Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, we'll have ESPNLosAngeles.com Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stopping by for their weekly chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Friday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:30 PM)
Hey everyone. How's it going? Hope the last couple days have let the sting of the season's end fade a little. We're here for a while to answer all of your Q's about the year that just finished, and where they go from here.
Do you think if the lakers offered Gasol and Odom to the Magic for Dwight Howard at the beginning of the season after the Chris Paul trade was vetoed by the league the Magic would have taken it? and if so would the lakers be still playing for a championship right now?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:33 PM)
Gasol and Bynum? Yeah, they'd probably have taken that, but no, I don't think they'd be playing for a title. (Setting aside, of course, that Howard wouldn't actually be playing, perhaps, b/c of the back problem.) The difference between Bynum and Howard this year was relatively small. Not enough to make a difference. Then you add the loss of Gasol, which would have been felt for sure. He's a better player than anyone else they'd have gotten back in that deal. So overall, I think now what I thought then-- that would have been far too much to give up for Howard.
Matt (Salem, OR - Land of Rain and Clouds)
What, realistically, do you think the Lakers could get for Gasol or Bynum if they put them on the block?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:36 PM)
Pau won't likely fetch high end young talent, because as good as he is Gasol is on the backside of his career, and is due almost 40 million over hte next two seasons. He could bring back quality, though, and some depth. Which for the Lakers would be significant. Bynum, because he himself is a young star on the way up, could bring similarly elite talent. A high end point guard, for example. So the return on Bynum would be greater, but at the same time, he's ascending while Pau is holding flat, or slipping.
Todd (Los Angeles)
Do you think the Lakers are more concerned about getting under the luxury tax or winning a championship?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:38 PM)
Both. Which is a problem. The penalties they face are real, and punitive. If they get hit with that repeater tax while sitting on a substantive tax bill, we're talking payments in the tens of millions. This on top of revenue sharing obligations running at least 50 mil, as well. But just as important as the money are the rules set up to penalize tax teams. Smaller mid-level, fewer trade options, and so on. It's very hard to build a team as a tax payer in the new CBA.
Can the Lakers win a title as presently constituted?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
What are the chances of Ramon Sessions coming back to the team, and do you think he will develop into a solid starting PG in the near future? The playoffs really showed his deficiencies on the defensive end.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Hi Jared-I think they're strong. The Lakers gave up a fair amount to get him (not just the first rounder to Cleveland, but another to Houston in the corresponding move to send out Fisher). They don't want to do that and have nothing to show for it. If he's reasonably priced -- and right now there's reason to believe he will be -- I think he'll return. Ideally, he'll play out the final year of his deal, and give the Lakers a chance to work him up in a training camp and see him over the course of a full season. If he decides to enter free agency, if nobody overwhelms with a big offer, I think the Lakers will bite. Remember, if they don't sign him, they have to replace him with something. Will they find better? The exception might be if they make a big blockbuster type deal for an elite PG. Obviously that changes the equation.
What up K-Bros, unfortunately it's not surprising we lost to OKC but you know Laker fans are not going to take losing in the 2nd round and going 1-8 in the riound the last 2 years lightly. Hypothetical question for you guys: Lets say Orlando puts D12 on the block this offseason (reported yesterday) we have the best trade chip out there in Bynum. If we were to get D12 for Bynum would we still look to trade Gasol?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Hey Lex-I think they would. The big problem with the Lakers and Gasol is that he makes too much money to be in the role he now has, which is essentially a third option offensively. Gasol will make 19 million next year. That's more than LeBron, Wade, Durant, etc. I love Gasol's game (and am a huge fan of the person, too) but that's a lot of cash, and given their depth problems and the constraints on roster moves thanks to the new CBA, they might have to move Pau to add pieces around that hypothetical Howard/Kobe pairing.
Ali Shah (harrisonburg Va)
Of the big three would you really consider amnestying Kobe's contract????
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
No, I wouldn't. But the question highlights a major problem with LA's payroll structure. The cap is about 58 million this year. Kobe eats up more than 2/5 of that by himself. Next year, that percentage will rise, and by the last year of his deal, Bryant's contract could be almost 50 percent of LA's cap figure. That's a lot for one guy. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it or hasn't earned it, because he has. But it's undeniably true that working around the money he makes is tricky.
@andthefoul (Los Angeles)
Given his demand for control of the ball, can Kobe Bryant ever truly co-exist with an elite point-guard (e.g. Chris Paul, D. Will)?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
I have no idea, but that was the million dollar question when they made the CP3 deal. I think with Paul, it would have worked b/c Kobe has such an enormous amount of respect for him. But someone like Sessions, it periodically is a problem. Ramon feels compelled to defer, and Kobe tends to fill any space he's given. D Will? I think he'd be fine, though.
Evander beaumont,tx [via mobile]
what u think of this lineup next year assuming that gasol gets traded deron williams,kobe,iggy,
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Great lineup, though I don't know how we get them. Did you trade both Gasol and Bynum?
What are your thoughts on a trade of Pau for Bosh? Is there any way of getting DWill?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Hi Sam. I wouldn't flip Pau for Bosh, even though I like Bosh more than some. Pau is a better player, and even though Bosh is younger I don't see that as the type of upgrade they need. Bosh might be a better fit, given he doesn't want to be down on the block as much as Gasol, but I think I'd look in another direction. It would be fun to watch Pau and LeBron together, though.
Matt Barnes (LA)
Should i be worried that the Lakers won't offer me a new contract?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
When you left your exit interview Wednesday, you seemed like a guy who didn't expect to be back. I tend to agree with you.
John (Los Angeles)
If Kobe would be willing to come off the bench and be less controlling, do you think we have a good chance at winning a championship?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
I stopped reading after the "willing to come off the bench" part. (haha)
exhelodrvr (san diego)
If they want to optimize title chances the next two years (read "Kobe's contract"), the best thing to do is keep the same basic roster, upgrade the bench if the opportunity comes along. THere will be some improvement this year with a full off-season, and second year under Brown. Unlikely to get "equal value" for Gasol or Bynum, without taking on long-term contracts that will result in large taxes in 2014.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
You're not necessarily wrong, except upgrading the bench with the constraints under which they're working will be very, very tough. It might take a Gasol deal where you don't worry about getting an elite talent back, but focus more on filling two or three holes on the roster. Obviously that strategy has downside, though. But you get to the crux of the issue -- Good players cost money, the Lakers need more of them, but are currently in a place where spending more cash isn't a good option.
evander beaumont [via mobile]
do u think sessions will star
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Star, no. Solid player, yes.
Would the Pacers consider Pau and Blake's bad contract for David West and Paul George? If not, subbing in Darren Collison for George? The first deal gives the Lakers a young player to build around and cap relief with West's contract expiring, the Pacers suddenly have the best frontcourt in the league assuming they resign Hibbert and a legit #1 scorer
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Chris-It's possible. I think a team like Indy is the sort where Gasol would have appeal. He's the type of guy who can elevate a near-elite team. The Pacers, just as a hypothetical, are that type of team, looking for a player to push them over the top and make the other guys better. But they're huge fans of George, though, so that's a tough one to pry away.
Tim Duncan (wheelchair)
Do Durant and the Thunder really have a shot at us? They are a great young team but we are going to show them they have to earn their dues first, agree?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:57 PM)
Timmeh!I think OKC has a chance, but until the cyborg Spurs start losing a game here and there, I'll stick with them. They were playing incredibly well at the end of the regular season, and have rolled it into the postseason. It shapes up to be a fascinating series, I think.
How does Kobe get a pass from the local media after he shot us out of Games 2 and 4, when he took the games upon himself instead of relying on what was working the previous 3 quarters.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Hey Keith-I'm not sure he got a real free pass, because he certainly faced plenty of criticism. Certainly even his biggest defenders put some blame on his shoulders after the Game 2 miscues, and while the Pau turnover definitely sucked up some of the oxygen after Game 4, it's not like nobody was talking about 2-10 in the 4th, either. Kobe has rightly built up a lot of currency in these parts, which insulates him some from criticism. Maybe he deserved more (I gave him plenty), but to say he got a pass isn't correct, in my mind.
Well Sessions really dissapointed during the postseason, which was a huge reason we lost and Blake can never be counted on, so the question becomes where do we find our PG of the future?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Frank-Sessions is 26 and was playing his first postseason. A lot of guys fail in their first go round in the playoffs. It's not at all uncommon. So I wouldn't give up on him yet. Not to say he'll be a star -- I think we saw some of Sessions' limitations down the stretch and into the playoffs. But he could very well become a solid starting PG.
Clueless (Los Angeles, CA)
Get Kobe to restructure his contract. If he won't, trade him away. Then sign DWill, Howard, Odom, Shannon Brown, and Ariza, fire Mike Brown and bring Phil Jackson back. Problem solved.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
And there you have it!
Is it just me, or did Kobe put on an awesome series agains OKC? Why is everyone criticizing him?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Awesome is an overstatement, I think. He was certainly spectacular in Game 5, but in the first three games didn't crack 40 percent from the floor. In Game 3, he compensated with 18 (18!) free throws, evening out the stat line. But despite the good line in Game 4, he had the horrible fourth quarter which definitely cost the Lakers, and in Game 2 helped kick the game away. He did some good stuff, but "awesome" isn't the word to describe his series. But this is sort of what I was talking about before. The last reader thought he was getting a free pass after playing poorly. You thought he was awesome.
Andrew Kamenetzky (The Next Cubicle Over)
Hi Brian, why are you flying solo today? Is it because I stayed home and ordered tomato soup like Zoey Deschanelle?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Quiet, fake Andy Kamenetzky! I'm here now. So let's shake, rattle and roll!!!
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
You almost fooled me! Except Andy actually knows how to spell Zooey Deschanel ... although Andy probably doesn't want to put on real shoes today, either.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:07 PM)
Hey folks. I'm out, but will be handing the keys over to Andy. Make sure to tweet us at @espnlandolakers if we don't get to your Q's. Thanks!
If the Lakers could get Josh Smith for Gasol, woud you do that deal?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Lex: Yes, but I'm not confident Atlanta would. Smith is younger, cheaper and if not "better," he's certainly not much worse. Maybe they think the core needs to be shaken up, and Pau could be the spark they need. And he and Al Horford could make for one heck of a duo. But it's an expensive chance to potentially still fall short of the Heat and Bulls.
K Bros, do you think management would ever go to Kobe and even ask him if he would take a pay cut? I mean all we ever hear from Kobe these days are all he cares about is winning title #6 and tying Jordan. Kobe is a super smart guy, so he has to realize that his cap number will hinder management from making the team better, right?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Lex: Kobe can't take a paycut. It's not like the NFL, where contracts can be restructured. They're set in stone upon being signed. But honestly, I don't think Kobe would be willing even if it were legal. He knew the effect his salary would have on the cap and took the max anyway. I'm not judging him for his -- dude has earned every cent collected from the Lakers -- but rather just stating a fact. Were he that concerned about roster inflexibility being a byproduct of his salary, he'd have taken less from the start.
Pumpkin Escobar (Hogwarts )
AK, seriously, tell me how Nash isnt a good thing for LA. If they can get him cheap, they can hold on to big three, Sesh to bench, why arent more ppl talking about this? Dont hold back on me. Tell me how it is. I swear im the only one in the country thats talkng Nash as a perfect fit for LA.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
Pumpkin: No, you're not the only one talking about it. BK, myself and Steve Mason discussed that possibility while on Mason and Ireland a couple days ago. I'd love for them to get Nash, assuming it were possible. It would require a true willingness on Kobe's part to play more off-ball, because otherwise you're bringing in Nash to be a spot-up shooter. Granted, the dude can shoot the lights out, but that's nonetheless a waste of his talents. However, I'd like to think Kobe has enough respect for Nash to cede control. And if that's the case, he'd be an unbelievable pickup.
Do you think Gasol would thrive in small market where the lights arent as bright? I think LA is too big for him.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Dre: The lights are too big in L.A. for Pau? Are you serious? He was a key part of two straight championships (thus, he's "thrived" here) and is quite literally an icon in Spain. Yes, there are times where he's legitimately not aggressive enough, but he can handle the pressure just fine. What he can't handle is a poorly defined role camped out in the high post where he's sometimes reduced to being an expensive screen setter.
Jaminus Sweetimus (Long Beach)
If the Lakers under-perform next year is Mike Brown the fall guy? He already underwhelemed the fans.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Jaminus: That's not out of the question. Mike gets (and deserves) a pass/benefit of the doubt for this season because of the external chaos. Lockout. No training camp. CP3. Lamar Odom. Lack of practice. Legitimate roster issues. And so on and so forth. Plus, even if the season wasn't an unqualified success, it was hardly a disaster, either. But next season, things begin a new and normal. If tangible progress isn't made, I have to believe Brown will feel some heat.
Hey guys! Do you agree with me on the fact that we desperately need 3pt shooters? Who do you think would fit based on our reduced financial capacities (I've heard the name of Al Harrington)
Andy Kamenetzky (2:30 PM)
Sofiane: I've been screaming for years this team needs shooters, and actually identified it as a bigger need than point guard. Without the ability to spread the floor, penetration can be neutralized as easily as size down low. As for potential pickups, Harrington (unless he's Amnestied and on a new deal) strikes me as too expensive. But maybe someone like Steve Novak. A potentially affordable (if one-dimensional) a pure shooter with a recent track record of success.
Is there any real chance that Kobe can or will restructure his contract to help the team go after say D-will and better support players?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:32 PM)
Eric: See above. Kobe CANNOT restructure his contract. It's not legal in the NBA. Dead issue.
Keep Pau at center. Trade Bynum for Kevin Love. Kevin will open the floor, jump shots, and get rebounds.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:35 PM)
otb: I'd do that, but I doubt even David Kahn, contrarian oddity that he may be, would move Love. Especially with Love recently extended and the risk alleviated of losing him.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:36 PM)
And there you have it. Thanks for dropping by. We really appreciate it. If you can listen to ESPN LA On Air from 12-2 pm. We'll certainly be talking some Lakers, among other topics. Thanks.