La Lakers Thread!!
|03-31-2007, 03:34 PM||#84|
Man, I'm tired of the Lakers taking sooo many god damn three's. Last night when Kobe took the 3 with 41 seconds left, and the play before that as well, even though he made it, he should've just driven to the basket both times. Horrible coaching by Phil there.
|10 years ago||'06 #98|
$20,367 | 1053
Following up a 34-48 record in 2004-05, last season's Lakers improved their record by 11 games and appeared once again a team pointed in the right direction. After going 11-3 in the final month of the season, Los Angeles gave Phoenix all it could handle in their opening-round playoff series. Despite entering as the No. 7 seed, the Lakers took a 3-1 series lead before losing the final three games.
This year has been a tale of two seasons for the Lakers. Picking up from where they left off, they began this season 22-11, but then posted a 10-20 record over their next 30 games. While a lot of their inconsistency can be attributed to injuries, the team has not been able to rediscover its early season chemistry, even with Luke Walton and Lamar Odom back in the lineup. After holding the No. 6 seed for the majority of the second half of the season, entering the final game of the regular season they are No. 7 with the potential to slide to No. 8, which would give them a first-round date with the Dallas Mavericks.
OWNER: JERRY BUSS
Bought Lakers for $20 million in 1979
Current franchise value: $568 million
Owner's net worth: $380 million (as of 2005)
Sources: Forbes.com, USAToday.com SCORECARD
Division titles: 14
West titles: 13
NBA titles: 8
By John Hollinger MITCH KUPCHAK
Division Titles: 2
Conference Titles: 3
NBA Titles: 2
BEST MOVE: Drafting Luke Walton
It's fairly damning that he's been at the helm for six years and this is the best I can do for a positive move; mostly the Lakers have been running on fumes from the Jerry West era.
But anytime you can get a real, live basketball player in Round 2 you've done something noteworthy. So getting a solid starter like Walton at No. 32 deserves praise.
WORST MOVE: Trading Caron Butler for Kwame Brown
You can put the Shaq trade here, but most folks consider that a Jim Buss call. The Butler-for-Brown deal, however, was buffoonery on nearly as large a level. The Lakers allowed themselves to be tantalized by Brown's potential instead of comparing the two players' production.
Now, Butler is an All-Star while Brown continues to disappoint.
TEAM STATUS REPORT
LAKERS CAP/TAX SITUATION
Free agents (5): Aaron McKie, Chris Mihm, Smush Parker, Luke Walton, Shammond Williams
Players under contract (9): Kwame Brown, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Brian Cook, Maurice Evans, Jordan Farmar, Lamar Odom, Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujacic
Total for players under contract: $57,624,932
First-round pick: Own
Team options: None
Player options: None
Limited salary protection: Ronny Turiaf
Total for player with limited salary protection: $770,610
Estimated NBA salary cap: $55 million
Maximum cap room for Los Angeles Lakers: None
Estimated luxury tax threshold:
$67 million (Lakers not expected to exceed threshold)
Compiled by ESPN.com staff
For the five years beginning with the 1999-2000 season, the Lakers won three NBA titles, made it to another NBA Finals and lost once in the conference semifinals.
The next season they traded Shaquille O'Neal to Miami for Lamar Odom and Caron Butler (whom they later traded to Washington for Kwame Brown) and began their rebuilding process.
With those changes -- and with Kobe Bryant playing in just 66 games -- the following season the win total dropped from 56 to 34.
In the summer of 2005, the Lakers rehired Phil Jackson, drafted high school player Andrew Bynum, signed Smush Parker and extended the contract of Luke Walton. With the exception of their coaching addition, these moves went largely unnoticed.
Led by a healthy Bryant and a vastly improved defense, the team jelled around its star, and players like Parker and Walton had productive years while Odom regained the rhythm he had in Miami. The Lakers won 45 games and then surprised Phoenix by nearly winning their opening-round playoff series.
This year the Lakers have been severely limited by injuries, resulting in an unstable chemistry and inconsistency on the floor. Odom has played in only 55 games, while Walton has played in 59 and Brown 40.
Add to that the fact that center Chris Mihm (a productive player in 26 minutes per game last season) was lost for the season before it began, and it's easy to find the root of much of the Lakers' struggles. The significance of Mihm's injury to this team, I believe, has not been given the weight it merits. Mihm provided the Lakers with solid minutes from a true 5 and, just as importantly, in his absence the club has scrambled to fill the void, especially with Brown also being out the majority of the season.
This past draft the Lakers used their first-round selection on UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar and traded their second-round pick to Detroit for Maurice Evans. Both have played quality rotation minutes.
Los Angeles' cap number presently stands at $77 million, significantly beyond the tax threshold, but that is misleading. The Lakers were among the greatest beneficiaries when the new collective bargaining agreement included the amnesty clause, allowing each club a one-time opportunity to waive a player's salary from counting against the tax. With Brian Grant on the books at nearly $15 million this season, all of that is deducted from the Lakers' tax number, meaning that L.A. actually comes in below the tax threshold this year.
MAJOR ISSUES FOR LAKERS
• Medical question: Was health the issue this year, or something deeper?
• Luke and Smush: Can L.A. keep Walton and Parker?
• Big hope: Bynum needs to realize potential in the middle
The Lakers' summer payroll (not counting draft picks and cap holds) will be approximately $58 million, and L.A. will contend with the free agency of starters Walton and Parker.
Walton has had an excellent season, and despite his injuries, his stock has never been higher. Parker, whose defense and reliable 3-point shooting have served as a good complement to Bryant, has recently been at odds with Jackson, obscuring his future as a Laker.
Mihm is a free agent as well, and his status will rely largely on his health.
The course the Lakers pursue with their own free agents may determine how active they are in the free-agent market. With a midlevel exception the most it can spend, the team's available funds below the tax will be determined by how it first addresses its own free agents.
The following summer the committed payroll will decline to less than $49 million, but that number does not reflect the two interim draft picks, any cap holds, or this summer's activity. It also comes at the expense of the expiring contracts of Brown, Maurice Evans, Ronny Turiaf and Sasha Vujacic.
With Bryant aboard, the Lakers are one of a handful of teams with a true superstar. This goes a long way in helping a club's cap management.
Odom's size, skill level and intelligence are a perfect component next to the league's premier scorer, and Walton -- who is the best passer on a good passing team -- has matured into one of the league's best complementary players.
With Brown, Bynum, Farmar and Turiaf already rotation contributors (all have averaged approximately 15 minutes or more this year), the Lakers also have a solid basis of youth from which to build. The fact that three of these players are contributing while on a rookie-scale deal aids the Lakers' cap concerns. Additionally, Parker's salary helps mitigate the weight of Bryant's max deal.
Like most other teams with a sound financial platform, Los Angeles' future financial breathing room will come at the expense of its own free agents. The club will have to a.ssess its own roster as it moves forward and determines which players will surround Bryant.
Though Bryant's contract runs through 2010-11, he holds an early termination option entering the 2009-10 season, meaning that the Lakers have a clearly defined timeline.
For the Lakers, some of the considerations on the front burner are the team's health, figuring out the point guard situation and the progress of 19-year-old Bynum.
All clubs need to remain healthy to be successful, but given the recent histories of many of their players, the Lakers must monitor injuries -- and perhaps adjust strategy -- more closely than most. With Mihm lost for the season and becoming a free agent this summer, and Brown nearing completion of his third sub-60-game season of his six-year career, the 5 is clearly an issue as the Lakers proceed forward.
The Lakers will have tricky decisions this summer. Even if they elect not to pursue Parker at the 1, the bang for the buck he has provided the past two seasons will be difficult to replace.
But at least L.A. is operating with a superstar, multiple a.ssets and a sound financial platform.