NBA Trade Rumors: Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum in Los Angeles?

Phil G@FuturePhilGCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum in Los Angeles?

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts next to Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets in the first half of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 27, 2009 i
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Lakers have looked awful the last couple of weeks. On the Grammy road trip, they have been blown out by both Orlando and the Bobcats. The starting five has looked tired and lackadaisical. The bench, with the exception of Odom, has looked even worse. The acquisition of Steve Blake, once considered the most underrated addition this offseason, has turned out to be a big bust. Even Phil Jackson has called the team out, calling their recent loss to the Bobcats embarrassing. 

    I don't the Lakers themselves realize how bad they've been playing. It might not be sinking in yet, but they could possibly play a lot of road games come playoff time. The Lakers are a proven and tested veteran team, so the playing on the road doesn't scare them but this year might be different. Do the Lakers really want to play a team like the Thunder or the Mavericks on the road? That might seem ridiculous but the Lakers are now three games behind a surging Mavericks team and at this point, it looks like the Spurs will run away with the West. They are currently tied with the Thunder in the loss column at 19 losses and with the way the Lakers are playing right now, OKC could very well pass them in the standings. 

    The Lakers will almost be guaranteed home court in the first round. The Pacific division is too horrible for the Lakers to allow Phoenix to sidestep them in the standings. As a Laker fan, the most concerning issue about this season is the unknown. Because the Lakers have pretty much gave up on the regular season, coupled with the rise of several Western Conference teams, the pathway to their fourth straight finals appearance might have to be won on the road. LA has always entered the playoffs as the first seed, and because of their struggles this season, they might have to play both the Spurs and the Mavericks on the road. 

    I don't doubt that the Lakers could beat these teams on the road, it's just that their play thus far has really started to worry me. Every Laker loss has been met with media frenzy, and I have always played the cool hand by repeating to myself that the Lakers will be fine come playoff time. But with the recent loss to Cleveland, I might be lying to myself. 

    Mitch has already stated that he would make a move to better this team, regardless of the financial consequences. The Lakers have holes that need to be addressed. They need another guard (point or two) that can defend both backcourt positions (Kirk Hinrich comes to mind). Also, a pure scorer is needed to lift the second unit. Lamar Odom has done a tremendous job this season but he has been the only consistent Laker coming off the pine. A scorer to pair with Odom on that second unit would be a perfect addition (Ben Gordon comes to mind, contract is a bit bloated though). 

    The big rumors regarding Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers have been discussed internally within the Lakers. Who wouldn't want a young superstar like Carmelo Anthony on their team? But, at what cost? The Lakers would most definitely have to give up Bynum and that has many fans torn. Do we give up size for an explosive scorer? At first, I didn't like the Melo deal because we would have to give up Bynum but I have warmed up to a bit. I still wouldn't do the deal but I wouldn't be completely angry if Mitch pulled the trigger. 

    But then, I started to think about scenarios where we would be able to keep Bynum but still add Carmelo Anthony. There's only one way that comes to mind. But, before I get to that, here are the necessary steps that must take place in order for this scenario to go down. 

Melo Stays In Denver

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 10:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Carmelo Anthony would have to become an unrestricted free agent. For that to happen, Melo would have to stay with Denver pass the trading deadline (which is right around the corner, Feb 24). At this moment, it looks like the Knicks are the front-runners. There was a proposed trade that would have sent Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Chandler/Fields, Eddy Curry and a first round pick to Denver for Melo. Knicks thought it was too much and their at a stalemate right now. There are rumors that the Nets are in the running again, but I still don't think Melo will sign that three year extension with them. In my opinion, Melo either gets traded to the Knicks or stays in Denver. The Lakers could also acquire Melo in a sign and trade for Bynum this offseason if he stays in Denver past the trading deadline. 

Taking a Backseat To Kobe Bryant

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 14:  An injured Kobe Bryant sits on on the bench with Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Western All-Stars during the the NBA All-Star Game, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at Cowboys Stadium on February 14, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. NO
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    For Melo to join the Lakers, he has to understand that this is Kobe's team as long as #24 is still a Laker. If Melo were to join the Lakers, he would be robin to Kobe's batman. Kobe and Melo have a strong friendship and that should help if he decides to join the defending champs. Melo is still young and has to understand that his time would come to become the focal point of the franchise. With Phil Jackson set to retire, the Lakers might not run the triangle and that would be advantageous for Melo, who could struggle in a complicated offense featuring lots of ball movement. 

    In the next slide, I will finally discuss how the Lakers will be able to acquire Melo and keep Bynum as well. 

Melo Signs The Mid-Level Exception

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets gets open and lookls for the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The only possible (and realistic) way for Melo to join the Lakers, would be for him to sign a one year deal at the mid-level exception. Like I said in the previous slides, Melo would have to stay with Denver past the trade deadline for this to be even realistic. Melo would have to sign a one year deal with the Lakers for about the mid-level exception, only because the Lakers are over the cap. This is where it gets a bit fuzzy. The Lakers would then have to make an off the table agreement to give Melo a bigger deal once they're able to obtain his bird rights. Jerry Buss already has the biggest payroll in the league  but if they can get Melo signed to a long term deal, it would help the Lakers transition smoothly after the Kobe Bryant era ends. This will hurt Jerry Buss's wallet right now but when Kobe finally decides to not lace up the sneakers, having Melo will help ease the rough spots. This is where Kobe and Melo's friendship come to play. Melo might not trust the Lakers front office, but if Kobe Bryant gives his approval, I'm sure Melo would come around. He would have to sacrifice a lot of money, because I'm sure the Knicks will be offering a lot more in addition to a bigger role right now. But Melo understands, that the Lakers will do anything to put a winning team on the floor. That is the mentality you want in your front office and I'm sure Melo would love to be known as a winner rather than just a scorer. 

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