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Mitch Kupchak: Exit interview

As long as I've been around the Lakers, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been inclined to keep thoughts close to the vest.  Specifically, a vest that resides under several layers' worth of additional vests, and the material is Kevlar, not wool or cotton, which further prevents information being stolen.  To put it mildly, the guy can be cryptic.   Thus, it was a shock when his exit meeting wound up a gossip fest capable of prompting a double take from Perez Hilton!  I don't know if Mitch was giddy over the recent championship or stoked knowing his critics of yore were now eating crow, but I couldn't believe some of the stuff that left his mouth:

The exact dollar amounts the Lakers are willing to spend to retain Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom!   Which players he'd love to trade because they're flat out annoying!  How he pulled the trigger on the Gasol deal without even running it past Dr. Buss because, and I quote, "that senile old coot wouldn't know the difference. He thinks Magic is still running the point."  

Actually, I pretty much made all that up.  As expected, Kupchak didn't reveal a whole helluva lot to us media types. Yes, he did acknowledge a preference to keep the roster intact, but I could have told you the first order of business wasn't blowing up a championship team.  He described himself as "hopeful" of that goal (although it should be pointed out, he chose that adjective after being given just two options).  I was, however, amused by this statement:  "We're very familiar with the rules of the salary cap and collective bargaining agreements..."

Honestly, that falls heavily under the category of "Knowledge I just assumed," but it's always nice to get a confirmation, I guess.

It's no secret that Phil Jackson is visiting a few doctors to (hopefully) get a clean bill of health before deciding whether he's still physically up for coaching. For obvious reasons, PJ was given a time line to make a call. And for obvious reasons, Kupchak said the date is more "flexible" than "drop dead," especially in light of Jackson's busy recent schedule and the decision being tied to health, as opposed to a lingering desire to tour New Zealand in December.  As for how far the organization will dip into the piggy bank to retain free agents, Kupchak labeled that a "Dr. Buss thing."  As Kupchak explained, "It's not my decision. That much we know for sure."

Our currently lousy economy adds another wrinkle to the offseason questions. As Kupchak notes, the salary cap and luxury tax threshold (which fluctuate in tandem) aren't projected to rise the customary, annual 3-4%. Instead, they're likely to drop.  "Certainly, it's going to affect teams that have cap room," noted Kupchak.  "Because if you thought maybe you'd have twelve million dollars of cap room, if the numbers are correct, you might only have eight million."  On the plus side, that means certain teams may not have as much bidding power as expected.  On the minus side, assuming I'm understanding this correctly, that means the Lakers sink even deeper into luxury tax Hades. 

Between that climate and a desire to keep this roster of fourteen players intact, BK wondered if the organization would be inclined to either trade their late first round pick or draft a foreign player they can tuck away for a while in lieu of paying someone right this second.  Unless a dude too good to pass up takes a serious tumble or payroll space is somehow created, sounds like that's exactly what the tentative plan is.

After he drafted Andrew Bynum and turned Kwame Brown into Pau Gasol, Brian Cook/Mo Evans into Trevor Ariza, Vlad Radmanovic into Shannon Brown and future cap flexibility, it's hard to fathom that not too long ago, people used to regularly question whether Kupchak could build a model airplane, much less a competent roster. Clearly, he can, and I wondered how much personal satisfaction this title brings the Lakers' G.M. Kupchak tends to be rather modest and unassuming, and didn't break from character over the opportunity to crow.  That's just not his style.  Plus, as he noted, this line of work doesn't leave much downtime until maybe August.  Kupchak did, however, share a moment that touched his heart.

"I will share when we were on Chick Hearn Way in the parade and we made that right hand turn onto Figueroa and there was just 40-50 deep in people, that was emotional. That was an emotional sign of support for his organization and that was comforting."

So what are the odds that Kupchak will have no time to celebrate achievement right around this time next year? Nobody knows right this second, but Mitch explained why he's "hopeful" Dr. Buss will pay a pretty penny to remain a contender. He's always seemed to do the right thing in terms of putting this organization in a position to compete. And that's all I can rely on. He makes really well thought out basketball business decisions. That's been his m.o. since he purchased this team."



Previous Exit Interviews:

AK

 
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Did Mitch mispeak or are the Lakers not wanting to bring back someone?

Kupchack delved into the team’s draft situation, the synthesis of which is that L.A. likely won’t keep all of its picks: “We have three picks, and if we bring back the players we want to we’ll have at least 13 players on our roster. It stands to reason that we’d look to either move a pick, trade a pick, exchange picks for future picks or pick a player and look for them to play overseas for at least a year.”

Notice how the expiring contracts are spaced out fairly evenly? That gives the Lakers 5-7 M each year (assuming that they can combine a bigger contract with a 1-2M contract) that can be used mid-season to pick someone up to fill a hole. That is done intentionally.

Europe and the world as a whole is catching up to the NBA in parity.Here is my all-world team.Maybe even beat the best of the American`s.

Center - Yao Ming
Power forward- Tim Duncan
Small Forward - Dirk Nowitzki
Pg - Tony Parker
sg - Hedo Turkoglu
6th man- Manu Ganobie
Bench................Steve Nash....Pau Gasol....Luis Scola... Peja Stojakovic......

Fatty, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that if we're not bringing back a specific player, then that player is Sun Yue. We have the #29, 42, and 59 picks. My prediction is that we pick a foreign PG with the 29th pick and keep him stashed in Europe for one season, then bring him over to take Fish's place when his contract expires in June 2010. I also like the idea of packaging both our second round picks and moving up however many spots it takes to draft 6-5 Sergei Gladyr, who's only 19, can shoot the lights out, and has hops. He can get seasoning for two more years in Europe, and come over to replace Sasha when the latter's contract expires after two more seasons.

The conventional wisdom is to draft the best player available, but when financial reasons force you to take Euro players down in the 28-40 range who won't play for the team the next season, it's hard to know if there's going to be any significant leader in "best player available." So if the skill levels are fairly comparable, you draft for what you think your needs will be down the road.

And my all-American team (I'll pretend like Duncan doesn't fit here)

C- Dwight Howard
PF--Kevin Garnett
SF-- Lebron James
SG--Kobe Bryant
PG--Chris Paul

6th man--Dwayne Wade

bench-- Deron williams Carmelo Anthony, Josh Smith Brandon Roy and Shaq.

NO CONTEST

The dude Abides.....If you pick at 29 then you have to pay him ...Its a first round pick..

I wouldn't say the "Kupcake" critics are "eating crow".
As one his critics back than, I am ecstatic that he has assembled a great team around Kobe. But before the summer of Kobe's trade demands, there were plenty of reasons to be upset at Kupchack. If anyone forgets, our lineup included Kwame (traded for Caron Butler and Chucky Atikins), Smush, Cook, Shammond, McKie, and Divac. He has obviously redeemed himself since than, but his critics would only be eating crow if they were wrong to criticize him at the time, which is not the case.

Mitch so far has earned a B after earning a C+ since last season.

Weakness of Mitch Kupchak? How much to give free agents:

Notable bad signings by Mitch:

Vladimir Radmanovich (Full MLE for an okay shooter but lacking the rest of the skills/heart/attitude for a $ 6 million player)
Luke Walton (Good solid role player but $5 million does not equal his skills)
Sasha Vujacic (A shooter who can't shoot and given as much as Luke Walton does annually is bad).
Cook and Smush ( http://tinyurl.com/lz6ng6 )
Bynum: Potential Franchise Center but way too much at this time.

True Mitch did get Derek Fisher and managed to get Payton/Malone and Mbenga/Powell but the best one so far was Derek Fisher.

Best Asset of Mitch: Trade.

Pau Gasol-Kwamay Brown trade: Equivalent to that was Manny Ramirez trade. Best trade for Los Angeles ever since Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant.

Trevor Ariza-Brian Cook trade: Most underrated trade only overshadowed by the Gasol trade. Equivalent of Casey Blake trade.

Shannon Brown-Vlad Radmanovich trade: Gives up Vlad Rad's lazy personality and his gigantic contract for a future expiring one in Adam Morrison and a possible future starter in Shannon Brown.

Lamar Odom-Shaq O'Neal trade: By no means LO is equivalent for Shaq even in LO's best day but that trade did net the Lakers a very good player and would help lead to the Gasol trade.

And the small trade of Mihm to Grizzlies for the salary dump did suck for Chris but it did help keep more money for Buss to increase the chance of him spending to keep LO, Ariza, and heck even SB.

The Caron-Kwamay trade was no doubt bad but largely negated by the Gasol trade. Was interesting though to see Mike T. crave about the "Golden Calves".

Mitch, please bring Ariza and Lamar back!!! Thanks!

Mitch to Haters: "SUCK IT!"

Mitch really is a smart guy. Who knew?

Wes

"It stands to reason that we’d look to either move a pick, trade a pick, exchange picks for future picks or pick a player and look for them to play overseas for at least a year.”

- Mitch Kupcake

(just teasing Mitch) You're alright in my book, especially since you got Gasol.

One thing I appreciate about Mitch, is that he's honest. He tells you what he's really thinking, unless he can't say something.

This oversees thingy is working out real well for the NBA's top flite teams who are drafting late in the rounds.

The Lakers have NO outstanding needs, unless we lose someone. I hope not. I agree with Kobe. LO and Ariza stays or he walks. lol

We are set well, OK not well but great at the following positions.

Center - Check
PF - Check
SF - Check
SG - Check
PG - Check (with an asterisk)

This team won the Title, and unlike the Celtics, is no fluke.

Our future needs will be in the point. Rookies will not fill the need, but a Vet Free Agent will be salivating to be on this team.

Like Foxy said, pre-celebration. "After seeing this Lakers honoring crowd, guys will want to play for the Lakers"

That's my take. We make room for that Free Agent that's craving for a good time and Title runs.

But if we do pick, I say we look down under, to Australia for a tough manly man point guard.

Fatty - Who's walking with Kobe if we lose Ariza or Lamar

The fact that we're picking at 29 (plus the second round) means that Kupchak and his staff get to sit there and hope for a surprise or two. This year's draft seems pretty stable, the biggest possible shift is probably DeJuan Blair because of the ACL rumors but I seriously doubt he falls to the bottom of the round. Still, shifts can cause a trickle down effect... I'm not expecting much out of the table crumbs but I sure wouldn't turn down Omri Casspi or Austin Daye if they somehow dropped.

What do you guys think about getting one of those undersized big men who are proven rebounding thugs with a solid repetroir of skills, just not a lot of height?

LIke a Powe type or a Chuck Hays or Malik Rose (young) type? Cnnsi is doing a story on best big men in the draft and we could maybe snag this Jeff Adrien guy. Not great heigth, but what a wingspan:

http://tinyurl.com/lw37ha
"Adrien is a bulldog of an undersized power forward who produced by outworking taller opponents. Teams will always invest, at least a second-round pick, in someone with his tenacity, experience at a major program and long arms, a package that equals the possibility of a future as a role player."
http://tinyurl.com/m5jgm6

Wes


Pardon the misspelled words. Oh well.

With these 3 draft picks, I hope we get a shooting specialist, a rebounding specialist and an especially skinny Euro project.

That would be cool.

Wes

Fatty,

>>> Did Mitch mispeak or are the Lakers not wanting to bring back someone?

I think considering the money we’re going to spend to bring back Lamar and Trevor and maybe Shannon, the Lakers will likely not exercise their team option for $736K to bring Sun Yue back for a second year because $736K becomes $1.45M after luxury taxes.

Sun has definitely not shown enough to warrant $1.45M and apparently China wants him to come home and play for their national team instead of staying in the USA and playing in a summer league where the Lakers could monitor and see if he was worth keeping.

- - - - - -

ex,

>>> Notice how the expiring contracts are spaced out fairly evenly? That gives the
>>> Lakers 5-7 M each year (assuming that they can combine a bigger contract
>>> with a 1-2M contract) that can be used mid-season to pick someone up to fill
>>> a hole. That is done intentionally.

Excellent point. I brought up the same thing in a recent post. However, I don’t think we’re going to use those expiring contracts in trades. Instead, I think the Lakers will just let those contracts expire. That is actually the only way to reduce salaries short-term. That’s a change Lakers fans should expect to see as we try to hold on to this team.

Adam’s $5.2M expiring contract will save us $10.5M in salaries and taxes next year and Sasha’s $5.5M expiring contract will save us $11M the following year. That money alone could pay the next two years for either Lamar or Trevor. It is not even impossible that Jordan Farmar’s $1.9M expiring contract worth $3.8M in salary and tax savings could be allowed to expire, depending upon how well or poorly Jordan plays this year.

Just a final comment on the whole “Kobe take less” argument. There is no doubt that winning the championship generates oodles of cash, from $3.9M NBA championship pool contribution to the $50M in additional revenue from home playoff games. This benefits not only the owners and players but also the city. So in a way, everybody ought to at least be smart enough to realize that small sacrifices now will pay off bigger later. That is true for Jerry Buss, Kobe, Lamar, Trevor, Shannon, and every Lakers player.

Do whatever you have to do – owners, players, agents – to make sure to keep this team together because if you do, the Lakers will ring the registers for the next 10 years. Do not allow this team to be broken up. Do not kill the championship and cash cow.

Tom

Wes,

Jeff Adrien could be a good pick for our #42 slot... like you said, he's not tall but he works hard. A few others - the guys I already mentioned, DeJuan Blair who I doubt will slip that far, Austin Daye, 6-10 SF from Gonzaga, draft boards have him anywhere from late first to early second round, Omri Casspi, 6-8 combo foward from Israel. Also, James Johnson, another 6-8 combo forward (will probably be gone before 29) and maybe Taj Gibson from USC. Obviously very skinny but he's got talent. And one more, Jonas Jerebko, 6-9 SF from Sweden.

I know there's a lot of talk about trading or moving our picks.... I'm just not sure that other teams will be lining up for the 29th.

My crazy guess to what the Lakers will do is draft someone in the first round for a team that will take that player (or that player's rights) and Adam Morrison.

Losing Morrison this way relieves $10-million plus from the Salary cap.

If that's used to sign Ariza, Odom, *and* Brown.. you don't worry about the player or the pick. The team is still very young and very deep.

Laker Tom

I hope you have been enjoying this ride as much as me.

That's true, we double everything. This is why Mitch is probably hoping a vet comes along for the Vet Minimum.

At 1.1 million and the NBA picking up part of the tab, it would be a 'win-win' for the Lakers and Dr. Buss.

With other teams hurting on cash, a good vet may decide to take the min. just to play with the best team and franchise in Pro-Sports.

I would love to see Jason Kidd coming off the bench and leading the Mob for a season.

A dream, sure, but it could happen.

We are the champions! We are the champions!

Rony Turiaf should have signed with the Lakers with less money and got his NBA ring.

Oh! I almost forgot....

Anyone who can't give a GM an "A" grade for putting together a roster that just won a title *and* is in good shape to contend for years.. well.. that's just silly.

And, yes, I know the Lakers haven't signed Trevor, Lamar, or Shannon yet.. but we know at least one of them will get done and there will be other, cheaper additions to cover any we may lose. And yes, that team can still contend for a title with a healthy Bynum.

Fatty,

This has been the best of the 10 championships I have experienced as a Lakers fan. Part of it is this group of players and their wonderful struggle for redemption and respect. Part of it is this blog and the web and how we all could share our Lakers addiction regardless of where we were in the world. But no doubt, it has been a pure pleasure and I am looking forward to even greater accomplishments the next 10 years.

- - - - - -

Tom

LT,

"Do whatever you have to do – owners, players, agents – to make sure to keep this team together because if you do, the Lakers will ring the registers for the next 10 years. Do not allow this team to be broken up. Do not kill the championship and cash cow."

That about somes every single offseason Laker debate. I think every Laker fan will agree with that whole-heartedly, no matter what it takes to get it done, keep this team together. Maybe I'm still on my post-championship high, but I can't help but think that this is the beginning of the next Lakers dynasty.

LG

Honestly Sun Yue, based on very limited minutes I saw him play early in the season, looked a little overwhelmed. The Lakers could afford not to take a draft choice, or do as BK wondered and draft a project / Euro player that can stay put for a year or two, unless a gem falls thru the draft-cracks.

I'm sure it's not a stretch to think that Mitch is looking at anyway possible of unloading Morrison and taking his contract off the books for this season, then turning around and adding his contract number onto an extension for Trevor Ariza. Because of age, Ariza is the must-sign out of him and L.O., although losing Lamar and his amazing versatility would be a very tough blow for the Lakers to absorb. LO has made some very nice money these last few seasons, I hope he is TRULY serious about returning and let Trevor get a little part of what he might be saving the Lakers to stay in L.A.

One other thing, I truly hope Kobe understands the importance of him re-signing at less than the maximum he can make. Does he deserve a maximum contract? Yes, absolutely - more so than any other player in the NBA. He deserves to make more than any other in the league HOWEVER if he does so he is crippling what the team can do around his contract. I'm sure he understands this but it will be somewhat worrisome to Laker fans until it happens (that Kobe accepts a less-than-max contract so that the team can use the saved money towards free-agents). This can mean the difference between Lamar remaining a Laker or not, so this IS a big deal.

Last thing, CONGRATULATIONS to Mitch Kupchak! He did a SUPER job as architect of this team! A couple of years ago I ripped him in a number of places around the 'net, but I must admit I WAS WRONG! Mitch has done a MASTERFUL job putting pieces together and has continued what Jerry West started years ago without missing a beat - KUDOS MITCH!!!!

AK,

Excellent take. I have to admit you had me hooked there for a second. There was even an instant where I thought to myself “now who would Mitch say was that annoying” just as I realized you had me. For a millisecond, it was like reading about Pau. LOL.

I just cannot believe that there are still any Lakers fans who do NOT believe that Mitch has done a brilliant job as general manager. When they say you can’t please all of the people all of the time, they really mean it. NBA Champions! Pre-season favorites to repeat! A great mix of experience and youth, superstars and role players!

And yet some can’t get over Luke’s contract or Vlade’s signing or Sasha’s extension. The naysayers have finally found the formula that works for them. Instead of what have you done for me lately, it’s let’s talk about what happened several years ago.

Whether those misguided critics care or not, this championship was also redemption for Mitch Kupchak. I have spent my entire life managing companies and hiring and firing employees and no matter how good you are, you cannot bat 100% when you are dealing with human beings. What matters is not that Mitch traded for Kwame or drafted Cookie or signed Vlade. What matters is he kept at it and recognized and fixed his mistakes.

He turned Kwame Brown into Pau Gasol, Brian Cook into Trevor Ariza, and Vladimir Radmanovic into Shannon Brown. And he traded for Lamar Odom, re-signed Derek Fisher, and drafted Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, and most importantly Andrew Bynum – whom he didn’t trade for Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, or Jason Kidd.

Mitch deserved to be Executive of the Year both this year and last year. Inside, you know he is smirking at his critics as he knows the Lakers are on the verge of a dynasty.

- - - - - -

Tom

Fatty,

>>> I would love to see Jason Kidd coming off the bench and
>>> leading the Mob for a season.

I have real mixed feelings about the Lakers adding a veteran player like Jason Kidd. I never really liked adding Malone and Payton to the 2004 Lakers just to get a ring. It smacks of everything I hate about free agency and fantasy sports and how they have tarnished the integrity of the team and fan relationship.

I would prefer us to keep the team we have, although we would have to add a player if we don’t exercise our team option on Sun Yue. I just would hate to see it be one of those rent-a-players, especially one just looking to tag along to get a ring. A solid vet who might have a couple of years left who would fit in as a role player, fine. But a fading superstar looking for a free one-year ride and ring. Not my style nor I hope the Lakers.

- - - - - -

Tom

Tom,

I much agree with your post. We're lucky to have Mitch. He's the classic inside man... came up through the league, was mentored for a long time by West, doesn't play to the press (or if he does, it's pretty subtle), loyal to the organization, knows how to work the numbers. Solid dude.

Laker Truth,

If you were a Kupchak critic who expressed unhappiness over his work at the time, but also expressed faith that he could fix it, then you're right, no reason to eat crow. But the overwhelming majority of critics used those mistakes (many of which were due to situations beyond his control) as "proof" that he had no idea what he was doing and that he needed to be replaced. I'm sorry, those folks should in fact eat a crow sandwich, because they were quite wrong.

Has Kupchak made mistakes? Sure. But try to name a G.M. that hasn't. Now stop trying, because you won't find one. Every G.M. would love a mulligan or two. But Kupchak managed to blow up a championship core and rebuild it into a title team in five seasons. That's unheard of, especially in this era of free agency and with only one lottery pick (a project to boot). Whatever mistakes he's made are pretty minor compared to the moves that bore fruit.

Even acknowledging that some situations were beyond Kupchak's control, I expressed doubts he could handle this gig. I'm man enough to admit I was wrong without trying to qualify it.

AK

Kb Blitz,

"Notable bad signings by Mitch:

Vladimir Radmanovich (Full MLE for an okay shooter but lacking the rest of the skills/heart/attitude for a $ 6 million player)
Luke Walton (Good solid role player but $5 million does not equal his skills)
Sasha Vujacic (A shooter who can't shoot and given as much as Luke Walton does annually is bad).
Cook and Smush ( http://tinyurl.com/lz6ng6 )
Bynum: Potential Franchise Center but way too much at this time."

In fairness to Mitch, I think all but one of those signings can be defended.

Vlad- The length of the contract may have been iffy, but Mitch wasn't the only one that wanted VladRad. Phil and Kobe wanted him too and I even remember reading that Kobe made the pitch to Radmanovich that he would flourish in the triangle and could easily average 17-19 pts/game.

Luke- Again, length of contract was a question but the $ is okay for a rotation player like Walton. If anything, I think they could have waited a few days to see what offers he would get rather them calling him up the very minute he was available to sign.

Sasha- Definitely don't agree with you here. With the type of season Sasha had last year, we all wanted him back and thought it was a necessity. None of us thought he would have regressed the way he did. You can't fault Mitch for that. The length, or lack thereof, is where this deal is good. Three years is not all that bad when you consider how many they gave Luke.

Cook- This is the one where I completely agree with you. Giving Cook an extension was horrible, though, we did end up getting Ariza out of it.

Smush- We didn't really have anybody to consistently play the point during the two years he was a starter. This was also a transition period where not too many free agents wanted to sign w/the Lakers because of Kobe and or the "complicated" triangle offense. I'm pretty positive that won't be a problem now.

Bynum- I think signing him by the deadline we had was needed. Nobody could foresee him getting injured again and that put pressure on Mitch to resign him before the deadline passed. If Bynum wasn't injured and continued the season he was having, I don't think anyone would argue the contract extension that he got. And to continue that, if he had the season he was having and we didn't resign him, who knows what type of money teams would've thrown at him and he may have felt slighted by management for not giving him an extension. He is still only 21, after all.

Fatty,

>>> I would love to see Jason Kidd coming off the bench and
>>> leading the Mob for a season.

I have real mixed feelings about the Lakers adding a veteran player like Jason Kidd. I never really liked adding Malone and Payton to the 2004 Lakers just to get a ring. It smacks of everything I hate about free agency and fantasy sports and how they have tarnished the integrity of the team and fan relationship.

I would prefer us to keep the team we have, although we would have to add a player if we don’t exercise our team option on Sun Yue. I just would hate to see it be one of those rent-a-players, especially one just looking to tag along to get a ring. A solid vet who might have a couple of years left who would fit in as a role player, fine. But a fading superstar looking for a free one-year ride and ring. Not my style nor I hope the Lakers.
- - - - - -
Tom
Posted by: LakerTom | June 22, 2009 at 08:48 PM
---------------------------------
Well, after the Lakers bowed out of the playoffs in '03 it did seem like they needed a spark to help them get past the Spurs and thru the playoffs the next year. Adding a couple of hungry vets like Payton and Malone, even though they were at the tail-ends of their careers, made great sense. It turned out that Malone couldn't stay injury-free and the Lakers suddenly had a pretty big hole they couldn't close, that and the fact that Payton started 'acting up' towards the end of their playoff run, finding fault with the triangle (how many remembers him standing out at the top of the 3-pt line, simply getting passes thrown his way and passing it off to the next open player, seeming disinterested).

HOWEVER JKidd is NOT 'The Glove' - not even close! If we can 'rent' him for a year, why not do it? He is 'hungry' and can teach our youngsters how a true pro works. Can't you see Farmar and Shannon Brown progressing from his tutelage?

That being said, I see a problem. Firstly, D-Fish just took us all to 'the promised land' and his minutes would most likely take the biggest hit from a Kidd acquisition. The type of person Fisher is, I'm sure he wouldn't say a thing but positive things. However, he is a trusted and faithful player that still plays at a high level and bringing in another vet PG - well I can't see the Lakers doing it. Much smaller issue is running the triangle and how Phil likes to ease players into it. I can't see that happening with someone with the talent and savvy of a Jason Kidd, but just something to be concern. I guess it may not be the best fit, however IF the Lakers would do it, I would be excited to see Kidd leading the offense next year!

Just out of curiousity, is Mitch Polish?

I don't recognize the surname "Kupchak".

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Here's the situation...

1. Phil, Dr. Buss, Kobe, Lamar, Trevor, and Shannon should sit down together and work things out. Period. No lawyers. No weasel agents. No family members. Just Lakers. And they need to sit down and work things out because things can be worked out. A win-win situation CAN be worked out to everyone's benefit.

2. IF (IF!) Trevor or Lamar left, which I hope they won't, we'll be able to bring in a quality player to fill that void. Could it ruin a Championship run next year? Maybe. But Andrew Bynum is going to be a remarkably improved player next year and that changes the whole dynamics of things.

3. The draft is always a craps shoot. There is a possibility that we could bring in a key role player through the draft. It could happen. Definitely not a certainty, but it could happen.

4. It still bothers me that lots of bloggers called me racist because I said that Sun Yue is not a quality NBA player. Well, Sun Yue is not a quality NBA player. That's the truth. I don't care if he's Caucasian, Asian, or Martian. He's just not a quality NBA player. A nice guy, it seems, but not a quality NBA player. It would be nice to see Joey Crawford come back. I think he had potential.

5. I am optimistic about how things are going to work out. My gut tells me that things are going to be just fine.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Keep the team together.

Develop Andrew Bynum.

Make an exceptional (lucky even) draft choice.

That the solution.

Dynasty.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

But not a single columnist worth looking for? I think the problem I have with the Times' big two right now (Simers and BP) is that it's all ego with those guys; personality overload. Plaschke makes a pretty sentence, I think. But I have no desire to read them. I feel like he's sucking me into his world instead of illuminating the one worth seeing.

Lets go LA Times. It's downtime and I've been looking around noticing how awful the sports archives are lately.

Wes

Here's the first part of the above post. I left it out:

It really sucks that the LA Times does not have a single go to sports writer. This blog is the best thing they have going for them by far. I wouldn't spend 10 min a week at the LA Times website if it didn't have such an interesting blog.

Wes

i've been away from the Blog for a few days, and have noticed the huge argument going on about Kobe's opting out, and how that affects or does not affect the Lakers' ability to resign Trevor and Lamar.

i'm sorry, i'm gonna have to side with the K Bros, LakerTom (and i think Jon K) on this one.

yes, Jerry Buss is a very rich man, but for him to go insanely over the luxuray tax and have to pay $1 for $1 is crazy. not very fiscally responsible, shot at championship or no shot at championship. don't wanna turn the Lakers into another NY Knicks. and who's gonna pay for the huge Lakers salaries in the long run? not Buss, but the fans. tickets will go up, television costs will go up (forget about watching Lakers games on free cable channels or local tv), they can always sell their local rights to a premium network like HBO. then, who loses the most? the fans.

Kobe can choose to only accept a max deal, but ultimately the only leverage he has is that at the end of his contract, he'll walk. and that will greatly hurt his image. especially if he decides to go to a crummy team, and fail to ever make the playoffs again. but given his competitive spirit, i don't see that ever happening.

therefore, i'd like to see Kobe, Lamar, and Trevor all willing to take pay-cuts. and i don't like the analogy that was made, would i be willing to take a pay-cut to benefit the owner? in this case, the product is the team, and an individual such as Kobe has the ability to give the franchise greater financial flexibility for them to make a better product. plus, you'll be able to keep valuable memebers of your staff/product. if i was making X million dollars a year, and if a pay-cut would help save my friend's job, who was making significantly less... i'd love to do so, especially in this situation.

even if i wasn't making millions of dollars, i'd gladly sacrifice a small % of my pay (as long as i could still provide for my family) to save a friend and coworker's job. wouldn't any of you? well i guess those arguing for Kobe maxing out would not agree.

in this discussion, i see a direct correlation to $ and rings. and since Kobe is making the most of it on the Lakers, the question inevitbaly arises (as with any superstar making max or close to max $), is it about the $ or is it about the Ws or the Rings?

in a perfect world, JB would pay every single Laker what they are worth, and the Lakers will win the Championship year in and year out. and Lakers ticket prices will go down (to close to $0). but we're not living in a perfect world. the harsh reality is that if Kobe takes max, and Lamar or Trevor wants to get paid well, then one will have to walk. and that is a situation that i would not like to see in any possible world.

Two years.

For just two years absorb the salaries of TA, LO, SBrown.

Win three straight.

After that, release the expensive dead weights. Good bye AMMO et al.Then win three more. .

Dy-Nas-Ty!

Thirty2, NBA teams do not have to pay first round draft picks who sign with foreign teams. Do a google search for Tiago Splitter or Fran Vasquez and you'll see what I mean.

The Lakers simply cannot afford to choose an American college player with the 29th pick because it would endanger their chances of re-signing Trevor, Shannon, or LO. A European point guard who can be stashed away for one year then brought over to be the last PG off the bench when Fish's and Ammo's contracts expire would be ideal.

AK,

Thanks for the response.

Before the summer of Kobe's trade demands there was absolutely no reason to have any faith in Kupcake. Sure, trading Shaq was a "situation beyond his control", but there were plenty of moves that were in his control:

-trading Kwame for Caron and Chucky
-signing 55 year old Divac and 52 year old McKie
-allowing Smush Parker to be the starting PG
-giving Luke a bloated contract without testing the market
-signing Samaki Walker when the team was in desperate need for a PF
-drafting Brian Cook, despite desperate pleas from Ron Harper, our scout, to draft Barbosa
-re-signing Brian Cook
-signing Radman

That's more than "a mulligan or two". During that summer, many Kupchack supporters were actually defending his moves as well as the players that Kobe "threw under the bus", while Kupchack critics were arguing that those players were trash, and if Kupcake just surrounded Kobe with some real NBA players, Kobe would lead us to the promised land. Kupchack's critics (after realizing he was not going to be replaced by Jerry West) also predicted that Kobe's trade demands would force Kupchack to add some real NBA players ASAP. Whether it was by pressure from Kobe's trade demands, coincidence, good fortune, or amazing GM skills (probably a combination of all), Kupchack finally came through that very year, with his trades for Gasol and Ariza, as well as his acquisition of DFish.

So yes, I will eat your crow sandwich, but only a nibble.

leonardbast,

There is a win-win situation in all of this.

Dr. Buss, Kobe, Lamar, Trevor and Shannon all need to sit down in an isolated, stress-free location and talk things out.

It goes no deeper than that.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Leonard,

As long as I could provide for my family,
would I take a small paycut to save a friend's job? - YES

Would I take a small paycut to have that money go right into my boss' pocket, who makes more than me? - HECK NO

The Dude Abides...Thanks for clearing that up mate..I did not know that..Splitter is that guy from Brazil....

Cheers man for that clear up.

Dude Abides - I don't see it as quite so cut and dried. If a decent player falls into our lap for scale/$996,240, it could be worth the tax. Just depends. Certainly parking someone overseas is an option as you point out. Trading or moving a pick's a bit harder because you need a willing partner and need to take something back. At any rate, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Maybe we could park Casspi or Jerebko?

>>>The dude Abides.....If you pick at 29 then you have to
>>>pay him ...Its a first round pick..

Actually, that's not the case. They do have a fixed amount that they
have to pay them when (or if) they actually join the team, but they don't
have to sign them for next season. They basically hold their rights
indefinitely.

dude,

>>>The Lakers simply cannot afford to choose an American
>>> college player with the 29th pick because it would
>>> endanger their chances of re-signing Trevor, Shannon,
>>> or LO.

Welllll. It depends. If someone they really like slips down to
number 29, they have options on the next year of MBenga,
Powell, and Sun Yue, and that low in the draft, the signee
would make less money than Powell or Congo Cash, and
only a bit more than the Monkey King.

So let's say someone like Tyler Hansbrough or Ty Lawson
slides all the way down to 29 - or even Darren Collison. The
Lakers could take the young player with upside and sign
them for 2 or 3 years on the cheap, and waive Powell or Sun,
who they would replace.

Personally, I'd prefer for them to keep the current team and
sign Nick Calathes. He's already signed in Greece, so he'd get
a little Euro-seasoning while the Lakers could find out for certain
whether Jordan or Shannon or Sun could handle the starting
job. If not, you could bring Nick in next year or the year after
and you'd have another guy to try out.

I was going to wait to post again until I had gone through all of the exit interviews, the comments thereof, and the reactions to those comments. I was then going to address the 'S*mm*ns' and S*m*rs' columns and, with a mild apology to the K Bros for my curmudgeonness vis a their posting of their comments with the big ol attention grabbing headline.

Also I was going to do a thing where I posted a link to a good youtube version of "eye of the tiger' and then posted what I thought would be some good adapted lyrics aimed at lakers blog members, But 1) I just watched 'willy wonka and the chocolate factory' and for some reason this has made me less likely to apologize for carmudgeionness, and 2) I just felt sort of impatient.

Therefore, phred would just like to add his two or whatever cents regards these discussions, and what will hopefully be his full commentary for most of next season about anything;

WHOOOOOHOOOOOO! WE WON! WE WON! WE WON! YEAH! WE WON [excerpt from the song that was playing on Kobe's headphones in that nike puppet commerical, the one that was muted when he walked past Lebron eating fruity pebbles, or whatever. {fruity pebbles? really? was that the best choice?} ]

WE WON! IN YOUR FACE, EVERYBODY! WE WON! WE WON! Y'ALL SAID IT COULDN'T BE DONE! WE WON WITH ODOM! WE WON WITH LUKE! WE *()&(*^*&%in WON!

Yeah, i'm going to be doing that for a while. Also, K Bros, in your expert opinion, what can we as true Laker Blog member and true Laker fans do to let Dr Buss know that we want LO and TA resigned? I am willing to buy tickets in advance, even though I don't live in LA and have no realistic plans for being there next season, and I don't think i'm alone in that on this blog, what can we do to encourage the good Dr. to bring back LO and TA? We would like to see it happen. Thanks

THE LOVE WOULD LIKE EVERYONE TO KNOW, WE WON! WE WON! HA HA HAH HA BWAH HA! WE WON!

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE!

GO LAKERS!

also- Laker Truth- really? and the better result that could have occasioned if he had just done what Laker Truth had wanted him to do? would we have won the title sooner? or maybe he had reasons for doing all of that, that you, Laker...

ah, screw it. WE WON! WE WON! BWAH HA HA HA! WE WON!

Man, winning sure does shut some people up, huh? or so one would think.

p ang-

F in A!

the dude abides- man, i am so impressed with myself that i remembered 'the big lebowski'

now somebody give me a guess where 'phred' comes from. go'an, try.

man, i'm so punchy tonight.

WE WON! WHOOOO HOOOOO!

Did I mention that we won? Just wanted everybody to get that. We won.

Laker Truth,

I gotta be honest. You mentioned a couple legitimately terrible moves. Caron for Kwame is the most obvious (although Atkins was actually traded to Wash with Caron, not the other way around) and Cook was a bad call (I wanted Josh Howard, but Barbosa would have worked). But most of the decisions you listed were fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. A few were defendable with simply bad results (one doesn't necessarily equal the other). And some I don't even think were truly "bad" at all.

Samaki Walker? You're going back eight years and they won a title the year he was signed (on the cheap, I have to imagine). He couldn't have hurt the Lakers that badly. McKie didn't work out, but he was also an inexpensive role player and nobody considerably better was bypassed to get him. Radmanovic was acquired with only the MLE available, a weak FA market and heavily backed by Phil and Kobe. They couldn't have possibly predicted a snowboarding accident. Divac was coming off an 81 game season at nearly 30 minutes each night and hadn't missed more than 2 games since 1998. It was hard to picture him falling so dramatically apart that fast.

Smush Parker may be reviled now, but he was also a double digit scorer for two seasons at less than a mil/year with few better options available or affordable. From a practical standpoint, he was a win. And while Walton's contract may be too long, the money itself isn't outrageous and he's been able to contribute as a role player. And if Luke is the most "bloated" contract (taken on when cap issues allowed few if any better options), you're doing pretty well. Check out some of the other team's payrolls. Kupchak has actually done an outstanding job avoiding monstrous long term deals for mediocre or bad players, a large reason he was able to turn things around pretty damn quick.

If you're going to keep score this heavily (and largely ignore the positives), then I have to assume you don't think most GM's (if any) are particularly great at their job. I mean, check out the dudes Jerry West drafted or traded for in Memphis. Mistakes galore. I guess he doesn't know what he was doing, either. Again, I wholeheartedly admit not always believing Kupchak was the right man for the job. But I think his "failures" are often grossly exaggerated.

I also think it's revisionist history to claim Kobe's demands kicked Kupchak into gear. He reacted to the rant by doing mostly nothing. Fisher fell into his lap due to unusual (and awful) circumstances, but beyond that, not much. Kupchak totally ignored the heavy fan/media pressure to make moves to trade for "names" like Kidd or J.O'Neal (which would have been bigger and costlier mistakes than anything he did). Save flipping Cook/Mo for Ariza (which was done in part simply to shed Cook), he opted to ride with a young team he believed in that actually was playing well before bringing in Gasol. And you're fooling yourself if you think the only reason they made that deal was "pressure applied by Kobe."

AK

K Bros- good, measured, sane and balanced response. But frankly, I would have gone with more of a 'Hey! Laker Truth! WE WON! WE WON! WE WON!- I could go on like this, but frankly i'm kind of tired of saying "WE WON! nah, who am i Kidding (pun intended) WE WON!" YOU SECOND GUESSING NAY SAYERS! WE WON! WHAT POSSIBLE OUTCOME WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE!? WE WON BEEEEEEEEEYOTCHES? WE WON!

like any idiot couldn't point out after how ever many years that caron butler could have more value. of course, if he had stayed in LA, would he have had that value? who knows? I stick with,,ah, you know what i'm going to say.

especially since subsequent interviews have shown us that the lakers' managements' interest in gasol started a whole year prior to any of kobe's demends. weird how that works. It really looks like kobe should have taken a course in 'nba team management 101. which is pretty much what he admitted not halfway into last season, even prior to the 'gasol for crap' deal was consummated.

Mitch has done pretty well. What else would you expect from the best corporate robot technology from 2020?

AK/BK,

You guys totally got me with that fake introduction. OUCH! That sucked.

Phred is right! Even if Mitch doesn't have time to celebrate, whooo hoo!

GOOooooOOO LAKERS !!!!


Fatty's 5:30 AM take of Mitch:

Its not revisionist history to think Kobe helped the Lakers, (Buss and Mitch) to move more quickly toward a contender.

The Lakers were in a slow build mold, and Kobe was correct in pointing that out. (Just wish he would have kept it in the family and not go public)

No one is fooling themselves here (rather rude comment from you, no?)lol

Would it be fair to say, just as Kobe as grown as a player, that Mitch has grown as a GM as well?

From my understanding, Mitch did try to trade Andrew, but the NJ and Indy deals were not good for the Lakers and Mitch wouldn't cave in to their demands.

With Minn. he did offer the house with Andrew included, for KG, but it was McHale who didn't accept the trade.

Its the sum of our parts that we are judged by.

West wasn't a great GM to start and neither was Mitch, but over time, they fined tuned their craft to make them very good at what they do.

The proof is in the results. Not just in contending but in the amount of Chanpionships.

Many GM's have been credited with doing a good job, but none can point to what the Lakers have done over time.

The one constant in all this though has been the Lakers owner. We've had multiple GM's, coaches, and players over the last few decades, but one owner.

Dr. Buss had me going over the Kobe flap, but we have to admit, we are "PRIVILEDGED" to have an owner, who has to be the Lakers "Number One Fan" of all time.

He has invested his life, his money, and his family to the Lakers success. And its his many wise business decisions that have kept the Lakers at the top of the NBA over those years.

He's had a steady hand with Mitch, letting him do his job, and grow as a GM. And look at what we have today? An incredible NBA team, with a solid foundation for years to come.

AK I totally agree.The main thing you get here, which lots of others don't seem to, is the context under which moves and signings were made.

I've got to crow that I'm not eating crow at all....

I'd go so far as to say even the Kwame move was an example of an organisation coming off a bad season who knew they wouldn't win with what they had...they needed a big man and opportunities to get them are few and far between.They basically trusted that Jackson could turn Kwame into a presence if nothing else.It was a big gamble and of course it didnt work but they did as you say bide their time after that.

I'm not going to say it was a good trade but I think the team was trying to get it done from the start - it just takes time - to go from a rebuilding situation to the finals with only three lost years (with playoff appearances) is an incredible feat for anyone.Not pulling the trigger on a big name just to momentarily appease fans always showed they were serious.It was just that Mitch (and probably Phil in hindsight) were the only ones who seemed to have a realistic sense of how long it would take.The fans,the media and Kobe freaked out

I could see little dents being made towards building the right kind of team the whole time...it was clear we were one good player away and the issue was how to get one without trading Odom.It wasn't perfect but they seemed to have a philosophy that was sound.I argued here time and again and nobody wanted to know.

I never saw them as 'not trying to win' and figured Kobe was dead wrong on those accusations.That was a misunderstanding about what ' trying to win now' means - clearly (and people are saying it on this very thread) you have to still pay attention to the overall interests of the team to some extent while I think Kobe thought it meant throw it all in the pot NOW.It's not a criticism - I can see his point of view and don't know what conversation he had with the lakers but I don't think the lakers goal is to get KOBE BRYANT another championship asap..they've just got to consider other things.Its a clear case of a conflict of interests and blurry lines but I digress.

So yeah...one big move didnt turn out and yeah Mitch got some luck but I firmly think there's a lot of evidence that shows he had the right idea all along - a few execution issues ,a close look at who to keep and who not to all the time,but ultimately give the man credit for sticking to his guns becasue seriously - ALOT went on here.

LakerTom,

you wrote: Just a final comment on the whole “Kobe take less” argument. There is no doubt that winning the championship generates oodles of cash, from $3.9M NBA championship pool contribution to the $50M in additional revenue from home playoff games. This benefits not only the owners and players but also the city. So in a way, everybody ought to at least be smart enough to realize that small sacrifices now will pay off bigger later. That is true for Jerry Buss, Kobe, Lamar, Trevor, Shannon, and every Lakers player.

Do whatever you have to do – owners, players, agents – to make sure to keep this team together because if you do, the Lakers will ring the registers for the next 10 years. Do not allow this team to be broken up. Do not kill the championship and cash cow.

my response:

Explain this meeting to me:

Buss, Odom, Ariza, Brown & Kobe
sitting at a table.

Buss: Gentlemen, we have a salary cap
issue.

Others: True. True.

Buss: One solution is for Kobe to opt
out and take less $$, so that we can
resign Odom, Ariza & Brown.

Kobe: Let me get this straight. I've been
all nba defense for 10 years. I carried
this team for 3 years, when you didn't
have the pieces. My sidekick, Lamar,
disappeared on a nightly basis. I've been
all nba for 10 years. I won two scoring
titles, while carrying Smush to the
playoffs. I won the Gold in China,
unlike Lamar in Sydney. I won the MVP
last year. I shoot. I pass. I play defense.
I play hurt. I coach while I'm on the
floor. I mentored Ariza this past summer. I am the finals MVP. I have
the number #1 jersey.
.... And you want me to take a pay cut,
so you can give it to Lamar?

Brown: I am outta here. After y'all get
this squared away, send me a contract
and I'll sign it.

Ariza: I'm not sayin' nothin. I gotta go
practice my 3-pt shot & work on my
defense. My agent is waiting to hear
from you.

Lamar: What a time to have a sugar
crash. Can I go get a snickers?

And Buss remembers 2 summers ago:
"Do the right thing."

Buss thinks: If I screw Kobe over, will
the "Black Mamba" take it personal?

Buss ponders: Kobe + jazz = ring.
Kobe + spurs = ring.
Kobe + blazers = ring.
Kobe + heat = ring.
The list of teams who would take Kobe
is ~ 1 more than the total list of teams
in the NBA.

Yes, there are $$ issues, but will Kobe
take things personal if I screw him
over?

To be continued ...

Laker Tom and Mike

A draft pick, no matter how good can do little to help the Lakers for some time.

And if you sign him, you have to pay the guy double (because of lux tax). Plus, if you bring him to camp, and he doesn't make the team, you lose all rights to him.

A Vet on the otherhand can fill a hole as Exhelo brought out.

Take Ron Harper for instance. PJ needed help to teach this team the triangle and steady them. Ron had really bad knees but agreed to help and it got the Lakers on a nice run.

Was he a hired gun? According to your logic Laker Tom, he was. But according to Mike's logic, he also was a teacher who implemented the PJ way to these talented, but needing maturity from an experienced leader Lakers.

Jason Kidd?

His role for me would be developing the Bench Mob that started so well last year, but floundered late and was ineffective in the playoffs.

Farmar, (who's ears somehow get in the way of his listening), was making poor decisions and then pouting when things didn't go his way. (I still like him though) He needs maturity and could really use lessons from the master, Jason Kidd, on how to run in the open court. His decision making is incredible

If the Mob is playing well, then PJ could afford also to rest the starters longer.

More rest for Kobe and Fish would be very nice.

And from the businees side, with half his salary(vet mini), not counting against the cap, even better.

Like I said, a dream of mine for sure, especially with Cuban saying Kidd is not leaving Dallas.

But hey, its that time of year this blog goes into hyper speculation mode, right?

Laker Truth,

Listen to AK, he is right on this one.

During the rebuilding period, I used to post over and over about how long it takes to rebuild. Let's look at recent top teams.

Philly never won another title after 83, and it took the 19 years just to play in a one off Finals.

Boston was 22 years between titles, 21 between Finals appearances..

Detroit was 14 years between both titles and Finals appearances.

The Chicago Bulls are 11 years and counting , with no chance of a title in sight.

Houston is 14 years and counting.

The Lakers ? They have rebuild pretty quickly twice.

12 years from Showtime to Shaqtime titles, and a realtively short 9 years between Finals appearances.

And 7 years to rebuild for the last title, with only 4 years between Finals appearances.

And Mitch, let us not forget, was part of the front office that rebuilt in the 90s, after the surprise retirement (s) of Magic Johnson.

When you build a great team, what happens is you try to keep it together for a long run and it gets old (Shaq, Fox, Harper, Shaw, Horry, Grant, etc.). And when your stars are gone you in need at virtually every position. That is why it takes so long.

So yeah, while the Lakers rebuilt, they had some guys out there who did not pan out. You can't fill all your spots at once, it takes time. So Mitch had Smush and Kwame out there. So he signed Vlad Rad. So he overpaid Luke to get some stability.

Oh yeah, and he built a great team in 4 years and was back in the Finals ahead of plan.

Rebuiding takes patience. Mitch was helped, obvioulsy, by having Kobe. But he endured only one losing season and turned this thing around very fast, while also building around youth instead of renting guys to get respectable quick.

He has done a great job. Now he needs to keep the Lakers up there, by keeping guys and by adding pieces over time, in spite of giant salary cap issues. A whole new challenge and he will be busy this off season.

It was fine to be unsure about Mitch, but the harsh criticism he endured was all out of proportion to the job he was trying to - rebuild a championship team almost from scratch, with all his key role players and the leagues most dominating center all gone.

Mitch has proven himself to be up to the task. I was as happy for him winning this title as for any of the players. Few of us face this kind of public scrutiny in our jobs, and Mitch was treated VERY poorly during the inevitable rebuilding process.

Tom D.

Oh yeah, I left off maybe the most amazing "rebuilding" period ever.

The New York Knicks, with all their resources, are 36 years removed from their last title. Just to show how hard the job is.

When Laker fans were whining one or two years after the Shaq - Kobe ugliness broke up that team, it really was unrealistic.

You just don't get back to the mountain top that fast.

People forget that before Gasol came, the Lakers were in #1.

I love Gasol, and think he should in the conversation for best power forward in the league. However, Kobe, Fisher, and a bunch of scrubs were clear leaders before Pau got there.

I only mention this because I keep reading about how the "gift/steal" of Gasol catapulted us to #1. On the contrary, I believe the basis or foundation for a good team was already made. We now have a great team, that hopefully will stay together.

Tom Daniels

nice job...the fact is that they stuck with their philosophy of how to rebuild and didnt get sucked into making stupid appeasement trades.It was a clear goal to actually contend not just get by and keep the fans and media happy.The Kwame gamble didnt work but they didnt panic.So irony 1 is that Kobe accused them of not wanting to win when the opposite was true and irony number 2 is that Mitch should go down as a walking example of the best trade is the one you dont make (the irony is all anyone talks about is the Butler trade)

Just to add my two cents in on the "Can we keep LO, Ariza, and Brown and pay Kobe?" debate.

First and foremost, here are the teams with cap space this offseason and therefore could offer LO or Ariza more than the MLE:

"Given current projections, seven teams -- the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Detroit Pistons, the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat -- will have significant money to spend in 2009."

Now, do you see any of those teams willing to pay either guy more than the MLE or if they do, would Trevor or Lamar want to play there? I could see Detroit or Miami being a decent place to play but both of those teams are looking to make a big splash with a free agent and I don't consider either LO or Ariza that guy (maybe LO).

Anyway, this offseason is going to be extremely interesting with guys like Kidd, Iverson, Marion, LO, etc. all coming off big deals and then finding only the MLE coming there way because of the cap and the state of the economy.

If I'm Kupchak or Buss I let the free market dictate what LO, Ariza, and Brown get and then match. Plain and simple. I think the salaries will be just fine with what the Lakers are trying to accomplish and what they're willing to spend to get there.

i had this long post that was in defense of Mitch and his quirky signings, but it got deleted. i think i accidentally refreshed the page or something. but i don't think i need to retype it. i think Kiwi and AK have said enough on the subject. i whole-heartedly agree with them.

i'm not down with any scenario to bring in Kidd. i don't think he would fit the triangle particularly well. only as another post-up option, perhaps. look at Gary Payton. he couldn't tell a triangle from an octagon. plus, if we resign Brown, we'll be pretty deep at PG already.

i do like the idea that someone brought up, that LAL/Buss should do whatever it takes to extend Kobe, and resign Lamar, Trevor and Shannon. just eat the huge payrolls for one to two years, before we have several players go off the books. really, after next season, we'll be in better shape, with Morrison and Farmar off the books, i think. and probably waiving MBenga and Yue would help, too.

then draft a euro (or chinese) big man, keep him overseas. and if the need arises, we can always pick-up another big man free agent (maybe MBenga again) further down the road.

oh yeah, LakerTom, see that exit interview of Ariza? he's gonna work on his "Guard skills" over the summer! i think the Kobe/Trevor backcourt tandem that we've been discussing is finally taking form.

This is funny. Have the Celtics hit the panic button?

"Celtics offer Allen, Rondo to PistonsViews 25864 Comments 59 07:03 AM ET 06.23 Share Print It My T&R The Boston Celtics appear willing to make major roster changes to balance a chance for a championship run and future financial flexibility. The Celtics offered Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to the Detroit Pistons for a package that included Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Boston general manager Danny Ainge and Detroit's Joe Dumars never spoke, but rather the Celtics had a lower-level executive make the pitch to a Pistons official over the past weekend, league sources said. Detroit immediately rejected the idea, and it never advanced to the two top executives speaking about particulars. This isn't an uncommon occurrence for a GM like Ainge to dispatch an underling to make that kind of a call, if for no other reason to give the top executive some level of deniability that he's shopping his stars."

Rondo must be telling friends he wants a max deal next contract. He and Perkins should be the youth nucleolus on that team, but now he's being shopped?

They sold it all for one ring and now they can't help but notice the Lakers in line for 5-6 more rings and want to get a piece of that P&G action. Well, hands off Greenies. Get your own blueprint. If you want to make a Laker-like championship run in the East do two things. First, sign Turkaglu away from Orlando and second, convince LeBron to move to NY. That's your best chance. That's where your efforts should be, my little green elf-like pixie dwarf friends.

I love it. Rondo's got to have some head problems to make the Ceptics make a deal like this. I can't imagine the problems he’ll create once he reads these latest rumors.

Oh well.

Wes

Kiwi and Tom D., don't forget that the Lakers were extremely injury ravaged the last few years. before the Pau deal, i believe: Odom, Bynum, Mihm, Kwame, Luke, Vladdy, etc. all had various injuries (some long, some short, some occurring frequently). then there's Kobe, who also had his share of injuries, but toughed them all out. particularly if we had a healthy Mihm and Vlad Rad, i think the Lakers would've won more games, and gone deeper in the post-season (in the Pre-Gasol years).

Andrew, interesting prognosis, but at the same time Buss does't want to make Lamar or Trevor question his loyalty towards them, after winning a championship. i see nothing wrong with putting a starting offer of 8 & 6 million a year offers out there, just to see if they nibble. if they don't take it, and decide to entertain other offers, so be it. and if they get better offers, then negotiate. Brown, i'd willing to gamble and see what offers he gets.

"when he walked past Lebron eating fruity pebbles, or whatever. {fruity pebbles? really? was that the best choice?)"

-Phred

Yes Phred, it was. A fine selection by my accounts, and yes, I hope he drinks the sugar milk afterwards.

Maybe Count Chocula would have been a better selection, but Fruity Pebbles is an American institution where I come from. A fine choice.

Wes

Also,

I think that just about any player we draft from America or Europe is going to be better than Sun, who I believe, hands down, is the worst player in the NBA.

He's horrible.

I guess he's selling a lot of jerseys in China, because I see no other reason for him having a roster spot on this team.

Wes

If there is a new collective bargaining agreement coming up would that make players like Kobe more inclined to renegotiate a deal before then if they have the opportunity?

I think if it is absolutely necessary Kobe will take less money.I don't see how he can't and I don't see how he wouldnt want to if it meant keeping the team together.Up until now I would have said it was unlikely but within the context of all that has transpired ie asking for new players etc I think it could happen...of course in the end it simply comes down to 'who pays for the players' Buss or Kobe...Kobe might feel that the difference between keeping players and losing them lies not in his willingness to take less money but in Dr Buss's willingness to spend a bit more.

Would love to know how they plan to go about this...tricky stuff indeed

Mike,

>>> HOWEVER JKidd is NOT 'The Glove' - not even close!
>>> If we can 'rent' him for a year, why not do it?
>>> He is 'hungry' and can teach our youngsters how a true pro works.
>>> Can't you see Farmar and Shannon Brown progressing from his tutelage?

I am not so sure that Jason Kidd is NOT the Glove: a great defender who has lost a couple of steps and has a hard time staying in front of faster, quicker point guards. However, I do think that Jason could be a great addition in the sense of helping all of the Lakers players feed the ball into the post better. And I agree he “could” be a mentor of sorts to Farmar and Brown, although I still prefer Fish and Kobe showing young guys how to win rather than Jason who really hasn’t won at any level. Bottom line, I would prefer not to “taint” our dynasty with rent-a-players. We’re good enough not to need to do that. Of course, JMO.

Tom

dave,

>>> If a decent player falls into our lap for scale/$996,240, it could be worth the tax.
>>> Just depends.

Exactly! For example, I would draft Darren Collison if he were available when we pick. He would be an excellent replacement for Sun Yue. I love Collison’s ability to hound a ball handler from baseline to baseline without picking up the silly touch fouls that Sasha and Jordan always get when they pressure a ball handler. He would give the Lakers a defensive player to stop penetration by small quick point guards. That is one big defensive weapon that the Lakers currently lack. I also think Collison will be a great 3-point shooter based on his great stroke from the free-throw line of over 90%. There probably are a couple of other players who the Lakers might bite on at the end of Round 1.

Tom

Leonard..I always thought that the injuries were huge and made it difficult to get any kind of gauge in terms of how good the team was,, who could be/should be traded and who should be kept.That stretch at the end of the '06 season and early '07 where they were playing really well made it more difficult to know what to do.Sitting tight was the right choice.Certainly in 2007 they might have had a good season without the injuries - another reason I felt Kobe's rant was misguided...people were basically happy with the progress at the end of '06 were doing okay early on the next season...then they barely got out of their exit interviews before everyone was calling for a change...the names of stars the lakers apparently 'could have got' being thrown around didn't help matters (Kidd being the obvious example) but the lakers had no more room to gamble after Kwame and none of those players would have been right.

phred,

You are on a roll, man. I love it. There is a nasty “I told you so” side to redemption that I personally find very very sweet. Like revenge and pizza, it can even be good “cold.” LOL.

Tom

AK,

Great response to Laker Truth. The key is that Mitch recognized and fixed all of his mistakes. The only thing that irritates me is that he did not win EOY last year or this year. It would only be fair that he win it next year – sort of a belated reward ala Kobe’s MVP – same as with Phil Jackson as COY. How can anyone feel that Danny Ainge of the Celtics and Mark Warkentien of the Nuggets did a better job the last two years than Mitch? His only consolation is seeing his Lakers team crush Denver and Boston. He should walk away with EOY award next year.

Tom

Fatty,

>>> Dr. Buss had me going over the Kobe flap, but we have to admit,
>>> we are "PRIVILEDGED" to have an owner, who has to be the
>>> Lakers "Number One Fan" of all time.

Time that Dr. Buss won a Fatty, especially since the NBA EOY voters still have not rewarded him.

Tom

hobbitmage,

Fortunately for the Lakers, they have a guy who knows how to negotiate and make his points while not disrespecting the other party. I have complete confidence in Mitch to handle our offseason issues in a totally professional manner. And yes, there will be a discussion with every player in play this summer about how the team needs sacrifice from everybody – owners and players – in order to keep this team intact and our dynasty alive.

Finally, everybody does not parse every syllable the way that you and LTLF do. If they did, there would probably be a hell of a lot fewer trees left in this world. Trust Mitch. He knows how to do his job and this is actually easy compared to trying to rebuild after trading Shaq. I believe every Lakers player, including Kobe, is ready to join Dr. Buss in sacrificing to keep this great team together. I doubt we will see any friction at all during the process.

Tom

Fatty,

Jason Kidd is a tempting option and I would root for him if the Lakers actually add him but I still would prefer that we win it with the guys we have. In the end, I trust Mitch and the Lakers front office. If Kidd was willing to play for the minimum and Phil and Kobe buy in, then great. It does bother me, however, that the guy most likely affected would be Fish. Anyway, obviously, if I had my way we would only have guys who never wore another jersey other than purple and gold or who have become Lakers for Life after coming here. One year by Jason Kidd off the bench does not make him a Laker for Life in my book.

Tom

Tom D,

Great stats about the time it took other franchises to rebuild. Hope that convinces Mitch’s critics that nobody could have rebuilt the Lakers faster. Throw in the fact that had Drew and Ariza not been injured, we might have won the title last year. Mitch’s record speaks for itself. We are champions and poised to do it many more times over the next decade.

Tom

#4,

Thanks for reminding everybody that the Lakers were the best team in the league per Jerry West and Kobe Bryant BEFORE the trade for Pau Gasol. What the Gasol trade did was give us a guy who could play center when Drew got injured to keep our rise to the top on schedule. Once Drew comes back healthy next year, the Lakers will take their game to an entirely different level – that of a dynasty. Kobe plus the Beasts – a healthy Drew, tougher Pau, and dependable Lamar – that is the formula for multiple championships.

Tom

AK,

One other accomplishment by Mitch that never gets enough publicity is the fact that his moves of drafting Bynum and trading for Pau forced two of the Lakers main competitors – the Suns and the Mavs – to make ill-advised trades that have left them strapped as far as the salary cap and luxury tax are concerned. In addition to rebuilding the Lakers, Mitch should get partial credit for deconstructing the Suns and the Mavs.

Tom

Andrew Z,

Where have you been? I just posted to ex a few days ago wondering what ever happened to you. Great to see you back posting. Long way from the old GHE and GHF days.

Tom

leonardbast,

>>> Oh yeah, LakerTom, see that exit interview of Ariza?
>>> he's gonna work on his "Guard skills" over the summer!
>>> i think the Kobe/Trevor backcourt tandem that we've
>>> been discussing is finally taking form.

Thanks for the reminder. Yes, I did see that comment from Trevor. It makes you wonder if Phil or Mitch brought up the possibility of Trevor playing some at guard along with Kobe. What a defensive backcourt the Mamba and the Cobra would be. That would even scare the hell out of a mongoose. Or maybe Trevor has been reading our posts. We already know he ignores and scrolls by blitz’s posts because blitz said he couldn’t shoot. LOL.

Tom

Wes,

>>> They sold it all for one ring and now they can't help but notice the Lakers in line
>>> for 5-6 more rings and want to get a piece of that P&G action. Well, hands off
>>> Greenies. Get your own blueprint.

What is really funny is the Celtics invented the term dynasty as far as the NBA goes. But rather than follow the proven recipe they invented, the years of failure and losing finally got to their heads and they sold their soul to the devil in return for a rent-a-player fantasy league one-and-done style of championship. Now it sounds as if they are now willing to sell their children’s souls as well. The magic from the leprechauns has now gone south to Orlando.

Tom

Tom Daniels,
Excellent discussion on the difficulties of staying competitive.

GMs have to try and gauge whether or not someone has the potential to be one of the top 400 or so basketball players in the world, and where in that 400 they will rank, realizing that anything below 250 or so isn't worth much.

Oh, and they have to try to analyze whether that 19 year old (who has been told since he was about 8 years old that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread) that you're going to give $3M to, will have the personal growth/maturity to stay focused on basketball enough to help your team.

Kupchak has done a superb job.

Andrew Z - I second what Tom said, it's good to see you posting.

Phred, re: your handle, it wouldn't have anything to do with Phast Phreddie would it? Long shot and very obscure reference, I know.

I remember phred from Doonesbury.

>>>The dude Abides.....If you pick at 29 then you have to
>>>pay him ...Its a first round pick..

Actually, that's not the case. They do have a fixed amount that they
have to pay them when (or if) they actually join the team, but they don't
have to sign them for next season. They basically hold their rights
indefinitely.


Posted by: Long Time Laker Fan | June 22, 2009 at 11:20 PM

================
LTLF

Not quite true. The Lakers would hold rights for 2 years then the pick becomes unrestricted FA if not signed by Lakers. If pick goes overseas he can play indefinitely there and Lakers would then hold onto rights indefinitely as long as the pick plays overseas.

LakerTom,

I made the mistake of taking a job where I couldn't spend time on the blog. I realized during the championship run that my priorities were skewed, so I quit.

But now that I think of it, I think everything Ex and I said actually came to fruition. Right Ex? :)

leonardbast,

I think LO and Ariza know the organization want them back. It will be interesting to see if they do the 12:01 call and offer thing or let them test the market and match. I guess it all depends on Dr. Buss and his wallet.

congrats to L.A. once again it took alot for you all to get a title but u still got it.

1.K.G got hurt, remember the year brfore when boston beat the hell out of yall? it would have happened again.
2. Yao got hurt, Remeber the rockets tool L.A to 7 without Yao
3.The refs, as usual the refs blew 2 key calls against the Lakers ,the goaltend against gasol, and kobes elbow to Nelsons face. It reminded me of the kings seris,when the kings got robbed, or when the refs gave Fisher 8 seconds to shoot a turn around 3 pointer against the spurs.

Ps . will my hawks ever get the same treatment?

Andrew Z,
"But now that I think of it, I think everything Ex and I said actually came to fruition. Right Ex? :)"

Pretty much. How is your son doing? He's close to three now, isn't he? Remember - left handed relievers, and you'll be set!

Ex,

Very good memory, my son turned 3 at the end of May. I bought him his first basketball hoop and he's not bad. My wife still argue about tying his right hand behind his back, but he seems to be doing okay using his left.


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