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Know thy enemy: The Western Conference, Part I

How do you know the Laker season is underway?  Besides watching last night's home opener, the barrage of KCAL ads and your general ability to read a calendar, since the games start on more or less the same date each year? 

Because we're busting out the ol' "Know thy enemy," that's why!

It's time to analyze, deconstruct and generally pick apart the Western Conference that houses Laker enemies.  All 14 teams.  All angles and aspects explored.  I've divvied up the contenders (and pretenders) into four categories, two of which will be posted ri ... gh ... t ...

Now.

TEAMS THAT DEFINITELY WILL BE WORSE THAN THE LAKERS

Minnesota Timberwolves
Give Kevin McHale credit.  He provided KG precious little help during his 12 seasons in Minneapolis, but the dude don't eff around when it comes to erasing remnants of the failed Big Ticket era.  And good call, by the way.  If you really want to rebuild, don't try to make the transition somewhat palatable.  Blow it the (bleep) up in the hopes of eventually becoming good by stockpiling young talent and cap space during those 3-5 years of being bad.  And make no mistake, this squad will be, as Homer Simpson once said, "crap on a crud."  Al Jefferson, Randy Foye (who'll be out a while), Craig Smith, Gerald Green and Corey Brewer could develop into one hell of a core.  But for now, expect the kids to experience mucho growing pains while being baby sat ... er, mentored, by Theo Ratliff and Mark Madsen.  And if McHale really wants to keep this inaugural rebuild atmosphere from turning poisonous, I'd advise making copies of Troy Hudson's and Juwan Howard's buyout papers for Antoine Walker.

Seattle Supersonics
Another team that could be good in a few years, but for now, yikes!  At least they've got one hell of a prospect in Kevin Durant to create entertaining losses.  To say this kid (who Kobe recently described as the longest player he's ever seen) can score from anywhere on the floor would be a comical understatement.  He also appears to have his head screwed on straight, which is fortunate, since the road to super-stardom will be filled with a lot of bumps in the immediate future.  Considering the Sonics are comprised of "one starter who can play but isn't a go-to guy" (Chris Wilcox), "starters who would come off the bench for almost any team other than Seattle" (Nick Collison, Damien Wilkins, Luke Ridnour), "solid role players who'll help but would likely rather be elsewhere" (Kurt Thomas, Wally Szczerbiak, Earl Watson), "youth movement dudes" (Jeff Green, Delonte West) and "the freakiest-looking kid I've ever seen in my life (Robert Swift)," Durant has already found himself in LeBron's company before even playing an official game.  He stepped into the NBA as his team's best player.

Portland Trailblazers
Greg Oden's out.  Reigning ROY Brandon Roy is battling injury.  Blazer fans are bummed.  And I'm totally suspicious.  Personally, I don't think either guy is hurt.  I think Kevin Pritchard looked at the roster and realized that despite this team's wonderful future, they're still too young to make much noise even at full strength.  So why not toss another season into the toilet, try to snag another freak-luck No. 1 pick, add O.J. Mayo to the Oden-Roy-LaMarcus Aldridge foundation and set this franchise for life?  For that result, I'd be willing to roll the dice and endure a crappy year with Joel Przybilla racking two points a game at center.  And no, that number was not a typo.  Remember, you heard this conspiracy theory here first.

Sacramento Kings
For what it's worth, there's definitely a team in the Pacific with more ill-matched or unimpressive parts than the Lakers.  You just don't hear about them, since nobody cares about the Kings anymore.  Save Nicole Richie-thin Kevin Martin, this rotation's core leaves mucho to be desired.  A star duo (Ron Artest and the thumb-addled Mike Bibby) that reportedly doesn't get along and has been on and off the block since about 1978, a small forward trapped in a center's body (Brad Miller), two power forwards (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenny Thomas) who could lose their starting gig to a cat barely topping 220 pounds (Mikki Moore), and John Salmons, last season's mid-level-compensated addition whose name won't ring a bell for 9 out of 10 people reading this.  Hey, what's not to love, besides their terrible D and new coach Reggie Theus' rules, like no cellies on the bus and roadie curfews?  The perfect spirit-lifter during a sub-.500 season.   

Memphis Grizzlies
I'll be watching this rather lousy team for three reasons and three reasons only. 

1) I find the career path of Darko Milicic bizarrely fascinating (as well as his thoughts on FIBA refereeing). 

2) I'm just curious to see if Darko's presence motivates Stromile Swift, since Milicic snagging his minutes would soldify Swift as the worst No. 2 pick of the last 10 years.  Or vice versa, if Swift holds him off.  A historic "Battle to Suck Less" is in the works, people! 

3) After bringing in Pau Gasol's best buddy Juan Carlos Navarro specifically to appease the disgruntled star, I'm curious to see who G.M. Chris Wallace will swap out to add Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa and Sergio Rodriguez and surround Pau with all his boys.  Will they put together a $100,000,000 package to lure Fran Vasquez out of hiding?  Whatever it takes to make Gasol "gruntled," a transformation that won't likely happen, since I'm pegging these guys for about 35 wins.

Los Angeles Clippers
Best-case scenario to stay afloat until Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston hopefully return in February: Corey Maggette becomes an efficient scoring machine, prompting Mike Dunleavy to wonder what the two ever fought about.  Chris Kaman proves that last season was a hiccup in an otherwise steadily improving career.  Rookie Al Thornton builds on a monster preseason.  Tim Thomas actually steps up for a team that needs him to become tougher and motivated.  Cuttino Mobley remains steady.  Ruben Patterson's bulldog attitude permeates throughout the squad.  Brevin Knight and Sam Cassell remain healthy enough to patch together a season's worth of quality point-guard play and leadership.

Worst-case scenario to stay afloat until Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston hopefully return in February: Corey Maggette becomes an inefficient shooting machine, prompting he and Mike Dunleavy to come to blows in a liquor store parking lot.  Chris Kaman continues looking easily distracted, just with shorter hair.  Al Thornton hits the rookie wall in January.  Tim Thomas remembers he gets the exact same paycheck no matter how he plays, which makes hitting cruise control a no-brainer.  Cuttino Mobley's biggest 2008 accomplishments revolve around his wardrobe (dude can dress).   Ruben Patterson's bulldog attitude gets him suspended twice by the team for "conduct detrimental."  Brevin Knight misses his usual assortment of games while Cassell nurses even more injuries, eventually getting dealt at the deadline to a contender that he guides to a title playing 18 mpg. 

I'm not sure either scenario will shake out exactly as described, but call me crazy: I'm picturing an outcome closer to the second than the first.   

TEAMS THAT WILL BE ABOUT AS GOOD AS THE LAKERS, MAYBE A LITTLE BETTER

New Orleans Hornets
Do yourself a favor.  If you're vacationing in the Big Easy and talking hoops with a local, don't bust out a sob story about the Laker injury woes, because you're likely to find a little spit in your gumbo.  Say what you want about the purple and gold's crummy health, but the Hornet starters missed a combined 133 games, 69 alone by Peja Stojakovic.  But even with that staggering number of contests featuring Hornets in suits, they still managed to make a serious playoff push.  If they can stay out of the trainer's room, this is a team equipped to, at the very least, nudge the Lakers further down the Western Conference ladder.  David West is the NBA's best "almost 20/10 player that nobody knows who the hell he is."  Tyson Chandler is beating Kwame Brown and Eddy Curry in the quest to be the 2001 high school draft class kid that almost lives up to the hype (as a defensive specialist/rebounding machine who alters roughly a zillion shots per game).  And with all respect to Deron Williams, Chris Paul still has my vote for league's most promising young PG.  Add Peja's triples, Bobby Jackson's ability (when healthy) to score in bunches, Mo Peterson's shooting and defense, plus solid role players like Rasual Butler, Ryan Bowen and Jannero Pargo, that's a team that can provide fits around the league.  Or at least beat the Lakers, whichever comes first. 

Golden State Warriors
Call me cynical, but I don't see Golden State improving much on last season's surprise success down the stretch.  Maybe it's because I think Baron Davis can't stay healthy enough.  Maybe it's because I think they don't have enough front-court scoring.  Maybe it's because I think they don't have enough D, whether front, back or middle court (if such a term even exists).  Maybe it's because any team with Stephen Jackson as a tri-captain seems pretty much destined to go off the rails like a ... wait for it ... crazy train.  But until the Warriors actually fall back into the mediocrity I'm predicting, they finished 2007 with the same record as the Lakers, so they deserve my treatment as more or less equals.

Incidentally, does everyone agree that last season wasn't a question of Dirk Nowitzki simply crumbling in the playoffs but literally being scared of the Warriors?   As in, "I'm frightened of these guys and I want my mommy!" Granted, between Davis, Jax, Al Harrington's mohawk and Matt Barnes running around like a tatted-out meth fiend from Fresno, the Warriors put out a decidedly edgy vibe.  But at the same time, the dude is 7' 0" and freakin' German!  Shouldn't that make him sort of tough?  I don't like tossing around the "soft" label, because I think it's often a cliche.  But I've been questioning Dirk way before the Mavs got bounced.  I was actually pretty relieved to hear Mark Cuban say that Dirk was off the table in a theoretical Kobe swap.  I'll take Josh Howard over Nowitzki any day of the week.

Part II to follow soon.

-- AK

 
Comments () | Archives (226)

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It was pretty obvious last night that even with Yao and McGrady playing good basketball, that if KWAME did not play and put a huge effect on how KOBE started taking all the shots and how BYNUM did not get a chance to touch the ball down low, the LAKERS are still in a position to snatch a WIN.

Minus Kwame and Cook, the game could have been ours in a W.

I copied this from Lakersnation.com. Enjoy.

Blkthght06

Very interesting read on Kobe and passing from Truehoops

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-246/Thinking-Like-Kobe-Bryant-in-Crunch-Time.html

“To try to get an idea of how Kobe’s seeing his teammates, let’s examine how these passes turned out.

* Five passes to Luke Walton. Four times it comes back to Bryant, one time Walton gets fouled.
* Two passes to Jordan Farmar, leading to two missed jumpers by other players.
* Twice to Ronny Turiaf. One time it comes back, the other time it’s a missed jumper.
* Once to Maurice Evans, who passes it right back.
* Once time to Andrew Bynum, who passes it back.
* Once to Derek Fisher for the game-tying basket.

After considering how productive Bryant was on his own, and how little came out of his passes, one could make the argument that in his head, most of his teammates were not worth passing to with the game on the line.”

Good write-up AK, although I think Memphis might be slightly better than you do. If I was Portland, I would only lightly tank the year, because you're right - another high-draft, and they could be set for a decade.

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The Clippers will be the #4 seed once Yaroslev Korolev gets going. They should also get Darko from the Grizzlies and work towards the creation of an "All Disappointing-High-Draft-White-Euro-Guy" team. They can have Sasha for an Elgin Baylor autographed Lakers jersey and VRad back if they're willing to give up some primo parking spaces downtown.

For what it's worth, there's definitely a team in the Pacific with more ill-matched or unimpressive parts than the Lakers. You just don't hear about them, since nobody cares about the Kings anymore.

AK,

No wonder sonnybelfast is spending more of his time in the Lakers blog. Even if your opinion is right on the spot, hope it doesn't turn the belfast off. Afterall, him coming is still counted in the blog hit counter. Right?

Blkthght06
Interesting information
Same old story - we need some agressive people on the floor
One player playing against a whole team just will not get it done, although if he hit his normal % on FREETHROWS or shooting we might have won also.

The Bynum thing is just about him wanting the ball, and going to work, no fear! ...or he is trade bait, like now.

THE TRUE BLUNDER:

The state of the Lakers goes back to some serious miscalculations on part of PJ and whoever, in the Front Office, approved of his evaluations.

The Lakers, since Shaq was traded, have had trouble winning more than two or three games in a row. That led the Lakers to make another deal. They traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins for Kwame Brown.

Before that trade they drafted Andrew Bynum. By drafting Bynum and trading for Kwame Brown the Lakers basically acknowledged their need for a defensive presence in the middle. That meant Chris Mihm wasn't really the answer in the middle.

The problem with all that is that Kwame Brown had trouble with the 4 spot when he first got here. That coupled with Kobe Bryant over shooting the ball and not allowing any of the new players to intergrate into the flow of the offense. But all that's water under the bride.

The spark of hope was ignited the night we beat the Detriot Pistons. After that game it seemed everyone realized that defense was an important part of the game.

A few games later we beat the Spurs and the spark of hope grew to the audacity to believe.

Then Chris Mihm was injured. We won a couple of games and lost a couple. The evaluation at the time was that Brain Cook, who was starting at the 4 spot at the time, was compromising the defensive game of the Lakers.

PJ then moved Odom to the 4 spot and brought Walton in at the 3 spot. The removal of Cook worked wonders for the Lakers. The Lakers went on to win 11 of their last 14 games and took the Phoenix Suns to seven games in the playoffs.

There was excitement in Lakersville.

Injuries took their toll in the following season. But the Lakers with Kwame Brown, as the starter, did very well iin the wins and lose column.

The media during the time Kwame was out gave an adnormal amount of credit to Luke Walton as to why the Lakers were losing. It was because the Lakers missed Luke on the offense, even though, at the time the Lakers were giving up 110-points per game. But what the media didn't report was that while Walton was out either Kwame Brown or Lamar Odom were out, too.

In fact there were only two games that Luke Walton was out by himself. The rest of the games Luke was out both Kwame or Odom were out, too. That was a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

Somehow, the Lakers came away from last season thinking that they needed a center and a point guard. The point guard they got, in Derek Fisher, is truely an upgrade over Smush Parker.

But how they came to the conclusion that they needed a center is beyond me. With Kwame Brown's defense the Lakers are winners with Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers were sure that they were stable at the 3 spot with Luke Walton. So they signed Walton to a 6-year contract at 30-million. That was the blunder that has led to this state of the Lakers.

It was during a FSN post-season report that Jack Haley leaked that the Lakers were probably going to resign Luke Walton and Chris Mihm. That was on a Friday. By Saturday reports were circulating that Kobe Bryant was going to be making the rounds on the radio talk shows to present his case.

On the following Monday Kobe was demanding a trade.

Why? His reason was that the he and the Lakers were going in different directions.

Signing Chris Mihm was going backwards. Signing Luke Walton was standing still. I can't disagree with Kobe on this one. Going backwards was the Lakers blunder.

I mean, I'm not really against Luke Walton's game if he comes off the bench. But to evaluate that the Lakers, when they were winning was because of Walton was absolutley insane. Teams don't win with a slow footed defensive liability at the 3 spot.

Teams win when they have someone who can protect the rim. That is basic common basketball knowledge. For the Lakers to market Luke Walton as the reason for the Lakers winning was a huge blunder. The reason why the Lakers started winning was because, originally, Brain Cook wsa pulled from the starting line-up. But to then sign him for 30 million over 6 years was to act as if Brain Cook wasn't the reason could win. The instead convinced themselves that Luke Walton was the reason for the winning. The real reason was because Lamar Odom was moved to the 4 spot. That strengthened the defensive 4 and 5 spots that did wonders for the Lakers. You see, that's how good Kobe and Lamar are. With defensive stability at the 4 and 5 spot they could cover for Walton and Parkers defensive shortcomings.

But what do the Lakers do? We got rid of Parker and signed Walton for 30 million.

That money used to sign Walton and Mihm could have been used to sign a PF. And it didn't have to be an all-star PF. All it had to be was an upgrade over Brian Cook and allow Lamar Odom to go back to the 3 spot.

Talk about a miscalculation. You're seeing it on the court.

mike

pete,

I think Bynum is trade bait.

mike


Some random observations:

- Considering the propoganda campaign from the front office and the media (LA Times) to blame this whole mess entirely on Kobe (just like with the Shaq trade), is it any wonder there was some booing by the gullible blind sheep in the audience? I heard more Baaaas that Boooooos.

- Farmar - Has an uncanny resemblance to that cute little mouse from "American Tail".

- Cook - Why is he still in this league? if it wasn't for Kupcake and Jim, Cook would be flippin burgers. Cook owes Jim and Kupcake his life.

- Kobe, "who will most likely tank the games" comes to the game three and a half hours early. Meanwhile, a "rededicated" Bynum comes to the game half hour late. Hmmmmm.

- Turiaf - has a huge heart that his skills wil never match. Too bad.

- Mihm - I didn't think it was possible, but the Lakers managed to sign a player that is possibly worse on defense that Cook and Luke. Now I know why nobody wanted this "skilled" seven footer on the cheap in the summer.
If Mihm, Cook and Luke are on the floor together, Holy &%%^%$$! We are toast.

T-Mac - What a luxury to have Battier defend the other team's best player and spread the floor for you, while Luke is guarding you most of the game. You lucky bastard! Oh..and I forgot to mention he has Yao.

- Kwame - the biggest flop since Ryan Leaf, Teen Wolf 3, Men's thong underwear, and Vlade Divac's defense. The sad thing is, Kwame is by far our most effective center this season, and will be a key factor in determining a playoff berth.

- If Crittenton is given minutes, he will be twice the player Farmar is THIS year. Play him Phil, let him learn from his rookie mistakes, and you will be rewarded by the end of the year.

Blkthght06 - thanks for the info on Kobes passes

I havent figured out why Kobe doesnt pass to Bynum more (Once time to Andrew Bynum, who passes it back.) and play a two man game.

I dont know how many minutes they played together, Kobe and Bynum, but one pass isnt enough to Bynum , who can score inside.

Mike T,

"But what do the Lakers do? We got rid of Parker and signed Walton for 30 million. That money used to sign Walton and Mihm could have been used to sign a PF. And it didn't have to be an all-star PF. All it had to be was an upgrade over Brian Cook and allow Lamar Odom to go back to the 3 spot. Talk about a miscalculation. You're seeing it on the court."

What you're describing isn't possible. The money used to sign Walton and Mihm was specifically available because they were resigning their own free agents without it counting against the cap. The Lakers couldn't have have signed another team's free agent with that money. That's how the rules work. The money they used to sign those two could only have been used on those two, Smush, Shammond, and McKie. That's it. Otherwise, they can't use it on anybody.

Now, if you think the team would have been better off splitting up the MLE money on 2 or 3 players (which might have kept them from signing Fish) and getting a SF or PF that way, fine. Or if you think they should have let those two go and tried to replace them with vet minimum guys, also fine. If you think they should have tried to use them as sign and trade bait, fine a third time. I don't agree, but that's not the point. But in any event, signing Walton and Mihm in no way prevented the Lakers from signing a FA power forward. It's entirely separate money.

AK

Are you telling me that the 6 million the Lakers are spending on Walton and Mihm this year couldn't have been used for a PF? The Lakers didn't need to spend the whole 6 million on a PF. I'm not talking about the rest of the years. I'm talking about this years money. I know it doesn't count against the cap this year. But what is 6 million or less for a PF who is an upgrade over Brian Cook? The used part of the MLE for Fisher. They could have used the other half to sign a defensive PF to share the spot with Turiaf.

mike

But really, what does it matter? Evaluating Walton as the reason for winning was the blunder. Signing him for 6 years at 30 million was just compounding on their miscalculation.

mike

AK,

My post was an attempt to be funny (I guesss it bombed). Why was it deleted?

Mike T,

"Are you telling me that the 6 million the Lakers are spending on Walton and Mihm this year couldn't have been used for a PF? The Lakers didn't need to spend the whole 6 million on a PF. I'm not talking about the rest of the years. I'm talking about this years money. I know it doesn't count against the cap this year. But what is 6 million or less for a PF who is an upgrade over Brian Cook? The used part of the MLE for Fisher. They could have used the other half to sign a defensive PF to share the spot with Turiaf."

Yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you. Again, that money allotted towards Walton and Mihm was only able to be used on those two (or Smush, Shammond and McKie). The Lakers' own free agents. Period. Nobody else. That's how the salary cap works. There's a link on the right side of the blog (Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ) that explains every question you might have about it.

Beyond that, since the money spent on Walton and Mihm didn't count agains the cap THIS year, the Lakers, had they desired, still could have used part of the MLE or a vet's min to sign a PF that you're describing IN ADDITION to Walton and Mihm. Thus, one has nothing to do with the other.

I don't think the lakers would have been able to find the player you're hoping for, since the FA pickings this season were slim and they had little money to spend. But take a look at who was available and got signed this offseason (along with their contract) and tell me if the Lakers should have gotten him.

AK

ak bk, can kl return to the blog? i rather hear him talk endlessly about kobe sucking than hear below avg joe and laker lies worship kobe the idol. ill stop posting and just read as a sacrifice.

The single most encouraging thing about the game: Kobe's post game interview.

After an off-season of pointing fingers and blaming everybody but himself, he sounded like a guy who could still pull it off and lead this team.

When asked if the call on Battier should've been a three-shot foul, he mentioned, "I took 27 d*** free throws. I got nothing to complain about. And I missed 9 of 'em. So it's my bad."

He also mentioned how hard "we" played, that "we" were in position to win the game at the end, and, "That's where we grow as a team."

I'm really looking forward to the Phoenix game now, the scene of the crime so to speak.

The Drive for 55 is Alive!

Laker Truth,

I wasn't offended, but it advocated murder, even in a joking manner. For legal reasons (some moron getting the bright idea to actually do it), can't put it up. Nothing personal. No worries.

AK

So the picking were slim? How does that calcualte to signing Walton for 6 years at 30 million? That's a rhetorical question.

mike

Hey guys I'm looking for two more players in a fantasy league my friends and I are running. The draft starts at 7:45 ET. It's okay if you can't make the draft, you can pre-rank your players. I'd just really like to have a 10 player league instead of an 8 player league.

Here's all the info!

League ID:157084
League Name: Florida's Finest
password: gatorboys

FYI: It's a yahoo fantasy league

Mike T,

"So the picking were slim? How does that calcualte to signing Walton for 6 years at 30 million? That's a rhetorical question."

Rhetorical aside, I'll answer it, anyway. It doesn't calculate in any way. That's my point. if you think resigning Walton was a bad move, so be it. I don't think you're taking into account that without signing Mihm and Walton, they might have had trouble just filling out a roster with anybody of quality (not even starting quality, just quality of any kind), but I'm honestly not looking to debate your position. But Walton's contract has nothing to do with them not pursuing an outside FA power forward this season. That's all I was getting at. They're separate issues.

AK

My whole point was the miscalculation. Signing Walton and Mihm was a separate issue. My point was if the Lakers hadn't miscalculated the situation they might not have even signed Walton or Mihm and looked to fill two roster spots with cheaper but more stable defensive help at the 4 spot.

mike

Just because we had money to spend doesn't mean we had to spend it. Especially when they aren't very good at the defensive end...the Lakers biggest problem.

mike

Mike T,

"My whole point was the miscalculation. Signing Walton and Mihm was a separate issue. My point was if the Lakers hadn't miscalculated the situation they might not have even signed Walton or Mihm and looked to fill two roster spots with cheaper but more stable defensive help at the 4 spot."

Okay, fair enough. But again, you're ignoring that one has basically nothing to do with the other. And beyond that, I think you're seriously overestimating who was out there that the Lakers could have gotten as a defensive 4 upgrade. Take a look at what FA's got signed, if they could have helped the D, and if the Lakers could have afforded them. And remember, they would have only had a small piece of the MLE (since the rest was used on Fish) and the vet's minimum money to use. That's it. The money spent on Mihm and Walton would have been otherwise totally unavailable by league rules.

Take a look at the offseason transactions and tell me who they could have signed. I'm curious who you think would have been better.

AK

Signing Luke was debatable. Paying him that much money for that long was just plain wrong.

Just caught on ESPN from Ric Bucher that the Lakers were in discussions with both Chicago and Sacramento for a three team trade that fell through. The Laker were going to get Artest and Ben Wallace, the Bulls get Kobe and Sacramento would get Ben Gordon and another player. The Lakers didn't pull the trigger because it was reported that they didn't want Ben Wallace because he wouldn't fit in the triangle offense. I can't believe that the Lakers would even entertain such a deal to begin with. I mean, they really would trade Kobe for someone who has more baggage in Artest?!!! Man, what the hell is wrong with the FO?!!! I really believe the Lakers should just keep Kobe for this season and then trade him in the offseason if nothing changes by then. It seems that both the organization and Kobe are sending the fans mixed messages. By demanding a trade, Kobe has betrayed fans who supported him as a Laker. By looking to trade Kobe, the FO it seems has thrown in the towel already on this season which means we'll be tuning into watch the Lakers miss the playoffs and slip into further oblivion for seasons to come. It seems that both Kobe and the FO are childish in the way they've handled this entire situation. It's so hard to believe they can't sit down and discuss some type season long truce so that the team can just focus on playing basketball. Nuff said, Hulk smash!!!

AK,

Why haven't you mentioned that Bynum is the #2 scoring option. It seems Kobe is the only one who doesn't know that. He doesn't pass to Bynum or even look for him down low. What's up with that?

ts

Artest and Wallace ??? SICKENING !!!! TO even consider that Dr. Buss would to have been driking AGAIN !!!

Mike- Teams don't win with a slow footed defensive liability at the 3 spot.


DId you forget about that slow footed guy from Boston- Larry Bird, he was pretty good.


Luke is fine for what he is - a role player and good passer, average defender. You can win with him if there are other scorers on the team. The Lakers need guys who can score consistently. That isnt going to happen with the Kobe shoot 1st stratedgy when he is handling the ball so much.

The problem with Luke and the Lakers for several years now is they dont have a guy who can break down the defense and get his teammates easy shots like Nash and Parker.

M T,
"Evaluating Walton as the reason for winning was the blunder. "

The Lakers were over the cap. Walton's signing had no effect on them being able to sign other free agents this past off-season. It will potentially have an effect on signing non-Laker free agents next off-season. Which is why extending Kwame's contract was not smart. Didn't affect the team when they did it, but it did affect them in subsequent years. Same thing when a team is over the cap. They can still use the MLE, so it's a "freebie" for that particular off-season, but that contract will affect signings in subsequent years. The Lakers will probably regret that with Vlad, and possibly with FIsher.

I saw that on another board. It does seem to confirm my suspicions that the Lakers do not want Ben Gordon but... Ben Wallace??? Wha??? maybe they would look at him as a Rodman at PF?

That's definitely out of left field. Say what you want about Artest, but he's a good team player.

Fisher/ ? / Sasha?
Artest/Mo Evans
Odom/Walton
Ben Wallace/Turiaf/Radmanovic
Kwame/Bynum

Wow, 2 guys who can't score in the starting lineup? That would be a defensive monster though. I would assume Farmar would get moved in the trade as well? Crittenton is probably a year away from being dependable so we would then have to get another PG?

AK/BK,
Last night during the TNT postgame studio thing, Magic said the Lakers need to resolve the "Kobe Issue" ASAP. He said within the next few weeks they either need to trade him, or issue a joint statement with Kobe that he is not going anywhere. What do you think the chances of that happening is? I agree with Magic that something should be done, but if they come out and say they are not going to trade Kobe, that would be risky.

Kobe for Ben Wallace and Artest? Nice defense when it's not locked up in the mental hospital, but who would our #1 scoring option be in that scenario? Odom when healthy? This is exactly why I think this stupid trade talk needs to die down. There's nothing out there that can viably replace an openly disgruntled Kobe Bryant. Why bother with inequal value in return? Just leave Kobe on the team and people will eventually tire of this soap opera. Trading Kobe for anything less than 1 real scoring star and a solid defensive player along with picks will make the Shaq trade look like the Kareem deal. This team will have absolutely no identity, and if you think the Staples center will continue to fill up because of the brand alone, I'd point you in the direction of all those empty seats at the United Center in 2001. When I lived in Chicago during the 95/96 season, you couldn't get a seat if you offered a night alone with Cameron Diaz for the tickets. 5 year later, you could get courtside seats for a 15 minute session in a parking lot with Roseanne Barr.

Kobe for Artest and Wallace? I'd do it. We could just pound the other team on defense and instead of going on offense, slowly roll the ball to the opposition, get in a defensive crouch and give them the bruce lee "come and get it" gesture.

Or we could just arm-wrestle to see who wins.

Why haven't you mentioned that Bynum is the #2 scoring option.

I did't know Bynum was the #2 option... I don't think bynum knows that either. Maybe he, kobe, I and everyone else but you missed that memo.

The conundrum about Magic's comments are that there's always going to be something hanging over the team's collective heads. It'll never be just about basketball. Right now, it's "will Kobe be traded or not". If they come out and announce he's not going anywhere, then the rest of the guys are going to be constantly wondering when they'll be traded to get Kobe help. Maybe that's just the nature of the business.

Hey Mike T -
OK, OK if I give Kwame some slack, is he better suited to play the four?

starters bench

1 - Fisher - Farmar
2 - Kobe - Evans
3 - Lamar - Vlad/Walton
4 - Kwame - Turaif
5 - Andrew - Mihm

Situational subs: Sasha when teams go zone...
Cook should NEVER play!!!

While I agree Picks and doing little things win games, you must agree that while Walton can't guard anyone one on one, he is a decent team defender and has a knack for coming up big in late game situations, forcing turnovers and jump balls....
And while Walton does not have the athletic ability to be a starter, especially playing the 3, he is not the only overpaid starter in this league!

Mike T: "That money used to sign Walton and Mihm could have been used to sign a PF. And it didn't have to be an all-star PF. All it had to be was an upgrade over Brian Cook and allow Lamar Odom to go back to the 3 spot."

Thank you!

And even though it was exhempted in the first year because of the rules...it's not the second or consecutive years, when in the case of Vlad, it increases. We needed a rebounder, we needed a legit 4. And we got none this offseason. We'd have been sad on the 1 if Fish didn't come to us by the grace of God/Luck/Tragedy. That's the ineptitude of the front office.

Brian Cook = The New Smush Parker.

Or at least it seems like it. And altough he's shown that he's willing to work hard, perhaps (though harshly) this is the one time that hard work does not pay off. He stunk.

cook for chris webber? what do you guys think?

REPOST

Thanks Peter, tripgame, and benjamin for your posts. Thank you Kiwi, although I strongly disagree with your statement:

"This situation with Kobe Bryant is breaking new ground in the history of sport.You have a star player that wants to actually control business operations...as much as the Buss's hate to lose Bryant they CANT go agianst their business instincts."

Franchise players having a say-so in personnel decisions is nothing new. Actually, I would submit that super-star input is very critical to the capitalistic business model that you referred to in your post. A "happy" franchise player is one that feels he and management or on the same page, which leads to better performance, which leads to better chemistry, which leads to more free agent signings, which leads to more wins, which leads to more tv and sponsor revenue. And all of this affects the bottom line in a multitude of ways.

Anyway, the problem with the Lakers as I see it is that Kobe became the franchise player at the exact same moment that Jim Buss (non-basketball person) began having the final word on basketball decisions. Therefore, the aforementioned symmetry between management and franchise player never happened. Shaq was given respect by the FO. Shaq publicly got rid of Del Harris, got rid of Nick Van Exel, and got rid of Eddie Jones. Jerry West understood the importance of listening to the franchise guy. But with Kobe, Jim Buss couldn't care less, and much of that is due to his own hubris and arrogance. Jim Buss drafted Bynum even though Phil wanted Danny Granger. Jim Buss traded away Caron Butler, Kobe's friend and work-out partner, WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING THE FRANCISHE GUY. History teaches that this is not how you run an NBA team.

Kiwi, please understand that Kobe is not demanding more money and is not demanding control of the team's basketball operations. But he is demanding that the Lakers FO make good on its stated committment to winning by ACTING as if it wants to win. And you do that by setting ego aside, admit that you're not a basketball decision maker and then go out and bring in a good basketball decision maker (FYI: The young guy who was the assistant GM to the Spur's RC Buford was just hired to be a GM) Unfortunately, the Lakers are loyal to Mitch and he is loyal to them. Yes the Lakers are trying to make changes now, but where was this at last year's trading deadline or this summer's free agency period? James Posey could have been had for a song and a dance, but the FO would have looked like idiots because they signed Radmonivic last year, and gave Walton a big contract this year. Thus, the Lakers bureaucracy stays true to form. Nevermind that Posey is 3 times the defender that those guys are. Posey is just an example. But I bet that a very long list of questionable to outright dumb basketball decisions made by the Jim Buss could be created. And I bet that Kobe has kept a running list of these blunders as well.

Furthermore, you claim that Kobe wants to control business operations. I don't see it like that. Kobe wants better basketball people making better basketball decisions. He publicly pleaded to have Jerry West brought back to make basketball decisions. Kobe doesn't care about ticket prices, vendor agreements, network contracts, etc. He does not care about the Lakers' business operations. He is disgusted by the 6 straight years of bonehead basketball decisions.

Anyway Kiwi, thanks for your post. I just disagree with what seems to be your killing of the messenger while ignoring the message.

Blkthght06

What are we gonna do if they trade Kobe? I need some sort of guidance or insight on how we're going to be able to get over the dismantling of our team. Every new rumor makes my heart drop to my knees. Yesterday, nobody other than Kobe and Fish were playing. What are we gonna do with Bynum and Kwame and Luke and COOK?

Is there any way we can protest this trade? Maybe picket on Figueroa? And the stupid damn media starting with ESPN is blowing everything up and thriving on the coverage they're getting - it's like they're rubbing it in our face!

Sad today and sad forever if Kobe's traded

"DId you forget about that slow footed guy from Boston- Larry Bird, he was pretty good."

That's true. Very good point. But Bird was the exception to the rule. The offense rolled through Bird. This offense doesn't roll through Walton. And Walton can shot like Bird.

Bird was a killer. Walton is just heady.

mike

AK, BK,

If a team comes in $2M (say) under the cap, does that mean that they can offer potential FA (MLE+2)M$? So, for example, if we get under the cap, could we possibly have something like 7.7M$?

How about the BAE? Can we add that to the MLE, or do those have to be for separate players?

Thanks.

The more I think about it, the more I fear the Nuggets. With the re-addition of Kenyon Martin, I'm kind of afraid of their D. And he's no slacker on offense either.

This is a repost...have a read if you want the truth

Blkthght06

Absolutely no need to apologise to me.I wasnt offended.Your emotive post hit home with a number of bloggers.This is a very long post so many people might want to skip it however those of you who can be bothered might find it interesting.

However on a re- read there is very little there.You give no explanations or evidence to back up your arguments relying on the assumptions that management 'doesn't want to win now' and Kobe's desire to win cancels out everything else.You also claim to understand basketball as a business.You also make a huge assumption that Kobe was lied to.

If you did understand that... then you would understand that 'bottom line' is the most important thing.That is the nature of business.This is not something to be resented unless of course you are staunchly anti-capitalist.In which case why support the NBA at all?

To start with there is no evidence that management are not trying to win now.They have just been restricted in what they can do and done a bad job.Common sense says it takes longer to rebuild and most of the teams in the league struggle and bad trades happen.The more desperate you become to improve the more risks you have to take to improve.The Kwame trade was a risk because the lakers had to improve quickly and they were addressing a realistic need.There were few possibilites of getting the kind of player they hoped Kwame would become.By keeping Butler they could have been mediocre but they took a risk...unfortunately it didnt work out.Such is life in the NBA for MOST teams.

It is not in the lakers interests to
a) be an average team and not genuinely try to improve.
b) lie to their star player who they have signed into a tricky long term deal.Surely they must have known that Kobe hates to lose and wouldnt play along for seven years?

However for arguments sake lets work on the assumption that Kobe was misled or even lied to and the lakers havent been trying to improve...as you say its a business.Their first priority has to be money and stability of their investment so you actually cant blame Jim Buss or whoever else for this.He is paid an enormous amount of money from television networks and sponsors and it is his job to keep people tuned in by winning,but also by entertaining.He has a responsibility to these people.There is millions of dollars at stake...the guy wants to win and he wants Kobe to stick around and they both tie into what he is trying to achieve but who can blame him if his top priority is the business side.

In fact why does it have to be anyones fault at all.America is whats known as a 'hyperdeveloped' sporting nation.The NBA is probably the most hyperdeveloped of all as the most extreme case in a system that all professional sports leagues are forced to aspire to in order to survive.

It wasnt always like this at the end of the 19th C football teams in England were criticised becasue they were trying to win...the emphasis shifted from entertainment to winning which was considered to be wrong...funny how times change.As sports leagues stopped relying on gate takings and started relying on television networks and merchandising it completely changed sport altogether since about 1970.

As the NBA game has gone global and generated ridiculous amounts of money and put its eggs in the basket of marketing individuals the game has changed.Superstars hold more power...do you realise how much money a lot of people stand to lose without Kobe in a laker uniform.I assure you kobe leaving is their worse nightmare.

At the same time they are running a business.You cant have your star player dictate what those decisions should be.There is too much at stake...the whole win now/win later argument is stupid...sure theres a focus but it has to be within reason or you risk losing alot of money.

Why does it have to be anyones fault at all.This situation with Kobe Bryant is breaking new ground in the history of sport.You have a star player that wants to actually control business operations...as much as the Buss's hate to lose Bryant they CANT go agianst their business instincts.They also dont want to be the ones to set this terrible precedent...

What if every star player decided he wanted to play for a contender? sign a big contract 2-3 years with bad team...what happens to the league to the majority of the franchises that arent very good that rely on one star to market around.What happens to parity between the teams?

Kobe Bryant has gone beyond whats natural and reasonable in persuit of his greatness.That as you say is what he is there to do...and if he was lied to he has a right to be mad and want to leave.At the same time we are operating on the assumption that morals and commitment are outdated...becasue 'its a business' we dont even expect Kobe to have commitment to this franchise that he might possibly want to win a ring HERE...if this is the moral standpoint we have got to why wouldnt the Busses say anything at all to get a cash cow to sign on the dotted line? and how can we criticise them for doing so?

At the same time at this stage the Buss's cant really compromise beyond a certain extent to meet Kobes wishes.It is all part of the odd ever evolving relationship sport has shared with commercialism and the NBA as a pacesetter or must be very careful not to topple itself.

So in a way it is nobodys fault and in a way its everybodys fault.This is just a situation that sooner or later was going to show up becasue that is the direction things are going.

Meanwhile Kobe Bryant has zero insight into the threat he poses to the system that has been so good to him.Sure the world needs outlaws,and revolutionaries,and if Kobe was making some kind of stand about the functioning of the league hoping to make some changes then I'd be more sympathetic...but it is just the next step of pushing boundaries in a league full of overpaid superstars who threaten the system that gave them everything they have while taking away from the game for the fans who have supported them in every sense.

AVERAGE JOE,

I WANT TO OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE TO THE WORLD THAT I THINK YOU ARE THE GREATEST LAKER BLOGGER EVER. I MEAN WITH YOU POSTING SUCH INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS REPEATEDLY HOW CAN THIS BLOG DO ANYTHING BUT THRIVE ON YOUR WISDOM, YOUR PASSSION, AND YOUR GENIUS.

PLEASE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, WE IN LAKERNATION ARE COUNTING ON YOU.

GO LAKERS AND GO AVERAGE JOE (MY HERO, EVEN MORE THAN KOBE)!!!

Fascinating:

“To try to get an idea of how Kobe’s seeing his teammates, let’s examine how these passes turned out.

* Five passes to Luke Walton. Four times it comes back to Bryant, one time Walton gets fouled.
* Two passes to Jordan Farmar, leading to two missed jumpers by other players.
* Twice to Ronny Turiaf. One time it comes back, the other time it’s a missed jumper.
* Once to Maurice Evans, who passes it right back.
* Once time to Andrew Bynum, who passes it back.
* Once to Derek Fisher for the game-tying basket.

After considering how productive Bryant was on his own, and how little came out of his passes, one could make the argument that in his head, most of his teammates were not worth passing to with the game on the line.”

Posted by: Blkthght06 | October 31, 2007 at 02:18 PM
>


Out of curiousity, those twelve passes which Kobe made and seven came back to him are what percentage of his total touches?

Let's see, 32 shots, 27 free throws = about 13 more shots and 5 turnovers. By my math that works out to be about 50 touches. At least. And he passed the ball 12 times? Which resulted in 5 shots and 7 times getting the ball back. Talk about your black hole.

I wonder if you were a teammate and all of the sudden he passed you the ball, would you even know what to do with it? Considering how rarely you see the ball.


Lakers

With JO"NEAL playing last night, The Lakers would have won that game easily.
Think in this offensive triangle:

Kobe with the ball in one corner.
Fisher in one side.
O'Neal keeping defense honest inside.

There is no way the game have being lost.

We need Jermaine,...(Lamar and Critt for him)
Kobe need help.
We need Artest. (Cook, Vla and Kwame for him).

If the fans in LA are just that ignorant to recognize that thiis FO isn't up to the task.
It's not worthy. Is what Shaq said:
Idiots.

Average Joe,

I don't think it is fair, nor accurate, for you to say that Bynum sucks. The kid doesn't suck. To me, he has the potential to be a starter in this league. But that is a far far cry from the all-star projections I hear from others on this blog (Taoshum, etc.).

Blkthght06

Heard that the deal with CHicago was on but Kobe's guy Pelinka killed it becuase it inlcuded Deng to the Lakers. 24 thinks Deng is his Scottie P.

Heard about a 3 way with Phoenix, Chi and Lakers. Matrix, Gordon, Cook, Kwame, Vlad, & Kobe all in the mix. Lakers get Matrix in that one. Chi gets to keep Deng with Kobe.

Heard that Kobe has been every bit the cancer he's been accused of. Arrogant and ego maniacal to a fault which we knew. He evidently privately contends that he maybe should have been nicer to Shaq... uh huh.

Meanwhile, Jimbo B completes the other half of the perfect storm but his ego is only explained by his insecurity for having devoted his life to nothing in particular.

And here we are. Kobe can't control himself enough to balance his game, wants to be traded with nothing coming back to the team that raised him.

Personally, I don't care about his personality and character traits. He can be as arrogant as he wants as long as he wins. Which he hasn't been. He's still the best chance this team has of saving the season. And I think this city could use the kind of unity that a Laker team playing well can bring. Remember those days?

It shouldn't be long now before we know. Until then, discussing player rotations and strategies is as pointless here as it must be in the locker room.

Media interviews from today's practice are up. Kobe and D-Fish.

http://www.nba.com/lakers/multimedia/0708video.html

Pretty much just carryover from last night. It's funny how the questions sound old already. If you were digging for something, D-Fish made some comments about Kobe not seeing his teammates well enough on the floor maybe due to him missing some practices with the team.

The actual basketball term is pic-n-roll. Not pick-and-roll.

mike

As Mike T. often said about Kwame:

His offense is nowhere to be found, but he is the starter because he is the only one among the 4 or 5 who can slow down Yao Ming. Kwame anticipates the passes made to Yao and crowds him before he could do some pivot or make some jump shots.

A great guard from another country once said in the sixties: If you're guarding the point-maker, make sure he does not receive the ball - by anticipating all passes to him (that's on yao-ming). At that time, touches and crowding are not fouls, this great guard also advocated to crowd the player to the point that he cannot make any kind of moves to get his rhythmn. Thirdly, to focus attention only on this player forget other assignments, follow wherever he goes like his shadow to annoy and irritate and destroy his balance, his rhythymn and mental alertnese. That's what Kwame was doing in the 1st Q, however in the 4th quarter, he too, got lost from moving screens, unfortunately small players like Fisher, Farmar, Walton cannot handle the 7'6" behemoth who is also a spotter on the outside.

Again, when Kobe had the reliable support in Shaq, Fisher, Horry, Harper, Shaw, Green, Grant and Fox - all these Yao Ming and T-Macs of Rockets or Magic, Nowitzki and Nash of Mavs, Duncan, Ginobli and Parker of Spurs are all nobodies. Now that Kobe is surrounded with Kwame, Walton, Turiaf, Farmar suddenly they became somebody to fear.

What more logic do we need to emphasize the Lakers need to get good players - not mediocres, not scrubs, not half-baked, not defense specialist only, not offense specialist only, not passing ability only, not fast guard only, not dunker only but GOOD ALL AROUND BASKETBALL PLAYERS WITH THE HEART TO COMPETE FOR 48 MINUTES like the Fish.

If you cannot help him, trade him now to anybody of the dream players you have in mind. Stop these agonies so that real basketball fans in LA can also make their own decisions what to do next? That is a challenge to Dr. Buss to make way for his EGO to shine in a pedestal, stop this soap opera get your money back and run. Do it now.

MJCMAN32 - I agree Cook should never play but tell your 10 million dollar coach that. there is no reason Kwame and Bynum cant play at the same time or go-small.

The psychological explanation of the BOOS.

Is all based in the Collective unconscious, popularized by C. JUNG

Is a well known phenomenon originated in organized societies that consists in the creation of a MECHANICAL SOLIDARITY through mutual likeness. This collective conscience works as a whole in certain situations where a group confront some reality and decide collectively to agree in a common task without a rational and personal reasoning. Is called also the unconscious reaction wave.

People did it against Jesus. Some of them didn't even knew him and agree with the killing.
Is was the same last night in Staples.

The set up was started with the word Drama and some incendiary images in the screen...
That was a obvious conditioning to put people in a unconscious desire to put fingers in the protagonist of that drama.
The Busses were nowhere to be found, so the mass selected Kobe to discharge the blame and frustration of this subpart team..
In that regard, it helped that some people were perfectly positioned in every corner of staples and initiated the wave of boos, the mass actedg urged for this ancestral instinct and reacted in concordance, just for fun or just for feel belonging to the group.

The sad part? IT was masterfully provoked.
Why. There are millions in stake here.
TV contracts.
Staples contracts.
Business related.
All of them depend in Kobe as the focal point to keep it moving.
So...the solution?
A wave of boos, to move the fragile ego of Kobe, plus the Magic Johnson words in TNT to make him feel ungrateful
and guilty.
Another strategy is the supposedly renewed conversations for JO.
This work in two venues:
--Make Chicago feel that they need to do something fast.
--Calm Kobe defiant demeanor and try to make soften his demands..

Is all strategy, my friends.
Millions and millions of dollars are in stake here.

Now...can the Kobe camp know the name of this game?
I will be curious to know it.

Are the Lakers on drugs? Ben Wallace and Ron Artest for Kobe? That the worse deal in the history of sports.

Does anybody know yet if the GM of the Bulls ( KOBE ) has decided yet if he will allow Deng be sent to the Lakers?

I heard he wanted Turiaf too. Is that true?

I checked Kobe's website he's not letting on who the Lakers might get when he is traded. I sure hope he thinks of Buss when Kobe decides on what players the Lakers get. I am sure Kobe will do the right thing for the Laker Fans.

bd

If you ask me, Jorenema is the responsible party. After she cast a spell over Mr. Teniente, he discovered new meaning and began to meld passages from the Holy Bible into Adventures of a Professional Basketball Saint...and it made perfect sense. Is there a movie in the works somewhere? One question begs an answer: Were they lovers?

But to get back to the thread of knowing thy enemy, we've heard adnauseum how Kobe Dawg is central to the ticket sales and the Laker brand. These arguments originate from the same hyper-caffeinated sheep who blame everything and everyone (but Kobe) first, and then use the marketing angle "bottom line" in their last ditch ploy to justify not launching him east somewhere; anywhere.

From Jeannie's standpoinnt, it really couldn't be clearer. If Kobe is a Laker, that's great. Ask her. He makes her job much easier. But, if Kobe is not a Laker, well, then, he's not a Laker and that's it. Be assured that in matters of selling the Show, Jeannie will sell the Show no matter who they put on the floor at game time, and you can take that to her bank, and her little dog too.

Let's see...where were we? The Saint put a spell on you? Jorenema put one on Mike? Does Faith know about this?

Sonnybelfast

Two years ago the Lakers went out and acquired a PF for $26M over three years so Lamar could move to the 3.

Mike T,

I'm re-watching the game right now. Interesting observations you have.
3 mins left in the 2nd quarter. Turiaf is not in. No one is coming to the hole
with Kobe. In the first quarter, Turiaf was always around and Kobe made
passes to him. The line up is Fisher, Farmar, Luke, Brown & Kobe.

How come Turiaf is the only one who's playing *WITH* Kobe?
I'd guess a 2 pg line up doesn't work very well. Brown & Luke aren't
athletic enough to meet Kobe at the Rim for the pass.

The Lakers went out 2 years ago and spent $24M over three years on a PF so LO could move to the 3:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8557893/

"The 23-year-old Brown has been a disappointment in his four seasons with the Wizards, but has shown great potential at times. He gives the Lakers an inside presence they lacked last season, and presumably will move into the starting lineup at power forward and enable Lamar Odom to move to small forward, considered his natural position."

hariyahu - my understanding is that the exceptions are automatically calculated into where you stand in relation to the cap regardless of whether you use them or not. I think that is to keep teams from using up all their cap space and THEN using their exceptions. So, if you're $2M under the cap, you only have the MLE (not the MLE +2).

Lakerlover,

You wrote: I dont know how many minutes they played together, Kobe and Bynum, but one pass isnt enough to Bynum , who can score inside.

I don't think Bynum can score on the inside against Mutumbo and Yao Ming.

Faith,

"Mike T: "That money used to sign Walton and Mihm could have been used to sign a PF. And it didn't have to be an all-star PF. All it had to be was an upgrade over Brian Cook and allow Lamar Odom to go back to the 3 spot."

Thank you!

And even though it was exhempted in the first year because of the rules...it's not the second or consecutive years, when in the case of Vlad, it increases. We needed a rebounder, we needed a legit 4. And we got none this offseason. We'd have been sad on the 1 if Fish didn't come to us by the grace of God/Luck/Tragedy. That's the ineptitude of the front offiice."


Again, the money used on Walton and Mihm could NOT have been used on a free agent power forward. It could only have been used on the Lakers' own free agents, so unless you're talking about a sign and trade (and for who?), that point about using the money for a PF isn't accurate.

And like Mike, I'll ask you, what free agent PF do you think the Lakers could have gotten with the MLE (or part of it, since some of that cash went to Fish) or the vet's minimum? Who got signed during the offseason that fit the bill? Nobody pops into my head at all.

I'm not trying to defend the front office asking these questions, but they also can't sign players who either aren't available or are out of the Lakers' price range through salary cap rules.

AK

Average Joe

please leave this blog...you are no better than KL and Gunner. In fact i'm starting to think you are worst.

AK,

Can you clarify something for me pretty please?

Ok so we signed Luke and Mihm and Fish for that matter this offseason. This year their salaries do not count against the cap correct? But it will next year (if we go over the cap) correct? I'm confused.

And as for anyone we coulda signed. Frankly I was set to sign Larry Turner over Cookie in the pre-season. But hey that's just me. Granted, I see what you're saying that we can't exactly sign anyone for such a little amount...but I felt like we could possibly have some cap space perhaps next year. To add to Kwame's 9 mil off the books.

M T,
"The actual basketball term is pic-n-roll. Not pick-and-roll."

Maybe on Pluto. Not on Earth.

Faith,
The Lakers were over the cap. Walton's signing had no effect on them being able to sign other free agents this past off-season. It will potentially have an effect on signing non-Laker free agents next off-season. Which is why extending Kwame's contract was not smart. Didn't affect the team when they did it, but it did affect them in subsequent years. Same thing when a team is over the cap. They can still use the MLE, so it's a "freebie" for that particular off-season, but that contract will affect signings in subsequent years. The Lakers will probably regret that with Vlad, and possibly with FIsher.

No one is saying the money to be used was the money slotted for Walton or Mihm is the money. The money slotted for Walton and Mihm shouldn't have been spent, period! We could have searched for a defensive PF through out the NBA or overseas to come in for half of our MLE money. We could have saved money by not signing Walton or Mihm period. That would have given us two open roster spots. And if we can sign a guy like Coby Karl we could have brought in two defensive PF with the same idea. Just like Larry Turner, Andre Patterson, and Elton Brand. We could have signed someone to make the squad without having to sign Walton or Mihm. It's not the money these guys are taking it's the roster spots. The Walton money is just an insult.

mike

Hariyahu-

Nope. The MLE or VE can't be combined with available cap space. Sorry.

BK

Ex

"The Lakers will probably regret that with Vlad, and possibly with FIsher."

What do you mean, probably?

akr_68,

It always helps to check sources before jumping to conclusions, lest you end up looking like a fool. The analysis of Kobe's passes was for the _fourth quarter_ only, which invalidates your entire response. Check out the source (Truehoop):

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-246/Thinking-Like-Kobe-Bryant-in-Crunch-Time.html

Faith,

Their salaries will count against the cap next season, but they were allowed to sign them without it counting against the cap. That's how Bird Rights and the MLE work. It allows some flexibility for teams with high payrolls while still making them adhere to the cap. But the money they were allowed to spend on Walton or Mihm couldn't have been spent on another team's free agents. Just their own.

When Kwame comes off the books, the Lakers still won't have much, if any, flexibility. Remember, they'll have about 33 mil in Kobe (assuming he's still here) and LO alone. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but they'll be either right at the threshold or still over.

Honestly, Larry Turner wouldn't have made any difference on this team. Certainly not enough that it's worth waiving Cook and eating ten million dollars, if that's what you're asking. If nothing else, Cook's contract is the perfect trade throw-in amount. haha

AK

Starting two years ago, the best thing would have been for the Lakers to "bite the bullet", not signed Vlad Rad, Walton, or Fisher, not extended Kwame. Gotten better draft picks; start grooming them. When Odom's contract is up, resign him for an appropriate amount or use the money elsewhere. The problem with that is, would Kobe have had the same issues, and what would the fan base do?

M T,
The MLE was spent on Fisher.

I will take Ronny over any PF that we had the money to sign. I mean even Joe Smith was out of our price range, when you consider we had signed Fish. Beside we were not hurt by the PF spot last night. We lost because of missed free throws and a weird hop basket. We win this game with even mediocre free throw shooting. We win this game if Kobes wrist isnt sprained. We win this game if Lamar were playing. Heck we might have won if Vlade didnt have the flu. Lets see how the season plays out.

MH

AVERAGE JOE CONTINUES TO UNLEASH HIS AMAZING SKILLS ON THIS BLOG REPEATEDLY. YOU WOULD THINK WITH WITH A SUPPORTING CAST SUCH AS THE MERE MORTALS THAT POST ON THIS WEBSITE, AVERAGE JOE WOULD DEMAND A TRADE, PERHAPS TO A CHICAGO BLOG, WHERE THEY HAVE YOUNG AND PROMOSING BLOGGING POTENTIAL.

BUT NO, AVERAGE JOE EVEN SURPASES KOBE IN HIS GREATNESS. HE IS GOING TO WIN A BLOG TITLE HERE IN LA BECAUSE HE IS THAT GOOD.

AVERAGE JOE YOU ARE THE GREATEST BLOGGER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. I FEEL PRIVILEGED TO GET TO WITNESS YOUR GREATNESS.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU ADD TO THIS BLOG AND TO MY LIFE.

Gots to get someone to bite on him first lol, jk.

Threshold and still over, is still something I would have done. Coz then there's a light at the end of the tunnel, instead of continuing to be buried by the cap imo.

At this point, I know what Cookie brings, I'd have preferred to see what Larry Turner would have brought. Honestly, there are a lot of guys in this team that I wonder if they'd even still be in the league if they aren't with the Lakers. Sasha included, and you know how I feel about Sasha lol.

Faith-

More specifically, the Bird rules allow them to keep players even if it means exceeding the cap. The Lakers, who were over the cap, would not be allowed to sign players not on the roster. They could, however, keep their own free agents and spend money despite being over the cap. So it's not that they don't count, per se, but that the Bird Rules allow a team to, in a way, circumvent the cap. But they still count against the cap/luxury tax.

It's a little confusing, I know. There's a lot of the more complicated stuff I don't get.

And I agree with AK- Larry Turner wouldn't have been a difference maker.

BK

I agree with Mike T on his assessment on renewal of Walton and Mimh. We need tall guys who can bang with T-Macs and Yao Ming not afraid to break their ribs. We need grit players like Green and Rodman. Just bang them and put up a good defense. Can Walton and Mihm do that? They are light as a feather, good for any weather but not a legitimate 4 or 5. They can shoot (sometimes) they can make accurate passes (frequently but at times it's also T/O) THEY WERE NOT BORN TO HUSTLE perhaps, they stayed too long on a crib. They are just too nice, too handsome to be power forwards, they should be in Hollywood or morning soap surrounded by pretty ladies.

It doesn't mean Kwame is the answer, what he gives in good defense, he surrenders it in bad offense.

Mike T -

SCHOOL IS IN SESSION:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pick_and_roll

Check it out! I don't know what books you are reading but they are the wrong books! Go ahead and Google it! Go to Amazon and search pic ' n roll and see what ya come up with.

There is no term called pic n roll. Sorry! In fact pic is slang or short for
picture, particle in cell, or pilot in command to name a few. There is no such word in the english language spelled pic.
I DON'T MEAN TO NIT PIC(K)!!!

Please, let’s not ruin this blog with the constant “nothing-new-to-say” posts... We had a cleansing just days ago, but it seems there’s a new annoying tendency. And I mean you, Average Joe.
We get it: you love Kobe... you want him to stay...
So now, please, move on... bring another subject to the board.

Edwin,
"I agree with Mike T on his assessment on renewal of Walton and Mimh."

WHo could you get, for the veteran's minimum, that is better than they are? Keep in mind teaching someone the triangle, which requires a year, So you waste the first year anyway, for someone who probably doesn't have many years left.

How about this!

Lakers owner Jerry Buss was not at Tuesday night's season-opener at Staples Center and will not be at Friday's game in Phoenix because of a two-game suspension handed down by NBA Commissioner David Stern for Buss' pleading guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving in September.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakerep1nov01,0,1383129.story?coll=la-home-sports

Now, if Stern could just penalize Buss for screwing up the franchise there would be a true return to order in the Universe.

As for what's happening with the team, I admire all of you who've been able to post all day. I've been so disgusted and disappointed by what I saw last night, I just haven't found it in me to want to say anything.

I sure do love the great chemistry and great ball movement when Kobe is in the lineup. What a great team leader he is. You can just tell how all the players love playing with him , just like Magic running Showtime. You can really tell the young players look up to Kobe can't you.

My understanding is Kobe now states its ok that Wallace is sent to the Lakers but if Deng is involved, kobe will again not agree to it. Says he really wants to play with Deng. Thats nice of Kobe because at one time he insisted on Wallace being on the Bulls with him. This just might be rumors I am sure Kobe would never do that to the LA Fans.

bd

Bill Walton is so pathetic in his attempts to defend the front office, and namely, this roster which includes Luke.

ESPN Halftime (this is based on memory, so please excuse me if there are any minor inaccuracies):

Bill Walton: Kobe is making this an issue about money. He is in a perfect situation in LA and should own up to his mistakes (in response to getting 70% payment up front)

Steven A. Smith: Kobe is going to get paid regardless, this has nothing to do with money. The reality is Kobe does not believe in Jerry Buss and Jim.

Bill Walton: Kobe needs to realize this distraction will make it incapable for this team to win. Kobe needs to make these guys a winning team.

Steven A.: This distraction didn't exist the last couple of years, and they still couldn't win. It's about the roster. Kobe needs help. PERIOD. Don't act like Kobe's got a bonoafide championship team Bill, beause he does not.

Bill: Uh.....the media in LA has turned on Kobe.

The End

Steven A.: Kobe has simply lost faith in Jerry Buss and his son, and realizes he cannot win here.

How can we win against Phoenix Suns?

By studying tapes of Game 3 during the playoffs. Help in switching defense for 48 minutes, seal the passing lanes of Nash, Pound Nash until he gets putverized by sending Fish, Critt and lastly Kobe. Don't assign a small and soft guard against Nast(y). If possible break his back j/k only.

Suns offense is boring all on the perimeter or a defenseless post. Be aware of that. No need of double teaming just be ready for banging and don't let anyone be open.

Lastly, practice your free throw shooting from El Segundo to Phoenix, Dream the hoop, focus on swish and then, make it happen.

Bob-
Average Joe is obviously KL and SHAQ FAN (CAPS LOCK) is Gunner...

Don't worry about it!


Laker Lover -
That is true! We have a hard time defending the paint so why not play Kwame with his size and STRENGTH and Drew with his length together.
I think we should give it a shot, they might flourish together...What the heck!

AK/BK -
Any insight why PJ plays Cook. Did you ever ask him what he likes about his game or what role he sees him in?

LAKER TRUTH

did you hear what Jeff van-gundy said regarding the kobe issue?

EX,

I know that was your argument a long time ago about the triangle. I just can't name you one right now because I'm not familiar on who are still available, I just gave you the example of the likeness of Green and Rodman. I'm sure there are players around in USA, Europe and South America who could play as power forwards. Don't be afraid in taking risks with these guys. With Warriors, nobody know Biedrins, Pietrus or this Bruin they have a heart in supporting Davis, that why they can compete on higher level but lost miserably with better team Jazz last night because of a b-dozer - Boozer. We need rugged players on the floor not afraid of Yao Ming or T-Macs. next one one will be Amare and Marion; Diaw and Barbosa and to that clothsliner...we need bangers among the Laker line up.

LAKER TRUTH -
I just saw the BSPN halftime report too. I was suprised SAS didn't come right out and say to Bill that Luke shouldn't be a starter!

Did you hear Van Gundy say that basically Kobe was playing with a bunch of scrubs? But he doesn't know as much about the game as TJ Simers and Plascke! Not to mention all of the other experts that say that Kobe doesn't make his teammates better...Amazing!

AVERAGE JOE, AVERAGE JOE, AVERAGE JOE, AVERAGE JOE, AVERAGE JOE....

THOSE ARE THE CHANTS WE SING FOR YOU AVERAGE JOE. YOU ARE A BLOGGING GOD AND WE SING FOR YOU. YOUR INTELLECT, RATIONALE, , OBJECTIVITY, AND LUCIDITY IS OVERWHELMING AT TIMES, BUT ALWAYS MASTERFUL...ALWAYS ARTFUL.

I AM ONLY SO SAD THAT YOU HAVE ONLY RECENTLY JOINED THIS BLOG. YOU WOULD HAVE BATTLED KLYEAST TO THE GROUND WITH HIS KOBE HATERED. UNLIKE YOU, HE WAS UNWISE AND CLOUDED WITH SUBJECTIVITY AND HATRED.

YOU ARE THE LEADER WE NEED TO TAKE THIS BLOG TO NEW HEIGHTS. YOUR OBJECTIVITY IS INSPIRATIONALE. YOU MAKE ME WANT TO BE A BETTER BLOGGER, TO FIND THAT OBJECTIVENESS WITHIN MY SOUL.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP.

WE ARE NOT WORTHY.....

MJCMAN-

I think PJ plays him as much out of necessity sometimes as anything. Last night, for example, they were short bigs. He got some run with the second unit after Ronny went out, and then a very, very brief stint later on. That's it. His play was a large reason why Mihm ended up playing a lot of four last night. That's not something they really wanted to do, especially this early in the year. But unless they were going to have a very, very short frontcourt rotation, the guy was going to see some time.

If everyone's healthy, Cook's PT gets very spotty (that's in part why Cook gets pissy sometimes- not that he should, of course, since he doesn't deserve extended run). Generally he'll get more minutes in times when the Lakers need offense. To make a run, get some quick points, etc. Occasionally, he'll play b/c of matchups or foul trouble. But if Cook gets big minutes, something has generally gone wrong. Injuries, foul trouble, etc.

BK

BK

Is it safe to say we need Rad Man to stay healthy so we barely have to watch Cook?

Also, what do you think of KB54 and Drew getting some burn together?

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=pic+%27n+roll++basketball&y=Search&fr=yie7c&pstart=1&b=1

Nate learns from Coach K - Portland Trail Blazers
... you can learn things from people who teach basketball. ... Pic N Roll :: RE: Lamarcus Aldridge Pictures. Blazers Discussion :: RE: Injury exception granted ...www.clubblazers.com/nate-learns-from-coach-k - 32k - Cached

You made no point. Sorry it is a fact.

mike

http://www.versicals.com/guest_poems_show.php?id=270

Basketball

Basketball is my favorite sport i like 2 dribble up and down the
court,

I wish i wuz drafted by the nba but in school if i get lucky i'll get there one day
Basketball iz my game im not to far frum reachin my fame.

I like slam dunks that take me to the
hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
Tell me were u in the joint the night mj scored 63 points n the lakers
won titles back-to-back
Didn’t give nobody no kind of slack
When Vince Carter came
Stuck his arm in the rim
Everbody went crazy in the whole damn gym
Dikembe Mutumbo standing tall
Playing D wit desire
Its Basketball

Name: Harp Kular

mike

MJCMAN-

It'll certainly cut into Cook's playing time, but Vlad ain't exactly a shut down guy defensively, either. Unless he picks up his game, you might not like that alternative, either. Haha.

Regarding Kwame and Bynum on the floor at the same time, in a perfect world, that's exactly how it would be.


BK

http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?topic=722068

Well, preseason is over. The real thing starts in less than a week.

I know (or read anyway) that Phil plans on starting Kwame at the C position. After seeing Mihm, Kwame, and Bynum play in the preseason, I was wondering who you think should be our starting C.

My take:

Mihm looks slow on both ends, but does have the jumper.

Kwame provides the best post and pic n' roll defense, but is really not much of an offensive threat at all right now (he has no rhythm in the post at all right now). His rebounding is average IMO.

mike

 
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