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…