Could Trading Into Lottery Save Lakers?
How do you fix a franchise that is not allowed to fail? When second place is falling into obscurity. How do you rebuild for a fan base that goes by “Ring City?” How do you build around a super-star in his mid thirties that is set to take up more than a third of your payroll next year?
These are all questions the Los Angeles Lakers most answer this offseason. Do you blow it up or retool? Do you build around your big three, or do you go after multiple pieces? The answer to how the Lakers can rebuild for the future, while maintaining success and cutting payroll is not as difficult as it may seem. The Lakers have three elite stars. Kobe is obviously not going anywhere. Either Paul Gasol or Andrew Bynum must be sent away from Lakerland. The two just never looked comfortable together this year in Mike Brown’s offense. Also, the twin towers identity is overrated in today’s game. In a league where everyone is going small, having two slow seven footers is not an advantage. The conventional way of thinking is to get rid of Paul Gasol. He is older than Bynum and clearly out of his prime. He still has great value and can get you something nice in return.
I’d argue that trading Bynum is the answer. Why? Well why not? Bynum has been in the league six years and has just now blossomed into the player we always thought he could. He finally was able to stay healthy for a whole season and he produced. Even after a fantastic season, there are still questions if Bynum can be the future franchise player of the Los Angeles Lakers. We say he is immature and has a sporadic motor but he will change. I’d disagree. He will only get better as a player but the immaturity and motor are hard to fix. Yes, Bynum is just 24, but he has been a professional for six years. If you have the second best center in the NBA and you question if he can be the franchise player in three years, then you have a problem. Bynum’s stock is soaring right now. Pau Gasol’s has taken a slight hit. Sell high on Bynum. Here is what you do:
Offer Andrew Bynum to whatever teams wins the number one pick. Hypothetically, let’s say the Bobcats win the first pick. It would be hard for Michael Jordan to pass on a sure thing in Andrew Bynum. Bynum has already said that he will play anywhere. I believe the idea of having his own team appeals to Bynum and he wouldn’t mind being sent to a non-playoff team. The Lakers would send Bynum to the Bobcats essentially for the rights to Anthony Davis and cap filler (DeSagana Diop). With this deal, the Lakers save about four million dollars and instantly become younger and more athletic. They would then have money to resign Jordan Hill and then pursue one other role player. Michael Beasley, Andre Miller, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Grant Hill, Danny Green come to mind.
The addition of Davis moves Gasol to center, which he may not prefer but it is best for the team. Davis gives the Lakers frontline versatility with his shot blocking ability and athleticism. Davis also, gives the Lakers a future franchise player and cuts payroll in the process.
Typically, when you see trade scenarios that involve the first pick, they are unrealistic. The Lakers have the luxury of having an expendable all-star that is just entering his prime. Bynum will go on to terrorize the league but so will Anthony Davis, and he will come with less headaches.
Plus, the unibrow t-shirts belong in LA.