Moving On From Dwight Howard

Darius Soriano —  July 6, 2013

Dwight Howard chose the Rockets.

Typing that is frustrating. It induces anxiousness. But it is also not surprising.

Granted, I did not think it would go this way. There were a lot of reasons why I believed what I did, but ultimately those don’t matter much right now. His decision is made and while it would be easy to try and find some sort of fault in his logic or try to defame his character for the choice he made, I will not do either. He made a choice that he thought was best for him and his career. Whether or not his decision will be validated with the reaching of his goals is something that only time will reveal, but he should know that the expectations that would have towered over him in Los Angeles to win at the highest level will follow him to Houston. Such is the reality of being one of the elite players in the sport.

But this is no longer about Dwight Howard. The focus shifts, now, to the Lakers and what this means for them and what they will do in response to losing a player of his magnitude.

In GM Mitch Kupchak’s statement, he noted that the Lakers “will now move forward in a different direction with the future of the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team possible, one our great lakers fans will be proud to support.” What that looks like remains to be seen and how they go about achieving that is an open question that will take time to develop and patience to enact. There will be ups and downs in this process and it’s a guarantee that it won’t go smoothly at every interval.

There will also be disagreement with whatever approach is taken. There will be advocates for any and all strategies that have potential to get the team back to the top. There really aren’t any right answers in this quest. There is really only preference. This will lead to disagreements and hyperbolic statements and those thinking their way is best. But this is just noise.

The fact is, the hard path begins from a different spot than many would have hoped. The path to where the team wants to be will be one filled with questions and second guessing and a wondering if the goal is really even attainable. History tells us it will happen, but the new rules have been put in place, in part, to render history less meaningful.

I can say that I’m disappointed, but not devastated. Dwight Howard has proven to be a fantastic player in his career and those are the types of players you reach the mountain top with. The fact that he’s gone is meaningful just as it would be if he’d stayed. However, the fact is that having him guaranteed nothing. Hard work and good fortune would have been needed and without him that will still be the case.

There’s not a reasonable argument that the Lakers are better off without him in the short or immediate future. Down the line when he would have potentially been owed that extra $30 million that only the Lakers could offer (or when he opts out and wants another long term maximum extension) might have proved to be more complicated, but those are no longer issues the Lakers have to deal with. I’d be lying if I said I’d rather the Lakers didn’t have to make those hard choices, but I’d also be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I anticipate them being hard ones. Especially if the team’s goals weren’t reached in the years leading up to having to make them.

But the Lakers are freed from that responsibility and with that comes a new set of hurdles to clear. Friday was a step back for the franchise and now they must prove they can get back on their feet and triumph once more. My guess is that they’ll be able to do it. In my lifetime, I’ve seen it too many times to doubt the final goal is somehow out of reach. I’d have liked it better if there was more certainty as the team embarks on this path, but in a way that uncertainty is what’s at the heart of sports. There are never any assurances, after all.

But, in the end, I’ll put my money on the Lakers to find a way. Even without Dwight Howard as one of the pillars.

Darius Soriano

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155 responses to Moving On From Dwight Howard

  1. It saddens me to see this day end as it did. I too would rather have had Howard than not, but tomorrow is a new day, and the Lakers are still here.

    I don’t know what is a realistic hope for next season. Already the Tank vs. Compete argument is echoing in my head.

    Tomorrow is a new day, and the Lakers are still here

  2. Great write up man!! Thankfully this Dwight fiasco is over quick , now we can focus on more pressing matters, hopefully the Lakers can acquire some good FA next year!!! Go Lakers!!!

  3. I am indifferent to Dwight leaving because I never really thought he wanted to wear the jersey. What is of greater concern is how do we get back to the top, for the first time without Dr Buss in the hot seat? I don’t think there is great confidence in the ability of Jim Buss at the moment, but it is early days. He played his part in the hiring of three coaches that had little success (RudyT, Brown, D’Antoni so far). But if we are to chide him for those decisions we must give credit for the CP3 nixed trade, and on paper the Nash D12 trades. If we’d stayed healthy and Brown was given more time who knows? I have faith the Lakers will get back in time, but unlike any other time in LA the future is more clouded than usual

  4. To me Dwight’s Laker career is destined to be remembered like Laker fans remember Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Dennis Rodman. He will be a villain to Laker fans as a Rocket though. I feel ambivalent as I’m not upset that Dwight is gone but it does hurt the team. My hopes are the Lakers can resign Pau and Kobe for a reasonable price after next season and have enough cap room to sign a star or young talent. That’s a pipedream( because i love pau) but Laker fans really should be happy with those 2009 and 2010 titles back in 2007 it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. Right now its not as bleak looking as it was back then. Here’s my thoughts on Dwight leaving:
    http://4hoopsheads.com/articles/the-laker-s-dwightmare-ends-as-dwight-howard-goes-to-the-houston-rockets–2

  5. The disappointment I have as a Laker fan, is that we weren’t able to get anything of value for Dwight. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak should be commended for their efforts in getting talent, albeit one year, for Bynum. Personally, I thought we got the best bargain possible for Bynum and hoped we would have been able to trade it in for younger talent for the future. To me, Gasol should be and should have been our starting C. When watching the Spurs journey to the Finals (you can’t compare Duncan and Gasol), you saw what an integral part Duncan was to group of good, young talent. Which goes back to my original point, the disappointment is not losing Dwight, but it is that we weren’t able to capitalize on our trading/S&T chip. In looking to the future, we may not be a Finals team next season. However, anyone who thinks that we should scrap next year for a good draft pick forgets that we don’t have a first round pick and that Kobe doesn’t understand the words coasting or losing. We have been through bad seasons as Lakers fans, but one thing we can rest assured is that the best teams return to power. We may have to stomach a transition year, but nothing is better than a motivated Kobe Bryant in looking ahead to 2014.

  6. I was wondering, from a fiscal standpoint, is there any benefit now to amnestying one of our players to get under the salary cap? Would that position us any better for ’14 and ’15? Resetting the repeater would be very helpful I imagine.

    Also, great coverage of our own personal dwightmare by the FB&G team as well as all of the fans whose contributions definitely informed my thinking. I’m still excited to see a core of Gasol, Bryant, Artest, Hill, and Nash because I can get behind and root for each of them. Should be fun to watch, and hopefully Mitch shows some recruiting acumen and picks up a couple young bucks ready to make jumps.

  7. thank you, Darius.
    well said.

  8. This was a very good write up yes time will tell and the Lakers will rise to the top once again and bounce back.First we must have a little patience and be thankful that we still have a group of guys who are ready to play.Dwight has made his decision and we must move on from this. It is very clear that in the year 2014 there will be a lot of good fee agents and we need to land at least there of them in order to,get back to winning a championship team.We also must,add some younger players.This should be a lesson well taught as an Laker Organization sometimes money is not everything.We,as,a organization must take time to take a look in the mirror and look at ourselves.

  9. IMHO, the much maligned Pau Gasol is a more talented center than D12, at least on the offensive end. If he get’s healthy this season, finally playing in his natural position, we might see great things from him soon. A few more roster tweaks (good players are always good players, whether overblown stars or not…) and the Lakers might be decent. They won’t win a championship, but then neither will Houston. Just remember the Heat, the Spurs or OKC are in the way. And even Chicago if they get a healthy Rose back look better to me.

  10. Betting team FT percentage and turnovers will be down. Not so much on defense though.

  11. First thing I would do is call Houston and ask for a Sign-n-Trade.
    Ask for James Anderson(wing who defends a little,runs court and shoots threes,that Hou soured on) or some future Second,ridiculously protected if need be. Houston doesn’t need to do it,so I’m not asking for anything of real value. What I want is that $20mil TPE that will last for 1 yr.

    Second I decide if D’Antoni is my coach. If he is,he wants certain types of players just like Phil had his types. If I’m keeping D’Antoni,I start stocking up on players w/a couple yrs in League who can run and shoot 3s.

    Next I have a long talk w/Kobe and tell him I’m only giving him $8-10mil in 2014. Any more and the multi-star FA plan goes down in Cap flames-unless I decide to unload Nash.

    Then I tackle the tank,compete or go all in on 2014 FA issue. Complicating matters is TW didn’t give the team a gazzillion dollar deal to have a lottery team.
    Then at least a quarter-and possibly up to a third-of League is going to be tanking hard and there’s no guarantee a tank will pan out.(Sac had worst record in the Blake Draft and ended up getting pushed back to #4.) And even if I do win and get a Wiggins,a Randle,I’m still looking at another couple of yrs while they develop and grow.
    Plus I’ve got to consider the Clips. I tank and they will have all the buzz,that’ll be close to 2 yrs in a row they’re the team everybody talks about. Will my goldmine of floor seats keep paying?
    If I go all in for 2014 FAs,I have to make do w/mercenaries this yr and have to convince Kobe to take $10mil or less and hopefully unload Nash. W/Nash,Kobe @ $10mil,the First and the Roster Holds I’m looking at @ $25.5 in Cap money,leaving me @ $35mil in Cap Space. I’ll go all in on LeBron,but I’d avoid Carmelo or any of the older FAs like the plague. I’m going after the young guys,the ones who would be the next generation-and who will be less than $15mil each to sign.
    If I’m going for 2014 FA market,I unload Nash as that gives me enough room to add another FA at $10-14mil,but I’m going to use that money pursuing some young guys now who will fill out the roster for the next few yrs,some role players,a bench,a couple of young guys to groom.
    If I can replace Nash’s contract w/a couple of solid role players getting $3-4mil and a couple of prospects on Hou/Utah style $800,000+/4 yr deals,I not only have a starter or two and the semblance of a bench in place,I actually pick up Cap Space. If the 4 combine for $10mil in 2014,add that to Kobe @$10mil,the First and fewer Roster Holds,my Cap money would be @ $24.5mil,I’ve actually added $1mil to my Cap Space.

    But I would go with the other alternative. Try and build a competitive roster,ignore clearing Cap Space 2014 FA,just build the best team I can and in 2014 try and trade my way into another Star or two. It’s what the team did w/Gasol,almost did w/Paul and did w/Howard.
    This is where the TPE comes in. I’m using it to add good players who’ve worn out their welcome elsewhere,or who no longer fit a team that’s tanking or whatever.
    And furthering this route I start signing and grooming some young raw talent on the D-fenders.
    I know D’Antoni doesn’t like young players and won’t develop them,instead I use the D-League to do so and turn them over to him after they’ve spent a yr or two learning and developing.

  12. As I stated from the beginning there was no way D12 was coming back. He did not go to the best situation, that being GState, but he went to a better situation for him. His leaving is another step into our journey into Dallas Cowboy hell. What GState, in particular, Jerry West did was amazing. That is a GM. Mitch and our new ownership has to realize that they (as a team) have no cred as builders of the Los Angeles Lakers. They have begun the demise. Jimbo will go down in infamy as our Jerry Jones. Trading for players and not retaining them, getting retreads or keeping players way past their primes, and the lack of capable back-ups sounds eerily familiar.

    The thought of D12 paired with Kevin Love and Rondo was my dream. The next two years will tell me whether Jimbo is my nightmare.

  13. Warren Wee Lim July 6, 2013 at 3:10 am

    http://warrenweelim.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/the-clean-slate/

    The Clean Slate
    July 6, 2013

    Clean slate.

    Thats all I can say. For all thats wrong about what today represents, to me it also represents a new dawn/age in the NBA. The Big Market LA gets scorned/spurned/rejected in favor of a smaller one. Everyone that was looking for a tingle wanted Dwight to choose Houston. Later, when all else fails or very little works, everyone would simply say: He should’ve chosen the Lakers. No one walks away from the Lakers.

    In this day and age, where a homegrown band that plays music from garages and thinks they are the next Beatles, its hard to separate the wannabe from the real thing. Today, the Lakers have a unique opportunity to address a problem as it should be – head on. Today, we face the team’s real needs based on our needs and not to cater for Dwight’s deficiencies.

    Its hard when you try to insist/instill/inculcate the principles of Kobe and winning onto a personality that views the NBA as a “game” rather than his work. Such is both, but your inclination will determine where you reach. Lebron did not magically become a champion. He worked hard. He realized the value of the criticisms that he had in the past, mind you they are a million times worse than that of Dwight, and made an effort to find his glory. In the end, or atleast as far as 2013 goes, he is the world’s most dominant player, the current, reigning and undeniable champion. Much will still be said about the path he chose when he left Cleveland, but now that he has the goods to show, everything will be a murky memory.

    Dwight, on the other hand, chose an easier path. He claims he has bet 30 million on this decision. While we know thats not necessarily true, we give the guy his due. “Whatever Rocks your Boat, Dwight” …

    The team, the Lakers brand, as maligned as Jim Buss is and as unrecognized his feats are, he is once more given a great opportunity to prove his doubters much like Lebron had. He has a unique opportunity of making good out of a bad situation and coming out on top. And when he’s up there, he can remember a fellow from the southern part of the Philippines that grades him a solid A in his performance so far when the rest of the world can only muster a C-.

    Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol… to a certain extent. Metta World Peace. These are great names, while you can say that their best years are behind them, their greatness are unquestioned. Their resolve, despite their bodies are resisting, remain ironclad. Motivation can be a very bad thing for angry great players.

    Before you suggest the 4-letter word that insults the laker brand, or use the 7-letter word that blasphemes the Lakers’ greatest SG, think again. And then think some more. Give these guys a chance.

  14. If this doesn’t put Jimmy in the back of the Buss (instead of the front), I don’t know what will.

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  15. Looking forward to that #1 pick alongside Paul George, a rejuvenated Pau, and Kobe/Nash, having taken showers in the fountain of youth, and ready for one final go! #OneCanDream Also, now that Howard has left, I’m finding myself considering Bill Simmons take on it that Howard has already peaked. In 3 years time this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise … We’ll see. Looking forward to some interesting free agent players this season – maybe an unheralded stud will rise from the ranks of free agency, and the Lakers will prove to be a more desirable destination than expected next summer.

  16. A few thoughts:

    -It’s obviously a new day. Like the prettiest girl in high school, our Lakers are not use to being rejected.

    -So if the Lakers TRULY would prefer to let Dwight walk instead of take back a player(s) in a sign & trade because they are looking for cap space….

    -& knowing there’s no way they’ll be a better team w/o Dwight & no Kobe for 1/2 a season & what, a 75% Kobe for the 2nd half…

    -and they are keeping D’Antonio as coach this year…

    -and if they really want the following in 2014:

    1) a high draft pick in 2014
    2) a major free agent
    3) a healthy Kobe

    Why not amnesty Kobe and let him get fully healthy?

    Yes I know, much too cold, too bold, too logical, too “Mr. Spoke”. Sure, but the time to start rebuilding is this season. Nash, Gasol, & Metta will more than likely never have more value than this season.

    Warriors would love Gasol, Knicks would love Nash.

    If the Lakers and their fans truly would like to see Kobe have another realistic opportunity to compete for a title (next 2-3 seasons) the franchise can’t afford to do nothing for a season.

    Lakers, you’re on the clock.

  17. As I wrote a few days ago… If Dwight leaves the Lakers only have one real option if they want to compete fr championships going forward in the next few years. They need to trade Pau for whatever draft picks they can manage, sit Kobe for the entire year and let him really rehab, hope to get Wiggins or another star in the draft, and hope to get LeBron, and two other stars next summer (Melo, Cousins, Gay, George, Bosh). The Lakers don’t have many options. It doesmt make much sense to keep an average Gasol and rush Kobe back to be a 10th seed.

  18. I don’t think the lakers have a draft pick next year

  19. I agree thst it would seem like we need to bottom out + fire dantoni after he leads us to a horrible record this year.

    As ive mentioned a few times amd maybe we should look at a column about this – we need to fill out the roster with 5+ players now with minimum things to offer + most of the quality guys in our price range are gone

    Personally id love to see lamar back as his versatility might be something that could keep us in contention if he can get back to 2010-2011 form and exchanging bynum for hill as a part of our 3 headed frontcourt is not a stretch

    Ugh its going to be a long year

  20. Tough tough night, barely slept after the fact, it kept coming up, but its time to move on. I cant blame the FO they made their due diligence but the truth is that D12 did not wanted to be here, the expectations the pressure to win was too much for him. I cant belieeeve people criticisin Mitch arguably the best GM in the NBA, a setback and people are ready to crucify him. About PJ people forget that Dr Buss himself agreed to hire MDA over PJ. About next summer none of those big names really entice me and please lets stop the moronic Lebron James thing, its not happening and I really would not like Chris Bosh, Dwane Wade,LBJ and even worse Melo or a 100 y/o Dirk. Next summer we should be careful and just pounce when an oportunity arises, not just because we have the money. Time to take our lumps and be patient, we cant win every year.

  21. People keep talking about Pau like he is some kind of washed up scrub, the truth is that he will the healthiest that he been in a couple of years and he is still one of the best big man in the entire world. If Kobe comes back and Nash os healthy our core is still very good, this is not the Cavs or the Magic situation, not by a long shot. Lets just see if Mitch can work some magic cheap and who knows we might end up with a decent team.

  22. The best way to move on at this point is for the Lakers to begin signing the best possible FAs that they can acquire. Bear in mind that they’re looking to bring on players for one-year contracts only and that they’re severely strapped in terms of what they can offer. But here are some thoughts (admittedly, the pickins are slim):

    Byron Mullens, PF, 7-0, 270, 24 yo, last year averaged 10.6 / 6.4 / 1.5 in 26.5 minutes with Charlotte; negatives: shot only 38.5% last year; positives: he started half the season and the Lakers need another big; the Lakers could do much worse.

    Francisco Garcia, SF, 6-7, 195, last year averaged 6.4 / 1.3 / 1.1 in 18 games with Houston (he also played in Sac); will turn 32; last year averaged 43.2% FG and 38.6% 3-pt.; negatives: a mere journeyman; positives: decent defender; good 3-point shooter; the Lakers need a back-up 3.

    Wayne Ellington, SG, 6-4, 200, will turn 26, last year averaged 10.4 / 3.0 / 1.5 in 38 games with Cleveland (also played in Memphis); negatives: an average defender; somewhat redundant with Jodie Meeks; positives: good shooter from 3; only 26.

    Sasha Vuajicic, SG, 67, 205, 29, in 2011 (his last year in the NBA with NJ) he averaged 11.4 / 3.3 / 2.3; negatives: wildly streaky; something of a gunner’s attitude; positives: good, rangy defender, can play several positions; knows the Lakers; very versatile.

    It’s time to get to work and move on.

  23. The city of Houston should send thank you cards to Jim Buss & Mitch Kupchak for their good fortunes. The Lakers could have traded them Gasol a couple of years back for Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic (or Kyle Lowry). The Rockets basically turned Martin into James Harden, which played a significant part in getting Howard. The Lakers could have adressed outside scoring and bench scoring with Martin, could have had a potential starting PG in Dragic (the Nash signing might not have been n aside from being more expensiveecessary, which also costed the Lakers 2 1st round picks), and a good PF in Scola. Now they are stuck with Gasol, who appears to have no trade value at all. It also means free layups all day for opponents

  24. I didn’t want him last summer, so to me this isn’t really a bad thing. He was never a player I could cheer for. I would have struggled with the idea of him being the Lakers future. Time to focus on this team that is here and now, Pau is still an elite center “in fact his play in the summer Olympics before the foot injury was some of his best” and Kobe is a competitor like no other. I am excited about this next season and the “”open”” future!

  25. I am planning to write a long State of the Lakers post later today, time permitting, but a few points in the meantime:

    1. The most important off-season piece written so far IMO was the SSR one about the 2014 FA class. Basically, other than LeBron James, everyone in the class would be far more useful as a complementary piece to Howard than as the foundational guy. The best UFAs next year will include Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Danny Granger, Luol Deng, and Kyle Lowry. These are all guys that you could see alongside Howard, maybe, but by themselves? Paul George, John Wall, and Kyrie Irving are all restricted and there is no way they are coming here.
    2. As far as tanking, amnestying Kobe, etc: Kobe is 675 points behind Jordan on the scoring list, and in addition to that, he’s Kobe. Playing basketball is what he is about. He will come back as soon as he possibly can. So, the amnesty Kobe, let him sit a year, and tank crowd needs to remember that IMO. He will not sit a year unless he absolutely has to, and if he is amnestied, other teams will bid on him. I already know the response–the team has to come before personal achievements, etc. but basically, from a commercial standpoint, Kobe is the only thing that the Lakers have to sell next year, and he is the only reason that most people will really want to watch the team, plus you have to consider the personal, financial and cultural angles, etc. So, again, I myself am not opposed to tanking per se, but it is complicated for the Lakers.
    3. It is good that people have hope, and as always, you never know. But at the same time, I think these discussions will be better and more realistic if everybody, including the site writers, acknowledges that

    a) The Lakers are in serious trouble. Philosophizing and pep talks and cheap FAs won’t change that. Doesn’t mean it should be doom and gloom every thread, or that people shouldn’t talk about guys like Wayne Ellington. But it is what’s real.
    b) That while Kupchak is still here, the organization’s leadership structure is not the same as it was. MDA is not Phil Jackson, and Jim Buss is not his old man. Jerry West is long gone, and so are many of old scouts, as well as Ronnie Lester. Adding that to the new CBA, there is not any reason to assume the Lakers will be back just because they always have been before.

  26. If LeBron decides he wants to stay in Miami next offseason, what does everyone think about trying to overpay for an RFA? Derrick Favors, Larry Sanders, and Boogie Cousins are out there. They’re all in small markets, so the Lakers could potential make a Godfather-style offer to any of them. Then there would still be enough cap room to go after other quality free agents.

    Also my vote is to not rush Kobe back at all. Give him plenty of time to recover and then monitor his minutes like the Spurs do with Duncan. I’d rather have 4 years of Kobe playing 28 minutes/game then 2 years of him playing 38.

  27. Doris: “We, as an organization must take time to take a look in the mirror and look at ourselves.” Indeed. However what if we do not like what we see?
    Aaron: Your idea is not bad, but I doubt either KB or the Lakers would go for that.
    Busboys4me: “Jimbo will go down in infamy as our Jerry Jones.” Uh – yea
    Moving On: We have no other choice, but let’s not be in denial. We finished 7th and now we are without our top 2 players from last year. We need to do the best we can, but we are crawling out of a crater.

  28. Dwight stayed true to form. Last year he said he’d “dreamed of being a Laker” and that he was so excited he “couldn’t sleep” but of course this was only one of his many fatuous moments that mean nothing. Rather than having a direct conversation with management letting them know that he would prefer to go to the Rockets (or whomever) thereby allowing the Lakers to at least get some value for him. He preferred to collectively thumb his nose at this proud franchise.

    Carmelo allowed Denver to get compensation and yes I know the circumstances were different (player under contract vs unrestricted free agent) but still no reason this couldn’t have been handled in a way that allowed Dwight his exit and also provided some benefit to the Lakers. I also hold the Lakers accountable for misreading Dwight. Their confidence that he would stay was betrayed by Dwight’s actions. No player that really wants to be here acts so aloof and states that his number 1 consideration in choosing a new team is that he “wants to have fun”. What true champion says that? Hint: The answer is less than one.

    I remain optimistic that over the long haul the Lakers will compete for Championships but Mitch & Co clearly have their work cut out for them.

  29. That long post by Stephen up there makes one good point–the Lakers could try to work a sign/trade with Houston to get the TPE. They should do that if they can, but, as he noted, Houston doesn’t have to.

  30. The repeated statement that the Lakers don’t have a 2014 first-round pick is wrong, I think. They didn’t have a first-round pick in 2013, so they have to have one next year. NBA teams can’t trade first-round picks in consecutive years. It’s the Stepien Rule.

  31. Gary-

    Correct. Also, I am pretty sure that the 2015 pick is Top 5 protected.

  32. Next season we will see how bad Kobe and Gasol wants to win….If they both take about 6 or 7 million dollars a year and allow the Lakers the rest of the money to sign players to surround them with….The Lakers can be right back….

  33. Well my comment won’t add much to the discussion, but I always felt that D12 was never fully “all in” so to speak with the Lakers. I never really considered him to be a pillar to be built upon, and when the Griffin for Howard talks came up, I actually felt much more thrilled about that than resigning Howard.

  34. It’s definitely time to move on; we’ve got work to do but that’s what the Lakers always do. We are like death and taxes; it is inevitable that we shall return to a championship caliber team. Today is not lost; it is an opportunity gained in order to reshape our own destiny.
    Laker Life; the quest continues!

  35. For the Lakers to have their luxury tax repeat offender reset, they have to stay below it for 2 years within the next 5 years. So they can only spend about another $1.7M this year. That means that to and any more players, they have to amnesty MWP, or trade one player for a few more to fill out their roster. Another option would be to amnesty Kobe so the Lakers could under the salary cap. They could sign on role players to prebuild for 2014 as there are really not any franchise level players left, being careful not to hurt cap space too much in 2014. It probably wouldn’t save the Lakers much money as not many teams would pick up Kobe knowing that he’d likely sit out 1/2 the year or possibly the entire year if he gets picked up by a non-contender. I suppose a team like San Antonio might pick him up and he’d play there for a year to get another ring, but it would at most save the Lakers $10M. But the negative publicity of amnesting him likely is not worth the slight savings.

    I agree with rr that the Lakers are screwed. It’s hard to think that Miami wouldn’t do everything possible to keep LBJ. Although Bosh and Wade probably won’t opt out as each have over $40 coming to them. Wade won’t opt out because no one is going to pay $20M a year for someone with his injury history, and Bosh currently isn’t a max player, and certainly not $20M a year player. I suppose Miami could offer to restructure to spread out their contract, for say $15M over 4-5 years give them their last major contract, and also give LBJ his max contract and keep them from having to pay $75M in luxury taxes and penalties. But hopefully LBJ will jump ship seeing Wade injured older. But there’s no guarantee that he’d come to the Lakers. Although if you look at teams with salary cap space, other than Dallas, IF LBJ left Miami, Lakers are a possibility. But that’s a big IF.

    For those who say they think Gasol will do better as center and he’s going back to his natural spot, where have you been in the last 4-5 years? When we lost to the Celtics, everyone was complaining that he’s soft, and that he’s not a true center and that once Bynum was healthy and Gasol is playing power forward, he’d be better?

    This team is old, Kobe won’t play half the season, the 2014 draft could be better than 2003, so I just can’t see what the Lakers have to lose by using Gasol sparingly, letting Kobe sit a year, and letting some of their younger players, maybe trying to find a gem with someone in the D-League, try to find a Danny Green, etc., and trying to get a high draft. Even if we don’t get Wiggins, not making the playoffs allowed Lakers to get Bynum which helped us win 2 championships.

    As for keeping Kobe’s Bird Rights as the reason for not amnestying him, can someone explain why it would matter? Because Kobe will have a cap hold of $30M after 13-14, Lakers have to renounce him anyway to free up the space, and they’d lose his Bird Rights.

  36. I’m sorry but to blame the FO for Dwight leaving is absolutely ridiculous. Dwight left because he never wanted to be im the lakers from the atart. He didnt likethe pessire, did not like playing with Kobe and did not like playing the pick and roll – ironically, his nest asset offensively- and did not want to wait one year on a weak team. He now goes to a team that has a flawed roster and a coach that I not known for coaching a post based offense.

    Also, to argue that Kobe should be amnestied or should sit out is absurd. Surely anyone who has ever watched Kobe play, read anything about his competitive spirit, heard him talk or been a fan of this team for longer than 5 years would now why.

    Get a freaking hold of yourselves. We lost Dwight Howard not Lebron James nor Lobe Bryant. I mean, the loss of Shaq was ten times what this is. Yeah, things may be difficult but this is not the end of the world.

    Rr you may now go ahead and tear me down for telling people what to think. I just needed to blow off some steam.

  37. 1) Sit down with Kobe and have the conversation about the future that was inevitable if Dwight elected to move on. Kobe’s 35, attempting a comeback from a torn achilles and he’s already played games and minutes in this league equivalent to a player pushing 40. Combine that with a huge $30M a year contract about to expire after next season whether he plays or doesn’t and any talk of the future being built around him becomes a pretty short one.

    If he wants to compete for titles as soon as he returns from injury then amnesty him and let him go try for that elsewhere. Because it isn’t going to happen here for some time to come.

    2) Push the reset button with everyone else. The first priority should be to get set-up to make a run for one of the prizes in the 2014 draft. If they can move Gasol, Nash or Meta for draft consideration, than do it

    The Lakers have their own number one for 2014. In the face of a roster of old, slow players, with no bench and no Kobe for half the season at least and the chances of being amongst the league’s worst teams is pretty high. Especially considering that Nash, Gasol, World Peace, Blake and Jordan Hill all missed big chunks of time last season with their own injuries. This team is really going to stink.

    3) Beyond the 2014 draft is the 2014 FA market which could offer some help for the future. Anyone who thinks LBJ considers leaving the team and the city that has reached the finals three times in three years and has won the title twice, and is the odds on favorite to do it again in 2013 for less money; needs to put down the pipe. Never going to happen. And Anthony’s not leaving New York for this mess either. Those aside there are some younger restricted FA’s that could be considered.

  38. As much as this hurts, Houston could also have just signed Yao 2.0. Dwight is still recovering from his back and shoulder problems. His offensive game will be severely crippled if he re-injures his labrum and he gets hacked every time he goes up for a dunk. Lastly, Western teams are better able to defend big centers since they had to load up to stop the Lakers the past few years.

    Moving forward, this will be a chance for Mitch to show his true skills without Jerry West or Phil Jackson hovering over him. Even though Phil has come back into the picture, Mitch will be working with D’Antoni to construct the roster. The margin for error has become razor thin and tanking is not an option if the Lakers expect to keep ticket prices where they are.

  39. Let’s be frank about what the Lakers have right now: Last year’s team without Dwight (anchor of the defense), without Clark (most promising player), and an injured Kobe. Does anyone think this roster will win a championship? Also the Lakers refusal to do more than 1-year contracts severely restricts their options to build a contender next season.

    The current team can make the playoffs as a low seed. That’s the Valley of Death for teams; not good enough to win a championship, not bad enough to draft a franchise-altering player.

    The FA options in 14-15 aren’t great outside of LeBron, who has no reason to come here.

    So that leaves the lottery. Yes I know the lottery is a gamble. But it’s better odds than the current team winning a championship or getting LeBron. Because unfortunately there are no good options for the Lakers right now.

  40. if the lakers amnesty MWP, then payroll falls below the tax apron, right?

  41. Manny, amnestying him has nothing to do with any of that. It’s about being smart and building a team in 2014 that players like LBJ would want to come to. Do you want to see a Lakers team fight just to get into the playoffs for the next 5 years, and go nowhere, while wasting Kobe’s last years, and seeing him struggle to put up 20 pts a game while triple teamed?

  42. Chibi, yes it does.

  43. “The current team can make the playoffs as a low seed. That’s the Valley of Death for teams; not good enough to win a championship, not bad enough to draft a franchise-altering player.”

    I just don’t see how you even get that far except with the most optimistic of appraisals.

    The current roster is old, slow, injury prone, with no bench to speak of, and completely lacking in athleticism. A better version of this team, (last year’s which had Kobe for 80 games and Howard and Clark) was fortunate to sneak into the playoffs.

    This team currently constructed, could easily be among the worst in the league. Especially if Kobe can’t return soon or if when he does return he’s much less capable of carrying the load. The probability for either of those scenarios being extremely high.

    So be it!

    Bring on the Wiggins sweepstakes.

  44. Francisco Garcia signed with Houston today–2/2.6.

  45. Spurs built their dynasty by tanking one year and getting Duncan.

    Although Miami built their dynasty through FA, they wouldn’t have gotten LBJ without having drafted Wade.

    Lakers can’t build a championship team without getting 1-2 potential All Stars through the draft.

    I don’t see what all the controversy is about tanking one season. It allows Kobe to fully heal and rehab, spares Gasol’s feet, allows Lakers to reload.

    Even the Lakers built their Dynasty through the draft. Magic, Worthy, Kobe, all these guys Lakers drafted and added 1-2 stars to build a championship team. You can’t keep drafting low first rounders and second rounders and expect a couple of franchise players to join role players. It just doesn’t happen.

  46. i’m glad that Dwight left early, if he was going to leave.

    tanking isn’t an option. tanking is a loser mover for losers.
    play hard, let the season play out as it will. you never know what can happen.

  47. For all you so called Lakers fans who are glad Howard left, you don’t know anything about basketball.

    These are the top five players in the league:
    LBJ, Durant, Howard, CP3, Rose.

    We wouldn’t have won it all next year even if Howard re-signed, but if keeping Howard would have allowed us to get LBJ in 2015 or even two 5-15 ranked guys like Melo, along with solid role players, we would have been in contention for the next 5-7 years.

    But we’ll probably get stuck with a couple of mid tiered Carlos Boozer or Al Jefferson type players who we’ll overpay for and end up the Utah Jazz or Hawks for the next 10-15 years.

  48. And Dorrell wright to portland. Swingmen going fast. If Lakers amnesty mwp as they should, they need at least 2 sfs.and once Kobe is back he should slide up and start at SF.

  49. Mud, you mean like San Antonio did to get Duncan? A loser move like that?

  50. A loser move like Indy did to get Andrew Luck?

  51. Lakers17–don’t agree with all of it, but that was a very good post.

  52. Take a look at the Western Conference. The Lakers don’t have to “tank” next season. They will be hard pressed to even make the playoffs next season. Kobe most likely won’t play until after the All Star break. I know he’s shooting for December. But those injuries usually take 9 to 12 months to recover. I’d rather he take the full amount of time needed than stress his body, reinjure himself, and basically miss the entire season.

    Nash is 40 and will be trying to keep up with a different speed demon every night. Gasol is still good offensively. But he is a major liability on defense. Put it all together and it will take divine intervention for the Lakers to make the playoffs. Plus, Pau and Nash are a year older and the bench is thin. Who is to say they both won’t struggle with injuries again this season?

  53. Any chance we could get Lionel Hollins as an assistant or associate head coach?

  54. T Rogers,

    Indeed, as you and I said before. Some of the teams at the bottom have improved, and every team has more young talent than the Lakers do, since the Lakers have none at all. Minnesota will also be much better with some decent injury luck, and I think they have a very good chance to snag the playoff spot that the Lakers got last year.

    Some people seem to want the team get into a position to go about 12-70, but even if they stay the course, they could wind up at about 28-54 or so.

  55. Josh Smith has signed with Detroit.

  56. RR,

    I don’t say these things to be a downer. The way I see it the sooner the Lakers can reset this thing the better. I look forward to them getting an infusion of young, cheap talent over the next couple of seasons.

  57. Playoff teams in the West, as presently constituted, project to be (in no particular order) San Antonio, Houston, Golden State, Oklahoma City and the Clippers as locks. Barring something totally unforeseen, that leaves three slots.

    Memphis returns a solid core, though losing its head coach could lead to some slippage. Still, its returnees should be enough. So let’s call that team six.

    Minnesota, with Love back from injury, Adelman’s coaching and some scoring punch from Shabazz, seems logical to improve, so as of now I could see it being the seventh playoff squad. Which would leave only one opening.

    Dallas still has moves to make so it’s too soon to pencil them in, but it has some money to spend so who knows? Denver seems primed to regress based on what it lost this off-season. The Suns will be high-scoring, who knows what the Lakers will be, and Portland is always around the fringe; Utah too. That’s a lot of teams vying for one or so spots.

    Lots of unknown variables still, but it’s conceivable that everything could break right for the Lakers next year and they could still wind up in lotteryland. If so, let’s just hope they field a team that’s fun to watch and plays hard, like the 1991-92 or 1994-95 teams, for example.

    If a title is out of the question (and it is), the next best thing is to be getting younger, playing hard and being enjoyable to watch. That was definitely not the case last season, but perhaps two of those three criteria can be met in 2013-14. The getting younger part will follow a year later, regardless.

  58. There’s no reason the Lakers shouldn’t try to move what they’ve got left for young assets, whether it’s draft picks or young, cheap players, because this roster is not going to make the playoffs in my view, and it would be counter-productive if they did. They need to get back on track with young assets and then bide their time year to year until they can attract big free agents. That’s the way the league is working now.

  59. Omri Caspi to Hou 2 yrs.

  60. I wish Howard all the best in Houston, but I’m actually glad that he’s gone. If you want to understand why he and Kobe didn’t get along very well, you only have to read this quote. Apparently it was in response to Kobe’s pitch to Dwight.

    “I’m in the NBA. That’s winning…Winning isn’t all about winning a championship. It’s about winning in life.” -Dwight Howard

    This is what Kobe was talking about when he told Howard that he needs to learn how to be a champion. You can’t have an attitude like that and aspire to be the best in your sport. Everyone take a second and think to yourself of one truly great player who could stomach having Howard on their team. Could you possibly imagine MJ playing with a guy who believes this? What about Magic? Magic was a fun loving, happy-go-lucky player right? Wrong. Magic came to play and losing ripped his heart out which is why he hated losing. Could you imagine Larry Bird playing with a guy like Dwight? Hell, Shaq “shaqted” a fool, but he came to play when it was winning time.

    Kobe’s challenge to Dwight was perfect. If he accepted the challenge, then would have been invested into putting the ultimate pressure on himself. Championship. Only the Yankees have the type of pressure that the Lakers have. The pressure that says if you don’t win the championship, then the season was a failure.

    The Lakers will, in all likelihood, struggle mightily next season, but don’t even think about calling it tanking. Kobe doesn’t tank. The Lakers don’t tank. We may lose, but it isn’t because we aren’t trying to win. Tanking doesn’t guarantee a #1 pick and it doesn’t guarantee that #1 pick will become a superstar. There are zero guarantees in sports or life in general. I’ll tell you this though. Kobe *will* be back next year. And he *will* play his butt off regardless of the Lakers record.

  61. Ken, agree that Lakers will struggle, but they don’t necessarily need the #1 pick. It’s not the year Ewing, Rose, Anthony Davis drafts. There’s at least 5-7 potential franchise players in the upcoming draft. After that, it’s still good, but none that would help create another dynasty. So I agree that Lakers will probably not tank, and will win probably mid 30s, as many teams will be tanking including the Celtics, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to tank. 25% chance to get the next LBJ? It’s worth it, especially if the consolation prize is the next Wade or Melo.

  62. A lot of you are saying that the Lakers will never tank. Well, even without intending to they will be horrible this year. I say if we’re going to be awful let’s go all in.

    I think we strip this down and fast. This may take awhile to rebuild might as well get started now. With Josh Smith signing in Detroit we should see if Atlanta (who has cap space) wants our center in exchange for one of their recent 2013 draft picks or a 2014 one. You get the picture.

    I know Jim Buss is likely feeling the pressure to put a winner on the floor ASAP. I hope he makes wise decisions with our cap space. If a game changing FA does not want to come next summer we may be better off rolling the cap space into 2015.

    ESPN mentioned that the Lakers were the only NBA team that does not attend an annual conference about applying Moneyball techniques in their player acquisition process. Maybe Mitch needs to beef up his staff before rebuilding the team. The new CBA rewards mores than just the deepest pockets.

  63. Some good, if sobering, thoughts, here. I was never a fan of Dwight’s and can’t say I’m sorry they won’t be building the team around him for the next few years, but as others have pointed out, there aren’t a lot of good options in the short term.

    I imagine this ship has sailed already, but it strikes me that a better option than preserving all this cap space for two max contracts next summer — when only LeBron seems worth the gamble — might have been to try to get whatever assets are possible for Dwight. I’m certainly not crazy about Asik and Lin (plus maybe a #1), but their poison pill contracts are over in the summer of ’15. That’s when — if I read right — guys like George, Wall, etc will become UFAs. In theory, with Nash bought out, Pau gone, and Kobe signed to a more cap-friendly contract, there’d be room to chase at least one of them. (I have a hard time imagining they can land any of the aforementioned as RFAs next summer…seems like a bigger pipe dream than Bron.)

    That seems like a disappointing option, and waiting for two more years is its own risk. But I’m not sure what would be best: standing pat, just missing the playoffs as a high 30/low 40-win team, and facing long, long odds cracking the upper levels of the lottery, or adding some younger talent in the short term, sneaking into the playoffs next spring, keeping the ticketholders and TW placated, and hoping a great talent falls to them in the next couple of drafts (assuming they could get an extra pick from the Rockets).

    Of course the new CBA trumps all, and I claim to be no expert on whether this is all doable without running afoul of luxury taxes. But if what’s waiting on the other side of the promised land is Melo and, say, Z-Bo…then yecchhh.

  64. Aly, you make some very good points. Rebuilding will take more than just Mitch. They need to get with the times and not let the league leave them in the 1990s.

    I’m not sure Atlanta wants Gasol but maybe Dallas for a year although I’m not sure they have enough cap space this year. Lakers may have to take back at least one guy. But with Gasol, Dirk, Calderon, Marion, that would make Dallas contenders, so they may bite. But do they have anything Lakers want?

  65. Curious to see if the Lakers amnesty MWP. Doesn’t make sense to me unless you can net multiple FAs at the vet minimum (or split up the mini-MLE). He’s overpaid, but we’re woefully thin on the wing.

    Not a lot of good options going forward, unfortunately.

    On the plus side, in two years, Bill Simmons can start his “My sources say Dwight Howard wants to return to the Lakers” tripe.

  66. yep, a loser move by losers.

    it’s something that hasn’t been done the entire time of the Laker’s existence in LA through more than one owner. it’s no assurance of a good team or a championship. play hard and see what happens.

  67. As much as I hate Houston, if they don’t run into cap space or luxury tax issues, they will win 1-2 championships. Not only do they have Howard and Harden, but they have good young role players. It may take a year or two, but those who say Houston won’t win it all are the same people who doubted Miami.

  68. sharky towers July 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    To everyone bringing up the very likable and fun teams (though not very good) of the 90’s (Van Exel, Jones, Vlade, Sedalle, etc.): very on point! I would take a group of guys I like and enjoy rooting for everyday over players who are allegedly franchise guys who whine and pout their way through a game.

    I think this is addition by subtraction honestly. I think it is good for both teams. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Lakers have a slightly better record this coming year than last. Pau is back playing where he belongs.

    In any case… next year is gonna be bad from a winning (by Lakers standards) perspective. Having only one player under contract for ’14 is fantastic though. A lot is up for grabs. A lot of how things work out is how Kobe will fit in after this contract and in what capacity.

    I almost prefer a year where a group of dudes whom I like are underdogs. If the Lakers are still bad the year after? Then I might start to worry.

  69. sharky towers July 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Lakers17-

    I wouldn’t say the Rockets WON’T win a title, but to say they are a shoe-in? Please… NBA history is littered with guys who are hyped to put butts in seats. They are good obviously, but great? That’s some rarefied air. Neither Harden nor Howard have shown that they are great. Could they be? Possibly.

    Also- about Howard. The criticism on him is greatly deserved. It’s not that he isn’t good, its that he isn’t a) the player he thinks he is and b) as good as he thinks he is. The dude is a rich-mans Ben Wallace. That’s a good thing, but he doesn’t know that’s who he is. THAT’S a bad thing,

  70. Sharky, comparing Howard, a top 5 player with Ben Wallace??? Wow. Just wow.

    I’m not saying Rockets are a shoe in, but they will win 1-2 over the next 4-5 years.

    I agree Harden isn’t top 5 now, but in a year or two he may be.

    But to equate Howard with Ben Wallace. That’s just preposterous.

  71. Harden needs to grow a lot to be a top 5 guy. Much like dh. Mchale doesn’t have the coaching chops. Grass is not greener on the other side. I can’t see much happening until you see Kobe play 20 games. But not a good start for jr. Mb, mda and this.

  72. Minor, wall and George will be restricted free age agents in 2014, and Indiana has said that they will ABSOLUTELY match any offer. So no way Lakers will get him. Look at the link rr posted from SSR. It gives a good breakdown of the myth of the 2014 free agency pool.

    As for season ticket holders, there is a 3-4 year waiting period and TW already signed the contract so 1-2 years of tanking won’t affect that. But 10-15 years of losing in the first or second round without a franchise player will guarantee poor TV raitings and no billion dollar contract the next time it comes up.

  73. Howard is not a top 5 player in the league, and Harden will not be a top five player in the league.

    Houston has to go through, Golden State who just got a lot better, OKC, SAS and Memphis to even make the finals. and then contend with Miami/Indy.Chicago/ or Brooklyn.

    All those teams are more talented top to bottom than Houston is.

  74. Lol, Brooklyn? Really? If Howard isn’t a top five, who is?

  75. Until the FO makes clear what Dwight’s departure does to the “win now with Kobe” script they’ve been following every since Phil departed, and until they work through that with Kobe, there won’t be a course correction.

    I happen to believe there MUST be one now. Priorities have to change when the future just walked out the door.

    We would all love to see more Laker championships with Kobe. But even Kobe would have to concede that the chances for that now, even if he’s right about having three years of high achievement left in him, is negligible.

    If Kobe wants more titles more than he wants to chase the numbers and retire as always “having been a LAKER”, then based on what just happened, he needs to do what Dwight did, find a new home with a real contender as soon as possible.

    He isn’t going to win them here anymore.

    Bitter pill to swallow but it’s the truth.

    If amnestied, Kobe could win more titles if he were with Miami or Chicago or Oklahoma City (I can’t imagine that), follow Dwight to Houston (Dwight’s worst nightmare). I mean, Kobe could be the difference for Pop and the Spurs to get that crew over the hump one more time. What if he played for the Clippers with Chris Paul and Blake and Doc Rivers?

    I’m just pointing out that if winning championships is the overarching driver for Kobe to keep playing and competing at such a high level?

    Then there are many more destinations and teams around the league that offer far greater possibilities for the time being.

  76. I hate to say it but I agree with Riceman. If Kobe wants to surpass Jordan, he will probably have to do it with another team.

  77. Did anyone catch the comments from the Howard camp that Jim Buss was beyond horrible in their presentation. Not sure what specifically he did or did not do.

    The thought has crossed my mind that the Buss siblings may need to do an intervention with Jim and either wrestle basketball operations control from him or force him to hire someone. I’m not sure that someone is PJ because this rebuild needs to begin with young talent and his preference as a coach was not to play younger players.

  78. Losing Howard the coward would have been a bigger deal in years passed, but with the way the salary cap is set teams that are willing to pay the luxury tax have a huge advantage. Like others have said w/ a deep draft and a perceived strong list of free agents approaching teams are going to be tanking like crazy and cutting salary. Good players with potential to be great like Lamarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Eric Gordon are possibly going to be available this season.

    I think the lakers are taking the right approach, no reason to make rash decisions (like they did w/ hiring coach D)

  79. Matt, I’m not sure that Howard was disinterested in the presentation as much as he had already made up his mind.

  80. WAG/Prediction: Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic will sign with the Lakers next week.

  81. Did anyone catch the comments from the Howard camp that Jim Buss was beyond horrible in their presentation.

    Yes.

  82. Points about stat analysis:

    1. The team that signed Howard is known for being the most cutting-edge stat org. in the NBA.
    2. It has been written a few times that the Lakers make less use of advanced stats than any team in the NBA.
    3. There are no restrictions on how much you can spend on scouts and stat guys, so I think getting a couple of more experienced old-school scouts and a couple of stat/video guys to give Kupchak and Buss more and varied input would probably be a good idea.

  83. Lakers17 – I stand by my comment that Kobe is untouchable. It will be painful on the wallet next year but just wait and see what happen after.

  84. Kobe deserves his huge contract considering everything he has brought to LA during his time. However when it comes time for a new contract (assuming he wants to keep playing) there is little room for sentiment. He needs to accept a lesser contract and a lesser role. I am unsure if he can do this, MJ couldn’t go gracefully and Kobe might not either

  85. Did anyone catch the comments from the Howard camp that Jim Buss was beyond horrible in their presentation.

    Links, anyone?

  86. Adande wrote about it, and I have seen it elsewhere.

    Howard should have realized word would get out. He’d already told people which direction he was going. I spoke to one of them. The person said Howard told him he was leaving L.A. because he didn’t want to play for Mike D’Antoni and because, well, let’s just say Jim Buss was less than impressive during the Lakers’ meeting with Howard.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9454018/nba-usual-fashion-dwight-howard-waffles-way-los-angeles

  87. Fine, fine write-up Darius, made me proud, thanks

    Robert, (from the last thread,and what a thread..)
    thanks man, Carpe Diem

  88. Snoopy,

    The link and quote are stuck in mod, but you can read Adande’s piece at ESPNLA. He mentions it and other people have as well.

  89. rr – Thanks.

  90. Manny, I think you are right that Kobe is untouchable in any way. Amnestying Kobe, even if it had no consequences, such as no other team picking him or having any salary implication in in 2014, is a politically impossible move.

  91. Worst Laker Moments:
    1) Magic HIV – it seemed to come out of nowhere and I thought it was a death sentence at the time.
    2) 1984 NBA Finals loss to Celtics in 7 – just reading about it makes my stomach turn even 30 years later.
    3) 2008 NBA Finals loss to Celtics – We were actually favored to win this series. Most galling part was seeing all the fake celebrity bandwaggon Celtics fans. Where are they now? And Curt Schilling’s condescending remarks about Lakers really pissed me off. But I guess he got what was coming to him. He’s probably mopping up puke at a Shaw’s now that he’s completely broke.
    4) Dwight Howard’s cowardly betrayal of Lakers. He could have stayed with the Lakers and been immortalized in front of Staples along with the rest of the Lakers Legends like a Roman Warrior in front of the Colosseum, but decided to hide away in a little village.
    5) Kobe Achilles – Achilles weakness was his heel. Kobe will overcome even this.

  92. quick question – if we amnesty, then there’s no guarantee we can sign that player back, right?

    as in, they go through a bidding process of sorts.

    so, can a player choose to sit out that year and be exempt from that bidding process? (Kobe could do it?)

    if a player does get amnestied, how is his status, such as ability to get a no-trade clause, affected?

  93. harold, even if we don’t amnesty Kobe, he can sign with another team in 2014 if he wants as he will be an unrestricted free agent then. Lakers would amnesty him if he doesn’t plan on playing at all next year, as no team would pick him up if he states he will absolutely not play next year. A team could still bid on him and get his rights, and that team would own his Bird Rights then, but if he doesn’t want to re-sign with that team in 2014, he can come back to the Lakers. Because the Lakers are below the cap in 2014, it really won’t matter. If the Lakers were over the cap in 2014 as they had been for a very long time, then it would be a HUGE deal as they could only sign him back for the MLE or MMLE.

  94. I think at this point, the management doesn’t expect the Lakers to be a contender next year, but he’ll at least fill the seats at Staples if he plays half the season. They probably want to see how he does next year before signing him to another 2-3 year contract. Remember that even if the Lakers amnesty Kobe, they still have to pay him the $30M, minus what some other team pays him if another team picks him up. So financially, since the Lakers are now not going to be over the luxury tax threshold, there’s not a strong financial reason to amnesty Kobe or anyone, unless they want to use that $ that will help them get below the luxury threshold to sign someone that might help them in the future or fill out the roster.

  95. @Lakers 17
    The Lakers are over the tax at this point. The only way for them to get under tax is to amnesty kobe since they have said they arent using amnesty on Pau.

  96. Darren Collison signed with the Clippers.

  97. DH Meeting: So Jim was less than impressive, and MD did not say anything? Wow.
    MannyP: We are all frustrated. Let’s not go to absolute extremes. It is not all the FO’s fault. However to say they are without fault is equally extreme. Anyone could have offered max and our history. MD and JB were buffoons at the meeting, and the team did nothing to fix the DH relationship with KB or MD, so we just didn’t do the job. DH’s quirky personality did not help, but again it was not all that. The FO could have done better.
    Lakers17: Add 2003 Game 5 against the Spurs to your list.
    KB: No amnesty. Then re-sign for about $10 after 14.

  98. Regarding the Lakers’ pitch to Dwight, guess folks saw the Plaschke LAT column in which he said, in essence, that the pitch was a deliberate attempt to turn Dwight off. That sounds too conspiracy-theory-esque to me, but it is a little weird in retrospect. If you’d said a couple of weeks ago that the Lakers’ plan to entice Dwight was to 1) include no past Laker greats, 2) include the coach Dwight allegedly wanted fired, and 3) let Kobe allegedly get in Dwight’s face, then a five-year-old could have told you that chances of success would be limited.

    Assuming all reports are reasonably accurate, either Jimmy really does have a pair of brass ones that deserve to be displayed outside Staples instead of that statue of Dwight, or he’s even more tone-deaf and out of it than anyone has previously suspected.

  99. By the way – I would love to see a photo of what Jim Buss wore to the meeting with DH.

  100. Paul, we are not over the luxury threshold. We are currently $1.7M under. If we sign vet min, it doesn’t count against that I believe for luxury tax purposes. I believe that vet min contracts only count against the cap. But the likely plan is to amnesty Metta or Blake if we can get someone. Amnestying Kobe would, I believe actually put us below the salary cap, which would allow us to sign a free agent without using an exemption. But there’s not anyone the Lakers want that badly.

  101. Robert, probably a T-shirt and cap as usual while everyone else was wearing a suit.

  102. Lakers17: My thoughts exactly. He thinks he is a cool billionaire so he looks good that way. He’s part right.
    Meeting: So I am beginning to get the picture. Jim, in a cap and t-shirt droning on about Laker tradition (probably while chewing a mouthful of food); MD saying nothing for fear he will be quoted in the press (I was behind the bench for a few games this year – so him saying nothing is very believable); KB telling DH that he needs to toughen up and learn from the Mamba – just don’t eat before him; and then Nash saying that he can relate to everything that everyone is saying, and can’t we all just get along.
    Why didn’t that work?

  103. @laker17
    Yes brooklyn on paper at this time is a more talented and experienced team than Houston..

    In no particular order players I would take in front of dwight. Lebron, Kobe, Durant, CP3. Westbrook, Rose.

    Then players I might take in front of him given their potential or ones I find equal. Paul George, Rondo, Hibbert, Curry, Dwade, Marc Gasol,

  104. There is no way to know whether Houston will win a title with the Howard/Harden team; the point is that they have a chance now, since they have added Howard. I mentioned Collison awhile back; thought he would take a small deal to come back to LA. But he wanted to be on a winner, so he is on the Clippers. He is not a bad player–undersized, but fast.

    Given how rigidly the Lakers seem to be adhering to the no-deals-more-than-one-year rule, I am beginning to think that “Plan B” is LeBron James.

    I think the Lakers were probably done in the Howard sweepstakes long before the meeting, but there is nothing in Jim Buss’ basic personality profile that I have seen that indicates that he would be good in a situation like a recruiting/business meeting

  105. Perspective seems to be lacking here for some (including me) so let me recap what just happened:

    We basically are in the same spot we would be had we let Bynum’s deal expire. Except that we have a decent sub in Hill coming back next year. In short, we are really no worse off. Stop trying to sink the ship. The world is not over.

  106. Laker 17: I don’t know if this is one of the wrist moves in Laker history. It seems awe fully premature to include Howard in that list.

  107. Manny, we are worse off because Kobe and Gasol will both be older. Remember that time is an enemy for Kobe and Gasol. So not moving forward is the same as moving backwards.

    Clutch, it’s hard to know how Kobe will be when he comes back, but I doubt many would choose Kobe, even if 100%, over Howard. Absolutely no way that Westbrook is a top 5 player. Westbrook is good, but he’s still very one dimensional. He’s also very streaky. CP3, although he’s not as explosive as Westbrook, is a FAR better, and more well rounded than Westbrook. Can play defense, distribute, run the offense. No way that Westbrook is a top 5 player. Same for Rondo. He has many flaws, and that’s not even counting his lack of leadership skills and immaturity. Paul George had one good year, although he has potential. Curry had a couple of good years, but again, very one dimensional. I’m not sure if you saw the Miami run this year, but DWade is clearly on the downside of his career. Marc Gasol is good, but he’ll never be a top 5 player. In a few years, guys like Pecovic may be just as good as Gasol. I think Hibbert is the only guy who might match Howard’s potential, but he’s much less athletic than Howard, so even if his offensive game is better, he’s not really in Howard’s league.

    Howard is a flawed player, no doubt. But despite his flaws, even with his back injury, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen someone his size with his athleticism. If he can stay healthy, and I agree that’s a big IF, he’ll be a beast in the league for a good 5-7 years. To say anything else is just sour grapes.

  108. Clutch, also, on paper, prior to the 2012-13 season, Lakers were top 3 on paper. Look how well that turned out. But I can’t agree that the Nets are even that good on paper. Garnet and Pierce, although both can play, are clearly not the same players they were 3-4 years ago. They lost Wallace. Is DWill better than Rondo? He wasn’t last couple of years. They have Brook Lopez who can play. Joe Johnson. Yeah. So basically a little better than Celtics last year. No way that the Nets would beat the Rockets in a 7 game series.

  109. I do not see the Lakers falling to the bottom of the League next year. Gasol plays much better at the Center. As I recall being mentioned durring last season while playing at center his PER was among the elite players in the League. Jordan Hill will likely slide up to starting PF but the overall production should only be a slight drop off from the starting line up.

    The problem for years is we have needed to replace Odom’s production at PF and instead had Bynum rise up at center pushing Gasol to PF and then traded for Dwight. We have had 2 excellent centers on our roster for years but that have been redundant. The real deficiency has been at PF where we have forced a great center to play to mediocrity at PF.

    The hand has finally been forced and we now have only 1 great center. The biggest mistake was never trading one of our centers for a PF who would have made more sense.

    This team next year is not likely to be a bottom feeder. The Lakers will be fighting to get into the play offs. If we pick a few good free agents, Kobe comes back healthy and Gasol stays healthy this team may not be the favorites but they will have a punchers chance at winning it all.

    The premise of intentionally bottoming out goes against this franchise’s idenity. The Lakers compete every year its what brings in the stars and stirs the mystique of legacy. And even if by sheer chance we won the lottery, signed 2 all-stars, you still need to field some sort of team around that that.

    From previous articles I am interested in following up on the Machine and Farmar, The next week should be interesting as it may also determine what direction if any the Lakers choose in amnestying anyone.

  110. Guys, you need to look up the amnesty rules before talking about Kobe playing for Miami, SAS, OKC or any other teams. Only teams with cap space can bid for an amnestied player. It is a blind bidding process, which means you decide how much you will pay and don’t get to see other offers. Plus, you can only bid as high as you have cap space. These rules mean that none of the good teams could even bid on Kobe, and Kobe would threaten the hell out of any of the crappy teams that could bid for him.

    The one issue with amnestying Kobe this year is that he would probably be a little upset with that decision. If his approach to life doesn’t let him flirt with the idea of sitting the season out (“Hey Kobe, MJ did it”) the big threat to the Lakers hopes is that he too would choose to play elsewhere once his contract is up. I don’t know what the plan is but I would love for Kobe to take the season off after being amnestied, that Pau and Nash get moved for pieces, and we see how hard it’ll be to lose more games then Utah, Philly, CHA, Toronto, Sacramento, and the rest of the NBA dregs. In some ways, getting the worst record in the NBA next season may be harder then winning the championship.

    As many have said, sucking is not a promise of future glory, but collecting young and talented assets is perhaps the best opportunity for it.

    Check out what Morey did since Yao went down.

    http://t.co/UoBJD18Sxt (h/t @AvikarSaini)

  111. From “2013” champs, to fringe lottery with aging roster. This escalated quickly… Man, kupchack and jimmy b have really done a number on this team. A seven year recovery number. Blow this team up, have Kobe sit year out, ala rose, then reload big time in 2014 summer. If you try to go again with this roster, man I’m telling you, lakers getting to lottery, even if they tried NOT to. Did you see the spurs play this year? Them and okc, I’d worry more. Then after all that, you get to dance with Miami.

  112. Manny,

    Here is a more thorough recap:

    Over the last two years, the Lakers have lost Chris Paul to a league ruling and Dwight Howard in free agency with no compensation, thus entirely shattering the organization’s post-Kobe plan. Further, Howard and Paul have landed on Western Conference teams, and have committed to long-term deals with those teams, both of which will be very good this year, probably making the competitive landscape much rougher if and when that is relevant to the Lakers again.

    The Lakers have no young talent on the roster–literally none–and few draft picks in upcoming drafts. The team is far over the salary cap. Their three best players will be 35,33, and 40 next season. One of the three is coming off an extremely severe Achilles injury and his return date is unknown. The other two missed considerable time with injury issues last year as well.

    The team’s leadership situation is probably the single strangest one in professional sports, with the head decision maker being a guy who never played or coached basketball at any level, is a college dropout, and who inherited the job from his old man. His sister, also in the team’s FO in a way, is married to one of the game’s most legendary coaches, who used to coach the team, and while not being involved in it, frequently comments on its players and activities in the media, and apparently wants to be involved with the team more directly. This FO chose to stick with an embattled coach who the unrestricted FA who just left seemingly doesn’t like, after firing the incumbent coach five games into the season and seemingly passing over the famous brother-in-law for the job–and the FA who just left has stated publicly that he wanted to play for the famous brother-in-law.

    The team at present has no non-Kobe wing players at all on the roster, save for Metta World Peace, who is really a smallball 4 now, and Jodie Meeks, an undersized backup 2 with no ballhandling skills and a decent three-point stroke. Several cheap wing players who could have helped the Lakers have signed deals in the last 24 hours; the Lakers, unwilling to give out any deal more than one year, have signed none of these players.

    The team, a 7th seed last season, has lost its best big man, its best wing is injured, and its best defensive bench player is gone. Right now, the consensus among most outside observers is that it is a lottery team and that the FO should blow up the roster entirely.

    Weighed against this are five things:

    1. The three old players are all future HOFers and may have something left in the tank.
    2. The Lakers will have a lot of money to spend next year.
    3. The Lakers play in LA, which is an attractive place to live for many athletes.
    4. The Lakers have a winning tradition.
    5. The Lakers do have their first-round pick in the upcoming draft, which is supposedly loaded.

    It is worth noting, though that 1-4 related directly to Dwight Howard, and he went elsewhere.

    So, looking at all that, aside from the occasional foolish outbursts about Howard being a loser and a clown, etc, which are silly, I think this discussion has been pretty calm and productive for an internet board.

  113. Vasheed,

    Thank you for your perspective. Your sanity check is a breath of fresh air. In my view, there’s been entirely too much run-away hysteria on this site. I think everyone needs to calm down and just take a deep breath. First a few facts.

    1) The Lakers do have 3 future Hall of Famers on this team. Are they aging? Yes. Have they been injured? Again, yes. But, barring further catastrophic injury, they are still productive and–on occasion–outstanding. Let’s not write their obituaries prematurely.

    2) MWP will not be amnestied. That position is entirely too thin at this point. It simply won’t happen. And last year, up until the injury, he played well. Statistically, it was his best year as a Laker.

    3) I’m actually intrigued with Jordan Hill. He is a young (25-years old), 6-10, 235, former lottery pick and All-American out of the University of Arizona (a great, elite college program) who seems to me to be poised for a break-out year. He’s one of the best per-minute rebounders in the league. And he can defend the P&R. Occasionally, he even scores. You could do a lot worse.

    4) The next week will tell us a lot. The Lakers need some important pieces including a leader off the bench, another guard who can defend the perimeter and preferably play both positions, and a SF. If they can at least get 2 out of 3, they could possibly have a decent bench next year. Let’s give the FO a chance.

    The bottom line is this: the reports of the Lakers demise is entirely premature. Let’s not place them in their graves just yet. Of course, there are challenges. But every team has those. Let’s see what Mitch can come up with in the next 10 days. Then let’s re-evaluate when we are all less suicidal.

  114. Unless Gasol is in the weight room strengthening his core and adding muscle, he will be worn out by the time Kobe returns.

    Why would LeBron come to virtually the same team that Howard shunned this year? No matter what LA offers,, California has state taxes and Florida does not.

  115. Vasheed, Farmar will re-sign with his team in Turkey as he can make $5M there. Also, the Lakers would have to buy out his contract with a $500K buy out. Sasha may be an option, but he’s not going to help much.

    C.Hearn, agree with you. Gasol can’t lay center the entire year. Even with Hill at PF, more physical centers will eat Gasol alive.

    Until Kobe comes back, they don’t have anyone who can create their own shots other than Gasol. Even Gasol has had trouble with that in the last 2-3 years. So there goes the inside out game. This will make guys like Meeks virtually useless. Meeks was re-signed thinking that the Lakers would get Howard.

    It’s going to be a brutal year.

  116. I remember back in 2010 free agency when all these big names were there to sign. Miami, Chicago, New York, Cleveland and Clippers were the main 4 landing spots for a total of 5 players. Miami had all the cap space and Riles, Chicago had Rose, New York had the glamour and pressure, Cleveland had no stars and the Clippers had Blake Griffin.

    Fast forwarding to 2014 the Lakers are going to be in the same spot as New York. A city filled with prestige and pressure to whomever signs here. They are at a disadvantage. Have no picks and players so likely will be only able to offer 4 year deals and LeBron has a legacy now. Are the Lakers really going to stoop down to the level of recruiting free agents in consecutive off seasons when they’ll likely be turned down? Or is the luxury tax the main reason to want to have a clear cap next year?

    My idea would be try and get a solid, reliable player who can help now and beyond this year. Because this team won’t be competitive without it. Forget a chip on their shoulders from last year. They had that this year and the year after the Dallas sweep. This team has zero talent. And a team with a career year from Kobe and a solid year from Dwight missed the playoffs by 2 games. Now Kobe is recovering from an Achilles injury and Dwight is gone. This is a lottery team. If that’s the way they want to go I’m fine with it. If they choose to wait it out until 2014 free agency and overpay for someone who takes the bold first step and chooses the Lakers, who have no path. I’m not fine with that. If they want to compete. Some kind of trade needs to be made to sacrifice this 2014 plan.

    Just think if Lakers have nobody on the roster Kobe can ask for $20 million because he’ll be what the people are paying for. Instead of taking a paycut on a team with nice pieces.

  117. As for season ticket holders, there is a 3-4 year waiting period and TW already signed the contract so 1-2 years of tanking won’t affect that.

    ——

    All I can say to this is things change quickly.

    One reason Lakers season tickets have been so sought after is they have for years been a license to print money. With nearly every game a sellout on the Ticketmaster market, season ticket holders could easily flip their unused seats for a profit, particularly with Ticket Exchange, StubHub and the like.

    I usually go to one game a year, and in prior years I’ve paid 1.5 times face value for 300 level seats to games against the likes of Indiana and Toronto. That was the going rate.

    Last season I managed to get tickets directly from the team for a home game against Indiana, in November when the team was around .500. I checked StubHub to see what the going rate was, just for curiousity. Face value, even a couple bucks less. And the fact that I could buy them without using the resale market was telling.

    My point is it won’t take long for those season ticket waiting lists to go away. A bad team, no Kobe — interest will dwindle fast. And TV contracts have a way of winding up in court disputes too, especially if TWC were to push the “this isn’t what we bought into” argument. Nothing is a given.

    Two, three years ago hardly anyone wanted Clippers season tickets, no one had heard of Cliff Paul, and Blake Griffin wasn’t on every third commercial on TV. Things changed quickly in L.A., and Buss & Co. must tread carefully.

    Tanking may present a quicker path to a shot at getting a star more quickly. But there are plenty of risks in that path, maybe more so that trying to rebuild without hitting rock bottom. It’s going to be a long and painful process either way.

  118. I have a long post that has been stuck in mod; adding to that, a quick summary of how we got here. The Lakers are like the other 29 teams, in that they are where they are through a combination of circumstances and choices. Specifically, and not necessarily in order of importance:

    1. The Veto. We don’t know where the Lakers would be if they had Chris Paul, but Paul is a franchise-altering talent, so they would be in a different place.
    2. Old Man Buss’s decision to extend Kobe and Pau through 2014, and ending the deals by paying Kobe 30M and Pau 19M for their age-35 and age-33 seasons, respectively. I said at the time that I understood the deals as a fan and didn’t hate them, but they were probably both too expensive and a year too long. Again, we don’t know what would be going on if Kobe and Pau were both FAs now–but it would be different.
    3. Jim Buss’s decision to pass over Brian Shaw and hire Mike Brown, his subsequent decision to fire Mike Brown and hire Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson, and his decision to keep D’Antoni during Howard’s free agency, rather than trying to lure back Phil or hire Shaw, Hollins, or someone else. Again, we have no idea if another coach could have changed Howard’s mind, but we do know that the Buss/Kupchak/D’Antoni leadership team didn’t.
    4. The organizational pattern, begun in 2009, of selling off/trading draft picks and adding older, unathletic role players. The Lakers have also spent late picks on extremely obscure foreign players with no chance at all of playing in the league–Ator Majok, Chiekh Samb–and have been unable to get rotation help from late picks from big colleges (Ebanks, Caracter, Joe Crawford).

  119. something i wrote late last night in frustration:

    Couple young guys i’d love to see the Lakers roll the dice on on 1-2 year salaries with team options:

    Wesley Johnson (former 4th overall pick, great pedigree, shooter)
    Chris Douglas-Roberts (always liked him, can score points, reminds me of Chris Copeland)
    Xavier Henry (former lottery pick, good pedigree, Kobe can help him)
    DeJuan Blair (still very young at 24, can rebound/defend, good complementary piece to Pau with grit & toughness)
    Austin Daye (Jay Bilas would describe him as long, can shoot)
    Roddy Beaubois (great handle, can score and shoot, is only 25)
    Aaron Brooks/Shaun Livingston (both are decent defenders and MUCH quicker than Nash or Blake)
    Vander Blue/Seth Curry/Myck Kabongo (undrafted rooks with potential. would love to get Kabongo and one of the other 2)

    as well as some vets for the rotation:
    Dorrell Wright/Anthony Morrow (if you’re gonna have Mike D, you need shooters, both are serviceable defenders)
    Jermaine O’Neal/Kenyon Martin (i’d bet that one of these 2 will be a Laker)

    obviously dorrell & livingston are out of play, but how bout if we amnesty’d Metta and got Kenyon, Morrow, Blair, Curry, Kabongo and CDR with that money plus the mini-MLE. I’d be pretty happy seeing that depth at play and hoping 1-2 of those guys hit for 2014

  120. My impression was Blair was actually a fairly poor defender – poor positioning on the PnR and lack of foot speed with no real interior defensive presence. He plays gritty like Reggie Evans so he gets a false reputation of being a good defender. That said, beggars can’t be choosers.

    Saw reports earlier in the day that we showed some interest in Elton Brand. Doubt he’s in our price range. But something has to be done about the PF position, even if it’s only a placeholder.

    Rob – In all fairness, Dr. Buss would have likely worn jeans to the meeting too. Yes, he had put in the work and he had the cachet to get away with it, but I’m not sure clothing is entirely relevant here.

  121. I’ve always wondered about this. Since July 10 is the day FAs can sign their contracts, doesn’t that mean there’s a chance Howard decides to switch again or any FA for that matter?

  122. The DH SN trades looked good on paper but in hindsight father time intervened. Kobe’s title window is all but closed in LA, it is only a question of if he a) retires at the end of his contract b) resigns a much lesser contract and accepts a lesser role c) moves to a contender to chase #6. If Kobe wants big money or still believes it’s his team to lead it will be a sad day but FO should pull the pin. In the meantime we are stuck with this aging group and nothing short of a total cleanout in 2014 will do if we are to bounce back

  123. Heard that we were contacting Odom and gauging interest. any thoughts?

  124. If Odom will come for the minimum on one year to replace Earl Clark, it would be more or less as good an option as any, and it would be good PR, which the Lakers could obviously use. Elton Brand has more in the tank than Lamar does, but I think Brand will wind up getting more money than the Lakers will pay.

    I said upthread that I think Lamar and Sasha will be here this year on one-year deals at the minimum.

  125. If LeBron decides he wants to stay in Miami next offseason, what does everyone think about trying to overpay for an RFA? Derrick Favors, Larry Sanders, and Boogie Cousins are out there. They’re all in small markets, so the Lakers could potential make a Godfather-style offer to any of them

    This will probably have to be part of any 2-3 year plan, I think, yes, particularly since the NBA has a salary floor. Sanders is the guy on that list to target.

  126. thanks for this bitter-sweet write-up Darius.
    i think some of us were prepared for this, though I am one of those who actually thought that Howard will stay… but then again, I was partially prepared and would be happy to move forward without him.

    it will be a difficult season this coming year, with no clear expectations of what we can accomplish. I know that it is still Kobe’s reign in Lakerland, and I will certainly enjoy the rest of his games with us. I also liked Gasol and believed that he was not utilized because of Howards presence. Now that DH is gone, I can see Gasol getting allstar burn and dominate once more, granted he will not be involved in any trades. I would love to see Nash+Kobe+Gasol make a run for it once more, for we are Lakers and can do miracles with our old warriors.

    I wished Howard a good career in Houston, and thanked him for a season full of stories last year. We will see them in the playoffs.

  127. sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–rockets-give-dwight-howard-what-lakers–kobe-wouldn-t–unconditional-love-061137592.html

  128. The Lakers have no flexibility to sign anyone good. Does anyone really think folks like Farmar or a washed-up LO are the difference that will win a championship?

    The Lakers are EXTREMELY thin and really have no way to get better. They will have to rely on riding Pau & Nash to the ground, or give folks like Sacre major minutes. If they go with the former, injuries are likely meaning the latter will happen anyway.

    This isn’t being pessimistic, it’s being realistic.

  129. If Dwight needed unconditional love from the Lakers to sign with them then it was never going to happen. That is what Orlando gave him and it had too detrimental an impact on their being able to build a strong roster around him.

    The Lakers made a tough decision with how they recruited Dwight and now it is time to move on. Losing Dwight was always a possibility so they should have a Plan B in place. Part of it will how to work with an injured Pau Gasol. His foot problems would not resolve in one or two months of rest. He was said to have a torn muscle and that would take longer to heal and impact his ability to stay in shape. The question is has Pau reached Bill Walton status where he is an impact player in limited minutes?

    You have to love what the Clippers have done so far this off season. If they can convince Griffin to keep working on his outside shot, they will be one of the favorites to win the West next season.

  130. Chris, I don’t completely disagree that tanking is a major gamble, and I if Lakers don’t get a Wiggens or Jabari Parker type star and there’s many lean years, I can totally see TW suing Lakers. But losing in the 1st or 2nd round year after year may have the same effect, at least on season ticket holders, especially if they become the next Portland, Utah, or Atlanta. Unfortunately, many Lakers “fans” come to see stars, both on and off the court, and I don’t think they’ll come to see a bunch of Al Jefferson level players. I agree with you that it’s a major gamble, but it might be a risk Lakers have to take to bring about another Dynasty.

  131. Does anyone really think folks like Farmar or a washed-up LO are the difference that will win a championship?

    Well, no, of course not. But the Lakers do have to field a team and play the schedule. That is why people are talking about cheap FAs.

    Tucson Fan,

    I am sure that Kupchak will sign a couple of guys this week, but between the financial restrictions and the fact that they are not giving out more than one-year deals, no one that he brings in will substantially change the team’s outlook.

    P Ami,

    As far as amnestying Kobe, there are still a couple of good teams with cap room (San Antonio, I think) and while I haven’t checked, I am sure some middle-of-the-pack teams do as well. But Kobe would probably not wind up on a good team; that is true. My guess is that if it actually happened that he would wind up in Dallas. So, no, he would not almost certainly not be on next year’s champion.

    But that is really beside the point. Amnesty clauses have been used so far mostly on guys whose deals were disasters–Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis. The exception was New York using it on Billups to get Chandler. Using it on a star of Kobe’s magnitude would be unprecedented and unique. So, my guess is that no matter how it was sold to him, he would see it a huge insult–the team throwing him away when he was hurt. It would also put a bullseye-for-life on the back of whichever 19-year-old the Lakers drafted, be it Wiggins or someone else: the kid the Lakers amnestied Kobe Bryant to get.

    As to the fanbase, sure, there would be a certain segment of the fanbase that would be OK with it and even like it, but there would also be another larger segment that would be apoplectic. The blowback and schadenfreude would be huge, and there would be an impact on attendance. Right now, the main event of the Lakers season will probably be whenever Kobe jogs out of the Staples Center tunnel for the first time. That, and whenever Houston comes to town (no doubt Christmas will be one time) will be the only must-see games on the schedule. Amnesty Kobe and the season becomes something that people will ignore. My view of it therefore remains the same. In an NBA simulation computer game, in which one were GM of the Lakers starting today, yeah, you probably do it. In the real world, I think are too many cultural, organizational, personal, and commercial considerations to make it viable.

    Also, as many have said, this team is probably a lottery team right now, and if Kobe takes until near mid-season or longer to come back and/or is ineffective when he does, and Nash and Pau have injury issues again, the Lakers could easily lose 50+ games anyway. Given how thin the Lakers are, amnestying Kobe and trading Pau and Nash would be setting the 2013-14 Lakers up to be one of the worst teams in NBA history. Is Wiggins worth that? Maybe. But it would still be a stain on the franchise’s history, and I doubt that Jim Buss wants to be associated with that.

  132. rr, good analysis of the downfall.

    Scott, totally agree.

    Joe, I guess Howard is really weak willed.

    KL, ha ha, wishful thinking. I was wishing for that too. But barring an Aaron Hernandez type event with Harden(and I’m not wishing anything like that on him or anyone on the Rockets), that’s not going to happen.

  133. @Scott, I don’t think there is anyone on this site trying to put together a team for a 2014 championship run.

    If we all just read the above comments, I think it is clear that we are talking about the Lakers like many other fan bases outside of MIA, SAS, and OKC have been talking about their teams. We, unlike the LAC, MEM, IND, BKN, HOU and CHI have to talk about our team in terms of putting together a team that will be entertaining and hope that a few seasons down the line find us competing for chips.

    Personally, I think Kobe, Pau and Nash are a better combination of talent then many teams have, but we have to realize that our sacrificing youth and depth means those guys will be asked to play way more minutes then they should. They will miss games. Nothing short of a miracle trade is going to save this team from mediocrity.

    I don’t have the resources to know what Mitch and the rest of the FO knows. I don’t know all these guys playing in Europe. I don’t know what talent is D-League bound. Not knowing any of that, it is my opinion that the Lakers need to engage in a tactical retreat. We need cheap, young assets, and lots of them. We need to convince Kobe to rehab for a whole year. We need to find value for Nash and Gasol. We need to get under the cap and reset the repeater. We, as fans, need to find pleasure in watching a young, scrappy, and crappy team develop and learn to play the game.

    Like I said, I don’t know any obscure options out there. To me, the direction we are headed is into years of mediocrity. Take the hit. Get really bad for a season or two. Collect assets. I don’t see any tools available for a quick retooling… We need a rebuild.

    BTW, I, in now way think that Jim Buss is the end all be all. As others have said, we landed CP3. We landed DH12 in exchange for a useless Bynum. If all went to plan, we would have Kobe, CP3 and Howard (well, if Dwight didn;t like Kobe, I might think he’s have a hard time dealing both with him and CP3). With those three we would have had our pick of free agents looking for decent money any and championship runs.

    Complain all you want about hiring MDA. Under Jerry Buss, for every hiring of Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson there was the hiring of Mike Dunleavy, Randy Pfund, Magic Johnson, Kurt Rambis and Dell Harris. Dr. Buss was a great owner. It seems that he has that human touch which lends itself to loyalty and faith. Rick Fox was a the biggest FA the year we landed him and he took much less money to come to LA because he believed in this franchise. He believed in Dr. Buss. Rick Fox knew he would be chasing championships and be taken care of. Our talk about Jim Buss, comparing him to his father, is unrealistic. He will not be Jerry Buss. With that said, the team was successful in making smart moves that for one reason or another didn’t work out. From signing with TWC under Jeanie’s leadership, to obtaining CP3 and Dwight Howard, under Jim Buss’ watch, the team has been successful but it just didn’t translate to championships. I see more competence in the leadership of the Lakers then I see realistic and fair assessments by the fans. I agree with Scott. Let’s be realistic.

  134. rr: The paragraph about the team’s leadership situation in the post at 9:09 PM last night, is just masterful. Further your subsequent statements about where we are and how we got here – are highly accurate. For those of you who want the quick version: How we got here: We got completely wronged by the league with the Veto, and then we went on Tilt and started making questionable decisions (although some of those decisions were before the Veto) and had some serious injuries. Where we are: Rock bottom (at least we hope). We will do the best we can, and hope for some miracles when we have cap space in 14. We will hope for a speedy/full recovery from Kobes and root for his records. If you want more – see rr’s posts above as they sum it all up accurately.

  135. Rock Bottom: This is a Lakers Board. So no – the world is not coming to an end. No we are not going to miss the playoffs for the next 20 years. Yes – we will a title at some point in the future. With those disclaimers – again – we are at Rock Bottom.

  136. Dwight Enron formally known as Keno July 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I am ok with Odom and Sasha. This team did lack personality last year. Why not bring on DFish as a ass”t coach along with Rambis. If you can’t have quality players at least you can offer the fans names they remember!

    Vlade can be the cig vendor, Van Excel can handling travel plans, I just spoke with Keith Erickson recently he can do radio and Norm Nixon can handle car pools. Adam Morrison and Jason Kapono can be defensive coaches and Travis Knight can be official hard foul guy. Then of course Kwame Brown can replace Dwight as fumbling man and finally Smush Parker will of course park cars.

    Can’t wait for the season to start!

  137. Mitch is not foolish enough to think that he can make this roster respectable in the next few days by shopping at the Salvation Army or the Goodwill store.

    A more realistic goal would be placing the team in a position to draft one of the three projected franchise players (Wiggins, Parker, or Smart) and pursuing and signing one or two younger, more athletic FAs.

    There are a number of teams in a position to make a playoff move for the first time in a long time that really need a veteran big man with championship pedigree to tie their core together.
    Pau would be ideal for young teams on the rise like Golden State, Portland, Utah, Toronto and the list goes on.

    The Lakers are going the other way. Why continue to hold onto Gasol? If you can move him for a younger piece (Harrison Barnes for example) or a first round draft pick or both, this is the moment for that.

    Same consideration should go towards Nash, Metta and Blake. They can help some other younger teams on the rise and provide a building block or two for the future.

    If ever there was a no brainer in terms of what to do next with the franchise, this is it. Even Kobe will be looking around in 2014 if the team doesn’t make an effort here to create a future.

  138. Robert
    Totally waiting for your love on my post above. Hope it go through, please please Darius we all need a laugh.

  139. No no you buried my last post. Show me some love Darius. What was not funny or untrue on that post.

    I am sad now. Unloved. Moving to Houston.

  140. Phil on Twitter:

    Phil Jackson ?@PhilJackson11 3h
    What DH brings to the game is power and D. This past year didn’t show due it to rehab and confusion. If he is better of an Astro, so be it.

    Phil Jackson ?@PhilJackson11 3h
    Reflection on DHoward’s exodus. He left a distaste in Lakerland The Lakers will be fine. Pau fits MDA’s style of Off-it was about the future

    People are already making jokes about/interpreting the “Astro” thing.

  141. Phil also linked to Clarence Gaines II writing about Kobe, in his next Tweet:

    Phil Jackson ?@PhilJackson11 26m
    “@ClarenceGaines2: wrote about @KobeBryant on Greg Newell’s (P Newell’s son)facebook page. (cont) http://tl.gd/n_1rl7odd ” Good ass-ment CG2

  142. Rr- better recap by far. However, what r ur thoughts about my argument that we are at the same spot we would have been in if we never traded for DH and let Andrew’s creaky knees walk away?

  143. 10 worst player us Laker history from a website.
    Antonio Harvey
    Mike Penberthy
    Samariti Walker
    Travis Knight
    Adam Morrison
    Troy Murphy
    Sun Yue
    Brian Cook
    Kyame Brown
    Smush Parker

    See guys things are not all that bad?

  144. Keno – perhaps you can post a cleaned up version. I will give you some love anyway (by the way – rr says “Love” could be one of our best bets).
    PS: That list is invalid Jason Kapono is not on there.

  145. Good point Robert. I think it was my Nixon and Smush reference that got it tossed. Oh well.

  146. P Ami,

    It is true, and I have said it many times, that Jim Buss would probably look a lot different to people if Paul were here. Even if Paul were here and Howard were not, that would still make things much different. And, as I pointed out in my lengthy posts. the Lakers are where they are in part because of decisions made over the last five years, not just over the last two.

    That said, there are huge differences between the D’Antoni and Brown hires and the other ones, in that the recent ones came at crossroads moments for the franchise, in terms of player acquisition, and there were other, obvious options. Buss made several deliberate choices and is still making them, to distance the organization from Phil in a time of transition, and that decision has not, that I have seen, worked out. The Dunleavy hire was arguably somewhat similar to the Brown hire, but Magic and Worthy were under contract, an or there is nothing that really compares to the D’Antoni hire and then keeping him through Howard’s FA: remember, the old man got rid of Paul Westhead, not Magic Johnson. I thought MDA took too much crap last year; the team had roster problems. And Howard might have left even if they had brought back Phil and/or Shaw, But keeping MDA through Howard’s free agency was a massive gamble, and it didn’t work.

    As to the future, again, remember–there is a salary floor. Neither the Lakers nor any other team is allowed to hang around the lottery with a 25M payroll for 2-3 years. Also, you are correct that Morey acquired young assets and leveraged them, but:

    a) Houston never tanked and hit 15 wins or so, and they have Howard and Harden anyway.
    b) One key piece in the Harden deal was an established veteran, Kevin Martin
    c) Morey did not have a franchise icon on the payroll who will have a statue someday

  147. Re: keeping or trading Pau.

    Yes, if the Laers keep him and max out his usage it could negatively impact our odds for a high 2014 draft pick. My thought is that Pau’s camp may have told the Lakers he will resign for a team friendly number next summer.

    Even if we win the Wiggins and Lebron lottery we will still need a decent center to compete. Pau could be an effective starter or rotation player for years. I think this is why the Lakers have announced they are keeping him.

    As for this season the team can minimize Pau’s positive impact by reducing his minutes. That way the Lakers record will be awful and the dream of Wiggins as the next star will remain intact.

  148. ronnie lester fan club July 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    you can’t emphasize enough the organizational issues with the lakers. a lot of that starts with junior. Clearing out scouts, firing lester, putting in junior’s friends, the coaching issues, keeping pj at arms length, (compared to the clippers’ resurgence – they ditch a good coach for a championship caliber one)…all that makes a difference. The CBA made it worse, but if you had the right organizational framework, you can weather the storm and not make the type of mistakes we have seen. Unlike Magic’s abrupt departure from the game, these were errors that could have been avoided, or at least properly corrected.

    This team will suffer until junior figures it out or steps aside when the seats are empty for too long. The two pillars of the lakers are kobe and mitch. That’s not enough.

  149. Does jimmy care if stands are empty? tW deal means they make money regardless. It was about only winning and now it about jimmy and his ego. Only solution is an intervention and majority owners remove jimmy and bring back real basketball people . This could have been written by Robert!

  150. This story is pretty telling:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–rockets-give-dwight-howard-what-lakers–kobe-wouldn-t–unconditional-love-061137592.html

    Kobe got in Dwights face in Memphis, and DH decided he did not want to deal with someone like that again.

  151. rr, July 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm –
    helluva post, but that´s par for the course, thanks rr
    ———
    `The two pillars of the lakers are kobe and mitch. That’s not enough´
    I agree completely fan club

  152. Fire D’Antoni, mug Jimbo, amnesty somebody & start over.

  153. get in his face, Kobe!

    this is nowhere near rock bottom. i hope that neither i nor the chicken littles ever find out what rock bottom looks like for the Lakers.