Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lakersStan24 on Sun May 27, 2012 3:48 pm

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Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times recently made an interesting suggestion when presenting five possible rebuilding blocks for the Lakers.

His fifth and final option was to bring back Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom, and here’s how he broke it down:

Send a future second-round pick and the $8.9-million traded player exception to New Orleans for forward Trevor Ariza; sign Odom for the veteran’s minimum of about $1.4 million.

He went on to say that the Hornets are in cash-saving mode, and they might actually go for the deal in order to save some money. As for Odom, who will likely be bought out by the Dallas Mavericks next month for $2.4 million, he may get more lucrative offers, but everyone knows L.O. wants to be in Los Angeles.

Personally, I think this scenario might be one of the Lakers’ best options, and here’s why:

First of all, the Lakers attempted to make a blockbuster trade (that trade for Chris Paul which would have sent Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol packing). We all know how that turned out. Then, the Lakers were in the running for Dwight Howard all season, which didn’t work out either. We must face that fact that any blockbuster deal (either for Dwight Howard or Deron Williams) is simply not going to happen. Additionally, I personally like their starting five, and feel that a few significant upgrades off the bench would drastically change the Lakers’ dynamic and once again put them amongst the serious title contenders.

Lamar Odom

Let’s start with Lamar Odom. Odom has proven himself to be a valuable starter and/or bench player…with the Lakers. He may have had a horrible season in Dallas, but he knows how to play with and off of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. When the Lakers featured a front-line rotation of Odom, Gasol, and Bynum, teams simply didn’t know what to do defensively.

Additionally, Odom was usually seen in crunch time for his defense on virtually any position that was asked of him to guard. On offense, when Bynum would sit out, Odom was the one who delivered the ball in the post to Gasol for him to work. The two had an incredible offensive chemistry that allowed Bryant to sit out for a couple extra minutes as well.

Similarly, Odom’s play-making ability was a difference-maker for the Lakers as he is able to create shots for himself as well as others; something that was sorely missed in the 2012 season. Not to mention that Odom was considered the “glue guy” in the locker room and kept everybody loose. On a team that has had immaturity issues (Bynum) and various rifts (Bryant and Gasol’s chemistry) in recent memory, a little dose of L.O. may be just what the Lakers need–on the court and off. Odom’s overall versatility was severely missed this past season, so why not attempt to bring him back?

Obviously, there is some discord between Odom and Lakers’ management. The Lakers’ front office would have to reach out first in an attempt to bury the hatchet. Deep down inside, Odom wants to be a Laker. We can only hope that the Lakers want him back, and that he’ll take a big pay cut to rejoin his mates.

Trevor Ariza

Now, let’s move on to Trevor Ariza. If you ask Lakers fans about Trevor Ariza, most will have nothing but great things to say about him. He was beloved here in L.A. for the 137 games he donned Lakers’ purple and gold (including playoffs). Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t keep him after the 2009 season, and virtually swapped him for Ron Artest–now Metta World Peace. Metta worked out in 2010, wasn’t quite himself in 2011, and came on late in 2012. Either way, World Peace still has a defensive presence and can be effective.

As for Ariza, he would be replacing Matt Barnes if the Lakers don’t decide to retain his services. Barnes was a scrappy defensive player with a lot of hustle on both ends of the floor. However, injuries seemed to slow him in both playoff runs as a Laker. Ariza, in my opinion, is a better, more athletic defender, and a much better shooter as well. Although Ariza’s shooting hasn’t been that great over his career, he shot an outstanding 47% from three-point range in the 2009 playoffs with the Lakers. Not to mention all the clutch steals and blocks he had as well.

The Lakers sorely need an athletic wing player to keep up with multiple positions from point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. Ariza is capable of guarding each of these, and is one of the top defenders in the league. I personally even thought he outplayed Kobe Bryant offensively and defensively when they faced each other in the 2011 playoffs. Anyways, the Lakers need a solid defender who can also shoot.

They have seemingly had to choose between those two qualities in players over the past couple years, and it always ended with the defensive player getting the playing time–and rightfully so (think Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes getting the nod ahead of, say, Jason Kapono). It would be a nice addition if they could find a player with both qualities.

Ariza played extremely well alongside Bryant, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum when he was here and the Lakers had one of the top offenses in 2009; with Ariza being a big part of that. Although he will no longer be slashing to the basket in the triangle offense like before, Ariza is a player that can play off of other players and find ways to create offense for himself. The offense just seemed to run a lot smoother with Ariza in the lineup, and has looked suspect over the last two seasons, so why not try to bring some of that fluid offense back?

It may be a long shot, but if the Lakers can somehow pull of a move for Ariza and get Odom to return as well, it might be just what the Lakers need.
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lakersStan24 on Sun May 27, 2012 3:50 pm

Continued...

Assuming the Lakers dismiss Barnes, and possibly deal Josh McRoberts for a draft pick or a player at a different position, the Lakers would have built an extremely solid bench.

The Lakers would likely feature a starting lineup of Ramon Sessions (assuming they retain him as well), Bryant, World Peace, Gasol, and Bynum. Nothing changed, right? However, the second unit would feature Steve Blake, Trevor Ariza, and Lamar Odom. Throw in Jordan Hill’s success towards the end of the season along with Devin Ebanks’ and Andrew Goudelock’s added experience (that they will have gained over the summer), and that’s a pretty decent bench!

Some might argue that Ariza wouldn’t get enough playing time to be effective. However, he was a reserve during most of his tenure as a Laker. Additionally, he would be replacing Matt Barnes. Barnes saw his minutes increase as the rotations shortened towards the end of the year, and he and World Peace saw a lot of time on the floor together. Ariza would essentially be playing backup to World Peace and Kobe. He gained experience at both shooting guard and small forward positions in his time away from Los Angeles, and would likely be able to fit right in at either position with the Lakers. Can you imagine seeing Bryant, Ariza, and World Peace on the floor together, switching and defending multiple positions? Most other teams don’t want to even entertain the idea.

As for Odom, with Andrew Bynum’s emergence, L.O. likely wouldn’t see the 30-plus minutes he’s used to as a Laker. However, it would still be more than the 20-minutes-per-game average he saw with the Mavericks. Additionally, Odom’s versatility would likely gain him minutes in crunch time once again for the Lakers. It was a liability against the Oklahoma City Thunder having two seven-footers out there. Odom can do so many things on the floor, and his defensive versatility is one of his most underrated traits. The Lakers would have options defensively with Odom back as well. If they attained Ariza, the defensive combinations between Bryant, Ariza, World Peace, and Odom could be a major headache for other teams’ offensive flow.

The move would positively affect the rest of the team individually as well.

Ramon Sessions would be enabled to play at a more natural, faster pace when he’s out there with a more “Showtime” type unit consisting of Odom and Ariza. Pau Gasol would have more players cutting to the basket and get easier looks and inside passes–not to mention more space to maneuver down low. He would virtually be operating in a more fluid moving offense, in which he absolutely thrived in before.

Andrew Bynum might see his numbers dip due to the minutes Odom would take up, but the reduced minutes would keep him fresh throughout the season and in the playoffs. Steve Blake would be able to maintain his role with the starters as a spot-up shooter, even off the bench. He had some success running the second unit, but with Odom back, he would just have to sit in the corner and drain three-pointers. Then, once the defense is forced to respect him, he would be able to handle the ball more and create offense for others.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary would be Kobe Bryant. Kobe would have tons of pressure released off of him in the form of play-making (Odom) and defensive (Ariza). In the Thunder playoff series, Kobe did a great job on James Harden, but there was nobody to guard Russell Westbrook. Ariza is capable of bothering fast point guards with his speed and length, but can also guard shooting guards as well. The two would be able to find the right combination to guard virtually any team’s perimeter players. The team also suffered because towards the end of games, it was solely Bryant with the ball in his hands. That’s where Odom can help out a bit too. With his skill level, teams have to respect his shooting ability, his ability to drive, and his ability to pick apart defenses as well.

The biggest positive for Bryant, however, would be his comfort level with the team. He was upset when the Lakers first traded away Odom, and has referred to Ariza as his “little brother” on many occasions. He has complete trust in both, and would feel a sense of comfort if both were to return. Bryant recently stated that he can only count on Metta World Peace to give 100% in each and every game and after the Lakers traded away Derek Fisher, he had one less person to truly confide in on the team.

Bringing back two players that have contributed to the Lakers’ success in the past makes sense. There are possibly better options out there, but the Lakers are simply not financially flexible enough to pursue them. Additionally, the Lakers would be bringing back two fan-favorite players, whom many–between management, players, and fans–trust to deliver. Any time you bring in a new player, there are concerns of chemistry on and off the court.

If it’s possible to bring back these two players that have had success in both areas before, why not give it a shot?
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lotus on Sun May 27, 2012 4:56 pm

Silversurfer is back!
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby Big Mamma Jamma on Sun May 27, 2012 5:18 pm

To answer your question: No.
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby Texas Lakers Fan on Sun May 27, 2012 5:20 pm

No.

Odom is done as a player as this year showed. Ariza is a solid backup at best. I didn't think he's a championship caliber starter.
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby jimbo327 on Sun May 27, 2012 6:01 pm

This is actually a very good idea. I would love to have Ariza and Lamar back. Both are good defenders and very long. We don't need a big tweak. We only needed a few more plays to beat OKC even in this year. We gave games 2 and 4 away in the last few minutes of each game. If we had Ariza and Lamar, we would have beaten OKC. Lamar would have been an upgrade than Hill. And we would have a stopper to Westbrook if Ariza was in this game guarding him instead of Blake, who got torched. So far, this has been the best idea so far to reach another title run.
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lakersStan24 on Sun May 27, 2012 6:34 pm

jimbo327 wrote:This is actually a very good idea. I would love to have Ariza and Lamar back. Both are good defenders and very long. We don't need a big tweak. We only needed a few more plays to beat OKC even in this year. We gave games 2 and 4 away in the last few minutes of each game. If we had Ariza and Lamar, we would have beaten OKC. Lamar would have been an upgrade than Hill. And we would have a stopper to Westbrook if Ariza was in this game guarding him instead of Blake, who got torched. So far, this has been the best idea so far to reach another title run.


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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lakersin4 on Sun May 27, 2012 9:34 pm

I love the idea honestly. As long as we still trade Pau for a package built around a PG. Deron for a package built around Pau would be a dream, but realisically.. That Houston offer (with Lowry in Dragic's place) doesn't sound bad at all if we can get LO + Ariza back.

Assuming we can still get a similar offer to the one last season of Dragic, Martin, Scola + NY 1st.. With Lowry swapped out for Dragic..

With Bynum finally playing like he's capable of, there wouldn't be room for LO to come back & play like he did. Gasol has been complaining about "sacrificing" all season long. Scola + LO is a very solid rotation at PF next to Bynum(or Dwight). LO's passing, jumper & intangibles will obviously benefit Bynum, & Scola is one of the only bigs in the league who comes close to Pau's passing ability, which imo, will be the biggest loss when he goes. He also shoots a steady diet of 16-20 footers & loves it, perfect for Drew.

we'd also be getting Kevin Martin. I don't really think he would fit in but I'm sure we could get a couple young guys & a pick for him. Teams like Minne, Chicago, & the Clippers all are a SG away in their minds, & would make strong offers for him I'm sure.
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby lakersin4 on Sun May 27, 2012 9:46 pm

Blake dumped.. Barnes not resigned.. McRoberts dumped.

The important pieces:

Lowry/Sessions
Kobe
Indiana Ron/Ariza
Scola/LO
Bynum/Hill

Now we're 2 deep at every position except SG .. & have Sessions & Ariza who can both play SG. Everyone else that would be on the roster would be trade bait imo. No need for Blake or Morris with Lowry/Sessions, Ebanks wouldn't even want to stay with Ron & Ariza in front of him, but I think he would be a good deal sweetener. I'd rather see Sessions or Ariza getting any minutes that Glock could see.. & of course we have Kevin Martin.

Martin + Blake + McBob + Ebanks is a pretty solid package.. I could see us getting a few good young role players, cap relief, & a 1st out of those guys probably in 2 deals like we saw this season
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby bruddahmanmatt on Sun May 27, 2012 10:12 pm

:man10:
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Re: Lakers’ Solution To Rebuilding: Bring Back Odom & Ariza?

Postby TIME on Sun May 27, 2012 10:15 pm

There are at least 3 open threads this could have been posted in. It's getting to the point that if I see your name on a new thread I know I'm going to have to lock it.
Vitti uttered three words that surely applies to how Bryant made two free throws on one leg, walked off the court on his own and processed his rehabilitation plan amid the pain, frustration and tears.

“That’s really cool.”
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