As we get closer to Thursday's NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in trading their way back into the first round so they can select a premiere forward. Is it doable?
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio recently tweeted that an Eastern Conference executive told him the Lakers like Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller of Baylor. Los Angeles gave away their first-round pick this spring as part of the Ramon Sessions trade, but now they'd like to make a deal to get back into the draft mix.
Picking up a young, skilled forward is just what Kobe Bryant and company needs, but does Mitch Kupchak have the assets to trade up for a first-round pick, especially in this year's loaded draft?
Andrew Bynum is Los Angeles' most enticing piece to offer other teams, but both the Lakers and their suitors will be reluctant to pull the trigger on a Bynum trade for several reasons.
First, it would be a blockbuster deal, so teams would have to give up an arm and a leg for the highly-talented center. From the Lakers perspective, if they are going to pull off a gigantic trade involving Bynum, they might as well go after Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
Also, Bynum carries with him the well-deserved reputation for erratic behavior and indifference, which doesn't help his trade value.
What about Pau Gasol? A year ago, Gasol was at the heart of several trade rumors and commanded a huge return. This year, the Lakers are still shopping the Spanish forward, but there is much less interest from other teams.
It's highly unlikely that suitors will be willing to include their first-round pick in a deal involving the aging All-Star who is due to make $38 million over the next two years. That's a truckload of money for a forward who's already shown signs of decline.
Outside of Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers' trading options are even weaker (aside from Kobe, of course). Players like Metta World Peace, Steve Blake or Josh McRoberts hardly sound like the centerpiece of a trade for a first-round selection. Restricted free agents Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris aren't any better.
As much as Los Angeles would like to get in on the first-round party, they simply don't have the resources to make it happen.