Los Angeles lost to Oklahoma City in five games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, and was swept by Dallas in the second round the year before.
There's been a lot of talk about the Lakers trading one of their big men. Pau Gasol was almost traded before this past season, and will probably be shopped by L.A. this offseason. Gasol is under contract for two more years, averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for the 2011-2012 Season.
The Lakers might want to trade Pau Gasol, but they could probably get a lot more in return for Andrew Bynum.
Bynum had his best season as a pro in 2012, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. If Los Angeles is prepared to deal one of the best centers in the NBA, they will have to get a lot in return.
There are few teams that could give the Lakers close to equal value. One team that could give L.A. an appealing offer is whoever gets the number one pick in the NBA Draft.
The draft lottery will be held on Wednesday night before the Heat and Celtics play Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series. The prize of this year's draft is Anthon Davis.
Davis is the consensus number one overall pick, and is considered by many to be one of the best prospects in years. Davis led Kentucky to a national title as a freshman, averaging 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game.
If the Lakers want to trade Andrew Bynum, Anthony Davis might be an acceptable player to get in return.
Many teams probably wouldn't trade the top pick in exchange for Bynum. Bynum was the best center in the West this past season, but he's a lot more expensive and older than Davis. Bynum will also be a free agent in a year, and whoever acquires him will have to commit a lot of money to him over the next years.
If a team that wins the lottery isn't one that's not close to contending in the playoffs, they would probably hold onto the draft pick. Andrew Bynum wouldn't make the Bobcats or the Cavaliers competitors in the East, so they'd take Davis.
However, a team that's closer to making a championship run might trade for Bynum.
The Nets could become one of the best teams in the East if they traded for Bynum. Deron Williams is a free agent, but if he decides to stay with Brooklyn, the combination of Bynum and him would make the Nets a force to be reckoned with.
A third team might have to be involved to make the deal work under the rules of the salary cap.
Los Angeles could afford to trade Bynum and remain competitive. Pairing Davis with Pau Gasol would still give the Lakers one of the best frontlines in the league. A trade would keep them competitive for the present, as well as give them a piece to build around in the future.
If the right team wins the lottery, the Lakers could trade Bynum for the NBA's next big star.