Though the Lakers’ have great chemistry right now following two monster wins on an East Coast swing, Phil Jackson isn’t getting too comfortable on top of the West. Phil said that he’s willing to entertain trade offers to help improve the club following Andrew Bynum‘s torn MCL, which will likely keep him out until the playoffs.
“We certainly won’t sit back and just assume (the best),” Jackson said. “We’ll talk about it. We’ll try to improve the club if there’s a necessary thing to do. That’s what you have to do in this business.”
L.A. doesn’t have the luxury of inserting Ronny Turiaf in Bynum’s absence this time around. So unless they believe that Pau Gasol, Josh Powell, Lamar Odom, and maybe a little bit of Chris Mihm can hold down the middle for the entire second half of the season, they should explore some trades.
Here’s one that would make a lot of sense. Trade Lamar Odom for David Lee and Eddy Curry.
First, from the Knicks’ perspective. Though I personally disagree with their philosophy, they’ve come right out and said that they’d deal Lee if it helps them get rid of Eddy Curry’s bloated deal. Their biggest condition is that they need to get someone who’s deal comes off the books before 2010. Lamar Odom’s $11.4 million deal ends after this year. Plus, as a 6-10 forward who can run the floor, Odom can ostensibly fill Lee’s role in Mike D’Antoni‘s system – for now.
And for the Lakers, this would be a great move. They get a phenomenal rebounder in Lee who has the basketball acumen to learn the triangle. They don’t lose a ton if Odom leaves – Trevor Ariza is ready to step into that role, and Luke Walton can see some more minutes backing him up.
However, there are two big concerns L.A. would have to address before pulling the trigger on this deal. First, David Lee isn’t a great defender. He struggles when he’s got to guard someone more than 15-feet away from the rim. The Lakers are already weak defensively. And second, he’s not a great shot blocker. Though he can get up and change a shot from time to time, he doesn’t really block a whole lot – only 0.3 bpg. From that perspective, maybe L.A. would be better off pursuing someone like Jermaine O’Neal.
Even so, I still think that Lee would be a tremendous addition for the Lakers. This is as close as Mitch Kupchak could get to a rendition of pillaging the Grizzlies for Pau last year. Also, there isn’t too much risk involved in this deal for L.A., as Lee’s deal ends after this season. If they want to keep him on with Gasol and Bynum, they can make an offer. But if it doesn’t work out, they can let him dive back into the free agent market. That being said, they’d still have to pay Curry an exorbitant amount of money to sit on the bench.
Is that a price that L.A. should pay to add David Lee?