Like many, I have become increasingly skeptical of anything ESPN “reports."
Which is why when “sources” apparently told ESPN's Chris Broussard that the Lakers and Nuggets were having preliminary discussions about a Carmelo Anthony trade, I couldn't help but smirk. Could it be true? Sure.
ESPN hit another all-time low when analyst Jon Barry began claiming that he was fairly certain Anthony would sign with the Nets after Mr. Prokhorov had just announced that his team would cease pursuit of the superstar.
Barry argued (with admittedly no historical evidence) that the Anthony deal would soon go through because he “had a strong feeling” it would. Huh?
Still, Broussard's stipulations are, at the very least, worthy of discussion.
The Lakers' would supposedly be offering up Andrew Bynum, while taking on some of the Nuggets' bad contract. Lamar Odom would return to the starting power forward position and Anthony would send Artest to the bench.
This news could easily be a piece of strategy by the Nuggets, in hopes of making the Knicks bend a little on their offer(s), which would be a fairly intelligent ploy.
For the Lakers, hopefully that is exactly what it is.
Bryant, Anthony, Gasol. Sound like any other team?
If the trade came to be, the Lakers would undoubtedly have to be the rival team for the Heat in the Western Conference. Too bad they wouldn't end up in the NBA Finals to see who was better (Lakers, by Odom alone).
Why did the Lakers lose the 2007-08 NBA Finals to Boston?
A true Lakers fan would tell you it was the lack of interior presence in the form of Andrew Bynum. Pau Gasol did not have the necessary physical edge after several years in the West and the Celtics utilized their post-strength (amongst other things) to beat up on the Lakers.
At only 23, Bynum is the center of the future in L.A. If he can stay healthy (okay, this has proven to be a big "IF"), Bynum will be a reliable piece to any winning puzzle for the Lakers. Sure, as a leader, Bryant's presence is most essential. However, winning in today's NBA requires a major interior presence.
Bynum, Perkins, Duncan, O'Neal, Wallace.
All five of these big men have been on the championship team in each of the last 10 seasons.
Look at some of the teams that they defeated and you will notice some significant gaps down low:
Celtics without Perkins; Lakers without Bynum; Cavs with Varejao and the Mavericks with Dampier. These teams were clearly hurt by lacking/being without the big man factor.
If the Lakers rid themselves of Bynum, they would be plagued by the same issue that will hurt the Heat come playoff time: How can you beat the physical post teams without a physical post presence?