On a post detailing Kobe Bryant's high volume of shots the last two games, none of the initial comments regarded the Mamba's latest shooting woes or his right-index-finger injury.
But that's perfectly understandable. Instead, all the comments were in relation to a possible Andrew Bynum trade for the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh. Now, all the Lakers need to do is find a way to get LeBron James, and Lakers fans should be set.
The New York Post story, reported by longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey, cited a Lakers source indicating the team is trying to acquire Bosh before the Feb. 18 trade deadline:
"In itself, the one-for-one swap is impossible to make. Bynum’s “base year” essentially allows L.A. to take back but half of his salary this year ($12.5M). Of course, that restriction is lifted when next year’s salary ($13.7M) activates come July 1, at which time a sign-and-trade transaction would be feasible."
With Bosh set to be a free agent next summer, Vecsey suggests the Raptors' likelihood of protecting "its principal asset" might be "impractical," giving Toronto reason to believe that if Bosh's departure is inevitable, they may as well get something for it. And the reason Bynum appears to be the most realistic choice for the Lakers? Vecsey describes the other options --- Sasha Vujacic (one year left at a reported $5.475 million), Jordan Farmar and Adam Morrison (both free agents next summer) --- as "marginal goods".
An e-mail from Toronto team President Bryan Colangelo to Vecsey stating he is "not actively seeking a deal or discussing Bosh with any team, much less the Lakers" suggests the team is waiting for others to make offers and then follow suit.
ESPN's Marc Stein reports the Houston Rockets are one of the interested parties, even if a Bosh trade doesn't come with a guarantee that they can re-sign him this summer. The same story notes in a separate table that the Lakers owe $21,430,778 in luxury taxes unless they can make a move before the Feb. 18 deadline to get under the tax threshold, which dropped from $71.15 million last season to $69.9 million this season. The Lakers currently have a reported $91.3-million payroll.
Feel free to continue the comments thread. In the meantime, here are some more Lakers links.
-- The Times' Mark Heisler has his weekly NBA rankings. SPOILER ALERT: Lakers fans may not like them.
-- Lakers Coach Phil Jackson estimated that forward Pau Gasol would return 10 days after he injured his sprained left hamstring. Because it's an estimate, there are many ways to do the math since Gasol injured his hamstring last Sunday against Dallas, but hadn't missed a game until the Lakers played Houston on Tuesday. The Times' Mike Bresnahan mentions Gasol's return could be Tuesday at San Antonio or Wednesday at Dallas. And the Daily News' Elliott Teaford writes that could also mean Gasol would return Friday against the Clippers.
-- Even though the Lakers currently rank second in field-goal-percentage defense, the Riverside Press Enterprise's Jeff Eisenberg notes that eight of the Lakers' past 10 opponents have eclipsed 100 points. The Kamenetzky brothers put together a podcast breaking down the Lakers' perimeter D. Unless the Lakers sharpen up in that area quickly, don't expect free tacos anytime soon.
-- Mamba may have other reasons to feel motivated for tonight's game against Milwaukee beyond the Lakers' two-game losing streak, his finger injury, his shooting woes and his ridiculous work ethic. His esteemed Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Cowboys, Dallas' first playoff victory since 1996 and the first time Philly has dropped an opening-round playoff game during Andy Reid's tenure as the team's head coach.
-- After taking a season-high 37 shots against Portland, Bryant said it was because no one else was doing anything to fill Pau Gasol's absence, writes the Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold
-- Photo caption contest: Great photo gallery of longtime Lakers fan and actor Jack Nicholson. I'll post some of the best captions in the next links post.
Tweet of the Day: "Brandon Roy summing up how hard most teams play against L.A.: "Anytime you play the Lakers, everybody is excited about it." -- LakersReporter (Mike Trudell of Lakers.com)
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Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum guards Clippers center Chris Kaman in the Lakers' 102-91 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times