There’s a feeling in Los Angeles that all the Lakers just need a swift kick in the, um, how shall we say, behind to get playing with a sense of urgency again.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper he was considering just such a kick.
“Regarding a trade, I may have to,” Kupchak said at the team’s practice facility a day after the convincing loss to their heated rivals, the Celtics. “I’m not saying that I’ve made calls today or I’ll make them tomorrow. But I just don’t think that we’re playing as well as our talent level should allow us….
“I wasn’t (considering making a trade),” Kupchak said. “But it looks as if we may have to. … It’s something I may do in the future. I just don’t think that our talent level is playing as well as they can play. We have an incredibly high payroll and we do that because we have players that normally produce at a high level. And I’m not sure I see that now.”
This may be more threat than reality, but Kupchak has to be thinking about it after recent Lakers performances.
Any trades would likely be around the periphery — the Lakers core is locked up for two seasons beyond this one at top dollar and the Lakers won two titles with that group, they’re not breaking it up because of an off January. After that, it’s not likely anyone is taking the two years and $11.4 million Luke Walton is still owed off the Lakers hands. Or the three years and nearly $22 million Ron Artest still has. It’s not likely the Lakers could find a deal where they got much back for guys like Matt Barnes. They may well be interested if they could bring in a more defensive-minded point guard or a more steady outside shooter, maybe. But who is going to trade them that and risk the wrath of Popovich?
After a couple of days of public flogging and plenty of hand wringing on Los Angeles talk radio about this team’s struggles — being 9-9 against teams over .500 with ugly losses to the Heat and Celtics — it will be interesting to see how the Lakers respond on Thursday night against the Spurs.
If they are flat again, Kupchak may be pushed into action.
“So Frank, how do you feel about the triangle?”
Frank Vogel is not going to be unemployed for any longer than he wants. Larry Bird and the Pacers dumped him, but his ability to get teams to defend is going to have suitors lined up for his skills.
That includes the Knicks, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.
The Knicks have made contact with the agent for Frank Vogel, but have not yet requested an interview, according to a source close to the former Pacers coach.
According to the source, Knicks GM Steve Mills has done his due diligence in contacting Vogel’s reps. He expressed that Phil Jackson has not made a decision on how to proceed. The key to the exploratory phone call was finding out whether Vogel would have interest in the job, and it seems he does.
Kurt Rambis is still considered the front-runner for the Knicks job.
Jackson has said he wants someone he knows, and someone committed to running the triangle offense. The Lakers did employ Vogel as an advanced scout during the Jackson era, but don’t confuse that with any relationship between the two. Also, while Vogel’s Pacers ran some triangle action during his tenure, that was while Brian Shaw was his assistant. And that’s very different than jumping in with both feet full time.
Vogel also reportedly has interest in the Rockets job, a team farther along the path to contending and with a more stable management structure. But the Knicks are at least making the call, it’s a start.
Conditioning has never been Boris Diaw‘s strength.
That’s being kind, the man ate his way out of Charlotte. Make no mistake, Diaw is a gifted player who has surprising athleticism plus a court vision and high hoops IQ that make him perfect for the Spurs, but Gregg Popovich gave him incentives to stay thin and Tony Parker joked about Diaw’s weight.
Now Diaw is getting in on the act, speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp.
“Sometimes we’re up 30,” Diaw says, “and (Popovich is) like, ‘I’m just going to leave you on the court so you can lose some weight.’”
If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at. Diaw has a coffee maker in his locker and , he’s not too worried about his image.
Diaw only saw a little more than eight minutes in Game 2 against the Thunder, which was not about conditioning and all about the matchup. Still, expect him to get more run in Game 3, he is one of those guys who makes the ball move for the Spurs and they need to get back to that.
The Lakers are going to be aggressive this off-season. Jim Buss, the guy with the final say on basketball operations, gave himself a deadline to get the Lakers “back into contention” (which is vaguely defined, but we can say at least the second round of the playoffs) and things need to happen sooner rather than later.
Would he be so aggressive as to trade a top 3 pick? That’s the rumor.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak did a media tour Friday and said on the Thompson and Trudell show on ESPN710 in Los Angeles not to bet on that. Via Serena Winters of Lakersnation.com.
The Lakers had the second-worst record in the NBA and with that have a 56 percent chance of having one of the top picks three picks in the draft after the NBA Draft Lottery May 17. If they fall to four or farther, the pick goes to the Sixers as the last remnants of the Steve Nash trade.
Would the Lakers move that pick? Depends on what the offer they get back is.
Would they love to trade that pick and someone like Julius Randle to land Paul George? Well, I would like to drive my Maserati over to pick up Scarlett Johansson for our night out. About the same odds of happening.
But the Lakers should explore the trade market. That’s just smart business. What they can’t do is get so wrapped up in the idea of getting good fast that they make bad decisions that haunt them down the line. Don’t overspend on players not ready to step up in their role, don’t trade assets for B-list guys that are a step sidewise but older and more expensive. Don’t sacrifice the foundation for a few short term wins. That said, the Lakers’ MO has never been the slow, patient build.
Kupchak also spoke about the need for an experienced assistant next to new coach Luke Walton (one with a defensive pedigree) and the Lakers’ plans to do better in free agency this time around. Via Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.
D'Angelo Russell‘s leaked video of Nick Young redeemed Byron Scott.
Of all the silly things Scott said – and continues to say – labeling Russell immature turned out somewhat valid.
But in taking a victory lap on that assessment, the former Lakers coach exposed a huge problem with his player-development and communication skills.
Scott, via The Dan Patrick Show:
Some of these guys, when they come into the league, they think they’re entitled. And I thought that’s how he felt when he first got with us. He almost tried to act like he was a veteran, and I tried to make sure that he knew that he wasn’t a veteran. You have to earn your stripes. So, yeah, there were times where I was a little tough on him just to bring him back down to earth, to let him know that this is not an easy task when you’re in the NBA. That’s the easy part is getting there. The hardest part is staying there, getting better and better and better. So, yeah, I had some tough love for the young man. But just like I told him, “When I stop talking to you, that’s going to be a problem.”
Like the time Scott didn’t talk to Russell about losing his starting job? Or the time Scott didn’t talk to Russell about putting him back into the starting lineup? Or the time Scott didn’t talk to Russell about the Young video?