From Gabriel Lee, Lakers Nation: In most functional partnerships in various frontiers of life, there’s someone who is more dominant than the other. Spongebob and Patrick the starfish. Batman and Robin. John Lennon and the Beatles. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (had to throw that one in for good measure).As for relationships, friendships and dynamic duos in sports, the list goes on and on.That was a fundamental problem with the Lakers this past season; Dwight Howard was never satisfied with merely riding shotgun with Kobe. When Pau Gasol landed in the Lakers’ lap on February 1, 2008, he was a perfect partner for Kobe Bryant. Gasol was, and is, a capable star who functions best as a second banana. He has a minimized ego, always does what is asked of him (even coming off the bench for Earl Clark) and is one of the few players in the league who can absorb Kobe’s demanding style of leadership without being completely turned off.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: For a while it seemed likely that the Lamar Odom would find his way back to Los Angeles with either the Clippers or Lakers. The Clippers have seemed to move on — they haveBlake Griffin, Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins who can play the forward spot. Interest there appears dead. So then what about the Lakers… that doesn’t seem close, tweets the well connected Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Kurt Rambis has agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff, and he took to Twitter to make the announcement himself. It had previously been reported that the Lakers had discussed bringing Rambis back to the organization, and the sides have been “close” to finalizing a deal. Rambis had been with the Lakers staff during Las Vegas Summer League. He had been seen in the crowd with Mitch Kupchak, Mike D’Antoni and Jim Buss and had also been in the locker room after games. Rambis was last with the franchise from 2005-2009 when he was Phil Jackson’s lead assistant. Most notably he instilled the “strong side zone” defense during the 2008-2009 season. The Lakers were sixth in the league in defensive rating, giving up an average of 104.7 points per 100 possessions. He left the team in 2009 to become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
From Tim Reynolds, Yahoo Sports: Steve Nash believes Kobe Bryant is ahead of schedule in his recovery from Achilles’ surgery, is hopeful that the Los Angeles Lakers will finally find the chemistry they lacked a year ago and is finding himself fueled by the memories of an injury-filled season. On Tuesday, however, basketball won’t be his sport of choice. The two-time NBA MVP gets to become a soccer player again – if only briefly.
From Zach Harper, CBS Sports: The Los Angeles Lakers really need some depth on the wings and at the forward positions going into the 2013-14 NBA season. Kobe Bryant is famously recovering from a tear of his Achilles tendon, and the team just amnestied Metta World Peace to save some money in a year in which the franchise looks like it’s heading toward retooling. They recently signed Wes Johnson to fill in some at the small forward, but don’t really have a lot of options on the roster right now. After an impressive Las Vegas Summer League with the Lakers, it looks like Elias Harris out of Gonzaga University will be a part of that much-needed forward depth. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Harris and the Lakers have agreed to a two-year contract for the minimum salary.
I think mitch gave some validity to the idea that dwight wanted the lakers to amnesty kobe –
“Clearly, we wanted to keep him here in Los Angeles, and I felt we did everything we could do within reason to show we did want to keep him here.
the within reason part stands out to me … perhaps dwight wanted something unreasonable
more likely it’s about MDA
That would totally be within reason
T. Rogers says
In reading a recent interview with Paul George about coming home to play in L.A. he noted that Indiana had a better team. Basically he’s not interested in coming here. And they just picked up Luis Scola for peanuts. Why would he leave a team that was one quarter away from the NBA Finals to come to L.A. to start from scratch?
It takes top notch players to attract to top notch free agents. People who lamented that Howard wasn’t Kareem or Shaq were missing his real value (besides defense). Howard was enough to at least get guys like Paul George to consider coming here. He was the first domino. If the Lakers are going to rebuild through free agency they need one in-his-prime player to make the commitment. And that player should be one of, if not the, best at his position.
Who really knows if Howard made any requests that were not within “reason” to Mitch. Reports were that he wanted a timetable for when the team would be his. I think that is within reason. If they were asking him to be the future he has a right to ask when “the future” was going to begin.
Craig W. says
Why are we continuing to litigate the Dwight Howard affair. It is over. It is done. From what and how he said things, it is doubtful he was going to be a savior for our franchise. Now where do we go?
We are moving toward a more uptempo offense, with a decent reliance – still – on our big men. This is an offense younger players want to play and it is an offense younger players can pick up faster. For these reasons I think we are going to see a more cohesive game, with better chemistry, next season.
We can all argue whether this means we will be more successful or not, but that is where our focus should be – on the future, not on what might have/could have/should have been.
Thank you, Craig W.
Couldn’t agree more.
Let’s put the guy in a little boat, along with PJ, Fish, and the triangle offense, and let them all drift over the horizon.
Here is the problem with that: The foreseeable future is based on recruiting free agents and Howard’s decision to leave may well affect that process, which means that it will probably affect the future. This team has two draft picks over the next four years (maybe three since the 2015 pick is Top-5 protected) so that means the Lakers will be rebuilding, if they can, through free agency, and as T Rogers suggests, big-time FAs want to go where they can win. Ask Paul George if you don’t believe T Rogers. And Phil Jackson, whatever you personally may think of his outdated offense, is one of the NBA’s great winners. Since the Lakers do not have a young, established nucleus of talent or a young star (like James Harden) to attract FAs, it is logical to assume that they will need all the organizational gravitas that they can get.
I think that Jim Buss believes that SSOL ball and MDA will make a big comeback, and that the Lakers will surprise people, winning around 40-45 games with a fun team, creating a foundational set-up somewhat similar to the one on the Club Ced teams that helped to draw Shaq. Or maybe Aaron is right, and what they will try to do will be based on a grand play for LeBron James. But either way, Howard’s leaving is not like the decision to cut ties with DJ Mbenga.
And, of course, the veto of the Chris Paul deal is “over” as well–yet its repercussions are still being felt around the league and will continue to be. The same is true of Dwight Howard’s decision to go to Houston, no matter how distasteful you may find the subject to be.
oh yes lets forget the 5 titles and 7 finals appearances over 11 years – yah thats so over with … come on
Big fan of your posts but think you are off on this team. Full seasons from Nash and Pau plus a bench that is 5 times better is a start. PG will be way better then watching Morris and Duhan and SF can’t be as bad as Metta last year and his non-stop bricks. If they stay health they are a high 40’s win team. Dwight was a ball stopper and if you look at his one on one numbers against other centers you might not be impressed.
Three new coaches and 5 new guys who can run and shoot looks like 48 wins to me. And I won’t have to cringe every time Dwight losses the ball or looks like my 8 year old son at the line.
Relax rr it’s more fun to beat expectations then last years joke of an overpaid team underperforming mess.
The team still doesn`t have the quality depth needed to overcome the injuries that always arise during the season. Should be an interesting season,with more scoring, and questionable D/
Warren Wee Lim says
Last year’s team had a alot of baggage in itself. It put pressure on the big 4 to perform. While 3 of the 4 thrive on the bright lights, injuries hit and so the dream became nightmare.
This year’s team will not resemble any of last year’s. We have a more fluid team, a team that can interchange alot of its parts w/ one another. We could see ourselves having Wes Johnson as a 4-man at times and we could very well see Nick Young at the 3. Either way, the most-glaring weakness of last year has been, for lack of a better word, solved.
May I repeat for the Nnnnnnth time, the conundrum last season of no defense was the fact that we couldn’t run and defend, as opposed to we didn’t like to or the coach didn’t emphasize it. We had no legs, we had old legs and add injuries to the insults and we squeaked our way into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. Barely.
This year’s team will see interior defense suffer. That happens when the league’s best interior defender leaves without compensation. The good thing is that perimeter D has been of greater importance as of late, although this is highly debatable, compared to post defense.
Screens, outlets, chasing the ball, etc… all these were absent last year. While our post D was passable last year even with Dwight Howard manning the middle, this year will be sure-fire atrocious but will see benefits in other areas.
If we can only be better on offense and passable on D, this team can succeed. I even dare to say 50.
For those that only think nothing is acceptable other than a championship, then you’re just dreaming.
I see the current flaws of the team as asking too many players to play out of position. The Lakers hired 2 SG’s with the intent to play them at SF. That may actually work out if Kobe can switch over to SF. But with Kobe’s health issues hiring 1 true SF may have been a good idea. Then at PF I think Hill is a great player but he is used more like a Center. MDA’s system really calls for a stretch PF. The PF situation I think could be resolved with a trade but the teams reluctance to take on a 2 year contract limits the possibilities. In my view a 2 year contract set to expire with Nash would be the perfect road to a major signing in 2015 (Kevin Love). I’ve already put forth my suggestion in a previous thread.
2014 I think may be better served filling out the roster with capable players in the 5 to 10 million range. I don’t see a lot of max type players worth getting save LeBron. With the way teams are pursuing Max and minimum contracts focusing on mid tier contracts looks like a better path to filling out a truly competitive roster that won’t fall apart with a single injury.
All that said I think this team will be a lot better then many are expecting. There are moves though Mitch could do to improve this roster.
Unless Paul George liked the Lakers so much better than the Pacers that he was willing to take the QO and become a UFA, that was never happening anyway.
Craig W. says
I think we make a mistake in saying Mike D’Antoni runs a system – Phil Jackson ran a system – Mike D’Antoni’s system is more a style of play. Also, there seems to be an assumption that Mike D’Antoni is as set in his ways as Phil was and that we will see him institute exactly what Phoenix had 7 years ago. We saw D’Antoni modify his style of play last year because of his personnel. Why wouldn’t he modify it this year to fit the personnel he now has?
The corollary to the “Only Phil can save us” thinking is “Nobody else can save us”, and that includes Mike D’Antoni. We aren’t going to be what we were in 2008/10 – that’s true – but 1999/2002 wasn’t like 1981/1989 either.
How about we develop one of our stars, instead of assuming we have to recruit one from another city? Maybe they won’t be a superstar, but they could attract others. There are more options than signing Lebron and/or Melo.
I guess I would rather spend my time trying to see the glass half full, rather than lamenting our half empty situation. The Lakers are different, the NBA is different, the CBA is different. However, we still have some real advantages with our environment, our city, and our general manager. We expect to win – that isn’t true of many teams. We demand entertainment – some city’s don’t seem to enjoy that. We are a world-wide beacon and that interests some players.
The team was never going to be Howard’s, how could it? If Howard was going to be used to draw Lebron and Carmelo, then everyone knows that the team would be Lebron’s even with Kobe still on the team. So, if Howard’s intent to play on any team is solely predicated on him being the MAN, then it’s best for all involved that he move on.
The Lakers organization knows what leaders look like, their persona is in the form of Kobe, Magic, West, Shaq, Wilt and Kareem. And as I have stated before Howard did not win a single playoff round for the team. Nor did he put up gargantuan numbers during the playoff loss to engender any confidence going forward. It is what it is.
If this years team decides to play defense, hustle, rebound, make free throws, protect the paint and pass the ball to the player with the highest chance to score: They will at least be fun to watch.
I believe this team is going to overachieve.
Welcome back Rambis!