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Lakers Doing the Math

July 1, 2012

JBMKlal

If we are to believe Jim Buss on the Land O Lakers interview with the Kamenetzky brothers, these 3 personalities above are the triumvirate of Lakers operations.

Shaking off the rust from a 3-month layoff from pleasure writing, I now come back to feature the follow through of the prediction I made from my last post. Back then we didn’t know what July 1st brings, or what the Sessions and Hill acquisitions brought to the team. Most importantly, back then we didn’t know how well (or not) we would do in the post-season.

First off, let me echo my thoughts on what an excellent job the Front Office has done with regards to team direction. I’m sure many posters that just want their spoiled luxuries fulfilled would say otherwise. But taking it from the perspective of business and basketball, or should I say the business that comes from basketball, here’s why:

1. Savings.

The 2 deals (with Cleveland and Houston) on the last trading deadline enabled the Lakers to slash 2013 payroll by nearly 10 million in payroll, 20 million in total dollars.

Well considering the guys you’ve traded out is either 37 years old or only half healthy, thats 20 million of real world savings. Assuming we do end up losing both guys we acquired in the deal (Sessions and Hill) then we can walk away with knowing we did shave that much from the payroll, where there contributions would be equivalent to that of 2nd round picks and veterans minimum pickups.

2. Talent Upgrade

Should I say HUGE talent upgrade. From the perspective of talent, where most fans (and not businessmen) focus on, the Lakers got themselves 2 spring chickens that are raring to prove themselves. And despite the disappointment that every Laker fan felt at the end of the season, I for one feel very optimistic about our chances of retaining them and felt we did “the best we could” with regards to what our assets were supposed to fetch.

3. A future.

Well, that depends now on whether we are able to retain the services of both Hill and Sessions (on reasonable prices) with regards to the overall scheme of things. With this one, at the onset of July 1st, I write about the possibilities in which these 2, among others, are going to be retained, let go or otherwise.

Now onto the real power. This is where not only Mitch or Jerry or Jim controls the fate of the Lakers. His name is math.

Let me take you back some 7 months before the season began. The Lockout was finally over and the team executives can once more buy new Ermenegildo Zegna pinstripe suits paired with IWC Da Vincis. When mommy and daddy finally decided to meet halfway to get the proverbial ball rolling, one team stood out in the crowd and once more reminded the whole world who owns Showtime.

The Los Angeles Lakers had acquired the league’s best point guard! Thats right, CP3 is coming to town baby.

(Insert screeching sound here) Or Not. Before you can say the words “OMG” David Stern gets the best block of the season. Better than any Lebron James chasedown or a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag, David Stern, with the help of two the funniest-looking owners in pro sports, zapped his mighty thunderbolt all the way from Mount Olympus onto the Lakers.

One week later, CP3 was a Clipper. But thats not really the point.

If you base it on the NBA’s most famous letter written in Comic Sans, you get the idea. If you examine it closely, it wasn’t as much as the Lakers getting the best PG in the game as it was the MATH involved in the process.

Read the letter once more:

Commissioner,

It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

Please advise….

Dan G.

You heard it right, the little man is complaining about the Lakers not only getting the best player in the deal but “saved over $40 million the process” …

And that’s the same theme we saw with each of the Laker deals we did during the deadline, and its safe to assume it will be the same premise we will be operating for future deals.

You see, running a successful franchise is not all about getting lucky with players, sucking so bad so you can stockpile Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook all in 1 team… but its also something to do with being a smart businessman like Mickey Arison that brought the Heat to the 2012 championship. That said, Pat Riley and Mickey Arison employed Mr. Math 1st and got his reward. Now Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and Jerry Buss are doing the same… and while the reward may not come or result in a 2013 championship just yet, you can be assured it will.

When 2014 comes around, between now and that time the Lakers will have employed no one, will own an estimated 60M in cap space, possibly less what a projected Kobe Bryant extension will look like. You heard it here 1st.

I hope you saw it from this light.

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One Comment
  1. Great post Warren, glad to see you back in action. I just hate how other teams would complain about losing money from the Lakers. I don’t think that the Lakers should have to support other teams in the league.

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