Can The Lakers Pull Off A Blockbuster For Bynum?

Last season, around this time, there were rumblings that the Los Angeles Lakers were attempting to deal for Chris Bosh. The key to the deal would be center Andrew Bynum had any trade gone through but after a week or two of speculation (but no actual evidence from the Lakers that they were interested in Bosh), the rumors died and Bosh ended up going to Miami in the off-season. While there was never any confirmation that the Lakers were willing to deal Bynum in a deal for Bosh from the team, it was widely believed that he was on the market.

With the Lakers going through a bit of a rough patch right now (which isn’t saying much, for the defending champs in February, but still), trade rumors are starting to come up again. General Manager Mitch Kupchak mentioned last week that if he felt a trade needed to be made, that he would pull the trigger and ESPN’s Marc Stein reported today that Lakers’ forward Ron Artest is actually rooting to be traded by the defending world champions.

Clearly, Artest is not someone that teams will be calling the Lakers about, rather, if Los Angeles is going to deal him, they will be the ones having to sell Artest’s potential contributions across the league. But if Kupchak is serious about making an in-season deal with more than just a financial impact (like the Sasha Vujacic-Joe Smith swap), he does have one piece that every team in the league should be at least somewhat interested in.

If Andrew Bynum was on a team that wasn’t loaded like the Lakers and if he had avoided injuries to this point in his career, there’s no doubt in my mind that we are talking about Bynum as one of the best if not the best center in the league along with Dwight Howard. Offensively, he’s extremely talented with a bevy of moves in the post and the strength of an ox that allows him to back down almost any post defender that has the tall order of guarding his backside. On defense, we have seen just how valuable Bynum can be this season as the Lakers have been a much better defensive team when Drew is guarding the weakside.

Despite the lengthy list of injuries Bynum has suffered at such a young age, he is still just 23 years old, and as the top big man on a team with good role players and a star on the wing, he can be one of the most effective players in the entire league. Thus, almost any ballclub that isn’t already in the title chase would do well to acquire such a promising young big man.

Hit the jump to see the players I think the Lakers should target in a deal involving Bynum…

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James Dominates The Magic In Key Conference Win

These are the games, no matter what anybody else in the league is doing at the time, that make it pretty easy to determine who the best player in game is. Kevin Durant may have had three 40-point games in the span of four games, but none of his jumpshooting barrages compare to what LeBron James did tonight. LeBron was in control, in every which way against the Magic. He was scoring at will, moving the ball around in key situations and crashing the boards when the Heat desperately needed possession of the ball. When the discussion about who is most valuable to their team comes up, James should receive the most backing. Despite his superhero pal Flash, James does more for his team than anyone outside of (maybe) Derrick Rose.

James started off the game perfectly. And I mean that in a literal sense. He made his first 11 shots of the night, only two of which were easy, before finally missing his first. We’re talking contested 16-20 footers for James, with a man in perfect defensive position right on him. First it was Hedo Turkoglu and then Earl Clark joined in on the fray, but neither deterred LeBron at all. Yes, these jumpers were in pure isolation sets, with James setting up shop just inside the arc on one of the wings and getting his jumper off without even a dribble. Some may say that’s bad offense and that that kind of play won’t work in the post-season, but when you have a guy that is capable of hitting contested jumpers by simply jab-stepping and starring his defender into confusion, I’ll take that any day of the week.

This game wasn’t close for 43 minutes, really, but the Magic made a very shocking comeback in the end to come within a Ryan Anderson three of forcing overtime. They took advantage of a Heat team that was clearly just jacking up shots, some of which were early in the shot clock, too, and a slew of Stan Van Gundy timeouts kept his team fighting. After a three-pointer from Jameer Nelson got the Magic within three points with under 20 seconds left and a rushed inbounds pass by Mike Miller to LeBron James was slapped away and off LeBron’s leg by Jason Richardson. The Magic went for the game-tying triple but Anderson ended up settling for a tough straightaway three when there was still plenty of time to get a better look. But Anderson, clearly wanting to shoot it early to provide an extra opportunity should he miss, bricked it, and the Heat snatched the board and the victory, 104-100.

For more on the Heat’s impressive win over the Magic, hit the jump…

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