Lakers general manager Mike Kupchak has insisted over and over again that he has no intentions of making any bold moves before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline, especially deals involving Nash or center Dwight Howard. However, ESPN reported that there is some truth to the rumors circulating about a Los Angeles-Indiana blockbuster trade that could result in both teams gaining a significant edge in their respective conference.
The deal would involve sending Nash to the Pacers in exchange for point guard George Hill and small forward Danny Granger. Obviously, Granger has not played at all this season due to a knee injury, but several reports suggest he will be making his debut soon.
This trade would benefit Indiana in a big way by giving the team a solid point guard who could flourish in the Pacers system. Center Roy Hibbert and small forward Paul George would become even more of a threat on the court with Nash dishing them the ball. This has to be intriguing for the 39-year-old as he will finally be able to get spread his wings again and play up to his abilities instead of shedding skin for Kobe Bryant.
Nash’s numbers this season (11.8 points, 7.4 assists) are the lowest he has put up per game in a long time. It would be one thing if the Lakers were dominating their foes like they were supposed to, but it is another when they are 10th in the Western Conference standings.
Hibbert, George and the rest of the Pacers would learn more than they could handle from Nash and the franchise would benefit from it long after the 16-year veteran hangs it up. Indiana is also a contender in the Eastern Conference as they currently sit in the third seed with a 32-21 record. Time is running out for Nash to win an NBA championship and as weird as it is to say, he has a better shot with the Pacers then the Lakers from the look of it.
Los Angeles would also hugely benefit from acquiring a very talented young point guard who has plenty of tread left on the tires. The 26-year-old Hill is posting career numbers this season as he is averaging 14.7 points and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the floor. Those numbers will most likely go down playing with Bryant, but at least the Lakers will have a sure thing at point guard for the foreseeable future.
Even though Granger has not played all season and it is unknown how much of an effect his knee injury will have on his game, Los Angeles is still getting a legitimate scorer (18.2 career points per game). This trade could single-handedly get the Lakers back on track and give them the extra tools they need to make a run at a postseason berth.
One thing worth pointing out is that the Pacers will want something more than just Nash coming their way for good reason. One rumor is that Metta World Peace could be the guy to seal the deal for Los Angeles, but I cannot imagine a world in which Indiana accepts the small forward’s return with arms wide open. Therefore, the Lakers would have to figure out another player to complete the deal or send draft picks.
Is this a trade that Lakers and Pacers fans would like to see happen?