BOSTON — There are probably more than a dozen reasons why the Lakers won’t deal Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony before the NBA’s Feb. 24 deadline, but here are five good ones:
1. You can’t coach size. Bynum is a 7-footer and when he’s not recovering from a knee ailment, he’s perhaps the most promising big man in the game today. He’s got more offensive moves than Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, to whom he’s frequently compared. His length when coupled with Pau Gasol’s gives the Lakers a dominating duo in the paint. How many other teams have two 7-footers like the Lakers? None.
2. Despite what you might have read elsewhere, at the moment the Nuggets are just shopping Anthony around. They’ve got to do this to gauge the interest and field offers. You don’t go buy the first car you test drive, do you? Or the first house you stroll through with the real estate agent, do you? The Nuggets are simply calling around to see what teams might offer. If they haven’t called all 29 teams by now, shame on them.
3. Now is not the time for the Lakers to make a major roster shakeup. They have shown some signs of life in recent games. Even during their loss last week to the San Antonio Spurs, they played the grinding defensive style that helped them win the last two NBA championships. Against the Memphis Grizzlies the other night they clogged the paint with Bynum and Gasol and Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Co. forced turnovers. They’ve got a good thing going, and this season is not the time to mess with it.
4. What does Anthony bring to the table in what is Phil Jackson’s final season as the Lakers’ coach? He needs the ball in his hands to be successful. He needs shots. He needs a lot of shots. But isn’t that Kobe Bryant’s role with the Lakers? Personally, I’m always suspicious of duplication on NBA rosters. Years ago, I covered the Clippers when they had three or four of the same player at several positions. They didn’t win because they were young and immature, but they also had too much duplication on the roster.
5. If you’re the Nuggets’ management, do you really want to deal your best player to your worst enemy? Trading Anthony to the Lakers could be the Nuggets’ worst nightmare for years to come. Bryant has led the Lakers past the Nuggets twice in the last three seasons during the playoffs. Now imagine Anthony sticking it to his old team again and again and again during the postseason. The Nuggets know they shouldn’t make the Lakers better and they won’t trade Anthony to another team in the West.