The NBA’s trade deadline is four weeks from today, which means the silly season has started. ESPN has reported that the Lakers have asked about the availability of New Jersey guard Devin Harris. Now, the thing to remember is general managers talk all the time, so just because ESPN has reported something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Also, you might recall that ESPN reported breathlessly that “Kobe Bryant has played his last game with the Lakers” in the summer of 2007. Now, that didn’t happen either.
Certainly, acquiring a player like Harris makes sense for the Lakers. Derek Fisher is 35 and his contract is up at season’s end. He’s not as fast as some of the faster point guards around the league (see: Aaron Brooks of Houston). But even the fastest guards have trouble staying in front of other fast guards. Can Brooks really stay in front of Tony Parker of San Antonio on every single possession? Not likely.
Secondly, what would it take for the Lakers to trade for Harris, who makes $8.4 million this season? They would have to send New Jersey a package of players to make the salaries line up under the league’s trade rules. You can’t swap a player making $8.4 million for a guy making $4.4 million, for instance. So, who do the Lakers part with to get Harris? No chance they would give up Shannon Brown, who looks more and more like he will become Fisher’s replacement some day. Jordan Farmar continues to prove his worth as a backup and probably will stick with the team through the end of his contract.
Lastly, the Lakers don’t appear likely to make a move before the deadline. However, they have done deals in each of the last two seasons. Last season, they dumped Vladimir Radmanovic and picked up Brown and Adam Morrison from the Charlotte Bobcats. Brown is a valuable player, but Morrison could be dealt if the Lakers find a dance partner. Two years ago, the Lakers swindled the Memphis Grizzlies out of Pau Gasol, trading them Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and the rights to Marc Gasol. In the end, the Grizzlies didn’t suffer too much. Marc Gasol is terrific and the team is winning.
So … stay … tuned. More rumors are sure to follow.