As seen on BleacherReport.com
While it’s not quite time to panic just yet, it seems this lockout-shortened season is having a negative effect on their performance moving forward.
With the offense still “under construction” according to Kobe Bryant, one has to wonder just how long it will take for this new-look squad to gel and get back to producing at a high level.
The loss of both Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom stripped the Lakers of two key contributors to their previous two title runs in 2009 and 2010. A mid-season trade could provide them with the talent they need to finish out the season in stronger fashion than how it began.
Here are three possible trade scenarios the Lakers should look into approaching the March 15 trade deadline.
Dwight Howard for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum
Shaquille O’Neal and others have suggested that Dwight Howard comes second in the hierarchy of big men in the NBA after Bynum. But according to the statistics, that is clearly not the case. And last time I checked, numbers don’t lie.
In the Lakers’ Friday matchup against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, Howard’s production was equal to that of both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined. Howard finished the game with 21 points and 23 rebounds, while Bynum and Gasol combined for a total of 23 points and 22 rebounds.
While a trade for Howard in exchange for Bynum straight up would be ideal for the Lakers in that they would be able to retain Gasol to play alongside Howard, more likely than not, the Magic would reject this trade.
Bynum might be the next best thing to Dwight Howard, but if I’m the Magic (who are currently tied with the Heat for second in the East at 11-4), I take my chances with Howard and give him the option to walk in the offseason.
The next best offer to sweeten the deal would be to include Pau Gasol in the trade, forcing the Lakers to also take on Hedo Turkoglu’s $11M contract. This would force Turkoglu to have to play more power forward than small forward, but it would also provide an additional ball handler for the Lakers.
Howard has already expressed interest in being traded to the Lakers, and if they’re serious about getting him, both Gasol and Bynum would have to be moved to Orlando.
Deron Williams for Pau Gasol
Deron Williams is not happy in New Jersey. Everyone knows this. And as long as the Nets continue to struggle through the season, his mood will only get worse. He has already noted that playing in the same backcourt with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles is on his list of possible trade destinations.
To make this happen, the Lakers would need to part ways with their four-time All-Star in Pau Gasol. Honestly, if I’m Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, I make this trade happen immediately. The primary weakness of the Lakers roster over the past few years has been the absence of a solid point guard.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Derek Fisher as much as the next guy and I greatly appreciate all of the clutch performances he’s provided over the years. But his role nowadays should be reduced to that of a reserve off the bench as opposed to a starter on a championship-caliber team.
An argument could easily be made about Deron Williams being the best point guard in the NBA after finishing in the top three in assists per game in each of his last five seasons and ranking second behind only Chris Paul amongst active players in the same category.
Williams would be the perfect playmaker for the Lakers current roster taking much needed pressure off a struggling Bryant and newly emerging Andrew Bynum.
Devin Harris for Metta World Peace
As stated before, the Lakers are definitely in need of an effective young point guard to run the offense. Coincidentally, the Utah Jazz are reportedly shopping former All-Star Devin Harris.
The only problem—the Lakers don’t have anyone available to match Harris’ $9.3M contract directly. The closest player available is former Defensive Player of the Year Metta World Peace ($6.7M).
If the Lakers can bundle World Peace with one of their lower-salaried players such as Devin Ebanks or Derrick Character, this trade could be successful. With his production continuing to decline over the past few seasons, World Peace has clearly shown he is a shell of his former self.
If dealing him means they get Harris in return, that trade should be made ASAP.