Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
Harry How | Getty Images Sport

 

At 17-22, the Lakers have a difficult ladder to climb in order to reach the postseason. Lakers fans have become accustomed to regular trips into May and June, but fans now are being confronted with a different reality: the Lakers – the second-oldest team in the NBA – may have run out of tricks to continue to revamp their aging roster.

Are more acquisitions the answer? The Lakers in the offseason had acquired what was being touted as “the best team on paper”, so to keep turning the trade wheels may seem a bit fruitless. The current roster, despite leading the league in “moral” victories, has yet to show why it should stay intact. With the NBA Trade Deadline (February 21st) a little over a month a month away, as Amateur General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, here are a bevy of moves that work to acquire value for under-performing stars and expiring contracts. But first, let’s take a look at the available assets:

THE ASSETS

STEVE NASH

The Lakers currently have only one contract on the books for the 2014-15 NBA season. PG Steve Nash, who will turn 41 years old halfway through the final year of his contract, will be the final remaining relic of the 2012-13 Lakers. Should the Lakers not resign any of their expiring contracts over the coming two years, Nash’s age, declining defense and healthy contract may be the centerpiece of a young and rebuilding Lakers squad. However, should the Lakers choose to move Nash’s contract, the team would need to acquire starting point guard talent to fill the void at the position with Steve Blake still recovering from injury.

KOBE BRYANT

Since the Lakers stood fast and rebuffed trade demands from Kobe Bryant during the 2006-07 season, it’s highly unlikely that the team would look to move their greatest player in franchise history in the final year of his deal. Further, a team making a move for Kobe Bryant’s $30 million contract for 2013-2014 is just as doubtful. Would the Lakers dare using their available amnesty clause on the final year of Bryant’s contract? The larger question for Bryant and the Lakers is, should Bryant wish to continue playing into his late 30s, at what price do the Lakers pay at the expense of their cap space? If Bryant’s price is too high, would the Lakers let Bryant test free agency?

Frederic J. Brown | AFP
Frederic J. Brown | AFP

PAU GASOL

A longstanding target of trade rumors, Pau Gasol’s current value has diminished after a current rash of injuries ranging from plantar fasciitis to tendonitis to sustaining a concussion. At $19 million a year for his remaining two years on the Lakers, Gasol’s decline has led to his expendability while simultaneously causing his trade value to plummet. Perhaps a change of scenery, or the opportunity to play primarily in the low post, is what Gasol needs to thrive once more.

DWIGHT HOWARD

If Lakers fans were expecting Dwight Howard to be the second coming at Shaquille O’Neal, this Lakers season has been a massive disappointment (unless, of course, you were looking for O’Nealean free throw shooting). While the points and rebounds haven’t dipped much following Howard’s offseason back surgery, the lack of explosiveness and recent torn labrum injury have led some pundits to question if the Dwight Howard we once knew is gone for good.

THE TRADES

1. Dwight Howard to the Dallas Mavericks for Dirk Nowitzki

The Mavericks were a potential free agent suitor for Dwight Howard prior to his one-year extension in Orlando. When Howard decided that he didn’t want to play the villain in Orlando, Mark Cuban’s allocated cap space this offseason went towards one-year signings for rental veterans Chris Kaman and Elton Brand.

Would Mark Cuban want a four-month window to entice Howard to stay and resign with the Mavs this offseason? Conceptualy, the move would help Dallas in freeing up the combined two years and $43 million remaining on Dirk Nowitzki’s current contract. Additionally, the move would reunite Nowitzki and Steve Nash, who started their careers together in Dallas. Though Nowitzki often utilizes the low block in his game (real estate that Pau Gasol hasn’t used consistently since Howard came to town), Nowitzki’s game would offer more flexibility from the perimeter to spread the floor should D’Antoni decide to feature Gasol on the block. Unfortunately, Nowitzki has inked a no-trade clause in his contract, and barring a sudden change of heart, the 2011 Finals MVP will likely retire a Maverick.

2. Dwight Howard to the Washington Wizards for Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and a 2014 protected 1st Round Pick

Ronald Martinez | Getty Images Sport
Ronald Martinez | Getty Images Sport

A Dwight Howard-to-DC move would function for the Wizards – at worst – as a franchise mulligan. By dumping the massive contracts of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the Wizards would have almost $21 million in free cap room for the summer of 2014 should Howard not choose to resign. Best case scenario, Howard stays in the Chocolate City and forms a slash-and-slam game with John Wall that would make 2K13 players drool.

For the Lakers, the move reunites the Lakers with the athletic Ariza and allows Okafor to take over the power forward position. More importantly, the Lakers acquire a sorely needed draft pick for the future of the franchise once Bryant, Gasol and Nash retire.

NOTE: The terms of this trade being “fair” are based on Washington protecting their 2014 pick. However, should they not do this – entirely possible, given that the Clippers only two years ago lost out on Kyrie Irving because they didn’t protect their pick – the Lakers would be in possession of a lottery pick for the first time since drafting Andrew Bynum in 2005.

3. Earl Clark to the Charlotte Bobcats for 2013 and 2014 1st Round Picks.

In your dreams. Just wanted to make sure that everyone was paying attention.

4. Pau Gasol to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith and Johan Petro/Kyle Korver

For Lakers fans longing to trade Pau Gasol, you finally get your wish. The Atlanta Hawks would ship Smith, a longtime polarizing figure for Hawks fans, reuniting him with former AAU teammate and preschool classmate(!) Dwight Howard. The trade would also work to acquire either Johan Petro, adding much needed frontcourt depth with the season-ending injury to Jordan Hill, or Kyle Korver, providing much-needed three-point shooting off the bench.

5. Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to the Toronto Raptors for Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields and a 2014 1st Round Pick

Steve Nash was heavily pursued by the Raptors this offseason before deciding to stay close to his children in Phoenix and sign with the Lakers. With a Raptors team lacking a true identity, a potent pick-and-roll duo of Gasol and Nash would likely get the Raptors into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. For the Raptors, the opportunity to offload Landry Fields’ contract and part ways with failed franchise player Andrea Bargnani would be a welcome opportunity, especially if it meant bringing in Native Son Steve Nash for $10 million less than their free agent offer this last summer.

If a move like this occurred, it would be a massive endorsement from the Lakers organization that Mike D’Antoni is secure as the Lakers head coach. The Lakers in the deal would acquire Jose Calderon, a poor man’s Steve Nash who has been the focus of Lakers trade rumors for the last two years. Andrea Bargnani would provide the Lakers with a power forward comfortable with taking outside shots, a spot that Pau Gasol found uncomfortable in Mike D’Antoni’s new system. Landry Fields, putting up career lows in Toronto, would be reunited with D’Antoni from Fields’ rookie year with the New York Knicks. Fields in his first year with D’Antoni shot over 39 percent from behind the arc, made NBA All-Rookie First Team, and at 24 years old would infuse the Lakers with some much needed youth. And while the Raptors would likely push their 2014 1st round pick back a few spots with a playoff appearance, a draft pick even in the teens would be a welcome sight to a team that hasn’t had a first round draft pick in what will be four years.

Jeff Gross | Getty Images Sport
Jeff Gross | Getty Images Sport

6. Pau Gasol to the Boston Celtics – Paul Pierce to the Memphis Grizzlies – Jason Collins and Rudy Gay to the Los Angeles Lakers

In the only three-team trade of the group, all three franchises would exchanges superstars to acquire positions of need. The Celtics get younger (slightly) by obtaining Pau Gasol, who immediately moves Kevin Garnett back to the power forward spot. The Grizzlies get a veteran small forward in Paul Pierce that can provide Celtic leadership and outside shooting for a deep playoff run into May and June – something the Grizzlies were looking for at last year’s trade deadline.  Finally, the Lakers aquire a younger franchise player in Rudy Gay, allowing Metta World Peace to come off the bench as a defensive specialist and further spread the floor for Dwight Howard underneath the basket. Further, Jason Collins can help provide size off the bench following the season-ending injury to Jordan Hill.

Why would the Lakers consider Gay? Mentioned above, there’s only so much time left in Kobe Bryant’s contract. With the opportunity to shore up the Laker’s 3-5 offensive package for the next few years (should the Lakers resign Howard), wouldn’t it make sense to acquire the 26-year-old small forward at the expense of an aging, injured, out-of-position center that fans have been looking to trade for years?

To be blunt, it’s unlikely that the Lakers make a move at this year’s trade deadline. Despite being a first-ballot submission for history’s All-Disappointment team, Lakers Executive Vice President Jim Buss believes that this year’s team is “built to win” and that the organization “would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up”. As an honest question, at what point do you determine that the team structure as it is currently designed is not working? The firing of Mike Brown and hiring of Mike D’Antoni suggest that the Lakers moves this season have been sudden, reactionary and possibly misaligned. With no easy fix to an aging, injury prone roster, Lakers fans may be starting to realize that a franchise rebuild – something the Lakers haven’t truly done since the post-Magic era – may be less than two full seasons away.

Will a trade fix the closing championship window? The Lakers have always had a history of stringing good fortune together into extended greatness. LakerNation, do you have any trade ideas for the Lakers? Post them here!

UPDATE: The Lakers have shown interest in Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham. No trades have been discussed as of yet.

  • daboss1847

    Put the crack pipe down James

  • LAsHeartBeat

    i think trading Nash or Dwight would be a big mistake. But landing Josh Smith would be huge for the Lakers. I think it would help them resign Dwight too. Josh Smith is an amazing Athlete. Great shot blocker, passer and rebounder. He can guard multiple positions switch one the pick n’ roll (desperately needed for the Lakers) and can get out on the break.

    • YOLANDA UPSHAW

      SOUNDS GOOD

  • Pingback: Trading Game: Roster Moves to Improve the Lakers | JockSpin Sports Aggregator

  • http://www.facebook.com/joallen.escartin Jo Allen Escartin

    Rudy gay seems good, but my moneys on josh smith, they need deffense, dwight’s not providing it we need someone to ignite and i think josh can do it.

  • kay

    Jsmith and Gay sounds ok but y would we trade now? we just started to get some chemistry and if we get new guys its just going to get worse again

    • yolanda upshaw

      are you freaking kidding me!!!!!!! we stink rite now. please make some trades please!

  • Leo Salcedo

    as we’ve witnessed this season so far… we have too many chiefs and not enough indians. adding more chiefs to the mix will only continue the shitty game play and lack of cohesion.

  • Adrian
    • drew

      this can’t work because roy is hurt and can’t be traded

  • http://www.facebook.com/yuki.n.jones Curtis L. Jones

    I like #2, #4, and #5

  • sheduur

    Yeah right, as if Lakers, Celtics or Mavs would ever trade those guys away after what they have done for their franchises…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeypi.javier Jey-Pi Absinth Javier

    #4 #5.. best is #6

  • Laker71

    James, are you serious? You need a reality check! My vote, dump whatever you can and target 2015 as the Laker year. 2013 & 2014 are done, the Lakers have no chance of a championship. It’s time to cut our losses and for the first time in many years look to the future. I don’t like it anymore than the true Laker fans, but this is not working and it’s time to forget about Kobe’s selfish desire to win another championship before he retires. KB has never made anyone around him better, he is not a leader and thinks only of himself. We need high draft picks and younger players, in 2015 the Lakers will have all the cap space room they need to get whatever player they want. Unfortunately they are stuck with their 2nd consecutive stupid coaching decision, unless they might actually eat another coaches multi-year contract because Jim Buss is a fricken idiot!

    • yolanda upshaw

      I AGREE ABOUT THE COACH SITUATION BUT KOBE HAS DONE ALOT FOR THE LAKER FRANCHISE, DONT SHIT ON HIM LIKETHAT

  • LBCTYG76

    Lakers are gonna suffer a couple of years till Kobe retires and then with that $$$ that Kobe is tying up…sign LBJ, that’s right…Lebron James. Just as the Lakers were waiting for Magic to retire to be able to sign Shaq. Lebron will opt out and sign with the Lakers. Not sure where I am getting this from but there is a reason that the organization is willing to go with a team that is old/er and having expiring contracts. I personally say make a trade for Jon Wall or Kylie Irving to intice Dwight Howard to resign or I think he is gonzo, which is okay with me. Either way…Kobe is retiring soon and the Lakers will have $$$ to play with. The question is…Who will get that $$$? Before Hill went down, my lineup would have been : Nash (pg), Kobe (sg), Jamison (sf), Hill (pf), Howard (c), Gasol and Ron Ron leading the bench. Bottom-line is that our bench is bad. Moving Gasol and Metta to the bench would change the whole dynamic of this team, I think. Gasol would do anything to stay with the Lakers, anything. Metta has led the bench before and he doesnt want to go anywhere. Obviously with Hill going down my vision is just that. Right now I think that the bench is a bigger issue than anything else, besides the obvious. Shoot, play Clark in the starting lineup and play small at the forward positions. Losing Hill is sooo big cuz he was giving the team exactly what it needed…HUSTLE & HEART! Gotta replace Hill somehow.

    This ish is CHESS, it aint checkers. GO LAKERS BABEE!!! – LBCTYG76

    • no parade on fig

      I love myopic , out of his mind fakers fans , le bron a faker yea right why not kevin love too , and dirk , and all the nba all stars your DAYS OF WINNING TITLES are over , no parade on fig

      • LBCTYG76

        Why is it myopic, if it is possible?! Lebron has an opt out after next year and Kobe is close to retirement. Your opinion is obviously filled with bitterness towards the Lakers. Did a Laker fan once steal your lunch money or something? Anyways, not saying that it will happen but if it does…u will be the first to know! No Parade on Fig…what if the parade goes back to City Hall? U gonna change your name to No Parade at City Hall?!. All Star caliber NBA players want to play in L.A, NY, Miami, Chicago, Big Markets, Big $$$. Myopic? Are you an Optometrist, cuz mine recently retired and am looking for one – LBCTYG76

        ps: the Lakers don’t rebuild…they RELOAD!!!

  • RM24

    I would trade Pau to Wolves for Kevin Love. Pau will be reunited with Ricky Rubio and might provide another spark to his dying career. K love for the lakers will spread the floor with his 3 point shooting and will get rebounds helping the recovering dwight down low. Provided that K love recovers from his injury soon.

    • Laker 72

      Another clueless idea, why do you think Minn would trade Kevin Love for Pau?? 10 years younger, millions less in salary and Love is a better scorer, rebounder, shooter and better everything. Sure! And maybe we can get Irving or Wall for Nash at the same time!

    • yolanda upshaw

      naw hit starting to be hurt alot. bad choice

    • no parade on fig

      yes keep giving other teams the laker shit like pau who is washed up for kevin love , then get LeBron for nash , and get rondo too , I love myopic faker thinking

  • Mitch

    Acquiring Rudy Gay would be interesting.

  • quickster

    the lakers need a shooting guard who can create his own shot and a point guard. Meeks, Morris(bone head plays all the time) is not the answer. We need somebody like a Shannon Brown to play the shooting guard. We don’t have that. But why, we can wait till 2014 when Kobe leaves with his 28 million and Paul his 19 million per season. Go after Lebron. Lebron can play the point, PF, SF, Shooting guard. We can resign both Kobe for a lot less say 8 million a year and Pau for 6mil and tell him to learn the skyhook ala Jabbar. Imagine 2014 is here. Starters would be Howard, James, Clark, Kobe, Nash. Bench, Pau, Hill,Metta,We can pick a player who can play the two and a point guard who doesn’t disappear when we play a playoff contending team.

    • yolanda upshaw

      love it!!!!!! only if they would listen and get it 2gether

    • NO PARADE ON FIG

      yea don’t forget tinkerbell as the starting point guard along with fozzy bear and quick draw McGraw too ,, YOU LIVING IN FANTASY LAND

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gavin-Dell/100000461440744 Gavin Dell

    Can we trade the COACH!!!?

    • yolanda upshaw

      hell yeah that’s wat im saying we need a coach please

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KX4O7FXKPBYNYLZFCMKEL7NF6A DeJhanee Miller

    Lakers need to do something before the trade deadline. It is now obvious we are going nowhere with our current roster. We lost to a Bulls team that didn’t even have its top two stars. Thats sad.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KX4O7FXKPBYNYLZFCMKEL7NF6A DeJhanee Miller

    Can we please fire Mike Dantoni now. He has no clue which line ups and rotations he wants to go with. He now has us at 17-24. This year is over. JIm buss and Mitch Kupchak are smart enough to know that by now.

    • yolanda upshaw

      yes yes yes yes yes idk why they allowed his coaching to goon this long

  • Drew

    there’s actually a relatively plausible trade that can be worked out between SAC/Seattle, the Lakers and Brooklyn.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=b7h73pd

    Trading Pau isn’t the answer because he doesn’t have good/very much value right now and he’s your insurance if D12 leaves. And he probably will, especially if D’Antoni is still coaching in L.A. Besides in this scenario Dwight goes to Brooklyn where he wanted to go. Sacramento gets a franchise player with a way better mindset, and they’ve been looking to trade Cousins anyways. And we get the most talented player out of the bunch, who really needs the exact veteran structure we have in L.A. to realize his potential and become the franchise player of the future, without having to be it now.

    • yolanda upshaw

      sounds good also d. cousins is a great player

  • HOUSTON

    trade the fucking dum ass coach n dr.buss sorry as son he dont no what the fuck he doing………..PHIL JACKSON PLEASE LOOK AT THE PLAYERS THEY DONT WANT TO PLAY 4HIM

    • yolanda upshaw

      i totally agree get the coach outta there, we had action at Phil now he might not after that disrespectful move young buss pulled

    • kobe4life

      agree with that….. bring phil back along side brian shaw….and bring the old days back to normal.

  • yolanda upshaw

    i thing the trade of Pau to the hawks is a good choice. or Nash and Pau to the raptors we need 3pts shoots and youth

  • yolanda upshaw

    i think #4 and #5 are our best trades

  • quickster

    Trading Howard and Nash to Sacramento for Cousin & Evans would make sense at the present time. Howard more & more like the most over hype player in the NBA at the present time. Nash is like Derek Fisher where Kobe has to guard his man because he can’t play defense. I think is the system, Dump Dantoni and hire Brian Shaw to bring the triangle back. I still would trade Steve Nash if it happens. No defense No ring

  • JP

    Trade Dwight and Nash!

  • my idol is kobe…. kobe 4ever

    i think trading gasol to james harden would it be a good idea

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriel.hudencial Gabriel Hudencial

    deron william steve nash steve blake metta world peace lebron james ,rudy gay kobe bryant joe smith kevin love kevin durant dirk nowitzki dwight howard

  • kobe_24

    trade howard MWP for Asik,parson, and lin
    trade gasol for gerald wallace and reggie evans

    trade blake and clark for mayo

    sign c.andersen,t.ross,terrence williams,tony mitchell

    release meeks,ebanks,morris,duhon,jamison

    lineups:

    PG:lin,nash,goudelock
    SG:bryant,mayo
    SF:parsons,ross,williams,mitchell
    PF:wallace,evans
    C:asik,andersen,sacre

  • LAL_LAL

    we should trade howard for irving and leonard(gee & ellington to SAS )then trade gasol for pekovic,shved then trade blake,duhon for ezeli then
    nash,hill for ross and gray sign g-lock,korver,daniels,oden,
    waive duhon,
    lineups:
    pg:irving,shved,g-lock(10.1)
    sg:bryant,korver,ross((37.7)
    sf:leonard,daniels,morrow(7)
    pf:millsap,gray,sacre(11)
    C:pekovic,oden,ezely(8)
    salary:73.8M$

  • lakeshow guy

    FORGET making this team better for the 2013-2014 season,they need to GUT it,keeping only kobe have him ride the bench and get 1000% from is injury , make a run at the #1 pick in the draft,get wiggens in the draft and go for either LBJ or Melo in free agency,giving them a lineup for the 14′-15′ season with nash,kobe,wiggens and either LBJ or Melo,make one more run to get kobe ring #6 and that will also leave them with a solid 1-2 punch to add players to when kobe and nash leave