Lakers Trade Rumors: L.A. Must Roll Dice with Michael Beasley

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IJune 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 09:  Michael Beasley #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves goes up for a shot over Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-94.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers were sent packing in the second round of the NBA playoffs this season, making it the second straight year that they have been bounced in the early portion of the postseason.

The team direly needs an upgrade at the small forward position if they want to compete in 2012-13. Because there aren’t many players available via free agency, and the Lakers are already on the books for over $80 million, the best way to get a new small forward is via trade.

One player that will possibly be available via sign-and-trade is Michael Beasley. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lakers were exploring deadline deals to move the 23-year-old to L.A. before talks collapsed in March.

Daniel Buerge of Lakers Nation is reporting that the two parties have opened up negotiations again and are hoping to get a deal done at some point in July.

The Lakers traded their first-round pick in 2012, but still have some pieces that may interest the T-Wolves. One of those would be backup big man Jordan Hill, who played well during the short stretch he had with L.A. after being traded from Houston.

While the Lakers aren’t the deepest team, they would be best served trading a marginal backup that hasn’t proven much for a potential starter.

After re-signing Andrew Bynum and being unlikely to find a suitor for Pau Gasol, the best thing that Los Angeles can do to remain competitive next year is to deal a career backup like Hill for someone with Beasley’s upside.

Burge found that Matt Barnes is likely not going to return to the team and Metta World Peace is an excellent candidate for the amnesty clause. This would clear the way for Beasley, a former No. 2 overall pick that has had a troubled career, to become a member of L.A.’s starting five.

While he’s not going to push the Lakers to a championship, Beasley could become an integral part of the current roster and eventually a key member of an unavoidable youth movement in Hollywood.

If all that costs is Jordan Hill and possible future considerations, the Lakers must pull the trigger.