NBA Rumors: Lakers to Trade for Ivan Johnson or Sign Lou Amundson?

| by Alex Groberman

The Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely disappointing this season. After being heralded as a team that could challenge the Chicago Bulls’ 72-win campaign, this group will go into the All-Star break boasting a record of below .500. Any which way you want to look at it, regardless of what metrics system you use, this squad should be doing better than they currently are.

All of that being said, it is worth noting that the Lakers have been absolutely ravaged by injuries. Dwight Howard wasn’t even supposed to play for the first few months of the season; clearly he hasn’t been at 100 percent from the start. Steve Nash got hurt in the second game of the year and stayed out until December. Pau Gasol recently sustained an injury that will keep him out at least six weeks. Jordan Hill. Earl Clark. Steve Blake. The list goes on and on and on.

Generally speaking, when a team suffers as many injuries as the Lakers have suffered up to this point, they recognize as the importance of having good reserves on the bench. And that understanding is likely why you are beginning to hear an increasing amount of rumors regarding them bringing in a player at some point in the foreseeable future via trade or signing.

Here are the two most intriguing rumors floating around right now.

Among teams that have internally discussed Amundson are the Lakers, Knicks and Sixers, source says.

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 12, 2013

Los Angeles Times: “Use the Jordan Hill trade exception in trade. The Lakers can try to acquire a player in the final year of his contract making up to $1.88 million. The list of such players is relatively short with DeJuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs and Ivan Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks fitting the positional need. Johnson has the ability to block a trade after re-signing with the Hawks for a year. Naturally, the Spurs and Hawks may have no interest in helping out the Lakers.”

Amundson averaged 1.6 points per game in 20 outings with the Minnesota Timberwolves before they decided to part ways. Johnson has averaged 5.8 points per game in 13.4 minutes per outing with the Atlanta Hawks this year. Obviously the latter group’s desire to ultimately steal Howard may dictate whether or not they want to lend L.A. a helping hand.

Either way, the common denominator as it pertains to both Amundson and Johnson is that they are big. With Gasol on the shelf, Howard at less than a hundred percent and Clark dealing with his own nagging issues, size is something the Lakers could definitely use.

Will they pull the trigger on something? Anything?

We’ll find out soon enough.

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