D.J. Augustin to the Lakers: Guide to Making the Move Work
The Los Angeles Lakers need to upgrade at the point guard position.
While that's been the popular sentiment since before the 2010-11 season concluded, there haven't been a ton of suggestions as to how the team should fill the obvious void on the roster.
It's going to take an unorthodox approach to solve the conundrum, as the Lakers already have more than $67 million on the books for the 2012-13 season.
That financial figure is certainly subject to change, but with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol accounting for approximately $47 million, it's almost certainly not going to be a drastic alteration.
Derek Fisher is aging, Steve Blake struggled in his first season with the team and the club got nothing from the position.
This is a club that really needs to start thinking about the future while remaining competitive for a title as long as Bryant is still on the roster.
How It Could Happen: Trade
Charlotte doesn't seem sold on D.J. Augustin as the long-term answer at point guard, and that could open the window of opportunity for Los Angeles to acquire his services.
The ninth overall pick from the 2008 draft, Augustin struggled in his first two seasons with the Bobcats before he seemingly turned a corner during the 2010-11 campaign.
After never averaging more than 3.5 assists per game, Augustin saw that number rise all the way to 6.1 last year. He also established career-high marks in points (14.4), free-throw percentage (90.6), rebounds (2.7) and steals (0.7).
Although he fell off in certain areas such as field-goal and three-point field-goal percentage, those were a direct result of taking more shots (11.7 per game) than he had in previous campaigns.
He wouldn't have the same offensive responsibilities in terms of scoring that he has assumed in Charlotte, and that could very well pave the path toward him becoming a more complete point guard.
Potential trade: Three-team deal.
Charlotte acquires: SF Terrence Williams, SG Courtney Lee, PG Steve Blake
Charlotte loads up with talent on the wing in Williams and Lee, as well as a veteran point guard in Blake to play backup to Kemba Walker.
Los Angeles acquires: PG D.J. Augustin, F Boris Diaw
The Lakers get an upgrade at the position the team sorely needs in Augustin, as well as a versatile forward in Diaw to be a short-term replacement for the departed Lamar Odom.
Additionally, both players come off the books at season's end, so this experiment can be for just a single season if it doesn't work out.
Houston acquires: F Lamar Odom
The Rockets add legitimate size along the front line and a player in Odom who can play a variety of roles for the team.
He can be a good mentor for Marcus Morris and should be able to find his groove alongside Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin.
How It Could Happen: Signing
The approximately $68 million the Lakers are on the hook for next season is somewhat deceiving.
As mentioned, Bryant and Gasol account for almost $47 million, but the combination of Metta World Peace (player option), Luke Walton, Steve Blake and Derek Fisher (player option) account for nearly $21 million.
While one of those players may very well be an amnesty cut casualty, the $68 million figure doesn't account for the $16.5 million team option on Andrew Bynum, nor does it take Lamar Odom's $8.2 team option into consideration.
Assuming the team keeps both players in the fold, that $68 million suddenly becomes a gargantuan $92.7 million, actually more than the 2011-12 total.
Without significant changes that would significantly shake up the salary owed within the group, the Lakers won't be able to afford this 2012 restricted free agent.
How Augustin Fits with the Lakers
New head coach Mike Brown has promised that his offensive approach will run through his big men, and that's an element of the attack Augustin has never had.
Should he land on the Lakers, Augustin would have the opportunity to play with two talented big men in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and that's something that could help shape his game immensely.
Augustin is capable of feeding the ball into the low post as well as stretching the floor from beyond the arc, and that could really help both the team and his personal development.
He would be an instant improvement over anything the team currently boasts at the position, and there's no doubt he'd also inject a very much-needed element of youth into an aging roster.
Augustin would need to limit his turnovers, but that hasn't been much of a problem for him in his career, as he's never averaged more than 1.9 per game in a single season.
Chances of Lakers Winning a Championship with Augustin
As long as Bryant and Gasol are leading the charge for the Lakers, it's hard to imagine this team being out of the title picture completely.
Having said that, this is one of the oldest rosters in the league, and that isn't going to change as time moves forward.
There's no doubt that the Los Angeles championship window is only open for a little while longer as the club is currently constructed, and the team needs to capitalize on every opportunity possible while Bryant is still playing basketball.
Adding Augustin would be a welcome sight for fans who are desperate to see some production, but he would undoubtedly need time to build chemistry with his new teammates.
Although he's struggled at times in Charlotte, he hasn't exactly had a plethora of skilled players alongside him for much of that time.
It would certainly be fun to see him play with a more skilled group.
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