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Old 04-08-2005, 12:29 PM   #1
tobynosker
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Default Honestly, was the O'Neal trade really that bad?

A lot of talk this NBA Season has been about the demise of the Los Angeles Lakers. People continue to debate whether Los Angeles' trade of Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat will rank as one of the worst trades of all-time. And as a fan of the NBA, it disappoints me that the media and fans want to take what was an obvious personal issue and one that had already destroyed the nucleus of a championship team, and blame this trade as the reason for it.

I agree that the trading of Shaq is one of the biggest trades in recent memory, but it's not the worst of all-time. What about the trade that sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers where he would claim his first of two NBA Championships? Laker fans should remember the trade that sent Kareem Abdul Jabaar from Milwuakee to Los Angeles. Or how about the trade that eventually saw Robert Parish and Kevin McHale join Larry Bird in Boston and saw the Celtics return to glory with three more championships.

It's a bad trade for the Lakers because a player like O'Neal, especially in this day and age, is one of a kind. He's one of the few remaining pure centers still playing the game. He's not a Tim Duncan or a Kevin Garnett who can step out and knocked down a fifteen-foot jump shot, but he is a 7'0 dominate player who can control the glass and pick up points on the block (almost half of which comes off of power dunks).

But the trading of Shaquille O'Neal was not any bigger than the trade the Lakers made with the Charlotte Hornets to bring Kobe Bryant to the organization. Without that trade, you would have never seen Bryant become a superstar so quick in a smaller market, you would have never seen Phil Jackson accept the coaching position in LA to be teamed with Bryant and O'Neal, Shaq would still be searching for his first NBA Ring, and the Lakers and their fans would probably be looking at year number sixteen without a title.

And the fact of the matter is the demise of the Lakers came before that trade. When you have four future hall of fame players (Bryant, Malone, O'Neal, Payton), a core group of role players that contributed to three championships in the last four years (at the time), and the most successful coach of the modern era and you lose to a team like last year's Detroit Pistons squad four games to one in the finals, the wheels had already fallen off of the bus.

I believe Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak, Kobe Bryant and (hopefully) every Laker fan realized that this trade would not help the team in the short term. A guy like Shaq is irreplaceble. But in the long term you never know. Bryant is still one of the ten best players in the league, and you won't find too many teams in the NBA unwilling to build an organization around him. Caron Butler is still underrated in his third year in the league (look what Butler and Wade accomplished in the playoffs last year), and while he doesn't have the potential to be a Kobe Bryant-type of a star, he does have the potential to be a contributor at a high level.

Los Angeles is still a major market team with a lot of history that can draw free agents to their organization. While I would be shocked if they did, players like Kwame Brown (free agent this season), or Yao Ming and Amare Stoudemire (both free agents next year) could see great intrigue playing with Bryant and being a piece of the Laker puzzle when things begin to turn around.

While the Lakers are certainy a disappointment this season, I think it could be argues that Minnesota is an even bigger disappointment. Last season the Timberwolves finished as the top team in the West, made their first appearance in the Western Conference Finals, and returned this season with a healthy Sam Cassell, along with Latrell Sprewell, Michael Olowokandi, Wally Szczerbiak, Troy Hudson, Fred Hoiberg and last year's league MVP Kevin Garnett. Yet, they are on the verge of missing out on the playoffs a year later.

I don't think the Lakers will be able to contend next year either, but the next couple of years could be interesting in the Western Conference. Phoenix is going to have resign Stoudemire and hope Nash holds up as he's pushing the wrong side of 30. Seattle's going to have to make sure they keep Ray Allen (free agent this season) in town and make sure he's happy (which he's not). And speaking of remaining happy, you have to wonder how long Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki will be content not winning championships.

We all thought Karl Malone would be content and be one-man team throughout his career. But maybe Garnett and Nowitzki learned something from Malone's mistakes. And maybe one day Kobe Bryant will learn from his.
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Old 04-08-2005, 01:39 PM   #2
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Wow, I like the editorial. A few comments on it:

I agree that Lakers were in trouble before the trade since Malone and Payton were on their career death beds and Fisher wanted out.

I agree that Kobe is a very good player that many teams would love to build around.

I agree that this was not the worst trade ever, and that it was meant more for the longer-term.

The one thing I would add to all this is that the Lakers were basically forced to make a trade, regardless of Shaq's value. They had to take what they thought would be the best deal. And since they lacked depth (all of a sudden) it especially made sense to get three guys ready to start (well, Atkins maybe not). Bad trade? Sure. But, the best option available? Maybe.

By the way, welcome to the board Toby! I hope there's more commentary a comin!!
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Old 04-08-2005, 03:05 PM   #3
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Wow, is Shawndo (moderator and Kobe backer) gonna loooove you....if he didn't personally recruit you)

But, to say Kobe wouldn't've become a star very quickly in a market like Charlotte is off the mark. LeBron James was a superstar coming from a city (and going to another city) that is not only smaller than Charlotte, but a scorned region. 'Melo plays in Denver. Mike Vick in Atlanta. Albert Pujols in St. Louis. The digital age basically gives us one great big market. Doesn't matter what your sub-market is anymore.
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Old 04-08-2005, 04:25 PM   #4
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I never said Bryant wouldn't have become a superstar. I said Bryant wouldn't have become a superstar so quick. During his rookie season he averaged 15 minutes and 7.6 ppg. Yet he was given more media attention than any other rookie at the time (including that year's NBA Rookie of the Year Tim Duncan). There were several reasons: he was the youngest player at the time to ever play in the NBA, he was the son of a former NBA star, he drew national media attention before he entered the league (remember him taking R&B Singer Brandy to his high school prom), and the league was salivating about the Lakers possibly returning to top form with their newly acquired center Shaquille O'Neal.

During his first two years in LA, Bryant started seven games, yet he was a household name. With the Hornets, Bryant wouldn't have been a starter and wouldn't have been a household name during those first two years. Charlotte finished third in the Central Division that year, and they were a team that was deep at the guard position. Dell Curry, Ricky Pierce, Muggsy Bogues, Anthony Goldwire all shot better than 40% from the field and better than 40% from beyond the arc. Bryant shot 41% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc. Charlotte was a team led by their frontcourt of Glen Rice and Anthony Mason, so they needed their backcourt to be able to score from the perimeter. Bryant was at that level yet.

Is he there now? Of course. Would he have gotten there in Charlotte? No doubt. And isn't sad that nobody remembers Curry, Pierce, Bogues and Goldwire?

LeBron James is succeeding in a small market like Cleveland because the NBA took James and tried to turn him, like they have done a handful of players in the last decade, into the "next Michael." Or because the NBA took James and Carmelo Anthony and tried to turn them into what the NBA hoped would be the "next Bird vs. Magic," because the NBA was losing its fan base. They had received one of its lowest ratings ever for an NBA Finals (San Antonio vs New Jersey). They were looking at a small-market team like the Spurs as World Champions. They had a very talented but admittedly dull and unexciting Tim Duncan as a two-time MVP, and Kobe Bryant was in the midst of a Colorado sex scandal.

Now, any comparisons between James and Anthony to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are almost as ridiculous as comparing LeBron to Carmello because one player has managed to exceed what started out as unrealistic expectations, while another has a fantastic coach (George Karl), a talented backcourt (Andre Miller, Earl Boykins, Veshon Leonard), a player who knows how to win (Kenyon Martin), and solid group of contributors (Marcus Camby, Eduardo Najera, Nene), and is on a team with no direction (some would say his fault).

We could delve into the reasons Michael Vick and Albert Pujols have succeeded in smaller markets as well, but the fact of the matter is bigger market almost always wins out. Since 1979's Seattle SuperSonics, only two other small market teams have won the NBA Championship (the Houston Rockets in 1994 and again 1995, and the San Antonio Spurs in 1998 and 2003). And in those twenty-five years only eight different organizations have won titles. So to say it doesn't matter what your sub-market is anymore I feel is inaccurate and negates history.
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Old 04-08-2005, 06:24 PM   #5
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Welcome, tobynosker! :wavey:

I think it was a bad trade and feel they could have tried harder to avoid it. However, I agree it wasn't one of the worst of all-time because there's only so much you can do with two superstars who dislike each other. Even though from a basketball sense it doesn't make sense, you can't continue to thrive if your stars can't coexist.

Bottom line, it's time to move on and now one's feeling sorry for either of them.
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Old 04-08-2005, 07:08 PM   #6
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I think it was a horrible trade. Right when I saw it in the papers, I automatically thought to myself "Clippers are now the best team in LA." If you are gunna trade Shaq, at least trade him for someone like KG, or Tim Duncan. not for 2 unproven young players that never been all-stars before and an old(but hard working) veteran with prostetic legs.

I remember when the Lakers had the chance to trade Kobe for TMac. That would have been such a great trade for the Lakers. First of all, Shaq and TMac are great friends, 2nd of all, they wouuldn't have had to worry about trading the most dominant force the league's ever seen since the Stilt. It might have talked Derek Fisher, Gary Payton and Karl Malone into staying because Shaq and TMac would be a great duo for a championship caliber team. And 3rd of all, Shawn wouldn't have to suffer through an embarrassing season and lose 20 dollors to a CLIPPER FAN in a bet on which LA Team is better. If Shaq was still on the team, the LA Sapremacy thread wouldn't even exist because I would have to be an absolute idiot to bet against a team with Shaq in it.
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Old 04-08-2005, 08:30 PM   #7
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It was a terrible trade now the lakers will be floundering for meny years just like the Bucks did after the traded Kareem.
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Old 04-09-2005, 03:20 AM   #8
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Yes! Kevin is quite right.... I would like to welcome Tobynosker to the boards with a round of fireworks.

I am flowing with everything up until Clipps' post.
Clipps- see Billy D's post. I think he said it best, and very succinctly.

My personal thoughts on this would basically just restate what Marc said, for the most part: This was a very unfortunate incident that they could have tried harder to avoid, but you have to let it go and move on.

Again- Welcome tobynosker! :wavey: stick around, mate
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Old 04-09-2005, 03:27 AM   #9
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also I have yet to welcome Billy D to the boards, now that I think about it... been around a few now, but never got a Shawndo welcome, which he deserves

Welcome to the boards man!
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Old 04-09-2005, 12:06 PM   #10
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Well. Obviously your not gunna agree with what I said. I posted another Laker bashing post again. But you have to admit to a certain extent, I am right.
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Old 04-11-2005, 01:09 PM   #11
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Thanks Shawndo
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Old 04-11-2005, 05:04 PM   #12
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Welcome toby...

First off, Wilt won his second title in L.A. back in 72. He won it all with Philly before heading off to Los Angeles.

The problem with your analysis of those three trades in particular is that you fail to take the circumstances into consideration. Jabbar was traded due to a failed relationship with Milwaukee brass and the need to live somewhere more fitting with his lifestyle ( NYC natives who become stars at UCLA that are labeled "aloof Muslims" don't fit in at the corner bar in Milwaukee during the mid 1970s).

The Celtics trade had value at the time of the deal, and was done simply as business. Joe Barry was at the very least thought of as a decent player in return.

What I see as reasonable circumstances led to these trades, not what happened in Hollywood the last few years.

The Shaq trade no bigger than the Kobe for Divac trade? Way off IMO. You cite Kobe's progress and his career as a barometer to gage the trades, atleast in part. That's no way to judge a trade, banners are. Who cares about individual players in the grand scheme of it all? Young fans perhaps, but not those who follow teams and like the team concept. The fact is, if Miami wins a ring in a few months, it will be very clear that Shaq only needs harmony, one superstar ( Wade, who was and still is considered less of a player than Mr. Bryant), a few role players ( give me Horry and Fox over D. Jones and Hasleem anyday BTW), and someone in brass ( namely West or Riley) who don't have massive egos that allow horse crap to control their teams fate. Also take into account age. Shaq doing this with Miami at the age of 32-33 when he allegedly isn't what he once was ( I concede some slowdown, but not at the widely accepted rate of the general public) shows me you could have plugged in mostly any top 10 guard playing in the late 90s with Shaq and watch a few banners rise ( also due to no MJ at the turn of the century and the league steadily going downhill as it has since 1990). Banners make a trade, not individual players. And if and WHEN the Lakers fail to win a ring after this trade with Kobe at the head, then you can judge it as a failure.

Let us not forget West got Shaq AFTER he got Kobe ( by a few weeks). Getting rid of Divac to make room for Shaq was the plan's ultimate goal, NOT getting Mr. Bryant ( see the unloading of Peeler and Lynch as well in that offseason to clear $ for Shaq's massive salary).

To suggest that the Lakers would be titleless without Kobe since 88 is so wrong, it is beyond comprehension. Shaq was the main target. West was still running the show ( the reason all Laker fans could sleep well at night for 40some years). E. Jones was in his prime ( check stats, not bad, despite some questions about playoff mental toughness), and Van Exel ( who has more heart than anyone in L.A. today) was running point. I'm not saying they would have done it with those guys for sure ( they didn't in Kobe's infancy with Del Harris as coach), but other avenues could have been pursued if a banner didn't go up. I would blame coaching more than anything if pressed. Del Harris IS NOT a head coach in this league. Never was, never will be. Phil came in to harmonize, but if you bring in another decent coach ( Hubie Brown, Tomjanovich) MINUS a paranoid headcase ( Kobe), you've got a good chance to raise banners too IMO.

The fact of the matter is the demise DID come before the trade. I agree there. It came when Jerry West took his Swingline stapler and pet rock off his desk at the Staples Center and left in UNofficial capacity in 2003 ( after the last title, left officially before then, believe in 01). Why did West leave? He claims burnout, but resurfaced in Memphis. Rumors say Buss and his newly discovered giant ego. I tend to go there. And then who does Buss play favorite to? Bryant of course. So, Kobe's guilty. Yeah, he didn't fire the shots, but he supplied some bullets.

On short term success and what Laker brass, players, and fans thought...

Complete B.S. This is L.A. These are the Lakers. 28 Finals appearances in a 57 year span. Rebuilding is not a word in their vocab, or was for that matter. I recall Jerry West describing the mid 90s ( post Magic, pre Shaq) as torture, seeing the Lakers failing to compete in ONE year, nevermind the fact they didn't at all in that era. Now that's West, a real b-ball mind, not the idiots running things now, so you're right somewhat there. Still, why isn't West there now? How come Riley didn't come back?

L.A. is a big market with history who can get free agents...

Complete B.S. Why no Kidd? Why no P.J. Brown? Why no Foyle? Why no Oakley back about 5 years ago? This is when this team was good, and they couldn't get guys in here. The Lakers have had a HORRIBLE time getting guys in since West left ( this is a common theme, I think players trust West and his mind, I'll point to Mychael Thompson, James Worthy, and Jabbar to name a few), combined with their lack of $ ( admittingly not as bad since Shaq's salary is gone), and the new fact that Kobe has a bad rep doesn't help. Who have the Lakers got who has been atleast a semi-star in the last 5 years simly by putting down cash and flashing their Laker brand name? Vlade Divac? John Salley? There is a growing dislike for the Lakers around the league, IMO. We've got headcases in V.C., AI, and Ron Artest ( while all very talented) getting heat playing in the middle of nowhere ( that would be anywhere but L.A. and NYC) and they bi^&* and moan at that pressure. Imagine being under the microscope that is Hollywood? These guys don't want that junk.

Failing to win a title or being on the cusp of making a move for one sustained this team since the inception of the franchise. That is gone. It started with the brass and their love of Kobe, believing in their own hype, and won't end til this era is over and the Lakers fail to win a ring. I ask all Kobe fans, how many years without a ring is a failure? Laker fans know the answer...ONE. Game over.
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Old 04-12-2005, 02:41 PM   #13
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Let me respond first by saying I am not a Kobe fan, and I am not a Laker fan. I live in North Central Kansas where the closest NBA Team is eight hours away in Denver, Colorado. So as a basketball fan with only one NBA team in three of the four neighboring states, my selection of games to watch are whatever ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC decide to show. And everytime I tune into a ballgame, I constantly hear about the Lakers having one of the worst seasons in the franchise's history, and how the (as buckeye referred to Bryant) headcase is running the show. I can't disagree with any of these points, but as someone who knows the history of basketball (like Buckeye does), you can't believe this season is vindicative of the trade.

Let me talk about your points:

B: First off, Wilt won his second title in L.A. back in 72. He won it all with Philly before heading off to Los Angeles.

T: I know this. That's why above I said the trade "sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers where he would claim his first of two NBA Championships." I know he picked up his second one with the Lakers, I apologize for not making that clear. I should have said the trade "sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Phildalphia 76ers, where he would win one of this two NBA Championships."

B: Jabbar was traded due to a failed relationship with Milwaukee brass...

T: Was O'Neal not traded due to a failed relationship with Los Angeles management, who wanted to build the organization around Kobe Bryant and his wishes? Regardless of whether Mitch Kupchak, Jerry Buss and even Kobe Bryant made the best decision for the Los Angeles Lakers, why continue to try and appease someone who was vocal about his dislike of the direction of the team. O'Neal had the same issues arise when he was on the verge of becoming a free agent during his stint with the Orlando Magic. Orlando Magic Owner Rich DeVos was quoted at the time in an Atlanta paper saying "I don't want just your body. I want your heart. I want you to love playing for this team. If not, then you should go to another team."

B: You cite Kobe's progress and his career as a barometer to gage the trades, atleast in part. That's no way to judge a trade, banners are.

T: As of now, neither Kobe nor Shaq has won a banner without the other. In 2002, Kobe averaged 26.6 ppg and 5.8 apg in four NBA Finals games against the New Jersey Nets. In 2001, Kobe averaged 24.6 ppg and 5.8 apg in five NBA Finals games against the Philadelphia 76ers. In 2000, Kobe averaged 15.6 ppg and 4.6 apg in five NBA Finals games against the Indiana Pacers. If you were take Kobe's play out of the equation in those games, it's hard to say whether LA would have won those championships. No he's not Shaq, but very few are. And face it, very few NBA Teams have the talent that Kobe Bryant brings to the floor.

B: To suggest that the Lakers would be titleless without Kobe since 88 is so wrong, it is beyond comprehension...E. Jones was in his prime and Van Exel was running point.

T: It might be wrong, but again it's just a suggestion. And it is true that Kobe, when looking at the above stats (which admittedly do not match that of O'Neal in those Finals appearances) has proven he was a strong force towards leading the Lakers to three consecutive titles. That's undeniable. You mentioned a guy like Eddie Jones who had impressive stats in the backcourt for the Lakers during the 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 seasons (Kobe's first two years in the league) where he averaged around 17 points per game. But Eddie Jones has never had a strong playoff showing. He has appeared in 36 career NBA Playoff Games where he's averaged only 13.3 ppg and 2.4 apg. Nick Van Exel has averaged 15.7 ppg and 5.1 apg in 64 career NBA Playoff Games. But Nick Van Exel has never been a well-liked guy and easy to get along with. Bearcatnews.com had an article on Van Exel, calling the guard "TWTH -- trouble waiting to happen." Maybe I'm wrong for believing that the Lakers would still be without a title, but I contend that had Jones and Van Exel stayed in LA to play longer with Shaq, the Lakers wouldn't have three-peated.

B: I would blame coaching more than anything if pressed.

T: Coaching was certainly an issue during the mid-90's for Los Angeles, but you have to wonder if Phil Jackson would have become the Lakers' coach had he not seen promise in a young star like Kobe. There were many pieces to this puzzle that made the Lakers reach success again recently, and the center pieces where Shaq, Kobe and Phil. Had the trade with the Charlotte Hornets not happened, it's hard to say any of the three would have been Lakers. That's why I feel that trade was more important in the long run than the trade of O'Neal to the Heat. Over the course of time I might say something different. But you have to let time play out, instead of predicting the future. As of now, I contend Kobe for Divac was a bigger trade than O'Neal for Butler, Grant and Odom.

B: Why did West leave?...Rumors say Buss...who does Buss play favorite to? Bryant of course. So, Kobe's guilty.

T: It didn't help the organization that Jerry West left in 2000, after being connected to the team for 40 years. Losing a cornerstone like that doesn't help. But the team was turned over to Kupchak who spent 14 years under West in the front office, and allowed new Head Coach Phil Jackson a stronger say in roster decisions. You can't replace West, but to have Kupchak and Jackson as your backups to make decisions isn't all that bad. Was Kobe a reason he left? I don't know. But The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported he had an irregular heartbeat caused by nervous tension, and because of the condition he did not attend any of the Lakers' playoff games in the final two rounds that year against the Portland Trailblazers or the Indiana Pacers. I would assume that was the biggest factor in his decision. An ESPN.com article was quoted at the time of West's signing on as GM with the Memphis Grizzlies: "Phil Jackson did not push Jerry West out of the Lakers' organization. But he may have planted the seed...Buss had a reputation for paying his players but skimping on front-office salaries, which West accepted because he believes in the code that the players are the most important part of a franchise. Jackson's contract (5 years, $30 million) violated that code." So maybe the real debate amongst Laker fans should have been West vs. Jackson.

B: These are the Lakers. 28 Finals appearances in a 57 year span. Rebuilding is not a word in their vocab, or was for that matter.

T: For Laker fans, they don't want to hear they are rebuilding a team. But Kupchak and Buss had to know losing Jackson and O'Neal would hurt the team for the short term. Again, for the short term. Great teams rebuild. Look at the New York Yankees who finished under .500 for four consecutive years from 1989 to 1992 (the first time they had back-to-back losing seasons since 1966 and 1967.) Over the next ten years the club won seven American League East Titles, five American League Pennants and four World Series Championships, while establishing new stars in Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. While they don't have the money like the Yankees, they do have the history and the nolstagia like them. And in the last twenty-five years, only eight different organizations have won NBA Championships. The Lakers can't win every year, but to be able to win, you sometimes have to rebuild. Will it work? Who knows.

B: Who have the Lakers got who has been atleast a semi-star in the last 5 years simly by putting down cash and flashing their Laker brand name?

T: I believe in 2003 they picked up future Hall of Famers Gary Payton and Karl Malone off of the free-agent market. And they did that without the cash, but the brand name and the talent. Maybe more-so the talent, but to join an elite list of names to play for the Lakers and to join an elite list of names to win championships with the Lakers has appeal. When you have two stars like Shaq and Kobe, you don't have to test the free-agent market like other teams. The Bulls didn't test the free-agent market when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the NBA's star duo. But once the talent and the brand name became built after three consecutive championships (and then after the return of Jordan from retirement), that's when players like Dennis Rodman signed with Chicago. Ironically, a couple of years later Rodman signed with another brand name, the Lakers.

B: I ask all Kobe fans, how many years without a ring is a failure? Laker fans know the answer...ONE. Game over.

T: If that is true, then the Lakers have some of the most incompetent fans in the world. The same could be said for Yankee fans if they feel their team has damaged it's reputation because they've gone four years without a championship. Say the Miami Heat lose this season in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Detroit Pistons. Do fans now say that the trade didn't help Miami, because the Pistons are still heading to the NBA Finals? Are critiques of Shaq still going to say he is past his prime, because for the second consecutive year he couldn't make it over the hump against the Pistons? Or will they be more reasonable like me and say Miami turned into a dominate team not only in the East, but in the league itself and still has the potential to develop the chemistry they've put together this season to make a great run next year? The game is certainly not over for anyone. Not for Kobe Bryant, not for the Los Angeles Lakers, not for Shaquille O'Neal and not for the defending champion Detroit Pistons.

I never said this trade was good for the Los Angeles Lakers. I actually said it's "one of the biggest trades in recent memory, but it's not the worst of all-time." This is a team that was plagued by injuries, including injuries to Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Chris Mihm. This is a team that lost their coach mid-way through the season, and is a team without direction. While chemistry came together rather quick for Miami, the Lakers have struggled to find that cohesiveness. It doesn't mean it won't happen. Very rarely does it come that quick. And when you have constant shake-ups to the environment of your team, very rarely can you rebound (no pun intended) so quick. Just take a look at the Cleveland Caviliers if you want an example.

I agree with everyone that Kobe Bryant hurt this team by playing for his own personal interests, and not the interests of his fans or his teammates. But the same could be said for players like Allen Iverson, Vince Carter and Ron Artest that Buckeye mentioned. The thing that has disappointed me most about Kobe Bryant is that he hasn't played for his own place in the history of the game. Bryant's already proven himself in this league. The next step is defining how he will be remembered. It'll take more than this one season to affect that.
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Old 04-12-2005, 11:24 PM   #14
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Good post toby...

To the points...

T: Was O'Neal traded due to a failed relationship with Laker management?

My answer is no. He was traded due to a failed relationship with a player, Kobe Bryant. Now this is where things get sticky, because if one claims it was with management, then Kobe is GM. So pick your poison.

On your comparison of Shaq with Orlando and Shaq with the Lakers...

Way off, where to begin? A vocal and RINGLESS Shaq in Orlando ranting about the direction of the team is one thing. The man who brought 3 banners to L.A. and revitalized the city ( I attended some games, it wasn't quite Showtime, but these guys had an identity going for them) asking for ATLEAST SOME input into where things are going is another. You don't think Magic and Jabbar had a little talk here and there about who should come in? And Shaq didn't deserve that same respect? Just typing that boils my blood. Of course he did. 30 teams times 12 man roster = 360 players at any given time and only ONE has got 3 rings on his back. Give me a freakin' break. If not him, WHO? Kobe Bryant? Yeah, right.

T: ( paraprhasing now) Neither Shaq or Kobe got a ring without each other. Fair enough. So, let's go by old school etiquette. Let's go by Magic following Jabbar's orders ( no Magic rings without Jabbar, no Jabbar rings without Magic or Big O) or McHale accepting his role under the hand of Bird. You respect your elders in that situation. It takes more of a man, and a player, to do that. Magic and McHale may have compromised stats and even a ring if one wants to argue that. But don't let it be said they didn't understand what others had done for them. That will determine your greatness, not this b.s going on now.

I still disagree with your rebuilding concept. Baseball and b-ball are two different things really. It might be because you aren't a Laker fan. There are some things that we have always known. As long as West or Riley were burning the midnight oil, we had a shot. As long as #23 was in the building, it could happen. Under 2 minutes, down by a TD, and Elway with the ball...we've got them right where want them. These are the things I'm talking about. They are certainties. Perhaps not a certainty to win, but we are in the game. We've done the right things to put ourselves there and we have a chance. That is gone. And it's gone by choice IMO.

I also believe your off in your estimation that prestige will help the Lakers survive in the long run. Doesn't matter in today's world. Wish it did. But not anymore. Malone and Payton may have been the last guys who would do it, and only after failing a million times on their own and having more money than God in their banks. Maybe the Lakers can patch up their roster with aging vets with no rings in the next few years to feed off Kobe, but I don't see it producing a ring. You've got to have skills and health left. Malone and Payton just didn't have enough. That's why they came to L.A. Yeah, we got Malone and Payton for a year and they couldn't do it. I'd rather have Jason Terry and PJ Brown for 3 or 4 to work in the system and build something. There is a big difference there.

On how many years without a ring is a failure...

My point is this: if Shaq was the right guy to get rid of, isn't it logical to think if Miami raises a banner in a few months, this was a failure? The truth is that the Lakers had enough talent to build around to contend for the next 4 years if Kobe hadn't sabatoged the team. Look, anyone can make big decisions, doesn't mean they are right ( see Kupchak bringing in Malone and Payton).

On Jerry West...

Yes, he left in official capacity in the first year of the 3peat. He would often drive around the arena in his car listening to the game on the radio. He was too connected and too stressed out. I admit that. The fact is he came back, and to a different team. West may not know it himself, but he was slowly pushed out. The salary dispute you reported isn't even worthy of a response. No offense to you toby, but that's a complete b.s. job if I ever heard one. All you have to do is check Riley's salary compared to other coaches back in the day, and you'll see the answer there. If memory serves, he was in the top 3 salaries. West and Jackson had friction, but it was the OWNER who failed this team. If West didn't want Jackson, he wouldn't have been there. That much is somewhat debatable, I'll admit, but know it wa true up until the late 90s. I don't know exactly when Buss started believing he was Riley, Kupchak was West, and Kobe was Jordan. Have to check his desk for LSD to get an exact date on that one.

I agree somewhat with your last paragraph, although Kobe was in a higher class than those three I listed. Kobe had a chance to be great, and at the very least, SERIOUSLY diminished those chances ( rings are what I am looking at, and he's blown one this year and counting). You say it will take more than one season. I agree, but to suggest that the guys calling the shots now, along with the extreme behavior Bryant has displayed give you a DECENT belief this guy and organization can run off a few titles ( remember, no skimping, he wants to be Jordan, this is Magic and Mikan's old stomping grounds, we need to see a few banners and heavy contention in ALL years), than I'd say you've missed how every great franchise has operated in the past in this league.

I'm afraid that's the sad truth for the guys involved too, which sickens me.
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Old 04-21-2005, 04:48 AM   #15
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I've looked at this & another thread for awhile now & while I'd love to jump in, it feels like some kind of no limit poker where to get in I'm gonna need 5000 words to ante up.....:lol:

I'm gonna need to stock up on my Wheaties.....
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