How did we get here?

Daniel Rapaport —  July 19, 2014

The glory days of Kobe and Phil may seem like ages ago, but a quick peek at a calendar reminds you that it really was only three years ago that the Lakers sat at top of the NBA pyramid. But my, oh my, how things have changed. The roster doesn’t look good, the future isn’t looking all that bright, and we still don’t have a coach. So, how did we get here? Let’s take a step-by-step look at just how things went so sour so quickly for the Lakers, starting with the end of the Phil era.

End of an Era 

May 8, 2011

The Lakers are blown out of the gym by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks, 122-86, to complete a four-game sweep. This series was tough to watch for Laker fans, as LAL entered the playoffs at 57-25 and had seemed like legitimate contenders to win their third straight championship. Instead, the Mavs caught fire and stayed on fire for pretty much the whole series (they shot 20-35 from behind the arc in Game 4) to put an ugly end to Phil Jackson’s career. After that Mavs series, the glory days seemed to be in the past. With Kobe nearing the tail end of his prime and Pau inching ever closer to the 30 benchmark, the Lakers needed another young piece to help extend their championship window as Kawhi Leonard has so famously done in San Antonio.

Brown era Begins

May 26, 2011

The team announces that Mike Brown will replace Phil Jackson as head coach, despite a vocal endorsement of Brian Shaw for the job from Kobe Bryant. Brown was coming off being fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in an unsuccessful attempt to appease LeBron James and held a reputation around the league as a hard-working, defense-first coach. No one was particularly excited by the hire, but I don’t recall it being widely questioned like the hiring of a certain mustached coach with an Italian name.

Basketball Reasons

December 8, 2011

Comissioner David Stern notifies the New Orleans Hornets and Lakers that their agreed-upon trade to send Chris Paul to LA, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom to New Orleans would not be allowed due to “basketball reasons.” On the morning of December 8th, the Lakers had their man, their next superstar, the next face of the franchise. But now, we can only wonder What If? And what’s worse, we’re reminded just how damn good CP3 is all the time when he puts on dazzling display after dazzling display in the Lakers’ own building.

This will be torture, but humor me for a minute and play the What Could Have Been Game with me. Say that trade goes through. The Lakers’ core at that point would have been Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, and Andrew Bynum, who, though it’s tough to remember, was once a coveted young all-star center who was widely considered the best offensive center in the League. The (spoiler alert!) 2012 trade for Dwight was centered around Bynum and not Gasol, so that trade likely still happens. Then, the Lakers have a core of Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard that would have been Miami’s biggest foe. Side note: I think there’s little chance Dwight walks away from Los Angeles and a backcourt of Kobe and Chris Paul, but I also didn’t think Dwight would walk away from LA and $30 million…

The Promise

July 4, 2012

The purple and gold were reeling from a 4-1 shellacking from the Oklahoma City Thunder that was as poignant as it was lopsided. The Kobe-Pau Laker dynasty was officially dead, and the Thunder series provided Laker fans with an up-close view of the freakish athleticism that would propel the Thunder to a championship contender for years to come. Winning championships means winning the Western Conference and that would require beating younger, faster teams like OKC. The Laker seemed far from capable of doing that. Enter Steve Nash who, despite being 38, had played in the all-star game the previous season and still held elite-status around the league. Basketball heads believed the Lakers had acquired the best point guard they’ve ever had alongside Bryant and ESPN tabbed the trade “an unforeseen twist that could thrust the Los Angeles Lakers straight back into title contention.” Things were looking bright for 2012-2013.

August 11, 2012 

The Lakers close the deal on their multi-year flirtation with Dwight Howard in a deal that sent the Lakers’ best young asset, enigmatic center Andrew Bynum, to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers’ front office was almost unanimously praised for the deal, as Howard, though coming off a serious back surgery, was a consensus top-5 NBA player, and probably one of only two players in the league that GMs believed could be surrounded with literally anyone and drag their team to the playoffs. At only 27, Dwight had at least 6-7 more good years left in him, enough to take the reins from Kobe as head honcho once #24 decides to call it quits. The Lakers were set to compete in the short term and in the long term. All was looking good in Lakerland.

The Princeton?!

August 16, 2012

Mike Brown successfully recruits Eddie Jordan, who played for the Lakers in the 80’s to join his coaching staff as Associate Head Coach. Jordan brings along with him the Princeton Offense, a complicated read-and-react system that relies heavily on ball movement and is usually used by teams lacking athleticism or talent. The Lakers’ roster seemed ideal to run an pick-and-roll heavy offense with Steve Nash, one of the very best pick-and-rollers to ever play, and Dwight Howard, a freakishly athletic center who could jump like a wide receiver. But Brown insisted that his Princeton-like sets would give the Lakers the best chance to win. Mike Brown was wrong.

Nash Goes Down

November 1, 2012

In only the second game of the season, Steve Nash bumps knees with his younger counter part, Damian Lillard, late in the second quarter of a game against the Blazers in Portland. Nash hobbled off the floor, but the injury was initially thought to be not serious and Nash even attempted playing in the game again before heading to the locker room. It was the first of a series of unfortunate events for Nash, who hasn’t been able to play anywhere near the level in purple and gold that he was at in Phoenix. Nash would fail to return to full strength that season and has yet to be fully healthy since.

Chaos Begins 

The Lakers’ first five games of the 2012-2013 season go as follows: 1. a 99-91 loss on opening night at home to the Dallas Mavericks. 2. a 116-106 loss to the Blazers in the always-difficult Rose Garden 3. a bitter 105-95 loss to the crosstown rival Clippers 4. a blowout 108-79 win over the Pistons at home and 5. a 95-86 loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City. 1-4 isn’t a good start for any team, but it becomes that much worse when you factor in that this Laker team was predicted by some to challenge Jordan’s Bulls for the best record ever in a regular season. Though talented, this team was particularly old– it was put together to win immediately. There was no time to waste to let the group gel closer as they simply didn’t have the time. Their championship window was too short.

So the Busses came to the conclusion that a change had to happen and it had to happen right then and there.

November 10, 2012

The Lakers announce they’ve fired Mike Brown after five games or roughly 6.1% of the season, equivalent to firing an NFL coach with about 3 minutes to go in the 4th quarter of Week 1. The Lakers were in scramble mode. But when Phil Jackson’s name surfaced as a potential successor to Brown, Lakerland smiled collectively. Though Jackson had pledged that he’d coached his last game, this roster was one of the most talented of all-time, featuring four future likely hall of famers. A report leaked that Jackson was willing to come back to coaching in order to lead this group, and it seemed like only a matter of time before Phil’s return became official.

The Wrong Choice 

November 12, 2012

In one of the most surprising decisions in basketball history, the Lakers decide to hire Mike D’Antoni instead of 11-time NBA Champion Phil Jackson to replace Brown as head coach. Some pointed to the awkward dynamic between Jim Buss and Jackson as the reason why D’Antoni was selected (Phil has been in a relationship with Jim’s sister Jeanie for many years…you can imagine the ‘interesting’ dynamic that would have presented). Others tried to justify the decision from a basketball perspective, salivating at the possibility of reuniting Nash with D’Antoni (under whom he enjoyed his best years) and an offense with Dwight Howard rolling to the basket, Gasol in the high post, and Kobe on the wing. But that offense would require 100% cooperation from the players, and that simply never occurred.

The D’Antoni-Lakers marriage never, ever worked. In 2012-2013, he looked unable to manage the numerous egos that come with a roster so talented and just could not figure out what to do with Pau Gasol. Howard became unhappy with how he was used in D’Antoni’s perimeter-focused offense and Steve Nash was two years past being even a shell of himself. The Nash who perfectly orchestrated the D’Antoni system in Phoenix no longer existed, and D’Antoni seemed unwilling to adapt his system.

Though hindsight is 20/20, one can only wonder how different things might be today if Jim had decided to go with Phil instead of Mike, a choice that seemed so obvious to most of us.

Uncertainty Ahead

April 12, 2013 

After a routine move in the paint, Kobe collapses and immediately starts rubbing his left heel. His face walking off the court gave the impression that he knew this injury was a serious one. Everyone’s worst fear became a reality when it became official that Kobe had ruptured his achilles’ tendon and would require season-ending the surgery. The injury came at a particularly inopportune time for Los Angeles, also. Though few at that point believed that Lakers squad could contend for a championship, they did put together a 27-12 record after the all-star break and seemed to be playing their best basketball of the year heading into the playoffs.

The injury provided Kobe with the most major setback of his career. Kobe had been hurt plenty in the past, but never this serious, and always seemed to be able to muster his superhuman pain tolerance when he really needed to be on the court. But no one could play through a torn achilles. Especially not a 35-year-old.

With Nash and Kobe both injured, the Lakers pieced together a group of misfits to fill the guard positions who were predictably annihilated by the San Antonio Spurs in a tidy four-game sweep. The Lakers were entering the off season without a commitment from Howard to sign a contract extension, and with Kobe’s future a giant question mark, it seemed realistic that Dwight would leave LA for greener pastures.

What now?

July 5, 2013

The once unthinkable becomes reality when the Lakers lose out on a prized free agent. Dwight announces a day after the Fourth of July that he’d sign a 4-year, $88 million and join the Houston Rockets. Mitch’s plan was essentially ruined and a full-rebuild became a distinct reality. A roster centered around what’s left of Steve Nash, an injured Kobe, and Gasol wasn’t going to contend for a championship, so the front-office decided to piece together a roster of mostly one-year rentals to preserve cap space to go after a free agent in the summer of 2014. This resulted in players like Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall being able to tell their grandkids one day that they played for the Lakers.

That Contract

November 25, 2013

The Lakers and Kobe Bryant agree to a two-year, $48.5 million contract that ensures Kobe will be a Laker for life. The contract also means that Kobe will continue to be the league’s highest-paid player despite entering his 18th season and having yet to play a game after a ruptured achilles. From a business perspective, the deal was actually a bargain; Kobe is the undoubted face of the Lakers, and the amount of money the team makes from his fame and the buzz he generates is far greater than $24 million annually. However, from a basketball standpoint, committing $24 million dollars to a 35-year-old coming off a catastrophic injury was…well…curious. The contract will/has proven to be a massive obstacle in the Lakers’ rebuilding process.

Injuries, a Lack of Defense, 27-55

The 2013-2014 season was one to forget for Laker fans. The 27-55 mark was the worst the team’s posted since moving to Los Angeles. After a decent start (13-13), the injury bug feasted on the Lakers, and players missed a combined 319 games due to injury on the year. Steve Nash couldn’t stay on the court for more than a few games at a time, and injuries to backup point guards Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake forced guys like Xavier Henry to play out of position and try to run the point. But the worst injury of all happened to Kobe, who broke his patella bone on December 18th and missed the rest of the season.

Things got so bad at one point that the Lakers briefly became a factor in the race (?) for the number one overall pick. But a few late season wins sparked by a certain Swag E. P meant that the Lakers entered the lottery with the sixth-best odds at landing the top pick. Cleveland jumped in front of the Lakers into the top three, so LAL received the seventh pick, who became Julius Randle, a freshman power forward out of Kentucky.

Swing and a Miss

July 18, 2014

Carmelo Anthony announces he’ll re-sign with the New York Knicks, meaning the Lakers came up empty in their long-planned 2014 run at free agents. After also meeting with but failing to land LeBron James, the Lakers look for less prized free agents to fill out their roster. The team re-signs Jordan Hill to a two-year deal worth $18 million, a move that left many scratching their heads, and Nick Young on a contract that will pay him about $5 million per season. The Lakers also help the Houston Rockets clear some cap space by taking on Jeremy Lin’s $8 million tax figure for this season. Then, the team signs veteran power forward Ed Davis and submits the winning bid for maligned former all-star big man Carlos Boozer, who was recently amnestied by the Chicago Bulls. The current Lakers roster reads as follows:

PG: Steve Nash, Jordan Clarkson, Jeremy Lin

SG: Kobe Bryant, Nick Young

SF: Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson

PF: Julius Randle, Carlos Boozer, Ryan Kelly

C: Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Robert Sacre

Can’t say I’m expecting much. But here we are.

Daniel Rapaport

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147 responses to How did we get here?

  1. It’s all good! The Lake Show will bounce back. Keep your faith on the purple and gold, we will be back at the top soon enough. Every great organizations has their ups and downs. Y’all have a good weekend! GO LAKERS ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!!

  2. As far as rebuilding goes I think they are in a decent position. Clarkson, Lin, Henry, Kelly, Randle and Sacre are all young guys who seem to be good guys as well as solid players with plenty of room to grow. Davis is the only young player that has had some locker room concerns, but his contract is very reasonable so if it is an issue it is easy to shed him.

    The worst case and best scenarios both end up with these guys developing. Is Kobe going to make a run with this roster? Probably not, but he will try. Kobe, Lin, Young, Boozer and Hill could make it a pretty interesting attempt if Kobe is healthy. Obviously that is a huge “if” though. He has been through a lot over the past two seasons. The worst case scenario is still not bad though, we have a bunch of good young players that will get a chance to develop.

  3. I’m a die hard laker and Kobe fan I have faith we will be good enough to make the playoff. Long as we stay healthy and play together. And keep kobe rest durning games so he can turn it on in the fourth quater.

  4. Excellent recollection of the gradual downfall of a behemoth. So sad to see ship floating to so far away from the promised land.

    I’d say, out of all the chronological mishaps you mentioned, the worst was the non – hiring of Phil Jackson over Mike D’Antoni. Every big franchise needs someone with success, charisma (in their own ways) & leadership abilities (e.g. Pat Riley, Greg Popovich, Jerry West) and Phil Jackson could’ve been that guy for the Lakers franchise, post Dr. Jerry Buss. Somehow, Jim Buss being the undisputed head honcho and in turn the face of the franchise will not give a lot of confidence for future free agents to consider the Lakers as a destination franchise. So, unless something miraculous happens, the Lakers ship is stuck with a captain who is seemingly doing his job without any compass of any kind.

    So sad. So sad.

  5. Solid recap…but I thought we were supposed to stop talking about the past. ;-)

    As to the off-season, I agree with the KBros. I would have preferred a harder run at Stephenson and big bids on Monroe and/or Bledsoe. It is of course possible that the FO had info to the effect that Stephenson didn’t want to play here, and that there was no way that PHX and DET would not match. OTOH:

    Stephenson signed for 3/27 with the third being a team option.
    Stan Van Gundy has not been able to move Josh Smith.
    PHX and Bledsoe are far apart.

  6. Where are you getting Kobe’s age from? I don’t know if you’re exaggerating or what, but Kobe is 35 going on 36, not 37-38. Maybe just a mistake. Disappointing, but I still have high hopes for the future. No one will take that from me. No matter how the team looks on paper. Also, a small note. Swag E. P looks a bit funny. I think it’s more like Swaggy P. Just cause I’m a facts driven guy.

  7. Basically Lakers are trying to save money to allow themselves to acquire a player with a large box – office draw…Once Lebron and Carmelo settled there locations it shifted what the Lakers needed to do…
    The NBA would like to pretend that the small market teams are doing well but if the camera pans up past the close to court seats you will see a low attendance…that is until the Lakers show up….Right now they are looking for someone Kobe can past the torch to…only thing is…there isnt anyone availible because Kobes replacement will have huge shoes to fill…
    International Icon…Time Warner Cable ..Nike ..and arrogant champion shoes to fill.

  8. No one says anything when Cavs win the lottery year after year, but when Lakers try to land CP3, the whole NBA loses their minds.
    Lakers fell on their face after the VETO. That completely changed the trajectory of the franchise, destroyed Lamar’s and Andrew’s career, broke Pau’s heart, and what else.

  9. My bad with the typos. I think they’re all fixed now.

  10. Thanks for the trip down the memory lane from hel- .
    I loved the analogy of firing an NFL coach in the 4th quarter of game 1.

    “That” contract, to me, ranks up there as the worst move this franchise has ever made.

    In the case of hiring Dantoni over Phil, my guess is simply that personal reasons existed of which the public had and still has little knowledge.

    In the case of ‘that’ contract, the team had ample knowledge of the limits of the CBA, ‘that’ player’s age, data regarding the injury from which he’d be rehabilitating, the salary expectations of potential free agents, etc.

    The instant the numbers were announced it was immediately clear that only one additional top-tier free agent could be added, when it has become clear that it is taking three bonafide stars to win a title.

    The Dwight Howard fiasco made the absence of Dr. Buss and Phil even more glaring.

    I’m such a diehard fan of the Lakers and of hoops in general but I fear this season will consist mostly of cheering on Clarkson, watching Randle develop, and observing with great curiosity the final chapter of Kobe’s career.

    When it comes to watching the playoffs this year, I fear the Laker players will be sitting in the stands or in front of their TVs, just like the rest of us.

  11. The Mike Brown hire was the mistake that led to the D’Antoni mess which has the Lakers in the current mess of likely settling for Byron Scott. I don’t recall who else was available when Brown was hired but surely there were better alternatives in addition to Shaw.

    This time next year, we’ll be speculating on who will coach the Lakers again. I hope it’s not the case but it’s hard to be optimistic for the next couple of seasons.

  12. You forgot
    2011 Jim Buss, 54, in charge of the Lakers’ basketball operations, spoke up in the boardroom of the team’s El Segundo training facility and pledged to resign in a few years if the suddenly dark fortunes of the franchise weren’t reversed.
    “I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” he told The Times about the meeting. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.”

  13. Daniel Rapaport,
    What wasn’t said about the coaching change was what was exposed by Phil recently. He thought he was only going to have to coach the Lakers for the remainder of the year. Even then, he needed time to think things over. Well, the Lakers apparently wanted to have a longer term solution and went in another direction. Now, neither I nor anyone else outside of Mitch-Jim-Jerry-perhaps Jeannie, has any real knowledge of the exact conversations going on, but we do know Phil has a habit – fairly common among humans – of presenting things so that he appears in the best light.

    In any case, IMO, our real downfall was the trade veto, because it created a situation where the Lakers lost all leverage to act and signaled a willingness on the part of the NBA, to make decisions for-and-against specific clubs. This is the warning Phil Jackson spoke to when he warned the NBA about taking over the Hornets.

    We can talk to mistakes by the front office, but THE VETO is where the Lakers began to lose their ability to drive things.

  14. Great detailed post Daniel Rapaport. It reminds me of the story of the Titanic.

  15. Hahaha sT
    Titanic analogies apply perfectly.

  16. the other Stephen July 19, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Ouch, I do hope they didn’t sign Jeremy to be their third-string point guard.

  17. nice recap Daniel, thanks – glad those agonizing (for us Lakers fans), unbearable moments are all in the past now; kinda like life itself, it´s an ebb and flow –
    there´s nowhere to look now but up, so let´s keep our chins and hopes high.

  18. How did we get here?

    Out of touch with today’s reality, and too much reliance on an iconic brand being the draw for free agents.

  19. What I love about this timeline is that we will get to see an alternate world version play out: We will see how a Phil Jackson run team will build and perform. The rumored (and denied) sticking point for the Lakers was that Phil wanted the dual role coach/president so he could have more say over player personnel. Normally in that kind of situation we’d never know what might have been. While it won’t be exactly the same as it would have been with the Lakers, we do get to see if Phil can steer the Knicks to contention. This should be very interesting. Which team will get there sooner: the Knicks or the Lakers?

  20. I like the article by Daniel and the adds by Chosen One,Craig W and Hindi.
    Chosen One: I agree with your citing of the Jim Buss rise to power as one of the events that led us to here. Like you, I feel that Jim has effectively been in charge for the last three years, all of which have been very negative for the Lakers.
    Craig W: You are right the VETO will always loom large.
    Hindi: Yes – as I always say we took a very bad beat with the VETO and then went on TILT.
    That said, the big 6 decisions/events of the Jim Buss era are: 1) The VETO 2) The Nash trade 3) The loss of DH 4) the Mike Brown hiring 5) The MD hiring 6) The Kobe extension. They are all bad.

  21. Lin can score. Unfortunately he doesn’t handle the ball well which a bit of a drawback as he is a PG. I’ve been very happy with the recent signings. The overall roster building though looks schizophrenic.

  22. Titanic

    Phil: Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio)
    Jeanie: Rose (Kate Winslett)
    Jim: (Billy Zane)
    Chaz: Billy Zanes’s detective
    D’Antoni: Ship’s Captain
    Brian Shaw: Fabrizio (Jack’s friend)
    Mike Brown: Guy at the wheel when the iceberg was struck
    Mitch: Ship’s Engineer (seen fixing the clock as the ship sinks)
    Another Laker Blog: The band playing on deck

  23. Robert that’s the best post ever

  24. Godfather
    Jerry Buss (Marlon Brando)
    passes away, uniformly recognized as the greatest owner in pro sports history

    Only we get the Bizarro version of Godfather 2
    Fredo (JImmy) takes over the family

    Mitch K (Robt Duvall) as consigliere tries to keep the fam together but it is all for naught

  25. Sorry Robert you messed that up.

    Jim was the iceberg that sunk the ship with a baseball hat on.

  26. A few low-level rumors about Bledsoe out there, so maybe the off-season isn’t over yet.

  27. Lakers as SpongeBob Squirepants

    Sandy is Jeannie
    Patrick is Jimmy
    Mr. Krebs was Phil
    Squidwerd was Pau
    SpongeBob was Nash

    Kobe stayed on land.

    Geez I have finally lost it!

  28. JC,

    I never take anything Tom Ziller says about Kobe seriously; he is one of those guys who has a lot of emotions about Kobe that he is always working through, and pretends to be “analytical” about Kobe–but he’s really not capable of that.

    The contract is bad and will make team construction harder. The FO offered it and Kobe took it. Carmelo Anthony made a somewhat similar choice, as did Chris Bosh. Bosh and Anthony are both a lot younger than Kobe is, but their deals will pay them massive salaries when they are 35. Sure, the cap will be higher by then, but the deals will still be big. Dirk Nowitzki made a different choice. That’s it.

  29. lmao at those who are now “masters of panic”.
    i remember post Wilt and Jerry when the Lakers got Kareem(the dirty mortal enemy of all enemies) and just STUNK.
    i remember the Benoit Benjamin team.
    this too will pass. this team might be more fun to watch as they get it together(you never know)…

  30. If the Lakers or even the Clips got the 1st pick in 3 out 4 years in the draft. Watch out Gilbert and M.J. might be taking the league to court. I believe everything was set up so LBJ would finish his career in Cleveland or at least have a decent team to go back to. Few more years of this coincidental crap and I am done with the NBA.

  31. The vetoed trade and the CBA showed how much the rest of the league’s owners were jealous and hateful of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise and Jerry Buss. Plain and simple. Had Jerry Buss been alive, those things would never have gone down. Obviously the small market owners want to have their superstars which is fine, but they want to do it at their own cost even though many of them are filthy rich moguls. Jerry Buss built the franchise and created the value but he was willing to spend, and these other fools are not. What’s sick is that as Jerry Buss was dying these owners pounced on the opportunity to take advantage of his heirs who just lack the personality and most of all the IQ that dad had.

    While Jeanie says all the right things, and people say they love talking to her, I believe she has 0 respect of the owners and they still treat her as a woman and they have taken advantage of her. The Lakers have built the NBA to what it is now so basically they’re just using the Lakers and then attacking them via the new CBAs AND what I also believe to be transactions and colusions against the Lakers. I’d say that other franchises are not willing to trade players or do deals that would benefit the Lakers because Kupchak is really good at his job and they fear the Lakers’ rise.

    I’m a fan of the Angels and after Moreno landed all of these top guys, other teams literally stopped making trades or deals to GM Jerry DiPoto…he’s literally had to trade with his former coworker friends in Arizona and San Diego to improve the team.

    Right now, the Lakers will just be a dumping ground for contracts and stuff, and already Kupchak picked up a draft pick, some assets, and drafted well. Getting Davis and Boozer for $5 million is a steal. He is capable. But he will do this underwraps. I do fear that blockbuster deals are out of the questions

  32. What I also left out is that I believe Jeanie is not prepared for her job in the sense, that pushing for these fan friendly deals (Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Jeremy Lin) are already hurting the basketball operations. The business side has to take a backseat to the basketball side. Shaq was and still is a big icon, but her dad had no problem shipping him out to Miami for Odom (busted for weed) and Caron Butler (a reclamation project former juvenile delinquent) because it made the basketball operations side better. You get business by having a good product, Jerry Buss knew that.

    Have you noticed that when Young and Lin were re-signed Mitch basically said to the effect that they were favorable players to the fan base? Jordan Hill is a great hustler, rebounds, etc but is he worth $9 million? Hell no. Plus the Kobe contract, Mitch would have offered him $20 million instead of $25 its a huge difference. Just think. $5 million there, $9 million of Lin $9 Million Hill and $5 million Young, thats enough for two 2year $28 million contracts for Lance and Bledsoe (upgrades over Lin and Young) and Mitch would still have pulled Davis and Boozer from the pile. Suddenly you have this

    PG Bledsoe Nash – Clarkson
    SG Stephenson – Henry
    SF Kobe – Johnson
    PF Randle – Boozer – Kelly
    C Davis – Sacre

    Not too mention you have Nash teaching Bledsoe and Kobe teaching Lance and Boozer teaching Randle.You have two young guys in the backcourt to extend Kobe’s wheels and you have established pros who know what it takes to be an NBA star and vet rearing the young guys. It’s a better team now and in the future attracts a star. That’s the type of move that Jerry Buss would have jumped at.

  33. rr

    I seldom disagree with you as along with Robert, JC, Lil Pau and a few others that are top notch.

    But I feel your missing this one. TW gave Jerry Buss 3 billion over 20 years. That’s $150 million a year. Lakers made $100 million last year. Do the math.

    If you don ‘t think they DEMANDED Kobewas signed you are not removing your head from Sport to the reality of business.

    No Kobe last year and rating down 37% and ad revenue down over $35 million.

    Again big time fan of yours but please do the math. It’s all about the Benjaminkobens

  34. Like i said on another thread, i like the shape the team is taking, i believe this team will surprise a looot of people and Vino is hungry and on a mission to prove the doubters wrong. Good thing we brought back some of the best players from last year’s team. Good continuity there. This team could make the playoffs. Now we need to hire a coach and tie that loose end finally. It’s becoming stupid.

  35. That said, the big 6 decisions/events of the Jim Buss era are: 1) The VETO 2) The Nash trade 3) The loss of DH 4) the Mike Brown hiring 5) The MD hiring 6) The Kobe extension. They are all bad.

    1- no comment – it lead to chain of bed events
    2-bad accident with the injury, but remember most fans were exited, that we got him- best PG that KB has ever played with
    3-we doged a bullet-where did he lead the HR??? Well, we will see it these year with that roster… I think that the DH stay campain was not for him to be the face of the Lakers, but for him not to walk for nothing-they knew that hi doesnt have it-he did not win 1 game against SAS-where hi had the chance to be the Face-even Pau was better…
    4-no comment
    5-no comment (bad Phil was not as available as some think)
    6-this one will be judged 5 years after KB finishes his career. IF you think, that we could have signed LBJ and KA for the max-and that they would come here both- then its a problem…if you dont, its a part of the message-we value Legends-we reward them-we dont ship players which brought us 2 rings(PG) for cape relief and a 2 round pick (these we can buy-Clarkson), Stephenson-if we really wanted him-he would be here, Monroe-they will match and do a ST, Bledsoe-they will match or do a ST, but his health probems are bigger question then Kobes-he has only a 2 year contract…

  36. Marshall has been claimed by Milwaukee.

  37. Another roster spot free…but for the min. i would have liked him-guess Millw wants to win 25+games next season…

  38. Good for Marshall. Now let’s get another active Center…..Ryan Hollins (the poor man’s JaVale McGee) from the Clippers!!!

  39. rr
    the rumor i read about bledsoe sounded like too steep a price for us to pay
    (two of our bigs)
    but i do like bledsoe.

    i think jeremy lin will be retained because of his international appeal ($)
    and that would seem to be an opposing strategy to pursuing bledsoe.

    i wonder if they are gonna keep nash – or stretch him – any word on that?

  40. Ko
    i do wonder how you know the spongebob characters so well.
    then again, maybe i don’t.

  41. Man, Suns asking too much for Bledsoe. If that trade goes down, we don’t have any bigs unless Lakers sign Monroe.

    Any signs they could trade Nash? or just stretch?!

  42. JC

    I have a 9 year old son who graduated to Call of Duty. To spite me he also is a Celtic fan.

    My life?

  43. rr
    the rumor i read about bledsoe sounded like too steep a price for us to pay
    (two of our bigs)
    but i do like bledsoe.

    I read this rumour-there is a better chance that we do a SaT with Cleveland for LBJ then this happennig-the FO is not incompetent…

  44. the FO is not incompetent
    the rumor i read about bledsoe sounded like too steep a price for us to pay
    (two of our bigs)

    It was posted at a PHX board, and as you would expect, most of the PHX fans don’t want to do it, either. That is usually how it is with trades.

    I don’t think it has any legs, at least not yet, in any case.

  45. Every team gives there franchise player a proper goodbye so why not the Suns take Nash back and he retires and does his farewell tour with them. I know wishful thinking but it could and should happen, and I would even give them the 1st rounder we got from Houston at this point.

  46. Off topic: Period photo of Wilt Chamberlain, running in what looks like a public park, around 1951 or so:

    https://twitter.com/HistoryInPics/status/490660870524252160/photo/1

  47. Randle and Jhill for Bledsoe, hell no!

  48. TempleOfJamesWorthy July 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    What needs to be emphasized is that each of these moves/incidents made sense AT THE TIME.

    The fact that they almost universally worked out to the Lakers detriment speaks to how random and contingent success is in the NBA, where every team is one ACL (or Achilles) tear from a bad season.

    End of the Era — PhilJax stayed a year too long (even he said so). Kobe quit playing defense. Lamar and Pau just quit.

    Mike Brown hired — Who was better? Are we sure Brian Shaw was better? Based on what, Kobe’s personal relationship? Would a new voice expounding the same PhilJax philosophies Pua, Lamar, & Bynum no longer believed in worked any better?

    Basketball Reasons — Who could have predicted that Evil Emperor Stern would suddenly end his “hands-off” policy and quash a trade made in good faith?

    The Promise — At the time, the Nash and Howard trades seemed like great ideas. If there were prognosticators saying “Oh no! Nash will get hurt, Howard will leave, and Pau won’t be able to play with them!”, I don’t remember them.

    The Princeton — Note the phrase “…is usually used by teams lacking athleticism…”. The Lakers with Old Nash, Worn-Down Kobe, Declining Pau, Ossifying MWP, and Coming-off-back-surgery DHow met that description.

    Nash Goes Down — NBA players routinely bump knees. How often does that turn into career-ending injuries?

    Chaos begins — Sorry, the NFL analogy is not relevant. The Lakers had lost THIRTEEN STRAIGHT GAMES (including preseason) and looked awful doing it. It wasn’t working. The fact that Bernie Bickerstaff immediately won 5 straight after Brown’s firing suggests it was the players refusing to buy into Brown’s ideas, not Brown’s ideas, which were at fault.

    The “wrong” choice — The last time the Lakers saw Phil, his health was bad, the team had tuned him out, and the Mavs were eviscerating them. Are we sure it would have gone better if he came back? And would having to hire a coach AGAIN at the end of the season (PhilJax admits he was only going to coach for the one year) helped matters?

    Uncertainty ahead — Would playing Kobe less (potentially sparing his Achilles injury) but missing the playoffs have helped the Lakers in any way? Howard STILL would have left, they still would not have had a draft pick, and other Lakers (e.g. Pau) still would have been untradeable.

    And then everything subsequently is a product of the tension between trying to build a winning team around Kobe (nearly impossible under the new CBA) and the need to “bottom out” and rebuild the Lakers’ talent pool. Trying to build a winner meant “swinging for the fences” (trying to get a Melo/LBJ-level free agent and retaining Pau), while forgoing opportunities to rebuild the asset pool with younger/cheaper players.

    Yes, it’s frustrating. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the result of bad planning or incompetence.

  49. If you don ‘t think they DEMANDED Kobewas signed you are not removing your head from Sport to the reality of business

    KO,

    Thanks for the ups.

    Have seen variants of this argument literally 20-30 times here, and I have never said that Kobe is not good for “business.” What I have said is:

    1. No other team would have given him anywhere near that much if he had hit the market.
    2. The contract will make it harder to build up the roster.
    3. It is unlikely that he will play anywhere near well enough to be worth the money between the lines. At the box office and in merchandising, sure, he will be worth it–but not on the 94′ by 50′ hunk of wood.
    .

    As to the hows and whys–you may be right. But if TWC is calling the shots on basketball decisions, then the Lakers have bigger problems than the roster.

  50. I doubt anyone calls the shots for the Laker owners. However, when their interests coincide, I suspect influence will be there to act in a way that benefits both. There is no conspiracy in any of this, just a convergence of interests.

    That the Kobe signing was a business decision is almost unarguable at this point. To point to this as a reason we couldn’t keep Marshall is really stretching that point to breaking. Move on, it wasn’t the fulcrum around which everything else revolved.

  51. >>>I doubt anyone calls the shots for the Laker owners.
    —-
    Take it up with KO, not me. He is the TWC-runs-the-show guy here.

    >>>To point to this as a reason we couldn’t keep Marshall is really stretching that point to breaking.

    No one in the thread has either said this or implied it. If you are connecting the fact that I noted that Marshall had signed with Milwaukee to my response to KO, or to the topic of this thread, you are wrong to make that connection. I have nothing against Marshall, but I do not see his departure as an issue for the team.

    >>>>Move on,

    I will talk about what I want to talk about, and in any case, I was responding to KO, not you. In addition to that, the central topic of this thread is the team’s recent past big moves, including Kobe’s contract.

  52. -we doged a bullet-where did he lead the HR???

    To 54 wins and the playoffs.

  53. Thanks rr

    I base my comments on a declaration by someone with the laker organization(radio) and another source at CAA. The comment was that in the TW contract are penalties pertaining to rating falling below certain levels. My understands is the payment decrease along with the rating. Therefore TW was adamant about Kobe and his drawing power. They slso showed up at the Melo meeting.

    TW numbers have been shrinking all around and analysts say they overpaid for rights which has in turn caused a revolt aganist TW from other cable and satalite aganist Dodger games as TW paid $8 billion for 25 years.

    A note on that. More people saw Kershaws no hitter in person then on TV that day and TW has been up for sale for 6-months with Warren Buffet the latest suitor.

    To sum it up it’s all about the money and it is rumored that Kobe is mentioned in the TW contract.

    I would be interested in hearing Darius thoughts on this as I believe he might know where the info came from also.

    Thanks

  54. Yes, it’s frustrating. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the result of bad planning or incompetence.

    Since we are back to this, three points:

    1. The coaching hires were both very questionable at the time, and many people opposed them at the time. It is true that we don’t know what would have happened with different hires. We do know that the guys the FO did hire didn’t work out.
    2. The Nash and Howard trades were a reasonable, if large, gamble, and an excellent gamble, respectively. Neither gamble worked out.
    2. The Jim Buss FO needs to make some big decisions that do not require defenses full of rhetorical questions and confrontational retrospective explanations. IOW, it needs to make some big decisions that actually work.

  55. I like Bledsoe but thats too much of a price, i would be fine with trading Hill and the pick not Julius. The Suns cornered themselves when they signed Thomas, now they have 3 quality PGs and looks like Bledsoe wants a lot of money and their FO dont want to pay. Dont know if the Lakers are willing to deplete our front court and giving up a 1st round pick for a pg.

  56. I would add laying off (technically not renew their contracts) long time Laker employees on July 1, 2011 to the list of dark days in Laker history. Alex McKechnie had spent a decade getting injured Lakers back on the floor and helping them to prevent future injuries. His approach was/is state of the art and he was quickly picked up by Toronto. The benefit to the Lakers was to save money during the lockout by the owners. They shot themselves in the foot to support Stern. The same Stern who returned the favor a few months later by voiding the Paul trade. As much as anything, this signaled a major change in Laker philosophy in which the league was always right even if the Lakers came out on the short end of the decisions. A younger Jerry Buss did what he considered was right for the Lakers and worked with the league to show how it was good for them as well. He would not have handicapped the team by firing key employees to save money, he would have figured out another way to recover the money.

  57. There really has to be a single bad guy in all this, because to have a confluence of events is just too complex to easily understand. Let’s see, the bad guy was Luke Walton, then Sasha, then Fish, then, Jim Buss; and through it all there is – of course – Kobe. It must be really tiring to constantly have to re-identify the bad guy in life/or sports.

    Perhaps the Lakers will slowly decline in importance and influence. Perhaps there are really dark days ahead. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Life is complex and many factors influence daily decisions and events. Sports imitates life and follows the same twisted path. This doesn’t mean we should give up being fans, nor should we cease criticizing things we disagree with. However, stop with it is all Jim Buss’ fault and stop with the ‘if only Jerry Buss were here to fix our problems.’

    We are in a down period, where every mistake made has an immediate impact. We will recover, but it won’t be easy and it won’t be without further mistakes. Risk is a necessary adjunct to progress. Make our criticisms about how we got here, finish this thread. Then let’s turn our attention to the coming year, what we can expect, and how we make it better. The past has been dissected up to and throughout this thread. Let’s start a new day tomorrow and put yesterday out with the old newspaper – don’t forget it, but don’t use it as a cudgel.

  58. Thought

    Will Davis, Randle and Boozer out rebound Pau, Williams and Sacre?
    Will Kobe and Lin out score Meeks, Marshell
    Will Hill play more minutes
    Will Randle and Boozer out score Johnson and Williams
    Will They have starters and bench players or the dart and ballon method
    Will Mr. Madoo out coach MDA.

    If your answer is yes to all above they could win 45 to 48
    If your newer is no to all then we are looking at 25 to 30 again.

  59. yes to all KO.

  60. If your answer is yes to all above they could win 45 to 48

    You had them winning 47 last year, buddy. Ha.

  61. Sad night for me. One of my all time favs, Rockford Files and so much more, James Garner passed away tonight.

    Makes this other stuff seem silly.

  62. 47 was reasonable last year. they were down to 5 players at one point in the season. no one can say that there wouldn’t have been a much more exciting season if everyone didn’t go down with injuries, if they had two point guards all year…certainly they showed promise until the wheels fell off. of course all the bad things DID happen..

  63. Guya just think – if bledsoe and mo roe jist sign their qualifying offers instead of extensions – both are free agents next year

    With a core of randle, bledsoe, and monroe we would have multiple great young players who will build up in value

  64. Warren Wee Lim July 20, 2014 at 7:22 am

    The roster we have so far gives me encouragement. I am not going to take up anything that the haters continue to harp on because its just adding fuel to the fire. Instead, lets give ourselves some hope for the season, as well as the options that remain with us.

    At Point Guard, Jeremy Lin.

    Linsanity he is no more, but he remains a very solid guard whose strength is attacking the basket. High pick and roll with mobile bigs that know how to operate from the top post (Pau would’ve been nice beside him) and guys that catch the ball well rolling to the basket. I wouldn’t dare say he would become an all-star this year (you never know, the lethal combination of Lakers and China) but I have a feeling he will thrive in his contract year playing for the Lakers. Averages of 15 points, 7 assists and decent FG%.

    Backing him up will be either the 40-yo Nash (or what’s left of him) or the rookie Jordan Clarkson. Both guys offer different sorts of questions to be answered, but my money is on Clarkson developing into a decent prospect by the end of the year.

    At shooting guard, Kobe Bryant.

    Forty Eight and a half million questions abound our immortal superstar. Most of us here use his age and injury to predict that he will merely be a shadow of the player he once was. For these people, giving Kobe the money is the reason why there is no other superstar in LA.

    But for the few of us, the faithful and hopeless romantic, we believe Kobe benefited from resting last season. He came back as a player who was significantly slower and out of shape. But its only going to motivate him to come back stronger.

    Simply put, the doubters and believers peg Kobe to be somewhere in between 15-4-4 42%fg washed up superstar to 24-5-5 47%fg who plays within the system and relies on his teammates. There’s no right or wrong for now, time will tell.

    Behind him, the return of a favorite of ours, Xavier Henry. While X spent most of the 2nd half of last season out with injuries, he comes back to the Lakers with renewed commitment to prove others wrong.

    At small forward, Wesley Johnson. Wait, shouldn’t it be Nick Young here?

    On the contrary, I do believe whoever is the coach will insert Wes Johnson into a defensive role beside Kobe in the offense. Since Lin himself demand the attention by virtue of the pick and roll, the value of an athletic freak like Wes Johnson beside Kobe and Lin (who are both challenged in transition D) will be very effective recipient of unguarded spot-ups on offense and taking on the opponents’ best perimeter player.

    Which brings us to Swaggy P, LA’s own. Even I couldn’t hide my excitement upon hearing news that we have come to terms w/ LA’s new prodigal son. Someone who I believe would benefit most from Kobe’s tutelage and discipline, Nick Young gives you the best version of himself on his biggest gig (contract) yet. 4 years and 21.5 million with a player option on year four, he is essentially a 3-yr deal if he does well, with hopes of re-signing for more, or a 4-yr deal if he turns out to be average.

    Nick Young’s love for offense is very useful beside lesser scorers. Being option #1 coming off the bench, Swaggy can provide for a very good scorer from our bench that wouldn’t necessarily be matched up against the other team’s best offensive wing. In the end, I foresee a 6th man of the year title for one of the league’s most-eccentric characters.

    At power forward, Carlos Boozer.

    I suspect that claiming Boozer off waivers from his amnesty was two-way in nature. Not only did we gain an experienced player who has been a 20-10 days in Utah beside a pick-and-roll PG like Deron Williams. He benefits by being the roller off a Jeremy Lin PNR set and his mid-range jumpshot will convince defenders to respect him from that distance.

    I too wasn’t too excited at first, but even since last season when Boozer was rumored to be amnestied, I have already placed the Lakers as one of the possible bidders. Now, its official. And while there’s no love lost between Boozer and Darius, there’s another reason why this claim was good for us. Aside from his contributions on the court, Boozer clearing waivers would have meant going to Houston. Him going to Houston would not be a slam dunk in any case, but would greatly help spacing problems of that team. Thanks to the Jeremy Lin trade, we own the Rockets 2015 1st rounder. Boozer not being with them, increases the value of that pick.

    Behind him are 2 interesting players whose games could not be any more different from each other. Julius Randle, 7th overall pick from Kentucky, representing the Lakers’ highest draft pick since James Worthy, could learn from Boozer’s moves down low. Since his game is more a combination of a slimmer Zach Randolph and a heavier Lamar Odom, being around veterans that have winning experiences could help hone the intangible side of your game.

    Ryan Kelly, last season’s 2nd round pick, a stretch-four in nature, is a tall forward that hails from a good school. He has good 3-pt range, but lacks everything else in his game. We see the potential but his minutes being lessened might not be a good thing. As Darius noted, granting last season’s numbers were skewed towards the D’Antoni system, the team offense simply operated better with Kelly on the floor. The eye test also confirmed that. We’ll see.

    At Center, the 18-million-dollar guy, Jordan Hill.

    Yes and No. Yes he is set to earn 18 million US DOLLARS in the next 2 years if we ended up keeping him beyond year one. He also is said to own a no-trade clause by virtue of his 1-year deal notwithstanding options, and thus CBA minutia will explain further this. But all you need to know is that Jordan Hill played well enough to earn this amount, atleast from the 1-yr standpoint (since we struck out too) that he will now get to be our defacto starting center. With a developing mid-range jumper (still too flat for my liking) and a great knack for rebounding, my only concern is that he’s been great last year with 18-22 minutes but terrible with 30 or more. I’m guessing he’s our version of Brandan Wright. Now with the uncontestible slot to start at center, more opportunities for rebounds and lose balls and putbacks, less for forced 20-footers or worse, 3-pointers.

    In short, expect not for Jordan Hill to give you 15-15 and 2 bpg. Instead, I will be very happy with 10-12 points and 12 rebounds a night w/ an occasional block here or there, and a promise not to foul out in games so we can see less of:

    Robert Sacre, is our backup center. The little (too much) we saw of him last year is enough to conclude he might never develop into a starting center. But with a contract of the minimum for 3 years (this being the 2nd) then I do not expect anything more than meaningful 12 minutes of hussle per game. If he gives us that, consider me a happy camper.

    Now on the other hand, the signing of Ed Davis to a 2-yr $2 million deal is great news. I haven’t seen much of him to see where he would fit in, but he looks to me like a Keon Clark. A lanky, not-quite-7-footer, who’s too thin to be center and power forward but can jump off the building. A good knack for blocking shots but yet he has limited ones in his career where he’s gotten the chance. So idk what to make of him for now, I’m guessing he will see DNP CD for the 1st few games unless injuries call for his duties to be activated.

    That’s where we are as of mid-July, completing our 12-man roster with our room exception in tact. We also have the option of stretch-waiving Steve Nash, but that remains a long-shot in the sense that there are no more worthwhile free agents that would be worthy of taking Nash’s cap hit beyond this year. Unless something drastic changes in the coming days, like maybe Eric Bledsoe forces his way to the Lakers or something, then this is our Lakers.

    45 to 50 wins. 6th to 8th seed.
    Rejoice and be glad in it.

  65. The Veto – Basketball Decisions – or whatever one chooses to call it, IMO, will forever be looked upon as what changed the course of basketball within the city of Los Angeles in this decade. The Front Office, who I’ve taken my shots at on occassion – mainly in regards to the coaching hires – formulated a master plan to get us right back to the top. Only to have that plan shot down and destroyed by jealous owners – Gilbert, Jordan and Cuban come to mind – who, after recognizing that there was a good possibility that the Lakers would end up with the best PG in the league in Paul, the best Center in the league in Dwight and the best SG in the league in Kobe, pressured and basically forced Stern to Veto the deal for no apparent reason. Stating that the league was tired of its “superstars” leaving “the smaller market teams” for teams who play in “bigger markets” was bullsh*t. Part of the same fraudulent bs that they used to establish the new CBA, which us Laker fans know was really intended to strip us of power – especially after that TW Deal. If that wasn’t enough, he then had the audacity to route Paul to the Clippers, who, last I checked, played in the same “big market” as the Lakers. Talk about throwing salt into an open wound. The city of L.A. – and some would dare to say, the NBA – hasn’t been the same since.

  66. Tra….
    Feeling your post! Don’t forget that the Lakers have propped up the less profitable franchises for years via revenue sharing. Their reward for being an exemplary organization was a good swift kick in the nads by David Stern and his minions.

  67. Tra,
    I totally agree with you.
    That said, we are where we are.
    Now, what can we do to work our way back? Are we starting along that path? I would say yes, but I also would say there is likely no shortcut – it will take years, not months, unless the front office pulls out another miracle trade.

  68. Rusty Shackleford July 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Guys like Aaron Brooks, who have repeatedly torches the Lakers over the years. Have the Lakers even ever showed interest in him?

  69. Rusty; Too late; the Chicago Bulls just signed Aaron Brooks.

  70. Awesome post warren

    Darius – can you confirm if we still have our room exception? Amd would using it put us over the cap

  71. I don’t wanna lose two bigs for Bledose.
    However, maybe that’s why we picked up Boozer?
    If we aren’t done dealing, and the FO has one more ace up its sleeve-
    That would be impressive.

  72. KO,

    Big Garner fan myself.

  73. However, maybe that’s why we picked up Boozer?

    Like I said, the only reason to get Boozer would be that it was leading somewhere else.

  74. I’m all for Bledsoe but not at the cost of Randle. Totally fine with giving up next year’s pick from Houston as it will not be a very good draft after the top 10 picks as well as Hill if need be.

  75. The way to win an NBA trade is to get the best player in the trade. So, whether one wants that trade simply depends on how good one thinks Randle will be. So, yes, in your case, you would never make that trade.

    Like I said, I don’t see it happening, because I don’t think PHX will want to do it. The Lakers might, although I am not sure.

    >>>>I’m guessing he will see DNP CD for the 1st few games unless injuries call for his duties to be activated.

    If the new coach is giving Ed Davis DNPs with this roster, then he’s not paying much attention.

  76. People seem to think they used the Room Exception on Kelly:

    Larry Coon
    ?@LarryCoon
    RT @EricPincus To pay Nick Young a little over $21.4 million – my suspicion is that team used part/all of Room Exception on Ryan Kelly

  77. Warren,
    Where I think Davis will see backup minutes is against the smaller, quicker teams. Sacre simply cannot play in that kind of game. Since the game is moving in that direction – both Miami and SA were quicker than in the past – I would suspect Ed will see more minutes than you predict.

  78. Certainly things would likely well have gone better in 2013 if we’d rehired Phil and didn’t deal with 234923532 injuries, but I do feel that the “not hiring Phil in 2013 doomed LA” meme is somewhat overblown. From what I recall, Phil was essentially done with coaching and physically not up to the 82-game grind of the regular season. It’s fair to blame the front office for hiring D’Antoni and not trying harder with Phil but would he even have accepted? Because if he hadn’t (and I suspect he wouldn’t have), we’re likely still in the same boat.

  79. The unifying theme in the episodes discussed is and continues to be a lack of a viable Plan B. The Plan A’s such as getting CP3 and getting a healthy Nash make a lot of sense. When these have bombed, there never seems to be a Plan B in reserve. Instead, there was a scramble preceded by “how could we have predicted this outcome?”. The answer is you do not know everything that can happen but you can make plans in case things do not work out as expected.

    The current lack of a coach fiasco is a great example. The expectation was that D’Antoni was going to continue to be the coach next season and therefore his brother would be the summer league coach. It looks like the Lakers did not have a strong feeling about who should coach if D’Antoni decided to leave and they still have not resolved the problem. The summer league team was turned over to remaining D’Antoni assistants who may or may not be with the team once a new head coach is hired. In the meantime, decisions have been made over which players to retain and which to let go. Contrast this to the Knick situation when Kerr told them he was not interested. They immediately went to their Plan B which was Fisher and got him signed and started.

  80. Craig W: “it will take years, not months, unless the front office pulls out another miracle trade.” Yes. This is definitely true. The difference between those of us who criticize the FO and those who support is the very premise of this overall post. The VETO, the injuries, and “some” of the other stuff was bad luck – of that there is no doubt. However – there were also bad decisions of that there is no doubt. What percentage you put on luck and what percentage you put on “bad decisions” is the essence of the FO debate. I for one think that calling it all bad luck and a downturn cheapens our success over the past 67 years. Was all of our success simply good luck and an upturn? I do not think so. I think we made the right moves and we also had some good luck as well. The rest of the league would hate us even more if they thought we thought every time we won it was skill and every time we lost it was bad luck. It is a combination of both and Jim has been bad with his decisions, and has also had bad luck. I have seen a lot of poker players go broke that way, and if Jim were playing at the Bellagio, the last thing I would do is loan him money : ) Now – you and others have pointed out that he isn’t going anywhere (yet), but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. And by the way I spend my good money on tickets and cheer louder than most around me, so I get the “support the team” mentality. That is what I do – at the games, and in bars, and whenever opposing teams fans mouth off – etc.. Here – we are talking what is best for the team, and that unfortunately is not Jim Buss
    Baylor: “The current lack of a coach fiasco is a great example.” Exactly. we are being mocked league wide for our handling of this. How is this heading in the right direction?
    Jim Buss: If you are reading this – just hire Byron already – like now. OK – I am sorry about the Billy Zane comment – now hire Byron.

  81. How did we get here?

    Jimmy Buss made one stupid decision after another. It is like watching a teenager driving for the first time. Obviously this leads to death in numerous cases.

  82. The biggest problem of the Lakers – particularly Jimmy Buss – is that they do not value long-term stability. They are the opposite of the Spurs. The Lakers love to gamble big. They don’t like steady progress. They become disenchanted with losses rather than energized.

    When the Lakers got blown out by Oklahoma, they should not have dismantled the Phil Jackson Lakers. They should have kept the core and built on it like the Spurs would have.

    The Lakers have been spinning downhill since they loss Phil Jackson.

  83. I, personally, don’t blame the front office for ‘no plan B’ or ‘lack of value of stability’.

    Plan B is essentially what we have been doing…bringing in talent that hasn’t worked elsewhere on 1 year contracts to see whether a change of scenery and coaching can bring out the talent. We succeeded, IMO, with Young, Hill, Henry, Meeks, and Bazemore – a pretty good batting average. The fact that we lost two to free agency is a calculated risk in this area.

    Then our drafts the last two years would seem to have been quite good.

    Finally, the fact that we signed three of the free agents we developed + Johnson would indicate that we do value stability. The fact that we didn’t sign everyone doesn’t indicate a lack of stability – IMO.

  84. I thought we’d be much more critical, and much more concerned: Almost all the players with obvious value were scooped up: the two stars may never play at all star levels again–and then things start to go down hill: oh, did I mention that they, alone in the NBA, don’t have a coach?

    The “no plan B” in recent Laker thinking is certainly a credible concern, except right now, there isn’t even a plan A. Despite all this, we have blogsters on this board boldly predicting a Laker playoff spot.

    Not me.

    Right now, to be truly optimistic about the Lakers, one must engage in dark humor.

  85. Craig?&(,:33578&&),.?&&&!(::///

    Curse words in Martian.

    That team you mentioned had the worst record in Laker history.

    Success?

  86. Warren Wee Lim July 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Craig, pertaining to Ed Davis…

    Most media personnel both credible and not, simply put forth an opinion that they all believed Ed Davis is at the very least 5-7 million in value. Since you know, he’s young and athletic and all. For the Lakers to sign him at 1+1 deal means something, his agent wants eyes to see him. Either Lakers pay him like Nick Young or other teams do, like Jodie Meeks. Not quite the comparison but in terms of $$$ Ed Davis should make other GMs regret why they did not get him.

    However, lets not put too much on him because if he DID command that much, why couldn’t he atleast get room exception or mini MLE or full MLE? Some things are such for a reason and I am guessing that Ed Davis will come out and prove to be better than his contract, but also not the surprise we hope we could grab at 1 million. In short, lets temper our expectations with him and simply hope we’ve found ourselves a gem who we can hopefully develop this year, and sign long term.

    As for the optimism of putting the Lakers in the playoffs, well, everything changes in a year. While the Spurs will quite possibly remain the favorites to win it all, the Thunder continue to have 2 great players in Westy and Durant, there are unknowns in the NBA world that would surprise you. For instance, Kevin Love moving East would be a big coup. It would create a powershift of sorts and would significantly strengthen 1 more Eastern team. I also rely on variables like INJURIES who we are no stranger of. We could be at the better end of that deal now since you know, we’ve had the worst end for the last 2 years.

    All in all, thats why games are played and are not dependent on predictions. Thats why we watch.

  87. Warren Wee Lim July 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    [quote]
    KO July 20, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Thought

    Will Davis, Randle and Boozer out rebound Pau, Williams and Sacre?
    Will Kobe and Lin out score Meeks, Marshell
    Will Hill play more minutes
    Will Randle and Boozer out score Johnson and Williams
    Will They have starters and bench players or the dart and ballon method
    Will Mr. Madoo out coach MDA.

    If your answer is yes to all above they could win 45 to 48
    If your newer is no to all then we are looking at 25 to 30 again.
    [/quote]

    I have a feeling that Randle and Hill, while their contributions on scoring will be limited (like 19-22ppg combined) their ability to rebound will be their best assets. They won’t be shotblockers anytime soon, but we’ll protect the paint thru team defense and zone.

    I expect Lin to command an offense like he has done over the years. Not Linsanity numbers, but a decent 15ppg 7apg game with decent percentages like 45% would be a good thing to expect.

    Kobe, unlike most of you, could/should become more efficient with less athleticism. He is a cerebral player and will find ways to beat you. I am guessing Kobe will average 1 of the higher percentages of his career and still average between 20-24ppg.

    So to answer, Lin and Bryant will definitely outscore Meeks and Marshall.

    Randle, I’ve asked around, will not come out 20-10. To expect that is too much. I believe a good round 12-7 to 12-10 would be appreciated and immediately puts him in the running for ROY.

    The coach remains the last mystery. I’m guessing we’re in for a good surprise. If its Byron then I’m just shit out of luck.

  88. Thoughts:

    1. We will never know the full story on the D’Antoni hire. Even the people involved all have different versions, and all of them probably believe that their versions are the truth. One thing we do seemingly know is that Howard supposedly went to the FO and said he wanted to play for Phil rather than for D’Antoni, and if so, that’s enough. Yes, on paper Nash/Howard should have had a blast terrorizing the league playing PnR in MDA ball, and that is one reason I backed the hire at the time, but Howard himself obviously wasn’t into that–and MDA was not the man to change Howard’s mind. Keeping Howard, warts and all, was a huge priority, and the team needed to do everything it could to accomplish that. They didn’t, and it was a mistake. Yes, Howard might well have left any way, and no, he is not an ideal franchise building-block. But we are seeing now what it means to lose a guy like that uncompensated.
    2. Looking at the off-season as it stands now, I agree with the KBros, in that I think the Lakers should have tried to outbid Charlotte for Stephenson and should have made big bids on Bledsoe and/or Monroe. If you look at the big FAs from 2014, 2015, and 2016, there was/is no reason to see the Lakers as a frontrunner to land any of them. Kevin Love would probably join a good Lakers team–but not the current one, and I expect that he will be locked up long-term by either CLE or GS before next summer.

    So, since the Lakers aren’t going to tank and don’t own enough picks to make it feasible anyway, the Lakers need to make moves like the Lin deal, and they need to get young guys with talent on the team even if they are not awesome and even if they are a little overpaid. Guys like that can always be moved if need be.

    Getting cheap youngish guys with something to prove is fine, but it is not really a “Plan B.” It is just something that you do in this CBA if you’re the Lakers. They obviously can’t get ring-chasers and they don’t have many draft picks.

  89. Howard might as well be Moe Howard. Dwight was useless to the Lakers anyway. he had a pitifully bad performance for a superstar in the playoffs for the Lakers(or just a pitifully bad performance, period), and i didn’t see anything from him for the Rockets, either.

    at least the Lakers don’t have Benoit playing center. i think everything is going about as well as it can. health is the biggest obstacle to things moving forward at this point.

  90. i didn’t see anything from him for the Rockets, either.

    Uh-huh. He had 27.2 PER and .185 WS/48 in the loss to Portland. If you want to “see” something, check on Harden’s D in that series on youtube and the drop off in his stats from the regular season to the Portland series.

    Also, Houston won 54 games, and the Lakers won 27, thus joining the list of teams, which I posted before the season started, of teams who cratered after losing an All-Star center in his prime. Obviously, the Lakers had problems other than losing Howard, but trying to spin it as a positive after how things played out last year is simply pathetic.

  91. If only they were in the East danny.

  92. I don’t think there is any positive spin I could/would put on losing Howard. However, I – like you rr – don’t think he is the base of a championship team, but the #2 man. I also don’t think Harden/Howard is a tandem that will vie for a championship by themselves. They need a leader and those two may think they are leaders, but they don’t really understand the term, IMO.

    rr – you are a stats guy and I am not. I believe stats can help you get more information about someone, but I don’t believe stats tell you who is good and who is not. If two players seem somewhat equal, then stats can help separate them, but basketball is too much a team game and so much depends on health, teammates, and chemistry that individual honors often say more about the situation, than about the individual.

    Howard has individual stats, but he is not a person you can count on when the pressure gets the highest. You better have someone else you can go to – like Karl Malone had John Stockton.

  93. Ultimately, IMO, the tragedy of THE VETO is that Chris Paul wasn’t around to keep Dwight Howard around, and in line. There is the ripple that became a tsunami. Not the front office’s actions since that time.

  94. TempleOfJamesWorthy July 20, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    My previous comment was eaten by the mods, but I want to bring up the central point of it:

    Name one “correct” decision the Cleveland Cavaliers made from the time of The Decision to the time of The Decision 2.

    They lucked into Kyrie Irving (trade with Clippers for Baron Davis + 1st-round pick)

    They lucked into Deon Waiters, who may or may not be able to play with this group

    They lucked into the #4 pick, wasted it on Tristan Thompson (when Klay Thompson and others were available)

    They lucked into the #1 pick this year when they tried very hard to make the playoffs.

    And now LeBron is back, and Cleveland will probably make at least the ECF from the next 4-5 years.

    Can someone explain how the Lakers decisions have been worse than what Cleveland has done over the past 4 years? A string of bad luck does not equate to front office incompetence.

  95. Ultimately, IMO, the tragedy of THE VETO is that Chris Paul wasn’t around to keep Dwight Howard around, and in line

    Yep. That is a key point. I think that SA would still be the champs in that alternate universe, but the Lakers would be where the Rockets and Clippers are now–in the mix, looking to make moves to get over the top. Paul also would have had no problems standing up to Kobe.

    Stats: they are useful tools and have limitations. But I much prefer them to narratives, which label players as having certain indelible character traits that make them winners or losers, like LeBron James lacking a killer instinct.

    Howard and Harden: There are whispers about this kind of thing now–that they don’t have what it takes, etc. They have flaws–Howard’s FTs, Harden’s laziness on defense. But the point I have been making is simple; With Howard and Harden, Houston is a factor, they are in the mix. They may or may not win a title, but they are among the better teams in the league and they have a chance. As of now, the Lakers don’t.

  96. Can someone explain how the Lakers decisions have been worse than what Cleveland has done over the past 4 years? A string of bad luck does not equate to front office incompetence.

    Los Angeles has never compared itself to Cleveland before. I hope we don’t have to start now.

    For the sake of argument though (!) the current LA FO is drawing fire for legitimate reasons. Although the VETO, which began our hellish descent, may not have been management’s fault, the moves they’ve made since then have become progressively worse.

    Trading for Dwight was seen as a brilliant parlay for Bynum at the time, and the Nash acquisition should have worked out better than it did.

    But gambling and losing on Dwight’s FA was the first evidence that the facade was crumbling.

    Then, refusing to give Phil a seat at the table, for better or worse (marital pun not intended- nor spoken by Phil/Jeannie) placed us squarely on our current path to confusion and mediocrity.

    Gasol’s departure, to me, now reverberates throughout the kingdom and draws an unmistakable line. An incumbent player, a two-time champion, and a hall of famer with an absolutely stellar reputation, has taken LESS $$$ to LEAVE sunny LA to play in the Windy City.

    By contrast, Cleveland’s ownership has retained its young star, Irving, buried the hatchet with its prodigal son Lebron, and in all likelihood will soon add next year’s most coveted FA, Kevin Love, to its roster, making itself a championship contender in the blink of an eye.

    Extending Nick Young, trading for Jeremy Lin, and claiming Carlos Boozer isn’t exactly drawing rave reviews, for good reason.

    So no, I hate to compare Cleveland to LA, but if I had to at the moment, our ownership and management doesn’t compare favorably.

  97. rr, i wasn’t spinning anything.
    a superstar gives you at least one game on his effort alone. he says “AAARRRRGGG” or “NOT ON MY WATCH”! or some such cliche and expends so much effort that his team wins and goes to the playoffs before his achilles pops. sorry, that was a mistake, i mean he “puts the team on his back and wins it for the Gipper”.

    i’m in favor of “numbers” as one of the tools that can be used to judge a player.

    as we all know, sometimes there is more to a player than his numbers. sometimes there is more to the numbers than there is to the player. it just depends.

    until Kobe shows me that he cannot play, the Lakers are “in the mix”, assuming everyone is healthy. admittedly, they would be the darkest of all horses, but they’re “in the mix”. right now, almost everyone is “in the mix”. last year’s Huston team was “all show and no go”, just like the Lakers the year before that, and all of the Orlando teams(except maybe the one that faced the Lakers) as well. is this coincidence? maybe.

    but back to my uninformed opinion, really though, to me, this is an interesting off season. it’s not comfy or settled by any means, but the team might not be too bad. we can only go “championship or bust” once the forces align themselves.and not a moment sooner. when a team catches that wave, even Detroit can win a championship.

    “there is a tide to the affairs of men” and “you can sell no wine before it’s time!”. or something, turn, turn, turn

  98. good read, remembering where our fall started. lots of bad decisions mostly by the FO.
    we had two great moves on those years, landing DH and getting CP3 (almost), but the worst for me was signing MDA over Zen master.
    i hope we can turn around this misfortune the past few years.
    its really sad when we’re spectators come May-June every year.

  99. I love the patience of our FO. We picked up and retained talented young guys with short small contracts. We overpaid Hill and Young but we need higher salaries in case a frustrated star with a big contract decides to leave his current team and wants to get to LA.

    Remember about the garbage we sent back to Memphis for Pau. Wildly overpaid Kwake, some picks and a chubby center who nobody knew was as good as he’d become.

    We preserved cap room going forward and set ourselves up with nice young assets to send back teams in case they need to dump their big names with big contracts.

    Have faith. It might not be this year, but we will own this league again sooner than 25 other teams can hope for.

  100. Dwight Howard sucks. What has Houston done besides whiff this off season to make them perennial contenders in the mix? All this should do is re affirm how awesome kobe and pau were, all but 3 yrs ago they sat atop the west with all this young talent hungry. Who is our coach?

  101. The problem with Howard and Harden is they are superstars by name only. Statistically on both sides of the ball Howard is just borderline all star and Harden is an above average player. Good on offense and bad on defense. The problem with Harden is he has trouble against playoff defenses. He lacks that elite athletisism to turn it on when the defenses in the playoffs do the same. Harden and Howard are both solid number threes on a championship team. They need a number one and a number two.

    Of course Howard before back surgery was a great number one.

  102. rr,
    I do agree that antidote without statistics is terrible and gets worse over time.

    Have always been a big Wilt supporter – he was amazing to watch – but so many statistics were not kept in his day and today’s fan simply cannot imagine his dominance. Shaq was the closest and he simply didn’t take his job as seriously – and that isn’t to imply that Shaq is/was lazy.

    However, I can’t really back much up, except his points, rebounds, and assists. When Wilt turned it on, no one – not even Russell – could stop him. However, Wilt is the reason I say basketball is a team game, led by individuals.

  103. If you look at the Lakers objectively and fairly you can make a case that the only bad decisions were giving Nash that deal, and hiring Mike Brown. If Jim buss can build a contender in the next year or two you have to give him credit because that’s not easy to do even if you are the Lakers and if he doesn’t well he’s put a timeline on himself so that works out.

  104. Regarding Phil – While he certainly helped the Lakers on the floor as a coach. He did the Lakers no favors as it relates to the FO.

    Phil was never going to get a seat at the table with Dr. Buss and Jim Buss. In many situations dating for 12 years and not getting married is OK. However, I don’t think this sat too well with Dr and Jim Buss.

    Absent getting married to Jeannie, Phil was always going to be viewed cautiously. Dr. Buss and Jim were likely concerned that Phil was using Jeannie as a power play to gain control of the team. Phil is good at playing games (you recall he got rid of West) and when he leveraged his relationship with Jeannie he was the second most powerful individual in the organization behind Dr. Buss. I believe Jim took notice of this and resented it.

    As for Mitch, I think he was always the tactical arm to Dr. Buss’ genius strategies. So when Jim took over it was assumed that he would keep Mitch as his tactician as opposed to elevating him.

    Phil’s presence likely scared off any number of executives that may have been invited to join the FO over the years. So there was no one else around to help Jim when Dr. Buss gave him the keys. We are experiencing the results of that now.

  105. Craig
    Agree on Wilt.
    He was awesome.
    Imagine the hype if he was coming out of high school today.
    I believe he’d still dominate.

  106. Re Jim Buss self imposed timeline
    When did he say that?
    2011?
    If it was 2011 and he was serious then no wonder he’s swinging for the fences. He’s only got one or two more off-seasons at the most before the grim reaper escorts him out the door.

  107. OT, sort of. On vacation in barcelona. Incredible quantity of lakers hats and Kobe jerseys here. Not a single gasol. Either one.

    Support of the global franchise arguments often seen here.

    Btw, I Haven’t checked news in quite a while– we got lebron, right ?

  108. At this point it’s getting super disrespectful to Byron Scott, the only reason I can see him not being hired is if he promised Kyrie Irving….before Lebron James decided to go back home…..or he came out and was talking about how he knew the roster and it’s not the same roster and the FO feels he’s not qualified for the magnitude of the job….but then who else is on their radar? why put it out there that there were 3 interviews haha. I get that Jim Buss wants to stay out of the spotlight and kind of like that about him but you have to at some point explain certain things some things should become transparent because you are tied to your fan base too you should want to at least come off as being intelligent and having a plan. If this is a formality finish it up. Is there anything in the form of deadlines or cap restrictions that would keep the Lakers from signing their coach? Are we really the only team in the league without a coach?

    The good news is this roster is solid if there is chemistry and kobe is healthy and we have some luck with health I can see them sneaking into the playoffs. Should be exciting to root for Randle for roy, kobe for mvp if he can get the Lakers in the playoffs as a 6th or 7th seed avg 24 6 4. haha and we just have a bunch of good dudes. Swaggy, Johnson, Henry, Clarkson, Lin, Hill, Randle, Kelly. I think that’s important they are guys I want to root for and see get better.

    I was hoping we picked up boozer to trade him because it’s a move inconsistent with a rebuild but I guess we can’t so whatever he’s actually a great spot up 4 and has plenty of playoff experience and will be a good guy to take the load of our young bigs.

  109. I found the F.O. to be unrealistic in playing the waiting game hoping to land a superstar this year. Without shedding Nash the Lakers did not have cap space to surround 2 all stars and make that an appealing option.

    I believe the Lakers should have made themselves facilitators of free agent hype absorbing 1 year bad contracts while replenishing their draft picks. Lin was the only good move here. Failing to act sooner the Lakers instead signed Hill to a monster contract that I would term bloated but they don’t get the benefit of a draft pick. I don’t see Hill and Young as making a vast improvement over guys we could have received while getting picks.

    I haven’t been at all happy with their draft selection. I believed it was very foreseeable that the Lakers would have a number of options to pick up a serviceable PF. A PF that could spell minutes at Center would have been a better choice. Randle has the skillset to be successful in the NBA but not the tools. Whereas a rookie who has the tools but not the skillet may develop later on. A player with skills but not the tools isn’t going climb much higher.

    That said I’d trade Randle for a Klondike Bar but, I’m not inclined to buy into Bledsoe rumors. Do the Lakers not have enough experience overpaying injury plagued guys?

  110. FYI
    Scott attorney is currently under indictment involving a Saudi Prince and certain $5 million in bribes. Manny handled all of Scott’s contract and has caused the hold up due to caution by the Lakers.

  111. See Mauauel Hudson who is
    Bryon Scott’s attorney

    And Joseph Cavallo

  112. Robert-MDA Captain of the Titanic…(hilarious)!

    Howard was never supposed to be the anchor on the Lakers team, neither then nor in the future. The trade was intended to put the Lakers within the radar of Carmelo, Bosh, and to a lesser extent Lebron. Phil Jackson and Dwight would have netted one of those three, for sure! Most likely not Lebron, though, since Lebron appeared to have lost respect for Howard during his last all-star game for the east when they had a chance to win, but Howard was goofing up and down the floor, smiling and walking. The west went on to win even though Lebron exerted copious amounts of energy to bring the team back to contention.

    The draft is not a panacea for a team like the Lakers, maybe for teams like the Raptors, Timberwolves, and Cavaliers, but NOT the Lakers. It is challenging to project the players that have the gravitas to play at a high level in the NBA from the players that never maximize their potential. See Lakers current reclamation projects: Davis, Henry, Johnson, and previous players Bazemore and Marshall. Bazemore was successful with the Lakers because they played an open-court game, he will most likely revert to the player that the Warriors discarded. Marshall could use some plyometric work to improve his horizontal and vertical athleticism, and spend hours in the gym achieving a consistent go to shot (floater) and 3 pointers. From the appearances of his summer league showings, he is the precise player the Lakers picked up last year. I am jubilant they are not Lakers and wish them well on their new teams.

    Kelly, Johnson, and Henry will display qualities of their games that were not evident last season. Johnson, like Kaman and Pau, was inserted into the lineup and received DNP’s even when their play was exemplary. So, I expect for his game to show more consistency this season. All three are players that eschew team disruption, so they are above average players to retain at a minimum cost. Moreover, the Lakers culture is not conducive to one and done league journeymen. The Lakers require players that adjust to the climate of the organization and the demands from the fans, and journeymen only reach this potential when they are on the team for several years.

  113. Nick Van Exile July 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Good post, Daniel!

    Regarding the Princeton, I wonder if Mike Brown decided on that offense because he heard from Dwight’s “people” that Dwight wanted to go away from running P&R and instead wanted to post up (for whatever reason since P&R was his bread and butter in Orlando). Dwight seemed completely uninterested in running P&R under MDA’s offense, setting half-assed screens that anyone could get by. The Princeton was effective for Kobe though as he looked really efficient in it and didn’t seem to have to work hard to get really good shots.

    Assuming Byron is hired at some point before the All-Star game, it will be interesting to see what kind of offense he runs as his teams have incorporated the Princeton offense in the past. Based on the roster, this team looks like it should be a P&R heavy team all the way.

  114. That is quite a story and certainly explains why Scott’s appointment to HC would be held up.
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-saudi-sheik-extortion-plot-lawyers-charged-rape-20140714-story.html

  115. Re Jim Buss self imposed timeline
    When did he say that?
    2011?

    He said it about four months ago–it was right after Phil left and Jeanie went on the radio.

    Mud,

    If you are comparing Dwight Howard to Moe Howard, and saying Howard was “useless”, spinning is actually a favorable way to characterize what you are doing.

    Addressing both you and Aaron: Howard has his issues. I don’t particularly like him. But only one team at a time can have LeBron James or Kevin Durant, and even that, as we have seen, does not guarantee a parade. Teams, not players, win games and titles. So, what the Lakers need to do is to start assembling a team with young/prime two-way players who can stay out on the floor and play 70-75 games. Saying that this guy or that guy is only a #3 or a #4 is like a guy driving a 1982 Corolla saying that he doesn’t want a Corvette because it’s not an Aston-Martin.

    As far as the Lakers being “in the mix”, that is exactly what you were saying last year. You were wrong then, and you are wrong now. As discussed, the NBA is not a league for Cinderellas. Occasionally, teams will surprise, like Phoenix last year. But they still finished 9th. The 2008 Lakers were a surprise team, but no one knew going in that they would pull off a deal for Pau without giving up either Bynum or Odom. But going into an NBA season, there are usually 8-10 teams that could be in the Finals if things break right. At the moment, they are:

    SA
    OKC
    LAC
    GS
    POR
    HOU
    maybe MEM and DAL
    CLE
    CHI
    IND
    MIA

    For this year’s Lakers team to get anywhere, they would need the following to happen.

    1. A full comeback from Kobe to 2010-level Kobe.
    2. Randle to blow everyone away and be more or less a consensus RoY.
    3. Breakouts from Henry and Davis and healthy, high-end production by their own standards from everybody else.
    4. Some kind of unexpected mid-season trade that got an All-Star here.
    5. Quality coaching from the as yet unnamed coach.

    The chances of any of those things happening is probably pretty small; the chances of all of them happening are practically nil.

  116. If Byron Scott isn’t bothered by the wait then why should we be bothered?

    On a side note: The Laker organization isn’t exactly on great terms with the Cavs owner. Wouldn’t it be sort of fun – if more than a little ‘catty’ – if the Lakers were not hiring Byron Scott because Cleveland is still paying off his coaching contract? The Lakers could be consulting with Byron on everything, even paying him as an independent consultant, while waiting until the last minute to hire him as a coach – leaving Cleveland to pay his salary for as long as possible.

  117. If Byron Scott isn’t bothered by the wait then why should we be bothered?

    Neither of us knows, but I find it extremely unlikely that Byron Scott is not very bothered by the wait.

  118. West Coast Ram July 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I don’t know why we can never get a straight answer on who actually hired MDA. Most fans think it was Jim Buss that made the call but I’ve seen many reports that Jim was willing to bring Phil back and it was Dr. Buss that wanted to move to MDA.

  119. PG – Chris Paul
    SG – Kobe Bryant
    SF – Who cares? Metta World Peace?
    PF – Pau Gasol
    C – Dwight Howard

    Coach – Phil Jackson

    And all the front office had to do (with the exception of the borderline-illegal CP3 robbery) is make the most obvious choices in history of front office decisions time and time again. They’ve had half a dozen 50-50 chances for years now and they keep picking the (publicly unanimously) wrong one.

    RIP Jerry Buss.

  120. Everclear,
    As Phil noted in his recent writings, he might – emphasize the might – have agreed to coach the Lakers for the remainder of the year. At no time has he indicated he would coach the Lakers for longer than that timeframe – in fact, he has said repeatedly that he wasn’t interested in coaching again. Also, he has chosen to go with someone (Fish) who has absolutely no coaching experience over taking the reigns himself. He is much like Pat Riley in that respect.

    Regardless how anyone views Phil Jackson, there is no reason he was going to coach the Lakers beyond the 2012-13 season. This would still leave the situation with Dwight unresolved and, from previous comments, Dwight really didn’t want to play in Los Angeles – Kobe or no Kobe. New York, Chicago, L.A. have too much media attention to attract players who want to do their thing and don’t want questions about what that thing is.

  121. hey! where was i wrong last year?
    the team clearly failed because of the injuries. i have always qualified my enthusiasm with the caveat of health. when the team was relatively healthy last year, they were definitely competitive. “in the mix”, means having a shot. there is no telling who will go down with a terrible injury, or what players on what team will hate each other so much that they ruin chemistry. there’s no telling who will suddenly “get it”. of course the Lakers have little chance next year, but as of now, they are in good shape, if reality is considered. things can not be any better at this point, if the past that actually occurred was real.

    in any case, “it is what it is”, it’s time to stop acting like Eyore or Glum(“it’ll never work! we’re doomed”).

  122. Teams can influence their own “luck” by making smart decisions like not playing 35-year-olds 40 min/game. They can have backups like K. Leonard ready to step in and take over a starter’s role. They can avoid having two knuckleheads (Stephenson and Hibbert) starting on the same team. They can avoid making two aging superstars the core and only talent of the team. The track record of the Lakers these past few years has not been promising. Hopefully a coach will be found who will be able to start turning the franchise’s fortunes around.

  123. yes true, Baylor Fan, and yet, even doing everything correctly, things can still go to hell.
    as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    personally, i am looking forward with hope, too. if i lose all hope, you won’t see me following the Lakers or any other team. as i said, sports is not really important. i’m just a fanatic.

  124. Early NBA Power rating by John Schuhman, NBA.com has Lakers ranked 25th out of 30. Takes into account all personnel moves made to date.

    http://www.nba.com/2014/news/powerrankings/07/21/summer2014/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt3a

  125. To Brown’s credit, he outcoached Scott Brooks in the playoff series against the Thunder for most of the first four games, but the Lakers couldn’t protect fourth quarter leads in Games 2 and 4.

  126. Wow why did we even bid on Boozer? Things are making no sense in LA lately.

  127. hey! where was i wrong last year?
    the team clearly failed because of the injuries

    The Lakers had bad luck with injury issues, but that is what happens when you count on guys like 2014 Kobe and 2014 Nash. And, as noted, the other WC teams that rely heavily on older players, DAL and SA, are heavily invested in injury prevention analytics. The Lakers aren’t, as far as we know. Most people who thought that the Lakers would be bad last year thought so in part because of questions about the team’s health and durability. Hill and Farmar had injury histories going in; Blake is 34 years old etc. etc.

    And the team was competitive through 26 games. Whether they would have maintained it, even if healthy, is unknown.

    As to the “in the mix” thing, if the Lakers are in the mix, then so are Phoenix, New Orleans, Denver, Minnesota, and Utah.

  128. They didn’t know if their Boozer bid would be a success. So Davis was picked up.
    They always intended to retain Kelly.
    As I stated before, Boozer was a gamble intended as a nod to Kobe.
    “See? We’re trying to get you some players!”

  129. well, the Lakers may have made the playoffs without Kobe last year, but he was clearly available to play if they would have made the playoffs. since the team was decimated, he was left inactive. the team failed only because of injuries to the rest of the team. i remind you that they were down to 6 players at one point.

    yes, those other teams are also “in the mix” right now. once the season starts, we will probably see otherwise. if we already know “for sure” before the games are actually played, then there is no longer any point to the season.

  130. J C
    Kobe isn’t stupid; neither is he ignorant of the situation. Finally, he isn’t the GM either.

    All other things being equal, the front office may make a nod to Kobe, but he isn’t going to get them to change any basic direction. Boozer protects JR, and mentors him on some of the things he will need to succeed in the league. If he only does those two things he is probably worth what we paid for him.

  131. Byron: I predicted Byron 3 months ago (seriously that is how long it has been). This is beyond ridiculous. We are not capable of making a simple decision in a reasonable period of time.
    gsx: “Things are making no sense in LA lately.” I guess by lately – you mean the last 3 years : )
    Chearn/ J C: Thanks. There is a key poker hand in the beginning of the movie. Jerry Buss would have lost that hand : )
    jameskatt: “The Lakers have been spinning downhill since they lost Phil Jackson.” If we were spinning the plummet would be much slower than it is. We are cascading downhill head (cap) over heels (sneakers).
    mud: “lmao at those who are now “masters of panic”. I appreciate your use of the word “now”, which means the sentence clearly does not apply to me. I became a master of panic in 11/2012 : ) This however does not make me want SVG as our coach. It will be Byron. He never panics and we need a guy like that for the coming seasons.

  132. Hello Craig,
    I never said Kobe was stupid.
    Nor that he is a GM.

    And in my previous posts I’ve said I liked the Boozer pickup for his veteran input and because he is still a bargain at 3 mil.

    Perhaps you object to my use of “quotation marks”.
    I was answering a post by gxx that asked why Boozer was obtained.

    I do believe the FO is trying to keep one eye on rebuilding for the future -and the other on keeping Kobe from becoming disillusioned.

  133. JC

    Geez you made a silly error on your post.

    What you meant to say was you like booze not the Boozer deal.

    Silly mistake.

  134. Anonymous!
    Reveal thyself!

    And pass the bottle.

  135. Yea that was me JC

  136. Wow! Good well soon Michael Cooper!

  137. On Boozer:

    Veterans tend to want other veterans around. Cleveland’s first two moves after getting LeBron James back were to sign Mike Miller and James Jones, and they were supposedly also talking to Ray Allen. When Kobe has spoken up about personnel, it has usually been to promote the idea of adding a tough-guy/gamer veteran type: he wanted to trade Bynum for Kidd BITD, he has spoken up for Raja Bell and Matt Barnes, and he sent out a grouchy Tweet about the Steve Blake trade last spring.

    Given that and given that Kobe and Boozer have the same agent, it seems pretty likely that Kobe favors this move strongly. We will have to hope that Boozer will embrace this mentor/back-up role that defenders of the deal are using as a rationale for it, but I have my doubts. Boozer mostly handled his demotion in Chicago fairly well, but I have read a few things that indicate that he still sees himself as a starter and a 32-34 MPG guy, so I will be surprised if he is picturing himself playing 10-12 MPG and being the 5th big on a lottery team. He is old by NBA standards–33 in November–but not ancient.

    So, this is one of those cases in which we need to hope that the FO knows some things we don’t. either about Boozer, or about another deal they can make, since they can’t trade Boozer. But from what we can see right now, the move makes little sense.

  138. i think the Boozer deal makes perfect sense. he is still effective. if he is motivated, he can still change a game on his own. he only cost 3m. the Lakers looked at free agency and decided “pass” is a better move than joining the frenzy, once the big names were gone. now, they’re set for next year if this one goes bad(no bad contracts unless you don’t like Kobe’s), and yet they should still have a competitive team assuming everyone is healthy. that all seems very reasonable and it doesn’t preclude something surprisingly good happening. we’ll see how well things are working once preseason starts, assuming a head coach…

    with the things that have actually happened and no major miracles, i can’t see how this free agency could have done any better. i expect the team to play hard. if they do, and they don’t get hurt, they have a shot, even if it’s a long shot.

  139. he is still effective. if he is motivated, he can still change a game on his own.

    Darius already laid out the problems with the Boozer deal, and with his game, in detail. Neither of your statements is really defensible.

  140. that’s the beautiful thing, i don’t need to prove anything to you, rr.
    he had a 27 point, 9 rebound game where he terrorized just last year against the Heat. then again, he also had plenty of problems in the playoffs.

    i don’t expect much out of him often, however. i’m just saying that if he was properly motivated, he’d still be a problem for the other team. even if this doesn’t work out, God knows, i’m not a Carlos Boozer fan, i won’t feel bad. i just gave my reasons for thinking the deal was ok and sensible at 3m. if this year for the Lakers suddenly becomes a love-fest, he could help. if not, he doesn’t hurt.

  141. that’s the beautiful thing, i don’t need to prove anything to you, rr.

    It’s fine if you want to back the FO and be an optimistic storytelling kind of guy, but you probably shouldn’t try to pass it off as analysis and constantly bag on people who don’t buy in. There are several specific reasons to be opposed to the Lakers bringing in Boozer, none of which you have actually addressed, and I think it is pretty clear, based on where we are now, that those outweigh the potential benefits. Boozer has never been a good defensive player, his offensive game has slipped, and he can’t be traded. The Lakers have four big guys, all of whom are arguably mostly 4s, all in their 20s, and there are compelling, obvious reasons to play all of them ahead of Carlos Boozer. The fact that the FO just committed two years to Kelly, used a lottery pick on Randle, and gave Hill 9M illustrates this point. Ed Davis is–and has been since he entered the NBA–far better at rim protection than Boozer is. Sacre is around to be a 5th big, and the FO could have picked up another guy for the minimum if they wanted a 6th big.

    So, the main arguments for Boozer are that he is a low-post threat and a possible mentor for Randle. Given how much time Kobe will probably spend in the post and what I know about Randle’s and Boozer’s respective personalities, I don’t think that’s enough. As Darius explained, Boozer’s jumper was off last year, and it seems that he will suddenly get it rolling again in his age-33 season, since he declined across the board last year.

  142. similar to Luol Deng needing a spinal tap to make it through the season, carlos boozer simply wore out in Chicago and thibs had better defenders. Boozer is going to give the Lakers 10 and 5 and maybe more because between Lin, Kobe, he will get enough shots on the pick and roll and he’s a great option to have at a bargain of 3 mil. He can also be used later in a package deal…..so we all need to relax. The Lakers don’t have the most championship ready roster but they have a lot of promise and a lot of flexibility for the future. I think it has been a brilliant off season other than the coaching situation. Clarkson and Lin are immediate big time upgrades for our pg situation. Kobe is back, we have an excellent lottery selection in Randle that can play 3 or 4. We are going to have a scoring punch off the bench with guys who actually played a lot of starter’s minutes last year. Xavier Henry is a 12th pick, Hill is a lottery pick at 6th actually above randle haha, Young was the 16th pick, Ed davis was a 12th pick, Johnson was the 4th pick. Kelly and Clarkson are steals in the 2nd round. We have a very very solid talented top to bottom roster. If the Lakers could have somehow stretched Nash (which I believe they aren’t just out of respect for his game and his time in the nba) and could have brought in someone like Monroe or Stephenson I would have had higher hopes for a deeper playoff run. But as it stands we have a great bounce back roster from the worst season in history with a lot to root for. All of these guys are solid and we might have a few stars in Clarkson, randle, even Davis, Johnson and Henry can turn into awesome players. If it isn’t going to be Byron scott. Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Larry Brown, and Mark Madsen would be my choices. Yes I’m serious about Madsen.

  143. Chris Y,
    I have been hard on Boozer and have stated I am not a fan. He does have qualities that will help the team and he is cheap. That said, he cannot be traded this season so the idea that he can be packaged later in the year is incorrect. This is one of the reasons I am not too fond of the pick up. Of all the frontcourt players worth investing in this season for potential long term growth, he is not one of them. But he is also the only one who cannot be traded. The Lakers are, then, stuck with him. We’ll see how it goes.

  144. Wrong Choise: Dantoni over Phil….Is family bussines and is a decision based on family balance. yes, that is what happens when you respect desires of your past away father. Jenny and Phil take over the Lakers? What about others Buss childs? I´m a father too. and i don´t like the idea to put all eggs in only one box. All my childs deserves a slice of bussines. if they don´t make the rigth job, well…is kind of things that hapen in a family. Phil is not part of that family.

  145. i’m not passing anything off as anything.
    it doesn’t matter that much what we think about the Boozer move, it’s done and we had no say.
    it’s well documented that Boozer and Thibs didn’t like each other. perhaps, he’ll return to form this year. that’s not unlikely. at 3mil for one year, it not really a risk. if he stinks, he can sit.