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Is that you, Kobe? Bryant in rare form at exit interviews

Not long after the Lakers captured the 2010 NBA title with a Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shook himself out of playoff mode. For the last two months, he'd worn that familiar face, giving clipped answers to reporters, scowling on the court and shutting himself off from the outside world. That included turning off his cellphone to avoid any distractions as he chased his fifth ring.

When Bryant finally turned his phone back on, he had 500 messages. "I irresponsibly deleted all of them," he said, laughing.

It served as just the beginning of what Bryant termed "getting back to civilization." He watched the tail end of the U.S. victory over Algeria in the World Cup. He plans to travel to South Africa soon for the tournament and also has other unspecified international trips in the offing. During the team's exit interview Wednesday, he spoke in a genial, jovial, comedic and introspective manner to reporters, something the media rarely sees during the season. "This is probably as honest as I'll get with ya'll," Bryant said.

And was he ever honest.

Bryant said he remained open to getting surgery to treat his assorted injuries -- the right index finger, the left ankle, the right knee -- as well as to sitting out USA Basketball, decisions he'll make after consulting with Lakers trainer Gary Vitti and General Manager Mitch Kupchak. "This summer for me is about getting healthy," Bryant said. "I think that will give us the best opportunity to defend our title again."

He acknowledged having tried to do too much in Game 7, when he didn't seem to be the invincible player fans were used to seeing. He said for inspiration he drew on a state finals game at his alma mater, Pennsylvania's Lower Merion High. "At that time, that was my Game 7," Bryant said. "The emotions are the same. When that happens, you just have to figure out how to help us win. It's not numbers. It's figuring out what you can do to help us win this game."

Bryant said that, indeed, this playoff run -- against Oklahoma City, Utah, Phoenix and Boston -- was a good way to, as one reporter termed it, "battle his demons." The Thunder series cemented the storyline of age versus youth. The Lakers have eliminated the Jazz in three consecutive playoff appearances, but the team's struggles against Utah early in Bryant's career still bother him. The West Finals match-up with Phoenix served as redemption for the Lakers' first-round exits to the Suns in 2006 and 2007. And the Lakers' Finals match-up with the Celtics helped make up for the team's 2008 Finals loss. "That makes it that much sweeter, being down 3-2 and all those rowdy fans in Boston being one game away" from winning the title, Bryant said. Coming back and "sticking it to" the Celtics "felt good."

Wednesday's exit interviews showed what Bryant was capable of in communicating with the media. There are some, including some Lakers fans, who lament the persona he projects, saying he comes off as undemonstrative and unlikable. But don't expect him to change. He remarked that, once the season started, he wouldn't be using the word "three-peat." And, chances are, he won't be forthcoming about his injuries. He'll likely keep his answers short and not particularly sweet.

Perhaps, past incidents have contributed to his present attitude; one could point to his drama with Shaq, the legal incident in Colorado and his contentiousness with the organization from 2005 to 2007. He also been known to be extremely controlling of his image and media access. But it also speaks to his game mindset and how he locks in, mentally, to the task before him.

"You have to put yourself in a space where you can focus on the task at hand and not the hype of it," Bryant said. "The hype's not going to win the series. It's execution. You have to have a form of detachment, at least to me."

A good example of that detachment was when he behaved and spoke as though he could not have cared less about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, a stance he later admitted was false.

The media may not like Bryant's approach, but his teammates do. Forward Pau Gasol likes how the two are always finding ways to strengthen their on-court chemistry. Lakers guard Derek Fisher likes observing Bryant's routine in case he can pick up any pointers. And forward Ron Artest appreciates Bryant's work ethic.

As for Bryant?

"It's just fun for me," said Bryant, who had recently worked with Lakers shooting coach Chuck Person and former Celtics scout Mike Procopio. "I enjoy what I do. So you love what you do, you're constantly looking for ways to do it better or do it different. I just love the game so I'm constantly around it."

That answer will come as no surprise to people who have long observed Bryant play. But on Wednesday,he wore it all on his sleeve: His passion for the game appeared so pure, his enthusiasm felt so infectious and his explanations sounded so interesting. Enjoy it while it lasts.

"I give you guys really generic answers anyway," he told reporters. Still, it's that mindset that he says helps him play the game the best way he knows how.

-- Mark Medina

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

 
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The dreaded repost....


ugghhh

Thinking about PJ leaving makes me puke in my mouth.


HOWEVER - I have confidence about a couple of things - the FO wants to win more championships, the FO doesn't want to waste any of Kobe's years, the FO will do what it takes to succeed.


I have no idea HOW the FO will do this. I just know they will. Or there will be trouble. With a capital T.


Meanwhile, I'll watch & wait and hopefully be able to keep my food down. Cuz this is upsetting - especially coming so very soon after SWEET 16. I still wanna cheer & gloat, and this mess is making it difficult for me to do that.


longtimelakerlover - naw - mamba24's just taking a little vacay - he'll be back soon enough!

LTLF,

I would pick Steve Blake and Kwame from your list.


-==-------====--- -------==========
[_|___|__|___|__|__|__|__|__|__\
|____Please Comeback PJ ___\__\__
l__________________________--|
\_(O)-(O)_____________|_|(O)___/

THE PLEASE COMEBACK PJ BUS

LEWSTRS
Jon K
lakersrydeordie
Steve
2Phatt
Magic Phil
Fatty
Tom, Long Beach, California
LAL818
Art - FL Laker Fan
#4
Lalaland
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Tom Daniels
isaac
Jeannies Bad
Logan
teddy wilson
Rick Friedman
justanothermambafan
LakerTom
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longtimelakerlover
Jay Jay
LAL818
Nemaia Faletogo
LAKER TRUTH
Mamba24
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mud
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dave m
FAN
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Steve
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Rocky
J-Dizzle
phred
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WintonDupree (seat 1)
WintonDupree (seat 2)


Hop aboard and show PJ some love....

According to ESPN, the Bulls are looking to trade Loul Deng to the Clippers, which would free up over $30 million in cap space for the Bulls, making it possible to potentially sign BOTH Lebron and Bosh!

The Bulls lineup would be:

PG - Rose
SG - Heinrich
SF - Lebron
PF - Bosh
C - Noah

This is a scary good starting unit. What makes this team even more frightening is that they will be coached by Thibodeau. This team would easily be the biggest threat to our threepeat.

I forgot to mention the trade would be Deng for draft picks.

How about Fisher as a Player/Coach...

How about Derek Fisher for Player/Coach...

As long as Kobe keeps leading the team to more rings, or at least more chances for rings, I don't care how he comes off during interviews. Or on the court. Or anywhere else. If that's how he focuses on winning, that's good enough for me!

If money's so tight, maybe the Lakers' high-dollar players will take a small collective paycut. Magic did it in 1990-1991 when we signed Terry Teagle. Coincidently, Teagle shot and made the field goal that gave Magic his then-record-breaking assist. Karma? Ask Ron Artest about karma.

Bunny Hop

LTLF,

The Lakers blog google forgot to include Joe Crawford, our 28th [pick in 2008. where is he now?

This is a scary good starting unit. What makes this team even more frightening is that they will be coached by Thibodeau. This team would easily be the biggest threat to our threepeat.

Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | June 24, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Even more scary is if they convince the league and refs that they're going to be a good defensive team with Thibodeau. Then they'll get the 08 boston treatment and pushing, scratching, moving picks, illegal D, slaps in the paint all that good stuff would be considered great defense.
Now that's scary.

Lewsters,

I do see DFish as a coach, not a bad idea at all.

but i rather suggest this, bring PJ back for one more championship, brind derek back for one more year... once they got another title next year, PJ and DFish can retire and Dfish can become the head coach or assistant coach in my opinion because i would love to see BRIAN SHAW as our next head coach or DFish... wich ever works

But Brian Shaw i like a lot... his not a superstar but theres somthing about him that we havnt seen yet as a player but we might as a head coach...

any takers?

If PJ is not coming, how about Kobe calling on D'Wade and invite him to the Lakers offering all our guards including LO. Well, Wade knows Kobe is also looking for a replacement after his tenure, someone has to continue the reign. DW can wield a trade if he wants to, so rather than the Heat losing him without an exchange, we might outsmart Pat Riley for a sign and trade. Kobe and Wade plus Gasol and Bynum, give the Lakers any kind of Coach, or ay system, they will always be in the Finals. Hehe, I'm just dreamin' that is what we do in off season.

>>I would pick Steve Blake and Kwame from your list.

I think they'd do fine with those two.

Remember, Kwame got along with everyone on the team. He was maligned because he was paid big bucks and didn't really live up to being a starter. But if he'd take 2 million per for 2 years in order to play MBenga level minutes and get a couple of rings, he'd be welcome.

>>>The Lakers blog google forgot to include Joe Crawford, our 28th [pick in
>>>2008. where is he now?

Huh. Thought I mentioned him...

Crawford played for the D-Fenders for awhile, got called up by the Knicks and not played much, then got waived by the Knicks last October.

>>>According to ESPN, the Bulls are looking to trade Loul Deng to the Clippers

And another side of that trade is that the Clips would get a very good starting SF in Luol Deng. Davis-Gordon-Deng-Griffin-Kaman is a pretty potent starting lineup. And with DeAndre Jordan already signed, they could re-sign Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and Craig Smith and have a pretty formidable core team.

LTLF,

Are you a real person or a computer somehow plugged into the blog?
Your BB depth of information is amazing!

Edwin Gueco:

You wrote: If PJ is not coming, how about Kobe calling on D'Wade and invite him to the Lakers offering all our guards including LO.

Response: Obviously you have run out anything rational to say so you decide to indulge in smoking funny stuff and post.


Okay, here's a wild-ass trade that nobody has come close to proposing. But it amuses me to propose it anyway.

Lakers trade Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic to Philadelphia...

For Elton Brand and the #2 pick in the draft.

Philly dumps off Brand's huge contract to allow them to rebuild sooner and give their young players more time to develop. Odom replaces Brand's minutes and Sasha's expiring contract reduces their spending after next season.

Lakers get Elton Brand and...

Take your pick - Probably Evan Turner, but maybe Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins instead.


What do you think?

BTW, that Philly trade ain't going to happen, as it would make the Lakers luxury tax woes even deeper. But if it weren't for that, nice deal.

>>>If money's so tight, maybe the Lakers' high-dollar players will take a small
>>>collective paycut.

Not possible with the current CBA.

Guys we can't have D-Fish as a player coach. The NBA does not allow those because they can be potentially be used as a mean to side step the salary cap rules. So forget about it. Either PJ or a new coach, preferably Phil for one more year then Brian Shaw so we can keep the same system. Those doubt Shaw's ability to lead a team and put up Byron Scott's well look no further than New Jersey when Scott's first head coaching stint there was his first at head coach after being an assistant in Sacramento. Shaw knows the system and has a talented team....so we can maximize Kobe's years instead of changing the offense to a more showtime role which Kobe isn't Magic Johnson when it comes to passing, Gasol isn't James Worthy (and remember Worthy played SMALL FORWARD not Power Forward), Artest isn't Michael Cooper and no WAY Bynum is Kareem.

As much as Showtime was fun for us adults Buss really needs to stop dreaming for those days. The current system won us two championships. Besides making a big profit (especially in today's economy), championships are the most important thing....why change it when its personnel has won two titles with it? (When the personnel drastically changes then we can think about changing the system).

>>>As long as Kobe keeps leading the team to more rings, or at least more
>>>chances for rings, I don't care how he comes off during interviews.

My sentiments exactly.

Ya know, Fat Baby Davis and Nate Robinson were a great post-game interview during the finals, but when it came to games 6 and 7 and the chips were down, they were almost non-existant (other than Fat Baby's rebounding).

I'll take curt replies and victory thank you.

Interesting:

Forecasting who they'll take is a little tricky. Kupchak pointed Wednesday to the backcourt as a major priority, no surprise considering Bryant and Vujacic are the only two guards under contract for next season. Even if Fish and Brown return, they'll still need another player or two. The prevailing opinion says Mbenga is mgone, meaning the Lakers need another big body to back up the Bynum/Gasol/Odom frontcourt trio. But when it comes to players the Lakers will project as members of the rotation, new blood is far more likely to come trades and free agency than their picks Thursday night. (I don't expect the Lakers to pull the trigger on a deal tonight, but if they do it's far more likely to be centered around Vujacic, entering the final year of his contract, than a blockbuster involving Bynum.)

It stands to reason they'll take the highest rated player on their draft board with the understanding he won't necessarily contribute for a season or two. Getting caught up in the "need" philosophy feels shortsighted, since today's holes aren't guaranteed to be the ones they'll face down the road.

By Brian Kamenetzky

Fisher does not have the VISION to lead a fast break

what makes anyone think he can be a coach? motivational speeches?

maybe he can make some infomercials.

Fisher is a STIFF - ANTI - BASKETBALL type.

maybe Lakers fans should learn something from Kobe.
it's about now and the moment.
not about nostalgia, memories, tradition, rivalries, LOGO, MJ and so on … when it is done, one can talk about what a new championship adds to the Lakers Pantheon.
till then it's a one game affair.
the best orgaaasm is the last ONE.
not some memory from like 20 years ago.
ask Zaira: Italians world Champions. does not really help does it? they were just eliminated in the first round. like scrubs.

LTLF,

I would love to have Kwame back and would expect that him to get about 10 minutes a game (depending on matchups). This time around, there would be no pressure on Kwame to score or to be the starter. He would be able to just focus on his strenghts - defense and physicality.

>>>Are you a real person or a computer somehow plugged into the blog?

That does not compute.

>>>Your BB depth of information is amazing!

My knowledge of the CBA is adequate. Other than that, I'm mostly just googling stuff (like where Chinemelu Elonu is playing).

I find it ironic that the Bulls had an offer from Minnesota several years ago where they could have gotten Kevin Garnett for essentially Luol Deng and Tyson Chandler, but they weren't willing to part with Deng, and now they're trying to dump of Deng for cap space and nothing else.

funny stuff.

MrNano:

personally I am not a rap fan but was only making sure that jon boy gets his dose of medicine on regular basis to keep him grounded..hahaha

Posted by: Captain Jack | June 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM

That was you!
LOL, i thought you were out somewhere, fishing.
My troll radar is out due to maintenance, that's why i didn't recognize you. XD

Okay, here's my next stoopid deal (though many here will love it).

Lakers trade Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic's expiring contract, and a future first rounder...

for Al Jefferson and the rights to Ricky Rubio.

Minnesota gets out of Jefferson's big contract. They get two players with championship level experience in the triangle (and they are actually weak at SF, so Luke would be an upgrade, believe it or not).

And the Lakers get a fourth big and their PG of the future.

LTLF,

Didn't the Bulls have an opportunity to get Gasol as well? If I remember correctly, they were unwilling to give up Deng in the Gasol trade as well. Gasol would've been a perfect fit for that team.

>>>I still think Kwame would be a great defensive asset!

And I agree with you there Mike. With Bynum injured, it would have been nice to have Kwame coming off the bench for 10-15 minutes a game in the finals to bang with Perkins &/or Garnett &/or Fat-Baby.

If Kwame would play for 2 million per, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see the Lakers sign him. But he might be able to get more than that from some other team based entirely on size and defensive skills.

The title of this blog post made me think that Kobe was wearing his iconic white outfit with the fedora at the press conference. I was glad to find out that was not the case.

>>>Besides making a big profit (especially in today's economy),

I beg to differ on that issue.

I'll wager the Lakers were profitable for the season, but with how high their salaries and luxury tax were this season, I doubt it was a big profit.

If Kwame Brown was smart (a big IF), he would sign with the Lakers for cheap. Playing with the Lakers could resurrect his career. He would have an opportunity at redemption after his miserable stint with the Lakers the first time around. Artest and Kwame would form the most entertaining post game interview duo in the league.

Edwin Gueco:

I second you on Wade to the Lakers..I've always felt he would better mesh with Kobe than any of those Lebron to the Lakers suggestions..Besides, Wade knows what its like to WIN it all..He and Kobe have that much in common.

We meed to get younger and talented at the same time. DWADE is that guy!!

Is Kwame Brown available?


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!

excuse typo **NEED**

>>>I don't expect the Lakers to pull the trigger on a deal tonight, but if they do
>>>it's far more likely to be centered around Vujacic, entering the final year of
>>>his contract,

I totally agree with BK on that issue.

The teams that are wheeling and dealing right now are doing so to try to dump salary, not to acquire big ticket players like Bynum.

Some teams are trying to dump players for just cap space (e.g. Deng to the Clippers), others are trying to dump large long contracts for shorter &/or smaller contracts (Al Jefferson). The latter teams would probably be interested in Sasha's 5 million dollar expiring deal. Might even see Sasha traded to a team, bought out, and come back to the Lakers for a minimal salary. But that type of trade is more likely to happen in February than in the summer.

Well, the Bulls pulled off their deal to free up cap space.

Hinrich and the 17th pick to Washington for ??? (not much - maybe a draft pick).

So that means Washington will have Hinrich, Arenas, and John Wall. Think they might be willing to part with a PG?

The one wild-ass trade that's been discussed here that actually appeals to me is the Odom + filler for Okafor and Collison.

Collison would be a HUGE upgrade at point guard, Fisher could be a great mentor to him, and Okafor is a sideways move from Odom. Not quite as versatile, but maybe more reliable in what he does do well.

As to the filler, it's mostly expiring salary to reduce New Orleans future payroll... Could be Sasha. Could be sign & trade Farmar (or Powell or MBenga if N.O. wanted them).

The beauty of the trade is that it's the one trade that improves the point guard position for the Lakers without much drop off in the front court.

The ugliness is that it would make the salary situation even more dire.

I'll wager the Lakers were profitable for the season, but with how high their salaries and luxury tax were this season, I doubt it was a big profit.
Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | June 24, 2010 at 12:55 PM
=====================

About $20-25 million this year profit, $40-45 mill last year.

http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?p=3290325

I guess soon Buss will need to clip coupons for grocery's.

Kwame making 15 or 1 mil a year, wont change the fact...

He has mental lapses, questionable desire and terrible hands...

I hadn't seen it before, but Mark Heisler did an article in the Times about the Lakers finances, and it's implications:

http://tinyurl.com/266wfsr

First of all, he says the Lakers made $40 to $45 million last season (2008-09) and $15 to $20 million this season (2009-10). So basically, Jerry Buss made less than Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol. While you and I may think that makes aesthetic sense, owners tend to want to make the biggest cut of the pie if possible.

Heisler says there's speculation (i.e. he's guessing - he doesn't even attempt to ascribe it to a Laker source) that the Lakers won't use their MLE.

He also mentions that "there's speculation within the organization that Lamar Odom may be moved to save money."

So not a trade for Lamar to try to get a better player, but a Lamar salary dump. It would certainly hurt to dump Lamar. If they do that, I hope they can get someone a heck of a lot more talented than Powell to replace him.

Such a dump could go one of two ways - Lamar to a team with cap space, where the Lakers get either a draft pick or a lower salaried player back in the trade, or a 2 or 3 for 1 trade, where the Lakers would be paying 2 players (or 3 players) what Lamar would make next season, and maybe one or two of the contracts would end sooner than Lamar's.

Note that Lamar does have some championship experience and there are some teams that would love to get him. I think I'll riff on Heisler's suggestion and see what I can come up with.

Thus begins my series of Lamar Odom salary dump trades (for which I'll get lots of hate, but so what... I don't expect any of them to happen, just speculating)

Lamar Salary Dump trades, part 1:

Miami. In all likelyhood, they aren't going to pull off a 3 superstar deal to get Wade, Bosh, and LeBron to play there.

But they might be able to get ONE other All-star to join Wade, and then they would be looking for solid players to add to those two to form a core. Lamar has a history with Miami - he likes Wade, Wade likes him, Riles likes him as well.

So how about this:

Lamar Odom for Michael Beasley. Lakers reduce salary by 2 million a year. Beasley is young and could still improve. He's 6'10", so the Lakers still get size back. He's a good offensive player, and could improve defensively in the right system. Miami gets a veteran with lots of finals experience.

Lamar Odom salary dump trades, part 2:

New York. They're probably not getting LeBron or Bosh or Wade. Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, and Carlos Boozer are slightly more likely. But they may get shut out of the top players. At that point, they'd have lots of cap space and a depleted roster. They'd re-sign David Lee of course, but maybe they'd be interested in a Lamar Odom for Toney Douglas + s&t Eddie House deal. Lakers save a bundle, get two guards to fill out the guard part of the roster, and Knicks get another big who would fit well in D'Antoni's system.

Or maybe sign & trade Farmar plus Odom for either Wilson Chandler or Danilo Galinari plus Toney Douglas. Note that they could do that deal even after they had spent all their cap space.

I think trading LO would be a huge mistake...

1. He is our insurance policy if AB gets hurt again.
2. The team chemistry will be affected, and he is another source to keep Artest planted and focused.
3. The inconsistency that has plagued LO drives me nuts, but he seems to rise in the playoffs in a timely manner.
4. LO versatility and his contributions that don't show up in the stats column, will be hard to duplicate, especially in the offense we run, if PJ returns of course.

Who thinks that this PJ resigning drama is nothing but a power/ego struggle between Jeanie and Jim Buss?

I suppose Phil does not need to agree with any trades/signings since his contract expires 6/30.

I have read Mitch doesn't mind if he takes until the end of July to decide.

So maybe Phil waits to see what happens to the team, FA signings, trades, whatever.

And if Phil decides next week to come back, I wonder how much say he has in any trades etc.

Would Mitch/Buss make trades/signings that Phil wasn't supportive of?

"I find it ironic that the Bulls had an offer from Minnesota several years ago where they could have gotten Kevin Garnett for essentially Luol Deng and Tyson Chandler, but they weren't willing to part with Deng, and now they're trying to dump of Deng for cap space and nothing else.

funny stuff.

Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | June 24, 2010 at 12:43 PM
"

Cap space that could land them someone like Wade, LeBron, or Bosh. It wouldn't be your typical salary dump. They're not really trying to get rid of Deng, they'd be parting with him with the thought that they would be getting one (or more) of those three in his place.

Laker Truth,

>>>Didn't the Bulls have an opportunity to get Gasol as well? If I remember
>>>correctly, they were unwilling to give up Deng in the Gasol trade as well.
>>>Gasol would've been a perfect fit for that team.

You are 100% correct, sir.

Nah, we don't want KG, Deng could be REALLY good.

Nah, we don't want Gasol, Deng could be REALLY good.

Hey, we need cap space, would you take Deng off our hands for a bag of chips?

Art-FL,

>>>About $20-25 million this year profit, $40-45 mill last year.
>>>
>>>http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?p=3290325

Actually the article you linked to said the same number Heisler said - $15-20 million.

Which combined with a championship is nice. But remember that Kobe's, Pau's, Bynum's, Odom's and Artest's salaries all increase over the next few years. So that 15-20 could vanish in a puff of smoke, unless they manage to cut some salary at the same time (either cut PJ's salary or trade off one of those 5 players in a salary dump).

>>>I think trading LO would be a huge mistake...

Okay, I kinda agree with you. But if the financial future looks like losing money then something's gotta happen. And if you had a choice of trading off Lamar, Kobe, Pau, Artest, or Bynum to save money, who would you pick?

>>>1. He is our insurance policy if AB gets hurt again.

So you trade for a lower salaried big man. There are players as talented as Lamar in the league who work for less. You'd lose in some areas (Lamar is very flexible), but probably gain in others. Like maybe you'd get someone who plays hard EVERY night. Or that rebounds more consistently. Or doesn't jack up wild 3's. Or doesn't charge about 1 time in 3 that he tries to drive to the hoop.

>>>2. The team chemistry will be affected, and he is another source to keep
>>>Artest planted and focused.

The best of your 4 reasons. Chemistry is very important.

>>>3. The inconsistency that has plagued LO drives me nuts, but he seems to
>>>rise in the playoffs in a timely manner.

Game 1 vs Boston - 5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls, 2 turnovers.

Game 2 vs Boston - 3 points, 5 rebounds, 5 fouls

Game 5 vs Boston - 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 turnovers

Game 7 vs Boston - 7 poitns, 7 rebounds, 0-3 3 point shooting (WHY?!??!)

To me, Lamar underachieved in 4 of the 7 games of the NBA finals. The Lakers lost 3 of those games. He's like a box of chocolates.

>>>4. LO versatility and his contributions that don't show up in the stats
>>>column, will be hard to duplicate, especially in the offense we run, if PJ
>>>returns of course.

When he plays hard and focused, I think LO is probably the best 6th man in the league. Unfortunately, he only plays with that kind of focus about 1 game in 5. The other 4 games you'll get two decent games and two flops.

I like that Lamar can do a lot of things. And if the Lakers can keep him and stay profitable, I think they will. But if it comes down to keeping Lamar and losing money or dumping Lamar and staying profitable, you can bet that Lamar will be gone.

>>>Who thinks that this PJ resigning drama is nothing but a power/ego struggle
>>>between Jeanie and Jim Buss?

definitely. It's negotiation tactic.

I think PJ will be back, and probably at a salary cut, but maybe not as deep as Buss would like - something like 9 or 10 million per.

>>>Cap space that could land them someone like Wade, LeBron, or Bosh. It
>>>wouldn't be your typical salary dump. They're not really trying to get rid of
>>>Deng, they'd be parting with him with the thought that they would be getting
>>>one (or more) of those three in his place.

The operative word is "could".

With a trade for either KG or Gasol, they definitely would have gotten the player in question.

In this situation, they were offering to dump off Deng, just to create the possibility that they could make an offer to LeBron and Bosh (for example). The possibility exists that they could have dumped Deng, made their offers to LeBron, Bosh, Wade, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, David Lee, and half a dozen other players and got nobody.

Instead they found a deal to dump Hinrich (to Washington). But it may turn out that they don't get a second big name and they don't get any player as good as Hinrich back with the cap space.

Honestly, I think they will. I think they'll be able to lure Joe Johnson and either Amare or Boozer with their cap space. And a lineup of Rose-Johnson-Deng-Boozer-Noah isn't half bad.

Several of these trades I'd accept, especially at PG.

Most are very unlikely.

But a few points:

1. If you trade LO, you lose at least the potential for versatility to go along with size. Those have been LA's two strengths. LO can compensate for PG deficiencies by bringing up the ball. The only reason anyone ould consider dumping LO is because of his inconsistency. He had the skill to dominate the Finals because none of his defenders were nearly as quick or versatile as he. Give up LO for a traditional big, and you have depth, but lose some strength from the perimeter.

2. LA really needs a backup center to spell or start for Bynum. They need some competent bulk, to go along with their size. This keeps physical teams from bullying them, and puts pressure on running teams with smaller lineups.

3. PG is where it begins and ends for LA. The dynamic, drive-and-dish, speedy PGs don't fit with the system, which will survive in some form even if Phil retires. A bigger, versatile PG who can play 30-35 minutes/night is the key. I believe that support players like Vujacic, Brown, et al. would a) benefit from playing alongside a guy like that, or b) benefit from Fisher leading the second unit.

4. It's hard to believe but I think it's true. After 3 straight Finals appearances and back-to-back titles, this LA team has yet to play at peak level in June. A healthy Bynum is one reason. Subpar shooting from the bench is another. But the right signings could make a title team even better.

2.

@Laker Truth, that is a scary lineup. Although I don't know if Rose and LBJ can co-exist. They both dominate the ball so much. Would Rose be content with the guy who walks to ball up then dumps it to LBJ or Bosh?

Would LBJ be OK with not having the ball all the time?

@Laker Truth, that is a scary lineup. Although I don't know if Rose and LBJ can co-exist. They both dominate the ball so much. Would Rose be content with the guy who walks to ball up then dumps it to LBJ or Bosh?

Would LBJ be OK with not having the ball all the time?

@LAKER TRUTH -- Hinrich was traded to the Wizards earlier today!

Btw...Lakers should look at acquiring some of the following players:

Steve Blake PG/SG
Mike Miller, SG/SF
Shaun Livingston PG

And of course: Bosh and Raja Bell are front runners

T-Mac and Shaq should look elsewhere...no need for them. Shaq-fu should retire and become a cross guard at a local elementary school.

What do you guys think?

'...the legal incident in Colorado...'? Nice touch.

The collection of young Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones (later Glen Rice), Nick Van Exel, Derek Fisher, etc. was a train wreck under Del Harris and Kurt Rambis, until Phil Jackson came along and they won 69 games and a championship immediately.
STAY!

Kobe speaks enough on the court. The press sound like imbeceles after the game. They wait for an athlete to say something that they can turn on the athlete like a dagger being turned. As far as I can see we are truly lucky as laker fans to have a player like Kobe to enjoy for a few more years. Kobe is always a gentleman, and goodness we indeed are surrounded by his greatness.On the court Kobe is a firey charged up competitor who plays thru multiple injurys without making excuses like a throwback from an other Era. Off the court who cares what he does. If you see the guy eating in a returaunt you are eating at leave him alone. All he owes anyone who buys a ticket is his best preformance. With Kobe you get that every time.

Buss broke up the team when he let Fisher, Shaq, and phil Jackson go. He makes more profits because the lakers still sell out. Again you will see Jackson, fisher and who knows who else go. Once Dr. Buss makes up his mind there is nothing that can be done. He gave Kobe the championship teams he promised.

Great article MM.

I wud surmise that these realizations about Kobe was more for yourself than for us.


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