On February 8, Mark J. Miller reported that Mitch Kupchak told Lakers.com this:
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.
According to a recent report from SB Nation.com, ESPN’s Chris Broussard has reported that "the Celtics have been aggressively shopping their All-Star point guard."
Based on Kupchak’s statement, the only person that fits the bill is Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The only player the Lakers have that would make this trade work is Pau Gasol. It makes perfect sense that the Lakers are looking for someone like Rondo—especially because he is now on the trading block.
When Phil Jackson was coaching the Lakers, the need for a point guard was minimal. The triangle offense did not need a ball-handling point guard the way it needed good shooters and capable big men.
Now that Mike Brown is the head coach for the Lake Show, the need for a more-than-capable ball-handling and distributing point guard is urgent.
The reason why Mike Brown was so successful in Cleveland was because of LeBron James. It was not just because LeBron was a back-to-back MVP, it was because LeBron is one of the better ball distributors in the NBA. LeBron would mostly handle the ball and distribute it to his perimeter shooters. If LeBron did not find a wide-open shooter, he would drive the ball into the paint and score himself—the Lakers need this type of player to run in Brown’s offense.
Rondo is one of the better ball-handlers in the NBA. He has been one of the better assisters in the past four years, during which he has averaged 9.7 assists per game—Derek Fisher has averaged around three assists per game. Similar to LeBron in Cleveland, Rondo is not known to be a deadly shooter, but he is very to tough to guard when he gets in the paint.
Currently, Rondo will benefit the Lakers offense more than Pau Gasol does. Gasol has been playing at a higher level as of late, but it is still to be seen whether he can play like that against the better teams in the NBA—not just the Timberwolves.
Gasol and Bynum have been hurting and complementing each other ever since Bynum reached the high level of play that Gasol was at.
By trading Gasol for Rondo, Andrew Bynum will continue to grow and dominate the NBA the way Dwight Howard has for years now. Bynum’s numbers will see a great spike—especially when he has a top-five point guard feeding him the ball. Rondo will garner a lot of attention outside the paint, which will free up the inside for Bynum—which was always clogged with Gasol.
If the Lakers do pull the trigger for Rondo, then expect for Kobe Bryant to play at a more efficient level. Kobe has been playing very well this year, but he has been turning the ball over to a point where it is hurting his team—not to mention the way he has been inefficiently shooting in the final minutes of games.
With Rondo around, Kobe will feel more comfortable allowing someone else to control the ball and create the plays. Kobe will not have to worry about getting his teammates involved because that job will be in Rondo’s hands. Kobe can play off the ball and find his way to getting more open shots, which would then lead to more efficient shooting.
Kobe and Rondo would automatically become the best backcourt in the NBA and one that will be impossible to guard.
Also, the Lakers signed Troy Murphy and Jason Kapono in the offseason because of their ability to score from three-point range. With the addition of Rondo, both Kapono and Murphy will be put in a position where they could do what they have been brought to L.A. to do. Rondo and Kobe will have all the attention on them while both Kapono and Murphy are free to let it rain from downtown.
If the Lakers are serious about winning a championship this season and preparing for life after Kobe, then they should pull the trigger and send a package including Pau Gasol to Boston for Rondo.
March is now upon us and the clock is ticking on the Lakers' chances of acquiring anyone by the March 15 deadline.
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