After a second straight season of being ousted out of the playoffs in May, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a state of confusion. Every person's position on the roster other than Kobe Bryant is in question.
Their is no longer a question about if Pau Gasol will be traded. The only question about Pau is where he will be traded to. It's been reported as of last season that the Houston Rockets (via Ken Berger of CBS Sports) and Minnesota Timberwolves (via Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida) have had interest in Gasol.
The Lakers need to solidify the point guard and small forward positions in the starting lineup. With Kyle Lowry requesting a trade from the the Rockets, that makes a Lowry/Gasol swap make plenty of sense. Ramon Sessions isn't a starting PG in this league. He can lead the second unit, which was been below average all season.
As far as the small forward spot goes, expect Metta World Peace to be another product of the amnesty provision. He just doesn't play up to his pay. Matt Barnes' playoff performance gives us all great indication that he won't be re-signed.
His replacement? 76ers G/F Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has been on the trading block for quite a while, and it's time for him to be moved. The Lakers can use him on the defensive end most, but his ability to penetrate the lane and finish strong, as well as make the open three, makes him the perfect candidate to fix the Lakers issues at the small forward spot.
The Lakers can get this all accomplished in one three-team trade:
Lakers Receive: PG Kyle Lowry; G/F Andre Iguodala
Rockets Receive: F/C Pau Gasol, PG Steve Blake
76ers Receive: SG Kevin Martin, G Andrew Goudeluck, future first round pick (from Lakers)
The Lakers get the backcourt help they need to pair with the dominance of Andrew Bynum in the low post so they can return to being one of the top three teams in the league.
The Rockets get a consistent big that will bring it on a nightly basis for them and also become a playoff team once again.
The 76ers get a scorer to insert into the lineup that can put pressure on the defense. They had problems get a score when they needed them against the Celtics in the playoffs. Martin is a 20-plus ppg scorer that will give the Sixers offense another dimension.
This deal makes each team considerably better and can push them further than they went in the 2012 playoffs. Expect a busy offseason this year. Time to wheel and deal.