Attention NBA: The Lakers may be looking to shake up their roster. Can they strike lightning twice, and pull off a steal like they did when they acquired Pau Gasol? Perhaps. Or maybe they are just looking for a slight adjustment to their roster. Or maybe they won’t do anything at all, and just stand pat. I mean, sure the Lakers have the second best record in the Western Conference, but they are 6-4 in their last ten and sit seven and a half games back of the San Antonio Spurs, headed into tonight’s game with Houston. So it’s not like they are fighting for a playoff spot, but this is a team everyone expected to run away with the West and make a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
So, who’s available? I think of the main players available, Andrew Bynum, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom would be most attractive. What positions do the Lakers need to improve? I think the small forward position needs an upgrade, and possibly the center position. So let’s rundown a few possible trade scenarios.
- How about a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, another team looking to do damage in the playoffs? The Lakers would send Andrew Bynum and Shannon Brown to Atlanta, and receive Josh Smith and Mike Bibby in return. Pau Gasol can slide back to center, a position he’s played earlier this year, and I think Mike Bibby would be a pretty good guy for the Lakers to have off of the bench. Bynum on the Hawks would allow Al Horford to play power forward, since he is a little undersized at 6’10”. Shannon Brown would help the Hawks at point guard, until they can find a replacement.
- Another guy the Lakers might want to target is small forward Gerald Wallace. He could easily replace Ron Artest in the rotation, and just last year he was named to the All-Defensive team, so the Lakers wouldn’t miss Artest’s defense in the starting lineup that much. If the Lakers traded Andrew Bynum for Gerald Wallace, and Eduardo Najera as filler, they would have to start Lamar Odom, and shift Gasol to center, but it would provide them with stellar defense, and the offense that has eluded Artest in recent years.
- So those are two plausible trades. Let’s see if we can make a Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown type of trade. How about a Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers trade? Let’s face it, Carmelo isn’t happy in Denver, and Denver might be forced to trade him if they know he won’t resign with them. In this scenario the Lakers would receive Carmelo, while the Nuggets would receive Ron Artest, Luke Walton, Steve Blake, and Derrick Caracter. This trade might even be worse than the Pau Gasol trade, at least the Grizzlies got the rights to Marc Gasol in that deal! I don’t need to go into much detail for this one, Carmelo would replace Artest in the lineup and the Lakers would lose 3 end of the rotation players.
So, the chances of any of this happening are slim to none. No one really knows what Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers GM, has up his sleeve. I, for one, think the Lakers can contend with the team that they have, maybe it’s all about adding a veteran player closer to the deadline, or maybe they really are going to add one more impact player. But when the GM of your team says:
“Regarding a trade, I may have to,” … “I’m not saying that I’ve made calls today or I’ll make them tomorrow. But I just don’t think that we’re playing as well as our talent level should allow us.”
You may want to keep your travel bag handy.