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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:28 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink |  

    Building Every Team's Free-Agency Whiteboard 

    Los Angeles Lakers

    First Wish: A Superstar
    Second Wish: Patience
    Third Wish: More Patience
    Guaranteed Salary: $69,626,861
     
    The Los Angeles Lakers should go after Chris Paul. They should do everything in their power to get a meeting with Blake Griffin. If both members of their in-city rivals spurn them, either to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers or move to a new location, they should start seeing what Gordon Hayward, Danilo Gallinari, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap and the other biggest names available this summer think about wearing purple and gold. 

    But they shouldn’t overpay. 

    Magic Johnson’s first offseason in charge should not feature a signing like the failed Timofey Mozgov contract. Los Angeles has already added too much young talent, and overpaying for a marginal upgrade would directly contrast against the intended direction of this rebuild. The Lakers need to save money for extending their youngsters, and they need to leave opportunities open for the new talents they’ll add in the draft. 

    Patience, above all else, is key. 

    Save money for Paul George next offseason. Wait for an opportunity before the 2018 trade deadline. Continue to develop organically on the heels of Luke Walton’s first season as the head coach, which featured across-the-board growth from so many up-and-coming players. 

    Attempting to expedite the rebuild would only backfire, barring the signing of a true A-list free agent.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:41 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good advice from Adam Fromal. Patience is going to be critically important this summer.

    • Caliphilosopher

      Caliphilosopher 7:56 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Morning Tom!

      My thoughts on the list:

      Gallo -- Absolutely not. Can’t play D
      Paul -- Not sure he wants to start over
      Lowry -- See Paul
      Hayward -- See Paul
      Millsap -- See Paul

      We gotta get some players who can play D (in my opinion). Wings, and a legit 6’11″+ C.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:06 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Morning, Cali.

        I’m in agreement with your list except for Hayward, whom I think would be a great addition although a long shot as I think he will end up going to the Celtics. He is the one player on that list who is young and can play great defense.

        I would also make a play at Nerlens Noel. We need a modern NBA center who can protect the rim and still be mobile enough to defend the pick-and-roll. Zubac may develop into a great player but it’s gong to take time and his forte will still be offense and not defense.

        I really like Jordan Bell from Oregon. He’s a little undersized but has the length and timing to be an elite shot blocker. I think he could be available with the Houston pick. With the focus on so much small ball, we need a center who is really mobile to defend inside and out.

        • Caliphilosopher

          Caliphilosopher 8:21 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Morning Tom,

          I would ABSOLUTELY love to have Gordon on the Lake Show. I am just worried that with Utah further along, that they could really make some noise if they stick together.

          I am also in agreement about Nerlens -- he looks to be completely recovered from his injury and would be a great addition to the team. Do you think he’s gonna get a max contract? I know he can’t shoot, but if he is totally ok with blocking shots, grabbing boards, and dunking/finishing everything around the rim (like Nenê did in game 4 of the OKC series) then I welcome him with open arms haha.

          I didn’t get a chance to see too much of Jordan Bell (or much of the NCAA games for that matter) -- but I will take your word for it! I also wish the Lake Show had enough money for KCP in Detroit AND Otto Porter Jr. Adding those two and Nerlens would be plenty of D and switching for me! Actually any combo of those three and Heyward would be a dream.

          Yeah, it probably won’t happen, but I can dream! haha

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:28 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Cali, This is a good summary of what I love about Bell. He can protect the rim and defend the pick and roll as well as finishing strong on rolls.

            “Bell’s defensive versatility and overall prowess is what will give him a chance to make a NBA roster and stick long term. Few players show the ability to cover ground the way he can, as he displays an excellent combination of lateral quickness, agility and quick-twitch explosiveness, which allows him to defend big men, forwards, wings and guards all over the floor, while disrupting passing lanes, and altering shots at the basket. He once again stood out as one of a handful of players in our database to average two blocks and two steals per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He set Oregon’s career blocked shot record in just 50 games while averaging 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted as a sophomore.”

            • Caliphilosopher

              Caliphilosopher 8:35 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink

              Thanks for the link! I will check it out. :-)

              Hope you’re having a good start to your day!

            • tate793

              tate793 3:35 PM on April 27, 2017 Permalink

              Bell is a Long Beach Poly product. Good kid with a tremendous heart.

              As for Noel, I’d make an equally diligent effort to obtain WCS.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:53 PM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      CP3 to the Lakers make no sense for both parties.

      Why would Hayward leave a good playoff team to play for us???

      Gallo: agree with Cali

      Lowry? LOL!!!!!!

      Millsap? See CP3 comment.

      This is quite possibly the most nonsensical article regarding the Lakers’ options that I’ve read in a decade.
      I think he should have added trading for LeBron, Curry, and Westbrook to this list. LOL!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:25 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink |  

    Kobe Bryant admitted to copying Michael Jordan 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:42 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      And there are thousands of ballers who have copied Kobe. Bottom line, Kobe has admitting copying moves from almost every great player he has watched. With every game now available digitally, kids today have access to copy and emulate every great player’s repertoire.

    • mud

      mud 9:05 AM on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      is that news?

      what’s next? water is wet?

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:52 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Luol Deng Still Salvageable In Right Role 

    Are Mozgov and Deng salvageable?

    With Mozgov, it’s a bit tougher to see him rise from the bottom. The Lakers have several players at the center position who can give them minutes, highlighted by Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac.

    The more interesting reclamation project for the Lakers this upcoming season is Deng, who has an easier pass to minutes next year.
    For starters, Deng had a decent defensive season. His DRPM was plus-1.51, which ranked him 14th among small forwards.

    His defensive box plus minus was only minus-0.2, his block and steal rates — 1.6 and 1.1 percent respectively — were in line with his career numbers and the Lakers were three points better on defense with Deng on the floor.

    A team with the worst defense in the league could use someone like Deng, who played decent defense despite playing just 56 games.

    The issue for Deng was all on the offensive side of the ball. Deng shot a career-low 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc.

    He was, in short, an offensive negative, on a team with just three good offensive players (Lou Williams, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell). Deng’s inability to space the floor submarined his season.

    Entering the 2017-18 season, can Deng bounce back or is he a lost cause?

    The first thing that intrigues me with Deng is what position he should play. Last season, Deng played 64 percent of his minutes at small forward and the remainder at power forward. That should switch, shifting most of his minutes at the power forward spot.
    While the defensive numbers are still fine, Deng is 32 and is losing a step, thus could fare better at the 4.

    And at the 4, Deng should be coming off the bench. In his 56 games played this season, Deng started 49 games.

    Part of it had to do with Brandon Ingram being a rookie, but after getting his feet wet with starts to end the season, Ingram should enter next season as the starting small forward with Julius Randle manning the power forward spot.

    Perfect for Deng, who was one of the league’s ironmen while playing for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, with four straight seasons of averaging more than 37 minutes per game.

    The largest point for Deng is can he regain his offense? Can he return to being a good offensive player off the bench? The answer might be no, but there are some underlying parts to his game that could have some effectiveness in his game.

    Ideally, it appears at the two most valuable offensive areas in the game — beyond the arc and at the rim.

    Deng shot 38 percent from the floor last season, but he did finish well at the rim and on corner threes. Deng shot 61 percent at the rim, 38 percent from the left corner three and 39 percent from the right corner three.

    There’s still effective areas for Deng to score. Putting him with good creators and open shooters would allow Deng to get space.

    The Lakers have to deal with their two biggest contracts on the books and make them work. Mozgov is a tougher fit and retool because the Lakers have several players on the roster who can play his position better.

    Deng, however, is interesting. With Williams gone and Young reaching free agency, Los Angeles will have a ton of shots to go around and Deng, in a smaller role, could benefit from that.

    If the Lakers are planning to use Deng next season, the best position is as a low-usage role player who can use the gravity of others to get open threes in the corner.

    A better role and attempting to maximize his current strengths could allow Deng to salvage a bit of that contract and help Los Angeles on both sides of the ball.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:53 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Since we can only stretch and waive one player, I think that has to be Mozgov.
      Deng could help the team as a stretch 4, something we definitely need at times.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 3:08 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        There’s no rush to waive and stretch either one of them. It would be stupid to do it this summer. In 2018, it might become a financial necessity to accommodate two large contracts, but Pelinka will not wily nily do it for the sake of signing some tier 3 players.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:13 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          It is if we want to sign Paul George and Russell Westbrook this summer.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 3:25 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Russell Westbrook is still under contract next season.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:31 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Both are under contract until next summer, LT just thinks everyone is a free agent this summer.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:07 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              No, I just think both players will not sign extensions which means their GM’s will need to trade them this summer to get the most they can before the flee via free agency.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:13 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Bold predictions LT, verrrrrrry bold.

            • Magic Phil

              Magic Phil 6:03 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Mozgov is our best Center, like it or not, and he can help tremendously on developing Zubac. I’d keep him just for the sake of developing Zubie Boy

            • keen observer

              keen observer 8:03 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Yup.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:20 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Mozgov can mentor Zubac on how to end up an over-paid has-been? I’ll pass. Mozgov is a back-up center, at best, in the NBA. The fact that we’re debating whether he’s better than the likes of Zubac, Tarik Black (whom I would argue is better) and Larry Nance Jr. (who I also think is better) pretty much sums up Mozgov’s ceiling. Looooow.

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 4:30 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I am wit ya LT! Westy, worth a try. OKC gave a boatload o dough to Oladipo and Adams.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:25 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The CBA is exactly what makes these kind of deals atrocious. If the cap continued to increase meteorically (it won’t) it wouldn’t be so bad, but since the lump money came in all at once it over-paid this draft class, vastly, and JimMitch bought into it. Big time. These deals are both terrible, mainly because of the length and the utter lack of team options. Especially when one hears the price points other teams had Deng pegged at and we vastly over-spent (paid?) for his “talents”.

      I disagree with keen, if you’re going to W & S NOW is the time. There will be no market for Mozgov, ever. He’s too pricey and does nothing for a playoff roster come trade time, unless the plan is to pull A Kerrigan on some star center that Mozgov kind of emulates…nah, there will never be a market for that guy. if you’re looking to rebuild the image and the team that’s as good an opening salvo as any.

      Deng could have value on a team making a playoff run and could even prove valuable on our won team should we sniff the playoffs with him on the roster. He does defend OK, just his shooting. Of course, we’re talking about the team’s highest paid player that also can’t shoot good and stuff so…

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:32 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I say ‘draft class’ where I mean ‘free agent’…

      • keen observer

        keen observer 3:32 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        You are just wrong, Jamie. “Now” is not the time for every team. Team’s looking a year or two ahead can take on an expiring contract to give themselves cap space for the following summer. In fact, it makes a ton of sense for a team that needs to reach the salary floor while keep max space available for the following summer. I will never understand why knowledgeable fans like you don’t understand that it isn’t always about the player traded, but about the contract. The Lakers didn’t trade for Corey Brewer because they wanted Corey Brewer; it was for what his contract gave us. It gave us flexibility as a potential trade asset because his contract expires next summer or for us as an expiring contract. That’s it. Mozgov’s expiring contract in 2019 could prove to be quite a trade asset.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:44 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Feel free to ‘wow’ me with the list of epic expiring contract deals you’ve seen go down in the last 5 years. Don’t bother looking, there aren’t any. That is because most teams are no longer burdened by the luxury tax as their ownership cabals are loathe to overpay for anything but a guaranteed banner on the wall. You had one team, Philly, that needed to get back up to the salary floor this season.

          We traded for Corey Brewer for that other 1st round draft pick which gives the team a modicum of draft day flexibility this year. Next year we’re hosed in the draft, best to try and assemble a winner. CBA rules regarding the trading of 1st round draft picks are tight when it comes to trading those, as we’ve debated here.

          I am not a major advocate of waiving, or waiving and stretching, players. It mucks up the cap too much and they’re free to sign for pennies elsewhere where they typically play their best game of the season against you. No, pay them to play I say. But in Mozgov’s case I do make an exception.

          • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:50 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Also, you have until the trade deadline (or some date around there) to get back up to the salary floor. Doesn’t need to happen by the start of the season, just before it ends. So, if it’s an issue, one could sign literally ANY player on Earth not currently in the NBA to a deal that:

            A) Takes you to the minimum salary requirement
            B) Might help your team more than Mozgov
            C) Would also be expiring.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:55 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              My bad, at one point this season there were 6 teams below the floor back in January and I think they all made up the difference. Hard to find a relevant article about it…

              The real kicker is: you only pay the difference back to the general NBA if you fall below the threshold, every player gets a bonus, for lack of a better term. So the penalty for taking on a bad deal is far worse than paying every player a few extra bucks for one season, one time. Nope, can’t find a silver lining on this one, man.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:03 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Lastly, on this team, Brewer actually has more value than Lou did. His defense could be a better fit going forward than Lou’s microwave scoring skills. If Young opts in you have his erratic microwave scoring skills for next season and then you move on, if he opts out…draft a shooter.

            • MongoSlade

              MongoSlade 4:39 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Yeah…nobody gives a shyte about the salary floor.
              The penalty is miniscule

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 3:52 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Expiring contracts have some value in theory but they rarely work out in reality. Only in very specific situations. The problem for us is that these 2 dudes are sucking up our cap space during this window where we could be adding significant, meaningful salary while the young core is still getting peanuts.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 4:22 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            This is a new CBA. Here’s Pincus’s tweet from 12/21/16:

            The expiring contract is back! They used to be currency but have faded as key tools of trades but new rules make them valuable again— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) December 22, 2016

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:28 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              That’s a tweet containing no details about an un-ratified document that hasn’t taken final form, yet. Nothing is currently known, there are clear-cut notions and basic premises that have been agreed on and we’re nearly certain to avoid the lockout from a few years back. But there is nothing ‘final’ about the new CBA, yet.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:30 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Just playing the Devil’s Advocate here is all, if an expiring deal takes on a larger role in the future that’s fine by me. Basing all my opinionating on what is currently known and applicable.

            • MongoSlade

              MongoSlade 4:43 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Again, even if these expiring contracts have any value it’s a coupla years away. Buy the time we’re able to unload them our window of cap flexibility will be closing…we were better off when we were kicking the can down the road by signing guys to 1 year deals.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 7:47 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Actually, the timing would be perfect.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:47 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Lonzo Ball believes he can help the Lakers attract free agents 

    Ball believes he could change the way future free agents perceive the Lakers. His proximity and promise as a Showtime player make some believe it’s a natural fit, but he’s more sure about this: He’ll accept the responsibility of improving a franchise – no matter where he lands.

    “That’s the culture I want: to enter a situation and help my team win,” Ball told The Vertical. “I’ll do whatever I can for wins. It’s what I did when I was at Chino Hills. It’s what I did at UCLA. It’s what I’ll do again at the next level. Just do what I can to help my team win and make players around me better.”

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:49 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Players want to play for coaches and in systems that optimize their skill sets.
      I could see players also wanted to play with a guy like Lonzo who makes them better.

      • tate793

        tate793 5:09 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Where was that train of thought when Dwight refused to remain in D’Antoni’s system?

        • keen observer

          keen observer 8:06 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          There’s nothing quite like hindsight to make the arm chair critics look brilliant!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:21 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Iso Joe Johnson Isn’t a Joke Anymore; He’s the Playoffs’ Perfect Weapon 

    It was a matter of pride and principle.

    Little practical purpose was being served by how hard Chris Paul and Joe Johnson were pushing and leaning on each other Tuesday night. But back and forth they went, as if they belonged in a sumo wrestling ring. Referee Ron Garretson hustled in with his arms flapping for a truce because the ball wasn’t even close to being inbounded. Still, the two veterans wouldn’t stop fighting for position.

    Only 14.6 seconds remained in what would become a 96-92 Utah playoff victory over Paul’s crumbling Los Angeles Clippers. And while the duel did little in the end for the Clippers but illustrate how Paul will always be the sort to scrap to the very end, it also showed that when it comes to getting to his spot on the floor, Johnson might have no equal in this league.

    You can joke about the “Iso Joe” nickname that Johnson abhors because it connotes he’s not a team player. Yet when he is getting the ball in isolation or in a group set piece, he is completely focused as a professional scorer.

    “Pro Joe” isn’t nearly as cute to say, but it’s more accurate.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:15 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Possible Trade Packages for Timofey Mozgov 

    Lakers Rumors: Possible Trade Packages for Timofey Mozgov

    The Lakers made some head scratching choices when they decided to bring in Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov on massive contracts in the prior offseason. Singing Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract and Mozgov to a four-year, $64 million contract the Lakers obviously overspent. We already discussed how to get rid of Deng, and now it is Mozgov’s turn.

    The fact of the matter is that the Lakers far overpaid for the seven-foot-one center out of Russia. While his veteran presence and his NBA Championship experience are promising, it is not worth an average of $16 million a year. The Lakers were attempting to bring in a guy that played alongside superstars like Lebron James and Kyrie Irving to extend his experience, it has not worked out.

    Mozgov last season played right up to his career averages, averaging 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game. For somebody who is seven-foot-one, these rebounding and blocks numbers are all the more unsatisfying. This has caused Mozgov to likely lose his starting job full time to the Lakers second round selection Ivica Zubac, who may have averaged the same numbers but shows immense promise.

    The bottom line is that the Lakers don’t need Mozgov, at all. With Zubac and Black the Lakers can hold off on the center position until a star like Demarcus Cousins joins the team, or the team turns to the draft. Regardless, to make such a move the team needs to clear cap space.

    1. Mozgov and 2nd round pick for Robin Lopez.
    2. Mozgov, Brewer, Rockets pick for Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler.
    3. Movgov for Monta Ellis.

     
    • mud

      mud 1:09 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      well, one of those might be a good idea. the rest are just stupid…

      • keen observer

        keen observer 1:33 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Two summers from now, his expiring contract becomes a valuable trade asset. What’s wrong with that timing?

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:09 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          You sure ‘valuable’ is the adjective you’d like to use? He’ll never be traded, will be lucky if this deal isn’t his last, and Laker fans should count themselves lucky if his career averages hold and don’t sink even lower.

          But, yeah, heckuva 12:01 AM signing, huh?

          • keen observer

            keen observer 2:50 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            The expiring contract is what is valuable again, not HIM. When we acquired Pau Gasol, Kwame Brown’s expiring contract is what made him attractive, not HIM. The last CBA sapped the value out of expiring contract for some reason, but according to Pincus, they are valuable again. What’s the use of this continuous whining about Deng and Mozgov anyway? It is what it is.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:26 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              So when life deals you a s#$% sandwich you chow down and smile? Not me, good sir, not me. There are options, just none that you would seemingly choose.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 3:33 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              What would you do?

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:47 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              In Deng’s case: wait it out, hope Thibbs decides he REALLY wants Deng back, something to that effect. He has on court value.

              In Mozgov’s case: try and package him with the late first rounder to a team desperate for size. Maybe toss in a solid D-Leaguer under contract or something. Probably have to wait this out, too, but one can hope…

              As I’ve said before, if all Magic and Rob do this summer is move Deng or Mozgov, to say nothing of both, and not take on toxic deals in return I’ll call it a successful summer. It just kinda sucks that, for all the work JimMitch did to get the Lakers salary cap manageable they go and do these two deals…

            • keen observer

              keen observer 7:34 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              That sounds reasonable.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:25 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Big issue is: if we keep the lottery pick that means we could not trade that pick and the late first rounder, depends on what deals look reasonable and truly make the team better. Mozgov can be packaged while he’s young…er…better than in 3 more years when he’ll be leaving what prime he ever had.

              All depends on what’s out there and legit makes us better.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:10 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      4) Trade exception.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:03 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Future of OKC Thunder, Russell Westbrook will be shaped by key offseason decisions 

    The Westbrook issue

    There is one more question, and it’s quietly their biggest of the offseason. With the new collective bargaining agreement in place, Westbrook will be eligible for another extension as the team’s designated player.

    After signing an extension last summer in the wake of Durant’s departure, Westbrook can sign another in the ballpark of $220 million over five years this summer. Westbrook is signed through the 2017-18 season, with a player option on the following year, but the Thunder would obviously like to have a longer commitment from their franchise player.

    The expectation is that they will make the offer, but should Westbrook decline, all that talk of stabilizing the franchise would get a little more wobbly, and with only a year guaranteed, talk of trading him could spark again. It will certainly be alarming for the front office, especially after what it went through with Durant.

    For all the talk of Westbrook’s extension he signed last year, committing to OKC after Durant left … he could be gone a year from now. He left himself outs. That’s smart. You don’t want to get strapped to a sinking ship in your prime. But it complicates things for OKC. If he doesn’t sign that extension, how do you convince another star to come play with him? 

    Can you really risk going into free agency like you did with Durant, not knowing if he’ll come back? 

    OKC was a good team this year. They won 45-plus games, made the sixth-seed, got an MVP-level season from Westbrook, showed some flashes, won a lot of games they should have lost. But their cap sheet is nearly full, and only gets tighter in subsequent years. (Steven Adams’ extension kicks in next year, so in subsequent seasons they’re actually on pace to be over the cap.) So if OKC wants to pivot around Westbrook, adding more shooters/playmakers, they’re going to need to pull off some big deals. Presti has quietly been one of the shrewdest trading execs in the league, with the Harden deal being the exception. He can pull this off. He knows the value of of how to leverage assets, and the importance of sustainability. The young players will improve.

    But as difficult as this season was for the Thunder, this summer may be even tougher.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:07 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t think the extra money is going to be enough to convince Westbrook to stay with the Thunder. Ownership’s refusal to go into luxury tax area cost them Harden and will likely end up costing them Westbrook. I think he will not sign an extension and the Thunder will be forced to trade him so they don’t lose him for nothing like they did Durant.

      How exciting would this summer be with the Pacers trying to trade Paul George and the Thunder trying to trade Russell Westbrook. All we would need is Cousins announcing he was not gong to re-sign with the Pelicans and the Summer of 2018 would suddenly be now. Just another reason why the Lakers need to keep their pick this summer. Looking like a transformative summer for the Lakers and the NBA.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:07 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Do the Lakers have the patience to be great? 

    A topic of concern among the Los Angeles Lakers fan base is whether the front office will trade for (insert superstar X). More often than not, that superstar in question is Paul George and, given yet another early playoff disappointment, the chances seem pretty high something like this come true.

    This isn’t without risk, though. As they currently stand, the gap between the Lakers’ floor and ceiling is terrifyingly huge. If they make a trade for a star, they risk giving up the wrong piece, who could have more potentially than whoever they acquire.

    If they pass on trading one of the kids for George, and those prospects don’t live up to their potential, then they look pretty stupid for missing on that opportunity.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:07 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The answer is obviously no.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 9:27 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Tom, I think this writer and most writers associated with the Lakers are asking the wrong question.

        Patience has gotten us to this point in time.

        The group of young players we have, have not improved significantly enough to espouse any conjecture other than patience.

        Some fans wanted B gone, they got their wish.

        Did the results change in a results world? Nope.

        But everyone in Kindergarten is happy they got a new age teacher.

        Did they learn quicker? Nope.

        The fact they’ve been together for 2-3 years helped the Defense finally right? No, the Defense got worse.

        If Patience hasn’t worked by now, why would it turn all of a sudden?

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:33 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Morning, Sean. I think we do need to make some changes to improve the roster defensively as we need better perimeter defenders and rim protection, both of which we are not getting from the current group of players. By the same token, some of our young players -- Russell, Randle, Ingram, and Zubac specifically -- need more time and experience before we can be sure what we have or do not have. That’s where the concern about whether we can be patient comes up.

          Similarly, our best free agent prospects are really the summer of 2018 and not this summer. Impatience could lead to us spending our free agency money this summer rather than waiting for next year. That is the sense that I think the question of whether the Lakers have enough patience to execute a 2-year plan rather than the usual year to year plan. I’m confident that Magic and Rob understand this and will make the right moves depending on the opportunities.

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 10:13 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            If we stick with this roster and miss the playoffs again (a very likely probability) that also hurts us big time in free agency next summer. There’s a fine line between patience and inertia. For me, the jury is still out on only 2 players..BI and Zub. We pretty much know who everybody else is.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 11:19 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Agreed!

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 11:26 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Add me to agreeing with whatMongo said.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:33 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              Exactly.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 1:11 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              That doesn’t take into account the amount of improvement that some of our guys might experience. If we’re a 35 win team and Ingram, Randle and/or Russell take their games to another level, that could make a difference with free agents.

            • tate793

              tate793 4:29 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              It has been at least 4 seasons of “wait ’til next season’s free agent class”. Procrastination, complacency, trepidation or whatever -- the resulting effects have been the same lousy bottom feeding record. If “business as usual” was acceptable, Mitch & Jim would still be here.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 7:35 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              In your selective mind. You are so so so so objectively wrong about that. It’s absurd.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 11:19 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I sure hope that they aren’t going to wait too long for all of this “potential” talent to miraculously develop.

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 11:24 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Pretty accurate MC.

          • tate793

            tate793 10:10 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            “In your selective mind. You are so so so so objectively wrong about that. It’s absurd”

            Exactly (there’s that word that you flee from, again) what am I so “objectively wong” about? Kicking the can down the road has been an underlying theme since Hector was a pup.

            If the direction of the team had been satisfactory….whatever, keen.

    • CSTracy10

      CSTracy10 10:33 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Given the benefit of losing, it is hard for me to believe the metrics from this season are truly significant.

    • GDUBinDC

      GDUBinDC 10:33 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree with both Sean and MS, we pretty much know what we have or don’t have already.

      • CSTracy10

        CSTracy10 10:35 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Look at Jimmy Butler and Kawhi’s first few seasons -- look at Conely’s first few seasons. Look at Kobe’s first 2 seasons.

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 10:41 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          It’s alot more than just stats when you look at this group…

          • mud

            mud 10:43 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            you’re right! it’s pessimism and sour grapes, too!

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 10:47 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Naw…more like effort and attitide and other things that don’t show up in the box score

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 11:27 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              +1

            • mud

              mud 11:39 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink

              :^)

        • GDUBinDC

          GDUBinDC 10:49 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Anything’s possible, but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

        • tate793

          tate793 4:32 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          “Look at Kobe’s first 2 seasons”

          Kobe was an ALLSTAR his 2nd season.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 12:59 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be patient and cautious and will not make any moves to damage the Lakers future. The only difference between what they will do vs. what they inherited will be that MAYBE players who otherwise might not have come here will come here and theyw on’t pass on bargain talents like Isaiah Thomas, who expressed a desire to play for the Lakers. I think the path that has been set will be the path they continue down, barring a Paul George or similar situation. Until they get one legitimate star here, they won’t attract others and we will see the youth movement continue.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:05 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Does Paul George want to play for Pacers or does he want to play for the Lakers? The answer might be both. 

    In a way, this is a simple choice for Paul George: Who do you want to play for?

    But while Paul George weighing the pros and cons of these multiple options right now, the Pacers are going to need to make their own choices soon.

    Do they ride this one out, and hope Paul George stays?

    They can offer him a lot of money if he makes an All-NBA team this year or next. $73 million dollars over five years might even matter more than anything else for Paul George.

    Or do they assume George’s departure is imminent and start making moves to build for the future?

    For the Indiana Pacers, they must decide whether they want Paul George in charge of their future — no matter what choice he makes — or to take the control of the situation and trade him before he leaves for nothing.

    The clock is ticking on all these possibilities, we just have to wait for one of them to become reality.

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:58 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Talks to the Fans 

    With almost two months on the job, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka saw his team go on a late five-game winning streak before closing out the 2017-18 regular season with nine more victories than the franchise worst of 17 in 2016-17.

    After an exit meeting with each player, he’s spent the early part of the offseason preparing contingencies for the summer.

    “The biggest topic that Magic, Luke [Walton] and I focused on with the players is their mentality, and then dedicating themselves to an elite and world-class level of fitness,” said Pelinka via ESPN LA 710.

    On Monday, he took the time to connect to Laker fans directly, answering calls with hosts John Ireland and Steve Mason.

    Given the uncertainty of the Lakers’ draft pick, Pelinka noted the team has thought through several contingencies.

    “There’s probably a plan A, B all the way to Z,” he said.

    If the Lakers do land a top-three pick, will the team take the best player available or the one who is a better fit?

    “You can’t just in isolation say, ‘Who is the most talented player?'” Pelinka said. “For every player we evaluate, you have to think about that player’s talent [is] and how that player fits with Coach Walton, with the rest of the roster, but also [with] what the Lakers stand for.”

    “It takes a unique leader, a unique young person to thrive in this city,” he continued. “We’re going to put a lot of weight into the character of the player. How do they face adversity and overcome it in life?”

    Regarding fit, Pelinka stressed that versatility has become important in today’s NBA, notably so for Walton’s style of coaching.

    With that in mind, Pelinka wasn’t willing to pigeonhole Russell or Clarkson as point guards or shooting guards.

    “Both showed that … they’re great ball-handling guards,” he said. “The hybrid style of basketball is definitely more the way the game is going.”

    Pelinka also said that a “dominant 5 is something that we have as a priority,” but one that fits into today’s game, noting that player “may be different than the dominant ones we’ve had in the past like Wilt [Chamberlain], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or [Shaquille O’Neal].”

    In addition to praising current center Mozgov, Pelinka called Zubac “one of the pillars for the future.”

    Pelinka stressed striving for excellence, a theme he has hit on consistently since joining the franchise.

    One caller questioned Pelinka’s qualifications as general manager after he spent most of his career as Kobe Bryant’s agent.

    Pelinka answered that he isn’t one to sing his own praises but suggested the caller check out Wikipedia.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2705558-breaking-down-the-los-angeles-lakers-potential-path-to-paul-george

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:02 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Loved what Rob is saying about finding players who fit Luke’s style and other players on the roster and how versatility is going to be an important factor. Also loved what he said about a “modern” NBA center being one of the team’s top priorities. I always felt that Jim and Mitch never had a solid vision of what they were looking for when they evaluated players, which leads to redundancy and inconsistency in acquiring players..

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:43 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like the message they gave to everybody putting them on notice about their physical fitness. No excuses for a group this young.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:52 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Luke Walton On The Key To Tyler Ennis’ Success In The NBA 

    For Walton, just how far Ennis makes it in the NBA is dependent on one main factor, his shooting.

    “The way he’s been shooting the ball is going to be the key to how far he makes it in this league. He’s got a great feel for being a point guard, getting into the lane, making an extra pass, finishing around the rim, playing defense, all of those things he does well enough, especially for his age,” Walton said. “If he can consistently be a threat from out there, he’s going to be a very good player in this league.”

    Ennis’ shooting improved in his final stretch of the Lakers season, scoring career-bests twice in a three game stretch (19 points against Sacramento and 20 points against Minnesota). Over his final 10 games of the season, Ennis was averaging 11.6 points to go along with 46.3% shooting (including 42.5% from three-point range), in 26.5 minutes per game. Compared to his career numbers (41.9% FG/34.2% 3P), those are significant improvements.

    Defense and shooting are both areas Ennis plans to focus on this summer, though he thinks he’s a better defender than many give him credit for.

    While Ennis’ future with the Lakers remains uncertain, his hope to remain in the purple and gold is definite.

    “There’s obviously a lot that has to unfold in the next couple weeks, couple months, but I think they were pleased with what I did and were happy with what I brought to the team and I obviously want to continue being a Laker, and I think at this point its out of my hands but I hope the front office and my agency is able to get it done.”

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:53 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I hope we are able to resign Tyler. He did a great job as our backup point guard.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 9:28 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If we don’t, no big loss. “Just another dude.”

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:45 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Seems like a decent player. Gotta remember that guys like him and Nwaba were fighting for their careers down the stretch while everybody else was thinking about the Bahamas.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 1:03 PM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Exactly. I’m sure that their names are in fine print at best on page 1 of Pelinka’s “Hennigan” notes.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:48 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    David Nwaba named to D-League All-Rookie, All-Defensive Teams 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:34 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink |  

    Breaking Down the Los Angeles Lakers' Potential Path to Paul George 

    LOS ANGELES — On Sunday, the Indiana Pacers were eliminated from the postseason in four games by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 106-102.

    After losing three straight years to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat from 2012 to 2014, twice in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers haven’t been able to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs.

    What will their recent exit mean for All-Star forward Paul George, who can opt out of his contract before July 2018 to become an unrestricted free agent?

    Is the fate of the Palmdale, California, native tied to that of the struggling Los Angeles Lakers?

    Going by the words and gestures of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations sure hopes so.


     
    Johnson can’t speak directly about another team’s player, but his not-so-subtle comments on Jimmy Kimmel Live! were certainly in the gray area of tampering. The intent is pretty clear: He the Lakers are very interested in acquiring the talents of one Paul George.

    The challenge is that he is under contract with the Pacers. George’s current salary is $18.3 million, climbing to $19.5 million in July, followed by a player option of $20.7 million for the 2018-19 season.

    George and the Pacers have some business to attend to before a decision is made. Equally, the Lakers have several outstanding variables that will help determine their suitability for landing the nearly 27-year old forward.

    Should George be named to an All-NBA first, second or third team, he will qualify for the league’s new designated veteran player extension with the Pacers that would enable him to recommit to Indiana at roughly $207 million over five years.

    If not, George would still be eligible for a new five-year deal with the Pacers worth about $177 million. The most another team could offer in July of next year would be four years at approximately $130 million.

    That $47 million gain might seem insurmountable, but George would be able to make up a significant portion with a new contract in 2022.

    The gap between $207 million and $130 million is harder to overcome, which is why it would seem a lock that if George is named to an All-NBA squad that he’ll take the money to stay in Indiana.


     
    If George does not qualify for the bigger extension, the Pacers need to consider a trade, lest they lose him for nothing in free agency. That’s where the Lakers could enter the picture, along with many suitors.

    The key date for Los Angeles is May 16, when the NBA holds its draft lottery. After winning just 26 games, the Lakers finished with the third-worst record in the league, giving the franchise a 46.9 percent chance at landing a top-three pick.

    If the Lakers drop to fourth or below, they’ll forfeit their selection to the Philadelphia 76ers to close out the Steve Nash trade. They’ll also lose their 2019 first to the Orlando Magic.

    Should the Lakers keep their pick in May, their obligation will delay a year, as the pick owed to the Sixers is fully unprotected in 2018. They’ll also send their 2017 and 2018 second-rounders to the Magic but keep their 2019 first.

    With players like Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Kansas’ Josh Jackson projected by B/R’s Jonathan Wasserman to be the top-three picks in June, L.A. might have an appealing piece to offer Indiana for George—provided it survives the lottery.

    Of course, the Boston Celtics could have a similar or even better asset to offer with the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick they’ll receive from the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade. Via the Nets, the Celtics have a 64.3 percent chance at a top-three pick and a 25 percent shot at No. 1.

    Even if everything works out for the Lakers, whatever they might be willing to offer up in trade for George may well be trumped by another franchise.

    To trade for George before July, Los Angeles would need to send out $13.3 million in salary.

    Assuming the Pacers are not interested in the likes of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, who are owed a combined $102 million for the next three seasons, the Lakers would be able to to reach the required threshold for George with the salaries of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and Corey Brewer, in various combinations.

    A package of Clarkson and Nance would be a very different price than Ingram, Russell and the first-round pick.

    There must be a line that the Lakers are wiling to cross to acquire George before next season but also a limit where the expense in outgoing talent is too rich.

    Los Angeles must have the ability to build a quality team around George—give up too much and it ends up in the same position as the Pacers, good but not great.

    Another option is waiting a year to pursue George in free agency, but there’s a risk factor in that he could choose another destination. Then again, that risk exists even if the team completes a deal this summer, as trading for him could prove to be a one-year rental.

    Negotiating these choppy waters may be Johnson’s biggest test as a newly minted NBA executive.

    If traded, George would not qualify for the designated veteran player extension in Los Angeles but the team would be able to offer the same five-year, $177 million pact.

    In July, the Lakers will fall under the NBA’s projected salary cap of $102 million, but they won’t know how much spending power they’ll have until the lottery.

    A top-three pick will eat up between $4.8 to $6.2 million in space. Nick Young has a player option at $5.7 million while the team has an option on David Nwaba’s $1.3 million. Tarik Black’s $6.7 million salary is non-guaranteed.

    If the Lakers lose their first-rounder, Young leaves and they cut Nwaba and Black, the team will near $28.3 million in cap space, not quite enough to pay out the maximum ($30.3 million) for potential free agents like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin.

    That cap room could be used to make an unbalanced offer to Indiana, without the need to match salaries—like George for Ingram and Randle, who will earn a combined $9.7 million.

    If George is the answer for Los Angeles, then the Lakers are going to have to be the answer for Indiana, and that’s going to rely on Johnson’s convincing of his lifelong rival, Pacers president Larry Bird, to deal.

    The Lakers need a significant talent upgrade. Acquiring or developing an All-Star is extremely difficult.

    Patience may be a virtue, but then can the Lakers afford to wait another year?

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:35 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent recap of the Lakers options to acquire Paul George by blog favorite Eric Pincus.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:31 AM on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is the umpteenth article I’ve seen over the past coupla weeks saying exactly the same thing. Really nothing left to do except wait for the lottery. I think if PG13 is moved it’ll be between then & draft day.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:18 PM on April 25, 2017 Permalink |  

    2017 NBA Mock Draft Database 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:20 PM on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks like the top 3 have settled:

      1. Fultz
      2. Jackson
      3. Ball

      Frankly, I would be happy with any of these three.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 12:38 PM on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I thought Ball was supposed to be “tumbling” down the draft boards…lol. Pretty much the same place he’s always been.

    • tate793

      tate793 3:08 PM on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks like Fox is doing the tumbling.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 3:17 PM on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “Deep” draft, crapshoot, something in between or none of the above?

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:40 AM on April 25, 2017 Permalink |  

    Tonight’s #NBAPlayoffs! 

     
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