Los Angeles Lakers Trade Rumors: Should Kupchak Make Deadline Deal Or Stand Pat?

Chris HawkinsContributor IIIFebruary 21, 2011

ARCADIA, CA - APRIL 03: General Manager Mitch Kupchak of the Los Angeles Lakers stands in the Winner's Circle before the 73rd running of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 3, 2010 at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

Normally, it has been other teams scrambling to make moves at the trade deadline in hopes of matching up with the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, that trend may change this Thursday.

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a situation that has been unfamiliar to them since the day that Pau Gasol arrived.

They are now looking up at other teams in the Western Conference standings—2.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks and 8.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs.

A cloud of trade speculation is now hanging over the Lakers and with each loss, that cloud grew bigger and bigger.

There certainly is cause for concern—the Lakers’ play has been mediocre, despite playing the third easiest schedule in the league so far.

Now, this organization has all of a sudden found itself at a crossroads.

Does a trade need to be made to re-energize this team? Or is it better to stand pat and not risk team chemistry?

Kupchak appears intent on keeping this team together.

 As the Lakers’ GM takes a step back and evaluates what’s out there on the market—Kupchak will come to the realization that the Lakers roster that has the best chance to win this year’s title is the one standing right before him.

That’s right.

The same Laker team that has recorded a 2-6 record against the likes of Dallas, Chicago, San Antonio, Boston and Miami.

The same Laker team that got thrown down a flight of stairs by the Bobcats last Monday and followed it up with a loss to the lowly Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

This is a team that has admitted on more than one occasion that they lack focus from game to game.

Even Bryant has been caught with the “Is it the playoffs yet?” expression on his face from time to time this season.

It is no secret that the Lakers have been underwhelming this year by their standards—after finishing first place in the Western Conference for the previous three seasons.

But take a step back and examine the Lakers amid the chaos. There is nothing to worry about and no trade needs to be made.

There is arguably no team better built for the postseason than the team from Hollywood.

A team that features the strength of Andrew Bynum, the cleverness and skill of Pau Gasol, the versatility of Lamar Odom and the toughness and clutch play of Derek Fisher.

And there is some guy named Kobe Bryant who still dons the purple and gold.

How can anyone doubt him during the postseason?

This is a man who lives for the big stage, whose competitive spirit willed the Lakers to a championship last year.

The Lakers have a daunting size advantage in the low-post and a tremendous length advantage on the perimeter. In the playoffs, where the tempo of the game slows down, the Lakers will have the easiest time getting easy baskets in their half-court offense.

The whole ordeal in Los Angeles is eerily similar to what last year’s Celtics went through.

And standing pat at the trade deadline will be just what the Lakers need to galvanize them, as they move forward to the final 25 games of the season.