11 Players the Los Angeles Lakers Must Avoid This Offseason
At this moment the Los Angeles Lakers are deciding whether to rebuild or reload. However, regardless of the direction they go, they must avoid certain players. The Lakers are about championships—always have been and always will be.
Los Angeles has never done things shall we say “the San Antonio” way, meaning they have never tinkered but rather tanked. To be fair, it has always worked. When you go through the history of the franchise most of its best players were acquired via trades, whether it was Wilt, Goodrich, Magic, Worthy, Kareem, Scott, Wilkes, Gasol and Bryant.
So it is reasonable for Lakers fans to believe they can trade Metta World Peace for LeBron James because they have done it time and time again. Yet, what goes unnoticed in the acquisitions is the
players they avoided either re-signing or receiving. Sometimes the players the Lakers didn't get is what makes them successful.
With that in mind, here are 11 players the Lakers should avoid re-upping or receiving in Los Angeles’ pursuit of perfection.
11) Amar’e Stoudemire, Power Forward – New York Knicks
No, we have not heard the Stat and Jeremy Lin for Bynum trade yet, but we will. Amar’e is a good player and would be a great addition to a club, just not the Lakers. Stoudemire’s lack of defense and pattern of doing the wrong thing at the worst possible time would spell disaster for L.A.
In a conference that features Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Utah’s Al Jefferson, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, Memphis’ Zack Randolph and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki defense is needed more than offense, which should eliminate Stoudemire. When was the last time you can say the Knicks won because of Amar’e?
10) Luis Scola, Power Forward – Houston Rockets
Scola is too old, too slow and simply not good. The Argentinian is good in a "you don't expect much from him" kind of way, but he is not a championship player. Scola’s lack of athleticism at 25 was cute, but at 32, it is painful to watch.
Some mistake the power forward’s activity for achievement; however, do not be fooled. He is more dirty than crafty, and that will only get you so far. Another detriment to Scola’s game is turnovers. He has managed to go under the radar with his two plus a game, but he won't be able to in L.A. Pau Gasol also averages two a game, and he gets killed for it. Pau has two rings, while Scola just has pretty hair.
9) Tyreke Evans, Point Guard – Sacramento Kings
Evans is not a bad player, but he is a bad fit for L.A. Evans is an isolation player who struggles to make a jumpshot. Last season, Evans shot 20 percent from the arc. In addition, Evans is a point guard who averages five assists a game. That is unacceptable.
While Evans is young and dynamic at times, he is also unpredictable with a tendency to come up short in playoff-type games, dating back to his days at Memphis. Evans is long and deceptively strong, but lacks the feet speed to keep up with some of the smaller guards in the league. That alone should deter must Laker fans.
8) Jason Terry, Shooting Guard – Dallas Mavericks
Terry is a great shooter and would definitely help with Los Angeles' bench problems, but he would create problems on the defensive end. Terry has never been confused for a defensive juggernaut.
Terry may hit a three-pointer or two, but he struggles getting back on defense. Also, the former Arizona Wildcat has putrid ball-handling skills and averages two turnovers a game, which means he is useless if he's not hitting his shots.
Dallas won a championship in 2011 partly because the sixth man got hot, but they also lost a championship in 2006 partly because the guard went cold. Terry now resides on the wrong side of 30 and can not be counted on to provide that spark night in and night out during an 82 game season.
7) J.R. Smith, Shooting Guard – New York Knicks
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J.R. Smith is an athletic shooter, and he is also a very good defender when motivated. However, he is almost rarely motivated and is a walking example of when keeping it real goes wrong. Smith does everything when he wants to.
He defends when he wants to, passes when he wants to and calls his own offensive plays, regardless of whether they are in the team’s playbook. If you have doubts, watch Smith and write down every time you say “nice shot J.R.” I guarantee you will have a blank sheet of paper.
6) Lamar Odom, Power Forward
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Odom quit on his team last season and used to have a reality television show. He was the Sixth Man of the Year recipient two seasons ago, but is a habitual under performer who bails when times get tough. Nuff said.
5) Steve Nash, Point Guard - Phoenix Suns
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Steve Nash is a great offensive player who makes those around him significantly better. With Nash in the fold the, Lakers would be a fun offensive team to watch; however, they would be horrific on defense. Ten years ago, Nash was terrible on defense, and 10 years later, he is has regressed.
Nash also has a bad back, which often gets lost in the hype. It's tough to make a case for a point guard with such shortcomings.
4) Michael Beasley, Forward - Minnesota Timberwolves
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The truth is that Beasley is not very good. He is known in league circles as a soft player who struggles to defend both forward positions. Beasley is a volume shooter whose points rarely impact the outcome of the game. Making matters worse he is a horrific rebounder at 5.6 a game and a reluctant passer who averages 1.4 assists per game.
3) Ramon Sessions, Point Guard – Los Angeles Lakers
Ramon Sessions is a good ball player whose skill set does not match what the Lakers' need. Westbrook embarrassed him, Ty Lawson became a household name because of him and Goran Dragic looked like Pistol Pete against Sessions.
The Lakers struggled defending other teams' guards, getting the bigs the ball and hitting outside shots. All three are the job of the point guard. With a player option, Sessions can re-up with L.A. or test the free agent waters. Fans should expect Los Angeles to ask Sessions to test the free agent waters. It is tough to envision L.A. bringing Sessions back based on his performance.
The sad part is fans expected the South Carolina native to be a player he has never been. Sessions is a good back-up who should never have been asked to be a starter.
2) Andrew Bynum, Center - Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew Bynum plays the game of basketball as if he is waiting for his mother to call him into the house to eat. There is little enthusiasm, and his demeanor leaves a lot to be desired. The situation with Bynum is simple: He has one year left on his contract, and the Lakers cannot invest $20 million a year in a player who may or may not show up.
It is these factors, combined with what Bynum could bring back in a deal, that leave L.A. with no choice but to shop him. Los Angeles cannot bring the center back and expect him to play to the same beat of his predecessors when he is a completely different musician.
It is apparent Bynum plays basketball as a game and is content on just being a player, with no desire to be a champion.
1) Dwight Howard, Center – Orlando Magic
In the last two seasons we have all learned more about Dwight Howard the person and we are not better for it. His poor decision making does not just stop on the court It is always tough to judge a player’s personal life, but when it mirrors their professional life it is all but impossible to ignore.
Howard has absolved himself of any wrong doing in Orlando and blamed the media, fans, and mascot for the "misinformation" that has been said or written about him. It is not that the center allegedly asked for his coach to fired and it is not that he allegedly requested to be traded. It is the fact he never admits to anything, it’s the fact he never takes culpability for anything.
The Lakers were among the league leaders in rebounding and shot-blocking in the last two seasons so they don’t need Howard but at some point wanted him. They should not now.
The question has been answered if Howard can be a champion and the answer is a resounding no. Howard does not possess the toughness to fight when the chips are down, he would rather smile, dance, and point fingers.
There will come a time when in order to win Howard will have to get blood on his hands and not try to wipe it off, and he has proven he is not willing to do that. The Lakers have always been about championships and that’s because they have always had dogs in the yard who bite first and barked later.
Howard on the court play has some bite but is mostly bark.