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Lakers 118, Atlanta 110: Eat a peach

At best, it helps clear the memory of Friday's pre-Halloween horror show. At worst, it takes the edge off a Monday morning. Particularly one accompanied by an iconic Allman Brothers album.

More stuff below, filled with (as that cute kid from those new Windows commercial calls them) lots of happy words.

Intellectually, most Lakers fans understand the addition of Ron Artest, while it can (and damn well better) ultimately lead to positive things, changes the way the team operates on both ends and therefore requires a transition period, one that can't truly get into full swing until Pau Gasol is back on the floor. On the other hand, I thought there'd be a time of adjustment last season when Gasol and Andrew Bynum were sharing the lane for the first time and the team had to grow accustomed to Lamar Odom coming off the bench. Instead, the Lakers got off to a great start and made me look like a big ol' worrywart.

Except that it didn't happen last season doesn't mean it won't be necessary now. Waiting for Phil Jackson after the catacombs in the catacombs of Staples, another member of the media said he figured it would take about 30 games for things to look the way they might in the playoffs. Argue about the number if you'd like, but the basic point is true. What we'll see is fits and starts- moments where things look really good mixed in with raggedy sequences of indecision. When it works, though, man alive it can be pretty. We touched on Artest's defense above. Once he got his claws into Atlanta's Joe Johnson, holding him to one field goal after the first quarter, the Lakers were liberated in a few ways. First, Atlanta's offense was crippled. Then Kobe, whose freelancing got him in some hot water against Johnson early, was now up against guys like Marvin Williams and Josh Smith who can't make a defender pay for gambling nearly as well. Now it's okay for Kobe to wander a little more.

Five steals later, Kobe was able to make his presence felt on that end, a nice side note to his 41 points on 15-29 and another night of 10+ free throws. 

Offensively, Artest remains a work in progress, far better at helping create shots for others than he is at getting one for himself, though he did have a nice drive off the wing in the second half for a layup. His line (12/7/4 with three blocks) had all sorts of variety in it, something he had in common with his teammates. Odom, save a couple loose passes, was fantastic, with 11 points, 14 boards, eight assists, and a steal. He grabbed a couple key offensive rebounds in LA's decisive 18-0 third quarter push, helping to stretch possessions and the lead. Kobe finished with eight rebounds and three assists. Bynum had 21 points (though three boards in 37:01 isn't exactly Windex work on the glass). Luke Walton was effective in his 13:40, with two assists, two boards, a steal, and eight points.

PJ said after the game (see it all below) that three games in, the Lakers are yet to play an effective 48 minutes start to finish, and I don't think anyone would disagree. The parts that have worked, though, show where the team can go from here. It's a process, and hard as it is not to get wrapped up in each game, the important thing is the general trend, not the day to day return. If I could hitch my stock portfolio to the direction I think the Lakers are going, I'd certainly make that wager. Even if I'd take hits from time to time, Friday for example, in the long run I'd be likely to cash in. 

One more note:

    -I'm going to write more about this later in the week, but PJ made it clear that a five guard rotation isn't going to work out in the long run (there just aren't enough minutes to go around), and that certain players are in danger of playing themselves out of the loop if they don't pick it up. Fish noted how PJ uses early season games to play with different rotations and place guys in a variety of situations, so he knows what he has when things really get into crunch time. Someone, be it Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar, or Shannon Brown, is going to find himself tethered to the bench a few weeks from now. I don't expect it to be Brown.

VIDEO:

PJ, on the game generally and Artest's defensive effort:

Jackson again, on the guard rotation, and the performance of LO:

BK

MORE VIDEO...

After describing how he found success defending Joe Johnson, Artest describes the process of switching onto JJ after Kobe began with that assignment. "I wanted to guard him and give Kobe a breather. "He's never gonna (ask). He don't want to be babied, so I gotta say, 'Kobe, I got him.' He'll wear himself out into the dirt and if you don't go over there and (say that). As a good teammate, he'll say, 'go get him.'"

Oh, and contrary to the popular opinion of his detractors, Artest claims to actually be quicker this season than skeptics writing him off as an aging defender would claim. Beyond that, he says that increased speed came while adding three extra pounds of muscle to boot. Exactly three pounds, Ron? How would you know? Dude gets himself on a scale every single day. As we speak, he's weighing in at precisely 265. No word on the exact ounces, so I guess that number be the result of rounding up and or down.

FYI. If you substitute "slower than a parked car" for "quicker" and "slightly less toned" for "extra three pounds of muscle," the transformation of my body this offseason is identical to Artest's. I mean, exactly the same.

Remember the post I wrote before the game about how playing without Pau Gasol makes life difficult on several counts beyond El Spaniard's individual stats? Well, Luke Walton concurs. The reserve forward sees Gasol not only as "one of, if not the most skilled big man in the game," but without him, roles change. The rotation changes as well. Players like to find that comfort zone as early as possible, but the process, for all intents and "this is how we'd try to build for the playoffs" purposes, gets halted.

Mind you, Walton wasn't making excuses and noted that even without Pau, the Lakers are talented enough that a high level of play can and should be expected. But that doesn't change reality.

AK
 
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Well earned victory, 3rd quarter we played our best game (both O and D) of this young season so far... Kobe showed he's still got a lot in him!!

Bench production was much better compared to the earlier games. However, DJ as our back-up center is not sufficient. Can Mitch try and pull off some trade?? (I know I am greedy - but the younger Gasol would be nice :-) )

Bynum played well on O, though he missed a few good looks early in the game. Dude however is lagging a bit on D, and needs to better rebounding. (Only 3 rebs - tied for lowest among starters with Fish) Added to it, ONLYT one def.rebound... He has to work on that.. I'd love a 10-10 or 15-8 than a 21-3.

This was Artest's best game as a Laker!! His O was better compared to the dismal show in the previous 2 games. However, it was his D in full-force during the game. Who Johnson scored 18 pts in 1st qtr, and after Artest just stifled him... was wonderful to watch Artest's tough D. It helped Kobe get loose on O and go on a rampage.

Farmar is NOT going to be the PG of our future, dude has not grown much in 4 yrs. He is always looking sub-par.

Today we did quite a few silly turn overs - playing great D and earn a steal, and boom - LO throws the ball far beyond reach of anyone.. Need to try and reduce that. I mentioned this in the chat also - Kobe got whistled for his FOURTH foul.. Dont remember the last time James or Wade get 4 PFs in a game where their team wins!!

FARMAR's BIG EGO TALKING
"I think I have a lot to offer. I know I can do so much more than I'm doing right now," said Farmar, who is averaging 4.7 points and 1.7 assists through three games this season. "If they really, really want me, they probably would have signed me. It's tough. I feel that I've gone out there a lot and shown what I have, with the opportunity that I've got. It's my job to try to prove it to them."

you can do so much more ....yeah more turnovers more missed shots more poor defense
if they really really want me.....ummmm we don't really really want you and your poor attitude, which includes pouting, whining, etc.
i feel i've gone out there a lot and shown what i have......you have shown no potential or skill to be an effective point guard in this league
prove it to them... prove to mr. kupchack he is a genius and did not sign a smush parker clone to an extension


THE 81-1 BANDWAGON…
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It was a split screen night for me with one eye on the Yankees stirring World Series victory over the Phillies and the Lakers cruising win over the Atlanta Hawks. Hats off to Johnny Damon for keeping the 9th inning alive for World Series MVP Alex Rodriguez to win it with another clutch postseason hit. A Kobe-esque performance from ARod as the Yankees now have their foot on the Phillies throat. Look for AJ to shut down the posers from the inferior league with the Yankees 3rd straight road win. And just like Laker dynasties are good for basketball, Yankee dynasties are good for baseball.
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Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant, another championship MVP player, dropped 41 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, and 5 steals on the until-then-undefeated Atlanta Hawks as the Lakers rebounded from Friday night’s lackluster loss to the Mavs and cruised to an easy win. Kobe was everywhere tonight, attacking at both ends of the court and making play after play. There was no way that Kobe was going to let this team stumble for a second game in a row. I loved his work in the post, especially the quick turn around jumpers he decisively nailed as soon as he was fed the ball in the post. Kobe was very quick tonight.
-
Another excellent effort from Andrew Bynum with 21 points on 8-14 from the field and 5-6 from the line, 3 boards, 1 assists, and 2 blocked shots. I missed one of the blocks watching both games but saw the one where he met an Atlanta player a few feet in front of the rim high in the sky. That was the kind of blocked shots that Drew was delivering two years ago before his injury. He still does not have the explosiveness of 2 years ago but he is getting better. Thank God for those terrific soft hands. Even when Pau returns, Drew should have a good shot at averaging 20 ppg. Pau will make Drew better.
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The Lakers also got solid play from both of their starting forwards with Lamar Odom putting up a near triple-double with 11/14/8 and Ron Artest providing a solid 12/7/4 and 3 blocked shots. Add a good effort from the Bench Mob with 27/7/7 from 6 guys. Aside from a forgettable 4th quarter where they squandered a 98-76 lead, the Lakers played with excellent energy, especially in the 3rd quarter. Of course, I expect to still see the infestation of trolls and fair weather fans looking for cracks in the Lakers dynastic ambitions and touting the rebooted hopes and aspirations of the Celtics and Cavs.
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While it was good to get an easy win tonight, it is obvious that the Lakers miss Pau Gasol and the skill and versatility that he brings to the team. We have still not seen how terrific this team is going to be when they finally get all the pieces on the floor. While Kobe is the only indispensible Lakers player, the Lakers next level of talent is clearly their 4-5 combo of Pau and Drew. Losing one of their pair of 7-foot aces definitely changes the strength and dynamic of the Lakers. AK was right when he pointed out how it hurts the team to have to use Lamar to start rather than coming off the bench.
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It was good to see Luke have an excellent game, showing more quickness than he has so far this season. He will probably still get dumped on by the Luke Haters but the reality is he played very well and deserves kudos for his effort rather than raspberries from unappreciative and biased fans. If you love to lump him when he sucks, it is also only fair that you acknowledge the excellent game he had.
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Finally, hats off my San Francisco 49ers for a fine effort against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. Talking about athletes under pressure to redeem themselves like Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez, how about the job that Alex Smith has done since taking over as the starting quarterback the last game and a half.? Like Kobe and ARod, Alex Smith is now getting HIS opportunity to redeem himself. Other than 1 interception off a tipped pass, Smith played superbly, showing great poise, arm strength, and decision making. The 49ers may have found their quarterback of the future in Alex.
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Yankees will win World Series tomorrow night 4-1. Niners will make playoffs by winning the West.
If Lakers go on an 80-game winning streak, they finish the regular season 81-1. Anything’s possible.
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Tom


The beauty of having an Artest take the defensive load off Kobe showed tonight. Freed from having to chase Joe Johnson, KB erupted for 40+.

That's going to be the Lakers' basic premise this year: Ron takes care of the other team's hotshot on the defensive end, and Kobe goes off on the offensive end.

KB might even end up with a higher scoring average than last year. I say might, because I don't think he actually will , because Drew is going to take attempts and points scored off Kobe, and with a higher FG%. Which of course means an even more efficient offense.

Add Gasol back into the mix and the Lakers are almost good to go. I say almost because the bench specifically Ammo, Sasha and Jordan in that order look imminently replaceable. Luke, Powell and Mbenga, I expect to stay. Luke because he is not tradeable and he does bring intangibles to the table, Powell and Mbenga because they are cheap and serviceable big men are not easy to find anyway.

I think Lakers should take their time with Pau. PJ has been talking about rushing him back w/c surprises me. The Lakers' early season schedule looks favorable so its better to take a few losses now and have Pau healthy the rest of the year.

Bird use to call McHale the blackhole. You give him the ball inside, its never going to come out again. Drew ain't no Beast, he's the Laker BlackHole..

At least McHale can rebound. THREE rebounds? And he wants to be an All Star? Getting the same amount of caroms as the 34 year 6'2 PG?

p ang,

I completely agree with you... Once he gets the ball, dude never relents until he makes a shot - not much passing or kicking out at all!!

Out of those three rebounds, only one is on the defensive end. He's still thinking all a center has to do is to score big.

RON ARTEST IS ALL THAT!!!! THE BEAST HAS ARRIVED!!
KOBE IS AN ASSASIN!!!
THE NBA WHERE LEGENDS HAPPEN BEFORE YOUR EYES

*
81-1 REGULAR SEASON BANDWAGON
*
(01) LAKERTOM- OWNER
(02) MAMBA24 – DRIVER
(03) JUSTANOTHER MAMBAFAN – RIDING SHOTGUN 1
(04) KEIFO RIDING SHOTGUN 2

Hey! A nice win, and the panic subsides ...

L.O. almost gets a triple double.
Kobe scores 40+
Artest's offense becomes better.

Nice work by the bench.

One of our guards will become best friends with Mbenga. Right now, I'm
guessing it's Sasha. Sad, but true.

The beauty of having an Artest take the defensive load off Kobe showed tonight. Freed from having to chase Joe Johnson, KB erupted for 40+. That's going to be the Lakers' basic premise this year: Ron takes care of the other team's hotshot on the defensive end, and Kobe goes off on the offensive end. Posted by: LakerinBC | November 02, 2009 at 12:42 AM

OUT FREAKING STANDING!!!

Overall, the Lakers look fine this early in the season...like a Ferrari that still hasn't been floored or had to use it's last two gears. As others have mentioned, until Pau returns to the lineup and Lamar amps up the second unit, nobody has yet seen the Lakers' tires smoking through the league. It's coming.

But here are a few pings that are troubling.

1) We have not yet found that smokin' spot up 3-point gunner that will rain 3's from the corner when the defenses (like Dallas showed) put up a zone. Fisher is our only semi-reliable 3-pt guy, and there are nights when it's not working for him. I'm surprised that Phil hasn't worked Ammo more to help him find his stroke. He's potentially a Kukovic type, but he's accumulating rust and lack of confidence from riding the bench. The rest of the league (and especially the Celtics) have loaded up on 3-pt gunners. This could be a big problem in the playoffs.

2) Jordan and Sasha are both playing scared. Sasha in particular could be the 3-pt guy we need, but he's playing frantic and trying to do too much in order to show he can do it all (drive, defend, pass). Dial it back down, dude. Get to you spot, square up, and drain those shots. Stop already with the insta-shots on the run.

3) Drew is similarly playing too frantic...on offense. Wants to show everyone that he's an All-Star...on offense. Fine. 20 ppg is cool, but what would really make you an All-Star is if you got 20 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. We're loaded with scorers. We need your boards, blocks, and intimidation/shut-down of the pick and roll. When we play the Celtics in the finals, you better come ready to rumble under the basket.

4) Luke haters...give it a rest. The guy is solid. NOBODY, not even Kobe, understands and plays the triangle better. Nobody makes his teammates play better. Nobody. Phil obviously knows that. So shaddup already.

Who's going to be the odd-man-out when PJ reduces the guard rotation from five players t o four? If you only read this blog, you're likely to believe it's Jordan Farmar. You're also likely to be wrong.

Farmar, while in some ways disappointing, clearly knows how to set up the offense and get his team mates involved. If he were in the starting rotation, he'd likely be just as effective as D-Fish.

The problem, boys and girls, is who he plays with on the floor, most of the time. When the other four players are Josh Powell, Sasha, Walton, and DJ -- where's the offense he's supposed to set up? There are no creators out there. If Artest is on the floor instead of Powell or Walton, he's not yet comfortable enough with the offense to take the lead role. If Shannon is out there instead of Sasha, he's the only one capable of being a play maker and will be heavily defended.

Shannon Brown is most effective as a 2-guard. You'll notice, that's where PJ has been mostly playing him. It leaves him free to maximize his athleticism without being restricted. While he may see more time against the bigger point guards, he most helps the Lakers as a 2.

That leaves Sasha as the odd man out. He's just not dependable on either offense or defense. He's also already seen his playing time reduced.

Farmar has yet to show us that he's the be-all, end-all. But he's also not the big loser so many posters here portray him as. He's working harder than ever to setting up his team mates and to hold himself back from taking low percentage jumpers. A vote of confidence by PJ will help him learn to stay within his game. Once that becomes his mantra, he'll be a more steady hand and earn the minutes the Lakers need him to play.

Odom returning to the bench will make all the other subs better, relatively speaking, because currently they are all having to play "one position higher." Anticipate a noticeable improvement in the bench play when Gasol returns.

Last night was a good example of how fast break opportunities won't necessarily be diminished after the Artest-Ariza swap. Better overall defense will probably provide more of those than the individual speed and steals of Ariza.

Bynum's rebounding and defense still works in progress, but it's really nice having that target inside for lobs and for passes when a defender has to leave his man to cover a penetrating Kobe/Lamar/Artest. It will be interesting to see how the positioning of Gasol and Bynum is handled.

p ang,

Dude, chill. By his own admission Bynum stated that he didn't rebound well and that he needs to go after em' more. Where were you when he grabbed 11 rebounds the first two games? Ah, how quickly we forget.

It's true that Andrew needs to do a better job of getting position and just going after rebounds, which I'm sure he will. However, here are a few things to also keep in mind. Bynum tipped quite a few missed shots to his teammates for rebounds, gave up a few rebounds to mates while fighting with them for the ball and he plays with some of the best glass eaters at their respective positions in Kobe, LO and Artest. The rebounds that Fisher got were long rebounds off of missed shots(not even Bynum can stretch himself 12 feet tall for rebounds that end up near the top of the key). My point is Bynum needs to rebound better, but he's also playing on a team with good rebounders which means that he won't always get the lion's share of boards. Another example of what I mean, can you name another player on Orlando that is an excellent rebounder other than Dwight Howard? Maybe Vince Carter? Hedo was alright when he was there, but that's another reason why Howard grabs so many boards because his team is perimeter oriented and they don't crash the boards as a team as the Lakers do. Boston has the same concept as well because KG, Perkins, Pierce, Allen and Rondo(probably the best rebounding PG in the league right now)are all excellent rebounders. I can go on and on about which teams have a singular rebounding machine while others have a plethora of rebounders.

I expect Andrew to make the all-star team this year because so far only Chris Kaman is the only one with comparable stats in the early going. Don't complain about Drew because he's averaging 20ppg and 9rpg so far this year which is far better than what we had with Kwame Brown at center.

Luke had an effective game, averaging more than a point per 2 minutes.

Luke haters will be stepping up to the mic in 3...2...1...

CornerJ,

I'm going to respectfully disagree with you in regards to Bynum. Right now with Pau out, Drew is the second option offensively behind Kobe and is the team's best chance outside of Kobe of getting easy, high percentage shots. You stated that we are loaded with scorers, but that's more true when Pau is in the lineup because right now Artest is struggling big time on offense, LO's offense comes and goes, Fisher, Farmar and Sasha are off so do you really want Drew to stop scoring? Also, do realize that Bynum is right there with Kobe as far as FT percentage goes? In other words he's a better FT shooter than LO, Artest, Pau and the rest save Kobe and Fish. He's also has the highest FG percentage of all the starters right now. When you look at all the shots that Bynum took last night, none of them were bad shots and many of them went in and out. There are times when he seems to rush his shot, but he hasn't forced any bad shots.

I agree with you however that Bynum needs to rebound more and play better defense and I believe that he will especially when Pau returns to help shoulder the offensive burden. Think about it, if Drew doesn't score the way he's been scoring in the post, the Lakers would be in really deep trouble because it will all fall back on Kobe to carry the offensive load and while he's capable, that's not what we the fans, the coaching staff or the team wants and needs at this time. Bynum has clearly emerged as our second option offensively until Pau returns and I would rather that he take high percentage shots around the basket than let Artest, Fish and LO shoot jumpers all night. Andrew is also our best post up option outside of Kobe no question. LO and Artest are great in the post as well, but Drew is just a bigger target and is able to get easier baskets and is a better FT shooter than the aforementioned LO and Artest.

D'Art

37 paints defensive Art, and like art, it can be subtle. You look up in the 4th quarter and realize that Johnson guy hasn't done anything since Ron focused on him. Given Ron's 1000 yard stare, on most nights that might be enough to wilt the other guy.

Trevor's puttin' up offensive numbers as Houston's first option but there weren't many nights that he took a player like Johnson out on D. He made his steals, made huge plays, but he wasn't about just makin' a guy go away.

It's harder to jump on the Lakers bus than to show up in Houston and fire it up with no conscience. This is a balancing act. When the pieces find their perfect place, it's gonna be all good for all time.

I feel like its 2005 again, and I'm reading non stop posts by Zakee telling me that Smush sucks.

Zakee was right, and when Smush left, mysteriously and eerily similar to how Teniente left after Kwame, there was no more Zakee except a few posts and a token appearance every now and then.

Now we have our modern day Zakee, and I'm sure you can figure out who that is.

Look, Farmar disappointed me in the offseason with his comments. However, I'm still hopeful that the guy has the winners attitude - and I personally think *right now* we'd be better off with JF starting (that's not to say that my opinion won't change in 1 or 2, or 20 games) - he's far more active and productive than the old vet (as much as I love him).

It's 3 games in, the guy is active out there, but he does make mistakes. I'd rather him get his burn in now so that he's ready later on.

And Bynum? My biggest impression of him right now is how much he's worked on his footwork. He continues to look great physically, but his touch absolutely sucks right now. His rotations are off some, and the rebounding conundrum can be explained by more than just "not rebounding" or "not trying to rebound". There are other factors - but I will agree with you, I don't see how, in this world, he only gets 3 boards. Having said that, I'm not willing to come on here and tear the man down for no good reason. His footwork has shown me that he HAS worked on SOMETHING and it's very impressive. Keep up the good work Socks.

It's a long season - so enjoy every moment.

I replied to one of Ron's twitter updates, hopefully he reads it and comes on the blog!

"After describing how he found success defending Joe Johnson, Artest describes the process of switching onto JJ after Kobe began with that assignment."

---

Oh please.

"Success?" Where? When?

Sure, Artest got a couple of blocks -- when the game was ALREADY out of reach.

Otherwise, in the 3rd Q stretch where ATL went from 2 down, 64-66 (9:11), to 16-down, 70-86 (3:36) -- Johnson attempted exactly ZERO shots.

If you want to claim Artest executed "successful" deny-d against Johnson during that stretch, go ahead.

What we *saw* was an Atlanta team that simply imploded under the weight of bricks (Smith, Williams, Horford, Crawford, Evans), no-d (entire team), numerous unforced errors (Pachulia, Crawford, , Horford, Smith).

I replied to one of Ron's twitter updates, hopefully he reads it and comes on the blog! Posted by: Common Sense | November 02, 2009 at 09:23 AM

COMMON SENSE INDEED!! NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALLKING ABOUT!! KUDOS!!

Tom,

>>>Time to trade Jordan "Smush Parker" Farmar. Attach his expiring contract
>>>with Morrison. Acquire Hinrich.

Okay, instead of just treating this as another Farmar rant, let's actually look at the
merits of the idea and the possibility.

1. I have no reservations about trading off AmMo. He wasn't really part of the
rotation that won a championship last season, and they can do it again without
him this season.

2. Farmar was part of that championship rotation. He was far from great. In fact
he was rarely up to "good" level. But he did contribute. If you bring someone in
to replace him, you better be absolutely sure they can play at his level or better.

3. Hinrich is much better than Farmar. I don't think anyone would dispute that.
Hinrich's offense has been as spotty as Farmar's at times in his career, but he's
a consistently good defender, and is capable of defending 2-guards as well.

4. Hinrich is also better than Fish. Fish has been an amazing clutch playoff player
at times, but I think he'd be better at this point in his career coming off the bench
as a designated gun instead of chasing Deron Williams and Chris Paul around every night.

So from the Lakers' standpoint, that's a great trade.

BUT

Why on earth would Chicago do that deal?

The Bulls almost managed to beat the Celtics in the playoffs last summer and
they've shown some promise this year as well. Deng's healthy, Rose is a year
older and will improve, Joachim Noah's looking much better, and after a slow
start John Salmons is getting on track as well.

In the Summer, Utah offered the Bulls Carlos Boozer for Hinrch. Chicago tried
to turn it into a three way deal with Portland. They basically wanted to get Boozer
AND Jerryd Bayless while trading off Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas.

So if Chicago doesn't consider Boozer to be enough compensation for Hinrich,
why would they take Morrison and Farmar? It just doesn't add up.

So how COULD this deal actually turn into a stronger possibility?

1. Chicago has got to be losing a lot of games. If they have the 5th best record in
the East around the trading deadline, then no deal... they'll keep the team they have
and hope they can get a rematch with the Celtics. But if they're struggling to keep
in the hunt for the 8th seed, then the possibility of making an offer to DWade comes
into play.

2. Miami has to be losing a lot as well. If they've pushed past Atlanta for the 4
seed, then DWade might think it a better idea to stay put in Miami over the summer
and try to talk Bosh into moving to Miami. But if Miami is worse off than last season,
maybe DWade would consider moving back to his home town of Chicago.

------ sidebar -----
I think if DWade does leave Miami, then Chicago is the most likely destination.
It is his home town, and they have a much better core of a team than New York
or any of the other teams with cap space. They have a good core of Derrick Rose,
Joachim Noah, John Salmons, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson, and they could probably
manage to hang on to one or two of Brad Miller, Tyrus Thomas, and Jannero Pargo
in addition to adding Wade. This would take them from a team that's ALMOST
capable of beating Boston in a 7 game series to a team that's VERY capable.
--------------------------------------------

3. Something would have to happen to make Boozer unavailable. If it got to the
trade deadline and they could dump Hinrich for a productive player, then they'd
choose that first before a straight salary dump like Ammo and Farmar.

4. The Lakers would have to be doing worse. If the Lakers have the best record
in the west around the trade deadline, then Morrison's value as an expiring deal
is more valuable to them as cap space than as a trading chip for another big salary
player like Hinrich. If the Lakers have a worse record than San Antonio and Denver
or worse yet, if the Lakers are behind Phoenix in the Pacific Division, then yes,
Jerry Buss might okay an increase in future salary to upgrade the PG position
and right the ship.

-----


And that about sums it up. It would basically take ALL of those conditions to
happen for a Hinrich for Ammo + Farmar [+ whatever] deal to happen. It's not
impossible. But I honestly think that while Farmar isn't great, he and Fish and
Shannon Brown will be good enough to keep the Lakers on top of the West,
and that Buss & Kupchack will be content to run with the team that got them
rings last year. Including Farmar, Vujacic, and Walton.

----

Now if the Lakers could manage to pick up a less expensive PG (Mario Chalmers?
DJ Augustin? Ty Lawson?) or SG (Chris Douglas-Roberts? Courtney Lee?), or
one who's on an expiring contract (Earl Watson?) then you might see them do
that around the trade deadline to shore up the bench guard play.

Or more likely, Mitch will find some guard that's getting no PT for his team who
will come to the Lakers and absolutely shine (like the Ariza & Brown acquisitions
in the last 2 seasons).

I don't think you'll see the Lakers spend big bucks on a player like Hinrich unless
they take a big slide in the West, and I can't see that happening.

Long Time - great post!! Very insightful. Salaries have to match, and unless you include Odom or Bynum in a deal, I don't think anyone will budge. Hinrich is out. But, I might also add Chalmers isn't going anywhere - too cheap. Courtney Lee? NO WAY - he was the main ingredient in the Carter deal, and he is still cheap also. Finally, why in the world would Denver trade Ty Lawson to the lakers? Karl loves him, he is an NC product, and he is only a rookie, meaning Denver gets him cheap for the first 3 yrs. Can't comment on the other players you mentioned, but I think those four are out of bounds. Great comments, though!!

Rajon Rondo (who is WAY better than Farmar) 5 yrs 55 million - signed this morning......

I think that expiring contracts will be more valuable this season than previously, because
1) A lot of big name free agents next summer
2) The economic problems that teams are having means that there will be less money available, which means that some pretty good players will not be as expensive as in the past.

LTLF,
"Why on earth would Chicago do that deal?"

Duh - if the Lakers don't have an All-Star at every position, the rest of the league is obligated to do what they can to fix that.


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