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How much change should the Lakers make to their roster?

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Whether the Lakers are coming off a championship season or under-performing in a shortened season, there's one thing that keeps fans unified and divided: trade talk. Unified because every fan wants to size up any trade scenario imaginable, wondering if that out-of-nowhere reserve that lighted up the Lakers in a regular-season game could produce more magic, or if the Lakers could land the next superstar. Divided because there is hardly ever any consensus.

I'll spend part of this offseason on a series that will analyze what effect free agents could have on the Lakers, and the feasibility of various potential deals. Those looking for significant changes are going to be disappointed. Lakers owner Jerry Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak have expressed their desire to keep the team's "core," wanting to only make "tweaks" to the lineup. The Lakers are coming off a season that included a $91-million payroll. And despite Magic Johnson's contention that Buss needs to "blow this team up" the Lakers aren't exactly scrubs, considering that before being swept by the Dallas Mavericks in this season's Western Conference semifinals, they had three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, earning two titles. 

After the jump, I'll look at the Lakers' roster and analyze how players may fit in next season. 

Kobe Bryant

Contract status: Three years, $83.5 million

Verdict: Next question. It would be ironic if the Lakers actually traded Bryant four years after the infamous offseason when he demanded -- through radio interviews, fan video cameras and every other conceivable outlet -- to be traded. But that's not happening. It would only start a riot in L.A. Plus, despite the injury concerns surrounding him, Bryant is still among the greatest in the league.

Pau Gasol

Contract: Three years, $57 million 

Verdict: Should the Lakers try to acquire a big-name player in a trade, Gasol may be one of the assets they would have to give up. Public sentiment seems to support this scenario because of his poor playoff performance, averaging only 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. But things in context: Since the Lakers acquired Gasol from Memphis in February 2008, they have won two NBA titles and appeared in three consecutive NBA Finals. Besides, it seems as though new Coach Mike Brown's vision is to use Gasol and Andrew Bynum deep in the post, much as the San Antonio Spurs did with David Robinson and Tim Duncan when Brown was an assistant coach with that team from 2000 to 2003. During that time, the Spurs thrived with Robinson and Duncan through the pick-and-roll and paint touches.

Andrew Bynum

Contract: Has one more guaranteed year at $14.9 million, with a team option for $16.1 million in 2012-13.

Verdict: Despite concerns about his extensive injury history, the front office has remained deeply reluctant to consider trading Bynum because of his age (23) and his tremendous size advantage. But how would the Lakers react should they have a chance to acquire Magic center Dwight Howard, who becomes a free agent next season? Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that Lakers vice president Jim Buss has made it clear within the organization that when it comes to trade talks, Bynum is untouchable. 

Ron Artest

Contract status: Three years, $21.5 million

Verdict: Artest didn't exactly produce a stellar performance in the 2010-2011 season, posting a career low in points per game (8.5), demonstrating questionable decision-making and providing a mixed picture on defense. The length of his contract would seem to make it hard to trade him, so the Lakers may have to make the best of it. Artest will surely buy into Brown's defensive philosophies and tendency to do his coaching within the team instead of through the media. But it remains to be seen how Brown will handle Artest's personality: He has a tremendous heart, means well and has a good work ethic, but needs the proper support system to channel his assets effectively. 

Derek Fisher

Contract status: Two years, $7 million with player option on 2012-2013 season

Verdict: The absence of the triangle further exposes the problems of Fisher's age (36) and declining speed, adding urgency to the Lakers' need for a true point guard. It'll be interesting to see how Fisher adapts to any changed role, but he remains a critical piece to Bryant, who actually may lean more on Fisher than Brown given their strong relationship. 

Lamar Odom

Contract status: Two years, $17 million, including team option for 2012-2013 season.

Verdict: Odom's Sixth Man of the Year award is a reflection of his most consistent season, even if his performance in the playoffs appeared pretty unreliable. However, the relatively low cost of his contract and his versatility make him a possible asset. Should the Lakers keep him, I suspect Odom will continue to thrive with the Lakers as a versatile sixth man. But nothing's guaranteed.

Steve Blake:

Contract: Three years, $12 million 

Verdict: The Lakers thought they acquired a dependable true point guard last offseason that would eat into Fisher's minutes and help the transition period in bolstering their backcourt. But Blake's arrival provided nothing of that sort. His 4 points per game on 35.9% shooting reflected his lowest statistical output since his second year in the 2004-05 season with the Washington Wizards. It's realistic to think Blake will bounce back this season with more aggressiveness and confidence in his playmaking abilities, particularly because he'll play a more traditional point guard role instead of one reserved for the triangle offense. But it'd be understandable, if the Lakers didn't bank on that level of thinking. 

Shannon Brown

Contract: $2.37 million player option for next season.

Verdict: It's uncertain whether Brown will be back next season. He wouldn't reveal which direction he's leaning during his exit interview, but he indicated to The Times' Mike Bresnahan in March on what he might do. Brown, who received what Bresnahan characterized as a "lukewarm response" during free agency last season, acknowledged to Bresnahan that testing free agency again would be the "best scenario" but made it clear he hadn't made a decision but added, "I'd love to be a Laker again."

Should Brown decide to test the free agency waters again, I'd highly doubt the Lakers would try to retain him. As much as the Lakers need the athleticism and energy Brown offers to a veteran-laden team, he actually regressed this season. After averaging 10.83 points on 48.6% shooting and creating a buzz as the league's most improved player through 18 games, Brown finished the remaining 64 games posting 8.07 points a game on a 40.61% shooting clip. Instead of being more selective about his shot selection and devoting his energy into other facets of the game, he stubbornly failed to shoot himself out of slump.

Matt Barnes

Contract: $1.91 million player option for next season.

Verdict: Barnes indicated after Brown's introductory press conference that he planned on exercising his option to return to the Lakers. That's a dose of good news for the Lakers considering he proved valuable in providing energy and intensity. That hardly defined Brown's first year with the Lakers, however. After suffering a lateral meniscus tear on Jan. 7 against the New Orleans Hornets, he missed 29 games and never appeared fully comfortable after returning to the court. An offseason of rehab and strength training should help correct all that. 

Devin Ebanks

Contract: Team option for next season worth $788,872.

Verdict: Ebanks' fate will be determined by the Lakers, but there's two variables the Lakers should consider when deciding whether they want to keep him. If the Lakers find more valuable options in being able to throw Ebanks in a trade package or find a better alternative with their four draft picks, it's understandable if the Lakers part ways with him. But there's very little value in dumping him simply out of financial concerns. He's not making a heft amount of dough (in NBA salary standards, of course). Ebanks has tremendous upside with an unassuming work ethic, athleticism and versatility to either play at small forward or shooting guard. 

Derrick Caracter

Contract: Team option next season worth $788,872

Verdict: Caracter hardly did himself any favors for getting arrested at a local IHop in New Orleans during the NBA playoffs and getting detained and booked on several charges. That included one count of battery for hitting the employee, one count of public intoxication and one for resisting arrest. Caracter said during his exit interview that there's no impending trial date, but the cloud over that situation only highlights the fact that he was woefully unprepared for the rigors of the NBA season. He shows limited power in his postup moves and still displayed raw talent in his ball handling and overall quickness, two areas that Caracter self-admittadly fault himself for not preparing as hard as he should've. The Lakers would likely be better suited finding a second round pick this year to replace Caracter. 

Luke Walton

Contract: Two years, $11.48 million

Verdict:  200% of Laker fans would love for Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to orchestrate Walton's contract in some type of trade package. Too bad it's simply unrealistic. But I don't suspect he's going to play much of a role, if any, on next year's team. Despite being mostly injury free during the 2010-2011 season, Walton had a career-low in points (1.7), shooting percentage (32.8%) and minutes (nine) under Phil Jackson's triangle system. Even with Jackson often touting the attributes Walton brought with knowing his system and being a hard-working practice player, Walton said Jackson told him he stayed mostly sidelined because he lacked the speed most of the remaining reserves provided. Since the Lakers are moving away from the triangle, I simply don't see how he will fit into the roster. 

Theo Ratliff

Contract status: Unsigned

Verdict: Don't expect him to come back. Kupchak told Lakers.com's Mike Trudell he suspects Ratliff will retire. Even if the 37-year-old feels he has another run in him, the 2010-2011 season shows otherwise. Ratliff remained sidelined for 4 1/2 months last season after needing to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and offered little to nothing reasons for the Lakers to keep him. 

Joe Smith

Contract status: Unsigned

Verdict: Smith told Kupchak and emphasized to me this week that he wants to remain a Laker. But it remains to be seen whether that will actually happen. He became nothing more than a valuable practice player and provided a positive attitude in the locker room. But the Lakers have plenty of time to mull whether they can spend the $1.4 million Smith made last season on someone who can provide more dependable frontcourt depth.

Trey Johnson

Contract: Unsigned

Verdict: After finishing as the D-League player of the year and earning a stint with the Lakers during the playoffs, Johnson's stock should go up around the league. But that doesn't mean the Lakers will necessarily keep him. Johnson showed enough basketball smarts, athleticism, aggressiveness and work ethic to be given another gig with the Lakers. Plus, the Lakers will have plenty of negotiating power in keeping him. 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers owner Jerry Buss and team vice president Jim Buss. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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To those of you who think that the NBA is entering the “dark days” because the Lakers are not in the finals as I read last week after Miami won game 1; please don’t read or comment because you lost all credibility with that childish spoiled entitled attitude. You my friends are just Laker fans and not NBA fans, therefore your opinion on the Lakers let alone any other team or player is mute.

@LRob2 and other NBA aficionados I come here to ask for your astute opinion of the mystery we call Labronz.

I told myself at the start of these playoffs I’m not going to make the same mistake I did with Lebron as I did with Jordan. That mistake being that I did not fully appreciate Jordan’s game as I was bitter how Magic went out. This year I marveled at how much more complete Lebron’s game has been.

Up to this series he was making the right play, his shot selection was better, and he was taking the 3 at the right moment vs jacking them up and he was making it. I was really getting over my Lebron hate and jealousy and appreciating him as a great NBA player. Saying that of course I have been rooting against him, but I’m leaving my bias hate for the guy and judging him solely on his performance on the court.

I personally DO NOT UNDERSTAND that performance yesterday. It totally reminded me of the last two games against Boston last year. I kept waiting for him to be aggressive and make his move to the basket, and time and time again he was passive and made no aggressive moves even when he passed. He was standing in the corner with no movement when he didn’t have the ball and on defense he wasn’t his normal swarming self on the ball or off the ball.

Is he tired? Or is he sabotaging Miami because he knows he isn’t winning the MVP? Or is it something internal with the team? I can’t believe any of them, what I do believe though is that he is far from being one of the greatest of all time at this point in his career. I am not saying that based on this game, he doesn’t have to be the man (as Wade is) he just needs to be there.

I can go on and on, but I’m interested in what some of you think from a purely basketball perspective. Leave the hate and bias out and someone please try to make sense of it. Maybe hobbitmage can break it down for me because I’m confused as can be with his performance last night.

Wade is the best player on the team, and it isn't even close. That is why LeBron took his talents to South Beach, he knew that he understood he was more Pippen than Jordan. That's also why he had no problem deferring to Wade. He wants to avoid those pressure situations, always has.

Maybe that is what Scottie likes about LeBron? He has a wide array of skills and puts up big numbers but doesn't have the clutch gene - a lot like himself.

Posted by: CyberCosmiX | June 07, 2011 at 10:30 PM

@CyberCosmiX
I was thinking the same thing today. Lebron is a Pippen on steriods! lol
The last three years I had it Kobe #1, Wade#2, Lebron#2A, this series further cements that right now I say Wade#1, Kobe #2, Dirk #3 and Lebron bunched up with others at the top.

@LRob2
I just read your reply to Cyber, I have to disagree. Everygame you stated wasn't the biggest game of his career. The biggest game of your career is the one that gets you to the next level or the one that stops you from being eliminated, after every game you pointed out he folded in the bigger series following. I look forward to your response to my post to hear what you think the issue may be.

NBA4eternity: Yes - the NBA is worse without the Lakers in the finals. And I don't understand what "mute" means in the context of you comment above - so why don't you enlighten me.

I think the real issue with Lebron is that he wants people to like him too much. Jordan, Kobe, Wade - those guys can give a rat's you know what people thought of them. Lebron is in this mental conundrum where if he believes if he speaks out or acts out too much as his talent dictates he should - his teammates and media would turn on him. The reality is as long as Lebron can't tell Dwade to go F himself if he gets in his face again, he will always be 2nd fiddle. Just a very talented and successful number 2. And nothing wrong with number 2s. Number 2s make plenty of money and have lots of success. Most would wish to be number 2s. But Lebron may not have the personality to be MJ or Kobe - those guys would burn down their mother's house to win -- that's what it takes to be a number 1. Not everyone can be a number 1.

How is the NBA worse without the Lakers in the Finals? Worse for whom? For Laker fans? I’m a hardcore Laker fan and I have to say that I’m enjoying these finals as much as any. Two great talented teams, the drama, the quality of the games and competiveness level of both teams. What’s not to like? I’m sure a lot of casual NBA fans are tuning in because the Lakers are not in the finals.

In fact I know the ratings are better than they have ever been. The ratings are higher than last year’s finals that featured a rematch of the two premier franchises in league history. So for whom is the NBA worse for? How about you enlighten me because I don’t get how you can rationalize something so obtuse?

In the context of my comment “mute” means your opinion is voiceless and irrational if you think the NBA is heading for “dark days” because the Lakers didn’t make the finals this one year. How can anyone respect an opinion that is so baseless and bias? Why don’t you propose some lame trade like Chris Paul for Lamar and Luke, or some other crazy trade proposal that only benefits the Lakers?

"NBA4eternity",

>>>To those of you who think that the NBA is entering the “dark days” >>>because the Lakers are not in the finals as I read last week after Miami
>>>won game 1; please don’t read or comment because you lost all credibility
>>>with that childish spoiled entitled attitude. You my friends are just Laker
>>>fans and not NBA fans, therefore your opinion on the Lakers let alone any
>>>other team or player is mute.

Once again another arrogant fan of some other team (probably Miami since he mentioned them in the post) decides he has to come and dump on the Laker blog.

First of all, it ain't no "Dark days". Most of us know that the Lakers won't make the finals every year. Three years in four is remarkable. Miami's never done it. Several teams have never made the finals... EVER. So while it's a bummer for the Lakers, so what.

Second of all, who are you to decide who should read or comment? If you want that power, then go start your own blog and get the hell off of ours. You're welcome to post here, but don't get all condescending and think you have a right to say who can or cannot post. If somebody thinks it's "dark days" because the Lakers aren't in the finals, I'm open to hear their opinion.

Next, there's this:

>>>"... lost all credibility with that childish spoiled entitled attitude."

No. Actually, our childish spoiled entitled attitude is quite credible and justified. When your Heat make it to 3 finals in a row or win 5 championships in 11 years, then you can act condescending. Until then, your condescension is just ignorance.

>>>"Laker fans and not NBA fans"

I've watched every game of the finals. It's a good one too, two closely matched teams. Not as nasty a battle as last year's Lakers-Celtics finals, but good defense on both sides and some heroics by the stars.

>>> "Your opinion ... is mute."

Congratulations. You get all uppity about how superior you are compared to some other bloggers, and you don't even know the difference between "moot" and "mute". How charming.

Get a life. Everyone has a right to post their opinion here, as long as they keep it civil. Laker haters or Laker lovers. Kobe haters or Kobe lovers. Luke haters or Luke haters. All opinions are welcome here and no opinions are moot.

If you want to feel like lord over some blog domain, you picked the wrong one.

There is a strong core here (Kobe/Pau/Lo/Bynum). But the Lakers are pretty locked in to the guys they probably would most like to move (Fish/Luke/Artest). I suspect that means the rebuild around these guys. Unless CP3 or similar comes up in a Pau/Garnett/Shaq type deal, I don't expect big fireworks. Especially with an uncertain labor deal.

Mike Brown and staff need to be looking for the strengths of this group and figuring out how to use them.

These are a great Finals. Honestly, personnel-wise, the Heat should be killing in this series.


They both play tough D. But Dallas' players fit together betteroffensively. They move the ball well, Kidd makes sure Terry and Dirk get a whole lot of touches.


The problem the Heat have is that James and Wade are both "give me the ball and let me do something" kind of guys. So last night, when Wade got it going, and he was playing great, that meant James had far too few touches. So you sort of lose the advantage of having both guys. That doesn't really happen with Dallas, the ball just moves well and Dirk is a willing passer.


I think talent will prevail and the Heat will eventually wear down Dallas. But Dallas has been hard to squash. Ball movement may beat these talented Heat boys.


In any case, I think the winner of game 4 wins. Great series so far.


NBA4eternity: I'm not a Dallas fan whose organization celebrates Midwest Division Banners -- I'm not a Cubs fan who packs the park even when the team sucks gas for 100 years -- I'm not a Cav's fan who sells their dignity for a player who doesn't want to be there. I'm a fan of the greatest organization in the history of American sports. Championship or nothing.

Your premise implies that ratings would not be just as high or higher if it was Lakers v. Heat - that's faulty.

I don't understand LeBron's performance yesterday but nothing about his career shows me he wants to hide from the spotlight. When he was on the Cavs, he was actually criticized for the offense being too focused on him. On every possession down the stretch, he was either taking the shot or passing to the person that took the shot and he has statistically been one of the most efficient and productive 4th quarter players over the years for that reason. He was never hiding from the ball. With the Heat, Wade and Bosh quietly signed and LeBron made "the decision" If he is trying to shy away or hide, he has a weird way of showing it because everything he has done shows he wants the attention.

In these playoffs, it wasn't until this series that Wade really took over and Wade has a much better matchup than LeBron does. Against Chicago, people were wondering what was wrong with Wade and speculating he was injured while LeBron took over and made big shots at the end of the games. It's fine to hate him and there is plenty to criticize him about but people are off base with a lot of the criticisms.

MM: Per my request of last week or so, thanks for the above breakdown!

This was written: If you want to feel like lord over some blog domain, you picked the wrong one.


my response: Crap! Now it all makes sense to me. I thought that just
because I was a hobbit with the "One Ring" I would become Lord of the
Blog.

FYI, does anyone know how low you have to bow to a Hobbit. I'm a
casual hobbit lord, so I haven't really focused on court etiquette. And now,
it seems that I've missed my opportunity. *sigh*

Go Dirk!
Go J.J. Barea

Vamos Mavericks!!!

Yep. And my assumptions in my trade scenarios is about the same as MM's. The one place where we differ is on Artest. I think there are still teams that would value his defense enough to trade for him. I don't think they'd give up a lottery pick or a star for him... but maybe a redundant player.

In other words - Artest for Luke Ridnour? Maybe.

Artest and something for Monta Ellis? Maybe (a bit less likely, but SF is working on improving defense, and Artest would be a BIG step in that direction)

Artest for Jordan Farmar? Possibly. It'd be a huge upgrade at SF for Jersey.

Artest for George Hill? Not a chance in hell.

Hobbit

Last the PSP checked you were NOT part of the blog 27 so keep dreaming about becoming Lord of the Blog. :-)

BaytoLA

Yesterday, before the game the PSP spent about 2 hours argui ... I mean discussing the NBA finals. One of the guys said Dirk was better than Lebron and the other said Wade was better than Lebron. The PSP hate the princess as much as the next person but to put him beneath Dirk ... don't know.

Do you agree or disagree that Chris Bosh is a top 15 player in the NBA today?

Thanks
PSP Intern

Art when you said this " The key is everyone buying into coach Browns plans and being hungry." I do have a problem with that because thats what MB thinks, he thinks our LA guys are hungry, do you guys think that too? I certinly don't and I will tell you why, did our team look hungry when we VS'ed the NOLA? no other than KOBE's posturized dunk, we looked tired and drained, Did the team look hungry when we VS'ed the Mavs? Nope it looks like they were playing street ball and the outcome wouldn't even matter. Now thats what I see, if MB thinks they are hungry then let him, but from what we have seen, they looked like they didnt care.

No one showed up to MB's press conference, except MATT BARNES, everyones out on vacation or doing reality TV shows or charities, I mean come on MB, do you really think thats a hungry team? are they showing their hunger by not congradulating their new coach? all I'm saying is to me this team looked anything but hungry, how about full and annoyed?!

so yeah thats my 2 cents!
Posted by: Tech N9ne
=======

Tech N9ne,

Your comments certainly are accurate for describing this past season.
My hope is that there is some embarrassment or anger for what happened similar to losing the Finals against the Celts in '08.

I think there was a chemistry breakdown somewhere along the line and they just didn't have the fight or energy in them anymore but after a long summer off and a new head coach I'm hoping a new fire gets lit under them.

A big concern I have is whether or not Brown can reestablish the chemistry and trust needed. I think that's the key to next season.

If dissension continues, if some of the players just don't like each other anymore, then some big changes will need to be made.

I admit they aren't off to a great start for the way the welcomed, or failed to welcome their new head coach but I consider that part of this past seasons problems.

When camp opens and they need to get their heads straight that's where I look for them to come together. I don't know if it will happen. I suspect there may be some deep seated issues that need straightened out (see Laker Tom, you aren't crazy after all. ummm...).


@LongTimeLakerFan

How long you been on this blog? How often have you posted in those years? I’ve been on here for at least 3+ years. If you pay attention you would know I’m a hardcore passionate Laker fan that is optimistically always supporting the Lakers. I have never once on here spoken badly about the Lakers organization or its front office.

You said:
“First of all, it ain't no "Dark days". Most of us know that the Lakers won't make the finals every year. Three years in four is remarkable. Miami's never done it. Several teams have never made the finals... EVER. So while it's a bummer for the Lakers, so what.”

Exactly, and that is why I don’t understand why it is dark days in the NBA. Just because the Lakers didn’t make it four years in a row and because Miami is young and in a position to be relevant for years to come? What kind of chicken little no faith in the organization is that? I fully expect the Lakers to be there next year and years to come. That is first of all. So if you are going to address me, at least have a clue what I’m talking about or where I’m coming from.

Second of all… Yea I don’t want your opinion if you think that, which I understand you don’t so I do respect your opinion. I was saving people the time that are not NBA fans, because I want to hear from those who are enjoying these playoffs with an open heart. But trust me I enjoy the response as anyone else in here would good or bad. Anyone can say anything, doesn’t mean I have to respect their opinion or they have to respect mine, but base it the history of their post.

You wrote:
“No. Actually, our childish spoiled entitled attitude is quite credible and justified. When your Heat make it to 3 finals in a row or win 5 championships in 11 years, then you can act condescending. Until then, your condescension is just ignorance.”

Again are you new? My Heat? What a joke! It is childish that people are not watching the finals because the Lakers are not in it. It’s one year, we’ll be back. Enjoy these playoffs and observe what we need to compete with these elite teams.

You wrote:
>>>"Laker fans and not NBA fans"
“I've watched every game of the finals. It's a good one too, two closely matched teams. Not as nasty a battle as last year's Lakers-Celtics finals, but good defense on both sides and some heroics by the stars.”

Agree with you and that is my point. I think you are arguing with the wrong person and you misunderstood what my point was in your haste.

Lastly You wrote:
“Congratulations. You get all uppity about how superior you are compared to some other bloggers, and you don't even know the difference between "moot" and "mute". How charming.
Get a life. Everyone has a right to post their opinion here, as long as they keep it civil. Laker haters or Laker lovers. Kobe haters or Kobe lovers. Luke haters or Luke haters. All opinions are welcome here and no opinions are moot.
If you want to feel like lord over some blog domain, you picked the wrong one.”

I do know the difference between moot and mute, do you? “Moot” means debatable, arguable, doubtful ect.. Mute means silent, voiceless, taciturn, ect.. Don’t think the opinion of “dark days” is debatable I think it is voiceless. How charming of you not to know the difference. Get a life? Yea ok. Your right everyone has a right to post their opinion and I welcome all, I was asking for the opinion of those who consider themselves hard core NBA fans like LRob2 and others like LakerTom and Hobbit, ect. It’s ok if you are not, and I love all Laker fans regardless of their interest in the NBA.

No one feels like they lord over some blog domain, maybe you are the one with the superior aloof attitude that took offense to what I had to say when I clearly wasn’t addressing you as you and I agree these are great playoffs with or without the Lakers, of course they would be better for us if the Lakers were in the finals.

Wanted to pass along Mike Bresnahan's tweets who's been covering the NBA Finals in Dallas. "Players Assn. Prez Derek Fisher after negotiations w/ owners: 'We still feel that we're very far apart in some of the major components.' ... More Fisher on NBA labor talks: "We're as far away as we've always been, but that's not a surprise,'" given scope of what's at stake."

NBA4eternity: I'm not a Dallas fan whose organization celebrates Midwest Division Banners -- I'm not a Cubs fan who packs the park even when the team sucks gas for 100 years -- I'm not a Cav's fan who sells their dignity for a player who doesn't want to be there. I'm a fan of the greatest organization in the history of American sports. Championship or nothing.

Your premise implies that ratings would not be just as high or higher if it was Lakers v. Heat - that's faulty.
Posted by: HmrHed | June 08, 2011 at 03:14 PM

@HmrHed

I agree with that completely, no argument here. You were not one of the people I saw post such nonsense so I don’t know why you came at me like that. The NBA finals ARE WORSE without the Lakers in it! Worse for us Laker fans, but please don’t disregard the WHOLE league and the ratings because we didn’t make it ONE year. The two best teams this year are playing in the finals.

The league is great and is doing better than ever and next year when the Lakers play the Heat in the finals you will be right, the ratings and popularity will be through the roof. My premise implies nothing other than the NBA is in a golden era with or without the Lakers. Of course the ratings would be not just as high but even higher if the Lakers were playing the Heat rather than the Mavs. As Darth Stearn once said when asked what his dream matchup in the finals would be…”The Lakers vs The Lakers”!

@ Art - Yes, that's what I was thinking as well this whole " trust issue" that Andrew talked about, and PJ just avoided the question, I think a reporter asked him about it and he said " what about truss? my dad wears truss? I think he was saying something about that" lol so as you can see there might be something to work at here.

But I dont see why everyone is so crazy, its a freaking team guys, you get paid millions of dollars just to pass or score the ball and you nag and compalain about someone else not trusting you? Man this sounds like kinder garden.

This is what Brown needs to do to get respect and everyone working together. First day of camp he should show everyone whos Boss, by making guidlines on what he excpects from each player including the bench. He needs to establish a top dog position, because if he starts being friendly no one will take him seriously, so he needs to march in there and tell em like it is...

Why can't these players handle these issues like men, I'm sick and tired of all this, When OKC had team issues they called a meeting at Kevin Durants house to solve the issue and the whole team showed up, now why cant we do that? is Kobe too important to hold a meeting? is Pau too busy? or is Drew busy getting medical attention to come... I mean come on, you guys are grown man and need to handle a freaking basketball game... enough is enough already, if you have issue, go solve them and dont bring them on the court, its your job, and its teamwork, every issue needs to be answered before we can do anything....

good observation tough Art nicely written!
and why is everyone talking about Dirk and LBJ
it has been a long off season hasn't it?
last I checked LBJ is in Miami and Dirkz in Dallas,
lets leave that to them and the stupid Finals, I will only watch that game if you put a gun to my head, I dont like Dallas and I dont like the Heat, I've been staying away from Bball until and hopefully next season!

@ Posted by: Mark Medina | June 08, 2011 at 03:47 PM

Not good, not good at all, seems like we might not have a season after all :'(

just like the NFL they said since they are in a lockout, the season might hold only 8 games! lmao can you imagine!?

man I hope Dfish is better at negotiation than being a PG

I think getting Monte Ellis would be perfect. He's like a poor man's Derek Rose, and he'd fit in perfectly. Mitch, get it done!

NBA4eternity.

You need to learn blog etiquette. Lets hope I don't have to teach you.

That mistake being that I did not fully appreciate Jordan’s game as I was bitter how Magic went out. This year I marveled at how much more complete Lebron’s game has been.

Up to this series he was making the right play, his shot selection was better, and he was taking the 3 at the right moment vs jacking them up and he was making it. I was really getting over my Lebron hate and jealousy and appreciating him as a great NBA player. Saying that of course I have been rooting against him, but I’m leaving my bias hate for the guy and judging him solely on his performance on the court.

I personally DO NOT UNDERSTAND that performance yesterday. It totally reminded me of the last two games against Boston last year.

Posted by: NBA4eternity
=================

NBA4,

Thats' funny, the part about not liking MJ, I felt the same way. I couldn't stand him for the same reasons and like you, am trying to judge LeBron on his play only.

As for the last game, who knows, but I do have a theory.
Wade was rolling and had the hot hand, LBJ didn't. So, trying to be a good team player, he deferred to Wade.

I suspect he is fighting a battle of sorts of wanting to be a good team player and not wanting to take away from Wade, especially when Wade has it going. He may still be working out how aggressive to be and when to be aggressive.

I also suspect maybeLBJ is more nervous than Wade playing in the Finals. He may be making the mistake of playing not to lose instead of playing to win and is afraid to screw it up, so not shooting is better than shooting and missing.

I think he'll get over it. It took Dirk what seems like forever to become what he is now. I think LeBron will get there sooner or later.

NBA4eternity aka 4ever,

I can’t explain Lebron’s performance last night either. His lack of activity…especially in the 4th…was mind boggling. Could he be tired? I thought about that also. He played 46 minutes last night compared to DWade’s 39 minutes. And he’s averaging 44 mpg in the playoffs. Even though being tired doesn’t fly… Spoles still need to give him a little more rest.

Is there something internal with the team? Well last year it was the “mom” rumor so we can’t play that card. No, I think everything is cool internally other than DWade wanting Lebron to step up his game. I think we often think something must be wrong internally when things don’t play out the way we expect (Pau’s lack of production in the playoffs…Lebrons gm 5 vs. Boston last year and gm 4 vs. Dallas this year).

I think it goes back to Lebron’s personality. He instinctively is not a killer….like MJ,Bird, Kobe, Isiah, etc. He’s more comfortable passing than shooting. Remember in one of his early playoff games he was criticized for passing to a wide open Donyell Marshall instead of taking the big shot. Donyell missed and the Cavs lost. The next game Lebron took the game winning shot and made it. When the pressure is at the greatest it appears that he reverts back to his comfort level.

One last thing on last night’s game….Carlisle did a GREAT coaching job. Consider all of his risky moves…starting Berea, DNP for Peja, playing Brian Cardinal, sticking with Stevenson in the 4th instead of Marion. How many coaches would have been willing to make that many changes in a 2-1 series?
Game 5 is a must win for Dallas. No way can they go to Miami down 3-2.

Fact: there will be a lock-out and I don't care.

Not much the Lakers can do with their roster and I personally believe they're holding out for the elite players: Howard, Paul & Williams. I know Jim loves his Bynum but when push comes to shove, if Howard is willing and available, expect that swap to go down. Everyone is waiting to hear what those players will want to do and if L.A. can somehow come up with Howard and Williams next season or the one after, then I really like our chances.

I think if they can get Trey "on the cheap," they should go for it. In the few minutes that he was on the floor, dude showed no fear and maybe Blake will perform better in a more traditional role as a PG now that the "Triangle" is history.

As was mentioned before: better to plan to work with what you have and make the best of it. Like it or not, it's really not a bad core. Hopefully, Coach Brown is right in saying that they're a bunch of "angry men" who just might have the necessary "hunger" for another "run." As fans, we can only hope.

Tech N9ne,

You're missing some good basketball not watching the Finals.
I wasn't real interested in either team before the Finals but the games grow on you. It's been an entertaining series.
Try it, you'll like it.
:)

man I hope Dfish is better at negotiation than being a PG
Posted by: Tech N9ne
=======

Ha ha, funny.
Don't we all...

P.S. If anyone is not watching this year's Finals, then you are missing an epic contest. The way Dallas continues to comeback from behind leads me to believe this just might go 7 games and in their favor. "We can only hope." It's a best of 3 now. A whole new series.

Tech N9ne,

You're missing some good basketball not watching the Finals.
I wasn't real interested in either team before the Finals but the games grow on you. It's been an entertaining series.
Try it, you'll like it.
:)

Posted by: Art_Lakers | June 08, 2011 at 04:19 PM
---------------------

Tech,

I'll go one step further and say you've already missed some exciting games btw OKC-Dallas, Mia-Bos, Mia-Chi...the only thing missing thus far is a long series since all of those matchups only lasted 5 games. But it looks like the finals is going the full 7 games...so you still have time to jump on board.

>>>In the context of my comment “mute” means your opinion is voiceless and
>>>irrational if you think the NBA is heading for “dark days” because the Lakers
>>>didn’t make the finals this one year.

Voiceless could be used as a synonym for one meaning of mute. Irrational has nothing to do with mute. And I'd agree that the "dark days because the Lakers are out" is a bit irrational. It would be a pretty boring league if the same team won the championship every year, even if it was my favorite team.

But that's a rather odd skew to the meaning of "mute'. By definition, if the opinion is mute, then it is unspoken. Yet here you are complaining about people who express that opinion.

You can see where I and others would not understand your meaning.

Their opinion is a "moot point" makes more sense in the context of what you were saying - their opinion doesn't matter. Whether they feel that way or not, the NBA finals go on without the Lakers.

Sorry for mistaking you for a newb or a non-Laker fan.

The reason for the verbal assault mostly came down to the line "...don't read or comment...".

It always offends me when people think they should decide what should or shouldn't be posted here (other than personal attacks or irrelevant posts (spam, political diatribe, etc.), which are obviously out of line).

I don't appreciate people trying to ban any ideas from a public forum. If it's someone's opinion that the Finals sucks because the Lakers aren't in it, then they're entitled to that opinion and they're entitled to post it.

If you believe they're whiny ass beyotches (though in more polite language), then you're entitled to that opinion and entitled to post it.

I respect your right to counter argue their opinion. I don't acknowledge any right on your part to try to silence their opinion.

@ Art - as much as i would love to watch I just cant make that a priority, with Lakers it was always game time either 6:30 or 7:30 so now, its kind of wierd, I stopped even watching TV because every channel litteraly talkes about basketball, Its not like I dont watch it because I really really hate them, I do but thats not the only reason, its not a priority for me, now its kind of like catching Jay Leno show, something like that, If i happen to turn on the TV and the game is on, oh well, i can watch that, but I wont go home and turn on the TV hoping to catch it you know?

so yeah thats my explanation of not watching, I guess Lakers are my only priority and soccer, I started to play a lot of soccer!

LTLF - thanks for the reply on Shannon. I think he would veto going to GS. BTW...Trevor would be my first choice on the list you posted earlier. Although a sniper like Rashard Lewis is interesting.

Dude...LeBron carried the Heat in the Chicago series, how some HATERS forget.

Posted by: LRob2 | June 08, 2011 at 04:42 PM

Rob - i've seen the highlights of those game between OKC - DALLAS, MIA-BOS(randos broken arm) MIA-CHCAGO so Ive seen them, I can do an NBA.com quick highlight real and get it over with at work! ahahah

anyway, so this is what's also disturbing, My neighbros is a Miami fan okay, the guys from Miami and he never watched basketball, Every time Lakers play I used to have a Bball night at my house, with family and friends, we used to yell scream and all that good stuff, but now ever since Miami made the finals the guy yells and screams on top of his lungs like his been a die hard fan.

So anyway banwagon hoppers~

"BaytoLA

Yesterday, before the game the PSP spent about 2 hours argui ... I mean discussing the NBA finals. One of the guys said Dirk was better than Lebron and the other said Wade was better than Lebron. The PSP hate the princess as much as the next person but to put him beneath Dirk ... don't know.

Do you agree or disagree that Chris Bosh is a top 15 player in the NBA today?

Thanks
PSP Intern

Posted by: Practice Season Police | June 08, 2011 at 03:39 PM "

I'm trying to do the math in my head of how many players I'd place above Chris Bosh. I think I'm leaning toward thinking he is not in the top 15 because I think at least half of the teams in the NBA have another guy they would have as their #1 even if they had Bosh on their roster. He's a very good player and even better when he is aggressive but I don't think he's quite on that top 15 level on an average day. On his good days he makes the cut.

NBA4eternity: No offense taken by me -- everyone has to be able to take the verbal assault to be in here. Very few of the hardcore bloggers here are not watching the finals. But the Dark Days you speak of are a euphemism for the lockout. I'm afraid it will be a very long summer-fall-winter indeed. NBA post holidays anyone?

"Game 5 is a must win for Dallas. No way can they go to Miami down 3-2.


Posted by: LRob2 | June 08, 2011 at 04:14 PM "

I agree and I think it is even a must win for Miami as well. With the way this series has went, I think the team that gets two chances to close it out is the team that gets it done. HCA hasn't provided a clear advantage to either team so far.


Although a sniper like Rashard Lewis is interesting.

Posted by: LRob2 | June 08, 2011 at 04:49 PM
---

Rashard's is one of the worst contracts in the NBA. He is due $21M a year for the next 2 years...

I think if Dallas was a much younger team they would have folded by now and waited for "next year." The fact that Dallas is actually a year older than the Lakers on average, is giving these guys extra motivation because their window may only be this year. I heard Rick Bucker this morning describe Dallas like McGiver -- I too don't know how tey are finding a way to win these games.

How much change should the Lakers make to their roster? That is the six million dollar question. However, I could take a stab and provide you with my answer in four words. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Does anyone know what is that logo on Jim Buss' black cap? He seems to wear that all the time.

Does anyone know what is that logo on Jim Buss' black cap? Posted by: Snake92646 | June 08, 2011 at 08:00 PM

---

http://elementskateboards.com/us/

Rashard's is one of the worst contracts in the NBA. He is due $21M a year for the next 2 years...

Posted by: Snake92646 | June 08, 2011 at 05:24 PM
-------------------------------------
Snake,

I was responding to a post by LTLF from earlier today (10:15am) where he listed the players that would be bought out if under the new CBA each team was allowed to buy out one player with a bad contract on their team (amnesty clause). That player would then be free to sign with any team except his original team. If that comes to fruition I could see a player like RLewis filling the Lakers 3pt shooting need.

Can we be frank about a couple of things that no one is talking about. People keep saying the Lakers need to make some sort of Bynum package deal for Howard... but isn't Bynum's existing contract expiring soon also?

That means Orlando is supposed to trade a big man who could leave for nothing, for another big man who could leave for nothing. Why would they want to do that exactly? And why would Bynum want to go try to fill Howard's shoes and even think about taking that gig. Just doens't make sense unless Bynum says he wants to play there. If he wants to be the center of a team, why wouldn't he just go to some team who never had a good center and be king Bynum somewhere else. Right?


And we keep hearing Chis Paul... isn't this wishful thinking too? If we just signed Steve Blake for 3 years at 12 million, and Dfish is 2 years at 7 (plus he's the closest thing to Kobe's best friend)- doesn't that mean we're stuck at the point guard spot? I guess we could trade big for small and pay 7-8 million for back up point guards but isn't that the problem right now with the Luke Walton thing. I'm not saying we don't need Dwight or CP3 but is there really a way we can get this done and it makes any sense?

I guess my point is, unless a team gets desperate and trades Blake & LO for CP3 or something like that, nothing is going to happen. And even then where does that leave our bench? See what I mean? I just don't see a team handing their franchise guy over for our 3rd or 4th best player and even then it still has to mesh, which isn't easy.

Mike Brown makes a good point, Mitch has done a great job creating this roster. I don't think the window has closed but I do think Phil's window was closed. Let's get behind the new coaches who are excited to work with this group and see what they can do. We might be pleasantly surprised. After all, if anybody knows how to beat Lebron it's Mike Brown. Right?

Did someone mention the blog 27?

Ah, it's the little things that make me smile

and don't forget Commandment #11.

11. Thou shall rebuke all trade suggestions till a trade is actually made, then embrace it.

lol

RSP

How much change should the Lakers make to their roster? June 8, 2011 | 1:36 pm

---

Thx for the rundown. One of the better overall assessments I've read among various sources.

Re: Jim & Drew -- IMPO, I hope or maybe even suspect Jim Buss is *not* necessarily married to Bynum. Drew already validated Jim's ability to judge basketball talent. And there was nothing in Bynum's prep history to predict Drew's subsequent injuries as a pro. So any trade or offer of substantial value for Bynum would only validate Jim's original assessment.

Moreover, Dr. Buss has already invested substantial trust in Jim's judgement. I don't see Jim betraying that trust by rejecting or opposing trades based on personal affinity.

I agree and I think it is even a must win for Miami as well. With the way this series has went, I think the team that gets two chances to close it out is the team that gets it done. HCA hasn't provided a clear advantage to either team so far.

Posted by: BayToLA1 | June 08, 2011 at 05:18 PM
-----------------

I wouldn't say its a must win for Miami. I believe Miami could win two straight at home, whereas it would be highly improbable for Dallas to win two straight in Miami. If that happens it would mean the Mavs won 3 out of 4 in Miami.

Since the league adopted the 2-3-2 format in 1985....9 teams have faced a 3-2 deficit going on the road for the final two games and none of them won the title. In fact, only the 2005 Pistons even forced a game 7.

Conversely 7 teams came home facing a 3-2 deficit and 3 of them won the final two at home to secure the title (88 Lakers, 94 Rockets and 10 Lakers).

So far, this yrs championship is following the same pattern as last yrs Lakers-Celtics.

"Does anyone know what is that logo on Jim Buss' black cap? He seems to wear that all the time.

Posted by: Snake92646 | June 08, 2011 at 08:00 PM"

It's not a logo, it's a horse hoof mark...or maybe it's a symbol for a club for "I haven't mastered the combover yet...so I am still in the cap phase of my life".

Sorry Snake92646, I couldn't resist...it is a nice cap though, I wonder if he has any financial interests in the skateboard company as the post after yours was guiding us to. (Thank you to latopia)...

As for personnel changes on the roster, I say just keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity to get an adequate PG, without giving up any of our current players, other than Walton (who I said previously, I don't wish his back to be an issue, but if it is, maybe it's time to take a buyout, and become GM in training...Mitch is about 56 years old, so you have about 7-10 years to be groomed). I still say Blake is better than he showed, the triangle stunted his skills, as Phil always plays the guys that know the system. Blake should have been thrown out into the game with the first team, much more, earlier in the season. The desire to reacquire Trevor Ariza...but at what costs, and do we already have a potential similar player in Ebanks. I know what Barnes is good for, and it's better than he showed in his first year with the Lakers. Look, he wants to be a Laker, he's giving up probably about 6 million, over last season and the possible next season, by playing for less than his market value. And Barnes has never had a good contract. It was said that before coming to the Lakers he had only earned about $10 million over his career. Hopefully it will work out, and he can get a better contract in his 3rd year as a Laker (remember Rick Fox doing the same thing just to get back to LA, I know, Hollywood, for him). We have seen only a bit of Caracter, however, he looked pretty strong and immovable once he got position under the basket. So with the 2 second rounders from last year, and 4 2nd round picks in this year's draft...there is potential. Those 4 2nd round picks could be used to fill out the roster, depending on what becomes of Theo and Joe Smith. Only 10 players are locked in, Shannon has his option, & the Lakers have the option on Caracter...making it 12. Trey because of his familiarity may be a keeper-lite. I say go forward with what we have, the 4 second round picks could be played out in trades to move up, or keep 1 or 2, but that would be too much youth on the team, and stash two in Europe or elsewhere for a year. Oh, I forgot, run everything by Kobe first....
The Clippers will really need to give DeAndre Jordan a nice contract as he looks like a real talent. Maybe they'll look to move Kamaan, however his contract is too large for what you get. And he would only be needed if the Lakers traded one of their bigs. Let's go back a year...and I'll say that M'Benga would not have been so trigger happy if he were used more regularly and Pau would have really benefited from the lessor minutes. I can't even find him on HoopHype salaries...oh well...

As I mentioned before, the Lakers have a team option on Bynum after this year so yes it's conceivable the Lakers could decide not to keep him and then go after Howard in free agency. But should the Magic try shopping Howard around next season before the deadline, it'll be hard financially to see how the Lakers acquire him unless they're willing to give up at least Bynum, Gasol or Odom in some type of trade package

Re: Jim & Drew Posted by: latopia | June 08, 2011 at 08:53 PM

---

n.b. Addresses Wojnarowski's "report that Lakers vice president Jim Buss has made it clear within the organization that when it comes to trade talks, Bynum is untouchable" -- not MM's analysis of same.

Snake,

>>>Rashard's is one of the worst contracts in the NBA. He is due $21M a year for
>>>the next 2 years...

You missed the point. I was listing players that teams might cut if there's an amnesty clause. Basically, they'd have to pay their salaries, but it would come off of the team's cap space.

A player like Rashard is appealing for that, because if Washington cuts him, it instantly give them 22 million in cap space (and in their case, enough cap space to sign two full max contracts to add to John Wall and Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee and Nick Young.

And if Rashard's already getting paid 24 million for the season, he might be willing to accept a million from the Lakers for a chance at a ring.

Rashard at 22 million = bigger ripoff than Luke Walton
Rashard at 1 million has some potential.

>>>That means Orlando is supposed to trade a big man who could leave for
>>>nothing, for another big man who could leave for nothing.

Dwight Howard has a PLAYER option for the 2012-13 season. HE can choose to opt out of it.

Andrew Bynum has a TEAM option for 2012-13. Whoever owns his contract next summer can decide whether to keep him for the next season.

Also, Bynum makes less than Howard, so they get an "almost top C in the league" for 2 million less per year.

>>>And why would Bynum want to go try to fill Howard's shoes and even think
>>>about taking that gig.

Several reasons:

1. In Los Angeles, he's the 3rd in the feeding line. In Orlando, he'd be top dog.

2. There are MUCH worse places to play than Orlando. They're a regular playoff team and occasional championship threat. It's a warm weather city. It's much better than getting traded to Minnesota and playing for a crappy team in a city with crappy weather.

3. In the East (with both Yao and Dwight in the West), Bynum would have a much better chance of getting voted an All-Star.

4. Because he could go to Disneyworld :-)

Randall4Showtime,

>>>And we keep hearing Chis Paul... isn't this wishful thinking too?

Probably. If the Lakers could just decide the trade and New Orleans had to agree, CP3 would be a Laker today. But New Orleans will probably only give him up as a last ditch move at the trade deadline. I doubt they'd even consider trading him this summer.

>>>If we just signed Steve Blake for 3 years at 12 million, and Dfish is 2 years
>>>at 7 (plus he's the closest thing to Kobe's best friend)- doesn't that mean
>>>we're stuck at the point guard spot?

Yes and no. You can hire as many PGs as you want. The league doesn't limit your number of PGs. And note that if there was a deal going down for Chris Paul, it's possible that Blake or Fisher could be one of the pieces going out in the trade (e.g. Bynum + Blake for CP3 + Ariza).

>>>I guess we could trade big for small and pay 7-8 million for back up point
>>>guards

Most of the Lakers tradeable assets are bigs, so that would probably have to be the case. But see my trade suggestion above. Either Blake could be in the trade, or Fisher could be in the trade with New Orleans cutting him and Fish returning to the Lakers in 60 days for a minimal contract. It's a common workaround teams use.

>>>but isn't that the problem right now with the Luke Walton thing

Yes. Luke Walton is the reason the PGs suck. If it weren't for Luke, Derek Fisher would have been the starting PG at the All-Star Game, and Steve Blake would have been the starting 2-guard. But then Luke came along and screwed it all up.

I repeat this about once a month.

Luke's contract has very little to do with the Lakers cap-space/luxury-tax issues. If the Lakers traded Luke to Cleveland tomorrow for a trade exception (which would completely clear his salary off the books), it wouldn't give the Lakers 1 more dollar to spend on point guards or any other position.

The cause of the Lakers No-Cap-Space and Lots-of-Luxury-Tax problem is primarily with the contracts of Kobe (25 million), Pau (18 million), Bynum (15 million), and Lamar (9 million).

Those first three players by themselves put the Lakers over the salary cap. If you cut EVERY LAKER except Kobe, Pau, and Bynum, then the Lakers would have ZERO cap space to spend on free agents.

Throw Lamar's contract intot the mix, and you're only 3 million away from luxury tax. Even if you signed all 9 other required players to minimal contracts, Kobe+Pau+Bynum+Odom means the Lakers are in the luxury tax.

Luke's 5.6 million is a drop in the bucket by comparison. It's a bad contract, no doubt. But it's not the reason the Lakers don't have any cap space to sign big name free agents.

>>>I guess my point is, unless a team gets desperate and trades Blake & LO for
>>>CP3 or something like that, nothing is going to happen

If New Orleans would agree to that, I'm sure the Lakers would do it in a heartbeat.

The problem with that trade though is that New Orleans has a glut of PFs and not-quite-big-enough front court players: Okafor, Landry, David West. Thus Lamar wouldn't have nearly the value to the Hornets as Pau or Drew, a true 7-footer.

And even worse, New Orleans has serious financial problems. So even if they wanted Pau, they'd probably be more inclined to trading for expiring contracts and rookies with upside. To New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins looks a lot better than Pau Gasol at this point. So does Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez and probably another few guys.

And worst of all, the league currently owns New Orleans. That means that the other 28 owners could effectively vote to block a trade sending Chris Paul to the Lakers, even if the Lakers and Hornets agreed to it. Most owners would rather see Paul go to a non-threatening Knicks team than to shore up the 2-time champion Lakers.

I seriously doubt the Lakers can get Chris Paul this season. If they do, it would be at the trade deadline, and if at that point they're first in the West, they probably wouldn't bother.

>>>Drew already validated Jim's ability to judge basketball talent. And there was
>>>nothing in Bynum's prep history to predict Drew's subsequent injuries as a
>>>pro.

Of course there was. If I remember right, didn't he only play 6 games his senior year of HS because he was out with a knee injury?

I'm really really hoping that Bynum will stay healthy for the next 5 years straight and will become a dominating force for the Lakers. But every time someone bangs into Bynum's knees, a little voice in my head starts shouting "Well, that's it for Bynum's season". Please prove me wrong, socks. Show that the injuries were just "fluke" injuries and that you're not injury prone like Bill Walton and Greg Oden.

>>>So any trade or offer of substantial value for Bynum would only validate
>>>Jim's original assessment.

The Lakers traded Kwame Brown for Pau. Doesn't mean it was a reasonable deal to sign Kwame for 9 million per, or that he's talented enough to be worth that much.

Drew is looking like he could be worth what they're paying him, assuming he could stay healthy.

MM,

>>>As I mentioned before, the Lakers have a team option on Bynum after this
>>>year so yes it's conceivable the Lakers could decide not to keep him and then
>>>go after Howard in free agency.

No they couldn't. Even if they waive both Bynum and Odom, the Lakers still have 67 million on the books for 2012-13.

Unless you're suggesting that the Lakers would try to sign Howard for the MLE.

Here's my trade proposal:

Laker trade Pau Gasol and Luke Walton to Golden state, in exchange for Monte Ellis, Andres Biedrens and Dorell Wright. The Lakers immediately have the best backcourt in the NBA, a strong back-up center and get rid of Walton.
The Warriors get a great player to player alongside of David Lee and Udoh, and get rid of Biedrens contract. The Lakers can then fill-in their needs at power forward in the draft, and/or sign Luc Mbah aMoute, to back-up Odom!


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