L.A. Lakers: Five Realistic Trades to Help L.A. Without Breaking Up Its Nucleus

  No, Lakers fans, the sky is not falling.

Despite back-to-back dispiriting losses, the calendar still reads February. The Lakers still posses the most devastating frontcourt collection of bigs in the NBA. They are still reigning back-to-back champs, with three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Most importantly, last I checked a certain No. 24 that goes by "Black Mamba"—and is the best closer in the game—still wears purple and gold.

However, certain trends are rearing their ugly heads. Shooting woes, poor efforts, lackluster energy and defensive breakdowns.

There are those that view these events on an isolated, game-by-game basis, explaining away the poor showings as a championship-quality team coasting through the regular season. According to many, the Lakers are pacing themselves until the playoffs, led by the steady hand of Phil Jackson. Like Jackson, these fans are in no panic.

Others link together the poor performances and see signs of deeper problems, feel that this team does not have the fire or passion to repeat.

They may point to age, to disinterest, to diminished hunger or at individual players. These people want to see big changes if the Lakers are to win another championship.

Most Lakers fans sit somewhere in-between those two extremes. This article is geared toward those people, the ones who don't want to see the core of a proven championship broken up, but who also are disturbed by the complacency the Lakers have demonstrated this season.

Therefore, I give you these five trade proposals that would serve to improve the Lakers while also keeping intact the nucleus of the squad. The one proviso that I worked with is that these trade scenarios had to be realistic as well as work for both sides. I also tried to work within those players whom have been rumored to be "trade-bait" this season.



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