NBA Trade Rumors: L.A. Lakers Want Monta Ellis as Kobe Bryant’s Backcourt Mate?

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the five teams who have shown the “most sincere” interest in trading for shooting guard Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors.

Ellis, 25, is a prolific scorer who may not fit long-term in an undersized backcourt with Stephen Curry under new coach Mark Jackson, who is looking to instill a defensive philosophy.

Golden State also wants to rid itself of Ellis’ contract, which includes two more years at $11 million each, with an early termination option for 2013-14, also at $11 million.

The San Francisco Chronicle confirms talks between the two California teams. Though it is not clear whom the Lakers would be giving up in return, most speculation has been focused on Lamar Odom.

At this point, the smart money is on Golden State pulling a deal with the Sixers for Andre Iguodala.

That said, Ellis could be a good fit for a title-contending team like the Lakers, who are seeking a slasher and perimeter shooter to take some of the load off Kobe Bryant as their primary scorer.

At first, it is easy to have reservations about this trade. 

After all, not only does he play the same position as Bryant, but Ellis also occupied the same exact role last year as Bryant: a high-volume shooter who demands the ball. Among shooting guards, Kobe and Ellis had two of the four highest usage rates in the league last season.

Nevertheless, an Odom-for-Ellis trade gives the Lakers what they needed most in their series sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers sorely need an upgrade at the guard position—someone who is quick enough to stay in front of other quick guards, as well as make timely shots.

This trade would enable the Lakers to get younger, faster and more athletic at guard.

Besides, as Kobe's knees deteriorate further and his per-game minutes c...

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