The Los Angeles Lakers need to do something.
They are not the same powerhouse they were in the last two or three seasons. Kobe Bryant is older, Pau Gasol is working too hard, Andrew Bynum is still struggling back from knee surgery, and Derek Fisher looks like his age has finally caught up with him.
The Lakers don't look like a team that will be able to turn it on this year.
They tried against the Spurs last week and failed because of a last second tip-in. They did step up to beat the Celtics this weekend, but it was not all that pretty.
They have some pieces, let's see which ones are most expendable.
Andrew Bynum has been the subject of a lot of talk recently. Most believe he could fetch the biggest return for the Lakers on the open market. He has been talked about in rumors directly involving big-name players like Carmelo Anthony.
The Lakers have always been reluctant to trade Bynum because of his potential and the fact that he is a big man, but with his constant injury problems that may change.
The biggest obstacle to trading Bynum is Jerry Buss' son who is set to take over when Buss steps down is enamored by him. Expect Bynum to stay, but not because he is not expendable.
Luke Walton has been on the Lakers as long as everyone else. He has a ridiculous contract, in which he has never produced to earn. His expiring deal is a big trade chip for the Lakers in any trade when they are trying to match salary.
Walton used to be part of the heart and soul of the Lakers, but being injured and a lack of playing time and productivity has even stripped him of that. If the Lakers can use his contract to bring back a piece of the championship puzzle it will be more than worth it.
The biggest reason Shannon Brown is expendable is because the Lakers have Kobe Bryant. He rarely plays anywhere besides shooting guard and because of his success this season he could bring back a solid return.
The Lakers may like having him around as a young talent, but he does not help them immensely with what they need most: winning right now.
Steve Blake was expected to be a big pickup this off-season for the Lakers. While Blake has generally lived up to expectations as a back up point guard and knock down shooter, he hasn't had a great impact on the Lakers winning. This is due to Derek Fisher's presence, whom Phil Jackson seems content to stick with, despite his clear downturn.
Blake and his contract could help bring back either a starting point guard or small forward that would help the Lakers win this season.
Ron Artest is the Lakers biggest trade piece.
He is still respected across the league for his defense and commitment to winning. However, he just does not seem to have ever fit in the Lakers triangle offense. He struggles as a shooter and ball handler causing fans to cry for him to be benched.
The Lakers could shop Artest and his contract to a team that he fits with better. The best way for the Lakers to improve would be to package Artest with one of their younger pieces: Bynum and Brown for a player that can put them over the top.