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July 18, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:30 PM)

Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Just so you know, we won't be fielding any questions about Dwight Howard this morning.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:30 PM)

Just kidding.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:30 PM)

Anyway.... here we go.

Long Time Laker Fan (Burbank)

I heard mixed reviews... What are your thoughts on Jermaine O'Neal? Could he contribute or not?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:32 PM)

Hey LTLF-I'm not a big proponent of the Jermaine O'Neal idea. I remember what happened the last time the Lakers lost their backup C, when Theo Ratliff went down for (basically) the season, and it added serious mileage to Pau Gasol's legs. The Lakers need someone who can be reasonably relied on to stay healthy and provide solid minutes in the frontcourt. O'Neal is, at least in theory, a solid defender and a good guy, but played only 49 games over the last two years, and is breaking down. If the Lakers sign him, even for the minimum, there's a good chance they'll spend time this year finding a backup for their backup.

jathdran , nm [via mobile]

I don't like the Howard trade personally do you think this is something they have to do to win the championship this year?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:33 PM)

They don't have to, but it helps. Assuming he's healthy and in form, Howard is a better player. It's that simple. He's a top 5 guy in the NBA, and those are by definition incredibly rare. When there's a chance to get one, go get one.

Daniel (Anaheim)

Why use Cleveland in a 3-team deal to land Howard in LA? Why not do a straight up deal between the lakers and cavs giving up bynum for varejao and a combination of role players like Gibson, casspi, tristan Thompson, or some picks. Think about it... The lakers right now have too many guys who need touches. Get rid of Bynum and his attitude and bring in varejao who brown has coached and knows how to use. He's a great defensive player, brings in toughness, and does all the little things. It would even open up pau more on offense. Then add gibson (we need outside shooting) and casspi (we need anyone at the 3) and we suddenly have some holes filled. Call me crazy, but this makes us a better team and Cleveland would definitely do it to have a core of Irving/Bynum going into the future.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:35 PM)

No thanks. Yeah, there are issues with Drew and concerns, but he's a better player than what you're getting back. In the NBA, rarely does it pay off to send out superior talent for "depth" plays. One player can have such a disproportionate impact on games, it's best to keep the most talented guys you can.

Cameron Beeder (Newbury Park, CA) [via mobile]

Which is a more potentially devastating top 6? Chalmers- Wade- James- Bosh- Haslem- Allen, or Nash- Bryant- MWP- Gasol- Howard- Jamison?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:36 PM)

Both are really strong, but while the best talent in that equation is on Miami (LeBron), the balance the Lakers would trot out there is impressive.

John (LA)

One thing that people aren't talking enough about is what is going through Andrew's mind during all of the trade chatter about Dwight...don't get me wrong, I would love to have him, but there is a very real possibility that does not happen. If it doesn't, does Andrew say hey, look, I think that I am better and I will just go out and prove it on the court, or does he sulk and continue down the path of immaturity and perform great at times, but inconsistently?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:38 PM)

I wouldn't worry about it, John. If the Lakers don't trade him, they'll likely turn around and offer him an extension. I haven't heard anything to the contrary, at least. He's used to being the subject of trade rumors, and he's being dangled for Dwight Howard. But if the Lakers show him the money, so to speak, that papers over a lot of discontent. Now whether he is ready to lose the immaturity, etc. of last season is a different question. I think that's actually independent of the trade conversations. Either his mind is there, or it isn't.

Peter (Santa Monica)

Why are the Lakers reluctant to use their mini mid level exception? Isn't signing two players to minimum contracts about the same as the exception. There are many needs that the team needs to improve on the bench?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:40 PM)

Peter-Right now, at least, they want to hold off on the MML because they don't know exactly what their needs might be in the wake of a potential DH deal. It's their best chance to get the highest quality player, so it's important to know where those dollars need to be directed. They could as well be trying to save a little cash, no question. But there are advantages to having the MML available later in the year, too, when players become available and a little flexibility in the $ available to offer players can be used well. But right now, the major hold on that exception seems to be the Howard talks.

Zac B (Idaho)

At this point is trading Andrew Bynum absolutely necessary? As a lifetime Laker fan, basketball enthusiast, and player it seemed at many times effort was a problem for Andrew Bynum. I think we all saw how GREAT he can be Game 1 against the Nuggets, or the monster game against the Spurs. But with all this trade talk, and after what seems like a lack of effort, concentration or care at times.....Is it in the Lakers best interest to trade him for another piece, even if the piece is not Dwight Howard?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:41 PM)

Absolutely necessary? Of course not. If the Lakers are "forced" to go into the season with him as their center, this is hardly a problem. The issue isn't that Bynum isn't good (maturity/effort questions notwithstanding), just that Howard is better.

chicago [via mobile]

Die hard laker fan starting 5 looks good on paper but tht bench not so who are the Lakers looking too add to it?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:42 PM)

Hard to say. Jordan Hill is still a possibility, the Jamison rumors seem to have some legs. Other names like Jodie Meeks have popped up periodically, as well. But don't think stars. If the Lakers could get someone like Jamison for a vet's minimum deal, that would be a big boost. Yes, he's old, but Jamison can still score, which is a huge point of need for the Lakers off the bench.

Mike (Ladera Ranch)

Interested to get your take on why you think the Lakers didn't use the amnesty. There are only a few guys left on the team that it can be used on- MWP, Blake, Kobe, Pau and Bynum. Obviously the last 3 aren't going to get it. I thought it would have made a lot of sense on MWP this time around.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:45 PM)

Hi Mike-The long and short of it is the Lakers need MWP. If they amnestied him, they'd simply be saving a little money, but they wouldn't be able to parlay that savings into a better player. All they'd have are their MML and vets minimum contracts to offer. So if you can't do better than the guy you're cutting, it's penny wise and pound foolish. They're spending a fortune as it is. Might as well give yourself the best shot to win. MWP ought to (like everyone else) do well with Nash. He'll have a ton of open shots, and consistently be put in positions to succeed offensively. Meanwhile, his presence at the other end can still be very valuable. As for Blake, they need a backup PG. Might as well keep the guy under contract.

Brandon Rush (LA)

Do you think I'll get to be a Laker next season?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:46 PM)

No. You have a qualifying offer for $4.5 million from Golden State, which is about $1.5 million more than the Lakers can offer. Even if you signed that offer sheet, GSW would match it.

Kevin (Los Angeles)

Do the Lakers have a chance to resign Jordan Hill?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:46 PM)

Yes, though if some team wants to throw a ton of money at him, there is only so much the CBA allows the Lakers to pay him.

Andrew Mayer (Boise/Idaho)

Why doesnt Orlando trade Dwight Howard and get this drama over

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:47 PM)

This is arguably the most significant moment in their franchise's history. Do it right, and they can rebuild relatively fast. Screw it up, and they could be buried for a long time. Hard to blame them for taking their time.

Quantae ( Los Angeles ) [via mobile]

Why the Lakers want use the amnesty clause on Steve Blake and then sign Jordan Farmar back, is there any news that the Lakers are going after a two guard like Courtney Lee that can hit open threes what the Lakers need off the bench.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:48 PM)

Courtney Lee would be a great fit, but is almost surely going to be well out of their price range.

Enrique (Corpus Christi, Tx) [via mobile]

I have several guestions, feel free to answer one or all at your delight. What is the status on Jordan Hill? When will the bench be addressed? Is Antwan Jamison a lakers yes or no? Why is Dwight Howard still being mentioned? Can Darrius Morris become an All Star player learning under Steve Nash, just look at that other guy gordan dragic or whatever his name is?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:51 PM)

Still communicating with the Lakers, yes they'll try, Jamison isn't yet a Laker but certainly could be soon, Howard is still mentioned because the Lakers are heavy in trade talks and he's one of the five best players in the league, and it's way too early to project Morris as an All-Star, even working with Nash. He needs to become a credible rotation player first, though obviously Nash affords him a great opportunity to learn.

Jack (Santa Fe)

Do you think there is any validity to Mitch and Jim Buss's claims that the team will not use the mini MLE to get a free agent? It seems like a decent guard (Belinelli, Jodie Meeks, Delonte West) could be had for that money. I just don't understand why the organization would go all-in monetarily with the Steve Nash deal, then be cheap when filling out the roster.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:53 PM)

I agree with you that to decide not to spend the MML on a player they think can help is not a smart strategy. But at the same time, I'm not sure they won't ultimately use it. To wait now makes some sense, at least until the DH business gets some clarity. The guys they're going for are all hoping to get more money right now than the MML, so there is still a little time. The Lakers are really hoping to see who falls through the cracks and trying to get players at a bargain.FWIW, I'd love to see Delonte, if he's healthy.

Mario (Van Nuys, Ca.) [via mobile]

The Lakers adding old guys like Jamison, J. O'Neal to the bench won't help. Do u think there is any young, affordable talent Lakers can get to revamp the bench?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:55 PM)

Jamison absolutely will help, though I'm not high on O'Neal b/c of his health problems. That said, younger talent tends to cost more, especially if it's young, athletic, and skilled talent. Those guys aren't available for the MML or veterans minimum deals, and that's what the Lakers have available. But it gets to the importance of bringing back Hill if at all possible. The Lakers can't possibly get someone with his size and athleticism with a veteran's minimum deal.

Long Time Laker Fan (Burbank)

Marcelinho Huertas. He's Brazil's starting PG. Does any NBA team own his draft rights? Could the Lakers make him an offer?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:55 PM)

I don't know, but my understanding is guys like him generally don't want to come over unless they can get paid, and the Lakers can't afford a contract that will make it worth it for him to make the jump, at least financially.

Long Time Laker Fan (Burbank)

Would any of the "problem child" free agents help the Lakers. Delonte West? Andray Blatche? Chris Anderson?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:56 PM)

On that list, I'll take West for sure.

Nick (Savannah, TN)

Hi AK/BK,I have a couple of questions. Suppose the Lakers do trade for Dwight Howard. How does the fact that they're already over the salary cap affect their ability to sign him to an extension? Wouldn't going even further over the cap limit be to their detriment once the new CBA kicks in? Thanks for answering my questions, you guys do a great job with the Land O'Lakers blog!

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:58 PM)

Hi Nick-No, they'd be able to offer him a max extension, despite being over the cap. The league allows teams to retain their own free agents, and go however far over the cap/tax they'd like to go in the effort. The Lakers are so capped out right now that adding Howard to the payroll doesn't impact their flexibility under the new CBA. It's just more money out of the checking account. Keep in mind, too, if they don't swing a trade for Howard, they'll likely look to lock up Bynum. So either way, there is money going out.

Scott Denver [via mobile]

i know bynum does not live up to what he can be.....but i think we are better with bynum than Howard....look at free throws now we have a real point guard...am i wrong

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:00 PM)

Yes, you are (since you asked, haha).Howard has been the best player in the league as the roll man on pick and rolls for the last few seasons. He's also outstanding scoring on basket cuts, and generally speaking moves very well away from the ball. Adding one of the best P and R PG's the game has ever seen makes Howard a better fit for the Lakers than Bynum. Not that Bynum isn't good, but Howard is better. Plus, Howard's defensive superiority represents a badly needed upgrade.

Christopher (Cookeville, TN)

More feasable: Kobe catches Kareem's scoring mark, or Jordan's title mark?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:01 PM)

Hmmm... I'll say Jordan's title. Catching Kareem requires a longer commitment to playing than Kobe might be willing to make.

Zach (Florida)

Is the Jamison deal official yet?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:04 PM)

Nope!

Mat (Mid City)

Should Nash put in a call to Dwight? Perhaps he can be a better recruiter than Kobe.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:04 PM)

It's too early for anyone to be calling anyone. The Lakers have to find a deal the Magic like, first. From there, then people can start recruiting folks.

Adam (Burbank)

Even if we get DH, do you have enough faith in Mike Brown to lead this team to a title?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:05 PM)

Sure. If they have a healthy DH and fill a gap or two on the bench, that's a great team.

Scott (L-Town)

Why haven't we added another shooter yet?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:07 PM)

Well technically, they added Nash, who is one of the best the game has ever seen, if not the best. But in terms of a spot up shooter, the market still has to shake out. Guys aren't necessarily clamoring to take less money right off the bat to play with L.A. Because the Lakers don't have any real money to offer, to some degree they're waiting to see who doesn't have a chair when the music stops.

Gideon [via mobile]

Wat's going on about howard and why not get session as back up to nash and waive blake?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:09 PM)

Because they don't want to burn money on Blake, or use the amnesty clause on someone earning that little. It's reasonable for them to make some concessions somewhere.

Nick (LA)

All the Cavs talk just chatter, or is there something going on there as a third team?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:10 PM)

I don't know if it's the Cavs or another team, but if Orlando wants cap space, young players and picks, the Lakers will have to get another team involved. They can't offer any of that.

LakersFan (New York)

If the Lakers get Dwight Howard, are they any closer to winning a championship then they are with Bynum? And will Howard be happy if he's not "top dog"? Why not focus on an actual need right now, such as outside shooting and the bench.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:12 PM)

Yes, they're better because Howard is a much more polished defensive player than Bynum. his difference on that end alone would be a huge boost to the Lakers. As for Howard's happiness, that I can't say. I'm sure he'd have to adjust his mentality to not just playing with Kobe, but also Nash and Pau Gasol. But he's a better player than Bynum, and I certainly don't think he'd sulk his way through a season. Not after what he's done over the last year or so. As for the Howard thing impacting the bench, I don't see it as a problem. There really aren't a lot of guys out there they've "missed" on since the process started. The type of players the Lakers are likely to be able to afford will be around in a week or two.

Bsmartz (NYC)

Grat Hill to the Clips? Makes no sense at this stage in his career, rt?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:13 PM)

No, they're a legit contender in the Pacific. He'll go, play in a tandem at the 3 with Caron Butler, play with CP3 and Blake Griffin, be in a locker room with Chauncey... It's certainly a reasonable career choice.

jlomarda14 (California)

If the lakers are not gonna use the amnesty on MWP. When are they planning to use it? Any update on it?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:13 PM)

The deadline to use it this season has passed, so it won't be until next year if at all when the Lakers actually use it.

East Palo Alto [via mobile]

Do people remember the lakers beating the Magic and the lakers used a center with one bad knee

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:14 PM)

Not really true. They used Pau Gasol. Bynum had almost no impact in that series.

Jay (Santa Monica)

I'm still not sure what to make of Ebanks. Considering established NBA players, who has a similar type game?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:15 PM)

Trevor Ariza is still a very good template, I think. Long, athletic, willing defender, hard worker, needs to improve his shot, but attacks the basket off the ball very effectively and moves well on the break. Plus, they look alike.

Phillip (West LA)

What are the chances of the Lakers aquiring Courtney Lee via sign and trade?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:15 PM)

Zero. Lakers don't have anything they can trade to make that work.

Omar (San Francisco)

To make the most of a PG like Nash, the team needs players that can run the floor, including the center. That's where Howard would be much better than Bynum. Ditto for pick and roll. Do you agree?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:15 PM)

Yeah, I think he's a better fit offensively, for sure. But defensively it's a major leap. The guy is dominant in ways Bynum simply isn't.

Steven (Tustin)

Hey guys, I understand the pursuit of Dwight and I hope we get him but I don't understand why the lakers don't officially sign Ebanks or sign Jamison or make an offer to Jordan hill. I hear that they have to wait til the Howard thing ends but I don't understand why. Arnt they worried some of these guys will walk away? How long can they wait for the magic to make a decision?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:18 PM)

The "how long" question is a good one, Steven. There is some point at which the Lakers do have to make some moves, however modest. I think if they can seal up the Jamison thing (assuming it is close) that buys them time. They'd have an established bench scorer, and can then continue watching the market and targeting some players. Nobody they can get will be a perfect solution, so there are different paths they can take with those vet min contracts, or even the MML if they decide to use it.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:18 PM)

But with that said, i don't think the rush is so strong they have to put some sort of deadline on it. They have the luxury of already having a guy like Bynum around. They don't have to do anything. Orlando has much more pressure on them.

Laker boy [via mobile]

any news on jamison and why not get a big star small forward and waive mwp?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:20 PM)

To reiterate, the only way they get a star 3 is to trade either Bynum or Gasol. Waiving MWP has nothing to do with it, b/c they'd still have only the MML exception and veteran's minimum deals to offer.

3dano3 (Mankato, MN)

Why the focus on FAs on the verge of going into the nursing home??? Can't we scour the D-league for some young, athletic players for bench spots 9-12??

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:22 PM)

That's a strategy I think is very sound, depending on which guys you're talking about. Jamison, for example, is still a productive player. I'd take him, b/c they're unlikely to find anyone in the D-League who can do what he does. That said, if someone like Jermaine O'Neal is the option, I'd keep looking for a younger player with upside and more bounce. Old isn't necessarily bad, but veteranness can be overrated. They can't whiff on guys like Troy Murphy and Kapono last year.

Ahmad (Bay Area)

How big of a contributor can Devin Ebanks be next season?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:23 PM)

It really depends on how the rest of the roster is filled out. Right now, he could see minutes as a backup at both the 3 and the 2. On the other hand, he's a couple FA signings away from very thin minutes.

Dale (Irvine)

Best breakfast spot in LA?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:24 PM)

I live around the corner from The Griddle Cafe at the corner of Sunset and Fairfax. That place is great. For something a little fancier, try BLD on Beverly Blvd. But there are tons, tons, tons of good spots.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:24 PM)

Hey folks. Time for a couple more...

Rob (Century City)

Birdman is available and wouldn't get hurt like Jermaine O'Neal. Someone the Lakers would consider?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:27 PM)

I don't know. The legal issues he had in denver last year are still ongoing, though it does appear that they're not as bad as it may have looked. But he hasn't played much over the last couple years, and does have some health issues too. If he clears the amnesty waivers process, which i don't think he will, it'll be interesting to see who takes a look.

James (OC)

If you had to say, one way or the other, will Dwight Howard be a Laker on opening night this season?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:28 PM)

I'll say... yes. But I'm not feeling terribly strong about it.

Kevin (OC)

Bynum has already said Cleveland is one of the teams he would sign with long-term. That makes the Cle / Orl / LAL trade the best option for all parties, right? Gotta think Howard would sign with the Lakers at this point now that the Brooklyn option is all but dead.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:29 PM)

I've heard from a source that Bynum has tried to backtrack the report of a "list," and certainly I'd look at stuff like that with a grain of salt. I think Bynum will sign most places where he's given a big role and can get paid, but I don't know if he really truly wants to go to Cleveland.

Landon (TN)

True or False: If the Lakers dont get at least three more solid bench players regardless of bynum/howard, they wont get near a championship...

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:30 PM)

False, but they need a couple reliable players, for sure. Two good additions will go a long, long way.

Mansa (L.A. to the Bay)

KBros! Are the Lakers going to show any interest in Andray Blatche? I know he's a knuckle head, but he's 25 with a world of talent. I think Nash and Kobe could have a good influence on him and it would be worth the risk. What do you think?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:31 PM)

I doubt it, though someone will likely take a chance on him. But hte Lakers aren't in babysitting mode right now.

km (hsv)

is there any truth to the talk that ebanks hasn't signed his qualifying offer yet in case he's traded via s&t?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:32 PM)

I know it's true he hasn't signed the QO yet. The reasons are more open to interpretation, but that's certainly one of them.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:32 PM)

I know it's true he hasn't signed the QO yet. The reasons are more open to interpretation, but that's certainly one of them.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:32 PM)

I know it's true he hasn't signed the QO yet. The reasons are more open to interpretation, but that's certainly one of them.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:33 PM)

OK, folks! Gotta run. Thanks for all the great Q's. If I didn't get to yours, feel free to tweet it to @espnlandolakers. Thanks.