Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  July 17, 2013

Half the Lakers roster exited stage left in recent weeks – one way or another. Just as quickly and with little fanfare, the team has been filling holes on the cheap. Center Chris Kaman nabbed the mini mid-level exception and Jordan Farmar’s overseas buyout is still being negotiated. Gunner Nick Young was brought in as was former 4th overall draft pick Wesley Johnson. Last year’s #60 draft pick Robert Sacre will be back for another year and this year’s #48 pick Ryan Kelley, a classic stretch 4, has been watching summer league action from the sidelines while his foot heals from surgery.

Also on the sidelines in Las Vegas is new assistant coach Mark Madsen, along with Kurt Rambis who’s what you might call an interested party. One spent three years as a Laker reserve power forward, the other invested 20 years in the organization as a player, executive, assistant coach and interim head coach. Each has been away in recent years. Dan D’antoni is running the summer league coaching staff and brother Mike has been keeping a watchful eye on things.

When it comes to the summer league prospects on the floor, a few show real potential for fall training camp invites. In truth however, there may be fewer openings than first assumed – especially given that free agent Lamar Odom is still floating around out there. What will the eventual roster look like? Not dissimilar to other recent Laker lineups – a banged-up Kobe Bryant, a few complimentary aging stars and a supporting cast of role players. Is the pendulum slowly returning to center?

Newly-signed center Chris Kaman is looking to regain the form that won him an All-Star berth in 2010. Mike Bresnahan for the LATimes has the story.

Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne break down what many already thought was going to be the case: the Lakers are all in for the top names in free agency next summer. In other words, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

As for chasing the next big star, Ramona Shelburne also reports that Kobe Bryant may end up recruiting targets just as hard as Mitch Kupchak.

The Kamenetzky Brothers offer up a Land O’Lakers podcast on Metta’s departure and the arrival of new free agents.

Drew Garrison from Silver Screen and Roll reports that Kurt Rambis is “close to” joining the Lakers coaching staff.

At Lakers.com, Mike Trudell sat down with advanced scout Clay Moser who broke down the games of the team’s summer roster. Good information on all.

While fringe hopefuls are showcasing their talents in Las Vegas, the Drew League in South Central L.A. is celebrating its 40th anniversary pro-am season. Dave McMenamin from ESPN writes about it.

Ryan Ward for Lakers Nation reports that Nick Young’s deal with the Lakers is for two years, not one.

Andrew Unterberger for The Basketball Jones has been chronicling this past season’s 100 most memorable moments. Here are the Top 10.

***

Diffused sunlight streamed through the windows of the Lakers facility warmth room in El Segundo. The sweet smell of sage in the air, steam rising off heated stones. A silverhaired gentleman sat on the floor in front of a ring of players including Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and a few other veterans of the grand old days. Assistant coaches Kurt Rambis and Mark Madsen each sat in a corner, observing. Madsen was wearing a peasant shirt made from natural fibers and a headband. Some of the newer and younger Lakers sat cross-legged in the back row, excited to be a part of this action.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni was in an irritable mood. It was just the latest in a long string of irritable moods. He stalked down the Toyota Center hallway, opened the door to the warmth room and poked his head in. “Are we going to practice at some point today? C’mon fellas!”

Phil Jackson opened his eyes, looked toward the intrusion at the door. He had been in an advanced state of mindfulness and did not appreciate having his flow interrupted. “You know you’re not allowed in here, Michael. We are exploring my 11 levels to success.”

The younger members of the Lakers swiveled their heads back and forth like meerkats at a tennis match. This was truly excellent. Kobe, Pau and some of the other elders just smirked.

A vein bulged on the side of Mike D’Antoni’s head. “Fine! How much longer are they gonna be?”

Phil took a deep breath, studied a ring on his finger. He had selected number 10 today. He quite liked it. Then again, he liked all of his rings. He looked back toward the angry head coach and smiled peacefully. “Am I gonna have to call security again?”

Mike D’Antoni threw his hands up in the air and stalked off. The sound of a kicked chair echoed somewhere down the hall. Some of the players snickered. Kobe Bryant stared at them until they quieted down.

Phil closed his eyes again and spoke. “I’d like you all to refocus your breath. Brother Madsen, will you light some fresh sage?”

To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn.

 

 

Dave Murphy

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63 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. So, as I understand it, sources in the Lakers FO would like to make Carmelo a Laker after next season. Are they saying the D’Antoni is gone after next season and how long before Stern fines them for tampering with other team’s players?

  2. Baylor Fan,
    Fines can only be issued when they can be attributed to an actual person or when someone speaks on the record. That was not the case with the Windhorst/Shelburne report.

  3. Darius – Riley is in the midst of selling his miami estate home ……

    Interesting that they were looking to bring back Walton before hiring Madsen + Hopefully with Rambis we will have a defensive scheme.

    Have their been any rumors of anyone other than D-League players being rumored for the min for our last 2-3 spots on the team.

    Is Kelley really going to make the team? he is out 6 weeks + there seems to be a glutton of valuable players willing to take the vets min just to get on a roster why wouldnt we continue to bolster our bench + we still need a lebron/melo stopper.

  4. That dojo exchange between Jackson and D’antoni was the best thing I read in awhile….

  5. dave m: referencing the turtles? different kind of hump day, right?

    zombies had it their way:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc7b62El_fk

    go lakers

  6. So Kurt Rambis is on the verge of becoming an Assistant Coach under Head Coach Mike D’Antoni? The same Kurt Rambis who held the same position under Phil Jackson for yrs? The same Kurt Rambis whose wife, according to reports, is an extremely close friend of Jeanne Buss, the fiancée of Phil Jackson? The same Kurt Rambis who, while being employed by ESPN last season, came across as the spokesman for Phil Jackson when he was supposedly under consideration for the Head Coaching position once Mike Brown was let go and, imo, used that network to bash D’Antoni (after Phil was spurned) every opportunity that he was given?

    Maybe Darius or someone within the FB&G Community has the answer, but I wonder whose idea was this and what role, if any, did D’Antoni play in this? Because if D’Antoni didn’t have any say so in this decision, he’s going to end up with a sprained neck due to looking over his shoulder so often this upcoming season.

  7. Shelbourne says that Rambis was D’Antoni’s idea.

  8. Shaun: I think kelly makes the team based off of only having no true power forwards on the roster right now. All 4 bigs are centers, with no range. If the plan is to spread the floor they need him.

    I like the idea of Rambis, like I still feel they should look into hiring lionel hollins. Not sure in what capacity but lakers should get him before someone else does.

  9. The Rambis hiring maybe a peace offering, then again Rambis has experience coaching Kobe and Pau and, from what I read in the past, like Mike D he is thought of being part of the “old school” style of coaching.

    As far as the “leak” from the FO about 2014 Free Agent targets, well its obvious the Lakers will go after any marquee free agent available in 2014. However, don’t count on Lebron going anywhere if the Heat get to the finals again… then there’s also the temptation of “going home again” for him. In other words, don’t count on Lebron.

  10. Please dont bring back Odom…Shows up last season way out of shape….Cant shoot anymore…Is a distraction with tv show…No reason for him to be on the team…

  11. mud,

    Thanks a lot. I didn’t see within her short article on ESPNLA regarding the potential hiring of Rambis that it was D’Antoni’s idea, but if it was, more power to him and I wish him (D’Antoni) good luck with that.

  12. Carmelo’s game has been picked apart so often by the analytics community that in some respects, he’s become underrated. That said, I do not like his game and I cringe at the thought of us offering him a max deal. That would likely end up being four years of mediocrity, depending on who we’d be able to surround him with (esp in 2015). I’d prefer to wait for the 2015 class. Yet with that said, keeping guys on 1 year deals to maintain cap flexibility for free agency is how you end up like Mark Cuban, so I can certainly understand not wanting to go that route.

  13. On the topic of LeBron, two reasons why I believe that he’ll never be outfitted in FB&G –

    1. Chris Paul – The two of them are the best of friends off the court. At one point, Paul ditched his own management team to join Lebron’s (not sure, as of this date, if they’re still under the same management firm). Lebron happens to be the Godfather of Paul’s son. There friendship is so close that, according to Stephen A., the State Farm Commercials ft. Chris and ‘Cliff’ Paul that airs around the clock, was originally slated for Lebron, who, because of there close bond (and possibly, same management/agent), handed the endorsement to Paul. I mention all of this because, after all that Paul has done for the Clippers Organization since arriving in L.A. as far as establishing them as a vital championship contender for this upcoming season and beyond, while also upgrading his brand, I find it hard to believe that his best friend, Lebron, would sign on with the Lakers to compete directly (not only same conference, but same division and same building) against Paul. A move such as this would be a possible impediment to Paul succeeding long term and would help to negate all of the positives that Paul has solidified in Southern California thus far. I would think that Lebron would be ecstatic to see his main man take over L.A. and that the last thing on his mind would be to relocate west and take away Paul’s shine.

    2. Kobe Bryant – Two huge ego’s here. Kobe doesn’t strike me as the type of individual who will invite Lebron in with open arms (Melo? Possibly) and Lebron, at this point of his career, will not be inclined to take a back seat to Kobe, IMO. Especially taking into account that Lebron is universally regarded as the best player on the planet and, more than likely, will be garnering a higher salary than Kobe in the Mamba’s House (L.A./Staples). It’s understood that they’ve competed together during the Olympics, but everyone knows that when you’re playing for your country, everything is all love due to patriotism. Personal ego’s are tossed to the side. Not so much in the NBA, when there competitive nature will step to the forefront. And although they’ve praised each other in the past, maybe it’s just me, but it comes across that they’re not too fond of each other. Minor examples – Lebron stated, during this years’ finals, that he believes that Duncan is the best player of his generation. Whether he actually believes this or was it out of common courtesy for the opponent at the time is up for debate, but I have a hard time believing that Kobe was okay with those remarks. I can also recall a time when, responding to a question in regards to who he views in the league currently as having that killer instinct like his own, Kobe mentioned players such as Paul, Rose and I believe Westbrook, but conveniently left out James. Could this have been an honest answer or a deliberate oversight? Who knows, but I would assume that Lebron felt slighted either way. Also, and in my opinion, more importantly, Lebron is constantly being compared to Jordan. It use to be Kobe and Jordan, but it’s as if the ‘Media Mouths’ have totally erased Kobe from the equation. So I can’t imagine Lebron wanting to enhance Kobe’s legacy any further, at the expense of his own, mind you, by assisting Kobe with his rings count. In order for James to reach Jordan’s level, or surpass it for that matter, to the die-hards, when it’s all said and done, he’ll definitely would have had to accumulate more jewelry than Kobe first and foremost (I feel that Lebron knows this). Forming a union with Kobe would make that damn near impossible. And when Kobe mentioned, after Lebron snatched up his 2nd ring, that he wishes to play a little longer in order to give himself a better opportunity to stretch the ring count out further, no way do I believe that he was referring to Duncan. I feel, wholeheartedly, that he was really referring to Lebron James.

    So could it happen? Of course. But, for these two reasons, or should I say, because of these two individuals (Chris Paul & Kobe Bryant), I personally doubt it.

  14. Tra Linda Rambis has benn Jeanne’s best friend for 20 years so clearly that is the answer to the hire and you can trust Mike was not asked first. Assume the transition has begun.

  15. After bringing someone from his rival’s camp into the fold, in Rambis, D’Antoni is so close to finally earning the good will of Laker fans. All he has to do now is take one more step, resign for gross incompetence.

  16. I’m still hoping we go after the magic castaways – turkoglu and harrington – once they get bought out

  17. Looks to me like Dwight Howard bolted too soon. This group that Mitch is assembling + D12 would have had a chance IMO.

  18. both Lebron and Melo are Kobe accolytes.

    Lebron Credits his time with Kobe in the Olympics as crucial to learning how to prepare, workout and win.

    Kobe is Melo’s good friend and confidant. Melo also credits Kobe as a mentor.

    neither one has a problem with Kobe. both would play well with him, at least based on what everyone has said about each other and how well they worked together on the Olympic teams.

  19. Kleiza would be a great pickup if he could be had for the min.

  20. jaycartygoldenwheels July 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Must agree, love Odom for what he did in the past-he ALWAYS rebounded-but those days are gone, and we must look ahead. I would hope the Lakers would save some cash for player development, and not think that Carmelo is the answer to their woes.

  21. Does this sound familiar?

    @mcten: Here’s how the dominos would have to fall IMO: Kobe accepts pay cut, Kobe recruits Melo, Melo recruits LeBron, LeBron recruits vet min guys

  22. Aaron – You forgot: “Kobe also convinces Pau to take a huuuge pay cut.” – ‘Cause I think that’s what it will take to make this appetizing to Lebron.

  23. Regarding Odom – I love the guy, but word around the campfire is that he is having marital issues. That, coupled with his lack of fitness last season gravely concerns me.

  24. I think any James/Lakers scenario would probably have to involve Riley.

  25. MDA on Dwight“There was a lot of conflict, emotionally. People were not settled into their roles. But it’s funny because a lot of times players will say ‘I don’t know my role.’ It’s not that you don’t know it, you just don’t accept it.”
    SWOOSH thats just a no net corner 3 right there. I wonder how many shots Harden will not take to showcase D12 “post game” and he starts to get the ball swaped away in almost every posesion.

  26. Why the hell would James and Anthony come to the lakers when management wasn’t even able to convince Howard to stay for more money and a bigger market. Imo this is just a PR leak so that Buss and company don’t look incompetent.

  27. If Chris Broussard shuts down the rumors, then I claim they are a mortal lock. LBJ and Melo will be in Lakers uniforms.

  28. Melo will be 30 in May, LeBron will be 5 months from 30 next July. LeBron should definitely be pursued, but I’d rather take a shot at someone who’s young and going into their primes. A solid player who’s not being not talked about is Dirk, who recently said he’s willing to take a big paycut to play with stars. I don’t know if he only meant someone joining him in Dallas or what. But Cuban’s mess up can open the door for teams. Lakers will still have Nash, someone who he’s familiar with and won’t have to give him a 4 year max. I think Dirk is a more realistic option than both Melo or LeBron.

  29. I’m not sure what people are surprised about with the rumors though. The Lakers have a ton of cap space in 2014. Cap space is used to spend on free agents. Doesn’t it make sense to target the best free agents out there? (My quibble with Melo notwithstanding). This wasn’t “a leak,” this wasn’t even news. News would be if one of those two players was seriously considering LA. You could take out LA’s name in that report and replace it with any team with cap space.

    Tra- great post. I didn’t realize just how close Paul and James were until I read that.

  30. Snoopy – I agree. People express surprise about the rumors and express surprise when the rumors aren’t there. I call this the push-pull syndrome with equate it with almost all media matters and in fact, with most of life in general. It’s what you see a cat doing when it’s playing with an object or another living thing – pulling with its front claws and kicking with its back feet. The run-up to the Lakers 2014-15 season is gonna get a whole lot of media mileage.

  31. So Farmer has signed and Mike D blasts Dwight move to Houston! It’s been a good day. We are only a Odom and The Machine signing away from a championship team!

    So what if its the 2008 one. May not win the West but I already like this team and the bench more then last years!

  32. Guys if Luke doesnt find a team hell be back as a coach, farmar is back as well – adding the machine and odom would just make us happy in a lost season at least we would love our team hell even sign luke as a player for fun – he played ok for cleveland last year anyways with his sneaky passing ability

  33. Also the clippers just signed mullens pointing to a Lamar exit in clipper town – maybe they still sign jamison but if Odom wants to stay in LA it looks like the lakers might be his only option

  34. “Am I gonna have to call security again?”
    Some of the players snickered. Kobe Bryant stared at them until they quieted down.
    ____
    fantastic Dave! hahaha
    & the cat/push-pull syndrome is nice,
    I´ve got a bunch of `em myself (former strays)
    ____
    gotta say that I´m more optomistic about our squad than I´ve been in weeks as Mitch & Jim do their thing, & as we watch what some of the fellas are doin´ in Summer League

  35. “Why the hell would James and Anthony come to the lakers when management wasn’t even able to convince Howard to stay for more money and a bigger market.”
    —-

    Agree. Any small chance of getting James probably went south when Dwight did. And why would Carmelo want to play under D’Antoni again? For all the money the Lakers have to spend they still need to fix the perception of the front office. They look like the organization that chose D’Antoni over both Phil Jackson and Dwight Howard. Until that stench wears off I can’t see LeBron or Carmelo choosing to come Los Angeles.

    And I agree Kevin regarding age. LeBron at 30 is still a no brainer. But the second max player should be younger.

  36. Good one today, Dave.

  37. Snoop,

    Thanks a lot. I just honestly can’t see LeBron doing that to CP3.
    ——–

    They look like the organization that chose D’Antoni over both Phil Jackson and Dwight Howard.
    —–
    That line alone reveals everything that one needs to know in regards to our Front Office as it currently stands.

  38. I just found this NY Times article from back in May about Phil – don’t know how I missed it at the time, it was written during the height of frenzy about his book coming out and what he might do next. I really like this piece, a lot – just has a nice, kind of understated style.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/why-basketball-wont-leave-phil-jackson-alone.html?from=magazine

  39. Good one, Dave!

    LeBron ha s a really good friend on just about every team in the league. If he left Miami wouldn’t he be leaving his BFF?

    LeBron is opportunistic so I could see him in L.A.

    The current nba has to many friendships, I liked the old nba where no one liked the players on an opposing team. Well the exception was the kissing Best friends. But even they would cut out each other’s heart for a win.

  40. Dave, I too am intrigued by the Drake Shuffle. Thanks for the link.

  41. Ken,

    In regards to the imminent hiring of Rambis, that’s what I’m figuring. I’m having a hard time believing that D’Antoni, as cocky and arrogant as he comes across, reached out to 1 of Phil’s allies and offered him the opportunity to coach on his staff.
    ——-

    If he left Miami wouldn’t he be leaving his BFF?
    —–
    With all due respect, not unless Chris Paul has been recently traded to the Heat.

    But since it seems as if you’re referring to DWade, I’ll say this –
    Even if he left Miami (which I doubt, but if so, imo, it would be to head back to Cleveland to, let’s say, make things right), it would only be after making sure that his “BFF” accumulated a couple more rings. In other words, assisting him with success. Which is something that he wouldn’t be doing to Chris Paul if he signed on with the Lakers.

  42. Aside from being pretty suspicious that LeBron would ever change teams while the Heat are contending for championships every year, I have my doubts that he would choose LA(L) over Cleveland. But my biggest concern with this LeBron+Melo idea is… how does that make any sense? The overlap between Kobe/Melo/LeBron seems much more significant than Wade/LeBron/Bosh, unless I’m missing something.

  43. My sources tell me LAL have to take Melo. That Melo and LeBron are a package deal like LeBron and Wade three years ago. So if LAL want LeBron they will have to sign Melo with him. I’ve also heard LBJ/Melo currently want Cousins as their third max player (because he is a PF/C) but would take Gay/Granger as conciliation prize. I’ve also heard via Pat Riley’s Malibu neighbor… He is planning on moving to LA and basically retiring after this year.

    Continuing on with my sources close to the Lakers… They couldn’t sign Dwight because it would hurt their chances with LBJ. There is a reason they wouldn’t bring back Phil this season for Dwight but are already planning to do so for Lebron next summer. Dwight and LBJ are a bad fit. Dwight clogs the lane for LeBron while Cousins would space the floor. Their goal is to play like the US National team with Melo at the 4.

    And for those wondering how Melo and MDA can work together again… Don’t. LBJ has already leaked to Lakers he wants Phil Jackson to coach him and Lakers have agreed that if LBJ decides to leave Mia (because Wade continues to be old) Phil will be brought back.

    Btw… Lakers signed Young (maybe Farmar too) to two years deals for the min. Hmmmmmm……

  44. Matt,
    Great questions… I have better answers though. As I alluded to in my post above…. The Lakers would be playing like a cross between the old Bulls teams and the current USMNT. If LBJ chooses Cousins the lineup would look like this… Kobe (playing the Ron Harper role) would be almost washed up but organizing the triangle on offense. Young would be playing the other guard spot and space the floor. LeBron would be LeBron with Melo playing the Horry role as the stretch 4 like on the USMNT. Cousins would play the 5

    If the Lakers couldn’t get Cousins… Kobe would play the lead guard old Harper role, Gay/Granger would play SG, LBJ at SF, Melo at PF, and Pau would step off the bench and into the starting lineup. Obviously this isn’t the ideal lineup as Pau last year ranked as a little alive average big offensively but was horrendous on the defensive end. This is why some Lakers insiders believe it to be just as Important to secure Cousins as Melo to attract LBJ. Cousins needs to scare Sac enough this year to keep them from offering him the max.

  45. Aaron – that would be pretty intense if your sources are correct.

    Think about it we sign lebron, melo, go over the tax – resign kobe + pau or bring in a 3rd star like cousins or whoever – our bench already has farmar and young + min level guys who seem to be in abundance in the new era of the CBA …. that could be really interesting.

    but as for this year … are we hearing anything else out of the FO about who we might be targeting for our last 2-3 spots?

  46. Shaun,
    If you care about this year I have bad news for you. The FO wants one thing out of this season… As that’s as many losses as possible to have the best opportunity for the highest lottery pick. Anyone they bring in will be a Farmar/Young/Wesley type young player who will help that very possible LBJ/Melo/Cousins (or Gay/Bosh/Granger/George) trio for the next five years. All eyes as far as the FO is concerned is of course on 2014.

  47. Shaun,
    One more thing… What you wrote isn’t the FO goal. What they told my friend (who covers the Lakers/NBA) is they are planning to offer both Pau and Kobe a one year min contract. Under the new CBA the Lakers would be allowed to offer as much as the max on both of them one year later. So the Lakers in actuality could offer a 36 years old and a 35 year old Kobe/Pau as much as a 3 year 40 million dollar contract each. Now that’s more money than they are worth and it won’t take a two year max contract to sign them (especially Gasol) but the Lakers could offer more than any other team because they have thier bird rights. So in actuality Kobe and Pau long term won’t have to take a pay cut at all.

    What this does is allow the Lakers in 2014 to sign three max FA’s (LeBron/Melo/Cousins) and still resign Kobe and Pau. This strategy makes the Lakers almost impossible to turn down if you’re the new big three looking for a desirable location to play together. And if you throw in the 2014 Lakers lottery pick and a slew of young guard role players (Farmar, Young, Johnson) the Lakers beleive (especially after hearing good reports from Kobe about Melo/LBJ) that they are as close to a lock as possible as the destination for the new big three.

    Again… Ill say it again… The only thing that will throw a wrench in everyone’s plans is if Wade for some reason (PEDs) gets healthy and becomes D Wade again.

  48. Aaron — if those sources are correct, it would lend some credence to the idea that the Lakers gave Dwight a pitch calculated to turn him off. I found that hard to believe when floated by Plaschke, but if the endgame is Phil/LeBron/etc., and those wheels are already in motion, it would make more sense.

    I also have to wonder what effect a Riles retirement would have on keeping the Heat together…especially if they fall short this year.

    Still would like to think there’d be some room for a max contract younger than Melo. If this scenario comes to pass, however, it’d be tough to complain.

  49. What possibly would be the goal in pitching Howard in a manner ‘calculated to turn him off’ rather than just not meeting with him at all? I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the Shakespearan/Machievellian notions being floated in this thread.

  50. Too good to be true, but I would love for it to be true just to see Bill Simmon’s reaction as well as Henry’s who wrote something about Kobe relinquishing control or something.

    Oh, and I would immensely enjoy Kobe adding a couple more rings with that crew – especially with Howard winning none.

  51. It is all pretty cloak-and-dagger, and I agree it seems far-fetched that you would, as Plaschke wrote, play “an expensive game of chicken….for the sake of appearances. (T)he Lakers had to make a very public pursuit of a player they really didn’t want to catch.”

    Still, it’s also hard to believe that the Lakers wouldn’t know what seemingly everyone else in America had already figured out: that making D’Antoni and an in-Dwight’s-face Kobe major parts of their recruitment would probably not be the best approach. If they really were that clueless, then all the dark conjectures about Jim and the direction of the franchise seem legitimate.

  52. The chances are so very very low of what Aaron’s pitching, but man it’d be fun to see come together. It’s the summer of 1996 on steroids. Or is that a bad choice of words?

  53. putting Kobe and D’Antoni in Dwight’s face was EXACTLY the right move. why would he need to be coddled any more than with big posters everywhere? it was about getting down to business, not lollypops and hugs.

  54. I agree — the fact that Dwight apparently was so needy (as per the Shelburne piece about the meeting) is a big turnoff. However, they spent a year with him. They knew he was a needy guy, presumably. If you want a needy guy to sign with you, you probably indulge his need, rather than call him on his BS.

    Therefore, the fact that they did, apparently, call him on his BS suggests that either 1) they completely misread the situation or 2) they didn’t really care if he signed. (Or at least, they were OK if he walked.)

    I am, in fact, OK with letting Dwight walk…I just would prefer the reason they let him walk is the second one, and not the first. Because the first suggests a level of clueless-ness and chaos that you would hope aren’t true of this organization.

  55. Mud,

    It would only have been the right move if it worked.

  56. If all of this, or even part of this, happens, I will certainly give full props to Aaron when the time comes. For now, however, I am quite skeptical. As I said upthread, if it is even possible, I think a lot of it probably hinges on Riley, and, as Aaron notes, Wade.

    As to Howard, as the KBros pointed out in their podcast yesterday, the Lakers on paper at the moment would be one of the worst defensive teams that the franchise has ever put on the floor and one of the 2 or 3 worst defensive teams in the NBA. Metta is obviously not what he was as a defender when he was in his 20s, but his on/off numbers on D were still good last year, and Howard’s were excellent. The only data point that provides a caveat is the excellent on-off numbers that Pau and Hill produced, albeit in a short sample, that Darius Tweeted.

    But this goes back to something I said when Howard’s FA was approaching: it is very easy to say good riddance in July when there is no actual basketball being played and everyone is focused on Howard’s personality tics and his decision to bail. When the Lakers are getting torched in November, however, the situation will look quite a bit different.

  57. Aaron, I”‘ll take your scenario any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    I believe in the credo put forth by Jiminy Crockett:
    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true!

    Lakers 2014-2015

  58. Minorthreat,
    Again… Yes… Melo (a guy who has never taken care of his body) at 30 is not a guy you want to sign to a 4 year max deal. But as I said… Melo and LeBron are attached. To get LeBron you need to sign Melo. That actually works in the lakers favor as Melo is the only friend Kobe has in the NBA not named Pau or Fisher.

  59. Lil Pau,
    It’s all about saving face. For the lakers and Howard. If the Lakers really wanted Howard they would have did what he asked… Fire MDA and bring in Phil. So we pretty much know they probably didn’t want him.

    So why would the Lakers purposely give him no choice but to leave? Because its about face. The Lakers would look stupid for saying public they don’t want Dwight Howard. Their fans and other players around the league would make the Lakers the bad guy. This way Dwight looks like the bad guy for leaving and not the washed up superstar he was last year. If the lakers say they don’t want him his value takes a hit and so does the Lakers brand.

    It’s like with Hollywood break ups. You want to be the one who was broken up with. You get all the sympathy and zero of the blame.

  60. It was pretty clear from the beginning that Dwight never wanted to be in LA. It was never on his list of places. And there’s that supposed phone call between Dwight and Kobe (way before the trade), and Dwight didn’t like how it went.

    So it wasn’t a great fit from the start. Add all the other drama (as well as Dwight just not being ready to handle kobe) and you can see why Dwight would leave, but he’s not going to win a championship unless he makes some major adjustments to his game.

    It’s nice to fantasize about melo and lbj, but it’s so completely farfetched. Shaq and Kareem will come out of retirement to be a laker before lebron and melo ever don the purple and gold.

    The clipper scenario seems more interesting. I didn’t know Paul and LBJ where that close.

    To me, it seems very weird that MDA has not filled out his coaching staff yet. I can’t see how Rambis or Johnny Davis are his choices. And it seems really strange that Madsen got the instant promotion. Doesn’t make sense.

  61. Triangle Fan,

    I agree — the coaching moves certainly add some intrigue. I also have trouble figuring out why D’Antoni would bring on guys that don’t seem to fit his M.O. and are, in fact (at least in the case of Rambis) more closely tied to Phil. Unless he’s trying to appease someone by signing off on these moves. Still seems weird.

    The whole scenario of LBJ and Melo does seem like a long, long shot that would depend on lots of outside factors. However, as rr points out, this is going to be a bad, bad defensive team next year. That leads one to think about the lottery. That leads one to wonder if D’Antoni hasn’t been set up to be the fall guy for 2013-14, and if much bigger organizational moves aren’t already being planned for next summer.

  62. I too am skeptical of this scenario. All players named will make over $10 million except probably Granger because of injury. Also, why would LeBron want to come to a team that won’t be his, that’s just coming off a lottery season. I see a whole lot of wishful thinking. Lakers haven’t had cap space like this in ages, but some scenarios should be thrown out. Melo, LeBron with Cousins along with Kobe just seems financially undoable.

    Kobe’s getting at least 10 next year. Couple that with maxes from Melo, LeBron and Cousins who will seek one. Seems far fetched to me. Especially for a team who just amnestied a 1 year deal.

  63. While I would be happy to get some good free agents in 2014 (LBJ and Melo in Aaron’s scenario), I’m not quite sure how the Lakers will get Cousins or George when they’re RFAs. Not happening. And no, Gay can’t play SG.