Why the Lakers shouldn’t re-sign their role players to one-year contracts

53 Comments

The Lakers have 11 players whose contracts expire this summer:

  • Pau Gasol
  • Jordan Hill
  • Chris Kaman
  • Jodie Meeks
  • MarShon Brooks
  • Nick Young
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Xavier Henry
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Kent Bazemore
  • Ryan Kelly

Aside from Gasol, whose stature rises above, they’re role players who might have value when the Lakers next get good. So, it makes some sense to bide time with the best of that group.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily New in an article about Henry and the Lakers holding mutual interest on re-uniting:

the Lakers are hoping to retain all role players on one-year contracts on relatively inexpensive deals to maximize financial flexibility for high caliber players, such as LeBron James in 2014, Kevin Love in 2015 or Kevin Durant in 2016.

If the Lakers want to maximize their chances of acquiring another star after this offseason, they shouldn’t re-sign players to one-year contracts.

Anyone the Lakers re-sign to a one-year contract, because he’d have bird rights or early bird rights after the deal, could veto any trade next season.

Once the contract expires in 2015, the Lakers would have plenty of flexibility. But if a star becomes available in a trade sooner – looking at you Kevin Love – the Lakers would be at a severe disadvantage. You think Xavier Henry and the others would approve a trade that sends them from Los Angeles to Minnesota? No way.

An easy workaround would be signing those players to two-year contracts with the second year unguaranteed, but they might not go for such restrictive deals. The veto power applies only to players on one-year deals.

It also applies only to players re-signing. Unless they can convince their current role players to accept additional unguaranteed years on their next contracts, the Lakers might be best off signing new players to one-year deals.

If the Lakers want to extend their rebuild into 2014-15, they’ve backed themselves into a corner with a limited ability to re-sign the players they’ve already invested time in while simultaneously keeping flexibility.

Ray Allen tells Orlando court he was ‘catfished’

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Nike/Levi's/Rookie USA show
Leave a comment

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Retired NBA star Ray Allen believes he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen says Bryant Coleman “pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in” him. In documents filed Tuesday, Allen acknowledges he communicated with who he thought were those women and that he eventually entered into an agreement with Coleman to not disclose details of those conversations.

Allen says that agreement was violated.

It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found. Coleman told the court in a filing Monday that Allen is stalking him; in Allen’s request for an injunction, he says “the reverse is true.”

Klay Thompson interviewed about scaffolding on local news (video)

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
1 Comment

Man-on-the-street interviews are a staple of local news.

They just don’t usually include Warriors star Klay Thompson.

But here’s Thompson – in town for Golden State’s win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday – talking on Fox 5 New York about walking under scaffolding in the wake of a couple recent scaffolding collapses:

Thompson is the only NBA star who could do this interview so earnestly.

Joel Embiid blocks and stares down Donovan Mitchell, who then pushes flopping 76ers center (video)

3 Comments

Joel Embiid (when healthy) is running wild over the NBA.

Last night was no different, with Embiid (15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks +16) excelling in the 76ers’ 107-86 win over the Jazz. And he let Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell know about it.

After blocking Mitchell in the fourth quarter, Embiid stared down a fallen Mitchell. Mitchell got up and pushed Embiid – listed at nine inches and 35 pounds heavier – to the floor.

Embiid, via NBC Sports Philadelphia:

I flopped, and he got a technical for it. So, that was basically how it happened. But it’s all fun. After the game, we shook hands. It’s just about having fun.

Embiid is having fun. That’s for sure.

LeBron James, Tyronn Lue say LeBron’s minutes no big deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LeBron James was on the court a very reasonable 27:16 Monday night, only because the Cavaliers had thrashed the upstart Pistons so badly he didn’t need to play the fourth quarter (116-88 final in that one).

However, on the season LeBron is averaging 37.9 minutes per game, the most in the NBA. He has played 644 total minutes, also tops in the NBA. All this in his 15th year in the league, about to turn 33, with more regular season games played in his career than Michael Jordan. Even Draymond Green has wondered about LeBron’s workload. LeBron himself didn’t disagree, saying the goal is to get the minutes down.

However, as this has become a thing, the Cavaliers are playing it down. Here is Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue after the Detroit win, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I hear about that all the time,” a somewhat perturbed Lue said. “I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39, he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe [Bryant]. Everybody’s built different. If you’re one of the greats, sometimes you’ve got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight.”

The way Kobe’s body broke down on him at the end of his career, is he the guy you want as an example here?

LeBron was not that worried about his minutes after the Detroit win, either.

“You make so much a big thing about my minutes,” James said. “It’s not a huge issue. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. Not just me. Everybody.”

The concern isn’t just the heavy minutes, but the workload — with Isaiah Thomas still out, and right now Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert as well, basically all the playmaking duties on the team fall on LeBron. He has to carry the Cavs.

With most players, you would say this will distinctly wear on them and could be an issue down the line. With LeBron, normal human rules do not apply. He’s playing at MVP consideration level again early — 28.3 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.4 rebounds a game while shooting 58.2 percent from the floor — and nothing seems to slow him. Maybe eventually the Cavaliers will play well enough consistently there will be more light nights for LeBron, and he can have some games off. For now, however, they need him on the court and performing like a superstar.