Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

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.

 
Comments () | Archives (459)

The comments to this entry are closed.

wiZo:

Jean-Marc saw my posts on the blog and sent me some video clips of Thabo blocking shots and dunking and we just started exchanging emails.

I agree with you about the vertical leap. Amare is the perfect example. Other guys can jump as high as he can but nobody gets off the ground quicker. That said, I think everyone looks at Brandon Roy as more of a solid controlled player rather than spectacular atheletic guy. The combine figures just show you that the guy really is also a far better athlete than people think and that he has the ahtleticism to compete with anyone.

As far as Jordan Farmar goes, I am a Bruin fan and think he will be outstanding NBA point guard. He was the one guy on the UCLA team that did not get intimidated by Florida in Finals. I just think he is too young and inexperienced to help the Lakers the next couple of years but someone is going to get a player who will be an excellent point guard.

I am still really in turmoil about Lamar. You know how faithfully I have defended him and how much I love his game. I may well be temporarily insane due to Miami winning, but what has really been influencing me are the following factors:

(1) Kobe still has 8 to 10 more productive years as a Laker with the last 6 to 8 years with Bynum, when Kobe will be the same age as MJ was at the start of his 2nd threepeat.

(2) We will not be able to sign a free agent for more than the MLE this year are not really going to be able to compete for a championship next year unless we can solve our point guard problem.

(3) The only potential starter we have drafted in the last 5 years was Bynum, who was our only pick in the top half of the draft the last 5 years.

(4) Chris Mihm does not have enough trade value to get us a quality starter to replace Smush Parker and #26 pick in the draft probably won't either.

(5) We have a unique chance due to a weak draft and the Bulls interest to get two ready-to-play starters and cap space to sign two free agents.

I basically do not see how we can compete for a championship next year but I think trading Lamar to the Bulls might set us up for a string of four or five championships before Kobe retires.

tajluck & Edwin:

The question is can Lamar play three or four positions at once. Trading Lamar to the Bulls could bring us back 2 quality starters from the #2 annd #16 draft picks as well as cap space for 1 or 2 quality free agents. So far, the Lakers have not shown the ability to get starting players drafting late in the first round or signing guys for just the MLE.

tajluck:

No way we can get the Bulls #2 with Mihm et al. That is why the discussion has been focussed on Lamar. Believe me, I love Lamar as much as you do but how else are we going to get high quality starters to go with Kobe and Bynum for the next 10 years? Not by drafting late in the first round and signing guys for the MLE.

we can't trade L.O.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihGxDTdcGzI

Go Lakers

Andew Z:

While I think teams almost always resign their superstars, I think we may see a lot of guys who are quality starters being free agents in the coming years. The Suns may well not be able to resign Diaw and Barbosa, for example, with three guys already pulling down max money in Marion, Nash, and Stoudemire.

Having cap space and the trade exception we would get from trading Lamar, not to mention getting two starters from the top half of the draft is pretty damn tempting.

No matter how much you love Lamar's game, I think the Lakers future and the true core is Kobe and Bynum.

Edwin:

Props, Bro. You are always so calm and under control. It really is hard to believe that the draft is next Wednesday. If you think the blog has been crazy this last week, I can't imagine how wild it will be after next Wednesday. Bottom line, despite differences of opinion on their performance, I do trust the Lakers to make the right moves.

Go, Lakers.

Mike T:

I second your comment to Eric. Do NOT trade Andrew Bynum. He and Kobe will win 5 rings, just like Kareem and Magic.

Weave-Man:

It took Pat Riley 18 years to get another championship. The Queens thought they were on the verge and their window closed. The Mavs think they are on the verge but their window may close also.

Tell me how we are going to get quality starters to go with Kobe and Bynum? We have shown we can't drafting late in the first round. When is the last time we signed a free agent that made any difference?

The Suns, Mavs, Queens, and Spurs will all be better next year and we haven't even done anything to keep up much less pass them.

This was just a weird and lucky year for the Mavs and the Heat. Neither will repeat next year. The Lakers need to think of the next 10 years and build a team with top draft picks and top free agent signees to go with Kobe and Andrew. The goal is to get the players so they can win 5 more Laker championships, just as Magic and Kareem did.

just cuz you draft higher up doesnt mean youre going to get two starters...you would just be jepordizing the organizations and kobe's chances at rings over a gamble on a weak draft, which in itself may not even pay off seeing as phil doesn't play rookies and it takes awhile for them to learn the triangle. its a no win situation, trading L.O. would be the wrong choice, bynum isn't ready yet

Go Lakers
keep L.O.

First I have to say, I'm not disagreeing with looking for "avenues" for our team...but we need to look at all sides. First, these promising draft picks could very turn out to be like Grant Hill, great player, injured all career long, then what would the use be to us? Another point of to think about, we all know Kobe is a warrior, and that if he's nothing else, he's always in shape and will have a far longer career than most---but what about the years under his knees. Let's not forget that every year of beating adds like several more years to his knees, so yes he can play 8-12 years, but will he after not winning all those years, and will his knees handle it. LO is a good player, he can very well be a great player, we owe it to ourselves to at least give him a chance. Trade deadline, and judge.

Let me first reitirate, I'm not disagreeing per say, I think we should look at all avenues of improvement, but our team has not shown me enough to just "blow it up" and trading LO is an equivalent of blowing it up for me (jmo). Give them a chance to grow, they might do what they do best, and that's surprise all of us. Let's not forget that even with the crazy draft picks our org has taken all these years, they're still winners, they have the championships to back it up...and they'll surely bring us back to the promise land. I guarantee it. Go Lakers ;-)

P.S. the K Bros are going to that Journalism award thing today (tonight?) so let's all wish them luck!

Good luck! Go win bring us some bling! lol

Justin,

Here are the strengths and weaknesses according to nbadraft.net

Strengths: Blessed with world class athleticism/leaping ability ... Gets up with the best of them ... Very good quickness, and good first step ... Has experience after staying in college all four years ... An underrated passer, he's got good vision and plays unselfish ... Handles the ball well, at times bringing the ball up for the Bearcats ... A good defender on the perimeter with his long arms and quickness ...
Weaknesses: Still very raw. Jump shot and handle need refinement ... Has not shown the ability to add much strength to his frame ... Cannot handle contact, and rarely gets dunks in traffic ... Needs to get much stronger, improve defensively, gain consistency. Has not broken into the top notch college player that many expected ... Has a tough time with consistency and assertiveness ... Why he hasn't broken into a dominant player is anyone's guess, he has the talent, just hasn't put it together...

I definitely like the idea of perimeter defender, but can do without the inconsistency and cannot handle contact thingy. Pass on him. Lakertom's Thabo is certainly sounding better and better all the time lol.

I like Mihm, but I would be willing to give him up for Brandon Roy. Mihm plus whatever draft picks we can put together plus rarely used veteran personnel, but not what Greg White has heard. Mihm plus LO for Brandon... No way! Even more strongly verbalized, dumb, stupid, unthinkable. Unless Buss, PJ and crew see something I don't. Really bad move.

The most notable one is them moving Roy to the Lakers for Lamar Odom and possibly Chris Mihm.

See post (Update):

http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_17832.shtml

Anyway stop the train I want off. It is not going my way.

David

Faith,
I've been thinking about the situation with LO for a while. Trading him for pics and money offers a lot more flexability in the future. Sure we might get a Grant Hill who is injured but the thing is LO could get injured too. LO may not turn out to be the right player for our needs. Trading him gives us a lot more options a long with some of the same risks either way.

I'm with you on that David! Trading away Lamar for anyone short of KG would be a sin. He causes so many mismatches for opposing defenses. Just imagine if LO was coming out of Rhode Island this year... He would probably be the #1 prospect in the draft.

If a Mihm trade does not happen, it might be a blessing... The guy works hard, improves every year, and seems to really get what the coaching staff expects out of him. It would be great to see this guy play a year minus injury and unwarranted foul calls against him.

BTW... I'm not saying that I'm against trading Mihm with one more year left in his contract. I just don't want to lose the guy for chumps. With Joel Przybilla, Lorenzen Wright, Kelvin Cato, and Nazr Mohammed available, Mihm's value isn't as high as some people might think.

Nice Faith.

I completely agree.

I also wanna say good luck to the K Bros tonight! =) I hope ya win. You def. derserve it.

David,

Thanks for the link.

I agree with you on this one. Mihm plus LO for Brandon is something I have a hard time understanding. I don't see that helping us all that much.

I have to agree with TrueLakerFan. Trading Odom right now for a better "sidekick" is suicide. I mean Odom lead the team in rebounds,assists, 2nd in pts (after Kobe), 3rd in steals (KObe & Smush), and 2nd in block shots (Mihm). So whose fault is it that the Lakers didnt make it to the 2nd (even up to WCF) round? Lamar or the rest of the Lakers (not including Kobe)? The guy can produce.Like some of you are saying KObe cant carry the Lakers by himself. Well neither can Kobe and Lamar. Kobe is producing and so is Lamar. His numbers did go down last season but probably only due to playing thru the triangle. The problem is not LO its the rest of the Lakers. So stop trying to trade LO and trade away the guys that dont produce like KWAME BROWN!!!! Thats my problem. Odome is the 2nd-3rd (behind Kobe and Bynum) most important player in the Lakers. I would rather see the rest of the Lakers traded before i saw KObe, Bynum and Odom traded. Think production. Lamar and Kobe are doing there part. Its time for the rest of the Lakers to step up. If they cant step up (like Kwame) then replace them. Dont ruin the core. Upgrade the scrubs!!!! If we have a decent team and Lamar cant step up then trade him but not yet. The pressure is on the front office. Lets hope they dont dissapoint. It will began with the draft and continue on til the season begins. By then we will know where the Lakers are going.

Michael Teniente,

I don't know what's up with you, but you've been on a roll recently.

Your assessment of Larry Brown's wronging by the Knicks is absolutely correct.

The Knicks have just removed themselves from the list of "class" basketball teams. They've been stumbling for years, but Isiah Thomas has besmirched their name for eternity.

Screw the Knicks.

I hate New York.

GO LAKERS!

LakerTom,

Five rings?!?!

Man, I love your bold enthusiasm!

GO LAKERS!

Why trade LO...wat do u guys want? This guy can play just about every position for us and is beginning to become comfortable in triangle. He averaged basically 16,10 and 6 (shot over 50% from the field and 40% from 3pt) over the last 2 months of the season and he will continue to get better. There is no one who will come in here and average those numbers for us this year along with the versitility that he brings... I think that this summer playing along Kobe will only continue to bring out the best in him!

This is wat i expect to see alot more from him this: year...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv3fWUVkYVI&search=Lamar%20odom

Last year was no fluke guys...the team we have can make some serious noise next year. I think a solid pg and some help of the bench at 1 or 2 spots are all we need. Lo and Kobe pose HUGE match up problems for everyone and that alone makes up for a lot of weaknesses that we may posses believe it or not...but as steven would say

The TRUTH! lol

P.S Can u guys believe that Wade is now the greatest play in the world (according to alot of experts). I can't stand him...he gets everything he wants! He gets every call needed to win and don't u guys find it strange that he has more pads than a football player lol...and guess it's case he falls down 6 times and needs them to get up seven lol...if u ask me he needs to give them to the refs so they can get really comfortable on there knees kissin his a$$!

Zen,

I agree that one of the Mavs' biggest pitfalls in the Finals series was their failure to double-team Wade on a consistent basis (this fact, along with the timeout debacle at the close of Game 5, makes me start to doubt Avery Johnson's supposed coaching "genius"). Apparently, the Mavs felt, at least at the beginning of the series, that D-Wade's jumpers were "unreliable" and, therefore, there was little need to double-team him (although it should have been obvious after Game 3 that he was Miami's biggest threat).

Though D-Wade undoubtedly benefited from Shaq's crowd-drawing in the paint, I think Wade more than returned the favor by bailing Shaq (and the rest of the team) out in game after game - his spectacular clutch play helped to negate Shaq's relentless bricklaying at the free throw line, Jason Williams'and Antoine Walker's ill-advised camping at the 3-point line, Gary Payton's poorly-timed ref whining and the Heat's notoriously awful transition defense.

I'm not quite buying the theory that Shaq deliberately blunted his own performance to help Wade win the MVP - this seems not only improbable but nonsensical as well. If Shaq purposely avoided scoring big numbers, thus reducing Miami's chances of winning (and,consequently, Wade's chance of winning the Finals MVP), what would be the point?

Maybe Nowitzki deliberately played sub-par games to boost Jason Terry's MVP bid (wink).

I definitely think it would be foolish to trade LO for Roy. Mihm and whatever picks and anyone other than Kobe, LO, Bynum, Brown = go for it. I also like the prospects of just getting Banks and sitting on what we have. Banks, Kobe, Odom, Walton, Brown, Mihm, Bynum (still only 19 years old next year) would be pretty cool. We would have a lot of depth and the only player having to learn the triangle from scratch would be Banks (or Roy, if we could get him for Mihm). We would have won a lot of the close games which we lost this year if we had another year of playing together and a better PG. Odom's numbers the whole second half of the season and against the Suns were stellar. I don't see us getting anyone who can compete with Lamar as a FA next season. Odom, Bynum, and Kobe all having several years of playing together is priceless down the road.

LakerTom,

You yourself LakerTom you could see the picture now that no way Chicago will give the #2 nor Portland's draft pick w/o a trick, its' becoming clearer that they are just enticing a Desperate Mitch to fall into a trap again of unloading his No. 2 player thinking he will solve the balance of the group. No way, you know why? In basketball and you played this game as you said it before, CHEMISTRY is very important. Can Kobe play with those new guys coming in? egowise it isn't healthy to discrupt the Kobe mode at this time. With Odom, you can bet that their chemistry would work now that they have matured on their 2nd year, don't discrupt that smooth relationship with an unknown player. You are dealing here with superstars not college stars.

Let us listen to Faith or TrueLakerFan, Weaveman, Shady, Wizo, JayEl, Purple and Gold, Vman, Ken, Jake, Andy B.,The Wolf, Tailuck, Hariyahu and many more bloggers which I could not name ALL, another one latest, David Richardson. LakerTom, listen to the voice of reason...don't trade LO, Bynum, we could see it from our hourglass, it will not take long, not too long, LakerTom, the eventual CONVERGENCE will come out of Kobe, Bynum and Lamarinho (sounds like Ronaldinho Haha) Get off your train of breaking the Lakers into pieces, stay away from Ak/BK omen Haha! and join our group - Retain Lamar Odom Fan Club.

If the Lakers trade Lamar for the 2nd pick (roy)--

I will know that Upchcuk is truely the Devil...

I got a list from Hoopshype about possilbe free agents this offseason. Some of these have signed extensions and some havent. My list might be off but here is a list of possilbe FA's this offseason. All are Guards and their age next year so you can decide if theyre too old.

Tonly Delk-33
Kareem Rush-27
Jason Terry-30
Sam Cassel-38
Bobby Jackson-34
Marcus Banks-26
Jacque Vaughn-32
Speedy Claxton-29
Doug Christie-37
Voshon Leonard-34
Bonzi Wells-31
I just looked up guys who didnt show a salary next season so this isnt an official FA list. Just some guards to thik bout. My personal favorite is Jason Terry. There are also other FA guards out there that i didnt know much about so i didnt put on list. LIke i said its not official but you guys can check them out and it gives us a bigger variety of players.

P.S. Nick "the quick" Van Exel didnt show price so im not sure if he's a Fa this offseason. I wouldnt mind having him back. Though im sure the Spurs would like to keep him.

It is not indiviudual talent that wins NBA Championships, it is TEAM Chemistry that wins. Players have to BOND together as a unit of ONE to be successful.

Lakertom,
I was going to make a point but faith already made it. I think Kobe will play many more years. Not only is he a workout warrior, but also, his game would translate well since hes doesnt rely on just athleticism. kobe is actually a better shooter than jordan too. but as faith said, kobe already had 10 years of miles on him. interesting to see how long these high schoolers that came straight to the nba can last. but who knows, while they have more miles than anyone else, it just seems like players can play longer and longer as they really stay in great shape. back when guards only played like 12 years, a lot of them didnt really work out like players today.
so although kobe should play many many more years...it cant be much longer before youngsters like lebron and wade overtake him.

even tho im on the keep lamar bandwagon, i think im have the same stance as faith (i think....im pretty dang sleepy right now and might not have read it right). i want to keep lamar, but am open to various possibilites. so i want to keeep lamar. but i dont know if anyone brought this up already but...if we trade lamar...we will be pretty bad. (remember 2 years ago...we basically are guaranteed to lose if either kobe OR lamar were injured.) so we will trash a year....however, this 2007 draft will be really great at the top with several great high school prospects that couldnt come out this year. haha, so what if we landed Oden next year??? =) plus i think we have 2 second rounders next year also.

anyways, im not even sure what i wrote in this post. im tired.

Bonez, no kidding about Princess Wade. The slogan should be...

Fall down 7 times, get 8 whistles.

i wonder how the new face of the nba princess wade would look after beeing schooled by kobe and lebron next year.how will the NBA look.
i was thinking about rep .no body tries to block shaq coz he dunked hard,kind of they tried got posterized and stopped trying.
with bynum dunking on shaq will he have more respect among centers wich will give him more confidence and recognition? like kobes clutch plays made him the new west/jordan.will bynum s early and (coz of few chances)dunks and blocks give him the same identity of dominant center as shaq.also the few oportunities didnt give him time to show weaknesses.

Jordan Farmar has a 42 inch standing vertical jump? Damn.

I'd love to see him in purple and gold.

Then again, I'd love to see Darius Miles in purple and gold.

GO LAKERS!

With Dallas fouling Shaq every play, they were always in the penalty. DWade was smart enough to go back to his roots of driving to the basket and drwaning fouls. The Heat followed the script of the simple scheme that worked with the Lakers during the Kareem years and the Shaq years, inside-outside game. Pat Riley loves to work the ball inside to a BIGMAN. Shaq, Kareem and Bill Walton are three of the BEST PASSING Centers ever in the league.

The Lakers management has lost luster and credibility. I don't see a QUALITY Bigman signing with the Lakers, no teams would be willing to 'help' the Lakers and would rather keep their foot on the throat. Get ready for the Cedric Ceballos times repeating Laker history.

If we trade Lamar for Chicago's #2 draft pick, I will lock myself in my room and cry til the 07-08 season.

No joke..this will cost us next season. Unless that is the plan. Do the Lakers want to blow next season for a top draft pick? It sounds crazy, but like wiZo said there are some great highschoolers that will leave school early since they couldn't enter the draft this year.

Sorry for my little rant, but I'd just hate to see Lamar go. We all know he's not perfect, but he still means A LOT to our team. More than Roy could ever give us.

AK/BK can you guys start another page?

steven
one question and if u can answer it. i will stop insulting or rubbing it in ur face.hell u will get peace.
how in the dead centers name do u know that no big man will ever want to come to us.do u read minds if so read my mind and u get a nice surprise(hahaha).
i aint gonna say 14 chanpionships.i aint gonna say tradition and heritage and immortality. i aint gonna say second largest market. i aint gonna say kobe lamr and PJ + big man(bynum so we dont need anybody)=championship.
i will wait for the TRUTH as u put it .

BARBOSA MAY BE FREE AGENT NEXT YEAR!

Here is an interesting tidbit from Steve Kyler's HoopsWorld Rumor Mill:

"There is truth to Leandro Barbosa being available – the Suns have told a number of agents in the draft process that they did not feel they could retain LB in free agency which is a year away for Leandro."

This is the type of player that I think the Lakers should pursue in free agency. He would be a great player for the Lakers to get next year if they have the cap space. He is probably the fastest guy in the league and a great 3-point shooter. Depending on how he plays next season, he could be pretty expensive.

Barboza is really a perfect fit for the Suns but, as I brought up before, it is hard for them to pay out big bucks when they already have three guys on the roster at max money in Nash, Stoudemire, and Marion plus Diaw waiting for his big payday.

While I don't think any of the superstar franchise players - LeBron, Wade, Bosh -- will be free agents, there will be lots of star players who will become free agents because of their team's salary cap situation. That is why I don't like our wasting any more cap space on guys like Aaron McKie, Jim Jackson, or even Marcus Banks, who I don't believe will really help us that much.

SUNS SONIC BIG TRADE RUMORS

DraftExpress has reported that the Suns and Sonics are close to a big trade involving Shawn Marion and the Suns #21 for Rashard Lewis and the Sonics #10, with Barbosa and Danny Fortson also possibly involved.

Seattle wants to trade Lewis before he becomes a free agent next year (he is in same situation as Chris Mihm) and the Suns want to avoid paying a luxury tax next year. The Suns are really in a tough spot regarding the cap. They are over the cap already with three players earning max money (Marion, Stoudemire, and Nash) and Diaw looking for 5 years at $9M and Barbosa 5 years at $7M.

This deal allows the Suns to unload Marions big deal ($16M for 3 more years) for Lewis deal ($9M for 3 years with player option to be free agent next year) to free up the cap space to resign Diaw. And they have not yet addressed what Tim Thomas will want to resign. Bottom line, the cap has made it impossible for the Suns to keep their core roster together.

To answer the question about NVE, he's retiring so that's why he probably didn't show up on the free agent list. But I do remember seeing a headline on ESPNews about Deshaun Stevenson using his player option on his Orlando contract and is now an unrestricted free agent. Has anyone thought about bringing him in? I haven't really followed him since he didn't get much PT in Utah and was middle of the road in Orlando (but can create his own shot and put people on a poster). Any thoughts fellow bloggers since I don't know as much about him?

Purple and Gold

I've been a Laker fan since 1969 during the West and Baylor years. I became a DEVOTE Laker fan when the Lakers got Wilt Chamberlain in a trade. I cried in 1970 when the Lakers lost a TOUGH NBA Finals to the NY Knicks and the famous Willis Reed Game Seven return 'warrior limp'. I recall Chamberlain was slowed with bad knees during that series.

I loved the Lakers when they traded for Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and I got fanatical about the Lakers in 1978-9 when a young rookie named Magic took over for an injured Kareem and played Center, Point Guard, Shooting Guard and sold popcorn in the upper deck as the Laker's outscored the Dr. J led Philadelphia Sixers to win the NBA Finals crown.

During the Magic and Kareem Showtime years, it was such a great form of entertainment, it took on a can't miss feel, as we'd take off early just to catch a game at the sports pub, or a tube at home. Showtime was a cult that was relived on basketball courts all through my area as everyone was Magic with the no-look passes and ultimate layups or slams.

It was beyond belief that the Lakers engineered a trade for Shaquille O'Neal a young Dominant Center from the Eastern Conference. We knew inevitably the Lakers would be destined for more Championships, especially with the trade for Horace Grant.

The Lakers have had great teams and great successes with the games BEST Centers playing in Laker purple and gold. It just disheartens me that the tradition of greatness was compromised in favor for a kid that is stubborn and difficult to work with. Some have stated that quality is a Rx for greatness, however it does not serve as a Rx for good team chemistry. The shoving of a teammate such as Sasha during a game was unnecessary for a LEADER of a team to do. Disagreements happen in the NBA, however there is no cause for battery on teammate.

I sincerely wish the Lakers success, however I don't see that happening unless Kupchak is fired, or Kobe is traded. It sounds harsh but it is realistic in the scheme of things. Since there is nothing outside of LeBron James the Lakers can trade for, we'll just be happy making the playoffs.

This is back to the Cedric Ceballos days, I just miss the old dominant and fun to watch Lakers.

the Truth, Shaq and Heat will re-peat if there is one signing of a good outside shooter.

SPEEDY CLAXTON OVER MARCUS BANKS OR CHRIS DUHON

If the Lakers do not trade Lamar Odom to move up in the draft, the chances are that they will not get a player at #26 who will be able to replace Smush Parker as the Lakers starting point guard, which is an absolute must if the Lakers are to be a better team next year.

While everyone else on the blog seems to be focused on Marcus Banks, I think that Speedy Claxton would be a better option if the Lakers do decide to sign a free agent point guard. He is a proven veteran that has shown he won't choke in the playoffs, is quicker and faster, has better stats as far as points, assists, boards, and steals last year -- even though he didn't start.

Speedy is only 28 years old, is currently making $3.6M and is looking for a 5 or 6 year deal for MLE bucks ($5M). Unlike Banks, he is a veteran player who proved he could perform big in the playoffs with the Spurs. Speedy averaged 12 pts, 5 assists, 3 boards, and 1.5 steals with the Hornets last year and finished second in the 6th man of the year voting. We don't need another young player like Smush who may choke in big games.

I also would prefer to sign Speedy as a free agent rather than trading Chris Mihm for Chris Duhon, another young player who doesn't have Speedy's stats or experience. If we do trade Chris, it should not be for a player that may not even be as good as Smush. As cliche as it is, I also do not like the idea of trading big for small, even if the Bulls were to throw in the #16 pick.

Chris is worth a lot more than that to the Lakers as a player. I would even propose that we might be better off in the long run to resign Chris rather than give him away for less than he is worth. He is now making $4.2M. He probably would be willing to resign with the Lakers for 3 years at $5M per year, which I think would be a great value considering what he brings to the table, especially if he continues to improve his offense and defense as he shown he can do.

TO: THE KEEP LAMAR BANDWAGON:

Man, I feel like AK or BK after snubbing Kobe for the MVP award. Or Steven after one of his more vitriolic posts. You guys need to check the blog archives to remind yourselves what a huge Lamar Odom fan and supporter I've been since we got him.

My proposals on the blog involving Lamar have never been based on anything but the greatest respect and admiration for the guy and his game. If the Lakers decide not to trade him, I will not be disappointed. It will simply mean that the team's management determined that the financial flexibility and young players they would be able to get in return via the Bulls picks were not as valuable as Lamar.

Unlike some on the blog, I have never said that I could do a better job than Mitch Kupchak as the general manager of the Lakers. I am sure that the information that the Lakers management has put together about Brandon Roy, Thabo Sefolosha, Saer Sene, and other top draft prospects is far better than the second hand stuff I dig up on the web.

What my proposals reflect is how I believe the Lakers can best build a team around Kobe/Bynum that can repeat the strings of championships that the Lakers had with Magic/Kareem and Kobe/Shaq, taking into consideration the new CBA's impact.

I believe having cap space to sign the "right" free agents and high picks to draft the "right" players has become far more important under the new CBA. And right now, the Lakers have neither. That is why I believe there have been rumors that they are considering trading Lamar Odom to Chicago for the Bulls #2 and #16 picks in the draft.

I think Lakers management has done a great job in the aftermath of the Kobe/Shaq meltdown. Sure I wish we had gotten Dwayne Wade or not gotten stuck with Brian Grant's contract. But look at where we have come in just two years. I have confidence that Lakers management knows best what they have and what they need as far as players go. I just happen to think that they may have decided that getting two top-level young starters through the draft, cap space to sign one or two top-level free agents, and a valuable trade exception may be worth more than even Lamar Odom in the long run.

Wednesday, we will find out what Lakers management really thinks. And I am sure we will be grateful that we are not Celtic and Knick fans. Go, Lakers.

P.S. Steven trying to claim that he has been a long-time Laker fan has to be the ultimate joke. And that's the TRUTH.

Tom

Oh, and looking Orlando again, it shows that Trevor Ariza is a free agent as well. This is another wing player who's explosive and has some upside as well. Maybe him as well? Bloggers?

DRAFT EXPRESS LATEST MOCK DRAFT

I thought that this latest version of their mock draft was fascinating in that their predictions for picks #16 through #20 contained all of the players I have on my list for Lakers, with the exception of Brandon Roy, of course. I think this is why so many GM's have commented on there being great value in the picks in the "teens."

#16 Bulls - Thabo Sefolosha, PG/SG/SF
#17 Pacers - Rajon Rondo, PG
#18 Wizards - Alexander Johnson, PF
#19 Kings - Saer Sene, C
#20 Knicks - Shawn Williams, SG/SF

TRADING CHRIS MIHM TO DRAFT SAER SENE!

While I love Chris Mihm, I can't help thinking that it might be a terrific move for the Lakers to try and get this guy. You should read the reports on Sene and look at the great 8-minute video that DraftExpress has put together on the guy. He has the wingspan of a 7'8" player and the potential to become one of the greatest shot blockers ever in the league. And he runs like a deer, works like a dog, is a great athlete, and is said to be a fast learner with unlimited upside.

I have been thinking about our need for a strong low post shot-blocker and how Alonzo showed how blocking shots can demoralize an opponents offense.
I have been thinking that maybe trading Chris Mihm to the Bulls for their #16 and maybe Duhon just in order to draft Sene might be a terrific move for the future. Take a look at the video and let me know what you guys think? I might even have a hard time taking Thabo over him if had the chance.

Here are links to his profile and the video:

Daft Profile: http://draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=246

Video and workout update: http://www.draftexpress.com/viewarticle.php?a=1358

Laker Tom,

Welcome to BK and my world. Ain't always a barrel of laughs, huh? haha

AK

LAKERS DRAFT JAMES WORTHY (Oops, James White, SG/SF 6'7" 190 serior from Cincinatti) AT #26!

I laughed with everyone else when I first read that DraftExpress had slotted James White of Cincinatti as our #26 pick. After reading their report, his profile, and looking at the 3.5 min video of highlight dunks by the guy, I think he looks like a potentially great pick at #26. Can you say James Worthy?

White supposedly also plays great defense and handles the ball and passes good enought even to play point guard. This is their second workout for the guy. Looks to me like Mitch, Phil, and Jerry are doing their homework.

Here is what DraftExpress said about White's defense in his profile:

"Defensively is where White currently stands out the most as far as his NBA draft potential goes. He has good length and outstanding lateral quickness, being able to stay in front of almost anyone at the college level when focused and be a real threat in the passing lanes. He’s extremely versatile in the sense that he’s been asked to defend every position from the 1-4 in college, and has generally enjoyed great success doing so."

Here is what they reported about his second workout with the Lakers:

"James White returned to Los Angeles today for his 2nd workout with the Lakers, a source confirmed to DraftExpress. The workout was “extremely competitive,” according to one source in the gym and “one of the longer ones the Lakers have conducted so far,” according to another. White worked out with British power forward Joel Freeland, Stanford senior Dan Grunfeld and another unnamed big man. Our source in the gym went on to say that White “shot the lights out” and “dunked on the big men repeatedly.” He emphasized his “ridiculous” leaping ability time and time again and mentioned that he “can’t imagine how anyone can be more athletic than him.” The Lakers got a good look at how the players might fit in their Triangle offense with the various drills they ran, and White’s passing and ball-handling skills tested out extremely well. White measured out at 6-7 1/2 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss made a rare appearance at the workout and was reportedly impressed, as were GM Mitch Kupchak and Head Coach Phil Jackson. According to one of our readers, both Kupchak and Jackson were on separate LA radio shows today talking about the need for drafting an athletic wing with defensive skills that has the ability to shoot the three, with Kupchak mentioning looking at a 4 year player. White fits the ball for all of those needs and is a great fit for the Triangle offense due to his point forward skills, having played quite a bit of point for Cincinnati over the past three years.

White is reportedly looked at as a first round talent by the various shoe companies, and is on the verge of landing a 6 figure contract. His first class athleticism makes him potentially one of the more marketable players in this draft class.

To get a visual of why the shoe companies covet his feet, take a look at the following 3 ½ minute highlight reel we dug up on Youtube.com."

Here is a link to the video, which is awesome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzeAcPik4_s&search=James%20White

Here is also a link to DraftExpress' profile for James White:

http://www.draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=71

Man, I am getting so psyched up about this draft. Maybe we can do better than Sasha and Cook with #26. I can't wait until Wednesday. Go, Lakers.

AK:

Thanks for the comment. While the arrows sting, I think the other bloggers know my heart is in the right place, just as they know the same for you and BK.

What is really obvious to me this draft is that Mitch K, Phil, and Jim and Jerry Buss really have a tough job to sort out what to do.

Thanks again for a great job. The blog has given Laker fans a great place to enjoy rapping about their team. Mucho Kudos, Props, & Thx.

STEVEN,

The way you responded on Purple and Gold's question show your veritable knowledge of Lakers history and you're worthy of respect. If you just maintain that kind stance, people will always welcome whatever your opionion against Kobe for you expressed your concerns why you cannot cheer for him but you love the Lakers or else you will not be coming back in blogging with us. I sincerely hope that you maintain that kind of rapport on a professional level rather than labeling names on Kobe that irritates his fans.

I feel the need to clarify, Lakertom. I never meant to question your loyalty and visionary-ness for this team. We know you are a great fan, in fact somewhat better than me (haha)...jk...but for real, we all here appreciate what you do and the "points" you put out there. Like I said, I'm not against it per se, just stating an opinion, much like you have. Great blogging with you and keep up the good work.

Let me say this also, touche Zen, it could very well happen, in the end whichever way we go, I have to believe we've made the best decision (or at least hope for the best).

ok im officially a james white fan, i remember seeing that dunk contest, hes is hella athletic

Go Lakers

Thanks for all the good info LakerTom.

I agree with you LakerTom on Claxton. Duhon is too much of an unknown. The #1 thing for the Lakers is speed at PG, and Claxton and Banks are faster than Duhon. I think Claxton has more of a polished offensive game than Banks, so he would be the best option availbale.

I don't see trading Lamar at this point, we can't get value in this draft. I would have traded Lamar for Artest, but to trade Lamar for Brandon Roy would just set us back.

One team we should be talking to is the Warriors. There was a mention in the SF Chronicle the other day that the Warriors are open to trading down from #9. This is a team without a center and with some repetitive young talent. I would love to see us pick up Mikael Pietrus for Mihm and maybe find a way to move up in the draft.

I don't like the idea of trading Mihm, but his contract is up at the end of the coming season and why would he stay knowing he can start somewhere else for more money while the Lakers have him slotted behind Kwame and Bynum? Might as well cash out now.

This is the first time I've had access to so much pre-draft info. It makes it seem like there are a couple of potential all star teams waiting to be drafted! (LOL)

White looks pretty good. But will he be there when the time comes. I don't envy the Lakers brain trust. It HAS to be difficult to rate these players.
I can't help thinking they will take the best player available regardless of need, and I would agree with that.
I like that they are looking at guys that can play defense. While a shooter or two would be nice, scoring was not their biggest problem last season. If they were a consistently GOOD defensive team they might have gone to the conference finals.

The Laker needs:
They need a guard to start over Smush that can match up with the quicker guards. And then I like Smush coming off the bench. It could be a tremendous role for him.
A guard or small forward that can shoot a high percentage.
An athletic swing-man who can run and play defense.

If they can meet some or any of these needs, emphasize defense, and with the continuing growth of our younger players, who knows how far we might go next year.

Is this the same James White that was hailed as someone that can't handle contact? (as per nbadraft.net) I had visions of that Samuel Jackson character in the Bruce Willis movie Unbreakable. I like the D though, more importantly perimeter D. Let's just say with all these "promising" picks, I can't for the life of me, figure out why this is supposively a "weak" draft (and I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever, just puzzlement).

any chance lakers take steve novak from marquette,hes the best shooter not named jj redick in the draft.i think a steal late in first round.

Steven
I was amazed and a bit skeptical(might be "fake" steven). You should really listen to Edwin. That was the first post you have ever put that didnt annoy or make me laugh (lol love your comments,makes my day). I just dont think a TRUE Laker fan wouldnt trash talk the organization or its fans for sticking with them through thick and thin.

LakerTom
Not a bad video but i didnt see what i wanted to see. I expected some def clips or some show of his shooting abilities. Remember that Smush is a street baller (Rucker Park,NY) and i have seen some great dunks from Smush too. Its a different thing playing street ball (including dunk contests) then playing in the NBA. Thats why we dont see the AND 1 crew playing in the NBA. If the kid can play i hope he has D and can shoot consistently or else we dont need him. I skimmed the profile and said he's quick and plays good D. I just wish i could see some of that to convince me since i dont watch much of anything thats not professional (including college) ball. He is very athletic (from vid) but its the D we need. Hope the scouts are right bout him. If he can play D then he would be a good pick at the #26(if all other players are gone like Sef and Diaz).

LakerTom (different issue :P)
I agree in keeping Mihm and trying to sign him at $5mil for 3 years. I just wish Kwame's contract was shorter in length or was payed less. Same production at half the price doesnt sound bad to me. Too bad the Laker fron office messed that one up. Even if Bynum got the starting C i would mine pulling of a spur move (2 7footers) with Mihm at Pf. Mihm is a bit quicker so even if he gets beat Bynum will be there to help. Damn Jordan for drafting Kwame and damn the Lakers front office for offerign him a long contract for WAY TOO MUCH $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"According to one of our readers, both Kupchak and Jackson were on separate LA radio shows today talking about the need for drafting an athletic wing with defensive skills that has the ability to shoot the three"

Are these dumb asses serious? What we F'en need is someone who is smart enough to shoot the mid-range jumper. Damn, didn't they learn their F'en lesson last season when they were shooting 3's like crazy and out of games. I mean, how stupid can these DUMB ASSES BE? THE MID-RANGE JUMPER IDIOTS!

mike

Jman449:

Thanks for the support for Speedy. I moved from SoCal to NorCal many years ago and have followed what happens to the Warriors even though I am a Laker fan.

You are right that they have a couple of interesting young guys in Monta Ellis and Mikael Petrius. Their problem is that they have terrible max contracts for Dunleavy, Davis, Murphy, and Foyle, none of whom are worth it. That has them totally tied up. They are desperately marketing their #9 trying to get someone to take Murphy and Dunleavy off their hands. I don't see any way to make a deal with them. They will only let their young guys or #9 pick go if you also take one or two of their bad contracts.

I actually am kind of interested now in trading Mihm to the Bulls for their #16 pick and using it to draft Saer Sene, the 7' center from Senegal. You should check out the links in my earlier post for the video of his shot blocking and speed and athleticism. He has the wingspan of a 7'8" player and the potential to be the best shot blocker in the league, which is something the Lakers defense could use. I happen to love Mihm and this is the first time that I can see something worth trading him for. Thanks again for the Speedy support.

I forgot all about James White. I think he started off at Florida and then moved to Cincy. I'm thinking since the Lakers brought him in and he did good with the workout, then we should give him a shot.

Andy B:

Here is how I rank the Lakers draft needs:

(1) POINT GUARD that can defend and stop other point guards such as Steve Nash and Tony Parker from penetrating but have enough size to handle switches on pick and rolls and being posted up. Should also be good ball handler, passer, and be able to shoot from outside as well as drive and dish.

Draft Prospects: Brandon Roy, Thabo Sefolosha

(2) SMALL FORWARD that can defend and stop wing players such as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade from penetrating and power players such as Bonzi Wells, or Ron Artest from posting us up in the paint. Should also be good ball handler and passer able to shoot from outside or drive to the rim.

Draft Prospects: Thabo Sefolosha, James White

(3) POWER FORWARD OR CENTER that can block shots and shut down penetration in the lane, rebound with authority, and run the floor. Should have good hands, be good passer, and be able to shoot a high percentage from the free throw line in.

Draft Prospects: Saer Sene, Alexander Johnson

Faith:

I agree with you that there is a lot to like about this draft. I have read several analysts state that despite the lack of the high school phenoms and franchise players, this draft will be seen as a very good draft a few years from now.

There were a lot of college underclassmen who came out this year because they expect that next year's draft will be dominated by Greg Oden and the high schoolers who had to go to college for a year.

If we really could get James White for #26, I think I might agree. I am even up to the possibility of trading Mihm to get Chicago's #16 to draft Saer Sene, the 7' shot blocker from Senegal, who I think could be a Ben Wallace type defender or better for the Lakers. I think I might pick him over Thabo at #16 if we could find another solution for point guard.

James White, by the way, sounds as if he could easily play point in the triangle at 6'7" and quick feet. If Phil is impressed by him, then that could really be a positive sign for the Lakers. I think he is so under the radar that he will be there for #26.

At any rate, our first priority has to be to solve the point guard defensive problems. If we decide not to trade Lamar to get Roy, then maybe we go with the following:

(1) Use the MLE to sign Speedy Claxton as our point guard and move Smush Parker to backup.

(2) Draft James White at #26 as our small forward and move Luke Walton to backup.

(3) Trade Chris Mihm for the Bulls #16 and draft Saer Sene as a shot blocker for our 3rd center.

The roster would then look like this:

1 - Speedy Claxton | Smush Parker
2 - Kobe Bryant | Sasha Vujacic | Aaron McKie
3 - James White | Luke Walton
4 - Lamar Odom | Ronny Turiaf | Brian Cook
5 - Kwame Brown | Andrew Bynum | Saer Sene

The team would be greatly improved with better defense, size, and athleticism and better balance between the front and back courts. What do you think, Faith?

Mike T:

I agree. It does seems contradictory that Phil would mention needing 3-pt shooting after all of his complaining about how it kills us on defense. Maybe he just means guys who can make their 3 pointers rather than missing them. You know, guys like the Suns have and we don't.

Shady:

I know what you mean about Kwame. You have to give him his due for his man-on-man defense in the post against Shaq, Duncan, KG, and other low post players. I don't know if that is worth $8M but it definitely is a scarce talent around the league. I think that is why the Lakers feel they need him. I also think he is very immature even though he has been in the league for 4 years now. I think in a way Mike T is right that he can realy develop to the point where he will be worth what we are paying. Problem is then he will want more, like anyone would. Hopefully by then, Bynum will be ready or we will have an improved Chris Mihm or will have traded Mihm for Saer Sene to replace him. Having three centers who can contribute is not a problem as far as I am concerned. Go, Lakers.

3 centers are not required.
Kwame is not the best center. He is simply a stop-gap until "Socks" develops circa year 3. I like Mihm, but his contract is expiring and We can use him to get another prospect.
option #1:
Mihm to the Bulls. #16 Thabo #26 J/White.
Option #2: Mihm to the Hornets. #12 and J.R. Smith to the Lakers.

And remember, Sasha is only 22 he will develop into a good player.
Each option will get the Lakers a few more athletic wing players that can be developed for 2-3 years along with Bynum.

Ken:

I like your thinking. As you know, I have always been high on Thabo and I also really like what I hear about White, so I like your option 1.

I don't really know much about J.R. Smith but what I have found doesn't say much about him as a defender. I also think Thabo will be there at #16 if we want him, so trading to #12 may be overkill.

I don't think the Lakers plan on playing White or Thabo at the 1 so my preference for point guard would be to sign Speedy Claxton for the MLE to replace Smush as the starter.

Have you taken a look at the 8.5 minute video on Saer Sene, the 7 shot blocking center from Senegal. He is a really hot prospect and has the Bulls and Suns seriously considering him. I think he might be a better prospect for us to use the Bulls #16. It's a big for big trade then.

White and Thabo are very similar talents, both having some experience, good defenders, athletic and fast. If we feel we can get White at #26, I would seriously consider taking Sene with the Bulls #16.

If you watched the Finals, you could see that Alonzo's shot blocking was what really won game 7 for Miami and that is something the Lakers do not have right now. Bynum may be able to provide it but it doesn't look like Kwame will.

I would use the #16 to take Sene and then look to trade Kwame down the road when Bynum and Sene were ready to take over. Kwame makes more money now ($9M) and he would then be the center to go. In the meantime, he does provide great low post 1-on-1 defense right now and doesn't have the value to trade that Chris Mihm does.

Check him out on DraftExpress. I posted the links earlier today. Let me know what you think. Glad to see another Thabo fan, though. Thanks.

LakerTom,

I would agree with Ken's option 2 with regards to #12 get Thabo rather than Saer if available. Based on your line-up, you were putting Saer as 3rd stringer next to AB, let's get someone who can play immediately and help the team. What I like in Ken's option 2 is the inclusion of Smith, I believe it was AZ who introduced this idea of J. R. Smith and if you will look at the salaries, they match. Trading with Byron Scott is a possibility because he needs C we might have to add Cook since we're getting three players. I really hope we could get Banks & Claxton with our MLE, they can split it in $2M and $3 respectively with a promise to increase it depending on their performance like we did with Fox.

Mike T, LakerTom,

I don't know the way Mitch or PJ said their needs but with regards to three point perimeter shooting, PJ teams always employ a player who could do the threes as his outside shooter in the triangle. Remember the role players with the Bulls like Paxton, Armstrong and Kerr all three point specialists. With the Lakers, he got Fox, Fisher, Horry, Pemberthy, Rush, Rice so as you can see he always want the three point specialist. I don't think he will depend his offense entirely on three point production which is a do or die strategy.

Mike T--

Man, the mid range jumper...

You are soooooo right. The problem is, none of todays players even look to practive that shot. At least thats what it seems like to me. The "slash to the basket" type players are just that (the name to me implies that they have no real jump shot at all), and the "shooters" are guys that seem to just sit behind the three point line. The three point line, as exciting as it is when you need the basket, has taken away the art of shooting. The 14' to 18' jump shot is a lost art, and that's a damn shame. If I were Phil, I would demand that all Laker players practice 2000 shots per day this offseason, all within that 14-18' range. The way teams play defense against Kobe (and Lamar) the triangle is an offense that opens up someone in that range every time down the floor...

One thing to thing about-

Having a guy on the wing who can knock down threes reliably would help stretch the floor, allowing guys like Kobe and Lamar to the freedom and space to attack aggressively, go to the rack, or pull up from mid-range.

The guy they draft doesn't have to be the guy taking all the mid-range jumpers.

Just a thought.

BK

Mike T
I agree. The 3 point shooting sometimes drove me crazy last season. It makes me nuts when guys are looking for the 3 point line instead of taking their shots in rhythm.

Ken
I hope Sasha is taking 300 jump shots a day. He MUST shoot better next season or it will be his last (with the Lakers, anyway). We can't afford to wait much longer for him to develop. And I truly hope he does. Kid has a lot of heart.

LakerTom
The first 2 for sure. The Lakers are pretty good up front unless Bynum can't give them some more minutes each game yet. I believe they will take the best player available regardless of need. Let's face it the Lakers could use some depth at every position.

Can't wait until Wednesday!

BK

That's a valid point about needing a 3pt. shooter. Do you know of any prospects (FA vets or draftees) who can knock 'em down from beyond the arc and play solid defense? A Raja Bell type is what we need to contribute on both sides of the ball. Keyword is "type"... I'll be damned if Raja somehow ends up a Laker!

Steven, I've been this blog for a while but never posted.There is no way you can call yourself a Laker fan.Your what we call in sports a front running team fan when the team is doing good then a bandwagoner to another team when they're not.If you can't be there after Showtime or the 3peat why call yourself a laker fan.No way your worthy of respect.Knowledge of Lakers history is knowledge of the NBA because the Lakers is the NBA just ask David Stern & the higher tv ratings they get.I respect these other bloggers for they're true diehard Laker fans...and that is in the refrigerator. ChickHearn4ever

We don't need a wingman who shoots the three, we need a wingman who defends threes. Tim Thomas ring a bell? What was he in the Lakers/Suns series, 30 out of 35 from 3?

LakerTom, the Warriors are indeed shopping their lousy contracts, but they will have a tough time getting anyone in the NBA to bite on Murphy, Dunleavy, Foyle or Baron Davis. I think in the end, they MUST get someone to play center, Mihm's contract is more reasonable than any other available center and a Mihm/Pietrus deal can work capwise if the W's throw in some filler. As far as the draft pick goes, the Warriors have to be desperate to move down. How many lottery picks with big contracts can they carry? What if the Lakers throw in an extra lotto-protected #1 plus #26 and Mihm for Pietrus, cap-filler and #9?

Sene is intriguing and you always like getting bigs, but we already have 3 "project"-type bigs in Turiaf, Kwame and Bynum. I feel like we need a veteran for that backup job. The best guy for that job is Danny Fortson, but unfortunately, his contract is so bad, it would be almost impossible for the Lakers to get him.

Lakertom
I really admire your drive in finding all these possible "great" prospects. I like your thinking with some of these guys but the problem is we wont see them much next season. Phil doesnt play rookies. So even if we did get a good draft Phil would just bench him til he learned the triangle. Any other coach would play them but Phil doesnt. He is changing so if we do get his boy (Roy) he might get some PT. WE saw it with Bynum,Turiaf and even Jim Jackson who already knew the triangle (is also a vet) and suppose to be better than Smush and Sasha. My lineup would be

1.Fa/Smush
2.KObe/Sasha
3.LO/Walton
4.Turiaf/Brian Cook
5.Bynum/Kwame
NOt many changes other than a Fa but it can all change. LIke i said I really dont see a rookie coming this offseason and just amazing PHil to the point where he gets a lot of PT. I dont think we are gonna get many changes if we dont trade Mihm. The rest of the players would be added to sweeten or balance the salaries. Last years roster might be exactly the same except another Guard. A good guard might give us an extra 5wins this season.

Lakertom
Almost forgot about the Kwame thing. Its exactly what you said about him that pisses me off the most. The guy is gettign paid too much ($9mil) for the same production that the other guy (Mihm) is doing and getting paid half ($4mil). Whats worse is if he does improve do you really think he's gonna want to sign again for $9mil a year? The guy is gonna want a max contract. That is just ridiculous!! Thats why i hope they trade him before his contract expires. Either he improves and stays at $9mil or he takes a huge paycut. Those are the only 2 options i would give him. If he doesnt take it then either trade him or let him become a FA. Like i said his contract is ridiculous. I rather keep Mihm at $4mil and then give him a raise for $5mil like you said. Saves us some nice cap for a better FA too.

Shady:

The problem obviously is that Mihm is a far better prospect for other teams because of his low salary relative to his performance. So unfortunately, we don't have the option of trading him rather than Mihm.

I also think that Kwame's post man defense is highly valued by the Lakers. It means we don't have to double Shaq, Duncan, KG, etc. And he is not going to be a free agent after next year. So the trade bait is Mihm -- or Bynum, whom none of us want to trade -- or Lamar, who is the most valuable and might possibly be moved to get the pick to draft Brandon Roy and to free up cap space.

Bottom line, it will all depend upon how highly the Lakers value Brandon Roy. I have not heard that they brought him back for a second workout, but maybe they don't want to tip their hand. It should be fun Wednesday.

hey guys. i think everyone is forgetting that kareem rush is available next year and pj said at the beginning of his re-signing of the lakers that if he was the coach eariler, that rush would still be a laker. so its possible that rush could come back soon. i think speedy would be what we need at pg. the last few years he has proven to be a good defender and a decent shooter, but im not so sure that pj would like him for the team as speedy is about 6'0 ( iknow fish was that height) and phil basically wanted a bigger version of speedy. bk is right about phil liking the 3pt shooters. i remember one interview with pj sometime ago and he said that he liked a 3pt. threat because when the floor is spread out, the defense is spread and the off. can atack the basket or shoot quick jumpers. it was a fox sports interview about 2-3 yrs ago ithink. unless mike t, phil and kupcake could be applying the good old misinformation to confuse others about laker plans. you never know!

Shady:

It is interesting that the reports when we drafted Bynum were that Phil agreed. Yet, he really didn't play him that much. Then he got hurt when Phil was going to give him more time later in the year.

Now we hear that Phil covets Brandon Roy and likes James White, but will they play? In the end, it probably depends on how good the guy is and how ready his game is to play in this league. That may be why he likes Brandon Roy, as he is thought to be the most NBA ready of the top guys.

Or it could all be a giant smokescreen like the high schooler Gerald Green last year, who was supposed to have wowed the Lakers in his workout.

The reason I have liked Brandon Roy and Thabo Sefolosha so much as draft prospects is because they are closer to being able to help us than the normal picks, with Roy having 4 years of college ball and Thabo 4 years of pro ball in Europe.

Can't wait until Wednesday. Also, I have not yet seen the big post that Eric Pincus hinted about. Maybe tommorrow.

Jman449:

You are right that we need guards and swing players that can also defend the 3. In the NBA today that really means guys who can keep in front of their man and not allow him to penetrate. Most of the 3 point shots that are taken result from drive and dishes from penetrators. That's why we need guys who are quick and can defend. I think both White and Thabo fit that description.

The reason why I am tempted by Sene is that we are terrible when it comes to help defense from our big men. I got so tired in the Suns series of seeing Smush get beaten and nobody rotating to pick up a charge or block the layup.

I think Sene is physical freak that will become a force with his shot blocking ability, length, speed, and athleticism. Look at what the shot blocking of Alonzo did to the Mavs offensive confidence in game 7. Or what Noah's shot blocking did to UCLA's offensive confidence in the NCAA championship game.

Besides staying in front of your man, it is the other half of great team defense and something the Lakers sorely lack at this time.

Forget a deal with the Warriors. They won't give up Ellis without our taking a bad player and bad contract in return.

hey guys. since kwame is a big man that can play center, could the lakers give him up to another team that needs a big man? there got to be other teams that can use this guy. maybe GSW? anyway, like ronnie lester said, bynum is supposed to be around 300lbs when he will get most of his PT, so kwame is expendable. id say his contract is in the way we trade him to another team at least for another first rounder(anywhere). i think he showed enough of himself in the second half of the season that teams in the NBA(if they could afford it) could probably use him. just my thought. please let me know if this works.

Alex

Unfortunately things change in life it is a natural phenomenom for things to change. For instance, the Lakers changed directions by trading Shaq. The Western Conference changed with the trading of Shaq and Chris Webber. Change is inevitable, one would hope that even you Alex have a need to change, changing your underwear and clothes once in awhile without the help of others is change.

Even though it wasn't as simple as an article of clothing. Change the Laker organization has taken, a change that I don't see righting itself in the next few years under PJ's contract, nor during the end of Kobe Bryant's contract was not in the best interest for the fan base nor the pursuit of an organization winning championships.

In viewing change my respect for Basketball as being a BigMan's game will never change. I have not changed my respect for the MOST DOMINANT Center to ever play the game on both ends of the court. Shaquille O'Neal of the World Champion Miami Heat will always be the Most Dominant Force in Sports during our time. The trading of Shaq CHANGED the destiny of sports for South Florida and the Miami Heat organization forever.

Now the jello is jiggling.

OUT!!!
the Truth

steven(assuming that is u ) u will get u r peace wich i promised but we would all love it if,like edwin said, would talk like this with more reason.
i dont agree about not trading shaq.it was kobe or shaq.and kobe was better. shaq has more potential than chaimberlain but never worked and wouldnt have lost weight.u beeing a true laker fan it s hard to beleive but if u are stop bandwagening from wagon to wagon and be a true laker fan.
we are not going to fail.kobe is better than MJ and if he could do it so will kobe.
plus we are proud of our tradition of great centers and here comes bynum teached by kareem.
unless zo and payton play the same as this year ,walker doesn t chuck up three s and oneil doesnt fall appart and wade get the princess calls they wont repeat.
if u are a true laker fan u would love them more when they are rebuilding coz u know that they are yours u are a true fan not just when they are winning.

mike only kobe has the midrange in the lakers ,he has the best in the leaugue ,nowitzki is another but u are right it is a lost art.just watch larry birf use it . i love the sound of that jumper when it goes swich.lamar should work on it and he and kobe would be unsoppable.
Steven while i got why u hate kobe and why u act like u did but u didnt answer the question (the peace was for u actually having a conversation).
that doesnt not mean whe cant atract big men.
it is irilative.a good trade would make it work.
assuming that bynum doesnt become and all star .lakers have always got that magical trade.
and u didnt explain why it wont work again ,the market and the talent in the lakers would attract a lot of big man if needed.(ps there wont be another shaq i will give u that,and i would have enjoyed keeping them together but if u watched BDSSE kobe said that shaq demanded it was him or kobe and kobe was and still is better so ..)

These DUMB ASSES (Kupchak and PJ) are under the impression that the Suns won the Championship. Well, here's new for you 2 as*holes, the Heat won! How did they win? Dwanye Wade, with his MID-RANGE JUMPER, drive, and ability to pick-up fouls.

I swear these DUMB AS*ES are always blowing it in the draft, except for Bynum. Punk a*s players like Brian Cook, Kareem Rush, Sasha in the 1st round. Let face facts the Lakers scoutting/draft is ametuer compared to the Spurs and Suns.

BK,

It's not like a rookie is going to be playing much under PJ so why go for a 3 point shooter? Will he be playing big minutes in his second year, the final year of PJ's contract? I'm telling you these guys are stupid BAST*RDS.

mike

Good morning all...I found this article you all might like to read...


What will Kobe do?
By BRADFORD GILLENS, Special to The T&D
Saturday, June 24, 2006

As I watched Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry’s final three-point attempt bounce off the back of the rim and Finals MVP Dwayne Wade throw the ball into the air as time expired, it was something of a bittersweet moment. As Wade ran over to center Shaquille O’Neal and embraced him at half court amidst the rest of the Heat players celebrating, in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but to wonder how a certain player was feeling some 1,419 miles across the country in his Anaheim, Calif. home.

Not to take anything away from the Miami Heat’s remarkable championship run — overcoming a 2-0 deficit to win four straight over the Dallas Mavericks behind the stellar play of Wade — but whenever Shaquille O’Neal’s name is mentioned in anything, somehow, we always seem to wonder about what the other half of arguably the best one-two combination in the history of basketball is doing.

After turning off the television as I was visibly dejected, I began to wonder, “What will Kobe do now? How is he feeling? How will he come back from this?”

As much as Bryant says the hatchet is buried between him and Shaq, it has to literally eat away at him that Shaq is a champion again and has now “raised the stakes.” See, as long as Detroit continued to dominate the East and eliminate Shaq and the Heat from the playoffs, Kobe was safe. He had another season to build the kind of championship caliber team it will take to compete in the Western Conference because let’s face it, the current Lakers are no championship contenders by a long shot. Not only that, whether he chooses to admit it or not, he knows that both of their careers are no longer defined by how many championships they won together, but how many they win post “The Lake Show.”

O’Neal fell into a great situation in Miami with a first-year player who in two years has exceeded just about everyone who knows anything about basketball’s expectations. In three years, Wade has established himself as one of the premier players in the NBA alongside his Class of ’03 teammates LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Kobe, on the other hand, has been a one-man show in L.A. He knew he’d have to shoulder a lot of the scoring load and took to the challenge. In two seasons, he’s only averaged 35.4 ppg (most since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 in 86-87), scored 81 points in a single game (shooting over 60 percent from the field), as well as guided the Lakers to a first round appearance in this years’ playoffs and a 3-1 lead as a #7 seed.

All of which is great, but apparently not enough. So I go back to my original questions: “What will Kobe do now? How is he feeling? How will he come back from this?”

Expect Bryant to come back better than ever before next season.

Expect Bryant to use all of the negative articles from across the country that will take shots at him for allegedly breaking up a dynasty, as well as the countless amount of Sportscenter highlights and Sports Illustrated championship commercials that will flood the airwaves as motivation.

Bryant is never satisfied. He not only wants to be the best in the NBA, he wants to be the best of all time. And while some people see Bryant’s assurance of himself and his abilities as pure arrogance, I see it as unbridled self-confidence. Expect him to be in the gym from today until the beginning of the preseason taking 2,000 shots a day, working on his post moves, shooting free throws — the whole nine yards.

After all, Shaq has now upped the ante, placing himself in the forefront again, and we all know how Bryant feels about playing second fiddle to O’Neal.

The one thing in Kobe’s favor in this comparison of careers is that he has “father time” on his side as he is only 28, as opposed to O’Neal being 34. He just finished his 10th NBA season and is in the prime of his career, while O’Neal will probably ride off into the sunset on his Hall of Fame career in one to two years after earning his 4th NBA title in 14 years.

Somewhere right now, Bryant is calculating his every move to get back to “the promised land.” And he will, because he will not rest until he has proven to everyone that he can do it. See, Bryant thrives on doubters. Say to reporters in a press conference that you’re going to shut him down, he calmly drops 62 on you in three quarters; decide to let him shoot and defend everyone else and he goes insane and pours in 81. Oh yeah, keep doubting him, that’s what he wants so when he finally does hoist up that NBA Title for the fourth time — whether it’s next year, two years, or ten years from now — he can look at you with his signature “I told you so” smirk.

The stakes have been raised and it’s Kobe’s turn to raise his level of play.

The shoving of a teammate such as Sasha during a game was unnecessary for a LEADER of a team to do. Disagreements happen in the NBA, however there is no cause for battery on teammate.
Posted by: Steven. | June 25, 2006 at 02:38 PM

don't you remember jordan punching steve kerr in the face and giving him a black eye? and sometimes verbal abuse is worse. case in point, jordan calling Kwame a "flamimg f***ot." this coming from the player that many people consider the GOAT. how do you rationalize that? like i've said before, it'a always a double standard for KOBE.

great article magicgoat! ah, cant wait till wednesday!

but i must say my Draft Rondo Campaign looks like it might take a big hit. when rondo and marcus williams worked out for boston, i told my friends, i wouldnt be totally shocked if celtics just drafted rondo at 7. even tho a lot of mock drafts have them taking marcus williams at 7. however, im pretty sure rondo will be a better pro than marcus. however, you can be 99% sure that rondo will look better than marcus in an individual workout. draft express is saying celtics are looking to trade down and maybe interested in cedric simmons and rondo. to me, this is an indication that rondo did indeed impress more than marcus, and trading down only makes sense since taking him #7 is just way too high.

that kobe article got me pretty pumped for the draft and the upcoming season. but its gonna be a long 4 months after wednesday. does this blog still continue on during the summer? i hope so. but what do ppl talk about then? this laker blog is one of the things that keeps me sane at work. and if i have to join a LA Sparks blog i think i'll just kill myself!

magic goat:

for the longest time that double standard you talk about make me sick. i would get road rage listening to sports radio, with "laker fans" bashing kobe and wishing we still had shaq. but now ive come to a point where i embrace the hatred for kobe. everyone remembers when young kobe was deemed "fake" cuz of how he acted and how he imitated MJ. for me this is how he is coming out of MJs shadow. he isnt a beloved figure. he is maybe the most polarizing figure in sports today. i love how he is always out to prove himself, but using the haters as fuel to dominate. i have no problem with kobe being darth vader or cobra commander or megatron! (but not gargamel, cuz hes too ugly and only an evil person would root against smurfs.) and the lakers become the evil empire everyone hates cuz were so good.

yikes, ive become so depraved that i now have the mindset of a Yankees fan. (haha j/k lakertom).

Purple and Gold

Please do not commit baskeball blasphemy by insinuating Kobe Bryant is better than Michael Jordan!!! Have your senses taken leave from the rest of your body?!! You should be ashamed and you need to apologize and repent to the Basketball gods for making such an autrocious hideous remark.

In comparing Shaquille O'Neal to some of the ALL-TIME great centers, Wilt Chamberlain played 13 years and Kareem played 20 years. Shaq is in his 13th season in which he just won ANOTHER NBA Championship with ANOTHER group of players in a DIFFERENT Conference. Shaq going into his 14th season is in better shape than I recall Chamberlain who had knee problems. Kareem had a revival of sorts during the Showtime run, however the knock on Kareem was that he didn't HUSTLE up and down the court. It was made evident during the Celtic-Lakers battles when Robert Parrish would out hustle Kareem for position under the basket.

There have been knocks on all the GREAT Centers that have graced the Lakers. Chamberlain and his knee problems and the torching by a second year player of the Milwakee Bucks named Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kareem and his lack of hustle. And recently Shaq and weight/in-shape problems. With Wilt and Kareem their knocks didn't seem to matter as management stood up for the GREAT CENTERS of the game. In the case of Shaq, who is in the same lines of the Chamberlains, Abdul-Jabbars and Russells it is mind boggling that a Center of his quality was traded. Even in his 13th year when the others before him had slowed in their prespective careers, Shaq still proved to be a DOMINANT force for which opposing teams were required to plan their games around.

Pat Riley did a great job of 'preserving' Shaq for the playoffs. He did not put Shaq in a position to get injured during meaningless regular season games. Understanding that the season begins with the playoffs, Riley knew how to preserve Shaq for the playoffs from past experience in coaching Kareem, thus everyone that knows a tidbit about Basketball could see Miami winning the title. I called that back in November 2005.

Andrew Bynum might be a good center one day, but in the NBA injuries, recovery from those injuries and trades can change the chemistry and destiny of a teams season and future. Kobe needs help, true, but Kobe still needs to mature as a player to get that help.

OUT!!!
you know the Truth

"Can u guys believe that Wade is now the greatest play in the world (according to alot of experts). I can't stand him...he gets everything he wants! He gets every call needed to win and don't u guys find it strange that he has more pads than a football player lol...and guess it's case he falls down 6 times and needs them to get up seven lol...if u ask me he needs to give them to the refs so they can get really comfortable on there knees kissin his a$$!"

Actually, I think it would have been much more lucrative for the officials (and the league) to kiss Mark Cuban's a$$.

wi Zo:

thanks man. and the writer is from south carolina. re: the draft. i hope we can get thabo. that guy looks like a stud.

Trade mihm to Nets for jefferson and a #1


I think a lot of people are getting the "shoving" incident wrong. Kobe wasn't shoving Sasha to punish him, he was doing it to try and motivate/wake him up. Sasha had no confidence that game, and it effected his offense, and defense so Kobe pushed him to let him know to just shake it off. I know some of you guys have played ball (organized or street) and have either done the same thing or had the same thing done to you. It's about letting your teammate know to just brush it off and keep playing, or wake up and get in the game.

wiZo:

It's hard to complain when you are a Yankee fan. Not only have we won more championships than any other sports franchise, but we make the most money and have an owner that is willing to spend whatever it takes to continue to win. If only the NBA salary cap and luxury tax worked like MLB's. If it did, I am sure that Jerry Buss would be our George Steinbrenner.

P.S. I was also a die-hard Laker fan during the long stretch of losing in the 80's when CBS owned the team so I am no bandwagon fan.

Go, Lakers. Win or lose.

Magic=Goat,

That was a great article!!!!! The only problem I have is that it has me sooooo hyped for the season to start, and it just ended LOL. Everything dude said is true, and I can't wait to see what Kobe does to the rest of the league especially Shaq, and WADE.

PS: I want to see Kobe dominate the league, but I want to see him do it by playing the way he did against the Suns. Don't get me wrong I would love to see 90 pts for our guy, but I think once he maximizes his teammates, and makes everyone else realize that we can play as a team it will free him up for much easier baskets, Which in turn will lead to 100 pts LOL.

Steven, You're baaaaaaaack! I thought we already had your best side in the earlier posts but your latest one was another uncontrollable tirade, your trademark that makes you a popular target in this blog. Do you have to say:

"Do not commit Basketball blasphemy by insinuating KB better than MJ."
(What's wrong with P & G's statement, that is his opinion and he's entitled to it, why thrashed it with high fallutin' as if it was a dogmatic lie in Basketball? Can he say something that is not blasphemous in Steven's world?)

"Have your senses leave from the rest of your body?"
(If you don't call this an insult, what is it? You're either a surgeon or a witch. That's a personal attack on physical appearance of P & G and you have not seen him nor met him, we're talking here of our personal spin about basketball players.)

Forgive me, if I am knitpicking at your starting salvo but I'm just pointing out the difference of what you were earlier and what you are now.

Perhaps, it is the quest of idealism that I wish you or Steven will change for the better. However, I am aware that you are also human, capable of having tempers and Purple & Gold just pushed that red button when he mentioned KB was better than MJ.

What are we suppose to say in order to be always in line with your good side?

THE WOLFE:

Unfortunately, Kwame didn't perform well enough the last half of the season to make him a viable trade prospect considering his $8M salary. On the other hand, Mihm's performance last year was very strong considering his $4M salary. That plus the fact that Mihm's contract is up after next year is why he is center to go if we make a trade.

I also think the Lakers are unwilling to part with Kwame because of his low post man defense and their belief, like Mike T, that he will continue to improve and still has great potential. I think the Lakers now see Kwame as our bridge center to cover the time until Bynum is ready to start. If Kwame has not greatly improved by then or shown that he can play the 4, the Lakers will then trade him.


thought this was interesting.

http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20060626-011957-7515r.htm

basically talkin about how arenas wants the wizards to build a contender. and if not, could opt out of his contract in 2008. (ala tracy mcgrady).

Weave-Man:

Exactly. It's amazing how anything Kobe does always has some idiot portraying it as negative. And as has been pointed out, it's not like Jordan punching Steve Kerr out. Thanks for the post.

Tom

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/bulls.asp?id=202691

this article is about the possibility of the Bobcats moving up to #1 to take Tyrus Thomas. but i thought this part would be interesting to lakertom and the thabo crew...

"If Thomas does go No. 1 to another team, look for the Bulls to take Texas center LaMarcus Aldridge with the second pick, with the reasoning they can’t miss a chance to add size to the front line.

Assuming the Bulls opt for a big man early in the draft, 6-6 Switzerland native Thabo Sefolosha figures to be their guy at No. 16. If he’s gone by then, the Bulls may go for another big man, such as Connecticut’s Hilton Armstrong, Senegal 7-footer Saer Sene or Florida State’s Alexander Johnson."

wiZo:

Another reason for the Lakers to better manage their salary cap situation. Gilbert is really a strange but incredibly talented player. Another great guard from Arizona.

Gilbert was the player I wanted the Lakers to pick in 2001 (when they had no pick)and wanted them to sign as a free agent in 2003, when the Warriors let him go and he signed with Washington.

I don't know how he would play with Kobe but he is really an incredibly talented player.

 
« | 1 2 3 4 5 | »

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...