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Magic is wrong, this is no time to blow up the Lakers

May 8, 2011, 11:24 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Bryant walks off the court after Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas Reuters

I grew up in Los Angeles idolizing Magic Johnson. My admiration for the man has grown since he left the game — what he has done as a businessman, and as a spokesman about HIV, has been as impressive as what he did on the court. He’s always seemed both flawed and genuine. He is a genuine hero of mine.

So it pains me to say this — Magic Johnson is totally wrong. This is not the time to blow up the Lakers.

Here is what he said after the game on ESPN (via the Los Angeles Times).

“Dr. Buss has a lot of work to do,” said Johnson. “He’s probably going to have to blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because you have to come back with some fresh faces. You have to pick between the two big men with which one you keep and then you trade the other one.”

Johnson didn’t aim his criticism solely at the Lakers’ front line, arguing that everybody outside of Kobe Bryant should be considered trade bait in what will be an uncertain off-season….

“The Lakers have two problems,” said Johnson, who sold his 4.5% ownership stake in the Lakers to billionaire season ticket-holder Patrick Soon-Shiong in October but has kept his title as vice president. “They’re too slow and they have no athletes. This is an athletic league now. When you think about all the teams that are in the playoffs right now, they all can run fast and jump high.

“Sometimes you can be together too long,” he continued. “This group has been probably together too long.

Magic is right about some things, like saying that the Lakers lack speed and athleticism — I don’t know how you can argue otherwise. They brought back Derek Fisher at the request of Kobe Bryant who was the only person in Los Angeles who thought that was a good idea. The big problem is that they didn’t give him just one year, they gave him three — Fisher has two more years at $6.8 million total left. Good luck moving that deal.

If Fisher was a backup PG playing 15 minutes a night the damage would not be that serious. He’s not. He’s a starter playing all the key minutes. Because the Lakers brought in Steve Blake to back him up — Blake should have been a better fit in the triangle than he turned out to be. Instead, the Lakers missed Jordan Farmar’s athleticism.

Matt Barnes on the wing did not bring the youth and energy the Lakers needed. Shannon Brown was athletic but inconsistent. Kobe is not the 22-year-old explosive Kobe. Luke Walton has never been explosive.

The Lakers need to look at some trades to get in some athletic players.

But this is not San Antonio or even Boston with a core that is too old to do this again. Kobe is 32 and in good shape despite all the miles on the wheels. Lamar Odom is 31 and just had his best season ever. Pau Gasol is 30. Andrew Bynum 23.

That is not old and only Kobe is past his prime — and he’s not far past it. With those four the Lakers have a few more years of title contention ahead if they can get better, more athletic players around those four.

Magic is completely wrong about trading one of the Lakers two big men. Coming back with fresh faces for the sake of coming back with fresh faces is how you end up with Isiah Thomas’ Knicks roster. The Lakers have the biggest, most skilled front line in the NBA and that is why they won two titles and went to three straight finals. These guys still have quality runs and play left in them, and you can’t match what height and skill bring. Good and tall still beats good and small.

To break that core up because of one bad playoff series is a mistake. That core is as good as any in the NBA still. Gasol had a terrible series against Dallas — that does not negate the two rings he already won. He did not forget how to play. He will tear it up next season. Watch.

The only way you trade one or two of the bigs is if you can get Dwight Howard or someone of that ilk. And by the way, while other team executives and agents love to speculate about how the Magic would do a Howard/Arenas for Bynum/Odom deal, the Magic are not there yet and likely never will be. They are going to spend this summer trying to convince Howard to stay. He is their marquee guy, he is the face of their franchise and they want to keep him. Then the new CBA will come out and looking at numbers Howard may decide he should pick up his $19.5 million extension year. That deal is not happening soon, nor is one for Chris Paul.

The Lakers do not need a blockbuster move to win again. They need to make moves around the core — they need better play at the point and more athleticism on the wings. They need to get younger.

But blow it up because of one series and the Lakers will be taking steps back, not forward.

  1. passerby23 - May 8, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    The problem with the Lakers isn’t just one of age, but of consistency. You don’t know which Lamar Odom or Pau Gasol will show up. It’s not easy to move their parts. Get more athletic on the wings? Sure, but how do you do that? Artest is locked in and who would take him? Upgrade at point? Sure, but who wants a relic Derek Fisher?

    The conundrum with the Lakers is they still have a strong core, but in order to get better, they have to move some of it. It might take blowing them up, or at least moving a few key pieces to do it. I don’t think the Lakers can get better as currently constructed unless Dwight Howard is involved. But, what would you give up to get him?

    It’s easy to say “get more athletic,” it’s another to do it without blowing up the roster.

    • willhnic - May 9, 2011 at 1:36 AM

      I think you and Magic are correct. The other point missing here, thought is about the Laker bench or lack thereof. If you want additional athleticism and an effective bench, then you have to “blow up” the team. I think another point missing here is that means having the patience to break down the team to build it up. The only thing I think is being assumed that is incorrect is that this can happen within two years. I personally think with the weak bench and the growth of young athletic talent everywhere in the NBA, it may be more realistic to have a 3-4 yr strategy to challenge for one or two more rings for Kobe. Even though I don’t like Kobe and this Laker team, it’s the right thing to do with someone like Kobe a bit past his prime.

    • davidly - May 9, 2011 at 2:08 AM

      Great points. Especially the first one: Consistency.

      The up and down woes of the regular season were expounded upon last night by the coach, as he told of the rigors of the “drive to the three-peat”. I don’t suppose that can be understated. However…

      The two new “Killer B’s” did not benefit from those aforementioned rigors. They did not get to benefit from the last two runs. They needed to be shown the system and the intensity, night in, night out so they could mesh with it. They showed potential at times, but, in the end, it wasn’t enough. I think the off-season moves were great ones, but in the end, the team as a whole was exhausted.

      For any lurking Mavs fans, congrats. Your team deserved it. Dallas came out and knocked the champ flat on his back to the canvas. Good luck the rest of the way, but remember, even if you don’t win, your team did a great job this year.

  2. smitheye - May 9, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    You are literally the worst sports writer to ever cover the NBA. Just awful.

    • jjstrokes - May 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      Totes bro, I make sure to tell him that at least once a month.

  3. easygojoe - May 9, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Well I think both the author here and Magic are both partially wrong and partially right. I hope that Buss and Kupchack follow your track and don’t blow it up, and instead just try and reload. Good luck with that. As a Laker hater, but a true longtime NBA fan, I really really doubt it will work, but good luck trying. I will enjoy watching you fail.

    The Lakers are in Salary cap hell, and not just with Derek Fisher. You’ve got Kobe under salary for more than 75 million for the next three seasons. Hilarious. He’s not all that anymore, and he really won’t be in another year or two. Then you’ve got Pau with another 55 million over three. Yeah, he really scares people. If you think with a new coach and another year of age he will somehow “tear up the league”… well nevermind. Then you’ve got 2 more years of Lamar Kardashian (well actually one year is a team option)…well, maybe he will be more motivated next year. Bynum for another 2 years/30 mill. 3 more years guaranteed of Ron Artest at 21 million; 2 more years and 12 million of Luke Walton; 3 years/12 million of Blake; and two more years and 6.8 million of Fisher.

    That is laughable. Of those mentioned, not one of those guys would be easily tradeable because Buss overpaid them all. Bynum could possibly be moved, but you would have to take back a bad contract. And Same with Gasol. You will never unload Artest, or Fisher without taking a stinking pile of crap worth of shit contracts back. Lamar maybe, but you wouldn’t get a game changer for him.

    Nobody on earth would take on Kobe and his salary…nobody.

    Good luck…he he he.

    • loungefly74 - May 9, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      dude, no reason the move the core. they won the last 2 titles. i think those guys know what they are doing. change the bench around but this team was not that far off of a 3-peat.

      • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 9:54 AM

        Denial is not a river in Africa! The only things that are likely to change between the end of this season and next is the the young up and coming Grizzlies and Thunder are going to get better and the Lakers are just going to grow older.

    • tsi4431 - May 9, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      There are plenty of teams that would take Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum right now. No way are we trading them. Especially with Bynum’s recent antics. I agree Fisher is garbage.

      With a soft cap in the NBA, salary cap’s are basically useless.

    • sportsguy1 - May 9, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      you win dumbest comment of the day. you think no one would take Kobe really you cant be serious. kobe would easily go top 5 in a fantasy draft if not top 3.

      • heat256 - May 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        You lost credibility referencing fantasy drafts. This isn’t a bunch of fatassed wannabe know it alls in someone’s basment. These are cold, hard facts. Kobe is moving into a complementary role player in the NBA. There are younger, more athletic players now that would be desired over him. If the Lakers are smart and want to remain relevant, they will push whatever ships they have in for Howard, and feature him with Kobe backing him up.

  4. chargerdillon - May 9, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Lakers at no points this year played like a domiant team. They played up or down to the level of their opponent at any given moment.

    If Fisher is still the starting Lakers PG, consider the Lakers done in the second round next year

  5. frankvzappa - May 9, 2011 at 4:50 AM

    all this crying about the lakers is simply misplaced…they were never even that great, they were just lucky that the celtics had insurmountable injuries the last two years that allowed the second best team in the league to win the championship…

    • loungefly74 - May 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

      ladies and gentlemen, we have the winner of the most idiotic comment. thanks frankvzappa. how is life in your “should/woulda/coulda land”? dude, come back to reality, we don’t live in a world where if things didn’t go the way you wanted then something was wrong. what happens…happens! stop with the excuses.

  6. 1historian - May 9, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    I enjoyed watching the lakers get blown out, and I enjoyed thinking of Jack Nicholson and all the other celebrity laker fans watching – that is one of the perks of being among the hoi-polloi, and we have so few pleasures.

    bynum and kardashian are about as low class as I can remember ever having seen, especially bynum.

    I’m halfway between – I don’t think they need to be blown up and reassembled, I don’t think it can be done. But they do need to be rebuilt, just not entirely.

    It does seem as if this might be the year for the young teams to come of age – Both SA and LA are out in the west, and the Celtics don’t look too hot in the east, Saturday’s win notwithstanding.

    Phil Jackson is all done but there should be some mention made of the man who took a chance on him 22 years ago in Chicago – Jerry Krause. Say what you will – HE is the man who saw promise in Jackson when no one else did, and he was right.

  7. ginnitti - May 9, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    You give an awful lot of credit to marquee players because they’re “tall” or “talented”. The bottom line is this Lakers team didn’t mesh all year long. Call it egos, call it Phil Jackson checking out early, call it Kobe being more injured than we’ve been led to believe – but this didn’t look anything like a true championship caliber team from day 1. Talent is overshadowed by chemistry in the NBA, and the Lakers have lost that balance. Unfortunately this team is fairly well locked up in contracts, leaving a tall order for the pending coaching staff. I look for some eye-raising players to be released from this team.

    Lakers Salaries and Contracts found at: http://www.spotrac.com/nba/los-angeles-lakers/

  8. aboogy123456 - May 9, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    I think you make great points, this laker team is ridiculously good when they are on their game, which they weren’t. Gasol was not himself, and kobe was too injured to take over like he should. They need to get better point guard defense and then they should be back next year.

  9. loungefly74 - May 9, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    the writer is right…you don’t blow the core up. people, be reminded this team went to the finals 3 years in a row!!!! how many finals did your team go to? oh, nothing better than what the Lakers did. your hatred blinds your rational thinking. look, winning is the goal, they did it 2 out of the 3 past years. Believe that the Lakers will do whatever they need to do to get back to the finals.

  10. purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    I agree! This is NOT the right time to blow up the Lakers! The Lakers should not be blown up until Kobe announces his official retirement. Otherwise we’ll all be robbed of the enormous joy over seeing him lose every year that he has left in the playoffs!

    • loungefly74 - May 10, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      purdueman = obvious Kobe and laker hater who vicariously lives off of their defeats. way to go buddy. i understand having a opinion and i am all for that, but c’mon man. look, i hate boston for example, but i give them credit for what they have accomplished…posting something like that just shows insecurities.

  11. LPad - May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    the Lakers just need more athletes on the perimeter. The days of expecting Kobe to check the Chris Pauls of the world are officially over. The Fisher contract may not be as hard to move as people think. He’s essentially a backup PG making 3.4 mil per year for the next two. Not that hard to move. For example, Philly may be interested in getting a veteran PG to help develop Holliday. Maybe they could swing trade and get Meeks who will be able to provide some bench scoring. Who knows if Philly really wants to get rid of Iguodala, maybe they could package Fisher and Odom and other pieces.

  12. omniusprime - May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Kurt is correct that the Lakers don’t need to blow up the team, their core is pretty great with the exception of Fisher who is just too old and slow nowadays. The Laker starters outplayed the Mavs starters, it was the bench bees that killed the Lakers. Absolutely stupid to break up the big three frontline that’s still one of the best in the NBA. The Lakers are the oldest team and that age didn’t translate into experience for winning, just an ancient team of geezers who didn’t have the energy to chase the loose balls or fast small point guards.

    The rest they’ll get this summer will be good for Kobe and the team as they have longer to stew about how poorly they played the last 4 games of Phil Jackson’s illustrious career. Kupchak needs to trade away the old (Ratliff, Walton, Smith, Blake and Fisher) and bring in some new players to give the Laker bench some real talent and competence. The Lakers will be far hungrier next season to prove themselves, they just didn’t have the drive to win a threepeat this season and send Phil off in proper style.

    I hope that Kupchak can bring Chris Paul to the Lakers as he would be that small fast point guard who could really give Kobe the help in the backcourt he really needs. The Repeat World Champion Lakers will be back next year and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. I look forward to seeing the Lakers return to the NBA Finals next year with Kobe winning his 6th ring!

    Go Lakers 2011-2021!

    • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 10:22 AM

      omni… the one glowing hope that the Lakers have to avoid becoming mired in mediocrity (i.e., too good to not make the playoffs, not bad enough to make the lottery, and not good enough to advance more than maybe one round in the playoffs), is maybe the new coach won’t despise rookies and young players the way Phil Jackson did.

      I agree with your post 100%. The Lakers have WAY too many players who are on the wrong side of 30, and would be better served jettisoning many of them and rolling the dice with several of the youngsters hitting the free agent pool at the end of the season who as of yet have established themselves.

      • loungefly74 - May 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        purdue, stop with your silly hatred. the lakers as a franchise will do whatever they need to do to stay relevant. this is not denial (as you put) but a fact. they were favored to win the title again this year. they had a terrible series, that does not mean they are headed to mediocrity (sp?) or lottery land. Dallas was actually the older team too BTW. yes, the Lakers will make moves and will be back next year.

        On another note, i would be more worried about the spurs or celtics. yes, the griz and thunder are up and coming but lets not annoint them yet till they win.

      • purdueman - May 10, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        loungefly… still in denial I see, eh? Your Lakers are old… as in Purple and Old! And no, the Mavs are NOT older across the board like your bickering Weepers are, but that has nothing to do with your Weepers having way too many players on the wrong side of 30; that’s just a fact!

        I never said that I want your LA Weepers to drop into lottery territory; quite the contrary! One of the more satisfying things about being a sports fan is to watch a big old fan gas bag grow and grow and THEN see it get pricked and fall to earth as quickly as the Hindenburg did!

        I take it that you don’t though live out here in LA, because if you did you’d realize just how obnoxious and obsessive LA sport talk radio has become with regards to your Weepers… a TOTAL turnoff, my friend! It’s SO bad that we now have to endure what overpaid scrub Luke Walton even had for dinner last night as well as what the latest restaurant he’s plugging is. Ugh! Just UGH!

        Here’s something REALLY funny though… the Lakers have $88M already committed to next seasons payroll and $5.5M of it will go to cheerleader (and otherwise useless as teats on a bull), Walton! You call THAT “good management”? Luke’s getting paid that kind of jack though because he’s akin to being a soap opera star, which in turn placates many of the “pretty people” who are on your Weepers bandwagon.

        In football, there’s an old saying that when you score a touchdown, “act like you’ve been there before”. The Lakers and Celtics are the ONLY two NBA teams that don’t understand this simple principle which is why there are so many haters of them out there.

    • dallasdoobman - May 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      The Laker starters outplayed the Mavs starters, it was the bench bees that killed the Lakers.

      rolmfao: who played better than dirk?

      • delius1967 - May 9, 2011 at 6:59 PM

        Also, who had the better series, Derek Fisher or Jason Kidd? Not a hard call to make. I certainly won’t argue with Kobe outplaying Stevenson, who is technically the starter, but Jason Terry outplayed both of them by a considerable amount.

        The only position where you could claim the Lakers starter outplayed the Mavs’ is center. Bynum is a thug and disgrace, but there is no denying he was the only Laker to really play well this series. He was the sole reason they were even in Games 1 & 3.

  13. hoopsfanatic - May 9, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    The way I see it, the only thing the Lakers have to look forward to now is the summer of 2012. With the impending lockout, I do not give Mitch Kupchak much of a chance to revamp the roster for next season. I do not blame the Lakers for going all in for this season. Phil Jackson was in his final season, and Kobe Bryant is nearing the end of his legendary career. However, considering the Lakers lost in the conference semifinals, I personally would rather have Carmello Anthony on the roster right now than Andrew Bynum. The Lakers will need to overhaul the roster. Again, I do not expect to see many roster changes for next season because of the impending lockout.

    (Chris Broussard of ESPN reported earlier this season that the Lakers turned down a package involving Andrew Bynum for Carmelo Anthony).

    The Lakers reportedly could have obtained Bynum for Anthony. Yes, that ship has sailed. However, the point is that the Lakers have players they can use to obtain impact players to rebuild the roster. I believe the lockout will limit what the Lakers can do this offseason. This is why I believe the major chances will take place in the summer of 2012.

    • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      hoops… the obvious rift between Kobe and Pao is not going to get mended anytime soon (see attached link). Gasol is therefore the guy that the Lakers need to use as trade bait to acquire a proven point guard, not Bynum. Besides, Jim Buss is in love with Bynum and will nix any deal for him that doesn’t include Chris Paul anyways.

      Fisher needs to go, as do Walton and everyone on the bench who are on the wrong side of 30. If Gasol is traded, then Odom has to stay. If Gasol stays, then Odom and his TV show circus that follows him around needs to go.

      Bottom line? This Laker team is a dysfunctional time bomb waiting to go off like the Pistons did this season in Detroit. Something needs to give.

      • hoopsfanatic - May 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        Purdueman,

        Again, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the Lakers turned down a package involving Bynum for Carmelo Anthony. My point in mentioning the rejected trade is that the Lakers do have players that they can use to land the talent that is needed to make another championship run. With the impending lockout, I really think the Lakers will be limited this offseason. Next summer, though, I do believe the Lakers will revamp the roster. For all those who doubt, you should remember the Lakers reportedly turned down a deal that would have landed them Carmelo Anthony.

        I am not so sure Bynum is untradeable today. Yes, Jim Buss was reportedly one of the people who nixed the Bynum for Anthony deal. However, a lot of peple involved with the Lakers are upset with how the season ended, and Bynum in particular for how he conducted himself in the game 4 loss. I do not mean to imply the Lakers are simply going to give Bynum away. But if another Anthony type trade avails itself to the Lakers, I do not expect the Lakers to turn it down this time.

        Personally, I think Odom, Gasol and Bynum should all be on the table. Again, not to simply give away, but to be available in the right trade.

        I firmly expect the lockout to limit what the Lakers can do this offseason. So I think the “major” trade will have to wait until next summer.

      • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        hoops… of course Bynum is very tradeable; even decent centers in the NBA these days are scarce as hens teeth. Trading Bynum for Mello though just didn’t make much sense to me because of their age and salary differences.

        Unless the new CBA though changes the NBA’s goofy and restrictive trade rules, it’s going to be tough to move contracts as big as Odom’s and Gasol’s (due to the salary matchup requirements). Such deals ALWAYS require somebody getting stuck with a lot of garbage and draft picks, but the Lakers near term future draft picks aren’t attractive because they don’t project to be lottery picks.

        JOMO, but I think that both Artest and Fisher have played their last games in Laker Purple and Old.

      • hoopsfanatic - May 9, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        Purdueman,

        As far as how the new CBA will impact trades and other roster moves, we will have to wait and see after the dust settles from the lockout and a new CBA is signed. (I suspect we will have an abbreviated season next season like there was in 1999).

        Again, I would put Bynum, Odom and Gasol all on the block and see what you can get for them. If the right move avails itself to the Lakers, then I would expect the Lakers to pull the trigger. However, I would be very surprised if anything happens this summer due to the impending lockout.

        Of the Big Three mentioned above, I would suspect at least 2 of the 3 will be moved before the start of the 2012 – 2013 NBA season.

        As for Fisher and Artest, I agree with you that there days as a Laker are probably number. Furthermore, I suspect a “few more” players will be added to that list. I doubt the Lakers can make any major moves this offseason. However, this does not mean that some minor roster cleaning can not take place before the start of next season.

      • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        hoops… nice exchange with you today!

        The speculation out here in LA today is that the Lakers will offer Bynum to Orlando for Howard before Howard can walk and potentially leave Orlando empty handed. Howard, according to several reports, is enamored with the whole “Hollywood scene” and would apparently welcome a trade to either LA team.

        The other buzz though is that Orlando is going to go all out to acquire Chris Paul (who of course can walk from nothing in return after next season), which speculation says will make Howard happy enough to re-up in Orlando.

        I would think that the Lakers would also offer Bynum to New Orleans for Paul straight up too, and if New Orleans was open to doing that deal I’d certainly do it. With the projected crop of “one and doners” coming out of college over the next couple of years, it will be a lot easier for New Orleans to replace Paul (albeit not with such a marque player), than it would be for them to find a center like Bynum.

        Paul would totally re-energize the Lakers, but just how deep is the rift between Gasol and Kobe? Can the relationship be repaired at least to the point to where they’ll both play nice in the sandbox again? According to Bill Plashke of the LA Time, Gasol is seething mad at Kobe because he blames Kobe’s wife for breaking up his engagement; if that’s true, who could blame him?

        Gasol though isn’t going to be easy to trade because he’s owed $56M over the next three seasons and speculation is that the new CBA will have a hard salary cap and a lower salary cap. The Lakers as things currently stand have $88M already committed to their roster, and that leaves little (if any), flexibility to seek out free agents who are worth a damn.

        One things clear though, and that’s that the three big names who will be in play this offseason are Paul, Bynum and Howard. Even if the Lakers were to be able to pull off a Bynum for Howard deal, that doesn’t solve their huge hole at point guard.

        Too bad that the virtual certainty of a long labor stoppage in the NBA is going to not only limit what the Lakers can do in the offseason, but likely will leave a very small window within which to work with once the new CBA is in place.

        One other wild card is what the NBA will ultimately do with New Orleans (as the league currently owns and operates the team). Stern is clearly in favor of contracting at least four teams, which would make New Orleans #1 on that list and put Paul into a disbursement draft.

        Stern’s timing (using the new CBA negotiations as leverage), hasn’t panned out I’m sure as he had hoped. Memphis, the leagues smallest market, would have been a logical #2 contraction candidate, but now that they suddenly have a competitive team it would be very hard to contract them.

        Other teams said to be high on Stern’s contraction list are Sacramento, the Clippers and inexplicably the T-Wolves. If the T-Wolves though are able to add Ricky Rubio to go along with Kevin Love, they suddenly become relevant (regardless of whether Rubio pans out or not).

        There’s a lot more though to the upcoming offseason, as Chicago desperately need a shooting guard and the Knicks are determined to add more pieces around Amare and Mello. Chicago could find help in the draft though, as they have two #1 picks (althuogh both are at the bottom of the first round).

        The reason though that I think that they can find a shooting guard at the bottom of the first round is because all the Bulls are looking for is a one dimensional shooting guard and will not be focused as most other clubs will be on taking the best available player.

        If JoJo Johnson of Purdue is available when the Bulls picks come up (as is expected), I expect the Bulls to select him with one of those picks. Johnson is too skinny to be a #4 forward in the NBA, which limits the teams that potentially would be interested in him, but with the Bulls having Gibson and Asik, Johnson I think would be a great pick.

  14. canabal65 - May 9, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    I heard from lakers haters stupid comments, but when they said that the lakers won only because celtics’ injuries is the more stupid thing I ever heard. The Lakers has a very good team in such way that the important news today is not the Mavericks won, is the Lakers lost. They still have a pretty good team that needs to fix some problems and they will be a championship contender next year. For Lakers haters, please be analyst not fan. They must accept that he Lakers has a very good team and that Kobe Bryant will be remember as one of the great players of all-time.

  15. purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Folks, this pretty much sums it up from the Lakers side of things. Attached is a link to today’s column by respected LA Times columnist Bill Plachke:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-plaschke-lakers-20110509,0,4732394.column

    • mogogo1 - May 10, 2011 at 12:07 AM

      Interesting column. Thanks for posting. What strikes me is how everybody is saying the right things, but you don’t get the vibe they really believe any of it. Odom sounds like he’s reciting lines for his “reality” show and everybody else seems to have taken lessons from him.

      No idea what the truth is regarding Kobe and Gasol, but it seems like Kobe has never really been friends with any of his teammates. Coincidence that things soured with Gasol after all people could talk about was how Gasol was the difference maker for the Lakers?

      • purdueman - May 10, 2011 at 12:17 AM

        mogo… you’re welcome! (for posting the link).

        More news has leaked today about the Kobe/Pao rift. According to ESPN radio out here, Kobe told his wife that Pao was cheating on his finance, and she in turn told her and she broke off their engagement. Pao vehemently denies this, but the damage is clearly been done.

        My only question is who in the hell is the morally challenged Kobe to rat out a teammate? And if it’s not true, why would he do that? He must really hate Pao; that’s the only reason that I can think of.

  16. mook1987 - May 9, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    So many haters… I’m so glad you enjoy watching Kobe lose. I have had the pleasure of watching the Lakers win 10 championships since I began following them in the early 80′s. How many has your team won?

    Not sure what happened this year but clearly the bench did not do their job and Fisher did not want to step up. Gasol was not very good in the playoffs. They need a significant upgrade at point guard and an improved bench and the West will be theirs next year. They have always pulled players out of their a@@ and if they can do it again I won’t be surprised.

    • delius1967 - May 9, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      Actually, though I enjoyed watching the Lakers lose, I surprisingly came out of this series with newfound respect for Kobe. He was at least trying, and was the one and only bright spot for the Lakers in Game 4. Also, the way he deflected any questions about the team being mentally tired, and gave all the credit to the Mavericks, was a classy move.

  17. canabal65 - May 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    I totally agree with Mook1987. I had enjoyed the same championships that you .

    • dallasdoobman - May 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      I would be surprised mooky87, the lakers are too inconsistent starting with lamar and pau!!! blow em up… all that championship experience and the NBA’s all time greatest coach just got swept by the mavs who has no rings!!!

      Just remember: Jett for another 3!!!!!

      • dallasdoobman - May 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        have*

  18. taxrate - May 9, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    The Lakers lost their series to the Mavericks because they were not designed to beat the Mavericks. This team was constructed specifically to beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals. The design flaw here was that they couldn’t get back to the finals to face the dreaded Celtics for a third time in four years. With the Lakers being so caught up in looking ahead to the Celtics, they forgot to look in their rear view mirror to see who was closing in on them. Teams like the Thunder and Mavericks were surrounding their athletic wing players with enough size to keep the Lakers at bay. The Lakers never addressed two of their most glaring weaknesses which were lack of three point shooting and athleticism. This Laker team still has enough talent to get back to the finals next year, but instead of focusing on the Celtics, they need to focus on their main competitors in the Western Conference. Now the Lakers will go into an offseason with no head coach, a possible lockout looming, and a team looking for answers after being swept by the Mavericks. I don’t think most Laker fans could have ever fathomed this going into the playoffs, but the reality of this debacle will soon set in for those most loyal to the franchise. One question everyone in Laker land must be thinking this morning. Where do we go from here?

    Ken Washam
    thesportslowdown.com

    • passerby23 - May 9, 2011 at 11:58 PM

      I disagree, the Mavs and Thunder built their rosters around beating the Lakers by adding size. The Lakers had a championship roster and they made good off-season additions. Hindsight is 20/20. There wasn’t a good reason to predict Gasol would shoot 42% in the playoffs and disappear.

      If you take Tyson Chandler away, do the Lakers win 2-3 of those games? Series looks a lot different.

      The problem with dynasties is sometimes the teams get really old really fast and that seems to be creeping up on LA as they could not guard perimeter players. It’s not an issue of the Lakers not watching their back, it’s just a changing of the guard as there always is in sports.

  19. Ryan Karhut - May 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Oldest roster in the league! Something has to change…..What’s that? Dwight Howard is coming to L.A.? Phew Laker fans can relax

  20. bigtrav425 - May 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Actually Magic is Completely RIGHT you are the one who is wrong. It is time…. they really didnt look to into it at all this yr also Kobe is 32 so its time to keep him and try and find a player or players to build around or for Kobe to kind of mentor or however they want to rebuild.Obviously you keep Kobe,id also keep Lamar and trade/let go of everyone else.Even Bynum because he really isnt that consistent.

  21. Ryan Karhut - May 9, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Video of Bynum’s disgraceful foul last night on Jose Barea.

    Bynum Auditions for the NFL: http://t.co/WIZAZtG

  22. fouldwimmerlaik - May 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Those fould weren’t so bad. Come on, grow up. I do worse to my dog when he chews my bunny slippers. Geez.

  23. hoopsmccann - May 9, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    IMHO, Kurt is absolutely correct on this one. Consider this. The two-time repeat champions decided to tweak their roster by getting rid of Jordan Farmar and Sasha V. for Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. Farmar would have easily kept Barrea in check and Sasha – although not a great defender – tried exceptionally hard to harrass his opponents (Terry in this case) and almost always was able to disrupt their games and frequently drew frustration and even flagrant fouls. Both can hit the threes and Sasha was a 3 specialist, like Terry. Both had championship pedigree and had been a part of championship runs and the pressure that comes with it! Neither was afraid of the moment as they were tried and proven under the most pressured of circumstances. Witness Sasha’s two perfect free throws in game 7 that won the game for the Lakers. In contrast Barnes and Blake could do none of these things and were obviously petrified when the pressure came. Wouldn’t even pull the trigger on wide open 3s in contrast to Dallas and in contrast to Farmar and Vujacic.

    My point? The Lakers were better last year than this year but would have been better THIS year if they had KEPT THEIR ROSTER INTACT because of the big improvement in Bynum. The series would still be 2 to 2 because Dallas has played way over their norm in this series, particularly games 2 and 4. Are you kidding me? Terry and Stoya hitting 14 of their 1st 15 threes! Don’t give me any bad Laker defense shit, I’ll bet anyone $100,000 they can’t do that again with NO ONE ELSE ON THE COURT!

    Why is nobody crediting Dallas and saying that NO TEAM in the NBA would have beaten Dallas in games 2 and 4? Why is it such a Laker meltdown when they were in position to win two of the first four games and under my last year scenario surely would have?

    So the people saying that the Lakers team should be blown up are nuts. The Lakers need to get a good young point guard and a knock down 3 point shooter. (like Terry, Stoya, James Jones of Miami, etc.) Period.

    LOL! Or like Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. Think about it!

    • davidly - May 10, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      I agree that Dallas deserves credit. And I’m the only one other than you that I’ve seen that explicitly says that they didn’t give up. But I think the Gasol meltdown is a tad overstated, as well.

      And look. As long as we’re talking about “ifs”: If they had shot there season average for threes in game four (11 for 32 instead of 20/32), the whole dynamic changes.

      But if I had wheels, I’d be a wagon. I, too, think they should just keep them in tact at this point, and see what they can do next year with the new guys having this experience behind them and Bynum for the whole season.

      • purdueman - May 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM

        davidly… I live in the greater LA area and I just see no way that there’s not going to be at least one or two of the Lakers current “core” being moved this offseason for the following reasons:

        1) By all reports out here, the growing Kobe/Gasol rift is likely beyond repair. Apparently Kobe told his busy body wife (who previously stuck her nose in Karl Malone’s family business when it wasn’t wanted), that Pao was cheating on his finance. Vanessa then told Pau’s finance, who then broke off the engagement. If true, I’m surprised that Pao didn’t flatten Kobe, much less want to continue to play with him;

        2) By all reports, Lakers owner Jerry Buss is VERY distraught over Bynum’s behavior during the Mavs series and wants him gone;

        3) With the exception of Bynum, the Lakers core team is all made up of guys on the wrong side of 30. Kobe’s signed to a mega-contract for three more years and isn’t going anywhere, so what I would do if I were GM Kupchak would be to trade Bynum, ideally in a deal for either Paul or Howard; and

        4) Until the Lakers name a new head coach and that head coach reveals what kind of an offense he wants to run (i.e., try and continue with the triangle offense when everyone else not named Phil has failed at doing or go to more of a pick and roll offense to get in line with the rest of the league). This decision will impact what direction Kupchak needs to go in from a roster standpoint.

  24. ezwriter69 - May 11, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    “The only way you trade one or two of the bigs is if you can get Dwight Howard or someone of that ilk.”
    Okay, I’ll bite, exactly who in the NBA is of Dwight Howard’s ilk??? For that matter, how do you determine someone’s “ilk”?

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