Lakers poll: Live in the now, or think of the future?

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
5:20
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Beyond the nuts and bolts questions of how Carmelo Anthony would fit with this year's Lakers squad if he arrived in a pre-deadline deal- still a long shot in my estimation- the prospect of trading Andrew Bynum for Denver's star forward raises other larger questions. Among the biggest is a debate about Bynum himself, and his viability as a cornerstone of the franchise down the road.

Another, of incredible relevance for this year's Lakers, is the question of sacrificing the present to secure the future.

Like a lot of people, I believe pulling the trigger on a 'Melo-for-Bynum trade (or any other "blockbuster" level deal, for that matter) almost certainly lowers L.A.'s chances of winning a third straight title. Talented as Anthony is, his arrival would profoundly change the way the Lakers operate on both sides of the floor and leave them frightfully thin in the frontcourt. With fewer than 30 games left in the regular season, asking the re-made Lakers to gel in time to win another Larry O'Brien is a very tall order.

Given a summer to fill out the re-shaped roster, the Lakers could with this trade make themselves deeper and more dominant, while at the same time answering the question of who takes over for Kobe when he's not quite Kobe anymore. In the now, the odds go down.

Which is more important? Even if you reject the analysis (believing the Lakers get better immediately with Melo, or worse down the road without Drew), the question remains relevant, if not in this scenario perhaps in another. Sports offer no guarantees. Is it worth injuring a legitimate opportunity to win a championship now if it means a potentially brighter future? Particularly in a city like Los Angeles, where three seasons of non-contention are treated like 300?

As I'm on record supporting the potential deal, my answer is obviously yes, but it's the strongest argument against this trade, or anything else shaking up L.A.'s current core.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
26.7 4.2 1.3 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 10.0
AssistsJ. Lin 4.9
StealsR. Price 1.3
BlocksE. Davis 1.4