The Lakers must acquire a high-energy player to help complement Kobe Bryant and strengthen the middling point guard position in order to make a run in the playoffs this season. With Steve Blake's health still an uncertainty and Derek Fisher managing a paltry 5.3 PPG, the Lakers have put out feelers across the league in hopes of finding the right piece to help bolster their 14-10 squad. Earlier this evening, ESPN NBA Insider Chris Palmer suggested a trade (via Twitter) that would send Suns point guard Steve Nash in exchange for Fisher and Metta World Peace.
Let's take a look at what ESPN's Trade Machine has to say about this prospective deal:
In trading Fisher, 37, and World Peace, 32, to the Suns, the Lakers would project to improve by 10 wins, a hefty boost that would seemingly vault them to the top of the Western Conference. While the Trade Machine's prediction for a Steve Nash-led Lakers team sounds a bit optimistic, one must look to the success Nash, 38 on Tuesday, is currently enjoying in his 16th NBA season. Nash's minutes are slightly down (31.1 MPG) while his FG% would mark a career-high (.545), which along with his 14.5 PPG and 9.9 APG point to an overall strong season for the former first-round pick out of Santa Clara.
Among the many differences between Nash and Fisher running the point would be Nash's ability to distribute the ball while also being able to knock down a shot at a high frequency especially when a play does not materialize. Kobe's chase toward matching Michael Jordan's six championship rings would become more of a realistic goal this season upon the arrival of Nash as Bryant could decrease his minutes (38 MPG) to a more manageable level. Needless to say, Nash's overall impact may be felt most in the continued development of rising star Andrew Bynum, who was recently named an All-Star starter thanks to his 17 PPG and 12 RPG.
So far the trade looks great, but let's be honest, we've yet to consider how the Suns would fare in giving up a former two-time league MVP in Nash. The Suns front office has conceded that they are willing to deal Nash to a contender if he approached them with such a request. At 9-14, the Suns are clearly heading toward a rebuilding phase in the post-Nash era, which would become muddled with the addition of the aging Fisher and World Peace (4.9 PPG). While Fisher may serve as a strong locker room presence, World Peace's role would be a bit unclear given the roster's current glut of small forwards.
With the Trade Machine's prediction of the Suns losing an additional seven games upon trading Nash for Fisher and World Peace, Chris Palmer's trade may only come to fruition if driven solely out of respect for the future Hall of Famer Nash.