Los Angeles Lakers: canceled games

The lockout just got real

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:43
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Up until now, the NBA lockout has largely existed as more of a conceptual bogeyman than a bully taking lunch money. The focus had always been looming deadlines. In July, when owners officially locked out players, the actual season was too far away to feel scarily pressing. Nobody expected either side to negotiate in earnest until fall. Then that season arrived, followed by a series of stalled conversations and "what ifs." October presented the cancellation of games but they were in November, with all eyes quickly shifting to the high-profile date of Christmas … or the latest possible date in 2012 before the entire season is canceled.

The reality of the lockout and its effect have been a can kicked down the road.

Tuesday, however, that changes.

At 7:30 p.m. PT, fans should have filed into Staples Center, listened to the sweet sounds of Jeffrey Osborne belting out the national anthem, then watched the Lakers do battle against the Oklahoma City to mark the start of their quest for redemption and a 17th banner.

Instead, fans are reduced to watching "Hardwood Classics" on NBA TV. Or taking in old clips of Osborne getting patriotic. (Or "On the Wings of Love," if the purple and gold wound is just too fresh to go there.)

It's always felt as though a safe distance separated negotiations and games on the calender. Even with the non-stop media coverage about a jeopardized season, to a certain degree, this mess hasn't felt any more real than a unicorn or the prospect of a Kardashian-Humphries anniversary.

The lockout has reminded me of being subconsciously aware of a bad dream. Unpleasant and even scary as the dream may be, in the back of your sleeping mind, you anticipate waking up.

But with Tuesday night's canceled season opener, Lakers fans are now officially caught in the nightmare.

I wish I could offer a poignant thought to make sense of this insanity, but, truth be told, I've got nothing. Zip. Bupkis. And honestly, what could our readership possibly want or need to hear from me, anyway? What could I say to make Lakers fans or basketball fans in general feel whole?

I've previously expressed thoughts ranging from optimism to anger to feeling dead inside. Perhaps these posts were moving. Perhaps they bored readers to tears. But the reaction ultimately doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, what you really want to read are my thoughts about the lockout having ended.

Until that moment arrives, talk from writers and pundits is meaningless.

Equally meaningless is talk from David Stern, Adam Silver, Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, and the like.

I believe I speak for a lot of people when I kindly request player reps and league officials not to step in front of microphones again until a deal has been made. If a meeting ends without a deal, skip the rhetoric and just quietly arrange a time for the next meeting. No news conferences. No players union letters leaked to the media. Go about your business without seeking a camera.

As of Tuesday night, when we should be watching Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant do their thing, nobody cares anymore.

Nobody cares what constitutes a "fair deal" between people divvying up huge amounts of money. Nobody cares whether an owners' vanity-play investment is profitable. And certainly nobody cares about transparent spin from either side.

They just want basketball.

Period.

End of story.

The only way to win a public relations battle, for either side, is to end the lockout. Until then, both sides will continue to lose, and the damage grows with each passing day.

Memo to Stern and Hunter: If you think fans were surly when the lost games were merely left to their imaginations, wait until you see the reaction after the reality check sets in.
The month itself will remain on the standardized calender -- even David Stern's power has limits-- but for the purposes of NBA games, November might as well be the 2011 "Charlies Angels" revamp. For that matter, the chances, however slight, for an 82 game season squeezed into the schedule like sardines in a can are now officially eliminated.

Second verse, same as the first. So goes the results of what's ultimately a fruitless week's worth of meetings in New York.

For the Lakers, the following games have been lost:
  • Nov. 15 vs. Washington
  • Nov. 17 vs. New York
  • Nov. 22 @Memphis
  • Nov. 23 @Oklahoma City
  • Nov. 25 vs. Sacramento
  • Nov. 29 vs. Minnesota

Obviously, the juiciest game on the docket is the one in OKC, although a date with the Grizzlies runs a very close second. Frankly, that's a fun, challenging, informative back-to-back down the porcelain. The first showdown against the Amare-'Melo Knicks is also intriguing... and also gone.

The remaining three opponents are fairly pedestrian. Nonetheless, after watching John Wall move at warp speed during the Drew-Goodman rematch, I'd love to see the Lakers' strategy for containing him. DeMarcus Cousins was absolutely destroyed during his rookie year battling Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and, in one contest, Derrick Caracter(!). Will a year of NBA experience under his belt even up the score? Plus, there's that Jimmer fella the kids are so wild about. And Lamar Odom vs. Kevin Love was a fun, seesaw battle last year.

In other words, there's always at least one element worth watching an NBA game, regardless of the matchup.

Instead, we're left to watch press conferences where Stern, Adam Silver, Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter share tedious details of a middle seemingly impossible to meet at.

Are we having fun yet?

Some lockout numbers for the Lakers

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
12:00
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
With the first two weeks of the 2012 season now officially in the wind, here are some numbers reflecting the damage and what the Lakers and Lakers fans will be missing:

Total lost salaries for each Laker still under contract, along with career earnings in parentheses

Kobe Bryant: $2,078,917.65 ($196,915,615)
Pau Gasol: $1,541,165.29 ($99,574,396)
Andrew Bynum: $1,248,278.46 ($35,087,258)
Lamar Odom: $732,941.176 ($98,867,658)
Metta World Peace: 559,229.176 ($58,363,460)
Luke Walton: $467,764.706 ($22,131,977)
Steve Blake: $329,411.765 (20,746,977)
Derek Fisher: $280,000 ($57,842,000)
Matt Barnes: $156,470.59 ($9,441,917)
Derrick Caracter (roster spot presumed): $64,965.93 ($473,604)
Devin Ebanks (roster spot presumed): $60,646.35 ($473,604)

(Note: I formulate the lost money using a formula suggested by salary cap guru Larry Coon. 2011-2012 salaries are courtesy of Hoopshype.com, and career earnings from basketball-reference.com, which acknowledges their figures may be somewhat incomplete. Game paychecks lost to suspension may not be accounted for, but a reasonably accurate picture is nonetheless provided.)

$677,272: The additional cash Bynum will lose this season after eventually serving his five-game suspension for decking J.J. Barea in the playoffs. For Drew, the total damage comes to $1,925,550.46 ... and perhaps counting.

$0: The money lost by Lakers rookies Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, who have yet to earn a dime in the NBA. Of course, with that lack of financial penalty comes an obvious catch.

2,115: Using webflyer.com, the total road trip miles untraveled for the Lakers during the lockout. (L.A. to Oakland, Oakland to Phoenix, Phoenix to L.A., L.A. to Sacto, Sacto to L.A.)

166: The amount of shots Kobe would have taken based on the average FGA (20.75) since the 2008 season, then multiplied by the eight games missed.

210: The estimated number of points Kobe would have scored based on his cumulative point total since the 2008 season (8,572), divided by four, then divided by 82 games, then multiplied by the eight games he'll miss.

519: The number of points Kobe would need to pass Shaquille O'Neal for 5th on the all-time scoring list, should the above estimate hold.

8 (maximum), 1 minimum, depending on his fashion impulses: The different color of eyeglasses we might have seen on Mike Brown's face. The new Lakers coach always wears frames to match his suits, and he apparently has a lot of both to choose from.

4: The number of games missed against 2011 playoff teams. (Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio, Denver)

94,700: The number of empty seats inside Staples Center during the five home games missed. The number up for grabs is 18,997, and the Lakers averaged 99.7 percent capacity last year.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
26.7 4.2 1.3 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 10.0
AssistsJ. Lin 4.9
StealsR. Price 1.3
BlocksE. Davis 1.4