Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe, Problems This Season, Solutions This Off-Season,

Ryan Cole —  May 6, 2013

From Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation: So, how did you like the Lakers’ off-season? Not that it’s over ‘til it’s over… or before it starts July 1 when free agents are officially free. Nevertheless, Lakers Nation just tapped into the Lakers’ new plan, which is what we—and, I believe, they—thought it would be. Everyone expected the Lakers to try to secure Dwight Howard and tradePau Gasol for an athlete(s) who could shoot so Mike D’Antoni could run the offense they hired him for. Plan A now envisions keeping Pau and socking the ball inside to him and Dwight as they did in their 28-12 finish, even if that means getting another year older, slower and farther behind the Roadrunner Elite (Heat, Thunder, Spurs).

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Poor Lakers. Even if Dwight Howard walks and Metta World Peace gets amnestied, they’re still too far over the salary cap to chase any big-name free agents. Silly NBA rules. Along those lines, a sad-looking quote stood out as players and staffers slogged through two days of end-of-season meetings last week — except Antawn Jamison, who skipped them as a final goodbye to the team and Mike D’Antoni.”The collective-bargaining agreement really limits how we can add to the team,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We get a limited number of exceptions. Probably the most widely used exception would be the veteran’s minimum. It’s hard to find a young player that would do that because if it’s a younger player, he’s probably not going to take the veteran’s minimum. And if he did, he’s probably not good enough to play.”

From Michael C. Jones, Yahoo Sports: The Los Angeles Lakers have far more questions than answers as they prepare to embark upon an offseason that is sure to have as much drama as the regular season brought on. That says a lot about what’s set to take place over the summer. Because of the Lakers’ salary cap constraints — they’re already on the hook for $79.6 million, without Dwight Howard’s assumed max deal if he returns — and lack of a first-round draft pick, they’re limited in their ability to fix what are substantial personnel issues. With the season being a comedy of errors, Lakers fans hope they can somehow find a way to improve and retool for 2013-14. In order to do so, they’ll need to address these questions:

From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: There’s no doubt that the 2012-2013 campaign was disappointing–after all, the Lakers entered with championship expectations became mere playoff hopes. However, after all the locker room turmoil, coaching changes, front office blunders and possible long term cap ramifications because of this specific team, there’s reason to think that the season was far more than merely “disappointing”. In your estimation, was the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers campaign the worst season in franchise history (interpret the word “worst” how you will)?

From News Services, ESPN: Kobe Bryant is in a court battle to try to keep his mother from auctioning off mementos from his high school days in Pennsylvania and his early years with the Los Angeles Lakers. A New Jersey auction house filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Camden on Thursday for the right to sell the stuff after the NBA star’s lawyers wrote the firm telling it to cancel a planned June auction. The disagreement is a high-value, high-profile version of a question many families face: Can Mom get rid of the stuff a grown child left at home? Pamela Bryant intends to sell: the NBA star’s jerseys, practice gear and sweatsuits from Lower Merion High School; varsity letters; a trophy for being the outstanding player at the 1995 Adidas ABCD basketball camp; and a signed basketball from the 2000 NBA championship game.



Ryan Cole


to Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe, Problems This Season, Solutions This Off-Season,

  1. Kobe Alert: KB finished 5th in the MVP voting. It was the 11th time that Kobe has finished in the top 5 in MVP voting. He moves past Bill Russell and into 2nd place all time in the category behind only KAJ who accomplished this feat 15 times. There are only 8 players who have finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 9 times or more. Keeping in mind that KB has done it 11 times, everyone else who has done it 9 times, has at least 2 MVP’s and all but one (Duncan) has at least 3 or more. Go figure. Well the following statement says it all: Steve Nash has as many MVP’s as Shaq and Kobe combined. Like I said – go figure. but it’s all good. By the way, of the 8 players who have done this 9 times, 4 are on our wall or will be (and 2 more – The Logo + Shaq have done it 8 times – which gives us 6 out of the 14 players who have done it 8 times). Gotta love another category dominated by Lakers. We have the Pacific Ocean, the Celebrities, the Staples Center, the Legends, the retired #’s, the banners, the history, the Laker girls, – what’s not to like? Please don’t answer that – I do not want to think about any of that right now. In fact, I never did want to think about it, but I was forced to : )


  2. How do you all feel about the memento thing? I’m sure when Kobe was in high school, his parents bought the stuff that they’re auctioning off, but it’s obviously what Kobe did afterwards that give the items value…


  3. One of today’s topics: “Solutions This Off-Season”. A subject I believe is near and dear to all Laker fans. And I believe realistic decisions have to be made. Based on the knowledge we have today:

    -re-sign Dwight
    -sign CP3
    -amnesty Kobe

    My thinking, if you can sign two of the five or six top players in the league (in their primes, D-12 is 27, CP3, 28) you do it. Kobe would have to be amnestied to free up enough $$, and he wouldn’t be able to play for the Lakers next season, but truthfully, how much can you really expect from Kobe next season? Even if by some miracle he returned to this year’s form as early as the all-star game, then what? Basically this season all over?

    However if CP3 & D-12 are Lakers, I believe the Lakers would be serious contenders in a year, giving Kobe his best chance at another ring in a Laker uniform in 2014-2015.

    As far as Gasol: trade for two rotation players, and of course a new coach will be needed.

    I know many will say “CP3 isn’t leaving the Clips or won’t sign with the Lakers”. Well if he won’t, this deal is dead.

    But I think it’s worth trying. And the quickest way to make the Lakers serious contenders again. As for those who believe Jim Buss would be Public Enemy #1 for “doing that” to Kobe, Kobe just has to give his blessing, rehab properly, collect his $30 mill, and return to the Lakers the following season in the quest for Laker title # 17, and his sixth ring.


  4. Kobe Alerts rule! thanks as always Robert –
    A for SS&R´s query: `Worst Season in LA History?´, my response is WITHOUT A DOUBT
    2 comments from Kevin on the last thread which I couldn´t agree more with:
    `One thing I don’t get about 2014 and LeBron is what incentive does he have to come to the Lakers?´
    & `It’s more like a smokescreen than anything.´
    spot on, it´s just plain out of the question..


  5. Bigcitysid, the Lakers wont have Cap space to sign CP3 if they amnesty Kobe. CP3 will never be a Laker, get over it. Also, Kobe will be back in at most 7 months.


  6. PurpleBlood: How is this the worst season ever? Please explain. I remember some post-magic and pre-Kobe years that were horrendous. Also, the droubt between the Minnessota titles and the LA titles was pretty brutal. Yes, this seasons blew chunks, but there have been worse.


  7. Sid,
    The Lakers have would have roughly $60 million in salary commitments next season *with a re-signed Dwight Howard and an amnestied Kobe*. They’d be right at or above the salary cap at that point and wouldn’t have any means to add a free agent of Paul’s starting salary.


  8. Sid – CP3 is not what the Lakers needs. Dude has not delivered in the post season. Plus, he is injury prone and older than a lot of the other premier point guards in the league. Now if were talking about a guy like Russel Westbrook, DRose or even DHarris.. then maybe…

    Only problem is amnestying Kobe. Why on earth would this team do that, ever? Kobe has one season left on his contract. Sure, it’s a whopping $30m, but this kid has earned every penny for next season by playing through injuries the last 10+ seasons. The only thing the Lakers would get by amnestying Kobe is becoming the Clippers of the new millenium.

    I know that many here want a return to the top right away, but I really think we have one more year of suffering before things get turned around significantly – and for the better. I know no one wants to hear that, but given our contract situation that is the reality and the prudent thing to do. Remember, the Lakers always look at the big picture. Even if this organization was headed by Jeannie, amnestying Kobe would be out of the question.


  9. Sid: The was not the appropriate thread to talk about that (not there is an appropriate one). It would be like complaining about the FO in a thread about Jerry Buss. Not even I would do that : )
    MannyP: I appreciate that you are often trying to be optimistic, and that is difficult around some of us : ) Purple is also a pretty positive guy, so I believe he is factoring pre-season expectations into account. That said, there is nothing close to this. The 90’s drought had no expectations. There have been disappointing years where we flamed out in the playoffs, but never have we had a year where we were considered (by most experts and most on this board) to be one of the the 3 teams or so, and then barely qualified for the playoffs and subsequently got swept. I defy you to find another such season in our entire history. Forget whose fault it was, the injuries, etc. – if you simply compare results to expectations it is the worst by far. Add in the fact that the greatest Laker had a potential career ending injury, Add in the fact that we publicly humiliated the greatest coach of all time, and add in that our patriarch owner died, well – I think it is safe to say – that Purple is correct. Hoping next year will be better.


  10. This total remaking of the team this year is wishful thinking, and wishful thinking without even looking at the facts and rules under which franchises have to operate (CBA). While this may be a way to blow off steam, please do some research before adding your voice to the internet babble – at least on this blog.

    The real argument is whether to try to remake the team immediately or to work around the margins and go for a bigger change next off-season. My strong suspicion is that the front office will keep their two year plan in place and make the major changes next year. This may or may not yield a contending team in two years, but makes much better sense, not only next year, but over the longer haul.

    This year’s team had two strikes against it: 1) lots of new key players who had to learn to play together and 2) an inordinate number of injuries that hampered #1. If you accept my summary of the strikes against the team this year (never mind whether or not you like the coach) then this is another strong argument for not making major changes this year and seeing how these players will do with a year of sort-of playing together behind them. This assumes a better level of health, and that is more likely than what we saw last year, even with another year on the player’s tires. If I haven’t driven you ‘nuts’ with my reasoning so far, then it also follows that we should not replace the coach, but continue the learning curve.

    This logic can also be used with Dwight Howard; to prove we want to make some noise next year. If we are ‘blowing up’ the team this summer, exactly how do we demonstrate we are not starting over and have a year’s learning curve ahead of us?


  11. Funky Chicken May 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    When you put a team together that includes Kobe, Nash, Howard, and Pau and you barely make the playoffs and the get swept, it is a bad season. When your projected starting lineup gets 4 games together (out of 86), it is a bad season. When the beloved owner dies during the year, it is a bad season. When you fire one coach and replace him with Mike D’Antoni, it is a bad season. When Kobe Bryant tears his Achilles in the 3rd to last game, requiring a summer-long rehab from a devastating injury that will likely prevent him from ever being the player that he once was, it is a bad season.

    When all of that happens in the same year, it is the worst season in franchise history, and no Smush Parker/Luke Walton memories can change that fact….


  12. This past year was bad. I might argue that 1977-78 was worse (the Kareem and Kermit punches, a title-aspiring team spiraled into a 45-win season and a first-round exit), 1991-92 was worse (Magic’s announcement), and any year the team lost in the Finals left a worse offseason taste (although you can’t call those seasons “worse” in an objective way).

    Gotta take your lumps as a fan so you enjoy the great moments all the more.


  13. Well said Funky. As a 40 year fan this season was the worst. Highest payroll ever and not a single playoff win. Worse is little hope next year. Signing a 38 year old PG with back issues and little defense and having no draft choices was not smart. Lakers are in a bad way with or without Kobe or Dwight.


  14. “Worse is little hope for next year.”

    That statement presumes that next year will be like this year. Should we assume that, short any massive changes, the Lakers will suffer the same issues as this last year? Even statistically, this doesn’t make sense.

    I don’t think we can/should go back to the way we looked at the team before start of the 2012 training camp, but the players were thought to be better than we are giving them credit at this point in the year. We may have been ‘overboard’ with our rose colored glasses last summer, but we are now wearing sunglasses in a darkened room and we wonder why we can’t see anything at all.

    We criticize Kobe for saying he wants to ‘go to war’ next year with most of the same teammates, but we want a wholesale turnover of the team, the front office, and the ownership. Just exactly who is being the most extreme. There is at least a case for what Kobe wants to do – whether he is right or not.


  15. Warren Wee Lim May 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    BigCitySid: Yeah, CP3 is nowhere near attainable. In fact he is impossible. A sign-and-trade is also not possible because we’re a taxpaying team over the apron. Unless you mean he signs for our mini MLE.

    2014 is a myth. The Lakers are NOT playing 2014 cap space purely, but its the backup plan. Its not the main plan, the main plan is to re-sign Dwight and reload on a season where we can restructure our major contracts and start thinking about the future. If Pau can be traded for players and contracts that we would hope to keep long term, then its not a deal-breaker.


  16. Warren Wee Lim May 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    In the meantime, the scrappy Bulls just beat Miami in Game 1.


  17. These Bulls continues to impress me. WoW


  18. If MDA was coaching the Bulls, without Deng and Heinrich, along with a less than 100% Noah, that’s four straight blowout losses against the Heat. Thibs is a prime example of how valuable coaching is in this league. He has his group of scrubs believing they can win…and of course his defensive system is still effective, even with a starting lineup of Nate Robinson, Bellenelli, and Boozer…all sub par defenders.


  19. There’s something magical about these Bulls. I said over a year ago that Thibodeau was worth as many wins to the Bulls (if not more) than Rose, and while people laughed, I’ve seen nothing in the interim to make me recant that statement. He may have his flaws – like all coaches – but I offer a tip of the hat to one of the truly great NBA tacticians in memory, and his ability to craft his team around his almost unnerving work ethic.


  20. The offseason bloodletting begins. Goodbye, Mr. Four and One, I will miss your folksy pre and postgame interviews and won’t soon forget when you pretended not to know what an iPad was….


  21. Snoopy2006, you called that.

    Thibodeau says every game regardless of who’s there, we have enough.

    While Coach Bad Luck Schleprock said something like, “Wait till Steve get’s here.” He played his older players excessive minutes to win and lose games in the regular season instead of developing the bench. It’s his system he should know that a run n’ gun team requires YOUNG legs, and even then you have to play 10 guys or they wear out.

    Watch how Mark Jackson gets his band of offensive players to dig down and play defense. The Warriors have Draymond and Barnes playing like veterans because they’ve been on the floor all season.


  22. @Robert-Kobe Alert is refreshing to my soul. Thanks


  23. That last play by Curry was horrible. He really should have passed there.


  24. This season was awful, but I’d say 2004-05 was comparable, slightly worse, in terms of worst Lakers’ season ever. Between the Rudy T. flameout and Chuckyball, that team was borderline unwatchable by season’s end, and it missed the playoffs for only the second time in decades. As painful as this season was, the players and coaches at least came together at the end and seemed to care about how they finished. I’d rather finish well, so earned points for that…

    My negative opinion of Howard is well known here. For the sake of the franchise, I hope he proves me wrong. That said, if he truly gives two craps about this organization he needs to say so shortly and sign as close to July 1 as possible. The longer he draws that process out — maybe taking a LeBron-like tour to visit would be suitors, just to stroke his ego — the less he cares about this team’s future, as Kupchak’s hands will be tied until after he knows what Howard’s plans will be.

    If Dwight really wants to build a winner in L.A., he’ll make up his mind quickly to give the front office more time to make whatever moves it can to become better come the fall. If he turns this summer into the ongoing saga of “The Dwight Show,” I’d prefer he does sign in Dallas or Atlanta because that shows he’ll never be fully committed to winning in L.A.

    Your move, DH12…


  25. Good coach can win 10 plus games a year.
    Bad coach can lose 10 plus games a year.

    Perhaps instead of spending $130 million on players the Lakers should spend $6 million more and get that good coach.

    How cool would a GS vs Chicago finals be.


  26. You want to learn how to coach Mr. Pringles? Take note of Thibodeau. I would just love to have THAT guy as our coach!


  27. While we have different opinions in regards to Dwight as a player, Chris J is exactly right in that hopefully he can give us his answer sooner rather than later. That way we can move on to some other pressing needs in regards to the team. Such as:

    – Which direction we go with Pau. Keeping him for the final year of his contract (or @ least up until the trade deadline) or moving him now for some type combination of shooting/defense/youth/athleticism/draft picks.

    – Deciding Metta’s fate with the team (if he doesn’t Op Out). Keep him or use the Amnesty Provision.

    – Trying to retain E-Clark and if so, deciding on how much to invest in him and for how long.

    For all those who are down on Howard (and there are several within the FB&G Community) and wouldn’t mind him walking, I respect your decision. However, as has been mentioned by others, winning in the ..A takes talent. This is a Talent Based League. He is, when healthy, IMO, the most talented Big Man in said league when taking into account both ends of the court. Arguably, once again, when healthy, a Top 5 Player within the Association. You just don’t let an individual such as that walk away. Especially a team such as ours, which lacks youth and athleticism. You do everything within your power to try and retain him.


  28. Craig – your arguments are solid, logical, and based on the reality that this team faces with the luxury tax, the collective bargaining agreement and other economic reasons. Problem is, that some folks do not want to listen to reason. They want change now, even if its completely unrealistic, illogical and based on fantasy.

    Folks also should remember that Dwight was not close to 100% until the last month of the season, Nash was riddled with injuries, our backup PG was out, our hustle bench player (hill) was out for most of the season, Pau got hurt, Kobe got hurt, Metta got hurt. Mike D made huge mistakes, but lets also remember that he inherited this support coaching staff from the prior guy as well. All of these things (except for kobe being hurt) will hopefully change next year. Mike D will have his own staff, with his own training camp. He has no excuses to hide behind next year – even with Kobe being out. The players will hopefully take the summer to heal and be back to 100% by training camp. While we will continue to struggle in getting free agents to come here (see Kupchacks comment above), next season remains promising IF we resign Howard.


  29. Hey MannyP,
    in reponse to your question from yesterday, I´d have to say that Robert & Funky summed up my feelings about this past season perfectly. I´d only add that this season´s roller coaster ride (in its myriad ways) was exhausting for me, and i´m just a loyal fan! Imagine everyone´s psyche within the organization.
    Having said that, KB this season was phenomenal (!!) and that´s something I´ll never forget, a silver-lining in legendary shoes as it were.
    As to your points about those post-Magic/pre-Mamba years, whew! THE doldrums for sure.
    I can´t say much about the Minneapolis years other than i know the history on paper, & you ´re right, what a dorught! Glad the team came west though!
    To sum up, jodial made two excellent points about 77/78 and 91/92 and even 04/05 was the pits, but for me this year takes the cake. (I cried when Earving made the announcement. I´d just been to a pre-season game and he was on the bench that night in street clothes. I remember yelling quite loudly `We need you Buck!!´ and his turning around vaguely, & then a short time later came the bomb) ((of course it seemed like a death sentence in those days, as you may well know))
    Anyhow, as jodial also mentioned, we´ve gotta take our lumps as diehards but i hope this season was a simple (though painful with regard to KB) anomaly.


  30. Purp – In retrospect, there was a lot of expectation and hope at the beginning of the season followed by reality checks, injuries, coaching changes and bad luck. So, yes, pretty big failure all around. I guess the fact that people debate whether this was “the worst” season or just “one of the worst” is an indicator of how bad the season truly was. So, in short, my bad if my comment seemed like I was coming down on you hard. Although my poorly worded statement strongly implies that, it was not my intent. The only thing that keeps me going is that I have faith in this team and I really do think that better times are coming, hopefully sooner rather than later.


  31. I think if the Lakers stayed pat with their roster next year and assuming they don’t have the same health issues they would be a lock for the play offs. However, they would have the highest pay roll in the league and not be a serious contender for a championship. Given that I think the Lakers should bite the bullet now. Its not sexy but, the with the current CBA the only way you build a team with a few years outlook at winning is by stop spending first.


  32. Manny,
    I didn´t feel you were coming down hard in the least. Fact is, I welcomed the chance to communicate direclty with another diehard 🙂
    (I wrote `hey´ in my 1st reponse as a simple `what´s up´, sorry if that misled you)
    & you ´re right, GOTTA KEEP THE FAITH!!


  33. The Lakers’ situation is very uncertain, but not really all that complex:

    If Howard stays…
    1. Shop Pau, see if the right kind of deal is out there. If not, keep him. The market for him will be hard to read. I could see him having a good year next year if utilized well; I could also see him continuing to have periodic breakdowns, playing about half the schedule, and being more or less useless. Given that, it is hard to know what other teams would give up.
    2. Try to sign a cheap wing player who can check 2s or 3s, has some quickness, is young, and can run the floor. The guys available like this will have almost no offensive value, given the Lakers’ budget, but that is not all that important. In simple terms, they need to find the guy that Ebanks was supposed to be.
    3. Try to sign a cheap combo guard who can D up some and not embarrass himself on O. He needs to be big enough to play with Blake or Nash in stretches and to be able to handle the ball well enough to play the 1 with Kobe–a CJ Watson-type player.
    4. Keep Clark; use him as a 15-18-minute energy D/rebounding guy who can play the 4 and also the 3 in short bursts.

    If Howard walks,,.

    I don’t see them blowing it up. I think they will just move Pau to the 5, and the rest of the to-do list from 2-4 will be the same.

    I think that they will probably amnesty Metta, unless Buss sees him as a small and vital piece to a run, which seems highly unlikely. The team needs more youth/athleticism and Kobe, Pau and Nash probably aren’t going anywhere. Metta is the guy to cut. They probably will not know enough about Kobe’s prognosis by the Amnesty decision deadline to factor that in (and they probably wouldn’t anyway).