Draft Day Is Here (So Are The Rumors)

Darius Soriano —  June 23, 2011

I won’t lie, today is one of my favorite days of the year. The draft is a day where players’ long time dreams of going to the NBA come true and it’s also the day that all teams have that hope of finding a gem that will help them compete in the years to come.

Today is also great because it’s a day of non-stop chatter and action around the league with trades, rumors, and speculation hitting an all time high. For armchair GM’s and trade machine junkies, today is like Christmas.

And as I type this, the Lakers are in the middle of a lot of this action. Here’s what we “know”:

  • Last night, rumors started circulating that the Lakers and 76ers have had discussions about a potential Lamar Odom/Andre Iguodala swap. With Iggy making more money however, a filler would be needed to make the contracts match. Sam Amick (who originally reported these conversations) cited sources saying that Ron Artest could be the additional piece the Lakers sent to Philly. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers could send Luke Walton along with LO.
  • Obviously if the choice is between giving up Luke or Ron, I’d choose Luke every time. Nothing against Walton (a player I have more fondness for than others), but Ron is still a contributing player to this team and Luke has fallen out of the rotation due to injury and lack of production over the past few seasons.
  • Other rumors have Mike Brown wanting the Lakers to pursue Anderson Varejao, a player Brown is very familiar with from his Cavs days. Varejao is a very good defensive presence and one of the better hustle/energy players in the entire league.
  • All of these reports come on the heels of the LA Times reporting the Lakers offered Lamar Odom to the T’Wolves for the #2 overall pick in tonight’s draft. A deal the Wolves weren’t keen on.

It should be noted that in every single one of these reports, there’s nothing concrete and the Lakers are not anywhere close to actually making a deal. This can’t be said enough and should be repeated in your heads for long term absorption.

However, what these reports do tell us is that the Lakers are pretty clearly looking at options that could potentially improve their team. As I stated earlier this week, this is what good front offices do. The Lakers must look at their team with a critical eye and see if any deal makes sense for them. This isn’t that different than what the Spurs are reportedly doing in exploring options for trading Tony Parker or George Hill. Or reports that Danny Ainge would consider trading one of his key pieces. The best franchises look for ways to get better. That said, exploring deals and making deals aren’t the same thing. So, sit tight and wait for something to actually go down. The speculation is fun and we’ll monitor it closely here at FB&G, but don’t take reports for anything more than they are right now.

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As for the draft, the Lakers are still sitting back with a fist full of 2nd round picks to make. Assistant GM Ronnie Lester told Mike Trudell that the Lakers are looking for back court players with their early picks and players that could go to Europe (whether they’re foreign born or not) with their later picks. Lester also says that if the team can’t take two backcourt players they like with their early selections, they’ll look to go big.

This jives with what we already know about the Lakers approach and shouldn’t be a surprise. The Lakers have aging players in their back court and lack depth behind Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. If the team can grab a guard or two that make this roster (preferably ones that can either shoot, make plays off the dribble, or defend at a high level) or a big man that can compete with Caracter as a young big to make the team, this draft would have to be considered a success.

With that said, here are who the experts have the Lakers drafting:

  • Chad Ford (Insider required): #41 – Shelvin Mack, PG; #46 – Malcom Thomas, SF/PF; #56 – Brandon Wanamaker, PG; #58 – Julyan Stone, PG/SG
  • Draft Express: #41 – Shelvin Mack, PG; #46 – Jon Leuer, PF; #56 – Andrew Goudelock, PG; #58 –  Malcom Thomas, SF/PF

As you can see, there’s some overlap here with both mocks projecting that the Lakers select Mack and Thomas. A few other names to look out for are Malcom Lee, Justin Holiday, Ben Hansboro (one of my sleeper picks that I hope L.A. takes a flyer on), and Jordan Williams (one of the better rebounders coming out this year).

As we get closer to the draft, we’ll pass along any updates that we get and will have another post up as we get close to the start of the draft with any confirmed reports. Buckle up everyone, this should be a fun night.

Darius Soriano

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24 responses to Draft Day Is Here (So Are The Rumors)

  1. I don’t understand why we’re even trying to look for a deal that includes Odom. He’s our trump card. The best athlete on the team. The one matchup every other team in the league hates more than Pau, Bynum, or even Kobe.

    If anything, we should be making cap room or saving him for the inevitable, “Bynum + Someone For Dwight Howard” push next year.

  2. I don’t know who Shelvin Mack is, but he sounds like the man to call when you need to set up a shelf.

  3. Mack is a solid pick. Really reminds me of Fisher. Mack has played in many high level games and seems to have a high BBALL IQ. However, I question his lateral quickness and ability to guard NBA point guards.

    I’d reach for Malcolm Lee or someone like that who is a SG/PG combo who can help us stop quick PGs.

  4. Lamar + Luke = Iggy, good enough to get rid of Luke’s unproductive contract. Lamar against a rookie #2, not so attractive at all even though Lakers got rid of Lamar’s contract. That rookie might not pan out in NBA. Lamar for Verajao, are they not the same? LO is much better, being the 6th man of the year & b2b Champ. All these trades are band-aid treatment, going to Finals would still be iffy with those players.

    However if Lamar + Bynum = Howard. Yesssss, that’s dynasty in the making with Kobe. It is going back to 2000 to 03, what if you add CP3 or D’Will for Gasol, that’s Showtime back to the 80’s.

  5. Odom, given his contract, is obviously a very attractive trade asset, hence the chatter. Two thoughts though:

    1) if LA’s truly shopping Odom and refusing Pau trade scenarios (as is being reported), we can probably put to bed that “chemistry issues” are driving Laker trade chatter–Odom’s the glue of the locker room after all…

    2) I don’t see a scenario where LA lands Howard without Odom being included–as a result, if true, these Odom rumors project a pessimism (or unwillingness, given Jimbo’s loyalty to Bynum) regarding LA ever landing Howard…

    My take: these rumors have very little legs. First, LA’s FO doesn’t tolerate loose trade chatter, including from its trade partners. Second, we need to keep the core 100% intact, especially for 2011-12, considering the overwhelming likelihood of a shortened season–experienced teams that have played together will have a HUGE advantage this year.

  6. Can’t let go of Lamar unless it’s a sure thing. For all his inconsistency… he is what makes our roster versatile, being able to be plugged in ANYWHERE from 1 to 5.

    That said, I am a fan of Iggy as a fourth option, he will excel. I just wonder about versatility. I feel like roster versatility is where we hold advantage over other teams.

    As far as draft… give me Shelvin Mack and/or Nolan Smith, people who have won title (Smith) or is a relied-upon star for a final4 team (mack, in his case TWO f4 teams). Those guys are proven, and they end up doing well in the league. Look at Jameer Nelson, Rip Hamilton, Mike Conley, etc. NCAA champion/relied on stars of F4 teams. And that entire flock of UCLA guards… We’re going in the second round guys, we’re looking for solids.

    If you can’t tell, I’m a believer in Kemba Walker… he is AT LEAST solid to star lvl. Those guys are able to recognize the work needed to get to the top, and do it, because they’ve done it before.

  7. i feel like a good comp for varejao is kenneth faried. not as tall but the motor is there. the problem is moving up to get him, which would take a lot of maneuvering. probably would need to buy a late 1st rounder and/or absorb a bad contract with sasha’s TE.

  8. I like Iggy. My concern is filling in depth behind Pau and Drew with Lamar gone. Lamar played center occasionally too. I love Lamar and would be really sad to see him go. Also, if they give up Ron for the salary match, would this be mainly a lateral move?

  9. I cannot see any circumstance where the Lakers trade LO (even with Luke) for Iguadola and then keep Iggy.

    L.A. would be on the hook for even more money, and would be taking on a guy who is really a shooting guard but plays as an undersized SF.

    Add to that the fact that he’s had a recent injury history, less than stellar attitude, and would leave the Lakers with even less depth off the bench and in the paint, this deal won’t happen unless it is part of another deal wherein the Lakers send Iggy to someone (Minnesota or Golden State) for picks (#2) or players (Monta Ellis).

  10. 9. (Funky Chicken) Isn’t it imperative for a shooting guard to be able to shoot? It was embarrassing watching Miami totally give Iggy the Rondo/Ronnie Brewer treatment by leaving him completely open on the perimeter. That’s a lot of $$$ for a guy to play defense (especially when we have Artest, Barnes, Ebanks).

  11. Iguadola is fool’s gold. He’s overrated, overpaid and has had some injury history that’s concerning at this stage in his career. Given his cap impact, I wouldn’t advocate landing him even if Philly were to say, “We’ll ship him your way for Walton, straight up.”

    Kobe’s cost over the next three years outweighs what he has left on the floor; same for Fisher and Artest. Gasol and Odom are nearing that tipping point, and Bynum would tip over the line with one more injury.

    The Lakers need to get younger, lesser-paid players who can guard the perimeter and shoot/penetrate well enough to warrant time on the floor.

    They don’t need to take on any more fat contracts for 30-ish players who can’t shoot well.

  12. Gee, is it possible that Philly would leak a possible LO for Iggy trade to get a better offer from the Clips than Kaman and loose change? I don’t see it happening. Getting an upgrade on Artest (and not a very big one) while losing Odom does not bring us closer to a title.

  13. Lamar + Bynum = Howard + Redick
    This works in the salary-trade machine for 2011/12. If the Magic wouldn’t include Redick a couple of other assets would have to be included.

    This would solve a couple of problems – i.e. shooter anyone?

  14. Iggy’s salary does fit with the 2014 plan (buy a new team b/c we will have $0 committed) since his contract ends after the 2013-14 season. But that’s looking too far ahead, and if Iggy is the basket we put our salary cap eggs into, then we have very few options later.

  15. We don’t trade Lamar because he will be needed for Howard.

  16. @13 No way would Orlando go for that. Orlando will insist the Lakers take back Arenas or other bad contract(s) and they certainly wont include a valuable role player like Redick. IMHO Howard is the best overall player in the league right now. There really isn’t any question he is the best defensive player in the league.

    Offensively sure he is limited and has free throw issues but he is only a couple points behind Kobe/Bron/Wade in pts per 36 mins – not to mention he shot almost 60% from the field last season.

  17. Nike tourney offering a free Clippers ticket – you heard right – a single free Clippers ticket. I guess you have to go to a Clippers game by yourself. Doesn’t sound so great to me – shouldn’t it be a pair of tickets, at least?

  18. If there’s anything that we know from the Mitch Kuptchak era is that if you hear about a rumor of a Laker trade in the press, then it’s a certainty such trade will never happen. From what I remember, all Laker trades of recent memory have been “surprises” until the day the trade is announced.

    Hate to bring it down to reality folks, but that’s the way the ball bounces around our Lakers.

  19. Brian Shaw has agreed to become the Indiana Pacers associate head coach

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/30216665

  20. I’m posting this separately as this post is pure trade speculation – so feel free to delete if this is not the appropriate time to discuss.

    One player I would love the Lakers to get their mits on is Derron Williams. I know this is a pipe dream, but I would trade for him in a minute if the opportunity presented itself. I think a good offer could be made if Lamar is packaged with one of our smaller guards (Brown or Blake).

  21. I haven’t even read all of the comments regarding the LO for Iggy trade, but I hate this! At best their pluses and minuses cancel each other out, so with being said I’ll keep Lamar. How does getting Iggy do anything to aid our need for a PG? Please do not make this trade, even if it means getting rid of Luke albatross contract. I won’t even take Varajeo for Lamar straight up, NO! We need an experienced PG that can handle the klieg lights of Los Angeles, the veteran team mates (Kobe) and still hold his own. That’s the only reason we should be trading one of our bigs otherwise stand pat!

  22. It’s not a surprise with Mike Brown here that Odom is the one we are trying to move. Lamar is our worst defender and player of our core group. Mike Brown wants defense amd Lamar is no longer capable of playing average defense. He routinely makes guys like Big Baby look like dominant post players. If you had to pick one of our top four players to trade you too would pick Lamar. He also has been known for fading in big moments. Do you trade him for garbage? Of course not. But if teams with financial issues like the Sixers need to dump a star max contract player like Iggy than it’s a no brainer. He would solve our PG issues. He and Kobe in the back court would play lockdown defense.

  23. Why not Odom for Parker straight-up? If Pop really feels Parker is expendible, Odom is a pretty solid equivalent level talent. If Brown is going to run a variation on the Spurs offense, it might be nice to have a starter who knows it really well.

    yeah, yeah, I know all the “never trade with a rival” nonsense-but this could be good for both teams.