Around The World (Wide Web): Nash/Pau Future, Phil Jackson, Kupchak, Metta

Ryan Cole —  May 30, 2013

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Steve Nash may be 39, but the man doesn’t have any plans to retire. Nash was in court on Wednesday dealing with a personal matter, and while sworn under oath, stated that he intends to continue his basketball career, according to an exclusive report from TMZ: 39-year-old Steve Nash swore under penalty of perjury … the Los Angeles Lakers star has no plans to hang up his jersey and retire from basketball, TMZ has learned. In fact, Steve said he has more than a year left on the lease for his sweet pad in Manhattan Beach, the city that a bunch of the Lakers call home.Nash appeared in 50 games through the regular season for the Los Angeles Lakers and played in two games during the playoffs. It comes as no surprise that Nash intends to continue his playing career, but this serves as another confirmation from the man himself.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: The Los Angeles Lakers have a coach in Mike D’Antoni, but do they have what they need? Phil Jackson doesn’t seem to think so. While Jackson has said he has no plans to return to the NBA as a head coach, the 11-time championship-winning coach said he would know what to do with the Lakers if they came asking for help. “I would find one of my assistant coaches to work with me to help them just as quickly as possible because I know what they need,” Jackson said in an interview with “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio on Wednesday. “I think they need to get back inside, where the strength of their team is and use that presence in there to dominate games. I think there is a way to do that.” Cowherd posited that an inside-oriented approach would not occur with D’Antoni leading the team and Jackson replied, “You’re right.”

From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: Expectations were not lived up to this season by the Los Angeles Lakers, not even close. A season filled with frustration, struggles and confusion was mixed in with a late on-set determination by the team to make the playoffs. However, their injury-plagued season was still met by an early exit from the playoffs. As Mitch Kupchak alluded to during his exit interview, when a team loses, changes must happen. While we don’t know what those changes are just yet, the biggest question after Dwight re-signing or not has to do with Dwight’s partner in the frontcourt and his future in Los Angeles. What are the Lakers going to do with two-time champion, Pau Gasol? We asked this question to some of our Lakers Nation writers. Let’s see what they had to say.

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak suggested he doesn’t expect to get an early commitment from impending free agent Dwight Howard. “It’s my understanding that he’ll be a free agent on July 1,” said Kupchak to Maggie Gray of SI.comlast week at the Brooklyn Nets training facility for a pre-draft combine. “He’ll have opportunities that he’ll look at and hopefully we’ll be in the running or we’ll be at the top in the very end.” After the Lakers completed exit meetings following their four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs, Kupchak stressed the importance of getting early notice from Howard, which would enable to team to start building around him before July (near the NBA Draft in June). “I think he understands that the sooner he makes a decision, the better it is for everybody,” Kupchak said in April. “I don’t know if that means a week, a month or seven weeks. It allows us to plan and it allows him to start putting down roots in the city. People can no longer say, ‘I wonder what he’s going to do? Is he going to be gone?’ We’re hoping that he chooses to stay in Los Angeles.”

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: When you put your precious young son or daughter to bed at night, don’t you want the thoughts of Metta World Peace in their head? Well, now you can have it — World Peace has written a children’s book, “Metta’s Bedtime Stories.” You can buy it right now and be reading it tomorrow. (Thanks to Mark Medina at the LA Daily News for finding this gem.) The stories include “Tomorrow,” “Reach for the Sky,” “One Wish,” “Mud in My Bed,” and “I’m Afraid of the Dark.” Metta’s got some child in him — the man wore a Cookie Monster T-shirt to his exit interview with the team GM. So maybe this works, these could be good and teach good lessons. (I’m not going to condemn what I haven’t read… except for anything by Dan Brown.)

Ryan Cole

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19 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Nash/Pau Future, Phil Jackson, Kupchak, Metta

  1. Also from the Herd Interview: “It hasn’t really advanced their game. That’s the biggest thing about coaching. You want your players to thrive. That’s the biggest thing that you do,” Jackson said.

    Bingo. Who is doing better (avanced their game) because of the current philosophy/environment and who is doing worse? This is the certain point of coaching and is the center point of how this will influence D12′s decision. Does this environment and philosophy put him in a better or worse position towards success?

    “hopefully we’ll be in the running ” (Mitch on DH) uh – now that is just the confidence I want to hear.

  2. Per Rotoworld:

    “Phil Jackson said Wednesday he sees himself in a role similar to how Tex Winters and Pete Newell finished out their careers.
    Winters and Newell ended up as assistant coaches with Winters credited as the inventor of the triangle offense under Jackson. What should be noted is that only a week ago Jackson said he had no interest in coaching again and was more interested in a front office role. Also, it’s hard to imagine Jackson subjugating his massive ego and being someone’s “helper” or an assistant coach. The one thing that is clear is Jackson appears very much done with retirement.”

  3. Robert: Since the implementation of the draft, not a single NBA team has remained on top, year after year, decade after decade. The Lakers are the closest any team has ever come to being a “true” challenger, year after year – but even the Lakers have had their periods of drought. While I don’t like how things turned out this year, the reality is that blowing up the team or blowing up the coaching staff will only guarantee us at least one more year of not being considered a “true” contender. Besides, none of these changes will hide the fact that Kobe may miss most if not all of next season. I truly believe the smartest path right now is to stay on course and see where we land at the end of this next season. Hopefully that future includes Howard. However, to be honest, the only reason I feel strongly about that is because I would like to see Kobe get a ring before he retires. Were it not for that, I would be entirely OK with losing Howard and rebuilding the team from scratch after next year.

    One additional note: I think folks assume that, because DH wants Phil (let’s just say this is the case for the sake of argument), that means that DH will be happy and will thrive under Phil. Personally, I don’t know if this is necessarily the case. While Phil has professed he would send more touches inside if he were Laker coach, those additional touches come with a cost to the player: if he does not perform, the press and the fans will turn on him in a second. I don’t see DH having a thick skin, so I have to wonder what will happen if he gets more touches and cannot deliver. Will he be able to stand to the pressure when people show him the stat sheet and ask him why he could not convert? Also, what happens when Phil inevitably makes a comment or more to the press about something he wants Dwight to change that Dwight is unwilling or unhappy about changing. I also wonder about the impact bringing Phil back would have on Pau. From what I remember, things were not very rosy between Phil and Pau (Phil even hit Gasol in the chest a couple of times during one of his final games as Lakers coach in frustration). What if he takes a similar stand with Dwight? As I said before, DH does not have thick skin so I can see a whole lot of issues popping up for the guy when he is finally held accountable for the success or failure of a franchise. I guess what I’m trying to say here is “beware what you wish for”

  4. Who is doing better (avanced their game) because of the current philosophy/environment and who is doing worse?

    We covered this already, but, again, coaching is not the only thing that affects player performance. Pau is old and has a ton of miles. Nash is very old, has a ton of miles, and broke his leg in the second game of the season. Howard was coming off major back surgery. Meeks, Jamison, and Metta all played as well as could be expected. So did Kobe. Blake played better than expected, as did Clark.

    Where you continue to miss the boat on your D’Antoni criticism is that you are still, even now, to a large degree operating based on your preseason assumptions (we have the best team!) about the quality of the roster. Those assumptions were wrong, and it was clear even before the season that the Lakers had high variance due to various personnel concerns that had nothing to do with the coach was.

    That said, there are several very legit criticisms to make of MDA: pace, overworking Kobe, not getting along with Howard and Pau, sticking to short rotations, organization of the defense.

  5. already so sick of Dwight and his ‘see me. hear me. feel me” way of doing his business. This is not he Lakers way and only makes him more distastfull to me as a Laker fan. Sign and trade him for guys who want to play here. Don’t need him and don’t want him IMO.

  6. So let me get this straight, Nazi Muhammad, of the Bulls, pushes LeBron to the floor and gets ejected from the game in their second round series.

    Tonight, ‘Birdman’ Anderson, first off, blindsides Hansboro; Knocking him to the floor. He then walks up on him and shoves Hansboro again, in the chest. However, he’s only accessed a Flagrant 1 AND is allowed to remain in the game. No Ejection.

    But I get it. It’s Miami AND LeBron we’re talking about here. Talk about a Double Standard. Wow!!

  7. Manny P: Nice response. Your point about the Lakers defying the odds and remaining on top for such a huge percentage of NBA history is well taken. It is exactly why I am spoiled and entitled. And also why I am critical of how we are being run. We have missed the finals 3 years straight. That is a huge drought for the Lakers. You and I could have run the Lakers and had the same accomplishment for the last 3 years. I expect better. Jim and MD get zero credit for our 31 trips to the finals and 16 titles. Mitch gets decent credit, but the major forces behind our recent 5 titles was Kobe, Phil, and Shaq which are all Jerry West accomplishments. So this is the standard against which we are judged. It is the highest standard in the NBA and right now we are not measuring up.
    With regard to DH, yes he indicated that he liked Phil, and he has indicated some concern with MD. I am not saying this will hinge his decision completely, and I am also not saying his performance will magically improve just with a coaching change, however this is just common sense isn’t it? If we want DH – we need to change the odds in our favor.
    ” stay on course” Agreed – so I will take a package deal of Howard and D’Antoni (can you swing that?). However, if we lose Howard and D’Antoni is our coach next year, we will find out what life is like for the wrong half of the NBA.
    rr: “coaching is not the only thing that affects player performance” Correct. Injuries and other things impacted our players last year. The important thing is next year. Is MD the best coach for DH? And what do we think DH thinks? And what do we think his agent thinks? We know what I think. What about you? : ) You are the GM – you better not let the nightmare scenario happen. DH better be here or they both better be gone.

  8. Robert,
    When you admitted you were spoiled, then proceeded to prove the point by expecting a finals run very quickly, you illustrated that you didn’t understand MannyP.s post. Expecting a finals run every three years is not a sustainable goal. In fact, the CBA was constructed to prevent just such repetition. Do you really believe Miami could be recreated in Los Angeles under the current rules? If you do, then you need a long session with Larry Coon.

  9. Craig: It is not a question of not understanding. I have admitted my pre-conceptions, have you? : ) I know the math. There are 30 teams in the NBA and only 2 teams make it to the finals each year. So mathematically that means each team would make it to the finals once every 15 years and win it – once every 30 years. That said, prior to the current 3 year abyss, we had made it to the Finals 50% of the time, and won it 25% of the time for all of the NBA’s history. So when you say I expect a Finals run every 3 years, you are wrong – I expect it every 2 years : ) We have the highest payroll in the game, so that is not the issue. We have the greatest Laker ever and the 3rd best player of all time. And we have the best big man in the game today (yes – he would still be the first guy big man drafted if all players were thrown into a draft). We have had some bad luck, however we have overcome that in the past. Giving the current owner and coach any credit for the Laker history is just not justified. They are not at fault for everything. Jim has done a good job bringing in the top of the roster. He has not done a good job in other areas. MD is not at fault – he was just put in the wrong job at the wrong time. He is who he is. So in summary – if a team makes the Finals 50% of the time, and wins it 25%, of the time, and then we get a new regime in and then we go on a 6 year drought (sounds like what you are projecting), then that is not a good performance. If people choose to have faith due to the fact that the current owner is blood related to the previous one, then I am OK with that.

  10. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2013 at 7:12 am

    A good understanding of the CBA and its makings is a good starting point in building a team. This is after all, the Lakers… and we’ve never had to play by the rules that governed the other teams over the many years… we’ve just grabbed our star and won championships. However, the most-recent CBA was designed specifically for “stars” to stop forcing their way out of their old, small-town teams. Instead, the exact opposite has been happening so far.

    Understanding the CBA helps us assess our own situation. Instead of complaining about it, we instead play along and work out where we can get an advantage. Our location, something that is unique to us, our history, our track record… all these things work for us, so lets use it.

    Whenever you see a team “rebuild” and trade their superstars for 3-4 pieces, the idea is to cut payroll, get younger, and hope to contend on another era. Eras differ in length and nature and this is where we should understand what to do next. For the case given, this is the fast-small-space era where the Miami Heat, featuring the best player in the game are thriving. Otherwise, if this team was built anytime in 2009 and earlier, that team would have been criticized for being “too small” and getting outplayed in just about every aspect of the inside game.

    Looking at the Heat, the current CBA restricts them as well. And because of such their reign will come to a halt some time in 2015 when the salaries of the big 3 becomes a burden compared to the production they will be providing. By that time, Wade would have been 30 and asking a new contract, Bosh might be able to work with Lebron but without Wade’s presence the dynamics of the team will no longer be the same. At about the same time, the run of the current Spurs would have ended because Duncan would be 38, Manu would be 36 and TP would not be his same quick self being 31 himself.

    Be wise. Only 2 teams win the conference each year and an era-shift is set to happen in 2 seasons. This is the time when we need to establish our own identity and our own dominance as the next era starts to build. Unfortunately for the Lakers and Mavericks, the current era of our in-house superstars are coming to an end as well.

  11. Rusty Shackleford May 31, 2013 at 7:15 am

    How about Lance Stephenson? The guy might play a little out of control at times but he’s not afraid of anything. I look forward to watching him match up against Lebron and other premier wing scorers for many years to come. #junkyard_dog

    I know the Heat force a lot of turnovers but Indiana seems so careless with the ball most of the time.

  12. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2013 at 7:27 am

    As a suggestive input to my “era” post right above this one, it is best to understand that “developable” youth is what the team needs. Players that compliment the current players we have, making our needs based on whats available to pluck in 2014 when we are able to reload. 2013-14 will not be a year where you expect to hoist the Larry O’Brian trophy, instead its a prelude to a hoisting in 2015 where a rested, rejuvenated Kobe would have re-signed for 1/3 his current contract, playing beside Dwight and a slew of new players that would compliment 35yo Kobe, the once-more-dominant Dwight and the soon-to-be-41 Steve Nash.

    Because we rarely draft high, the best way to go is hone the talents that we have that have room to grow. Jordan Hill, Earl Clark, Jodie Meeks and Darius Morris. These 4 guys may not be world-beaters, nor will they be in the conceivable future, but they can become our Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Ray Allen. You know, the guys that play whenever our superstar(s) are not on the court (together).

    Pau needs to move on. He needs a team that would benefit from his passing skills and post moves, rather than “suffer” on the Lakers team that clearly puts him out of place most of the time. Simply put, Pau Gasol is not being maximized here, nor will he be, nor does he have time to change everything that he’s been doing so well all his life. Especially now that he can’t run or jump better than 3 seasons ago, he needs to go to a team where his weaknesses will be complimented by other players; where his strength and wisdom can be maximized by mentoring and by using him on a Tim Duncan role.

    I advocate letting Pau and Metta go. Two very, very good players. The return? More playing time for Jordan Hill. More playing time for Earl Clark. While those 2 are not expected to equal their skills and abilities past or present, those 2 work well for our system that would feature Dwight as the giant on top of the totem pole.

    Start Hill alongside Dwight and you have shotblocking and rebounding secured. You don’t have much of post scoring skill but you have slashing, hustle, defense and rim protection.

    Start Clark at the 3, he can slide on and off as the stretch-4 from time to time. Clark alongside Hill and Dwight equal a long, quick and defense-1st frontcourt that is able to run and compete alongside the quicker bigs of the game.

    Start Meeks at the 2 when Kobe continues to rehab. His range would be greatly needed when the Dwight clogs the lane. This would also allow Nash an outside option, someone who can run the break, albeit very ugly-looking layups…

    Steve Nash runs his game, Pick and Roll to death alongside players who can run and defend and can hide/mask his defensive shortcomings. While Meeks is relatively short and undersized, he makes up for everything else using his stroke, unexpected strength, speed and 100% hustle.

    Give Darius Morris the role that Goran Dragic used to play in Phoenix. The main backup, playing good chunk of minutes as Nash gets some rest for his ailing back, among other injuries.

    Get Kobe healthy, get someone with range like Dorell Wright for the mini MLE. Get veterans like Francisco Garcia via vet min and convince Boston to part with Paul Pierce and have him sign the vet min to play for his once-nemesis, hometown Lakers.

  13. Rusty Shackleford May 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Warren –

    That starting lineup would struggle to score 60 points a game.

  14. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Rusty, be that as it may, while I disagree, you forget the parts we get from the supposed Pau deal. That thing is supposed to give us a prospect or 2 and a decent bench if done w/ the right team.

  15. Rusty Shackleford May 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Warren –

    I hope you’re correct. In regards to what Pau might bring back if traded any examples would be against commenting guidelines so how about teams that would give the Lakers at least $0.70 on the dollar for Pau? In addition to that, trading big for small?

  16. Re: Wednesday´s thread-
    Dave M., I certainly hope you´re right about MD´A & his need for wins. At least he´ll have a better understanding of his line-up & where its strengths lie. (& of course he should have a MUCH healthier squad to work with as well)
    _____
    Thye should also be looking to bring The Captain back into the fold. The Lakers need to be in touch with their history in a very public way.

    rr – ABSOLUTELY !

  17. PurpleBlood: To my knowledge, the Cap does not have much of a coaching history. Maybe worth a shot, but not sure Mike D would agree given all that is going on around him.

    Warren: I do not agree with the concept of letting Pau go without first looking at maybe getting back some youth or picks. However, I absolutely agree that the new CBA is aimed at “encouraging” (but really, forcing) drafted talent to stay long term with their franchise. The problem for this Laker organization will be to reorganize its scouting to this new era of growing through the draft rather than growing through trades as we have done historically. This is one area where even Phil would be of little help. Perhaps, the FO should perhaps look at stealing some scouting talent from the Spurs or, alternatively, look to hire consultants to evaluate Euro talent.

    By the way, does anyone know the rules for a non-NBA and non-NCAA player to come into the league? I know that some dudes declare for the draft (Rubio comes to mind), but I wonder if experienced players have to do the same.

  18. Otherwise, if this team was built anytime in 2009 and earlier, that team would have been criticized for being “too small” and getting outplayed in just about every aspect of the inside game.


    Nah. The handcheck and zone rules do affect guard play and interior play somewhat, but as noted teams with good bigs are still thriving, like, for example, San Antonio and Indiana. The NBA, was, is, and always will be a superstars league. The best player in the league right now is a forward; his team has enough around him to be the best team, and they are. If you don’t have the best player in the league, the next best thing to have is a Top 20 big–like, say, Dwight Howard.

    People wanting to move on from Howard or dump Pau so the Lakers can play Earl Clark or draft some 19-year-old wing player are reaching and overthinking.

    This is not to say I am opposed to trading Pau in the right deal, but trading him because of beliefs about the way the league is structured is misguided. Duncan, Hibbert and Marc Gasol are huge, slow guys as well.. Pau’s main problem is that his body is wearing out.

  19. Most of the people on this site are Laker aficionados so it surprises me that no one has paid attention to Earl Clark’s exit interview. He is being asked to put on 20 pounds of muscle so he can move to the power forward position. I think he will be the hybrid type player who will be responsible for LeBrawn. No one else is either quick (Metta) or big enough (every other small forward we have). Players like Ebanks, Duhon, Sacre, and Goudelock do not help at this position. Chase Budinger, Dorell Wright and Francisco Garcia all could potentially help.