How Would Stephen Curry Look in an L.A. Lakers Uniform?
Most observers would agree that the Los Angeles Lakers need to upgrade the point guard position if they hope to return to the NBA Finals next season, but opinions vary wildly on what path the Lakers should take to realize that goal.
Some people have suggested that the Lakers may try to acquire either Deron Williams or Chris Paul, the highest-profile lead guards from the free-agency class of 2012, while others feel the Lakers should aim lower in hopes of landing another prominent free-agent center from that same class.
The NBA lockout has halted any contact between teams concerning any player trades, but it has done little to stop speculation, and one of this prolonged offseason's earlier rumors involved the Lakers possibly trading for Golden State guard Monta Ellis.
There is no way to tell if there was any truth at all to this rumor. If so, the Lakers may have been on the right track in attempting a deal with the Warriors, but they may have been chasing the wrong player.
Ellis would definitely give the Lakers more offensive firepower from the perimeter, but he wouldn't address the team's need for a point guard. However, his backcourt mate Stephen Curry could.
It may seem like a ridiculous idea to think Golden State would trade what is arguably the cornerstone player of its franchise, but this is the Warriors, and there have been rumblings from new owner Joe Lacob concerning Curry.
Last season Lacob was reportedly unhappy with Curry's progression during his sophomore campaign, and he made it a point to say no player on his roster was safe when it came to making deals in order to improve the team.
There is a good chance that Lacob was just blowing smoke, and the Warriors' decision to hire Mark Jackson as the team's next coach does seem to indicate their commitment to Curry.
Jackson was one of the NBA's all-time top pure point guards, and who better for Curry to learn the game from than one of history's smoothest playmakers?
Undoubtedly Curry will become a better player under Jackson's direction, but there is no guarantee the team will, and if the Warriors fail to reach the postseason again next season, Lacob may choose to go a different route.
Curry just completed the second year of his four-year rookie contract, and if the Lakers were really interested, he would probably be a little cheaper than either Paul or Williams.
A deal would likely mean the Lakers would have to part with Andrew Bynum and possibly a player like Steve Blake, as well as additional compensation, but acquiring a player with Curry's talent may be worth it.
Curry's perimeter scoring and playmaking ability would address two of the team's biggest areas of need, and his uptempo game fits perfectly into new Lakers coach Mike Brown's motion offense.
Defensively Curry still has plenty of room left to grow, but Brown is a defensive-minded coach, and Curry is young enough to erase the bad defensive habits learned under Don Nelson and Keith Smart.
In my opinion the Warriors would be crazy to even consider trading a player with Curry's potential, but the team does have somewhat of a history of making head-scratching deals.
There is also this to consider. Ellis is loved by most Warriors fans, and the majority of them would probably hate to see him traded, but there are questions as to whether or not Golden State can ever become a consistent playoff team while Ellis is its best player.
Ellis brings excitement and tons of points to the Warriors, but unfortunately that hasn't added up to wins. Therefore, he is expendable.
Could the same train of thought apply to Curry if the Warriors fail to show any improvement once the season finally begins again?
It's a reach to say the Warriors will qualify for the playoffs in the deep Western Conference, and conventional wisdom as well as recent history suggests Golden State's march to relevance is at least a few seasons away.
At any rate, if the Lakers are interested in acquiring a point guard for the future, Curry is certainly an intriguing prospect. It may just be a matter of the Warriors running out of patience with Curry and the Lakers having the patience to wait on a deal.
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