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Ron Artest, Mike Bibby, and the Los Angeles Lakers

A Mike Bibby-to-the-Lakers deal reportedly fell apart last spring, alternately because the Maloofs didn't want to help the Lakers and because the trade offer sucked. Los Angeles almost assuredly needs help to make any sort of a run this year, and friend-o'-StR Kurt from Forum Blue & Gold describes his preferred options:

1) Trade Odom and filler to bring in a true number two star to this team. That player would likely have to be a four, someone to provide toughness and defense that Bynum is inconsistent at right now, but there may be other options I'm not seeing.

2) Trade one of the young point guards, Kwame Brown's expiring contract and filler at the trade deadline to bring in a high quality player who can compliment Kobe, Odom and Bynum and make the Lakers a contender. I'm not sure if this player is out there yet, but the season is young. (This was always the theory with the now likely dead Jermaine O'Neal talks -- from my perspective you needed Kobe, Odom and the JO of old to compete, so to offer Odom and Bynum for JO was a lateral move. Right now, with the way he is banged up, there is no way we should give up Bynum for JO.)

That second scenario sounds a bit like Ron Artest, no? Ron-Ron actually might fit into either scenario; his defense and versatile scoring might help L.A. more than Odom's offense and rebounding does. I think in either case, however, Petrie would be looking to unload a contract as well. Dollar-wise, that'd need to be the case in the first scenario as Odom makes $6 million more than Artest. While I'd be thrilled with, say, Artest and Kenny Thomas for Odom and <Jordan Farmar or Javaris Crittenton>, I can't see the Lakers pulling the trigger.

(And why would I be thrilled? Odom's a talented offensive player who has responded best through his career to a stern coach [Stan Van Gundy], and his big deal comes off the books in 2009, the same year as Mike Bibby's. That would make the Kings HUGE players in the market that summer, with only Brad Miller and Kevin Martin taking up major chunks of 2009-10 cash.)

Again, I don't see it... and neither does Mike Bresnaham of the Los Angeles Times, who says the Lakers wouldn't give up anyone of consequence for Artest. I'd assume Kwame Brown would fall under 'not of consequence,' but Artest for an expiring and even a pick doesn't get the job done. He has plenty of value in the market, I'd surmise.

But most of us expect the Kings to do something; almost everyone expect the Lakers to do something at some point. While Andrew Bynum's (rightfully) off the table, so are guys like Jason Kidd. Petrie, through his patience, has remained in a position of strength -- he doesn't have to trade either Artest or Bibby now. Other teams, like the Lakers, are in no such position to be patient. If nothing major happens before then, the second week of February is going to be a helluva time. At some point, Kenny Thomas might not look like such a terrible cost for someone aiming for the championship. We can hope, at least.