Free Agency Chatter: Five Players Who Could Make Sense for the Lakers

Darius Soriano —  July 7, 2013

The Lakers did not retain their main free agent target. And while that’s disappointing on a variety of levels and is a major step backwards in building a contending team, it doesn’t mean the Lakers can (or will) just sit on their hands for the rest of free agency. After all, as it stands now, the Lakers only have 8 players on their roster (not counting recent draftee Ryan Kelly) and need to fill out their roster with bodies — preferably some who can, you know, actually play basketball.

In other words, the team still has work to do.

If there’s one thing we know for certain it is that the team is looking to add players who fill dual needs while also fitting into Mike D’Antoni’s approach to the game. What this boils down to is finding players who are comfortable on the perimeter, players who can shoot and/or defend ably enough to earn minutes in diverse lineups. Most of these players will be classic wings — either small forwards or shooting guards — but don’t rule out signing another perimeter oriented big man or a point guard, both positions that can allow some roster lineup flexibility and versatility.

Knowing these things, here are 5 names that make some sense.

1. Carlos Delfino. The Argentinian swingman offers a nice perimeter game and defensive versatility (he can guard either wing position). He has a good, but not great, outside shot and can use the threat of his jumper to create offense off the dribble. He also has some big game experience, playing both in the NBA and internationally for his native Argentina and would be a very good get at this stage of free agency. One of the reasons Delfino is still available, however, is that he’s coming off foot surgery stemming from an injury that ended his season. That surgery is supposed to keep him on the shelf for 4-6 months which should  keep him out of action through training camp and, potentially, into the start of the season. Needless to say, for a team that needs a solid contributor in that spot, having him out for that long is a major deterrent. However, of all the players still out there, he’s one of the better ones when healthy and if you’re willing to wait on him, the odds of getting a solid rotation players are high. (Update: Reports say that Delfino will sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. As noted above, he would have been a nice fit and removes another wing option from the market. At this point, options on the wing are narrowing quickly so the Lakers would be wise to move quickly on other options.)

2. Corey Brewer. Brewer is another wing player who can fill a real need. Brewer is not the most polished offensive player, providing most of his effectiveness in the open court as a finisher on the fast break or on leak outs. He’s a below average three point shooter however, and that limits his usefulness on offense in the half court (though he can still get baskets as a slasher off the ball). Where his value comes is on defense where he can ably defend both back court positions and even slide up to checking SF’s if they’re not of the power variety. In a way, his game reminds a lot of Trevor Ariza’s when he first came to the Lakers. He can do damage in the passing lanes and offers good length and athleticism, but his offensive game compromises spacing and can hinder his team’s effectiveness on that end. All that said, the Lakers are need of players who can do what he does on defense, especially with Steve Nash at the point (Brewer could slide over and defend PG’s while Nash guards a lesser wing offensive player).

3. Sasha Vujacic. Yes, the Machine is looking for a return the NBA and the Lakers are supposedly on his list of teams he’d like to play for. We know Sasha’s strengths and weaknesses pretty well, so there’s no need to get into them with great depth right now. He’s a good shooter and showed a penchant for making good plays off the dribble, but those skills were often combined with too many forced shots and attempts to create something out of nothing. Defensively he was always more of an irritant than a player who got pure stops, but his effort on that end was admirable, if not always smart. It remains to be seen how, if at all, a couple of seasons in Europe has affected his game positively, but at the worst he’s a fringe rotation guard in the role of Jodie Meeks who offers a bit more size to the position. Sasha also understands what it means to play for the Lakers (and the drama that can come with it), is still a guy who has the respect of Kobe and Gasol, and never seemed to treat big moments as something to run from (for better and for worse).

4. Lamar Odom. If we’re talking former Lakers, why not mention my favorite lefty. Odom has had an up and down couple of seasons since being traded to the Mavs (mostly down), flaming out in Dallas and coming into camp with the Clippers last October woefully out of shape. However, as the season progressed, Odom did start to find his stride and carve out a nice role as the Clippers’ first big man off the bench and a guy who often closed games next to Blake Griffin guarding the other team’s best offensive big. I think it’s fair to say that Odom will never return to the level of play that earned him the 6th man of the year award in his last Lakers’ season, but his skill set remains in place and would be a nice fit in what D’Antoni likes to do offensively. While he’s not a stretch 4 in the classic sense, he is a perimeter oriented big man that still has a knack for finding the creases in the defense. Defensively, he remains a solid defender who can rebound his position and play both effective man and team D. Just like Sasha, Odom understands the organization, had his best years playing next to Kobe and Pau, and would like to remain in Los Angeles to play basketball (reportedly the Clippers are still interested in his services).

5. Wesley Johnson. If you’re looking for a wing player who fits into the mold of the type of guy the Lakers should take a risk on, Johnson is your guy. He checks off the desirable boxes of youth, athleticism (though he’s not an elite athlete), and good size for his position. Johnson was also a former lottery pick who flashed talent, but never found a way to put it all together in Minnesota or in Phoenix. As far as his game, Johnson has always been seen as a player who would impact the game offensively, but I see most of his upside coming on the other side of the floor. He has good length and can slide his feet well enough and that translates to being able to guard either wing position fairly well. Last season in Phoenix he held opposing SF’s to a PER of 12.4 and SG’s to a PER of 14.5, numbers that show a certain amount of defensive ability. His problem has been that he hasn’t been able to do enough offensively to stay on the floor and considering that’s his pedigree, he’s largely been a disappointment. However, if he can remake himself into a solid “3 and D” player (he only shot 32.3% on threes last season, but did shoot 35.6% his rookie year), he can have value in this league.

Whether any of these players are actually signed remains to be seen. I should note that there are other players — Ronnie Brewer, Mikael Pietrus, Leandro Barbosa to name a few — who all have some experience playing roles the Lakers need to fill, and the latter two have also played in Mike D’Antoni’s system. So, there are options out there that can help the Lakers next year, and now that the Dwight domino has fallen, we should start to see the team fill some of the holes on their roster.

Darius Soriano

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75 responses to Free Agency Chatter: Five Players Who Could Make Sense for the Lakers

  1. I would be happy with all of those players except for Sasha. Wesley Johnson never really found his groove, but he’s still young, athletic and could possible ind his niche if given the opportunity. Delfino is a solid vet who can shoot, and Corey Brewer is the type of athletic wing we need. And of course, we know what Lamar is capable of when he is engaged, and I have no doubt that he would be if given a second chance with the Lakers. If we were to sign even 3 of those players, except for Sasha, I would be more than satisfied. They are all better than the trash we had on our bench last year.

  2. Long piece from Ramona Shelburne on the FO, the Howard decision, and the Busses.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9456642/nba-dwight-howard-where-do-los-angeles-lakers-go-here

  3. Woj reporting we have interest in Kaman. Really? We just finally ended the double-7-footer experiment. Let poor Pau at least have a shot playing his natural position. Makes no sense to me, but I guess options are limited at PF.

    I like Delfino and Johnson the best out of this list. Brewer’s game is completely unwatchable to me, but the Ariza comparison is fair in many respects. I just figure if we’re going to suck, it’d be fun to do it with shooters and no defense rather than the converse, considering all the bricks we’ve been treated to over the last few years.

  4. Lakers trying to get Kaman. I guess that’s what Plan B was. Sigh.

  5. Brewer is a good defender. He’s a streaky shooter, and has many flaws for sure. He’s not elite defender, but they need to fill their roster with someone.

  6. I like the idea of Lamar. His versatility would be welcomed, but it would take a huuuuge paycut on his end. Not sure if he’s willing.

  7. I (and many others) mentioned Wesley Johnson weeks ago, but I tend to think that he will get more than one year.

    Kaman is a serviceable veteran big, but I don’t see the point to him on this team–unless they are trading Pau.

    I would actually be fine with getting-the-band-back-together: Lamar/Sasha.

  8. Interesting article, there’s a key paragraph in the article that, if true, would be contrary to what many here have been harping on for months. I will copy below and leave it to each of you to decide if its true:

    Later on, the elder Buss explained to his daughter that the final decision on the [Phil versus MikeD] hire had been his, and it was not personal towards Jackson. He simply saw the NBA heading in a direction that seemed to fit D’Antoni’s uptempo style.

  9. Renato Afonso July 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Odom,Johnson and Sasha could be great for us if playing a limited role… I like those three a lot…

  10. But if they want to focus on perimeter D, Ronnie Brewer is the guy to snag here.

  11. Manny,

    I think most people were aware of that; it may or may not be true. Could have been a gallant peacemaking gesture by the old man, knowing that he was near the end, and he didn’t want the kids fighting. Or it may be true.

    But either way, the larger point now is that according to Shelburne and others, and even Howard himself now, Howard really did want Jackson here and wanted Jackson involved more directly in the team, and Jim Buss still chose to keep D’Antoni through Howard’s free agency and not to give Phil a formal role or AFAIK even ask him to come to the meeting, which was a huge gamble. Obviously, Howard might well have left anyway, but I go back to what Dave McMenamin said a few days ago in the 5-on-5, about Howard and Phil. Shelburne mentions Shaw in the piece as well, so if you are going to quote from it, you should probably make sure that both sides are represented.

    Also, MDA is 62 years old, makes big money, and is pretty set in his ways in many respects, so if there is a long building cycle, he is probably not the coach that you want overseeing that. D’Antoni came here to try to win a title with Howard, Nash, Kobe, and Pau. That dream is dead.

  12. Great list.. if you’re looking to tank. I especially like LO and his bag of candies + Sasha and his (now) old legs.

  13. You don’t want Pau running 48 minutes. He’ll need back up C and Kaman’s more capable than Sacre exponentially.

    Sasha’s Laker tenure was as a dead-eye practice shooter. Until Kobe’s return, were he on the team, Sasha might shoot lights out given the low expectations that so many have. With whatever bomber they manage to get, they’re going to need at least a slasher if not another penetrator.

    I don’t know how pragmatic the old guard is but Pau, Nash and Bryant have tons of pride and possibly delusional levels of confidence. I’m not banking on them being out of the playoffs until the 2nd injury hits.

  14. Here’s a fun link. If you draft at #1 then you have about a 35% chance of getting a special player and about a 60% chance of drafting an All-Star/All-NBA player. Your odds drop precipitously after #1 pick. This is why I hate the idea of tanking if there isn’t a promise of the #1 pick. Well, that and I hate the thought of losing on purpose. I claim you put the best team together that you can and try to make the playoffs. Let the 2014 and 2015 chips fall as they may.
    http://i.imgur.com/Pg5szdQ.png

    I love this list of players Darius! Bring back Odom and Sasha and try to get Delfino and Wesley Johnson.

  15. KenOak, that’s true, and I agree that the Lakers probably won’t tank, but it really depends on the year. Unless you happened to pick Darko, 2003 was a great draft year. And considering how great 2014 is supposed to be, just as 2003 was predicted to be good, although no one knew that it would be THAT good, it wouldn’t hurt the Lakers to have a chance to be able to get the next LBJ, Worthy, Magic to lead them for the next 10-15 years.

  16. He’ll need back up C and Kaman’s more capable than Sacre exponentially.

    D’Antoni likes to play small, and, uhh, as has been discussed a few times in a different context, is not a fan of post-ups. So, I would think that using Hill at C when Pau sits, with occasional doses of Sacre, would make more sense–assuming they can sign an ambulatory power forward.

    Also, Kaman is probably even slower than Pau even though he is two years younger.

  17. Isn’t Hill supposed to be back for the start of the season? I guess I see signing Kaman as superfluous, because I like Hill’s game as the backup off the bench. Plus in today’s NBA, Ron is absolutely a smallball 4. I’d rather see dollars go towards wing players. If Kaman’s a minimum contract, that’s fine.

  18. I have a post in mod, but I said pretty much what Snoopy said and if they keep Metta, he is indeed a smallball 4.

  19. Chris_Broussard Chris Broussard
    Source: bucks agree with Carlos Delfino on 3-yr deal, $3.25 million per yr. last year non-guaranteed

  20. Delfino off to Milwaukee. Multiple years is going to be the stumbling block for LA to sign worthwhile FAs.

  21. @ KenOak:

    But there is more than one player considered to be a franchise player in 2014. That’s what makes THIS NEXT DRAFT very intriguing.

    The Lakers control their own number one so why not give that pick it’s best chance of landing one of these potential superstars?

  22. Wesley Johnson and brewer would be great to provide perimeter defense and athleticism. Perfect fit. Young and athletic. Play out the year with those guys. Next year sign Kyle Lowry and get a good pick. In 2 years Nash will be gone and so will Blake. Sign Rondo and Marc Gasol.
    Rondo Kobe brewer Gasol Gasol Lowry Wesley Pick n Hill. That’s a group with enough to compete.

  23. Anything but the minimum for Kaman would be nuts. I’d prefer they take a chance on that young dude Golden State cut last year (Jeremy Tyler). Hill at the 4 seems to wreak more havoc on offensive rebounds and defensively when there’s another big out there with him. No stats, just perspective.

    Jason Kidd wanted Shaun Livingston. Now I have to repeat my Shaun Livingston request again in 2014.

    People have talked up Chris Douglas-Roberts in the past but I’ve yet to see him play. Only played a few games with Dallas last year. Maybe there’s a reason he’s globe hopping. Beubois is unrestricted. Injury-prone equals cheap but could also equal waste.

  24. We don’t need worthwhile free agents at age 30 like Delfino. Rather get Corey Brewer. Or Wesley Johnson or even signing Alan Anderson. We need 6 players to complete roster.
    Aaron brooks Wesley Johnson Corey brewer would be great pickups. Blue collar guys like Justin Smith or Ivan Johnson would be nice also.

  25. LO, brewer or young, and Nate or Jordan. All of a sudden The myopian in me will be really looking forward to the season

  26. I hate getting off into such amorphous hypotheticals … but, since the topic was brought up – while I’d argue holding onto Gasol until he plays himself into retirement (if retained at a lesser price) doesn’t seem to hold much value in terms of future assets … does it increase the likelihood of recruiting Marc as a FA?

    My money is on no right now, because Marc went to high school in Memphis and seems to love the fit there. But they canned Hollins and the team is under new ownership, and who knows how the picture changes in 2 years. Things unravel fast. You’d imagine he’d at least give us more consideration than if we amnestied or poorly treated his brother.

  27. Flaccido Domingo July 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    John Bryant, current Bundesliga MVP. 6-10, 280. Center out of Santa Clara, can run, make FTs and 3s. Fantastic rebounder.

    imho, would actually be a decent backup stretch 4 for us, and deserves a summer league look-see.

  28. Hermen alvarez July 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I would like to see if the lakers could bring back odom,sasha and trevor ariza,,

  29. Snoopy,

    Good point. We have no idea if that will come into play, but that is the kind of chessboard thinking needed.

  30. Pau needs to play with someone like Hill around him; somebody to bang the boards and be aggressive. I think that is why the Lakers are talking to Kaman. If we keep a tough 4 I like the idea of letting Pau retire a Laker, along with Kobe. Both are very smart players who know how to change the game to fit their physical changes.

    The additional possibility of adding Marc Gasol, because we treated Pau well, would be icing on the cake.

  31. I like the idea of Johnson, Sasha and/or Odom.

    Anyone have insight/guesses as to whether the Lakers would want one, two or maybe three of those on the list? And if so, how many of these types might they realistically afford?

  32. Welcome to European style basketball Laker fans. Until we get rid of D’Anphony I don’t think that its gonna be a pretty sight.

  33. “The Machine.” Oh god I loved that. Good times.

  34. Warren Wee Lim July 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Still can’t believe that MDA is still the prevalent topic. Just can’t please fans.

  35. Flaccido-doesn’t a player have to declare for the draft first, even if he plays abroad?

  36. Manny,
    If he’s over 25 and hasn’t been drafted, I believe he can be signed as a FA outright.

  37. Warren,

    1. There are five posts about him out of 35, counting yours and this one.
    2. The Shelburne piece, which Darius also linked from his Twitter account, is getting a lot of attention and deals with the coaching issue, among other things.
    3. Howard has stated publicly that he wanted to play for Phil, has stated publicly that playing for low-post genius McHale factored into his decision, and has stated publicly that he really didn’t hit it off with MDA. These are not the idle complaints of angry fans,so the D’Antoni thing is not going away any time soon. Howard is Public Enemy #1 in Lakerland now, but MDA and Jim Buss are both in the top 5.
    4. Howard officially left two days ago. Give it some time.

    I agree that we should keep complaints to a minimum in threads about other things, which is why I am putting in my .02 about Chris Kaman and Lamar. But stuff about D’Antoni and Buss is going to be part of the Laker conversation for a long time to come.

  38. Along the lines of Flaccido’s post, over the next couple of years, I would like to see some evidence of:

    1. The Lakers working harder to find international players who can be used in rotation roles. This will be particularly important with the dearth of draft picks.
    2. The Lakers making more use of advanced stats.

    There are no young or prime stars on the team now, but the Lakers can still get better at the margins.

  39. I think its kind of amusing that DH wants to play for McHale because of his expertise in the post during his playing days. Two problems with that thought process:

    1.) As if McHale is going to personally tutor Howard. Uh, hello, he’s a head coach and won’t have the time to focus on one guy, even a “budding superstar” like Dwight.

    2.) After nearly ten years into his pro career Dwight now sees the need to improve his game? Well, OK .. better late than never, I’ll give him that.

  40. We had, in the post-Magic and post-Shaq eras:

    43-39
    39-43
    33-49
    34-48
    45-37
    42-40

    The only difference between that and 20-62 is less chances to get the no. 1 pick. So bring on two seasons of 20-62 and hope that the lottery ball rolls the Lakers’ way (remember, they not only have their own pick next draft, but their pick in the ’15 draft is top 5 protected).

    And in the meantime, assuming he’s fit, Kobe can still go for 30-50 a game with the occasional 50+ affair, while Kobe and The Nobodies go 20-62. You folks gonna make us the inheritors of the Rockets’ last 15 years or so of a perennial mediocrity.

    Lastly, re the culture and/or history, sure, 20-62 hasn’t been that, but then again, begging someone stay hasn’t been that either. Was unseemly and became farce when he spat in their faces. Wiping the spit off is never graceful or pleasant, so 20-62 it is. In other words, Wiggins/Randle + Towns or bust! And then add either LeBron or Durant as a ’16 FA.

  41. hi guys, just want to ask if we have a 1st round draft pick next year incase we hit bottom this season? (I am not into tanking mode, i actually think we can make the playoffs with our vets on the roster, we just need to find role players from FA) just asking…. thanks in advance.

  42. I like John Bryant a lot, and he totally dominates Basketball in Deutschland, but I don´t think he´d be a good fit. He´s rather slow-footed, and lacks the athleticism and size to bang with 5s in the NBA. He is gritty, smart and has great touch in the post and from mid-range. Could he play in the NBA? Sure. But not under D´Antoni. He is a true center.
    If we are looking at Germany, since we are talking about Kaman and the Bundesliga, we should have a hard look at Tim Ohlbrecht. He is a stretch 4 with range and he is a hustler. Plus he is fairly young, but experienced. As a project, I´d like the Lakers to have a look at Vitah Chikoko from Zimbabwe. Very athletic, very determined. He is raw, though. Needs to be parked in Europe or the D-League for a while. But he would make a great addition after 2014. Reminds me of a young Darrell Arthur or Tyrus Thomas.

  43. In non-Lakers news:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpVK_DCQ_9o

    Oladipo looked like a stud in his first summer league game. My takeaway: he looked much better running the point, in terms of his handle, than I remember in college. I remember him being much more of a limited straight-line dribbler … but his weaving around the defenders here was impressive. Shades of Westbrook?

    ———

    The Lakers being the last team to get on board with the stats movement confuses me a little; I’m not sure how exaggerated it is in the media. On the one hand, we hear that Jim Buss has his own numbers system that he uses. On the other, I don’t believe we have any personnel that hold degrees in or specialize in those fields. I’m not sure why, entirely. It probably is as simple as never having failed doing it “the old way.” And if the old way was working, it was probably going to take some major failures to change the thinking. I think we’re likely on our way.

    FWIW, I think the media and fans tend to gloss over Daryl Morey and RC Buford’s misses – the James Andersons, or trading Batum for Joey Dorsey and Donte Green, taking Marcus Morris before Kawhi. But on the whole, Morey’s record at finding gems late in the draft is incredible, and one of the reasons I think he’ll have little problem filling in the roster.

  44. It would be incredible if we could sign both Odom and Sasha, both have career years, Kobe comes back and doesn’t miss a beat, and we somehow win the whole thing.

    That would be a season which could bring the old Buss back from the dead.

    … and equally unlikely. But we’re in need of miracles.

  45. It’s gonna be at least a 2yr rebuilding project and that’s why the 2014 first round pick will be key. Tank this season. Kobe take your time. We ain’t winning as is. Get Wesley and Corey. They fit perfect in what we lack; youth defense athleticism. Draft well , sign one or two players and one more stud from 2015 nba free agency. If Nash is tradeable, do it. Get assets. Same with Blake. Expiring contract and vet PG . Get assets.

  46. Slappy-

    In the case of the Magic-to-Shaq years, you are leaving out the fact that Jerry West kept adding talent and the team that Shaq joined had gone 53-29; so, as was the case with Howard and Houston, Shaq knew he was coming to a team with some good players. Also, West traded his center that he had drafted at 27, Vlade Divac, to Charlotte for a HS guard from Philly. Jerry West never tanked those teams; he kept adding decent-to-good players, so when the time came to get Shaq, the Lakers were ready.

    Like I have said, I am not 100% opposed to tanking. But people who act like it is the only way are missing the boat.

    Snoopy,

    I don’t know how exaggerated it is, either, but it is worth noting that Jim Buss is a college dropout and the team that signed Howard is very big on stats–and never tanked. And as you note, the Lakers do not appear to have a stat analyst with multiple degrees on the payroll, or an analytics department per se that I am aware of, and that is in addition to getting rid of some of the old scouts.

    And one other thing everyone should be aware of: Dirk Nowitzki’s deal is up after this year, and Cuban and Co, will have plenty of cap space in July 2014 themselves.

  47. Altemawa–

    The Lakers do have their #1 in 2014–and this is supposedly one of the best drafts ever.

  48. Manuel

    How the heck do you know those players? Either a huge fan or a agent in hiding.

  49. Flaccido Domingo July 8, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Manuel,
    Bryant is 6-10 and *280* lbs… In a league where the average weight of a center is less than 250 lbs, how big does he have to be?

    As for MDA’s system… I watched the Suns all through 7 secs or less, when Mike coached.

    Kurt Thomas had a career year playing under MDA and with Steve (their p&r was a thing of joyous *beauty*) and Shaq was rejuvenated and effective. You don’t really get much slower than a 34 year old Kurt Thomas or an old Shaq. Both of those teams were among the all time great offenses. Mike will make the right adjustment, as he always does, especially if he gets a full training camp.

    The reason I like this kid is that he’s smart, can pass, can play both in the post and behind the line, and can give us a totally different look to Pau. You could totally play him at the 4, no problem, as well as the 5.

    And while I hate to do this, on this board, need I remind everyone just how slow and un-athletic Bird was? Not saying John Bryant deserves to be on the team. Just that he deserves a chance to try out.

    btw, isn’t Tim Ohlbrecht playing for the Rockets?

  50. Marlon Brando July 8, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Unfortunately, Tim Ohlbrecht is already signed by, you guessed it, the Rockets.

  51. Warren Wee Lim July 8, 2013 at 2:46 am

    The issue of tanking will never suit me. I know for others it is a means to getting the next franchise player and I am not even in the US to bear all the news of the ugliness that it brings. Maybe I just have too much pride in me to do so. Maybe thats what made me a Laker fan in the 1st place.

    Living in a foreign country affords someone the luxury and convenience of choosing his favorite team (that would be me). I am not bound by any geographical convention. Normally, a Canadian cheers for a Canadian franchise or someone living in or near LA has grown up hearing, seeing and inheriting love for the most popular ballclub. I don’t have that and I actually had stable cable tv connection during the Pistons championship years (89 and 90) and saw Jordan decimate Magic and the Lakers in 1991. That said, I grew up seeing different teams and cultures… in our place the ones ahead of me can only talk of Magic vs Bird with Bird winning the argument most of the time. This new kid on the block, Jordan, had never won anything except a dunk contest and couldn’t find a way to beat the Bad Boy Pistons.

    Regular season broadcasts aren’t that plenty. It was a mixed bag and at that time the Celtics were no longer a powerhouse. The Pistons ruled the East (my dad was a huge fan of them) while my brother who is 9 years older than me, were a fan of this Michael guy whom he couldn’t stop talking about. At school, the Celtics were still the colored/decorated franchise. So all that factored in, paired with my uncanny attitude not to ride a bandwagon, I chose the Lakers as my favorite team.

    Sam Perkins shot so beautifully at a time when “stretch fours” were a disgrace to the notion of basketball. Worse, he was a stretch 5. But I liked the Big Smooth.

    Byron Scott was no longer the showtime Scott but I liked the way he approached the game with toughness. He to me was a bang-guard, someone who wasn’t afraid to penetrate.

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar to me was merely a figure I own in “starting lineup” made by Kenner. The other guys I owned were Scottie Pippen, Otis Thorpe and some guy I can no longer recall.

    Then there was Magic’s smile. The guy that I adored. The guy that I saw as a hero of it all. Even without knowing his 1979-1989 heroics, all I saw was an awkward guy who was tall enough to play center but handled the ball like Pistol Pete – who at that time I thought was the greatest basketball player known to man because of a movie I saw on Betamax.

    In short, the memory of why I became a Laker fan is quite murky now. I can’t totally recall why. I just knew that this is going to be my team. In short, I loved the Lakers for all the wrong reasons but yet I did.

    So please excuse this guy from the Philippines if tanking will never be a means to me.

  52. If Dwight really wanted to improve his post game, why didn’t he try to learn from Pau?

    Bring on Lamar and The Machine. I’m game.

  53. @ Keno

    Fan, yes. Agent, no. But I had a job with a former Bundesliga team until 2012. Chikoko I´ve seen practice personally and it really amazes me how far he has come since I first watched him. He will be a solid rotation guy if he keeps up the work-ethic.
    John Bryant and Tim Ohlbrecht were on opposing teams, so I have a bit of insight on them, too.
    Ohlbrecht is a great rebounder and he can finish inside, especially out of the PnR. plus his jumper is solid and he can still improve a lot.

    @ Marlon Brando

    I actually expect the Rockets to send Ohlbrecht back to the D-League or cut him entirely. They will sign some ring-hungry veterans for the minimum to fill the roster. If he becomes availbale, the Lakers should pick him up. He is a great fit for a D´Antoni team and he will be perfectly happy with a one year contract.

  54. Jim Buss is ruining the Lakers; plain & simple.

  55. The Las Vegas Summer League starts on July 12 (i think).

    To date, we only have 1 assistant coach. Is MDA or his brother planning to coach the summer league where our 2nd round pick isn’t even playing?

    So we are not only being left in the dust in the slowly dwindling FA market, we don’t even have assistant coaches yet.

  56. thanks rr for the info. I always hear that next year’s draft class will be the best since 2003…
    but I am not sold into tanking a season just to position ourselves for a better chance of lottery pick.
    its difficult to land our next Kobe from draft, (we do not have West who made some magic to get us Kobe via trade during draft.) and of course, Kobe comes once in a generation…

    We have Kobe+Gasol+Nash next year, so it makes our team a decent team, for me a playoff team depending on Kobe’s health and the bench that we can assemble. Our team can give us drama every night, which is what I like about Lakers. It is better if we are under the radar.

  57. I cannot believe it slipped my mind that MDA is still the coach. In that case, clone Nash a few times and feed them stem cells all Summer.

    Please, no Raja Bell, et al.

  58. WWL –
    Good post. Personally, I’m with you in that I’m not a believer in the art of tanking. Unfortunately, feeding off of what T. Rogers mentioned in the last thread, a team led by a 34 yr old Center with bad wheels and a 40 yr old PG who is breaking down before our very eyes, affords us the luxury of not tanking. We’ll just suck. No need to mention Kobe because, at his age (35), with all of the mileage that he’s accrued and coming off of the type of injury that he has, there’s no telling when he’ll be back or how he’ll look upon his return. Also, adding on fringe players (even this will be hard to do considering we’re only offering 1 yr deals) won’t change the outcome.

    The Highs of last summer.
    The Lows of this summer.
    Damn.

  59. Snoop: Nice post. “And if the old way was working, it was probably going to take some major failures to change the thinking. ” It is not the “way” that is the issue, but rather, the failed execution of the “way”. The Lakers have never been a Moneyball team. They have rarely developed players and also rarely found diamonds in the rough. We have acquired big names via splashy deals (even many of our picks were acquired). We have had top heavy rosters with great coaches. This has worked and could continue to work albeit more difficult under the current CBA. However as covered by many above if you have our current coaching situation, our major acquisition just walked out the door for nothing, and our other major stars are old, then the “way” is not being executed as it was in the 80’s or the 2000’s. We have in fact lost our “way”.

  60. Warren Wee Lim July 8, 2013 at 7:58 am

    July 10th has not rolled yet. Dwight Howard has not officially inked his Astro contract.

    For those that might forget, teams tend to be cordial w/ one another while the fanbases remain at odds. Houston and LA, might become rivals for a long time due to this D12 incident but it remains a fact that teams allow each other the benefit of the “future” deal. Houston was part of the nixed Cp3 deal, Daryl Morey was already the GM and so is Mitch.

    I have reason to believe that while it might be a bit “against pride” the Lakers have no choice but to offer a sign-and-trade to Houston. The cost of their pride is the difference w/ how good or bad next season will be. Dan Gilbert, in all his rage, managed to get 2 1st round picks from Miami. Useless as they may be, he also got the TPE of Lebron’s 1st year salary.

    For the Lakers, there is little incentive to be proud. We lost a very valuable asset. The least we can do is swallow or supposed pride and take Houston’s TPE. No 1sts no cash needed. The TPE is enough to allow us some flexibilities this summer and the next.

  61. Warren Wee Lim July 8, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I heard Toronto is down to make a deal… I say we cut them one. But it starts w/ getting the TPE from the Rockets.

    In case you ask: “why would Houston do it?” or for what benefit? My only answer is goodwill.

  62. rr – I think Kaman would be great as an insurance policy in the event of a Pau trade if he can be talked into taking a 1 year minimum contract. Lamar would be a better pickup due to his versatility, but I think he will get more lucrative offers from other teams. Hopefully, he wants to stay in LA and is willing to take less pay, but I doubt it.

  63. After reading Ramona’s piece about what really went down im 100% behind the FO. People whine and complain about MDA but to let him go to appease Dwight was going to be an unmitigated disaster, giving power to someone who havent done anything to deserve it, you give that to that big baby and he will keep demanding more and more. All in all i dont complain much about Dwight leaving bc we got a year out of him instead of nothing if we kept Bynum. In all honestly im sick and tired of the endless whinefest this forum have become i mean no disrespect, we dont have draft picks, we are old,MD sucks whah whah whah!!. I doubt PJ or even Saint Riley himself could had done anything to save last season. And people keep bashing the FO but they made damn sure they have a 1st rounder next year in the best draft of the last 10 years. And about the old record titled “yes the Lakers are old” there is not much the team can do about that right now, its not like we are going to have 55 million to spend and reload next summer or nothing right? Pau is going to be healthier than he is been for a while and he is still one of the best big men in the world, Nash he can produce with his minutes monitored and Kobe is coming back with a chip on his shoulder. I dont expect a championship but the team should be a tough out if healthy and we can round up the roster with some helpful pieces on the cheap. The Lakers aint tanking if TW has anything to say about it. Next summer is been on the cards since 2010 Dwight or no Dwight trade for CP or not MDA or MB or PJ come hell or high water thats been the plan all along. I dont work for the Lakers and i know about it for the last 3 years. Maybe some of you should go to the office and send a resume bc you guys have all the answers.SMDH. Good venting lol

  64. Dr. Buss wanted Sidney Moncrief but listened to West and took Magic. Terry Cummings was p**sed off at the Lakers his entire career for taking Worthy. Putting a team together was more than dropping a cluster of talent together; but a cluster of enough talent is certainly necessary. In the Shelburne article, Kobe cites the cohesion that the Spurs showed as evidence of old dudes excelling. Spurs have long time anchors. Miami have a cluster of top ten (or so) talent making it easier to blend and attract complimentary talent. I have doubted this franchise’s past free agent decisions because they don’t seem to feel the game especially since jettisoning the old scouts. Granted, they have had limited player options because of the economic situation for years now but they really are going to have to amplify their evaluation skills. Whether that be from blending metrics into their system or broader scouting doesn’t matter.

    Making a play for Chris Paul & the other guy was a no brainer so I can’t condemn nor praise the franchise basketball decision abortion. It seems few teams really are utilizing the D-League properly or sifting through the global leagues as well as they could with all of the money that’s on the table. New CBA and some of these mid-talent players are getting absurd money considering that the owners locked out players to drive the salaries way down.

  65. One last thing in a fair world Pau should be allowed to remain a Laker for the rest of his career, the man bleeds purple and gold and his loyalty and class despite everything is admirable there is a reason Kobe is so fond of him. Wish it could be possible

  66. WWL: What are the parameters of this hypothetical Toronto ‘deal’ you refer to?

    The Lakers seem pretty set on standing pat with the Kobe/Pau/Nash core this year. I know you don’t like the concept of tanking but the current Laker roster will produce a pretty ugly win/loss record this season. In other words we’ll get the same result as tanking without making the overt statement of intent.

    As a long time Laker fan I can honestly say that I am OK with being awful this year. Often times in life you have to take a step back to take two forward.

  67. I also like the idea of signing Kaman as a back up center. Even though they’ve yet to replace Odom since the deal, he should be a last resort. He looked finished last year. Rather give Kelly, if he makes the team, playing time. Corey Brewer I’m sure Lakers would love to have, but guards are signing for around 5 mil and losing Iggy may put more pressure on Denver to give them wing depth. There’s still a chance though. Kaman and Brewer adds would be nice to start.

  68. A couple of really great reads over at SS&R. Here’s an open letter from C.A. Clark to Dwight Howard.
    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2013/7/8/4503626/an-open-letter-to-dwight-howard-we-arent-mad-because-you-left

    Encapsules everything that I feel about the situation. He also links to this article about Steve Nash’s anger towards Howard.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/howard-495416-nash-lakers.html

    I said it before and I’ll say it again- when Steve Nash is pissed off enough to criticize a player, then something definitely isn’t right…

    Also, we have been talking about tanking and the upcoming draft. If Kobe comes back at the beginning of the year and is healthy AND Nash and Pau stay healthy, then this team won’t miss the playoffs. The only way, IMHO, that we qualify for the draft lottery is if Kobe misses half the season or more. There is just too much pride between Kobe/Nash/Pau to tank. You also have to take into account that both Nash and Kobe don’t have much time left and to ask them to tank or take a season off is just flat out ridiculous on its face.

    Finally, did anyone watch First Take this morning? Some interest stuff from Steven A. Smith.

  69. Manny-

    I said yesterday that the main reason to pick up Kaman is if they trade Pau, but if they are keeping Pau, getting wings and a PF is more pressing.

    Kaman is also a guy they might be able to trade to a contender looking for size at the deadline, perhaps for a 2nd-round pick.

  70. rr- Yeah, good point about Kaman as trade bait. I would love to have Lamar back as a PF. I realize he is older and he was a non-factor last year with the Clips, but I would love to see him playing a small center in a Mike D style offense or giving more spacing to Pau as a PF. Hey, a guy can hope and dream, right?

    Robert-You are absolutely correct that the FO needs to rembrace modern stats. I also think the old scouting approach of seeing guy live in person is also useful, although I suspect it may be more useful in targeting euro veterans.

    I believe losing Dwight will be a humbling, positive turning point for Jim and other in the FO not named Mitch Kuptchak. Unfortunately, change will not be immediate so we are left with “Plan B” as far as next year – which likely consists of adding lots of 1 year minimum deals, and keeping our eyes open for the right trade opportunities during the season.

  71. It was noted in a previous thread that Jim Buss’s performance, during the final Dwight pitch, was embarrassing. Does anyone know specifically what that comment was in reference to? I was surprised that none of the Laker’s beat writers followed up on that comment.

    I’m not trying to pile on Jim Buss here. However, if the criticism is valid and speaks to Jim’s level of commitment or grasp of the stakes the team is dealing with then it needs to be expanded upon.

  72. Jeff- With the exception of Jeannie, none of of the Buss’ Boys are known as good public speakers. I remember after the Lakers beat the Magic one of the Buss kids made some sort of lame speech referencing the Celtics while taking the Larry Obrien Trophy. It too was cringeworthy. Not sure how much of a difference a “better” speech would have made given what Dwight cited as his reasons for leaving the Lakers, but it is 100% valid criticism.

  73. I like LO but I’d pass on him at this time in his career. Take Corey Brewer, he’s young, agile, can defend multiple positions and can score. Also get Kaman, a 7 footer with good work ethic & some skills. Don’t wait around because they could sign elsewhere.

  74. Manny – If the comment was indeed regarding Jim’s lack of comfort as a great public speaker then our concern, as fans, should be somewhat lessened. Public speaking is indeed a gift. But Jim should know that it is also a skill that can be learned. Additionally, speaking situations can often be managed so as to minimize their negative impact (e.g.: script your role versus speaking off the top of your head). Hopefully Jim will take the criticism as intended and begins to address this short coming.

    However, if the comment from Howard’s camp was directed at Jim’s apparent lack of preparedness or his aloofness then, as a fan, I am hugely concerned. While Jim will always be a part owner of the Lakers it should not be a given that he must always have such a crucial role in the organization. His responsibilities can go to Jeannie or to an experienced hire.

    That, I believe is at the heart of Jeff’s post.

  75. Michael Derouen July 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Rudy Gay is the way out it give Kobe the wing man Dee 3s finish n he’s long