It’s a great time to be a Laker fan !
Nice not to have to worry about Andrew Bynum’s knee and whether Lamar Odom will show up for tonight’s game. No more fretting about whether Rajon Rondo is going to have a breakout game or if this is the night that Ray Allen is going to shoot the lights out of the basket. Most of all , no having to contemplate the possibility that Paul Pierce is going to be hoisting the championship trophy and mugging for the cameras . On the floor of the Staples Center yet ! Happy as I am that the Lakers won , I’m happier that it’s finally over and the Lakers are champions for another year.
I must admit that I was very surprised at the Lakers draft choices. Since the crying need is for a young point guard to replace Derek Fisher , I thought the Lakers would select a pair of guards with their two second round choices. I never expected that they would use both their choices on a pair of forwards. I could scarcely believe that the pundits would grade the Lakers choices as a solid B+ ( one even gave them an A).The thinking seems to be that Devin Ebanks is a Trevor Ariza type , long and rangy , who can play stifling defense and that Derek Caracter , who admittedly had some attitude problems before transfering from Louisville to UTEP, is considered to be very talented ” big body” who has a shot at making the squad. I suppose the idea is that they could displace the well -liked Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga and save the Lakers about a million in salary. I will be sorry to see Josh Powell go because he has a great attitude and works hard in practice. Too bad he had such limited opportunities to play .
The Lakers guard situation was bad and it’s gotten worse since Jordan Farmar will almost definitely be leaving for another team where he can get more playing time and Shannon Brown has declared for free agency. I doubt that the Lakers will match any offers for Shannon Brown and expect that Kobe will have a new running mate next year. I read that the Lakers have interest in Raja Bell and Steve Blake and it’s likely that one of them will come in for the midlevel exception. I like both but would prefer Raja Bell who , though 34, is still a terrific defensive player and a credible 3-pt threat. The Lakers will still need more at the guard position and I wonder if Mitch Kupchak has something up his sleeve . Is it possible that the Lakers are looking to unload Lamar Odom and his big salary to get a pretty fair point guard who can supplant Derek Fisher? I’d hate for that to be true. It’s true that Lamar is maddeningly inconsistent but he provides size and can be devastating when he’s on. And, inspite of Bynum’s knee problems , I just can’t see them giving up on him just yet. After Kupchak’s recent moves ( drafting Andrew Bynum, the trade for Pau Gasol, the’ swap’ of Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest ) I will never underestimate him. The man knows what he’s doing.
A bigger source of worry for this Laker fan is Phil Jackson’s status. For the life of me I can’t understand why the Lakers are not pursuing him ardently. Contrary to what Phil is saying, reports are that his health is not a concern and that this is merely a negotiating ploy. It’s ridiculous for the Busses to want to cut his salary from 12 million to 5 million ( if those rumors are to be believed). C’mon guys !After all the man has just led your team to a second championship and is darn near irreplaceable. Do you really think anyone else could step up and lead the Lakers to triumph ?
If Jackson does retire, my choice to replace him would have been Brian Shaw but it’s reported that he is close to signing with the Cavaliers as their head coach. That would make Byron Scott he front runner and that could be the beginning of a disaster. I’ve never been impressed with Scott’s abilities as a coach. He may be a good motivator but he just doesn’t have a good knowledge of the X’s and O’s. In both NJ and New Orleans , he lost control of his team and my suspicion is that his success in those places was more due to having good players , especially very good point guards. Don’t go , Phil, please !!
With the LeBron free agent circus due to begin in full swing , the next few months should be interesting. Truly, the only scenario that worries me is LeBron and Chris Bosh both going to Chicago. With the talent that the Bulls already have ( Derrick Dose, Taj Gibson, Joaquim Noah) they could be well nigh unbeatable. But until it happens I’m just going to enjoy the off season. Go Lakers !!