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Blog Entry

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:16 pm
 
Mitch Kupchak says not to worry too much about Magic's "blow it up" comments. But if not a complete self-destruction, is a major remodeling on the way,and how does a new coach fit into this?
Posted by Matt Moore




Sure, you were just swept out of the playoffs in what should have been the culmination of so much work, effort, and money spent in order to achieve a three-peat and send your expensive Hall of Fame coach out in style. Sure, your roster was relatively exposed as lackadaisical, lacking in focus, determination, heart, and eventually class. And yes, the idea has always been to reload when the shots don't quite hit their target, which is always championship gold. 

But the Lakers? They're not looking to follow Magic Johnson's advice and blow it up. Not yet, anyway. And not completely. 

From Sports Illustrated: 
(Lakers GM Mitch) Kupchak cautioned against the idea that Johnson's recent comments on ABC were an early indication of things to come. The Lakers' legend had all but written his favorite team off during his television analysis, then recommended Kupchak "blow it up" by trading one of his frontcourt players for Orlando's Dwight Howard as a means to keeping the dynasty intact.

Jackson called the comment "unnecessary" before tip-off, while Kupchak largely dismissed the notion raised by some fans that it was an in-house sentiment being shared publicly. Howard is believed to be eyeing the Lakers as a possible landing spot when he becomes a free agent in 2012, however, meaning this storyline won't be going away anytime soon.

"I thought Earvin was trying to motivate our players," Kupchak said. "He's great at cheering for us, and a lot of times saying stuff like he said can motivate a player to play harder. That's how I took it.

"I talk to Earvin from time to time, and I think Dr. Buss [owner Jerry Buss] does from time to time, and this moves too quickly for him to be intimately involved in what's going on day to day, so I would hesitate to think that was the case."
via Lakers fall apart against Mavericks in Phil Jackson's farewell - Sam Amick - SI.com.

Not surprising that Magic isn't plugged into the day to day ops, especially having sold his stake, despite retaining a front office position. But the question is whether the Lakers are correct in this train of thought. One issue that isn't being talked about here is pretty obvious. This roster was constructed to play for Phil Jackson. 

And that definitely won't be the case next season. 

From ESPN:
Jackson might've played coy in what was likely his final postgame press conference, joking "I haven't answered that, have I?" when pressed for a definitive statement on whether he'd coached his final NBA game Sunday. But Kupchack says he believes Jackson's decision to retire is final this time.

"I think this is it," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles after the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks 122-86 on Sunday. "We'll sit down and talk, but I've gotten no indication that he won't retire.

"We just talked briefly and I thanked him for what he's done for the organization. It was a pleasure to work with him. Everybody who is a coach in this league works endless hours. I'm not going to say he works harder than any other coach in this league. He certainly works as hard as any of them.

"But he's different. He's got a feel that I think a lot of coaches don't have."
via Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak senses Phil Jackson set to retire - ESPN Los Angeles.

With Jackson gone, Brian Shaw is the favorite to get the Lakers' head coaching job. But after the abject meltdown that occured on a chemistry level, the job will probably be open to several applicants. ESPN also reports the job is "wide open" and with candidates like Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman, and Larry Brown on the market, you have to think ownership will take a long look at its options. And if there is a change in the coaching line, the new coach will want players to fit his personnel. 

The question of Dwight Howard will come back around again and again this summer once the CBA is resolved (if it's resolved). In case you missed it in the fall of Rome, here's Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on Howard and the Lakers: 
Everybody knows that Dwight Howard wants to be a Laker," said a person familiar with the All-Star centers plans. "Theyre going to lose Dwight Howard for nothing. Hes not staying there. Dwight Howard is going to be in the same mode as LeBron James."

So would the Magic, facing the reality of losing their franchise cornerstone and getting nothing in return, accept Gasol and Odom, Bynum and Odom, or even Bynum and Gasol as the centerpiece of a Howard trade?"Probably," said a high-profile agent with a hand in past maneuverings for both teams.
via Fast-approaching offseason critical for Lakers - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

Landing Howard would automatically put the Lakers back at the top of the contenders list, though they may be there anyway, even with the Dallas Meltdown. But it comes with its own set of issues, including giving the reins of a veteran club to a younger player. How's Kobe Bryant going to react to being the No.2 for the first time since the first W. Bush term in his final ride into the sunset? Will the Magic really want Andrew Bynum after he embarrassed himself, his family, and his organization with (another) needless foul that could have resulted in injury and will definitely result in his suspension for multiple games next year, along with his injury issues on a long contract? 

There's time for all this, and the Lakers will take it. They are unlikely to "blow it up" and more likely to simply try and pick their favorite from the NBA's buffet as in year's past. But deals like the Pau Gasol trade don't come along twice in a four-year span, and with the franchise tag a possibility to come out of the CBA, life may be significantly different for L.A. after the seconds ticked off the Phil Jackson era in Dallas. 

Things aren't as simple as pushing the "self-destruct" button and starting over. Even Athens fell, and an immediate return to glory isn't always guaranteed for those blessed by the Gods for so long. 

But I wouldn't bet against them.
Comments

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:35 am
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

well lets see ether orlando takes a trade for howard .or howard is gone and orlando gets nothing



Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: May 10, 2011 12:56 am
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

So trading for a 3 time reigning defensive player of the year is blowing it up? and no way foes Orlando want Pau and Gasol for Howard. Bynum is an injury concern and Pau is 30, which isnt old, but its not young enough to start building around, by the time you have a team in place he will be old. Someone like the Clippers would be a suitable trade partner, ship Griffin, Kaman, Bledsoe, Aminu and your 1st rounder for Howard and build around Howard and Gordon. The Clippers already have the city Howard wants, if they can have some success with Howard why wouldn't he resign? I doubt this will happen but the point is I don't believe the Lakers have the pieces Orlando wants. Some other team will take a risk on him not having an extension in place. A team with a big market that is.



Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: May 10, 2011 12:11 am
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

Kobe and Gasol are still in their prime their early 30's why would you want to get rid of them.  They have great team chemistry.  If you want to get rid of Andrew Bynum you need your head examined as he is still a young player that shows flashes of utter brilliance and dominance which he will grow into.  Lamar Odom no reason to get rid of one of the best bench guys in the league who is in his prime also.  Ron Artest is so affordable there is no reason to rid the team of him either plus he is a great team player.  As for Derrick Fisher its time to go and more minutes be allotted to Shannon Brown.  After that the Lakers need a young energetic bench.  More minutes should be given to Luke Walton.  He is not a superstar by any means but he can come in and provide ten solid minutes a game as one of the passers in the league that can distribute the ball better than any forward in the league.  Lakers only need a little bit of minor tweaking.  Gasol was way off his game in the playoffs while Dallas played lights out.  If the Lakers can get Dwight Howard great but no reason to blow up the team. 



Since: Mar 7, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

it is an upset when theyre the two time defending champ



Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:11 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

What makes any rational human being (or even the most rabid Lakers fan) think that Orlando WANTS Odom, Gasol, Bynum, or a combination thereof, let alone for Howard?

News flash for Lakers fans (and fans of several other "haves" in the NBA/MLB/NFL)--Just because YOU WANT doesn't mean you automatically GET.



Since: Jan 29, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

You wnt the truth ? You cant handle the truth!



Since: Jan 29, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

LET JACK RUN THE SHOW HELL HES ALWAYS AT THE GAME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:01 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

PS everyone.....Dallas had the same record as the Lakers, it wasn't an upset...lol



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:00 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

Said it before, I'll say it again...any team in 2011 that has Derek Fisher as there starting PG, is doomed for failure...The Lakers backs are against the wall in terms of signing anyone, or even trading for anyone....there's no way the Magic want any part of any of anyone on the Lakers roster, especially for Dwight Howard...Bynum for Howard straight up just isn't a good deal, and the money doesn't even out.......I can't see the Magic wanting to take on Odom or Gasol for Howard, it just wouldn't be a good deal for them........I think the Lakers would be better off trying to strengthen there bench, especially down low...and also look for a Point Guard...another tip would be try and acquire some draft picks, and keep your own picks...they need some young legs out there....

At the end of the day though, no person,no team is invincible...they got knocked around, they'll get back up..and they will use this season as motivation.....



Since: May 9, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 7:53 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

Listen, This early after an embarassing lost to the Mavericks, The Lakers are not going to tip their hand to what they are planning.  90% of the stuff you hear is inuendo.  I agree the Lakers have issues and they be more than just on the court, If they plan on making some moves the CBA is going to play a major role in what transpires in regards to trades and acquisitions. Everyone talks about Gasol and Bynum in trades for D-Howard, But really needs to be discussed is the upgrade at the point guard position.  Year after year this has been an issue on both ends of the court and something must be done about it, Fisher has nothing left in the tank and Steve Blake is a career backup, not an 82 game season starter-As for thrr "Bigs" Bynum would be easier to move because his contract is guaranteed through next season with a team option for the following season.  Pau Gasol is still owed 57 million over the next 3 seasons and given his poor and inconsistent play throughout this season, I'm not sure any franchise wants to take a guy who will be paid 19 mil per season and not be your main guy.  Changes will be made but how many is anyone's guess.  By the way, Brian Shaw is not the answer as coach-Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, and maybe just maybe Larry Brown. Until next time.........


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com