Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping for today's chat. We're here for a while to answer as many questions as we can. Obviously last night's game is a prime topic, as is the trade deadline, and more.Fire away!
you think if bynum got more touches, he could miss more than 10 layups in a game? i think he's capable.
I always like starting things out with a zinger. Well played, Dave. Well played.
Any chance we trade Artest and Bynum for Melo and Nene?
Sorry, Scott. No way Denver takes on Artest.
I am a life-long Spur fan but can appreciate the Lakers for what they are, a perennial championship threat. The Lakers are OK, right? Last night is not something we should expect to see, right?
Hi David-Wow... even the Spurs fans are concerned! I'd love to say last night's loss was an aberration, but really it's not. I mean, losing to a team as down and out as the Cavs? Maybe. But they've dropped a bunch of games this season to teams they have no business losing to. Last year, they lost five games to teams with sub .500 records. This year, it's up to seven already. They've lost at home to Milwaukee, Sacramento, and Indiana. We'll find out pretty fast where the Lakers stand, because they have a tough schedule over the first couple weeks. You'd like to think the last three games would snap them out of whatever funk they're in- particularly now that they have five days to think about it- but the problems are deeper than complacency at this point.
hey brothers- questions about steve blake: why won't he shoot the 3 anymore? he seems bewildered, even scared to me. on opening night against houston he was fearless and shot five 3's [made four, including the game-winner]. i thought that was a harbinger of great things to come, but now he just seems petrified to even shoot! also, why does he constantly dribble hard [with his head down] to the baseline, pick up his dribble and then trap himself?! very tough to watch...thanks guys!
Kyle: Honestly, I have no idea. I've been beating the "Steve Blake needs to shoot the ball more" drum all season, and remain just as frustrated. I don't know if it's because he's trying too hard to be a "point guard" first (i.e., run the offense) or isn't confident, but either way, he needs to put up more shots. Particularly as a spot up guy. There's no way he's gonna catch rhythm shooting just 3 or so times a game. Plus, the more shots he passes up, the more bad ones Shannon Brown seems likely to take.
If you had to guess. What do you think happens before the deadline and who all is involved?
Hi Matt-I still think they'll hold pat, in part because there isn't a ton of flexibility and a significant move would almost certainly require giving up a significant, core part of the team (Bynum). There still seems to be resistance to the idea within the organization. Don't forget that trade exception, though. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Lakers more inclined to find help with that use-it-or-lose it chip. Certainly it's more likely now than it was at the start of the trip.
why trade anyone? just start playing like champs and it will be followed by some wins
Why does Shannon zoom by shooters instead of trying to block it? It never throws them off and they seem to make more then 50%.
Mike Dills: I've wondered that myself at times. My guess is it's because Shannon is trying to avoid picking up a shooting foul on a fly by. Basically, distract them by charging in, but not risk the contact on the release. Again, just speculating.
That's certainly one option. But they have a few needs. A second scorer on the wing (think big in terms of Melo, smaller like OJ Mayo) would be a significant help. While we've all (often correctly) focused on the defense, the offense has suffered greatly over the last 10+ games.
Could this be strictly a result of 3 straight trips to the finals? Did it finally catch up with them?
Anto, I don't know about "strictly," but there's no question the essentially non-stop basketball since 2007 plays a factor. It's a physical and (especially) mental grind. Everyone has admitted at one time or another having trouble at times getting up for these games. I'm wondering if there's more in play, whether a chemistry issue or a disconnect between Phil and the team, but you can't overestimate the effect of playing so long without a break.
Hi Alex-Well, remember, Blake played in the bright lights of L.A. before coming to the Lakers. He was a Clipper! I kid. Seriously, though, like you I've been very disappointed by Blake's performance. Or lack thereof. I expected he'd be a much bigger influence on the offense, serving as a floor spreader and a good steward of the offense. But he's been far too timid on offense. So you're right- there's a glaring hole at PG, but at the same time, it's really not much bigger than the same hole was last season. Everything is just a notch below the levels of the last couple seasons, and it won't take much slippage for another team to knock off the Lakers in teh playoffs.
Travis: Yes, because he's got a long term deal. Never say never, but I'd be very surprised if another team took him on, unless the Lakers are taking a bad deal in return.
Alex: I don't think it's a "bright lights" thing with Blake. He won an NCAA title, has stuck around a long time after getting drafted in the second round (which speaks to his innards) and is a scrappy dude who doesn't back down. I think he's not entirely comfortable in this system yet, and in particular, playing without the ball as much. I talked to him about that. But I also think he's trying too hard to "run the offense" first and foremost, which leads to passing up shots. Because he doesn't shoot enough, he never finds a rhythm. It's a vicious circle. I've said it before -- today even -- and I'll say it again. The guy needs to look to score more.
How do you Assess the job Phil Jackson has done this season? Is this the right offensive system for THIS team? Should Phil consider running more off the ball screens for Kobe taking him off the ball and creating more ball movement that way? Has Phil defensive schemes been effective? Should he adopt a quicker lineup on the perimeter to slow down point guards? Has Phil in your opinion effectively MOTIVATED this team and is that his responsibility since he's being paid $12M? Thanks for taking my questions..............basketball experts that you all are!
Steve-The personnel is basically last year's so questions of the offensive system not being appropriate don't really work for me. They've been incredibly effective at times this season. So I don't think that's the problem. I've written a bunch about the need to work Kobe more off the ball, so I'm totally in agreement with that one. As for the quicker lineup, I don't think that's the problem (or an option, really). Shannon is as quick a player as they have, and is a very inconsistent defender. It's about the synchronicity of team defense, which hasn't been there this year.As for Phil himself, clearly he hasn't been able to penetrate the message quite as effectively this year. Some of that has to be his responsibility, some of it goes to the players themselves. He didn't become a bad coach overnight, but it's fair to ask if they need to try a few different things in terms of message. Not sure what that would be (we're in very amorphous territory), but obviously something has to change. The execution just isn't there.
I don't think it's the amount of basketball as much as the success that has taken away some of their motivation. It doesn't take much to bring them back to the pack, because they were not that much better than the rest of the league the past two seasons.
Agreed. They've been, in many ways, about the same as last season (with some slippage in key areas), except the rest of the league has improved around them. Last year's good won't be good enough this season.
It's very frustrating as a fan to watch the Lake Show not play to their full potential during the regular season, but lets be serious. Just like I tell all my buddys that give me a hard time about the Lakers, "We'll talk in June".
Will-There's a lot of truth in that, no question. For all of our consternation about complacency, fatigue, etc... they're genuine factors. The NBA season is a grind. It wears people down. The motivation to go out and find that extra five percent pushing you to a title is hard, harder after three straight Finals runs. That said, at some point they'll have to raise their level, and the big question is when they do, have they given too much away? In terms of time required to get fully up to speed and rhythm, in terms of playoff seeding, and so on.
Shannon and Drew for Carmelo and nene. Does it make sense for both sides?
Isaac: No. That's way too much for Denver to give up. Bynum isn't as good a player as Melo and if Melo was moved, Denver would go into fire sale mode, and Nene, who everyone suspects will opt of his deal with Denver, will be in hot demand. Plus, Shannon can opt out of his deal at the end of the season, so they'd risk trading Melo and Nene for Drew. That's very one-sided.Also, Shannon can block a deal because he resigned a one-year deal with the Lakers, who had his Bird rights. So including Shannon in any scenario complicates the issue.
Netzky Bro's -- Keep up the good work! I hear all this talk about Bynum's length being a huge factor and that the size is the biggest strength the Lakers have, BUT, he NEVER plays in the 4th Q -- Wouldn't a line up of Pau, Kobe, LO, Melo and either one of you K-bro's get it done? Also, I think the absence of Matt Barnes has left a big hole in a couple aspects of their game > Hustle points, movement on offense and most importantly depth. Thoughts?
Thanks Mike-- Nice of you to say. I'm on record as supporting Melo-for-Bynum, in part because I wonder if Drew will ever be a true franchise cornerstone, but mostly because there's just no way I'd sign him to the kind of extension he'll get in a couple years. Not with his health history. So with that in mind, you have to move him, and Melo is a great return. The argument about losing length is significant, b/c while Bynum tends not to play fourth quarters in crunch time, his presence allows the Lakers three seven footers, all highly skilled, able to be deployed whenever. There are almost always two on the floor. And behind them... there's really absolutely no depth, so the Lakers would go from among the most skilled, lengthy, teams up front to dangerously thin.And yeah, I think Barnes will be an immense help when he gets back, but remember, they lost some terrible games with him in the lineup. IT's important not to see Barnes as a savior. Not fair to him.
any chance they trade kobe?
Exhelo,I think it depends on how you define "motivation." If you mean they're satisfied with just two titles, I don't agree. I'm around these guys a lot and it's very obvious another title is important to them. I don't think "fat and happy" comes into play. But the physical and mental drain of the non-stop basketball may be taking a toll, which affects how motivated they are to put in the necessary steps. Basically, their motivation to do whatever it takes, despite being wiped. In that respect, I agree there could be issues.
how can i demand the ball more, without causing a stir in the locker room??
Pau, Make sure you're constantly working for position on every possession and creating situations where the ball "demands" to come your way, so to speak. And make sure when you get the ball, you're mindful of attacking and not settling for mid-range jumpers. Beyond that, not much. It's been made clear on countless occasions you want the ball, and the team has been told by the coaches to send it your way. A locker room hissy fit isn't in your nature and is arguably pointless to begin with,
Does Artest only playing 18 minutes last night signify that his time with the Lakers has come to an end and that he will be dealt before the deadline? If so, who are the top candidates that would come to LA in return. I have been a supporter of his, but Ron Ron needs to go
Hi Mike-Only if they can find a taker, and that seems like a long shot. Right now, he's only a guy who can be traded for someone else's problem. I think it's reflective of incredibly inconsistent play from him. When he's not playing well, PJ has no problem pulling him off the floor. But there has to be concern about where he is mentally. I know he was frustrated earlier in the year by his PT and numbers. Now he's spraying cologne on John Ireland right after a 20 point loss, and tweeting about his mix tape dropping after last night's game.Is Ron- keeping in mind all things are relative, here- still engaged?
Assuming that Matt Barnes comes back healthy after the All-Star break, do you think PJ should start him in place of Artest? I know that people keep saying Artest is fragile and moving him to the bench isn't a good idea, but Barnes provides those hustle plays that we are missing at the moment. Artest is clearly not the same player as last year so maybe this will help wake him up.
Rob-I think you make some great points, and if this were a true meritocracy, it might happen. But if you put Artest on the bench, A) he offers less there in terms of style and fit, and B) you risk losing him entirely. They need him to be effective to win another title. Otherwise, it's a much tougher go. Barnes will get plenty of minutes, including important ones in the fourth.Starting is a little overrated in terms of impact, but for a proud player like Ron, it matters.
Hi Kbros, how can it be a chemistry issue it's the same starting lineup, do you guys think there's some infighting ?
Even as a Celtics fan, I don't understand why people are so worried about the Lakers. They are literally doing the EXACT same thing the Celtics did last year. If I was a Laker fan, the only thing I'd be concerned about is the fact that the roles seem to be entirely reversed, and the Celtics lost last year.
Tom W: it's hard for me to compare the situation directly to the Celtics', since I'm never around them. But as someone around the Lakers, I can say it's a little alarming, because something feels off. This doesn't feel purely like a matter of coasting, but chemistry off or Phil not reaching the team. Even last season, as they often played down to the level of competition, they didn't look as discombobulated. And Artest looks more out of sorts this season than his first year in L.A. I'm not saying the Lakers can't right the ship, but it's certainly worth an eyebrow raise.
Chemistry problems don't automatically have to mean people hate each other or are fighting. Sometimes the synergy just wanes a little. Guys get out of rhythm, frustration builds, attention to detail goes... Doesn't mean guys don't like each other, though.
Do you think an Artest trade to SA for, maybe a Matt Bonner or maybe even George Hill, would be mutually beneficial? Pop has a history of being able to control "problem-children" and LA could use the infusion
What's lower Bynum's basketball IQ or John Ireland's vertical?
Nice trade for the Lakers (in Hill, I mean), but there's no way on earth the Spurs move him for Artest. He's been spectacular for SAS.
Bob: Without seeing Ireland jump with my own eyes, I can't answer that question intelligently.
What about this trade: Pau for Carmelo?
Instead of Bynum? No way. Gasol is vital to what they do, and isn't a long term risk.
Bynum needs to quit complaining about touches, and try harder to stop the great offensive forces of the NBA that have owned him the last 2 games. aka Nazr Muhammad, Kwame Brown and Ryan Hollins.
what happened to the defense?? first 4 games of the trip it looked like it was back. rotations, helping on drives, it was great. the last 3 games were miserable.
Story of the season. No consistency, no identity.
Artest for S-Jax straight up? Nobody will even notice the swap..
Mike: Well, Dr. Buss might, since Jax makes double the money. But that literally made me laugh out loud. Nicely done.
I've seen this team wake up from seemingly the dead and come through too many times to count them out now. Do you think this group has it in them this year to "flip the switch" and go all the way, or does Mitch need to inject some life in the team?
AJ-You're absolutely right-- it's far too early to decide they don't have it this year, and can't win. It's not like they're hovering around .500. The problem is they've shown few signs of having the consistency to play at a championship level, especially when you consider they'll now almost certainly have to do it by playing a lot on the road. The path to a Threepeat is going to be much, much harder than the repeat. As for the flip switch thing, there's some merit to it, but I also think they want to win now. They're just not coming together to make it happen. We talked about some of this last year, too, right up to the playoffs.
If the Lakers do not make some sort of move, whether aquiring Carmelo, or some sort of role player, wont this anger the fans even more?
Ron: The front office has to base moves on what they think best helps the team, not makes fans happy. Not to downplay the importance of fans (I'm nothing if not one, too), but they're never happy unless it's a trade where Kwame Brown becomes Pau Gasol. Fans will be upset if Bynum-Melo happens. Fans will be upset if it doesn't. Appeasement is impossible, so do what's best for the franchise first.
How can they sit and do nothing? At least they need to upgrade their bench. Trade for a back-up 2 guard or a PG for the future. Who is out there that they could get at those positions?
Josh-That's the problem-- it's not easy to make trades happen. The Lakers have their trade exception, but little else in terms of spare parts and flexibility that wouldn't constitute a sea change in how they operate on the floor. Finding those pieces- a backup 2 or PG of the future- is tough. Those players if they're effective aren't the types teams want to give up. IT's another reason constantly winning is hard- with the way the NBA is structured, pulling off the necessary personnel moves gets harder every year.
Whats the chances I can join my brother in LA (Maybe this offseason)? We'd have the Black Swan and the White Swan
Marc Gasol: The odds of playing with your hermano are low, unless you're down with playing for the mid-level exception (or less) as a FA. Otherwise, as an impending free agent, it's gonna take a sign-and-trade from Memphis, who understandably want to keep you. Those can be complicated to pull off. Plus, after working so hard to create your own identity, why enter a situation where you're compared to Pau even more? It would surprise me if that's what you wanted.
What % do give that Kupchak will make some kinda trade before the deadline? And who would u want the Lakers to trade for if a trade was made? And yes I'm in panic mode!!!
4LifeLakerfan: My gut says about 30 percent at best, but that's also pure instinct. But if I had to guess, the team will remain intact. Then again, I've been wrong many times, and will continue to guess incorrectly for the duration of this gig.
What are you guys hearing on a trade with Memphis to acquire Mayo? Not sure who we would give up to get him but Blake's salary matches nicely if Memphis is looking for a veteran guard. More importantly, do you guys think Mayo can help us in the stretch run?
I hear ya Brian, but an OJ Mayo for a trade exception/shannon brown is worth it now and future. Any shot of that?
Hey Rob-I think Mayo (or a Mayo type, if not OJ himself) would definitely help. The Lakers could use another guy on the wing capable of creating his own shots. But I can't see the Grizzlies taking on three more years of Blake in exchange for Mayo. They're hoping to save money in an effort to re-sign guys like Gasol and Randolph. More likely if the Lakers make that move, it's for L.A.'s trade exception. If they did, it probably means keeping Mayo next year and losing Shannon. I'd do it- I love Shannon's work ethic and attitude, but Mayo is a better player- but it's a much more expensive option for the Lakers.
i've been reading these chats and at the beginning of the season, talk was that we'll challenge the 72 win record and that we have the best bench. and now (with obvious reason) fans are asking for bench upgrades. i don't agree. what can be done in house that will help this team?? is it just a matter of buckling down and do what needs to be done?
Hi Albert-Some of it is a question of getting Barnes back, and giving the full array of options to the bench, so that each night the pressure doesn't fall to Shannon and Blake, both of whom aren't the type of players to deliver each and every night. Otherwise, they'd be starters. But you're right-- if no help comes in the form of different players, it's up to the guys that are there to do a better job. For Brown and Blake, it starts with ironing out their jumpers (or in the case of Blake, asserting himself into the offense more).
Is the trade exception enough for Hinrich?
This deal works in trade machine: Lakers, Denver, OKC.Lakers get:Carmelo, Morris Petersons 6.6 mil expiring from OKCNuggets get: Andrew, Jeff Green, ArtestOKC gets:NeneThis is interesting for Denver. They get two pieces they never thought they could both get for the future (Green, Bynum) but as a result they must compromise and take Artests contract. They'll never get two guys like that in any deal.Lakers get Melo and quickly turn Peterson's 6.6 mil expiring for a solid second big man, ala a Reggie Evans (someone to board)Only part I don't know if I like is potentially giving OKC that one more piece.Thoughts?
Nope. KH makes nine mil, and the trade exception is for about 5.5.
Is it time for Laker fans to panic or was it the case of a team eager to just to get to the All Star break?
Can I say both? :)
Ryan: I can't say for sure whether the teams involved would make the deal, but graded on "clever/reasonably realistic points," well done. Everyone makes out pretty evenly, regardless of whether you think the Lakers are better off with Melo or Drew. The Artest angle might create a snag, like you said, but you're right, nice pieces for Denver.
Is Phil Jackson JoePa-ing it up? Continuing to coach the team a season or so longer than he probably needed to?
Hi David-While I think it's perfectly legitimate to be critical of Phil, I don't think that's the issue. Obviously he could have gone out on top last year, but I don't think his coming back is fundamentally what's ailing the team.
After last night do you think Lakers pull a trade or possibly visit meloville?
Still don't think it'll happen-- it's a very long shot-- but the odds are likely higher now.
Where did my 3 pt shooting stroke go from the beginning of the season?
Last night when Drew was interviewed he mumbled something about the team not buying into the defensive schemes. What is your take on that.
I didn't hear the quote, but it wouldn't surprise me, Diana. He's said that sort of thing before, that guys aren't buying in. But I've always taken it to mean they're not executing, not doing them properly, making too many mistakes, etc. as opposed to some sort of open or semi-open revolt.
Shannon Brown: That's an excellent question. My semi-sensible theory is you were more selective in your shots over the first two months, which led to more makes, which created a better rhythm. Since then, you've been gunning more, which leads to bad shots, which leads to misses, which become contagious. My totally ridiculous theory is you were a better shooter while engaged to Monica, as opposed to while married to her.
Why dont the lakers go after tayshaun or even richard hamilton? If you think about it, rip can be like the lakers ray allen
What do they give up to get him? What do they have the Pistons would want?
Hey folks. Time for a couple more...
if brittany spears can make another music video then the lakers can comeback from this too!!!
Rob L: And if Lilo somehow manages to steal a necklace without going to jail for parole violation, even more reason for hope!!!
YO whats up with all the Kobe turnovers. Seems like his finger is bothering him more. At what point does he consider surgery? 4 assists and 7 turnovers is not a good ratio.
Hey Turner-I think the fingers are a problem, for sure. I also think he's trying to do WAY too much in isolation off the dribble. As the primary ball handler in the pick and roll, and so on. He's putting himself into too many positions where a turnover becomes a likelier outcome.He also tends to get caught in the air a ton, without having a clear "out." More than most high end scorers. When he's forced to make a pass under duress, obviously that can result in turnovers, as well.
What's up with Blake and Brown? It seems the Killer B's died when Barnes went out.. Do you think they will be back up to the way they were when Barnes gets back after the All Star break
Jeff: Barnes out hurts the bench on a few levels. For starters, they miss his overall energy. Second, they miss his ability to create buckets while moving off ball and creating a continual target around the rim. And lastly, I don't think either guy has adjusted well in picking up Barnes' slack. Shannon has tried to score too much, while Blake hasn't tried enough. I don't think Matt coming back is the "cure all," but I do think he'll help.
I've just listened to your podcast interview with eric stonesweet, thought you guys did a great job
I know pau had solid game lastnight. Why dont they always play inside-outside!!!
Nick, your guess is as good as mine. It can be inside out with Pau, with Kobe, with Bynum (though Drew certainly had plenty of touches last night). Odom can get down there, even Artest. Threes weren't a problem, but overall, you're right. They just don't tend to play to their strengths. But one problem is the outside shooting. Teams know the Lakers have an advantage inside, and pack the lane in response because as a group, they're not good shooters. When that happens, it's tougher to make hay in the paint.
Thanks, Rob. Appreciate it. And I pushed the comment through not to just stroke our egos (haha), but make people aware of the show. http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/player?id=6129535Pretty funny stuff. He was a cool dude, for sure.
Why the Lakers arrogance this year? They have to be humbled now after another loss to a sub.400 team.
Aaron: If the Cleveland loss wasn't treated as humble pie with a crust made of crow, I don't know what would be.
I've been critical of Phil all year, I think next year under a new regime Kobe and the rest of the Lakers will b rejuvenated by something new. Even though it may b Shaw. What do u think?
I can see your point. At some point, every coach- even legends- hit their end point. But I think they'd be an improved team next year under any coach if they don't win it this season. Once they lose, then the motivation becomes much easier to generate. They're chasing a title, rather than defending. That would give them a boost whether it's PJ, B-Shaw, or you or me. It's hard to argue from a coaching standpoint, they'll be better coached by Shaw (or anyone short of Gregg Popovich) next year than Phil. But change need not be disastrous, either.
Hey folks. That's all the time we have this morning. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.Remember to hit us up via Twitter (@espnlandolakers) or in our mailbag if we didn't get to your question. And also, submit one to the Triangle, as well!
See you next time.