Wednesday , Nov , 21 , 2007 Oly Sandor

L.A. Lakers & Orlando Magic Both Win By Trading Brian Cook-Maurice Evans For Trevor Ariza

Yesterday, L.A. sent Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to Orlando in exchange for Trevor Ariza. At first glance this deal looks minor. Nothing more than two pawns for one slightly better pawn, right? Not so fast. This trade isn’t a blockbuster, but it isn’t inconsequential. The Lakers and Magic both improved their playing rotation with Tuesday’s transaction …

Last February, the Los Angeles Lakers fell short in their efforts to land Jason Kidd. Four months later, they crashed-and-burned when going after Kevin Garnett. In August, they couldn’t reel in Jermaine O’Neal-even though the four-man expressed interest in coming to Hollywood.

After failing to acquire any of these superstars, they kept it simple and settled on a forward who plays defense and flies up-court.

Yesterday, L.A. sent Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to Orlando in exchange for Trevor Ariza. At first glance this deal looks minor. Nothing more than two pawns for one slightly better pawn, right?

Not so fast. This trade isn’t a blockbuster, but it isn’t inconsequential. The Lakers and Magic both improved their playing rotation with Tuesday’s transaction.

Why L.A. Improved:

  • The Lakers gave up redundant parts for something they didn’t have. After all, the purple-and-gold are stacked at center and wing, so Cook and Evans could be sacrificed for Ariza’s athleticism.
  • Ariza possesses the physical gifts to become a lockdown defender. Think Ruben Patterson, Bruce Bowen, and Raja Bell. These players are invaluable. For example, Ariza’s defensive prowess means Kobe Bryant doesn’t have to exert energy guarding the other team’s best perimeter player.
  • The Lakers will save millions.  Ariza is scheduled to earn $2.7 million this year and holds a player option next year for $2.9 million. Cook is owed close to $11 million dollars over the next three years, while Evans’ $1.5 million deal expires in July.

Why Orlando Improved:

  • The Magic are suddenly a much deeper team. Cook can come off the bench and play all three front-court positions, while Evans will push Keith Bogans at two-guard.
  • Orlando can surround Dwight Howard with long-range gunners like Cook, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglo. Can you say high-low, inside-outside basketball?

Winner: Even.

Why: Both teams filled a need by giving up spare parts.

Who won this trade: L.A. or Orlando? Does it even matter? Get at us in the comment box with your thoughts. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.