Their Kind of Town?

“I’m so outta here. They forget my contract is up soon too…This wasn’t bad for a while, I didn’t have to do much, I made twice the money I would’ve if I’d taken that front office gig and this might give me a legitamate excuse to retire before they try and expose me for not developing talent. Again. These kids don’t listen anyway, which is exactly why I wanted veterans. They’re hungry, they just need direction, not a damn babysitter. I tried to give Kwame ‘The Joy of Cooking’, something, anything to get the boy to use his damn hands and what

does he do? Maybe I shouldn’t have called him a pussy, but who the hell throws cakes at people anyway, is this candid camera? Damn, I’m really dating myself there. Wonder what Red would do in this situation…. Why is Kobe the last to know about Buss’ intentions anyway? I told the whole damn world in my book. That kid should’ve gone to college if only to learn when he’s being manipulated…. I can’t blame Kobe again, can I? Or should I just start discrediting Skiles and Isiah? They aren’t championship coaches, I am….Actually, is there any way we can get Gordon and Deng, then Arenas next summer? Gil would eat this Zen shit up…”

“When Magic demanded a trade, I just fired Westhead…Nah…What was I thinking? Why would I let Jim deem Bynum untouchable and let Kupchack pass on every one of the kid’s suggestions? Who did Davis get traded for again? Speedy Claxton? Damn, that made us look dumb. Or deceitful. Like I was just using the kid to sell tix and avoid the luxury tax by developing young players. Is that what I was trying to do? And how would it have worked anyway if I gave him an option and that damn no trade clause? And where the hell is that waitress with my drink? And didn’t I tell whatshername to get me one too? Doesn’t anyone around here speak English? Spain. Never again….Maybe I actually should trade him. What are our chances of improving to his satisfaction before he can opt out in a couple of years and we get nothing? And he has to know that he tied our hands to negotiate with other teams. Who would trade anything to help a team with a disgruntled superstar, when they could manage their cap over the next two years and possibly sign that superstar? He’s the only player we can trade now, might as well move him while his value’s at it’s peak. This is a good draft, Chicago has that lottery pick and P.J. Brown’s expiring contract. And I do like that Zero Hero, I wonder what he’d want….I wonder if any of these girls can drive a stick….”

“…………………………………………..Is Sonic open 24/7? I could really use one of those smoothies…………………………..I miss Jerry West, he loved smoothies and he was so nice to me…………………………………………….You know who else probably likes smoothies? That kid Sebastian Telfair……………………………………………Yeah, he’d be a good fit here, maybe that’d get Phil to lighten up a bit………………….Gosh, he can be a real jerk when he doesn’t get his way, what did I ever do to him?………………………………….. I’ve gotta stop thinking so much, I’m gonna burn myself out………………………………………………………..What time is it anyway, am I missing ‘John From Cincinnati’?……………………….I’ve got to learn how to work that damn Tivo………………………….Man, this is a pretty good show. I wonder if he’ll heal that boy’s spine next week…………….Can’t wait, not much else on TV this summer, makes it tough to find good conversation at the office…………………..Okay, relax, then smoothies, then Telfair………………………Zzzzzz………”

“God, these Finals were a disaster. The kid could’ve at least made it interesting…. Kobe getting traded would restore a balance between the two Conferences and stop all this nonsense about realignment or reseeding. What the hell do they think this is, football? That reminds me, I need to fine Gooden for that neck goatee of his. I can do that right? Damn right I can! Plus LeBron, Wade and Kobe in the same conference would settle all this ‘Next Jordan’ talk unequivocally. All of them battling each other four times a year? It’d certainly give Shaq somehting to talk about for a while, I’m worried about him. Yeah, this is starting to sound good. People might not complain as much about Durant and Oden on so late if they had Chicago v. Miami as an appetizer. Actually, maybe Kobe could fix the Knicks? Nah, not until Isiah’s gone, that would be a disaster…. What am I going to do about him? Chicago is probably best, that Jordan story has legs. Long legs. Where’s my phone?”

“That call is coming soon. The pieces I’d have to give up to get K.G. would leave us without a dependable scorer and this team still wouldn’t have a definitive leader where we need it. I love Kevin, but once Gordon is gone, would he carry us through our scoring droughts, which are far too frequent? Would he take over the fourth quarter for us? Or would we have lost all of our youth, maxed out our cap and have not gotten any better where we need to? I’m just not sure about him and Ben certainly isn’t gonna put any points on the board either. I give up our lottery pick, Gordon, Deng, P.J.’s contract, and Duhon and we’ve still got enough to compete. I think that would satisfy L.A. too, besides they’re probably already sizing Arenas up as a replacement anyway. Hinrich, Kobe, Nocioni, Tyrus and Wallace could win the Conference next year if we could pick up a decent sixth man with our mid-level exemption. Cleveland showed what a defensive minded team with an explosive scorer can do. If LeBron had a perimeter game, Cleveland had a real shot in that series. Now it’s our turn. I’m glad we made the hard sell to the kid when he was a free agent. He knows we’re committed and that’ll play big in his decision making. He’d want to be here anyway. It’s the only way he’ll ever truly redeem himself, coming in here and overtly challenging Michael’s legacy. I think he can do it too. This is gonna happen, I can’t believe it. Where’s my phone? I gotta thank Isiah….”


17 Responses to “Their Kind of Town?”

  1. Bravo! funny, funny stuff, I like it. Especially Mitch Kupchak.

  2. Thanks McBias. Or should I say “Merci?”

    I just finished checking out Michael Moore’s “Sicko” and figured I need to brush up on my French. You know, since I’ll be moving to either Canada or Paris in the next ten years. Mandatory five weeks paid vacation? Another paid week for honeymoons? Free house calls from doctors? No deductibles, co-pays or pre-existing condition problems?

    “C’est tres bien!”

    Anyone who’d like to check this movie out and see the travesty that is our nation’s health care system, here is a free link on Google Video. It’s two hours worth investing, I suggest you check it out before it’s gone….…4032752909

  3. Kisswriters Says:

    The LA front office is a mess. Dr. Buss is old, his authority is being challenged, and for the last three years he used Kobe to sell tickets and take the blame for the Shaq trade. On the other hand, someone had to go. Realizing that, I think we all understand why Dr. Buss gave Kobe the max deal and in essence, mortgaged everything on Bryant, who has yet to prove he can win without Shaq. Not to mention, Kobe benefited from the whole Lakers’ image/mystique thing in bolstering his legal defense against those rape charges.

    And as much as I hate to write it, I agree with the anonymous Lakers source, to some degree. Kobe is the problem.

    It starts with him. It’s his job to make those around him better. Odom should be flourishing as a facilitator. But he’s not. Kobe and Phil should’ve browbeaten Kwame into accepting his role as a rebounder and defender. Instead, he’s still sulking in his post-Jordan depression. Walton repeatedly plays Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”–left butt naked on an island to defend good wing players but can’t. Farmar’s another one who’ll never be a good one-on-one defender, because he can’t move laterally. However, with his leaping ability and good shooting mechanics, he could be a decent mid-range shooter/finisher, if he ever saw the ball. That’s where Kobe’s on-court leadership should be coaching Walton and Farmar in their areas of weakness, but playing up their strengths. Bynum is 20 going on 12. Again, Kobe, you remember what it was like being 18, on your own, and expected to produce right away.

    If I could get Kobe’s ear for one minute, I’d tell him to be patient.

    And if I were Dr. Buss, the first thing I’d do this summer is fire Mitch Kupchak. Second thing would be to rehire Jerry West. That’d be a sign of good faith to Kobe. Other than that, pray. Pray a vet or two (Bibby or maybe Artest) want to come to LA for less than market value. One thing I would not do is trade Odom (unless we can get J.O. and Granger in return). Otherwise, Odom stays.

  4. Max, you give Kupchak way too much credit. No way he has that many thoughts in one sitting. Or was that representative of an entire week?

  5. TheLastPoet Says:

    Nice work, Max.

    As I said in a previous post, I still don’t see Kobe getting traded. Maybe Artest or O’Neal come in, I don’t know. But if he DOES get traded (and if it’s not to my home town Knicks, which I agree would be a diaster – unless WE get O’Neal, too!), then I like what Pax is “thinking” above. Tell Pax he’s already got a decent 6th man in Thabo Sefolasha – don’t sleep on that cat!

  6. Yeah Diallo, the spaces inbetween Kupcake’s thoughts were better represented by dots than an actual calendar….

    I really do think the Bulls are just salivating waiting for that phone call.

    And I’m almost convinced that Arenas on a winning basketball team would sell just as many tix as Kobe. Gil, Gordon, Deng, Odom, Farmar, Walton and Bynum are a nice nucleus, no?

    And Kiss, no one can convince me that Kobe hasn’t tried to make these guys better. it’s in his best interest if he’s so concerned with winning, right? And no amount of work in the world was ever going to develop Smush or Kwame. If the everyone hadn’t been injured all year, they wouldve been a 50 win team and this probably wouldn’t have even been a discussion. But losing brings out the worst in everyone and that’s how this talk of improving the team turned into the Laker “insider” fiasco.

    If Kobe felt used and lied to, then he’s within his boundaries to want out. And I just think it’d be best for LA to accomodate him now rather than later.

    And yeah, LastP, Sefolosha is nice.

  7. […] Here’s what Lakers management and David Stern are thinking. Courtesy of The Starting Five […]

  8. Kisswriters Says:

    Max, I’m with you in dismissing 90% of the Kobe-bashers’ criticisms. They’re blinded by their dislike for the kid.

    However, one criticism I will lob at Kobe is that Odom hasn’t gotten any better. Truth be told, L.O. should be thriving alongside Kobe. But he ain’t. So I gotta ask the question, why? And the only answer I can come up with is that Kobe doesn’t help Odom the way Odom wants to help Kobe.

    Point taken, Odom missed 1/3 of the season with injuries. But as far as I’m concerned, Kobe should be lobbying management right now for Odom to stay in L.A. Period. Odom is the key.

  9. maxair-
    …as we talked about, the 3-way trade: Kobe to Chi-town for the Bulls’ 1st round pick plus Duhon and Nocioni; Tyrus Thomas to Phoenix and Shawn Marion to LA.

    Kobe is in Jordanville and the Bulls keep Deng. Lakes get Yi Jianlian (Bulls projected pick) who can pull in $$$$$$$$, plus Duhon, Noci, and Matrix. Suns get a young Matrix in Thomas and clear cap space, maybe to also add JO.

  10. MA,
    Good work pretty much summarizing the laker’s er…um….front office….er….ah….talent. But you did miss out on Jimmy- I have a man-crush on Andrew Bynum-Buss.

    I don’t buy for a second the ridiculous notion that any shooting guard has an obligation, or even the ability to “Make those around him better.” I’m not even sure it can be done. Fundamentally, players have the obligation to get themselves into position to score, catch the ball and hit the shot. Given the ineptitude of virtually everyone on the Lakers in regards these matters, criticising Kobe for ‘not making others better” is beyond absurd.

    Lamar not getting better is entirely on him. He’s the same player he always has been. He still can’t go to his right, can’t finish with his right, can’t shoot the midrange with any sort of skill. Still refuses to take advantage of the mismatch his physical skills and talents provide him on virtually every possession. He’s improved on only one aspect of his game since he’s been in the league, his three point shot has gotten better, otherwise, it’s same ole, same ole. Lamar is a great guy, I love him to death, and he is a unique talent, but as a basketball player, he is what he is, a near all-star whose refusal to add to his skillset and to be aggressive on court keeps him from being an all-star. Criticising Kobe for Lamar’s mental failure is nonsensical.

    The healthcare system is F’d up beyond belief. I haven’t seen the film you talk about, but as an emergency physician who sees over 7000 patients a year in a very busy, high acuity ER I could write you chapter and verse about exactly how messed up things are. And the sad thing is that virtually all of are one leaking aneurysm away from financial ruin.

    46 million of us uninsured, healthcare 15% of GDP, billions spent on care for those who will never walk out of a hospital, families ruined financially because of one chest pain visit, dudes like me spending over a million dollars a year in care whose purpose is entirely to protect myself from malpractice litigation meanwhile paying $75K in malpractice insurance, fatcat lawyers getting rich at the expense of every single man woman and child in the country, on and on……

  11. Sweet Jones Says:

    As a current resident of the Chicagoland area, I can assure you that Kobe going to The House That Jordan Built will be much like Larry Brown coaching the Knicks or A-Rod going to the Yankees. That is, it sounds great on paper, but would be a debacle.

    For one, there are too many media members and fans who, no matter what Kobe does for the Bulls, have a vested interest in maintaining the Jordan Mythology. Any and all threats to it are taken seriously, and repelled within precise but brutal force. I’m sure Mariotti and Rick Telander already have the outlines for their “you can’t hold Jordan’s jock” columns already in draft form. People simply will not allow you to ‘out-Jordan’ MJ in his own town. Period.

    There is NOTHING Kobe could do, other than win 7 championships (the previous Laker 3 won’t count) to win them over. After a few nights of 10 for 33 shooting, I could easily see the boo birds coming out. Much like A-Rod, it seems Kobe is destined to be one of those guys who, no matter how much he tries to endear himself, his greatness will buy him zero slack and only cause more resentment.

    Also, while Chicago is as so-fis-ter-rated as an city, that ‘California-too-cool-for-the-room’ sh!t does NOT play here. At all. Ask Cade McNown. Chi loves its athletes and sports figures larger than life (hell, the ’85 Bears still make money hand over fist here), and Kobe’s somewhat aloof demeanor will rub a lot of ‘locals’ the wrong way.

    This move has monumental disaster written all over it.

  12. Sweet…truer words. Right on about Chi.

  13. SJ–

    as a fellow chicagoan, i couldn’t agree more with both the explicit and implicit points of your comments. in fact, rosenbloom over at the trib has already begun the bag on kobe parade. overall, though, i think the bulls have a nice young core that i just don’t want to see broken up to bring in a superstar. let’s see what pax does with the 9-pick and go from there.

  14. We’re talking about Chicago right? Illinois? C’mon.

    Monumental disaster written all over it? Do you guys remember when they said that about Rodman? I do.

    Exactly who has a vested interest in maintaing the Jordan mythology besides Jordan? The media will write about whatevers in front of them and as youve mentioned yourself, this would probably be their biggest story since Jordan. This isnt about replacing Jordan, but continuing a winning tradition that he started. Mariotti used to trash him all the time. Bayless too. And Did you forget that he was practically run out of town along with the rest of the dynasty by managment? And that they denied him any ownership or managment opportunities? I do.

    Jordan is gone. Long gone. Get over it. I did. Why would anyone hold onto the past at the expense of their future? Boo birds on those 10-33 nights? Do you remember that Jordan himself had plenty of those? I do, cause I was there on plenty of nights. I lived in Chicago for twenty years… Aloof demeanor? Like Jordan was this gregarious folk hero or something. Talk about revisionist history….

    And who the hell cares what Jay Mariotti has to say about anything? Chicago wants to win more than anything and I think if they can suffer through Rex Grossman, Tank Johnson, Ozzie Guillen, and AJ Perzynhoweverthehellitsspelled, then they’ll be able to manage with Kobe Bryant.

  15. And Kev, I cant even begin to imagine the things you must’ve seen in that business….

  16. wait a minute, max, you got me wrong, man. i’m not saying i don’t want kobe here for any jordan-related reasons, because that simply not the case. i, like you, know jordan is gone daddy gone and i’m fine with it. nor do i worry that somehow kobe is going to come in here and attempt to tarnish and usurp jordan’s throne, as rosenbloom stupidly argued yesterday. i like the core of young players the bulls have, i think the NBA game is changing to accomodate that style of team, and i would rather see the bulls build through the draft than gut the young nucleus of this team to bring in kobe. i’m past jordan, man, way past it, but it took a long time and a lot of losing to accumulate this many young players. once again, not about kobe per se (although i know his “attitude” would rub a lot of the idiotic sports media in this town the wrong way, and i wonder in light of current events how that would effect kobe) or jordan love, but it is about the young, talented, still-developing core of this team that i don’t want to break up, even if it is to bring possibly the best player in the NBA to town.

  17. I see what youre sayin pm, I guess I was just in a mood….my bad.

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