Finally the LA Lakers might catch a break in this odd, lockout-shortened season.
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com recently interviewed GM Mitch Kupchak about making a move to bolster a horrific backcourt and the response was very interesting:
Well, if there were a way for us to get a 25-year-old, All-Star, ball-handling guard we'd love to do it … but that's not likely in February. So you look at other alternatives, and see if it's better than what you have. That's all.
Considering Trudell didn’t say a word about Rondo and Kupchak brought it up on his own, I’d say there is an underlying context to his response that is worth getting excited about if you’re a Lakers fan. There isn’t another player in the league that fits this description (note: Kupchak’s comments were made before his being snubbed from the All-Star team).
They’d obviously have to get rid of Pau Gasol or possibly Andrew Bynum and one of their first-round picks, but that’s a small price to pay for a star in the making that can become a cornerstone of the franchise for the next decade.
It’s no secret Rondo would instantly bolster a Lakers backcourt that is thrilled to have freakin’ Steve Blake come back from a rib injury. Derek Fisher, 37, has lost more than just a step and his body is simply not capable of the wear-and-tear of a grueling NBA season, especially with the lockout shortened schedule.
The point guard for the Lakers, whether it be Fisher, Blake or Andrew Goudelock, are struggling to beat their man off the dribble to create open looks for others. That leaves Kobe Bryant on the perimeter having to jack up 24 mostly contested shots a night.
Does Rondo Make the Lakers a Championship Contender?
Coach Mike Brown was used to this kind of offense during his tenure with the Cavaliers, but this isn’t Lakers basketball. This isn’t how you win a championship. They need a guy with a lighting-first step like Rondo to set up the rest of his teammates that can’t create their own shots like Metta World-Peace, Matt Barnes and Gasol/Bynum.
Most importantly, it will take some of the stress off Kobe every night. Right now he has strapped the team on his back and if Bryant keeps up this incredible pace, his back will eventually be broken.
The Lakers are a strong point guard away from becoming a serious contender and it will be very interesting to see if they can pull the trigger by the deadline.
It could be the difference between a first-round flameout and a championship.