Unrealistic Laker Fans

Unrealistic Laker Fans

Postby dmaul on Fri Jun 06, 2003 11:39 pm

I think this topic is needed.

I'm always hearing talk from Laker fans about how cheap Jerry Buss is and how he should sell the team to a billionaire or a consortium of wealthy individuals just to support the fans' personal desires and wishes of assembling some fairy tale fictional basketball team that could never possibly exist.

I've come to the conclusion that any person that believes in such nonsense must be a teenager that has never held a job in his/her life or had any "real world" responsibilities.

But just in case you didn't know, NBA basketball is not really a sport. It's a money making business. The L.A. Lakers are a business. As such, their goal is to make money, not to cater to every crazed fan's desires. If you were the owner of the most popular and profitable team on the planet, the one that raked in the most revenue, not to mention one of the few owners in the league that even turned a profit, why in the hell would you even think of selling?

If I were Buss, I would be patting myself on the back and gloating about how brilliant I was for winning three championships with such lame [Swearing is not permitted at Clublakers. You must edit this post prior to submitting.] squads. Kobe, Shaq and 10 other stiffs that would not start on any other team in the league. I would be laughing at all the owners who spent so much more money than myself, like Paul Allen and Mark Cuban, yet came up empty year after year. I would look at the numbers and see that, despite all the criticism from the press and fans that I haven't improved my team tremendously, my team has taken in the most money, sells the most merchandise, continues to fill up more seats on the road than any other team in the league, continues to sell t.v. advertising, and has been beneficial to the financial health of L.A. sports.

Now he certainly may have gotten overconfident in his ability to stretch the dollar, thinking that he could squeak out yet another championship at the lowest possible financial overhead. But as the events of this year's playoffs can attest, it only means that he needs to spend a little bit more and put some faith and trust in the coaches and general management to plug in some more pieces around Kobe and Shaq and try this thing once again. It certainly doesn't mean he needs to break open the bank and spend like some foolhardy novice with no business acumen.

By no means would any rational and clear thinking person sell such a gold mine of a franchise. Jerry Buss is a smart man and he is one of the most successful professional sports owners of all time, both on the court and in his accountant's books. He may not cater to the lowly fan's evny other team in the league. I would be laughing at all the owners who spent so much more money than myself, like Paul Allen and Mark Cuban, yet came up empty year after year. I would look at the numbers and see that, despite all the criticism from the press and fans that I haven't improved my team tremendously, my team has taken in the most money, sells the most merchandise, continues to fill up more seats on the road than any other team in the league, continues to sell t.v. advertising, and has been beneficial to the financial health of L.A. sports.

Now he certainly may have gotten overconfident in his ability to stretch the dollar, thinking that he could squeak out yet another championship at the lowest possible financial overhead. But as the events of this year's playoffs can attest, it only means that he needs to spend a little bit more and put some faith and trust in the coaches and general management to plug in some more pieces around Kobe and Shaq and try this thing once again. It certainly doesn't mean he needs to break open the bank and spend like some foolhardy novice with no business acumen.

By no means would any rational and clear thinking person sell such a gold mine of a franchise. Jerry Buss is a smart man and he is one of the most successful professional sports owners of all time, both on the court and in his accountant's books. He may not cater to the lowly fan's every desire and whim, but he does enough to get you to pay up when it counts.

Call him a cheapass all you want, but you're not the one calling the shots in L.A.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:27 am

Welcome to the forum Dmaul. Let me start by saying, I am 31 years old and have been a Lakers fan for over 25 years...I am not some "teenager who has never had a job", I am a manager myself. I respect Mr. Buss as a businessman, yes, he has proven to be quite successful. And yes, I understand this is a business, as do most other fans. And I for one am not saying he sell to someone else, just make smarter decisions when it COMES TO SPENDING and open the wallet a bit more. The better players you have, more success your team enjoys, the more playoff games will come, and THE MORE MONEY YOU ULTIMATELY MAKE. The problem lies in bad decision-making, on both his part and Mitch Kupchak's. If you don't believe me read this, if you have not already.

http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413 ... 81,00.html
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:36 am

There are times where the Lakers - and I do love this team, more than you will know, that is why I am so passionate about this! - remind me of the company I currently work for. A lot of times when encountering a problem, and in order to save a buck, they will take the quick/easy way out, find a shortcut, and it works out o.k. for now; but later on down the road, they discover they have to spend even more to fix it. If they had spent just a LITTLE MORE in the first place for something better, a real solution instead of a stopgap measure, those problems later on would have been COMPLETELY AVOIDED. Yet they keep doing the same thing over and over, and they wonder why they aren't making more money than they are. They just don't "get it". (In the Lakers' case, look at the whole Devean George scenario).....
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:47 am

Now, there are some who say, "Well, Mr. Buss can't be THAT cheap...look what he's paying Shaq and Kobe." True. And he will probably give them even more when it comes to contract extension time. But what about the other 10 players? That doesn't leave much for them...and this is where the problems start. By being so afraid of the 'luxury tax' (or whatever) Mr. Buss and Mr. Kupchak are petrified to make any real moves. But if they take their time and explore ALL of their options, while still thinking about the future instead of JUST the present and taking shortcuts (which is why they have now somewhat boxed themselves into a corner financially), they would find it IS possible to be, um, frugal and still have a championship-quality team, year after year after year. But they choose to settle for the 'quick fix'. Those who choose to ignore the past are condemned to repeat it.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:59 am

Finally, yes I do understand that we are still quite a franchise. It is not like we are some team who has not tasted victory champagne in 20 years. We did win 3 titles in a row, quite an achievement!!! But I truly feel it was IN SPITE of Lakers management, not BECAUSE of it. And it was only because of Shaq, Kobe, Fox, Horry, Fisher, Shaw, and the other players' desire to win that led us to those titles, more than anything Lakers brass did. And I feel we would still be playing had Lakers mgmt. pulled the trigger on SOME sort of deal early in the season, like I (and several other fans here) were clamoring for!!! I feel a deeper bench would have overcome the loss of Fox and George...with our bench the way it was, it was just to much for the others to overcome. This has GOT TO CHANGE.
Last edited by ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:09 am

But if we are to get back to the top, Lakers' brass MUST realize their past mismanagement, errors, mistakes, and shortcuts. Believe me, I am grateful for everything Jerry Buss has done for this team over the years, and always will be, but because of past shortcuts he and Mitch have very little wiggle room this time...and they know it. There is NO room for error now. And I hope they realize they cannot continue their ways if we are to return to the top. At least I hope they do...for their sake and for that of all their loyal fans. Like LD2K said, this summer will tell the truth, whether they have learned anything from all this or not...it will all play itself out...I just hope it will ultimately end up with another victory parade in the "REAL capital of California" and not somewhere else, while we sift through more wreckage and wondering "what happened" again. PEACE :jam2:
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Postby ZenMaster on Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:33 am

P.S. (Sorry for all the posts...the text kept repeating on me. But I welcome anyone's thoughts on this).... :jam2:
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Postby dmaul on Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:54 pm

ZenMaster,

I think you're still being a bit unrealistic with your assessment of Laker management's actions the past few years. I contend that the mistakes they've made are really no more or less different than the mistakes that management and ownership of other clubs have made in the same time period.

Let me ask you this -- what team has not let a good player leave their grasp via free agency? What team has not overpaid a player who failed to live up to expectations? What team has not gotten all that they've expected from their draft picks? Assembling a great team is not an exact science and you will not find another club that has not stumbled and fumbled a lot along the way. It's not a question of how much a team has screwed up in the past, just a question of a lot or a little. I don't think I have to go into examples with you as I'm sure you've heard of the Blazers and the Clippers, just to name two horribly managed and owned ball clubs.
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Postby dmaul on Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:04 am

With regards to the article about Laker management's actions the past four-five years, I would also argue that some of those events were not mistakes or screwups. Why was it bad to dump two stiffs in Campbell and Jones. Campbell was overpaid and lazy. Jones was an underachiever. You notice these two chaps haven't done very much since their Laker days, haven't you?

Nick Van Exel had a bad attitude and Ruben Patterson...do you really want a convicted sex offender on your team?

You could argue that the net outcome of all these trades to get rid of the above mentionned players is essentially zero, but I would counter that the net outcome was three consecutive championships. Championships that may or may not have been won had we kept all those guys. But you can't debate potentialities and what ifs. If the success of the team the past four years is not enough to convince you that management and ownership went down the right path and made the right decisions, I don't know what will.
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Postby dmaul on Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:11 am

As for poor draft picks, I can't argue with anyone there. The Lakers have picked up some pretty bad players, but again, what team has not been disappointed with their selections. As far as I'm concerned, the Lakers have not made a monumental mistake like selecting a Sam Bowie over a Michael Jordan. The mistakes they've made in the draft have been minimal in the big picture. Mitch Kupchak certainly doesn't have the eye for hidden talent like Jerry West, but who does? I'm not going to diss Kupchak for this deficiency.

Draft picks are a crapshoot. Who in the hell knows who'll be the next big thing and where this kid will come from -- Europe? College? High School? Off the streets? The Lakers have been wildly successful in the draft in the past and they've been horrible. How is this different than any other team?
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Postby dmaul on Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:22 am

With success comes higher expectations, most of the time unrealistic expectations. The Lakers have spoiled us rotten for two decades and they are without a doubt the premier ball club (not the Celtics) in the history of the NBA. But their situation is unique...

They have the two best players on the planet and these two guys eat up more than two-thirds of the salary cap alone. This leaves very little room for error which is why we've seen so many mistakes. The times when you could assemble a team that had 3-5 all-star calibre players (like the Lakers in the mid-80s) are long gone. Now you've got to deal with all these salary cap and luxury tax restrictions, which is not conducive to both getting your cake and eating it too.
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Postby dmaul on Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:31 am

It's unrealistic to expect perfection year after year; to say the Lakers should have made the "right" decisions to ensure that they would have won four or five titles in a row instead of three. You need to assess the situation for what it is, not for what could have been.

The Lakers have been fortunate and healthy and management made the right calls such that they were able to pull off the triple crown which will probably go down as a damn rarity in this day and age, for the NBA. They have the two best players in the world which means they will always be limited in terms of acquiring a talented supporting cast, but they can easily retool or tweak the roster here and there to put themselves back into contention.

I can assure you that there are 28 other owners in this league that would love to have the dilemma that Jerry Buss has!
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:20 am

Good points dmaul...yeah, maybe I do sound a bit spoiled sometimes, esp. to some of my friends who are fans of other teams who haven't won a title in years...I don't mean to, honest. :man12: And yes, I know it is unrealistic to expect a title EVERY SINGLE year forever...that just won't happen. I also know what's done is done, and also that every team makes improper decisions. (ESP. the Clippers..ha ha) BUT...having said all that...as far as the Campbell and Jones trade, the mistake was in not getting a decent PF in return. It is a problem we are still dealing with to this day. And Eddie is struggling now in Miami b/c he was asked to take on a lot of the leadership burden, esp. with 'Zo being in/out. That is not his forte', he's too quiet for that. Let him be a part of a proven system (like maybe the triangle?) and he'd be fine.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:32 am

As far as NVE and Ruben, I think Phil could've handled them...esp. Nick. He was very young and immature when he and Del Harris got into it way back when, and he admits it now. Again, I think Phil, Jim C., Tex and co. would've properly shown him the way. As far as the draft...to say Mitch is no Jerry West, well, yeah, NO ONE is. But to blow off poor draft choices simply b/c "he doesn't have the eye of Jerry West" is a poor excuse, and a crutch. I refuse to let him off the hook for this, sorry bro. Surely he can do better than THIS! Yes, maybe I am being a bit harsh, and I know the draft is somewhat of a crapshoot; but when we pass up solid guys year after year after year, SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY WRONG, and seriously needs to be re-examined.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:41 am

Finally, I know we are strapped as far as signing free agents, b/c of Shaq and Kobe, yes....and like you said, having 3-5 all-star caliber players like we did in the 80s are pretty much gone, what with the salary cap, etc. True. But look at San Antonio. They have had guys like David R. and Tim D., are well under the cap to sign whomever they want and are STILL set for years to come. That, my friend, is good financial management. While it is still possible for us to get some quality players (if Mitch truly understands all the ways he could pull it off, which I still doubt) it is now MUCH harder than it should be, simply b/c of past misspending and bad decisions. All I am saying is that we have needlessly made it WAY too hard on ourselves...that is why I get frustrated sometimes, b/c I can see it so clearly (as do a lot of other fans here).
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:53 am

Finally, I know we are still a heck of a franchise, and trust me, we could be a LOT worse of. True. But when you are as passionate about this team as I am (and as is everyone else here), you only want to see the best for your team. And to say that this management is the primary reason we won three titles in a row, well...I strongly disagree. I still maintain that we won b/c of the players' unbelievable WILL TO WIN...and not anything management did. We won in spite of them, not b/c of them. Shaq has already made it quite clear to the press his displeasure of his current 'supporting cast', and let us not forget, Kobe can opt out of HIS deal in a year if he's not happy. We have quite a bit of work to do. It CAN be done...if and only if everyone in Lakers mgmt. is on the same page....and I just don't know if they are.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:03 am

My main concern is that we will once again take another shortcut or two, a stop gap solution (e.g., 37-year old Karl Malone) and then in a year or so be back in the same boat. I would LOVE to see us get some athletic, somewhat younger talent (but yet still enable us to be a championship-quality team)...not just for a year, but for SEVERAL years to come. I don't think I am the only Lakers fan who deep down asks for this, and I don't feel that is too much to ask of our fearless leaders. I AM grateful for all of the success we have had, and yes, I am sure other owners continually look at us with envy every single day! But by the same token, we still have room to improve. That is what makes a winner...never being satisfied and always looking to get better.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:14 am

And at least from what I read in the press and on the 'net, I just get the feeling sometimes that this current Lakers management team doesn't quite know what that REALLY entails. That sometimes you HAVE to take a risk or two to get the job done! You don't always have to 'play it safe', stand pat...waiting for a free agent to hopefully come knocking on your door..."Excuse me, can I play for you guys?"...life is all about taking chances and reaping the rewards! Get off your butt and DO SOMETHING. Don't keep focusing on the ' financial limitations' all the time...if you are faced with an obstacle or two then start looking for ways AROUND them. Get creative!!! Do SOMETHING!!! Be active! Quit being stagnant. And explore ALL of our opportunities...do your homework. As a GM that is his job. And I still don't think he understands this.
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Postby ZenMaster on Sun Jun 08, 2003 9:27 am

* whew * Maybe I'm wrong here, and I truly hope I am. We shall see what happens this summer. Maybe Lakers management will just blow us all away with some blockbuster deal, we will win another three in a row, Kobe will have re-signed with us for the next seven years...who knows. I sure hope so!!! :jam2: I just want to see us continue to show the same levels of competitiveness and winning attitude that we have been known for worldwide. That is why we are THE LAKERS and not just "the Lakers", right??? When you love something and care about them as much as we do, and see where they went a bit astray, it bothers us...but like someone said, it is up to them now. Unfortunately all we can do is watch and hope for the best, and share our opinions in forums like this (which is cool, I never had this in the 80's)! I do remain optimistic, tho...I guess we'll see what happens dmaul!
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Postby dmaul on Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:14 pm

Good points ZenMaster.

Yes, as fans, we are forced to be passive observers relegated to spouting off our opinions on rant boards like this while helpless to control the fate of the team that's so much a part of our lives.

When you're successful sometimes, lots of times, you get complacent and lazy. You try to ride out your wave of success until you're no longer successful, instead of planting the seeds for future success. I'm sure it wasn't Laker management's objective to not plan for the future, but as you pointed out, they were not aggressive enough in doing so.

But having been knocked off that perch and hopefully humbled in the process, I hope they can again gain that hunger and edge to overachieve like they did in 1999-2000, particularly Shaq.
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Postby dmaul on Mon Jun 09, 2003 5:20 pm

As for San Antonio being such great managers of money, I think you'll find in the coming years that they too will have the same problems like the Lakers, like everyone else. They only have so much cap space because Duncan gets paid so little for a player of his calibre. He should be getting Shaq/Garnett type money, but I don't think he ever will because he signed after 1999 (after the Collective Bargaining Agreement). I believe that is true.

So many players like Kobe and Iverson should be pissed off that the guys who signed a contract the year before them, like Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace, are making mad bank while the CBA has forced them to take significantly less.

The Spurs will use their 13 mil to sign a star player this summer, but in a few years Tony Parker will be a free agent and you know he's going to want Mike Bibby type money. Same with Manu Ginobli -- he's due to be paid too. Then what are the Spurs going to do? You see, it's only a matter of time before the salary cap bug bites you on the [Swearing is not permitted at Clublakers. You must edit this post prior to submitting.]. Buss is not the only owner in the league wanting to avoid the luxury tax. Other than Paul Allen and Mark Cuban, I can't think of anyone else who's not afraid of the tax.
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Postby zetaw00d on Mon Jun 09, 2003 6:10 pm

That's the reason its so hard to 3peat because of the CBA. SA will have a hard time trying to resign Parker and Ginobli if Duncan take a big pay raise!!! If Shaq really wants talent around him other then Kobe, he should take a 5mil pay cut!! The same goes for Garnett!! Whats the difference between 20 mil and 25 mil???? Damm i would be happy with a million! Plus Shaq has a lot of endorsements. Would you give up 5mil of your 25mil to win a ring?!?!!?
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