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Lakers Mailbag: Analyzing the state of the Lakers


We've made it to the third edition of Lakers Mailbag, but we're going to need everyone to step up their game. My hope is that the process will involve some of same heavy sampling used in determining the daily Rick Friedman Reader of the Day comment award. So get those questions in on a daily basis by sending me an email at [email protected], or just leave one on the comment threads. Hopefully, the questions below will elicit some responses.

1. "Jim Buss, what makes you think Mitch Kupchack can completely retool for new offensive system in one year considering the number of returning contracts, how we're over the cap, AND no player is going to take a pay cut to be coached by Mike Brown?" - Jon K.

I don't think Jim Buss is starting a mailbag, so I guess I'll have to answer this one myself. Jon K, I completely agree with you, and it's the primary reason I'm opposed to the Brown hire. I've already stated in previous posts that my concern isn't necessarily his coaching, but his ability to handle all the egos and distractions that surround the team.

Another reason has to do with the huge reality you outlined: Regardless of whether you do or don't like the Brown hire, his philosophy is completely different than that of Phil Jackson and a transition period is inevitable. Realistically, the Lakers' current roster is primed for one or two more championship runs, then the overhaul starts with finding a new franchise player and building the supporting cast around him. That's why I thought Brian Shaw's presence would be valuable in providing a bridge between the past and the future.

2. "I know Pau Gasol is going to play for the Spanish national team. But what are the details? Is the team set or are they still deciding? What's the schedule? Is it televised? How will playing for the national team help him get Pau's mojo back for the Lakers? Is Pau actually working out? Does he know what weights are?" -- justanothermambafan

Some may not believe it, but I have seen Gasol come out for interviews after lifting weights. As he has said numerous times, he's not going to suddenly become D.J. Mbenga and start flexing his muscles for bodybuilding contests. I agree that it wouldn't hurt if Gasol added a little muscle, but that's not the major factor that led to his unraveling in the playoffs. He mentally checked out when adversity hit, and he could never bounce back. With his play for the Spanish national team this summer, I expect that his confidence will return. During the 2008-09 season, he showed how an offseason's worth of criticism (for his role in the 2008 Finals loss) could motivate him. I expect him to respond the same way now.

Some may argue that Gasol should actually rest after showing signs of fatigue this season. However, the tournament runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18 in Lithuania, giving him plenty of time to rest up before the coming NBA season -- besides, it'll at least keep him sharp in what appears to be a lockout season. 

As far as your other questions. The 15-player roster was recently released and includes Gasol and his brother, Marc; Thunder center Serge Ibaka; Rudy Fernandez; Ricky Rubio and Raptors guard Jose Manual Calderon.

I'll keep you posted on where the tournament might be televised. But for now, it would be good to bookmark this website

Related Posts

Lakers mailbag: More questions on the Lakers' offseason needs

Lakers mailbag: Looking at what Mike Brown might bring as head coach

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers executive Jim Buss at the team's training facility in El Segundo on Aug. 23, 2005. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (15)

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MM - since we had a thread about the "should the Lakers try to trade for Dwight Howard", how about a "should the Lakers trade Pau to Minnesota" thread.

I'm not sure Minnesota would give up both for Pau, but the key question is this:

Would you trade Pau Gasol for Kevin Love, the #2 pick in the draft, and whatever it takes to match salaries?

Personally, I think that's the tipping point. Love alone isn't enough. The #2 pick definitely isn't enough as a rookie wouldn't contribute next season. But both Love & #2 gives the Lakers help now and later.

OTOH, Pau is the best player in the deal, no question. And usually, the team that gets the best player in the trade "won" the trade.

I don't think Pau is going to overcome the defenses that are going to be thrown his way - again - next season. He has evolved into a poor man's Nowitzki.

Sadly enough, before the playoffs began, Amar'e followed by Kendrick told the world that Pau was "soft" and the verdict is in: he is soft as proven in the playoffs and before that time. It's what he is known for now and defenses will not be afraid of him or his offense.

His game is in trouble and the league is tough on the "softies." They will not let up on Pau and I just don't see him overcoming the onslaught of tough "D" that'll be coming his way. With about $60 Mil coming his way, teams are going to think really hard about wanting him on their squad. I think he remains a Laker.

The tradable and viable assets on this team are Bynum and Odom due to their contracts and ability to play; Bynum, when he's healthy. In my opinion, they are the "movable" ones but for now, the only "play" to make is D. Howard, assuming he wants to play for the Lakers.

How about some of these trades:

Utah is talking about drafting one of the rookie PGs with #3 and trading off Devin Harris. Might they be willing to give up Harris for a couple of players from Minnesota:

Denver is clearly going to start Ty Lawson at PG. Might they be willing to trade off Felton for a couple of players of their choice from Minnesota? Something like this:

or this:


A trade like that one of those would turn Pau's trade value into a good replacement in Love plus a veteran point guard who could help right away and another role player.

If you'd like, throw in the #20 pick or a future first round pick from Minne.

actually this Pau trade to Minn dosn't sound like such a bad idea, of course its trade talk again, but still sounds pretty feasable..

then again were not sure what the CBA will be on the upcoming season so even though sounds good its still a speculation and trade rumor... :(

ship his soft butt outta here!


HAHAHA!!! I can't believe you put that up there. That was a tongue-in-cheek thing for YOU - not the mailbag!! Oh well.... Thanks for the answers!

I hope you're right and Pau playing this summer will help him stay in shape AND get his confidence back. Then again, there might not be a season, so.....

@ frmkt or :-(

Yo havn't seen you in a while, how you been?
well maybe I'm the only one that didn't see your posts!

@Justa: I told you so. DIMEBREEZY!

>>>then again were not sure what the CBA will be on the upcoming season so
>>>even though sounds good its still a speculation and trade rumor... :(

It's not a trade rumor. For it to be a trade rumor, there would have to be some actual statement from someone inside of either organization that it was being discussed.

Note that the Pau to Minnesota trades I discussed are independent of the new CBA (assuming they happen before July 1). They don't include any free agent players, so they could be done TODAY under the old CBA.

>>>With about $60 Mil coming his way, teams are going to think really hard
>>>about wanting him on their squad.

Ah, but Minnesota's front office has already "leaked" to the press that they'd be interested in trading for Gasol.

Get it done LA and Minnie. Gasol, goodbye and I won't say good riddance because you were a value to us when you weren't soft (or hid your softness better). And should this trade really happen, I hope you don't cry for too long as your feelings will undoubtedly be hurt like the crybaby you are.

LongTimeLakerFan - Good point. I'll put something together fairly soon. Just by Mitch's comments to Mike Trudell where he said it's unlikely they'll trade for a pick, I didn't even bother with that speculation. But we'll see

JAMF - Hey it was a pretty good question! Hah

Lakers get Kevin Love, Darko Milicic, Jonny Flynn via Minnesota. Dwight Howard via Orlando.

Orlando gets Andrew Bynum via the Lakers, Beasley and #2 from Minnesota (Minnesota Option or cash and Ebanks from Lakers).

Minnesota gets Pau Gasol. They are under the cap. If such a trade happens and Derrick is still available during draft day, at the #2 they could opt to keep him and help him along, giving them a solid veteran presence and a legitimate point guard in Ricky Rubio. They would have lots of cap relief to tweak that roster and put themselves above the .500 mark next season.

Under this scenario Orlando retains a legitimate C, cap relief now, and next year with Bynum's expiring contract - their choice if they want to be empty handed next summer. The Lakers are able to shed Gasol, Dwight finally goes to one of his desired destinations. Kobe & Mike have a lot of defense to work with. Kevin Love has a change of scenery, and the Lakers while not having a polished PF, still retain a solid knock down shooter and youth going forward. The Lakers retain Lamar Odom off the bench. They could go for Deron Williams the year after that and use Lamar as a trading chip if they choose to.

It sounds easier said than done - so it likely won't happen. Either way I would like our team to go after guys like Raymond Felton, JR Smith, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Afflalo. See, because if you trade away one of your major chips for a small chip like Chris Paul, there aren't many starting C's comparable to Andrew or Dwight, why not pry him away now and avoid frustration? I know guys like Ray Felton, or OJ Mayo boast CP3's same stats but they are still:

-Room to grow
-Good by today's standards
-Decent scorers in their own right
-Can move the rock

makes so much sense it won't happen.

I am not one of these armchair trade canvassers but hope the Lakers play out their due diligence and are successful prior to this coming season and yes, '11-'12 will play out but the number of games played will be the big question. Trading just for the sake of trading and trying to prove to the fans management cares can only backfire. If the Lakers championship window is closing quickly why make rash trades to only make that window smaller.

Lakers should have begun their rebuild prior to Kobe's newly signed contract. The CBA will be very interesting to say the least and would say the Lakers hopes of signing and trading depends on CBA without doubt.



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