Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni has been trying to find the right big man to fit into his offensive scheme for months now. But all of his efforts to turn Pau Gasol into a stretch 4 have had a decided "square peg, round hole" feel to them, and Dwight Howard has only a couple of the skills the ideal D'Antoni big man needs.
And now, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com is reporting that Gasol may be out for as long as six weeks.
In a perfect world, the Lakers coach would travel back in time, snatch up the version Amar'e Stoudemire who existed around 2006 and slot him into L.A.'s center position. But even the Buss family, who have no problem blowing cash, won't spring for time travel.
But D'Antoni's stuck in 2013, and the Lakers are dealing with Gasol's serious injury and Howard's nagging one. So maybe it's time to look around the league for cheap options who would fit nicely into the coach's finicky system.
Based on the effectiveness of Stoudemire during D'Antoni's prime years in Phoenix, it's clear that the coach favors a player with power-forward size who can flash a few guard skills when needed. More importantly, the ideal D'Antoni big man has to be able to knock down a few elbow jumpers and get to the basket in either the pick-and-roll or with a quick, one-dribble move.
Most guys who fit those criteria are making at least $10 million per year, but there are a few inexpensive, long-shot options out there who might be able to help.