Now that it is official LaMarcus Aldridge will sign with the Spurs (which was the presumed outcome when free agency started), the Lakers have officially missed out on every player they have (reportedly) targeted in free agency. To summarize, they met with Aldridge, Greg Monroe, and DeAndre Jordan. The latter two signed with the Bucks and Mavericks respectively while other “players of interest” like Robin Lopez (Knicks) are now also off the market.
This leaves the Lakers as the team standing up in this free agent game of musical chairs. And, with that, here are 10 thoughts on where the Lakers are now, how they got here, and what comes next:
1. It’s become pretty clear the Lakers are prioritizing stars and do not want to spend big money on role players/guys who do not clearly have star potential. This goes back multiple years, but last summer and this summer are prime examples — they tried to get LeBron and Melo last year (as well as keep Gasol) and made Aldridge and Jordan top targets this summer. Monroe is the only player who doesn’t fit exactly into this archetype, but even he is young, was a lottery pick, and put up strong numbers last season (and ones before that). My guess is they thought Monroe could be a high producing player for them moving forward.
2. Beyond the results, there is a strong argument to be made it was always a mistake to take this approach when the Lakers did not have enough money to pay more than one max free agent. Whether you think this is a new phenomenon or not — and I do not; stars have been asking out of bad situations to go to winning ones forever — the top players in the league want to go to situations where they have a good opportunity to win. This means having an infrastructure of good talent, a strong and clear upward trajectory. The Lakers, for all their brand power and cachet, are not this. By prioritizing stars, the Lakers’ front office seems to be missing this point.
3. To be honest, the Ed Davis to Portland signing is the one that has me most disappointed. I never truly thought guys like Jordan or Aldridge would sign with the Lakers, but I thought mid-tiered guys like Davis who could potentially be had for reasonable deals were realistic gets. When Davis said the Lakers did “all they could” (which I do not believe; if they did all they could, he’d likely be a Laker still) but he still went to the Blazers, it was the move that made me most upset.
4. Considering the approach to this point, one has to consider how much Jim Buss’ “timeline” to get the team back to being a “contender” has influenced how they’ve navigated free agency. After all, signing role players and building organically through the draft when there’s no clear top-10 player in the fold doesn’t jibe with making a conference finals appearance in the next couple of seasons.
5. Further evidence of points #1 and #4:
Surprisingly, the Lakers and Knicks did not reach out to Tobias Harris, according to source.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 4, 2015
Harris is the type of long term play a team who had money to spend and time to build a roster should at least seriously consider. If true the Lakers did not even contact Harris, I think that shows where their mindset was.
6. I am interested in seeing how Kobe reacts to this summer. After losing Dwight, Kobe responded with a picture of him and Pau, with an inference his long time championship partner would be enough to move forward with. After striking out on Melo and LeBron last summer, Kobe said he was fine with how the team clearly tried to improve the roster and seemed content with the major effort made. This summer, after striking out on the big names again, will he respond similarly to last year? Will his frustrations grow? Kobe has long said (and proven through his actions) he’s not the most patient person. As it stands now, the only players on the roster with more than two seasons of NBA experience will be Robert Sacre, Nick Young, and Ryan Kelly. Is he ready to give another season of his career to a team who will have a boatload of losses? Especially when he doesn’t have too many (any?) seasons left after this one?
7. The team’s only redemption to this summer will be how they decide to use their large chunk of cap space. If they decide to sign veteran players to one year deals worth good money (Jordan Hill, Amar’e, etc, etc), in order to just roll their cap space forward another year that is much worse than trying to get creative with trades for players with expiring contracts or deals with non-guaranteed years beyond next season in order to accumulate more assets. As we have discussed, if the Wizards want to dump Nene or the Pacers want to get rid of Hibbert and include some sweetners to facilitate a deal, the Lakers should be first in line to make a deal. The Warriors and David Lee is another situation worth monitoring. Use the cap space to do more than just rent a non-asset to try this whole thing again next year.
8. If there is any solace in rolling over the cap space to next year, though, it’s how the combination of Kobe’s contract coming off the books and the expected rise in the cap space will create a massive amount of spending power for the Lakers. If the team were also able to trade Nick Young’s contract with no money coming back, they could have up to $80 million in cap space. A 30% max salary on an estimated $90 million cap will be about $30 million. If the Lakers really did have $80 million in space, they could sign two 30% max guys (or even two 35% max guys) and still have room to chase another very good player. As mentioned earlier, having the ability to sign more than one of the top guys may shift the type of inroads they make in these meetings.
9. The counter to this argument, is, of course, if the team couldn’t close on deals the past three years you have to wonder if they can do so next year even with more money in tow. At this point, this is a reasonable stance to take.
10. Finally, despite some disappointment in how this has all gone, my enthusiasm to watch the team’s young players has not diminished at all. I remain very high on Russell’s prospects. I want to see how Clarkson expands his game. And I still love Randle’s potential to be a fantastic player in this league. I truly believe his skill set as a big forward is in line with what’s needed in the league now (and in the future) and that he’s going to show why the Lakers have been reluctant to include him in any trades for big name players this summer. I also want to see Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown to see if they can make their way in this league as contributors. There is a lot to like about the young guys on this team and that is my buoy in the rough waters of free agency.
Point #7 is the biggest concern for me – lazy and/or incompetent way forward is to sign horrible one year deals to players just to get to the cap; i’m hoping for a strong combo of smart (1) contracts for strong role players (I still think Koufos would be a great get for us) and (2) trades w/ teams in need of our cap space. REALLY hoping we don’t see the lazy/incompetent way this summer.
Craig W. says
I am with you, Darius, in that the straw that broke my back was the loss of Ed Davis. LWA and DJ were not expected to sign here, and any reasonable basketball person could see this. Most free-agents have always wanted the money, accompanied with players to help them win. My real disappointment is that the front office apparently kept their focus so tightly on the stars that Ed Davis was stolen out from under them. They better not do the same thing with Ellington. This team needs some veterans to help the youngsters get off their training wheels.
The fact that Portland has so many front-court players that Ed Davis will have to wait his turn to play – and we still didn’t make enough effort to keep him informed about our situation – that really angers me. Yes, LWA would have taken time from him, but we really messed this one up.
Koufos at 3 years $20M
Gerald Green at 2 years $8M
Biyombo at 3 years $12M
Let’s look at building a bench and a roster that free agents can enhance. This strategy isn’t working and as much as it KILLS me, it’s pretty obvious we aren’t getting Durant. Randle-Kosta-Biyombo-Upshaw is a solid front court rotation with good upside. We can use them in trades, etc. I think we should absolutely take Nene into cap to get a pick. Then we should flip him to a team that needs a big and has a bad player on an expiring for ANOTHER pick. There’s people on NBA 2k who understand teambuilding better than our FO seems to. And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD dump Nick Young.
Always tough to attract FAS with loosing record.
Really disappointed at the FO. You have to be really dumb to think actual good players would want to play on this Lakers roster.
Besides a handful of players, next year’s free agents list seems a little weak.
So what’s up with Boozer, JLin, and Jordan now?!
Pretty much agree with the entire article. Ed Davis being had for 20mil, was very frustrating to me. If he had signed elsewhere for 30mil I would have found it more palatable. I also saw that as the epitome of the FO thinking and their lack of building a real team. Plus decent contracts on talented guys can actually be used as trade, 1 year expiring deals just don’t mean much anymore. So basically the Lakers have no assets, beyond their draft picks, but trading them for the most part means trading away hope.
I’m not near as big on Russel, I think he like many rookies will be a project and his ceiling in this league is maybe in the bottom of the top 10 pg’s, but like many of the PG’s in this league, defensively suspect–despite his size.
Also, I don’t know how the team can build a defensive mindset, when they only strength the roster has is a bunch of gunners/slashers and no interior defense whatsoever.
The star wars line “help me Obi Won your my only hope” is how I feel about Randle, I view him as the only truly legitamate hope the Lakers have of developing a star. I honestly don’t want to watch Clarkson/Russel or Old Kobe if that means watching other teams score 120pts on us every night. We need Koufous, if we are rolling with rooks and T. Black/Sacre as our “established” defensive presence we are in for a world of hurt.
I guess one other small thing that might be different next offseason is that if the young Lakers have great seasons next year, LA might be a more attractive destination for free agents.
Jimmy p says
I love this article to make me feel a tad bit better about the total lack of anything good Jim buss and Mitch have done thank you for this Darius however where the hell have they been for like 2days just waiting on lamarcus cause that is just stupid and is loosing your fans I am so damn disappointed I have a knot in my stomach what a waste of time when they could have grabbed some great roll players that now aren’t there idiots
We need David Lee, Boozer, and Bargnani. #tank
Great NBA TV interview with Rick Bucker. The highlights… Lakers were smart to not sign non star players that it’s not about being slightly better next year it’s about building a championship in a couple years. He said signing LMA would not have been good long term and the big fish like Kevin Durant in 2016 are usually the guys where Los Angeles makes sense. Bucker went on to say there were no big fish in this summers free agent class that could help the Lakers contend now or in the future.
am a filipino and a laker’s fans since as far as i can remember…i like the young ones. i really was against getting the big ones (aldridge & company) so i ain’t disappointed they signed elsewhere. believe upshaw would be great. my disappointment though is letting go of davis and not acquiring harris. with the young core, i believe wesley johnson will be much better now. my beloved lakers, pls commit no mistake again by letting go of black, jabari and wayne….with the present core and few additions, i would like to believe lakers will be a much better team than last year even surprising most. the young core would be up to the challenge. we don’t know yet their schedule, but am positive, they will be between 10-12 wins in their first 20 games…
I agree Darius. I just don’t get what the Lakers’ front office is doing. I guess they think they are still THE franchise in the NBA. They have gotten spoiled from so much success that they lost the hunger to stay out in front of everyone else. The league and other teams have passed them by as they have not stayed up to date and current with the times. That said…they had the opportunity to get better and focus on a few good young players that could help put a supporting cast together that would attract top free agents next year, but they chose to pass on guys like Robin Lopez and Cory Brewer…guys that could be had for reasonable contracts for the future and helped the team look more attractive by winning games this year. Instead they looked like morons aiming and striking out on guys that everyone knew they wouldn’t get it. If anything, it is this arrogance that has cost them the most. The same arrogance that kept them from doing a sign and trade with Dwight Howard a few years ago that could have net them Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffen or Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut. Instead they thought they could land Dwight and were left standing with nothing. These are the moves that have set the franchise back. Here’s hoping that Russell, Randle and Clarkson show huge potential this year as well as Robert Upshaw, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown. And that upcoming free agents can see this and want to team up with a couple of other stars to bring LA back to prominence. In the meantime, Lakers need to re-sign Ellington, sign a backup PG, and go after one or two big men that can help this team win some games since they don’t have their draft pick. No more tanking! Koufos, Hibbert, Nene. Jordan Hill are all good. I would like to even see them take a chance to see if Javale McGee could get it back or give Emeka Okafor a shot if he is healthy. It will be another interesting summer and season coming up.
Aaron from Philly says
Should’ve taken jahlil okafor to play center and LaMarcus would have given the lakeshow a shot
Biyombo gone for a 2yr 6mil deal with Toronto Raptors
Based on what I’ve seen from the FO especially this off season my thought is could they possibly have been more stupid or downright inept. Yeah I’m with Darius – how could they have let Ed Davis leave? Hello, reality is trying desperately. To get in touch with the Buss kids. Please try to tune in.
I will say however I couldn’t care less what Kobe thinks of the process or if he will be patient. At this point his viewpoint should be totally beside the point. And if the FO were to consider extending him we should realize they can indeed be even more inept than they have demonstrated so far.
No more Okafor talk
Biyombo to the Raptors: 2 years, $6 million.
Just said I didn’t want Hibbert, but didn’t think about the expiring contract angle. Mitch has been pretty good at making trades. Every season there will be disgruntled players and other issues that make players available, so smart to be in a position to take advantage of it.
Good article, Darius. I like the validity of point #8, which is a great unknown depending on how the youngsters perform this season. Lakers FO got a bad rap after this while FA period and deservedly so. True, it was already brewing for the past several seasons dating back to D12’s departure but we, as Laker fans, were hopeful that the FO would get their act together and not rest on their laurels as their #1 sales pitch to FA’s. Having Kobe trying to recruit LMA wasn’t good idea because he wants to know about the present and future role that he’ll be playing on the team. Kobe’s uncertainty beyond this year (even the current year is a question mark due to his age and injuries) derails any kind of relevance that he had to say. I would also bash on FO and Kobe taking that $48 mil contract soon after his achilles injury but that’s another argument for another day (note: Jeannie acted with her heart there and made an impulsive decision—not good considering Jim Buss was getting all the blame). Bottom line, as you said, what is the Lakers play for next year’s FA period when they have struck out 3 years in a row? I think Kobe retiring (if he doesn’t, Lord help us) + the hopeful chemistry between the youngsters of Randle, Russell, & Clarkson will help to make the Lakers become a better destination. FO has to get their act together in adapting with the times (adapt or die) and embracing analytics (Got that, B-Scott?) to even have a chance in regaining favor in the FA market. I want to be an optimistic Laker fan but the team has got to get it together from top to bottom. Once this happens, I think hope and promise will be the natural result. If Ownership cannot follow through then I think its time to seriously consider selling the team to someone who can be competent in restoring this once proud franchise.
This is Turrible (Charles Barkley voice) LMA did us a favor by not coming you need a Shot blocker when you have no perimeter defense. We need to Tank again and not screw this up. Losing out on these free agent might be a blessing in disguise because non of these dudes fit our time line for success. We are mister magooing it quite well. We would be in a bad spot if we are Simi good. Time for a youth movement and let some youngsters grow alla GSW.
Really think the Buss family should consider selling the team to some young smart owner who can get us into the new age.
Sincerely a concerned Lakers fan
Joe Houston says
Lakers FO officially in turmoil.
Aaron from Philly says
Just remember u unless the Lakers make the playoffs or finishes in the top three that pick goes to the sixers
Actually, I am not sad at all. With the group of young talent in the Lakers camp (including Russell, Randle, Clarkson, and Robert Upshaw) the Lakers will be a contender in the 16-17 season and will win it all back to back in 17-18 & 18-19. I just hope Kobe will be around to pick up his 6th and 7th rings,
Now for some good news: the Lakers should have one helluva Summer League team.
I just wish those games counted.
The Lakers are a disaster stuck in past trying to sell the Hollywood dream and don’t realize this isn’t 80s anymore. You don’t be in LA or NY to be a star anymore. Hell the two biggest stars in the league are in OKLAHOMA CITY and CLEVELAND.
Aldridge to the Spurs.
/Sigh…. Looks like the Spurs might get another one next year. I think I wanna puke.
it doesn’t seem like the lakers are willing to do any trades that don’t make them better for the upcoming season.
Now that the best fits are off the table, the front office will be smart and embrace the youth movement – not pretend to. With the rookies coming in, mostly all the available spots will be filled. Definitely bring back Ellington. Let Kobe stew and retire an angry man. On a side note, I was wondering why aren’t the Lakers utilizing Kareem and Nash to further develop the players? Cap tutored Bynum for a bit, why not have him teach Upshaw a few things?
Mid Wilshire – Unfortunately, our summer league will team be our regular season team.
Good post, as usual Darius. However, I think it’s now apparent that our FO is as much of a liability as our lack of proven on court talent. Really would like your opinion on if the Buss kids should just be owners and not be involved in the day to day running of things. As much as they don’t want to acknowledge their limitations it’s clear that the Lakers are lacking when compared to how other successful FOs work.
Agree that letting Davis slip away was the biggest blow so far this summer. With Aldridge, Jordan, Love, etc., other teams had the inside track on them. But Davis wanted to stay.
Now the first and second year guys have to accelerate their learning curves.
Form the last thread, but relevant here as well:
“The Lakers have been managed terribly the last 3 years. They are seemingly allergic to gaining assets?!”
They’ve actually done okay. People here are just panicking. For what I mean:
0-3: .649, .608, .614, .632, .609
3-10: .295, .497, .332, .368, .362
10-16: .269, .339, .311, .410, .340
16-23: .190, .429, .317, .242, .367
“Of the 28 players who’ve attempted at least 400 shots within five feet this season, [player X] ranks 25th in field goal percentage at 54.8 percent, per NBA.com. He’s also a below-average scorer on shots from 5-9 feet, shooting only 37 percent.”
Now Player Y:
“73.5 percent of [player Y]’s baskets this season are within 0-3 feet from the basket and is shooting 62.3 percent from this range. Once he starts stepping out of his range [player Y] struggles, shooting 35 percent from the 3 to 10 foot range. Out of [player Y]’s 83 shots he’s taken this season only 10 shots have been outside of the 5 foot radius from the basket[.]”
Then we have:
Player X: 9.4 PPG on 8.9 FGA,with 7.5 boards over 27.8 MPG, TS% .575
Player Y: 7.2 PPG on 5.0 FGA with 6.3 boards over 21.1 MPG, TS% .598
Those look pretty much like the same player? Player X is the soul whom most here wanted to max out on, Greg Monroe. Subpar defender with no range outside of 3 feet. Player Y is Tarik Black. He can be had for a cool million dollars, no max deal for him. Jimbo, Mitch, Byron & Co. also told Tarik to work on the mid-range jumper that Greg Monroe has never developed (see the above FG% from various and sundry distances over the years). I haven’t included Tariq in any of my projected lineups owing to the reports that the team sees him more as a PF. And with Aldridge desired, Randle presumably spending some time there, and the draft of Nance, and they still have Kelly, where does that leave Black at PF. But I took heart when I noticed the positional assignments for the summer league, so Black and Upshaw at C. That’s who they should go with during the season. Because if Tarik can find a jump shot, then who needs Greg Monroe. The Lakers certainly wouldn’t.
Tarik was a rather nice add after the Rockets waived him in their run up to Josh Smith. He’s why Ed Davis, seeking the multi-year deal, was more than expendable. If you wanted to know why Ed’s gone. Well, Tariq and Upshaw. And he’s doesn’t need range out to 3, though that would be nice, but just be able to hit the weak side elbow jumper. That would help enough with the spacing for Randle on the strong side. And helps that Randle is a lefty, since he can take the ball away from the weak side elbow towards the baseline, avoiding the help that much further. But if Randle goes right, as we saw last season, Tariq is no stranger to powering down the dunk on the lob. And in a way that Monroe will never do:
When Monroe ever does that, let me know. Since the world will be ending shortly. Not only did he sky there, but that left hand was sweet. MOAR Tarik Black. Keep Monroe, Nene, Lopez, whoever, elsewhere. Don’t need them sucking up the time and the dollars. They are who they are. This lad might actually become more than he’s shown to date. And that would be a very good thing. Oh, and by the way, to correct Stu, his first impression was right, not the greatest of lobs. Took that skying sweet left hand to power that baby home. Not everybody has that.
Now on to Aaron, you might have to wait even longer, but I was reading a piece by Baxter Holmes and Larry Coon that reported some NBA executive saying that he thinks that when the time comes, Westbrook and Harden will join forces on the Lakers. The Lawndale and Artesia duo. Maybe they should have drafted Okafor. The same fellow also made the only point that matters, and so for those wondering why the try for the HR FA, if you nab him, they will follow. It just takes the first one. Then the pitch is the elite and everything that being a Laker otherwise offers. He also made the point that the team should reiterate with Durant, to wit, the Lakers won’t hesitate to spend the money if it means winning the title. So no having to trade Harden to the Rockets because OKC can’t afford him anymore.
And for the rest of you, you’ll have to forgive Aaron and I, but the elite don’t come for role players. That’s simply not the way that it works. The other way around. Guys like Rick Fox take less to play with greatness and try and win a title. That’s the way it works.
And the problem now is that Randle and Russell and whoever are darkness. No one knows what they will be. This upcoming season is the chance to shine light into the darkness. And with enough light, things might change in a hurry, so don’t rule out Durant just yet. And, remember, space to add at least one more max FA after Durant. And contra to rr, if Randle and Russell can shine a light in the darkness, and Upshaw at least pans out as shot blocker, rim protector, rebounder, Durant might wait a year for Curry or Westbrook. So gives him 29, 30, 31, first deal end, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36 for follow up five year max deal. So 8 seasons.
And even without Durant, how could we all not be excited? Now we get see how much light will overwhelm the darkness.
And why these max role players like Harris and Monroe? Here’s how you folks have it:
So who goes to the bench when the 2 max FAs arrive? I mean, you folks say, we want these max role players to act as a lure. So who goes to the bench? The teams 2nd and 7th picks? The two max role playing guys? Why would the team want role playing guys, indeed at max, playing 12 minutes a game? And unless one thinks that Randle is a bust, well, he’s never going be a rim protector, Monroe is not a rim protector, and neither will be any SF on the team, so why is the team paying the max for no rim protection?
And to wind it up, my use of the name Jimbo was not meant to be flattering. But of late, I’m thinking that Jim and Mitch are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Here meaning that some of us wanted Upshaw either late first round or early second round. We got neither. Yet first word after the draft was, Lakers have signed Robert Upshaw for their summer league team. So I’m thinking that if nothing else, Jimbo and Mitch might actually understand the mindset of their fellow executives and so why draft Upshaw when no one else is going to draft him. Just sign him for the summer league immediately after the draft instead. I’m also thinking that if during game 1 of the summer league, if he shows any defense at all against Towns, Upshaw is getting a guaranteed 2 year, team option on 3rd and 4th years contract, otherwise known as his version of the rookie scale contract although he isn’t entitled to one.
And I think that Jimbo and Mitch also got the message re position not mattering so much anymore, see GSW. And by that I mean, some say that the team has a hole also at SF. Do they? If Kobe is worth even 2 mil of his contract, he should be able to play some SF, ditto Nick Young (Who Is The Devil), ditto our new man Brown, and for where the multiple positions or not really having one come in, word is not only that Randle might play some SF, but this Nance character also appears to, by tape and report, be able to defend the 3. So they’ve got 5 guys to fill in at SF. So no need for Tobias Harris and his 123rd ranked TS%. Ditto his subpar defense. And ever see Do The Right Thing? Do you need me break it down? Let it be broke. And so:
SG: Clarkson/Kobe/Young/J. Brown
And maybe one or more of the summer league invitees shows something and fills out the roster. This is going to be a fun and interesting season. Even if they go 23-59.
And Darius, for you, and you alone, see your number 8. That’s what it is, in a nutshell. And the 2 max guys will have some understanding of Randle and Russell, as will we all.
I think we can offically start the tank watch. ” Swimming for Simmons ” anyone??
I hope the youngsters develop this year. I also would not mind Kobe for a few more years, but at a greatly reduced price
I believe the Lakers approached this free agency the right way. For all the hindsight bias now fans would have lit their hair on fire if they signed Davis to 8+ million without attempting to sign a guy worth the max. The Lakers have accrued the talent base they lacked last year to contemplate signing a max guy. The f.o. deserves some blame for not being able to sell what they have gotten together but, they made the right moves.
At this point I believe the Lakers should try to sign G. Green. Darius in this article named the Centers I have alluded to in earlier threads Nena and Hibbert with the goal of gathering additional assets. Koufos would be the only center I would consider signing at this point.
Cal Owens says
I get the Lakers want to spend on A tier talent, but they have to realize who’s a believable target. Now we’ve seen 3 summers where they’ve wasted time on targets that were never attainable. The Lakers have to build this team through youth and get a B level free agent that’s probably ready to break out,much like how they did with Cedric Ceballos. Tobias Harris could’ve been that.
Who else thinks Kobe gets bought out at the end of the year and plays with a contender for a chip …..if its his last year let him compete …. if it’s not his last year he can come back after the playoffs …. the final 20 games wont mean much to us and if anything would help us tank a bit more…. not sure if they can manage any ratings without kobe though ….maybe a pick could come with of a trade was even possible or just create a huge tpe ….. maybe we will fill up with FAs in 2017 and use the tpe for deron?
T. Rogers says
I think the team’s brain trust should be completely overhauled. The Lakers stated strategy for the last three years has been to use cap space to sign max free agents. This approach has come at the expense of everything else. But it is clear this strategy, while being questionable at best, cannot be carried out by this FO.
The Lakers are reaching the point where players, agents and teams are boxing them out. They’ve become a running joke. DeAndre Jordan left the Clippers to go to a Dallas team that has holes a plenty in their roster. But part of it has to be a degree of trust he has in Carlisle as a coach and Cuban as an owner/ team builder. Who has that kind of trust in the Lakers management?
Lastly, the time line for Jim is a joke. The team won’t be anywhere near the WCF in two years unless Randle, Clarkson, AND Russell all turn into basketball prodigies at the same time. Because no difference makers are coming in free agency anytime soon. Jim may as well step down now. Mitch should become a consultant in the role that West is with the Warriors. I believe Mitch is still a very sharp basketball mind. But a younger, more analytics driven person (with more charisma) should be the GM. Give Mark Madsen a shot at head coach and let Bryon go back TV. And invest some of the handsome profits the team still makes into anayltics and injury prevention.
Salaries are capped,but everything else,including FO,coaching ,conditioning,player development are not. With the big $$ the Lakers bring in they should have the best in these depts. and they don`t. Harris might be explained because teams knew Orlando would match,so why waste the time.I think Davis didn`t like the way he was treated,and that`s why he left. Same with DJ. I`m in favor of Koufos and want to see Summer League before deciding on other players.No rush now on fillers.
Laker Fan Mike says
In hockey, the desperate team pulls its goalie. The Lakers should get Kobe to waive his NTC and trade him to a “contenduh” (and pay a sizeable %-age of his $25M salary) in exchange for a “BIG” that has experience and not too old with the proviso that Kobe can retire as a LAKER. Kobe knows that he’ll never get his 6th ring – that’s what drives him to excel and have no willingness to put up with anyone’s lazy BS – as a Laker. If he wants a shot at #6 bad enough, he’ll agree. If not, what’s the realistic alternative scenario besides bad and worse?
Kobe was one of the worst players in the league last year and he is now a year older. Teams want him to put butts in the seats and losses… Not wins and championships.
Please Lakers, if Robert Upshaw shows any promise, don’t let him walk. Upshaw-Clarkson-Randle-Russell = a good start on rebuilding. I’d rather watch the young guys grow than keep chasing our tail with the latest free agents. Would have liked to have seen Harris sign here however…
James Katt says
The Lakers have to create a HEALTHY CULTURE for playing basketball. They clearly have the most TOXIC CULTURE of any team in the NBA. And going for stars when they don’t even have a foundation is clearly the wrong way to build the team. The Knicks have clearly done better than the Lakers. The Knicks are run by adults. The Lakers not. When even middle-tier players – foundational players – like Ed Davis – leave the team, it is so disappointing. It clearly shows that the Lakers are like a house built on mud. They do not have a strong foundation. And they have completely lost their way.
…and please look at Gerald Green, still only 29, good shooter, strong on the wing. The anti-Nick Young.
Slappy, no panic here just stating what is happening as FA’s continue to disappear every hour. Koufos is now on radar as Clippers are also chasing a Center.
It was reported by A. Kennedy that Lakers didn’t even bother to offer Harris, maybe afraid that it would be matched by his home team, so why bother? The thing is, if you don’t make any offer, the player would accept whatever is there on the table.
We are optimistic, we are helping as scouts online, no movement from our FO like Ellington to be signed in few day, few days? are you nuts? what are you waiting for, another team grabbing Ellington!!! Pathetic, yet they can go on tweeter as promo tool faster than the offer date. What an unprofessional bunch of amateurs!
Great post Darius, like you said, trying to add just one max player to a crappy/young/unproven roster is a really tall order, I was hopeful we get someone like LA but he did what was best for him, I have no problem with that thankfully DJ didn’t wanted to sign with us, im glad about that one. Considering all the cap we will have next season it would had been best to just address the weaknesses we know we have, instead of the home run approach that has crippled this team. Jimbo is basically as good as gone fellas, 2 years to get to at least the Conference Finals? Unless we could get a nice FA haul with next summer ton of cap space its no gonna happen. This arrogant home run approach needs to be examined, Cant go every summer expecting to hit a home run just because we are the Lakers, losing Davis, really stung and not even trying o get Harris? What is left now, Amar’e, David Lee? People talking about a bust like Bismark freaking Biyombo like is the second coming, the guy went from starter to a less than 20mpg role player if that don’t ring a bell I don’t know what it can, before that I rather take a chance with that nut Javale McGee, and still the FO have not made a single move, like I said and im convinced, they are not doing anything until LeBron re-up with the Cavs because they are so delusional that they thnk they have a shot. Like I said after last season, the time of passes are over, we demand improvement and so far the FO has been an unmitigated disaster. We look pathetic.
I don’t think Ed Davis left because he didn’t like the way he was treated or whatever, he left because the Blazers put a reasonable contract in front of him and the Lakers did not even bother to put an offer because they were busy doing crap presentations and Portland pounced, that’s all it took.
I think they let Ed Davis go because he is not important in their opinion. If we can’t get free agent, can’t pick young talent,someone has to go. Next year if Lakers get high draft picks, it still takes 2 years for teams to make a playoff and 2,3 more years to go to NBA Finals, so at least 5 more years Lakers would be in NBA Finals. Lakers need a GM who has a great plan, not a “secret” plan and then turns out to be nothing.
What happened to Ed Davis is exactly what happened to our players last year. Yet, we often hear of rebuilding and putting up the foundation. We have two Centers at that time, Kaman and Pau, then there is Meeks and this young, cheap Bazemore. All gone because our FO stucked their guns on Melo for too long and dreamt of James coming to the Lakers.
The year before that they went with D12 rehab and went to the extent of dramatizing it on the billboards how important he was with the Lakers? This is similar to the tweeter LA to LA# messaging every little detail on LaMarcus which backfired and reprimanded by the league.
In the case of Davis, we heard they contacted him at midnight of June 30th as if that counts. No money offer because like in poker it is all in, on LaMarcus and DeAndre plus Monroe. Well, Blazers is familiar with this Lakers exuberance and anxiety in going for big names so gradually they picked up on our role players, eventually Hill will also disappear. Well, we are not in the management, yet we can read what is happening from their own leaks to Ramona and other rumormongers. Now where is the wisdom in this strategy in leaking their moves? What is the purpose of going all out in the battle without defense on right flank?
Now that LaM, DJ, GM are all gone, why silence on a very important day? Who will play the small forward, Center? Who will be the role players. D’League? Say something, at least appease the frustrations of your fans.
Looks like it’s tank season again. Just change your expectations to rebuild, youth development, Kobe farewell tour, and 50 losses and you’ll be fine. Just ride it out and accept that it won’t be a playoff season. On my end, I won’t spend a dime in tickets or merchandise this season. Hopefully 2016 will be better.
Baylor Fan says
It is time to move on from Kobe. Scott is the head coach due to his ability to get along with Kobe. Everyone knows that Scott is gone as soon as Kobe leaves. This is a huge problem when it comes to recruiting players. Not only is the FO behind in using analytics, they do not know who the coach will be in two years. Since it will look lame to replace Scott this season, at least put a viable replacement on the bench and in charge of the offense or defense. Find someone who is not allergic to modern analysis and can incorporate new information into the game plans. What has made this free agency period so painful is the apparent lack of use of analytics to determine player value. The Lakers could have targeted players with well rounded games that might have taken lesser salaries. They might have become part of the next good Laker team or part of a trade to bring a key player in. Yes, Kobe is going to be a Laker next season and possibly beyond but the Lakers should be building the next great team.
Chandler Parsons earning his max money by doubling as GM. Jim Buss should forget these one-dimensional big fishes like Durant and AD next summer. He has to convince Parsons to opt out, then sign Parsons for mega max money. Then he can fire Mitch and let Parsons be the starting SF and be acting GM. 2 for the price of one. How dangerous would Parsons be – imagine that after games, he’s chatting up opponents and wining and dining them in recruitment.
@Calvin, only 50 losses, you’re quite the optimist. Be prepared for 60 losses, this squad my have some upside with the youngins but in terms of actual playing ability–last years team trumps this years. Of course we still have to get someone around as good as Jordan Hill and Boozer back to help out, but there aren’t many left. Teams slack off sometimes against crap teams, so perhaps we hit the low 20’s for wins next season. But the offense and defense is worse with this squad–at least for now, we can just hope Randle/Russel make big progress in one year.
Jim Buss’ mantra in 2016-2017 season is: if you can’t beat them, poach them. Use Chandler Parsons as your on-court snake-oil salesman. After losses, he’ll bring models to meet with opponents’ superstars to seduce them.
We was in this bad situation because Lakers FO let 2 big guys Bynum and Gasol walked out for nothing,it show that they don’t have experience, they gambled on luck ( Howard came here did not count because he did not have a contract 2,3 years left when he came to LA). San Antonio let the big guy Spliter go to Atlanta, but because Tim Duncan is back and they get Aldrige.
@ T. Rogers: From your mouth to God’s ears. We can only hope.
-“# 6. I am interested in seeing how Kobe reacts to this summer.” You and me both…I’m just waiting for the dust to settle before posting. Don’t know why so many are so surprised. This situation has been inevitable…but I must admit…I didn’t think it would be this bad.
Based on everything we know about Durant’s background, and personality, and based on what phase his career will be at next year, there is no reason at all to think that he will come here. Is it impossible? Of course not. But believing it or banking on it is simply fan wishcasting–as was the stuff about James, Cousins, Jordan, and Aldridge.
That said, with Jordan bailing on the Clippers, the first one of Aaron’s FA ideas that might actually have a little basis in reality is the Griffin/Westbrook 2017 scenario. If Durant leaves OKC, Westbrook might want to come home to LA, and if Griffin likes LA, he might look at opting out and moving across the hall in July 2017–IF the Lakers have some talent on the team. That night be the time that free agency can get them back in the game.
As to the Harris/Monroe stuff, as I have said many times, it is unwise to look at players, even if they are overpaid and not awesome, as strait jackets. Even if you get to a point where you don’t want them anymore, guys like Monroe and Harris can be used in deals for stars, and they can be traded into cap space, like Indiana is about to do with Roy Hibbert. Also, big-time FAs mostly want to join teams that can win RIGHT NOW. They want to see positions covered by guys who have established that they can play and good management in place. Those players do not all have to be superstars.
But really, none of this matters much. Aaron and Slappy can keep lecturing us, FO defenders can keep spinning, and bashers (including me at times) can keep bashing. Simply put, Jim and Mitch’s future is tied entirely to D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. If those guys bust, Jim is done for sure, and Mitch will probably be eased into retirement. But if Russell can be a #2 type guy on a contender, and Randle a #3, the Lakers could be in position in a couple of years to make some real headway. For now, it is develop and hope.
Dodi Al Fayed says
I think it was rather obvious going into free agency that the Lakers were going to be a longshot for both Aldridge and Jordan. Knowing this, the front office should have signed Davis to a long term contract, given his low asking price, and “actively” gone after Tobias Harris as well. I think most Laker fans have accepted the fact that we’re in rebuilding mode and will continue to support the team going forward.
I, for one, am glad we didn’t sign Aldridge or DJ. That being said, if we get a veteran in a salary dump situation, a la Lin, we need to get both a draft pick and not give up any of our young building blocks.
Oh, and finally, can we please find a taker for Nick Young?
Indeed, no. 3 was quite disconcerting, Davis was a professional all season prepared to play and produce whenever he received playing time. I was sure he warranted consideration in the Lakers small ball brigade.
@Slappy, heck of a post! I’m huge on two-way players, so for me it was a no for Monroe.
We’re set to receive Roy Hibbert. Which seems like a decent move, and my guess leading to a highly probable mid-season flip to one of the many teams requiring a center *ahem* the Clippers.
LaMarcus Aldridge deleted the Lakers off his list of contenders to overpay him for his decline years, and I’m ok with that. Combine that with Cleveland’s re-signing of Kevin Love, and the Lakers have dodged two of the biggest bullets in the 2015 NBA Free Agent Shooting Spree. As I wrote recently, there were/are warts on both of these two, and when you are going shopping for a fancy new car, you don’t ignore it when say, the passenger door is broken or the brakes are already shot. Many Laker fans are probably freaking out, many Laker haters are definitely celebrating, but frankly I’m not moved in any way at all. This team’s growth window is totally out of whack with Aldridge, and he is not a transcendent talent on either end of the floor. That is to say, he’s not a First Eater on a Championship team, and if you are going to max a guy out, he better be a First Eater or you better have a First Eater already on the roster. The Lakers don’t have one, so let’s not act like Aldridge and Love were the final pieces to a championship team. Of course they’d make the Lakers better, but a lot of guys can do that at a much cheaper price.
What does matter is that the Lakers were rejected for basketball reasons. That’s a huge alarm bell, and it should have the attention of Jeanie Buss and Buss-Chak. The Lakers apparently aced the non-basketball portion of the pitch, but whiffed on the most important part. Gulp. And while that’s disappointing, it’s not surprising. First of all, the fact that it was left to Kobe to articulate the franchise’s basketball vision should be a huge indicator of what’s wrong. The Lakers have a very clear problem. I don’t believe that Jim Buss lacks a vision. I think he has a vision of how he wants the Lakers to win. He wants the Showtime back. Great! We all do. Showtime is a perfectly valid basketball ethos capable of governing an entire franchise. The problem is that I do not believe Jim Buss has a real or deep understanding of how to implement that vision onto his organization so that everybody is in lock step, every decision links back to the vision, and every move aligns with it. That’s ok too, so long as you have somebody who does have a deep understanding of that vision and the knowledge and persuasion to build it on the court. And this is where the real problem with the Lakers lies.
Jim Buss has left Mitch Kupchak with no clear vision of the team he wants beyond the vagueries of “make it look like it did when we were winning in the 80’s.” That was enough to inform the Lakers’ drafting of D’Angelo Russell, and thank God for that. It’s not enough, however, to build an entire roster that gels into a champion built to win in a specific way. I mean, has anyone thought about how different Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge are as players? Sure, they play the same position, but the fact that the Lakers would have been happy with either tells you what a blank slate they are philosophically. Notice San Antonio coveted Aldridge but wanted no part of Love? Because they know who they are and how they want to win. Cleveland, conversely, was never linked to Aldridge and very much wanted Love. Why? Because LeBron wants to replicate the Miami Template with Love and Irving in the Bosh and Wade roles. Criticize it all you want, it’s an ethos, and it brings cohesion to LeBron’s decision making. The Lakers need to address this issue, or they are just spinning their wheels with these free agent pitch meetings.
And that brings us to the elephant in the room. How can a team have its head coach present but fail to articulate its vision in a clear and compelling manner? I’ll tell you how: By having the Wrong Guy as head coach. I loved Byron Scott as a player, but there is no way he is the coach of the Lakers’ next championship team. I won’t say he’s a coach with no vision, but I do firmly believe that he’s a coach incapable of implementing his or anybody else’s vision. Yet aside from this piece here, I don’t see anybody talking about how all these rejections reflect on the Lakers’ head coach.
And ultimately this is the real area of concern. The Lakers are having a youth movement imposed on them, which is the route I wanted them to take when the suckitude started. However, there is nobody who would say the Lakers have a top 5 head coach, coaching staff, training staff, scouting department, or analytics department. Actually, they may have a good analytics department, but they were essentially the very last team in the game to embrace analytics at all, and their coach is on record as saying he all but ignores them anyway. These are the lessons the Lakers need to be learning and addressing as their third straight empty free agency period comes to a close. It’s a bit ridiculous to acknowledge that a basketball franchise needed to be reminded that it’s the basketball that matters, but that seems to be the takeaway this summer. And again, I am fine with the Lakers playing out the process of a rebuild, as long as it’s building towards a champion. All the lottery picks in the league aren’t going to overcome a bad basketball infrastructure, and that’s what needs to change. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan can go their own way, but the Lakers would be better served to consider addition by subtraction off the court sooner rather than later.
Laker Fan Mike, your scenario is not realistic. Even if Kobe agreed to a trade, what team is going to give up assets for a guy who takes up $25 million, hasn’t been healthy for a few seasons now, and is on the last leg of his career?
Unrelated, I hope we find out that Mitch has gotten another asset for Hibbert. And it would be nice to get out of Nick Young’s contract. We’ll find out in a week or so.