Quantcast 2013 NBA: Gasol-Bynum

 

Gasol-Bynum deal would help both Lakers and Cavs

 

There have been ongoing talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers concerning a possible Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum trade. At first glance this may seem like a bad deal for the Lakers, but the trade actually would work out quite well for both teams.

Bynum has only been a fraction of what he used to be since being traded from the Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012. He missed the entire 2012-13 season with chronic knee issues, and plays only about 20 minutes per game this year with the Cavs because of his knees. He has seemed to be more concerned with his off-the-wall hairstyles than with his career in basketball. Though Bynum is averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds so far this season, he was just suspended for a game for conduct detrimental to the team. Yahoo Sports has reported that Bynum has talked about not wanting to play basketball anymore, and not even liking the sport very much in the first place. Bynum’s head isn’t in the right place, and added to his injury problems, he isn’t a very desirable person to have on your squad. This is why the Cavs have been aggressively trying to get rid of him.

The organization has targeted Pau Gasol as their primary trade preference for Bynum. Talks between the Cavs and the Lakers have stalled, partly because the Lakers are pretty hesitant to send away their star big man. The deal isn’t dead, but no progress is being made. LA has been plagued with injuries, with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Kobe Bryant being sidelined for extended periods. Jordan Farmar has also been dealing with nagging hamstring issues, leaving the Lakers without a point guard. They tried Xavier Henry at the point, but he was never meant to play the position. They were forced to bring up former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Kendall Marshall from the D-League to start for them. He will be the sixth player to start at point guard for the team. The point is, the Lakers don’t really know how this season would have turned out had they not been destroyed by injuries. With Gasol, Nash, Bryant, and Blake all healthy, Los Angeles would most likely be in the playoff conversation, and could at least attempt to make a run at a championship. GM Mitch Kupchak may not want to risk trading a centerpiece that could possibly help a healthy Lakers lineup make a run in the postseason.

But the truth is, there is no hope this season for the Lakers, and the ageing team is running out of time to win with the players they have. Kobe will probably retire after his contract is up in two years, and we may not even see him play another full season. The same is true for Nash, who is also close to retirement. Even with Gasol playing alongside a healthy Bryant and Nash for the next two years, the Lakers probably wouldn’t be able to compete with the stacked Western Conference come playoff time. The San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers, Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets all outmatch the Lakers.

LA’s best option may be to give up Gasol, tank the rest of the season, and hope for a lottery pick. Since Bynum is much less expensive than Gasol, a prospective trade would also allow the Lakers to clear cap space and avoid the repeater tax that results from being over the luxury tax for multiple seasons. Bynum could contribute off the bench much like he is doing in Cleveland, barring further injury problems or off the court incidents, and the Lakers could get lucky and end up with a draft pick that could get them someone like Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh. They would want a young prospect or a first round draft pick in addition to Bynum for the trade to be done, and the Cavs aren’t keen on giving up either. This is another reason why the trade talks have stalled. The Cavs, though, are required by NBA rules to include an additional player in a trade for Gasol anyway. That sounds like a pretty fair deal to get one of the top centers in the league. With Gasol, Cleveland could possibly even make the playoffs and still have a decent draft pick because of the mediocrity of the East. This would give them the chance to add a young prospect to replace one they would potentially give to the Lakers. This would add to Cleveland’s young core consisting of star point guard Kyrie Irving and promising power forward Tristan Thompson. Hopefully they would make a good draft choice and not make the mistake of picking a player they essentially already have, like they did last year by picking Anthony Bennett first overall.

Gasol for Bynum is an interesting trade with potential upside for both teams, and I’d love to see it done.

 

 

 

By: Jason Dobkin
Pro Basketball Fans Writer

 


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