Posted Aug 5 2010 9:08PM
• The Lakers have no plans to make a trade to cut payroll, owner Jerry Buss said during an offseason in which the defending champions continued to spend despite a perception this would be a belt-tightening summer. "If something came up where we could get something for the future, then we might entertain a trade," Buss said. "But outside of that, I think we're pretty well fixed." Big exhale, Lamar Odom. The Lakers have given new deals to keep Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown while adding Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff as free agents, all some seven months after inking Pau Gasol to a three-year extension potentially worth $57 million, though it undoubtedly will turn out to be less in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
• By the way, Buss said of the perception that the Lakers would be cutting costs, "I don't know where that came from really. We didn't ever have a meeting and say, 'OK, let's slash payroll.' We sat down and said, 'How can we improve this team?' And basically we came up with Blake and Barnes. We were really exceptionally happy and thrilled to get both of them at a decent price." It came from Jackson conceding he would be expected to take a significant pay cut to stay despite historic success and it came from Buss admitting he was uncomfortable with the luxury tax the Lakers would be paying last season
•Give the guy credit. He pushes his basketball bosses to be aggressive and holds himself to the same standards. The Lakers have made Buss ridiculous money through the years and no one would have thought any worse of him if the extent of the offseason was to retain Jackson and Fisher. But he keeps re-investing as far as the salary cap would allow.
• Hedo Turkoglu is quality people and speaks from a veteran's platform, but there might not be anyone in the league right now who needs to be quiet more and just play. His rip job on the Raptors in support of Chris Bosh ,while admirable backing of a former teammate to FoxSportsArizona.com, is nothing short of an eye-rolling statement given Turkoglu's disastrous one season there. He should leave quietly and consider himself as fortunate as the people of Toronto do that the relationship is over.
• The reader responseto the great debate, via e-mail and Twitter, is that the Cavaliers should one day retire No. 23 to honor LeBron James, in spite of it all. It's a little surprising at a tender time so soon after the classless departure that sparked an anti-James wave, but the practical view is that the seven seasons of that kind of success would be too much to overlook. It also proves we're not being read in Cleveland.
• Didn't think Shaquille O'Neal had it in him. Overly sensitive to a point that cannot be overstated, taking a deal at the minimum is swallowing very, very hard and a public reprimand he would have preferred to avoid. It was easy to see him sitting out the start of the season and waiting for a center get hurt and some club have to come calling. Shaq as the Cavalry -- he would have liked that image a lot. Plus, he had long said he wouldn't finish his career as a journeyman, bouncing around just to hang on to a career that refuses to leave at the end of the night, and the Celtics will make four teams in the last three seasons.
• It's a sound move for Boston, though, despite the surprising number of doubters. Doc Rivers and a veteran locker room can handle high maintenance. The financial risk is small, especially weighed against the possible large financial gains of the playoffs. If he becomes too much trouble, cut him. It was August and the Celtics needed a center. They got one for the fewest dollars possible, a player with championship experience who put up decent numbers last season while starting 53 times for a 61-win team. Bill Russell wasn't coming through that door, either.
• Not to disagree with The Franchise, because this is a pretty good gig and it'd be nice to stick around, but it's tough to see how David Aldridge have the Bucks at No. 7 in his rankings of the best offseasons. Signing Drew Gooden for five years and $32 million and trading for Corey Maggette and the final three years and $31 million will make Milwaukee a little better but also takes away what would have been enviable cap flexibility. The Deer had Dan Gadzuric as an expiring-contract trade chip and turned it into Maggette and his terrible contract. At least they'll still have injured Michael Redd coming off after another season and the chance that insurance will cover a portion of the $18.3 million on the books for 2010-11.
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