The latest Los Angeles Lakers rumor is the team is hoping to put a blockbuster trade together and acquire all-star center Dwight Howard and point guard Chris Paul.
The Lakers are willing to trade anyone on their roster besides Kobe Bryant, including Jerry Buss' favorite Andrew Bynum, according to ESPN.
The organization has already had discussions with the New Orleans Hornets about Chris Paul, but ESPN reported it was unclear whether it had contacted the Orlando Magic about Howard.
Howard has long been rumored to want to follow in idol Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps and leave Orlando for the bright lights of Los Angeles. A deal for the powerful big man, who is a free agent at the end of this season, would likely have to include some combination of Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.
Paul has long favored joining buddies Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York, but the Knicks don't have any valuable trade assets to entice the Hornets with. If Paul stays with the Hornets for the entire 2011-12 season, it's likely that he'd join the Knicks as a free agent, but the Hornets are looking to deal the star guard in order to get something in return for Paul's impending departure.
Although Paul prefers joining the Knicks, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported on Tuesday that Paul would sign a long-term extension with the Lakers if they made a deal for him. A deal for Paul would likely have to include Pau Gasol, but would create an extremely dynamic Paul-Howard-Bryant trio in Los Angeles.
Yahoo Sports reported on Monday that a straight Gasol for Paul deal wouldn't be acceptable for the Hornets, but that the Lakers would let the Hornets have their pick between Gasol and Bynum.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that nothing is about to happen and largely denied the trade rumors, but another Western Conference executive affirmed ESPN's report of the Lakers' intentions.
The Lakers are interested in trying to do something for both (Paul and Howard), a Western Conference executive told ESPN. I would hate to see it happen. I want Howard to stay in the East and Paul to go to the East.
Paul would like to play with Howard, according to multiple reports, and the best opportunity could be in Los Angeles with Bryant. The biggest issue going forward will be whether the Lakers can acquire both and sign them to long-term deals, but they are one of the few organizations with an abundance of valuable trade assets.