New Orleans' Ryan Anderson, right, has his shot bocked by Serge Ibaka… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)
Kobe Bryant wasn't the leading scorer with his 29 points in the Lakers' 103-87 win Wednesday night in New Orleans. Rather, it was 24-year old Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, who finished with 31 along with nine rebounds.
Anderson played well alongside Dwight Howard in Orlando before a sign-and-trade over the off-season landed him in New Orleans.
Naturally the Lakers would have interest. Why wouldn't they?
Anderson is an ideal stretch forward, shooting 43.5% from three-point range this season despite playing on a team riddled with injuries.
The Lakers have preached patience through their own struggles. The prospect of playing Pau Gasol with Steve Nash in Coach Mike D'Antoni's system is too intriguing for the team to pass on.
Gasol's contract next season at $19.3 million could be a problem with the luxury tax rate increasing substantially as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. For now the team isn't ready to sacrifice or give up on what they have today because of tomorrow's economics. At least not yet.
If the Lakers do decide it's time to move Gasol, it's certainly easy to target Anderson. It's a lot harder to find a deal, however, given how happy the Hornets are with their forward.
Coach Monty Williams and executives within the organization have recently sung Anderson's praises. The team isn't interested in Gasol for their own roster.
If the Lakers manage to find some third team willing to give up significant young talent, so much so that the Hornets are overwhelmed, then perhaps Anderson could be had.
It's unwise to assume the Lakers will find anything close, even if General Manager Mitch Kupchak has a track record of surprisingly favorable trades.
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Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.