Blogtable: Do the Lakers or Knicks have a tougher road to respectability?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Knicks or Lakers worse off? | Toughest (and easiest) division? | Talkin’ Summer League

VIDEOCharles Barkley isn’t convinced Roy Hibbert will help the Lakers

> Do the Lakers or Knicks have the tougher road back to respectability and why?

Steve Aschburner, My hunch is, the Knicks are going to have a harder time getting back to a level at which they’re considered legitimate contenders for an NBA title. As shaky as the master plan might seem in L.A., it’s shakier in New York, what with James Dolan‘s can’t-help-himself meddling and Phil Jackson‘s half-in, half-out, triangle-devoted, smartest-guy-in-the-room theoretical approach. Carmelo Anthony‘s contract will be an albatross with legs compared to Kobe Bryant‘s one-more-season-of-fiscal-pain deal. The ex-Lakers as coaches, Byron Scott vs. Derek Fisher, that’s kind of a push, in my view. The respective rosters? Meh. What it finally comes down to, I suppose, is that I’ll take my chances with Mitch Kupchak over anyone at the Garden.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comOh, how the mighty have fallen. Now we’ve lowered the bar for the top two cities in the country from behind championship contenders to merely “respectability?” In that case, have to go with the Lakers, who are starting out with two young talents in Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell to just a single Kristaps Porzingas in New York. Also when Kobe Bryant leaves — it will happen eventually, won’t it? — the draw of the L.A. market, the Hollywood image and all that entails will allow the Lakers to attract talent.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comThe Lakers have the tougher road, because they play in the tougher conference. As much as what was once a wide gulf has closed, the East is still more forgiving. If you want to use making the playoffs as a cutline for respectability, the Knicks can get there quicker. One other factor in the question: It is possible both teams could be in the lottery but not have their 2016 first-round pick.

Shaun Powell, It’s the Knicks with the tougher climb. Kristaps Porzingis will probably need more time to grow than D’Angelo Russell and Kobe Bryant comes off the Lakers cap next summer while Melo will weigh it down for the Knicks at least 3 more years. The Lakers can start anew next summer with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo plus tons of cap space to chase Durant. Who knows, in 2 years they could possibly sway Blake Griffin to switch L.A. teams and/or get ex-UCLA star Russell Westbrook to “come home.” Bottom line is, with their management situation, the Lakers don’t have an “easy” road to recovery, just easier than the Knicks.

John Schuhmann, It’s the Knicks. As these two teams stand and given decent health, the Knicks will be the better team next season. But at best, that’s good enough to finish 8-11 in the East, which isn’t saying much. In regard to a five-year plan and eventually winning another playoff series, the Lakers have better pieces in place (Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell), as well as more financial flexibility in the next couple of summers, when they won’t be handcuffed by Kobe Bryant‘s contract.

Sekou Smith, The Knicks, without question. This wasn’t the summer I expected the Lakers to remake themselves in free agency. Next summer is when they’ll have the flexibility to get that done and youngsters D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle will have a full NBA season under their belts. We’ve already seen enough of the Knicks, and that’s without Arron Afflalo, Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez in the mix. The Lakers have the luxury of their biggest salaries coming off the books for next summer while the Knicks will not have nearly as much financial flexibility.

Ian Thomsen, The Lakers have won championships recently, and Jeanie Buss is asserting leadership and demanding accountability. These are big advantages. Knowing how to win — and especially how to make winning the priority — is a huge deal in the NBA. Can Phil Jackson introduce that point of view to the Knicks? We won’t know until he’s actually done it.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: I suppose the answer here depends upon what we define as “respectability.” To me, being a playoff team would be respectable, and in that sense, the Lakers have really tough road ahead of them. The Western Conference is so stacked, it’s going to be a multi-year process for any franchise hoping to become a perennial playoff power. Just initially, take last year’s eight playoff teams, and then add Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Utah, Minnesota, who are all right there on the cusp. That’s a significant mountain for any team to climb.


  1. Real facts says:

    Funny, both teams have the same problem. No one wants to play with a ball hog.

  2. Hypothesis says:

    The Knicks do. We do not have our pick next year, and have no #2 option this year. Better off starting the rebuild by getting reimbursed for Melo and save him from missing the playoffs again in his prime.

  3. Raymond says:

    I’m thinking for the Knicks, they’re gonna save more salary cap space to get a guy like either Russell Westbrook or Stephen Curry for a point guard/shooting guard, and a forward such as Kevin Durant. And maybe Derek Fisher should get fired and the Knicks hire Patrick Ewing as head coach. Or Mark Jackson. I would have to go with Patrick Ewing. He’s Mr. Madison Square Garden. Played with the Knicks for 15 years.

  4. J4CK Nicholson says:

    Lakers are on a better platform on paper, with young players and mix of role players. But they’re still a star player (Cousins or Durant for example) away from becoming a contender. I hope they can get rid of Sacre, Boozer, trade Hibbert, Young and a few more players for key star players (the likes of Cousins or Durant) while retaining Randle, Clarkson and Russell and next year Kobe retires.

  5. harriethehawk says:

    David West only took a pay cut because he is banking on a ring. NOBODY will freely be a Faker or Knickerbonker for NBA minimum wage. Unless they are out of their mind. Now, who can recover quicker? The Fakers, after Kobe puts a stop to his highway robbery contract. Then the floodgates will open with free agents looking for salary and limelight.

  6. Pamela Fairbanks says:

    Again, I say that the Lakers are going to surprise a lot of people. I believe they are going to make the playoffs. I think they will truly believe in themselves to get it done. Laker Nation don’t give up on them before the season even begins!

    • sports fan says:

      After the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Mavs, & Clippers how will the Lakers make the playoffs? They’ll also have to be better than the Suns, Kings, & Timberwolves. They won’t make the playoffs until Kobe retires.

      • "real"NBA fan says:

        when will you Kobe haters learn to shut up? i mean seriously get over it already. hes burned your team how many times? does it still hurt? call a therapist for help please.

      • sports fan says:

        I’m just telling it like it is. Kobe WAS a great player & is no longer the same. That facts are there – he has not been able to play a full schedule the past 2 seasons. His shooting percentage is definitely lower than what is was. And once he retires then they’ll have far more cap space. Same thing when MJ was with the Wizards, he was way past his prime. So I think you’re the one who needs a therapist for not being able to think logically.

      • Jeremiah says:

        lols, the mavs are no contender with their lineup.they have added a free agent coming from an injury + clippers may lose their bigman. + clippers,mavs,gizzlies and spurs are injury prone teams with their old-player roster. like what lebron said, luck plays a huge part in NBA. if players get injured like those players who loves to hop and bump, and those old ones..

      • Terry says:

        The warriors are not gonna be number 1 and you will not see a repeat at all

      • sports fan says:

        I didn’t list the teams according to ranking.

        when all teams are healthy then the Lakers are a definite longshot to make the playoffs.
        Of course a major injury can change a team’s chances to make the playoffs.
        Kobe couldn’t complete a full schedule the past 2 seasons.
        Of all the teams I listed the Lakers will have to be better than 4 of them to make the 8th seed.
        Odds are against them.

  7. Why Should Anyone Care... says:

    …about the Knicks? We have been–for a decade-plus–hearing how they are trying to “get back” something they supposedly had. They’re talked about like they’re one of the top franchises in league history. The last time they were a championship team was…what…1973? Before that…1970. Any other ‘chips? Nope. So 42 years ago, they were good enough to get it done and haven’t been ever since. So they’re just another Milwaukee or Seattle or Washington: clubs with a ‘chip or two bookended by decades of irrelevance. And those other squads are never talked about in terms of retrieving former glory.

    So what is it about the Knicks, then? Simply that they’re in the nation’s largest TV market? Can. We. Let. That. Go? Seriously. The money from TV markets doesn’t affect really the fans and shouldn’t affect the sports writers. Enough.

    • jOLAN says:

      Oh captain, my captain!

    • Terry says:

      I’m sure alot of people on here don’t really know to much about basketball the Knicks were a great team for a very long time forget about the last time they won a ring when they were close jordan ruined all of that he did for many teams go back and just look into it you are probably a sixers fan

      • celtic pride says:

        im an nba junkie. and you idiots saying knicks are relevant is like saying 76ers are important. i bleed green. but respect the greatness of kobe bryant its not kobe who loses free agents its jim buss. Dr. jerry buss R.I.P. would have landed anyone kobe bryant old sure but if you hate kobe theres two reasons 1. he owns your team. aka celtics vs laker 2010. 2. your an idiot who is basketball ignorane. lebron best player nah kevin durant. carmelo is great on offense defense garbage