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Lakers should offer Andrew Bynum for Chris Paul

December 6, 2011 |  8:00 am

Chris Paul/Kobe Bryant

Every Andrew Bynum injury only strengthened the Lakers' resolve. Every trade rumor only solidified their loyalty. Every immature act quickly increased their protectiveness. Every standout performance only validated their patience.

But there might be something that will push the Lakers to change their attitude regarding the six-year center. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reports the Lakers are willing to trade anyone outside of Kobe Bryant to acquire both Howard and Paul. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski also reported the Hornets want Bynum as the trade centerpiece. This could be nothing more than a pipe dream, with The Times' Mike Bresnahan reporting the Lakers hardly made progress on any trade talks with Paul and that the Lakers haven't even contacted Orlando about acquiring Howard.  

But it clearly shows the Lakers are willing to expend Bynum despite long considering him untouchable. For Howard, that remains a no-brainer, considering the Magic center ranks above and beyond the rest of the league. For Paul, it'll take some of the Lakers weighing Bynum's extensive knee injuies against Paul's, but it's something the Lakers must pursue. 

The Lakers had rightfully rejected deals involving Bynum because it would take away the Lakers' advantage featuring two-seven footers. But that concern came in the context of the Lakers' running the triangle offense where the team's paint presence overwhelmingly masked the lack of a traditional point guard role. Offering Bynum as a centerpiece in a deal for Paul for the 2011-12 season would fundamentally change the Lakers for the better. Paul would address those point guard needs and Bynum could assumer a bigger role than the Lakers can grant him.

With Mike Brown's offense featuring more traditional sets in pick-and-rolls and high-post activity, it's essential that the Lakers acquire a point guard with enough speed and play-making abilities. Having Paul direct the offense would satisfy three needs. It'd give the Lakers another volume shooter. It'd allow Bryant to work more off-ball, which would preserve his energy and make it harder for opponents to double-team him. It'd help Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (if he's still on the roster) receive paint touches through pick-and-roll sets. 

But in order to make this more than just wishful thinking, the Lakers will need to be serious about giving up what they once valiantly treasured. This time, giving up Bynum will be the right call. 


Chris Paul may be the answer

How can the Lakers upgrade at point guard?

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant defends Hornets point guard Chris Paul at Staples Center. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters