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Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lakers talking trade, targeting Garnett

June 27, 2007

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— The Lakers are aggressively pursuing trades - and their main target reportedly is Kevin Garnett in what would be a clear attempt to placate a disgruntled Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers' proposal, according to the Los Angeles Times, includes forward Lamar Odom and center Andrew Bynum. But that might not be enough to acquire the 31-year-old Garnett, one of the NBA's most talented and versatile big men.

It was first reported the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics were involved in four-team negotiations with the Lakers and Timberwolves, but those talks broke down, leaving Los Angeles and Minnesota alone in the discussions.

Pacers president Larry Bird said Bryant's talent and star power are undeniable, and he understands the Lakers' hesitance to trade him.

"I always thought Kobe, when Shaq started going down a little bit, was the best player in the league," Bird said. "It's hard to trade the best player in the league. I'm sure the Lakers are doing everything they can to try and mend fences.

"He's such a talent. It's just unfortunate. It's a little discouraging seeing him trying to get out of there," he said.

Considering the Lakers are all the way down at No. 19 in the first round of Thursday's draft, they might not have what it takes to acquire Garnett. The 10-time All-Star averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 blocked shots for a team that went 32-50 last season.

Lakers spokesman John Black declined comment Tuesday, and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale has done the same through team spokesman Mike Cristaldi.

"We felt the team underachieved last year," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last week. "We could stick with the group as it is today, or we can look to be aggressive and try to get to that next level. Either way, we think we'll be a talented team next year."

Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer the past two seasons, complained about a lack of talent around him at season's end, and later said he wanted to be traded, adding nothing could change his mind.

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