From Kevin Ding, OC Register: With 29 percent of the NBA schedule already behind them, the Lakers finally introduced Andrew Bynum to the 2010-11 regular season Tuesday night. The relief was evident in Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The Lakers rolled through an injury-depleted Washington Wizards team, 103-89, with Gasol enjoying a light 31-minute night and Odom delivering 18 points and 10 rebounds. Both Gasol and Odom picked up two early fouls, perhaps subconsciously aware that Bynum is back now to have their backs in the NBA’s best three-man big-man rotation. Bynum blocked a shot on his first defensive possession and had seven points, four rebounds in two blocks in 17:29 off the bench.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Let’s get to the important stuff first: Andrew Bynum did indeed play tonight, and he looked good doing so. The Laker big man had been in the shop since knee surgery in late July. This evening in Washington he took the court for the first time since then, entering the game about halfway through the first quarter. He clocked 17 minutes total, and though he was understandably a bit rusty, there was a lot to like in what we saw from him. He made some tasty contributions in the champs’ 103 to 89 victory over the very understaffed Wizards. Initially the most striking thing about seeing Drew again is how big he looked. Not Kirstie Alley big or Shawn-Kemp-after-the-1999-lockout big, but big like my ripped quads and 17-inch biceps. (*flexes in mirror before returning to keyboard*) During his convalesence Drew clearly worked hard to stay fit and maintain his upper-body strength.
From Yahoo! Sports: Kobe Bryant said it was a first for him. Never had he missed all three free throws after getting fouled attempting a 3-point shot. He heard the crowd boo and laugh at his expense, especially as shot No. 3 badly clanked off the front of the rim. “Never happened to me,” Bryant said. “Never.” And it was the worst thing that could happen to the undermanned Washington Wizards. After his dubious NBA hat trick, Bryant kick-started himself and soon was running off 12 straight points for his team, leading the decisive third-quarter run Tuesday night in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 103-89 victory. “Absolutely,” said Bryant, when asked if the trifecta of misses got his juices flowing. “I just got going. I got some good looks, knocked them down. I made one. I made the next. Things just went on from there.”
From the K-Bros, Land O’ Lakers: What could have been another ho-hum night against a go-nowhere Eastern Conference opponent missing its most exciting young player took on a whole lot more interest Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers took the floor against the Washington Wizards with Andrew Bynum back in the lineup for the first time this season. A welcome addition to the lineup on the night they said a somewhat protracted goodbye to Sasha Vujacic, who was traded — along with a first rounder in 2012 — for well-traveled (to say the least) veteran (ditto) forward Joe Smith. But because Smith, thanks to league rules on offseason free-agent signees, can’t be traded until tomorrow afternoon, Vujacic experienced a sort of dead-man-walking night on the Lakers’ bench. There … but not really.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The reality of his trade away from the Lakers sinking in, Sasha Vujacic said Tuesday night: “Sometimes things have to change in order to restart, rebuild and go forward.” Who knew so much wisdom lay under so much hair? The Lakers sure didn’t. They became increasingly frustrated by Vujacic’s years of inability to listen in that deeper way of listening that triggers actual growth. Even those within the organization who were close to Vujacic began to drift away in recent years, especially last season. It was inconceivable that Vujacic could go this entire season without being traded given how overpaid he was on such an overstuffed payroll. Matt Barnes’ signing back in July – a move not initially in the Lakers’ spending plans – ensured this day in December would come at some point.
From Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports: The New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have agreed in principle on a three-way trade that will send Terrence Williams to Houston, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and a 2012 first-round pick from Houston will go to New Jersey. Nets forward Joe Smith will join the Lakers, who also will send their 2011 first-round pick to New Jersey. In an effort to create luxury-tax savings by trading Vujacic’s $5.5 million salary for Smith’s $1.35 million, the Lakers were willing to include their first-round pick.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: In a move to bolster their front-court depth and also save millions in salary and luxury taxes, the Lakers have agreed to trade Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round draft pick to New Jersey as part of a three-team trade that will bring veteran forward Joe Smith to the Lakers. The trade is conditional upon Smith passing a physical. As the fifth guard in Phil Jackson’s four-guard rotation, Vujacic had seen his playing time reduced to almost nothing this season. Vujacic, 26, is averaging only 1.8 points and 4.9 minutes a game. He played in 11 of the Lakers’ 24 games before Tuesday.
From Dexter Fishmore, SBNation: As comeback announcements go, it wasn’t as theatrical or world-rocking as Michael Jordan’s two-word press release (“I’m back”) in 1995. But when Andrew Bynum announced yesterday, via the Twitter feed of Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan, that he’s “definitely playing” Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards, Laker fans everywhere did a little MJ fist pump. The Lakers’ young center hasn’t seen any game action since the NBA Finals last June (unless you count the World Cup matches he attended over the summer), and Lakerdom is depending on his long-anticipated return from post-surgical convalescence to inject new verve into a season that after a roaring start has been nervously drifting sideways.
The best thing about Joe Smith is his ample knowledge of almost 50% of the NBA’s playbooks as a result of playing on 13 teams. He’ll probably call out everything.
But on a more serious note, he’s a solid pro who will only help the team out and should be able to play spot minutes here and there. Also, he could be a good mentor to Bynum/Caracter by reminding them that all NBA players are fungible and tradeable!
wow, ding is reporting the lakers are also receiving two 2nd rounders and the rights to sergei lishouk. good job, mitch.
Craig W. says
The Lakers also get GS 2nd round pick this next draft. That could be a pretty good pick. Last draft we picked up Ebanks and Caracter…hummmm!
Chicago’s 2nd round pick in 2012 may not be worth much.
I actually liked Sasha, but I loved this deal. I think it’s a solid deal for Lakers all the way around. Over the summer, I actually preferred Joe over Theo for that bench big man. Now to have both is a good luxury for the coaches.
Everything I’ve read about Joe in the past indicates he’s a good locker room guy and a smart player. The C spot is supposed to be the easiest to learn in the triangle. Hopefully he can fit in right away and help with spot minutes.
I really like having Theo and Joe to throw at teams for spot minutes during the playoffs. It’s inevitable going up against some of the deeper elite teams that you’ll need some of vet big man to provide some dependable relief.
I thought Joe Smith did a very good job for the cavs two seasons ago knocking down that open shot, but I’m worried that he might be a little over the hill. I haven’t seen him play since he left the Cavs. How has his production been this season and last?
They’re certainly stockpiling second-round picks, according to Larry Coon: http://twitter.com/LarryCoon/status/15089194141491200
As for “learning the offense”, I think Joe Smith missing training camp means his role on offense would be to shoot if he’s open, else pass it to Gasol, Bynum, or Odom and call it a day.
Granted, he’ll have to learn how to move in the framework of the offense to keep the Triangle working, but for the first few games he’s going to have a simple job.
My favorite line from the thread last night was this one from Andreas G. It mirrored something I think a lot us felt.
“I think this has never happened before, but I can’t wait to see less of Pau on the court:D”
Was it my imagination or did Pau look like he had more spring in his step and more enthusiasm last night?
I actually like the idea of Bynum coming off the bench. This gives Jackson the option to slide Pau over or to keep LO in depending on the match ups and what is going on in the game. With the bench as strong as it is now, I don’t know that they need LO to man the ship.
I read the post-game comments by Drew, but do we have any update thus far today? He said no swelling and “All’s fine” last night, but I’m sure it needs some recovery. It’ll be a very positive sign if he plays tonight, though by no means am I expecting it.
The Sash/Smith/TWill deal was good for us yesterday, today it sounds even sweeter. Unbelievable the stuff this GM of ours pulls off. Anyone have info on the guy we got rights to, Lishouk? Where does he play? Position? Body? Sign? ; )
I just read a quote saying Kobe thinks “Barnes, Brown, and Blake” sounds like “a law firm or something”, which I totally agree with. New bench nickname: The Firm. 😀
T. Rogers says
Smith won’t be a game changer. But he is another big body. We must remember the C’s have a stockpile of big men. This move is a good counter to that. If everyone is healthy the Lakers will have Odom, Gasol, Bynum, Smith, Ratliff, and Caracter to man the front line for the playoffs. That gives them a great shot against Boston and San Antonio and puts them over the top against Miami.
Psiwolf – that sounds about right, and for now, at least, we can add Bynum to the letterhead.
Wow, from being subs on the Lakers’ bench to being subs on the Nets’ bench… quite the downgrade. Maybe they are interested in Luke’s contract as well.
I like what Kupchak has done with the picks. The difference won’t be that big between the Laker’s first rounder and that Golden State second rounder in possibly finding an end of the bench player, but there’s no guaranteed money to be paid now. If a trade exception is indeed coming to the Lakers as well, this is excellent insurance in case a real rotation player gets hurt to possibly pick up a short-term replacement.
As a farewell to the Machine, two of the funnier videos glorifying him:
All the videos:
10. I’ve always advocated a law firm concept for the bench (probably because I’m an attorney). The motto for the law firm should be “we defend leads.”
Smith has been around long enough to pick up on various playbooks. That’s probably why he’s a better pick up then some young buck center like Josh Boone, etc. He’ll be ready when he plays minutes and now we do have some more size, albeit a lot of tall sticks (Gasol, Odom, Ratliff, Smith).
If the trade includes the 2nd round picks, the trade exception and some project stiff, then Mitch did an absolutely bang up job in maximizing what he could get for Sasha’s expiring contract.
Agree about the early 2nd round pick from GS being better than the late 1st round due to the guaranteed money. The talent level isn’t much of a difference at that pick range.
Wow, just an amazing job by Mitch.
The more I hear about the deal, the more I like.
funny quote from Jackson
—Jackson was asked Tuesday if he thought Smith could help his team.
“Well, John Doe could, the way we’re playing,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping that John Doe would be a big guy.”—–
I liked The Machine and wish Sasha the best. He always hustled, he was an entertaining player and had some good moments over the years, remember when he was torching the nuggets and then melo elbowed him? Was it just me, or did he seem to have a knack for pissing off opposing players?
We’ll never forget those 2 free-throws in game 7
last year. Best of luck
T. Rogers says
16- It’s not just you. Sasha indeed had a knack for pissing off the competition. You had to love his scuffle with Dragic last season. I will always root for Sasha (when he is not playing the Lakers).
Digging a little bit, it looks like our rights are to a 28-year old Ukranian player who has yet to get into an NBA game. Though he is 6’11 250 PF/C, I don’t think he’ll ever make it up. If it’s been this long (drafted in 04 by the Grizz, 2nd Round 50 overall), and he hasn’t developed an NBA game, I don’t think there’s a chance he does.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Lishouk at least he’s got a wiki site!
Lishouk, yet another tall European white stiff:
Igor Avidon says
I wonder if Maria will trade Sasha too, now that he’s no longer on the Lakers.
I always liked Sasha and what he brought to the team. His main drawback was his bloated contract. But you’re all forgetting the biggest drawback of the Machine’s departure…no more Maria Sharapova sightings.
I’ve always been a fan of The Machine. You could always count on a healthy dose of crazy from him off the bench, but we’re a little long on crazy these days with Ron-Ron, Barnes, AND Sasha.
Thanks for the memories…and don’t ever join the Celtics.
Darius Soriano says
The game preview – with some added thoughts on Bynum and Sasha- is up.