The Los Angeles Lakers are plummeting.
The franchise has spurts of amplitude where they make their fans and the envious fans of neighboring teams jealous of how much time they have left on their championship clock. The truth of the matter is, though, they do not have much time. Kobe Bryant’s 40-point clinics are temporary countermeasures that gloss over the team's lack of stability in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The Lakers will get there—they just will not stay there.
The trade deadline is emphatically approaching, and no one knows exactly where the team's head is going into the most important part of the season. Kobe is not a trade option, but players such as Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum become more attractive as candidates every day.
The equivalent may not be received, but that is neither here nor there for the Lakers. Their system is collapsing under coach Mike Brown’s watch, and they just need players who fit. The Lakers need players who can change the obvious outcome.
They kind of need a miracle by the trade deadline. Since they are not expecting a trade of those proportions, though, let's explore which trades would be best and which trades will just be more temporary, haphazard solutions.
Pau Gasol has had a firm hold on the trade market since the beginning of the season. When the trade deadline was announced, the countdown began as to how long Gasol would be around.
As much as Kobe Bryant vies for his teammates to stay or how much everyone wants it all to be over, it will not be over until March 15 graces the calendar. It only makes sense that Gasol and Rajon Rondo fall into the same trade talks.
While the Lakers and the Celtics may have discussed a possible trade between the two, nothing has been placed on the table. The logistics were not hashed out, and nothing was firmly negotiated. Just consider this friendly banter between two very unfriendly franchises.
This trade would give the Lakers a definite upgrade at the point guard position, but everyone must remember that Rondo operates solely off emotion. How would he work out for a team he despises after the team he loved pushed him out of city limits?
Gasol is a fairly emotional player as well, and being traded to his former team's rival may not be the best for his morale or the team's. Playing alongside men he has hated for a nice chunk of his NBA career may not play out too well.
As a result, we could see an emergence of the soft, mentally unstable Gasol we all were subjected to in last year’s postseason.
The Lakers and the Celtics should kill this rumor's possibility. Let sleeping dogs lie.
The Lakers would receive a player like Carlos Boozer, whom Gasol exceeds far past fundamentally.
Gasol is just plain better than Boozer. The trade would increase Chicago's chances in the postseason and make the Lakers even more questionable than it was post-trade deadline.
The Lakers should completely overlook this option if they have not already.
Bringing in Howard would cost the Lakers their livelihood. They would have to take an extravagant gamble on a man who has already assured them he would not sign an extension.
Therefore, the Lakers would be trading away two sure bets to rent a superstar who may not be wooed by Kobe Bryant by the season's end. Howard is a wild card, and the Lakers would be insurmountably idiotic to entertain the idea.
Gasol has returned to his much more reliable status as a Lakers big man, and Bynum is blowing it out of the park. L.A. has the second-best true center in their midst, coupled with a solid offensive blow. Gasol's hook shot and Bynum's power are much more attractive than a center who does not know what he wants out of the league yet.
The Portland Trail Blazers want Steve Blake if they are going to toss Raymond Felton out on his behind. This move would not hurt the Lakers, but it does not seem to be of too much help, either.
Neither one of these players has been too impressive this season. Of course the decision would be made much easier if either was streaky at best, but both have been busts.
Felton most likely needs a change of scenery, but who's to say this will cure all his issues with inadequacy?
If Felton is placed on the L.A. squad and does not turn up as he is supposed to, the Lakers' front office will be faced with a bigger problem than they had previously. There will be more angry players and rapidly growing chemistry issues in the locker room.
Midseason trades only result in higher-seeded playoff berths when the player brought into the organization makes an immediate impact. Felton has the opportunity to be a grand bust, and the Lakers may not want to take that chance at such a vital time in their history.
The possibility of bringing Brandon Jennings to the L.A. Lakers would ultimately depend on Monta Ellis' role in the franchise. Since the trade, it has been questioned how he will serve in the Bucks lineup and how Jennings will be affected long term.
Jennings to L.A. would definitely cure all of the Lakers' guard problems. He is a young, versatile and steadily improving basketball player who has a lot to offer any team.
The only question that would arise would be about a small stir-up between Jennings and Kobe Bryant that Jennings ultimately started. While Bryant did not respond, I am sure the Black Mamba did not take lightly to obvious shots during the offseason from Under Armour's newest poster boy.
However, all Kobe cares about is winning. There is nothing else on his radar with the exception of a sixth championship. Whomever the Lakers bring in to assist him in that goal who is capable of doing so will be welcomed with open arms.
Yet, the Milwaukee Bucks would only let Jennings go for the right price.
I repeat, for the right price.
As previously stated, an upgrade at the point position for the Lakers franchise is necessary.
Derek Fisher is going to begin to cough sawdust and Steve Blake still has not found his position within the team. He shows flashes of confidence, but nothing that can firmly convince the Lakers front office that he is what they are looking for.
Ramon Sessions could easily step into the role of facilitator, as his time beside Kyrie Irving with the Cleveland Cavaliers has definitely upped his ante. It has been reported that the Lakers want a first-round pick for Sessions, and honestly, this is one of the best moves the team could make right now.
Cleveland is not looking to keep Sessions around much longer, so luring him to California is not going to be a costly task, and the Lakers would respond well to Sessions' youth and speed.
What more can you ask for?