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Talking With: Ronnie Lester, Part II

In the first part of our interview with Lakers Assistant GM Ronnie Lester, we covered the "science" of drafting, what the Lakers planned to do with their picks, and the development of Andrew Bynum, among other topics. In the second installment, we talk a little more draft, some trade rumors, summer league, and whether or not there will be a spot available for me or AK. Not to give anything away...but there isn't.

BK

Brian Kamenetzky: You talked about how scouting isn't an exact science.  Who is a guy that you thought would be great that didn't pan out, or a guy that you thought was underrated going into the draft that panned out?  Whether you drafted them or not?

Ronnie Lester: That's a tough question. You can go back. I can't name anybody off the top of my head, but if you go back and look at the drafts the last 12, 14 years, you can always find guys that went pretty high in the draft and didn't have really good NBA careers for whatever reasons. Injuries may have played a part. And you can find other guys that were second-round picks who have gone on to have great careers, and play a long time. Cedric Ceballos comes to mind as a second-round pick out of Fullerton back in I think the late '80s, maybe '90, who was a mid-second-round pick that went on to have a great career. Guys like that. But if you go back and look at the media guide, the draft book, you can find tons of instances, I think, of guys like that.

Andrew Kamenetzky: Or someone like Udonis Haslem, who wasn't even drafted and is now starting for a team competing for a championship. (The interview was conducted last week, before Miami's clinching victory.)

RL: To me, there are a lot of guys who play four years of college and they're pretty good players, but they're not ready to play at the NBA level when they get out of college. They go someplace else, whether it's Europe, the minor leagues, and they keep developing. They keep working on their games and two years down the road, they find themselves on an NBA team. There are a lot of routes to the NBA. Being drafted and being a high pick and coming in with all the fanfare and all of that is one way to make it, but kids go different routes to get to the NBA.

AK: Speaking of different routes, Smush was a guy that was off the radar but ended up having a pretty good season for you last year. Was he someone you had your eye on?

RL: We had him in. He only played one year at Fordham and put his name in the draft. We had him in, and worked him out after his one year of collegiate basketball at Fordham. He was a junior college kid, by the way. He played one year of junior college ball then transferred to Fordham, sat out, and played one year at Fordham. But we had him in after his one year playing at Fordham, and we liked some things about him. He was long for a guard, he was athletic. Didn't shoot the ball real well. We liked him some, but didn't think he was good enough at that point in time to draft, or to be a part of our summer league team. And guys you like a little bit, you keep track of them over the years. I think that year he played with Cleveland, Cleveland may have been the worst team in the league. I think the next year he to Europe and played, then he came back and I think he made Detroit's team. Went there as a free agent. He made that team until January, the cut down date. Then he went to the D-League when they released him, and then he got called up to Phoenix when Nash went down a couple years ago. Two 10-day deals, and they eventually sent him back.

We have a guy who covers the minor leagues for us. One of our scouts (Irving Thomas) covers the CBA and the D-League, and he saw Smush play. Smush played for the Florida team, and put up a couple triple doubles, which is kind of eye-opening for a 6-foot-4 guard. We had a mini-camp that year, and we brought Smush in, and he was the best player in our mini-camp. From the mini-camp we invited him to the summer league, which was last year. He played on the summer league team and played well for us. And we signed him to a two-year deal. But we had known of Smush coming out of Fordham because we had brought him in. But again, he wasn't ready and he went someplace else for two or three years to get better as a player. He came aboard this year, started every game for us, and had, I think, a very good season for us and himself. Averaged double figures, I think, 10 points a game (actually 11.5 ppg). Shot the ball decently at 45%, and I don't know where we'd be without Smush, because we needed someone like him in our backcourt this year. And if we're going to improve from this season, winning 45 games to maybe winning in the 50s, we need another player in our backcourt to help us like Smush did last year.

BK: Is that aspect of the workout season — guys that don't make the team or don't get drafted stay on a team's radar — a lesser known part of the process?

RL: Well, everything you see, you encompass. You write down, you store things. Not only on paper but in the back of your head. Players you like. There are players you like that get drafted by other teams. And they could be cut from those teams for whatever reason. So you know who you like, and if players are available and you think they're good enough to help you, you try to acquire those players or bring them in to take a look at them.

AK: There's a lot of talk about you guys trading up in the draft. Is that something that you're interested in or thinking about?

RL: We'd be interested in trading up, yeah. You hear a lot of teams in the draft, especially lower in the draft, really don't want their picks. So yeah. There are six teams in the first round that have multiple picks. Six teams have two picks, so you kind of target those teams. In a draft like this, which like you said is not a great draft, a lot of teams don't want their one pick, so why would they want two? So you talk to those teams, and I think if we can move up, we'll try to do that. Sure.

BK: When you do that, is it just about getting a better player? Does it also have to do with thinking about roster construction one, two or three years down the road in terms of who you'd have to give up to get a higher pick?

RL: A little bit of that, but normally the most important thing is moving up to get the player you want. That's the most important thing. You worry about other things after that. If you think there's a player there that can help you to become a better team, you move five or six spots to get that player. That's what you want to do, you want to improve your team.

AK: Do you guys have the pieces to do that?

RL: It depends on what a team is asking for. It may not be players involved. It may be picks down the road. And we have picks. We have, I think a lot of picks, especially second-round picks, and potentially some good second-round picks in some of the deals we've made with Charlotte, which could be potentially two pretty good picks. I think we have two of their picks going forward in the next couple years. From [Kareem] Rush and Jumaine Jones. So players don't have to be involved, it could be picks. And those picks in the 30s are pretty valuable picks I think.

BK: How much do things like J.J. Redick's recent DUI affect a player's draft status or what you would think about him?

RL: Honestly, it depends on the player. J.J. Redick, I think, is pretty highly thought of in this draft. A guy that you'd say is probably in the top half of the draft. Would that affect his draft status? I don't think very much.

BK: Because he has a strong track record of "good behavior"?

RL: Yeah. I think that and he's the player that he is. Being the player you are determines some of that, too. If the guy's not a very good player, then you look at it a little bit differently I think. If you liked J.J. Redick before this incident, you're probably still going to like him as a player.

BK: You guys could use a shooter.

RL: (laughs) Everybody could use a shooter.

AK: It seems like as a team, you avoid "character questions." Either in trading for guys, signing guys, it tends not to be something you do. Is it something you prioritize highly?

RL: We delve into the backgrounds of players, especially of players you're interested in. Especially if there have been incidents over the course of their careers. You want to bring in good players but you also want to bring in good people that are going to represent your organization the correct way. So that's part of it. Initially, you evaluate kids on skill and ability to play at this level, and if there are some underlying things like a checkered past, you want to check that out and be comfortable with bringing a kid in here.

AK: Even with established players, outside of Isiah Rider about five years ago, I can't think of the last guy who came in who had a long history of issues.

BK: Kwame would probably be the closest thing.

RL: Like I said, even if you're trading for players, signing free agents, or drafting kids, you want to bring in not only good players that you think can help your team, but you want to bring in good people who are going to represent the organization the right way too. Sure.

BK: Who from the current roster do you anticipate playing this summer?

RL: Andrew Bynum. Von Wafer. Devin Green, who's a restricted free agent, has indicated that he's going to play with us in the summer league. And Ronny Turiaf would have played but he's working out with the French national team. He may play with the French national team this summer, so he's working towards that end, getting himself in the best shape he possibly can be in, and he'll start practicing with those guys. I think they start in early July. So he won't be available for the summer league.

BK: What is the process of filling out the rest of the team? Can you start now, or do you have to wait until after the draft?

RL: You can start now with free agent type players. And we have probably eight players already committed to play with us in summer league. We have two draft choices who will play with us in summer league. You take the three kids, the rookies that we had last year, plus the draft picks is five. We've got commitments from other kids that we've seen over the last year or two, whether they were in the draft last year, whether they were minor league players, European players, all of that.

BK: Can you be specific about who they are?

RL: Yeah. Kasib Powell, who was a small forward, played at Texas Tech. He's gonna play with us in summer league. Nile Murry. He's a two guard who played at TCU. I think he transferred in there from Temple. We have a point guard by the name of Doron Perkins, who played at Santa Clara a year ago. Went over and played in Japan this past year. Nick Horvath, who played at Duke. 6-foot-10 kid. He's gonna play with us. Been playing professionally in Australia. And I think that's it.

BK: So that leaves one spot for one of us.

RL: (Trying hard not to shudder at the notion) Yeah, yeah.

AK: Having had Andrew, Von and Devin on the roster for a year, none of them played a whole lot, especially down the stretch. What specifically are you guys looking to see from them in terms of evaluating their progress when they're on the floor in Long Beach?

RL: Well, like you said, those kids haven't played. And they need to play. That's how you get better, by playing. They've been practicing all year, working hard all year. They're here now. We've got our young kids working out in the mornings now. And I think they've all gotten better. We'll see by the summer league. We'll be able to judge by playing against other teams and other players. If they've gotten better and how much they've gotten better. We think they have. I think they're all good kids. I think they all want to get better. But the summer league just gives you an indication if they've gotten better and how much better they've gotten. But the big thing is, those kids have been here all year, but they haven't really played. Practice is not like playing in a game. And they need to play. And so we're going to play as many games as we can, I think maybe eight or nine games in the summer league. And those guys will play the majority of the minutes. And you just like to see them develop and get better going into training camp.

AK: You run the triangle during summer league. Are you evaluating not only how well they learned it as rookies but also how comfortable they are with being the guys that the new players come to with questions?

RL: Sure. Those guys have been around. They've been practicing in this system for a year. They should know it like the back of their hands, really. And we expect those guys to be our best players. The kids you draft, you expect them to be your best players. But you're not only evaluating them, you're evaluating the young guys that you bring in too. The draft choices. The free agent type players. And we'll invite some of those guys to camp with a chance to compete against the guys we had last year to make our team. We're probably going to have three or four spots available, I would think. And those spots are up for grabs, to make our team. To make our roster. Devin Green is a restricted free agent, who we like. We have Von Wafer under contract. Ronny Turiaf's under contract. Both those contracts aren't guaranteed. If somebody comes in here and beats those guys out, then those guys (that got beat out) are probably looking for jobs. And Von Wafer, just because he played last year, he's not assured of being back next year. None of those guys are, with non-guaranteed deals.

BK: Basically, anybody who doesn't have a guaranteed contract through '06-'07 isn't guaranteed to be on the roster in '06-'07.

RL: No. Those guys will go into training camp with us, because they have contracts. But if we bring in other guys that beat them out, then they're looking for jobs some place else.

BK: Kobe's OK, though? Relatively secure?

RL: I think Kobe's OK.

AK: If he has a good camp, shows up with the right attitude...

BK: The mother of all rumors that always gets thrown around is Kevin Garnett coming here. Or guys like Darius Miles and Carlos Boozer. You hear all these names and it's mostly the media, stirring the pot. How much can, or should, people pay attention to things they hear? How much do you guys pay attention to those sorts of rumors?

RL: Well, some things are silly (laughs). Some things you know can never happen. But speaking of Kevin Garnett, Minnesota really holds all the cards. If they decide that they want to trade him, and it all starts with them, I'm sure 20 of the 30 teams in the league will put a proposal on the table. And we would be one of those teams. You'd be stupid not to, I think. Kevin Garnett is still a big-time player in our league and will be for the next two or three years, I think. And if he's available, we're gonna put something out there. Whether it's good enough or not to get him, I don't know. But when a player like that is available, you've got to do almost anything you can to acquire a player like that. But it all starts with them. He's not on the trading block. They've not called us or anyone else and said, "Kevin Garnett is available." So it all starts with them.

BK: So do you pay attention to the reports? Is that sort of how things work, where information get passed around like that, or is it less clandestine?

RL: Yeah, you hear things like that sometimes and you place a call. But like I said, Minnesota, that team, it would come from their own. It's such a big deal. He's such a high level player that I think the owner would have to decide to move him. Like in our case, with Shaquille. It didn't come from us (in the GMs office). We're not gonna move Shaquille. It comes from someone a lot higher than us, to trade a guy like that. So I think the owner of the team is going to get involved before Garnett's out there on the block.

BK: So you don't sit around waiting for Kevin McHale to call?

RL: No.

BK: The free agent class is, like the draft class, considered pretty thin. The team needs backcourt help and has some holes in other places. Is it hard to resist the temptation to overpay or reach in an offseason where there isn't that much available? How do you balance the need to improve the team now against the need to keep your cap and luxury tax situation under control?

RL: I don't think it's real tough. If there's no players out there that you think can help you that deserve it — if you've got mid-level money and you don't think a player deserves mid-level money — we're probably not going to give it to him. I think Earl Watson was an example last year. We liked Earl Watson. He wanted the mid-level for five years, I think it was, and we weren't willing to do that because of a number of things. We had a window where we wanted to have as much money under the cap in two years, so we want to go out more than two years. But I think in a lot of cases you do have to overpay free agents to get them, especially in some places that are not so desirable to play. I don't think Los Angeles is one of those places. I think if you polled players around the league, this is one of the places they'd like to play and live is in Los Angeles.

AK: Guys might cut their salary requests to come here, as a trade-off.

RL: I don't know about that. (laughs) I don't know about that.

BK: We're still talking about NBA players.

AK: Can you talk about free agents you're interested in?

RL: We won't do that, but we're looking more, as we talked about, in the backcourt than in the frontcourt. If you look at the free agents that are available, I think it's pretty easy to figure out who you'd be interested in. Some of those guys you can't acquire. Some of those free agents are going to sign back with their teams, some of those free agents want more money than you have to give. So that eliminates some guys.

AK: What were your impressions of last season? Did the team meet your expectations? Lower? What are you looking for in terms of next year?

RL: You look at the season and I think you judge it on wins and losses, number one. Winning 45 games I think is OK. I'd say it's a little bit below what, if I had to go into the season and pick the number of games we'd win I'd probably have picked two or three more wins, but that's probably nitpicking a little bit. Making the playoffs and going to the seventh game in the first round was a step in the right direction. I think we have to improve upon that this year, and that's what we're looking to do. To become a better team and to improve upon our team because if you look at the Western Conference, there were some teams that didn't play real well this year that are going to be better next year. The Houstons, the Seattles. Seattle won their division (two years ago), and then they kind of stumbled this past season, but those teams are going to improve too. So you have to continue to improve if you're going to be a playoff team, especially out west. It's tough out here. It really is. We were a seven seed last year, can we be a seven seed next year? Hopefully. You want to improve upon that. But we may be a better team and still only be a seven seed because the other teams are improving around us.

BK: You could have a better record, win 48, 49 games, and still be a seven seed.

RL: Yeah. So you want to improve, it's tough to improve, but we think we have a chance to, with our young players getting better. Possibly signing a free agent to help us in the backcourt. You want to win more games, you want to advance farther than you did in the playoffs this past season. So those are the things you measure it against I think.

AK: But was it nice to at least prove wrong those who said you accomplish what you did this season?

RL: That doesn't really matter. You listen to that stuff, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I think we know our team better than a lot of the so-called experts out there. So we're just trying to improve upon where we finished this year.

 
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Jake:
haha doesnt sound like those guys will be making any allstar teams soon. (those are some crazy names tho. doron?) those FG%s are so low, we should get a discount for the summer league games!

so i left work today, and i was going to eat with my coworker. the place is like 2 min away, and so right when i start driving , i hear mitch on the radio. so the first min is about being happy for shaq and the heat. then the next 30 seconds was weird...when asked if were trying to move up, his answer was "every team tries to move up, unless you are the #1 pick". now that was a weird statement. i mean, its so weird it doesnt even make sense to me. OBVIOUSLY, sometimes teams want to move down. weird.

then the next 30 seconds were terrible. mitch kept saying drafting was "not a science". then he says, that those teams that got those late round gems, didnt know what they were getting. and THEN he said that he thinks they drafted very well the past 5-6 years.
at this point i had to leave my car....but i dont know if i coulda handled the rest of that interview anyways.

im really hoping hes just saying that, but doesnt really believe it. cuz if he does...thats pretty scary.

rdlee-

I don't know much about Diaz, but Dee Brown is more than a decent pickup in the 2nd round. The guy was a stud pg at Illinois. IMHO, he's a cross between Jason Terry and Michael Dickerson. Here's my scouting report on the kid...

Pros:
-great speed and quickness
-very good defender (plays the passing lanes well)
-team player who can score
-good passer (underrated IMO)
-maturity (4 years of college playing against the best competition NCAA D-I has to offer)

Cons:
-size (6-1, 180?)
-shooting off the dribble needs work (better when shooting off screens and off the pass)
-not a prototypical triangle guard (but neither is speedy nor tyron lue)

Bottom Line... I hope we scoop this guy up if he's available.

Von Wafer is a summer league offensive machine! The man just needs to work on his D, lift some weights, and increase his caloric intake.

BTW... Please don't insert Marcus Douthit in any of your potential Laker rosters! There is no way that this poor man's Adonal Foyle wastes space on the the precious Laker pine.

any1 interested in MARCUS DOUTHIT....he played in lebanon this year for a month..ive seen him play because i live here..in one game he had 40 points and 16 rebounds..in another one he had like 10 points and 7 rebounds...against a weak team and a good team respectively...this guy can block shots but hes incnsistent and hes far from being NBA ready

tajluck,

For one Chris Mihm is not our starting center. Kwame Brown is. As for the trade scenario I already explained it.

mike

tajluck,

One more thing. Mitch Kupchak has described Chris Mihm as our 3rd center. Come on, the writing is on the wall. He is more than likely to be traded. For what I don't know but I think he's gone.

mike

BK,

We are aware that the Summer League is composed of "rejects" or "ignored" or "missed" players, the point of many bloggers here like Jake and Wizo are saying that how come we are inviting players with a very low FG% or dismal PPG, when there are 20 names in the list (refer to Jake's post) that have decent numbers. In the same token on my post about Eurobasket.com, you can read here players after players who were declared MVP's, the topnotch players in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and so forth, lots of 1 & 2 positions that we could invite, how come we don't hear their names from Laker's camp? All we know is Sasha and Slava and they're not even listed as national players of their own country. Can we go directly to any player in other countries and invite them if they are not listed in the international draft entry? Questions of these matters were not raised before the existence of the Lakers Blogs, but because we saw glaring deficits in so many positions and in our bench, we tend to HELP by micromanaging the work of scouts and question the general objective of scouting both domestic and international.

Vman,

Great posts, you're the finance man or auditor of the blogs. In the era of Enron getting busted, there is no such thing as a secret financial statement. If you are a public figure and you're in the business of entertainment and decided to increase prices, your customers who buys those expensive club seats and courtside seats have the right to know how their money is being spent on players expenses, administrative charges and what's the bottom line numbers. If the Lakers stocks are listed in the Wall Street, the investors have the right to know the financial aspects of the enterprise. Nowadays, you cannot maintain two books: one for the majority owners and one for public viewing only.

Purple and Gold,

I apologized for the error in my earlier post, in treating our hall of famer, James Worthy as a mere role player during the Showtime era. What I meant was that BigGame James was one of the anchormen to Magic and Kareem but rightfully, we owed a lot of respect to this great player.

I pressed the wrong key so I'll start again.

In most trade scenarios on this blog our 26th pick is packaged away with Mihm for a guard and the 16th.

My scenario put Mihm out for the 16th and Duhon. We keep our 26th pick.

That's 4 players for the Lakers: Miles, Blake, the 16th, and 26th pick.

With the 16th and 26th pick we shore up the guards. We get Blake to play the point until one of the picks is ready to take over. Miles is just a gravey gamble. He can do what D. George and Walton do. He's quicker than Walton and younger than George. Some might say Walton has a high IQ for the game, right? Well, I'm not convinced. He made some pretty stupid plays all year long. Especially that time against Cleveland when he didn't call a time out then compounded the matter by inbounding the ball with 3 seconds left towards the half court line. People say that Kwame Brown disappeared in game 7 of the Phoenix series. Well, here's a bit of news for you all. Towards the end of the 3rd quarter of that game Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom, and, yes, Luke Walton were all 2 for 9 from the field. By the end of the 3rd quarter Walton and Odom made a couple of shots so by the end of the game it looks like they were somewhat productive. But they weren't. They made shots when the game was over. They all were 2 for 9 from the field when the game was on the line. Walton is expendable.

mike

Steve; you forget that it was D-wade in the playoffs ranting and raving on the sidelines with your Gary Payton just a month ago or so. The truth is things like that happen in sports. These guys are highly complex competative individuals and anger & flustration does occur when things are not in sink and going well. So you tell me is D-wade a tyrant to his teammates like you make Kobe out to be?????

With regards to Shaq's recent statements after winning the championship, it shows how he harbors grudges of being out of LA. On the other hand, we should treat him as a comedian among NBA players who wanted to be law officer, a custom officer, a Superman, a great rapper, a greek philosopher and finally, a doctorate at University of Phoenix Graduate School of Correspondence. Sometimes, we wonder whether Big Ego needs a special coach in public speaking as well in free throw shooting.

Therefore, when listening to him, just take his wild talks (especially on his pronouncements on his recent "most") with a grain of salt as tho' we're listening to Chris Rock in a standup comic.

respectfully, mike and everybody else clamoring for d. miles to come over like that's the answer- please send me what you're smoking..its sounds phenomenal..also, steve blake? i don't see how that's any upgrade over smush

Many thanks to fellow bloggers who’ve read and shared their thoughts about my post.

Andrew Z,

Yeah, that’s what was in RL’s interview too. That is, improving the backcourt’s speed and athleticism. I haven’t really seen much of Marcus Banks. All I know of him was he was to be part of the Gary Payton deal that did not materialize. The up court press you mentioned was used by the Lakers during their games with the Suns. And if I recall right, they were winning with that strategy. That is until Smush run out of gas and there was no rotation available that PJ trusted other than Sasha Vujacic. Like you said, hope PJ will be able to adjust to the new NBA rules.

Faith,

Nice response. I guess we are the only two who believe in the current team line-up and not advocating major shake up. I believe in the Triangle too. Not only because it has been successful (9 championships for PJ) but also the flexibility of it as you’ve pointed out. Come to think of it, that is what Kobe is emphasizing when he talks of reading the defense and attacking accordingly (within the system). Yes, a consistent team defense is a must for this team especially if they will have the same make up. They were doing it against the Suns but could not sustain it. I wonder if we can hire Larry Brown as defensive coach (now that he has been fired by the Knicks he might be willing to do it [I wish]). On a personal note, good luck to your studies.

Mike T,

Glad to know you are just biding your time. I still see some of your short posts but they don’t have much teeth in them. I’m expecting a more dynamic write-ups in the future. By the way, like I told Faith, I disagree with you regarding the scrapping of the Triangle. Even Kobe is a proponent of the system (the very reason he welcomed PJ back). I half-expected that your response to my post would have been analytical and even tactical. That is, with Xs and Os and original defensive schemes. Did I expect too much?

Weave-Man,

Yeah, I also had that observation when the Suns were doing the pick and roll and having Smush to cover either Tim Thomas or Boris Diaw during the switch. I would have thought PJ would have the answer but alas…..Anyway, hope the Lakers have learned their lessons and the management/coaches would come up with the right combinations (personnel, strategies, etc.).

Again, thanks for the response.

tajluck,

It is my understanding that you can only sign a player for a certain amount and then give them a slight percentage increase based on their initial salary. For instance, you can't sign Bonzi and have his salary at 5 mill the first year, and the next year he makes 9 mil. I like Gerald Walllace for Mihm and Lamar for Kirk and Nocioni. I also wouldn't mind seeing the Lakers trade Bynum for an above average player who could contribute immediately. In addition, I don't like the idea of drafting up since this is a thin draft. Plus, Phil simply does not play rookies. We need players who can contribute.

MAGIC=GOAT,

I think LakerTom said it already, but it's not that Jerry Buss doesn't have the money to spend, and I think he would if he could, but the league prohibits it. He is actually not allowed to spend more money. I think if he could spend whatever he wanted he would offer a max deal to Al Harrington to play power forward, he's offer Ben Wallace max money to play center, and he would offer max money to Jason Terry to start at point. Not to mention offering max dollars to Peja to come off the bench. Unfortunately, he's not allowed. That's just the league rules.

trade mimh #26, next year pick to chicago for #2, and gordon. Then we could draft rudy gay. 6'9'' small forward.
Line up: Gordon, Kobe, Gay, Odom, Kwame
Subs: Smush, sasha, Walton, Cook, Bynum,Turiaf, George.

We could even draft Roy and let Kobe play some small. Drafting Roy the line up could really change due to substitutions.

Tailuck

You're right, that's the big question. I've posed that about the salary cap for the last 6 months. It would be like floating a loan. When Grant's money comes off, you're paid up. Problem is, as you figured, you can only sign your own player over the cap. You can't just buy somebody and that seems un American, certainly un LA.

So, for instance, a team like the 04 Lakers could offer Kobe a max extension and offer Shaq the same, putting them over the cap but in the finals, thereby creating the revenue to pay for it all. That works if Shaq isn't an insecure child asking for 30 mil a year for 7 years when he's only got one year left in his body.

Dr Buss likes to win, but when fans are filling the Staples to see Kobe's hi wire act, why not pay the one and not the other? After the dollar for dollar tax, it's a 15 mil a year savings.

If anyone is curious whether or not any trades they come up with work under the Collective Bargainning Agreement and Salary Cap, use this link:

http://www2.realgm.com/src_tradechecker/1/

tajluck,

You can check out this site to get all the info you need on the salary cap and get all your questions answered.

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm

wiZo, thats funny how he seems so shady all the time, I think hes just saying it and knows what he's doing, i hope he's not just covering up incompetence haha.

Lakertom, nevermind, yeah we dont want to be doing any of that. I do hope that if we sign he won't be expensive, damn I wish we didnt get screwed by gary payton on that trade, we would have already had him.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't a trade between the Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets seem to work?

The Hornets are in dire need of a center and we need a young wing player and maybe an extra first round pick or two. We also could use a spot up three point shooter and neither team wants to take on huge contracts, so I came up with a pretty good deal that works under the CBA (checked it on RealGM.com). So here it is:

Lakers trade:

Chris Mihm
Brian Cook
#26

Hornets trade:

JR Smith
Arvydis Macijauskus
#12
#15

JR Smith can't get out of Byon Scott's doghouse, but is a young, 6'6" athletic guy who can shoot and Macijauskus was thought to be the best shooting free agent last offseason. Both can't get playing time in NO and the team seems eager to get rid of them. The best thing is their contracts are short, two years at most and could easily be moved again if it doesn't work out. With the #12 and #15 we can fill some needs at Power Forward and Point Guard and NO gets their center and a decent guy off the bench. Plus the late first rounder isn't so bad and both contracts are up after this year if they don't work out anyway, clearing space for the good free agent class of 2007.

I just don't see this being a bad idea for either team involved.

I have been thinking about this for a while, I already said we've got to be creative this offseason, I dont know what you guys think of a trade sending Mihm, Mckie, and maybe Cook or something over to the Hornets...but for PJ brown and their 12th pick? PJ is in his last year of his contract and probably will retire, so he wont be a problem long term, but in the short term he can really fill in some quality minutes at the 4, is always hustling and can provide a ton of experince to the team can help guys really develop. Hes no Rodman but he's a Veteran that Phil would probably like.

Dont forget, we would have the 12th pick too to draft a guy like Thabo Selfosha or even Shawne Williams, Or another quality guy that might fall to that spot, and we would still have our 26th too.

Edwin-

I totally agree with you that the Lakers haven't exactly hit home runs in the draft- I am not a fan of Sasha, was very disappointed by Brian Cook this year, Rush was Rush, etc.- and seem to be behind the curve in finding good international players. I was just talking in terms of the guys the Lakers (and other teams) use to fill out their summer league teams. If there were better players available, they wouldn't be available, so to speak.

As for inviting top guys from Europe to play in the summer league, I'm guessing that in most cases, it's impossible. Most of those guys have contractual obligations to their teams and aren't available (this is my understanding at least- I don't claim to be an expert on international basketball). Take Taigo Splitter, for example. He is considered a top lottery pick, but teams are scared off by his Euro contract. He can't get over here.

But like I said, trash their drafting and scouting all you want. I was just making a point about summer league rosters.

BK

I went to UCSB, not a basketball power house, and one summer there were a couple Gauchos on Summer League teams in Long Beach. I then realized that the cream of the crop wasn't suiting up for the games.

However, its worth the price of admission to see the rookies and guys working on their games. Everyone should go and check out Socks to see how he's progressing.

BK/AK,

Ronnie Lester mentioned that guys, the youngins in particular, are working out already at the practice facility. Have either of you been around there to see how things are going? Just curious to see if Bynum can get 15-20 minutes a game this year. Thanks.

When do free agent talks begin? Isn't it like July 1st or something like that?

I haven't made too many posts about the off season moves cause I have too many mixed feelings. Kobe needs help now, but do we go overboard and trade Bynum or Odom? Or keep the team as is and just sign a point guard and see how 06-07 pans out? hmm...

Is trading Mimh, #26, next years#1 and possibly next years # 2's To chicago For Gordon and #2. And then draft Rudy Gay or another Big! And everybody's favorite Roy.

This would give chicago A big, and still have 2 #1's. They may still be able to trade up and get a good player.

Our line up would seriously challege for a spot in the finals. Gordon running the point, Kobe the shooting guard, Gay the Small, Odom the power, and Kawme at the center. What a great line up? Someone tell me what they think please!

Andrew Z, I can really see us making a trade with the Hornets in some way, there are plenty of players still to be had with in the draf at that time and we could have someone drop into our hands, now I know the draft isnt the answer to our problems, but im thinking Dynasty here. The Sonics seem like another team that would be willing to deal their pick, does Devean George like Seatle?

Andrew Z--

Thanks for the link. I'll do a little homework...

I love the idea of the Lakers possibly taking J.R. Smith off the hands of the Hornets. Smith was good as the go to guy in N.O., but even though he could have kept Byron Scott out of the hot seat. He's instead in Byron Scott's dog house. He could easily be a throw-in in many trades with NOK, but his potential is what people should be looking at. He showed up well for a rookie SG out of HS. And he has the potential to be a star in this league, but like many players he just needs a chance. That's why guys like J.O. go on to be big somewhere else later in their career. Diaw turned out good for Phoenix. You gotta play a guy to know what they're made of.

Andrew Z,

Going after the Hornets J.R. Smith is not a bad idea. But trying to get him and the Hornets 2 draft picks for Mihm, Cook, and the 26th pick, plus you want Arvydis Macijauskus, too? Like I said the idea isn't bad in my opinion. But you're placing way too much value on Mihm.

Let the Hornets keep Arvydis Macijauskus and their 15th pick. I would try to swing a Mihm and Cook deal for J.R. Smith and their 12th.

mike

Michael T,

I agree, it would be asking for a lot, but both players, Smith and Macijauskus basically didn't play for coach Scott last year. I don't know why, he just didn't like them. I remember in the middle of the year that Macijauskus was asking for a trade so he could play. So I'm guessing they wouldn't have trouble sending him and his $2.5 million contract out the door.

As for over-valuing Mihm, I'm not so sure. I think he's above average for a center in this league, if only slightly, and he's far better than any of the center's in the draft this year. That team's core is pretty young with Paul and David West and I'm sure they are thinking the addition of a veteran guy in the middle could help them make that push into the playoffs (hopefully not at our expense). Anyway, I think your deal is good too, I was just getting greedy with the picks :)

Just looked up Darius Miles stats. I like what I see. Especially his point average in his first year out of high school. I'd go for Miles.

mike

Miles is cool, but yeah a deal to get J.R. Smith for next to nothin, I say give Mihm and get Smith and a pick.

Michael T,

Did you look up his contract? Those are the numbers that are more important than points, rebounds, or assists.

He under contract until 2009/10 season for $9 million per season.

also, under his bio are three comments that stuck out, "Bad shooter...bad attitude...very apathetic". Doesn't seem like someone we'd want to run out and get.

jay el and az,
i like the idea of trading with NO. (although i have to say i agree with michaelt and azs offer is probably asking for too much...but i like the idea, but i would love to get jr smith!). im not a big fan of us moving into the top 5. the 2 teams that made sense to trade with were the bulls or hornets. both have picks we can move up to and both really need froncourt help and could really use mihm.
i know lakertom and others really want thabo and i like rondo. moving into the hornets spot would be great for either as it seems now the bulls are interested in thabo (and pick right after the hornets). and also the hornets pick before a whole string of teams that could draft pgs before the lakers (phi, ind, wash, sac, pho, nj, memph, clev). not that rookies are the answer to our prayers, but getting guys like rondo/thabo and if we could get diaz with 26, would instantly upgrade our team athletically. a few years ago pj brown was one of the guys i thought would be ideal in the triangle. but i still like that idea tho, even if hes older. he would be a veteran on our super young team, grab re's, and can hit open jumpers. i think he still has game...and old bigs are safer than old perimeter players (ie. rider, richmond, tracy murray, gp, byron russell, chucky atkins, aaron mckie). plus, like u mentioned, he only has 1 yr left on his contract anyways.

Thabo Sefolosha, Mardy Collins and Shawne Williams would be my picks.

BK or other bloggers who would know

"If there were any better players they were not available so to speak." - BK

Not that we are too relentless in our pursuits, could you please ask your source whether RL or anybody in the scouting the answers on the questions of Jake & Wizo with regards to those 20 players (w/ higher PPG & FG% than those players mentioned by RL) in the Summer Leagues website who are not in the Lakers team playing in Long Beach? If there are any bloggers who have an inside information on this matter, we appreciate if you'd share us your info. With regards to international players if they are under contract with other leagues, do the Lakers keep tract at the contract period where they can invite them to play in the NBA? Is this also governed by the CBA rules that no US team can talk to those players under contract with Euro teams. Thanks in advance BK or anyone.

We're wondering how Spurs and other team do their scouting that they could tap good players who are undrafted.

Edwin-

Not to be nitpicky, but what I said was "If there were better players available, they wouldn't be available, so to speak." Not quite the same thing, just in case people don't scroll back, I don't want my meaning to be misunderstood. I meant top of the line guys generally aren't available to fill out summer league rosters, because they're already on somebody's team, playing in the league, etc. I'll take a look at the specific players (I thought he was referring to guys coming out of into the draft, not summer league players) and see if I find anything.

Your questions are really good ones. No doubt there are guys out there who pop up from the hinterlands of the basketball world (Smush, Flip Murray, etc.), but in general, FAs from the summer league are filler, no matter what team you're talking about. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Whatever stats those guys have are likely misleading, b/c if they were that good, they'd already be in the league.

Questions about the draft, who they take, how well the scout and exploit foreign players, etc. are, in my mind, more important, and you're totally on the mark in terms of questioning how well the Lakers have done in those areas. They have drafted in spots where it's tougher to evaluate talent, but haven't necessarily done a very good job with it.

BK

From Andy Katz of ESPN:

The NBA doesn't take its invite list to the draft lightly.

The league doesn't want anyone sitting in front of the stage, head down, feeling like the last kid picked for dodge ball in elementary school.

So, this is usually a good indication of who will be the top 15 players in Wednesday's draft, save a few exceptions

Andrea Bargnani
LaMarcus Aldridge
Tyrus Thomas
Adam Morrison
Brandon Roy
Rudy Gay
Shelden Williams
Marcus Williams
Randy Foye
J.J. Redick
Cedric Simmons
Patrick O'Bryant
Ronnie Brewer
Rodney Carney
Hilton Armstrong

The uninvited players who could leap into the top 15 are:

Thabo Sefolosha
Saer Sene
Kyle Lowry
Rajon Rondo
Sergio Rodridguez
Shannon Brown
Quincy Douby
Mardy Collins
Shawne Williams

For everyone wondering why the Lakers would think about trading Lamar Odom, here is an excellent example of how salary cap issues are affecting the Phoenix Sun's player decisions:

From Chad Ford of ESPN:

"On Wednesday, a source said the Bulls might be considering trading the No. 2 pick and Chandler ($9M) to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion ($15M). With the pick, the Suns would select Tyrus Thomas. The move would help the Suns get the their salary-cap situation under control and allow them to re-sign Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa next summer."

This would give the Suns $6M to use to resign Diaw and Barbosa. They would end up with Chandler and Tyus for Marion.

More rumors from Chad Ford related to the Lakers and Bulls:

"A rumor that was floated last week had them talking with the Los Angeles Lakers about a deal that would send Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum to Chicago for Tyson Chandler and the No. 2 pick."

This rumor was listed right before the rumor of the Suns trading Shawn Marion to the Bulls for the #2 pick and Tyson Chandler. Really makes you wonder if the league really considers Shawn Marion to be worth Lamar Odon AND Andrew Bynum, especially after Lamar clearly outplayed Marion in the Lakers/Suns series.

In addition, lots of drafts have Hilton Armstrong, UConn's center, in the top 15 draft choices, whereas everyone agrees that he probably would have been redshirted had Andrew Bynum elected to go to college at UConn rather than opt for the NBA. More disrespect for Laker players.

Which brings me back to the point made in AK/BK's interview where Ronnie Lester made a comment that the Lakers know better what they have with respect to their players than other teams do.

Chad Ford's latest insider report of Laker trade rumors:

"The Lakers have been shopping Andrew Bynum and Chris Mihm. Lamar Odom can be had, too, but the price is significantly higher.

Their target in the draft? Brandon Roy."

For the Laker fans that covet getting Ben Gordan as part of a trade with the Bulls:

In ESPN Insider from Chicago Sun-Times:

"Paxson made it clear Thursday that it's highly unlikely guard Ben Gordon would be involved in any trade. "I'll put this to bed,'' Paxson said. "Unless a blockbuster deal comes up, I'm not trading Ben Gordon. You never say never in this business, but no one has presented anything to me that I would remotely consider for Ben. -- "


Horicon,

I don't agree because Wade didn't see ANY double teams because of Shaq. Just like Kobe can be contained, so can Wade. Shaq wanted Wade to be MVP and he made sure by not posting big numbers himself. Shaq had a lot more in the tank. He lost like 40 pounds and Shaq easily could have scored 20 or more a game.

Dallas didn't double team Wade like teams do Kobe and quite frankly I think that was their biggest mistake.


More of Thabo Sefolosha:

I have been exchanging emails with Jean-Marc Cuanillon, a Laker fan in France who has followed Thabo's career. In my last email, I asked Jean-Marc how he thought Thabo compared to Boris Diaw. Here was his response:

"Tom
When playing in France, Thabo - who is a Swiss citizen - was unanimously considered to be naturally much more talented than Boris Diaw. Seing Thabo play, you get the impression he has got a very special sense of the game, that everything from him is very easy and natural, combining power and efficency with a great elegance. It's difficult to explain it. Now Boris has made tremendous progress. He is probably more athletic than Thabo, but this is a point where Thabo plans to work hard reading his last interview on draftexpress."

Interesting that two of the best leapers in the draft were UCLA's Jordan Farmar (#1 at 42") and Brandon Roy, who is not supposed to be a great athlete (#4 40.5"). Thabo did not participate in the combine, so I do not know his vertical leap.

From ESPN Insiders Blog on NBA draft:

"Combine results: Best athletes"

While the height and weight measurements from the NBA predraft camp are interesting and relevant, NBA GMs and scouts also spend a lot of time dissecting the results of the NBA physical combine.

Last year Joey Graham (Raptors) rated as the top athlete in the draft, boosting his draft stock. Rashad McCants (Timberwolves) and Luther Head (Rockets) also finished in the top 10 and saw a nice little bump to their stock, too.

Players are asked to bench press 185 pounds as many times as they can, test their vertical jump two ways (no step and maximum) and run several drills to measure speed and lateral quickness.

For the fourth straight year Insider has obtained this confidential report from a league source.

North Carolina's David Noel tested as the top athlete in the draft. He was followed by Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer, Louisiana Lafayette's Dwyane Mitchell, Michigan's Daniel Horton, Memphis' Rodney Carney, Villanova's Randy Foye, Louisville's Taquan Dean, Georgetown's Brandon Bowman, Maryland's Nik Caner-Medley and UNLV's Louis Amundson.

St. Louis' Ian Vouyoukas, Denver's Yemi Nicholson, Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant, Oklahoma State's Frans Steyn and Texas' Brad Buckman tested as the worst athletes in the draft.

UCLA's Jordan Farmar shocked everyone by recording the biggest maximum vertical with a whopping 42 inches. Five other players jumped 40 or more inches in the maximum vertical jump: Mitchell (41.5), Brewer (41), UConn's Rudy Gay (40.5), Washington's Brandon Roy (40.5) and Iowa State's Will Blalock (40). Nicholson (26) and UConn's Marcus Williams (28) had the two worst scores in the camp.


Hartford's Kenny Adeleke and Gonzaga's J.P. Batista tested as the strongest athletes in the camp. They both bench pressed a 185-pound bar 26 times. Three other players got the bar up 20 or more times: Duke's Shelden Williams (25), Bowman (24) and Cincinnati's Eric Hicks (20). Memphis' Shawne Williams tested the worst with zero reps.


In the lane agility testing, Horton had the best score, finishing the drill in 10.35 seconds. Foye and Dean tied for second at 10.53 seconds. Noel and Illinois' James Augustine (10.54) also tested very fast. Nicholson had the worst score (13.7 seconds).


In the three-quarter-court sprints, Carney led the way in a blinding 3.06 seconds. Noel (3.07), George Washington's Danilo Pinnock (3.08) and Charlotte's Curtis Withers (3.1) also tested well. Nicholson came in last again (3.72).

Why trade Mihm for J.R. Smith?
He is a marinal prospect at best at this point. They could trade a couple 2nd's for that guy. Maybe if they were to work a sign and trade for Claxton it could be a good idea.

B.K.
I have to disagree with you about Sasha. He really has not had enough playing time to pronouce him as a bad player. The guy can shoot and play adequate "D". And during the playoffs, he played well and made some big shots. The guy is still only 22 and with another year I think he will be solid.

All the Lakers need to do at this point is bring in a veteran point and trade Mihm for a shooter/scorer. They will then have more flexibility after next season.

rdlee,
I'm a fan of Dee Brown, I really like him. I have seen him play some, what I know of him is he's fast, he's a tough defender, but a streaky shooter (I think he went on a shooting slump this year) but he's got heart.

Here are profiles of Dee Brown and Mardy Collins courtesy of http://www.nbadraft.net/ (which by the way lists us to draft T-Sef Lakertom, so yay!)

Dee Brown - Strengths: Speedy point guard with tremendous heart ... Plays the game with a ton of passion, a great competitor ... Has excellent leadership ability ... Has an extra gear and pushes the ball up the floor extremely fast ... Led the Illini to a big season after Deron Williams moved to the NBA, and showed that he is capable of running the point guard position ... His shooting percetages dipped in his senior year, but he's a prolific scorer ... Both fast and quick, gets a lot of steals by anticipating passes ... Decision making has shown solid improvement ... Worked hard on adding range to his shot ... Solid ball handler, high assist to turnover ratio ...
Weaknesses: Not a natural at PG. Many feel he is more of a shooting guard with point guard size ... Lacks great vision and the ability to set up teammates for easy baskets ... Can be prone to shooting slumps, a streaky shooter, his field goal percentage dipped considerably without a quality point guard (Williams) setting him up ... Lacks great size at 6-0 with shoes on ... Very quick but lacks great length or leaping ability to make up for his lack of height ... Lack of size is likely to cause him trouble on the defensive end of the floor ... Also struggles to make easy passes with defenders collapsing his passing lanes ... Shooting stroke has a bit of a herky jerky release ...

Mardy Collins - Strengths: At 6-6 he's got the ability to run the show from the point guard position ... Very smooth offensive abilities ... Plays a controlled game, doesn't try to be too flashy or make spectacular plays, keeps it simple and effective ... Excellent vision and passing ... Shooting mechanics and fundamentals are very good ... Good ball handler ... Long arms help out with closing passing lanes and getting to the rim ... Good defender coming out of the Temple system which emphasizes defense ... Excellent at anticipating passes, ball hawking style ... Great team player, excellent versatility ... Extremely durable player, plays almost 40 minutes every game, and rarely if ever misses a start.
Weaknesses: Never a bigtime scorer, although the Temple system limits him somewhat in that regard ... Shooting %s have never been great from outside, although these numbers get hurt by collapsing defenses and forced shots taken with the shot clock running low ... Lacks a very athletic body, especially on appearance ... Not a very physical player, should use his size advantage better offensively ... Not a huge leaper, lacks great explosiveness or a devastating first step ... Upside is decent, but not off the charts ... One of those guys who is solid in a number of areas, but fails to stand out in any one area ... Must become better at moving without the ball, can be a little too ball dependant ... Free throw shooting is below average ...

I too like the idea of trading with the hornets (they have a deluge of talent, though often injured---which is a drawback), I think for Mihm we probably can get the 12 and JR, but no other fillers.

Does anybody know if the within conference trading thing matters much in the offseason for (franchise players and not), cause I've been hearing a lot of trades yet, no one ever thinks the effect of having that person you traded within the conference. Like why would NO, or GS help us, that kind of thing. I can see Indiana, or NY (seriously stay away from NY lol) wanting to trade with us, we're in Western Conference.

Been reading alot of posts and just had to point out that Fisher(the guy with three rings was 6'0" played excellent defense and could just flat out shoot that rock) so i think that if we can find someone who fits that mould or comes close to it is fine for the triangle. I still think Dee brown would fit good (considering he is a fisher waitin to happen) who we can pick up in the second round. Alexander JOhnson for 1st round pick

Andrew Z,

Thanks for that link. I found out my trade scenario of Mihm, Mckie, and the 26th to the Bulls for Gordon, and Deng works. That said I like your idea (tweaked by Mike T.) of making a deal with the Hornets. My only worry is trading with a team in our same conference. Mihm doesn't seem like the most ferocious person, but people get motivated when they play they're old teams, and I would hate for us to be the guys that gave Mihm the best night of his career. Other than that I like that trade. That way we get the 12th for whomever most of you guys like (I don't know much about college or international players) J.R. Smith, and get to keep the 26th for a player that the front office projected to be left at that spot.

PS: Like I said in earlier posts this draft makes me a little nervous, so that's why I wanted to only get players that are young and can help now for Mihm. But to have a chance to get a young player that can help now, plus an extra draft pick would be great. Let's just hope Mitch is working the phones!!!!!!

Lakertom
Thanks for the list...good to see rondo and Alexander Johnson not there. I think next week could be a good day for laker fans

Draft Express just released an interview with Thabo. Here is the link and some highlights:

http://draftexpress.com/viewarticle.php?a=1364

Jonathan Givony: Which teams have you worked out for so far?

Thabo Sefolosha: I worked out for: Golden State, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Minnesota, and Indiana.

Jonathan Givony: What workouts do you have coming up?

Thabo Sefolosha: New Orleans, Houston, Seattle, Utah…I’ve got a couple more.

Jonathan Givony: Which players have impressed you out of those you worked out with?

Thabo Sefolosha: Brandon Roy. I like his game. I think he’s really good. Cedric Simmons. He’s very big, he can run, jump, he’s very athletic. Also, Louis Amundson.

Jonathan Givony: Do you think there is more of a focus on individual skills in the NBA as opposed to Europe?

Thabo Sefolosha: I think that in the NBA it is more based off one-on-one skills, where in Europe it is more based off of the team. So, I think in these workouts the teams are really looking at how you do with those things; how you dribble the ball, one-on-one, two-on-two, how you beat other people…so for me its very different, but it’s still basketball.

Jonathan Givony: So do you think you are able to show what you’re really good at in these type of workout situations?

Thabo Sefolosha: Not really. I’m good at the five-on-five, reading the defense and the offense and all that. I think I can show my athleticism and my ability to dribble the ball and things like that. But, I think I’ll do much better in the five-on-five.

Draft Express has an 8 minute video of Saer Sene, the 7' Center from Senegal that has been playing in Belgium. He has only been playing basketball for 2 years but is an incredible shot-blocker who has the wingspan of a 7'-8" player, is a great athlete, and runs the floor like a deer.

He is as hot a prospect as Thabo and rumors have the Bulls high on him at #16 and the Suns trying to trade up to the teens in order to draft him. He looks as good as any shot blocker I have ever seen. It is easy to see why he is a very hot prospect.

The 8 minute video is really pretty impressive. If a team needs to have an inside shot blocking presence, this guy looks like the best option in the draft.

Here is a link to the video - look for the TV screen half-way down the page:

http://draftexpress.com/viewarticle.php?a=1358

Maybe this is a dumb question, but why is the draft on a Wednesday? I mean, I know the NBA, and ESPN like getting high ratings, so why not put it on Saturday? I just don't think a lot of CASUAL fans are going to watch the draft on a Wednesday in Primetime, when they could be watching tv shows they usually watch at that same time. IDK, just my opinion.

I think I official made myself sick! I just watched part of the Heat Championship Celebration.

Man, I want a championship in AT LEAST 2 or 3 years! If that means giving up Bynum then so be it. Not for draft picks, only for KG. I know we have no chance in hell of getting him, but we gotta try.

Hopefully this isn't bad news for us, but I heard Miami might go after Marcus Banks.

andrew is going nowhere not because of his fans wich i think i m the president of the big baby fan club.but because of jim buss.but i wonder why would the stupid media say that after the lakers refused to give him up to get artest and he is wanted by several teams and we happened to appoint a staff member specially for him.

LakerTom,

Isn't it only 60 players will be taken from the draft, the first 30 on first and the other 30 on the second? What happens to the rest of the remaining undrafted players, can we invite to our camp?

While watching Riles danced ala' Madsen Riles was in tempo but kinda' old, as usual, Shaq was trying hard in rapping and emceeing, he just quaranteed that they will be back by next year. Oh-oh he's presssuring Wade again while he grabs the limelight.

I was thinking about the consensus of blog that we trade Mihm with a veteran PG & a low draft pick. Supposing one of our 5 i.e. Kwame or Bynum did not work out, what's our contingency? Mihm is gone and we have several PG's assuming we have Banks, Duhon, Roy, Smush & Sasha (remember S/S are still under contract till '07 and '09.) Shall go to Turiaf to bail us out? What are we going to do with our extra PG's?

SCOOP! Rumors that Chicago is turning to Phoenix to trade their #2 pick plus Chandler for Marion as reported Hoopshype from Racine Journal-Times. If this goes through, then it's a possiblity Chicago turns to Lakers for their #16 pick plus Duhon for Mihm. Can we counter for Gordon instead of Duhon now that they are really in dire need for Mihm? Umm. Can we step back and think what I have just said?

Edwin Gueco,

John Paxson said today and made it very clear that Ben Gordon will not be traded unless there is a blockbuster deal (i.e. KG). I think we should stop including Gordon in any proposed deal.

I heard about that trade and basically thought that Mihm to Chicago would be perfect if it went through. The only thing is Chicago would probably not want to deal their #16 pick since they'd be losing their other first round draft choice.

I'm beginning to feel that we're going to see the Lakers do basically nothing this offseason. That would make me more mad than anything else.

Edwin (and fellow bloggers:

You are correct. There are only two rounds so anyone not among the 60 drafted are free to recruited by any team and invited to camp.

I heard some radio highlights of Shaq emceeing the Miami Heat celebration but switched stations immediately to avoid the pain. To me, the big guy is now a small man. I now think of him as Miami's Briant Grant.

The tough issue with respect to Mihm is that he will be a free agent after next year, which means we either have to sign him for more $, trade him, or risk losing him for nothing. Considering our salary cap situation, it might be hard to justify signing him. He makes $4M now and would be able to get other teams to pay him more as a free agent.

I think you can see around the league that the only time guys seem to get extensions are (1) they are superstars like Kobe, (2) they are excellent players coming off of their rookie contracts, or (3) they are veterans that are indispensible to the team.

Unfortunately, Chris is really none of these. The result is that we probably should trade him and we would be better off doing it now while the demand is high rather than trying to do it in the middle of next year. My problem with trading Chris is that I don't think we can get back what he is worth to us, so maybe we keep him and see if he and Kwame can play together.

Once you step back and realize that we will still have Kobe for probably another 9 to 10 years and that the CBA really gives advantages to teams that build via the draft, I think that changes how you approach the Lakers situation.

We had a unique opportunity last year to pick #10 in the draft and I like the decision to select Andrew. I still believe he will become a great player and think the Lakers also do. I also think that the chance of drafting a solid starter when you pick #26 is not great, especially considering the Lakers track record.

So what does this mean? I think I am slowly coming to the decision that our best move may really be to trade Lamar to the Bulls for their #2 and #16 picks. While there may not be franchise superstars in this draft like 2003, I think there are some potentially star players that would be perfect fits for the Lakers among the top 15 prospects, like Brandon Roy and Thabo Sefolosha.

Because this draft does not have the franchise players of other drafts, I think the stars may be aligned such that we could actually get 2 great future starters with the Bulls #2 and #16 picks, which would be Roy as our future point guard and Thabo as our future small forward. This would give us the following lineup and 12-man roster, which I think is very young but has great potential:

1 - Brandon Roy | Smush Parker |Aaron McKie
2 - Kobe Bryant | Sasha Vujacic
3 - Thabo Sefolosha | Luke Walton
4 - Kwame Brown | Ronny Turiaff | Brian Cook
5 - Chris Mihm | Andrew Bynum

I think the Lakers really like Brandon Roy and believe he could be the team's point guard for the next 10 years. Trading Lamar is also the only way we are going to be able to get a player of his quality. I think we have proven we cannot find that type of player drafting at the bottom of the draft. As much as I love Lamar, I think there is very good chance that this may happen.

On a final note, if we did trade Lamar for the Bulls' picks, we might want to go for a shot blocking center such as Saer Sene at #16 or a power forward like Alexander Johnson rather than a wing player like Thabo. And we could still get a guy like Guillermo Diaz with our #26.

Bottom line, we would really be committing to win really big later but with still a chance to win now. I really value your input so let me know what you think? Thanks.

i saw nothing that andrew couldnt do

Go Lakers

Faith:

Thanks for the Thabo news. I saw that, too. Maybe they know something we don't, but I doubt it.

Random aside - Here's Bill Simmons on Shaq and his comments post NBA Finals that I think we can all agree on made you go "WTF!?!" after hearing it...

"Weirdest moment of the night: Shaq calling Pat Riley the "best coach I've ever had" ... and never mentioning Phil Jackson. What the hell? Seriously, what the hell? That's like Ted Danson claiming that "the cast of 'Becker' is the best cast I've ever had." Then he claimed that this was the favorite championship he'd won -- I hate when athletes say that. Really, this was better than beating Indiana six years ago and shutting up everyone who said, "Shaq can't win the big one?" It was much more fun to score 13 points a game and let Wade do most of the work? Come on. Besides, as the great Willie McGinest once said, "My favorite title is the next one."

Bone:

I noticed that. Maybe we will get lucky at #26 and a good guy will be available and the Lakers management will see that and select him. I just think we have not done a good job drafting at the end of the queu in the past. The only Laker draft pick that I have liked in the last 5 years was Andrew Bynum at #10 last year. I also think we are a good enough team that we won't get another chance like that again, unless we trade someone in order to move way up in the draft.

Reed, Texas:

First, Paxton just basically announced that he was not going to trade Gordan. Second, I don't think anything less than trading Lamar or Bynum would get us into the top 5 picks to draft Brandon Roy. Bottom line, if you want Brandon Roy, you will have to give up Lamar or Andrew. If the Lakers are sure that Brandon is the guy to man the point for the Lakers for the next 10 years, then I think they need to pull the trigger and make the trade. As much as I love Lamar, I don't think you can trade Bynum. He has just too much potential.

Remember when......

Great Day for a CHAMPIONSHIP Parade!!! Too bad
they'll be in Miami, Florida for the next couple of seasons.

Oh well, blame that blunder on Buss and Kupchak for virtually giving away The MOST DOMINANT Center EVER in the game of Basketball. Also give Riley credit for trying to save the Lakers but was stonewalled by Buss who should let general managers do their job of managing.

While DWade becomes FAMOUS nationwide in only his THIRD Year in the league, it goes to prove that Shaq and ANY athletic Shooting Guard that plays TEAM BALL in the league can win an NBA Final Championship.

OUT!!!
the Truth
...and nothing but

LAKER SALARY CAP SITUATION

I was looking at the Laker salary commitments in HoopsHype and wondering how the situation we are in now will affect how we build a championship team. Aside from the fiasco of still having Brian Grant's $15M on the books, the other thing that jumps out at me is the fact that Kobe's and Lamar's combined salaries will total $30M, $33M, and $36M the next three years.

Since the salary cap is only $53M, that doesn't really leave a lot to be split among the rest of the roster. Add $8M and $9M the next two years for Kwame, and there is even less. What happens when Kwame's contract comes up to be renew? Or Mihm. Or Andrew Bynum.

Now, of course, we can go over the salary cap to sign our own free agents. But if we are over the salary cap then every $1M we pay our own free agent will also cost us $1M in luxury tax. What it means is that we can really only keep the players we really love. Otherwise, we are forced to trade them or let them go for nothing as a free agent.

While the new CBA makes it easier for teams to keep their own players, it still imposes a penalty on veteran players that have already signed their second contract. The only way to be under the cap is to just have one star on a young team with lots of guys working on their rookie contracts.

The new CBA makes it very difficult for a team to have more than two star veteran players. Right now, while we only have two star players - Kobe and Lamar - we are really paying for three and a half star players - Brian Grant and Kwame being the other one and a half.

This is the problem that the Suns have right now with Amara, Nash, and Marion on max contracts, two great players in Diaw and Barbosa coming up for extensions, and a free agent they would like to keep in Tim Thomas, who will want a big raise since he is playing for veteran minimum right now. That is why they are looking at possibly trading Marion.

What this says to me is that you have to keep refreshing your roster with the draft and develop those players so you can get them for a reasonable price on their second contracts. If you are a winning team, this is tough because you are always drafting at the end of the round.

So bottom line, the best strategy for the Lakers in order to improve the team appears to be to trade veteran players for high draft picks if you have the chance. Again, I love Lamar but is he good enough to be the guy with Kobe that wins us another ring? With the other players we have right now, I don't think so.

This is what I really think that BK is saying. We have too much tied up now with salaries for three and a half stars - guys that are being paid big money. If we want to build a championship team, we are going to have to somehow get ahold of some young talented players and the odds of drafting a star player are much higher when they are top 15 picks than bottom 15 picks in the first round.

I think we should try and trade Lamar to the Bulls for the #2 and #15 picks and then draft Brandon Roy and either Thabo, Sene, or Johnson at #15. In two or three years, we would have a great team and be in good shape with respect to the salary cap.


(http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm)

I wanst against trading for miles til i found out that he's getting paid $34 mil for 4 years. thats an average of $8.5mil a year.
-"For that, Portland gets an injury-prone, whiny, waste of talent who only averages 14 points and 4.6 rebounds per game"-NBADraft.net

Omg what are you ppl thinking. Thats like having another Kwame Brown and crossing your fingers for that "potential" (i hate that F----- word). NO TO MILES!!!!

Who the heck is Kevin Pittsnogle?
The L.A. Times mock draft has the Lakers picking him with # 26...

LakerTom,

We'll solve that salary cap problem in due time. The salary cap was designed to convince players that they should not be earning too much! The discipline was imposed on the team owners who corners the market and choke small teams. We're just on the cliff while other teams like Knicks, Dallas, Sixers are into the quick sand, no quick remedies except time and drastic changes. They can't move eventually there will be proposed changes in the CBA.

My late mother used to tell me don't fret on an escrow that fell through, the next house will be better. Don't worry LakerTom, if we miss Roy or Thabo there will be better ones that are coming.

LakerTom,

The only problem with what you're saying is that in a couple of years we'll have to let the young kids we draft walk, or trade them as well. It will be a never ending cycle of draft young'uns-hope they pan out, and once they reach their potential trade them so we can get more draft picks. Like I said before, I see the logic in trading LO, but I just don't think it's a good idea. Now if we trade Mihm this is what our roster could look like

1. Marcus Banks- Smush
2. Kobe- Profit
3. JR Smith- 12 draft pick
4. LO-Turiaf
5. Kwame-Bynum

We can use the 12th pick we get from Hornets to fill either guard, or SF needs.

**If we trade LO this is our squad:

1. Banks-Brandon Roy
2. Kobe-Thabo
3. Luke-maybe 26th pick
4. Kwame-Turiaf
5. Mihm-Bynum

As you can see in this lineup we're relying too heavily on young inexperienced players, and their is no guarantee any of them will pan out. Not to mention we already know Mihm and Kwame don't play well together so that's not going to work out too well. With the lineup I proposed we have youth, without having to give up experience, and we still get to keep LO. That lineup could stay together for a while, it would just be a matter of management letting them grow as a squad, instead of trying to go out and get a superstar WE DON'T NEED.

**You can tweak this lineup if you think I didn't put it together the way you would have.

Wow, the Knicks are trying to get out of paying Larry Brown because he spoke to the media. Knick rules do not allow interviews without a public relations person present.

"Since James Dolan became owner of the Knicks and Rangers, Madison Square Garden policy specifies that any interviews must be done with a public relations official present -- with no exceptions, according to a person familiar with the policy, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because this matter has not been resolved. "

That is crazy! First off Larry Brown didn't give an interview. He poked his head out of his vehical and made a couple of comments. That's not an interview. An interview is to sit down with someone and answer questions. What Larry Brown did was just talk like a normal person. The Knicks can't prohibit a person from having normal conversations. And whats more, the NBA fined Shaquille O'Neal for not speaking to the media after they lost game 2. It's part of what the NBA does...speak to the media to promote their game.

How ridiculous for the Knicks to think they can get away with it.

To top it off they set it up for Brown to fail by not informing him of his status for almost 2 months when it was clear to everyone that the Knicks were intent on letting him go. It was clearly with the intent to find a loop hole in the contract to back out of paying him.

That is manipulative and if there is a morals clause; something along the lines that would imply that the parties are dealing with each other in good faith, then what the Knicks did was not in good faith and that is a clear violation of the contract.

Pay the man his 40 million! Larry Brown has them by the balls because both Dolan and Thomas are just to stupid to do things right.

Both James Dolan and Isaih Thomas get a big DUMBASS label for their manipulative behavior.

mike

Weaveman,

I like your first option where we trade only Mihm for Smith & 12th round pick. I really see Lamar and Bynum taking off next at higher level and championship in the horizon as they mature with Kobe.

There are two approach to our roster, one group proposes RADICAL CHANGES for they see no hope of escaping the escalating salary cap. While the other group adheres to PRUNING only but leave the core intact.

By next season, the good news is that the ghoulish shadow of Shaq=Grant ($ 15,570,625) will finally be written off forever. Hurray! (I think that was the reason why Riley was dancing today to his heart's content besides winning the Championship, he screwed someone big time in '04?)

BTW, Alonzo Mourning will try the market at $1.5M shall we take it?

Andy B-

You mean you've never been pittsnogled? He's a PF from West Virginia who made a name for himself in the 2005 NCAA Tourney by hitting all kinds of clutch 3pts.

NBA Upside: Great shooter and big heart...
NBA Downside: For a 6'11"-7', he doesn't have much to offer aside from nailing jump shots outside the key.

Andy B.

Think European Brian Cook.

Shady,

Miles is not even a "potential" but a plague once you get him, you absorb too, his bad attitude that could bring down your team. They occupy a huge cap space like other players: Starbury, Kenyon Martin, Steve Francis....

I am against trading Odom for almost anyone, let alone draft picks. The guy is 26 years old, and there is really not alot of guys if any (versatility, left handed) that are like him. He is an olympian for God sake.

Release Lamar Odom (former HEAT star player) for Marbury.

Imagine Marbury playing along side KOBE, that's PRICELESS. We will make a BET-blog who can outshoot who in the game or who is the "REAL BALLHOG" for holding the basketball for the longest time.

Lakertom,
haha how did you end up corresponding with a Laker fan from france?! thats some good info tho.
as far as the farmar and roy vertical leaps...i think you have to take those with a grain of salt. i think vert is one of those things that can be slightly misleading. if i remember bogut had a great vert for a C. and leinhart's vert was almost the same as reggie bush's. if i were a scout i would measure a guy's vert, but also try to measure the time it takes from liftoff to peak (i dont know if this is possible...but im sure u could get a decent approximation). what i want is explosive jumps, not high jumps. ie ray allen had very high hops, but hes more of a glider, whereas guys like marion have springs inside of their ankle bones. but good info anyways. i know ive been hard on roy for his average athleticism...so that does help me like him a TAD more. haha but im still not sold on farmar. =)

but wow, whats with the sudden turnaround tom? trade lamar? well, for the most part, i'd rather keep lamar. its a tough tho. we would get so much cap space if we did. but i feel like we can have a balance of being competitive now while still building for the future. its tough. my friends and i debate about what to do. some wanting to keep lamar. some wanting to trade lamar. 1 wanting to trade bynum. but all wanting to trade mihm haha.

Faith:
thats a good question (about the interconference trading). i wonder how much an affect it has. i for one dont see why its such a big deal. i understand teams like the spurs not trading with dallas, (two contenders , made worse cuz same division), but i would think the hornets and lakers wouldnt be such an issue. who knows tho, maybe its just something you avoid anyways.

but the other reason i could see it happen is, for those smaller market teams, the gm faces a lot of pressure just to win. weve been a bit spoiled as laker fans. but other gms are sweatin to just make the playoffs and keep their job for another 5 years. so trading away a pick (esp since they have two, and its a weak draft) and a guy that byron hates for a legit C seems like a decent trade to me.

andy b:
what?! kevin pittsnogle is that tall white C on west virginia that shoots all those 3s. haha, we do NOT need that guy. im cringing at the thought of him and cook playing together. our pf and C just hanging out at the 3pt line chucking 3s. ugh.

Listened to the Kupchak interview, he says everything is fine, said Shaq trade was the right decision. He said everything is on the right track. You know he is really starting to sound familiar. Now I remember, he sounds just like Bagdad Bob. "There are no troops in Bagdad, never". I say just forget about the next five years lose every game and lottery pick our way back in, worked for the Clippers.

Nyla,
"David Stern handing Dwyane Wade the MVP trophy, Shaquille O'Neal intervening and making sure that HE handed it to Wade".

I saw that, too! Credit-grabbing fat-a$$!

New article coming up on a very interesting trade to LA i've been hearing about from reliable resources.

Edwin--

These trade for Miles guys are just not getting it. I have posted too many times as to Miles and his cancerous effect on teams...Here's a fun fact they would like to ignore. Miles averaged 14 points and 4.6 rebound per game last year. Our own Luke Walton averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds when he started this season...Please.


Jay El--I too would not trade Lamar for draft picks, it's just plain stupid. He can play four positions on the floor, and proved he is really starting to handle both the trialgle and play well with Kobe. What more could the Lakers ask for? He also is the best rebounder on the team, something noone here has mentioned.

For those who think the Suns will trade Marion for Chandler plus a pick, it does not seem to make sense to me. They would be doing so to "free cap space" in order to give Diaw and Barbossa extentions. First of all, Chandler is in the first year of a 64 million dollar contract which he got only 8.4 million the first year--leaving an average of 11.1 mill for the next five. So you trade away Marion (their second best player) who is gettin 15 million per year for Chandler? Where is the savings there? And furthermore, Diaw and Barbossa are both in the final year of their contracts. You think after showing the world that they are both very good starting calibur players on one of the best teams in the NBA they are going to take peanuts--me thinks not.

When taking all of that into consideration, I can see trading Mihm (and a point guard, mabey Sasha) to the Bulls for their #2 pick and probably Duhon. I don't want Chandlers 11 mill per year over the next five years. We'll have Kwame and his 8 mill for the next two. The Lakers will still have the 26th pick where they can get another big kid to fill the 4/5 position.

And at pick number two the Lakers get their man Roy...

Ive been playing with the realgm thing at http://www2.realgm.com/src_tradechecker/1/ that i got here and i think it might be a bit outdated. I tried some trades and it said that the Hornets went over the cap even though they are currently under by like $20mil. This was my trade (got it from this blog)
Mihm for J.R. Smith and the #12. This is what it said.
-"Due to L.A. Lakers and New Orleans being over the cap, the 25% trade rule is invoked. L.A. Lakers and New Orleans had to be no more than 125% plus $100,000 of the salary given out for the trade to be accepted, which did not happen here (only L.A. Lakers met the condition). This trade does not satisfy the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."
I also tried the trade with L.O. for #2 and #16 which also didnt work. then i tried to add Duhon (also from the blog) so it would be L.O for #2 & #16 and duhon and said it also wouldnt work (also wont work if you substitute Kwame). The only one i got to work was Mihm and #26 for Duhon #2 & #16 ONLY IF Duhon agrees to the trade. If anyboyd else is using this RealGm thing can someone clue me in cuz New Orleans and Chicago are both WAY UNDER the cap.

Eric... Bynum is in it right?

Well if not...

Combine Mihm, Mckie, the #26 and whatever else is lying around that works and get Roy. Anything else in the draft is a PJ bench warmer.

IMO Mihm is undervalued. 2000 7th pick, 7 footer, ok hands, fairly good offence. Chicago should be interested. Chandler is not producing the offence desired. Maybe NO.

I Like Miles, but feel that he has a huge 'X' factor. Good FG%, but bad FT%. Get him for a deal... I'm in.

Bynum for Roy... I see from PJ's perspective this may be a good thing. Try to win now and see what happens later. I like the upside of Bynum and I willing to wait. Remember Roy looks pretty good in a weak draft. We might be overvaluing him beacuse of his company in the draft.

Thabo would be a good bet for the future, but not much more than a bench warmer for PJ.

We really really need a second scoring option now. We need a solid (read consistant) mid-range shooter that can drive to the basket and can play some solid defence. Someone that can hit three's near the 40% range. Someone both PJ and KB can trust, but maybe with what we have to offer this will have to be two players and not one complete package.

I am kind of interested in a Gordon and Banks combo. Might be a nice blend. Would provide some Flexibility.

If we fill this PG slot right we will have an excellent chance of being in the conference finals next year. If we give up Bynum we will be playing him in the finals in a few years.

IMHO he is a future allstar center. Beware of selfish motives for fast results. I plan on being a Laker fan in 5 years, don't you?

Eric Pincus,

Please say it doesn't include the words "Carlos Boozer" or "Troy Murphy"? By the way, I enjoy your work and your ability to use actual numbers from the salary cap to make sense of all this.

LakerTom,

I think you and I think alike. You made a great point that even with Brian Grant's contract coming off the books after next season, we're still locked into quite a lot of dough with Kobe, LO, and Kwame. Now, if we did the LO trade we would have $28 million come off the books after next season, that's unreal!! There are two guys who are free agents in 2007, Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups, that I wouldn't mind seeing in the purple and gold. Anyway, I hope the LO trade goes down, it would provide a hell of a future for our Lakers.

Fellow Laker fans, let us just wait for Wednesday on the draft time because too many rumors are being circulated. Media loves to stir the pot and savour more trade discussions while GMs' continue to lie that this draft is weak, yet they kept on wheelin' and dealing their high salaried players in combination with draft picks and FA's. You don't know whom to believe and that's the nature of the business, so if you hear Mitch Kupcake downgrading the draft, it means he's jumping on the bandwagon and if you hear Eric Pincus saying latest rumor, well it means more creative journalism to elicit angry emotions or delight from the fans, driving them more patronage to their website, blogs, newspapers, talk shows that tells newsworthy HEARSAY. Just my take.

the curse of kobe
it is the fact that when shaq was at his prime and kobe passed the ball it was said that he never was the dominate in the finals.his average beeing propably the best ever for a guy thats isnt the most cscorer or dominate on his team.he passed too much.
now wade passes better than him.he is so selfish.he cant be right .hum how could these basketball so called expert know more about the game than a student of the game and a 3 times champion?
how to break that curse there is only one solution championship.

dont trade odom.
true laker fan said i didnt see anything andrew couldnt do so same upside but we are sure that andrew got heart from the shaq thing and he loves LA coz he wouldnt take it from shaq coz we zinked shaq at his firt press confrence i see the litle rivalory is the moving of the best center from shaq to andrew.one is coming up big the otber on the decline.
like chanberlain to kareem ,like kareem to hakeem ,like hakeem to shaq,now shaq to bynum.

Eric Pincus,

Anything with Bynum is out of the question.


mike

Shady and everyone,

I havent used the realgm website, the one I have always used is the trade machine on ESPN. They still keep it up to date.

Go to ESPN website, SEARCH:Trade Machine. It should be the first one there, I dont know if it is as good as the other one, but thats the one I use.

www.draftexpress.com. have us taking James White from Cincinnati 6'7 swingman with the 26th pick, any thoughts people???

Tailuck,

I agree with you completely on Miles. By this time, you know who are his promoters in this blog. Well, we're all expressing our own opinions but at least let's think of the future of our team not our frenzied liking on one particular player.

Purple and Gold,

BTW, that was a nice write-up on Ronaldo's Mom and the soccer fans of Brazil waking up at 1 AM, just to watch their team. How about the a million Koreans assembled in downtown Seoul at 4 AM just to watch their team lose. It's all passion and love of our team. Perhaps, that's why we're still blogging when the NBA season has just ended.

I have said it in earlier blogs, I would not want to trade the core group of our team starting with Lamar, young Andreew. Not even Mihm for that matter cuz' I'm not sure of Kwame (maybe similar thoughts about Miles) or whether our boy Bynum is ready next season. If we don't get Brandon Roy, maybe Lakers' target, let us just keep Mihm for insurance till mid-year, go for #26 & #51, MLE, BAE & Summer League. This does not go without saying that we'll not get rid of our "small tumors" (NO DEFENSE) lurking in our team. Let's define who has the potentials and the mediocres? If criteria has been determined by all means trade them individually or cut them so they don't occupy unnecessary loads, let the qualified players play with Kobe & Lamar next season.

it was ronaldinho s mom and barca when ronaldino scored at 1 am.(just for information) but yeah u are right the million koreon fans.thats passion.
i agree we have a great team in the making.but if a must trade i thunk that the fact that kwame and specially big baby have more upside(and kwame a bad contract) so it will be mihm going. i wonder what would have happened if bynum didnt get injured got more playing time before the playoff and got a chance where he torched the suns well u never know and dont tell me that bynum s offence isnt better than kwame.

Andrew Z,

The only problem with what you're proposing are the two big free agents. Chauncey Billups is not the right guy for our system, and do you really think Paul "The Truth" Pierce is going to come back home to LA and defer to Kobe!!!?? Not gonna happen. Everyone who has read any of my posts since the end of the season knows I'm against trading LO, NO MATTER WHAT WE GET IN RETURN. Yeah, 28 million would be nice to have back on the books, but that money will be a waste if we can't find the right player(s) to play along side Kobe. I believe in the core of this team and with some additional pieces, I know we can build a championship team that can be around for years, we ALL (fans and management) just have to be patient, and trust that we can make the right moves without bringing in a superstar or blowing up our whole team and starting over.

Trading L.O. will be suicide...kobe and shaq didnt play well together at the beginning either, it takes awhile for two very talented players to co-exist, L.O. and Kobe are barely getting it together, why throw away 2 years of work right when its starting to pay off and waste kobes prime trying to get another star to get used to playing with him?...next year will be much better, and so will L.O.

Go Lakers

Ok! I've been Pittsnogled. Thanks guys.

The only way I'd trade LO is if there is a FA we'd have a chance of getting in 2007 that could REALLY help this team in the long term.

Is there anyone like that out there??

Edwin:

I agree with your mother about escrows but I don't think that's necessarily true regarding the draft. This is a uniquely weak draft in that there are no superstar prospects like 2003 because the new CBA now keeps high schoolers from jumping to the NBA. That really works in our favor as we will probably be able to get a better choices when trading up this year. Were this 2003, for example, there's no way could we trade Lamar for the #2 and #16 picks.

While I do think this draft has some players who are great fits for the Lakers needs, it is really not those specific players that are motivating me. What I really am looking at is what I consider to be a great one-time opportunity due to Chicago's interest in Lamar, draft picks, and cap situation for us to add two high quality future starters and improve our ability to trade or sign free agents.

The new CBA now really favors teams drafting and developing their own players. The only quality player we have chosen in the last five drafts was Andrew Bynum, who was also our only high pick.
I think we have a unique opportunity this year to get two more high quality picks around which to build a true championship team and the cap space to bring in a quality free agent player or two.

Bottom line, I don't think we can get the players we need by drafting late in the first round and signing free agents for the MLE or BAE. I think that's been clearly proved the last five years.

Weave-Man:

I don't agree. Unless we totally lucked out and drafted the next Dwayne Wade, signing guys who are finishing their rookie contracts doesn't require the type of money we paying guys like Kwame ($8M). We are talking more like MLE money, $5M per year. That is what the Suns are looking at with respect to Diaw and Barbosa. And you can ignore the salary cap to resign them.

And yes, there always is a chance that the guys you draft won't be high quality players and won't be better than Sasha, Brian Cook, or Kareem Rush. In this case, however, we would be picking two guys in the top half of Round 1, which is where we got Andrew Bynum, rather than the end of Round 1, which is where we not been able to find starters.

 
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