Henry Abbott is a [expletive]ing retard who's been called a Kobe-hater by many writers, including a few who themselves have been called Kobe-haters, like John Hollinger.
The fact that he mention Sessions as someone who'd rather be a back-up in Charlotte as an example shows exactly how biased he is (Abbott). Sessions was a victim of bad timing and a gamble on his part and if we had missed out on Nash, i think Sessions would be in Purple and gold right now.
Another article was posted recently by Dr. Doolittle - the "mastermind" behind the WARP-rankings. (I just threw up). Besides being a no-brainer for Adam Silver and the NBA to prevent, like they did with the KG-Doc-Clips-deal, I think the basic 5 points he has are somewhat sound:
1. Recognize Kobe and Pau as the foundation
2. Trade Nash for assets
3. Keep the 2014 pick
4. Sign Bryant and Gasol - quickly (and cheap)
5. Sign top- or next-tier FAs.
How the Lakers should rebuild Franchise faces an unprecedented and critical offseason in 2014
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsCould Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak sign Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to the veteran's minimum?
The Los Angeles Lakers don't rebuild. That's been true since their early days back in Minneapolis, when the franchise nickname made sense, and it's been true through the eras of George Mikan, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.
The latest projection from my ATH system has the Lakers with 34 wins in the coming season, and the system's most recent round of simulations had Los Angeles making the postseason in three of 1,000 replays of the season. ESPN.com's Summer Forecast also has the Lakers finishing 12th in the West, much to Bryant's chagrin. In other words, Los Angeles could be headed for their first single-digit draft slot since taking James Worthy first overall in 1982. If you think my projection is an aberration, be aware that I've seen other projections. It's not.
That's just scratching the surface of the Lakers' woes. Depending on how the standings fall, Los Angeles could be without its first-round picks in 2015 and 2017, and wont' have a second-round pick in three of the next four seasons. The team's top three players -- Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol -- have a combined 46 years of NBA mileage under their collective belt, and all three have undergone some kind of surgery over the past year.
On the bright side, before he was hurt last season, Bryant was as good as ever, averaging 27.3 points on the third-best true shooting percentage of his career. And the Lakers' long-clogged salary cap is about to finally come unstuck, with only Nash due significant guaranteed money after 2013-14. The coming flexibility will coincide with what could be a major shuffling of power in the NBA, with the loaded 2014 draft class and a sparkling free-agent market in the offing.
With a roster headed by three future Hall of Famers, it's certainly not out of the question that L.A. outperforms its dire statistical forecast. However, if and when the season goes south, how can general manager Mitch Kupchak bring the luster back to Los Angeles?
1. Recognize Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant as the foundation.
This isn't a move, but a recognition of the franchise's situation. Bryant's presence is what dictates everything. As perhaps the greatest Laker of them all, rebuilding is not an option after what will be 18 seasons with the team. With Bryant's contract expiring, Kupchak will have the opportunity to structure a roster and payroll, in cooperation with Bryant, that will give him one more window to chase title No. 6, while setting up the Lakers for the long term.
As for Gasol, the paucity of quality big men in the league, his track record of success with Bryant and, most importantly, his own expiring contract all combine to make him a solid fit to remain a Laker. Gasol's knee problems are a concern, making his production an important issue.
2. Trade Steve Nash for future assets.
Nash still has plenty left in the tank. He averaged 18 points and 10 assists per 40 minutes last season during the minutes in which he didn't share the court with Bryant. When teamed with Bryant, Nash was a lower-volume, higher-efficiency player. In a vacuum, that's fine. However, just as important as any awkwardness on offense, it's not a tenable defensive backcourt.
With a reasonable contract and a valuable skill set, Nash would be a welcome acquisition for most contenders in the league. The Lakers would not take back any money beyond next season in such a trade, and would only ask for a late first-round pick or, more likely, a couple of second-rounders in return. Under the reality of the new CBA, even the Lakers can't continue to ignore the draft.
3. Keep the 2014 draft pick
A Nash deal wouldn't come down until the deadline, by which time it's apparent that 2012-13 is a lost season. Gasol rumors would be rampant by that point, but we've already established that we're keeping him barring a blockbuster deal. So the next chance for Kupchak to set himself up for 2014-15 will be on draft night.
A 48-loss season would give the Lakers an outside shot at lottery magic. And let's face it, this is one franchise that is used to good fortune. Even if the Lakers don't move up, a pick at Nos. 7 or 8 (in one of the deepest drafts ever) would still put them into position to grab a future All-Star. Chad Ford has the Lakers selecting raw but talented Kansas big Joel Embiid at No. 10. The selection could also be a key trade piece down the line.
4. Sign Bryant and Gasol -- quickly
Bryant and Gasol will have massive cap holds on the Lakers' books upon hitting free agency -- a combined $52 million. Until they are resolved one way or another, Kupchak's offseason agenda will be choked.
Here's the strategy: Sign Bryant and Gasol to one-year deals for as low as the veteran's minimum.
Under this arrangement, the Lakers would open up massive amounts of cap space. After renouncing the other free agents, accounting for Bryant and Gasol's minimum salaries, the guaranteed money due to Robert Sacre, CBA-mandated minimum-player holds and the hold for the first-round pick, the Lakers still only have about $11 million of the cap accounted for -- easily enough room for two max-contract free agents.
It would be an extreme show of faith by the Lakers' stars. Kupchak could offer both players huge pay increases after 2014-15 using their Bird rights, in essence giving them an average salary commensurate with their current-day talents. However, this can't be agreed upon beforehand. Even if Bryant and Gasol can get past the ego issues of the pay cuts, there is still the risk of injury to scare them off. It's tough. Kupchak would be tasked with making a sales pitch without overtly making the sales pitch.
5a. Sign two max free agents
It's so simple, right? With all of this cap space, Kupchak opens up the check book, signs LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, and lives happily ever after. I'm not sure anyone really wants to see Bryant and Anthony on the same team, but besides those two, Paul George and Chris Bosh are the only potential free agents I see as possible max-type targets.
We've also seen that, these days, having an attractive talent core may be more important to elite free agents than max money, or a glitzy locale. The Lakers learned that first hand from Dwight Howard this summer. Still, you have to roll out the red carpet, especially for James.
5b. Sign two next-tier free agents to short-term deals
This is the lesson I took from the blockbuster Nets-Celtics trade on draft night: If you signed an OK player to a bloated contract -- like Gerald Wallace -- you can use his salary slot to acquire a better player.
If the Lakers strike out on the heavy hitters in the next free agent class, the next level of available players would be targeted. We're talking about players like Paul Pierce, Andrew Bogut and Luol Deng. Landing two of those players on short-term contracts for eight figures per season not only adds on-court talent, but it locks down two high-dollar salary slots.
The key is to keep the duration of the contract short, or else you risk ruining the trade value of the player. The eventual target would be a top-10 player who decides he can't continue in his current situation.
Who knows who will be the next disgruntled superstar? Maybe if things go bad for the Thunder, Kevin Durant will seek brighter lights. Maybe Chris Paul doesn't like playing for Doc Rivers, or things go bad for Blake Griffin. Perhaps Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota, or LaMarcus Aldridge bails on Portland, or the Kings tire of DeMarcus Cousins. We never know when these situations will crop up.
By locking down two decent players with sizable, but moveable contracts, the Lakers would become a team capable of dangling near-term cap space for an opponent hitting the reset button. Packaging one or both of the free-agent signings with the aforementioned prized draft pick will sweeten the pot that much more.
This is just one of many paths Kupchak can take to return the Lakers to relevance. The scheme requires luck, faith, failure, guts and cunning. Getting a team to the championship level always does, and when you can't truly rebuild, a few things are going to have to fall your way. If this plan seems desperate to you, well, that's kind of where the Lakers are at.