Obviously this is a very hypothetical scenario, because the Los Angeles Lakers have won two consecutive NBA Titles with their current team and they most likely wouldn’t be interested in shaking up their squad. And most likely the Nuggets wouldn’t be willing to deal Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers, nor does Los Angeles have the right pieces to get him. However, Joel Brigham at Hoopsworld put the Lakers as honorable mention on his Anthony trade scenarios (tweaked his trade just a bit).
The Nuggets wouldn’t have too much interest in Sasha Vujacic, but add Ron Artest to the mix with Andrew Bynum and it would be a very intriguing offer. Obviously the Lakers would have to add in a package of draft picks and they would give up some size and the lineup would be a bit different:
C-Pau Gasol/Theo Ratliff
PF-Lamar Odom/Renaldo Balkman/Devin Ebanks
SF-Carmelo Anthony/Matt Barnes/Luke Walton
SG-Kobe Bryant/J.R. Smith/Shannon Brown
PG-Derek Fisher/Steve Blake
- Why it makes sense for the Lakers: It would be the passing of the torch, as Bryant can pass down the keys to the team to a younger version in Anthony. Not to mention the Anthony-Bryant duo would work better together than the LeBron James-Dwayne Wade duo with the Miami Heat. Both Anthony and Bryant are better shooters and can score without the ball, unlike LeBron or D-Wade who are much better with the ball in their hands. Add in Gasol and it would be the main trio in the NBA. Both Balkman and Smith would be another interesting addition, especially Smith. He is arguably the most talented player in the NBA, but has struggled with coaching in the past. Sounds familiar? Maybe Artest. Or Dennis Rodman. Who would be the best coach for Smith? And Phil Jackson should be the main answer. Now think of who would be the best teammate for Smith? And no doubt the answer would be Bryant, who wouldn’t put up with Smith’s antics and go head to head against Smith at every practice like he does with all of his teammates. And with Balkman, who could be Rodman re-incarnated, he just needs the right coach to deal with. Can we say Zen Master
- Why it doesn’t make sense for the Lakers: Dealing Bynum, they would lose the size advantage they have over much of the NBA and there is no guarantee Anthony and Bryant could survive together. You also have to wonder if Smith could adapt to the Zen Masters coaching.
Now more than likely the Nuggets would be a less competitive team. However, they add one of the better, young big man in the NBA in Bynum and they can move Nene back to his original position at power forward.
C-Andrew Bynum/Chris Andersen/Shelden Williams
PF-Nene/Derrick Caracter/Kenyon Martin
SF-Ron Artest/Al Harrington
SG-Arron Afflalo/Sasha Vujacic
PG-Chauncey Billups/Ty Lawson/Anthony Carter
(Most likely in this situation, the Nuggets would trade Martin for other pieces to the puzzle)
- Why it works for the Nuggets: Bynum has far superior post moves for his size (7-foot-1, 285 pounds) and age (turning 23 on Oct. 27). And put him along side Ty Lawson and they would make an formidable duo for the future. Also his contract isn’t too bad, $28.9 million over the next two seasons (with a $16.4 team option in 2012-13). The downside is Bynum is injury prone (missing 96 games over the previous three season). Add Artest into the mix and the Nuggets would have a much better defensive squad and also a number of players that can score the ball (Billups-19.5 points last season, Harrington-17.7, Bynum-15.3, Nene-13.8, Artest-11.0, Afflalo 8.8 and Lawson-8.3).
- Why it doesn’t work for the Nuggets: Well the Nuggets are dealing their franchise player and are making the Lakers that much better and they are replace him with an injury-prone center and Artest, who is one of the major hot-heads in the NBA.
Would it happen? Not likely but it is an intriguing thought.
(Photos courtesy of Jonathan Maness)
Topics: Al Harrington, Andrew Bynum, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Chris Andersen, Denver Nuggets, Derrick Caracter, George Karl, J.R. Smith, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Nene, Phil Jackson, Renaldo Balkman, Ron Artest, Sasha Vujacic, Shelden Williams, Ty Lawson