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Tony Gaffney gets some props

October 20, 2009 | 11:36 am
A nice article by the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn about UMass star Tony Gaffney's tough sledding quest to latch on with the Lakers.  Sounds like the kid is equal parts "nose to the grindstone" and "star struck puppy" at the moment.  Maybe they're just testing Gaffney to see how badly he geeks out, but it's kinda cruel placing his locker next to Kobe Bryant's.  It's hard enough being coached by a dude with ten rings, although thus far, Phil Jackson has lobbed consistent praise Gaffney's way.  Such was the case after Monday's practice:

        “We really like his basketball feel.  His athleticism, his defensive capabilities. He’s learning how to shoot the ball, and that’s one of the keys for him. He’s doing really well out there. Guys like him. He fits in really well with us."

Jackson goes on to say that Gaffney's inclusion on the final roster will definitely be a front office talking point, but I still think it remains a long shot. 

No doubt, they like what's been on display thus far, and Gaffney does seem light years ahead in the pecking order than fellow roster hopeful Thomas Kelati.  At the very least, I think his chances have risen from "doubtful" to "not out of the question."  But between today's lean economic times and the Lakers' already sky high payroll, I'm guessing the desire to keep the roster at a baker's dozen will win out.  I wouldn't be surprised, however, to see Gaffney in a D-Fenders jersey to start the season.  I'm actually counting on it.  And who knows?  Maybe Doc Buss will decide that when once you've ponied up 110+ mil (after the luxury tax kicks in), what's another few hundred grand? 

Were it my money, and the staff really liked Gaffney's potential, I'd like to think I'd take option B, because he's garnered enough praise to land on the enemy radar.  But since we're talking cash and both Jerry B and I are nothing if not betting men, my money is on the team concluding that a Tony Gaffney (whether the actual player or one similar) can be found during the regular season should the need arise, and will chance him getting scooped by another team.

Either way, Gaffney's making the most of this chance, and along those lines should be happy with himself.


Thanks to reader Steven W. Miller for the heads up about the article.