Lakers Trade Rumors: L.A. Should Trade Andrew Bynum, Not Pau Gasol

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  (R-L) Pau Gasol #16 hugs teammate Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With Steve Nash now in the fold for the Los Angeles Lakers, Mitch Kupchak seems to be looking to deal one of his two elite seven-footers for smaller talent. 

The Orlando Magic have been looking at Andrew Bynum as the centerpiece of a deal that would send Dwight Howard across the country, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, while Pau Gasol is constantly mentioned in trade rumors.

Los Angeles is doing the right thing by pursuing all angles with these two massive human beings. Clearing the lanes and allowing the team wearing purple and gold to play fast is essential while Nash is running the show.

While the presences of both Bynum and Gasol have been beneficial to the Lakers in the past, the combined 14 feet of muscle and basketball skill can only get in the way now. Obviously, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but a different piece would indeed help more. 

If the Lakers are going to move one of the two big men, Bynum would be the logical one to deal.  

Not only is the center a bit immature at times, but his style of play doesn't fit in with the Nash- and Kobe Bryant-led Lakers. At least, I have to assume that it won't fit based on how I expect the new-look team to play. 

Bynum isn't inordinately quick. He prefers to play with his back to the basket so that he can baffle opponents with his old-school post game. The big man is an elite player on both ends of the court, but only when he can play his brand of basketball. 

That brand doesn't include hustling up and down the court to be the first man down, giving him the ability to establish position quickly or finish on the fast break. If anything, that's the worst thing for Bynum, a notoriously injury-prone player with bad knees. 

Lakers fans are nervous enough about Bynum's health as it is. They'd probably fear he'd break in half if he was running some style of seven-seconds-or-less offense. 

Gasol, on the other hand, is a versatile power forward whose game extends well beyond the paint. He may be soft at times, but his passing skills and ability to knock down jumpers make him fit alongside the Canadian point guard much more successfully. 

Having Gasol and Nash run a pick-and-roll together is a terrifying prospect for the other 29 teams in the NBA. The same can't be said about Bynum and Nash. 

The one piece that the Lakers are still missing is an elite small forward. Although the deal would be slightly below Bynum's perceived market value, swinging him for Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala would do wonders for L.A. 

Can you imagine how deadly a team with Smoove or Iggy would be in transition while Nash had the ball in his hands? 

As skilled and experienced as the Lakers are, they don't have any insane athletes like those two. That's what they're missing more than anything else. 

A team with Gasol and Bynum playing together is still great. The Lakers have to be considered upper-echelon title contenders with their current composition. 

However, they could get better.