Lakers May Pursue Ryan Anderson In Gasol Deal

December 3 2012 at 6:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

MONDAY, 6:44pm: The Hornets say they don’t have any interest in trading Anderson, tweets HoopsWorld’s Steve Kyler, who adds that the team is “absolutely thrilled” with him. Anderson says he’s enjoying New Orleans, and is confident the team will improve once Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis are back (Twitter link).

SATURDAY, 4:27pm: Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni‘s desire for a stretch four who can make three-pointers and leave the post work to Dwight Howard is what’s prompting the team to consider trading Pau Gasol, and the “name that keeps coming up” is Ryan Anderson, according to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. Anderson, who played with Howard in Orlando, precisely fits the definition of a stretch four, but he’s ineligible to be traded until later in the season, since he inked a new deal this offseason in a sign-and-trade transaction that sent him to the Hornets.

A move wouldn’t be imminent anyway, since the Lakers are waiting to see how the team runs with a healthy Steve Nash, Lawrence writes. Most offseason signees are eligible to be traded beginning December 15th, but because Anderson received a raise of better than 20% and re-signed via Bird Rights with the Magic, who were over the cap, I believe he can’t be traded until January 15th, even though he went to New Orleans in the sign-and-trade. According to Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ, the restrictions apply to the first trade after the sign-and-trade, and not the sign-and-trade itself.

Either way, the Hornets will be free to trade Anderson at some point this season, one that hasn’t gone as planned for New Orleans, with injuries to Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. Anderson has been a bright spot, as most of his numbers have been largely on par with those from last season, when he won the Most Improved Player of the Year award. His field goal percentage and three-point percentages are both at career highs this year, even as he’s taking more shots than ever.

Still, with a healthy Davis, who seems better suited at power forward than center, clearly the centerpiece of the team, it’s difficult to see where Anderson and his four-year, $34MM contract fit on the Hornets. Gasol, a more natural fit at center than Davis, could make sense, even with Robin Lopez around. New Orleans would have to give up much more salary to absorb Gasol’s $19MM deal, however.

The Lakers have also been linked to Josh Smith, but Hawks GM Danny Ferry, who cleared a lot of cap room this past summer, is reluctant to bring aboard Gasol’s sizable contract even though it expires after next season, Lawrence reports.

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