The Portland Trail Blazers have the day off after defeating the Detroit Pistons in overtime 111-109, so today I’m going to broaden my focus to address some sticky situations in the NBA. Namely, the Lakers’ lack of a point guard, the Raptors’ desire to move pieces from their previous regime for prospects, and the Knicks’ need for a big gun to turn their season around. It’s all rather complicated, but I’ve constructed a three-way trade to make everyone happy so we can move on to more exciting questions (Where on Earth will Asik land?!).
Lakers send: Pau Gasol, Wesley Johnson
Lakers receive: Kyle Lowry, Tyson Chandler
Knicks send: Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, 2018 first round draft pick
Knicks receive: Pau Gasol
Raptors send: Kyle Lowry
Raptors receive: Iman Shumpert, Wesley Johnson, the Knicks’ 2018 draft pick
WHY THE LAKERS DO IT:
With a 39 year old Steve Nash out indefinitely due to chronic back and hamstring pain, Steve Blake out a minimum of six weeks with a torn ligament in his right elbow, and Jordan Farmar sidelined with a hamstring tear, the Lakers have no active point guards on their roster. They’ve been forced to play Kobe Bryant out of position, which will not do if they hope to claw their way into the playoffs this year.
Kyle Lowry is not only healthy, he’s a better point guard at this stage in his career than anyone Los Angeles has right now. So far this season, he has averaged 14.3 points and 6.9 assists per game for the Raptors. Attempting more threes than he does twos, Lowry fits well in Mike D’Antoni’s system, which is designed around the three point shot, just like Portland’s.
Perhaps most importantly, Lowry is in a contract year. Mitch Kupchak has set the Lakers up for implosion just in time for a major free agency period. That’s why the Lakers have just three players guaranteed on the books for 2014-2015 (Bryant, Nash, and Sacre). Kyle Lowry is the most talented rental they can hope to get their hands on, and, at $6.2 million, he won’t strain their books, but he’ll open up a workable chunk of change this summer.
As for Tyson Chandler, the Lakers are reportedly weighing the benefits of proposing a deal in pursuit of the center. Such a deal would not be possible without sending away Pau Gasol and his $19 million contract. Perhaps a tough pill to swallow, as Gasol is still considerably better than Chandler in many aspects of basketball, but Gasol has seen a steady decline that has raised trade speculation in recent seasons. Now is the time to pull the trigger.
Chandler gives the Lakers a dominant defensive presence down low; something Chris Kaman has never been, nor will ever be. He’s also on contract through 2015, so the Lakers could build him into their plans for the future as the team’s anchor for one more year. Chandler is nearing return from a leg fracture sustained on November 5th, and will soon be serviceable once again.