Wednesday, August 8, 2007

O'Neal-Bryant: An addendum

Two quick points to make as an addendum to my previous post about the possibility of the Lakers getting Jermaine O'Neal:

1. Since I think the Lakers should be willing to trade Andrew Bynum to get Jermaine O'Neal, do I also think they should have been willing to trade him to get Jason Kidd? Yes, absolutely. The idea that the Lakers gave up getting Jason Kidd because they didn't want to give up Bynum is really hard for me to fathom, and I'm not as big a fan of Jason Kidd as most people. I will say that Kidd's age scares me a little--I keep expecting his game to take a sharp decline, but it hasn't happened yet. However, while I readily concede that Kidd is a better player than Jermaine O'Neal, I'm not sure that he would improve the Lakers as much as O'Neal would. Why? First, I think the Lakers major problem last year was interior defense. As good of a perimeter defender as Kidd is, I don't really see how his presence helps the Lakers with their major defensive problems. Second, I think some of Kidd's talents would be wasted on the Lakers because of the triangle offense. In the triangle, the point guard often initiates the offense by passing the ball into a stationary player at the high post and then moves away. I'm not sure you need a point guard with Kidd's tremendous play-making ability and court vision to initiate the offense. Obviously, the Lakers would have been more potent in the open floor with three players who could lead the break (Kidd, Kobe, Odom; and possibly Luke Walton). I'm also sure Phil Jackson would have tweaked the triangle offense to take advantage of Kidd's abilities, but I still think some of Kidd's talents would have been wasted, and his one shortcoming (poor outside shooting) would have been more apparent than it normally is when he's creating for other people. Still, the Lakers clearly should have been willing to give up Andrew Bynum to get Jason Kidd.

2. Would a trade for Jermaine O'Neal that didn't involve Lamar Odom even be feasible under NBA rules? According to the ESPN trade machine (and the proposed trade mentioned in the update to yesterday's post), the answer is "Yes." The first trade I tried (Kwame Brown, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Andrew Bynum for O'Neal) worked fine. However, it's not at all clear that the Pacers would be interested in the available players other than Bynum, and if you eliminate Brown and Radmanovic from the trade equation then it becomes hard to find enough available salary to match up with O'Neal's $19.7 million cap number. So what's the verdict? Feasible? Yes. Likely? No, but certainly doable if the Lakers are willing to throw in cash and draft picks.

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