While four teams battle it out for the right to play in the NBA Finals this year, 26 others are sitting at home wondering how to better themselves for the next go-around.
Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of those teams.
Given how poorly the Lakers played to close out this season, fans are understandably salivating over the prospect of a major revamp. Kobe Bryant staying on board seems to be okay with everyone (it would be the case either way, so it’s good that everyone is okay with it) but, beyond that, nothing is etched in stone.
Pau Gasol could go. Andrew Bynum, while he is still undeniably a favorite of the Buss family, could go. Really, anyone is moveable at this point.
But what could these guys legitimately bring back to the Lakers in a trade?
Most folks seem to agree that Ramon Sessions is not a Wartime Consigliere. So an upgrade at the point would make sense, if one were available.
The most prominent point guard on the market right now is Deron Williams, but could L.A. really coax Brooklyn into dealing him for Gasol or Bynum? (Given his salary, the Lakers couldn’t get Williams via free agency.) Probably not. The Nets are in the unique position of actually being set at center, so they’re one of the few teams in the Association who would have no real interest in Bynum. Similarly, Gasol is too old and too pricey for a team trying to rebuild. As great as Williams would be, he’s likely not legitimate option at the moment.
As a tax team, LA has up to $3.1 million to spend using their Mini-MLE (which maxes out to $9.7 million over three years).
The odds of a Steve Nash, Gerald Wallace, Kevin Garnett, O.J. Mayo, Courtney Lee, Ersan Ilyasova, Ryan Anderson, Lou Williams, Andre Miller, Goran Dragic or any similar player joining the Lakers for that kind of money are slim to none.
So there you go. Both Nash and Miller appear to be just as unrealistic of options as Williams. Could either one agree to take a paltry sum to play in Tinseltown? Sure. Will they? Probably not.
HoopsWorld did offer some more realistic options, though. Per that same report:
Some players who might fit for the minimum up to the Mini-MLE, depending on market, include Jerryd Bayless, Nick Young, Randy Foye, Delonte West, John Lucas, C.J. Miles, Marco Belinelli, Gerald Green, Jodie Meeks, Sam Young and/or Steve Novak.
Obviously none of those guys jump off the page the way that Nash or Miller would, but the likelihood of landing one of them is far greater. And seeing as the only way the Lakers will get fair value back for Gasol and/or Bynum is if they get Dwight Howard and/or Williams, it’s hard to envision them making a move just to make it. (They tried that experiment with Lamar Odom.)
So, if the Lakers upgrade during this offseason, don’t expect it to be Nash, Miller, Garnett or any player of that caliber. Expect it to be a Delonte West.
Are you excited yet?