It’s Official: Crazy Rumor Season Has Begun

Kurt —  January 10, 2010

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Let’s get the details out of the way: Peter Vescey reports that a source told him the Lakers would like to move Andrew Bynum for Chris Bosh.

My source believes the Lakers will offer Andrew Bynum for Bosh (if they haven’t done so already) well before the deadline expires. In itself, the one-for-one swap is impossible to make. Bynum’s “base year” essentially allows L.A. to take back but half of his salary this year ($12.5M). Of course, that restriction is lifted when next year’s salary ($13.7M) activates come July 1, at which time a sign-and-trade transaction would be feasible.

The possibility of such a deal makes sense to me. First of all, Bynum is a legit starting center for the defending champions. He also has three years left on his contract after this one.

As for the Raptors, despite the severe offseason roster renovation, they’re not giving any indication of being more than just a one-and-done playoff group this season and in the foreseeable future.

The first of the year always brings with it a flood of trade rumors and as we get closer to the deadline they get more crazy. Know this about Vescey — he throws a lot of rumors out there. A lot. To be fair, some pan out, but many do not. His Lakers sources have been spoty at best. Also, notice his phrasing in that first paragraph: His source “believes” the Lakers will make this offer. Does it sound like he got this directly from a decision maker?

Also, know this about unsourced rumors: Nobody tells a reporter something because they like them. There is a motive. Every time you see a rumor, think: “Who benefits by this being out there?” Did a team plant a rumor to increase trade value or gain leverage in another negotiation? Did an agent plant a rumor to help his client? I don’t know who Vecsey’s contact is, but they are feeding him this big rumor for a reason.

This rumor makes little sense to me in the short term because Bynum is base year player (as mentioned in the piece). To get Bosh at the trade deadline the Lakers would need to send Bynum, Morrison and Farmar — that is a lot of talent to suddenly be missing mid season. Then you have to teach Bosh the triangle offense and see if he can play with Kobe and Gasol — Bosh is a budding superstar, do you think he wants to be option number three?.

And then there is the money issue — the Lakers are already at the top end of what Buss wants to pay. Bosh is a free agent this summer and will get a max (or at least near max) deal. Do you think the Lakers can really add that on to Kobe (who will get extended or opt out and re-up this summer), the new Gasol deal, Odom, Artest, Walton and so on? And you want to get a point guard on top of that?

The rumors are out there. More are to come. I would suggest looking at them with a critical eye. While the fan base may want a big statement move, that is not very likely. These are the defending NBA champions and they have the best record in basketball — do you really blow that up midseason?

Kurt

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