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 (1:30 PM)
Hey everyone. Thanks for coming by. We're here for a while to answer all of your Lakers/NBA/life questions.Fire away!
Donnell (Los Angeles)
What are the chances the Lakers trade Gasol or Bynum to get younger and more athletic and how many games next year will the NBA lose in the regular season due to the lockout.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Brian Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Hey Donnell--Well, in terms of trading Bynum to get younger, that likely won't happen b/c the only guy they'd move him for right now is probably Dwight Howard, who is a couple years older. But Howard is more athletic, and more importantly, more durable. But for his size and position, Bynum is very athletic. With Pau, you can trade him and get younger, obviously, but not every trade target makes them more athletic. K-Love for example, wouldn't have accomplished that. In the end, I'd be surprised if either went. I don't thin they'll make a deal like that with their three primary players particularly, or even Lamar Odom (though he has the best chance of moving, since he's the easiest to move from a financial standpoint.In terms of games, I think it'll be a 50 game regular season, or close, as it was the last time this happened.
ivan (novi sad serbia)
Do you think we can expect better season (if there is one) for S. Blake and MWP (formerly known as R.Artest). I mean, under Mike Brown in his system. Because both of them looked lost in triangle.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Ivan: I think the safer bet is Blake. For starters, he played worse than Artest last season, so the margin for improvement is wider. By definition, it will almost be impossible for him to play worse. Plus, (essentially) scrapping the triangle means point guard responsibilities closer to the traditional definition, which can only help Blake. And Steve has a better track record for playing within systems than Ron. Thus, even though Artest is a better overall player than Blake, I'd predict the latter.
Ben (Los angeles)
Bros K.- Nothing Lakes but can you explain the problems with the owners/players agreement that is taking place? thanks.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Hi Ben--In short, it's a question of dividing up a large pot of money. The players took home 57 percent of basketball revenues last season, the owners 43. The owners want to change that percentage to something more favorable to them. There are a lot of ways to accomplish it, and that's in part what they're arguing about, but the fundamental question is distribution of revenue. Owners want a hard cap on salaries (or something they call a flex cap, which is basically a hard cap), salary reductions, shorter guaranteed contracts, and so on. Players think a lot of the owners problems can be solved through better revenue sharing, and don't want to be put in a position where the players have to protect the owners from themselves. There are a lot of issues at play, but there are a few...
Nathan Leal (Pomona, California)
what is a smarter move for Kobe, going overseas if and when the lockout happens? or sticking it out here in the US?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Nathan: Staying in the U.S., by a long shot. Unless you're talking about the barnstorming tour, which I'm guessing is just a series of glorified All-Star Games, there's no upside for Kobe competing with a legitimate overseas team. He can only get hurt or, at the very least, put more wear and tear on a body nursing a lotta issues. And in the meantime, does it really help his resume helping Bekistas (a theoretical example) win a championship? It would be fully expected his participation would lead to a title. It's basically shooting fish in a barrel. Nothing really gained from the the situation, and more to lose. And in the meantime, he couldn't possibly need the money.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
We all know the Lakers franchise is based on having big stars. If the Lakers can't land Howard, what other stars do you think the Lakers will target as Kobe's successor?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Hi Cheesehead-It's not just the Lakers, but the NBA. It's a stars league, and the Lakers have always done well making sure they have at least one, and a top end one at that. I still think Howard is a long shot, at least in the near term. (Very, very long in the near term.) As far as the next star, a lot of it is based on how the new CBA works. But honestly, I don't know who they would target, or how that person would arrive. Sometimes you get lucky (coin flip gives you Magic Johnson), sometimes you're bold (moving parts to acquire Shaq), sometimes you're smart (recognizing Kobe and making the trade). But it's hard to see those things coming before the opportunity arrives. Not trying to avoid the question, I just don't have a really good answer for you.
Steven Nathan (Irvine)
Hey guys, did you see Kobe's 360 dunk at his UCSB camp?! I haven't seen him do that since like 07'. He had great explosion and was really above the rim. Do you think his legs are still strong enough to hold up for atleast a couple more years of elite play? Most guys at 32 going on 33 can't do that. Thanks
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Hi Steven-I do think he can hold up for another couple seasons, as his game continues to evolve on the floor. More mid-range, more post ups, etc. He's never going to be the high flying guy of yore, attacking the basket relentlessly throughout games. But he can still be very, very effective. As for the knee and the dunk, honestly, I'd be far more worried if he couldn't pull that one off. Still a great dunk, no question, but the day he can't do that at a camp is the day we should all worry.
Mike (Ladera Ranch)
Was having a debate recently about who is next to get their jersey retired by the Lakers. Obviously Kobe and probably Shaq. But what about Gasol? Fisher?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:46 PM)
Mike: The Lakers' current standard is that a player must be in the HOF for their jersey to be retired. That means Gasol has a shot (although hardly a given) and Fisher none. Personally, I wish they'd be more flexible in the case of someone like Fisher, who's been a wholly unique role player, in terms of leadership, championships, and what he's meant to the organization. I think he's worthy of consideration, especially if he's part of a sixth championship. You can argue he's done more to earn his jersey retired that Wilt, who got his honor as much/more for his entire career, as opposed to what he did in purple and gold.
The Kamenetzky Brothers vs. The Sklar Brothers - who wins?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Michael: Nobody in the audience hoping to watch a fight with legitimate brawling skills. Haha. Actually, Randy and Jason are our friends. I actually grew up with them and went to elementary school with them for a few years. Terrific dudes and very talented.
do you think the NBA is freaking out that a few huge stars have come forward and either said they will consider playing or will be playing overseas if the lockout isn't resolved?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Hey Jay-No, I don't. There are a lot of factors at work. Most players won't be able to find the combination of excellent salary and insurance coverage to make a jaunt to Europe somehow more profitable or even preferable to the NBA. It's not like the European economy is any better than ours, and there isn't a ton of money to throw around to the NBA's stars. Plus, the European leagues have rules about how many American players can be on each roster. There's a limited number of spots. So the league is likely confident, rightly I think, that everyone in the end wants to be in the NBA, all things being equal.That doesn't mean the European options aren't insignificant. Obviously anything allowing NBA players to make extra money could allow them to weather the lockout storm better, and no question the threat of missing paychecks is considered a major weapon for the owners. But over the long term, I don't think enough of the NBA's rank and file- the largest portion of the union- will have the opportunity to pad their livings in Europe to make a truly significant difference in negotiations.
Way back when, Magic used to do a "Mid Summers Night Classic" game when we needed a bball fix in the summer. Why don't the Kobe's, Lebron's of the world do this anymore? It would be great to do a USA tour instead of a Euro tour and benefit local charities. The TV ratings would be HUGE!!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Hey Fernando-Wouldn't shock me if something like that happened. Nike, or whomever, getting together their best guys to stage exhibitions for charity or whatever. Or for profit, as Kobe's barnstorming tour through China would represent.
If you had a vote, would you start Fisher or Blake next season?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Hey Sammy-Honestly, I don't think it matters. Starting, to me, is one of the more overrated issues with basketball. Look at minutes, and in that sense, I hope Blake is able to raise his game to take more minutes away from Fisher. This, of course, assumes these are teh two available heading into next season. How about a little time for L.O. at the point?
Chris (Studio City)
Hey K-Bros: With Rambis finally cut loose by the T-Wolves, and B. Shaw not really getting the head coaching love (at least not yet), could there be a stigma developing in terms of how Phil Jackson's assistants are viewed going forward??
Andy Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Chris: I don't know if there's so much a "stigma" with Phil's assistants as a reluctance to bring in a coach who could use the triangle. It's obviously been successful, but it also requires time to run very well, not to mention good players to run it. Most teams undergoing coaching changes are bad, and the coach being brought in doesn't have the luxury of time. Thus, the triangle is impractical. And without evidence of success in another system, I'm sure it creates some question marks about the candidates' ability to run another system. And in the case of Shaw, his lack of head coaching experience probably hurts as much or even more than any connection to the Triangle or Phil.
Do you think it's a coincidence that Laker Girls Auditions are being held during Carmeggedon or is it a weeding out process to see who wants it more? [p.s. If you guys need someone to cover the tryouts, I'd be more than willing to volunteer my services.]
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
First of all, I respect the optimism of having the tryouts at all. Nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor fear of lockout will prevent us from having our Laker Girls for next year! Nor Carmaggedon, apparently. I'll talk to our boss and see what we can do about getting you that gig, because there's no way I'm dealing with that side of town this weekend... :)
Eric (Southern Cali)
Why is everyone talking about Howard, we have a center, we need a guard. Odam and Luke for CP3? Gasol for CP3?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Eric: The Hornets trading Chris Paul for Lamar Odom and Luke Walton? Seriously? They'd hang up the phone on that offer, and rightly so. C'mon, man. As for Gasol, that's certainly a step up, but still not enough. Pau's already struggled as a team's true #1, and he's 30 to boot. Chris Paul is arguably the best PG in the league, a guy who can put a team on his back. The Hornets are gonna demand a younger, potential franchise player if Paul is part of the equation.
Arnold Layne (Detroit)
How many more good years do you anticipate for Kobe? As in, still considered one of the best players in the league?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
Arnold-Any strange hobbies? Collecting clothes, perhaps?As for Kobe, I think his window of being "Kobe" is another two seasons. After that, all bets are off. There has definitely been decline in the explosiveness of his game, but not the overall effectiveness. Not drastic, at least. But he clearly can't get easy points the way he used to, which is hugely important for a scorer. Nor is he the consistent force defensively he's been over the course of his career. But he's still really, really good, one of the game's best, and I think he stays there for a couple more seasons.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NBA Arena is Very Bad to Get in & Out of with Cars Because the Parking is Terrible?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Chris-Honestly, I don't know. I've never been to an NBA arena as a fan. I get there two to three hours early, and don't leave for three or so hours until after the game. Wrong guy to ask.
Reg (South Bay)
Hey guys. Does a long lockout help the Lakers? They're old, you know.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Reg-It helps in some ways- I firmly believe this team doesn't need 82 games to get itself together, and anything that hones the team's focus that much more clearly (not that they shouldn't be focused, given what happened against Dallas) can't hurt. In a 50 game season, you can't screw around. On the other hand, the outlay of games is a little more intense (though not as much as I thought. Games come about 15 percent faster), and they'd lose a lot of the camp and practice time needed to really get on the same page with the new coaching staff. Physically, it can't hurt at all. From a more technical standpoint, their execution could be hurt if camp is missed.
Dave Arrajo (Aliso Viejo)
What's the over/under on Bynum's games played next season? 45? 50?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Dave-Well, is the season going to be more than 50 games? In an 82 game season, I'll say... 60. Remember, no matter what happens, he misses the first five because of the shot on Barea.
Julie (Los Angeles)
Why is everyone trying to trade Lamar Odom so much? Did he do something wrong? I thought he was the 6th man of the year?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Julie--It's a financial thing, as much as anything. Odom has easily the team's most appealing contract among their four best players. One year left at a reasonable price, plus a cheap buyout for next season. Add that to the fact he's, you know, good, and that makes him valuable. Pau and Bynum are also nice chips, but harder to move, whether because of age/salary (Pau) or health considerations (Bynum). Plus, the Lakers would ask for the moon with either of those guys. But it's not something Odom did. The big issue, though, with trading LO, is how you replace him. If he goes, the Lakers not only need another legitimate C on the roster, but now at least one more PF. In a lot of ways, Odom's versatility combined with Gasol's ability to move to the five lets the Lakers use one roster spot for two positions. Lose Odom, and much has to change.
Dave Arrajo (Aliso Viejo)
Artest for Lebron, straight up! Great deal huh? (just wanted to sound like those people who post idiotic trade suggestions)
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
I would make that deal. :)
Guy Rohrs (Santa Monica)
Prediction: Pau bounces back next season, or the playofffs mark the start of a downward spiral?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Guy!I'm fully in the camp of people believing Gasol will bounce back. Simply put, he's too good to play the way he did against Dallas and in the postseason for a sustained period. He was mentally and physically fried, but will come back refreshed and with a serious chip on his shoulder. Don't forget what happened after the '08 Finals, when Gasol was ripped for L.A.'s failure against the Celtics (not all that fairly, I think). He was phenomenal the next season. I expect him to do something similar this year. Of course, nobody will care what he does in the regular season. We'll all just wait around to see what he does in the playoffs.
Phil Rodriguez (Santa Ana)
How about sucking someone into taking Blake and just going with the two kids we drafted this year? One is a pure point and the other can, gasp, shoot!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Phil-I think the Lakers would be more than happy to move Blake, but turning the keys over to two second rounders, one of whom may be a pure point but is very, very young, is not a good recipe for a team looking to win a title. It's just not practical. I think Morris will definitely be on the team, and depending on what they do in free agency and trades, there could be a spot for Goudelock, too. But the idea either would be able to make serious contributions to this Lakers team is far fetched.
Ernie (Mission Viejo)
Who's got more potential, Ebanks or Caracter?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
With the Lakers, at least, it's Ebanks in a walk. I think they like his combination of length and athleticism, and with an improved handle and shot, believe he can become a legit rotation player in the league. Caracter has skills down low, but the Lakers aren't as high on him these days. He still needs to work on his body. I think he's an NBA player, but I don't think he'll be on this year's roster.
Hope Solo (Germany)
Hey you over there on your laptops! Acknowledge me please!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
Dax (Phelan County, MS)
Why is Kobe so reluctant to let Andrew Bynum have a bigger role on offense? Is Drew not ready or is Kobe insecure?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:23 PM)
Dax-I would pay a lot more attention to what Kobe does, rather than what he says. I'm not at all surprised he said Bynum would have to wait in line, because he's not going to drop himself or Pau down in the pecking order, at least not verbally. He's going to give the respect to the "leaders," so to speak. What matters more is how he responds next season, and how the ball moves around. I don't think Pau particularly cares if he loses a shot or two, as long as the ball moves around and gets to the post. As for Kobe and insecurity, there could be a little of that, but like I said, verbally he'll posture, but it's how he plays that really matters. In that regard, he's been pretty good moving the ball over the last few years.
I think the Lakers will no problems on the offensive end next year but the only thing that worries me is the defense. Kobe plays "centerfield" way too much. What is Browns defensive strategy? Zone?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Fernando-No, he's not a zone guy. He'll emphasize multiple efforts, closing on shooters, and good help habits. In practice, I suspect the defensive structure will look a lot like what the Lakers did last year. But I don't think Brown will have-- or at least shouldn't have-- the sort of tolerance for Kobe freelancing defensively as PJ might have.
Robbie (Studio City, CA)
Do you think that Jim Buss really considers Bynum "untouchable" and wouldn't even trade him for Dwight, or do you think that Buss is just saying that because a deal is not imminent and he doesn't want to hurt Bynum's confidence? If it's the first one, then the Lakers have a sad future.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:26 PM)
Robbie-While I'm as suspicious of Jim Buss as anyone, I've never heard him say he wouldn't move Bynum for Howard. I don't think he's that untouchable. In fairness, the list of players you'd move him for is very, very short, so in a lot of ways he's basically untouchable, because the players you'd move Bynum for aren't available right now. So it's a moot point. But I agree- if Jim Buss truly wouldn't trade Bynum for Howard, the Lakers are in trouble.
Will I ever see a Laker training camp in my home state again?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:26 PM)
I suspect not...
Chad (Crystal Lake)
Over, under or accurate: Kobe finishes his career with 6 rings?
AK - so a Euroleague title would add NOTHING to Kobe's resume? He'd be better off playing XBOX for a year?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
LTLF: In my opinion, yes. Given everything Kobe has already accomplished weighed against the risk of injury (which could hurt his future chances at another NBA ring) for what would be considered a blip on his overall resume, I'd rather Kobe play X box this offseason. Or as I said before, do the barnstorming thing. But I firmly believe he has very little to gain by playing overseas ball. That's just my take.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Hmmm....I'll take accurate. Six seems about right, and if I had to choose 5 or 7+, I'd take the higher number. I really do believe the Lakers have a chance to win again in the next couple years, and depending on how they reload, Kobe could still be on a championship team, even if he's not the driving force.
Do you think it's a mistake to let Shannon Brown go? He's inconsistent, but the Lakers don't have much in the way of athleticism or youth.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:29 PM)
Shawn-For the right price, I'd keep him, but I don't think he's flourished here the way the Lakers would like. Yes, he's athletic, but he was also one of the weakest defenders on the team last season, in terms of team play and structure. His decision making with the ball wasn't all that great, either. And the shooting declined in a big way as the season went along.I love Shannon's work ethic, and think he's a great guy. But in terms of his basketball future, I don't see it in L.A., and I don't think the Lakers see him as the best option to back up Kobe.
Ron Artest just did stand up comedy in L.A. Who on the Lakers do you think would be the best stand up comic?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:30 PM)
I'll go with Odom. Good delivery, nice sense of comic timing, willing to make fun of himself.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:30 PM)
Hey guys. Time for one or two more.
I have a bad feeling Kobe will hold on to his big dog status until he retires. Can't see him moving over to let another take the spotlight even when his capabilities diminish even more. Hoping I'm wrong. What do you guys sense? Still a couple of years away.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:33 PM)
jq-You've hit on probably the most fascinating question the LA sports scene will be dealing with over the next half-decade or so. How does Kobe Bryant age? Gracefully? Does he recognize limitations, and move to a more supporting role? Still valuable, but not "the man?" Or does he scratch and claw for the status of being the centerpiece of a team? Does he retire once he starts slipping, so he doesn't have to play as a lesser version of himself? I'm not sure, but obviously if he resists in the face of declining skill, it can hurt the team considerably. The era he's getting into could easily be the most fascinating of an already fascinating career.
Never (Los Angeles)
What has the better chance of happening? Kobe playing overseas during the lockout or being hired as a special assistant coach for the Sparks?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:34 PM)
Overseas... You never know what might happen if someone offers him a massive pile of cash, and the Sparks certainly aren't doing that.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:35 PM)
OK, everyone, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for stopping by. See everyone next week, and remember, if you didn't get a chance to have your question answered, hit us up on Twitter @espnlandolakers... Thanks!