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Caught in the Web: Lakers training camp starts in four days

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--NBA.com's David Aldridge looks at Kobe Bryant's health.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights the best Phil Jackson quotes.

--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares in his Cap's Corner column on Lakers.com that he wasn't really close as a player with owner Jerry Buss.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky invited a panel of writers, including myself, to debate whether Lakers center Andrew Bynum would make the All-Star team this season.

In addition to talking with the Kamenetzky brothers, Lakers forward Ron Artest told an audience in Bakersfield that he would've played for the Lakers for  $1. Surely, Buss is  wondering how much in luxury taxes he could've saved.

--Ball Don't Lie's Trey Kerby shares an interesting theory on why exactly Bryant took a dig at Shaq following the 2010 NBA Finals.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen argues that both Bryant and Pau Gasol are better than Kevin Durant.

--Slam Online's Kyle Stack lists Lamar Odom as the 48th best player in the NBA.

--Dexter Fishmore lists for SB Nation the top five Laker training camp stories. They reek cliches, and I'll be sure to cover every one of them!

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano puts together an all-time Lakers team.

--Lakers Nation's Ramneet Singh and Trevor Wong rank the top five Laker small forwards of all time.

Tweet of the Day:"My name is 'jockstrap Ron' for this week"-- RONARTESTCOM (Lakers forward Ron Artest)

Reader Comment of the Day: "What is it with these delusional Celtics? First, Doc Rivers talks that gibberish about their starting unit never losing, and than Grousbeck comes out with this nonsense. If he wanted Shaq as soon as Kobe made that comment, why were the Celtics pursuing Jermaine Oneal and Kwame Brown this summer before pursuing Shaq?" -- Laker Truth

--Mark Medina

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 2010 NBA Finals. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (46)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Hey look everybody, there's Luke, with his hat on backwards, just like in the hood!

And Pau is about to puke on him!

Go Kings!
Go Niners!
Go Giants!
Go Manny, go!

Sonnybelfast

Hey look everybody, there's Luke, with his hat on backwards, just like in the hood! And Pau is about to puke on him!Posted by: Sonny Belfast | September 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM
*
Sonny now just stop this right now!!! You are just making it harder on yourself when you finally come over and join the winning side sir! LoL!

Pau = Werewolf

DBDH!

Is it possible all this fuzz about Melo going to NJ, NY and Chicago is nothing but a smoke screen. He knows with Boston and Miami he can't win there anytime soon.


The only real place he can win a ring is with the Lakers. LA shoud be the NO.1 option for Melo. Or which teams in the West can give the Lakers problems. Oklahoma and Portland? How about Jeff Green, James Harden, Eric Maynor and draft picks for Melo.


Aldrich
Ibaka
Anthony
Durant
Westbrook


Portland can offer Oden,Batum,Fernandez and draft picks.


Camby
Aldridge
Anthony
Roy
Miller

Posted by: Mamba24

'You are just making it harder on yourself when you finally come over and join the winning side sir! LoL!'

I'll make you a deal. I'll consider coming back to the Lakers if you dump the Vikings and come on over to the Niners....

Nope, scratch that.

But you are more than welcome on the Niner side!

Go Kings!
Go Niners!
Go Giants!
Go Manny, go!

Sonnybelfast

Melo will stay in Denver... not by choice, but he'll stick around. Things may change around the trade dealine after some teams realize their current roster won't cut the mustard and moves need to be made.

DBDH!

I'll make you a deal. I'll consider coming back to the Lakers if you dump the Vikings and come on over to the Niners....Nope, scratch that. But you are more than welcome on the Niner side! Posted by: Sonny Belfast | September 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM
*
I happen to love the Niners, their coach is a hometown legend, I just feel that the Vikes are going to go to the Superbowl even thru a 0-2 start. I think Favre has one last year in him and he's going to make the best of it! But yeah I'd root for the niners any day bro!

Pau = Werewolf Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | September 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM
*
Stop that! LMAO!

KobeMVP888,

Those odds are ridiculously stacked in my favor, but again, I can't accept any bets where I will potentially benefit from a Laker getting injured (unless it involves a player whose injury will actually benefit the team. i.e. Luke).

Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | September 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM
====

I beg to differ. He's 2.5 years removed from the serious left knee injury and 1.5 years removed from the serious right knee injury. At 23, his body is maturing and getting stronger and the torn cartilage from the playoffs was a relatively minor injury that will heal 100% shortly. Who cares if he misses the first few games. Knock knees, wide pelvis and all, I think he'll be healthy this season. 68 games plus and all playoff games at 100% or whatever is considered 100% for players that time of year sounds like a good bet to me.

@LAKER TRUTH… Way to show your true colors, LT. I respect that you are a Lakers fan first and foremost. Let’s have no bets on the health of Drew or any other Laker player. All we want is for everybody to be healthy and to play up to their potential. No Mike T’s on this blog. Just REAL Lakers fans.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
@JON K… Excellent point about our three young players (AB, DC, and DE) and how their play could entice Phil to hang around a couple of more seasons… just long enough for Fish to retire and get 2 years experience as an assistant before taking over as the Lakers next great head coach. Sharman, Riley, Jackson, Fisher.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Guys, I got a media advisory from the Lakers saying that Phil Jackson will have a press conference Friday at 11 a.m.. Just a heads up so you know you should be expecting coverage from that later in the day

MM

I think everyone's missing the real question here, and that is WHY should Thriller's name be 'jockstrap Ron' this week?

LAKER TRUTH

Oh, and I echo Laker Tom's comments at 12:19 p.m.

Guys, I got a media advisory from the Lakers saying that Phil Jackson will have a press conference Friday at 11 a.m.. Just a heads up so you know you should be expecting coverage from that later in the day

MM

Posted by: Mark Medina | September 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM

There's no earthly reason why that should make me nervous, yet it does. Oy.

"I think everyone's missing the real question here, and that is WHY should Thriller's name be 'jockstrap Ron' this week?"

Posted by: justanothermambafan | September 21, 2010 at 12:21 PM


Justa,

Actually, I'm not sure I really want to know...

ltll - he's going to announce that he'll remain the Lakers head coach until they pry his cold, dead fingers from his whistle.

ltll - maybe the press conference by PJ is going to explain the 'jockstrap Ron' comment.

JustaLakerFan,
-
I think there are three people who will determine whether or not Phil Jackson comes back: Bynum, Ebanks and Caracter.
-
WHEN we win a Championship this year, Phil has an ego and he'll want to go out on top. Despite their awesomeness, Derek, Kobe, Pau, and Thriller aren't getting any younger. Phil knows that and if suspects that age might threaten a four-peat, he'll retire.
-
Now if Bynum stays healthy and shows signs of Greatness and Caracter and Ebanks prove to be as good as we all hope they'll be... well, then that could really positively affect Phil's decision to stay for a four-peat.
-
What do we play for? RINGS!!!
-
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
-
GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | September 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM

-------
Jon K,
Good thoughts but not enough variables. First in year I don't expect Kobe or Ron to decline but maybe Fish a bit but that ok with Blake here.
I agree when and not if we win championship and feel good about Drew too.
Other variables beyond Drew, DC and DE is free agent additions whether mid year or next summer may influence PJ's decision.

MM


"Guys, I got a media advisory from the Lakers saying that Phil Jackson will have a press conference Friday at 11 a.m.."


Phil Jackson announcing his retirement? Two days before the start of training camp. No! No! No!


Jon K,
Oops left out Pau on aging issue. He won't decline in 1 year either. Good thoughts though.

http://www.nba.com/kings/here_we_rise.html

-Borrowed from an earlier post-

For your edification Staples, since you made no mention of the Sacramento Kings of Basketball as potential recipients of Carmelos services, I offer this for your edification.

http://www.nba.com/kings/here_we_rise.html

Petrie may be working his magic as we speak, or looking ahead to the trade deadline when he always seems to do his best work, and far enough ahead for our youngsters to shine early in the season. We've got Lambert (6'11"), Landry (6'9"), and either Donte or Casspi (6’11” & 6'9"), and possibly Cisco (6'7")
all positioned for trade as needed, and TONS of cap-room for deal-making. We’ve got essentially what Denver needs, without giving up our young core,
or our two potential TWO, count them, TWO super-stars.


I remember well when Chris Webber said that he would NEVER, NEVER play in Sacramento! No one is expecting Carmelo to happen here, no one, which is exactly why it could. Melo knows the Kings of old and Arco well
(which, by the way is no longer going to be called Arco...
The new sponsor: Sonnybelfast Arena. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Free tickets for everyone, except for you, whatshurface)
In Sacto, he’s also close enough to Hollywood for his honey’s needs,
without actually having to infect himself.

Yes, Carmelo would look good in purple and black, alongside my new 6'11' Cuz (possible ROY this season) and Reke 6'6" (ROY among roys from last season, and the dude can drive really fast), not to mention Beno (who gives the Lakers fits), plus either Donte or Casspi, and oh, someone who analysts think may have an All-Star break-out season this year, 6'11" Jason Thompson, and several other usable pieces, such as 7' animal shot blocker Whiteside (who is still growing) plus some other serviceable veterans who are trying-out for the team.

And that’s who’s left AFTER a trade, and then some. Near championship calibur? Nope. Not yet. With Carmelo? That would shake it up, and make things interesting, now wouldn’t it?

But with Melo, or without him, the Kings are moving on up, poste haste.

Go Kings!
Go Niners!
Go Giants!
Go Manny, go!

Sonnybelfast

@HOBBITMAGE… “So why wouldn't people want Melo on the Lakers?”
~
That is an excellent question because Melo is definitely a superstar player and he is 6 years younger and could be the Lakers perimeter replacement for Kobe Bryant down the road. There is no doubt that, if the Lakers want to continue their dynasty after Kobe retires, they’ll need to add a dynamic perimeter scorer like Melo.
~
The problem I see with trading for Melo is that the Lakers would have to break up their championship team, which is something I seriously doubt the front office would be willing to do, even if the Denver Nuggets would consider trading Melo to the team that they perceive as their most hated Western Conference rival.
~
I also think that trading for Melo would give the Lakers with the same dilemma that the Miami Heat face with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, specifically two elite scorers who both generally need the ball in their hands most of the time in order to be effective. That’s not a recipe for great team chemistry in my opinion.
~
You say that you would not trade “Kobe, Pau, or Artest,” which implies that you would be willing to trade Bynum and/or Odom in order to run with a starting lineup of Kobe, Fish, Artest, Melo, and Gasol. While that lineup “might” have more offensive firepower, I don’t think it would be anywhere as good defensively.
~
While I am sure neither of us wants to get into any confrontations, I would like to think we were both big enough to put our past difficulties to rest and be able to discuss issues without losing perspective that we are all Lakers fans in the end and after the same thing. In that spirit, I would like to hear your response. :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

He's finally agreed to marry Jeannie

Mark,

Unbelievable. Please delete about three of those posts.
My bad, but unintentional.

Sonnybelfast

Hah guys. Relax. He's talking Friday instead of Saturday to preview the season. My hunch is just so it's easier with so much going on at media day

MM

Phil's big announcement!

He's only going to answer this question once and will not address it during the season. After deep thought and meditation....yes Kobe is better than MJ

My s,s,s,s,s,s,s,same post, p,p,p,p,p,popped up f,f,f,four times.

It's this d,d,d,d,d,damn f,f,f,f,f,finger of m,m,mine.

It wuh,wuh,wuh,won't stop buh,buh,buh,buh, bouncing up and d,d,down.

P,p,p,p,please m,m,m,make them redun,dun,dun, dant.

Th,Th,Th, thank you .

Go K,K,K,Kings!

Sonnbelf,f,f,fast

LRob - Phil's big announcement?

My first thought was, he would put it to rest once and for all.....

Does it "taste great" or is it "Less filling"?

Or perhaps........

Boxers or briefs?

But I know its not "Where's Jimmy Hoffa's body, because he's saving that for his next book.

LakerTom,

:)

you wrote: While I am sure neither of us wants to get into any confrontations, I would like to think we were both big enough to put our past difficulties to rest and be able to discuss issues without losing perspective that we are all Lakers fans in the end and after the same thing. In that spirit, I would like to hear your response.

my response: I consider the past the past and we have moved on. Thanks
for your respect in this matter. In the future, you don't have to bring up our
past conflicts. :)

on to the main points ...

you wrote: The problem I see with trading for Melo is that the Lakers would have to break up their championship team, which is something I seriously doubt the front office would be willing to do, even if the Denver Nuggets would consider trading Melo to the team that they perceive as their most hated Western Conference rival.

my response: We broke up the championship team when we lost Ariza &
signed Artest. My comment was not about *IF* the Nuggets would trade,
but assuming they would trade.

you wrote: You say that you would not trade “Kobe, Pau, or Artest,” which implies that you would be willing to trade Bynum and/or Odom in order to run with a starting lineup of Kobe, Fish, Artest, Melo, and Gasol. While that lineup “might” have more offensive firepower, I don’t think it would be anywhere as good defensively.

my response: Melo is younger than Odom and better than both Odom &
Bynum. I don't believe that either Odom or Bynum is better than Melo
defensively. Stats won't really tell the tale because Bynum is playing w/ Kobe
and next to Pau. Pau is actually a better C than Bynum is, although Bynum
is bigger. The issue is best phrased: Could/Would Melo play more/better
defense on the Lakers than he does on the Nuggets? I'd like to think yes,
based upon what he learned/saw with team USA and also with the Lakers
winning 2 championships in a row because of defense.


you also wrote: I also think that trading for Melo would give the Lakers with the same dilemma that the Miami Heat face with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, specifically two elite scorers who both generally need the ball in their hands most of the time in order to be effective. That’s not a recipe for great team chemistry in my opinion.

my response: I don't agree with you. With Pau at C and Melo at PF, the
Lakers could actually *RUN*. Similar to the Pau/LO combination only
better. You will agree with me that Pau runs much better/more effectively
than Bynum does, right?

The Lakers won 3 championships and contended for a fourth with two
elite scorers in Shaq & Kobe. The team chemistry would be better than
with Shaq because Kobe could actually mentor Melo. This would also
help address the Lakers after Kobe retires. Bynum will always need someone
to feed him. Melo can create his own shots. Melo is far more consistent
than LO is or has ever been.

The issue with Melo & the trade is *not* if the Lakers would be the same. The
issue is *COULD* the Lakers win a championship. Do you really care if the
Lakers win a championship based on offense or defense? Is the primary goal,
to win a championship? *I* am less concerned with *how* we win, and more
concerned *that* we win.

Finally, having Melo would address the OKC threat. Trading Bynum for
Melo, we would become more athletic. Trading LO for Melo, we would
become more consistent.

Do I think the Lakers *need* to trade? Nope. Do I want to trade? I'm
ambivalent. Do I think it would be a good trade? Yes. I don't think you
can go wrong adding a young, elite player to a veteran squad. It extends
the life of the veterans and grooms the young player. Furthermore, I'd
rather face Bynum on an opposing team than face Melo on an opposing
team. I think Bynum is easier to defend against.

How's that? :)

L,L,L,Long L,L,L,Live the Q,Q,Q,Queens!

From Rotoworld:

"Adam Morrison has accepted the Wizards' invitation to training camp.
The former #3 overall pick has a real shot at making the roster since the Wizards currently have just 12 players under contract."

Go Ammo!

Regarding that Melo to the Lakers trade that is about to happen, I mean, just for fun, what is Melo's contract status?
If he chose to opt out, is that just a one year deal?

Anyway, Melo for Odom, Sasha and a rook, absolutely.
Melo for Bynum, umm, that's a tough one, check back in Feb.

How about if Durant was insisting on a trade, who on the Lakes would you trade for him?

@HOBBITMAGE… Thanks for your response and attitude. You made some excellent points. Without getting bogged down in a long-running tit for tat response scenario, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Obviously, trading Drew is not a move that I am ready to support, even for a player as good as Melo. Obviously, we disagree as to Drew’s value to the team and his impact as center versus Pau Gasol. Hopefully, Drew will stay healthy and have a breakout season and our opinions of him will start to synchronize.
~
The great thing about the chemistry we have on this team is that there is no doubt about whose team this is. Pau is not the alpha dog to challenge Kobe’s leadership and Drew is too young and unproven to do so at this point in his career. Maybe I’m in the minority who are not convinced that LeBron and Wade can coexist on the same team over an 82-game regular season plus demanding playoffs, but I still think Kobe and Melo are not a good match together on the same team. Both need to be the alpha player on their team in my opinion.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

>>>Melo will stay in Denver... not by choice, but he'll stick around. Things may
>>>change around the trade dealine after some teams realize their current
>>>roster won't cut the mustard and moves need to be made.

If Melo's still in Denver around the trade deadline, there'll be a fire sale for him.

After Toronto and Cleveland got completely screwed last summer, believing their stars would stay put, there's no way Denver ends this season with Melo still on their roster.

"Guys, I got a media advisory from the Lakers saying that Phil Jackson will have a press conference Friday at 11 a.m.."

Maybe Phil saw what Joe Torre did with the Dodgers and they are going to announce Brian Shaw as his successor after this season? Would somewhat make sense so there's no lame duck issues.

>>>Anyway, Melo for Odom, Sasha and a rook, absolutely

I'd take that deal too, but I doubt Denver will. Sasha is expiring contract, and the two rooks are probably more valuable than future Laker draft picks at the moments.

But they wouldn't want Odom. Reportedly, they only want young players to build around, draft picks, and expiring contracts. MAYBE Bynum would qualify as a young player to build around. maybe. But not Lamar.

But Lamar's pretty reasonably priced, so if you got a third team to take Lamar and send Denver a younger less-pricey player, or an expiring contract and a draft pick, then maybe it could work.

But like I said before, I can't see the Lakers breaking up a championship contender, even to get Carmelo Anthony. Both because it's a chemistry gamble and because Kobe + Pau + Bynum + Carmelo is way too much salary for four players.

Knowing Mitch the way I do, I think a discussion with Denver might start like this.......

An email addressed to the Denver Nuggets: (Using Denver Thuggets would not be a good idea)

To whom it may concern or whoever is running your office and guaranteeing deals now.

I understand you are willing to now consider trading Carmelo Anthony. We are very much interested in taking him off your hands...for the right price of course.

We strongly feel we have what you need at this time.

You want lottery #1 picks? We have them.
You want expiring contracts? We have them.
You want a proven winning Vet(s)? We have them.

Let me make this clear. The Lakers are a full-service, fully functional, top notched trading machine. Not only can we make you a better team and organization, but a Title contending champion in short order. (see Miami Heat, Orlando Magic for references)

For your consideration, we are prepared to offer you the following:

Two (2) #1 lottery picks.

Ebanks and Caracter. Sure they were not 'actual' lottery picks, nor #1's at the time. But according to my best source, the LA Times Lakers Blog, they should have been in those slots. Many NBA scouts agree with them, they were "the steals of the draft".

Cost to you? Minimal 2nd round paper. Not having to pay those high priced first round contracts, but getting lottery-like picks, now that's a deal, way better than expensive #1's, don't you think?!

Two expiring contracts.

Sasha V. and Luke Walton. Both have been to the Finals multiple times and are proven winners. Sasha's contract will expire next year while Luke's will take a few more to expire. (Maybe sooner with a valuable injury/retiring exemption....)

One or two vets of your choice - For salary trade equalization

As long as it doesn't include any of the following. Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Fisher, Artest, Blake.**
**Barnes may be available, depending on the outcome of his indictment.

With training camps starting soon, it would be to both our mutual advantages to consummate this possible trade ASAP.

With you in making the NBA a better place for all.

Mitch Kupchak

CC. Jerry, Jim, Jeannie, Phil, Fatty

Buss is riding Bynum all the way. He's a gambler, but he's not dumb enough to break up the best Defensive and Offensive team in the League.
Denver wouldn't take Odom and the rooks, so that is out.
Even if a trade could work out, Melo wouldn't like being the third or fourth option on the team because our offense still works inside- out.
More importantly, as LongTimeLakerFan stated, there's not enough money to paythe top four players.

Maybe if Buss could convince Melo that he and Bynum will be the future of the Lakers in a few years when Kobe and Pau are ready to hand over the reigns, AND Denver decides that Odom and the Rooks are enough, it could work.

You people making jokes about Paula Pierce be advised. She's keeping notes!

MM, did I miss the profile on Mamba24 and Justanothermambafan? With pictures. Posted by: JUSTA HATER | September 21, 2010 at 03:01 PM
*
Damnit those virtual wedding pictures take so long to be processed and sent back. But all good things come in time sir. Be patient. While you are waiting you can send a wedding gift. Lol!

Art-,

Regarding that Melo to the Lakers trade that is about to happen, I mean, just for fun, what is Melo's contract status?
If he chose to opt out, is that just a one year deal?
[no way if one year deal. He has to sign extension]

Anyway, Melo for Odom, Sasha and a rook, absolutely.

[Rook would have to be Ebanks (which I would hate to see but..) because if you send Odom and DC you give up 2 PFs and gain a sf which creates bigger jam at sf. Give up too much bulk and create logjam. Would include future 1st round
pick and Sasha.]
Melo for Bynum, umm, that's a tough one, check back in Feb.
[Nope pass]

How about if Durant was insisting on a trade, who on the Lakes would you trade for him?

[Again package of same as above but one or the other rook but probably Ebanks again because Durant can play guard/sf.
Maybe throw in another 1st and/or second rounder or Barnes if mid season trade. Can't trade Barnes now I think because of CBA. Correct me if I am wrong on that.]

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | September 21, 2010 at 01:39 PM

Kobe stuff,

Kobe To Devin Ebanks: Wear My Black Mambas
By
Jeff, TRW Staff Writer
– September 21, 2010Posted in: 2010-11 Rookies, Featured Stories, Lakers

Training camp for the NBA is starting up soon, so most rookies are in their new home towns. That includes the Lakers’ Devin Ebanks, who was one of the team’s second round picks. Apparently the newest Laker had his first encounter with Kobe Bryant.

We’ve heard of rookies having to carry bags, buy breakfast, and other duties, but this is the first we’ve heard of a player requiring a rookie to buy their merchandise. Jordan Crawford suggested Devin follow Kobe’s advice, and all of us at The Rookie Wall would suggest the same. We wouldn’t want to hear Kobe bad mouthing Devin, like he did Andrew Bynum a few years back. It is worth noting that Tiny gallon wouldn’t have been quite as receptive to the advice.
Share


Update,

Anthony Roberson invited to Los Angeles Lakers training camp
Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 3:26 PM Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 3:32 PM
The Saginaw News staff
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Anthony Roberson

Former Saginaw High and Florida star Anthony Roberson will compete in the Los Angeles Lakers training camp, which begins Saturday.

The Lakers invited Roberson, who has played in the NBA, NBDL and overseas after a college career at Florida. Roberson has played for Memphis, Golden State, the New York Knicks and Chicago.

He was invited to the Lakers camp in 2009, but was cut and played in France.


examiner.com: Roberson, a combo guard with good range and quick off-the-dribble moves to the basket, has split his professional basketball time between the NBA, NBDL, and overseas.


Roberson played college basketball for the University of Florida, scoring 16.2 points per game and 2.6 assists before declaring for the 2005 NBA Draft after his junior year.


so sad Doc rivers still hasn't learned how to be quiet.

i'm a laker fan so I might be bias but I don't think the lebron, wade thing is going to be as effective as most people think. the key to miami is going to be whether or not bosh steps up. if bosh plays well then the heat will be scary.

I take the example of the laker team after shaq left. Its not a perfect axample but as close to one as i am familiar with. We got Lamar and Butler playing with Kobe. Butler and Kobe played lights out basketball together, obviously Butler is no wade or james, but we still had kobe next to him and he scored well. but lamar was a big disappointment. We accept him now as he is, a 6th man but back then he was expected to be an All-star and that never happened.

If Bosh is not an all-star then the heat will suffer like the lakers did during those times. no inside presence, both on d and offense. no championship. i see a likely scenario of the heat trading wade or lebron in the next couple years to get better team balance, match up and chemistry. Probably Lebron, he'll want to go bandwagon hunting for a championship he for some reason does not have the confidence to build around himself.

My Eastern Conference predictions:

Boston - they will implode because of injuries and cus they are simply too old. Rondo will keep them fresh and running but the old guys will began to feel their age. They might start the season well but by the all-star break they will
realize mentally what their body were telling them. They are old and they don't have it anymore. Then they will find that Shaq is not only old but also lazy. Its downhill after that. They make the playoffs as the 5th seed and get knocked out by the 4th seed. Doc gets fired, Allen retires, and Garnett goes bandwagon hunting. Pu**y Paula hangs around cus he don't mind playing around crap teams as the team rebuilds around Rondo.

Miami Heat - they will fall somewhere in the playoffs before the finals. Too bad the Lakers are waiting for them. The main impotence is that this team has no leader. Its going to be a case of "oh I thought you were going to shoot it, or rebound it, or cover it." They lose not because someone played so bad or made a bad play but they lose because no one wants to take responsibility. Sure they all want the accolades but which one of them is also willing to risk taking on the critisism and doing the little things that are not necessarily popular or even politically correct.
We have Kobe. He is responsible for the Good, Bad and ugly. The Shaq debacle, the bad teams with smush and kwame, and now the championships and the mvps. its always on kobe and he takes it on like a champion, a warrior and a man. These dudes in Miami just don't have it. they are too into their own image. their jersey's will sell the most and they will be popular but for some reason in the playoffs they will encounter some "bad luck" and not win.

Orlando - if Howard wipes that goofy "i'm such a nice guy" smile off his face then the Magic has a chance to meet the Lakers again.

Chicago - one of these new and exciting young teams will be the ones to knock out boston or miami. i think it might be the bulls.


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