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NBA Chat with Cody Taylor 12/30/16


Cody_Taylor_ChatBasketball Insiders writer Cody Taylor will hold his weekly chat at 1 p.m. EST on Friday. Leave him your questions on the latest rumors, this season’s storylines or anything else about your favorite team.

  1. Rick in Seattle

    A recent headline states “Former Laker Brandon Bass dunked all over new Laker Timofey Mozgov.”

    While a decent journeyman, Bass is no all-star by any calculation! So Lakers fans should be asking, when are the Lakers’ apologists going to publicly accept the fact that Mozgov is an extremely limited (and grossly overpaid) journeyman (who was fortunately & surprisingly) given an absurd 4-yr contract by the Lakers Front office.

    This same front office could easily have resigned their former player Bass at 1/3 the cost, instead of allowing him to go to the Clippers. What are they thinking?

    When you combine the questionable decisions to acquire both Deng and Mozgov its doubly troubling. With these two decisions, their future salary cap space will be severely impacted for the next 4 years.

    These were incredible mistakes by their FO. They put a dark cloud on the many good decisions Kupchak has made for their organization over the years.

    Why aren’t more writers and Lakers’ fans acknowledging this poor decision making? I’m sure we will see some writer flowingly argue about how well these two are ‘improving’ their game and adapting to the new coaching staff. Malarky. The only real comparison is to look at their stats. Mozgov is a poor rim protector–similar to Hibbert–and that was supposed to be his primary function. Occasionally, he is scoring points, but offense is not the major problem for this young Lakers team. Their weakness is their Defense! Neither Deng nor Mozgov are huge defensive assets–particularly not at their age and salary levels. You can find younger vets with similar contributions at half the cost.

    And how is this organization planning to get out from under these two albatross contracts?

    I’m shocked and amazed that so little is being written and said about this!

    • Cody Taylor

      Welcome in, everyone! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Let’s get right to the questions!

      It sounds like you may be missing the big picture here. This isn’t about Deng, Mozgov or even Lou Williams. It’s about the young core they are assembling. Those guys need to develop for the Lakers to go anywhere. Luke Walton has said many times that he’s not overly concerned with wins and losses this season. It’s about these guys understanding the big picture and buying into the process.

      Deng and Mozgov were brought in to give the team a veteran presence and if they can help the team win a few games then great. I don’t agree with your assessment that their signings put a dark cloud over the front office. The reality is they had to overpay for these players to come to a rebuild when they likely could have easily signed with a contender.

  2. Rick in Seattle

    Cody,

    With Walton repeatedly stating that their win-loss record is not on the line this season, is there a chance that the Lakers may just find themselves back in a bottom-3 situation, in order to acquire one more quality draft pick? I disagree with tanking but with a young team, this has to be considered an option, right>

    Could this realistically be a goal, particularly after the February trading deadline?

    Before then, perhaps their front office can further tweek that roster in order to keep fan interest, and actually get them closer to the playoff picture.

    Looking at available veterans like Motejunas seems to indicate that there is still some possible roster tweeks a’coming.

    But, should no trade activity take place, as good as their young core is, it is not so set as to preclude further additions.

    Where do you see their rebuild efforts–adding more veterans or the draft?

    • Cody Taylor

      Well, there is a chance (and a good chance at that) the Lakers lose their draft pick this year. They currently owe their first-round pick to the 76ers but it is protected for selections 1-3. I don’t think tanking is in their thought process at this point but it’s something that could just naturally happen given the team’s young core. I think it’s still going to be a few years away before they’re really back in the mix and think they may just have to stick to the course at this point.

  3. Aristotle

    Heya Cody,

    I believe Hassan’s getting a bit hard done by at the moment, even though I do believe he should be producing better. I understand his frustration and lack of touch comment, when you have him and 3 more players that need developing in Justise, Tyler, and Josh. I believe that until Winslow is given a position, it will keep messing up the team, and Whiteside won’t know whether he has him as a PF or SF or SG.
    I also don’t think that Dragic is going to be the PG to P&R with Hassan, so as much as I love Goran, he needs to be traded, with Hassan being seen as the key cog to build around. It’s why he got paid.
    Love to hear your opinion.
    Cheers!

    • Cody Taylor

      I think it’s a real possibility we see a Dragic trade happen. That isn’t anything I’ve heard, it’s just a feeling I have if the right deal comes their way. I think the idea of clearing his contract off the books is something that is enticing to the front office. It also has to do with where they are in the standings right now too. They’re 6.5 games back now and appear to be fading so why keep Dragic around if they won’t be around in the playoff picture. Get some guys in there that fit well with Whiteside, Winslow and TJ and start the rebuild up!

  4. Kavon Willingham

    Cody, Do you think that the Orlando Magic will be trying to move Elfrid Payton at the trade deadline?

    • Cody Taylor

      I don’t necessarily think they’re actively trying to move him. I think too much was made about the comments made by Brian Windhorst that they’re done with him. I think if someone comes with a huge offer the Magic can’t refuse they probably take a look at it but the odds of that happening seem low so I’d bet they hold on to him. They value him a lot and seem content with him as part of their future.

  5. George

    Hey Cody:

    My Sacramento Kings…what to do? You’re the GM (and lets assume that you have a competent owner, just for kicks), what would you do? Ride it out? Blow it up? Something in the middle?

    • Cody Taylor

      The Kings are a tough read. You basically have to decide if DeMarcus Cousins is your future. After that, given all of the problems they’ve had I’m not sure there is an easy fix for them. It looks as though they’re going to be battling for that 8th playoff spot in the West, which is basically going to guarantee whatever team that is will be swept by the Warriors in the first round.

      The saying goes that the worst place to be in the league is in the middle so something has to happen. Honestly, if I’m the Kings I probably look at trading Cousins. The problem is trying to sell that to your fans and whatever you get in return won’t be equal value to what kind of player Cousins is but I think they need a new start. Get some picks and blow it up.

  6. Rick in Seattle

    Cody,

    Watching the Lakers lose to Dallas last night was a real downer! The last two home games against Utah & Dallas were both winnable.

    It’s beginning to appear that the struggling young core of the Lakers needs a lift of some kind. There is something missing. Something not connecting!

    While Walton has repeatedly stated that this season is not about wins, its becoming apparent that this team is not close to being a contending team.

    While the rebuilding process over last couple years has been frustrating in itself, there were reasonable expectations for this season. While yes, they do have a new coaching staff, yes it takes time to get everyone on board, perhaps our expectations were unduly raised with their 10-10 start.

    But the way this team is playing right now is not acceptable. Where is the defensive improvement that Walton emphasized during training camp?

    This is a shell of a team going thru the motions. I am totally disgusted with what we are seeing on the court. The Mav’s game was pathetic!

    If Kupchak is not becoming concerned–he should be. Perhaps it time to move a few players. No one should feel he is guaranteed a spot on this team! They haven’t proven anything yet.

    I say bring in Motiejunas, also a defensive wing player!

    What can it hurt? It can’t be worse than how they’re playing right now!

    • Cody Taylor

      But this is what we’ve seen over the years with a young group of guys. They have to be on the floor in those situations in order to know how to win. They have to experience those things to get to where they want to be. I understand it’s hard for fans to see the team lose but if you are going to rebuild you have to stay committed to it and not bail midway through it like a certain team I see in Orlando. Kevin Durant has even talked about this in the past that he remembers when Carmelo hit a game-winner on him. It’s these things players have to go through. It’s part of the process. Things won’t happen overnight.

      Take a breath, sit back and enjoy it. It may seem hard but it’s the reality of the Lakers right now. I had fun watching that game last night. It’s fun to see those young guys on the court together. I think their core is looking strong and appear to be on the right track. It’s going to get better, Rick!

  7. Cody Taylor

    That’s my time for this week. I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe New Year! I need everyone back next week for my next chat of the new year!