As the Lakers continue to lose, the question shifts to Kobe Bryant and whether a return this season is even worth it. Bryant is still recovering from his injury and has repeatedly stated that he does want to play again this year.
But that’s Kobe’s opinion. Kobe is never going to back away from competition. He’s the same guy who wanted to play 48 minutes every game last season during the final stretch for the playoffs. In other words, Kobe’s decisions aren’t the most logical ones.
Resting Kobe means the Lakers could have their $50 million man return healthy next year for a new campaign. Why risk another injury during a meaningless season?
The Lakers have now lost 18 of their last 21 games and are just a half game ahead of the Sacramento Kings for dead last in the Western Conference. Though they have looked good in some of those losses offensively, their defense continues to be horrific. They have allowed triple digits in 14 consecutive games. Whether one blames the offensive-minded Mike D’Antoni or the injuries — it doesn’t matter because Kobe isn’t going to help bring that number down. Defense is a collective effort and just because Bryant will be hustling and playing defense it doesn’t mean the rest of the team will.
On this shorthanded team, there’s a good chance Kobe may try to do too much and put himself at risk for another injury. If he gets hurt once more, that’ll be three times in a 12-month span and that’s something nobody wants to see.
The Lakers have invested plenty of money in Kobe Bryant over the next two years. They saw what can happen already when they rush to bring him back. It would be wise to do what’s best for the team’s future and rest him. The positives outweigh the negatives heavily.
Regarding the players that are actually on the floor and playing for the Lakers, there are two guys who have continuously produced over the last month: Pau Gasol and Kendall Marshall.
Gasol seems to be realizing that he’s going to be looking for a new contract at the end of the year and he’s playing like a guy who’s going to be pursuing big money. In January, Gasol averaged 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.7 blocks. He’s been playing actively on both ends of the floor.
Meanwhile, Marshall looks like a player who may actually stick with the squad come next year. He recorded his eight and ninth double-doubles this week and is continuing to show that he could be an effective point guard in the NBA.
Speaking of point guards, the Lakers got good news this week as Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, and Steve Nash all practiced. It’ll be interesting to see what Marshall’s role will be when all three of their point guards return to the court. But for now, he’s enjoying his starting minutes.
The Lakers brief home stand ended and they’ll head back on the road this week. They’ll do a back-to-back in Minnesota and Cleveland before finishing off the week in Philadelphia.
Now that’s it. First Bynam, then Shannon Brown and NOW Sasha to clippers. Meanwhile Gasol to Suns for Okofar plus draft pick.seems to be hot on stove.
Please not Sasha. Not the machine!
Seattle by 5!
50 to 1 on safety first score?
Things could get interesting soon. Not a bad deal if the Lakers can swing it – expiring Okafor + picks or someone young for Gasol
Okafor and a 1st rounder would be sweet actualy a coup.
Andre-At this juncture of Kobe’s career he can ill afford to sit out the year, due to the fact that his body may never regain the timing necessary to be at or near all-star level on the floor. Timing and game conditioning are two of the more difficult conditions to mimic devoid of playing games. I’d like to see him come back and play the remaining games of this season just to see where his game will top out at. That way during the summer he can look to add elements to his game to remain a feasible player for the Lakers going forward.
Especially since we gave Suns picks for Old Man and the Nash.
I know Okafor has a neck injury and the main point of trading for him is his expiring contract and the insurance payouts – but if the Lakers can work with him and get a good free look at him the rest of the year/summer he could be a good cheap pickup for a defensive rebounding centre to handle the backend for next season if he can come back healthy
Reading the report the Suns are willing to part with one of the 1st round picks they have this year. I dont know but getting Okafor expiring contract and a 1st rounder is the kind of deal the Lakers cant let pass cap relief and a extra pick on the first round? Perfect, hell i take the 2015 pick we gave to the Suns for Nash. Dont know if that posible but having 2 1st rounders this season could be really huge.
The fact we are reading about the rumor likely means it’s pure fantasy
The fact we are reading about the rumor likely means it’s pure fantasy
Media have changed since the 1980s, and there are some different people running the Lakers now. Both the Paul and Howard trades were rumored before they occurred. Nash was a surprise, but even Kupchak said that happened very suddenly.
PHX has enough picks stockpiled that they can trade one or two, and Pau would not clog up their cap next year.
Given that both Okafor and Pau are expiring – and it wouldn’t cost phx too much in the way of picks etc… its a trade that makes almost too much sense for both sides. Phx can afford to lose a 1st round pick (which was the hangup why Cleveland wouldn’t do the Bynum deal) and gets a proven post scorer for a playoff run, Pau gets a legit role to play for a playoff team, Lakers keep cap flexibilty/save more via insurance payments to okafor/score a pick they need/plus possibly get a look at Okafor for the upcoming year.
Friends in Pheonix think it will happen.
finally, I was just saying this morning it would be a great day to trade Pau. hope this doesnt drag out. makes the most sense of all possible trades.
I take Phx rumors coming from Stein pretty seriously. He’s always had good sources in the Suns organization.
When you think about the number of teams who would want to trade for Pau and offer what the Lakers want – an expiring and a first-rounder – the list is awfully short. This makes lots of sense.
Who would be in the other deal? Has to be Kaman, right? That’d get them under the threshold, I think.
What’s mildly hilarious is reading the comments on the ESPN story from Suns fans who think that giving up any first-rounders — even the Indiana first-round pick — would be an overpay. The Suns are a nice story this year, but really…it’s like these people have never seen playoff basketball.
I guess if they’re recent Suns fans, that might be right!
Could Gasol push Phoenix into the top 4 in the West? Would be a pretty good deal for the Lakers imo…as long as we can give Nash back too. 😉
Wow. I didn’t realize that the 2015 pick we traded to Phoenix was top 5 protected…We could potentially get that pick back. :/
KenOak: Yes – that is why I have been saying that the “multi-year tank” is worth considering. Also, check out the pick we gave Orlando We can get out of that 1 entirely (as a first rounder).
Phoenix: Before we get “too” excited. 12 months from now I am going to create a post on this board. It is going to list everything we have given Phoenix and everything they have given us. Even some stuff we did not pay for. That is all.
C Hearn: Thanks for the props. I am hoping the Phoenix trade is not a future “one liner” ; ) Always enjoy your posts.
Could Gasol push Phoenix into the top 4 in the West?
Highly doubtful. PHX at the moment has made 440 3s and allowed 295–they have allowed the second-fewest and hit the third-most, while being 8th in 3p% and 3rd in 3p% allowed. They are are not really that good at anything else, except getting steals, and they profile more as a .500 team having a good year based on the 3 than as a team that is a piece away from contention. Basically, they are having the year that Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak and Mike D’Antoni dreamed that the Lakers would have. More or less everyone on the PHX roster is exceeding their projections, a few guys by wide margins.
They do have a very good backcourt in Dragic and Bledsoe, and if they have the cap space in 2015, they will be all over Kevin Love.
While it makes sense for Lakers – Pau would prob help Phx’s passing (last in league in assists) and wouldn’t hinder Phx’s pace – they’re just a shot slower per game than LA. Only issues are that the offense is a lot more guard centric behind Dragic and Bledsoe – though he’d take some pressure off them by being the only real dependable post presence there and would open things up a bit more for Frye et al on the 3pt line since he’s more of a threat downlow than Plumlee. His injury in a way means the PHX staff would prob bring him back slowly which would help slide him into the offense w/o as much disruption as just inserting him for 30 mins a night right off the bat. Guessing PHX just has to consider if playing him 25-30+ mins a game opens them up defensively/disrupts chemistry/alters offense. That being said – they’re basically getting Pau for a non-player since Okafor has been injured all year – and all it will cost them is likely a really high 1st round draft pick that they have a bunch of anyways.
Does Pau make them a top 4 team in west? Possibly – they could now have enough offense to win enough games to have home court for a round – and maybe a series as well. Contenders – nope not at all, still too young/inexperienced to shock the world. but as Stein said – they get a free look and hold Pau’s Bird rights for very little – plus Sarver would be salivating over the possibility of extending the playoff revenue.
Warren Wee Lim says
A possible deal with Phoenix has many ramifications. I am a huge proponent of trading Pau but for reasons quite different from most. I want Pau traded to a good team where he can flourish. The Suns seem like the perfect team who happen to have the perfect assets that we need or require. The most-likely scenario is Okafor and the Pacers 1st – which is guaranteed to be 28 to 30 range. However, it now depends on the other pieces of the puzzle to determine what we ultimately do.
Here are the details of what sort of assets the Suns own:
2014 Pacers 1st (30th)
2014 Suns 1st (23rd)
2014 Wizards 1st (17th) top 14 protected
2014 Wolves 1st (15th) * out of playoffs so this could be 12th but top 14 protected
2015 Lakers 1st top 5 protected
The Suns own interesting assets as well in the form of:
Alex Len (disappointing 5th overall pick)
I think one of the 5 will be traded in lieu of a pick or as a sweetener.
In terms of the Suns’ needs vs the Lakers needs, Channing Frye looks like someone who fits our offense. However, his contract runs through 2014 so that might be a no-no if you trade Gasol anyway.
I’m intrigued as to what the final deal will be but it will be happening.
J C says
If a Phoenix pick helps us land a good player, or allows us to move up by combining it in a trade with our own pick, i guess I’m ok with this trade.
But at the same time it’s sad to think of Pau as merely an asset to move in order to save cap $ or for an injured player like Okafor.
Pau’s offensive numbers in January have been equal to or even better than his career averages.
He’s an unselfish and talented passer,
an nba champion,
a hall of famer,
and a class act.
I know we’re losing right now, but he was one guy I still enjoyed watching.
He will be missed.
Renato Afonso says
I wouldn’t like to see Pau go, but if they’re not planning on keeping him next season, then it’s better to get that 1st round pick for him than just let him walk away. Again, I hope he stays.
On Kobe, first of all he needs to return because I have him on my fantasy keeper league and my fantasy dynasty league. I just need him for the playoffs! J/k. On a serious note, C. Hearn is right on this one. Injuries can happen anytime, as long as he doesn’t force anything on his return and his minutes are kept down. He could get injured two weeks after his return this season or two weeks after his return in six months. What is absolutely essential is to have gametime. If he sits out the rest of the season he will be roughly one year and a half without playing competitive basketball and that’s never good. It doesn’t matter if you’re a young player still developing or a veteran, one and half year without playing will hinder your ability. I’d rather see him back right after the all-star break, if his injury allows him to…
Had some time this weekend to view videos on top picks. Since that is what we fans have left.
I think this Exem kid could be best of bunch. Reminds me at 6’6′ of Kobe at 19 with a better 3 point shot. Dads a former player and grew up in another country. Sound familiar?
Warren Wee Lim says
The Lakers pick, at this point is gonna get us a good player. How good, will depend on how bad we do the rest of the way.
Exum, Smart, Embiid, Randle, Parker, Wiggins.
Its sad, but its necessary. If Phoenix offers a pick (or two we hope) we should take it and run. And I would advocate that we should also explore getting TPEs from Philly and other teams with TPEs and/or cap space to “correct” our payroll/tax sitution.
All I can think of right now is Mitch’s ratio.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if this trade happens and we get our own 2015 1st rounder back?
Saw this on-line. Don;’t know how it compares to other orgs:
In total, 14 former Lakers are under contract with other teams—more if training camp invites and traded draft picks are included:
Charlotte Bobcats: Ramon Sessions, Josh McRoberts, Jannero Pargo and Chris Douglas-Roberts (training camp invite)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Earl Clark
Clippers: Matt Barnes, Antawn Jamison
Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley (drafted 42nd overall in 2009, traded immediately to the Miami Heat)
Indiana Pacers: Andrew Bynum
Miami Heat: Toney Douglas (drafted 29th overall in 2009, traded immediately to the New York Knicks)
Milwaukee Bucks: Caron Butler
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ronny Turiaf
New York Knicks: Metta World Peace
Oklahoma City Thunder: Derek Fisher
Phoenix Suns: Gerald Green (training camp invite)
San Antonio Spurs: Shannon Brown
Utah Jazz: Malcolm Thomas (training camp invite)
Washington Wizards: Trevor Ariza
rr- I would love to see what the combined salary and years left in the contracts of these 14 players amounts to. That would be an interesting stat to compare to the current roster and could be useful to evaluate whether this is a good or bad thing.
I would consider it nothing short of amazing if the Lakers can trade Gasol for a 1st round pick essentially. I really thought the odds of moving Gasol were remote. But the Suns trade would only make too much sense for both teams that it looks highly likely something will happen.
The Lakers would then only need to trade Hill or Kaman for a TPE. Which I also think would not be that hard to find a deal for. Hopefully grab yet another pick. I would rather see Kaman go as he hasn’t gotten court time and I don’t see any reason why.
These moves all make too much sense at this point to pass up.
I almost forgot completely about Blake’s contract. I don’t think he is as likely to be movable though.
T. Rogers says
While I haven’t seen is listed out has you did here, I have taken notice when watching other teams play. I see ex-Lakers all over the place! I often wonder how much better the Lakers would be if they had some of those guys now. With the exception of Howard none of those players are All Star caliber. But some of them are very good basketball players.