During the off season, the lakers should have upgraded their frontcourt as well as adding Blake and Barns. At the time I thought bringing Shaq back for a year or two would have done the trick. Many Laker fans were upset that I made the suggestion, many said that we didn't need him. But what I was really looking to do was fill a large whole we have had all season at center. The very thing he has done for Boston (look at their record compared to ours and tell me who was right).
Andrew Bynum has been hurt most of the season, which forced Phil Jackson to move Gasol over to center. This move as worked for short stretches in the past, but this year it was a total disaster. Gasol had a great first 10 games of the year, but since maybe 4. He was forced to play out of position, getting beat up, man-handled, drained mentally and physically and the move has disrupted the entire team chemistry. Bringing Odom off the bench was great for him, but it created a huge whole on the bench. Ratlif has not been, nor will he be the answer. Teams are killing us with their speed, and with the right tough big guy knocking some guys to the floor, we would not have had half of these loses and Gasol would be in much much better shape/confidence.
Now Bynum has returned, and he has played well in some games, but his play has always shown that some matchups are not for him. He is still slow and needs someone else that can do the same things as Jackson requires of him to do. Rebound, block some shots, intimidate, knock some guys on their butts, and to be the enforcer.
Having that guy on the floor can make a huge difference to the other softer Lakers like Gasol and Odom.
The Lakers needed to have made this move in the offseason, BEFORE Gasol got himself all tired and wiped out. Now the team is hurting. Of course Kobe's knee recovery has not helped. He cannot be expected to play at the level of play he wants to and practice with the team, which does hurt chemistry, which is why I would like for us to have picked up a better backup for him as well, but the main thing was some frontline help.
At this point I think the Lakers only have a couple of options. If the Lakers use the $5 million trade expection we picked up for Sasha, and combine that with Shannon Brown and maybe Character and or Joe Smith, the Lakers could throw in some cash and get a key player. I heard that the Phoenix Suns Lopez with in the coaches dog house. Well that would be an ideal pickup, because Lopez is big, athletic and physical. That would do nicely. That would actally help the lakers control the pain on every given night, and get their physical toughness back.
I have heard trade rumors that the Lakers have thought about trading Artest for Stephen Jackson. I believe that has not even truly been discussed, and I know that Michael Jordan doesn't want Artest. However Stephen Jackson has been a pill for them and has a big contract, so if Michael Jordan could, he would move him. Stephen Jackson would be a great backup for Kobe, and help the Lakers run the triangle more effeciently because he is big guard and can shoot the three. Again, we would through in the $5 million trade expection we picked up for Sasha, and combine that with Shannon Brown and maybe Character and or Joe Smith, and the Lakers could throw in some cash and a 2nd round pick to get the deal done... and even then, Jordan might not think its worth it.
I have heard about Aaron Brooks being on the trade block and he might actually be a good trade for Blake and Character, but the thing the Lakers need the most, is that enforcer that can shift the pain back in our favor. Even if it costs us Odom. I like the big guy in Atlanta.
What do you think we can do to salvage this season that is realistic?