Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  June 11, 2014

Some quick hitting thoughts to get you through your humpday…

  • A very good summary of where the Lakers are at with their coaching search from the always excellent Dave McMenamin can be read here. One section from that piece that caught my eye:

Whether the Lakers really believe they are better off with a more experienced coach or they were merely saving face to avoid it looking like their former player spurned them for the same guy they had spurned in November 2012 (in Jackson) can be debated.

It is certainly better for the Lakers to make a blanket statement and say they aren’t interested in current college coaches or candidates with no head coaching experience in the league than to have the narrative be that a bunch of the guys they had initially targeted — Fisher, Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Southern Methodist’s Larry Brown, former Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder — all chose to be somewhere other than with the Lakers moving forward.

  • Whether it really is spin or not, no one can know for sure. But the longer the Lakers go without a head coach — which is something that doesn’t much concern me, but clearly does others — the longer they will look as though they do not have a plan.
  • On the flip-side of that, however, is the report from Sam Amick that the Lakers’ slow search is related to their hope that they can lure LeBron James in free agency with part of the lure being input on the next coach.
  • Do I find it interesting that a report says the Lakers would, potentially, give a free agent target input on a coaching hire while adamantly saying publicly that they would not give Kobe Bryant input (or, at least that they would not “consult” him)? Yes, yes I do.
  • Whatever the reasons, though, the Lakers haven’t hired a coach yet. Maybe that will come before the draft. Or maybe by the time free agency is in full swing. Who knows, really? They are taking their time and that’s their choice.
  • They are interviewing Byron Scott for a second time, though. If you were wondering, my thoughts on Scott have not really changed. If you like Scott because he’s a former Laker and is buddies with Kobe, that’s totally fine. To me, those just aren’t very good reasons to hire a coach. The things I am looking for in a head coach are a combination of motivational ability and strategic savvy. These traits are what that produce wins. And wins are what gain support (both internal and external) and produce an environment where people seem genuinely happy to play.
  • Want excellent insight on the prospects who worked out for the Lakers last week? ESPN’s Kevin Pelton sat down with Mike Trudell of and has plenty for you.
  • Speaking of the draft, the latest mock drafts from Chad Ford and Draft Express both have the Lakers drafting Julius Randle. The major difference, however, is that in Ford’s mock he has Marcus Smart on the board when the Lakers select Randle. If both Randle and Smart are on the board at the same time, that choice will be quite difficult for the Lakers. Especially since, based off the long-view of free agency targets in the coming off-seasons, the targets would likely be players who can play a lot of PF (specifically Love, but even LeBron and Durant play a lot of PF in “small” lineups and if they ever shake free in free agency the Lakers will target them hard).
  • This is from before the Finals, but it is a guide to who Lakers’ fans should root for in the Finals considering the history of the Spurs’ rivalry and the fact that LeBron is often seen as a chief competitor to Kobe Bryant.
  • Speaking of the Finals, it is definitely basketball played at the highest level and with plenty of stars showing why they are some of the best in the game. But, as with most series, it is the role players who often turn the tide of a single game or even the entire series. In game 3 it was Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green who were huge for the Spurs. And, over the  course of the series, Boris Diaw has been a major factor who is consistently making good things happen for San Antonio. Diaw has been so good, in fact, that it led me to make this comparison on twitter:
  • Anyone who knows me knows how big of a compliment that is.
  • Lastly, good luck to Derek Fisher in New York as the new head coach. I will always have a soft spot for Fisher — he was a fantastic competitor and a key leader for the Lakers over his two tenures with the team. I could go on and on about the big shots he hit and how much his contributions meant to the teams he competed on, but instead I’ll just say that Fisher is a guy who you want in your foxhole with you when it’s time to go out there and get a needed win. The man has character, resolve, and competitive spirit in spades.

Darius Soriano

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188 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Couldn’t disagree more with the Spurs vs Heat debate… The LeBron love-fest is so nauseating… MUCH more unpalatable than the Spurs/Duncan winning a 5th title (or any of the arguments that article uses to support their argument that we as Lakers fans should root for the Heat). We all know Robert disagrees, but the Spurs do play the right way, and their consistency and team play is, as a fan of basketball, easier to root for than LeBron allowed to charge and/or travel every possession, Wade’s flopping (and LeBron’s), and, well, Bosh just existing…


  2. I agree w/ Jason. I don’t want either team to win, but just based on my reactions to the first three games, looks like the lesser of the two evils for me is San Antonio – they play the right way, and they were even built the right way (great scouting/player development/team mgmt). I’m interested to see what Miami does next year – if the big three decide to stick together, Miami will find out firsthand how hard it is to keep the titles coming while the bulk of your salary cap goes to an aging core.

  3. Re-posted from the very end of the previous thread. It took me awhile to write it plus I deserve to be ridiculed and shot down by the other posters just as much as the next guy.

    I think the entire FO realizes that the Lakers are at a very crucial time. They are dealing with some important issues:
    – A fading superstar that likely won’t be happy with a rebuild
    – A fan base that is extremely fickle and while they may be OK with another year without the playoffs they will want to see an infusion of talent and have the confidence that the franchise is on the rise.
    – A roster that quite honestly screams rebuild
    – A high draft pick that could either add a young core talent or be used to acquire an established player
    – Cap space that can either be used to sign young talent or established veterans
    – No coach. This on the heels of completely whiffing on the two previous hires (to the point of damaging the Lakers brand and good will).

    Jim and Mitch bear a lot of the responsibility for the state of the team. I’m sure they feel that they have to nail these next set of decisions. The problem is that there are no guarantees in this business.

    As I said Jim/Mitch do not get a free pass here. There have been too many mixed messages recently for my taste. Last off season, the team was looking forward to having a lot cap space which would be used to restock the roster. Then Kobe was signed to an extension that uses 40% of our cap. At the deadline Pau is not moved (for filler and a pick) because the Lakers are all about winning now. Then this off season Mitch says that it may take 2 or 3 years to become competitive again.

    I know that the NBA landscape moves often and to be successful you have to be open to change. However, the Lakers operate in a hard cap league where financial flexibility is the new currency and young controllable talent (draft picks) is the life’s blood of your organization. If your actions fly in the face of what makes sense then we, as fans, have a right to ask what is the FO is doing.

  4. plus I deserve to be ridiculed and shot down by the other posters just as much as the next guy.
    haha, hey, I think it´s a good post and agree with your opinions on the apparently ambiguous smoke signals coming from the FO – so, no sling shots from me! 🙂

  5. Todd,

    Good post. As I have said a few times, for me personally, I think it is best right now to sit back and see what Buss and Co. do, and see how it works out, rather than trying to speculate and second-guess. The context that provided excuses for Buss is gone, and he has set his own timeline, so whether one is a backer, a detractor, or in the middle, it is now IMO more just a question of “Let’s see what happens.” I have my opinions about the draft (I would take Smart over Gordon and Randle) and about the coaching hire, but I am not going to second-guess whatever they do on either of those moves all that much. Too many unknowns.

    Two points about the new Lakers context:

    1. When Detroit hired Stan Van Gundy, Zach Lowe, an excellent analyst, backed the hire, saying that when it comes to coaches, “There are only about a half-dozen guys who really move the needle.” One may agree or disagree with that per se, but the main issue facing the Lakers is a simple one: talent. They have no elite talent (unless you count Kobe, which you can’t right now) and no starting lineup. And, even with only 3 guys under contract, more than half the 2014 cap is committed to Nash (40 years old, 15 games played) and Kobe (36 years old in August, six games played). So, while the coach sets the tone, or the “culture”, as we are hearing now, it won’t matter much unless/until the Lakers get some good players. One of the new guy’s main jobs will be connecting with the draft pick–and Scott, for all the grief he gets, did apparently connect with Kyrie Irving.

    2. I lurked a bit at Knickerblogger, which is the Knicks’ True Hoop affiliate. And, as many of us said when Phil was hired, in some ways, he and Jim Buss are on a collision course. Some Knicks’ fans are speculating about…guess what:

    a) LeBron James going to New York in 2015 to play with Carmelo Anthony.
    b) Fisher’s time in OKC giving the Knicks an edge in recruiting Kevin Durant if he goes FA.

    And, Phil wasted no time in defining what the Knicks are selling: he is already making public statements about Fisher “Bringing his rings” when “He talks to Melo.”

    So, both the Knicks and the Lakers are in a crater, or, to use the expression above, a foxhole, and are under heavy fire, and they will be trying to use some of the same ammo to fight back. That is yet another obstacle that Jim Buss will probably need to overcome.

  6. “Fisher is a guy who you want in your foxhole with you when it’s time to go out there and get a needed win. The man has character, resolve, and competitive spirit in spades.”

    Darius, this is so well said.
    It’s Fisher’s intangibles that made him an extremely worthy coaching candidate.
    Any front office can seen that.

    As Phil’s departure starts to take real shape, the effect of that departure will now begin and continue to reverberate throughout the league and especially here in Lakerland because of what might have been, had Phil remained here and been given a seat at the table.

    What other free agents, coaches, or opportunities will we now be forced to give on or be compelled to yield to the new Knicks?

    Some here feel the Knicks have their own problems and I’m sure that’s true.
    But at the moment, I’d take their roster over ours.
    As for how all this plays out, we’ll soon find out. I love the intrigue.

  7. Re: Lakers getting LeBron, and who to root for in the Finals. A lot of wild rumors are being reported, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek articles to keep the sports entertainment machine running. Maybe don’t take them seriously?

  8. Folks who neither like the Spurs or Heat but are “choosing” the Spurs because “they do it the right way” are starting to remind of those folks who “backed” Frazier over Ali because “he acted the right way”.

  9. I have long conceded that, when comparing Duncan vs. Kobe, Duncan comes out ahead. The only viable argument I have against that is that Duncan is a big who is just naturally so much more at an advantage compared to a guard, and that he’s had a supporting crew as competitive as anyone could ever wish for. If Lamar stayed in shape… I seriously think Kobe & Lamar & Pau could have been as destructive a nucleus as Tim & Tony & Manu… oh well.

    Which is to say I am at peace with San Antonio winning. Threepeat must be prevented at all costs as that is a true sign of a dynasty, and Heat losing may split the Heat… something that is just too attractive for me to pass up.

  10. I could never root for a team featuring Dwayne Wade. How long before Kawhi Leonard receives an “accidental” elbow or knee from Wade?

  11. BigCitySid:

    I don’t “not like either the heat or spurs”… I hate the heat, and am indifferent, yet respect, the spurs. And it’s nothing like comparing Ali to Frazer (although I wasn’t alive when when that was going on) because I am saying that as a fan of BASKETBALL, I appreciate what the spurs have been able to do as an organization, and the way they play… Not talking about their character, just that they play unselfish, team ball, and although I am very much a Lakers fan, can appreciate that.

  12. Julius Randle ? Please explain this to me… he’s a slightly undersized power forward, with no specific athletic talent outside of the fact that he matured muscularly a year or two ahead of the rest of the college crowd. But he’s weak scoring against college size. So, how is that going to play out good in the NBA ? If you have the choice of Marcus Smart, who’s going to be racking up free throws by the half dozen, and successfully leading a team as a two-way leader, or Aaron Gordon, who has a chance to be a Blake Griffin-Iguodala hybrid, why would you draft a guy who’s upside is probably somewhere south of Paul Millsap ?

  13. Spurs/Heat: Thought the article covered it pretty well. I still think it is like an early 90’s match up between the Celtics and Bulls. Yes MJ and the Bulls were annoying but who wants another Celtic title? Nobody compares the Lakers and the Heat. They do compare the Lakers and the Spurs. And yes – Wade is a punk and LBJ is an annoying guy to have at the top of the league. Yet I root for them.
    Todd: Good post. “Jim and Mitch bear a lot of the responsibility for the state of the team” Mostly Jim actually. “I think the entire FO realizes that the Lakers are at a very crucial time” Yes – it is crucial – but it was also crucial to hire the right coach in 2011, ditto in 2012, it was crucial to retain DH, the Nash trade was crucial, and the Kobe contract was crucial. To some extent – unfortunately I see some of our coming decisions as “less crucial”. For example – making the correct coaching choice now (Scott) will not even begin to make up for the last two bad coaching decisions. Drafting well will probably not make up for losing DH. Etc.
    Darius: “Fisher is a guy who you want in your foxhole ” And so is Byron. He shared the backcourt wit Magic for 3 titles, just like Fish did with KB for 5. “motivational ability and strategic savvy” I think Byron has the motivation, and I am not sure who has the second item. Do you have a candidate in mind?
    rr: “Fisher’s time in OKC giving the Knicks an edge in recruiting Kevin Durant if he goes FA” Even my pessimistic mind, I did not think about that. I think you could be on to something and you have once again depressed my Laker state of mind even worse than I already was : ) Take it as a compliment : )

  14. I don’t root for the Heat because I don’t like the idea of stars collaborating to form a team. I credit them for their mental toughness, and achieving what they set out to do. If they win this series, then it’s really a slam dunk for them. Their legacy will then be, they came together and owned the league for three years running.

    The Spurs, OTOH, are successful by drafting, coaching, and playing smart. No out-of-the-ordinary advantages have been given to them.

    Whether it’s going to be the Spurs or the Heat getting all the accolades after these Finals, the Lakers have nothing to celebrate.

  15. At this point it doesn’t even matter anymore. The Finals are already a bad dream for Lakers fans. On one team is the player many are already saying is better than peak Kobe Bryant talent-wise. On the other team is the player who, in a few more days, everyone will say has had the better career. And if Duncan can secure another Finals MVP…Lord help us all! EVERY sports writer alive will declare his career better than Kobe’s.

    Watching that happen on the court is bad enough. Watching it while Phil Jackson is stocking the Knicks staff with ex-Lakers (some of my favorite ex-Lakers at that) is enough to drive a man to drinking.

  16. Having the roster this open is a good thing. With wise signings and trades the Lakers can build an entire roster. No nipping around the edges shoving square pegs in round holes and trying to make it work.I think the Lakers are in a great position. Now lets see if the F.O. can get it done.

  17. Very good points folks.. lots of stuff to think about. I’m as eager as all of you for this free agent season to come and go… can’t wait to see what happens.

    On a different note, it will be very interesting to see what happens with the Sterling litigation. Its ironic that this whole mess of Sterling contesting the sale could have been avoided had David Silver (a) just kept his mouth shut or (b) quietly agreed to rescind the fine as part of the league’s approval of the sale. My litigator friend told me that Sterling’s challenges present an interesting slippery slope for the league: the league’s position that the Sterling Trust will indemnify them is based on the premise that D Sterling was properly removed as trustee due to mental incapacity – but if that is the case, then doesn’t that weaken the league’s argument that D Sterling’s statements were intentionally made and, therefore, did Silver actually have the right to fine and ban D Sterling?

    If Sterling is ruled competent, the league faces another major problem: the value of the team has now been set at $3 billion. If they sell the team for less, well then Sterling can sue them – even if they had the right to sell – for selling the franchise below market value. Sure, the league can look to Mrs Sterling for indemnification, but that may not be enough to cover the damages Mr Sterling could potentially win in a suit that argues for treble damages due to the league breaching its fiduciary duty to Mr Sterling .

    I still think that all the League needs to do here to get Mr Sterling out of their hair is to rescind the fine (or make Ballmer-owned Clippers donate the money to a charity) and rescind the life time ban for Mr Sterling. While the players may not like it, I think this is the easiest way to get the Sterlings out of the NBA. Otherwise, believe me when I say that there is a good chance this soap opera will drag on for a long time, eventually leading to a conflict between players, owners and the league.

  18. Manny,

    Props for another interesting post. Just curious…how were the Clips valued at $3 bil when the top offer was $2 bil?

  19. I’m with Robert. No one can compare the Heat dynasty to the Lakers, but people already have compared the Spurs “dynasty.” I personally don’t know how you can be a dynasty without repeating as champions, but oh well.

    The media is biased, of course, and has had Duncan ahead of Kobe even though Kobe has more rings and accomplishments than Timmy does. Duncan was never the best big man in the game until Shaq retired, and by then he had already started slowing down. Then he had two fairly bad years which precipitated him taking a hefty pay cut. (From 20 million a year to 10.) Which is what everyone fails to admit when throwing up all the Duncan love of team bs. He wasn’t worth anywhere near 20 million a year, so he didn’t get it. Then he had a rebirth of sorts and got super healthy and now is playing pretty well again. I think I subscribe to Aaron’s theories about that recovery.

    I also fail to see what this “playing the right way” thing is. So, the Heat have won 2 titles not playing the right way? Lebron doesn’t play the right way? He plays an awful lot like Magic Johnson did. Did Magic play the right way? It seems like just another way to diminish guys who win like Kobe, or Jordan, or Lebron/Magic did to elevate the Spurs team once more.

    Anyway- go Heat!

  20. My bad! $2billion. Tanks LT!

  21. Manny your preaching to the choir . I have said that from day one. Silver is so busy patting himself on the back while he is way out of his league with Stetling.

  22. Silver is so busy patting himself on the back while he is way out of his league with Sterling.


    Truly. Best to gloat after you’ve done the deed. remember how slimy the Heat were with that ” … not one championship; not two championships …” routine?

  23. Warren Wee Lim June 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I have no stake here. I want the best players to win it and it seems both teams have it. Right now, everything points out to the Spurs winning it all. They just have the Heat covered. I expect the Heat to come out of game 4 looking like the Champs they are, but Games 5 and 7 being played in San Antonio, with 3 games to go and having a 2-1 HCA, the Spurs got this.

  24. Now it becomes all clear why the Lakers FO was in such a hurry to give Kobe the 2-year extension. I thought it was a reaction to losing DH, so they felt they cannot stand another blow of public relations by losing out Kobe. Now that Fish is with Knicks, it is all clear.

    Think how bad the Lakers FO would look, if Phil joined the knicks as executive, recruited Fish as coach, then brought in Kobe as free agent to help Melo chase a ring?

    The FO spent all this money on Kobe but would not consult him on coach searching? Why? Why do you want to publicly alienate a guy you are paying 48 million for last 2 years of his career? Is this a move to prevent Phil recruiting Kobe more than setting Lakers to succeed? I hope that is not the case.

    Hiring Byron is the best available move now, after all the options were pretty much exhausted. Bryon will certainly secure and appease the Lakers hard core loyal fan base. For contending championships? I think its a long shot.

    One thing I took away from Fisher press introduction. You have to admit your weakness to make it an advantage. Fisher was a solid player because of his clear understanding of his limitation. He will succeed as a coach because he is ver aware of his lack of experience in head coaching. But he will surely get some serious top notch guidance from Phil.

    Lakers FO needs to admit that there is no LBJ, Love, KD coming, then build from scratch. Hire a coach suitable for players development, spend wisely on young talent, and build a solid scouting team to find gems in Europe, D league, college…. Then maybe, just maybe, you can have a wining culture again that attracts top talent.

    But first, the FO needs to be humble and sincere about getting good players and a solid coach.

  25. nice read, i like the guide for who to root for in this NBA finals. i am rooting for the heat, because i hate the espn writers who believes Spurs will be better than the Laker dynasty… if they win this year.
    but how about the news of a dreamy big 4 in Miami? any comments on it.

  26. Mike K: Agree 100%. I’ve already ranted here against taking Randle. In fact, I am an anti-Randle draft prospect zealot. I’d probably go off the deep end if he were taken by the Lakers. However, I did see that he has been working very hard and reputedly has lost 20 lbs. (sounds high, yeah), and expects to open eyes when he starts working out for teams. In terms of his assets, he does have good feet, good lateral quickness and a respectable 7ft wingspan. If you think about how much Kevin Love improved through converting his somewhat pudgy build to a lean frame, it’s not hard to imagine that a leaner, quicker Randle could be a much more effective player. He does have good shooting mechanics and could develop range enough to open the floor.

    But no: Smart, Gordon, Randle in that order of likely available prospects–and consider trading down if Randle is the only one left.

  27. I think the Spurs gather support because Lebron is kind of superhuman but the Spurs just have a bunch of really good players that pass the ball.
    Whereas Lebron individually is almost enough to compete by himself.
    So everyone who’s human that can’t even dream of doing the stuff that Lebron does- which is most of us- roots for the guys who seem to achieve greatness as a team in mortal ways.

    IMO none of this has anything to do with the Lakers. I don’t root for or against any team as it relates to their relationship to the FBG.

    I just love hoops so much that I can appreciate it being played well by a guy wearing any jersey.

  28. “Sources told that Heat officials and the team’s leading players have already started to explore their options for creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony this summer in free agency.
    James’ off-court business is booming, thanks to a string of investments paying off massively and the prospect of new opportunities in endorsements and entertainment projects promising to expand his wealth significantly in coming years.”

  29. “So everyone who’s human that can’t even dream of doing the stuff that Lebron does- which is most of us- roots for the guys who seem to achieve greatness as a team in mortal ways.”

    Well, not everyone. I can’t even dream of doing what Kendall Marshall does. 😉 LeBron’s the best player in the league. Someone’s gotta be. There was a lot of criticism earlier in his career, but he’s on his way to legendary status now. So good for him. I’m for teams more than individual players, and I do admire great basketball minds. If James had been drafted by San Antonio, and was still playing for them, I’d probably still root for the Spurs over most other teams. As Laker fans, I wouldn’t think we’d want to be carved up by the Spurs any more than we’d want to be dominated by LeBron & Co. Apparently, though, many Laker fans feel more threatened by the Spurs than the Heat.

  30. Ramona Shelburne: One of the tests doctors asked Donald Sterling to perform, was to spell “world” backwards. He could not. Twitter @ramonashelburne – See more at:

  31. Warren Wee Lim June 11, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Jerke, that makes him a super rich dumb sob, but not insane.

  32. “the success of the Heat’s 2010 free-agent bonanza has established them as the NBA’s undisputed destination franchise, with owner Micky Arison empowering big-thinking team president Pat Riley to attempt to pull off another coup in the market despite new collective bargaining agreement rules aimed at preventing it.”

    I must admit one thing I like about these guys coming together, it destroys the myth that for athletes “it’s always about the money”. According to the article, at least six or seven Heat players will have to co-operate $$$ wise in order to sign ‘Melo.

  33. @rfen
    “As Laker fans, I wouldn’t think we’d want to be carved up by the Spurs any more than we’d want to be dominated by LeBron & Co. Apparently, though, many Laker fans feel more threatened by the Spurs than the Heat.”

    I have to call you out for this. You keep intimating that it’s only us (looking for the word here.) petty, jealous, silly, unenlightened Laker fans that have these grudges against other teams. Like we’re not allowed to have a preference for which other team we would rather have win the Finals. I assure you that every other group of fans have the same feelings about one team or another. Celtics fans would probably cheer for any other team in the Finals against the Lakers. Why? Because they’re proud of the fact that they have 17 championships to our 16 and they don’t want us to attain that level with them. They could care less how beautiful our brand of basketball may or may not be. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, if the ‘boys are not in the SB, then I want any other team to win it aside from the Steelers or the Niners because the Steelers have 6 and the Niners have 5. Then, there are other teams in descending order that I don’t want to win either. It’s called being a fan. It’s this thing called rivalry. Lebron and the Heat have never been Laker rivals.

    The ESPN driven sports media is pushing the Spurs greatness beyond that which it is. They have never won back-to-back championships, yet they are a dynasty? Why couldn’t they do it? Oh yeah, because that Lakers team was there for many years in a row to knock them out of the playoffs and they just so happened to have that Kobe guy on their team. This same media will knock Kobe for playing 1b to Shaq’s 1a on those teams (and many nights in the playoffs Kobe was 1a.), yet they will say, with a straight face, that Tim Duncan is the focus of the current Spurs team. Reality? He might not even be the second best player on this team- at this time in his career. In last year’s Finals TD blew a layup that would have won the game and series for the Spurs, but he got zero flack for it. Tell me what would have happened to Kobe if he did the same?

    Nah. I won’t cheer for the Spurs despite their “beautiful” brand of basketball. The Heat with Lebron look more like the Showtime Lakers that I fell in love with. I’ll roll with the closest incarnation to Magic Johnson that we’ve ever seen. tyvm

  34. Kobe has reteatedly stated that he is not going anywhere and that he will retire a Laker, they paid him because no matter if the team stinks or not he is going to bring a lot of revenue in merchandise and he is going to pit people on seats at home and on the road, Dr Buss said once that Kobe brings something around 60 million in revenue every year. And his return next season will be one of the most compelling storylines next season, will he suceed? Will he fail? With Kobe on the team the Lakers dont get bumped off National TV games. And they are making a statement to future free agents, that they will be taken care off. Even if Kobe signed a contract for minimun wage people will still find ways complain about it. And tje Lakers have never said anything officially about LJ, Love or any of those guys, if they have a shot they will pounce like the other 29 teams in the league. But i think the pattern here is that they wont make any major moves this summer

  35. How is it that the Heat can release details of their pursuit of Anthony and it not be considered tampering? “Anonymous sources” is the same as Riley holding a press conference as far as this is concerned. This is not the same as the Lakers already having cap space and saying they will pursue free agents when they are available.

  36. No problem w/ ‘Melo joining Miami. If their front office can pull that off I guess it proves that it doesn’t always come down to the money for athletes, lol.

    2014-’15 Heat team of LeBron, Bosh, Wade, & ‘Melo, not to different from ’03-’04 Laker team of Shaq, Kobe, Malone, & Payton. Yes Malone was older, but Payton played the most minutes that season & was the only Laker to play all 82 games.

  37. Nick Van Exile June 12, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I’m not a big fan of Julius Randle. Instead of the often-used Zach Randolph comparable, I think Paul Millsap is a better comparable for Randle. I think Randle will be a good player but I think good players (with proven experience in the NBA) can be readily had in FA. The Lakers need to get the best player available, both offensively and defensively, with their rare (for them) lottery pick. Two of Smart/Vonleh/Gordon/Randle will be available at the 7 pick and Smart/Vonleh/Gordon project to be much better NBA defenders than Randle (with similar or better production offensively). ESPN is reporting that Randle will need foot surgery after the draft to remove a screw that repaired his broken foot in HS. He would probably be ready for training camp but miss summer league play. That’s another mark against Randle.

    As much as I wish the Lakers’ FO would outline the plan they have for the next few years to assuage the fanbase’s fears that they have no plan, I can see why they wouldn’t as any deviations from it would be considered failures and create needless hysteria. With only 2 head coaching positions still available in the Lakers and Cavs, the FO might as well take their time and make sure they get the candidate that best fits their plan for the coming years. As someone said above, we will just have to wait and see.

  38. When the Big 3 came together on their own accord, it bothered the heck out of me. “How dare they!” I thought. Now, I no longer feel that way. Here’s why: If a player wants to take less money to play for a ring or with his friends, so be it. This type of activity is not banned by the collective bargaining agreement. It may be against the spirit of “competition” we all think we know something about, but in the end, that’s no different than any owner deciding they will open up their wallets and pay certain free agents above market while trying to convince others to take a salary below market. Obviously, owners do not like it as it makes them feel less in control. So what. The NBA, for better or for worse, has become a players league now and the NBA has no one to blame but itself (compare this t a team-first league like the NFL). So, if Lebron wants to team up with Melo and go play for whomever, then so be it. If the rules allow it, it aint cheating.

  39. That last post that ended with “that aint cheating” is mine (it may be stuck in mod). Got a little too eager when clicking on the “post comment” button.

  40. For the David Blatt fans:

    ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    MT @IAmDPick: Maccabi insiders expect David Blatt to announce that he IS headed to the NBA but not specifically where

    ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    RT @AllonSinai: Blatt: “There are several options and now that I have told Maccabi that I’m leaving I will intensify my talks w/ NBA teams”

  41. rr- As a side note, both Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine are HUGE Laker fans. It would not surprise me the least bit if both have “joked” with Lebron about becoming a Laker in the future. Not saying it will happen, but I bring it up because I genuinely think that the biggest benefit of being a Laker star comes from its fanbase due to its enourmous size (worldwide) and prominent followers. I do not think there is a single NBA team that even comes close to us in that department. Just look at how Magic was able to parlay the contacts he made and goodwill he earned as a Laker player to amass wealth that rivals that of MJ23 – and this without the backing of the Nike and Jordan shoe empire. Imagine what a smart, ambitious guy like Lebron could do to increase his wealth in a similar situation. Just saying….

  42. KenOak> “I have to call you out for this. You keep intimating that it’s only us (looking for the word here.) petty, jealous, silly, unenlightened Laker fans that have these grudges against other teams. Like we’re not allowed to have a preference for which other team we would rather have win the Finals.”

    There are teams I root against in some sports, for possibly petty reasons. It’s common.
    I’m not sure why you think I’m trying to tell people who they should be for. If you don’t like the Spurs, or feel a special rivalry with them, then you should root against them. If you care about all the rhetoric that surrounds pro sports, then that can influence what you want to see. All I’ve said is why I’m rooting for the Spurs, and there’s just no way I’m going to change what I like or think because of what ESPN is going to say about anything. I don’t really know or care which team has been “greater” in this era so far, or whether so-and-so is giving a fair assessment of it. Both the Lakers and Spurs have been great in their own ways, and I’d guess that the two organizations respect each other for what they’ve accomplished.

  43. So our top 3 coaching candidates are Byron, Gentry, and Rambis. These are dark times indeed my friends. All 3 have losing records as a coach, one is in the running for worst head coach in NBA history, another had his best years as an assistant coaching the system of them man you just fired, and the other is only being considered because he played for the team and he’s liked among Laker legends. This is depressing.

  44. Nick Van Exile June 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

    RE: David Blatt, Marc Stein reported that David Blatt would not accept an assistant coaching job in the NBA. Unless, he had a sudden change of heart, that seems to suggest that Blatt has been offered either the Cavs or Lakers head coaching position (or both). Considering there has been no mention of Blatt being interviewed by the Lakers and David Pick reported that Blatt had a phone interview with the Cavs, I wouldn’t hold my hopes up for Blatt being the Lakers’ head coach. Blatt also met with Steve Kerr (for a possible assistant coach position).

    RE: Julius Randle needing surgery, apparently now Julie Randle himself and his mother have both commented that the story is not true. Adrian Wojnarowski, who initially reported the story, says NBA teams have seen Randle’s medical records and expect him to have foot surgery. The drama continues…

  45. Nick Van Exile June 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Reading this interview with Lionel Hollins makes me think he would be the best coaching candidate for the Lakers’ job:

  46. Manny,

    I know very little about big business, so you may be right. But I find it unlikely that in the era of social media/digital entertainment/cyber economy that James’ opportunities in those areas will be notably limited by playing in Miami as opposed to being a Laker.

  47. I had to chuckle after reading the comments about not liking the Heat because of the way they put the team together. We Lakers fans really have no room to gripe about how a team was put together. The Lakers received a 7 foot, All Star big man in a deal that was basically a salary dump by Memphis. At the time we Laker fans paid no mind to the wave of criticism aimed at the deal. We just figured they were all jealous the Lakers had come out on top again.

    However, a great deal of the criticism was about the fact Memphis had better offers on the table basketball-wise. Yet they passed them up (enriching the Lakers in the process) just to dump salary. It made their team worse and there was no actual basketball concern on Memphis’ part.

    Meanwhile LeBron, Wade, and Bosh get together specifically with basketball in mind. They all agreed to take a little less money to create a high quality team that could better compete. So its okay for GM’s to dump good players, making their teams worse, just to cut salary. But it is not okay for players to team up for the sake of creating better actual basketball teams. Got it.

    Lastly, the only “right way” to play basketball is the way that wins. The Heat have played the right way for four straight years now. KenOak’s comparison to the Showtime Lakers is a great one. The people touting the Spurs as being “better” because they play the right way sound a lot like Celtics fans from the 1980’s.

  48. Bryan: Well, now that they have acknowledged that Randle is going to get foot surgery, that all but rules it out. I think Randle was a classic Ainge-Kupchak smoke screen to keep alive hopes that someone would grab him, thus leaving someone like a Smart, Vonleh, Exum on the board. But in reality, Wiggins, Parker, Embiid and Vonleh are all going to be off the board before the Lakers pick – and that’s a lock. I don’t think there’s really anyway that Exum sticks around either, which basically means that Aaron Gordon and Smart are the two premier players left when Boston picks. Smart is going to be ridiculous in the NBA. He’s the classic big, penetrating combo point who will play better in the NBA as he’ll take advantage of NBA offense and the floor spacing to drive to the hoop again and again over his career. Throw in his intensity and D, and he’s exactly who would give the Lakers new hope and excitement; ‘mini-Kobe’. But, I am bracing myself for Boston grabbing Smart and flipping him to a later team for their pick and a player, leaving LA with Gordon. Of course, Gordon could be great too, it’s just that he also might fail, whereas Smart won’t.

  49. rr-Very true… but I think the idea of transforming the Laker faithful into Lebron faithfuls may entice him enough to at least give the Lakers a passing thought.

  50. Rfen – super funny. I actually do dream of doing what Kendall Marshall does. Then I wake up 🙂

    That is the best analysis I’ve heard explaining the Kobe extension – that FO was afraid Phil would be leaving and end up stealing him- Amazing out of the box thinking and I wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me.

  51. NVE – good link re Hollins.
    I wish he’d get this chance but I fear B Scott will.
    I’ll take Byron if it nets us Kyrie.

  52. Mike K: You are on it to a T. We will be looking at either Gordon or Smart as the BPA. If it’s Gordon (that’s my best guess), I hope he can develop into a Kwai Leonard level 3. He has huge hands, elite athleticism, and much better handles and passing skills than Leonard. The challenge as all know, will be his shooting.

    Randle gonna drop . . . . which is both good and bad news.

  53. Brian Kamenetzky on the coaching search:

  54. San Antonio showing a lil’ version of a Box & One Defense against LeBron at the end of the first quarter?

  55. This just might be the best coaching and team team since the old Knicks.

  56. Warren Wee Lim June 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Miami looks terrified of the Spurs.

    RT @ESPNStatsInfo: Spurs: 1st team to lead back-to-back finals games by 15 or more points at halftime since 1987 Lakers

  58. Game isn’t even over yet – then again, with the way the Spurs are ballin’, it just may be – and the announcers are already making excuses for LeBron.

    Why am I not surprised?

  59. I’m pretty surprised that the refs haven’t been calling fouls on Wade’s flops all game. Good job refs! It took you a decade, but you guys are finally learning.

    …and Kawhi for Geoge Hill? Pop, you are a genius.

  60. Robert,

    Can we still be friends?

    Jane & the Spurs

  61. I said in preseason (as did others) that the only way that I could see James even considering leaving Miami was a bad playoff loss, involving Wade’s looking done, and then Wade’s opting into his deal, causing an internal rupture among the three guys. Wade’s player option is for 21.6M; Bosh’s and James’ are each for 22.1M.

    So, if SA blows Miami away again in Game 5, I think that something may actually happen with these guys (and no, I don’t think it will involve James coming here, with 33M already committed to two guys much older and coming off far less productive seasons than the one Wade just had–although maybe they can still stretch Nash).

  62. Wade has been an elite player througout these playoffs. I don’t think one bad game can classify him as being done.

  63. I’m one, maybe the only one, who said he didn’t like the idea of star players colluding privately to build a team, all the way down to adjusting their salaries to make it work. I’m glad I was able to create some chuckles. I never said it was cheating, or that it’s the only example of where the competitive integrity of the game may be compromised. I just don’t like it, and considering I’ve never been a Miami fan, there’s no reason I should want it to succeed there. Miami fans, fine. It’s their team, so love it however it came together. In the past, the Lakers have pretty much stolen some of the most dominant players in the league. So? I didn’t expect fans of other teams to like it.

  64. beginning to envision lebron a laker, flanked by carmelo bosh and kobe wade.

  65. I could actually see us getting wade …. if riley somehow asks them all to Take a paycut and then cuts wade out for lowry or another FA amd they camt pay wade his money he would need to look for a new team amd given his actress wife LA cpyld be a spot

  66. i’m fine with the Spurs win. Kobe has destroyed SA’s world too many times for me to be jealous of their success. the Spurs are just the better team this year. better than the rest of the league…

    next year is a mystery. just maybe everything will go as perfectly next year, as it went perfectly badly the last two years for the Lakers. some have already given up. how is that fun? they haven’t even lost a game yet. when they next lose, we can mope.

    rfen, of course that’s true, but as you suggested, no one would mind if a bunch of those guys colluded here. the thing is, no one can predict injuries or great seasons. only a few are really serious about winning, the main thing needed after health. i guess that’s the coaching conundrum. who out there can change someone’s mind about the importance of winning compared to the rest of the important things in life.

  67. I could actually see us getting wade


    Um, no. No, and no 6,000 times on Sunday.

    The Lakers need to add talent and younger players, preferably both when possible (No. 7 pick). Wade’s body isn’t getting any healthier, and the Lakers already have two past-their-prime guards collecting 8-figure salaries. They don’t need a third.

    That, and he’s an a-hole.

  68. I’m one, maybe the only one, who said he didn’t like the idea of star players colluding privately to build a team, all the way down to adjusting their salaries to make it work

    Back in 2010, literally millions of fans said this in one form or another, so I will assume that you are being facetious.

  69. “rfen, of course that’s true, but as you suggested, no one would mind if a bunch of those guys colluded here.”

    If the world was black and white. There’s such a thing as mixed feelings. If the biggest stars got together and schemed to become Lakers, which then would attract a bunch of good role players playing for less money to join them, then yeah, that would be great for the Laker brand, and we win big, and rah, rah, GO Lakers! But at the same time, is it really the way I want the league to work? Does it taint the winning at all? It means winners become simply destinations where the best players decide to gang up on the rest of the league. The game becomes less meaningful to me. Everyone’s mileage will vary.

  70. Chris J – Agreed. A major no to Wade. Super a.hole. Like breaking Kobe’s nose in the ASG. Along with all the other “inadvertent” injuries he’s caused…

  71. Chris J and AusPhil – agreed again.

    I don’t think anyone will ever forget that ASG nose-breaking. That (and Chris Andersen) are the main reason why I’d love to see Miami get blown out.

    The way the Spurs play is just so darn beautiful. Gotta appreciate it, even if they rival us in every way since Jordan retired in 1998.

  72. Spurs CRUSH Heat IN Miami!!
    All’s right with the world.

    Check this out.
    Text I sent my son earlier:
    “It’s really the best ‘team’ I’ve seen since the Knicks in the 70s”…
    Great minds think alike.

  73. Ko, “This just might be the best coaching and team team since the old Knicks”. Couldn’t agree w/ you more. Said that to my brother last night as we watched the game. Unfortunately the won’t be appreciated by most. After all, that Knick championship team won 44 years ago. Red Holzman’s “hit the open man” offense was a thing of beauty, and Reed, Frazier, DeBusschere, Barnett, & Bradley executed it like no one before or after…until these Spurs.

  74. darius: always remember your children are god’s greatest gifts to you and remember to cherish them as they cherish you. whether you’re sparking up the bar-b-cue grill this weekend or opening a gift box with one of many ties to come, enjoy this upcoming special dad’s day. Happy Father’s Day and thanks for keeping forum blue and gold vibrant and relevant 365 days year in, year out.

    and happy father’s day to all the fellow dads and to the buss family in memory of their dad, dr. jerry buss.

    Go lakers

  75. Warren Wee Lim June 13, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Awesome! We’re actually getting Dwayne Wade and not one… not two… but THREE wheelchairs. That way Kobe and Nash can race too. Oh wait…

  76. “Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s team of lawyers has hired four private investigation firms to dig up “dirt” on the NBA’s former and current commissioners and its 29 other owners, a source confirmed to”

  77. chris y: I think the possibility of Randle needing surgery on his foot would give the Lakers and any other team cause for concern.

    Disclaimer: I am not that high on either Randle or Smart. My feeling is that if Vonleh is not there then trade down and pick up additional assets in the deal.

  78. Parrothead Phil June 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    NVE: I finally read the Hollins interview you linked. I like what he was able to accomplish in Memphis and he says all the right things in that interview to make me believe that he would be a good choice to coach the Lakers. Thank you for linking the article.

    On a side note, I have a question for readers of this site more knowledgeable than myself. Did Hollins have any years remaining on his contract when Memphis fired him? If he did, that could also explain his reticence towards taking another job as a lead assistant because he is still being paid by Memphis unless he accepts another job. I know it’s not relevant to whether he is the right candidate to coach the Lakers. I’m just curious.

  79. rfen, i DO agree. i’m just saying that even with shennanigans, there aren’t any sure bets.

  80. Nick Van Exile June 13, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I was looking through’s scouting reports in previous drafts (they only go back to the 2006 draft). Here are some notable ones:

    2006 #6 Brandon Roy – lacks elite athleticism, small wingspan
    2006 #24 Kyle Lowry – small, will not be able to overpower guards in the NBA
    2006 #47 Paul MIllsap – tweener (small for PF, slow for a SF)
    2007 #9 Joakim Noah – what position does he play in the NBA?
    2007 #48 Marc Gasol – slow, below average athlete
    2008 #5 Kevin Love – undersized, slow
    2009 #3 James Harden – lacks elite athleticism/size for SG
    2009 #7 Stephen Curry – small, lacks elite athleticism
    2010 #10 Paul George – settles for outside shot, questionable handle
    2011 #11 Klay Thompson – lacks elite athleticism, struggles against longer defenders
    2011 #15 Kawhi Leonard – lacks wing skills offensively
    2011 #22 Kenneth Faried – small for a PF, lacks post moves, poor FT shooter
    2012 #6 Damian Lillard – lacks elite athleticism, shoot first PG
    2012 #9 Andre Drummond – lacks post moves, bad FT shooter
    2013 #11 Michael Carter-Williams – questionable outside shot, sleight build

    So when I read these draft profiles for possible guys the Lakers can pick with the #7 pick and fret about their weaknesses, I always have to tell myself that solid starters to MVPs have come in with similar weaknesses and have either fixed those weaknesses or worked around them to be successful. One weakness that is a huge red flag to me is questionable desire/work ethic/competitiveness. It is what fuels improvement and you either have it or you don’t.

  81. If Sterling really couldn’t spell ‘world’ backwards or draw a clock etc., he may be impaired.
    But if he can write a check, he can dig up dirt on other owners–which sounds like fun.
    Cuban tried to warn them!
    Once these Finals are over, Donald is gonna give us his own peculiar brand of summer entertainment.

  82. “The Spurs have been ahead of this fatigue curve for years, arming themselves with injury prevention and player-tracking data to make sure they get the most out of their aging players. Three years ago, the Spurs’ D-League affiliate became one of the first teams to wear Catapult accelerometer devices in games to track player workloads, heart rate and distance traveled. Almost half the league uses Catapult for practices now and it’s worth pointing out that their Finals foe, the Heat, are not one of them yet.”

    –source, ESPN

  83. “I’m one, maybe the only one”

    “literally millions of fans said this in one form or another”–hilarious

  84. NVE – great post.
    Another possibility is that was simply WRONG in some cases 🙂
    In fact, according to that list – in almost every case! haha

  85. the other Stephen June 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Nick Van Exile, thanks for compiling that. The majority of the players on that list had question marks about their physical tools (e.g., athleticism, build, size), rather than about their offensive skills. Since they’ve all been able to succeed in spite of those concerns, that makes me think about someone toward the other end of the spectrum, like Marcus Smart. Trying to project prospects without analytics like Pelton’s is probably a useless exercise anyway, but I just wonder.

    He’s only 20 years old, with just two years of college experience under his belt. But if he hasn’t been able to improve his offensive game (i.e., a better shot), with his competitive spirit and work ethic, what does that signal about the limits of his ceiling on that side of the ball?

  86. Nick

    I am amazed you found those draft notes from Jim Buss.

    Nice job!

  87. Nick Van Exile June 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    KO: to give credit where credit is due, I got them from Jim’s bartender, er, scout, Chaz.

  88. Chris Y: “Why would anyone think that Duncan has had a better career than Kobe?” Well I do not know why – but I know after this Finals there will be more people who feel that way and there argument will be much stronger. In fact – it is hard to not at least declare it very close. The rings at 5-4 “was” one of the points favoring Kobe.
    Jane: Let me know how the DVDs are because I am not watching them:
    Tim Duncan – He Chiseled His Own Path to Mt Rushmore
    The San Antonio Spurs – The Team for the Ages – That Defy Their Ages
    Enjoy : )

  89. This one pretty much sums up how most people will feel about it.
    “Duncan’s quest seems open-and-shut to me. Win another ring, and he passes Kobe. Fail, and he doesn’t.”

  90. Wade looks very out of shape.

  91. @Robert
    Reading that article and then some of those comments…Wow. I love how Duncan is the greatest big of his era-> maybe the greatest player, but as soon as some of these guys start detracting from Kobe they claim that Gasol was the best big in the game during their run of 3 straight finals. Hilarious. My statement still stands. I love Duncan. He’s a great player who showed remarkable durability and consistency across his career. A quiet warrior with hidden strength. However, I don’t even know if he was the best *big* man of his era, much less the best player. Shaq was better than Duncan up until 2005-06 and then Howard was better for a handful of years. Now, Tim isn’t even the best player on his team. He’ll win another ‘chip this year and will be anointed by the media though.

    Total impossibility here, but what if- what if the Lakers rebuild within the next 2 years and Kobe gets one more. Would love to see the heads exploding then!

  92. I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks Tim Duncan should somehow be considered above Kobe is choosing is using a very narrow view of the NBA world. Even if Duncan wins another ring it does not make his career superior to Kobe’s in any way, shape or form. There simply is no comparison between the two. You want to compare Timmy? Compare him to another player with similar skill set and leadership: Gasol. This is getting ridiculous. I get that not being in the finals hurt – but c’mon guys, get a grip on reality, please! SMH.

  93. chris y: We may disagree on the Spurs, but we are in lock step on Jim Buss : )

  94. Warren Wee Lim June 14, 2014 at 2:44 am

    If rumors surrounding the Lakers pursuing Melo hard are correct, I would welcome that 100%. Consider me on board. A bird on the hand is worth two on the bush.

    Nash – 4.5M (stretch-waived for 2yrs to line up with Kobe’s deal)

    Farmar – 1.0M
    Bryant – 23.5M
    Melo – 22.5M
    Hill – 4.5M
    Robert Sacre – 0.9M
    7th pick – 2.8M (Smart, Gordon. Vonleh or Randle)

    After that we can proceed to sign 1-yr deals for: Meeks, Bazemore, Wes Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Xavier Henry.

  95. Randle gets compared to Zach Randolph. Randolph has really long arms. Randle is built like a T-rex. Randle has bust written all over him even before you consider his foot.

    Warren: I wouldn’t be very excited about signing Anthony. Would be a major improvement over last year but, I really want to see the Lakers upgrade the roster not just 2 guys Smart and Melo.

  96. Sacre as our center…dear god.

  97. Warren Wee Lim June 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Call me unimpressed with Vonleh. The only thing going for him is potential and some length, but I would much rather trade for Larry Sanders than think Vonleh is the sleeper star of the draft.

  98. rubenowski June 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Sacre as our center…dear god.
    Thank you, MDA!

    Yeah, pretty impressive. The Lakers have three players under contract as of July 1, if memory serves: Two guys who may not have anything left, and one guy who never had anything in the first place.

  99. Now it becomes all clear why the Lakers FO was in such a hurry to give Kobe the 2-year extension. I thought it was a reaction to losing DH, so they felt they cannot stand another blow of public relations by losing out Kobe. Now that Fish is with Knicks, it is all clear.

    Think how bad the Lakers FO would look, if Phil joined the knicks as executive, recruited Fish as coach, then brought in Kobe as free agent to help Melo chase a ring?
    As J C has already mentioned: Dang 5D2, that´s fine insight. Nice goin´ –
    Either team winning the `014 championship leaves me gagging (this is not to belittle the outstanding performances by the Spurs, however.), but seeing the Heat get clobbered TWICE on their home floor is quite pleasing ; )

  100. I’m noticing an exciting trend. Looks like Exum is dropping a bit in the various mocks. If he can actually get into 5-6 range, maybe his agent can do the rest and drive him home to us at #7. All the “small sample size” caveats in place, he’s the guy I’ve been wanting.

    As for the Spurs-Heat bs… Really? This is what fandom amounts to? That you can tell people their player, their team, their accomplishments aren’t as good as your team’s? The accomplishments of our players and our team has provided us with a top quality basketball experience. The things we’ve gotten to root for and the iconic moments we’ve been witness to are literally the marketing strategy of the league we love. Part of what makes the league great is that our team has had to combat worthy foes. I wasn’t there for the Baylor/West years. I didn’t get to see Kareem in his prime. I vaguely remember Magic as a young player but by the time we were winning the first back to backs in two decades, I was on it. Watching Isaiah limp around trying to will his team to an upset made that win in ’88 even more impressive. The disappointment of Magic and Byron going down in ’89, saying good-bye to Kareem, all that made that loss even more painful. The worthy foes of the Celtics, the 6ers, and the Pistons made that era memorable. Who here remembers the upset against the Blazers that set us up to be the final summit for Jordan in ’91? Who here remembers Nick shadow-boxing? Who here remembers trying to beat those Jazz teams? Really, lets get to the point here.

    Tim Duncan is one of the greatest players to ever play this game. You all got to watch that. He never wore, nor will he wear the purple and gold armour but that is good. It means we actually had a worthy adversary. When it is all said and done, he will be spoken in the same group as guys like Kareem, Wilt, Hakeem, Shaq, Walton and Russell. You got to see him beat your team because of how good he was and you got to see your team beat him in spite of how good he was. It’s a total experience.

    If this insults anybody on this site, so be it. LeBron James is a more complete player than Kobe Bryant. He is not as refined a player but, put him on any team that Kobe was on and I would not be surprised if that team was a bit more successful. He is a better defender, a better playmaker, a better finisher, a better rebounder, and his leadership style is a better style of leadership. That said, I would not trade my time watching Kobe’s career for LeBron instead. With all the ups and downs of Kobe fandom, I have had an amazing ride and as this unlit tunnel bends towards what feels like the time to gather our belongings and be ready to disembark, I still hold out some hope that there is a surprise sharp turn and another steep drop before I’m told to take my safety harness off. The Kobe Coaster has been worth the price of admission.

    BTW, I hope you all haven’t forgotten one specific moment that Tim Duncan was a huge part of giving us. When Fish hit the 0.4 shot, it was only necessary because Duncan had just dropped a 20 footer, leaning to his left, his legs going out from under him, Karl Malone closing in and Shaq with a hand at his wrist. Without Duncan there is no 0.4 seconds. You did not get to jump up and down, screaming, leaping into your friend’s arms with all of LA going crazy around you. Fisher’s shot does not make Duncan’s shot any less impressive. This idea ought to be applied to the whole Kobe-Duncan, Lakers-Spurs dynamic.

  101. “Kobe is 5-2, back to back twice. Had we played the Spurs in the finals, instead of the Nets and Sixers, kobe would have another finals mvp as well, He was amazing in any series vs the spurs, it’s too bad we always whooped them in the wcf and semis and not in the finals.”

    This is very true. Kobe killed the Spurs in 2001 and 2002 when the Lakers and Spurs (along with the Kings) were the best teams in the league.

  102. MannyP> “Even if Duncan wins another ring it does not make his career superior to Kobe’s in any way, shape or form. There simply is no comparison between the two.”

    Yet the comparisons will be made. Whether it makes sense or not, the vital concern is “how most people will feel about it.” With another ring, Duncan passes Kobe. So it has been written. Robert assures us that, in the world of opinion, Duncan will be [Insert comparative/superlative here]. We Kobe fans can try to persuade through sound reasoning, but I’m not optimistic that it will do any good. We can only stay strong. Kobe is the Bestest. Nobody can prove us wrong. 🙂

  103. KenOak/T Rogers: We have been in perfect sync on this Lakers/Spurs or Kobe/Duncan thing the whole way through. Unfortunately we are not getting the result we wanted.
    MannyP; Ironically it is some of the most ardent Kobe supporters who were rooting against Duncan and the Spurs. It is not that we couldn’t/wouldn’t still argue in favor of Kobe, but rather that we want the argument to be totally slanted in KB’s favor. Hence we root against (well it is almost past tense now) the Spurs. By the way – there is only one Mt Rushmore and only one top 10. There is not one for bigs and one for smalls. I root for Lakers to be included and others not to be. And yes – I know this matters not to some. Just like 17-16 doesn’t matter to some. I could already argue the Lakers crush the Celtics completely for anyone under the age of like 60. However the media and many fans still say 17>16 in spite of our 31 trips to the Finals. This is how it will be with Duncan and the Spurs. Laker fans will argue one way and everyone else will argue another.
    Mt. Rushmore: It favors smalls and it also favors more recent players. However – why do people acknowledge the ancient Celtics greats and nobody ever mentions Mikan and company? If you are going to be fair then mention both or do not mention either because it is too long ago. Again we get crushed in marketing. Ask who the greatest football teams are and people say Pats, Niners, Cowboys, Steelers. Nobody says Bears or Browns. Nobody says Yale and Harvard are two of the greatest college teams of all time. Since 1980, we have 10 titles in 16 trips, while they have 4 titles in 7 trips. Why do we let the Celtics get away with this?

  104. LOL @ the wheelchair racing comment by WWL.

  105. WWL- I’m a little on the side of questioning the sanity of someone who thinks Melo on the Lakers is a good idea. You do realize that part of playing basketball is defense? Melo on Houston or even Chicago makes sense. They have guys there who can account for Melo’s difficulties on one half of the court. Plenty of great teams have succeeded with bad defenders in a position or two. Farmar, Kobe, Melo, Hill and Sacre would not stop an avalanche going up hill. Melo on the Lakers would be a disaster. May as well hire Dunleavy and sell the team to Sterling. It is that bad an idea.

  106. FWIW, yahoo and other sources are saying that Anthony is leaning towards Chicago or Houston because–surprise–he wants to be on team that can contend immediately.

  107. “Once again, @McCannSportsLaw makes it plain, with his latest on the options for the NBA and Donald Sterling: ”

    David Aldridge via Twitter.

  108. This is what fandom amounts to?

    Again: fandom amounts to whatever individual people want it to, assuming the obvious lines of decency, legality and (sometimes) courtesy.

    Robert appears to care very much about the media/blog/internet/sports bar/watercooler conversations about the Lakers’ franchise history and Kobe’s legacy as compared to those of the Spurs and Tim Duncan; other people here care very little or not at all. To each his own.

    That said, assuming the Spurs do win this, there will be any number of articles comparing Kobe and Duncan’s respective legacies, in part because the people writing them know that they will generate a lot of clicks and draw a lot of eyeballs, and they will be looking for those things in the dead period after the Finals and before the draft, and as we all know, there are fans and writers all over the place who are as emotional about tearing Kobe and the Lakers down as Lakers fans are about building him and them up.

  109. For those of you aren’t threatened by the legacy the Spurs are building. Nice article

  110. P.ami +1. Nicely put sir.

    Not sure if there is anyone else here who listens to nba217 on siriusxm, but Nancy lieberman went on a nice mini rant about fans in Miami showing up late for the game, being bandwagon jumpers, and only supporting the team because it’s currently popular to do so and be seen there. I second her points on having the right to boo your team, fair enough you paid for your ticket etc… but when it’s a finals game and you’re leaving early even in a blowout – you can’t be considered a true fan of your team or of bball. for whatever differences of opinion on here, at least I know everyone here would stay till the bitter end to support their team. And even if you want to boo then fine – at least it shows you care. Just walking out means you were never invested in the first place. She also pointed out the lack of kids at Miami playoff games – too many adults pretending to be cool, not enough kids to build dreams and foster a true generational fanbase.

  111. @P.Ami….
    You make a good point about LeBron being successful in place of Kobe. However, one could transpose Kobe to LeBron’s teams and say the same thing. I find very little difference between a prime 30 year old Kobe and the James we see today. Granted LJ is a better rebounder… He should be. He’s at least 3″ taller and much heavier and stronger & plays a front court position, where rebounding is a bigger part of the job description. Passing? Ok, statistically Brawn has the edge, but Kobe is a damn fine passer as well. Better finisher? I disagree strongly. Kobe’s creativity and variety going to the basket were second to none, IMO. Leadership style is an apples and oranges debate. Kobe has helped lead his team to seven Finals, whereas James has been to five. Both very effective. I also feel Kobe was James’ equal if not superior as a defender. James’ size does benefit him here as it allows him to guard front court players.

    Recently, I heard a talk show host opine that LeBron is blameless in the Heat’s demise because he’s putting up great numbers despite his team’ slack of success in this Finals. True, James is putting up great numbers. The difference between him and Kobe, is that Kobe, as his team’s best player would have shouldered more of the load. Good or bad, Kobe would have been more assertive. Simply put, Kobe would have shot the ball more, critics be damned. Anyway, this is a debate that will rage forever and I more than respect your opinion even if I don’t agree with all of it.

  112. Nick Van Exile June 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    The latest mock draft has the Magic taking Smart at 4, the Jazz taking Vonleh at 5, the Celtics taking Gordon at 6, and Exum falling to the Lakers at 7. If wishing made it so!

    The Rockets and Bulls wanting Melo and vice versa is good for the Lakers for two reasons: 1) it means the Lakers don’t sign Melo to a long-term contract that will take him into his post-prime years and 2) the Lakers may be able to get some players/picks from the Bulls or Rockets by taking on salary they need to clear to make room for Melo. Again, if wishing made it so!

  113. The finals are all about Karma (credit Rovell at ESPN):

    “Pat Riley’s company, Riles & Co., has filed to trademark the phrase “3-Peat” on bed covers, linens, blankets, sheets and towels.

    The filing is the second the Miami Heat president’s company has made in the past 10 days. On May 15, Riles & Co. filed a trademark application to use “3-Peat” on jewelry, including rings, and other sports memorabilia.”

    The first time Riley did this he irritated the Laker players as they got ready for the finals against Detroit.

  114. Warren Wee Lim June 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    P. Ami, some thoughts:

    The Lakers are devoid of talent and thus winning games will be very difficult. Kobe is older, his defense is not what it used to be. Coming off injuries, its even worse. You know what else is affected? His ability to create on offense since he cannot go 1-on-1 on everyone nowadays.

    Acquiring Melo gives Kobe a scoring machine beside him. Granting both have been regarded as black holes on offense but contrary to that, I’ve seen alot of All-Star Games and olympics to see that when both play together they actually trust each other.

    Now defense. Defense is played not in the mind but with the body. Its about effort, athleticism, and a structure that a coach can implement where a team as a group can play defense and not just one-on-one.

    Now picture the Lakers hiring someone like JVG or Hollins or Skiles, where defense is their priority but are good enough coaches to recognize (unlike Mike Brown) that you need offensive players to win games.

    Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill, Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry and Wes Johnson… I like these 5 because they are very good complimentary players to the skillset that a Kobe + Melo team offers. The problem is the interior which a certain Dwight Howard left us grasping to protect the rim.

    When you factor in John Henson and the incoming pick from the Bucks, its an open secret that Larry Sanders is one of the few available players that could be had on a buy-low situation. Depending on how the Bucks plan to pick #2 and round their roster up (liking Embiid and might go for Parker) and we could have the answer to our troubles via trade.

    Thing is there is no instant way to do it. Not with the talent at hand and not with the current roster of FA available. We need to be creative. We need to find piece #1 or #2 depending on how you see Kobe and Melo.

    That said, its best to secure the bird on hand rather than wait for 2 on the bush.

  115. If the Spurs complete these finals run with another ring, it will provide Kobe with the impetus to play (as half the world says) the right way. Kobe will concede his mantra, “I eat first” to get that 6th ring before TD.  

    Just think, if Duncan can average 12 points and 8-9 rebounds to add to his championship legacy then Kobe has a great shot at extending his career to chase rings. Kobe can average 10 points and 6-7 assists a game for a minimum of three more seasons. I’d bet my bottom dollar that the narrative takes a change if Kobe were the 3rd best player on a team that wins a championship.

  116. If Milwaukee gets Embiid, they may indeed look to move Larry Sanders. But I don’t see it going that way if they end up with Parker or Wiggins.

    As to Anthony, he just turned 30, and, as noted, buzz at the moment is that he wants to play for Chicago or Houston. If he really is mostly concerned about winning, he will try to get to Chicago, IMO. He fits perfectly with Butler, Gibson, and Noah, and if Rose comes back, that would be an elite team. Even without Rose, it would be a very good team. Houston has a lot of talent, but adding Anthony to Harden would create issues with both shot distribution and perimeter defense, and, in addition, Houston is of course in the West.

    I have noted a few times that, ironically, Jim Buss and Phil Jackson are actually in somewhat similar situations in many respects. If the Knicks and the Lakers both miss on Love and Anthony, that will just draw a line under it.

    As to whether the Lakers should try to get Anthony, the main reason to do it would be that you would be hoping that he could draw other talent here. But there are two problems with that:

    1. Anthony is 30, has been in the NBA 11 years, and does not appear to be a conditioning fanatic in the Kobe mold. Anthony may decline very fast.
    2. Anthony and Kobe would take up so much of the cap that it would be very hard to add high-end talent in summer 2015. If the Lakers thought that having Anthony might get James here in 2015…but again, the FO gave Kobe the 2nd year at 25M.

  117. P Ami-
    You brought up Kareem in your post above and I’d like to center on that just to make a point. You could make a truly staggering argument that Kareem is the GOAT. He dominated the game of basketball at every single level that you can play. He had ridiculous stats. They CHANGED the rules because of the things he was doing in college. Kareem can’t be stopped? Okay let’s outlaw dunking the ball because he dominates everyone. Cool. He comes to the pros and drops 28.8 ppg for his rookie year. He wins 6 MVPs, 6 championships, 2 Finals MVPs and is the all-time greatest scorer in the history of the league. He was an incredible defender throughout most of his career and, oh by the way, he did all this against all the greatest players in NBA history. All the greatest centers? Yup.

    Now, how is it that he never is in the conversation for GOAT? Like seriously never. This, in my opinion, is all media driven. Kareem is completely excluded from these discussions even though he should be front and center. (Bad pun.)

    This is exactly what’s going to happen to Kobe-> hell it already has in regards to Lebron. I strongly disagree with your statements about LBJ vs. Kobe. I love the way Lebron rebounds. I love his size and strength. I love his Magic pass first attitude. Give me Kobe for everything else. Kobe is better in every single way. Better shooter, better scorer, better assassin. Not as efficient, but Kobe in his prime could torch any team for 60+ pts. Kobe’s also a better defender- in his prime. James is much better now, of course. And, you’re totally right about Kobe’s psyche if he was playing these finals. He would go down taking every shot if no one else is stepping up. I love that about him. If he is going to take the criticism, win or lose, then he would just as soon put it all on his shoulders. I’m also not sure if Lebron would be more successful in a triangle offense than Kobe. Lebron is at his best with the ball in his hands in the PNR or taking his man off the dribble. How well would he have operated in the high post and on the block for the first 9 years of his career? I haven’t seen his post game improve all that much even though he’s scoring very efficiently in the post. How gaudy would his numbers be if the ball isn’t in his hands as much or if he’s getting hockey assists instead of direct ones?

    Anyway. I just get sick of the way that certain media outlets get to determine the narratives. If Kobe’s PER was better than Jordan’s or Lebron’s, then there would be no such thing as PER. Or, more likely, it would be adjusted somehow, someway to skew towards them.

    Late night rambling. Sorry all! By the way…has anyone been watching the world cup so far!? It’s been friggen fantastic, hasn’t it?

  118. Warren Wee Lim June 15, 2014 at 6:27 am

    rr, your concerns are valid and sound.

    My only concern is that we cannot continue to boast of LA as a free agent destination if we cannot attract the biggest free agents into our team. You kinda end up defending the Laker brand with terms like “be patient” and “rebuilding” and even though teams do undergo such renovations, we the Lakers do not tolerate such philosophies.

    Granting the new CBA has really been crippling for us the past few years, but you should consider that we are actually benefiting out of it. If not the Heat would just be reloading and reloading and reloading with talent without regard for other teams the same way we have been able to do in the past. Remember their owner is richer than ours, and in terms of weather and taxation they have us beat.

    Considering everything, Melo should be choosing the Bulls. He could also very well choose the Rockets. However, these two teams who each have superstars need to move alot of pieces before actual cap space is achieved. Its easier said than done, whilst very possible.

    For the Bulls, they need to find a taker for Carlos Boozer or amnesty him. During amnesty, he would have to wait to clear waivers, await which team wins the bid and then have to move Dunleavy and the 16th and 19th picks of the current draft.

    For the Rockets, they would have to contend with Chandler Parsons’ offer sheets. I think the Lakers would consider helping the Rockets land Melo (if it came down to it, knowing its disastrous for Houston) if it benefited us picks, Parsons and maybe Asik. But then again other teams would be willing to do that so we are not the only.

    What I’m trying to say is the easiest route for Melo is to either remain a Knick, or sign with the Lakers. He’ll have 2 years with Kobe and then by 2016, we’ll have max cap space once more to chase someone else. Lala can get some acting gigs while she’s at it.

  119. Wow, just took a look at the Spurs salary cap/free agent issue for next season. They only have three free agents, Diaw, 2013-14 salary: $4.7 mill, Matt Bonner, $3.9, & Patty Mills, $1.3. The 2014-15 salary cap is now projected to be $63.2 million and the tax level is projected to be $77.0 million. The Spurs salary cap for 2014-2015 current stands at $53 million, meaning they won’t have a financial issue re-signing Diaw & Mills, and finding a replacement for Bonner.

    Imagine, The Spurs will:
    -be NBA champs
    -be under the salary cap
    -already have a possible young talent to start the replacement of their aging stars
    -be a top four team for the upcoming season
    -have locker room harmony
    -be a “destination team” for next season for guys looking for a ring.

    Hats off to their front office, great job.

  120. Sid … imagine how good pau would be on their team…sideshow bob ughhhhh

  121. BigCity: Unfortunately, I have to agree with your appraisal of the Spurs FO. The list you made is compelling. So what if a team
    – Finished as a lottery team
    – Had no young talent on the roster
    – Had very few picks
    – Had $35 million tied up in 2 of the oldest players in the league
    – Had no coach
    – Had no locker or FO harmony

    What would you say there? Ironically- I think it is the same statement you made about the Spurs – It is time for “Hats Off”

  122. Yup, I can see a Gasolessance in San Antonio. He fits their culture and they have the guys to account for his defensive issues. Plus, he gives Duncan plenty of room for rest. That would be a real issue for us.

    WWL, I see absolutely no value in bringing in Melo. We can’t build around him. For any coach to be able to turn the lineup into a reasonable defensive team they would need an anchor in the middle. That anchor does not exist, won’t come in the draft, and we have no assets to go get one.

    I don’t think there is a problem with building the team back up through young talent and the development of a winning culture. Fans and free agents will understand if they see results. If Kobe wants to win now, he should have thought of that before signing that contract. I don’t have any problems with that contract so long as Kobe keeps us entertained while the team develops. The best case scenario is the following… They hire Messina or Blatt or someone I haven’t heard of who knows how to put together a winning team (not Scott, Rambis or Dunleavy) and is young enough to keep around a while (not Brown or Karl). Draft the best player available. The team competes but falls short of the playoffs (seems likely seeing that Pau is likely gone and the West is stacked). Then the Lakers get lucky and hit a top-3 pick in the lottery (top-5 protected, otherwise goes to PHX). We trade that pick for the best talent available unless a franchise player is there to be had. Then we go shopping in the very nice FA classes coming up. By 2016 the Lakers can have two young stars, two top-tier players through FA and Kobe on a contract that reflects his actual production (or he retires). I don’t know that those two FA are a combo of LBJ, Love, Westbrook, Durant, Irving, or whomever. As long as none of those guys is a low-efficiency guy who doesn’t move the ball, plays very limited D, is headed towards the downside of his prime, and costs way too much, I think the Lakers can be a very good team by 2016 and only needs a little bit of FB&G luck to make it happen.

  123. Re: Melo to the Rockets. If Dwight thought he had it bad with Kobe’s matador defense, just wait until he gets Harden and Melo on the same team.

    He’s gonna develop an aneurysm.

  124. McDermott

    I have waited to make my pick for draft to do my research. Here is my choice and what he has to offer.
    1- Led college in scoring
    2- Shot over 50% from 3
    3- Not a one and done but a 3 year starter
    4- Father is a coach and kid has high BB IQ
    5- Is. 6’9′ and will put on muscle to play 3 and 4.
    6- Based on 4 years of college and shooting ability can step right in to start.
    7- Instead of pinning and praying for Love, draft this guy and you get a younger version of Kevin at a third of the price.

    That’s my pick and it just makes sense for a new slower team with guys around Kobe that can shoot.

    Hope Jimmy reads this post !

  125. KenOak – June 15, 2014 at 4:26 am
    You´ve crushed one out of the park.
    With regard to Kareem: if you haven´t already, may I suggest reading his book `Giant Steps´ (written with Cap´s high school classmate Pete Knobler) – I truly enjoyed Kareem´s take on the world in which he was growing up, and later in his high school years, when he became very in tune with what was going on in the civil rights movement, and the budding youth movenent, so much so as to lead him into doing community work in Harlem.
    His love of jazz is legendary, yet here one can actually get a feel for not only what it means to him personally, but also how it, too, was unerringly an integral part of the shifting social landscape that was the 60´s. (Love you Cap! Peace, & Blue Train forever!)
    & in response to your World Cup enquiry, yes, I´ve been following it on the radio mostly. Heard the entire 2nd half of the Spain/Netherlands game; that was fun.The Dutch squad had a HEAVY ax to grind, and pulled it off beautifully. Also caught Italy/England last night; the back-up goalie for Italy really stepped up. Uruguay´s loss was an early surprise, though I wasn ´t able to follow it for more than 15 minutes.Gonna be watching Argentina/Croatia in less than 2 hours now –
    As for tonight´s game, doesn´t Miami need to put a clamp on Kawhi some?

    Happy Father´s Day to all you fellas who are celebrating it today.

  126. KO – McDermott measured in at 6.625 in socks. His wingspan is only 6.925. Plus he is not athletic. He’s a steal at the end of the 1st round but a bust at #7.

  127. Could anybody recommend a stream site for today’s game? Thx

  128. Lebron needs to drop 60 tonight. He’s on his way to doing that…

  129. Bill try, or Google it, they have several links to the gme

  130. MANNNNNNNNNU. huge flush on bosh then the step back 3.

    The switch back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format is great for the spurs having a chance to win out on home court

  131. Warren Wee Lim June 15, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    That start was what the Heat needed to get back into the series. That follow by San Antonio means its ending tonight.

  132. Splitter, says no to wade right at the rim. 21 pt lead halfway thru 3rd. Wade has lost so much. If Carmelo goes there next year, it won’t be a big 4, it’ll be a duo + bosh. No defense at all from wade- move him to the bench and let him play as a good 6th man

  133. Even as a 40 year Laker fan, I have to respect and admire the Spurs. Any chance they can move to Orange County?

  134. Gotta say, riles has a lot of work to do this summer. Getting melo wouldn’t get them back to the finals.

  135. How’s those 3- peat trademarks doing Pat?

  136. I hope watching Duncan win another is really stinging Kobe right now. Lakers could be a contender too if Kobe took a Duncan-like deal of 10M per year. I know this has been much discussed and Kobe IS worth his contract but he had to know that his chance at another title was gone the second he signed that contract.

  137. Pretty touching seeing Tim w his kids and his post game interview.

    Lol @ darius’s twitter comments about LeBron leaving heat for la

  138. This go around between San An and Miami, the better team did win. They smashed the Heat and took back what they should’ve had possession of since last season .. The Title

  139. All those late round picks the Spurs have been developing were money in the bank tonight. They have a bright future going forward if they can keep convincing players to not max out their salaries.

  140. “Lakers could be a contender too if Kobe took a Duncan-like deal of 10M per year.”

    Really? How?

    Congrats, Spurs. They won with brains, not money.

  141. Looked like LeBrawn only had one good quarter in him tonight. This Miami team reminded me of Mike Tyson when Buster Douglas shattered his aura of invincibility. The bully got punked. Not a Spurs fan by any measure, but the media driven anointing of the Heat and Brawny curdles my milk. Lesser of two evils in my book. No three peat? Sweet!!

  142. Maybe Kobe’s chance at a championship was minimized more by the new CBA than anything else. Players like Kobe and Duncan shouldn’t be asked to take pay cuts in the late stages of Hall of Fame careers. These are the guys that have defined the last 15 years in the NBA. Via revenue sharing, the Lakers have propped up the weaker franchises for years. Kobe deserves every penny he earns. NBA owners now preside over several franchises worth more than $1B. Loyal employees that have contributed so much to the league and their franchises shouldn’t believe the management spin about taking less money so that their owner can save on luxury taxes. I think the next CBA negotiations are going to be very interesting.

  143. Lebron is gone after this year. No way that he can stay there while Wade wastes further and further away by the day. I can’t believe that his game has fallen this far. My guess is that ‘Bron heads to NY. As much as I’d love to see him in Purple and Gold to team up with Kobe….I can’t see the Lakers fielding a team that could entice him. God. What if he somehow made it to Houston? That would make me puke.

  144. KenOak,

    Wade has a player option for 21.6M, so it will be an issue. But I think James will stay. If he leaves, I think it will be after next year, rather than now. That said, given how Miami lost, July would look different if the Lakers had not already committed 27-33M to Nash and Kobe (to be clear, I have never taken James-to-Lakers spec seriously…but the chessboard looks a little different now than I thought it would).

  145. ouch – didn’t realize wades was so high. obviously the cba is what it is and i don’t begrudge kobe or wade or Nash for that matter for taking the $ – but wow does that ever change things for the heat. decent secondary players are already at a premimium/scarce in the nba as is – and the Heat need a starting pg, a whole new bench, plus an infusion of serious defensive ability if they want to seriously challenge next year. For all the consternation about the Lakers there is at least some tempering of expectations but this off season is even more important for Riles – nevermind Carmelo coming – what if James decides to walk and the heat face losing the best player in the league?

  146. “Maybe Kobe’s chance at a championship was minimized more by the new CBA than anything else.”

    This right here. The owners screwed the players- relatively speaking of course. But, how can you call it anything else when the Clippers, a perennial bottom dweller except for the last few years, are fetching 2 billion dollars on a (13?) million dollar investment. And the Lakers got screwed at the same time.

    As for D-Wade. There is zero chance that he opts out and leaves all that money on the table. He’s not going to get 22 million anywhere else. He may barely get 10 million a year at this point and how many years does he have left?

  147. As the summer progresses, the money committed to Nash may become more and more of a burden. The Lakers may end up cutting him and amortizing his payments over the next 3 years to make room for the FAs they want to pursue. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. I didn’t think that this would be the case. But now I’m thinking that it might happen.

    Now another question: why are Cleveland and Golden State interviewing David Blatt but not the Lakers?

  148. The CBA is terrible for star players. Kobe is worth every dollar that the Lakers pay him. He’s probably worth more. Unfortunately for him and Lakers player salaries are artificially capped. And that cap is a reality to be reckoned with. Within the context of the cap Kobe gets paid too much when compared to other star players. Once again, that is within the context of the salary cap.

    What is even more interesting is now with the Spurs winning star players will be “encouraged” even more to take even less money so teams can compete. Kobe’s probably worth at least $40 million a year when we consider his huge drawing power. He gets paid about $25 million. Yet the salary cap dictates that he should take around $12 million a year so his team can be “competitive” under the current CBA. Its a terrible set up, but its the set the league has. On a certain level I don’t blame Kobe for taking the money. At the same time it will affect them team’s competitiveness over the next few years.

  149. While I’m thoroughly unconvinced that the current Laker FO is where it needs to be, I still find it difficult to believe they don’t understand the new CBA, and couldn’t do the simple math to foresee how Kobe’s contract would impact their ability to build a winning roster. Unless they really are clueless—and in which case, all the cap space in the world wouldn’t be enough—they’ve got a plan more positive than what’s become amongst Laker fans, a defeatist mantra.

  150. Nick Van Exile June 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Mid-Wilshire: Objectively speaking, given the rosters of the Warriors and Cavs compared to the Lakers, coupled with the expectations of their fanbases and the likely possibility of having to coach a salty Kobe, perhaps Blatt doesn’t WANT to interview with the Lakers. The guy is a hot commodity right now. If he chooses poorly right now, he could become just another NBA retread looking for a job in a few years.

    I don’t really care who the Lakers hire as a coach as long as he stresses defense and they don’t get blown out of games like last season. I don’t expect them to make the playoffs or anything but I don’t think I can take another season of demoralizing and embarrassing blowouts. Same goes for who they draft and sign as free agents… they better play some defense. With an old, injured, and defensively challenged backcourt, the Lakers are going to need as many guys that can play defense as they can get.

  151. Chris Y. It’s not a luxury tax issue.
    No one is accusing the team of being afraid to pay the tax. Lakers can ONLY exceed the cap when re-signing their own free agents.
    Therefore Kobe’s salary restricts the amount they can pay new FAs they may want to sign off the open market because of the CAP.
    For example, had Kobe taken 12-15 mil the Lakers could have probably paid for 2 FAs and still flushed out the roster.
    As it stands we may attract one FA. If we’re lucky.
    And then hope our draft pick is a star.

    Kobe’s contract probably means the stretch provision will be used on Nash. What a sad way for Nash to end a terrific career.

    5D2’s guess as to Laker fears that Kobe may bolt for NY to play for Phil is still the only explanation that makes sense.

  152. The CBA is obviously a big issue, but the main factor that pretty much ended hopes for Kobe’s getting #6 was The Veto. I know that people are tired of hearing about it, but any how-did-we-get-here discussion should (briefly) include it.

    As to Kobe’s deal, as I have said, I don’t blame him for taking it for many of the reasons outlined here–but I do in some ways blame the FO for offering it. When I will criticize Kobe is if we see him start complaining about roster construction/player acquisition, either later in the summer or during the season if the team is terrible again.

    When he signed the deal and people started bagging on it on Twitter, he fired back, and ended a couple of Tweets with #smarterthanyou, meaning that everyone needs to chill, fans are all amateurs, the FO knows it’s doing, etc. I hope he is right, but if the team is still bad, he needs to stay away from complaining about how it was put together, IMO. He can do the math on the cap as easily as the rest of us can.

  153. Congrats to Spurs on a truly great run.
    I think our site is split on this but I’m ecstatic that Lebron got taken down a peg.
    He is kind of awesome though.
    Spurs simply played beautiful basketball throughout the season and this series.

    Kudos to Pop for keeping his team focused on the prize all year after their heartbreaker last year. That could not have been easy.

    I saw an interview w Manu that said the defensive strategy employed by the Mavs in the first series was more effective than Miami’s. I thought that was interesting.


  155. T Rogers- The CBA could end up backfiring for the owners that voted for it (note: the Lakers were against having any cap). Today’s NBA superstars do not need their salaries to make ends meet. In fact, most superstars make a lot more in endorsements. Why is this important? Because the fear of “not making as much as you can if you stay” is no longer a powerful tool to keep free agents on your team (see Bosh, Lebron and DHoward). So, if Lebron, Bosh, Melo, Pau and others join a team paying them below their believed “CBA market” rate, owners in small markets will panic and maybe then they will realize that the only way to get Lebron to play in New Orleans, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Orlando, etc. is by offering these types of players whatever they want in terms of a salary.

    For example: Lebron may be willing to go from $19mm to $15mm to chase a title or be in a very large media market, but I guarantee you he will think twice if Orlando tempts him with a $40mm a year offer. Bosh may also think twice about taking a $5-7mm a year “paycut” when he can go to another team and make $40mm a year more (particularly when Bosh does not make that much a year in endorsements).

    In short, I think that we may see some sort of “designated franchise player” tag in the future, whereby each team can designate up to 2 player’s salary to be excluded from the cap and thus giving a team the ability to offer such players obscene amounts of cash to play for them.

  156. The Spurs are both fortunate and smart to have won a championship Boris Diaw. They certainly would have shaped up Lamar Odom as well.

    Boris Diaw use to be simply big old slow. But with the Spurs, he has blossomed into all-star caliber player – a true point forward who gives the Spurs another guard on the floor.

  157. Nick Van Exile June 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    RE: Boris Diaw: the funniest draft comp I’ve seen was for UCLA’s Kyle Anderson in ESPN the Magazine. His floor is an out of shape Boris Diaw. His ceiling is an in shape Boris Diaw.

  158. In short, I think that we may see some sort of “designated franchise player” tag in the future, whereby each team can designate up to 2 player’s salary to be excluded from the cap and thus giving a team the ability to offer such players obscene amounts of cash to play for them.

    @Manny P….
    Excellent idea! One which the players union should surely explore when negotiating the next CBA.

  159. Heat personnel update:

    -Shane Battier: retiring
    -Birdman: opting out of his contract

  160. One person with whom I was viewing made a comment last night I thought was interesting — ABC showed LeBron on the bench with a lot of time left in the fourth, and my friend said basically, “There’s the difference between he and Kobe — Kobe would never just give up like that and ride the bench.”

    Made me wonder, so I looked… closest comp to last night in terms of this topic would be Game 6 in 2008. That night, Kobe hung in the game until the 2:20 mark, when the Lakers were down 123-85. He’d taken a three-pointer moments before coming out, so there was no quit displayed.

    LeBron left at the 6:30 mark in the fourth, down only 18 points.

    Tough to read too much into the differences there, as much of that had to do with the coaches’ decisions as well. But a fun piece of trivia for those who enjoy the “Kobe cares more than LeBron” debate, as my friend so much enjoys. (I personally prefer the Kareem vs. Jordan discussion, and place Kareem at the top of the heap all-time…)

  161. rr> “When I will criticize Kobe is if we see him start complaining about roster construction/player acquisition, either later in the summer or during the season if the team is terrible again.”

    I’d sympathize with Kobe’s POV, though it depends on how poorly the team is constructed. Kobe’s not a GM. It’s not his job to put the team together, to know ownership’s plans, what they want to spend, or even how the cap works, for that matter. He plays, they manage. He wants excellence from the top down. If the Laker FO has put together a faulty machine, then the complaints are warranted. Kobe’s contract is only one piece of the picture. Even if he pressured them into the contract—and there’s no evidence of that—it’s no excuse for a “terrible” team. I don’t think Kobe would complain about the roster if the team was decent, and if the Laker FO can’t put together a decent team with Kobe and the millions they have to spend, they’re not one player away from gold. They’ve just been doing a poor job.

  162. Kobe’s contract is only one piece of the picture.

    In a vacuum, sure. But not in the real world. If Kobe were 28 years old, healthy, and a Top 5 player that we knew was capable of playing 82 games and anchoring a team, or, if we were back in the NBA financial world of 1995, I would agree with you. As it is, no. Duncan is playing for about 10M; Ginobili got 7.5. Nowitzki has already said that he will take a big cut if need be, and now James and Bosh are talking about doing it. Anthony is opting out.

    Kobe will be 36 years old when play starts, he will have played 6 games in 18 months, he will be entering his 19th year in the league, and the only salaries around his level (Joe Johnson, Stoudemire, and The Heatles if they opt in) were all signed under the old CBA. His salary will take up around 38% of the projected cap, and the only other two guys the Lakers have under contract are Robert Sacre and Steve Nash.

    Can the Lakers build around that framework and one lottery pick? Sure, maybe. But it is going to be very, very difficult, and if random guys on the net know that, Kobe should as well.

    Kobe’s taking less would guarantee nothing, and I expect that is one reason he didn’t want to, and I don’t blame him. But the facts are the facts.

  163. rfen: “They’ve just been doing a poor job” Well – yes. “Kobe’s contract is only one piece of the picture.” Yes again. The other pieces are also not pretty. Two bad coaching decisions, the Nash deal, and the DH debacle. Together with Kobe’s piece – the picture is complete and it is not pretty.
    rr: “were all signed under the old CBA.” Exactly. They all got their money under the old system. Nobody is throwing around that kind of money now. In fact – everyone is talking about taking less. Jim is spending like Jerry in the early 80’s. Unfortunately – with different results.
    Future: It is what it is. For me – I will be hoping for a healthy KB who comes back at about 25 ppg (is that too much?). I will then project when he will move by MJ and purchase seats right behind the bench. Toronto, Cleveland – no issue I will be there. It is important to me that Kobe actually hears me at moments like this.

  164. Mud – thanks for the link. Excellent.
    I’m a huge Jerry West fan.

  165. rr,

    You are confused. Kobe did take a pay cut…around $5-6 million.

    As far as complaining about the roster, it is not a black and white issue. Kobe’s contract might prevent the Lakers from forming a super team (a big 3 type team), but it does not prevent the Lakers from forming a competitive team. He expects a significant upgrade in talent from last season….and that is a reasonable expectation for him, the front office and the fans. If that doesn’t happen, the fans will surely complain….and I think arguably the greatest Laker of all time, who Jerry Buss once said earns $100 mil a year for the Lakers, has earned the right to complain as well….but hey, that’s just me.

    As far as comparing Kobe to others who have taken pay cuts, you seem to be ignoring some context. Pay cuts are easier to swallow when you play in a state with no income tax like Florida or Texas….. and of course teaming up (colluding?) with two other super stars made it impossible not to take a pay cut for the Miami trio. As far as Duncan’s pay cut, he’s the most egoless superstar I have ever seen, and has played for an elite coach and an elite roster for his entire career. Comparing Kobe to Duncan in that department is no different than comparing Kobe’s passing abilities to Magic’s….or Kobe’s rebounding skills to Rodman’s. It’s admirable any time a player is willing to take a pay cut….but vilifying someone for not taking a big enough pay cut wreaks of anti Kobe bias.

  166. is the Lakers FO really rudderless and lost?

    If you are suggesting that a puff piece interview with a Lakers employee (and another high-level Lakers employee who got his gig in part because of familial connections) describing the Lakers’ pre-draft process is evidence that we are all underrating the FO, I will have to disagree. There was nothing wrong with anything Ryan West said, but there was nothing noteworthy about it, either. Trudell is not in position to do so, but it would be nice if someone asked Buss, Kupchak or one of these other guys:

    1. Who is in charge of advanced analytics for the Lakers, and without giving away trade secrets, how do they use them?
    2. There is a perception out there that the Lakers are behind the times–care to address that? What are some new things the Lakers FO has been doing the last couple of years?

  167. Man what an amazing game! That almost makes up for the Spurs winning the Finals. Go USAMNT!

  168. rr-
    i’m only suggesting that they MIGHT actually have a plan, and that they MIGHT know what they are doing, regardless of any outcome. i’ve read over and over that they had no scouts and the like. the “puff piece” only shows that they do have actual scouts. i wasn’t making any claims about their skill. analytics are a good idea for sure, but if they were the solution to all problems, then Hollinger would have had more success so far.

    the perception that the Lakers are behind the times is mainly a problem with certain elements of the internet and with a few specific commentators. the perception of those people, while possibly affecting a few who are ignorant to the reality of running an NBA franchise(read: almost everyone not actually in the NBA business), is unimportant. the Lakers do need to sport a winning team very soon, however.

    many last year had dire predictions about how that team would fare, and are veryt happy to take credit for being correct. the fact is that the things that went wrong were so pervasive that they really couldn’t have been predicted. the injuries and misfortune would have derailed any operation. things have often gone VERY well for the Lakers, the odds favor a bad year or two from time to time. if it gives a feeling of satisfaction to be pessimistic and then see the worst happen, then enjoy. i wouldn’t call that person a lover ir a fan of the franchise, however.

    anyway, rooting for a team has nothing to do with being right or wins or losses, although wins are infinitely more enjoyable than losses for a fan. i can certainly understand complaining about the current situation. why give up next year already? Kobe may actually be healthier than he has been in years, and could easily have a good season. ditto for Nash. or they could crash and burn…..the fun is seeing what happens. if they are healthy, the Lakers could easily be in contention next year. a couple of lucky bounces and they might even win it all, nothing’s impossible at this point, and it’s as likely that everything could go right, as what happened last year, when everything went wrong.

  169. Nothing the FO has done recently gives me any confidence that these upcoming franchise shaping decisions are in the hands of people who know what they are doing. That’s just my opinion. There are others on the board that have a lot more confidence than I do.

    I want to trust Mitch and per league wide reports he is knowledgeable. However, for some reason I get the impression that Jim just does whatever he wants. How I wish Jim was the type of owner that surrounded himself with really smart people and only over ruled them when absolutely necessary.

    Many folks have commented that the Lakers have not caught the advanced analytics wave yet. This frustrates me as well. The only reason I can see is that the team is a prisoner of their own success. Up until these last few years the Lakers FO has been blessed with a great coach, great teams and great players. Analysis and scouting were areas that the team gladly cut back on. The rest of the league had to look for advantages wherever they could find them. There is no question in my mind that we are playing catch up on this and so many other fronts.

  170. LT,

    I have said many times–including in that post–that I don’t blame Kobe for taking the money. And sure, he has to pay state income tax; that goes without saying.

    None of that changes the facts I listed about his recent health issues, his age, the reality of the salary cap, the size and length of the deal, and how all those things will complicate roster construction. If you want to address any of those facts, go for it. As I have pointed out many times, none of the defenses of the deal actually address the team on the floor–they all involve principles, emotions, narratives, revenue, branding, business models etc.

    And, of course he has the “right” to complain if the team is bad, just like fans do. People often confuse having the right to do something with whether doing it is wise or advisable. If Kobe’s #1 priority was roster construction, he could have chosen to take less money. Instead, he chose to remain the highest-paid player in the league. It was a reasonable choice, but it will probably have some consequences, both for him and for the organization. And the pay cut thing–red herring. His old deal was signed 2.5 years before the end of the old CBA.

  171. Rr
    Sometimes your posts are so well thought out and expressed it’s pretty much awesome.
    Same is true of a lot of the posters here.

    However I still dug the story about Jerry West’s son.
    I didn’t know the logo’s influence still walked the halls of Lakerland and it was nice to hear.

  172. Here we go with the chicken and the egg of Kobe’s contract and the Spurs guys. Kobe plays in LA not San Antonio huge market difference, those 3 in San Antonio did not took any huge paycut ok? There was not a team on the league that was going to max them, not even the Spurs, they took a slight paycut to stay put. Kobe took what the team offered him which was a 6 million paycut, because like its been said ad nauseum, his value to the franchise is more than twice what he earns. Granted they should had waited a little longer to give it to him, but right until Kobe tore his Achilles he was one of the top 5 players on the league, top 3 in my opinion right up there with LJ and Durant. He almost certainly wont be what he was pre-injury but knowing his drive, how he takes care of his body and the grievances he is going to have with everyone that doubts him, i would not be surprised if he can be a top 10 player on this league. With him the Lakers dont get bunped off national tv games, and his return is going to be one of the major storylines next season. Like i said before i believe we will be better than last season, that should not be too hard, but i believe the FO big push is going to be next summer in what it could be his last season. This summer or this next season i dont expect that all of a sudden the Lakers will become a world beater and im ok with that. Let’s make the best of the Draft and start the rebuild from there.

  173. rr – I would also love to see those questions asked (and answered!). That is certainly the perception I read, and I’d love to know if it’s accurate or not.

  174. JC – I think rr overlooked the logo link.

  175. JC – I think rr overlooked the logo link.

    No–that is why I mentioned Ryan West. I clicked the link and read the article.


    I am an admirer of Jerry West’s and wish he still worked for the Lakers. I had no problem with the article; I just don’t see it as evidence that the FO is in good shape.



  176. Manny P- “In short, I think that we may see some sort of “designated franchise player” tag in the future, whereby each team can designate up to 2 player’s salary to be excluded from the cap and thus giving a team the ability to offer such players obscene amounts of cash to play for them.”

    Send that to the player’s union and claim ownership. Nice

    Robert-“Future: It is what it is. For me – I will be hoping for a healthy KB who comes back at about 25 ppg (is that too much?). I will then project when he will move by MJ and purchase seats right behind the bench. Toronto, Cleveland – no issue I will be there. It is important to me that Kobe actually hears me at moments like this.”

    I’ll be ecstatic if Kobe averages 25 pg, however I’m also prepared if he doesn’t. I know he’ll find a way to make an impact on the game.

    Yesterday ABC post-championship game, showed a clip of Kobe kicking a soccer ball for a few minutes. He looked really lean and fit.

  177. Warren Wee Lim June 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I fully expect Kobe to be 24-26ppg when he plays. No reason to doubt that. But if he does get a teammate that can be 25ppg himself cough Melo cough then he could “settle” for 20-22ppg I guess.

  178. those 3 in San Antonio did not took any huge paycut ok?

    Duncan’s salaries by year:
    2009 20.6M
    2010 22.1M
    2011 18.7M
    2012 21.1M
    2013 9.6M
    2014 10.3M

    2011 11.8M
    2012 12.9M
    2013 14.1M
    2014 7.5M

    Tony Parker is at the moment the Spurs’ highest-paid player, and he has not taken any big cuts. He made 12.5 this year.


    Given the chaos of the Lakers’ situation, the state tax laws, and some other factors, I certainly see that KB’s situation is very different than those of these guys, and again, I don’t blame him for taking the money. But Duncan and Ginobili both took over 50% pay cuts after the new CBA kicked in, and I think that Nowitzki probably will as well.

  179. Ginobili’s pay cut was actually less than 50%.

  180. rr> “Kobe’s taking less would guarantee nothing, and I expect that is one reason he didn’t want to, and I don’t blame him. But the facts are the facts.”

    I was responding to whether Kobe should be criticized for complaining about a “terrible” team if the roster proves to be the reason. Or Kobe’s right to expect the Laker FO to put a good team around him. I think he has the right, though, I’m not saying Laker management has maneuvered themselves into making it easy. If Kobe can’t come back and play at a pretty high level, then that’s another situation to consider, and not relevant to this question. The point is that the Laker FO isn’t off-the-hook because they paid Kobe a bunch. They still have a job to do, and an excuse of, “Sorry, not enough money, we suck,” isn’t going to cut it.

    There’s always the possible strategy that the Lakers are in more of a hold position until they can make important moves the following season. In that case, the complaints would be understandable, but could prove unnecessary in hindsight.

  181. If Kobe (or any player) takes less money, it will be easier for teams to build a competitive roster. That’s an obvious fact, and nobody is disputing it…. but you continually choose to repeat it over and over again when it comes to Kobe. Despite your claims that Kobe did nothing wrong, your statements and constant harping on his salary suggest otherwise. You stated earlier that he would deserve criticism if he complains about next season’s roster because of his salary. How is that not a criticism on Kobe accepting the money offered? If next season’s roster does not improve, it won’t be because of his salary…it will be because the team failed to get quality free agents. The Lakers have plenty of cap space to make improvements to the roster, despite his salary, and expecting an improved roster is a realistic and fair expectation. You also made the following statement…

    ” If Kobe’s #1 priority was roster construction, he could have chosen to take less money”

    Again, how is this not a criticism on Kobe? What is the point of this comment aside from suggesting that Kobe is somehow being selfish, or that he does not care about having a winning roster? 99.9% of NBA players throughout NBA history have chosen not to take less money than offered. Does that mean all of these players did not view roster construction as a very high priority? Or is it just Kobe? You continually bring up Kobe’s “decision to not take less”, and bring up the very few stars who have taken less as an indictment on Kobe. If somebody’s #1 priority was in fact roster construction, they would play for the minimum…..but Kobe must not care about roster construction because it’s not his “number 1” priority? c’mon man.

    I agree with almost all of your takes, and you are very fair in viewpoints…but when it comes to Kobe, that all seems to change.

  182. The point is that the Laker FO isn’t off-the-hook because they paid Kobe a bunch

    You are misreading me. IMO, from my POV as a fan, they are ON the hook in part because they paid Kobe a bunch. My point is that I think that even if the team is bad again, Kobe himself would be wise on a number of levels to leave the FO alone in terms of his public statements about the team.


    Like I said last fall: predictions are overrated. But the NBA is for the most part, very much not a league of Moneyball stories, feelgood stories, or Cinderella stories. Yes, they lost twice–but Miami has been in the Finals every year that LeBron James has played for them, and yes, sometimes a middling team like Phoenix surprises people. But generally, we know going into a season who the contenders are and who the bad teams are. Those of us who said that the Lakers would be bad last year were simply dealing with the reality of the talent, in terms of the collective skills, age, and likely durability, of the players on the roster. That the Lakers would be a weak, injury-prone, sub-.500 team was not a sure thing. It was just a likely thing. And this year, they are already facing long odds again, with a little over half the cap going to Nash and Kobe. Being aware of that, and saying so, has nothing to do with one’s fandom.

    As to analytics, I have read that the Lakers have a “secret” analytics department that they hide from the media. I have read that most of the stats they use come from Jim Buss and that they have no official, structured analytics department. I have read that some player agents and some players–anything but an unimportant or ignorant group–see the organization as being behind the times. I have read that Rudy T and his son, Trey, provide the Lakers with statistical analysis, or at least they did. The picture in this area is murky and mostly negative.

  183. it won’t be because of his salary…it will be because the team failed to get quality free agents.

    These things are connected. They will have less money to spend than they would if he took less, and it will be very tough to get high-end talent here until his deal off the books, particularly if he is injured/unproductive. And in today’s NBA, high-end players look at what other players are doing and who else can go to teams they are considering, and the overall chess board. Even many people who like the deal are saying that it means the big FA push will be in 2016 now.

    And, to be clear:

    1. I blame the FO for offering the deal, not Kobe for taking it. Buss and Kupchak talked about “financial flexibility” any number of times throughout 2012 and 2013, then turned around and tied up 40% of the cap in a 35-year-old who had not suited up yet when they gave him the deal, and who went on to play a total of six games, and who would not approach the deal that he got if he hit the open market.
    2. If you put an alternate-universe Tim Duncan in Kobe’s situation–Popovich gone, Peter Holt gone, team in disarray, Ginobili hurt and probably done, bad roster, key FA loss, an imaginary Texas with high state income tax, massive contract offer–I think Duncan would either take the deal or skip town. Kobe has done nothing wrong and has done nothing that I think most players in his spot would not have done.
    3. But the fact is that other aging stars–who were far, far more productive and durable last year than he was–have and in some future cases probably will take massive pay cuts to help with roster construction. That doesn’t mean they are playing for the minimum, or that they would get max deals on the open market. It does mean that they made something other than salary maximization priority 1.

  184. Does that mean all of these players did not view roster construction as a very high priority? Or is it just Kobe?


    Kobe is a unique guy; his uniqueness is in fact one of the main justifications for the deal: branding, organizational cred, greatest Laker, 20-year Laker etc. So, comparing him to other players, excepting a very limited number of guys, including Duncan, a one-team legend with five rings, is counterproductive. No one is suggesting that Xavier Henry or Jodie Meeks should worry about roster construction in signing their next NBA deals.

    But in today’s NBA, with the cap, FA, and the new CBA, big stars, and aging stars, do in fact seem to focus on the issue of roster construction. Kobe could have done so; he chose not to, and it was his choice to make. The fact that I am pointing that out seems to upset you, but if I thought that he had done something wrong in taking the money, I would say as much. Please focus on what I say, not on what you think it suggests. I am “harping” on it, as you put it, because I think it was a serious mistake by the FO to offer him that much money on a two-year deal before he had shown that he was physically able to play at all, much less play effectively. Also, the amount of money they gave him will affect every major move, other than perhaps the draft pick, that the team tries to make over the next two years. That said, I hope that the FO, and Kobe, prove me wrong about the deal and are in fact #smarterthanme.

  185. I agree with rr. Furthermore, I also think he keeps bringing it up because LT just misses his point.