The Lakers don't do 1-4


The Lakers don't do 1-4

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If you think about it, Kobe Bryant went easy on Mike Brown when he gave him the shark-eye Wednesday night. He could have just turned him into a pillar of salt.And even if you dont factor in the heart disease that comes with that much salt, thats still way worse than merely being fired.Brown got his after the Lakers became the first team since . . . uhh, last year, and every year before that since the earth cooled . . . to start a season 1-4. He got it for not having the kind of throw-weight to keep the players attention, and if the blame for his dismissal falls on Bryant, well, there wont be that much blame. You go 1-4 with the Lakers, youre lucky not to be tied the front of a Lamborghini Murcielago and rammed into a wall.But that was the job Brown took, and he knew it when he took it. He had to take a rapidly aging roster, convince it to run a new offense, lose his point guard, and still make it work. That, and a billion dollars, makes you a billionaire.He isnt the first one to fail to do an undoable job. That he is a convenient scapegoat is frankly what he signed up for, though, so sympathy for him and his plight is what we in the medical community call misplaced.The next poor hyena to take the job . . . er, Nate McMillan . . . will learn this as well. The Lakers could throw Steve Nash and Dwight Howard into the side, but it was going to take for them to absorb each others styles, let alone a whole new offense. Whatever Brown could have done in place of the Princeton sets was going to suffer just as much, just because Nash plays differently than Bryant plays differently than Howard. The math is inescapable, the interpersonal relations soluble only with time. Lots more time than the Lakers gave this little experiment.So the future? Theyll be fine. They were going to be fine with Brown, but patience is what happens to other people in other cities. In the perfect world, Jerry Buss would rise from whatever poker table he is wedged into a hire Stan Van Gundy . . . you know, just to see if Howard has the same death-stare powers that Bryant does.But that wont happen, because the Lakers do not have a sense of humor, and never have. Here, they could learn a thing or six from the Warriors, where hilarity ensues after practice, and where every ankle is made of corn chips. The Warriors are, frankly, funny as hell.The Lakers? Not so much. They dont do 1-4, so they do coaches. Mike Brown took the job knowing exactly what it was. Thatll teach him. But it could have been worse.It could been much higher in sodium content.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Kerr upset by 'cowards' reference: Put name on it, or don't say it

Kerr upset by 'cowards' reference: Put name on it, or don't say it

OAKLAND – A few short hours after Klay Thompson expressed indignation with an unnamed team source quoted referring to the Warriors as “cowards,” his coach stood firmly behind the All-Star shooting guard.

Steve Kerr, in his news conference prior to the Warriors-Trail Blazers game Friday night, said he, too, was not happy to see such a quote attributed to an unnamed team official in an ESPN The Magazine story portraying All-Star forward Draymond Green as someone whose firebrand ways grate on coaches and teammates.

“I talked to Draymond about it; I haven’t talked to the team about it,” Kerr said. “It upset me, too.

[POOLE: Klay 'pissed' that 'cowards' quote about Warriors went unnamed]

“I don’t know who said that. I’d guarantee it wasn’t any of our coaching staff. I would be shocked if it was anybody in basketball management. We don’t do that. Nobody ever said that to me, not even to the press. But nobody ever said that to me, like, ‘those guys played like cowards.’ So I have no idea where that came from.”

Thompson on Friday morning made it clear that he was less bothered by the content of the story than by the idea that someone within the organization, in describing the Warriors’ performance in losing Game 5 of the NBA Finals – with Green grounded by suspension – would refer to the team with such an unflattering term.

Though not as animated as Thompson was, Kerr clearly is concerned with the long-term ramifications of such a comment.

“It’s upsetting because you want to keep things in-house,” he said. “If somebody wants to say something, then they should put their name on it. If you don’t feel like you can put your name on it, you shouldn’t say it.”

Kerr paused ever so briefly before noting how media operates in the second decade of the new millennium.

“But on the other hand I also know how it works these days,” he said. “What is ‘an unnamed source?’ Who are ‘sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking?’ It’s gotten harder and harder to control stuff, to keep things in-house these days because what used to be a credible source is now . . . the standards are a little bit lower . . . I just know that sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking is an extremely vague phrase and who knows who that might be?”

Will it work? A look at some NBA free agent deals of note

Will it work? A look at some NBA free agent deals of note

MIAMI -- Out of the nearly $4 billion worth of new contracts that were signed this offseason, some of them seem fairly certain to benefit the team that's laying out the money.

Kevin Durant, he makes Golden State even better.

LeBron James, he's worth every penny to Cleveland.

Not every deal is a lock to work, and here's a look at 10 contracts that were executed in recent months where it could be argued there's a fair amount of risk involved.



Left: Atlanta

Signed with: Boston, 4 years, $113 million

Horford has never averaged 20 points, but he'll now average more than $26 million in salary. The Celtics have raved about this move since they got it done this summer, and Horford knows that with this kind of salary comes enormous responsibility - especially in Boston, where fans are starved for a return to the NBA's elite level.

Outlook: It only works if Horford delivers a title.



Stayed with Miami, 4 years, $98 million

He made $980,000 last season and is now assured of making 100 times that much over the next four years. The question with Whiteside throughout the will-they-or-won't-they decision process in Miami was whether he could be trusted with that kind of money. The Heat not only believe it, but ultimately they wound up needing Whiteside because of the Chris Bosh saga.

Outlook: He has a skillset like few others in the game, and $98 million was what the market bore.



Left: Golden State

Signed with: Dallas, 4 years, $94 million

Dallas missed on a number of big free-agent targets in recent years, then wound up taking Barnes this summer. There was no room left for Barnes in Golden State, and he parlayed passing on a $64 million deal in 2015 into one worth much more now. It's still Dirk Nowitzki's team and will stay that way, but Barnes will have to play at a very high level to make this seem like a win.

Outlook: He struggled in the preseason, and the money will bring big pressure. He will have show he can handle that pressure.



Left: Chicago

Signed with: New York, 4 years, $73 million

He played in only 29 games last season, had no rhythm on the floor and couldn't shoot. A change of scenery might help, but he turns 32 in February. His best game last season was 21 points and 10 rebounds - against the Knicks, which explain why they came running with checkbook wide open.

Outlook: The Knicks aren't worried about the money. They need to worry about his durability.



Left: Miami

Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers, 4 years, $72 million

When Deng came to Miami two years ago there were questions about how much more he had left in the tank. But Deng had consecutive good seasons with the Heat, and even flourished when he got moved to power forward last February when Miami lost Chris Bosh again. He can still play, and more importantly to the Lakers, he can lead.

Outlook: A young core can learn plenty from Deng, which makes that deal money well spent.



Left: Toronto

Signed with: Orlando, 4 years, $72 million

He's coming off a career year, so that's good. Alas, that career year was him scoring 5.5 points per game. He doesn't have an outside game, isn't good from the foul line and isn't exactly a dominating shot-blocker. But he can rebound, and his big games in last season's playoffs - eight double-digit board games, including a 26-rebound night against Cleveland in the East finals - revealed all his potential.

Outlook: Orlando had the money, and knows it wasn't getting a 20-10 guy. But he'll need to do more to make it all worthwhile.



Left: Houston

Signed with: Atlanta, 3 years, $70.5 million

Howard essentially replaces Al Horford and gets to go home to Atlanta. The Hawks are good but not great, and really, the same can be said about Howard now. A look at the scoring numbers - 13.7 points per game last season - suggests a decline, but that was moreso based on him taking fewer shots than at any point in the last decade.

Outlook: Losing Horford meant Atlanta had to do something, and playing in his hometown could invigorate the sometimes-enigmatic Howard.



Left: Miami

Signed with: Chicago, 2 years, $47 million

Wade cherished Miami and Miami cherished Wade. But years and years of little problems eventually turned into a mess that couldn't be solved, and Wade went to his hometown in one of the more surprising moves of the summer. He turns 35 this season and has been hearing the he's-in-decline argument for years. But he keeps silencing doubters, and has plenty of motivation.

Outlook: His jersey will sell, he'll excite the Chicago fan base and he'll probably coax more out of Jimmy Butler. Hall of Famers are worth the cash.



Left: Chicago

Signed with: San Antonio, 2 years, $32 million

The Spurs love international players, love players who can do multiple things well and love players who understand that a perfect pass means more than any highlight. It's almost like Gasol is a perfect fit, especially now that San Antonio has lost the retired Tim Duncan. (And at 36, he makes the Spurs younger.) Gasol is still a double-double machine and fantastic from the foul line.

Outlook: There's 50 or so players making more than Gasol this season. There aren't 50 better players. Spurs got a steal.



Left: Los Angeles Lakers

Signed with: Charlotte, 1 year, $5 million

Hibbert's game vanished last season, and there were 27 games in which he had at least as many fouls as he did points. But the Hornets realized they needed some help up front, and at 7-foot-2 Hibbert at least provides an imposing frame. Being on a third team in as many seasons isn't ideal, but here's why this one might work - Charlotte's associate head coach under Steve Clifford is a Georgetown guy like Hibbert, named Patrick Ewing.

Outlook: Ewing gets a project, one that comes a low financial risk for Michael Jordan's club.