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: May 30, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

" He's from Atlanta. He's a down south boy. Nothing that turns a southerner off more than cocky folk. Los Angeles is the epitome of cocky folk."???
O.K that is just a stupid reason to include in your agrument. Having lived in the south I'm amazed more people aren't RUNNING AWAY from the south to get as far away as possible from the "good ol boy" run governments, rampant disease of ignorance, and the generally stupid  ass-backwards people. But that was just my opnion from YEARS of living in the south.
you know why southeners don't like "cocky folk" it's because MOST of them can't keep up intellectually anyways 



Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

If Howard went to the Lakers they would be back on top in no time flat.  How many quality free agents would love to play with Howard not to mention some players that are stars in their own right? I think he would be able to attract anyone there that is not a center.  The Lakers are a lot like the Yankess. The only thing that may stop them is not another team but the CBA they will sign soon.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

Howard isn't going to LA...Why'd he want to go play with an aging Kobe?  Reason for leaving Orlando is because they can't win correct?



Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

idiot post...he straight out said he wants to go to LA....and Im from Orlando



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

......and lakers take cheap shots



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:42 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

I don't know why there is all this talk of the Lakers trading for Howard.  What makes these people think that Orlando is even considering trading him?  Orlando still thinks that they are a player or two away from a championship.  Teams with that mindset don't unload their stars.  They bring in a couple of bodies that improve themselves and hope to resign their superstar based on the hope of better prospects.



Since: May 2, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:41 pm
 

***Sigh***

Lakers fans... Yo, get past the thought of Dwight Howard coming to the Lakers: 99.9% positive that it ain't gonna happen, so stop acting like it's a done-deal.
I'm not saying this as a hater, I'm saying it as a realist.
1) There's likely going to be a lockout after this season. This will drastically alter the salary cap rules and make the cap significantly lower: the Lakers already have the highest payroll in the league. Now to be fair, Orlando is 3rd, but the Lakers would have to make an unprecedented set of trades to make it happen and still follow salary cap rules.      1a) With this being the case, I'll bet you anything that the new deal gives more financial incentive for players to stay with the team that drafted them (think Bird-Rights.)
2) He's from Atlanta. He's a down south boy. Nothing that turns a southerner off more than cocky folk. Los Angeles is the epitome of cocky folk.
3) Weather is always a big talking-point when it comes to this kind of speculation: Orlando & LA are very similar in sunny days so there's no real selling point on this (MAYBE the lack of humidity, but again, he's from the south so probably doesn't mind.)
4) My final point: when he came directly out of HS, he specifically noted that the ONLY reason he wasn't going to college was because he needed to get money for his family. Meaning: he's not going to leave millions of dollars behind ala' Lebron. He's a family man first.
Just saying Laker fans: don't count your chickens before they hatch.



Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

"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."

Finally a writer with a brain. This team is still the 2 time champions. Has, for the most part, been to 3 straight championships and now they are suppose to "blow up" the team? Not likely. Adding some key addtions via possible trades maybe but I doubt full "blown" changes next season.

What is clear is todays game requires a stronger bench. Take a look at the stats for this past series. You will find the dameage was done via the bench comparisons and not the starting 5.  



Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

not much class in pro sports anymore, ruins it for the fans, although a lot of fans lack class too, players always arguing, fighting, etc,  just play the game , it is what it is, you can't be a winner all the time. i hate to see my favorite teams lose but there is always another day




Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Lakers backing gently off "blow up" talk

What's all the chatter about the Lakers not being a classy organization. A few players do wrong and now the whole organization is to blame? As opposed to just about every team in the NBA having some player at one time or another doing the same thing?

Haters Hate....


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