Sports Opinion & Analysis

The Best Solution to Fix the Lakers is the Option No One Will Consider

In NBA on June 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

Trade Kobe Bryant.

“Yeah, most Laker fans don’t like me, what of it?”

Now that that’s out in the open, let’s go over why.

We all know Kobe’s story. Drafted right out of high school (before it was the cool thing to do), Bryant won three NBA Championships with Shaquille O’Neal, only to lose two, then win two more with Pau Gasol. In that time, along with a scandal or two, he became one of the most clutch and dominant players of the era.

Between the regular season and the playoffs, Kobe Bryant has played a lot of games over his sixteen-year career. A lot of gamesIf Kobe Bryant were a car, he’d have something like 450 thousand miles under the hood. Fortunately for the Lakers though, he’s like a Toyota or a Honda, if Toyotas or Hondas could score 81 points in one game. My point is, he was built to run for a while. But even Toyotas and Hondas have their limits.

And Kobe’s are beginning to show.

Remember that series he just played against the Thunder? Remember how he went 0-for-9 and then blamed  Pau and Artest and Bynum and Blake and everyone for not getting open, therefore forcing him to take all those bad shots? The Kobe Bryant of old would have found a way to make those bad shoots good. With that much talent around him, he would have found some way to get the points his team needed, whether he was scoring them or not.

But when you get old, you lose a quick step or two. You just can’t hang with the young fellas anymore.

Bryant is an elite player, no question, but how many more years of elite play does he have? I say two. Two years of elite, one or two of good, and then we’re going to start seeing the Jordan years on the Wizards.

“I should have stayed retired the second time…”

Bryant’s window for another Championship with the Lakers, depending on who the Lakers can and will pair him with, is maybe three years. But by trading Bryant now, the Lakers could expand that window by a decade.

But first, let’s start with all the moves the team would need to make before trading number 24/8.

If the Lakers would have included Andrew Bynum in trade negotiations, they probably could have landed Dwight Howard a season ago. Granted, both Bynum and Howard proved this year that they are soft cry babies, but I say Dwight’s less soft and less the baby. Until Howard’s herniated desk, you never heard of him not playing because he hurt this knee, or that knee, or common sense because he was shooting three’s. Cut the fat and trade Bynum for him. Throw in Gasol if you have to. Give the Magic whomever they want, short of Bryant, but just get Dwight. He’s the basis of the future.

Niether of them are Shaq.

Now, Dwight’s a free agent next year. Why not just wait it out and try to get him then? The Lakers could, but right now they’re already paying a lot of money for the players they already have on their roster. In order to sign anyone, they’re going to need to clear space and playing time. Also, he’s a free agent and can choose wherever he signs, so if he decides to not sign with the Lakers, then the team is stuck with Bynum, injuries, heads issues and all.

Speaking of head issues, trade Ron Artest for whatever you can, even if it’s only a second round draft pick for your sister WNBA team.

“Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd…”

The distraction that is Ron+Artest+Changes+His+Name+To+Metta+World+Peace served his purpose by helping the team win their last championship, but now he’s just a taunt away from another Malice in the Palace ($59.99 on Pay-Per-View). He’s only a distraction. The Ron Artest era in L.A. is over. So is the Metta World Peace one.

“….that should be the nail in my coffin as a Laker.”

I’m sure an overhyped team who has yet to find success would be very interested in taking a gamble on a player to add scrappiness to a lineup that doesn’t have any (here’s looking at you Miami).

Once the Celtics close things out Thursday, the Heat are going have some serious soul-searching to do. I mean two years of not wining “Not six, not seven, not eight titles,” type of soul-searching. Unless they can find away to convince Steve Nash or Deron Williams to play for peanuts, one of the Big Three is going to be in a different jersey next year. If the Heat were smart, they would deal Lebron for Howard (before the Lakers get him) or Wade for a group of higher performing core players (the Phoenix Suns would practically trade their entire roster, sans Nash, for one of the Big Three at this point), but since the Heat haven’t been smart enough to find a way to win with all three, chances are it’ll be Bosh they ship out (actually if they were really smart, they would be backing up dump trucks filled with money to Phil Jackson’s house, to see if he could salvage this wreck). He’s just the lesser name.

“You guys actually make me miss Cleveland…”

The problem with Miami (besides not having a coach), is that they are three players with no support. The Lakers could try and pull an Artest and/or Gasol (depending if they kept him or not to obtain Dwight), Matt Barnes, Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, kitchen sink trade for Bosh. That way they would have Bosh and Howard as their new core. They could try to throw in Kobe for Bosh, or another of the Big Three, but that won’t happen because the Heat need to add players, not a player. They have three a player, and it’s still not working for them.

At this point, the team’s gutted, and there are no point guards on the roster. Quite frankly, the Lakers don’t need to worry about trading their ‘point guard of the future’ in Sessions, or the guy who received death threats for missing a shot in the playoffs, or anyone else who plays that position. Why?

Because Brandon Jennings is going to be a free agent soon.

If you don’t know who Brandon Jennings is, that’s because he plays in Milwaukee. He knows that too. Jennings would be a bonafide super star if he played in a larger market anywhere else, and besides New York, what market is bigger than L.A.? The Lakers can make moves like trading Sessions and Blake and any other PG because they will always be able to fill their roster with quality talent via free agency. They’re the Lakers. There will never be a shortage of players who want to sell out for the lights and fame of Hollywood. I mean, that’s the entire history of the team.

So after all this, why should the Lakers still trade Kobe? You’d have to be crazy to trade one of the best players in the league, right?

Because he’s getting old. His window has begun to close. Because you can get top dollar for him right now. Top talent that will be better than Bryant in two years. Because if the team makes all these other moves, or moves similar to it, they will have compensated for the loss, and could use him to get another top-notch piece. They would actually be getting better by subtraction.

The Lakers should trade Bryant now, knowing full well he’s still at an elite player for two more years, in order to acquire top level, up and coming talent. Use him to sucker someone like Donald Sterling, who has a blatant history of making stupid moves in the name of money, to get Blake Griffin. Sucker a team trying to energize a fan base like Golden State for Steph Curry. Shoot, with the way the Knicks are falling apart, they could probably get Carmelo at this point.

My point is, besides Lebron, everyone in the league is up for grabs if you put Bryant on the trading block. Yeah, the team would be giving up one of the best players now, but they’re gaining a future.

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