NBA Trade Rumors: 8 Point Guards the Lakers Should Consider
When you have a team that features Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, you should be set. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they aren't. And some of y'all may be asking why that is entirely plausible.
The Lakers have no point guard. They are struggling, and if they want any hope at winning a championship, they need to make a move before or at the trade deadline.
It is abundantly clear that Derek Fisher is getting older by the second. He's never been that classic point guard that will get you 10 assists per game, but he has been a quality starter for many years. He's also a great teammate, so what more can you ask for?
Well, you can probably ask for better numbers. The Arkansas native has started all 36 games and is currently averaging just 5.6 points per game, his lowest total since his rookie season. Additionally, he's averaging 3.5 assists per game, which is up from last season, but when you have Kobe Bryant on your team, you should be doing a lot more with the basketball.
Fisher's back-up, Steve Blake, is actually doing slightly better than Fisher, but he's not the answer either. Despite logging in almost 25 minutes per contest, Blake is currently totaling 6.6 points and 3.1 assists per game.
Combined, the two point guards are averaging 6.6 assists per game. Thirteen players, including Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Mike Conley, LeBron James and even Andre Miller, have surpassed those numbers by themselves. Other players, such as Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton and Jarrett Jack, are accumulating at least six assists per contest.
Needless to say, the Lakers need help at point guard, but they still have a decent amount of time to figure it out.
In this slideshow, I will feature point guards the Lakers should consider, along with possible trades, with the help of ESPN's NBA Trade Machine.
Honestly, Jose Calderon seems like the best answer. Some Lakers fans may not like that scenario, but he is perhaps the best fit for Mike Brown's system. The current Raptor is also having a solid season, averaging 10.9 points and 8.8 assists per game, good enough for third in the entire league.
A scenario that could take place is that the Raptors ship Calderon to Los Angeles in exchange for Steve Blake, small forward Luke Walton and possibly a draft selection. Or, instead of Walton and a pick, the Lakers could look into sending Ron Artest...err...Metta World Peace, as he has seemingly fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and the fanbase.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Raptors probably would not want to take on any salary if they were to deal Calderon, mainly because of the chance of the team acquiring Wilson Chandler, who recently got his clearance from FIBA.
A dream scenario for both teams would be for the Lakers to use Lamar Odom's trade exception after he was dealt to Dallas for practically nothing.
Regardless, the Lakers would have to take on Calderon's $9.7 million salary, but that should be something they're used to. They're already paying three players at least $14.9 million per season, so it really shouldn't be a surprise.
The addition of Calderon would greatly benefit Bryant as well. Calderon is a rare breed as of right now, as he is a pass-first point guard. He would much rather dish out assists than score, as evident by his 10.9 points per contest. His ability to pass the ball would set up more shots for Bryant, along with more shots for fellow Spaniard Gasol and Bynum.
Calderon definitely seems like the best option as of right now.
One name that has constantly been brought up in trade rumors is Cleveland's Ramon Sessions.
According to multiple reports, Session has recently asked the Cavaliers for a trade. His agent, Jared Karnes, has since denied those reports and has stated that his client has not demanded a trade from the team.
Additionally, according to Bob Finnan of the News-Herald, the Cavaliers are wanting to acquire a first-round selection in exchange for Sessions, who is quietly having a solid season. If a trade were to happen, the Cavaliers would have two first-round selections in what is considered to be one of the most talented and deepest drafts in recent memory.
Finnan also stated that Sessions, if he remains with Cleveland through the trade deadline, is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract this summer, which would have paid him $4.6 million.
So if Sessions guarantees his departure at the end of the season, Dan Gilbert and Co. may as well just deal him elsewhere so they can get something in return instead of nothing this summer.
For the Lakers to acquire Sessions, they would likely have to give up a first-round selection and possibly some of Lamar Odom's trade exception. Or, the Lakers could possibly package Blake and a first-round selection for the point guard. Regardless, the Lakers need someone like Sessions, even though he is currently backing up rookie Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
Despite starting just four games this season, the South Carolina native is averaging 10.5 points and 5.3 assist per contest. Those numbers may not be breathtaking, but he seems to be a lock to be a better producer than Derek Fisher or Blake.
The Lakers definitely need to take a shot on Sessions, who could possibly be on his fourth team in five years.
In my opinion, the Lakers would be foolish to acquire Hinrich. I'm not saying that Hinrich is a bad point guard, but he seems comparative to Steve Blake, and that's not what the Lakers need right now.
They need someone that can come in and produce more than Derek Fisher and Blake. Hinrich could probably do that, but not by much. The Lakers need someone like Calderon or Sessions; not the former Kansas Jayhawk.
Even though he's played in just 19 games this season, Hinrich is having the worst season of his career. The point guard is averaging just 5.2 points per contest, his lowest total ever. He's also dishing out just 2.5 assists per game, also his lowest career total.
And he's doing all of this while being paid approximately $8.1 million.
If the Lakers front office ultimately decided to acquire Hinrich, a trade would have to be worked out that could consist of Blake and power forward Josh McRoberts. Part of Lamar Odom's trade exception could be thrown in there, too.
Regardless, the team's front office needs to pass on Hinrich.
I don't think he's the answer at point guard, and I'm sure I'm not the only that thinks that. Yes, Hinrich will be a free agent this summer, and it appears that the Lakers would just be renting him for the rest of the season. But it's not a smart decision.
If someone asked Jerry Buss if they should acquire Hinrich, Buss should just instantly reply with a "Pass."
Like a number of players around the NBA, current Blazers point guard Raymond Felton has been shopped around for quite a while. Felton has struggled all season long with Portland, and a trade seems imminent, even though I believe the front office would be making a big mistake.
For Felton's services, the Lakers were thought to be players on draft day last year, but they took a backseat to the Blazers, who ultimately acquired him.
But it appears that the Lakers have been given another shot to acquire the former Tar Heel.
Felton is having a down year; there's no doubt about that. The point guard is currently averaging just 9.7 points per contest, a career-low. But he's still dishing out 6.1 assists per game, which is almost better than Derek Fisher and Steve Blake combined.
The Lakers need someone like Felton, who can do multiple things well. Felton can score when needed, and he's an exceptional passer, even though his stats really don't reflect that part of his game.
However, it is questionable as to what the Blazers would receive in exchange for Felton. There's always the possibility of receiving draft selections or using Lamar Odom's trade exception. There's also players like Blake, Metta World Peace, Luke Walton or Josh McRoberts, but the Blazers don't appear to need any those players. Blake is the most realistic possibility, especially coupled with the fact that's he's already had two stints in Portland (2005-06, 2007-09).
The Lakers would likely have to give up a draft selection or two, along with a part of Odom's trade exception, if they want to acquire Felton. In all honesty, Felton is one of the best options, even though he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
This scenario may seem puzzling to some, but just hear me out.
The Golden State Warriors have been shopping around multiple players throughout the season, including shooting guard Monta Ellis and point guard Stephen Curry. At one point in time, Curry was the center piece in a deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Warriors. Instead, the Clippers were able to strike first and the Warriors were left out in the cold.
However, Curry has been somewhat of a disappointment this season, which definitely hurts his trade value. Hobbled with injuries, Curry has played in just 22 games this season, averaging a career-low 15.7 points per game, along with six assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.
He's still a great player, though, and any team would be lucky to have his services.
Honestly, if it came between Curry and Monta Ellis, the Warriors should keep the latter. Ellis is a better player and the face of the franchise, and it just seems to make more sense for the team to let go of Curry.
Even though his trade value has diminished, I could see a deal play out that would involve Pau Gasol and possibly a third team. But in order for that to happen, the Warriors would likely have to part ways with Andris Biedrins and his $9 million, although it's really not a bad thing. They'd likely also have to deal away someone like Kwame Brown and/or Dorell Wright, as well for Gasol to be in a Warriors uniform.
The Lakers would be very fortunate to acquire Curry, and it would likely be vastly beneficial for Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum. Curry may never be one of those point guards that averages 10 assists per game, but he's outstanding when it comes to setting up shots for his teammates.
A Kobe-Curry backcourt duo would immediately become one of the best in the NBA. But there would have to be a lot of things to take place for Curry to play in purple and gold.
Of course the two-time MVP was going to make this list.
Nash, the only player in the NBA that is currently averaging over 10 assists per game, could end up playing in L.A. by the middle of the month. Rumors have surrounded him over the last few weeks, as teams such as the Lakers and Orlando Magic have inquired about his services.
Nash to the Lakers seems like a solid fit, as one of the best point guards in the NBA and one of the best shooting guards would combine forces. A Nash-Kobe duo would be an amazing and scary combination, and that could be what the Lakers need to advance in the postseason.
However, it remains uncertain as to what the Lakers would give up for Nash, who is in the final year of his contract. But I fully believe that if Nash landed with Los Angeles, he'd ultimately re-sign with the team, as it'd immediately become his best shot at winning a championship, much less appearing in the finals.
In order to acquire Nash, the Lakers would likely have to ship out Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, more likely the latter. Bynum is younger and has more potential, while Gasol is older and is being paid almost $4 million more per season.
However, a straight-up transaction involving Gasol and Nash would not be able to happen, as there is about a $7 million difference in their salaries. Other pieces would have to be thrown in, perhaps Lamar Odom's trade exception being the best asset.
Regardless, the Lakers would be foolish to not attempt to make a deal for Nash. He's one of the best point guards in the NBA without a doubt, and it'd vastly help the Lakers' point guard troubles.
It may be one of the most unlikeliest, but the Lakers front office should definitely take a look into acquiring the two-time MVP.
Although it doesn't make much sense to me for the Celtics to trade Rondo, there are a number of teams that appear to be interested in the former Kentucky Wildcat.
Rondo is a great player and one of the most exciting point guards in the NBA. Like the aforementioned Jose Calderon, Rondo is part of a rare breed: the pass-first point guard. There just aren't that many left in the NBA, and teams should want a player of that type, rather than a score-first point guard.
The Lakers would likely have to give up a solid amount for Rondo, whether it be Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum.
It would seem as though that a Rondo for Bynum trade seems the most likely, as the Lakers need a point guard and the Celtics need a legitimate center. The injury-prone Jermaine O'Neal and the mediocre, yet surprising Greg Stiemsma are the only centers on their roster, and that's just not going to cut it.
I could see a trade happening in which the Lakers ship out Bynum and Steve Blake to Boston in exchange for Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal. A pick or two would likely have to be involved, along with a few minor pieces, but anything is plausible in the NBA.
Anyway, a Rondo-Kobe backcourt would become one of the most invigorating duos in the NBA. To be honest, that's scary to think about. Personally, I don't want to see it, as I'm sure there are others that don't want to see it, as well. But I'm sure Lakers fans would be salivating over that thought. I know I'm not.
Yes, I realize that there hasn't been any rumors involving the Bobcats' D.J. Augustin, but anything can happen. The Bobcats are currently the NBA's worst team, and it appears that they will be entering yet another rebuilding phase.
I'm not saying that Charlotte should give up on Augustin, but if they can get something good for him before his contract expires at the end of the season, they should pull the trigger. If they're not going to get any better, it appears as though Augustin will walk at the conclusion of the season.
The ninth pick of the 2008 NBA draft, the former Texas star has had a decent career. He hasn't blown anyone's minds by any means, but he's still a solid point guard that has plenty of time to fully develop.
Slowed by injuries this season, Augustin has participated in 23 games, averaging 12.4 points and a career-high 6.4 assists per game.
Like I said, they may not sexy numbers, but they'd be good enough to solve the Lakers' issues at point guard.
In order to acquire Augustin, the Lakers would likely have to part ways with someone like Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace or the seldom-used Luke Walton. A draft selection would likely have to be thrown in as well.
But if the Lakers were able to trade for the point guard, whether it be a late-season rental or not, they'd be considered winners. He's still young, so he still lacks a lot of experience, but Augustin in the lineup would be better than Fisher or Blake. There's no doubt about that.
Never rule out someone like Houston's Kyle Lowry. It doesn't seem likely since Lowry is having such a stellar season, and it'd be outright dumb for the Rockets to get rid of him while he's in the prime of his career. But, anything can happen in the NBA.
There's also someone like New Orleans' Jarrett Jack. The point guard has played fairly well this season, but with the sudden emergence of Greivis Vasquez, it looks as though Jack could become expendable.
Jack is quitely having a good season in Louisiana, and I could see him doing good things in Los Angeles.
There's also a player like Orlando's Jameer Nelson.
Despite having one of the worst seasons of his career, Nelson is still a valuable asset to a team. Nelson doesn't have much trade value, so the Lakers would likely not give up much for him. And because of that, it doesn't seem plausible that they'd deal Nelson, as they are looking to acquire an All-Star caliber player, in hopes of keeping superstar Dwight Howard in Florida.
As I stated before, though, anything is possible in the NBA.