Welcome to post-lockout madness, NBA style.
Paul would be a free agent after this season in New Orleans; Howard is in the same spot with the Orlando Magic and both teams would like to make a deal with the Lakers. Both players would like to play in one of the league’s big markets and the Lakers are still smarting after being swept in the second round of the playoffs last year by the Dallas Mavericks.
Although the Lakers and Hornets have been discussing a Paul deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Pau Gasol as the primary figure in a trade isn’t acceptable to the Hornets. The Lakers, according to Wojnarowski, “ultimately” would be willing to let New Orleans pick a player. The options are numerous and could involve Andrew Bynum, who is unfazed by rumors, Gasol and/or Lamar Odom.
“The Lakers are interested in trying to do something for both [Paul and Howard],” a Western Conference executive told ESPN’s Chris Broussard. “I would hate to see it happen. I want Howard to stay in the East and Paul to go to the East. If it does happen, it'll make things much harder for us.”
The Lakers aren’t alone, though. Broussard reports that the Clippers are interested in jumping into the bidding for Howard and Paul. The Nets might try to lure Howard in an effort to pair him with Deron Williams. And the Chicago Bulls can’t be counted out, either, in the Howard maneuverings. “Chicago may tell Orlando to take any two players – or three – besides [Derrick] Rose,” a GM told Wojnarowski.