Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  July 3, 2013

The NBA free agency period has only been on the books since the stroke of midnight Sunday but it already seems like an eternity. The Lakers have been busy on multiple fronts, exploring ways to shore up the roster without much money to spend and also looking at ways to hang onto some of our own free agents. One in particular has been attracting a bit of attention – Dwight Howard may or not choose to remain in Los Angeles and will deliberate these matters with his representatives over the long 4th of July weekend. There’s plenty of variables to consider, chief among them being the desire to win. Team Dwight appears to have chosen Aspen, Colorado as the place to get clear.

Among the Lakers’ non-Dwight priorities is Earl Clark: Mark Medina, L.A. Daily News.

Meanwhile, Earl has a second meeting with the Cleveland Cavs: Drew Harrison Silver Screen & Roll.

An outline of Lakers FA prospects, from current to old to new faces: Dave McMenamin, ESPN.

Golden State is right in the mix with Dwight but would need a sign and trade: Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk

Why a Warriors trade makes sense: C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll.

True to spirit, Kobe challenged rather than schmoozed Dwight: Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo!

Timing’s everything in pitch meetings: Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’Lakers.

The Lakers focus on franchise, fans, community and branding with Dwight: Mike Bresnahan, L.A. Times.

The Lakers are not about to start tanking if Dwight leaves: Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation.

So this is the part called the waiting game. The Lakers have taken down the banner at Staples Center, and other teams have decided to follow suit, concentrating instead on picnics and softball games. Dwight and his team of advisers will be fully cloistered at a tranquil Rocky Mountain retreat. Just hanging out, doing a little fishing, maybe tubing down an excellent stream. No social media, no cell phones, no pesky calls from annoying team execs professing their undying love. Nope. Just Dwight and his crew, communing with mother nature, away from the world. And this means there will be no further media reports, no twitter, no trade machines, no more speculation. Cue the chirping crickets. Right?

Dave Murphy

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25 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. This is an interesting situation the Lakers are in, caught between the old CBA and the new. MIami timed it perfectly, of course, and did so with the best player in the game today. Watching the evolution of the NBA under these new rules should be fascinating in the big picture, but could be very hard for hardcore Laker fans. Kupchack amazed me last summer, but the flexibility seems to be less and less. I think the Lakers need Dwight to build around, as I’m not sure what they can do in the future even with all the cap space. There’s no guarantee of future FAs coming to LA and no guarantee that the lure and mystique exists too much longer either. This new world, and the transition involved, could be very bumpy. In my opinion (of course that’s what all of this is), Dwight helps smooth that out.

  2. i almost started to believe all the nonsense being spouted about Houston having a better team or an easier road to the finals. the Lakers will field a competitive team next year. last year, OKC was a lock for the finals. Miami was said to be an unbeatable juggernaught. while Miami did win out, it was clear that not only were they beatable, but that they also got lucky.

    luck is an essential element to a championship, the most important element as a matter of fact. all those who think they can say what will or will not work next season may be correct, but they also may be wrong. that’s why the games must be played, luck, peaks, and injuries will decide next year’s champions, just like this last year. all that can be done is to increase or decrease the odds, but odds are not certainties.

  3. mud: Odds – now you are talking my language. You are correct – much luck involved. However that is only if you are part of the elite. The ultimate NBA champion comes from one of the top 2 or 3 teams, in 19 out of every 20 years. Last year was no exception. This is not baseball, so there is no Moneyball theory at work here. If you do not have one of the top 2 or 3 teams you basically will not wear rings. If you do, yes – you need luck to emerge as the champion. That said – we need superstars, and a championship coach to win the title. We have DH (for now) and we have KB for a few more years, so we have a couple of he building blocks for a title. Granted we need more. and that includes luck. However if DH walks, there will be no amount of luck possible that could get us to the Finals next year.
    teamn: Have not seen you post in a while, but from what I remember like this post, you are on target. Yes this is a transition. The Veto prevented us from timing it as well. Now the landscape is more challenging and our leadership changed just when the landscape changed.

  4. all that can be done is to increase or decrease the odds, but odds are not certainties.

    Sure, and the Lakers’ three best guys other than Howard will be 35, 33 and 40 during the season, and one of them is coming off the pne of the most severe injuries that a player can have, while the other two missed significant time last year, plus if Howard joins Houston, they will be upgrading from Asik to him.

    Certainly the Lakes might have a good year next year if Howard stays–better health, improved bench.

    But the odds favor Houston, I think.

  5. everyone is free to think what they want. everyone thinks that guessing correctly is the same as seeing the future.

    the is no reason that the Lakers cannot win it all next year with or without Dwight. they DO have the horses and the FO DOES have the will. of course, a whole lot would need to go right. one thing’s for sure, if the Lakers have NO shot, Houston certainly has no shot either.

    you don’t know who will go down with an injury, have family issues, hate a teammate, get murdered, have a breakdown, get more interested in baseball, get more interested in rapping, you just don’t know. again, it’s all speculation. we don’t even know what team will be hitting the courts yet, and people have made their pronouncements as though they were almighty.

    well, if you’re correct, ok. it’s not because of your great wisdom, however. it’s also easier to bet against than for. every team but one will fail. predicting failure at this point is the easiest, most gutless pastime.

    the rotund lady hasn’t even gotten into the car to drive to the auditorium yet.

  6. There seems to be the belief the Lakers will have a ton of Cap Space in 2014,even w/Dwight re-signing.
    Actually,they will have NONE,until Kobe is either renounced or signs w/the team.

    Howard will be making $22mil,Nash $9mil and Kobe’s Cap hold will be $30mil+,that’s $61mil,without any Roster holds.
    If Kobe’s rights are renounced,Dwight and Nash will combine for $31mil,10 Roster holds add another $5mil for $36mil,leaving just $25mil for FAs if the Cap is $61mil.
    I have a hard time seeing Kobe agreeing to $5mil/yr so LeBron can get $20mil,and I really don’t see LeBron giving a discount again.

    The Lakers have reloaded/re-tooled/rebuilt thru trades.
    It would probably be wiser for them to try and trade away a couple of their vets for smaller contracts and a couple of young players(however flawed) and start working the phones for unhappy star players.

  7. LeBron will never be a Laker. D12 is, and will be, the best player we can get. The problem is he’s gone. The Lakers need to keep players like Clark and Hill, but I see Uncle Earl going to Cleveland. We need him, he’s our new LO. The Lakers are in trouble. Oh, and someone tell Pau to shut up, he’s not getting any “Stay” banners!!

  8. Why are all my transaction wishes happening to the Clips?!? Caron (now gone), CP3, LO, Barnes, Crawford, Hollins, Doc, and now JJ. Thank God they can’t get Rondo. Come on Francisco Garcia and Chris Copeland.

  9. Highly doubt Nash will be around after next year. Either he gets traded, bought out, or stretch provision. That’s if he doesn’t retire first. Howard 22m, Kobe 10m, lbj 20m.

  10. LeBron will never be a Laker.
    —–
    I’m in total agreement.

    D12 is, and will be, the best player we can get.
    —–
    Once again, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    The problem is he’s gone.
    —–
    With all do respect, I hope that you’re wrong.

  11. Anyone who says LeBron will never be a Lakers is in for some rude life lessons. In life you should always follow the money. Things cost more for a reason. LA’s cost of living is second to NYC for a reason… That’s what they can charge because people will pay it. Good things cost money. The best professionals in all fields come to LA, NY, and SF. That’s how it works. For different fields LA is the place to be. For finance its NY. In basketball LA and the Lakers are where the best of the best go to work. It’s the only world wide brand in basketball which allows for the most endorsement opportunities. LeBron has already said he wants to be the first billionaire basketball player. The only way he can do that is by playing in Los Angeles for the Lakers. If you didn’t notice James’ sponsors have been no shows the last two years (ESPN did a great piece on it). The only way LeBron can maximize his earning potential is by joining a brad that’s sold not just in the city they okay but all over the USA and the rest of the world.

    Of course it’s not just about the money. It’s about the winning. LeBron said he wants to be the best player to ever live. That (unfortunatley) means having at least 5 titles in the bank. The best way for him to do that (with Wade breaking down) is joining Dwight and Paul George on a franchise that is proven to win multiple titles at a time.

    The last thing is quality of life. There is no better quality of life (if you have money) than living in Los Angeles. (We already knows he likes warm weather) If you add all these things up its really not an option for lebron to go anywhere else (unless Wade turns back the clock). So to say its not a chance is pretty silly. It’s probably more correct to say there isn’t a chance James signs anywhere else other than LA.

  12. Kobe telling Dwight he needs “to learn how it’s done first” as a sales pitch to stay was stupid. Especially since last season didn’t go well and Houston currently has a better roster and he could go to Dallas and be the #1 option. Kobe’s way or the highway is what that basically was.

    I don’t know if teaching is publically challenging Dwight to play vs Boston; when he already was playing through back surgery all season without missing a game. I don’t know if teaching is letting him watch you launch shot after shot, game after game. Instead of just giving him the ball. I’m not sure established players are receptive to Kobe’s teachings.

  13. until Kobe is either renounced

    ____

    Which he will be, as will all their other FAs. I also think there is pretty good chance that Nash will accept a buyout. Here is how the incomplete roster rule works, as per Coon.

    A cap hold called an “incomplete roster charge” if the team has fewer than 12 players (players under contract, free agents included in team salary, players given offer sheets, and first round draft picks). This charge is equal to the rookie minimum salary for each player fewer than 12. For example, if there are 11 players included in team salary, then an amount equal to the rookie minimum salary is added to the team salary2; if the roster is completely empty, then 12 times the rookie minimum salary is added to the team salary. This charge only applies during the offseason.

    _________________

    There are a lot of myths about the 2014 free agent class; that the Lakers will have a lot cap room isn’t one of them.

  14. Mud,

    Not sure what you’re getting at, other than expressing some frustration. Houston has a young core of players who will be under contract for the next few years, and they have a wing star who is locked up, is 11 years younger than Kobe, and is healthy. The Lakers have old stars with health concerns and have no idea who will be on next year’s team, since as of now, the only guy under contract for 2014-15 is Nash.

    So, sure, no one knows what will happen; that goes without saying. But Houston’s personnel situation is much more projectable than the Lakers’ personnel situation, and this has been pointed out by more or less everyone who has talked about it.

  15. Kobe telling Dwight he needs “to learn how it’s done first” as a sales pitch to stay was stupid.

    ____

    Probably, but Kobe is who he is. Also, you yourself have made any number of comments about Howard not having what it takes, not being a true #1 guy, etc etc. You seem to lash out at whichever player is bugging you at that moment; sometimes, you back Kobe, other times, you sound like Abbott. That sort of makes sense, I suppose, given how polarizing Kobe is.

    Obviously, it is different coming from Kobe in the final pitch meeting than it is coming from some random guy on the internet, but the stuff Kobe said to Howard was not at all different from a lot of the fanbase’s opinions of him–needs to toughen up, rise to the challenge of being a Laker, etc.

    I suspect that Kobe would have loved it and man-hugged him if Dwight had said, “You should worry about getting well and playing some D, old man, instead of worrying about me.”

    But while I wouldn’t call it “stupid”, I do think it is another reason that Howard won’t be here.

  16. yawn.

    things like projectable rosters are SO likely to change.
    injuries, stupid FO moves and just plain not living up to expectations are more likely than not.

    Houston looks like a team that will stay where they have been for quite some time now, at the bottom of playoff seeding. last year they did nothing, no more than the Lakers. Houston had it’s entire team together too. would Dwight help that? of course. will the team that Dwight goes to if he picks Houston be the same team? no, it may be worse.

    Houston is a legitimate option for Dwight, but it’s no more a slam dunk than LA, especially if LA doesn’t have a disaster year like the last year.

    if everyone is really that good at telling the guture, then forget about playing ball at all. we already know the conclusion. shut down the site, there’s nothing to talk about.

  17. Earl Clark to cavs, 2 years 9 mill. Damn! And supposedly Dwight turned off by kobe’s “let me teach you how to win” schtick according to Broussard!

  18. if Dwight is turned off by learning how to win, then he won’t win.

    if Broussard says something, it’s as likely to be conjecture or even a lie as the truth.

  19. Anyone who says LeBron will never be a Lakers is in for some rude life lessons.
    —–
    Holla at me when it happens. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking from a devout Lakers fan who happens to worship LeBron.

  20. In the middle of pursuing Dwight when, IMO, it should be all about Dwight, Kobe has:

    1. Stated that he now wishes to play an additional 3-4 yrs.

    2. Tweeted a picture of himself on the court shooting free throws.

    3. Reportedly, during the Lakers presentation to Dwight this past Tuesday, challenged Howard by stating the following – “You need to learn how it’s done first, and I can teach you here .. You have to learn how it’s done, I know how to do it and I’ve learned from the best ? players who have won multiple times over and over .. Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you.” ..

    The goal is to get Dwight to sign on long term. Obviously, he’s the type of individual who needs to be catered to. He needs to feel wanted (hence, the billboards all around the city of L.A.). The organization new this when they traded for him last summer without any guarantees or assurances from Dwight that he would re-up. It’s understood that Kobe is Kobe (A strong willed leader who doesn’t care, at least outwardly, how people view him). But it also has to be understood that Dwight is Dwight (A passive follower, who believes that he’s a leader; who needs to feel loved). From my perspective, Kobe, with his actions, has found a way to interject himself into the organizations pursuit of Dwight. He’s stolen some of the spotlight from Dwight during the recruitment process by making this, somewhat, about him. When it should be all about Dwight, as I mentioned earlier.

    In reality, my opinion, just as every other fans’ opinion about this, is irrelevant. All that matters is how this plays out with Dwight and his team. Will they view it as helpful or view it as damaging? Who knows? For all we know, Dwight’s mind might have been made up long ago in regards to his re-upping with the Lakers. But I do wonder how this played out with him.

    As for Kobe, I’ll say this, he has some testicles on him. And I hope his challenge of Dwight during their presentation actually works. Also, however, although I believe that the ‘Media Mouths’ would have found a way to blame him anyway if Dwight decides to leave, IMO, he’s given them a free lane to do so now.

  21. The one thing about accountings of what may have been said in a small, closed-door meeting, is that they become easy to shape. Given that there is no actual recording of the Kobe-Dwight conversation, it become a series of interpretations, words in an article or a talking head’s report, and we don’t get a true sense of context, tone of voice or receptivity. Dwight and Kobe have had countless conversations during the course of the last year, on-court and off. As this point, there are no real surprises. They each are who they are and it’s not like somebody walking in cold from a different team and making a sales pitch.

    Fact of the matter is this – Kobe IS a five-time champion, one of the greatest players of all time and there is nobody in the league who isn’t fully aware of his insanely competitive personality. I can’t imagine that Dwight was caught unaware by anything he said.

  22. This year feels like its going to be like the past 2 years of offseasons – us waiting around while every quality option in our price range gets signed somewhere else and we get left with guys like Troy Murphy and D-League call-ups.

    Overall we have a need for

    2 SFs
    1 SG
    1 PG

    Hopefully with guys that can create their own shot and can shoot the 3 well

    Other teams signing that could have helped us so far include:

    - Marco Bellineli – 2 years – 6 Million with san antonio
    - CJ Watson – 2 Years – assumed to be near 6 Million with Indiana
    - Earl Clark – 2 years 9 Million – higher than what we wanted to spend but now we really have no backup SF to Ron
    - Eric Maynor – 2 years – 6 Million – Washington
    - Mike Dunleavy – 2 years 6 Million

    Some guys that I think would be a fit,with my personal ranking on 1-10 scale, include:

    - Chauncy Billups
    - Delfino
    - Nick Young
    - Randy Foye
    - Gary Neal
    - Aaron Brooks
    - Stephen Jackson
    - Chris Copeland
    - Lamar Odom ….. would be great to have him back but likely wont happen
    - Francisco Garcia
    - Omri Casspi
    - Anthony Morrow – He is also a close friend with Dwight
    - Corey Maggette
    - James Johnson
    - Wesley Johnson
    - Wayne ellington
    - Alan anderson
    - Daequon Cook
    - Terrence Williams
    - Sacha the Machine
    - Dominique Jones

    Who does everyone prefer for these 4 spots?

    Personally I would love for us to see Garcia, Young, Brooks, and Morrow but there is no chance they all accept the minimum – out of those preferred 4 I only see Garcia or Morrow being possibilities.

    Current Players under contact are: Nash, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Dwight*, Jodie, Blake, Sacre, Hill

  23. KB: He is who he is. Did anyone think the DH/KB relationship was going to be a positive, without some serious mentoring and peace brokering by an elder statesmen they both respected? What – did we think that Kobe was going to become Dale Carnegie all of a sudden and DH was going to become a willing pupil – all without any mentoring from the outside? We did nothing to help this and the results are expected. This doesn’t mean DH leaves – just means that this relationship isn’t helping.

    Decision: Fortunately we can offer the most money and we play in LA. This makes us one of the 2 finalists by default. Unfortunately we have done nothing to add to this and we have possibly done some to subtract. Anyone could have come to the table and offered max and stated that LA is great. What else did we do? Again he may stay due to the money and the history but that is it, we added nothing.

    mud: What the rosters and the team performances end up being is very unpredictable as you state, however the general consensus favors the Rockets in terms of who has the better roster. The question is how this will influence DH’s decision. To go against this is basically saying that “we are the Lakers”, and we will win more than the Rockets in the long run. Given our history yes – I agree, but is this the way DH thinks? We will see.

  24. Kobe has really matured in the time he has been a Laker. As stubborn as he is, Kobe still makes the extra effort to learn from his coaches and NBA greats like Bill Russell. His pitch was straight out of the Phil Jackson playbook and one Phil gave to Kobe. If Dwight is not willing to buy into Kobe’s message, then he should go elsewhere and continue to search for his basketball nirvana. The Lakers will be fine either way.

  25. yawn.

    things like projectable rosters are SO likely to change.

    “Yawn” is generally code for “I have nothing to offer” and that is pretty much the case here. If you have some specific refutation to what I said, bring it. Just saying “No one knows what will happen” is weak.