Well John Hollinger…
Opposing Views: Generally when analysts recap the winners and losers of a particular offseason, you see two types of winners: The group that went from nothing to something by bringing in one or more high-profile free agents (Read: Miami Heat) or the group that went from an upper-tier power to contender by bringing in an above-average talent to complement an already strong group (Read: The 2009 San Antonio Spurs before reality hit).
This season, however, the Los Angeles Lakers have carved out their own place amongst the league’s offseason winners without falling into either of the aforementioned categories. Rather than spending big bucks on free agents or making risky trades for household names, they merely dropped underperforming players and signed proven veterans to fill specific areas of need.
And they managed to do it with no ESPN specials.
Gone from Lakers are backups DJ Mbenga, Josh Powell and Adam Morrison. All three players received very little playing time en route to the team’s second consecutive championship last season and, as such, all three unrestricted free agents were not extended contracts by the team. Out of the three, Powell is the only one who received any significant playing time at any point within the last two years. However, with the plans that they had for the summer, the Lakers could not afford to re-sign an undersized, under-utilized center/power forward.
The most notable absence from the team in 2010 will be hometown hero Jordan Farmar. The back-up point guard, who many expected would be the ultimate replacement for Derek Fisher at some point in his career, was not offered a tender by the Lakers. He opted to head to the New Jersey Nets for $12 million over 3 years. Farmar’s time in Los Angeles was marred by inconsistency, injury and a general inability to mesh with Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, which generally calls for a larger point guard.
Replacing the old pieces are newcomers: Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff.