If Odom and Ariza aren’t willing to take hometown discounts, the Lakers need to strike while options like Artest are available

While the Lakers dive into free agency today, everyone is gaga over the idea of having to sign Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. San Antonio added Richard Jefferson to the “Big Three,” and Shaq is with Cleveland and James on a team that won 67 games last year, so you have to continue to look at ways to get better. If Ariza is asking for more than mid-level money, would you go after Ron Artest for a multi-year mid-level deal instead? Artest’s agent is saying today the Lakers are a team he would consider. How about Amare Stoudamire’s Twitter this morning, saying he would take less money to join the Lakers and win a championship. Maybe he’s joking, but would a deal for Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum make the Lakers better? I think the one guy you want to keep is Lamar Odom, you don’t want him going to a competitor and pushing them over the top, and he brings too many intangibles to the table. But if available, I would make the moves for Artest and Stoudamire, both are young and both make your team better? How does a lineup like this look: Fisher, Kobe, Artest, Stoudamire and Gasol with Odom, Sasha, Walton, and Brown off the bench.

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