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All quiet on the Western front ... a little too quiet for some

Derek Fisher officially met the media Friday afternoon, once again a Laker.  But given how things have gone this summer, Kobe Bryant again dominated conversation across the hoops universe (you know, aside from the allegations that a referee had helped fix games, calling into question the integrity of an entire professional sport).  Kobe took no steps Friday to clear up the whole Lakers-or-no-Lakers question when he met the media as a member of USA Basketball.  He admitted his Grand Radio Tour sent mixed signals, but feels this isn't the time to clarify his position, even when given a few cracks at it by an old friend.  Still, he said lots of nice things ... just not the nice thing. 

 

We've all spent a lot of time trying to decode the tea leaves on this one, and even Fish said people shouldn't read too much into his return to the Lakers, at least as it relates to Kobe.  At this point, unless the answer is, "I'm committed to staying in L.A. and trust management to do the right things," he's probably better staying mum on the subject.  By doing so, it'll continue to fuel speculation that he wants out, but that can't be avoided, especially if Kobe's still harboring some issues with the folks in El Segundo.  He is right that to turn the USA Basketball season into a Laker Circus isn't fair.  And even if Kobe does say he wants to stay, there's an element of distraction, too.  "Are you happy with Mitch?  Can this group win a championship?  Do you still want Jerry West?"  And so on and so forth. 

All of this is a consequence of how things went down this summer.  That Kobe repeatedly said he wished things had gone down differently is sticking to the plan of keeping things in-house is a positive sign.  It might cause the rest of us to wonder out loud, but clearly it's better than the media-frenzied alternative.  The more public this spat becomes, the worse it is for everyone. 

But since all that's left is for us to speculate ... let's do it.  I wonder if Kobe really knows what he wants.  I doubt he's gained a lot more trust of management, specifically that a championship-caliber team can be assembled around him quickly.  On the other hand, he clearly understands the fallout from everything that went down didn't make him look good, and he is trying to repair the damage.  And I think Kobe understands the team isn't going to move him.  So that leaves a holdout come training camp, and to start talking about that with the media in mid-July is a horrible idea.

Personally, I think he'll be there.  With bells on?  I have no idea.  That he hasn't come out and said he'll be a Laker in October certainly makes you wonder what he wants.  Or if he knows.

-- BK

 
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Time for a reality check. Last year most of the bloggers were signing up for a 55 win bandwagon. I have a new 55 bandwagon I hope a few players will sign up for.

Attention: Kwame, Lamar, Chris amd Vlad.....Please sign up for the "I promise to play at least 55 games this season bandwagon."

The big question going into next season is how much we are going to get out of any of these players. Hell, Lamar and Kwame probably will have to start the season on the disabled list. I never heard if Vlad found time between snowboarding trips to have his hand worked on. Chris's rehabilitation was so impressive that about six teams rejected him.

If we are healthy we can compete. Looking back two years ago we were making progress. The injuries ruined any chance for growth last year. This year, I hope Gary Vitti is more like the Maytag repairman. WHAT SAY YOU?

""You don't give away a superstar even if he acts human once in awhile."

IF THAT WAS TRUE, WE WOULD STILL HAVE SHAQ HERE AND WE WOULD BE CHASING OUR 5TH OR 6TH NBA TITLE IN THE 2000 DYNASTY. "

If it were only true that all Shaq did was say some stupid things in public
(which he did). That's not why Shaq is gone. Shaq is gone because he
wanted more money than the owner was willing to pay.

"IF YOU CONSIDER PLAYING WITH THE PLAYERS IN AN ALLSTAR GAME EVIDENCE OF KNOWING THEIR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, THEN THAT SHOULD TELL US KOBE IS ABOUT TO SHOOT THE BALL AND HOG AS MUCH AS HE DID IN THE ALLSTAR GAME.

I GUESS THAT TELLS US HE HAS NO FAITH IN HIS TEAMMATE ON TEAM USA."

So which are you, his barber or his wife? You seem to know SOOO much
about what Kobe's thinking and how he's going to act, you must be one or
the other. Vanessa? Is that you?

What is the DEAL with sonnybelfast posting in the blogs of other teams?! Isn't he a Kings fan?

E

gunnner:


"(Jason Kidd) TAKES AN AVERAGE NETS TEAM EVERY YEAR AT LEAST TO THE SECOND OR THIRD ROUND.

WHILE OLD KOBIATCH KEEPS US WATCHING SCORING TITLES."


Wait as sec... doesn't Kidd play with Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson? Yes, he makes them better, but they are great players to begin with. Plus, he's a point guard. It's his job to get them the ball.

It's funny how everyone who keeps calling Kobe a ballhog seems to forget that he started off last season trying to be more of a facilitator. His pass-first mentality helped the Lakers do well in the first half of the season. Even when half the team got injured and the Lakers got mired in 6 and 7 game losing streaks, Kobe still tried to get his teammates involved... and what did the sportswriters, fans and coaches say? "Stop passing the ball and shoot!" So, he went on his 50-point scroing binge and helped the Lakers to a five game winning streak. His goal wasn't to win scoring titles; it was to win basketball games.

Edwin Gueco,

"never joined trade talks or even metioned in "hoops rumors for Gerald Wallace,... "

Actually, there was a rumor last week about a 3-way trade that didn't quite
go through - Lamar to New Jersey, Jefferson to Charlotte, and sign & trade
Wallace (plus presumably someone else to match salary) to the Lakers.

For the most part I share your frustration. I think Mitch did a good job
shoring up the PG position, but then he got so mesmerized by the KG
and JO potential trades that he hasn't bothered to try to work any
smaller trades. O r perhaps he has, but has been reluctant to pull the
trigger on them if they give up a player that would be needed to make
the KG trade work, in the tiny chance that he can get it to work.

One of the problems is that Kobe's rant has set peoples expectations for
what Mitch should bring in very high. They want someone like KG or
JO or at least Ron Artest. There aren't many players of that caliber
that are actually available for trade, and the teams that have them want
more than their actual value for them.

I sort of liken it to going to a used CD store. If you go there with a list of
3 CDs that you want, and you don't want anything else, you're likely to
go home empty handed. On the other hand, if you go in looking for
broad categories of what you want, then you're almost certain to find
something, even if it's not on the tip top of your wish list.

Note that the summer isn't over. The fact that the Wallace trade was
rumored shows that Mitch is trying to work some other angles now that
KG is probably staying with the Timber-pups at least for the start of the
season.

One thing surprises me in this absurd "debate". The anti-Kobe true believers seem to live on the dogma that with Shaq we had a championship team. Doesn't anyone remember the deep frustration of 2003 (eliminated by the Spurs) and the humiliation of 2004, with the new Dream Team guaranteed to dominate the universe? The formula for championships died in 2003 and Shaq's attitude of entitlement was proving to be increasingly counter-productive.

Whatever Kobe did or didn't do to persuade Shaq to leave cannot be interpreted as the breaking up of a champion. Two years of failure meant that something had to be changed.

My suggestion for the various haters on the list is to start every post with a tock phrase about Kobe as Satan incarnate so we know who they are (apparently hating Kobe is a major factor in their sense of their own identity) and then to talk about basketball issues, or -- when appropriate -- haiku or iambic pentameter or whatever. That may be a way of keeping the blog relatively rational and civilized.

"What is this blog going to do when it is 50/50? Make like a amoeba and split? Or worse yet, how about 60/40 against the Saint. Will you then shun all Kobe supporters?"

What makes you think I'll be one of Kobe's supporters at that point? So
far, all Kobe has done is talk. And his talk was triggered by someone from
the Lakers front office (likely Jim Buss, as I can't see anyone else saying it)
dissing him to the media. If he were to do something damaging to the
team, like sitting out or faking an injury so he wouldn't have to play, then I
will be one of the louder voices shouting to trade him.

When he demanded a trade earlier, I was one of the people posting
prospective trades with various teams. If the Lakers had been willing to
trade him, and if he'd have opened up the set of teams he'd be willing to
go to, the Lakers might have been able to get a couple of good young
players and lottery pick or two. That would have made them worse next
year, but if they got the right young players back, it might have lifted the
Lakers to championship sooner than staying with Kobe.

On the other hand, it's a classic case of a "bird in the hand". Kobe is a
guaranteed superstar. If you trade him for Deng and Gordon + parts (for
example), it's possible that neither Deng NOR Gordon will ever turn out to
be an all-star level player, and that the Lakers will be even further back on
the rebuilding path. It's easier to build around one superstar than to build
around no superstars.

I DON'T THINK JORDAN WOULD HAVE ACT A DAMN FOOL IN THE MEDIA IF HE WON FIVE RINGS OR NOT. I BELIEVE IT TOOK JORDAN 8 OR 9 YEARS BEFORE HE WON HIS FIRST TITLE. WAS HE ACTING LIKE A DAMN FOOL IN THE MEDIA BEFORE THEN?

Actually, Michael Jordan was brilliantly calculated with the media. Someone
(I forget who) was once passing a petition around to criticize China for
human rights violations. All the players were signing it, but when he asked
Michael to sign it, Jordan turned him down and said, "They buy sneakers in
China."

What's funny is, the media is always complaining about how most players
only ever give canned phrases about whatever happens. So when Kobe
breaks that mold and actually says what he feels, they all become hyper
critical of him. Expect to hear responses like "this was a team effort"
and "We were just doing what coach told us to do" for the next few
years, because Kobe has demonstrated what happens when you say
what you really feel.

tick tock ... tick tock

in 24 months his legs will be gone then this blog will have to talk about ways to get rid of BallHog24 and hopefully get something of value in return. I've set my yahoo reminder ...

only then will the Lakers have a chance to return to form.

Tsphere,

To add further to what you say about Shaq, he was asking more than $ 30M for a body that is riddled with too much pounds and athritic toe. He could not complete an 82 game season. With Miami Heat, he reduced his price to $ 20M for 5 years. If they can only trade him at this time, they would have done so with the lower draft picks. He became slower and lazy to get on picks, became choosy on what games to play. If Shaq was on this team today, it could have been worst. We could not even afford a scrappy player like Walton to play with the Lakers. We can pay only shaq and Kobe and 13 D' Leagues players and we're still paying luxury taxes.

Trading him was the best deal at that time, but TRADING HIM ABRUPTLY with fiery exchange of insults on the media was a wrong move. Of course, it has been said we never got back his WORTH with the players that replaced him and his $ 28M contract was spread with this scrappy roster.

On Kobe, of course, he is not a perfect role model for good behavior but he still remains the ONLY life blood of this Lakers. He attracts revenue, he brings hope for this team but it is an uphill challenge for him, Fisher and LO to lead this team on the next tier of best of three in the West. What we lack in skills, we should devote hardwork and perseverance in preparing the individuals as battle ready when they confront the Goliaths. It's not impossible but there's no time for easygoing, over confidence, nite clubbing during gamedays here and there, appearing at the opening of furniture stores, promoting car dealers. bookstores etc. that's really silly in investing time as a NBA professional. Improve on oneself, invest on YOU as a product by going to the gym and start with free throws, hire a personal coach from past NBA players to critique your skills (that's what Tiger Woods did to become a better golfer.)

"If the Lakers come back healthy this year--and stay healthy--this is one of the top ten teams in the NBA. I believe this. I really do."

YOU MUST BE EJECTING CRACK TODAY. BY MAKING NO LEGITIMATE MOVES THIS SUMMER, LAKERS HAS MOVED DOWN TO ABOUT 10-12 BEST IN THE WEST.

---------------------------------------------------------

Nope. I think Wes is right. Before all the injuries last year, the Lakers were
in the top 5 or 6 in the league. There are teams that improved more than
the Lakers, but several in the west got worse in the short term.

Portland and Seattle trading away starters to get more youth will likely
make them worse next year, not better. 3 years from now, they could be
formidable, but not next year. Golden State also traded away a starter
for a rookie who may not have as much impact for a year or two.

Denver switched starting PGs from Steve Blake to Chucky Atkins. Do you
think Chucky's gonna lead them to the top? Phoenix's moves were more
about saving money than improving, but they stayed above the Lakers.
Dallas and San Antonio stayed ahead by standing pat. The Clippers,
Kings, and Hornets didn't improve enough to leapfrog the Lakers.

I'd say in the Western Conference, if the Lakers stay healthy (and that's
a big if), they're in the second tier - along with Utah, Houston, and Denver.
The top tier is Phoenix, Dallas, and San Antonio. Everyone else is duking
it out for the 8 seed. So I'd say the Lakers could finish anywhere from
the 4 seed to the 7 seed.

In the East, Miami will be worse (unless they draw some players we
haven't heard about yet). Chicago might be a bit better. Cleveland will
be about the same. Detroit will be better. I'd say between 3 and 5 teams
will likely have better records than the Lakers.

Mitchell, Craig W. Faith,

I just got back to the computer. Thanks for the positive vibes. I was just frustrated by what sometimes feels like a mountain of hate. Well, I'm taking your advice,scolling to the bottom of the post, and if it is a known hater, I just move on. K-Brothers, no disrespect was meant. Everybody knws you have the most active Laker blog. But sometimes I just need a little break.

Edwin, i respect your point of view. Always interesting stuff.

Jorema, great post. I don't trust Phil either, but he's the best coach avaiilable, so we have to make the best of itl. You just have to keep him in front of you. (good D)

Someone asked was TJ Simers a hater because he asked Kobe tough questions. Of course not. TJ doesn't like Kobe and I don't think he tries to hide it. His articles are very anti-Kobe, have been for as long as I can remember. It wasn't the questions, but the cynicism and sarcastic nature in which he editorialized. That's just TJ.

Its late, got to go to church in the morning.

Long Time Laker Fan,

If we get G. Wallace but lost LO, I think it is a wash isn't it? If that's is the case, we can't do anything every move is stalemate. We fell below expectations from other managers, they are always looking for Butler for Kwame trade or Lakers absorb a Brian Grant type of deals, our roster was hopeless when it comes to trading.

During the time of Jerry West, we don't any blog. Nobody was suggesting him the players here are available, the comment of sportswriters through links, the bloggers in Europe and Asia giving us tidbits of info, there is just too much information and scouting today. How come we cannot come up with great ideas in getting the right players? Agai, we always use the Spurs and Suns as example, how come they can get good foreign players when they over the cap too. Are they too chicken to make the move on small fries like Cook and Sasha or got drown with too much information so they refuse to make any moves? If we have gotten Navarro or a good Center in exchange of our small fries that's one way of improving this team. I guess we love to refrigerate these China eggs and reserve them for the next Chinese New Year.

Lastly, you said that Lakers are on the next tier, I think we can be in top three if they all show up and bring to the court the hidden talents that they have and the very reason why they were tapped to play with this team?

Vlad, if you could only give the Lakers the type of shooting you've got when you were with Sonics and Clips, we'll be a threat.

Sasha. if you can only be consistent with your shooting and confidence with yourself on going to the rim and dunk the ball then we have a chance.

Cook, if you could use your 6'10" body in blocking power forwards without getting fouls and could move your feet like a flashy PG, we'll be a threat.

Kwame, if you could make those mid jump shots and regain the confidence of Kobe just like in Game 3 of the playoffs, we'll be the enfant terrible out there. We need your total presence in the post.

Walton, if you will just attack the post rather than passing the ball, make those freebies, avoid those traveling calls and play D, we'll be in contention

Farmar, if you can only connect those shots and avoid fancy dribbling and have that confidence as a court general during your Bruin Days, we'll be there. We only ask you to play the best just for15 minutes a night.

Bynum, if you can stay three quarters w/o a single foul grab all rebounds as though you're Ron Turiaf we'll be competing at the end of every game.

If and only if, that's we're all hoping from this team, making the impossible possible by having that PRIDE IN WEARING THE PURPLE AND GOLD, we'll be in the final 2 in the West.

Mark Madsen take about Kobe Bryant: One more of the mini-dinasty spike out.


"Mark Madsen was asked about being a teammate of Kobe Bryant's and Shaquille O'Neal's while with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Kobe is one of the most talented and intense individuals I've ever played with," Madsen said. "He had high expectations for everyone on our team.

"If you weren't ready to play or your mind was somewhere else, he would let you know about it right away ... Kobe pushed me harder. I played some of my best games because of that when we were teammates."

And Shaq? "He was one of the most talented people I've ever played with. People see him dunk all the time, but they don't realize that he's got some nice touch and he's very athletic. Playing with him was a good experience."

http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070720/SPORTS/107190059/1002

Tsphere
"Shaq's attitude of entitlement was proving to be increasingly counter-productive."

I BELIEVE YOU MEAN KOBIATCH PURSUIT OF TRYING TO BE FINALS MVP IN 2004 BACKSLIDE TO 4-1 BEATDOWN BY THE PISTONS.

Don't waste your time on haters!!!

Why do people waste you time responding to people who will never change their opinions and continue to spew their hate. You should really discuss lakers basketball & basketball issues with like minded people. Those who are not going constantly insult you if, you do not agree with them.

Anyway most of these haters have not got any basketball knowledge and just like winding people up. All you have to do is just scroll down!!!


The big topic is the ref scandal. This ref who is under investigation gave 39 fouls to New York and only 8 to Miami in one game. No wonder Pat was pissed enough to get tossed. What gets me angry, if the FBI had known about this for sometime, why did they not inform the NBA, does that mean fans and gamblers will get their money back for watching a game thrown by the ref!!!!

Lets see what Stern will do now!!!


Aaarrrhhhh!!

Angry_Laker

Tellitlikeitis, just scroll down posts and look at the names under. If from those infamous haters, just ignore them.

Edwin Gueco, well said. The blog should focus more on how to improve the team, to be back on the top.

Look forward to Team USA success for now.

TJ Simers is simply a jerk, typical media prick.

"KOBIATCH DON'T EVEN KNOW HIS OWN LA TEAM STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. IF HE DID, WE WOULDN'T BE GETTING KNOCKED OUT OF THE FIRST ROUND FOR THE LAST TWO SEASONS."

and what do you make of the MIAMI HEAT who has ALL STAR starting five and yet was sweep in the FIRST ROUND?

EVERYBODY here knows our team lacks the talent to compete with the teams here in the WEST and yet we made it to the playoffs the last 2 years.

If what you say is true, then what do you make of the MAVS and Nowitzki?

GROW UP!

GO Lakers!

Confucius says:

As Laker news get slightly better

As optimism gradually overshadows controversy

Obsessed Kobe-bashers with nothing good to put in

Are really not Laker fans but envious outsiders.

I don't care about Kobe any more or where he goes.
He bores me at this point in his career. He's not good enough to get the Lakers past the first round and he's not smart enough to hardly ever do the right thing.
We've already seen the best Kobe has to offer and it's all down hill for him from here.
The only thing more lame and cringeworthy than watching Mr. Lower Marion continue to devalue the Lakers legend is having to see how incredibly stupid so many fans are. I guess being a Laker fan today means going the 100% Paris Hilton route.
No class and no more rings.

tellitlikeitis - I FEEL EVERY WORD!

hello!!! shaq fu is not here anymore, MJ is an owner now, dont debate on things thats history already... try on discusing the current roster please...

even kobe admitted that the way it came out was shameful, lets leave at that and move on...

how can you love the lakers if you hate 1 or majority of its players? if you dont like these guys then transfer your attention to other teams...

KOBE didnt enter this league to win sportmanship awards, he's a baller... Only winning is his agenda...

jason kidd have a vince carter and a richard jeferson to dish the ball to in a UP FOR GRABS CONFERENCE but didnt reach the semis!!!

what can he add to the lakers when all he have is KOBE in a TIGHT WESTERN CONFERENCE???

Nice move by the FO not to deal BYNUM and kept him for a trade to land a much more worthy player to play alongside KOBE...

LAKERS FAN FROM ASIA

Edwin Gueco,
Be careful complimenting the Suns. I suspect they may be the team that falls of the highest rung - either this year or next. They signed Boris Diaw to that huge contract and he hasn't held up his end (sound familiar). This has really hurt their ability to sign new talent as they are now near the luxury tax - the real bogey man in the NBA. Combine this with the fact that they are giving up draft choices left and right to avoid paying rookies that can't produce for a couple of years and you have a prescription for a disaster down the road.

My Starting 5

With apologies to T-Mobile and All-Tel, here's my favorite 5 to be the starting line-up:

Kobe, Fish, Walton, Odom, Mihm.

Why? This is a mature, confident group who knows the offense. This unit is capable of establishing the pace at the start of the first and second halves, and the ability to close out a game. The individual weaknesses have all been well established on this blog, but these guys all know how to play together. If you look to San Antonio and Detroit, these teams are greater than the sum of their parts in part because of stability. Allow me to posit that stability was a big factor in the Lakers early success last season, prior to the injury epidemic.

The second key will be for Phil to establish the bench rotation. He is likely to continue alternately resting Lamar and Kobe, so that at least one of them is on the floor most of the time. Hard to argue with this premise.

As much as he might prefer to start, Bynum has a better shot at establishing his game coming off the bench. He folded under pressure last season, and he can still get his 20 minutes coming off the bench. Mihm often gets in foul trouble early, but he provides a more commanding presence as a starter.

Everyone else will have to duke it out for the right to be first off the bench. I give an early advantage to Ronny who brings the energy PJ always looks for in the second unit. Also, I'd prefer to velcro Cook and Sasha's uniforms so that they never leave the bench.

I'd also like to suggest that J-Crit might become the best option to take Kobe's role when the star gets a rest. That's usually 10 minutes a game, or so, and he can still compete for his other minutes as a PG.

This still leaves a lot of trade bait. While there was no demand for our spare parts in the off-season, individual values will go up as players on other teams go down with injuries. And later, as other teams realize that draft picks become more important than veteran players, other opportunities may develop. That open 15th roster slot could be filled with a difference-maker down the stretch.

Take heart, Laker fans. Even with Deavon George on the roster, our team still got to hoist the trophy and warrant a parade.

OK, fellow bloggers. Take my challenge. Tell me why this plan works or doesn't work for you.

Angry Laker,

It's unbelieveable. I've posted 3 times about the ref scandal. The entire NBA brand is under attack and this blog has become a chat room volleying the idea that Kobe is or isn't a good basketball player / teammate back and forth.

The scandal has hurt the game when the game was already floundering. It will further diminish market share, TV revenue, and other ripples that spread out and turn into waves as testimony reveals new facts. The sportswriters think it's a big story, just not anyone here.

OK, back to Kobe sucks or doesn't...

AK,

Now that there is definitive proof that games are fixed, the Lakers may get the calls that they deserve. It was quite interesting how Bill Simmons mentions that superstars like Wade, Lebron, and Arenas get superstar calls. Excluded from that list was Kobe. Coincidence? Another interesting thing is that Sheridan points out how Phil Jackson really hated Tim Donaghy for making unfair calls. This adds a lot tangible evidence for the conspiracy theorists. Maybe it shouldn't be considered a conspiracy anymore. The Lakers are one of the biggest markets in the NBA and have probably been involved in more referee schemes than any other teams. What are your thoughts?

Craig W.

With regards to my Suns' comments, I was referring to their acquisitions of foreign players like Barbosa and Diaw from Atlanta. That's forward thinking on Colangelo's style, gutsy trading their mid level player for unknowns. Currently, what Steve Kerr did was trying to preserve the core one more season before blowing it up. The Suns owners hired him to trim down the salary and minimize the luxury taxes exposure. He has to make a choice among the three standouts: Amare, Marion and Kurt. It was a no brainer that they have to sacrifice their Center. What they lacked in height, they will compensate it with speed and shooting accuracy. That is their strategy to get out of the third place slot or second round elimination.

With regards to Mitch Kupchak, I got this from Foxsports.com from a Suns' blogger comments:

"all I can say is thank god Kupcheck didn't trade Odom or Kobe for Thomas just in time for Thomas to break down a la Brian Grant. Only reason I expect he didn't is the Suns forgot to ask the Lakers first."

That's the kind of respect we have with our GM throughout the league and among his peers.

I could only surmised that if Mitch Kupchak was the GM during the 70's we'd not trade Brian Winters et al to a Muslim convert and malcontent, Lew Alcindor who changed his name Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He was another dangerous Malcom X in NBA. Even when Kareem was with the team, they were still mired with mediocrity, again Kupchak would not have the vision of trading Gail Goodrich to the Jazz to get the top '79 1st rd draft pick that's Magic Johnson because he would be too chicken to make the move and thirdly, if he was the GM in the 80's he would be afraid to trade a great PG Norm Nixon to an unknown guard, Byron Scott, what he could have done is to wait for Adrian Dantley to be free, to wait for the Ice Man to be free, to go for World Free, to go for Alex English etc. the same way of waiting for Bynum to succeed by wasting the opportunity of matching J. Kidd and Kobe and continue spending $ 10M on a coach of supposedly an "ABA" topnotch roster. If you have no guts, no vision then you will never attain any glory, you will remain an average team. We will never reach the bottom but we can only dream on the mountain top. (Right now, our vision is that Bynum, Walton, Radmanovic, Crittenton, Turiaf and Cook will bring us to promised dynasty in 2011.LOL!)

Vman,

It is easy to condemn the accused but we have laws to respect that until they are proven guilty, he's still innocent. However, if proven guilty I just don't expect the accused to pay restitutions but also for the league to return any fines with interest on players and teams as well. One question that I'm curious, where do these fines go? Is David Stern another CEO Grasso of the Wall Street profitting for every stock trade? How much is he getting paid from the NBA? Does he have any stock options on any NBA team, since he has been coddling with team owners for quite sometime? Does he get commissions from any media extentions or new media markets in Asia? This guy should be thoroughly investigated, I suspect there are $$$ signs with his wide smiles.

If Donatelli or say, Don Collione is proven guilty, he should resign, his boss that may be Stu Jackson has to resign and those who knew it but didn't do anything, possibly David Stern has to resign. No one should be above the law and remain scotch-free when there is a big doubt on their past dealings. Again no one is indispensable, there will always be qualified individuals to pick up where they left.

Rick,
Here's the starting 5 I'd like to see, in training camp at least;
1. Farmar
2. Kobe
3. LO
4. Mihm
5. Bynum

off the bench
1. Fisher
2. Evans\ Java
3. Walton\ Vlad
4. Rony
5. Kwame

permanent pine
Sasha
Cook

I'd really like to see if Mihm can play the PF and be productive. If he can, we will take a big step forward this year. I want to see what J-Crit can do when the season starts. If he can command 10-15 minutes a game between the 1 or 2 spots early in the year, he'll get some valuable experience and we can save Fish's legs for later.

I feel one of the biggest keys to the year is finding a way for Kobe to get some rest on the bench during games without the team falling behind or giving up a lead. One of our biggest problems is Kobe has to work so hard for so long that he has little left for the closing 5 minutes. We need to have people work together fluidly while Kobe is getting his rest. And that doesn't mean LO has to immediately step up and become the take-over scoring guy that Kobe usually plays. We need the entire team to step up and play at a higher level when Kobe is in the game. If they can do that, they will all play at that higher level when he's out.

I'm very encouraged that we will have a good season this year, much better than many of the doom & gloom people are predicting. I believe we will exceed 55 wins. I think the western conference is going to tighten up this year and I believe the Mavs, Suns, Jazz, and Spurs will all have less wins this time around. Each one of those teams is just one injury away from having very mediocre seasons.

Lakers - 57 wins in a breakout season.

Edwin Gueco,
Sometimes it is better to keep your powder dry. Mitch didn't get into any trades while he was at a disadvantage (early summer). The existing team last year was better than it looked because of all the injuries and a real dearth at PG.

Going into next year I feel much better about the team. No it is not a championship level team, but it is a viable mid playoff team with depth and flexibility. As the season goes on, trading possibilities will get better and, I think, our players will look better to other GMs. That is the time to trade for someone to take us to the top 4 level of teams in the west (the best I think we can expect this year).

IF THAT WAS TRUE, WE WOULD STILL HAVE SHAQ HERE AND WE WOULD BE CHASING OUR 5TH OR 6TH NBA TITLE IN THE 2000 DYNASTY. "

Or maybe getting swept in the first round of the eastern conference because thats all the LAZY FAT BUM is capable of acheiving togetehr with taking advantage of some kids to make a buck and get on TV a little more.

When someone says " I don't care about Kobe any more or where he goes..." you'd think he was a fan who got upset with the events this summer.

But when these pretenders bring up Shaq, selfishness, Merion High and other old piece of arguments used by Kobe-bashers, you'd know they were never a fan from the get-go.

Laker fans face it, this is your team for 2007/2008, Kobe, Lamar and 10 Bozo's.

Kobe leaves next year, so you should take the Atlanta deal of Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Josh Childress for Kobe otherwise you will get nothing.

The 10 Bozo's nobody wants them. Nobody pursued Mims or Fisher while they were free agents and the others guys simply suck. Take the deal or there will be bad times ahead for you Laker faithful.

Edwin,
You keep complaining about the Laker's failure to acquire Jason Kidd. We've debated the issue before and we still disagree. You continue to blame the FO and if anyone says the trade is\was a bad idea, you insinuate they are stupid for supporting the FO.

In your earlier post you brought up the Brian Grant issue, old player, broken down, big contract, Lakers took him, FO stupid, bla-bla-bla.... You do realize J-Kidd's only 1 year younger than B Grant and Grant's been out of the league for 2 years now. It's hard to believe you are still advocating that trade. A trade in which we would give up a boatload of young developing talent for an old player with ailing knees. Thank God our front office didn't make that trade.

RDLEE

The LAkers are in no way a better team than GS, LAC, Mem or, New Orleans. At best the Lakers ar the 10-12 seed in the Western Conf.

Why do you think Kobe wants to leave so bad.

Also for the record D-Fish did not start at GS or Utah

GS started; Speedy Claxton until he was traded for Baron Davis
Utah started; Darrin Williams

YES!!! I was the first one to blog in this post!

Re: Tim Donaghy

I was not able to find Donaghy's game log for the past two years, nor could I find out if he was invloved in this game against the Cavs:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=T6SpBM8dB4k

What I do know about sports gambling is the Lakers get more action than most, (if not all) other NBA teams. This was especially true during the Shaq/Kobe era. The Lakers' numerous television apprearances coupled with their nationwide popularity means heavy betting action. I cannot speculate on how many Laker games Doghany "fixed", but my guess is that any bookie, if given the chance, would prefer to fix the games with the heaviest action to maximize profit.

I think that this scandal will actually benefit the NBA in the long run. The officiating has become a joke in recent years. Fans will now question any questionable call (assuming they don't already). Stern will be forced to implement a public system of accountability for poor officiating. Similiar to baseball, where the commisioner was basically forced to implement a steroid policy, basketball will finally be forced to clean up the poor officiating.

Does anyone know where I an look up the actual game log by referee?

Edwin,

Stern did pull this new TV contract off in the face of horrible ratings so it might be bonus time. You might remember that a rainout of a NASCAR event out drew the NBA finals one game. But this problem brings him a whole new kind of problem that will play out before during and after the verdict. In the public opinion court, Kobe's little sojourn in Colorado proves that it can fall a long way before the jury comes back.

We're talkin' about empty seats, dark TVs, late night talk show host jokes.
The trial will make it stay in the press with mentions of games and names but it's not the kind of problem that will go away with a suspension of a ref.

This is similar to the Bonds record Selig won't embrace. We're pretty sure it hasn't been achieved honestly. However you paint it, it's a mess that the NBA and world of professional sports hates worse than anything.

BTW, on the only other meaningful subject you valiantly try to keep to, the front office isn't done. Keep the faith.

LakerLarry,
Interesting alternative. Everyone else, Who's in YOUR 5?

Edwin Gueco:

"It is easy to condemn the accused but we have laws to respect that until they are proven guilty, (Tim Donaghy's) still innocent."

Not in my book... he already resigned from the NBA and agreed to turn himself over before charges were even filed. And just like in the Michael Vick case, the Feds don't go after people unless they are confident they can win. No matter what the outcome is, the damage has been done and everyone will be looking at ref's calls with a grain of salt.

Edwin,

Hey, just heard the warrant has been issued and our beloved ref is tied to the Gambino crime family. Fasten your seat belts.

Here's what Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo! Sports has to say about Kobe and the US team. Remember, Wojnarowski has been Yahoo's Kobe hater, as opposed to Steve Kerr who has always admired (but also criticized) Kobe.
_____

For now, Bryant is determined to blanket himself in the red, white and blue, which desperately needs him to win a gold medal in Beijing next summer. ...The U.S. had great perimeter finishers in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade a year ago when they lost to Greece in the world championships, but Bryant is the kind of two-way talent this program is dying to have on its side.

"There's a toughness to Kobe, an edge," Colangelo said. "And that's something we didn't have last year."
________

In other words, it's possible to be a Kobe hater and yet be lucid and objective. Maybe some of the dudes on the blog should follow the example.

What comes out of this is that the basketball pros all agree on Kobe's pre-eminence and don't feel that whatever character issues may or may not exist interfere with his performing for their team.

In any case, it's a lot easier to have respect for a unique "two-way talent" than for one-way obsessive monomaniacs who, like any number of cows in the pasture, chew their cud of hatred over and over again and never manage to use their oral apparatus for anything else.

Long Time,
" I think Wes is right. Before all the injuries last year, the Lakers were
in the top 5 or 6 in the league"

No, they weren't. The schedule allowed them to have a record better than the relative strength of the team. Overvaluing the team's talent is going to doom the Lakers to the first round/second round if they get lucky purgatory for the next ten years.

Craig W.

"Mitch didn't get into any trades while he was at a disadvantage"

I hope you're right. That GM of Sonics formerly from Spurs, Mr. Presti is like Jerry West of the 80's. He's realligning the future 1st rd draft picks rookies, mixing them with veterans but he has an eye for talent when he was with the Spurs. If Presti was our manager in the post Shaq era, I don't know if he would get Tierre Brown as the initial PG, Smush Parker as the next PG, snubbed Fisher for higher pay then get him back by luck in '07. Finally, it looks like that he is getting it right with Crittenton but he has to buy insurance with Farmar and just in case he fails there is also Yue, and bidded for Blake, Papaloukas and Francis, he will be known as the General Manager of numerous PG's. Well, beauty lies on the eye of the beholder. For Mitch's eyes (or is it Jim Buss' eyes) on talents those were the promising rookies that would succeed the tradition of Norm Nixon, Magic Johnson, Sedale Threatt and Derek Fisher. His solemn choice were: Tierre Brown, Smush Parker and Jordan Farmar. We're now in Murphy's Law territory, what else can go wrong?

"I love our depth at point guard and center."

???
PG - One of them was slow three years ago when he was last with the team. One of them is a rookie, with two years of college. One is a second year player, who would be a senior in college this year had he stayed, and who only started two games last season despite being behind Smush Parker.

C - One has no offensive game, is a poor rebounder, one is in his second year, still very wet-behind-the-ears, one hasn't played for 1.5 years.

The Lakers are not deep at either of those positions. Just like last season, you are confusing "relatively equal overall abilities" with depth.

Laker Larry,

"Lakers took him, FO stupid, bla-bla-bla.... You do realize J-Kidd's only 1 year younger than B Grant and Grant's been out of the league for 2 years now"

It is so unfortunate that you don't agree with my opinion. I never call anyone "stupid" those are your words. Perhaps, it's higher than that, "inept" leaders. Don't compare players based on age, I question your player evaluation on Kidd and Grant, just because Kidd is within the age of Brian Grant. The last time, you were teaching us on salary cap and It took LakerTom to educate you on salary cap and trade exception before you finally accepted it, you were scolding us with absolute no knowledge of salary cap, you even called us idiots! Like your post right now, (read it again) will a responsible blogger be happy to reply with your style of enhancing other point of views? Do you want me to kowtow with your wishes? Well, we are the blah, blah, blah blogger but at least we do not stoop down to the level of discussing the blogger's personalities or censoring other bloggers, If ever there are relentless criticisms on the F/O, our objective is to improve the team not discredit a blogger. I'm following up the demands of Kobe. silence on his rants doesn't mean accomplishment, silence meant the problem still exist and we're not attaining progress. If you don't like that observation, just let the opinion of this blah blah blah blogger fly!!!

Simmons in page 2 of espn wrote this:

"Guilty or innocent, we will never watch an NBA game the same way. He's going to hang over everything -- every referee, every shaky outcome, every bad call -- in ways the average fan doesn't fully realize yet. Maybe they'll throw Donaghy in jail, maybe they won't, but he'll linger over every court like a black cloud. You'll hear his name more than you think. You and your buddies will make "that guy looks like he's pulling a Donaghy!" jokes every time a referee is making calls against your favorite team. Hecklers will gleefully play the Donaghy card after every bad call against the home team. For honest referees still working games, it doesn't matter what happens from this point on -- their collective integrity will always be questioned, their collective track record won't matter, and that will be that
So that's one problem. The second problem is more complex. When news of the scandal broke on Friday, as J.A. Adande pointed out in his column that day, every diehard NBA fan had the same reaction. They weren't thinking, "I can't believe it!" or "Oh my God, how could this happen?" They were thinking, "Which one was it?" This was like finding out that your grandfather who smoked three packs a day for 50 years just came down with lung cancer. It was sad but inevitable. It was only a matter of time. These guys never made enough money (as we learned from the airplane ticket scandal) and struggled at their jobs consistently enough that there was no way to tell the difference between blowing a call and intentionally blowing a call.

More than any other professional league, an NBA referee can directly affect the outcome of every game. We've seen it happen time and time again, only we always assumed that the refs in question were working for the best interests of the league, that they were following orders like Luca Brasi (even if there was no definitive proof) -- like the guys who worked Game 6 of the Kings-Lakers series in 2002, or Game 7 of the Suns-Sonics series in 1993, or the infamous Hubert Davis Game in 1994. After Dwyane Wade and Miami received some Vince McMahon-level assistance in Games 3 and 4 of the 2006 Finals, I wrote an angry column about the "officiating crisis" (my words) that prompted Mavs owner Mark Cuban (tired of being fined) to post the link on his blog along with the sentence, "I never have to say a word again." After Dallas squandered that series, Cuban was so traumatized by the officiating that he nearly sold the Mavericks before family and friends talked him out of it.

For anyone who loves the NBA, the officiating has always been the proverbial "elephant in the room." No league has endured more jokes along the lines of "I'm not sure where the NBA ends and the WWE begins." Whether it's because of bad luck, poor training, measly pay or the thanklessness of the profession itself -- maybe it's all of those things -- the NBA employs a handful of good referees and an astonishing number of bad ones. In the playoffs, there never seems to be enough quality officials to go around. If that wasn't bad enough, the league displayed a nasty "habit" (note: I'm using quotation marks because you could never prove anything more than a series of coincidences) of assigning better referees if they needed road teams to prevail (like a marquee team trailing 2-1 and playing Game 4 on the road) and weaker referees if they needed home teams to prevail (because weak referees are more likely to have their calls prejudiced by a raucous home crowd). This "habit" was miraculously cured this past spring, one year after the fallout of the 2006 Finals, when the officiating assignments became noticeably more haphazard and we ended up with just one Game 7 in four rounds. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not.

And that's before factoring in the public's perception (well-earned, by the way) that superstars receive more favorable calls than non-superstars. It's like Chris Rock's bit about dad getting the biggest chicken leg at the dinner table -- once you reach a certain level in the NBA, the whistles will come. This perpetual leeway allows gifted athletes like Wade, Gilbert Arenas and LeBron James to drive recklessly into traffic in crunch time, knowing they can either score or draw a foul. (Even when Michael Jordan won the '98 Finals on what everyone believed was his final shot ever, he famously shoved Utah's Bryon Russell to the ground before launching that jumper. No whistle.) If anything, LeBron's pre-2007 game depended on this leeway so much that he was completely ineffective in the 2006 World Championships; he kept bowling his way into the paint and waiting for calls that never came. The international refs almost seemed amused by him. The NBA refs would have been bailing him out.

So when news of the Donaghy scandal broke, everyone's reaction was the same: "Which one?"

That's why I had one group of friends frantically organizing a "Who was the crooked ref?" office pool on Friday morning instead of wondering, "How could this happen?" That's why Stern ignored the FBI's advice and used such harsh language in his official statement on Friday; nobody understands the gravity of this crisis more than someone who grew up in New York in the '50s during CCNY's famous point-shaving scandal. This was his worst nightmare, worse than a repeat of the Artest Melee, worse than a repeat of Kermit Washington's punch, worse than anything except a terrorist act during an NBA game. Over everything else, David Stern always wanted his fans to feel completely safe when they're attending games, and he always wanted them to believe that the integrity of the game was intact. Now, they don't feel that way. At all.

So that's two significant problems. Problem No. 1 will fade away over time, although it will never completely disappear. Problem No. 2 can be fixed, although it will take some major work. But Problem No. 3 can't be fixed. If the allegations are true, Tim Donaghy didn't just violate the integrity of the league and rig some games. There's a good chance he altered the course of the 2007 championship. Only three teams had a chance last year: Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio. When Dallas choked against Golden State in the opening round, the NBA's refusal to fix a broken playoff system came back to haunt it in Round 2, thanks to a Spurs-Suns matchup that suddenly doubled as the NBA Finals. In Game 1, San Antonio stole home-court advantage with a convincing win that everyone remembers because Steve Nash busted his nose open. The Suns rallied back with a blowout win in Game 2. Here's what I wrote after the third game -- the Spurs were favored by four, with an over/under of 200.5 -- after San Antonio prevailed, 108-101, thanks to Amare Stoudemire playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble:


Congratulations to Greg Willard, Tim Donaghy and Eddie F. Rush for giving us the most atrociously officiated game of the playoffs so far: Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series. Bennett Salvatore, Tom Washington and Violet Palmer must have been outraged that they weren't involved in this mess. Good golly. Most of the calls favored the Spurs, but I don't even think the refs were biased -- they were so incompetent that there was no rhyme or reason to anything that was happening. Other than the latest call in NBA history (a shooting foul for Manu Ginobili whistled three seconds after the play, when everyone was already running in the other direction), my favorite moment happened near the end, when the game was already over and they called a cheap bump on Bruce Bowen against Nash, so the cameras caught Mike D'Antoni (the most entertaining coach in the league if he's not getting calls) screaming sarcastically, "Why start now? Why bother?" What a travesty. Not since the cocaine era from 1978-1986 has the league faced a bigger ongoing issue than crappy officiating"


"If you're a diehard NBA fan, you're horrified but strangely hopeful, because we needed a tipping point to change a stagnant league that was headed in the wrong direction ... and maybe this was it."

Tsphere,

"one-way obsessive monomaniacs who, like any number of cows in the pasture, chew their cud of hatred over and over again and never manage to use their oral apparatus for anything else"

wow, talk about a verbal smack down. KLBeast, gunner, sunny, um y'all need to umm idk, umm i guess just hug someone next to you ... lol

i dont know if anybody has posted anything regarding team usa and their schedule or anyhting like that, but does anybody know when their games or any of their activities are going to be broadcasted on tv? or a website that gives that info?

Fkillah,

"AK, Now that there is definitive proof that games are fixed, the Lakers may get the calls that they deserve. It was quite interesting how Bill Simmons mentions that superstars like Wade, Lebron, and Arenas get superstar calls. Excluded from that list was Kobe. Coincidence? Another interesting thing is that Sheridan points out how Phil Jackson really hated Tim Donaghy for making unfair calls. This adds a lot tangible evidence for the conspiracy theorists. Maybe it shouldn't be considered a conspiracy anymore. The Lakers are one of the biggest markets in the NBA and have probably been involved in more referee schemes than any other teams. What are your thoughts?"

Well, first and foremost, this situation is obviously terrible. It's a big time black mark on the NBA, one that will be tough to move past. You're gonna be hearing about this scandal for quite a while, and deservedly so. This ref will be dragged through the mud and I have no problem with that.

That being said, I think it's important for Laker fans not to start thinking of this as proof of a purely "anti-Laker conspiracy" (and the same goes for fans of every team, who I'm sure also see this as evidence that the cards were stacked mostly against them). This affected more teams than the Lakers. At present (to the best of my knowledge), we also have no idea which games Donaghy bet on concerning the Lakers, or even HOW he bet on those games. He may very well have been fixing the game IN FAVOR of L.A. I have no idea and neither do you. There's still a lot that needs to come out before people really have a handle on what happened, so there's no point in assuming the worst when it comes to the Lakers. Be patient and let the facts come out (as I imagine they will).

I don't personally recall PJ being critical of Donaghy's calls (or more importantly, why), but with all due respect to Jackson, the man has made high art out of ref criticizing. It's not like Donaghy's the only official Jackson's taken to task. For that matter, every coach does this. As far as they're concerned, the cards are always stacked against them. I'm not saying that Donaghy didn't make calls against the Lakers with an ulterior motive. Clearly, there's a solid chance that was the case. I'm just not about to assume it because Phil criticized him.

As for Simmons excluding Kobe from the "star call" paragraph, maybe it's coincidence and simply reflects the first couple guys who popped into his head. Maybe it's that Simmons feels Kobe doesn't attack the rack as much as the others (and honestly, he probably doesn't), so that's why he's not the steady beneficiary of those calls. Or maybe it's because Simmons indeed doesn't think Kobe reaps the star call benefits. I honestly have no idea, but I don't consider it a big deal, either. Maybe it's just because I'm not big on "reading into things," but it just strikes me as a little trivial.

I'm saying any of this in a "let's not make this situation a bigger deal than it is" kinda way. It's almost impossible to make this situation bigger than it is. This is ridiculously huge. I'm simply saying, let's not add to what it truly is without knowing all the particulars.

AK

It is unlikely that the "bad" ref(s) - Donaghy, hopefully no one else - affected the winner/loser to much degree. More likely that they were concerned about the spread and the over/under. They wouldn't want to make things too obvious, because that would make it easier to be caught.

Given the squad we have my five would be Fish(pg), Kobe(sg), Evans(sf), Odom(pf) and Kwame(c).

That makes us kind of small at the center and power foward positions. But it's what I'd go with. I think offensively and defensively this is the best set of guys we can place out there. And yes youth was kinda frowned upon in makng this starting five, they'll need to go above and beyond the call of duty to take a spot from anyone of the veterans.

Luke, Rad, Cook didn't make my first team because I don't think they can consistently be a defensive presence every night. And for all those clamoring for luke as being a gel, well he can help keep our young bench effective when they come in.

Lastly for my five to work, Fish and Evans must be consistently capable of knocking down the open shot and odom and kwame should become best buds with the paint being their favorite hang out spot.

Vman, I did reply to the ref thing...but it too was lost in the shuffle lol.

To really fix the sport, you have to go al lthe way to the top. We're deliberating over a ref whose sole purpose in life was to gamble away games...yet we're overlooking "Stu Jackson" whose sole purpose in life is to ruin the NBA. Don't referees have a check and balance system? I mean for one, there's THREE of them out there...and for another they have and are supposed to watch tapes of each games ref-ed and critique it. For all the years this ref has been in the league...nothing? That's where the inept heads come in. Does Stu Jackson have anyone to overrule him? Maybe David Stern...and I just don't see him doing that to his buddy.

All I know is the CONSPIRACY lives! lol, jk.

--------------------------------------------------------------
THE CHRONICLES OF SERGEANT KOBE: Part 7
--------------------------------------------------------------

GENERAL BUSS: Come in, Private Kupchak.

GENERAL KUPCHAK: Its General, sir...

GENERAL BUSS: Huh?

GENERAL KUPCHAK: Nevermind. you asked to see me?

GENERAL BUSS:Yes. Give me a status report... has Sergeant Kobe given up yet?

GENERAL KUPCHAK: Im afraid not, sir... he stopped threatening to abandon his post, but he wont commit to joining the fight and defending the fort from our enemies.

GENERAL BUSS: So, he thinks he's smart, does he?

GENERAL KUPCHAK: Sir?

GENERAL BUSS: That's fine, keep up the "search" for reinforcements, but once Sergeant Kobe gives in, cancel it. The Suns of Phoenix will have breached the fort by October, so he only has so much time before he must pick up his arms and fight.

GENERAL KUPCHAK: And if he stil refuses to fight...

GENERAL BUSS: Then we'll hang him for treason.

GENERAL KUPCHAK: If General West were here, he'd --

GENERAL BUSS: But he's not here, is he? I've heard enough out of you, Private Kupchak. Call in my ladies on your way out... and tell them to bring my hemorrhoid cream...

Fox Sports West at 4:00 PM today, team USA in Vegas.

Maybe the nba should just adopt international rules and reach out to their european counterparts to help retrain nba refs :)

lol ... i can just see david stern having a heart attack ... a better idea is to setup a committee consisting of coaches, players, refs, and a few league officials ... guys like cuban could mail tapes to the commitee concerning officiating and refs would be punished e.g. suspensions, training in europe (lol). Punishments would be kept private. Also a similar commitee should be setup to handle player punishments, that way the next time wallace throws a tantrum, his colleagues and not just the league would have say in what his punishment should be.

Absolute power corrupts and i just think the problem is league officials and refs have too much power. It's time for them to share that power with the rest of the league (basically coaches and players)

has anybody posted that Odom seems to be on the block? All the rumors, except the Artest rumors generally involve Odom, the latest being the Wallace/Mr. Jefferson/Odom deal that didn't happen. Everybody keeps harping on trading Bynum but what if the Lakers are looking at moving Odom and Kwame seperately for possibly a PF and ??? a gunner SF? Where does that leave Vlad Rad then? You would think they would want a scoring type SF with Walton backing him up and a banger type PF that wouldn't have to score as much but would be a defensive/rebounding maniac with Turiaf backing him up. If they move Vlad Rad, do they keep Cook?

Has anybody posted any realistic people the Lakers might be interested in? SF's and PF's, and NOT journeymen but realistic guys that may have a few years in the league who's names aren't really being bounced around like - off the top of my head - Hakim Warrick, who has 2 years experience and might fit a slot in Phil's system?

LakerLarry:

"In your earlier post you brought up the Brian Grant issue, old player, broken down, big contract, Lakers took him, FO stupid, bla-bla-bla.... You do realize J-Kidd's only 1 year younger than B Grant and Grant's been out of the league for 2 years now. It's hard to believe you are still advocating that trade. A trade in which we would give up a boatload of young developing talent for an old player with ailing knees. Thank God our front office didn't make that trade."


How could you possibly compare Jason Kidd, a Future Hall-of-Famer who averaged a triple-double in last year's playoffs, to Brian Grant, a one-dimensional role player who has never even made an All-Star team? So they're only one year apart... so what? Jordan still averaged 20 ppg in his 40's... Kareem was an all-star in his late 30's... the great ones usually have a longer life span than the average NBA player, and Jason Kidd's no exception.

on the refs, the committee they set up should have no connection with the NBA. You can't have someone like Cuban on the committee, it has to be done from outside the league by people with no interest in actual game outcomes. This is so serious, I'm not even sure they should use people from another major sport like the NFL or MLB. To really put this to rest, it would have to be some outside group that would be given enough authority that if they said to do this or that, those things would be done without question, whether it is a new ratings system for refs, or higher pay for refs? or have the refs work fewer games or even adding another ref to each game or whatever.

Taliq,
I like your call of starting Evans at SF. I considered that one for awhile, but abandoned it just because Luke has more consistently been on the floor with the others. Evans definitely brings game Luke just doesn't have.

I didn't go with Kwame simply because you never know which Kwame will show up on any given night. Mihm, if truly healthy, has the ability to bring more consistency.

Rick F.,
I think the Lakers will add an impact player before the summer ends. But if not, my starting fav 5 come playoff time would be as follows:

PG-Crittenton (with Fisher playing heavy 4th quarter minutes, similiar to Horry's role on the Spurs. Once JC proves to be the real deal, hopefully by mid-season, we can afford to limit Fish's minutes and save him for the playoffs).
SG-Kobe
SF-Vlad (by default. We need Vlad to return to form desperately this year. If Vlad is the same Vlad from last year, than I would start Evans ahead of Luke. With one year of the triangle under his belt, along with Fish's arrival, I think Evans will have a much larger role this year. If we have to rely on Luke getting 30 minutes a game for the entire season, this team is doomed).
PF-Lamar
C-Kwame (aside from his buttery hands and pea sized brain, I still think Kwame can be a solid role player if he learns to hustle and just play nasty. I'm starting him this year because guys like Kwame are motivated big-time during their contract years).

Mitchell, you write:

"What is true is that Lakers games get more action that most (if not all) NBA teams."

You're incorrect with that statement, blogs become silly when people are making up facts. No west coast teams get "the most action" betters don't want to wait that long for results to come in -sometimes 1:30 in the morning if they are in the East- and they bet on early games more than late game - sometimes trying to bet again if the late games are still open. i believe the ration is probably 2-1. ....you can look that fact up everywhere, so there is no reason at all to think that the Lakers were unfairly treated compared to anyone else.....

Faith,
" For all the years this ref has been in the league...nothing?"

That's why I don't think that he had a significant effect on who won or lost. That would be too obvious. It was probably aimed more at tyring to be on a certain side of the point spread. That would be easier to do without being obvious.

I don't know how any true Lakers fan can defend Kobe anymore. That just boggles my mind. He pissed all over the purple and gold! I am done defending him. It took me all these years to see the light but I get it now.

daniel,
Good point, but I'm not comparing the East coast versus the West coast, nor am I comparing the volume of bets between teams. I simply stated that the nationally teleivised Laker games get more action than any other NBA game. Nationally televised games get much more action than than any other games (especially the weekend games). These games tend to bring out the occasional gamblers. The Lakers consistently have had the most nationally televised games, with the highest ratings. These games draw the largest viewing audeince as well as the largest betting audience. If a bookie wanted to maximize profits, he would more likely take advantage of one of these games, which makes it much more likely that the Laker games were effected.

I'm not proud of this, but right after college, I worked for a very large sports gambling operation for a year. I am very aware of the tendencies of the professional, as well as the occasional, gambler. Please do not accuse me of "making of facts".

LAlFan32:

"I don't know how any true Lakers fan can defend Kobe anymore. That just boggles my mind. He pissed all over the purple and gold! I am done defending him. It took me all these years to see the light but I get it now."


LALFan32, welcome to the Kobe Haters club... go ahead and take your seat next to KL and gunner. We only have one rule here... if you ever say anything positive about Kobe... you're out of the club. Got it?

-- Oh, and you have to put on these blinders, so you can have tunnel vision like the rest of us.

Derek:
The last two years people have been saying the same thing (Lakers won't make the playoffs) but they still have, even with the injuries. The worst the Lakers will be this year is 7th (if they are relatively injury free) and may be as high as 4th. That said, that ain't enough for me or Kobe :(

"I don't know how any true Lakers fan can defend Kobe anymore. That just boggles my mind. He pissed all over the purple and gold! I am done defending him. It took me all these years to see the light but I get it now."

Just a reminder.
Kobe isn't the one that ran up and down the court demanding 30 millions a year... he wasn't the one that left the team and called LA fans IDIOTS, it was on fat bum that couldn't even win one game in the weak east.
Kobe is the only person in this organization that cares about winning. He single-handedly carried a bunch of liabilities (who has no business being in the nba) to the play-offs in the west, something nobody else can claim...ever.

AK,

The most interesting aspect about this ref scandal is that the great majority of fans are not shocked by this. I think the NBA refs have the most difficult job compared to other sports and moreover have more influence in determining the outcome of a game. Reflecting back to the many games that the fans felt slighted on (ex: Wade's free throw parade at the Finals, Lakers vs Sacramento game 7, Spurs vs. Suns, etc.), the fans have legitimate gripe that those games may have indeed been fixed. Personally, I don't think Kobe gets the calls that he deserves. I've been to many games and have seen him get butchered out there when he drives to the lane. Yes, Kobe doesn't drive to the lane as often as Wade or Lebron, but when Kobe does drive, he doesn't get the calls in terms of percentage as them.

Fkillah,

"The most interesting aspect about this ref scandal is that the great majority of fans are not shocked by this."

By "most interesting," do you mean "saddest?" haha

AK

AK,

Yeah it is sad, but we fans always had a hunch about this and now it's just being confirmed. It's like Tony Soprano's mom trying to whack her own son. You don't want to admit it, but its true. Tears..

ex:

The blog is almost feeling normal to me after reading your interpretation of the team’s depth and improvement at point guard and center. Browsing the blog is like reading the sports page wearing a pair of sunglasses with a different prescription for each eye, left one GHF and right one GHE, or is it the other way? lol. You’re either a guardian angel making sure nobody’s hopes get too high or a devil looking to rain on every parade.

I concede that the more pessimistic view per your post is as valid at this point in time as the more optimistic view many of us others have of how much better we will be at the 1 and 5. We have plugged a couple of holes but still need to either see a player at each position make a big leap ala Deron Williams or the front office use the new pieces in a deal to bring in a second superstar such as KG, JO, or Ron Artest.

Correct me if I’m wrong, however, but I’m betting bottom line that you do agree that we have definitely improved our team at point and center and our difference of opinion is just in how much? You probably don’t believe this team could win 55 games but don’t you agree it will be much better than last year’s team, provided it remains relatively healthy?

Tom

Hal9000,

Looking forward for the next chapter in the chronicles of sergeant Kobe. How about a compilation for all who missed the previous chapters?

ex:

“No, they weren't. The schedule allowed them to have a record better than the relative strength of the team. Overvaluing the team's talent is going to doom the Lakers to the first round/second round if they get lucky purgatory for the next ten years.”

You may be right that the light schedule allowed the team to get off to a better start and appear to be a better team than they really were. Their performance during the second half of the season and playoffs would support that viewpoint. But that is oversimplifying the situation because injuries did also play a role as did the loss of team chemistry and Kobe’s disenchantment with the front office after the Jason Kidd trade fell through. Reality, which you always claim to seek, is probably that the team was not as good as it appeared to be early in the year but also not as bad as their second half and playoff play would suggest.

I agree that overvaluing the team’s talent could hurt the team’s future considerably but by the same token so could undervaluing the team’s talent. I think that the quick start last year led us to overvalue the team’s talent, which resulted in the double error of failing to pull off the Jason Kidd trade (Kobe, Kidd, Lamar, et al would have been a true contender) and pissing off Kobe, triggering the current standoff. Since Kobe’s outburst, however, I think the team has done an excellent job of not over or under-valuing the team’s talent. They could easily have conceded to pressure and traded Bynum, Brown, AND Lamar for JO, which would have been undervaluing our talent. Another thing is that they are the only ones who have been able to see whether it looks like Andrew Bynum is going to elevate his game in year 3. I would like to see him in preseason and early season before finally deciding to trade him. He might just change all of our minds with his play. Even Kobe, who said he talked to Andrew.

If a deal that could elevate the Lakers to the next level comes around, the Lakers are ready to make the deal, including trading Bynum. On the other hand, they still believe that the team as presently constructed will be much better than anybody else expects. I happen to think they are on the right track right now and I think you generally agree with me but differ in how good the existing team could be or how easy it is going to be to make the deal we need to get to the next level.

Tom

Mitchel:

I wanted to chime in the point spread fixing scandal in the NBA. I find it fascinating wondering whether or not the Lakers were affected adversely by intentionally bad calls by this ref during Laker games.

First, I would assume that gamblers looking to make a profit by fixing the point spread on a game would want to do so in a game with lots of action since it would allow them to place a much larger bet than in a game with a small pool where a large contra bet could attract attention or even dynamically effect the point spread that you were trying to control. Thus, nationally televised Laker games might be good targets, especially since these games bring in heavy betting from Laker fans that already distort the odds that a neutral audience might generate. A big bet that the Lakers would not cover the spread would be the logical bet to place since it would already have a built-in preference favoring the Lakers not covering.

Second, I would assume that the gamblers would be looking at games that were very competitive with low point spreads since the odds of the ref being in a position to make a difference with just a couple of calls would be greater than in a blowout, which would require much more intervention to affect the final score. Therefore, all we need to do is to check Laker games this ref worked against opponents where neither team was favored by many points. If the results show that the Lakers were not beating the spread, then that would surely indicate that these games should be closely analyzed to see if there were some questionable calls by that ref that prevented the Lakers from beating the spread.

Tom

"Just a reminder.
Kobe isn't the one that ran up and down the court demanding 30 millions a year... he wasn't the one that left the team and called LA fans IDIOTS, it was on fat bum that couldn't even win one game in the weak east.
Kobe is the only person in this organization that cares about winning. He single-handedly carried a bunch of liabilities (who has no business being in the nba) to the play-offs in the west, something nobody else can claim...ever."

Lakerdawg:
I totally agree about that fat and bloated lazy bum. My point was not that I support 1 over the other. My point is that no player is above the organization. It's all about the Lakers first and foremost. And to see my beloved purple and gold ripped by both of them...... to hell with both of them I say. Who knows.... maybe I'm just stuck in the 80's, back when there was more loyalty to a team.

If he had a beef, there is a right way to handle it. How quickly he forgot about all that the Lakers organization did to him when he was dealing with all his legal issues huh? No loyalty.....

Great job by Kobe to keep the human nuisance stiff armed in that interview.

TJ Simers is just way too into himself and his writing style.

He sucks big time.

Kobe's focused and preparing for the next NBA season.

The question is, what are the Laker players who are not injured doing to prepare?

Is Lamar Odom watching film?
Is Kwame Brown watching film?
Is Brian Cook working on rebounding and post up moves?
Is VladRad working on his jumpshot?
Is Jordan Farmar working on having a game inside the 3 point line?
Is Maurice Evans working on his game and defense?
Is Turiaf working on adding something to his offensive game and sweeping the boards better?
What the heck is Andrew Bynum working on?

This is the problem with the Lakers.
It isn't Kobe.

Is Mitch working on the Jermaine O'Neal trade?
Bynum, Odom, (Sasha or Farmar) for Jermaine O'Neal!

AK, Ref problems!!!! Who would you spread bet on!!!
You have seen games when one team will get about 35-40 foul call when the other team gets about 10. How can there ever be such a disparity foul calls. Unless, the officiating crew were totally incompetent.

There reason it is bad, is that refs in the NBA have so much power. I think that the NBA should adopt a system, where refs after the game should explain why players or coaches got technical call or ejected. Also, there should be NBA appointed head ref or panel to check the performance of the refs. To make sure they maintain a high standard of refereeing.


Aaarrrhhhh!!

Angry_Laker

u guys watching the scrimmage???? how good is jason kidd... u telling mitch isnt regretting trading bynum for him?

Faith,

I totally agree. It shouldn't be lost in the shuffle here, this is historical.

You can't sugar coat it. The integrity of the sport has been uncovered and the man behind the curtain is cheating.

If it was just a point or two, maybe a game or two accidentally that's not so bad? That's bad. Boxing kind of bad. That game has suffered these kinds of blows and they're about to be eclipsed by Ultimate Fighting.

Sad. Damn sad. My fear, and I bet the fear of the league, is that it doesn't turn out to be worse than we already know when all the facts are in.

LakerTom,
The players at PG and C could be deep in another year or two. But they aren't yet. Just like the Lakers as a whole last year.

When determining the depth on the team, it's a mistake to take potential into account.

Laker Ton,
"point and center and our difference of opinion is just in how much?"

At this moment in time, a slight improvement in PG. That amount of improvement will probably increase as Crittendon and Farmar get more playing time.

At C, it is too soon to tell for sure. I am sure that Bynum has improve; the question is how much. If Mihm and Brown both come back all the way from the injuries and surgeries, then there is a significant improvement at that position. IF that is the case, I would expect that Bynum and Mihm would see the most time at center, and PJ would experiment with Brown at PF. You could get away with no offense from the PF position if you were getting some from the center. Mihm would definitely provide that; Bynum might. Or pssibly Mihm at PF.

"Kobe leaves next year, so you should take the Atlanta deal of Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Josh Childress for Kobe otherwise you will get nothing."

I've heard that rumor somewhere else too, but never from the Lakers FO or
the Hawks FO or any news agency who purports to have heard it from either
of those sources.

Unless the Hawks are planning on moving to New York or Chicago next year,
it's not a viable trade. Kobe has a non-trade clause and has specified that the
teams he would agree to be traded to would be Chicago, New York, or
Phoenix (and in some reports, he later added Dallas).

That aside, it's not a terrible offer, and at least they'd get back an all-star
quality player (and at the same position as Kobe, no less). But if I was the
Lakers, I'd be telling them to make it Josh Smith instead of Josh Childress,
even if Kobe was willing to go to Atlanta, and to throw in a couple of
future first round picks. Otherwise, no deal.

Kobe is the man!

Kobe hit three consecutives cluch shots to give his team a victory....
Blue team won in a sensational finish in las vegas.

Kobe is the man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kobe hit the tieing 3 pointer in the final minute, and the game winner over Lebron with 6 seconds left. He also defended Lebron on the final play, a lebrick.

LALfan32
"If he had a beef, there is a right way to handle it. How quickly he forgot about all that the Lakers organization did to him when he was dealing with all his legal issues huh? No loyalty....."
I don't disagree with you that much on that, however I just wonder how long he had been trying to handle his beef the right way in the past 3 saesons, but it seems like 3 consecutive crapy seasons ar OK with Mitch and Jim Buss, but definitely not good for a champion like Kobe. I'm not a fan of his methods but I don't blame him either, the way I see it he just reflected the frustration of many fans.
Moreover, there could be a lot of speculation on why they stood by him wih his legal trouble. they had a lot of stake in getting him out of trouble, after all he was there true path to a championship.

Unbelievable Kobe.

Kobe just show in Las Vegas, competing against the best in the game, who is the best.

In the other side Lebron tried for the win, but as always,he isn't Kobe.

Just Kobe, Kobe, Kobeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I hope all the Kobe Haters were watching the Team USA scrimmage today. The best of the NBA was playing, and they were playing hard. Who was the best player on the floor? Kobe Bryant. Who led his team to victory? Kobe Bryant. This validates the theory that with better players, Kobe will only be better and make the others better. And on the other team was the "team player" of team players, Jason Kidd. Kidd played quite well, along with Lebron James, who was on his team. But not only did Kobe hit the game winners (the last four points), he defended the potential game winner, and added 4 assists to go with 6 steals. He really is the best, no doubt about it.

Mitchell,
When you say, "If we have to rely on Luke getting 30 minutes a game for the entire season, this team is doomed" I fear you're right. Can VladRad finally learn the offense? I just don't think he'll ever fit in here, but I hope I'm wrong.

To all the haters,
Did you see the Team USA scrimmage on FSN? Kobe rules on the court, regardless of how you feel about him.

And how about Kevin Durant! Looks like he's been in the NBA for years. What a force this guy is going to be!

I just watched the USA scrimmage. It was a piece of basketball heaven. This has to be the absolute greatest thing that's happened as a result of the losses in international play. These guys are taking this thing seriously.

My particular interest was, of course, Kobe. Seeing this man play basketball is just breathtaking. He busted the game winner on Tayshaun, then he d'up Lebron to help make the final stop. It was vintage Kobe. He was the emotional dictator of that game. He completely controlled that game, and stepped up every time his squad needed him. And most importantly, he was clutch. It was a masterpiece. It was also just a scrimmage.

It's hard to swallow the fact that Kobe doesn't want to play for the Lakers anymore. Damn...

As long as Kobe's still officially a Laker and winning games for the USA, I've got to cheer for this guy. Damn...

Kobe was the best and most respected player on that court without a doubt. Damn...

Would I still like to trade Kobe? Hell no! But if the right deal came along, maybe.

Durant looked real good playing with the big boys.

I don't like the fact that D'antoni is coaching Kobe. I can't see D'antoni worrying too much about wearing Kobe down come time for the NBA season to start. We all saw what happened to Wade after playing ball non-stop for 2 years straight. As in shape as these guys are, they do need breaks for the body to heal.

"There's a toughness to Kobe, an edge," Colangelo said. "And that's something we didn't have last year."

That's what I am talking about!
That's what I am talking about!
That's what I am talking about!

Do you hear it KL,gunner...etc...??/

Grow up you KOBE and Laker hater!

Go lakers! Go Kobe.

What an awesome display of talent at the USA scrimage.

What is showed is a shooter of the ball is dangerous.

The only players who cannot really shoot the ball next year is Kwame, Walton, and Farmar.

But Fisher can shoot the clutch shot. You know about the other guy.

There is no reason that the Lakers cannot go all the way next year. But they have to find some shooters. JO and KG is not the solution.
They would take a price that would make the team worthless.

The real key is the development of Odom and Brynum. Can they hit some shots? They have more talent and upside than the tradees. Much more.

It is too bad that Susha, Cook, Farmar are undtradable.

Like they play bad to show they cannot be moved.


Kobe looked awesome in Team USA. Kobe was the still clutch.

I wish we had Jason Kidd...

Did anyone see Kobe tear it up in the USA scrimmage earlier this afternoon. I wouldn't trade him for two allstars, he is truly the star of all-stars. LO needs to step it up, Andrew better be ready this season, other wise get someone who KOBE can win with. He is the best basketball player in the world, and i doubt their is any denying it. It is a team game, but it sure should be a lot easier when you have the best player on your team.

10 second left, T-prince guarding Bryant, shimmy, shake, pump fake, pivot, pump fake, rise, score, no problems. It was awful nice to see(in this case) #10 do what he does best, close.

Please Lakers get it done this season.

KL,

re: Kobe's leadership. This is
the tail end of a blog from the scrimmage today.

Posted by: Dave McMenamin

Man, what a game!

Kobe came through again, freezing Tayshaun Prince at the top of the key and dropping in the go-ahead 18-foot jumper with 6.6 seconds left.

After a timeout White came out and fed the ball to LeBron who stared down Kobe and, put his head down and trudged into the lane before putting up a floater as time expired that hit the glass to the left of the rim.

Bryant finished with 26 points and scored the last seven points for Blue.

I'll be back later with some quotes from everybody involved and look for a new McTen coming out tomorrow summing up a very successful mini-camp for Team USA.

In looking at the box score, C. Anthony took more shots and
had more points. They were both tied with assists.

In previous conversations you've indicated doubts about Kobe's leadership in conjunction with being able to win. Others, myself included, have argued that Kobe's teammates did not do their part.

While this scrimmage is not decisive in any way, I would have you keep this on file so that later you can have this as a side dish with the crow you'll be eating.

Bon Appetit

Wow! No comments on that great game?

Durant looks like the next Kobe. That guy is clearly the real deal. This wasn't even a regular season game, this was against the best in the league and Durant more than held his own. Give him a year or two and WOW!

I don't know how I got lumped in with the "Kobe haters". Once again, Kobe was clearly the best player on the court out there. The concerns that I have posted, as far as being a Laker fan is:

1. he asked to be traded, and we all know that 99 times out of 100, having a disgruntled player on the roster is ALWAYS a problem, even if he is the best player in the league.

2. he badmouthed his teammates and was caught on video doing it, no less.

3. the concerns about him "taking over" games where it leaves everybody else standing around with their thumbs in their... mouths... which falls under "leadership" and getting everybody involved.

None of this makes me a "Kobe hater". I love Kobe on the court, the concern was points 1-3 above. All that being said, it seems that Kobe is saving face at this point and is not going to sit out, etc. He's in great shape, and from his recent comments, he likes the recent signings and it appears Mitch and crew have tried to make moves that Kobe would have approved of, like the attempt to get Gerald Wallace. I think we've got a good crew for next year, the only wildcard to me is Odom now and if he is moved, whether we go after 2 players to replace him. Another totally off the wall thought could be that Kobe moves to SF and the Lakers trade for a high scoring SG. Then again, if friggin Vlad Rad would step up and do what Mark Miller was doing today, that would be like another free agent acquisition this offseason... anyway... Kobe kicked major booty today!

 
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