Rumor Mill Churns Out Another Potential Gasol Trade

Darius Soriano —  February 3, 2014

Pau Gasol may have a strained groin, but his recent play (the Spaniard averaged nearly 21 and 12 in January) has him square in the middle of more trade rumors. This time, Pau isn’t headed East — well at least not too far — and will, potentially, land in Phoenix to play with the upstart Suns, per ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Sources told ESPN.com that the Suns, among the options being weighed as part of their well-chronicled desire to acquire an established player as they make an unexpected playoff push this season, have been exploring the feasibility of trading for the Lakers’ four-time All-Star.

One option for the Suns, by virtue of their $5.6 million in available salary-cap space, is swapping the expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor for Gasol, even though Okafor’s $14.5 million salary this season falls well shy of Gasol’s $19.3 million.

More from Stein:

The Lakers, though, have been adamant that they won’t part with Gasol merely for financial relief, even in a season in which they’ve slipped into the West’s bottom three at 16-31. Lakers officials refused to relent in their talks with Cleveland, convinced that they had other means to get below the luxury-tax threshold before the trade deadline and that Gasol still holds trade value.

Gasol responded by averaging 20.8 points and 11.9 rebounds in January. He’s expected to miss the next week because of strained right groin that’s not believed to be serious.

How much the Suns would be willing to add beyond Okafor to a potential trade for Gasol, in terms of young talent or draft compensation, remains to be seen. But Suns officials have made no secret of the fact that the team’s wholly unexpected 29-18 start — despite playing without the injured Eric Bledsoe for the last 17 games — has led to some revisions in their long-term planning.

Whether or not this deal happens, of note is that the Lakers continue to do their due diligence in seeking out value for their assets. Injuries have derailed any chance of a competitive campaign and even though Gasol has been playing fantastic ball (especially offensively), it has not affected the win-loss column at all.

Said another way, if the Lakers had actually been winning some games, they might find it better to hold onto Pau and see if a late push to try and grab a playoff spot was possible once the rest of the roster were healthy. But the team has slipped so far in the standings, even if they did make a push to close the year it is unlikely to net them anything more than a “good job, good effort” and a lesser quality lottery selection.

This leaves the Lakers in a position where they may, finally, be willing to cash out on Gasol’s value when it’s at its relative peak and try to get something back in return while they can. Any combination of salary cap relief and a draft pick would likely be considered a good haul by this front office when looking at their outlook for the remainder of the year and ahead towards the future.

Of course, like all things, the devil is in the details. And while this deal isn’t done and we would only be able to judge the final version once we have confirmed terms, there are two key parts of this rumored deal that deserve mentioning:

  • The Suns only theoretically own four 1st round draft picks in this upcoming draft. They certainly own their own and they own the Pacers. However, the pick they are owed from Minnesota is top 14 protected and, currently, the Wolves sit outside the playoffs and would not need to give up that pick. The pick they are owed from the Wizards is also top 14 protected, but as it stands now Washington is slated to make the playoffs and will give that pick this year.
  • This trade would save the Lakers money in two ways. First is that because Okafor makes less money than Pau, the team would pay out less salary this year and save the difference between the two players’ salaries in luxury tax payments. Second, because Okafor is injured, insurance has already started to pick up 80% of what he is owed this season so the Lakers wouldn’t actually be paying his full paycheck.
  • What this deal would not do is get the Lakers under the luxury tax threshold for this season. Another trade where the Lakers would have to “dump” about $3 million more in salary would need to be consummated to get under the tax line. This is doable, but, is not a given. The expectation would be, however, that the team would work to try and accomplish this.

I’d have more thoughts on Pau if this deal (or a version of it with the Suns or another team) were to come to fruition, but needless to say I’d have mixed emotions about seeing the Spaniard leave. He has long been one of my favorite players, not just on the Lakers, but in the league. Add to the fact that he genuinely seems like an even better person than he is a basketball player (which, considering his talent and production is saying something), and I’d miss him even more.

In any event, it looks like we are in full on “Pau trade watch” again. This isn’t new — it has been this way for years approaching the trade deadline — but I’d be lying if I said this time it didn’t feel a bit different. The Lakers have, essentially, zero hope of a post-season run and that changes the calculus on whether or not they should hold onto a player of Pau’s ability. Whether that finally tilts things in the favor of a deal getting done remains to be seen, but it sure does seem like this time something will happen.

Darius Soriano

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64 responses to Rumor Mill Churns Out Another Potential Gasol Trade

  1. I really like the Big Spaniard, a Laker thru and thru and i be sad to see him go if this trade happens but its time and the team needs comes first.

  2. (From the last thread):

    It would be nice to get any first-round pick possible, even the Pacers pick, which will almost certainly be at the end of the first round. However, I would really like to see them hold out for the Washington pick or (more likely) Phoenix’s own pick. Having two picks in this draft could be big, not least because of the possibility we might wish to move up, depending on where our own pick falls, and could use an extra asset to do so.

    Getting our own pick from 2015 back could be huge as well. If this is going to be a multi-year process — and it probably is going to be — then getting back what could well be a lottery pick next year (given that it’s only top-five protected, and given the reasonable possibility that we miss the playoffs in 2014-15) could certainly speed up the process.

    Let’s try to get back a second-rounder or two when we make the inevitable trade of Kaman for a TPE. We need to keep getting back assets, even replenishing second round picks. I hate to see Hill go in a similar deal — and maybe if Kaman leaves, Hill won’t have to — but if I could get a first-rounder or even two second rounders for Hill right now, considering that he’s likely to leave anyway, I’d probably do it.

  3. Assuming the Lakers make this trade, could the Lakers avoid the repeat offender penalty by waiving/amnestying Nash? If not, what options are available to get under the cap this year?

    I ask because I think getting under the cap this year or next is critical for the long term outlook of the franchise, particularly with respect to signing free agents that matter this offseason (unlikely), in 2015 (Love) or maybe even 2016 (Slim Reaper).

    I hate to see Pau go, but if it means getting under the cap, I am OK with it for the long-term.

  4. If the Lakers get a 1st round from the Suns… it will be the one they got from the Pacers(obviously the Wiz pick would be a “little” better). But that would still be a better pick than no pick. The scouts are probably having to work harder this draft than any before Kobe.

    Pau is a class act… and still have at least a couple years left as a starter and if he wanted to extend… he easily makes any bench.

  5. If I were the Heat, say, and I could get Hill for a #1 and some flotsam, would I do it? I think so. It would address some needs upfront, especially going up against the now Bynum-fortified Pacers..

  6. @manny – if they waive Nash – it still counts as a 3 mill cap hold spread over next 3 years. Would clear cap space but would still keep them from getting under – I think they’d still havea do a trade for3 mil any ways even if they do move pau just to get all the way under. Plus given that Nash is the only pg under contract for next year I think they’ll wait as long as possible to move him. Especially if he comes back healthy finally and they can flip him to a contender etc… For assests.

  7. Nash can’t be amnestied–he was signed after the CBA and also they already used amnesty on Metta.

    Also, the Lakers will be under the cap in the off-season anyway–I assume you mean the tax.

  8. rr – Don’t we need to get under the cap by season’s end to avoid the tax? Or how does it work? I always get mixed up, but the idea (I think) is to avoid the repeat offender tax.

  9. Wait. If they swap Pau straight over for Okafore and then dump Okafore, they save a few bucks but lose a pretty high quality center—very tough to replace. I wouldn’t trade Pau for less than two number one picks–unless they are top 5 picks. The suns have a number one pick at center now that has turned out to be a total bust—or they wouldn’t be looking to grab Pau. Can we talk Nash into retiring as a Sun and trading him back somehow? Nash has to be a big embarrassment to Jim Buss. If he retires, it clears the books for both parties and lets the Suns honor their franchise hero.

  10. Manny,
    Here’s a few points that should clear it up:

    *The luxury tax is roughly 12 million over the salary cap line.
    *The Lakers are currently over the luxury tax line by about 8 million.
    *The repeater tax is when you are a tax paying team 4 out of any 5 years.
    *This year would be the 3rd straight year (under this CBA) that the Lakers are a tax paying team.
    *Due to many simple mechanics of the CBA that happens when you renounce your own free agents, the Lakers are very unlikely to pay the luxury tax next season.

    Because the Lakers likely won’t pay the tax next year, getting under the tax line this year would amount to them resetting the clock on being a repeater tax team heading into the 2015-16 season. Financially, this is a big deal.

    The only way for the Lakers to get under the tax line this season — should this Pau trade happen as described by Stein — is to make a smaller trade this year where they shed at least 3 million in salary. There are several ways to do this, but the most logical involve either Kaman (3 million salary this year), Blake (4 million salary this year), or Hill (a little over 3 million salary this year). Trade any of those three while taking no money back in the trade and the Lakers shed the needed money off their payroll to get under the tax line (again, assuming the Pau trade happens as reported by Stein).

  11. rr,
    I’m surprised you think Pau could come close to netting two first round pics. He is probably worth one 17-25 pick.

  12. Rusty Shackleford February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    The Lakers have to do something with Pau before the trade deadline or they risk losing him for nothing to free agency. If there is a mutual interest between Pau and the Lakers the stay together they should have tried to work out an extension but that would probably entail Pau taking about half of what he is currently earning this year. Plus, being on the trading block for the last three years after helping deliver two, consecutive championships has probably eaten away at Pau’s loyalty to this franchise.

    They’re rebuilding. I’d rather put my faith in the scouting/FO with two first round draft picks this year than hear about the Lakers and Pau Gasol coming to a two-year; $24 million deal or even worse, seeing Pau Gasol sign with a contender at a discounted rate leaving the Lakers with nothing to show for it. Losing two talented bigs to free agency for nothing in consecutive seasons would be extremely depressing and certainly wouldn’t help the Lakers chances in competing for a title in Kobe’s final two seasons.

    Given all of the unknowns moving forward with the Lakers I’d prefer they maintain as much flexibility as possible. Two first round picks and an expiring deal to me gives the Lakers more flexibility than one first round pick and an expiring. I guess, though, if the Suns aren’t willing to part with any draft picks this trade scenario would probably stall just like the Bynum/Pau swap with Cleveland.

  13. Aaron, like most things, the value of any asset is relative. Pau provides more, statistically, than most players drafted 17-25 but also costs more than those players. Pau provides experience but has lost a step or two as a defender. Some teams don’t need Pau (Houston, Indy, Memphis etc…) other teams could really use him. This is where the value to PHX is worth thinking about. The Lakers are making a good play of saying that they would rather keep Pau than give him up for only cap relief. They have established that they are willing to work with him on a new deal (obviously for less than what he is currently earning) and were unwilling to part with him for Bynum. I also think that playing up the fact that trading Pau does not set the team up to get under the cap, another asset needs to be moved for that to happen, means that the Lakers aren’t really getting what they want out of a trade to PHX without getting a pick. How high that pick is a devil of a detail. I think the WAS pick is interesting as it has the best chance of being a slightly higher pick. Then again, the PHX pick is not going to be lost if the Wizards somehow lose Wall for a significant part of the season and drop into the lottery. So, the team needs to take all that into account. I’ll tell you this, we trade Pau now and you can bet on the Lakers getting one of the top-5 picks and I would put money on them falling well into teen percentages of a chance at the #1. For all the complaining people have done about Pau, he is a marvelous basketball player. He has won NBA championships and international tournaments. He is going to be in the Hall for his general contribution to the sport and I just hope he chooses to keep his time with the Lakers as a prominent aspect of his enshrinement. Whether with Team Espana, Barca or the Lakers, lots of great fans have been blessed to see him play.

  14. rr,
    I’m surprised you think Pau could come close to netting two first round pics

    Never said that. I would pull the trigger if PHX is offering their own pick, which they supposedly are.

  15. Thanks for the clarification Darius and rr.

    Question for folks: Assuming this comes to fruition and we get picks back, would you rather have a late 1st round pick in 2014 or the Lakers own 1st round pick for 2015?

    Personally, I think I would rather have our 2015 pick back.

  16. As much as I’d love to get an extra first-rounder this year, I think I’d rather have next year’s pick back because it’s potentially more valuable. And if we miss the playoffs next year too (sobering but realistic), that lottery pick could be even more important.

    Think of it this way: if we’re making a push for Love next year or whoever in ’16, what might help more to show that we are up-and-coming — a twentysometbing pick this year, or a lottery pick in ’15?

    (I know that’s a completely impossible question to answer. Just thinking down the road about the “selling LA to free agents” situation. It’d be especially weird if PHX becomes a competitor for Love.)

  17. MannyP: No way PHX gives us back our 2015 pick. It is potentially a #6 pick in that draft and I beleive it is unprotected the following year (if the Lakers get a top 5 pick in 2015). We’re getting a first hand view at how valuable draft picks can be.

  18. Trevor

    Picks are like blind dates. They look great from from a distance but you never know close up.

  19. Every once in a while i agree with Ko lol, the draft is a lottery in more ways than one. For every star that comes out of it you have at least 5 busts, does Anthony Benett rings a bell?Kwame? Oden? and on an on…. The highest the draft the higher chance you dont draft a bust and with the cases mentioned above its far for a guarantee. My expectations for a high draft pick this summer is that we get a serviceable player. If people are hoping the next Kobe or even the next Bynum they setting themselves up for dissapointment, that this is the best draft in the last 20 years? Pfft we’ll see i believe it when those kids don a uniform and start putting numbers…

  20. Ko,

    I love your analogy about draft picks being like blind dates. Some (OK…a few) are awesome. But some are psychotic or, worse, have bad breath. You just can’t count on them.

    Even so, I hope we get a top 5 this year.

  21. We are kind of like the drunk at 2:00AM in the bar – everything starts to look good. It is in the morning (i.e. next year) that we get to see what we went to bed with. Be careful putting all your chips on the draft.

  22. Knowing which picks would be better is not possible without knowing the plan. Are the Lakers going to “tank” again next year? Are we not going to tank but be content with being somewhere in the fringe playoff category? Do we have hopes of actually being good? Same questions for the following year. And ultimately when do we want to contend? What is our plan at coach? What about the system? So if you know the coach, the system, and the desired competitive level, you can then execute to specifics like what FA to sign and when, what picks to try to get, and then who to draft. If you do not know the plan it is speculative at best – not that it isn’t still fun to talk about. One thing should be clear at this point. Trying to put a bench mob together and then adding superstars on top of that – will not work. You may as well tank. Many were hoping that we would have a solidified “fun bunch” going into next year and that will clearly not be the case. See above: Pau, Hill, Blake, and Young are being talked about as yard sale material. Nash is a medical situation, and a couple of our others are just not desirable players. So we go into next year with MD, Kobe, Sacre, and Jodie Meeks and wahoo – we are a desirable destination for FA? Don’t think so – and didn’t think so at 9-10. Let’s either do a multi-year tank or bring in the top notch talent now. Thinking we are going to create some sort of an upstart group of over achievers will not work So let’s not do that again. We can see where our pick lands and who we get and allow that to help drive it. At this point, without knowing the plan, my vote would be to trade everyone worth anything except Kobe. Make our picks. Skip free agency this year. Let KB do his thing next year, and because nobody will be around him (no Pau), we will get another high pick. Then go after the FA in 15. I do not “Love” this plan, but hey – somebody already wrecked the car – I am just trying to tow it.

  23. One thing should be clear at this point.Trying to put a bench mob together and then adding superstars on top of that – will not work.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    Robert, why is that clear? (I must be dumber than I thought). I don’t think that’s exactly what the Lakers tried this year. Yes, they did try to put together a bench mob, but where was the “adding superstars on top of that” part; I guess I missed that. Instead, the team got wiped out by injuries in legendary fashion.

    If and when the Lakers make it back to contention it will be through a combination of drafting wisely, adding a top level FA (or two) and picking up players who will fill in the gaps. The 4th, rarely acknowledged factor will have to be a bit of (or a lot of) luck. This year the Lakers got one of those four parts right.

  24. Well Robert i read that the Lakers are going after Bledsoe hard this summer and if they get the chance they will draft that aussie kid exum, i dont know enough about exum but if they get Bledsoe that alone will improve the team enormously, that sounds like at least the intention to go on the right direction in line to make a splash in 2015. Im convinced that if Kobe decides to retire in 2016 the Lakers will go all out and break the bank to try to get him that 6th ring. I really doubt the Lakers will try to go after a superstar this summer its not worthy next summer is were we should make a move.

  25. Rusty Shackleford February 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I’d rather not analogize dating with how my favorite NBA team’s roster is built. I’m happily married thanks to the “Sex Panther” cologne I purchased. Also, I’ve had my heart broken by too many free agency acquisitions and draft picks alike.

    Although, Character, Ebanks, Morris & Goudelock are all gone, they were all 2nd round picks that the Lakers spent relatively no money on. The only 1st round picks the Lakers have had since Andrew Bynum were Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton and Tony Douglas. With Phil Jackson at the helm from 2008 to 2010 it could be argued that the Lakers were best served trading their draft picks as Phil was never going to develop a rookie. The Lakers front office has to know how valuable draft picks are with the new CBA. The Steve Nash acquisition was obviously a gamble that failed on multiple levels.

    That said, since Shaq who has been the best ($/production) free agent the Lakers have signed? Ron Artest, who came at $8 million a year and Steve Blake who came at $4 million a year. Ron, while he was a NBA finals hero in 2010, arrived a couple steps slower and never fulfilled the scoring responsibility that was expected. Blake has struggled with coaches systems and now can’t stay healthy.

    They say you always overpay in free agency. In my opinion this is because the market for a commodity with known returns will always cost more than any commodity with unknowns. There is risk in taking on medium-tier free agents as well. This risk comes with guaranteed money that draft picks don’t.

  26. Robert this year team is performing the way it is bc of a ton of injuries, not the FO, not even the coach. If this team was healthy im sure it would be between 7 and 9 place in the Conference in a playoffs race that was the plan, nobody tanked the injuries brought the tank.

  27. We are kind of like the drunk at 2:00AM in the bar – everything starts to look good.

    Nah. We are more like a guy who has lost his entire estate except for the classic, irreplaceable Aston-Martin that he just poured 100k into even though it isn’t running, and who is about to sell his 1972 Mercedes to his mouthy, nouveau riche neighbors.

    So, he is starting over by deciding which of the new cars to buy with the leftover money from the estate sale, since probably some day, a couple of them will be classics.

    Cutesy analogies aside, we don’t know whether Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, et al will be franchise guys, All-Stars, starters, rotation players or even busts. But drafting is not pure guesswork; there is information, both statistical and visual, that helps to project what these guys can do. The FO needs to gather that information and apply it. We do know that the current roster is not the answer to much of anything that involves winning the in NBA.

  28. R: The adding superstars would have theoretically occurred in future years. The point is that you can’t construct a bench mob, and keep it together for a couple of years and then add the super stars on top. The bench mob will not be held together that long without cohesiveness at the top. earlier this year the false hope was that we were establishing a 2nd string that would be able to be brought forward into the next couple of years, and from which a future could be built. With or without injuries, that was not going to be the case.

  29. Fern: Without the injuries, we “could” have possibly made the playoffs in a near perfect world. Then what? I agree- the injuries caused the tank. And next year? Do we want to finish 7-9 like you say? We will see what they come up with.

  30. I did not want to finish 7-9 but the plan was a reload thru free agency, like i said earlier in the season this was sort of an audition and despite everything we have discovered 2 or 3 players worth keeping, what the team need is build thru that, this remind me of when we got Pau we had a good not great team we werent winning jack that yeat just an ok run of the mill playoff team and the right move at the right time shoot this team like from a cannon to contender status. I know this is not the case at least this season but you have to have a foundation like that team had. I expect that after this season most of these players we have get jettisoned and having 1 or hopefully 2 first rounders a healthy Kobe and a player like the pg i mentioned earlier plus the 2 or 3 players that are worth keeping around would be a huge step fwd in the right direction. Tanking for multiple seasons thats fine if your the Milwakee Bucks or the Orl Magic or those teams. The Lakers have a huge demanding fan base and business deals that wont allow that sort of disgraceful thing to happen. The draft is useful but to rebuild theu the draft? For every OKC sucess story there are 10 Cleveland Cavaliers. The draft is a nice complement for the Lakers to rebuild not the main focus.

  31. Who says that no one wants to play with Kobe?

    …Exum recently declared for the draft and signed with Rob Pelinka — Kobe Bryant’s agent. The Lakers reportedly reached out to Luc Longley, one of Exum’s current mentors, to discuss the incoming draftee. Now, the Australian phenom says he plans on speaking with Kobe and wants him as a “mentor,” reports Jon Tuxworth of the Canberra Times
    ‘A reason why I signed with the agent I’m with is he has Kobe Bryant, and he’s been through this when he came into the NBA,” Exum said.
    ____

    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2014/2/3/5375244/lakers-2014-nba-draft-dante-exum-kobe-bryant

  32. Heck of a shot by Lawson in Clip game. 27 foot 3

  33. @rr
    I’ve watched a few videos of Exum now and his game is really starting to grow on me. He could learn quite a bit from Kobe- work ethic, footwork, shooting form, training habits. Hell, I’d really like to see him learn a few things from the GOAT PG though. (If we can convince Magic to quit drinking the haterade for a second that is…)

  34. We are more like a guy who has lost his entire estate except for the classic, irreplaceable Aston-Martin that he just poured 100k into even though it isn’t running, and who is about to sell his 1972 Mercedes to his mouthy, nouveau riche neighbors.
    -
    Great stuff rr
    best post ever

  35. I like this Dante Exum kid already.
    http://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-news-dante-exum-says-lakers-would-be-his-best-option/2014/02/04/

    Also, check MDA’s interview and his reaction when Dave McMenamin asked him a question regarding Kevin Love.

  36. Everyone is all of a sudden a trade guru. The lakers are in a little trouble. The first situation that needs to be fixed in the triangle between Phil Jeanie and Jim. It’s clear that Jim does not like Phil, Phil is engaged to his sister who is also part owner of the team, and there are conflicting philosophies, this isn’t discussed enough. The midnight call, Phil criticizing the Lakers in the media. The Lakers need to focus on a new direction, stop putting people in the headlines, stop looking for excuses, even if fully healthy with a healthy kobe bean bryant this was maybe a second round surprise team. As a fan, I’m sick of the product, as a fan of the team, I’m over it for the players and the rotations and injuries. As a Laker purist, I feel like we need to figure out who is the figure head of this team and what identity they will have. If we are keeping Jim buss and Dantoni is staying the coach then lets get rid of pau, start building a new roster with the hopes that kevin love and rajon rondo sign with us, or let Phil run the team with Mitch and bring Brian Shawn in to coach as he’s shown he can definitely do a better job then DAntoni. Gerald Green was on our D league team for a while, now he’s a star in Phoenix, Sasha Vujecic just signed a 10 day with the clippers, would have rather had him then Manny Harris. The Lakers are slackin and we need to fix Jim Buss’ ego and figure out the identity of the franchise again so we can all move on. It’s sad how gaping the leadership is right now with Kobe out and players like Fisher gone.

  37. There is also NO LEBRON JAMES, CARMELO ANTHONY, DWAYNE WADE, OR EVEN CHRIS BOSH caliber franchise players in this draft. You all give in to the hype machine but the players who truly deserve the hype like lebron, kobe, john wall, kyrie Irving, etc, etc are those who were taking over games at 16. I’ve watched the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Embid, Parker, NONE of them are franchise players or close to even an Anthony Davis or Blake Griffin Level. Andrew Wiggins might be great in 4-5 years and see him in a Rudy Gay mold unless he learns to play defense and Jabari Parker to me has the most potential, but I see his ceiling as a borderline all star. I don’t get the fascination with tanking. I really hope the Lakers are trying to get a lottery pick so they can flip it and get Kevin Love and an elite pg like eric bledsoe or rajon rondo quickly. Don’t sleep on Kobe signing a two year extension and playing with Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farman, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, Paul Pierce on vets minimum haha and robert sacre!

  38. Warren

    Very cool he hired Kobe’s agent.

  39. rr: Love that analogy! It fits perfectly.
    Fern: Couldn’t agree more with your last post.
    Right now the product that we are putting out there is certainly not NBA worthy – injuries made sure of that.
    People who are pushing for t___king as a strategy need to be very careful what they wish for.
    I’m really hoping that MK & the FO don’t overvalue Pau – we already let DH walk without getting anything & I’d hate to see the same thing happen with Gasol.

  40. Robert: Where in the world do you get this bench mob idea of a “long term plan”? C’mon bro, you you can be more creative than that if you are going to make stuff up.

  41. For those of you who prefer to look forward instead of backward:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/65726/recent-play-of-top-draft-prospects

  42. There is also NO LEBRON JAMES, CARMELO ANTHONY, DWAYNE WADE, OR EVEN CHRIS BOSH caliber franchise players in this draft.

    ————————————-

    In 2012 there was a D Liliard who was picked 6th. I’m not so sure he’s that far off D Wade quality. Some people think he’s on track to be a HOFer. My point is that time will tell; if the Lakers haul in a player of Damien’s quality I’ll be thrilled. I’ll buy Robert a drink or a Metallica CD or something.

  43. bigcity: nice link. I particularly like that Exum isn’t mentioned at all. If Pelinka keeps the kid on the down low, we just might get him. Plus, Utah is clearly all in on the tank and might be hard to catch. But here’s the potential silver lining: Jabari Parker is a Mormon, and if Utah picks ahead of the Lakers with say the 1st or second pick, a few guys might drop a spot or two because Utah makes a fan base pick.

  44. Robert: Where in the world do you get this bench mob idea of a “long term plan”?

    WADR, I think that you are forgetting both the tone and content of some of the preseason posts and early season posts, from a few people in particular. And if the team starts winning a few games with some of the guards back and playing, we will see some of those kinds of posts again.

    As I have said many times, predictions are overrated–make enough of them, and you are going to be wrong quite a bit. That is true for all of us. But Robert’s point all along has been that in his opinion, even if this team had played well, it would not have provided any kind of a foundation for the future.

  45. MannyP: I di not make that up, so please do not give me credit : ) I read about it. We were 9-10, MD was going to win COTY, we were going to make the playoffs, we were going to have a slew of guys retained for next year as the best bench ever (tons of diamonds found in the rough by the FO), and we were so fun we could not stand it. And “ALL” of it that would have been true – if not for injuries : )

    Kobe: Yes – I always thought the mentor/big brother type relationship would be appealing for a younger player. Sure did not work with DH, but perhaps I will be perfect for the draft pick(s).

  46. One of the issues if the Lakers Trade for Okafor and pick then follow up by trading away another player for a TPE is how depleted the roster will be. Teams are required to have at least 12 players on the roster I believe. Then at the moment the Lakers have I think 6 injured players. Some we expect back soon. But when you consider the Lakers would need to shave off at least 3million after trading Gasol they would need a little more cap room just to add a few d-league bodies to the roster to finish out the year.

  47. MannyP: I have a slightly amusing reply in mod.
    rr Well stated and thanks. I am making you my GM. Oh yea – you already are. OK then – I am making you my Executive Vice President in charge of Worldwide Basketball Operations. It means you answer to nobody except the win/loss column

  48. Robert: I meant it as a joke. I think I hit the post comment button too soon, ’cause I was going to add an extra line to make it more obvious.

    If you make me VP, my first order of business would be to fire myself. I’m not qualified.

  49. Slightly off topic, but here’s some food for thought:

    I know quite a few people here and in the media have been calling for Jim to step down or take a lesser role in the FO. I’m not going to argue whether this is justified or not, but one thing to keep in mind is that the basketball side of the Laker FO also includes Joey Buss (D-Fenders Pres/CEO) and Jesse Buss (Director of Scouting Lakers/D-Fenders). I bring this up because I think you have to keep in mind that any change at the top of the FO would likely impact Joey and Jesse, which means that they would also have to be on board to any proposed change.
    I think this complicates matters a bit and makes it less likely to see the type of wholesale change some would like to see, regardless of whether it is justified or not.

    In short, like it or no, Dr Buss put 3 of his boys in the Basketball Operations side of the Business to continue his legacy – and we should all collectively hope that Dr Buss also had the best interest of the team in mind when he made such choices years ago.

  50. MannyP: It is all good – always enjoy your posts. With regard to the VP job. Yes – I like the pretense that you will fire yourself, if you deem yourself not qualified. I will agree so long as before you fire yourself, you fire everyone else in the organization who is not qualified : ) This would not include me as owner of course. I am planning to reduce the responsibilities of my job down to the point where I will be perfectly qualified : )

  51. Darius tweet: “That starting lineup is . . . interesting”– lol

    Manny P: I really like your observations on the Buss sons Triad: insightful as hell. It will be difficult to dislodge Jim without impacting the little bros. I think the answer lies in everyone keeping their titles/salaries and perhaps hiring a new age assistant GM to work with Mitch, with the understanding that Jim backs off a la Jerry and let’s the hired hands (i.e. brains) do their job.

  52. @ R:

    You would be thrilled if we got a player of Damian Lillard’s calliber? I’m sorry, even if we had THE Damian Lillard today on our team, are we a championship team? next year? Which makes my point, you don’t tank if you’re the Lakers and even to your point I don’t think any of those players are going to be as good as Damian Lillard. For goodness sake look at Cleveland with the worst pick of all time behind Kwame Brown in Bennett whose not playing so the lottery is a crap shoot unless you have a player of Lebron’s quality, even someone like Blake Griffin was not going to make any noise in the playoffs until cp3 got gifted to him. Nothing is guaranteed and everything after the cp3 debacle has been a big let down for Laker fans

  53. Manny,

    My guess is that all that sort of thing is covered in various legal documents, and that Jim could take a step back from day-to-day decisions, while still keeping his title, and his brothers in place, if he so desired. If someone coming in to take on a decision-making role did so with the accompanying demand to clean out all the Busses from the basketball side of the team’s operations entirely, that would probably be a deal breaker, and if it wasn’t, it would mean that things had really gotten nasty and desperate.

    But while people in the blogosphere and in the media may call for Jim to step back, I don’t think that anybody actually thinks that it is going to happen any time soon, and if people do think that, I think they are kidding themselves. Even Magic couched it as Jim needing to bring in some “help”–he didn’t tell Jim to go back to the racetrack and stay there.

    So, it just gets back to the same thing: the Jim Buss FO needs to start making some big decisions that work and move the team forward. If they don’t, the calls for change will grow louder, but even if they grow deafening, I think that Jim Buss will be in his current role for several more years. I don’t see Jerry Jones making any big changes in the Cowboys’ FO, and they have been stuck around .500 for awhile now.

  54. You would be thrilled if we got a player of Damian Lillard’s calliber?
    ———————————————————————————————————–
    Yes!

    I’m sorry, even if we had THE Damian Lillard today on our team, are we a championship team?
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    No, of course not … but we’d be that much closer. Yes, it will take more than a great draft to return to relevence, but it will be an absolutely vital piece of the puzzle.

  55. BTW, I’d respectfully submit LaRue Martin was a worse #1 pick than Kwame Brown. Sam Bowie was worse, too.

  56. The starting line-up for tonight (according to our friends at LakersNation.com):

    Steve Nash — pg
    Steve Blake — sg
    Jodie Meeks — sf
    Ryan Kelly — pf
    Robert Sacre — c

    That’s 3 guards (2 of them point guards who haven’t played in 3 years) + 2 bigs who can’t rebound. I don’t know what MDA’s smoking but it must be potent stuff.

  57. If Kaman doesn’t play tonight, there should be a congressional investigation.

  58. Actually, Sam Bowie was not a horrible #1 pick. It is nice to Monday-morning-quarterback things, but Portland did have Clyde Drexler and didn’t need a #2 guard.

    It is also instructive to look at the talk going around at the time of any draft, i.e. last year Bennett was a real surprise to go #1 and Cleveland took a lot of flack for the pick. Also, they took flack for taking Waiters at #4 previously. Remember it was Cleveland that traded their #1 pick and he became Magic Johnson. Detroit was thought to be a real dummy for taking Darko at #2 at the time, but Joe Dumars was thought to be an up-and-coming GM. Most clubs would have taken Greg Oden at #1, instead of Kevin Durant.

    In looking at history, it is necessary to take into account the way information flowed at the time of the decision. That may not make the decision any better, but it sure makes things much more understandable.

  59. That starting line up needs Dom Deluise with a beret in it.

  60. MDA just flipped his middle finger to the fan base… “You’re complaining about rebounds? I’ll show you something!”

    Oh, how much are you willing to bet on a DNP-CD for Chris Kaman?

  61. aw ‘cmon Craig, Monday-morning-quarterback(ing) is the main if not only activity that occurs on this site. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    BTW, thanks for reminding me the Blazers could’ve picked Jordan instead of Bowie. Yeah, they didn’t need six extra championships, did they? The one they got with Walton and Co is plenty.

    All kidding aside, I wasn’t down-rating Bowie’s selection as a number one because they coulda should picked Jordan. No, I was basing it on the fact he only managed 28 games/season during his five years in Portland, and was far from a world-beater when he was on the court. Yes, he was more durable later on, but still hardly a world beater, and that didn’t do Portland much good.

  62. Mid

    You really think he is trying to win? Clearly he was instructed by Jimmy Jam to showcase the Steve’s for possible trades before the 20th. Teams like Suns and Bulls need guard help. What good
    at this point is a one game win streak .

    Lakers are like the tree that fell in the forest. No one there to see if it makes a noise ! Goal is to go from 34% down in viewing to 80% down so no one can see the joke.

  63. Robert

    I am very disappointed on your choice of GMs. I am older, played college ball, have over 200 calls to Laker talk and I never owned horses.

    Please rethink your choice. Or I will be forced to FIRE YOU!

  64. @mid-wilshire that line-up is garbage.

    Who is going to defend?