The Los Angeles Lakers are still the burning hotlines, trying to find a suitable team that would help them move All-Star power forward Pau Gasol and land another star to play alongside Kobe Bryant.
According to Sheridan Hoops, the Lakers' road to contention would be much easier if they are able to pull a blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks involving Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith.
The Lakers front office, led by general manager Mitch Kupchak, has spent the last two months engaging in a number of negotiations with Gasol at the center of these trade talks.
Gasol, who averaged 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks this season, is viewed as the only significant trade chip the Lakers have after overhauling their roster following the departure of All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets last summer.
The Lakers attempted several times to trade Gasol over the last six months, but no trade ever happened because teams are reportedly unsure of what they can get from the Spaniard at this point of his career.
Another stumbling block in any potential Gasol trade is the Lakers' steep asking price for the veteran big man. According to reports, the Lakers want a draft pick or a promising young player as compensation for giving away Gasol's services.
In the latest trade rumor, the Lakers have reportedly engaged in trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers in an attempt to swap Gasol for disgruntled center Andrew Bynum. Unfortunately, negotiation stalled because the Cavs are unwilling to include any of their young players in the package for Gasol.
Los Angeles Lakers - NY Knicks Trade
The Lakers are not going to throw away this season, regardless the tempt of the loaded 2014 NBA Draft. After signing Bryant to a lucrative two-year, 48.5 million contract extension, the purple-and-gold has little money to spare for free-agency signing over the next two seasons. Basketball analysts believed the only way to improve their roster is via trade, in which they can use their salary exemptions.
According to veteran NBA writer Chris Sheridan, the Lakers can get the job done by packaging Gasol and Nick Young to the Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony and reigning sixth man of the Year J.R Smith.
"Melo to Lakers, along with J.R. Smith, for P.Gasol and N.Young. This would allow complete rebuild," via Sheridan Hoops.
After being the subject of trade rumors for the last three years, Gasol will finally have a fresh environment in New York, if this trade pushes through. Gasol might not be the same double-double guy that he used to be, but the Knicks would benefit from his expiring contract.
Young is having a sixth man of the year worthy season, averaging 16.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in his first year with purple and gold. Like Gasol, Young is signed for only two years with a players option for the second year. These contracts will allow the Knicks to have financial flexibility moving forward as they look to get another star in next summer's free-agency.
Meanwhile, Anthony and Smith will certainly speed up the Lakers' rebuilding process. Although it's uncertain if Melo will mesh up pretty well with another shot-happy star in Bryant, it's still good to see that the Lakers finally have another superstar than none. Smith is proven scorer off the bench, when motivated - that's for sure.
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