2.09.2011

Interpreting fan sentiment regarding whether they prefer Andrew Bynum or Carmelo Anthony

Readers of The Times' Lakers blog spent all day analyzing what would happen should the Lakers trade Bynum, debated with fans via live chat on what the Lakers should do and even voted in a few polls that capture fan sentiments.
A poll in The Times' Fabulous Forum indicated that 74.16% of fans believe the Lakers should make the deal, and a poll in the latest live chat shows that 69% of voters want Melo on the Lakers in place of Bynum. As many times as fans have expressed frustration over the team's play in the comment threads, few sentiments share a sense of uncertainty regarding the team's future. As many times as the fans contributed to this trade discussion, most of the actual comments provided specific reasons why the Lakers should hold onto Bynum and avoid being part of the Melo-drama. There's an understandable concern that pairing the Black Mamba with Melo would bring inevitable friction. Melo would want to fit in with whatever fits in with the Lakers so that Bryant earns another ring. Bryant, who's admitted Melo's unhappiness with Denverreminds him of his earlier discontent with the Lakers, would also feel inclined to help Anthony fit right in, knowing how hungry he is to finally win a championship. As much concern as there is about Anthony's possibly changing the team's identity, experiencing a learning curve and disrupting chemistry, the Lakers and their fans want stars. Forget worrying about the team concept because it will revolve around the team's best players.
2. Patience for Bynum has run out. Just when it appeared Bynum had returned to the good graces of Lakers fans (or at least enough that any topic involving Bynum doesn't just lead to an endless argument) after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA title, Bynum expended that capital by delaying off-season surgery on his right knee so he could attend the World Cup. Bynum's delayed surgery has largely contributed to the Lakers' inconsistency this season.
It's not fair to pin this all on Bynum, but his 24-game absence provided a trickle effect that proved hard for the Lakers to overcome. With the offensive chemistry floundering, Gasol gassed and the Lakers lacking Bynum's length inside, the team's defense in turn became unreliable as well.
With ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher recently tweeting that Orlando Center Dwight Howard has his "eye on Lakers don't win Magic in next 2 years," the Lakers could easily return to that post-oriented team while also finding a baton holder in Melo for when Bryant is ready to hand over the reins.
Melo would certainly qualify as new blood as Magic stated. 3. Lakers fans just love trade talk. Besides salivating over NBA championships, there's one thing Lakers fans love to do: complain. They complain if they're losing. If they're winning, they complain about individual performances. If everyone's playing well, they complain about other teams. And if the Lakers are simply coming off a championship season, they're complaining during the off-season that the season hasn't started yet.

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