We’re in the dog days of Summer and the Lakers roster is not yet full. Rarely will a championship squad have a camp invite make its team, so at some point in the next few weeks we can expect the Lakers to add the additional pieces to fill out the roster that it will take into next season. We’ve been discussing the potential names that the Lakers could potentially pick up ad nauseam so let’s not rehash them now. However, the question still remains – who will be the other guys that make up the Lakers?
Sadly, the answer to that question isn’t an easy one. Recently, there have been many names linked to the Lakers but none have actually decided to latch on to a ready made championship team. Raja Bell. Matt Barnes. Even Jeremy Lin. All of these guys have been discussed as options and all of them are likely to be on another team’s roster next season. But why? I mean, why wouldn’t a player – whether a veteran or a youngster – want to join a team where he could potentially win a championship, play with fantastic teammates, be coached by Phil Jackson, all while living in Los Angeles?
The answer is quite simple, actually.
Money and minutes. These are things that matter to free agents and the Lakers don’t have enough of either to really offer any new addition.
From a money standpoint, the Lakers still have the remaining portion of their mid-level exception – approximately 1.7 million – and still have the ability to sign players for the veteran’s minimum. However, salaries starting at less than 2 million dollars aren’t exactly the most popular thing going right now. We all know that the Lakers are looking for another wing and a big man, but look at what the guys that play these positions (and were essentially some of the last serviceable players on the market) are signing for right now. Matt Barnes – before a salary cap miscalculation – was about to sign with Toronto for 4.5 million a year. Raja Bell signed for 10 million over 3 seasons. Brad Miller signed for 15 million over 3 years (though the 3rd year is only partially guaranteed). CJ Watson just got offered a 2 year, 6.5 million dollar contract by the Bulls and will be signed and traded by the Warriors to Chicago. What do all these guys have in common besides being good fits for the Lakers that will be playing for other teams next year? They’ll all be making double (or more) what the Lakers could offer them after they inked Steve Blake to his 4 year/16 million dollar deal. Essentially, the Lakers were never going to get any of these guys because their price tags were too high.
And what about from a minutes standpoint? Well, it’s not much rosier for players looking at the Lakers from that side of the equation either. When looking at every position, the Lakers just don’t have a lot of minutes available for any new player. At point guard, the Lakers are looking at a combo of Fisher and Blake. Any minutes that they don’t play will likely go to Sasha ( or if Shannon Brown returns, he could play these minutes). At shooting guard, the Lakers are more than set with Kobe playing anywhere between 30-40 minutes in every game that’s not a blowout and the remaining minutes will go to Sasha (or again, if Shannon returns those minutes will be his or we could even see Artest play some minutes at SG). At SF, there’s Artest who will sop up those same 30-40 minutes that Kobe plays at SG with it very likely that Kobe will be the primary back up at SF if Walton isn’t healthy next year. If Walton is healthy enough to play he’ll cut into Ron/Kobe’s minutes at SF and if Ebanks develops at a reasonable rate he may even see some minutes next year. At PF and C, the Lakers will go with their typical rotation of Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. You know, the front court that has helped lead the team to back to back championships. When looking at the Lakers’ rotation, where will the minutes come from? During blowouts? If an injury happens? With the hope that Phil cuts back on the court time of Kobe and/or Artest? While some of these things are possible and others may even be likely, it’s not like there’s a guarantee of firm playing time out there.
So really, who’s going to join the Lakers with no set in stone commitment to minutes and with a starting salary that any team can offer? That’s the real question here. And the answer is one that so far isn’t easy to decipher. I mean, even Jeremy Lin saw the potential squeeze on both the money and minutes side when the Lakers couldn’t guarantee as much of his first year salary should he get cut and the Warriors have an opening at back up point guard. This is why, at least from my perspective, the prospects of Shannon Brown and/or Mbenga/Powell coming back increase by the day. These are guys that have established roles with the team and may eye a return if the market doesn’t warm up for them. In the end though, whoever signs on with the Lakers for the final two or three spots on the roster will have to face the stark reality that they’re sure to be low salaried players that may not see much court time. And when us fans look at the situation that way, we may want to readjust our mindset about who will be joining the team before training camp.
Money is the main issue with most players most of the time.
Burt Reynolds says
Other than a backup center (just because we all know how injury-prone Bynum is) the Lakers don’t really need much. That’s the great thing about having players that can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor.
Last year the Lakers paid Sasha and Morrison to wave towels on the bench. The last thing I’d like is the spend more money on a non-contributer. After this year don’t resign Sasha or Walton (unless Walton wants to take a major paycut). Keep the rookies and pay them 25% of what the aforementioned make per year.
I may be wrong because knowing the system supposedly makes players more valuable to this team but I never saw one quality minute from Morrison, Walton held a clipboard more than he suited up (even though I do like what he does when he’s healthy) and I still don’t see how anyone wants to keep Sasha – TERD.
Chris J says
Bad news, Bert, but your idea of not resigning Luke Walton after this season doesn’t hold any water.
Walton’s deal was for six years, and he signed it in summer 2007. So he’s a Laker for three more years barring a trade.
I wouldn’t mind seeing DJ back in the fold since he’s a known commodity and you need big bodies to put on Pau and Bynum in practice. They could do a lot worse unless he gets crazy expectations about minutes or money.
Ideally he’s back, along with Shannon. That’s a full roster that can beat anyone in the league come June.
Hopefully, Luke retires then the Lakers can use that money to sign a player that produces. I do not understand why the Lakers have not signed a Legitimate Big Man that can produce as Bynum’s Backup. Bynum has proven that he is brittle. They need to sign someone like a Dampier or Jermaine O’Neal type. Someone that can produce not someone like DJ Mbenga. Odom is a good PF but besides Pau they have no one if Bynum goes down again which is a very distinct possibility. If they do not have a Solid and Healthy Frontline no Rings.
The money issue does matter. The question is can Minutes really be an issue?
If the Lakers cannot offer a player Minutes, do they really need that player?
We are making an awfully big deal over the 8th-10th players on the team. Sure, a player to step in when Bynum gets hurt would be nice, but would anyone we could possibly sign (even with a couple million extra) be any better than Odom stepping in? Does insurance for Kobe or Gasol really matter (i.e. could we possibly win a championship if they aren’t playing anyway)?
A big body to eat up minutes would be nice, but can easily be had for the minimum. A big body who can actually play is harder to come by, but they probably don’t really matter that much either way.
Sure, we will lose some games when the other team’s bench outplays our bench. But if the biggest strength of the other team is its bench, I’ll take those odds any day. They are bench players for a reason.
Pau and Odom have played 3 straight full seasons plus going to the Finals. At times they have had to play big minutes to cover for Bynum injuries. I would love to see them playing much less time, even if one of them goes down due to injury in the regular season.
With that, I think we should really go after two more bigs, rather than a wing and a big. We need a big that can sop up minutes at C and PF, so we can keep our frontline minutes in check even if there is an injury. Kurt Thomas would be perfect. Also, I would love to see us take a flyer on a young, athletic big who does not need the ball. MBenga is a known commodity but he is a black hole and not a good rebounder for his size.
At the wing, we have so many interchangeable parts that I worry less about overwork even if we have an injury or two.
Craig W. says
That is precisely to point of this thread. The Lakers CAN’T just go out and sign just any player. There are financial constraints to signing players when you are over the Luxury Tax Cap. You are only allowed to spend so much on a contract. With no minutes guaranteed, exactly which players will want to come here? That is what this thread is about.
Funky Chicken says
I think those like ansari who talk about the “need” for a “legitimate big man” are vastly overstating the case. Last year, between Pau’s hamstrings and Andrew’s achilles & knee, the Laker bigs were not exactly the model of health. And they won a title anyway.
Now this isn’t to say that signing a big guy shouldn’t be on the table (it is, and they will, and put me in the pro-Kurt Thomas camp if that is at all possible). But, let’s be realistic and understand that no matter who the Lakers add to the bench to back up at the center spot, the guy is not going to get more than a handful of minutes–and a small contract by NBA standards to boot. Like Craig W. said, that’s the point of this thread….
Yueh- I see where you’re coming from with Pau and LO logging in big mileage in the past three years (especially Pau playing in the Olympics and World Champs.) Although, I got to mention two key facts.
First, There’s about a 90-99% chance we sign our draft pick Caracter who will step in at J. Powell’s role of last year. The Lakers still need 4 player to make the 13 man minimum and most people are betting the Lakers are going to keep their two rookies. So, most likely you will see two more bigs in our lineup, but luckily not at the expence of signing a wing.
Two, Artest and Kobe are not spring chicks by any stretch of the imagination either. So, If we only had two more slots to fill I’d hope we had someone to fill a true Center’s role behind Bynum and a wing player who can give a real contribution off the bench with Blake and LO.
Can’t wait until we sign our next player. It’s killin me how dry the news has been lately for the Lakers and the NBA as a whole.
The Lakers’ position is certainly an enviable one: we have too many good starting/sixth men that other free agents may look elsewhere for more $ and PT.
The problem is that the 2009-10 team had a pretty substantial drop in ppg differential, meaning, the starters had to play more. In 2009-10, the differential was +4.7 (101.7 v. 97); 2008-09 was + 7.6 (106.9 v. 99.3); and 2007-08 was +7.3 (108.6 v. 101.3).
The 2009-10 Lakers starting five averaged 167.2 minutes per game. The 2008-09 Lakers starting five averaged 156.2 (slight anomaly here b/c Ariza and Walton both started, but I took Ariza’s stats as part of the starting 5). I didn’t look at the 2007-08 mpgs because of the huge statistical mess from having Odom start until Gasol was traded.
But the simple point is substantiated by the numbers. The Lakers did not blow out as many teams, and the differential was only in the mid 4 ppg. I suppose it’s simplistic to say that LA should play a faster tempo, but our defense did dig in a bit by holding opponents to only 97 points.
But I believe a selling point to a role player is that he can play more minutes if he helps the team hold leads as part of the 2nd unit. Our bench was pretty atrocious last year, and regularly blew leads. That meant Phil would have to reluctantly summon the starters (as evidenced by the additional 11 mpg that the starting 5 played this year) to regain the lead, and would naturally lead to less bench minutes. Bring in a guy like Barnes, Butler, who in conjunction with a much more reliable Steve Blake, and you can really make the pitch that their minutes could be more substantial if they help maintain/build leads. It’s in everyone’s interest to limit the starter’s minutes. We’ve essentially played the max number of games for the past three years. The team will hit a wall eventually.
But that only accounts for the “minutes” portion. As to money, it’s really hard for me to tell anyone to walk away from the most $ possible, given players’ short window to maximize income. But the subject matter of this comment is directed towards the players who are chasing a ring but are hesitant due to playing time. I believe a 2/3 combo player like Barnes/Butler may find that there is ample playing time, if they make sure they help keep leads!
(Sorry for the many statistical errors, including Lamar Odom’s “starter’s minutes” PT, but bear with me on the basic numbers).
The players( Bell, Barnes, D. Wright, K. Thomas, B. Miller,) the FO had their eye on are not Hall of Fame type players. If they win a ring, it’s not like its going to change fans opinions about them as players. So why not chase the money, or go to a city where you might get paid the same amount but the cost of living is cheaper than in LA.
Players like K. Malone or G. Payton are the type of players that had the numbers, individual accolades, banked large NBA checks in the past, but wanted a ring to finish off a great career. Thats the type of player that would come to LA on an established team not searching for money or minutes.
Ron Artest is an exception to the rule because he was looking for redemption from the Detroit Brawl. He even stated himself that he felt he let all his Pacer teamates and FO down. The weight of all that negativity was on his shoulders and you could see in his eyes the weight was gone after game 7. No longer could he be told that he was a cancer, a disruptive force that couldnt play team ball.
There is one player that fits that bill this free agent period and his name is A.I., and we all know he loves too have the ball in his hands way to much to fit the triangle. So its time to wake up and realize unless LA gets lucky and Barnes or K. Thomas falls out of the sky, you will be seeing Shannon and Congo Cash/Powell back with LA next season.
I disagree that a serviceable big will not get minutes. Phil has gone through 3 peats and knows that deep runs into the playoffs year after year will take its toll.
And the point that Pau and Odom were not the model of health last year is exactly the issue and the reason why a serviceable big will get minutes. Pau and Odom have been covering for Bynum the past two years. We were quite fortunate that Pau was healthy the entire playoffs and his absence in the earlier part of the season probably had something to do with that.
I agree. The problem last season was that Mbenga and Powell were not serviceable, which is why there’s not a lot of benefit to signing them again.
T-Mac’s most recent tweet:
“@TheReal_TMAC: clippers, bulls, lakers, heat…. but that could change by the morning… lol.. this is the NBA”
Marc Stein also reporting that Barnes is leaning towards signing with a contender. I guess that is good news for us, but it also brings the Heat into contention and they can offer him much more playing time.
from last thread……………………
Re: Odom coming into camp out of shape… don’t just take my word for it…
Jackson qualified his comments by suggesting that Odom wasn’t necessarily known for coming into camp in the best shape of anyone on the team in past years
Phil Jackson was matter-of-fact rather than angry as he said after the morning practice about Lamar Odom: “He’s not in shape. Lamar’s not ready to play.” Odom has been seen dragging with the stragglers in practice-ending wind sprints, and Jackson said Odom’s take-it-easy summer has led to a somewhat slow start for him in trying to play more of a quarterback role in the early triangle-offense practices of camp. He said Odom, despite getting fatigued, has done “OK.
Odom said he chose to rest over the summer to ease the tendinitis that bothered him basically all last season.
Unless they are planning on starting Miller or LeBron at PG (which seems unlikely now that they have both Chalmers and Arroyo at the 1), are we sure that the Heat can offer more minutes? Barnes is clearly a 3 – he doesn’t shoot well enough to play many minutes at 2 and he’s not big enough to play 4 – which is what both LeBron and Miller play (although Miller can play the 2 as well).
LBJ is going to play 36-40 minutes on most nights. If I were the Heat I would have Miller swing between 2 and 3, spelling both Wade and LBJ, and then occasionally having all 3 on the court at the same time, which should be enough to get him 25-30 minutes. So how many minutes would that leave for Barnes? Pretty much garbage time, so maybe an average of 5 a night.
At least in LA he would be the primary backup at 3 to Artest, and we know that Phil would ideally like to keep RonRon’s minutes down during the regular season. So he could likely get at least 18 a night, which is hardly garbage time.
Brian, just after I posted my comment, I thought the exact same thing: maybe he actually would get MORE playing time on the Lakers. Good point. My initial thought was that Barnes (perhaps tied with Haslem) would be the 5th best player on their team, so he would have to get playing time right? But like you said, he would be stuck behind both LBJ and Mike Miller. I would guess the Heat would come up with some unique lineups to get him in the game. But on the Lakers, Odom, Blake and Barnes would be first off the bench and make up the core of our second unit. So maybe we do have a chance.
It’s just hard to get past the fact he would go from the prospect of getting 4.5 million/year to 1.7 million/year within two days. That would be a hard pill to swallow.
when you look at the lakers roster, there are two spots which need to be filled: first, back-up SF. second, back-up center.
well, we do have both ebanks and caracter at those positions, but both players have holes in their games. devin isn’t a great 3pt shooter, and caracter is a bit undersized and somewhat foul and turnover prone.
if we can’t afford the most well-rounded players, we should target vet-min players who succeed in areas our 2nd rounders fall short.
mbenga will suffice; theo ratliff is better. devean george, ime udoka, keith bogans, t-mac are all good complements to ebanks. and all of these experienced guys are going to be very good mentors.
i’ve left shannon out of the equation because he is too similar to ebanks for one thing. another thing is he’d get in the way of devin’s development. i think the best case scenario is signing-and-trading him to another team for either a trade exception or a better 3.
Travis Y. says
Question to throw out there, could the Lakers have signed Farmar and traded him to New Jersey since they are under the cap and gain a trade exception for $3.75M?
I understand the Lakers gained, by cutting Farmar from their books, but I wonder if we could’ve gained that exception in the process.
NJ is at
for their roster, the cap is at $58M
19/travis: the league closed a loophole by prohibiting teams from declining an option yr for 1st round picks, and then re-signing that player for more money using his bird rights.
The Lakers could have signed-and-traded Farmar, but his salary is required to start at $2.8M, iirc.
did you guys just feel that earthquake? ken berger says chris paul is planning to force a trade to either the knicks, magic, or lakers.
According to David Aldridge, the Hawks are close to signing Josh Powell to a one-year deal expected to be for the veterans minimum of $992,680. J.P. is expected to pick the Hawks over Cleveland, Chicago and New Jersey in the next couple of days. Aldridge is stating that Powell is seeking an opportunity for more playing time.
hmmm, smoke screen for something big? or nothing at all? suffice to say, i’d be disappointed if we stay at this rate…that were if i were the greedy one. if i were the one kurt and darius et al tamed, i’d say patience is indeed a virtue needed now.
@21Chibi. That’s completely wrong in this context. The Lakers didn’t decline an option on Farmar – his rookie contract was up (06-07, 07-08, 08-09, 09-10) and he was a restricted free agent. They were allowed to use his Bird rights to sigh him to whatever amount they so chose to. They renounced his rights by refusing to make the required tender offer because by doing so they got rid of the salary cap hold (which was actually around $3.5). As such, they could have completed a sign and trade. That being said, I don’t think they would have qualified for a trade exception.
21. I’d be very surprised if C.Paul came to LA. For the sake of the NBA, I’d rather have him in NYC. I like to have teams with distinct philosophies of play and CP3 would be such an amazing PG in ‘Antonio’s (no D in that man’s coaching) system. But a part of me also hopes he can work things out in NO as well, God knows that city’s been through enough already.
Anyways, the price for CP3 would be too steep anyways.
IF CP goes to the Orlando Magic…
That would make the east really intresting.
It will be interesting to see who the Hornets would want on the Lakers. Would they want Andrew Bynum? Or like most teams in small markets that trade superstars… would they rather have the expiring contracts of Sasha and Odom (team option). And would the Lakers be better off solving their PG problem but creating a gaping hole in the middle if they traded Andrew? Many questions…
23/zach: i hadn’t realized Farmar had played 4 yrs already. i guess you are correct.
Just saw an article from ESPNLA.com, that Josh Powell is close to signing a 1.1 million dollar contract with the Hawks. Guess that means we’ll likely be seeing Caracter in a Laker uniform in the regular season.
Oh man, if we somehow land Matt Barnes, I’d be ecstatic. And my wish for some UCLA reppin’ would come true. I’m kinda sad that Ariza and Farmar left for that reason. Let’s see if it happens!
Jeremy Lin to the Warriors, would have been nice to have him here, but you can’t have everything I guess. He had better offers, but took the chance to play for his hometown team. Maybe with their new ownership they can right the ship a bit..
Travis Y. says
20 & 24, Chibi and Zach-
That’s why I thought they would qualify for an exemption.
Check # 71.
If a team is over the cap and trades for a player that gets paid less (In our imaginary case a 2nd round pick) and the trade exemption.
Isn’t that what Miami essentially except they didn’t need an exemption because they were below the cap.
Are there any further explanations on this?
Chris J says
Good for Powell. That’s his home town.
off topic question.When they retire kobes number will they go with 24 or 8 or both?
Don’t kick me but if Kobe would have him wouldn’t Shaq by perfect for Morrison’s spot? Pay him veterans min let him sit on the end of the bench and waive towels and cheerlead.
I just hope that Luuukke is un-injured along with Bynum all next season. Yes, we will have him for quite a while, more than likely. His skills are really good in the Triangle, otherwise he is just an average player making over 5m a year for the next three years. Thanks Darius for trying to keep us basketball busy. I was at Staples Center yesterday, checking out all of the back-to-back NBA 2010 Championship gear, for our World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. I like the sound of that, how about you.
Travis Y. says
Wow, Richard Jefferson’s agent should be nominated for an Oscar. He’d be the semi favorite next to Joe Johnson’s agent.
4 years, $39M
I thought the Spurs were smart.
Daniel, I think that it would be up to Kobe (and if I had to guess, he’d most likely choose 24.) Although, With crazy things happening in the league like Jordan getting retired in Miami, it wouldn’t be mind boggling if the Lakers retired both iconic numbers.
*Must Read The Following*
Wow, I just had an epiphany! If my memory serves me correct, LBJ anounced he was going to change his number in the 10-11 season right after Miami retired Jordan’s number. Yes, that was when he made the comment saying that every player should stop wearing it in respect of MJ. What if he said that truley because he already knew he was going to Miami and he would have to change his #…
Coincidence or did I just stumble upon the true diabolical plan of the “South Beach Set!” (trade mark)
The Lakers need a Big to Back-Up Bynum because they were very fortunate the past two years that they could win without Bynum being healthy. He has NEVER been healthy! He is what He is and that is a serviceable Big but injury-prone. They were fortunate that Rasheed tired out in game 7 he was eating them alive. Mbenga is not the answer. A Brad Miller type would be a good fit. Maybe Kurt Thomas. Adding Caracter will help.
There was another article, perhaps linked here though the source escapes me, that made the same intimations: That LeBron’s charade about the petition to retire 23 leaguewide was borne out of a midseason meeting he had with Riley when the Heat were playing the Cavs.
Question: Will Bynum’s name continue to be the first cab out of the rank everytime a big name is mentioned as wanting to play in LA (this time Chris Paul, last time Chris Bosh) ???
How many injury free seasons does the guy need before his head is off the chopping black? Just one season, perhaps?
Good to know Kehn- I’m glad I’m not the only one who has speculated this idea. But wouldn’t that be against an NBA rule if Riley and LBJ were meeting during the season, especially if you could some how prove they were talking about future contracts?
JeremyLA24 – I don’t think the article said they were talking about contracts.
The point was that the old veteran Riley was manipulating LeBron every step of the way.
Riley saw that LeBron at 25, is still young and naive about some things. And so are his childhood friends who make up his marketing Co.
Riley did several things to play to and manipulate LeBron.
He is crafty, this Sauron.
It was in the Yahoo Woj article. Supposedly Riley set up a meeting between Jordan and LeBron and talked LeBron into this 23 thing.
If anything, I think that shows who LeBron is. He doesn’t want to be ‘the man’ anymore. He has said that when he discussed the 20-30 pt thing, and I think the 23 statement was in a way revealing too.
As cocky as Kobe is, I’d much rather that my player want to beat 23, choosing 24…
So long Josh Powell (like he will read this…) Your contributions to two championship teams won’t be forgotten. You have always seemed like a true professional and a great teammate.
Wish you all the best in Atlanta.
the other Stephen says
congo cash don’t play for the money, y’all. he plays for the game!
and for late game taco tix.
Igor Avidon says
CP3 wants out of NO – wants Lakers/Magic/Knicks. I know it’s a far-fetched dream, but to get that kind of a player in his early prime? Oh my, I’m drooling.
41, Bynum will probably be included even if he does have a healthy year. He’s the only Laker who’s young, talented, has potential, and has a pretty reasonable contract. Now if he has an All-Star year, that may change. But rebuilding teams are always looking to get younger and get potential.
Jeremy, I read your comment, but I think it’s more appropriate to nip this one in the bud. Until we have news that the Lakers are actually in discussions with the Hornets, it’s best to leave this one alone.
For what it’s worth, Adrian Woj…from Yahoo tweets “unless Cleveland raises multi-year offer that starts around $3.5M, Matt Barnes will sign a 1-year $1.7M deal with Lakers, sources tell Y!”
Woj has been on the money this summer (and killing it with his LBJ articles). If this is true, that would be awesome to lock Barnes up for only 1 year, at $1.7M!
Zephid, its all good. Especially now that our name is not even in the discussion if he gets traded. I guess the news is so dry about the Lakers recently that I’ve reverted to spending an hour on “trade machine” just to get my Laker fix.
Hopefully that Matt Barnes story follows through. He could really steal some minutes away from Artest and Kobe if they seem a little tired through the season.
Bring Brown back!!!!! to back up Kobe ASAP not sold on sasha just yet, those 2-3 games during the playoffs wasn’t enough for me to accept him being our backup 2 guard, and besides signing brown wouldn’t hurt us any seeing how we own his bird right and he’s a upgrade over sasha any day of the week, and i just feel brown’s re-signing would be the iceing on the cake for us.
But all in all hugh upgrades this offseason great job Jerry & Mitch
I may be just a woman, but they’ve already signed
Barnes and theo something to play. That must mean
that Shannon Brown will not be playing for the
lakers. And if that happens, there goes all the
excitement, the explosive energy, and dunks that
come with Shannon. I’m telling you all this now, the
Lakers are going to rue the day when Shannon becomes a player for the other teams (whichever one
he goes to). Because he’s still got a lot of time, energy
and youth on his side. They’re going to kick themselves something awful. Good Luck !