NBA Trade Rumors: Why LA Lakers Need to Add Michael Beasley
Playing basketball seems secondary for the Lakers at the moment as their star players are mounting an around-the-clock battle against trade rumors centering on Pau Gasol.
Think they're frustrated? Kobe Bryant definitely is.
Still, the Lakers have a hand they can play. With an $8.5 million trade exception at their disposal, the Lakers can go shopping for help on offense without sacrificing star power.
Here are five reasons why the Lakers should make this happen.
The Lakers Showed Interest Prior to the 2011-2012 Season
Apparently, interest has been brewing for some time in the Lakers front office with regard to Michael Beasley.
ESPN analyst Chris Broussard wrote just last week that the Lakers had been in preliminary talks before the season began to make a move for the 6'10" former first-round pick.
It makes sense, given Beasley is still young at 23 and has a long way to go before reaching his full potential.
Then there's the Lakers' need to add more firepower to their offense which, for better or for worse, is now hinging more on Bryant's performance than it possibly ever has.
Of course, there are far more things to consider than just Beasley's ability to help the Lakers put more points on the board.
Beasley Could Come at Little to No Cost for the Lakers
In terms of what the Lakers would have to put up financially for Beasley, there's not much risk factor involved.
Chris Broussard goes on to say:
It's not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash.
Essentially, the Lakers could take Beasley with no damage to cap space. Compared to what Beasley has the ability to produce for the Lakers on the court, a future pick and a couple million seems like a pretty even deal.
It's not likely that Pau Gasol would be shipped to Minnesota in exchange for Beasley, meaning that the Lakers could still keep Gasol on board until his murky trade situation is sorted out.
Either way, Mitch Kupchak is one of the busiest GMs in the business at the moment.
The Lakers Need More Options on Offense
Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace have far too many weaknesses on the offensive end of the floor. The Lakers' bench ranks at the bottom of the league in scoring. Devin Ebanks is doing time in the D-League.
All said, the Lakers need Beasley's help per Chris Broussard's report.
At this very moment, Michael Beasley is shooting over 40 percent from the field and averaging 12.6 points in a more and more relegated role under Rick Adelman's watch.
Beasley is young and his character concerns are noted, but the Lakers might just be able to provide Beasley with the perfect environment to iron out his character issues. More importantly, a player like Kobe Bryant could help motivate the youngster into playing the best basketball of his still young career.
LA Can Still Go Out and Get Help at Point Guard
While Beasley could prove to be a huge benefit to a frail Lakers lineup, the real area of need is at point guard.
It's been a problem for LA all season long and arguably the greatest contributing factor for most of their losses. With so little depth to back up an aging Derek Fisher, the Lakers simply are not effective enough to stop elite scoring point guards like Derek Rose, Russell Westbrook and Ramon Sessions.
If the Lakers do decide to add Beasley, they will still have roughly $2 million to play with under the trade exception. Not only that, the Lakers will also likely be able to deal Gasol in favor of a scoring point guard the likes of Ramon Sessions.
Chris Broussard goes into greater depth on the issue and also mentions Gilbert Arenas as an option in free agency.
With the room that the Lakers have to maneuver prior to the trade deadline, there's no reason to think that they wouldn't be able to collect both Beasley and a point guard with little loss.
The Lakers Would Ensure Beasley Doesn't End Up a Waste of Talent
Beasley was a one-time high school phenom who had a monstrous year at Kansas State before entering the draft. The talent hasn't gone anywhere, but in two stops at Miami and Minnesota, Beasley has dealt with an amalgam of injuries, behavior issues and getting buried on the depth chart.
Still, the excitement for a player with Beasley's skill-set is palpable. Chris Broussard is confident the Lakers can handle the mercurial forward. The Lakers' fan base is unsurprisingly divided, yet there are still plenty of LA faithful who feel that Beasley would be a welcome addition to a stale bench per this Lakers blog.
There's no way around seeing that the Lakers are in need of a little new blood. The current torrent of trade rumors surrounding Pau Gasol certainly isn't helping things in the Lakers' clubhouse. LA knows what success tastes like and with Kobe Bryant still running the show, don't expect a championship mentality to disappear.
Imagine Beasley feeding off that energy.
While point guard is certainly an issue that the Lakers' front office needs to address, Michael Beasley could sneakily surprise a lot of people amongst the Lakers faithful.
If you're amongst the majority of fans that miss Lamar Odom's absence at every turn, Beasley could be just the guy to cure your woes.