The Top 4: Who Can Fill The Lakers PG Void?
The Lakers have already lost the regular season series to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It may end up meaning absolutely nothing in the grand spectrum of the season.
After all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Yet, the losses have at the very least sent shock waves throughout Los Angeles.
The once untouchable champs, suddenly seem very mortal, recently losing games to teams that they should have easily destroyed like the Raptors, Clippers, and Trailblazers.
The obvious hole in the Lakers roster is at the point guard position.
But in response to the losses and fear that the current team doesn’t match up well against the Cavaliers, speculation has mounted that the Lakers might be enticed to swap the young, talented, but inconsistent Andrew Bynum for the talented, mature, but impending free agent Chris Bosh.
The deal of course hinges on Bosh resigning with the Lake show, and not testing free agency. On paper this trade would make the Lakers the undeniable favorites.
If the Lakers can make a sign and trade for Bosh, then it is possible to win without the PG, because the rest of the team would be so out right dominant they could mask any and all flaws.
Unfortunately I don’t see this move happening.
While it does improve the talent on the court, it would also come at a steep financial price, and I don’t believe the Lakers or Dr. Buss want to commit to another max contract, even if Bosh is a beast.
Granted Bynum can be horribly inconsistent and still carries the stigma of being injury prone.
But he is undoubtedly a very talented 22 year old, who is signed long term relatively cheaply and possess the size and skill set to be a legit center in the league for easily another decade.
I don’t see the Lakers wanting to take on another big salary, nor do I feel like they want to jump ship on their Bynum project.
If the Andrew Bynum for Chris Bosh swap never comes to fruition then without a doubt the Lakers need a new PG if they are going to win another championship.
Simply put, Derek Fisher has had a great career, won more than his fair share of rings, and has been a philanthropist in the community, but his days in the league as a sharpshooter are numbered.
Jordan Farmar, has been an enjoyable surprise after being selected 26th overall in the 1st round, but he is a defensive liability and has a limited ceiling.
Shannon Brown has been another intriguing and pleasantly surprising story, but he lacks the experience and facilitation skills necessary to adequately run the point.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid.
He is the perfect guard off the bench for the Lake show. Shannon is explosive, quick, has high energy, and can push the fast break and finish with authority.
But he can’t be counted on to be the starting point guard at this stage in his career.
The Lakers need more than Farmar’s + 6.98 EFF, Fisher’s + 8.04 EFF, and Brown’s + 7.36 EFF if they are going to win back-to-back titles.
Continuing on the path they are headed will not suffice.
Relying on Kobe, day in and day out to lead the team in every facet of the game, is asking too much, and without question shortening a brilliant career.
Sure Kobe can play with a broken finger, a dislocated pinky and a throbbing back, but at what cost?
While the San Antonio Spurs are resting Tim Duncan, lurking in the darkness for the right time to pounce, the Lakers are throwing Kobe into the flames without any regard for his future well-being.
We joke about Kobe soon rolling up and down the court in a wheelchair, but seriously that may become a reality if he continues at this pace.
I blindly trust in the Zen Master, because his track record is so impeccable, but part of me can’t help but question if Phil is in the wrong on this one.
Has he gone to the well too much? Has he enabled Kobe’s self abuse?
Only time will tell if Kobe’s is truly a freak of nature, or a ticking time bomb.
Up to this point in his career, Kobe has eluded catastrophic career threatening injuries. But how long can he remain unbreakable?
His training regime is among the best in world, but how many times can you play with fire, without getting burned?
What is clearly evident, is that Kobe and the gang would greatly benefit from adding a PG into the mix.
This late into the season there are not that many available options but the Lakers are going to have to make good with what is available, or stand pat, and unfortunately the Lakers can’t afford to play with the cards they currently have.
Here is a list of what I deem the four most realistic, obtainable and best fits for the Lakers at the PG position.
Luke Ridnour- The most practical choice
Ridnour is averaging 11.8 PPG, 4 APG, shooting 49.5% inside the arc, and 40.6 % outside the arc, all while coming off the bench in a reserve role.
The Bucks (18-25) are currently 9th in the East. But let’s be realistic, Michael Redd has been lost for the year, if not his career, and the team might be better served to rebuild.
The Bucks are not a viable playoff threat, nor are they projected to go very deep if they do happen to slide into the playoffs.
With all of that said, I would assume he’s available. Plus he’s behind Brandon Jennings on the depth chart.
A Farmar and Vujacic or Morrison deal seems like it could be enough to land him. Milwaukee might even be interested in signing an extension with Farmar, who may be less talented, but is also younger.
It doesn’t really address the Lakers defensive issues at PG, but Ridnour can shoot the lights out and would open up the court for the post players and Kobe.
He’s making 6.5 million this season and then he’s a FA, so he wouldn’t cost them any luxury tax expenses, which sure makes the deal that much sweeter.
Kirk Hinrich- The skilled, but expensive option
Hinrich is averaging 10.1 PPG, 4.5 APG, shooting 38.8 % inside the arc, and 36.4 % outside the arc, while playing both off the bench and as a starter.
The Bulls are currently (22-22) 7th in the East.
We’ve all heard this one floating around the rumor mill, and in case you haven’t, it’s another deal centered around trading Farmar and Vujacic or Morrison.
Hinrich is making 9.5 million this year, and is due to cash in another 17 million on his existing contract.
The Lakers can make this move work, but would have to open up their pockets to cover the luxury tax.
As is the case with Bosh, I just don’t really see the Lakers wanting to pay the luxury tax, especially for a guy who isn’t necessarily a star.
Hinrich would come at much cheaper price than Bosh, so maybe the lack of talent leaving town would make them more inclined to pull the trigger.
Jarrett Jack- The long-term option
Jack is averaging 10.6 PPG, 4.6 APG, shooting 47.4 % inside the arc, and 38.5 % outside the arc, while playing both off the bench and as a starter.
The Raptors are currently (24-22) 5th in the East. I haven’t heard anything about this one, but it sure makes sense to me.
Jack was a star at Georgia Tech and has made a good transition to the NBA.
He is set to make 4.4 million this year, 4.86, 5.22, and 5.58 million respectively down the road.
If the Raptor’s deal off Bosh, then there really is no reason to hold onto Jack, and since there will be a plethora of FA’s this year, the Raptors might be intrigued to deal off Jack for a combination of expiring contracts. Once again, Farmar, Vujacic, and Morrison could be dangled.
Nate Robinson- The electrifying, but possibly unattainable option
+ 11.57 EFF
Robinson is averaging 12.4 PPG, 3.4 APG, shooting 47.1 % inside the arc, and 40.0 % outside the arc, while coming entirely off the bench.
I’m sure everyone has heard by now that Robinson was relegated to the Knicks revolving doghouse earlier this season, and then rebounded in his first game back droppng 41 points.
The kid can straight up ball.
He was a stud at Washington, and he has proven to be a beast with the Knicks when given an opportunity.
As of now the word on the street is that the Knicks will not trade him unless a team also picks up the tab on Jared Jeffries and his 6.883 million next year or Eddy Curry’s 11.276 million next year.
Neither of those guys will be picked up by anyone, but maybe the Knicks could be convinced to swap expiring contracts if the Lakers were to throw in a 1st or 2nd rounder next year. Since the Knicks have no 1st rounder’s next year, I could see them jumping on that offer and taking the picks.
The Lakers will be slotted rather late in the 1st round and will most likely not be able to find a player of Nate’s caliber. If I were the Lakers, I would jump on the chance to trade the pick for a sure thing.
Of course this would all be contingent on Robinson signing an extension. Let’s not forget that Robinson averaged 17.2 PPG in 29.9 minutes during the 08-09 season.
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