The Hook's Mailbag: Lakers, J.J. Redick and the Kings as 'Friends'

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

In The Hook's Friday mailbag, we answer questions about what the Lakers did to deserve this, what's next for J.J. Redick and which characters on Friends each Sacramento King would be.

This is The Hook's Friday mailbag. It will run on ... Fridays. Send questions to @teamziller or tom at sactownroyalty dot com.

What are the Lakers being punished for and by which deity? -- @basquiatball

ALL OF IT. They are being punished for all of it. I'm actually a basketball atheist -- I have trouble believing in the Basketball Gods. If there were really Basketball Gods, why didn't Casey Jacobsen make it in the league? Where is Quincy Douby? If there are Basketball Gods, how do you explain Damon Jones' relatively long career? Basketball Gods wouldn't let us suffer through a Ricky Rubio injury. Basketball Gods wouldn't keep Marcus Camby but not Kevin Willis in the league.

But if there are Basketball Gods, I would think that the Troll God is punishing the Lakers. U MAD?

What should the Magic do with J.J. Redick? They like his production and leadership and he's due to be an unrestricted free agent. -- E.D.

Redick's been mentioned as potential trade bait, but I don't get it. He's a good player and he's only a year older than Arron Afflalo. The question will of course be price. On the one hand, when you're rebuilding a team from scratch, you don't want to add inflexible salary. Paying Redick much more than what he makes now ($6 million) could be considered inflexible salary going forward.

On the other hand, you do have to pay someone. There's a salary floor in the NBA. The Magic have Jameer Nelson, Afflalo and Glen Davis locked in for the next few seasons at about $22-24 million. The salary floor is close to $50 million, and young players take up only so much space. The Presti Plan calls for using salary cap flexibility to help other teams avoid the tax (and get paid in draft picks); adding Redick over the next two seasons could limit Rob Hennigan's ability to do that somewhat. But that's also easily solved by flipping Nelson. The question is whether you'd want to keep Nelson (now 30) or Redick, and if you could lose Nelson without taking long-term salary.

Redick's again going to be an interesting case on the market as a free agent. I'd be of the mind to see how the market treats him and potentially keeping him if the salary is similar ($6-7 million range annually). As for the trade deadline, I'd hold off unless a good asset were coming back, like a first-round pick or young prospect.

How can someone be such a terrible defender when they have Thibodeau for a coach? #boozerhowl -- @acrampton

Coaching is only part of the battle. I'm more interested in figuring out how the Bulls could have one of the league's best defenses over the past two years with Carlos Boozer playing so much. It'll be interesting to see if a theory that had been gaining steam before Thibs -- that coaches can affect defenses much more easily than they can boost offenses -- goes mainstream. Dean Oliver had looked at coaches' offenses and defenses historically. The top offensive teams of all time tended to have incredible players. The top defensive teams of all time tended to have incredible coaches (and really good players, too). That Thibodeau has been able to do what he's done with four top-notch defenders (Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, prior to this season), a number of really good defenders (Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson prior to this season) and ... Carlos Boozer is, in the end, only a little surprising, once you realize that a) Thibs is brilliant and b) those top defenders are really damn good.

I realize I answered the reverse of this question. There is no explaining Boozer.

Which Kings player is most like each character in Friends? -- @basquiatball

DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans are definitely Ross and Rachel, because we in Sacramento are constantly asking ourselves if they'll end up together. Slamson is Chandler. Always with the jokes and secret chain smoking. We'll go with Isaiah Thomas as Monica, since they are both kinda the glue of the teams. Joey is the sincere heart of the Friends cast, and Francisco Garcia fills that role in Sacramento. That leaves bizarro Phoebe, who almost never seems like an actual part of the group unless the plot is written around her -- she could totally disappear and few would notice; if the episode is focused on her, it's all about her. So, Jimmer, obviously.

Does the mixture of laughter and tears of joy from looking at the Pacific Division standings make it hard to work? -- @vfettke

Between the Lakers and Karl Rove, this has been Troll Christmas in the Ziller household. I never want this week to end!

***

The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.

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