To be honest, I’m still in a bit of shock that Luke Walton is the Lakers’ new head coach. Not because I don’t think he’s ready or didn’t support his candidacy, but because it happened so quickly. Mitch Kupchak said he did not expect to have a coach hired within two weeks, but Walton was hired only 5 days after the team announced they had parted ways with Bryon Scott.
Us being heavily Lakers’ centric here, it is somewhat easy to forget that Walton deciding to come to Los Angeles also means he has decided to leave the Bay Area and the Warriors. Saturday, as that team prepared for his second round match up with the Blazers, they reacted to Walton’s eminent departure:
What’s clear is how much Walton will be missed by that entire group. Kerr seemed especially…I don’t know if conflicted is the right word, but he clearly expressed a sentiment of understanding what losing Walton would mean. Noting he did not expect Walton to depart for a head coaching job so soon, Kerr seemed to hope he’d have his top lieutenant around for a bit longer to build on the success they’ve shared over the past two seasons.
I thought Walton’s comments were also very interesting, especially his note about wanting to bring elements of the offense the team runs in Oakland rather than implementing the Triangle offense. Walton specifically said he did not think the Triangle suited the players the Lakers currently have, but that what the Warriors run now (and what he’ll try to bring to the Lakers) has elements of that offensive philosophy, citing spacing as a key component.
We’ll have plenty of more time to breakdown how what the Warriors run might translate to the Lakers’ personnel, but hearing him speak to this for the first time was refreshing (and, if I’m being honest, a bit of a relief). In any event, I think the clip above reinforces the idea the Lakers got a good one. It looks like the Lakers’ gain really will be the Warriors’ loss.
I was initially worried about the hire. Only because they didn’t interview anyone else. However, all of the feedback from his players and fellow coaches verifies everything I like about Walton.
It’s the first non Kobe positive Lakers press in…I honestly can’t remember when. Now let’s make like Matt Foley and get back on the right track.
That’s the main reason im in total oposition to Phil returning to the Lakers, he will try to bring the damn triangle back. Sure the Triangle worked, when you had MJ, Kobe,Shaq, Pippen and Gasol. How many of Phil alumni has been successful in the NBA? How many still have a head coaching job? Rambis because he is one of Phil’s men. It’s obvious why Luke turned down the Knicks job.He don’t want to run it, it has elements that can be used in other schemes, that’s it. Im really encouraged that Luke has an idea of what he wants to run. Look i love Phil but he is too set on his ways and the people he trust. In hope he stays in NY and keep running the Knicks into the ground. If he keep Rambis as HC ohh boy things are going to get fugly overthere…
Craig W. says
Listening to Luke and to the Warriors would seem to explain why the Lakers acted so quickly. Luke was going to be a head coach somewhere next year – why not the Lakers? Therefore, why wait around and negotiate for a few bucks here or there? Get it done and move on to the next order of business.
Between now and 17 May the Lakers can work on things unrelated to the draft and, with Luke’s input, perhaps set up a support system for the team.
david h says
Darius: without a doubt Luke’s greatest challenge just so happens to be his greatest strength: the inate ability to instill confidence in those around him.
Congratulations young man.
This hiring is from the heart not from the brain. Golden St tried to build a team like Lakers with two big guys inside: Bogut and David Lee, later they add Iguodala because they thought he is another Kobe, but he is not a type of player can carry a team through 82 games like Kobe, he played well in the Final ,but because he is a role player, he had more rest in the season. Steve Kerr did a great job because he can find a group of player who playing well together, this is a challenge for Luke, can he do that ? So Lakers will waste at least 3 more years for this Lakers team to make a playoff, and 5 more years to talk about championship.
Throwing shade at Phil, the Triangle, and the lack of success of Phil’s coaching tree guys has become another indirect stick-up-for-Jim-Buss meme in the Lakers’ blogosphere but as is usually the case, it tells only part of the story:
1. The important thing about what Walton said was not that the Triangle is bad, but that the guys the Lakers have aren’t Triangle guys, which is generally true, and is especially true of Russell and Randle. It was a smart comment by Walton.
2. The first guy to come out of the Kerr Tree in Golden State, Alvin Gentry, had a very disappointing year in New Orleans, as the Pelicans dropped off by 15 games and dropped ten spots in ORTG. Gentry also worked under Kerr when Kerr was GM in PHX and brought some SSOL principles from his time with D’Antoni in PHX. When Gentry was hired in NO, many people made a big deal about it, saying he would be a notable upgrade on Monty Williams (a Popovich Tree and Team USA guy who was criticized for his lack of creativity and tactical acumen) in large part because of his Kerr/SSOL connections. Injuries played a role, but it didn’t happen.
So, system and culture matter, but talent matters more, and just because a guy worked for a hugely successful coach doesn’t mean that he will be one himself. People should remember these things as the Lakers get started with The Walton Era.
As to Phil the Exec, I think his moves in NY have been meh, but the idea that he would be a huge downgrade on Jim Buss is very questionable. I think Phil probably should have let Anthony walk, but when he didn’t and seemed to be trying for a low playoff seed, I think he should have gone with a more experienced coach, and then I think he canned Fisher too soon. Phil has taken flack for missing on Kerr and Walton, but Phil had major disadvantages in both situations. Kerr had a chance to coach a much better team, stay in the West, and be close to his daughter, who is at Berkeley. Walton, of course, is a SoCal guy and a Laker.
Here’s a video taken earlier this year with Luke Walton discussing the kinds of offensive sets that he and Steve Kerr often run with the Warriors. He talks about the Pinch Post and select aspects of the Triangle that they’ve incorporated into the offense as well as their daily work on fundamentals.
Interesting stuff. Here’s the link:
Robert Fiore says
The best thing about Walton as coach is having been with the Warriors he’s well aware that in the modern NBA you have to have a complete team. You can’t simply build around two kings and a pack of jacks, much less “bring back Showtime.”
I’m wondering how many teams wanted luke
Im betting we will notice a difference as early as summer league and preseason, remember byrons preseason, he was rubbing players the wrong way even then
Baylor Fan says
It was a very pleasant surprise that the FO was able to come together and hire a coach so quickly! Even better it does not appear that the coach was hired to spite anyone or appease any single player. Jeanie has to be excited since Jackson views Luke as a son even if he is not blindly devoted to running the triangle. Jim can say he brought in the fan favorite. Kupchak can focus on building a team around the youth foundation and has more direction on the type of players needed. Lastly, maybe the Lakers organization looks a little less chaotic going into the offseason and becomes a more viable destination for free agents.
@rr Phil didn’t “missed out” he was turned down, very different, and he took too long to fire Fish after his little LA escapade and that ugly mess with Barnes him being a head coach and all, and i am more than aware about Jim shortcomings. If he has to step down after next season i wouldn’t want a Phil and Jeannie power couple thing here. Better bring somebody from the outside. If Phil is back, we will see Cleamons, Shaw, Rambis, ect. nothing against them but that ship sailed 5 years ago And i bet the farm that one of the reasons that both Luke and Kerr turned down the Knicks job is Phil demanding the triangle to be run. And if they try to get another coach Phil is going to demand the same, that’s why Thibbs and Brooks weren’t seriously considered, bc that wouldn’t fly with them. On another topic supposedly Boogie is in the trading block. I wouldn’t be too attached to that pick if we keep it if that is true. Just saying, i think the Lakers are going all in this summer. I think we are going to see a very agressive FO, will it work? that’s the question…
The Triangle is not bad, when you have elite transendent talent to play in it. Not a knock on Phil at all, his talents as a coach were beyond his system he is unique. And i bet Luke will use it if needed but not an exclusive every play sistem like Phil did.
Walton is impressing already.
He’s examined our core strengths and said he will utilize a warriors type offence, and has praised our kids more than Scott ever did.
Wouldn’t it be lame if phil jackson comes back to the lakers in 2 years right when the team begins to turn it around, and he gets credit for it, one thing that popped in my mind is why was jim buss assigned to his position most likely he’s the basketball geek of the family.
Luke walton is is already starting to say the right things, he’s excited about the young players the lakers have, and has tweeted what he likes about each young player.
All I said was that Golden State and the Lakers had major structural advantages over Phil and the Knicks in hiring Kerr and Walton. That is very obvious, and Kerr more or less said as much. As to firing Fisher, New York went 23-31 this year under Fisher and 9-19 under Rambis, and Rambis has a track record of failure. It may be that Fisher had lost the team with the Barnes thing, but there is no evidence that firing Fisher helped the Knicks.
As to Phil’s insisting that the teams run the Triangle, that may be the case, but saying that you would bet the farm on it doesn’t mean that it’s true.
Looking ahead, if Jim is forced out, bringing Phil back is not my first choice, either, but I don’t see a reason to presume that it would be a disaster and would be worse than the last three years have been.
A Horse with no name says
The best hedge against Jackson ever returning is winning. It’s that simple. What isn’t simple is just that–winning. Point being is that it is imperative that the team sign proven players who can help the team right away–even if it means giving up some significant cap space to get results now. I’m fine with that because it’s clear that running a modern offensive system with players that fit your system, rather than chasing the occasional free agent superstar, is more likely to bring your team into contention quickly. I think the lakers with Walton as coach will do exactly this: target and move quickly to sign some quality vets( e.g. Batum, Courtney Lee, Bazemore, Jeff Green, Teletovic, Whiteside, Mahinmi, Mozgov, Gasol ?) to fill out as competitive a roster as possible. Keeping the top three pick would certainly help jump start the rebuild, but it isn’t essential to getting the team back on the winning track.
If you listen to steve kerr describe Luke walton, it’s like he’s the opposite of byron scott,
“luke is just a great person to be around, he has a great way of communicating what he wants players to do but making them feel comfortable and safe in their own skin and happy with the environment, he’s so funny so laid back, so he’s just a great guy to be around, he’s helped us develop this culture we have here where everbodies included, everybodies important, he’ll bring that to the lakers and the players will love playing for him”
I don’t know about the triangle being used, but i know spacing is what d’angelo russell needs. To utilize his passing skills.
One more thing to add.
Of coarse luke is laid back and great to be around, when the players are winning and playing so well. And byron is the opposite when his team is losing and playing terrible defense.
TWC mike bresnahan, luke walton contract 5 year – 25 mil
“and the players will love playing for him”
I really like that part.
Luke’s hiring has the additional benefit of taking a valuable asset away from the Dubs.
J C says
Another poster here – sorry, forgot who – predicted Jeannie may be the first one out, not Jim.
If Walton’s Lakers begin to gel, a FA or two come on board, and real progress is made, would Jeannie still aim to install Phil and oust Jim?
I wonder if Luke’s success (without the triangle) would give him a vote on whether Phil comes, and how he’d vote once he has some wins under his belt. Im sure Luke loves Phil, but Phil’s shadow looms a bit large for my taste.
– I’m sure Kerr doesn’t mind Luke moving on. Luke was getting a lot more attention then ass’t coaches normally get…deserved or not.
– @ LKK, really? Isn’t that what some said last season pertaining to Alvin Gentry leaving for the Pelicans?
Pledge: Myself, rr, and others have been discussing how the “pledge” will be handled for a long time. Some suggest that if the Lakers “show progress”, that the pledge should be ignored. I am not amongst them. This would mean that Jim’s and Jeanie’s repeated statements are meaningless. If the pledge was not real – it should be removed (with a giant apology) now. If it is real then it should be adhered to. Going through the off season and the season with the pledge, only to remove it at the end of the year would be ridiculous (after not hitting the target).
Phil: Why all the attacks on Phil? Tearing down Phil (the greatest coach of all time) does not make Jim look any better. No – Phil’s 13 rings as player and coach do not qualify him as an executive. Just like Jim’s background does not qualify him to be the top guy in basketball ops. Ideally – there would be no nepotism at all, but attacking Phil does not justify standing pat. This is not the presidential race – we do not need to pick one or the other. There is option 3 – neither.
@Matt the Rockets had received permission to interview Walton and Phil contacted him about the Knicks job without the Warriors permission that might bring some tampering fines on him. I think there were 2 more teams but i don’t remember. That’s why the Lakers moved so swiftly. I don’t think Luke wasn’t going to take any coaching job unless it was the Lakers but the FO didn’t wanted to take that chance.
Thats what im saying Robert, i go with option 3.
@rr the Knicks didn’t improved after Fish was fired because Rambis is a terrible coach. @Robert im not attacking Phil he is the best coach of all time i love Phil, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that bringing Phil back would be an emotional decision. Nobody is impressed with his job running the Knicks. But he would do better with the Lakers somehow, um ok. Jim cornered himself and if he don’t deliver next summer and season he better step down. But i think the Lakers will be better served bringing an outsider with zero Buss family drama baggage. There are a lot of modern thinking executives/basketball people that would jump at the chance to run the Lakers, Jim Buss is not getting the job done and Phil is too old and too set on his ways.
From all that I’ve read, Luke was extremely well liked by the entire Warrior organization and he was considered by Kerr and members of management to be a large part of their success. Draymond Green, in particular, was very close to Luke. Green and Walton often ended practice sessions with individual shooting drills and skull sessions which Green maintains helped him very much.
So yes, Really!
@rr the Knicks didn’t improved after Fish was fired because Rambis is a terrible coach
Uhh, ok. But that just underscores my point, rather than refuting it, and 23-31 was a record appropriate to New York’s talent level. Also, we don’t know whether the Knicks would have improved under another coach. In short, there is not IMO hard evidence that Fisher was a terrible coach. Maybe he was; some bad things were said about him. But that is not the same thing as evidence.
Timeline: Jim said 3-4 years, so that could provide an out to extend the window through 2018, as he has already requested in public. Not that I’m saying that would be a good idea, but it is an option.
Free agents: whether signing any individual FA. short of the guy being a player on the level of Durant or James, is a good idea depends on wide array of variables about the guy himself, where your team is, how much money he wants, what other guys you can get etc. But the Lakers need to be careful about trying to reload too fast on mid-range talent because of the timeline, and Mitch has already alluded to this issue a couple of times. And that is yet another reason the timeline and the Jim/Jeanie stuff are both problems.
Timeline: Not disagreeing with rr, however, Jerry Buss died in 02/2013, so Jim has fully run basketball ops for 3.5 seasons already (really it is more than that – cause Jerry was not really involved at the very end). Next year will make 4.5 seasons. If we start from the time he made the pledge then that occurred in 01/2014. He said 3-4 years and guess what – at the end of next year it will be 3.5 years since he made the pledge and 4.5 years overall. He can lobby all he wants – however “The Boss” says the deadline is next year.
Clay Bertrand says
“Throwing shade at Phil, the Triangle, and the lack of success of Phil’s coaching tree guys has become another indirect stick-up-for-Jim-Buss meme in the Lakers’ blogosphere….”
C’mon man, Phil’s insistence on FORCING triangle down everyone’s throat and his remarkable stubborness in keeping Rambis, his personal “Yes Man/Double Date Companion” at the forefront of the Knicks head coach hiring search is utterly laughable. Honestly, How excited would YOU be if you were a Knicks fan right now???
Phil’s coaching tree sucks and that is indisputable. The lack of any successful coach who carries on his philosophy is glarlingly obvious and openly public information. Jim Buss has NOTHING to do with Phil’s coaching tree. Jim Buss has nothing to do with Phil firing his own head coach because he isn’t running enough of the Phil’s preferred offense. THAT is why it was stated Fisher was fired. It wasn’t simply a record thing as you intimate.
I suppose all of the Knick blogs and newspapers etc. are really just closet Jim Buss supporters too??? They constantly note that his coaching tree is fruitless and that he can’t think outside of his own tight circle to bring guys in. The joke is that “OJ’s search for the Real Killer has been more expansive and thorough than Jackson’s coaching search in NY”. LOL. How about any of the people who witnessed first hand and wrote about the crappy coaching tenures of Jim Cleamons in Dallas, Kurt Rambis in Minnesota, Brian Shaw in Denver, Derek Fisher in NY (and in a Matt Barnes Headlock), KURT RAMBIS IN NY???? Are the blogs and newspapers and pundits from these places ALL Sticking Up for Jim Buss too????????
Phil isn’t even wise enough to say what Luke says, that the roster is not a Triangle roster/that the Triangle isn’t the best fit.. Phil just FORCES the Triangle on the team roster fit be damned. AND in NY, HE BUILT THE DAMN ROSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He hand picked the coach too!!!!!
Pointing out the obvious underwhelming nature of Phil Jackson’s coaching tree and his dodgy moves as a FO Power Player are just plain objective facts.
Straight Up: Ideally, I’d rather have a transition into a FO with younger minds to go with some old school consulting by retaining Mitch in a Consulting role than to hand the keys to PHIL JACKSON just because he wants to work here and his Fiance wants to live with him.
Phil Jackson’s failures and barren coaching tree are FACTS that stand on their own for any objective person to look at. Phil doesn’t have a track record as a great or even a good FO guy. He has so little experience and he doesn’t work with agents. He isn’t very progressive or flexible in his basketball philosophies, and he forces them on the coaches he hires or resorts to hiring his own Triangle Yes Man in the non-inspirational Rambis.
WHERE do you see anything postive or protecting or sticking up for freakin Jim Buss’ in that description of Phil Jackson???? I think we all have the mental capacity to recognize these are separate subjects.
For the record though, if it came down to EITHER Mitch/Jim OR Jeanie/Phil, keep in mind that one pair:
Has a guy with 20 plus years of GM/FO experience, pulled off the Pau trade, got a mega CP3 trade VETOED, drafted Bynum, traded for Nash and Traded for Howard then let Howard and Pau walk for nothing, drafted Clarkson, Randle, and Russell, rode out the final Kobe years and has finally hired a progressive young coach.
The other pair is sleeping together, has a guy who COACHED successfully (11 rings), has a guy who was only an FO guy for 2 “MEH” years before QUITTING his FO “DREAM JOB” midway through his contract (via his OUT clause as is being predicted), hired and fired a first time head coach with no previous coaching experience, forced his team to run his preferred system against the players’ and coach’s wishes, and now wants to come and try to continue to LEARN to be an FO guy while on the job here in LA. In NY, Phil Jackson also has so little personal contact with the team on a regular basis and was in his office at the team facility so little that he makes the ever absent Jim Buss look like a regular 9-5 40 hour a week SLAVE!!!!!!
Phil was a great HOF coach. Let’s leave it at that. I don’t think he’s a good FO guy. He’s surprisingly stubborn and unable to be flexible on his basketball philosophies and players don’t stop and drool over the notion of playing for a team just because it has Phil Jackson in the FO. Players (and coaches) don’t WANT to run some offense it takes 1-2 years to barely learn and only half of the guys that are coached even pick it up. NO coaches applying his methods have EVER had ANY success.
I hope I was able to really Stick Up for Jim Buss with this post. Clearly that’s the only reason to point out PJ’s shortcomings. Gotta do everything we can to bolster and support Jim Buss. I might even be making all this stuff up about Phil Jackson just because I want to elevate the opinions of Jim Buss. It can’t possibly just be a presentation of well known and often shared factual information about why Phil Jackson shouldn’t be brought into lead the FO. There had to be a shooter on the grassy knoll. Oswald could have NEVER acted alone!!! That would all make just too much sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks Clay, very nice rebuttal of the questionable idea that blasting PJ nostalgia equals support of Jimmie. Nothing could be further from the truth.
By the way, there’s been some discussion of the barrenness of the PJ coaching tree. Let’s take a look at the tree’s roots shall we?
Tex Winter was head coach of the Rockets 1971-1972 and complied a record of 51-78 (0.395). Guess he didn’t have MJ, Pippen, Mamba, or Shaq playing for him …
Here’s another fun fact. Winter wrote the book on the triangle (literally; “The Triple Post Offense”) in 1962.
Yeah; 54 years ago.
Have to say that Clay knocked out of the park with his comment. I don’t know where people get that saying that PJ coming back to the Lakers would be a massive mistake is some kind of support for Jimbo. And to answer Clay’s question if i were a Knicks fan i would be pulling my hair right now. Knicks fans and NY media were asking for Fish head for some time. He finally pull the trigger to bring Kurt Rambis? Really? of all people? And he is the guy in the forefront to keep his job? That’s nightmare fuel.Why he named him HC? Because he is one of his croonies. I bet that if he has to fire Rambis he goes and give the job to Brian Shaw or Cleamons. This is not an indictment on Phil Jackson Head Coach, like i said before i love Phil Jackson the head coach, the FO Phil Jackson? not so much. He didn’t even gave a look to Thibs or Scott Brooks. He wanted Kerr, Fish and Luke, because they know how to run the triangle and that’s what he is going to run come hell or high water. It would be insane to give the power to PJ after his lukewarm at best performance in NY. And if he is back Rambis, Shaw and co will come with him and he will stick them in the coaching staff. You can count on that. After his Knicks tenure PJ should retire an be Jeannie boytoy or whatever but please keep away from the Lakers…
R: I will add your point to the master list as follows MJ – the greatest player of all time – never won a title without Phil (please see Doug Collins), Kobe the third greatest of all time, never won a title without Phil (please see Del Harris and others), and finally, the Triangle offense – perhaps the most recognized and the most successful offense of all time has never won a title without Phil. PJ nostalgia is good for Laker fans – however I agree that it is not justification for his executive career.
To change the subject: I think the Spurs are close to even odds with the Warriors at full strength. If Curry is not ready, then engrave the trophy. And to make you all understand my dislike of the Spurs, perhaps I can get through to Dodger fans. The old school rivalry for the Dodgers would be the Yankees (they met 11 times in the WS). However the Dodger’s newer rivals are the Giants and Cards. I hate the Spurs.
Chris J says
I think the lakers with Walton as coach will do exactly this: target and move quickly to sign some quality vets( e.g. Batum, Courtney Lee, Bazemore, Jeff Green, Teletovic, Whiteside, Mahinmi, Mozgov, Gasol ?)
Irony here is two of them were Lakers who were allowed to walk away for nothing in return.
If the Lakers don’t land a rim protector such as Whiteside, Pau could be a good fit on one end of the floor given his passing ability and overall savvy. He’d make for a nice veteran presence to help mold the young core, though admittedly the interior defense with Pau would likely be as bad as it’s been in recent seasons. None of that matters, however, unless he really misses In-n-Out Burger and the beach, and is wiling to get over the poor treatment he endured in L.A. before. My guess is he finds himself somewhere that isn’t Los Angeles next season.
Clay Bertrand says
R, funny irony when you actually present the facts! Lol….
I realize the Triangle has a lot of useful components but PJ is just so darn RIGID on the concept it seems.
Ramona Shelburne: “Jim Buss trusts Mitch Kupchak implicitly on Basketball Matters…….he reiles on him…….”
As has been said by a few here, this is a natural down period. It happens to all teams in all sports. The natural upswing should logically begin to take place JUST IN TIME for a new guy to come in and bask in the glow of what will appear to be his own MAGIC TOUCH. Mitch is guiding the decision making here not some renegade Jim Buss as some seem to portray.
As I said a few threads ago, the DEADLINE is immaterial to the improvement of the team. At least it SHOULD be if improvement is something you are interested in. The DEADLINE and the focus upon it instead of the improvement of the team is the epitome of the immature Buss power struggle. It’s not Jim Buss trying to take over the Lakers. Jim would probably like the time to see through what he very naively thought would take 3 years. Jeanie though appears hell bent on cashing in her publicly known excuse for firing her brother (who, conveniently, she doesn’t get along anyway) in order to go against the wishes of her father who hired her by bringing in her Fiance because she wants to work with him. What does that have to do with Basketball????
If the team shows obvious visible improvement this season under Luke and with a revamped roster but is not in the WC finals (which we WON’T be), why is it NECESSARILY paramount to bring in totally new FO leadership with a totally new agenda just for the sake of upholding a meaningless Deadline and spitefully holding Jim Buss to his innocuous prediction????
Isn’t the point that everyone wants the TEAM TO GET BETTER!!!!??? To me it is. The point for a number of posters here seems to be that somehow people can never be wrong and that we all MUST be held to every word we ever say. To some people, it appears that even progress and the team getting better loses out in favor of HOLDING SOMEONE TO A PROMISE THEY MADE. It’s like some petty little bit of social justice that they feel MUST BE enforced!!!! Its as if the removal of the FO is the goal and the basketball play is just some background noise. Like this is some little kids who made a pinky swear that must be upheld AT ALL COSTS. “But YOU SAID we were going to get ICE CREAM on the way home!!!!!” Lol…..
Robert, really man, Who cares if what Jeanie and Jim say is meaningless!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WTH!!!!!!! Like THAT is the goal of an NBA team!!!!!!!!!!???????? Is that what you follow the Lakers for????? TO see if the executives running the team can be taken at their word?!!?!?!?!? Sorry to be the bearer of REAL LIFE TIDINGS here but everything everyone says in life isn’t necessarily the truth. Sometimes people lie. Sometimes they are simply off or incorrect. SHOCKINGLY, sometimes things can even actually occur that CHANGE circumstances after people say things. “Read my lips: NO NEW TAXES!” That one didn’t hold either…………Hard to believe isn’t it?!????
As A Horse With No Name notes, the best hedge against Phil Jackson (or against any need for substantial upheaval in the FO) will be winning. True enough. The improvement of the team is set to begin now that Kobe is not here and the rebuild can proceed under more normal circumstances.
Anyone willing to discount significant improvement in the interests of upholding a stupid pinky swear based on some sort of unwritten “Principle” should join the real world where words are not set in stone and where people sometimes say outrageous things even with microphones recording them. What if the team has an up and down year but wins its last 6 games and finishes with 34 wins?? What if INJURIES derail what we hope to be a fresh start and the record reflects that?? Life happens independently of our stupid little human statements. We have to deal with this season as it comes NOT have a ticking clock to the end to say, “SEE!!! NO WC FINALS!!! You’re fired!!!!!!!!”
I’ll take significant improvement as WELCOME IMPROVEMENT and not as simply failure to reach the WC Finals and a chance to say, “HA HA YOU WERE WRONG!!” We don’t need more upheaval unless the state of the team dictates it. By that I mean the ACTUAL STATE OF THE TEAM not the State of the team compared to what Jim Buss 3 years ago claimed it would be by this point.
How can the any of the anti FO sentiments expressed here be credible at all if no one proffering them will even acknowledge one single positive move made by the FO??? Did JIM BUSS just hire an inspiring Head Coach you can get behind???? Are you all gonna wait to see so that if he’s good, you can all credit Mitch and if he’s crappy you can all dump on Jim’s hire???? At least be objective and throw them a bone for SOMETHING…………smh. Otherwise the position constantly calling for Jim Buss’s head continues to look awkwardly one sided.
As has been said by a few here, this is a natural down period. It happens to all teams in all sports.
The decisions of the Jim Buss FO has hastened, deepened and prolonged the Lakers rebuild. Painting yourself into corner because you traded away virtually all of your picks and used your cap space on an injured star is not in my mind a ‘natural down period’.
The Walton hire was an obvious must. The press, the fan sentiment and I’m sure Jeanie’s desire pointed to Luke. It was not only the right choice but the obvious one.
Jim Buss has been bad for Lakers basketball and will be gone in one year. The franchise will be better off for it.
Clay +1 @ 12:48p -btw, how fast do you type? You break off some tomes, homez….
I’m feeling encouraged by both the choice of coach, and with the expediency the deal was done.
Off-topic: was Jeannie informed of this beforehand? I mention this in reference to her appearance on Cowherd’s platform the other day, and the BS firing being a surprise to her.
Regardless, “Luke as HC now” makes sense to me for this organization.
I don’t care if Jim is in Ops or not, I’m not down with Phil coming back, for a number of (factual) reasons both basketball & non. His age, his health, his personal agenda, and yes, his b-ball system too. His last 6 years since our last chip haven’t shown me any basketball reason for the Lakers to even consider bringing him back here. As someone here recently noted—if you’re a Knicks fan, how good you feelin’ today?
What’s driving the “Phil to LA” meme, nostalgia? Pining for the ol’ glory days? Hey I get it, desperate times calling for desperate measures. Well, we grabbed a young assistant coach…that’ll do for my desperado move.
Admittedly, Jeannie’s relationship with Phil is (like it or not) a dynamic that slightly tempers my enthusiasm for what I am hoping is a little upswing in the Lakers’ fortunes. Horse mentioned above that winning could assuage that; I agree.
But….looking at the records of the Dubs over the past 5-6 years and of the Celtics over the few under Stevens, I’m reminded that youth movements need time.
And then Jim’s timeline comment comes to mind here…so there’s that.
Given all this, I’m stoked it’s Luke who got the gig versus any of the other potential candidates.
Team is 5 years away, coaches get 3 at the most.
Luke needs a lucky break.
Baylor Fan says
For a change, isn’t it great to be a Laker fan? Doesn’t this process Houston is going through sound familiar? P.S. Houston, three candidates are taken with more to follow…
First of all, there is a structural problem with your rant, in that you give Jim credit for a bunch of stuff that happened before he moved into his current role, absent his father. One of the many problems with FO discussions is that no one really knows when exactly Jim moved up or who makes final decisions on what. Personally, I date Jim’s ascension from the summer of 2011 when Mike Brown was hired and Ramona Shelburne wrote a piece saying that Jim would be taking a more central role.
Second, after loudly saying that you are not defending Jim, you go on to do exactly that, repeating the same arguments on his behalf that we have heard many times. The streams of exclamation points and going all caps don’t make them any better. Another thing that gives the game away, as is the case with Fern, is the snide reference to Jeanie and Phil’s relationship. If you are not into nepotism, family, personal relationships, or personal connections interfering with high-level basketball business, then you should want Jim gone right now. There are several other elements in the post that show your bias.
But the main point is this: I reject the claim that Phil and Jim are separate issues, especially since Jeanie is making public statements about the timeline and we are seeing leaks that Phil wants to come back. When Phil took over in New York, I suggested that Phil and Jim were on a collision course of sorts, because of the Jeanie thing and because of the numerous similarities in their situations two years ago:
1. Both of them were running big-market teams that had very bad rosters and were down some key draft picks.
2. Both of them faced contractual decisions involving aging high-volume scorers with health issues.
3. Both of them needed to hire a coach.
4. Both of them faced some questions about their quals for the gig.
5. Both organizations were seen to perhaps be out of date in terms of using analytics.
And since then:
1. Both of them gave large contracts to the aging high-volume scorers. One contract was much longer—but the guy who got it is much younger.
2. Both of them made coaching hires that were not especially popular and didn’t work out.
3. Both of them talked about low-level playoff contention while bottoming out at 17-65.
4. Both of them made slightly out-of-the-box lottery picks that look pretty good.
5. Last summer, Phil made the decision to add several lunch-bucket vets to his team: Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams—presumably in an attempt to snag a low playoff seed, a reasonable gambit given that the Knicks cannot keep their 2016 pick. Jim added Hibbert, Lou Williams, BB, and Nick Young, presumably in a similar attempt, at least if we believe Mitch’s public statements. Jim did more bargain-hunting, making more of an attempt to keep cap space, and he did that, but Phil actually got the Knicks to 32-50, which is better than any season the Lakers have had since Kobe got hurt and Howard walked.
So, now people are excited because of the Lakers’ young guys, the cap space, the possibility of keeping the pick, and the Walton hire. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it is worth noting that Phil AFAIK didn’t trade away any of the 1st rounders that the Knicks don’t have anymore. Jim, OTOH, did.
As to FA: we need to realize that the Lakers may wind up with, say, Bazemore for 4/28 and Ezeli for 4/52, and that’s it. And if the Lakers go 32-50 next year, Walton will get some COY votes.
As to the young guys: I doubt that the Knicks would trade Porzingis for Russell and Randle, or that many NY fans would favor doing so. I doubt that the Lakers would make that deal, either, but the point is: IMO the jury is out on the young guys.
So wrapping up, I think it is OK to say you don’t want Phil back. But I think a lot of arguments against Phil apply to Jim just as well, which is why people avoid those parts of the story and instead throw shade at the Triangle.
Long reply to Clay in mod.
I am not calling for Jim’s head. I would be OK with giving him until summer 2018. But there are good reasons to want him gone now as well.
Interesting interview with George Carl esp his reflections on Cousins
Darius Soriano says
I think the bigger point is that not every criticism of a different aspect of the organization is some “new front” to try and deflect off Jim Buss or a way to try and prop him up. RR has now argued that 1). knocking what Phil is doing in NY as a way of saying there’s skepticism or outright feelings of being against a return to LA and 2). criticizing Jeanie’s media appearance(s) are new ways to prop up Jim/deflect blame from Jim. This, I think, is more a reflection of RR’s focus of continuing to want to keep the spotlight on what he’s argued are Jim’s failures and reasons to support him being removed (or support of the idea presented by other commenters).
As RR has said many times in arguments, if you want to point to things to dislike about Jim’s record or point out things he/the front office has done well, you can argue those things. Arguing against criticism of other topics (Phil, Jeanie, Byron – when he was here) as a way of bringing the conversation back to Jim probably says more about that person’s focus than that of the person offering the criticism of those other topics.
D’Angelo finally has a proper mentor, Magic Johnson, who said he will be working with him on, and off the court.
Looks like another good move from the front office.
Darius Soriano says
As to the comment about the trade for injured players (Nash/Dwight) hastening the down period, that has turned out to be true. I think it’s also important to remember what the alternatives were at those times and consider what the team might have looked like if 1). the team didn’t trade for Nash and instead signed Ramon Sessions to a FA contract and 2). if the team didn’t trade for Dwight and instead extended Bynum’s contract as was being discussed at that time.
Of course, the Lakers would still have their draft picks in this scenario (or, they might, but let’s assume they would) which would have, potentially, been better than having to still stress over what the Lakers owe for those trades. It should be noted, however, that the Lakers actually haven’t surrendered any draft picks of value to this point for those trades. It has mostly been opportunity cost since the pick protections have, to this point, worked out in the Lakers’ favor. Of course that can change in a couple of weeks when the lottery happens.
Robert, I’ve cosigned your stance before but I feel like being redundant. I don’t want to see the Spurs win another LO’B nor even another quarter of basketball. I want to club my traitorous friend like a baby harp seal who is all about:
“they play the right way”.
Let them and the Cavs get ushered out of the postseason empty handed and I’ll tolerate any team remaining getting through the finish line. May Duncan get the cooties and Parker get the heebie jeebies!!! The horror… the horror…
Thanks for keeping it real, Darius!
Clay Bertrand says
For me, I’m just really stoked to turn the page and have the next page NOT have KOBE already printed on it IN BOLD as the TITLE.
I’m hoping the whole rebuild can start this season. While I don’t have any delusions that this year’s semi weak FA class will provide any single franchise savior, I think we ARE set up to add a couple more good pieces, build a more cohesive roster, and be better positioned to make FA noise in 2017 when a MUCH larger crop of guys will be available and the cap will get another little bump up.
rr, I’m down with extending the “deadline” if we see some genuinely budding promise and improvement is pretty much my point. I think you are in general agreement with this concept from what you have said. I have not strayed from criticizing Jim Buss on any number of things. I have no special fondness for Jim. I find his media bumbling pretty lame and think that generally its NEVER good for management to make performance predictions.
I just don’t see HIM ALONE as having done anything particularly egregious and feel as though a good deal of the misfortune during his tenure is to a large extent, a product of a convergence of circumstances. Now if Jim was doing what Vivek Ranadive is doing in Sac, I would be calling him out and campaigning heavily for his ouster on a daily basis. That guy is a two legged dumpster fire!
I’m just saying that it seems like there is a working agenda with some of the narratives that focus on what Jim says as opposed to how the team starts to develop especially now in the Post Kobe era under the newly hired Luke.
Frankly, why would the President of the United States OR the President of a Pro Sports team be 100% HONEST with the general public/fanbase all the time?? It’s just not smart business. Its serves no purpose. When in competition whether on a global scale or in sports, public statements and pronouncements are not always what they appear. Football teams in the NFL flat out LIE ALL THE TIME and fans know it and its just part of the game!!!!!!!! This is why I find everyone, including Jeanie’s insistence on hanging on Jim’s “deadline” with such an IRON FIST so counterproductive.
I DO believe that Jeanie’s preference to bring her fiance back to work for the Lakers is MUCH more of a personal desire than something being done for purely basketball reasons. I don’t think that that is propping up Jim. Its just a fact. She admittedly knows very little about the basketball operations in the first place and Phil has no history of successfully building a team or running a FO.
But we all have our perspectives here. To me, and probably to most of us, we are in a better place as an organization today than we were a week ago. Hopefully, we can be able to say that EVERY week this summer!!! Lotsa important dates approaching. Here’s to another 2-4 months of UPWARD TRENDING!!!!!!!!!
Its going to be awesome to do this all from SCRATCH-OLA!!!!!!!!! : )
Jeanie likely could not fire Jim (may take a board vote). Which is why she only speaks to holding him to his promise. Jim would be stepping down voluntarily. Likewise, Jeanie could not unilaterally hire PJ, as that would take a board vote.
Jim stepping down is going to happen, PJ will not replace him. New blood will finally be put in place.
I doubt anyone here is triying to prop up Jim Buss if there was a poll of the habitual commenters on this site over 90% would like to see him gone, me included, and if you run a poll about PJ returning there would be a majority against his return. What the majority of people here wants is the Buss family being owners and basketball people running the basketball side of things and have a modern front office that uses the tools available in this day and age. And yes i bring PJ and Jeannie relationship hell yes. Phil not only wants to be with Jeannie and viceversa which is fine and i wish them all the best in the world, but he wants to be with Jeannie and run the Lakers too with her. Thats wanting to make the cake and eat it too. Jimbo has some small sucesses and a lot of blunders and if he steps down after his self imposed deadline ( which is a hell of a gutsy thing to do regardless of his mistakes) my hope is that the FO gets a total makeover and the Buss family withdraw from running the team. And about Phil’s tenure with the Knicks ask a knicks fan and they will tell you what they think.
First of all, I specifically said that I am personally fine with Jim getting more time, although the other position is reasonable. As to the rest, if you want to address any specifics of what I actually said go ahead. People are talking about Phil all the time for one reason: because they think that he may be back here next year, replacing Jim as head of basketball ops, so comparing his track record to Jim’s, favorably or unfavorably or neutrally, is, ultimately, IMO, pretty much the essence of that conversation, and I think whether people back Jim or Phil will emerge from how that conversation is handled. Since you are clearly uncomfortable talking much about the FO, especially in a negative way, and instead prefer to focus intensely on coaching, that conversation is not going to be one to which you will have much to add, as your post shows.
Good reply. Bringing Phil back is not my preferred option, and since Jeanie is not going to move on Jim now, IMO she may as well just let things ride through 2018, say supportive things in the media, and see what happens. But I expect that she won’t do that.
But, really, while I think all this stuff matters, I am more interested in what happens with the roster, specifically whether Walton’s presence means that the Lakers will go hard after Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.
Much debate as to whether Barnes is a #1 or #2 offensive player versus the #4 option we currently see him in. Since Luke would have insight into this — if the Lakers make a hard and aggressive pitch for him than the answer is Yes. If the Lakers pass then the answer is no.
Poor Blatt, now being considered for the Kings gig. From Lebron to Cousins — the guy can’t catch a break.
I want the same thing as Clay and a lot of comenters here. Im all in for the adding pieces around the young core and improve the team aproach not the home run aproach. Nobody here can argue that the combination of getting a potential star thru the Draft and having an unprecedented cap space is the kind of scenario that if played right and with a lot of luck can improve this team chances dramatically basically overnight. Not a contending team but a improbed and in an upswing team. This summer will make or break the current regime…
@anon i would not take Cousins being a Sac King for granted if i were you…
I mentioned a couple of posts back it would be nice to know just what the rules are regarding the FO and firings. I’m not convinced, no matter what Jeannie says, that she could fire Jim. Perhaps he would step down with pressure to avoid an ugly fight, but what happens if he refuses? A five person vote? Does Jim get to vote? What if he then proposes, as an owner, to fire Jeannie? This could get weird.
I just hope that through the combination of the pick, some good free agents, player development, and good coaching, the team begins to improve. That will start to change the narrative and the reality.
A Horse with no name says
It’s hard to believe that the site has “found” a more than worthy counter to rr with regard to cogent brevity in Clay…. All kidding aside, great posts by Clay above. I particularly admire his dismantling of the silly “pinky swear” argument–hilarious and so true.
As Kevin @ 7:08 notes, in all likelihood Jeanie lacks the absolute power to fire Jim on her own. As I’ve said before, if one is familiar with trusts and other legal instruments to ensure the interests of shareholders, there is no way that an executor of an estate with more than one beneficiary has absolute power to make decisions. In fact, that is illegal in the state of California. The reality is that Jeanie could be removed as executor by a vote of her siblings. Right now I’m confident she doesn’t have the votes (again, this explains her “holding” Jim to his word, which would only be put this way if Jeanie is operating from a position of weakness).
Throwing shade at Phil, the Triangle, and the lack of success of Phil’s coaching tree guys has become another indirect stick-up-for-Jim-Buss meme
i have no idea how someone can make this argument without some type of hyper sensitivity to all things Phil or deep seeded hate for all things Jim Buss. Take a break bro. This is not a healthy fixation.
Darius Soriano says
Let’s take this piece by piece since I have tired of this charade.
“First of all, I specifically said that I am personally fine with Jim getting more time, although the other position is reasonable.”
This point matters little since you aggressively react and respond to most any comment which mentions or even slightly alludes to Jim Buss with some reiteration of a long “facts” post where you point out things under a list of numbers (this is actually your general m.o. — nearly any thread where Craig W. comments, for example, you reply directly to him with some sort of devil’s advocate comment seemingly intended to refute his point) and then proceed to paint Buss in a negative light. This is fine, but to throw out a “I’ve said this” is akin to Big City Sid saying something positive about Kobe only to go on one his typical anti-Kobe comments. You also have asked me multiple times on this site why I don’t write more about Jim Buss. Which brings us too…
“As to the rest, if you want to address any specifics of what I actually said go ahead.”
“Since Jeanie’s behavior is apparently going to be the new battlefront in the Jim Buss FO Wars…”
“Throwing shade at Phil, the Triangle, and the lack of success of Phil’s coaching tree guys has become another indirect stick-up-for-Jim-Buss meme in the Lakers’ blogosphere…”
These are your exact words in recent posts, bringing up Jim Buss when others were simply pointing out things about Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson that they had concerns with. So, I’m pretty sure I did speak to your points in my post.
“People are talking about Phil all the time for one reason: because they think that he may be back here next year, replacing Jim as head of basketball ops, so comparing his track record to Jim’s, favorably or unfavorably or neutrally, is, ultimately, IMO, pretty much the essence of that conversation, and I think whether people back Jim or Phil will emerge from how that conversation is handled.”
Again, this what *you* are doing/the direction you want to take some people’s comments in. As you like to say to others, you should just own that.
“Since you are clearly uncomfortable talking much about the FO, especially in a negative way, and instead prefer to focus intensely on coaching, that conversation is not going to be one to which you will have much to add, as your post shows.”
I’m perfectly comfortable talking about the FO and what they’ve done which I think is negative. I’ve talked a lot about their past issues in hiring coaches, talked about the negative side of FA signings (even if I thought the overall signing was good), and have spoke on this site and on twitter about ownership dysfunction and why the negative views many have on the FO are pretty much their own doing either via their decision making or on the record comments. So, if you think, I’m uncomfortable, you’re wrong. Which, as you’ve noted in the past, it wouldn’t be the first time.
Lastly, while I’m sure you’d like me to take offense to digs like “you will have much to add, as your post shows”, I laugh things like that off. It’s pretty simple for guys like you to come on my site, comment as if you’ve got something to add, when all you really do for the majority of your comments is take what others have said and become argumentative or simply agree with what they say. I mean, I read every comment, I know pretty well how folks act when they comment here.
If you don’t like my site, you can leave and I won’t miss you. For some reason, though, I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. So, whether I have a lot or a little to say about something, you’re still here every day, so, no, your digs won’t bother me. Thanks for the continued support of my site.
Last i remember of phil jackson he wanted the coaching job after they gave it to someone else, then took a job in ny where the organization handed all control over to him,,,, oh yeah and jeanie says they said they didn’t have room for him the the front office. Do get it twisted the buss family is more than just jim and jeanie, and i guarantee jim is not the only one who doesn’t want phil around
this hiring was great. Luke’s a young coach, with a variety of experience as player and coach. i saw what he can do in a stacked team, and he really knows how to motivate a player/team.
this is a very good start, in my own opinion.
now on to our draft picks/player transactions.
i cant wait…. feeling hopeful and excited.
Looking ahead, if Jim is forced out, bringing Phil back is not my first choice, either, but I don’t see a reason to presume that it would be a disaster and would be worse than the last three years have been.
Jim is not in the same situation as the average FO executive. If he is “forced out,” he’ll continue to be an owner. And the other Buss kids will remember that their father didn’t want Phil to have influence over the Lakers. Bringing back Phil would probably be a recipe for continued dysfunction (but IMO it’s unlikely to happen for those very reasons).
Unfortunately, when I listen to Jeanie’s interviews I’m under the impression that it may be the case that not bringing him back has caused some dysfunction as well. I think it’s easier to get that out of the way, though.
– @ Darius, in case you haven’t notice, I’m approaching a personal record of not mentioning how negatively Kobe has affected the Lakers over the last 3 seasons…oops. Oh well, back to square 1.
– Question: If the Lakers draft Simmons, are Randle’s days in a Laker uniform on countdown?
– See Luke bringing Harrison Barnes, hopefully at less than max.
Sid i dont think GS would let Barnes go, unless they sign KD. Would be nice though…
I’m hopeful that Walton will be the positive influence on culture that Kerr said he was with the Warriors. Phil was a master at managing personalities. I believe that was what made him such a great coach rather than the Triangle. So if Walton can do that half as well, that is a great start to having someone who can manage talent brought in and get them to play well together.
The last week actually does some redeeming for the FO, the fact that byron’s coaching contract was temporary and matched with kobe’s shows they knew they had to wait for the time to make their move, this offseason free agency signings shall show if they really can be trusted.
Warren Wee Lim says
Darius, just a simple note, there is good reason why some posters (me included) do not post here as often anymore. We continue to share on your passion for our team, but some posters are simply too … nevermind.
I know Byron contract was constructed to give the Lakers an out — I hope that the team paid him his salary in full. While I was not a Byron fan, I do know he was put in an absolutely no win situation. What I mean was that at a certain point in each of the last two years the Lakers were looking to lose more than they were to win.
– Question: If the Lakers draft Simmons, are Randle’s days in a Laker uniform on countdown?
I thought about that as well. The Celtics had shown interest in him previously and they do have three 1st round picks of their own to deal.. Would Randle be worth their lottery pick and more?
wild board everyone – whew!
Very happy about Luke; as some have mentioned here, he´s already flashed his bball I.Q. by saying some `right things´ about our squad.
Our players, I hope, must be happy with the hire as well –
Looks like we´ve taken a big first step to get back on track. Kudos to the FO – and please excuse my enthusiasm…I know we´ve got a ways to go yet…
As to all the Phil talk – my 2 cents:
let´s cross that bridge if/when we get to it.
Hope Randal remains a Laker for a long time
T. Rogers says
“I don’t want to see the Spurs win another LO’B nor even another quarter of basketball.”
Count me in with you and Robert. I’d rather see Golden State or Cleveland win before San Antonio.
T. Rogers says
“– Question: If the Lakers draft Simmons, are Randle’s days in a Laker uniform on countdown?”
I’ve been thinking about that as well. The top two picks are a point guard and a power forward. The Lakers already have both in Russell and Randle. I don’t want to get dinged for trade speculation, but there is a certain two way guard out there who doesn’t care much for his new coach. I fully expect the Lakers to inquire about him. And depending on where their pick falls players could be on the move.
Now that the Lakers have their coaching situation taken care of has my curiosity. Hopefully, Darius will give us a thread to throw around some ideas.
Darius Soriano says
Hahaha! Your comment reminded me of TV shows where they have that sign in a factory that reads “X days since an accident” only to have something fall on someone’s head as they flip the sign back to the number zero.
Regarding Randle, I’m interested in seeing what the Lakers do with their pick if they keep it. But, I am on record (via a podcast and twitter) that I believe the Lakers trade their pick even if it’s top 2 (which is what it would take to have Simmons available). I won’t speculate on what they might get for a trade, but I think they will look very hard at making a deal.
I’ll write about potential free agents, including Harrison Barnes, eventually. I’ve seen a lot of his game & think his best trait is his defense and ability to switch onto PF’s and handle his own. Whoever pays him is likely paying for the opportunity to see how much untapped potential remains in his offensive game. That’s a definite risk which only time will determine if the right choice was made.
Darius Soriano says
The top two picks in the draft are going to be Ingram and Simmons. Neither are a point guard. Mock drafts are ever changing, of course, but as it stands most have Croatian big man Dragan Bender as the 3rd best prospect. The best PG in the draft, from the research I have done, is Kris Dunn. I have seen him ranked as high as 4th and, I suppose, could challenge Bender for 3rd overall.
In any case, I don’t think the Lakers would draft a PG in an attempt to deal one of their current players. As I noted in the comment above, I think they’d much rather just trade the pick if they keep it (or, more accurately, trade the player they draft).
Regarding the Randle vs. Simmons speculation, first of all (as everyone knows), we’ve got to get there. It’s basically idle speculation until the ping pong balls stop bouncing.
Having said that, there are several options. 1) The Lakers could actually trade their lottery pick (if they get one), either just before or after the draft. This is a very real possibility. The Lakers will already have 6 players (Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Nance, Jr., A. Brown, and T. Black) with 2 years of experience in the NBA or less. In addition, they’ll have the number 32 draft pick in this year’s draft regardless of whether they get into the lottery or not. That alone could amount to 7 (very) young and still relatively inexperienced players. (Compare their experience, say, to that of San Antonio’s players.) Also, Mitch in prior years has said that you should only have so many young guys on your team. Furthermore, the Lakers will be bringing in a new Head Coach. They would probably want to maximize his chances for success. As a result, a trade could happen.
Secondly, if the Lakers get either of the top two picks and are truly enamored of the potential of either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, then they could decide to keep that pick and “figure things out” later. This way, they could maximize their talent base and continue with their youth movement.
Third, if the Lakers get the #3 selection in the lottery, they could keep that pick or, more likely, trade it since there is something of a drop-off in talent after Simmons and Ingram.
In any event, don’t be entirely shocked if the Lakers entertain a trade for their top 3 pick should they land in the lottery. That could actually happen, especially if the Lakers want Luke to start winning immediately.
Course if they keep the pick huge potential upside of having a fine player at a bargain price …
See: Karl Anthony-Towns and his contract. Wow!
I agree with Darius about the likelihood of the Lakers trading their pick. Fans like those cost controlled rookie contracts but, an established player is more likely to draw in free agents the Lakers hope to pursue. So I would be surprised to not see at least 1 trade.
I am on record as wanting to keep this pick. My fear is that they’ll trade it for Cousins. Boogie is a coach killer and it makes no sense to kick off the Lakers re-birth by pairing Walton with Boogie. Big mistake.
I love Mitch, but he has this concern/fear about having too many kids on the team. My response is:
1) Talent is talent, regardless of age.
2) What’s the hurry, we’ve got 14 teams in the Western Division in front of us. Get the kids in place let them grow.
3) Add missing pieces through free agency
4) Then kick everyone’s ass.
Renato Afonso says
I’ve been thinking about it for a while and, if I was the GM/coach/someone with power to decide in our FO, I would only retain the pick if it meant drafting Ingram. This is the most logical scenario as Ingram has the qualities we look for in a position we certainly have no roster depth at all.
If #1, I’d draft Ingram (even if Simmons is probably the best player available).
If #2, I’d keep it if Simmons goes #1 and then draft Ingram. If Ingram goes #1 and we must draft Simmons, then I’d trade either Simmons or Randle. Preferably Simmons as it would probably get us a better player in return.
If #3, I’d trade the pick.
People keep talking about smallball but just today I read about the difficulties that Portland is facing against the Warriors because of their lack of size. We don’t see those dominant 7-footers as much as we did but guards and small forwards are getting taller. Ingram is tall, plays defense and can shoot so, even if we have too many young players, Luke Walton could have a lineup that would switch in almost every screen. The Warriors do that because they’re mobile and have enough length to cover the tall players and give some space to the small penetrating guards. I’m sure that Ingram and Randle could switch at will, if they worked for it.
But again, the odds of getting Ingram are less than 50% so, I think we may see a trade…
I agree with Renato, I think Ingram is the best player in the draft and the best fit for this the team. If/when he add 20-30 lbs to his frame he will have all the tools needed to be great player on both ends of the floor. I would definitely trade the #3 pick and would consider trading a pick of Simmons..
I submit it not just us fans who like those cost controlled rookie contracts, but perhaps ownership as well. After all it was ownership, not the fans, who caused the lockout. As far as this fan is concerned, it’s not my money! However, as a fan, my interest is in seeing the Lakers adding to their very meager talent stock.
And yeah, there are a number of ways potentially available to do this, starting June 23rd.
The Lakers will already have 6 players (Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Nance, Jr., A. Brown, and T. Black) with 2 years of experience in the NBA or less.
Nance, Jr., A. Brown, and T. Black are back of the rotation players at this point. Big difference in adding a top 2 or 3 draft pick versus counting these kids as ‘must haves’ on your roster.
great point Gary.
but there is a certain two way guard out there who doesn’t care much for his new coach.
Before I give anything of value for Butler, I’d want to know why he keeps missing 17 games a year. Hard to build around a player if they miss 20% of your games every season.
I’d keep the 1st or 2nd pick. If the FO needs to make a trade then I dangle Randle. Yes, I’d do Randle for Cousins straight up.
If KD really wants to leave the Thunder – and there is reason to think he might, and if the Warriors might chance disrupting their chemistry to snag him – and there’s reason to think THEY might, then their may be an opportunity for the Lakers to do something …
Is anthoney brown contract guaranteed?
T. Rogers says
If the Thunder crash and burn against the Spurs, then KD is as good as gone. That could produce a bit of a domino effect.
You are right about Ingram. I’m not sure why I think of him as a point guard. I can see the pick getting traded for the right player. I just wonder what the pick (if they keep it) can realistically give them in return.
Love Jackson for bringing seven more Finals appearances and five more rings to the Lakers, but if I were to nitpick, then I’d call out his general reluctance to play rookies and call timeouts when the other team is handing it to the Lakers.
As long as the veterans keep producing and good free agents get signed to wear the purple and gold, then all is well. But once management screws up and team chemistry is affected, resulting in Ls instead of Ws, then the team’s weaknesses will be exposed, as they were big time after Jackson’s departure.
But even before he left, Jackson’s final games as Lakers head coach were forgettable (i.e., the sweep at the hands of the Mavericks) and a stain on his otherwise stellar coaching career. If only he’d called a few more timeouts to steady his team in Game 1 of the 2011 WCSF when the Mavericks charged back from 16 down in the second half to win the game, which set the tone for the rest of the series.
So let Walton be Walton instead of Jackson’s third coming. The Lakers have nowhere to go, but up (I hope).
A Horse With No Name says
Darius, You have been more than patient–hope said poster finds a new home in another galaxy. His repetitive, numbing narrative has killed so many discussions here.
Mitch ain’t dumb: If the Lakers trade their top three pick it will be for an established, all-star caliber wing, that *could* also help in recruiting a FA or two. No Cousins–he’s just not worth the risks. Agree with Renato that Ingram is the guy.
Randle will not be traded. They love Randle. Randle has too much upside. Don’t worry.
LT Mitchell says
– When a team hits rock bottom, like the Lakers have, there is literally nowhere to go but up. Giving Jimbo a pass from his self imposed deadline for improving on the worst season in Laker history is about as low of a bar as you can possibly set. “Visible improvement” (which is almost a foregone conclusion) will not be enough. Visible improvement should have happened every year for the past few seasons, but instead, the Lakers have increased their loss totals for three straight years. For Jimbo to keep his job, he needs to improve this team significantly this offseason to make up for the past few years.
– Although Luke was not in my top 5 list of candidates, I am content with the hire. No doubt that he has the potential to be a great coach. That being said, one good coaching hire does not resolve Jimbo from three consecutive bad hires (two of them being downright disasters).
– As far as your assertion that most professional teams lie to their fans, that may be the case, but Jimbo’s potential “lie” has a category all it’s own. The owner made a specific promise, not only to the fanbase, but to his fellow owner/siblings, with one of the siblings continually reminding fans of that promise. This promise cannot be chalked up as just another lie that a professional team occasionally tells its fans for PR purposes. It’s bigger than that, and to me, more binding.
In retrospective of the 2015 free agency, roy hibbert signing seems to be a pretty smart move.
They decided to part with jordan hill and ed davis ( looked more like a backup ).
Top free agents marc gasol (was not leaving memphis) and deandre jordan (either clippers or mavs) were out of reach.
Remaining free agents, robin lopez, chandler, and monroe. Roy hibbert was looking to be traded.
Ny knicks landed robin lopez 4 years 13.5 mil per, they did not make the playoffs and their cap is 69 mil coming into this free agency
Suns landed tyson chandler 4 years 13 mil per, they did not make the playoffs, their cap is 60 mil,, but they are not as bad off as knicks, alot of injuries, chandlers skills have fallen though
Bucks landed monroe 3 years 17 mil per with a player option, they also did not make the playoffs, (even with greek freak and middleton) their cap is at 64 mil. Remember this is the guy everyone said the lakers missed, i don’t think so, is he a power forward or center.
The lakers landed hibbert, in a trade they had to give a 2nd round pick, 1 year 15 mil. We all know the terrible year we had. But this experiment with slow roy was hopeful, if he played well we got bird rights, if not he’s gone. Lakers cap 26 mil
Plus they were looking forward to this current free agents, with at the time looked like 6 legit starters hitting the market.
Who could see noah, Jefferson, mosgov, and varajao. Taking steps back.
But the move for hibbert was thw best one.
But the move for hibbert was thw best one.
I’m not following how signing one of the worst centers (statistically) in the NBA was a good move.
The Lakers were rejected by Jordan and Monroe. They were willing to spend the money on long term deals — neither one said yes.
Are you saying that the FO — in a fall back position from failing at signing any free agent centers brought in an established post who was so awful that he ended up contributing to the worst team record in franchise history — was successful? Are you saying that by failing twice the FO actually succeeded?
This is what I want to move beyond. I want the team to stop interpreting failure on the court as being successful. I want success to mean actual progress with players really developing and the team winning more games than they did the year before.
The Lakers have been such a clusterf-ck that they have made an NBA season akin to getting a participation trophy in Little League – nothing matters: ‘Oh, unlucky, Jim. Too bad — get’em next year!’
Bird even openly advertised what a turkey Hibbert was before allowing the Lakers to get fleeced. Right gentlemanly of him. (Sigh) … oh well, moving forward …
I knew I’d get a rise out of someone, my opinion is that they made a smart move
It’s been a while since ive seen a post on this site with about 100 comments … feels good to see that again
Matt wasn’t being critical of you. Just frustrated that absent increases in the win column that we fans are having to read the tea leaves for silver linings.
I know next year may be a tough year in terms of wins/losses but I’ll feel better because the organization will at least be trying to win. No more rosters that hedge between ‘well if everything falls into place we’ll be an 8th seed.’ or ‘well if everything falls apart we’re covered because most of the roster is on one year or expiring deals’.
To me that’s the greatest significance of the Walton hire. The organization wants to move forward. Luke wouldn’t have signed here if the FO was going to pull the tank card on him.
Matt – apology post in moderation.
Moving forward, one can only hope that Lakers’ management gains some traction and gets on the same page. Jeannie’s recent claim that she was not privy to the decision to replace Scott is disconcerting, to say the least. I would like to see Jim, Jeannie and Mitch on the podium welcoming Luke when he is introduced as the team’s new coach. Presenting a united front and outlining positive ideas as to how to move the team ahead and work together to improve the on court product.
This is a clear bookmark in the narrative of Lakers history. The end of the Kobe era and the beginning of an uncharted future. The Lakers have multiple options to improve the team. Let’s hope the Busses put their differences aside and work together for the common good.
Good post. If there was ever a time for a united front, this is it.
Frustration understood, if someone besides me said roy hibbert trade was a smart move i would be calling them an idiot, so i would call myself an idiot.
It does make things interesting though.
Free agency only 3 centers would be considered a successful signing, horford, whiteside, and maybe ezeli
I would add Timofey Mozgov to my list of targets for the Lakers’ next starting center. I think he is a good player who is being under-utilized in LeBrawnland.