NBA Roundtable

Lakers Eliminated from 2012 Playoffs

In 2012 NBA Playoffs, General NBA, Trade Talk on May 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I saw a few articles and comments saying that this signals the end of an era for the LA Lakers. That is time for them to rebuild. After back-to-back exits in the second round where they have been thoroughly outplayed … that their squad with Kobe Bryant as a leading figure is finished.

I disagree. I don’t think the Lakers are finished.

They can still be a Championship caliber team for a few more years (while Kobe is still a high end player). They just need to make some changes to their roster.

  • Starting with the Pau Gasol + Andrew Bynum problem. These two have struggled to operate at full capacity while playing together every year that they have been together in LA. It’s not working. They want the same spots on the floor offensively and one’s involvement offensively keeps coming at the expense of the other. LA needs to make a change and re-balance it’s squad.
  • They need to continue addressing their lack of quickness and athleticism on the perimeter. They made a nice start to that by acquiring Ramon Sessions. They need to re-sign him this summer.
  • Pau Gasol was forced into the floor-spacer role as their sole jump-shooting big man for much of this season. That has to change. If Pau Gasol is brought back, LA needs to bring in someone else to fill this role to free Pau up to play in the low post. If Pau is sent packing, this floor spacing big man role needs to be adequately replaced.
  • Improve their bench / depth.

My guess is that LA will either (1) trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard, or, (2) Look to move Pau Gasol for a younger star who can bridge the gap between today’s title contender and a future title contender built around that new acquisition + Bynum

Between that type of trade, their MLE and some sage moves in free agency (for minimum contract guys) … the Lakers should be able to rebuild their squad and be back contending for a title next season.

They do need to make some serious changes though. This mix of talent doesn’t have the right balance. If they fail to make those changes; you can expect to see LA lose again in the playoffs next year.

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  1. I agree… I think Kobe has plenty left in the tank IF he doesn’t have to carry the team, as he did for much of this season.

    I think getting DH12 would be the best possible move for the Lakers and I would give up any combination of players not including Kobe to do it. Maybe giving up Pau and Bynum would be overpaying, but I think it would at least give the Lakers something to build around.

    Assuming the keep Bynum, since I think he’s the better of the two to keep, what are some examples of pieces that you think would be a nice fit in exchange for Pau? I think a package centered around Josh Smith + Hinrich might be a nice play – thoughts?

  2. Hey Scott G, sorry for the late reply. I was busy over the weekend. I wasn’t able to get around to the blog until now.

    I had a post of Pau Gasol trade ideas late last week. Must not have gotten around to publishing it. I’ll try to track that down.

    Dwight Howard to LA

    I’d make that Pau + Bynum for Dwight Howard trade. Overpaying in the immediate sense but Dwight Howard is a franchise player who creates such great long term stability for that franchise going forward … can’t turn that down.

    Josh Smith for Pau Gasol

    As for Josh Smith for Pau Gasol, I felt that Atlanta would need to sweeten that package more for it to make sense for the Lakers. While Josh Smith is a lot younger and offers much better long term value, LA is still in a win-now mode and needs more immediate help (for an aging Kobe Bryant) than Josh Smith offers. I think Josh Smith shot-selection, turnovers and general inefficiency offensively require more assets.

    I was thinking at least one of Jeff Teague or Marvin Williams or possibly both … but for Atlanta, I think it only makes sense if they get to keep one of those two guys because they’ll be trying to rebuild their supporting cast very quickly to take advantage of Pau Gasol’s + Joe Johnson’s best remaining years. I think they can afford to part with one of them and make it work. Maybe if LA threw in Artest, they could move both but that would be asking a lot.

    LA Lakers

    PG – Jeff Teague, Ramon Sessions
    SG – Kobe Bryant, [TBD]
    SF – Marvin Williams, Matt Barnes
    PF – Josh Smith, Josh McRoberts
    C – Andrew Bynum, Jordan Hill

    Atlanta Hawks

    PG – [TBD], Kirk Hinrich
    SG – Joe Johnson, (Hinrich)
    SF – Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady
    PF – Al Horford, Vladamir Radmanovic, Ivan Johnson
    C – Pau Gasol, Zaza Pachulia

    Or maybe start Tracy and bring Artest off the bench. Sign a Delonte West type (use MLE) to take over at PG.

    Or maybe try to bring back Jason Terry if he is squeezed out in Dallas this summer in their pursuit of Deron Williams. Or convince Chauncey Billups to take a one year deal although that would be a big risk with his injury situation. Steve Nash? Long shot but they might be close enough to title contention to tempt Nash. There is also Raymond Felton and Andre Miller. A lot of options on the market to fill that void.

    For LA, a DeShawn Stevenson type on a minimum contract to backup Kobe.

  3. Please do publish that post — would love to hear other ideas. Personally, I think what we’re discussing above has a lot more merit than any of the trades Ric Bucher proposed on ESPN (straight up for Pierce; with Metta and Blake for Deng, Boozer and Watson; straight up for Iggy and Hawes; with Metta for Lowry, Scola and Martin). I don’t hate the Iggy + Hawes deal (although that leaves the Lakers pretty naked at the 4), but I don’t see a lot of value in the others. What are your thoughts on any of those deals?

    We are in complete agreement on DH12.

    My view of my proposed ATL trade is probably colored by the fact that I think Kobe could get Smith to shape up to some extent. Artest has, generally speaking, been a good citizen since he joined the Lakers, relative to the player he had been up to that point in his career. I think that under Kobe’s glare, Smith might finally come somewhere near his immense potential. He’s a great fit beside Bynum because of his mobility/versatility and ability to stretch the floor and get out on the break. (Incidentally, I really like Horford as a complement to Pau.)

    Do you think if the Lakers threw in a draft pick, the Hawks would move Marvin? I am personally not very high on him, and I would prefer that the Lakers keep Metta and then use Marvin as a backup so that Barnes doesn’t have to ever see the floor.

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