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Should The Lakers Tank?

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It’s been a tough month since the return of Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the return of their superstar the Lakers were contending for the 8th seed in the Western Conference with a revitalized young roster playing a more exciting brand of basketball. Upon Bryant’s return the Lakers struggled incorporating their star back into the lineup. Less than two weeks into his comeback Bryant suffered another injury, putting him on the shelf for six weeks and sending the Lakers into a tailspin. Since Bryant returned on December 8 versus the Toronto Raptors the Lakers are 4-13, including a current streak where they’ve lost nine of ten games. The poor run of play includes STAPLES Center losses versus Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Utah. The Lakers are now third from last in the Western Conference, just two and a half games up on last place Utah. Even with the return of Kobe Bryant the playoffs are unlikely for the Lakers this season, giving Lakers management some big decisions to make regarding whether or not to hold a fire sale before the trade deadline. The presence of one of the greatest college draft classes in years has once again brought up the possibility of teams ‘tanking’ the season in order to get more ping pong balls in the lottery. The NBA’s system doesn’t guarantee the top draft pick to the worst team but the weighted lottery does give teams with the best record a higher chance of a low draft pick. Right now the Lakers are well-positioned to not only have the flexibility to add a max free agent after next season, they should be in the running to draft a potential future All Star in next June’s draft.

Should the Lakers tank the second half of the season?

They’ve earned the slack: The Lakers have continually put a winning product on the floor for decades, avoiding the full rebuilding process that many great franchises have gone through. Next to perhaps the San Antonio Spurs it’s difficult to find another NBA franchise that has had such continued excellence over the past 20 years. For that reason the Lakers have earned a bit of slack from their fan base.

The upcoming draft is important: Next June’s draft features one of the best crops in years with several potential All Star talents. A poor finish can mean a top five draft pick. Kansas center Joel Embiid and forward Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Duke forward Jabari Parker, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon should all be available in June’s draft and are potential difference makers. The selection of a top draft pick combined with the targeting of a key free agent could rebuild the Lakers roster quickly. This June’s draft is important since the Lakers traded their 2015 first round pick to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. It’s hard to imagine a proud franchise like the Lakers tanking the second half of the season, but if they are going to tank this is the year to do it.

Pau Gasol

Gasol

They need value for Gasol: The Lakers would be wise to deal Pau Gasol before the trade deadline. The potential Cavaliers trade which would have sent Gasol to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum (who would have been waived), fell through and the Bulls ended up making the deal. The Lakers need to determine quickly if Gasol is not in their long term plans. Dealing him and getting a package of players or an expiring contract to waive would help Los Angeles avoid the luxury tax while potentially picking up a player or draft pick. With the February 20 trade deadline fast approaching the Lakers should find a suitable place to ship Gasol, getting some value in return. Even with a player option for next season it’s questionable whether he would want to return. Letting Gasol walk for nothing next summer would free up cap space, but wouldn’t give the Lakers anything of value for a top ten NBA center.

Kobe Bryant Lakers

Kobe

The Lakers decision to re-sign Kobe Bryant to a 2 year/$48 million deal does limit their options over the next few seasons. At best they have the opportunity to sign one max free agent. Next offseason Kevin Love will have the ability to opt out of his contract and the former UCLA big man may be interested in moving back to Los Angeles. A good draft pick this year combined with moving Gasol for an asset and leveraging the Lakers remaining cap space well could give the Lakers the ability to contend after next season. The most important thing now though is to maximize their draft value this season.

By:Chris Michaels.

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Is Pau Gasol For Andrew Bynum A Postive For Lakers

Gasol Bynum Trade

Gasol Bynum

With the Lakers struggling in a tough Western Conference and Kobe Bryant on the mend from yet another injury the NBA rumor mill is swirling once again regarding a potential Pau Gasol for former Lakers center Andrew Bynum. It’s been a difficult year and a half since Bynum was shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers in the massive four-team trade the sent Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers and Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. The talented former Lakers center, when healthy and motivated a top three NBA center, has battled injuries and a lack of motivation the past two seasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers took a chance on the enigmatic center this offseason and it hasn’t quite worked out in Cleveland. On the surface the deal doesn’t make sense due to Bynum’s recent injury history and poor attitude, but a couple of interesting factors may create a deal that can benefit both clubs. Here’s a look at the positives and negatives of a potential Gasol for Bynum trade.

Positives for the Lakers: The deal would move Gasol and get some potential value for him, while helping the Lakers avoid a stiff luxury tax penalty. In making a decision like this the Lakers will need to decide whether or not Gasol is in their long term plans. It’s been an up and down year for Gasol in Los Angeles, who’s played at a level that doesn’t reflect is overall career. His motivation and interest has been questioned at times, especially when Bryant was injured. The Lakers have a $20 million option on Gasol for next season. If the decision is to not bring the big Spaniard back it’s important to maximize the value the Lakers get in return for Gasol, with the double benefit of having his expiring contract. Unfortunately for Los Angeles they wouldn’t necessarily be getting the same player they dealt two seasons ago. Bynum has had chronic knee injuries and has publicly stated that he could retire early due to knee problems. His motivation and attitude has also been extremely poor. If the Lakers are confident that Bynum’s knee problems won’t be career shortening, and a return to Los Angeles will improve his outlook, the move would make sense. Due to the contracts the Cavaliers would have to include another team or add another player to the deal. Bynum’s contract is only partially guaranteed for this season, so the Lakers could make the trade and then choose to waive Bynum. If the other asset they get from Cleveland is a solid one, Los Angeles would save a great deal of money and avoid punitive luxury tax penalties in the future while picking up an asset and creating cap space for next season. They could conceivably be a player for Bynum after this season, with the expectation that the former center will catch on with another club should the Lakers/Cavaliers waive him.

Negatives for the Lakers: Does Bynum have anything left in the tank? By virtually all media reports the big man has been a cancer both in Philadelphia and Cleveland. The Lakers have experience with his quirky personality and likely have some confidence they can turn around his attitude. The big factor is his health. Bynum may never regain the form he showed in Los Angeles or ever be able to give the Lakers the amount of minutes they need. A trade for Bynum should only be explored if the Lakers truly want to not bring Gasol back and when they’ve exhausted all potential high value trade options for Gasol. The decision to trade for Bynum and release him is interesting, but it also signals to the fan base that they feel they are not contenders this season. That decision makes sense in a tough Western Conference, but is never a popular message to send to your fan base.

By:Chris Michaels.

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Should The Clippers Pick Up Andrew Bynum?

Andrew Bynum

Bynum

As recently reported and confirmed by multiple sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers have suspended their 7-footer center Andrew Bynum indefinitely. The reason the Cavs gave officially was detrimental conduct and the experiment Cleveland decided to attempt seems like it will finally have a short term. Although the Cavs are searching for a team to trade Bynum to, the interest from around the league seems to be low. One of the teams that has reportedly shown some interest is the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 26-year old has appeared in 24 games this season with the Cavaliers uniform and in 20 minutes per game he averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He also shot 41.9 percent from the field, which is much lower than his career one, 55.7 percent.

Of course, Bynum is not even close to the player he used to be during the last season he played with the Los Angeles Lakers. After a missed season in 2012-2013, it was uncertain if Bynum would even be able to play basketball in a professional level again. Thankfully, the Cavaliers saw him getting back healthy and providing a small dose of help in the team at center. However, it seems like Bynum doesn’t really want to focus on playing the game. A league source stated that he never really liked playing basketball at all.
The Cavaliers will have to decide what to do with Bynum by January 7. That’s when his contract gets guaranteed. The 26-year old center is in the books for $6 million this season. It might be difficult for the Cavs to find a team to deal with, as some teams might want to try their luck during the summer and sign Bynum as a free-agent.

Clippers Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum

If the Los Angeles Clippers decided to acquire Bynum, then he could serve as the backup center for DeAndre Jordan. At present, Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins are the two backups for the Clippers at center. Although Mullens can be considered as a solid backup center, he is definitely not a classic center, a big, strong body who can dominate inside. On the contrary, he is a player who can work also from mid-range. Hollins on the other hand has very little offensive skills.

That’s why, the Clippers could find some room for Bynum. Although he is not the All-Star player he once was, Bynum seems like he has some fuel left in his basketball tank. He could provide an upgrade on offense and give vital minutes for Doc Rivers. Especially when the game is on the line and the Clips’ opponents choose to “hack DeAndre” that’s where Bynum could prove out to be valuable.

In addition, within a team that is coached by Doc Rivers, Bynum could find a chance to change his mindset. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but if there is a team that he fits into, then the Clippers are the one.

For now, it doesn’t seem like LA should hurry to make a move. After all, it might not be even a good idea to land Bynum or if they do, the expectations should be low.By:Chris Michaels.

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Could a Blake Griffin – Carmelo Anthony Trade Work

Clippers Tickets

Clippers Tickets

This trade scenario might seem weird at first. However, it seems like the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks are examining a potential trade that would bring Carmelo Anthony to LA and send Blake Griffin to New York. Could such a deal benefit both sides? Would it be possible?

First of all, the New York Knicks are currently under big pressure. They have entered the 2013-2014 season really bad and they continue to play in a very ugly style. The injuries of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton proved out to be costly for the team and now the entire season is in jeopardy. The Knicks will have to think of their next moves, maybe their next seasons, too.

Melo has a player for the 2013-2014 season and there is a possibility that he chooses to seek for another team. However, many people around the league and around the team strongly believe that Carmelo Antony is staying in NYC. Nonetheless, if he chooses to leave, the Knicks might lose him and get nothing in return.
Such a trade would only make sense for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks would also be benefited. Since Carmelo was acquired New York has failed to reach the top of the East, as the team initially targeted. Instead, they have been battling to even make it to the conference finals for some seasons now. At the moment, the next time the Knicks will have a chance to make significant moves in their roster is the summer of 2015. Then, they will have the financial flexibility to bring in a star, as the huge contract of Amar’e Stoudemire expires. Certainly, Anthony knows well the situation and he might think twice before deciding to spend his prime in a team with little chances to make it to the top.

Blake Griffin’s addition would mean that the Knicks would have a surging big men duo. Griffin and Tyson Chandler would be one of the best frontcourt duos in the league. Add in J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton and you have a very well-balanced starting lineup.

Griffin Melo Trade

Griffin Melo Trade

The Clips would also be much benefited from such a trade. Of course, trading away Blake Griffin will be far from easy for them. Nonetheless, an addition of a superstar like Carmelo Anthony would make the team a true powerhouse. That’s what the Clippers want after all. Chris Paul Melo would be almost unstoppable. They also seem to fit each other, as CP3 is a player who doesn’t demand the ball on his hands all the time. Paul’s distributing skills could greatly complement Anthony’s strengths.

This trade won’t come easy for either team. Blake Griffin is certainly the most quality power forward in the NBA but his name is linked to the Clippers’ new age. Donald Sterling, the owner of the Clips will have a tough time deciding on this one. Nonetheless, if LA truly wants to take the next step and reach the caliber of teams like the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat they will have to strongly consider such a possibility.By:Chris Michaels

Kevin Garnett reportedly turned down the approach from Chris Paul and the LA Clippers

It would have been a blockbuster deal that could have put the Los Angeles Clippers in an immediate Championship position. Kevin Garnett’s movement from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers would have shaken up the entire league and would have changed the balances between the best teams. The thing is that this deal never happened.

KG expressed his loyalty to the Celtics numerous times. He stated that he lives green and that he will die green. There could have been no way the Clippers made this huge acquisition, or was there a chance?

According to many reports, Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul made a strong push for this trade to happen. He spoke to Garnett prior to the trade deadline and urged him to join forces with him and Blake Griffin at Los Angeles. His addition to the team would mean that the Clippers would have one of the best combinations of point-guard and frontcourt in the league. KG’s great mid and long range shot would set Griffin free and open lanes for his game close to the basket and the penetrations of several of his teammates. The Big Ticket has a great presence as a mental leader and would help lifting the entire team during crunch time and at crucial games against difficult opponents duringthe Playoffs. However, Garnett chose to remain with the Celtics and his loyalty means a lot to his team and all the fans at Boston, who saw their team been hit with serious injuries and player losses. Of course the no-trade clause that Garnett has on his contract played a huge role during this trade talk. He justified long before the trade deadline that the only case he would even think departing from Boston would be if Paul Pierce also left the team. Danny Ainge never made it happen.

The fact is that many of the teams that sit on the top seedsboth in the West and in the East were afraid of this deal to happen. Having three superstars in a roster with so many great role players and one of the best second units in the league would have made the Clippers really tough to take down. We might never really know how hard did the Celtics management team pushed for this trade and if Garnett was about to use his no-trade clause. However, if Ainge was really determined to start the rebuilding processin Boston, he would have sent also Paul Pierce to another team – Brooklyn was one of the possible destinations- and together with the exchanges for KG, the Celtics would have started forming a brand new team with potential.

Both teams now will have to look forward and continue fighting for a good run with their current roster. The Celtics are happy to have Garnett on their roster and the Clippers can be confident that with their current formation they are able to make this season the best of their franchise history.

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Pau Gasol Should he stay or should he go now?

Pau Gasol to trade or not to trade

Pau Gasol to trade or not to trade

Much buzz has been circling the former four-time all- star Pau Gasol about a possible trade this season. The Lakers have been thinking about trading him since the 2011-2012, when our team targeted Chris Paul, but the trade was called off. After that, he stated that this behavior from the team wouldn’t affect his way of play, after all it’s all professional. But he didn’t keep his promise. Where is the Gasol that would win us Championships? He is a 7 footer skilled big man with a firm jump shot and is, or rather was, almost unbeatable close to the rim. And now, he has become a role player that, ok, starts the game but then again he rarely finishes it. How can we have a player of that class not contributing for us? We can’t afford leaving such players at the bench in crunch time.

It may be wiser for teams’ officials to start thinking about trading him. Not only could we acquire one or two valuable members for Pau, but it may also be better for him to start over in a new uniform. What could we get back in a possible trade? Well, half of the teams in the NBA might be willing a lot to get a player like Gasol. Just imagine we get a player like Gasol in return, but this time he also plays like Gasol and not like Valanciunas. Because, unfortunately Pau is playing like him right now. For example imagine we get the young and promising Cousins plus 1-2 other role players. Or Millsap together with Marvin Williams and Raja. Or even Amare (ok this one might not work well neither). But really the possibilities are endless. Even Boston could make a deal with us or the Bulls with Boozer, anyone.

Maybe Pau himself is thinking about the way out, although his press statements moved in the opposite direction. “No, oh, that’s radical. I still believe. I still have faith in what we have. I still have faith that I can be a big part in helping this team succeed. Right now, I’m not being able to do that very often.” Those were his words after our loss against the Clips. I really want to believe in Gasol and even Kobe made comments about him, stating that the he should get more involved on offense. I mean, you can‘t go to Kobe or Dwight on almost every possession and wait for others to get open. Our opponents know that we always do and they lock us down on defense. But if distribute the ball more and more guys contribute on offense, that will not only boost their mentality, but will also break the defense apart, providing help and opening more lanes for Kobe. It’s really basketball fundamentals which coach D’Antoni should inhale to our offensive system.

Whether we trade Pau or not, this situation can’t continue any longer. We simply can’t continue to struggle and fight to sustain a 0.500 record. Either trade him or utilize him better. We have to make radical steps forward. Look towards the future dear Lakers’ managers.

By: Mike Rollings on the Lakers beat for Barrys Ticket Service.

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