Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Play Lakers GM: What do you do in the wake of another West semifinal defeat?
Steve Aschburner: I start by abolishing World Peace. Sounds nihilistic, I know. But given the rebuild/retool ahead, they don’t need Metta’s shenanigans. Then I trade Pau Gasol, maybe to Minnesota for Derrick Williams in a package. I rebuild around Andrew Bynum because Jimmy Buss will fire me if I don’t. And I ride out Kobe’s angst or swing a deal for him that makes him happy. If that’s possible in every sense.
Fran Blinebury: I get on the phone to Orlando and find out if there’s any way to re-start the conversation for Dwight Howard. Does it take Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol together? Done. Gasol is fading into the twilight of his career and for all there is to like about Bynum on the nights he plays, that happens too infrequently. Howard has his own flaws, but combining with Kobe Bryant puts him back into the championship picture immediately, restores his damaged reputation and transitions the Lakers for the post-Kobe Era. I also do not sign Ramon Sessions to a long-term contract at significant cost. Not nearly enough bang for the buck.
Scott Howard-Cooper: The same thing I tried to do two months ago at the trade deadline and five months ago at the start of the season. Get more athletic. See what Pau Gasol brings in trade. I don’t move Gasol just to move him, but the Lakers need a new personality and Gasol brings the most in return.
Shaun Powell: I’d beg Steve Nash to take less money and sign up. Short of that, I’d be resigned to winning 45-50 games next season and hope my key guys stay healthy. Because trading Pau Gasol (and a contract that few teams will take) will only make you different, not necessarily better. And the only other option is breaking it up and starting over, which you can’t do until Kobe’s done in two years.
John Schuhmann: I try to trade Pau Gasol and get some younger and cheaper players in return, because, under the new CBA, it will be too difficult to build a roster around three guys getting paid over $65 million. The biggest problem is Kobe Bryant’s salary, which is $28 million next season and $30 million in ’13-14, when the extra-punitive luxury tax kicks in. But I can’t imagine Kobe is going anywhere. And I think Andrew Bynum, in addition to being seven years younger than Gasol, is a better fit for Mike Brown’s system.
Sekou Smith: You should have said play Lakers surgeon. Because they require a procedure done by the best. It’s time to take the gloves off with this roster and go to work retooling it for however many years Kobe Bryant has left. That means Pau Gasol has to be moved (in Mitch Kupchak‘s defense, he tried to do it before this season). There’s no more sugarcoating it. He doesn’t work on this roster anymore, not as the third option. It also means that whatever it takes to swing that Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum deal has to be done. If Howard can be acquired, no team can offer better pure talent in return than the Lakers can with Bynum. Crazy as it sounds, Metta World Peace fits on a team with Bryant. But everyone else would be in the trade crosshairs this summer.