Archives For Trades

It’s Deadline Day

Darius Soriano —  March 15, 2012

UPDATE: Well, the Lakers got the point guard they’ve been linked to for weeks, acquiring Ramon Sessions from the Cavs according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The deal also includes forward Christian Eyenga coming to the Lakers in exchange for Luke Walton and the Lakers 2012 1st round draft pick. (UPDATE #2: Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Jason Kapono was also part of this deal and is headed to Cleveland.) The inclusion of Walton means that the Lakers trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade is still intact and could be used in another deal before the trade deadline comes at noon PT today.

We’ll have more on this acquisition a bit later, but for now you can all feel good about this trade. Sessions is a solid PG that will help this Lakers team this season.

As an aside, my best wishes go out to Luke Walton. I know he’s been a whipping boy for years among the Lakers fan base. His salary was too high and his productivity too low. However, he was a pro’s pro and by all accounts a great teammate. His body betrayed him in recent seasons and injuries robbed him of having a more productive career. He was best suited to the Triangle offense but his instincts as a passer and his want to help his teammates get good shots always left a mark on me.

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The trade deadline is finally here. Today is the day that all the rumors and whispers of deals come to fruition or whither on the vine and die. And we’ll be hear to cover the news the best we can.

From the Lakers side, we’ll see if any of the deals being speculated on actually happen. Reports still point to the Lakers having strong interest in both Michael Beasley and Ramon Sessions. To acquire Beasley, the  rumored deal is a three-team trade between the Lakers, Blazers, and Timberwolves where the principle players moving would be Steve Blake (to the Blazers), Jamal Crawford (to the T’Wolves), and Beasley (to the Lakers). What many aren’t mentioning is that this trade doesn’t work under the collective bargaining agreement unless the Lakers either include another player to match salaries or they absorb Beasley into the Lamar Odom TPE. I’d guess the Lakers would try to include more salary, as that would fit their m.o. of not wanting to take on additional payroll.

As for Sessions, the rumored deal is either a three team trade between the Lakers, Rockets, and Cavs where Jonny Flynn and draft picks would be on the move between the three teams with the Lakers landing Sessions or a straight up trade between the Lakers and Cavs in which the Lakers give up a first round pick for the Cavalier guard. Sessions’ ability to opt out of his contract at the end of this season complicates things as the Lakers may not bee keen on giving up a first round pick for a rental lasting through the end of the year. That said, if the team actually deals Blake in the aforementioned Beasley trade, they’ll need another PG on the roster by the end of the day.

Ultimately, though, these are all still just rumors. Whether or not the Lakers actually make a move remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that there will be actual moves made today by other teams and we’ll be here to talk about those.

Welcome to the Rumor Mill, a place to talk about all the rumors, innuendo, and speculation about potential Lakers moves as we approach the trade deadline. In this space we’ll offer up links to reports, opinions on the speculation of the day, and anything else trade related that crosses our minds. This may or may not be a daily feature at FB&G, but we hope it can serve as a place to capture the craziness. As an aside, this feature will only run through the trade deadline this season. So, get comfortable but don’t unpack all your bags yet. ‘Cause just like the circus the trade deadline represents, this post will be on its way to the next town in a couple of weeks.

That on any given night (or afternoon) the 2011-12 Lakers are capable of overcoming even the stiffest competition is simultaneously thrilling and disconcerting.

Despite the occasional foray into disarray and the occasionally terrifying deficiency of on-court firepower, the Lakers carry on, not only trudging forward, but excelling. Given its composition –top-heavy, veteran-laden and deliberate with possession – this squad is clearly one built for postseason ball, where the significance of front-line size is magnified, and that of roster depth diminished.

However, the Lakers, winners of 23 of 37 games this season, including an almost-league-best (along with Miami, OKC and Memphis; Chicago is 9-1) eight of their last ten, find themselves a half game ahead of their Staples Center roomies in the Pacific (and for third in the West), two games behind the second place Spurs. They have won 17 of 19 at home, 16 of 23 against some rock-solid Western Conference opposition and, at 5-3 (the Clippers are 3-3) boast the Pacific’s best division record. Not bad for a team with little more than a passing interest in this regular season.

As impressive as it has been, we (well, management) must resist the urge to allow the Lakers’ success thus far in 2011-12 to mask a rather urgent need for reinforcements. Whether or not you feel a franchise-altering blockbuster is necessary – and if so, whether said blockbuster would entail bidding adieu to Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol –there is one deal to be made that will bolster this Lakers team, either in the form of an upgrade at the point or quality depth elsewhere (anywhere) on the roster.

As you are no doubt aware by now, in parting ways with Lamar Odom just days before the season tipped off, and received precious little in exchange, the Lakers acquired a traded player exception (TPE). In short a TPE resembles a “deferred multi-team trade,” allowing a team that is over the salary cap (as the Lakers are) to acquire like-priced talent at a future date (TPE’s often expire after a year) for a player dealt today. In the Lakers’ case, this TPE allows for the absorption of up to $9 million (Odom’s $8.9 million salary, plus $100,000, per CBA rules) worth of salary, with minimal loss of on-court productivity. Perhaps even more than the aforementioned blockbuster that would put pen to paper on the next chapter of the Lakers’ superstar legacy, this exception will play a vital role in determining whether these Lakers are able to realize their championship aspirations.

A few ideas regarding possible directions in which the Purple and Gold could go:

Ramon Sessions ($4.2M this season, $4.5M player option for 2012-13) for a 1st round pick

Sessions has been, and continues to be, one of the most logical cost-effective fixes available for Lakers’ most glaring weakness. He is not Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but Sessions is a young (26 in April), productive (15.4 points, 7.5 assists and just 3 turnovers per 36 minutes) NBA-caliber point guard that will solidify the already-dangerous Lakers’ status as a contender in the West.

One potential concern is that he will cost the Lakers some assets, and has the ability to void his deal this summer and will cost more to re-sign. Given the win-now mode in which the Lakers are firmly entrenched, this is more than a worthwhile risk. Plus, is Sessions arrives and plays well enough to gain any serious leverage in contract negotiations, chances are it’s been a pretty solid spring in Lakerland.

Francisco Garcia in exchange for a pair of 2nd round picks, with Sacramento taking on Luke Walton

Maybe not the first name that comes to mind, but ‘Cisco Garcia is a quality NBA veteran that can fill multiple roles for this team. He is a combo guard, but with a point guard lean, does not dominate the ball (20+ USG just once in six years) and historically has shown a nice touch from the outside (just 31% on 3-points this season, but at least 35.6% each of the past five, including 39%+ three times). In addition to easing the Lakers’ pain at the point, however, Garcia (who is 6’7”) would provided depth on the wing, either two spelling Kobe at the two or playing alongside him in three-guard/wing (with Matt Barnes, MWP, Goudelock or Blake) units.

Most importantly, this is a deal that makes sense financially as well. Garcia’s contract pays him $5.6 million this year, $6.1 million next season and has a $6.4 million team option for 2013-14. For the rebuilding Kings the acquisition of Luke Walton (who is making $5.6M this year and $6.1M next) is a cap neutral way to nab a pair of second-rounders without breaking a sweat.

Jason Thompson in exchange for a 2nd round pick (maybe a 1st rounder at gunpoint)

An interesting deadline sleeper. Depending on your perspective (I really like him) Thompson is potentially a fourth starter or excellent bench contributor going forward. Thompson has turned in a solid effort in relief of (and more recently starting alongside) DeMarcus Cousins, scoring in double figures 15 times, grabbing 8+ rebounds 14 times and posting six double-doubles despite seeing the floor for just 24 minutes per game.

Additionally, he is a restricted free agent this summer (qualifying offer is $4.1M, though he’ll likely command more), and with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins in line to get PAID in the summers of 2013 and 2014, $12M+ per year committed to Marcus Thornton and Chuck Hayes for the next four years and another lottery pick on the way, it’s unlikely that Sacramento will be committed to signing him long term.

Amir Johnson in exchange for a 2nd round pick (maybe just simple salary absorption)

Is Amir Johnson the difference between the Lakers and the Larry O’Brien trophy? Probably not. What he is, however, is a young (25 on May 1), athletic big that is productive (10-10), will hit the offensive boards (11.9 ORB Rate) and has range to (generously) 15 feet – in other words, quality depth.

Plus, the fact that he is signed to a lengthy, iffy-but-manageable ($6M, $6.5M, $7M next years) contract with a lotto-bound team set to welcome a pair of top-ten picks (2011’s #5 overall Jonas Valanciunas, plus an addition from the 2012 class) to next year’s squad will suppress the cost of acquiring him.

Paul Millsap in exchange for a 1st round pick

This is the dream scenario.

With Utah quickly fading from playoff contention, the development of the last two #3 overall picks will become a priority, as will showcasing Al Jefferson (owed a prorated portion of $14 million this year and $15 million next season) for (hopefully, if you are a Jazz fan) a future cap clearing deal.

From the Lakers’ perspective, Millsap is an ideal fit – an efficient offensive threat (22.62 APER on just 22.9 USG, per Hoopdata) and solid rebounder (22.2/11.4 ORB/DRB Rates) that is still fairly young, having just turned 27, and has the capacity to play All-Star caliber ball for prolonged stretches. What’s more, Millsap (owed the remainder of $6.7M this season, and $7.2M in 2012-13) is an ideal complement to the Lakers’ current front line, able to step outside (43.2% from 10-23’) when Bynum is in the paint and capable of banging down low (72.4% FG on 4.5 FGA at the rim) when Pau is operating on the wing.

Ok, guys, let’s fire up the mill! Who knows what coming days will bring for the Lakers, but these are my thoughts on possible ways to strengthen the team going forward. Looking forward to your feedback on these ideas, as well as any that you’ve been kicking around.

The Roller Coaster Continues

Darius Soriano —  December 10, 2011

Reports are coming fast and furious and it’s difficult to keep up. But, here’s what we think we know based off reports from reliable sources:

  • The Lakers have dropped out of their pursuit of Chris Paul. The deal that was reworked and resubmitted to the NBA for approval is dead.
  • Instead, the Lakers seem poised to trade Lamar Odom to the Mavericks for future draft pick considerations. This is possible because of the large trade exception the Mavs received when they traded Tyson Chandler to the Knicks.

The assumption is that the Lakers will turn their sites to acquiring Dwight Howard. That’s not yet proven, but seems to be the next logical move in this amazingly windy road of roster upheaval.

Some things to take note of as you all speculate on what could happen next:

  • The Lakers would receive a trade exception in the amount of Odom’s salary in a trade to Dallas. That amount would 8.9 million dollars.
  • The Lakers have a trade exception from the Sasha Vujacic trade in the amount of 5.3 million dollars.
  • However, trade exceptions cannot be combined in order to acquire a more expensive player. So, the Lakers cannot acquire Hedo Turkoglu using either their trade exception from Odom (Hedo makes too much money) and can’t combine the two exceptions to make up the difference in salary.
  • The Magic have made some signings themselves in the recent days. They’ve traded Brandon Bass to the Celtics for Glen Davis and have reportedly made an offer to retain Jason Richardson. By my understanding of the old CBA – and these would be rules that would likely be the same in the new CBA – neither of these players could be included in a trade for Dwight Howard based off rules that restrict trading players right after they’re acquired as part of a trade of more than one player. Said another way, the Lakers could not, hypothetically, trade Bynum and pieces for Howard and Richardson or Howard and Davis.

We’ll update this thread when we know more, but for now comment away.

Chris Paul Deal Back On?

Darius Soriano —  December 10, 2011

Here we go again. The deal that was dead, is seemingly back to life with the Lakers, Hornets, and Rockets re-engaged in talks to try and find an alternative to the vetoed deal that the NBA won’t be able to nix. From an ESPN report:

The New Orleans Hornets’ three-team trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would land Chris Paul in L.A. has been resubmitted to the league office for approval, according to sources close to the talks.

The specific changes to the original trade scenario were not immediately available, but sources told ESPN.com that a reconfigured trade has been presented by the league-owned Hornets to NBA commissioner David Stern in hopes that he’ll approve this construction after vetoing Thursday’s trade in principle.

At this point, it’s not confirmed what changes would be made but the perception is that if the Lakers were to take on more salary in the trade while giving up a combination of young players (Ebanks and/or Caracter) and draft picks may give  the NBA – in their position as Hornets owners – enough of what they’d want to sign off on the deal.

(As an aside, I don’t see how the Lakers taking on more salary matters in any way to the NBA – L.A. too should be allowed to make trades that reduce their payroll commitments. After all, with increased revenue sharing means the Lakers will be handing over boatloads of cash to the rest of the league, why should they also have to take on salary in trades that will only boost their luxury tax payments back to the NBA as well. But, I digress.)

We’ll track the action throughout the day, but use this thread to talk everything the potential of Paul coming to the Lakers.

The Deal That Died

Darius Soriano —  December 9, 2011

 It’s been over a half day since the Lakers had Chris Paul in their mitts only to suddenly not. It’s a nifty magic trick to make a player disappear in plain sight but that’s what the owners of the Hornets – who double as the owners of the other 29 franchises in the NBA – did on Thursday evening.

Rehashing every detail inspires anger, but somewhat necessary. The Lakers were set to deal away two thirds of their advantageous front court for the purest point guard in the land. Gasol and Odom – two pillars of character and, combined, elite production – would be shipped away. Their loss can not be overstated or overlooked. Without them the Lakers don’t win back to back championships in ’09 and ’10; they don’t make an unthought-of of Finals run in ’08; they’re not considered one of the handful of championship contenders every season.

In return they would have gotten the six foot maestro of tempo and efficiency the league has not seen the likes of in a generation. The evolutionary Zeke Thomas with the mean streak to match. For all the concerns about a suspect wheel, Paul is a bona fide top 5 player in the league and impacts the game in ways other play makers simply don’t. I remember the first round of the playoffs in 2011 quite well with guys like David Andersen and Aaron Gray looking like above average big men and slashers like Trevor Ariza and Willie Green getting hit in stride in the creases of a Laker defense thought to be too formidable to be pushed by such average talents. Paul elevates his teammates. He can make depleted rosters better and would have done so with the Lakers holdovers that match that “average” description. What he could have done for the games of Andrew Bynum or Kobe Bryant inspire a wry grin just thinking of it.

But it’s not to be. The league has decreed the deal dead. That has consequences the must be looked at:

The Bad
The Lakers find themselves in the unenviable position of having players on their roster that feel unwanted. Lamar Odom – a key lockerroom cog, a leader, an unquestioned talent – did not report to training camp today. Pau Gasol did report and tweeted messages of positivity, but lets be real: he too is surely upset and wonders where he stands within the Laker organization regardless of how he thinks of himself as an all world talent.

The Lakers need to heal and in a compressed season under a new coaching staff where there was barely going to be enough time to learn sets, they now have to re-learn how to trust; how to co-exist. A fractured relationship does not get repaired the same way that a leaky back side coverage of a pick and roll does. This can’t be remedied by the x’s and o’s on a grease board.

Is Mike Brown – an excellent teacher – up to the task of being a healer? We shall see but the challenge is in front of him now.

He’ll also need help from the other leaders on this team. Kobe Bryant must reach out to his mates to reassure them that a management decision does not impact his mind about what these players mean to him, to his team. Phil Jackson is gone now,Kobeis the holdover that must channel some of that zen to bring his mates back into the fold of the family. Derek Fisher must also step in and perform some of his own unifying magic. The man that led the union in a fight against the owners must now lead his players in a similar fight against those that wish to tear the team apart.

I don’t envy anyone in this scenario. Their work is hard and there’s no set path to walk to get it done.

The Good
Despite that awkwardness that will exist it needs to be remembered that the Lakers roster, as constructed, is a damned good one. Those rumors that had them acquiring some of the best players in the world are only in place because the existing talent is good enough to bring those players toLos Angeles. Those that don’t believe in this team have the Mavericks series fresh on their minds and I don’t blame them. However, those that do believe understand that a healthy off-season for every single one of the Lakers top 6 players just happened.

KobeBryant is refreshed. Andrew Bynum is, by all accounts, ready to make an impact as far reaching as his mammoth wing span. Removing the emotional baggage discussed above will be difficult for Gasol and Odom (especially Odom) but they too had a long off-season to recuperate, reflect, and recharge. This team has motivation to prove the doubters wrong and even without a Paul or a Howard are primed to make a push. A team doesn’t go from elite to afterthought overnight. At least not this one; not with #24 on the team.

A balance must be struck. The deal that was reported died. It was killed by a league of owners that are too busy worried about their pocket books and the fortunes of the Lakers to see anything else but what helps line their own pockets. Commissioner David Stern has become the anti Pinocchio turning from a human to a puppet right before our eyes. This is nature of the league now and as a basketball fan this angers me to no end.

But as a Lakers fan, the time to feel bad or be angry is pretty much over. It’s now time to work on healing. And learning. The season starts in 16 days when the Bulls visit the team. As far as I know – as far as anyone knows – the team as constituted now (save for some FA signings to address depth) will be the team that dives into the trenches together on Christmas Day. The deal that died must soon become a memory – just as all things that pass away do.

UPDATE: Well,  then. The NBA has decided not to approve the trade. In a statement from a league spokesman Mike Bass:

“It’s not true that the owners killed the deal, the deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”

We’ll have more on this fiasco in a bit.

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In a blockbuster trade that many thought possible but few (meaning me) didn’t think would come nearly so soon (if at all) the Lakers have acquired Chris Paul from the Hornets for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in a three team deal includes the Rockets.

I’ll have much more on the trade a bit later, but for now, park your comments below.

In a vacuum, trading for Dwight Howard is a no brainer. He is, by any measurement, the premier big man in the league. He’s been the defensive player of the year 3 years in a row, has been the 1st team all-NBA Center four years in a row, was 2nd in last year’s MVP vote, and is a fixture at the all-star game. In a league where being an elite two way player boosts your value exponentially, Howard is the best of the best. And while every player has his detractors and no player is perfect, these are the facts.

But trades don’t happen in a vacuum. The other team must agree to take on players and there are ramifications – both on and off the court – that play into any decision. Trades of this magnitude are never as easy as fans would like them to be and the issues at play can submarine a deal as quickly as the original rumor pops up.

So, exploring this potential trade from a variety of angles is necessary:

Continue Reading…

The trade and free agent rumors are coming fast and furious. Every “available” player is now seemingly being linked to the Lakers. Just taking an inventory, here are the names that I’ve read the Lakers are interested in acquiring either via trade or in free agency (includes potential amnestied players):

  • Dwight Howard
  • Chris Paul
  • Jamal Crawford
  • Baron Davis
  • Rashard Lewis
  • J.J. Barrea
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Aaron Aflalo
  • Shane Battier
  • Delonte West
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Jason Kapono

Granted, all of these names in some way, shape, or form make sense. They’re either some of the best players in the league or fill skill and/or positional holes for the current Lakers team. In a lot of ways, the Lakers would be well off to have even one of them, much less two or three of them.

But lets forget the names for a second. After all, if the Lakers actually acquire a player, we can analyze it at that point. Instead, lets focus on how names end up being reported in the first place.

Leaks of information almost always come back to establishing some sort of leverage. Whether to increase the dollar amount of a contract offer, to sweeten the pot of players included in a trade, to play agents or teams off each other…there are countless reasons information ends up in the hands of the media to be reported to the masses. I mean, teams, agents, and players are all looking for the best offer for them and however they can get there is fair game.

Relating this back to the Lakers and the names listed above, this is the perspective that needs to be taken into account when considering whether any acquisition is really possible. Do you think it’s more likely that the Lakers could actually acquire both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul or that there’s been some sort of leak to play parties off each other in order to execute a favorable deal? Do you think it’s more likely that the Lakers sign all those FA wings or that the information given to the media is being used advantageously to get a client a better offer?

Remember, this isn’t the first time the Lakers’ name has been dropped in a trade a rumor. Last season it was Carmelo Anthony. The year before that it was Chris Bosh. Right now it’s Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Give it enough time and Deron Williams name will pop up too.

The Lakers have the types of assets to make a deal; this much is not debatable. And, like every other team in the league, they’d surely have interest in acquiring the best players currently lacing up their sneakers. However, the internal workings of how a trade actually gets done is rarely broadcasted to the masses. At least, not with this Laker team; not with Mitch Kupchak running the show.

And this is where leverage comes into play. From a team’s standpoint, a trade will always be about getting the best asset possible while giving up as little as possible. From a player’s and agent’s standpoint, it’s about getting to the most desirable destination while getting the maximum amount of money. The information that is given to the media is meant to help accomplish those goals from whoever is doing the leaking.

Understand that right now the Lakers are a natural target for anyone and everyone. As mentioned earlier, they have the trade pieces to placate an opposing team’s wants in a deal. As a free agent destination the Lakers are also prime real estate as a championship contender with a fixed contract to offer that other teams will have to exceed to acquire any given player. Using this information as leverage in the whirlwind market in front of us is also the natural maneuver.

So, take a step back and see these rumors for the leverage seeking moves that they are. It doesn’t mean that a deal won’t happen, but as history has proven – especially with this Lakers team – it surely doesn’t mean it will either. At this point we’re all best served avoiding the circus. I know I will be.