Los Angeles Lakers: Tracy McGrady

The Forum: Grade the offseason

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
8:13
AM PT
By The Kamenetzky brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The Lakers traded for Steve Nash, then respectively signed and re-signed Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill via free agency. With July about to close, how would you grade the offseason thus far? We offer our marks.video

Metta World Peace thinks he could have been Kobe's rival

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
6:36
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
In November, I wrote about how Kobe Bryant's never had a true rival over the course of his career. I'm not talking "Magic-Bird 2.0," but rather a universally acknowledged rival of any kind. There's nobody linked to Kobe, whether through meaningful head-to-head battles or a peer of his era. Of his contemporaries, the closest would be Tim Duncan, but such different players make a comparison feel inorganic. (Plus, their playoff battles lacked animosity.) Shaquille O'Neal was, technically speaking, a rival, but for all the wrong reasons. Factor in how no contemporary beyond Duncan or Shaq (who are, in fact, constantly compared) have come close to matching his career accomplishments, and trying to name Kobe's rival really becomes an exercise in futility.

Ask Metta World Peace, as a few reporters did after the Minnesota win, and he'll echo these sentiments. However, had the stars and planets aligned just right, he thinks Kobe might have experienced the sizzle of a true rival.

"I think I'm really the last person to go at Kobe (With the Houston Rockets during the 2009 Western Conference semi-finals) and I'm (now) on Kobe's team," said MWP Wednesday night. "Nobody else will. If I was playing against Kobe, I would welcome (a rivalry), but some people's scared.

"We had our shot. We had Yao Ming. That could have been a potential rival. If we had Yao Ming and Tracy (McGrady) would have been healthy and worked hard, and Dikembe Mutombo. That would have been a rivalry. We would have been Lakers and the Houston Rockets for the next couple years. We would have ran the table winning championship back and forth. But Yao broke his foot in Game 3, turned everything around. But if somebody wants to be a rival of Kobe's, he welcomes it. Just talk up and he would welcome it."

James Harden might disagree with MWP labeling himself the last of a breed willing to tangle with 24, and I've always maintained that series lasted seven games primarily because of the Lakers' uneven focus (and a horribly coached Game 4 by Phil Jackson) rather than two teams emerging a surprisingly even match. But MWP's larger point is nonetheless thought-provoking. With more time together with everyone healthy (and in the case of T-Mac, motivated), perhaps those Rox could have shared the Lakers' stage over the last five or so seasons. They always managed to create a sum greater than the individual parts, and heart was never an issue. Remember, in the 2008 season before MWP's arrival, McGrady led the Rockets on a 22-game winning streak mostly without the services of Yao, who missed the final 24 games of the season. Imagine the long term potential with Yao at full strength.

Or, for that matter, MWP arriving in Houston a season earlier.

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Lakers vs. Hawks: What to watch, with Hoopinion

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
8:49
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive


Among the surprises this season has been the strong record of the Atlanta Hawks. Despite a first round upset of the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, most folks (myself included) seemed to think this core, which had been together a while, had likely maximized its potential. Regression is usually inevitable for teams that run in place long inevitable, and rising squads like the Pacers and Sixers appeared ready to push Atlanta down the standings. After Al Horford injured his shoulder, this felt even more inevitable.

Instead, the Hawks have emerged one of the more consistently strong Eastern Conference teams as the All-Star break approaches. In retrospect, this actually makes sense. A truncated season rewards continuity and this team hasn't experienced much significant roster turnover. Throw in some improved defense, and the Hawks still may not be a true "contender," but they're looking like a team the real deal would just as soon avoid in the playoffs.

For the skinny on the Hawks, I threw a few questions at Bret LaGree, who runs Hoopinion for the True Hoop network. Below are his responses to four questions, plus a couple thoughts of my own.

Land O' Lakers: I didn't expect the Hawks to play this well, especially with Horford out this long. What are the main factors for the strong start?



Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
Was Smith a victim of not "playing the game?"


Bret LaGree: Unlike last season, Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams are healthy, while Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia are getting regular minutes. That's not enough to make up for Horford's absence completely but it is enough to keep them comfortably in the Eastern Conference's middle-class, beating up on the lower third and competitive with their peers.

LO'L: Josh Smith hasn't been shy in letting folks know he should have been selected as an All-Star? How valid is his complaint?

BL: It's valid but it's not like he makes it easy on himself. I completely understand the difficulty people who don't watch Josh Smith every night have in accurately evaluating him. He is very productive without consistently playing to his strengths. His weaknesses (shot selection, one-on-one defense) are as obvious as his strengths (finishing at the rim, help defense). The way he expresses his valid complaint, "It's all about politics," exemplifies why he plays the way he plays and why he's not on the All-Star team. It's like he diminishes his own agency in how he plays basketball.

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The Lakers and free agency: A look at skill sets

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
10:58
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Sometimes only certain players can adequately answer a team's "Help Wanted" ad.

The Lakers, for example, don't have an amorphous need for someone with good handle and passing skills, but a genuine need to upgrade at point guard, which can only be satisfied with a point guard. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for me, at least in regards to this post), the free agent rolls at the 1 are so thin and their means of improving the roster so limited, for the Lakers to solve that particular problem through a straight signing is basically impossible.


Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
On the list of players L.A. has even a reasonable chance to sign, Grant Hill fills a lot of needs. Plus, he plays the piano.


Other needs remain relatively position specific, but it's easy to get bogged down in the classification on a player's bubble gum card and lose something often far more important: Skill set. Much of what the Lakers can use might be provided just as easily from a power forward as a shooting guard.

What follows, then, is the Skill Set Guide to Free Agency. I limited this list to players the Lakers might realistically have a chance to sign with only a mini mid-level (worth just over $9 million for three years) and veterans minimum deals, all relatively disheartening stuff when pitted against the excitement of Chris Paul/Dwight Howard talk.

But let's assume for a mundane minute the Lakers have to improve without blockbuster trades. They have a lot of boxes to tick, and in the end the players ticking the most good ones might be best, even if positionally the fit isn't perfect.

SHOOTERS - Players who can help stretch the floor in one way or another...


Grant Hill, F, UFA (Phoenix)- Not traditionally thought of as a shooter, Hill has in his last two seasons shot 39.5 and 43.8 percent from 3, and is a high end mid-range shooter, both of which would come in handy.

Shane Battier, F, UFA (Memphis)- Big on the corner 3, generally in the mid-to-high 30 percent range from downtown. Not a deadeye, but limits poor shot choices.

Mike Dunleavy, G/F, UFA (Indiana)- In theory, at least. In the last two seasons in which he was (more or less) healthy, Dunleavy was strong from downtown and in long twos.

James Jones, SF, UFA (Miami)- Per John Hollinger, Jones took exactly one shot at the rim in over 1,500 minutes. Why? He's shooting lots and lots of 3's, with a career mark at 40 percent.

Peja Stojakovic, SF, UFA (Dallas)- Certainly showed Lakers fans he can still bomb away. When healthy doesn't dip far below 40 percent from 3, often rises well above.

Daequan Cook, SG, RFA (Oklahoma City)- Hit 42.2 of his 3's last year. Has advantage of youth, as well.

DeShawn Stevenson, SG, UFA (Dallas)- In his last two healthy seasons ('07-'08, '10-'11) was around 38% from beyond the arc.

Jason Kapono, F, UFA (Philadelphia)- Does almost nothing else well, but as a career 43.7 3-point shooter can space the floor. (NOTE: Kapono has already visited with the Lakers)

Reggie Williams, SF, RFA (Golden State)- Almost surely out of L.A.'s price range, in part because he's 25 and shoots so well from downtown (42.3% last season).

Marco Belinelli, SG, UFA (New Orleans)- Never worse than 38% from 3 during his four year career, and solid with long 2's, as well.

Anthony Parker, G, UFA (Cleveland)- From 3, he's trending down from 44.1 percent in '06-'07 to 37.9 percent last year, but remains a productive performer from distance.

Michael Redd, G, UFA (Milwaukee)- It' almost impossible to predict how the market will treat Redd, who was once a top shooter/scorer but has basically lost the last two seasons due to injury.

Other candidates: Vladimir Radmanovic (seriously), Mo Peterson (in theory, though recent shooting numbers are very questionable), Steve Novak, Roger Mason Jr. (see Peterson, Mo).

FRONTCOURT DEPTH - Guys who can the burden on Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum...

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PodKast: Lockout R.I.P. and where the Lakers stand

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
6:18
PM PT
By the Kamenetzky Brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
***CLICK HERE TO LISTEN***

Did you hear? The lockout, she's over!

And with her demise, none too soon for support staff, fans, media, and players alike, comes the opportunity for analysis about real stuff that will have real impact on the team going forward. Things like...
To this light reading we add our first post-labor strife Land O'Lakers PodKast!

We start (3:00) with a little lockout postmortem. Who were the big winners and losers? Was it worth it for the players to hold out the way they did? From there (9:30) we ask if the core of the team -- meaning Kobe, Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum-- is still good enough to win. We agree the answer is yes, but the margins are pretty thin as things stand right now. The Lakers need help. What should their priorities be, given how few tools they have available to add players to the roster (15:00).

Finally, we debate what to do with Shannon Brown (18:30).

Shannon Brown, shooting guards, and backing up Kobe Bryant

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
10:50
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Mitch Kupchak is facing some tricky questions.

Without a lot of money to work with, the Lakers have critical holes to fill around a championship caliber core. Point guard gets most of the focus, though prospects for quick improvement are slim thanks to a lack of solid free agent options or suitable trade chips. They need a shooter, and must get a viable backup to Andrew Bynum at center. A little speed would be nice, as would a dose of athleticism.

Kelvin Kuo/US Presswire
Last year, Shannon Brown was Kobe's wingman at shooting guard. Will he return this year, or will the Lakers find another backup for 24?



If there's one more open question perhaps not getting enough attention, it's this: Who exactly is going to back up Kobe Bryant?

The significance is obvious. Extended lockout related rest and space age knee treatments notwithstanding, nobody in his right mind would want Bryant to build on the 33.9 minutes a game he played last season, his lowest mpg average since his second year in the league. Particularly given the potential stresses of a compressed schedule, and the desire to have Kobe on the floor during practice more than he's been in the last few seasons. On a per-minute basis, Bryant was more productive last year than the season before, and the way L.A. tempered his workload seems a likely contributing factor.

Last season, Shannon Brown was Bryant's primary relief. After opting out of his two-year contract, Brown is now a free agent, one the Lakers can re-sign despite being over the cap via Bird rights. There are many things to like about him. His athletic ability is almost freakish, no small consideration on a team lacking big time athletes. He's a tough kid who has played all 82 games in each of the last two seasons, is a willing defender, plays hard, works hard, and wants to get better. He's a guy most fans would like to see succeed.

On the other hand, Brown lacks a consistent handle, struggles getting to the rim to create his own shot, and too often makes curious decisions, whether via the pass or the dribble. Offensively, while he can finish spectacularly on the break, in the half court Brown is essentially a mid-to-long range jump shooter who doesn't make nearly enough of them. On the other end of the floor, for all his physical gifts, Brown is inconsistent, particularly as a team defender.

He's flirted with it, but over his last two seasons in Los Angeles, Brown has never quite been able to take that next step.

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AP Photo
All three are legends, but only two boast a true rival.

The death of heavyweight legend Joe Frazier has naturally prompted considerable conversation about Muhammad Ali. Intense rivals, the two fought on three occasions, the first a victory for Frazier, and each match is regarded as a classic. The barbs Ali tossed at Frazier were outside the lines and below the belt. Ali's presence overshadowed Frazier's, but ultimately help create a foundation for the latter's legacy. They are permanently intertwined.

Monday also marked the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson's HIV press conference, and while the remembrance of this milestone obviously didn't center around a rivalry with Larry Bird, that chapter of Magic's life also wasn't ignored. We've been reminded of how Magic selected few friends to learn about his situation from him rather than the media, Bird among them. Plus, HIV prompted his retirement, which in turn prompted reflection, and it's impossible to remember Magic's career without Bird entering the picture. The two are synonymous, which added a wonderful layer to an already iconic story.

Thinking about Frazier/Ali and Magic/Bird, I was reminded of how Kobe Bryant, despite 15 unforgettable seasons under his belt, never really enjoyed a legitimate rivalry. Unless you count the one with Shaq, but that hardly qualifies in this context. As teammates, their quarrels were depressing and counterproductive, even acknowledging the championships. As ex-teammates, the war of words has largely been one-sided, with Shaq dragging himself through the mud by refusing to let go. Either way, it's hardly been inspirational.

From there, it's hard to peg exactly who Kobe's rival would be.

(Read full post)

Free Agent Profiles: Shooting guards

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
11:15
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
For those depressed after seeing Brian emphasize the "thin" options for free-agent point guards, buck up, campers! The shooting guard crop is better. Granted, it's hardly overflowing with eye-popping candidates, but upgrades, however small, are still better, right? There are definitely some 2's feasibly acquired, if not necessarily the proverbial "missing piece."


Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images
If Jason Richardson were a pie, he'd be too high in the sky for the Lakers.



The "Unless they're so geeked to become Lakers a bench role and mid-level exception are amenable -- and mid-level exceptions still exist in the new CBA -- don't hold your breath" guys.
  • Jason Richardson (UFA, Orlando)
  • Jamal Crawford (UFA, Atlanta)

Even acknowledging both aren't likely to maintain their previous salaries, this wouldn't just be a paycheck below market value. We're talking the monetary haircut equivalent of Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane." Their roles could also be reduced along with their cheddar. On the flip side, those sacrifices would allow both to harbor less guilt over deficiencies (defense for Richardson, darn anything outside scoring for Crawford).

Between the two, Richardson is the better player and outside shooter (his three-point percentage hasn't dipped below 38 percent since 2007), but either can fill buckets at will. Hopefully, not at the Lakers' expense, since they're likely to remain opponents.

The "Not quite as expensive, but I still wouldn't hold my breath" guys
  • J.R. Smith (UFA, Denver)
  • Nick Young (RFA, Washington)
  • Arron Afflalo (RFA, Denver)


Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
J.R. Smith is talented, but like a renegade cop, is also something of a loose cannon.


For Smith and Young, mid-level-ish money is perhaps more realistic. The bigger headache, however, likely comes after inking them. True, there's a desperate need for another wing not named "Kobe" or "Bryant" who can create for himself, and these guys score in their sleep. However, wild shot selection, erratic decision-making, and porous D are part of Smith's package. And the equally undisciplined Young offers literally no other skill set beyond scoring. Similar to how Lamar Odom's is often described as a Swiss Army knife because of his versatility, Young's tunnel vision gunning makes him a spork.

For his part, Afflalo actually qualifies as a legitimate two-way player, not to mention a high character, steadily improving Karl favorite to boot. Thus, I'd be stunned if Denver allowed him to walk under any circumstances other than an astonishingly big offer the Lakers can't pony up in the first place.

Anyhoo ...

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The Triangle: Free agent targets

July, 11, 2011
7/11/11
6:56
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
At some point, the owners and players will land on a mutually acceptable Collective Bargaining Agreement and put an end to the lockout. When that happens, teams will begin chasing free agents. Who should the Lakers pursue? Or rather, who can the Lakers pursue, given their salary cap constraints?

The K Bros and 710 ESPN basketball analyst Dave Miller offer suggestions.

Lakers vs. Pistons: What to watch

January, 4, 2011
1/04/11
1:15
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
There are bad losses (Christmas against Miami). There are bad losses (Sunday against Memphis, one week ago against Milwaukee). And then there are "stock up the canned goods, gather the family and find shelter, because an apocalypse is nigh" losses.

The third category is how I'd peg a fall to the 11-23 Pistons (playing the second end of a back-to-back) on Lakers soil. Frankly, anything short of a decisive trouncing, even acknowledging the Lakers' funk, would be disappointing. But a loss would leave them staring up at rock bottom.

For a quick look at the Pistons, who are struggling on a multitude of levels, we turned to Patrick Hayes of the TrueHoop Network's PistonPowered blog.

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images
Whatever "Q" is saying to Rodney Stuckey, chances are the point guard didn't appreciate it.



Q: Detroit has lost 14 of 21 since the Lakers left town on Nov. 17. What is the recipe for a winning game from Detroit? Is there a specific player or combination you see as critical for the Pistons to have a shot at upsetting the Lakers?

Patrick Hayes: The Pistons' locker room issues seem to be affecting the on-the-court chemistry. Rip Hamilton recently lost his starting spot to Ben Gordon and was not particularly happy about it. Gordon and Charlie Villanueva hinted strongly that the coaching staff does a poor job of making in-game adjustments. John Kuester (understandably) didn't exactly appreciate that. Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey have had public disagreements with Kuester this season as well.

But just when the Pistons look as though they're going to completely pack in the rest of the season, they tantalize with really efficient stretches of competent play against good teams. They beat Boston and Atlanta rather convincingly. They were leading Oklahoma City most of the game before blowing a lead in the final minutes. They've had two heartbreaking losses to Chicago in games when big leads were lost, and they played very well against Utah last night.

Reasons for Lakers fans to be optimistic, however, are abundant. The Pistons have routinely followed good performances with bad ones. Opposing bigs, even mediocre ones, have been able to get whatever they want this season against Detroit's small front line, and the Lakers certainly have far from a mediocre frontcourt, so Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and/or Andrew Bynum all should have big games if L.A. is focused on getting them touches. (Odom and Gasol combined for 40 points and 26 boards the first time the teams played.)

The Pistons are is a jump-shooting team, so if more than one of their scorers (Hamilton, Gordon, Prince, Stuckey, Villanueva) has an off night, they can't generate enough offense to beat a team like the Lakers. They'll get virtually no scoring from frontcourt rotation players Ben Wallace and Jason Maxiell, but when the guards are active and shoot the ball well, they are competitive. Also, Tracy McGrady looks healthier than he has in years. He's not explosive anymore and won't attack the basket, but he's rapidly become Detroit's best point guard. The offense has run really smoothly two of the past three games with him starting in place of Stuckey, who was out with an illness.

AK: As I noted in my Week in Preview, T-Mac at the 1 is a subplot I'm quite interested to watch play out.

From here, I offer two elements specifically regarding the Lakers. At the risk of sounding like a team whose games don't mean as much to it as its opponents' games, this contest really is more about the two-time defending champs than the Pistons.

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Week in preview: January 3-9

January, 3, 2011
1/03/11
3:27
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
The skeptic would dwell on how unpleasant the Lakers have become to watch. The optimist would note how things can only improve in a competitive setting, which makes four games over the next seven days an ideal opportunity.

Game of the Week

Sunday vs. Knicks, 6:30 pm PT
Even as someone expecting the Knicks to improve this season, this rebooted franchise has surpassed my expectations. A Sunday victory over the Pacers marked New York's 19th win, one month ahead of the pace from last season's 19th win. They've been winning on the road (albeit not necessarily in the toughest contests outside of their house). Ray Felton is playing like an All-Star. Landy Fields is playing, despite arriving to the Knicks as a ho-hum 39th overall pick. And victories are coming without Anthony Randolph playing at all, despite landing in New York as arguably the centerpiece of the David Lee trade.


Jeyhoun Allebaugh/Getty Images
Will Amare throw down on the Lakers?


But at the end of the day, the turnaround is about Amare Stoudemire, the consensus second choice (at highest) during The Summer of LeBron. Peg him an overpaid booby prize if you prefer, but there's no question S.T.A.T. has in fact been standing tall and talented in the Big Apple. 26 points a night (including nine straight with 30+). Nine rebounds. A shade over two blocks. These are numbers placing him in the MVP conversation, reflective of an ability to get it done without Steve Nash.

Although, as ESPN's LZ Granderson notes, Stoudemire is defending exactly the same way he did while teamed with Nash. (i.e, he's not.) Along these lines, nine rebounds is nothing to sneeze at, but Charles Barkley recently criticized him for failing to average double-digits. All of which takes us to Sunday's game.

In last season's Western Conference Finals, Amare managed to get his points against the Lakers, including a honkin' 42 in Game 3, but failed to do much else. Only one game with double digit rebounds (and three held below five boards). The infamous "lucky" assessment of Lamar Odom's 19/19 effort Game 1, which came back to shove a foot in his yap. And defense atrocious enough to unify all of Twitter against him.

As well as Stoudemire has played for New York, his head should theoretically be spinning while pitted against Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Odom. Of course, all things have been anything but equal for the Lakers these days. Thus, it's hardly impossible for Stoudemire to emerge the tallest and most talented, even while outnumbered in the battle of All-Star caliber big men.

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New Podkast: Raja Bell, Shannon Brown, T-Mac and space travel

July, 16, 2010
7/16/10
4:33
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
We just got back from Summer Pro League in Vegas, and dutiful employees that we are, headed straight to the studio to lay down some tracks. We also invited ESPNLA.com writers Dave McMenamin and Arash Markazi to join the action for a rare "four guys in the studio" show. Here's what the discussion included:
PODCAST
Andy and Brian make room for ESPNLA.com's Arash Markazi and Dave McMenamin in studio. We talk Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and other free agents, judge which teams are set to challenge the Lakers... and Andy rails against space travel.

Podcast
  • Raja Bell spurns the Lakers in favor of the Utah Jazz. Was this simply a matter of dollars making sense, or was Bell sticking it to Kobe Bryant one final time?
  • With Bell out of the picture, does this increase the odds of Shannon Brown remaining in the fold?
  • Is it worth taking a cheap flier on T-Mac?
  • Which teams in the Eastern or Western Conferences pose the biggest threat to the Lakers' three-peat odds?
  • Would you watch "Josh Powell: The Decision?" Or a reality show selecting the Lakers' third string center?
  • Dave reveals his ignorance of The Commodores, Good Times and What's Happening!!
  • I rail against dedicating government dollars towards space exploration during a time of recession. Brian wishes we were a planet of multiple moons. Dave and Arash silently regret wasting half an hour of their lives on this podcast.

PodKast: The Lakers and free agency- let's go shopping!

June, 30, 2010
6/30/10
5:45
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
It. Begins.

The Greatest Free Agency Period Ever! kicks Wednesday at 9:01 PT, and while the Lakers aren't exactly deep (or even shallow) in the LeBronBoshWadeAmareBoozerJohnsonLeeand-so-on-apallooza, they aren't without needs. With only seven players under contract for next season- Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton- the Lakers need to fill at least six spots on the roster. It seems likely Derek Fisher will be re-signed, but after him? Nothing but questions. Shannon Brown will opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free agency waters. Jordan Farmar wasn't tendered a qualifying offer and practically handed out change-of-address cards at his exit interview, Adam Morrison and D.J. Mbenga are gone, and given the team's bottom-line focus, it seems unlikely Josh Powell will be brought back.

PODCAST
The Great Free Agent Summer of 2010 is here! The Lakers won't be in the LBJ sweepstakes, they have needs to fill. Andy and Brian break down the state of L.A.'s roster, and moves they could make for next season.

PODCAST Listen

So armed with a mid-level exception and a heap of championship cache, the Lakers will scour the bargain bins, looking first for backcourt help and moving on from there. In this episode of the Lo'L PodKast, we take a look at what they might purchase. The rundown:

-1:30- We make our pitch to LeBron. Maybe he's over the pressure of hunting for a title, and would rather be part of a well-tolerated basketball audio program? The pay isn't as good, but the hours are flexible.

-4:00- It's a review of where the roster stands, and a look at how many spots there could be. Will second rounders Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter have a chance to stick on the roster? Can Vujacic be truly considered "backcourt depth," given how he and his expiring deal become next season's most movable contract?

-12:00- We take a look at Andy's list of realistically available guards and dissect the best choices. No surprise to those who have followed our Wednesday chat this year (click here for today's), we both like Steve Blake's skill set, but there are a few more intriguing names out there.

-19:00- Tracy McGrady... good idea or not? Andy's willing to explore the option. So am I, but with a caveat.

-21:00- It's back to the FA rolls as we explore the available bigs, where there are fewer intriguing options but the need for the Lakers isn't as strong.

Lakers and NBA News - Dec. 24

December, 24, 2009
12/24/09
9:19
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
LAKERS NEWS
NBA NEWS

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0