Celtics vs. Lakers: Game Preview and Chat

Andre Khatchaturian —  February 21, 2014

With the trading deadline behind us, everyone on the Los Angeles Lakers from Jordan Hill to Pau Gasol can now take a deep breath and focus on basketball. The team looks to snap its eight-game home losing streak, which is the longest in franchise history, against the Boston Celtics.

After trading Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers will welcome newly acquired players, Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Brooks and Bazemore have been rarely used this season. Brooks is only averaging 2.6 points per game in 17 games this season, while Bazemore is only averaging 2.3 points per game in 44 games.

The purpose of the trade was financial. Although the Lakers did not get under the luxury tax with the trade, they will save $3 million in taxes because of the move. It also helps that the Lakers can lock up Bazemore for a cheap price next year if he accepts the team’s qualifying offer.

While the Lakers are just now seeing that they need to rebuild (shelling out near $50 million to an aging veteran is not a sign of rebuilding), the Celtics have been on that road for awhile now. After parting ways with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the offseason, the team also made two trades in January and stocked up on more draft picks. In those trades, the C’s acquired Joel Anthony and Jeryd Bayless, who can both potentially come off the books after this season, thus freeing up more cap room.

These two teams are headed in the same direction this year, but the Celtics have done a better job building for the future as they potentially could have five draft picks over the next two years. They also will have plenty of more cap space and play in a weaker conference and have established a coach for the future in Brad Stevens. Keeping star point guard Rajon Rondo during the trade deadline also helps them establish a young core along with Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger going into next year.

The Lakers will have their hands full because of those four players tonight. After a slow start from his return from injury, Rondo has been more effective, averaging 15.2 points and 9.4 assists over the last five games. Green is the team’s leading scorer with 16.5 points per game and Sullinger has established himself as a solid option down low averaging 13.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

The Celtics enter the game having lost two in a row after they won four of their first five games in February. They are in the midst of a four-game west coast swing. They lost their first game of the road trip to Phoenix.

Boston has had their struggles scoring this season as they have the fifth-worst shooting percentage (43.6 percent) and the third-worst 3-point percentage (33.1 percent).

The Lakers, on the other hand, enter the showdown against the Celtics having only won five games since December 21. One of those five wins came against the Celtics in Boston in mid-January. The Lakers won a thriller led by Kendall Marshall’s clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, 107-104, during their Grammy trip.

In fact, the Lakers have had their way against the Celtics as of late, winning five of their last six games against their biggest rival.

If the Lakers want to end their slump tonight, they will need to dictate the pace against a Celtics team that isn’t known for its offense, as mentioned above. They will also need to tighten up defensively and force the Celtics to take outside shots — something they haven’t been good at all year. The Lakers gave up 134 points to the Houston Rockets last time out despite shooting over 48 percent from the field in the loss.

Finally, Marshall needs to take the Blake trade as a vote of confidence. He needs to realize that he has officially earned playing time with the team. He’s not on the roster because of injuries anymore. He’s been playing extremely well (averaging 12.2 assists in the last five games) despite the team’s lack of success.

Other players who have stepped up for the Lakers recently are Chris Kaman (averaging 19.2 points in the last five games) and Jodie Meeks (averaging 19 points in the last five games).

 

 

Andre Khatchaturian

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94 responses to Celtics vs. Lakers: Game Preview and Chat

  1. Based on the 2.6 and 2.3 points per game of the 2 new guys I therefore calculate the Lalers shall win by 5.9 points tonight!

  2. Won’t Farmar be the starting point guard? Or will his recovery from injury have him play off the bench?

    I’m just mentioning this because our current two point guards couldn’t be more different… Oh, this is against the Leprechauns, so no matter how bad we are or how much we need to improve our draft pick, this is a must win game. I seriously hate them.

  3. Question for the Group: Now that the trade deadline has passed, is there anything that the Lakers can still do this year to get below the salary cap? Or are we stuck where we are?

  4. From ESPN’s Five on Five: 2/21/14

    Fact or Fiction: The Lakers need Kobe to be “cool” with all moves.

    Elhassan: Fiction. Did I fall in a wormhole? Is this 2006? Why do we care that Kobe is upset that Steve Blake, a vet on an expiring deal, won’t be finishing the season with the worst team in the West? Is he worried they won’t make it to second worst? The Lakers need to continue to make the best moves for the franchise, regardless of whether Kobe “approves” or not.

    Haberstroh: Fiction. Kobe is the employee, not the boss. If he was in his prime and not recovering from devastating injuries at the tail end of his career, maybe then could he have a say in the front office’s personnel moves. Even though he’s in a suit, he’s not a suit.

    Schmitt: Fiction. The Lakers should consult Kobe on most, if not all, personnel moves — but that needs to be the extent of it. Maybe they can try to justify his future salary by giving him a dual role. Although, if Kobe wanted to keep a 33-year-old Steve Blake for sentimental reasons, he probably wouldn’t make a very good general manager.

    Sunnergren: Fiction. The organization might be operating this way — as evidenced by Bryant’s $48 million extension, the Lakers are unusually generous with their star — but they’d be foolish to pass on deals that don’t have the Kobe seal of approval. He isn’t going anywhere. Catty tweets aside, the 35-year-old will be happy if the team competes, and the best way to get there isn’t to make him the de facto GM.

    Walker: Fact. For better or worse they’ve tied themselves to Kobe for the next two years, and it’s unlikely he’ll be willing to spend them rebuilding for a future he’s not going to be part of. You don’t give an aging player that kind of money if you plan to ostracize him from the decision-making process.

  5. I know the trading deadline has passed, but would it really be a surprise if the Lakers offered Kaman a buy-out?

  6. but would it really be a surprise if the Lakers offered Kaman a buy-out?

    No. I said yesteday and today that I think they will buy him out and he will go to the Clippers, who moved Mullens and Jamison at the deadline.

  7. Exactly what is in it for the Lakers to buy out Kaman? They pay him, he remains against the salary cap, they don’t see any of his services. The only thing they can do is sign another player. They need another player to look at for the rest of the year — sure they do.

  8. Kobe from 5 on 5: “Even though he’s in a suit, he’s not a suit.”: So Kobe is in a suit, but is not a suit; Mitch is in a suit and is a suit; Where does Jim fit in?
    From same: Is this 2006? No – it isn’t – Kobe did not make anywhere near $23 million in 2006 and the CBA was less restrictive. Is this a point for consulting with Kobe or not consulting with him?
    “You don’t give an aging player that kind of money if you plan to ostracize him from the decision-making process.” Truer words never been spoken – of course the sentence could be truncated in half and also be true.

  9. Where does Jim fit in?

    ——

    Robert,

    this is like the logic part of the GRE…

    The answer: Jim is not in a suit, but is still a suit.

    Straight to Yale for me.

  10. Lil pau: familiar with that logic, unfortunately that would make Mitch the outlier : )
    Kaman: Buy out or the inexplicable bench time earlier in the year, Either way we are paying him for nothing.
    Lakers-Celtics: Greatest shot in Laker history: Game 4 in 1987 – Magic Johnson

  11. Exactly what is in it for the Lakers to buy out Kaman?

    Gets an unhappy player off the roster, allows them to play Kelly and Sacre, which MDA wants to do anyway, without Kaman around. Makes it easier to lose, as we have seen.

    Also, since a few people here have been trying to sell the idea that giving Kobe a ginormous contract will send positive messages to future superstar FAs, it is easy enough to argue that buying out Kaman would show veteran rotation guys that the Lakers will do what is best for them professionally if such is possible. Philadelphia bought out Danny Granger today.

  12. Orlando bought out Glen Big Baby Davis as well.

  13. MsnnyP,
    thanks for the heads-up on the scouting staff (from the last thread)

  14. Lakers-Celtics: Greatest shot in Laker history: Game 4 in 1987 – Magic Johnson
    ___
    the junior junior skyhook!!!! Robert, I was working at my dad´s restaurant at the time, a fancy-shmansy place near the mid-wilshire area (no pun intended Mid!) and was watching that game with customer at the bar, the dining room is fairly crowded; people in suits and chandeliers on the ceiling – and i´m shirking my duties big time! So, Magic hits the junior skyhook, and you remember the tension prior to that precious moment I´m sure, & the customer and I start hugging and jumping up and down and hollering and the like! Then, yours truly goes running into the dinning room cscreaming at the top of my lungs `Magic beat the Celtics! Magic beat the Celtics! ´ to utmost dismay of all the diners! hahahahahaha friggin´awesome (thank you Magic! love you brother!)
    ___
    Ko, LOL!

  15. I have a feeling that Bazemore is going to be a keeper. Watching Blake last night look fairly bad on offense and defense this may be a good move.

    Purple thanks I hope you also saw my “calculations” of 5.9 instead of 4.9.

  16. hope you also saw my “calculations” of 5.9 instead of 4.9.
    ___
    I did!

  17. gerald wallace has always been a headache for us

  18. Please tell me this scrub green team is not going to make Lakers look like their last game.

    Again they don’t look like they came to play.

  19. yeah, listless so far

  20. Is this a pre-season game? Wonder if the guy from ESPN who schedule this game still has a job?

  21. Bazemore looks like a good athlete, chucking up shots though
    ___
    the ESPN guy is probably buying his boss a case of champagne or fine wine to make good!

  22. This has become one of the worst trams in the league. At least Boston is smart enough to have a bunch of 1st round drafts.

  23. Based on the 1st half Kent is our 2nd best player.

    Cool!

  24. The condescending tones of posters really take away the fun/interest for me. You know you guys can take that elsewhere you know?

    Kent Bazemore a free look under this system. This might work.

  25. Warren,
    getting back to something constructive then: Kendall´s got a sweet touch on his passes, doesn´t he? i think he´ll be a keeper next season – & Brazemore made a nice defensive play at the end of the half, which is encouraging

  26. Kobe will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks, per the Lakers. He was examined today and is still experiencing swelling and soreness. Looking like Kobe is done for the season.

  27. Warren a bit of attempted humor in a bad year is not a bad thing.

    Perhaps it’s more a matter that as my wife says “I am not that funny”

  28. Takes the fun away… Why do you read those comments for?

  29. Kaman Shake!

  30. Brooks, spark off the bench -

  31. The new guys 8-15 combined for 19 points
    , yeah Mitch dont know what he is doing…

  32. Who are these guys?

    Love the energy from bench.

  33. Despite everything on this season from hell if we sweep the pukes that would almost make this season bearable.

  34. props to MD´A for sticking with that line-up

  35. Normally, (for this season anyway) I would lament the fact that we won a game… :p However, this was against the Celts! Nice win baby! The two new guys played decently well.

  36. Base and Brooks a plus 34!

  37. Lakers win with a great 4th quarter. Always good when the Lakers beat the Celtics and even better when they sweep the season series.

  38. that was gratifying!
    & this crazy season just got crazier: two fresh arrivals play the entire 4th Q, & sparked the squad! what´ll we see next?

  39. Call me crazy but 12-21 for 29 points coming off the bench on their 1st game with a new team is a lil better than “decently well” lol. Not bad for the “D- Leaguers” acording to some people here, can they be consistent? We will see but they have some skills… And Sacre finally got his well earned and deserved “DNP-CD” about time!

  40. Not a coincidence Lakers win game when Farmar plays.

    Farmar should start and play majority of minutes regardless of Nash, Marshall, Brooks, etc..

  41. Trey they are taking easy with him so he dont blow his hammy again. BTW he pkayed against Hou and we took a whupping lol

  42. Well im going to have a good nice sleep, feels lije i havent have one since forever, a respite from the misery.

  43. Well that was fun! Sweet to sweep the hated Cs.
    New guys looked very good, especially considering they barely had a practice.
    Don’t know how they’ll work out over time but big bonus: they are both young, big and athletic. Maybe MDA can work his magic and kickstart their careers.

  44. Always good to beat Boston, regardless of needing a good draft slot. I’ll take a taco win over the C’s any day.

  45. Well. That was fun. The Lakers’ 2 1st round draft picks looked pretty good. Now, they’ve got to do it again. But for the time being, let’s just enjoy the moment.

  46. Fern,

    Farmar got random bench player minutes against Houston and he didn’t play well.
    Short memory …. in November when Farmar got regular minutes and was healthy …. vs
    Houston in Houston …. Lakers win!

    Guess what?

    If healthy Farmar, Meeks, Gasol, Hill and Johnson, with Marshall & Kaman will beat Rockets in April.

  47. A few observations:

    1) Brooks and Basemore seem to play well together;
    2) Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman also played well together–again (a combined 26 pts., 20 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 spectacular blocks by Jordan Hill);
    3) Jordan Farmar is more of a leader than the younger Kendall Marshall; he seems to provide more direction and can run an offense more reliably in crunch time;
    4) Ryan Kelly was invisible;
    5) Gasol had 16 pts. in 22 minutes;
    6) Jordan Hill played 27:25 without getting tired; he had a double-double (10 pts., 12 rebounds, 3 blocks), and was our best defender in the paint; and
    7) Reportedly, Nick Young is returning to the lineup on Sunday; Xavier Henry has been cleared to practice. This could get interesting.

  48. Imagine Young, Brooks and Bazemore on the court at the same time. They might score 160 points without one assist! Or they might give up 161.

    The team did get younger and faster.

  49. The new Killer Bs?

  50. the other Stephen February 22, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Are you not entertained?

  51. Fern,

    Those who criticize Mitch didn’t actually criticize the move for Brooks and Bazemore. It made sense to look at younger players.

  52. Love the way the two additions played tonight… hope the team can start to build good chemistry and consistency moving forward… can’t create that team identity without having a good team chemistry.

  53. Ok so Farmar is the next savior, it was my bad attempt at a joke, i wonder who in that starting 5 is gonna guard Harden, Dwight or even Parson as much as i love the team the losses are going to keep piling up. We have 27 games remaining and i hope we win 10 of them. And thats with my purple colored glasses.

  54. gene February 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Takes the fun away… Why do you read those comments for?

    ^^ I read comments and posts in FB&G and it doesn’t help that I have to read through those against my will.

    As for humor, I wish it was funny too.

  55. Who said Farmar is our savior? We’re only saying that Farmar is better than Marshall, since he can actually play some defense, and that he could be a starting PG in this league for a good team.

  56. Sorry to see Blake go – but Brooks and Bazemore are pleasant surprises. Say what you will about Dantoni, but he has a knack for bringing the best out of his guards.
    Kaman got legit minutes and as usual was excellent. Jordan Hill was a monster.
    Can Dantoni keep playing these two guys?
    If so, maybe they’ll stick around next year.
    Congrats to Dantoni for finally benching Sacre!

  57. He is a good second string pg. I admire his comitment to the team but i hated him on his last 2 seasons in the Lakers before coming back. So im not really fond of him. I see some improvements though…

  58. Is there a bug on the site? Whats with the double posting after an edit? Apologies

  59. “Maybe MDA can work his magic”

    Now there’s an optimist for you…

    My worst nightmare is Lakers are in a position to draft Embiid and pass, because MDA wants more guards and a stretch 4.

    Ryan Kelly is the invisible man indeed. Flashes of ability, but that little ball fake he always does from 25 ft out drives me crazy. Shoot or pass pal…

  60. If Kelly and Sacre ultimately take their rightful place on the bench, we have a chance to compete.
    It has been bizarre to see a professional NBA coach so reluctant to give guys like Kaman and Hill minutes. But maybe what everyone on this site has been saying for months has finally dawned on him.
    And just maybe, the FO made a good move grabbing Bazemore and Brooks.
    Bring back Manny Harris!

  61. J C,

    I was hoping to see more of Manny, too. But we have a full 15-player roster now, so someone would have to be waived for that to happen. And now–especially with Xavier and Swaggy P about to return to action–we have a surplus of guards/wings.

  62. I liked bazemore but the guy that works for the samta cruz team was right about brooks looked only for his shot the whole night and with nick young amd id even say meeks doing the same thing thats too manye first guys playing at once – we had lile 6 offemsive rebound putbacks by hill amd kaman that won us the game agaimst a greatly undersized celtocs frontcourt – dont look too into things

    We need to lose as many ges as possivle – wiggans or parker as our new 3

  63. Hummmm! It might be a good idea to reconsider buying out Kaman.

  64. Here is my lame “Should the FO care what Kobe thinks” reply.

    Jim and Jeanie Buss have never played – to my knowledge – basketball. And while Jim didn’t either, he had some sort of innate savvy. Jerry West (when around) and Kupcheck are the FO experts. West played in the 1970s when basketball was very different. Cupcake was not the greatest ever. So, consulting a recent basketball God like Kobe, yes a good idea.

    Is my point relevant?

  65. Craig W.,

    I don’t think they’re going to buy out anyone.

  66. Kupchak said the luxury tax isn’t an issue because they’ll be under it next year regardless.
    So I don’t think buying Kaman out is necessary.
    Besides, Kaman is good.

  67. Without a defensive identity, the Lakers will remain bottom dwellers, even with the coveted draft picks and free agents. Players garner identities and so do coaches, thus everyone in the league is aware that this coach cares not one iota about defense. Until or unless a system is in place that puts an emphasis on playing the game in its entirety, which is on offense and defense, the Lakers will annually contend for a fortune predicated on the bounce of a ping-pong.

    I’m not sure how Mychal Thompson can say with earnest that the Lakers will be back in contention before the Celtics. He is being disingenuous or misguided if he believes that to be true. The Celtics have Rondo, Sullinger, Green, Bradley, draft picks, and an idea about the team’s future. I hate the Celtics too, but come on!

    Meanwhile, the Lakers have cap space and an aged roster with a coach that believes in high octane offense. There’s no doubt that some players like to play in this type of system because it allows them to play like they did when they were on their travel teams and playing in all-star games. Any player that wants to win championships knows that an offensive system based on a 7-second tempo will be entertaining but it won’t win many games.

    Caveat emptor: Be careful of what you buy. Players that thrive in an offensive system that relies on said offense to win games are generally not the type of players that can play on championship teams. If the Lakers are indeed just biding time to become contenders, then why not get free agents that can learn to play like champions rather than like playground heroes? If the Lakers are now content with being entertaining then I guess it’s true we now reside on the cube shaped planet in Bizzaro World, where the Lakers have now assumed the persona of the Clippers in the past.

    Re: Ryan Kelly is playing like any other rookie in the league; it takes time to get your body and mind physically ready for an arduous 82 game season. Has anyone heard of the “rookie wall?” He won’t get his legs back under him until early April when he should make a solid contribution. Nothing prepares a player for the speed and athleticism with which the game is played in the NBA, other than playing in games in the NBA. Some players are capable of withstanding the rigors of 82 games from the start; others necessitate seasoning to adjust to the pace of the season.

    Re: Recent acquisitions. One game does not make an NBA player. Bazemore was instrumental in the Warriors win against the Lakers during the pre-season, yet the Warriors have given up on him. As for MarShon, he lit up the Lakers when he was with the Nets, yet he is no longer with them. In fact, the Nets and Boston have decided he could not play for them. Just remember that these are the types of players the Lakers will likely garner in this or next year’s draft. Players that are talented enough to get scholarships to play in college, but they leave prior to learning how to play the game at that level, which means they are less apt to adapt to the learning curve necessary for the NBA. These players require playing time—see Xavier, Marshall, Farmar, Johnson and Hill—to determine their suitability as role players or future stars in the NBA.

    Current young Lakers willing to play a semblance of defense: Johnson, Xavier, Farmar, Hill and Young (not so young), Bazemore (one game), and MarShon. Meeks fakes it but I guess that counts, too. This bevy of defensive minded players could be instrumental in the Lakers hopes of rising out of the ashes.

    When healthy, Farmar should and will be the Lakers starting point guard. The guy is a Leader and a warrior!

  68. just for the record, until he had his knee destroyed, Kupchak was an EXTREMELY good basketball player. he may not have been a superstar, but he was no slouch, nor was he a cupcake. he averaged 14pts a game and 8 rebounds a game in 30 minutes a game before he hurt his knee. he was the 13th pick in the draft and a college star. he was an all-american selection and the ACC player of the year in 1976 for the tar heels. he also won a gold in the 76 olympics. he was on the all rookie team and won a chanmpionship with the Washington Bullets. when he was signed by the Lakers, it was on Magic Johnson’s recommendation, “If we could get Mitch Kupchak, I know we could win,”.

    money is not an issue for the Lakers.

  69. sure, the front office should care what Kobe thinks. then they should do what is best for the club.

  70. My comment was supposed to be a reference to the calls to ‘buy out’ players. If it was taken as a straight-forward and serious comment, then I apologize.

  71. melcountscounts – I do admit to being an optimist, but regarding MDA, I don’t think there is anyone in the league who doubts that he and his system bring out the best in guards (wings as well).
    The tricky part for the Lakers now is to try and evaluate these guys correctly. Easy to put up big numbers like KM when you’re playing extended minutes and are the only player even remotely resembling a point guard.
    When everyone is back – not including Kobe because I don’t really think he’s coming back this year – will we have gone from not enough to too many guys? With all of our roster weirdness, I’ve kind of lost count.

  72. Buying out Kaman may not occur, but unless the Lakers are now planning on trying to keep him, it makes sense for all parties. Whatever people here may think of Kelly and Sacre, the FO obviously sees something in them, so it is better to give them a little burn. Kaman is repped by Rob Pelinka, who reps Kobe–and now, Dante Exum. The Lakers will be making a mistake if they do things to try to get to 32-50 rather than accepting 26-56.

    The Clippers have needed a backup 5 all year and they have just dumped Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison. Additionally, buying out veteran role players to let them to try to hook on with contenders is now common NBA business practice. NY is supposedly going to buy out Metta and Udrih; Glen Davis and Danny Granger have been bought out. If the Lakers keep Kaman here the rest of the year with no intention of keeping him next year, it will send a discordant message. And the Lakers would save a little money, albeit not against the cap, if they bought him out.

  73. @Mud, thanks for defending Kupchak as a player, he was a very capable player and a warrior, I remember him playing with a brace that went up his thigh. I always liked Mitch as a player, he was not a superstar but he was a very very serviceable player. Injuries derailed his NBA career, as much as Sam Bowie, Yao Ming and Greg Oden players to which we’ll never know how good they could have been.

    “Magic Johnson’s recommendation, “If we could get Mitch Kupchak, I know we could win….” Magic was correct because the Lakers won the year that Mitch played in his brace.

  74. Nice post Hearn. As for Clips I think they will pick up Davis due to his past with Doc.

    I still think the TW contract forces them to keep some players to appear to win. I don’t see any buy outs this year. They are what they are. A bunch of one year contracts playing for their future.

  75. Ko,

    Good points, but the Clippers got rid of a 4 and a 5–Jamison and Mullens. And Kaman of course has a history with the Clippers as well.

    It may be that Kaman doesn’t want a buyout; it may be that the FO won’t do it because they don’t want to help the Clippers and that is the obvious place for Kaman to go. Or it may be something else. But it would make sense at this point.

  76. I guess I don’t see anything except that the Lakers want to lose, if they buy out Kaman. I don’t think this is in the DNA of this organization. While Kaman may not be here next year, I don’t think that is a given and buying him out would insure that.

    I also don’t think the front office simply looks at statistics to evaluate players. It is as important to see how players work with others and watch their play on their own team, as it is to count the rebounds and points. The front office gets to see all the team players live and in practice and this will give them an idea of the talents available. None of these players will be stars or mainstays of the team, but a number of them can be an important part of the supporting cast and it is vital to evaluate them for the rest of the year. This means we know where we need to get front-line support – important in a two-year resuscitation program.

  77. Granger has not actually been bought out. I read an erroneous report.

  78. The Lakers have proven that we are not doing things for money, but to field a team thats nearer to winning it all. While trading Steve Blake was a payroll-cutting move, it was also getting 2 guys that we can have a free look with in Bazemore and Brooks.

  79. Warren is right. As much as I hate the fact that we won’t get a top 3 pick, the FO is trying to put a good team together for the near future and I think there are some good things to look forward to in the next few years. I think the future will be a lot of fun if things go well. I believe Kendall Marshall is gonna be really good, and having Nash for one more year doesn’t really bother me, as I see a lot of Nash-type potential in Marshall (call me crazy but I see that potential: multiple 15 game assists and a nice 3pt.%.) I think Nash can teach him a few things, and knowing how Nash is I’m sure he’ll be glad to share his knowledge with the young fella. (Is there a FB&G post that focuses specifically on Kendall Marshall’s skills yet??? I’d love to read it. I’ve been looking for one in the previous posts but haven’t found one.)

    As for the new guys, they played really well and I think it may be a sign of good things to come. The Lakers pick will likely fall between 4-7 the way things are going now. I hope we find a good player.

  80. Again: unless they are planning to try to keep him, there is no reason to have Kaman on the team the rest of the year. As to the stats/evaluation thing, perhaps that is a reference to McMenamin’s post at ESPNLA:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/38951/lakers-seek-context-for-player-evaluation?ex_cid=espnapi_public

    The post mostly focuses on Kendall Marshall, who has run up some big numbers in heavy minutes but may look different in lighter minutes with more players available. It doesn’t apply to Kaman, however. He turns 32 in April, is in his 11th season, and has a very consistent track record. His recent surge has gotten his numbers more or less to his career levels, with slightly higher shooting percentages.

    WRT the supposed need to evaluate these players, that applies to some extent to the new guys, maybe, but the Lakers pretty much know what they have in the rest of the team. As I have said a few times, assuming that the goal in 2015 is to contend for postseason without wrecking the long-term salary cap, the focus should be on guys that fit around Kobe, and I have already listed my candidates. The other concern is guys who fit with D’Antoni, assuming that he is sticking around, and that has been discussed many times.

    I will say that benching Kaman for Sacre for an extended period, and then going back to Kaman now, and benching Sacre, who is under contract through 2016, when the team has cratered entirely and has a real chance to get a Top-3 pick, makes very little sense strategically based on what we know now. It is hard to picture Kaman, who has played in 11 playoff games in his entire career, re-upping with a none-contender to play for Mike D’Antoni.

  81. Some excellent posts here.
    I agree w Craig- buying out Kaman insures that he doesn’t return. And I’m holding out hope that he does return. He’s a very serviceable and a traditional center. He’s got great footwork and a nice touch around the hoop.
    One of the things I like best about Kaman is that he always sounds bright and thoughtful in his interviews. He has a sense of humor and I’ve never really heard of him complaining too loudly about his inconsistent playing time. He’s handled that situation with class.
    I think he’s a good character guy and I know that’s something the Lakers look for and value.
    And if they lose Pau in free agency?
    I think they’re going to need The Caveman.

  82. If the Lakers are now content with being entertaining then I guess it’s true we now reside on the cube shaped planet in Bizzaro World, where the Lakers have now assumed the persona of the Clippers in the past.
    ___
    hilarious – and an unnerving scenario, to say the least – Great post C.Hearn
    ___
    nice post as well J C

  83. Kobe: Well as everyone knows, we are looking at another 3 weeks. I have been worried (many said overly so) about this for some time. Now the talk will change from “don’t worry – he will be back soon”, to “don’t worry this year doesn’t matter anyway”. Before speaking the latter, please make sure you can convince me that next year “will matter”. When the tank concept first started taking hold this year, many said, that Kobe should take his time, why should he rush back just so the team can be one and done in the playoffs. If this year – it did not matter if we finished 8th, then next year will be even worse. We can delay our pick to Phoenix for another year if we finish in the bottom 5. Kobe could sit 15 too. In fact – he could – dare I say it – retire. Of course I do not believe that – but it is the natural progression of the “it does not matter” type of logic. We are not winning a title in 15, so are we going to sacrifice draft position for Kobe’s records? Why is that different this year? And no need to rehash the extension. It was a mistake – of that there is now no debate.

  84. I like Kaman; thought it was a really good signing at the time and expected that he could 1) help us in the short term to make a playoff push, if everything broke right, and 2) be unloaded for something at the deadline, assuming he stayed healthy. It ended up being Door #2, but for whatever reason, they weren’t able to get anything of value. ( I await with interest someone’s post about how, in the new CBA, draft picks are being overvalued. Lowe touched on it at Grantland the other day but there’s more to be said. I think in this case Mitch’s reclamation strategy is actually going to set a new Moneyball-style precedent.)

    Anyway, I’m with rr on this one. No point in keeping Kaman when it now makes us better and takes us further from the lottery, and he’s not gonna be here next year anyway, I don’t think — MDA or no MDA. The classy thing to do is buy him out, suffer through Sacre, and try to collect a few extra ping pong balls.

  85. Score one for Ko:

    Glen Davis will sign with the Los Angeles Clippers when he clears waivers and becomes a free agent at 5 p.m. ET, sources told ESPN.

  86. It is possible that Kaman might not clear waivers if bought out, which was not an issue with Davis.

  87. Starting line up tonight for the Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol. Lots of athleticism on the wings.

  88. Rr
    I’m ignorant –
    Not clearing waivers means some team may be willing to pay his remaining season’s salary, as opposed to waiting 48 hours so the original team is responsible for all but pro-rated portion of league minimum – correct?
    If yes, I’d assume some team would be interested in paying his full pro-rated remaining amount since his salary is relatively low.
    I just get the feeling that Kupchak is correctly wedded to the idea of competing for the remainder of the year no matter how it affects our draft position. Hence no salary dump in Gasol’s case. Kaman fits that same bill. He can still help us compete.

  89. Score one for Ko
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    Ko steps back and hits a nice 18ft. jumper!
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    Re: tonight´s lineup;
    hopefully the energy on defense MD´A talked about is there from the 1st Q on.

  90. I shot a 3 pointer.

    Who will be getting rebounds in today’s lineup?

    Guess they better not miss a shot.

  91. JC-

    Yes AFAIK. Glen Davis was owed 6.6M for next year, so no one would take that on.

    As to competing, I think it actually pretty easy to argue that giving Sacre and Kelly solid minutes over the last 27 games fits in with trying to compete next year better than playing Kaman now does. I don’t think much of either Sacre or Kelly myself, but ISTM that giving them 20 MPG apiece now connects more with some sort of long-term player evaluation mode of roster usage than playing Kaman does.

    Kaman, like Blake, is a guy who should be a bench player for a good team at this stage of his career.

  92. Robert,

    I think that the FO actually probably sees this the same way a lot of the fanbase does: a 2-3 year process. I think the idea for next year is that they will add a pretty good FA for 8-10M, Kobe will be healthy and effective, they will nail the pick, they have already added some useful bench guys that will stay here, and the 2015 team will be more or less like Dallas is now, except with a hotshot rookie. That will be enough to get Love to come here, and then after that, another big-time FA, maybe Westbrook or Durant, once Kobe comes off the books.

    If that is the plan, then Kaman might actually fit into it.

    Teams do not exist in just two states–hopeless/need to blow it up or title contender. There are places in between, and not all 41-41 teams are created equal.

    To be clear here, I am not saying that this is going to work. In fact, I think the odds are against it. But I think that is probably what the FO is trying to do.

  93. rr: Figuring out what we “should do” is hard enough, so I am sticking to that. If you want to try to figure out what the FO is “trying to do”, you go right ahead : ) I gave up on that long ago.

  94. rr,
    You are approaching this from the point-of-view of a fan who wants to see the team lose (not necessarily your actual view, but your comment back to JC). If the coach and FO felt they had seen what they want to see from Sacre and Kelly, then why play them over players they thought were better (yes, I know you came to that conclusion long ago – or even at the start of the year)? The Lakers will want to win games, if they have no other agenda they are working.

    Regarding Blake; he was probably a key piece to their getting under the salary cap this year (assuming they weren’t going to trade Pau) and, with Farmar and Marshall becoming available, they wanted to give those PGs minutes that Steve would soak up. Getting more minutes for Farmar and Marshall for the remainder of the year was more important than keeping Blake for the remainder of the year and winning more games – IMO, of course. They weren’t able to make a deal to get under the salary cap, however, they probably tried.

    With their respective relationships, Blake might still resign with the Lakers next year, should they offer him a contract, but Kaman surely would not if they traded or cut him. By keeping Kaman, the Lakers are just taking out insurance for next year, in case they let MDA go and want to resign a center they already have – IMO again. This could result in them winning more games this year, but the insurance was worth more than the ping-pong balls.

    See – you can detect a plan in all this if your mind is devious enough.