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Free Agency: Durant and Mozgov and Deng (oh my!)

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Opinion, Podcast | 3 comments

Sometimes, the first few days of free agency are a tease. A big ball of underwhelming.

Not this year!

With the salary cap set to explode, money was flying faster and larger than the NBA has ever seen. People you may never have heard of have cashed in on eight figure deals. The Lakers were in the mix, throwing $64 million at center Timofey Mozgov and another $70 mil to forward Luol Deng. (Plus, they wrapped up Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black.)

Was it money well spent? What do the signings say about the state of the franchise?

And what about Kevin Durant? Why is he going to Oakland, and does that move make Russell Westbrook a #FutureLaker?

All that and more on the new installment of the podcast…

 

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Lakers Draft Brandon Ingram, Introduce Luke Walton

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Luke Walton, Opinion, Podcast | 1 comment

It was a busy week in El Segundo!

Thursday, the Lakers did the expected, drafting Croatian center Ivica Zubac with the 32nd pick … and also Duke’s Brandon Ingram at #2. No big blockbusters for the purple and gold, who for the time being at least seem willing to let the young fellas grow. We break it down, along with the big deal of the day which sent Serge Ibaka to Orlando. What does that mean for Kevin Durant (and by extension, the Thunder, and by extension, the Lakers)?

From there, we talk Luke Walton, who was introduced earlier this week following Golden State’s Game 7 loss in the Finals. What were the standout moments in his first press conference as the coach of the Lakers?

All that and … well, mostly just that. But isn’t that enough?

 

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Luke Walton is a win for the Lakers

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in Lakers Analysis, Luke Walton, Opinion | 6 comments

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Luke Walton is the type of coach I wish the Lakers had at least considered before hiring Byron Scott. Young, smart, talented, curious, up-and-coming. A coach with upside who could gain experience and grow with a rebuilding franchise.

Obviously that’s not the direction they went.

We don’t know yet exactly what allowed L.A.’s front office to look past a long held belief that coach of the Lakers isn’t a “starter job.” Some combination surely of Walton’s background in purple and gold, his extremely successful dress rehearsal as the interim coach of the Warriors, the buzz around him — for the first time in a while, the Lakers can say they got the guy everyone wanted — and his basketball intelligence. Clearly they believe Walton will do well in meetings with prospective free agents. And his familiarity to Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak clearly expedited the process.

But whether Walton represents a great leap forward in the open-mindedness of Lakers management or just a perfectly packaged Trojan Horse unwittingly unleashing into El Segundo basketball modernity (and an understanding of current circumstances) doesn’t really matter. Walton can simultaneously be a soothing reminder of past success and a fresh jolt forward. Even if the Lakers only hired him because he Knows What It Means To Wear The Purple And Gold, or because they believe he’ll be popular with the fan base, or that snagging him blunts the argument the franchise can’t recruit anyone wanted by anyone else — otherwise known as “all the wrong reasons” — Walton is still a very strong hire. He still fits where the Lakers are right now.

That it reportedly only required one interview will make some fans squeamish, but again, management knew Walton going in, and knew as well he’d be a prime candidate for other coaching vacancies this offseason. If you want a guy, don’t let him talk to the competition. You never know what can happen.

(If a lack of due diligence still bothers you, try applying three of the 17 interviews they did with Byron to Luke, and you’ll feel better.)

I don’t know if Walton will be a great NBA head coach. Nobody does. But he’s as good a bet as you’ll find among the guys without a long track record. High end basketball minds, from Steve Kerr to Phil Jackson, believe in his talent. Kobe Bryant pegged him as a coach a long time ago. The good news is Walton doesn’t really need to be great right away. For the next couple of seasons, he can develop his skills on a roster unlikely to be playing for major stakes (save the future of Jim Buss, I suppose, but that’s more a Jim/Jeanie problem). Meanwhile, he still provides a sense of optimism and a fresh start. Of the possibility the Lakers could build a new culture, led by someone who could, if all goes well, be around for a long time.

I’m obviously projecting, because there’s a lot of distance between Friday’s news and such a rosy outcome. The roster is still very thin, potential notwithstanding. The front office is still a massive question mark, though hiring a coach that however talented needs development speaks well of Buss and Kupchak. (At exit interviews, Kupchak said despite uncertainty created by the Jim Buss Timeline, which by definition clouds his future as well, he wouldn’t recommend short term fixes potentially compromising the team’s long term health. Bringing in Walton backs that up. So credit to both of them.) That Walton is popular enough with the fan base to blunt early growing pains can’t hurt, buying him and his players a little time.

There are still plenty of other questions to answer, including how Walton will approach things philosophically, how advanced he is with X’s and O’s, who he’ll surround himself with on the bench, and if/how this impacts all the Phil-to-L.A. chatter (a longer discussion for another day, but just as a reminder … it’s a bad idea). It could be a while before even the most basic of those are answered, since we won’t see much of him until the Warriors are done.

But regardless, the Lakers did a good thing on Friday, and are significantly better off now than they were at the end of the year.

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Podcast! In praise of D’Angelo Russell, a look at free agency, and interviews that should happen

Posted by on Jun 27, 2015 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Lakers Analysis, Lakers Audio, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Podcast | 1 comment

Big or small? Big or small? Big or small?

That was the question in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft, and in the end the Lakers surprised a bunch of people — and royally screwed the Philadelphia 76ers — by selecting Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick.

Good idea? We think so, break down why, and what about Russell appealed to the Lakers when push came to shove.

Plus, Larry Nance Jr. at 27 (and a most regrettable social media moment), Anthony Brown and 34, and what the new stable of Lakers means for their free agent search going forward. Mitch Kupchak says they’ll look to bolster the frontcourt. Does that mean LaMarcus Aldridge? Greg Monroe? Kevin Love?

Plus, Mitch interviews Robin Lopez!!!*

*Sort of… 

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PODCAST! The NBA draft, coaching carousel, Kevin Love, Caitlyn Jenner, NBA Finals

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Byron Scott, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Podcast | 1 comment

It’s been a while, but we’re back in front of the podcast microphones! The NBA draft is a few weeks away, prospects are visiting El Segundo, and the 2014-2015 season is four-seven games away from crowning a champion. (Spoiler alert! It won’t be the Lakers.)

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

  • OUR TOP STORY: The Lakers own the second overall pick, which provides them a lot of options. They can select a big. They can select a guard. They can select a Porzingas. They can trade the pick. What’s the best route moving foward?
  • HEADLINES: Lot o’ coaching hires and fires of late. What to make of Scott Skiles, Alvin Gentry and Fred Hoiberg joining, respectively, Orlando, New Orleans and Chicago, along with the Bulls’ dismissal of Tom Thibodeau? And should the Lakers make a play for the newly unemployed Thibs?
  • OUR ALMOST TOP STORY: For the first time in eons, Kevin Love addressed the media since injuring his shoulder. Amid constant speculation about an impending departure from Cleveland, the power forward maintained his company line of remaining a Cavalier next season. Is he relaying sincere thoughts, or proactively putting an exit strategy in motion?
  • PERSON OF INTEREST: Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, is the cover story of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, and will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at next month’s ESPY’s. Both developments, along with Jenner’s very public transgender story, have raised awareness of transgender issues, but the ensuing discussion is inevitably complex, and for many, inevitably confusing.
  • OUR ALMOST, ALMOST TOP STORY: The NBA Finals are two days away from commencing! The Golden State Warriors are rightly the heavy favorite, but the Cavs have LeBron, which makes all bets feel off. Could LBJ actually lead an upset for the ages?

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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