Jim Buss claims his team isn’t interested in making any major moves. Yet there is word spreading that the Lakers are looking to unload Pau Gasol in hopes of moving into the top 5 of the draft in order to get their hands on Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There’s also an L.A. Times report claiming the Atlanta Hawks were pursuing a trade of Josh Smith for Gasol shortly after the Lakers’ season ended in Oklahoma City.
So, which is it, trust fund Buss? Are you standing pat with the same squad that is no closer to contending than Kim Kardashian is to becoming the mayor of Glendale or are you going to do something “major” and get us another parade?
If the Lakers covet the potential of Kidd-Gilchrist over the know commodity that is Smith, a hoops theory I’m fully on board with, then they should move expeditiously. The draft is less than a day away. Let’s not forget last year they had their eyes set on Derrick Williamsyet were unable to pull off a trade with the T-Wolves.
However if there aren’t any takers interested in giving up a top 5 pick then settling for Smith isn’t such a bad thing…I guess. Now it’s not exactly a move that will take this team over the top but it adds an element that has been missing from L.A. for some time. Smith is a freakish athlete the likes of which the Lake Show hasn’t seen since Trevor Ariza and even he isn’t quite in Smith’s class. Of course Smith also has worse shot selection than a sniper with Parkinson’s and his value has been inflated no thanks to the Hawks and their undefined style of play.
It’s not at all uncommon for Atlanta Hawks faithful to moan anytime Smith gets a touch 25 feet away from the hoop.
Beyond Smith’s over-hyped production he’s entering the final year of a deal that will pay him $13-million during the next season. That leaves the Lakers stuck with an expiring deal on a player that will surely demand a raise.
Kidd-Gilchrist on the other hand is a phenomenal talent with nothing but massive upside and a rookie deal that won’t make the Buss family cringe at the thought of paying luxury taxes, at least not until he’s due a nice NBA payday.
Kidd-Gilchrist is an athletic wing with a frame that will definitely benefit from an NBA conditioning program. In many ways he’s similar to Smith as his offensive game is somewhat limited yet his defensive prowess and physical style of play may remind some of Metta World Peace.
But let me not get too excited about something that may never happen.
The Hawks have supposedly been hot on the trail of Gasol for sometime with the Lakers looking unlikely to budge. Unless L.A. can get into the Lamar Odom-Mo Williams sweepstakes then making a serious push to pursue Kidd-Gilchrist must be mandatory.
A rookie like Kidd-Gilchrist can contribute immediately but he won’t be the difference maker the Lakers need, not in the short-term at least. His game is still raw after one very successful season of collegiate hoops. Still he did improve each week during his lone year in Lexington helping the Wildcats on their way to the NCAA title.
So, what’s it going to be Buss? Are you going to tell Mitch Kupchak to stick to the no major moves plan of attack or will you actually show up to the office and put in a honest day’s work? The Lakers loving world wants to know. Barbeque or mildew?