So, Chris Paul wants to be a Laker. Well good for him, who doesn’t? Apparently fed up with being a one man show in the N.O., Paul has requested to be traded. Among the teams he’s willing to take his services to are the Magic, Hornets, Cavs, Knicks, Blazers and the two-time defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course there is the little matter of what it would take to get Paul and his $34-million contract into a Purple and Gold uniform.
It would take a snow storm in hell before GM Mitch would even consider moving Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol, so that is not an option. Moving down the line, the next two assets are Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Of the two, Bynum is younger and has the potential to blossom into a franchise cornerstone. Drew’s phat contract also makes him a prime candidate to be traded in this fantasy NBA2K10 scenario.
The Lakers have flirted with the idea of trading Bynum. But that was well before committing $57-million to the oft-injured big man.
While Paul would greatly improve the Laker backcourt, his presence would drastically alter the team’s style of play as Mark Medina points out.
There’s no doubt that teams should be very afraid if Paul arrives in L.A. But his open-court style would change playing alongside Bryant and having to work within the triangle. I imagine Paul and Gasol instantly forming chemistry, but Gasol’s effectiveness inside wouldn’t be the same without Bynum.
Simply put – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Gasol and Bynum are a force to be reckoned with, that is undeniable. As the 2010 world champion Lakers demonstrated time and time again – size matters.
Yes, Paul is an elite level point guard. In fact, if he got all the media hype and love of two time MVP Steve Nash, Paul would most likely already have an MVP trophy of his own. Clearly the Lakers are concerned with the point guard position going forward as indicated by allowing Jordan Farmar to walk and inking Steve Blake. Farmar never developed into a consistently reliable point guard and Blake at age 30 is a short term solution at best.
While trading for Paul would be an instant upgrade and a viable long term solution, the immediate effects of losing Bynum would far outweigh any future gains.
As it stands, the rest of the NBA is getting bigger to compete with the Lake Show. If the Lakers unloaded Bynum they’d be stooping down to the level of the competition. Not to mention the fact that Gasol would spend more time playing out of position at center.
Drew is a true center. He’s not a modern day seven-footer who spends more time on the perimeter than in the paint. Bynum defends the rim, rebounds and has developed a soft touch to go along with his arsenal of low post moves.
Check your NBA history and you’ll see a long line of teams that have won with dominant big men. You’ll also notice the extremely short list of teams that have won with an elite point guard.
Acquiring Chris Paul would be a move with the distant future in mind. In the absence of Bynum, the Lakers are back to scouring the NBA for project big men ala Kwame Brown all over again. In the here and now, the Lakers are more in need of a veteran big to come off the bench than they are in need of a young dynamic point guard.
Of course this is all offseason speculation, a bit of reality sprinkled in with the over active imaginations of bored hoop heads during the summer months. In reality Paul might have the Lakers on his list but he is nowhere to be found on theirs. The Lakers have not even contacted the Hornets and most likely have no plans to do so.
Whatever the case, this burgeoning dynasty stands to lose more than it gains by trading Andrew Bynum when he is on the cusp of becoming the best pure center in professional basketball – sorry, Chris, good luck in New York.