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Podcast! Steve Nash’s future, Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Mike D'Antoni, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Steve Nash | 1 comment

Who else is looking forward to the All-Star break and five full days without a Laker loss and (presumably, although no promises) a Laker injury?

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

Click above to play, or just download the show hereHope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. knee pain
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You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Podcast! Bizarre wins, Steve Nash’s return, Pau Gasol in limbo, 50 Shades of Sasha

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Magic Johnson, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Steve Nash |

Steve Blake, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar are back. Jodie Meeks and Nick Young are now out. The names on the injury list may change, but by and large, everything else remains the same, including a largely uninterrupted string of losses. Wish we had better news to report, but these podcasts are unfortunately based on true stories.

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

Click above to play, or just download the show hereHope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Podcast: Kobe Bryant’s latest ETA, Magic Johnson’s criticisms, David Stern’s legacy, B-Movies

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Audio, Magic Johnson, Mitch Kupchak | 6 comments

The Lakers continue to lose. Kobe Bryant continues to watch games while donning black suits. Magic Johnson continues to lobby his dissatisfaction with the team. Chris Kaman continues to sit on the bench angrily growing out his beard. It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day,” except considerably less funny and the day begins with I Got a Feeling” instead of “I Got You, Babe.”

You know things have gotten bad when Cher is the preferable option.

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

  • We take a look at the latest headlines. LaLa Anthony thinks ‘Melo will stay in New York and denies HoneyNutCheerios-Gate ever happened. Do we believe her on either count? The Memphis Grizzlies are back in the Western Conference playoff conversation. At the halfway point, who would we vote for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, etc.?
  • Tuesday, President Obama addressed the State of the Union. Wednesday, we address the state of the Lakers. And unless he’s a diehard Celtics fan, both assessments will make John Boehner frown. As is typically the case, fans have a bone to pick with Mike D’Antoni over this mess, and the Complaint Du Jour is Ryan Kelly getting minutes at the expense of either Jordan Hill or Kaman (and their presumed extra rebounds) How much does this affect wins and losses, and does it even matter, considering this season is clearly lost?
  • A reexamination of Kobe Bryant’s knee has revealed more swelling, placing him on the shelf until, realistically speaking, late February or early March at the earliest. Assuming Bryant does take the court this season, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak will get a very small sample size by which to evaluate where he stands as a player. How much will this affect the front office’s decisions this summer?
  • Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Magic Johnson is publicly criticizing Jim Buss and D’Antoni. We ponder Magic’s endgame with these constant critiques, and how damaging his words could be to the organization moving forward.
  • Dr. Buss’ birthday as Tuesday, and it’s been nearly a year since his death. We examine the state of the franchise specifically through the prism of his absence.
  • On Saturday, David Stern will step down after 30 years as NBA Commissioner. How will his tenure be remembered?
  • It’s time for some AAK!!! We make Super Bowl predictions and name our favorite B-Movies.
  • Unrelated to the show (but still important), I wanted to give a heads up that we’ll be appearing again periodically on ESPNLA 710 radio. Check our twitter feed (@kambrothers) to stay in the loop.

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Magic Johnson obliterates Jim Buss

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Magic Johnson, Opinion | 19 comments

Let’s stipulate the following from the top:

  1. Magic Johnson is, at worst, the second greatest Laker of all time, and if you polled the city he’d almost certainly take the top spot.
  2. Magic Johnson undoubtedly cares about the Lakers, deeply loves and respects Dr. Buss and feels protective of his legacy.
  3. Magic Johnson says all kinds of shit, all the time, about the Lakers.
  4. Anything Magic Johnson says about the Lakers is news, owing to his being Magic Johnson.
  5. Magic Johnson is not a fan of Jim Buss.

All of that was front and center after Magic teed off on Jim Buss earlier this week to the Los Angeles Times. The highlights:

  • “This is what happens when you make the wrong decisions, two coaching wrong decisions, giving Steve Nash that deal, it’s backfired.”
  • “The biggest problem they’re going to have right now … you’ve got to get a guy like Jerry West to be the face of the team.”
  • “You’ve got to have someone helping Jim. He’s got to quit trying to prove a point to everybody that he can do it on his own, get his ego out of it, and just say, ‘Let me get someone beside me to help achieve the goals I want.’ … “You need to get someone like Jerry to be the face, so agents are comfortable, players are comfortable, knowing the Lakers are going for a championship.
  • Johnson said that current Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak is doing a good job. “Mitch is great,” he said, “but he doesn’t have the power.” Johnson also added, “Everybody’s telling me free agents don’t want to sign [with the Lakers]…. They’re looking at the Lakers now as a team that’s dysfunctional; who’s their leader, who’s the guy? … “Dr. Buss was smart,” Johnson said. “He said, ‘I’m going to get the best dude, Jerry West, and he helped me achieve my goals. Then I went and got the best coach [in Phil Jackson]. He wanted to work with the best.”

Overall, Magic is, as is generally the case, spot on in some ways and all over the place in others. On the one hand, to even reference the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard as a bad idea requires an incredible comfort with revisionism. Magic, like everyone else in the free world, thought the Lakers absolutely knocked it out of the park with those deals, as Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report notes, said as much.  The trades obviously didn’t work and mistakes were made subsequently, but that doesn’t mean those transactions were a bad idea.

He has a tendency to lob out big names (Pat Riley! Jerry West! Phil Jackson!) without any sense of context. Sure, Magic said the Lakers need “someone like Jerry” to be the face of the franchise, because the actual Jerry is under contract with another team. But Riley isn’t walking through that door, either, and in fact there’s nobody out there I can think of the Lakers could find to run the front office who is “like” either. (Instead, the Lakers seem to have basically abdicated to Kobe the role of “guy who is supposed to bring calm and reassurance to fans and the basketball world alike.” Not a good idea since that’s not his job, it’s a very temporary “fix,” and I don’t think Bryant is a magnet for big time free agents.)

Sometimes Magic is right — in the same interview he noted the Lakers should have waited on Kobe’s extension — but for the wrong reasons. Magic’s? Because the Lakers should seen who might be signed this summer. Incorrect. A) They can still sign people, and b) the free agent class is actually pretty weak. A better reason to hold off? How about seeing if Kobe showed signs of high level play coming off Achilles surgery? Especially when there is no practical threat of losing him and the plan was (apparently) to give him gobs and gobs of money at the first positive signs. $48.5 million would have soothed whatever hurt feelings Kobe had at having to wait an extra month or two.

On the other, Magic is absolutely correct about Jim needing to step back from the player personnel role he could (though not necessarily should) carry out while his dad was alive and ultimately had final authority over big moves. Now, Jim signs the checks and decides who ought to get them, too. In professional sports, that’s a terrible idea. But the Lakers don’t need to go find a “face.” Mitch Kupchak will do just fine, assuming people believe he has the type of autonomy West used to wield, where Dr. Buss was a presence but not involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the roster. It’s an opinion I’ve held for a while, and would hold even if I felt Jim Buss was great at his job (which I don’t) and was well-respected across the league (which he isn’t).

As an organization, the Lakers have badly botched their last two coaching hires. Mike Brown was a poor choice. Mike D’Antoni might have had potential had the Lakers not comically botched his hiring with the Phil Phiasco. (First rule: If you’re going to make people think you’re hiring Phil Jackson, hire Phil Jackson. You can’t rip off that tablecloth and expect the flowers and china to remain on the table.) Eventually D’Antoni will have to be canned, too, and Lakers fans can hardly be blamed for worrying about which guy will come next. (Particularly if  they feel limited once again to guys named Mike.)

Nor can the respect factor be overlooked. While Dwight Howard was a bad messenger, some of his message was nonetheless important. That was reportedly very unimpressed with Jim Buss, for example. Deserved or not, if too many people across the NBA universe don’t believe in Jim, the Lakers are obviously damaged by it, particularly as the rebuild kicks into full swing.

There are reasons to be sympathetic towards Jim. He has an impossible legacy to match, for one, something that will never change. If Jim Buss teams win three titles over the next (oh…) 20 years, that would constitute a nice run for most NBA teams. Here, he’ll be called a failure. He’s adjusting to a life professionally and personally without his father. That’s tough, and takes time. His personality doesn’t resonate and is still, after great effort, only periodically passible with the media (Side note: Take off the effing hat, Jim.)  He’s trying to overcome a well-established narrative of a generally well-meaning incompetent. That’s a tough boulder to move.

Particularly when he has the much more popular Jeannie on the business side, and has to deal with Magic, fiercely loyal to Jeannie but not him,  lobbing grenades at his office from up on Mt. Olympus (or, depending on his schedule, Chavez Ravine). I can’t imagine the circumstances in which Jim Buss wins a public spat with Magic Johnson. He just has to take it.

Which gets to the most important point: His incredible stature means Magic doesn’t really have to be correct or informed when he opines on the state of the Lakers. (And when the state of the Lakers is bad, his opines often.) But even when he’s on the money, his criticisms are generally counterproductive. Things like this are not harmless. Magic’s comments further erode public confidence in Jim Buss, and even if it’s deserved, that hurts the Lakers. When he goes scorched earth, it hurts even more.

It’s one thing for me to slag Jim Buss. I’m not family.

Magic Johnson is, and therefore has a responsibility to be more measured with his public comments. Generally speaking, I’d just as soon he stop talking about the Lakers at all.

 

 

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