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Lakers Trade Rumors: Playing Connect-the-Dots

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One of the best things about the days before the NBA draft is how quickly rumors begin to swirl. The Lakers have been in rumors with Houston and Atlanta for Pau Gasol. Houston appears to have cooled off by the latest accounts but the Hawks still seem determined to try to acquire the spaniard. The Lakers meanwhile are exploring options of acquiring a top 10 pick for the former all-star, however there are currently no rumors circling about on just how they would accomplish that. With new rumors flying left and right every minute, it's enough to make one's head spin.

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to look beyond a single rumor and instead play the well known game of connect-the-dots. There are some non-exciting rumors starting to emerge, that when pieced together, would make for an interesting and potentially problem solving trade for the Lakers. The rumors revolve around three teams: Houston, Atlanta, and Golden State.

With regards to Atlanta:

The Atlanta Hawks have aggressively tried to trade power forward Josh Smith to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, initially expressing interest in Gasol shortly after Oklahoma City eliminated the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, The Times has learned. Smith has been unhappy in Atlanta for more than a year, his dissatisfaction starting after the 2010-11 season because he felt he was an unfair target of criticism by coaches and media members. Los Angeles Times

The Hawks are said to be one team placing calls to improve their draft position. They currently own the No. 23 pick. One GM said the Hawks floated the names of both Josh Smith and Marvin Williams as potential trade chips. FOXSportsOhio

And now Houston:

Other news organizations reporting Rockets not pursuing Pau Gasol, but I was just told by source that "it's very possible." But they may go after the Warriors' No. 7 pick first (for 12 and 16). Sulia

And finally Golden State:

NBA source on Warriors and Dorell Wright: "They're really trying to move him." Before, during or after the draft? "Whenever they can." Twitter

The Warriors ideally would like to deal the No. 7 pick, one of their selections in the 30s and Dorell Wright for an upgrade at small forward. Then, they could use the remaining pick (No. 30 or 35) on a big man, like St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, and have the mid-level exception to offer an experienced free-agent point guard. San Francisco Chronicle

Chris Broussard: Golden State is eyeing several SFs via trade: Rudy Gay, Iguodala, Marvin Williams, in addition to Wil Chandler, sources say. Nothing imminent. Twitter

Can you see what's churning in my head? Allow me to connect the dots...

Atlanta wants to move Josh Smith for Pau Gasol and have been "aggressive" in this endeavor. At the same time they want to move up from the #23 spot in the draft and are willing to move a certain small forward named Marvin Williams.

Meanwhile Golden State is fixated on moving Dorrell Wright and may be willing to include the #7 pick in the draft to do so. They want back a "established young small forward" and on that list is Marvin Williams.

Houston wants that #7 pick from Golden State and is likely willing to give up the #12 and #16 picks to do so.

The Laker meanwhile would be looking to move Gasol and Metta World Peace in exchange for good players at the point guard, small forward, and power forward positions. Can you see it yet?

Here's how it goes down in my head:

  • Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, and Houston's #16 pick go to Atlanta
  • Marvin Williams and goes to Golden State
  • Golden State's #7 and Atlanta's #23 pick go to Houston
  • Josh Smith, Dorrell Wright, and Kyle Lowry go to Los Angeles

If Atlanta is pursuing Gasol as hard as the rumors suggest, then certainly they take this deal. They flip Gasol for Smith and move from the #23 pick to the #16. The only potential downside is that they exchange Williams for World Peace, but the Hawks have been trying to move Williams for a few seasons so this shouldn't be a deal breaker. Both players have the similar contracts in both salary and length so there isn't any additional financial implications in this deal.

Golden State would probably jump at this deal in a second if the rumors are true. Williams is one of the players they are rumored to show interest in and desperately want to move Wright. They appear to be willing to give up the #7 pick plus a much later pick in the draft to entice the other party involved. Here they get the same deal but keep the later pick.

Houston has been stock-piling draft picks (they have the #12, #16, and #18 currently) and were looking to flip two of them to move up to #7. Here they only trade away one of the picks (#16) and Kyle Lowry but get back not only the #7 pick, but Atlanta's #23 pick. The Rockets lose Lowry but he wants to be traded anyway. However they now have the #7, #12, #18, and #23 picks in the draft. The perfect package with which to either rebuild or as rumors have it, use in a deal to land Howard from Orlando.

Finally, for our beloved purple and gold the Lakers acquire not only a team for the present but also for the future. The Lakers front-line would be fortified with two young all-star players in Andrew Bynum (24) and Josh Smith (26). The Lakers would have a starting small forward in Dorrell Wright (26) that is a solid defender and led the league in three point shots made just one season ago. Finally, the Lakers would have the point guard of the future in Lowry (25) who is not only one of the best defensive point guards in the league, but shot over 37% from behind the arc in each of the last two seasons. That's four starters, all under the age of 26 that are either above average or elite defensively and more than capable of scoring as well. Best of all, the Lakers actually cut $3M in salary doing this deal.

Will this deal go down? Probably not... but it sure is fun to play GM isn't it.

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