Around The World (Wide Web): Trending UP/DOWN, Free Agents, Kobe, Schedule

Ryan Cole —  July 25, 2013

From Ross Gasmer, Lakers Nation: It’s been a long off-season already for the Lakers as Dwight Howard decided to become “Rocket Man” and general manager Mitch Kupchak has tried to construct a team of one-year contracts. With the 2014 off-season looming and the prospects of a high draft pick, the Lakers have already signed Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson to help solidfy the starting lineup and bench. We’re one week away from the calendar turning to August and we take a look at the current and former Lakers players who are trending up and down.

From Mike Bresnahan and Eric Pincus, LA Times: If newly signed free agents Chris Kaman, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson don’t excite Lakers fans, there’s that rarely uttered phrase by the franchise that’s won 16 championships — wait till next summer. The rebuilding will begin after a 2013-14 season that ends presumably without a championship and possibly with no playoffs, depending on the health of a Pau Gasol-Kobe Bryant-Steve Nash nucleus that averages 35.7 years old on opening night.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: The generally accepted notion when Kobe Bryant suffered a full rupture of his Achilles tendon last April was that Mr. Bryant would be out of action for a long, long time. A ruptured Achilles is one of the most serious injuries an athlete can suffer, and Kobe was on the wrong side of most of the variables (age, mileage) in the equation that would determine his length of absence. We even interviewed a medical expert on this site who said that most patients don’t even begin running until five or six months after their surgery.

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: The first showdown between Dwight Howard and his new friends on the Rockets and his old team the Lakers may happen before Kobe Bryant returns from Achilles surgery. The Lakers will face the Rockets first on Nov. 7 in Houston, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports and confirmed byKevin Ding of the Orange County Register on Sulia. The full NBA schedule for next season should come out in the next several days, but some games are starting to leak out.


Ryan Cole


to Around The World (Wide Web): Trending UP/DOWN, Free Agents, Kobe, Schedule

  1. That SSR article was linked to last time…


  2. Harold you’re sharp. Glad it was double posted, I skipped over it last time. It’s amazing to me how people still don’t trust Kobe to make the right decisions for his health and performance. You think he’d earn a little leeway from the endless speculation and fear-pontificating.


  3. Kobe has been a lightning rod and always draws eyes/clicks. Negative stories always draw more hits than positive ones. Wilt was similar in his day and that negative media attention follows his legacy even now. When you don’t kiss the midia’s a** and you are a superstar, they will ‘get you’ every chance they can. I know, I know, but just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.

    Another superstar who did things his way and got all kinds of negative pub is Jim Brown. Then there is Barry Bonds. And so on, and so on.

    Finally there is Kareem. Since he didn’t break any laws or hang out with any unsavory characters, the only thing he could be pilloried about was his more introverted personality and his cerebral approach to things – a hated personality trait in a jock.

    Yeah, I am biased against the talking heads, but they have proved their untrustworthiness over the years. If you are not like the herd, then there must be something wrong with you and we will find it. That describes Kobe’s situation to a T.


  4. the other Stephen July 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Snoopy, I think it’s on Cousins to take the initiative and make it happen, rather than sitting idly by and waiting for a tweet. Shaq has shown that he’s willing to work with Cousins, and that’s more than anyone can ask for. When you or I want someone to become my mentor, I go and seek them out because I respect their advice; I find out if they’re available and willing to invest in me, and then I find a way to make it work. The NBA is too small of a community for these two not to have had face time or a basis for contact, and it can’t be that hard to get Shaq’s number, or at least to get a friend to connect them.


  5. the other Stephen July 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    This sort of attitude bothers me. You saw it most recently with Dwight, with Bynum before him, and even with Shaq himself. They are of a select few, and come from a great tradition of centers. If they could be bothered to take the initiative and reach out for help, they could be even greater.


  6. the other Stephen – Generally speaking, I completely agree with you. It just surprised me because based on Shaq’s initial quote, it sounded to me as though he’d definitively work with Cousins and had already made up his mind to take him under his wing.


  7. The SSR piece was not really a negative Kobe story, and CA Clark is a talking head only in the same way that Darius is: Clark is a Lakers fan who runs and writes for an affilliated blog.


  8. If Nick Young is taking Metta’s spot at SF, I don’t think offensive production is a worry. The only year Nick Young got 30 minutes a game he averaged 17 pts on 44/38/81. I think Lakers get something close to this. Could be better because he hasn’t really had a mentor like Kobe who can show him the day in day out grind of trying to become the best. Maybe the work ethic rubs off on him and becomes better all around. Something about wings upping their game when they come to the Lakers. We’ll give Meeks another year.

    Pau’s going to be going up against a lot of beef this year, assuming he starts at center. Hopefully with the extended rest from the early exit helps him recuperate. And I remember someone on here raving about Suns thriving with Kurt Thomas starting. Two questions: Can Jordan Hill replicate what Kurt Thomas did that year? And who was playing PF, Diaw or Marion?

    I do agree with Aaron on something he said before about Blake playing SG. He should at the start so Farmar can be back up PG. Unless Meeks is scorching in preseason I see no reason why he should be in the rotation over those two.

    If Austin Daye is willing to accept the vets minimum, he takes CDR or Landry’s roster spot.

    Also didn’t realize Kaman has played in 145 out of 246 games his last 3 years. And only played 82 his rookie season. Good thing Sacre looked serviceable in last year.


  9. It is really interesting to note that Phil’s coaching tree is not only small, but not too successful – just perhaps his system is not as well geared to today’s game and today’s player (whether or not that is good is another question entirely).

    From the other thread.

    Considering that Phil won the title 4 years ago and the Lakers won 57 games with him and his system three years ago, and that Howard wanted to play for him instead of D’Antoni, this is quite a reach. Also, Brian Shaw just got hired in Denver. Perhaps we should let him coach, as you like to say.

    As to the role Phil would want, I am guessing that Lazenby had it right: Phil wants to do what Riley does in Miami. As to whether he would be good at it…well, the main reason to get Phil involved again is if he can help to recruit FAs, since the Lakers are essentially committed to trying to reload/rebuild in free agency. My guess is that his gravitas and jewelry collection would help, but no one knows. What is clear is that Jim Buss, already under heavy scrutiny, will be under a lot more pressure beginning on July 1, 2014.


  10. rr,

    I know that Clark is writing for a Lakers blog, but I feel that my point is still valid. The article contains no solid information other than hearsay. Even the article’s claim that Kobe historically undermines his own rehabilitation is unbased at best and fatuous at worst. Kobe plays through injuries, not at 100%, for sure; but that a priori understanding is hardly enough to base an anxiety piece on.

    Its one thing if in the comments section someone says “Kobe comes back too early sometimes,” and another to write a whole article on Kobe’s recovery without… you know… any information on Kobe’s recovery, other than third hand sources (i.e. Jim Buss and CDR). In other words, it’s the perfect article for the end of July. Now I feel like a jerk for saying anything, as I shouldn’t be picking at those writing about the team I follow.


  11. KareemE-

    Clark some Kobe issues; I have criticized him for that before. But IMO this piece isn’t really about that. Also, recall that it was Jim Buss who said he thought Kobe might be back in preseason. Seems to me the criticism should be there; as the team’s highest-ranking official, Buss could have said, “We don’t want him to rush” etc. etc.


  12. Running a Laker blog does not always equal liking Kobe.As I have seen/read many times there are literally thousands of Laker fans that are irked by Kobe’s name.Some are blunt about this some are very sly and disguised and use complicated ”advanced stat” strings to diss.
    Kobe lives and plays for these types.


  13. Kevin,
    You mixed up my point on the PGs. All I said is that Farmar is the best PG on our roster. I never ranked them. But if you want me to rank its my fav game so I will. My projections for next year…

    1: Farmar
    2: Blake
    3: Nash


  14. Reality check: being a Laker fan doesn’t automatically make you a Kobe worshipper…and vice versa.


  15. Rusty Shackleford July 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

    On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the worst) how bad was the Steve Nash signing? I’m not putting the blame on Nash himself. The Lakers signed a 38-year-old guy up for $9 million dollars a year that has been having health issues for at least the past 5 years, has never played a lick of defense and asked him to fill a role he never has as an off-the-ball spot up shooter.

    This is where I can somewhat sympathize with Dwight Howard. He was asked to be the defensive anchor of this team last year. Meanwhile he has a coach who has a reputation of putting defense 3rd behind 1) offense & 2) offense. His point guard can’t stay in front of his man 95% of the time and, for reasons I still don’t understand, was left on the floor in defensive possessions at the end of games…..If anybody can help me with that one please do.

    I applaud Dwight for telling the Lakers he thought Steve Nash was done. What I don’t agree with is Dwight not wanting to work the PnR with Nash. What an idiotic stance to take. That said, with as poor as the Lakers shot from the perimeter for stretches this year, I don’t think effectively running the PnR would have made the Lakers contenders this year.

    Kirk Hinrich made $8 million dollars last year; can stay on the floor and can defend 3 positions well.


  16. BigCitySid,

    We’ve read your Kobe screeds all season. It goes without saying that some people have a passionate dislike of the man whose drive brought our city five championships.


  17. Derek Fisher was re-signed by OKC.
    Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement:
    “He has such a positive impact on his teammates and the organization.”
    So there it is. And this is a contender we are talking about. I guess we didn’t need any of his positive energy, because we already had enough of that.


  18. Robert,

    I just want to suggest that had either Nash or Gasol (and arguably Hill and Blake) not been out for half the season with significant overlap, the Lakers would have placed top 3 in the West. With how strong the field was last year, that would have been an accomplishment… and without Fischer’s intangibles.


  19. MDA gets a worse rep for defense then deserved. His teams play average D but allow a lot of possesions because of the quick offensive attempts.

    I think we still need a Stretch 4. I would like a trade for Al Harrington. Hes not Kevin Love but he a great hold for 2 years.

    Kobe’s ability to play through pain is legendary and separates him from the rest of the league. That said I would like to err on the side of caution and be sure he is healthy before putting him on the court.


  20. Kobe is not going to go against his doctors and therapists. He`s also going to get the most advanced therapy in the world. Once healing is complete flexibility is key.


  21. KareemE: Well, yes – had we not had the injuries and not made a couple of “other” decisions, we certainly could have done that. My point about Fisher has always been this: He is not a great talent, but somehow he is good enough for OKC, so I am going to go out on a limb and say he is good enough for us. He is better than Darius Morris (who never played anyway). He was a tie to our championship glory, and a great guy to have as a buffer to Kobe. All of this means he has more value to us than to OKC, yet somehow we didn’t see it that way, supposedly due to “possible” issues with a coach who we fired days later. Again many of our issues can be traced to a couple of bad decisions. Even some of the injuries can be partially traced to that, because the 7 man rotation took its toll. In any case I am glad Fish is still able to do what he does which as you state is in the intangible category.


  22. Robert,
    Perhaps the favorite way to criticize is to isolate a decision or person and then illustrate with statistics.

    The D. Fish decision was not made in a vacuum. He had been starting and was about to be the #2 or perhaps #3 PG on the team. He had been starting for most of the last 12 years. He was a vocal leader of the team – even if Kobe led behind the scenes. Having him unhappy was not a good situation for the team.

    You may or may not agree with the paragraph above, but that was the environment he was traded in. When he went to OKC he was coming into an already set situation and his leadership qualities really helped them – in the same way they could have hurt the Lakers. To simply say if he is valuable to OKC, then why was he not equally valuable to the Lakers is a false equivalency.


  23. Vasheed – both Harrington and Turkoglu are most likely going to get bought out in Orlando at somepoint this summer.

    Both guys would be great adds to the team – I know turkoglu has been down for the past few seasons but if he bounces back he could be a high upside pickup + he has size at the 3


  24. Note from Rotoworld

    The Lakers are reportedly “not sold” on what free agent Lamar Odom can give them.

    Beat writer Kevin Ding is hearing that Odom might be coming around to joining the team that scorned him following the 2010-11 season. But a deal is “unlikely” because the Lakers apparently don’t think he has anything left. Odom, now 33, has looked lost on the court for the last two seasons while playing for the Mavericks and then Clippers. It’s fair for the Lakers to question if his heart is still in it.

    Boooo front office – even last year Lamar had flashes that didnt exactly show up in his stats because he wasnt handling the ball as much.

    Please bring back Lamar … if we are only going to have a feel good year why would we not bring back one of the most loved lakers ever?


  25. fair read full article


  26. Craig W: Thanks for the response. “having him unhappy” And who made the scientific conclusion that he would be unhappy? I think Mike D’Antoni is basically unhappy in his job. Does that carry any weight?
    “his leadership qualities really helped them” They would have helped us too. I think we lacked leadership last year. Clearly.
    “To simply say if he is valuable to OKC, then why was he not equally valuable to the Lakers is a false equivalency.” I am not saying that. I am saying he was MORE valuable to us, He had a championship history with us, we had recently had significant turnover in our team and he was a constant, and he was the second man on the planet who could relate to Kobe. So those are good reasons why he is more valuable to us than them.
    In any case – he is gone – and we finished last year with Darius Morris (who never played), Steve Blake who would possibly have been amnestied if not for MWP, and Steve Nash (who is borderline a boat anchor contract at this point).
    Point guard is not a strength for us and Fisher now backs up perhaps the best in the league – I find that interesting. This is not the only thing I find interesting. I also find it interesting that 3/4 of Laker nation question our coaching, and we had the opportunity to sign either the greatest coach of all time or the top rated rising young coach. I also find it interesting that a billionaire refuses to get a haircut and buy new clothes. These are simply things I find interesting : ) Sad – because am a Laker fan – but “interesting” nonetheless : )


  27. Shaun: 2 years ago when I started a year long lobbying campaign to obtain DH, the issue that always came up was Orlando’s “boat anchor” contracts, of which Hedu was one. I said at the time that I thought we could actually use him, but most people looked at him as an unwanted liability. In any case, whether it was me and others (who wanted DH) or people who did not want the Orlando package, we all only even considered Hedu as a vehicle to get DH. The fact that you and others are making a case (and I am not saying it is unreasonable) to simply pick up Hedu out of our own free will – well – I can only say – wow – that puts things in perspective.
    “Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end” Black Sabbath


  28. While he brought some contributions to the floor, Fisher had become (mostly) a liability on the court and remains one for most of the minutes he plays for the Thunder. *That* is the biggest factor here. I too miss his leadership, but it’s not as easy as demoting him and still getting the benefits of that leadership. Maybe it works out that way, maybe it doesn’t. I’m guessing the guys making that call had reasons to think they made the right choice.


  29. Robert,

    The bottom line is that without Harden and Westbrook, OKC got zapped in the second round, no matter how inspirational Fisher may be. There might be a marginal value to Fisher’s leadership, but you have said many times that you are mostly unconcerned about the value at the margins. You miss Fisher–but that is not the same thing.