Let me get this out of the way up top, there is a pretty juicy story circulating involving the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell, and Nick Young. If you haven’t read about it yet, you will soon. It is everywhere and will dominate social and traditional media for at least today. Very likely it will last much longer. The story has legs and lots of folks have opinions on what happened, what’s going on now, and what should be next.
That said, I’m not going to discuss the issue here, at my site, beyond the paragraph above. When this site was founded nearly 12 years ago, there were other off-court and drama-rich stories swirling around high profile players. This site was founded as a place to continue to discuss the game and the on-court happenings of the Lakers. It’s one of the principles of FB&G and I’m not going to depart from that now. Not because of the increased presence and importance of social media; not because these types of stories get larger portions of the news cycle; not because there is great fan interest.
If that costs me some readers or eyeballs on this blog, I will live with that. Odds are, if you have followed me (or Kurt before me) you already knew this. But if you’re newer to this site than others, I want to reiterate my stance on this. There are other places who will cater to your desires for updates and coverage. I implore you to seek them out if you’d like more on that subject or if you would like to discuss it with other Lakers’ fans. I will still be here when you come back, talking about the on-court happenings of the really bad 15-59 Lakers.
With that out of the way…
The Lakers take on the Heat tonight at Staples Center. The game will be the last time Kobe faces off against Dwyane Wade. These two players represent the top of the shooting guard class for the past two decades (honorable mention to Ray Allen and Reggie Miller). They have had some intense battles, but the respect and camaraderie has been real too.
One of my favorite Kobe/Wade moments was actually when they were teammates back in the 2008 Olympics. Wade had a great steal and save turned alley-oop to Kobe when Team USA was playing Greece:
But, if you’re looking for my favorite Kobe moment vs. the Heat it has to be his buzzer beating banked in 3 pointer to win the game back in Miami’s 2009 visit to Staples. Afterwards, Kobe compared the shot to when he was a kid riding bikes and trying to throw rocks at a post while riding by, explaining how he had to aim a bit behind the target to account for his momentum going past the hoop.
As was noted in the clip, Kobe had 17 4th quarter points, 25 in the 2nd half, and 33 for the game. The Lakers went on to win their 2nd consecutive title that season.
Of course, times are much different now. The Heat are firmly in the playoff mix as the 4th seed in the East, but trail the Hawks by only a single game for the 3rd spot. They’ve dealt with lineup changes and had Chris Bosh miss the 2nd half of the season with another blood clot scare, but have found their rhythm by mixing small-ball groupings with more traditional lineups featuring (now a reserve) Hasaan Whiteside crushing the paint with lobs and strong paint work.
The Lakers, meanwhile…well, you know what the Lakers are. Hard to believe 6 years ago they were the champions of the league and 4 years ago were primed to make another deep playoff run with the Kobe/Pau/Nash/Dwight quartet. As the internet says, #lifecomesatyoufast.
Tonight’s game, then, should not be close. Unless Kobe finds the fountain of youth and the young players find a way to play better than they have of late, this game will not be even be close. If the Lakers play the same level of defense they have for weeks, things will be out of hand early. If I had to wager on either of these scenarios, the latter seems much more realistic.
In any event, there are only 8 games left in this mess of a season. Considering all the happenings both on and off the court, it can’t come soon enough — even though I really do want to cherish these last Kobe games.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Andres Garcia says
Love FB&G’s focus on the basketball. That’s why I come back and follow on Twitter. Thanks.
I agree. Back to business.
The game tonight should be an excellent opportunity for us to look at Hassan Whiteside. He’s been on something of a tear lately. And the Lakers will almost certainly be in the market for a center for next season. Whiteside will, of course, be a Free Agent.
In my view, the Lakers could do much worse than to land Whiteside, whatever limitations he might have.
In any event, I expect Mitch Kupchak to pursue Whiteside very heavily this off season. So, this game should command more than just casual interest from Laker fans. I know I’ll be watching very carefully.
Baylor Fan says
That pass by Wade was awesome and is one of the great reasons to watch basketball. Amongst other things, the pass arrived above the rim and Kobe rose up and slammed it down with both hands. Kobe anticipated the pass and jumped as if he was on a trampoline. Wade threw the pass confident that Kobe would be there to finish. Thanks for sharing.
Clay Bertrand says
Darius, I appreciate your focus. Let Stephen A. have a freaking heart attack!!!! This “story” would barely make the back page back in the Shaq-Kobe era. Lol…… Social Media is quite the magnifier/distortion lens of life is it not?!?!!?!?!?!?! Whatevz
Yep. We get to start preppin for next season tonight by scouting one of the juiciest FA options out there. Some of us have been scouting the Final Four guys a little bit so that we can tell Jim what we think when he calls to ask. ; ) Let’s see how Whiteside handles the lock down D of one, Big Roy Hibbert. I also want to see how many blocks Hassan gets tonight against us. HW could be our DeAndre Jordan next year!!
Over/Under for Hassan Whiteside Blocks Tonight: 6 (my own odds)
I will also be focusing on Justice Winslow. Everyone raves about the guy and apparently, its his defense and team first playing style because his other stats are not eye popping on a nightly basis. StrangeAinge wanted to give up multiple first rounders for the guy at draft time.
Withouth having watched more than a few minutes of his play this year, he appears to be either overrated, or the next Kawhi Leonard type who shows his fundamentals before he shows/develops his offensive skills at this level.
Hope Kobe lights Wade UP for that broken nose in the AllStar game among other reasons!!!
Andres Garcia says
Really curious to see Whiteside again too. The narrative is that his impact defensively has started to improve (not just stat chasing). Also want to see if Heat can legit challenge for the East.
LT Mitchell says
All that silly talk about the Heat being better without Whiteside has died. As good as he was last year, he’s been steadily improving his game and still has plenty of room to grow. He’s only an NBA sophomore. He took another leap since the all star break, showing his ability to make midrange shots and freethrows.
Thibs would be a great fit for Whiteside’s skillet.
Renato Afonso says
Yep. Watching Whiteside is more interesting than anything else. Unless wade and kobe turn back the clock and show us a great matchup…
This is the Whiteside scouting game.
LT Mitchell says
Whiteside’ s averages for the past month. ..
30 minutes per game
A Horse With No Name says
Thibs would be a great fit for Whiteside’s skillet.
I dunno. Thibs is a pretty big guy to fit in a skillet. . . . better to roast him.
LT Mitchell says
Haha. Spellcheck error. I obviously meant ribs, not thibs.
Apparently, you know who and the other you know who will address media before the game. Should be “interesting.”
There really are no centers on the market this summer other than Whiteside (and Howard but let’s not go there). With 20 teams with 20+ million in cap space — and with 18 of them having better records than our Lakers — I think the odds are very long on Whiteside signing with us. Simply too many better options than what we have to offer.
Even with a top pick and Whiteside the Lakers are two years away from the playoffs. The West is brutal.
Why would you cook ribs in a skillet?
I agree that Whiteside is a long shot. But is worth going after. Maybe he would really like to play in LA. Who knows?
Whiteside: One reason that the Lakers might have a shot is that most of of the other teams with a lot of cap space do not need a big like the Lakers do. I said when the Lakers drafted Russell that if they plan to compete any time soon, then the FO will need to bring in a big, probably via FA. Whiteside (in part due to his contract situation) or Festus Ezeli could be the guy.
The other FA to keep an eye on is DeRozan, due to his LA roots. Taking over from Kobe might appeal to him and might open up some marketing opportunities for him that he would not get in Toronto or elsewhere.
That said, the most likely scenario is that these guys will stay where they are and in addition, neither of them is a franchise player.
I been saying for months now that at 12:00:01 on July 1st the Lakers need to offer a max offer sheet to Whiteside, point blank, there no two ways about it.
Joe A says
The 3-pointer by Kobe in that clip secured the Lakers 15th win that season…on December 4th!!
Cue “Hard to say Goodbye to yesterday” by Boyz II Men…
Hassan Whiteside will become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1. He is currently 26 years old (birthday: June 13, 1989), averages 14.1 ppg (on 61.7% shooting), 11.7 rebounds per game (4th in the NBA behind Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan, and Dwight Howard), and 3.7 blocks per game (1st in the NBA by a wide margin; DeAndre Jordan is 2nd with 2.3 blocks per game).
Whiteside currently earns $981,348. By contrast, DeAndre Jordan, who is one year older, earns $19,689,000. Also, Whiteside, who used to be a starter, is now coming off the bench. Miami’s starting center is 33-year old Amar’e Stoudemire. With that, I believe that Whiteside will be looking for 3 things in his free agency:
1) Money (as much as he can get — and more than Miami will probably be able to pay);
2) Assurance of playing time (he will not want to compete for playing time; he’ll probably want to be assured of being “the man” at the 5 position); and
3) Probably, some degree of assurance that he will be a starter (he was a starter at Miami and that was taken away from him).
Although there are several teams who will have the cap space to pursue him (see item #1 above), not all teams will be in a position to offer him playing time and an assurance that he would probably be the starter (items # 2 and 3).
Therefore, I think that the Lakers could (operative word: could) be a legitimate contender for Hassan Whiteside’s services. After all, they’d easily be able to offer him all 3.
Whatever the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if Whiteside is scrutinizing the Lakers tonight as much as they’re watching him.
Tonight’s game could be very interesting.
rr it’s true that neither DeRozan nor Whiteside are franchise players, but team ’em up with Nick Young and wow: something really special!
It would be great to see a competitive game after Monday’s debacle and the DAR/NY soap opera. Looking forward to seeing Whiteside as well. The Lakers need a good big man in the worst way.
Well, I never wanted Nick Young to begin with. But I can see cases both for and against making max offers to DeRozan and Whiteside. I am guessing that the FO tries to get both of them, when it comes down to it. We’ll see.
Whiteside has been a bit of a head case despite his upside. I hope the Lakers do due diligence before offering him the max. Word out of Miami is that he hasnt been very coachable. That is a concern. Until the Lakers have their coach of the future in place. A coach with a vision and a system how do you decide which FA”s are going to work. If you hire Thibs is his defense slowdown approach going to sell in LA? Will Luke want to go from the Dubs and winning to the Lakers and losing? The first thing that has to be sorted out is if Jim is going to follow through on his promise and step down. If he doesnt this doesnt change anytime soon. The players know it and no significant FA is coming here. Now if Jeannie takes over, hires Luke or a Mark Jackson who by all accounts did a great job molding the Dubs when they were young, then i can see some young FA’s possibly coming here and being part of something new. Im not offering max money to any of the current stars whether it be Westbrook or even Durant, Im looking at guys like harrison barnes or Demarcus Cousins who are in their early mid 20s. Start rebuilding your culture first, find and identity, create a winning atmosphere, then go after the bigger fish
Re: the Russell-Young story
While I appreciate the desire to avoid it, I don’t know how long you can. Once the season is over, the story WILL impact how the Lakers shape their future.
We can HOPE the impact will be minimal and we will be able to discuss offseason transactions strictly on basketball merit. But that’s a hope, not a certainty.
And that’s all I’m going to say about it at this time.
Shelburne was on PTI talking about the Russell situation and she implied it’s pretty likely Scott is coming back or at least won’t be fired until well into July.
Once we use his freak lottery luck again I was hoping he’d be fired the next day.
TOJW: What are you alluding to? That Russell makes the Lakers toxic for free agents and vets?
I’m not the one you asked but I’d think Byron Scott, more than DAR, would be Kryptonite for FAs. At least Russell has youth as a handy excuse for playing the fool. Byron? Well clearly not.
I’m not the one you asked but I’d think Byron Scott, more than DAR
TOJW was referring to some downside from the Russell/Young situation. I was just curious as to what he was referring to.
I’m not the one you asked but I’d think Byron Scott, more than DAR, would be Kryptonite for FAs.
This has become another anti-Byron meme, and it may be true for some FAs. But I think it is just as likely, if not more so, to apply to Jim Buss as it is a to a guy who played in the league and was on title teams. The real problem with the Lakers and FAs is that they have had a bad roster and not enough money to bring in multiple high-end guys mostly because of the deal that the FO gave KB. But the other side is that I doubt that Byron would be a plus in FA recruitment, and the FO needs to try to find someone who might be.
pat oslon says
I’m hoping for a better game from everyone, mentally & physically, because our last outing was beyond pathetic. These guys need to show some pride, if not for the team, for themselves. That said, I expect a halfway decent game tonight.
“Shelburne was on PTI talking about the Russell situation and she implied it’s pretty likely Scott is coming back or at least won’t be fired until well into July.”
If this is at all true, color me suicidal.
rr – I was attempting to compare the relative toxicity of BS and DAR only, but yes the unappetizing nature of the Lakers as a destination has many aspects. I think it was you who summed them up pretty nicely one or two topics ago. I think among them, to paraphrase, bad roster construction, down some picks, confused management structure (take a bow Jimmie and Jeanie), and to that I’d add a train wreck of a coach.
@Anonymous — I don’t know what the impact of the Russell-Young incident will be.
When former Laker Mark Landsberger did something similarly dumb, he was shunned by his teammates and ultimately waived. But Mark Landsberger was a homeless man’s Kurt Rambis, not the highest draft pick the Lakers have had in decades and the potential future face of the franchise.
But I don’t think it’s a story that can be avoided long term. It will have SOME impact on the Lakers, and we can’t compartmentalize it from everything else that goes on with the team.
Chris J says
I agree. I respect that this site is supposedly to be about basketball issues, but I believe it will be very difficult to separate the poisonous elements this incident will bring into the locker room and on the floor. It’s a sad commentary that we feel compelled to make Young a victim based on what he was bragging about, but anyone who’s ever been on a team will understand the damage done by Russell here. For a guy whose role on the floor is to lead, it’s naive to hope there won’t be some spillover in terms of team play. The one solace is many of these guys won’t be back so there’s a chance at something of a fresh start by next fall.
Some good news for a change… Supposedly Lamar Odom will be in attendance tonight courtesy of tickets supplied by Kobe Bryant. Hope he gets some acknowledgement from the crowd.
Based on the excerpts of DLO’s and Swaggy’s comments doesn’t seem like the issue has been resolved between them. Hope the team can “man up” and send Kobe off on a relatively positive note.
Dumbest tweet of all time.
Lakers on 9-0 run since Russell went out!
Kobe 1 for 8 and goes out they go on 15 to 2 run.
Brilliant text there Holmes.
Marlon Brando says
Laker fans booing DAR? Ok…
Yep, on July 1st at 12:00:01the Lakers need to offer a max offer sheet to Whiteside. That’s our guy right there. The Heat playing him off the bench only helps our cause…
So cheating is OK.
But childish video prank that gets hijacked by 3rd party is worth a boo.
Nice lesson for kids.
Cheat or lie just don’t get caught!
Think I will bring my kid up different.
Nice start to the 3rd by the Lakets with LN starting in place of Kobe. Kobe is not going to be able to play anymore tonight. Nance brings defense and hustle to the 3.
I’d like to see Tarik Black playing in a competitive game like this (as opposed to garbage minutes).
Whiteside let Roy out the box. Let the buyer beware!:)
Whiteside 14 points 13 rebounds and 7 blocks in 27 minutes off the bench. We need this guy…
Hibbert is going all out to cancel out his rival.
Too bad it wasn’t this way all season.
Lil pau says
PUT IN BASS YOU MORON!
Clutch free throws by JC! Valuable 4th Q experience for the younguns. OT!!
Randle’s basket in the lane with 1.9 left is the difference as the Lakers beat the Heat.
I’m stunned. Pleasantly stunned. But…stunned.
After an unsettling day for Lakers fans, this is just what the doctor ordered. A good win. And great experience for the kids.
Randleee!!!! great win, looked like it was going to be another blowout but they showed some heart tonight. With the kids leading the charge in OT. Nice win and it don’t damage our odds getting that pick.
The team has had a few bounce-back games after a bunch of people announce (again) that they have quit on Byron. They will get blown out again before the season ends, and they will probably win a couple of more as well.
I am happy for the team. I am sure they enjoyed this one.
Great to see the team show some pride in bouncing back from the worst loss in franchise history. A little defense goes a long way. The 3 amigos (JC & R&R ) closed the game in fine fashion. Juice with the game winner! Good, positive game for the youngsters. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Huertas and Nance. They stopped the early bleeding with their hustle and defense and gave the team a chance.
That was a fun ending!
Especially loved Randle’s gesture after he hit that shot,.. big balls…lol !
The kids are going to be fine.
Great game by Clarkson who was absolutely clutch. His line — 26 points (9-19 shooting), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal — was against a big-league back court and a great defensive guard, Dwayne Wade. To his credit, Clarkson showed no fear. He rose to the occasion.
Also, Julius Randle had 13 points and 14 rebounds while Hassan Whiteside had 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Can you imagine them playing together in the same front court?
Nice bounce back for the W
Lil pau says
That play where Huertas hid behind Spo was… Horry-esque.
Great win especially given the distractions over the past couple days. Shows that they can focus when they want to.
Scouting report, whiteside had 7 blocks 18 pts. 17 rebounds
Deng 22 Pts 11 rebound 3 blocks
Deng would be a good temporary small forward with whoever we draft
J C says
I’ve been so down on this coach that it seems fair to point something out:
I gotta give some credit to Byron for keeping the team on track despite glaring distractions. His pre-game demeanor – business as usual, we’re just focusing on preparation for an opponent, the Heat – was (for once) precisely the message the young core needed to hear.
Credit is also due to the players for stepping up together all the way to the game’s finish line.
Happy for Randle. Not so impressed with his post-shot gesture. I was sorry to see Kobe couldn’t finish the game against his friend Wade.
Happily, Darius’ prediction of a loss was a bit off.
The team once again showed flashes of inspired play and that’s even more entertaining than reading juicy gossip 🙂
Good and needed win. The team showed heart amid adversity. Think we need to pump the brakes on which FAs to make offers to until we see what is happening with Mitchell and Jim, we hire a long term coach, decide on anormal offensive philosophy and a defensive scheme. Not every player fits every system and not every player and coach work well (see Boogie and Karl). I think we are being a bit premature in thinking Whiteside is the future when he has issues in Miami. Regardless in focusing on Randle, Ckarkson, and Russell, they all have aspects of their game they need to inprove. Nance jr. and Brown may be worth a longer look especially Nance beyond that we are looking at a completely different product next year.
A win is nice but while shooting 36%? Sometimes you win despite everything.
I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Darius to focus on the basketball. I just wonder how much the real or perceived maturity issues have affected the play on the court, the chemistry off the court, and Byron’s approach to Russell, which ultimately is about the basketball. I think that is the bigger story and it does touch on how the team actually performs and how it will perform in the future.
As for last night, nice win, but booing the kid? That seems a little odd. What are the fans actually booing? That he made a mistake? That they think he’s a “snitch?” If so, I personally disagree. Boo for bad play, but for this? Come on.
Style of the team needs to change
3 assists between Russell, clarkson and randle … + only reason Randle isnt getting star talk treatment is because he can’t get the ball enough – only took 10 shots and the whole offense revolves around DAR and clarkson shooting 2s at the free throw line ….. which leads to … no way whiteside comes here to play in that system
He already has a tough time getting involved in the offense with dragic and wade and maybe bosh when he comes back where he is the 4th – 5th team option
you look at out the tape of our team if Bryon comes back no way he wants to come here and set screens for DAR and clarkson while not being a part of the offense and only scoring on offensive rebounds?
Scott can’t stay
Thibs it is
Plus – we need to get rid of young and williams … young just bad character and Williams does nothing but chuck on offense .. 2nd string is so much better when marcelo has the ball in his hands compared to williams
signings some character vets will be important next year with metta and kobe probably leaving the team … we don’t want to be a headcase team like the kings
Shaun- Earlier in the year I thought Huertas was a joke. He has def shown his worth. I couldn’t agree with you more about how much better the ball moves when he has it vs Let it Loose Lou. And yes move out Young either through trade or buyout.
Only makes sense to sign Whiteside if you can get another FA and thats a big time one so either Durant or Derozan. So none of that is going to happen period with this roster so quit wasting electrons on it.
BScott’s coaching is fine. Once again young talent and a collection of no talent bums make this the worst Laker team ever. Also Jim Buss is universally regcognized as the worst FO guy in the league. That right there keeps people from enlisting aboard this trainwreck.
No other way but to rebuild thru the draft in 2016 & 2017. We are a good 5 years away everyone. But by that time if u draft carefully and develop the core then watchout!
Regarding DAR… This will pass as it did the time when a Laker pulled a punk move and outed Shaq’s actions because he got caught. He survived and did ok… DAR will be fine!
3 assists between Russell, clarkson and randle
Not sure if Kobe’s isolation tendencies may not have the desired effect on the youngsters.
People are saying that what russell did is gonna make no free agents want to come here, and they are comparing it to what kobe did, saying nobody wanted to come play with kobe…but Dwight howard wanted to be traded to the lakers, and so did steve nash
“Byron Scott coaching is fine”, um ok. And the Lakers shouldn’t pursue any free agents unless we get Derozan or somebody like that, gotcha. So the team shouldn’t improve by signing a center that could improve this team tremendously and can complement our young core. I guess we need to take the Sixers route. Got it…
J C says
Whiteside’s stat lines are eye-popping but he didn’t strike me as a future “force.” More like a better version of what our D-league center prospect looked like before he flamed out.
What did Hibbert eat last night for dinner?
Whatever it was, it should be required pregame food.
You know who really looks good at C?
Rudy Gobert from Utah.
I’m not saying he’s available.
I’m saying that’s the sort of guy that would really interest me personally if we’re talking a max contract.
I could be wrong about Whiteside, but offensively he looks pretty raw to me. And, last night was the first time I actually saw him play 🙂
@DieTrying & Shaun – I enjoy watching the 2nd team much more than the first… mostly because of better ball movement and better effort. I’ll be sad if either Bass or Huertas are gone after this year.
“People are saying that what russell did is gonna make no free agents want to come here, and they are comparing it to what kobe did, saying nobody wanted to come play with kobe…but Dwight howard wanted to be traded to the lakers, and so did steve nash”
I agree Matt, these people are not thinking rationally with the top head, but emotionally with the nether head, as if their infidelities will somehow come to light if this is allowed to propagate.
Stephen A. Smith is the helping to spread this nonsensical ideology, bro code, which ignores our mothers, daughter and sisters. And in such a hypocritical fashion, if you recall his interview with Kobe after Kobe spilled the beans on Shaq.
No free agent of intelligence, or that we would want on our team, will allow this silly rookie incident to affect their decision to play in Los Angeles.
There are too many valid considerations for their careers that take precedent over one childish event, which by the way would have never occurred, if the organization was watching over their rookie’s influences.
A 30 year old Nick Young is no role model you want you kids hanging out with and emulating.
Further, after all the childish horsing around that Nick and Russell have been going through this season, anyone that knew the kid, or any kid, would know better than revealing such private information to them.
If keep your mouth shut is the rule, it should start with the person themselves.
Mo- if “fine” coaching nets you the worst winning percentage of ANY NBA coach with 1000 games or more on the sidelines I shudder to think what poor coaching looks like. Poor Byron just has the darnedest luck doesn’t he? After all he doesn’t have a Jason Kidd or a Chris Paul or a Lebron James in their prime unde his stewardship anymore. Maybe it will turn around in his 5th coaching gig. In a word…please. That’s like saying a student with a 1.5 GPA (D- territory) is doing “fine”
The Sixers have more talent on their roster then we do excluding Kobe. This was also the opinion of Basketball Tonight, The Jump and PTI. We stink so adding a improving yet still offensively raw center will do what exactly? How many more game is that “offensive juggernaut” Whiteside going to win for you? Granted if you stick with Randle then ( BIG IF… Because if we can get Simmons in 2016 or Giles in 2017 then bye bye Randle both better than he is right now ) you will need a heavy defensive plus on the floor because Julius is a big defensive minus. Chances are Whiteside stays put or goes to more of a contender. But its cool “Keep Hope Alive!” I never said do not improve the team but I would basically trade for as many picks I could stock pile. This is not Philly and Philly does not have Mitch on Draft Day!
There are several commenters who are cautioning against Whiteside because he is less than perfectly coachable or he is offensively raw and not a dominant force inside.
I would urge those of you who are, for whatever reasons, wary of Hassan Whiteside to consider the following. On July 1, 2016, the Lakers may be without a starting center. Period. End of sentence.
I do not expect them to re-sign Roy Hibbert. There is an excellent chance that Robert Sacre (who averages 3.2 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 12:39 and will be 27 years old in June) will not be retained. If all of that happens, that would leave only Tarik Black at the 5 position, a 6-9 player who is energetic and game but is strictly a small-ball, back-up center and has spent half the season in the D League.
Other than that, the Lakers will have no one to play center. No. One. They will be, in a word, desperate. They will need a center in the worst possible way.
The Lakers, then, will not have the luxury of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good. They will need someone. They will need anyone. They will need a body.
Is Hassan Whiteside the greatest center ever to play the game? No. Of course not. But that doesn’t mean that the Lakers shouldn’t pursue him, especially considering that they’ll have no one else to man the position and considering that Whiteside is actually quite adept at several important facets of the game (namely, rebounding and blocking shots).
Has he been resistant to coaching? That’s the rumor. But then again, Kobe himself was once considered to be “uncoachable” by Phil Jackson. Wilt Chamberlain was reportedly a handful. Coaching Dennis Rodman was no stroll in the park. And Michael Jordan would actually punch his teammates in the face…and get away with it. (Just ask Steve Kerr.)
None of the above reasons should preclude the Lakers from pursuing Hassan Whiteside. Below is a link rating the top 10 Free Agent centers this summer. Please note that Whiteside is ranked #1. Another viable candidate, Festus Ezeli, is ranked #10.
Bear in mind, none of these is the perfect player. But apparently the best of the lot, however flawed, is Hassan Whiteside. The Lakers would not be guaranteed to land him. But they should definitely pursue him.
And I believe they will.
Clay Bertrand says
Man, I’ve been counting the days til the offseason when we can maybe (MAYYYYYYBEEEEE) see some team building and talent adding improvement. But after the last three days, even though we got a nice win, I gotta quote DAR here: “I feel as sick as possible.” I’m sure we all could use another pick me up.
Which is why I’m GUARANTEEING a Sunday WIN over the Smeltics and their whining former Toronto Blue Jay of a GM, Fanny Strainge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While the game is on Sunday, sometimes, you just gotta start a nice HATE FIRE early so it can really burn HOT!!!!!!!!!!
So who’s Ready to get up off the floor Rambis style, and try to rip out Kevin McHale’s Throat!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Who’s ready to light that proverbial bag of dog crap on fire then leave it at Bill Simmons’ front door and ring the door bell?!?!?!?!?!? Anyone!?!!?????????!!!!! C’MON NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I could never understand why the Boston Smeltic logo is Emeril Lagasse smokin a pipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO the guy is from Massachusetts big deal……NOT a reason to have him as your mascot/logo LOSERS!!!!!!!!! BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LA River Water > Sam Adams
The war continues Sunday…….
LordMo. “Trade for many picks as you could stockpile”, ok with what? and how’s that stockpiling picks thing has worked out for Phoenix? Philly? the Nets? You can’t trade for picks without assets. What we have is a young core, only seven players under contract next summer, Lou being the most expensive at 7 million boatloads of cap space and a posible top 3 pick. The Lakers can made a major leap foward if everything breaks right. About Whiteside, he don’t need to be an offensive juggernaut, i take his 14-12-4 everyday of the week and he is athletic and can run the floor with the best of them, a vast, i mean vast improvement over “Slow Roy” you said it yourself ” he is raw and improving” what is wrong with that?. A rim protector like that don’t grow in trees. His game is not perfect but nobody is. And i take Ingram over Simmons too. Unlike Simmons he can shoot from more than 2 feet from the basket and he actually guards other people. I be happy with either one but Randle isn’t some chump is a double double machine with a lot of upside. Between Whiteside and Derozan, we have an actual shot at Whiteside, Derozan is a reaaallyy long shot. We need to build around our kids and adding a real rebounder and rim protector is a major step in the right direction. The rebuild have to start somewhere the homerun aproach is not the way…
Stephan a smith,,, is an im always right guy
I dont let any tv show or “analyst” influence the way i see things. I make my own observations and i come to my own conclusions thank you very much…
Baylor Fan says
The zombie Sonics are having trouble playing in their jammies tonight. The Clippers gave their superstars the night off and it is still a close game.
Sad to say but whiteside does not seem like the type of free agent jim/mitch would go for… they seem like they would go for durant, wade, derozan, horford and maybe even howard. It’s like they need the big name star. Instead of rising talent, it needs to generate a big buzz, with them.
totally agree with getting rid of lou williams and swagger is all i got nick young. Hoping for something on draft day.
BScott never got to coach LeBron and most of the teams he had only had one bonafide star. He never has had a loaded roster. Irving for only 1 year and CP on NOH. Not exactly world beaters some decent teams that had decent records but nothing special.
Lord Mo he is 188 games under .500 tied for worst in NBA history.
Mid – my argument is that Whiteside will have better teams pursuing him offering the same $ amount. The Lakers are far from a playoff team and if winning is important to him he won’t sign here.
You could be right. Even so, I think Whiteside’s #1 priority will be $$$. Priority #2 will be an assurance of playing time and #3 will be the opportunity to start.
Of course, Hassan would want to go to a winner as would any player. But not all winners will have a hole at the center position. Therefore, I think the Lakers could have a shot.
But, all things being equal, he’ll probably go to a team that can get into the playoffs consistently (if that option is available). But the Lakers won’t be out of the running. He’ll certainly remember this most recent game vs. the Lakers.
W’ell see what happens. It should be an interesting summer.
Trade away whoever and whatever you have to get picks.
The 2017 draft is loaded my man. Right up there with 2003 & 2008 drafts.
Williams, Swaggy P and Hibbert need to be jettisoned off the boat!
I would definitely package up either Randle or Clarkson or both for more picks in 2017.
Especially, if I get the first pick and take either Simmons or Ingram.
You keep DAR and move him to 2 … too slow for the 1 unless ur running the Triangle.
Besides Giles 2017 is loaded with bigtime PG’s… So now your core could be much better with a little patience. 2017 will be the draft that defines the NBA for the next decade. Lakers need to get in on that one for sure.
Not sure if this was mentioned, although presumably everyone knows, but Lamar Odom was at the game last night–apparently Kobe left tickets for him. This is a Sean Deveney Tweet retweeted by the KBros:
Byron Scott on Lamar Odom at Staples Center tonight: “It is absolutely fantastic to see where he is now …His recovery has been a miracle.”
Tweet from Wade:
DWade ? ?@DwyaneWade
Made losing this game not matter “as much” after getting a chance to spend time with my guy LO. #GodisGood
The scarey thing is what if we get the #2 pick and they pass on ingram and draft bender to keep the small forward spot open for durant
Renato Afonso says
He doesn’t say we will sign him. He said that we need to offer him the max and do our best to sign him. Then other factors will come into play.
@Mo- correction noted re: Lebron. As Bill Parcells famously said “you are what your record says you are” and no amount of excuses and enabling justifications can change that. Byron the player however was truly excellent and an important contributor to his team’s success.
There are a surprising number of Centers in this year’s draft. I think the Lakers could at least fill the role of back-up center next year with their early 2nd round pick.
I think the Lakers should pursue Whiteside with a max contract warts and all. I would actually find it humorous if failing to sign Whiteside, the Lakers sign Dwight.
Renato: I expect the Lakers to show serious interest in every legitimate free agent, Whiteside included. I’m just saying that the Lakers are likely not to be a choice destination, yet. The rising cap came at the wrong time. The cap goes up about $20 mil this summer, just enough to sign a max FA. Absent the rising cap the Lakers would be among a handful of teams with space. Now, 20 teams will have $20+million available.
The FO never thinks these things through. All free agents look at money first. But when that is equal they will choose to win and winning is a summation of a) talent on the floor; b) assets (picks + ability to get more talent); c) coaching; and d) organizational stability. While the Lakers score well on ‘a’ and some on ‘b’ they fail on ‘c’ and ‘d’.
I think the Lakers are just short of being attractive to free agents this summer. It’s imperative that they show progress across multiple fronts next season to put themselves in a position to pick up key missing pieces in free agency during the summer of 2017. For this to happen the Lakers desperately need to keep this pick, select a coach with projected longevity and fix the FO (Jim becomes an owner, Mitch is either elevated or becomes a sage consultant and a new dynamic GM is brought on).
The future is potentially very bright but right now the Lakers are their own worst enemy.
J C says
Good post and link about the top ten centers.
If Whiteside is the best guy available I’m sure the Lakers will make a play for him.
I was mainly saying I wish we didn’t have to pay max dollars for him. His defense is better than most, no doubt.
As Matt said, it seems like the Lakers may prefer a name guy like Horford, although I agree with everyone else here – I wish they’d stick with the youth movement.
It’s funny – and I don’t think it would happen – but I kinda wouldn’t mind seeing Dwight here again. Maybe with the new crew (and hopefully, with Thibs as coach) Dwight may experience a renassaince. Although I doubt he’d come back here – at least there would be less pressure on him, and he’d get to see his name on the top of the marquee, at least.
He’s got one more big contract in his future, and maybe his new agent will recommend Southern California.
I wouldn’t mind seeing:
J C says
Anyone see this?
If the Lakers keep their pick this year, their 2017 pick goes to the 76ers unless once again its in the top 3. Who do the Lakers have that is going to garner a first round pick other than JR,JC and DAR? No one. My hope is they select Ingram. The kid is skinny but he passes the eye test of a flat out killer. He has KD size and a very similar skill set. He is also similar to the Greek Freak. In the new NBA this is stretch 3,4,5 that creates match up nightmares. Ingram with DAR, Clarkson, Randle, and Nance makes a nice little young core. Add in his extreme athleticism and i think he is the best fit for the team. Simmons has a LeBron type skillset but he has not outside shot. Given the fact that only CLarkson seems to have a defined consistent perimeter game i think Ingram is the way to go. Look at Utah, the Bucks, The Twolves, and to a degree the Raptors, these squads all had 4 or 5 young guns who grew up together and now are on the doorstep of leading the next wave along with the Warriors. I dont see the Lakers with a top 2 pick keeping their pick next year. So unless you think a team is going to give you 2 high pick in next years draft, you have to realize that this pick may be the last you get until 2018.
@ JC: I did see that rumor. While I like Butler, I wasn’t aware that he is injury prone — missing about 20 games a year so far in his young career. That’s a big red flag in my mind.
Knowing that fact, I’m not sure that Butler’s a real foundational player. This appears to be the same conclusion the Bulls have reached.
LT Mitchell says
Let’s not discount the advantages of playing in LA……the weather, Hollywood, TWC Channel, woman, beaches, restaurants, celebrities, etc.
The Lakers are obviously not a landing spot for veterans (or any player) who prioritize winning, but the odds go up big time when it comes to players going after their first big contract.
Clay Bertrand says
Hassan Whiteside is a bit of a full of himself head case who seems to really want to make his mark somewhere which I think gives us more of a chance than with any other viable top FA available this summer. Further, his game appears to flourish without his needing the ball or plays called for him which would seem to be what a team full of I NEED THE BALL guys would fit with.
But Full Max for Whiteside at this time would be more Jim Buss than Mitch Kupchak. I would think that the Lakers interest in Festus “FOR THE REST of US” Ezeli would fall more in line with a Mitch Kupchak move. He’s also low maintenance and is much lower profile and theoretically, lower priced as well.
For all of Whiteside’s perceived talent, in a league where there is basically only a handful of Centers and the game is guard dominated, should we be paying a Center THE MAX???? I’m on the fence about how hard to go after Whiteside for a few reasons………
I see Whiteside going to Charlotte for some reason……….He has some NC roots……..
BTW, TOTAL BS on Randle getting fined for the “BIG ONIONS” gesturing after making that game winner!!!!!!!!!!! Sam Cassell did that a few times and Kobe did it too (before LOSING on a last second play) and neither guy was fined for it.
Now Julius gotta part with some of that Mountain Dew money!!! SMH….
– @ LT, remember more than one team plays in L.A…and the other one is much closer to a title than the Lakers. Something most FA’s consider.
J C says
I believe Butler previously expressed a desire to come to the Lakers, so maybe such a thing is possible. We’d obviously have to relinquish one of our young guns.
good points about Ingram – I confess I’m not much of a college game fan so if he resembles Durant obviously he would be an extremely good get. Hopefully we are awarded a top 2 pick!
Has FBG “agreed” on whom we should select if we get #3?
Don’t worry the Lakers will once again be at the bottom of the Western Conference next year.
This team has long long way to go. That pick in 2017 is in the bag unless Durant has a brain lapse and wants to come here. That would only be with Westbrook coming along in 2017.
My guess is Durant either stays in OKC or goes to Golden State. The Lakers can solve their SF issue by offering Harrison Barnes a deal thus forcing GS to tip their hand. I believe that is exactly what the Lakers will do. Unless Durant just wants to flat out be in LA not his persona but who knows. Westbrook is the get for the Lakers! Load up on talent sign Westbrook and turn him loose!
Really bro? The Clippers are garbage and will always be garbage.
They need to pack up for another town! Last night was an example of a Clipper victory… we didnt win but I’ll take the effort kind of crap. For all the whining you guys do about BScott the guy in the locker room across the hall has only a 57% career winning record. You need players… makes any coach look better!
And why would the Lakers not want to keep that pick in 2017? Then convey 2 second rounders to Orlando in 2018. Then you could have a lineup of:
Play bigs by committee and draft your future PG in 2017 to become the understudy to Westbrook (again stockpile picks for 2017).
I see many rings in the Lakers future people …. Just a little patience is needed!
Lord Mo I don’t even consider the 2017 Draft right now, not even players, is wayyy to premature to even think about the 2017 Draft when the 2016 Draft is still some months away. It’s been proven time and time again that projections for college players more than a year away from Draft day are not necessarily acurate. I worry about that Draft IF we get there. So your solution to get more picks is trading guys we got thru the Draft. Start from scratch again, because that’s what you are proposing. That is asinine in so many levels, Randle is already showing he can be a really good player in this league, same with Clarkson. So let’s trade them and lets roll the dice with new picks, huh ok. Nick Young almost certainly will be gone in a couple of weeks.Hibbert is a expiring contract, meaning he is gone anyways unless he tooks a humongous paycut and accept a reserve role. You think we are going to get 1st round picks for Williams or Bass? Not happening, we have 4, maybe 5 serviceable players thru the last two Drafts, that is a haul and if we get that pick this year we could have 6. Thats more than enough for any NBA team not called the Sixers because you dont want to have too many rookies/second year players on your team. But hey let’s trade a couple of those kids so we can get mooore picks. You are just making assumption after assumption SMH. About the gossip of the week, is being reported that DAR ex stole it from his phone and give it to a rival of Nick Young g/f and she published it because of some female rapper beef. Stranger than fiction.This could help DAR troubles with the team a bit. Last comment on the subject.
LT Mitchell says
The Clips already have a center. Their backup center might be better than our starting center. When it comes to attracting free agents who play other positions, the Clips might have the better team, better coach, and better front office, but the Lakers have the better…… ummmm…. give me a sec ……better locker room stalls…. and ummmm…………… better fans. They also have more cap space than the Clips this summer.
Lord Mo: predicting who the Lakers will draft in 2017 is an exercise in futility.
My gut says that Lakers management is under considerable pressure to win more games sooner rather than later so trading any current young building block for picks in the 2017 draft is not a path they will take.
I’m not saying that they would never trade a youngster, but it will be for a known entity either a younger player with huge upside or a veteran that can help now. I’m not seeing them trade a youngster for a 1st round pick from team X in the hopes that pick ends up being a high pick.
LT — the Clippers might be in the running for KD. They would be willing to trade BG to get it done. OKC wouldn’t proactively make that deal — but they’d consider it if the alternative was KG walking.
A question for any and all: will the Lakers be able to extend max offers to Whiteside and DeRozan simultaneously?
Also: any reason for Lakers not to buy out Nick Young, assuming it can be done?
Good post and normally I would agree. But really 2017 is loaded and the top 15 players are legit! You can ask anyone. You said the key word “building blocks” and I’m saying everyone on this current roster is expendable except DAR. And he is the only exception because he is so talented that given his defensive weaknesses his offensive talents allow him to be on the floor. Cannot say that for anyone else on the current roster. Randle included who will have to become extremely elite to have him and DAR on the floor together. Not saying this could not happen but then you definitely need someone like Whiteside or Noah and another solid defensive plus on the floor with those guys….yikes. Memphis Grizzles anyone? Because thats who we would become at that point. As to starting over… hmm this team has won 16 games Fern. I would venture to say… We haven’t started yet. As to pressure from the fanbase really? If the Lakers are making decisions based on that then we can forget winning anytime soon. Nothing you can do could do make this team a title contender in the next year or two. Not even getting Durant and Westbrook together puts you over the hump with this current roster they have a better team now and cant reach the Summit.
As far as that drafting thing….
Curry / Thompson / Green / Barnes
Duncan / Parker / Gnobili / Leonard
Durant / WestBrook / Ibaka / Harden
Three best teams in the West all their best players were gained thru the draft!
So yeah, I want as many picks I can get in the best draft coming up in the last 10 years.
Lord Mo, when I read your first post, my reaction was the same as most, I didn’t see the logic.
Yet, your followup made some interesting points.
I usually avoid getting embroiled in discussions involving max salaries and salary caps because the rules are so arcane. Darius would be the best person to answer your questions accurately. But…as I understand it, yes. The Lakers would be able to offer max contracts simultaneously to both DeRozan and Whiteside. The rules, as I understand it, are as follows:
0-6 years — 25% of cap for a max salary
7-9 years — 30% of cap for a max salary
10+ years — 35% of cap for a max salary
So, if the cap for this next year is, say, $90 Million, then a max salary for a player who has played 6 years or less (that would be both Whiteside and DeRozan) would be approximately $22.5 Million. That would amount to $45 Million for the two players per year for, probably, 4 years. Below are the Salary caps available to the 16 teams with the most cap space (this should give you a good idea as to who our competition is):
Lakers — $62,613,020 (6 guaranteed contracts)
Philly — $61,220,813 (6 guaranteed contracts)
Boston — $53,397,958 (9)
Dallas — $48,081,683 (6)
Washington — $45,293,711 (4)
Portland — $41,813,650 (7)
Houston — $41,237,809 (8)
Charlotte — $39,830,474 (6)
Brooklyn — $38,636,058 (5)
Memphis — $38,082,020 (6)
Detroit — $38,005,231 (7)
Miami — $36,643,557 (4)
Atlanta — $34,652,234 (9)
Toronto — $32,385,182 (10)
Utah — $31,895,769 (11)
Denver — $31,776,000 (9)
The web site that lists all 30 teams can be found at the following link:
Another web site that explains the rules that govern max contracts in the NBA (and other stuff) can be found here:
It’s pretty dry stuff. But it explains it all. Happy reading.
Re: your question on whether the Lakers can buy out Nick Young: the answer to that question is yes. Next year Nick will be owed $5,443,918; the following year, $5,562,360 at a player’s option.
So, the Lakers would have to pay him $11 Million or a negotiated amount approaching that. As a result, any decision to cut Nick loose would be both a basketball operations decision (Mitch and Jim) and a financial decision (Jeannie). Both sides would have to agree that Nick has no value for the team as a basketball player and that his presence is enough of a distraction that the Lakers should cut all ties with him.
Personally, I’m all for it. But then again, it’s not my $11 Mill. At this point, it’s probably 50/50. We’ll see what happens.
I hope this helps.
Thanks Mid, this is excellent info.
And yes, the competition is clear.