May 27, 2009: Andrew Bynum of the Lakers reacts next to Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets in the first half of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals.
Don't bet on it happening -- it's a crazy long shot -- but the Lakers and Nuggets have had preliminary discussions of a Carmelo Anthony for Andrew Bynum trade, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard:
The Lakers' package would be built around center Andrew Bynum. Denver has no interest in Ron Artest and isn't particularly interested in Lamar Odom either, sources said. A straight-up deal of Bynum for Anthony works financially, but there could be other players involved since Denver would look to shed more salary if possible.
Sources described the talks as in their infancy, and a three-way deal between the Knicks, Nuggets and Wolves is very much alive.
This would be a bad trade for the Lakers.
Anthony is one of the best scorers in the NBA, rivaling Kobe Bryant for his ability to fill up the basket. Except the Lakers don't need more offense -- they need to improve their defense if they want to defend their title, and Bynum is the anchor of their defense. The Lakers already have the best offense -- the most efficient statistically -- in the league. 'Melo is a great closer but the Lakers have their closer.
What the Lakers need to do is play better, more consistent defense. Andrew Bynum is the key to that. Anthony is not a great defender. The Lakers do not get better with this trade.
Here's something else to think about: Who gains by leaking this? Denver does.
They are in the middle of trying to work a three-team deal with the New York Knicks for Anthony right now. However, Denver doesn't like the deal but they have no leverage to pressure the Knicks into a better one (not since the Nets pulled out of the Anthony talks). The big, bad Lakers and their actual quality asset in Andrew Bynum is the kind of leverage they need. So you could see the Nuggets making the call to the Lakers then leaking it.
Don't bet on this happening. It's a bad deal for the Lakers, 'Melo is much, much more likely to land in New York. But it's out there and being discussed.