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Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson will be addressing the media tommorrow around noon. They’ll hopefully give some insights into the teams plans this offseason, but I’m curious to hear what you guys are thinking.

A lot of the guys today said that this was a really young team and given time to develop, the Lakers could be a lot better. The big question is, how much better? Let’s say everyone stayed healthy, Bynum and Farmar had more room to develop at a slower pace and Smuch Parker didn’t implode, how much better do you think the Lakers could’ve been? A 3 seed, 4, 5?

That’s the question Mitch and the braintrust will need to answer this summer.

Kobe is under contract through 2011, but can opt out after 2009. Phil’s got one more year at $10 million a season. He’s stated that the organization needs to decide if its worth it to pay him that much to coach what’s been a rebuilding project the last few years. He’s also got to decide if he’s got the energy to coach beyond next season.

So basically, the options break into three categories:
1. Big and Bold: Tear it all up and start anew. Trade Bynum and/or Lamar –the Lakers best tradng chips — for a big, impact name like KG, Jason Kidd, Jermaine O’Neal or Pau Gasol. Or, dump salary, do a sign-and-trade and sign a premier free agent like Gerald Wallace or Mo Williams.

2. Medium Risk: Make a medium impact trade (salary-cap liabilities/casualties like Marcus Camby or Mike Bibby) or sign a medium-impact free agent like Steve Blake.

3. Hold Em: Re-sign Luke Walton, bring in a decent veteran via the midlevel exception, hope everyone stays healthy and push the restart button on the 2006-07 season to see if it comes out differently.

There are two wild-cards here.

1. There’s been some buzz, hard to say if its just speculation, that Jerry West could be brought back as a consultant. Jerry West would never put a power play on Mitch Kupchak, his protege, so don’t even think about going down that road. But West would still be an intriguing wild card in a consultant role.

2. Kwame Brown is going into his contract year. If ever there was a year for him to suddenly find his game every night, this is it. He said as much on Thursday in his exit interview.

“It’s definitely a critical summer for me with all the injuries I have, it being a contract year next year, I’ve definitely got to be really focused on the summer,” he said.

Needless to say, if Kwame’s healthy and motivated, it’s almost like bringing in a new player.

Anyway, I’m curious what you guys think. Feel free to vent.

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  • gdchild

    At least a medium change.

    Don’t count on Kwmae’s small hands and his inability to make layups.

    Get rid of Smush’s attitude yesterday. Cook can’t defend.

    We aren’t a title contender, not even close, with the current roster.

    Do something and do it now.

  • Smark96

    Jerry Buss has always pride on having the best talent on his team. This year however, it proved that having the best player all-around is not enough. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprise if a trade wich would get Odom/Bynum for KG takes place during this summer. I believe that a player of Garnett’s caliber would make the Lakers a contender/Elite on the West. But the question is “Does KG really want to play for the Lakers?”
    What do you guys think?

  • Aishia

    Lakers need to get rid all that garbage they have besides Kobe, Maurice Evans, Jordan Farmer & package Andrew Bynum & Lamar to Minnesota and get KG he will play another 5 yrs because you will get your monies worth with him. He will bring it every night.

  • tim

    smarky96, you think KG would rather stay in minni, and kick out of double teams to marko jarkic? or come to LA, chill on the beach at his malibu home between games, not ever get doubled because kobe cant be singled covered, and be taught about life by phil jackson. hmmm. plus kg and kobe have always been homies since kobes first allstar game. trust me. hed love to come to LA. i think if you combined kobes intense scowl, with KGs instense scowl, the world might just explode.

    if i was the GM i would resign chris mihm and luke.
    then id go after the following in this order.

    1. Jermaine Oneal if he can be had by giving up bynum ad not lamar. Kobe Lamar JO would be the top priority.

    2. Odom Bynum for KG

    3. LO and others, no bynum, for JO.

    4. Kidd

    5. Mo Williams

    6. Try to use the midlevel on matt carrol, or peitrus. one excellent shooter. or a much better version of mo evans.

  • Michael Teniente

    THE JACKSON JOURNAL: The Final Report Part 1.
    By Michael C. Teniente

    Our problems are the same problems we had to end the 2005-2006 season. We lost to the Suns in a seven game series but we came away with a sense that there was hope in our immediate future. It became clear that the Lakers needed a point guard if we were going to compete with the elite of the Western Conference. More to the point: Dallas, Phoenix, and San Antonio.

    It was also clear to me that the Lakers needed a small forward, too. The Lakers, obviously, must have thinking along the same lines because the first thing they did was to go out and sign a small forward in Vladimir Radmanovic. Then they tried to address the point guard situation by signing Shammond Williams and drafting Jordan Farmar. Outside of these three transactions there wasnt any real changes with the ball club. Nobody really gave the Lakers a chance but the Lakers started out fast and were a surprise.

    Everything was looking and feeling pretty good until injuries took their toll. But even with a healthy squad there were still problems. The problems were the same ones that Lakers management tried to address in the off-season. The Lakers basically addressed their problem in theory but did not execute that plan during the season. What does that mean? It means that the Lakers went with the same line-up that lost to Phoenix to end the 2005-2006 season. What does that mean? It means that the Lakers still had Smush Parker and Luke Walton in the starting line-up.

    What was the whole purpose of signing Radmanovic if the Lakers didnt know they were weak at the 3 spot? But what did PJ do? He played Luke Walton as the starter and was giving him more than 30 minutes a game. The second thing PJ did was ride Smush Parker for 30 minutes a game. These are the two spots the Lakers addressed in the off-season but PJ dismissed these transactions and played these two players as if the concerns in these two positions were a just a figment of our imaginations.

    I have to believe that from the beginning of the season until towards the end of the season there had to be a power struggle going on between Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson. From what I see, Phil Jackson is trying to pull a mini Larry Brown/New York Knicks scenario. In that scenario Larry Brown tried to undermine Isiah Thomas authority by not playing players that Larry Brown had signed off on. Then Larry Brown tried to get a meeting with the Knicks owner to push his agenda. James Dolan wasnt having any part of it because Larry Brown was in the wrong. In the end Larry Brown got fired for trying to manipulate the scene in New York.

    PJ basically dismissed Shammond Williams to the end of the bench until it was too late to really expect meaningful production from what we might have anticipated from Williams. PJ continued to play Smush Parker even though everyone knew he was a defensive liability. But what was so shocking was how PJ abruptly pulls the plug on Parker on the 81st game of the season. I remember Paul Westphal saying: What took him so long. It was painfully obvious that Parker isnt a starter in this league.

    To pull a player in the 81st game is absolutely absurd. The problem was well known from the end of the 2005-2006 season. For Smush Parker to even make the team didnt make any sense whatsoever. But to start him for 80 games just to pull him from the starting line-up in the 81st game is mind-boggling.

    Then there was Radmanovic. PJ dismissed this signing by insisting on making Luke Walton the starter at the 3 spot. This lasted the whole season. What good is beating a dead horse? The bottom line is this: The Lakers are exactly where they were at the end of the 2005-2006 season. If they do not ride Radmanovic then they need to improve the 1 and 3 spots because its the same problem they tried to address in the off-season of 2006. Nothing changed! The Lakers knew they had a problem with Luke Walton and Smush Parker starting at the 1 and 3 spots. They went out and tried to address it. But when push came to shove PJ rode Walton to the end and got burned for it. And PJ rode Smush until the 81st game and got burned for it.

    Now here we are talking about trading LO, Kwame, and Bynum because PJ didnt execute managements plan for the 2006-2007 season?

    Even if Radmanovic, Williams, and Farmar arent the answers it just goes to show you that the problems are still at the 1 and the 3 spots.

    You dont go out and sign a small forward, a point guard, and draft another point guard because youre unaware of the problem. No, by getting these players management acknowledged these problems. But PJ stuck with Walton and Parker and so, basically, nothing changed. And if nothing changed then the problem is at the 1 and 3 spots as it was to end the 2005-2006 season. And now that it obvious that it didnt work out, for whatever reason, you dont then say: We need a power forward or a center.

    mike

  • bootyjuice

    scenarios:
    Jermaine O’Neal:
    Trading Lamar for Jermaine doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t really see Jermaine as much of an improvement from Lamar, plus Jermaine’s contract is HUGE. I’d be willing to part with Bynum for Jermaine along with Kwame and Radmonovic. Try to re-sign Mihm, Walton, Turiaf

    ideal starting 5:
    Farmar or ?
    Kobe
    Walton
    Lamar
    Jermaine

    Garnett scenario:
    Give them anyone they want except Kobe and Bynum. Again would love to get rid of Kwame and Radmonovic. Re-sign Mihm, Walton, Turiaf.

    starting 5:
    Farmar or ?
    Kobe
    Walton
    KG
    Bynum/Mihm

    Chauncey Billups:
    I think Billups is the perfect fit for this team. Better than Kidd. Chauncey is a tall guard, plays good defense, doesn’t hog the ball, plays steady, get you around 20ppg 7ast 4rbs, only making$6.5mil, and is CLUTCH. This is the fee agent they need to go after, or work a sign and trade with Detroit.

    starting 5:
    Chauncey
    Kobe
    Walton
    Lamar
    Bynum/Kwame

    If think all 3 of these deals could put them in the elite category, but a combo of Chauncey and either the KG, or Jermaine deal would guarantee the Bling!

    I can always dream….

  • Darryl Williams

    Get Kobe some help, Jermaine O’Neal is three year younger than KG and bring Mr. West back also Taxes please Mr. Buss you can’t take the money with you fill me.

  • TRJONS

    I think KG has wanted to play for the Lakers for 5 years now.

  • Binh Nguyen

    The best way is getting JO or Gasol without giving Odom. Bynum, Kwame + filler for JO/Gasol. MLE for Charlie Bell or Blake, resign Mihm, Walton and we are all set.

  • mike wills

    The injury bug killed this team chemistry. This is good team. I think we should have sent Bynum to the D-league much like Farmer to get him going. If Mike Bibbys opts out, I would push for him. We don’t ha

  • Michael Teniente

    THE JACKSON JOURNAL: The Final Report Part 2.
    By Michael C. Teniente

    The need to upgrade at the 1 and 3 spots is a just a reality that needs to be addressed. If the Lakers still have confidence in Radmanovic then its the 1 spot that needs to be addressed. This isnt going to change. It needs to be addressed.

    But now lets break down even a greater problem. Kobe Bryant shooting! Thats a problem. But we have to give Kobe the benefit of doubt because, before the injuries, Kobe was, in fact, playing team ball. He was involving his teammates. The crash came when Lamar Odom and Luke Walton were injured at the same time.

    It was during this time that the Lakers put Brian Cook into the line-up and made him the 2nd option. We lost all our games until Odom and Walton returned. There was a fundamental problem right here. The idea of bring a guy like Cook of the bench and making him the 2nd option is a sign that there is dysfunction on how the offense was operating. Why wasnt Kwame Brown given more responsibility? The answer is simple. Its because Kwame Brown was unreliable in that role.

    Why was Kwame unreliable? That answer is simple, too. Its because both Kwame and Andrew Bynum were only getting about 4 of 5 shots a game up until that point. The only time Kwame was getting the ball was on a dish off. Andrew on the other hand was receiving entry passes into the post to operate the offense accordingly. But even that was minimal. Still, no matter what these two guys were only getting 4 to 5 shots per game. That is dysfunction!

    When you have a couple of players who only take 4 to 5 shots per contest during the regular season you dont ask them to become forces in the middle in the playoffs. That is unrealistic and a receipt for disaster. This I put the blame on Kobe Bryant. Because even when the team was doing wellKwame Brown and Andrew Bynum were still only getting 4 to 5 shots per contest. Sometime it was as low as 1 to 3 shots per contest.

    Lets examine Kobe Bryant to see what the root of this dysfunction is all about.

    A PERSONAL STORY

    Years ago, I dont remember the exact time; I was visiting my mothers house. The television was on. I remember seeing Kobe Bryant on the screen. It wasnt a game because I would have been sitting watching the game if it was. But I remember standing behind the recliner that sits in the living room of my mothers house and commenting to my sister-in-law about Kobe Bryant: Thats the next Michael Jordan, I said to her. She responded by saying: Youre brother says the same thing.

    It was interesting because this was before anyone was comparing Kobe to Jordan. It was also interesting to me because my brother and I, both huge Laker fans, never spoke about it to each other. It was just a passing comment my sister-in-law and I had and nothing more.

    Well, over the years I watched young Kobe develop. It was scary to watch and think of the possibilities. But through it all there was always a nagging thought deep within about a potential problem. That problem was this: How was Kobe Bryant going to be the next Michael Jordan as long as he was playing with Shaq? As long as they played togetherrealistically, it wasnt going to happen. I didnt want to think or talk about that because I liked Shaq as much as I liked Kobe and I didnt want to think of the possibility of the Lakers splitting those two.

    A couple of years later I remember reading about the rift between Kobe and Shaq in the newspapers. It was early 2000. That I remember clearly. I remember reading how Shaq challenged the reporters to watch the game and to report what they see. It was a simple challenge. It was clear that Kobe Bryant wasnt playing within the offense. I remember seeing Shaq set a pic for Kobe and then roll to the basket and seeing Kobe just ignore Shaq and go freelance. I remember arguing it with some other fans because they were so in love with Bryant. Shaq was right! Kobe Bryant wasnt playing any type of team ball then. Anyone who followed the team back then knows this is true.

    I attribute this to Kobes need to establish his greatness because despite what he was doing outside of the context of the offensehe was spectacular. That was plain to see.

    Im not going to rehash the Shaq trade. Its irrelevant at this point. The point is Kobes need to establish his greatness. That greatness was repressed by playing with Shaq for eight years. Think about it! Eight years is a lot of time. If Kobe had played on any other team for those eight years who knows what greatness he would have manifested in that time. Anyway the itch to branch out on his own was too great and if he had to face the possibility of playing with Shaq for one more yearthere was no way he was coming back. You see, up until the trade of Shaq, Kobe Bryant had scaled his game back in a major way.

    Theres only one player, in all my years, which Ive seen that actually scaled his game back for the benefit of the team and the organization. And that player is James Worthy. James Worthy had major, major game coming into the league. But he came into the league with a team that already had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, Jamal Wilks, and Bob McAdoo to boot.

    Throughout Worthys career he always had to scale his game back. Even when he won the MVP for the finals against Detroitthat was after everyone else was already slowing down. Wow! Now thats a sacrifice.

    Kobe Bryant is nowhere near as dedicated to the game as James Worthy. Kobe Bryant is dedicated to himself and his legacy. I can understand that because if you watch it from an individual viewpointits amazing to watch and we get caught up into it. Thats powerful! But its hurting the TEAM. This is the real root to the Lakers problems.

    Let me put it this way: Kobe Bryant, in his first year after the Shaq trade, got hurt and missed a number of games. Kobe wasnt able to show his greatness in that year so the need to establish his greatness remains. The 2nd year Kobe started to show what he want to show all along, his great ability to score at will. He scored 60 and 81 points in a couple of games. He also won a scoring title, plus the Lakers started to show promise towards the end of the season so it was looking good and Kobe was able to maintain his outlook.

    This year Kobe really did try to become a team player to the point where he wasnt being aggressive enough at times. But then the injuries hit and it was back to the old Kobe. No one can really complain because it was in the context of lifting the team when the team needed it. Kobe won another scoring title, too.

    Lost in translation is the fact that the 5 spot on the Lakers, either Kwame Brown or Andrew Bynum, was never getting the proper amount of touches in the offense. It is totally illogical for the Lakers expect to get to the next level without Kwame Brown or Andrew Bynum getting at least 10-12 shots per game.

    We saw what Lamar Odom can do in the Phoenix series. The question is why he hasnt done this earlier? To me its simple. In order: the first year he was injured. The second year he was still learning the triangle. The third year hes injured again. And even with injury he was dominant in the Phoenix series.

    If Lamar Odom continues to play like that theres no need to bring in anyone else at that position, especially if you drop Odom to the 3 spot. What doesnt get addressed is the need for Kwame Brown to be involved in the offense. Say what you will about Kwame Brown but a big part of the problem with Brown is the total lack of offensive involvement, which brings lack luster efforts.

    If you watched the offense over the last two years you can plainly see that the Lakers werent running the triangle. They were running the Kobe Bryant offense and players, even Lamar Odom, were just standing around and watching. That is the plain and hard truth that Kobe Bryant has to come to terms with.

    You dont do that then ask player to step up in the playoffs. If you want players to step up in the playoffs you have to involve them in the offense from game one of the regular season. You give the center at least 10-12 shots per game from game one of the regular season and by the time the playoffs come around you wont have to ask the Kwame Browns to step up and be a force in the middle. To ask Kwame to step up and be a force in the middle when Kobe Bryant basically ignored him all season long is just stupid.

    I mean, think about it. Both Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum just over 5 shots per game. They both shot over 500 from the field, which isnt saying much with only 5 shots per game. You dont ignore both Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum in the offense all season long and then turn around and complain that theres no production in the middle when the playoffs come around.

    Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum arent the problems. The Kobe Bryant offense is the problem. Its been three years since Shaq got traded and the time has come for Kobe Bryant to scale his game back for the benefit of the team and the organization.

    Is that possible? I dont know because when James Worthy scaled his game back in the 80s in know that had a lot to do with Jerry West convincing James it was the right thing to do. This is part of the problem, too. Mitch Kupchack doesnt enough of a basketball personality to convince Kobe that its in the best interest of the team and his career to scale his game back. Jerry West does.

    Im not saying we need to replace Mitch but I would seriously consider bringing Jerry West back as a consultant specifically for addressing this Kobe Bryant issue.

    mike

    P.S. Part 3 of this report will be on PJ.

  • Wiz

    Trade Kwame, Cook, Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal if possible. We need a consistant low post threat. If not this, then maybe Kwame for Camby. This would be counting on having Mihm able to play. There also seems to be a lot of Centers and Power Forwards in the draft, and we would be crazy not to bring one or two of them into camp. I don’t think the point guard is critical in the system we play but defense is so I am not a great fan of going for Kidd. Just some thoughts, thanks.

  • samsl

    Adding KG to any playoff roster automatically upgrades them to a contender. Pairing KG with the primary star of any playoff team, while giving back 2 or 3 main contributors will not necessarily transform the team into a serious contender.

    However, the Lakers are so top heavy in talent with their primary star and have such little support for him that pairing KG-KB24 gives you two of top 5 players in the league (don’t even try to argue that Denver has that in AI-Melo – that’s more like two of the top 6-15).

    KG to the Lakers for LO+Bynum+filler –> serious contender.

    KG and KB will be complementary players. KG is unselfish to a fault – largely because he is always double and triple teamed. Kobe is also consistently double and tripled. The only way to guard just the two of them is to devote all 5 players of your defense to focusing on KG/B. If Vlad ever finds his jumper, he would feast on the defensive chaos – thus further spreading and disrupting the D.

    In addition, there’d still be the MLE to chase Charlie Bell/Steve Blake for help in the backcourt.

  • Kristian

    In a perfect world:

    Option 1: Resign Walton and Mihm. Trade Odom, Bynum and Radmanovic for KG. Sign free agent Chauncey Billups, or if not then Mike Bibby. Sign free agent Gerald Wallace. Sign free agent backup center who can defend + free agent SF who can shoot (examples Mutombo/Olowakandi and Jason Kapono/Michael Finley). And maybe trade for a proven, decent center. But remember Elson is good enough to start for the 2006-2007 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. It’s just very important in that case to have mobile players around him.

    Still very wishfully thought out starting 5:

    Billups or Bibby
    Better than God Kobe Bryant
    Gerald Wallace
    Kevin Garnett
    Mihm/Kwame

    Bench:
    Luke Walton
    Kapono/Finley
    Jordan Farmar
    Mutombo/Olowakandi
    Brian Cook
    Sasha Vujacic
    Mihm/Kwame

    This is maybe a bit guard oriented so maybe Cook/Evans for Vujacic.

    This line-up would without a doubt challenge the Spurs and very likely beat the Mavericks in a 7 game series. The Suns wouldn’t even be a challenge. There’s no doubt in my mind that this roster, if generally healthy, would bring an NBA title to LA.

    The scary thing: I can actually somehow in my crazy mind imagine this scenario (regarding new players would accept wages that wouldn’t put the Lakers over the cap-limit) as actually somehow possible, and dare I say, even somehow realistic.

    But in reality I think I’ve tortured myself enough.

    If anyone doesn’t see this as the best plan thus far, please say so.

    Option 2: Sign Smush Parker and trade for Lebron James. Trade Radmanovic for Dwyane Wade. Keep God (Kobe). Trade Kwame for Nowitzki. Trade Mihm for Tim Duncan.

    Starting 5:
    Wade
    Lebron
    God
    Nowitzki
    Duncan

    In my honest opinion Option 2 is just as much of a possibility as Option 1.

  • gdchilc

    tim, I would change your 4. Kidd to Billups, younger and healthier.

  • Wardmin

    @ Michael Teniente
    Worthy scaling back for Magic and Kareem is not analagous to Kobe scaling back for Kwame and Smush et al.

    Secondly. Farmar got tons of playing time at the beginning of the year, and was doing great. He went into a protracted slump. Who’s fault is that? PJ? The starting point guard spot was up for grabs and NOONE went out and took it. Smush played so bad that he couldn’t keep it. Not that Farmar outplayed him per se.

    Bynum was playing great at the beginning of the year. he too took a dive in productivity. AND he was never supposed to get this much playing time anyway. And give Kwame more touches? If he could reliably finish a dunk then he would get the ball more often.

    Come on dude. The team sucks at present. The team has talent ON PAPER. But unless the guys do something, they will continue to suck.

    The Lakers put way too much stock in their 3-1 lead in last years playoffs in my opinion. That series lead and their strong start this year should not hide the fact that this team was going nowhere in a hurry.

  • kobe888

    Since we signed a MLE with Devean Goerge in 01, the MLEs were nothing curses. Gary Payton can’t fit in the triangle. Vlad Divac, Aaron McKie did nothing literally. Radman was a “Space Cadet”.

    Though I think this year’s disaster began with those injuries, I still cant help thinking why Lakers had so many injuries? Was that Gary Vitti’s fault? After all, after the 3-peat, we almost gonna face serious injury problems every year.

  • GILIB

    Just bring tha man back. Jery West in our front office is all we beed. i trust him all the way to the bank

  • henry palacios

    This is all I have 2 say I’m a real good in making the 3-pionter, But it does not win any games if my team don’t stop the other team in giving up 25 easy layup this is what the lakers have to do to be the best team in the NBA I don’t care who they have playing if all 5 players is only thinking stop any layup, or 3 pointer not only for 24 mins but for 48 mins.the min P. Jackson see that 1 player is not doing his job take him out and put someone in that will think stop layup or the 3 pointer for 48 mins I don’t care if it’s kobe. So about bring new players in to the lakers you better make sure that they only have one thing to think about when they are in the count, & that is to stop any layup or
    3 pointer. I Henry Palacios Is A very good in making points but I don’t think About making pionts cause it will come to me or 2 my team cause we are all thinking stop all layup & 3 pointer for 48 mins also I will not put up with any team in the NBA making over 80 points in a game. per realstar_beyondreal henry palacios

  • Amy

    hi. im trying to find out how to send a letter to the athletic director of the LA Lakers. please help me out.
    :]]