Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Must Capitalize on Cavs' Interest and Deal Robert Sacre

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIJanuary 2, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre (50) walks upcourt during the final minute of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. The Celtics defeated the Lakers 113-96. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers might have an opportunity to deal Robert Sacre, and it's a chance that they must not pass up.

ESPN Insider Nick Borges (subscription required) reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown interest in Sacre, among other big men, in the wake of Anderson Varejao's season-ending injury. "The Cavs have been linked with Denver's Timofey Mozgov, Memphis' Kosta Koufos and LA Lakers' Robert Sacre, but have not offered enough to tempt those three teams," Borges writes.

The Cavs are in desperate need of help in the frontcourt, and the Lakers' recent acquisition of Tarik Black makes several players on their current roster expendable. If not Sacre, the Cavaliers could potentially target Jordan Hill.

Los Angeles should try hard to swing Cleveland's attention away from Hill, as Hill is still a valuable player. At the start of 2015, Hill ranks 25th among NBA centers with a 17.12 player efficiency rating, per ESPN.

Sacre is far worse, checking in at No. 53 with a mark of 10.89. He has only been better than Miami's Justin Hamilton (7.78) and Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (7.76). This is largely because of shots like this:


The Cavs are reportedly interested in Robert Sacre. Yes, this man. https://t.co/prr8hrPqqM

Granted, Sacre is not gifted offensively. He averages just 4.2 points per game and shoots only 44.4 percent from the floor as a 7-footer. Sacre's minimal value lies mostly on defense and the hustle he can give a team off the bench.

He even told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that his primary role on the team is to provide energy off the pine: "I'm really happy with how I've been playing. I know what my role is, to bring energy off the bench and make sure that there's no let-downs."

Energy can only do so much for a team toiling away in the Western Conference like the Lakers. They are dismal this season, and continuing to play Sacre is not going to help the team now or in the future.

Capitalizing on Cleveland's interest in him and getting something back in return would help the team build for the future by both ridding itself of an inefficient player and clearing room for Black to get more playing time.

CBS Sports' Matt Moore recognizes the importance of bringing in a young player like Black:

The 23-year-old went undrafted out of Kansas and was signed by the Houston Rockets during the offseason. He impressed so much during training camp that he earned a spot on the roster and actually found himself playing meaningful minutes during his brief stint in Houston.

He started 12 of the 25 games he played in, averaging 15.7 minutes, 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds along the way. While he and Sacre have the same points-per-game marks this season, it's important to point out that Black has converted on 54.2 percent of his attempts—nearly 10 percent more than Sacre.

Lakers head coach Byron Scott is a big fan of Black's physicality and defensive presence, but don't discount him on the offensive end. He can throw it down, as he showed here:

At this point in the Lakers' season, it's time to focus solely on a mini-rebuild that will make the team successful for what could very well be Kobe Bryant's final go-around next season. Getting Julius Randle back healthy is huge, but pairing him with Black could be the type of duo that the Lakers need down low.

Bleacher Report's David Murphy agrees: "For a team with a 10-22 record and little in the way of long-term contracts, an intelligent, hardworking low-post banger with a thirst for improvement could be a nice piece of the future puzzle."

The Lakers can't give Black a chance to shine by keeping Sacre and Hill. One of them has to go. Hill has been far more valuable this season, so it's obvious that they should prefer to keep him.

If the Cavaliers are desperate enough down low to take Sacre off their hands, Los Angeles needs to jump at the chance to get something done. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Cavs are willing to trade "polarizing" shooting guard Dion Waiters, so perhaps something can be worked out with those two players as the main focus of a trade.

It's imperative that the Lakers begin planning for the immediate future. If they were smart, they'd see the future plans don't include Sacre in them.

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn


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