The Lakers had a blockbuster off season. More so than any other team. However will they be better this year? Some people don't think so and if they don't improve I think they will be a team that could be a partner at the deadline.
About the Lakers:
The Lakers have a great starting line up (maybe the best) The Lakers a terrible bench (maybe the worst) The Lakers also have a huge payroll and will be deep in the luxury tax Dwight Howard is the best player on their team and the one they will want to build around going forward Dwight Howard is a free agent at the end of the year Dwight Howard wants to win a championship The Lakers need to keep Dwight Howard going forward to stay at the top Dwight Howard isn't committed to LA
I think that if the Lakers don't play well then they will have to look for a trade at the deadline. They have to either bring in talent to improve their bench or shed salary to go after more pieces to build around Dwight Howard. It will be difficult for them for a while if they lose Dwight Howard in free agency.
So here is a trade I see possibly benefiting both teams.
Utah trades Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to LA for Pau Gasol. For LA bringing in two borderline Allstars for one will allow them to bolster their bench while not damaging their starting line up too much. I would think that a starting line up of Millsap, Howard, Kobe, MWP and Nash would still be a great line up and having Jefferson off of the bench would be huge for LA. He would be able to carry the bench because he is so good at scoring. It would also clear money off of their books if they wanted to pursue somebody else.
For Utah it would reduce their depth at the front court but Gasol and Favors together could be beautiful. It would also give Kanter the time he seems to deserve.
I only see this trade happening if LA doesn't do any better than they did last year. I also don't see this trade happening if LA asks Utah to take too much back (Metta World Piece's contract for example).
The other benefit about this trade for Utah is that it doesn't hamper our ability to sign Hayward and Favors to long term deals if they improve. Utah could trade Gasol in a year for more young players, could resign him for less if he slowed down, or use him as an expiring contract.
What are your thoughts?