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 (1:33 PM)
Hi folks. Sorry for the late start... We're here for a while answering all of your Lakers, hoops, and life questions. Fire away!
Mike (Ladera Ranch)
Hey Guys- I would think that if Kobe bolts to Italy, it will be a pretty good barometer that the lockout is not close to ending and will last a while. You've got to think he is in pretty close contact with Fish and if things were moving in the right direction, he would stay here to get ready. Thoughts?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:36 PM)
I think your right, Mike, though it's important to remember any deal would have an out. So if it does come to an end, he'd be able to hop back across the pond. But yeah, if he really thought the season was starting on time, I doubt he'd be quite as open about the prospect of signing in another country, even on a short term deal. That certainly makes sense at least, as a theory.
Will (San Diego)
With the possibility of Kobe going to italy being "Very Possible," Do you think it may hurt him in the long run. Will those game put more wear and tear on an aging Mamba?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Hi Will. I don't worry as much about that. 10 games in Italy isn't going to be a big deal, any more than 10 pickup games or exhibitions might over here. It's no more dangerous, for example, than the Drew League game he played in earlier this summer.
Soooo in your opinion how likely is it that Kobe is going to play in Italy?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Hi Shannon.At the very least, I'll go with Kobe's quote. "Very possible." I think Italy constitutes a unique opportunity in his mind. It's not the same as playing in Spain or Turkey or France, or anywhere else for that matter. The money he's being offered isn't life changing,it would be a question of the experience. If he values it a lot and the lockout doesn't end, it seems like there's a good chance he'll go. Though I'd hesitate to call it automatic.
Lockout or not...Kobe needs to chill. Why isn't he playing in these charity games like Wade, Durant and LeBron?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
He's doing exhibitions, and so on. Like I said before, I don't see those games in Italy as fundamentally more dangerous or taxing than most of the other stuff he'd be doing anyway, from his own personal workouts to exhibition games, and so on. He'd certainly pace himself and measure his effort over there. The games, I believe, are shorter. Would a charity game be less work? Maybe, but he'd still be running, jumping, cutting, etc.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Did the NBA Penalize anybody for the Lockout Comments?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
MJ got dinged by the league, but they don't/can't penalize players for anything they say.
If Kobe goes to play for this team in Italy and gets injured will we ever forgive him as Lakers fans???
Andy Kamenetzky (1:44 PM)
Dan: Well, I can't speak for all Lakers fans. That's up to each individual member of the Laker Nation. What I find more curious (and ultimately more pressing), however, is whether Dr. Buss would forgive him. If Kobe suffers a major injury where the recovery time possibly bleeding into next season, you have to wonder if Buss would consider cutting him, even with everything Kobe has meant and continues to mean to this franchise. The Lakers are a team built specifically around Kobe and have a short window of time to operate at maximum effectiveness with that plan. If Kobe isn't right, a full rebuild could be the most logical route, all emotions aside.
Hi guys I listen to you guys all the time love the show. How do you feel about this years Trojans team...Really?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Thanks, Trojan. Much appreciated. I would have changed my opinion of the squad had they managed to win against Arizona State. I wasn't sure they'd enter that game undefeated (a loss to Utah was very possible) but did. But after the ASU game, which I think was a great encapsulation of the SC team--- lots of talent and the ability to look very good at times, but also some legitimate holes and very little high quality depth -- I'm back to where I was at the start of the year. I think it's an 8-4 team. My main concern is what happens in the next couple years. I think it's only going to get harder to win, with the scholarship reductions coming up. Look at what something similar did to Alabama. It was ugly.
Irina (Santa Monica)
Hi! What are the odds that we have a season this year? If we do, what are the odds we get rid of Bynum for Howard?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:47 PM)
Irina: In theory, I'd say the odds are high. As much as Jim Buss loves Drew (and with good reason, the kid can play), I'd like to think if Howard were truly on the table, the Lakers would pull the trigger. We're talking about the best center in the league. However, it's hard to predict the odds right now, because we don't know yet what kind of season Orlando is having or what they can add around Dwight. They will move heaven and earth in the umpteenth attempt to make him happy before actually moving. Thus, unless Howard demands a trade, and specifically to L.A., I can't picture anything happening before midseason, and probably more likely next offseason.
Run MGD (Atlanta)
How much say do the players actually have in this lockout compared to what NFL players had in their lockout?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:48 PM)
Hey Run-Equal, I suspect. In the end, it's the members of the union that ultimately decide whether a CBA is adopted or not. Obviously different people have an influence, from agents on down, but it's still the players who ought to be running the ship. The difference is the NFLPA decided early to decertify, and had higher profile roles for their star players (the lawsuit they filed against the league).
Bigger issue: Kobe to Italy or NFL to LA? Why?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Hey Ryan. NFL by a mile! In the end, Kobe going to play in Italy will likely get a ton of attention and make Lakers fans extraordinarily nervous, but won't amount to much more than some good clips for the blog and SportsCenter. With the NFL, we're talking about something fundamentally changing the culture of LA. It's the NFL! And it appears likely to be coming back. I'm excited.
Brian (Bay Area)
I still say January season starts? What do K bros say?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Hey Brian. That has, more or less, been my thought from the beginning. They'd lose some games, but just like it was in '98-'99, would figure it out before an entire season gets dusted. 50 games would mean a post-Christmas start, for sure.
C.J. (Downtown L.A.)
How good a PG would "player X" have to be for the Lakers to move LO for him?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
CJ-In short, very. The issue with trading Lamar isn't simply a matter of deciding to move one kind of talent for another. He holds a unique spot on the roster, which gives them a great deal of flexibility. If you trade Lamar, he probably has to be replaced by two people on the roster. You'd need a real backup power forward for Pau, and also a far more legitimate backup center for Bynum (they need depth there, but whereas someone like Jeff Foster would be a great 3rd center on this team, as a backup there would be potential problems) because if Odom's not there, Pau probably spends more time at the 4. These aren't easy things to do, given their salary and cap constraints. So to justify a trade of that magnitude, the return would have to be substantial.
Trent (Brooklyn, NY)
If you could pick one player for the Lakers to cut with a theoretical amnesty provision, who would it be?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Trent: Luke Walton. I could see the argument for Ron Artest (longer deal, play starting to slip) or Steve Blake (horrible first season, longer if still not terribly expensive deal), but Luke's the prime candidate. While a good teammate and a hard worker, his body isn't cooperating anymore, and he plays two positions (small and power forward) with the biggest glut of talent. Plus, removed form the Triangle, it's very unclear what his role would be even while healthy. That system was tailor made for Luke's skill set. He's the most logical candidate to axe.
Howard (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)
Do you think Derek Fisher would be more effective playing off the bench?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Hi Howard.Really, it depends on what you want your bench to do. PJ always looked at them as a means of pushing the pace a little. Providing a new look, and so on. Obviously Fisher isn't exactly ideal for this sort of thing. But if functionally Mike Brown wants different stuff from his reserve unit, Fisher could be fine. I tend to think the concerns about who starts and who comes off the bench to be overstated. It doesn't really matter. Allocation of minutes and floor combinations are what matter most. The key with Fish is putting him around the guys most likely to allow him to succeed, that take advantage of his strengths and help mitigate his weaknesses. I tend to think that's the starting group he's played with, but if Mike Brown can find another combination, it would work just as well.
Patrick G. (Palo Alto)
What's the biggest concern for the Lakers this year that isn't getting as much attention? And settle the debate: is LeBron the greatest player in the NBA?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Hi Patrick. Thanks for the question. Andy and I have hit on just about every concern under the sun for the Lakers, but I think nationally the PG situation gets the most ink, then perhaps the question of an outside shooter. Both are very important, but one that doesn't get as much play is the question of a third center. The injury to Theo Ratliff, strange as it might sound to some, did major damage to the roster. It forced Pau into serious minutes, which had an impact as the year went along.Given Bynum's injury history, it's imperative the Lakers have a player on the team who can suck up real minutes should it be necessary, and not require Gasol to log the sort of minutes he did last year. As for the LBJ thing, I think he's absolutely the best player on a day to day, 82 game basis. The numbers to make his case are pretty overwhelming. In terms of accomplishments, he's clearly not the greatest. Kobe has him by a few miles on that one. And obviously LBJ has some work to do to change people's perceptions following his fourth quarter failures in the Finals. But game to game, he's the league's best player.
Jill (Las Vegas)
If there's a lockout, I'm gonna abandon the Lakers once and for all and become a Defenders fan!!! Who's with me???!!!
James (Washington D.C.)
Better PG in 3 years: John Wall or Derrick Rose?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
Hey James. As a pure point, Wall. As a point/scorer, Rose. Depends on what you want, I think.
Monroe (Eagle Rock, CA)
Better chance of making the Lakers next season? Derek Caracter or Andrew Goudelock? And is Darius Morris pretty much guaranteed?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Monroe-It depends on what they do with free agency and trades once they're allowed. They have a few holes to fill, and not a ton of space/money to do it. So if they shore up the guards or find a shooter, Goudelock could very well get squeezed. If they shore up the frontcourt but still need the help in back, Caracter is in trouble. I think both have real obstacles in front of them. DC has to show up in great shape, ready to open some eyes. He's got the talent, but the previous regime was not all that enamored with his work ethic by the end of the year. The IHOP thing didn't help. And yeah, I'd be shocked if Morris wasn't on the team. Absolutely shocked.
Stacy (The Bay)
What do you think of the Kings new jerseys?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Stacy-Well, I thought before Sacto's unis were some of the most amateurish looking in the league. These are an improvement, but rather than tweaking, I'd have revamped them entirely.
Jason (San Diego)
I didn't know in MLB teams can trade players for managers? If the NBA had such a provision, which players would have been a trade equivalent for Phil Jackson?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Jason: Props for a very clever Q. Well, purely in terms of resume, there is no equal trade value for PJ. However, Pop would be pretty close. Carlisle (even before the title), George Karl and Doc Rivers have tons of deserved respect around the league. And if you wanted to trade PJ for a younger, theoretical stud in the making, I guess Scotty Brooks, Nate McMillan and maybe even Monty Williams (if last season wasn't a fluke) would be good calls.
How effective do you think Pau Gasol will play next season? Can he shake off the playoff disaster?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
I think he'll be the Gasol we all expect year to year. Remember what happened after the '08 Finals? He was awesome the next year, particularly in the postseason.
Would love to check into Facebook when I listen to you guys on 710. Can you guys make that happen?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
We'll start posting a listen live link every week on the Kamenetzky Brothers Facebook page. Is that what you're talking about?
Max (New York)
Do the Lakers have a good enough "big 3" to compete with Miami's Big 3? And will "Big 3" become the model for future franchises, even after the Heat lost in the finals?
Caleb (Dallas, TX)
What does Pau need to be a lock for the Hall of Fame: Another NBA championship, an Olympic (gold?) medal, or both? Or neither?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Caleb: I'd say an NBA title. Internationally, Pau's credentials already speak for themselves. But in the NBA, he's linked to as many shortcomings and disappointing results as tremendous success. As it stands, that may not prevent him from getting the nod anyway, but if he wants to be a sure fire entrant, I'd say one more notch on his NBA resume would cinch it for him.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Yeah, assuming everyone is healthy. Odom adds a completely different dimension, as well. It becomes a question of matchups, and how well the rest of the rosters lay out against each other.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:15 PM)
Alrighty, follks. That'll do for today. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to keep checking the Land O' Lakers blog for the latest Lakers news!