Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 15, 2012

On a blazing hot afternoon in Austin, Texas, I did a cursory search through a few major news outlets that normally carry timely and fascinating stories about the Los Angeles Lakers. My quest proved fruitless. I then did what any mortal would do, and explained my dilemma to Darius. Our intrepid leader pressed a couple of magic buttons and my in-box was suddenly replete with bountiful and tasty items. This is what Darius does. Like a wise city desk editor with samurai skills and jumper cables. He also writes really good original content. You should thank him, each and every day.

With the league looking forward to a quasi-normal off-season, the Lakers have released their summer league schedule.

Kevin Ding at the OC Register reports that Quin Snyder may be close to winning the Bobcats lottery. It is entirely possible that Quin can improve on last season’s 7 & 59 record. We wish him luck with that Jordan fellow.

Rembert Browne at Grantland writes a twitter thing about Metta World Peace.

Here’s a chestnut from two decades back, Bob Ryan out of the SI Vault, on Magic and Bird.

Moving on the world outside of Staples, David Stern recently parried Jim Rome’s questions with deft and charming replies. Dan Levine at Ball Don’t Lie, reports.

Aaron McGuire at Gothic Ginobili, brings us the unprecedented fatigue of LeBron.

Steve McPherson at Hardwood Paroxysm, about the Dream Team. Choice.

Here’s an AP report through ESPN, about Dikembe Mutomobo’s Basketball Without Borders.

Another AP gem about Kobe & Pau’s racehorse, finally ready to start after being scratched from its last race.

Fran Blinebury at NBAdotcom, has a tantalizing list of free agents.


This year’s NBA draft is just two weeks away. We’d obviously like to move up in the grand order of things, but until then, we’re left with number 60. It’ll be hard to improve on last year’s sublime pairing of Chukwudiebere Maduabum & Ater Majok, but I have faith in all of you – let your brilliance flow.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy


to Friday Forum

  1. I believe the Lakers can take cash in lieu of the pick. unless they are short roster spots I suspect they will exercise that option.


  2. Excerpt from Bill Simmons new column. Boy does he know how to stick it to Lakers fans.

    “Maybe it’s just because I hate the Lakers so much — fine, it’s definitely because I hate the Lakers so much — but nothing makes me happier than any good Fisher moment in this series. You realize the Lakers traded two no. 1 picks and agreed to allow Cleveland to take the better pick between the Lakers’ 2013 first-rounder and Miami’s 2013 first-rounder just so they could “upgrade” from Fisher to Ramon “I Had To Wear A Diaper During The Playoffs Because I Kept Pooping My Pants” Sessions, right? Hey, anytime you can give up two and a half no. 1s to get killed in Round 2, you have to do it. I feel like putting on a pig’s suit and rolling around in Sessions’s shorts from the OKC series right now.”


  3. kehntangibles June 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Oh, I’m sorry – I can’t hear Simmons over the sound of how bad the Perkins-Green trade sucked for Boston.


  4. Does anyone seriously regret the Fisher trade because of his being able to play for OKC? If so, you must have rocks in your head. For our purposes Hill was much more valuable in the the post season we did have. Also, I really hate to think of the problems having Fish, Blake, Morris, and Sessions on the roster at the same time would have caused.

    Fish is happy filling a role on OKC that he would have been extremely unhappy filling on the Lakers.

    How about we thank him, wish him well, and get on with our lives. Reading Simmons is just an exercise in masochism – so don’t do it.


  5. Unfortunately, Fish had to play too many minutes as a Laker starter to be effective. Derek’s weaknesses were exposed. His role in Oklahoma is just right for him… A 15 to 20 minute backup.


  6. Happy for Fisher, and like said tons of times earlier, his presence in LA would not have helped us get past the Thunder.


  7. Warren Wee Lim June 16, 2012 at 8:08 am

    As a matter of fact, Fisher being the starting PG would have resulted on a sweep. Seriously, Westbrook would be feasting with 25ppg 8apg.


  8. Dave M.

    Yeah, what happened to Chuk… and Ater after jettisoned to the Euro League, are they ready? If you try to evaluate others who were left out from the first 60 players, I’m sure there are some who could have helped the Lakers than those chosen without any results or review. Mitch was great in acquisition in trades but his 2nd round picks are always wasted from Luke, Pinnock, and these two. Well, Ebanks, Morris and Goudelock have to prove that Mitch did not make a mistake. Where can we find another 2nd rounders, Nick V or Manu G.? Here we are again with two weeks to go, Lakers need youth yet they’re back to the same problems w/ 2nd round draft picks and contractual gridlock.

    Can we move forward and forget revisiting former players who have helped the Lakers in the past, may it be Fisher, Odom, etc.? Gradually, start the youth movement and make the most in trading the values of two bigs either: trade one for another big or trade the other one for multiple medium star shooters.

    To say that this team will be competitive by doing for 3rd season with the same make-up of players, new 2nd rd draft picks and rely mostly on role players like Josh, G-luck, Morris, Ebanks and same-same coaching style will just replicate the same results for the 3rd time. Lakers will not go beyond 2nd round. Lakers should think outside the box and be extra active in July.


  9. Wish Fish luck. Hope he wins one this season with OKC. I’m happy to have gotten Hill. I think the team was better for that trade. Like all things in basketball, it’s about fit and Fish fits what OKC needs. All that said, lets hope it’s the Lakers fighting for a chip next season while Fish sits at home watching.


  10. Kevin: What you and I are saying is that we needed to upgrade our starting PG, but we did not need to banish Fish in the process. And the fact that we gave away all of our picks in the RS acquisition and the DF dumping (JH pickup) is an added blunder.

    So people please forget arguments about how RS was better or how bad DF was as a starter. He was. That is irrelevant. And I agree – how he performs for OKC is equally irrelevant. Some of us complained about this on the day it happened. Everyone else on this board was on the RS love fest, then they went on a JH love fest after one double – double. Well here we are. RS and JH are decent bench players and that is it. To trade all your picks, and DF for that is not a good move. Further without regard to the caliber of these moves, it was not what was needed. We needed big change. We need big change now as well. So if we pick up a couple of vagabonds with the MLE and the Vet Min, I don’t think that is going to be evidence of how wonderful the FO is performing.

    Further, as everyone knows, I love to quote the historical success of our 31 trips to the Finals and 16 Titles. However, this does not give this FO a free pass. Jimbo is responsible for zero of those, Mike Brown is responsible for zero, and while Mitch has rings, much of the good he has done as GM, has Jerry West’s name all over it.


  11. Kris Joseph, Draymond Green, William Buford, Casper Ware would be steals if they fall to 60.

    Mitch’s 1st round picks all helped in some capacity. Most in 20s.

    03 Brian Cook #24
    04 Sasha Vujacic #27
    05 Andrew Bynum #10
    06 Jordan Farmar #26
    07 Javaris Crittenton #19

    Quite a hot streak all contributed to rings somehow. Quit trading our picks for 20 cents on the dollar. There’s value late Mitch proved that.


  12. Sasha was slated to become the starting pg from the day he was drafted. It took him too many years to be of any use to the Lakers. Even when Fisher re-joined the Lakers I thought he should start that first year and give Sasha or Farmar time to take the starting position from him. They just never could. Farmar’s skill set did not fit the triangle and Sasha could never do anything consistent except pick up monikers. Phil Jackson called him an 11:00 player because he was a starting pg in practice and an ABA player at game time and the Forum Blue and Gold crowd named him the Machine.

    Every season I hoped that the Lakers would acquire a pg to knock Fisher out of the starting lineup but no one ever did. Fisher should have been a mentor for Lakers pg’s two seasons ago.

    Fisher is a Laker and as such does not deserve the non-stop bashing that he gets. The Lakers traded him and not once has Fisher bad mouthed the Lakers for making the change, so why can’t the fans leave him alone, too.

    Fisher spent the entire lockout mediating between the players and the owners sacrificing his game for a bigger reason. He played every game with the Lakers like it was his last giving up his body by taking charges and banging into screens and fighting through. How Laker players have not learned how to be competitive after have played with Kobe and Fisher…I’ll never know.

    Good luck Fisher! He’s why I’m for OKC. I’m not against Lebron. He only changed teams, he didn’t murder anyone.


  13. Hey Kevin,
    The only player with more value than Ramon Sessions or Jordan Hil on that list is Andrew Bynum and he was drafted tenth overall as a 17 year old fat kid. So please just let it go… You’re wrong. The Rockets and Cavs are the ones who needed to get 20 cents on the dollar since they couldn’t afford to resign Ramon or Jordan Hill. So they got what they could for them at the trade deadline. The End.


  14. Aaron: I may be wrong. But had the Lakers made zero moves at the deadline they would’ve still lost in the 2nd round. But hey we got a PG who has no left hand and can’t shoot a lick.

    Lakers almost got cp3 with Pau, Odom, picks. How do we expect to get a high calibur player back just offering Pau? We won’t.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Boston does with their 2 mid 20 picks.


  15. Kevins list of late 1st round draft picks makes a compelling case for trading them for Sessions and Hill. The late 1st round is a crap shoot. Can you find good players there? Of course but usually role players at best. so by trading our 1st round picks for guys that have proven they can play at least you know what you are getting. Both Hill and Sessions are young and still have upside. I completely agree with the trades.


  16. I have another comment in moderation. I support Kevin’s side of this discussion. Picks are somewhat of a gamble, which is why you need lots of them. In the new world, having picks and a few cheap young players is going to be key. If you trade your picks you need to get something for them. RS and JH and decent bench players but they were not the keys to a title run (clearly). We need to either put ourselves in contention or re-build. Trading away picks for journeymen is not the answer. Our 2nd round exit is evidence of that.


  17. And just to amend Kevin’s list:
    In 2007: Aaron Afflalo #27, Glenn Davis #35, Marc Gasol #48
    In 2006: Rondo #21, Lowry #24, S Brown #25, and Paul Millsap all the way at #47.
    In 2005, we did well to get AB, but pick #39 (Von Wafer) was not MK’s finest hour. M Ellis went #40, M Gortat went #57 Also D Lee was picked #30 that year.
    We would obviously love to have any of these players over either RS or JH or in many cases – both.


  18. Robert

    You forgot Tony Parker in your list. Yes there is always some hidden gems later but not many. I believe with a two year window to win you try and find guys that can help now, not guys you need to develop. Now if we had traded for old vets then I would agree. But we got 2 guys that are rotation ready with upside. I mentioned Parker, if you recall his first few years in the league he wasn’t better then Session and that was with training camps and practice time. Worst case senario both Hill and Sessions are quality depth. All take that every time when I’m trying to win now.


  19. One last thought about Sessions. His success or any other point guard D Will included will depend on Kobe. Sessions admitted he was never asked to play off the ball before and I am sure most traditional point guards haven’t either. If Kobe can’t adjust and play more off the ball we might as well find a combo guard with a 3 point shot because a tradional PG will be a waste.


  20. Robert: Great list. All those players, not Wafer, became solid players. There’s always gems as your list shows. Takes some luck for them to drop to you and to develop how you expect.

    Intial grades from the trades are not good. Losing 4-1 in the 2nd round is failure in Lakerland. Not resigning Sessions (which I am completely for) is wasting a pick. Unless your fine with dumping three 1st to get rid of Luke and Fisher’s expirings next year.


  21. MichaelH: That’s why it’s best if Lakers get someone better than Kobe on the team. Because he won’t concede power to a back up in Sessions.

    Continuing a Sessions/Blake PG tandem is asking for another early exit.


  22. Kevin,

    How about a D Will/Session combo or a Lowery/Sessions combo? Last I looked depth was still important in the league. He may or may not be the answer as a starter but do you really want Blake as your back up? This is why I can’t understand why you don’t support resigning him. He won’t cost that much. No one will offer more then the MLE. Which is only 500k more then he is making now. Worst case he is still quality off the bench.

    I just don’t understand. When I played ball I couldn’t comprehend coming in toward the end of the season, being thrown into the fire and only getting one full practice the entire time. And I was a wing, I can’t imagine what it would be like for a PG.

    Lets review. He came in and they told him to do his thing, he did and looked great. Then he hurts the shoulder. Then they want him to slow down, then they want him to play off the ball which he had never done before. I think this kid will be good. I for one want a solid 9 to 10 man rotation, not just a couple of stars.

    One more thing what PG do you have in mind thats better then Kobe?


  23. Kevin

    Unless I am wrong all those other then Andrew are gone and we got nothing in return.

    Tge two picks we traded away this year resulted in nothing but extra money since both are free agents and could have Vern signed next year without giving up picks.

    If you consider that good roster moves then I must not understand basketball. We get nothing but one and out two years in a row and Cleveland and Housten could pick up young athletic players we need with tge picks.

    Mitch has made one good move in 5 years and that may well have been handed to him by West.


  24. Ko: What I’ve tried to say in multiple posts you just said in one. No matter how you slice it they weren’t good trades.

    MichaelH: I think Sessions is best suited as a bench player in that capacity he would be a darn good player. If he comes back that won’t be the case. Nobody is taking Blake off our hands he’s over the hill and overpaid. Sessions is 26 and to expect him to take another step in improving his game is unrealistic. He’s a erratic shooter who failed to show us he could stay in front of his man. Denver and Okc were daring him to knock down a shot and he couldn’t. He was as open as the ocean and couldn’t throw a rock in it. Learning a playbook has nothing to do with playing defense he gets no pass in that area. I’d honestly rather bring back Morris at a much cheaper price than re-sign Sessions as a starter.

    Deron is a player who is confident enough to play his game make plays for others run an offense and not defer to Kobe.


  25. Ko: “Mitch has made one good move in 5 years and that may well have been handed to him by West.”
    I said the same thing in a more diplomatic manner above, however I like your more brutal/direct statement : )

    Michael H: I actually agree that we should re-sign RS. And JH. They are decent backups – hence they deserve roster spots. One condition though. The FO can’t use the money we spend on them as an excuse not to use the TPE. So I will support you on this, if you do not defend the FO next December if that TPE is not used. Agreed? : )


  26. Robert

    I agree. I would love to see us use the TPE. But keep in mind that it is a two way street. We are basically asking another team to hand us a player that we feel is valuable for perhaps a draft pick in return. Now if we see value in a player the odds are the other team sees it also. So yes, i would love to obtain a good player that way but it’s just not that easy. I think if we do use it, it won’t be the entire 8.9 mil, maybe just a portion of it. Thats why i don’t put a lot of stock in the TPE.

    My focus instead is on Pau. Unless the offers are ridiculous, I expect him to be traded. I hope to see two quality players in return. Perhaps not all stars but very good players. Both Houston and Philly value him enough that I think we will get something good back. I wouldn’t be surprised to to see the T-wolves involved as well. The trick is creating a balanced line up, where all the pieces compliment each other. That is what i am hoping to see.


  27. KO

    I have to disagree with you on Mitch.

    Signing Ron was a good move. We won a ring because of him. It could be argued that with his overall game against Boston that he was the MVP of the series. Boston only got one ring out of the big three, but that one ring makes it a good move.

    Sessions was a good move. He more then likely will be a Laker next year unless Mitch lands someone like D-Will. we dumped 7.5 million in dead wood salary and picked up a young point guard who at the very least gives us quality depth at that position. Keep in mind that this draft is considered one of the worst in years in regard to point guards, so it would be very unlikely that we could have gotten a better Point guard with that pick.

    Matt Barnes was a good move. we got him dirt cheap. Unfortunately he was injured in the playoffs. The way he was playing before the injury, really could have made a difference, especially the way he was knocking down 3’s.

    Hill was a good move if we can resign him. He is the perfect compliment off the bench to the other bigs. High energy, great rebounder and defender. Got him again for Fish, that no longer fit a starters role here and another lower pick that may not have been as good. Oh and he is only 23, which helps us get younger.

    Drafting Ebanks and Morris were good moves where they were picked. Both have first rounder potential.

    of course the Chris paul trade was brilliant but it was vetoed so it doesn’t count but getting Paul and slashing salary, man… what a shame.

    Yes there were some bad moves as well. Trading Sasha and a 1st to dump salary, was awful but overall he has done well.


  28. Michael H: Thanks for the response and the “partial” agreement : ) I say partial, because you hedged a bit : ) I think what is going on in both our discussion, and the one you have with Kevin, is what I call the difference between “basketball” reasons, and profitability reasons. As you know, I think the team makes enough money to spend as much as “legally” possible. However it is clear we have not and will not do that. So that said, let’s apply this to 2 of the recent discussions.

    TPE: There is no excuse for not using the TPE (or Sasha’s for that matter). To illustrate: Mitch would simply make it known that we are willing to take salary by using the TPE. There are always many teams willing to dump salary. The simple criteria: If the player is good enough to be on our roster then we should spend that money. My example sounds extreme, but let’s bring this to reality. We let a $5 million TPE expire last year. We also did not use a $9 million TPE. There was nobody out there who was better than Troy M or Josh M etc.? Of course there was. There were a few teams who had their whole rosters on the blocks. So we at least did not use the $5 million TPE for profitability reasons and that hurts the team. I will reserve judgment on the $9 million one, because that could be used in a big trade. If we let it expire however – that is inexcusable. If we let it expire and we still have deadwood on our roster, then as per Darius’ post, yes I will be storming the castle. When I do this, I will let you know how big the drumstick is that Jimbo is gnawing on at the time.

    Sessions/PG: I think we should sign Sessions, but hopefully as a back-up. Kevin is right on Blake, that nobody wants him (including us), so we should just eat that or use the amnesty if we are convinced we will not need that elsewhere. We really need a starting PG however. So if we get that in the form of Deron (pipedream) or Lowry (more realistic) that Sessions would be the backup. I am good with this. What I am not good with is spending money on Sessions, and then having Jimbo tell Mitch that he has used the point guard budget. If MK is limited by how much he can spend, then I would think twice about spending on RS.

    So the key is Jimbo’s thought process. The fact that our future depends on this is ridiculous, but it does. . If Jimbo is going to limit/budget MK severely, then that reflects on whether we sign RS, whether we sign JH, and what we do with trades etc.. In order for the Lakers to have any chance – we must spend as much as legally possible. Putting financial restrictions on things makes the odds so long, that if Jimbo feels this way, I would definitely re-build. Having Mitch trying to build a contender with a ball and chain named Jimbo around his ankle is total folly, and is something I have been talking about for a year – As everyone is painfully aware : )


  29. Getting Ramon and Jordan for those 1st round draft picks were not bad at all. Lakers added quality players which may take some time if they exercised those 20th pick or higher.

    Ramon is a good PG but he has to slow down in these playoffs in order to complement with his snail-paced teammates. He is asked to facilitate and go with Mbrown offense which is unfortunately not the type of player Sessions is. He became very tentative in this playoffs because of the limited assignments given to him.

    Hill was equally a talented rebounder and IMO, better than our two bigs. Of course, they don’t have the same height and positioning. This guy has a heart to compete, in fact he was effective in stopping Westbrook’s penetration when confronted by Hill.

    I give Mitch the highest complement in getting these two players while reducing the contract load and bench warmers. If only the teams holding Beasly and Crawford released them at the last seconds, the mid year trade was a perfect storm.

    Having said that, even if Lakers had Crawford and Beasly, Lakers would still be out in the 2nd round. My own reasons – Lakers two bigs did not help the team and the Coaching was awful because he was not able to fully utilize his assets in making a case that “height of a giant is mightier than the speed of a dwarf”.


  30. 11,

    All players mentioned were OK except for Brian Cook. At what point did Brian Cook help the Lakers. Lakers became a better team when they traded him and Evans for Ariza. Do you think Magic would agree with the trade if Mo was not included in that trade? I don’t blame Mitch for making a mistake with BC, he was a good College player, a good shooter but was a plain “scrub” with the Lakers. One big reason why Kobe blew his top in the summer of ’07 because his teammates were a bunch of scrubs or rejects.


  31. Edwin: Cook was a knock down shooter. He spaced the floor and brought Ariza to Lakers through a trade. He never fulfilled his potential but he was a good shooter.

    The depth Lakers added contributed to a 4-1 second round loss.


  32. As an aside, it is key to remember that the Lakers have never gone through a full-scale rebuild during the entire time the franchise has been in Los Angeles. They had Elgin Baylor when they came here and then had Jerry West a year or two later. NBA rebuilds are very difficult and have no guarantees whatsoever of ultimate success. Boston spent 17 years rebuilding/building after Larry Bird retired and never had a 60-win team until the Garnett and Allen deals. Chicago’s first two attempts to rebuild after Jordan both came up well short of serious contention; their third is now in flux due to Derrick Rose’s knee injury. Atlanta bottomed out at 13-69 and has been battling back since; but they missed on Chris Paul, and are now hung up about where the Lakers are with an overpaid, second-tier contender. Minnesota is still a lottery team, even though they have NINE lottery picks on the active roster. Memphis has done a nice job, but they took Hasheem Thabeet instead of James Harden and are now probably hung up. Golden State has not put together a top-tier contender since the Rick Barry era; the Clippers had lottery picks year after year and never broke through at all until they hit a #1 with Blake Griffin and were handed Chris Paul.

    OKC is the exception, not the rule, and I think that Jim Buss’ “nightmare” is a 21-61 Lakers team sharing a building with the Dwight Howard/Chris Paul Clippers. A rebuild is not a short prison sentence where you know you will eventually get out.


  33. rr: Great analysis. Lakers are on the cusp of falling into that same stage. And such assests to acquire a player of Paul’s stature are no longer on our roster. What’s the route you suggest Lakers take right now? And I’ll give my take after.


  34. Michael H @27
    Do you really believe that Ron Artest could/should have been the MVP of that series? Because Kobe led the Lakers in 3 statistical categories for the series.
    He also was 2nd in rebounds per game and 3rd on the team in blocks. I mean Ron had a good game 7, but nowhere near a great enough game to be MVP. His defense on Paul Pierce was great and he deserves credit for that, but MVP…no.

    I mean, if you want to argue that Pau was MVP, then I would listen to you…I would think that you are wrong, but I would at least listen.


  35. Kevin,

    Like Darius said a couple of weeks ago, “there are no easy answers.” That is why IMO Robert and a few other guys need to to tone it down for about a month. Basically, there are two immediate decisions to be made:

    1. If they want to make a small deal to move up in the draft, and if they would trade Sessions in such a deal if he re-ups. Given the complaining about trading the pick for him, I am surprised more people here have not talked about that (unless it is against the site rules).
    2. If they are willing to trade Bynum for Williams if Williams wants to come here.

    Other than that, they just need to wait until July 1 and talk to Williams’ agents. There are too many big variables right now IMO to make blanket statements about either what the FO should do or to make more than a few about what they should have done. I think it is fine to say “I don’t like a lot of what I have seen from Jim Buss so far” but beyond that the picture is a kaleidoscope and no one knows how it will look in a month.


  36. rr: Definitely no easy answers. But a big 3 consisting of SG, C, C won’t work in the league today. Odom made it a SG, PF, C combo.

    Getting into the lottery helps for short term and future.

    I’ve taken my Laker hat off and come to realize Lakers don’t have the assets to improve the roster. No cap space and no picks.

    If Ron is here the idea of him being a PF intrigues me.