Los Angeles Lakers Trade Rumors: Carmelo Anthony or Andrew Bynum?

Vishal TyagiCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes up for a shot against Pau Gasol #16 and Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 27, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

It was recently reported that the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers have had initial discussions regarding a trade centered around Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum. 

The purple and gold world went into a frenzy. Two sides, both with compelling questions and arguments, emerged. 

Can the Lakers afford to give up so much size? Won't Pau Gasol wear down without Bynum? Do the Lakers really need more scoring? Why alter a team without even giving it a chance to defend its championship?

How can you afford to pass on Melo? Doesn't Bynum's injury history concern you? Who will carry the mantle when Kobe decides to pass it on? Have you seen the team play the other top teams this year?

It seems that the Lakers brass themselves are not that interested in the trade and are big Bynum supporters. The Lakers stance could be a red herring, as could the rumor itself (in order to get some better offers for the Nuggets).

We can't even be sure that Anthony would sign an extension with the Lakers, which would need to happen for the Lakers to agree to a trade. 

They offer him a chance for championships and a large market, so I don't see why he wouldn't unless it was family related, but you never know. Personally, I think the team, as currently constructed, should be allowed a playoff run. They are the two time defending champions after all.

We won't really know if the Lakers are broken until the playoffs, so why fix them prematurely? 

I sincerely think that solely obtaining Melo at Bynum's expense would hurt their championship chances this year, but would help them in the future. I also couldn't complain if Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak felt obliged to jump at the prospect of obtaining someone of Anthony's stature without having to give up one of his two superstars.

I think every Laker fan appreciates what Ron Artest did for the team last year, especially in the playoffs and in post game interviews (the one after game seven still makes me laugh). 

The "what have you done for me lately" world of professional sports, however, does not allow for even one year as bad as the one he is currently having without trade speculation and demands. 

His numbers are down across the board. I don't think that numbers tell the whole story but, when watching the Lakers play, he seems a little unmotivated and lethargic. 

Melo, while not nearly as good defensively as Artest, is a better scorer, rebounder and passer (when he wants to pass). 

He shoots better, is quicker and way more versatile offensively. Without even considering future years, the addition of Melo would be an overall improvement at small forward, provided he could pick up the triangle (the Lakers would have to incorporate some different sets involving Melo into their offense as well) by playoff time.

Besides, Ron Ron hasn't exactly mastered the intricacies of the triangle.

I don't see any way of getting Anthony without losing Bynum or someone even more valuable, so I have to say that the loss of Bynum would be devastating.

The Lakers size is such a huge part of their success. One of the Lakers biggest weaknesses is their inability to keep quick, explosive point guards out of the paint. 

The main thing the Lakers rely on to cover up this weakness is constantly having two of Bynum, Gasol or Lamar Odom (long, intelligent and mobile big men) guarding the basket.  Without Bynum, opposing point guards would hurt the Lakers even more than they already do. 

The team depends on the threat of Bynum to guard the interior and in the tough, brutal battles of the playoffs, Bynum's size and strength can't be underestimated. 

Dallas, Boston and San Antonio have all beefed up in recent years to compete with the Lakers, and wouldn't it be ironic if the Lakers scaled down their size willingly?

If the Lakers do trade for Melo, I hope that they then swing a secondary deal to get a big man. Kupchak has proven that he shouldn't be underestimated, so I'm sure he will explore all of his available avenues.

Andrew Bynum has a lot of skills, but the main things the Lakers really need from him are defense, rebounding and shot blocking. 

I know you're not going to be able to get someone as talented as him overall, but there has to be a way to get a proficient big man for one of their excess wing players. For example, a three team deal that gains the Nuggets another young asset might convince them to part with Nene. 

Sacramento and New Jersey use Samuel Dalembert and Troy Murphy sparingly, and hopefully could be convinced to part with them in a deal primarily based on young assets (Shannon Brown and Derrick Caracter), Artest and draft picks. 

The Buss family would have to agree to add to an already enormous payroll, but the trade exception created by the Sasha Vujacic trade could be used in conjunction with another asset or two to trade for a serviceable big man on a multi-year contract (Andris Biedrins, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby or even, I can't believe I'm saying this, Darko Milicic). 

I don't think trading Bynum for Melo helps the team this year, but along with the addition of one of the big men above, I'm not sure anymore. 

The Lakers have never lost a playoff series in which their core five of Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Bynum and Fisher have all played.

When considering whether the trade would benefit the Lakers, it is important to think about how much longer you think the championship window will be open. Would you be willing to decrease the chance at this year's title for the opportunity to have a guaranteed star scorer to carry you when Kobe regresses and eventually retires? 

In order to win, LA will most likely have to get through both Dallas and San Antonio before facing a big team from the East in the finals. It will be very, very difficult with Odom and Gasol as your only big man threats. 

If the trade does end up going through, how many years will the Lakers be able to go without a championship before people start loudly asking why they broke up a core that never lost? Two? Three?

There will never be a shortage of stars that want to play for the Lakers. 

Let this team, as currently constructed, defend its title. They've earned the right. If it doesn't work out, then make some adjustments in the offseason. 

Are you ready to even begin the process of moving from the Kobe years to the Melo years? I'm not if the sacrifice is the Lakers size advantage.

Any and all comments will be appreciated.