Trade Talks

 —  December 30, 2004

I have put off writing about potential Laker trades so far for two reasons: 1) We needed to see 20+ games from the team’s new configuration before forming opinions about what we should trade for; 2) Meaningful trades are rarely made before the first of the year anyway (this year had the exception to prove the rule).

But now we’re at a point I think we can start to have serious discussions along these lines. Problem is, I’m not sure if there are any good and realistic options out there.

I think the consensus is the Lakers’ top need is at the point guard — not another a shooter but a passer and defender. Second on the list would be a true power forward (both Brian Grant and Vlade could help here, but both have been injured and are at the tail end of their careers).

Lets take a look at the rumors floating around — some from legitimate media sources, some from talk radio. Please feel free to comment or add your own suggestions.

Lamar Odom to Chicago for Tyson Chandler, Ben Gordon and some other players/picks. This is one of my favorite ideas to play around with, because it would give the Lakers an up-and-coming point (who is stuck behind Hinrick) and an inside player. Both future Lakers have just one year left on their deals, so they could be resigned at a reasonable price (or let go if need be).

But, are you ready to give up on Lamar and Kobe being able to co-exist after less than half a season? Who is going to pick up the scoring this season (and in future ones) with Odom out? Are you willing to bet on the underachieving Chandler who has had some big injuries at a young age?

There are other variations of this trade to consider, something like Butler and Vlade for Eddie Curry and Gordon. I’m not sure why the Bulls would do this, unless they thought Butler would explode in their system. But there are other configurations to play with.

Devon George and Luke Walton to Cleveland Eric Snow. Getting Snow has been mentioned a lot lately and solves the point guard issue. Eric Snow has a pure point rating double any current Laker and an assist ratio near the top of the league. He can play defense — his oPER at the point is a good 12.8. After a blow up with the coach a month ago, he is (allegedly) in the doghouse in Cleveland and may well be available.

But this is far from perfect. Snow is not a great shooter — his eFG% is just 39.6%. Cleveland has actually performed better with him on the bench than on the floor. He’s not young (31) and his contract runs through 2009, starting at $5.4 million this season and building to $7.3 million four years from now.

And, that seems like a lot to give up to get him. The Lakers have small forwards to spare, but two-for-one to get Eric Snow?

Lamar Odom, Deavon George and Luke Walton to New Jersey for Jason Kidd. There’s no better point guard in the league than Kidd, and he’s said he wants a trade.

But there are more problems with this than the plot of 12 Monkeys. First, there’s all the problems mention a few paragraphs ago about getting rid of Lamar Odom (save that Kidd would pick up the scoring). Plus, could Kidd and Kobe both control the offense with just one basketball to go around? And, does Kidd really want to leave (or does New Jersey really want to trade him)? If I were an owner thinking of moving a team to Brooklyn and needed star power to fill the building, Kidd and Vince Carter would work pretty well.

Lamar Odom, Jumaine Jones and Luke Walton to New Orleans for Barron Davis. The former Bruin comes back home. He’s a great point and could give the Lakers 20ish points and 9ish assists per game. It would give Buss another marquee name to sell and fill the building.

Except, rebounding would suffer dramatically — this trade erases 14.3 rebounds per game from Los Angeles. There’s a question of whether Davis and Kobe — both of whom want the ball in their hands plenty — can co-exist. Also, I’m not sure that New Orleans wants to trade the guy they sold the team on in a new city away that quickly.

Luke Walton and Brian Cook to Boston for Marcus Banks. The Lakers almost had Banks before the season, but lost him when Rick Fox and Gary Payton freaked out at being dealt. In some ways that going through would have been the best thing for the Lakers, we’d know if the up-and-coming Banks was ready. However, looking at what people in Boston are saying Banks has been a more talented version of Tierre Brown this season — one moment great, the next moment looking like a rookie. It’s driven Doc Rivers crazy. Also, this trade is not likely to happen — Delonte West fractured his hand so Banks is the number two point guard in Boston for now and they can’t give him up.

So now what? Any good ideas out there?

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Two quick side notes: 1) The possibilities of these trades were checked with REAL GM trade checker to see if the salaries matched and other CBA mandates were met. I recommend this site before floating the “trade Tierre Brown for Jason Kidd” ideas. 2) The best Laker trade writer going is Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld. If you like this stuff you need to read him — the rest of his work is first-rate too.