The Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, two of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, are surprisingly on two opposite sides of the basketball spectrum to kick off the 2012 season.
Out in Los Angeles, the Lakers are still trying to grasp an identity. The front office ousted head coach Mike Brown after five games, turned down a franchise icon in Phil Jackson and ended up bringing in the offensive guru and Mr. Pringles impressionist Mike D'Antoni. As they sit under .500 through their first eight games, there certainly has some work to be done in order to retool this squad into a viable contender.
But as we head east to New York, there's a bit of a different story. Although they're not the most talented in the league, the Knicks are currently the last remaining unbeaten. They've bested some NBA powerhouses in Miami and San Antonio and look to be clicking in all the right places under the direction of Mike Woodson.
So how can the Lakers turn it back on and how can the Knicks maintain their exciting success?
Simple, swap power forwards.
The two general managers of each team, Mitch Kupchak and Glen Grunwald, should be on the phone with each other right now in hopes of exchanging each other's starting power forwards-- Pau Gasol and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Although a trade of that proportion may be a tad unlikely, there's no denying the incredible amount of sense this makes for both teams.
From the Knicks' perspective, adding Gasol would be very similar to when the Lakers grabbed him a few years back. Just like the Lakers, the Knicks are currently viewed as a solid—but not overwhelming—force in their conference. But the addition of Gasol could throw them right atop the conversation.
Gasol would give the Knicks a much needed scoring alternative to Carmelo Anthony. One could argue that Stoudemire may be a better offensive player than Gasol. But what can't be questioned is the opposing mindsets of the two.
As Stoudemire comes across as a "give me the ball, I want to score now" type of guy, Gasol has established himself as a "give me the ball when you don't want to score" type. Stoudemire has clearly disrupted much of Melo Anthony's offensive flow over the past two seasons.
Being perhaps the most skilled scorer in the game, Anthony should be crowned as the undisputed go-to man in New York. Not to say Melo isn't, but Stoudemire seems as though he wants a stake in that debate.
Gasol, on the other hand, would work much more harmoniously as Melo's secondhand man. As the No. 2 guy in L.A., Gasol raked in a couple of championship rings as well as a few All-Star selections. Pau is tailor-made to be the No. 2 option given his extensive offensive game and his passive nature.
Tyson Chandler would also benefit from welcoming the Spaniard as his teammate. As we very well know, size often wins you championships. Having two seven-footers in Chandler and Gasol would give the Knicks an incredible advantage over contenders such as Miami and Boston.
With the Knicks at 6-0, the last thing a huge portion of their fan base would want to see is a disruption of that chemistry. Unfortunately for Stoudemire, his game would most likely give way to that.
A trade for Stoudemire could benefit the Lakers even more so.
Let's just point out the obvious. D'Antoni, Stoudemire and Steve Nash. What better way to comfort your new head coach than giving him his best pair of players in his NBA coaching career?
Needless to say, Stoudmire's style is much more acclimated to D'Antoni's "seven seconds or less" approach than Gasol's. Gasol is primarily a half-court players whereas Stoudemire brings about a run-and-gun attitude.
And if one side of Los Angeles is known as "Lob City," the other could potentially be known as "Pick and Roll City."
The Lakers already have two of the best pick and roll players in basketball with Nash and Dwight Howard. Mike D'Antoni is also one of the best basketball minds when it comes to that aspect. Add Amar'e, another pick and roll beneficiary, and we may be looking at the highest scoring team in recent memory.
Amar'e would also inject the assertion and aggression Gasol has so often lacked during his time in Los Angeles. He'd be much more disruptive alongside Dwight in the post on defense as well as on offense.
This potential trade makes too much sense for it not to happen. Hell, even the salaries work out perfectly. And if you ask me, as a Lakers fan and resident of New York state, I think the fans of both teams are considerably detached from each player.
Getting this deal done would be a very scary moment for the rest of the 28 NBA teams. It would make the Lakers the Western Conference favorites by a mile and catapult the Knicks into the top three teams of the East as long as they maintain their recent run.
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