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Ron Ron for LO? Or both? Or stand pat?

July 7, 2008 |  9:04 pm

Some of y'all have been discussing Kurt's recent Forum Blue And Gold post about the notion of swapping Lamar Odom for Ron Artest, a plan of attack he's not particularly down to follow.  Kurt breaks down the stats that, in his opinion, make the Lakers better off sticking with Lamar Odom, but there's another angle that dawned on me after perusing his nitty-gritty.  Given that Ron Ron is, to put it kindly, something of a flake, and at his unpredictable worst is capable of, to put it kindly, wrapping up his team in a considerable amount of drama, it would behoove the Lakers to surround the small forward with as many positive influences as possible. 

Ironically, their #1 available asset might be Lamar Odom, who grew up with Artest and probably knows him better than anyone else with the franchise.  That background might help LO reach his old pal, or at the very least, keep him from going goony bird and messing up a rather unified locker room (with all due respect to the combined presences of Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, don't even pretend it can't happen).  Along those lines, it could make sense for the Lakers to go out of their way to keep Lamar in the mix, assuming such wishes are even possible.

Thus, I began wracking my brain (and ESPN's trade machine) to come up with a scenario to retain LO while dealing for Artest.  I immediately skipped the solution most fans would drum up, dealing/packaging either Vlad Radmanovic or Luke Walton, since there's no logical reason the Kings would take on either's salary.  I don't care how disgruntled Artest may grow in Cow Town; Sacto would be better off buying him out or even suspending him for the entire season and watching him walk "for nothing" than screwing up their looming cap flexibility with role players.   On the flip side, the Lakers ain't offering Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Fisher (or, in this scenario, Odom) and have no other matching salaries, so here was the one deal I could come up with that might (and I emphasize "might") entice the Lakers' divisional rival. 

Trevor Ariza, Chris Mihm and Jordan Farmar for Artest.

Every outgoing Laker contract is expiring (always a plus), and in Ariza and Farmar, the Kings get to take a look at two young players, the former a super athlete who showed some promise last season and the latter who could, at worst, make a nice backup to Beno Udrih and, at best, possibly take over if he ends up a one season wonder.  But here's the problem.  The Lakers would be left with just seven players under contract, meaning they can't do this unless Sasha Vujacic and Ronny Turiaf are resigned (as the replacements would either be guys like Joe Crawford and DJ Mbenga or dudes on a split up MLE, likely not a powerhouse lot).  Even with those two in the fold, losing Ariza (increased backup minutes for Vlad and/or Walton, both of whom struggled last season), Farmar (who doesn't really have a replacement) and even Mihm (if theoretically healthy) could hurt the rotation more than Artest helps it. 

Thus, after all the brainstorming, we're back to the original drawing board proposal: Artest (and probably Kenny Thomas) for LO, valuable in his own right, great for team chemistry and perhaps a stabilizer to prevent Artest from destroying it.  So between that notion and the points brought up by Kurt, would you  stillmake the swap?   As I already said in LO's report card, I'm of the opinion that Odom should be retained until we see what's doing with the NBA's longest front court.   I'd have been willing to add Ron Ron as a free agent (had he pulled the opt out), but under the current circumstances, I'd likely pass. 

But I'm wondering what you think.

AK


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