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Phil Jackson brings changes to practice sessions

Every few seconds, the shrill sound of a whistle reverberated throughout the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. Because the practice session was closed to the media, it remained unclear what prompted Coach Phil Jackson or perhaps his assistants Jim Cleamons, Brian Shaw, Frank Hamblen and Chuck Person to blow their whistles so frequently. But accounts from Jackson and his players make it presumably safe to conclude that the coaching staff's frequent use of the whistle served as an audio reminder that this practice would be different than others.

The Lakers' 2½-hour practice emphasized the re-teaching of defensive concepts because of the staff's displeasure with the team's poor communication on screen-and-rolls and help defense, poor rotations and poor transition defense. All those factors have contributed to the Lakers (23-11) entering Tuesday's game at Staples Center against the Detroit Pistons allowing 97.68 points per game, which ranks 15th overall out of 30 teams. "The message was we have to respond with better energy defensively," Jackson summed up.

The practice session involved, according to center Andrew Bynum, the team having to make 82 layups within a span of two minutes. It took the team six times before successfully completing the drill. Jackson remarked that the team trading Sasha Vujacic to the New Jersey Nets for Joe Smith, and Devin Ebank's recent departure to the Development League made the drill more difficult for team to complete than in training camp. But it's telling that conditioning remains an issue 34 games into the season. "Much more aggressive," Bynum described before saying he was going to recover by sitting in a hot tub. "Much more teaching going on as far as the defensive side of basketball, and we played 5-on-5 today."

But that's not all. There were more undisclosed running drills and more focus on sharpening fundamental concepts surrounding the triangle offense, a practice Lakers forward Lamar Odom described as "pretty hard" and "intense." "I don't know if we were doing that for conditioning or punishment," Odom said. "But hopefully it worked."

Jackson sure hopes so. He says the prolonged run-heavy practice doesn't point to the Lakers (23-11) losing four of their last six games so much as it was for the reasons why they lost. Even if Jackson's main objective served as a teaching tool, however, it still deviates from his original plan in limiting practice to ensure long-term health and energy. With the Lakers currently ranking fourth in the West, trailing San Antonio (29-4) by 6.5 games for the top spot in the Western Conference and also falling below Dallas (25-8) and Utah (24-11) by 2.5 games and a .5 game, respectively, Jackson reached a tipping point in wanting to rectify the damage before the Lakers fall too far in the standings.

"The idea is to get them through the season in the best possible shape in the best possible placing in the conference," Jackson said. "But we don't have a lot of room to make things up. We have a home schedule right now and we've lost games on our home floor. We have to make hay right now when we can. It's important for us to finish in a position where we at least have home court advantage ... in the first round of the playoffs, for sure. Those things are important for us and we understand that."

That certainly contrasts to Jackson's sentiments about training camp on why he was conducted only one two-a-day session. "We found them unproductive in the long run in the wear and tear of the guy's bodies," Jackson said as camp opened. "We've found with veteran players it's negative return," Jackson reiterated the following day on Sept. 27.

This doesn't mean Jackson took the wrong approach. The coach sat out Kobe Bryant for most practices because his track record showed he didn't need it much and that it'd help ensure a stronger recovery and longevity on his surgically repaired right knee. He also held out forward Pau Gasol and Odom for select sessions because they led the team in minutes to stave off Bynum's absence for the first 24 games while recovering from off-season surgery on his right knee. Jackson also granted the team days off before select games with mixed success, including double-digit victories against Golden State, a mail-it-in win against Minnesota, a loss to Denver and the recent loss to Memphis. That prompted Jackson to rethink whether he should change that strategy, showing that poor performances in December and January indeed create long-term implications.

It doesn't mean the Lakers' championship hopes are doomed. Bryant pointed out rather succinctly that the team's current struggles by no means compare to the team's three-peat years in 1999-2002, which featured plenty of Kobe-Shaq turmoil. "We had some deep-seated issues. That was a very dysfunctional group," Bryant said. "This is not that."

Guard Derek Fisher, who's won five rings with Bryant, said: "If there were things that were happening where we felt we could be better and we were playing as good as we could play and we were still getting beat up pretty good, then to me there is a reason to worry. But because there is so much room for improvement and doing things better, we don't feel like with our recent struggles this is what is going to define who we are."

Still, perhaps the biggest error in assessing the Lakers' current struggles involves the commentary that "They'll turn it around come playoff time." That very well might happen and the team's track record indicates that scenario could play out, but the Lakers have to begin a destination point that will take them to that level. Jackson's decision to hold more frequent and longer practices serves as one example of that effort.

But the players emphasized that this won't immediately erase all the problems. Fisher also pointed out preparation also takes place outside of practice. Jackson suggested that there are unnamed players distracted by what he called "outside activity." And strong practices last week before the Miami game and San Antonio game proved very little. But it's at least a step.

"It looks pretty grim right now," Bryant said. "But I like the way we're working. We really worked hard today."

 -- Mark Medina

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What about Duct Tape? That always works.

In who's dictionary or in who's bizarro world does the word "SCREW UP" also mean "CRANK IT UP"??!!

Just another example of phil being phil.. He knows he screwed up and instead of admitting up to it he offers more play on words.. More phil arguing semantics and people buying it.. ARE YOU??

Yesterday I posted how much hapiness, joy and glory the Lakers have given me, since I became a Hard Core fan in 1979. To expand on that, to give you a visual on how awesome this team have been...

Since 1979 my Lakers have given me:

All NBA Players: 26

All NBA Defense:
1rst Team - 16
2nd Team - 10

NBA All Rookie Team:
1rst Team - 5
2nd Team - 3

Defensive Player of the Year: 1

Executive of the Year: 1

Coach of the Year: 1

Allstar Players: 59

Allstar MVP: 9

Slam Dunk Champ: 1

Players Enshrined in HOF: 6

Jerseys Retired: 3

Chick Hearn: Retired Mic/Statue

Playoff Series Played: 64
Won - 45
Lost - 19

Best Postseason Record: 15-1

Finals Played: 18
Win - 10
Lost - 6

Finals MVP - 10

Olympic Gold - 3

World Championships - 1

European Champions - 1

Well does this open your eyes...Does this show how spoiled we are...

Yes we are in a bad slump...3 game losing streak...4 game losing streak...Team is not in sync...

Hard to believe how vicious and hateful some fans get...

LOOK at the over all picture...Are you worried about this Franchise, it's owners, players, coach and front office...

Be serious...since I have been a LAKERHOLIC...We missed the playoffs...a big 2 times...

So the feeble, doubting and hating fans...GET SOME PERSPECTIVE...

Don't Hate...Congratulate!!!

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up!!!

The one thing that is very clear after listening to these interviews is...............things are very unclear.

A lot of confusion from this team right now as they all spoke with a lot of cliches and generalities but not one person including the coach has their finger on the pulse of this team.

Most of it is Phil Jackson's fault as he seems to be implementing a "fly by the seat of your pants" approach to practice. Please someone tell me what does making 82 layups in 2 minutes have to do with correcting fundamental principals? Those are the things you stress in Jr. highschool ................

The Lakers problems are as Kobe has been saying for months .......DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING...............How a team led by Phil Jackson can just now start emphasizing defensive principals in January is mind-boggling. What makes matters worse is when he addresses this issue of defense ...........Phil says nothing............a lot of mumbo jumbo............nothing specific. For instance .............the biggest problem that occurs defensively with Pau and Bynum on the floor together is "TRANSITION DEFENSE"..................which just happens to have been the biggest problem the other night. How are you addressing that Phil? With a layup drill?

Combine those two with the slow footed Derek Fisher who plays "porn star" defense by giving up so much penetration up the middle and you have a problem that "practice" simply will not solve.

These problems are specific that either Phil doesn't address or he's never asked about. The bottom line .......................The Lakers are in trouble.

Partial repost:

hobbit - that snippet (and the article - from the previous thread) wasn't discussing why Kobe will never be as good as MJ at all. Not sure I understand your point. Would you mind explaining? Thanks.

LRob - thanks for having my back, my friend.

Lew - Nice post above. It's true - perspective is your friend. Also - nope. No ASG tix. I'm not getting any preferential treatment as far as I can tell LOL!

MM - thanks very much.

Well then, in that case

I want to see Pau screw it up some more.
God knows I want to see Fisher and Artest screw it WAY up.
And I want to see Brown screw it down, actually.

For *coach* Jackson

@LEWSTERS… That was a great post, Lew. It really puts into perspective how great it has been to be a Lakers fan. So many great players, games, and moments that you easily forget what pleasure we have been gifted with. Compare that to being a fan of any other team.
@PFUNK… “Combine those two with the slow footed Derek Fisher who plays "porn star" defense by giving up so much penetration up the middle and you have a problem that "practice" simply will not solve.” Even though you called me an idiot, I thought that was pretty funny. Wonder whether you want the Lakers to win or whether you prefer to be “right” about Phil.

And we all know Kobe really knows what Phil meant
and its not cranking up your game.
Kobe's just taking the hi road on this like he did with shaq for so long.


I apologize for calling you an idiot...............I get a little carried away sometimes :- )

pfunk - buddy - that's good of you to apologize to LakerTom. We ALL get carried away sometimes, and it's easy to say stuff on here we may regret. That said, we're a family of sorts - crazy and dysfunctional - but Laker family nonetheless. I do have a question though - do you just cut and paste your current comments from last year? They seem to be the same...but yet...the Lakers WON! Twice! With PJ doing the same stuff! LOL - just messing with you pfunk - just cuz I can :) Hope you're having a good day - look forward to seeing you on the game chat!


Sir, I have finally shed a tear out of pride for the team rather than (at least recently) volcanic rage or hopeless despair.

A much needed reminder of how spoiled we really are. We could be Blazer fans.


@PFUNK… No problem, my friend. We’ve been blogging here together for a long time and I think we all get carried away at times. In the end, we all want the Lakers to win. Right?

In the article above MM wrote:

"The coach sat out Kobe Bryant for most practices because his track record showed he didn't need it..."

Is something missing here? I can understand Kobe didn't need the practice, sort of.

What seems to be missing is that if the whole team isn't practicing together, then when they play a game they get out of sync because now Kobe is in the game.

I don't mean to be hard on Kobe because he doesn't practice, that isn't the point. The point is the whole team needs to practice together so when they play the games they have some continuity that comes from the practice.

When they practice defense, in practice is Kobe playing center field like in the actual games? Is this addressed? Not if he isn't practicing.

And sometimes Pau doesn't participate in practice, sometimes LO isn't there.

It's no wonder this team seems out of sync so often. It's because they are out of sync. They need to practice together, learn how each other moves and responds, practice strategies, practice to improve or build upon muscle memory, etc.

I guess maybe KobeMVP has been right all along, this Laker team is using the actual games to for practice. Perhaps in the past that may have worked but in this years NBA that is not going to lead to Rings at the end.

Instead of using actual games to see which players produce the best results by mixing and matching different teammates during practice, they are using the actual games to try and determine this.

Practice, practice, practice.

And Phil should put a lid on the outside distractions, commercials, reality TV shows, whatever. Stay focused on the task at hand, do that other stuff in the off season.


I definitely would love to be wrong about Phil Jackson..............but I can't ignore the overwhelming evidence that suggest with the exception of the "Dos Equis" man...............Phil Jackson may be the Luckiest man to ever live.

Phil Jackson reminds me of the Chevy Chase character from the Vacation movie in the scene where he falls asleep at the wheel and gets in near accident after near accident but somehow wound up at his chance.

If Phil Jackson forgot to place a stamp on his letter you get the sense that it would still get to it's destination............somehow

With that being said he also reminds me "Keyser Sose" from the Usual Suspects movies.............When Phil is conducting interviews about the Lakers problems............little does anyone suspect.............he IS the problem

Morning Everyone!

LRob -

thanks for the love. I thought it would be a humorous posting, especially since I don't really know how to do it (yet). I'll have to work on it before I head across the pond. :-)

Morning Crue/Morning Posters -

I hope you are having a great tuesday so far. Hopefully it will be an even better one when the Lake show beats Detroit.

Does anyone have a complete 4th quarter link to game 7? Youtube got rid of my favorite game 7 videos, and I feel the need to revisit that game for the 30th or so time.

Thanks in advance!


- Is Phil a great coach? - YES
- Is there a better coach out there for this veteran Laker team? - NO
- Is Phil manipulative? - YES
- Does Phil have a history of deflecting blame away from himself by continually throwing the best player of our generation, Kobe, under the bus? - YES, YES and YES

-- Let's look at some history. After failing to win a championship for two straight years with the two best players of our generation (Kobe and Shaq), Phil throws Kobe under the bus by writing a book, which violated virtually every locker room code known to man. The only locker room code that Phil did NOT violate was posting nude shower photos of his players in the book. Phil does not need the money, the book was simply an attempt to shift all the blame to Kobe.

-- Let's go back to the Smush/Kwame/Cook era. Phil tried to implement "team ball" with these D-League scrubs, but the strategy was not working, and the team was in danger of missing the playoffs. To Phil's credit, he and the coaching staff adjusted, and knew there was only ONE way to make the playoffs with these scrubs, and that was to turn Kobe loose, forget the Triangle, forget passing the ball to Kwame and Smush, and simply play Kobe Ball..... and guess what? It worked. Yet, throughout the season, Phil continued to make jabs to the media about Kobe's shot attempts, Kobe veering away from team ball, etc. despite the fact that "Kobe Ball" was Phil's strategy to begin with. It's a clever way of hedging your bets. If the strategy fails, the media will blame Kobe (like they always do), and Phil will come out looking like the victim once again, as he did in his book.

- And now, we come to Phil this season, throwing the two time Finals MVP under the bus yet again. This team has some real issues - lack of team speed and transition buckets, poor transition defense, poor pick and roll defense, Artest's health, Fish's struggles, Pau looking tired, Bynum's health, Kobe's health, etc. And just like last season, Kobe's shot attempts are the LEAST of the Laker's problems. Kobe has shown time and time again, that he will do what he thinks is best for the TEAM. The Lakers scored under 40 points in the first half with Kobe trying to get his teammates going, yet Medina and the other brainwashed sheep continue to blame Kobe's shot attempts for the team's struggles (just like they did ALL of last season). HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? How can the greatest player of our generation, arguably the greatest offensive force since Wilt, the back to back finals MVP, a five time champion, who has forced ALL of his critics to eat crow over and over again, still be criticized for his shot attempts? How can this be? Answer - look no further than Phil.

Those of us who have played on championship teams at some level know that there are two things above all that seriously get your attention that things are going to

1) The coach makes a change to a long-standing starting lineup.

2) The coach makes a change to your practice routine, and in particular to the conditioning aspects of it.

So, even though Phil hasn't done anything about #1, the fact he has significantly altered #2 is a big deal, and especially to a veteran team. Count me among those who think the lax practice routine to date has had a HUGE negative impact on the team's performance to date. Skipped practice days after games, key players frequently not required to practice, relaxed practice formats, etc. These things reinforce a really bad message: everything's cool, no big deal if we occasionally lose, we're talented enough to adjust and get it together when we need to.

The fact is that even (especially?) talented teams need to keep instilling and reinforcing discipline, fundamentals, attention to detail, and commitment to the mission. The Lakers haven't been doing that, and it really shows. As many have pointed out, they have learned bad habits, and now, those bad habits are deeply ingrained and very difficult to unlearn. Disciplined, intense practices, with specific practice objectives to correct bad habits will go a long way toward re-instilling good habits. There was no greater practice coach...ever...than John Wooden. Phil, as great as his results are, might do well to learn from "Coach".

So, yes, pfunk, there is indeed a darn good reason why a simple layup drill can have a major positive effect. It begins with the learned imperative, "Because I said so, and you are going to do what I say exactly the way I say or someone else is going to be taking your spot in the lineup"...and moves on from there to better conditioning, development of quick reactions, skill development, etc.


Great Post!! However, I do think there could be a better coach for the Lakers.............Doc Rivers has a Veteran team and he is doing a great job and they all seem to respect him..........and most importantly there is no drama in Boston...........even with Shaq on the team

EXCELLENT post- my favorite line:
"Don't hate.... Congratulate!"

Excellent points about the WHOLE team not practicing together. I too am sick of Kobe playing his "free safety" defense. He nees to be told that this is not working because he doesn't see it himself.

I just watched the Lakers Classic game from this past Sunday night where Kobe drained 12 threes. Even when he was having a great scoring night, he still stuck like glue to his man on defense.

As for tonight, I feel the begining of a seven game win streak about to happen.

Forgot to add my first music selection of the day- we need the Lakers to get out of their funk by bringing us the positive funk!:


So you agree with me...............Phil Jackson and his relaxed practices thus far are the reasons the Lakers play relaxed??

I wonder if it's too late to jump in the LeBron James sweepstakes. As much as I hate to admit it, he's the present and future of the NBA for the next decade or so. It's not just the Christmas game I'm talking about. If you watched him this season, you'll see how what he did in Cleveland was not a fluke and if you look at the Cavs record this year (worst in the golly!) from how they had the best record in the league the past 2 years with LeBron, you get a good idea of what this young man brings to the table.

We have a good month before the trade deadline to make this work. I think a fair trade would be LeBron for Kobe and Drew. There is no way Miami would take a straight LeBron for Kobe deal but Drew would entice them to strengthen their interior against Boston, who are having their own troubles right now. I know the salaries won't be balanced so Miami would have to throw in some of their minimum salary players, which is basically anyone not named James, Wade or Bosh. So we have our pick from Juwan Howard, Eric Dampier, Carlos Arroyo, Damon Jones, Big Z, etc. Not Mike Miller though, I think he's a $5 million man, though we could just take him instead of a bunch of minimums, but I prefer taking their hard-working bench. Probably draft picks won't come into the equation since Miami's draft picks will be garbage for the next 10 years.

Now I know Kobe has a "no-trade clause" in his contract (bad move Jerry), but there's gotta be a way to convince him. In Miami, he plays for the best team in the East, almost a shoo-in to get into the Finals this year. With the Lakers, we'd be lucky to get out starting at the second round, getting matched up with the Mavs or if our season really tanks we'll see the Spurs, both teams playing better than us by miles. We might even see a 1st round matchup against the Thunder again which could prove fatal.

So bottom line is Kobe has a better chance at a title this year with the Heat. He can play the 3 while Wade plays the 2 with Bosh at the 4 and Drew at the 5. Who's at the 1 for the Heat doesn't really matter.

Now then if we get LeBron plus some of the Heat's hard-working bench, we have a shot for our 3-peat! LeBron just confounds the rest of the league with his talent, skills and ability, and no team has the match-up for his strength, quickness and explosiveness. You put Fisher/Blake at the 1, LeBron at the 2, Artest at the 3, Lamar at the 4 and Pau at the 5. Can you imagine that line-up! Odom deserves to be the starter and with Drew gone to Miami, he will be.

With LeBron as strong and versatile that he is, you can even put him at the 3, and put Lamar and Artest intertwined at the 2 and 4, to confound our opponents and depending on the match-up against the other teams. Sounds crazy but Odom can play 4 positions well, and we only really need Artest for defense so it doesn't really matter where we put him on offense, just that he's open for the occasional wild 3 pointer. With LeBron on our team, I don't think that will even happen that much.

If we do end up playing the Heat in the Finals, I believe LeBron will bring us over the top. We would need Pau to be more aggressive against Bosh, we would probably put Artest on Drew to get in his head, Lamar can take on Miller, Barnes will take on Wade and LeBron will take on Kobe. I'm confident we will win this match-up.

Remember Lakerz Nation, we're LAKER FANS, not necessarily Kobe-fans. As much as I loved Kobe for what he's brought us over the years, one player does not a team make. And once he's with the Heat, all bets are off, just like Shaq a half decade ago.


But the players emphasized that this won't immediately erase all the problems. Fisher also pointed out preparation also takes place outside of practice. Jackson suggested that there are unnamed players distracted by what he called "outside activity."
Anyone care to shed some light on the above?

I'm with Mark G.

Duct tape is the answer.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


@ Lakerz4Life24,




Even if Miami would agree upon this "trade," why would Kobe want to do this?
He has lead this same squad to 3 straight Finals appearances, loves the Lakers organization(and wants to retire here), and flies a helicopter to work, just so his wife can live in Orange County.

Also, Miami is rolling right now, with 11 straight road wins. Riles and Co. spent many weeks putting their super team together and are going to give them at least one full season together before they make any drastic changes. I think this summer, they would consider moving Bosh for a real low post player. LeCreep and Wade will be together for a long time.

Yes, we are in a slump now, but NO TEAM wants to meet up with us in the playoffs when we are playing TEAM basketball.


So you agree with me...............Phil Jackson and his relaxed practices thus far are the reasons the Lakers play relaxed??

Posted by: pfunk36 | January 04, 2011 at 10:33 AM"

Yes. And I disagree with your contention that the drills are inconsequential.

But above all, dude, I love some of your descriptive characterizations. You should trademark "porn defense". Awesome. Perfect. Keep 'em coming...the descriptive terms, not the porn defense.


Now that's a daring post.
I don't think Buss would trade Kobe, no way.
But playing along, I think the Heat with Kobe in place of Labron would kill the Lakers.
Artest cover Bynum? Horrible mismatch.
Pau as the C? He would be wasted by the Finals and Drew is too strong for him let alone Bosh. Did you watch the Xmas day game?
Yes, Labron would get his, no one on Miami could stop him, but I don't think there would be enough help from the rest.
Under your scenario I think Miami with HCA wins in 4-5.

Giving them Bynum is too much if Bynum stays healthy, but it would be a steal if Bynum gets injured again.

I do agree with your comments about Labron, as much as I don't like him as a person as a BB player he is remarkably talented.

Also agree with you that most of us are Laker fans first so I certainly wouldn't criticize your idea in that sense. I just think it wouldn't put the Lakers over the top.

And besides, why should Miami do it?
They have won 18 of their last 19 and they are gellin' and rollin'.

Wow's January and the Lakers are "Lakers' 2½-hour practice emphasized the re-teaching of defensive concepts"...say what! Way to earn that 12 mil Phil!!

ART Fl Laker Fan - You bring up a good point about Kobe not practicing and that's why I asked Phil about the idea of his philosophy of trying to rest up for later on in the season coming to a crossroads with his decision to have tougher practices right now. He acknowledged the tough spot the Lakers are in, but he said at this point the Lakers have to start digging out of a hole quickly and can't just presume things will work out. That's why he's going down the practice route to help foster that chemistry again. I presume that if the Lakers get their kinks out, it'll go back to what it was before. As you guys just hear with Caron Butler of Dallas being out because of injury, that's the last thing the Lakers can afford

Hoping lakers can pick it up tonite against Detroit ,they are still a great team need to stert playing as a team, everyone can not be the star.

mclyne and Art - FL Laker Fan,

You guys make some good points. First to mclyne, now about the point that the Heat would want to move Bosh this summer, personally I think they have found their man in Bosh. While he may not be a real low post player like Blake Griffin, he is working within their offense being like a slightly more manly version of Pau. He plays the finesse game, has a soft shot, though Pau plays better with his back to the basket. But the Heat have a center situation similar to the 96-98 Bulls where it was a "three-headed monster". They got Big Z, Joel Anthony and Eric Dampier on rotation. None of these guys have much offensive talent (anymore), but they are big bodies that can grab rebounds on both ends and focus on defense. Big Z is the only one that has a nice shot but his All-Star days are long over. But the three of them combined and their presence in the paint allows Bosh to play his game.

Now I know Pat Riley would give his left arm to trade Bosh for Blake Griffin, but their contracts are too far apart to happen with Bosh having a near-max contract while Blake is on his rookie deal. The only way it would work is if the Clippers threw in Baron Davis with his bloated contract though I'm not sure if the Heat would want to take him on. Having said that, Riley might think it would be worth it to get Griffin, and I believe Davis's contract expires around the same time that Griffin would be getting his extension so it may work. Donald Sterling has been dying to get rid of Davis somehow and getting Chris Bosh in return might be intriguing to him.

Now Art - FL Laker Fan, yes, there might be some mismatches, but nothing that our Lakers can't overcome. We can easily put Artest on Bosh and leave Pau on Bynum. I think Artest can naturally cover Bosh, but I think he would be effective on Drew as well. No he doesn't have the size, but he has the mental edge and he's much quicker than Drew. It's like when Rodman used to cover the best big man on the other team whether it was a 4 or a 5. Of course he'd get help in the paint and yes, if Drew goes down before the Finals, it would be a non-issue.

Pau on Bosh would be natural and I think he just needs to work on his defense a bit more so we don't have a repeat of the Christmas game. It was painful for me to see Bosh getting his easy dunks and put backs and a lot of those rebounds just came to him. If Pau and Artest play how they can and should, I don't think Bosh could be a match for us.

Now as to why either team would want to trade LeBron for Kobe, for us, it's obvious. Kobe has maybe 2-3 years left as an elite player while LeBron could play for another 10 years. He's bigger and stronger than Kobe and it's not far-fetch to think he could still play at an All-NBA level until he's 35 or 36. Look at Karl Malone. LeBron has a simlar but slimmer physique though I think he's more athletic.

Now getting Riley to agree may be trickier but let's face it, Kobe has marquee value. He's still the best player in the game until someone knocks him off his throne, and that's by winning a championship. Kobe has the experience and know-how of how to win multiple championships. Pat understands that. Shaq was already over-the-hill when he went to the Heat in 94 but he brought his championship know-how. The Heat might have won their first championship in 95 already if Wade didn't go down with his injury against the Pistons in the ECFs. LeBron has been to the Finals but has a reputation of not being able to finish. His lack of experience besides not having another winner on his team with the Cavs brought his downfall there and this lack of championship-winning experience could be his detriment to the Heat.

Now with our team, we don't need that championship experience from LeBron like the Heat needs because we have Phil Jackson, we have Fisher, and we have our veteran team that's won two titles including Pau and Lamar. We just need a new explosive all-time talented player that can bring us over the top again.

I'm not in love with this trade and there's nothing more I would want than for us to keep our team together and still be winning like the old days. But the reality is it looks like we need major changes, and if we want to keep our three-peat hopes alive, we need to make these changes before the trade deadline next month. I'm not worried that the Celtics will win #18 as the Heat will take them out, but I am worried about us getting our #17 and tying us with the Celtics. And after Phil is gone next season, who knows what will happen? We need to win this year and to prepare for the future as well.




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