From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers just won a title depending on Ron Artest and Sasha Vujacic to be their three point threats. Which is to say, they won despite having no consistent outside threats. They just count on things like Artest getting hot in Game 7. Mike Miller would change that. That’s why the Lakers are negotiating with him, as has been reported in multiple locations. The Lakers, with the highest payroll in basketball last year and all the key parts back, are way, way over the salary cap. So all they can offer is the mid-level exception (about $5.8 million) or some part of that. The negotiations are about how much. The Lakers would like to save some of that to bring in a point guard, as well.
From Brian Kamenentzky, Land O’ Lakers: Those were not the Santa Ana winds you just felt, but instead the collective exhale of Lakers fans across Southern California and beyond. Phil Jackson, the Lakers announced this afternoon, has decided to return for the 2010-11 season. This is good news, to say the least. “Count me in,” Jackson said in a statement. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”
From Kevin Ding, Orange County Register: Here’s what Phil Jackson wants now. Not just to go out on top. He wants to go out with the greatness that is appropriate to the greatest coach of all time.He wants his Lakers team to win gloriously next spring. He wants this fourth three-peat of his incomparable career to be a suitable capper. He wants dominance, excellence, grace. He wants this Lakers team to be better than those that handled an unworthy Orlando Magic team and staggered against a tough Boston Celtics team. There is plenty of room for improvement, and he wants the Lakers to move into that room, smell the incense he’ll light in there and be living there on self-built pedestals every single day.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: Sasha Vujacic’s eyes lit up. His smile widened. And his enthusiasm bubbled. A reporter had asked him about the possibility he’d play more at point guard next season, what with the uncertainty regarding the future of Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, as well as Mitch Kupchak’s contention that the team’s back court is the biggest area of concern during the off-season. Though the Lakers’ roster for 2010-2011 is far from complete, the mere chance that Vujacic would assume a greater role at point guard left him giddy and excited.
From Dave Mcmenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: The idea of his fourth three-peat must have been too much for Phil Jackson to pass up. The Los Angeles Lakers coach told the team Thursday that he will return for his 11th season on the bench in L.A. and an even 20th to cap his NBA coaching career. “Count me in,” Jackson said in a statement. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: The Lakers have opened discussions with free-agent swingman Mike Miller, a source close to the situation said Thursday. Miller is a former NBA rookie of the year and sixth man of the year. He averaged 10.9 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent shooting on 3-pointers for Washington last season, his 10th in the league.
48% from behind the arc? Yes please! Mike Miller, come on down.
A second unit of Critt, Sasha, Miller & Odom? You could put a cardboard cutout of Kwame in at center and they’d still light up opposing benches.
I’m sure I’m not alone on this, but I have a very good feeling that Sasha will play very well next year. I think he, much like Bynum, turned a corner mentally this past season. Plus, it’s a contract year for him, and we remember how that turned out last time.
Guards: Fish, Kobe, Critt, Sasha
Wings: Artest, Miller, Walton, Ebanks
Bigs: Pau, Bynum, Odom, Caracter + 1
The length and versatility of this squad will be mind blowing. Almost as mind blowing as the deals Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay have been offered. Yikes.
The only downside to Mike Miller is it leaves us thin at PG with less money to spend on a PG. We’d really have to rely on The Machine not to break.
Igor Avidon says
I was advocating for Miller earlier, but I’m not sure if he’s worth the 5 year $30 mil contract to us (he certainly is worth that to some other teams however) That’s a little too long and a little too big of a contract for me to be comfortable with it. Full MLE +8% raises for 3 years = a steal. Full MLE + 8% raises for 5 years = questionable/high risk.
If we do sign Miller, Sasha is gone and we’re getting either Crittenton or a D-League prospect to shore up the PG position at minimal cost. I wonder if LO is being shopped along with Luke’s contract (or Sasha’s) to improve our roster.
There was a lot of talk about a potential scenario of having a deep 1-8 rotation but a thin bench. I would GLADLY take that since in the playoffs Phil prefers a tight rotation anyway. Younger players (Ebanks, Caracter) can give us the 10-15 minutes a night we’ll need to give our aging core the necessary rest during the season. So if we can nab Miller for three years.. that’d be nice. But I have my doubts he’ll end up here.
Did you guys see Portland’s interest in Farmar? How much would it suck if he went there and blossomed? Ugh.
No one is calling him Mitch Kupcake now. The Lakers are a mature team in every good sense of the word, and they reflect the personal maturity of three men – Buss, Kupchak and Jackson.
Off the topic, but thanks to FB&G. You have keep our Laker buzz buzzing since the parade. There is no offseason at FB&G. Every tidbit of information is appreciated. These are heady times.
“Notable names on Lakers summer league roster: Gerald Green, DJ Strawberry, Rob Kurz”
Per Dave McMenamin’s twitter
The Machine + Javaris Crittenton if he is able to make the team at PG. All I hope for is that Fisher is able to keep his minutes to around 25 MPG to save those legs for the playoffs.
I definitely agree with those posters that believe that Sasha will step up again in a contract year. Sasha during the last season increasingly improved his decision making, the international incident with Dragic not being included. Sasha + Javaris as a backup PG platoon.
Damn a bench lineup of Javaris + Sasha + Mike Miller + Lamar Odom + DJ/Powell would be awesome.
“cardboard cutout of Kwame in at center ”
How would you tell?
The problem with having to use all of the MLE on Miller is that is lessens the chance of filling the team’s two biggest needs – depth at PG and PF/C. However, I would jump at the chance to sign Miller – I think that’s one of those opportunities you take if it’s available (like Artest last season), and gamble on being able to address the other issues in-house and with veteran’s minimum contracts.
Igor Avidon says
Wow, Gerald Green is still around? If that guy had his head on straight, he would start on most NBA teams. Phil should work his magic on this guy – if it worked, we’d have an uber-athletic young wing who can score in bunches by slashing AND shooting from the outside, as well as play some solid D.
I doubt JCrit would be much more than a practice player unless his defense is much improved. My sense is that Sasha gets burn at point until Mitch finds someone to trade a $4-5 million PG for his expiring (I’m only aware of JJack, but there must be more).
Regardless, I love the miller deal because the playoffs could see Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Artest, Bryant, and Miller each getting about 32 minutes per game. If fisher could carry a similar load, then Sasha only gets 16 minutes per game. And that’s it. Everyone else is a practice player/garbage time eater. Works for me.
I LOVE Mike Miller. Beyond his contributions on the court, the dude is a character guy. He would be a nice fit. I am seriously giddy thinking about him signing with LA. Kobe has stated on a few occassions that he really respects him, too. That’s important.
I’m having a hard time understanding the interest in Miller. I get that he’s a great shooter, but where will he get his minutes? Artest plays 35-40 a night, and I don’t think Miller can play the 1 or 2. Is Buss really prepared to pay 6 mill a year (for the next 5 yrs) for a guy playing 10-15 minutes a game?
(Not to mention that up until a couple years ago the guy had never heard of Paella.)
I know Miller is a better player than Blake, but I’d rather have Blake + Craig Smith than Miller. If the Miller signing happens it does make me suspect that Odom is going to be traded..
@sbdunks: To be fair, a cardboard cutout of Kwame Brown would probably fumble less balls than the actual Kwame Brown…
eric r says
why would we trade odom if we got miller?
our big men depth would decrease significantly and odom is our bynum insurance. hes a great glue guy that does the little things and he doesnt mind giving up shots to kobe, gasol, or bynum. i dont see us giving up odom just like that.
anyways, i read that lakers are giving mike miller til tuesday to decide
and it looks like amare will be signing with the knicks
The interest in Mike Miller is that Ron + Kobe won’t have to play in the high 30s to low 40s in minutes every night. Mike Miller has the ability to play and has played the 1,2, and 3 in Minnesota and Washington.
Mike Miller would definitely help in keeping Kobe + Ron fresh throughout the year. Additionally, he is a great shooter with decent ball-handling skills and solid BBIQ. He would probably see ~20 minutes a game and would be a great backup if Kobe or Ron get in foul trouble.
Although, the idea of Craig Smith + Steve Blake would be a much more balanced pick up, I think Steve Blake is going to overpaid big time by someone. The dearth of free agent PGs makes it likely that he will get a sizeable contract from someone and based on the poor decisions that we say yesterday, that is increasingly likely.
@DB Miller is a natural SG, even though he was forced to play SF due to the Wizards lack of depth at that spot last year. Statistically he’s one of the better 2’s in the league (wages of wins even has him up there with Roy & Johnson) last season and throughout his career. As others have mentioned, you can split 96 min betw Artest Kobe & Miller. Even if Artest & Kobe play more than 32 some PG minutes could go to Miller as well. So I don’t think minutes is the issue.
For comparison Blake vs. Miller on offense (more comparable since triangle doesn’t really have a traditional PG) last season:
M – .98 pts per possession
B – .9
M- 50/99 (50.5%) in 3pt in spot up situations
B – 55/140 (39.3%)
M – 82/168 (48.8%) 3pt overall
B – 77/205 (37.6%)
not to mention M also shot 49.4% off the dribble vs 40% for blake in two points situations. Which is important when getting chased off screens.
on defense (less comparable since guarding a PG is diff than guarding a SF)
M – .98 PPP
B – .84 PPP
both defended 3pt @ 33%
P&R ball handler situations
M – 1.05 ppp
B – .78 PPP
P&R roll man
M – 1.14
B – 1.38
M – .83
B – .95
So you can see that Miller is better across the board on offense, esp in the role that he would be playing in the triangle. On defense, he is not as good against traditional P&R sets but the fact that he is better against isolation & P&R roll-man suggests he could do well in LA defense as we like to switch a lot. I think it’s easier to make up these defensive deficiencies with help (and his length) than the offense ones i.e. you either make the shot or you don’t. You either can drive and finish or you can’t.
I agree with Bynumite. (Just saw the post, so I’m editing mine)
Just a gut feeling here, but I think everyone’s initial eagerness to split the MLE between a good backup pg and big man, or backup pg + miller… based on the contracts we’ve seen go out, it’s starting to really feels like that’s unrealistic this year.
The idea of Blake to start out at 2.5 mil a year for backup duty was laughable to me 24 hours ago, but now? I think Miller for the full MLE (ie all of our flexibility) is something we’d have to be enthused about if it happened.
A week ago most everyone said we were ok with Sasha (and possibly Crit, if he makes the team) doing some pg duty. I’m starting to think we all need to really come to terms with that and let go of the idea of a 3 mil backup pg. Just too much “crazy” money being thrown around.
Also, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here but given that the best big we’re even talking about realistically is craig smith (!), we probably really need to stop talking about trading Odom for a backup pg.
I would love to see what Phil could do with this team if Bynum, Gasol, and Kobe could stay healthy all year, including training camp and preseason.
We have a new post up. Some thoughts on Phil and another look at potential gets in free agency.