The Summer of Lamar has concluded. Finally. Here are today's links:
(Hat tip to Gils_Keloids for the video)
Lamar Odom: From Mean Streets sans Mean Streak - Silver Screen and Roll
Lamar Odom has just signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Here's a little piece that may be of interest reviewing his life story and his career.
Lamar Odom is back with Lakers - Los Angeles Times
He was asleep, dreaming about playing basketball somewhere, preferably back with the Lakers -- with his cellphone turned off -- unaware his agent had worked out a deal. When Lamar Odom awoke Thursday, the free-agent forward turned on his phone and heard the message from his agent, Jeff Schwartz:"You're still a Laker," the message said. Odom called his agent back to confirm it. Odom and the Lakers had agreed on a four-year deal, reportedly for $33 million, with a team option for the final year. The versatile 6-foot-10 forward will earn less than the last Lakers offer of about $36 million over four years, but that offer was pulled off the table two weeks ago by owner Jerry Buss.But after a month of talking, posturing, having the Lakers' offer taken away and then both sides resuming negotiations, and with the Miami Heat making a push to sign him, Odom is back with the Lakers.
Forum Blue And Gold " Odom Signs — Watching the Sausage Get Made
Sometimes, those age-old adages are around because they’re accurate. Like the one often referred to when talking about congressional legislation — everyone loves sausage but you don’t want to see it get made. Welcome to the Lamar Odom negotiations. We all love how it ended (at least Lakers fans) — four years, 33 million with a Laker option on the fourth year. That works out to an average of $8.25 million a year, which before this entire process started is about what I and a number of people thought was the fair market value for Odom. Odom gave a little, the Lakers gave a little, everyone is happy. With him back in the fold, and the Lakers as title favorites, this is some tasty sausage.
NBA.com: It took some time, but Odom is back where he belongs
I guess Lamar Odom was right when he said "everything is a negotiation." At any rate, I'm just glad it worked out to each side's moderate liking, because this Lamar Odom situation was really distressing me. I guess you could say I'm somewhat of a sports Marxist, a pro-player guy and the Lakers' stop-n-go negotiations with Odom this past month were making me do what I typically never do. I almost always want these athletes to make as much dough as they can. If some owner wants to give Smush Parker a four-year/$80 million contract, that's fine with me. That's profoundly stupid, but, hey, it's not my money, ya dig? But there are those few, sporadic, seldom times when I begrudge a player his cash and back the team...like, uh, when it's my team, which just so happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers. And throughout this whole saga, I never thought the Lakers were acting irrationally and I think Odom knew this. That's why he didn't flee in a huff.
How Odom Became Vital To L.A.'s Title Defense - Bethlehem Shoals - The Baseline - Sporting News
Odom is quite a cult figure, and a source of endless intrigue. He's not just a role player, not even a glorified one like Shaq or Sheed wil be. Kobe and Pau weren't going anywhere. But two major stars does not a system make. The Lakers need Lamar Odom to be Lamar Odom, with all the good and bad that entails. Only then will they stay enough of themselves to take Artest and a steady Bynum as new assets, not a new direction that requires some getting used to. Which is a long way of saying, I'm glad that Odom decided to stay in LA. Teaming up with Artest will be great, memory lane-ish stuff. And it was clearly his first choice; who wouldn't want to return and play for another title? I just never expected Odom to be the guy that repeat hinged on.
More Lakers, Lamar, and NBA related links after the Jump. Click on through...
Keeping Odom should keep Lakers on top of NBA - NBA News - FOX Sports on MSN
That said, here's the usual run-down on what Odom will bring to next season's Lakers.
Pros: Simply put, Odom can do just about everything he puts his mind to. Rebound, handle, run, jump, shoot from long range, post-up, pass and defend. All this at either the small forward or the power forward positions — and even playing center in selected matchups. More specifically, he can drive effectively both ways but prefers going left — and therefore works very hard (mostly with a nifty right-to-left crossover) to get back to his left hand. He's quite a handful when he posts on the right block and looks for his lefty jump hook or turnaround jumper. And he's learned to be aggressive when playing without the ball.
Cons: His habitual lack of focus is a problem. Too often, Odom will disappear and not be a factor whatsoever. This happens perhaps one out of every three games in the regular season and one game per playoff series. Also, his 3-ball stroke can be flat. Plus, he exhibits too much ball and body movement at the stripe and is therefore little better than a lifetime 70 percent shooter from there, which is slightly below the average league-wide efficiency.
Prognosis: With both Odom and Ron Artest in the fold, the Lakers are heavy favorites to repeat. All they need to round out their roster is another lively big man off the bench — Josh Powell doesn't fill the bill — and a guard/wing who can provide another reliable scorer off the bench. It could very well be, however, that if Adam Morrison's leg has healed and fully regained its strength, he could be the secondary scorer for the second unit.
Note: The Lakers would have had absolutely no chance to re-sign Odom if there was an NBA franchise in Hershey, Pa.
Thus endeth the L.O.C.O. (thoughts, links, and poll questions) | Lakers Blog | Los Angeles Times
A few thoughts and a couple of poll questions on the re-signing of Lamar Odom- anyone who frequents this space knows I believe the Lakers had to bring him back, whether based on the metrics or team chemistry issues (You remember the whole Ron Artest signing, right?)
Celebrate Lamar Odom's return to Lakers, but don't plan another parade just yet - Los Angeles Times
Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice! The Lakers have signed Lamar Odom! The dangerous game of chicken is over. We can breathe easy again, we can begin celebrating back-to-back titles a year ahead of time! Start collecting the confetti for next June's parade to the Coliseum. Uh, hold on a minute, not so fast . . .
Hardwood Paroxysm " Blog Archive " Hurrah. The 09-10 Season Is Officially Perfunctory.
So everyone can be happy we can see the "beauty" of this Lakers team for another year. And sure, we lost a chance at something cool as hell in Wade-Odom, but in return we get to see the winningest franchise in the NBA win more games. Which is great. For them. So just to review, every small market team is in the red so bad they’re trading franchise centers for shorter contracts and drafting players they know they won’t have to pay that much, while the largest market with a winning tradition in the league re-signs its best player for less than what he’s worth and adds another great player to the mix.
Lamar Odom in Purple and Gold: Meant to Be - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
J.A. Adande and Marc Stein report that the Lakers and Lamar Odom have come to terms. Doesn't it feel that this was somewhat inevitable? Five reasons I say that:
Oddsmakers see Lakers as NBA favorites, with or without Lamar Odom - Los Angeles Times
"Getting [forward Ron] Artest is better than losing Lamar," said Jay Rood, director of the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book. The Lakers signed free agent Artest this month. "The core of that team still is what it is, and as long as you keep Kobe [Bryant] and [Coach] Phil [Jackson], nothing changes." At MGM/Mirage, the Lakers are an 8-5 favorite to win the NBA title, followed by the Boston Celtics, and recent addition Rasheed Wallace, at 3-1, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Shaquille O'Neal joining LeBron James, at nearly 4-1. The Orlando Magic are 13-2 and the San Antonio Spurs are 7-1. "We didn't change anything when they got Artest, and if they lose Odom it'll just be a wash," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hilton's Race and Sports book, which has the Lakers as the 2-1 favorite over the 3-1 Cavaliers and 5-1 Celtics. "Odom's a component, but he's not a star. As that team has already shown, if they lose someone, they'll find someone else."
Forum Blue And Gold " The Lakers, The Point Guard and The Future
There was only one position last season where the Lakers got below average offensive production — point guard. It’s the only position where when you compare the Lakers PER with the PER of their opponents at the position, the Lakers are a net negative — point guard. I could spend the next 500 words using stats to break down the problem, but nobody who watched the Lakers last season really needs convincing. The one is an obvious problem going forward. The issue isn’t that the Lakers couldn’t stop Tony Parker, because nobody really can stop Tony Parker with the current rules. The problem was when Aaron Brooks looked like an All Star. And the parade of other Aaron Brookses from last season. Playing the Lakers was like Christmas Day for quick point guards. Despite the cries of some, this issue is not one for the short term — this season Derek Fisher will start with Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown come off the bench. And, as last season proved, that combination is good enough to win an NBA title. But this is the position that needs to be addressed as the Lakers championship window moves forward for the next several years. And there are a lot more questions than answers when addressing the long-term issues.
Report: Lakers, Cavs to Headline NBA's Christmas Day Schedule -- NBA FanHouse
It certainly doesn't take a basketball savant to figure out what the NBA's main event will be on Christmas Day. The league typically uses the holiday to showcase its top teams (or juiciest story lines) to the masses, so the report out of Cleveland that Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James and the Cavaliers will face Kobe Bryant and the defending champion Lakers in the afternoon game should come as no surprise.
- Artest Runs Through China at Lakers.com BasketBlog
Ron Artest Reenacts the Brawl -- NBA FanHouse
Ron Artest is in Hong Kong cutting tracks with pop star Shin Shin. The singer asked Ron-Ron about the infamous brawl in Detroit in 2004.
YouTube - Ron Artest VLOG: Detroit Brawl
Ron's in Hong Kong Shin Shin asks him about the Detroit Brawl
Is Pau Gasol the Best Power Forward in the Game Today? | Lakers Nation
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury what we will attempt to discover here today is a question that has been debated on bar stools and around water coolers since the beginning of sport, who is the greatest? Over the years the burden of the greatest has shifted from one man to another throughout the sports world, some even making their names by declaring, without hesitation, that it is indeed they who hold that mantle. Many candidates exist but only a few of them are able to logically be considered in contention for the top spot, and differences in sports and eras only further complicate the situation. Therefore we will take a very narrow approach to this latest edition of Who's on Top and look at one position in one sport and go from there. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if you will, follow me down a road of championships and post up baby hooks as we attempt to decide once more, who is the best power forward currently playing in the National Basketball Association.
Other NBA related Links:
NBA.com: Five teams that could be headed for a fall
Monday, we brought you the five teams most likely to make the jump from the Lottery to the Playoffs. For every new team that reaches the postseason, there's an empty seat on the stage in Secaucus. And somebody's got to take it. It's always easier to find teams that are likely to improve than ones that are likely to get worse. And this summer, it seems like the ones likely to get worse are mostly teams that were bad already. But there are a few teams that made the Playoffs this year and could have some trouble getting back. Who are they? Here are the top five candidates, with last season's record in parentheses.
For these guys, next season is a proving ground - NBA News - FOX Sports on MSN
Since we've learned that Kobe Bryant's mountaintop can be a Shaq-free environment, several other unreconciled NBA burdens of proof are ready to step forward and be counted. Our candidates for attempted legitimacy can be arraigned by circumstance. For example, quite a few players didn't play up to previous standards or prevailing pay grades during the previous season and should feel quite put upon to produce in the 2009-2010 campaign. Others will find themselves suspected of becoming frighteningly well-to-do in 2010 free agency, thus creating a need to perform at a level commensurate with the loot many teams may be willing to pay. We also will include hot-seat-riding coaches and window-watching teams that may require big playoff efforts to sidestep wholesale dismantling. With the pressure being ratcheted up all over the league, we've come up with a list of players, coaches and teams most likely to perspire in the coming months.
Who are the NBA's most overrated players? - FOX Sports on MSN
Who are the NBA's most overrated players?
Popovich Has Already Set the Bar for Spurs Season: Championship -- NBA FanHouse
There are only a handful of teams that are genuinely in the hunt. And most champions will tell you it takes a precious combination of talent, obscenely hard work, and lots and lots of luck to cash in the ticket to immortality. Some teams expect to contend for a championship. Rarely does any team expect to win a championship, if it's not currently holding the ring (or waiting for it to arrive in the mail). The San Antonio Spurs, of course, are a pretty rare team. And they have been for the last decade. And much of their success is due to their equally rare head coach. A little over a week ago, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told NBA.com this nugget in the brutally honest way only he can. "If we don't win it, I should probably be fired, (w)ithout a doubt."
- Bulls place faith in Luol Deng, current roster for next season - Steve Aschburner - SI.com
Bucks' Brandon Jennings plays away concerns over reputation - Scott Howard-Cooper - SI.com
Quickly addressing criticism in Vegas from some teams leading up to the draft that he will spend too much time looking for his own shot was admirable. And coming off as a model citizen delighted the Bucks. But the timing was critical. It came with Ramon Sessions, a part-time starter last season, as a restricted free agent. It came with Jennings proving he is capable of challenging for the opening lineup right away, in the face of the league-wide consensus that he needs at least another year of prep work and maybe two. "We saw the kind of teammate he is," general manager John Hammond said. "That was an important moment. He was 100 percent concerned about getting everyone else involved."
Moreau: The Brandon Jennings Fan Club - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
Within the first five minutes of watching a player live for the first time, I start to ask two questions: Is he a guy I would have wanted to play with? Is he a player I would like to coach? Players who come across as punks and run their mouths usually get a "NO" in both categories pretty quickly. And, based on previous reputation, discussions with insiders, and recent words out of his own mouth, I had already penciled that in next to the name of Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. So, it was much to my pleasant surprise that I couldn't have been more wrong. Of all the point guards I saw in Orlando and in Vegas, Jennings was easily the player I would most want to play with. And a guy I would love to coach.
O.J. Mayo Q&A: Growing With the Grizzlies - Sean Deveney - The Baseline - Sporting News
(Our Future PG in 2 years. Wishful thinking?)
Hardwood Paroxysm " Blog Archive " Charming Masochism
Life is not easy for fans of the Charlotte Bobcats. But for those of you who aren’t Bobcats fans, victims of fan abuse, or kicked puppies, I thought I’d take you through the thought process of a part-time Bobcat fan in the aftermath of a miserable trade. Upon reading the news of franchise cornerstone Emeka Okafor being traded for a center once appraised at the value of one Chris Wilcox, one Joe Smith, and a sock full of quarters, I curse the name of Robert Johnson. The deal has salary savings written all over it, but with blatant disregard for the process of team-building and considerable sacrifice to both the team’s short and long-term output. As I understood it, the goal was to make the playoffs. Now the goal is to simply trade away every player who won’t agree to put in extra practice time by mowing Larry Brown’s lawn. Or every player who gives LB a dirty look. Or maybe just every player.
The Challenge Of Trading Big Baby - CelticsBlog
(So Marquis Daniels isn't a Celtic yet?)
RedsArmy.com - The Voice Of Celtics Fans: Paul Pierce: The last great Celtic
(Hat tip to Ball Don't Lie)
Nash Has Shaq's Back, Now That He's With Cavs -- NBA FanHouse
Was anyone else chuckling yesterday when they read the comments by Steve Nash about Shaquille O'Neal fitting in so well with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this season? Isn't that what the Chicago Bulls said a couple years ago about over-the-hill Ben Wallace when they duped the Cavs into taking his bloated contract, thinking his arrival would appease King James? Then the Cavs paid Wallace a lot of money for a year-and-a-half to do very little. Nash was being nice and polite earlier this week, but he also was the same guy a month ago who told his general manager that he would not sign an extension with the Suns if O'Neal was still on the roster. Nash thought playing with Shaq was like dragging an anchor.
Source: Golden State Warriors' Marco Belinelli traded to Toronto Raptors for Devean George - ESPN
The Toronto Raptors have traded small forward Devean George for Golden State Warriors' guard Marco Belinelli, a league source confirmed Wednesday night.
- New Orleans Hornets sign free-agent forward Ike Diogu - ESPN
- Hawks Keep Marvin Williams -- NBA FanHouse
- New Orleans Hornets sign free-agent forward Ike Diogu - ESPN
New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul bringing basketball talent back to China - ESPN
Chris Paul was so taken by basketball's popularity in China during the Beijing Olympics that he's adding a Chinese flair to his signature shoe and making a return trip for the first time since receiving his gold medal.
- Jason Williams, Jamaal Tinsley add intrigue to NBA free-agency - Scott Howard-Cooper - SI.com
- Jason Williams Will Meet With Grizzlies -- NBA FanHouse
New York Rangers, New York Knicks owners Madison Square Garden to be spun off by Cablevision - ESPN
Cablevision Systems Corp. said Thursday that its board has approved a plan to spin off as a separate company its Madison Square Garden business, owner of the New York Knicks, Rangers and the famed sports arena where they play.
- NBA Permits Ads on Practice Jerseys -- NBA FanHouse
- Yao Ming's Absence: A Threat to the NBA's 2009-2010 Global Audience - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
Stephon Marbury Gets Into a Car Accident, Live on the Internet -- NBA FanHouse
As the seemingly endless hours of live video from Stephon Marbury continue to pile up, one thing has become clear: This is no longer must-see TV.
SLAM ONLINE | " Steph’s Cry For Help
Remember the infamous clip of Michael Richards (aka Cosmo Kramer) at the Laugh Factory, the one where he tells some black men that "50 years ago we’d have you upside down with a fork up your @$$" and then goes on a "nigger" spree? What was always fascinating to watch is the crowd’s reaction. There was raucous laughter at first, then the murmuring started and pretty soon, once they realized that Kramer was having a Nazi-meltdown, people started getting up to leave. It wasn’t funny anymore. The man had, at the very least, momentarily lost his mind. This happens all the time—someone’s behavior starts off as entertaining and then, at some point, you realize that you’re watching/experiencing something deviant or inappropriate or downright sad and it’s not funny/entertaining anymore. This is where we are at with Stephon Marbury. This isn’t funny anymore.