The Lakers did not trade Kobe Bryant. You may now breathe easy. In fact, Mitch Kupchak awoke to find he could not only save some money, but actually receive a good player in return. Kupchak dealt Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to Orlando for Trevor Ariza.
The trade is good for several reasons:
1. Addition by subtraction
Cook was tied for the worst on the Lakers with a -9. His defense was horrible and his shooting so far this season was erratic. Maurice Evans is a fringe player. He'll stick with teams because of his hustle and end up being the 11th and 12th man. He doesn't do anything well so finding playing time was difficult.
2. Saving some cash
It's not exactly getting rid of Kwame's big contract, but Cook was in the first year of a 3 year $10.5 million deal. That's a lot of money to be paying a scrub like Cook. Ariza is in the last year of his contract so if he doesn't work out, no big deal.
3. Home town kid
Ariza went to Westchester High School and spent a year at UCLA. With Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu playing well, Ariza found himself on the bench. A return to his home town could be added motivation.
4. Not a bad player
Only once has Arizona played over 20 minutes this season. In that game, Ariza scored 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. Last year he averaged a respectable 9 points and four rebounds per game in 22 minutes, and shot 54% from the field. He's athletic, rebounds, can play defense, and is only 22 years old.
Best case scenario, the Lakers got a steal. Worst case scenario, they trade a few players who weren't any good and get a player they can get rid of after the season.
At least, they're showing Kobe that Mitch is alive and trying.
And then also: Lakers blew out the Pacers today 134-114
Lakers +/- (through 10 games)
Random Laker of the day: Laron Profit