Chris Paul Deal Dead, Dwight Howard Talks Heat Up

The amazingly complicated and supremely absurd trade talks that would have sent Chris Paul to the LA Lakers are over, but that doesn’t mean Chris Paul won’t be playing basketball in Los Angeles.  It also may mean Dwight Howard plays basketball in Los Angeles, but they wouldn’t be on the same team. 

After failing to satisfy trade proposal mandates for the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers ended trade talks for Chris Paul on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

As the Lakers changed course, they traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks into a trade exception and set course in pursuit of Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are expected to return to talks with the Hornets about a Paul deal, front office executives said.

The Boston Celtics have been, and will likely try again to be, involved in talks for Chris Paul.  But the seemingly inevitable move to the Lakers sent Boston into a plan B, and they’ve constructed a team that is now trying to pry away a different Hornet, David West.  The Clippers, now find themselves in the front-runner seat, with assets like Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu that fit the league’s directive to get younger.  The Warriors are also players because they have Steph Curry, a player Dell Demps loves. 

As that hammers itself out, the Lakers are moving on to trying to acquire Dwight Howard.  They can offer Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in exchange for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.  The Lakers may have to give up both big men because the Nets have presented themselves as a preferred destination for Howard.  And the Nets are the only other team in the league that can offer up a center (Brook Lopez) that can to at least some degree fill the void left by Howard.  If the Nets give a package that gives Orlando a great opportunity to rebuild quickly, it may choose that over a package that just includes Andrew Bynum.  Even though Bynum’s the better player, his injury history is at least some concern and he literally makes five times what Lopez does. 

If the Magic go with a Nets offer, it would be for very different reasons than if they went with a Lakers offer.  In the end, a Lakers package that includes both Bynum and Gasol would be better for Orlando because fans could at least stomach that as the team trying to still win games.  So in the end, both LA teams have what both small market franchises would need to give up their stars while getting something good back in return.  Meaning that after the lockout, two of the league’s biggest stars will have immediately fled small markets to play in Los Angeles.  

Not exactly what the owners intended.