Free Agency Has Begun, but What is the Lakers’ Plan?

Darius Soriano —  June 30, 2014

Welcome to free agency. The Lakers are a team with major cap space (and the ability to create more should they make a decision to attempt to jettison Steve Nash via the stretch provision or via a salary dump trade) and hope to attract the type of difference maker that can transform a franchise.

Of course, that means a guy like LeBron James or, to a much lesser extent, Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers are supposedly very interested in both and hope to meet with both, even planning a meeting with Carmelo for later this week (after the forward makes his visits to Chicago and the two Texas teams). The team is also rumored to still be very interested in keeping Pau Gasol, likely as a bridge player to help facilitate an Anthony signing.

Those plans, however, don’t have a high probability of success. James seems to be giving Pat Riley and the Heat every opportunity to make the requisite roster adjustments to bring him back to Miami. And while one may hope that a pitch from Kobe and the potential of a returning Pau would sway Melo, the odds that he finds a better situation with the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, or even back in New York are likely.

If the Lakers strike out, then, what will their plan be? Apparently it is to chase multiple free agents in the class below that upper tier, hoping to grab more than one on what would be team friendly deals:

Is this a viable plan? Time will tell, but I have my doubts. Free agency is typically about overpaying for a talent you want to lure to your team — especially when you’re a team like the Lakers who are mostly a blank slate and coming off an awful season. There are two ways you overpay free agents: with money or with years. The Lakers, seemingly, will offer neither.

Maybe they will splurge from a dollars standpoint on one free agent by offering an above market deal. But they certainly won’t do so on two as it will be that much more difficult to fill out a viable roster around Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle (still seems strange to type that sentence, by the way).

Where will that leave the Lakers? It’s impossible to say for certain, but if their strategy is to only chase the biggest stars with the real money and years while offering fewer dollars and years to the players who are on the next tier down they could find themselves without either.

Darius Soriano

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116 responses to Free Agency Has Begun, but What is the Lakers’ Plan?

  1. The lakers are screwed

  2. Top 5 Protected!!!

  3. Well that ended on a high note…

  4. The lakers won’t truly start moving forward until Kobe Bryant is gone. The lakers aren’t going to land anybody worth a damn until this man decides to retire. He is the one holding this franchise back. As long as Kobe Bryant continues to be a laker, this franchise will be stuck in the mud.

  5. If the Lakers are sticking to 2 year deals that really limits the players that can chase. Something like 2 years 30 million for Deng might work, or even similar money for Lance Stephenson. As far as team friendly deals go, those usually only work when you’re a contender.

  6. I don’t get why we would offer someone like Lowry a 1 (or 2) year max deal. If they can’t get Lebron or Melo, isn’t that the way to do it. Who cares if you overpay for the one year. You remain competitive (their goal) and you still leave it all open for Durant or whomever you are targeting in a year or two. And I would think Lowry would take the money because in a year or two he could get another big contract (maybe less money or years) with another team (but make more total since he made so much with the Lakers.

  7. Hey…there’s always nick young. Haha. Still can’t believe so many fans want this joker back in purple and gold.

  8. Kobe is an albatross

  9. If as you say that is their plan Darius, then Time Warner should ask for their money back and the team should have 81 bobble head home games.

    All of them Jimmy Buss Bobble Heads!

  10. Lakers > Kobe

  11. I’m so glad the lakers gave a soon to be 36 year old, coming off of a surgically repaired Achilles and a broken knee a 48 million dollar contract over the next two years. The lakers front office clearly knows what they’re doing. Smh

  12. Signing FAs like Lance Stephenson or Chandler Parsons to two-year deals will result in nothing but mayhem.
    They’ll play one season, and then be in a contract year, become the subject of trade gossip all year and give the player ‘extend me or I’m leaving’ control. Why would we want that?

    Are they really counting on Durant coming in 2016?
    That’s not really much more realistic than Lebron coming now.

    Do they expect to start over completely with a brand new roster when (IF) Kobe retires?
    If this is really where the Lakers are headed, it’s gonna be a long road.

    On the bright side, perhaps Jim Buss will exercise his own early termination option.

  13. Great post Darius, basically the Front office is living in La La Land. Pun intended

  14. I am shocked JC.

    Thought you would love my Bobble Head Jimmy post!

  15. Lol Dan … lol

  16. ESPNNBA NBA on ESPN
    RT @ramonashelburne: The Lakers also placed a call tonight to Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James

  17. ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    Clippers, I’m told, believe they have real chance of stealing Paul Pierce away from Nets now that Jason Kidd no longer coaching in Brooklyn

  18. Kobe deserves that money and we Lakers fans need to appreciate it. There’s a reason we have 5 rings.

  19. ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    RT @cavsdan: Looking forward to next 6 years of @KyrieIrving. Just shook hands & intend to sign on 10th. Cant be more excited about @cavs

  20. One more:

    ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    Line of teams chasing Kyle Lowry so long that Raptors now said to be weighing whether to offer fifth year to Lowry to clinch his re-signing

  21. @JC, I think the FO gets more from agents than blindly hoping. Now the players make up their own mind, but their agents have a lot of pull. And agents want their clients on the Lakers. That’s why Kobe, Shaq, Pau, Nash, Dwight (left for a younger team and less pressure, but his agent got him there) all ended up with the Lakers. And lets not forget Chris Paul should have been there. It may not be Durant, but their are a lot of all stars out there. It may not happen in the next 2 years but at some point a star will end up on the Lakers. Just look at the history(going back to Kareem).

  22. Ko
    of course I laughed at your post
    in fact, I own a JERRY Buss bobblehead and it sits atop my desk.
    Just wondering where I’d keep my Jim Buss bobblehead…
    preferred location lost in MOD.

    Justin, I’m well aware of our history of getting top free agents here…
    just lamenting our current status which places us somewhere near Milwaukee in terms of preferred destinations.

    Congrats to J Kidd in the ultimate parlay sequence, from player to coach to GM in less time than it takes to say ‘NBA team for sale.’

  23. I cant get my head around Lebron and Melo on the same team. How would they fit?

  24. DH: don’t worry about it as it will never happen.

  25. Lakers lost their mystique. They seriouly should forget about a quick fix with luring top free agents. Just be patient and build from draft. We need to rebuild the culture. These top guns are mercenaries with no loyalties to no one but their own fame. NBA was selling its super stars. Now these super stars are hijacking the league. Lakers should move ahead of the game, aim for talented young players and develop them.

  26. Good post, Darius,

    Thoughtful analysis. The Lakers management seem unable to realize how bad things are–as they spiral downward. I once was willing to see the problem as Jimmy–to be fixed by someone like Phil. I wasn’t alone, but I was wrong. Mitch and Jerry’s kids do not constitute top management in today’s NBA, and they keep proving it.

    The hiring of the first two coaches was way too fast, and now it’s way too slow. The firing of both was confused. The two year offer to Kobe was just bizarre.

    The best plan I can come up with for Mitch and the kids, is to sell ASAP.

  27. people seemed to be drowned on the Kobe’s contract….
    we all know that it is quite high and full of uncertainty, but we also know that the guy, who actually helped us by giving 5 championships, took a pay cut.
    he was due for a bigger salary.
    Lakers FO ensured that he will be the highest paid player while he’s still playing (with the thinking that these are the last few years of his past-prime). I believe it was given to him because of gratitude and respect, because he’s Kobe Bryant.

    and with all the salary cap that Kobe has, don’t forget that we still have space to sign a max guy, and assemble a team that can compete. we all wish for a better team this coming year, that if it cannot compete, at least it will be fun to watch.

    on to free agency, in Mitch I trust. :)
    i know he’s going to bring in some talent that can help us compete.

  28. Doesn’t sound great, I posted this piece yesterday:

    This free agent season will be very interesting. Previously the Lakers have NEVER had problems attracting free agents, even at discounted prices. But the main reason why has been a serious opportunity to win a ring. I’m looking forward to seeing the caliber of free agent who desires to:

    -play on a team which has a good chance of NOT making the post-season,
    -play w/ Kobe X (Kobe the Unknown, production wise on court)
    -join a team w/o a clear direction (rebuilding or going for it)
    -join a team w/o a coach.
    -join a team w/ unknown teammates, thus an unknown role
    -do all of the above on a one or two year contract at a discounted rate

    Yes I’m very interested in seeing the caliber of free agents willing to sign w/ our Lakers starting tomorrow. Hopefully they won’t just use Laker $$’s to get better offers from other teams.

  29. One thought: maybe the fact that Kyrie is now locked up will make Byron Scott a less attractive option as coach?

  30. FWIW, I don’t think overpaying for a couple of seasons of Lance is the worst option. Don’t think it’s the best option either, but being realistic: who among this group of FA is most likely to take a shorter, prove-it deal? Lowry? Melo? C’mon. (I’d say Ariza, but money — and an incompetent agent — is why he left the first time.)

    Lance is 23 and has skills, along with his maturity issues. It’s a gamble on both sides, but not an unreasonable one.

  31. And regarding coaching, I can’t get too excited about the delay. Clearly they are waiting for something. Most likely it’s that they want to keep the spot open, in the unlikely chance Bron and Melo are interested. But it’s also possible that there’s a candidate — JVG? — who’s waiting to see how things shake out.

    In the end, it probably still ends up being Byron, because he wants the job so bad he apparently doesn’t mind being embarrassed while this plays out. I wouldn’t mind them giving Mark Jackson another look, though: like Lance, high risk, but potentially high reward.

  32. i think we ought to target greivis vasquez. good glue guy. good spot up 3pt shooter. high motor. competes. hates to lose. and seems like the sort of guy who’d sign for less if he could start and play big minutes.

  33. Vasquez is interesting, in the sense that he’s one of those guys who always seems to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, and has bounced around a lot. Two years ago in NO he had a pretty solid year — OK shooter, OK passer, big guy who could probably play some 2. OTOH, on the slow side and turnover-prone.

    My guess would be that Toronto loses Lowry and matches reasonable offers to Vasquez. That probably makes an overpay necessary, which makes things dicier.

  34. Today’s irrelevant Laker news: I understand Julius Randall has decided to wear #30, in honor of his mom’s who wore the number at UK. The last Laker to wear #30, Tracey Murray in the ’03 season. While 15 guys have wore #30 on the Lakers, you’d probably be hard pressed to remember any of them. Only five wore the number for more than one year, and then none for more than two.

    -George Lynch: ’94 & ’95
    -Brad Davis: ’78 & ’79
    -Cornell Warner: ’76 & ’77
    -Bill Hewitt: ’69 & ’70
    -Steve Hamilton ’59 & ’60

    Think it’s safe to say, even at this point, Randle will be the best Laker to ever wear #30.

  35. The Lakers play poker. No good poker player shows their hand, or is consistent with their play. It is nice to speculate, but remember we know less about the Lakers than other NBA gms, who are talking to them.

  36. Excellent as usual, Darius.

    I agree with 5D2 in that maybe its time to stop trying to hit the home run. The league seems to have passed the Lakers by. From the heavy use of data to evaluate players to the changing trends regarding coaches. The Lakers just seem out of step. They can get back in step. But it will take some time. And it will require them to realize things are just different now. Like drrayeye above I’m starting think its not just Jim either. But maybe the league has passed Mitch by as well.

    Regarding coaches: Since the spot is still vacant I guess every unemployed coach is an option. If the team thinks they want to pursue Lance then maybe they should consider Mark Jackson as well. Bryon is no pushover. But I think Jackson has the personality that Stephenson would respond to. The key for a player like Lance Stephenson is he has to be paired with a coach he will respond to. Otherwise he could go left very quickly.

  37. @ Craig W, I know the late Jerry Buss was a pretty good poker player…not too sure if that’s an inheritable trait.

  38. Lakers paid 1.8 for the rights to Jordan Clarkson. Lakers then decline to pick up Bazemore’s option at around 1 mil.
    They still have to pay Clarkson, IF they keep him.
    Does that mean they think Clarkson is 2-3 times better than Bazemore already?
    Or did they just renounce Bazemore to retain cap room in case Jesus Shuttlesworth is still coming?

    Comb your hair. Explain yourself. Haha

  39. LA is a desirable place to play. I don’t think the Lakers have the cap space necessary to get a Elite player and surround them with talent. Short of sending off Nash & Randle I don’t see a way to do it. I think the Lakers would be better off finding budget friendly guys (not min contract guys) who are long term answers. I’ve long advocated for Vasquez. I don’t see any indication the Lakers are thinking this way though.

  40. @JC They released Bazemore for cap room since they can resign him at any time, but had to release him by the June 30th or he would be a larger cap hold. As for Clarkson, his contract is non-guaranteed so they can release him at any time. He counts as a minimum cap hold so there is no point towards releasing him. They don’t have to sign Clarkson until training camp starts (but will likely sign him once the Lebron Melo thing is done and before summer league starts. No point in signing him before then).

  41. To those that think the best plan is for the Lakers to tank and collect draft picks, it is a bigger gamble. That is the absolutely worst way to get good. I know it looks good when you see the Thunder or Bulls, but in reality it is a crazy long shot not worth trying. First if you look at Bill Simmons article about how much of a crapshoot the draft is you would realize that most of the good players are all over the board (many in the teens). I know the experts talk up the high lottery picks but go look at the all stars from the last 5 years and you will find guys drafted from every slot (and that is not including guys like Kwahi who have yet to make an all star team). Then start to realize the bust and players who were good enough to only be starters that were top 5 picks. There is a reason the Kings have been to the lotto something like 8 straight years (along with a number of other teams). In fact most teams that tank, need 6-10 years before they get good. Most likely you get one really great player and a two good players and a bunch of rotations guys (like the Kings). Anyone who likes the idea of the Lakers tanking doesn’t get how lucky you have to be to finally get out of that hole (not to mention we are entering a time when FAs won’t go to teams that don’t look like playoff teams, which is the issue the Lakers are having now).

    Now of course people point to the successes and act like that is the norm. The Thunder are the only team to do it in my opinion and I truly believe (especially after seeing some of Presti’s other moves) that they got beyond lucky. Westbrook was a gamble (similar to the Anthony Bennet pick everyone hates. See when you swing and miss it sets you back). Ibaka was the luckiest thing ever. Bismack, Sene, etc were all athletic African bigs, but as we have seen only Ibaka has planned out. Durant was a no brainer that they lucked into (remember the Celtics tanked hard and the Sonics just sucked. They didn’t tank and traded away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis because they wanted to start over. If they tanked that year they would have ended up with someone else). Harden may or may not have been lucky. He wasn’t a big gamble (considered a top 5 talent in the draft at the time). But of course they didn’t even know how good he was when they had him. They traded for Maynor, signed a washed up Fisher, traded for Perkins. In fact other than Reggie Jackson what good move has Presti made since the Thunder became a playoff team?

    The Lakers best plan is to try to build a 6-8th seed team and then have a star force his way there. The Lakers will always be a destination because of their history and market. Lakers should never tank. They just need to find a way to be good enough to get players to want to come to them. I think that is their plan and a good one. Whether it works under the Kobe time frame or not is unknown, but remember how bleak things looked before the Pau trade. The Lakers have earned more trust than their fans have given them. We have had exactly one bad year. Have at least a little faith.

  42. Justin, I agree with you, I think the only real way the Lakers get any big name player is if a disgruntled one forces his way there (more because of the market/area and less because of the team). The draft isn’t very good next year so tanking isn’t a viable option. You make good points about Presti, the guy lucked out with some draft picks but neither he nor Scott Brooks have any idea what to do with the team they have. The fact that the Thunder have been as successful as they are shows just how talented Westbrook and Durant are (Ibaka to a lesser extent). Probably going to be a very disappointing and quiet summer for the Lakers. There is having faith, and then there is being a realist.

  43. @ Craig W, I know the late Jerry Buss was a pretty good poker player

    Again: the media are very different now than they were in Jerry Buss’ heyday. The Lakers’ intent to acquire Paul and Howard was a banner headline on ESPN a couple of days after the lockout. The Nash deal did develop suddenly, but that is probably going to be an exception.

    The other problem with this type of analogy is that poker players or not, a lot of the Lakers’ cards are visible. Everybody knows that they have no roster, no coach, how much money Kobe makes, how few draft picks they have, what the salary cap is, that Howard bailed, etc.

    Justin,

    The problems with your argument are that the main architects of the Lakers’ runs, except Kupchak, are gone–Jerry Buss, Jerry West, Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson–and that the league is different now than it was even five years ago.

    But that main issue remains simple: the team got the guys that were supposed to be the next stars, lost one; doubled down hard to replace him, lost that bet, and then lost the second one after they got him. If Jim Buss were as smart as Gregg Popovich and Red Auerbach comibined, it would still be hard to bounce back quickly from that.

  44. The doom and gloom attitude here is, frankly, starting to become a tad too much to handle. I get that things are not rosy at the moment, but coming in day, after day, after day, after day, to rehash the same old complaints over, and over, and over, and over is pointless. Not saying we all need to be chearleaders or keep a happy face above all, but jeez.. Can we at least wait until we get a good picture as to what this team looks like before we begin with the doomsday predictions?

  45. Justin: There are many types of 6th-8th seed teams.
    a) You could be a team that has peaked and is on the downturn.
    b) You could be a team that has a decent core but has peaked and because there is no cap room they can’t improve.
    c) You could be a young, up and coming team that has not peaked and has financial flexibility to improve.

    A star NBA FA, ie: Durant, is going to be more attracted to scenario three. While its not impossible to get there without integrating draft picks it certainly is a lot easier. Look if Randle has a great year and wins Rookie of the year his open market value would be near $10+ million annually. But because he is on a rookie contract the Lakers would have to pay him just $3 million.

    Integrating a number of contributing cost controlled talent is one way to become that up and coming 6th – 8th seed, who will catch that star FAs eye. This is the OKC method.

    Another method is Houston’s. They simply amassed a lot of recent draftees and future selections and they were able to package these assets when OKC got afraid of the tax threshold and wanted to dump Harden. Houston made the deal and set themselves up as that next ‘big thing team’ which only needed a star (DHoward) to guide them.

    The Lakers can not discount the draft in their rebuilding efforts. This is not the NBA of 5 years ago. You can not outspend the competition. The new CBA forces you to draft well, trade well and manage/spend your cap space wisely.

    Of all of the mistakes the Lakers FO has made the most damaging is the Nash trade. Because they gave away the most valuable currency of all: draft picks.

  46. The doom and gloom attitude here is, frankly, starting to become a tad too much to handle. I get that things are not rosy at the moment, but coming in day, after day, after day, after day, to rehash the same old complaints over, and over, and over, and over is pointless.

    This site has a core group of people who talk about the Lakers 360 days a year; some repetition is inevitable, and the team is in deep trouble. Also, you should note that this discussion was started by a post from Darius, saying that he has real doubts about the team having any success in FA or having a sound plan thereof. It is not just the usual suspects.

    And, when the Lakers start signing guys, and when they hire a coach, Darius and Co. will have analysis of those moves posted and we will have some fresh material to work with. But if the Lakers just have a bunch of rotation guys on 1 and 2 year deals around Kobe and Randle, and look like a deep lottery team again, I would suggest not expecting people to jump on the “This team can surprise some people” train. We went through that last year.

  47. @ MannyP I don’t get people’s doom or gloom either. I actually think things could turn around quickly. Do people remember how the Suns and Raptors were supposed to be tanking and horrible at the beginning of the year. People act like there is only one way to improve. The Lakers were a .500 team last year until they got injuries (just like the year before). And that is the number one factor to winning in the NBA. Look at Portland the years before. Constantly injured and going nowhere. Tons of rumors that LA was going to leave (and that was even with Lillard). After this year he wants to stay. Why because they were healthy. That was the biggest difference. Heck even the Bucks were a playoff team two years ago. Injuries hit and they were the worst in the league. Look what Wade was in the playoffs this year. Health is what matters. Look at the Bulls three years ago and what they have been with an elite coach since without a healthy Rose.

    So the question becomes health. A lot of people will say that Kobe, Rose, etc will never be healthy again, but if you look at history they both should be fine this year. Serious injuries force a player to use other muscles to compensate. Those muscle usually give way. Causing a secondary injury. Thing is once that happens the original muscle has time to make a full recovery and the other muscles no longer have to work extra hard and suddenly injuries stop happening. Talk to any doctor and they will tell you the say.

    @rr, Kupchak is the architect now. And even in this new CBA he got Paul and Dwight. Yes both got taken away but it shows he has the ability to make moves no one thinks he an make. I don’t doubt it is more difficult now. But he is such an underrated GM. I don’t think Jim Buss needs to be at RC Bufords level (the Spurs GM). One other teams have won championships without him. Buford is the best (with that I don’t disagree), but Kupchak is top 5. All Buss has to do is not get in the way and with his given deadline I think he gets that. Buss has been unfairly become a scapegoat. The Lakers have missed the playoffs for a total of 5 years in the last 3 decades. No team can say that. At some point luck falls the other way (and there is a lot of luck to every championship contender). Jerry Buss was lucky that most of the owners at his time only cared about money. Now with the profit sharing it is entirely different and a more difficult road, bit not one that is impossible. I would bet anything the Lakers are a playoff team in the west within 2 years. I may be misguided, but I can see multiple scenarios where the Lakers suddenly get good (including an in season trade if they keep their cap space open).

  48. Not a “Doom & Gloom” guy, nor a “Rose Colored glasses” guy. Realist is the term I prefer. It will be very interesting to see the caliber of free agents willing to join the Lakers as I mentioned earlier today on this post. But that’s only what’s under our control, let’s remember the Lakers are in a league which has 29 other teams, and in the Western Conf, where they were predicted to finish 12th out of 15 w/ the 25th best NBA player.

    Based on last season’s production, that prediction turned out to be a bit kind. Not sure what many would consider “acceptable improvement”, would love to see the Lakers back in the post-season, but the West had nine serious post season teams, meaning the Lakers would have to beat our at least two of them…and just which two teams are believed to be worst this season than last?

    Let’s go Lakers.

  49. I like seeing someone call Kupchak a top-5 GM. I always thought Jerry West had a great eye for talent — no reason to think he suddenly went blind when he picked who to mentor.

    Kupchak never deserved what Bill Simmons said about him in that Worst GM article years ago even though I confess that I laughed like a hyena when I read it.

  50. Its being reported that bosh is sogning for 11mil amd wade is signing for 12 … meaning that they have both signed for 4 years the amounts they were going to make in 2

    This now gives the heat 12mil plus their mid level which could net them 1 main player and 1 rotation guy while resigning other guys like allen to the min or 3 quality bemch playwrs at 5-6mil each

    I really dont understand how players could give half their income away … have they not seen what happens to guys like antoine walker?

    To me this makes the east a joke again unless the bulls get melo and somehow stay healthy and you jave to say that thos has to at least put some asterisks on this miami team … talk all you wamt about guys doing what it takes to be competitive.but these guys are like 2-3 steps above ginobli … imagine if isiah and hakeem joined the bulls in the 90s on a discount to play with jordan and pippen
    .. this is wjat we are seeing … way different than an over the hill payton amd malone joining the lakers

    If we cant sign pau I hope he ends up on san antonio if only to spoil things for the heat

  51. Keep in mind that there will be a new CBA is a couple of years and some players may just want short contracts so they can be eligible for what will be fairly increased pay raises once the new TV deal and higher salary caps kick in. It is clear to any player who speaks to their agent that there will be more money to spend in a few years. Getting an inflated, short term contract does two things. It establishes a higher baseline on a max deal since those are traditionally based on percentage increase of current salary. The second, it positions players to be free agents at the time a new TV deal sets up the new CBA. So, there are arguments to be made for larger, short term contracts.

    I think the most important thing the Lakers should be setting themselves up for is to bring in a rebounder/rim defender. I don’t think anyone like that is available this off-season. Also, players of that sort are coveted by everyone. Anyhow, if the Lakers spend money on guys to fill the space until Kobe’s contract runs out, fine. As I’ve been saying, they need to collect assets. Low risk, high reward guys should be brought in and let the team build a structure the big free agents can see themselves being the core of. A nice rookie season from Randle would be a great step in that direction.

  52. jodie meeks gets 3yrs/19M from detroit, who were ranked 29th in 3pt shooting.

  53. You guys need to relax. Im actually encouraged that no moves have been made yet. Lets wait and see what Mitch does. Mitch is a top 5 GM in the league.

  54. @ Shawn, I’m hearing Wade is signing for five years beginning at $11 mill per. That’s not giving away 1/2 your salary. Do you think anyone will pay Wade at least $11 mill a year five years from now based on the way he’s looking? Sounds like a win win for both Wade & The Heat.

  55. Another on bites the dust.

    Meeks gone.

  56. I was so excited to see the Heat try to keep winning with a core of three players taking up the bulk of the salary cap (basically what we had to go through post-2002 and post-2010). But if Wade and Bosh are down to take ~$10M each?!?! I’m blown away (and kinda impressed) that they’ve decided to value winning so much more than earning power. And Lebron is absolutely fair in demanding a max salary; his true value is prob 3x whatever that number is.

  57. Right know Henry Thomas (Wades and Boshs agent) is saying that the $12 and $11 million being reported are BS (and that they are not taking that big of paycut. Also Lebron only wants a 1-2 year deal. So the Heat will be forced to keep spending to keep him. Interesting power play by Lebron. No clue what is really happening with Wade and Bosh. Will be sad to see Meeks go, but $19 million is a massive over pay. A quality bench guy is not worth that, but I get why they are doing it. They need shooting to open the floor for Monroe and Drummund.

  58. “To those that think the best plan is for the Lakers to tank and collect draft picks, it is a bigger gamble. That is the absolutely worst way to get good.”

    If there was such a thing as the Lakers tanking, it would be a legit strategy to discuss. And if the plan is just to wait for superstars to come running, the Lakers don’t need Kupchak, or anyone with a basketball IQ for that matter. People talk about a possible “plan” that is not a plan. The Lakers want to win now, and they want to win in the future, so they balance their options.

    Of course, if the Lakers can land the biggest stars, something fans seem to think is simply Laker destiny, then they’ll go for it. But I imagine the FO knows there’s nothing simple about winning. They must strive for success now, no matter how small. They need a great coach. Somehow find a fountain of health. Draft well at whatever positions they get. Each year make the best FA moves they can find—and that doesn’t always mean the shiniest stars. They may fail, but keep going. It’s time for patience, hard work, and realistic expectations to climb back to excellence. I think what the Lakers need in a new world is to be humble. Walk then run.

  59. @bigcity – he was owed 42 over the next 2 years amd we just paid a 36 year old kobe 24 mil per ….considering that wade has the same effect as being a lifer for the heat he could have expected the same treatment. ..im sure he could have made more than 13 mil over 2 years hes leaving at least 10-20 mil on the table

  60. Seeing as how meeks got 19m … how much do you think nick young and jordan hill are going to want?

    If we swing and miss on our dream guys we are gonna be in trouble filling out the roster if our other guys can get mid-level+ & 3+ year deals … no way pau or hill will just accept a 2 yr deal to save space for durant

    Top 5 protected!!!

    We need to start building a team

  61. jordan hill is going to get j.j. hickson money ($6M per year) and young will get jamal crawford/lou williams money($5-$6M)

  62. I think it is a good idea not to give more than 2 year contracts. When Kobe’s is off the books and everyone else’s also, we will have the entire cap to use in one year on players, that is a rebuid. But, we need to be competitive for the next two years also. If Kobe wants to play beyond 2 years, he needs to take a steep discount or that 6th ring.

  63. Wade and Bosh take less per year because each knows they’re not the main guy. They want to win, and in the end, they’re going to make a lot of money in a variety of ways, anyway. They were also pressured and put on the spot, with every Miami fan aware if they stood in the way of LeBron staying. So maybe back off on the butt-kissing. They’re not doing anything that heroic.

    When Kobe was extended, the idea, realistic or not, was that he would still be the leader of the team. Maybe if they saw where things are now, Kobe and the Lakers would have done different. Who knows? No use crying about it. Things are what they are. The Lakers don’t have as easy a path as the Heat. But it’s just fantasy that multiple big-time stars would be here if it wasn’t for Kobe’s contract.

  64. After the Lakers:

    a) completely wiff on Lebron/Melo, and
    B) all of our Plan B FA’s have signed elsewhere

    will there still be enough decent players left to field a team?

  65. Worried: will there still be enough decent players left to field a team?
    __

    Yes, there will be. Unfortunately, it won’t be a very good team.

  66. Good for Jody picking up a big payday.
    Over 6 mil per year, I doubt the Lakers would have paid him that much.

    Shaun asks a good question – how much will Jordan Hill expect? And Swaggy?
    I think I’d go 5-6 for Jordan Hill.

    If I’m Miami I take a good look at Hill.
    He’s a glass eater and I think they needed that.
    I hope Lakers can hang onto him though.
    Sacre can’t play 48 minutes!
    Not if Ko can help it.

    Pau isn’t going to Memphis.
    If he goes to NY I’ll be surprised.
    He’d be nice in SA but I don’t think they need a power forward there.
    They’re paying their center Splitter 9 mil.
    So if Pau went there he’d be looking at 20 minutes per game max.
    However if he leaves the Lakers I’d wish him well in SA. If he lands in NY?
    Not so much.

    I’m excited about Randle. I think he’ll turn out to be worthy of a top 3 selection.

    Just really curious how we fill out this roster.

    Any news on Nash’ health?

  67. Adrian Wojnarowski @WojYahooNBA · 28m
    Luke Walton is finalizing an agreement with Golden State to become an assistant coach, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
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    More
    Adrian Wojnarowski @WojYahooNBA · 1h
    Free agent Spencer Hawes met w/ Warriors’ GM Bob Myers in LA, who has trade exception to use; meeting with Doc Rivers shortly, sources say

  68. Lowe:

    Los Angeles Lakers: They, like, literally do not have a team for next season. They have max-level cap room, they’re almost certainly going to strike out on the biggest free agents, and they voluntarily gave the league’s biggest annual salary to a lunatic competitor who is turning 36 and coming off two devastating injuries to important body parts.

    Kobe Bryant and rebuilding do not mix well. The Lakers are in perhaps the league’s most desirable market, and they can load up on wacky two-year deals with an eye on being competitive in the years leading to Durant’s free agency.

    It’s impossible to overstate how terrified other teams are of a desperate Lakers team with needs at almost every position.”

  69. jodie meeks gets 3yrs/19M ..

    Good to see Jodie, who worked hard last off-season to improve his game, secure such a deal. He was, arguably, our best player last year. But with that being said, I can only imagine how much other players, who are on a higher tier than Meeks, will feel that they’re worth. With the FO, as Darius alluded to, not planning on offering much money or years, it’ll be interesting to see who they’ll be able to sign from their assumed targets.

  70. i think inserting a no-trade clause in his next contract would tempt pau to stay.

  71. Thank you MannyP thank you, if i say it i get killed lol. I for one im fine that the Lakers are not making any moves (that we know of), obviously they are waiting for that Melo meeting and i hope nothing come out of that. Like i said before i dont think this is the summer to make a big splash, this is the summer to lay a foundation. But if the oportunity arise i understand the need to pounce. Mitch said it already that they would go all out for only 2 or 3 players IF available, if nothing happen they are in the position and have things set up to make a big splash next summer or the one after that. Dont know whats so hard to understand.

  72. Chibi – agree. Pau is justifiably gunshy.

    I wonder how realistic Melo is?
    And how do you feel if you’re Hill or Pau –
    Or Byron – and are told, “hang in there.
    We’re trying to get some ‘real’ players in here.
    If we can’t get them, we’ll want you.”

    I actually think they should sign Pau and Hill now, add a coach, then hit some 2nd tier guys before they’re all gone.

    I hereby cast my vote for Chandler Parsons.

  73. MannyP: I want it noted that I have yet to participate in this overly negative thread : )
    rfen: “something fans seem to think is simply Laker destiny” That is Laker manifest destiny. We have been good because we always have been good Coast to coast and pole to pole. It is as simple as that : )
    Coach: If you really want to depress yourself. Go read about how the Nets are approaching their coaching search No nonsense, put a list together, get any interviews done and make a decision. What a concept! I am not wavering however. It will be Byron,

  74. @JC the Rockets will match anything that gets thrown his way this side of i dont know 12 mill a year? And he is not worth that.

  75. @Todd is right! Trading for Steve Nash is really going to hurt the future of the Lakers.
    The Lakers have to get young star players and those only come thru the draft lottery typically. The fact that you sent so many picks to get a broken down point guard near 40 is almost equivalent to the Herschel Walker trade in the NFL that one year. That is the worst trade I have ever seen the Lakers make and it will haunt our future.

    I have said it here often and I think the FA signing season will prove me right (I would love to have to eat crow on this!) that no young superstar wants to play with Kobe because Kobe unlike Duncan is not willing to relinquish the “Alpha” role and become the second maybe third option. His ego and that crazy contract are also killing the Lakers right now. It might be time to abandon the win another before Kobe retires strat for the full on “rebuild”.

    I also have tried to be upbeat about Julius Randle and I know the Lakers have a great medical staff but the foot is not a good start either. I do not want to be hearing about his foot a year or two from now. Shades of Sam Bowie or Greg Oden! I’m not liking all the gray area…if he needs surgery then let’s get it done and get this kid ready!

    I think the Lakers FO is in for a reality check!

  76. Dont know whats so hard to understand.

    The Lakers have no roster, no coach, very upcoming few draft picks, and 38% of the cap tied up in a 36-year-old guy coming off two major injuries. Simple, basic, facts, as opposed to speculation about a big splash next summer or daydeams about Durant in 2016. Does that mean the Lakers are doomed forever? Of course not. It just means that they are in a very bad position; the worst position, arguably of any franchise in the game, if you look at their roster in terms of assets, and the conversation reflects that reality.

    It isn’t complicated and it has nothing do to with understanding. Some Lakers fans just get frustrated when they hear it, however.

  77. Robert,

    As a few have said, I think that the FO is holding off on choosing a coach until they meet with Anthony and maybe James’ agent (James is not even in the US right now, apparently–or won’t be. He is supposedly headed to Brazil to check out the World Cup) in case that influences them in some way. Assuming that it doesn’t, then the FO will probably hire Scott. Let’s face it: it is not as if he is swimming in offers.

    Gortat has agreed to return to DC for 5/60. Also rumors that Bosh is and Wade are accepting 12M and 11M, respectively, and Miami will go all-in on Lowry.

  78. Gortek Gone
    Livingston Gone

    Tomorrow I am going to start working out.

    I am available.

  79. there is a good, young player still on his rookie contract in milwaukee, name of john henson. he might be available now that jabari parker and giannis aten…atenmpo…you know who i mean…are they frontcourt of the future.

  80. Fern yeah 12 might be a bit much for Parsons but there’s a good chance we’re gonna have to pay somebody. 10? 8?
    He’s the kinda player that stands out.
    I saw a Laker Rocket game last year (or the year before) and I didn’t even know who he was and had to look at my program cuz he lit us up.
    Ever since then I’ve liked his floor game, can pass, shoot, finish.

    One Laker summer league invitee’s stats look good. Per Mcmenamin –
    Deandre Kane, 25, averaged 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game in his senior season at Iowa State.
    Anyone see Kane play? He’s 6’4″.

    If Ko is available to play I’m available to coach.

  81. Another guy it might be worth taking a look at is Ed Davis, who got crowded out of the Memphis frontcourt and is an UFA. He’s a little short for the 5, but he does rebound and block shots better than anyone the Lakers threw out there last season. Similar player to Jordan Hill in many respects and will probably get a similar contract. The Clips are reportedly interested but we might be able to offer a starter’s job if he could play center.

  82. Love John Henson. Not sure that the Bucks will want anything we have. A sign and trade for Meeks – maybe. But that ship has sailed.

  83. Let’s face it. By the team this LA Confused team makes a move the only thing left will be D- Leaguers. Kobe might move to China and start his own team.

  84. THE MEEK(S) SHALL INHERIT $19MIL.

  85. something named “java_installer.exe” downloaded itself after visiting this page. what gives?

  86. chibi,

    It is a malware thing going around–be careful with it, and obviously, don’t install it, although a virus defense program will stop it.

    Ed Davis is a good idea.

  87. JC -Kane was awesome at the NCAA tourney … he and one other teammate carried the whole team

  88. Chibi,
    I am talking to my webhost as I type this. They are saying you should scan your computer to see if it is malware. I have a feeling it is. I will try to rectify this from my end with some tools to clean up the site if this is an issue. My host should be able to give me more answers.

  89. More on DeAndre Kane:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2112998-deandre-kane-the-undrafted-free-agent-who-will-prove-everyone-wrong

    Saw him on TV a couple times during the NCAA tourney; agree with Zach Buckley’s opinion. Methinks he’s actually got a shot to make the Lakers’ roster.

  90. D. Kane looks good, nice highlight reel, thanks arliepro for the link.

    It’s interesting that at guy would fall out of the draft for being 25.
    This would bode well for the Lakers if he can bring it at the NBA level.
    We need guys who are ready to perform soon just as much as we need projects.
    Guys like he and Clarkson may see some minutes!
    Hope he does well.

  91. My MacAfee Anti-Virus caught this Java installer at another site, so do not run it.

  92. Story on ESPN about Stephenson and the Pacers at an impasse. They offered 5/44 and he thinks he’s worth more. Also mentions the Lakers are interested. How about 2/25? Or 3/34 with the first two years frontloaded, so he could be dumped for Durant if need be.

    Think I’d do this, sign Ed Davis to play center and a couple of our bench guys to small deals and call it a decent summer…go to war with the guys we have and see what happens.

  93. I like what the FO is doing. I think we are targeting Marc Gasol next year. Mitch and Buss have a plan. No need to fret. If OKC do not win a ring with all their prized assets it doesnt matter how smart their FO is. Be patient.

  94. J C, Deandre Kane is a total beast I would be stunned if he didn’t make the roster. Would have been a first round pick if it weren’t for his age. Depending upon who the Lakers sign I could see him getting big minutes next year.

  95. From Sekou Smith’s NBA.com Hang Time Blog: “The Anthony pitch will be spearheaded by Lakers president Jeanie Buss, executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and Kupchak, according to a source with knowledge of the Lakers’ plan.

    One key difference in the Lakers’ pitch meeting with Anthony from the one they had with Dwight Howard last year will be the presence of Jeanie Buss, who has made it clear to the front office that she will do whatever is helpful to sell free agents on the franchise.”

    At last, front office improvement.

  96. BigCitySid: in a male dominated industry (NBA) the Lakers can not match many of the alpha dogs other organizations have ( Riley/PJ/ West). Maybe Jeanie Buss is our alpha and can help bring that gravitas to the franchise.

    Maybe we fans have been pushing the Jim Buss square peg into the round hole too much. Jim is not his dad. What if Jeanie is?

  97. The Lakers need to target Parsons, Stephenson, and Pau. Here’s why:

    Parsons and Stephenson are on that borderline all star level, but just young enough and not accomplished enough to command high level deals. If you sign them both to 3 years 33 Million, you still have room for a 3rd high quality player or a few, i.e. Pau. I do believe the Lakers want Pau back and Pau wants to be back, then you can use said players Parsons and or Stephenson to sign and trade with Memphis and sign Marc Gasol so he can play with his brother and make one last run with kobe and pau. You can also sign and trade Parsons or Stephenson with a Randle for sayyyyy KD? Westbrook? I also think that if Kobe is healthy he will play until 38 and by the time he’s 37 the Lakers will have their star of the future and kobe will be in that Manu Ginobli roll. I can see Marc Gasol and KD being on the Lakers while Pau and Kobe take darling deals to go at it one more time.

  98. HEY JIM…..CAN KD BE PART OF OUR FRAMILY PLAN!!?

  99. Mitch: Hi Lebron, welcome to LA. We’d really like to have you here.
    Lebron: Who’s the coach?
    Mitch: We don’t let our players pick the coach (winks). But just out of curiosity, who would you like to see as your coach?
    Lebron: What are my choices?
    Mitch: Well, there’s Byron Scott. And…uh, pretty much everyone else is gone.
    Lebron: How about my high school coach? Or my mom?
    Mitch: They’re hired!
    Lebron: Both of them?
    Mitch: Of course! Now if you could just sign here…

  100. A lot is riding on Randle’s Dr appointment today. He may have to have preventative surgery on his foot and if so he would miss approx. six months. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    I have always thought the Lakers should have two targets this summer: Greg Monroe and Lance Stephenson. Both are near stars and only 23 years old. I think you could get them by overpaying a little on shorter terms deals. Say a two year deal with a third year option. This way you maintain some cap flexability in the future.

    Monroe and Randle would be the forwards with Pau (being resigned for 2 years) as our center. Kobe and Stephenson would be the guards. This is kind of a hybrid solution in that we are active in the FA market, obtain young talent, enough talent to compete with Kobe, and retain longer term cap flexibility.

    I am not in favor of signing Melo. He would require a 4 year deal at max dollars. So, after Kobe rolls off the books in two years we would still have a max Melo for two more years. I do not think Melo’s game will age well and he has never been known to be a fitness buff.

    I realize the team is going all out to get him but I hope he stays in New York.

  101. Lance Stephenson is the new Metta World Peace.

  102. Livingston is a good pick up for Golden State. He can allow Curry to slide off the ball for some catch and shoot action. Plus, he could be a stopgap for a possible trade sending Thompson out.

  103. @BigCitySid
    The pitch to ‘Melo will be finished before he ever meets with Jeannie Buss or Kupchak. The real pitch will be between Kobe and ‘Melo. If Kobe can convince him that he’s still close to the player that he was previously, then there’s a chance. If not….then it doesn’t matter what the owners or GM have to say. I hope they give him a modest offer with a player option after year 2. Then, he could opt out and get max dollars once Kobe’s contract comes off the books. Don’t be deceived though…if ‘Melo comes here, and that’s a big IF, then it’s because of his friendship with Kobe because we are hardly the best option for him.

  104. Chris Y,
    I’d bet that the players “opt out” of the current CBA when they get their chance, yes. They were not happy with the deal they signed at the time and with recent franchise sales (not just the Clippers, but the Bucks as well) shattering what was thought to be true valuations of those teams, they will want to recoup some of that money in the form of a higher percentage of BRI (basketball related income) that is the basis of the league-wide salary pool.

  105. @Todd, Melo should actually age very well. The thing that usually gets worse with age is defense and lets face it he can’t get that much worse. Shooting and post play age really well (as you don’t have to move much or be athletic to in the post, which is what players lose first). I would guess his rebounding would be the only thing he really loses for the next 5 years (and actually probably would get worse as a defender towards the end). But offensively he should be pretty much the same.

    As for Monroe is only an offensive player. Pairing him and Pau would keep the Lakers D horrible. Lance is the big question mark. If you take defense in to account you could make the argument that Lance is the best SG in the league, but then again he is also crazy. Even on a short contract it might be a risk (though possibly one worth taking). But don’t think for a second you could trade him. If he acts out and you want to move him you would get cents on the dollar if you are lucky (most teams with cap space aren’t even looking at him now because they are too afraid of crazy).

  106. Darius is right. Expect a longer lock out in the next CBA. The players gave up a crazy high 7% of BRI in the last lock out. The owners have a system were it is almost impossible for them to fail (great job Nets finding a way to lose money in a fool proof system). Even teams like the Kings who can’t sell out in a small market and are a lottery team barely lost any money (and that doesn’t account for local tv deals, parking, etc. So really only one team lost money). 7% by the way could be something like $300 million (what was projected at the time) and if TV deals shoot through the roof like everyone expects it could be a billion or 2. If you are the players you can’t be ok with that. And clearly the players are starting to realize they can’t manger their money as a whole and need to take a 18 month salary (which is the dumbest thing you could do if you are actually good with money, which sadly so few players in ALL of sports are).

  107. JC: Lance Stephenson is the new Metta World Peace.
    _

    The Pacers do not have a team leader on their roster. Their clubhouse was a mess. Larry Bird can only do so much from his office. With Kobe as the big brother I think Stephenson will flourish. Let’s be real here the Lakers need young talent in a bad way.

    Melo is fools gold – we’ll get a one year bump from him at most. I foresee father time being a little less kind to Melo than he has been to Kobe.

  108. Hollins likely to coach the nets… meanwhile front office still undecided between Scott and…? At least jim buss can’t be blamed for the hire if no other coaches are available…

  109. The Lakers have been excruciatingly slow when it comes to choosing their new coach. So slow that they might be forced to choose Scott as he could be the only one left. At least Robert will be happy :)

  110. G,

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if Scott ended taking an assistant position while the Lakers are still “undecided” about him?

  111. Todd: I have always thought the Lakers should have two targets this summer: Greg Monroe and Lance Stephenson. Both are near stars and only 23 years old.
    __

    The Lakers need young building blocks. If they can be had on shorter deals (2 plus an option) as you have suggested then there is no downside. Aside from last season, when our roster was filled with young players trying to stick in the league, when was the last time the Lakers could roll our three talented starters (Randle, Monroe and Stephenson) who were 23 or younger?

    The Lakers are in a pickle, Kobe takes up 38% of their cap, and we’re not sure what he’ll produce, plus the Lakers have very few draft assets to look forward to. If they can ‘reload’ with two 23 year old and Randle then the future does not look so dark.

    My gut says signing Monroe and Stephenson gives the franchise hope for the future. Signing Melo feels like they are kicking the ‘inevitable rebuild’ can down the road a few years.

  112. Todd
    You may have misconstrued my comment regarding Metta.
    I can’t say enough good things about him.
    He had a rough upbringing and made good.
    Tough, great team player, defended, and hit some huge shots down the stretch against Boston. Without Metta Kobe doesn’t have a fifth ring.
    Stephenson is similar to Metta in that he has a wild side.
    Irreverent. Athletic. Defends. Versatile.
    In some ways he’s a young version of Metta and I’m all for getting him into a Laker uniform.

  113. J C: Great minds think alike!

  114. T. Rogers, maybe kobe can be the Lakers player coach.

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