Every season, NBA general managers are forced to make tough decisions about up and coming players.
Shannon Brown has been one of the players that has really stepped up for the Los Angeles Lakers during their struggles this season. The fourth year pro out of Michigan State has made a name for himself this season, averaging a career high 9.3 points per game off the Lakers' bench.
There is a consensus that Brown has the talent to start for many teams around the league. Unfortunately for him, he is blocked out of the shooting guard role in L.A. by one of the greatest Lakers in history, Kobe Bryant.
With the Lakers struggling, and no real way for them to get him more consistent minutes, the best thing for the Lakers to do is trade him away to fill another hole on their roster.
Brown is not a great fit for the triangle offense run by Phil Jackson. He is more of an up-tempo fast break player, who excels on the run.
Brown has developed a nice jump shot, but could never be the scoring option like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant that seems necessary to succeed in running the triangle.
Brown on an up-tempo team like the New Orleans Hornets or New York Knicks would be scary.
Ebanks was a second round draft pick by the Lakers last season and is currently playing only six minutes per game. His teammates have compared him to now-departed Trevor Ariza because he is long and athletic.
If the Lakers were to get rid of Brown or Artest, Ebanks could finally take over the role of the energy guy off of the bench and the Lakers will finally find out what they really have in him.
Andrew Bynum is one of the biggest injury concerns in the NBA every year. Even after acquiring Theo Ratliff this offseason and adding Joe Smith earlier this year, the Lakers are still very thin up front if Bynum were to go down again.
Trading Brown could net the Lakers a quality big man that would ease their concerns with Bynum, while allowing them to play bigger more often by using Lamar Odom at the wing occasionally.
It has been a long time since the Lakers had a lottery pick. Shannon Brown's value is so high right now that the return for trading him could be great. If the Lakers could land a veteran contributor along with a middle of the first round pick, it would be hard for them to pass up.
Derek Fisher is clearly on the decline and a draft pick could be just what they need to land their point guard of the future. Players expected to be in this draft range include Jimmer Fredette and Demetri McCamey.
It seems the Lakers have grown tired of Ron Artest, but because of the length of his contract they are having trouble moving him.
The easiest way to rid themselves of Artest would be to include him in a deal with Shannon Brown, who many teams desire. If they could acquire a new starting small forward, this deal it would work out perfectly.
Starting and playing Artest major minutes is hindering the Laker's progress in attaining their third straight championship.
The Lakers cannot stand pat and hope to turn it on in the NBA Playoffs again. Another team, like the Orlando Magic or maybe the Dallas Mavericks, are going to land Carmelo Anthony's services for the rest of the year.
The Lakers need to do something to get to and stay atop the Western Conference.
They had a strong showing against the Spurs last week, but came up short due to a Antonio McDyess tip in at the buzzer. The Lakers must do something if they have hopes of another three-peat and trading Brown seems to be their best option.
Brown is currently averaging 18.8 minutes per game, down from over 20 per last season. It is hard to increase his minutes because he plays the exact same position as Kobe Bryant, the Laker's best player. To play Brown more they would have to sit Kobe more which is just not going to happen.
There had been talk of converting him to point guard over the years, but because he doesn't quite have the skill set for it, these rumors have dissipated.
This is the biggest reason that what the Lakers could get for Brown will be much more valuable than he is.