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Discussion in 'Mark Blount's Port Cellar: Celtics Forum' started by wade boggs chicken dinner, Jul 20, 2018.
Edit: Maybe there is a method to the madness. How long before Lance or Javale decks Lavar Ball?
this is Occam's Razor to me. There's so much noise and emotion in this thread, but it seems to me pretty straightforward what the plan is....likely something quite similar to how you summarize it.
Arguing about whether they should have given this guy or that a few extra/fewer millions on one-year deals is completely irrelevant to the long term plan.
Couldn't agree more. It is/was about as straightforward as any plan could be with the roadblocks in place to prevent LA from adding a 2nd star.
You guys are spot on imho.
To me the most interesting thing is how LeBron responds playing with a mostly younger squad. I know this wasn't his MO in his return to Cleveland but part of me thinks he might enjoy the challenge of working with a more youthful cast in a different setting. If he can somehow take that roster deep into the WC playoffs, he may get even more praise than he received for last season. If a few of those guys make the leap, who knows?
One thing is for sure - the Lakers, with James, the NBA outcasts and the kids, are going to be must-see this upcoming season.
If LBJ gets to the WC finals with this cast of characters and wins even a single game in that series I will bow down in awe and concede that he may be the greatest player in history.
LeBron willingly going to a bad basketball team, and then leading that team to a small amount of playoff success, does not move the needle for me. If Jordan left the mid-90s Bulls to go play for the Celtics and got them to the ECF a few times, that wouldn't be seen as an accomplishment in hindsight, it would be seen as a colossally bad decision for someone who wants to win basketball games. It would be impressive in the sense that only a few players in NBA history could get that much out of a mediocre basketball team; but LeBron choosing to raise the level of difficulty for himself so it would excuse any postseason failures doesn't enhance his GOAT argument to me.
Durant gets dinged for going to a great team.
LeBron gets dinged for leaving one mediocre team (without him) for another mediocre team (without him).
Others have gotten dings for staying with their mediocre team. I don't understand what people are criticizing LeBron for......he possibly went to a BETTER team than the one he just left who has a much brighter future after this season. The Lakers were far from a "bad basketball team" last year going 24-23 after the new year in the WC.
I never criticized Durant personally for going to Golden State; and I would never ding a player for staying with their team. Clearly, my post was about how I personally felt about LeBron moving to LA and how it impacts the GOAT argument to me. Other people may criticize Durant, or players for staying with their teams, but that isn't relevant to my own personal evaluation.
Lebron choosing to raise the difficulty for himself to excuse playoff failures is a huge assumption. I’m not the biggest Lebron fan, but I just assume he wanted to move to LA, perhaps be part of a storied franchise, and - hey - they happen to have a lot of opportunity for fast improvement as well. Bonus.
I don’t mean to indicate that LeBron specifically chose the Lakers because it would give him an easy excuse for failing in the playoffs. The reality is that the Lakers sucking does in fact, give him that excuse though. And he willingly selected to go there, even when there were plenty of teams that wanted him that would give him a significantly higher chance of winning a championship.
I think LeBron has gone to LA for a lot of reasons that are not basketball related. It’s better for his post-playing career, better for his family, and likely increases his worldwide fame. Personally, if he values that stuff more than winning championships, that’s great, good for him. He’s had an amazing career, and if he wants to just coast and ride out the end of his career making a ton of money and giving his family more stability, that’s awesome for him. I won’t criticize him for that.
BUT; he’s not going to earn any brownie points from me for dragging that crappy team to the WCF this year. He chose to go there and I’m not going to buy the “Look how great LeBron is, winning 50 games with a bunch of kids and Rondo” spin because he chose to be in that situation.
It isn't necessary to continually be obtuse. You are really being ridiculous if you think LeBron "wants to just coast" when he left arguably a worse roster in Cleveland to be in LA with cap space and trade opportunities opening up within the next 12 months.
LeBron historically has switched teams when he wanted to put himself in a better situation to win a championship. He left Cleveland for Miami, because Miami was a better situation to win a championship. He made the reverse move four years later, because Cleveland was a better situation to win a championship. I don't think the same can be said for his move to Los Angeles. Winning a championship no longer appears to be the number one motivation for him; otherwise he would have gone to Houston or Philly or any pseudo-contender that was willing to open up space for him.
Which is all fine, but I'm just saying that when talking about his legacy and his career resume "dragged a crappy Lakers team to the WCF" isn't going to move the needle much for me.
And perhaps the Lakers make a big trade mid-season, or sign some all-stars next off-season and the Lakers are true contenders in 2019-2020, and it all works out for him; but as we have seen this off-season, that is far from a guarantee.
I want to push back a bit on the idea that going to the Lakers is good for Lebron's brand. If they win titles, then yes it'll be a boon to his legacy and popularity, but if they never get past the second round it could do real damage. Lakers fans, or maybe more specifically Kobe fans, have always had a somewhat contemptuous relationship with Lebron, and if he doesn't bring instant and sustained success the knives will come out. You don't think the Bayless types will be out talking about how Lebron couldn't cut it in a major market with the spotlight on him? I can almost read the hot takes now.
That is your opinion which not everyone agrees with. He had better options than returning to Cleveland if he choose that route back then. Or maybe he saw the heat Durant has been taking the past several seasons. Or maybe there were no viable options that Houston wished to exercise to acquire him.
Well it would put to rest your theory that he wants to just coast for the remainder of his career and Cash The Check (CTC, -Sheed). He dragged a crappy Cavs team to it this year and many times in the past so it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary for him even if I wouldn't consider last years Lakers team anything close to crappy following a slow start.
No, we really haven't seen anything as the opportunities weren't available which is why they went the 1-year contract route. Next summer they will be a ton of options to build the Lakers into a much better team.
He had better options than returning to Cleveland? Where? Assuming he wanted to stay in the East, which had no real top contenders beyond the team that he played on, what was a better option? In Cleveland, he knew he'd be playing with one superstar about to hit his prime, and he had the knowledge that Bennett and Wiggins were going to be flipped to Minnesota for Love (which is why he never mentioned them in his letter) which gave him easily the best team in the conference. I guess he could have gone to San Antonio or Golden State?
I suppose I shouldn't say he is going to coast in LA; I don't think he is going to be mailing in games, I'm sure he will be trying very hard on offense for most of the season and in the playoffs. I just think that the move to LA was not a move driven by winning championships; there were other things that were more important to him, imo.
We can't assume that in 2019-2020 the Lakers are going to be reeling in the free agents. What do you mean by the opportunities were not available this year? Paul George was out there; and seemed like a lock to go to LA to the degree that he was openly saying during the last two seasons how much he wanted to play in LA and Magic was openly tampering with recruiting him and everyone assumed it was a lock he was going to LA to the degree it hurt his trade value...and then he didn't go to LA. Using your logic, just because there are FA's available, that doesn't mean the opportunities for LA to sign those guys is going to be.
They also probably could have gotten Kawhi. And I know your going to say "There is no way that Pop and RC were going to launch the next Lakers' dynasty" but I still think they could have gotten him. If they chose to do so, and they wanted to offer Ball/Ingram/Kuzma + picks for Kawhi, they could have gotten it done imo. We have no way to prove that it was just IMPOSSIBLE for them to get him.
I wonder if San Antonio proposed anything to LA
LeBron chose LA because his family likes it there and because he will have many post-basketball opportunities in the entertainment industry. It's the kind of decision that intelligent people make when they hit their early 30's and begin to grow up.
It's Magic and Pelinka that baffle me. They have probably wasted a year of prime LeBron by putting a hodgepodge around him. Maybe LeBron is OK with that, and maybe Ingram, Ball and friends will rise to the occasion. After all, they had a winning record for the last half of the year. But the odds are against it.
LBJ going to LAL was an upgrade over CLE. LA probably provided him the best combination of chances to win a championship plus setting his companies up for the future than any other city in the NBA
If he just wanted championships, he could have gone to GSW or BOS or maybe even PHI. But it's clear that there was several different dimensions to his decision. As most of us noted when it was happening.
Another way of thinking about this: imagine James goes to Philadelphia and wins three titles with a core including Embiid, Simmons, etc. He gets all the adulation associated with leading a team to championships and doesn't find his contributions marginalized like they were (to some degree) in Miami. He ties Jordan in the championship race and becomes the undisputed greatest of all time.
Then what? Even Jordan became irrelevant after a while. And he was basketball for a time.
This is accurate. People viewing this as leaving an NBA Finals team for a celler dweller are poorly informed both of what that Cleveland roster is without LeBron and the Lakers performance last year without LeBron. It's win win's all the way around for LeBron from a basketball sense, family perspective with his kids loving LA the last few summers, and his post-NBA career.
Houston didn't have the means to acquire him, Philly I still see as a terrible fit with Simmons, and he saw how hard he got him for the Miami move while Durant is being ridiculously called soft for his decision. Crazy how such a natural fit is taking so much criticism.....and even more crazier that Magic/Pelinka are taking heat for strategically planning for their LeBron future. Haters will hate I suppose, we see it in politics and we see it in sports fans too.
I wouldn't underrate the wishcasting factor here.
If you hate Lebron and/or the Lakers, it's probably pretty easy to convince yourself about this or that being a stupid move for him/them.
Personally, I'd like the LAL to go 0-82 every year, but being objective is kind of important. They are set up for the next few years about a thousand precent more than they were a couple of months ago.
The Lakers are obviously in a much better situation to win now then they were last season; and potentially next season they could acquire more talent with all the free agents. All I'm saying is that if LeBron's primary goal was to win more championships, he could have chosen a better situation than LA, in my opinion.
The thing I do find weird is that in the prime of his career Lebron essentially went year-to-year on his contracts. He forced teams to cash in their assets to maximize his championship opportunity every year, but now in his waning years he's committing to a long-term view to help build a great team that he might not benefit from. You'd think it would have gone the other way, with him having the long view early on and then going mercenary during his late 30s.
I think most of us aren’t seeing that, or at least don’t think it’s as clear as you do.
Obviously, he could’ve signed a one-year deal with the Warriors for the league minimum and virtually guaranteed himself a ring, then repeated that process each summer for the rest of his career. I don’t think you’re suggesting he should’ve done that.
Looking at places where he could have signed and gotten paid:
Cleveland — Once the ping-pong balls didn’t bounce their way, the Cavs had no realistic prospects to get materially better.
Houston — Not at all clear they were willing to clear the decks for LeBron. And I’m not sure how good a team with two ball-dominant players (one of whom isn’t a particularly good defender) and a bunch of scrubs would be.
Philly — LeBron doesn’t fit well with Simmons and Embiid, and the guys who would fit well with him (Redick, Saric) would’ve had to go to clear cap space. Those Sixers still would’ve been better in 2018-19 than the Lakers as currently constructed, but I think the Lakers are better positioned to contend beyond next season.
Miami — They were this season’s weakest playoff team and would’ve had to jettison some pieces to fit LeBron. Probably still a better option than staying in Cleveland, but with no obvious path to landing a second star, Miami seems worse than several other options, including the Lakers.
Others — It’s hard to know what other options were actually available to him. Would the Cavs have done a S/T to facilitate LeBron going to Boston or Washington? Was there any interest from Indiana, which seemed to have the ability to create a max spot without fitting their roster? Did any teams make a serious push and manage to keep it out of the press?
I certainly can't prove which teams were willing to clear space for LeBron without taking a deep dive into NBA scuttlebutt. However, I think that it is reasonable to assume that most, if not all, NBA teams would be willing to clear space and make it work if LeBron indicated that he wanted to sign a long-term contract. In addition, if I was a GM I wouldn't worry about LeBron fitting into my team; he's smart enough and talented enough to make it work.
That’s certainly true for teams that aren’t already contenders, but from LeBron’s perspective most of those options would end up looking similar to Miami — a mediocre team minus a couple key pieces (moved to create cap space), and no realistic prospect of adding a second star. Not sure how that’s a better situation than LA, where he has the last two #2 overall picks and a max cap slot next summer.
No idea where else to put this, but apparently on this date in 1986 Bird & Magic were on the same team in a charity event. This was a pretty cool clip. Much respect and admiration between the two.
Where does Lonzo fit in? Didn't play much in the first half.
Saw his reworked 3 point shot in a highlight this AM. Watching the brief highlight, it did look better than the previous version.
Also, from the knee jerk gallery, them that picked the Lakers to finish third in the West have oversold this team. I like the players Magic assembled on the fly and think they'll make the playoffs. But I don't buy that they're a better team than the Jazz or Blazers and Denver might finish ahead of them too.
He's apparently on a minutes restriction.
I don't see why the Lakers would be looking to move Lonzo, period. Offensively, he'll fit well with Lebron if the retooling of his shot is successful, and he's already a plus defensive player (which will eventually be something the Lakers need as Lebron ages).
I think they need it already.
Yeah, no way they dump Lonzo unless it's part of a major, major deal. Rondo is very useful, but not the long-term solution as the guy to lead the offense. Be interesting to see if Lonzo's outside shot improves this season, but otherwise he has all the elements to be very good.
Surprise surprise - Anthony Kiedis was ejected from the Staples Center following Saturday's fracas.
He's the worst person in the world and the Lakers are rapidly approaching the Canadiens for the title of most hated sports franchise in IHDK's heart - and I don't even watch that much basketball.
This would be the only way Lonzo IS moved......but based on LeBron's history of building his teams and having several star players as trade options for Lonzo (Lillard at top of my list) I don't expect Lonzo to be there opening night next year even if he does survive the trade deadline in a few months.
I am not of the belief that LeBron signed on here to wait 3-4 until these kids grow up and maybe turn into championship level players...….when they can be moved as part of a deal over the next 9 months to ACQUIRE veteran championship level players for the start of next season.
Yeah, I’m kinda wondering how you’re saying Keidis is the worst person in the world...I’m assuming hyperbole, but if I’m missing something...
Don't they have free agent money for going after the veterans? Based on Lebron's past career decisions, no one would have had him signing with an empty LAL team, either. I think Ball and Ingram get a year to audition for jobs on next year's Laker team.
Lillard isn't a FA next summer. The Lakers could either move Ball and expiring contracts prior to the deadline or simply absorb Lillard's contract in a trade being under the cap. There are a multitude of ways for LeBron to build his team over the next 9 months. I'm pretty certain next Octobers Laker team won't come close to resembling the one on the floor now with not-ready-for-prime-time youth and a bunch of veteran expiring contracts...….everyone is available come February at the deadline in addition to next summers FA. They are not mutually exclusive.
Ingram didn't get that memo or maybe he wouldn't have joined the fray and take a swing at LeBron's best friend lol.
He is just angry the Lakers keep giving it away, giving it away now
Luke Walton looks like Sergio Garcia, watching him giving interviews with the TV on mute is weird.
I still find him really fun to watch. He has an incredible passing touch.
I hate to say it but you are right. Ball has dismantled him after Jokic played like a beast on both ends in the third.
By the way, Ball is playing really well. Anyone fading him needs to watch this game.
What an awful foul by Hart there.
Lonzo looks great so far this year. Shooting 45% (41% from 3) with 12/6/5 in 27 minutes per game with more steals than turnovers. His passing and defense are really impressive for a guy who turns 21 on Saturday night.
Chuck & Kenny are having the first "should Lonzo start over Rondo" conversation 5 games in. That is a good sign for the kid.
In that weird way that happens sometimes, the suspensions to Ingram and Rondo may have helped the Lakers rotations. Ball clearly needs to be the starter -- his defense is amazing and Rondo's....isn't. And Ingram out moved Kuzma into the starting 5, ending the ridiculous Kuzman as back-up Center experiment. Sort of an interesting idea, but a bust to move a defensively challenged guy to C.
Be interesting to see what the rotations are when Rondo and Ingram are back.
Ya' think? The few shots I've seen him put up, the form looks a lot better. His elbow has come way in. It's not much more to a set shot, you may remember Dr. J. developed one late in his career, and the set shot is all I think he needs. If Lonzo can make open 3's, it changes the way he has to be defended and makes him much more dangerous. I think he's looked pretty good so far this year.
Ultra-grudgingly, I have to admit that beyond all the circus aspects, this season's Lakeshow is already playing a great brand of basketball that's a pleasure to watch. The ball is whipping around beautifully, and many of the guys who were presumed (by me, at least) to be somewhat frustrated by LeBron's ball-dominance — Ball, Hart, Rondo, Kuzma, even Lance, pretty much everyone except Beasley — seem to be getting plenty of touches and having fun. Early (grudging) props to Luke Walton, LeBron and co.
Somewhat more predictably: old friend JaVale is having a career year with all the creators and ball movement (plus bigger minutes) leading to large quantities of the the tip-ins, putbacks, and alley-op finishes that he thrives on. Happy for him, even if mildly annoyed that Kerr didn't give him more consistent run than he did.
If they can figure things out a bit on D, they may start to resemble a good NBA team sooner than later. With OKC and Houston scuffling out of the gate, the top half of the draw in the West is more open than I think many presumed.
Many of the Laker's centric posts from the game thread were moved here....
Adding to what people have noted above, a healthy Ball is really good for the Lakers on defense:
and this quote from Lebron captures it well:
He is much better than Rondo defensively, and what he lacks in savvy and playmaking (not that there is much of the latter) relative to Rondo, he more than makes up for defensively.
I like Ball. Think he is real good. That video is kinda weak though. Looked like a clear foul on the that first swipe. Gave up a missed layup to Jokic on a bad switch. Gets beat by Murray (did make a nice play on the bad pass in knocking the ball out of Jokic's hands). And the last one he is just bodying up Jokic who makes a terrible pass.
I think this post wasn't moved over from NBA game thread.. So will just respond to it as a way to get it into this thread. And will definitely agree that not sure what Sprowl sees. There's a slight but significant shift in his form which over a few games looks sustainable. That remains to be seen, of course. I think, as well, the obvious upper body muscle he built up over the off-season has taken away a bit of the "fling" that he had in his shot last year. It isn't a radical shift in his technique, but he's a bit more centered and also seems a bit more effortless when putting it up from deep due (probably, what do I know) from added strength. He also seems to be initiating more contact on drives to the hoop, something he couldn't do last year and on which, again, the added muscle has got to be helpful. It's also early to say anything definitive on that, so....time will tell.
If those SSS improvements are real, he's pretty much a perfect stylistic match with LBJ, so should be fun to watch.
I was really, really down on Lonzo after the draft and last season. I think I'm going to be very wrong on this one. His defense is for real, and any semblance of shooting will round out his game quite well. His biggest weaknesses were always going to be driving, finishing, and scoring off the dribble, but playing with LeBron alleviates the need for most of that.