Sports

Brown seems most likely Lakers center to be traded

SportsBasketballAndrew BynumPhil JacksonChris WebberTrevor ArizaNBA

Question: What is the likelihood that the Lakers finish the season with all three centers? Will one of them be packaged in a trade to try and get Kobe some help?

-- Tim Creef, Gaithersburg, Md.

Answer: First and foremost, Andrew Bynum will not be traded . . . at all.

Second and secondmost (it's OK to make up words sometimes, no?), Chris Mihm is still trying to catch up to the game after a year away from it.

Then you get to Kwame Brown.

He is in the last year of a three-year contract that pays him $9.1 million this season.

Phil Jackson loves his defense in the post, but other teams might love the fact he has an expiring contract that will be off the books after the season. Not to mention that the Lakers will have paid two-thirds of that $9.1 million by the time the Feb. 21 trade deadline rolls around.

In other words, of the three, my money would be on Kwame getting sent somewhere else.

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Q: Can the Lakers play consistently this year or will they always be up and down like a yo-yo?

-- Jaime Perez, Montebello

A: I'm guessing they'll play up and down, followed by up and down, before concluding their season with up and down.

After last week's trade for Trevor Ariza, the Lakers became one of the youngest teams in the league.

The key to their success will be the kids -- can Bynum and Jordan Farmar rise above youthful inconsistency and become continually strong contributors?

If so, the Lakers might be a top-six team in the Western Conference. If not, say hello to being seeded seventh again. Or eighth. Or...

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Q: It would be great for the Lakers and the city of L.A. to have Chris Webber. It would at least give us some hope come playoff time.

-- Richard Sarabia, Downey

A: I wouldn't count on it, unless there's a substantial injury in the frontcourt. Brown could be back next week, which means the Lakers will again have three centers.

Webber would be interesting in the triangle offense and his numbers with Detroit and Philadelphia last season weren't bad -- averages of 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in 61 games.

But he's 34 years old, and who knows what kind of basketball shape he's in.

Bottom line -- he provides decent stats and decent minutes, but I don't see him being anybody's savior.

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Readers can e-mail their questions about the NBA and the Lakers to The Times' beat reporter, Mike Bresnahan, but please put Q&A in the subject field.

E-mail: mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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