Friday, September 2, 2011
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE CHEAP (pt. 1)
The old dog and cicada references have pretty much run their course as have complaints about weather and memories of a misspent youth. I began this journal a year ago - a lifetime of basketball fandom and too much blog snorkeling led to a hastily conceived template which accidentally turned to white font on black background. I've often thought of changing it back but am afeared of making the whole thing disappear.
Armed with coffee and frozen egg burrito, I set out to confront the issue of free agency and Lakers’ bench needs, head-on. It doesn’t mean that I’m any more convinced we’ll see real-time NBA action this season - those familiar with my logic know I believe in gray autumn days, cuddly kittens and the owners’ need for self-immolation. Still, the old days of making lists and checking them too many times seem to have been eaten up by the Twitter abyss and other distractions.
The most commonly voiced pessimism to bolstering the Lakers’ roster is a lack of funds due to luxury taxes and some as-yet undefined new CBA. Said caution is usually followed by unlikely trade scenarios that add another $20m a year to payroll. Facts - Ratliff and Smith's collective corpses won’t be coming back. Shannon's testing free agency, Caracter's on the bubble and Trey Johnson's heading to Italy with no NBA opt-out. We picked up four rooks on draft night, immediately dealt away Chukwudiebere and it’s doubtful that we sign Ater Majok, even though I really like saying his name. This leaves us somewhere around 11 players. We need to plug a few holes on the cheap.
In an attempt to limit reader irritability, part one will focus on the bigs, especially seeing how we got Bynum, Pau and Odom and that’s about it. I can’t recall a time when we’ve so embraced our inner minimalist. In case anybody's missing the point of this exercise, I'm saying that Pau ran out of gas last season and Andrew has been known to hurt his knees now and then. Part two if it ever happens, will concern the guards. I’m not going to worry about small forwards until Meta’s name change gets legal and Barnes stops punching people.
Without further preamble, a list that won’t break anyone’s bank unless owners insist on continuing down the same wrong-headed path that led to this shitty lockout in the first place:
Troy Murphy’s albatross-ian salary was bought out by Golden State after a multi-team trade last season. He signed for a Celtics stretch run for pro-rated minimum but only contributed 3 ppg in short minutes. He’s one of those names that could attract some cash next time around but he’s banked plenty and might plug in for cheap and a legit shot at a ring. He can board and shoot - has never been the toughest defensive presence.
Kurt Thomas's name is always on these kinds of lists, along with the more legitimate versions. There's indications that he could return to the Knicks where he had his most productive years, if he indeed decides to come back for an 18th season.
Kwame Brown - I'm not going to belabor or even necessarily endorse the calves-of-steel but he’ll probably get some offers after a solid full circle turn with MJ in Charlotte. He’s strong, he’s got history here and he knows the post.
Tony Battie. Another traveled vet, has been in the league forever, very good shot blocker and all-around energy guy on defense. Battie’s a two-position player, doesn’t need the ball and will gladly do the dirty work.
Joe Pryzbilla still exists and has always been a banger. He gets hurt a lot but he’ll mix it up and take up some space in the post. Big body at 7-1, 255.
Steve Novack won’t mix it up with anybody but he technically occupies the PF position and still has about the sweetest stroke in basketball. We need shooters.
In the who the hell are you talking about category, Adam Parada is a 7-foot, 265 pound center out of UC Irvine. He wasn’t drafted in ‘04, has bounced around the D-league and has been in camp for the Lakers on a few occasions. He’s known inernationally for playing in Mexico and in the PBA and yes, the guy can play.
Slava Medvedenko. Y’know, there’s ways of keeping someone’s name alive that doesn’t actually involve logic vis-a-vis roster suggestions. All hail the loquacious one!
Wild card - Anderson Varejao is hardly in the vet minimum category and would require a significant trade scenario. On the other hand Mike Brown has always loved his defensive energy and has made it be known with the front office. If there’s any major shake-up (Odom being the most obvious chip), look for Varejao to be in the mix - possibly packaged with some much-needed point guard help in Ramon Sessions.
That I managed to bang this one out without drifting off toward asphalt angels or outdated musical references should be of relief to all who dare tread here. Be glad I didn't mention Robert Swift, last seen with Tokyo Apache. Oops. Now get out before I start delving into foot soldiers and swinging incense pots.