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Caught in the Web: Gilbert Arenas & Javaris Crittenton have season-long suspensions, Lakers links

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After meeting with Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas on Wednesday, NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton without pay for the rest of the season for their involvement with having handguns present during a locker room dispute last month.

Lakers guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players Assn., told the Daily News' Elliott Teaford that he and association Executive Director Billy Hunter today "will have a chance to talk about it and decide what course of action should be taken."

The Washington Post's Michael Lee reports in the linked story at the top of this post, however, that Arenas was informed of his fate during that meeting and that he told the players association not to contest the decision. ESPN's Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan add that Arenas told Stern during the meeting that he deserved the season-long suspension.

The weapons were not registered in Washington, D.C., and the guns being present at the Verizon Center violated NBA rules. Just recently, Crittenton learned he will serve a year of probation after pleading guilty for a misdemeanor gun possession. Additionally, The Times' Mark Heisler says that the incident turned for the worse before the Wizards' game in Philadelphia on Jan. 5 when Arenas participated in a pregame skit with teammates pretending to shoot one another.

It's been said that this whole incident wasn't as serious as the New York Post initially reported, which said both players pointed guns at each other. Nonetheless, the incident yielded serious consequences for obvious reasons. Arenas' 50-game suspension is the NBA's third most severe suspension not involving drugs, behind Ron Artest's 86-game suspension for his role in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004 and Latrell Sprewell's choking of Warriors Coach P.J. Carlesimo in 1997 that ultimately resulted in a 68-game suspension. Meanwhile, Crittenton's 38-game suspension is the league's fourth highest. Before this incident, Stephen Jackson's seven-game suspension for his felony count for criminal reckless driving and firing seven shots near an Indianapolis strip club in 2006 counted as the league's longest suspension for a gun-related offense.

Barring further incident, Stern told reporters in a conference call that Arenas and Crittenton would be eligible to play next season without preconditions, but Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wonders which team would pick them up.

Nonetheless, Stern's decision has been largely praised as a tough but fair stance.

Lakers links (after the jump)

--Lakers Coach Phil Jackson didn't exactly endorse Lakers forward Pau Gasol and center Andrew Bynum for the All-Star Game. But that might be because he'd rather have his players rest up for the second half of the season.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin explained his reasons why he thinks Bynum should be part of the cast. Whether or not Bynum gets an All-Star nod, 710 ESPN's Steve Mason says people should stop picking on Bynum.

--And if Bynum doesn't get a nod? The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Jeff Eisenberg quotes Bynum as saying the reasons "would be more political than anything."

--Whether Bynum gets a spot in the All-Star game or not, there's one thing that's not debatable. The Indiana Pacers had no answer for Bynum's season-high performance.

--UPDATE 11:46 A.M.- The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports Gasol is on the All-Star roster, but Bynum isn't.

--The LA Times Fabulous Forum blog has a poll asking whether Bynum should be traded for Chris Bosh

--Kobe Bryant's clip against the Pacers of 29 points, 10 of 15 shooting, nine rebounds and seven assists,  marked the fourth consecutive game Mamba has embraced a distributing role and the second consecutive game he shot at least 50%. And just like there was a practical reason for his poor shooting (fractured right finger), there's also a practical reason for his resurgence. The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports Mamba changed the splint "from a soft, pliant type to a harder plastic that insulates the finger when it gets slapped in games."

--The attention on Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown largely centers around his ability to make SportsCenter with spectacular dunks. The highlight reels caught the eye of President Barack Obama, and Brown acknowledges that adds an extra layer of pressure for the NBA dunk contest.

--The fact that Lakers forward Ron Artest has struggled learning the triangle offense isn't surprising. But Jackson says his knowledge of the system is still lacking and acknowledges it shouldn't be taking this long.

--The second half of the Lakers' 118-96 victory featured a 24-point deficit, but there was no such thing as a comfortable lead in the first half. While Silver Screen and Roll said that served as the Lakers' practice time, the Daily News' Elliott Teaford says the team's poor first-half defense can't be an issue Sunday when the Lakers face Boston. Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen notices, however, the Lakers' vast improvement on defense this season.

--Jackson shared a theory with the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding on why President Obama invited Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to breakfast Tuesday over him, despite the fact he donated money to Obama's campaign: "Obama admires his game. He doesn't admire mine."

--It may have been just a simple pass. But it was a pass that led to Lamar Odom's three-pointer just before the first half ended. The Times' Broderick Turner noted that pass from Lakers backup guard Sasha Vujacic put a smile on his face because his small contribution made a difference.

--I will be doing a radio interview tonight at 7:30 on 830 KLAA to talk all things Lakers. I'll post the interview up tomorrow.

Tweet of the Day: "Sorry greg oden for that girl releasing those nekkid pictures of you in america!! I feel bad that this had to happen to a great BallPlayer." --RONARTESTCOM (Lakers forward Ron Artest on nude pictures of Portland center Greg Oden being posted online.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas, left, and Javaris Crittenton suspended for the rest of the season by NBA Commissioner David Stern on Wednesday for their roles in a "joke" that involved five handguns in the Wizards' dressing room. Credit: Michael Reynolds / EPA.

 
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MARK MEDINA, YOU FREAKING RULE!! This thread was...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!


LET'S GET GILBERT

Again: Morrison, Fisher,Vujacic and the Wizzards are doing it right now !!
Fish back in 30 days ... we have the same team !!!

It's the closest you can get to the GASOL for Kwame and Javaris !!!

Imagine Gilbert motivated and willing to prove that he is a great player , with Master Zen to control.


WEST ALL STAR RESERVES CONFIRMED:

Deron Williams
Chris Paul
Brandon Roy
Kevin Durant
Dirk Nowitzki
Pau Gasol
Zach Randolph

All star reserves revealed
http://tinyurl.com/yevcqnm

Congratulations Pau!!!

As far as AB, Kobefan has it right, right now we need Howard, not Amare out of AB. Let's see how he performs against the Celts, we saw how he didn't against the Cavs. I think I could score on the Knicks and Pacers, ha, ha. Bet PJ wishes that Pau hadn't made it, wants him to rest up.

Mamba 24 - Thanks for the love man. Glad that you liked it

MM

This might get me the wrath of the Bynum is better than Kobe Bryant community but heck this is the same reason why Bynum doesn't deserve to be in the All-Star Game.

Bynum about possibly not making it (which he didn't):

"Hopefully I did, but [today] we all find out," Bynum said. "I think if I didn't make it, I think it would be political more so than anything and that's just something I'll have to deal with."

This is the issue I have with what Bynum said. It's almost like he was making an excuse just in case he didn't make it. Which it looks like he didn't anyways.

I would have much rather him say something along the lines of, "If I don't make it, it means I haven't been playing good enough. But I will continue to work hard and prove to everyone that I am an all-star."

I don't want to hear excuses Andrew. Step up your play against a quality team not put up good numbers against Troy Murphy.

He went 23 consecutive games without a double-double and his defense has lagged at times.

That is why you aren't an ALL-STAR much less an MVP.


EAST ALL STAR RESERVES CONFIRMED:

Rajon Rondo
Derrick Rose
Joe Johnson
Paul Pierce
Gerald Wallace
Chris Bosh
Al Hortford

KB Blitz

You have it exactly correct on AB! Don't we all want that we had that frame and ability. I'm telling you I would be bowling players over on a regular basis (kinda like Shaq in his younger days, well, perhaps now as well, ha, ha) and I would not only be blocking shots into the rafters, but the shot attempter as well, ha, ah (actually I would be more of a Russell and g block and grab the shot!)! I can dream, can't I?

@ LongTimeLakerFan, (no problem but it's really MMs link) yeah the Detroit line was pretty funny. I also liked the one about Orlando's chart:

"VINCE CARTER IS THE ROOT OF ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD"

KB Blitz,

Drews political comment was directly to Amare (a Power Forward) making the All Star team as a starting Center.

I don't have a problem with his statement.

The Clippers, who defeated the Lakers and Celtics and lost to the Cavaliers by only one point, get by beaten by 16 points by the Nets, who were playing without Devin Harris and Courtney Lee. Go figure...

AXL ROSE,

While I do like Gilbert Arenas' game, I can't imagine the Lakers picking him up.

First of all, he makes a ton of money. If you add that to what the Lakers would be paying Kobe, Pau, Lamar, Andrew, Ron, and Luke over the next three seasons, they'd be in luxury tax territory with just those 7 players.

What's more, Arenas is a decent offensive player, but only with the ball in his hands much of the time. If you add him to the Lakers and put him below Kobe and Pau (and ahead of Bynum), then his stats are going to be way down.

Arenas is a volume shooter. He's a career 42% shooter, 36% from the 3-point line. From a statistical standpoint, Jordan Farmar is a better shooter than Arenas. If you let Jordan play 37 minutes a game and shoot at will, he'd have comparable offensive stats to Agent Zero.

And more importantly, Arenas is one of the worst defenders in the league. Much as we like to complain about Fisher and Farmar, Arenas is worse.

The one place where Arenas exceeds the Lakers current PGs is in clutchness. But considering how Farmar has performed in some recent fourth quarters - getting and extending leads - I'm not so sure Gil's even better than Jordy at that.

So why pay 20 million per for someone who's not much better (and possibly worse) than your backup PG?

If the Lakers want an improvement at PG, they could have it for less than half of that. If they want to improve the defensive play of their PG, then someone like Kirk Hinirch is probably obtainable for a lot less money. And Hinrich is a career 38% 3-point shooter, which is the most important facet of the PG position in the triangle.

Or if the Lakers fear that their offense needs more potency, they could probably (this one isn't as certain) work out a trade to get Jose Calderon. He's a career 50% shooter overall and 39% on 3-pointers, and he's a much better passer than Arenas, Hinrich, or any of the Lakers PGs.

Note that I don't think the Lakers will do any of those things. I think with the team as it stands right now, the Lakers are probably still the favorites to win the Championship. Cleveland is closer than they have been in the past, except for two things:
1. there's no guarantee they'll get past Boston or Atlanta or Orlando
2. there's a big difference between an individual game during the regular season and a 7 game series.

Barring an injury to one of their PGs, I think the Lakers will stand pat, and if they do go for a trade, either Hinrich or Calderon would be a MUCH better choice than Arenas (who wouldn't be able to play this season anyway).

The only way I could see the Lakers picking up Arenas is if Washington cancels his contract and the Lakers offer him the MLE during the summer and he takes it to play on a championship team. Baring that, I don't think you'll ever see Agent Zero in purple and gold.

Interesting read by John Hollinger today, ranking the greatest Lakers of all time. I pretty much agree with his rankings, although I know a lot of you will take issue with Shaq's placement. It's pretty telling how incredible a franchise is when the 6th player on the list is easily one of the top 25 players of all time.

Anyway, since I know a lot of people don't have an Insider subscription, I'm happy to provide the content here :)

...

OK, everyone -- it's time for something different. Much of my writing to date has focused on leaguewide issues, but today I want to tackle a franchise-level question. And when it comes to franchises, none can rival the recent history of the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Celtics dominated the '60s, the Lakers have been the league's marquee team ever since. With L.A. entrenched atop the Western Conference, its string of dominance shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

They've also employed an unusual number of superstars over the years. Any list of the game's 20 greatest players has to include at least seven Lakers, all of whom require just one name (Magic, Kobe, Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Elgin and The Logo).

Which brings up the obvious question: Which ones are the greatest? Now that Kobe Bryant is about to pass Jerry West for the most points in Lakers history, I'm not the only person looking at that issue. The Kamenetzky brothers have been addressing the G.L.O.A.T. question in their ESPNLosAngeles.com blog, and had me project Kobe Bryant's career numbers as part of the exercise.

It's a far more interesting question than for many other franchises. For some, the answer is so obvious that this exercise would seem pointless -- is there any debate at all about the greatest Milwaukee Buck, Minnesota Timberwolf or Cleveland Cavalier? -- while for others the history is too brief. (Anyone up for a greatest-Bobcat debate?)

For L.A., however, we can compare several all-time greats, and you can make a strong case for at least five players to rank at the top. So today, we're going to tackle the 10 greatest Lakers of all time, starting from the bottom and working our way up.

Here are the ground rules: First, we're counting only the time spent as a Laker. So Bob McAdoo gets no credit for winning those scoring titles in Buffalo, for instance. Second, we're counting only the Los Angeles years, not the time the franchise was based in Minneapolis (apologies to George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen and Jim Pollard). And third, duration matters -- a longer tenure is generally better than a short one.

Without further ado, here's one man's G.L.O.A.T. list:



Gasol
10. Pau Gasol (2008-present)
Gasol has played only two-and-a-half seasons in purple and gold, but his arrival immediately heralded a new era of Lakers dominance. He's already helped L.A. to two conference titles and one championship, and he seems poised to add at least another conference title to his résumé.

Depending on how long he stays in town, Gasol's elite-level production could eventually see him rise to the seventh position on this list. His past two seasons are better than two of the three players immediately ahead of him, but he hasn't yet done it for long enough.



Goodrich
9. Gail Goodrich (1965-68, 1970-76)
Goodrich played much of his career during a lull in the Lakers' dominance, was shunted off to Phoenix for two seasons during his prime and spent his final seasons toiling in anonymity for the New Orleans Jazz after signing as a free agent. Because of that, he may be the rarest of rarities -- an underrated Laker.

(And his move to New Orleans also boosted his "value" to the Lakers, in that L.A. received three draft picks as compensation -- under the free agency rules at the time -- and one of them became the top pick in the 1979 draft, Magic Johnson.)

Goodrich was good enough at his peak to lead a 69-win team in scoring. Less renowned is his performance in 1973-74, in between the West-Wilt era and the Kareem era. Goodrich led L.A. to 47 wins, averaging 25.3 points a game, and earned his only first-team All-NBA honors for his efforts.

He made four straight All-Star teams from 1972 to '75 and had solid playoff numbers throughout. He might have a tougher time in today's era, since he was basically a 6-1 shooting guard, but his résumé is tough to ignore.



Chamberlain
8. Wilt Chamberlain (1968-73)
Chamberlain outranks Goodrich despite the brevity of his L.A. career (five seasons, one of which lasted only 12 games) for one simple reason: He was the centerpiece on one of the greatest teams ever. Chamberlain's 1971-72 Lakers won a record 33 consecutive games and set a then-record with 69 total wins en route to winning the franchise's first title in California.

Chamberlain hardly scored for that team, but he led the league in rebounding and field-goal percentage while captaining the defense, letting Goodrich and West do all the damage offensively. His other Lakers years weren't as impressive, but he still led the league in rebounding four times and shooting percentage three times.



Worthy
7. James Worthy (1982-1994)
Worthy's regular-season output was, quite frankly, well short of Hall of Fame quality. The reason he waltzed into Springfield, Mass., so easily was his outsized playoff numbers, including three straight postseasons with a 20-plus PER and the Finals MVP award in 1988. Worthy is one of the rare performers with a career playoff PER better than his regular-season rating, making his "Big Game James" moniker richly deserved. For his playoff career, he averaged 21.1 points and shot 54.4 percent -- far better than his regular-season output of 19.6 points and 52.1 percent.

That said, the gap between Worthy and the first six spots on this list is enormous. Worthy was never named first- or second-team All-NBA, but every player ahead of him had at least six first-team selections as a Laker.



Baylor
6. Elgin Baylor (1960-1972)
Here's where the hair-splitting gets intense.

We had to ditch Baylor's first two seasons, which came in Minneapolis, but those seasons wouldn't have affected his ranking. The strong points in his L.A. résumé are eight first-team All-NBA selections and five top-5 MVP finishes. Those accomplishments alone would make him the greatest player for at least half of the NBA's franchises.

In L.A, the bar is a few miles higher. Baylor's case is hurt by the lack of a playoff MVP or regular-season MVP and, more glaringly, the lack of a championship. Additionally, his peak years don't quite measure up to those of Shaq, Kareem and Magic, and he falls a bit short of Kobe and Jerry West on staying power and defensive contributions. He's one of the greatest players ever. But on this list, he's sixth.



West
5. Jerry West (1960-1974)
The Logo was gifted enough to shift to point guard in his 30s, lead the league in assists, and help the Lakers win 69 games and a title in 1971-72 … two seasons after he led the league in scoring. He was gritty enough to make five all-defense teams and earn 10 first-team All-NBA selections and two second-teams. He also came up huge in the playoffs, averaging more than 30 points in six straight postseasons and winning the 1969 Finals MVP award despite playing for the losing side (the only time that's ever happened).

So why's he only fifth? For two reasons. First, he wasn't especially durable -- he played fewer than 70 games in seven seasons and missed all but one minute of the 1967 postseason. Second and more important, his peak years were the least impressive of anyone's in the top 6. West had about 15 straight years where he was really, really good, but in none of them could you have said he was the league's best player. He never won the MVP award but landed in the top 5 of the voting eight times.



Abdul-Jabbar
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1976-1988)
You could make a convincing case that Kareem is the third-best player of all time, behind Jordan and Chamberlain, so the fact that he comes in fourth on the Lakers' list is a pretty strong statement about the star power that has passed through L.A. over the past half century.

Abdul-Jabbar had his best years in Milwaukee, but he was no slouch in the Forum either. In L.A., he won three MVP awards and one Finals MVP and had nine top-5 finishes in the MVP voting. Kareem also won five championship rings and made 13 All-Star teams as a Laker.

You could make a strong case that Kareem should be No. 1 based on the above, but the reason he drops to fourth on my list is his playoff performances. Abdul-Jabbar's postseason numbers weren't as strong as his regular-season output, which is perfectly normal (the competition is tougher in the postseason), but fall short in this group of playoff overachievers. Additionally, his peak years weren't as good as those of another dominant big man -- the next player on our list.



O'Neal
3. Shaquille O'Neal (1996-2004)
Shaq has a legitimate case for No. 1 for one simple reason: At his peak, no Laker has ever been better. Not only did he post three straight seasons with a 30-plus PER -- something no other Laker has done, nor any other player in history save Michael Jordan -- but he capped them with equally monstrous playoff efforts. O'Neal won only one MVP award in that time, but that was a travesty that says more about our own David-versus-Goliath voting tendencies than it does about how he played. However, the Lakers won three consecutive titles with him in the middle, and during that time he was as dominant as any player in history.

But his tenure was too brief to put him No. 1. He played only eight seasons in L.A., he feuded with Bryant at the end, and he wasn't durable, playing more than 70 games only twice and missing a total of 110 in his time in L.A. Shaq was amazing, but you couldn't count on him the way you could the top two players.



Bryant
2. Kobe Bryant (1996-present)
Bryant might be the most divisive player in NBA history -- love him or hate him, virtually everyone has an opinion on him. Those opinions have become markedly more positive over the past two seasons, as L.A.'s success and his own increasing maturity have combined to greatly rehabilitate his reputation. Additionally, Bryant finally became the main man on a championship team (a key line previously missing from his G.L.O.A.T. résumé), and in 2008, he won his first MVP award.

Bryant has all the nuts and bolts to earn a high ranking -- a dozen All-Star selections, seven All-NBA first-teams, nine all-defense honors, and four championship rings. What's missing, oddly enough, is peak value. It's strange because at times, Bryant at his best has been as good as any player in history -- witness his 81-point explosion, for example, or his string of nine successive 40-point games.

But when you start comparing entire seasons, he has only one with a PER above 27, which is a pretty flimsy record compared to the other elites in the top 6. And while his playoff numbers are strong, they aren't any better than his regular-season output -- again, a stat line that's impressive among mere mortals but pales in this company.

That's enough to keep him out of the top spot, although an early start combined with a career spent entirely in a Lakers uniform should allow him to own many of the franchise's records by the time he's done.



Johnson
1. Magic Johnson (1979-91, 1996)
I've looked at players based on various criteria: peak value, durability, playoff performance and longevity. On those factors, Magic has the whole package, and only an early exit due to his contracting HIV prevents this from being a rout.

Peak value? Magic won three MVP awards, had nine top-5 finishes and had five seasons with a PER of least 25. Durability? Before the HIV diagnosis, Magic had only one significant injury in a dozen seasons. Playoff performance? Magic had one of the greatest games of all time as a rookie, leading the Lakers to a championship while playing center in place of an injured Kareem; plus, he won the Finals MVP award three times and led L.A. to five titles.

Despite his early exit, Magic also grades out well in the "quantity" items. He made nine first-team All-NBA squads; only West, with 10, has more, and Kobe is still on seven. Magic had nine top-5 MVP finishes, matched only by Kareem; Kobe, again, has just seven. In addition to Magic's five years with a PER greater than 25, he played 13 season with a PER greater than 20; only Shaq and Kareem beat the former number, and only West tops the latter.

By the way, Josh Smith not being named to the All-Star team is a travesty. Probably should have taken Rose's spot, or even his own teammate's (JJ).

Hollinger is a tool, West all the way down to 5? Not.

Guys a new post will be up shortly. Per usual, I'll gladly approve any posts you want to have reposted on the next thread.
MM

I'm a bit surprised that nobody's commented about Javaris in this thread. I remember when there were such high hopes for him here, before he got traded as part of the Pau deal. I'm not at all sugarcoating what happened, pulling out a gun was definitely not cool. But, I feel a lot worse for him than Arenas. Gilbert seemed to be the force behind the conflict and he can much better afford the suspension without pay. Gilbert was making 16m a year, Javaris was making 1.4. Certainly not chump change but this was a contract year for the kid and getting PT was crucial to his hopes for next season.

Mamba24 and his roll call is like a soap opera without the cliff hanger. BORING. Like many of the bloggers here who think their SDS, I guess you need to stick together for that reinforcement or support when your attacking the viewpoints of others whom you don't agree with.
Hey I'm Mamba 24 "ooh that was simply outstandingly hilarious, LMAO"

^^^^Washington wants to get rid of him asap , and we can offer Sasha 5M, Morrison 5,3M and Fisher 5M and get him.^^^^

Trading for Arenas?
Now that's thinking outside the box, and it just might work. Gilbert can get his shot off any time (similar to Kobe) but has better than average ball handling and passing skills.
A trade also works with Sasha. Luke, and Adam; and works with Luke; Fish and Adam.
Still not sold on AB, but he's made some strides lately, albeit against inferior competition. It still bothers me that his defense is weak and he can't seem to get off the floor.
Bynum is one of the few players who can literally be 3 feet from the basket and still not get off the floor to dunk the ball.
His lack of athleticism is obvious.

Mark G -

No need to get cranky. Hollinger basically said the 1-5 spots were so close they were basically interchangeable. I'm assuming you'd move West up and Jabbar and Shaq down. Many Lakers fans have a revisionist history regarding Shaq because of his sour exit, but were he still a Laker today, I have a feeling that tone would be far different. His exit doesn't change the unbelievable player he was while here.

Mark G,

>>>Hollinger is a tool, West all the way down to 5? Not.

So who is West better than?

Kareem?

Shaq?

Kobe?

Surely you don't think West was better than Magic?

@ LongTimeLakerFan, you're going to make me decide, eh? I like it better just taking pot shots at Hollinger.
For me it's Magic/West or West/Magic for number 1. I have no beef when people put Magic #1. But West absolutely bled Purple and Gold, and suffered for this team more than any other player. The idea that he's the only player to named finals MVP on the losing team, tells you about the respect he had. Maybe tool was a little hyperbolic, Hollinger tends to annoy me.
No direspect towards you puddle, I was strictly aiming at Hollinger.


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