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HOOPSWORLD.COM: The Los Angeles Lakers have enormous pressure to improve this summer.
Their most desirable asset, young center Andrew Bynum, will not be traded unless the Lakers can get enough talent back to be immediate contenders.
That’s a pretty tall order. Considering Kwame Brown’s struggles to find consistency and Chris Mihm’s year long ankle injury . . . the Lakers cannot afford to move Bynum without getting size in return.
In other words, Bynum cannot be traded for a guard or a wing player unless the Lakers have found some magic solution to fill the void at center.
Complicating matters, Bynum only makes a couple of million. The only significant last year contract LA has on the books is Brown’s. Unless LA can pressure a team into taking Vladimir Radmanovic, Brown would probably have to be the salary ballast to make a Bynum deal go through.
Even if Mihm is re-signed and proves ready to play, the Lakers would be mighty thin with just Ronny Turiaf capable of backing him up.
Recently the idea of Jermaine O’Neal was discussed at length as a reasonable, albeit expensive possibility.
Another feasible target in return for Andrew Bynum is Memphis Grizzlies’ Forward/Center Pau Gasol.
After missing the first 20+ games of this last season, Gasol found the Grizzlies in a major hole. Over the last season or two, the team had let go of nearly every veteran (Eddie Jones, Lorenzen Wright, Shane Battier, Bobby Jackson, Earl Watson, Jake Tsakalidis, James Posey and Jason Williams) in favor of young talent like Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and Kyle Lowry.
Gasol, who had broken his foot leading the Spanish National Team to the FIBA World Championship, found himself in a no-win situation: The Grizzlies didn’t have the talent to win, they had fired their coach, their owner was trying to sell the team and Jerry West (President of Basketball Operations) was expected to step down after the season.