The Only Solution

Special thanks to Luke Tarsitano for writing this take and giving us the privilege to add it to TheLakersNation.com. Again, if you guys see anything Lakers related that you think deserves to be put up, just e-mail us at articles@TheLakersNation.com.

This off-season has been less than glorious for the Lakers and their fans, aside from re-siging Luke Walton and Chris Mihm, our front office has done nothing. Derek Fisher’s return was a gift that fell into our laps and doesn’t count as real front office activity as far as I’m concerned.

With the hopes of trading for a savoir in Garnett dashed by our eternal rivals, the Lakers are two months away from returning to mediocrity. This is an unacceptable proposition for the fans and, more importantly, Kobe.

We Laker fans expect excellence and deserve nothing less for our ever-lasting loyalty.

Though it seems like Mitch Kupchak and his cohorts have been asleep at the wheel since Kobe made his trade demands, it is true that with Garnett in green, the Lakers off-season options are very limited. Just when all hope seemed to be lost, and another first round playoff exit seemed likely, reports of Jermaine O’Neal wanting to be a Laker emerged. Of course, as soon as they were reported Jermaine announced he was misquoted.

Many have tried to make sense of what actually transpired, myself included. Whatever was really said, it seems impossible that Jermaine could have been misquoted entirely. Whatever he tried to say after,at first, he was undeniably open to the idea of becoming a Laker. It’s not like he was lying to reporters was he?

After the story broke, I immediatley began thinking of possible trade scenarios that got us O’Neal without giving up Odom. The ideal trade that I feel Indiana is most likely to go for is Bynum, Radmanavic, Kwame, Indiana’s choice of Farmar or Crittenton, at least one of next year’s picks, and a cash incentive for Jermaine O’Neal. However, analysts now say Larry Bird isn’t going to trade Jermaine at all right now.

This should signify the end of Laker fan’s hopes of greatly improving the roster this off-season.

I have thought a lot about this trying to see a solution and I am now going to share with you the only option I see left that could land us Jermaine. Kobe and Jermaine have a good relationship. The answer is Kobe needs to call Jermaine or meet with him in person and convince him to press for a trade to the Lakers. The only way Jermaine will be a Laker by training camp is if he openly demands a trade.

This is a hypothetical message of what I feel Kobe should tell Jermaine:

“JO, we’re at similar points in our careers where our window of dominance is getting smaller. I know how you feel in Indiana, as my current situation with the Lakers is exactly the same. I know how frustrated you are. I also know you love Los Angeles. I’m calling you to ask you to demand a trade to the Lakers. If we come together we will be unstoppable. The Lakers now have the supporting cast needed to contend for a title if you come here. The fans here are incredibly loyal and there’s no better location in the world to play than Southern California. I know you’re loyal to the Pacers and their fans, but at this point in your basketball life, if you want to win titles, it’s now or never, and Indiana can no longer help you get there. Join me and secure your legacy as a great player in this league. Its the only way.”

Though, it seems like a longshot, if O’Neal does demand a trade it will force Bird into accepting an offer that’s less than what he wanted, hopefully allowing us to keep Lamar.

You all might say this is grasping at straws, and maybe it is, but this is the only solution left that I feel is plausible. Let’s hope Kobe will take a more active role in Laker affairs before the start of the season.

Otherwise, have fun watching another early playoff exit.

Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • PHANTOM

    your dreaming if you think the lakers are getting oneil without giving odom. no one wants radmonovich contract!!!!!

  • lakerfan81

    O’neil is not going anywhere right now. If the Pacers have a very bad season than they might be forced to trade him for cap space and a couple of nice young players. But for now he is and will remain a pacer.

  • foxxy

    WHATEVER!!!!! WE WILL HAVE TO WORK WITH WHAT WE HAVE….WE MAY HAVE A GOOD…VERY GOOD SEASON YET!!!!!! WE HAVE TO!!!!!
    WE DONT HAVE A CHOICE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! ROLE WITH WHAT WE’VE GOT!!!!!!!!

  • foxxy

    LETS DO THIS LAKERS…PLAY LIKE YOU’VE NEVER PLAYED BEFORE….LIKE CHAMPIONS!!!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/regg66 rpouncy14

    Lakers shouldn’t get JO rite about now.

  • LAKERSCHAMPSO8

    hey i like this idea but i dont think kobe will call jo because then kob wll really look desperate and wat if jo says naw man i dont wanna demand a trade…wat then????

  • fatty

    After what I read and heard, he’s pretty much told the FO already about his wishes. Maybe the FO has convinced him to try this season and if its not working they could send him packing by the trade deadline. Who knows?

    What I do know is that Kobe will be showing off his talents in Vegas and maybe JO will like what he see’s and put some more pressure on Bird. lol

  • fred0s

    The Lakers should just wait it out until Indiana gets desperate and then we can give them the least amount possible in order to get O’Neal.

  • keep24

    When he’s asked ” are you still seeking a trade from the Lakers?” and he responds with “the Lakers know where I stand” – means one thing and one thing only to me:

    He wants to be traded! Even if stays, he’s staying because they are making him.

    He could end all the confusion and headlines that he keeps saying that he doesn’t like by just clearing it up once and for all.

    He’s 29 years old now – it’s time to grow the f- up or get yourself on meds- NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gugy

    Kobe will not call JO. This is just fan desperation.

  • Michael_23

    If the Lakers can have a very good season, (ie, conference semi-finals, concerfence finals) it may attract good players to join. Grant Hill joined the Suns, C. Webb join the Pistons last year. If we continue to suck and just be a 1st round playoff team we wont attract anyone to come over.

    Hopefully none of our 8 – 10 man rotation gets seriously injured. I think we have a good chance if everyone stays healthy. If everyone starts out pre-season 0 healthy I’m looking forward to a good season.

    The Clippers season may already be skrewed because of E. Brand’s and S. Livingston’s injury.

  • lakrfan4life

    nice one luke, one of ur most thought out positions on the lakers u have to date.

    however, i think we need to keep either bynum or kwame for i am afraid they (lakers) will not have enough big men (i mean, does mihm even count???)

  • ihflakerfan24

    5 years and counting…

    I ask the person whose comment name is “foxxy”. Do you think we are really better than the Spurs, Suns, Mavs, Rockets, Jazz, Nuggets with our current roster? Do you think our current roster makes Kobe happy? We are not the clippers, even if we somehow make it passed the first round we are not good enough to win a championship and if winning a championship is not an option then it’s an unsuccessful season.

    We should praise people like Mr. Tarsitano who voices his opinion asking, pleading, urging for Mitch to do something.

  • fatty

    There are no gaurantees in the NBA. No matter who you have.

    Last year Dallas swept through the league, dominating everyone. Then played GS, a team that qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, only to lose.

    The Lakers, just a few years ago, having two future HOF, Kobe and Shaq, didn’t win the title, and one year didn’t even advance to the finals.

    The point is, it is unrealistic to expect a title every year. Last year, when healthy, the Lakers played very good ball, beating the best teams in the NBA. As I recall, we dominated Dallas. We easily beat San Antonio at their arena. We gave Utah their worse loss of the year. We beat Houston on the road. These are some of the best in the NBA, and the only way they could beat the Lakers was when we were at our least with injuries.

    Its cute to say, this team is lousy or mediocre, but that is simply not true. Injuries played a key roll in our season last year. We were winning at a 65% clip, but people were saying that was because of an easy home schedule. Then when the home/away games evened out, we were still almost playing .650 ball. Only injuries could be blamed for our downfall.

    None of us were happpy losing to phx, but we all knew the injuries were a major factor. Kobe, out of frustration, went off the handle, otherwise most of us would be saying, we are only a piece or two away from competing well with the NBA’s elite. Blowing up the team for trades because we didn’t win it all would be an unwise decision. A little patience is needed.

    This is what PJ said, not me. I agree with him. We are in for a nice season. We have the pieces to compete. Let’s enjoy the ride.

  • lakerfan81

    Fatty, well said. I don’t believe this squad as it is right now is a serious contender for a title. But it is not a horrible team either. I still say we are the 6th best team in the west. Maybe fifth depending on how the situation in Houston works its self out (their roster is a mess right now). The problem is as the sixth seed we will probably be facing the Spurs in the first round, good luck with that. People seem to forget that it took Jerry West 12 yrs to put out a team that won a champioship after the last on in 1988. Just be patient. To make trades just to appease Kobe is worst than letting this team mature. Besides I don’t think we are that far away. All we really need is a wing defender (should have saved our MLE for Posey and somehow got rid of Vlad or try to get rid of Vlad and pick of turkoglu who is a very good defender), and an interior defender. Bynum has the athletic ability and talent to be a good interior defender, but people need to remember that not only does Bynum have to learn the NBA game and conditioning required for the grueling season and playoffs. But he also has to learn the triangle offense (not an easy thing to do) and he has to learn the fundamentals of the game of basketball. People just need to be patient.
    If a good trade comes up that would get us over the hump then of course you take it. But there is not one available now, so until one becomes available, people just need to be patient and let this team grow.

  • fatty

    lakerfan 81

    I know this is a Yogi Berra like statement, but injuries will dictate the seeding for the playoffs. With so many teams so close to each other, it seems to me, an injury or two can put a team from the 5th seed to the 8th, or worse out of the playoffs. The best, “the pack” could hope for would be a 4th seed, which would only give a team home court advantage for one round. Its no easy path for any team in the west.

    I am excited to see how this team grows. We are in for a good season this year. Next year, if our guys develope, we might be a very good team. The following year, we might be contenders and favorites. But I do know this, with Kobe and PJ at the controls, we always have a chance.

  • keep24

    “People seem to forget that it took Jerry West 12 yrs to put out a team that won a champioship after the last on in 1988. Just be patient.”

    Apples and oranges my friend!

    Jerry West lost Magic over night. That was his franchise player. When Magic retired, that was it!

    We still have Kobe. Three years ago we had Kobe and Shaq. And, as far as Shaq is concerned, I would have traded him myself. With his work ethic, aging body and contract extension, it was not going to be worth it.

    You think if we had Shaq right now, we’d be in a better position. No sir! Two max contracts? We would be the Miami Heat.

    Kobe is in his prime. All you need is three other solid players around him and that’s it. With a guy like Kobe that’s all it will take.

    After Kobe, I have no problem waiting for the Lakers to rebuild. But what I, and I think for the most part, other Laker fans won’t stand for is watching KB go to another team and win while we rebuild.

    You don’t knock down a beautiful mansion to build another. You tear down an old house and build one.

  • ihflakerfan24

    5 years and counting….

    I ask the person whose comment name is “foxy”

    Do you think we are really better than the Spurs, Suns, Mavs, Jazz, Rockets, Nuggets with our current roster??

    Do you think our current roster will make Kobe happy???

    How deep in the playoffs can Kobe carry his teammates on his back before he is overwhelmed by other team’s superior talent and collectiveness???

    Do you think its fair that Kobe has to score 81 points in a game to force a comeback against the Toronto Rapters???

    We are not the clippers, just making the playoffs and winning zero championships is not what Laker fans or Kobe wants for the future.

    We need to make changes and we should praise people like Mr. Tarsitano for expressing his opinion and asking, pleading and urging for Mitch to do something.

  • fatty

    3 years and counting…….

    We were title contenders 4 and 5 years ago. We just lost with our HOF teams of Kobe, Shaq, Malone, and Peyton. Not to mention, Fox, Horry, and Fisher.

    Please show some patience. We are not far from contending again. Especially with a foundation of Kobe. Overeacting and making a bad trade, just to make a trade, can hurt us dearly for years to come.

    This team is good. Just watch Kobe tonite lead Team USA. We have the best player. We’re building the supporting cast. A solid foundation needs to be built first. We have that. Every team in the NBA would kill to have our foundation of Kobe. We lost part of our foundation to a storm of a trade, losing Shaq. You don’t lose an allstar, HOF, and win immediately. Kobe knew that and forgot that for a long weekend early this summer.

    Kobe is all about winning. He will stay if this group gels.

  • http://theworldvoice.com LUUUUKE

    If you guys think inuries played a major role in our record you are right, BUT we were fully healthy in time for the playoffs and lost to PHX in 5 games.

    At full strength there’s no way we can contend with teams like Dallas, PHX, the Spurs, etc. I don’t know about you but I am not satisfied watching a team lose unnessecarily year after year in the 1st round while wasting away the best player in the world’s prime years and doing NOTHING to improve.

    As I stated in this article, we Laker fans are entitled to better. I know all teams need to rebuild sometimes and no one can win a title every year. I know trading shaq made some sense, BUT there was no need for us to have a rebuilding period. Buss told Kobe we’d be a contender in a year.

    We should feel entitled to better because we could have demanded Wade in the trade for Shaq.

    We deserve better because we traded two starters for Kwame.

    We deserve better because we didn’t trade an 18 year old child for one of the greatest point guards in history.

    There are many more do I need to go on?

  • fatty

    luuuuuke

    We were not FULLY healthy when we played PHX.

    According to Kobe, Luke and Odom played with heart, because they played with serious injuries.

    Kwame had two sprained ankles. The guy could hardly walk.

    Mo had knee problems, recovering from his knee being drained.

    Mihm wasn’t even playing.

    Vladimir couldn’t play because of injury.

    And you said we were healthy !!!!

    Add to this team Fisher.

    Try to base your reasoning on facts and not emotional outbursts. This team healthy was winning last year.

    PS. Even with the injuries, game 4 was fixed by a ref. He told the judge, HE DETERMINED the outcome of that game.

  • ihflakerfan24

    Fatty, with all due respect you have no idea what you are talking about. We are far from being contenders with our current team. All we have is a great player and coach but it takes more than that to win it all. Take the SA Spurs for example, they too have a great player in Tim and a great coach in Pop but they also have a great supporting cast that includes Manu, Tony, Bowen, Finley, Horry. Mitch has surrounded LO and Kobe with mediocre players such as Smush, Kwame, Mihm, Vlad, Cook etc.

    Every team deals with injuries but that’s just inevitable.

    The bottom line is that in the past three years we have not won a playoff series and there is reason for that. We are not good enough, we need improvements I mean for god sake Smush Parker was trying to guard Steve Nash!!!!! Are you kidding???

  • http://theworldvoice.com LUUUUKE

    fatty do you honestly think we can win a championship with kwame brown, sasha vujacic, and brian cook as role players? I like your steadfast support of whoever the lakers put out on the court, you’re loyal to the team and I respect that. However, if you truly think the Lakers at full health can beat teams like the spurs, dallas, etc in the playoffs with the same team we have now plus fisher you are terribly mistaken. We need one more piece to the puzzle, someone of all-star calibur, before we can start thinking about calling ourselves contenders.

  • LA_LAKER FAN

    The Lakers front office is so inept. Peirce said “I want help” and he got KG and Ray Allen. Kobe said “I want help” and he got Derek Fisher, Chris Mihm, and Cobe Karl. No wonder Kobe wants out.

  • fatty

    LUUUKE

    Read my posts again. I never said we were contenders for the title. We had a good foundation and were working toward that.

    ihflakerfan24
    “Fatty, with all due respect you have no idea what you are talking about”

    I guess I could say something stupid like you said, but I won’t. I trust PJ’s assessment of the Lakers. That we have a good foundation and we are 1 or 2 pieces away from contending for a title.

    Also the teams you mentioned as unbeatable, we beat in the reg season like I said earlier. If the GS Warriors shared your pessimism, they wouldn’t even had played against Dallas. But they did, and guess who won? Wow, how’d that happen?

    I’m not guessing when I say we might beat some of the good teams, we have. Maybe you missed that last year? I don’t know. Our foundation has improved in the off season. Isn’t it good enough to win the title, probally not. But if you read my post, you would know, I never said that. I said 1.we are a good team. And 2. The following year we would be very good. Followed by 3. A contender the third year. I think the plan is realistic.

    Next time, read the post and you will save yourself some typing.

  • http://theworldvoice.com LUUUUKE

    fatty, by the time #2 happens kobe will be in a chicago uniform i hope you don’t mind. Long term plans havent worked for us. And beating an elite team once during the season is far different than beating one in a 7 game series

  • ihflakerfan24

    fatty

    I have followed the lakers closely through the ups and downs. I know we have beaten elite teams during the regular season but the regular season does not mean nothing when the playoffs start.(ex. dallas)What i do know is that the lakers have not won a playoff series since the departure of shaq. All i said is that this roster has not been working for us and its time for a change instead of counting, wishing and praying these guys will develop into contenders.