Breaking Down the LA Lakers' Best Trade Bait
After 25 games and a sub-.500 record, the Los Angeles Lakers aren't exactly sitting where they thought they would be after an offseason where they acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. This drama-filled season for the purple and gold has been brimming with trade rumors, injuries as well as fingers being pointed left and right.
It's a safe bet that L.A. will be engaging in trade talks with various teams over the next few weeks, meaning players on the current roster should be prepared for a change in area code.
With that, let's take a look at some of the best trade bait on the Lakers that should have other teams tying up Mitch Kupchak's cell phone. In no way is this list supposed to signify who will be traded, but instead, it's a look at who other teams could realistically be looking at as potential trade targets.
Spoiler alert: Kobe isn't on this list.
Metta World Peace
The artist formerly known as Ron Artest is enjoying a solid bounce-back season after struggling to make an impact during last year's lockout-shortened campaign.
Metta World Peace is averaging a solid 13.3 points per game to go along with 5.8 boards, and he's shooting 38 percent from three, which any team would love to get out of their small forward spot (unless, of course, you're the Miami Heat).
He may not be the Defensive Player of the Year of 2003-04, but World Peace is still an above-average defender, and most importantly, he isn't afraid of guarding anyone. Literally. He would guard a dragon if it had a basketball in its possession.
While the money he is owed isn't quite ideal ($7 million per year for this season and next), he is having one of his most productive seasons in a long time and toned down the crazy, which should have a few GMs interested in bringing his services to their neck of the woods.
When Duhon was traded to the Lakers along with Dwight Howard, I'm sure he envisioned a lot of towel waving and exchanging elaborate hand shakes with teammates. Instead, with injuries to Nash and Steve Blake, Duhon has been thrust into the starting lineup and in a way, has put together a little audition tape for other teams to see what he can bring.
Production wise, he isn't filling the stat sheet or making fantasy players happy, but he is providing a capable body to handle the ball when it isn't in Kobe's hands as well as a guard who can knock down the occasional three.
Once Nash and Blake return, Duhon will more than likely be relegated to the end of the bench where he will commence the aforementioned towel waving but with a somewhat reasonable salary ($3.6 million), and teams always looking for a veteran ball-handler. He should garner some interest.
Due to an abdominal injury, Steve Blake's biggest highlight so far this season was being helicoptered to a doctor's appointment by Kobe Bryant.
On the court, Blake provides another solid backup guard option for any team who is looking for such a player.
He's almost like another version of Chris Duhon right down to the amount of money he makes ($4 million per year). While these types of guys aren't always highly sought-after, there is always someone out there who needs them.
I'm sure you're shocked to find Pau Gasol here. I mean, he hasn't been in any trade rumors throughout his Lakers career. Never.
There are questions about whether Gasol can adjust and fit into Mike D'Antoni's system. There are questions about his toughness. There are questions if the Lakers have already made up their mind about trading the big man from Spain.
What there is no question about is his undeniable talent. Despite being 32 years old and no longer in his prime, Gasol is still one of the league's most skilled big men who has two championship rings, four All-Star appearances and two Olympic silver medals. He would, without a doubt, be a welcome addition to any team.
There is, of course, the "little" matter of the $38 million he is owed over the next two years, but as we have seen before, there are teams out there who are willing to take on gargantuan contracts for players who may be deemed "not worth it." Yes, I'm looking at you, Brooklyn.
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