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Co-dependency between Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol is integral to Lakers' success

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Once the buzzer sounded, Lakers center Andrew Bynum immediately knew who to meet. The Lakers had just clinched the 2010 NBA championship with their Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics, and Bynum raced toward center court to meet Pau Gasol. Bynum's arms securely locked around Gasol, who appeared to let out a roar.

It was a scene, as shown in the photo above, that reflected the Lakers' pure joy after securing their second consecutive championship and rectifying their 2008 Finals loss to Boston. But the scene also illustrated the improved relationship between the Lakers' two big men, which largely helped the team to another title run. For Bynum, the scene also resembled something he'd do throughout the 2009-10 season when he'd huddle up with Gasol.

"I was trying to keep him inspired," Bynum said. "He doesn't need it. He's a great player. I would tell him to grab as many rebounds as he can."

Before, it seemed like Bynum almost dreaded playing with Gasol because it usually resulted in Bynum taking a back seat. After averaging more than 20 points and 12 rebounds during Gasol's 11-game absence due to a right hamstring injury at the beginning of the season, Bynum entered Christmas averaging only 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. And when Gasol missed six games in mid-January because of a left hamstring injury, Bynum averaged four double-doubles. Fast forward to the end of the season, and you have both players equally acknowledging the other helped complement their game.

"It helps because he's a big presence and he's a guy that can be very effective down low," Gasol said of Bynum, who averaged a career-high 15 points in the 2009-10 season. "He attracts a defender with him so he adds up a lot of space and size. He makes it easy when he's out there with the spacing. We played well together. I think we can still develop more to both of our games together when we're out there."

There are going to be plenty of reports suggesting that Bynum is going to be on the trading block with free agency approaching. It's a subject that sparked little reaction from the young center, who said, "I don't even care about the trade rumors. I love the game so I'll play anywhere. I know it's a cliche, but that's the truth. Hopefully I'll be here for a long time." The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner also quoted a source familiar with the thinking of the Lakers' front office who says the Bynum trade rumors are "ridiculous." Nonetheless, some believe because of Bynum's injury history, including a sore right knee that kept him limited throughout the playoffs, he should be on the trading block.

It's a misconceived notion for several reasons. Part of the reason why fans questioned Bynum's hunger for the game points to his slow rehabilitation process and poor attitude when he missed 46 games in the 2007-08 season, including the entire postseason because of a left knee injury, as well as sitting out 32 games last season because of a right knee injury. This season, he played through the torn cartilage in his right knee and earned universal respect within the locker room. In years past, the Lakers easily absorbed Bynum's absence. This season, the Lakers went 6-7 when Bynum missed the final 13 games of the regular season because of an Achilles' tendon problem. Bynum's presence helped Gasol thrive on the high- and mid-range jumper. Gasol's presence allowed Bynum to camp inside for easy put-backs and lobs.

Moving forward, Bynum's eager to take pointers from Gasol. vowing to replicate Gasol's counter with his left hook. As Gasol's two hamstring injuries prompted him to sit out this off-season with the Spanish national team, Bynum is also looking at different ways at managing his body, including working more on core strength so he can better tolerate contact.

"We had a tendency before to do a lot of isolation style of basketball," Bynum said. "But when we're moving the ball, I think the high-low has been very effective. He's throwing me countless lobs. When he dunks on the weak side, I catch him on the high post and he's my first look ducking on the weakside. Defensively, it creates havoc for teams."

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum embrace in the middle of the Lakers' celebration on the Staples Center court following an 83-79 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times.

 
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IS FARMAR GONE OR NOT?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I would expect the Lakers to offer Jordan Farmar a $2.8M qualifying offer today to make him a restricted free agent. I doubt the Lakers would match any offer for an amount greater than that but if it turned out that Jordan did NOT get any offers over that, the Lakers would then be able to keep him for another year at $2.8M, which would be a bargain and better than bringing in Steve Blake or some other journeyman point guard. In my opinion, that would be the Lakers best option at point guard. It will be interesting to see what they do.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

DREW AND PAU – THE BEST 5/4 COMBON IN THE NBA !!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While there must be concern about Drew’s ability to remain healthy, there is no denying that Drew and Pau make up the best 5/4 combo in the league. When teams talk about the Lakers “length,” it’s Drew and Pau that they are talking about. Excellent article, MM, especially the part where Bresnahan and Turner reported that the Lakers front office thinks that the Bynum trade rumors are “ridiculous.” Could not agree more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

"We had a tendency before to do a lot of isolation style of basketball," Bynum said. "But when we're moving the ball, I think the high-low has been very effective. He's throwing me countless lobs. When he dunks on the weak side, I catch him on the high post and he's my first look ducking on the weakside. Defensively, it creates havoc for teams."

ADDING TO BYNUM'S COMMENT:

Isolastion plays, gime the ball and moove out my way, I recall in the All star game when Kobe tried to do that to Mailman, and got an earful from Mailman?

If my memory serves me right, every player on Lakers team after loss has ALLUDED loss DUE TO "lack of ball movement", where the ball has a tendency to go into black hole, wonder who da black hole, the abyss.

Bynum is indeed a keeper, Chris Bosh just does not fit with this team, period. I am hoping next year will be the year that Bynum will play injury free.

TORONTO TRADES BOSH TO MIAMI FOR ANTHONY, BEASLEY, AND CHALMERS
by HoopsVibe NewsJun 30th, 2010
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba-news-and-rumors/articles/103206-report-toronto-trades-bosh-to-miami-for-anthony-beasley-and-chalmers-
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ESPN's NBA contributor Dan LeBatard reports that the Raptors are poised to complete a sign-and-trade deal with Miami that would see Bosh go to the Heat for power forward Michael Beasley, point guard Mario Chalmers and forward Joel Anthony.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Laker Tom - Appreciate the love. I've really been impressed with Bynum's maturity this year. His career is far from over and no one knows for sure how it will pan out. But I honestly think people will look back at his 2009-10 season and see it as a turning point for the better.

MM

>>>If my memory serves me right, every player on Lakers team after loss has
>>>ALLUDED loss DUE TO "lack of ball movement", where the ball has a
>>>tendency to go into black hole, wonder who da black hole, the abyss.

Stop being lame. Every time Kobe has gone out of his way to pass as much as possible the Lakers generally lose and the same hater a$$es like yourself complain that Kobe is tanking the game.

So spew all the bile you want. Without Kobe taking the most shots, this team would have 0 championships in the last 3 years. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. NOTHING. ZIP. SQUAT. BUPKISS.

Seriously, if you really can't stand Kobe so much, then change your allegiance to another team until he retires. Go cheer for Steve "pass first and never made it to the finals" Nash. Personally, I WANT the best player in basketball on my team and taking the lion's share of the shots. If you don't, then take a hike.

Consider this. Steve Nash shoots an extremely high percentage. The Suns, tied 2-2, only lost game 5 by 2 points. In that game, Robin Lopez was 0-3, Jason Richardson was 5-12, Channing Frye was 4-10, Goran Tragic was 1-5, and Leandro Barbosa was 0-2. If Nash had passed to those guys less and shot more himself (Nash was 12-20, an excellent 60% shooting), then Phoenix likely would have won. I'm sure Butler would confirm this as gospel fact.

But because Nash is such a "generous and sharing" player, his team lost.

Kobe took 27 shots in that game. But he also got 9 assists (to 11 assists for Nash).

So go ahead. You feel free to congratulate Steve Nash for being a great "team player". I'll continue to vilify him for CAUSING HIS TEAM TO LOSE THE GAME AND THE SERIES BY NOT SHOOTING ENOUGH. LOSER.

Kobe - shoot the ball. Thank you.

>>>TORONTO TRADES BOSH TO MIAMI FOR ANTHONY, BEASLEY, AND
>>>CHALMERS

Wow. If that's true (and not Dewey Beats Truman), then that certainly points toward the story of Wade, Bosh, and LeBron joining up in Miami to be true.

Even if LeBron doesn't join them, they'd have enough cap space to sign Amare or Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay or one of the other big names.

LT,

Thanks for the news on Bosh.

Finally, an end to the Bosh/Bynum debate.

Good riddance.

The quicker Bosh goes someplace other than the Lakers, the better. We can move on to re-signing Phil, Fisher and hopefully Blake and Battie.
I could care less about individual stats. This team wins and that's what counts. LO, Fish, AB blend in perfectly with this team. Chemistry is much more important than stats.

Buss cutting costs?

Maybe because-

While it hasn't been much in the news lately, it has been said there is a distinct possibility of a lockout and a shortened season.

A shortened season would certainly put a big dent in all the teams profits.

Maybe Buss see's a lockout coming or is taking a just in case approach.

This might explain an attempt to dump LO's salary, not use the MLE, put the 2 new draft picks on the roster, etc.

Pay Phil 12 mill for a shortened season?

Can always retool after next years contract is in place?

LongTimeLakerFan:

I follow the Lakers team and not one specific player, to me Lakers team is a sum total of group of players and not one player. I have watched many great Lakers come and go before Kobe, and like his predecessors Kobe too will retire and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I will continue to watch Bynum become the corner stone of this Lakers franchise. So goes the saga of a Lakers fan

Just because I commented on Kobe's weakness does not make me a lesser fan of Kobe, I am a fan of Kobe, not a fan of a ball hog, and I do enjoy watching his game when he plays within the confinements of team spirit, isn’t BB a team sport? I am not suggesting anything new here, only stating the obvious. So don’t let the emotions and your deep love for Kobe spoil your day. Just think outside the box sometimes.

Art - FL Laker Fan - I think there's also a thinking that because of the luxury tax implications (the Lakers are currently about $21 million over), Buss is assessing what I can I afford to lose without losing our position to repeat. I'm actually surprised Phil is even part of the equation because he's a huge monumental piece to the team winning the title. But there's always the believing that players win titles, coaches don't. But I think it takes a leader to set the tone. To say that maybe the players can carry that philosophy over when he's gone is misguided because you always need someone to push you. Plus, the new coach would inevitably have a different philosophy and would create a situation where the players are resistant to change.

MM

Has anyone ever thought about restricting Bynum's minutes each game? It's clear he's injury prone and the chances of him suffering another injury this season is high if he continues to play 28-30 mins a game. If the Lakers acquire a legitimate back-up center to decrease Bynum's mins per game, it will decrease the likelihood of Bynum putting any strain on his knees/legs and provide the Lakers with a healthy Bynum throughout the regular/post season.

Art:
I think the fear of a shortened season or a lockout is for 2011-12 when the players union/owners contract expires, not for next season.

MM and Laker Tom - Bynumite is a keeper...all the trade talks are just people bored...

I posted a few days ago, Stephen A. Smith reported that 95% done deal, James and Bosh will play with Wade in Miami...

I think if we get Miller and Korver, our bench would be fine, and of course one of the 2 draft picks at forward pans out...

Bring PJ back for one more year...give him his present 12 mil...or cut it to 9-10 mil with HUGE incentives to win another title, to total 15mil if we win the title....

To the Lakers ownership:

We are all feeling this crunch in the economy...
I have read numerous article, that the team's bottom line, or net is not as much as it should be...Something like 25 mil instead of 35 mil...

Well welcome to reality...I'm a REALTOR here in Las Vegas...

We were the number one city during the boom, and of course we are the number one in foreclosures now after the crash...

I work 10 times harder and get compensated 1/4 of what I use to make...I tell my clients and people in the industry, "I used to be a high price call girl, now I'm just a corner 'ho'...lol

My point is:

Every institution is feeling the weigh of our economy...Bottom lines are not going to be where they were once before...

Dr. Buss and family...Don't be greedy...

At least your franchise is still in the black big time...How much did the Clippers net last year...the Nets, Knicks, Kings, Blazers, and even the Cavs...

The city has been spoiled by the Lakers, but the support your fans give you also gives you your bottom line...

You have always been great at fielding the best team possible, with bottom lines not the top of the priority list...

Please stay the high price call girl that you are...Don't become a corner 'ho' like the rest of us...

The quicker Bosh goes someplace other than the Lakers, the better. We can move on to re-signing Phil, Fisher and hopefully Blake and Battie.
I could care less about individual stats. This team wins and that's what counts. LO, Fish, AB blend in perfectly with this team. Chemistry is much more important than stats.

Posted by: rdlee | June 30, 2010 at 01:16 PM

---------------------

My nomination for POST OF THE DAY...

Dr. Buss and family...Don't be greedy...

RESPONSE:

Now that is a comment just shot from the rear, to a owner who already leads the pack in being the mosy expensive franchise i.e. over the salary cap, a owner who pays the max to a coach in history of the NBA. I would think Dr. Buss is the most generous owner, besides which owner would consider giving 5% of the owner ship to a player to show his love and gratitude to a player (Magic)..

Yeah, keep posting them golden nuggets!!

@ FAN -

Read the whole post and don't just take one sentence to formulate your conclusion, or try to miss represent point...

Most is spelled this way...

And your Kobe ball hog tirades is old and boring...

Look at your Golden Nuggets before you post about someone else...

Yes Dr. Buss is a very generous owner, and has the biggest payroll...

Your point???

He has gotten his return from his players being in the finals 3 years in a row...with a back to back championship...

LEWSTRS,

>>>I have read numerous article, that the team's bottom line, or net is not as
>>>much as it should be...Something like 25 mil instead of 35 mil...

You've got the numbers slightly off.

For the 2008-09 season, the Lakers reportedly made 40 to 45 million dollars. For the 2009-10 season, it was only 15 to 20 million.

You may view this as "WOW! THEY MADE 20 MILLION!!!!". But Buss likely views this as "CRAP!!!! WE LOST 20 MLLION FROM WHAT WE MADE LAST SEASON!!!"

It's all about perspective.

Art:
I think the fear of a shortened season or a lockout is for 2011-12 when the players union/owners contract expires, not for next season.
Posted by: rdlee | June 30, 2010 at 01:38 PM
===========

rdlee,

Thanks for the clarification, you are absolutely right, the contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.

MM,

Agree completely with your comments on the value of the continuity of keeping PJ.

LEWSTRS,

>>>Dr. Buss and family...Don't be greedy...

And here's another misunderstanding by you.

So you aren't making as much as a real estate agent. What if I told you that if you kept things in your job exactly as they were, and if things went well, then you'd make the same amount you made this year. But if things didn't go absolutely perfectly, then you'd have to work a full year and you'd have to pay the company some money.

Would you keep your job and take that risk?

That's what the Buss family is risking. So let's say they made 20 million (optimistic projection) last year. But part of that was based on playing 12 home playoff games, on which they made about 2 million pure profit each.

So let's start with the locked in money. Last season, the Lakers paid out 91 million in salaries. Right now (assuming Shannon does opt out as reports say), they're already locked in for 81.7 million in contracts just for Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom, Artest, Vujacic, and Walton. They're required by the league to have at least 13 players on their roster and the bare minimum they could pay anyone would be half a million.

So let's say that Phil agrees to come back, but ONLY if they keep paying him 12 million. And let's say Fisher wants to keep making 5 million and Shannon wants 3 million per and Jordan wants 4 million. That would bring back all of the core players. But that would be 10 players for 93.7 million dollars. The cheapest they could go for the remaining 3 spots would be about 1/2 million each. So now you're talking about something like 95 million.

That's what it would take to "not be greedy" by your account.

But 4 million additional salary over what they paid last year plus 4 million luxury tax (assuming the tax line doesn't GO DOWN), that's at least 8 million more of the profit gone.

So you're still thinking, "COOL!!! We can win a championship and the Buss Family could still make 12 million!"

But what if Kobe breaks his leg and the Lakers lose in the first round? Then maybe they play 3 home playoff games instead of 12. That's 18 million lost revenues. In that situation, they would LOSE 6 million dollars. Even if they made it to the second round and lost, they could lose money.

Now also take into account that Buss isn't a billionaire. This is not some Dolan or Cuban who has BILLIONS to spare. Most of the Buss Family's wealth is tied up in the Lakers. If the Lakers lose millions, THEY lose millions.

So it's not a matter of being "greedy" at all. It's a matter of being fiscally sound. The reason they want to reduce Phil's salary is to make up for all the other salaries (Kobe, Pau, etc) that are going up. And the reason they don't want to over-pay Shannon Brown is the same reason.

I think if Buss could keep it about the same level of risk, he'd go for it. But since Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom, Artest, Vujacic and Walton are all paid MORE than they were last season, that means somebody has to make LESS.

Art -

Thanks for clarifying the numbers...

My point is everyone's bottom line is effected...

I got 1099 325K in 2005...
2009 80K...

Ratio wise the Lakers are doing alot better...lol

Didn't Dr. Buss build his fortune in real estate? We all know how that's doing. Sure, championships bring in money and appreciate the value of the franchise, but those luxury tax dollars are coming out of Dr. Buss' pocket, not mine.

Championships and repeats are full of 'ifs.' Mainly as in players staying healthy and absence of some other team emerging at a higher level due to added pieces, maturation and team 'gel.'

The Lakes are positioned for several years if Bynum can get stronger and stay healthy ... and even more so if he continues to improve as I expect. But, absent Phil, I think it would take at least a year, if not two, for another coach to 'get it right.' No Phil, no repeat.

The Lakes lack a consistent 'step on their neck till they stop breathin' mentality. I think L O is the number one reason. I like the 'Candyman' as a person, but in the end I think his 'flakiness' and erraticism outweighs his intermittent brilliance.

The two offensive pieces the Lakes are missing are a 'drop dead outside shotter' and Pau learning to make the quick, early mid-range jump shot to stop the other teams defenses from sagging.

I'd agree that making Famar a restricted free agent would be the way to go. I think his feelings were hurt that he didn't get the offer before ... but then, absent a ring, the Laker management would have been doing some serious deconstruction.

I'd like to see L O's money leveraged into a Mike Miller or Kyle Korver ... the bigs in the middle could well offset either of their defensive limitations ... and Kurt Thomas, a great guy with hear that would respect the ring enough to take less money on the twilight of his career.

@LongTimeLakerFan ...

Great breakdown. Now isn't this where we ask Kobe, Pau and Drew how bad they want to be champions and whether 'a la Magic,' they are willing to give back some of their salary to keep Phil and Fish?

I do not understand why people even talk about the trade possible of Andrew Bynum. Hello did the Lakers just won a championship with Bynum in the middle. He had few injuries here and there, but do not forget the 2008 without Bynum. Bynum might not has the offensive games that many people would like him to have this year with the injury he has, but I thought he made a different on the defensive end and did not allow Perkin to look like a superstar like 2008.

LTLF,

First of all, I agree with almost all your posts and really respect your thoughts.

But I take issue with your comments on the Lakers financial situation and the need to conserve funds.

Regarding your comments on the wealth of Buss and he not being worth billions like Cuban, that's true.

However, the Lakers are valued at around $600 million.

Buss' net worth is in the $380 mill range.

In 2008 Buss donated 7.5 mill to USC.
Donated, gave it away.

There is more historical income info here:

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/32/biz_07nba_Los-Angeles-Lakers_320250.html

Don't forget all the years the team made $10-$40 mill in profit year after year. It's not like they went and spent all that money, it continued to pile up.

I understand no business wants to lose money.

But if he continues to build teams that can get to the finals he will make significant profit.

I think it's possible to border on penny-wise pound foolish.
Not saying they are as we don't know what kind of moves/signings will be made.

The quickest way to start dropping revenues is to field a team that doesn't go deep into the playoffs.

Yes, injury is always a possibility, but that's the price of doing business.

My approach would be to spend the money necessary to field the best team.

Like Apple or Microsoft, if you have a strong winning concept, reinvest a share of the profits to stay on top.

One losing year, if it happens, won't decimate the franchise.

Also, isn't -billionaire Philip Anschutz part owner?

I' am not a believer in Mitch Kupchak ,I think he was close to being the fall guy last season if the Lakers would of floundered in the last game. He failed to shore up the bench with shooters who can at least hit the wide open shot and give consistent maximum effort.

Many might disagree, but Jerry West's name is still all over this team Gasol too.I think Artest came mainly because he always wanted to and not by a stroke of great thinking rather to being at the right place at the right time.

I think the Lakers made a huge mistake not going after Kirk Hinrich,I also think that they can get Chris bosh, he did not rule it out.

Kobe and the whole teams finances would be better served to have a solid championship team. It is like building a Ferrari and then putting station wagon tires on it .

My reasoning, NBA is a international business Kobe is the top international star the potential international endorsements alone on a successful team can make his salary look like pocket change. And renegotiating to get better talent seem like the best decision he can make in his financial and professional career PERIOD.

Lets get it going Kobe and take the next 3

The Lakers remained No. 1 in team merchandise sales, with Boston second and Cleveland up one spot to No. 3. Kobe also #1 in 2006-2007,2007-2008,2008-2009,2009-2010

Kobe Bryant has retained his spot atop the list of the NBA's best-selling jerseys.His jersey is also No. 1 in sales in Europe and China.


Statistics revealed that 300 million out of China's 1.3 billion population played basketball, additionally "83 per cent of males between 15 to 61 years old are interested in the game,

MM,

Thanks for this post. Good to hear Bynum talking about TEAM success and how he can "create havoc" WITH Pau. I have long been a Bynum believer. but sometimes it has been rough. Very young bigs tend to be rawer than other young players, and Bynum was certainly raw when he came into the league. He has had injuries that have slowed his growth. And, like many young players, he has been "me first."


I was never happy with last season's goal of a meaningless all-star berth instead of, say, a championship or even (if it needs to be individual) a rebounding title or all-defensive team selection. But I think Drew has come around this year to understanding what it is all about.


Here's to a healthy, havoc wreaking 2010-1011for Drew and the Lakers.

Now they made history together. 2 championships in two years and they know each other well. If both are healthy the lakers can threepeat. It depends on both of them being healthy since they work so well together.


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