Lakers Trade Rumors: Mike D'Antoni Is Right to Be Skeptical of Deadline Deal

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2013

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 7: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a call against the Boston Celtics during the game on February 7, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Many people around the Los Angeles Lakers organization may feel making a deal at the trade deadline is the right move, but head coach Mike D'Antoni doesn't necessarily share those sentiments.

According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, D'Antoni was skeptical about making a move simply because it'll be difficult to integrate any player the Lakers might bring in at this point in the season:

"It would add somebody who doesn't know what they're doing and it could take awhile," said D'Antoni. "You're playing games you have to win and we might not even play them. That's a hard thing."

While D'Antoni seems down on the idea of making an addition by Feb. 21, he does leave the door open for L.A. to improve:

"As an organization, I'm sure we'll keep looking and talking and if something makes sense, we'll do it."

On the surface, it looks like the Lakers should make a deal.

The team is currently 25-28 during the 2012-13 campaign and is sitting 3.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth seed in the NBA playoff picture as of Wednesday morning. It's been a disappointing season to say the least, especially for a team that was seen as a lock to be a powerhouse in the Western Conference.

Pau Gasol will miss at least six weeks with an injury, so this squad is down yet another big man for the time being.

However, the Lakers' numbers as a collective unit aren't all that bad. L.A. is No. 6 in points per game and No. 3 in rebounds. Offense hasn't been much of an issue this season, but the defense has let the Lakers down.

Los Angeles is ranked No. 23 in points allowed per game and that's with one of the best defensive players in the NBA roaming the paint (Dwight Howard). It is a realistic possibility that the Lakers try and add another defensive presence to the roster, but that's a move almost every team is looking to make.

And that wouldn't ensure the Lakers' problems are solved on the defensive end, either.

D'Antoni's offensive system isn't one that leads to great defense. In fact, none of D'Antoni's teams have ever had success on the defensive end of the floor, so maybe it's a change at coach that needs to happen in order to turn around the Lakers' fortunes.

It's one thing to preach defense, it's another to actually know how to coach it.

But let's say the Lakers do add another piece before the deadline hits in an attempt to strengthen their roster. D'Antoni is spot on when he says that whatever player is brought in will take time to adjust to his team's style of play.

If for one second that particular player doesn't perform up to the standards D'Antoni has set for his offense, the Lakers coach will bench him, plain and simple. Many players have entered Mike D'antoni's notorious dog house and what we know for certain is that once you're in, you don't get out.

The Lakers are in a must-win situation each and every night out on the floor. They can't afford to have a roster spot taken up by a guy who can't make a positive impact on a nightly basis because of an unfamiliarity with the team.

That fact makes any move a huge risk. It's hard enough as a new face on a team to fit in and figure things out, but it's even more difficult when the coach has no patience to make it work.

Besides, the Lakers have had enough issues keeping their main players on the floor together this season. Chances are guys like Howard, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are still trying to get to know each other and throwing another new player in the mix will only make that process more difficult.

Los Angeles has more than enough talent to make this work without making a deadline deal. The Lakers have been playing much better of late thanks to Bryant's new desire to facilitate rather than score, so the Lakers would be wise to stand pat and continue to develop the chemistry for the players already on the team.


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