Around The World (Wide Web): Dwight, Lakers Offseason, Pau, Mike D’Antoni

Ryan Cole —  May 2, 2013

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: The off-season has arrived for the Los Angeles Lakers and the evaluation of their coaching situation has begun. Mike D’Antoni wants help with the Lakers defense and has requested to add either Nate McMillan or Alvin Gentry in a defensive assistant role, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. McMillan is likely to land a head coaching position and has already begun interviewing for vacant positions. When D’Antoni was hired there were initial reports indicating D’Antoni wanted to add McMillan to his staff, but the Lakers did not sign him as part of their already robust coaching staff.

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: There’s unanimity within the Lakers. Kobe Bryant and General Manager Mitch Kupchak both want Dwight Howardto return. There’s also a problem within the Lakers: Howard isn’t so sure. He declined to reveal which way he was leaning after his one-year run with the Lakers. “I’m going to take my time, get away from the game, my phones and everything and just clear my head,” Howard said Tuesday in an end-of-season interview at the team’s practice facility. “I’ll do what’s going to be best for myself, what’s going to make me happy. I can’t control who likes me, who dislikes me, but I have the right to be happy.”

From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers finally got some good news on the injury front three days after their season ended, when it was announced on Wednesday that Dwight Howard would not require surgery on his right shoulder. Howard was diagnosed with a torn labrum after originally suffering the injury on Jan. 4, and missed a total of six games (in two separate three-game stretches) because of it. Despite returning earlier than expected from back surgery last summer, those were the only six games Howard missed all season. He was looking much more like his former Defensive Player of the Year self over the last couple of months of the season, and the pain he was dealing with in the shoulder seemed to taper off over time, or, at the very least, Howard showed no visible signs that it was an issue.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Pau Gasol left his exit meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday with an increased sense that he may have played his last game with the Lakers. “The future is uncertain,” Gasol said. “There’s no doubt about it. It’s a possibility that I could be gone and there’s a possibility that I could stay. I don’t know the exact percentages of it. But I’m prepared for either way. “I understand the challenges that the franchise is facing, the decisions that they have to make in order to keep the team in the direction that they want to — looking at the present and the future and also understanding the business side of it. So, it’s a lot going on. I wish things were a little simpler, but they’re not. So we’ll see.”

From Sam Amick, USA Today: When it comes to pro athletes who have serious sway within their respective organization, Kobe Bryant might stand alone. Yet the Los Angeles Lakers star tested the limits of his influence Tuesday in a postmortem media session, imploring his bosses to do the unthinkable this offseason: keep this underachieving team together despite a price tag that, because of the NBA’s more punitive luxury tax that is about to kick in for the first time, could approach $200 million. Never mind that the 34-year-old Bryant isn’t even sure when he’ll be able to return from the season-ending Achilles tendon tear that took him out of the Lakers’ four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Bryant still sees a starting five that includes himself and a re-signed Dwight Howard with forward Pau Gasol, point guard Steve Nash and small forward Metta World Peace as championship-caliber and worth the incredible cost. It wasn’t a very good band this season, but he wants to keep it together.


Ryan Cole


to Around The World (Wide Web): Dwight, Lakers Offseason, Pau, Mike D’Antoni

  1. I agree with Kobe. The Lakers need to maintain continuity with their core. The Spurs, Heat, Thunder, Grizzlies have cores that have been in place for more than 2 seasons. The Lakers have been in constant flux since 2011. Some continuity would actually help.


  2. Laker Core: Yes – keep it intact – we have little choice (other than getting worse).
    Jim Buss Discussion: When you are in charge you get to hoist the trophy when your team wins and you must take responsibility when it does not. Regardless whether you consulted with others or not. You are in charge. That said – I agreed with many of Jim’s major personnel moves (not the minor ones though like – Fisher, Shannon, and Barnes). I did not agree with any of his coaching decisions. It is what it is, but rr is correct – Jim must take responsibility if he is in the big office. And no – I do not know if our season would have turned out differently if we had hired Phil, and hired Shaw as the heir apparent. I only know what did happen this season. Those results are facts that can be spun and explained but they are still facts.
    MD: This is the next big decision. To stay or to go. DH could weigh in – but I do not think he will. Once again this is Jim’s decision. Let’s see what he does.


  3. You can’t compare the Lakers core to other teams. The Spurs and Thunder have been able to replenish young guys via the draft. Who was the last Laker first round pick? It was in 2007 and he’s since committed murder. They have no perimeter depth / athleticism and it’s no surprise the D has fallen off a cliff since 2010/11 when they were top 5. This is why coaching is a the great scape goat on the season…are you just going to magically make MWP and Kobe the defenders they were 5 years ago?


  4. The Thunder sucked before they lucked out with Durant and Westbrook,what are those hopes to replenish thru the draft now that they elite?The Spurs have been lucky too with 2nd rounders,success in the league hurts you in the draft is as simple as that. I rather have the Lakers keep doing what they been doing wich is been successful for the mayority of the time than go thru a couple of 60 losses seasons just to build thru the draft.For every San Antonio or Okc of having look and good scouting in the draft there are 20 horror stories of messing teams up thru it.No Thank you


  5. And good for MDA for acknowledging he needs someone else to run the defense,i remember we discussed that here that when he got hired.


  6. Earl Clark. Team was -2.9 with Clark on the court. +3.3 with Earl off the court.

    Career: 4.3 pts 3.1 reb under 1 ast, stl and blk a game 41% fg 32% 3pt 67% ft


    26 games 30.7 min 10.6 pts 8.1 reb 1.5 ast .9 blk .9 stl 47% fg 37% 3pt 67% ft


    23 games 25.0 min 6 pts 4.1 reb 1 ast .8 blk .4 stl 39% fg 31% 3pt 78% ft

    Which one is the real Earl Clark? The guy down the stretch is more in line with the guy who’s shown potential but little production. He’s shown potential and the guy who replaced Jordan Hill and Pau can be very useful and had an incredible stretch. Maybe he was injured later in the year or the minutes caught up with him, but he wasn’t the same player. Lakers can use his size and athleticism which is something Kobe said they need. Clark has the athlete part down pat but his fundamentals need a lot of work. His dribbling is below average, defense is below average and him driving to the basket is a down right frightening. He makes the highlight plays like putback dunks at the same time fails to stay in front his man and use his length to his advantage. The +3.3 rating with him off the court is worrysome as well. For a guy drafted 16th overall to still struggle playing fundamentally is a concern. He just might need the right situation to become a better player. The January-February player is the one Lakers need not the lackidasical player who failed to produce energy later in the year. I think Lakers should keep him and he said he’s willing to take less here in a winning situation than more in a losing one in his exit interview. He’s 25 with size and upside something Lakers need.


  7. Biggest issue is Dwight. If he drags out his decision like he did with Magic it’s impossible to make a decision with Pau. Time for Mitch/Jim to put their big boy pants on and draw a line in the sand. Sign by a certain date or no offer. One of of the two must go along with the entire bench minus Blake and Hill. Also time for Ron to go.

    Team must get younger and quicker or again they can’t compete.


  8. In regards to Jim – I feel it is really our emotions from the year that we are projecting on him myself included.

    I think we were all ecstatic about every move this off-season, with the exception of how they handled phil, if it was never public that they were meeting phil with the nighttime call getting out in the press – if they just would have hired dantoni outright we would have been fine.

    Things just didn’t work out and they went all out for Jerry – personally i would have liked them to pick up some guys during the year but wtv what’s done is done.

    Hopefully Dwight resigns gets healthy, Kobe gets healthy, pau gets healthy, if we can’t find a starting caliber sf attest gets healthy, and we develop a quality bench with guards – steve Blake finally played well at the end of the year but if his contract is up I would rather see Morris or some new blood in our guard rotation as well as an actual backup sf – Meeks isint the answer at backup sg either – browns contract is up with the suns maybe we can bring him back


  9. Don’t understand the reports of D’Antoni wanting McMillan as a defensive guru. McMillan was generally a below average defensive coach, just his teams played at a horribly slow pace. McMillan might be a decent fit offensively considering our lead-foot team, but a poor choice to shore things up on the defensive end (at least judging off his previous stops).


  10. Kobe said that he wants Nash, Gasol, Howard returning to Lakers next season, the nightmare was over, why should we want to see another one ? The problem with Lakers since the last year of Phil with Lakers, Kobe-Gasol-Bynum, who did eat first? Phil couldn’t solve the problem, and Lakers lost game 1 and 2 in LA against Dallas. MDA and Kobe-Gasol-Howard, it’s the same , that’s why i can’t blame MDA. If Lakers want MDA to do better job of coaching, they got to fix this problem. If i was Gasol, i would ask for a trade, it’s fair for Gasol and Lakers. Some people trying to scare Lakers that we won’t get good players in return, i don’t believe that . Some people still want Phil to coach this team, how can he coach this team with 3 players who all want the ball ? and people forgot that if you play for Phil, you got to play 40 min, Phil don’t give young players a chance. Kupchak said that you can’t win with young players, it explains why they sign old players on this team, Lakers FO still thinking to play against Boston in NBA Finals. Howard has freedom now, if he decide to choose money over freedom by signing with Lakers, i hope he will play hard. I like Shaq , when he came to LA, he had to play with Van Exel, Eddie Jones, i felt sad for Shaq after he lost playoffs games before Phil coming to LA, but you saw Shaq giving Lakers 100% his effort. Looking back, Howard said before the season that he wants to make sure that he is 100% healthy before he can play, and we found out later that he is not healthy before All-Star, this is bad decision, so Howard should be careful on whatever he decides, don’t make decision too quickly and then later feeling unhappy.


  11. Re McMillan,
    It may be the classic it’s not what you know,but who you know.
    McMillan and D’Antoni both were assistant coaches on the 2008,2012 Men’s team.


  12. So Kobe wants to keep the starting* five together, huh?

    Not a lot of upside with that bunch, except possibly Howard.

    Everyone else will be a year older and slower.

    * How many games did Nash play this season past?


  13. I can see why a front office in this league would never, repeat never, read the fan blogs. It would just make your head ache – and not give you any good information.


  14. Craig W – I wouldn’t expect FO folk to read fan blogs any more than I’d expect them to buy tickets to their team’s games. Both activities are for … fans.


  15. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    MDA wants a familiar face and voice beside him. I love that he acknowledged we needed help. Now lets help.

    Earl Clark is young and on the time where he wasn’t an option he came out and did well. This is the same reason I want Hill and Clark on the starting 5 along w/ Kobe, Nash and Dwight. We’d have post, we’d have perimeter and we have 3 young athletes who can rebound and defend.

    I would like a Pau deal to haul us some younger and fresher legs. Those that can be taught and those that still have upside to offer. Metta and Pau needs a team where they are the competent vets and not much scoring or ahleticism is required because they already have them. Point is we need to get younger and quicker and more fluid.

    I want Meeks to come back. His pricetag is very good for what he offers… So does Morris. All in all, my ideal offseason starts with a Dwight resigning, a Clark resigning and a Pau trade.


  16. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    If my pojections hold true, an offseason of “losing” Pau’s skills will be compensated by better perimeter defense attributed by younger players. We start to make this Dwight’s team and with lots of flexibility for the future. That I believe is a good working plan.


  17. Craig W – I wouldn’t expect FO folk to read fan blogs any more than I’d expect them to buy tickets to their team’s games. Both activities are for … fans.

    Indeed. As I have said many times, I think very, very few people here think that the Lakers FO people read this blog, much less actually consider what we say in terms of making personnel decisions. This is just a fan site–an intelligent fan site, as fan sites go, but still a fan site. Craig’s continued statements to the effect

    a) We owe the FO something in terms of what we say about the team at FBG, as if we are guests in Mitch Kupchak’s home when we post here.
    b) We are all just nattering fans that need to be reminded of that fact, and that therefore Jim Buss and Co will not take our advice on personnel and coaching hires seriously

    are quite strange.


  18. I don’t think trading Pau is an option unless we can sucker some team.

    Pau is an expiring contract worth 20 million, but 40 for us since we’re over the cap. Counting repeater taxes, letting him expire might actually save us even more depending on the kind of contracts we are forced to take back.

    Also people speak of depth, but you aren’t going to get much depth if we trade Pau for a few pieces that other teams want to get rid themselves of. Definitely not getting much younger that route either.


  19. Robert,

    Well-put. I do agree with Craig and Darius to some extent, in that I think Mitch makes many decisions (my gut says that Mitch has free reign on some decisions about secondary players, but that Jim is very involved on big moves, and on some small moves, but that is just spec) but yes, officially, Jim is in charge. If Banner 17 goes up while Jim is in his current position, he will be the one who gets the credit for his oversight role in that success. So, he should rightfully take some (not all, some) of the blame for the team’s current problems.

    And, as I said, while Howard will obviously decide where Howard plays, it seems logical to expect Jim to be a key figure in trying to convince Howard to stay here–or, failing that, to get people who might be better at persuading Howard (like maybe Jeannie) involved in the process.


  20. Pau: No baggage that extends past 14 for Pau. If we do not compromise on that, we will soon realize that a good deal is probably not attainable.
    Same Starting 5: Bringing back the same core is our best shot in 14. Amnesty is mostly just financial, because we can’t get under the cap. We are relatively clean after 14 (except Nash), so we may as well wait. This coveting of young/fast players is fine, but the specifics are elusive. Nobody is going to trade us 8 young players at $2 million per for Pau : ) The more likely deal is unwanted contract #1, together with unwanted contract #2, and perhaps 1 decent player. I would rather just wait. If Mitch can pull something off beyond what I think he can get, then fine, otherwise wait.
    Shaun: “I think we were all ecstatic about every move this off-season, with the exception of how they handled phil” Well – Yea – And other than that Mrs Lincoln – How was the play?


  21. After such high expectations, Denver just lost in the first round. They are deadly in transition, and have a ridiculous amount athleticism……. but they sorely lack players who can create baskets and make plays in the half court. Ty Lawson needs some help in that department, ideally from the post position. Hmmm. Just sayin’.


  22. rr,
    You are correct. My real point to all this is the we sometimes comment as if we expect the FO to actually listen to our suggestions/demands.

    I like to comment on how I see things as much as the next fan, but it is more an intellectual exercise where I hope to get a response and perhaps learn something new I hadn’t thought of, rather than to influence the situation. That is why I find the ‘whining’ and repetitive remarks so tiring – I want to learn something I didn’t already know.

    I can provide history and some reasonable level of observation, but I don’t know what goes on inside the organization – I love to get peeks, however – and I really do like thoughtful observations; even when they conflict with my own.


  23. rr-not strange at all considering the way so-called fans expertly discuss goings-on behind closed doors as though they were there, what a professional should do, as though they were there, and call players trash that would wipe the floor with said poster and all the poster’s friends in an actual game.

    actually, while i think it’s fine to express one’s frustrations about losing(yes, complaining about the front office, coaches, refs, injured players is for losers. it’s what losers do when they lose. i’ve done it myself), some perspective is needed. pontificating about what trade needs to be made, or what decisions should have been avoided is also ok with me(as if it mattered), but again, some perspective.

    at the end of the day, the most powerful thin one can do as a fan is to cheer for your team. your advice is not needed, even if you just need to get it out. listen, i understand that these pent-up ideas and feelings need an outlet, and this is certainly an outlet. still, it’s annoying for others if the faucet isn’t turned off occasionally. nobody’s opinion here means anything, with the posible exception of the guy whose name is in the by-line(even his opinion is unimportant compared to the opinions of the principles who are actually putting on the show).

    people who are fans are a little too full of themselves sometimes. they forget that they are just a prayerful watcher. if anyone wants to participate, there are only a few ways to do so and still help the team win.

    one can spread good vibes for the team in public. spreading bad vibes about the team leads to a feeling of failure, which if it reaches a certain point, becomes a self-fufilling prophecy.

    one can pray and send their energy to the team to help them buck-up. it’s doubtful if this actually does much, but at least it’s constructive.

    one can get to a game and cheer and boo to encourage the team to perform at it’s best.

    anything else is actually activly working against the team’s success.again, it’s not that no one can’t be critical, it’s just that being constantly critical doesn’t help, except in times of acute danger, Kobe wants out of LA, we miss the playoff several years in a row, the team has totally quit, you know, stuff that isn’t happening.

    all the important roles for the team, are already filled, by the time that the games start.

    more cheering.
    when they lose, you can groan.


  24. Warren Wee Lim May 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

    LT Mitchell – there is a deal to be had for both teams if they choose to. Denver is one of the teams that can cater to our needs, and we have a player that would be helpful to theirs. Win-Win?

    Robert – trading Pau is tricky. We ask quite a bit for him, and rightfully so, but arguably not his real market value elsewhere due to how big his contract is. Therefore, if we only compromise, I can give you atleast 3 teams that are good fits for him as a destination, and can give us the players that fit what we need… while not tampering with the 2014 plan.

    Also, the “2014 plan” is a myth.


  25. Nefariousgnome May 3, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Darius, I don’t know how often you check these comments, but in response to your most recent tweet at this time, yes you should ABSOLUTELY look into providing more panda friendly content. The rest of the sad pandas and I on this site would really appreciate it.


  26. nefariousgnome,
    Ha! If people saw some of the spam emails I get about this site they’d have a good laugh. And, for what it’s worth, I try to read every comment on the site.


  27. Rusty Shackleford May 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I’m sure running this site can be quite the curse at times.


  28. mud,

    What I would say there is that everybody has a different way of being a fan. For example, I like to use stats, and some peoople don’t like that approach and find that annoying. Repetitiveness–sure, but we have people here who literally talk about the Lakers maybe 350 days a year, so some repetition is inevitable.

    Basically, I think it is OK to express annoyance now and again; I do that. But we are all just fans in the end.