Let’s Get Ready for the New Season

laker_dad

My dad and I at the game last year- April 3, 2016

After a 6 month long hiatus it is time for the Lakers to suit up for a new season! I am very excited to start watching them play again. Before I preview the new season, I must look back at our last game:

Kobe’s Last Game

At the time, I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog about it. I sat on the couch with tears streaming down my face as I watched Kobe put up 60 points for the last time. I went through all the stages of grief watching that game.

He single handedly won that match. He played 1 on 5, just like he did back in the mid 2000’s. It was pure domination, so I went through the denial phase. I began to think that maybe he didn’t need to retire, and that he still had it in him. Then I would see him panting on the bench. He was putting on a show, but he could barely breathe. It was time for him to walk away. Now I was angry, because I looked around at the players surrounding him and could not imagine any of them carrying this team the way he has. He has played this game almost my entire life. I cannot remember a time when Kobe didn’t suit up in the purple and gold. How could anyone else be the face of my team? Then I started think about the Lakers’ history. Before Kobe there was Magic, and before Magic there was Jerry, so surely there is someone out there that the Lakers will scoop up and turn into a superstar right? Then depression kicked in when I started to think about who was running this team. Jerry Buss wasn’t going to work with Jerry West to draft Magic, and then convince him into staying with LA instead of bolting for Detroit. Instead, all we have is the incompetent son, and a GM who’s best trade to date was Jerry West’ doing. I sat there, watching the game, and thinking about all of this before I finally came to acceptance. I realize that it might take years, before the Lakers are playing at a championship level, but we will eventually get there. The team wasn’t always owned by Jerry Buss, and we had great trades made by GM’s other than Jerry West. Eventually, the Buss kids will figure out how to run this team, or (more likely) will hand over the reins to someone who can.

It is still hard for me to think about Kobe being retired. When Shaq was traded, and they broke up the original championship team, I was very angry. However, they eventually brought in Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom which lead to a new era. Kobe has always been the constant, but I know it is time to look toward the new talent to carry the torch.

Looking Ahead

Yesterday we had some big news. Yi Jianlian asked to be released from the Lakers, and they obliged. I was disappointed that we signed him in the first place. If you do not know who I am talking about, he was the star on the Chinese team during the Olympics this summer. I didn’t want him on the Lakers because I think he lacks the work ethic. Apparently Yao Ming really wanted him to be his mentee, but Jianlian was unwilling to put in the work. I can happily say good riddance. Now let’s take a look at the rest of the players on this finalized roster.

D’Angelo Russell may have butted heads with Byron Scott, but he appears to love Luke Walton. Thus far, the players are responding to him well, so that is a good thing. Russell did seem to improve over the summer, but he still has a lot of work to do. The same goes for Julius Randall and Brandon Ingram. We have a very young team, so there are going to be growing pains. I know fans are really excited that the Lakers did well in the pre-season, but please remember that those games are not indicative of how a team will play in the regular season. Most teams only play their stars for a few minutes. Those games are for the rookies and new acquisitions.

Remember back in 2012 when the Lakers went 0-8 in the preseason? That was the summer when we got Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Fans couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t think much of it. People look back on that season and say it was terrible, and by Lakers standards it was. However, we made the playoffs in a competitive western conference. Granted, with that talent we should have done better, but Steve Nash went down in the beginning of the season, Kobe tore his Achilles, and then Dwight Howard was forced to lead the team while still coming back from a major back injury. All things considered, I think we did pretty damn good.

So, where does that leave us? Pretty much where we have been the last couple of seasons. I anticipate our young players improving substantially, but I still see us as a below .500 team, barring a major trade. Luke Walton is now our coach and leader, but this is going to take years, so let’s buckle in and play the long game. In the meantime, let’s enjoy our young, versatile, and athletic youngsters playing some Warrior style ball (with a ton of turnovers).

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Rules I Would Like to See the NBA Address

Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the Free Agency Season coming to an end (post on that coming soon), I have another topic I want to cover: NBA rules. Whenever I watch an NBA game with Jeff Van Gundy giving play by play analysis, I always love to hear his takes on the rules. Usually, I roll my eyes and laugh at how much he contradicts himself, but every once in a while I will agree with him. The NBA rules are definitely not perfect, and the refs who enforce them are only human. This is why every summer the NBA looks at the rules and tries improve the game. After being an impartial viewer during this post season, I have put together the rules I would like the NBA to either create or edit.

Expand Instant Replay- Challenges

I think the NBA has done a very good job at trying to use instant replay to make the right calls. However, they can take it a step further. Right now, the referees can only check to see who the ball went off of, if the play happened in the last 2 minutes of the game. I understand that those are crucial minutes, but when a game is close for 48 minutes, then every possession matters. This is why I think they should give coaches a limited number of “challenges.” In tennis, players can challenge if they think the ball was in or out, and I would like to see the NBA implement the same rule. Give both coaches a few challenges each to use at their leisure. If a coach challenges the play and the coach is correct, then they get to keep that challenge and the play is ruled in their favor, however, if the coach is wrong, then they lose the challenge and are limited in how many more they can use. This rule will keep teams from challenging every single play, but will force the referees to take a second look at a play if there is a serious question.

Additionally, I want to see the NBA expand instant replay for goal tending. It is rarely a subjective call, and they can make the rule that they can only overrule the decision if the replay is clear. That call is miscalled all the time and effects the game.

Eliminate Hack-a-Shaq

Going back to the “last 2 minutes of the game,” rule the NBA is very fond of, I want the NBA to eliminate all hacking throughout the game, not just the last 2 minutes. Right now teams are using this rule as a strategy to foul either throughout the entire game, or for the 4th quarter to climb back into the game. It is bad basketball. Let’s simply make the rule that if you foul away from the ball, and you are in the penalty, then the team gets 2 free throws and the ball regardless of what quarter or time it is.

These first 2 rules I want edited because I believe in consistency. If something is not allowed in the last 2 minutes of the game, then it shouldn’t be allowed in the first 46.

Fouling Jump Shooters

Another rule that players have taken full advantage of, is the rule that rewards jump shooters if the defender jumps to try and block the ball. We are seeing jump shooters now jump into the defenders to draw the foul. I think we need to edit that rule. If a defender jumps onto a shooter because he pump fakes, then the shooter deserves to be rewarded and go to the foul line. However, if the shooter contorts or jumps into the defender, then I believe there should either be a no-call or an offensive foul call.

Flagrant Fouls

There is way too much grey area with this rule. I think the NBA needs to simply admit a few aspects of this rule. First, they need to acknowledge that they are looking at intent. Intent is never mentioned in the rule book, but clearly that is the biggest issue at hand. If a player inadvertently elbows someone going for a rebound, then it is a simple foul. However, if Ron Artest winds up his elbow and gives James Harden a concussion then it is clearly intention (sorry Metta I am still not buying it was an accident). Second, I agree with Van Gundy that there might need to be different rules for the playoffs and regular season. I know I am contradicting myself after I stated that I wanted consistency, but I am simply calling out the facts. In the playoffs, players get away with much more physical content then they would in the regular season, so if this is the case, then the flagrant fouls also need to follow this trend. Third, we need to look at who is committing the flagrant foul. Again, if Ron Artest fouls someone hard, then you are going to want to air on the side of caution and punish him since he is a repeat offender. The same goes for bigs like Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins. Fourth, we need to look at impact. A hit from a big guy like Dwight is going to hurt a lot more than an elbow from J.R. Smith. This may seem unfair to the bigs, but I believe in the punishment fitting the crime. Remember that saying, “No harm, no foul?” Well I believe that perfectly describes flagrant fouls. I am not saying that someone needs to get injured for a flagrant foul to be called, but I thought it was fitting that Ron Artest was suspended for 7 games after that hit to James Harder. Harden was out for a quite a few games, so if he can’t play, then neither should the man that hurt him (if it was intentional).

Free Agency Commitments

In case you haven’t heard yet, De’Andre Jordan decided at the 11th hour to go back to the Clippers. He made this decision 5 days after committing to the Dallas Mavericks. I think this is appalling. I cannot believe that Jordan is allowed to simply walk away from a verbal contract without any repercussions. The Dallas Mavericks negotiated in good faith, and proceeded with their free agency season under the impression that Jordan would be wearing their uniform come fall.

The NBA apparently allows players to re-neg on verbal agreements as long as they have not signed a contract. Players are not allowed to sign a contract before July 9th, so before that deadline players can change their mind. Jordan and the Clippers took advantage of this fact.

After Jordan called Doc Rivers and revealed he was having second thoughts, the Clippers contingent (including owner Steve Balmer, Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul) flew to his Texas home and refused to leave his side until he signed a Clippers contract at midnight. This actually lead to a Twitter emoji war. Blake Griffin even went as far as barricading the door to keep Mark Cuban from entering to try to talk to Jordan.

Blake Barricades Door

Blake Barricades Door

This is all completely unprofessional and I believe there should be consequences. I believe the league should either treat these agreements as verbal contracts and not allow players to change their mind, or they should implement punishments like the NCAA does for players who switch schools.

Draft Day: Predictions for the Number 2 Pick

Byron Scott Representing the Lakers at the Lottery

Byron Scott Representing the Lakers at the Lottery

Yesterday Lakers fans were rewarded with a rare win when the Lakers procured the #2 pick in the lottery. Less than an hour after the victory, I was already being bombarded with questions. My fans want to know who they will draft. Have no fear LakHer fans, I am here! Christy and Teri, this blog is for you as promised.

I will fully admit, that I am not a big college basketball fan. It is simply not my cup of tea. However, I did watch the championship game, and I have done my research on the top picks, so here is my assessment:

All indications seem to point to the Lakers picking Jahlil Okafor. He is the center from Duke, and there are certainly some great reasons to pick him. Offensively he is a great and polished center. My biggest problem with him is his deficient defensive ability. He lacks shot blocking skills and appears to need a lot of work defending the paint. Also, he cannot shoot his free throws, and as Lakers fans we are all familiar with having centers who can’t hit their free throws. ***Cough Cough*** “Hack a Shaq” ***Cough Cough*** “Hack a Howard.” Do you catch my drift?

Do not get me wrong, I am not opposed to us drafting Okafor. I think he is very promising. If we keep Julius Randle and Okafor, then we can have “Twin Towers” again, and I really miss having two bigs. Additionally, the Lakers have been known to utilize Kareem’s coaching skills to polish players. I think a Coach K student would be very receptive to taking advice from one of the greatest centers of all time. Dwight and Bynum proved to be poor students, but I think Okafor would be Kareem’s sponge. Therefore, I have faith that under Kareem’s guidance, Okafor can improve his defensive game.

Before we all jump on the Okafor bandwagon, I would like the Lakers to take a good look at D’Angelo Russell: a combo guard from Ohio State. Personally, I would love for the Lakers to acquire a young guard for Kobe to mentor and take over the team. I think it would be a great transition for Kobe to use his last months with the Lakers prepping his predecessor. Theoretically, Kobe could do this with Okafor, but Okafor is a big with a completely different game. Plus, Kobe tends to clash with our centers. ***Cough Cough*** “Shaq” ***Cough Cough*** “Howard.” Sensing a theme yet?

I think Russell could be a great addition, and the Lakers are in dire need of a quality point guard. Despite his faults, I believe the Lakers will end up with Okafor, but Russell is my dark horse pick.

P.S. Stay tuned this summer for my full analysis covering free agency. I will discuss the players the Lakers should target, and the approach they should use.

Kobe reacting to the Lakers winning the #2 pick

Misery Loves Company

(Chris Carlson, AP)

Photo Credit: (Chris Carlson, AP)

We all know the saying, “Misery Loves Company.” I am assuming a lot of my fans still read my blog in this tumultuous season for that reason alone. However, today I do not want to talk about our misery. Instead, I want to talk about other teams’ misery, and how we can take advantage.

It’s the time of the season where the bad teams face reality and start making changes. We just saw the 3 team trade go down today between the Cavs, OKC, and Knicks. Now it is time to take advantage of everyone else who is also suffering and making some changes.

Byron Scott can monitor Kobe’s minutes and have him miss games, but let’s call a spade a spade, this season is done for the Lakers. I am not in favor of clearing out cap space, instead I want the Lakers to acquire some quality players so we have some good free agency bait.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, players are not going to come to the Lakers simply because we can afford them, we have the legacy, we have Kobe, and or LA is awesome. Those reasons don’t fly anymore. This generation of players want it all: the money, the city, and the championship. Right now we can only offer 2/3.

We have a lot of players with contracts that expire this year. Mitch/Jim did that on purpose so we would have cap space. Basically, they went with the Miami Heat strategy. Here is the problem with that strategy. Miami had Dwayne Wade rallying the troops to Miami. No matter how hard LeBron tried, Wade and Bosh refused to go Cleveland. There was brief talk about going to Chicago, but Wade and Bosh decided to force LeBron’s hand. Bosh was going to follow Wade wherever he went, but only Miami could afford to sign all 3. If Wade and Bosh decided to go Chicago, then LeBron would be a lose canon and probably would have gone back to Cleveland.

It was a brilliant strategy. One that I have no doubt Pat Riley played some role in, but my point is that we cannot play that game. Kobe (unlike the previously mentioned big 3) is not in the prime of his career. I can also mention the fact that many people seem to think playing with him is a nightmare, but I refuse to give that topic any more credence. Needless to say, he doesn’t hold the same stock as those players did 4.5 years ago.

Regardless, Jim Buss said the strategy is that we have enough money to sign 2 big free agents. I already discussed at length the stupidity of that statement, so here is my new strategy: Kobe needs to reach out to players and have them decide to pull a Wade-LeBron-Bosh move to come to LA. He needs to promise to mentor and then hand the team over. Basically, he needs to give them what he refused to give Dwight Howard.

Players do not want to gamble and see if big cities can turn it around. We have watched the Knicks struggle for years, much to Melo and Amare’s horror. Instead, players want to go to teams that have good building blocks so they won’t be stuck in purgatory for years (sound familiar?). Dwight Howard jumped ship because he hated playing for this team (D’Antoni and Kobe) and he could see the destructive path we were on. His move has obviously paid off since Houston is a contender in the west.

Luckily, we have a good amount of teams who will look to revamp their roster. The entire eastern conference (minus the top 4 teams) is a disaster. All those teams all crumbling and need to make changes if they ever want to compete with the west. Also, the west is so competitive that teams will look to add in the missing piece to take them to the next level. While the Lakers do not have anyone on the team to trade to fulfill that purpose, they do have assets they can trade to a third party in order to make that trade happen. Expiring contracts are useful and the Lakers are full of those.

My point, is that we have plenty of options. I am not going to sit here and give a list simply because there are so many directions to take this team. The Brooklyn Nets have put their entire team on the trading block, and players like Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo do not appear to be set in their new teams.

We have until the All Star break to make moves, and if we play our hand correctly, then we can put ourselves in a great position to acquire free agents. Or we can do what Jim wants, and simply sit back and do nothing while we all go down with the ship. Let’s see how this plays out.

 

P.S. We had 2 tragic loses in the NBA community this week: Stuart Scott and Mitch Kupchak’s 15 year old daughter Alina. I would like to send my condolences to both families. There are no words.

A Week in Review 12/7-12/14

My Dad and I at the Lakers v Hornets game 12/7. Thank you Mike Alder for the tickets!

My Dad and I at the Lakers v Hornets game 12/7. Thank you Mike Alder for the tickets!

Hi LakHer fans! I decided I had too much to talk about this week, so I hope you enjoy this week in review! Here are the important stories that came out of LALA land last week.

Lakers lose to New Orleans

For the last 4 years I would go to NOLA’s arena with Abi to watch these two play each other, but this time I changed things up and watched them at Staples. Unfortunately, the highlight of the game was my halftime cake with my dad. Unlike me, the Lakers didn’t show up for the game. It was a blowout, so I do not have much to say. I only do work on my end when the Lakers will do work on their end. Regardless of the game turns out, I always have a blast, so thank you Mike Alder for the tickets!

“Soft as Charmin”

One of the biggest stories of the week was the media coverage of a Lakers practice. Reporters watched as Kobe verbally bitch slapped his teammates. It is no secret that Kobe is a trash talker, but these comments really took people off guard. Some of his teammates, like Lin, were even visibly upset by them.

Personally, I didn’t really get what the big deal was. This is Kobe being Kobe. If the players were upset by it, then they really are as “soft as Charmin.” Kobe admits his leadership style doesn’t work for everyone and that it can upset players at times, but he was trying to motivate his team. I would like to point out that since he made those comments, the Lakers are 3-0 and one of those games came against the defending champions.

Charmin responds to the Kobe drama

Charmin responds to the Kobe drama

Kobe did acknowledge that the trash talking was a bit harsher than usual, but that’s what happens when you are losing. He told reporters that the whole conversation actually made him a bit uncomfortable, because he obviously doesn’t want to hurt his teammates, but he grew up trash talking. He even said that it is a lost art. Maybe his words were a little harsh for a fellow teammate, but I have certainly heard worse things come out of Garnet, Miller, and Pierce’s mouths. I mean, Reggie Miller grabbed his crouch during his game and made a chocking sign, I think that is a bit more offensive.

Speaking of chocking…

“I Can’t Breathe”

I try to keep these posts basketball focused. If I am not talking about the game, then I am normally talking about what is happening behind the scenes. But this week something bigger than basketball happened. It all started when Derek Rose came out for warm ups wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt. For those of you unaware, this was in reference to Eric Garner’s last words before he died after being put into a choke hold by police.

Police brutality has been a big issue in the country for the last 2 weeks, and the conversation does not seem to be going away. After Rose wore the shirt, LeBron followed suit, and then so did the entire Lakers team (minus Sacre). The shirt made a huge statement, so much so that even our president came out in support.

I Can't Breathe

There is a long history of politics seeping its way into the sports world, so it is not surprising that this issue has taken over the NBA. This league is predominately comprised of black players, so they were going to take a stance since this issue has been trending with #blacklivesmatter.

Personally, I am very happy that the Lakers took this stand. I will fully admit that I have been very upset with all the violence that has been happening and the lack of indictments. Wearing that shirt is a peaceful way for the Lakers to show their disappointment with our system, and get the issue lots of attention. Unfortunately, right now most of that attention is going to the handful of looters and violent protesters. Prominent figures like Kobe, Rose and James can help adjust the conversation.

#3

Last night Kobe hit a very big mile stone. He passed Michael Jordan and took over the #3 spot on the scoring list. It was a great moment and I am so thrilled for him. The Timberwolves showed class by stopping the game to present him with the ball and acknowledge the moment.

I know everyone wanted Kobe to pass Michael with a fade away shot, but honestly it really doesn’t matter. No one will remember the exact shot that passed Michael. Kobe got it on a free throw because like Michael, he knows how to draw fouls.

On the subject of 3’s, I have to talk about our Swaggy P’s game winner against San Antonio. When that shot went up I was convinced we were doomed. Ginobli was all over Nick Young, but good defense was defeated by better offense. I guess he’s right in saying nobody can guard him! Congrats to Swaggy for the amazing shot, and thank you for giving us Lakers fans an exciting game against our longtime rival.

Speaking of San Antonio, I would like to take a quick moment to recognize Tim Duncan. In our match up on Friday, Tim passed our very own Jerry West for 18th on the scoring list. While it is never easy to see someone else take a spot from him, I truly admire Tim Duncan. I would love to just hate him. For years he was our biggest obstacle, but he is an absolute class act. He is a future hall of fame player, and I really can’t find anything negative to say about him. That drives me crazy! So congratulations Tim Duncan, you deserve it.

Buss Kids Interview

This week the dynamic duo were on damage control, since you know, the Lakers are losing and Kobe is busy comparing his teammates to a product people wipe their asses with. Therefore, they decided it would be a good idea to give a joint interview. We all know that I could spend hours talking about the Wonder Twins, but I will save you the time and just give you the highlights:

Tanking is Unforgivable

Jim and Jeannie put the notion to rest that there would be any chance of the Lakers tanking the rest of the season, per Magic’s request. I understand the damage it does to players and a brand. That doesn’t mean that I do not see where Magic is coming from. I do want that draft pick.

Jeannie is still upset about the D’Antoni hiring

Let’s take a look at this Q&A:
Jeanie, you have been on record as saying that the Lakers let Dwight Howard down. What did you mean by that?
Jeanie:
It came down to hiring a coach. [The Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni in November 2012.] When you have a big man and a guard, you have to decide whom you’re going to build your team around. The choice was to build it around Steve Nash and what suited Steve Nash instead of what suited Dwight Howard.

I have to say that she is right on the money. The Lakers picked a coach and built around a 38 year old point guard instead of the young Super Star Center. If you keep reading the interview, Jim tries to backtrack and blames it on Jerry. Sure, go ahead and blame the dead guy who can’t defend himself, classy move Jimbo. Needless to say it is a fascinating segment.

The Lakers have Virtually No Game Plan

When Jim is asked about his pitch to free agents this summer, he says, “The pitch is we can go for two max players. And we have room to solidify the team with others.” Yes Jim, you have the money to sign them, but why on earth do they want to play for you? Unless players decide to pull a James-Wade-Bosh and all meet up in one place, then it isn’t going to happen. We are a terrible team, and players have no faith in ownership. Kobe is our only real asset and he is on the verge of retirement. Needless to say, if this interview was supposed to give me faith for the future, then it failed miserably.

Jeannie Doesn’t Anticipate the Lakers Missing the Playoffs

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am sorry, I thought that was a joke?

Jim is sticking by his Promise

I brought this up in my last post how Jim said he would step down if the Lakers are not back on top in 3 years. He reinforced that promise in this interview. Jeannie supported him and said the Lakers are on track to be on top in 3 years. (Another joke)?

I have already exhausted this issue, but I am happy to see him not back peddling.

Rumor Has It

Rumors-Logo-Small1I wasn’t planning on writing a new post today, but then this article showed up on my Facebook newsfeed: http://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-rumors-team-willing-to-trade-draft-pick-for-kevin-love/2014/03/28/.

I feel it is very important that I go on the record about my feelings about this rumor. First off, I would like to say that this is only a rumor. There were also rumors that Kevin Love was going to come to the Lakers at the trade deadline and that did not happen. I was completely on board with us making a trade at that deadline, but I am not OK with this possible trade.

We are positioned to get a top 5 pick. That is rare in Lakers history, and this is a historic draft. I am not on board with us trading a potential superstar to another team so that we can rent Kevin Love for the year and then hope he stays. We tried that already, remember how that turned out?

I will admit that I supported the Dwight Howard trade, but those assets we traded for him were not nearly as valuable. Also, he was demanding a trade for a year, so Orlando was unlikely to let him reach free agency. Unlike with Dwight Howard, there is a very real possibility that Kevin Love becomes a free agent and or stays with Minnesota.

The Lakers have the opportunity to get an all star two summers in a row (hello new big 3). Instead upper management feels pressured by Kobe. Seriously? NOW they feel pressured? This is not the first time Kobe has expressed his opinions about the management, and there are easier ways to appease him.

One of my lessons my teacher taught me in Negotiations, is to find the things that cost you nothing, but mean a lot to the other party. Kobe was not just complaining about the record. He was complaining about D’Antoni, not being consulted on major moves, and transparency. Those problems are very easy to fix.

First off, fire D’Antoni this summer, which it appears that the Lakers already plan to do. Next, apologize to Bryant for not giving him a heads up about trading Steve Blake. While Kobe shouldn’t have a definite vote on players, he should at least be made aware of the trades before it hits the media. Next, organize regular meetings with him to discuss the status upstairs. That will also help with the transparency issue. Lastly, develop a relationship with Kobe. Dr. Buss was famous for taking his players out to dinner, especially Magic, but Jim has not done this with any of the players. Jim needs to have a better relationship with his superstar. This will make Kobe feel appreciated (with his ego, $50 million only goes so far), and it will decrease the likelihood of Kobe lashing out in the media.

If the Lakers take those steps, I guarantee that they will see a much happier Mamba. I understand that Kobe will not be “happy” unless they are winning, but if you keep him involved in the process and explain the path, he will be more patient.

Trading the potential new face of the Lakers is a huge mistake. I personally believe that Kevin Love will be sporting the purple and gold. However, I also felt that way about Dwight Howard which just goes to show that you shouldn’t gamble on something unless you are prepared to lose.

 

Where is the Love?

I Love LA

It has been less than one week since Valentines Day. It is known as the national day of love for people in a relationship, or Singles Awareness Day for those who are not. Since the nation celebrated love (or resented those that did), there has been no love lost in Lakerville. Here is a recap of what has happened since the All Star Break: we traded Steve Blake, trade rumors have swirled regarding Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill, and the Lakers fans expressed their love by heckling ex-Laker D12.

I will take this blog in order and start with Steve Blake. I have mixed emotions on this move. On the one hand he has a decent sized contract and this move saves us money. He has also battled injuries and is streaky. However, the Lakers are lacking in the point guard position and he has been an overall bright spot this year. Going off of that point though, if I maintain that the Lakers need to lose this season, then trading him was probably a positive step. Either way Steve Blake is a class act and I wish him nothing but the best.

Moving on, I will discuss the trades that have not happened yet. The trade deadline will strike at midnight so the Lakers have only a matter of hours to make any last minute moves. Speaking of love, the rumor mill has been spinning with the possibility of Kevin Love coming to the Lakers. I have been very adamant about the Lakers making a play for Mr. Kevin Love. He grew up in Santa Monica and went to UCLA. He seems prime to come and I think he would be a good fit. However, he pointed out that Minnesota currently has a better team than the Lakers. I can respect Kevin for being classy and not wanting to act like some other stars and demand a trade. He is still a Timberwolf and needs to show loyalty while he plays for that team. Kevin is telling the truth, the Lakers are a bad team this year. However, we have a history of quickly bouncing back and he has been unhappy in Minnesota. I mean who wouldn’t be unhappy in Minnesota, have you seen that weather? It must be especially tough for a guy who was born and raised in beautiful Santa Monica. I believe Kevin will one day don the purple and gold, but I doubt that day is today. It seems more likely that he will be traded in the off season, which is all the more reason to rack up those draft picks.

Time to talk about my two Lakers that may or may not be wearing the uniform tomorrow: Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill. Pau has been the subject of trade rumors for years, and was even traded. He is a free agent and will leave us in the off season, and he should. The Lakers have not treated him well. This man is an all star and we have put him on the trading block every year. I understand that this is a business but they need to draw a line and either keep him or trade him. It is unfair to him to dangle him like bait every year and it reflects poorly on the Lakers. I love Pau and will miss him when he leaves, but since he will leave this summer, we should at least try to get something in return.

I believe Pau should be traded, but I am not sure about Jordan Hill. Again, I love Jordan and his energy. I am skeptical of any trade. However, I will defer to Mitch on this subject because Jordan is a role player.

Lastly, I want to talk about Dwight Howard. Full disclosure: I watched the first half of the game last night and then went to bed. It was a miserable game and I had no desire to stay up late watching Dwight’s highlight reel. I understand the Lakers fans are pissed that Dwight left us high and dry, but it is time to let it go. He didn’t do us any favors when he was playing for the Lakers and I understand he is putting up better numbers this year, but I still believe he never would have been able to produce them for us. He could not handle the lime light and pressure that comes with playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Now he plays on a team with James Harden and Jeremy Lin. He needed to hide in the shadows of other players in a smaller market. We need a player like Magic, Kobe, and Shaq who not only embraces the pressure, but loves it.

I was disappointed to see how much we heckled him. Get your boos out in the beginning and then let it go. We are better off without him. Time to say good riddance and move on to Love.