Since the season ended what’s been on everyone’s – from fans to front office members’ – minds is improving the Lakers’ roster. If a second round defeat wasn’t enough to show the team needs to improve, the quality of play exhibited in the Finals hammered the point home. The Lakers must get better if they want to raise another Larry O’Brien trophy and the must do so quickly.
How to do so, of course, is the key question at hand. The Lakers don’t have many resources at their disposal and working within the boundaries of the new collective bargaining agreement offers new challenges not yet mastered by any front office. But, even with those challenges, the need for improvement is as apparent as the nose on your face.
Up to this point, the Lakers top executives – Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak – have spoken about the realities the team faces and how it will be difficult to pull off the type of radical change that some seek. Be it mentioning the rarity of blockbuster trades, the difficulty of obtaining a high draft pick that can yield an impact player, or the type of talent that can be lured by the types of cap exceptions the Lakers have available, Mitch and Jim are both setting expectations for a hungry fan base and working to let others know how much they value the players currently on their roster.
That said, what’s also being acknowledged – simply by having the conversation – is that better is needed. And while it’s more than reasonable to expect there to be some natural improvement from the familiarity of working under Mike Brown and all that comes with that – better cohesion, understanding of his systems, etc – getting better players is still the goal. With that in mind, we offer a general plan to try and improve the roster solely using the resources at their disposal. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m not yet entertaining any trades for the Lakers’ big three. We’ll touch on that eventually, but at this point, let’s take Mitch and Jim at their word that they expect Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum to all be wearing Lakers’ jerseys when next season starts.
Re-sign Ramon Sessions
Fans aren’t yet sold on Sessions as a long term answer at point guard and I can understand those concerns. His defense needs work, he’s not yet the type of shooter that can consistently stretch the floor, and there were times where he looked overwhelmed by the raised stakes of the post-season.
However, I’m still of the mind that he’s quite a good player that will still improve. Remember, he’s not yet 27 years old and does have several good aspects to his game and a foundation for growth. His speed, decision making, and floor generalship are all above average. He’s a very good pick and roll player, makes plays for himself and his teammates, and can score the ball well. He adds an open court dimension, has shown he can hit big shots, and also showed enough smarts and hard work to pick up the team’s schemes on the fly and make an impact.
I don’t know if he’ll ever be as consistently good as his first 10-15 games with the team but I definitely don’t think he’ll ever be as consistently out of sorts as he was in the playoffs. So, if he can be had for a reasonable price – which, for me is in the $4.5 to $5.5 million per year over the next 3 to 4 years – I think that’d be a good deal for the Lakers. Remember, starting caliber players in this league often make much more than that once they’re beyond their rookie contracts so getting him at that price, I think, would be a good deal for the Lakers and would give them a starter with good growth potential in the fold. And with him in tow, the team could move on to other needs.
Attempt to use the trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade
I’ll be the first to admit that making trades can be complicated. Outsiders never really know how other teams value assets on the trade market and making a deal requires that two sides who both want to achieve something positive for their franchise get what they want. Using a trade exception can be even harder because teams typically don’t just hand over good players only for the salary relief a trade exception offers. This typically means the team who gets the player has to sweeten the offer somehow. Another issue can be the length of the contract the player possesses, thus making his “value” as a player much less due to the money he’s still owed. The Lakers don’t have a lot of sweeteners and also must be careful about taking on long contracts that affect their ability to avoid the repeater tax in the 2014-15 season.
All that said, the Lakers have this $8.9 million resource at their disposal and using it before it expires on a player that can help the team should be a priority. Maybe the Lakers look to use it via a sign and trade on a player that’s leaving his current team as FA and would like a contract bigger than the MLE that a lot of teams are sure to offer. That would require getting on the phone with agents and getting a feel for whether or not a player would want to come to the Lakers. Then more work would have to be done convincing the team that holds that player’s rights to make a deal. The Lakers could also make calls to teams with desirable players and see if salary relief is something those teams would want in exchange. There are other options as well.
However they go about it though, they need to actively try and find a partner. The Lakers only have so many ways they can add talent and this is one of them. I’ll understand if they try to make a deal and fail. But, they need to try.
Re-sign Jordan Hill
Let me say this upfront: Hill’s not a great player. What he is, however, is a good role player that can help a team win within a well defined role. And after he got healthy and found his way into the Lakers’ rotation, that’s exactly what he did.
Hill showed great instincts on both backboards, meshed well into the Lakers show/recover defensive scheme, and complimented both Bynum and Gasol well when he shared the court with both players. He worked hard, played within himself, and never seemed to be about anything else other than doing his job well. Of course there were times that he didn’t play well and that is to be expected with any player. But as a 3rd big man the Lakers can do a lot worse and need only look at the production they were getting from that spot before Hill emerged as a rotation player.
A wrinkle in the collective bargaining agreement states that Hill can’t make any more money than what his declined team option would have paid him next season (approximately $3.6 million). I’m not sure he’ll command that much money on the open market but at least the Lakers know what his contract ceiling will be can use that to work with him on a reasonable contract to return. Remember, the Lakers essentially traded a 1st round pick for Hill and to lose him in free agency would be a step back – even if only a minor one. At this point, the Lakers can’t take steps backwards when trying to improve their talent base.
Use the mini-MLE to sign a viable player
As Mitch Kupchak said, “You might not be able to really go out there and dramatically improve your team with a $1 million player or a $3 million player. But there’s value out there and we’ll search for it.” So, we can only assume he’s going to be scouring the market for good players that will fit into the $3 million slot that the mini-MLE offers. My preference is that the Lakers search for a viable wing using that exception, especially since Matt Barnes is a free agent and Kobe could use a back up that helps get his minutes down.
I won’t get into skill-set specifics with this player because I honestly don’t think it’s as big a deal that the Lakers find someone that is a “shooter” or a “great athlete”. Targeting those specific skills doesn’t always pan out and can lead to signings that don’t work out (see Radmanovich, Vladimir). The Lakers need the most talented players that they can find, period. Give me a good talent base to work with and the weaker parts of a player’s game can be developed and improved. In the end, the team simply needs to find more contributors and that doesn’t mean finding a specialist.
These are only four steps, but if all of them can be executed the Lakers can end up with a quality roster. These moves would net them a starting point guard, a third big man, a back up wing, and another player of consequence that would contribute. When you add those players to Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Artest, Blake, and McRoberts, that’s a 10 man rotation of players that should be able to compete even in a crowded Western Conference. If the Lakers are able to add another player in the draft (Jim Buss has openly said they’d like to get back into the 1st round) that could be another player that bolsters the talent base to help them compete nightly.
I understand many are looking for the homerun deal. But if that doesn’t materialize, these are the types of deals the team can make to get better. How much better isn’t known by anyone, but this would certainly be a start.
lil pau says
ignorant question: why should a team that is losing a player to free agency engage in a S&T for us in order to trade for LO’s exception? They’re freeing up that salary anyway, right? Or is the idea that we would have to provide value beyond the exception (either giving them a player or a draft pick they want) in order for them to make a deal?
Also, am I right in remembering that LO’s TPE could be ‘carved up’ and used in different trades? But not combined with other commodities, right– it has to be stand alone?
I also suggest playing Pau off the bench, ala Lamar, since playing him, Drew and Kobe doesn’t work.
We just need a backup for Kobe.
Gabriel R. says
I think this team can win as comprised with some minor upgrades, but it takes a bit of tweaking. If the Lakers can figure out how to handle LeBron and Durant(huge IF), then there’s a shot.
Coaching schemes that work, given a proper season to get them implemented.
But in particular, using the twin towers model might not work if they use it with each 7 footer on the floor at the same time. The team doesn’t function as well with the two sharing the floor. One needs to be there to sub with the other. This obviously is a double edged sword as you lose rebounding to gain team speed.
But what was one of the biggest issues with the team last year? Speed. On O and D.
You can work your post all you want and use all the time possible, but if the other team takes 6 seconds to score what took you 24+ seconds, who’s wasting effort? If you don’t make them take as much time as you do, who will win?
Edwin Gueco says
Essentially, I agree with Aprilryan’s recommendations if there are no major changes. However, we need somebody to replace Kobe who could be a junior Kobe in shooting and penetration.
I would switch a good shooting SF (like Beasly-typed) in place of MWP and slide the latter in the 2nd unit to empower them in defense. I would inject another SG in the second unit to the likes of a pure Euro shooter to spread out the offense. From there, let’s see how it works. If they keep on winning till February then lakers will attract superstars in mid season trades.
TJ Simers finallys with a funny and smart article… Improve the Lakers from within ? That probably has more to do with Kobe coming to grips on his declining game and less about resigning anyone.
Gabriel R. says
I can’t support clicking that link based on general principles against TJ overall.
Josh M. says
This was of my favorite posts in a long long time. I much prefer to talk about ways to improve our team without all the doom and gloom of the “blow it up we suck now” movement that seems to be festering within our fans. Franchises that continue to make the playoffs every season don’t blow the whole thing up. They try to continue adding talent however possible that fits the culture/system of the team. The Lakers have historically used Free Agency and alas we all know that path is dead to us for the time being. When you add Pau’s low value for his talent (hopefully the olympics will help him especially if he beats Kobe lol) we might as well keep the mentality of bring in all the help we can for the next two seasons. After all we still have time till the tax kicks in and Kobe should still be at his current level for two more seasons if some of the older players are anything to go by (also hes just so skilled without athleticism). Sessions, Hill, and another player who can handle the ball (I’d love to see Odom get his head together) are a big step towards returning us to being the mismatch nightmare we were. Odom+Hill lets us get back to being able to play at any speed any size as they could both play together.
Sessions is a good player and 4-5 million is a reasonable price, but there’s also legitimate doubt his full potential will be realized alongside Kobe and Bynum. He was at his best pushing the pace in transition, until he was reigned in to mesh with our starters. He’s serviceable in the half-court, but his value diminishes greatly. But I don’t see many better options out there (aside from the blow-it-up trades people are discussing) so re-signing him is probably necessary.
I don’t really understand what benching Pau will do. Unless you want to shrink Pau’s playing time to about 17-18 minutes a night, Pau and Bynum will have to share the floor regardless.
It’s not like MB would sit both of them together and send lineups of McRoberts and Murphy out there. Whenever 1 was sitting, the other was playing center. The symbolic move of moving Pau to the bench changes nothing.
According to data from 82games.com, every single one of our top 20 lineups involved either Gasol or Bynum (or both) – both in production and minutes played. The benching Pau argument would only have merit if MB had played them together and sat them together throughout the entire year. Their minutes are already staggered. So I don’t understand the calls to move Pau to the bench, or what that changes exactly. Pau already is our backup center.
just try to trade kobe. Lakers will never be able to get top caliber players like deron williams or dwight howard as long
as kobe is still with the lakers. Or just put him in the bench so he will be forced to resign as ask for a trade. Lakers should absorb 50% of kobe’s salary that is th only way that they can trade kobe. The rest of laker players will have great imprvement when kobe is gone.
why are people saying that kobe is in decline? did you seem him driving past the thunder and dunking all over them in the last game? lets get odom back, re-sign hill, and use the mini MLE on gerald green to back up kobe.
If Lakers were to keep the core together and add players. They need to build around their strengths as some have suggested. That means adding shooters and a playmaker. Giving Sessions mid level money is a mistake when he would be a 4th option. Let’s get role players on the cheap.
Lakers have no picks I don’t see someone giving Lakers an impact player for free. And that players salary would double given Lakers are over the cap. Only way the tpe gets used is in a trade where Lakers shed salary.
Take a gamble on B. Roy he wants to play for a contender and he stays on the west coast. Try for Marco Belinelli, resign Jordan Hill, resign Matt Barnes. Maybe R. lewis or S. Dalembert gets bought out. Jamison is still out there. Only player I just named that’ll likely get more than the mini mid level is Dalembert. Sign some guys for the vet minimum if your keeping the core together. Save the mini mid level.
Kobe, pau, bynum, ron, Goudelock — belinelli, roy, barnes, lewis, hill
In this scenario lakers have n otrue pg. ball handling duties go to kobe meaning he’s making plays for others.
Brandon Roy had bad knees that forced him to retire. He says he had the germany knee procedure. Kobe said his knee was bone on bone in 2011 season but last year he felt the best he’s been in years. A logical guess would be Roy’s knee will heal similarly to kobe’s knee. A 70-80% Brandon roy could possibly be the best player off our bench. He’s worth a gamble and should be the first call lakers make july 1.
Great breakdown by Darius! Very realistic, thank you. Notice, no mention of getting LO back. Like I mentioned before, pining for LO is about like seeking the return of Eldon Campbell. Sadly, LO is so done.
Sullinger’s reportedly falling hard, but rightfully so. To me the back concerns are even bigger than with Dejuan Blair’s knees. If it’s true one leg is longer than the other and he’s already had disc/spasm problems (even without an actual herniation, he’s at high risk of a bulging disk with the difference in leg lengths) that really, really worries me if I have a top 20 or 25 draft pick.
To hear Sullinger’s father tell it, it’s more of a core stability issue. If that’s the case, they should hope Phoenix drafts him, because their training staff is made for anticipating, fixing, and preventing that sort of stuff.
I hate to be a downer, and I am hoping the Lakers improve as much as the next guy, but it’s hard to be optimistic.
The gravy train has got to end sometime. The Lakers have had an improbable number of all-time great on their rosters – a trend that is just hard to see continuing for very long. The absence of any high draft picks in the foreseeable future (where high is >20), the strict CBA along with Kobe collecting 30M a year just paints a grim picture for the Lakers going forward.
Of course this doesn’t mean the Lakers should just close up shop and not try, but we should really temper our expectations for the future and be patient while management figures out its next phase. We’re coming off a stretch where the Lakers were coached by perhaps the best coach in the history a league, employed the most dominant center to EVER play the game, and have had the league’s best shooting guard for going on 16 years now. Kudos to management for putting the Lakers in a position to make those moves, but there is quite a bit of good fortune that’s gone their way and it will be hard to sustain in the coming years.
Craig W. says
For this thread the key is to think only of the next two years. After that time all our big salaries – perhaps except Bynum – come off the books. Who can we get for the next 2 years that could run our club, shoot the lights out, and be done at the end of that time. Why Steve Nash, of course.
For Steve this is a good situation, as the only other high level option would be to sign with the Heat.
Kevin-I like the idea of taking a chance with Brandon Roy and even Jamison if they can be convinced to come to the Lakers for the veterans minimum.
Let’s face it players are swarming the Heat and the Thunder for a shot at a championship.
Craig W. says
Don’t ever mention Shaq being in the same dominance game as Wilt. There is simply no comparison. You would know if you ever watched both in any games.
Chearn: I agree. Roy, Jamison, Lewis are coming off massive contracts. They all make sense for LA unless Dallas, Boston, Miami, Thunder jump into the fold.
Dave Gunn says
Good article, but in a couple of areas I must respectfully disagree. Goudelock shows promise as a back-up to Kobe-give him the opportunity before we look elsewhere. Re-sign Odom but at 1.5 to 2M. per yr, 2 yr max. It gives him a chance to reestablish himself from the shell he was in Dallas, gets he and Khloe back to his support group, and doen’t lock the Lakers up when Kobe’s contract expires. Forget most of the big money pg’s (D Will, Rondo, Kidd (he’s done anyway), etc. and focus on using the trade exception to sign Nash or Billups. They want a ring to top their career off (again 2 year max so it expires when Kobe does). Keep Hill and, as you say put him in the rotation with Odom and Sessions and McRoberts (Lamar at small forward, Hill at Center and McRoberts at PF) and Sessions is mentored by Nash. If there is no trade partners for Metta, use the Amnesty on him (flashes of what he was, but he is still nuts). Try to package Blake, Murphy (a box of Cracker Jacks, maybe) Ebanks (destined to be a journeyman ala V Wafer) for draft choices or young players with upside and low salaries. We need a starting small forward who plays defense and brings energy and can shoot 3’s at 36% or better. I would consider re-signing Barnes (he played fairly well until he got hurt for the playoffs) or see how badly the Wizards really want Ariza (the obvious value in that trade was to drag that ridiculous contract off to New Orleans-Nene and Okafor at a gazillion $ each? why?) Beasley might be an option if he gets his head on straight, but I wouldn’t give Hill up for him.
All of that will provide increased speed, off the bench and in the starting 5, puts emphasis on defense, and gives some salary relief. In 2years give Kobe the choice of reduced pay, a sign and trade to another contender of his choice, or let him sign with someone else on his own. At that point we have lots of salary cap room (depending on how much it takes to keep Bynum, and let Pau go play in Europe).
Baylor Fan says
Finally, an article that does not involve Chicken Little running around. I am not optimistic that the LO money will be used. It sounds like the Lakers are still in salary dumping mode. They still need someone who can play strong defense from the guard position. Another potential source of talent is to develop Ebanks and give him consistent rotation time.
Craig W. says
Ebanks was given some time last year, but either he has regressed from the year before or Brown hasn’t been specific about what he had to learn. Of course, it is quite probable that having no summer coaching nor any training camp to speak of is equally at fault. We will find out this year.
The other player we have that could develop over the summer is Goudelock. He is quick enough that he could at least get in another player’s way on defense and, if he isn’t dribbling into taller players but setting up on the perimeter, I think he could improve his long range accuracy.
With Morris, I think the summer and training camp will determine whether or not he can play at the NBA level in any capacity. Last year really robbed this player, more than anyone else on the team.
Beyond these three players, I think we pretty much know what we have.
The speed that other teams have, especially in the pg area, has frequently killed us. Our transition D is pretty weak when we do not effectively crash the boards. Gasol and Bynum are not the fastest guys down the court, so even a faster pg would have to wait for those guys to show up. And our outside shooting is supect, so teams will continue to dare our shooters to take the shot, making it harder for Pau and Bynum to get to the offensive glass.
Combine that with kobe’s age, and it’s not good.
Steve Nash plays zero D. I can’t see how that’s a viable option unless that’s supposed to be a post for a different team’s web site.
Tweaking is not going to get you any farther than the current state of the Lakers.
The Lakers do not have the talent to play exceptionally well for 7 games against a high caliber team. They can play well for spurts.
Practice and additional coaching will help, but it’s not a long-term solution.
There are not a lot of great choices at this time to do something big. Unless kobe is willing to give back money to give the FO a little more room to work with – a very unlikely scenario – I don’t see very many options outside of a major trade that gets the lakers equal value.
Gabriel R. says
I’m not expecting a miracle, but with Morris not being a rookie anymore, we should finally find out if he actually has anything to contribute or not. Last year was screwy for virtually everyone.
Craig W. says
Brown does not like to play people who do not defend, but Steve Nash is a special case. If we retain MWP I think we have enough defense. Against an open run-out, there is no team in the NBA that defends well. Sorry, but that may be one of the casualties of going away from the triangle.
I like Steve Nash because 1) he is perfect for running a club and setting up others for shots, 2) he is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA from any range 3) he has, at most, two more years and wants to win a ring. Additionally, if we retain Ramon Sessions, we have some backup for him when his back acts up. Yes, our medical staff has to adjust, but they should do that anyway and he may be able to help them, with all he learned from the Phoenix people.
I don’t disagee specifically with anything said here, but it is important IMO to contextualize it:
1. Kobe, Pau and Bynum were all very healthy last year. That wasn’t all luck but given Kobe and Pau’s ages/mileage and Bynum’s history, the Lakers cannot expect a repeat.
2. I agree with bringing back Hill and Sessions, but the need to do that is dictated by the fact that if the Lakers don’t bring them back, they have nothing other than the mini-MLE and vet min to use.
3. As was the case last pre-season, the Lakers are clearly not a top-tier contender and almost certainly will not become one based on minor roster moves. That doesn’t mean they should “blow it up” (which would be hard to do even if they wanted to) or should not try to improve, but people need to be realistic about where they are.
I agree strongly with the “just get players” point. I hope the FO has learned from the Gerald Green/Jason Kapono fiasco. Finally, I see very little chance Nash comes here for the mini-MLE. He can get more money elsewhere, and if he wants to ring-chase, Miami is the obvious choice. Also, PHX fans and FO, while they seem willing to let him go to try for a ring, would have a hard time with Nash in a Lakers uniform, whuch might spur Sarver to offer him more and set up and S and T.
Scottie Pimpin says
The key to the Lakers success lies not so much in getting better players but in getting Kobe to change his approach to the game. Insisting on shooting 43% on 23 shots a game will not get it done. The talent is mostly there but we need the players (specifically Kobe) to put it all together.
Guys like Nash, Miller need not be mentioned if it means pairing them up with the core 3. Lakers with very limited resources will continue to get scraps hoping to strike gold. Sessions, Felton are more likely candidates.
Yes and yes!!! Both are true. Kobe is the NBA’s best shooting guard. And yes Kobe is in steep decline. We have always needed Kobe to be the best or second best player in the NBA. Now he probably isn’t in the top 10. It’s a brave new world. Kobe is no longer capabale of being the best player on a championship team.aube not even the second best as he was last year and the Lakers couldn’t get out of the second round. It’s a brave new world. Should we be hiding from it? Phil Jackson would say embrace it. “I do not want to coach Kobe when he stops being Kobe” -Phil Jackson. He knew this would be tough. He left this team. I don’t think Phil Jackson is in the business of walking away from championships. Do you think he would walk away from a player he thought would deliver championships? He knew it would be even tougher to coach a Kobe who no longer could perform like Kobe. Phil Jackson came back from smoking herbs in Montana all day at his lake side palace to coach Kobe with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown pkaying next to Bryant. He knew how great Kobe was back then. Maybe if he sees Bynum blossom into a superstar next season he would come back again. Who knows? We do know he didn’t think Kobe was Kobe anymore. The Lakers should game plan around Kobe being the second best player. That’s how to improve from within.
A thank you to Phil for publiclally talking up the guy the Lakers are trying to trade right now. Phil’s words will hopefully carry some weight if other GMs don’t realize he was trying to help out his GFs team.
Scottie: I would say the coach didn’t have a clear approach when it came to offense. When the coach defines roles Kobe will fit in just fine. Spacing was bad the majority of past season and Kobe had to improvise a lot.
This grounded thinking is nice and all, but no thanks. None of those moves give us a better chance and in the end we stay as an athletically-challenged team. Phil was vocal about the importance of fast break (read: easy) points the last two years he was here, and for a good reason. Even our youngsters (Morris, Goudelock, Ebanks, Hill) are all average athletes when compared to other young players playing their positions around the league. Kobe, Ron, Pau and Drew are simply too old and/or slow.
Baylor Fan says
I do not buy that the NBA is all about speed. This was an asterisk season with players reporting out of shape, games crammed together, and wildly erratic officiating. Injuries determined as much who won the title as did raw talent. In the end it was the team with the best player that won because he could produce points in the paint better than anyone on OKC.
If you go back to the last real NBA season, the team that won was the most versatile team. It could go small and fast, big and not so fast, and could shoot. They were not quick on defense and played a lot of zone. The Lakers could follow the Maverick’s model and fill in their gaps. It is important that the players they get are not one-dimensional. Versatility does not mean a bunch of specialists. Finally, the coach needs to make use of his bench and keep the minutes down for Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum.
Real interesting look at one of the draft prospects Mitch is supposedly interested in, and the sports science behind some of his movement:
the lakers’ strength is the ability to slow the game down. in a low-possession game, high 3pt accuracy and high defensive rebounding rate are deadly.
tangentially, this style of play requires the very best 3pt defense.
what is good is all these attributes can be developed internally.
what this team doesn’t do is speed up tempo whenever it wants.
if the team is more cohesive defensively, and able to expertly help/rotate/recover, then mike brown’s might permit his players to play the passing lanes and gamble for steals, which will lead to transition baskets.
Must find a way to start keeping and acquiring some draft picks. Haven’t had a 1st. Rd pick since Javaris Crittenton and he will probably be in prison soon. Must get younger…period! If that means trading one of the big men then so be it. Miami just won with no real big man and they were playing a team that really doesn’t have one either. Our two hasn’t provided the necessary advantage to necessitate keeping both. In order to get the best out of either….One must go! And we could build a pretty good bench just by trading one of them.
Even with a best case scenario of everything mentioned in Darius’ post coming true, this only makes the Lakers marginally better at best – meaning maybe they win two games in the 2nd round of the West playoffs instead of one.
The main reason it’s not going to work is there’s basic chemistry issues to address with this group that dictate more than just working around the edges.
Pau and Kobe have shown good chemistry in the past. Pau and Andrew have good chemistry. Kobe and Sessions do not. Kobe and Andrew do not.
Unless you trust Bynum with the franchise, I still say you unload him now while his value is highest (and before he’s in the position of essentially being able to hold the franchise hostage), and then go for broke with a faster, leaner team featuring Pau at center. Though realistically, unless they get very lucky with talent acquisition, the Kobe ‘window’ is already closed.
Quincy M says
What about matt Barnes? he did a lot more than McRoberts did last year, he was pretty much the 6th man of the team, i say bring back Ramon he stretches out the defense, he can drive, good passer, no he’s not a steve nash or deron back he’s the next best thing avaliable, bring back hill and barnes they brought energy to the team and toughness which the team needed, also keep goudelock te games he played he was impressive, get rid of murphy he just isnt the same player, build a bench with steve,matt barnes,jordan hill,goudelock, and someone else a center to go in there and give the team some valuable minutes not asking them to go in there and be a all-star but just do enough for the team
I like the approach, but the big decision to be made is this: what do we do in the last two years of Kobe’s mega contract?
Of course we’ll look to compete on the surface, but at what cost? Do we secretly resign to the fact that it’s a longshot and not do anything that would compromise our position once Kobe’s contract is off the books?
Or do we truly believe that something can be done judging from Kobe’s performance this year to go all out even if it means having an iffy team for about three years after Kobe’s contract is up?
The truth probably lies somewhere inbetween, where the FO does not pass up anything that’s a sure thing but stays away from iffy deals that limits our plans for the future.
But which is more likely? I am inclined to say the former. Unless something mega works out (means I do believe that they’ll try) I think the Lakers will stay away from 2+ contracts preferring the chance to completely rebuild if needed.
I think that the new CBA effectively closed the Lakers (Kobe’s) window for a championship. While I was not in the least bit impressed with the Finals I was impressed by the athletic abilities of LaBrawn and Ibaka. They changed the game on both sides of the ball. No other team has players of that size and quickness. Durant is a beast scoring the ball, but he can’t hold his own against the man child (James).
As long as the Lakers are forced to play with inferior athletes they will lose. Andrew doesn’t care (JB Caroll anyone), Pau is super talented but is also super soft (Vlade), Kobe is getting old but won’t let go (any famous fighter).
Boston and San Antonio were the best coached complete teams in the playoffs. Boston stood the best chance, but when it was time for them to knock out the younger heat, their old bodies could nolonger respond. Their hearts were willing but their broken down parts let them down. Is that what we want? No!!!
The Lakers are only three contributing players away from the WCF or even the Finals. Lowry, Milsap, and Green (Thabeet) to add to Hill, Sessions, Barnes, Ebanks and McRoberts will be good enough if Brown can prove he can coach. Only one coach did well in the playoffs and I hope Brown can match Collins.
Edwin Gueco says
Lakers have been marginal team for the last two consecutive years. The departure of Sasha, LO, Shannon, Farmar and Mbenga have not been replaced by new generation of Lakers. I don’t mean to say that our ex-players should be recruited back but by full measure they are much better than the players who were not with us during during the b2b Championships. On top of that, our young owner got a new Coach who blindsided everyone from Mitch, his Dad, former Lakers, fan fanatics because he was not even part of the vetting process. Anyway, he took over and pride himself as a defensive Coach. First game with the Bulls, we lost at the last two minutes. That has been the pattern of Coaching throughout the year. I’m hearing now “excuses” as a lockout season, no preseason practice of the new style of Coaching etc. Riley never used those excuses when he took over from Westhead. PJ didn’t need any internment when he took over Coaching in ’00. I think the symptoms were: 1) botched trade for CP3; 2) Replaced by not so good role players kapono, mcroberts, murphy 3) too much experimentation in benching ebanks, murphy and hill. As a result, the experimentation produced bad chemistry, it has been a confluence of events that produced a “chop-suey Mbrown recipe for disaster.” Winning solves all analysis while losing produces all kinds of wild scenarios why we lost? Admittedly, there is no way Lakers could win against Thunder, Spurs or even the Champs, Heat. We lacked depth, strategies and character to repeat the glories of ’09 and ’10 seasons.
I hope Mitch whom I consider as the CEO in this analogy will be given a free hand to make decisions for the team. Jim Buss who act as Chairman of Board for the Family Business should only give a go-signal for the budget that the owners are willing to spend, let Mitch do the search for talents. In other words, the Chairman of the Board should not interfere with CEO’s planning and Coach operations. The CEO and the Coach should be judged by results at the end of every season how the budget was utilized.
BTW, there is a famous blogger by the name of Jon K, I used to blog with. I wonder if you are the same guy and just changed the last letter for this site.
According to Synergy. Not as big a difference as I first thought.
Belineli shot 38% on spot up 3s
Jamison shot 38% spot up 3s
Barnes shot 36% spot up 3s
Blake shot 33% spot up 3s
Goudelock shot 58% FREAKING PERCENT ON SPOT UP 3S. 3rd in the league. These are stats Jim needs to show Brown. 3rd best shooter in the league was on our team riding the pine. “Coaching Reasons”
Craig W. says
“Kobe is in steep decline…”
This is either a Kobe hater or he didn’t watch any Laker games this year. Steep decline…sheeeesh!
Just heard Steve Kerr give some advice about the draft…”Don’t listen to talk radio.”
Good advice in my mind.
Lakers were 1st in the league on post up fg (45%).
Lakers shot 37% fg spot up 3s. Sounds good but it’s only 22nd in the league. Many of those were open too.
16.7% of the offense came on spot up shots. 2nd on the team after post ups (20.2%). That high percentage of offense and not converting at a higher clip contributed to our struggles.
“Improving The Lakers without A Major Trade” as a secondary option seems doable given all the wide open shots we saw missed. Adding a couple pieces to better compliment the core 3 isn’t a bad second option. I’d still rather see big moves but the post as they always do carries some weight.
On this we agree. I was assuming we were hiding GLock for the trade deadline. But unlike my Jordan Hill prediction I was wrong. I wish I wasn’t. It didn’t make sense unless we were hiding him. The only thing that makes me really question the Lakers FO is Gerald Green and the only thing that makes me question the Lakers coaching is GLock.
Craig W. says
I think the main problem with GLock is that his defense is not good and Brown doesn’t like to play people who don’t defend. GLock needs to work on this over the summer and Brown needs to play the young players in some kind of pattern if we are going to develop them.
Sounds like an organized summer and full training camp can really do the Lakers some good this year.
Craig W.- If that is true about Brown, then there is no way that we retain Sessions. He plays very little defense, or at least it seemed that way.
We can’t play inside-out basketball unless we can add shooters which we can’t afford. Kobe was not in *steep decline this year, but he was definitely older and slower. His handle isn’t going to get any better and neither is his athleticism. We need him off the ball more and there is only one way to achieve that. We have to get a dominant pg somehow.
If this team can’t make everyone pay when they double Bynum and Gasol, then we may as well trade one or the other. If we are keeping Bynum, then we had sure as hell better figure out how to keep other teams from swarming him so much that he mentally checks out- as he is prone to do.
Serious question: Is the roster less appealing to players or playing for Mike Brown?
Mo Williams is the only player that has openly supported Brown. LeBron and Kobe’s quotes are standard rhetoric.
I hope Lakers can sign Brandon Roy, 🙂 Then for me the line up will be:
K. Bryant, R. Sessions, MWP, P. Gasol and A. Bynum..
B. Roy, D. Morris / M. Barnes , D. Ebanks, J. McRoberts, J. Hill..
Then give Pau Gasol more ball inside the paint, we all know that he is so good with it.
Why do people continue to mention D.Will? He is not coming here? He said it Brook or Dallas. Same as Howard saying he is not coming here.
At some point you have to wonder what is it about the Lakers that makes stars no longer want to come here?
” Come on come on pass me the ball! I was wide open instead of that 35 foot fade away bank shot with 3 guys on you you just bricked”.
Never mind. Answered my own question.
Scottie Pimpin says
One way to get better without a major trade is for our players to improve their skills – specifically our younger ones.
What I’m talking about is practice, not a game, practice…
Seriously, do any of these players put much time into improving their games any more? With the exception of a few it seems like most players rely on their athleticism and youth and when that runs out, they are out of the league.
If LAL wants to make use of Sessions, he should be with a speed-ier line-up so:
still can’t beat OKC though 🙁
Darius Soriano says
For those mentioning Goudelock: I think defense had something to do with it, but I believe the bigger issue was the fact that he had much less success as a SG in comparison to when he played PG while Blake was out. I’ve looked into his splits from when he was a SG vs a PG and pretty much all his success came as a PG. This allowed him to play *with* Kobe a lot more on the 2nd unit rather than backing him up. More important, it allowed him to be defended by like sized players rather than the larger back up SG’s across the league. It should also be noted that Goudelock’s production dipped mightily as the year advanced, but again that had to do with the fact he was playing SG.
If you want to argue that he should have been playing over Blake even after Steve returned from injury, that’s another issue. But, I don’t blame Brown for playing the natural PG over the one that didn’t seem as comfortable initiating the team’s offense (Goudelock looked fine when simply running the P&R for himself and looking to get his own shot).
Warren Wee Lim says
Regardless if our best is not enough to beat OKC or Miami, the point is we did our best. That goes for Management too, which I maintain that they gave us the best they did last season.
Imagine if we had traded for the injured Howard and the Turkish billionaire… what would the Kens and Aarons of the world would be saying?
Management did their best last season because they enabled us to explore the talents of Jordan Hill and Ramon Sessions by merely spending 2 late 1sts and contracts that went beyond this year that are considered merely warm bodies (Walton, Fisher).
Despite all your thrashing on Jimbo, I remain confident in his abilities.
Oh and if we cannot hit the jackpot deal (Bynum for D-Will) then we shouldn’t do a major deal in that regard.
Warren Wee Lim says
Wolves have acquired Chase Budinger via the 18th overall pick.
Serious question: Is the roster less appealing to players or playing for Mike Brown?
Dwight Howard: Ever since last season, all sources and his very own actions indicate that he has no inclination to play with the Lakers/Kobe. I don’t see anything that has changed that will allow him to alter his train of thought.
Deron Williams: Personally, I never got the feeling that he wished to adorn the Purple and Gold. Now we have sources, that seem quite credible, who are stating that it’s either Brooklyn or Dallas for him.
Steve Nash: As rr stated earlier, can’t envision the ownership of Phoenix allowing him to lace them them for the hated Lakers. But also, Nash recently stated on ESPN Radio, “for me, it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey.” Not to say that it’s out of the question, but just seems highly unlikely that he’ll be Kobe’s running mate come next season.
Even on our very own roster, it seems that we have players that would not mind playing in other city’s. Bynum’s “there’s banks in every city” comment comes to mind and now there’s rumors circulating that Pau is frustrated and wouldn’t mind a change of scenery.
Last season, there were numerous players who questioned Coach Brown’s pedigree. From Ron calling him a “stats guy” to Kobe, Drew, Pau and Sessions questioning the X’s and O’s of his Offense. Might some of this have been remedied with a full training camp and more practice time? Possibly, but the fact of the matter is that Coach Brown will not be given the same pass this coming season that he was awarded this past season.
So yes Kevin, that is an excellent and valid question. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we’ll have some answers.
Craig W. says
That means Minny will probably be trying to dump Beasley. Not sure we are interested, but it looks like he is likely on-the-move.
From an outside perspective, the Lakers are an older, less athletic club that is well over the salary cap, has a history of playing system basketball, and whose coach is constantly under fire. For players on the rise and wanting to get paid under the current CBA, this is not a desirable combination. We can scream Hollywood all we want, but we still won’t be a prime target for free agents at this time. The advantage our market size and location gives us is that we can change in the future and become a desirable place to go – Sacramento can’t.
At this time, we fans just have to accept that many current free agents are not going to want to spend the next 3-6 years in this type of situation. It is highly unlikely that we get much, other than a trade, that could help us next year. Most trades leave us with at least as many holes as we currently have.
We are not likely going to make any major jump upward next year – live with it. We should concentrate on improving what youth we have, carefully draft, and scout available free agents who fit our situation and are not big names.
Everyone is talking about GLock as a PG. who wants a 6-0 SG?
…and again, Steve Blake did not have any experience playing PG. He played the spot up SG role for Juan Dixon in college, for Iverson in Denver, for Roy in Portland, and then for Kobe in LA until this year when they switched away from the triangle. GLock organized the offense much better as he was a threat in the PnR and getting into the paint and finishing with that little floater of his.
I’ll tell you what I would have said if we traded for Howard and het got hurt. I would say we got un lucky. I’ve long said Dwight is the only guy I trade Bynum for.
Warren Wee Lim says
Appreciate the candid response Aaron but being un-lucky in your terms may also be seen as “incompetent” if we accepted a player that had his kind of pending surgery. Those things cannot be hid.
I too would trade Bynum for Howard, but that ship has sailed with Bynum now being the healthy guy and with Howard no longer. I would be willing to add 2 1st rounders (then) but never wanted to add Pau or accept Hedo or Jameer in the process.
So lets put things in perspective. Dwight is not coming over here (whether he desired it or not) alone because any deal will supposedly add in Jameer (maybe) and Hedo (oh hellz no). So in a vacuum if its 1:1, both healthy, yes. But with all the supposed additions and concessions we’d need to acquire Dwight, no thanks.
Magic Phil says
Nobody wants to play for the Lakers because everybody knows we’re not gonna win anything for a long time. The NBA and its zebras will make sure this will not happen. They think 16 is too much.
Lakers, Boston and SAS, thanks for the ride.
And Stern, thanks for vetoing the CP3 trade (sarcasm). Your NOH looks much better now indeed…
Craig W. says
Ok, so let’s summarize what your view of our backcourt is.
PG – Sessions, Glock, Morris, (Kobe)
SG – Kobe, Blake, Eyenga, (Ebanks)
From my viewpoint, we need Brown to spend time teaching Glock, Morris, and Eyenga and giving them minutes throughout training camp. If they survive that, they need some minutes in the season doing only the things they were trained on in training camp.
It also would seem somewhat critical to sign Sessions – or get another starting level PG. Your main point being that we should cease this ‘experiment’ with Blake at the PG and move on.
Craig W. says
Just looking at the salaries: http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm
We literally fall of the cliff to $0 in 2014/15 and we will need to keep our salaries under the salary cap at that time to avoid the repeater tax. We might be able to be over the cap for the next two years, without any repeater penalty. This means we have a two year window with absolutely no flexibility. This is not a situation any player’s agent is going to want their charge to sign up for.
Once we get beyond 2014/15 we gain flexibility, but we are looking at what amounts to a ‘death penalty’ and it really limits what we can do and how we can attract others.
Good to see Houston plans on using our pick wisely. Can’t wait to see what’s brewing for them looks like their planning something big.
Very quiet on Lakers front usually you hear some rumblings. Mitch is in the bat cave working.
I believe the Lakers can solve their issues (mostly the bench production) from within. We’ve already learned this season that Pau and Bynum cannot work together being on the floor at the same time for each takes up space in the post, thus rendering the other one useless (hence Pau’s stats taking a dip this season since he primarily became the Lakers version of Brandon Bass). Why else do you think we have won the ’09 & ’10 championships with Pau at center and Bynum injured?
Because of this, one of the bigs has to go to the bench. I believe that Bynum is the big that will have to play off the bench as he will provide instant offense and for reasons that will be mentioned later on in this post.
Assuming that we keep Ramon Sessions, Jordan Hill, Troy Murphy, and Matt Barnes, then here’s what I believe the Lakers line-up should truly be to maximize bench scoring and effectiveness on both:
P/G – Steve Blake
S/G – Kobe Bryant
S/F – Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)
P/F – Pau Gasol
C – Jordan Hill
P/G – Ramon Sessions
S/G – Andrew Goudelock (or Ebanks)
S/F – Matt Barnes (Ebanks can play this position as well, but I prefer Barnes for he is a great slasher and good defender)
P/F – Troy Murphy
C – Andrew Bynum
I’ll explain the effectiveness of the starting line-up. As well all already know, Bynum & Gasol being on the floor at the same time negate one another. I believe that Steve Blake should start over Sessions as Sessions’ s playmaking abilities are hindered by having play with the slow-paced Lakers starters as well as having to play with ball-dominant Kobe Bryant. Steve Blake would stretch the floor for Kobe and Pau in the post with his 3-point shooting. Yes, Steve Blake is a defensive liability, but so was D-Fish when we had him (and we still managed to win championships with him guarding other point guards, no disrespect). The main reason I place Pau as the starting big instead of Bynum was because of his passing and playmaking abilities as a big man (this will make up for Steve Blake’s lack of true P/G playmaking abilities). Also let’s not forget that the Lakers have won two championships with Kobe & Pau being together in the starting line-up. M.W.P. will be in the starting line-up primarily for defense and for guarding elite forwards such as LeBron James if we were to meet the Heat in the Finals this upcoming 2013 season. Jordan Hill will fuel the stating line-up with his tenacity for offensive rebounds and energy. He will score the majority of his points from these offensive rebounds. Kobe will be Kobe. We will already have plenty of offense going in the starting line-up with Pau and Kobe.
Now let’s move on to the bench. Ramon Sessions will be very effective with this line-up as we have seen in the first few games with Ramon coming off the bench where it seemed as if he averaged 20 points and 10 assists. Sessions will be the primary playmaker, but Bynum will be the focal point of the offense as he will provide instant offense for he is almost automatic with the baby hook he has developed this season. With Bynum being happy from getting many touches with the bench, he will also be inspired to play defense as he has shown us this season. Andrew Goudelock would stretch the floor for Bynum and in the low post with his 3-point shooting and make defenders focus on him when he drives in with his floaters. Andrew Goudelock may be an undersized S/G but one can learn how to defend bigger players (I play basketball out in the streets and always guard players who range from being 3-5 inches taller than me for I am only 5’5 but I am known by many to be a very good defender). It is fortunate that defense is an attribute that can be learned, unlike offense which is an attribute that is difficult to learn or something that one is just born with. Matt Barnes will be the best defender off the bench and will score points off of cuts and offensive rebounds. He will supply the bench with his energy. Troy Murphy would be the perfect compliment to Bynum with his great shooting ability. His 3-point shooting will also help to stretch the floor for Drew’s postups.
The starting line-up will be very effective as it will have many complimentary players and be balanced overall with the majority of the scoring coming from Kobe and Pau. The bench will be an offensive juggernaut. So what do you guys think of this idea?
Houston is supposedly trying to make a deal with Sacto in which they get Tyreke Evans and the 5th pick. They are also apparently still trying to get Howard, although he is reported to have said he wouldn’t stay there under any conditions.
My take on the Howard/Williams stuff is simple: I think Howard has “dragged this out” because he wants to play with Williams or Paul but of course can’t say that in public. Recall that prior to the Paul deal, there were big rumors at ESPN that the Lakers wanted both of them, and that in the email, Gilbert openly speculated about the Lakers getting Howard after they got Paul. When Paul went to the Clippers, Howard reportedly added the Clippers to his list.
So, I think Howard is waiting to see where Williams goes, then will try to get there with him. Failing that, remember that both Paul and Howard are, as of now, FAs in July 2013.
Mitch said he was working on the veto trade for some time. And looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks when he had the presser. I can imagine him in his office grizzly looking with an ash tray full of ashes and butts with papers scattered everywhere listening to talk radio. And constantly reaching for his phone because Kobe is texting him every hour telling him to “ship Bynum’s a** out”. He takes a break walks past Jim’s office and sees him watching Trackside Live screaming and clutching betting tickets in both hands.
T. Rogers says
Looking at the salary chart Craig posted I would rather see the Lakers ride out these last two years working around the edges. Then reset the whole thing in 2014-15. At some point the Lakers are going to have to reset in order get in line with the new CBA reality. Better to do that sooner than later.
Yes, I want to see them compete for a title over the next two years. But I don’t want to see the team in the cellar for the next decade because they overspent trying to chase a title now. If some true game changing players can be had, then go for it. But I do not want to to see them lock up marginal players for extended years.
>>>I would rather see the Lakers ride out these last two years working around the edges. Then reset the whole thing in 2014-15.
If that is the case, isn’t it better that we amnestied Kobe and Trade Pau for some picks? along the way, we will likely miss the playoffs, and have higher 1st round picks.
Also, Kobe may get some chances for his 6th ring somewhere else.
Darius Soriano says
Houston doesn’t have a pick from the Lakers this year. The pick the Lakers sent the Rockets in the Fisher/Hill trade was the Mavs’ pick from the Odom trade. That pick is top 20 protected and since the Mavs will pick 17th, they keep it this year. The three picks that the Rockets have are their own, the Knicks’, and the T’Wolves’ from today’s Buddinger trade.
rr: smart of him for trying to team up with another star player. Things can always change but the likelihood of seeing the same team next year goes up with every move Houston and Minesota makes.
darius: Lakers picks or not they have them and are making moves. Trying to better their team and it’s looking like they will.
darius: The pick was the lakers because we traded Odom for it. If I read your post right had they kept it lakers would be picking in the top 20. That would be an asset and has value it may be easier to trade a max contract if a pick in the teens was included.
What Pau will always be able to say is Phil wouldn’t have 11 without me and Kobe wouldn’t have 5 and Lakers wouldn’t have 16. He brought championship basketball back to la after early decade success. Not kobe or phil they were treading water from 05-07.
Darius Soriano says
I think you’re misunderstanding. The Mavericks keep their pick until it’s not 19 or lower. So, this season they keep it because it’s #17. So, no, the Lakers wouldn’t have had a top 20 pick this season.
And to clarify, I responded to your earlier post because you implied the Rockets were stockpiling picks this year (including the Lakers’) to make a move. So, I just wanted to point out that while they may trade the pick they got from the Lakers, that pick won’t be from this year’s draft. In fact, it may not be from next year’s draft. That pick is top 20 protected for the next 6 seasons. So, if the Mavs continue to pick in the teens (or higher), they’ll continue to keep that pick (until the conditions run out).
This first point is a bit off topic but what if the Olympic team helps kobe’s game the way Kobe help everyone else’s game in 2008. Kobe showed everyone the importance of playing defense and having that killer instinct, maybe this summer they will show Kobe the importance of trusting his team no matter what and remind Kobe the importance of playing defense.
Like the TJ Simers article everything starts and ends with Kobe, but I don’t think Kobe’s the problem and the only problem as TJ believes. Kobe has to begin to adjust his game and play more off the ball, attack quicker when he receives the ball, and look to make the right play not just always look to score. That will help the lakers despite who is on the roster. Kobe has a lot of game left, he’s still elite and can lead the lakers to a championship (depending the rest of the talent level).
Yes the lakers can improve within, by resigning ramon and jordan and having a full training camp and practice time.
The real problem is leaders and the our two bigs. Andrew is not a leader and too much of a head case. Pau is no longer a playoff performer and is flat out inconsistent in the playoffs. They don’t work well together. The Lakers looked better and more fluid when they had jordan hill in the line up with one of the two.
If the lakers can try and trade pau and get depth thats the only realistic move that can be made, but i’m not standing pat or make such a move puts them over the hump.
Having steve nash may. The lakers problem was the inability to close out games because they couldn’t take care of the ball, the offense became kobe going one on five. If the lakers could pick up steve nash someone to control the offense in late game situations and also make huge shots could be the difference for the lakers.
darius: well done, complete ownage. Have no choice but to give you this round. Guess now I know now why I never tried to play gm.
T. Rogers says
Please don’t go there. Without Kobe and Phil Pau would only know the O’Brien trophy from pictures in Slam magazine.
No… It wouldn’t be incompetence because the Lakers would have traded for Dwight before his career altering back injury. There is no way I would trade Bynum for him now until he proves he is 100 percent. And at best I was only 50/50 on trading the younger, taller, stronger, and more skilled Bynum for Dwight Howard and that was based on the fact he had a much better injury history than Drew. I always put shot creators ahead of guys who need guys to create shots for them in PnR actions… But because I think Dwight’s defense and rebounding rivals Bynum’s his impeccable injury history until now made me very interested in proposing such a trade. Now… NOt so much.
My depth chart would actually look like this…
PG: Sessions, Morris, GLock
SG: Kobe, Eyenga, Blake
I would seek to trade GLock and Blake along with first rounders just like last year for young players on expiring deals. To me Morris might be the most ideal starting PG on the roster due to his size. He probably will be a better defender then Ramon and would have a better chance finishing at the rim due to his strength and length in the playoffs. So if Morris develops like I think he can… It would be ideal for Sessions to add that spark off the bench with his quickness and aggressiveness.
Ramon Sessions is a better Smush Parker.
The Lakers could improve without making a major trade by playing with pride and some heart. That alone would net them at least 10 extra wins in the regular season.
During the playoffs they’d have home court advantage for the first two rounds. If they then played like they gave a darned about winning they’d win easily in the 1st round and tough it out for a win in the 2nd round series. Thereby giving themselves a chance to compete in the WCF.
Play hard, play to win and if you come up against a more talented team then so be it.
Edwin Gueco says
I agree with 1/2 d & r, this could be the last train so hold on to it as long as it lasts. However, if there is any opportunity to improve the team, please grab it now. We cannot live on the nostalgia of the past, even Shamu, the killer whale gets old with his tricks and make mistake that result to death of his trainers. It is time to move on to new excitement. I hope Mitch will be open to other options.
Craig W. says
Just as I think many Laker fans think it is their right to compete for championships every other year, others seem to feel we are overdue for a dismal return to a mediocre NBA existence.
Both these views would seem to be extreme and reflect the commenter more than the situation. We have seen hard times in the mid-to-late 1970s and the 1990s, but we also didn’t miss the playoffs too much.
Change comes hard to most of us and that’s why I think we are so ready to dump Jim Buss in the trash-heap or amnesty Kobe. Jim is following his dad – some people’s god – and Kobe followed Michael Jordan – other people’s god. For that reason those individuals simply cannot be cut any slack (see Mitch Kupchak following Jerry West for another example).
The fact of the matter is that Los Angeles is a glamorous destination in normal times. Our organization has been quite good over many decades – certainly when compared to most other franchises. We may not find another Kobe soon, but we will be competitive over the next couple of years and we will learn how to work within this new CBA. Stop all the impatience – demands for instant gratification are dangerous at all times.
If I recall, mitch had a pretty good team when jerry west left/was pushed out/got burnt out/was iced out by PJ – however you look at it. Mitch got a lot flack for the shaq trade and so did kobe, even though it was dr. buss that pulled the trigger. Kobe wanted to be the man and got to be the man after shaq left, and it wasn’t that great for a few years.
This is not about following gods or worrying about change. This is about an organization that has had a tremendous amount of skill (and mostly good luck – thanks again David Stern for killing CP3) over the years. That level of consistency is the result of good systems and good people.
Junior came in and cleared out a bunch of people. Some of them were replaced by friends (Chaz) or family. The hiring process of MB leaves a lot to be desired.
Junior’s public statements don’t do anything to convince those who are rightly skeptical about the future of the franchise, given the current age and skill sets of the team compared to others and the ever-tightening salary cap.
A lot of the concerns are valid. It’s up to Jim to earn the trust of the fans and the season ticket holders. If he can’t handle the heat, I’m sure his sister would do a hell of a job.
Don Ford says
@Tra (#56 at 7:56 am)
It’s a small point, but I think Steve Nash may have been misinterpreted.
Tra: “But also, Nash recently stated on ESPN Radio, ‘for me, it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey.’ ”
The entire quote is below. He said he is just using the Lakers “as an example” of successful teams that he usually feels sort of rebellious against. BUT: then, he says he is throwing out his usual inclinations and starting from scratch. So I think this quote doesn’t mean “no Lakers” like some have said.
“”The truth is I am bit old school. I think for me it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey. That’s just what it is. You play against them so many times in the playoffs and I just use them as an example with the uttermost respect for them and their organization. I think it was Larry Bird that was like he wouldn’t play for them type thing. I kind of have that tendency. It is strange, but as a free agent you are free to go wherever you want and I’d have to consider everything regardless of the past or future.”
Having said that, who knows what he means or what he’ll do. And who knows what’s right for us – while Nash’s age and reputation could mesh with our window and Kobe’s mentality, his defense is blah, and …. well who knows.
I’m not opposed to making a move where it makes sense but I’m not a fan of blowing up the core roster except for trading Bynum. He is our biggest trade asset and by the time our championship window closes in 2 years, Bynum will be 26-27, not exactly old until you consider his injury history. If we thought Shaq declined rapidly, wait til you see Bynum in 5 years! A change that I think would be viewed as minor would be to hire Mike D’Antoni to run our offense. It addresses a weakness of Mike Brown and Kobe loves the guy. Plus it might be enough to land Steve Nash. There are a lot of former coaches in the league now. W still have viable weapons if used properly.
Also can someone explain to me how Devin Ebanks is good enough to start for Kobe for two Weeks and then can’t get into the rotation once Kobe comes back. Ebanks isn’t a star but he gives us exactly what we said we needed last offseason – athleticism and useful minutes. He isn’t an offensive star and never has been, but the guy can play defense if coached properly. I’m a WVU fan and saw what he could so when Huggins threatened him with the treadmill (funny reading for those of you unfamiliar with the back story). If Brown coached him up he could show a lot more than he has. thebackstreet
Change comes hard to most of us and that’s why I think we are so ready to dump Jim Buss in the trash-heap or amnesty Kobe.
To an extent, but I think it is more that the team is way over the cap, pretty old, has the two of the top 5 highest-paid players in the NBA, and is not a top-tier contender. That was true in December and it is true now. Any fanbase in that position would be asking questions and wondering what was next, particularly when you factor in the multi-year media attention that NBA superstar free agency generates in the internet age. Saying people need to be patient would make more sense if the Lakers had a roster like Minnesota’s or Utah’s.
Also, Jim Buss is taking some heat in part because he has asked for it, by publicly taking a more active role than his old man did and by talking more than his old man did. Finally, while there are some, I don’t think that much of the fanbase, as a percentage, really wants to amnesty Kobe. That may change over the next year, but I think the amnesty Kobe crowd is at this point more of a vocal minority.
I know its not my money but I think the lakers are using the idea of the cap penalties as an excuse. Didn’t they just get billions of dollars in the time Warner TV deal?!
“Improving The Lakers Without a Major Trade” – AKA: “Futzing”
This has not worked for the last 2 years and it will not work next year either. We need major change and if we can’t get that then we need to re-build. If we “Futz”, then we will be “8th”.
Darius: If we do “Futz”, then the steps you outline are perfect: Sign RS, Sign JH, Use TPE, and Use MLE. As I have been saying all along – spend as much as legally possible. Problem is that Jimbo might not let us do this. Also – as you know – I feel that there was no excuse to let the Sasha TPE expire (anyone better than TM would be fine), and the same will be true if we let the LO TPE expire.
However, even if we do the steps Darius has correctly outlined, “Futzing” around our existing core is not the answer. It will get us to be the “6th” best team in the league. I have lowered us to “8th” because I do not think we will even “Futz” as well as Darius has outline (I mean it is the same FO that signed Murphy, Kapono, and Josh McRoberts as our 2011 bounty). If our objective is to be “6th” – “8th”, then our FO is pitiful and they do not deserve to be running the Lakers. We should either be contenders or have a plan to become contenders (I think that is a paraphrased rr quote from pre-season last year).
“Also, Jim Buss is taking some heat in part because he has asked for it, by publicly taking a more active role than his old man did and by talking more than his old man did.”
Disagree, at least with the “talking” part. I think most of the criticism started when Jim hired MB, and was compounded by his cleaning of the staff and then the Lamar salary dump (the salary dump was huge at the time – we tend to forget the initial reaction and the vitriol towards Buss because of how Odom’s season played out).
At the time, I remember the main refrain was how isolated and aloof Buss was, because he never spoke with the media and explained his decisions (and also that he never communicated with Kobe). I saw articles comparing him to the media-savvy Jeanie and how, by comparison, Jim supposedly believed he was above explaining himself. Only after a while did Jim open up and start granting media access. And to me, that was a positive sign – he heard the criticism, found it reasonable, and adapted.
Now people are getting on him for talking too much. People have generally formed very strong opinions about him (as they do with players) and at this point anything he says/does will only serve to reinforce that viewpoint.
“Saying people need to be patient would make more sense if the Lakers had a roster like Minnesota’s or Utah’s.”
I actually think patience makes perfect sense, as long as we’re not intent on getting Kobe another ring. Right now, all that’s on tap for 2014-2015 is a QO for Eyenga (pass). Factor in a Drew extension, and you still have tons of flexibility and a low-post threat moving forward under the new CBA. But you’d have to commit to this by only signing contracts less than 2 years (and letting Sessions/Hill walk if necessary).
Whether we’re still a hot target for FAs is questionable, as stated above, but flexibility moving forward is key.
We went all-in and pulled 2 titles out of it. I don’t think our current position was unforeseeable. We may have to bide our time (1-2 years) before regaining flexibility, but it’s a price that’s worth it.
Edwin Gueco says
Futzing is also like dancing with ole’ Tennessee Waltz, we just tinker here to make everyone happy. The truth of the matter the owner has the last say in moving a little forward and a little backward and going in circles till Kobe contract expires. We got to be in the playoffs with little moves, don’t worry and be happy.
True Martin, it’s not our money but they always want our money. They exist because of Laker fans’ money.
Craig W: You are correct – we are a glamorous destination and we have a rich history. These are reasons players and coaches want to come here. We have banners, we have celebrity fans, we have a monster cable deal. We have it all don’t we? Anyone could run this team. So let’s just live off the legacy of Jerry/Jerry/PJ for the next 20 years and see what it was like for the Celtics from 1987-2007.
PS: On top of the trash heap implies that the trash went in first.
Snoop: We often agree however I guess we will part ways on Jimbo. I could care less whether he talks or not. I could care less if he never shaves or if he dresses like he can’t afford clothes. What I want is results and he is short on them. Waiting 1-2 years will make it a total of 3-4 years. And at that point you are saying we are regaining flexibility which will mean yet another 2-3 years of building. This brings the total to 7 years, which would make this the 2nd longest absence from the Finals in Laker history. It would be a period presided over by Jimbo Buss. It will be named the Jimbo era.
Why not let me run the Lakers? I can easily deliver zero titles in 7 years. I’ll tell you why I can’t run the Lakers. I was not born with a silver basketball in my mouth.
Edwin: I like the dancing reference. The Lakers however do not need a Waltz, what they need is a mosh pit. I am thinking Avenged Sevenfold – “Nightmare”
And I am happy – I was just quite a bit more happy PJB (pre Jimbo Buss).
I got a feeling. Wooooooo Hooooooo. That draft nights going be a good night.
Robert: agree with you #8 best team assessment. You know Mitch is working hard trying to get something done to fix that.
IMO there is no need to put quotes around 6th, 8th, and futz every time you type them.
actually think patience makes perfect sense, as long as we’re not intent on getting Kobe another ring.
Well, sure, if you don’t care about trying to win the title again during the last two years of Kobe’s contract, then, yes, be as patient waiting for 2014 as you like and enjoy watching Kobe add to his records.
But making changes and flexibility are not necessarily nutually exclusive; indeed, amnestying Kobe and trading Pau would create more flexibility with payroll sooner, rather than creating less later.
The overriding reality of these discussions is, as Darius said a couple of weeks ago, “there are no easy answers”, which more or less means that most positions here have merit and all of them have major flaws–like the team itself.
As far as Buss, sitting down with Simers–again–was not necessary. It is not a big deal, but it didn’t really help anything and made Buss more visible at a time he didn’t need to be. Also, a couple of days after that, Simers did one of his typical hatchet jobs on Kobe (Aaron linked it), and as I am sure I will be saying a lot over the next 24 months (not here so much but in general) people upset about Kobe’s deal should blame the FO for offering it more than Kobe for signing it. Simers being Simers and also wanting to keep his access to Buss, wrote the piece as if Kobe’s deal descended on the Lakers like a firestorm in Malibu Canyon, rather than being a business decision. If Buss wants to help, he might want to talk that over with little TJ.
Check this out guys….if we’re talking trades. This one has LO going to the Clippers, the Laker’s Trade Exception going to Dallas, and Mo Williams coming to the Lakers. The rationale is that Dallas doesn’t take back any salary.
Some things to consider, which the article touches on. First LO the first time with LAC did not end well. Second if the Lakers were to get Mo Williams, I’d presume it would be the end of Sessions in a Laker uniform. Thoughts???
I don’t think that big trade are the answer for the aging Lakers team. Getting some good players from the draft is not an option either. What the Lakers need are three point shooter who are not intimidated or scared to shoot the ball even if Kobe is in the game. A point guard who could penetrate inside and distribute the ball without committing turn overs and a defensive player who could block shots. rebound and can also shoot the ball from long or short distance. For the Lakers to find these players, they have to try the D’League. There are lot of good experience player from the D’League that are not expecting for a big buck but only the chance to join the big league. They are willing to play with less money just to play in the NBA to show their talent. The Lakers can win the championship again it they get rid of Mike Brown. retain the services of Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, MWP. Hill and get back Lamar Odom, Goudelock. Morris and the rest from the D’League. A-R-R-I-V-A LAKERS………..
MKG or Barnes as the 5th pick. and the lakers still get a player like, Lamb or PJ3? or trade that pick back a few to get some falling players like Sully or Melo??? Last time we saw a top pick was Worthy? Or Vlade For Kobe?
Can we talk about the upcoming draft? The conversation has gotten very stale.
This should serve as a reminder that trades are not always talent-driven: http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba2-value-in-draft-is-in-teens
It’s no surprise that Mitch is looking to deal into the draft. The picks right after the lottery are extremely valuable. You lock a player up for 4 (potentially 5) years at a low price. If your scouts are worth their salt, your young player will produce after their sophomore year, which gives you 2-3 years of solid contribution at rookie pay. For all the talk of Rockets stocking up picks to offer for D12, I’m pretty sure Mitch would listen to a loaded offer for Pau.
Don’t like the thought of LO being down the hall in a Clipper uniform.
Say it ain’t so!
Not sure what’s worse though, seeing him on the Clippers or watching him return to form for the Heat.
Michael H says
Does anyone really think that the Clippers would actually send Mo williams to the Lakers, considering Williams is exactly what the Lakers need? After all they are trying to pass the Lakers in the Pacific and trying to win the hearts of L.A. Then again, they are the Clippers, hmmm….. On second thought it could happen.
Magic Phil says
Looks like Odom will be back to LA. And Mo Williams will fight with Sessions for the starter position for the Lakers. It makes sense all over.
Xavier Sánchez says
I think the key here is to give up or not the TE in Mo Williams instead of Beasley in a sign and trade….
The Lakers are committed to the following – Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Gourdlock, WP, Blake, Eyenge, McRoberts. There are 6 players who are now effectively free agents – Barnes, Morris, Hill, Murphy, Ebanks and sessions. These spots are obviously up for grabs. If we assume that they resign Sessions, Ebanks and Hill that Leaves 3 spots. Hill might be traded for Beasley which I think would be a good move. We need youth and some scoring off the bench plus better shooters at range.
Of the 3 spots left, Morris, Barnes and Murphy, what are the best options as free agents to improve the side given limited trade options. I would look at someone like Novak to replace Barnes as he would give us some 3 point shooting ability. I would look at someone like Darrell Arthur to replace Murphy, he’s an ok scorer is young and can play the PF or SF like Beasley giving us options. As for Morris, while he is promising I would go for someone like Meeks as he can provide some outside shooting at SG even if he is bit short for the position. This would allow Kobe to play at SF occasionally and Gourdlock/Meeks can play SG.
This doesn’t change the starting lineup but gives us options off the bench with Arthur, Beasley, Novak, Meeks, Gourdlock, Blake, McRoberts.
If we wanted to change the starting lineup you could go with WP, Beasley, Bynum, Kobe & Sessions, or Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Meeks & Sessions.
This sounds like a win for everyone. Clippers desperately need another piece, anoher vet, some championship odeur…
Why would the Clips trade for Odom when they can get him cheaper after the Mavs buys him out?
Why would the Lakers help the Mavs shed salary and help the Clips get a big who might actually help their team?
Just get Mo for the TPE. And try to sign LO for the vet min so he doesn’t go to the Clips. He should be better than Troy Murphy.
Warren Wee Lim says
Getting Mo Williams and retaining Sessions and Hill would be the kind of offseason to expect. Quiet, easy and intrigue-free.
Pau Gasol will be chased by rumors regardless.
BTW for everyone, I fully expect Kobe to sign a 2-yr extension worth 20M once his contract is up.
Craig W. says
Robert and rr,
How about looking at Snoopy’s thread above. He pretty much nailed it with the comment about the Laker organization going all in to get a ring immediately – they got two – and then the costs started coming due – the end of the big contracts as the players aged.
We made a deal to get our last championships and now the final payments are coming due. Don’t criticize the organization for making those deals now – after the banners have been hung. Also, don’t just assume other clubs want the end of these big contracts.
We were going to have problems with our salary structure before the advent of the new CBA. Now they are a real lead weight on our flexibility – but they did accomplish their purpose.
That is the reason I want to concentrate on developing what we have, instead of repeating the Knick fiasco of of the past 15 years.
Mo Williams rumors is just a smokescreen to drive Sessions’ price tag down so Lakers can re-sign him to a cheaper price. Right now Sessions has the leverage, and Mitch is basically telling him “hey, we can sign another PG if you don’t want”. If it were true, the reason why Mo wants out of LAC is that he’s not happy being a backup. If he goes to LAL, I’m sure it won’t be backing up Sessions. Same with Sessions re-signing with LA. it won’t be to back up Mo. I think the Lakers trading into the middle of the first round is more realistic
Mo Williams wants a new deal. It’s possible his is first priority won’t be winning a championship. A key to next year is team chemistry.
It would be a good fit him knowing Mike Brown’s system. But paying 16 mil for a 1 year rental seems highly unlikely.
Rob – Haha I’m not sure we’re parting ways. I have some Jim complaints as well. My biggest was the move of clearing house that made us look like the Bobcats; it’s been somewhat mollified by the fact that our staff is back up to 9-10, but I still didn’t like it at the time.
Didn’t we have a 9 year break from the Finals back in the 90s? I was but a lad then, but pretty sure it was 9 years.
I’m not saying I completely agree with this, but from Jim Buss’s past actions and words, I think it’s fair to assume he wants to build around Bynum (or at least with Bynum, the way the Clips did with Griffin). If that’s the case, I think it’s in our best interest to compromise future flexibility only if we can pick up studs like Williams to put next to Bynum for the next 5 years. But I might change my mind again tomorrow.
If we take back Mo Williams, aren’t we giving Dallas a couple more million to potentially woo FAs? Or would the guaranteed $2 million not be part of their cap? Probably won’t make much of a difference in the long run, and I don’t agree with not making moves for fear of helping a competitor, but not sure Mo Williams is worth it.
Also, don’t just assume other clubs want the end of these big contracts.
I have said about 20 times that making any deals will not be easy. You need to read more carefully.
As to the rest, I said three years ago that Kobe’s and Pau’s deals were excessive, although I can see why the FO did it. And I was against the Blake deal at the time. I said at the time that Fisher’s deal was too long. MWP’s deal is too long, but I said then that I could see it and that is just the cost of doing business.
It’s OK if you want to stand pat and just let the deals run out; there may not be an attainable alternative. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Mike Brown having more practice time with Andrew Goudelock will make more than the slightest of differences, if any difference at all. It won’t.
Dave Gunn says
I think the Lakers are hearing free agents declare for places other than LA because of several things.
First: the Lakers and their fans have been seen (probably correctly) as arrogant and complacent. Phil seldom missed a chance for head games on other teams and their stars. Secondly, Laker fans are seen as “white collar elitists” as opposed to “:Blue collar lunch pailers”. This perception is enhanced by the number of stars in the stands. Third, the income generated by the organization has allowed them to sign other teams stars after they grow beyond the “home towns” ability to pay them. “We grew ’em and the Lakers take them away”. Fourth, how many good players have had their hopes blown away over the years by the Lakers? Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Sacramento (cow bell city), Utah, etc. And all of them see that as the Lakers buying their way in and dumping on their teams dreams. I also think that is the reason for Stearns snaking the CP3 trade-to get someone else in the finals, and it worked. By the way that is also the reason for him fixing the Lottery, so cancelling the trade is not so blatantly worse for the Hornets as opposed to what they would have gotten from Houston and the Lakers.
Lastly, there is Kobe. It’s his team and star free agents would have to accept that fact and be willing to accept being 2nd or 3rd banana on this team. All of that and now other teams are emerging that can exact revenge for what happened in the past, and have the money to do so. Kobe and the Lakers are probably the most hated player and team in the league, so they have dropped to 4th or 5th place in desireability.
All that said, they are still the Lakers and with Kupchak they will be back on top shortly, as long as J Buss stays out of it. If he shuts up and lets Mitch get things done we’ll be ok. Think the vision of J. Buss as the top dog had anything to do with Phil leaving? Of course you do, we all do.
Dave Gunn says
Note to monitor/ auditor: your last communication was entirely inaccurate. I have made 2 posts neither of which is in any way a rehash of the other stratement. Please read both and reevaluate your response. If you still hold the same opinion please tell me what the overlap is. DRG
Dave Gunn says
Dave – If I’m not mistaken, you’re talking to an automated system. The message about duplicate comments is an automatic feature.
Snoop: Yes – during the “90’s” we had an 8 year hiatus from the Finals. The Jimbo years are currently threatening that at 2 years and counting. In any case I will say we only partially parted ways on Jimbo. However that says more about me than you, as I have absolutely nothing positive to say about that subject : )
Craig W: A 15 year fiasco is exactly what I would like to prevent. As per my note to Snoopy above, we are in position to threaten our all time record for Finals absence. Somehow during our 64 years in the NBA, we have made the Finals 31 times. So not making for a number of years in a row goes against that history and does not reflect well on those running the team. No different than a company that was profitable for years, and then starts losing money under new management. Usually the new managers are fired, however in this case the “silver basketball” that was in the owner’s mouth at birth, prevents that.
Kevin: Mitch is working hard, but does he have a partner working with him, or holding him back?
rr: After I gave you credit for the pre-season comment, you are busting on me about my quotes.? : ) Pat Riley tried to put a lock on the term “ThreePeat”. On this board, I claim the following terms: “6th”, now moving to “8th”, “Futzing”, “vagabond”, “journeyman”, “youngsters”, “problem children” , “90’s”, and of course whenever referring to the owner of the Lakers it must be “Jimbo” and now “silver basketball”. And besides – we have an agreement – I am the owner – you are the GM. You must put up with my idiosyncrasies, and I will let you manage the team. This is like Jerry Buss and Jerry West. Now – if you prefer I can meddle in everything thing you do and that will be like Jimbo and Mitch. You choose : )
Players nolonger want to play for the Lakers. Our Front Office is a joke now with Jim Boy running the team. Kobe’s attitude of once being the best, and now trying to hold onto a title that nolonger belongs to him. Kobe being a consumate overachiever and basically being reluctant to change the way he plays for the betterment of the team. Drew being lazy, Pau being a lil bi**h, the squad being old and unathletic and you pretty much have the reasons why our title window is closed.
Facts is Facts.
My God I miss Phil Jackson. Watching Real Sports realizes where we have lost our team. We have really lost our symmetry.