Lakers Still Considering Backcourt Upgrade

December 18 2012 at 2:59pm CDT By Chuck Myron

With Pau Gasol set to return to the lineup tonight, and Steve Nash on track to follow him back on the court by this weekend, the level of panic in Lakerland has gone down a tick. L.A. is carrying a modest two-game win streak into their game against the reeling Bobcats tonight, but that doesn't mean the Lakers have withdrawn from their search for help. The team is still studying its options as it seeks to improve the backcourt, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Nonetheless, signing Delonte West isn't in the team's immediate plans, Shelburne reports (Twitter links).

West, Mike James and Jonny Flynn were reportedly potential targets for the Lakers, who've been without Nash as well as Steve Blake, who'll seemingly be out for at least another month, judging from the timetable given when Blake underwent abdominal surgery. If the team wants a better backup for the 38-year-old Nash in the meantime, it may look elsewhere, but since the Lakers have a full complement of 15 players, they'd have to waive someone to bring a free agent on board. The likeliest to go would be either Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre, both of whom are on non-guaranteed deals, but the Lakers might not want to give up on one of this year's second-round picks so soon just to make a temporary fix.

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the team's top target is Jose Calderon, but that would require a trade that would significantly shake up the roster. The timing isn't right for the Raptors, who are in need of Calderon while starting point guard Kyle Lowry recovers from a torn triceps. The Lakers have maintained that they want to get a look at the team with Gasol and Nash together, so it makes sense that they would hold off on making a move, particularly a drastic one, until they've played at least a few games at full strength. 

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