LandOLakers.com | Web Site of Andy and Brian Kamenetzky | The Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, and Anything Else That Comes to Mind

buy prozac online
Navigation Menu

Podcast!!! Carlos Boozer, free agency, Byron Scott, Kevin Love or “Face/off?”

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Byron Scott, Dwight Howard, Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Jordan Hill, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Pau Gasol, Podcast | 11 comments

The Carlos Boozer era has officially begun for the Lakers. There’s a sentence I never expected to type.

The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a handy list of talking points is below. Among the high points:

  • The Lakers “won” the Carlos Boozer auction and claimed the painted-haired Dukie off waivers. Seriously… WTF, Lakers? WTF? What does the Boozer grab say about the way in which the rebuilding Lakers see themselves? Do they completely lack self-awareness, or are they threading the needle between rebuilding and competing?
  • With Boozer now in the fold, save an unexpected trade, the Lakers aren’t likely making any more significant moves. So how did they do? Did they read the market well, or let too many noteworthy players get past?
  • Pau Gasol went to Chicago without the Lakers receiving any assets in return. At the risk of saying, “I told you so…”
  • When will the Lakers finally hire a coach? What does it say about the organization’s confidence in presumed frontrunner Byron Scott that he’s been interviewed three times without getting hired, despite the fact that nobody else seems to be in the running?
  • The Lakers offseason has received mixed reviews, but hey, they could be Daryl Morey!
  • Thoughts LeBron James heading back to Cleveland.
  • It’s time for #AAK!!! What songs are we most ashamed to admit liking? What discontinued Trader Joe’s item do we miss most? If the Lakers getting Kevin Love somehow meant the movie “Face/Off” never existed, would I choose the power forward or Castor Troy? What invention would we pitch on “Shark Tank?”
Read More

Why we’ll miss Pau Gasol

Posted by on Jul 12, 2014 in free agency, Lakers Analysis, Opinion, Pau Gasol | 14 comments

Among the regulars covering the Lakers is a woman working from a wheelchair. One night, maybe two or three seasons ago, as Pau Gasol worked his way through the pack of humanity in front of his locker after a game, he noticed that reporter, in her chair, positioned directly to the right of his. 

Practically speaking, there aren’t many advantages to being over seven feet tall. Doorways are too small, Cars too tight, beds too short, and good luck buying anything stylish off the rack. There are exceptions, of course. You might be skilled enough to play in the NBA, and therefore speak virtually every day – unfailingly, after good games and bad, in both English and Spanish – to people with cameras and recorders pointed at your head. If so, all that height affords the opportunity literally to rise above, making the process a little less claustrophobic by standing tall.

Instead, Pau folded his comically long limbs into his seat and fielded questions.

Maybe it happened a few other times, but over the course of six-plus seasons and hundreds of games I have no other memory of Gasol doing group press sitting down.

It was a small, subtle act of kindness, completely intentional (I asked a few days later after practice) but done with the wherewithal and grace not to appear he was changing his routine or making himself uncomfortable just to accommodate her, something no reporter, disabled or otherwise, would ever want. Pau’s intelligence and civic-mindedness are hardly unknown. The guy could have been a surgeon and is an ambassador for UNICEF, just for starters. Pau was the rare player for whom the book Phil Jackson gave him every year was just one in a large stack consumed throughout a season. How many players learn (falsely, as it turns out) they’re about to be traded during intermission of a musical?

But the reason Gasol has so many staunch supporters in the media – this notable Pau honk included – wasn’t because he’s among the most interesting or nicest athletes we worked around. Gasol is someone for whom little moments of goodness, the small things that don’t have to be done but make the world better, were routine and genuine. He’s one of the best people.

I’ve held on to this little story for a while, figuring I’d use it once Pau finally left the Lakers. I’m amazed, but grateful, it took this long.

I’m certainly not blind to reality. Burdened by age and mileage domestic and international, Gasol’s performance had slipped over the last few seasons, even factoring in all the ways in which roster moves and coaching changes moved away from his strengths. Some of his wounds were self-inflicted. Pau was awful, for example, during the 2011 Playoffs, the team’s most visible symbol of a tremendously depressing end to the Threepeat quest, this after having rehabbed his image with two titles following the Finals loss to Boston in ’08. Still, while Pau’s bandwagon was never empty, it felt like so many Lakers fans jumped on and off with the wind.

Others were more a matter of perception and narrative. He was called soft, sent for his big boy pants, and had his coloration regularly measured in the always unflattering context of a swan. A swan from a movie about ballet. He was traded, then returned, then dangled to the league for most of three seasons. Always the perfect balance to Kobe in skill set, temperament, and basketball ethos, being the yin to Bryant’s yang led nonetheless to a near-constant push/pull of benefit and suffering. (With the good, I’m sure he’d say, overwhelmingly outweighing the bad.)

Now Gasol is gone to Chicago, a great result for him and the Bulls. Frankly, Pau would likely have benefitted from moving on – being moved on, more accurately – before now. I want him to perform well, to finish a brilliant career on high notes reminding everyone just how special a player he’s been. As it pertains to the legacy Pau leaves behind, my hope is any lingering animosity fades. Lakers fans, who want to win and like all fans find people to blame when they don’t, can focus on all the great moments Gasol helped provide and the dignity he displayed providing them.  

I suspect that’s the way it will be. I certainly hope so, because few are more deserving of an elevated place in this city’s basketball history than Pau Gasol.

Read More

To Carmelo or not to Carmelo? That is the question…

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Opinion | 34 comments

It’s not a matter of the star you’d choose, but the stars you can choose from.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant require no thought. Plunk down the max and roll. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t generate that type of consensus. A dynamic offensive force, without question one of the league’s best pure scorers, but 30 years old with a reputation as a ball-sticker and less-than-stellar defender. Elite, but imperfect. Is he the hero L.A. deserves or the one they need right now?

Generally speaking, I subscribe to the theory of getting the elite guy and figuring it out later. Some very smart people are reporting the Lakers believe landing Anthony will facilitate the return of Pau Gasol on what I’m assuming will be a two-year contract. That would leave them with a starting five of Point Guard TBD, Kobe Bryant, Anthony, Julius Randle, and Gasol. If Randle isn’t ready to start, Anthony could play the four, and the Lakers could find another wing with Kobe playing either the two or the three. Regardless, if Melo chooses L.A. and Gasol re-ups, the Lakers almost surely would have no space to add other players of (financial) significance.

But what comes next? If the guard spot was filled by Steve Nash, the Lakers would have the honor of starting four potential Hall of Famers, which is cool, and they’d score a bunch of points, which is fun. They’d also give them up by the bushel, and would be placing a long odds wager on the whole crew staying healthy. Maybe the Lakers have other dominoes to topple should Anthony choo-choo-choose them, but on the surface at least this looks, more or less, like the plan. Meanwhile, they’d show the Lakers brand still has weight.

While they’d make a splash helping them win July – or at least be runners up, because the team signing LeBron wins – they won’t win the fall, winter and spring, when actual basketball is played.

I’ve said before, I’ll say again: A Bryant/Anthony/Gasol core won’t compete for a title in a stacked Western Conference. If they stay healthy – if, if, if, if – it’s still likely a bottom four team on the playoff ladder, thanks to almost inevitable roster holes and defensive questions. Then, how do they improve significantly in Year 2 of Kobe/Melo? Conceptually, the Lakers would be repeating the strategy of July 2012, swapping out Anthony for Howard. The results would likely be better in some ways – the stars wouldn’t hate each other, for example – but worse in others. Kobe wasn’t coming off two major injuries, Pau wasn’t two years older, Nash wasn’t bro– ok, Nash was broken then, too.

So in two years, the Lakers leave themselves with an excellent chance of landing right back at this point, with an aging star*, though one not as old as the incumbent for sure, and massive amounts of cap space but without the rest of the roster infrastructure required to attract the next wave of great FA’s. More and more, it seems, elite players want to see a constructed roster and the available assets to get and stay competitive.

Anyone listening to the podcast regularly or reading here likely knows the thing I find most fascinating about the Lakers right now isn’t simply the list of transactions potentially available to them, but how they attack the rebuilding process and what it reveals about the way the franchise views itself. All over TV and the web, we’ve seen handwringing over what might happen next year if the Lakers aren’t good, how nobody will tolerate an “encore” performance. I think it’s a gross over-reaction. Monday, I heard more on the same theme. Doom-and-gloom conclusions about what it would say about the Lakers if they weren’t able to land a big fish this summer. In the wake of Howard’s defection, it’s just more evidence of a once-great franchise in serious decline under new ownership.

In this scenario, the Lakers are the hot girl whose self-worth is tied to always having a boyfriend.

It’s one thing for the chattering mass of fans and media to think that way, assuming the franchise doesn’t. But if they do? If they buy into the premise the Lakers are diminished significantly by temporarily going without a star, or at the least a clear roadmap to one, consumed forever with the passing of torches? That the brand is lessened by a more patient rebuild? These are problems. The organization produces stars, it attracts stars, it cultivates stars, but the Lakers don’t have to be starfuckers.

We’ve learned more about the presentation made to Anthony, laying out a vision for Melo as the next franchise face and the business plan coming with it. Strong stuff, well presented, by all accounts. At a time where the natural advantages of Los Angeles, from endorsements to spending power are, whether by mass media or the current CBA, eroded relative to 15 or 20 years before, for the Lakers to convincingly sell the financial advantage of being a Laker is powerful. It’s also the only pitch they can make, because one centered on the roster and assets isn’t nearly as compelling.

Now imagine a world in which they can sell both. Here are our players, picks, and other assets that can make you a champion, not just a marketing monster, because you can’t be the latter without the former. We’ve got the young, quality talent capable of spectacular achievement with the injection of someone truly elite. Be a champion, be an icon. Going all out for Melo isn’t a disastrous idea. He’s an excellent player. There are many things worse than having him on your team. It’s also the safest play, showing less vision and self-confidence, and makes the Lakers’ chances of sustained, high level success going forward harder than a well-executed, ground-up rebuild, not easier.

Whether they feel it’s the right path or simply the mandatory one, in courting Melo the Lakers are cultivating only half of a winning pitch.

*Those believing you need a star to attract more stars must also believe a nearly 33 year old Anthony is an attractive draw. Not sure that’s the case. 

Read More

PODCAST! NBA free agency, Jeanie’s mind games, Jason Kidd, sports Twitter Mt. Rushmore

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in free agency, Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lance Stephenson, LeBron James, Mitch Kupchak, Pau Gasol, Podcast | 4 comments

With the stroke of 12:01 am Eastern time on July 1, the calendar marked the official beginning of Silly Season! NBA free agency is upon us, a magical, glorious time filled with insane rumors, surprise signings, and head coaches flexing their muscles to join the Bucks. (I admittedly did not see the third item coming.) The Lakers are expected to be active participants in Silly Season, with several other high profile teams also looking to do damage. Let the madness begin!!!

The show can be heard by clicking on the module above and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the highlights:

  • With free agency now underway, folks like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe, Chandler Parsons, Eric Bledsoe and Lance Stephenson (among many others) are up for grabs. Who can the Lakers target? Who should the Lakers target? What constitutes “too long” or “too much money?”
  • Will Jeanie Buss engage in dirty pool to lure Melo away from her boo Phil Jackson?
  • How disastrous is the outcome if no A-List (Or even B+ List) name is added to the roster?
  • Reportedly, the Lakers are pitching heavy input on the new coach as a carrot to elite free agents. If a free agent were so inclined, he could really exercise his leverage by taking this to ridiculous extremes.
  • Seriously, Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks… What the hell?
  • AAK!!! What current NBA player would we most want on our side in a bar fight? Who would we etch into the “Sports Twitter” Mount Rushmore? Were BK and I to follow the Miami Heat template and form a Big 3 of sportswriters, who makes the cut?
Read More

Being super-rich means the Lakers can be super-patient

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

If you haven’t read the breakdown by Zach Lowe on Jason Kidd’s exodus from Brooklyn for Grantland, it’s well worth the time. But beyond some excellent details of how that whole unquestionably strange mess came to be, the story contained an eye-popping little nugget sure to interest Lakers fans:

“The Thunder are indeed paying into the revenue-sharing system, rare for such a tiny market, but they’re slated to make nearly $29 million in profit when everything is netted out. That’s the fifth-best projection in the league, trailing only the Lakers ($100.1 million), Bulls ($61 million), Rockets ($40.7 million), and Celtics ($33.1 million)… Holy cow, the Lakers! They end up with that huge profit despite contributing a league-high $49 million to revenue sharing.”

Yes, the Lakers cleared $39 million more (!) than any other team in the league, despite suffering the worst season on record since packing up the trailers and moving from Minneapolis. Despite Kobe missing all but six games, despite failing to sell out every game at Staples, luxury tax payments, and the aforementioned revenue sharing bill.

Yowza!

With free agency officially underway, the Lakers have been connected in one way or another to just about every name on the market, from the obvious big fish (LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh) to the guys a tier below (Kyle Lowry, Greg Monroe, Luol Deng, and so on). That’ll happen, in part because the Lakers, who don’t even have half a roster, are probably interested in just about every name on the market, and also because every name on the market has a vested interest in making the Lakers appear interested. Without question, the Lakers would like to figure out a way to beat the odds and improve quickly, whether by straight signings or trades absorbing players into their vast, verdant meadows of cap space. I can accept the possibility the Lakers become a decent enough team next year. Title contending, no. Playoff contending? I can accept that (even while not betting on it).

What I can’t accept, though, is the thought process stating the Lakers MUST do something bold, because they CAN’T POSSIBLY go through another year like last. Fans will revolt! They’ll stop showing up! Ratings will tank! And so on! Except assuming Kobe plays, a lot of that won’t happen. Watching the team again struggle would suck but with likely only two years of Bryant remaining, people aren’t going to skip their last handful of opportunities to see him live, whether at home and especially on the road. That’s part of the value he has to the organization.

But let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say people don’t show up. It’ll look bad for people to see empty seats, but those tickets will still be sold. The Lakers have a wait list for season tickets thousands of applicants deep. Anyone giving theirs up in a fit of pique won’t be getting them back. And even if the Lakers lose sales for a couple years, and they won’t, at least in any meaningful way… they have to figure out how to lose $100 million in profits before landing in the red.

There will be angst. There will be anger. But if the Lakers can’t hit a home run this offseason and are forced by circumstance to keep their proverbial powder dry (or most of it, at least), absolutely nothing will happen that won’t be instantly be cured by getting good again in a year or two. Lakers fans aren’t going to abandon the franchise over a couple years of necessary futility, and nor should they. So the Lakers can do what they think is right, without worrying what media types, or celebs in the lower bowl, think. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for fans not to know who’s next after Kobe. I’m sure it’s uncomfortable for the Lakers, too. But finding a good answer is far more important than finding any answer.

The idea is to build a genuine championship contender, not to compete for a six-seed every year, and to that end the news passed along by Lowe has the potential to be a positive force for the Lakers.

A few more thoughts on free agency…

  • I get waiting to see what Melo and LeBron do, but the Lakers need to be careful about waiting too long. There’s a good chance most of the big action, whatever it is, happens after James and Anthony are off the market, but teams who don’t feel they have a shot at either won’t stand still, and secondary players interested in security might snap up solid offers sooner rather than later. The Lakers have to balance the home run swing with the need to make contact. The cheap, young, lesser known players of the world – think Kent Bazemore – could be gone quickly. There are opportunity costs associated with trying for, and not getting, the superstars.
  • The idea LA won’t sign any non-elite FA to deals longer than a year or two, and there’s been plenty of chatter about that, basically means they won’t get any of them. Jodie Meeks got three years and nearly $20 million from the Pistons. Golden State gave Shaun Livingston 3/$16 million. Do the Lakers really think Kyle Lowry is going to take two years? Or that two years might be enough to get Greg Monroe to sign an offer sheet, or have the Pistons not match? In the end, I don’t really believe the Lakers will limit themselves to that degree for players the genuinely want and believe can grow with the rebuild.
  • That the Lakers would want to keep a clean cap sheet to woo the Durants and Westbrooks of the world makes sense, but at the same time they have to build a real team to attract them. The “blank slate, we’ll build a winner around you, we always have and always will and look at the pile of money!” sales pitch doesn’t really work these days, it seems. Elite players want to join a team with infrastructure, meaning the Lakers need to build some even if (ok, when) James and (probably) Melo end up somewhere else. Assuming they don’t wildly overspend on Genuinely Bad Idea Players, it’s ok to shell out three or four years. Most good talent can be moved in a pinch.
  • Whatever the Lakers can do to absorb talent through trades, they should. As we’ve already seen with the Meeks deal, player contracts can inflate quickly. The Lakers could, and probably will, have to pay more than performance might merit, particularly with any restricted free agents. It’s the price of doing business.
  • My appreciation for Anthony grew a ton this year, given how he handled a dumpster fire of a season in New York. That said, the idea of giving a 30-year old Melo $96 million for four years, knowing it might not be until the third year the Lakers are title-competitive, makes me squeamish. Not saying I wouldn’t do it, but his will be a giant contract on the books while his skills are, at the very least, not ascending.
Read More

PODCAST!!! Lakers coaching search, the NBA Finals, Donald’s quiz, action heroes

Posted by on Jun 14, 2014 in Byron Scott, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Podcast | 3 comments

It’s been over a month since our last show. Then again, it’s been even longer since Mike D’Antoni resigned, and the Lakers still haven’t settled their coaching search, so really, who’s the turtle here?

The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the high points…

Read More