LOS ANGELES — Ryan Anderson is the No. 1 target of the Los Angeles Lakers if they decide to trade Pau Gasol, an NBA source tells SheridanHoops.com.
But there are complications, and they begin in the Lakers front office.
General manager Mitch Kupchak is opposed to moving Gasol, who has been benched in several fourth quarters ever since Mike D’Antoni took over as head coach.
But de facto GM Jim Buss — the man who made the decision to hire D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson, would prefer to shed 7-foot Spaniard’s contract in order to obtain a player more suitable to D’Antoni’s system.
“They have a short list, and Anderson seems to be at the top,” the source told SheridanHoops on condition of anonymity.
Aside from the Kupchak-Buss disagreement, the Hornets have no intention of trading Anderson, who is not eligible to be dealt until Dec. 15 — the date when players who signed as free agents over the summer become trade eligible.
But Anderson is their No. 1 trade asset not named Anthony Davis, and the trick for the Lakers would be finding a third team to take Gasol and surrender the type of assets the Hornets would be seeking — a replacement for Anderson at the 4 position, along with future draft picks that would likely become lottery picks.
Commodities like that are difficult to find, but one team that is sitting on a potentially valuable future first-rounder is the Chicago Bulls, who acquired a No. 1 pick from the Charlotte Bobcats in the Feb., 2010 deal that sent Tyrus Thomas to the ‘Cats. The pick is top-12 protected in the 2013 Draft, top-10 protected in 2014, top-8 protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016.