Money On The Mind

Darius Soriano —  June 5, 2012

Yesterday, the Lakers did what they’ve been saying they would for months and exercised their team option on Andrew Bynum’s contract for next season. As a result, big ‘Drew will rake in $16.1 million dollars next year (while also setting up other questions still to be answered, but that’s another topic).

This commitment to Bynum got me to thinking about the Lakers finances both short and long term. As we know the new collective bargaining agreement is designed to level the playing field through punitive penalties to high spending teams. The Lakers, of course, are one such team. So, in building for today and tomorrow, the Lakers must take into account their payroll into every move made. This may not be what fans want to hear, but it’s an inescapable truth and must be part of the calculus of how this team moves forward.

Consider the following facts:

  • With Bynum in the fold, the Lakers’ payroll for next season will be around $79.3 million. However, this is before Ramon Sessions makes a decision on his player option. If Sessions picks up his option and plays out the final year of his contract the Lakers payroll jumps to about $83.8 million. If he opts out and the Lakers re-sign him, their payroll will be even higher.
  • The above total will also be affected by the other free agent decisions that the team must make. Devin Ebanks and Matt Barnes are both free agents and losing both creates a major hole on the wing behind Kobe and Ron. The likelihood that one of them returns is high and my bet would be on Ebanks returning, though at what cost remains to be seen. Jordan Hill is also a free agent and while the CBA dictates what his maximum salary can be next year ($3.6 million) the team will need to decide if he’s a part of their future as well and at what cost. Darius Morris is also a free agent and the Lakers will need to decide if they’d like to keep him.
  • The CBA dictates that next season the luxury tax line will be at least as high as it was this season – $70 million.
  • The CBA also dictates that next year’s tax payments will equal $1 for every $1 a team is over the tax line.
  • After next season (2013-14; year 3 of the new CBA), the escalated tax penalties kick in and the year following that (2014-15; year 4 of the new CBA) teams are eligible to be hit by the repeater tax (defined as a team that pays the luxury tax for 4 years in a 5 year span).

From here it’s pretty clear that the Lakers have to think both short and long term, not only from a “how do we contend” standpoint but also a “how do we keep our payroll reasonable” standpoint. Every team will have to navigate these waters but a team like the Lakers – with heavy financial commitments to several key players – are already working with their backs against the wall. They need to balance a desire to win (now and later) with the desire (need?) to get below the tax line by the summer of 2014.

Fortunately, there’s a ready made plan of attack already built into the contracts the Lakers currently have on their books. In the summer 2014, the Lakers don’t have a single player under contract. That is the summer Kobe, Pau, Ron, and Steve Blake’s contracts all expire. At that point, the Lakers can (and likely will) work under the framework of the CBA to rebuild their team into one that can contend as quickly as possible while not going into luxury tax territory. The decisions that will need to be made at that point (especially in regards to Kobe) will be hard ones no doubt, but they’re properly set up to make them.

(Side note: What happens with Andrew Bynum long term will affect the Lakers’ payroll for 2014 and beyond. If he signs an extension or tests free agency but returns to the Lakers, he will be on the books beyond 2014 and his salary must be accounted for here. The same can be said if he’s traded for an equal talent that the Lakers feel is a cornerstone player for their future. Whatever the case, it’s fair to assume the Lakers will have a max (or close to max) level contract on their roster that summer. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the aforementioned players’ contracts are expiring and the team will be positioned to get under the tax line that summer.)

Of course, that’s not the only year with financial concerns. The 2013-14 season will hit the Lakers hard in terms of tax payments. Eric Pincus did some math on the matter and estimates a $92 million dollar payroll in player contracts (an amount he calculates based off filling out the roster) will equate to $144.5 million dollars in payroll + luxury tax payments. Are the Lakers willing to spend that much that season? The answer to that question will dictate every roster decision we see in between now and then.

As we’ve been saying all off-season, the Lakers will have many decisions to make in terms of how they want to build a team and what model will be most successful for them. However, we mustn’t forget that financial concerns will always loom large. These concerns will be part of every roster move made (or not made) and will shape the details of any deal significantly. So, while Andrew Bynum’s option being picked up was a no-brainer and great news for Lakers fans, there will be harder decisions to be made in the future in how the Lakers spend to compete.

*Payroll and salary information via Shamsports

Darius Soriano

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124 responses to Money On The Mind

  1. I think we should try to limit salary to prevent real high luxury tax. BUT, Lakers should always go for the best players and they have the financial capability to do that (a 3 billion $ 20 year TV deal is starting next year).

    I suggest to trade both Pau and Andrew and to get some young guns (edited for trade speculation)

  2. Another factor wth Bynum is the coach. He has zero respect for Mike Brown. Undermied and ignored him all season. Unless Lakers had the idea of Brown being a bridge coach until 2014. No evidence so far has given us reason to believe that pairing will work.

    Lakers traded a HOFer for projects in 04. How short a memory we have. Lakers took back Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Briant Grant and a 1st rounder for the most dominant player since Jordan at the time. Bynum is far less the player Shaq was. It’s not that far fetched to see Bynum traded for something other than Dwight.

  3. Just a note, Pincus or Broussard or any other person writing a piece on who the Lakers should trade isn’t a report on talks. It’s them playing armchair GM. You then trying to slip that in here as a comment to be discussed isn’t any better than you thinking up the deal and then saying you’d like to see it. Hence, those comments will be moderated or deleted.

  4. Darius, any thoughts on when/if the Lakers will use their amnesty clause? Is there a deadline? Apologies if you’ve covered this already.

  5. Brian,
    I don’t see them amnestying anyone. Their high $ contracts belong to players who are still top talents (Kobe, Pau, Bynum) and cutting ties with one of their mid-level contracts (Ron, Blake) don’t get them below the tax line (not to mention Ron still has value as a defender). So, ultimately, I don’t see them using it. But, they’d have through the life of this CBA to use it but can only do so on a player who was under contract with them when the CBA was agreed to.

  6. Just a small question of clarification Darius:

    Talks about trading Gasol or Bynum or both are pretty much in every single thread that has been posted since the Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs.

    Specifically, talks about trading one or the other or both of our big men for Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard are quite common. Probably around half of the comments on FB&G since the Laker elimination has suggested or discussed such a move(s).

    All of this is “discussion of trades” which is not allowed under the commenting guidelines of the site.

    I understand why my comment was deleted in that I talked about a specific trade possibility an ESPN writer had thrown out there, but this seems to be a little inconsistent or at least a gray area.

    Trading Bynum for D-Will has been discussed in comments more times than I can count. Why is talking about a specific trade involving those two as the centerpieces that an ESPN writer thought up not allowed when more general discussion of trading Bynum for D-Will is?

    I get that people throwing out wildly unrealistic, stupid and half-baked trade scenarios (“Let’s trade Luke Walton and Derek Fisher for Blake Griffin and Chris Paul! Why hasn’t the Laker FO done this yet?!”) can be pretty annoying, but the only way the Lakers are going to improve the team is through trades since they don’t have any draft picks of real value to use.

    Even this thread which is about money matters for the Laker organization inevitably is going to contain trade discussion because the only three ways for the Lakers to cut payroll are either through using their amnesty, trading players for money reasons, or just letting everyone come off the books and not resigning them.

  7. The road might just be paved for Rockets as our trading partner for Pau.

    According to this report Houston doesn’t want to tank for a few seasons to get better – they want playoffs and contention now. They have the pieces to give us depth in return, draft picks, plus Dalembert’s $6.7 mil is only partially guaranteed ($1.5 mil buyout). I would be shocked if we didn’t do business with them this offseason.

  8. One aspect to keep in mind about Bynum’s contract: he’s earning Lebron and Durant type money since the new max deals have a ceiling they didn’t have for the generation of Kobe, Duncan, Dirk (and Rashard Lewis).

    Compared to guys like Stoudemire and Brand the Lakers are getting a good bang for their big man buck. But the comparisons under the new CBA will have to be made with the best players in the whole league, not at the PF/C position.

    And while there can be worse corner stones to build around than an effective big man, I’m not very confident that Bynum is the type of franchise player like the top guys in the league in his age and salary range.

  9. The more I think about it the more I do not believe the Lakers will look to move one big contract for another big contract unless they have another deal in place for another of their big contacts, that will return them 2 or 3 decent players to balance the roster. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to use the TPE either.

  10. Essentially, Jim, I’m shutting it all down. I essentially moderate comments by myself. That means there are times that I don’t get to all the comments or don’t have time to moderate (which is more time consuming) multiple comments that do have quality insight mixed in with rampant speculation.

    From now on however, if anyone mentions specific players to trade for I’m just going to delete the comments. I don’t have time to moderate comments. I have a life beyond this site. And since many commenters – even long time commenters (and this isn’t directed at you alone) – would rather not follow the commenting guidelines, I’m just going to delete them.

    So, I apologize for my inconsistency in the past. That will change. What I hope is that people respect the guidelines enough to follow them.

  11. I should add that understanding a trade may happen (or is likely) is quite different than throwing out random ideas, even well thought out ones. The essence of trade speculation is that commenters have convinced themselves the opposing team would make that deal while also believing the Lakers should make that deal. This then devolves into people arguing the merits of said fictional deal. This is, to me, pointless. And, since I see it that way, I run this site a certain way.

  12. Darius:

    Thank you for taking the time to answer. I understand and will refrain from discussing specific trades in the future. I do know that moderators have lives outside of the sites they moderate.

    However, given it is the offseason, might this rule be relaxed for a few months?

    Normally, I can completely agree that we don’t want people overreacting to a single game or play or off-court incident and derailing threads intended to be about things like the upcoming game preview, or the previous game recap, or what not.

    But with this being the offseason, there really isn’t that much else for Laker fans to talk about aside from offseason moves to get better, which mostly will be centered around trade discussion.

    Would you, and you don’t need to answer now if you don’t want to, consider an amended “Offseason Only” trade discussion rule that allows discussion of a trade suggested by a legitimate media source if it is linked to and not just pulled out of commenter nether regions?

    I’d understand if the answer is no. I imagine we’ll be getting the requisite “Lakers are in discussions with” type articles coming after the finals are over anyway which will allow such discussions to take place.

  13. Darius, couldn’t you maybe stick a permanent “trade rumors/ideas” thread somewhere at the top right of the page?

    Of course there are other places to have these discussions, but I think a lot of commentors value the level of knowledge here which also results in a more reasonable discussions about team needs and free agents than in these other outlets.

    With a policy of only you moderators being allowed to introduce front office activity in a regular thread, this could be a good compromise. You would have to edit less comments and this online community would also have a place to fantasize a bit.

  14. I agree with Kaifa, and suggested as much prior to the deadline. Fan trade ideas can get silly, but as was the case leading up to the deadline, personnel moves are the issue right now–even Darius’ recent posts about Bynum and Gasol have reflected this.

    Also, while I see what Jim C is saying, the Bynum/Williams stuff is more along the lines of “Should this happen if the opportunity arises” than “Hey, guys, I have a trade idea. The Lakers should trade Pau to _________________ for ________________________________.”

  15. #13 & #14.
    What you’re describing is a bit more challenging than it sounds. Without getting into too many details, it would require some tweaking to the code of the site that has to do with design. That kind of stuff costs money and I would need to explore how I’d get that done. There’s also the aspect of how to actually make a change like that user friendly and that’s if I’d want that to live at the site anyway (something I’m already weary about).

    As an aside, I think this board is full of smart commenters that see the league and the game with a clearer perspective than many other sites. That said, arm chair GM’ing is pretty much the same regardless. We can talk about how player X fits and what schemes they work best in and how they’d pair with whoever in the front court but the fact is that it’s still based on the mythology of getting that player. And eventually it becomes an argument about how realistic your idea is compared to mine and why yours won’t work and mine will. It’s tiring whether its in the main comments or not.

    And, I actually don’t see much difference between “we should do X if it arises” and “we should trade X for X”. I mean, I think we should do plenty of stuff if it arises but there’s still a big “if” right in the middle there. It’s just a slippery slope we’re going down.

  16. Speculating on trades is just as silly as speculating on how much the Lakers want to spend on luxury taxes. We just don’t know their finances or how much they are willing to spend. I would though error on the side of “a freaking bank load” as they earn “a freaking bank load.”

  17. In regards to Bynum:
    Maybe we’re all looking at him wrong thinking that the Lakers view him as a franchise player. In Jim Buss’ discussion about Bynum he never said that Bynum was a franchise player.

    From Warren Wee Lim on the last thread, according to Jim Buss:
    “I think it’s pretty obvious how I feel about Andrew Bynum. He’s an incredible All-Star center and you can build the future around him.”

    Buss said he’s a player to build around. That does not mean that he’s the franchise player or a superstar that will fill the shoes of Kobe or could become the next Shaq. He’s just a good enough player to build around.

    Aaron has made a good point about DHo: No one knows how Dwight will perform basketball after surgery. The best indicator of how Howard will perform next season will be after 20 or more games. The Lakers cannot afford to bring an anchor player in without training camp and any sort of team chemistry and expect to contend for a championship or to even make the playoffs. So, the window to acquire Dwight Howard may have closed. As it is if the Lakers had acquired Dwight Howard and he required back surgery the Lakers would have probably ended up in the exact position that they did this year: Second round loss after 5 games. But, they would have known how DHo fits in the Lakers plans.

    No one knows what the Lakers will do this off season they have always kept their player movements under wrap until they dissipate or materialize.

    If anyone would like to see good basketball games the Drew League is back! Ron Artest, Dorrel Wright and others are already playing in games.

  18. The Spur’s role players are following last year’s pattern: great as front runners in the regular season (and this year in the early rounds of the playoffs), but when the gettin gets tough, they suddenly can’t make the same shots.

    But, regardless, the Spurs have showed patience with their experienced, championship core, something Laker fans might want to make note of.

  19. Darius – good summary above.

    “$144.5 million dollars in payroll + luxury tax payments”

    If we gave MK a blank checkbook (no consideration for taxes), it would still be very difficult to make this team a contender. Now if we factor in that JB may want to reduce the $144.5 million bogey as per above, then the task becomes almost impossible. Futzing around is not a winning strategy – futzing around while reducing costs is even worse (from a “basketball” standpoint). We are a “6th” now and unless we gave MK the blank checkbook, the odds of moving up are slim. If JB is not willing the maximum allowable, then we should re-build now.

    “At that point, the Lakers can (and likely will) work under the framework of the CBA to rebuild their team”

    So in other words – we finish “6th” or worse for the next 2 years, and then we “start” a re-build.

    PS: rr: Any response must include your comments on a Hershel Walker type deal(s) : ) I am becoming more convinced that this is what we should do.

  20. One thing I know we all agree on is we all want Lakers to win a championship next year. If there are still questions surronding Lakers roster throughout the season the team will not have a common goal in mind. Bynum situation has to be resolved, extension or trade, before the season. Any more distractions will only push Lakers out of contention even more.

    This walk year for Bynum will be played up just like Howard’s was. Lakers management has to make a decision whether to keep Drew or trade him before the season or we can kiss our chances at a title good bye before the season starts.

  21. @ Darius,

    Fair enough. I didn’t mention the technical aspect because I wasn’t sure how it worked for this site ( I do understand it a bit for other sites).

    ——
    And, I actually don’t see much difference between “we should do X if it arises” and “we should trade X for X”. I mean, I think we should do plenty of stuff if it arises but there’s still a big “if” right in the middle there
    ____

    As a general observation, yes. But I was talking about the specific case of Deron Williams and Andrew Bynum. Williams is a UFA on a lottery team, the Lakers still need a PG, Bynum is in his walk year, and the reality is that the Lakers will probably make a big move involving Bynum or Gasol.

    That said, if you want to include Bynum/Williams talk under the umbrella, that’s a reasonable call. But as noted, that will be a case of swimming against the current to an extent (yes, I know that there other sites where such talk is allowed).

  22. PS: rr: Any response must include your comments on a Hershel Walker type deal(s) : )

    Well, first off, basketball and football are obviously totally different sports. A good argument can be made that such deals are exactly what to AVOID in basketball.

    Also, Bynum and Gasol are not Shaq-type franchise anchors, which would lower the return in such a deal.

    And, like I said, that is meaningless until you tell me the whos and wheres, and that is a conversation for email. Just saying, “The Lakers need to rebuild” is like saying “The Lakers need a superstar.”

  23. So in other words – we finish “6th” or worse for the next 2 years, and then we “start” a re-build.

    Can you drop the scare quotes on “6th”, please?

  24. The Spurs and OKC put on a great show last night. Both teams competed extremely well. OKC made some amazing shots in the 4th Q against a staunch San Antonio defense. OKC is blessed with 3 closers. That’s hard to beat. Looking back, it says a little that the Lakers gave the Thunder a bit of a scare in their series. Moral victories mean nothing, but the Lakers are not that far down the mountain yet, IMO.

  25. Aaron makes a great point above. As fans we don’t know how far into luxury tax land the Lakers are willing to travel under this new CBA. Without knowing that we really are in the dark regarding roster changes.

    A lot of the ideas we come up with as fans are built on certain assumptions with regard to team finances. However, our general assumptions may be completely off.

  26. .. That’s isnt to say the CBA won’t effect things. But I mostly see it will effect contract length. The Lakers wi probably play hop scotch with that death tax every few years by signing more short term role player contracts. Whenever they approach the death tax year they dont resign their averagely paid role players and instead use cheap draft picks for that year. And the cycle will repeat itself for the remainder of this CBA. But we will see.

  27. Without an extension Bynum is going to want his numbers to drive his price up even more for FA. His agent will be in his ear about that and it can be another contributing factor to team chemistry in a negative way.

    Kobe said all the right things in support of Drew last year. Him and Bynum said the talks they had at ASB were beneficial to both but that didn’t show on the court. Everyone through words tried uplifting Bynum but that didn’t change his effort level.

    An extension does nothing but give Bynum more rope and reason to contine his stubborn ways. A change of scenery is best for both parties.

  28. This is off topic but I just wanted to acknowledge, in the middle of all our basketball-related conversation and mental reshuffling of the Laker roster, that Pau Gasol was honored once again this week for his contributions to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

    My little boy has undergone three surgeries at CHLA in the past year and a half – all successful and he’s doing great – and believe me, the people who work there are the most amazing people you will ever meet.

    There are several pictures of Pau around the hospital – in his scrubs! – and every time I’ve been in there, I always smile seeing Pau on the wall.

    No matter where he lands this offseason (hopefully he’ll stay in purple and gold, but anything can happen), I just wanted to take a minute to tip my hat to a Laker who has just been incredible for the community.

  29. I haven’t seen anyone mention Kobe’s salary on this thread yet, which is really the elephant in the room. My guess is there is a plan in place for the next two years and then one for after Kobe’s contract expires. With one player making twice e max (you could probably swing Lebron and Wade for Kobe in the trade checker, but I’m too lazy), you’re going into the fight with one hand tied behind your back.

  30. Jodial,

    Indeed. Pau got both the Walter Kennedy and David Robinson awards this year.

    As to Kobe’s contract, it comes up a lot, albeit not in this thread. And I agree: I think the plan is to start with a clean cap in July 2014. That said, both Howard and Paul, as of now, are FAs after 2013, so that might change things for Buss if he thinks he can sign one of them by amnestying Kobe.

  31. Andrew, the thing is that there is nothing that can feasibly be done about his contract, so talking about it is sort of a moot point. Kobe is here to stay for the remainder of his contract. There’s not much else to say about that, except that it comes off the books in a couple of seasons.

    As for Sessions and Hill, I would love for them to come back, as long as their contracts are reasonable. The key being reasonable though.

  32. Reading Howard for Bynum comments has become tedious at best, and these types of comments seem very worthy of deletion.

    It’s been beaten to death that DH is potentially damaged goods due to his back surgery. Fair enough.

    I’d also like to respectfully submit he shows every sign of being a head case like ‘drew, as well.

  33. I agree with the comments about Bynum and next year being his walk year. As far as trading him, remember that he was willing to play on one leg against a physical Celtic team. He has earned the right to express himself. In addition, if he goes then who is going to play the physical game inside the paint? I am not sure it will be possible to replace him. The only way the Lakers should trade him is if Jim Buss talks with him and decides that the childish behavior is going to continue.

  34. I agree on the positive comments about Pau. He’s been a fantastic Laker on and off the court.

    As for the 2013 class of free agents, yes there are a few high quality/elite level players. However, if you browse the list of 2014 players, you’ll find that if you include players with early termination options (where they can opt out) that it could rival the class from 2 seasons ago – mainly because it’s the exact same group of players.

    My point is that the Lakers, if they decide to simply let their contracts expire and go from there, will be well positioned to bid on free agents while still having the opportunity to keep Kobe (or Pau should that be something they’d like to do).

  35. Darius,

    I am aware of that as well, and that is perhaps what Buss is thinking of: the Lakers with a clean cap in 2014 and a few big-time FAs out there.

    But if you look at the list, a lot of its glitziness is based on Wade, James, Bosh, and Anthony having ETOs and there are some other guys with player options.

  36. Honestly, we already talked about the Lakers old, (several times) beaten, dead horses again and again in this blog. We have memorized the lines of Aaron of how good is Andrew Bynum in the past, in the present and in the future in such a way, he is now part our nightly dreams or shall we say nightmare of his immeasurable potentials. We can’t imagine how good he can be. lol!

    What will really be refreshing will be some new fans’ insight in between hysteria in focusing on other players outside of this team.

  37. I also wonder what will happen after Kobe’s contract expires. I do not see how the Lakers can keep paying him, what half of the cap is, but then he is Kobe Bryant (black mamba), and will retire a Laker IMO. Maybe he will agree for the teams sake to take a reduction in salary, to around 15m or so. Then Bynum will be getting a max contract, from someone, if not the Lakers. I just do not see the Lakers paying both Bryant and Bynum the entire cap for the team.

  38. I’m looking for a discussion somewhere that will admit Kobe is no longer an elite player. Some place where people aren’t afraid to acknowledge that building around a 40 year old player with tons of extra playoff mileage, who breaks every offense he’s ever played in to get his (low percentage) shots–and makes HALF the salary cap–is just possibly unwise. A place that looks at more useful stats than PPG, and doesn’t think ESPN highlights are the best measure of a player’s worth.

    If anyone out there should run across something like that, let me know.

  39. I’m looking for a discussion somewhere that will admit that a player who just made the first team all NBA is no longer an elite player. Some place where people aren’t afraid to acknowledge that building around the most successful and winningest basketball player of this generation is possibly unwise. A place that looks at more useful stats than FG%, and doesn’t think championships are a meaningful measure of a player’s worth.

    If anyone out there should run across something like that, let me know.

  40. rr: Yes – I would say the history and present of the NBA suggest that you need superstars to win (I have said it multiple times on this board). So a trade for young players and picks would be a re-build move where we would not win in the short run. My first choice is to get an added superstar to go with KB, but that may not happen. The Hershel Walker type deal is a backup plan to the stars and a preference to tinkering (ok – see I used a different word). Specifics are not really relevant – it is a concept. Any team that has high picks and young players would do. With regard to scare tactics: It is only scary when it is somewhere you have never been. Finishing “6th” best is getting monotonous to me, as opposed to scary.

  41. brett: Kobe is still elite the best at his position. Harden may take over next year. Nobody on the team has given management reason to build around anyone other than Kobe. Who’s proven themselves? Kobe gave Dr. Buss reason to trade Shaq in 04 with his play. While we’ve seen glimpses of Bynum being able to take the reigns this year. There has only been spurts. Kobe proved his worth over 5 years of elite play. Lakers tried with Chris Paul I’m sure they’ll try to fnd that building block again.

  42. brett: KB is still an elite player. He is 33 yrs old by the way. He does have 16 yrs of mileage and all those playoff games, that is true. What he has “broken” is the wills of other teams to beat the Lakers, to the tune of 5 rings. He is paid too much given the existing CBA. He is not as good overall as Durant or LeBronze, but there is nobody else I would take in front of him for a single season at this point (except a healthy D12). The league agrees as he was 4th in the MVP. Now, he can’t do it alone as we saw in Game 5 vs. the Thunder. We need pieces around him that we currently do not have to make the Lakers a contender. KB is not the problem. And his salary is not even the problem. If he made a more reasonable $16, we would still be over the cap (that is how high our payroll is).

  43. brett:

    When you come up with a solution that makes sense for how to NOT build around Kobe, let me know.

    Are you aware of anyone who would want to trade for a player like you just described even if the Lakers wanted to trade him? (Which they don’t, because he still makes the Lakers far more than they pay him.)

    Kobe isn’t going anywhere because his contract under the new CBA is absurd and because Laker fans would riot if he got amnestied not to mention no superstar players would want to come here after seeing Kobe coldly dismissed from the team like that.

    Like it or not, for better or for worse, Kobe is here to stay for at least the next two years.

    This was understood back when the Lakers extended him in the first place. Given what he’s brought to the Laker organization since that contract extension, I’d say he’s held up his end of the bargain.

  44. If anyone out there should run across something like that, let me know

    I will guess this is either sarcasm or trolling. ESPN has an entire cadre of writers who trash Kobe regularly, and several high-profile new-gen bloggers such as Tom Ziller, Matt Moore, and Kelly Dwyer do so as well. Finding anti-Kobe stuff on the internet is as easy as the reverse. Beckley Mason wrote a harchet piece about Kobe’s deal at True Hoop about a week ago.

    If you are actually serious, as to the premise, Kobe’s USG is a little too high, and should probably be down around 32. But all that happens in the context of the team, and one thing I have learned arguing about Kobe over the last few years is that people who don’t like him focus on him way too much, and attribute more or less everything wrong with the team to him. Makes for sloppy and incomplete analysis.

    His contract is what it is. I have said several times that the FO went overboard with both his deal and Pau’s. The question now, as we are discussing, is what to do about that.

  45. Brett – come back in 2 years. You might have a better chance of finding that here. But if Kobe plays the next 2 years like he did this one at a very high level (with multiple injuries that 99 % of the players could not handle), you might have to wait a little longer. Sorry you’re not a Kobe fan. The guy is not perfect, but is certainly one of the greatest athletes of all time. He could have won the scoring title this year – with all his injuries! Do you think there is any other player in the league who could have done that?

  46. OK – well most of us agreed on KB. Can we agree on the Celtics? As in root against them? Please? This game is a must for the Heat.

  47. I truly don’t care if Bynum walks next year. He won’t get far on those knees anyway.

    Ba dum tsssss.

  48. Specifics are not really relevant – it is a concept. Any team that has high picks and young players would do.

    Well, I think specifics are everything when you are talking about trades. If you actually don’t have specific ideas, that’s OK. But call it what it is.

  49. Robert, no need to worry Boston has been respectable in this series so everyone is happy…it’s a wrap.

    Prediction: Bosh will play out of his mind and the Heat will win by 15+ points.

  50. I believe Craig W (sorry if misremembering) mentioned something about teams re-signing NBA players at 35 and the CBA limitations of their deals. I don’t have time to look up what was inferred but I detected a sure hint of menace.

  51. I used to really hate Lebron, but now I think I hate OKC more!!! I will be going for the HEAT! I rather Lebron win before the grasshopper and mr. T….

  52. The fire KG plays with is amazing. Love his intensity. His PnR defense should be put on tape for basketball clinics.

  53. I noticed LeBron is getting more rebounds and is put in more positions to score than in the past. Usually off post ups and spot ups. He’s less effective that way because he doesn’t have the ball in his hands breaking down the defense with his best attribute his passing. If Miami puts the ball in his hands not Wade’s in PnR’s Miami will be more effective. Spoelstra is doing Boston a favor keeping the ball in Chalmers and Wade’s hands. Pierce has a bum knee I’d have him chasing LeBron all game.

  54. I’m worried that Boston might get to 18 this year. I think that OKC will give them all they can handle and Perkins will really play his heart out in that series, but man….this is worrisome.

  55. Kobe is still at the top of his game, though some of his athletic moves have been history, he’s still the top SG in this league, and will be for the next 2-3 years. he’s proven that he can improve his game, be it on offense/defense/leadership. i agree that his contract looks frightening because of this new CBA, but we are talking about Kobe. he’s worth every dollar he’s paid for, maybe more… Kobe already paying the Lakers long ago when he help us with 3 championships with Shaq, and added another 2 rings, not to mention championship appearances.

    maybe people should start appreciate what he’s given us, and not dwell on saying he’s lost his game and say we can let him go. he’s Kobe Bryant, the greatest baller for the past decade, and still proving he can still do it.

    the past playoffs have shown that he needs help more than ever in his career, and this is what hte management should address.

  56. Robert is crazy to think the Celtics have a chance;

    Why wouldn’t you be worried about having to listen to “18″ all summer long. And then “19″ all pre-season. Why would a Laker fan be concerned about that?

    KenOak: Thanks for providing some sanity. But why are you worried? Oh yea – you are a Lakers fan : )

    OK – everyone – go back to arguing about what Drew had for lunch – Celtic titles are not important.

  57. Call me crazy but I would rather Celts get 18 than Lebron get 1

  58. One difference betwen Celtics and Lakers. WHOLE Celtics team has heart only a few Lakers do.

    PaulL: If that’s how you really feel. you my friend are not a true Lakers fan. We can NEVER root for the Celtics.

  59. I for one would not be happy if the Celtics manage to win another banner. But, look at those veterans playing! That’s how you play when you want to win. Every player is giving their all even the players that don’t get much playing time.

    Lakers are you watching? That’s what pride looks like.

  60. Lol Robert…
    I know man. I hate the Heatles so bad, that it overcame my loathing of all things Celtic green. I know that the Thunder are better than the Celtics, but there’s that little matter of experience.

    My only solace is that KD is a Mamba clone and Westbrook can hang with Rondo. Harden will do what he does. I think that Perkins will really come to play and he may be the difference maker with his toughness. Hell Ibaka has been ridiculous in these playoffs too.

  61. Robert – I hope you’re joking … but if you’re really upset that FB&G didn’t join you in an endless string of posts rooting against the Celtics … I hate to break it to you, but how much hair I pulled out tonight had very little bearing on the outcome tonight.

    With that said, I’m very nauseous at the thought of the Celtics claiming another title. They’ve become the cockroaches of the NBA. Just won’t die. As much as I dislike Westbrook’s brashness and Kendrick Perkins’ existence, I’m pulling whole-heartedly for any team (Miami, SA, OKC) to take out Boston.

  62. Once again we see what a real coach can do. Doc goes zone when he needs it and time outs when they need it.

    We have a clueless coach who makes no adjustments but makes plenty of excuses.

    Lakers have twice the talent as C’s but a lame duck coach. They are playing and Jim Buss is on vacation.

  63. MIA and SA are far from done. We shall see.

  64. As a Life Long Lakers Fan (Over 33 yrs & Counting), I never thought I would say this in regards to The Leprechauns, but there’s a 1st time for everything.

    Excellent Victory .. Now take it back to Beantown and Bury these Cowards.

  65. Snoopy: A few things:
    1) Give me a little credit : ) I mean – I am not Aaron saying I am brilliant here, but I did start worrying about this in the first round.
    2) Silence from the board would have been better than the response I received: “You are too worried” “You are crazy” “Don’t worry” “Boston is horrible”
    3) No we can’t influence anything on this board – but that doesn’t stop us from debating AB’s PER divided by the square root of pi either does it? : )
    4) Half the board was rooting for the Celtics – that is pitiful. Do you think anyone in Boston would have rooted for us if we had played LeBronze in the Finals. Of course not. Red Sox don’t root for Yankees and Celtics don’t root for Lakers. Check above and in archives for many examples of Lakers rooting for C’s.

  66. its depressing to watch the Celtics almost in the finals and the lakers slowly slipping out of the picture.

    You really got to blame it on the front office for getting ride of Phil Jackson, Odom, farmar etc… its like their going backwards now…..

  67. Keep rooting for that:

    Maybe will get to see LuckyCharms come back to FB&G and say:

    18 > 16

  68. A lakers fan that’s rooting for the Celtics to beat Miami because of LeBron are the same fans who will root for the Clippers if they surpass Lakers as a better team. Bandwagoners.

  69. I will never root for the Celtics, and I cannot fathom them getting another banner. I want their chances of another Championship squashed as quickly as possible.

  70. Only positive for Boston winning is Miami and Lakers have done business before. May do some more if both have early exits.

  71. Snoopy: I have a post in moderation – but thanks for rooting against the Celtics. We evidently can’t take for granted that everyone is doing this. And I would have preferred silence to my posts than what I received – check the archives. And like you – I hate Wade and LeBronze – but Lakers fans rooting for the Celtics – that is incredible. So Snoopy – thank you for being a Laker fan who roots against the Celtics (I can’t believe that has to be stipulated)

  72. Kevin/sT: Nice posts

  73. I try to stay unbiased… But I hate Paul Peirce. I hate him. I don’t hate anyone else on the Celtics. Paul Pierce is just the worst. One of the worst of all time. He and Steve Nash are the only two guys I’ve never liked. Even Fisher I liked it. It was hard though (jk).

  74. I am rooting against the Celtics.

  75. Robert – I’m with you. Not to judge anyone – you can root for or against whoever you’d like – but I’m definitely surprised to see several posts supporting the Celtics.

    If you’re rooting for the Celtics because of respect for their veteran leadership, moving screens, woofing and trash-talking, then that’s one thing. But rooting for them simply based off Heat hatred … I don’t know. Despite poor decisions and listening to piss-poor advice, Lebron is an all-world talent. I don’t have a problem with him getting 1 ring. I do have a problem with the KG Celtics tying the Kobe-Gasol Lakers in titles.

    Maybe because we’ve never gotten into it with the Heat in the post-season, but I just don’t have the same level of enmity. The Celtics are responsible for 1 of the 2 worst Lakers years of my lifetime. Anytime I feel myself softening on them a little, I go back and watch 2008 tape and dig out my Pierce voodoo doll.

  76. I am rooting for the Celtics and Spurs to make the finals just for that match up alone. I’m also rooting against the Thunder (over the fact they beat our Lakers) and against the Heat (like Noah said last season, they’re Hollywood as hell). Technically, I’m not rooting for the Celtics. Haha. Plus, let’s be real, we’ve said it before, whoever wins the West wins it all.

  77. Robert, I’m rooting hard against the hated Cs; just can’t think of anything smart to say about it. Assume others are in the same situation…

  78. Robert

    If the Celts beat The King and his clown court that would please me. As for them beating a young, athletic, fast, good shooting OKC. Zero chance. They could beat Spurs but no way they can run with OKC.

    That’s a 5 game series I promise you.

  79. Robert, I’m also rooting for the Celtics-Spurs although I’m realist that in the 7th game, it will end up Heat vs. OKC. Celtics are our sentimental favorite because they looked like the Lakers but what is fascinating, Celtic leprechauns are like wine, it gets better as it gets older.

    In the case of Lakers, when they got older, the cartilages on their knees immediately disappeared. They are slower than the uncle of Donald Duck – Scrooge McDuck hoho!

  80. Lockout ball hasn’t been as ugly as it was in 99. We have compelling long series. This playoffs haven’t been disappointing. All I can ask for is stars and great games. We’re getting both.

  81. Garnett was Pau’s rag doll in game 7. He looked absolutely finished. Two years later he’s been the best player in the playoffs at 36. Who saw that coming? German knee surgery or maybe it does take 2 full years to recover from ACL surgery. His run has been amazing.

  82. The Celtics have figured out that on a given night Miami needs an excellent game from Wade, James, plus another role player in order to win. If they shut down the role players and make it hard for either Wade or LeBron (most likely Wade) they can win on most nights. That is not easy, but its doable. Bosh is back, but it is most likely too little to late. But stranger things have happened.

  83. I’ve been a laker fan since I was 4–right before Wilt. I’ve seen great players come and go, and I’ve seen them get old, but I’ve never seen a fan base less willing to see the truth than this one about Kobe. He’s years older than Shaq when he was run out of town for being OLD–and the list of players who could get you 30 a game, as long as no one cared how many contested, spinning fallaway 22-foot jumpers he took, is a lengthy one. It includes Iverson, MJ, The Iceman, Rick Barry, and Max Zaslofsky. They’re all old, too, but no one is talking about shipping out younger talent to rebuild around them.
    He’s too good/popular to be amnestied? Fine. If he waived the no-trade, teams would give up YOUNG talent for him, and feel like they got over on MK. If you look at efficiency metrics like WinShares or Wins Produced, there are plenty of options at SG that won’t hurt the team–or frustrate his teammates to distraction because they’re not allowed to have a real offense. Visualize all those possessions where Drew wrestles his way to great position, only to have to clear the lane because Kobe’s going iso. Immature? How about fed up?

    I know I’m wasting my breath here. Fire away with all your reprises of ‘Requiem For Methuselah,’ and I’ll go back to a world that doesn’t turn a blind eye to physics.

  84. Just let one of the West teams take it. I would be fine with that.

    Is anyone else half wishing we played in the East? Denver and OKC were probably the 2 worst march ups available for the Lakers (or Memphis). As many mistakes as LA made in the second round, this team could easily beat Boston or Miami in a series in my eyes.

  85. Interesting. Read the first few comments on this article:

    http://www.48minutesofhell.com/oklahoma-city-thunder-108-san-antonio-spurs-103-thunder-sieze-the-moment

    Some excerpts: “Lets be real – THIS Series has flipped on POP playing WEIRD Rotations and that really DUMB last play call from POP…POP is getting OUT COACHED right now…the Spurs don’t have the bench to play 4 smalls ANYMORE and everyone knows that BUT POP….”

    Reminds me so much of some of our posts here.

    (Some) Spurs fans talking about Popovich sound a lot like … some Lakers fans talking about Brown. We’re talking about an all-world coach here.

    I’m not saying the criticism of Brown has been unwarranted, and I’m not trying to compare his situation to Pop’s … but it’s been hilarious to read 1 FB&G poster’s revisionist history over the last 1-2 weeks about how infallible everything about the Spurs is (their coach, their FO) and has been for years. Interestingly, those Spurs comparison posts have disappeared since the Spurs went down 3-2.

    If there’s 1 thing those Spurs fans comments shows me – it’s that every year, 29 teams will bemoan getting outcoached and their FO’s lack of vision at some point.

  86. I’m rooting against the Celts as well-(quick aside–I think a lot of the internal turmoil for Lakers fans is the tension between not wanting LeBron to win because we will have to hear the LeBron cannonization/Kobe hatchet pieces all summer and the institutional hatred for the Greenies that is instilled in our DNA–but I digress)-but man—they look like they stole the Heat’s soul last night. All of the talk about “Boston wouldn’t be in this if Rose hadn’t gotten hurt” sure looks suspect now…

  87. Was an impressive win by the Celtics last night – and I hate them.

    But Pietrus was absolutely huge for them, as his jumpers all throughout the fourth were just found money.

    I can’t believe Celtics have a chance to close out the Heat in 6. And with the benefit of the Boston calls that they will get at home (and if you watch game 4, they are going to get a TON), I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

    Celts match up really well against the Spurs, and really poorly against OKC. In every series so far the Celts have had the better big men (mainly because there haven’t been any so Garnett can roam free).

    Also – OKC has Sefalosha to put on Rondo and the Celts probably have no answer when Harden comes in. But who knows – I’ve been wrong throughout these playoffs.

  88. I’m actually pulling for the Spurs…as they are indeed the master of the asterisk championships as PJ once stated. I’m with the Buck Foston crowd but I find it hard rooting for the Super Friends as well. Loyalties aside I’m happy for Durant and company. They certainly deserve to be where they are at. I respect KD a few years back extending to stay put. Loyalty this day and age is rare. Their crowd just needs a better chant than their airport code.

  89. Tra wrote on May 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    405Thunder:

    Nuff respect & thanks for the acknowledgement. If your Thunder happen to seal our fate tonight or further on down the line, know that I, for one, will be rooting for Durant & crew to go all the way. Promising organization that’s being built the correct way.
    ____________________

    Not sure if previous comments are being directed at myself, but just wanted to set the record straight for individuals within the FB&G Community who seem a bit ‘Emotional’ by the fact that I’m ‘Rooting’ for the Celtics to defeat the Heat. Key words being, ‘Defeat the Heat.’

    Also, it seems rather Immature/Comical for people, who don’t know anything about you (other then the fact that we’re ALL Lakers Fans and part of this wonderful FB&G Community) or how much Money, Time and Effort that one has Invested over the years into being a Lakers Fan, to try and frame said individual as being anything less than an ‘Authentic Lakers Fan.’

    In any event, it’s All Love and like I always state: Lakers 4 Life

  90. OKC vs. Celtics speculation has to include 18 titles for the C’s, or 6 titles for Fish!!

  91. It’s bad enough that this season was hell. Celtics winning the championship would make it near total hell. And Laker fans calling for them to win over any team is going to have me locked myself in a mountain shack shaking like I’m going through withdrawl.

  92. I’m rooting for the Celtics in their series against the Heat, but either the Thunder or the Spurs in the Finals.

    Ideally, with the Lakers out I’d like to see the Thunder win this year. Durant is one of my favorite non-Laker players in the league. Carries himself the right way both on and off the court. Never shrinks from big moments. Makes huge shots. Has Kobe-style testicles. (Metaphorically speaking of course.)

    And getting beyond that, it’s just a well constructed and well managed team.

    Spurs would be my next choice. I’d rather Durant get his first ring than Duncan get his fifth and tie Kobe, but the Spurs I can at least respect. They’ve been true rivals for our Lakers for a long time now and always handle themselves with professionalism, play with pride, and are a model of how to keep surrounding a big-three with the right supporting pieces.

    I hate both the Celtics and the Heat, but at least the Celtics I can respect on some level. If the Lakers played with half as much heart and effort consistently as the Celtics, we might still be in the playoffs right now. KG is a false tough guy, a jerk and more than a little dirty…all Bynum traits. But at least he is, in his own words, a true professional who resembles Kobe in that he always gives everything he has.

    Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rondo…I hate them all and for varied and myriad reasons, but again, I can still respect them at some level.

    But the Heat? I’m sorry…no respect at all for them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9BqUBYaHlM

    No class, no respect for the rest of the league, no humility.

  93. Funny, just last night I was wondering how any Laker fan could root for the Celtics and then I read all those similar posts this morning.

    The only advantage to Lebron losing is that in two years he could opt out and sign with the Lakers.

  94. So I just read the report that Phil Jackson is still talking with Orlando about the GM position. Supposedly he wants to bring in Brian Shaw as the head coach. How weird would it be to see Phil and Shaw go to Orlando and Bynum end up down there as well?

    These are interesting times in the NBA.

  95. Durant’s a nice guy. But framing him as “loyal” in the context of Lebron (or others – Paul, Howard) being “disloyal” is problematic because Durant is playing for the top general manager in the league. He’s intelligent enough to realize that winning titles is far more important to his legacy/brand than playing in a major media market in today’s age, so props on that. But I wonder how his loyalty would have played out if his FO was inept. It’s hard to predict because it’s just a ‘what-if’ situation. We’ll never know what would have happened.

    The only superstar still in the league today (at least I can think of) who displayed true loyalty in a losing, inept environment was Garnett in Minnesota (although you can question if the early part of that is loyalty or a love for $126 million). And I’ve often thought he was stupid, because he let McHale waste his prime.

    T. Rogers – I actually agree with Alex Martins on this (per the Amick report). If the plan is for Jackson to be an absentee advisor (reportedly showing up to Orlando 1 week out of every month), I’m not sure that’s what Orlando needs right now. It would reek of another desperate attempt to get Howard to change his mind. They’re better off getting a strong full-time GM candidate (Pritchard) and letting him call the coaching shot and all decisions. Even if Howard leaves, that would give them stability as a franchise moving forward.

  96. Snoopy,
    There’s also the point that KD’s done what nearly every other superstar player does – he signed an extension with the team that drafted him. LeBron, Bosh, Carmelo, etc, etc all did the same. There are varying degrees of that – those three added ETO’s to their contracts – but they stuck with the team that drafted them for at least 7 years. If I had a crystal ball I’d say that KD stays in OKC for the long haul but only time will tell.

  97. I knew San Antonio is good team because they have some young players who can knock down 3pts, but i am not sure these young players can play well in the playoffs. I thought i was wrong when they swept Utah, Clippers. You can’t beat OKC by trading baskett with them, you have to score inside but Duncan is old.

    Miami the problem, they got bad role players who can’t shoot 3pts, Mike Miller and James, Battier, no big guy can score inside,and the coach. Kobe got Phil, Tex Winter, LeBron got Mike Brown and Spoetra.

  98. Snoopy,

    Even if the Spurs lose against OKC, I think Popovich has had an outstanding season. Nobody thought the Spurs had a chance to win the West, let alone make the WCF’s with a legitimate chance at the title. He has a rookie starting at SF, an NBA castoff starting at SG, an aging Duncan, Matt Bonner getting minutes, all within a limited budget.

    It’s easy to say he is getting outcoached when the opposition has more talent.

  99. LT Mitchell – I was afraid someone would misinterpret my post. For the record, I am NOT saying that Popovich has been outcoached (those aren’t my comments). I agree OKC just has too much talent. My post is a direct response to earlier FB&G posts that used the Spurs as a model to bash Brown and the Lakers FO. All I’m trying to say is that every fan base sees flaws in its coach/FO that others don’t (and that even applies to hands-down the best coach in basketball IMO, Popovich).

    Darius – I thought about adding that, but there was the distinction that Durant went for the max that Lebron, Wade, and Bosh didn’t. But you’re absolutely right. Announcing the extension on Twitter was only a big deal because it was in direct juxtaposition to Lebron’s TV special. Like I said, Durant’s a nice guy – but he and Duncan have been in fairly unique situations (and even Duncan flirted with Orlando).

    I’d also say Durant stays in OKC long-term, because of what Presti has shown. It seems to be a sustainable, organic model. But perceptions and situations can change in an instant. What happens if they meet with repeated playoff failure? Ibaka leaves for a bigger contract? If Brooks’ relative deficiencies as a tactician hurt them in repeated years? Adversity is when you see a person’s true character. I have no idea how the OKC players would react to those situations, but it’d be interesting to watch going forward.

  100. For the record, I’m not above criticizing MB myself. I’m not convinced he’s the answer at all, and I see plenty of legitimate criticisms. I just found it excessive when every time something happened for the Spurs (“Look at Parker dribble across half court! What a play drawn up by Popovich!”), that would be used as a starting point to bash Jim’s hire of MB in the first place.

  101. re: Durant, KG and other superstars who signed max deals with the team that signed them…

    the thing that surprises me is how little ‘lifestyle considerations’ actually seem tofigure into where the guys want to play. If I were offered say, 16M a year to live in OKC or Minn or, say, 12M a year to live in the city of my choice (esp. a city featuring the kind of women young, rich basketball stars would like to date, to me this is a no brainer. Why there isn’t more of a premium to play in LA, MIA, ORL, CHI, or NYC is a mystery to me. I know it’s ‘only’ half a year, but it’s still half a year. I mean: who could KD possibly hang out with in OKC who is not affiliated with his team? Now imagine who he could hang out within a 10 mile radius of Beverly Hills.

    Even Kwame had a house on the beach!

  102. lil pau:

    It might have something to do with how many basketball players live paycheck to paycheck and how many of them are supporting a very extended group of family members and friends.

  103. Snoopy is right. There is little grey. Of course LeBron would leave Cle to play with his best friends in Miami who also are all stars. That isn’t a choice. Did you see who was playing on his team? Durant stayed with his own team because they had a championship team around him. It isn’t rocket science. There is no evidence to suggest he is loyal at all. Loyal? I would say Steve Nash for not demanding to be traded from that worthless team and even resigned with them as his career wound down. And that’s why I do not love that guy. I would rather not have a guy who doesnt care enough about winning. There is a thin line between loyalty and cowardness. It’s pretty easy to live in the dessert for a team that has no chance of winning. No pressure there.

  104. Jim C,

    Or how many of their nights are focused around fast-food and video games, two activities that do not necessarily require a culturally-vibrant metropolis.

    Only Aaron would ‘hate’ Steve Nash for exhibiting traits that most would find admirable, loyalty and gratitude. You are a contrarian of the highest order, a quality I do quite sincerely place in very high esteem, even if its manifestations round these parts often get under my skin….

  105. @ 1/2 decaf:

    Whenever I watch “not one, not two, not three” (and I’ve only watched it a few times) I’m always watching, not to listen to LeBron give his schpiel, but I watch to see Wade’s face freeze for an instant into a mask trying to hide the “oh SHIZZLE” that had to be running through his head, and then to see Bosh quickly turn his head away uncomfortably when LeBron says “it’ll be easy”—to see those two guys who have to be saying to themselves “Thanks, King, for writing checks for us with your mouth….” Priceless

  106. For those Laker fans rooting against the Celtics – thank you.

    For those of you rooting for the Celtics against the Heat, and then you plan to root against them in the Finals: I am holding you personally responsible if the Celtics win : ) Please do something helpful and root for no sprained ankles or flu symptoms for the Western Team.

    For those of you who are actually rooting for the Celtics to win it all – I am at a loss for words. However – I will be sending MLB a letter with a copy of this thread enclosed. The letter will admit that the Yankees/Red Sox is the #1 rivalry in sports, and Lakers/Celtics is a distant second at best.

  107. KG spent 12 years like Kobe did 05-07. Carrying subpar players watching his counterparts thrive with better teams. He went to Boston instantly changed their culture and made them a winner. I hate the Celtics but respect the way the refuse to give up. Have to wonder watching them influences Jim to keep Lakers core together. Let’s hope not.

  108. We are so quick in rendering judgements and the playoffs is not yet over. I don’t believe Pops and Eric are already done just because their teams are behind in standing 2-3. Goes with old baseball adage, it is not over till it’s over. Individual opinions flow like different current of water in a river. There is a constant change of flows affected by winds, tides and seasons. Don’t blame other posters if they have their own interpretations on your idol player or idol coach, after all they are public figures who could be judged by public at large. I suggest you stick to what you believe and move on.

  109. Darius, thanks for enforcing your rules. I know is not easy or always popular. But I am new here and am a refugee from other sites where fake trades make summer unbearable. Vehement arguments arise over deals that in all likelihood could never be consummated. Posters fail to understand the difficulty of making deals in real life.

    Love your posts. Impressed by the community.

    Thanks.

  110. Funky Chicken June 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

    This thread is making me sad. We sound like what I guess we now are: fans of a team with no shot at a title who occupy themselves by rooting against hated rivals rather than rooting for another team based on some positive fact.

    The comments about rooting against the Celtics simply because they are the Celtics are what I’d expect from most other teams’ fans about the Lakers, and really smacks of sour grapes and insecurity. I guess I understand that, given our team’s predicament, but it’s still sad.

    Personally, I’m really not rooting for anybody, but I am appreciative of what I see from all of the final four teams. If the Spurs come back and win it all, I would be comfortable with that. They are, at this point, the best organization from top to bottom in the the NBA.

    I feel similarly about the Thunder. Not a Perkins fan by any stretch, but frankly I have come to appreciate how he affects the game with his (almost always illegal) screens. Why can’t a single Laker play that physically? Durant has come into his own, and if he leads his team to a title will deserve to be in the discussion as an MJ/Kobe type of player. Totally clutch, and as of now the best closer in the game. Barring injury, this guy is going to rewrite all offensive records.

    The Celtics are obviously a longtime rival, and while it’s easy to dislike Pierce & KG, it’s impossible for me not to appreciate what they are doing. Those guys lay their guts on the floor in a way that only one Laker does. Rondo is phenomenal and is able to affect the game even when he’s not scoring or shooting well.

    The Heat, to me, are the easiest team to root against. I’ve never liked showboats, and especially dislike guys who talk and act like champions before they actually are. Still, when they are playing well, it’s hard not to be amazed by guys like LBJ and Wade, and the fact that they are 2 wins from the Finals while essentially being just a 2 man team is pretty impressive.

    While the games are exciting, this stage of the playoffs just leaves me feeling sad….

  111. Lil Pau,

    It may be about the team. While the Thunder are the Sonics renamed, they technically are a new team. He gets to be their first superstar player. He may be the first franchise player to win a title. He’d be reveared the way David Robinson is in San Antonio. Plus, the Thunder are the biggest thing sports-wise in OKC. Therefore KD is their big fish. The kid basically has the keys to the city. That’s not a bad position to be in.

  112. Funky: With regard to being sad: Agreed – this is sad. And 2 years in a row. However, the Celtics winning will make it more sad. Boston would not have rooted for us against the Heat if we both made the Finals : )
    1/2 Decaf: I have a couple of guarantees in this thread and previous that Boston was not getting past the Heat. Also, I hope your guarantee takes OKC’s coming sprained ankles into account. Whoever goes down for OKC will be added to the list of Rose and Bosh. I don’t think the Celtics will put an asterisk on the banner.

  113. Funky-
    There are two teams that I dislike to any degree in the NBA. Boston and Miami. For widely different reasons, but I don’t think that it is sad that Lakers fans detest Boston. I can honestly say that the Heat are the only team that I can cheer Boston on against. I’m also willing to bet that the Heat are the only team that many Boston fans would cheer for the Lakers against.

    There is nothing wrong about that. I grew up detesting the hated Celtics!

    How could anyone really hate Steve Nash? He seems like a pretty darn nice guy. He happens to have won 2 MVPs that he probably shouldn’t have, but that isn’t his fault.

  114. To echo Funky@113,

    Can we stop the infatuation with the bastards in green? Half of the comments at FB&G read like a couple of teenagers arguing their points. Let’s not descend to their fans’ level.

    Furthermore, the champ is coming out of the West. There, now relax.

  115. Funky Chicken June 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    KenOak, I totally understand where you’re coming from (I skew more towards the Celtics rather than the Heat, but don’t like either team and could only “root for” one of them if they were playing the other…). To be clear, I’m not saying that hating the Celtics is sad; rather, I’m saying that being left with nothing more than hating the Celtics is what’s sad.

    Like you, I grew with a real hatred of the Celtics. However, I find this current Celtic team different than past teams (even different from the one that most recently won a title) in that they are clearly on their last legs. I can’t really see them winning it all this year, but on the off chance that they do, I think that will be it for them for a long time.

    By contrast, I think the Heat can and will be better. Their coach is weak, and that can be improved. Their center and PG positions are dreadful, and it isn’t a stretch to think they can address those positions to improve. Mysteriously, they have used their MLE the last two seasons to sign small forwards who won’t be on the floor down the stretch. I’d expect them to use that on a big or a PG this summer, and having a healthy Bosh would obviously make them a different team.

    To me, looking forward, I would be more bothered by a Heat win this year because I suspect that they will be contenders much longer than the Celts. But that’s small consolation, I admit, as it is ripping me up to be leaning towards Boston in any game or series. The world just seems off its axis right now….

    Avidon, well said. The champ is very, very likely coming from the west.

  116. Celtics win the East, LeBron is denied AGAIN and then Boston gets humiliated in the Finals by OKC.

    If you’re gonna lose royally, lose in the Finals.

    That’s the only way a Lakers fan gets satisfaction from what’s left of the playoffs now.

    Bye.

  117. Kevin @ 110 – I hate the Celtics but respect the way the refuse to give up.

    ——————————

    Exactly. And I wouldn’t count ‘em out if they slither into The Finals.

  118. I don’t give a hoot how fed up Drew is…or was at Kobe’s shot selection, or his “lack of touches”. I don’t care if he doesn’t like Mike Brown’s bedside manner. What I see is a 24 year old guy who seems like playing basketball is not a joy to him, but an unpleasant job. A guy who backed down and didn’t compete against the likes of Perkins, Ibaka & McGee. When Kobe was 24 , nobody had to tell him to play hard! Kobe is darn near 34 and he still puts in more effort on a game to game basis than Andrew Bynum. So I don’t care how “fed up” Drew is. He wants more touches? Let him touch the ball on the offensive glass. We, as Lakers fans, seem to want to wish greatness on Drew. He has to earn it. One good season does not a great player make.

  119. Robert, I pity that you will be more sad just because the leprechauns greenies become victorious though it is not over yet and whoever wins the saddest part that Lakers were not part of it.

    In reality, these are all NBA players trying to put up a show whether he is Thunder today and Celtic tomorrow like Jeff Green who got injured or going back to the past Rick Fox, a Celtic who got three rings as a Laker. See they are all interchangeable to create allegiance for the show. If you got hooked out of it, who gets the last laugh? We sometimes show passion that bleeds purple and gold, if they win fine and if they don’t, your world does not end there, maybe you were not fully entertained but life goes on. Perhaps, our family would be more interested how much we earned per hour from the winning or losing unless you are also retired for good.

  120. The three words worth considering are balance, chemistry, and MOJO. None of them fit the Lakers as a team at the end of the playoffs–and it’s hard to imagine MOJO magically appearing with next year’s team. Au contraire.

    Let’s just talk about playoff MOJO.

    Among the regulars, only Steve Blake and MWP seemed to play with expected MOJO during the playoffs. The obvious and enthusiastic MOJO of Jordan Hill as he suddenly appeared in the playoff rotation, seemed to raise more questions than provide answers.

    The MOJOs of those who remained on the bench for nearly the entire playoffs were difficult to measure.

    For everyone else, it was sparodic–especially Kobe, who often lost his MOJO on defense, or played facilitator on offense, only to overload his MOJO at critical times, mixing inspirational Kobe ball with inexplicable mental lapses and associated turnovers.

    Drew often started strong, but pooped out as the game progressed–MOJO gone. Pau’s sporadic MOJO was more interspersed–especially for rebounding. Sessions rarely turned on his afterburners–his MOJO, so fantastic in the regular season, seemed to disappear. Matt just wasn’t healthy.

  121. 1/2decaf1/2regular,
    LeBron misled nobody. He said he was deciding between a number of teams. How he did it? I’m sorry… Instead of people finding out in a normal press conference… Everyone found out in a press conference with commercials. Those commercials earned over two million dollars for the boys and girls club. So F everyone who was so hurt that LeBron made money for under privileged children. I care about the children and not jealous NBA fans.

  122. drrayeye: I’d like to add not having roles hurt just as much. The triangle already had roles defined within the offense. This season was much free lancing except for a few out of timeout plays.

  123. It’s not healthy to root against things. I have been a Laker fan since 1975 and I always root for the Lakers to win the Chip and I have been fortunate enough to see them do it 10x. But when the season ends for the Lakers so do my rooting interests. Now I just watch basketball for the beauty of the game.

    The hating is counterproductive.

  124. Steve,
    I agree. But I do root for pkayers like LeBron. That way I can see him play longer.