Los Angeles Lakers Trade Talk: Players Who Can Give Lakers a Lift
The Los Angeles Lakers are a bad basketball team right now that's in serious danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2005.
They're severely lacking in offensive firepower, but have been fortunate enough to win a few home games against bad teams this season.
The Lakers simply don't have enough talent, athleticism, or three-point shooting to compete with the elite teams in the league.
If general manager Mitch Kupchak isn't able to make significant roster upgrades in a hurry, Lakers fans should start bracing themselves for a long season.
And don't count on the Buss family making a big splash in the free agency market this summer, either. The Lakers are already well into the luxury tax and aren't likely to go deeper in the hole, considering the much stiffer penalties that are now in place.
Let's take a look at five potential trade targets that could give the Lakers a boost before it's too late.
1. Mo Williams: Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers
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If there is one trade Mitch Kupchak needs to make happen, this is the one.
The Los Angeles Clippers would also benefit greatly as this trade would put them under the salary cap and poised to make a run in free agency this summer.
Williams has shown what he can do when given minutes, scoring 51 points on 21-30 shooting combined in the last two Clippers games with Chris Paul a hamstring injury.
But soon Williams will once again be buried on the bench behind Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups—forced to split the remaining time with the other backup guard, Randy Foye.
Mo Williams to the Lakers would immediately put them back into the conversation amongst the teams who can come out of the Western Conference to challenge the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls for the crown this year.
2. Jameer Nelson: Point Guard, Orlando Magic
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Jammer Nelson is part of a five-player trade I have constructed on ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, in which Nelson would go to the Lakers with the players in the following two slides for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
The Lakers saw first-hand last night against the Orlando Magic what Nelson could mean to them at point guard as he finished with 17 points on six-of-12 shooting and nine assists.
Nelson also made three of his four three-point attempts in the Orlando victory. He could help the Lakers in three-point shooting, another area in which the Lakers are severely lacking.
3. J.J. Redick: Shooting Guard, Orlando Magic
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The second piece in the proposed trade with Orlando is J.J. Redick—one of the best pure shooters in the league.
It's no secret that the Lakers are the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, making just 25.7 percent from behind the arc this year.
They desperately need to find an outside shooter to bring off the bench to help their league-worst second unit put points on the board while Kobe Bryant rests.
Like Nelson, Redick showed the Lakers what they were missing last night in Orlando, as he scored 15 points (three-of-six on three-point attempts) and dished out six assists.
4. Dwight Howard: Center, Orlando Magic
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You may have heard a few trade rumors involving Howard and the Lakers, but the only way Orlando can get equal value for the big man would be by obtaining both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
This trade makes that a reality as the Lakers are able to obtain a point guard and some much needed three-point shooting in the process.
Howard is only averaging 20 points and 16 rebounds on the season (including five 20/20 games), another ho-hum year for the best big man on the planet.
5. Deron Williams: Point Guard, New Jersey Nets
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Is there a more perfect fit that Deron Williams as the point guard of the future in Los Angeles?
Something about this trade has always just felt right, it's always just looked right.
How can they make it happen? Well, how about this little one-for-one I came up with using ESPN's Trade Machine?
That's right, folks, Pau Gasol for Deron Williams straight up.
This will be Kris Humphries' last season in New Jersey and the addition of Gasol would give Brook Lopez a reason to re-sign with the Nets while forming one of the top frontcourts in the NBA.
Williams is finally starting to round into shape, averaging 18.6 points and 10.3 assists over his last seven contests.