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Time to retool Lakers

May 9, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor (mmathison@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

The pinnacle of the lack of class and selfishness was seen Sunday during the Los Angeles Lakers' demise at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA playoff 4-0 sweep.

Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were kicked out of the game in the fourth quarter with pathetic flagrant fouls as the Lakers were on their way to losing by 36.

Yep, 36.

Bynum's salary this year is $13,842,332, which is $168,809 per game.

His punishment should be simple - a fine that is 5 percent of his salary ($692,116) and a 41-game suspension, without pay, when the league starts again (it will also be in a lockout soon), totaling $6,921,169

That is a $7,613,285 fine and will send a message.

That money can go to 305 Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the nation at $25,000 each. He can then give a speech at each facility as he hands over the check.

Odom's salary is $8.2 million and the same should be done with him.

That check will be $4,510,000 and $25,000 checks can go to 180 more Boys and Girls Clubs and he can also give a speech and it should have nothing to do with his reality show.

I keep hearing that the punishment should fit the crime.

Nope.

The punishment should always be worse than the crime. If not, then how do people learn.

On the high school level, let's say you have a basketball player who is always late and, regardless of the punishment, just cannot get to practice on time.

What would happen if the next time that person is late, a chair is set at midcourt and the team runs and runs and runs for the next 90 minutes and the person who was late sits and watches?

Just a thought.

You see, I am also of the mindset that if someone is killed by a drunk driver, then the drunk driver must spend a minimum of five years behind bars.

Period.

Let is be said I have been a Lakers fan since Baylor, West, Goodrich and Chamberlain.

Let is be said I am not a fan of this version of the Lakers.

I am not a fan of Kobe, Bynum, Odom or Artest. Never have been.

It is time for Mitch Kupchak to overhaul the Lakers, whose payroll is just under $92 million. The problem is their top 10 paid players are on the books for next season, if there is one.

The timing, though, is perfect as Phil Jackson will not come back to coach.

The story is Brian Shaw will get the job and he can lead a new team into the future.

It's bad basketball and not fun to watch.

Unfortunately, the NBA, in general, is not fun to watch.

I was playing ball with my son the other day and he traveled and I called him on it.

His answer was, "It's OK dad, I'm gonna play in the NBA one day."

I'm not saying he will or won't because the odds and astronomical. There are 450 NBA players.

There are more than 5,700 colleges in the United States. For numbers purpose, let's say 5,500 have basketball teams and there are three seniors on each team who will graduate.

That means there are 16,500 college basketball players who graduate each year and 450 NBA jobs available.

That means .024 percent of the graduates will become NBA players.

I understand there are a lot more variables that go into the equation. But, in reality, there are only about 150 jobs, maximum, open each year in the NBA as 10 of the 15 guys on the roster will automatically make the team.

Sorry for the tangent.

But, his point was that traveling is rarely called in the NBA, so it shouldn't matter to him now.

That's a problem.

I still say traveling is called too infrequently in high school on the varsity level.

But, that's just me.

Help defense, on the whole, is the NBA is terrible.

Raise your hands if you thought the Pirates would be .500 at this time of the season and only a couple of games back of first.

I am not a baseball guy, but you have to like what is going on with this team.

Clint Hurdle is a huge upgrade and this are going forward.

So, it's time to keep looking through the windshield and not through the rearview mirror.

I'm not saying to get in line now for playoff tickets, but things are looking up.

Seve Ballesteros died Saturday at 54 of brain cancer.

He was one of the best golfers of all time and could get up-and-down from the nearest port-a-potty.

Seve was the 1980s version of Arnie.

He was once asked how he four-putted the 16th at the 1988 Masters, where he finished 11th.

He said, "I miss. I miss. I miss. I make."

Ballesteros made the Ryder Cup what it is today.

He was must-see TV.

He was a better escape artist than Houdini.

Seve grew up with a 3-iron and used it for all shots, including greenside bunkers, regardless of the lie.

He could make a golf ball do anything - high, low, fade, draw. He could hit it 80 yards offline and you knew he had as good a chance of making birdie as the guy in the middle of the fairway.

You don't have to be a Rajon Rondo or Boston Celtics fan, but you have to be a fan of what he did in Game 3.

I am tired of hearing people say that someone gave 110 percent. Gimme 100 percent. That's all I ask for.

I was asked Sunday in church if I had written those words in the grey box in Sunday's column.

Not at all. I am pretty good with words, but not close to that good.

Those words are from a song called "Blessings" written and performed by Laura Story.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

 
 

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