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!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:29 PM)
Alrighty, let's get 'er started
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Since the NBA is Locked Out Right Now, Do you watch any College Basketball?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:32 PM)
Chris: I always watch college basketball, although not enough to call myself an "authority" or anything like that. And certainly not more than usual because the work stoppage has provided more hours to kill. Truth be told, my spare time hasn't really increased with the lockout. If anything, I feel busier, because I'm scrambling to find stuff, whereas during the season my work is laid out in front of me.
Jay Bridges (Santa Monica)
Brothers Kamenetzky! Happy Thanksgiving. Speaking of Turkey, I love the idea of Lamar playing with Besiktas. Not only would it help him get into shape, but he can also start recruiting Deron Williams if our Dwight Howard plans fall through. What do you think about LO to Turkey?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Jay Bridges: I have mixed feelings about LO playing in Beskitas. On one hand, the conditioning issue you cite is a big one, and there's no question Lamar is a guy worth worrying about in the event of a long offseason. Plus, even more than arriving to camp last year in excellent shape, his timing was already sharp. On the other hand, I always get concerned about injury, and I'd hate to see Lamar go down while playing as a rented player. Granted, Lamar hasn't been hurt much lately, so it feels less risky than somebody like Kobe or Bynum playing overseas. But I'm nonetheless ambivalent.
Matthew (san gabriel)
the deal is pretty much 95 % done.. both sides know that they can't afford to miss a season... do you think we're have a season on Jan. 1, 2012?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Matthew: I'd like to think you're right, but it's become clear the ability of both sides to brick matters with the solution on the horizon can't be overestimated. As for the season, I'm guessing Jan.1 is optimistic, but I've been wrong on everything, so maybe that's a good thing.
Christian (RicoTico7) (Fullerton )
Given the current talent on the team, and system to be , what SHOULD be the pecking order of touches. (1-5). ..... any thoughts on Kobe vs Bynum (young talent) as Bynum will push for more touches.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:41 PM)
Christian (Fullerton): I think the pecking order should remain more or less as is (Kobe... Gasol... Bynum...LO... everyone else), but I'd like to see the gap between Kobe and Bynum shrink. A few more shots/lot more touches Drew's way, a little less on Kobe's end. He's still the best scorer, and ultimately should get the most shots. But I don't think it needs to be by as decisive a margin.And as long as we're talking shot count, I don't know where exactly Steve Blake ranks on the ladder, but dude NEEDS to take more.
Gilbert C Derriso jr (Cincinnati, OH)
Do you believe in your heart that there will be a season this year
Andy Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Gilbert: I do believe it in my heart, but that's in part because the heart wants what it wants, as Woody Allen once said. It's my brain that's starting to doubt the season. Were I to bet, I'd still put my money on there being a season, but I wouldn't feel nearly as confident taking those odds as a month ago.
Jay Bridges (Santa Monica)
I hate any/all of the new labor proposals. It punishes the Lakers for Kobe's contract, even though his value is at least 3x what he gets paid. I don't see any scenario that benefits the Lakers unless trade major pieces like Gasol and Bynum in order to get younger quickly. Any hope for the future, outside the very short term?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Hey Jay-Well, there will be hope because it appears, at least judging by the last proposal, that the cap won't be hard. It'll stay soft with a luxury tax component to it that is punitive, but perhaps one the Lakers would be willing to pay relatively deep into. The bigger issue is how often they'd do it, and how the league creates escalator clauses in the tax to prevent teams from becoming serial spenders.So it's not a total disaster automatically, but your basic premise-- the new CBA is going to hurt the Lakers-- is correct. It's a matter of degree at this point.
James P. (El Monte)
At this point, won't the season be so short and compressed, the Lakers are basically out of luck? No time to learn the system, too many games in too few days for an older team. Yuck.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
James P: You're preaching to the choir, sir. There are two camps when it comes to gauging the Lakers' prospects in a shortened season. Camp 1 feels the extended offseason will help recharge the bodies and fewer games is better for the older guys. Camp 2 thinks older guys just get older, regardless of time off, and whatever benefits from the long offseason will be offset by fewer off days and more back to backs. Plus, the issues learning the system you cited. I'm decidedly in camp 2.
Do you think Shannon Brown will become the next Smush Paker? I'm not talking about attitude-wise. I'm talking about getting a bigger paycheck and fading into oblivion after playing with Kobe. I don't think it's a coincidence Brown wasn't getting any minutes before the Vlade trade.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Never-I think Shannon has a future in the NBA-- he's too athletic and too young right now for teams not to make a play on him. How good he'll be is a wide open question, though. Even playing with Kobe, Shannon didn't exactly thrive. He had some great moments and worked hard, but the skill set isn't developed yet. Some guys never quite get over the hump.But he won't fade away like Smush did, if only because he's more explosive, and has a much better attitude. If Smush wasn't such a pain in the rear, he might have extended his career. There were worse guys in the league than him, from a talent standpoint.
Gregg K. (Los Angeles)
Hey. Heard the podcast about Shaq. So with this much time gone by and listening to Jackie MacMullan, who do you blame for that team breaking up? Shaq or Kobe?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:53 PM)
Gregg K: I feel the same way I always have. Everybody from Shaq to Kobe to Phil (for not reining both in, taking "Shaq's side" to some degree) to the front office (see Phil's shortcomings) deserve blame. Too much happened over too many years to pin it on one person.
Now Matt Kemp knows how I feel after all those years Steve Nash won. If you surround Kemp with talent, I bet you Dodgers are world champs.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Kobe-Well, as I wrote the other day, if voters decided Braun was the MVP because the Brewers were better than the Dodgers, that's a terrible reason. Baseball is not basketball, where one guy can truly dominate the share of a team's statistics. Kobe can take more shots, pile up more points, and so on. He can improve his teammates by putting them in position to succeed, and by drawing attention away from them.Kemp can't improve his teammates in any meaningful way, nor can he take extra turns at bat. How exactly is he supposed to "elevate" the Dodgers beyond doing all the stuff he did, like nearly win the triple crown, and tack on a Gold Glove?
Ryan Valentine (Long Beach, CA)
ANyone here today?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
Yes. How u?
Jackson L. (St. Louis)
Seriously, how much do you think people really care the NBA is gone right now? Did anyone even start paying attention until Christmas anyway?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Jackson: I think the die-hards care a lot, but they're also die-hards. And I'm sure fans of a particular team that would be playing on X-Mas also care. But generally speaking, I think the casual fan could take or leave basketball at this time of year, and they grow more indifferent with each passing day of watching players and owners derail a product fresh off one of the more memorable seasons in recent history. Keep this up long enough, and the more passionate fans will follow suit.
Ryan Valentine (Long Beach, CA)
If our roster stays mostly intact, where our some areas we can improve on defense and offense and how can we get them done?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
Hi Ryan.Here are the basic areas I think the Lakers need to address, once the lockout ends.1. Outside shooting. It was awful, and mitigates their advantages in the post. If the Lakers could put together a threatening package on the perimeter, they'd be a truly dominant offensive force. As it is, they become much more easier to defend b/c it's worth packing the middle and daring them to shoot. 2. Center Depth. They need a real backup to Andrew Bynum, so Gasol doesn't have to play that role, nor assume absurdly heavy minutes should Bynum get hurt again. Someone like Jeff Foster, who could come in and give 12-15 minutes a night would do wonders for the rotation. 3. A shot creator. The Lakers basically have two guys who can create their own looks in Kobe and Odom. One more would be handy.4. Speed/athleticism. Would be nice to add more, but only if those players come with other skill sets. Just being fast doesn't necessarily help. Shannon was the team's best athlete last year, and still struggled on both ends. 5. PG production. It's a huge need, but the most difficult to address on the fly. That's why I put it down here.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Andy and Brian, who is each of your favorite Laker ever, that we may consider obscure. THey could have played for any length of time and be of any skill level. Thanks!
Andy Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Craig: Would Von Wafer qualify? He's carved out a semi-successful career but only spent one with the Lakers where he barely played. In the meantime, I found him endlessly entertaining. Zero conscious when it came to shot selection. Out of control as I've ever seen a rookie play. Completely oblivious to these shortcomings, which made him totally fearless. Dude was off the charts unintentional comedy. I was an unabashed fan of Mr. Wafer.
How many owners do you think never really had any intention of having a season at all? It seems as though some want the players to come begging for any deal after missing a season or two, which would of course allow those owners to quickly recoup their losses from the lockout. How can we possibly expect a resolution when the owners have differing strategies (say, a Jerry Buss vs Dan Gilbert)?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Lucas-You're hitting on something very important, namely that each owner (like the players on the other side) has his own particular interests and needs. Jerry Buss wants to play, and was fine with the old system (more or less). Other teams want not only to draw blood from the players, which they've done throughout, but to bleed them nearly to death. How this turns out will likely be tied directly to David Stern's ability to control the hard line faction as much as possible so that deal doesn't have to reach scorched earth standards to be passed by ownership. But the longer it goes, the more comfortable some owners might get with skipping the year. It's not a given they won't play, but it's not a pretty scene, either.
Agreed... Steve Blake needs to get more involved and take more shots, he was too passive and a non-factor last season...... speaking of point guards, what point guard (or PG type) would you like to see on the team?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Christian-A better one. (ha!)That's the big problem with this group of free agents, whenever the Lakers get a crack at them. They are totally underwhelming as a group, to say the least. It's almost impossible to picture the Lakers finding anyone they can a) afford and b) would actually do anything but clutter up the situation that much more. They need a clear cut improvement over what they have, or it just gets more complicated. As far as type, we'll have to see what M. Brown and Co. want to do, and how they tailor the attack to LA's strengths. Before that, naming a name (get a guy in _____ style) is really hard.
Kumbaya (all over)
So it seems like both sides might be pushing to mediation again. Any chance it works better this time around?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
kumbaya-Well, I think there's a chance for sure. David Boies, even right after being retained by the players, sent out very clear signals about a desire to never have this case enter a courtroom, or at the very least, to settle before rulings really bog this down. Which makes a lot of sense. Maybe they win if they push it all the way... but many think they won't. If that's the case, not only have they wasted a season (at least) and all the cash that goes along with it, but they've also eviscerated their position from that point forward. It's better to settle and get back on the floor, if they can make it happen.
We like Luke Walton down here. Any chance he just stays?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Tim: One way or another, the chances could be pretty good. If there's no season, Luke will obviously coach the entire season with the Memphis Tigers. If, however, the lockout ends, there could very well be an amnesty clause allowing teams to cut one player, I'm guessing Luke is the chosen one. And were that the case, I'd be very surprised if another team signed him as a free agent, given his health issues and dwindling athleticism. In which case he may have to call the Tigers to see if they'll rehire him.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:13 PM)
Shahin--Thanks for the nice words, and for clicking on the shows. We're glad you like them. Jackie MacMullan is great, no question. You touch on the way the Lakers might upgrade at either the point or C. The only real avenue to do it is Bynum. (I'm putting new CBA rules aside here for a moment) He's easily the most valuable chip they have, with Lamar Odom coming in behind because of his skill set, experience, and expiring contract. As for Jim Buss... the jury is still out, which makes people nervous. It's not that he's necessarily done anything wrong, but he doesn't have the track record of his father, and frankly, he's not very well regarded as an executive or talent evaluator. That's what makes people nervous.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
OK, folks. Gotta roll! Hopefully everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and we can get some good news in the next 10 days or so, and not miss too much more of the year.