Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:32 PM)
Hey everyone, thanks for coming by. We're here for a while to answer all of your hoops inquiries.Let's get going!
Mike (Ladera Ranch)
Hey Guys- Did you happen to see any of the excerpts released from Kawakami's biography on Jerry West? Interesting stuff about his relationship with PJ
Brian Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Hey Mike-Yeah, I saw TK's blog, and have already tried to reach out for a couple advance copies to get more detail. It's interesting to read West talk frankly about how he and PJ co-existed (or didn't, more specifically). Not exactly a state secret -- we knew already they didn't get along and that Phil pulled the power play -- but generally this sort of candor doesn't happen.
Sam B (DC)
What happended last season in the playoffs? Were the Mavs that good or did LA just play bad at the wrong time?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Sam: A little bit of both. The Lakers played horribly during the playoffs, although the foundation wasn't properly built during a ho hum regular season. The signs for disappointment were there, if not necessarily so dramatic as getting swept. And Dallas absolutely caught fire during the playoffs. Very "lightning in a bottle" type stuff. But they also laid the groundwork to that title with a very good regular season cranked up to another level April-June.
Hello Kbros!!.. With the recent letter to players from Fisher. It seems that the owners are not unified (basically the small market teams are the ones driving the lockout). Why aren't the big time owners such as Jerry Buss seizing control of the lockout since they seem to be fine with the current CBA?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:38 PM)
Hey Rei-It does seem like there is some divergence of opinion among the owners, for sure. To what degree, it's hard to say for sure, but I would say it's to be expected. Not all of these guys are created equal. Some are richer than others, some have better markets than others, or bought in at lower costs, and so on. With that in mind, it's almost impossible to come up with an agreement satisfying everyone.As for Dr. Buss and other large market owners, keep in mind they may be very powerful drivers of revenue, but they're also in a minority. There are more teams hoping for a harder cap and more aggressive revenue sharing than there are owners happy with the status quo.
Alfred (Bat Cave)
Is Ron Ron's dancing the creepiset thing you have ever seen or what? Since we aren't going to have B Ball for a while, I guess we can concentrate on things like who do you think would be the best dancer on the lakers?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
Alfred: I don't think Ron's actual dancing was creepy. Clumsy and lacking skills, for sure, but more sloppy fun than anything else. But his actual appearance was in fact kinda creepy. I think it was the golden goatee, which blended weird with his mouth to create a very menacing effect. Normally, Ron's smile is goofy and fun. Monday night, not so much.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Sam-Well, it depends a little on what you're defining "best" to mean. He's the most accomplished in terms of resume, and there are a lot of people who would still make him their choice for a final play, or a few final sequences. But in my opinion, on a day in day out, game to game basis, Kobe isn't the best player anymore. Hasn't been for a few seasons, actually. Last year, LeBron averaged almost 27 points, with 7 dimes and 7.5 assists, led the league in win shares and PER, and was more consistently a better defender. He's the best player in the league, fourth quarter problems in the Finals notwithstanding.
Will (San Diego)
Hypothetically speaking....If there is no NBA season, would there still be a draft next year?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Hi Will-Honestly, I don't know how all of that works. What would be the order of drafting? Would it be based on the '09-'10 season? Would that mean the Clips would get that lottery pick back from the Cavs? Do they re-do the lottery, but keep everything else? One more reason to hope they play. Logistically, if the season is cancelled, all sorts of things go haywire.
Mike (Scranton, Pa)
Does the Brown regime view any current Lakers in a different light than the Jackson years did? Ex. Luke Walton/D.Character
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Good question, Mike.It's hard to tell at this point, because the Brown regime isn't actually allowed to speak about players by name because of the threat of fines from the league. But I suspect Walton would be someone who Mike Brown, while respecting the work ethic, wouldn't consider as useful because his system won't likely emphasize Walton's skill set as heavily as the Triangle. (It won't discount it entirely, because they'll still run a lot of motion, and emphasize ball movement, but I would think it would be less). The value of guys like Fisher and Blake in what might be a heavier P and R system also could be seen differently by Brown and his staff than PJ. As for DC, it's hard to say, since Brown has likely seen so little of him.
matthew (san gabriel, ca)
u guys didnt even answer my question lol its okay
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Ask it again.
Jay (Santa Monica)
Last year, Steve Blake was a poor man's Steve Blake. Assuming he plays up to his abilities, who in the NBA does his game resemble? Wouldn't Rudy Fernandez made sense for the Lakers?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Jay: Playing up to his abilities, Steve Blake resembles Steve Blake of the previous 7 years. He's a good shooter, a good passer, a willing (but hardly exceptional) defender and a solid overall PG. He's more ideal as a backup, but he won't hurt you as a starter. Hopefully, that's the guy we'll see next season. And Fernandez would be a good fit, but he's also off the table. I doubt Dallas would trade him for anyone the Lakers would realistically offer, especially after giving up a first round pick to acquire him.
John Equihua (Bellflower)
Hey guys, its been awhile. Great to hear Adam Morrison is going to be playing ball somewhere. With all the broadcasting changes, any chance you guys will host Lakers Live or is that job going to Patrick ONeil (great guy on twitter). Maybe some sideline reporting? With the Time Warner deal there's got to be money for you two on the payroll!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Thanks, John. Appreciate the endorsement. I suspect we'll be where we were last year, though. In press row, with all the others with faces for radio. :)
Derek F (Meetings all over the country)
Will I keep my starting job next year?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
I think so, but the big issue isn't starting, it's playing time. And with a new staff and a new system, there's a good chance your PT will be cut down, especially if Steve Blake plays better than he did last season. Really, though, that's been a team goal for a while. So if Fisher's minutes do drop, it's not necessarily about Brown coming in and putting his stamp on things, but finally finding an alternative that works.
Jay (Santa Monica)
I hate the idea of a hard cap. If you look at the NHL, teams are quick to get rid of players and there is a strong focus on younger, cheaper, players. What are your thoughts on a hard cap? I feel its cutting off the nose to spite the face. (Fans will have less of a relationship with teams, lower quality of play).
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Jay-It really depends on where the upper end of the cap falls. If it's high enough that teams don't constantly have to turn over personnel, it can work. But the idea really is to create parity and level the playing field, and in that sense I think it's been effective in both the NHL and NFL. I don't think it'll necessarily lower the quality of play, but it should spread the talent around the league a little more equitably. It's not good for the Lakers, but it's probably not a bad thing for the league as a whole, if the high end is high enough.
Smush Parker (Somewhere)
Is there any way I can sneak back into the players' union? I heard Kobe's going to loan out money for his fellow players.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Best... comment... ever.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
He'll definitely be playing this season with a chip on his shoulder, there's no question. The big thing is whether or not his body holds up -- I'm reasonably optimistic that at worst, things will look like they have for the last couple seasons -- and if the team can patch up a few holes around him. But at his exit interview, he was already talking about shutting those &@(@
Will Kobe come back like Spartacus with vengeance? (Rest In Peace Andy Whitfield!)
What do you think about Richard Hamilton in a trade? He clearly wants out.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Hi George-He'd certainly elevate the talent level on the bench, but I'm not sure what the role in LA would be, and whether or not Rip would be happy with it. That's the big thing- you don't want a guy like that on your team unless he's healthy, and in the case of Hamilton, willing to play for a lot less money than he's made.
Alan W (Temecula)
If they go with a hard cap, do u think teams will be able to renegotiate contracts, in order to get to the cap. Otherwise teams like Lakers would literally have to cut everyone except Kobe, Pau and Drew
Brian Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Hey Alan-Likely, the league would give teams a three or four year grace period to get under the cap, or perhaps walking it down a little every year. But it won't be right away. That would be suicide, in terms of league appeal. The Lakers, the Heat, etc. would all have to bust up their squads. These are the groups driving interest in the league. Overall, combined with what will likely be a reduction in salaries, if teams have enough time to work their cap, most should be ok.
Austin (Los Angeles)
Do you think it's realistic that the Lakers bench could see a substantial improvement over last year just from options already in place, like if Steve Blake bounces back and Matt Barnes stays healthy and also do you think Devin Ebanks can make the backup 2 spot his own and also would this possibly make the Lakers bench a lot better defensively since Ebanks is long and versatile?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Austin: It's certainly realistic, although hardly "probable." I'll give Barnes the benefit of the doubt, because he was playing very well before getting hurt. Blake was pretty lousy, but will probably play in a system more comfortable, and his track record is solid. (Then again, it wouldn't shock me if he beat out Fisher, so that whole dynamic could change.) I'd love to see Ebanks make a run at Kobe's backup spot, and I know the old coaching regime was earmarking him to eventually go there. But who knows what Mike Brown wants, and in the meantime, Devin has missed precious time needed with his coaches to learn the system and some new skills. And a backup C who doesn't get hurt is desperately needed.
matthew (san gabriel, ca)
who do you think replaces john ireland as lakers sideline reporter now that ireland is now on the radio?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
Hey Matthew-- Honestly, I have no idea... (Sorry I can't offer more.)This year is going to be a transient one, likely, with Lakers broadcasting, because of the new TW deal kicking in next season. Things will change this year, but likely will change again in two seasons. Hard to predict.
Barry (Hollywood, CA)
How sickly hilarious is it that Andrew Bynum is finally in the driver's seat to finally make -- and start in -- an All-Star game, and the game may not happen?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Barry: As my man William Shatner said in "Airplane II," "Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes."
Alan W (Temecula)
Don't u think the players would have to get away from these long term guaranteed deals. They must realize that these ridiculous deals prevents teams from making any reasonable moves, ala Walton
Aunt Linda (New York)
Even if the Lakers don't trade Andrew Bynum, do you expect him to be resigned?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
Alan: I take it you're citing Walton as one of the ridiculous deals, as opposed to a reasonable one. Either way, I put the blame on the owners for a deal like Luke's, not the players. They're just taking what's offered. The owners are the ones who need to evaluate better and not overspend or overcommit on role players. Yes, the market in sports will always dictate players getting overpaid, but at the same time, some of these deals were ridiculous from Jump Street.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:04 PM)
Aunt Linda-That's the million dollar question, right? They have the ability to exercise an option on his contract before extending him, but it gets into issues of the new CBA as well. Is there a hard cap they have to deal with? If so, signing Bynum while Kobe and Gasol are still under contract could be tough. Between Bynum's knees and the league's financial uncertainty, trying to predict what happens to Bynum is really hard.
Shahin O. (Los Angeles, CA)
Hey guys... Lakers fan with a Clips question.... I know the Clips make good money in LA but wouldn't Sterling make some serious $$$ if he moves them to Anaheim, renames them the Royals, and focuses on developing them as the upper-class OC community's team? I used to live in Irvine for a bit and I know plenty of rich folks there and in Tustin, Newport Beach, and Corona del Mar would love an NBA team and NOT drive all the way to LA.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Hi Shahin-That's been something people have suggested for years. I've heard all sorts of theories as to why they haven't made the move, some of which kinda sorta make sense, and others are as simple as Sterling just doesn't want to drive down there every day. But yeah, I think it would help them as a franchise to get out of the Staples Center, where there is literally no indication they play there unless it's a Clippers game day. No banners, no signage, no retired jerseys, no nothing. The Sparks have more stuff in the rafters. But I wouldn't expect him to make the jump anytime soon.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Along those lines, though, I do believe OC is a viable market for an NBA team, and if a competitive product was put on the floor they'd do really well.Or, failing that, a product including Blake Griffin.
Larry (San Bernardino, CA)
How come NFL players have done pretty well in DWTS compared to their NBA counterparts? Is it something about the sports that determine their adaptability to dancing or is it the players themselves?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Hey Larry. I think height is an impediment for the NBA guys. They're just so damn big, you know? Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, and Hines Ward are all great athletes and bigger than the average person, but aren't giants, either. Ward and Emmitt are more conventionally sized, and Rice is more of a long/lean type. And at 6'2", isn't even that long, really.
Who is the best big man on the Lakers? Bynum, Gasol or Odom?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Gasol is the most talented, in terms of overall ball skills, passing, and variety in ways he can score. Bynum is the most powerful, and has the greatest upside. Odom isn't quite on the level of either, but is unique in his skill set as a 6'10" guy who can operate in many ways like a guard. There just aren't many guys in the league at his height who can take a defensive rebound and go the length of the floor. Scarcity makes Odom such a unique quality, which adds to his "best" candidacy.So overall, Gasol probably wins, but the other guys have incredible value.
Who would win in 1 on 1, Andy or Brian?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Yes: Brian wins, although the actual loser is anybody watching us murder the beautiful game of basketball.
Mitch (Sarasota, FL)
Forget cap rules and complications and just deal with the hypothetical. If the Lakers had the chance to blow up their core and risk starting over fresh with a guaranteed in L.A. Dwight Howard, would you do it?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
I realize you're looking for a straight answer here, Mitch, but I'll need a little more info. If by blow up the core you mean trade Bynum for Howard, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Does that mean Bynum and Gasol and Odom for Howard? Or just taking Howard and then having to build an entire team around him? I'd love to make Howard the centerpiece of my franchise, but obviously still need to put some talent around him, you know? But I'd certainly dip into my core to acquire him, for sure.
Tommy (Madison, WI)
Besides some talk earlier about Kobe, does anyone of the Lakers talk about playing overseas during the Knockout?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Tommy, the Lakers are actually not one of the teams that come up a lot when talking about players going overseas. They don't have that many candidates. Fisher can't, because he's busy. Kobe has toyed with the idea (or at least not ruled it out) but I suspect won't unless it's pretty clear there is no basketball to be played. Artest would, but likely won't be able to get the insurance coverage he'd need to make it financially viable. Same with Blake. I've heard nothing indicating Odom is interested in hopping the pond. Walton took a job with Memphis. I'd be shocked if Bynum did unless the season was cancelled. So there just aren't that many options.
Shahin O. (Los Angeles, CA)
Hey guys... just a quick follow up (and last Clips q from me, lol)... I agree with the OC being a good market. Plus I have a CRAZY strategy I'd suggest to Sterling or any team moving there (Kings??).... offload your talent as much as possible and (pending the outcome of the new CBA) try to lure Dwight Howard and CP3 or D-Will there to be the dynamic duo of the Lakers' new SoCal rivals the Royals! I mean, you've got all the makings of attractive incentives (SoCal weather, upper crust OC living, just an hour from LA), either the Kings or Clippers with low committed salaries for now (thought the Clips could make Griffin the real star) and a chance to be your OWN team out from the Lakers' shadow.Don't get me wrong, I bleed Purple and Gold through and through... I'd just like to see a REAL competitor for the Lakers in California and create another great team to watch; the Lakers with Kobe, Pau, Drew... the Royals with Dwight, Griffin, CP3/D-Wil.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
I don't think they need to be that extreme. I'm a big Gordon fan, and love what he does in the backcourt behind Griffin. If they can find a high end SF, they're in business. Griffin, Gordon, and a Rudy Gay type? That's a team, especially with a rising DeAndre Jordan. From there, just a mild uptick in their PG play -- Bledsoe and Mo aren't a bad combo now -- and they're super dangerous.I'm not sure they need to go as risky as what you're suggesting.
Rudy (Encino, CA)
With LO and Ron off the table, which Laker should sign up for a reality TV show?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
Rudy: If they allowed cameras into the CBA meetings, Derek Fisher, hands down.