HOOPSWORLD.COM: The early offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers continues. Before the draft lottery on May 22nd, teams are essentially limited to brainstorming sessions.
In the meantime fans clamor for answers that even Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss can’t give.
Recently the idea of trading for either Jermaine O’Neal or Pau Gasol has been discussed in this space. The idea being that the Lakers’ best trade bait is the young Andrew Bynum whose prime is not likely to coincide with Kobe Bryant’s.
Since Bynum is on a rookie contract and making approximately $2 million, he would have to be paired with at least another player (probably Kwame Brown) to match salaries if LA brought in a big named/big salaried star.
With so much size going out, the Lakers would either have to make a Bynum deal for a star center or power forward . . . or have another deal lined up to do so.
Back on May 9th, former shoe magnate Sonny Vaccaro was on local radio and though by his own admission had no inside information predicted that “the Lakers make a monster trade” with “Indiana.” He specifically mentioned O’Neal.
The next day Laker Vice President of Player Personnel Jim Buss joined the Loose Cannons on the same station and said, “I agree with fans we have to make some major changes. I listened to your show yesterday I believe Sonny was on there. He was close to what he was saying . . . yes, we will be going after a big name.”
Now that isn’t exactly confirmation that LA will pursue O’Neal but it certainly is suggestive.
In clarifying his position on the Laker roster, Buss tipped his hand that the Lakers are also eyeing Kevin Garnett.