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  1. #1
    Member naptownmenace's Avatar
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    Default Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    It was a suggestion made by some hack in L.A..

    According to the article, if the Lakers have to make a decision about which of the big 2 to keep this summer, Kobe would be the man and Shaq would be sent packing. Who was suggested in exchange? It was none other than our Jermaine O'Neal.

    At this point the question for the Lakers is not who is leaving but will anyone from this year's roster stay?

    Fate of team lies with Bryant

    By Howard Beck , Staff Writer L.A. Daily News

    In the early hours of Wednesday morning, long after the Detroit Pistons danced and the Lakers splintered, players, coaches, executives, friends and family gathered one last time in a hotel ballroom, where Lakers owner Jerry Buss provided the food and drink, and perhaps began to lay the mental groundwork for his franchise's next phase.
    The crowd at the Townsend in Birmingham, Mich. thinned through the hours, until just three figures remained: Buss, Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone.

    Imagination can take over from there.

    Among those who roam the Lakers front office, and those who have regular contact with it, the belief is universal: Buss will do everything in his power to retain Bryant, the NBA's most dynamic star, if also its most troubled.

    Over the next two weeks, Bryant will make a court appearance in Colorado and announce he is opting out of his Lakers contract, making him a free agent.

    Having turned down maximum- value extensions for two years, Bryant will be offered the most the Lakers can pay under NBA rules: $140 million over seven years. Before accepting it, Bryant will listen to offers from coast to coast, and at every stop, he will be dictating more than financial terms. No team, including the Lakers, can make an offer until July 1.

    At 25, a six-time all-star and a free agent for the first time, Bryant will be in position to exercise ultimate leverage over potential employers, and is expected to do so.

    Sometime soon, then, the Lakers may well become Kobe's Team in every possible way. The coach will be Bryant's to choose. The roster, his to shape. The offense, his to run.

    If that means jettisoning coach Phil Jackson or former MVP Shaquille O'Neal, Buss is prepared to do it, sources say. But Bryant's agenda is not as simple and clear as any of that, nor is the Lakers' off-season agenda.

    General manager Mitch Kupchak huddled with his staff Wednesday afternoon, declining to discuss the Lakers' murky future. He will meet with the media today, then begin a series of exit meetings with players this afternoon and Friday.

    The Lakers must file their protected list for next week's expansion draft sometime today. Rick Fox and Jamal Sampson are top candidates to be left unprotected. The team will not have to protect Malone, who declined to exercise his option Wednesday and became a free agent.

    Derek Fisher will probably be the next to go that route, followed by Bryant.

    The most pressing free agency issue, however, is Jackson's.

    Bryant has alternately battled Jackson and O'Neal for control of the team for the past five years. He might like to be rid of both of them, but given a choice, would coexist with Jackson more easily than O'Neal, team insiders say.

    So the door is open, however slightly, for Jackson to return. But he practically announced his retirement late Tuesday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, after the Pistons crushed the Lakers to win the championship. He stopped short of saying anything absolute.

    It is not clear whether Buss wants Jackson back, and not just because of a desire to cater to Bryant. Sources say Buss grew impatient with Jackson's equivocating about whether he wanted to continue coaching, felt spurned by his refusal to accept a contract extension earlier this season and was put off by Jackson's decision to conduct all negotiations through his agent.

    Some believe Jackson has grown ambivalent about the job, about the annual struggle of getting Bryant to conform and O'Neal to exert consistent effort. His outer calm this season belied the immense strain imposed on him by the Lakers' dysfunction.

    The legal drama engulfing Bryant was a greater burden on the team, and Jackson, than anyone cares to acknowledge publicly. Compounding the stress was the individual agenda of Gary Payton and the 10-week loss of Malone to a knee injury, robbing the team of its most influential leader.

    Jackson and his staff are under contract through June 30. They will meet this morning in El Segundo and will assist with next week's draft, but Jackson does not plan to speak publicly until he has decided his future.

    There has been no contact between Jackson's representatives and Buss, although agent Todd Musberger will be in Los Angeles on Monday to meet with Jackson.

    In the awkward aftermath of Tuesday's loss, as players began saying their good-byes, Fisher and Fox were the most emotional, the most tearful. They are the only remaining role players from the teams that got swept in Utah and San Antonio, that survived all the early heartbreak of the Shaq-Kobe era before Jackson arrived and began weaving championships out of chaos.

    They may be the next to go, Fisher via free agency and Fox perhaps via retirement.

    Malone became the first player to cut ties with the organization Wednesday, when he declined to exercise a $1.65 million option for next season. The move does not necessarily signal an end to his career, but a desire to be better compensated if he returns.

    "If he decides to play again, the magnanimous, generous act that he did this year does not need to be repeated,' said agent Dwight Manley, referring to Malone's decision to accept a below-market salary last summer.

    That move allowed the Lakers to use their $4.9 million exception to sign Payton.

    "That was a one-year gift, not a two-year gift,' Manley said.

    If Malone returns, he would be seeking all or part of the midlevel exception, expected to be around $5 million. He has said he will only play for the Lakers, and then only if his injured right knee can return to 100 percent strength by the fall.

    A team charter carried most of the Lakers back to Los Angeles on Wednesday morning. Fisher, who is close to Pistons forward Corliss Williamson, stayed behind. A private jet carried Bryant, Malone and Manley back to Newport Beach.

    Mere hours into the summer, they had already begun going their separate ways.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?


    I don't want a big mouth, over the hill, fat a$$, no hustle player.

    Shaq used to be the most dominating force in all the world, but he only has a few more good years left...and with each passing season the Diesel runs closer and closer to empty.

    I will take our chances with a young JO and a young Tmac combined with a good supporting cast.

  3. #3
    Member naptownmenace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    Man... am I tired or what? I posted the wrong article and then went about highlighting the main points in and didn't even notice it was the wrong article. I need a nap. :yawn:

    Here's the article that mentions J.O. being a target for the Lakers:

    Youth and Defense Should Be Lakers' Mantra
    J.A .Adande, L.A. Times

    Now that teamwork beat Dreamworks, what's next for the Lakers?

    The Lakers went down looking too old and unathletic around their foundation of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. In the end, it was just like last year, only with a delayed result.

    Last year, after bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round, the Lakers chose to get even older. That was a freak occurrence. When any franchise gets the chance to bring in players with the credentials of Karl Malone and Gary Payton at below market value, it has to do it.

    This year the Lakers must go in the opposite direction. They need to get younger. And they need to place an emphasis on defense.

    They actually tried to get better on defense a year ago. In the off-season, Coach Phil Jackson flew to Hawaii to meet with Jerry Buss. They locked in on Payton as their primary target, with the idea that he could solidify their defense by cutting off the point-guard penetration that had devastated the Lakers.

    When Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups hauled the NBA Finals most valuable player trophy with him to the postgame interview podium Tuesday night, having outscored Payton, 105-21, for the series, it served as one final reminder that Payton didn't work out on offense or defense.

    As much as the offense around the Lakers' two big stars failed and resulted in two of the four lowest-scoring games in Laker playoff history, it was the defense that did them in during their five-game humbling at the hands of the Pistons. They couldn't get stops and secure rebounds when games hung in the balance, and couldn't make any semblance of a defensive stand in the finale, when the Pistons racked up 100 points.

    The Lakers couldn't get ugly enough. They found it beneath them. They knew their fans weren't paying exorbitant Staples Center ticket prices to watch an NBA version of the Carolina Panthers.

    The Pistons don't mind ugly. Their fans appreciate it. After all, somewhere in the stands are people who designed, built and even bought Pontiac Azteks.

    Bryant brings flash, a game perfectly suited for the entertain-us mentality of L.A.

    The moment he opts out of his contract he becomes the biggest question mark in their summer. The Lakers will throw as much money at him as the NBA's collective bargaining agreement will allow, they'll probably let Jackson walk away and take the triangle offense with him, and might even try to trade Shaquille O'Neal.

    Bryant still could leave if he's in the mood. And even if he decides to stay, a jury in his sexual assault case could have the final say in his next destination.

    That's one of the risks inherent in choosing Bryant over O'Neal. Another that must be considered is whether Bryant's body will hold up. He'll turn 26 this summer, not even in his prime yet. But as he likes to say, it's not the age it's the mileage. And he has a lot on the odometer eight NBA seasons plus another season-and-a-half in the form of 119 playoff games.

    His body has played more than 71 games only three times in seven seasons (not including the lockout-shortened 1999 season). He lasted all 82 regular-season games for the first time in his career in 2002-03, but the effort wore him down so much that he needed surgery on his shoulder and knee in the summer. This season, he missed 16 games, first with the knee, then a shoulder and finally a cut finger.

    Against the Pistons, Bryant seemed more intent on winning his first Finals MVP award than winning the Finals themselves, shooting recklessly even in games when O'Neal was dominating inside.

    The other quandary for the Lakers, though, is that O'Neal could not dominate at will. He did it only twice during five Finals games, both times when he had more than one day's rest. With the NBA promising to tighten up even those elongated first-round series next year, he can forget about getting big breaks between games. And it appears that we can forget about O'Neal winning a series single-handedly again.

    If Bryant could work with him, they might be able to squeeze out one more championship together. But the Finals showed that they can't coexist any longer, can't put aside their individual agendas and their jealousies long enough to win four games in the ultimate series.

    Bryant has wanted to show he can do this on his own, as if O'Neal were a hindrance to his being recognized as great. O'Neal doesn't want to be around Bryant much longer, anyway.

    But O'Neal, 32, still has two more years on his contract, worth $62 million. To trade him, the Lakers would have to find a team willing to take on that contract, and the Lakers would have to be willing to take back $30 million a year in salary.

    The preference for the Lakers would be to get back contracts that are close to expiring, so they can use the subsequent salary-cap space to retool their roster. Dallas' Antoine Walker ($14.6 million next season) is one such player, but the Lakers would still have to take another $15 million from the Mavericks, and the rest of their big contracts still have multiple years remaining.

    Swapping O'Neal to Indiana in a trade built around Jermaine O'Neal would be another possibility; it would put the Pacers in position to win the Eastern Conference next year and give the Lakers a young big man to pair with Bryant.

    Bryant and O'Neal. At one time it sure seemed like a great concept.

    But if Bryant and O'Neal can't get it done on command anymore, no matter what the surrounding cast, it's time to try something else.

    Hey, it worked for the Pistons.

    J.A .Adande can be reached at To read previous columns by Adande, go to

  4. #4
    Offical Thread Killer TheSauceMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    Yeah I posted some snipets of this article in another thread , but like Donnie already said anyone is game in a trade except JO , so it makes this pretty much meaningless.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    Yeah right. Keep dreaming, jackass (Adande).

  6. #6
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    Surely you guys agree that if they want him they should have him. Goes with the whole entitlement mindset.
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

  7. #7
    Member naptownmenace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do the Lakers want our O'Neal?

    Methinks the Laker fans have a grossly inflated view of their inflated Oneal.
    That is a classic one-liner!

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