Carmelo For Bynum Sounds Good, But . . .
The internet is alive with rumors the Lakers and Denver Nuggets have begun talks about a blockbuster Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum trade.
Talk about a deal that would shake up the NBA power structure.
As exciting as it is to contemplate and as much as Bynum’s potential has slipped in the minds of many, including mine, the one thing you would have to wonder about is how it would affect Lakers’ chemistry.
You think Pau Gasol doesn’t get enough shot attempts now? Guess how many he’ll have with Kobe Bryant and ‘Melo firing away between them? As for Lamar Odom, well, have fun rebounding L.O., because that’s about all you’ll be doing for the most part.
There is such a thing as being too offensive-minded, and you’d have to worry that would be the case if this deal is consummated.
Phil Jackson always preaches defense first, but losing the size and length of a Bynum and replacing him with Anthony, who is known as a weak, uninterested defender, wouldn’t do much when it came time to defend, say, the Celtics in the paint.
Bynum has become a subject of much controversy in L.A. He has had spurts when he plays like a legitimate All-Star center. But he also has been hurt more often than he is healthy, and even when he is 100 per cent, or close to it, there are questions about his — how do we put this delicately? — competitiveness.
Too often, he is a 22 year old kid who still plays like he is 17. You have the feeling he would rather be off somewhere fiddling with his video games than being out on the court defending Kevin Garnett.
They tell the story of a moment in practice a few years ago when Kurt Rambis, the current Minnesota head coach, was still a Lakers assistant. Rambis noticed that, in the middle of a scimmage, one side only had four players. He mentioned it to Jackson, and they figured out it was Bynum who was missing.
“Go see where he is,” Jackson told Rambis, who ventured into the locker room area only to find his young center munching on a bowl of cereal. Bynum said he was feeling weak and needed some food in him. He just never took the time to tell the coaches he was leaving practice.
To say his youth and naivete have been frustrating is an understatement. But the Lakers have tried to be patient with the big guy, in hopes that he eventually will grow up, on and off the court.
But maybe that patience has run out. And maybe the lure of adding a bigtime scorer like Anthony at a time when, with their current roster, the Lakers seem woefully outmanned by teams like the Celtics, Spurs and Heat, seems far more appealing than it did a few months ago.
Is there still a chance Bynum eventually will develop into a consistent All-Star and, maybe even one of the two or three dominant centers in the league? Sure.
But how long are the Lakers supposed to stand around and wait?
I’m guessing that’s just one of the major questions Jerry Buss, Mitch Kupchak and others are contemplating in their Staples Center offices today.
Whatever happens, the next few days, or hours, should make for a very interesting time in downtown L.A.
— STEVE BISHEFF