With the Los Angeles Lakers in the midst of one of the most disappointing starts in recent memory, it’s only a matter of time before any number of Lakers end up on the trade block.
Chief among them being a lack of athleticism, poor three-point shooting, defense from the point guard position and scoring in the frontcourt. Aside from those basic needs, the Lakers simply have to seek out players who will be of more use in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system.
Things change quickly in the NBA, and especially in Lakerland (just ask Mike Brown), so let’s hurry up and name the Lakers who’ll hit the trade block this season.
*All stats current as of Dec. 18
Man, this turned out poorly. Antawn Jamison was supposed to be the Lakers’ high-scoring sixth man. Instead, his offense never made it over from Cleveland and his defense (always abysmal) has somehow gotten worse.
Because poor defensive effort and sloppy rotations have been the biggest problems in the Lakers’ early-season struggles, L.A. can’t really afford to give Jamison significant minutes. To put it bluntly, he might be the worst help defender in the NBA (with all due respect to the Golden State Warriors’ David Lee).
He’s almost never in correct position, and when he is, he’s hardly eager to step in and help. Defensive nuances aside, Jamison’s raw production has been terrible, and his career-worst PER of 13.68 is pretty good evidence of just how bad things have gotten for the 36-year-old vet.
The real question here is whether anybody else would actually want Jamison if he hit the trading block. Obviously, it’s hard to sell him as a hot commodity as long as he’s playing this poorly. But there’s always a chance that some team with better defensive foundations than the Lakers could use a little scoring.
Don't get too comfortable, Chris.
All right, let’s be honest: The only way any team would even consider taking Chris Duhon is if he was part of a package that also involved Gasol. But technically, that would still mean he might hit the trade block.
Though he’s been playing better of late, Duhon is still far from the “safe” veteran point guard many league observers think he is. Last season, he had the second-worst turnover rate of any point guard, and it’s not like his game involves high-risk flights toward the rim. His mistakes come despite his slow pace and passive style.
If the Lakers are smart, they’ll strike while the iron’s hot; Duhon isn’t going to shoot nearly 46 percent from beyond the arc for long.
What L.A. needs is a healthy Nash and an athletic backup who can run the pick-and-roll. Duhon isn’t the latter and he certainly isn’t the former, so it would behoove both parties if there was some way to ship him out.
As is the case with Jamison, the real issue will be finding a taker, as he’ll definitely be available.
Darius Morris is an interesting option. In one sense, he really might be the Lakers’ best bet to back up Nash when he returns. But at the same time, his youth and potential are greater than virtually any other member of the aged Lakers. That means L.A. might want to keep him around, but it also makes him relatively desirable.
If L.A. wants to get younger on the wings, it might have to sacrifice one of its few intriguing pieces in the backcourt.
Morris is gradually cutting into Duhon’s minutes, and although he’s not doing much besides shooting well from three-point land, other teams might see something they like in the second-year pro from Michigan.
You’ve got to give up something to get something, and as insulting as it might sound, Morris, unlike the gents on the next slide, is actually “something.”
Take your pick, interested suitors! It’s the Los Angeles Lakers’ expiring contract grab bag! Step right up!
OK, seriously, NBA teams like having players they know they won’t have to pay for more than a year. You see guys with expiring deals traded all the time, and the only reason teams want them is for the cap flexibility they represent once they’re off the books.
With that in mind, every one of the Lakers’ expiring contracts should definitely hit the trade block. That means Jodie Meeks, Earl Clark, Devin Ebanks, Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre should all be made available to any team willing to offer a useful rotation player in return.
Sure, the Lakers would probably have to take on some salary in return, but what’s another couple million when you’ve already got a $30 million bill coming from the luxury tax?
None of these guys, other than Meeks (who’s still just a one-dimensional shooter), are going to help L.A. win any games this year. So in a season where they’re clearly going for broke, the Lakers might as well, you know, go broke.
Maybe you’ve heard that Gasol hasn’t been a perfect fit in D’Antoni’s system. Or, maybe you’ve been living in a doomsday bunker in preparation for the Mayan apocalypse. That’s just about the only way you’d be able to avoid the persistent chatter about Gasol’s struggles and the necessity of trading him.
Although the Lakers have apparently been hanging up on offers for their erstwhile star, there may come a time when they’re the ones making the calls.
Gasol’s now back practicing after missing a couple of weeks with knee tendinitis, and there’s talk he might be able to see action when the Lakers take on the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday.
Once he rejoins the lineup, Gasol is going to have to find a way to fit in. Much of the onus lies with D’Antoni, who will really have to answer some questions about his coaching acumen if he can’t find a way to integrate an adaptable seven-footer with great passing touch into his offense.
Assuming the worst happens, and Gasol can’t find a role, the Lakers could certainly dangle him in hopes of getting back some athleticism on the wing or a shooter to help space the floor.