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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Well, that didn’t take long.
Just hours after rumblings that Andrew Bynum could be used as bait to try to lure either Chris Paul or Dwight Howard to Los Angeles in a blockbuster trade, there comes even more fire from ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard.
Broussard is reporting that the Lakers aren’t just trying to get one of the superstars to join Kobe Bryant but both of them, a move that would send shockwaves around the basketball world were they to pull it off (seeing as how it’s extremely difficult to pull off one blockbuster deal, let alone two simultaneously). Now before you go assuming that this is just another preseason rumor being thrown up in the air, you need to read the details of the report to see where this smoke is coming from.
Everyone on the Lakers’ roster not named Bryant is tradeable, per Broussard, and that includes Bynum, All-Star forward Pau Gasol and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Award-winner Lamar Odom. While the idea of another super team, this time on the opposite coast, surely bothers the purists among us, it appears that this is where we are right now in the league:
While Paul’s first choice is to join buddies Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the New York Knicks, he would sign a long-term contract to stay with the Lakers, according to a source with knowledge of Paul’s thinking. And Howard’s fondness for Los Angeles is well-known, leaving no doubt that he would commit to the Lakers long-term.
Sources say Paul and Howard have had several conversations with each other about the possibility of playing together on various teams.
Several trade combinations would work for the Lakers. For instance, they could send Gasol to New Orleans for Paul, and Bynum to Orlando for Howard. If the Lakers threw Odom into the trade to Orlando, they could sweeten the offer for the Magic by taking back the contract of Hedo Turkoglu.
“The Lakers are interested in trying to do something for both (Paul and Howard),” a Western Conference executive said. “I would hate to see it happen. I want Howard to stay in the East and Paul to go to the East.
Broussard reports that the Lakers are not alone in their pursuit of some of the league’s biggest names. The Clippers, yes the Clippers, are reportedly interested in making a similar move with anyone on their roster not named Blake Griffin being a movable asset:
Unlike the Lakers, the Clippers would not have to make two trades. They could use their wealth of young talent to trade for either Paul or Howard and then sign the other as a free agent next summer when they’ll have enough cap room to offer a maximum-salary contract. The one player the Clippers will not offer in a trade is Blake Griffin.
Hearing of the Lakers desire to make major moves like this is nothing new. But the Clippers getting in the mix, reportedly, spices things up even more.
And rather than dismiss these latest developments as just rumors, we would remind you of last season, when the Anthony to the Knicks chatter heated up and months later came to fruition. What appears to be a fantasy play could end up being more than that if the right moves are made.
We took the blinders off then and recognized that anything, no matter how far-fetched it might seem on the surface, is possible in the post-“The Decision” NBA!