Saturday Morning Espresso

Dave Murphy —  November 10, 2012

I was partway through writing the Friday links post when I heard about Mike Brown’s firing. I contacted Darius and we agreed to shelve the links – events were moving quickly and they continued to gather momentum. Mitch Kupchak’s carefully worded press conference suggested due diligence and an examination of the various replacement candidates out there. Instead, the growing realization that management might be willing to sing Kumbaya to Phil Jackson became the front and center story. By gametime last night, the crowd was chanting and afterward, players were offering endorsements. This isn’t to say that it’s a done deal. Mike D’Antoni is very much in the discussion and there’s always that which we simply don’t know yet. Regardless, it’s Saturday morning, there was a nice win last night, and it’s not a bad time to offer up some links to go with everyone’s coffee.

Over at ProBasketballTalk, our own Darius writes about the timing of the Mike Brown firing, asking if it was overreaction or a matter of inevitability.

Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk says that Steve Nash is still at least a week away from returning to the Lakers lineup. He also has this intriguing offering, about what it might take to bring the zen-master back.

Brian Pollakoff at ProBasketballTalk reports on Byron Scott’s non-interest in the Lakers job.

Sam Amick at USA Today writes about why Kobe wants Phil back.

Janice Carr at the OC Register also writes about Kobe wanting redemption for Phil.

Kevin Ding at the OC Register takes a look at the Jerry Buss imprint and decision time.

Arash Markazi for ESPN Lakers Report wrote about Mike’s picture and Phil’s chair last night.

Michael Wallace for ESPN GO relayed LeBron James’ feeling that the guy he once steamrolled didn’t get a fair shake.

Mark Travis at Silver Screen and Roll tells how the Lakers found their footing last night by dumbing down.

Mark Medina at the Daily News fills us in on a topic that managed to go by the side of the road, Devin Ebanks getting popped for a DUI.

Over at the LA Times, Mike Bresnahan points out an overlooked item – if the Lakers want Phil back they may have to give him his old office… currently occupied by one Jim Buss.

Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie wrote a nice piece about Kobe Bryant’s brilliance last night.


There are plenty more articles of course – they’re popping up as fast as I can hyperlink them and the old laptop is making its protests known. There will undoubtedly be more to report this weekend and we’ll all keep on it – just as we know you will. And last and certainly least, I was listening to the Who’s old anthem, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ yesterday and music sometimes gets the fingers tapping away as the shotgun sings the song.

Dave Murphy


to Saturday Morning Espresso

  1. I’ve been away a couple of days. Is the big story still Blake cursing out a fan?


  2. Dave I just posted this on prior page when yours came up. Thoughts on your thoughts.

    Mike D-Childhood hero for Kobe when he played with Jelly in Italy. Big fav of Nash and a quality guy that just needs a defensive asst. Of course he never had Dwight to clean up mistakes in Phoenix.

    Phil-Vote of confidence from Kobe and Dwight and it appears Jerry is back making decisions with Mitch and Jim.

    Team would be much more fun to watch with Mike but more structured with Phil. If it’s Phil expect Rambis back as his wife is best friend and works with Jeanne.

    Mike is multi-year and helps build future with Dwight while Phil is a one year go for the gold deal.

    Personal I would love to watch show time Mike again but no way with Metta, Pau, Blake and Jamison. Have to make immediate changes like a certain left hander dumped by Dallas who can run and gun.

    Expecting a decision before Spurs game. Either way we Laker fans are the winners. Hope I find a link as I will be in Chicago at trade show Tuesday(former NBA guys signing at my booth). Cheers.


  3. Seriously, it was amazing how much better the Lakers look when they use guards at the guard spots. Morris played great. Meeks was more mixed (I had Terry Teagle flashbacks) but he needs some minutes to get comfortable. He and Jamison didn’t shoot real well, but they are shooters and while they are on the floor I want to see them jack it up.

    Better substitution, better defense, bad opponent, looser, freer play. The offense was ugly at times, but you could see the future.


  4. dave m: lemon meringue pie tastes so much better now that the 2nd preseason has begun with a laker win.. good morning and greetings.

    so it was mental rather than physical based on what we all witnessed last night over there at staples center, home of primary resident, the los angeles lakers. bickerstaff did a commendable job in that he stayed out of his own way and we find that he’s got a keen dry sense of humor. gotta love that.

    seemingly we’re on our way to an exciting season no matter the selection of our next head coach (wink wink). now our focus and attention should be directed at the players because the old hiding in the bushes, laying low and smoke em if you got em was fully on display last night. and that of course was without the team’s starting point guard no less.

    so when the real season begins this year, we can again regain our senses and expectations unequaled in all sports.

    keep the faith, Go Lakers


  5. It would be great marketing if Chick-Fillet used the TV restaurant type ad that Phil did recently except it was Mike Brown behind the counter cooking saying ” don’t you know who that guy was”.

    Sorry. Can’t help myself.



    I’ve always thought the Shakespearean angle has been a little overblown, but I really hope that report is not true. I love Phil Jackson as a coach, but I wish he’d be willing to stick to that role and not keep pushing for more.

    Evaluating coaches on their merit alone, I’m not sure if there’s any 1 truly superior candidate.

    -Going against the grain, I’m not a fan of hiring D’Antoni. D’Antoni can be successful with the right players, but he’s shown very little ability to adapt his system to fit his personnel. Aside from Nash (and Howard), none of our players seem to be natural fits for his system. You need shooting in spades for D’Antoni’s system, and this summer we were excited about signing a career league average 37% 3 point shooter.

    -Phil is obviously the favorite. But even his best success came with Gasol at the 5 next to a true 4, instead of with Gasol at the 4. Can he find a way to mitigate Pau’s slow defensive feet? And the more obvious question – Phil, as much as D’Antoni, is a system coach. He has a system and brings in players that fit that system. What will he do with Nash? Will he try to phase in pieces of the triangle and lead us to the same identity problem? Adapt to a different offensive system, when he’s shown no inclination to do so over his entire NBA career?

    -Sloan is a bit more puzzling. On the surface, he’d appear to be perfect for Nash and Howard. On the other hand, I wonder just how long it’ll take the players to pick up the flex offense. His personality is perfect for this veteran team except for with Howard. If Dwight thought SVG was too negative, the first practice with Sloan will go up in flames.

    -The clear favorite to me – on merits alone – is actually SVG. At the risk of heresy, he might actually be a better choice for this personnel because he’s demonstrated Riley’s ability to adapt his systems to the personnel on hand. He’s shown to be elite defensively and especially with in-game adjustments and drawing up last minute plays. Unfortunately, unless Dwight’s able to channel his 2006 Kobe and bury the hatchet, this is not happening.

    -JVG would be a great choice too, but everything I’ve seen from him says that he’s not interested in leaving the booth. His major flaws – and what makes him inferior to his brother – is a lack of offensive creativity, and that’s mitigated by one of the best decision-makers in NBA history in Nash. He’d be perfect for this team, but like SVG, the chances of this are close to 0%.

    Out of the list, Phil is clearly the best coach. Before the flaming begins, I’d like to clearly state that I absolutely believe he can take this team to a championship level. But before we elevate him to godlike status, let’s remember that as recently as 2008, many of us were frustrated by his lack of in-game adjustments, and even more recently, some of his rotation moves (it was Luke Walton who asked to be sent to the bench so Ariza could start). No coach is perfect. And I’d be legitimately curious to see how Jackson would handle Nash. While his teams played a more simplified version of the triangle in recent years, he never had to change his system to accommodate a player so visionary that he himself is a system. Is that reconcilable, or would we get into the same dangerous middle ground that Brown found himself in?


  7. Hey guys. Regarding Phil, I’m sure that management has been contemplating this possibility for a while now. For me, the real question isn’t how he fits in immediately but how he views his role in the next Lakers generation. This could be a tough hump to get over because there are some very obvious family components here. As for Mike D – there’s a lot to like for obvious reasons. He hasn’t however, been able to get over that huge championship barrier and he’s had the guns to do it. This is the big difference between Jackson and everyone else. He gets it done with some regularity and banners are banners, plain and simple.


  8. Meeks and Jamison looked like they were released from prison. Kobe was great last might, particularly in terms of creating shots for others. He should have had 5 or 6 more assists . Loved Morris’ floor game and his tenacity on defense. Pau played like a 7 footer for a change, controlling the boards with 16 rebounds. His aggression was a welcome sight.

    Metta provided some serious comic relief when after going 0-10, he hits a three and blow kisses to the crowd. After hitting 3 in a row, he was kissing his biceps. Whatta guy!

    I loved seeing the starters cheering and encouraging the bench players. In order for this team to get where it wants to go, the Meekses, Jamisons, Hills and Morrises have got to find a groove and make consistent contributions. Getting those guys going is the key to the season and one of the coach-to-be’s biggest challenges.

    All in all, an encouraging start to the post-Brown era. We wish Mike well. He just was a bad fit for such a high-profile team.


  9. Wow it looks like it is going to be Phil. This is too much, This will be three times I have had to kiss the ring in the past 3 months !!! LAT and others are saying 95% !!


  10. I love Phil. He’s the man and helped bring the lakers 5 chips.

    But I don’t know if he is the right fit for this team.

    Running the triangle means the ball is going to come out of Steve’s hands. Which means we are just going to be using him as a decoy. Thats ok I guess if he were valuable defensively, but we all know better than that. It would be such a waste of Steve’s talent.

    This team should be running a Rick Adelman type Flex offense. Lots of spacing for the bigs to move, with the PG having the option to direct the traffic. That would benefit Dwight more (eliminate his post ups and get him to be the roll man) and Pau more (he would be a moving big instead of a stretch big. We all need to understand that Pau is not a stretch big man). It would also take a ton of the burden off of Kobe, allowing him to be the cutter and get easy shots in the lane.

    Those King’s type offenses of the early 2000’s were excellent. The only reason they couldn’t win is because they had noone who could handle Shaq & Kobe at the same time (though no-one did).


  11. For me there are interesting challanges for either coach. If Phil were to bring in the triangle it would be tough for the 10 guys that have never ran it. And of the 5 who have only Kobe and Pau are good at it. And then how does Phil use Nash? The Triangle doesn’t really use a PG. Phil is a smart guy and I trust he has a plan , still those are interesting challenges.

    As for Mike D, how would 7 seconds or less translate with an older group? Plus as we saw last night our outside shooting has not been stellar. Having Nash drive and kick doesn’t work well if we are bricking from the outside. Again Mike D is a smart guy and I am sure he would have a plan.

    Still both have interesting challenges outside of what they normally like to do.


  12. Saw this GIF tweeted by Eric Pincus. Thought it was pretty funny and relevant to the discussion.


  13. Phil is a smart guy. If he takes the job, I am sure he would put in some elements if the triangle. But he also would take into account his talent (Nash) and the need, age wise, to win right away with these guys, not take a three year plan approach.

    I would expect a simplified offense guys could catch onto quickly and over time working in a few more triangle elements. More emphasis on good spacing and floor balance than pure triangle right away. Let these guys loose, man.


  14. I doubt there will be a strict allegiance to the triangle. During his last couple seasons it was getting looser. Phil would probably phase it in and look to find ways to utilize Nash’s natural quickness as well. The most important thing is having a unified team. Phil had lost the attention of some of the guys two years ago. For Dwight and Nash, this could signal a return to how they most likely identify the Lakers. They’ve been around the league, they’ve played against Phil’s teams and this is really what the team’s longstanding identity is – not the Mike Brown system but the Jackson system and to a great extent, a certain iconic swag that he carries.


  15. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about any of the names floated, at least not for this team as constituted.

    Phil’s record is beyond parallel, but we all know that he is a triangle guy. We need to keep in mind that as important as anything else, this year is about convincing Dwight Howard to re-sign, and asking him to learn ANOTHER new offense, much less one that is universally regarded as the hardest one to learn (usually taking more than one season), hardly seems like the “win now” approach that this team needs. Moreover, the Lakers have their best PG in decades, and relegating him to passing the ball to the post and running to the corner is just a total waste of Nash’s talents. Could it work? Sure. But this team wasn’t terribly adept at picking up the Princeton offense quickly, so I’m not sure how reasonable it is to think that 40% of the starting lineup and 100% of the bench can learn a new, harder, system on the fly.

    D’Antoni would surely make this team more entertaining to watch than anything we’ve seen in a long time. But as Max Kellerman said on ESPN radio yesterday (referring to him as Mike Antoni, because he’s got no “D”) it isn’t reasonable to think that he can bring and instill a championship caliber defense.

    Brian Shaw seems like a fine long term option, but hardly enough of an upgrade over Mike Brown for this season. He has never been a head coach, and his claim to fame is being an assistant to Phil Jackson. If he brings the triangle with him, we’re getting at best a lesser version of PJ; and if he doesn’t bring the triangle, then what exactly are we hiring him for (since head coaching experience isn’t it). That he once played for the Lakers is meaningless when evaluating his coaching prospects here, because far better Laker players (Magic, Rambis) have failed to make the transition to successful head coach.

    Jerry Sloan is probably my favorite inactive NBA coach, but I think his hiring would be a disaster. He clashed with his Utah team, and it seems pretty evident that at this stage of his life he has no patience for the modern, spoiled, rich NBA player. I cannot see how he and Dwight Howard can get along.

    I hope I’m wrong about whichever one of these guys the Lakers pick up, and I totally support the removal of Mike Brown. Last night was a free flowing game where the players “just played”, and it’s clear that they were happier and more effective with that approach than with a tightly controlled style with baffling substitution patterns. This is going to be interesting, that’s for sure….


  16. are there any assistant coaches the lakers want to retain? aren’t there like a dozen of them?


  17. It would also be Phil Jackson three years removed from Tex Winter. One of Phil’s strengths was his willingness to have very strong assistants, even if they were (arguably) better at their portion of their duties than he was. It would be difficult to assemble that type of staff at this point, for this season at least.
    What about Nate McMillen?


  18. It seems that people are forgetting that we also ran a lot of PnR with Kobe and Pau when we won our last 2 titles with Jackson. I will assume that we will offer the same ability to move into this offence with Nash and Howard.

    Also Shaq, as will be Howard, was the main cog in the early 2000’s and even Shaq on open court said that Jackson was responsible for him moving to the next level in his career – imagine what we could see with a healthy Howard who stays in shape and is very active on defense – our chances to win this year shot up 1000% with Jackson likely coming back.

    Clearer bench roles and rotations with Phils ability to instill confidence in his benches will also be a major upgrade. Just hoping that Morris/Ebansk do not get relegated to not playing under phil as both are the best options at the backup 1/3


  19. Funky Chicken,

    Howard already said that he prefers Phil to be the next Coach. He is willing to learn the triangle and I think Phil would be the Coach that could ask Howard to stay put with the Lakers.

    Jerry Sloan is also my favorite but he could be an old school for these veterans.

    Phil is the best bet as long as Jim Buss and him agrees on their professional relationship, his health to handle traveling and his patience to stay longer to give time for everyone to jell with the triangle and so many other nuances that is typical PJ.

    (I hope Darius likes this post and will post it. lol!)


  20. Woj is tweeting that the Lakers are meeting with Phil today and have declined meetings with anyone else at the moment. My heart is a-flutter! Still waiting for the Spielburg to get on the pre-game highlights though Darius 🙂

    PS: after giving it a few days, put me down as a big fan of the new layout here on FB&G. It looks a lot nicer/sleek and also looks great when I browse on my phone. Nice job!


  21. Darius
    @forumbluegold: Because if you’re a “bring back Phil!” guy, you’re the same dude that found ways to trade Luke Walton for LeBron in the trade machine.
    If we get PJ as seems likely, does this mean we can trade Blake for LeBron?


  22. Paul L,
    Ha. I was of the mind that Phil reunion was basically improbable. That’s looking off base right now. A lot of egos will need to be dialed back and some making up will have to happen for this to happen. Seems like they’re on that path, though.


  23. I actually like Jerry Sloan for this team. He brings the hardnosed physical identity that is our strength, not shooting or quickness. His offense brings a combination of pick and roll and motion, which is a good fit for us. The flex offense isn’t that hard to learn since its a set of fixed motions and not as much of a read and react system offense. And somehow I think he would utilize Pau more effectively. Although I am concerned about the personality clash, Sloan might be more likely to buy in to a blue collar type modern NBA player like Dwight, especially within the confines of a strong locker room led by Kobe.

    I’m concerned about PJ because I’m not sure his adjustments are there and if he has the energy or influence to push the right buttons given how he went out. His greatest strength is getting big personalities to mesh, but that doesn’t seem like a problem with this group since we have a set of nice complementary pieces and established pecking order.


  24. Just thought it was funny because I think most everyone were of the mind that PJ was totally out of the picture until yesterday. Keep up the great tweets. They allow me to keep up with what’s going on in the game when I’m not able to watch. Also I agree with what everyone has said about the new layout – looks great especially on mobile device.

    Speaking of PJ, I think his commitment to winning is greater than his committment to the triangle. sure they will run some triangle but I envision PJ will play Nash with the bench unit a substantial amount of time and let him create for spot up shooters like Meeks and slashers like ebanks. Do you see it the same way?


  25. That 3-year rumor wasn’t legit. It was from a fake twitter account. If a deal gets done it’ll be spread over every major news source.


  26. Exhelo,

    Why would it be difficult to assemble assistants for PJ? Two are already available Cleamons and Rambis. The Cap is available to handle Howard and Pau. Chuck Person was formerly an assistant of Phil. That makes four, perhaps it is not a bad idea to retain Bernie Bickerstaff who is experienced in every facet of the game. The triangle will still be implemented and the pieces in it are also reinforced by expert assistants.

    With Nate, it is a whole new world and it could be more complicated than Mbrown.



    Not a done deal yet– Lakers talking to more candidates… but please, not Dunleavy. I really might start campaigning for Mike Brown to return.

    Let’s hope this is part of the PJ negotiation and nothing more than that,


  28. Since day 1, there is something about Hill’s decisiveness along with his defensive and athletic ability, that I loved. Even Mike Brown couldn’t shake this guy’s mental state!

    With that said, the most underrated thing Lamar Odom did for this team during his time with Phil here, was…. are you guys ready for this? …

    Lamar Odom’s defense (especially when it counted) WAS AMAZING!!!! (Rewatch a few playoff games and watch lamar off the ball defensivly (played consistent, solid defense).

    If Phil becomes the coach, watch out for Hill getting Lamar’s old role, and 26ish minutes a game at the PF position along side Pau and sometimes Dwight!!! (Getting goosebumps)


  29. The triangle is okay, but its a waste of Nash’s talents.


  30. drrayeye,
    It’s not that the report of a three year deal was a rumor, it’s that it was a hoax. As Dave stated, it was started by a fake twitter account that claims to be Adrian Wojnarowski. That account has fooled plenty of people in the past year into loads of things including a bunch or reports at the trade deadline last season and the start of free agency this past summer. It’s a shame that someone thinks is fun to impersonate a person that thrives in the world of reporting on his ability to break news but that’s where we seem to be in this age of a 24-hour news cycle fueled by twitter and the hunger to know everything instantly.

    The Bresnahan report, however, is real. And several other credible sources had that same report this afternoon. Other reports have stated that the Lakers hadn’t even reached out to other candidates (like D’Antoni) because they’re fully going after Phil at this point. This could draw out until late Sunday or early Monday morning as it’s already been announced that Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the team tomorrow night against the Kings.


  31. Edwin got it right on his comment by November 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    It’s not really about Phil. It’s about Howard.

    Howard wants Phil. We want Howard. Do the math. We should “spoil” our next franchise player in order to sign him long term. And I think we’re pretty lucky: Imagine if Howard wanted “another coach”? Then you have an extra job to convince your next-superstar that his choice is not good.

    PJ makes a lot of sense to me, to Dwight and to Kobe. Problem is that PJ knows that and will demand a good contract, especially after his last ternure with the Lakers…

    On the bright side, you can bet the players will feel that sense of urgency that is typical of winning teams. Or do you think PJ will come back from retirement and players will not give their best on the court? Nah, not gonna happen…

    We have only 1 option: bring PJ back.


  32. The more I read about details of todays “discussions” between PJ and the Lakers (all “details from said insiders taken w a huge grain of salt) there is interest on PJ’s part but instead of making it easy there is complications with travel etc… I just wonder if the Lakers may say f it and take Dantoni because they can’t seem to get a complete 100% buy in from Phil for 2 years. There is already issues about Phil wanting to negotiate how many away games he attends etc.. and I mean really – I get the Lakers don’t mind paying top dollar for Phil as he’s proven etc… – but to then have to cede some control over bball issues and allowing Phil to pick and choose what away games he attends only so Rambis can coach the team meanwhile paying a high coaching salary for a part time coach? I know Phil probably feels that he has the high hand in negotiations right now – and he does to a certain extent in terms of satisfying the fan base immediately. But the Lakers just proved they have no prob going in a different direction if things aren’t working and they’re not going to waste time kow towing to Phil just to get him back – remember this isn’t a case of them making a mistake and begging phil to take them back. The Busses don’t seem to have a prob rebooting if need be but don’t expect them to bend over and take it just to capitulate to all of Phils wishes.

    Now that the Lakers have obviously made clear overtures to Phil – if they decide he’s too much of a hassle or can’t get a hundred percent buyin and committment from him over the next two years, don’t be surprised if they announce “We tried but we’ve decided to go with our own pick and go with D’Antoni becuase Phil wouldn’t be reasonable with us” and they would feel totally justified in that. I’m no D”antoni apologist – but his offence would be easy to implement and give the Lakers some breathing room immediately so they can focus on defence the rest of the year. People would be expecting Seven seconds or less – more likely the Lakers offence would be closer to the system he designed and implemented successfully as the offensive coach for team USA past couple years – which would be more up tempo for sure – but would play to the strengths of all the players – especially Pau while easing the burden on Kobe and Nash. The dreams teams didn’t rely so much on tonnes of 3 point shooting – but on high efficiency shots and excellent passing – something this club would have in spades. Plus Nash could run uptempo with the second unit to help them out. Defense would have the rest of the season to get up to speed – and will get a lot better naturally just from having the time together, Howard fully recovering, and Pau getting his legs back – he looks worn out after a long summer as well.

    Not saying PJ isn’t going to be the coach – but if signing him is a pain in the ass – as a 1A or backup – D”Antoni is a very good choice and Lakers are in a great position having two great options. Also D’Antoni would more likely to be signed for 3-4 years allowing for some continuity
    when the reboot happens when Kobe/Pau’s contracts expire or get traded etc…


  33. Yea I heard that this afternoon about Phil wanting to take some road trips off. Really? Pay me full time but I might want to take trips off?

    We need a full time coach to focus on this teams problems. It’s not preseason. No time to cruise here. Do we fans want a part time coach. No! If that’s his deal go sign Mike D and find a defensive specialist. Team will be exciting and what they don’t need is another prima donna. Already have plenty of those.


  34. I saw the Laker team, back in the day, at an airport. I was traveling and so were they. Traveling
    by air is no ez feat. Bball players ‘travel schedule’ is absurd. They go up, then come down. Play a game at night. Then go back up and then back down, next day. Play a game at night. Go to sleep………… and then…. get back on a plane and do it again, when ur on the road. Maybe Phil’s body would be more better coaching the team to a championship, if Kurt just played the same cards, on long road trips. eh? Superman mvp 2012-2013 MBA finals.


  35. Phil`s last season and last series wasn`t exactly a success. Why the hype to re-hire him? Are the Lakers trying to relive The Yankees and Billy Martin soap opera in LA? Sure everybody wants to go out on top,but does Phil really need or want this job.


  36. Thanks Magic Phil for your kudos, I just heard it the other night on the way home from the game on what Howard and Kobe were saying in their preference for Phil and also the resounding cheers at Staples asking for Phil’s triumphant return. I think 95% he will announce his return in a day or two, as usual salivating the glory and taking his own sweet time as though he is about to call a time out. He may be wrestling with Father Time with regards to his health and mortality whether he could take the rigors of NBA at age 63. He has spent 1/2 of his life in NBA as a player and as a Coach, visited NBA cities several hundred times and slept in a thousand hotel beds and those morning hotel breakfast, so at that age, you are also sizing up your resolve whether your body can take the challenge. His mind may be strong as Zen-liked sharp but his muscles and limbs may now be frail and brittle. It is only the spirit of competition that motivates him because this is once in a lifetime opportunity to have another encounter with glory, the Hollywood lights, the roar of the crowds in coaching Kobe, Nash, Gasol and Howard et al. This is like coaching his contemporaries Baylor, West, Jabbar and Chamberlain. How many times in a century when four big planets are aligned at each other for a short time and space, old as they may appear they are still shinning bright, capable in inflicting harm like what happen to Golden State the other night. Lakers may be a laughing stock in the league today but they are still dangerous as an opponent. In the case of Phil, I compare him to the greatest generals of all time in basketball. He has resolute will of Douglas MacArthur, a tactical mind of Erwin Rommel and an indomitable spirit to win all battles in George Patton.

    Lakers need him and Phil needs the Lakers for his lasting legacy.


  37. Phil buys the lakers some time. Mike Brown was getting ripped to shreds and would have continued to until the Lakers won a championship. Apparently Phil is healthy again so thats good because his last season with the lakers wasn’t his best. I don’t think Brown deserved to be fired but I like Phil as the coach for this team more than Mike. Phil knows how manage personalities better than Mike. My biggest problem with Mike was his rotations he played Kobe and Pau way too much and never found reliable minutes for the role players (both of which are understandable because the lakers are still very thin talent wise).–2


  38. @ed – thats what I really wonder – if they sign D”antoni he’s already stoked and would sign on for 3-4 years or however they wanted no prob – but phil just seems to be being … not necessarily difficult, but like he’s playing games being coy about his interest and wanting special treatment etc.. so i expect by wed/tues we’ll have a new coach. D’Antoni was already quoted on yahoo saying he is totally excited to have a chance with this group and f his knee operation, that he’d be able to coach immediately and wouldnt need time off.

    People who diss D”antonis time in New York don’t realize that he played the good solider for two years working with a losing team as Donnie Walsh tried to unload and did unload all the bad contracts that Isiah Thomas brought in – the problem was, after walsh finally cleared the decks and D’Antoni thought he was getting a real team, James Dolan meddled and insisted on the Carmelo trade with Walsh and D’Antoni both knowing that Anthony wasn’t a fit w Amare or D”antonis system and is a ball hog. So he got the short end of the stick there as well – again any thoughts about a huge rift between D”antoni and Carmelo is over blown as they got along great on Team USA and D”antoni gameplanned for KObe, Melo, Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Howard, Paul etc… all these past years – so he knows how to coach the big boys and is a much more diverse coach than people think – he just prefers to play uptempo and loose.

    If anything we don’t know how Phil will adapt to his personel – he’s always only had to deal with one alpha male scorer/shooting guard – and a couple years of having shaq. Otherwise there was always 2-3 other players on the floor that would by lack of skill or being shooting specialists would simply spot up or defer every time they got the ball. Now he has 4 guys who need touches to be effecitve in different ways than what the triangle would maybe offer – can’t just tailor the offense to revolve around Kobe and and one strong post in Pau or Shaq. This isn’t a true repeat of 2004 as this team is even better 1-5 than the malone/payton lineup, but at that time payton was under utilized/mis used in the triangle – similar as would Nash be if the triangle was used today as in past – in which case you might as well trade Nash for an athletic wing or two and resign fish to just stand in the corner and shoot threes. Plus now there is the best center in the league who is the best roller/finisher on the pnr in the entire league and you have Nash who is the best passer. Not utilizing guys the way they should was Browns downfall – people forget – the Lakers are an entertainment product and as such – the team on the court has to look good while winning – thats all part of the Laker brand.

    @Ko – I’m with you – I think Mitch and Busses have every right to tell PJ he needs to be there at every game – if he wants a two year deal and wants significant input on his roster for those two years then fine – but he has to be all in and on board with the gameplane. I have plenty of bball and other related injuries – trust me, the Laker team charter w over sized seats and luxury hotel beds to stay in every night ain’t that bad. Check out this wall street journal article – gives you an idea of what travel life is really like.

    plus – people on this board realize how Rambis muffed things up in Minny right – do you really want him running this team and making critical end of game decisions because PJ can’t be bothered to get on a luxury charter?


  39. Rick Bucher tweeting at 2 am – “Reports that Phil wants to limit his travel are correct; his health being “fine,” is not. Source says thats why he wants to limit his travel.

    Don’t know if the Lakers want to deal with this issue this season – especially when they have just one crack at keeping dwight beyond next summer. Half a coach ain’t gonna do it – and with all respect to Brian Shaw – its a good thing that Indy has him employed and values him – because the lakers making him head coach right now would’ve been a gong show.


  40. Laker fans need immediate result with this potential four all of fame lineup. If coach Phil only wants 2 years in his contract as long as he gets the job done,,We need 2 more ships for Kobe, and Phil, That will cement Kobe’s legacy that he is the only one capable of winning in three different set of lineups.. For D’Antoni, he is well known for the SSOL offense, have a good relationship with Nash back in his Suns Days. and Kobe during the Olympics…Maybe Lakers can both hire Phil & Mike D’Antoni, after Phil, we have mike..
    Whatever decision will Mitch & Jerry Buss…we fans are waiting for it..we are so excited that the new era will began in LALAland…


  41. The reason I’d personally be excited for Phil to return is that I think the roster is fairly well suited to run the triangle. On the frontline, Dwight can fill a Shaq role and Jordan Hill a Rodman role (i.e. energy and rebounding along with solid defense). Ebanks reminds me of Trevor’s early days with the Lakers (his defensive intensity, slashing and improved range this year mark an almost uncanny similarity, although it remains to be seen if he can put it all together like Trevor was able to as the year progressed). Meeks is a solid spotup shooter who works hard on defense and should fit into a Vujacic role quite nicely. Morris’ size and length are in line with Ron Harper and he has the tools needed to, at least theoretically, fill that type of role. Blake was originally brought on because it was believed that he was an prototypical triangle pg and Duhon could have some of his shortcomings masked by the system (remember he did shoot 40% from behind the arc just last season).

    The only x-factors are Nash and Jamison. Steve Nash is too good and too smart not to flourish in any offense he’s in, and I doubt Phil would have any problem letting Nash dictate the offense in certain situations, but would this truly maximize Nash’s abilities? I’d be hesitant to bet against the Zen Master putting his players in positions to succeed so I’m more than comfortable waiting and watching how that would play out. This leaves Jamison as the big question mark; can he be the leader and facilitator/scorer on the second unit ala Lamar that he was brought on to be? He did average 17 ppg last season and it’s not as though he did it using his speed and athleticism so I’m inclined to believe that the chance certainly exists.


  42. Of the names floating around, I like SVG the most except that would require Dwight basically doing a Kobe, which may or may not be possible.

    PJ has a few problems, most notably his health and travel issues, but other than that he’s probably the best fit overall. What I like most about him is that he makes the most out of very very limited bench talent – we all remember that all the no-names Kobe had to put up with are nowhere after leaving Kobe… but they also left Phil.

    Sloan, while interesting isn’t LA and isn’t Dwight. He might get the respect of Kobe, Pau and Nash, but that’s about it. I really don’t want to see how he clashes with Metta.

    D’Antoni is interesting, because he seems to know how to simplify things and get players enjoy playing… until NY. Our offense, though statistically not really that bad, is actually fairly bad if we take out the two wins. So we do need his help there.


  43. Ric Bucher tweets huh? I wouldn’t believe Ric if he told me water is wet. Although Phil tried to have travel stipulations in his situation before, that was when his health was a major issue. It’s hard to expect total commitment from a team to a homecourt only coach. Will the team think that the road games that PJ doesn’t attend are not as important and not give full effort in those contests? A slippery slope to be sure and if the Bucher rumor about travel restrictions is true, then that just may be a deal breaker.


  44. I am sorry to say, but I have to agree with Ko. I don’t like the idea of Phil not being there for all his road games. Tells me Phil doesn’t really want this job and therefore is demanding a crazy deal. He is pretty much saying, “Well this is a an inconvenience for me if I come back, but I will do it if you give me this crazy deal.” Really? This Lakers team needs a coach who is gong to take them 100 percent seriously and do everything they can to have them win and be ready for playoffs. I personally don’t want Mike D either, but right now the better choice over Phil.


  45. Ko/Joe M: What we do agree on is that this firing was needed and that Phil and Mike D are the best available candidates. Where we disagree is the Phil negotiations. If Phil wants to take a few regular season road games off, I see nothing wrong with that. This is not 1985 and Phil will not be communicating to his staff via pay phones. With modern technology, this will be a minimal disruption. Not having Phil on the bench for a couple games is not a disaster. Also, Phil has mentioned a “mentoring” situation where his heir apparent would be on the bench. So the heir gets a few actual games of coaching over the next 2 years while Phil leads the team, then takes over after Phil leaves. This is actually a plus. The guy has eleven rings. Give him the terms he wants and get him on board and that is exactly what we are going to do.


  46. With regards to Phil’s assistants, I have recommended in the other thread to retain Bernie Bickerstaff and also Chuck Person. Bernie has a steady hand more experienced than Rambis if there is a need to coach road games. Besides, there is “Skype Coaching” available, just give each player an I-Pad during timeouts and/or one of the assistants a live cell hook up with Phil, he could always communicate what he wants to Bernie. We are now in the age of technology wherein salesmen in the field don’t need to report to office, they go on net meeting, online reporting while supervisors could trace where they are through technology.

    After two years, will Rambis takes the reins of Coaching? It depends that is still two seasons from now. What is important Lakers need to get inspired coaching this season. They have already given 4 games/losses and that’s a lot for the quality of competition that they will be facing. Just the shadow of Phil with his broad shoulder and his stare, will motivate them to jump higher, run faster and shoot straight. (The last one is is in reference to Metta W. Peace, he needs a lot of attempts before making it.)


  47. Fair point Robert. Though 11 championships or not, I want a coach who will really care about this team and put their full effort into it. I am just doubting if Phil really wants this or not, and for the right reasons.


  48. Reality is that the front office has to choose the path with the least amount of risk. This team has a two year horizon folks. if we’re not talking about a coach who’s produced championships before then we may as well have stuck with Mike Brown.

    I can’t believe D’Antoni is in the discussion. D’Anotni? What has he produced as a head coach in this league that doesn’t make him a huge risk for a team with a two year horizon?

    That’s preposterous nonsense.

    If these players exchanged uniforms for Celtic green, Doc Rivers would make them champions this year, no question about it.

    Given the short window, the required resume, and who’s out there, it’s Phil Jackson.

    Or? And I can’t believe nobody has raised this possibility, but get ready….

    LARRY BROWN is actually the other guy with a qualifying resume.


  49. Dave, no more remorse please don’t call MBrown anymore. For the sake of longtime Laker fans who have faint heart or on maintenance for high blood. Bernie’s coaching was a great relief the other night and the thing is, he was not really coaching but just uttering threats to play harder for the sake of their JOBS.


  50. When/if the Lakers and Phil sign the contract, here’s what Jeanie will be singing to Jimmy (with a few words changed, here or there):

    My Boyfriend’s Back!


  51. Phil tends to find and stick with lineups that work and he has no problem allowing his players to play their game. I would expect Nash, regardless of coach, to have less shot attempts and assists because of the other options on this team. I would also expect Phil to find an utilize a lineup that works with Nash’s abilities! (Nash, Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, Dwight?)

    I looked lost on my last post, I meant that Jordan Hill (to me at least) looks like he may have a similar impact defensively and on the boards as Lamar Odom did (the D from Odom at PF was a highly underrated and important part of the finals runs in 08, 09, and 10)


  52. It would be wonderful to be a fly on the wall during the meetings with Phil, as well as any actual negotiations. The truth however, is that it’s all conjecture on our part. All the various sources have been unnamed. I would guess that there really aren’t a lot of surprises ‘in the room’. There’s a ton of working history between the parties and it’s not as if Phil has been sequestered away on a remote mountain top.

    Now that I’ve said my piece, is anybody here really good at espionage?


  53. I think it would be OK if Phil misses a very small handful of road games, but not a significant number. Skype etc are useful tools, but Phil of all people, with the Zen/Native American/Kipling stuff etc. should be a guy who values the physical reality of traveling with the team, face-to-face communication, being on the bench with the guys in the fourth quarter, etc. Also, this may sound snarky, but it is not as if Phil will be sqeezed into a coach seat eating a bag of peanuts, and then sleeping in a Motel 6 when he travels. Travel is often tougher physically on people in Phil’s age group, particularly if they have ortho issues, but he will be doing it in style.

    One side point here: Phil and D’Antoni supposedly can’t stand each other.


  54. I agree with others. The diva act has me souring on Phil a little. If we trust current reports, then he’s asking for a $10 million salary plus special arrangements to take time off. It was enough of a problem when Kobe was sitting out practices. Now the head coach sitting out entire road trips? And I’m not liking the report that has him bringing Scottie Pippen as an assistant coach. That would indicate he’s likely going full force with the triangle and possibly marginalizing Nash.

    I don’t think we have a better option unless Dwight is willing to work with SVG (and the interest is mutual). I still don’t think D’Antoni is flexible enough to adapt to such poor shooters. And while reports of “No D Antoni” are overblown – those Phoenix teams were league average defensively – there have also been reports by former players that D’Antoni spent virtually no time emphasizing defense in practice.

    We all thought Dwight Howard would erase all our defensive mistakes, and he’s not yet fully mobile. But we also have to take into account that teams will start drawing Pau into PnRs instead of Dwight, and while Pau remains one of my favorite and most cerebral players, his feet are slow for today’s PF position. Barring a personnel change, that will continue to be a weakness, especially when it’s Nash and Pau guarding the PnR together.


  55. Looking at Dave’s links, I would add that Kelly Dwyer’s emotional fixation on all things Kobe got old several years ago.

    People are making good points about the coaches. I think we have to hope and assume that Phil and D’Antoni are both smart enough to adapt and deal with the issues noted.


  56. dave m” espionage, that’s a good one. more like flypaper, more inconspicuous to be in the room where negotiations are ongoing. the laker front office always like to maintain a posture of due deligence or more to the point, the appearance of due deligence. going thru the motions so that laker following will be more forgiving in the final choice. truth be told, the final choice was echoing loud and clear the other night during the third quarter over at staples center.

    so it’s a matter of disclosure while the ink is still drying and the adhesive is still adhering to the nameplate to the door of coach jackson’s newly decorated old office over at staples. critics be damned and scoffers be scoffed when it comes to jackson’s choice for first class airflight service tweeting from his office to his assistants before, during halftime and after each away game. when it’s time for his physical appearance on the road, deem it a positive, he will be there because he knows when he is needed. above all else, he is needed now.

    Go Lakers !


  57. Phil or DAntoni, neither one is a long term solution. DAntoni is only worth bringing in if Nash is around, and Phil will likely ride off into the sunset when Kobe/Pau/Metta expire and they blow the team up.

    WIth Phil you’ve got a 2 headed monster model for success that went 3 peat in the early 2000’s, just swap Dwight for Shaq in the triangle. I’d love to see what Dwight can do with Phil’s tutelage and Kobe’s buy-in as the “quarterback” of the triangle. The big question is obviously, where does Steve Nash fit in? Personally, I’m not concerned. He can knock down open 3’s all day and break the triangle when teams inevitably go zone. There’s a chance he could not satisfy Phil from a defensive standpoint and find himself being on the bench too much for his liking, but I find that less likely than in the Gary Payton season.

    WIth D’Antoni, you have ~30 minutes a game of the perfect SSOL Quarterback, and an excellent roll man. What you don’t have is a bunch of athletes to run the floor and fill lanes. Pau is no Shawn Marion in the open floor. Kobe will get his regardless, but he’ll probably be more efficient in a structured the half court game. My concern with him is the last time he coached a high profile team with big personalities, they underachieved greatly. This time replace Melo with Kobe, Amare with Howard, and throw in Ron Ron for good measure. I have doubts about his ability to lead those personalities. I also doubt he’ll be successful in convincing Kobe that the ball should be in Nash’s hands more often than his own during crunch time situations.

    The truth is, these are the only real options if the goal is to maximize this 2 year title window. After shipping Mike Brown out with less than a full regular season under his belt, I can’t think of many coaches who would even pick up the phone for an interiew with the Lakers. If Buss calls SVG, Sloan, Shaw, or even Fish, I bet they would all laugh in his face.


  58. dave m: one final thought to your faux friday forum, saturday situation and prior to our sunday sermon, how else would one want to be remembered but to say they were not only the winningest nba championship coach in one inhalation but to say during your exhalation that your career was bookened by the two greatest shooting guards in the history of the nba.?

    these are things we think about while you guys over at fb&g are steadfastly working on the next forum chat dialog. just giving you guys more food for thought. speaking of which, time for lunch.

    Go Lakers !


  59. nash can thrive in the triangle; he just has to be as aggressive as kobe.


  60. Just had to say this – after being on this board for a week it is very refreshing to see and read the civil debate and relatively informed and respectful opinions being expressed here by all regardless of what side taken. Was nice to find that this board can be supportive of the Lakers without being retarded fanboys. Thanks to Darius for running a tight ship – but there is a lot to be said for everyone who contributes their opinion here and keeps the discourse civil while lively. You’re making it a lot easier to convert to the darkside after hating the Lakers since 88!

    Not a fan of all this legacy talk by PJ regarding having an assistant mentor under him then carry on the triangle tradition – its easy to run when you have hall of fame 2’s the focus of it – not sure it makes sense for dwight and a brand new team in 3 years from now. Then you’re stuck with a coach that only knows one offense: see Rambis, Kurt experience w timberwolves and triangle debacle.


  61. Lakers meeting with Dunleavy now. I can’t for the life of me how he belongs in a group of candidates including PJ, Sloan, D’Antoni, Macmillan, SVG, etc. He may be as bad as Mike Brown, and less affable for sure.

    Just say no!


  62. People forget we had a bench mob while Phil was here, spearheaded by Farmar and running a very very lightweight version of the triangle while on court.

    If Farmar can thrive, Nash can too.


  63. Phil may be the one guy who is able to convince Pau to play the old Lamar Odom role off the bench. Heavy minutes, but more time on the floor without Dwight than with him. That let’s Pau play the low post, which is where he belongs.

    Then you could start Jamison for the face up 15 foot game or Hil for energy and speed with Nash.

    Strengthens the bench, uses Pau better.

    That’s the kind of move only a coach with Phil’s stature can pull off.


  64. Too much is being made of the personalities on this team and it’s over blown- I don’t see this team being a hard group ego wise. The top four all respect each other a lot, Kobe, Nash and Pau are consummate professionals, Howard needs to redeem his image and knows that and is happy to be the good guy in the lockerroom and Artest – for all his craziness – has always been a good teammate and team guy. All these guys are on board with eachother – the coach just has to be someone that they trust in. That won’t be an issue with PJ or Mike D.

    As far as ball control goes, Kobe has stated many times he wants his load lightened and I don’t think he minds less touches – as longs as he has teammates he trusts to make plays and hit shots which he does now. As much as he dominates the ball at times and has had to do so in the past – I really do feel he’s way more of a team guy when it comes to winning and I think we’re going to see more than a couple plays this year where he decoys everyone into thinking he’s taking the winning shot but finds Nash, Howard, or pau for game winners.


  65. The atmosphere is such that the players would buy into even very harsh changes, especially if the new coach carried some weight with him (not at the waist).

    Things like Pau and/or Nash being our 6th man. Pau playing center defensively when Dwight’s sharing the court. Kobe playing only 33 minutes whether he likes it or not. Things of that nature.


  66. I still think way too much is being made of this “Move Pau to the 2nd unit so he plays in the low post,” as if it’s some sort of novel idea. If Howard’s a 35 minute player, unless you’re relegating Pau to 13 minutes a game, they will have to share major minutes together. The basic idea is that Pau should be on the floor when Howard is not, and that’s not new ground. The new coach would likely do that, while still keeping Pau in the starting lineup. Benching him serves no purpose unless you cut his minutes by 2/3, because there would still be heavy overlap.

    Pau has found ways to coexist offensively with centers. The real issue is defensively. Short of slipping meth into Pau’s pre-game Gatorade, not even Phil can compensate for the fact that (defensively, at least) Pau is a center playing out of position in a faster-than-ever league. To me, that’s the biggest issue standing in our way of reaching Miami’s level.


  67. A couple of things that have been brought up repeatedly and I have my takes… A) As much as Phil is known as a Triple Post coach, I think it even more important to keep in mind another component of his teams… They just killed you at the rim. Be it the famous sequence against the Knicks when the Bulls blocked 3 million Charles Smith bunnies with talents such such as Cartwright, Pippin and Ho Grant… or the later versions with the same Pippin, the late Brian Williams (RIP Bison), and Rodman… or the first Lakers run around with Shaq/Grant/AC/Kobe and others who could keep balls in play on the rim and defend it…. to the Pau/LO/Bynum team that used to volleyball around the rim… any shot chart of an Phil Jackson team will show you lots of shots, tip ins, and other bunnies at the rim. LOTS. Now consider that Pau is not much use on defense away from the basket and we now have Dwight Howard. Forget the Triangle, these Lakers have the pieces Phil likes to base his teams around. If he comes, Phil will love Hill. He is the non-bonehead Turiaf… and I love Turiaf but Hill can avoid fouling at the first sign of a pump-fake.

    The Triangle is just a way to get you shots while in position to rebound and get back on defense. This is the whole logic around the now popular talk about floor balance on offense leading to getting back on D. I also think this is a major component to the ’08 loss to the Lepers and their offense that was strongly loaded towards creating corner 3s. Defending the corner 3 causes floor balance issues for the D and also makes it harder to rebound. Phil wanted to avoid this issue and the Celtics were able to just shoot away from the corners. Point being, Phil doesn’t have to implement the Triangle. He needs to implement a system that gets the team shots while in good position to both crash the boards and get back on D. Maybe with Nash, the options to achieve this shift to an offense that both discards the Triangle and keeps the team moving on O actually grows. I alos think the team needs to let Kobe spread out the playmaking. Not because he is bad at it. Obviously, the team won a bunch of ‘chips with Kobe playmaking. I just think the team needs a little bit more options available to it when they get to the playoffs. The team needs to get used to someone besides Kobe creating for the team and he needs a chance to score easily sometimes.

    Another thought I have is about Morris. Why can’t he be Farmar type with D ability? Obviously he is still struggling to finish around the rim but it looks to me like he is willing to attack and (related to the point above) he has the teammates that can be trusted to put back his misses. I think he will eventually get more confident finishing around the rim when he is a little less worried about making them. I really like his size, his foot-speed, his activity, and growing strength. There is an option available to this team for Nash’s minutes to be kept at his 30 minutes a game. I’m even starting to like what I’m seeing from Blake, certainly more so then I did during preseason and to start the season. Honestly, with Meeks, Ebanks, Morris and Blake… this team has some backcourt options for any coach whose brain doesn’t scramble the second he considers the concept of a rotation.

    Brown’s biggest sin was in his rotations. Whomever comes in next will have plenty of talent to work with and, one hopes, he’ll have the willingness to dose out royal jelly to the bench. Guys like Meeks, Morris, Ebanks and Pau will really need it.

    Anyhow, nobody ever said it was boring being a Lakers fan.


  68. Kobe is on record stating that he wishes to reunite with Phil. Dwight is on record stating that he would like for Phil to be his next head coach. Obviously, judging from the chants during Friday night’s game, the fans have made their feelings known. Bottom Line: PJ is in high demand.

    While in agreement with Snoopy’s comments in regards to Phils’s diva act, I am not the least bit surprised by them. After the Mike Brown debacle, Phil knows that he’s in a position of power and he’s going to use that to his advantage to extract as much as he possibly can from the organization (spotlighting Jim Buss) for trying to desecrate his name after his last departure.

    So if the reports are accurate about the gig being his if he chooses (perks included), and he accepts, then it would appear that he’s succeeded in getting his ‘Sweet Revenge’ ..


  69. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Phil negotiating his way out of some road games. For all he has brought the city of Los Angeles and the Lakers in terms of championships, he should basically be allowed to write his own contract. The players love and respect him and so do the fans. It’s a no brainer. That gif that was posted of that hilarious playoff moment between D’Antoni and Phil shows perfectly why Phil is the right choice and D’Antoni isn’t. D’ loses his cool under pressure: Phil does not. Simple as that.


  70. Why are the Lakers meeting with Mike Dunleavy?

    What possible good could come out of that meeting?

    smh. If Mike Dunleavy’s the coach we will have downgraded from Mike Brown.

    Here’s to hoping Phil isn’t asking for too much/is healthy enough to coach.


  71. Snoopy,

    That is why swapping Gasol for a defensive minded PF with quick feet, like Josh Smith, makes so much sense. Miami is an elite defensive unit because they can switch against P&R’s without creating any huge mismatches, and every player can run back in transition, rotate and hedge/recover quickly. The Lakers will always have major issues defensively as long as Gasol plays PF. With Nash being a huge liability on the defensive end, something opposing teams will exploit throughout the season, it is crucial to have a PF to mask some of his liabilities….not one that adds to it.


  72. Jim Buss would hire Mike Dunleavy. Seems like a Jimbo-type move.

    My biggest concern if we hire D’Antoni would be if we can actually run with this team. We’re very slow and old; and although still effective, Nash isn’t the player he used to be. And I just don’t see Pau and Dwight running back and forth across the court for 48 minutes without some detriments to our defense.