More Monta Rumors, And Are The Lakers Looking To Move Up In Draft?

Welcome to day two of the Monta Ellis chatter. Apparently there's something to the rumors linking Ellis with the Lakers, as Ken Berger, one of the most respected names in NBA reportage, is now lending credence to the story. In a piece just published at CBS Sports, Berger lists the Lakers as one of five teams (along with the Trail Blazers, Hawks, Bulls and 76ers) with the "most sincere" interest in trading for Ellis. Berger quotes a source as saying the talks surrounding Ellis are "pretty hot" (not unlike your mom). The smart money's on Golden State pulling a deal with the Sixers for Andre Iguodala, but even that's just a "50-50 proposition" right now.

Incidentally, with Iggy on the market, it would be nice to hear the Lakers are making calls about him as well. A few weeks ago, when we were discussing trades we'd like to see the Lake Show pursue, Ben made the case for acquiring Iguodala. Berger says the Sixers aren't looking to move in him a pure salary dump, but it's worth finding out what it would take to pry him loose.

And speaking of trades we've advocated for in the past, you might recall my arguing for a deal involving Pau Gasol and the second pick in the draft, currently held by David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Chad Ford, ESPN's leading draft pundit, is starting to hint at just this possibility. Late last week, in a piece behind the Insider subscription wall, he wrote that it's "better than 50-50" the Wolves will trade away the pick and that the Lakers "have shown interest in trading up."

Then yesterday, in his latest mock draft (also walled off from non-Insiders), he wrote of the Wolves:

Publicly, the team is claiming that they're likely to hang on to the pick. Privately, they're hoping that a team comes along and offers them an impact veteran -- someone such as Pau Gasol, Monta Ellis or even JaVale McGee -- for the pick.

Hmm. The second pick alone (which we should assume will be Derrick Williams) isn't tasty enough to justify parting with Gasol. If the Wolves are sufficiently enticed by Pau, however, the opportunity is there for the Lakers to swing an excellent deal by snagging the pick and additional pieces. (Think some combination of Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Luke Ridnour and Martell Webster.) Either way, I find both this rumor and the Ellis talk encouraging, in that it shows recognition by the Laker front office that the roster needs to get younger and more athletic.

Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.

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