Tis’ the Season

 —  January 26, 2005

There’s less than one month to the NBA trading deadline. It’s also about the time of year when free agents to be start really positioning themselves for this summer.

Combine those two factors and it makes late January and February the time of year when the most ludicrous of NBA rumors can get some play. Take, as exhibit 1A, today’s Los Angeles Times report that Ray Allen would consider being a Laker.

The Seattle SuperSonic guard, an unrestricted free agent come July, said he’s open to any possibility, even sharing a locker room with Bryant, with whom he exchanged barbs during the exhibition season.

This has about as much chance of happening as Ashlee Simpson getting the lead role in a Broadway musical.

First, the Lakers need another spot-up shooter to stand on the perimeter and take threes like they need another small forward who can’t defend. I don’t care if they find the second coming of Bob Cousy to play the point, who would be able to get Kobe, Lamar Odom and Ray Allen enough touches to keep them all happy?

Then there’s the money — Ray Allen wants a lot of it and the Lakers don’t have it. Right now the Lakers have $66.6 million in salary on the books for next season. (That assumes Devean George, $4.9 million, and Vlade, $5.3 million, exercise their player options. Vlade can be bought out for $2 million, which would knock a few mill off the total.) The Lakers have four roster spots where no money is committed for next year. There is no way the Lakers are going to bring in Allen at the eight-digit salary he wants and blow their cap structure to hell.

This is Ray Allen using the media to start negotiating with the Sonics, letting them know he’s thought about playing elsewhere and they need to pay him.

There will be a lot of this going on the next few weeks. Feel free to read and enjoy, just keep plenty of salt nearby.