Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  July 18, 2012

While the Steve Nash signing was a giant step forward, there’s still holes to fill on the Lakers roster. And as the front office looks to do its business, the media’s merry go-round continues, with Dwight Howard scenarios tending toward the 24-hour news cycle variety. One day the Lakers are pushing hard. The next day Houston’s got a plan. There’s some truth to all of the rumors, given that discussions are as they say, fluid.  C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll notes, it’s mostly reporting for reporting’s sake. Still, it’s hard not to buy in to some degree, and if we weren’t all hungry for spoon-fed items, there would be no need for links posts, right? Open wide!

Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLA, offer up the latest on the Lakers attempts to sign the league’s top big man.

Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times also weighs in, on the complexities of completing a Howard swap.

The Antwan Jamison situation is still in limbo, as reported by Janis Carr at the OC Register.

Mike Trudell at NBA.com’s Lakers blog, writes about the team’s 4th straight loss last night in Summer League play, while noting Darius Morris’s improved effort.

NBA.com has video of Jim Buss chatting at the Summer League games.

Yannis Koutroupis at Hoopsworld has an extensive interview with Jermaine O’Neal, about where he feels his game, health and career is at.

Andrew Greif at Dime, has Kobe talking Olympic trash to Pau.

Suki Thind at Lakers Nation says Metta is here to stay, and it’s a good thing.

Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated, examines the closing days of the Jeremy Lin saga, and the unwritten rule that Houston broke to get him.

***

Between now and later, there will undoubtedly be something new to report – there’s simply too many balls in the air. Grant Hill’s off the list now that he signed with the Clippers. The Lakers haven’t yet signed Devin Ebanks, which offers a bit of additional flexibility as various matters are discussed and debated. Brandon Rush worked out for the Lakers yesterday (along with Jermaine O’Neal), but it’s hard to see Golden State letting him walk. And then there’s the various amnesty situations – the Birdman was dropped right before midnight last night. For now we wait, read and wonder.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

Posts

55 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. If MWP brings us the improved, consistent production we saw towards the end of last season, then he will indeed be a great contributor.

    I have a feeling we’ll also see his outside shot improve with Nash feeding him perfect passes in rhythm and with nice timing combined with him having a little more time to get his shot off because opponents will need to cheat further off of him with Nash handling the rock instead of Fisher/Blake/Sessions.

    In essence, he’ll be more open, have more time to shoot, and be getting better passes.

    If he’s in good shape and looking to play aggressive, lockdown defense on one end and nail the outside shot on the other then we may have a deeper, better team than we have been speculating on without doing much of anything.

  2. Unless Kupchak plans a team-wide trip to Germany to visit Kobe’s doctors I’m seriously worried about the, er, experienced direction the team is heading in.

  3. Howard yesterday, Howard today and Howard will be the news tomorrow. Is he the new messiah in the Laker nation?

    For God’s sake Dwight, can you please ask Magic to trade you now to the Lakers? Spare us from the agony in waiting, guessing while watching our Summer League Lakers get creamed big time.

    I think Robert’s prayers are about to be granted.

  4. Regarding Howard – My concern all along was that his back would be an issue going forward. Given that the Lakers are making such a push to get him I would infer that the FO is satisfied that there will be no negative impact on his future performance.

    Knowing that important bench moves depend upon how the Howard situation plays out – I hope this is resolved sooner than later.

  5. If Howard is the messiah, consider me a non-believer. By their fruits ye shall know them, and regardless of what he’s done on the court, we can’t overlook that he’s coming off of a serious back injury that’s ruined other players’ careers — and the larger fact that Howard almost single-handedly torpedoed the Magic organization last year.

    His antics ran off the GM and head coach, and screwed over nearly everyone else in that locker room and fan base. I don’t want guys like that playing for the Lakers, regardless of their ability.

    The Bynum haters have good cause to question his attitude, but nothing Bynum has ever done comes close to matching the garbage Howard pulled last season.

  6. Morgan,
    It is impossible to know how someone recovers from back surgery until you see Him on the court. There isn’t a meter in the back somewhere that reads “good to go”. Every basket ball player besides Scottie Pippen as I’ve said over and over has lost a significant amount of athletissim and was never the same player again post back surgery. It’s sad to me that professional writers and basketball analysts are so void of common knowledge. I hate to keep hitting on this topic over and over but it’s just so sad to me. Everyone is pretending the world is flat. Over and over journalists and analysts pretend all injuries are created equal. Rose will never be Rose again. Rubio will never be Rubio again. It’s just incredibly sad to me re: the lack luster coverage of NBA basketball. People just ignore obvious facts and I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. It’s maddening. Maddening I tell you. My hope is the dollar signs that come with Dwight Howard don’t blind the Lakers of the truth. The truth being that Larry Johnson was also a superstar when he signed with the Knicks fresh off back surgery. He didn’t generate much revenue after people saw he wasn’t the same player. Howard wont mean big bucks to the Lakers if he can’t dunk on people anymore. I promise you that.

  7. Jamison signing apparantly offical – 1year vets minimum

  8. Jamison a Laker for 1 year at the minimum!!! Nice job Mitch!!! Saved the entire mini-midlevel for shooters.

  9. Jamison for the vet minimum is a steal IMO.

  10. if i’m bynum, i don’t want to sign an extension until howard is traded. otherwise, i might wind up traded somewhere i don’t want to be.

  11. Edwin: Yes – I am hoping that my prayers will be answered soon. It also appears the condition of being completely focussed on this, has now overtaken the entire Laker community. It is all D12 – All the time. If this happens – not only will I kiss Jim’s ring, I will aplogize to Gilbert for ever saying he had in in for us, and I “might” even kiss Stern’s ring as well.

  12. The Lakers obviously wanted a back up stretch 4… Does this mean they also want a starting stretch 4? I wouldn’t presume Gasol is going to be on the roster when training camp opens just because a younger Gasol would have been a great fit for Nash. Remember that Nash works a little better with a roller like Amare on the PnR and Gasol is a popper (and people didn’t like Pau shooting all those jumpers last season). Pau wasn’t a it enough threat from the outside to prevent teams from doubling down on Drew. And let’s say the Lakers trade for Dwight and for some reason he doesn’t lose athleticism… Dwight has always had a stretch 4 so teams don’t collapse on him when he rolls to the rim on the PnR. That’s why he needs a stretch 4 even though he doesn’t get doubled in the low post.

  13. Love it – it’s time to gamble

    ESPNLosAngeles.com reported the Lakers remain committed to pursuing Howard even without assurances he’d sign a long-term extension with the club.

  14. Cavs took on Baron Davis contract for a lottery pick. I’m sure they’d take on Turk’s contract for Bynum.

    Love the Jamison deal not only for the bench but for Pau. Brown has no excuses to play him 37 mins a game now. Lakers should sign J. O’Neal next.

    Good read on Lin. Can’t believe two of the most overrated players Melo, Amare were picked over one of the most promising stars. Knicks won’t get out the first round next year again.

  15. Kevin,
    Oneal is washed up. He can’t contribute anymore. Sacre would give a better 10 min a game.

  16. the blazers matched nic batum’s offer sheet, which means the t-wolves have the kind of cap room to start making moves. i wonder how big a priority jordan hill is for them, as they’re also interested in wing players.

  17. any_one_mouse July 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Anthony Randolph for a 2M a year, Jerryd Bayless for 3M a year and OJ Mayo for 4M a year?

    What is happening?

    Courtney Lee is being chased by Boston though they can’t offer him anything more than us….

  18. Aaron: he could be it’s not many options out there though. I think he can give Lakers 15 mins a game. O’Neal went to germany for the knee procedure.

    I agree Sacre should make the team so Lakers can develop him.

  19. I wouldn’t take Jermaine O’neal even in his prime.

  20. Gasol actually shot better than Kobe from 10-15 feet AND 16-23 feet last year, so I wouldn’t say he’s not a threat from midrange.

  21. Kevin,

    The Knicks weren’t getting out of the first round even if they kept Lin.

    So the Lakers are willing take Dwight without him agreeing to stay long term? It turns my stomach to see them bending over so much for this guy.

  22. Add me to the list of folks who would prefer not to see O’Neal sign here. I think there are other, better, options for a back-up big available that could be secured with the mini-midlevel if we are unable to re-sign Jordan Hill.

    If we DO get Jordan Hill, then I think we have the bigs we need for next year with Jamison in the fold and the possibility that Nash will improve McRoberts’ game.

  23. Damn right, trade for Howard even if he doesn’t sign an extension. The way I see it the bridge has been burned with Bynum. He should be feeling pretty unappreciated right now and I wouldn’t blame him for just walking away next season. Might as well have the same scenario with Howard, only he would actually be more open to resigning with us after next season, after he’s gotten comfortable with the Laker fan-base.

    I actually think Bynum’s immaturity last season were to some extend a consequence of being the subject of constant trade rumors. That’s gotta drag on you after a while. The Lakers showed no commitment to him, so he showed no commitment to them. It’s ok. Both the Lakers and Bynum will get over it.

    Not saying Howard is better than Bynum, especially after back surgery (hi Aaron!). But I am saying that under the circumstances we find ourselves in right now, I’d rather take the chance on Howard than on Bynum. I don’t expect Bynum to remain loyal to an organization that has shopped him constantly. However, I do expect him to try his hardest to make us feel very very sorry for trading him away.

    F— it! Drama makes everything more interesting anyway.

  24. As I have said all along, Hedu and Anderson are bad contracts, but they are not bad basketball for us. They would be upgrades. We can throw in Blake to almost make up for Jason. We need the third team to make up for Hedu, unless we want to bring MWP into this. We gotta get this done.

  25. here’s the only thing i’m taking away from this cavs-related news: varejao is on the block.

  26. TRogers: Lin would’ve gave them a better chance. It seemed his contract was more focus than his play. He was actually good one game against the nba champs doesn’t change my opinion that he’ll play well in houston.

    Signing O’Neal all but eliminates Pau having to guard centers keeping him fresh throughout games. At the vet minimum O’Neal as the 4th big would be a good get.

  27. I don’t like O’Neal, but I agree with Kevin’s assessment. We need a backup Center to allow Pau to exclusively play at PF. Assuming Jamison backs Pau up, then O’Neal would be ok with me. If Hill is resigned, I’m ok with that also, but only if it means that both Hill and Jamison will back Drew up at Center.

    In other news, what the hell is happening with these contracts? Why are owners overpaying so much? Did they not learn?

  28. I was listening to Mason and Ireland when Metta was answering the 10 Fast Track questions. According to Metta:

    “This year I’m coming in in shape.”

    He says he’ll be picking right up from the end of the last season. Let’s hope this is true.

  29. I agree the Lakers need a back up Center… What I am saying is they will still néed a back up Center after signing Oneal. Jermain is a back up to the back up.

  30. Lakers “right there” with T-Wolves in pursuit of Jordan Hill, according to Hill’s agent, reports Jerry Zgoda/T-Wolves beat reporter.

  31. I’m in the uncomfortable situation of being in rare agreement with Aaron.

    O’Neal has nothing of value left to contribute. He’s strictly in the “break glass in case of emergencies” stage of his career.

    Signing him would be the equivalent of the Theo Ratliff signing.

  32. I gotta ask Jordan Hill:

    You wanna play for titles and a bigger contract later or obscurity and a trip to Europe in 2 years?

  33. Having O’Neal doesn’t help Pau. From what I have read the plan is to get Pau closer to the rim. Granted, if Howard comes that plan is out the window.

    Still I’d rather see a Pau/McRoberts combo than a Pau/O’Neal combo. Jermaine has been completely done as a player for a while now.

  34. DrewKobePau,

    Younger players don’t really care about titles. They are trying to get their first big contract. The only young players who care about titles are the ones on the HOF track like Durant or LeBron. The rest are trying to get paid. That is why Shannon Brown left for Phoenix.

  35. FYI… Mike Miller said he will not retire because he was able to “avoid back surgery”.

  36. No to Jermaine O’Neal.

    He plays only slightly more often than Shaquille O’Neal does these days, so why waste the dollars on a guy who has shown he’s had nothing left at each of his past few NBA stops?

    Hell, they may as well go after Kareem if they’re that desparate for size. I bet a 65-year-old Cap could still drop hooks on guys better than Jermaine O’Neal can score these days.

  37. Bynum made this bed and has no one to blame but himself. Jim Buss was in his corner until he showed his true character last year. If the Lakers can trade Shaq for disrespecting management in public then I’m pretty sure they’ll trade Bynum for that same reason. Add to the fact that Bynum DOES NOT want to play in Los Angeles not this season and not for a contract extension. How many times does he have to say that he’d play anywhere and would sign with Cleveland or Houston.

    The Lakers are better off getting Howard even though he is stating that he’ll not sign with the Lakers. He has a home in California during the off season and we might be able to woo him to stay. He’s never been a part of the Lakers Nation so he’s rejecting Los Angeles from the outside looking in.

  38. any_one_mouse July 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    From what I’m seeing and reading, Sacre is better than O’Neal at this point… and cheaper!
    Drew/Hill/Sacre
    Gasol/Jamison/McBob

    I’m comfortable with that.

  39. any_one_mouse July 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Btw, it looks like Bulls will not match Houston’s offer on Asik. So Houston has a big and a PG – there goes all that cap space to pull in the Orlando garbage.

    Just wondering where Howard’s head is in all of this – he can’t be traded to the Nets anymore. There’s no way the Magic are going to accept Brook Lopez at a max contract. So what are his options now? Dallas with Dirk? Chicago with Rose?

  40. Rather than spending the money for JO, go for Jordan Hill as a priority. Well, Jamison is a good sign and great for p&r and perimeter shooting. Then, the next in line would be Meeks, Rush and Shannon Brown not necessarily three but at least one of them.

    Robert, you are the primary apostle of Dwight in this blog but you have a lot of missionary work to do to convince the non-believers. Maybe, this hysteria is driven to drive ratings and ticks generation it used to be self servingLebron now it’s about immature Howard.

    Frankly if Howard will just behave for at one day and next day, tell Hennigan in the most courteous manner to end this saga, I think there will be finality to it. Orlando cannot hold on to the issue for too long where a player is no longer interested to play with their team. Howard’s recalcitrance and Hennigan’s procrastination affects the honor system within the league among the team. The Hennigan’s continuous meetings with no end in sight destroys his reputation being a new GM. Too much rumor mongering is not right after some time, they have to face the music and decide the end of the story.

  41. lakers signed antwoine jameson (gotta learn how to spell that)

  42. Snoopy – thanks for posting the Kareem link. I read it this morning and meant to add it, and somehow failed! It’s a worthy read, for sure.

    I don’t really now how much O’Neal has left – the video interview was interesting, and he had the procedure on his knee, but he still has a lot of wear on his body and hasn’t been a reliable presence in recent years. We’re going to start running out of roster space pretty soon and I’d hate to lose the opportunity for a young banger like Sacre to develop. Darius made a great comparison to Doleac in today’s other post – I always thought he was a useful player and would love to have that kind of worker on the squad.

  43. Say no to J. Oneal and focus on re-signing Jordan Hill. I know Jermaine went to Germany to have the magic surgery and says he feels great. But he also said he felt great with Boston in 2011 and didn’t last past mid-season. He’s missed the majority of the season 3 of the last 5 years. No Thanks. Also, glad the Lakers didn’t sign Grant Hill.

  44. Because of the health and contract issues surounding Bynum and Howard, any deal seems like a big gamble for all sides. Can`t believe either the Lakers or any other team would deal without the certainty the incomming player would sign a new long term contract..

  45. The two best centers in the league are both divas and injury risks, and both offered in trades in what probably is their peak.

    Sometimes, when you stop and think how the league has changed, it makes you feel really old.

  46. Edwin G
    What makes you think that the Magic will trade Dwight where he wants to go? They want the best deal that they can possibly get from him and that’s that. Him saying that he wants L.A. won’t change that fact.

    We have to stop bad mouthing our front office. Throughout this entire Howard affair, our FO has been actively trying to make this team better. We got Nash. We got Jamison. They truly believe, as do many on this board, that Howard is better than Bynum. Not only skill-wise, but also due to the addition of Nash. Howard will work better in the pnr with Nash. Howard is behind Bynum in offensive repertoire, but he more than makes up for that with his defensive ability. Need I remind everyone that he is light years ahead of Bynum on PnR defense…. Which teams will destroy us with in the playoffs.

    I find it fascinating that our front office is apparently not smarter than our self-appointed “smartest guy” on this board, since they are thinking about trading for Howard. : P

    One thing that I haven’t heard anyone talk about is “what if” Howard decides to opt to leave us if we trade for him. I know that everything says that this would be the most horrible thing possible, right? Is it really though? That would just mean that this team would have almost no contract obligations after Kobe and Pau come off the books in 2 years. That would mean that the league’s most marketable and glamorous team would be a blank slate ready to accept all the best free agents.

    As for Bynum. I think that Jim Buss changed his mind about the guy when he started disrespecting coach Brown. He hasn’t exactly been a model citizen over the last couple years. Then add in the meeting that he purposefully missed with the FO and you get him being actively shopped. I think the guy has to go, regardless if it is for Howard. He is going to bolt the team when he gets the chance IMO.

  47. The Lakers have a backup center who is the third best center in the league, and depending on Bynum’s attitude and health, often the second best center in the league. They need a backup PF, not a backup center.

  48. Antawn Jamison for the vet minimum is a solid signing; his efficiency has been slipping but the Cavs were basically asking him to be the #1 scoring option. He was decent at shooting the 3 (.341) but just awful at jumpers from 10 to 20 feet (.282). You have to figure he’ll be taking fewer low-percentage shots now that he’ll rarely be the #1 scoring option on the floor.

  49. KenOak,

    The point that I was making, at certain time Orl has to decide what to do with Howard? I think all teams have exhausted all the possibilities in order to sign DH. This attrition has been going on for two years now. Orl can no longer extract better juice from draft picks coming from the Rockets or Cavs.

    I think they’re holding the deal to annoy Howard furthermore by asking him to stay with Magic. It’s like brainwashing a captive every given day. However, if you track the path of marquee players/teams relationship in the course of time, the player goes around in seeking greener pasture plus a ring. When retirement comes nearer they go back to the team where they started. When Shaq left LA in ’04, I never envisioned Lakers making peace with him but they will by hanging his jersey at Staples next season. There is a possibility DH may go back to Orlando to end his career for posterity reasons too.

    I just think it is not good to sustain a feud between two parties and other teams involved. it is not professional for GM Hennigan because someday he will be placed in the same predicament asking the the Lakers a favor or from Cavs., Rockets I’m sure GM Hennigan wants to be respected by his own peers. One good example of being a gentleman the owner of Suns released Nash to their closest rival within division, he could have traded him to Raftors.

    Hennigan has to make a decision not for the good of the Lakers or any team or for Howard but for Magic’s interest. Therefore, what I’m saying make a decision now and move on to next Magic team.

  50. Agree with posters against O’Neal signing. He can’t play anymore and is constantly injured. Sacre should do fine in the 5-10 min/3-4 foul role.

    Read on another forum that Hill was offered 3yr/$15M from MIN and Lakers are offering 2yr/$6M.

    If true, no way Hill can turn down $9M as he hasn’t really been paid yet (whereas A. Jamison has).

  51. 53,

    Hill gets 2m more per year plus extension of one year with Minny. If Minny misses playoffs, Hill is traded and end up as a journeyman hopping from one team to another. Lakers offer him 3m per year but after two years if he did a good job, he can get the MLE or a raise as a power-rebounder like PF LO, there will be enough cap space with the Lakers in post Pau’s and Kobe’s contract.

  52. Wondering.

    Lakers are so far over the cap. Is the thinking trade for Howard and go all in next year! Might be best remaining years for Kobe, Nash, Pau.

    Worst case Howard walks. A bunch of cap space opens as the penalty increases in 2014.

    Sounds crazy. But is it?

  53. I see most are against the O’Neal signing but if Hill bolts, which all young Laker role players do, what other options are out there for the minimum?

    Lakers need one more big body to combat with Collison.