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Podcast! Phil Jackson is gone… so what now?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Jordan Farmar, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Phil Jackson | 5 comments

It’s not necessarily that a ton of things have happened in the land o’ Lakers since we last recorded the Land O’Lakers podcast, just that the thing that did go down was a doozie.

Jordan Hill missed the team picture.

That, and Phil Jackson took a pretty plum gig with the Knicks. (Do I really need to add a link-to-the-news, here? If PJ-to-NY is information you haven’t yet heard, I suspect you’re here on accident.) And fair to say, the average Lakers fan reacted with a combination of anger, fear, and… no, anger and fear pretty much covers it. No surprise, it was the major topic of conversation for the newest show, which can be heard by clicking the module above (or the link below). A list of the major talking points…

  • Before the main course, some passed apps in the form of headlines. Deadspin takes over the Hawks’ Twitter feed, more examples of people not understanding how social media works, new Commish Adam Silver says jersey ads are coming sooner rather than later.
  • With Phil gone, what happens now? Can Jim Buss perform well enough to shift the narrative on him? Can the narrative even be shifted?
  • What about Kobe Bryant? How will he handle what could be a tough 2014-15 season, and who knows what after that? How much do his complaints really matter?
  • We play “Should the Lakers Keep This Guy Next Season?” Let’s spin the wheel with Jordan Farmar.
  • It’s time for some AAK!!! Better starring duo for a buddy cop movie: The K bros or the Sklar Bros? Is the world actually a sphere? Who wins between Andy and Brian in a fist fight?

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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Phil Jackson, Jim Buss and a big Lakers power play

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Lakers Analysis, Lakers News, Opinion, Phil Jackson | 13 comments

Friday morning, I packed the kids into the ol’ CR-V for the ride to school, and was greeted with news the New York Knicks had met with Phil Jackson and offered him their head coaching position.

Fair to say I didn’t need Stephen A. Smith’s analysis to tell me PJ wasn’t interested.

Friday afternoon, however, things got a lot more interesting, when Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported the Knicks put something far more intriguing on the table: A front office gig, “more than a consulting job,” Isola’s source said. A President of Basketball Operations sort of thing, it can be reasonably assumed, the type giving Jackson control of New York’s roster construction and providing the Knicks with exactly the type of credible, stable, respected face they desperately need. Jackson reportedly asked for a week or so to sit on the offer.

And this morning, ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne added even more spice to the gumbo. Phil wouldn’t simply be interested in taking a Pat Riley role for a team, but according to her sources, “he is open to the possibility of coaching for a short period of time if it was necessary in a transition period for a franchise with championship aspirations.”

(Anyone know where we might find one of those, locally? Anyone? I can wait…)

All of this on the heels of Thursday’s catastrophic, franchise-worst loss to the Clippers at Staples, a game most fans left early to get home and make sure their pitchforks were sharpened and torches well-oiled.

Information leaks for a purpose, and while dot-connecting is always a risky venture seeing all these things as related requires no great leap. You could hardly blame Jim Buss for feeling a little besieged this weekend. For all the discontent aimed his way for hiring Mike D’Antoni instead of Jackson (something he’ll get blamed for, even if most people – Jackson included – say Dr. Buss ultimately made that call), the saving grace for Jim is that Phil hasn’t landed anywhere else. It could have happened had the Kings moved to Seattle, where Phil was set to be part of Chris Hansen’s braintrust for the new Sonics, but didn’t. Now it appears New York, even with the James Dolan Factor, is in play. He’s just got to think about it. For a week or so. While the Lakers burn. And oh, by the way, under the right circumstances, he’d even coach again for a year or so if necessary. If, you know, there was an opening and all.

There’s nothing subtle about this.

Tick tock, Jim.

For all the legitimate criticisms of Jim Buss, all the hyperbolic stuff – cries that he’s cheap, doesn’t want to win, is willing to run the thing into the ground, etc. – are ridiculous. He wants to successfully honor his father’s legacy, showing people he’s not just a rich man’s privileged son, but a quality basketball executive. So it’s ironic that his best chance to accomplish that in the eyes of the Lakers faithful would be by falling on his own sword, stepping aside, and giving Phil (or someone else with a high level of credibility) control over the hoops side of the operation. But what sounds easy from the outside isn’t, to use the vernacular, a slam dunk. Remember, it’s not just a job Phil is after, it’s Jim’s. It’s a move simultaneously making him a hero and diminishing him, while undoing the plan for succession Dr. Buss, barely a year in the grave, set in motion.

On the other hand, if Jackson heads to New York (or anywhere, really) Jim won’t be able swing by Ralph’s for a gallon of milk without getting egged. (That the eggs and milk are generally pretty close together doesn’t help.) It could take years for him to recover, publicly, if he can at all.

To whatever degree this really is the sort of basketball palace coup attempt it appears from the outside, it’s worth noting how much damage the gambit could cause should it not work. Even if Jeanie Buss isn’t at the heart of this week’s leaks, she’s clearly never had much interest in keeping a lid on Phil chatter, despite how much it undermines Jim and therefore hurts the organization. So at best she’s an inactive, indifferent bystander, at worst she’s actively working to push her brother aside. Not great for stability under any circumstances, but if Phil doesn’t return, at a time El Segundo needs to learn how to function in a Dr. Buss-less world she’ll have real responsibility for injecting that much more conflict and uncertainty.

All of this, of course, doesn’t even address other questions. Whether all of this is truly fair to Jim, whether that even matters, whether Phil would actually thrive in a team-building role, whether the potential instability of Jackson’s return outweighs the value he might bring, and so on. There’s a lot to unpack, here.

Fun, risky, fascinating times we find ourselves in, right?

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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 opiate addiction
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    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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Podcast: Jeanie Buss’ new book chapter, Phil Jackson, the Lakers’ future and “Breaking Bad”

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Mike D'Antoni, Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson, Podcast, Steve Nash | 3 comments

Lakers Media Day comes this weekend, officially kicking off the preseason and bringing the actual season that much closer with every passing hour. Pretty awesome how that works.

The show can be heard by clicking on the module above or the links at the bottom of the page. A list of talking points is below:

  • We take a stroll through the latest NBA headlines. The Lakers show off their new black jersey, while the NBA may add “nickname” rags. Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins are reportedly on the verge of extensions, taking two bigger names off the market for the Lakers to pursue next summer. And who’da thunk Shaquille O’Neal would become a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings?
  • The reissue of Jeanie Buss’ book “Laker Girl” features a new chapter with her take on Phil Jackson getting passed over for Mike D’Antoni, and the released excerpts paint an unflattering portrait of her brother Jim. Fans have nearly without fail favored Jeanie over Jim, but could she actually face a bigger fallout this time around?
  • In the meantime, the Lakers need to make a decision regarding The Zen Master’s official role with the organization. Like, now.
  • How did longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti feel about Kobe Bryant’s high dive escapades?
  • ESPN.com just released its Future NBA Power Rankings (Insider account required), and their three-year forecast for the Lakers isn’t terribly optimistic. Does #21 with a bullet feel too high, too low or just right?
  • Time for some AAK!!!, and it’s heavily steeped in “Breaking Bad.” What lone DVD would we choose if holed up in a remote New Hampshire cabin like Walter White? With the landmark series coming to a close, how will the K Brothers (huge fans) fill that void? Plus, who’s uglier, Peyton or Eli Manning? (We just answer the questions sent our way, people.)

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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Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and big free agency questions

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Dwight Howard, ESPN, free agency, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Phil Jackson | 4 comments

The Miami Heat may be gearing up for a three-peat attempt as the Lakers embark on what”s regarded as a stopgap campaign by even the most optimistic fans, but they still have one thing in common: Summer of 2014. For the Lakers, it represents a chance to redirect the ship towards smoother waters via free agency. For the Heat, free agency carries the threat of losing LeBron James. Could these worlds collide to make Laker fans smile worldwide?

Well, according to a handful of ESPN.com writers asked to handicap the odds of LeBron bolting for the Lakers, not so much:

Adande: 5 percent. Take what I said about Pat Riley above and apply the opposite to Jim Buss. And LeBron has spent enough time around to know Kobe won”t hand over the keys to the Lakers as easily as Wade handed over the keys to the Heat.

Haberstroh: 5 percent. Let”s say Bryant suffers another career-threatening injury; the Lakers somehow trade for to put Gasol alongside his countryman, ; and the Heat”s season ends in turmoil. Then maybe it could happen. Maybe.

Stein: I”ll go with 1 percent … only because you never say never in this league. But I cannot fathom LeBron joining the Lakers. He was savaged for The Decision, hated all that negativity and would expose himself to getting hammered on a similar scale if he made that move. I firmly believe he”d be branded as one of sports” all-time heartless mercenaries if he decided that he needs a move to Lakerland after just four seasons on South Beach. All the informed whispers emanating out of L.A. suggest that the Lakers are going to chase him hard and think they have a legit shot. But I don”t.

Wallace: Far less than 24 percent. And I say that as a total play on Kobe”s jersey number. I don”t see LeBron wanting to play with Kobe, assuming Kobe stays. And I certainly don”t see the Lakers pushing Kobe aside or rushing him to make a decision to appease James. Besides, what can James do for the Lakers, from a legacy standpoint, that Kobe, Shaq, Magic, Kareem and haven”t? Now, the Clippers? Playing with CP3 and for Doc Rivers if other contracts are moved? Hmmm. That would be a completely different story.

Windhorst: Not great. First, I don”t think LeBron has much desire to play with Kobe. Their interactions with Team USA were often more utilitarian than anything. Second, the Lakers would have to attract at least one more young superstar to come play in L.A. to truly compete with what the Heat could offer. Getting someone to take the Chris Bosh role with Chris Bosh talent will not be easy, even for L.A. And don”t assume Kobe is a big hook at this point in his career.

Obviously, with nearly ten months before LeBron can terminate his contract (and he may not), a lot can happen. And these are just five guys” opinions… although Brian Windhorst has covered LeBron since his high school days and quite possibly knows the forward better than any basketball scribe. Tom Haberstroh and Michael Wallace have been around the team 24/7 since The Heat Index”s inception. J.A. Adande and Marc Stein are very credible. This is as legit a quintet as any. And four specifically cite Kobe as a deterrent for landing LeBron. This sentiment is nothing new, particularly in this neck of the woods, where Brian and I have said the exact same thing on several recent podcasts. Still, it”s telling to see others independently arrive at the same conclusion.

By the way, there are reasons independent of Kobe to question the Lakers” appeal for LeBron. Their immediate future is cloudy with Jim Buss controlling the conch. (For more on this, check out Ramona Shelburne”s profile of the man beneath the baseball hat.) Save one mother of a purple and gold stint, LBJ”s unlikely to be regarded as more than (at best) the fifth greatest Laker of all-time behind — in no particular order — Kobe, Magic, West and Kareem. He doesn”t need a bigger market. Quite frankly, the Lakers need LeBron a helluva lot more than LeBron needs the Lakers. My admittedly uneducated guess is he”ll stay in Miami and bet on Pat Riley, plus his own appeal, as rebuilding assets. Unless it”s to come full circle in Cleveland for professional and personal reasons, I don”t envision LeBron leaving because he doesn”t need to and seems happy.

However, you can substitute “Big Ticket Free Agent X In His Prime” for “LeBron,” and the points raised by these ESPN writers remain trenchant. Regardless of what Lakers fans think of Dwight Howard — and there are legitimate reasons for the dismissive opinions — Kobe was widely reported as a negative recruiting tool. Even if you think the Lakers dodged the bullet of an uncommitted franchise player (I”ve raised that point myself), I can”t imagine Kobe”s “take it or leave it” approach didn”t resonate around the league. Nor, for that matter, can I imagine that pitch inspiring the majority of players the Lakers will be trying to entice. With the possible exception of Carmelo Anthony (who raises his own myriad of questions), I don”t see many top flight players signing up for a Padawan internship under Kobe Wan Kenobi.

Maybe this attitude was a direct reflection of Bryant”s indifference towards Howard staying, but it fits the pattern established throughout his career. It”s not that he”s unwilling to adjust altogether, but even those instances are typically on his own terms. Ever since Shaq”s departure, Bryant”s gone out of his way to remind teammates and even coaches not named “Phil” or “Jackson” who calls the shots. The Lakers are “Kobe”s” team, and he appears decidedly uninterested in dialing back that influence. Nor will he ever have to, given how he”s a God among fans. Frankly, he”s earned this rare status. But flaunting it isn”t necessarily the smartest approach. Especially when he ain”t winning a sixth title without quality help. Teammates (prospective or otherwise) will be more accepting of an alpha dog in his prime continually flexing these muscles, especially when a title is a realistic goal. But when the alpha dog is 35, in the twilight of his career, coming off a serious injury, and there are holes in the roster? That may be another story.

Bryant is hardly the sole reason the Lakers could struggle in the immediate wake of Dr. Buss” death to remain the NBA”s premiere destination. But even more than Jim Buss, nobody potentially is more capable of offsetting the bumps. And without signs of flexibility, I”m quite concerned the Lakers” ability to land A-List free agents will directly coincide with Kobe”s retirement and not a second sooner.

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