Apparently they were, before yesterday’s blockbuster trade sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers.
Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times stated that the Lakers could have landed the 6-9 Chicago Bulls center in a deal that would have looked like this:
- Chicago Bulls
Ben Wallace (4.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg)
- Los Angeles Lakers
Kwame Brown (5.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Vladimir Radmanovic (7.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
In his article, Heisler talks about how the Lakers could have improved their team with the addition of Wallace and paid less than they currently are for paying for Pau Gasol, but also states Lakers management realized Ben is “old and diminished” compared to what he has done in the past.
As a Lakers fan, I have to say I’m glad the Big Ben trade didn’t happen. The Lakers are all too familiar with their experimentation with older players (Karl Malone, Gary Payton) and it has never been pretty. Gasol is what Kupchak calls a 27-year old “veteran”, and as Mike pointed out yesterday will lighten the load of Kobe and Lamar Odom (who will be a 3rd scoring for 6 weeks and a 4th scoring option after Andrew Bynum returns).
Hypothetical Fantasy Impact of Wallace to the Lakers
The Lakers defense would have improved immensely. Lakers management liked to think that if Kwame did anything, it was play solid defense, but that was not apparent to me. Wallace (“The Beast from the East”) would have contributed to an overall sounder defense for the Lakers and alongside Bynum would have been dangerously scary in the middle. Wallace would have accumulated a couple more boards a game in LA as he would’ve played more minutes on a depleted Lakers interior. Kwame would have wilted away in Chicago, showing in LA that he cannot play in a large market and please fans. Radmanovic is a pure shooter and would’ve been a good complement to the Bulls offense, or any team’s for that matter.
Mitch Kupchak discusses the Pau Gasol trade on Lakers.com here.
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