Do The Lakers Need To Trade For A Three-Peat?
Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak confessed his team might need a trade during a courtside interview with John Ireland Tuesday night.
“This time each year, that’s what the general manager does,” said Kupchak during the Lakers overtime win at home against the Houston Rockets.
“Whether you make a trade or not, you have to decide if a trade can help your team. We’re not playing our best basketball [right now], so it’s my job to do something about it.”
The Lakers are only 9-9 this season against teams that have a .500 winning percentage or better, and the bulk of those wins have come at home. They are leaving the practice court earlier, heading off to commercial shoots, reality television locations and endorsement meetings.
They are making mock movie teasers with Bruce Willis and stamping their approval on pairs of 3D shoes. Yeah, Kobe Bryant now endorses a pair of 3D shoes.
All of this during what’s assumed to be Phil Jackson’s last go around.
So I don’t blame Kupchak when he admits that he’d “like to see [the Lakers] compete on a daily basis” and that they’re just “waiting for spring.”
How could I?
Here’s what Lamar Odom thinks about the trade rumors:
I’m not one of those blind Lakers’ fans who crumbles after witnessing a loss, although I did collapse last night while watching the Spurs’ Antonio McDyess tap home a game-winner in the final second of the game.
But before I go into my own trade predictions, I’m going to have to agree with the Kamenetzky brothers on their latest episode of “The Triangle.”
This whole business about Ron Artest wanting a trade is ridiculous.
Come on Marc Stein.
How can you go on-air and say Artest is asking for a trade without a quote? By simply regurgitating rumors?
I rarely go after fellow journalists, but that’s just sloppy reporting.
Stein is injecting his own, unfounded opinions into this one, and for such a seasoned journalist this just reflects poorly on him.
The facts are that Ron hasn't said he wants a trade, nor would anyone dare pick up his four-year, $6 million-plus contract in the least productive season of his career.
So what are some feasible trade options for the Lakers?
Skip to 4:35 into this clip to see Around the Horn’s discussion about the Lakers trade possibilities:
They say there’s no way.
But here are a few ideas:
Option 1: A three-team deal involving the Lakers, Pistons and Sixers drawn up by @RealWesSneider.
- To the Lakers: Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady (Pistons)
- To the Pistons: Andre Iguodala (Sixers); Luke Walton, Matt Barnes (Lakers)
- To the Sixers: Richard Hamilton (Pistons); Shannon Brown (Lakers)
Here’s what ESPN had to say about it:
Without giving much up, the Lakers could rent a pair of Pistons for the remainder of their three-peat quest. Prince is still a reliable midrange shooter who would give LA's imposing front line even more length, and McGrady could reminisce with Kobe about when they could jump. Detroit, meanwhile, would shed itself of Rip and upgrade on the wing. And while the Sixers wouldn't get much, they'd at least acquire a playoff-tested 2-guard to lead them in their postseason chase.
Option 2: A four-team deal, involving the Lakers, Pistons, Trail Blazers and Warriors.
- To the Lakers: Tracy McGrady; Tayshaun Prince (Pistons), Rudy Fernandez (Trail Blazers)
- To the Pistons: Nicholas Batum, Elliot Williams (Trail Blazers); Dorell Wright, Reggie Williams, Brandan Wright (Warriors)
- To the Trail Blazers: Andrew Bynum (Lakers)
- To the Warriors: Shannon Brown (Lakers); Joel Pryzbilla (Warriors)
Again, the Lakers can rent the Pistons duo for relatively cheap for the remainder of the season. The Trail Blazers would also pick up some much-needed size down low, thus improving their chances of making the playoffs.
On top of that, the Pistons would prepare themselves for next season’s free agent extravaganza. The only problem with this trade is that it doesn’t really help the Warriors, but they would pick up an improving Shannon Brown to come off the bench.
If you want to try your own trade predictions, click here for the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
Bottom line, any trade possibility is far-fetched at best.
I have to side with J.A. Adande on this one when he says the Lakers "must make their current roster work.”
The Lakers have the highest team payroll in the NBA and two of the leagues top-ten paid players in Bryant and Paul Gasol. They have a host of large contracts – such as Artest, Bynum and Odom – none of which are expiring any time soon.
Let’s not forget, the Lakers are still tied for second in the Western Conference with Dallas. The season is not a disaster by any means.
If they can string together a few wins on the road before the All-Star break and build up some momentum, we’ll all be laughing about these trade rumors come April.
To reach BGLakers columnist Benjamin Gottlieb, click here.
Follow him on Twitter @benjamin_max.