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 (1:31 PM)
Hey everyone. We're good to go, answering as many questions as we can. Fire away!
JC (Toluca Lake)
How important is it that we get a new back-up center this offseason that can play solid minutes behind Bynum and spare Gasol the burden of 37-40+ MPG again?
Brian Frederick (Bridgewater, MA)
Do you expect to see a reduction in Artest's minutes next season? Ebanks and Barnes bring more athleticism to the table. Plus Ron will be another year older.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Hi JC-I think it's one of the more underrated offseason needs for the team. When I wrote about these for the blog, I named it a fairly substantial priority. As you say, they need to keep the burden on Gasol more manageable, should Bynum find himself injured again at some point in the season. And obviously his track record suggests that'll happen at some point. The good news for the Lakers is center is actually one of the more well populated positions on the free agent rolls. They can't afford a star, and higher end players won't want to sit on the bench as much as they will behind Gasol and Bynum, but they ought to find someone pretty useful.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Brian: It depends on how Ron plays. If he performs up to standards, he'll still get the majority of SF minutes. He's a more talented player than Barnes (who's basically the same age, too) and much more experienced than Ebanks (who I actually think could find himself getting backup minutes at SG, particularly if Shannon doesn't return). But obviously, things change if Ron doesn't hold up his end of the bargain. He was outplayed during the first half of the season by Barnes, and the 4Q minutes especially reflected this.
Eli (Richboro, PA)
Who is the best prospect for the Lakers next coach?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Eli: I'm hoping the answer is Mike Brown. Since they, you know, hired him and such.
ben (los angeles)
Bros K, with the Lakes drafting so late and the lockout and seemingly tightening cap what is the prospect of landing any help this year? I just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:38 PM)
Hey Ben-I wouldn't expect any real help in the draft. It's just too much a longshot. As for the free agency rolls, so much is dependent on what the new rules are following the new CBA. Under current rules, the Lakers would have the MLE, and that's basically it. Who knows what things will look like, though, once a new deal comes? The only way they'll likely add a true impact player is via trade. In that regard, Lamar Odom is the most likely to go, because he has value, and a workable contract. I don't think it's likely, though.I suspect last year's team will look a lot like next year's, with hopefully a few targeted upgrades.
zak (parma ohio)
do you belive the rumors of dwight howard to la are possibly true
Hi guys, Wilbon and Kornheiser seem to think we should read into Kobe not having come out publicly to talk about Brown? Thoughts? I don't think it's a big deal and believe they'll be fine.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Hi Randy-As we talked about on the Triangle last week, it's not so much that it's a really big deal that could adversely impact them next season as it is a totally unnecessary talking point kept alive by Kobe's resistance to saying anything. Dave McMenamin noted his sources say Kobe doesn't have a problem with the hire, but was ticked at the Lakers for not consulting him and that explains the silence. But there's really no upside, because people will question Kobe's acceptance of Brown, even if he's not the target of the silence. For a guy trying to change the public and media perception of him, how does this help?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Zak, "True" isn't the word I'd use, since that denotes a situation where a deal could be on the near horizon, and that's not the case, to the best of my knowledge. But I do think Dwight coming to L.A. isn't entirely unrealistic. I actually believe he'd like to stay in Orlando and bring them a title. But he also REALLY wants to win, and if it's not looking like the Magic can win a title pretty soon, he's gonna explore options, and the Magic would prefer to get something in return. Andrew Bynum is a tantalizing, if flawed, exchange. And if the Lakers would take on a bloated deal in return (maybe Hedo), then Orlando has even more incentive. But still, we're a LONG way from "imminent," even if certain variables make sense. Don't pencil Dwight in purple and gold just quite yet.
DeAndre (Long Beach)
Do you think new coach Ettore Messina was brought in in part to help evaluate European players as the Lakers have 4 2nd round picks?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
DeAndre: I doubt Messina was brought into the fold for that primary purpose, but that knowledge is a nice cherry on top of the sundae, you know?
Will (Costa Mesa,CA)
I was wondering what the general opinion is on the Mike Brown Hiring. Most of the people I talk to are not happy about the choice the Lakers made. What do all of the "experts" think?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Hey Will. Thanks for the question.The people we spoke with who worked around him, guys like Brian Windhorst now of ESPN.com but formerly the beat writer at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland during Brown's tenure, speak very highly of him. He's been very successful as a young coach. The biggest question about him is whether he has the gravitas to take a veteran team and command their respect. How will he deal with strong egos like Kobe's? Remember, one big criticism is that LBJ was able to run roughshod around the Cavs, but that was as much an organizational choice as anything Brown did. Brown turned James into a premier defender, which is a nice feather. To some degree, Brown was punished for not having a lot of cache as a name, but while there are legitimate questions around him, I don't think they're much different than questions about other guys they could have hired.
LakerGreg (Denver, CO)
Is the Bynum and Odom for Howard and JJ really likely?
Steven (La Palma)
Can you see Luke Walton making a comeback, and becoming a key player of the bench next season?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:47 PM)
Hi LakerGreg-No, I don't think so. My attitude about blockbusters is always to say they won't happen, though, because the mechanics of these sorts of deals are tough. That said, even if it does happen, it won't go down until well into the season. There's no way the Magic move Howard until it becomes far more clear they have to, or until they've fully explored options to put a winning team around him in Orlando.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:47 PM)
Steven: Never say never, I guess, particularly if Walton's back really does heal up. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Even healthy (by his standards), Walton has lost a lot of athleticism (again, by his standards) due to the injury toil. Plus, it's hard to picture where the minutes present themselves. He's not gonna beat out Artest or Gasol as the starting 3 or 4. Unless he absolutely plays out of his skull next season, he's also not gonna beat out Barnes as Ron's backup. Perhaps if Shannon leaves and Ebanks (who I think is getting earmarked as a 2 down the road) isn't ready for a 10-12 minute role backing Kobe, Barnes could play behind Kobe, which would open up an opportunity for Luke. But were I a betting man, I'd put my money on Walton sitting a lot next season.
Do lakers trade any of their 4 second round picks?
Dave Arrajo (Aliso Viejo)
I saw this guy at the park who was dribbling. . .I think that could be a cheap upgrade at the PG position. What do you think?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Sounds like a sleeper...
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
It certainly could happen. Or they'll use a couple on guys to stash away in Europe. Either way, I'd be very, very surprised if they drafted four guys to bring to camp.
Hey K-Bros! What are some realistic FA targets the Lakers might have this summer? I'm thinking Joel Przybilla or Jeff Foster as backup C and maybe Marco Belinelli or CJ Watson as backup SG (if S. Brown opts out). What do you think?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Sean: It's hard to answer that question for sure without knowing the new CBA. Depending on where the cap is set, if it's a hard cap, or if the mid-level exception gets eliminated, they may not have the flexibility to land anybody of note, unless they're willing to take a legit paycut. But of the names you listed, Foster (assuming he leaves Indy after a career there) strikes me as more realistic than Joel P, and Marco slightly more realistic than Watson, although both might be too pricey.
Plashke on the LAT is playing the "I told you so" game now and things trading Bynum for Melo would have helped the Lakers beat the Mavs. What's your thought on that? As usual, I don't really agree with Plashke.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Hi JQ-I advocated the Bynum-for-Melo hypothetical when it was in the news, because of concerns about Drew's future help. He certainly played extremely well down the stretch and into the playoffs, where he also had some good moments. Bill's point about the team benefiting from additional scoring is a good one, but in the end I don't think it would have made much difference. Couldn't have made the result against Dallas worse, obviously, but they were so disorganized at that point, i suspect Anthony for Bynum wouldn't have changed the equation.
Mansa (L.A. to the Bay)
Hey K Bros! Love that you are still doing these chats even in the off season, can't get enough of your insight on the Lake Show. I'm one of the people that believe we just need to tweak the roster for improvement, especially with a new system and coach. What would you think of pickup of Aaron Brooks for our quickness issues, Michael Redd for shooting, and Aaron Gray for a serviceable back up big while letting Shannon walk? I also think we should keep Trey Johnson and develop Ebanks. I know Redd hasn't played in a while, but I think we can get a great shooter in him on the cheap considering he's trying to prove he can still play in this league. Thoughts?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Hey Mansa. Thanks for the nice comments, and for stopping in on the chats each week. Brooks I don't think will be an option, because I suspect the Suns will hold on to him. Redd is an interesting name because he's certainly got the pedigree as an All Star and deadeye shooter. But health is a huge issue with him, and I'm extremely curious about how much he'll cost. If he's cheap enough, Redd would be a spectacularly good option for the Lakers, but I suspect the premium will be too high.Gray, though, is the type of serviceable big I think they can get. There are a lot of "Aaron Gray's" available this summer. Guys who can ably play 15 or so minutes when called upon, or even start in a real pinch, without royally screwing things up. Ebanks will definitely be back this year. Johnson has a shot, as well, depending on what they do in trades and with free agency.
Will (Costa Mesa,CA)
Does Fisher finally get moved to the bench this up coming season?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Will: Interesting question. I'm a big believer that who starts is an extremely overblown talking point among fans and media. Minutes and who finishes games is a much more influential factor on success. Still, I think Mike Brown has to at least consider Fisher coming off the bench. A new system could dictate the need for a more traditional PG, and Steve Blake fits that bill more. Plus, if starting Blake brings out a better version than last season's, it may be worth flip flopping roles. Fisher isn't likely to bring much more than during the last few seasons, but the net return for Blake can be improved. It's not so much about Fisher "hurting the team" as a starter, but what's the ideal combination for either units to get the most out of both.
John Caviezel (Tujunga Canyon, CA)
What about the rumors that Tracy McGrady or Allen Iverson could sign for the vet minimum (or new CBA's equivalent) in order to go to a contender? Would the FO be willing to take on either of them? If so, which one?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Love your work.If Iverson comes back to the NBA, it'll have to be for the minimum. T-Mac played well enough last year to earn himself a little more, but obviously won't make a ton of money, either. McGrady is interesting because he really changed himself into a distribution centered PG last year, for all intents and purposes. My problem with Iverson is, at this point, I wonder how good he is. Beyond questions of whether he'd accept a smaller role and all that, how much does he have left, as an aging guard reliant on speed who never has shot all that well, and hasn't played much ball lately?
exhelo (san diego)
Any insights on who the new Lakers Girls will be?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
Ex,Hard to say until the new CBA is finished.
What position do you think the Lakers need to focus on in the draft that they cant fix in the off season and what names will be available to match the needs when LA is on the clock
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Hey Jarvis-As for names, I'm really not sure. The draft isn't an area in which I have a lot of expertise. Anything I'd say would just be parroting what I see on draft boards, as opposed to providing any personal insight. But as far as drafting for need, obviously if it's a choice to take players they like who also fill a need- PG, center, shooter, etc.- they can and should. But given their draft position, it's much more important to take a guy they think is most likely to stick at the NBA level, even if its at a position of relative strength. Nobody they choose there is likely to make a big impact next year, so the premium is on finding talent to develop for the future. By the time player X from this year's draft is able to contribute, the needs for the team overall could be very different.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
No. Do you have any suggestions?
Josh (Las Vegas)
Now that the Lakers will stop running the triangle offense, are you guys going to change your TV show name too? You guys could call it "The Iso" in honor of Mike Brown (just kidding) or name it something creative like "The KRAKEN!!!"
Brian Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
Hey Josh-Yeah, we'll likely have to change the title. Maybe we'll have a contest on the site to rename it?
I've heard Kobe talk about this being the first offseason in a long time where can specifically work on just getting stronger, rather than recovering from injuries/surgeries. Do you think this will make a difference for him next season? Or will his skills continue to diminish next season?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
Mikey G: I hate to be a pessimist, but I don't think the relatively healthy offseason will make much of a difference. Even if he starts the season good to go, there's a LOT of time between November and April to aggravate recurring injuries. Between the recent ankle, knee and finger problems, the mileage and the demands of being a 20-25 ppg scorer, it's just hard for me to picture his body holding up perfectly or even close. Particularly if he's as dead set on shutting up the doubters as he claims, which means even pressure on his body. Fingers crossed and I'm more than happy to be wrong.
How likely is it that Shannon Brown leaves?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Anderson: I have no idea, to be honest. Last season, Shannon's hand injury led to a pretty tough second half of the year, which made me think he'd exercise his option. Instead, he entered free agency before getting re-signed. This year, he regressed and there's a potential lockout, which makes me think he'd opt in. But he was very undecided at his exit interview and hasn't always followed what I consider conventional wisdom, so who knows? But if he does opt out, I don't expect the front office to make a hard push to bring him back. Just my gut talking.
tommythecomicguy (Murray, KY)
Anyone heard what kind of stuff Kobe is going to add to his game next year?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:08 PM)
Hey Tommy. I hear he's adding that move the Globetrotters do with the bucket of confetti. I kid. In reality, I'm not sure. I suspect he'll continue to perfect his inside game, working his post footwork, and everything in the mid range. Explosiveness off the floor on the pull up, subtle things to get him more space on the dribble, and so on.
What are the chances Monta Ellis becomes a Laker via trade? Slim or none?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:08 PM)
I'm going with none.
exhelo (San Diego)
AK,"I'm a big believer that who starts is an extremely overblown talking point "You just say that because Brian always leads off the Triangle!
Andy Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Randy: How about "slimmer than none?" Never say never, I suppose. But as much as the Lakers could use another dude capable of creating his own shot, he and Kobe strike me as much too redundant and ball dominant to co-exist. Plus, he's often a pretty mediocre defender, for what that's worth.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Ex, who starts is overrated. Who hosts analytical web quasi-television is absolutely not overrated.
Jack (Los Angeles)
Can we trade Odom for a better than average point guard?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Jack: Possibly, but the PG in return would need to be pretty good to offset what they lose in LO. Especially when you consider Bynum's injury history.
Lord (Marina Del Rey)
Is Tony Parker available? Looks like he and Pop and not getting along. Could be a great fit with Mike Brown's system??
Brian Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Lord-There's talk he is, though what it would take to get him is obviously the seven million dollar question. He won't come cheap, and is still a very good player. Younger than you think, just with a fair amount of mileage. I think he'd work well with Brown, likely to use more P and R's, valuing dribble penetration, and so on. Good distributor. It's important to note, though, that Brown mentioned the SAS teams from mid-decade as a potential model, and those weren't assist heavy squads. So while an upgrade at PG would be helpful (obviously) they may not need a star.
Honestly, why can't all sports writers be as insightful, broadminded, erudite and prepared as the the K brothers? Keep up the good work, guys. And I promise, next time I see Andy at a food truck on Wilshire I will give him props.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
The check is in the mail, JQ...Thanks!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Which truck, by the way? I love food truck row on Wilshire...
Cy (Brian Shaw's Wounded Heart)
Any chance we can package some of our 2nd round picks to trade up and get in the first round?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Cy: I doubt it. Nobody is gonna surrender a lottery pick or comparable for a collection of second round picks. And if they managed to get the 28th pick for the package, the difference in talent could be negligible, considering how weak this class is considered. Plus, that first round pick is a guaranteed deal, which they'd probably rather avoid. So for a lot of reasons, don't see it happening.
Would Miami say no if Orlando offered an extension signed Dwight Howard for Lebron James?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
I don't think they would. It's a threesome making far more sense. Howard in the middle, with Bosh in the high post, and Wade on the wing. The problem with James and Wade is that they have skill sets that are too redundant, and struggle to work together. It's not an ego thing, but an issue of fit.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:19 PM)
Jq: A) Thank you for the nice words, and B) Feel free to say hi at the trucks. Clearly, you didn't pull that out of thin air. I'm a pretty healthy eater by nature, but those are my little treat now and then.
Hey K-Bros. Obviously getting swept by the Mavs is a clear sign that some improvements (scoring off the bench and PG play) are needed. But now that Dallas won it all, it makes me think that the Lakers are not in as much trouble as I thought when they first got knocked out. Is it possible that we aren't that far away from getting back to the Finals and in as much trouble as we though and that a couple of things like Kobe, Barnes, and Bynum getting and staying healthy can get us back to being that favorites in the West or has our time past and I am being a little too optimistic?
Will (Costa Mesa,CA)
Does anyone else fee that the only reason Coach Brown had success was because Lebron was able to carry the team in a then weaker conference?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Will: Time will tell on that perception with Brown, but it's certainly a fair question to keep in the back of your mind. Even though Cleveland generally performed well against the West, being able to conserve energy in that conference certainly helps.
I hate my job!! I hope my boss reads this so I can get shafted!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Hey Brett-Thanks for the note. There are a lot of people who would agree with you. I'm certainly of that mind, more or less. The Lakers, in my opinion, need targeted improvements, whether in shooting, team speed, point guard production, and so on, rather than a total overhaul. The Mavs obviously whooped them pretty good, but not every game was Game 4. Most were pretty tight, and in two the Lakers had legitimate late leads they gave away. The Mavs proved to be a much better team than anyone suspected when they beat the Lakers, and LA was extremely vulnerable going in. It was a bad combination. LA needs to improve, but I don't think they're all that far away.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
We're here to help, Gene!
Ash (Los Angeles)
With The Finals coming to a close and we see LeBron James fail yet again, can the media stop the comparisons to Kobe let alone MJ?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Sadly enough, I think we both know the answer to that question, Ash.
David (Buena Park)
How many years do you think Kobe has in being a very good player in this league?..id say 3 more years.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:26 PM)
David (Buena Park): I think it depends on how Kobe plans to play. If he's deadset on remaining a 25-ish PPG scorer 4-5 assist disher/#1 option/alpha dog, I think another year or 2 at an elite level is realistic. If Kobe were open to being around an 18-20 ppg guy (still pretty impressive), but with around 8-ish assists (which I think he's quite capable of doing), I could see a 2-4 year window at an elite level. I hope he chooses the latter option.
BK, I like the Veg It Up truck. My wife loves Phammish. The Mambo Juice truck is great.AK, Thanks! I hate to bother people while they deliberate between Korean BBQ or Pho. Will say hi next time.
Eric H (Brooklyn)
Pick and roll defense has always been a huge issue. Chris Paul exploited this big time in this year's playoffs. Mike Brown had talked about getting Gasol and Drew more active in showing on the pick and roll defense. But honestly, aren't both of them slow on the lateral quickness?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Hey Eric-I know it's hard to believe now, but through most of the year the Lakers were actually one of the better P and R teams in the league, statistically speaking. Obviously they had some really bad moments in the playoffs (some good ones, in the first round, too), but overall, they're better than people give them credit for, and this was during a really down season for them in terms of focus and cohesion. Bynum and Gasol, for their size, are actually very mobile. Obviously neither is lightning on the floor, but most seven footers aren't. Pau has traditionally been one of their better P and R defenders, actually.What they need is an offseason to get re-charged, and more importantly, get angry. Defensively, they need to get back working as a single unit. They've been a great defensive team over the last few years, which by definition means defending hte P and R well, since everyone runs it. They can do it again this year.
Stewart Wilson (queens,ny)
since the lakers need a pg youth and outside shooting why not a deal of pau gasol, carracter,ebanks,and blake to minnesota for beasley,randolph,millic,johnny flynn, and martell webster don't forget maybe the 20th pick in the draft
Brian Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Flynn has been awful as a pro, Stewart. The only guy worth taking in a deal with the Wolves is Love. Particularly if you're talking about sending out Gasol
Brian Kamenetzky (2:29 PM)
Hey guys. We're about out of time...
Brian Kamenetzky (2:29 PM)
Thanks a bunch for stopping by. If we didn't get to your Q, tweet us at @espnlandolakers and we'll hit you back. See you need week!