Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 8, 2012

Basketball continues along its duel tracks, with the playoffs marching toward the final round and the rest of the teams proceeding into their seasons of change. It’s as evident here as anywhere. With Kobe heading toward his 17th season, management can ill afford to tinker and wait. Darius recently wrote about team building and the need for youth. The playoffs have been a fascinating mix of young and old, and the clock stops for no one. Here’s some links, and food for thought:

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers, compares the team’s needs this season, to their needs last season, and finds a lot of similarities.

Ben Bolch at the L.A. Times writes about Derek Fisher, hoping for another ring.

Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk reports that Kobe will revisit Germany this summer for more therapy on his knee. Andrew Bynum may have the same experimental procedure.

Mike Trudell at Lakers Reporter goes into a little more depth about training matters, during an interview with Gary Vitti.

R.R. Magellan at The No-Look Pass examines how the Oklahoma City Thunder got to where they did.

C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll also looks at OKC, and the clearest paradigm shift in NBA history.

Right before last night’s Eastern Conference Game 6, Emile Avanessian, at Hardwood Hype issued a challenge to LeBron. LBJ was clearly listening.

I enjoyed a cyber dinner with Emile the night before, and we discussed the conference finals, plus matters more centric to the Lakers.

Most of the recent talk of a possible Lamar return to the Lakers, has been tempered by the new one-year moratorium rule. David Lord & Mike Fisher from Dallasbasketball.com, have a possible way around that.

Elizabeth Benson at Lakers Nation, examines the need to get younger and faster.

In the wake of last night’s remarkable LeBron performance, a ton of writers sallied forth to opine. Jared Dublin at Hardwood Paroxysm,  gives us a table of contents.

***

This year’s strike-shortened season was more than a little strange. The playoffs however, have been engaging, highly competitive, and fully entertaining. This summer will not be like last summer. The gym doors won’t be locked. Coaches won’t be prohibited from talking to their players. The new draft picks won’t be sitting, wondering, and waiting. The summer league and full training camps will be back in force. And between now and then, there will be a lot to talk about. As the Chambers brothers famously sang, “time has come today.”

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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34 responses to Friday Forum

  1. I noticed Darius got into a conversation on Twitter on how Pau is to PF what LO is to SF. He explained this idea as basically saying that each has the skill of those respective positions but excel at the bigger postion because they have those skills as well, the typical size to play them, and quickness unique to those bigger positions. All that said, it could be interesting to move Gasol for wing players (I have a few legal trades in mind that have been put out but I don’t expect to get away with suggesting the one I prefer) and bring LO back via the option laid out by David Lord and Mike Fisher to man the PF. With Bynum dominating the low-post, perhaps LO makes more sense for the Lakers then Pau does even if I think Pau is the better player. We’d basically be running with the original 2008 team, before Bynum’s injury and the Pau trade, but with upgrades at PG, MWP and better players coming off the bench to make up for the drop off in Kobe’s game and then some.

    Let none of us forget that the top seeded team in the West, riding a 20-game winning streak, with the best coach in the game, and running on all cylinders only won one more game then the Lakers did when they faced OKC. We have high expectations but perspective is a fine quality to keep in same pocket as our wits.

  2. I believe Lamar after last year will be highly motivated. And he he could get close to the numbers he had as 6th man of the year he certainly would be helpful. But how much he would cost remains the central question. The could news would be if Pau is traded you wouldn’t necessarily need a quality big in return. Also If the CBA loophole is true you would only be on the hook for this years salary. It’s something for Mitch to consider.

  3. Good to see our FB&G writers getting closer with intimate dinners.

    That Searching for Slava link was a fun read, and also showed me I eat like crap compared to real people.

  4. The Odom issue is an interesting one. I’m not sure if I’m ready to trust him with the starting PF spot.

    It’s hard to judge how much of Odom’s slippage was mental and how much was physical. But there’s no doubt he came into last season out of shape, and from what I’ve read he’s been more focused on his reality show recently than conditioning. It’s no coincidence his best year came after he played basketball all summer long. Conditioning plays a huge role.

    On the other hand, if he can play his way into shape, I think he could be a good 6th man. I can’t see him costing too much; his value is so low right now.

  5. Re Odom–LA also couldn’t sign him until December, right? I seem to remember reading that he can’t sign with the same team for at least a year post-release–or do I have that mixed up?

  6. mindcrime – You’re absolutely right. Completely slipped my mind.

  7. @ mindcrime and Snoopy. The article details how there’s a possible loophole to bring Lamar back before season starts. If so, he can join rest of team at start of training camp.

  8. chownoir – Missed that link. Based on my understanding, if we go that route the Lakers would have to pay the full $8 million, right? Considering the year he had last year, if I were Jim Buss trying to allocate payroll as prudently as possible, I wouldn’t want to be on the hook for that much for Odom. I’d much rather sign him in December, if he wants to come back that badly. But I understand some people are still very high on Odom.

    That’s a very neat piece of information though. I wasn’t aware contracts could be modified like that.

  9. @Snoopy. Who knows. Still if FO was committed to using the 8.9 TPE they got from the original trade, then getting Lamar back essentially means they used that TPE so it’s a wash.

    Also if they don’t bring back Barnes and Murphy (very likely), that was about 4 mill between the two. That means the incremental cost of getting LO back is only 4.9. Next year it’s still a dollar for dollar penalty so it’s not a completely onerous burden to absorb that extra 4.9 incremental.

    Especially if the team is thinking it’s a major upgrade while still keeping the current team intact for a run. Otherwise team is limited to only the mini MLE and vet minimum signings.

    If you think Lamar can give you his 09 and 10 production for one year, then the incremental 4.9 is well worth it. That still leaves the team the flexibility of using the mini MLE to sign a back up SG/shooter off the bench.

    Also if Lamar is back and Hill is resigned, I can see McRoberts being moved. He’s getting 3 mill next year. That’s an attractive contract and easy enough to move. Move that and all of a sudden Lamar’s incremental is only 1.9. That’s peanuts if you think he’ll give you what he gave in 09 and 10.

  10. Snoopy – If I hadn’t been mindful of having a proper meal to mark the occasion, it probably would have been Hungry Man or pizza, haha. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  11. kehntangibles June 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Even if his head’s in the right place, getting Lamar back means getting a Lamar that’s a year older. (Granted, I think his slippage was 95% mental and – to be blunt – it’s not like he put a lot of mileage on his tires last year by overexerting himself.)

    If he can put last year behind him and we get good Lamar for peanuts then I think you do it. Sad to say, but even bad Lamar is still a likely upgrade from bench players not named Hill or Ebanks. This is definitely not a basket where we wanna put all our eggs.

  12. If Kobe wants to get some more treatment on the knees, why not some on the fingers as well. Those bad passes and bad handles surely contributed to his noticeable decline.

  13. Lamar ship has sailed. LA Times say him and his agent requested a trade after the veto. There’s no coming back from that. Jim Buss seems like a prideful guy don’t see him bringing someone back who didn’t want to be here. Reality TV gets to all these guys it wasn’t until Reggie Bush broke up with Kim that he became a solid contributor again.

    I never understood why Lakers FO never kept a player around long enough to let Kobe groom. Butler, Sasha, Ariza, Brown, Ebanks have all made strides from watching kobe’s work ethic and play. Instead of keeping them around it’s always a revolving door at the backup 2 spot. You got guys like Barnes, MKG, Rivers in this draft who watching Kobe day in day out would do wonders for them going forward. KG molded Perkins, Nash molded Dragic those are the few I can think of recent memory. Mitch should give Kobe a project over these next 2 years.

  14. 25 years ago tomorrow this happened on 9 June 1987
    One of the best moment in Lakers history.

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

  15. I’m noticing people above writing about reacquiring LO to be a bench piece. I think he’d be coming back to be a starter. The bench help would be in whatever comes in a Gasol trade. IMO, you can get higher quality players that play the 1-3 for Gasol then you would in getting a big in the trade (ie, someone better suited to our PG needs then Scola is to our PF needs). If another trade nets us the big to slip into the 4 (one that may very well suite our needs better as there is already a ball dominated post man in Bynum) who is a natural facilitator, it could actually fit the team’s needs, and improve our athleticism in that move alone. Then a trade of Gasol for a couple of starting quality smalls puts the team in a postion to compete now. Personally, I don’t think it smart to rebuild and hope to be ready to compete in 4-5 years when OKC may or may not be slipping, not to mention the Clips, MEM or any of a number of other youngish teams with room to grow.

    I wonder if MWP can play some 4. He gets into the post, is strong enough to match other 4s and what he gives up in height he makes up for in Ron-ness. I should probably look at BB Reference or some such site, but dinner is on. Roasted chicken and potatoes with turmeric, ginger, coriander, and cumin with garlic and olive oil. Start with a nice green salad and a Rioja to clear the gullet through out.

    Yo, Dave… you ever want to do one of those dinner and a game over the virtual medias with me, I’ll be happy to project my anxieties over the Lakers onto David Stern and Jim Buss, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy with you and any other sane contributor to this blog. Let me know. Either way, nice convo with Emile.

  16. As i told Darius on twitter… LO isn’t quick enough to play PF anymore… Let alone SF. The guy let himself go during the lockout and is now going on 33. He isn’t the player he was 8 years ago… He isn’t the player he was two years ago… The guy is washed up. He needs HGH and a summer of working out to even be a suitable back up PF.

  17. @llamas – I would tend to agree but Kobe’s always been pretty much up on the latest medical options – I have a feeling that the fingers are pretty much beyond repair at this point.

    @p.ami – I agree about looking for a back court swap for Pau if he is indeed moved. And will definitely keep a future dinner in mind.

  18. I think Lamar is a true Laker, love the guy…but for $8.5 mi? Not 100% sure, but what if we get him in December for Vet Min? $8.5 is a lot and I’m not sure he can deliver at that level…

  19. I like Lamar as a person but I don’t want to see the Lakers be part of tge clown act reality show.

    Really is that the savior of this team?

    Didn’t we get swept with him there last time.

    We need to get young and athletic not older and part of some embarrassing TV show.

    Why don’t we sign one of those muscle heads from jersey shore as out next point guard?

    For the first time in 2 years I actually agree with Aaron.

  20. Magic Phil,

    LO is humbled, didn’t expect all these troubles occur when he asked to be traded to another team for good. Never panned out with Mavs, cancelled his reality show on E, rumors on big D about to happen and lately, he didn’t get any share on Mavs. playoffs dividends. His teammates nixed him since he didn’t really contribute much to the Mavs.

    To get him @ minimum would just be adding more salt on his wounds. He wants to go to NY maybe to reconnect with his children. I doubt if Knicks would want him at this time. Is he in the right disposition to play?

  21. Warren Wee Lim June 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I don’t like banking my starting PF spot on a depressed guy. I still love him to death as a Laker, esp for the minimum, but not until he commits to this thing.

    Earliest he can come back is December, a year after he was traded to Dallas.

  22. Warren Wee Lim June 9, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I’d like to use our mini MLE on Lamar Odom. 2-yr contract like what McRoberts got last ssn.

    Dallas would have to buy him out first though. Talking about Odom is, at this point, tampering.

  23. Warren Wee Lim June 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Given the chance, would any of you welcome Kevin Garnett for the mini-MLE?

    2yrs, 6.1M total.

    His jumpshot can space out that of Bynum’s post squats, he is a very good rebounder still at age 36, and he is someone who would bolster that lackluster locker with profanity.

    I am posting this as a realistic option for us on an area of need. After all, KG’s home is in Malibu, CA.

    Given the choice, LO or KG?

  24. A few people have talked that, but IMO there is no chance that Garnett will come here for the MLE, if for no other reason than he is still a 10-12M player or more on the merits.

    Also, Boston ownership would be crazy to allow it to happen. I think that Garnett is almost as certain to stay in Boston as Duncan is to stay in San Antonio. Pierce and Rondo still have two years on their deals; I think Garnett will sign a two-year extension there for some pretty big money.

  25. Warren Wee Lim June 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

    RR, KG has earned so much in his lifetime already. He recognizes that the best chance he’s got is ala Karl Malone and thats to join a team that makes him the afterthought on offense.

    But you do have a point. When looking for big time players, its easy to simply say “follow the money” and if the Celtics present KG with a good plan to say “we’re getting X player and Y player” then we’ll re-sign you then that’s the plan all along.

    However, the reality of the matter is that the Celtics are as far away from the title as they can be. KG knows this. Its still but due diligence that we make a pitch for him. When he refuses and follows the $$ instead of the possible ring, then we’d have made him think long and hard.

  26. Garnett: This is not happening. Malone/Peyton did not win rings and regreted what they did in the end. Players still do this at the very tail end of the careers when they are no longer top notch (Peyton did it again with Miami). KG is still clearly one of the best in the league, and he could command close to $10. He will probably stay in Beantown, where they are one game from the finals (I am not sure how this is far away from the title – cause if it is – then we are not even in the same galaxy).

  27. “I don’t like banking my starting PF spot on a depressed guy.”

    This. I’d add: depressed and out of shape. Like I said, if you’re getting him to solidify the bench, that’s one thing. But entrusting your starting PF to a guy who played as badly as he did last year is foolish and a potential recipe for disaster for a team still trying to compete. No matter how much you think he’ll rediscover his game by returning to LA.

    In terms of KG – people have been talking about that for over a month. I think every sensible Lakers fan would welcome him with open arms. Even if this playoff run is unsustainable, his PnR defense will cover up Bynum’s greatest weakness. The issue is cost. We’re not in Garnett’s head. We can’t speculate as to what his thought process is. We have no idea if he’ll pull a Malone or not. I certainly hope so, and I definitely think we should chase him hard. But every team in the league can offer as much money as we can, and several can offer a better chance at a ring. He’d be closer to a ring playing C in Miami.

    The only facts we can look at to try to speculate are Garnett’s history. He stuck with Taylor and Minnesota despite enduring years of perpetual losing. He values loyalty and comfort. He’s been emblazoned as a champion in Boston. I find it difficult to see him leaving Boston, especially for LA and the mini-MLE. But I can hold out hope. His defensive instincts and fire would be the perfect complement to Bynum.

  28. LO: So let me get this straight. Last year, we sent LO to Dallas for a low pick and received a TPE. Now what are we proposing? Sending back the TPE (and perhaps the pick) to get LO back in a sign and trade, at his same salary? So what was accomplished by all this. Oh yea – we disrupted our front line for 2012, and completely disrupted LO’s career. I do not think this is happening, but if it did – the entire thing could not be looked at as anything other than another monumental error by the FO (and keep in mind – I never wanted LO to go in the first place).

  29. As I said last week, the odds of LO coming back are minimal under the current circumstances. If they can work that loophole, that may change the landscape but until then it’s tough to say that it would happen.

    Also, it would be a gamble to go after Odom. His last season was the type that affects your perception of a player and he’ll have to prove he can still compete on the court. I will say, however, that the TV stuff is over as his show has not been renewed for another season. So, if you’re in the camp of “I don’t want the distraction of his TV show” that’s one less thing you have to worry about.

  30. Mrs. Sasha Vujacic (MS) won the French Open.

    I read that Phil is back in contention to Magic GM. Maybe, that was the reason of my dreaming Lakers Utopia last night. It goes this way, Papa Buss held meeting with his family including PJ. He patched up the siblings feud as well as Jim and Phil. As one of his last requests, he asked Jim to make Phil as the new Lakers GM, then asked Phil to appoint Mitch as the new Lakers Coach and Mike Brown as Director of Basketball Training, Videos and Scouting. It was a perfect world until I woke up this morning to reality.

  31. KG’s all about loyalty. His loyalty to his teammates and Doc Rivers. He either retires or resigns in Boston. Only way he’s in a different uniform is if someone overwhelms him with an offer. A desperate team like say, the Nets.

    This draft reminds me of the 03 draft. The lottery picks are full of all star potential. We need to get one of these guys.

  32. @Edwin – hahaha! That is an all-time great dream.

  33. However, the reality of the matter is that the Celtics are as far away from the title as they can be

    Uhh, well they are playing Game 7 of the ECF tonight. The Lakers and the Celtics are in more or less the same position. Given Derrick Rose’s injury, cap space, and the lask of depth in the East, Boston’s position is actually a bit better than the Lakers’.

    Also, as Kevin points out, Garnett, whatever else you want to say about him, is known for his loyalty/connection to teammates. He stayed in Minnesota for 12 years.

    It is true that he doesn’t need the money, and if Boston were a sub.500 team and the Lakers were really good…maybe. But as it is, I see no way it happens.