HoopsWorld: The Los Angeles Lakers survived a challenging summer in which All-Star Kobe Bryant demanded a trade. Unfortunately their primary target (Kevin Garnett) was sent to the Boston Celtics, the Indiana Pacers refused to deal Jermaine O’Neal (without Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom in return) and the Lakers were only able to make incremental improvements.
– What need is still unaddressed? – Although the point guard position was upgraded with Derek Fisher and Javaris Crittenton, the Lakers’ offseason moves were probably not quite what Bryant had in mind when he begged for the team to “Just do something!” The team needs to restore their chemistry and get over any residual effects from his offseason rant. They also need a true two-way big man who can score in the paint and serve as an anchor defensively.
– Who’s likely on the way out? – Kwame Brown, in the last year of his contract, has yet to live up to the team’s expectations. Mihm, who sat the entire year with an ankle injury, can opt out of his deal after the season. Brown is expendable, even with a 7.5% trade bonus. Mihm cannot be dealt until Dec 15th.
Maurice Evans and Sasha Vujacic are in the final years of their respective deals. A number of teams have shown interest in the athletic and reasonably priced Evans ($1.74 million). Vujacic needs to raise his shooting percentage significantly to garner any real value.
With the drafting of Crittenton, second-year point Jordan Farmar may be a sacrifice the Lakers can afford to make (package with Brown) to bring back some toughness inside. Brian Cook is a talented outside shooter but essentially a one-trick pony. His contract is considered base year compensation which equates to $3.5 million (his current salary) to an incoming team but just $1.8 mil as outgoing for the Lakers.