Latest Rumor: Lakers Interested in Klay Thompson for 7th Pick

Darius Soriano —  June 21, 2014

The draft is less than a week away. Remember that timing when the rumor mill starts to ramp up with trade scenarios that involve any team, including the Lakers. This is the time of the year where everything leaks — front offices, agents, family members — and there is always motive from some party to getting information out into the public.

With all that said, the LA Times is reporting that the Lakers may be more keen on a certain Pacific Division wing player than their number 7 pick in next Thursday’s draft and would be willing to make a clean swap of the two:

The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.

The deal would be part of a larger three-way trade that sends Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors. The Lakers are interested but the deal has been put on hold because of a difference in opinion within the Warriors’ organization whether or not to keep Thompson while trying to obtain Love.

First, let’s understand why the Lakers would want to make this deal. They want to win as quickly as possible and acquiring an established player, with experience and success in the league is a way to do that. Thompson fits the bill here. He averaged 18 points a game last season, shot over 40% from behind the arc, and is a versatile defender who Mark Jackson felt comfortable deploying on players ranging from point guard to small forward. In a vacuum, Thompson is the type of asset any team would want to have and is proven enough to be worth a pick in the range the Lakers are drafting.

Saying all that, I would not support this trade in the least bit should it happen.

One of the allures of Thompson, as it is with any young player, is that his production comes at a fixed, inexpensive cost. Thompson is still on his rookie deal and will make $3 million next season after making $2.3 million last season. His production at that salary is what helped allow the Warriors to be such a good team because they could pay him so little while splurging on players like David Lee, Andrew Bogut, and Andgre Iguodala. (As an aside, the same can be said about Steph Curry’s under market contract. After dealing with all those ankle injuries, Curry signed what is now a very team friendly deal well below his max level production.)

Thompson, though, won’t make so little for very long. Going into his 3rd season he’s eligible for an extension this summer. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. The reality is Thompson is about to go from one of the best values in the league to one of the most average ones (or even a bad one) in the span of a season. With the strong possibility Thompson seeks a max or near max on his next contract, he could be making upwards of $12 million a season on his next contract.

In other words, the Lakers would be trading the 7th pick for the right to pay Klay Thompson and do so right at the time that Kobe’s contract would be coming off the books where they would, theoretically, want to make a major splash in free agency.

And this isn’t even getting into whether Thompson is even worth that money. I, personally, don’t think he is. As much as I love his shooting and think his size gives him defensive versatility, he actually reminds me a lot of the Blazers’ Wesley Matthews. I mean, look for yourself. Would you want to pay Matthews $10-12 million a season? I would not. Of course, Matthews is four years older and there’s an a development arc that, at Klay’s age, implies he will improve and continue to get better.

But Thompson’s weak areas — passing, rebounding — are areas that players typically have or they don’t. Can he make a more concerted effort to go the glass or try to see the floor better? Sure, but I don’t expect him to suddenly become a player who is grabbing five to six rebounds a game or a guy handing out four to five assists — numbers in both categories that would basically double his output from last season. This isn’t to knock Thompson. Right now he’s a shooter/scorer and a burgeoning defender — these traits have tremendous value. But he doesn’t do much else; he doesn’t initiate the offense, isn’t particularly adept at handling the ball, and doesn’t stuff the stat-sheet in a variety of ways.

Trading the 7th pick for the right to make the free agency decision on that player? Not something I’d be into at all.

Darius Soriano

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198 responses to Latest Rumor: Lakers Interested in Klay Thompson for 7th Pick

  1. It’s clear the Lakers are going all in on this offseason if they make this deal. By that I mean Melo and LeBron. This is obvious for many reasons. The first being you need a quality player right away to lure LBJ and Melo. The second being the Lakers won’t have much cap room after they resign Clay next year. If the Lakers were looking to 2016 to rebuild (Durant/Anthony Davis) of course the best move would be to tank this year and try and draft a future star that wouldn’t help right away enabling the Lakers to keep their daft pick in the 2015 draft.

    Basically… Hope the Lakers make this move. Cause it means much much bigger things are coming this summer 🙂

  2. I just read Darius’ two cents on the Thompson potential trade. He is 100 percent right. Clay is a shooter and solid defender. He isn’t a playmaker. That’s why he is the perfect supporting player to LBJ and Melo. He is the rare elite floor spacer who is also a good defender. Clay would defend the best guard and LBJ would defend the best forward. That would keep Kobe on the least effective guard and Melo on the least effective forward. This potential team would play international ball with Klay, Kobe, LBJ, and Melo all starting. We would just need to hope Kobe can rediscover his three point shot. He will be left wide open when LBJ has the ball.

  3. If the lakers try to get Lebron n acquire him I think it would damage the Lakers brand permanently. I don’t want him at all costs. Sellout coward fake kings who flop and got no heart are not Laker material. Wait till next year to get some really good free agents. Keep the pick and get Marcus smart. Sign ariza or deng for right price. Resign Gasol for 1 yr. bring back bazemore Meeks hill and Swaggy. Go for it next year. No cowards allowed.

  4. Aaron: I agree that if they make this trade – they are going all in for the short term. however please explain how it would be remotely possible for us to get LBJ and Melo while still have Kobe and Thompson.

  5. I agree with you on the Thompson front. While I like him as a player and can understand the Lakers rationale for making such a trade, I’m not sold on him as a building block going forward. Now the other rumor of trading Nash and no. 7 to Sixers for MCW and Thaddeus Young is a trade I would do in a heartbeat, as long as it accompanies signing Luol Deng and maybe Pau at a reduced rate.

  6. I wonder if they could then turn around and trade klay to try and move up for someone like exum

  7. when is the last time that sportswriter rumors were accurate about a major Lakers trade? the FO typically keeps quiet about it’s moves until they have been made. it’s all just speculation right now..

  8. Robert,
    Clay is on his rookie deal and would be making roughly the same as our seventh pic. The Lakers would be trading Nash as well or stretching him. That would mean they would be able to offer around 18 a year to Melo and LBJ each. That’s basically the max.

  9. Nothing against Klay who I like as a player. As Darius pointed out He is a steal at his current salary not so much at 12 mil plus. And as you connect the dots you see that acquiring him is an inducement to pick up a big FA.

    This is a fear that I have had since Kobe resigned. The Lakers will go all in to win for Kobe using their assets ( draft picks/ cap space) to acquire veterans. And when Kobe retires these veterans will still be on long term deals. The Lakers are left capped out and mediocre at best. The rebuild which should be started now is kicked down the road another five years.

    Lebron is not coming. Klay with the shell of Kobe/Nash/Pau is not enough to get out of the West let alone win it all. An even greater fear is that the Lakers turn to Melo (who PJ is encouraging to leave so the Knicks can get their rebuild in high gear)

    Melo gives the Lakers a one year bump at best. Then we have to resign Klay. With max deals for Melo and Klay the Lakers are essentially maxed out.

  10. Good thing your a writer and not a GM.

  11. Lebron is not coming.
    To think he’d turn his back on Riley and Wade right now after making a finals apprarances four years running to come play with Kobe (!) is a fantasy.
    Lebron will play a minimum of one more year with the Heat. And probably the rest of his career.
    Riley will re-load with a vengeance.
    And btw hearing Riley’s “get a grip” diatribe makes me appreciate Kupchak’s steady calm.

    I like Klay’s game but his overall shooting % is barely higher than his 3-pt %.
    It would be cool to have Mikal Thompson’s son here.
    But I think the pick has a higher upside than Klay’s especially if it’s Embiid. Even Smart or Randle.
    I do get the idea of getting a veteran and as I went on record saying before, I think the Lakers will trade this pick.
    I’d rather see MCW or K. Irving.

  12. lebron and kobe are not going to play together, i wish people would quit saying it. if kobe was not in the picture, then yes, lebron to lakers could happen.

    as far as trading #7 for clay, i don’t like it, because he is about to come off his rookie deal. There are too many quality players in this draft to pass up getting at least a starter on a contender on the full rookie deal. Last year’s draft it would make sense, but not this year.

  13. Kobe, LeBron, Melo, and Klay. Wow. That’s what I call swinging for the fences.

  14. Again guys… This is not a big four. Kobe at best will be an average player next year. It isn’t even really a big three. Klay is a role player. But he is a great role player. It is a team that would win a championship though. Especially with the great min guys the lakers would attract. LBJ just needs another very good player by his side like Melo to win it all. He just went to the Finals with the worst team I’ve ever seen. That team is battling with the Bucks for the worst record without LeBron.

  15. when is the last time that sportswriter rumors were accurate about a major Lakers trade?

    Everyone has forgotten about it now, but there was a big article on right after the lockout saying the Lakers were going to try get Paul and Howard. The Nash deal did develop suddenly–supposedly it even surprised Kupchak–but this is a new age of media, and the whole Lakers-FO-as-ninjas thing is mostly pretty much DOA.

    As to Aaron’s keeping the dream alive, power to him. I think there is about a .0001% chance of it happening, but I will say that if the FO planned all along to go after James and/or Anthony, the money they gave Kobe looks even worse. Even if the Lakers stretch Nash, once you include the cap holds, James and Anthony would be taking pretty big cuts to play here. James’ player option is for 22.1M. Anthony has supposedly firmly decided to opt out, but his ETO is for 23.3.

    WRT Klay Thompson, I mostly agree with Darius. There is a good chance that the guy the Lakers pick at 7 will not be any better than Thompson, but he will be cheaper and might be as good or, if the Lakers catch a break/get smart, better. Thompson is a #4-5 guy on a top team–not a guy you get when you have nothing and his contract is running out–hence Aaron’s theory.

  16. I was all in for this trade until i read Darius piece, damn you!!! Lol, he is completely right no need to elaborate further, also im not cool with the idea of helping a division rival. I looove Klay’s game but he is a role player so far he is still young and still have a ceiling but i liked the rumored Philadelphia deal better. Aaron i have a feeling Kobe Bryant is going to make you eat those “average player” words. Ye of little faith, i think you should know by now.

  17. I guess all the people saying that the Lakers aren’t doing anything are eating crow now.even if this trade dont happen it’s becoming obvious they are wheeling and dealing behind the scenes They dont have to tell us anything and thats why we dont know anything. We are Jon Snow.

  18. I guess all the people saying that the Lakers aren’t doing anything are eating crow now

    People who are complaining about FO inactivity want a coach hired–and no coach has been hired. And, the Lakers haven’t actually done anything, and there are rumors everywhere this time of year, as Darius points out. Finally, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Buss and Kupchak are sitting around playing video games all day. Everyone believes the Lakers are trying.

    I know that you desperately want the people criticizing Kobe’s deal and the FO to be wrong, and maybe we will be. But we probably won’t know for sure for a long, long time.

  19. I say for the Lakers to go for it!! Klay is an All Star in the making, and he will have an excellent mentor in Kobe Bryant. Also, I think that he has another year on his rookie contract before he becomes a restricted free agent thus giving the Lakers more flexibility with their salary cap space.

  20. At least the Klay Thompson rumor is something I hadn’t thought of. I really don’t see how the Lakers could keep a secret of going after LeBron or Melo, because even if they weren’t, the rumor would still be there. Of course, if those guys are unsigned, then the Lakers are where everyone’s going to project their wishes and dreams. Everyone thought about the Lakers going after Howard, so when it came true, everyone must have had inside information. 🙂

  21. Off-topic, there is a pretty epic thread on David Friedman’s blog debating Kobe vs Lebron in the wake of the finals. (For those who don’t know Friedman, he has long been a rare antidote to ESPN groupthink.)

  22. Since its obvious that the FO is triying to make moves behind the scenes, it should not come as a surprise that people are going to whine about something else. At this point in time, more that 4 months from the season opener, i could not care less about the coaching search, the FO could already have a coach in place and just need to make an announcement but like always we dont know a thing, and since we dont know anything is pointless sweating stuff that the FO will do when it suits them. But hey go ahead, whine away…

  23. Please no. I’ve watched Klay a lot. I like him as a quality starter. That’s his ceiling. I believe that a couple of prospects we are likely to consider have higher ceilings: Smart, Randle*, Gordon, and maybe Vonleh if he drops. I’d prefer the Philly rumour of MCW and the 10th pick for our pick, and the possibility of getting a rotational player with the 10th pick.

    *I believe I might eat crow on Randle–and that’s to his credit–as he is showing a lot more in workouts with his athleticism and skills.

  24. A sure thing vs a risk?….Almost always go for the sure thing….You hope your pick becomes Thompson……Good player….good person.The fact that he plays defense is even more reason to trade for him….

  25. Well… Take this with a grain of salt, but Klays dad would be thrilled if his son became a Laker legend.

  26. Lebron is not coming.
    To think he’d turn his back on Riley and Wade right now after making four consecutive finals appearances to come play with Kobe (!) is a fantasy.
    Lebron will play a minimum of one more year with the Heat. And probably the rest of his career.
    Riley will re-load with a vengeance.
    And btw hearing Riley’s “get a grip” diatribe makes me appreciate Kupchak’s steady calm.

  27. The contract situation is the main reason to pass on this deal. The Lakers need high return, low cost players. As Darius noted they would be getting Thompson at exactly the time he’s ready for a big payday. He’s good, but like Chandler Parsons, he looks a lot better on his rookie scale deal.

  28. Like i said earlier, my post was deleted. Anyone who wouldnt trade # 7 pick for Klay thompson needs to understand that the draft chance of us getting a Klay thompson type player is below 35%

  29. I totally agree with David even though I like Klay.
    I am tired of the Lakers saying 1st rou D Draft picks are not ready.
    They are ready enough for the benefits of a valuable cheap rookie contract which the Lakers have none.
    The Lakers should take Julius Randle if he is available and then Aaron Gordon. Big bodies are hard to find and so what

  30. Kobe at best will be an average player next year.
    What do you base that statement on? Have you seen him play after he has announced that he’s back to 100%? If not this is nothing more than speculation, at best a possibility but not something that should be asserted as if it’s a fact. At this point it’s just as possible that he will find ways to be effective when he’s healthy and his minutes get managed properly. He needs to stay healthy, though. That might be the key.

  31. I had an opinion on Lebron but apparently it’s in Mod purgatory

    Klay is a nice player but i think we can do better w a draft pick or via a better t-r-a-d-e

  32. Klay Thompson has proven he can play in the NBA. He improved from year one to year two. He plays defense and is a huge threat on offense. He looks like a guy who keep getting better and physically stronger.

    You HOPE your #7 pick can do that. I get the salary concerns but I would not complain at all at getting Thompson in a Laker uniform. Except if I have to listen to his dad.

  33. If Clay was coming put as a rookie knowing what we do the past two years—-///

    He would be a top 3 picks this year if not the first .

    It’s called a slam dunk.

  34. I’ve had an opinion in mod purgatory since this morning. I’m opposed to the Klay deal if leads us to Melo.

  35. But hey go ahead, whine away…

    You complain more than just about anybody here, actually–except you complain about other posters, rather than about the Lakers.

  36. I think it might not be a bad ideal can’t get many players as good with 7th pick plus if he wants to be a Laker bad enough maybe he signs for a little less next year. But the real thing to remember is that the Lakers can & will sign over the cap for players they want to keep in Purple & Gold.
    Just think bout it for a minute if they sign other players after Kobe’s contact they could sign someone already on the team (RFA) for more than cap & you know that the Lakers will if they feel
    said player was someone they wanted or worth doing it. I also like the Sixers deal as long as we get #10 to take Young Give #7 get MCW they take Nash contract or at least some 2nd picks.
    Don’t forget some FA’s Lakers should try for I hear Ariza but how bout E. Turner Ind (Philly to Ind.) instead he would be a lot cheaper.

  37. What do you base that statement on?

    Age, mileage, and the history of other guys who have suffered the same injury. Many articles were written about it at the time Kobe went down–it is well-documented. Kobe might be an exception–if anybody can pull it off, he can–but the evidence is for the most part not on the side of his coming back to his previous level. The fact that he immediately went down six games into his comeback just draws a line under it.

    Some Lakers fans have a hard time hearing that, of course. But if you do an internet search about it you can see the evidence for yourself.

  38. Im not totally opossed to this trade, if we want to look at ut un a positive light let’s not forget that he has ties to the Lakers because if his father and i believe i read somewhere during those Howard sing and trade to GS rumors that he would like to play with the Lakers. He is only 24 years old, precisely the kind of player we should be looking for really good on both ebds of the floor. And i dont think he has reached his ceiling yet, he hasnt even reached his prime.if it happens is still going to be tough to seallow parting with that 7th pick.

  39. Sorry about the typos, it’s a pain to type from my phone…

  40. Not opposed to Klay. However, the Lakers have so many holes. If they are looking for help on the wings why not just sign Stephenson and use the 7th pick to fill another need?

  41. Matt – I see your point in that Stephenson is a un restricted FA. However, he is a SG while Thompson has the size to play SF. Many here think Kobe can play SF but I think he’s not strong enough to be effective there. The move with Klay allows Kobe to stay at the 2.

  42. Klay Thompson is a known NBA commodity, and draft picks aren’t. Klay has observed limitations (or so we think), and a draft pick is the dream of a star with no limitations. So do you want a nice pile of cash, or a chance at winning the lottery?

    Maybe it’s not that simple, as there’s also the win-now vs think-of-the-future considerations. The Lakers may like the draft pick potential, but are also motivated by the need to be competitive next season. Thompson is an immediate upgrade in NBA talent.

    Assuming there’s even a realistic chance of this trade happening, the Lakers will decide. They’re in position to judge the prospect of the 7th pick. They’re looking closely at these guys. It’s their job. I’d hope they’re better at it than the person off the street, or not likely we’ll be having any parades around here. And people talk about the FO as if they have no clue about money. They don’t realize that Klay Thompson will soon cost more? The way I see it, if they were to trade the pick, they either weren’t confident enough with it, or they really like Thompson to fit whatever their plans are. So until shown otherwise, who’s to say it wasn’t the best decision?

    The nice thing about being a fan is that there’s no responsibility. How are we supposed to know? If things work out, give the Laker FO a pat on the back. If not, criticize them soundly. 🙂

  43. Remember guys… I’m not wrong often (as much as you hate to admit it). I was the first to predict everyone going to Miami in 2010 and that was without any inside information. I heard last summer this was going to happen from an inside source. So start thinking what you want for the seventh pick to compliment Melo and LBJ.

  44. Steve malabicky June 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I love the way one person mentions we get the 76ers number 10 pick in the deal and now every other poster uses that. We dont get the 10th pick in the rumored laker 76er deal.

  45. I am just tired of the Lakers giving away their first round pic’s.

  46. I think the difference is the perception of our potential gain if we keep the pick and it develops
    We know Klay’s game already.
    I really like his dad and there’s a great connection there
    However I think his game is a bit one-dimensional offensively.
    If he can drive to the hoop that would be great but he seems like a catch and shoot guy. We already have Meeks.
    Maybe Klay’s D is great, I don’t know cuz haven’t seen enough of him.
    I just see his upside as limited whereas the upside of Gordon or Randle seems stronger.
    Or Embiid if he falls to 7 🙂

  47. Klay is young, is an elite shooter with an improving post up game and can defend. He is the type of person who will improve every year, and won’t stop improving even after securing a large contact. Picking on his sub par rebounding and playmaking seems a bit nitpicky. If he added those facets to his game, he would be a superstar. I would be ecstatic if he became a Laker.

  48. Glad your not GM of Lakers- clearly from this article there is a glaring reason why

  49. Few weeks ago, it was 7 & Nash for 10 & young. Now the rumor is 7 & Nash for mcw & young. ( I’m guessing we can talk rumors in this thread since that is the main topic after all). Anyways, I think Lakers mindset is to trade for a above avg player still on rookie contract like klay. That way they can still go after near max guys this summer and next, and then when the time comes resign klay and go above cap to do it since u can do that for your own players.

  50. Again, the MCW rumors for the 7th pick could also be accomplished just signing Stephenson. His assists per game were 4.6 v 6.3 for MCW. If you sign Stephenson as a un restricted FA you can keep the 7 the pick to fill another hole.

    This is why salary cap flexibility is so important. You can leverage both your cap space and draft picks to improve your team.

  51. @Steve malabicky, There are two rumored 76er trades. One has the Lakers getting Thad young and the #10 for the #7. The other is the Lakers getting MCW and Thad Young for the #7 and Nash. So yes we could trade down and get the #10 with Thad Young.

  52. My point is that Lance Stephenson should be the Lakers target this off season. Why spend the #7 pick in trade for a wing when you can just sign him?

  53. One point that I think Darius missed on, there are not that many good SGs in the league. The best SG is James Harden and he does not play defense. I like Beal an awful lot, Wade is done being a starter in the league, Joe Johnson, Wesley Mathews, Aron Afflalo are good players. Anyone who trusts Lance Stephenson to be a reliable fixture in a rotation is going against all evidence and unless the Lakers know they are getting SVG or some such coach, I would not want to subject a less talented coach to Lance’s antics. I don’t know what he’ll command but anyone paying him more than $8m is taking a real chance. Who would have thought it but, there are more high level centers in the league than SGs. A guy like Klay Thompson may actually be worth $12 seeing that he has a shot at being a top 3-5 SG in the league for the next few seasons. Also, the key is getting him in the fold while on his rookie contract so the team can land those truly elite players in free agency. I still need to think some more about the trade and would love to have more footage of him to look at but, I think there is more to this deal than considering Klay’s value as a player. His value is also relative to available talent at his position.

  54. Just read your post Darius. I mostly agree with your thoughts in the past. Having trouble with this one .

    Seems like several times you mentioned the risk and gamble of the draft. I hear. 30% to 35% chance of quality draft. Clay was a shooting guard in GS and as such is not in a position to rebound. He was there to stretch the floor when Curry was doubled or put off the play.

    As for passing he is an excellent passer but again he was not handling the ball but was a set and shoot player.

    Give me Clay and you can take any of the drafts and let’s review in 3 years. $12 million for him is a bargain in 2 years and as a small forward will be top 5 in 2 years.

    Guess we will see.

  55. P Ami,
    I didn’t write about Klay being one of the better SG’s in the league because I think that’s another argument that is overblown to try and prop him up. SG is the weakest position in the league right now. So he’s better than a lot of lesser players who man that spot? What does that prove? I’d prefer to compare him to the other “wings” in the league. When you do that, he is dropped down a class.

    And, again, no one is saying Klay is a bad player. I don’t think I said that once or even implied it. I, and fairly I think, note that he has holes in his game that do not match up with a player who will command the type of salary he will reportedly seek when his rookie deal expires or what some other team may offer him in restricted free agency. These things matter in terms of roster construction long term. Now, there are ways to still make that work and a lot of it comes down to timing and what the Lakers do in FA *this* summer, but the risk remains. Pointing out that risk is part of the analysis.

    KO, I am not comparing Klay to prospects. However, what I wrote was why the Lakers would want to make this deal which lines up with what you wrote. That perspective is perfectly valid and if the deal were to go down it would be a major point in evaluating the trade.

    I think people are seemingly taking my post as some major dig on Thompson. That’s not the case at all. He’s a fine player with a very good mix of strengths which hold value in this league. It’s one of the reasons that he’ll likely get a big contract offer — that, plus his age and the perception that he will continue to improve. My point, remains, though: projecting improvement is just that a *projection*. It’s no more likely to happen because we say so than anything else. What I tried to note was that the areas where he’s not as strong now are areas that players typically either show a proclivity for early in their careers or they do not. Guys who lack court vision or aren’t playmakers often don’t become much better in those areas. Guys who don’t rebound at a good rate typically don’t become better rebounders. Guys like Kobe and Wade or even Westbrook or Rondo show a more natural inclination to get on the glass and be strong positional rebounders. Thompson does not. If you think he will improve in that area and be a guy who grabs 5-6 rebounds a night, I’d like to know why you think that. If you don’t think that’s important, say so. My point, however, is that if you pay a guy 12-13 million a year, I’d hope he does more than shoot well and be a good defender. Again, those things have value and I’d like players the Lakers have to do those things well.

    Not sure why people want to make it seem like this is some black and white issue. It’s shades of gray and I mentioned my concerns that lie in those gray areas and why it would concern me that the Lakers would trade one of their only assets for this player at this time.

  56. Also, to the guy who keeps calling people stupid or morons because they have concerns with the deal, yeah, your comments will continue to get deleted. Smarten up Nas.

  57. +1 Pami – like you I get the salary arguments but considering this team needs talent at every position including shooting guard – i don’t see why this wouldn’t be a bad deal. 20 pts a game and good defense and able to contribute immediately vs the crap shoot #7 even in a good draft. This is where the kobe contract really hurts – I don’t disparage kobe for taking it, but if the FO had gotten him for cheaper and still had the additional cap space available, you’d have to consider this a done deal.

  58. Darius, I only meant to point out Klay’s quality relative to other guys at his position, not trying to say this means he has no holes in his game or that your analysis was off. I just wanted to add that point to the discussion.

  59. P Ami,
    I get that. Just noting that it’s not a strong position league wide and that lessens the value of the distinction. If this deal does actually happen, I will explore it from every angle I can imagine and point out the positives (which there are) and the potential for workarounds within the structure of the cap. This first post, however, was meant as a realistic view of where his game is now and what the timing of the trade is relative to his time in the league means to the Lakers. There is, of course, more to this than those points.

  60. Hey Darius, what makes you say that he doesn’t have playmaking ability? Does he play with a ball dominant guard and small forward who plays point? Your points are not valid. He is a borderline allstar player with a great attitude. This is all speculation, there is no way lakers will get klay for 7th pick. If they do, it’ll be a steal. If your main concern is that your shooting guard doesn’t get you 5-6 rebounds a game, than that’s another issue. As long as he plays defense and boxes out, which he does, I don’t care how many rebounds a guard is getting. As far as paying him, he will get the money anywhere he goes, we might get him for a discounted price based on the fact that he grew up here and he is very close to his family.

  61. Darius

    I like Klay. Playing at home with his dad working for Lakers could be a plus.

    Move him to SF and he can avarage 18 to 20 get 6 RB a game like his last year at Wahington and be a defensive stopper at SF or to switch on top SG to ease thing for Kobe.

    Sounds like would have been best numbers on team last year.

    Can’t imagine half of that from Smart or Gordon. This. can’t be about money to the Buss family. They made $30 to $40 million last year while TW rating were down 45%. What other business in the world, other then insurance companies and oil companies can do that?

    They must go over cap and build cred with us long time Laker fans. Now not 3 years from now.

  62. Suffian,
    I live in Oakland. I’ve probably seen more of Thompson than anyone on this board. When I talk about his playmaking, it’s a point discussing his skill set. He doesn’t create much off the dribble and that leads to lower assist totals and less playmaking for teammates. It’s also reflected in his relatively low FT rate. And I bring up his rebounding to note that he’s not adding a lot to the boxscore beyond his scoring. Again, if these things don’t matter to you, that’s fine. But when talking about salary and how that is determined relative to productuon and versatility of skill set, it matters to me.

  63. The more I think about the trade, the less I like it. I’m not sure that Klay today is better than Randle or has less holes in his game than Smart. Plus, Smart may well have higher upside than Klay. I just read a comp of Baron Davis. Considering that Smart has managed to stay healthy (and I’m not sure he is as explosive as Baron was) I will be looking forward to seeing what that guy can do on any team that gets him.

    I just don’t see the AK-47 comps to Gordon… Andrei could always shoot a little and his length was just disgusting.

    I don’t think I’m wild about Saric but I’ve seen highlight footage of him doing some amazing things with the rock. He is aggressive and has some serious court-vision. If he can get stronger, maybe do whatever exercises it is that added 2.5″ to Randle’s vertical jump, that guy can be a really fun player. I think he needs that upper body to finish in the lane and then the legs so he can get his range out to behind the 3PT line. Besides that, dude is a sick player. He has a little bit of Magic a little bit of Petrovic, but not enough of either just yet to be sure he can do it in the NBA.

    Obviously I would rather have just come home from a Lakers parade but I’m really excited about this draft. I haven’t written this much on the site for a while. Anyhow… Good work Darius… Hope the next Lakers great comes to us on Thursday.

  64. KO,
    When I bring up money, it’s not necessarily about what the Lakers can afford. Obviously the TWC deal and their gate revenue mean that they can spend on their roster. When I talk about salary, it’s relative to the restrictions of the collective bargaining agreement and how tying up money in Thompson can be disadvantageous when trying to build a roster due to what that money means in being able to fill out the roster. Again, this may not mean anything to people or they simply aren’t looking that far ahead. But it sure doesn’t stop them when talking about how playing Kobe what he makes limits roster construction.

    That said, as I mentioned in another comment, there are ways to mitigate this through timing. Depending on when Klay’s next contract occurs and how the Lakers approach free agency this summer, there are workarounds within the CBA that can be exploited. But I don’t really see anyone bringing up those things either so I’m pretty sure people aren’t thinking about those things either. They’re just saying “pay him” or “he’s worth it” or “he’s better than the guy they’ll draft at 7”. Let’s just say I don’t think these opinions should be taken as fact or that they are quite shallow arguments that only scratch the surface in terms of how a deal like this should be analyzed.

  65. I like those Philly rumors better anyways. I do like Klay but as i mentioned before im with Darius on this one. But i think the likelyhood that the Laker braintrust is triying to make something happen on Draft night is increasing by the day. And thats why i dont waste my time complaining about the FO because like i said earlier, we dont know anything. Just because we dont get a headline grabbing news report of some Laker move, specially when the season is just over, the Draft is not even happened yet and the FA period is not even open for business dont mean there isn’t any activity. Like i said in other comments is a waste of time agonizing about stuff we dont know anything about. When they make whatever moves they make everybody including myself will “analize” them,be for or against them and discuss them ad nauseum. I dont get the desperation when we all know how vital are the choices the Lakers have to do in the coming weeks. I would be really nervous if they dont take their time at this conjucture moving fwd. but hey that’s just me..

  66. Nice post, and seems to’ve generated a lot of responses, most of which I haven’t read.

    But one question I have for Darius is this: when evaluating Thompson, have you evaluated him in a vacuum, or vis-a-vis what the Lakers can get this year at the 7-spot?

    I haven’t watched enough of the Warriors/Thompson to refute any of your analysis, so I take it at face value. But with the crop of players available in this year’s draft, might not the Lakers be thinking that KT is better now than anything they could get at #7, particularly if they’re looking for a player with trade value in the near term?

    Couldn’t the acquisition of KT help draw Love, who could opt out after this year even if he does get traded to Golden State? Or, if they don’t feel he (Klay) fits in with their rebuilding plans, I’m sure there’s a team out there who’d take him. It’s possible they want to get him now so that when his market value booms, they can get a player who’s a much better fit for the direction they choose to take.

    Just random thoughts.

  67. I understand what you are saying Darius regarding the cap. My point is that, do you want to risk getting a worse player at the 7th pick only to have him on a rookie pay scale? He doesn’t create off the dribble because he doesn’t have the ball. It really is a no brainer, I understand that he will be a restricted agent and we will have to pay hi, but this is about assets. We would be gaining a better asset for a unproven asset. I’ve seen klay improve every year, his post game is getting better and he is getting stronger.

  68. I’ve been following the rumors trading Nash to the Sixers for a while. And both those proposed ideas I could support although I would favor trading down to the 10th pick. This has been one of my bullet points about shedding Nash’s contract.

    Other deals I see as plausible are picking up Boozer or Asilk plus picks. Bloated 1 year rentals plus draft picks I would consider a good idea to strengthen the long term roster (picks) while making sure there is money available next year and having a serviceable starter this year.

    Klay just doesn’t really move the needle that much. I think the Lakers would be better off just keeping their 7th pick in this scenario. This deal cramps financial flexibility, marginally improves the roster, and doesn’t free the Lakers from Nash’s contract which is a major consideration if the Lakers want immediate improvement. I just really can’t see this as a good idea as currently being discussed.

  69. I’m confused. Does anyone think Klay is more than a floor spreader and good/solid defensive player? He is a guy based on his skill set that you want to pay 7 million a year too after you have used all your max contract slots to get three star players. That’s who Klay Thompson is. If he is in that role with that salary he is a great player to have on your team. A perfect player actually.

  70. Suffian,
    I’d simply say one of the reasons he doesn’t have the ball is because it’s not in his skill set to be a guy who handles the ball as facilitator or a creator. Again, and I don’t understand why this should be controversial. This doesn’t mean Klay is a bad player. He’s certainly not that. He’s just not a guy who does more than shoot well from distance, occasionally post up smaller players, and defend with versatility. This is plenty for a good player in this league and shouldn’t be downplayed. It also shouldn’t be up-played or over exaggerated to try and make it seem like he does more on the floor than he does or is capable of doing at this point in his career.

  71. Btw… Appreciate Darius everyone. His long answers to help educate so many that read this site on basketball takes a lot of time and patience.

  72. He’s only 24. Can shoot and defend. Has played well in the playoffs not the primary ball handler so can’t really knock him for being the one who more than often is the finisher of a play. Rebounding is an effort stat and primarily he is guarding a wing player so rebounding will be at a premium. An above average player who complimented a star in a competitive western conference. FOr those who say he can’t get better in those areas, players do it all of the time look at Durant raise his stats this year or how players study the game and get better. Whether u kept the pick or trade it you’re risking something. Whose to say the pick would pan out. I say from the seventh pick on back Klay has as high a ceiling as any. Shooting is what he does well and that is a great foundation the rest is what’s around u effort and coaching. If they kept the pick I wouldn’t be mad but the 7th pick for Klay is cool too. 10-12 million for a payer who plays hard every night drops 18 can defend and is on the upswing if he elevates his game then it’s a win win. Just depends on how the first picks play out so I would wait

  73. I feel like you are arguing my point. I understand he does all those things, thats why its better to have him than a 7th pick who is an unknown. Either way, its a moot point. I dont see how we will get Klay for 7th pick.

  74. Okay. If Melo and LBJ are not coming it is silly to trade away a top draft pick in a deep draft for a guy who is a role player that is in his contract year where a dumb team will over pay for him. Then what do you do? You need to let him go. So now we traded a top pick who would be on a roockie deal for four seasons for nothing. Okay. Is everyone clear?

  75. Great comment Aaron: Darius shows great patience and respect for the denizens of this site here.

    Like Darius, I’ve seen a lot of Klay Thompson. He is an elite shooter and an average athlete for his position. i would say the same about Thompson and Curry as a backcourt duo: great skills and average athleticism. And that is going to be a problem for the Warriors championship aspirations. Simply put, great athletes with great skills win championships.

    A guy like Aaron Gordon (and even Randle) has that athleticism, but lack skills to make them elite. But it is possible to develop them. But the difference is as John Wooden said “you can’t teach quickness.” Thus guys like Klay Thompson, and yes, Kevin Love, get exposed when the stakes are high by superior athletes who corral the skill guys. To some degree I think that Durant was exposed this way in the playoffs while the great athlete, Westbrook, almost carried the team. It’s easy to get lulled into over valuing guys by their play in the regular season; but then they come down to earth in the playoffs–as Klay Thompson did.

    In short, the Lakers should take a chance on upside and develop a player. It will give the team more flexibility in free agency and could yield a greater player than Thompson is or will become.

  76. At some point the Lakers are going to have to actually draft and develop players. Look at the Spurs. That is the basic blueprint going forward. Draft and develop. Why? Its the cheapest way to do it. It works the best with the current CBA. Yes the Lakers have their TW deal. That still doesn’t overcome the other facts of the CBA. Tax paying teams have a smaller mid level exception. Tax paying teams can’t recieve players in a sign and trade.

    You don’t pay market value for LeBron James or CP3. You draft a Klay Thompson for those four cost controlled years. And let another team pay him his market value while replacing him with another cost controlled player.

  77. Aaron, i think everyone here apreciates Darius a great deal, for me from a fan’s perspective he has become a really important part of being a Laker fan. I always look fwd for his articles and i apreciate his knowledge and wisdom, i been chew up by him a couple of times lol but despite the ocassional arguments and disagreements here with other commenters i think this is by far the most peaceful and inteligent Laker forum out there we can argue but it never get nasty. We all love the Lakers to a fault and thats something that bind us togheter, the fact that we are here everyday prove it. Thanks for everything Soriano…

  78. I saw more than a role player I saw a player that at times took over in crunch time. Steph was the primary guy but whose to say he couldn’t step his game up. If embiid falls then u keep the pick for sure but if you get a chance to get a young guy only 3 or 4 years older than most of the picks, that has proven himself early then why not. Some teams are good at drafting and some are good at free agency to put together teams. Do what you know. It’s nice to see teams do it thru the draft but if you’re used to doing it thru free agency then do what your strongpoint is. I like smart Randle and the potential they have that could be done on a rookie contract but the nba is a game of leaning and growth and it takes most players time to be good so u can go either way with this whole situation

  79. Agreed in Darius. I don ‘t have that patience.

    On the other hand Aaron. Other then Laker games and a few assorted play off games how often have you watched Klay?

    I have offices in OC and SF and split time. Watch the guy often. Jackson put him in the position in the offense he plays to mitigate the lack of front court players.

    Not only can he shoot but is one of the best passers and could rebound if he played under the basket. Melo is by far more of a one way player as is Harding. I feel some guys are short changing the guy. I promise he has a much higher ceiling them Smart and learning from Kobe would be a huge plus.

    Go back and watch this years playoffs and listen to what the announcers were saying about the growth of his game.

  80. The thing about this Klay deal if it happens is that sooner or later we( i mean the Buss family) are going to pay somebody.

  81. Suffian,
    You feel like I’m making your point and I feel that you’re ignoring mine. So, it is what it is. No one has said he’s not a talent. I’m saying the contract issues shouldn’t be ignored yet in all your comments you have done just that. So, yeah.

  82. The Lakers are willing to pay luxury tax to retain players under contract, so that if they get a guy like Klay while he’s still on his rookie deal, then when his contract is up, they can exceed the cap to re-sign him. That’s using the system to your advantage.
    And that’s the idea behind getting players like Klay who already have an NBA track record.

    Is the deal for MCW still in play? I like that deal better.
    Or if Kyrie can still be had for our 7th pick that would be great.
    Definitely a proven commodity.

    Grabbing an established player for a draft pick is smart; it requires less guesswork compared to drafting an unknown quantity.
    This strategy is one the Lakers have historically employed.

    I wonder if Lakers could sign and trade a guy like Jordan Hill to include in a trade.

  83. The keys with stuff like this IMO are:

    1. Not to get too linear about it. Yes, in a vacuum, or to a contender that needs a wing, Klay Thompson is worth more than the 7th pick. But to the Lakers, who, we need to always remember *have no roster*–not a weak roster, no roster–I think that is highly debatable. As Aaron points out, if adding Thompson is the prelude to another big move and connected to said move, then yes, go for it. If not, then the Lakers are probably better off with the pick. And, looking at it another way, as others suggest, if the FO wants to drop 10M/season on a 23-year-old wing player, Lance Stephenson is there. I have my doubts about Stephenson, but given where the Lakers are, Stephenson + pick is probably > Thompson.
    2. To recognize that while performance is tied to context and in some ways eludes stats, it is also in many respects measurable, and for the most part, while guys can make incremental improvements after age 24 or 25, it is not that common for guys to make huge leaps past that age. It sometimes appears that way, but more often that is due to increased PT or other factors. Thompson has had three years with relatively similar stat lines; it is unlikely that he will make a huge leap forward.

  84. Age, mileage, and the history of other guys who have suffered the same injury. Many articles were written about it at the time Kobe went down–it is well-documented. Kobe might be an exception–if anybody can pull it off, he can–but the evidence is for the most part not on the side of his coming back to his previous level. The fact that he immediately went down six games into his comeback just draws a line under it.

    Some Lakers fans have a hard time hearing that, of course. But if you do an internet search about it you can see the evidence for yourself.
    It’s one thing to say that Kobe will be less effective than he used to be and quite another to make the claim (the one that I replied to) that he will “at best […] be an average player.” If you support the latter claim you need to produce more evidence. That Kobe got hurt after six games doesn’t really say much about his future production but supports what I said about health being a key point.

  85. If you support the latter claim you need to produce more evidence. That Kobe got hurt after six games doesn’t really say much about his future production but supports what I said about health being a key point.

    Like I said, evidence exists, which you can find very easily if you want to. Most guys who have suffered the same type of injury have had major problems afterward, both staying on the floor and producing when there. As to the production/health distinction, you can’t produce anything if you can’t get on the court and stay there. And last year, he couldn’t.

    As I said at the time he signed the deal, believing that the deal will work out for the Lakers is mostly just a matter of having faith in Kobe and in the FO’s judgment. But the evidence strongly suggests that the deal will not work out, in terms of the team on the floor.

  86. No one in the history of the NBA has hit more three pointers than Klay Thompson in their first three years in the league. He may never be Ray Allen or Reggie Miller, but think about all the prolific shooters in NBA history. Now consider this trade possibility. Proven talent trumps potential in a vacuum or otherwise. This is not just good outside shooting, this is historic outside shooting. The 7th pick even in an alleged deep draft is more than a steal for the Lakers if it brings Thompson in return.

  87. Why would we help the Warriors get Love so we could get KT? Really…so the Warriors could clobber us for years. The Lakers should have tried to pry away Harrison Barnes when we gave up Steve Blake but we blew it. Don’t get me wrong KT is a good young player and can flat out shoot! But we are not getting a superstar player that wants to play with Kobe. You guys just plain ain’t getting it….none of them want to play with him period! He is a ball hog and without a strong coach to make him play in the system Kobe will just jack up shots. Phil always had to keep him in check during the Shaq-Kobe years. You think Lebron or Melo want to come here for that…lol. so, getting a knockdown shooter is useless right now.

    there are only two picks in this draft that I would take with that 7th. If your trying to win now you take Gordon he is awesome think Leonard (you know the Series MVP?) but even more gifted athletically and longer. This “tweener” tag is ridiculous the kid can play either the 4 or 3. His shooting will improve but he can score and will do so very well in the NBA fast paced game. He will probably start of as a 3 early in his career and then grow some more and be the 4. Defensively, there is no one is this draft that can match up to him. I would take him without even hesitating. All these guys your talking about know he is better than them…why? MVP of the MCDonalds game and also Gordon was the MVP of the FIBA championships. This kid is going to be a star and every coach who has had him marvels that they did not know how good he is and how smart he plays. If we pass him up…he will be dunking on us for years to come! Do not buy into that east-coast hype. Randle, Smart, Vonleh (heck no, will be a decent pro but Gordon would zero that kid out all game long) , etc….blah blah blah! Check below…yeah Gordon can be on my team anyday!!!

    2013: USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year
    2013: FIBA Under-19 World Championship MVP
    2013: McDonalds High School All-American Game MVP
    Jordan Brand All-American (2013)
    2× California Mr. Basketball (2012-2013)
    2× CIF State Champion (2011-2012)
    2× CIF State Division II Champion (2011-2012)

    If your looking for the next Superstar and can wait…it is LaVine! I have said it from day one.
    Zach was wasted at UCLA … Alford kept playing him with his kid and off the ball that is why he left. He has the skills and when he matures watch out…will be able to take anyone one on one and shoot over smaller guards. This kid is a legit 6′ 6″ and might grow some more and will gain the strength needed in the NBA. This kid was beasting in the combine. Zach hung with Exum and pretty much anyone else who tried to play him. He shoots better than people think as he was just jumping too high on his shot late in the season. Crazy freaky Athlete who will grow more and then watchout! Heck he even wants to be a Laker! He will have to sit but i’m down!!! he is going to be great this kid. I see it in him and with proper coaching….oh

    P.S. Don’t ever mention Lance Stevenson again!!! He will never wear the Laker uniform. He is a decent player but just makes bad decisions at the most inopportune times and in bunches. Plus the antics only World Metta Peace could do that and get away with it here.

  88. Aaron, you mentioned Lebron+Melo. Can’t tell if this is a serious prediction but if so, the two FA will be taking massive pay cuts. Here is the math with a stretched Nash and estimated cap of 63.2M:

    Kobe 23,500,000
    Nash 3,233,667
    Sacre 915,243
    Klay 3,075,880
    Cap holds 4,058,688
    total 34,783,478
    cap room 28,416,522

    So if they split the room, each will be taking under 15M. Even if you move Nash with the 7 in the Klay deal (and who is taking him, GS?) each can get only a little over 15.5M. In other words, quite a big monkey wrench in such a plan considering each can make well over 20M by staying put.

  89. Ko,
    I’m not like most on this site… I’m a basketball fan first and a Lakers fan second. I didn’t watch many Lakers games this year because there was nothing to watch. I watched many more Warrior games then Lakers games. And I don’t think there is one smart thing I have ever heard an NBA broadcaster say. Besides from reading this site if you wanna learn basketball read Zack Lowe or listen to Matt Money Smith in LA.

    The normal decline two years post achillies tear is a drop of 7-9 PER points. That would move Kobe to the below avg NBA basketball player range.

  90. T. Rogers,

    I’m with you on the concept of homegrown player development but the team hasn’t been concerned nor good at it for years. The history has shown that it hasn’t needed to matter to them but we’ll all see in this new era if they are going to have to change their spots or not.

  91. T Rogers: As you know, the Lakers have done most of their building through trades and FA signings. Even some of our best picks, were actually picks acquired in trades. Making our own pick and developing them over years – not us, but yes the Spurs have done some of that. I agree that the new CBA favors this (drafting and developing), however a couple of points. Whatever strategy you pick, you must execute. The Lakers recent turn for the worse is not simply because we should have been drafting/developing, but rather that we did not do a good job executing the FA/Trade strategy. We traded for and then subsequently lost DH for nothing, ditto for Sessions, possibly ditto for Hill, and we ended up with damaged goods for a pile of draft picks with Nash. Add the KB contract and voila – complete disaster. Drafting is no different if you do not execute. Just ask the teams who drafted for decades. If you draft Kwames, Darcos, and Bowies, you will be horrible. Also – I agree with your “market value” discussion. However you need to make exception to this when it comes to the top 2-3 players in the league. Without a player like that – it is hard to even make the finals, so if you have the chance to get one, you take it – no matter the cost. The CBA works in your favor there, because LBJ might actually be worth 30-35 in basketball terms now, and he is and will be playing for less than 20.

    J C: I saw your Riley comment. I really like Riles and Phil (obviously). Watching Riley made me sad. The reason, because we need a guy like that. We need a West, a Riles, or a Phil, or yes – reluctantly – a Pop. We do not have one. Mitch is OK, and he is infinitely better than Jim, however watching Riley do his thing makes me realize how their FO is light years ahead of ours and always will be until Jim steps out of basketball ops.

    P. Ami: If you and I ran the Lakers, I would have proposed Fisher as a compromise, and we would have gone after him. Further, I would have proposed that we do something before the draft and get our coach in place for cohesiveness. I doubt you would have argued. Let’s say we missed out on Fisher, and then I argued Scott and you argued JVG. I would then say, OK – I got Byron ready to sign, where are you with JVG? You would have said – well I haven’t been able to get his agent. I would have said – OK – we will give it 1-2 more weeks and see if he is interested. If no interest. Byron is the man. Two weeks later- uhh Robert – I still have not been able to get his agent. Then we sign Byron. Keep in mind this is to be a caretaker for 3 years max. Barring Aaron’s pipedream (I see you have revived it Aaron), the next coach is not going to be here for 10 years as you stated -especially if it is an experienced coach. A young guy like Fisher maybe, but a guy like JVG or Scott will be lampooned after a couple of losing years. So – let’s keep it in the family and hire Scott. Dependable, loyal, wants it more than anyone, used to the harsh media, and gets along with Kobe. Nobody else has that list of qualities. There might be a coaching genius out there somewhere who is inventing a new offense called the Trapezoid. He is not what we need now, because we do not have the right team to run it.

  92. “No one in the history of the league has hit more three pointers in their first three years than Klay Thompson.”

    To begin with, the NBA has only had the three-point shot since 1979-80. So the ‘history of the league’ wouldn’t include great shooters like Pete Maravich or Jerry West.
    More importantly, when the 3-pointer was introduced, it was originally considered a gimmick. The ABA had been using it with some entertainment value. Guys like Larry Bird (who started that same year) had a much more complete game including rebounding, passing and scoring from anywhere on the floor.
    Guys just didn’t shoot the ball from that deep all the time because traditionally it wasn’t a good shot to take.
    Even players like Ray Allen (career leader in 3-pointers) had a more complete game in his youth and for most of his career.

    Later, coaches like Dantoni brought the 3-point shot into vogue as the game (d)evolved. A three point shooting specialist is great to have but would you trade the #7 pick for Kyle Korver?
    For Jodie Meeks?

    The three point shot has hurt the league in some ways as it has reduced the perceived value of good mid-range game- something good coaches still covet.

    If Klay is a lockdown defender then that’s a plus. I haven’t seen enough of his game to know, I guess, but Aaron Gordon sounds like his defense is exceptional too, with some other attributes as well. Thanks to LordMo for his stats on AG.

    If the Lakers have their hearts set on adding a shooter I guess Klay’s their man. I just wish some of the other rumors like the one with Philly would happen instead. Getting a ROY for a #7 sounds like a real steal to me.

  93. cap room 28,416,522

    So if they split the room, each will be taking under 15M.

    Yeah. If the FO actually wanted to get serious about a James/Anthony play, they would have had to either offer Kobe a lot less or simply refuse to extend him at all and then negotiate with him in the market.

  94. Warren Wee Lim June 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I’ve been building them in sim leagues so who am I to listen to. But in either case, I believe there is something to be learned.

    There are 2 ways to build teams – the balanced way and the themed way. There is no preferred way, you play with what you have. That means, if you want to build using plan A but don’t have players for it then you will fall flat on your face. (This is what happened to us last 2 years)

    Using this off-season and our current roster as our basis, sometimes a blank canvas like ours is a much tougher way to build teams because of all the possibilities and uncertainties.

    Lets start with 2 known quantities: Kobe Bryant and the 7th overall pick.

    Kobe is an unknown quantity himself with regards to his health. But in terms of will, attitude, character and mindset, you are certain that he’s going for it.

    The 7th overall pick is an unknown quantity in the sense that anything can happen within the next four days that will completely change everything you’ve thought of since you knew our draft order.

    Then there’s Klay… but with Klay, no #7. With Klay, you only get them cheap for 2 years, instead of four. This is what Darius’ emphasis is on, as opposed to others who argue about how good/bad Klay is or how his skill-set fits or doesn’t.

    Using stats, we know that Klay is an exceptional shooter, but not as good a creator as Kobe. If he gets the ball, there’s a 3/5 chance he shoots over making a play for a teammate or pass. This is something that is correctable with the right coach and system.

    He has the height and is regarded as a “big guard” and has a very good offensive game. At the other end, the impression is from decent, passable to lacking.

    Klay is a more known quantity over the 7th pick, but he comes as more expensive, older and needing to be paid in 2 years time as opposed to the pick who has to be decided in four.

    To me, I prefer the known quantity. By the time he needs to be paid, we’d have 2 years of his game/contribution that we can decide to pay him or have him test free agency and undergo the restricted free agency route. We also get to control his fate. The hardest part is to get the players into the team. The rest (I think) is easy.

  95. Nick Van Exile June 22, 2014 at 11:17 am

    To me, the question isn’t whether Klay Thompson is a good player or not or whether they can get someone better with the #7 pick. It’s pretty obvious that he is a fantastic shooter and wing defender. If the Lakers were looking for that one final piece of the puzzle to be a championship contender (a 3 and D wing), then Klay would be ideal. But let’s be honest, the Lakers have needs at every position and they need to get cost effective players to fill those roles because of Kobe’s extension (I’m not passing judgement on his extension, but that’s just one of the consequences of it). Re-signing Jodie Meeks or Nick Young would likely cost in the range of Klay’s current contract (~$3-4 million/year) and they could provide ~80-85% of his production:

    KT: 18.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 44.4% FG, 41.7% 3FG, 79.5% FT
    JM: 15.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 46.3% FG, 40.1% 3FG, 85.7% FT
    NY: 17.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 43.5% FG, 38.6% 3FG, 82.5% FT

    One of the big knocks against Klay is that he doesn’t drive to the basket and get to the FT line very much. To put that in perspective, Klay shot 185 FTs last season in 2,867 minutes, Meeks shot 258 FTs in 2,556 min, and Young shot 285 FTs in 1,811 min. Neither Meeks nor Young will be looking for a huge long-term extension in the near future AND the Lakers would still have the #7 pick to draft a good young player on a cost effective rookie contract. It’s all about opportunity cost and trading the #7 for Klay doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Lakers given their roster situation (and Klay’s contract situation).

  96. another fine board everyone -makes for good reading

    I like Klay & would be happy to see him as a Laker if that indeed happens (& I´d be very happy for Mychal too). However, eyeing the future with the 7th pick is more how I´m leaning.
    [Again, if Klay does eventually don the Purple & Gold, all the power to him.]

    Fern has mentioned it, but it´s worth reiterating:
    Never doubt The Black Mamba. He WILL find a way to continue to make an impact game in and game out. As rr mentioned, if anyone can rise above and go beyond, it´s Mamba.
    (Blind faith? Perhaps, but hey, when it comes to KB, THE Lakers and all our collective fanaticism I´m willing to hang my hat on faith as much as on concrete facts.)

  97. To me, Dieng proved to be exactly the Center the Wolves need. I have this vague image of Thompson and Pekovic going to LA in this deal.

    And you thought Love was marketable…


  98. Robert, while your scenario is a fair enough situation to war-game as a FO, I don’t think any of us are in a position to know enough about what is happening to settle our disagreement on. Neither of us knows that JVG agent dropped his phone in the Gulf of Mexico while vacationing in the Bahamas. It could very well be that JVG wants to wait and see what the Lakers pull off in the draft and free agency. From what I have read and heard, the Lakers want to build their team and then get a coach. Maybe they think they can establish a foundation that can be built upon and this will attract the coach they want. Lets assume JVG is in discussions with the team…

    There is no way the Lakers are giving a coach the sort of influence that Phil wanted (and got in New York) or that SVG got from Detroit. So, if Jeff is interested in the job, he basically has this one opportunity to leverage the team into moves that he would like them to make. So, he tells the team, see if you can manage to get X. Y, and Z and if you do, we have a deal. I have absolutely no way of knowing this is the situation. I am only bringing this up because it has as much basis on facts as the scenario you put out there.

    I just think, if the Lakers had already made their decision they would have made the hire. That is not to say Byron won’t be the choice. I just think they are still holding hope for another option.

  99. Cap room is less as you still have cap holds for other spots on the team … camt do both

  100. Isaiah Austin… Man… What an unfortunate situation. Got to feel bad for the kid. I wish him good health and a strong mind.

  101. Sources saying Anthony is opting out. Also:

    ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    Free-agent whisper one week out: Mavs not only expect to have chance to make face-to-face pitch to Melo but also plan to pursue Pau Gasol

  102. Like I said, evidence exists, which you can find very easily if you want to. Most guys who have suffered the same type of injury have had major problems afterward, both staying on the floor and producing when there. As to the production/health distinction, you can’t produce anything if you can’t get on the court and stay there. And last year, he couldn’t.

    As I said at the time he signed the deal, believing that the deal will work out for the Lakers is mostly just a matter of having faith in Kobe and in the FO’s judgment. But the evidence strongly suggests that the deal will not work out, in terms of the team on the floor.
    I don’t think that the evidence is conclusive, too much seems to depend on individual circumstances to be sure about the conclusions.

    And while the contract doesn’t really prove anything I think we can at least safely assume that the FO consulted with specialists before they offered an injured Kobe almost 50 mil.

    IMO we’ll just have to wait and see how it will play out.

  103. IMO we’ll just have to wait and see how it will play out.

    Well, yes, but that can be said of anything. As your post shows, liking the deal simply comes down to, “The guys in the FO know what they’re doing” and ” I don’t care about what happened with other players. This is Kobe.” Also, remember that they signed him to the deal before he had actually played, then he went down again.

    Obviously, no one knows for sure what will happen, so all we can do is look at the evidence that we have and make the best guess that we can. But Aaron is not one for hedging or qualifying anything–not his style.

  104. If I’m Pau, I wait to see what shakes out in San Antonio before I dance with Dallas. The Spurs style of play and willingness to not overextend veterans’ floor time would make that spot an even-more ideal landing place for a guy with his skill set. Regardless, his days in L.A. should be over for his sake and that of the Lakers going forward…

  105. If San Antonio adds Pau they’ll be even stronger than they are already.
    I’m still hoping Lakers retain Pau and nab one other fairly big name FA.

  106. Jishua

    I think the FO consulted with only one group before the signing.

    Lloyd’s of London or some other top insurance company.

  107. With all due respect to Kobe, the Lakers need to go into full rebuild mode. They could add LeBron this offseason and still not make the postseason in the West. LeBron did not attract enough high end players who were willing to work for the minimum wage in Miami. The roster after the big 3 and Ray Allen was anemic. As much as the Lakers were hosed in the CP3 deal, they still did not have the players to compete in the West. The Clippers were loaded and the perfect landing spot for him. It is time for the Lakers to take the player will be the best one in 2-3 years and figure out how to develop young talent. The new cap rules will not allow them to just throw money at the problem until it goes away.

  108. Robert,

    You are absolutely right about how the team has built over the last decade or so. But going forward its clear the Lakers can’t do things they way they used to. Look at Houston. They had a max guy in Harden already. Then they were able to get another high quality max free agent (Howard) because they had key contributors like Parsons and Beverly on very low cost deals. Beverly is their best perimeter defender and he doesn’t even make $1 million a year. Look at how many low cost, but highly effective players the Spurs have. The 2014 Finals MVP is still on his ROOKIE deal! That is the value of developing young players.

    Unless the Lakers see Thompson as the 3rd member of a big three they shouldn’t be taking him on. I miss-typed in my earlier post. What I meant was you pay max players their market value. And you get role players as cheap as you can. Thompson is a role player about to be looking for a “max-like” deal. I’m leery of that.

    I noted serveral weeks back that seven the final eight teams all had at least two key players they actually drafted. Major playoff performers like Leonard, Lillard, Beal, Stephenson, Adams, and Parsons were all on rookie scale deals. Under this current CBA you can’t truly contend without players like that.

  109. Michael Bradley is the Pau Gasol of USA football. So skilled yet So weak. Just so weak on the ball.

  110. Mr.Rodgers

    Darn good post. Makes sense. Starting to swing my opinion. Still not sure.

  111. Laker have a lot of spots to fill. They have basically two assets the 7th pick and cap space. They can’t make a big push towards rebuilding without moving Nash. I think the Lakers best course of action is trading down. There are plenty of not quite Nba ready prospects but with big upside. This process nets some decent starters while acquiring the talent needed for the future. My dream would draft LaVine at the 10th pick and Anderson at the 16th. Would have starting line-up of

    That might not make you a title favorite but it gives you a run at the play offs and makes the Lakers the destination city for free agents next year with rookies coming into their own at the same time.

  112. The Kobe contract extension has been widely disparaged because many consider it was done for “business reasons” rather than “basketball reasons”. Well, I’m here to say they are very closely related.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, there is no cap on spending for coaching; scouting; other forms of player evaluation such as analytics; conditioning/rehab services; or other infrastructure. All this stuff costs money and all this stuff can and does effect the end results on the court. It adds up to an edge the Lakers still have that they can still make use of to win games. Now, whether they will make effective use of this leverage they have is, I think, still very much an open question.

    But it’s available to them.

  113. Aaron,

    That second goal by Portugal killed me. The USA was ready to be the first team from the so-called group of death to make the knockout phase. Oh well. They need to focus on beating Germany now. Its a tall task, but not impossible. Even a draw with Germany will put them through to the next round.

  114. Well, yes, but that can be said of anything. As your post shows, liking the deal simply comes down to, “The guys in the FO know what they’re doing” and ” I don’t care about what happened with other players. This is Kobe.” Also, remember that they signed him to the deal before he had actually played, then he went down again.

    Obviously, no one knows for sure what will happen, so all we can do is look at the evidence that we have and make the best guess that we can. But Aaron is not one for hedging or qualifying anything–not his style.
    I don’t like the deal. But that’s a totally different question from whether or not we should expect Kobe to be an average player. What the deal does indicate, though, is that the medical evidence is not all that clear. Unless we want to assume that the FO actually did less than we as fans did when it comes to getting expert opinions on Kobe’s health.

    As for the second injury, it’s really hard to draw any reliable conclusions from this (other than that the Lakers would have been in a better negotiating position if they had waited a little longer). It may be the beginning of a series of serious injuries or it may have given Kobe time to heal properly. In any case it’s not statistically significant.

  115. The thing that concerns me about Kobe is approach to playing the actual games. We know Kobe is a fitness nut. We know he takes care of his body. But for Kobe to last the next two years he will need to take a page out of Tim Duncan’s book and play about 30 minutes (or less) a night.

    The problem is Kobe is not like Tim in that regard. Pop had no problem sacrificing wins if it meant keeping his guys below that magic mark. He pulled them when they played their night’s allotment of minutes no matter the score. Of course the team’s talent kept them from sacrificing many wins.

    I just don’t see Kobe sitting out large portions of a game that he feels can be won. Kobe would NEVER sacrifice wins for the sake of staying below a certain number of minutes played. He just won’t. And unless the Lakers pull off a talent grabbing coup over the next couple months the team won’t be very deep next season. Nearly every game will be up in the air until late in the fourth quarter.

    If left to his own devices Kobe will play nearly 40 minutes a night next season. And that would be courting disaster. But who has the gravitas to tell Kobe to sit down?

  116. Vasheed: In your post, how are we getting Boozer, Hawes and Vasquez?

    If you are signing veterans FAs do you think they will come on 2 year deals (to match Kobe’s)? My fear is that we will spend cap space to win for Kobe and then sign veterans to deals that extend beyond his remaining two years. In my mind we’ll be left with dead weight players and little cap space.

    The Lakers plans should be to draft wisely, add a young stud via FA/RFA or trade (not likely until they get more assets) this summer. Then fill the roster with 1 year deals and let the season play out. They should repeat this process next summer and every off season until they are back.

  117. There are now reports that Golden State will not be trading Klay Thompson to the Lakers:

    Of course, anything can happen in the next few days. But I would not be surprised if the Warriors have little interest in helping out a team in their own division, let alone the Lakers.

    I think the Lakers, at this point, should simply focus on making a good draft selection (not to mention the decision on a head coach).

  118. I think with Embiid getting injured Smart will go to the Magic. I think the Lakers are unlikely to get a guy they can just plug into their starting line up. This makes trading down a better proposition. Guys like LaVine might not be as NBA ready but are likely to very soon be better players then guys drafted ahead of them. I’m very sold on LaVine and Anderson.

    Reading the headlines I would think the Lakers are a major free agent signing away from winnning it all. In truth they need to fill their roster out from the bottom up. They need rookies, they need expiring contracts for next year, they need guys who can play now. Luckily they have cap space and teams who need to dump players with picks to make pushes at the big names out there now. The Lakers need to cash in on this opportunity. Only then will they be able to attract the elite players they covet.

    The Lakers need to keep in mind flexibility of roster personel. If anything last year should teach that you want your guys to be able to cover for each other if injuries happen. I’m super supportive of signing a guy like Vasquez who is true big PG capable of also switching to SG or SF. I like LaVine as the future behind Bryant who can play some minutes at the PG slot. I like bigs who are fast enough to play PF but strong enough to man some Center. I want guys who prevent the roster from becoming thin with just 1 or 2 injuries. A lot can get done this year if the F.O. looks at the whole roster and not just the top billing.

  119. In any case it’s not statistically significant.

    That wasn’t the point. Kobe will be 36 years old when play starts, he has played over 54,000 minutes in his career, and this will be his 19th season in the NBA. Adding that to the data we do have about guys who have suffered this injury, there is no solid, specific, tangible, reason to assume that the outlook on him is positive, and the fact that he couldn’t stay on the court last year clouds that picture further. Does that mean he’s done? Of course not. You never know. But this is the information we have.

    In any situation, the FO will know things that “we as fans” don’t. But one of the problems with using that as an argument is that a lot of what happens in basketball in terms of winning and losing

    a) happens in public
    b) is meticulously and obsessively observed, reported on, quantified, and discussed

    So, sure, maybe between recent advances in sports medicine, specific data on Kobe’s physiology, and other factors, the FO knows key things that we don’t, has pegged this correctly, and the deal will work out great. OTOH, maybe the FO was simply very worried about what would happen, and what the organization would look like, if he walked–and acted accordingly.

  120. T Rogers,

    Those are good points, but also, Kobe just saw Duncan and Ginobili hoisting another trophy (Ginobili is actually older than Kobe) and KB is obviously aware of Popovich’s minutes management policies. Kobe might say, “That’s not for me” of course, but I would assume that what his year was like, vs. what their year was like, will at least gave him pause about it, even accounting for the Grand Canyon-level differences in the Lakers’ and San Antonio’s situations.

    And if he won’t sit down…the coach, whoever it is, gravitas or no, needs to address that.

  121. P.Ami: I think the hesitation of hiring comes from uncertainty in terms of where we are at the moment with respect to a pick, free agents and trades. I think the FO has a “Plan A” for this off-season, complete with a coach for such plan. There is also a “Plan B”, “Plan C” and so on, with different coaching decisions made on those plans as well. If the Lakers can trade their pick as Darius suggests above, resign Pau and land one or two marquee free agent (let’s call this “best case”), I think the coaching decision is very different than if they use their pick to land Embid, lose Pau, Hill and Kaman, and then fail to land a single marquee free agent in return (lets call this “worst case”).

    I personally believe that staying in the family with B Scott is a good solution for the “worst case” as I dont see SVG or Mark Jackson interested in a complete tear-down and rebuild without complete control of such rebuild. On the other hand, given their track records, perhaps JVG and Mark Jackson are better suited for the “best case” scenario, depending on how that “best case” pans out. In short, I can’t say waiting on a candidate at the moment is an entirely bad idea.

  122. Based off comments from Kobe in the past, he would be okay playing less minutes. I think the issue has been, over the past couple of years, the ability for the Lakers to actually play Kobe less minutes and still be successful on the court. And, Kobe being Kobe, would rather play heavier minutes and win than have a more controlled minute load and watch the team lose. This was certainly the case two years ago when he blew out his achilles.

    Also, the thing about the Spurs is that even with their guys playing fewer minutes, they led the league in wins. I’m almost 100% positive that Kobe would shave 5-7 minutes off his nightly total if the team could still win 60 games while that happened.

  123. Not sure what the point is of going on and on about Kobe’s being a player with tons of mileage on an aging body, hopefully recovered from significant injuries. We know. Obviously that’s not in his or the Lakers’ favor, and the history of such cases is not good. But he’s Kobe. So you see what he can do.

    As far as next season goes, I think the realistic objective for Buss and Kup is to put together a team that doesn’t stink, and maybe even give the average fan something to cheer about. It’s so unlikely that they’re going to be a good enough team, even with some talent brought in, to challenge already established winners in the league. I don’t believe this franchise is championship or bust, despite the rhetoric about such things. Right now it’s just survive.

  124. But he’s Kobe. So you see what he can do.

    Yeah, that’s my point. Liking the deal is mostly about faith, which is fine. But I am going “on and on” about it because a lot of people aren’t really getting that IMO. And if you don’t like my posts, feel free to skip them and talk about something else–like telling us that the Lakers aren’t going to contend next year. We know.

  125. Let me get this straight rr. Bringing up the history of players with achilles injuries to point out the unlikelihood of Kobe becoming a productive player again are “facts”……..but brining up Kobe’s history of recovering from injuries and continually proving the doubters wrong to point out the the likelihood of Kobe becoming a productive player again is based on “faith”? I see.

  126. “And if you don’t like my posts, feel free to skip them and talk about something else–like telling us that the Lakers aren’t going to contend next year. We know.”

    Thanks for the advice. Your posts are great, but my point is still a reasonable question. Does anyone not get it, the challenge Kobe has? And, yes, I think we all know the Lakers aren’t likely to contend next year. I wasn’t going for insight there. But many people apparently believe that means management is (or should be) therefore thinking only of a longer term strategy for championships without regard for short term success. I think it’s a tougher balance for them than some think.

  127. I see.

    It’s just a question of the odds, and the odds are very much not in his favor, no matter how irritated you get about my pointing it out or what kind of spin you put on it. No one is doubting that he will work hard and that he is tough. But what he is facing now is a different challenge than playing through a broken finger at age 30, or anything else that he has faced up to this point–and again, he has already gone down again for an entire season since the injury. He was supposed to be back and playing last year.

    Like I said, if anyone can do it, Kobe can, and maybe the extra time off will end up being a plus. But ask yourself a question: if Nowitzki had gone down with this injury after playing 46-48 minutes a game for several weeks, then come back several months later, and gone down again after six games, and Dallas was paying him 48.5M over the next two years, would you see it as a smart move for their franchise? I suppose you might say, “Cuban and those guys are smart; they know what they are doing.” But there would be reason to question it.

    And while Nowitzki does not have some of Kobe’s games played markers, his health record overall is very good.

    So, it’s like rfen said: Hey, it’s Kobe. That is pretty much what this comes down to.

    And I hope I am wrong I am about this and Jim Buss is indeed smarter than me.

  128. That wasn’t the point. Kobe will be 36 years old when play starts, he has played over 54,000 minutes in his career, and this will be his 19th season in the NBA. Adding that to the data we do have about guys who have suffered this injury, there is no solid, specific, tangible, reason to assume that the outlook on him is positive, and the fact that he couldn’t stay on the court last year clouds that picture further. Does that mean he’s done? Of course not. You never know. But this is the information we have.

    In any situation, the FO will know things that “we as fans” don’t. But one of the problems with using that as an argument is that a lot of what happens in basketball in terms of winning and losing

    a) happens in public
    b) is meticulously and obsessively observed, reported on, quantified, and discussed

    So, sure, maybe between recent advances in sports medicine, specific data on Kobe’s physiology, and other factors, the FO knows key things that we don’t, has pegged this correctly, and the deal will work out great. OTOH, maybe the FO was simply very worried about what would happen, and what the organization would look like, if he walked–and acted accordingly.
    This is kind of moving in circles. My point has been that it’s far from clear at this point that Kobe is done. Being a dedicated, experienced and fundamentally sound player, he might just as well find ways to still be effective. That’s what I’ve said from the very beginning (in the post to which you replied and again in subsequent replies). And I think you actually agree with this assessment. 😉

    Whether or not it was a smart idea to make a 36-yo Kobe who returned from a major injury the highest-paid player in the league is a different question. I think we both agree that he shouldn’t be the highest-paid player in the league and that the FO has probably made a mistake in offering him that kind of money. But how much would you have offered him?

  129. Does anyone not get it, the challenge Kobe has?

    I think you can actually make a pretty good case that the Lakers’ FO doesn’t get it, based on the deal that they gave him. And yes, I think many Lakers’ fans are overly optimistic about Kobe’s prospects going forward.

    To tie this to what you are talking about–approaches to roster construction–Kobe’s situation further complicates that and is actually one of the main reasons it is complicated. With the deal they gave him, they are effectively saying that they think he is going to come back strong, be a Top-25 player. That makes it harder to do everything with the long view, unless the idea is that Kobe is simply “entertainment” while we wait around for the 2016 FA market to open. And I doubt that is how Kupchak and Buss see him.

    Another problem is more basic, in that the Lakers, obviously, have to fill out the roster and play the schedule. With the money they are giving Kobe and Nash, the Lakers don’t really need to worry about the salary floor, but there will be decisions to make about whether to give that extra year or extra 1M to a guy like Hawes or Vasquez to try to win a few more this year, or to save the ammo for a later battle and have more guys from the lowest tier temporarily filling in the blanks. Kobe’s deal, ISTM, indicates that they have to go more short-term–but perhaps not. We will know soon enough.

  130. I don’t think we can say if it was smart or not to bring Kobe back last year. Was the new injury much more likely because of the state of health Kobe was in? Did the medical staff clear him to play? If so, he has to come back at some point, so when exactly is the right time?

    Let’s face it, the Lakers gave a giant contract to a player who was badly injured, and it was not likely that any doctor was telling them, don’t worry, he’ll bounce back just fine. For their own reasons, Laker management made the move anyway, and I suspect they decided to live with the consequences. Of course, they’re going to get criticized if it doesn’t work out well.

  131. From my non-exhaustive research: Aside from 2006/07 when Kobe had two knee procedures he has not had to have surgery to mend an injury until the recent Achilles and subsequent fractured knee operations.

    The only conclusion I can draw, as a layman, is that Kobe has been incredibly durable considering his style of play. I think it is an open question as to what kind of a player he is when he comes back. His tolerance of discomfort and work ethic give me hope that he can be productive. However, his age/mileage in addition to the fact that these latest injuries were to his legs give me considerable pause.

  132. The Lakers had to keep Kobe on the roster and let him retire a Laker for the TWC and the season ticket holders, no matter what he brought to the court.

    Besides, he is the mamba…

  133. I think the Kobe minutes question is an important one. I believe Kobe will still play at a high level but hes not getting any younger. Decreasing his minutes though requires building a deep roster. Kobe needs more then 1 or 2 team mates who are quality players. The Lakers need rookies now, not just vets, to build a team that has longevity and won’t be another total rebuild in 2 years. They need those quality guys who cost in the 3 to 5 million range. As I’ve said the Lakers have an opportunity here to really build a solid foundation that would be squandered if they just brought in 1 big name player.

  134. Todd: Not sure that Kobe’s fractured knee needed surgery. I think it simply needed time to heal.

    I don’t really want to get into this argument about Kobe’s contract etc. it’s water under the bridge. Its surprising, to me, that more insight hasn’t come out from various sources close to the signing. Did Jim cave to Kobe and his agent? Was this a plan to keep Kobe as the face of a franchise ‘in transition’? Did TWC mandate that Kobe be resigned and therefore the FO lost all leverage? Did the FO believe that Kobe was going to make a full comeback and truly earn the salary on the court?

    At some point the real back story will come out.

  135. I don’t think TWC has a say in anything, do they? And kind of hard to believe that there was a big battle going on between Kobe and the FO, and the Lakers had to cave into demands without even a whisper of it going public. Why would the FO not believe in the possibility of Kobe making a big comeback? And what exactly is a “full” comeback? All players have to make adjustments as they age, so Kobe’s challenge is to be equally effective in some new ways.

    How about they extended Kobe because they wanted him to finish his career as a Laker, and they wanted him to be the highest paid player in the league? How about they just really like Kobe, believe he has a chance to finish his career strong, and they were willing to take that chance, whatever the odds? How about there could be even more to these decisions than just about what is, objectively, the best chance at a championship?

  136. Joshua,

    Nowitzki was talking about his contract a couple of days ago, and he said that he wants numbers that will make him “feel respected” while still allowing Dallas to “do things in free agency.” We will see soon enough what those numbers are. My guess is something like 2 years/25M.

    So, in that context, looking at KB’s legacy and marketing value, and CA tax law, and balancing those factors against the CBA, the roster, and his recent injury problems, I think the offer should have been about 1 year/18M. To me, that balances respecting him with the reality of the situation. And, as I have said, my biggest problem with the deal isn’t the money–it’s the second year. Buss and Kupchak said many times that they were focused on “financial flexibility” but the extension doesn’t reflect that.

    But Leo’s questions are good ones, and in addition to those unknowns, it may be that Kobe would have sneered at/been insulted by such an offer.

    While I understand the sentiment that it is water under the bridge, two points:

    1. This is a little calm spot before the storm. The draft is Thursday, and then comes FA a few days later. Plenty of new topics will present themselves, for those who want new topics.
    2. Kobe’s deal is not just part of the Lakers’ past–it is also very much part of their present and immediate future.

  137. “if Nowitzki had gone down with this injury after playing 46-48 minutes a game for several weeks, then come back several months later, and gone down again after six games, and Dallas was paying him 48.5M over the next two years, would you see it as a smart move for their franchise?”

    The contract was given before the knee injury, so whether it was a smart move or not should be judged before the knee injury occurred.
    From a business standpoint, giving Kobe a contract that size was a smart move for the Lakers. The return on investment is a relative bargain. Dirk does not produce even close to the amount of revenue that Kobe does….. so giving Dirk a contract that size would not have been smart. From a business perspective, Dirk is a poor comparison.

    Under the limitations of the new CBA, the fair market value for superstar production is roughly $19-$22 million. As I have stated before, from a basketball standpoint, even a healthy Kobe is not worth $24 mil….but if he can come back healthy, the discrepancy in his value relative to his contract is at most $5 mil ($24 mil minus $19 mil)…….. yet your repetitive posts make Kobe out to be some selfish person who does not prioritize roster construction, who is being severely overpaid, and whose contact will be the main obstacle in putting together a competitive roster. These are the the points that I disagree with you on.

    Hypothetically, if every player in the league was simultaneously recovering from an achilles injury, Vegas would likely put Kobe near the top of the odds chart for most complete recovery. This is based on his history of recovering from injuries, his pain threshold, his will, and his work ethic. So again, Dirk is a poor comparison because the odds of Kobe recovering from a serious injury are higher than most players. This is not blind faith, it is an estimation based on his history…..on facts.

  138. And I hope I am wrong about this and Jim Buss is indeed smarter than me.

    Doubt it. But he may know more than you (or me) about the particulars of the situation to justify his decision–as everyone says, we’ll see.

    Old school Heisler makes some good points questioning the validity of analytics based on recent evidence predicting draft prospects. Personally, I am finding value in them but there are too many variables that do not translate well to predicting success.

  139. T Rogers: I will agree that under the new CBA, drafting and developing are rewarded more than they were under the older CBAs. That said – your quote: “going forward its clear the Lakers can’t do things they way they used to” This is not clear. What is clear is that we can’t do things the way we have for the past 3 years. If you make bad trades, lose FA, pick bad coaches, and overpay for contracts – you will lose (and we have). This proves nothing except bad execution. Just like if we draft our 7th pick, and take the wrong guy, that will not prove that drafting is a bad strategy – it will merely prove we drafted the wrong guy. We need to execute well – whatever our strategy is, and that is what we have not been doing.
    P. Ami: My scenario was not what I thought the Lakers were doing, rather it was what you and I could do : ) As to what the Lakers are doing, there are a few possibilities. I will continue with my prom scenario:
    1) Hey Byron – “we really like you and we might take you to prom, but we want to see if a better date comes along. Are you cool to wait until prom night for us to make the final choice?”
    2) Hey Lionel – “we think you are cool too, but just not as cool as Byron. However Byron could get impatient and refuse to go with us, so if that happens – will you go with us.”
    3) Your scenario: “JVG to the Lakers. Well I really appreciate your asking me to prom, but I do not think you are good enough for me. If you go buy a new Camaro and pick me up in that, then I will go, otherwise no”
    4) Laker Board Room: Jim “Mitch – My Dad liked Byron – what do you think?” Mitch “Whatever you think Jim,” Jim: “Let’s wait – perhaps someone will turn up that we are not thinking of right now. There are hundreds of available guys (with NBA coaching experience). Did we try taking out an ad in the LA times? Someone will turn up”

    None if these make me have confidence in our FO. In any case:

    When we hire Byron, as a goof we should call Phil at midnight (our time – 3 AM in NY), and say:

    “Phil – we have decided to go with Byron”

  140. I said they would do it by today. I might by off by a day or two but this is over.

    3rd interview has occurred.

  141. rfen: I don’t know the answers to the questions I asked. I simply stated the questions that have been bantered about as to the reason Kobe was resigned at the terms he was. You answered the question the way you think the situation played out. Just in this thread you have seen others answer from completely different perspectives.

    I guess the most important perspective is being able to look back at the signing in light of how the Lakers finish these next two years. It will be interesting indeed.

  142. So again, Dirk is a poor comparison because the odds of Kobe recovering from a serious injury are higher than most players.

    You have no way of knowing this, and, again, Kobe is very old and has enormous mileage on his legs. Playing through pain is a different thing than dealing with a debilitating injury of the magnitude and type of a ruptured Achilles at age 36. And if you are talking “will and work ethic”, you are talking faith–which, again, is fine. Kobe Bryant has given Lakers fans plenty of reason to have faith in him. But the facts are simply not on your side, for the most part.

    As to the roster construction issue, you need to realize something. This year, Kobe will make 23.5 M. The second-highest pay will belong to Amar’e Stoudemire: 23.4. In 2015-16, Kobe will make 25M. Second-highest pay: Joe Johnson, 24.9. Both of those deals were

    a) Widely questioned when signed, Johnson’s in particular.
    b) Signed under the old CBA.

    So, unless that gesture was Jim Buss’s idea, which is certainly possible but seems unlikely, it is pretty clear that being the highest-paid player in the NBA is important to KB–which is, again, fine. It is a way of keeping score, and we all keep score in different ways. And I have no doubt that he deeply believes that he will come back to what he was or close to it, shut everybody up, and earn his salary. And one more time: I do not blame him for taking the deal. I think it would be very unrealistic to expect him, or anybody else, to get that offer, and say in response, “No, no. Just give me 50-60% of that so we can build the roster.”

    At the same time, though, the contract very clearly prioritizes one thing: making Kobe Bryant the highest-paid player in basketball, and Kobe Bryant and Jim Buss both signed it.

    As to whether the deal will be an obstacle to building a contender, as pointed out yesterday, if by some miracle James and Anthony did want to come here, they would each have to take massive paycuts to do so, even if the team stretched Nash, and even with only one other guy, Sacre, under contract. And IMO the deal will affect how the team is put together, in both big ways and small.

  143. Kobe will agree in preseason to a minutes limitation. That’s the easy part.
    But in practice it won’t be too hard either.
    Lets say it’s 32 min per game.
    So he starts and plays first 8 min then sits.
    Then goes in w 8 min left in half. That’s 16.
    Starts 2nd half. Plays 8-9 min. Sits.
    Comes back in w 7-8 min left in game.
    That’s 32, or thereabouts.
    Extra minute or two allowed when coming off two days rest etc.
    I don’t think a coach needs gravitas to employ this. He just needs a brain. And maybe a stopwatch.

    Why the Lakers are waiting to announce Byron better be good. If it is Byron they better hurry up. They’re gonna make him feel unwanted already. That’s how Dantoni felt when everyone wanted Phil and that was unnecessary. It would be best practice to make a decision soon.

    Btw – not that anyone is asking…
    Anyone hire Dantoni yet?

    That’s what I thought.

  144. With the Mavericks publicly stating that they would want Pau (at the right price) and rumors circulating that the Spurs have interest — will the Lakers retain Pau’s rights with the intent of doing a sign and trade or just let him walk?

    My understanding is that if we retain his rights then a cap hold is placed against the Lakers for 125% of his latest salary. This amounts to approx 24 million and when combined with Kobe/Nash salary we will have very little room left to pursue any RFA/FA’s.

    Kobe (24) + Nash (9) + Pau Hold (24) = 57 million. The cap is 63 Million.

    So with how fast RFA/FA deals take place there is no way the Lakers will retain Pau’s rights unless we the Lakers want to resign him and do it quickly. A competitor, like Dallas or San Antonio could drag their feet on a sign and trade to ensure our cap space is tied up (with the cap hold) and prevent us from making any RFA/FA signings. Or, it could take awhile to work out a sign and trade for Pau with another team and the Lakers would have the same outcome (no cap space due to the cap hold to make signings).

    Am I reading this situation incorrectly?

  145. @Bobby, Yes with the cap hold they don’t officially have money. But it doesn’t matter one bit. All stuff is agreed upon with the understanding that the Lakers will have money. If they renounce him the cap hold is completely gone. If they sign him to a new contract the cap hold is replaced by the contract number. So if Lebron and Melo both wanted to come for say 14 million each (I know not happening but a good way to show you how it works), they agree to a deal with the Lakers and then the Lakers renounce Gasol. Remember July 1st FA starts but NO ONE can actually sign until July 15th. Nothing actually has to happen until then, when just about every free agent knows ehere they are going.

  146. Bobby: The cap hold for Pau is 120% of his current salary which is roughly $23M. So in your calculation with Nash on board and a Pau cap hold the Lakers would have approx $7 million under the cap and $21M under the 2014/15 cap tax threshold.

  147. Nick Van Exile June 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Bobby: If you’re right about Pau’s cap hold, I don’t think there’s any way they can retain his rights and risk the chance that teams like Dallas/San Antonio either intentionally or unintentionally drag out negotiations while the Lakers miss out on the ability to sign the top free agents.

  148. Justin: Got it. So if the Lakers retain Pau its because he will be:
    a) resigned immediately with the new contract number replacing the cap hold.
    b) traded immediately so the cap can be updated with the contracts coming back.

    Yikes, due to his cap hold its quite a risk to retain him and have a planned deal fall through.

  149. @Bobby, not exactly. They don’t have to do anything with him until the end of summer technically. See if say Lebron does want to come, the Lakers and Lebron just agree on the contract and don’t sign it until after they do something with Pau (trade, resign, or release). This happens a lot the summers. Heck even miami did it the year they got Lebron and Bosh. They had a bunch of players as cap holds (including Beasley who had something like $8-10 million cap hold). Once Lebron and Bosh said they wanted to come which was I think two weeks into the summer, Miami started releasing guys and traded Beasley. So the Lakers can approach this summer as Kobe ($24 million), Nash ($9 but they can stretch it to $3 if they release him), Sacre (like $1 million), and a rookie cap hold ($2-3 million for the 7th pick), (Technically they have cap holds for any spot they haven’t filled. That is the same for every team. Those cap holds are $487K for mimimum contracts they have to sign (they must have 12 players by the start of training camp so those holds are on every team until filled).So really the Lakers would have (24+9+1+3+3.8 in minimum contract holds)=41 million under contract this summer.

  150. Justin – could the Lakers just release Pau after they had decided to retain his rights? Kind of like, ‘hey we changed our minds’. If this could be done then it would give us a lot more flexibility to try and do a sign/trade or if that did not work just let him walk.

  151. Heisler’s columns were spot on as usual. The good news for the Lakers is that they did not lose out on any coaches they really wanted. There are still solid, experienced candidates available. His point that it is difficult to use metrics to rank draft prospects points to the importance of having the GM, scouts, and coaches agree on who to pick by using their collective basketball wisdom. It would help the Laker FO credibility to have a coach in place before Thursday.

    It does not make a lot of sense to do a sign and trade with Gasol since it would mean taking on more salary. Either sign him at a steep discount or move on.

  152. Warren Wee Lim June 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    You can always renounce Pau Gasol’s rights to free up the 20.25M cap hold and re-sign him using the cap space you created.

    You don’t have to do anything on July 1st other than call Melo, Lowry, Hawes and Deng.

  153. Nooooo. Shelborne is reporting Melo and LeBron are interested in coming to the Lakers to join Kobe. She is gonna jinx it!!!!

  154. Aaron: Ramona said nothing of the kind. Trolling or irrational purple and gold projecting . . .

  155. There’s simply no way LeBron and/or Melo to Lakers was not going to be a story in L.A. The Shelbourne article I saw is entirely predictable, with the eye-catching title, and then an article that mostly states how unlikely it is to happen. Grist for the mill.

  156. 3rd interview has occurred.

    We get it Jim. Being that the FO was so heavily criticized and scrutinized by the fans, and media alike, over the last 2 coaching hires, you’re making it a point to show everyone that, this time around, the FO is doing their due diligence and covering all angles before hiring a coach. I mean, real talk, a 3rd interview with Byron Scott? What new information could he have presented to the FO during this interview that he did not present during the first, and more importantly, the 2nd interview? It’s quite obvious that he has the gig on lock, so just hire the man already because, IMO, instead of coming across as an organization that’s going above and beyond in their search for a coach, it’s beginning to have the opposite effect and they’re starting to come across as clownish – to which some would say they’ve been looking this way for a few years and running now.

  157. @Todd, Don’t worry about the cap hold. I promise it will never be a problem. Every team holds onto their contracts until they don’t need them.

  158. Warren Wee Lim June 23, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I dont get interview me 3x and not hire me too.

  159. Clearly Jimbo is waiting until after the draft to name a coach. To me this means a trade is still in the works and where as Scott does well with rookies, he has had some issues with vets.

    No trade it’s Scott
    Trade it’s Bhotsdbjoifxcgdcbssguookjgffcvhj

  160. Trade it’s Bhotsdbjoifxcgdcbssguookjgffcvhj

    If the Lakers do hire this guy, I am going to need some help pronouncing his name.

    Hope KO didn’t keel over or something mid-post.

  161. haha rr re Ko
    that guy is my first choice too

  162. At least it looks like it may sound European. That is what we want, right?

  163. Ha. It was suppose to be the mystery coach we don’t expect.

  164. Heisler was all over Pelton in that article. Here is Pelton from his June 20 chat:

    Kevin Pelton (2:10 PM)

    The overwhelming factor, naturally, is the unpredictability of how young players will mature, which is why any measure — actual draft order, scouting rankings, statistics — will often end up wrong.

    Brendan (Cleveland)

    You have said numerous times that you would take Joel Embiid with the #1 overall pick, yet he ranks 7th on your analytics board. Can you explain the difference?
    Kevin Pelton (2:03 PM)

    The ranking is less important than the number, and Embiid isn’t far from anyone else save maybe Marcus Smart. And, though it should go without saying, statistical projections alone shouldn’t be used for rankings. Combining them with draft order improves their accuracy. Embiid had the best combination of scouting and performance consensus — until his untimely injury, of course.

  165. Heisler really lit up Pelton in that article. In Pelton’s chat Friday, he linked to a summary of how WARP did between 2006-2012. It is Insider, but Peltin linked it himself, so here is the link.

    Kevin Pelton (3:05 PM)

    And my WARP projections over the same span:

  166. As long as his first name isn’t Mike…

  167. James has opted out. I think this is an indicator that he wants to stay in Miami another 2-3 years, but we will see.

  168. Maybe the FO intends to interview Scott 3 more times…you know, just to be on the safe side.

  169. I think Scott may be interviewing his way out of a “lock”. Fan polls I’ve seen really favor hiring Scott. So as a crowd pleaser it would seem a no brainer. However, Scott managed to shove his foot in his mouth in the media after his first interview. Something the keep it quiet Lakers don’t appreciate. I imagine this could be like giving 2 do over exams for a coach because of his popularity and failing.

  170. “Don’t compare the two be happy you got kobe on your team and stop worrying about how much he’s making because the owners of the team don’t worry about it.”

    Haha so many funny posts lately.
    I’m sure the owners of billion-dollar franchises never worry about money, or the CBA.

  171. Man I am getting extra nervous now for the Lakers. It seems like they are going to trade the #7 pick with Nash to get a good player (MCW/Klay Thompson level) with the hopes of getting enough money to throw at Lebron and Melo. But if you miss, a guy like Klay is good but not good enough to get them to the playoffs and whomever the Lakers pick at 7 will be 4-6 years younger (of course Klay is off the table now but whomever they get will likely be on his rookie deal with a contract extension not that far off). It is a total Laker swing for the fences. It is hard to watch those. I am almost certain we don’t keep the #7 pick now.

  172. rr,
    Don’t keep your head in the sand. I’m suprised someone of your great intellect doesmt see this coming. It was obvious to me in 2010 wade, LBJ, and bosh were going to the heat. It was the only thing that made sense. Melo and LBJ going to the Lakere is the only thing that makes sense. Wade and Bosh aren’t opting out. And LBJ is. That basically rules out the Heat. Wade is washed up and bosh is no longer elite. They are friends with Lebron and no longer want to weigh him down. Windhourst announced the big three are not in concert this time around in free agency while we know LBJ and Melo are. There is one big city where Melo and LBJ can play together. It just so happens to be the basketball Mecca of all the world and the place where a superstar(s) imidiatley get the biggest worldwide fan base built in and added to their existing one. For a guy like Leabron that is too good to pass up.

  173. Chris Y,

    I think your post is directed at me, although LT will probably have your back on most of what you said.

  174. Justin,
    Don’t be nervous. If the Lakers make a trade like that it’s because they already know LBJ and Melo are already in. As I’ve said before. That’s the tell. If the Lakers make a trade like that on draft day start celebrating. If they don’t we then know we aren’t getting Melo and LBJ.

  175. I’m talking global icon and brand.

    I know, and I’m talking on-court production, financial flexibility, roster construction, and wins and losses. That is one of the main sources of the disagreement.

  176. Regarding Byron’s 3rd interview and likely hiring as Laker coach:

    The purpose of doing due diligence is to clarify who is and is not the right candidate for the job. JimBuss made the wrong choices in hiring MB and MDA because he did too little due diligence. Making the wrong decision after doing a lot of due diligence will not spare him the fallout when he has to fire Byron mid way through next year.

    Byron, is an extremely safe choice due to his Laker lineage. However, he is a company man and based on his coaching record does little to elevate his teams performance. When he has good players he wins when he faces adversity his teams under perform.

    Making this coaching decision, at such a crucial moment for the Lakers and at the most critical juncture of his management tenure is a big fail in my opinion. Jim made the choice of going with a veteran coach only after striking out with Kevin Ollie and realizing that he was way behind the Knicks on DFish. If he was going in that direction he should have pulled the trigger on the best veteran coach available: Stan Van Gundy.

    I think Jim is afraid of having a strong voice at the table and feels Byron will just go with the flow. For some reason Jim feels that he has to run the Lakers by being totally hands on. He should look at his dad who was never afraid to surround himself with smart folks. I think Jim would be better served by elevating Mitch and letting Mitch hire a young smart GM to work with. In other words Jim needs to get out of the way.

  177. I seriously doubt LBJ comes here. He surely must have some loyalty to Riley.
    Riley got him a good cast and they made it to the finals 4 years in a row.
    He only opted out to keep his options open, including working for a lower salary so Riles can add superior talent around him again in Miami.
    After leaving Cleveland and in the wake of the hit his reputation took with ‘the decision,’ imagine the poor press Lebron would receive if he left Miami now to play with Kobe.
    Unless he, Riley and Wade have had a severe falling out, this isn’t happening.

  178. Re. Irving and another guy the Lakers’ FO didn’t interview:

    “The Cleveland Cavaliers have lured Tyronn Lue away from the Los Angeles Clippers to join new coach David Blatt’s staff in what sources told is one of the most lucrative deals for an assistant coach in the NBA.

    Lue, who has been an assistant with the Boston Celtics and Clippers with Doc Rivers over the past five seasons, will make about $1 million per season to work with the Cavs’ young guards, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, sources said.”

  179. rr,
    I agree with you. Winning matters most. Lebron just took the worst team of all time to the Finals. Thi team was worse than that Cavs team because this heat team was old and couldn’t move. The Cavs had athletes that could play defense. Half the heat are going to retire this year. If you take out bosh and wade and replace them with Melo Lebron wins a championship last year. James doesn’t need much. The Lakers would have James, Melo, Kobe (I’m sure these stupid basketball players think Kobe will still be good), whoever they trade for with the seventh pick, and a slew of good young players playing for the minimum (your farmers and Nic youngs except on steroids since Melo and Lebron would be here.

    Now tell me where else can Lebron and Melo even can play together?



    The link above addresses that question. Excerpt:

    “If the Lakers were to successfully shed the No. 7 pick and Nash’s contract without taking any salary back, they could have more than $33 million in cap space to chase James and Anthony.”

  181. @JC I agree that it is a long shot, but one the Lakers traditionally have tried. I also wonder if the Lakers gamble to pay Kobe will actually pay off with Lebron. Lebrons big complaint is the team got cheap and was afraid to go all in the last year (which cost them the championship as Lebron was so gassed). His opt out will force the Heat to spend money to upgrade, but if they don’t maybe he decides he has to leave. Seeing that the Lakers are willing to pay players and have a 3 billion dollar deal with TWC (so money will never be an issue). I could see him leaving (still thin it is a long shot and dependent on what the Heat are willing to do). Kobe has never cared about his reputation and neither should Lebron. You play to win, not to be loved.

  182. “Lebron doesn’t need much”.

    A mere 2 other Hall-of-Famers in their prime, eh?

  183. Warren Wee Lim June 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Lebron James just opted out.

  184. Lebron just needs the lone super team in a league with zero super teams. Yeah, not much.

    “I’m sure these stupid basketball players think Kobe will still be good”

    This coming from the person who thought Mark Gasol and Tony Parker were below average players at their respective positions. I now have even more confidence that Kobe will be good next season.

  185. Anonymous 10:12 AM: Please identify yourself. Your last paragraph is a masterpiece. Also, Jim will not fire Byron in the middle of next year. It will take 2-3 years.
    Tra “they’re starting to come across as clownish ” Indeed. As opposed to how they looked handling the MD/Phil situation, or as opposed to how they looked in the DH retention effort : ) Do they ever think about how this stuff looks to an outside observer? Answer no – because our owner clearly does not have possession of a mirror.
    rr: “………… and Jim Buss is indeed smarter than me.” If this ends up being the case, you are fired as my GM : ) You will no longer be qualified.

  186. Agree with Anonymous above. Scott hire is weak considering a) the time the FO had to survey the coaching landscape and b) the critical nature of the hire.

    My thoughts re: Lebron: I don’t think he’s coming to the Lakers. He has no ties to LA. He went to Miami because he was friends with DWade. Does he have a strong relationship with Kobe that we don’t know about?

    However, let’s suppose he was interested in the joining the Lakers, why does he have to be paired with Melo? We could pay Lebron more if we brought in Lance Stephenson, who is an unrestricted FA. I think Lance is a great talent who could reach his peak with no nonsense veterans like Kobe and Lebron guiding him. You’d put Kobe and Lance in the backcourt with Lebron as your SF. Or, why not make a great offer to RFA Greg Monroe who would play PF to Lebron’s SF?

    If you’re going to dream why not make it as appealing as possible?

  187. LT Mitchell,
    I said Tony Parker was an above avg PG starting PG which is an amazing player. And he used to be an abover avg starting PG in the NBA when I said it. Now he is avg to below avg.

    I said Gasol was an above average starting Center. And just look at the metrics.

  188. @Abe, Lebron and Melo are close friends (he and Kobe are indifferent). Both have said they want to play with each other at some point in their careers. Lebron would likely not come without Melo. It is not an unrealistic dream anymore than the Heat were 4 years ago. But it is still a long shot. And Lebron has been eyeing the Clippers for some time now. Melo, Paul, and Lebron are all really good friends. But Lebron couldn’t get to the Clippers with Melo. So I guess if he were to leave (Still a big if) he would be choosing between friends.

  189. I agree that getting Lebron is a pretty big reach. Not sure if the rumors of the Lakers plotting to create more cap space shows Jim to be proactive or demonstrates how far from reality he is. I have no idea how this plays out.

    Wouldn’t it be the funniest thing for all of us to think that Jim Buss was a total hack and he turns around and pulls Lebron out of his baseball cap? Heck, the delay in naming a coach could be all designed for this moment when Lebron tells Jim that he wants to play for Coach X and wants to play with Melo and Kobe.

  190. Lebron is not coming to the Lakers. He won’t go to any team that is as far away from competing as we are. If Kobe had signed for half of what he did giving the Lakers another 12 Mil under the cap to work with maybe this might have worked.

    But to ask Lebron to take a pay cut, play for a team in the loaded Western Conference, that has one healthy player on its roster and 33 million tied up in two players with a combined age of 76 (who missed virtually all of last year with injuries) is as many have said: a pipe dream.

  191. Abe,
    Melo and Kobe are close friends and LeBron and Melo are close friends.

  192. Nick Van Exile June 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Potentially packaging the #7 pick to get rid of Nash (without taking back any salary) would make the initial Nash trade go from bad to historically bad. They already gave up their 2013 and 2015 first round picks plus their 2013 and 2014 second picks to acquire him and he’s only played in 65 games in the last two seasons as a Laker. Giving away the #7 pick too would make it one of the most costly trades ever (and the Lakers would still have to pay the $1.5 million trade kicker to boot if they traded Nash away!). Unless the Lakers have guarantees from LeBron and Melo that they are going to sign with the Lakers for $16 million/year each and thus the Lakers must clear Nash’s salary as well as the #7 pick’s salary off their cap to accommodate them, they would be crazy to do it.

  193. Aaron: Melo and Kobe are close friends and LeBron and Melo are close friends.

    So, this will only happen with an ‘assist from Melo’. A phrase that isn’t said very often.

  194. Miami was obviously a good team this year, but they didn’t get the magic off the bench, Wade’s fading a bit, and they ran into a team playing great in the Finals. If LeBron wants to stay put, I think Riley could probably “retool,” and they’d be back contending again. If LeBron wants to look for greener grass over the hill, there are a variety of possibilities.

  195. darius: with all due respect to the upcoming nba draft (in two days and a few hours); all eyes should be fixed on July 1st.

    know this going in, if you’re a proven commodity, you will get paid. and if it’s championships you’re looking for, bring that mentality to an organization tailor made for that and a city that knows how to act. consider staples center filled to the rafters at each and every upcoming home game. consider all road games sold out. the nba will prosper whenever the lakers prosper. it’s becoming clear that there is a method to this madness after all.

    Go lakers

  196. If the Lakers FO wanted to get serious about the James/Anthony thing, then IMO they needed to offer Kobe about 1/14 or so, and then told him to test the market if he said no. If KB were not on the payroll, they could have stretched Nash and have had about 3.9M–total–committed for next year, and they would have the 7th pick. Even with cap holds, they would have had serious financial flexibility.

    Given how things looked last fall, and given what Kobe has done for the Lakers, I can certainly see, as I said at the time, why Buss was not willing to take that risk, and I don’t blame him. But I also said that a big problem with the deal was the second year, and it will be an issue, IMO, in terms of FA recruitment, both this year and next.

    So, unless Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak–and Aaron–turn out to have some kind of inside info here, I am not going to take any James/Anthony to the Lakers stuff that seriously. I will be thrilled if I am wrong.

  197. I hope the rumors of the Lakers trying to shed salary by tying the #7 pick to Nash (and his salary) are false. That would be three #1’s wated on Nash. Miami gave up fewer #1’s to get Lebron.

    Instead the Lakers should stretch Nash and spend their #1 pick on
    Dario Saric. Saric is a classic draft and stash prospect. He was projected to be a top 10 pick but recently signed a 3-year deal (2 year out clause) to play in Europe.

    This way the Lakers save the 1st round salary and have a potential star player fine tune his game in the mean time. Having Saric come over when Kobe’s contract expires will lighten the talent loss and add flexibility to that future Lakers team.

    I believe this move saves the Lakers nearly $9 million dollars this year alone (save 2/3 of Nash’s salary = $6 Mill + #7 Pick salary = $2.5 million).

  198. I think LBJ might come to the Lakers if they reunite him with his old buddy and mentor Mike Brown …