In an interview with Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak perhaps implied trading for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo in order to address his team's troubled backcourt.
Since backup point guard Steve Blake went down on Jan. 12 with a rib injury, the Lakers have relied on a pair of rookies, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, to give the second team a boost. Kupchak told Trudell that Goudelock has especially done well. However, the GM also noted that there has still been a sense of urgency to shop for someone to stabilize the point guard position.
Kupchak hasn't been one to be around the bush in the players he desires. According to Hoopsworld.com, he also alluded to center Andrew Bynum before the Lakers drafted him in 2005. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
If there were a way for us to get a 25-year-old, All-Star, ball-handling guard we'd love to do it, but that's not likely in February, said Kupchak when asked if he would address the position before the March 15 trade deadline. So you look at other alternatives, and see if it's better than what you have. That's all.
Currently, the only 25-year-old point guard in the NBA is Rondo, who, according to Hoopsworld.com, isn't the player Boston plans to build their roster around. The Celtics have shopped Rondo on a number of occasions, the most recent being after last season's playoffs when they offered Rondo and forward Jeff Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder for point guard Russell Westbrook and center Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder ended up rejecting the deal, later signing Westbrook to a five-year, $80 million deal on Jan. 18.
But who would the Lakers give up for Rondo?
Hoopsworld.com also reported that the Celtics would like to have 31-year-old Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol, who has two years left on his contract after this season. Gasol, like Rondo, has also been shopped before, the most recent time being just before this season when a three-team deal that would have sent him to the Houston Rockets so that the Lakers could land point guard Chris Paul was nixed by the league. The Los Angeles Clippers ended up trading for Paul, and arguably, now have a more stable backcourt.
The Lakers are rumored to also be interested in other point guards such as free agent Gilbert Arenas, Johnny Flynn of the Houston Rockets and Ramon Sessions of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but none may not be big enough upgrades for the Lakers like Rondo would be.
The gaping hole for the Celtics lies in the paint. They have almost no one inside to play next to forward/center Kevin Garnett, who is in the last year of his contract. Center Jermaine O'Neal and forward Brandon Bass are having a decent season, but might not be the best long-term inside options.
As a result, for their respective teams, which will be looking to rebuild soon, both Gasol and Rondo could be the only ticket to attaining future success-even if that success means eventually suiting up for the other's team.