Carmelo is still on his paid vacay. Being traded didn’t change much. The Houston Rockets didn’t want Melo. And now, the Chicago Bulls don’t want him. The Bulls intend to waive Melo and then he’ll be able to hang in L.A. with LeBron, just how they planned it during the 2003 draft. Sort of. But not really.
The Lakers will spin the Melo addition as the scorer they are desperate for. But, not really.
Melo is allergic to coming off the bench. He’s a ball stopper and you can’t play him with LeBron James and Brandon Ingram. All three dribble the ball way too much. Plus, he isn’t a knock down scorer anymore. He labors to be efficient. 40% and 32% from three isn’t much better than Josh Hart. Worse, Melo’s defense takes away everything his offense may do.
The secret about the Lakers is that without LeBron they are a top-5 defensive team. LeBron and Melo together are going to murder the Lakers defensive sets because old guy(s) just don’t want to sell out on that end of the court.
Besides his mediocrity, Melo doesn’t do anything for the Lakers outside of making LeBron happy. He’ll sign a minimum deal for the next few months and drain some shots but it’s not like anyone else sees value in Carmelo. He’s damaged goods.
The move the Lakers need to make is a daily double. A scorer who can drain shots blindfolded, and someone they can flip with Brandon Ingram and perhaps Lonzo Ball to get Anthony Davis.
Bradley Beal is the perfect Lakers target.
Beal can score, nearly 25 points a game is this season’s achievement. He averages 5 rebounds and 5 assists, career highs and probably facilitated by the fact that John Wall hogging everything is no longer a problem. Beal’s defense is crappy but the Lakers have enough team-defense. They need someone who can put the ball in the hole and drive to the rim and finish. They need a scorer. They need someone that has to be guarded so James Harden and Klay Thompson have to work on the defensive end. More importantly, in the 4th quarter Bradley Beal is making 57% of his shots and 47% of his threes.
4th Quarter Mediocrity
- Brandon Ingram: 45%, 30% from three
- Kyle Kuzma: 43%, 29% from three
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 27%, 23% from three
- Josh Hart: 36%, 29% from three
Bradley Beal instantly solves the Lakers need a scorer problem. Yes, he has a huge contract, two years remaining after this season for $55 million. But because Beal is an All-Star and drains shots, particularly from the 3-point line, he can be packaged with some of the Lakers kids to get a star like Anthony Davis. On their own, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are getting the Lakers a late first round pick, second round picks and cash. The kids just haven’t developed enough to let go of a star, much less coveted first round picks, when it is still unclear what kind of players Ball, Ingram and Hart can be. As of right now, none of them can put the ball in the hole in any consistent way and Ingram carries the baggage of being and iso player that dominates the ball.
Stephen A. Smith wants the Lakers to make a deal for Mike Conley. It doesn’t make sense because in a worse case scenario Conley and his $30 million per year salary cannot be flipped. Conley is always injured. He’s a solid point guard, a two way player, but needs a complete team around him to be effective which the Lakers don’t have.
The Lakers also don’t have much of a chance winning games without LeBron, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma. All three are banged up. Something has to change. But Magic-Pelinka haven’t exactly been talented at roster construction. They’ve missed big and if they flail again and the Lakers are not in the playoffs, it will be Luke Walton who takes the big fall.