Lakers News: Kenny Smith Defends Lakers Front Office Moves

Lakers News: Kenny Smith Defends Lakers Front Office Moves


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Going into an extremely important off-season, the Lakers front office has been challenged by Kobe Bryant to make some immediate changes. While General Manager Mitch Kupchak continues to stress patience in the rebuild, there are some who wonder if the Lakers can make the necessary moves to improve the team.

With the recent acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash not bringing the expected results, Kupchak and Jim Buss have been under fire from the media and fans.

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One person who doesn’t agree with the criticisms is Kenny Smith of TNT’s ‘Inside The NBA.’ Smith appeared on ESPN LA 710 and defended the Lakers front office for the moves they have made:

Honestly, I don’t think the Lakers made bad moves in the last couple of years […] you trade for Dwight Howard, the best center in the league arguably at that time [and] it just doesn’t work out […] And Mike D’Antoni was probably the second best coach available other than Phil Jackson, so I don’t think they made bad moves, I just don’t think they worked out the way they wanted them to.

Smith makes very good points about the Lakers making trades that seemed like excellent deals at the time.

The Howard trade, coupled with the trade for Steve Nash, who was considered one of the league’s top point guards, was expected to bring another championship to Los Angeles. However, the team never gelled and Nash hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

Some moves just don’t work out the way they were expected to, but the Lakers have always been able to make some excellent trades to get back in title contention.

There is no reason to believe that won’t be the case again this time.

Kobe Bryant On Change THIS Summer, Jim and Jeanie Buss, Coaching Staff

  • Terrence

    Flat out wrong Kenny Smith….the only move that was correct of the three listed in this article was picking up D12. Steve Nash is old, plays no defense, and cannot keep up with any of the point guards currently in the league (HORRIBLE trade). Mike No-D-‘Antoni lives up to his name by defense not being anywhere near his coaching DNA and his “system” and staff seem to have the majority of the players injured (not sure if that’s directly MDA’s fault but the trainers/play style have to be a casual cause).

    • Jeren

      The majority of Laker fans were doing cartwheels after the Nash trade. Everyone forgets he averaged 11+ assists and played 60+ games the year before with Phoenix. Most of those 20games he sat out were the 2nd of back to backs and not necessarily injuries. It was a solid trade at that time. Many fans piling on saying it was a bad trade were praising it then saying whatever defensive liability he presents, Dwight in the middle will make up for it. Getting Nash was a good rebound after the CP3 veto. It just didn’t work out which happens in life.

      • wahtthefun

        What part do not you understand. Old, no defense, cannot keep up with the other 29 point guard. Fans are not expert.
        Lakers got Nash to sell tickets. Also, to expand the Lakers Business into Commonwealth Nation, like UK, Australia, Canada.
        Nash was born in South Africa and attended hi school in Canada.
        In Canada they revere Nash like the “second coming”.

        • Troy

          Sorry, but Jeren is right. The moment they got Nash, if you were listening to Talk Radio in LA and going on sites like this one, I’d say 98% of Laker fans were already making parade plans. And those praising that trade weren’t just the “expert” fans, but pretty much every analyst on ESPN and other Sports sites and publications. It’s disingenous now for many fans who were onboard that trade to now all of a sudden have revisionist history and go “THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE SIGNED HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE, HE’S OLD etc etc”
          Also, everyone knew then that Nash can’t play D, but with Dwight Howard there, many thought that would cover up and defensive flaws the other guys on the floor with him has.

          • whathefan

            Eggs on all the faces. I was not. But, I agree, those fans that stood by him. Need to stand by him now as well.

            I appreciate you expressing the point so eloquently. Thanks.

        • Eli

          That’s a reach. Lakers traded for Nash to sell tickets?!?

          • Ken

            I know right? As if the Lakers aren’t quite worldwide enough that they haven’t penetrated Canada, UK, and Aus.

          • whathefun

            I travel to Canada. They have not penetrated Canada. They do not even know what the Raptors is. But, they do know who Nash is.

          • celeryman

            I live in Canada (Toronto) and I’m a life long Lakers fan. I can tell you that whenever the Lakers are in town, the games are sold out and the majority of the arena is wearing purple and gold. Kobe is far more popular than Steve Nash up here. Also, the Raptors are 12th in the league in attendance this season. You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about.

          • whathefun

            Perhaps,I travel West Coast Canada. Being in Toronto, I hope they know who the Raptors are.

            It is too bad for the Lakers, that your management was smart to know pick up on Nash, and traded Gay.

            Enjoy. By the way, If you are a Raptors fans in Toronto, what are you trolling on the Lakers webpage. Do they have the Raptors page.

        • hookedonnews

          They got Nash because he was the league leader in total assists and an All-Star in 2012 not to sell tickets. When you have Kobe, you don’t need someone else to sell tickets.

      • Daryl Peek

        Nash didn’t sit 20 games out in 11-12. That was the strike shortened season and there were only 66 games played by all teams that year. Nash only sat 4 games. Nash had been more durable than Kobe from 2000-2012. Not one season where he missed more than seven games due to injury over that span. Kobe sat 8 games at the end of 11-12.

    • whatthefun

      Right on bratha! Prech it and say it again!

    • DJ

      If Nash was healthy we be having a different discussion, not a horrible trade he got hurt, period. Second, defense is played by effort and communication, you practice defense all you want if you don’t have those two elements, your losing bro, and the “system” isn’t hurting players, the GSW play the same system as do the cavs, mavs, wizards, nets, knicks, wolves, blazers…

      • DrM

        Disagree, some players are better defender. Melo is a better scorer than LBJ, because he is a poor at one one defense, he is not considered as good. Defense, just like scoring, assists, rebounds, is the most important component for guys like Pop and the late Chuck Daly. Is a separate skill set outside of team defense.

        • DJ

          I can’t argue with your point, though you do agree that having a defense “philosophy” such as the late great CD and the best HC today in POP, compared to MDA not having a philosophy at all…. scoring, asst…are totally different than rebounding and playing defense… Rodman the best to do both, was skilled..yet effort is the main component when playing defense… you hear it all the time in post game interviews “defense is all about effort and communication”… ALL NBA players can score or they wouldn’t be in the NBA, some if not most are in the NBA because of effort on Defense..

          • DrM

            Yes, philosophy is tantamount. But, you need the players to execute.

            If Chuck Daly did not have Mahorn, Sally, and Rodman, and Lambeer, he would not be considered the father of the Bad Boys and the best defensive coach ever possibly. Philosophy plus the right players.

            And, by the way, Jackson is always baskin in the Sun for all the credits. Late Sir Daly, with all due respect, would have offered another version of the story. Jackson borrowed a lot of the defensive scheme from Chuck and added some “triangle”. Chuck was already doing some triangle with with Dumar, Thomas and Lambeer. Lambeer used to stand at the top of the Key as one of the triangle. I could never understand that at the time, why is a center standing there. Tex Winter might have been the father of triangle offense, but, Chuk Daly was the first to really use it and win championships.

  • whatthefun

    Sounds like Kenny wants some ” milk bone” thrown his way from the Buss family.
    I agree on the DH part, but, getting an injured old Nash @ $ 10 million x 3 years was fantasy at best. Pure Fantasy.

  • Marty Susman

    OK, Nash was/is old & should be dumped, we owe him zero.
    Pau Gasol can head to the Nick’s, I am sure the Lakers would do a sign n trade to help him if it didn’t hurt us.
    Kaman also should be sent off, trade if it can be done. I would still like us to pick up Greg Monroe before the draft if possible.

    • whathefun

      Knicks are over the CAP, like way over.

    • hookedonnews

      Correction–we owe Nash $9.7 million.

      • DrM

        I did not realize you were paying him? Last time I checked the Buss pay the employees.

        We are the consumers of the Lakers product. We pay the Lakers, but, we do not owe Nash.

        • hookedonnews

          I’m pretty sure you knew that the “we” I was referring to was the Lakers. I think Marty knew what I meant. Let’s not try to make this more complicated than it is.

  • Shannon

    Kenny Smith runs his mouth a lot for someone who was a mediocre player at best.

    • DJ

      Mediocre player?!?… two time champion, 15 & 6 in the 80’s when you earned every point… avg 14 &5 in the playoffs.. stop being silly and emotional…lol

      • whathefun

        2 Ring, is not mediocre………basketball, is scoring, assist, rebounds, then, IQ, he has game IQ. Remember, the Rockets were underdog against the Magic and the Knicks. They won.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Kenny Smith is a cool dude and he just is saying what he thinks.My 2 cents Jim Buss tried like hell to be the top dog in the NBA with aggressive trades for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and they just didn’t pan out for different reasons.Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak those my guys.Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni was a gamble that didn’t pay off but it was two high profile names that just didn’t deliver.Jim will make a aggressive move or two this time it will pay off for the Lakers.WATCH OUT

    • whathefun

      I will give credit to Jim for that. Yes Sir. It did not work out, Jim reached out to the wrong coach.

      • Chrmngblly

        The 2 big errors were not dumping Howard when everyone could see it wasn’t going to work at the trade deadline and not structuring Nash’s contract to protect the team. The FO has to play defense, too.

        To be honest, I guess you have to throw at least 2 or maybe 3 coaching hires onto that pile of “whoopsies”, if top management wants to be truly honest.

        • whathefun

          The Lakers were arrogant. They have never had a big time player walked out on them. But, the reality is, If I am DH, I would not have stayed with the Lakers. DH has 3 or 4 years left. He was not going to wait around for the rebuilding process. You have to understand, these are professional players, regardless of what we think, they understand the dynamic (they have played in high school, college, and at the pro level, we are back seat drivers, at least I am, I am not a pro b ball player). Nash going around telling people that DH was not going to work with the Lakers is pure joke. What DH probably knew that Nash was not going to work for this team or playing with him. But, how could he come out and say it.

          Howard is prime, both, Nash and Kobe are past prime and no longer franchise players (Nash never was a franchise players like Melo, Lebron, Kobe, Durant).

          And that’s the way ball bounce.

          Good Day.

          • Daryl Peek

            That’s like saying Kareem was garbage in the mid to late 80’s and younger players like Magic, Worthy and B. Scott should have moved on. Look at Brooklyn? KG and Paul P. are well past their primes playing with D. Williams yet since they’ve lost the much younger Brook Lopez, and went to a small ball line up with Pierce as a stretch 4, they are one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the turn of the new year. 10-21, last place in the sorry east was their record before the much older small ball change. 34-10 is what they’ve done since, and are now challenging for the third seed.

            Howard made his choice and that’s fine. The reasons you say it didn’t work are wrong as personality conflict with Kobe (Amnesty request) was the main issue and injuries were a big factor from the jump. Howard was never comfortable as a Laker, that’s all.

          • whathefun

            Magic was core. He did not need others, they needed him to look good.

            When Magic retired the first time, that core was still prime and they all looked so average.

            Hard to compare this with Magic’s touch.

          • Daryl Peek

            Magic was the engine that made Showtime run but ask him and all of those Lakers they will tell you the Captain was the glue as a consistent low post presence on both sides of the ball. KAJ skills were in rapid decline in said time frame but he still commanded that half court attention the team needed to grind wins out.

            It’s not hard to compare at all.

          • whathefun

            Mid 80’s on, Kareem was no longer the best player, let alone center.

            There were younger guys, Ewing, Hakeem, M. Malone.

            Magic was the Man of the NBA from 1980 to 1991. Undisputed.

            Bird in 1987, of Magic, “the best ball player I have ever seen”.

            You are comparing the best player at the time to someone ready to pull out a beach chair.

            Very poor knowledge of basketball.

            Lakers lost in 83 84, it was due to old Kareem. Kareem was big for the 80 and 82.

            Then they won 3 more as Scott Worthy and AC green Develop.

            You are way way way off. Comparing late 80s Kareem to the best player in the World at the time.

            Almost like comparing Shaq’s last two seasons with LBJ.

            No more.

          • whathefun

            Kareem did have a great 85 finals that earned him MVP.

            Still those were Kareems last few years.

          • Daryl Peek

            “Lakers lost in 83 84, it was due to old Kareem.” ?!?

            You’re barking up the wrong tree mayne. Two words about the 83-84 Lakers loss, TRAGIC MAGIC. Magic sat in the Lakers locker room sulking over his choking away game seven of those finals.

            It’s not so much comparing KAJ to Magic. My point was how Magic and all of the other Showtime Lakers will tell you KAJ was the man who settled Showtime in the half court game both offensively and defensively.

            And the initial comparison was not Magic & KAJ. It was about Howard not wanting to play with older players, and How Magic should have bounced due to not wanting to play with older players. Again, look at Brooklyn.

            How did you get on Magic VS. KAJ?

          • whathefun

            Magic was irreplaceable on that team.

            Kareem was replaceable.

            In case you missed, Hakeem is considered to be the best center of all time. Russel of his era, 80s and 90s.

            Lakers would have still won with Hakeem including the 86 loss in the playoffs, 90 loss to the Suns and 91 loss to the Jordan. This was one of few mistake of the Lakers at the time, getting Divac over Hakeem when Kareem retired.

            Malone handily beat Kareem 83.

            I watch thru all of that.

            There is nothing for us to agree ot disagree here.

            Some will maintain Bird is the best some Magic and some will say Jordan. All are good answers.

            When the Lakers lost in 86, I really thought the Lakers would have gone after Hakeem.

            It is hard. Just like the Lakers extended Kobe’s contract. It is similar type of situation.

          • Daryl Peek

            You’re off in too many different hypothetical for me man. I’ll keep it simple. KAJ was the low post staple of Showtime that handled and kept the much younger Ewing, Hakeem, Moses Malone, and other great centers from dominating the Lakers in those Showtime years.

            “I always gotta feed the Captain.” –Magic

            “When ever we need a bucket get it to the Captain” –Michael Cooper

            Whenever my many beat me the Captain was there waiting” –B. Scott

            Magic was irreplaceable but the Captain was also as he was more than just a staple on both sides of the court, he was the quiet leader of the team that kept the balance. I’ve written How the 89-90 season without KAJ was a season of depression for those Lakers without KAJ. Magic and Riley were out of control pushing everyone coupled with public finger pointing. Many of the other Showtime Lakers are on record saying this. I’m not attacking Magic, I’m just showing you where you’re off base in trying to marginalize his place with Showtime.

          • whathefun

            All are good points.

            On the the Show time team.

            Magic was irreplaceable. There was only one.

            There were good center.

            M Malone was one in the early 80s and Hakeem developed in the late 80s.

            I see no replacement for Magic.

            But there were replacements for Kareem.

            That is all my point. No more no less.

            And Hakeem won without someone like Magic or Jordan or Bird or LBJ on his team. That’s really says a lot about how good Hakeem was.

          • Daryl Peek

            Hakeem could only dream of having Kareem’s career. With or without Magic. Hakeem played with Sampson. They could not unseat the declining Kareem who checked both in his mid to late 30’s.

            6 rings, the most MVP’s in league history and the greatest college player in basketball history. KAJ is so underrated in the GOAT convo it’s comical!

          • whathefun

            You have the history wrong. Kareem lost, in 1986 to the twin towers.

            Kareem played mostly in the 60’s and 70’s.

            This is a scientific fact, athletes of the 80’s and 90’s were stronger, faster and bigger than prior decades. That is why it is a joke when people talk about, basketball from the pre-80’s or pre-90s. Russel, as great as he was would have never been able to cover guys like Shaq and Karl Malone, they are big and way too strong.

            Samson, was traded after the 86 finals by the Rockets.

            81, Kareem lost to M. Malone.

            83 Kareem lost to M. Malone

            86 Kareem lost to Hakeem

            84 Kareem lost to Parish

            If Kareem was like Shaq of 2000 to 2002, they would not need Magic to be perfect, but, Kareem was not physically as athletic and also was in his mid-30’s and I think in 89 when he retired in 89 he was 41 years old.

            Kareem listed at 7 2 225, never in his life time could he have covered Shaq at 325.

            I am not knocking Kareem down, he was old, during show time, and also, past his prime.

            Perhaps, Kareem of the 70’s could have been more effective against the younger centers.

          • Chrmngblly

            Almost everyone knows that version of events. Why didn’t management act when it had the chance with D12? It’s not enough to just say “whoops, it didn’t work out.” People see the pattern. CP3, D12, Nash, Mike Brown, MDA….blame others all you want but we have loser management right at the top. And you know it.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Kenny The Jet!

  • Daryl Peek

    “I just don’t think they worked out the way they wanted them to.”

    There you have it. Sage words from Kenny! No team gets it right all of the time.

    • e3bonz

      In an alternate universe, Nash lit up, DH and Kobe gelled, no one got injured and the Lakers cruised to championship number 17. That could of easily happened, but it just didn’t.

      • Daryl Peek


        • whathefan

          DH was never going to play with Nash. Period. That was a wrong formula.

          Nash is not a point guard like CP. Nash passes on the fly, and pick and roll. With quick SF or PF. But ,not set centers.

          Shaq was playing 14 ppg in Miami and after the trade to Phoenix his ppg dropped to 12 ppg. How could this be? One would think, that his ppg would go up. It did not happen. This clearly shows that Nash does not know how to play with big center. I am sure, Shaq and DH talk, and both would agree that Nash just does not get how to play half-court set offense. He is MDA type players needs Babosa and the like to run up the wing and catch and shoot. The big centers cannot provided that for Nash.

          • Daryl Peek

            Howard is the best PNR center in the NBA. It’s what he did in Orlando and is what he’s doing in Houston. Howard himself is on record, in the past saying Nash was a PG he’d love to play with. Nash made Gortat look almost like Howard offensively in 11-12 as he was only behind Rondo as the second best PG in the NBA that season. CP3 modeled much of his game after Nash in a lot of ways. Paul relished playing against Nash and always respected his style of play. Howard is in no way the post up player Shaq is and never will be. That’s buffoonery to say they talk when Howard can’t stand Shaq who called him out consistently ever since he took Shaq’s Superman alter ego.

            The difficulty of the Princeton offense learning curb coupled with Howard recovering from injury and the difference of opinion between he and Kobe is why Howard never got on the same page with Nash. That coupled with Nash’s injury.

          • Chrmngblly

            It is called a learning “curve” not “curb”. I meant to mention that to you before, DP.

          • whathefun

            Suns Hayday is not what DH and Shaq style.

            Before you knock Shaq down, he averaged 27 ppg and 12 rbg, 4 finals and three rings first 12 seasons in the NBA. After that was all icing Shaq messing around.

            He played with talent, all around, his only weakness was free throw.

            Who cares, he ended up winning 4 rings, and was the Batman in the first three.

            Mt. Rushmore, it would be Kobe or Shaq as the fourth, if LBJ was to retire today!!!!!!!

    • Chrmngblly

      It is not getting it right any of the time that we object to. Everything since CP3 has been a continuous string of FO errors.

      • Daryl Peek

        What you call FO errors Kenny broke down as good moves that just didn’t work out. To ignore the abnormal amount of total team injures as the main culprit in the failures of the last two seasons is to selectively put your head in the sand while complaining in a McCarthyism manner when you come up for air.

        You and many other Lakers dissenters are a purple and gold pile on version of the Red Scare.

        • Chrmngblly

          You are a Communist…:-)

  • wwwww

    second best coach hahaha so funny

  • Robert L. I.

    How did D’Antoni get so much cred?
    His four-year tenure in New York as the sixth-winningest coach in team history with a mark of 121-167 (.420). Winning…My ass!

    The year he got awarded Coach of the Year his team lost to S.A. Spurs…better coaching.

    If you look back at most teams D’Antoni has coached the one thing in common one way or another, his teams have lots and lots of injuries. He runs his teams to death…just look at what happened to Kobe.

    Phil talked about pacing a team to stay away from catastrophic injuries during Tuesday’s press conference. And Phil always paced the Lakers…genius!