Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Heat

Darius Soriano —  December 25, 2013

First off, Merry Christmas to those that observe the holiday, a Happy Holidays to those that are celebrating a different one, and happy Wednesday to the rest of you. At least, I hope, you have a day off and are with some family and enjoying a good meal with a libation (or two) of your choice.

The Lakers are back in action as they always are on this holiday, hosting the powerhouse Heat. I’m past complaining about the Lakers playing on this day — I understand why they’re always scheduled and while I wish they’d get the holiday off just once, I know it’s not happening anytime soon. That said, this day is always one of travel and family time for me and while basketball will always play a big part in that, it will still just be a part. Just like the gifts and catching up with those that are close to me are a part of this day.

In any event, today a game will be played and I’ll be watching. As mentioned at the top, the Heat are visiting and while they have the advantage of being the better team they also have the advantage of being the visiting team. I’ve always thought the home team was at a distinct disadvantage on the Christmas day games. Most of these players have families and commitments outside of basketball and while getting on the court to play this game is their job and livelihood it must be balanced against the rest of what is going on in their lives. Those things require time and attention just like the game-plan and while the visiting team has those commitments as well, it’s a different equation when you’re on the road where your family and the gifts and all that come with this day are probably in a different place.

This isn’t to say the home team doesn’t have some variables working in their favor. They are, after all, playing a home game. Their home crowd will be supporting them and they get all the other comforts and familiarities of home with them. If the Lakers have one thing going for them in this game, it’s that. They are a much better team at home than they are on the road and part of that is due to the fact that they rely heavily on role players to perform at their absolute best to win games. Today will be no different in that several of the Henry, Johnson, Meeks, Young, Williams, Hill, and Farmar group will need to play at a high level if the team is supposed to win.

Speaking of Farmar, yes, he will be back for the first time since tearing his hamstring in early December. Mike D’Antoni said he will play the point guard in “bursts” of minutes to account for Farmar’s conditioning (or lack thereof), but whatever minutes he can give will be a major plus. Not necessarily because I expect him to be sharp in his first game back in nearly a month, but simply because he can soak up minutes at a key position that the Lakers have been filling with guys who are not really comfortable playing that spot. When Farmar is in the game — and he will start the game — every Laker flanking him will slide back into a more normal role and can concentrate on what he does best. Young, Meeks, and Henry won’t have to bring the ball up and initiate the offense and can go back to simply looking to score. Hill, Sacre, and Kaman can return to simply setting screens and diving hard to the rim rather than being guys who have to be playmakers from the high or low post. And on and on it goes.

Ultimately though, what this game will come down to isn’t really about Farmar but more about whether or not the entire team has it in them to play up to the level that the Heat will surely bring. I don’t need to get into what Miami does well or how they do it — they are the defending champs and have the best player in the league as a pillar of their attack on both sides of the ball. They will be ready to compete and would like nothing more than to put on a show for the national TV audience while dispatching the Lakers at the same time. The Lakers, then, will need to play their best basketball just to keep the game close and then need to take their respective games to an even higher level if they hope to win. The odds of them doing this are low (especially when accounting for the strengths of their opponent), but this is why they play the game.

In the end, I hope the team can achieve this, but I won’t let it ruin my day if it doesn’t happen. Like I said at the top, this game will always matter to me, but it’s one part of a day that matters to me for more reasons than being able to watch my favorite team play a game. With that in mind, enjoy this game as best you can and maybe at the end we’ll have the gift of victory. That would make this holiday especially sweet.

Darius Soriano

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85 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Heat

  1. I’m trying to see if my 1st post magic still works. I couldn’t possibly be 0-2 for 2 straight games now can’t I?

    Go Lakeshow!

  2. Perspective. Its what every Laker fan needs at this point. While we would all like to go 82-0, this is not the season to expect such. This is not the season to be screaming at your TV sets expecting your Lakers to kill everything on its path.

    The 2014 plan has been a myth. Moreso now that Kobe has signed big money for 2 more seasons after this one. However, the flexibility it offers can surely help. We might not add our 2 superstars by next summer, maybe just one. Question is who?

    The timing of this game as a Christmas day game is not basketball-sound, Pacers/Heat would’ve been better, but this is a money-making broadcast/game.

    I wonder how you fellow Laker fans think about Chris Bosh possibly joining us next year? Much has been said about Lebron and Melo, but only few have mentioned of the possibility of Bosh leaving that team after he’s won 2 or 3 championships when this season is over. The Heat cannot give him the $$ he seeks, but we can. We can also give him a coach that would maximize his strength as a rangy forward, and he could be a very good compliment to what we already have in Kobe.

    Just think about it, even for just a pipedream scenario. The Lakers have little of its 50M left, something like 26.5M left. We could use 22 on Bosh, 5 on Hill and we got ourselves a frontcourt that would fit MDA’s style. We would still need to settle Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson to round out our starting unit but thats all possible since their cap holds are the veterans’ minimum. In this scenario, Steve Nash would be asked to retire and or be amnestied using the stretch provision to create the space needed to fit in Farmar and Wes’ next contracts.

    Farmar, Bryant, Johnson, Bosh, Hill. That squad can win alot of games.

  3. I’m a big NBA fan, so when the Christmas games were announced in the pre-season, it bought a smile to my face. However now that the time has come…not so much. Between injuries &/or just plain bad play, the Bulls – Nets & Knicks – Thunder games have lost luster for me. Anything near competitive by my Kobeless & seriously point guard challenged Lakers vs the Heat would be considered a great Christmas gift.

    Which means only the last two games, Rockets – Spurs & Warriors – Clips may live up to pre -season hype. To all enjoy, and be safe.

  4. Merry Christmas to you all and to the Lakers good night.

  5. merry christmas to you darius and your family on this special day. special in that you and your loved ones are in good health and content in knowing that friends and family are what hold our lives together. cheers to fellow bloggers and posters that also tie this blue and gold forum together, that, over time has formed a strong bond.

    to the lakers, here’s hoping kobe makes a healthy and triumphful return as scheduled; same for steve blake and in the spirit of giving good thoughts; steve nash as well. good to hear that farmar will be starting today’s game versus the heat from miami. so much will be made of the fact that this year’s laker christmas debut will be made up of faces unfamiliar to the casual fan and yet will see an effort that will leave an impression that with great effort, anything’s possible. with today’s laker team, effort is keynote and should be foremost in our minds as laker fans.

    let’s all just sleep good tonite.

    Merry Christmas

    Go lakers

  6. “I was an idiot last night. I was out of my mind. I was ticked off,” D’Antoni said after Tuesday’s practice. “We didn’t play well. That was a game that we could’ve won and we didn’t do it. So I said some stuff I shouldn’t have said. That’s it. I just made a mistake.”
    —-

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mike-d-antoni-apologizes-for-criticizing-lakers-fans-225800131.html

  7. http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/10192263/mike-dantoni-los-angeles-lakers-apologizes-comments-fans

    ESPN recap etc.. as per rr’s links – didn’t see your post till i thru mine in the queue.

    Not sure about if Lakers really need/want Bosh – being in Canada I’ve seen every game he’s played in a Raps uniform (Raps games being broadcasted everywhere – can’t escape them) and he’s the equivalent of Pau in Memphis – ie – a good player on bad/average teams who is much better playing behind/alongside an alpha dog. If Kobe was 100% i’d say go for it – but if it was the current situation, Bosh isn’t enough to carry a team, he doesn’ dominate/will his team to wins ala kobe, lebron, dirk even, etc.. if Bosh was on this team replacing pau, he’d be getting his numbers but the Lakers record wouldn’t be that much better. Don’t be fooled by his team success in Miami – i like him as a person – but he’s a softer player/not a leader on his own

  8. @Warren – just a quicknote that projected salary cap for 2014-15 is about 62.5-63 million so depending what happens with Nash
    A. if he stays and can start/play at high level= Lakers have 25+ million in space
    B. if he is medically retired = Lakers have 35+ million but now need a quality starting pg of some kind
    c. if he is amnestied Lakers have 32 million (they would have a cap hold of 3 million per year for next 3 years as per Larry Coon on ESPN) and still need a decent starting pg

  9. To all of those within my FB&G family who celebrates the holiday, Merry Christmas.

    It’s unfortunate that a team such as Indiana, who gave Miami a run for their money in last years playoffs and who happens to have a rising star in Paul George, won’t be featured in today’s Christmas games.

  10. Above note about salary cap was mine –

    here’s the ESPN recap of MDA’s mea culpa
    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/10192263/mike-dantoni-los-angeles-lakers-apologizes-comments-fans

    As for the Bosh suggestion – I’d just be careful about wishing for him – seen way too much of his game in Canada here (can’t get away from Raps games if you try :P ) and don’t be fooled by his team success in Miami. He’s the TO version of Pau in memphis – good player who will put up numbers on a bad/ave team and not really go anywhere – but who excells when playing behind an alpha dog ala Lebron/Kobe. Prob is – can Kobe be that player anymore because Bosh shys away from carrying the team when it becomes really hard slogging and can’t put a team on his back and will it to victory over any extended period of time. If you put him on this very team replacing Pau – you’d be seeing a very near similar record. He’ll get his numbers but that win total won’t be moving much. I like him as a person and he is very skilled – but he’s not a max player in the vein of Lebron/kobe/or even healthy D-wade and would hate to see the Lakers load up on this guy w a max deal that extends far beyond Kobe’s. Mind you, while a Melo/Kobe team would make for interesting soap opera – he’s not going to win you anything and i wouldn’t want to see that contract either on the Lakers books beyond a year or two.

  11. Give me a W. That is all.

  12. Midway through the first and we see, in just a few short seconds, why the so-called “casual fan” has to be disgusted with this league. Xavier Henry for the seventy-fourth time this year gets absolutely abused by a Heat defender on a drive, with no call, then, on the other end, James gets a foul call on a touch. I’ve always hated the “superstar” treatment.

  13. It’s still early, but they are fighting pretty hard and making my prediction look terrible. Get a W Lakeshow!!

  14. Heat playing with little energy…toiling with the Lakers…we can win this!!!

  15. Kelly has looked good in his limited opportunities this year and has so far today. Would like to see more time for him if he can keep hitting 3′s.

  16. Young looking like a scrub today.

  17. Interesting xmas unis – its like watching nfl players doing dryland training w underarmour tops. That or someone shrunk a college team’s unis.
    Good to see the Lakers came to play tonight. Effort and energy is good.

  18. Please dont talk about Bosh on the Lakers, make my stomach turns.Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

  19. Even if this ends being a L good to see that the guys showed up to compete if they keep this effort up all game

  20. Close out the &#^&! quarter with some energy! Total defensive nap time

  21. Bosh is a younger Pau.

    Overrated and overpaid

    Soon as Pau comes back the game falls apart.

    Really painfully watching Gasol.

  22. Bleah Pau getting exposed by bosh. He just can’t defend Bosh or anyone w quick foot speed and can’t rotate back to protect the rim. If miami stays smalish/speedy – Hill needs to play rest of game if they want to keep it close

  23. It’s about to get ugly.

  24. Right on cue Bosh looking like a million bucks. And Pau might be overpaid now but back in the day he was one of the best big men in the entire world and on his prime was light years better than Bosh will ever be.

  25. Considering poor half by Young and poor D by Pau I for one am pleased with the effort.

    Another no show for Kamen puzzling. Oh well.

  26. I hate the miami heat but that bounce off the backboard pass to lebron for the dunk was amazing.

  27. Lakers are 6-20 in the first half from 3. They’ve got to take the ball to the hoop. It’s that simple. Jordan Hill has been a monster. They should play him more in the 2nd half. He could be a difference-maker.

  28. How could someone walk with no limp at all with a fractured knee?

  29. Good start to the 3rd boys! Don´t let up defense!

  30. Pau Gasoline has become a really poor player.

  31. Williams and Johnson are not that good…against good teams..need to upgrade from those 2 players…

  32. good thing Young finally warmed up
    as Darius noted, a win would surely be a sweet gift today, so, GO DEFENSE!!!!

  33. Van Gundy with the constant hyperbole regarding the quality of Laker players. Hill wouldn’t be a rotation player for the Heat? Farmar? BS

  34. Kelly playing better D then I expected.

  35. it´s good to see him (Kelly) getting minutes

  36. Henry can’t handle the ball Mike. Meeks and him not good.

  37. Playing hard, but turnovers are killing us this game. Farmar has been terrible in his return.

  38. Farmer 1 for 6 with 5 turnovers .

    Very rusty.

  39. Wow Gasol is just walking and not doing anything in the game. How is he completely neutralized when Miami doesn’t even have a true center?

  40. This team will not make playoffs with this Pau at center. Stands and watches often.

  41. I’m so frustrated with gasol. It seems he can’t even move his feet and he can’t jump. If we want to make the playoffs, we trade him. If we want to tank, then we keep him. So what do the Lakers want to do?

  42. well, rr & Mid called it right yesterday, close but no cigar
    Merry Christmas to everyone, peace y´all

  43. Free throws, turnovers and bad PG play again story for another Laker loss .

    Glad Mitch made the great move to pick up Marshall.

    Does this franchise really want to win this year?

    At least they didn’t get embarrassed,

    12 place in West.

  44. Frustrated at Pau, useless all game.

    Bench were doing great and then Pau came back in, then Bosh starting to look like an all star in the 2nd quarter. 4th quarter it goes, and Pau came back in again, DWade was roaming all around the paint while Pau watching.

    Geez…

  45. Gary they keep him and pretend they want to make the playoffs. I really think they want to go the lottery route and Kobe has a great excuse for not making the playoffs with missing half of the regular season games.

  46. well, third quarter one-on-one defense of Lebron by Swaggy P was fun. good job Nick, i hope you stick.

  47. Pau has no lateral movement, has never been a jumper, and has never been good at boxing out a fire hydrant. What happened is no surprise. He has been a very good #2, but has never excelled as #1 and now is seeing his average athleticism deteriorating before our eyes. Warren is correct.

    We really didn’t stand much of a chance of winning this game, but we certainly didn’t quit and kept competing to the very end. Comparing this team to the Knicks and Nets, I am thankful for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak. I don’t know how many of these players will stay with the Lakers next year, but I do feel we are doing the right thing right now.

  48. I’m disappointed that we lost but I’m very pleased with the effort. So…I have a question: If the Lakers played this hard tonight against the NBA Champions, why can’t they bring it every night?

  49. Expected loss but the Heat had to work for the Win. The show Swaggy P put on Lebron on the 3rd quarter was something to behold. I dont remember anyone hitting so many shots like that in Lebron’s face. That was so ugly ( for Lebron) but beautiful for me and it make my holiday. We need to keep Nick Young he is a keeper and he loves the Lakers.

  50. Mid-Wilshire thats a question in the category of “are we alone in the universe?” Nobody really knows.

  51. I would have played Jordan Hill more than 24 minutes. And I thought that Farmar–with 32 minutes (and understandably) still very rusty–should have played fewer than 32…in fact, under 25.

    But my big frustration is with D’Antoni’s use of his bigs. Think of it: in 24 minutes, Hill gets 9 pts., 10 rebounds (4 on the offensive glass), 3 blocks (with 2 sensational back-to-back blocks on Chris Bosh), and 3 steals. He may not be Bill Russell, but he is far and away our best interior defender. And in this game, it showed.

    Today Pau was a sieve. Hill was a monster. And yet in crunch time–in a close game–Hill is on the bench. Can some one explain that to me?

  52. I was at the game!! Whoopie!!! It was a BIG psych VICTORY on the level of Ali’s Rope-a-Dope. When we get in the finals POUND POUND POUND! With a nuclear Kobe explosion (when Young isn’t dominating all by himself).

    I was surprised Kelly came in for Pau. But NO ONE was boxing out!

    Glad Lebron thinks he could have won that without the aid of the refs. I hope he feels that good when we see them in the NBA Finals.

    Until then Faith hasn’t put it in the popcorn machine and I am glad to have this psychological victory!

    GOOOOooOOOOOO LAKERS!!!!

  53. Has anyone noticed how young the Lakers have suddenly become? With Kobe, Blake, and Nash injured and Kaman in the dog house, Pau is the only player over 28 who’s getting any minutes.

    Players who have been getting some burn of late are the following (with their ages):

    X Henry — 22
    R. Kelly — 22
    Sacre — 24
    J. Hill — 26
    W. Johnson — 26
    J. Meeks — 26
    J. Farmar — 27
    S. Williams — 27
    N. Young — 28
    P. Gasol — 33

    And to think that last year, we were referring to this as an old team.

  54. That’s great Mid. Not one of those guys plays for Clippers or GS game now on. That entire list is a 8th or 9th guy. Lakers get zip for Bynam/ Howard move and give away 2 drafts for 38 year old Nash.

    Suns,clips, Blazers and GS all got younger and better. Lakers not so much.

  55. I really get disappointed when people talk about the middle to late end of the draft as if it will save us from this situation. The last meaningful pick we made was #19 Javaris Crittenton and he was part of the deal that got Pau.

    Nash was a calculated risk that did not pan out. If any had predicted he would break down this way I commend your future view. That along w/ Kobe’s injury and Pau’s decline. Wish we had more perspective than being fair weather fans.

  56. People have bad bile because Jerry Buss had the termidity to die and Phil Jackson didn’t get the coaching job. It all flows downhill from there.

    I agree, Warren, it gets tiring when people can’t accept where we are and lament that we couldn’t just get better by waving our magic wand – we’re the Lakers ain’t we? The CBA was targeted at teams like us and we have to rebuild under this CBA, not the previous one.

    I’ve lived through the Lakers of the 60′s where we could get to the finals, but not past the Celtics, the 70′s where we couldn’t get to the championship after Wilt left, the 80′s where everything we touched turned to gold (along with the Celtics), and the 90′s where we couldn’t get back to any finals round. We do better than most, but nothing is immediate. Enjoy the ride – there will be another one next year.

  57. Craig

    Couple of thoughts .

    Lakers with their new Cable deal make more money then any NBA team. Court side seats are the highest in the NBA. Neither of those existed during the times you alluded to.

    Clips for example have one 1st rounder. The rest came way of FAA or trade.

    Spurs have not had one in 16 years.

    West managed to go our and get Iggy , Boget and Lee.

    Perhaps the issue is bad management decisions the past 3 years since they had more funds then anyone else to play with.

    Seems easier to make excises then examine the facts sometimes.

  58. Anonymous, a certain point caught my attention. You actually commend the Warriors for being stuck with David Lee and Andrew Bogut’s contracts? Lee is a good post option with range, he’s good. But that contract is too rich. Bogut? He just got a wonderful extension for a guy who can not complete a full season without missing alot of games.

    That Bogut and Lee contracts will be getting heavier by the minute when the Warriors lose players left and right via free agency, or when Klay and Barnes need to get paid in a couple of seasons.

  59. To add to the point I made above, the Thunder collected lots of high picks to a certain point that they had to choose between Harden and Ibaka. I wish they could make the same choice now. But that was a very good team they accumulated UNTIL its time to pay the guys… in this case, they are going to need to decide which guy to keep.

    Warriors did well snagging Iggy last summer. But I question that move along with Bogut’s extension when it comes time to pay Barnes and Klay, 2 of whom are alot more valuable than Bogut in 2 seasons. That extension and deal to get Iggy will come to bite them in the behind.

  60. Craig W. … you stated :
    Pau has no lateral movement, has never been a jumper, and has never been good at boxing out a fire hydrant. What happened is no surprise. He has been a very good #2, but has never excelled as #1 and now is seeing his average athleticism deteriorating before our eyes. Warren is correct.

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! I hate when people make statements but have no idea what they are talking about. Pau has played a lot of basketball, you forget he had many international seasons for the Spanish national team. You need to watch some young Pau…Marvelous player. Funny because he was the one @ Memphis for years put them on the map. Average athleticism, never could jump…huh? Had you ever seen Pau play before he became a Laker?
    Funny because they used to throw Alley-Oops to him all the time and he ran the floor like a gazelle.

  61. LordMo, not to harp on the issue but yes we’ve all seen Pau as he 1st came as a Laker and years prior to that. Pau has never been a jumper, but he had (a little bit of) athleticism and height and reach to cover for this. He has never been the guy you threw a wild pass to, catch mid-air and just slam it like Blake Griffin. Never.

    Pau Gasol is a Euro big. Surprise, he’s from Spain. The training back in the 80s and 90s then was for bigs to run the pick and roll, be able to make plays with the ball. This is the reason why Pau has sufficient handles, great with deciding what to do with the ball in the high post and has a decent jumper. His quickness then (which should be the main issue here) was pretty good for a 7-footer thats why he can be so creative with the ball, add that to his high IQ and just good grasp for the game. This is why Pau will always be the best power forward in Lakers history.

    The contrast that I’d like to clarify is jumping and strength has never been Pau’s strong suit. Its his handles, quickness and ability to create plays for his teammates that make him so great. This season, thanks to being 33yo and a slew of injuries, he has lost his quickness and athleticism. Thats why he is now less-creative with the ball, and thus he is no longer a dominant scorer like he was before.

  62. Im sick and tired of the inncesant whinning like is a surprise we are 12th and critizicing the FO bc they havent made a dramatic game changer move that catapult the team to be a championship unbeatable team. We all knew this team wasnt going to be a great team, the team is a fringe playoff contender healthy or not, THATS IT. I wonder how long all those histeric whinning fans have been Lakers fans. All this is a cycle. In all honestly i dont expect the Lakers to be contenders for another 3-5 years, i see this season for what it is, an audition to see who is worth keeping after the rebuilt starts in force next season. I been a Lakers fan long enough to see a couple of long droughts thru. Im not worried im not panicking. I saw Magic Johnson gets replaced by Sedale Threath. The team eill return to its former status but not tomorrow like the histerycs here wants. People need to get a grip.

  63. About trading Pau unless there is sonething worth having in a trade(picks and expiring contracts) i would not trade him, let him finish his contract and offer him a greatly reduced one, if he wont accept it let him walk. Outside of Kobe, Pau has logged a ton of basketball miles, people forget that once he was good enough to win 2 of those thing you know, championships and in my book he was the 2010 Finals MVP, his trade value is low right now so trade him for what? Garbage? This team needs to stay put roster wise unless we could trade for KD for Robert Sacre, Shawne Williams and Marshall lol. No need to make any trades, ride the roster until the season is over and we end up wherever we end up standings wise.

  64. @WWL “Nash was a calculated risk that did not pan out. If any had predicted he would break down this way I commend your future view. That along w/ Kobe’s injury and Pau’s decline.”

    C’mon Warren, …. plenty posters stated at onset Nash trade was incorrect FO decision. Nash was too old, had pre-existing back condition and trading away draft picks was a wrong move. Many posters stated Lakers would have been better off resigning Ramon Sessions than giving up draft picks and salary cap space to a washed up Nash. (Many posters now think its best for Nash to retire allowing Lakers to receive medical salary cap exemption.)

    Gasol? Many people noted his obvious decline last year. Pau’s slippage doesn’t surprise nor did it take keen insight to observe.

    Kobe? A rack of posts said FO over paid in his extension. People felt Kobe consumed more salary cap than his future contributions warrant. Folks said it was in the Lakers best interest for their goals to assemble championship roster that Kobe accept a contract similar to Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitski.

    What’s done is done, FO decisions will be assessed by teams performance during the next 2 seasons. The over arching question is whether Lakers will challenge for championship?

    TBD.

  65. Fern, I like your perspective and I believe its the right one to carry. We differ a bit in the methodology but we are in agreement with the attitude needed to finish this season.

    This season is a huge pass. Its a bailout, cop-out, a freebie of sorts… we are not expected to be world beaters. Instead, we’re looking to make our “next team” with what we see on the floor right now. Its sad that we couldn’t make a team WITH Kobe just yet, but he has indicated he will not tank the season. As Fern said, ” we end up wherever we end up standings wise.”

    However, this is how we differ:

    As we are actually looking for our “next team” its best that we move forward with pieces that we don’t intend to keep beyond the year. This is where Pau becomes a dilemma. I am not suggesting we trade Pau Gasol for the heck of it, I am saying we do it if we land pieces that maybe part of the “next team” … something that will deal with fit, scheme and how we intend that future team to actually look like.

    Lets examine closer, based on the players that are under contract, Kobe, Nash and Sacre are locks to be part of next year’s team. Nick Young has a player option. Since Nash is unhealthy, it will depend on how this year forms out for him. If he’s too sick to continue, he retires. He shaves his 9.7 million off our books next year and add it to our cap space. If he is partly healthy and won’t retire, he then becomes either a player we play or we waive via the stretch provision. He then comes off the books for 2/3 the salary and thus will occupy 3.2 million of “cut salary” and the rest becomes cap space.

    2014 salary cap (estimated): 62.5M according to Larry Coon and Eric Pincus

    2014 payroll (w/ Nash and Young): 35.3M :: Cap: 26.8M
    2014 payroll (w/o Nash and Young): 24.4M :: Cap: 38.1M
    2014 payroll (w/o Nash and w/ Young): 25.6M :: 36.9M
    2014 payroll (Nash stretched w/ Young): 28.9M :: Cap: 33.6M
    2014 payroll (Nash stretched w/o Young): 27.6M :: Cap: 34.9M

    So whichever path we take, we are expected to have 26.8M to 38.1M.

    Cap Holds:
    Pau Gasol: 20.250M
    Jordan Hill: 6.650M
    Jordan Farmar: 0.915M
    Xavier Henry: 0.915M
    Jodie Meeks: 2.015M
    Chris Kaman: 3.819M
    Steve Blake: 7.600M
    Ryan Kelly: 1.016M

    In using the least possible cap scenario which is 26.8M, keeping Jordan Hill before his next contract means deducting 6.65M from this amount. Pau Gasol occupying 20.250M simply erases everything. Unless he signs elsewhere or we sign him to a new contract, his rights would have to be renounced anyway.

    In my proposed methodology, I want the Lakers to “accept 2014 salary” but not beyond it. You only take salary beyond 2014 if the player is worth keeping beyond.

    This move will allow us to have holdover players and have big money in 2015. Of course thats too far away to be able to predict what will happen.

    Hope this helps.

  66. Fern, once we stop complaining about where we are, it is really fun to watch this team play basketball. No… we lose more than we win, so far, but I enjoy watching the athleticism of decent basketball players give their everything, regardless the situation, just to get better and show their worth. The unique part of this is that they truly play as a team, not a group of one-year rentals looking for their next contract. The fact that there are so many of them and they are all buying in is where the coaching comes in.

    We have next summer and further into the future to argue about the front office and all the money the Lakers are supposed to spend – ok, I get it. But, this is my favorite sport and this is my team. I love this ride, even if it isn’t the biggest roller-coaster in the country.

  67. Mid Wilshire -
    Totally agree. Love the energy the team has been playing w but mystified by Dantoni’s use/misuse of bigs.
    You mention Hill, who always plays great.
    To add to Hill’s under-use, check this out :
    On Sunday:
    Kelly 16 min 1 rebound
    Williams 15 min 5 rebound
    Kelly and Williams combined
    7 points
    6 rebounds
    31 minutes
    2-6 shooting
    0 steals
    0 blocks
    1 assist
    Kaman 0 min
    Last week Kaman had 17 rebounds in 28 min and played great defense.
    Even if Kaman doesn’t request a trade before this year’s deadline, he definitely won’t want to return to play for this coach next year.
    I can’t fathom how Kupchak/FO is allowing Dantoni to undermine the pickup of a very serviceable player like Kaman to the clear detriment of the team.
    There’s no advanced metrics you can show me that can justify this. Especially when our interior D is always in need of improvement.

  68. Not Sunday. I meant Christmas Day stats on Kelly/ Williams.

  69. This is not a good team. The heat were playing anywhere from 50-75 % of their potential the entire game. To compare the effort of the lakers to the heat as an actual measuring stick of talent/ability is flawed.

    To the supporters of Jim Buss and Dantoni who take the time to complain about “whining” – I can only assume you’re happy with mediocrity. (I do not put Mitch in that circle because he’s really not in a position of influence. He works with what he has and does an amazing job.)

    I don’t fault the players on the team or the bad luck D’Anotni’s had, but even in yesterday’s game, there were several coaching errors – the most glaring being that Spoelstra calls a timeout after the Heat took a 5 point lead in the 4q after it was tied.

    Spolestra. Not D’Antoni.

    D’Antoni is not a good coach and was not a good choice. (He’s not a bad coach, just not a good one. He’s average. Great offensive skills but lacking in many other areas that makes a good coach.)

    Laker fans will suffer until Jim Buss figures it out. Jim Buss is not in an easy spot, but he’s clearly very skilled at making it worse.

  70. Its been rare Ive had time to sit down and watch a full game. I really enjoyed watching the Christmas game. My 1 year old son even managed to watch the 1st quarter before snoozing off. :p I’ve been fairly optimistic from the beginning of the year and watching this game I’m still fairly optimistic about this year. We got a lot of guys putting in quality minutes while they are on the floor. The ball mostly moves around and guys find good shots. MDA has gotten 100% of effort from the available talent the team has. It really is something that is enjoyable to watch.

    I think if you said a team composed of mostly of minimum contract guys being lead by a star on the decline few would predict a roughly 500 season. This leads to the most obvious question. Why focus on getting just 1 star who can go down with the injury bug. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to fill out the roster with high quality players at every position instead of a 2nd super star? With the mindset out there to get a few Superstars then surround with min salaries it looks like a vast opportunity is being lost on on attracting quality players priced in between the extremes.

  71. @ Trianglefan, let me make something clear to you, i been a Laker fan long enough to know that we cant win every year and after every period of sucess there is a period of decline and yes, mediocrity, it has happen after every era of Lakers championship, if you dont know that your not been a fan long enough. Even Dr Buss put some bad teams on the court. We all knew this team wasnt going to be that good and a championship is not a realistic expectation, if you still criying about MDA sucking and that Jim Buss is an idiot and this and that, its the se old tired whinning.

  72. Vasheed,
    David Stern made an informed decision to help ESPN focus on individual stars to bring in more basketball fans. At that time it was the colleges who dominated basketball news and football and baseball trumped both of them. His strategy worked, but now fans are focused on stars. It is hard to get a team full of good players to compete for a championship, with the rules set to somewhat protect the stars – i.e. the 2004 Pistons are an exception and even they had to get Rasheed Wallace.

    I would contend that the Spurs follow this model much more than most would want to admit, so I don’t really buy into the logic that you need two stars to win in this league. However, I am clearly in the minority. In any case, it takes a good front office to pick complimentary talent and the correct coach for that talent. Most front offices aren’t that good and, with fans clamoring for stars, settle for just making money. With the current CBA depressing salaries, it is even harder to get a team full of good players who don’t take more to move somewhere else, where they will be “the man”.

  73. I would contend that the Spurs follow this model much more than most would want to admit, so I don’t really buy into the logic that you need two stars to win in this league

    There is no formula, but the history of the league teaches us very clearly that getting superstars is the easiest way to win titles. This has been true in all eras, from the times of George Mikan to those of LeBron James. That is why you are in the minority–you are ignoring history and basic facts. The CBA will not change that.

    But don’t listen to me. Back in the 1990s, Jerry West made the comment that he would have been willing to throw his entire roster overboard, had it been necessary, in order to put Shaquille O’Neal in a Lakers uniform.

    The Knicks of the early 1970s, and the Pistons of the late 80s-early 90s were exceptions, in that they assembled extremely well-balanced, cohesive teams with 5-7 very good-near-great players. Other teams constructed like this in recent years have come up just short: the early 2000s Kings, and the 1990s Blazers and the 1990s Pacers. Many people believe that these teams came up short because the league rigged things against them so that the Lakers and Bulls could win, but these teams lost nonetheless.

    Looking at the league now, Indiana has taken a step forward in large part because Paul George has emerged as a Top-10 player, and Houston, known for having a very savvy, analytical FO, converted assets into James Harden, then used that as a base to get Dwight Howard.

    As to the Spurs, they are using a balance model at the moment, but you are missing a few key points:

    1. Duncan did have elite numbers last year.
    2. The Spurs caught a huge break when Russell Westbrook got hurt.
    3. The Spurs didn’t win–Miami did.
    4. The current Spurs team is having a lot of trouble with other West contenders–6 of their 7 losses, including last night when they had no answer for Harden down the stretch, have been against the teams that they will have to beat to make it back to the Finals.

  74. Perspective: People can have different perspectives and different opinions with the same facts. If someone posts inaccurate facts they should be corrected. If they post opinions and label them as facts, they should be corrected. If they posts opinions which differ from yours you can debate them at your option. What is usually not a good idea is to try to change other’s perspectives on the basis that they are irrational and the only rational way to look at the situation is my way. So – for example – prior to the season, how good we were going to be was somewhat of an opinion. At this point we have some facts, but it is still opinion as to what we will do from this point. The Lakers not being contenders is somewhat of a fact, but I guess someone could technically say that we could still win out from here for the title : ) Moving on to things that are clearly opinions: How did we get here? Was it bad luck? Was the CBA? Was it bad moves by the FO? Was it all of the above? More importantly from that the past is the future. What should we do if anything with Pau? Who should we keep? What FA should we go after? Should MD stay? Should we try to win now or coast for a couple of years? The answers are going to be filled with opinion and anyone who says that they have all the perspective is actually lacking it. Two people can have the exact same facts and have different opinions and it does not necessarily mean one of the two is irrational.

  75. Kevin Arnovitz wrote a long screed about Lakers fans and the current team after the Miami game, saying the same kinds of things we are seeing here–that Lakers fans should get behind this gritty band of good guys, stop with the “eternal kvetching” that “pollutes the whole experience”, and man, aren’t we lucky we don’t root for the Knicks or the Nets

    What Arnovitz and a few people here don’t seem to grasp is that fandom is a purely subjective thing, and it is therefore silly, as well as presumptuous, to tell other people how to have that “whole experience.” Also, Arnovitz is a Clippers’ fan, and amazingly, he fails to mention the Veto of the Paul deal as part of the reason for the Laker Fanbase’s angst. But that aside, I think Arnovitz would have a better NBA experience if he stopped lecturing Lakers fans, and I think some people here would have a better NBA experience if they focused more on the team and less on complaining about the complainers. So I guess we can call it even.

  76. So if someone doesn’t agree with you, they’re a whiner. It would be a lot easier to just post your opinion without trashing someone else. The patronizing tone here gets old. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from people who are old enough to know better.

    Age certainly does not correlate to wisdom here.

    And the post was far more nuanced than that – at least about D’Antoni.

  77. Good news. Painot going to Utah. Sick again. Kamen plays , lakers win?

  78. Driving texting bad. Meant Pau is not going to Utah. Still sick.

  79. I’m extremely tired of the patronizing and complaining comments from both sides of every argument here. This comment section used to be one of the best on the web simply because people could interact civilly without trashing each other’s ideas. It was also a place where a single person would make a comment or two and leave it at that since their opinion on a subject was known. Instead we have multiple commenters making the same points over and over again. I don’t care whether you support the front office or think they’re idiots. Say your point and let it stand on its merits. If I have to start deleting comments because they’re repetitive, I will. If I have to start deleting comments because they’re even slightly baiting, I will. If that means there’s only 5 comments in a thread, I really won’t care. It will just be how it is.

  80. darius: the expresson is, letting the inmates run the asylum could be a little extreme but every once in a while; reminders to rules #3 thru# 5, rule #8 possibly rule #9 and of course rule #10 should always be adhered to:

    10). Basketball is a game; don’t confuse it with the really important things in life.

    Know that often comments do not appear immediately as they can be held for moderation. Comments will be approved (if they meet with the above criteria) as soon as reasonably possible.

    And have fun. That’s why we’re all here.

    Happy New Year

    Go Lakers

  81. darius: if kobe’s recovery goes as planned, a good time to come back is sunday, february 16th, 2014; day of the nba all star game. currently leads all shooting guards in voting:

    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/nba-all-star-balloting-second-returns-announced

    Go lakers

  82. Craig W., Fern: Really appreciate your long-view perspectives. The first Laker game I attended I saw Wilt battle Walt Bellamy (great player) and the Hawks. A little kid became a Laker lifer. In the ensuing decades I saw a huge number of games live and during the Kobe/Shaq period I flew down from the Bay Area as often as I could to attend games at Staples. I’ve had more enjoyment, more glory from my team than anyone has a right to. The down cycles are just that; the organization has always found a way back to the top. The new CBA makes a return to a championship considerably harder, and certainly there is no guarantee that we can pull it off any time soon. So what! Right now I am hugely enjoying this group of athletic, young and developing players win unlikely victories and lose some they should have won. It’s awesome, man.

  83. @ Warren by audition i refer to guys like Wesley Johnson, Xavier even Ryan Kelly, im pretty sure, Blake,Pau, Hill and either Meeks or Nick young will be gone next year, i love to keep Nick Young, i like Meeks a lot but Nicks attitude and swagger is a plus to any team. And i like your plan and Craig this team it is fun to watch sometimes, other not so much, during those last 2 road losses, i barely commented bc i did not had anything nice to say im just baffled at bigs forgetting something as basic as doing a freaking box out night in night out and letting a 6’1 pg grabbing 11 rebounds. You dont read me complaining about MDA or calling Pau a bum or worse for the million time in the same thread bc i believe he contributed a lot to this franchise and he deserves at least our respect and if he moves on a big thank you. Last season that was really triying and i expressed my displeasure with the team a million times. This season im not suckered into that because this situation with the team right now is not new to me. Good thing this media wasnt as popular or accesible when Dr Buss grossly overpayed Luke, and he, Smush Parker and Kwame freaking Brown were starters on this team. People would be popping veins left and right. This situation? This is nothing. Time to step back regroup and come back on top again, all this happened before and will happen again.

  84. Thise teams with those 3 as starters were even more painful to watch because it was a waste of Kobe’s prime as the best player on the planet, and it wasnt even close. It took Kobe threatening to leave the team to shake the FO into action. Without Kobe those teams were 60 losses teams.

  85. Craig W,

    I Kinda get the superstar acquiring mentality. It is a spotlight opportunity to merchandise. But looking at this year’s Laker team compete makes me think if sifting through the min. salary guys that at some point the league saw some promise in and getting this kind of production. Then what could the Lakers do if they got a bunch of guys who fit in the system who were bonafide good players but not quite elites? The obvious contributors on min salaries go to whoever looks like they got a shot at the championship. The Elites can only be afforded by teams with gobs of cap space. These types of players there is tons of competition for. But in between theres not so much competition and when you are staring at rebuilding your entire roster this looks like a great option to me to get a lot of talent in stead of just getting 1 guy and trying fill in all the holes with shaky options. Watching this years Team has really focused my mind on a team construction outlook instead of just the headliners. Again really has been a pleasure watching this team.