Lakers Must Play the Hand They’ve Been Dealt

Darius Soriano —  May 10, 2013

No one likes to hear that they’re stuck in their current lot in life. The hope for better is what everyone strives for, especially when they’ve been down in the dumps.

For Lakers’ fans, this is no more true than it is today. This past season, though filled with a valiant run to even make the playoffs, was pretty much a disaster relative to their expectations. Injuries, inconsistency and ,some would argue, a certain amount of incompetence left this team grasping for heights they could not reach.

What’s resulted is a hollow feeling that many hope to fill with change. Change that will improve the team. Trade player X. Let player Y walk. This didn’t work is the rallying cry for those who reflect back and see the disappointment of a year, essentially, wasted.

The issue with this approach is that the Lakers will struggle to make this type of change this upcoming season.

First of all, the Lakers have limited assets to make substantial change. Second, even if they decided that flipping one or more of those assets for a “better” asset (or two) was the best course of action, there’s no guarantee the right offer materializes nor that the offer falls in line with what is the long term plan for organization. For example, if trading Gasol is really on the table — and by all accounts it is — the goal would be to get back solid rotation pieces who fill in the gaps in skills this team lacks but doing so while also preserving the team’s cap space for next summer. Those deals aren’t so easy to find.

When taking all this into account, it’s no wonder the team’s most important principles have spoken mostly of making another run with this core of players mostly intact. The plan, would go something like this:

  1. Sign Dwight Howard to a new contract to remain a Laker
  2. Get Kobe Bryant back healthy as quickly as possible
  3. Work around the edges of the core to sign free agents who improve the talent base and complement that current core
  4. Wait until next summer to make a big splash

If you’re a Lakers’ fan hungry for change, that list likely resembles a steaming bowl of dog food. That list equates to trying the same thing again and hoping for a different result. There’s an old saying about insanity that rolls off the tongue nicely after reading the previous sentence, right?

Yes and no.

The Lakers have legitimate issues to overcome heading into next season should they stick to their guns and only make a few cosmetic changes to the roster’s core. Everyone will be a year older. And while the hope is the Dwight, Pau, and Nash will be healthier next year than the one that just passed, the health of that Kobe guy — who is pretty important — is an unknown. If there was an inability to build chemistry and develop the cohesiveness on the court that comes will all the off-court togetherness last season, a recovering-from-a-major-injury Kobe will be similarly complicate matters next season too.

That said, this is what the Lakers have set themselves up for. Entering last off-season the Lakers made a calculated gamble. They tried to rebuild and reload at the same time. They flipped their would be franchise center for the game’s best franchise center while also adding an aged, but still very effective point guard. They tacked on a couple of reserve players who had limitations, but could contribute. The hope was that those two major moves plus the minor ones and the holdovers from championship teams past could provide the core for a contender over the next two years. After those two years, nearly every contract would be off the books and another attempt to rebuild while reloading would be attempted.

The Lakers are one year into that two year plan. They can make a few moves to try and shore up what’s already in place and I expect them to do so. But the major moves were made last summer. More will likely be made next summer. This summer? Not so much. At least the writing on the wall doesn’t imply it.

That’s a tough pill to swallow for many, I’m sure. But the fact remains that the expectations heading into this season while high, weren’t totally off-base. The team suffered through a Murphy’s Law season and didn’t come close to reaching their peak. Next season, there will be more ups and downs but I’ve a feeling they’ll be willing to live through those while understanding this is the gamble they took. It’s time for the Lakers to play the hand they were dealt. Again.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers Must Play the Hand They’ve Been Dealt

  1. I’m of the opinion that you have to maintain the status quo and maintain maximum flexibility for next summer. This squad was never fully healthy, Dwight wasn’t fully onboard till the AS break (nor was be ever 100%), and they still managed 45 wins with an idiot for a coach.

    Then there’s this (as Mark Heisler and I were discussing on Twitter): does moving Pau or amnestying Pau (or Ron) give you a better chance to compete for the title? Probably not on the former and definitely not on the latter. Seem simple to me: give em one more run while tinkering with minimum guys to maybe find a spark.

    One change I would make: don’t delay the inevitable. Move on from Antoni.


  2. Rusty Shackleford May 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    With Kobe coming off of injury the Lakers are really going to struggle to score next season.


  3. Chise is right on. After the team meeting in Memphis, the Lakers were 28 -12 despite having an idiot coach who was allergic to adjustments. Nash was injured for a large chunk of that time, as well as MWP, who was not the same player once he returned from surgery. Earl Clark was also ineffective once he suffered his injury. Pau missed games and took some time to get back in game shape and Dwight was only near %100 in the final month of the season. Despite all this, they had a top 5 record during that span. This team, if healthy, is not far off from contending.

    Im not suggesting that this team as is will be a serious contender next season, but just a few tweaks, a better coach, and possibly a solid trade for Pau could easily make this team a contender. Of course, this is assuming that Kobe can return close to his old self…a big if.

    When the Lakers suddenly became contenders immediately after the Smush era…all it took was a few tweaks….. an improved Bynum, the addition of Fish (as well as the subtraction of Smush) to go from an eighth seed in the West to leading the West. This current team has a solid core in Dwight, Kobe and Pau. Just a few right pieces, along with firing MDA, can get the job done next season.


  4. As for the Laker song selections……

    MDA – Hit the Road Jack, Don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.

    Phil Jackson – Yesterday, All my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay, oh I believe in Yesterday.


  5. I find it funny that commenters continue to rail on D’Antoni for “not making adjustments”, when his entire first year was him making adjustments trying to find something that worked. He tried multiple lineups, guys in different roles, different styles of play, and on and on he went adjusting to try and find a formula that won. Yet, fans stick to the same memes of “he sucks at defense!” “he never made adjustments!” when a simple eye test reveals those things aren’t really that true.


  6. Man, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who will give even a sliver of credit to Mike D. for the last 40 games of last season. No he doesn’t deserve all the credit, but he does deserve a goodly share. He was steering the ship and it at least made it to the playoffs – where we were going to crash in any case.

    Sorry you don’t like Mike D. Sorry you want Phil. Mike is here and staying and Phil is not here and not coming.

    Darius is exactly correct – it is time to accept the hand we chose when we went all in on a 2yr plan last year. Perhaps it would be more fun to follow the blog if we were discussing how do we maximize working around the edges to get a more competitive team next year. I saw some comments of who we could bring in to play 2/3 for a year and replace Jamison – he ain’t coming back – and fill in more time for Kobe. That seemed a good conversation.


  7. A simple eye test would have never picked D’Antoni in the first place.


  8. Darius – you are correct. But many fans like myself just never liked mike brown and mike dantoni as the head coach for the Lakers. Think Buss made knee jerk hires and this has had a HUGE impact on how the Lakers perform. So yes, we complain that his defensive scheme if any sucks, and he doesn’t make adjustments, (but his 7 man rotation really was horrible) – “we” just don’t like him and want him gone.


  9. And really, did D’Antoni adjust to the situation or did the situation force D’Antoni to adjust? There’s a big difference in how you approach the season and the players based on the approach taken.
    Give D’Antoni credit for making it work. He is the coach and you’d like to think it came from him. But he is stubborn and there’s a work history to support that. So yeah, defense is always a concern.


  10. Great article Darius right on pont, i been saying something like that on my own way all along. I been a fan for 31 years and celebrated 9 championships whats that like 30% of the time as spoiled as we are we cant win every year and im fine with that. I seen the good the bad and the ugly, this was as ugly as i seen but you know what? Im not in panic mode because i know this was a gamble, if it works great if not oh well not in the cards.The north of the franchise always been 2014 no matter what. Most people here think of the 3peat era but on those first 4 seasons Kobe and Shaq were togheter the Lakers had some pretty bad postseasons before Phil righted the ship. That being said neither Phil, Saint Riley or Auberbach could had save this team too much turmoil and injuries like never in Lakers history i even dare to say this is one of the most injury riddled seasons for any team in the history of the league. Phil was not hired because he wanted control like Riley in Miami is as simple as that. He is not coming back get over it. I think MD did a decent job after the ASG, not great but decent considering all the stuff that happened and the ever revolving door of injuries, he deserves to have a full training camp and season before any ax come down. Im confident the Lakers are going to be fine, they be better next season, it just cant be worse, if we sign Dwight like Kobe said ” we be off and running” keep the core except Metta he should be done as a Laker for one last hurrah try to get some D and atleticism cheap on the wings and bench and this team could be very good.


  11. Sorry jerry, you are going to have to live with Mike D. for at least another year. I and, I suspect, some other fans don’t really mind the direction the front office wants to take the Lakers – we just haven’t been as vocal as the ‘haters’. I guess that is our fault.


  12. And the singular issue is what Jerry Ross said. We’re a bit shaky at the top. Laker fans will suffer until Jim Buss figures it out – and the current situation is a lot more difficult than the boneheaded decision to hire Rudy T. It’s a new playing field and it will take time to figure it out. There’s plenty of valid, logical, reasoned concerns that he won’t. (moderated for baiting)


  13. Darius,

    I don’t consider a new coach experimenting with lineups as “adjustments”.

    An adjustment is when the PLAYERS decided to slow the pace down and play more through the post….or when after weeks of getting abused by PGs, KOBE told the team to start trapping Damian Lillard in the second half of the final game against Portland..or when KOBE decided to guard PGs for a stretch, or when he took over PG duties from Nash. These are the adjustments I saw this season, and by most accounts, these adjustments were made by the players, not MDA. The fact that MDA conceded to the players’ wishes is not an adjustment in my book. That’s just a clueless coach following the players, rather than leading.


  14. Our judgement of D’Antoni is dropping every day seeing what Mark Jackson and Thib are doing in GS and Chicago.

    Unfair perhaps, especially since our roster is much older… but it gets you to think.


  15. We’re here to talk about basketball, not simply air our grievances based off whether we like someone or not. Personal feelings getting passed off as analysis is the antithesis of why this site exists. No offense, but if that’s what you’re here for, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    As I’ve said for some time, there are reasons to not like D’Antoni’s approach with this team. And I think he could have had a more deft hand when dealing with some of the players and not jerked around players’ roles so much. I also think that his reputation as not being very good with confrontation is real and that led to some of those mishaps with how he handled players. That said, the context of this season will always include all the injuries and how that affected the ability to manage this team. I think D’Antoni could have done better but the results in the 2nd half of the season were quite good all things considered.

    Also, this team needs better defensive players to be a better defensive team. There are few adjustments to be made when your wings can’t stay in front of ball handlers or when some of your key perimeter players fail to make the extra effort when rotating back out to shooters. Not to mention, when some of your best players are the ones failing on defense but you need them for your offense to be even somewhat respectable it’s not realistic to simply put those guys on the bench to make them “accountable”.

    I’m all for fair critique. What I’m not for is hyperbole or unfair critique simply because it’s en vogue to do so.


  16. So when Kobe said he wanted to guard Rondo in the 2008 Finals, I’m hoping you’re not giving Phil Jackson that credit.

    Managing at team — especially a veteran team — isn’t just a straight dictatorship. Not to mention that D’Antoni’s not the confrontational type anyway so I don’t expect that he’ll simply bark out things regardless of what input he’s getting from the players.

    That said, for all the calls of stubbornness, he adjusted. If you don’t want to credit him for that then I can only assume he’ll never get any credit for anything. That said, when things go wrong, I hope you’re not quick to blame him either since, you know, all the adjustments are coming from the players.


  17. Mike D’Antoni didn’t properly adjust to the fact that his entire guard rotation from 2 weeks prior to the playoffs was injured.


  18. Darius,

    I bought into the two year plan last year–until the Lakers chose Mike D’Antoni. With Kobe down and Dwight unsure, the two year plan looks shakier and shakier. The wheels to the 2013-2014 campaign may have already fallen off before the race begins.

    The mistake was not D’Antoni’s coaching–it was the bizarre decision to hire him, and the way it was handled. We now have a front office in which the business manager is not on speaking terms with the general manager, with diverse stockholders facing $85 billion in penalties. I doubt how enthusiastic they are with the second year of this wild casino style gamble.

    Let’s not get too far ahead with our speculative scenario. The first step involves the signing of Dwight. There are certainly enough complexities to digest in that signing alone. . . .


  19. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s pretty obvious that a slow team with three elite post players should slow the pace down and play through the post. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that any decent coach would have seen this from day one, or that calling MDA an “idiot” for not seeing it is somehow biased. I’m just a fan who watches games, and it is mind boggling to me that a Laker coach was unable or unwilling to see such a basic principle in basketball. It took a near mutiny from the players, who obviously saw it, to turn this season around. This was the biggest adjustment of the season, and it was made by the players….. To give MDA credit for following along makes no sense. He is paid to lead, to coach and to make adjustments.


  20. Why not just blame it all on Father Time?

    Kobe- Achilles surgery, Pau procedure on both ankles, Nash- hip injury, Jamison- wrist surgery, Hill- hip surgery, Blake- hamstring injury, Metta- knee surgery. 4 players under contract next year went under the knife this year. Doesn’t bode well for next year unless a bench is built and Lakers have the ability to play a 10 man rotation to conserve energy for the vets. An old roster and D’Antoni didn’t mesh and Lakers paid the price.


  21. My question: did you watch the exit interviews? If you did, then one thing that both MDA and Mitch said struck me as the most likely of all truths…

    MDA was asked in some roundabout way about the style the team played early on and the adjustments that took place later. And he said that he’s coached a certain style his entire career and that when he was hired he tried to implement that style with the players he had. Only, he didn’t have either Steve Nash or Steve Blake. So, he ran his system with Kobe until those guys got back. When those guys did get back he said he wanted to give his P&R heavy attack some time to develop but that injuries kept getting in the way…Dwight’s shoulder, Pau’s foot, Nash went out again, etc. But, ultimately, what he also saw was that the P&R heavy attack wasn’t really turning things around. At that point adjustments were made to play more through the post and ultimately things turned around. Mitch basically echoed those statements.

    My overall point is that in theory using Pau as a secondary option out of the P&R w/ Dwight as a screener and Nash/Kobe as ball handlers is a fine attack. It’s not farfetched to try that attack. In practice, it didn’t work however. Part of that was the pace factor, but part of it was also clearly the lack of chemistry between the players and the fact that shooters didn’t hit shots (something that affected the post up heavy offense too, btw). Anyways, in hindsight it’s totally fine to say he never should have tried to coach the way he did or implement the style of play he did, but if that’s your point than rail on the front office. Everyone else who thinks this does.

    I just don’t see the point in giving credit to everyone but the coach for things that went well and then blaming the coach for everything that didn’t. Scapegoating is fun, it’s just not practical.


  22. @Darius: that’s a fair point, but I do believe that Kobe himself said numerous times he told D’Antoni this fast paced style (they were 2nd in pace for awhile) wasn’t working. Kobe always said he told Pau to get in the post. And I think it was more D’Antoni reacting to the players like LT said than making a proactive choice to change things.

    Anyhow that segues to one of my biggest problem with D’Antoni: he’s a bad in-game manager and I don’t like how he manages the roster either. Every other team makes adjustments at halftime, but it seemed like the Lakers never could (one of my biggest gripes with Brown too). Nevermind the fact be refused to play more than 7-8 guys at times, the Lakers were in dire need of athletic guys on the perimeter but Ebanks never got a sniff of court time. Morris was relegated to the bench until injuries hit. And don’t get me started on the bizarre banishment of Jamison for 14 straight DNPs or trying to play him as a 3.


  23. Folks – Ok. So you hate D’Antoni. Like it or not, unless Kobe and D Howard (assuming he resigns) both tell the FO that they cannot play under a Mike D system, then we are stuck with him for at least one more year. That’s life. Learn to live with that fact. This team (in fact, any team in this league) is not going to spend millions on consecutive seasons in order to buy yet another coach out of a contract unless you have a significant player revolt, and said revolt involves your soon-to-be-resigned-franchise-player.

    So…. given where we are with coaching, salaries and contracts, where do we go from here?

    As a side note, I think its ironic that this ridiculous “we only want Phil” stance is actually the most counter productive thing we as fans of the Lakers can do. What coach in their right mind is going to want to step into the coaching seat here when they know the fans will only accept one possible replacement? I just dont see any of the new crop of coaching talent such as Vogel, Woodson or Thibodeau wanting to come here. And as far as Phil coming back, I think that’s a pipe dream. Last I heard the guy wants a front office job. Less travel, more control, better hours.


  24. The exit interviews are mostly pr. Mitch is one of the most guarded GM’s around, so you’re really going to have to pin him to a corner to say anything negative.

    I cannot think that Mitch agreed with D’antoni’s uptempo pace, but what’s he gonna do? That’s not his call. And I can’t recall Mitch conceding that D’Antoni was forced to change and D’antoni did not want to change.

    It’s perfectly fine for Mitch to call it an adjustment. That’s certainly his opinion of it. But I can’t see anyone outside of the laker organization calling it an adjustment – an adjustment is when you’re willing to change.

    Pau adjusted to D’Antoni – he said he was willing to give it a shot. And D’Antoni was pretty much forced to concede that Pau was right – after he made a couple caustic remarks about Pau to reporters.

    If D’Antoni didn’t change he was probably going to get fired. That’s not an adjustment. That’s self preservation.


  25. Darius: The 4 part plan you put in the boxes above is perfect, and I think the only really viable option given our situation. Further I love your quote: “but if that’s your point than rail on the front office. Everyone else who thinks this does.” Bingo. My sentiments exactly. MD is who he is. We were told that he matched our personnel and that turned out to be false. He was a fast paced coach and we had a slow paced team. We had a few (Pau, AJ, Hill) players who he had no clue how to fit into his system. However that is not his fault. Somebody else put him in place.


  26. MannyP: The money we pay MD is a rounding error in the overall Laker financial situation. The reason you are probably correct is that firing MD would be a big admission by Jim that he was wrong – again – at the coaching spot. And by the way some of us Phil fans have presented other alternatives such as B Shaw (the obvious choice), or B Scott. Or we could put our heads in the sand and say it is inevitable that we have to continue to live with a mistake. And keep in mind while many our jumping on the idea to fire MD lately, I bought into the concept of getting rid of him before he started : )


  27. At the end of the day, it’s clear that the veteran players do not respect their coach. That’s kind of important for teams trying to contend. I look at all these coaches in the playoffs, and they all have a calm confidence in the sidelines. They know how to lead, and set an example for their players. MDA, on the other hand, shakes his head and has a look of disgust when players make bad plays or miss shots.

    It may seem as if I have a vendetta against MDA, but my main concern is next season….and as I stated earlier, I believe with a few additions, and possibly a trade for Pau (or not), this team has the assets to contend, but they need a leader that the players respect, that knows how to make the right adjustments. Jamison flat out stated that MDA made absolutely zero adjustments in the playoffs. Kobe continually undermined his coach by publicly announcing the strategic adjustments the PLAYERS were making…..and we all know how Dwight and Pau feel about their coach. If the Lakers have any notion of contending next season, I think it’s imperative that they find a coach that the players respect, a coach that understands the strengths and weaknesses of his players. MDA ain’t it.

    Phil Jackson might not be a realistic option, mainly becase Jim Buss will realistically not allow himself to swallow his pride and admit he made a monumental blunder in hiring MDA, but their are options out there, and I can’t imagine any coach who is a worse fit for this team. That ain’t hyperbole. If the front office refuses to rehire Phil, how about begging Larry Brown to come out of retirement? He knows how to fix thngs quickly, and perhaps he might be motivated to redeem himself after getting an unfair shake in NY. I have a feeling he would love to coach Kobe and Dwight. But regardless, this team ain’t going nowhere with this blundering idiot on the sidelines.


  28. I stated this earlier, but wanting to continue with MDA for the sake of continuity is no different than wishing for another year of hemorrhoids foe the sake of continuity. It’s time to get that ghastly thing removed.


  29. The main reasons to hire D’Antoni were:

    1. His relationship/philosophical synergy with Nash.
    2. The fact that Howard has said over and over and over again that he likes to have fun and MDA ball with Nash as the fulcrum is supposed to be NBA Funtown.

    I agree with people who are saying that D’Antoni should get his share of the credit for the team righting itself to a degree. There, are, absolutely, people who blame him for everything and give him credit for nothing, which is simply venting.

    OTOH, defending him by saying that he eventually started playing a certain way that fit the team’s personnel is very weak. Random blog commenters knew before MDA had coached a game that the Lakers were too slow to play SSOL ball. I backed the hire but said the day it happened that I based some of that on his being smart enough to make adjustments and adapt immediately. It is not as if the Lakers’ key players were a bunch of unknown quantities when MDA took over. If the adjustments were a key to the team’s improvement, they should have been made sooner.


  30. What coach in their right mind is going to want to step into the coaching seat here when they know the fans will only accept one possible replacement?

    The reason things went the way they did is because Phil supposedly wanted the job and talked about it. If he had announced that he didn’t want to coach the Lakers as soon as Brown was fired, that would have taken quite a bit of the heat off of MDA. And, since people are now saying that Phil only wants a FO job, the next guy would/will not have the Phil problem to nearly the same degree.


  31. Those who want to put Phil in charge of personnel simply don’t take into account…
    – Phil has no history with personnel changes and when his wishes for players has been granted the results have been bad as often as they have helped
    – If there is front office tension, it won’t be helped by hiring Phil. The truth of the matter is that many of those who tout Phil also want Jim out, and that ain’t gonna happen. Jerry Buss long ago allocated the player decisions to Jim and the business decisions to Jeannie.
    – The league and the Lakers are changing and many on this blog are uncomfortable with that, to say the least. Jerry Buss wanted a more up-tempo team with a more exciting face for entertainment purposes and he, along with others, wanted Mike D. to start that change.

    If – and it’s a big if – Phil was offered the job, he could have accepted it and all this would be moot, but he chose to delay – perhaps to leverage his power into a better position – and he lost out to Mike D. I personally don’t believe Phil was ever offered the job, but after Mike D. accepted there was no way any of us is ever going to find out exactly how everything happened, because everyone is going to spin things to make themselves look better.


  32. rr: Very balanced, logical posting as usual. MD was not the cause of all of our troubles. Much of it was simply bad luck. That said – your two reasons for hiring him, did not work out. Whether they seemed logical to some at the time – they did not work out. However that is history. The question is what to do now? Nash is not someone who we want to base our future on – I think that is safe to say. I also think it is safe to say that MD is not a positive for DH. He might even be a large negative -but he certainly is not a positive. This is not directed at you, because your comments are very balanced, but the fact that the man did nothing right in the first half of the year is no reason to give him credit for the second half of the year. He did not handle Pau well. He did not handle AJ well. He put Hill in the dog house. He ran Kobe into the ground. DH was a head case all year. MWP – well – he is what he is. OK – so as you pointed out – I will give him Blake – but – is that what we are paying this guy for? We are the Lakers. We need a list of positives why the guy should be our coach, not a list of reasons why we made him coach last year, or why it is not all his fault. It wasn’t all my fault either, and as author of the Kobe Alert, I think it is safe to say I would have given the ball to Kobe and told everyone else to clear out. Come to think of it, that is exactly what we did most of the time. Perhaps I have a future. Only one problem – I do not want to coach – I want to own the team – so I can make you GM : ) And then I can force you to make a decision on MD : )


  33. The league and the Lakers are changing and many on this blog are uncomfortable with that, to say the least

    People just want to win, and as I detailed the other day, the teams left in the post-season either have James, Durant, and/or a high-quality big or two. Chris Paul’s team and James Harden’s team are both out. Elite talent, along with good coaching, will always win in the NBA, no matter how the game changes, and size will always matter.

    As to “entertainment”, the team which played at the slowest pace in the NBA–30th of 30–is Memphis, their two best players are a slow center and a slow power forward, and I think their fans are feeling plenty entertained right now. The Knicks were 26th in Pace Factor, and Chicago was 27th.


  34. Too many spoiled fans. Just apply to be the coach for the Lakers if you want change immediately.

    I’m running out of patience for these spoiled people. I’m still 22 years old and a 14 year Laker fan and I am disciplining myself not to expect too much every year.

    Fans just disagreeing with the argument because they were disappointed and expectations didn’t happen.

    I’m outta here til offseason.

    Big props to Darius for handling this site on this year. Too much whining will lead to heart attack.

    Just enjoy the game.


  35. Funky Chicken May 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    It illustrates just how far the Lakers have fallen that we are debating not whether they have a good (much less great) coach, but whether that coach made “adjustments” or not in a season that saw the team squeak into the playoffs and then get swept.


  36. Funky: Well said He isn’t that bad is good enough for some.
    vhanz: If you are 22 (you started as a fan at a good time), then be thankful you did not have to live through the Del Harris era. There were people preaching patience then as well.


  37. @Robert

    That is exactly the thing. When fans already experienced these type of seasons, they already knew how to handle it. If they had patience in those years why not today?!

    Experiences taught us to be smart, be better, discipline enough to control our emotions and everything. We are not the ones who controlling tomorrow but we fans can stay hopeful and patient enough of what will happen in the next few years.

    Yeah, we were frustrated and these Lakers didn’t meet our expectations, so what?! This NBA is not only compose of these Lakers. Other teams also trying their best to put the best possible scenario to win chips.

    Time and days passed by, every person, every fan, every team, every aspect of the game is now far different from those days. Don’t expect it to be the same, the fact is these Lakers are not the problem, we fans spoiled fans are the PROBLEM.

    Not just the Lakers, but the Celtics and Knicks, those who had won multiple chips before.


  38. “…how far the Lakers have fallen …”

    This is the essence of a spoiled fan.

    Most franchises are working just to stay in the playoffs most years. Our standard is to win the championship or the year is a failure? Even the vaunted Laker/Celtic franchises don’t even come close to these expectations.

    This blog has continually been the best place for discussion and dissecting the game and the organization. We are not doing that right now — we are simply whinning and crying that we are not on top. Tough cookies. As Darius said above, “Play the hand we are dealt,” and stop this incessant complaining about the players and the organization – both are among the best in the league.

    How about some suggestions as to how to improve that don’t revolve around “fire the coach” and “get new ownership.”


  39. @LT Mitchell- I’m still laughing about those song choices. Spot on with both.

    Darius- All four points are salient. The Lakers will stay with the hand they dealt themselves. That’s too bad, but the best move is to wait until 2014. One just hopes that the Lakers will have a definitive long term plan for an offensive and defensive system, and that they pursue players of that caliber.


  40. My only problem with MD is he mumbles to much.


  41. I respect everyone’s opinion, but D’Antoni jus isn’t a good coach. He wasn’t in NY. He wasn’t this year in LA. And he won’t be in LA. I made this same argument last year regarding Brown: if you didn’t think he was the right coach, why not cut him loose now and give the next guy a fair chance? Same thing applies here. D’Antoni is not a good coach. He sucked in NY for 4 years. Woodson went 18-6 in 24 games last year with the same roster MD went like 18-24.

    And let’s be honest: D’Antoni will suck next year too and then u need to get a new coach anyway. Why not do it now? You aren’t winning a title next year anyway. Def not with Dumb’Toni. Move to the future.


  42. Why do so many fans calling for MDA’s head? I think there are 3 main reasons.

    1. MDA did make some philosophical adjustments in terms of coaching style. But from game to game and in game adjustments, he is really too slow and too reactive. Remember how he ran the 7-players rotation for back to back games? Look how Popovich just prepared his players to cut off the passing lanes to shut down Lakers high screen and roll. Did MDA make adjustments for game 2,3,4?
    2. MDA looks like some corporate two headed snake who knows how to cover his own butt. It is really a difficult job to form a bond with these millionaire players. But just look at how he humiliated Gasol by benching him in front of his families. Look at how he ran Kobe to the ground to save his job, then later called him a fan for tweeting? His character is really in question.
    3. MDA is just not a difference maker kind of coach. Look at what Tom Thibodeau is doing with those bulls! Talk abot injuries depleted squad. Can anyone even name the starting five of that team? MDA could not even make players calling out for each other when switching on defense. He has no credential to guide these Lakers.

    Right now, there is just not really any good and viable replacement out there. We are stuck with his Pringles face. Mitch has made all the right moves, but the coaching selection is just horrible. I have a feeling that we are heading into some lean years.


  43. Robert,

    As noted earlier, MDA did a good job with Steve Blake and to a lesser extent with Earl Clark, and given the injuries, it is hard to picture any coaches winning more than 45-50 games with the roster that they had. I feel the Jamison criticism is unfair. Jamison was a logical guy to sit to try to improve the D, but MDA went back to Jamison and he wound up having a pretty good year. Hill was injured most of the year; had he stayed healthy, MDA might have eventually played him more. Plus, Hill is not IMO quite as good as some people here think he is.

    The O was pretty good, injuries and all. And, for all the talk about how MDA can’t deal with people or motivate them, the Lakers never quit on him and did get into the playoffs. Finally, to his credit, he publicly asked the team to hire someone to help him with the defense.


    1. The pace was far too fast for the roster that he had.
    2. The decision to run a short rotation was very, very questionable, even given how bad the team was 9-12.
    3. The D never looked organized.
    4. Howard does not appear to like him.

    As to what to add at the margins, I already gave my opinion:

    1. Keep Clark and play him 15-18 MPG.
    2. Try to add a wing who can guard 2s and 3s and run the floor. Such a player will have limited skills on O given the the Lakers’ budget, of course.
    3. Try to add a combo guard who can stay in front of people, defend the 1 or the 2, and not kill the offense.

    CJ Watson, who fits #3 well, played for 992K in Brooklyn last year while the Lakers paid Steve Blake, Darius Morris, and Chris Duhon around 9M. Watson has a player option at 1.1M this year, so he may be back on the market. Whatever happens with D’Antoni, Howard, Kobe, and Pau, Kupchak and Buss need to do their bargain hunting this time based on improving the D on the perimeter more than anything else, and they need to get it right.


  44. stop this incessant complaining about the players and the organization – both are among the best in the league.


    The Lakers are clearly not among the best teams in the league right now, and given the huge turnover in the organization over the last 24 months, where they stand as an organization relative to other teams in the NBA is very much in question.


  45. i’m pleased with the season. all things considered, the team did quite well to make the seventh seed.

    i’m also disappointed. that’s just somthing to get over. no matter who you are, things won’t always go your way. as Laker fans, things often go our way. i’m glad for that.

    if the Lakers had been healthy, they would be in contention. seriously, even with all their problems…


  46. Funky Chicken May 11, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Craig W, if you are upset by reading comments from “spoiled fans” I suggest you find another blog (and team) to follow. Ten titles in 30 years tends to raise expectations. If that is unpleasant for you, I’m sure there is a Clippers blog that you would find less bothersome.


  47. Please, please, please stop with the “world would have been better with Phil”.
    I wish the posts on various blogs were archived so we could see what was being posted the last two years with PJ coaching, even the yr. we won: Phil seems disengaged, why won’t the team play harder, when will they flip the magic switch, swept by Dallas????, etc.
    Respectfully, I think PJ is a great coach, arguably the best ever but I’m not certain he truly had the motivation to come back and coach. Also, 5 different systems (2 with MB, 1 BB, 1 or 2 with MD) and the the triangle would have been way too much. Basketball is about timing and trust. You can’t expect over the long haul to just roll the ball out and win a championship (BB’s
    short tenure an exception).
    Basketball is also about talent and ours just didn’t fit correctly: too many injuries prevented any kind of cohesion, DH never 100%, and lack of depth (we knew that coming in).
    -I don’t know how MDA’s LA tenure will ultimately be judged, but they didn’t quit and fought hard to get to the playoffs. He deserves some of the credit for that.
    -FO should have originally hired Rick Adelman
    -PJ would not have the services of Tex Winter this go-around; don’t think people remember how important he was to PJ’s success
    -Free PJ to try a new challenge (head office type of position). That’s what he’s about!


  48. if you are upset by reading comments from “spoiled fans” I suggest you find another blog (and team) to follow.

    I find this comical and I *run* this site. FB&G was started as a refuge from the type of discussion that now litters the comment section. Kurt Helin, who founded this site, often talked about spoiled fans, once even saying that “some Lakers’ fans won’t be happy unless the team wins two championships in a season”…he didn’t mean that as a compliment.

    In fact, this is from the first post ever written at this site:

    This blog is also an attempt to be a rational and calm voice in a world of screaming idiots on talk radio. There should be a place Laker fans can read and — through the comment section — discuss things Lakers rationally.

    I firmly believe in this tenant and it was one of the reasons I took over the site when Kurt left to run Pro Basketball Talk. I fell in love with this site for the great discussions in the comments as much as for the great content Kurt and the rest of the crew created.

    So, my suggestion would be if you’re one the “spoiled fans” who is consistently expressing his/her spoiled-ness in the comments, maybe *you* should find a new blog to follow.


  49. Darius is right when mentioning that we ´re in the middle of a two year plan; so let´s stick to it & hope our core guys and some `tinkering´ around the edges will provide that spark we´d all be hoping for at the precise time of the season…ahem, that is, heading into the playoffs!

    Chise and LT Mitch have also pointed out that our core should be as healthy as possible to start the season (this of course doesn´t include Mamba), & I agree, so there´s nowhere to go but up, right?

    & from the last thread:
    Chearn –
    thanks dude, glad you liked my choices – the Rush reference is from a tune called `Tom Sawyer´, good rockin´ there! (& how true, eh?). I also got a kick from LT´s choices!
    Kevin –
    thanks for getting back; I wouldn´t mind either player as well though I´m more familiar with Dunleavy, & his fitting into our financial scheme is an excellent point –
    Funny, I wouldn´t have pictured you as a hard rock fan! (though I know you like Jimi) But then again, it´s kinda hard to tell from this angle ain´t it? haha – hope you ´re well

    Oh! and one last thing, great thread once again everyone


  50. Funky Chicken May 11, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Darius, if your comment is directed at me, as it seems to be since you quoted me, perhaps I’ll take you up on it because I’m not particularly interested in being lectured by someone who routinely advises others to not come here when you don’t like their comments.

    Laker fans are spoiled. No sports team in America has had more success in the last 50 years than the Lakers, and success raises standards and expectations. If the idea is that commenters here should have expectations that are no greater than those of other teams, that’s unrealistic. High expectations will naturally lead to low tolerance for average (or worse) performance–whether by a player or a coach.

    Some of us have been Laker fans since the 1970’s, but others are newbies by comparison. For either group, we’ve had the pleasure of watching teams coached by the greatest coach in NBA history, which makes it hard to watch a guy who falls so far short of that standard.

    My only comments on this thread were to point out how far the team has slipped given the conversation (among you and others, not me) about whether or not the coach made adjustments, and, when that apparently struck Craig as being a sign of being “spoiled”, a retort about how all Laker fans are spoiled. For that, I get your ridiculously defensive response and an invitation to leave? Whatever, dude.


  51. I forgot to mention this:

    Robert, this is fantasitc!
    ¨as author of the Kobe Alert, I think it is safe to say I would have given the ball to Kobe and told everyone else to clear out. Come to think of it, that is exactly what we did most of the time. Perhaps I have a future. Only one problem – I do not want to coach – I want to own the team – so I can make you GM : ) And then I can force you to make a decision on MD : ) ¨
    LOL – rr is gonna have his hands full for sure!


  52. The whole coaching debate is getting a little boring. I tried a couple of threads back to get a free agent discussion going. Kevin picked up on it but then it went right back to the coach. I wasn’t a big fan of the hire but then any coach would not have changed the ultimate results given the obscene amount of injuries we endured. And since Mitch has made it pretty clear that there will not be any coaching changes, can’t we start talking about other things, free agents etc. that may improve the team? Just a thought.


  53. The daily MDA bashing from about five guys can get very tiresome, but Craig, and to a lesser extent, MannyP, need to give the frequent lectures about what people should talk about and what their preferred style of fandom is, a long, long rest. Be the change you want to see, and talk about something else if you don’t like where the conversation is.

    And the “spoiled fans” thing is silly. All fans want to win, period, and will complain when they don’t. During the Denver/GS series, I checked out the True Hoop Denver affilliate a few times, and about 75% of the posts were screaming for George Karl’s head. No mention of Curry’s great shooting; little mention of Gallinari’s being out. And, people here complained all the time in 2004-2009 as well. The targets were different, but FBG, while a great blog, has never been the Algonquin Round Table or the Oxford Debating Club.


  54. Warren Wee Lim May 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I like the CJ Watson idea. I believe he can get burn here as a speedy guard with good-decent perimeter defense. He also has the 3-ball thats essential to MDA’s system and of any PG for that matter.

    I also would like to hear thoughts about a hypothetical scenario wherein Pau is traded for less, which would suggest that the players we get are not better than Pau. Also in the same train of thought, after resignings to Dwight and Clark happen, to start Jordan Hill at PF.

    Nash – Blake – Clark – Hill – Howard


  55. Warren Wee Lim May 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

    All in all i want our team to get younger. Find the next Earl Clark by giving others a chance. Pau, while we all recognize that he’s probably the most-skilled big man Dwight will ever play with, cannot be denied, overlaps with Dwight. That while we sorely lack other aspects of our game.

    We don’t play defense not because we don’t want to, but in huge part coz we simply can’t.


  56. Many are psyching themselves out about the 28-12 finish. Have you seen that schedule. That also doesn’t translate to saying the starting 5 would have that same success. They were 0-fer as a starting unit.

    Wins: Utah, Thunder, Hornets(3), Min(3), Pistons, Nets, Bobcats, Suns, Celtics, Blazers(2), Mavs(2), Hawks, Raptors, Magic, Bulls, Pacers, Kings(2), Grizzles, Warriors, Spurs, Rockets.

    Finished strong with some good wins sprinkles in there but those are teams Lakers are supposed to beat. Best win would be against Grizzles and Spurs. Then you factor in no Nash in one game no Kobe in the other. It’s hard to judge most these wins because the proposed bring back the team together starting lineup rarely saw the floor together and they could’ve easily added to their 0-fer record. The desperation to get in the playoffs and otherworldly play from Kobe made most these wins happen.

    Losses: Suns(2), Celtics, Heat, Clippers(2), Nuggets, Thunder, Hawks, Wizards, Warriors, Bucks.

    Quicker teams and games you’d expect be tough to win against tough playoff teams. All have perimeter players who shredded the Lakers and expect that to continue if Nash and Kobe start together again. So while the 28-12 record to end the season is a good sign it also comes with an asterisk because the team wasn’t fully healthy in these games. If the starting lineup was in and they went 28-12 that’s reason for optomism. But they didn’t win any games together with the pre season lauded starting lineup.

    I’m no big fan of D’Anotni and it’s fun to rail on him during games. But he came into a tough situation. And we’ll never know what could happen if he can’t implement his system with guys who fit it.


  57. Aloha Warren

    Thank you! I like CJ Watson. I liked him last year as well. But with Blake having a bounce back season, I think the wing would be a better free agent target. I think the is a better chance of us getting a decent player for the mini then last year.

    Martell Webster
    Wes Johnson
    Nick Young
    Ronnie Brewer
    Fransico Garcia
    Ronnie Brewer

    For various reasons all could fall to the mini mid level or in a couple of cases the vet minimum. As far as trading Pau, he did increase his trade value down the stretch but his 19 mil contract and the FO wanting to maintain cap flexibility for 2014 makes a trade for him very difficult.


  58. On free agents:
    SS&R has suggested Wesley Johnson – `Free agency capsule: Wesley Johnson, an ideal fit?´
    this was posted today


  59. Warren Wee Lim May 11, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Thing is, we need players that can play defense my moving their feet, chase his man and close out on shooters. That can only happen if we’re younger. Otherwise its the same.


  60. Funky,
    You told Craig to “leave” if he didn’t like the comments from spoiled fans. My point is if someone is a spoiled fan — which, by the way, can often lead to a very specific and less nuanced conversation — then maybe this isn’t the blog for them. “You” isn’t really a reference to anyone…but as I said I do find that line of reasoning comical considering what the site is meant to be.

    As for comments about fans wanting to win, I agree with that. Though I’d argue that constant railing against a coach without much acknowledgement of the full scope of a situation is, essentially, very tiring. No one seems to disagree with that so I don’t understand why it would be such a point of contention.

    As an aside, I do tire of comments about the tone of other comments. But, since a commenter did say to another person to “go away” if they don’t like the site, I figured I have more than the right to speak my mind on such things since, you know, I run this site.


  61. Hi Warren

    Martell Webster – 26
    Wes Johnson- 25
    Nick Young- 27
    Ronnie Brewer- 27
    Fransico Garcia 31

    Garcia is the only one not in or entering their prime years yet he may be the best defender on the list. The Rockets had him on Durant and he did about as good as can be expected.

    Hi Purpleblood

    For me Wes Johnson is the most intriguing. He was the 4th over all pick in 2010. He has not lived up to expectation but over the 22 games he started to come on. The Suns like him but from what I read not willing to over pay based on 22 games. He has always been a good defender but was offensively challenged. But he averaged 13 ppg over those 22 games. Not sure what happened but he is an unrestricted free agent and I doubt anyone will pay more then the mini mid level for him based on a small sample size.


  62. Michale H: The “free agent” discussion is a little limited for a variety of reasons. First we are hopelessly over the cap, so all we have are the small exceptions. Further, our needs and direction are completely unclear until DH makes up his mind and we get some idea as to a KB timeline/prognosis. We can make physical roster space with an amnesty, but that is all it is, we will still be over the cap. We can’t do significant things with new players until after 14 unless Mitch fleeces someone for Pau, which is highly unlikely. So I understand that the coaching discussion can get tiring, but the coaching spot is something that “can” be changed. Much of our roster can’t be until after 14.


  63. Warren Wee Lim May 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    We need to find more guys thats for sure. Free Agency is a good place to find spare parts but these aren’t whole assemblies we’re getting due to our limited budget.

    I haven’t seen or heard enough about Wes. As a 4th overall pick there’s merit there. As to why he’s an unrestricted FA is also indicative. Either injury or bad character.

    I still would like CJ Watson better. A consistent outside threat is also someone I’d consider like Korver if he’d take our mini MLE.


  64. Purple: Thanks for appreciating my warped sense of humor.
    Funky: Do not leave. Your point of view is appreciated.
    Darius is correct about comments about other comments. It reminds me of a kid acting up at a restaurant, and then having the parent go nuts on the kid. The parent is way more annoying than whatever the kid was originally doing.
    rr: I am going to take Purple’s comment as evidence that others are in favor of me naming you GM. Now all I need to do is buy the team. I will keep you “posted”.


  65. Funky Chicken May 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Darius, if you re-read my comment you will see that I did not tell Craig o anyone else to “leave” or “go away” so you are simply making a false accusation, and then using that charge as the basis for saying to me what you claim I said to someone else. It is your site, and you do a good job with it, so I guess that gives you the right to apply a double standard.


  66. Aloha Robert,

    Unfortunetly the coaching situation isn’t going to get changed. It is what it is and all of the complaining will not alter that a bit. In the same vein Jim Buss will not fire himself for all of those with complaints against him. All we really have at this point is free agency since trade speculation is not allowed on this site.

    I am one of those who felt that with good health this team could have competed, I still feel that way with a few tweaks to the roster. The players I listed all could have a positive impact on this team. And I believe all with the possible exception of Martel Webster will be signed for 3 mil or less. We see players on other teams that break out and wonder why we didn’t go for that guy. Well Wes Johnson is a prime candidate for that break out kind of season. Resign Earl Clark another guys who was left for dead before coming to L.A and now you have Hill, Clark and Johnson the young athletic players many here pine for. Also Morris showed signs of improvement down the stretch and Meeks over the course of the season turned into a good defender. Now he can shoot but he didn’t shoot consistently. If he could get back into the 38% range from 3 he had in the 1st half in the year, you have another asset. So now we are talking about 5 young rotation quality guys to compliment our older players, kind of like the Spurs.

    There are other things as well. Most of Duhons deal is non guaranteed. would someone trade us a useful piece so they could cut Duhon to get under the cap? If we keep Clark and Pau, could we get a good wing player for a trade for Hill? I think that maybe a real possibility.

    Anyway, this is what I want to talk about. The coaching thing is not going to change unless Howard puts his foot down. And even if he does, all of the above still applies for the new coach.


  67. Funky,
    I read the comment multiple times. I’m unsure of another way to interpret the statement “I suggest you find another blog to follow” besides “I suggest you leave this site” especially when followed by “I’m sure there is a Clippers blog that you would find less bothersome”. However, I’m open to hearing what you meant if that wasn’t it.


  68. well this escalated quickly.

    Things are really going in the direction of staying put and preserving the cap space the Lakers will have in 2014 (which we could sign top level talent), unless a deal comes up that Mitch can’t refuse. I have faith with the front office.


  69. Lakers have Nash and Blake, two guys D’Antoni loves. Watson would be a nice addition but salary and an overload of pg’s may be a problem.

    Lakers really need a young wing player, perferrably a sg so Kobe won’t need to score 25 points a game for Lakers to be competitive.


  70. The clipper suggestion may be too much, but I agree with the sentiment. The lecturing is not necessary.


  71. Aloha Darius,

    Just for future reference I am curious about my response to Robert that is still in moderation. Was there a problem with it or did it just slip through the cracks?


  72. And the spoiled fans accusations are just silly. The Knicks were horrible for years because they had horrible management – layden, Isiah Thomas (that guy destroyed the knicks! And the owner still like him!)

    The celtics also had some really lousy choices too – pitino, m.l. Carr, etc.

    The lakers have been lucky – and smart enough – to avoid those pitfalls. At least until recently.

    And there has always been a very high standard here. I was in the audience when a season ticket holder asked Mitch if he was ready to resign because they traded shaq.

    Not all appropriate, but you gotta crack eggs to make an omelette. During those dry couple of years, the lakers gave away more souvenirs than they had for years. And there were a lot of empty court side seats.

    I wonder why.

    The blazers and twolves have plenty of money and still can’t win. Yes, injuries were a part of the problem, but the management positions were a revolving door as well.

    The new salary restriictions make it harder to spend your way out of your mistakes. So you need to be smarter in your choices.


  73. If we assume Howard resigns with us there are 6 players definitely on the roster – KB, DH, Pau, Hill, Nash, Blake – for next year. Of the remaining players, MWP and Jodie Meeks are front office decisions and Chris Duhon has a year left, but may not be a front office priority. That is 9 players.

    The remaining players are all free agents. I think we will try to sign Earl Clark, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock, for a total of 12.

    I don’t know whether or not we sign Sacre, but Jamison is certainly gone. We are at a minimal team level, with no money, and – given the 2014-15 situation – very little flexibility. Therefore our decisions have to be made very carefully.

    IMO, the center position is set and we are likely not to see Sacre signed if the FO also thinks that way (Howard, Hill, Gasol). The PF slot is also filled (Gasol, Hill, Clark in specific situations). I also don’t see any changes at PG (Nash, Blake, Morris, Kobe). That leaves the 2/3 positions (Kobe, Clark, Meeks), and that is where I have seen the most comment on this blog (Duhon and MWP are the most likely to be moved).

    If we are going for a 3, then I suspect offense will be a priority, but if we get a 2 we will probably go for defense first. I suspect we will continue to play like we did toward the end of last year, but also open things up a bit due to personnel, health, training camp, and Mike D remaining as coach. How do the names mentioned match up to these criteria?


  74. I like Wes Johnson would be ideal, out of everyone on that list. Dunleavy and Webster are also intriguing but may cost too much. But, Wes was Kobe’s workout buddy his rookie year which coincidentally was his best season. He showed plenty of upside and even played decent defense against Kobe. Also, Wes could be a valuable player going beyond 2014.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that most players require a year playing in Los Angeles before they understand what it takes to play for the Lakers. Look for Howard, Clark, Morris and Meeks to come out fully focused and knowledgeable about what it means to wear a purple and gold jersey. I’m not sold on Goudelock as he was in prime position to be the Lakers backup a year ago, yet he was out of shape and lost his roster spot. Pride in playing for an organization can only be achieved over time, unless a player has always coveted the opportunity to play for the Lakers.


  75. 1 year of this squad.

    Cap space in 2014.

    It’s that simple, lets not make this too complicated.


  76. The Lakers priorities for next season are remarkably similar to the ones heading into this season. Whoever the coach is needs to park his veterans on the bench for significant periods during the games. Boston and San Antonio figured this out for their aging veterans and manage to win anyway. I am not buying that their bench players are significantly better than the ones the Lakers have. Morris looks like he would be fine in spurts and Blake clearly can be adequate. Even with Jamison leaving, the front court could have a solid rotation if Howard is signed. I admit that the SF position is pathetic but deal with it. A golden opportunity was missed this season when OKC unloaded Harden for no particular reason. Fortunately, OKC will still have that same deficiency next season. If the Lakers learn how to play team defense and teach it to all of their players, they could be competitive next year while they wait to reload in 2014.


  77. Aloha Craig

    The beauty of the guys I mention is that they all can play the 2 or the 3. Webster has the best all around game and could start. He shot 42% from 3. But of the names mentioned of that group he has the best shot at signing for more then 3 mil. Wes Johnson has the biggest upside. He would be a roll of the dice but could turn out to be a very good player. I think we would be improved with any of them.


  78. We will probably need to sign two players, likely both 2/3 types. From the comments so far it would seem the priority would be…

    Webster, Garcia, Brewer, Watson, Johnson, Young

    If one is asking too much, or gets signed elsewhere, then we just move along to the next in line. Webster and Garcia address both defensive and scoring issues, Brewer and Johnson address defense, finally Watson and Young are more offense only…or have I got it wrong with C.J. Watson (If I have we probably don’t have a chance of signing him).


  79. 1. My first wish is for a defensive coordinator/assistant coach.
    2. I think we’re getting a SF/SG, rather than a PG because of the Steves and Darius. So I’m hoping for Ronnie Brewer (who’s not getting time in OKC), Martell Webster (who Washington has said it wants to re-sign). I don’t know enough about the other names in Michael H’s list to have an opinion, but I think we need 2 SF/SG pick-ups.
    3. Apart from that, and a possible amnesty of MWP, I don’t think we’re making any other moves – except – if some contending team wants Pau and allows us to either dump his salary, or gives us someone with an acceptable contract.


  80. If I may add to the possible prospects at SG/SF:

    1. Marco Belinelli, who can hit the 3 and play pick and roll;
    2. Corey Brewer
    3. Tony Allen (earning 3.3 Million this season)
    4. Dorell Wright (earning 4.1 Million this season)


  81. Rusty Shackleford May 12, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Tony Allen for $3.3 million?!!! The Lakers saw him up close in 2008. They’re paying Steve Blake over $4 million and we’re talking about Steve Blake.


  82. Michale H: I agree that the coaching situation is “probably” not going to change. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t, but it probably won’t this year. With regard to the roster, your ideas are fine, however I think we all realize that the upward potential of the roster is modest at best. We want to sign DH, we want KB to get well, Nash and a few others are signed. So we lose AJ, possibly amnesty MWP, and then exchange one/two of our bench players for new attempts to find a diamond in the rough. The net of all that, like I said, is a modest improvement at best. The larger improvement will come if the base roster is healthy and gets to play together. So “major” roster improvement is fun to talk about, but it probably won’t happen until after 2014. Coaching improvement is fun to talk about, but it probably won’t happen. World peace probably won’t happen either, but this does not mean we should stop talking about all of these things : )


  83. Darius is correct by the way: We need to play the hand we were dealt (and that we dealt ourselves). This was a two year roster gamble, and the only changes we should make are those that make sense post 14. If by some chance we put it all together in the beginning of the season, we can pick up a ring chaser or two in the late season. We should absolutely not absorb any garbage beyond 14 to make ourselves better in 13-14. Love the poker reference Darius. Now let’s play this thing to the river and see what happens.


  84. Aloha Robert,

    My point wasn’t that the coach shouldn’t be a topic, my point was that it had basically become the only topic. I am an NBA geek and I watch a lot of games beyond the Lakers. So it is fun to speculate how other players would fair in LA. Last year I had Jodie Meeks 4th on my wish list for shooting guard, but also had him as the most likely to sign here. I was somewhat surprised at his age that he left about a million on the table to play LA but that’s what makes the speculation fun. Remember Jamison had turned down an 11 million deal to play here so anything can happen. While the new CBA has taken some of the fun out of the post season, especially the new restrictions on sign and trades, I still can see players even on the fringes that could elevate our teams chances. And if there is a natural improvement in our other young guys, and a signing from my list, I could see something similar to the young bench mob we had going during the finals runs developing this year.

    So if you want to talk coaching, fine. But I would like to explore the other story lines as well.


  85. I think we’re getting a SF/SG, rather than a PG because of the Steves and Darius.

    You may be right, but if the FO goes this way, I think it will turn out badly, unless Morris improves massively in the off-season. Nash will be 40 and, as noted, has the kinds of issues that seem unlikely to go away–and he is no longer covered by the legendarily innovative PHX training staff. As many predicted in preseason, both he and Grant Hill broke down without them. Do we know for sure that was the cause of the breakdowns? No. But it is worth noting.

    Blake will be 33, is not really that good even at his best, and has some durability concerns. While we all hope that Kobe is back Opening Night and plays most of the schedule, there is no way at all of knowing if that will be the case. So, IMO, the need for a combo guard who can cover the 1 or the 2 and is better than guys like Morris and Duhon is as pressing as the need for help on the wings.

    Morris, like Ebanks was, is, conceptually speaking, a guy the Lakers need: big enough to check 2s, and able to handle the ball well enough to play the 1. But Morris is not an elite athlete, and as far as I can see, has no obvious, high-level NBA skills. This year would have been his senior year at Michigan if he had not come out early. He has good size and decent feet, but would probably be better served by a year of getting reps in the DLeague.

    So, to me the way to go is to try to get a playable combo guard and a playable wing, (and one of those will have to be at or near the minimum–hence my mention of Wesley Johnson) and then taking a flyer on a second wing, also at the minimum.


  86. We should absolutely not absorb any garbage beyond 14 to make ourselves better in 13-14.


    Depends on how you define “garbage”… but, again, June 2014 is not NeverNeverLand. Given the new CBA constraints, and various other factors, it seems likely that most of the Level I and Level II FAs will stay put, and the Lakers will be in bidding wars for guys like Kyle Lowry and Rodney Stuckey.

    I thought one of the most revealing statements that Kupchak made this year was when he wrote off trying to upgrade the back end of the roster, since the “ninth guy doesn’t make that much difference.” Maybe not in terms of competing with LeBron James, but it would have been nice to have guys better than Ebanks, Sacre, Morris, and Duhon around when the injuries hit. The minutes played by the middle of the roster add up over 82 games.


  87. Hey Michael H – this is why the roster is a depressing convo. Guys like rr come into the conversation with a heavy dose of reality. rr: You are correct that 2014 does not guarantee us anything and as previously discussed, we do not have that much money at that point anyway. Your points about the lower part of the roster are correct, however we had to put emphasis on the top half of the roster, because indeed we were trying to compete with the Heat. As it is – yes – had we had a better bench, might we have made it a couple notches further up and won a couple games in the playoffs? – perhaps – but the 8-12 players don’t make the difference between 7th seed and a title. They could make the difference if you lose in 7 in a series or something like that however. They also could prevent your star player from being run into the ground (that is of course if they are actually played). Ironically – the Lakers big mistakes with the bench came in the form of who we let walk (Barnes, Shannon, and DF – the last of which we made walk). All of those guys were better than your list off our bench, and in no cases did there ouster allow us to do anything other than save money. Our task to improve the bench is much more difficult now, in that we do not have anyone, and we need to obtain them using only exceptions and such.
    Garbage = What I would consider garbage would most likely occur if we dealt Pau. He makes $19, so we would get a couple of decent youngsters (perhaps even desirable ones) at let’s say $5-6 per, coupled with a boat anchor, worthless, vagabond contract that expires in 15 or 16. The two youngsters might be tempting, but they will not be worth absorbing the boat anchor. Nobody is going to give us $19 million in good contracts for Pau. So we keep him. No garbage beyond 14 : )


  88. Hi Robert,

    Concerning a Pau trade there are a few teams that could absorb Pau’s salary without having to send much back. But you have to forget about the rebuilding teams because they are not going to take on Pau. That leaves two playoff caliber teams. The Buck and the Rockets. Both teams need post scoring. And in the Rockets you have a general manager that has coveted Pau for years. Now they will make a run at Dwight but if they do not get him they have a lot of young pieces and a ton of cap space. I don’t think the Bucks have enough of what we want(or would be willing to give up) to get Pau.

    Two other teams of interest would be teams that made offers last year. The Raptors and the T-Wolves. But the Raps have a huge piece of junk they want to unload and the guys we could realistically get from the T-Wolves probably aren’t any better then the guys on my free agent list. But who knows perhaps one of the rebuilding teams are delusional enough to think that adding Pau to their young core to elevate them into the playoffs. Anyway it would only take two teams bidding to get a decent return. Probably not going to happen but I still find it more interesting then a steady diet of coach basing.


  89. Michael H,

    I would add Denver to your list of playoff teams that need post scoring and playmaking to get to the next level. Pau provides both. As talented as Denver is, they don’t have any playmakers from the forward or center positions, just a bunch of finishers. Denver has an abundance of athleticism, and after a first round exit amidst high expectations, they might be ripe for the picking.


  90. Speaking of other games – in watching the GS/SA game – 2 things are occurring to me: 1) It is time to start rooting against the Spurs, just like I did against the C’s last year. I do not want Pop and Duncan to get number five 2) If your response to #1 is that the Spurs are so fun to root for because they play ball “the correct” way – my response back will be – why don’t we play like that? 3) The sea of gold would look good in the 100 section of the Staples center. Michael H: I hope you have a sense of humor, so in that vein, while we are talking about things that won’t happen: The Lakers will probably never play in the style of the Spurs and the 100 section of the Staples center will never be anything like Golden State’s ravenous fans.


  91. Lakers are a tax paying team meaning they can’t sign and trade anyone. Not Pau, not Dwight or anyone else. We’re screwed!


  92. It’s important that the Lakers find players that can not only fill a empty spot but can actually be solid contributers. If they trade Pau like I think they will, they need to get a stretch four and someone who can consistently score off the bench. They also need an energy guy who just does the dirty work and can help change the momentum of a game by his energy and effort.


  93. Kevin,

    If you mean receive a sign and trade player from another team you are correct. But we could sign and trade one our own players to another team that is under the cap.


  94. Lakers will be okay. If we bring back all of our players and add a Wes Johnson type, we should be top 4 in the west and if Kobe comes back healthy, we have a shot against anyone in the west or east. I am presuming Nash and Blake will come back healthy, Dwight will be 100% and hungry (if we resign him), along with Pau, who already had surgery and will be back working out in 6 weeks.

    NEW PLAYER, -Meeks (Kobe when hes back)
    Pau- Hill

    This team is capable of beating most teams in the NBA, we just need to be healthy and add an athletic wing.


  95. Warren Wee Lim May 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm


    On the contrary we CAN sign and trade Dwight of he chooses to leave. We just don’t want him to leave.

    If he does however, Atlanta would be a great place for him. He gets sent back to the East, and that team has a very cost-effifient top flight big man if they needed to. Cp3, Smoove and Dwight, I believe, is Danny Ferry’s plan. Big Three.


  96. Warren Wee Lim May 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm


    With a year passing also furthens the decline of MwP and Pau. Both alteady needed surgeries this season just to remain on the floor. Transition and Perimeter defense is just horrid and these 2 back wont change any of that. We need faster players, albeit their skills not quite as high, so we can defend. Pair that w/ the uncertainty of Kobe and all I see is a .500 team. Not good enough to be a top team, skill and IQ too high to be a lottery team.


  97. Warren Wee Lim May 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Darius, when do we open a thread for the annual trade XYZ for ABC thread?

    That sure would be fun.


  98. i really dont care what the front office does…we are old, slow and have too many guys that are overpaid…san antonio looked like we did all season in OT today slow and unable to guard lightning quick guards…just about every team that doesnt have a freak at the 3 has a speedy PG that can hit the 3 we have nothing close to that…dwight is super unimpressive i thought he was overrated when we beat up orlando with gimpy bynum and pau checking him down the stretch…coughing up 2 huge FT’s in that series as well…he just seems mentally soft…ill be fine with whatever the office decides to do as their options are limited…if it were me in the seat (so glad im not) id keep the expiring contracts and hope 2014 brings about a change in culture…we had the tools to play like the grizzlies yet we played like a YMCA team…and darius its not all MDA’s fault but nobody on this team respects him…kobe was quoted, when playing 48 minutes a game, and im paraphrasing but its very close “who was going to tell me to sit down? mike?” thats not somebody youd want as your teams head coach


  99. I would modify the title of this article to: Lakers Must Play the Hand They’ve Dealt Themselves! Lakers were the dealer on this hand, they made all the decisions which lead to the ends. They gambled & lost. High risk, high reward…or big loss.


  100. The hand the Lakers dealt themselves was a two-year plan and we are now done with the first year. We still have a year to go. The second year is now in play, but teams don’t succeed when they change their plans each and every year. We have been getting older for several years now and our plan is to change in 2014-15. This may result in younger players learning to play together after the ‘change’, but we can help that along by allowing our current younger players some time on the court during the year. That has always been my problem with Phil Jackson, Mike Brown, and Mike D’Antoni; but we are also on the 2nd year of that plan.


  101. Sid: Agreed and I said the same above. That said we also got quite a bit of bad luck with the injuries, but hey that is part of gambling : ) The point now is that we need to “mostly” stay the course for one more year with the hand we have (and yes we did deal it to ourselves). We can get “some” new cards after 2014.

    In case anyone thinks I am implying otherwise, I was fully on board with most of this gamble to which we are referring. With one major exception of course : )


  102. I’m presuming metta and pau are coming back as better players, at least in better shape.


  103. Michael H, WWL: Didn’t realize Lakers couldn’t receive players back in trades. Puts the team in a tough spot with only one real option. Tank.

    Knowing what I know now I have zero expectations for next year if the core stays together. Kobe needed to have his best regular season in years for Lakers to be competitive. I don’t think they’ll be able to keep their head above water if he’s not that guy next year with or without Dwight. Unless he comes back and carries the team on offense and defense.

    The new cba really stuck it to the Lakers. They should take advantage of this situation and try to get a high pick.


  104. Kevin,
    The Lakers, as long as they’re a luxury tax paying team, can’t receive players who are *signed and traded* to them. In practical terms, this means any free agent out there that fans want (Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, amongst others) would have to sign with the Lakers as a free agent, they could not be signed by their current team and traded to the Lakers. This rule was passed w/ the new CBA but is only taking affect this off-season. (The Lakers received Nash in a sign and trade last off-season.)


  105. Warren Wee Lim May 13, 2013 at 9:19 am

    The 2014 Plan. Anyone know what it is? Lets scrutinize in bullet points:

    * Not knowing what happens in 2013, Steve Nash is the ONLY player under contract.
    * By this time, all contracts would have come off the books (Nash as the exception) unless you sign players to longer than 1-yr deals in 2013. Referring to Dwight Howard and possibly other notable possibilities like Earl Clark.
    * 2013 is the last year we can use the amnesty provision because it is the final year wherein we have a player signed originally before the current CBA was agreed.

    Here are the numbers: (in bullet points as well)

    * Assuming we lose Dwight thru free agency and decide to take nothing back, we would have around [b]50 million[/b] of Cap Space (estimated).
    * This is under the assumption that by then the cap space figure would be at [b]60M[/b] or higher.
    * In order for us to have the full numbers, Bird Rights to existing players like: Kobe, Pau, Peace, Blake, Hill, Morris and others would have to either be renounced or signed to a new contract.

    So unless you have someone or someones to spend that 50 million on, 30 million with Dwight on board, this plan is really just to restructure our payroll – and not give us a bigger chance to win – although as a long-term strategy it will yield to the next championship.


  106. Some times the best thing to do with a bad dealt hand is fold. The Lakers payroll is unfortunately monstrous. I do not think they will do themselves any favors trying to hold this team together and adding a few pieces around the edges. They need to make decisions for the long term now.

    As for MDA. I think he did ok with a roster not built around his style. Jim Buss has wanted to go to a Showtime style. This was what was attempted when he traded Gasol for CP3. And in this light MDA makes a lot of sense if thats the type of team they plan to build when they get some cap space.


  107. Darius: it’s diffcult to the follow the lakers and not be passionate. and yet it must be more difficult to remain neutral and steadfast in your convictions in order to maintain an even sensability in order to operate this website or for that matter any website pertaining to our lakers. giving you props only begin to acknowledge your convictions and stay the course mentality so when you say lakers “must” play the hand they’ve been dealt, it speaks to the focus needed to pull themselves thru the muck we’ve all witnessed and experienced this past season and them some.

    dysfunctional family is what i’m getting from the buss’s at this point in time. haven’t heard much if anything at all either from jim buss, jeanne buss or if that was even an issue with reporters at mitch kupchak’s exit interview which seemed like weeks ago. would have thought that a question or two would have been thrown out about the sense of direction or an expressed or implied thought or possibly a conversation with the buss’s that mitch may or may not have had. and whether he had any thoughts of making conversation w/the buss’s. or did i miss that part? would have been nice to have heard something, anything from jim buss, even it came as 2nd hand information from mitch. or was it that everything mitch was saying was a concurrence from jim buss? as it stands today, we may never know. see what i mean about passionate or more in line with dogmatic? these are thoughts that come to an idle mind when lakers are idle.

    appreciate your hard work and dedication to this site Darius.

    Go Lakers


  108. west coast ram May 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Everything that I’ve read from people who should know, say that the MDA hiring was more on Jerry Buss rather than on Jim or Mitch, but every compliant on this site about MDA runs back to Jim’s inability to hire the correct coach (Phil). I’m sure that I’ve read many times that Jim was okay with Phil’s return but it was Dr. Buss that put a stop to the hiring. I don’t know how many solo hires Jim has made over the time he’s been in charge but he takes a pounding from most people that have no inside knowledge of what really happens. I’m not suggesting that I have “insider” knowledge but I doubt most of the commentors have it either.


  109. I remember Jim discussing wanting to bring back “showtime” around the time of the CP3 trade. That then fell through. While we can’t look into the secluded Black Box of the front office we can observe what is said out of it and try to re-engineer the working of the Black Box. That said the Lakers moves do make sense if the goal is to re-institute “show time”.