NBA Trade Rumors: Targets L.A. Lakers Should Avoid Pairing with Kobe Bryant
Prior to the lockout—and for its duration—speculation regarding what the Lakers would do next ran rampant, and after the Paul debacle, it will continue to do so.
Aside from Paul, Los Angeles has been linked to a number of other players, such as Dwight Howard. While athletes like Howard would be solid acquisitions that are a lock to fit in, the same cannot be said for every name that has popped up on the Lakers' radar.
Los Angeles is itching for change now more than ever, but the organization must not let their desire for reform cloud their judgement, as there are a number of targets that are not suited to become Kobe Bryant's latest sidekick.
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With Jerryd Bayless eyeing his starting job, Jose Calderon is a point guard that could hit the trade block as we approach opening tip-off.
Calderon mentioned in an interview that the Boston Celtics and the Lakers are teams that everyone wants to play for, but can't. If that doesn't qualify as exhibiting fondness for the Los Angeles organization, then what does?
The Lakers are in the market for a productive point guard because Derek Fisher just isn't cut out to handle the full-time duties any longer. Calderon averaged 9.8 points and 8.9 assists last season—solid numbers, especially when compared to Fisher.
That being said, he is not the answer at point guard for Los Angeles. Calderon is set to earn over $20 million the next two seasons, and there are a variety of cheaper options out there. Additionally, Calderon is a defensive liability, and while he plays very unselfish basketball on the other end, he is a below average scorer at best.
Would Calderon be an upgrade over Fisher? Yes, but too expensive an upgrade. He is a relatively young veteran at 30, but his postseason experience—or lack thereof—doesn't hold a candle to Fisher's. If Los Angeles is willing to travel down the path of postseason inexperience, Ramon Sessions or even Jonny Flynn would be the way to go.
The Lakers would be wise to think twice before attempting to deal for the soon-to-be outcasted point guard.
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Mike Brown is apparently trying to convince the Lakers front office to make a play for the Cleveland Cavaliers' Anderson Varejao, but bringing in the power forward is not the way he should begin his tenure in Los Angeles.
Varejao averaged 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season. He is extremely active on the defensive end and plays with a lot of fire. He also runs the floor with ease.
Despite such attributes, Varejao is not a good fit with the Lakers. He is a very inconsistent offensive player, which would not be a good match for a team that thrives off the offense from its low-post players when Kobe Bryant is on the bench.
Additionally, Varejao doesn't exactly know how to keep his temper in check, and the Lakers already have enough "get angry first, ask questions later" players in Bryant and Andrew Bynum.
There is also the possibility that the power forward's production was bolstered because he played on a non-contending team; playing for the Lakers is a much tougher task than playing for the Cavaliers.
And if that isn't enough, there is always the fact that Varejao has four years and $35 million left on his deal, $25 million of which is guaranteed. His bloated salary restricts the Lakers potential to make future moves even further, and he is not a caliber of player they can build around once Bryant retires.
Brown may be fond of Varejao's energy, but Los Angeles is better off leaving the power forward to play in Cleveland.
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Hinrich averaged 10.2 points and four assists per game last year. Those solid numbers are a clear upgrade to Fisher's, yet when it comes to being a floor general, he is not one of the better facilitators.
The point guard plays very unselfish basketball, but his playmaking skills are sub-par. He is more apt to just hand the ball off and let a teammate create for themselves. If that's what the Lakers are interested in, then they might as well keep Fisher.
Additionally, at 30, Hinrich's best days are clearly behind him. No, he is not 37, but Los Angeles needs to target point guards who are in their prime or at least capable of re-entering it.
Players like T.J. Ford or Ramon Sessions are worth taking a chance on. They have the potential to make the Lakers much better.
Hinrich, on the other hand? Not so much.
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Prior to the NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers and Lakers held discussions about the possibility of Andre Iguodala bringing his talents to Los Angeles. While Iguodala is one of the most versatile players in the game, he is a talent that the Lakers should stay away from.
Iguodala averaged 14.1 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game last season. He is a defensive guru and can also put up points at the other end of the floor. Also, his versatility knows no bounds, as he is capable of running the point or playing the small forward position in addition to his shooting guard duties.
Why is Iguodala a player the Lakers must avoid? For one, to obtain him, the Lakers would have to give up Odom, who, while older, is just as versatile and put up similar numbers to that of Iguodala last season.
That isn't enough of a reason though, because Iguodala does at least make Los Angeles a younger team, and there is now the fact it may be hard for Odom to return to the Lakers locker room. However, Iguodala does have $44 million left on his contract, which is a steep price to pay to avoid a potentially awkward situation.
Would Iguodala mesh well with Bryant? Perhaps, given that he is unselfish and able to the play the point, but keep in mind the two do play the same position. The Lakers could attempt to make it work, but there is always a risk when you assume someone can play out of position full-time.
Additionally, life after Bryant must be considered here as well. Iguodala is a solid shooting guard, but is he someone who the Lakers can build around once Bryant retires? Not exactly. By that time he will be 30 or older, and if his time in Philadelphia has taught us anything, it's that he is unable to carry a team on his own.
If the Lakers want to take a risk in terms of a backcourt pairing, Monta Ellis would be more worthwhile in terms of both immediacy and future.
Iguodala is no slouch, and he could substantially improve a number of organizations, but the Lakers just aren't one of them.
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Prior to the NBA draft, the Lakers offered Lamar Odom to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the second overall pick, which became Derrick Williams. The Timberwolves countered with an offer of Michael Beasley and the second overall pick for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
The Lakers pushed to get Kevin Love instead, and then talks fell apart. With the draft over, the exact parameters of the deal are impossible to revisit, but with the Timberwolves nearly certain to continue shopping Beasley, the Lakers need to ensure they stay away.
Beasley averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, showing flashes of being the player most thought him to be. That being said, he is too much of a liability—both on and off the court—for the Lakers to take a chance on.
As previously noted, a hothead is the last type if acquisition that Los Angeles should consider. Beasley often allows his temper to get the best of him, and until he shows that he is traveling down the path of maturation, his is an energy any locker room could do without.
Furthermore, while Beasley's numbers were impressive last season, keep in mind he was playing for the Timberwolves. He got a lot of opportunities to create for himself on a young, rebuilding team, but can the same be said for a championship contender like Los Angeles?
There is a reason why Beasley keeps making appearances on the trade block. He has a wealth of potential, but until he gets his act together, he is his own worst enemy in terms of development and potential impact.
The Lakers just don't have the time to wait around and see if his presence pays off.
You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @Dan_Favale.