Andrew Bynum has been linked in trade rumors but chances are he will still be with the Lakers at the start of next season.
There’s a lot of speculation on what the LA Lakers might be doing in the coming months, but it looks like it’s going to be all smoke and no fire as far as any major changes to the team.
Let’s play fact or fiction with these Lakers rumors—as in these are the facts to separate from the fiction you may find on the Internet or hearsay from an alleged source.
At this point, there’s almost zero chance Andrew Bynum is going anywhere. Jim Buss, the son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss who’s handling the day-to-day operations of the team, is staking his legacy on Bynum and sees him as untradeable.
It’s almost a given that any trade rumor with Bynum won’t happen. Even if he might be the Lakers’ best bargaining chip being a legitimate center in a watered-down era for big men, Buss won’t let him go. He’s a shrewder poker player than his father, and he’ll ride with Bynum until the wheels fall off.
Which, as Lakers fans know, is possible every time Bynum steps on the court. Besides, the Lakers won’t get equal value unless they get Dwight Howard but more on him later.
If healthy, Bynum is as good a center as anyone in the league, and at the end of the year nobody played better or harder than him.
Buss has already gone on public record saying Pau Gasol is untradeable as well as Bynum. That’s not music to the ears of Lakers fans who watched Gasol destroy any shred of goodwill he earned with his Game 7 performance against Boston in 2010.
Gasol’s trade value was down after he was outplayed by the smaller New Orleans Hornets frontline and overwhelmed by Dirk Nowitzki in the second round. To make matters worse, his younger brother Marc played much better in the postseason for Memphis and made teams think that not only has Pau peaked, but his brother has a brighter future.
Gasol will also be 31 after the summer and entering his 11th season. It’s clear that he has trouble being a consistent No. 2 and with perhaps three to five years left in his career, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers finding too many partners interested.
That said, he will be highly motivated to prove last year was a fluke, and with Kobe Bryant in dire need of a solid No. 2, the stars are aligned for Gasol to have another chance to redeem himself.
Speaking of Dwight Howard, I don’t think he is coming to Los Angeles for several reasons. He may have stolen Shaquille O’Neal’s nickname, but he doesn’t want to steal his entire career path and follow him from Orlando to Los Angeles.
Howard has star potential off the court in addition to being the best interior defender since Ben Wallace or Alonzo Mourning. And yes, the Lakers are still looking for that All-Star big man to follow in their history. Does Howard want to share the spotlight with an old Kobe, and a team that will be potentially weaker than his current Magic team in two years?
Also, who do the Lakers have to offer for Howard in a trade? Shannon Brown? We’re still looking for him in the city after he got married. Everyone else is older and at this point, the Lakers need to hold on to the rest of their young talent to plan for a post-Kobe era.
The only rumor worth listening to involves Lamar Odom, who will probably be the only major player involved in a trade. His value is the highest it’s been in years thanks to him winning Sixth Man of the Year, and teams still believing he has potential to add much to a contender.
Forget his reality show wife Khloe Kardashian and how she may react to a potential trade. Odom could bring the Lakers a younger player to be a better No. 3 option. I see the Lakers possibly trading Odom and Brown as major chips if they want to make a sweet deal with some youth and athleticism.
It’d be the smartest deal if they chose to do so, but something tells me the Lakers aren’t about to be movers despite popular opinion.
In conclusion, what we see with the Lakers is probably what we’re getting with this squad in 2011-12, and Mike Brown has to make do with a team in limbo between contending and rebuilding.
After the draft, the Lakers have added two young guards worth developing in Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, and it’s time to give them a chance along with Devin Ebanks and Trey Johnson.
There won’t be any help coming via agency unless the Lakers find an attractive offer for Lamar Odom. Even it happens, Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak have made it clear they aren’t willing to bend to popular opinion and take a major gamble in the final years of the Kobe Bryant era.
Time will tell how this plays out, but right now the only major change coming to Lakerland will be Mike Brown at the helm and Ron Artest’s new jersey.