While Lakers’ fans bask in the afterglow of Kobe’s final game and wait on front office decisions on the head coach, the draft, and free agency it looks as if some decisions are being made for them already. Or at least one of them is as Brandon Bass has decided how he will handle his player option for the 2016-17 season.
Lakers F Brandon Bass to decline 2016-17 player option, become unrestricted free agent this summer, league source informs @clevelanddotcom.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 20, 2016
From the moment Bass signed a two-year deal with a player option for the second season, this decision was pretty much a foregone conclusion.
It is hard to know what the market was for Bass last summer, but he certainly signed a team friendly contract in terms of annual salary. In exchange for signing on the cheap, he got the right to jump back into the free agent pool this summer when the salary cap explodes this summer. If he played well in a firm role in a big market with good exposure, his one year deal would pay off. He is banking on that being exactly the case.
After a slow start to the season, Bass became one of the steadiest and most consistent performers on the team this past season. Eventually finding his stride as the team’s backup Center, he was 2nd on the team in PER, the team’s best defensive player, a solid rebounder, and a good finisher inside –leading the team in dunks.
So, even if it wasn’t a done deal that he would opt out simply because of the cap explosion and having the business sense to try and get a taste of the piles of money teams will hand out this summer, his play outpaced his pay and he’d be wise to try and rectify that.
Whether the Lakers and Bass work out another agreement remains to be seen. As a back up C, Bass has value to this team. Add in his veteran smarts and locker room steadiness and it would be nice to have him back. The question, of course, will be at what price and for how long. These details matter, especially since the Lakers will be looking to maximize their cap space in the chase for impact players who can reverse the course of a franchise with its worst seasons the past two years. Veterans like Bass can aid in that reversal, but are not the principals behind it.
Make no mistake, though, I wouldn’t mind having Bass return should a reasonable deal be reached. We’ll see what happens in July.
And just saw that Thibs is working out a purported 5 yr deal with the T’Wolves as coach and GM. Est $10m/yr
We need stronger depth at center though I really liked Bass. You always knew he was going to give 110%!
Brandon Bass becoming a free agent is not a shock.
I thought he was an excellent contributor (especially in the 2nd half of the year). But he’ll be 31 years old on April 30 and this may be his last chance for a good pay day.
I really appreciated Bass’s contributions. But I think his days as a Laker are over.
This tells me that next season the Lakers could be even younger than they were this year, depending, of course, upon how the draft goes. Think of it. Kobe will be gone. So will Hibbert, Bass (probably), Metta, and, I think, Sacre and Kelly.
If this is so, the Lakers could be as committed to a youth movement as any team in the league.
I think its good Bass is gone.
I’m willing to embrace the youth movement, especially now that Kobe is gone. I don’t see any reason to keep veterans on the team and that includes Lou Williams and Nick Young. It’s not like these guys provide any vet leadership. Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell was involved in a scandal just last season. Time to move on.
Mid – My issue with the FO is that they have tread water for the past three years – essentially wasting them — while not fully committing to competing or a rebuild. The youth movement was the way to go a long time ago and they didn’t do it.
The FO’s poor decisions have hastened, deepened and prolonged the Lakers bottoming out. There is no accountability with the Buss kids, statements about lines of authority are made in the press only to find out that they are crossed (by Jeanie) on a regular basis. Jim, whose hubris and willy-nilly approach at running basketball operations has cratered the on court product. The one person who has any basketball acumen, Mitch, is marginalized by Jim and viewed as a co-conspirator by Jeanie.
Both Buss kids need to go and just be owners — they are not additive to the process but have created a significant drag on the franchise’ future. As I mentioned in a previous post: Jeanie and Jim’s leadership has brought about the very confusion, discord and poor results that they were certain could only be avoided by their intense and over reaching involvement. In truth the emperors have no clothes and won’t listen to any one who tells them the truth.
The entire organization is one more poor year away from being under intense national media scrutiny about how the Buss kids have destroyed their father’s legacy. The she said/he said might be more entertaining than what we see on the floor. If I wasn’t such a fan that story line would be fascinating to watch.
Jeanie and Jim’s leadership has brought about the very confusion, discord and poor results that they were certain could only be avoided by their intense and over reaching involvement. In truth the emperors have no clothes and won’t listen to any one who tells them the truth.
BB: He will probably get a nice two-year deal from a playoff team. Power to him.
Scott: There is not an obvious reason either to keep him or to deliberate about keeping him, just like there was not an obvious reason either to hire him or to interview him several times before doing so.
FO: We will see where the roster is around July 25 or so.
Having real basketball people in charge avoids the situations we re currently experiencing. You can fire the hired help — you can’t fire ownership. Hammering on Jim and Jeanie is justified but it’s not going to change things until they decide to act. They’ve gotten a bit of a free ride with Kobe still being a local and national distraction. That changes next year.
Site behaving weird. my post didn’t show up but, when i reposted it said it was already posted?
Baylor Fan says
The man with a plan last offseason was Kobe. He had already worked the FO for a large contract and then he dictated the rules for how he would be used during his last season. It was all about maximizing his exposure as he did a radical reboot of his image. He did not practice with the team, he chose the games he would play, he decided how many minutes per game, and he had a video crew to record every minute. He became nice, engaging Kobe with his eyes clearly on his future after basketball. If only the FO were able to make such forward thinking plans and carry them out.
– As I stated in the last post, I can understand Bass leaving. He lived thru this crazy past season. I know many will rationalize his opting out. However if he doesn’t re-sign with the Lakers, this is the bottom line: a new pattern is forming. Free agents are leaving the Lakers, not coming to the Lakers. Regardless how you feel about Dwight Howard, w/ him, Gasol, and Bass leaving, that’s more free agent talent going out then coming in. How is that interpreted by free agents the Lakers are interested in?
– Four of the five teams with the worst records in the league this past season have started taking action to hopefully improve their teams. The Nets & Suns have chosen coaches, the 76ers has made changes in the front office, and the T’Wolves are on the verge of finalizing changes w/ both coach & front office. The 5th team, our Lakers have yet to make any commitments…maybe they’ll start tomorrow.
Thibs and Brooks likely off the table.
This is already starting to feel like the last couple of years. While other franchises have clear directions and move fast, we seem to wait for the “right moment”, delay, and get stuck with the leftovers – e.g., Byron.
I don’t for a minute expect Bass to come back. I’ll miss him, though. The guys a real pro.
J C says
THIBS TO WOLVES
A Horse With No Name says
Thibs and Brooks likely off the table.
Whew! What a relief. The former has run so many players into the ground and shortened their careers for meaningless wins (see Noah). The later runs a simplistic offense. Trying to be optimistic and believe Luke and the Lakers are quietly moving towards a reunion. . . . We shall see.
Thibs gone and Lakers FO stuck with the BS…
It’s hard to execute anything if you don’t have a vision and a plan. Maybe the Lakers need to go back to square one and ask themselves, ‘Who the F*** is in charge of this thing?’ before moving forward.
To that point, the Lakers have like four spokespeople, Coach Scott, Mitch, Jim and Jeanie. Maybe that’s too many people with differing agendas. Ideally, you’ve got your GM and your coach. And because those guys work so closely their messaging is consistent. BS would change his focus week to week. Mitch would be readily available then disappear. In the interim Jim would do a fluff piece and then Jeanie would do a piece to contradict Jim’s message. Is it really that hard to get everyone on the same page?
I just came back from a business trip to the midwest. Not much news on the Lakers since many of the radio shows was regionally focused. However, I did catch a segment about the NBA and the Lakers. The feedback was about how delirious the Lakers fans were about Kobe’s last game. The host took a few calls and one of them summed up how I feel. The comment was, ‘the Lakers do know that they finished 56 games out of 1st place, don’t they?’
To be honest, I don’t really know if management is aware of how far we are from competing. I don’t know if they realize that while the Lakers will always be the Lakers the fact is that a great player can get paid anywhere. If you sum it up great players want the following:
1) to get paid
2) to win
3) to join a team ready to win now
4) to play for a good coach
5) to play for a stable organization
Jim has put the cart before the horse. He thinks getting two max free agents is step one. Well, if you have great players then everything else actually falls into place rather easily. The hard part is not having great players and creating the right environment which attracts those desired max free agents. That takes vision — the very thing that has been missing from current Lakers leadership.
I hate to pile on, but I have to agree with others here. It’s all well & good to be thorough in decision-making, but for the last few offseasons it’s almost felt like LA are paralysed, and we just sit idly by watching other teams make moves. It’s happened on the coaching/management side of things, and then once free agency has opened it’s happened again as LA waits on the glamour signing that never comes.
A lot of this might just be fan perception, but surely potential FAs see this as well, and conclude that the team is just not being well run.
Jeanie is in for a rude awakening. Up to now, she’s been able to play the good owner versus the bad owner, Jim. I think that changes next year unless the Lakers get very lucky and keep the pick and sign a good player in free agency.
Absent those fortunate events Lakers fans are not going to be happy to have another team with a 25 win ceiling being coached by BS. She’ll start feeling the heat as well.
While action for action’s sake is meaningless and often counterproductive the moves for Thibs & Brooks suggest execution of a strategy rather than the apparent inertia the Lakers FO seems to be engulfed in. Woj’s article about how Thibs was interested in the Lakers job is disheartening. I fully recognize that he may not have been a perfect fit and/or the desire for personnel/front office responsibilities along with the head coach title was highly unlikely..still wouldn’t there be SOME value in having a sit down with Tom just to see how he would approach repairing our leaky bucket defense? I guess not. After all what could Thibs possibly know about defense? And oh btw the Bulls missed the playoffs this year after they decided they needed to make a coaching change. Smh.
Here’s a link to the article:
Thibs gone…I ain’t mad. I want Luke or Messina, not someone who wants more control than a regular coach or work Randle so hard he’s injury plagued by age 28.
Good for Bass to explore his options. He can contribute on a contender and maybe get a ring in the process. Hard workers deserve it. And if he doesn’t go to a contender then he’ll be nicely paid. Good for him either way.
Just a few quick comments:
The fractured FO/ownership situation: I remind everyone that the current ownership structure was chosen by the late JERRY Buss. I, too, wish the Buss family would remove itself from daily operations, but they would be going against their father’s wishes in doing so
Treading water while other teams rebuilt: Once the Lakers gave Kobe a 1.5 x NBA Max contract for D-leaguer production, that die was cast.Top-level talents (either coaches or players) were not going to step into that mess.
Losing out on Coach Thibbs:: If the Lakers had Karl-Anthony Towns, they probably would have pulled the trigger. But as it stands, the Lakers may start next year with the core 4-5 youngsters (none of whom are close to K-AT in production yet), Lou Williams, and a cast of thousands (or a dozen or so middling talents). It may not make sense to pull the trigger on a big name coach who will expend half of his 5-6 year tenure (before he wears out his welcome) just getting the Lakers competitive for the 8th seed.
This is going to take time. Unless Durant and Westbrook decide to come to the Lakers as a package deal (or some similar miracle), we’re going to have to do through the process.
I like Bass as a player and he seemed like a good teammate on a bad team. I was hoping we could have traded him during the season. His skills seem well-suited for teams playing small ball. Maybe the FO tried.
I think the inaction/silence on the part of the FO may just be a reflection of the internal disagreements about how to move forward. If that’s true, I would rather wait because until the ownership is on the same page I think it would be difficult for a name brand coach to operate in that environment.
As for Thibs, he wanted to be GM and coach. That seems like a difficult job even when the ownership is united. Here it would have been an even greater challenge. Are there many/any examples where this has worked well?
This link is an article breaking down the Celts/Hawks series. Even though it says that the Celts are in big trouble because of Bradley’s injury, it also underscores how well Stevens has put together a team better than the individual talent levels of its players. Budenholzer also has done a good job with the Hawks’ defense.
Neither of these guys were well known coaches and I’m guessing there’s at least one more assistant NBA coach or college coach that has the same potential. If the Lakers can’t land some of the top FAs this season, I would rather have one of these types of coaches because we’re going to have a really young team.
All that said, it won’t matter if the ownership isn’t on the same page. It won’t matter if Phil comes back; we got Thibs or Brooks; or Popovich decided to come here, we aren’t going from worst to first in a year or even two. Ownership is going to have to be willing to invest a few years to establish a foundation for winning.
Aren’t you guys being a little harsh on the FO? : )
Lots of angst being a Lakers fan. I get that rebuilding is a process. Unfortunately, Jim and Jeanie give me zero confidence they know what they’re doing.
Blue — Stevens was regarded as the best young coach in college basketball before joining Boston. His signing was an obvious coup for Ainge and the Celtics.
Anon – I didn’t know that much about Stevens before he came to the Celtics, but what he did with Butler demonstrated that he could take less talented players and put them into a system that could compete against teams with more talented players. It will be interesting to see what he do when the Celts have a couple of superstars, which will probably happen in the next year or two.
In any case, while Stevens may have been talked about, I don’t think it was a slam dunk decision for Ainge. I think he took a greater risk than if he would have picked Calipari or some other coach at a powerhouse college program. But, it also made sense for Boston because they went all in on the rebuild and had a really young team that probably could respond better to young coach. Kind of like where the Lakers are now. More importantly, there are some other mid-major college programs that have been successfully competing against the big teams where the coach has had to rely on similar skills as Stevens to compensate for the lack of overall talent, so there’s got to be a few coaches like him that are out there. Not sure if ownership would have the guts to do something like that, though.
Renato Afonso says
Bluehill, I agree with on almost everything except when you say that a coach from a powerhouse college program is a lesser risk than a mid-major coach. Those powerhouse colleges usually get by on talent alone and, lately, on one-and-dones. They don’t have time to develop players or a system that compensates for the lack of talent, like a mid-major coach has to do. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, such as Rick Pittino and Jim Boeheim, but they usually rely on some sort of specific zone defense or full-court press that doesn’t translate well to the pros.
If it’s worth anything, I believe that Calipari, for example, is very good at managing egos and hoarding talented high schoolers but there’s not much else that can be said about him…
Maybe we can get the next Brad Stevens but if we go for an old coach with NBA experience, I would pick Rick Adelman. The only thing that stopped him from winning a title in Sacramento was Shaq and that Robert Horry three pointer.
Regardless of that, I’m terrified at the prospect of waiting for the lottery before deciding on who’s going to be the coach. It shouldn’t matter at all.
It would nice to have a plan and get a new coach. However, frankly, if we lose our pick, we gonna need Byron around to confuse our kids with random ramblings about old school basketball in order to tank next year and secure a good pick. Gotta wait to see if we keep our pick before firing BS
Warren Wee Lim says
I enjoyed Brandon Bass this season even after his conditioning struggles early in the season. Happy trails and get your 9M contract out there!
T. Rogers says
Thibs did want a lot of power. But that is the general trend for “name” coaches. Van Gundy has a similar set up in Detroit. Doc has the same set up across the hall. Jeff Van Gundy wanted the same set up as well. The good coaches are getting smart. You can win 57 games and coach of the year only to be shown the door the following season by an erratic front office. So I don’t blame the coaches who can get it for going after more power. If Carlisle left Dallas tomorrow some team would give him a similar set up.
Paul — Agreed. If we lose the pick, the reality is we’re not ‘there yet’ as a team to attract any free agents of note this summer. So next year’s talent level will be on par with this year’s — meaning we’re going to lose a lot anyway so we might as well lose a bit more to get a good pick. At least next year’s pick is all ours.
I think most posters realize this is the reason that nothing has been said ‘officially’ about BS. The frustration is that the Lakers have put themselves in a position once again where they can’t make a decision about moving forward, they have to wait for circumstances to play out — do we keep our pick or not in this instance.
The organization knows it needs a better coach but how do you hire a coach and then tell him to lose games, a lot of them — like 65 of them? Management knows you can’t hire a new coach and give them that mandate. On the other hand, Byron knows the drill by now. At least he’s the consummate company man — he’s thrown his career away to cover for Jim and Jeanie’s mistakes.
Good points, Renato. I was thinking about risk in terms of fan reaction to picking a little known coach vs a well known coach. Kind of like the initial fan reaction to the Knicks picking Porzingis. I agree coaches of the big time schools aren’t necessarily better than those of mid-major schools, but fans don’t get too excited by coaches they aren’t familiar with. Ownership shouldn’t let that affect their decision-making process in my view, because if the team starts winning it won’t matter, but some do.
Will be interesting to see how Thibs does with the Wolves. I think giving him GM duties is a mistake because it doesn’t seem like he has a lot of GM experience and I think the real reason he wants to be GM is to avoid the conflicts he had in Chicago. This may be good for him, but not as good from an owners perspective. That said, there’s so much young talent on that team, maybe he won’t have to make any big decisions until these guys become UFAs.
I liked Bass, mostly, yet his age puts him out of our rebuild, so it’s best for us, and for him that he moves on.
As for the coaches signed already, I didn’t see the fit, and if the fo likewise did not, why should they show interest, as someone suggested?
I agree with Anon #1 as far as Byron being a Tank commander. Scott is a poor coach, no doubt. However I think his weird rotations, poor treatment of the young guys and lack of accountability were part of a plan to keep the first round pick. Had BS nurtured his young horses and given them their heads, chances are they would have won enough games to wind up with no chance at a lottery pick. I find it interesting that the same fans who abhor Scott are quite pleased that the Lakers have a shot at a first rounder this year. If Byron had pushed all the right buttons and maximized this team’s potential, he still would probably only have 25-30 wins to show for it. The Kobe tour was part of it too. The Lakers org. made a ton of money and left themselves a shot at a first round talent to boot. Didn’t Kobe say unless the team won the Chip, losing was losing? That there were just different degrees of failure?
I’d love to see my favorite team back on top. But if the principal owners can live with the present state of affairs and not jump out of a skyscraper window, I guess I can too. There’s nothing I can do about the way they run the team.
My money’s on Byron staying. I think the Lakers leaked the info early intentionally to reduce the public outcry if/when it’s officially announced. One carrot that the Lakers can dangle to the biggest free agents (specifically, Durant) is input on the head coach. If they strike out on Durant (which they will, since we just don’t have enough talent to be very attractive at this point), then they let Byron stay for the final year of his contract (cost savings vs hiring another coach this summer), manage their salaries well, hope for strong development out of their young players next yr, and then offer the same carrot next yr (for Westbrook, and possibly Durant too if he signs a 1-yr deal this summer, since next summer will be another big cap jump), but with more attractive talent (esp if we’re able to get Simmons/Ingram) and the ability (again) to sign 2 (maybe 3, depending on # of yrs in the league) max contracts.
I don’t see them double spending on a new coach this summer, and Kobe was basically the coach over the past two years anyway, so next year is Byron’s chance to show the world that he doesn’t suck. In any case, his contract ends next summer, and I’m not expecting a new coach until then. Hoping I’m wrong.
Renato Afonso says
Back to Bass. The Lakers should be proud that he played for them. A true pro and an asset to any team. I hope je stays but at the same time I wish him better than the current mess the Lakers (still) are.
Keeping Byron Scott really depends on how the F.O believes he impacts the development of the young Lakers. If the F.O believes that he is hampering their development (like so many of us do), then he should be fired immediately.
Unfortunately, we know that the F.O is dysfunctional and have problems making quick, decisive decisions. By the time they figure things out, all the good coaching candidates could be gone. Who knows? They may never figure it out.
Why get rid of BS when there is still “downside” to explore? Might as well retain Swaggy also, and go for broke.
Latest report from Adrian Woj is that Scott Brooks to the Wizards is a done deal.