NBA Trade Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers Should Target These Guys If Magic's Right
The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off back-to-back NBA Championships and are currently second in the Western Conference with a .694 winning percentage.
Why on earth would they consider making a trade and breaking up such a talented group of players?
Because Magic Johnson said so.
The Lakers' vice president believes the team isn't playing with enough energy and could use a boost in the form of a trade.
February 24 is the NBA trade deadline, so here are 10 players that could have an immediate impact, assuming Magic's voice is heard.
10. Andre Miller, G, Portland Trail Blazers
The Lakers have received great minutes off the bench this year from guards Steve Blake and Shannon Brown.
However, a tough veteran presence like Andre Miller should be on every team's wish list.
The 11-year player has never won an NBA championship, and his time could be dwindling. But the Lakers will likely look elsewhere for someone who could make a more immediate impact.
9. Anderson Varejao, C/F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Anderson Varejao is a physical type of player that enjoys hitting the deck on a charge.
He's averaging nine points and nine rebounds per game on a struggling Cavaliers' team. He has been known throughout his career as a solid defender and could spell Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
He's still relatively young and might factor into Cleveland's future plans, but he would be a nice pickup for LA.
8. Andre Iguodala, G/F, Philadelphia 76ers
Even with how well the 76ers have been playing lately, Andre Iguodala's name has popped up in trade talks.
The 6-year player is averaging 14.3 points per game. He should be the piece that Philadelphia tries to build around, not trade.
The Lakers currently have Barnes and Odom to fill in for Ron Artest at small forward. Though Igoudala may be an upgrade, one of the other two would likely have to be moved to accommodate Iguodala, who has started most of his career anyway.
7. Rip Hamilton, G/F, Detroit Pistons
Not too long ago, Rip Hamilton was one of the premiere shooters in the NBA.
Sadly, he has been relegated to a bench role for a lousy Detroit Pistons team. A change of scenery would do wonders for the former All-Star.
He would fit well into Phil Jackson's system. Playing time may be scarce, but at least he'd be on a winning team. He would allow players like Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher to be well-rested come playoff time.
This could be the perfect (and maybe only) opportunity for Hamilton to resurrect his career.
6. Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies
Ah, brotherly love.
Teaming Marc Gasol up with Pau might just be the key that propels the Lakers to further success.
Marc can spell his brother Pau to keep him fresh late in games. He has had a good season for the Grizzlies, averaging 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
He has been a star in Memphis, but would probably thrive in a bench role for the Lakers.
5. Stephen Jackson, G, Charlotte Bobcats
The last time Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest were teammates, bad (and I mean really bad) things happened. Remember that November night at the Palace in Detroit?
It seems as though both players have moved on from their "bad boy" demeanor.
Jackson has had his best season in years, averaging 18.4 points for the Bobcats.
If acquired, Jackson would provide instant scoring off the bench. He has shown he can be deadly from the outside, and his sharp shooting could be valuable in the playoffs.
4. Antawn Jamison, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
It appears Antawn Jamison's days in Cleveland are numbered.
The Cavs are struggling mightily and have already begun thinking about next season. They will look to acquire some young talent or draft picks for the 12-year veteran.
Jamison may just be the spark Magic Johnson is talking about. He's averaging 17.1 points per game and would be a nice compliment to the defensive-minded Artest.
Some team is likely to acquire him, and the Lakers would be a good fit.
3. O.J. Mayo, G, Memphis Grizzlies
Reports have surfaced that O.J. Mayo has fallen out of favor with the Grizzlies' organization and could be on the trading block.
Mayo is young and talented, but he is still trying to put it all together on the court.
Acquiring Mayo would not only give the Lakers an immediate boost, but the move could also give Los Angeles some security in the future.
Fisher won't be around forever, so the 23-year-old Mayo could be viewed as a possible successor.
2. Gerald Wallace, F, Charlotte Bobcats
Like his teammate Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace is a prime candidate to be traded by February 24.
He has become the face of the Bobcats' franchise over the past few seasons, but he could have an immediate impact on whatever team acquires him.
He is most known for his shut-down defense, so teams will be lining up to bid for his services.
The Lakers would definitely benefit from acquiring Wallace.
Just think of the players in the Western Conference he would match up against: Manu Ginobili, Jason Terry, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony (for now) and a healthy Brandon Roy.
These players are capable of changing a game, but a defender like Wallace has the ability to neutralize them.
1. Nene, C, Denver Nuggets
The Lakers appear to be searching for a backup center. Marc Gasol and Varejao could be possibilities, but an even better option would be the Brazilian sensation, Nene.
Nene has seen extended action this year due to the injury troubles of Chris "The Bird Man" Andersen. He has responded well by recording 15 points and seven rebounds per game.
I watched his game against the New Jersey Nets the other night, and he is an absolute beast.
He rips down offensive boards and throws down monstrous dunks with regularity. He's very athletic for his size, as well.
Nene fits the description of what Magic Johnson is looking for, so don't be surprised to see him don the purple and gold in the next few weeks.