What a Lakers contract with fans might look like
First, much to the frustration of Lakers fans, the Warriors hired Jerry West in what will be an advisory role in the Warriors' management group. As West made clear to reporters, he wants to strike a balance -- not taking complete control of front-office decisions, but not being just a figurehead either. Second, the Warriors hired agent Bob Myers as the general-manager-in-waiting and have gone through an extensive search to replace Coach Keith Smart, including looking at Lakers assistant coaches Brian Shaw and Chuck Person as possibilities. And third, Golden State drafted a contract of promises for season-ticket holders, including a guarantee that the Warriors would make the 2012 playoffs, field at least one player in the 2012 NBA All-Star game, win at least 25 home games and offer a risk-free renewal with a 5%-interest-guarantee option for the 2011-2012 season.
The Lakers aren't exactly in the same state of rebuilding as the team in the Bay Area, but they've also been going through a coaching search, possibly naming Mike Brown as Phil Jackson's successor. There are also certainly plenty of reasons the Lakers don't feel good about their 2010-2011 performance. Consider Jerry Buss' statement in an interview Tuesday with Michael Eaves and Bonnie-Jill Laflin on Sirius XM satellite radio about the Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals: "It was hard to come to a conclusion that any team could ever beat the Lakers. It was very disappointing and humiliating. But when you get slapped around like that, there’s a lot of resolve and teams come back fighting to get back on top."
Clearly, it wouldn't hurt if the Lakers wrote their own contract for next season. Sure, the Lakers aren't quite in the same disarray as the Warriors, who are trying to become a contending playoff team. But there are a few things that could be written in stone to ease the minds of not just season-ticket holders but all Lakers fans. Below the jump are a few of them -- some realistic, some wacky.
1. THE CLUB will win the 2012 NBA championship.
2. THE CLUB will hire a worthy successor to Phil Jackson.
3. THE CLUB won't tolerate the team failing to bring its best effort every game. That means off-court ventures are only acceptable if the team is winning.
4. THE CLUB won't accept the Lakers taking physical cheap shots at players. We will avoid this by never losing in embarrassing fashion and making sure that we don't suddenly become a carbon copy of the Boston Celtics.
5. THE CLUB will erect a statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before the end of the season, featuring his legendary skyhook. After that, it will put plans in place to ensure that Elgin Baylor gets his statue too.
6. THE CLUB doesn't need to guarantee a player will make the 2012 NBA All-Star team. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are locks. But it will guarantee that Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum will earn a nod.
7. THE CLUB will ensure that Bryant and Bynum stay healthy.
8. THE CLUB will do what it takes to secure free agents next offseason, in Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and/or Deron Williams. But it's not going to accept just any offer. It's the Lakers, after all.
9. THE CLUB will find a loophole to get out of Luke Walton's contract.
10. THE CLUB will drop its Time Warner Cable deal. Sure the 20-year deal starting in 2012 gives it as much as $3 billion. But it can't ignore the 1.6 million fans that watch the games for free.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Jerry West. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press