Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  February 15, 2013

The third episode of L.A.’s hallway series came and went last night. The game was preceded by news about the health of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. He’s been a true lion in the league for many years now and one of the enduring truths in life is that our winters inevitably come. As for on-court action, about the best that can be said is that the team gave it a shot. Kobe Bryant had a couple age-defying dunks and 11 assists. Plus the bench put up 41 points so there’s that.

There may be a book written some day about this crazy mixed-up season. It has defied expectations and logic although some will argue the point. There were plenty of warning signs – the notion of banking on a newly-arrived superstar who was still recovering from surgery, the amalgamation of aging players and the very real potential for systematic conflict. Still more may point out that most of us were willing to drink the Kool-Aid. And why not? It tasted just fine at the time and was loaded with incendiary promise. And here we are – the Lakers are in still in tenth place in the west and you can only spin that so many ways for so long.

The NBA All-Star break is sometimes seen as a midway point in the basketball season but it isn’t really. It’s a few days off, a chance for some players to rest their aching limbs and for others to compete and socialize in an annual rite of passage. Both the Lakers and Clippers will be well-represented and when the party’s over, teams will find themselves looking down a shotgun barrel stretch run to the end of the season. For some it won’t really matter – they’re already out of hunt and simply jockeying for draft position. As for the Lakers, they’ll have 28 games left to try and slip through a rapidly-closing window. In the meantime, enjoy the respite – there will be plenty of ASW coverage right here.

Dave Murphy

Posts

71 responses to Friday Forum

  1. This is the game that pretty much put a period on the season for me. Sure we can mathematically make the playoffs, but why? We can’t really beat the top four NBA teams in a series – we just aren’t good enough. Whether or not that is talent, heart, or a combination, we can argue from now to the end of the season.

    At this point in time it is the front office’s job to evaluate what we have and what we can realistically do for next year. Dwight Howard is the biggest question and there are two points to consider – one on each side…
    1) Is there someone better we can use to start our rebuild?
    2) Can Dwight ever willingly play a more active game, where he spends less time with his back to the basket?

    The front office answers to these questions really determines what the Lakers want to do with Dwight. I don’t think this has to be determined in the next two weeks, because the Lakers do have some options at the end of the year – and they still have Pau Gasol.

  2. CraigW: Lakers really only have 6 more days of power. When the trade deadline passes Dwight holds all the cards. Sas also said the 5th year that only the Lakers can offer him is a player option. It’s basically 4 years because most stars opt out early to get another 5 yr deal. The Lakers have 6 days to decide what they want their future to be. After the deadline Dwight lets the Lakers know what their next 5 years will be like.

  3. Craig – I’m wary of spending a max contract on a guy who’s back is so problematic. Dwight says that his legs go numb after sitting for a few minutes and that’s just not a good sign for the future. I would look more to #1.

  4. With Dr Buss’ health as it is, I really doubt the Lakers will make any move before the trading deadline. To the Buss Family, there are more important things in life than basketball right now.

  5. As I said a couple months ago the Lakers should trade Dwight. Although they won’t be able to get much for him now that everyone knows he is not the same player the team can at least get something for him which is better than losing him for nothing or signing Larry Johnson to a max deal.

  6. Is it really the end of the world if we lose Dwight for nothing? We do gain $20,000 in that case and get under the lux cap next year instead of the following year. That means we only need the following year before we can go into the luxury tax again for awhile.

    Things are changing in the NBA via not only the players, but the CBA. This isn’t to say I would like to lose Dwight for nothing, but it also may not be the end of the world – at least we don’t have to worry about a max contract for Bynum. Besides, we did get Clark in the Dwight deal and he may be a keeper going forward – along with Jordan Hill.

    My thought is that Mitch will be thinking outside the box, not just following where the dots seem to point – like most bloggers in the NBA universe. That is the only way to stay ahead of the game.

  7. In my view, avoiding bad contracts is key, period. I want to see healthy players on the roster and guys that want to go hard, all the time.

  8. Aaron you were right. Dwight is a clown and my surces say he is the odd man out and not liked by most all on the team. With a clearly overmated Nash and a all around bad Metta there is only one hope for this team. Blow it up!

  9. In the past 17 years, there has been only one season where the champion did not have a starter on the All NBA team. That was the 2004 Pistons, and we all know what happened there (and they had a 2nd teamer). To review the past 17 years of Rings you have 3 Jordans, 4 Duncans, 3 Shaq/Kobes, 2 Kobes, 1 Shaq, 1 Dirk, 1 Garnett, 1 LeBron, and the Pistons. Therefore, that said, in order to win titles, you better have one of the top 5 guys in the league, and preferably one of the top 2/3. So who are those guys today? They are Kobe, LeBron, KD, Chris Paul, and DH. Ironically we have two of them yet we can’t win. The reasons for that are for another discussion. However when we talk about “building around someone” that needs to be accompanied by a plan to get one of those guys. There is a plan to get DH. Does anyone have a plan to get LBJ, KD, or Chris Paul? And of course I will add that it must be a plan that will not get Vetoed : )

  10. Craig,
    Fyi, the Lakers won’t be under the tax line next year even if Dwight walks for nothing. Without Dwight, the Lakers’ payroll will be around $79 million next year with every player who has an option on the books returning. This year, the tax threshold is $70 million. Next year, it’s estimated to stay flat or rise a small number. So, again, even if Dwight walks, the Lakers will be over the tax line.

    As an aside, I plan to write on this subject next week. Maybe on Monday.

  11. Robert,
    Based off his play this year, Dwight Howard is not a top 5 player. If he was playing like a top 5 player, your point about the team not winning wouldn’t be true as the team would be one of the better teams in the conference (at least). A healthy, engaged, top 5 player Dwight Howard is one of the true difference makers in the league. I think the criticisms on this board (and from the Laker fan base in general) of Dwight has gone overboard, but it’s more than fair to say Dwight isn’t playing anywhere close to a top 5 player in the league level.

  12. Whether the Lakers offer Howard a max deal should revolve almost entirely around what they think is going to happen with his back; the stuff about his attitude is way overblown. As I said a couple of weeks ago, star players whose teams have a few playoff failures are almost always tagged with exaggerated personality deficiencies. How many times in 2009-11 did we see stuff along these lines about LeBron James? I get that there are people here who don’t like Howard, but there are also people here who don’t like Kobe and Pau. If FBG has been around in 1999, there would have been people here bashing Shaq every day.

    But at the same time, Aaron and Darius make points. Howard’s back appears to me really messed up, the current version of Howard is not a Top 5 guy, and he might get worse, not better.

  13. Just to go a bit further, I *do* think Howard is a top 15-20 player this year, which would make him still a very good player and *worthy* of a max type deal in today’s NBA (including going into the future). Again, I’ll write on this with more detail soon. Howard’s future is an important topic, after all.

  14. Also, I am not sure that Kobe is a Top 5 player. Zach Lowe said he is “6-10″ a couple of weeks ago. I think he is still a Top 5 offensive player, but overall, well, it’s an argument, albeit not one I want to have.

    But beyond that, as noted, the Lakers just have too many guys who aren’t very good on defense, and too many guys who are slow/old–even Kobe said that, and Howard is not in DPOY form to cover some of it. And further, as discussed a bit in the other thread, MDA does not seem to have many ideas to alleviate that problem.

  15. Darius: Thanks for the response. I agree with regard to the over-criticism. DH is 1st in rebounds, 4th in FG%, and 5th in Blocks. If he played for the Clippers and did Kia commercials he would be considered the second coming. That said, who is “clearly” going to be 1st Team All NBA and/or 2nd Team All NBA in front of him (this is with DH actually playing the year out of course)? More importantly is the 2014 All NBA Team. Who is the starting big man? I am not arguing with you, because I as you state, a healthy DH is a great player. So the issue is health, and that appraisal must be made. What I do know, is when “building” around someone, it better be a franchise type player, and a healthy DH “could” be that. Once you get past the the group I listed (KB, LBJ, KD, CP, and DH), I am not sure who is. Self fulfilling prophecy that most of the rings will be coming from that group. I would not build around Kevin Love and expect him to be on the cover of the NBA Encyclopedia one day – although he could be on the back cover – where the Robins are shown – only Batmen go on the front : )

  16. Darius

    Isn’t tbe question more of “if Dwight wants to be here”?

    I question based on his most recent comments at the ASG if he wants to play here and if he can coexist with Kobe and Mike D.

    My sense says he wants to go where he is the king not just another pawn?

  17. Trouble is, Howard’s play this season, while very good, isn’t consistent. You can’t rely on him to turn in a high level of performance in any given game, and that’s creating too many question marks for the rest of the team and coaching staff to deal with. Not worth the trouble, IMHO.

  18. Ken,
    That’s surely a question — one we won’t have an answer to until after the season, but a question all the same. However, there’s also a growing number of fans who say they don’t want Howard even if he did want to be a Laker beyond this season.

  19. DH is 1st in rebounds, 4th in FG%, and 5th in Blocks.

    You have said many times that you are not a stats guy, but rather a “general observation guy.” It is very clear, and has been documented by many people, that Howard’s mobility and second/third jumps have been badly compromised by the injury. One way that this shows up in the numbers is that Howard is getting many more of his shot attempts blocked than ever before.

    But even with that he is still probably Top 20.

  20. Ken,

    Indeed. If I had to bet now, I would bet that

    a) Howard is not traded.
    b) He walks.

  21. True enough rr – and touche. Top 20? Name the 3 big men who are clearly ahead of him. Unless (and I will counter) – you have succumbed to the belief that big men no longer matter and your top 20 is laden with guards : ) And keep in mind some of the guys who might be close to DH in performance are close to retirement (you are not going to build around Garnett or Duncan). And besides – which side of this are you on? : ) I see signing DH as one option and scorched earth as another. I am awaiting someone on the board to come up with a third : )

  22. Darius,
    Sorry, I did think Dwight’s salary + a bit would get us under the Luxury Cap – where the Repeater Tax kicks in the following year. My bad!

    All the comments here simply amplify the two questions I posed about Dwight Howard. The key is how the front office views him, not us bloggers. Perhaps we have no choice but to build around him in the future – as the alternative has no people in it at all – but that is the question we are all arguing about.

  23. Robert,

    I have said many times that if they think his back will get better, they should offer him a max deal, and I have been defending him the last couple of days. If I ran the team, I would try to keep him. But one reason the Lakers get torched on defense night after night is that Howard can’t protect the rim that well anymore, and one reason their O is 8th rather than 2nd or 3rd is that he has not done well at establishing on the blocks or setting high picks. And those issues are tied to his back. Howard as he is today is probably not as good as either Tyson Chandler or a healthy Kevin Love.

  24. As an aside, one of the annoying things (among many) about this year for me has been that we are, to use Robert’s term from last year, back in “limbo.”

  25. Dwight can get 5 yr 117 mil from Lakers and 4 yr 87 mil from every other team. Might be a silly question but I don’t live in Dallas. Anybody know the difference Dwight would make signing a 5 yr deal with LA and the 4 year deal in Dallas?

    If the 5th year is a player option it would be a 4 yr 91 mil deal from LA. Only a 4 million dollar difference.

  26. Ken brought that up; Texas of course has no state taxes. In addition, Howard makes tens of millions a year from Adidas.

  27. Last night the Lakers really missed not having a healthy Pau Gasol to defend Griffin. Griffin’s lack of distance on his jump shot makes him an easier cover for Pau who can play off him. Pau can use his length to disrupt the jump shots or recover if Griffin drives. My bigger concern for the Pau-less Lakers is the lack of a point guard who understands the offense. With Pau, they can run sets off the high post with Pau directing traffic. Without Pau, Nash is in too much of a hurry to get the offense going. He likes to rush the ball down the court and get early opportunity shots. It is the worst thing the Lakers could be doing since it constantly gives the ball back to the other team whether or not a basket is made. The Lakers need patience with their offense and to make sure the whole team is participating in the offense. It draws defenders to each of the Laker players and cuts down on fast break opportunities. As it is, I cringe when I see Nash attack and try to create plays that are not there. Also, it would be great if the Lakers had a reserve point guard who could actually play defense against opposing 1s to help keep teams from being able to get into their offensive sets.

  28. When you butt heads with a five time champion (Kobe), the worlds “greatest teammate” (Nash) and your coach (MDA), you have a problem.

    When a long list of laker legends (magic,worthy,horry and most recently rick fox) questions your desire, attitude and commitment to the franchise, you know you have a bigger problem.

    And when MWP/Artest is the only person who has your back, then that is down right crazy.

  29. Craig W: As a selfish, entitled Laker fan, I could care less about taxes. What does matter to me is the real cap (not the tax level). We could not get down there if we literally blew it up (at least not until after 2014). And if we can’t get down to that level, there are no free agent signings, so I am not sure we are going to get the next Kobe/Magic from.
    rr: I am not sure we are in “limbo”. If we were in limbo” like last year, I should feel as good about things as I did last year at least right? Well I don’t : )
    One thing I would not do – and let me say this so it does not violate my pledge – I would not even build around Phil Jackson as the starting point, so that applies to anyone else who could be coach as well.

  30. I’ve thought this one over, if the Lakers don’t trade Howard and try to re-sign him I think he will do exactly the same thing Kobe did to Shaq… He’s going to say to management, “it’s either me or Kobe”… Howard is going to force the Lakers to amnesty Kobe if they want to keep him.

  31. Darius — Even if you’re correct in the belief that Howard is a top 15-20 player this year, the question of can the Lakers win with him as a centerpiece has enjoyed a resounding “No” for an answer.

    Yes, this team’s issues are bigger than him alone. But it would be nice to see some passion, some hustle, a discernible effort to put your imprint on the game, to dominate your man. People love to watch guys like that, even if they don’t win games, because they respect the effort. Have we seen anything even close like that from Dwight? Maybe in the Milwaukee game, but that’s it.

    His teammates don’t like him, in L.A. and they didn’t like him in Orlando. That says a lot. The fans are turning on him by the moment, and that says a lot. It’s been years since I’ve been this disinterested in watching the Lakers, and I’ve watched plenty of bad Lakers teams over the years. Fans know what’s realistic, and they know when effort is extended. While the title talk of this summer was clearly overblown, who can say they’ve seen these Lakers give a consistent effort this season? Ask anyone and they’d likely say they’d rather see a mediocre player/team hustle than see a supposed star sulking and pouting, whining about this and that.

    Aside from Kobe, who can’t play any other way, and Clark, who’s been a pleasant surprise, this team is just not enjoyable to watch. To think there could be four or five more years of this Howard saga just turns me off, and based on other fans’ comments, I’m not alone.

    17 ppg and 11 rebs are decent numbers. The game’s about more than numbers. Hell, Tony Campbell once averaged 20+ ppg for two straight seasons. No one ever bought a ticket to see Tony Campbell, and no one in L.A. is lining up for tickets to see Dwight, either.

    The Lakers re-signing him will do more to make the Clippers a long-term player for the fans’ attention than any other move. Let Dwight go, or deal him for what you can get. But don’t expect fans to be ecstatic if he becomes the new centerpiece. In fact, expect just the opposite. He may be the most unpopular Laker ever, in less than half a season. That says it all.

  32. Sources: With Dwight Howard still seeking happiness, the Lakers and Celtics have discussed a trade for Rajon Rondo. cbsprt.co/HowardRondo

    — Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 16, 2013

    Anybody have some insight on this? Who are the “sources” for Berger’s story?

  33. @ arliepro — Chris Broussard wrote about it for ESPN too, but Mitch denied the rumor. Broussard is one of the worst NBA “journalists” out there, though, so take anything he writes with a serious grain of salt.

    On most days he makes Bucher and Stephen A. seem credible by comparison.

  34. guys: jewel said it best, in the end only kindness matters. to succumb to cancer and death are given. the man with the midas touch whose life will soon come to an end has brought to this city, los angeles a sense of pride, a sense of self and a sense of invincibility by the product he brought to the table, year in, year out. with his eventual passing, we should take a moment.

    it would be disrespectful at this time to say what is to come of the lakers once the man with the midas touch is gone. for over three decades, as owner, as figurehead and as dad he was blessed in so many ways and laker following was blessed that he was. life of course will go on, not quite in the same way for all things lakers.

    Bless you Jerry Buss, you have a higher calling on the horizon.

    Go Lakers

  35. I don’t understand the binary thinking around here about DH– the notion that either we need to ‘build around him’ (and the related question as to whether he has it in him to be ‘The Man on a championship team’); or else ‘trade him immediately ‘/’blow it up.’ My understanding – correct me if I’m wrong – is that with all the contracts we clear in 2014, we could easily field a 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 team that looks something like this:

    DH at max
    Huge Maxed out Superstar 2014 FA who becomes our new #1 option/team leader (there are plenty to choose from including some of the biggest names in the game)
    Kobe at 10M a year, if he chooses to keep playing and will take a deal like that
    Nash (contract expires end of 2014-15)
    Clark or similar midlevel kind of guy

    To my way of thinking, that’s a potential championship team and certainly better than what might be put together in Howard’s absence. More simply: why can’t we max out Howard with the idea that he will be the #2 player behind whomever we sign in 2014? In the climate of the new CBA, a 2nd or 3rd tier center is going to get 2/3rd of his salary anyway…. For all the whinging around here about DH’s play, I really encourage the complainers to watch 5 straight games of a player they’d like to take his place– it’s DH and a bunch of role players out there…

  36. People seem to forget why dwight wanted to leave orlando and why he clashed with van gundy.

    Hes just repeating what he did there…the only difference is he cant get away with blaming jameer nelson.

    He truly believes he is shaq but in reality he is kevin willis…

    Do you commit to a player who is only happy when hes allowed to do things he does badly

    And why does the media keep saying dwight is a dominate post player?

    He pretty much have kendrick persons a career by being a terrible post player

  37. Berger’s usually a pretty reliable source. If the story has any legs it will become apparent quickly.

    On just D12 in general, Brian K had an interesting post a little while ago. http://sulia.com/channel/la-lakers/f/0c9a800e-84be-47b9-8384-8d7a7a59741f/?source=fb

  38. Lil Pau

    If the guy wants to be here then why does be beat around the question when he was asked today? If he really liked it here how about “I love being a Laker and want to stay for years”. That would change the thinking by fans and by teammates.

    The same game as last year is happening again. If he won’t commit
    isn’t it better to get something this years? Dwight is the only tradable asset the Lakers have. Only way to get younger and faster is through Dwight. Would you take the gamble and maybe get nothing? Clearly
    he is not getting alone with Kobe Steve or Mike. if it comes down to them or him, what then?

  39. rr

    Correct. Not only no state tax but just consider the side ( non-basketball) income Dwight would be gifted by Mark C. Billionaire in the state with the best economy in the USA. Their governor was here last week offering perks for Calif Companies to move to Texas. He would be the King of Texas.

    Jayz

    Right on. Yell at and disrespect Kobe, Steve, the Coach. What’s next Magic and Kareem? Guy is a loose canyon and I will bet cases of adult beverages for all on here he WILL NOT be back. He us passing out resumes this weekend in Houston. If you don’t think Mark C is spending quality time with him then you don’t know the. Cube Man!

  40. This Garnett trade to Clips is unbelievable if it happens. Damn, Clips could be a damn good team after that.

  41. vhanz: Guess it could come down to KG’s no-trade clause. How much is it worth to him to stay in Boston?

  42. I don’t understand the binary thinking around here about DH

    A lot of people are reacting and venting more than thinking. That noted, the big flaw that I see in your plan is the signing a FA superstar in 2014 part. But you are mostly right about Howard.

  43. @arliepro

    Yeah, I was also thinking his no trade clause but we don’t know what will happen and what will KG’s thought if that trade will be made.

  44. @ Dave M, with regards to Brian K’s post, I completely disagree with him. 2 years ago when the Heat struggled Chris Bush would cry after games and the press ridiculed him. Ask any fan today which they prefer, a player crying after loses or a player laughing it up after games? Look people like Brian K need to be more responsible and admit that what Dwight is doing is unheard off in any work place. At my job after reports of losses or lower than expected profits I don’t see people laughing it off. Dwight’s team is mired in failure and the fans and his teammates see a guy who seems not to be concerned. Brian K isn’t a mind reader and neither are the fans or Wright’s teammates, all we all can go by is the appearance of things and by the look of things it seem Dwight doesn’t care about LA. One last question, how many players in NBA history have had a similar kind of approach as Dwight?

  45. lil pau: totally agree with that plan. Max out DH (after medical clearance), extend KB for 2-3 more at 10-12 (let’s start this discussion with KB), and “try” to get another big name with the money that frees up post Pau and Metta contracts. However, this will probably need to wait until 15 in that we will still have Nash at $10 (so DH at $19, KB at $12, Nash at $10 – that is $41 – throw in Earl Clark and a couple others, and there is no room for a superstar – until Nash clears). So while I totally agree with this plan, the only real way to get a superstar in 14, would be to make a choice between KB and DH. I do not think the math works with KB, DH, Nash, and a big name.

  46. Chris J – totally agree with your enjoyment assessment. It’s more than numbers and there needs to be a culture of winning that’s not just talk. One of the truly amazing things (to me) is where the Clippers are these days in that regard. They were snakebit for so long and so much had to with Sterling and just a feeling that it wasn’t a fun organization to be at – the whole ‘stinks from the top down’ mindset. Maybe he finally decided to leave the the coaches alone or maybe Vinny D is just the kind of guy that players like to play for or maybe it’s CP3 or Chancey or whomever – I really don’t know. But that team seems to like playing again and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that from the Lakers. Last year was a mess under Mike Brown but it wasn’t nearly this grim. And that’s saying a lot.

  47. I agree with Chris J above. I don’t like watching this team at all, and it is mostly because of D12. he is a cancer IMO and I am praying Mitch moves him in the next week. If Mitch is not playing Jedi mind tricks and indeed will not trade him, LAL has no shot this year. If, on the other hand, D12 is moved for pretty much anything, LAL has a shot, however small. winning consistently in the NBA is about chemistry. this team with D12 has no chemistry.

  48. The sad truth is that, without Dwight, the Lakers would have a worse record than they do now.

    It’s hard to accept that Howard isn’t the source of their problems. He is a part of them, but they are worse without him.

    Think about how terrible the Lakers defense is. Think about how terrible it was when a healthy Bynum was in the roster.

    Then you add Steve Nash as your starting PG. He is one of the worst, if not THE worst, defensive PG in the NBA. He is slow and old. Also, it is obvious that Kobe’s legs cannot play defense and offense with intensity on both sides anymore. That is a monster problem.

    Howard helps solidify their defense. He still is near the top in blocked shots despite his injured capacity. They are better on defense with him in the game. Do you know how many times Nash and Kobe get beat and Howard picks up a foul for them?

    The Lakers defense is the most glaring problem. That AND their chemistry, and their age, and….

  49. Chemistry: There are the chemicals (players), there is the formula (FO), and there is the Chemist (coaching). All of these play a factor. If you mix oil and water together and then wonder why they don’t blend together, is that all to be blamed on the oil? Or perhaps the water? Or perhaps maybe there needs to be a third ingredient to make the oil and water mix? In any case, the oil and water (and other ingredients) do not appear to be blending too well together on our team. And to this point the formula has not been changed successfully and the guys in the white coats haven’t really done anything about it either. I am not defending the oil (DH), because oil can be very messy, and it doesn’t mix well. However it does have many good uses. I think we need to figure out how to use the oil properly.

  50. I am not a Howard fan, either. I just think that there are deeper problems with the Lakers that will take years to unravel and rebuild. The Kobe Bryant era will yield no more championships. They have a toxic culture and its been growing for many years.

    But I don’t want Howard either.

  51. James: “Howard helps solidify their defense. He still is near the top in blocked shots despite his injured capacity. They are better on defense with him in the game. Do you know how many times Nash and Kobe get beat and Howard picks up a foul for them?”

    My view is that D12 provides a false sense of security for Nash and KB24. They think he will protect the rim, but too often he doesn’t. Defense is (largely) about effort and communication. D12 doesn’t expend the effort necessary and from what I can tell is a horrible communicator. So, my view is that the defense would be better with D12 (in the 2013 LAL incarnation) off this team. I am sure stats show the defense to be better with D12 on the floor now, but IMO any replacement in a trade (assuming a good chemistry fit) would lead to better effort and communication, and as a result better defense. Just my opinion.

  52. The rumored Clippers-Celtics deal would be a huge move for the Clips and could put them over the top this year, to make themselves a real top contender. Just in case anyone has forgotten, I despise the Clippers. For those of you that say you are happy for the Clips, count them as your second favorite team, and say this is good for the city – I must part ways with you. Jets fans do not like the Giants, White Sox fans do not like the Cubs, and IMO Laker fans should not like the Clips (nor should the players joke around with them after the crush us by 20+). DH can disagree with KB and of course – you can disagree with me. Think about this the next time DH upsets you with his smile at inopportune moments : )

  53. Dr. Buss is in my prayers. This Knicks fan hope he makes a full recovery :).

  54. Re: Clippers. Don’t forget who owns the club. They look good now, but rest assured Sterling will destroy this in due time.

  55. All i can say is that as far as im concerned i hope im wrong, this season is a wash and as far Howard is concerned i dont really care if he leaves for nothing he wants to be a franchise player but he dont want the responsability and pressure that comes with that, he wants everything easy so i say good riddance to him, people forget that after next season the only players in the books will be Nash and hopefully Clark, everybody else will be gone probably Kobe himself, we will have more cap space than anyone else on the league. I rather have the team take its lumps now and have all the pieces ready for 2014 thats been the FO objective all along, triying to win with Kobe now with a patching job but not doing anything that would hurt our cap in 2014 im fine with that.

  56. The Clippers are already a top contender. If that actually goes through, though, it might be analogous to what happened with the 2004 Pistons when they added Rasheed Wallace.

    Also, trading Howard to Boston for a seriously injured Rondo would be an exceptionally bad idea.

    Other than his usual anti-Kobe stuff about the “toxic culture”, James is mostly right. The Lakers have a bad defense because they have a lot of old guys, who are slow. Last year, the team was 13th in D. Adding Nash, Jamison, and Meeks, combined with Pau slowing down, Kobe slowing down, MWP declining (as Darius explained a few days ago) as well as MDA’s seeming lack of attention and skill on that side of the basketball, the problems have grown to the point that they are crippling the team. Howard needed to be a monster on D to alleviate that, but he is not anymore. But he is still very good.

    I personally would not deal Howard, but if they do, I will try to give the FO the BOTD and assume that they had determined that he is bailing. But if they do move him, I hope it is not for Rajon Rondo.

  57. The Howard/Rondo deal makes sense as it involves two star players who will never be the same again.

  58. Aaron: Rondo’s game wasn’t based on athleticism like Rose or Howard’s were before they suffered injuries. Rondo is about pace and smarts. He can still be the same player he was. He’ll probably have a better jumper now that he’ll be stationary for some time.

    I would do the deal mainly because of Rondo’s contract and in the league now teams need a elite pg. Doubt it happens.

  59. I thought the consensus in the past is that you do not trade a little for a big. Was that not the case when everyone talked about the Chris Paul trade?

    If the Clippers get Garnett, they will win a championship this year. No one on the east has anyone to contend with CP or Blake, and then you add the arrogant Garnett to anchor the defense. They could bring Andre and the 6th man of the year off the bench with Bledsoe, Lamar and Barnes.

    I was a bit disappointed at Ebanks chuckling on the bench while the Lakers were losing by 25 points. Kobe watched the play of the bench as they made their run and appeared to nod his head, but he did not jump up. Maybe he knew that when the starters came back in they’d be unable to retain the run. At any rate, after 17 years in the league, not only is he responsible for distributing the ball, scoring only when no one else on the team can shoot, play defense on the best 1-3 player, be a coach on the floor, he’s now being held responsible for cheer leading. Next he’ll be required to sell Churros, nachos and beverages during timeouts.

    Regardless of where Dwight goes, he might have to face the grim reality that his back will never repair to allow him to play the way he did with Orlando. We as fans must also realize that Howard is without a contract and if he gets hurt before he signs another contract, his livelihood is wiped out. He’s facing a level of stress that manifests itself in the form of debilitative anxiety which prevents him from performing at a high level consistently.

  60. CHearn,

    Well, as we have seen, people who didn’t like the Paul trade were wrong. The problems are that while Rondo is good, he is not great, and he has a torn ACL. Even if he makes it all the way back, it probably won’t be a for a full year from the time of the injury, maybe longer. He also can’t shoot very well from distance.

  61. Aaron: I have previously given you credit for the DH diagnosis. Well done on your part. However, most of your statements are let’s say less than optimistic about our future : ) This could very well be correct, as my optimism is not at an all time high now either. However, what should we do? We know you do not think Howard will be the same, you think Nash is way too old, and you think KB is hanging on a bit too long. Given all this – what are the actions to take that might actually help the team?

  62. rr

    I like Rajon, but he has not developed his game any further than when he first came into the league.

  63. I hate Rondo more than anyone in the league — but I’d happily take him for Dwight. I’d take a Laker Girl at the two guard over Dwight. He’s a poison.

    As for being asked to watch five games of other guys so complainers can see the difference Dwight offers… Puh-lease.

    DeAndre Jordan is a better value: Farried; Noah; David Lee — there are players who give more for less money on damn near every roster. The thought of tying up $100 million on Howard is absurd.

    And it’s not binary thinking — keep Howard or let him go and get nothing back. Even if they don’t trade him and he walks away with nothing, that still leaves money that won’t be tied up on a giant piece of crap. Players will still want to play in L.A., but not when you have a big cancer posioning the well.

  64. “In fact, expect just the opposite. He may be the most unpopular Laker ever, in less than half a season. That says it all.”
    —–
    Not to knit pick, but you must be forgetting the issues surrounding one of our players back in 2003/2004. There were many Laker fans who wanted the Lakers to let Kobe walk. At the start of the 2004-2005 season he was not only the most unpopular star player in the league, he was at that time the most unpopular franchise player the Lakers ever had. The narrative on him at the time was in no way flattering. Phil even wrote a book on it.

    The point is lets avoid the hyperbole and extremism. Howard has his issues. But it is amazing that with every bad turn that has hit this team in the last 18 months people now want to pin EVERYTHING on Dwight Howard. Come on, guys. As a fanbase we are better than that.

  65. T Rogers,

    Good points. It is not everybody who is doing what you describe, of course–just a few vocal people.

  66. T. Rogers: “Howard has his issues. But it is amazing that with every bad turn that has hit this team in the last 18 months people now want to pin EVERYTHING on Dwight Howard.”

    at least from my perspective, which I believe is the perspective of many fans, I am not blaming D12 for every bad turn that hits the team. rather, I am critical of D12′s effort level, attitude and failure to fill his proper role (e.g., pick and roll + headline defender). the team problems are intertwined with D12′s deficiencies, but they are separate issues in my mind. that is, I think that even if D12 did everything perfect there would still be issues.

  67. tviper’s point sums up my thoughts… I don’t believe Howard is the cause for all of the problems the team has had his season. But I do beleive keeping him will lead to far more problems going forward.

    T. Rogers — even the fans who disliked Kobe in 2004-05 knew he came to play every night. You still had hope (which was proven true) that the team could build a winner around Kobe in the next two or three years. Can the same be said of Howard? I don’t see it. That’s not hyperbole.

  68. T Rogers/rr: good points on Kobe. The 2002-2004 feud fractured the city and 65% of Laker Nation was on Shaq’s side. They would say KB needs to wait his turn, KB is selfish, KB shoots too much. Then in 2005-2006 they thought they were proven right when the post Shaq Lakers did not fair well. The I told you so’s were rampant. The “fair weather” returned to beautiful Southern California in 2008-2010 of course : )

  69. That’s not hyperbole.’
    ==

    Perhaps not, but your ten or so previous posts on Howard all have been, including the one that T Rogers was actually responding to. His numbers are way down this year, in part because of his back, and in part because his USG has cratered. But no one knows for sure if this is his new and permanent level.

    That said, Howard as he is playing now is arguably not a max player, and he may not want to stay here. I have never been in the “we should all bow to the wisdom of the FO” camp, but Buss and Kupchak are presumably in a better position than we are to evaluate the two actual questions about Howard, which are:

    1.Whether his back will get better
    2. Where he will sign his next deal

    So, I think we have to wait and see what they do.

  70. rr — Admittedly, I hate Howard’s presence on the team. I can get emotional on the topic. Many of my posts would be extreme on my opinion of the guy.

    Despite that, I don’t believe my thoughts are extreme in regard to the idea that the Lakers will be better off dealing him now. He’s shown no indications he plans to stay, and his back is a concern. Attitude is abysmal too.

    As to Robert’s assertion of fair weather fans, I would hope that was not directed at me. Dude doesn’t know me from anyone.

    Re: the Shaq/Kobe break-up, I was always one to side with Shaq in the position that I felt the Lakers were better served with him being the first option. A dominant center is tough to counter. But when it came to pick one or the other in 2004, my belief was keeping Kobe was the better move. He was younger and had more upside, so I felt Mitch and Buss made the right move.

    Ironically, now if it’s keep one or the other, I’d say keep Kobe. I’d rather have him in his decking years than Howard in his presumed “prime.” When Dwight isn’t a better athlete than the guy he’s playing, his game is so unrefined he’s just not that effective. And his back and play this season suggest he may never be that greater athlete again.

  71. Chris J: Please re-read my post – I am referring to the Kobe-Shaq feud in 2004. I wasn’t on this board then, so that definitely did not refer to you – Dude : ) And you never know – you probably know a few Roberts. I could be one of them : ) And for the record – we are both picking KB both then and now. Although in both cases I would like to keep both parts of the feud if possible.