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Report: Lakers, Nuggets have preliminary Carmelo Anthony talks

Feb 8, 2011, 12:28 PM EDT

Andrew Bynum Carmelo Anthony

UPDATE 12:28 pm: Jim Buss — the son of owner Jerry Buss and the guy who is the real day-to-day head of the Lakers basketball-side operations — turned down a Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum trade, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on twitter). He adds that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant were dismayed.

Drafting Andrew Bynum was something the younger Buss pushed for — a lot of people thought it a reach at the time but, despite all the injuries, it has worked out well. Buss is fiercely loyal to Bynum and it would make sense if he turned down this trade.

ESPN’s Broussard acknowledged this but said that the talks are not dead.

12:02 pm: There are a lot of questions, a lot of reasons to be suspicious of this, but it is out there.

The Lakers and Nuggets have had preliminary discussions of a Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum trade, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. (To be fair, he was one of the first to have LeBron going to Miami.)

The Lakers’ package would be built around center Andrew Bynum. Denver has no interest in Ron Artest and isn’t particularly interested in Lamar Odom either, sources said. A straight-up deal of Bynum for Anthony works financially, but there could be other players involved since Denver would look to shed more salary if possible.

Sources described the talks as in their infancy, and a three-way deal between the Knicks, Nuggets and Wolves is very much alive.

He says the Nuggets are not interested in Lamar Odom or Ron Artest, which makes sense as they want to get young and rebuild and those guys are older with long-term deals. Denver throughout this has looked for ways to shed more salary — hello Al Harrington — and with that they may want to add players to any such deal.

Would ‘Melo sign an extension with the Lakers? He already has an off-season home in Los Angeles and it is a big entertainment industry city for his wife’s career. So the smart guess is yes, he would.

Here’s my first question: Who gains by leaking this? Denver does. They want to get a better deal than what the Knicks are offering right now. They need leverage now that the Nets are out of the picture. The big, bad Lakers and their actual quality asset in Andrew Bynum is that kind of leverage. So you could see the Nuggets making the call to the Lakers then leaking it.

Also remember when the Lakers stole Pau Gasol from Memphis (although it wasn’t quite the fleecing some thought) that the trade came out of the blue. The Lakers are better than most organizations at not having leaks. That this is out there adds to the suspicion.

However, the Lakers have talked about needing a shakeup to this roster. (Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is not the kind of GM to simply say things to the media for effect.) This certainly would be a major shakeup.

The trade makes little sense for the Lakers in one key sense — they need to improve their defense if they want to defend their title, and Bynum is the anchor of their defense. Anthony can fill it up and is a great shooter late in games, but the Lakers offense already the most efficient in the league the Lakers have their closer.

Don’t bet on this happening. ‘Melo is much, much more likely to land in New York. But it’s out there and being discussed.

  1. loungefly74 - Feb 8, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    hmmm…even with his history of injuries, i’d hate to give up bynum. a perfect scenario for laker fans would be artest/walton for melo!

  2. hnirobert3 - Feb 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Good move by Lakers if they can make it happen. They need someone to carry the torch once Kobe retires. Getting Melo will also extend Kobe’s shelf life.

  3. passerby23 - Feb 8, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Despite adding more offensive firepower, I don’t see how this trade benefits the Lakers. First of all, what makes them dominant (when they’re on their game) is their huge frontline. Take out Bynum and it’s now an average and exploitable frontcourt. Second of all, Anthony is a ball-dominating player who needs touches and shots, much like Bryant does. There is only one ball to go around. What happens to Artest and Barnes if Anthony is logjamming the 3 spot? Lastly, Anthony has never been known for his defensive prowess so it’s hard to see how this improves them in that area.

    The other issue is what to do with Anthony when his contract expires at the end of the season. He’s going to want a max deal. Do you give max money to Bryant, Gasol, Odom, Anthony, plus what’s left on Artest’s deal? The Lakers are already aging, so do you want to tie up more money?

    • loungefly74 - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Bingo. you nailed it. Absolutely agree. It would be a bad move IF Bynum had to go…

      • borderline1988 - Feb 8, 2011 at 5:11 PM

        Great post. You’re 100% right.
        I actually think that this deal is really, really stupid for the Lakers. Bynum is injury-prone, but I don’t even think I wold sign Carmelo as a free agent (on the Lakers), let alone trading your starting center, whose defense is what will make or break a chance at a 3rd straight championship.
        The Lakers need a shakeup, but not that kind of shakeup. The only way you would trade Bynum is if you’d get a quality defensive big man in return…the Lakers cannot makeup Bynum’s rebounding and defense

    • sixers25 - Feb 8, 2011 at 4:49 PM

      How can reject a trade that gives you a top 10 player? You mention money being tied up but with Bynum’s knees at his size even though he is only 23 if you had to bet money on whether he or Melo is going to be healthy come playoff time you have to bet on Melo. If you were to bet money on who would be more productive 3 years from now you would have to bet Melo. A front line of Odom and Gasol is nothing to sneeze at and pairing that with Melo would make the Lakers unguardable. Yes they would need defensive help but you can use the logjam at 3 to make a trade for a big man. Or if they don’t make a trade they could just go small a lot more. No one in the West is that big and scary anymore. In fact if the trade goes through the only team with significant size in the conference would be Denver. San Antonio has Duncan and a bunch of undersized power forwards, the Thunder don’t have a post presence, the Mavs low post threat is Dirk, Big Al isn’t scaring anyone in Utah so how would they get hurt in conference. The lack of size might be an issue against the Celtics but Shaq is a 20 min a game guy, KG is a jump shooter now, Perkins can’t score, Big Baby is just a role player and the other O’Neal is a corpse.
      Its pretty rare to make a deal that helps you for the immediate future and the next five years so don’t let Andrew freakin Bynum change your mind.

      • passerby23 - Feb 8, 2011 at 8:43 PM

        This is a Laker team built to win right now. They have a window of this year and maybe next year. Who cares about what Melo can do in 3 years? Melo will be 3 years older, while the rest of the Laker core already has a lot of mileage. They don’t have the money to give him anyway. If he walks this summer, the trade would be wasted anyway.

        You’ve also got to be concerned with chemistry at this point in the year – acclimating Anthony into the triangle offense and blending in with Bryant. Even if they were to click and he learned the triangle, the issue for the Lakers won’t be offense but can they rebound and stop people? Suddenly, the Lakers become a lot more beatable by teams like Dallas whose greatest concern is the size of the Lakers. I don’t think this deal makes any sense if there is anything serious at all on the table.

  4. eazye76 - Feb 8, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    They can’t trade Bynum. Even if he is hurt all the time they need a big guy if they want more championships in the Kobe era. Keep the team like it is and try for Howard/Griffen/Love in the next few years.

    • hnirobert3 - Feb 9, 2011 at 8:07 AM

      maybe that’s the plan… get melo now to extend kobe’s career, deal with having pau play center for a year and half, then go out and get howard. so you’d have howard, pau, melo and an aging but still effective kobe in his twilight years.

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