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Earl Clark, Pau Gasol, and asset management

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Antawn Jamison, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion | 2 comments

Not surprisingly, our last call for Q's produced a lot of inquiries similar to the pair below:

From @callen1908: @KamBrothers is there a legitimate chance that the lakers' amnesty provision will be used on kobe? Does MWP have a player or team option?

From Nathan Mark, via Facebook: Who are the realistic players the lakers may get rid of this offseason, and who might they add? Thanks!

Honestly, I haven't looked much at free agent rolls, mostly because the Lakers have so little flexibility much of the market is determined for them (i.e., they get scraps, vets willing to play cheap, or players left without a chair when the music stops). I'll punt on that one for a little longer, at least.

Discussing which guys go? No time like the present.

FREE AGENTS, QUASI OR OTHERWISE

(Note: I'm not including Dwight Howard, here, because he's a category unto himself. The Lakers want him back, it's just a question of whether Howard wants to return. Along those lines, ESPNLA's Dave McMenamin has some news regarding Howard's relationship with Mike D'Antoni. As for the other guys…)

Chris Duhon: Technically not a free agent, but can — and will —  be bought out for about one-third of his $3.75 million salary for next year.

Jodie Meeks: The Lakers hold a $1.55 million option, and despite a late season swoon from downtown (32.6 percent from 3 after the All-Star break) and cringe-inducing forays into the paint, Meeks will almost certainly return. He's cheap, fills a position of need, and works hard on both ends.

Devin Ebanks: (huh-he-huh-huh-huh…) 

Darius Morris: Has a $1.2 million qualifying offer. For all his myriad problems organizing an offense (admittedly a big part of a point guard's job), Morris is still very young (22), very long (6'4″), and has a great work ethic. He's the type of commodity (i.e. young, reasonably athletic, and cheap) the Lakers ought to keep, absent better options.Likely back.

Antawn Jamison: Never meshed with Mike D'Antoni, and would prefer to play closer to his kids in North Carolina. Or, failing that, for more money than the Lakers can give. Or, failing that, for the veteran's minimum on a team with a better shot at a title.

Andrew Goudelock: Inexpensive alcohol withdrawal
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floor spacer who can penetrate. Deficient defensively, but has a skill set the Lakers need off the bench. One assistant told me that had D'Antoni been the coach in training camp, Goudelock never would have been cut to begin with.

Robert Sacre: The Lakers won't find a better, younger, cheaper, more serviceable third center.

None are particularly complicated decisions, and save Jamison don't even deal with rotation players. But what should the Lakers do with Earl Clark?

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Podcast: Pau Gasol's return, yelling at Kobe Bryant, Mamba Twitter, and LeBron's suitor

Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Antawn Jamison, Dwight Howard, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash | 2 comments

NOTE: You can now subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUR PAGE and add us to your inbox.  Also, you can access us on Tunein.com by clicking here

The Lakers will apparently enter the stretch run of the regular season with, at long last, all hands on deck. Will it be enough to spark a deep playoff run? Just one of the topics discussed in the new show. Among the high points:

  • Pau Gasol expects to play Friday against the Wizards. In the short run, how many minutes will his conditioning and pain tolerance allow him to play? In the long run, will he and Dwight Howard mesh, specifically on the defensive end? In the mean-spirited run, now that Gasol has to wear foot protecting Orthotics, will teammates make fun of him for wearing special shoes the way I made fun of Brian for his as a kid?
  • This week on ESPN LA 710″s Max and Marcellus, Antawn Jamison shared how Kobe Bryant, considered among the bigger alpha males in NBA history, encourages teammates to yell at him when he doesn”t give them the ball or misses a defensive assignment. While it”s true Kobe has typically bonded most with teammates who stand up to him, we wonder if the license to yell is truly universal. Which folks are allowed to chew out Kobe and which are better off keeping complaints to themselves?
  • Speaking of Kobe and his teammates, he no longer follows them on Twitter, believing it overkill since he sees those guys every day. Will he miss out on any good stuff? Any shot his teammates retaliate? Maybe freeze him out for denting their follower counts?
  • With the Denver Nuggets riding a 14-game winning streak and the Memphis Grizzlies markedly better since swapping Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince, an already brutal Western Conference has grown that much tougher. Yeesh!
  • This guy REALLY wants LeBron James to come back to Cleveland.
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Lakers bench: Modest numbers represent major improvement

Posted by on Mar 2, 2013 in Antawn Jamison, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion, Steve Blake | 1 comment

Thursday against Minnesota, the Lakers were boosted by 52 points from the bench. 17 from Antawn Jamison, 16 from Jodie Meeks, 13 from Steve Blake, and then six more in garbage time from Robert Sacre and Devin Ebanks (who, as it turns out, is in fact allowed to enter a game).

Quite an outburst for a team averaging 27.4 a night off the pine, but not a total shock. As a group, over the last Since the All-Star Game, 33.0.

So the trend line is heading up.

That level of production — low 30″s every night — still won”t put the Lakers” bench near the league leaders (Dallas and the L.A. Clippers average 40.6 points a game), but represents a massive improvement over where they”ve been, certainly last year when they were the least productive crew of substitutes in the NBA measured in ppg, and had the league”s third-worst efficiency differential. The 31.1 ppg figure I mentioned? Good for 17th, and 20th in differential. Their collective numbers since the break, 16th in ppg, 18th in differential. Not exactly world-beating numbers, except on the season L.A.”s bench is ranked 27th in points per game, 28th in differential.

By jumping from the bottom third into the middle, the Lakers are actually making substantial progress. I”m willing to say there”s a relationship between these numbers and the 12-5 run since the Big Memphis Meeting.

Since the injury to Pau Gasol forced Earl Clark in to the starting lineup on a nightly basis, Mike D”Antoni has settled into a three-man bench rotation, and individually each performed well in February:

  • Antawn Jamison: 13.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 48.5% shooting, 43.2% 3-point.
  • Jodie Meeks: 9.2 ppg, 41.8% 3-point.
  • Steve Blake: 5.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, .9 turnovers, good for a 3.7/1 a/to ratio. For reference purposes, as a full season figure that would be good for 3rd in the NBA.
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Like the Sundance Kid, Antawn Jamison is better when he moves

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Antawn Jamison, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Opinion |

Antawn Jamison has turned things around this year for the Lakers.

Antawn Jamison has turned things around this year for the Lakers.

Generally speaking, for a professional athlete to be compared to a flamingo is a bad thing.

Certainly that was true earlier in the year when, in a discussion of Antawn Jamison”s defensive prowess, a veteran NBA assistant said his problems on that side of the floor weren”t a matter of effort, but physiology. Jamison, like the pink, shrimp-eating waterfowl, has skinny legs, a high ass (insofar as flamingos have asses) and tends to bend too much at the waist. I suspect in the grand pickup games of the wild, flamingos can”t guard, either, no matter how hard they try.

Getting upset about Jamison”s defense is a little like complaining snow is cold. Of course it is. What you hope is for enough upside (coating the side of a great sledding hill, adding buttery powder to your favorite mountain run, etc.) to counter the negatives (digging out the car, cold, slush, etc.). In Jamison”s case, the counterweight is scoring off the bench. It”s why he was brought to Los Angeles this summer, in the hopes of juicing what was the NBA”s least productive crew of reserves last season.

For a while, save a few outbursts here and there — most notably a 33-point effort against Denver on Nov. 30 — Jamison wasn”t putting up enough points to overcome defensive shortcomings and keep him on the floor. So he wasn”t. Over 10 games between December 14 and January 6, Jamison, who before this season had never averaged fewer than the 22.5 minutes a night he played as a rookie in Golden State back in “98-”99, played a grand total of 26.

After a fifth straight DNP-CD, Jamison, long considered one of the better locker room guys in the league, popped off. He would later apologize for making himself a distraction, but the relationship between Jamison and Mike D”Antoni was tense. Like a lot of things, it has improved since that air-clearing January team meeting in Memphis.

“Me and him talked,” Jamison says of D”Antoni. “It was tough at first, but now we have a relationship where if I see something, I can talk to him. He has no problem coming to me like, “Look, your minutes might go down in this game,” or “I”m going to try something new.” That”s what I”ve been accustomed to.”

Since making is way back into the rotation, Jamison has looked much more like the guy management expected. In January, he shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, and in 13 February games averaged 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 48.5 percent shooting, including 43.2 percent from downtown. Despite his defensive shortcomings, Jamison is boosting the bench, and D”Antoni is frequently keeping him on the floor late in games, with good cause. A lineup of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Jamison has,

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