LOS ANGELES LAKERS
What went right:
They re-signed Sasha
Seeking continuity for his defending Western Conference champs, GM Mitch Kupchak re-signed sharp-shooting reserve guard Sasha Vujacic to a three-year, $15 million contract. Vujacic proved a key contributor off the bench a year ago, averaging 8.8 points (on 43.7 percent shooting from downtown) in just 17.8 minutes. With so few other long-range threats who can also defend, the Lakers could not afford to let Vujacic get away.
Bynum made progress
In news that had Lakers Nation breathing a sigh of relief, third-year center Andrew Bynum continued to make progress in his rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery. The 7-foot, 280-pounder, who blossomed into a star a year ago, was reported to be bigger and stronger, and showing no ill effects from the knee injury that wiped out his season last January. Bynum was expected to be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp.
They imported some Sun
It probably won't pay big dividends this season, but Kupchak added a piece for the future by signing Chinese guard Sun Yue to a two-year contract. The 6-9 Sun, the Lakers' second-round pick (No. 40) in '07, started for China's national team at the Olympics and is considered a solid prospect. For the short term he will compete for playing time with Jordan Farmar as backup in the L.A. backcourt.
What went wrong:
They didn't trade Odom
Maybe it will turn out to be the right move, but hanging on to Lamar Odom (at least for now) appears to be a big risk. The 6-10 forward is talented, but his lackluster showing in last year's Finals was a bad sign. Odom's height, meanwhile, is less of a factor now that the Lakers will have Bynum and Pau Gasol in the frontcourt. Ideally, L.A. would have been able to move him for a better defender/outside shooter on the perimeter.
They struck out on Posey and Barry
Kupchak tried to land free agents James Posey (Hornets) and Brent Barry (Rockets), but both veteran forwards opted to sign elsewhere. Due to financial constraints, Kupchak then decided not to match Golden State's offer sheet for reserve forward Ronny Turiaf (four years, $17 million). The loss of Turiaf, without the addition of any other proven veteran, leaves L.A.'s Bench Mob a bit thin in the frontcourt.
Kobe didn't get any rest
After carrying the Lakers through a long season that stretched into June, Kobe Bryant spent the summer helping lead Team USA to the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Due to those commitments, the reigning MVP also put off surgery to repair ligament damage in his right pinky. Bryant insists he's feeling spry as ever at age 30, but it remains to be seen how the long season affects him down the stretch next spring.
Synopsis: The defending conference champs seem to be in good shape with a healthy Kobe and Bynum. But will they make a move with Odom?
Edited by ickerfan567, September 03, 2008 - 06:29 PM.