Los Angeles Lakers

LA Lakers 2011 Roster: Who Will and Won't Be Back Next Season under Mike Brown

Tim LewisContributor IMay 26, 2011

LA Lakers 2011 Roster: Who Will and Won't Be Back Next Season under Mike Brown

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    EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Maverick
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Now that we know Mike Brown will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, it's time to start speculating on what the 2011-2012 roster will look like.  One thing we know for certain, the Lakers will no longer be running the triangle offense exclusively.  

    You'll see an offense similar to what you see in San Antonio (where Brown was groomed under Gregg Popovich) that employs certain aspects of the triangle but relies primarily on an inside-out game with perimeter players cutting to the basket.

    In typical, the-sky-is falling fashion, Lakers fans demanded a complete roster overhaul immediately! Please allow me to be clear when I tell you this is absolutely not happening, the Lakers hands are tied financially for the most part for two more seasons and you can anticipate a few minor roster tweaks here and there.  

    The Lakers currently have the roster and the talent in place to win another championship; it has nothing to do with being "too old" or "too slow." The Mavericks are just as old and just as slow. They will also not be trading two of the big three (Gasol, Bynum, Odom) for Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas.   

    Now, on to the roster and who will and who won't be back next season under head coach Mike Brown.  

15. Trey Johnson

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    Trey Johnson was called up by the Lakers twice last season, earning a playoff roster spot while Steve Blake was out with the chicken pox.  Johnson was a leading MVP candidate in the D-League last season, averaging 25 points per game for the Bakersfield Jam.  He is an explosive scorer who can play both guard positions but primarily plays off the ball.

    I think Johnson will be afforded every opportunity to make the team next season as the Lakers will be looking to get younger and more athletic in the backcourt, especially if he can prove that he is capable of playing the point.   

    Will he be back?  YES 

14. Derrick Caracter

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11:   Derrick Caracter #45 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Samardo Samuels #24 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on January 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 112-57.  NOTE TO USER
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Caracter, who has been known for his troubled past, did not fail to live up to his reputation after he allegedly assaulted a waitress in New Orleans during the first round of the playoffs.

    It's unlikely the Lakers will pick up the team option on Caracter mostly due to his inability to stay in shape on the court and his inability to stay out of trouble off the court.

    Will he be back?  NO

13. Devin Ebanks

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Devin Ebanks #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the NBA Europe Live match between Los Angeles Lakers and Regal FC Barcelona at the at Palau Blaugrana on October 7, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Devin Ebanks has all the potential in the world, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where he can guard multiple positions with his 6'9", 215 lb frame.  Unfortunately, he suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia, cutting his season short in February.  

    Looking ahead to next season under a defensive specialist like Mike Brown, you can bet Ebanks will be allowed every opportunity to play significant minutes on the Lakers second unit.

    Will he be back?  YES

12. Theo Ratliff

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31:  Theo Ratliff #50 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Lakers were counting on Ratliff to provide frontcourt depth this season, however, he was unable to ever fully recover from his surgically-repaired left knee.

    Ratliff is 38 years old and has had to deal with countless knee injuries that have robbed him of his athleticism.

    Will he be back?  NO

11. Joe Smith

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 12:  Joe Smith #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound in front of Tiago Splitter #22 and Richard Jefferson #24 of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expre
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I have all the respect in the world for Joe Smith, a former first overall pick in 1995 by the Golden State Warriors.  Smith was an inspirational leader for the Lakers in the locker room and their most passionate cheerleader on the bench.

    Unfortunately, Smith will turn 36 years old this summer and is likely to retire.

    Will he be back?  NO

10. Matt Barnes

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31:  Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to his bench during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Matt Barnes has a player option of 1.9 million next season but has made it clear he wants to give it another try with the Lakers next season as he searches for some stability in a career that has seen him play for eight teams in eight seasons.  

    Barnes suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee in January and was never able to fully recover. He mentioned that he had never been injured in his entire playing career and that maybe it had something to do with the fact that his rehab did not go as well as he would have hoped.

    Count on Barnes to come back at 100 percent next season with a chip on his shoulder (which may actually be permanent) and a goal of cracking the starting lineup.

    Will he be back?  YES

9. Shannon Brown

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 22:  Shannon Brown #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound during the game against the New Orleans Hornets in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the New Orleans Arena  on April 22,
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I don't know what it is exactly, but I just have this hunch that Shannon Brown has played his last game as a Laker.  Brown has a player option of $2.4 million next season but will likely test the free-agent waters in search of a more prominent role.

    Brown came out of the gates blazing this season but gradually cooled off as the year went on, leaving Lakers fans constantly begging for more.  Rumors of internal conflict on the team revolving around Brown also leads me to believe that he will be moving on next year.

    Will he be back?  NO 

8. Derek Fisher

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Guard Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after a 98-92 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Cent
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The least productive starting point guard in the NBA will likely be forced to the bench next season as the Lakers move away from the triangle offense in search of a more up-tempo point man.

    It's unlikely the Lakers will be able to trade Fisher but don't be surprised if they do...he was a Phil Jackson-guy in every sense, and new head coach Mike Brown will not have any loyalty towards Fisher when it comes to playing time.

    Will he be back?  YES (unfortunately) 

7. Steve Blake

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Steve Blake #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, C
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Steve Blake did not live up to expectations last season and was historically bad in Game 2 of the Lakers second-round series vs. the Mavericks.  It should be noted that Blake had the rare misfortune of catching the chicken pox right before the playoffs last year and reportedly lost 15-20 lbs.

    I think Blake comes back stronger next year and may even potentially start depending on his ability to knock down the three point shot on a consistent basis.

    Will he be back?  YES

6. Luke Walton

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Luke Walton #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the court against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Boasting one of the most unfortunate contracts in Lakers history at $5.68 million guaranteed in 2012 and $6.1 million guaranteed in 2013, Luke Walton will be buried on the bench next season.

    Walton's lone saving grace was his knowledge of the triangle offense and his ability to facilitate, but with the triangle on the way out under new head coach Mike Brown, Walton may not see the floor at all next year.

    Will he be back?  YES (unfortunately)

5. Ron Artest

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Center in Lo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    In typical Ron Artest fashion, we saw a number of ups and downs throughout the season.  But when it was all said and done, he had a fairly productive postseason, playing well in six of the nine games he appeared in.

    Artest will make $6.8 million next year and won't be going anywhere with that contract, hopefully, he'll find a way to be more consistent throughout the duration of the season.

    Will he be back?  YES

4. Lamar Odom

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    EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    What a year for Lamar Odom, not only did he win the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award, he had arguably the best season of his career in his 12th year in the league.  Odom shot a career high 53 percent from the field, a career high 38 percent from three.

    Maybe the most beloved Laker in the locker room, Odom will make Mike Brown think twice about inserting him into the starting lineup from the get-go.

    Will he be back?  YES

3. Andrew Bynum

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the first half while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los Angeles,
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    At just 23 years old and with 332 NBA games under his belt (the equivalent of four full seasons), Andrew Bynum is just now entering the prime of his career.  He will be a focal point of the offense for years to come under head coach Mike Brown, who will want to run his offense from inside-out.  

    If Bynum's new knee brace is as indestructible as he makes it sound, Bynum will be a star in LA for years to come.  And no, Jim Buss (the one who calls all the shots) is not going to trade his prized possession for Dwight Howard.

    Will he be back?  YES 

2. Pau Gasol

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Pau Gasol is another beneficiary of the Mike Brown hiring, as he will undoubtedly receive more touches in the new offense.  I expect Pau to come back with a vengeance next season after struggling under the spotlight down the stretch this year.

    After the 2010 NBA Finals, everyone seemed ready to declare Gasol the best power forward in the world. But after watching him succumb to the pressure of this year's playoff run, many were left wondering if the Lakers might consider trading him for an elite point guard, like Chris Paul.

    Just your typical overreaction by Lakers fans when things don't go their way...expect Gasol to be a focal point of the offense in 2011-2012.

    Will he be back?  YES

1. Kobe Bryant

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    EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Maverick
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    I don't know, what do you think?  Not only will Kobe Bryant be back next season, I'll go out on a limb and say Kobe will win his sixth title in 2012.  The added rest during the offseason will allow Kobe to come back stronger than ever, allowing him to practice on a regular basis while keeping his teammates sharp, something that was sorely lacking last year.  

    Accompanying that sixth ring will be a third NBA Finals MVP, his 10th First Team All-NBA appearance and even more comparisons to you know who.

    Will he be back?  YES

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