I were Mitch/Jim I would listen to every offer. There is no indication yet that an acceptable package will be floating out there for either big man, so may as well see who is interested and what’s on the table. It may simply comes down to what offer may make the most sense in context of any other moves around the edges that can be done.

    I would also agree with a Bynum for Howard and Gasol for pieces approach but that may not be a realistic scenario.

    I know I did mention the amnesty an older thread and just wanted to say that not only is it incredibly unlikely for it to be exercised on Kobe but it would probably be a very bad decision unless he agreed to it or expressly requested it hoping he wouldn’t get picked up. If he’s not interested then we should hang onto him. Trying to strong arm him would be a terrible move with regards to the franchise’s image and relationship with the fans.

  30. First the Lakers need to bite the bullet and admit that they will pay heavy taxes on their payroll to the league. They are going to get much less of the new TV package than they wanted to. Second, they need a new head coach who can design an offense around Bynum, Gasol, and Kobe and knows what kind of players are needed to help them. Lastly, they need to watch the Western Conference Finals and figure out what player(s) are needed to slow down OKC’s and the Spurs’ offenses.

  31. Pau is not only a big man he is arguably the 3rd best passer on the team. He can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot, too: Does he do that…no.

    Looking at teams that are still playing the Lakers are deficient in shooters that can put the ball on the floor to create for themselves or pass efficiently to another player.

    That’s what separates OKC, Miami, and SA from other teams they have players, i.e., James, Dwayne whomever or Manu, that are capable of putting the ball on the floor, passing off the drive or shooting the three.

    The Lakers need more players capable of dribble driving, shooting threes and playing defense. Of the players on this years team, too many of them were semi-specialist in one area. If they could shoot, rebound, hustle, or play defense, then that’s all they could do. So if they were a positive in one area they were a negative in 2-3 other areas, thus they were of no use.

  32. I will take size with shooters to spread the floor over a running, perimeter heavy team any day of the week. We proved in the playoffs that we could control tempo with size. But we lacked shooting to take full advantage of our advantage. We also lacked depth, which killed us in 4th quarters.

    I agree with Darius that we would need a big back in any trade, but I don’t think they would have to be elite. I think solid would do as long as a shooter was also included in the deal. This would give us one elite post scorer, either Pau or Andrew and someone to stretch the floor for them.

    I would lean to keeping Andrew because of age and the havoc he creates on the defensive side. With shooters Andrew would go from 18ppg to 22-23ppg easily overnight. And if he stops using that little bunny hop dribble and just goes straight up it could be even more.

  33. I look at what is lost if guys are traded. Gasol is the team’s best passer as Daruis noted. He has the IQ to be a playmakers in the sets coach Brown likes to run. Trade him and that is lost unless the player coming back can replicate it.

    Bynum is different. For all of his maturity issues Bynum is the only player on the roster who consistently gets doubled teamed. We have to remember that defenses play the Lakers to stop Bynum. Bynum creates shots for other players in a way that neither Kobe nor Pau can do. The problem is the other players can’t seem to take advantage of it they way they should. Plus, he has a tendency to make the wrong decisions when the double comes.

    So there it is. Trade your best passer. Or trade the only guy on your roster who opens up the floor for other players.

    Losing Pau can be mitigated by gaining an excellent PG who can take over the playmaking duties.

    Losing Bynum would require the Lakers to bring back another player who commands a double team. Any team that wants to be called a contender has to have at least one player who commands a double whenever he has the ball.

    It seems like Pau is the one who needs to go. Now if the Nets took Bynum for Williams then I would make that move. But with Brook Lopez already on their roster I don’t see why they would want Bynum.

  34. I would love to see Bynum plus a PG swapped for Deron Williams. But, that’s never going to happen.

  35. All the talk of trading Kobe is simply stupid. There are not many player can lead a team to championships. Kobe is one of the those rare ones. Having skills is not equivalent to being a champion. For example, Bynum may have skills, but he clearly is not a champion. He lacks the desire and determination. Those qualities are not usually acquired with age or maturity.

    We are lucky to have champions like West, Kareem, Magic, Worthy and Kobe through the years. Don’t believe you can get champions easily through trades.

  36. Kobe has gone dark. May be doing some recruiting so when he meets with Mitch he can pitch a few ideas. Wishful thinking.

  37. This trading stuff to me is something of a longshot. Its clear to me that the Lakers are committed to keeping Bynum unless they could get Dwight Howard in return. Pau Gasol is likely the guy in the block. The lakers would probably like to fit a guy who is what they were trying to get Pau to be, a pick and pop power forward. Since Gasols contract is so high it’ll be difficult to get equal value. Then on top of that I still feel like the lakers need perimeter shooting so that’s a lot of stuff in return for Pau who still is very good but on the wrong side of 30 and making a lo of money.

  38. The irony of this thread is that these are the same options we had this pre-season and prior to the TD. The Lakers ended up with Option #1 (futzing around the existing core), and we saw the results that got us. Repeating that option is the definition of insanity, although I am not convinced we may not do it again. Getting the title winning payback that we need for Pau or Bynum is going to be extremely difficult. Getting re-building type payback is much more possible. We must consider the nuclear option. Futzing around the edges or trading Pau/AB for all star wannabes is the equivalent of Congress kicking the budget can, down the road. The problems will still exist in 2014 and we will have no added banners. So we try to get D12, Deron W, or similar, and if we fail, we should push the nuclear button. Otherwise you go through 2 more years of “6th” (we are already 1 year into my nightmare), followed by the re-build at that time.

  39. By the way, what I think we will do is as follows: We will keep Kobe and Drew; We will trade Pau for journeymen, youngsters, or problem children; We will finish “6th” (or worse) next year; Kobe will climb the scoring ladder; AB and KB will feud during AB’s contract negotiations; Who knows what Jimbo will do with that feud; In 2014 when KB’s contract is up, we have a huge PR nightmare in any case;

    All is not lost however – I will still have my Kobe Alerts. It is the Haters that I am trying to look out for, because what will they have? : )

  40. Excellent analysis of the Lakers situation.

    My problem is a lack of trust by me in the current front office. I don’t trust the current new scouts or Jim Buss.

    Let not forget they allowed Brown and LO to leave and replaced them with Kapono, Murphy and McRoberts. Two good bench players replaced with three borderline NBA players.

    League has gotten younger and more athletic. The Lakers are neither. Do you all out there trust the current Laker management and Mike Brown who used Pau wrong and failed at developing any young players?

    I don’t!

  41. Robert,

    I fear this outcome as well. I wonder what Kobe really wants most and, based on that, what he will propose. Is winning a sixth championship more important than doing it with the Lakers? I wonder what he thinks.

    Overall, too bad none of the young guys/recently signed free agents panned out. I think we need outside shooting and dribble penetration (no great conclusion there, I know) and we could have had it with the assembled pieces.

    Imagine if Blake, Sessions, Ebanks, Goudelock truly developed and stepped up their games?

  42. I know I have my days when I’m hard on Kobe but now even talk radio is throwing the idea of amnestying Kobe. These guys are insane. Clippers would run LA for years if that happened.

  43. Robert,

    No offense, but any chance of you making it through a post without using the terms 6th, journeymen, and problem children?

    If the team had traded for Howard, OKC still would have beaten them. Check Howard’s career numbers against Perkins if you don’t believe me.

    Your overarching point is right, but like I said: you need to realize that starting the rebuild early does not guarantee that it ends early, or that it ends with a parade. And Kobe is basically untradeable and not as good as he once was.

    Darius is right on this one: there are no easy choices.

  44. I wonder what Kobe really wants most and, based on that, what he will propose. Is winning a sixth championship more important than doing it with the Lakers?

    ——————————

    I wish I had an article of Kobe’s clothing or something similar so I could devine what’s on his mind! Failing that, I’ll take a “wild” guess: he’d play anywhere he thought he could get that 6th ring.

  45. I would like to see Bynum get dealt – he just doesn’t seem like a champion. Say what you want about Pau, but his heart is in the right place. Yes, he’s too deferential at times but he was also playing an uncomfortable 3rd option much of the year as he emphasized in his exit interview.

    My opinion aside, Kobe and Pau appear to have a rift, largely due to the ridiculous finger pointing by Kobe in the Game 4 loss. Kobe is an amazing player, but he’s not exactly the best closer anymore. In fact, his shot selection is at times horrendous. Besides this, Bynum is too valuable as a low post asset, so he’s not likely going anywhere.

    The biggest missing asset not emphasized enough is that the team didn’t have another perimeter player who can basically put the game on ice with a few baskets. If you look at OKC and Dallas, the Lakers were competitive (except a couple games) and blew a number of games in those series because they didn’t have another offensive weapon who could knock down a shot or two. These types of players are NOT as hard as finding a point guard or Center, clearly. This is the biggest mistake by Mitch the last 2 years. They also could use a 3 point specialist besides a more versatile guy who can score off the dribble. A Pau trade for one or two of these guys would make a world of difference, so I’m unfortunately resigned to the idea that he may need to go.

  46. I’m going to have to listen to more fox sports radio if 710 keeps putting on Willard and Martinez.

  47. Gasol must go, i don’t want another 35 yrs old PJ Brown pushing Gasol around. If Lakers keeps Gasol, then they have to sign Odom, both of them played well together to give Lakers another scoring punch, you trade Bynum but you have to get a young superstar in return, after 2 yrs he can take over the Lakers team, or you built a team around Bynum, a lot options depending on what Jim Buss wants .

    Many articles wrote that Lakers need athletic guys who can run, i understand that, but the problem is, can they stop and watch Kobe scores or they will become lazy ? I wrote on this blog after Lakers got Sessions, i know Sessions is quick, can play, but i wonder can he play with Kobe, and become another Fisher ?

    This time Kupchack will show to us his skills to build a championship team.

  48. Robert

    Pushing the nuclear button makes us much worse then you term 6th best. How does that help? Bad teams also need to get lucky to turn it around. The Thunder got lucky over several drafts. Look at all the other bad teams that have not been lucky. If we start building through the draft we will not be very good if lucky beyond 2014.

    Spurs decided against blowing it up and that’s worked out well. I like that model. Kobe is 1st team all NBA and Andrew is 2nd team all NBA. That’s a lot to build around. Sessions, Hill and Ebanks all will be better next year. Find a couple of shooters or trade Pau for some younger players with upside and we will be back in the hunt.

  49. 38, I consider human beings to be too variable in their actions to have any human interaction considered repitition.

    We’ve seen too often, especially in this past postseason, that even our most consistent players, Kobe, Pau, and Bynum, can have amazing, record-breaking performances, and follow them up with headscratchers. So I don’t think keeping the same roster can be considered as repeating the previous season.

    Like Darius said, I believe with a training camp, without a condensed schedule, with actual team practices and not glorified shootarounds, this can drastically improve while maintaining the same parts. I agree that we need to make some improvements around the edges. We need someone who we can depend on to make big shots in pressure situations. Derek Fisher used to be that guy, but he was so detrimental during the rest of the game that everyone felt we had to move in another direction. Steve Blake was brought in to be the guy, and he did perform well at certain points, but he also missed the shot we needed most.

    We have several good, young players that can develop. Andrew Goudelock has shown he can score at an NBA level; he just needs time, practice, and mentoring to become an NBA-ready point guard, even if he only serves as a microwave off the bench. Devin Ebanks showed flashes at the beginning and end of the season when MWP was either out of shape or injured. Like Goudelock, he needs help with his decision-making, and that only comes with time. Ramon Sessions should only improve with a training camp, as should Jordan Hill. It seems like we have all the pieces, they just need time to mesh.

    The big questions for me, other than will Bynum mature and can Pau continue to blend his game with Kobe and Bynum’s domineering ways, are the issues at SF. MWP showed flashes that he can still contribute at the end of the season, but Durant still shot over 50% for the series against us, a guy that MWP was brought in to stop. Matt Barnes also looks like a guy on the way out, an energy guy with inconsistent shooting who is on the downtrend of his career.

    I’m not saying I’m not open to trading either Pau or Bynum (Kobe is an absolute no, IMO), but I believe staying put is a perfectly reasonable option, and any trade involving Pau or Bynum should be a clear home run (I heard Pau for Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey, promptly barfing up a day’s worth of food into my mouth). So any trade for involving either of our bigs needs to clearly improve the team, because our pieces should play better with time to gel and a training camp.

  50. One thing that hasn’t been said about the trade Bynum option is that Drew will be in the last year of his deal. His play this season did improve his value but that has the drawback that few teams would surrender an impact player for him without he also agreeing to an extension. So any blockbuster trade around Bynum, would have to involve Drew agreeing to it. This had the added ramification of making any Pau for a package deal more complex as well, that might help short term but if Drew decides to bolt at the end of next season, front office might suddenly see itself in the 2013 offseason with an one year older Kobe making half the cap plus a bunch of solid role players and little else.

  51. rr: You left out “youngsters” : ) And yes there are no easy answers. So I have opinions just like everyone else does : ) We have tried for two years with our big three core + have been trounced, so forgive me if I do not want to try a 3rd time. Trading for pieces that can win a title will be difficult – on this we agree. Re-building doesn’t guarantee anything – we also agree. Trading for re-building pieces is easier than trading for pieces to the championship puzzle. Further, in 2014, we would rather have young players and picks, and not vagabonds signed on to try to win a title in the short run.
    Also, please re-read my posts (ironic since I am so repetitive). My preferable option is to trade for stars like D12 or DW. However I do not want to attempt to do that for months, and then when those deals fall through, we will pick up a couple – well you know the type of players (same types we picked up in 2012 – and that did not work). So I would go for stars as option 1 and Re-build as option 2. Futzing around for the third straight year is off the table for me, however for those who favor that option; you are in luck, because as stated it is probably exactly what the Lakers are going to do.

  52. Kevin the times story points out what I have been saying all year.

    Brown was fired in Cleveland because of lack of offense adjustments and a “leave it to James thinking”.

    Exactly what he did with Kobe and Lakers.

    He used Pau wrong and over used and relied in Kobe.

    More important then thoughts about trades is the reality Brown is not a big time coach that can run a NBA team with three stars.

    Fire Brown first and bring in a coach that can advise on the roster.

  53. Douglas: Yes – I have mentioned the coming Bynum fiasco several times, but everyone wants to argue about his effort. The AB option year is going to be a D12 type saga where he debates whether he wants to stay, the Lakers debate whether they want to keep him, and he and KB will feud. And yes he will be a FA at the end of 13, so this will mean he might make a list of teams he would want to go to. So it will be three options 1) Stay in LA 2) Go FA 3) Sign and Trade
    Sound familiar? : ) A GM and a Coach just lost their jobs over this in Orlando : ) Perhaps the same will happen here – who knows what Jimbo will do to placate his project : )

  54. They should be looking ay knuckleheads with talent…take a flyer on rashad mccants, jamal tinsley..hell even iverson……the lakers need talent on the bench, thats the only way you get it without cap space. Gerald green was available…

  55. 1. Trading Kobe is beyond my imagination. The guy, for the good of the franchise, should retire as a Laker.

    2. Trading Bynum for Howard, which seems to be doable, does not change the team’s style of play (although I’m in for this trade).

    3. What gave us 2 rings was the combination of Gasol + Odom! Not Gasol + Bynum. I’d say the kid must go. Another season, another Bynum poor performance.

    I had enough.

  56. Lakers when Bynum has dbl – dbl = 24 – 12 record. 3 – 4 in playoffs

    Lakers when Pau has dbl – dbl = 28 – 14 record. 3 – 2 in playoffs

    When both have dbl – dbl = 16 – 10 record. 2 – 1 in playoffs

    Those numbers speak volumes. Lakers are average when both have great games. Far better when 1 is the focal point.

  57. Teamn, Michale H, Zephid: Thanks for your responses. I am still in recovery from the season, so it helps to talk about this stuff : )

  58. When Bynum has 20-10 = 9-7 record

    When Pau has 20-10 = 10-4 record

  59. We shouldn’t forget that our last two rings came with Gasol & Odom playing heavily minutes, especially in crunch time…No Bynum. Yes, we had Phil Jax… And we don’t have Odom anymore… and the roster is older… Etc, etc… But that should be taken into consideration, specially if Bynum somehow can get you Deron Williams…

  60. Pau when having 15+ shots – 21.1 pts 11.7 reb 4 ast. Record 16 – 8

    Bynum when having 15+ shots – 22.8 pts 13.3 reb 1.9 blk. Record 14 – 6

    Numbers wise it’s really not much difference when either big is a focal point. I’m still calculating.

  61. The numbers say what most have said before the combo doesn’t work together. Both are centers both strive when one is passive so they can be aggressive. Need to move 1 for the other to dominate and to open up the floor on offense.

  62. If Pau and Bynum both can deliver 20-10 + other goods when dominating the post, then the question might be what they can bring back. I think the Lakers might have the best chance to win short term with Pau, as Bynum can bring more back. But the ideal situation would be to get something back that has lasting value (like the CP3 trade did).

    So if either Pau or Bynum can bring back a core piece for the future (a new top 3 talent), then that is the guy that needs to go. Jordan Hill fits nicely with both of them.

  63. Just a thought on the Andrew/Pau pairing. Would they work better together if Kobe was willing to give up shots to feed both of them? Gasol and Bynum could switch off playing in the low post. I know that it will never happen but a part of me wonders that if the Lakers committed to making the big men the number 1 option it might work.

  64. The article in LA times is pretty revealing:

    ” “Obviously he’s someone worthy of a lot more touches,” Bynum said. “But it just kind of happened where that’s the way it was.”

    But it didn’t have to be that way.

    Gasol revealed the Lakers hardly practiced other ways to utilize him, including pick-and-roll plays or sets with him on the elbows. According to Synergy Sports Technology, 28.5% of Gasol’s shots came in the post, the most of any spot on the floor. ”

    Either it was the compressed season that gave too little practice time, or Mike Brown has not had a solid grip on things. This could be an argument for working around the edges, as there seems to be a lot of work left undone.

  65. pau gotta go or ill be using sliders too cheat on 2k13

  66. Most revealing in that LA Times article is the fact that the Lakers practiced so few ways to properly utilize Pau aggressively. And it’s clear the Lakers players feel they didn’t spend nearly enough time practicing how to counter fronting, which any average Joe could have predicted we’d face at some point.

    Sometimes reputations are established for a reason, and MB’s Cleveland reputation seems fairly on point. If you truly believe Gasol was misutilized and that there’s a coach out there that could get the most out of him like Phil, then trading MB seems a better route than trading the bigs. I don’t think any coach could solve the problem of slow foot speed, but certainly there are better ways to use both of them offensively.

    But the team is almost certain to retain Brown. I understand there’s almost zero chance Flip Saunders wants to work as an assistant, but I would love to see us at least try to get him as an offensive-coordinator type. Extremely underrated offensive coach, and his stock is low after Wa. Won’t happen, but I can dream.

  67. *Ahem* … just…passing along a news story….

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7974223/houston-rockets-kyle-lowry-says-play-coach-kevin-mchale

    Kyle Lowry expects the Houston Rockets’ backcourt to look a little different next year. The Rockets guard told the Houston Chronicle on Friday that he does not think he and Goran Dragic will both return next season. And he is especially unlikely to play for Houston if Kevin McHale returns as coach.

    “I don’t think so,” Lowry told the newspaper about returning to play for McHale. “I honestly think it would be tough. Things have to be addressed. The situation would have to be addressed.

    “If things aren’t addressed coaching-wise, I guess I have to be moved.”

  68. IMHO,Kobe is clicking more with Pau alone than both.Bynum oughtta go for a good package.

  69. The Rockets guard told the Houston Chronicle on Friday that he does not think he and Goran Dragic will both return next season. And he is especially unlikely to play for Houston if Kevin McHale returns as coach.

    “I don’t think so,” Lowry told the newspaper about returning to play for McHale. “I honestly think it would be tough. Things have to be addressed. The situation would have to be addressed.

    “If things aren’t addressed coaching-wise, I guess I have to be moved.”

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7974223/houston-rockets-kyle-lowry-says-play-coach-kevin-mchale

  70. Pau and Andrew put up big numbers together when Kobe was hurt. They have played very effectively together as long as Pau was able to spread the floor and make jumpers. Unfortunately in these playoffs Pau shot 1 of 27 from 18 feet against the Thunder. That can’t happen. Teams just collapse on Andrew.

    Also… I think it’s funny to call Pau a Center just as it would be silly to call KG a Center and Amare a Center because they have played the posision oce in their lives. Pau Gasol when he is traded will almost certainly be playing PF for his new team. Houston was planning to bring in Nene or another Center if they acquired Pau. He cannot play Center.

    Also… The Lakers need to do whatever it takes (hello Kobe!) to bring in KG. That would allow the team to trade Gasol for the best available player (Iggy) and then use the Odom TE to bring in another best available player to add depth.

  71. Don’t bother trading if nothing is worth in return. I think Mitch got a good grade in getting Sessions + Eyenga for Luke, Jason and 1st rd dr pick; Hill for Fisher. Those are the examples of good trades. If you say Charlie Villanueva, KG etc…..can we get something fresher and younger, Lakers should be visualizing after post Kobe too.

    That’s the biggest problem that we have, as fans our data base is limited compared to a seasoned scouts. Well, who has that special knowledge nowadays in the Lakers F/O? I think they’re depending also on digital scouting, blogs or craig’s list as their cost savings scheme in scouting. Best strategy for this season is to sit on the TPE raincheck as long as possible till it becomes a forgettable issue.

  72. Aaron: I would love to have him, but please explain how we would get Garnett. The guy makes $21 now. Granted he is going to come way down from there, but are you suggesting that he will sign for the MLE?
    Take a look at Boston’s sitution relative to ours. The contracts still on the books next year are all the ones that they want to keep: Pierce, Rondo, Bradley, Brandon B. And can anyone out there deny that we have about 5 guys that we would gladly trade for Greg Stiemsma? : )

  73. Bynum should be the one to go. The kid comes off like he just doesn’t give a crap. If we can trade him for a great PG and a decent defensive center, then ship him out.

    Pau ticks me off with his lack of effort and wool gathering ways, but I have seen this guy come up big in the playoffs. I would feel bad if he gets moved, but I wouldn’t feel bad at all if Bynum goes. Send him out to the Eastern conference so that he can only dominate us twice a year. Right Aaron!?

  74. Edwin: The trades Mitch made were “OK”, however the grade for Mitch must also include the ones not made. Yes -let’s not trade for trading sake, but we need change (as we did this year) – and if we do not make it, then the grade on the FO is not good. Bad trades would be worse, but this is a case were doing nothing is like not turning in the term paper at school. Grade = F

    Nice comment with regard to the scouting and the FO. By the way – who is accountable for that? : )

  75. Trades are two way streets – the other team typically has very smart people who have to agree to it as well.

    That’s why I don’t understand this nonsense that the Lakers did nothing.

    They got destroyed by the Veto, made good in season trades, and otherwise stood pat.

    If they had traded Pau right after the veto, just like Odom – they would have been in a position of weakness and gotten little back. Same goes to trading Bynum.

    Other than that – they literally only had a trade exception – and the BEST possible player that the Lakers could have acquired was Michael Beasley.

    Let me repeat that – Michael. Beasley.

    The Heat wouldn’t even keep him to be their 5th best player, after the Decision.

    I also think its funny people think the Lakers could get an All star PG AND a center for Bynum.

    Look at the all-star PG’s in this league. Bynum is not more valuable than any of them. Cp3? No. DWill? No. Rondo? No. DRose? No. Parker? No. Westbrook? No.

    GM’s don’t trade away perfectly good all-stars for injury prone big men who have no heart.

    As Darius pointed out – “If Bynum is so good, why would he be the one to go? In other words, what do the Lakers know that other teams should be worried about?”

  76. Cdog: The Veto was devastating. It was like having pocket aces in a poker game and getting cracked by 7/2 off. So – yes – all crticisms of the FO – have that qualifier, but this does not give them a free ride. The Lakers went on tilt after hand. The Lakers “tried” to do alot of things so – in that sense they did not do “nothing”. However the results are what they are – and most of the FO effort did not hit paydirt (we need to evaluate them the same way we do players – Blake is “trying” on defense and he “tried” to hit that last shot). Both players and GM’s have stuff that happens to them “outside of their control”. After all, if they take credit for the good stuff, they need to be accountable for the bad (was the Gasol trade genius by MK or was it lucky for MK that Jerry West engineered the deal?). I agree with the Bynum comments – he will be tough to get fair value for. With regard to the TPE, there were a few teams – the Wizards, the Blazers, etc who had their whole rosters on the blocks. Not one of those guys was better than Troy Murphy? : ) And no don’t say this type of trade messes us up for the long run, because as long as the contract expired in/before 14, then it would not. True? :)

  77. Robert

    Again I remind you that Mitch had a deal in place for Beasley when the T Wolves pulled out with 7 minutes left before the dead line. So Mitch did try. By the way plan B got us Hill who is better then Murphy :)

  78. Aaron: To your point they had some success in that 7 game stretch. Barnes, Ron played some of their best ball of the year those 7 games. Some of that great play was off adrenaline due to the fact everyone had to step up in Kobe’s absence. Don’t know how you’d win consistenly with both you bigs shooting in the high 40’s.

    Bynum: 23.1 pts 14.1 reb 1 blk (64-137) – 48%

    Pau: 21.1 pts 10.1 reb 5.1 ast (60-128) – 46%

  79. I think the FO did a fenomenal job, due to the circumstances.

    Talking about the FO…

    1) Are we going to revive the Gasol for Lowry+Scola trade?

    2) Are we going to trade Bynum for Howard?

    (Darius, sorry if this is not the type of comments you expect, but those 2 trades were discussed in the past and they seems doable to me.)

  80. @MagicPhil
    As bad as Sessions was in the playoffs, I consider a Gasol for Lowry/Scola trade a lateral move at best. I think Sessions’ play in the playoffs was a result of trying to adjust to not having the ball in his hands and having virtually no practice time.
    Lowry is a slight upgrade from Sessions and Scola is a slight downgrade from Pau.

    I would like to see Pau get traded for younger more athletic talent and/or picks and then resign Hill and possibly sign a stretch 4 with the MLE – Garnett would obviously be the most ideal candidate but I doubt he takes the MLE to come play in LA. If he did, the Lakers become instant championship contenders assuming Pau fetches some young, athletic talent on the wings.

  81. (1) the team does not want or need an elite PG. Wonder on over to Kobe’s Basketball Reference page. Scroll down to the Advanced stats. Check the column titled, USG%. An elite PG and Kobe’s USG% won’t play well together. There’s a reason why Jordan played with the likes of BJ Armstrong (whose USG% was around 18% during his time with MJ).

    (2) Aaron, and your inner demons, call them legion, for they are many, Pau has played C rather more than once. Was the primary C in the Lakers win over Dwight Howard and the Magic that one Finals.

    (3) Do the math. They didn’t stop doubling Shaq because a much younger Kobe was on the floor. They didn’t stop doubling Bynum because an older Kobe was on floor. In Shaq’s case that was simply and only because his career FG% is .582. As such, over 9 FGA, he can be expected to put up 10.467 points. That is a better point total than every NBA team this year from 3 save two teams, 2nd place Golden State and 1st place San Antonio. The Warriors’ 3 PT FG% would generate exactly the 10.467 over 9 FGA that Shaq would over 9 FGA. The Spurs’ 3 PT % would generated something like 10.617 points. So they didn’t stop doubling Shaq because the Lakers were not going to be able to put up a higher FG% than Shaq in single coverage. Same thing here. Until the team can generate a point total that matches or exceeds the point total from Bynum’s FG% in single coverage, there’s no reason to stop the double-team.

    (4) Don’t get me wrong, the team should add shooters, as that would stop a more general sag down low defense, but again, it won’t stop the double on Bynum, at least so long as the opposing coach is of the opinion that Bynum’s FG% in single coverage can be expected to create more points than the Lakers’ other players will create while Bynum is busy being doubled.

    (5) Darius, in order to counter or argue against some of your claims, we sometimes have to mention specific players. The example here would be a trade that was then wasn’t when Stern vetoed the deal. Simply recall that Houston was going to trade Martin, Scola and Dragic to NO for Pau. Martin is an impact player and Scola and Dragic are added parts. And not that Martin was all that efficient this season, as he wasn’t, but the season before:

    http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2011/05/expanding-points-per-miss-ppm-formula/

    Note where Martin is on that list. Relatedly, for those who posit a Pau in decline during the 10-11 season, that list says rather otherwise, since note where he is on the list as well. Perhaps coach and the rest of management might want to review that list in lieu of the game tape, since when I said that Pau was moved from his comfort zone, now you all should have some idea of what was sacrificed. I ran the math for this season, and Pau was down to 2.2something, so right around .5 points per miss was lost. You all can determine the number of his misses and multiply by .5 and see how many points were lost. And for just how much his game was changed, well, since someone mentioned his wretched shooting from distance against OKC, was also 7-27 on 3s for the season. Before this past season, Pau had taken a combined total of 11 3PT attempts while with the Lakers. Again, 11 in all prior Lakers’ years, in contrast to 27 this past season. Way to play to the strengths there, coach! If you’ve seen the one film, reminds me of this line:

    What pisses me off is that this country has a lot of faults and a lot of strengths and we have done nothing but play to the faults.

    Now back to my point, I’d be happy with this trade, Pau for Martin and Dalembert, which gives the team another scorer and a competent backup C (Hollinger rates the trade as no diff for the Rockets and -1 win for the Lakers). And as I said in a prior post, cajole, entice, insinuate strong drugs into his soup (to borrow another film line), so that Lamar signs for the mini-mid-level. And then use part or all of the TPE owing to the Lamar trade for a shooter or shooters. And maybe a shooter, aging vet type, can be had for the vet exception (someone who once was more than a shooter, but alas, owing to father time, is now only that).

    Now an additional note, but since Martin and Dalembert both expire after this upcoming season (as it were), I would only do the deal if the Rockets could get them to extend by 1 season. Then at the end of the next two seasons, assuming Lamar was still on the team, then the contracts of Kobe, Ron, Martin, Dalembert and Lamar would all expire, leaving to the team, if it so chose, to build around Bynum. And I’m not saying there’s any likelihood or not, but in managing the team, you have to be aware of possible future options, and two off-seasons from now, both Lebron and Bosh will be able to exercise, if they want, their early termination options, and then the following off-season, both Rondo and Aldridge will be free agents (maybe by then, Rondo will have found more of a jumper).

    Almost forgot, but re the Pincus piece, the real killer isn’t the stupid league taxes. The real killer is the looming estate tax. As Jerry so aptly put the matter:

    “It’s a severe economic issue for me. It’s an ongoing one, and I’m addressing it as best I can. I’m prepaying the taxes, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I live long enough to accomplish the whole thing.”

    Oh, and the unthinkable:

    Could it force a sale? “It could,” he says. “There are rules and regulations, but we’re getting to a point where I’m pretty sure my family can hold on to the team.”

    And by the way, for those thinking that the new TV deal is some panacea, well, guess what? It increased the value of the Lakers thereby increasing the value of the estate thereby increasing the estate tax to be paid.

    Smart man, Jerry, but he should have been in contact with an estate planning attorney even before he bought the team.

    Oh, and for one more, given how he made his dollars, real estate, presumably, part of the plan was that on his death, some of the real estate holdings would be sold to pay part or all of the inheritance tax on the remainder that will be inherited by his kids. Now imagine what effect the drop in real property prices would have on such a plan, i.e., the real property value declines while the value of the franchise increases.

  82. I have not seen this point raised yet, but feel like this is overlooked in all discussions of long-term Lakers plans:

    When Kobe is up for a contract extension (this is after next season?) he will be up for a 7.5% raise from the last year of his contract. That would put him at approximately $32.8 mil a year, which is roughly half of allowed cap space. Am I missing something, or does this sound crazy? He claims he can play for several years more after this contract expires, and he laughs at any suggestion of taking a penny less than he’s owed. Thoughts?

  83. @81 Paul L

    I think Lowry is a BIG upgrade from Sessions. Not that I don’t like the guy; I think Sessions did good under the circumstances and having him as the backup PG sounds excellent to me.

    But, IMHO, Lowry is a much better PG. Trading Gasol for younger guys…hm…it needs to be somebody that will develop into a playoff-player, not a yong guy that will sit on the money we’re paying and act like he doesn’t care…

    And KG with the Lakers? What? He’s (old) good but I don’t see that happening in a million years. Am I missing something (haven’t read that much after…you know what)?

  84. @82 Avidon,

    If Kobe decides to take less money and stay with the Lakers, instead of going to another contender (basically what LBJ did), he will be taking a HUGE step to GREATNESS!

    He already has a point into being considered one of the greatest player of all times, but being loyal to a franchise it’s the upmost quality a great player can have (see Reggie Miller).

    That’s the kind od attitude I was expecting from DFish, but he seems to be way more interested on money than greatness…

    I just hope Kobe takes the right decision when the time comes.

  85. PaulL: A stretch 4. Jamison is a free agent I could see a contender signing him. He’s at the point where the mle is what he’ll get. Sessions value may have dropped because of the playoffs. He may play out his deal.

    When is the dealine for Sessions to opt in/out? Anyone know.

  86. I don’t think the Lakers give Kobe an extension with 7% raise.

    Not unless they want to have Kobe + MLE’s and minimum contracts through the rest of the roster.

    Kobe has plenty of money. While he’ll never take less than he’s worth, if every other superstar in the league is making 16 million, he can’t be insulted that on the tail end of his career that might be what he makes.

    Salary structures are different now than they were a few years ago.

  87. Magic Phil: I would love to see Kobes retire a Laker, but how are you pinning “all” of this on him? The Lakers need to put a team together or KB has every right to go elsewhere for #6 (not just for $). And what exactly are you saying about Fish? I am confused – we dumped him? Where was the FO loyalty there?
    Avidon: Your question is excellent. We should start to decide what we are going to do right now. However the Lakers are going to kick this can down the road as well, and ride out the next 2 years and then have a huge problem to deal with. Secretly, Jimbo might be hoping for KB to retire in 14 so he doesn’t have to deal with this.

  88. Still wonder why Kobe didn’t have an exit inteview. Instead having lunch with Mitch and Brown. A ultimatum could be given from either side or it could be much to do about nothing.

    A Lakers contending team in ’14 will entice Kobe to return. Anything less all bets are off. Reaching 6 before then he may retire or have a position of leverage for another big deal.

  89. @87 Robert,

    When you think about Magic Johnson, what do you feel?

    Yeah, me too. That feeling of…being a Laker for life.

    Can we feel the same for Kobe if he go to another team to pursue a ring? As much as I understand the value of a ring, there’s other things with “value” as well. Reggie Miller was a great player, but the fact that he played his entire carrer with the Pacers adds a lot to his legacy. Same with Kareem, Kobe and Pierce (which is trying hard to retire as a Celtic, and I praise him for that).

  90. Cue the music from Rocky 3, “There’s no easy way out…there’s no shortcut home…” after Apollo Creed got walloped by Drago. Kobe’s doing some soul searching right now like Rocky. Gotta figure out how to destroy OKC the Drago right now, especially since we used to be the menace to the NBA.

  91. Interesting to see what a really good new Coach can do without the excuses.

    Philly without a center in game 7 because of their coach.

    Lakers with 3 top players out in 5.

  92. Please help me root against these Celtics. The year can get quite a bit worse. The ECF are 50/50 at best and if the WC team has an injury – we could be listening to “Rondo stole the ball” for the next year” : )

  93. Robert

    You should want Celts to lose. Big trade rumors out there for Iggy and Young for Pau and Ron. Won’t happen if Philly wins.

    Sacrifice personal feelings for Laker betterment!

  94. Ko: The Sixers could give us their whole roster for Troy Murphy and I would say no if it meant I had to give the “C’s” a title to close the deal.

  95. Rob

    Celts will never win it all but at least give Heat a battle. I dislike Heat more then Celts and I hated Celts for 40 years.

    Iggy plus Young or Williams could give us a chance assuming a resign of Hill.

    Besides my Serbian friends say our savior is coming back.

    Sasha the Machine!

  96. haha – give the C’s a title.

    Thats hilarious.

    They aren’t in the same stratosphere as the heat – who aren’t in the same stratosphere as the two remaining Spurs and Thunder.

    If the Heat have Bosh – thats a sweep.

    If they don’t have Bosh – its over in 6.

    Either Lebron or Dwade would have to be seriously hurt for them to lose to the Celtics when the Celtics have an injured Pierce/Allen/Bradley.

  97. Cdog: I agree – “if they have Bosh”

    Of course I would have said the same about Chicago and Rose : )

    And don’t forget that someone could get a sprained ankle or the flu out West. So just humor me and root against them : )

  98. Robert

    The entire Spurs team could have the flu and still win. I just want to see the Celts beat up Laspon and Fade. Celts last stand against the decision is worth the watching.

    We all know the real series start tomorrow night.

  99. Tough choices! Yes, but this was a no brainer. Rest your top players throughout the regular season and try to develop your younger ones. There are no guarantees with this strategy, but this is only to win with a top heavy team. You have to let the cards fall where there may. Both Phil and MB the last two seasons dropped the ball in this regard. I don’t know. There is maybe a decent coach out there who thinks that isn’t such a bad strategy. You know who I’m talking about.

  100. This game is atrocious. So is Igoudala in this game a straight up swap for Ron seems more likely now. Celtics will go through another 20 year drought. hahaha

  101. Bullet points:

    Given Garnett’s playoff performance, there is no chance he will sign here for the MLE.

    Lowry is much better than Sessions.

    Miami will still be a solid favorite over Boston, assuming Boston wins this game.

    As to the Lakers…too many variables too do much but speculate.

  102. Boston has cap space but their situation is worse than Lakers. Nobody wants to play in Beantown and now they’ll have to build through the draft and Pierce is on his last legs. Trades can change everything but there going to suck and nothing makes me more happy than the Leprechauns not getting their gold.

  103. Kevin: I am glad you are with me on this – but please don’t start laughing until they are done. They are going to play a beat up Miami team, and the West is going to be a brutal 7 game set with multiple sprained ankles : )

    And with regard to your “Nobody wants to play in Beantown” comment:

    We used to have the “Tell me about LA” advantage, but that doesn’t seem to be working lately. It has been a long time since K Malone and G Peyton came here : )

  104. Robert: You’re right Lakers have had a tough time in the recruiting department for a few years. But having the Celtics outlast the Lakers 2 straight years. Hurts My Soul. We have to put a stop to this. And I know I’m not the only person who has a friend that’s a Celtics fan who texting them right now. I dispise the Celtics.

  105. Boston lost in the semis last year.

  106. ECF are 50/50 at best

    ___

    Not even close. Miami is still a solid favorite.

  107. The only thing that would make this season worse is seeing the bastards in green win #18. However, I do think (and hope) this year’s champion will come from the West.

  108. At the beginning of the playoffs if the Celtics were 50/50 in both rounds, by simple math they would only be 25% to have made it this far. Factor in the fact that Chicago was a heavy favorite (before Rose), and the Celtics were probably only about 15% to be here. So it is 4 leaf clovers and such as it always is when they win. They win when the other team has injuries, the Boston Garden air conditioner breaks, or the Lakers get upset by the Rockets. This is what everyone hoped for with the Lakers winning from “6th” this year. Only we do not win that way. We win as front-runners : ) For those of you worried like me about the “C’s”: Hope that Wade’s injuries don’t flare up, LeBronze doesn’t get that Q4 deer in the headlights look, and when the Heat has the ball late in the deciding game – please hope that you do not hear “Rondo stole the ball”

  109. Recently Kobe was quoted saying if it doesn’t happen here (meaning win another title) its not going to happen. He apparently has no interest in playing for another team at the twilight of his career. He also mentioned not hanging around to average 19 points a game. Kobe wants to stay in LA and he wants to continue to be a top quality contributor. My guess is when those two things are no longer possible he will simply retire.

  110. IMO, the bleacher report is one of the site that sensationalize fantasy trades, intrigues so that avid Laker fans read it often while they sell the hits to advertisers. I think one reason why Darius prevents us from making such predictions because it’s all fantasy without any verifiable facts because Dwight and D’Will have never mentioned their intentions in coming to the Lakers. Will that change in coming months? Let’s see. Perhaps, we all have that 2nd round exit syndrome so we need to find solutions immediately. It’s difficult to watch the leprechauns celebrating while Laker fans are wallowing their season’s demise.

    Let’s enjoy watching the remaining teams compete and may the best team wins.

    The only thing I wish from Mitch that whatever changes made by July 1st. it should be something creative or Jerry West style of revamp. Getting Murphy, Kapono and McRob after failing to get CP3 were not creative. It is cheapish and dreamy, hoping the pieces assembled would pan out, knowing that it was a failed experiment with other teams. I don’t have any specific suggestions out there but just review the expiring contracts in exchange of our assets. It all boils down on the principles: Shall I spend long term contract with this player based on evidence played during the season or in the past? or Shall I convince another GM who has a Superstar with contact expiring next season that we both trade players to optimize their values and our teams’ opportunities? If Mitch could meet that test that would be enough for all of us.

    Of course, we are not involve in this process that’s the whole problem that we are not involve so we all get lost in translation. We want to be there, we want to be briefed of every step of the way, we want to be a member of the board of directors of the Lakers in order to solve the problem immediately…. unfortunately our only investment is blogging w/ passion 7/24, FBG is our messenger.

  111. The remaining teams in the Conference Finals show that the successful style of playoff baskeball might be changing from what has supposedly been true forever, needing premier big men to win championships.

    Look at the centers/PFs who are still playing:

    Duncan/Diaw/Splitter/Bonner
    Perkins/Ibaka/Collison
    (Bosh)/Haslem/Turiaf/Anthony
    KG/Bass/Stiemsma/Hollins

    On this list there are several good defensive big men, but only three guys can really be looked to for creating offense on their own: a healthy Bosh, Duncan, and KG (maybe Diaw with a good match-up on occasion). Two of those are ancient, one is currently injured while his team eventually still won big. Low-post scoring is on the top of neither of these teams’ list, especially not in MIA and OKC who are the younger and faster teams.

    But all teams still standing have at leat two elite perimeter creators:

    Parker/Ginobili
    Durant/Westbrook/Harden
    James/Wade
    Rondo/Pierce

    MIA and OKC (and – if I remember correctly – even Boston when Bradley was still healthy) have gone small and put Lebron, Durant, and even Pierce at PF during crunch time.

    It might be just a coincidence this year with the lock-out and everything, but along with the rule changes (hand-checking, difference of contact allowed on the perimeter and inside, zone defenses) it seems that relying on grinding out baskets in the low-post has not been as successful lately as a dribble-drive or pick-and-roll based attack.

    DAL won their championship without true low-post scoring (but great low-post defense from Chandler), the Lakers’ last two titles featured a crunch-time line-up of Gasol-Odom for the most part. The latter could also create off the dribble or be a threat on dives to the basket from the outside.

    So looking at this it might be wise to see who of Gasol and Bynum can bring in the better package of a hopefully young creator from the perimeter plus some outside shooting. The OKC series showed that even with very good low-post defenders on the Lakers and the team being able to mostly control the tempo of the game, the explosive offense from outside and the ability to get easy baskets in a hurry won out.

  112. A fan trade idea from Bleacher Report…right up Darius’ alley. = )

  113. Renato Afonso May 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Like I stated in a previous post, to me, the best option will be to trade Bynum.

    Analysing the current roster’s contracts you see that most of them will end in 2 years time, namely Kobe’s and Pau’s which clog most of our cap space. This is what I wrote:

    “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”

    Basically, what we need to do with this roster is to resign Hill, Morris and Ebanks as they can and will be cheap and work with that. The question is: who do we trade Bynum for and who do we choose to get for the mini-MLE or our TPE? I assume our trade exception will not be used since we want to save money…

    In my opinion, Bynum should be traded for a PF who can rebound and block and even chip in with some points. It would be a complementary player to Gasol who would be moved to center. And since such player won’t cost 17mil per yer, maybe we can even get a complementary player. What we should do is actively pursuit a veteran PG like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. I’m not sure what would they demand in the open market, but maybe they would take a discount to chase another (or first) ring. The importance of these players has all to do with the respect that Kobe has for them. Kobe is a guy who likes to dominate the ball and I don’t see him reluinquish that for younger guy in the Kyle Lowry mold. And the best part of it is that such veteran PG’s have a good 3pt% opening up the paint for Gasol to operate. Yes, we would be playing with an old team but the Mavs proved it is possible to win with veteran players, why can’t we?

    In two years time all contracts expire, we basically reset the team and wait 3-4 years before we can contend again. And for those who say we would lack athleticism, we would have a deeper roster that allows some rest to the older guys.

    Morris could play 10-15mpg behind our new PG (assuming Sessions is gone).
    Kobe still needs a backup SG that could come from that Bynum trade or from Europe (maybe a 3pt specialist to spread the floor and allow Kobe to operate at SF if needed).
    Ron Artest is properly backed up by Ebanks nad maybe even Eyenga from time to time.
    The new PF from the Bynum trade would play with Gasol and Hill and McBob would rotate with them.

    This seems like a roster that CAN contend. Obviously we won’t assemble the best roster in the league for next year, but we can maximize the chances of success.

    Obviously that, to give this roster a chance to win, we would require a top-notch coach in the molds of Larry Brown, Adelman,… Mik eBrown is just terrible when it comes to in-game adjustments and offensive sets. He simply isn’t good enough and proved it once more.

    On a side note, can’t the Lakers explore the european players? Naturally a Teodosic-level player (who’s a PG by the way) wouldn’t play for us due to the low salary we can pay him, but maybe we can get a proper SG to rest Kobe. Someone who can shoot and is still young enough to grow with the organization. Maybe a Zoran Dragic (not the one with Houston) or a Martynas Pocius would come since they’re young enough to take a chance. There are plenty of shooting guards in Europe who could play a few minutes for us. Are the Lakers scouts any good?

  114. Edwin: I like a couple of items in your post:
    1) “not creative” This is what I have neen referring to as taking a bad beat (Veto), and then going on Tilt (the list of miserable additions).
    2) “lost in translation” : Yes – we do not have all the facts. So we can only grade the FO on what they get done. We can only “speculate” as to why we did not make the blockbuster deal before the TD + why teams backed out of deals right before the TD. We do know the deals did not get done.

    We need to grade the FO – the same way we grade players. If the shots don’t fall the players are accountable and if the deals don’t get done the FO must be accountable.

  115. rr: Just posting for optimism. You have to admit Lowry is serious and Morey decides he can go that route signing Gragic. A player with that favorable contract can open up more opportunities for Lakers if Rockets still want Pau. I’m of the camp who feels Lakers gave Rockets a first rounder for nothing to build good will in case of future negotiations.

    OKC, SA, MIA are the teams who at the beginning of the year everyone felt would be in this position. No surprise there. Durant vs Leonard is the matchup i’ll be watching.

  116. Kevin: We gave the Rockets a pick so that they would allow us to dump Fisher on them (they obviously did not want Fisher). We could have kept Fish, or we simply could have bought him out (preferably at the end of the season when it would not have been so much of a slap in the face). In any case, had we not dumped Fish on them – we could have gotten a better deal, because it was obviously seen as giving them a liability.

  117. Robert: That was a classic case of a buyout trade. There been a number of those trades over the years. I think that was a gesture of good faith in case they want to revisit things down the road.

  118. even after his performance in the playoffs (and his impressive PER at the trade deadline), you guys still think Jordan Hill was just some kind of throw-in and not a significant part of that trade? I am inclined to disagree.

  119. lilpau: He was a throw in. Everyone knew he was a hustle type player and could rebound but his playing time was limited and Houston just got Camby he was expendable like Fisher was in the front office eyes. Hill had a trade kicker so when he was traded his team option became void he was a free agent once traded. It was a salary dump for both teams. The Beasley deal would’ve been a salary dump too he was on an expiring.

  120. As currently constructed, the Lakers will never be great offensively. Having your three best players play most effective from the post combined with sub-par perimeter shooting is simply not a recipe for success. None of the parts work together.

    I love what I saw out of Bynum this year, but would still move him in a heartbeat for the right deal. Injury concerns are just too high. I agree that Gasol still has a lot of value. Playing third banana is such a waste of his offensive skill set. The guy needs touches. He needs to be surrounded by people that can play off the ball (cutters and legit 3 point threats). He would excel in Houston and the Rockets know that. Of course any move shedding Kobe’s salary in ’13-’14 would be a dream. Don’t really see how that happens.

  121. The more I look at the state of the Lakers,,,the less I belive they will contend again in the Kobe era. They will probably be competitive but not real threats to the likes of OKC. That gap is going to get much wider by next year and anything short of trading Bynum and Gasol (one to acquire an elite player like a PG since I think Sessions isn’t any kind of answer and the other to find role players/bench guys) won’t yield much. They’ve emptied the cupboards of draft picks. They basically played the whole year without picking up a replacement for Odom which tells you something about their finances. WE will have to get used to a penny pinching Lakers organization who won’t be able to make the huge move. CPaul was the last gasp of the old way of doing things.

    It’s a pessimistic view but I think we are in for 3-4 years of being a decent but not contending team. It’s the new price of winning championships and mortgaging your future.