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Caught in the Web: Ettore Messina reportedly joining Mike Brown's coaching staff

--The Times' Bill Plaschke argues the Lakers should've treated Brian Shaw with more respect.

--The Times' Chris Dufresne explains how the Lakers' disappointing season served as just one example of a mediocre year for L.A. sports. 

--ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher and Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus report Ettore Messina has agreed to join Mike Brown's coaching staff.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andrew Kamenetzky analyzes the Lakers' poor outside shooting and considers it a highly important area to improve.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues the Lakers need better point guard production.

--The San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami shares some memorable stories covering Shaq.

--Former Laker Mark Madsen shares his Top 10 Shaq stories.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller wonders if Kurt Rambis regrets coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves considering he might be in a better position to coach the Lakers.

--ESPN's Stephen A. Smith highlights Shaq's personality.

--Sports Illustrated considers Magic Johnson game-winning hook shot in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics as one of the top Finals moments.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano reflects on Shaquille O'Neal's career.

Tweet of the Day:"This series should be required to go to seven." -- ESPNLandoLakers (ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky on the NBA Finals)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day:"Here's why the Lakers need to hold out hope for Dwight Howard. When looking at the championship teams over the last 30 years all of them have had one of the top 5 players in the league...except the 2004 Pistons...and maybe the Bad Boys Pistons although Zeke could've been considered a top 5 player even though he wasn’t voted to the all-NBA teams during those years. Whoever wins the championship this year will continue that tradition. Will Kobe be one of the top 5 in 2012? How about 2013? How about Pau? No way. Drew?

Nope. Hence, the Lakers need to use their assets (Pau/Drew/LO) to obtain a top 5 player. Are CP3 or Deron Williams top 5 players? If playing very well they both could be top 10 players, but like Tom Daniels stated in his excellent post (6:56am) elite PG’s under 6-9 have not added up to championships recently. DHoward is the player the Lakers want to make sure they’re in a position to get if/when he tells Orlando he’s not re-signing. (Earlier this week Howard went on record saying he will not sign an extension until his team proves it’s a championship contender). With the big 3 in Miami and the emergence of Chicago, I can’t see how Orlando is going to prove to Dwight they’re contenders before the trade deadline. DHoward (not CP3 or DWill) is a sure fire top 5 player for the next 7 years. I would hate to see the Lakers out of contention to get him because of a previous trade for a PG." -- LRob2

--Mark Medina

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Comments () | Archives (12)

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LRob,

That was a good post, I didn't realize that.
Who do you think are the top 5-6 players?

OPEN LETTER TO BILL PLASHKE:


RE:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-plaschke-brian-shaw-20110605,0,1047360.column

Bill,

Get a grip and stop being so emotional about Brian Shaw. If Phil Jackson is such a great coach as you say then other teams should be beating down Shaw's door for Phil's top apprentice............shouldn't they? Shaw's biggest mistake was that he hitched his wagon to the wrong horse and I bet that was evident during his interview............other than the triangle offense............what does Shaw know? If you would stop fawining all over Jackson and take a step back and ask yourself......"Where is Phil Jackson's coaching tree"? How successful has any of Phil Jacksons assistants been as head coaches? Let's see...........Jimmy Cleamons in Dallas coached 98 games and had an abysmal 28-70 record.........thats a .286 winning percentage.....Bill Cartwright tried his hand with the PHILosopy in Chicago and he coached 151 games for the Bulls........His record? 51-100 for a .338 win percentage. What about Kurt Rambis? Kurt has currently coached 164 games for the Timberwolves............His record? 32-132.........that's a .195 winning percentage! Yikes!

Jerry and Jim Buss are running a business.............and quite successfully I might add.....................They can make the tough decisions and divorce reason from emotion unlike yourself. The Phil Jackson era is over .....FINALLY. The Lakers cut the branch, tree and the root of the Phil Jackson tree............I suggest you get on board............or get left behind.

One of and maybe the most important aspect of Mike Brown's era will be to end the mischief making of some of those in the local media.........no more "made up basketball concepts and words" by this coach.............finally a clear and concise straight shooter............and not much fodder for this media to thrive on.

Maybe THAT'S what really upsets you............hmmmmmmmmmmmm?

smart move should make Kobe a little happier, someone to speak Italian with....

@LROB ... Congrats on another Friedman. The arrangement with Messina is very interesting. You have to give Mike Brown credit for confidence in his ability to handle the job since Messina could very well be his replacement in waiting since his aspirations are to become an NBA head coach. I like a coach who is willing to surround himself with ambitious assistants rather than career assistants.
....................................
TOM


LROB2 (RFCOTD)

What is amazing about your "top 5" theory but is never given much attention to by this media...........is Kobe has led the Lakers to 3 straight finals and 2 championships...........WITHOUT ANOTHER TOP 5 PLAYER OR ANOTHER HALL OF FAMER WITH HIM!

Think about it............Please don't utter Gasol because I would place Amare, Aldridge, and Bosh ahead of him at Power Forward..................and if I had to defend someone in a rough and tumble game I can think of about 6 forwards I would take before Pau...........Nene, Carl Landry........etc

After watching Miami last night..........I am convinced we have to trade Pau Gasol

@pfunk - Let's be honest. You were convinced the Lakers needed to trade Pau Gasol before watching Miami last night

Okay, so let's go review my list of potential point guards that might be possible to acquire this summer. I'll take them 1 by 1 (or in 2's if they're on the same team) and evaluate what they could add to the Lakers, what the team that currently has them needs, what it would cost to get them (if possible at all), and what are the odds that a trade could happen even if the Lakers wanted it.

Let's start at the top...

Chris Paul

He's arguably the best point guard in the league. He's got speed, he's a good defender, he's a good shooter, and a great passer.

He's only 26, but he does have health issues with his knees. He's had one meniscus removed, causing some bone-on-bone grinding. Eventually that will catch up with him. Could be 2 years, could be 7 or 8. But it is a risk you have to consider. If he stays healthy for several years, then he and Bynum form the core of the next-gen Lakers after Kobe & Pau retire.

But other than the injury risk, CP3 is the ideal PG in all other respects. He'd help the Lakers at both ends of the court. He hasn't won any rings yet, so he'd be the "hungry" player who throws that extra level of energy into his play.

I honestly think that the Lakers with either Bynum-Kobe-CP3 or Pau-Kobe-CP3 would be better than the Bynum-Pau-Kobe trio. Whether or not Lakers management agrees with me is debatable, but I think CP3 is a superstar on the level of Kobe/LeBron/Dirk/DWade, and neither Pau nor
Drew is quite at that level.

Note that if New Orleans does make him available, then probably 25 of the 30 teams in the league will want him, not just the Lakers. So like the Deron trade and the Carmelo trade, it'll come down to who has what New Orleans wants.

New Orleans situation is this:

They have 50 million in contracts for 2011-12 and 44 million in contracts for 2012-13. And that 2012-13 amount is for 5 players: Chris Paul (player option), Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack, and Quincy Pondexter. And that doesn't include an extension for David West, who will almost certainly opt out and get paid more than 7.5 million for next season. Let's pencil him in at 8-10 million per. That puts New Orleans over the salary cap until 2013 if they decide to keep their core together.

In 2010-11, they had 68 million in contracts, and that was low enough to avoid the luxury tax, but high enough that they dumped off players to save money (Collison, etc) and are still losing money. All that and the best they could do was a #7 seed in the West.

They are now owned by the NBA, and can't possibly spend enough money to bring in the sort of talent it would take to make them a legitimate championship contender.

I would posit that if New Orleans trades Chris Paul, it will be with the same goals that Seattle had when they dumped Ray Allen, Memphis had when they dumped Pau Gasol, and more recently Utah had when they dumped Deron Williams. And they'll also likely want to dump off Okafor, and maybe Ariza as well.

Rebuilding mode.

With that in mind, there's no chance that New Orleans would want Pau Gasol and his huge contract in a deal for Chris Paul. If they did that trade, they'd basically become Memphis when Pau was there. What they WANT to become is what Memphis is now.

So what they'd want would be young talent, draft picks (preferably in the lottery), and expiring contracts. Maybe low salaried quality players as well. If they dump off Paul and get that 2012-13 salary down to 34 million, including 2 or 3 young players with upside, then they have a chance to rebuild in the summer of 2012, and possibly even go back to being profitable.

So what do the Lakers have to offer directly?

Lamar and Drew are both team options for the 2012-13 season. Thus both of them are effectively expiring contracts. And they're the best kind of expiring contracts, since they could play well for the team for 1 year before coming off the books (or being traded at the trade deadline for multiple assets).

The Lakers don't have any young inexpensive talent other than Ebanks & Caracter, and neither of them has shown enough yet to have any real value. Artest might be considered a reasonable value contract, but New Orleans has a very similar deal with a very similar quality player in Ariza (who's younger).

Bearing all that in mind, I don't think the Lakers have the right set of assets to
offer to New Orlenas in a direct trade. If the Lakers want to acquire CP3, it would have to be in a 3-way trade, with the third team sending New Orleans the kind of assets they really want (young cheap players with upside, draft picks), and the Lakers sending veteran talent to the third team. The ideal third team would have at least one lottery pick and would value a player on the Lakers higher than that lottery pick.

Let's consider an example. Cleveland has 2 of the top 4 lottery picks. Several PGs with huge upside are available in the lottery, so that would be a way that New Orleans could back-fill Chris Paul's spot. They also have JJ Hickson and Boobie Gibson (young talent still on their rookie contracts - cheap with upside). They also have Antawn Jamison (big expiring contract), Ramon Sessions (bargain point guard), and Anderson Varejao (fairly reasonably priced defensive specialist). So there are some pieces there that make sense.

What Cleveland doesn't have is any big star. Baron Davis is about the best they've got at this point. Adding Pau would be a huge coup for them. Or they might go for Lamar Odom as a better two-way PF than Varejao. The question is, would they value either of those things higher than the #4 pick? Assuming they get to keep the #1 pick, they might be willing to give up the #4 pick, Hickson &/or Gibson, plus Jamison to get Pau Gasol.

I'm not sure that they would. Dan Gilbert may have come down from his "We'll get a ring before LeBron" high by now and decided to rebuild through the draft. In that case a #4 pick who costs very little may have more value to him than one of the best power forwards in the league.

So how bout this deal:

Lakers send Pau Gasol to Cleveland

Cleveland sends Jamison, Hickson, Gibson, and the #4 draft pick to New Orleans

Lakers send their next available 1st round pick to New Orleans.

New Orleans sends Chris Paul plus any one of David Anderson or S&T one of Willie Green, Carl Landry, Jason Smith, Marco Belinelli, Aaron Gray, or DJ MBenga to the Lakers (to match salary).

That gives Cleveland a star to pair with Davis and their #1 pick player.

It gives New Orleans cap releif, a #4 lottery pick, a future 1st round pick from the Lakers, and 2 young players on their rookie contracts with some upside.

Lakers get CP3 plus some role player for depth (and if it's Belinelli or Landry, an excellent role player).

---

Note that the Lakers could improve on the quality of the deal if they could take on another of the Hornets' long term contracts - either Okafor or Ariza. The only big enough expiring deals the Lakers have are Odom and Bynum. So it could be add Odom for Okafor to the above deal, or it could involve a fourth team... let's say Lakers send Artest to the Clippers, Clippers send Randy Foye to New Orleans, New Orleans sends Trevor Ariza to the Lakers. Something like that.

If the Lakers pulled that off, then the net effect for the Lakers would be Pau and Artest gone with Ariza and CP3 coming in. Exactly what Laker Tom wants, but at the same time giving New Orleans more the sort of pieces it wants.

The only question is whether Cleveland would want to take on Pau's big contract.


Medina,

I'm being honest...........I was about 80% that Pau should go before last night. After watching Miami attack the basket and COMPETE the way they do I am convinced the Euro-Gasol's style just doesn't fit. We need guys who will compete.........rotate and take a charge........rebound in a crowd..........play defense

I was thinking maybe Phil's system was the cause of Pau's regression but on second thought...............you can't coach a person to compete..........they have to find that within themselves

And for the "keep Gasol trade Bynum" crew, here's a similar deal that involves sending out Bynum instead of Pau. You could argue that Cleveland might find Bynum more desirable, since he's younger, a rare true two-way center, and makes less than Pau.

Lakers send Bynum and Steve Blake to Cleveland

Cleveland sends Jamison, Hickson, Gibson, and the #4 pick (who's name apparently should end with "-son") to New Orleans

Lakers send a future first round pick to New Orleans

New Orleans sends Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza to the Lakers.

----

Similar situation. Assumes that Cleveland has the same high opinion of Bynum that Jim Buss does, and would give up two lesser young players and a lottery pick for him. Also assumes that New Orleans is willing to throw in the white flag and start rebuilding mode.

And it leaves the Lakers very thin in the front court and scrambling to hire a big with their MLE.


Not much accustomed to Springtime trade blogging but the machine is up and running...

Understand why Pau is on the block, but 4 what it's worth... nothing, when his head and heart were in sync, you recall those last 2 banners?, the man could run the floor, which I hear is where we're headed. Kobe's had bad games, weeks, months. His game 7 last year was in that column. It happens. We aren't getting Bosh, Aldridge or Dirk, except in blog trade scenarios, so if Pau ain't "the man" he's at least our man to counter the 7 footer on the wing, which is the NBA in'12... if there is one.

Personally, I think hope lies in Drew's knee brace. There were a couple times he looked like he would have been out months but the brace seemed to do it's thing.
Go brace, Go Lakers.

And now... the "magic" trade.

Cleveland also has a huge trade exception - so if they were doing a deal with LA and NO, they could take on Bynum's contract without having to match salary. So here's a different potential deal:

Lakers send Bynum, Artest, a future first round pick, a couple of second round picks from this year, and 3 million cash to Cleveland (remember - they've got pretty much nothing at SF as well since LeBron left).

Cleveland sends Gibson, Hickson, and the #4 pick to New Orleans (no Jamison means that New Orleans gets out of debt 1 year sooner).

Lakers send Steve Blake to New Orleans.

New Orleans sends Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza to the Lakers.
Cleveland sends Anderson Varejao to the Lakers.

------

Why this trade is magic?

Cleveland gets a top 5 center in the league, and a defensive stopper SF. Artest's offense has always been stronger when he's the 2nd or 3rd option on a team, which he would be with Cleveland. Cleveland also gets to keep their #1 pick. (heck the Lakers could even throw in Ebanks &/or Caracter if Cleveland wanted them).

New Orleans immediately cuts 11 million in salary, gets the #4 pick in the draft and a couple of young players.

And the Lakers effectively trade Bynum, Artest, and Blake for Varejao, Ariza, and CP3.

Getting Varejao in the deal back-fills the front court position with a young excellent defender who can guard PF or C. The Lakers would lose some offense in the front court rotataion, but would make up for it from the PG position.

How do you like them apples?

And if you don't like Cleveland as a trading partner... here are other teams with the sort of assets that New Orleans might want, and who might be willing to trade for Bynum or Gasol (of course, they might prefer just to trade for CP3 directly, but you never know).

Minnesota: #2 & #20 picks in the draft, Beasley, Flynn, Wes Johnson, Anthony Randolph, Wayne Ellington, Martell Webster as potential young talent. (Webster, Johnson, & Flynn are all effectively expiring contracts as well, since they're team options for 2012-13). Since they're bringing in Ricky Rubio as their PG of the future, a little-big-3 of Rubio+Love+Pau or Drew might look awfully tempting to them.

Toronto: #5 pick in the draft, big trade exception so they could do a magic trade for Bynum like Cleveland, DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis as potential young talent to throw in a trade, Leandro Barbosa as a potential expiring contract.

Clippers: Minnesota's 2012 unprotected first round pick, Chris Kaman as a big expiring contract, S&T DeAndre Jordan?, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe as young talent (no they won't give up Griffin or Gordon... count on it). Might be able to swing a trade where the Lakers sent Bynum & Artest to the Clips and got back CP3 and DeAndre Jordan. But that sort of thing would only fly if the Clips can't manage to trade for one of the younger better SFs this summer.

Utah: #3 and #12 picks in the draft, Derrick Favors & Gordon Hayward as young talent, Mehmet Okur or S&T Kirilenko as expiring contracts.

Washington: #6 pick in the draft, JaVale McGee, Yi Jianlian, S&T Nick Young as young talent, several players they could S&T as expiring deals (including Jianlian and Young)

Sacramento: #7 pick in the draft, Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, Donte Green as young talent, could S&T Dalembert as expiring deal.

Detroit, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Golden State also have some potential, but now you're at the tail end of the lottery so it's not quite as prime.

Basically, it come down to the question of which team would value Pau or Drew more than a lottery pick and a couple of young assets, and would they be willing to be in a three way trade that got the Lakers CP3 in the deal.


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