Tag:Andrew Bynum
Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:49 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 10:21 am
 

Cavs owner Gilbert blasted NBA over Paul trade

Posted by Ben Golliverdan-gilbert

You knew he wouldn't be cool with this. You knew he wouldn't be cool with this at all.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has solidified himself as a staunch hard-line owner since All-Star forward LeBron James bailed on his team and "take his talents" to the Miami Heat. Following James' decision, Gilbert penned a letter trashing his former star for his disloyalty, garnering national headlines.

The NBA's latest superstar-driven controversy erupted on Thursday, and Gilbert managed to carve out a starring role for himself in the theatre of the absurd. The New Orleans Hornets attempted to trade All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-team deal, only to have NBA commissioner David Stern veto the move according to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger. Stern was able to veto the move because the NBA bought the Hornets and Stern serves as the de facto owner and NBA spokesman Tim Frank said that the "league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."

Yahoo Sports obtained a letter written by Gilbert to Stern on Thursday, decrying the potential trade as a "travesty" and requesting that the NBA's owners be allowed to vote on it. Gilbert criticized the deal because he believed it would provide the Lakers with the "best player" and significant financial relief. 
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen. I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do. When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?
The Washington Generals, of course, are the always-beaten exhibition opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters. Essentially, Gilbert is saying, the NBA just spend the last five months in a lockout in an effort to improve competitive-balance. Watching the face of a small-market franchise bolt to one of the nation's largest cities and richest teams would undercut those efforts and the league shouldn't go along with it. He's entitled to his opinion, and certainly he's correct in stating that a vast majority of the league's owners would be unhappy watching Paul join Kobe Bryant in a ridiculously talented backcourt.

But NBA trades aren't made in the best interests of all. They should be made in the best interests of the individual owners involved, and Stern personally opened up this can of worms when he pushed for the NBA to buy back the Hornets. He's undercutting New Orleans' basketball decision-makers, he's throwing the futures of multiple players up into the air and he's handcuffing at least three teams -- and potentially more -- on the eve of the free agency period. It's total chaos and he owes the NBA, its teams and its players a full explanation of his decision-making process and what the plan is moving forward.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:52 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 8:55 pm
 

Lakers trade for Chris Paul: Winners & Losers

chris-paul-lakers

Posted by EOB Staff.

On Thursday, reports surfaced that the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets agreed to a 3-team trade that sent Chris Paul to L.A., Pau Gasol to Houston, and Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic to New Orleans. Assuming the trade is completed as reported once free agency opens on Friday, here's who won and lost.

Winners: Los Angeles Lakers

Just when you thought the championship window was closing, Chris Paul, the perfect backcourt partner for Kobe Bryant, enters to re-install Los Angeles as clear Western Conference favorites and eventually receive the face of the franchise baton from Bryant, ushering in the next era of Lakers basketball. Talk about reloading rather than rebuilding, the Lakers now have two multi-talented threats on the perimeter, two guards committed to two-way play and two of the most competitive players in the NBA. On top of that outside firepower, the Lakers retain promising center Andrew Bynum in the middle and could possibly look to flip him for Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, as has been rumored recently. Even if step two of the plan falls through, the Lakers have the best top-3 players of any team in the league this season, Miami Heat included.

Losers: Houston Rockets

The Rockets get the second best player in this trade but it ultimately amounts to a solid but not spectacular upgrade, as Pau Gasol plugs in for Luis Scola. The Rockets also improve their cap position by attaining some extra flexibility but it comes at the cost of their major perimeter scoring three, a proven backup point guard and at least one draft pick. The cupboards around Gasol are fairly bare. While he’s an All-Star and a potential franchise guy, Houston is asking too much unless major additional moves are in the works. When push comes to shove, it’s better to have perennial All-Star than a host of minor trade assets but this won’t be a transformational move for Houston unless something major is coming in free agency.

Winners/Losers: New Orleans Hornets

It’s difficult to be declared a “winner” when you lose the popular face of your small-market franchise to a major-market monolith because he had all the leverage. But the Hornets did alright here. They won’t be contending for anything any time soon but they got a number of efficient, proven pieces, flexibility in Lamar Odom, and some draft pick building blocks. Considering how quickly the trade came together, it could have been a lot worse. Potential buyers of the Hornets, who are currently owned by the NBA, will have to swallow the fact that they no longer have a marquee star but, at the same time, they won’t need to deal with six months of trade rumors and free agency plans. The franchise is on steadier ground, even if it’s a step down from where it has been for the last few years.

Losers: Boston Celtics

The Celtics thought they had a legit chance at upgrading from Rajon Rondo to Paul and instead came home with Keyon Dooling as a party favor. Thanks for playing. The always-aggressive Danny Ainge will surely live to fight another day.

Losers: New York Knicks

Landing Tyson Chandler, even if they have to over-pay, would help soften the blow of watching Los Angeles pilfer Paul. Still, CP3 was the true apple of the Big Apple’s eye and the Knicks must now head back to the drawing board. 

Winner: Devan Ebanks

Someone is about to get seriously paid for his No. 3 jersey. CP7 just doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Loser: Derek Fisher

Time was running out for Fisher as the head man of the Lakers to start with, but now it's officially over. He instantly becomes a backup and someone that's looking at 15 minutes a game. Actually, he might say that he's a winner...

Winner: Mike Brown


He gets to start basically fresh with the Lakers. No leftovers of the triangle, no inherited drama between Gasol and Kobe. He can install whatever kind of system he wants and now has Chris Freaking Paul to run it. There might be a bit more pressure on him now with this studly looking team, but he's the head coach of the Lakers. That's to be expected.

Loser: Kevin Martin

Sometime, someone will have to explain to us why exactly it is that Kevin Martin can never be traded to a contender. He's hyper-efficient, he's capable, he plays hard, he's an offensive juggernaut when he gets rolling, and yet, he winds up on the New Orleans Island of Misfit Toys. 

Winner: Chris Paul

He gets to go somewhere he wants, play with Kobe Bryant and instantly be on a team that can win a championship. He's never had that before. He doesn't have to spend a lame duck season in New Orleans, doesn't have to answer constant questions about where he might be traded and moves right into forum blue and gold right in time for training camp.

Loser: Pau Gasol

Do you realize a year ago, Pau Gasol was discussed as potentially the best big man in the NBA? That he was a near-MVP candidate for the first two months of last season? And today he's the Rockets desperation project, a biscuit thrown in by the Lakers to entice the Rockets into giving two B+ players to New Orleans. Houston has a new coach, an incomplete roster, and a desperate front office. But we do hear the symphony, which Gasol loves, is nice there. So he's got that going for him. 

Winner: Kobe Bryant


Uh... winnner. The guy who has pouted his way through even championship seasons over frustrations with Pau Gasol's ice cream interior gets the best point guard in the NBA and one of the truly most brutally win-obsessed players in the NBA. Paul is the only player who can match Bryant's intensity... and his brilliance. He will never be left scowling from being open again. Kobe rides into the sunset in glory.

Winner: Andrew Bynum

For now: Bynum gets the best pick-and-roll point guard in the league (with apologies to Steve Nash) to throw him alley-oops. He gets a larger share of the offense and now is a member of the "Big 3" in L.A.. He's in a great position... and he might get traded to Orlando for Dwight Howard. So this could be the best thing that ever happened to his career, or the worst thing possible. 

Winner: Luis Scola

The food is GREAT in New Orleans. The end.

Loser: Lamar Odom

The reality television opportunities aren't so great in New Orleans. He seemed to genuinely love the Hollywood stage. Welcome to a different life.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:28 pm
 

Lakers trade for Chris Paul: Grade the Trade



By Matt Moore  

It's good to be on top.

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in a three-way deal with the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles trades Lamar Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston, while the Rockets send Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to New Orleans.

Kaboom.

The Lakers missed the NBA Finals by two rounds last year, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks. They watched Chris Paul destroy them in the first round, showing some of their weakness. So they went out and got him. They have acquired the best point guard in the NBA, their best point guard since Magic Johnson, and gotten a premier All-Star in his prime to pair with Kobe Bryant on his way towards the sunset.

The Lakers are clearly not done, and will continue to pursue a deal to trade Andrew Bynum to the Orlando Magic to bring Dwight Howard and create their own big three, arguably a better one than the one in Miami. It's an arms race in the NBA, and the Lakers have the biggest budget and most capital to use. And so they have responded to all this Knicks-Heat-Chicago nonsense with their own move, after helping kickstart the race three years ago by acquiring Pau Gasol from Memphis. They're one move away from checkmate.

In the interim, the team did lose a lot of talent. Pau Gasol has flirted with "best big man in the game" for the past three seasons prior to last spring's meltdown. Lamar Odom is a hyper-athletic, versatile veteran who has been a part of three Finals teams and two championships. Neither on the right side of 30, but both still have a lot of value left.

And yet, the takeback is staggering. CP3, in his prime, to provide Kobe Bryant with the clutch guard he's never had. Even in losing their frontcourt, leaving them with a gaping hole at power forward, and even without a trade for Howard, the Lakers now feature Chris Paul able to lob to Andrew Bynum and kick to Kobe Bryant. And for Paul, whose knees are a question mark, to have Bryant to handle the ball and take the load off, he may have extended his career by four seasons.

For Bryant, it may be a rough transition giving the ball up. But it also means no more wondering about his teammates. There will be no outraged glares at Paul. He won't blow defensive assignments. He won't miss Bryant when he's open. Instead, if Bryant is open for a half-second inside, on the wing, or at half-court, Paul will find him. Bynum also comes away big in this deal. He's never had a guard to work with his insane athleticism. Bynum on the pick and roll, rolling to the basket for an alley-oop? It's Paul, the master of the alley-oop, dishing it now.

Do the Lakers have holes now? Absolutely. Starting with power forward, the length they've enjoyed inside to disrupt passing lanes and tip-in misses is gone, even with Bynum still in place. They've lost a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and they're just as weak at backup center as ever. They've lost a lot of scoring, a lot of rebounds, a lot of defense. But they gained one of the top five players in the league and have positioned themselves expertly to add a second if they can lean on the Magic enough. With or without Howard, if you pull a deal to get the best player in the league at his position (Derrick Rose is not a point guard, he's a Derrick Rose), you get an A.

Grade: A
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 9:04 pm
 

Lakers to deal Gasol, Odom for Chris Paul?

Posted by Ben Golliverbryant-paul

The New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets are reportedly closing in on a blockbuster trade that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the City of Angels.

Yahoo Sports reports the details.
Hornets working to finalize details on 3-team deal to send Chris Paul to Lakers, Pau Gasol to Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola to New Orleans, sources say. It is likely that the Hornets will receive draft picks as part of a package for Paul, but source says: "Those are still being determined."

Besides Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and Goran Dragic, Hornets will also receive a draft pick from Houston, source says. 
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Paul-to-the-Lakers is "done" and that the three teams remain in "engaged in serious talks."

The Houston Chronicle reports that the 3-way deal is a "done deal all around" and will be brought to completion once free agency officially opens on Friday.

Later Thursday, Yahoo Sports and ESPN.com both reported that the trade may not be completed on Friday, with one report indicating that unnamed NBA owners are asking NBA commissioner David Stern not to approve the deal. The NBA took over ownership of the Hornets last year and the league has yet to sell the franchise, meaning it possesses veto authority on all personnel moves. 

Various versions of this deal have floated out the for roughly a week now. Let's take a look at this proposed deal based on what we know.

As noted on Monday, going big-for-small for Los Angeles would allow the Lakers to drastically upgrade their biggest position of need. The Derek Fisher and Steve Blake combination simply wasn't going to deliver a title. Paul, arguably the league's best all-around point guard, would step into the void immediately making Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant's life easier and seamlessly fitting into an inside-out game with Bynum. The biggest concern is trotting out an ultra-expensive backcourt that features two players with recent knee issues, but those concerns are alleviated to a degree by the fact that Paul and Bryant missed a combined two games last season.

This would be a dream scenario for Paul. He would get a major market, an elite teammate in Kobe Bryant, a psuedo-elite teammate in Andrew Bynum and a bunch of other tested pieces that are ready to compete for a title immediately. He now has a stable, loaded ownership group that will do everything in its power to ensure he competes for a title every season for the balance of his career. The Lakers, of course, could try to cash in Bynum in a separate deal, and Los Angeles has been linked to Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard in rumors recently.

Bryant, like Paul, is a major winner if this deal goes down as reported. Paul will help extend his career, facilitate his climb up the all-time scoring charts and help take on some of the on-court leadership that Bryant has mostly shouldered by himself. Paul also takes him a major step closer to a sixth title, a ring that would match Michael Jordan's career total.

The Hornets come out of this in pretty solid shape. Compared to the packages that Denver and Utah received for Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, respectively, the Hornets did well. They clear three proven players that complement each other fairly well in Scola, Martin and Odom and a serviceable fourth piece in Dragic. Odom is entering the final fully guaranteed year of his contract and therefore brings with him a nice of degree of flexibility. He can be re-signed or flipped in a trade, depending on what happens with free agents David West and Carl Landry.

The Rockets have been hoarding minor trade assets virtually forever and finally cash them in to land Gasol. He's a legit All-Star with multiple productive years left. But is he that significant of an upgrade over Scola that he's worth parting with three or more additional assets, especially at this stage of his career? Gasol is 31-years-old and can be a franchise centerpiece but he's not going to be the No. 1 option on a legit title contender. Neither is Scola, though, so perhaps moving out of Martin's 8-figure salary to build around Gasol is the new gameplan for the rebuilding Rockets.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:44 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Chris Paul Rumor Tracker 12.8.11: Paul to Lakers?



By EOB staff

So there's kind of a lot going on right now in terms of Chris Paul. It's extremely likely that he'll still be a Hornet when camp starts Friday, and very likely that he'll still be one when the season starts on December 25th. But there has been such a deafening cacophony of intelligence (or absence thereof, depending on your view of the media) regarding who is in the Hunt for Paul, that we need to keep an eye on things.

Yahoo Sports reports Chris Paul to the Lakers

Ken Berger confirms a Yahoo Sports report that the Hornets have begun informing teams they are sending Chris Paul to the Lakers for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in a straight-up deal. 
More on this as it develops. 

Hornets still exploring Celtics offer, might go without third team

Yahoo Sports reports that the Hornets are starting to get past the idea of needing to bring in Indiana for a three-way deal with Boston and are instead exploring the idea of going straight up and taking the Celtics' offer of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green via sign-and-trade, and the Clippers first-rounder. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a possible hang-up would be Jeff Green having to agree to the deal, which he may not if he's going to what would certainly seem to be a lottery team. It would be a great deal for the Celtics. For the Hornets, everything would come down to how that Clippers pick worked out, but at least they get two young above-average players and a quality pick, which is more than they would pull from the Lakers or in the three-way with Houston.

Speaking of, David Aldridge of TNT/NBA.com reports more details. The Rockets would send Martin and Scola (as outlined below), along with Goran Dragic and multiple first and second round picks. That's quite a haul. But considering the age of the two bigger names in the deal (31 and 28 for Scola and Martin respectively), the question is if the Hornets want to stay in the playoff race right now to ensure ticket sales and to stay competitive, or go young. The Hornets are still looking for the perfect deal, or at least the best one, and as of yet, that deal has not come available. 

Lakers looking at a three-way deal with Houston to bring CP3 to L.A.?

2:19 p.m. -- Could the Lakers and Celtics be going head-to-head for Chris Paul now? Accoding to SI.com, the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are engaged in a three-way deal that would send Paul to Los Angeles.

We've heard this story before, but getting a third team involved is interesting. And what do the Rockets have to gain by jumping in? The Lakers have the pieces needed, I'd think, to pull off a trade with New Orleans. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom -- those are serious pieces. But Houston could ramp it up with extra picks and assets which could make this a very real scenario.

According to Yahoo! Sports
and confirmed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, some of the names being floated in this deal are Paul to L.A., Pau Gasol to Houston and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and picks to New Orleans. That right there, is a blockbuster deal.

And if the Lakers were to manage this, they could conceivably put together a deal using Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to acquire Dwight Howard. It really is possible. Scary thoughts right there. -- Royce Young

Celtics back in the mix for CP3?

11:33 a.m. -- The Celtics are back in the action. Yahoo! Sports reports that with the Clippers and Warriors both unwilling to give up players who are not as good as Chris Paul (Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon) to get Chris Paul due to fear he will depart in free agency, the Celtics have re-emerged as a viable candidate despite Paul's reluctance to be traded there or sign long-term. It should be noted that the current reticence by both Golden State and Los Angeles completely overlooks the fact that under the new CBA, there is literally no financial incentive for Paul to sign an extension versus entering free agency and re-signing with their team once they prove they can win. And if they don't win, then the experiment is a failure and it's time to start over anyway. Considering both franchises won a combined 68 games last year, it's a bit odd. But the fear of a true rebuild is too devastating for them. Now on to the Celtics.

The Celtics situation goes something like this. Being Boston, they don't have the same fears as most franchises do in regards to players abandoning them. If they can win the title, then have the cap space in 2012 to make a run at Dwight Howard, that might be what it takes to sway Paul's mind and convince him to stay, so the risk would be worth the reward in trading for him without an extension or assurances he'll re-sign. Yahoo! reports a deal being offered involves a three-way-swap with Indiana, in which the Pacers get Rajon Rondo who the Hornets aren't gaga over, and the Hornets get Darren Collison, who they traded in 2010 to Indiana, back, along with Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, and draft picks. The Hornets want Danny Granger, but there's no indication if Indiana is open to that deal, despite Granger having been on the block for years. That's an awful lot for the Pacers to give up just to get Rajon Rondo, despite Rondo being one of the best point guards in the league. In short, he's not Chris Paul. 

Meanwhile, a small note in the Yahoo! report says Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul have spoken by phone this week as the Lakers continue to try and land the ultimate coup of both Paul and Dwight Howard as well. So the heavy hitters are very much in the room on this.

The Boston Herald reports that a source close to Paul says the Celtics' window is too short, having only one year of contention. But if the Celtics were to immediately land Dwight Howard in free agency, that might convince Paul to re-sign, especially with the lure of the extra year available to the Celtics under the new CBA. Other teams would only be able to offer a four-year deal, vs. Boston's five. That might add even more incentive for the Lakers to pull of a trade for Howard, since it would block Boston from being able to put the two together, as well as, you know, giving the Lakers the best center in the league. 

ESPN.com reports that the Lakers are offering Pau Gasol as the centerpiece of any deal, while wanting to keep their best asset, Andrew Bynum, as a trade chip to attempt to acquire Howard. Gasol is 31 with three years and $57 million left on his deal, so it's hard to see the Hornets opting to take in Gasol, which would leave the Lakers trying to pull in a third team to make a deal with. 

Finally, the Knicks are reportedly seeking a third and/or fourth team to try and trade for Paul but aren't having much luck. Isiah Thomas' involvement in the Melo saga last year is the gift that keeps on giving. 

We've joked about it before, we'll joke about it again. Like the owers said, this new CBA that cost the league 16 games will help improve competitive balance... for the top five teams in the league on both coasts.  -- Matt Moore
Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Lakers talking Gasol or Bynum for Chris Paul?

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-cp3

As NBA teams race to spend their Mid-Level Exceptions on the likes of Kwame Brown, Jeff Foster and Samuel Dalembert in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers lay back in the cut, holding two of the league's premier big men -- Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum -- on their roster. Both players have questions about their long-term fit in L.A. and both ended their 2010-2011 seasons in disappointing fashion. Add up the ever-present demand for quality big men and the Lakers' surplus of potentially ill-fitting low-post parts and it's a recipe for trade rumors galore.

Indeed, Yahoo Sports reports that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who is eligible to sign an extension this season but reportedly desires a new team and/or bigger stage, has been the subject of recent conversation between the Lakers and the Hornets involving Gasol or Bynum. 
The Lakers and Hornets talked several days ago, league sources told Yahoo! Sports, but it was one of those circuitous conversations that left the sides unclear what it would take to get a deal done, and the talk ended with no formal offers. The Lakers and Hornets expect to speak again this week, sources said. The prospect of Pau Gasol as the primary player going to the Hornets won’t be acceptable, sources said. The Lakers will ultimately be willing to let New Orleans pick its player in the deal – Bynum or Gasol – but New Orleans is determined to get quality, and quantity, in a deal.

Bynum has privately been heard to say this offseason that he wants his own team, and the chances of him getting that – in New Orleans or Orlando – have never been higher. Years ago, Kobe Bryant wanted Bynum moved for Jason Kidd, but Bryant’s been insistent all summer that he still believes in this core, isn’t interested in wholesale change.
The Hornets face the prospect of rebuilding their entire roster from zero should Paul eventually communicate that he wants out and if former All-Star forward David West signs elsewhere in free agency. If you're the Hornets and you're aiming for a slash-and-burn rebuild, you want to shed center Emeka Okafor's 8-figure contract that potentially runs through 2013-2014 in any Paul trade, and the Lakers have a handy piece in facilitating that thanks to forward Lamar Odom, whose contract is only fully guaranteed through this year.

Emerging from the Chris Paul fracas with Gasol locked in through 2013-2014 or Bynum through 2012-2013, a chance to re-sign Odom, loads of cap space to build a roster and whatever other tertiary trade pieces L.A. can scrounge up (money, future draft picks, etc.) wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for New Orleans. Not by a long shot. The preference is probably for Gasol, despite the fact that he's 31, but either player gives you a platform to build around. Other potential suitors -- particularly the New York Knicks -- can't make an offer that's even in the vicinity. As for Gasol not being enough as the centerpiece? Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams both moved last year without anyone nearly as good as Gasol being part of the return package. Once that leverage kicks in, demands crumble.

Meanwhile, for Los Angeles, it would mean better roster balance, more room for the remaining big man to breathe and a dynamic playmaking point guard to extend the career of All-Star guard Kobe Bryant. It would amount to a gigantic upgrade at the position of greatest need while taking a step back at the position of greatest depth. If included, Okafor would be one of the best reserve big men off the bench or could be flipped in another deal. For roster chemistry reasons, the Lakers probably want to ditch Bynum instead of Gasol, although contractually he is a better value as long as his knee issues don't recur. Parting with either one is a no-brainer if it Nets Paul in return.

The Lakers are built and paid to win now, and Paul brings that promise to any team he plays on, especially one that's already as loaded as the Lakers are. If there's a risk, it's that both Paul and Bryant have issues with their knees, but pairing two of the game's top-8 players, not to mention elite competitors and most marketable faces, would make this a risk well worth taking.

The Hornets should slow play this so as to maximize the total package for Paul. But the main pieces are there: a centerpiece player in return, financial relief and the odds and ends that go into dealing with a team as loaded as the Lakers (picks, millions in cash, etc.). It's difficult to imagine that another team can make as compelling of an offer without totally demolishing their team's core or identity. Swing a trade like this, and the Lakers as potential contenders don't skip a beat, at least for the next two or three seasons.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:43 pm
 

The Bynum Dilemma



Ken Berger joined the Tim Brando Show on the CBS Sports Network Thursday to talk about the trade rumors that continue to swirl around Dwight Howard before his 2012 free agency. Berger says that Howard is interested in the Los Angeles Lakers should he choose to leave Orlando. Ken breaks down the scenario in the above video. But what stands in the way for L.A. is owner Jim Buss' favoritism towards Andrew Bynum. Should the Lakers surrender Bynum in order to win now with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant? Is it time to give up on the Bynum experiment? The window is open for the Lakers. All that stands in their way is the Bynum Dilemma.

By Matt Moore
  

Jim Buss made the call to draft Andrew Bynum for the Los Angeles Lakers. As he has worked his way towards taking the reins from father Jerry in running the most successful (at least profit-wise) team in the National Basketball Association, one thing has been clear. Andrew Bynum is his guy. In May, Bynum was described as "untouchable" in trade talks by Yahoo Sports. Longtime Lakers scribe Roland Lazenby described how the younger Buss was setting up Bynum as the future of the franchise. It was thought that any talks of Dwight Howard following in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps yet again by going from Orlando to Los Angeles, the kind of market his ego and commercial appeal craves, would be dashed by the Lakers' firm support of Bynum as the franchise of the future. 

But Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday night that all could be changing:
It's no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team's strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum "for the right deal." That's code for "a deal for Dwight Howard," and it's clear from those familiar with Howard's thinking that he'd like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic's list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks. The Bucks' Andrew Bogut may be a better fit, a notion that has conjured speculation in the agent community of a three-team deal that would land Bynum in Milwaukee, Bogut in Orlando and Howard in L.A.
via Post-Ups: Free agency signing days away, but frenzy exists - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

And so the Lakers are faced with the Bynum Dilemma. Do you abandon the stud of the future (and more assets) to win now with the pieces you have from a two-time championship team? Do you give up Bynum when he's just 25? 

For years, Bynum has been talked about as being elite before his time. His potential has been there. The metrics to indicate his readiness has been there. But I've remained skeptical, wanting Bynum to establish himself as what he's talked about. There are too many question marks around Bynum, starting first and foremost with his injuries. Multiple knee surgeries in his early years leave an incomplete picture of his long-term health. More concerning than the injuries, though was his reaction to those injuries. He sought out his own doctors, took longer than expected each time with rehab, and was found to be partying his way through most of his recovery time. 

And yet, he was a huge part of why the Lakers won their second title, and a huge part of why the Lakers were still the favorites to win the West last year. He improved on both ends of the floor. If Greg Oden was the injured star young center whose defense was ahead of his offense, it was flipped with Bynum, and he started to show more at both ends. His aggressivenes took the form of a near-recklesness, including the time he accidentally gave Gerald Wallace a collapsed lung. Bynum has shown to be willing to give the hard foul, to use his body to intimidate other players. He gives Dwight Howard his toughest challenge outside of Kendrick Perkins and the Boston defense. 

But there's a flip side to that as well. His actions border upon dangerous, as evidenced by fouls given to Michaael Beasley and most notably a blatant cheap shot to J.J. Barea in the Mavs' sweep of L.A. leading to a suspension for Bynum to start the season. Dwight Howard racks up the technicals, and has been known to throw an elbow or four, but this kind of behavior is not his bag.

There's no question Howard is better right now. He's an MVP candidate, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, maybe the most influential player on the floor at both ends. But to acquire him, the Lakers would have to surrender the new head honcho's big project, his pet player, the icon of the next generation of Lakers greatness. They'd likely have to surrender more assets like picks (they won't use), and supporting players (they don't need).

However, this is the Lakers. They never seem to need the same things other teams need, like draft picks, cap space, or stockpiled talent. They simply find ways to reload based on the attractiveness of their market, the mystique of their logo, and the savvy of their management. Surrendering Bynum would be a hard pill to swallow for the son trying to make his own name, set his own legacy. But it could also lead to the Lakers extending the title contention of Kobe Bryant until he's 40, and render the luxury tax meant to withhold the Lakers' spending in the new CBA moot, between an even stronger popularity with Howard and their new television deal which pays them $5 billion over 25 years.

Also, it should be noted Bynum has just two more years left on his contract. In 2013, should the answer as to whether Bynum will ever fulfill his promise still have a mixed answer, the Lakers would be looking at a max contract (as they already set that precedent for him with his last deal) for a 27-year-old with the same litany of issues as currently. If the next two years are his rise to dominance, great. If not, the Lakers will have wasted a shot at Dwight Howard's prime and be forced to weigh the answer as to whether and what to play Bynum.

So the answer to the Bynum dilemma is this: the tantalizing potential does not equal the assurance of dominance now. Bynum has million-dollar athleticism, on bad wheels with faulty operating software. Jim Buss may want to make his own name with his own path, but he would do well to remember what has always made the Lakers great. Demanding excellence, now and always.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am
 

Report: Lakers want Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard



By Matt Moore
 


The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.

And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.

From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”
via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.

There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.

The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.

All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.



The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.

But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.

Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
 
 
 
 
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