May 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia 76ers small forward Andre Iguodala (9) drives against Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) during game six of the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
Naturally, it wouldn't be a proper offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers without trade rumors up the wazoo gripping our attention. The latest rehashes a trade possibility that was opened last draft, and those of you with long memories likely realize that it involves Andre Iguodala. On the eve of the draft, the Lakers had a possible deal that would have sent Lamar Odom and Luke Walton along with a pick to the Sixers for Iggy. Needless to say, that would have been an amazing coup for Mitch Kupchak. Odom was utterly terrible this season away from L.A. and Walton's lack of basketball utility has been all but cemented for quite a while. Iggy, meanwhile, is one of the game's finest two-way players, an elite defensive talent who can do basically everything: shoot from range, slash to the basket with his amazing hops, set up the offense with his very underrated passing for a wing, and shut down the opponent's perimeter threat all at the same time.
And now according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, the Lakers plan to get involved in these discussions again. Kennedy doesn't mention any names specifically, but an educated guess would put Pau Gasol at the forefront of the trade package. After the Lakers' fall in the second round, Gasol has been labeled the most likely scapegoat for the Lakers' failures and essentially every media outlet in existence has essentially determined that he's on the way out. In a possible Pau-Iggy swap, more players would have to be involved because the salaries don't match and the Lakers likely would want to offload pieces like Metta World Peace (redundant with Iggy in town), Josh McRoberts (mediocre year, superfluous if Jordan Hill is re-signed), and Steve Blake (bad contract, poor play). What Philly would be willing to give up is a fair question, as it depends greatly on the mindset of their FO. Lou Williams, who would almost certainly decline his option and enter free agency this summer, might be had via a sign-and-trade, or Thaddeus Young or Elton Brand might be available should Philly value Pau very highly, although that appears unlikely.
Iggy is the right kind of player the Lakers should be targeting if Pau is being used as a trade chip, however. The athleticism deficit and lack of dynamism on the wing outside of Kobe Bryant is one of the team's most pressing concerns and Iggy fills that in a big way. As a guy who had to carry much of the burden of running Philly's offense and still acting as the primary defensive stopper, Iggy would likely fare better if he got to play off both Kobe and Andrew Bynum and both would benefit from his presence in return. Among the fantastical scenarios being tossed around throughout Laker Nation right now, dealing for Iggy would be a sound move and definitely kick off the offseason on the right note for the Lakers.
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