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Fast Break Thoughts

With the conference finals in full swing and 26 other teams already into their offseason, there’s plenty to talk about in the NBA. So, lets get right to it…

  • While I’m not counting out the Thunder or the Celtics, the Spurs and the Heat have the inside track to meet in the Finals as both have a 2-0 lead. Beating either of those teams 4 out of the next 5 games will be very difficult, even for teams as talented as OKC and Boston. So, if both series hold to form who would you have in the Finals? I’d lean towards Spurs right now as no one is playing better basketball than them. The ball is moving on offense, their defense is more locked in than during the regular season, and they have a fantastic core of leaders on the floor and the sideline to lean on. Miami may have the better top end talent in James and Wade, but as we saw last year the team that plays better together can beat the team with elite talent.
  • Speaking of the Spurs, they haven’t lost in almost two months. They’ve won their first 10 games of the playoffs and 20 consecutive games overall. On the season they’ve had winning streaks of 20 (and counting) and two of 11 games (which were only snapped with Popovich sat his key players to get them rest). When looking back at this season, the performances of the best players will likely be remembered most but the way that Greg Popovich has handled his roster has been masterful.
  • I understand it’s not what a lot of fans want to hear, but finances will play a major role in how the Lakers’ off-season unfolds. Ramon Sessions has a player option that he’ll need to make a decision on by June 20th. If he opts in, the Lakers know what their salary commitment will be and that’s that. But if he opts out, they’ll have to make a decision on how much they’ll offer him to stay on (something the front office has made clear they’d like to happen).

Jordan Hill is also a free agent but there’s a salary cap rule that can affect how much he can be paid due to the fact that the Rockets declined their team option on him before he was traded to the Lakers. I’ll let commenter Warren explain via the great Larry Coon:

If a player was a first round draft pick, just completed the third year of his rookie scale contract, and his team did not invoke its team option for the fourth season (see question number 48), then the team cannot use the Larry Bird exception to re-sign him to a salary greater than he would have received had the team exercised its option. In other words, teams can’t decline an option year in order to get around the rookie salary scale and give the player more money.

This means, if Hill is going to be a Laker, the most money he can make is $3.6 million (the same as his team option). I don’t know if the Lakers would be willing to invest that into Hill and he’s sure to explore his options but it’s good to know what the Lakers can pay vs. what the market may dictate.

  • While we’re on the topic of big men, there’s some talk about where Lamar Odom will end up next season. If you’re a Lakers’ fan and would like Odom back in the forum blue and gold, understand that in the most recent CBA loopholes that allowed players to return to their former team after being traded away have been closed. For the Lakers and LO it means that he would not be eligible to return to the Lakers until a year after he was traded away. That date is December 11, 2012 or roughly 6 weeks after the start of the season. This would have Odom missing all of training camp, countless practices, and games before he could even sign with the team. In my eyes this factor alone greatly reduces the likelihood we’ll see Odom playing for the Lakers next season. Though, nothing is impossible of course.
  • Want to know what happens in the secret room where the lottery happens? Here you go.
  • With the lottery and, thus, the draft on the mind let me say that I’m happy for the Hornets. They played hard for Monty Williams and now they have two lottery picks to add to their talent base. Anthony Davis is seen as a sure thing by most everyone (including me) and he’ll surely be their first selection. But they’ll also have a chance to get another good player at #10 and that can’t be ignored. Remember, Andrew Bynum was drafted 10th overall. So was Paul Pierce. In that same draft, Dirk went 9th overall. We all remember that Kobe was drafted 13th overall. My point here is that franchise cornerstones can come from anywhere in the lottery (or anywhere in the draft, really) and it will be interesting to see which players, if any, become the guys we all look back on and say “I can’t believe he went that low.”

Maybe we’ll be able to say that about whoever the Lakers select with the last pick in the draft this June. After all, fans in Sacramento are doing just that after Isaiah Thomas was taken in that slot then proceeded to make the all-rookie team.

  • I’m not the biggest hockey fan but here’s to the Kings brining the Cup to Los Angeles.
  • Finally, some housekeeping notes: we’ll be here all off-season talking about the playoffs, the draft, Summer League, free agency, the Olympics, and more. I’m also interested in starting back up the mailbag feature (let me know in the comments if that’s something you’re interested in). We’ve got several other ideas as well to keep getting you guys quality content. As always, I appreciate your continued support of the site and of the group of guys that contribute to it.

Reader Interactions


  1. Darius and all who contribute regularly i know how much work you put in day in and day out to give us a forum to discuss this team. I appreciate your hard work and believe it or not your journalistic approach to the subject. reading a “homer” blog is about as interesting to me as listening to “homer” announcers. thank you for the forum. bring the mail can’t wait…Dom


  2. Personally I dont think LO is going to be back nor do i think he would come back. LO did have a break out season but i think the FO feels that BB isnt a priority for him anymore. The decision to trade him was a business one. LO’s response was childish and honestly lacking professionalism. If we had kept LO we would be talking about 83M in cap between Kobe LO Pau and Drew, throw in MWP you are talking 90M. The long term outlook isnt very good. I dont see anything in the foreseeable future that makes us competitive the next 2 season unless we make radical financial decisions. Old/slow/expensive is who we are. In this case 2 out of 3 is bad. We keep Kobe because he is iconic, the rest are business decisions waiting to happen. I dont want to be competitive I want to win. I cant see how we win it all with Drew Pau and MB. The Spurs, OKC, and the Heat are too young too fast too well coached and too athletic for this roster to beat.


  3. 2. Dom,

    Maybe the too well coached part we could at least match, right? And of the 3 teams you mentioned, I don’t see OKC as a particularly well coached team.

    Go Kings!


  4. One small subplot of last night’s lottery results that interests me: Rich Cho making the #2 selection overall. The puzzle of who goes #2 among Beal, Drummond, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Robinson has highly intelligent scouts at odds. Cho, by all accounts, is a highly intelligent FO man. He obviously doesn’t have much individual drafting history, but I’m going to be really curious to see who he takes #2.

    I didn’t watch a ton of college ball, but Drummond really intrigues me. The others are most likely to become good role players, maybe borderline All-Stars if everything goes well. I could see Drummond becoming one of the best inside and perimeter big defenders in the league, if his motor ever starts running. But on the flip side, not sure if the toxic/inept environment in Charlotte is the best place for a big man to develop. If there’s 2 teams I can see Drummond failing with, it’s Charlotte or Washington.


  5. I believe that Darius is correct – the Laker’s personnel decisions will be driven by the new CBA. As repeat cap offenders the penalties become increasingly severe every year.

    If the only way to reset the tax penalty timer is to get below the cap for a year then don’t we really have the answer as to what Jim Buss will dictate? Jim will ask Mitch to make some peripheral changes: a) Pau for an expiring + younger and less expensive depth; b) allowing the Odom trade exception to expire; c) Rolling the dice with Andrew as the centerpiece for the post Kobe Lakers.

    While I firmly believe the FO wants to win a championship I sense they will not put themselves in the position of staying over the cap in 2015. In their view that is simply too steep a price. After the 2014 season Kobe’s contract comes off the books and the timer can reset.

    As long as Kobe wants to be here they won’t blow it up. And in reality they can be competitive the last two years of his contract – just not championship contenders.

    Question: Could the Lakers afford the rising tax penalty if they could trade Pau for DWill and Andrew for DHoward? Even if they let Kobe go after his contract expired wouldn’t they be over the cap and open to a rate of like $2 for every dollar over the limit?


  6. Heat over Spurs in 6, as long as LBJ & Spoelstra let Wade be the finisher. Those two are the modern-day MJ/Pippen combo.


  7. A Spurs – Heat finals would be great. I would give edge to Spurs. Miami would have the 2 best players. Spurs have the better team and coach but haven’t been to the finals in 5 years. Reminds me of 09.

    For sure money will be heavily factored into Lakers decision. They were willing to trade for another max player would’ve saved money in the process though. Whatever they do it needs to be a impact player on the perimeter.


  8. The Laker management demonstrated this season that winning was no longer the priority. It is sad but the window for Kobe winning another ring is closing rapidly. Now was the time for the Lakers to go for it. Instead they hired a coach who needs time to figure out what he wants to do on offense and defense. They cannot decide what kind of players they need to fill out the team. It really hurts but look at what San Antonio has done. That is the model to follow, not the Mavericks.


  9. baylorfan: To your point about Brown when he was hired. Brian Windhorst a guy who knows his stuff and was with Brown all his years in Cleveland had a few suprising things to say about brown.

    “He’s sort of a process coach. The Lakers are looking for someone to keep it going. I don’t know if they’re looking for someone to retool everything… He’s taken the reins of a 747, so to speak, that’s mid-flight. It’s gonna be a real challenge for him. I don’t really know how good that’s all gonna go.”

    Asked on how well he’ll work with a veteran team?

    “Let’s just be dead honest. He’s not a guy that commands respect.”


  10. Kevin: I missed that article; thanks. That sums up Brown’s first year nicely and does not bode well for year 2. Bynum has already tuned Brown out.

    If defense wins championships then the Lakers must have already been a very good defensive team. Now Brown has to realize that offense dictates defense. That was one of the beauties of the triangle. High quality shots in rhythm controls how fast the defense can get the ball back and how unsettled the other team will be as it gets back in transition. The Spurs have figured that out and are getting by with role players who are not great athletes.


  11. Kevin:

    You just added to the growing pile of evidence that Jim Buss blew the Mike Brown hire. Bown is not the right coach for the last 3 years of Kobe’s contract. He might be the best coach in 2015 when Kobe is gone – but not now.

    The Lakers have painted themselves into a corner and they do not have many options. Now, if the FO is OK with possibly paying a steep tax penalty maybe they can trade Gasol and Bynum (for possibly DWill and DHoward).


  12. Mike Brown is the right Coach for teams like Clippers and Kings but not for the high profiled Lakers. They should have learned from the past that if Rudy T. was not able to re-mold the Lakers after Shaq departure, what about MBrown who is following the shadow of a legend who gave the Lakers five championships. That is a tall order for an ordinary Coach whose achievement is Asst of Pops and a former Coach of Lebron. Laker fans don’t even recognized such feats as achievements. What type of Coaches do Lakers need? Someone who is well respected in the league and could command respect among players like Jerry Sloan, Hubie Brown, Coach K., Rick Adelman, former Showtime Lakers except those who have already served like Rambis and Magic. Why not try Great game James, Byron Scott or Michael Cooper? Once you hear their names, you get excited. To hear that Mbrown followed PJ, you sense it’s all political feud among the family and cost savings. From the onset, you already say that it is deemed to fail just like extending a six years contract for Luke Walton.

    Perhaps, if we were in OKC or in NO, fans would not react negatively for Mbrown. But not here in Lakerland where fans are accustomed to winning in such a way that they’re well versed with basketball 101 and the ABC in coaching since the time of Butch Van Breda Kollf ’69 and Bill Sharman ’72. Any fan here could take Chris Broussard, John Ireland or Magic Johnson on an even keel in debating what is good for the Lakers? Think about the passion being shared in so many Lakers Blog as a clear devotion to their team, will an OKC fan go on a blog 7/24 after their team has been eliminated? Will a fan in Miami pay as much as $10,000 for a court side ticket? So this is a fair advice to Mbrown to work diligently on his magic spell, you can’t fool a Laker fan with those tricks(excuses of no preseason) by pulling instant rabbits (a defense oriented Coach) out from a hat (2nd round playoff elimination or hardly passed the 1st round). You gotta prove to your worth that every Laker fan would be excited to call you as their Coach for all seasons.


  13. Three more wins to go for the Kings before they hold a Hockey Stanley Cup parade in LA. Don’t want to jinx their appointment with destiny as the only last seed team in any playoffs who would leaf frog to be the only team standing in the end. How? Because they are focused, talented, dedicated and has a sense of purpose in coveting the award.

    Can we ascribe such characteristics to our Lakers team? I think only Kobe is dedicated in winning and the others are just thankful that their season pressures were over. Their dedications now lie on their agents to do well in negotiating a good contract for them after rendering a haphazard effort.


  14. As far as alternatives to MB being Hubie Brown, Jerry Sloan, Adelman, and Coach K?

    Makes me wanna laugh out loud.

    Um, my take would be 3 of the 4 are has beens and K is unproven at the professional level, which is a very different “game” in every sense of the word.


  15. Bring back the mailbag! This is a huge summer for Laker fans regarding a roster shakeup, would love to hear thoughts on trade hypos!

    Go Kings


  16. MB: I do not think he did that bad of a job – all things considered. This does not mean he was the right selection. He was not. It was so obvious that the right move was Brian Shaw that almost nobody could have screwed that up, but Jimbo did. The excuses of “lockout”, “no training camp”, and “compressed schedule” are all valid for MB, however they make Jimbo’s decision even more ridiculous. Those threats were already on the table, and even if they were not, Shaw was obvious. Well – we are stuck with MB. He is not going anywhere, for at least a year or three.


  17. Kevin @16: Yes – after Mitch gets frustrated and leaves; Kobe gets forced out or into retirement, and Jimbo fires anyone left in the FO who disagrees with him, then our future will be a three legged stool of:

    Andrew, MB, and Jimbo

    An inspirational trio.


  18. Robert: that’s armageddon no way they go int oa new tv deal with bynum the ain guy. It sounded Jim felt Bynum will grow out of his immaturity ways. That could be ownership talk or talk of a man who’s sticking with his guy.


  19. Jeff,

    The trade was agreed to by ALL parties. That includes the Hornets who were free to make the trade until Cuban, Gilbert and others started crying about it to Stern. It was only then that the trade was pulled.

    Personally, I am over it. I have been over it for quite a while now. With that said Stevie Wonder can see the conflict of interest that was clearly exposed when that trade was “vetoed” by the league. And that is what this is about, the clear conflict of interest.


  20. Jeff: your post seems to indicate that you’re smarter than Mitch Kupchak, Daryl Morey, and Dell Demps combined – 3 of the most highly respected GMs in the league. The “average basketball fan” may not read the CBA … but are you implying the GMs don’t? Because they created and submitted the trade to the league office. As bad as some GMs are, I doubt even Charlotte’s front office would let Michael Jordan submit a trade proposal without salary matching.

    A second, simple point: if the reason Stern vetoed the trade was that the trade could not go through under the CBA, don’t you think he would have come out and said it? Wouldn’t he have been glad for a real answer to all the criticism flung his way? Think about it.


  21. OK everyone – first and foremost we need to keep rooting against the Celtics. However here are a couple of additional Laker related things we can root for:

    If OKC wins it all, the Lakers will have a 4 year streak of either winning it all or losing to the team that did.

    If SA sweeps out, we will be the last team to beat SA for the entire off season.

    Hey – when you get knocked out in the 2nd round two years in a row, you have to reach to find positives, and that is what I am doing (at least in this post).


  22. Kevin,
    It’s a pretty standard mailbag. Just send me questions via the email link over in the right hand sidebar.

    As for the NOLA/Lakers trade, the point about the salaries not matching isn’t really important from a CBA perspective. The Hornets were under the cap and could absorb the extra salary. Also, what wasn’t said but needs to be is that at the time that trade was happening, the Hornets only had a handful of players under contract. Their training camp roster was full of cast-offs and D-Leaguers because they’d yet to re-sign their own free agents. So, at the time the idea of filling their roster with several good to above average veteran players was seen by many analysts as a strong move to keep them in playoff contention even with Paul departing. They decided to go in another direction and that is what it is. But we should still properly frame the deal at the time for what it was.


  23. All the regular bloggers…
    Unless I miss my guess, Jeff is the same “Jeff from Tarzana”, the Laker hater who is well known to all the LA Sports show hosts.

    This guy has a burning hatred of Kobe Bryant and just can’t say anything nice about the Lakers – even if someone is cutting off his toes. We need to ignore his rants – maybe he will simply go away then.


  24. The way the Spurs are handling OKC is proving to me that the series with the Lakers was more about the Lakers weaknesses then about the so-called OKC “Greatness”… Here I see a team that reminds me of the Clippers. They are the young petulant child that can’t accept they aren’t as good as they think they are, soon they will have to bow to their masters, the SPURS!


  25. Darius: Thanks. Will do.

    Has Duncan hit a wall. Huge task for Spurs to come back tonight. Thunder are not the Clippers.


  26. Jeff- four decent NBA players for one superstar IS a way to rebuild (see Denver) and whether it would have left NO worse off as a team is not certain and now moot. The salaries would have worked–they do not have to match if one team has cap room or exceptions.


  27. My mind is on the draft. It’s a deep one. Wouldn’t mind picking up a couple of lottery picks. Raptors willing to deal #2 (MKG is going to be a stud). Blazers have 2 lottery picks. Just sayin’.


  28. There is no bigger Gasol fan in the Philippines (or the world for that matter) than me. But even I see the writing on the wall that his days in LA are numbered.

    I have Gasol trade scenarios of my own, some are radical, some are practical, some are wild while some are simply whack. The only scenario in which I foresee Gasol to still be Laker by training camp is if Bynum++ is traded to Brooklyn for Deron Williams on a sign-and-trade.

    That said, even Pau himself sees the writing on the wall.


  29. Amazing what happens when Scott Brooks finally realizes he should play Fisher less, and Thabo more.


  30. Snoopy,

    Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)

    Do you think Scott Brooks wises up finally plays the Westbrook/Thabo/Harden/Durant/Ibaka more than 5 minutes? Only took him 7.5 quarters..

    John Hollinger  (12:09 PM)

    It’s interesting, because the Thunder have done this for the past two years — when they go small, it’s almost NEVER with Thabo. In the past it was with Cook or Maynor, this year it’s with Fisher or occasionally Cook. But I think their best lineup is with Thabo in that spot, and I think the Thunder are putting WAAAAAY too much stock in the Derek Fisher Has Been There Before line of thinking and not enough in the Lakers Paid Houston to Take Derek Fisher Off Their Hands line of thinking.


  31. WarrenWeeLim: I’m in your boat on this the writing is definitely on the wall and was made more clear in the Jim Buss interview yesterday. Pau seems to be the odd man out because of Bynum’s increased role and his salary. His play wasn’t the problem the offense was more a problem. But he’s taking the blame again. Odom was missed more than expected same will be the case with Pau.


  32. If Pau is gone and the Lakers don’t get high quality back, I don’t know if I will be able to forgive Jim Buss.

    The problem on this team has nothing to do with Pau – who shows up big in big playoff games, can play two ends of the court every night with consistent effort, and never misses games because of injury.

    The lack of heart problem comes from the other, younger big man.

    People don’t really want to spend the next 5+ years rooting for a team with that guy as a main cog on it – the one who every time he runs up and down the court you expect a season ending injury, and consistently no shows and doesn’t try in playoff games – do they?


  33. Aaron: “Lakers Paid Houston to Take Derek Fisher Off Their Hands line of thinking” I wasn’t expecting you to put this in writing – but thanks. Without regard to the appraisal of DF or Blake, we simply could have bought out DF. We did not need to use a precious draft pick to add $4 million to the bottom line.

    Kevin/WW/Cdog: Jimbo has apparently made his selections. The sad thing is we aren’t even into the AB contract negotiation part yet. Wait until the demands start coming in: “I want KB gone in 14” “Reduced role for KB in 13” “I want this type of offense run” Answer from Jimbo: Yes Andrew – whatever you want Andrew – MB/MK: make that happen please.


  34. Robert,
    Glad to see you’re inside Bynum’s mind and know what he’s thinking in regards to Kobe. Also glad you know how ownership would respond to that fictional request you’ve made up. What’s the need of even wondering about the future? You already know it! Sigh.


  35. Darius: I do not “know” any of this, nor did I state that. I am clearly being sarcastic, and my theory is that the AB negotiations are going to be very D12 like in terms of drama (do you think they will go smoothly?). I do not think anyone is inside AB’s mind, which is half the problem. I believe, as others have stated that Jimbo favors AB and will tend to submit to his demands – however we will see.
    People on this board relentlessly bash MB, KB, AB, and others, but for some reason it is the JB/FO bashing (my favorite) that seems to always stir up a defense.


  36. “The lack of heart problem comes from the other, younger big man.”

    Let’s be a little more balanced here. In no way does Andrew Bynum have a monopoly on “lacking heart.” Surely you haven’t forgotten the 2011 playoffs. That was when the Lakers still ran the Triangle and Gasol was the clear number two guy. So none of the excuses we make for him now applied then. And he played like a kid afraid of getting his lunch money taken. Yes, he was better this playoff season. That was only because he looked so bad last year. Still he is no where near the Gasol of 2008 or 2009.

    It seems the biggest reasons Pau is the odd man out are his salary and the fact the Lakers offense does not take full advantage of his skill set. If he is not going to be maximized on the floor there is no point in keeping him at $20 million a year. That is especially true for a team as salary cap conscious as the Lakers.


  37. Robert,
    I for one don’t know how the Bynum negotiations will go. For one, his agent is David Lee. The same David Lee that represents Trevor Ariza. Those negotiations didn’t go well and a lot of that had to do with Lee taking a public approach to negotiating with Mitch & the Busses. So, just with that variable, I have my concerns.

    As for bashing Jim Buss and the FO, I stand by my original stance. The way they handled the off-season layoffs concerned me a great deal. How they’ve dealt with mostly everything else is understandable and not very inflammatory to me at all. They’ve made some mistakes with their signings but that happens with every front office. You’ve harped on them for not spending every penny in their coffer and as I’ve said before I simply don’t agree with that perspective for a variety of reasons.

    There are smart ways to spend money and not smart ways. The cost of waiving Fisher, for example, would have been keeping his contract on the books for this season and his player option next season. That contract would have counted against the cap and the luxury tax. Trading him removes that commitment. Whether that’s worth a 1st round pick is debatable but I’d lean towards the salary savings. Though, as I said at the time, it was very hard to see Fisher go.

    Nothing is as black and white as many would like to make it seem. Scapegoating any one person or entity (the front office, Mike Brown, Bynum, Kobe, Gasol, etc) has inherent problems as it’s never that easy to assign blame. That, of course, doesn’t stop people from doing it. That’s also why I’m very happy a lot of those same fans don’t have any say in the direction of the franchise.


  38. Wow are we getting personal here guys? Players play. They are supposed to execute the offense and defense their coach designs within the confines of their designed roles. Problems are always going to arise when roles are either undefined, ill defined and outside of a players skillset and comfort zone. There were many mitigating factors to the season as have been talked about ad nauseum. a lot of speculation here is based on fear. What if JB is who we think he is? What if MB is a little slow in recognizing what needs to happen within the game. What if AB really is a spoiled, elitist jerk? I know what i’m getting with Kobe, Pau, MWP, at least im getting effort. Bash Pau as much as you want too, for the most part he really does try. Is he strong? No. Can he hold his position on the block against stronger (Im not gonna say some of the bros intimidate him but we all think they do) players of a certain type? No? But he is skilled and we know what he can do. Now either MB is going to maximized Pau’s skillset to the teams advantage or Pau needs to go. Not because he is bad, not because he is declining but simply because at 19M a year he is wasted with the role that MB and the coaching staff has for him. That is not on Pau. At 7M per i think MWP is worth the money, is he off a little ok a lot, yes but he has a high BB iq and when he is in shape man he can play at both ends. I think Kobe sees AB’s potential and i think he realizes if AB brings it every night he is his best chance at winning another ring(s), I just have a bad feeling the AB is BS.


  39. Not too many people see value in a big who can pass and make sound decisions with the ball. I think that’s a very underrated part of Pau’s game. Bynum seemed unstoppable when catching lobs from Pau. When you have guys like Kobe and Bynum with a shoot first mentality you have to have someone who consistently mkes the right plays. Odom and Pau are those guys.


  40. Darius: Not that you need or seek my approval : ) However, I am good with your response.

    Bynum: I am also concerned – as you are – for a number of reasons. You are far more diplomatic than me, in how you voice those concerns : )

    Fisher: Mostly agreed – except one point – DF’s number towards the cap – only matters in my book, if we can get under the cap. I can’t see us doing that before 14, so I believe getting rid of him will only add to profit, and that is not a valid reason for trading a pick.

    Crticism/Scapegoating: People crticize players and coaches for their performance even though they are completing tasks with which we are not familiar. People may not like it when Kobe has a bad shooting night, but can they even comprehend attmepting shots like KB takes (I played – and I can’t). However when it comes to the FO – certain things can just be done without much talent. You can decide to spend money, you can decide to re-build, you can decide to let Mitch and Mike run the team and quit meddling. You can decide to keep Lester and the rest of the FO staff and let them do their jobs. This is doable stuff. In fact – yes – I could do it : ) except one small thing – I am not a billionaire : ) Someone who gets the opportunity to do all of this, because he is a billionaire (not because of his basketball knowledge) – should expect a little criticsm : ) And I guess I am just one of those who likes voicing that : )

    I do not criticze players and coaches too much, and certainly I do not blame them for the less than desirable results in 2012. I thought we played right into the center of our likely results given our roster (“6th”).

    PS: I always say that you do a great job with the board – so I will re-state that again – you do a great job. We do not always agree – but we both love the Lakers and that is what is important.


  41. Lakers are on the crossroads on Bynum, Sessions(player option), Hill, Goudelock, Murphy and Barnes. It is called team option wherein Lakers have to commit an extended contract to keep them or package them for trading or let their contract expire in a year’s time without getting anything in return.

    In the case of Pau, MWP, Kobe and Blake, they are signed for two more years. There has to be a “meeting of minds” to move them somewhere. Somebody has to be interested in them. In the case of Kobe, he has to give his own go signal.

    The biggest dilemma here is Bynum because it would cost the Lakers huge sum of money. Is he the franchise player of the future? It is difficult to answer, not even a sorcerer could predict where Bynum ship is going? He is no longer a baby, Lakers have done a lot cajoling, special training, medical rehab., and for this season he showed his best and worst moments. Will Bynum go to hall of fame like the other legends in LA or a bust like ordinary Centers who came like bright comets and disappear in the horizon. Not an easy task to answer, isn’t it? We want to be pro Bynum but……?????? we want to be anti Bynum but who do we get in return?

    it’s a wait and see on July 1st. As I said before, we got to sound the alarm to all Superstars who wanted rings and huge contracts, get on the Laker side now because Pau and Kobe are on a short lease. Don’t trust Cuban, he’s a one shot deal while Lakers are proven to aim for dynasty.


  42. Robert,
    Where I disagree and a point I should have made but didn’t RE Fisher is this: by trading him the Lakers got a serviceable player that helped them this season in Jordan Hill. They may still have him in future seasons as well, depending on free agency decisions. Waiving Fisher is simply sunk costs for this year and next year. Nothing in return – not a serviceable player, nothing – except for, as you put it, less profit. And from any team building perspective, that’s a bad plan and money spent poorly.

    Luke Walton or Sasha or Radman or more examples of this. Their contracts were mistakes by the Lakers. This is not news. The Lakers, at any point, could have simply eaten those contracts, paid the tax of doing so, and tried to go from there. But, those players represent commodities on the contract market. Walton eventually became Sessions. Radman became Ammo and Shannon Brown. Sasha became Joe Smith, who was nothing off substance for the team. Those players who the team got in return represent value in varying forms. Brown helped contribute to 2 title teams. Sessions looks like a promising player despite his poor playoff showing.

    Ultimately, and this has been my main concern with your comments, is that the Lakers only have a couple of ways to construct a roster. They can sign the cheapest of free agents that every team competes for (mid-level veterans and minimum salaried guys), they can draft players, or they can trade for players. Option 3 represents the way the Lakers have operated most successfully over the past several years but that requires opportunity and a partner. The 2nd half of that equation is something no one will ever have access to unless they’re Mitch or Jim. No one can claim what they’re currently trying to do without direct access to those two people.

    My point is, railing on those guys for what is or isn’t done implies you have access to them. And, you don’t. You’ve made the point that criticizing the players and the coaches (something I try not to do as well) is something you avoid because they are completing tasks in which people are not familiar. Yet, you take the stance that criticizing the FO is okay but fail to acknowledge that the same principle applies – you are not familiar with their tasks. You don’t know what it takes to make a deal in the NBA. You’ve openly admitted that the nuances of the CBA are beyond you and have taken it as an insult when people have suggested you read up on the document via Larry Coon’s site.

    I can’t understand this approach at all and will continue to openly question it.

    As an aside, I’d argue it’s easiest to criticize players, then coaches, then the front office in that order. The reason being is that what the players do is the most public act performed. Their actions on the court are for everyone to see. The coaches are next because their acts are also public but there’s also an element we don’t see – practice, the film room, etc – that need to be part of the full evaluation. As for the front office, we see very little to nothing. We get soundbites when they talk to the media but besides that they’re hard to judge outside of their draft picks and their free agent signings and even those have variables that we may not know about (is there a beef between an agent and a GM; is there a behind the scenes concern with a player that fans want signed or drafted?).

    In the end, I can understand the criticism of anyone associated with the team – players, coaches, management – if it’s framed within what we know, takes into account all the variables, and is fair. Needless to say I don’t see a lot of that type of criticism from many on this board or from fans in general.


  43. BTW, Brandon Roy wants to come back to NBA as a Laker? ( Is he healthy? Can he still play for 40 minutes without substitution? That is the nature of how the Laker Coach utilizes his good players, play longer till their energy dissipates in last five minutes of 4th Q huh!


  44. We did not need to use a precious draft pick to add $4 million to the bottom line.

    Any eval of the Fisher trade should be tabled until

    a) We see if they keep Hill
    b) We see how much Hill helps in 2013/14

    I think Hill did as much in the playoffs as Fisher would have, certainly.

    Also, like I said a couple of days ago, (you didn’t see it), given your view of personnel (superstars or bust) and the fact that no matter how many times you talk about it, Kobe is not going to be amnsestied and the team is not going to rebuild right now, losing draft picks in the 20s really shouldn’t be a big deal to you. A guy the Lakers get at that spot is not likely to help all that much in 2013, whereas Hill might.

    I think your general concerns about how Jim Buss runs things and the long-term future of the franchise are very well-founded. But the hammering on the Fisher trade (you should start calling it “the Hill acquisition”) and on the unused TPE (you don’t know what the options were, they still might use it, and they apparently did try to get Beasley) are not as sound.

    If Hill walks, and they replace him with a minimum guy who doesn’t do much, or if those minutes revert back to McRoberts and he doesn’t contribute, then I would tend to be more on your side. But losing Fisher in and of itself shouldn’t really mean a thing to a guy whose mantra is “I want titles” and to a veteran team with a thin bench Hill is probably worth as much as the pick.

    The real problem at PG is that Sessions played like a backup, and Blalke, (notwithstanding Game 7 of the Denver series) has played like a third-stringer.


  45. EDWIN: Unless Brandon Roy’s cartilage magically grows back or he’s suddenly a cyborg sent from the 35th century, I really doubt it. And even if he does come back, how much punishment can his knees withstand? How long would he be useful for?


  46. Edwin: Bynum is not a franchise player. He’s a one dimensional one way player. Many compare Kobe at 24 to Bynum at 24. Kobe was a two way player he would score 40 and lock you up every game of the year. Same way LeBron is doing now. Maxing Bynum means you are saying be a 20-10 guy and be Howard on defense. I firmly believe Bynum can NOT do that.

    It’s very hard to be consistent at a high level. Kobe has been a guy, since 99 that’s 13 years, who night in night out you can pen in 25+. You knowhard it is to score 25 points every night as a guard for 13 years straight and lock your man down. That’s a franchise player. Can Bynum be Howard, Shaq, Garnett, Duncan, Love, Pau for a franchise. 7 years in you should be able to answer that question. And we still can’t.


  47. If Brandon Roy receives the same surgery that Kobe did, then he should be looked at as a 2 guard off the bench for the Lakers. He’s a young player that can shoot the open jumper, just think of Bynum or Gasol kicking the ball out to him when the defense collapses in the paint.

    Remember everyone thought that Michael Redd was not a viable option for the Lakers due to his injuries but as it turns out Michael Redd averaged 8.2 points off the bench for the Suns.


  48. I cross-posted with Darius in response to Robert, and said a couple of the same things.

    As an aside, Robert objected to the CBA comment made at the time due to the tone, not the content, and I backed him in said objection.