It is crunch time for the Lakers’ front office to make the necessary moves that will accelerate the team’s chances to compete and to make a real run at the NBA Finals. There are several problems currently facing the Lakers, but none are more in the spotlight than the weakness at the point guard position and their lack of offensive depth.
There are more than enough rumors to lose track of regarding the point guard position. After all, this is the Lakers most dire need. However, with the rapid decline of Metta World Peace and the inconsistency and ever-changing minutes of Matt Barnes, there is a growing weakness at the three spot. With some of the best teams in the league having a strong small forward, the Lakers are looking to improve that position on their roster.
One of the rumors that has been gaining fuel around the league surrounds the Minnesota Timberwolves’, Michael Beasley. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard,
It’s not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I’m told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason. Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he’s been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant.
The Timberwolves and their head coach, Rick Adelman, have grown tired of Beasley’s immaturity and problematic approach to the game. This was a problem during his time with the Miami Heat, and seems to have been a continuous problem throughout his career. Adelman has reduced Beasley’s minutes and has had Beasley come off the bench since his return from injury earlier this season.
However, the Lakers have two resources that could quickly turn around Beasley’s immaturity habit that has caused the Timberwolves to shop him around to other teams. These resources are Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, who happen to be two of the most highly respected and regarded leaders in the game today. There is no question that Beasley would benefit greatly from Bryant and Fisher’s influence, guidance and direction.
Beasley would definitely spread the floor and take some pressure off of Kobe Bryant and the frontcourt, especially on the offensive end. Beasley’s contribution to the offensive would have an immediate impact to the Lakers. Beasley has a career average of 15.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. With the Lakers’ second half of the regular season kicking off tonight, time to pull the trigger on this move is urgent.
Secondly, other teams are taking the Lakers’ lead of reaching out to the Timberwolves’ front office about Beasley. Other teams reportedly interested in trading for Beasley include the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics. The Lakers now face competition on bidding for Beasley. According to the Bulls.com’s Sam Smith, the chances of Minnesota trading Michael Beasley is a whopping 80 percent.
The Lakers face the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Staples Center. With the Beasley rumor most likely becoming a reality, the Lakers’ front office and Laker fans will be taking a closer look at Beasley’s stats and performance to understand just what kind of fit he would be for the team. Magic Johnson recently said that the Lakers are two moves away from becoming a realistic competitor for the Western Conference championship.
Comments and opinions on the Lakers’ acquiring Beasley on Twitter have been positive. Many have remarked that he would be a definite improvement for the Lakers. Laker fans especially like this trade because it’s a way to strengthen the offense and depth, while holding onto one of the Lakers’ best assets, the frontcourt of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Now, it lies in the hands of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak to pull the trigger.