The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers intend to aggressively pursue Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul via trade, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN. The Lakers "hop[e] to pull off a pair of blockbuster moves that would rock the NBA," Broussard says, in acquiring its top center and top point guard, and have made everyone on their roster outside of Kobe Bryant available in trade discussions. "It is not clear whether they have spoken with Orlando," according to the report.
The Clippers are taking the same tactic, making everyone apart from Blake Griffin, reigning Rookie of the Year, available. Unlike their Staples Center roommates, however, the Clippers lack quality veteran talent to offer in a trade; the Lakers boast centers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, as well as do-everything gadget forward Lamar Odom, to offer to New Orleans and Orlando.
Teaming Howard and Paul would prove nightmarish for the rest of the league, given both players' proficiency in running the pick-and-roll and otherworldly defensive skill. Howard has taken home Defensive Player of the Year honors in each of the last three seasons, while Paul has led the league in steals per game in three of his six seasons. He averaged 15.9 points, 9.4 assists, and 2.4 steals in 2010/11, shooting 46.3 percent from the field.
Practically speaking, it seems unlikely that either Los Angeles squad could pull off a trade for both Howard and Paul, even when accounting for the wealth of the Lakers' assets.
Earlier Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Paul's representatives have informed the Hornets he does not intend to re-sign with them when he enters free agency this summer. Wojnarowski expects Howard's reps to express a similar sentiment to Orlando soon, as he, like Paul, is due to hit free agency. If that conversation transpires, it could set off a race between the Magic and Hornets to get the Lakers' best deal, which would center around the 24-year-old Bynum.