Lakers Trade Rumors: Ranking the Moves Most Likely to Happen

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMarch 4, 2012

Lakers Trade Rumors: Ranking the Moves Most Likely to Happen

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    As we move closer to the March 15th NBA trade deadline, many fans are expecting to see a blockbuster trade including either Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum to come out of the Los Angeles Lakers' front office.

    While the jury is still out on whether the Lakers absolutely need to make a move before the trade deadline, there's a likelihood that a trade involving the Lakers is going to happen.

    The question now becomes: Which trade is the most likely to happen for the Lakers?

    Is it going to be a blockbuster trade, like Gasol and Bynum to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, or will it be a smaller-profile trade, like Andrew Goudelock and some cash to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Michael Beasley?

    You're in luck.  In the next few slides, I'm going to tell you which Lakers trade is most likely to happen before the March 15th NBA trade deadline.   

No. 7: Michael Beasley

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    Beasley would be a nice fit into a Lakers rotation that is relatively weak at the small forward position, but there's one problem.

    Adding Beasley would cost the Lakers nearly $6.2 million dollars at the end of the year, when they pay their annual tax bill.  The Lakers already have one of the biggest payrolls in the NBA, which means they also pay the most in taxes.

    Either way, there are reports coming from ESPN's Chris Broussard that the Lakers have already turned down an offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves that would have sent Beasley to the Lakers for a 2012 first-round draft pick.

    The Lakers would be smart to stay away from Beasley, or any other inconsistent offensive player for that matter, as their main focus needs to be adding an offensive-minded point guard before the trade deadline.  

    Chance this trade happens:  5 percent   

No. 6: Rajon Rondo

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    While the Boston Celtics might not be actively shipping Rondo out of Boston, Danny Ainge is clearly still entertaining the idea of a Rondo-less future in Boston, as he's still taking phone calls from teams seeing what Rondo is worth on the trade market, according to CBS Sports.

    The Lakers would be wise to go after a guy like Rondo, who would be able to facilitate the offense through Kobe Bryant, while still being able to be an offensive threat with the ball in his hands.

    The only problem is that the Boston Celtics aren't exactly looking to get any older, as they already have one of the oldest starting rotations in the NBA. And that's what they'd have to do by trading Rondo for a guy like Gasol.

    If the Celtics could get the Lakers to send them Bynum and a first-round draft pick for  Rondo, they would be foolish not to pull the trigger on the move.  Unfortunately for Boston, Los Angeles giving up Bynum is less of an option than giving up Gasol, because Bynum has youth on his side.

    I'd be shocked if Rondo puts on a No. 9 Lakers jersey before the trade deadline.

    Chance this trade happens:  10 percent 

No. 5: Dwight Howard

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    Howard sure does look nice in that gold Lakers jersey, but unfortunately it's not a sight that Lakers' fans will ever get to see happen.

    ESPN's John Ireland is reporting that Howard is not interested in signing extension with the Lakers at the end of the season if traded to Los Angeles, which makes a Howard-to-the Lakers trade that much more unlikely to happen.

    Let's just say that, for some reason, Orlando decides to trade Howard to the Lakers for Bynum and Gasol.  That would leave the Lakers with seven or eight weeks to try to convince Howard to re-sign with Los Angeles, which is the exact same spot Howard is in with Orlando. That doesn't bode well for the Lakers' chances of luring him to stay in Los Angeles.

    The Lakers would be foolish to give up what they'll need to to get Howard, especially if D-12 has no plans of re-signing with them at the end of the season.

    Chance this trade happens:  15 percent 

No. 4: Steve Nash

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    A Nash-to-the Lakers trade isn't likely to happen, and it's not necessarily because both teams don't want it to happen.

    The main reason why Nash will remain a member of the Phoenix Suns throughout the remainder of the 2011-12 season is because the Suns have put the ball in Nash's court, and as we all know, Nash doesn't turn the ball over often.

    ESPN's Chris Broussard is reporting that the Phoenix Suns aren't planning on trading  Nash unless he demands a trade, and that's not the kind of player Nash is.

    Nash hasn't expressed any interest in being traded as of late, and unless something dramatic happens in the next 10 days, there's a high likelihood that Nash's perspective on being traded won't change.

    It's looking more and more likely that Los Angeles is going to have to wait until 2012 free agency to try to get Nash to put on a No. 13 Lakers jersey.

    Chance this trade happens:  20 percent  

No. 3: Raymond Felton

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    Felton hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire with the Portland Trailblazers as of late.

    Roland Lazenby of reported a week ago that the Lakers were interested in Felton, and while that's about all that has been said about a potential Felton-to-Lakers trade, there's no doubt that Felton would be a nice fit in Los Angeles.

    Adding Felton would be a major offensive upgrade over the options the Lakers have now at the point guard position; the only problem is that it would cost the Lakers.  One of the most feasible Lakers and Trailblazers trade would look like this:

    Los Angeles sends C Andrew Bynum and PG Steve Blake to Portland for PG Raymond Felton, SF Nicolas Batum and  C Marcus Camby (to help financially).

    This trade could realistically happen; the only question is whether the Lakers would want to give up Bynum.  If the Lakers are desperate near the trade deadline, this trade could feasibly become a reality.

    Chance this trade happens:  35 percent

No. 2: Kyle Lowry

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    There's no way around it.  The Lakers need a major upgrade at the point guard position if they want to make a run in the 2012 NBA playoffs.

    Steve Blake and Derek Fisher just aren't going to get the job done, and while there are a lot of point guards the Lakers could be interested in—like Rondo, Felton and Nash—their best upgrade would come via a Houston Rockets trade involving Kyle Lowry.

    ESPN reports that the Lakers and Rockets aren't going to match up up on a potential trade involving Lowry and Gasol, but that doesn't mean that it isn't likely to happen.

    Making a trade for Lowry would cost the Lakers at least Gasol, some other players and a first-round draft pick, but in all reality they would be able to recoup their losses by receiving solid talent in return.  Here's a potential Lakers-Rockets trade that makes sense for both teams:

    Los Angeles sends PF Pau Gasol, SF/SG Matt Barnes, PG Steve Blake and 2012 first-round pick to Houston for PF Luis Scola, PG Kyle Lowry, SF Terrence Williams and C Hasheem Thabeet (cap space).

    This trade makes sense for both teams, as the Lakers get the talent they've been looking for, and the Rockets get some pieces that will help them now and in the future.

    Chance this trade happens:  45 percent   

No. 1: Jose Calderon

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    The way the Lakers can make the smartest and best upgrade before the trade deadline is by trading with a team that doesn't have anything to lose by unloading talent, and the Toronto Raptors are just that team.

    Sources are reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers are one of a few teams that have inquired about the availability of Calderon in the past few days.

    Calderon would be a perfect fit for the Los Angeles Lakers, as he would be an immediate upgrade over both Blake and Fisher.

    Here's a potential Lakers and Raptors trade that makes sense financially and talent-wise: 

    Los Angeles sends PF Pau Gasol, PG Steve Blake, G Andrew Goudelock and 2012 first-round draft pick to Toronto for PG Jose Calderon, SG DeMar Derozan and PF Amir Johnson.

    The Raptors would be wise to unload DeRozan in this trade, as he's yet to achieve his full potential, and a move to Los Angeles could help him finally be that supporting star that many thought he could be.

    This trade would be an absolute win for the Lakers moving into the second half of the season, and the Raptors would form one of the most dangerous frontcourts in the NBA with Andrea Bargnani and Gasol.

    Chance this trade happens:  60 percent

    Thanks for checking out the article, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @peteremerick as the trade deadline approaches.