Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Doc Brown on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:11 pm

Kobe Bryant or Dwight Howard?
Originally Published: February 21, 2013
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider
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Trade Options For Dwight Howard

Tom Penn uses the NBA Trade Machine to try to find a landing spot for Dwight Howard.
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The Rockets' Moment
Kobe or Dwight? That's the question the Los Angeles Lakers might have to ask themselves today if they don't believe Dwight Howard will re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent this summer because of his reported icy relationship with Kobe Bryant.

Since a sign-and-trade deal would be unlikely, the Lakers risk Howard's leaving after the season for nothing -- unless they deal him by the 3 p.m. ET deadline. So despite general manager Mitch Kupchak's insistence that the team will not trade Howard, the Lakers have to at least discuss the possibility internally. And that might come down to a choice between Howard or Bryant.

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If the Lakers don't decide now, Howard likely will have the leverage this summer to force a decision, if he wants to -- teams such as Dallas, Atlanta and Houston are reportedly eager to bid for his talents when he reaches free agency. If Howard has other good options, he can tell the Lakers: Kobe or me.

Although the Lakers cannot trade Bryant without his consent (Bryant has a no-trade provision in his contract), they can twist his arm. At the same time, Bryant has a type of leverage, too, as by far the most popular Laker since Magic Johnson and an iconic superstar.

But if Howard insists that the Lakers get rid of Bryant, they can -- the Lakers still have their amnesty rights, and Bryant is due to make more than $30 million next season, the last year of his contract. The Lakers would still have to pay him, but such a move might allow them to avoid the luxury tax, which would save them his entire salary in 2013-14 and tens of millions of dollars over the long term by dodging the stiffer "repeater" tax penalties in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Looming over everything is the summer of 2014. That's when the Lakers have timed the expiration of every contract on the books except Steve Nash's, giving them the opportunity to bid on a free-agent class that just happens to be headlined by one LeBron James.

The summer of 2010, when James signed with Miami, taught us two things about max free agency. First, star players are more likely to sign with teams that have cap space rather than working sign-and-trades to teams over the cap. Second, they want to land somewhere with an established star such as the Heat's Dwyane Wade to maximize their chances of winning championships.

For the Lakers to answer the "Kobe or Dwight?" question, they need to decide which player will be a better player and bigger lure in 2014. Let's explore.

The case for Dwight
This is obvious, right? When confronted with a choice between a 27-year-old star in his prime and an aging 34-year-old legend, the younger player is the right choice every time. Besides sentiment, there's nothing to favor Bryant over Howard going forward.

At best, Bryant has maybe three years left as an elite player; even his idol, Michael Jordan, was no longer capable of playing at an elite level when he returned to the NBA at age 38. And Jordan didn't have nearly the wear and tear Bryant carries on his knees after entering the league directly out of high school. Bryant is already 13th in NBA history in minutes played. All the trips to Germany in the world can't entirely offset the effects of aging, and Howard likely will still be an All-Star when Bryant heads off to retirement.

Even in the worst season of his prime, while returning from back surgery and dealing with a painful shoulder labrum tear, Howard has put up All-Star statistics. The injuries are the most obvious explanation for Howard's inconsistency. Some nights, he lacks the quickness and explosiveness that made him the NBA's premier post player. Other times, like Wednesday's 24-point, 12-rebound effort in an easy win over the Boston Celtics, show Howard's potential to change the Lakers when he's 100 percent. They're 10-5 this season when he scores at least 20 points.

Bryant is the Lakers' recent past, and right now he's also their present. However, Kupchak summed it up well Wednesday on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN Radio, saying "Dwight is our future."

Free agents will recognize the same thing. Beyond that, any star perimeter player joining Bryant will have to adjust to a Kobe-centric offense, as Nash has tried to do this season. Howard's game should fit better with that of anyone who joins him in L.A. as part of the next great Lakers team.

The case for Kobe
Besides the fact that Bryant playing in anything but a Lakers uniform is borderline unthinkable, there are legitimate basketball reasons to defy the obvious answer and favor Bryant over Howard.

First, let's be clear that, no matter the age difference, Bryant today is the superior player. Not only has he performed better on a per-minute basis, but he has been a model of health while Howard has been in and out of the lineup. The combination means Bryant has been more than two wins more valuable than Howard this season per my WARP rating.

That rating still reflects an optimistic view of Howard's play this season. Plus/minus takes a dimmer view. The Lakers have scored more efficiently with Howard on the bench, according to 82games.com, despite the fact that their bench has been so ineffective, and have a better net rating (plus-6.6 points per 100 possessions) with Pau Gasol in the middle rather than Howard (plus-1.8).

Injuries might explain that, but Howard's full recovery is no sure thing. Back surgery for a superstar player is uncharted territory. Re-signing Howard represents a risk in its own right.

Bryant won't play forever, but that gives him the opportunity to hand control of the team to a star player the Lakers add in the summer of 2014. His all-encompassing desire to win might be much more appealing to some free agents than Howard's antics in the locker room and on the sideline.

There's also an intriguing possibility in the summer of 2014. Because Bryant will be a free agent himself, he could decide to prioritize the chase for another ring over another fat payday. (A sixth ring brings a measure of equality with Michael Jordan, who used titles as a criterion in ranking Bryant over LeBron James in Wright Thompson's MJ feature story on ESPN.com last week.) If Bryant takes a pay cut from his current $27.85 million salary down to, say, $10 million for one season, the Lakers would have enough flexibility for two max players on the payroll. The kicker? Bryant could double his salary by signing a new contract the next year, when the only hit to the Lakers would be a heftier luxury-tax bill.

The verdict
Almost any other team in the league would love to have to choose between Bryant and Howard, but the decision would nearly be impossible for the Lakers to make.

Ultimately, sentiment aside, youth carries the day. The risk of Howard's injuries is not as troublesome as the inevitability of Bryant aging, and prospective 2014 free agents are smart enough to recognize that their window of championship contention would be larger with Howard as a teammate than Bryant.

The Lakers have to hope that it never comes to that and that their future includes both Bryant and Howard -- along with whomever else they can add to the roster after next season.

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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby The Laker Link on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:29 pm

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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Chillbongo on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Insiders only. :man6:

Care to post?
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby The Laker Link on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:33 pm

Chillbongo wrote:Insiders only. :man6:

Care to post?


That's why I posted it here, Doc is usually our insider man for this stuff, but who knows, maybe anyone can get it.
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Doc Brown on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:36 pm

Assessing Lakers' playoff hopes
Originally Published: February 26, 2013
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider
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Nuggets Roll Lakers, 119-108

Nuggets win to keep Lakers from reaching .500.
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Here come the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite a schedule loss Monday, when the NBA shipped them to Denver to play a challenging opponent at altitude in the second game of a back-to-back, the Lakers have won 11 of their past 16 games. With wins at home over Minnesota and Atlanta in their next two games, the Lakers can get to .500 for the first time since New Year's Day. Now, Kobe Bryant can talk about a playoff run with his usual confidence.

"It's not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will," Bryant told Sports Illustrated last week. "And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone -- Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver ... whoever. I have zero nervousness about that."

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Bryant probably should. The Lakers are three games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 24 games to play. The Hollinger Playoff Odds show them making up the difference 33.5 percent of the time. My simulations are slightly more optimistic because they still incorporate preseason lines to improve accuracy. (They now make up 30 percent of the projection for the rest of the season, as derived by Insider's Neil Paine.) In this case, optimistic means the Lakers still reach the playoffs less than half the time -- 44.8 percent of simulations.

What the Lakers have to do
The typical simulation shows the eighth playoff team in the Western Conference finishing with either 43 or 44 wins. Because the Lakers are in the eighth spot some of the time, we can favor the lower number and assume the Lakers have to get to 43-39 to have a 50-50 shot at a playoff berth. In fact, their average projection is 42.3 wins.

Getting to 43 wins means a 15-9 record the remainder of the way. That's doable, given the Lakers' schedule. As balanced as it looks -- precisely half of their remaining games are home and away, and half are against opponents that would make the playoffs if the season ended today -- the combination of those two criteria favors the Lakers. They have only six remaining road games against playoff teams, mostly against lesser lights such as Atlanta and Milwaukee. The hardest remaining games, including an April 7 "road" matchup with the Clippers, will be played at the Staples Center.

Still, we shouldn't understate the difficulty of the Lakers going 15-9 the rest of the way. Despite the recent run, they haven't been able to sustain such success over an extended period at any point this season. There isn't a single 24-game period all year where the Lakers have won more than 13 games. With so little margin for error, they certainly can't afford Dwight Howard missing time or any other serious injury.

What other teams have to do
The Lakers can do their part and still be eliminated because the three teams ahead of them -- the Rockets, the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz -- need only go .500 to get to at least 43 wins. In fact, the simulation shows the Lakers aren't really guaranteed a playoff spot unless they get to 47 wins. So there will be plenty of scoreboard watching for the Lakers, whose playoff hopes might go down after a win if their competitors are also victorious.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, the team they're closest to catching (Houston) also happens to be the best of the three this season. The Rockets have outscored opponents by 2.9 points per game, a differential far better than not only the Lakers (+0.9) but also the Warriors (-0.1) and Jazz (-0.4), both of whom have been outscored despite records solidly better than .500. Houston has been even better of late and has reached fourth in the Hollinger Power Rankings, so the Rockets probably won't be caught by the Lakers.

Of the last three teams in the West playoff spots, the simulation shows Utah as most vulnerable. Most likely, the Jazz will win about half of their remaining 25 games. They go 13-12 or 12-13 in about a third of the simulations. That would put Utah's final record at 43 or 44 wins -- right at the upper threshold of what the Lakers are likely to accomplish. There is, however, the outside chance of a Jazz collapse down the stretch. Utah finishes .500 or worse some 20 percent of the time, which would open the door to a Lakers comeback.

The bad news for the Lakers is that they already have lost the tiebreaker to the Jazz, who won the series 2-1. The Lakers still have games home and away left with Golden State with a chance to sweep the series and finish the regular season against Houston in a game that will decide the tiebreaker between the teams (the Rockets lead the series 2-1). Those head-to-head matchups could loom large.

If the Lakers do make the playoffs
Even if Bryant might not fear the teams the Lakers could face in the opening round -- usually likely top seed San Antonio in the simulation, but occasionally Oklahoma City with a slim chance of an all-Staples matchup with the Clippers -- there's little to suggest those teams should fear the Lakers either. Combined, the West's top three teams are 7-1 against the Lakers, who can point only to their home win over the Thunder on Jan. 27.

Beyond that, as Tom Ziller noted Monday on SBNation.com, the Lakers simply haven't coalesced the way their recent win-loss record would suggest. The surge is more about schedule and the team's poor fortune in close games turning than improved play. So while the Lakers' point differential is better than their record would indicate, it's also nowhere near the West's top teams.

Though the Lakers need to make the playoffs to avoid their season being perceived -- fairly or not -- as one of the most disappointing in NBA history, their stay is unlikely to last long if they do sneak in. Barring a historic upset, we're really talking about whether the Lakers' season ends in mid-April or the end of the month. Sorry, Kobe.

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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Chillbongo on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:39 pm

Doc.....you the mayne :jam2:
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby halekulani on Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:40 pm

Spoiler:
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

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Kobe or Dwight? That's the question the Los Angeles Lakers might have to ask themselves today if they don't believe Dwight Howard will re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent this summer because of his reported icy relationship with Kobe Bryant.

Since a sign-and-trade deal would be unlikely, the Lakers risk Howard's leaving after the season for nothing -- unless they deal him by the 3 p.m. ET deadline. So despite general manager Mitch Kupchak's insistence that the team will not trade Howard, the Lakers have to at least discuss the possibility internally. And that might come down to a choice between Howard or Bryant.

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If the Lakers don't decide now, Howard likely will have the leverage this summer to force a decision, if he wants to -- teams such as Dallas, Atlanta and Houston are reportedly eager to bid for his talents when he reaches free agency. If Howard has other good options, he can tell the Lakers: Kobe or me.

Although the Lakers cannot trade Bryant without his consent (Bryant has a no-trade provision in his contract), they can twist his arm. At the same time, Bryant has a type of leverage, too, as by far the most popular Laker since Magic Johnson and an iconic superstar.

But if Howard insists that the Lakers get rid of Bryant, they can -- the Lakers still have their amnesty rights, and Bryant is due to make more than $30 million next season, the last year of his contract. The Lakers would still have to pay him, but such a move might allow them to avoid the luxury tax, which would save them his entire salary in 2013-14 and tens of millions of dollars over the long term by dodging the stiffer "repeater" tax penalties in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Looming over everything is the summer of 2014. That's when the Lakers have timed the expiration of every contract on the books except Steve Nash's, giving them the opportunity to bid on a free-agent class that just happens to be headlined by one LeBron James.

The summer of 2010, when James signed with Miami, taught us two things about max free agency. First, star players are more likely to sign with teams that have cap space rather than working sign-and-trades to teams over the cap. Second, they want to land somewhere with an established star such as the Heat's Dwyane Wade to maximize their chances of winning championships.

For the Lakers to answer the "Kobe or Dwight?" question, they need to decide which player will be a better player and bigger lure in 2014. Let's explore.

The case for Dwight

This is obvious, right? When confronted with a choice between a 27-year-old star in his prime and an aging 34-year-old legend, the younger player is the right choice every time. Besides sentiment, there's nothing to favor Bryant over Howard going forward.

At best, Bryant has maybe three years left as an elite player; even his idol, Michael Jordan, was no longer capable of playing at an elite level when he returned to the NBA at age 38. And Jordan didn't have nearly the wear and tear Bryant carries on his knees after entering the league directly out of high school. Bryant is already 13th in NBA history in minutes played. All the trips to Germany in the world can't entirely offset the effects of aging, and Howard likely will still be an All-Star when Bryant heads off to retirement.

Even in the worst season of his prime, while returning from back surgery and dealing with a painful shoulder labrum tear, Howard has put up All-Star statistics. The injuries are the most obvious explanation for Howard's inconsistency. Some nights, he lacks the quickness and explosiveness that made him the NBA's premier post player. Other times, like Wednesday's 24-point, 12-rebound effort in an easy win over the Boston Celtics, show Howard's potential to change the Lakers when he's 100 percent. They're 10-5 this season when he scores at least 20 points.

Bryant is the Lakers' recent past, and right now he's also their present. However, Kupchak summed it up well Wednesday on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN Radio, saying "Dwight is our future."

Free agents will recognize the same thing. Beyond that, any star perimeter player joining Bryant will have to adjust to a Kobe-centric offense, as Nash has tried to do this season. Howard's game should fit better with that of anyone who joins him in L.A. as part of the next great Lakers team.

The case for Kobe

Besides the fact that Bryant playing in anything but a Lakers uniform is borderline unthinkable, there are legitimate basketball reasons to defy the obvious answer and favor Bryant over Howard.

First, let's be clear that, no matter the age difference, Bryant today is the superior player. Not only has he performed better on a per-minute basis, but he has been a model of health while Howard has been in and out of the lineup. The combination means Bryant has been more than two wins more valuable than Howard this season per my WARP rating.

That rating still reflects an optimistic view of Howard's play this season. Plus/minus takes a dimmer view. The Lakers have scored more efficiently with Howard on the bench, according to 82games.com, despite the fact that their bench has been so ineffective, and have a better net rating (plus-6.6 points per 100 possessions) with Pau Gasol in the middle rather than Howard (plus-1.8).

Injuries might explain that, but Howard's full recovery is no sure thing. Back surgery for a superstar player is uncharted territory. Re-signing Howard represents a risk in its own right.

Bryant won't play forever, but that gives him the opportunity to hand control of the team to a star player the Lakers add in the summer of 2014. His all-encompassing desire to win might be much more appealing to some free agents than Howard's antics in the locker room and on the sideline.

There's also an intriguing possibility in the summer of 2014. Because Bryant will be a free agent himself, he could decide to prioritize the chase for another ring over another fat payday. (A sixth ring brings a measure of equality with Michael Jordan, who used titles as a criterion in ranking Bryant over LeBron James in Wright Thompson's MJ feature story on ESPN.com last week.) If Bryant takes a pay cut from his current $27.85 million salary down to, say, $10 million for one season, the Lakers would have enough flexibility for two max players on the payroll. The kicker? Bryant could double his salary by signing a new contract the next year, when the only hit to the Lakers would be a heftier luxury-tax bill.

The verdict

Almost any other team in the league would love to have to choose between Bryant and Howard, but the decision would nearly be impossible for the Lakers to make.

Ultimately, sentiment aside, youth carries the day. The risk of Howard's injuries is not as troublesome as the inevitability of Bryant aging, and prospective 2014 free agents are smart enough to recognize that their window of championship contention would be larger with Howard as a teammate than Bryant.

The Lakers have to hope that it never comes to that and that their future includes both Bryant and Howard -- along with whomever else they can add to the roster after next season.
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby trodgers on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:15 am

FYI: If ESPN Insider is a pay feature of the site, then we cannot permit the articles to be reposted here in full.
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Doc Brown on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:03 am

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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby The Laker Link on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:49 am

Doc Brown wrote:Image


we can figure something out
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby Doc Brown on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:50 am

^^^^ Yea it's going to involve your credit card and a spike in my bank account. :man12:
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Re: Official BSPN Insider Laker Related Articles

Postby trodgers on Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:50 am

Sorry, guys. But you know what they say...

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