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

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!!! The Donald Sterling fiasco, and Mike D’Antoni’s future

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Donald Sterling, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Mike D'Antoni, Pau Gasol, Podcast |

It’s no exaggeration that since audio of Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments to his mistress was leaked to first to TMZ and then Deadspin, all hell has broken loose. Sterling was hardly a stranger to racial controversies, but being able to connect his (alleged) voice to his (not alleged) world view has raised awareness and dander to a brand new level. Safe to say, this is a mess, and everyone is waiting on pins and needles for the league to take decisive action.

Oh, in the meantime, reports surfaced Friday the Lakers apparently might keep Mike D’Antoni around next season. And said reports have barely made a ripple. As the old saying goes, timing is everything.

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

  • Many believe Sterling’s comments don’t just come across as racist, but “plantation” racist. We don’t disagree, although it’s worth adding “paranoid,” “disturbing” and “just plain weird” to the list of adjectives. Then again, racist attitudes often are.
  • I wrote about the shared blame that comes with Donald Sterling flourishing this long. The NBA deserves the biggest share of responsibility, but frankly, many parties have dropped the ball.
  • As Brian noted, the time for players and fans to boycott isn’t necessarily now.
  • Never let it be said the K Bros aren’t fair in their coverage. We do offer Sterling some respect on one count.
  • This incident is the latest example of how, generally speaking, a mistress is just a bad idea. And are you among the many, many, many listeners who’ve gotten down — if you know what I mean – to a K Bros podcast?
  • What will the punishment for Sterling be, and when/how will it be doled out?
  • Meanwhile, boombox
    construction careers
    best drug rehabilitation
    wireless tv speakers
    partial knee replacement
    personality disorder test
    knee pain
    construction management
    back at the ranch, Mark Heisler reports the Lakers have decided to keep Mike D’Antoni next season? If true, what would be the rationale?
  • Speaking of boycotts, Laker fans will threaten one if D’Antoni remains the coach? If that really happened, would it matter?
  • Pau Gasol said on his website that a return to the Lakers could be possible, but some changes would be needed for that to be the case. We have no idea what he’s referring to.

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.

Read More

PODCAST! LA’s front office rank, D’Antoni and/or Meeks returning (?) , Kobe and Trayvon Martin, facts about 1960

Posted by on Apr 5, 2014 in ESPN, Jeanie Buss, Jim Buss, Jodie Meeks, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers history, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion |

The good news? The Lakers entered Friday’s action with only seven games remaining before the season mercifully comes to an end. The bad news? It’s not six.

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

  • We take a look at the latest headlines. Phil Jackson says CAA ties won’t influence him as Knicks Prez. Dick Bavetta has set a seriously amaze-balls new record! Will Jabari stay in school? Are the Lakers really the NBA’s 16th best front office?
  • Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding says the Lakers might not show Mike D’Antoni the door this offseason. Don’t kill the messengers, by the way. We’re just the guys discussing the potential reasons why.
  • We play another episode of “Should The Lakers Bring Back This Guy,” with Jodie Meeks as the latest contestant.
  • As of this recording, the Lakers have exactly 50 losses, which ties the second-highest total in franchise history, set in 1960 when the team was still housed in Minneapolis! To illustrate just how long it’s been since the Lakers sat on 50 losses, I quiz Brian on his knowledge of 1960, and offer some fun facts about 1960! (FYI: The all-time mark for losses is 52 during the 1975 season, which means an “All About 1975!” segment is waiting in the wings.)
  • We discuss Kobe Bryant’s comments in the New Yorker regarding black causes and Trayvon Martin, along with the way stories like these are covered in the world of 24/7 news and social media.

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.

Read More

PODCAST! Kobe Bryant vs. rebuilding, Pau’s vertigo, Swaggy robbed, Kanye as the lesser of three evils

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Nick Young, Opinion, Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson, Podcast | 2 comments

The Lakers are now undefeated in games played at Staples Center where Phil Jackson watches as Knicks President from a luxury suite. If Mike D’Antoni can figure out a way to replicate this formula, the team may be able to end this season on a surprisingly positive note.

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

  • We stroll through the latest headlines. LeBron James and Adam Silver will meet this offseason to discuss the possible elimination of sherseys. Greveis Vasquez declares Kevin Durant “Jesus.” Mark Cuban calls out the NFL’s impending business model.  Is the Eastern Conference now a legitimate playoff race?
  • Kobe Bryant sat down with ESPN’s Darren Rovell to discuss basketball and business. As far as hoops goes, Kobe offered his faith in Jeanie and Jim Buss, but reiterated his impatience with a slow and steady rebuild. How big of a problem is this moving forward?
  • In the meantime, Kobe Inc. has opened up shop, with Bryant lending his presence and dollars to a sports drink called BodyArmour. How does this investment reflect the prospects of Kobe’s post-playing career?
  • Pau Gasol has vertigo. No. Seriously. Vertigo. At this points, are there any bizarre injuries and ailments left for the Lakers to endure?
  • Nick Young got robbed Sunday night, but the joke may actually be on the assholes who stole his clothes and jewelry.
  • It’s time for AAK!!! What movies have scared the K Bros most over the years? Rank the following in terms of quality company: Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber.
  • The New York Post reported Monday that former NBA player Quinton Ross was found murdered. As it turns out, the deceased was a different man named Quinton Ross. But hey, at least the Post was “first!”

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.

Read More