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.


Lakers v Rockets: Let the Emotion Fest Commense

Tonight the Lakers face off against the man they once believed to be the future face of their franchise: Dwight Howard. This will be an interesting game simply because there is so much animosity spread out amongst both teams. The Lakers are embarrassed that Dwight walk away, Harden is presumably still upset about former Laker MWP giving him a concussion, and then there is always the legendary animosity between Rambis and McHale. All in all, this should be fun.

I grew up watching hockey, so I am not ashamed to admit that I love it when fights break out on the floor. Granted it is never in good in basketball as it is in hockey, but I will take what I can get. I don’t expect Rambis to charge at McHale and then have McHale take him out with a close line tonight, but I will admit that would be awesome.

Instead, I will be looking for more subtle jabs. First, the Lakers will implement Hack-a-Howard (by the way, every analyst always said Hack-a-Dwight and missed such an obvious alliteration, so I will be changing the term). The Lakers will take advantage of a tactic that hurt them so much last year that it put them in the bottom of the pack for free throw percentage.  I expect them to take some aggression out on Howard using this method. Pau of course won’t be aggressive, because that is not his style, but I expect major hits from Jordan Hill. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if Mike puts in a few scrubs just to teach D12 a lesson. I assume all this hacking will lead to technicals and maybe even a little scuffle.

The issues between the Lakers and Dwight are pretty obvious, however I don’t think it will take much to set Harden over the edge either. Harden can play dirty. We have seen this on multiple occasions, and if this game gets physical then I think it is very likely he can get into an altercation. A lot of this will depend on how competitive the game becomes. If it is a blowout on either end then I would expect a fight involving multiple techs near the end of the game. If it is a close game then it will be physical throughout and the refs will keep both teams on a tight leash leading to multiple techs through out the game.

I am most intrigued to see how the coaches behave throughout the game. Kevin McHale has been very public about his hatred for everything purple and gold. He may just be the fuel that turns this current spark into a fire. Mike on the other hand has continually put his foot in his mouth. He keeps saying stupid things regarded Dwight and is universally blamed for his departure. He has a lot to prove. He knows he is coaching on borrowed time and needs to try to extend it as far as he can before the Lakers inevitably fire him and bring back Phil. Being embarrassed by Dwight in the beginning of the season will not earn him any brownie points.

I hope this game brings entertainment from the court and not just from the off court drama. Here’s to hoping Steve Nash can play real minutes and make this game interesting, as opposed to games against the Mavs and Warriors. If not, at least we can all enjoy the commentary from the half time report. Always love Shaq making fun of Dwight, and Kenny making fun of Charles.