The Los Angeles Lakers are positioning themselves to pull off a feat grander than anything the Miami Heat accomplished last year – acquiring Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in one fatal swoop.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Lakers are actively seeking out a trade that will land them both Paul and Howard, not just one of the stars as has been widely reported. In order to ensure that there is at least a realistic shot of this happening, L.A. has reportedly made it known that every player on the roster not named Kobe Bryant is available in a package.
On Monday, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets and Lakers had cursory talks regarding a move for Paul over the last few days. However, no specifics were discussed and no real trade demands were issued by Paul’s current squad. Broussard also confirmed Wojnarowski’s report of these talks having taken place.
When asked about discussions between his Lakers and the Hornets and Magic, team general manager Mitch Kupchak had no comment.
Although Paul has made it clear that the New York Knicks are his preferred landing spot, the team’s lack of tangible trade pieces make that transaction almost impossible. On the flip side, given the numerous assets that the Lakers have, the Hornets could undoubtedly get a better deal for their disgruntled superstar on that end than they could from the Knicks. Paul would reportedly be open to signing a long term extension with the Lakers.
Numerous reports indicate that Paul and Howard have discussed playing together on one team.
The question now becomes: how realistic is this proposed Lakers coup in which they acquire two of the brightest stars in the league?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Numerous sources have indicated that the Hornets are not interested in Gasol, whatsoever. That means a deal for Paul would have to feature center Andrew Bynum and some combination of less important pieces. If that were to happen, the Magic would have to agree to a deal for Howard centered around an aging Gasol and spare parts. Even if L.A. were to accept the bloated contract of Hedo Turkoglu, it’s hard to imagine Orlando pulling the trigger on that trade.
The Lakers getting either Paul or Howard is a very realistic prospect. Getting both? Not so much.