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Beware of Elbows
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Column: Who will the Lakers go after in the FA market

This column was written on July 16th

Snap! That is the sound of the Los Angeles Lakers dynasty breaking in two if they don't improve their team in the offseason. The Kings are gaining experience, and the Dallas Mavericks are making up for their terrible defense, by making their team an offensive powerhouse. If the Lakers don't sign and re-sign some big name free agents, their 4-peat will be doing down, faster than a subway sandwich in Roseanne's stomach.

The Lakers most recent trade with the Toronto Raptors, that sent Lindsey Hunter and the draft rights to Chris Jefferies in exchange for Tracy Murray and the draft rights to Kareem Rush has left them with only one true point guard (Derek Fisher). At power foward the Lakers are a weak team. Robert Horry isn't big enough to last an entire season starting at power forward in the Western Conference, but can bring some great game in the Playoffs. Samamki Walker had a decent first season with LA, but began to slip at the end of the season, bringing up questions about how good he really is. Mark Madsen brings some great effort, but lets face it, he is never going to be a great power forward in the NBA. The Lakers are in search of a good power forward that can come in and give them some quality minutes and production.

At back-up center, the Lakers are the weakest. Shaquille O'Neal does need some rest occasionally. So, who do the Lakers put in that can atleast play 30% as well as O'Neal can? The Lakers signed Jelani McCoy last season, but played him in a mere 21 games. He is a player that can contribute, but isn't big enough to hold his own at center in the Western Conference. At shooting guard, the Lakers have a decision to make. Brian Shaw and Mitch Richmond are both free agents this year, Shaw has greatly helped the Lakers in the past, and Richmond is a player that if given enough playing time, can still score 15-18 ppg. Kareem Rush is a SG, but he is only a Rookie, if he doesn't pan out, who will they have to back him up? At small forward, the Lakers have Rick Fox and Tracy Murray. They are two aging players that are deadly from the outside, but may not be able to keep up to the pace of the other SF around the league. Devean George is a free agent, and he has been mentioned as part of the Lakers future, but may part from LA unless promised a bigger role, or given some serious cash. So, who will the Lakers sign and resign?

The Lakers free agents this year are Devean George, Brian Shaw, Mitch Richmond, Jelani McCoy, and Stanislav Medvedenko. Who out of this group of players should be re-signed? Well, The Lakers need youth at small forward, Devean George gives youth and production, if the Lakers can promise him a starting role, or big bucks he will undoubtedly be re-signed. Shooting guard, Brian Shaw always comes up big in big games and in the Playoffs, he has done so much for the LA Lakers, that it shouldn't be a question whether to re-sign him or not. Mitch Richmond is a big-time player that deserves playing time, he can't contribute in LA. Therefore, there is no point in re-signing him. It would be better for the Lakers and Mitch Richmond if he wasn't re-signed. Rush is a Rookie and Shaw is an aging veteran, the Lakers might want another SG, that could be a filler but could also provide good minutes if given the opportunity. Some possibilties for the Lakers at shooting guard are: Trajan Langdon, Raja Bell, and Quincy Lewis. The best guy for the Lakers to sign out of these three players would be Langdon. He can play, and shoot very well, but he hasn't got much playing time at all in his first few years with the Cavaliers. The Lakers could sign him, use him, and not pay him very much.

The Lakers need a power foward that can start for the whole of the regular season, and either start in the Playoffs aswell or come off of the bench behind Robert Horry and give quality minutes. Some of the big name free agent power forwards are: Malik Rose, Rodney Rogers, Gary Trent, Donyell Marshall, and Darvin Ham. Malik Rose has basically already signed with the San Antonio Spurs, so he's out. Donyell Marshall would want a bigger role than 3rd or 4th option, so he wouldn't be a good fit either. The Lakers need a power foward who has played in the West before and can bang bodies. Rodney Rogers has played in the West for most of his career, but is more of an outside player, so he wouldn't fit in well. Darvin Ham is a good defender, but is lacking good offensive ability. This leaves Gary Trent. He has played in the West before, for the Mavs, and also the Timberwolves. He scored 16ppg a few seasons ago for the Mavs, but hasn't gotten consistent playing time since then. He played very well for the Timberwolves last year in both scoring and rebounding. He would be the perfect fit for the Lakers and there is no reason why they shouldn't go after him, except of course, if they spend to much money on re-signing George.

At point guard, the Lakers will definitely start Derek Fisher. Therefore, they need a back-up point guard with experience that can shoot and pass the ball. Brian Shaw can play point guard, but he is more of a 3rd string point guard, because his true position is shooting guard. Some possibilties at point guard are: Erick Strickland, Rafer Alston, Troy Hudson, and Damon Jones. The best fit out of all of those players would be Troy Hudson. He had an outstanding season with the Magic last year, averaging 12 ppg and 3 apg backing up Darrell Armstrong. Hudson started off his career with LA, playing for the Clippers, so he would be comfortable in Los Angeles.

The only position that I have yet to discuss is the center position. Big name free agent centers are : Keon Clark, Jerome James, Rasho Nesterovic, Raef LaFrentz, and Michael Olowakandi. All of these guys would cost big bucks and are more of a starting center type. Other free agent centers include Mark Blount, Michael Doleac, and Loren Woods. Woods is too skinny to effectively play the center position for LA, Doleac is more of an outside player and Blount isn't familiar with the Western Conference. So, who could the Lakers have at back-up center? I think that I know the answer. In fact, he is right under their nose, he is...Samaki Walker. He is already with the Lakers and played better backing up Shaq, than he did starting at power forward. The West isn't nearly as stacked at center as it is at power forward, so it would be easier for Samaki to fit in. Also, Slava Medvedenko has looked promising in a few games this season, he is a bit clumsy, but that can be fixed with a little more experience. If the Lakers can re-sign him to a two or three year contract, it would greatly benefit them down the line.

If the Lakers can make atleast 3 or 4 of these moves, they should be able to stake their claim as only the second team ever to win 4 or more consecutive NBA Titles.
 

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Good Job :)

But here are a few things:

For PF you forgot to mention Popeye Jones...he would be a good fit since the Lakers dont need his scoring very much. Trent would also be a good fit as you mentioned.

For SG-You did a good job of breaking it down.

For SF-I think you made it clear that you would like them to re-sign George,but I don't think that they will offer him enough money.

For C-you could have mentioned Slava as a possibility.

But again, good job :)
 

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Jersey Girl
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Re: Article: Who will the Lakers go after in the FA market

Originally posted by The X Factor
Well, The Lakers need youth at small forward, Devean George gives youth and production, if the Lakers can promise him a starting role, he should undoubtedly be re-signed.
just wanna throw in my 2 cents ---> devean george has stated his interest in playing for the nets...

but other than that, good job!
 

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A!
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An OK article. You could do a little more to get the reader engaged, IMO.....
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #5
Originally posted by KC
An OK article. You could do a little more to get the reader engaged, IMO.....
I'm glad that the best writer on the whole site thinks that my article is "ok".:rolleyes: J/K
 

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A!
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Originally posted by The X Factor


I'm glad that the best writer on the whole site thinks that my article is "ok".:rolleyes: J/K
Well, actually my article has garnered the most praise out of anyone's on the site....
 

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Nice article, its informative and serves a purpose(unlike some of those other editorials) because it talks about what the Lakers might be thinking of doing during the offseason.
 

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Originally posted by KC


Well, actually my article has garnered the most praise out of anyone's on the site....

whoo hoo! do you want a cookie or something? j/k but yeah i think it is because you complained about the refs and thats waht everybody wants to hear right now becasue they just cant imagine that the better team one
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #11
Originally posted by hOnDo



whoo hoo! do you want a cookie or something? j/k but yeah i think it is because you complained about the refs and thats waht everybody wants to hear right now becasue they just cant imagine that the better team one
Exactly, you can't judge an article by the amount of replys. Just the same as you can't judge a poster by his number of posts.
 

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A!
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No, I judge it by WHO replies. I respect the people who have given my article praise, including Bizzy and TheRifleman. One of my friends who is a die-hard Lakers fan said it was great..... Obviously, you guys hate it. However, I have gotten other Lakers fans to admit that is really good.

You can say that people are just mad, but my article has garnered praise from others involved with journalism as well.... I can just as easily say, "You guys don't like it because it is a Kings article".
 

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I am gonna ask all of you to bring it back to topic. If someone doesn't like the contents of the article, please stick to critiquing the contents and not the author.
 

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Originally posted by DP
I am gonna ask all of you to bring it back to topic. If someone doesn't like the contents of the article, please stick to critiquing the contents and not the author.
Thank you.... Like I said, X, if you could add an attention getter at the beginning, it would improve your article.
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I'll change the article later.
 

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The Lakers will go after Popeye Jones!!!
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #17
They don't need to, but they might. They can get a better back-up center in S. Walker. Jones is a PF, he doesn't even play center, same with Oakley. If they can somehow sign Gary Trent, they will have a great front-court:yes:
 

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I seriously don't see how the Lakers can sign Popeye Jones or Gary Trent. If someone has a scenario, please explain it to me.

A trade that might make sense is sending Tracy Murray and Samaki Walker to the Warriors for Danny Fortsen. GS desperately wants to dump Fortson's salary and they have already said they are moving Antawn Jamison to power forward. Plus, Murray and Walker are both free agents so GS would be dumping a big salary for 2 salaries that fall off the books next season.
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #19
I wrote that article before George was signed for big bucks.
 

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Beware of Elbows
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Discussion Starter #20
I changed the article a little guys. Tell me what you think of it now.
 
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