Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll have ESPNLosAngeles.com Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stopping by for their weekly chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:32 PM)
Hey everyone. Sorry for the slight delay... just finished a Melo/Bynum interview in Honolulu!Let's get going!
Bynum for Anthony. Are you flipping serious?!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Hey everyone. How's it going?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Might as well start here, since it's a popular subject on the board this morning--- I'd pull the trigger, but not because I believe it increases their chances of winning a title this season. It wouldn't. I think putting Anthony in the equation now and removing Bynum, so close to the playoffs, is such a fundamental change it makes it harder to jell in time for the playoffs. To me, it's about whether down the road you're willing to go all in with Bynum. I'm not. So to get someone like Melo in return? Tough to pass up. LA can find the frontcourt depth to make it work down the road.
Jonny Sykes (LA)
Surely the Lakers improving their offence with aquiring Carmelo Anthony, will make up for the decrease in defence in trading Andrew Bynum? The Lakers could possibly AFFORD to lose that defensive rebound, where they will obviously be more effiecient on offence with Carmelo. Please discuss, thanks.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
It certainly could, Johnny, no question.Moreover, the defense could improve by virtue of forcing teams to spend more time taking the ball out of their own basket. Fewer bad shots translating into fewer run outs, and so on. In a half court setting, the Lakers would be weaker without Bynum, but they'd also likely be better in transition with a smaller lineup. There are tradeoffs. Down the road, they could become a very good defensive team again, though in the short run they'd likely slip.
Paul (Irvine, CA)
Teh sopecualtion about the Melo/Bynum deal has been out in the marketplace for about 24 hours. If the Lakers weren't interested wouldn't there have been a definitive statement from the front office stating that fact? Point being if there is no deal, why mess with the head of your franchise center?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Paul: The Lakers would be silly not to even consider the situation, even if they're putting out off the record "we're not interested" statements. However, if they are interested, they can't make a definitive comment, because it's against league rules to talk like that about another team's player. Thus, the situation we're in. As for Drew's head, this is part of being a professional athlete, and he's (hopefully) gonna be in the league a long time. Get used to it.
I thought this was all smoke no fire yesterday. But it's starting to pick up steam it seems. Am I crazy, or is trading for Melo a mistake?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
DrewPauKobe-It could be. There's always a risk. Melo is an imperfect superstar, though is pretty freakin' good. Obviously positional scarcity adds value to Bynum... but his health is so much a question mark.As for smoke/fire... I still think the deal is a long way away (relatively speaking), but believe the talk is legit. I also believe it's in Denver/Melo's best interest to find another player in the Melodrama they can work with, to put pressure on the Knicks to better their offer.
exhelo (San Diego)
WHo will the Lakers pick in the draft this year?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
Very cute, ex.
never break the winning team that rules
Brian Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
tjoen-there are a lot of people who would agree with you. I agree, really. Certainly there's a risk they'd be sacrificing a historic chance to threepeat, or at least damaging their chances, with this deal. Down the road, though, I think it helps.
KJ MonK (LA)
Bynum is our advantage, but when do we ever use our advantage? he never finishes the games
exhelo (San Diego)
Gasol/Odom is still the best big combo on the Lakers. They would do fine following a Bynum trade, as long as there is a reasonable backup.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Ex, Therein lies the rub. Aside from the toll playing center for 30-ish minutes puts on Pau physically, if the Lakers can't find a guy to play at least 10-ish minutes a night at the five, Pau will be gassed by the time the (presumed) Finals roll around. Plus, what happens if Pau gets into foul trouble?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Very good point, KJ. But the 30 minutes a game he does play, and the ability of the Lakers to always have two seven footers (I'm rounding up with Odom) with great skill on the floor at once makes them incredibly unique. Take one away, and the equation changes significantly.
Just watch the Lakers when there's no interior big to change shots. The Lakers NEED a true center to compete this year. Win now.
Ron (Santa Clarita)
If the Bynum for Melo trade does not happen, are there any other trades that you could see happening?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
The most likely, to me at least, would center around using the $5.5 mil or so available with the trade exception from the Sasha deal. It would allow them to acquire a player who would help more around the margins, adding depth. Perhaps a shooter, or another big up front. It's a "use it or lose it" situation, so if there's a good deal available, the Lakers won't sit on it.
i think trading Ron for Gerald Wallace is a better deal. MJ like Ron and he knows its time to make a trade. Gerald Wallace would fit right in. hes a better shooter than Ron. he can rebound very well. he would bring a fastbreak threat and some shot blocking and length. what do you think?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
I don't think the Bobcats want Artest if Artest doesn't want to be in Charlotte, and he doesn't.
Dj (atlanta, Ga)
would love to see melo in L.A. give the lakers a chance to win now and in the further kobe getting older and he needs help lamar to the starting line-up plus another big time scorer would provide that.. defense not an issue kobe could easily motivate the team to play d, just like he did with the Olympic team
David Boutte (San Francisco)
Doesnt Birdman added in the trade, playing 20-25 minutes give pau and LO the rest they need? My belief is the Lakers are best with Paul and LO up front anyway. Also if you can make the Artest for Wallace trade happen, he can play the 4 alongside Pau or Birdman with Melo or Kobe at the 3....Artest might not mind a trade if he's gonna sit behind melo....Your thoughts?????
If the lakers are worried about losing size in the paint, then why not see if you can get Nene and Melo?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Jonathan: If only it were that simple. Besides Bynum, who else do the Lakers have that Denver would want. (Trading LO would defeat the purpose.) You'd need to start talking with a third team, and that always makes things more complicated.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:46 PM)
David-Now you're getting into what makes the deal complicated. Adding and subtracting all the other ancillary deals like Andersen, Artest, Al Harrington, and so on. Both teams would want to take the opportunity to lose unwanted contracts, and that could sink any potential deal.
Anie (Los Angeles)
I feel like all of the arguments against the Melo/Bynum trade miss a fundamental truth- that Melo isn't all that amazing. I mean- I understand he is a very good player. But we're gonna be paying max money for a guy who needs a million possessions to be effective and can't defend. I don't think he's the best player on a championship team and I don't think you should pay max (especially with the new CBA coming) for a player who isn't. I feel like LA is a super popular free agent destination- might we be smart to hold onto Bynum, hopefully win a couple more championships, and then parlay him for someone like CP3 or Dwight Howard in a couple years? Or just sign those guys outright when Kobe retires and keep one of the top 10 centers in the league?
Casey (Eagle Rock)
I think Laker are trying to get Billups as well as Anthony in a three team trade involving the bobcats. Denver would get bynum and wallace with the bobcats getting artest and harrington.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Casey: If The Bobcats make that deal, Michael Jordan needs an intervention. Why on earth would he sign off on that deal? You save no money and you're taking on long term deals for role players not as well rounded as the guy being traded. Then again, given MJ's track record, I guess we should brace for it. haha
Brian Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Anie-I think Melo is better than you give him credit. He's a flawed defender, no question, but is an elite level scorer off the wing, and would make the Lakers an almost undefendable team on that side of the floor. The problem with waiting to parlay Bynum is you don't know what the future holds, you know? If he gets hurt again, his value plummets. The market may not present another opportunity. His health makes him too big a question mark. In my opinion, at least.
tony (las vegas)
would u rather trade bynum or artest?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Tony: Artest by a mile. I like Ron, but even respecting the impact he can make on D, he's easier to replicate. Bynum, even with the injuries, is more unique and he's younger. It's not a tough call.
If trade is possible, how do you feel it impacts overall team in general? Positives and negatives. Secondly do you think Melo will come here?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
They'd only make the deal if Melo was willin to sign, so that isn't a concern.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Horrid deal for the Bobcats. All they do is take on bad contracts.
I've got a variation on the Melo/Bynum trade for you: LA gets Melo and Brad Miller, Houston gets Artest and Nene, Denver gets Bynum, Caracter, Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and T. Williams and first round pick from Hou. Does LA do it?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Sure, but I don't think Houston does.
David Boutte (SF)
I think Wallace for Artest is a no-brainer for the lakers
Andy Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
David: Except if you're Dr. Buss. You'd be paying 20 mil a season (more or less) with the luxury tax hit. On top of an already honkin' payroll. I'm a Gerald Wallace fan, but that's a lot for a guy who'd be anywhere from the 3rd to 5th best player.
bn (los angeles)
Andy/Brian,How much does tomorrow's game against Boston influence the Melo/Bynum trade? If they lose again to Boston, isnt there a chance that the lakers organization will realize they can't beat Boston anyways, and be more likely to trade for Melo. Conversely, if they win convincingly, they may be more inclined to keep Bynum and play the year out. Thoughts?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Hey BN-Interesting question. I don't think they'd make the deal based on any single game, but there's always a chance it reinforces what they might be thinking. But honestly, I think they believe this deal is much more about the future than the now. If they do it, it's because they don't trust Bynum long term, and want a return now.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE TRADITIONAL BIG MAN IN THE NBA IS SLOWLY BECOMING EXTINCT? IT SEEMS AS THOUGH ALOT OF GUARD PLAY WILL BE RUNNING THE NBA FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
You're right-- the game is definitely evolving... but it also makes a guy like Bynum (at least in theory) more valuable.
Silversun (los angeles)
apart from the inanity of trading young for old, big for small, interior D/boards/high FG% for no D/low FG% jump shooting, the idea of having to root for Carmelo Anthony as the centerpiece of the Lakers' next dynasty thoroughly depresses me
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
I think "old for young" is a little strong. Melo is 26.
What's Matt Barnes status?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Still probably about a month or so away, I think.
Could you see the Lakers trading for another SF like Atlanta's Marvin Williams?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:57 PM)
Not this season, no. I don't see how that happens. At least not of the name value of Williams (makes too much to use the trade exception), ATL won't take Artest for him.
The suspense is killing me...best guess on when we get an answer to this trade speculation? Please don't say February 23 at 11:59.
How important is tomorrow's game against Boston regarding the possible Melo/Bynum trade?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Brian (LA): That's an interesting question. I'd like to think tomorrow's result won't make or break decisions, in that the regular season and the playoffs are often so different. In my opinion, reacting strongly from one result, even two if you count the earlier loss, would be a mistake.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Unfortunately it could take that long, unless the Knicks really pump up their offer.
kilgary1 (Los Angeles)
We got a steal this year with Barnes. Denver would need a starting SF and we would need a backup C. Doesn't Barnes, Bynum, and Sasha cash give the Nuggets the value they need to trade Anthony and Andersen? They get out of the 4 year contract they have with 32 year old Andersen and the Lakers get a very serviceable 10-15 minute backup center.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
The only wrinkle is Sasha's trade exception can't be combined in a deal to make salaries work. It would have to be part of a separate deal, player-for-player, and bringing in a guy making no more than 5.5 mil.
Why is everyone panicking? We did upgrade our bench this year and we are the defending champs! Is it complacency/cruising or do you think the Lakers are doomed in April?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Jphun-You make a good point. If the Lakers make the deal, I don't think it'll be out of panic but opportunity. If they don't believe in a future with Bynum, it's reasonable to move him for a star player entering his prime years, as Anthony is. In terms of this year's team, I agree. For all the handwringing, the Lakers are still at the center of any credible conversation about this year's title.
how do u think this rumor going to affect bynum game going
Andy Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Keisha, I'm sure it'll affect him a little bit, as he's only human. But at the same time, he's a professional athlete and this is part of the gig, so it's his responsibility not to dwell. Plus, this is hardly his first trip to the rumor rodeo. His name has been mentioned for years in regards to KG, Kidd, Bosh, CP3, etc. If he's not used to it by now, the problem is him.
Chris (St Louis)
whats for dinner
Andy Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Chris: According to the slogans, beef.
Mateusz (Warsaw, Poland)
Do you think that the consistent defence from the Lakers the last two games is a long-lasting improvement or is it due to the lesser quality of the opponents that Lakers played better?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
Hey Mateusz-Well, they did a great job against Memphis, statistically the best since holding Cleveland to 57 points. Their efficiency against New Orleans, though, wasn't as good. Overall, it's not that the Lakers aren't good defensively, but they're horribly inconsistent. (Which is obviously a component to being good, but by that I mean they're capable of playing lockdown D).
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Do you think we have to include Artest in any trade for Melo? Something like a Bynum, Artest, and LO for Melo and Nene?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
I think they'd like to, but Artest has no appeal to Denver, and I don't think they'll move Odom. Nor should they.
Oscar M. (Work...)
Will you be on the Max & Marcellus show later on today? If so, can you tell him to bump some Eric B.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Not today, but call the hotline.
Lolu (My Cubicle)
I understand Jim Buss has this love affair with Bynum. I understand his length poses challenges for opposing teams. But when will the Lakers organization come to the realization that, he lacks explosiveness, endurance, and mental toughness. Everyone brings up the fact that hes 23 years old, yes, 23 years old with bad knees and has yet to show he can consistenly play at a high level surrounded by 2 of the top 15 players in the game and arguably the best coach ever. Am I missing something?
Brian (Bridgewater, MA)
Is Bynum the best Denver can expect to get for Melo?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Lolu--In my opinion, no. Bynum's knees don't know he's 23, and they don't care his injuries were "freak accidents." I don't actually buy the idea the injuries are freak, though. They're things that happen during basketball games. But yeah, I agree with you.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Brian: Realistically speaking, yes. Obviously, people will wonder about a deal down the road for a Chris Paul or Dwight Howard (among other star names) if their franchises don't take things to the next level. But speculating down the road is always risky, and again, we're talking about Carmelo Anthony. Dude's one of the best scorers in the game and not even in his prime. If this is really a possibility (regardless of how interested the Lakers actually are), then I'd say Melo is as good as one can truly "expect."
DXC (Graveyard Shift)
Gentlemen: What type of music/artists are most played in the Lakers locker room?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
No music in the locker room. Everyone wears headphones.
Awesome as Melo is, and uncertain as Andrew is, I don't like the trade. 1.) I can't see CA and KB blending well - neither has the maturity for it. 2.) The triangle is a tricky system. Not everyone fits in as seamlessly as Pau has (see Gary Payton, Ron Artest). 3.) Championship chemistry is a rare thing. Remember all those loaded Portland teams? The Mavs? Just cuz the Celts struck gold doesn't mean you can throw allstars together and make a champ. I say, give this group a chance to get healthy, gel, and defend their title.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Hi Bob-I wish I knew. I was certainly a huge proponent of bringing him here. He just hasn't been as significant a part of the team's offense as I thought he would. Not aggressive enough, not assertive in the flow of things. I think it can change, but right now the results just haven't been there. It's not that the shots don't fall... but that he doesn't take enough of them.
Kevin H (irvine)
Do the lakers really wanna put Phil's final season at risk with a trade that will most likely ruin chemistry? Lets face it, melo and kobe need a lot of touches throughout the game.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Kevin: Those are just of a zillion reasons why it's a complicated, tough decision.
Why do the Lakers always get stuck in a long lay over in Boston? I am sure that they'd rather be in any city but Beantown.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Nicole: There is a certain irony, no doubt. Joe Smith had a funny tweet yesterday about getting dirty looks while walking around in a Laker sweat suit. Which, by the way, probably wasn't a smart call.
Steve (Sioux Falls, SD)
I would like to see the Lakers trade Odom or Bynum or both to the T- Wolves for K-Love. I think that would give them extra scoring plus a toughness inside that they don't have right now. What do you think of Gasol, Artest, Kobe, Love and Fischer for a starting five? I am thinking 3 peat for sure!
i remember Denver wanting Caracter. if the lakers threw him into the trade do you think they would give up a little more?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Steve: That deal actually makes them worse, unless they're getting another big in return. Kevin Love is a terrific player (I hugely underestimated him coming out of UCLA) and the first five would be killer. But they need more depth behind those two, particularly Gasol. Pau will be gassed if he's expected to play 35-40 minutes a night at center. Plus, Love doesn't really add "toughness," to be honest. He's a great rebounder, but a pretty mediocre (at best) defender. Toughness is actually a quality they'd lose without Drew and LO
Brian Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
I'm sure they'd take a flier on him, but he makes so little money he doesn't impact a deal very much.
If you had to speculate, what is Kobe's take on this?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
Callie-They'd only make a deal like this with Kobe's blessing. He and Melo are friends, so I assume he's on board.
I follow him and saw that too, I also thought to myself "not a smart move."
If the Lakers do pull off this trade do you think Phil comes back one more season to see how far Melo/Kobe/Pau can take him? Just a thought.... and I think there's a 0% chance we move Artest as I think no one wants him.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
Hey Mike-I think the lockout has more to do with PJ's return than anything. If he wants to walk away, he'll likely do it knowing the core he leaves behind is good enough to contend. The grind is a huge turnoff for him, so if the season is 40 or 50 games with less east coast travel, that could make a difference, but by then LA will probably have another coach.
I agree that if Anthony is available, it's a wise move for the future. To preserve Kobe, we need to take the burden of "taking over" off of him in the coming years. It also seems like it gives the Lakers flexibility from an offensive standpoint in the future, no? For all the Triangle concerns, it's not set in stone the Lakers will be playing that set even next year.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
Good point about the offense, but I think Melo fits in just fine even if they stay with the triangle.
Who wants to defend the pick-and-roll permutations of Kobe-Anthony-Pau or deal with any of those three in the post? That's hypothetical. The answer is no one.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Agreed. They'd be VERY hard to defend.
There is a lot of hating on Carmelo and while he has proven himself as a 1-dimensional player, isn't there potential in playing with Kobe that could help Melo grow into more of a passer? Melo has never had a teammate combo like Kobe/Pau/Odom and what could possibly stop pick-and-rolls between those 4. Yes the defense is an issue, but I truly believe that defense is an issue of desire and who better than Kobe to light a fire under Melo's butt and at the very least get him to up his game on the defensive end.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Callie, if I had to speculate -- and this is PURELY SPECULATION/I HAVEN'T ASKED KOBE/I'M NOT EVEN IN BOSTON TO ASK KOBE -- I'm guessing he'd be torn, but would probably sign off on Melo at the end of the day. Kobe likes Drew and appreciates what he provides, especially defensively. But it's also hard to truly "rely" on Bynum, because he's always hurt. In the meantime, Melo might take you a step back defensively and there would be adjustments, but for the next 2-3 years, with the window shutting for Kobe at this level, he'd probably be thinking about maximizing chances. You can argue Melo does more for that time period, even if the radical change meant risking the three-peat. Plus, Melo can take a lot of pressure off Kobe in the fourth Q. So that's my guess, but again, it's just a GUESS.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Melo can pass, though his assist percentage has dropped in the last couple seasons. But he can, and would if playing with the type of talent around him. That's not a concern for me. Defense could be, because while effort is a huge component, there are also learned skills he hasn't really worked on.
Patrick (Los Angeles)
Do you guys see the Lakers taking chances on someone like Rip Hamilton? I know they have a 5.5 mil trade exception to exercise and since they might not resign Prince next season would they be crazy enough to do a Luke + exception for either Prince or Hamilton?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:25 PM)
Hey Patrick-I don't believe you can combine the exception with another player in a deal. Has to be straight up.
What's wrong with being one dimensional when that one dimension is: "impossible to stop from scoring"?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:25 PM)
Slimchicken: It's better than my "one dimension," which is "not particularly talented."
Brian Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Hey folks--Time for a few more...
If we beat the Celts tomorrow, I'm betting everyone will nosedive off this trade bandwagon.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Brett: There's no doubt. The Laker Nation and Laker Media is both passionate and reactionary, which cuts both ways, in terms of sizing up "where the team stands."
kilgary1 (Los Angeles)
If you had your choice of superstar free-agents to trade for Bynum, which would you take: Melo or CP3?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:30 PM)
Kilgary: Chris Paul, without question. I'm a ginormous CP3 fan. I like Melo's game a lot, but Paul can do more and is a better defender. Plus, he's got a serious nasty streak. Not quite "KG" dirty, but "dirty adjacent." I mean this as a compliment, by the way.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:32 PM)
And with that, gotta say goodbye! Thanks for dropping by. Keep checking the blog for more posts and updates.