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The Agent Zero Rumor

The guys at Golden State of Mind have a little saying:  "99% of rumors never happen, but 99% of them are fun to talk about!"  

The latest rumor has both of the LA teams interested in pursuing Gilbert Arenas this summer.  

A high-ranking Western Conference executive with knowledge of the situation has told Pro Basketball News that both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers plan to "strongly pursue" Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas this summer. Arenas is signed through 2009, but has said he will exercise the early termination option in his contract and become a free agent.

Here's a little game I like to play.  Imagine who the source might possibly have been on this one.  "A high ranking Western Conference executive."  We'll assume for a moment that this really is referring to be someone with an NBA team, as opposed to say, the Executive VP of Sales for a Portland car dealership (Portland, after all, being a city in the Western Conference, and Executive VP of sales being very high ranking at that dealership).  So whom could it be?  He has intimate knowledge of both the Lakers AND the Clippers off-season plans!  If it were a Clippers' executive, why would he know what the Lakers were planning?  If he works for the Lakers, how would he know about the Clippers?  Furthermore, if he worked for either one of them, would it really be in his interest to leak their plans?  So maybe he works for a third team.  But if that were the case, why would he know about either of them?

"Knowledge of the situation" - Well, let's face it, that could mean anything.  Knowledge of the situation in this case probably doesn't mean anything more than knowing that Arenas is possibly a free agent this summer.  That qualifies as "knowledge of the situation."  And everyone knows that.

So, I'm dubious to say the least about this "Western Conference Executive with knowledge of the situation."  It's hard to imagine who this person could possibly be, and harder still to imagine why he would want to talk to anyone about this.

But, fine, let's play along.  Let's look at the content of the rumor.

The Lakers are going to pursue Gilbert Arenas.  REALLY?

Despite what was said this summer about him, Mitch Kupchak is not stupid.  With Kobe Bryant signed to a maximum contract, and Pau Gasol signed to a maximum contract, and Andrew Bynum due for a maximum extension in 2009, the Lakers would be stupid to consider Gilbert Arenas this summer.  Arenas is clearly going to want a maximum deal, and even if he might not get that, he's likely to get a near max deal.  And that will be for 5 or 6 seasons.  Jerry Buss's pockets are deep, and he might even consider doing that if it was a no brainer from a basketball standpoint (as was the case with Pau).  But it's not a no-brainer - not at all.  Pau fit the triangle perfectly, and is more than willing to be the second fiddle in LA.  Agent Zero?  And the Black Mamba?  In the same backcourt?  I don't think I would consider that in an All Star game - forget about an 82 game season.  The chemistry on the Lakers after the Pau trade is about as good as you can get.  The Lakers need their point guards to play good defense and make open shots.  Derek Fisher does both of those things.  Gilbert Arenas only does one of them.  This makes no sense for the Lakers.

As for the other LA team, well Arenas does make sense for the Clippers.  He's charismatic, he's a great scorer, and he's from LA.  The fact that he turned down the Clippers' better offer 4 years ago when he signed with the Wizards makes me think it's unlikely that he'd want to play here now, but  it still makes sense for the Clippers to think about it.

But back to that source: The Clippers "would be willing to trade the entire team if it meant pairing Arenas with Elton Brand."  If the source doesn't work for the Clippers, how would he know this?  And if he does work for the Clippers, why in the world would he say it?  Did a Clippers executive just offer Chris Kaman, Al Thornton, Shaun Livingston and a lottery pick for Gilbert Arenas?

Look, I'm all for some sort of double sign and trade where the Clippers send Maggette and something else to the Wizards for Agent Zero.  I'm not sure why the Wizards would want to do that when their two best players are basically small forwards, but it would be a great deal for the Clippers.  

But this whole thing strikes me as just so much talk.