Popular opinion says that Bynum would be the player most likely dealt by the Lakers, but what if Los Angeles decided to keep Bynum and trade Gasol instead?
Would a frontcourt tandem of Bynum and Howard be able to coexist in the same space?
This is a question that has rarely been broached when discussing the multiple scenarios involving the Lakers and Howard, but the idea of Howard and Bynum teaming up in the interior may not be as preposterous as it sounds.
At 7'0'', Gasol is taller than Howard, and while he is listed as a power forward, his post game is more polished and refined than Howard's as well.
Howard's back to the basket game continues to be a work in progress, and even though he has improved significantly since entering the league, Howard is still miles behind Gasol when it comes to interior fundamentals.
Gasol has excellent footwork and is comfortable playing with his back to the rim on either side of the basket, and when he does receive the ball in the paint, Gasol is capable of finishing with either hand.
Howard has incorporated a drop-step, spin move to the basket to his arsenal, but he is much more effective offensively when facing the rim.
In fact, Howard's entire interior game is at its best when he is playing off his instincts and reacting to the actions of his opponents.
Howard is well-known for his ability to reject shots, but few of those blocks occur in traditional man-to-man situations.
Most of Howard's signature defensive plays are either made from the weak side or while playing help defense, which compliments Bynum's strong interior defense perfectly.
Bynum excels in man-to-man defense on the block, which could potentially make Howard an even more dominant inside presence since he would only have to worry about covering part of the paint.
Of course, a marriage of Bynum and Howard would have its growing pains.
For instance, Gasol has a reliable offensive perimeter game from at least 19 feet, and while Howard can face up on the perimeter, he still prefers to use his dribble to get closer to the basket.
This could definitely cause a few traffic jams in the middle, but can you imagine how dominant the Lakers could be with Bynum and Howard once the kinks were worked out?
I'm not sure if the Lakers could return to the NBA Finals this season even with Bynum and Howard, but there would not be another team in the league who could boast an inside tandem with the potential to be as dominant for the next 10 years.
Lakers president Jim Buss has done little to instill confidence in the hearts of fans since he inherited the reins of the franchise, but acquiring Howard to play with Bynum could be a step in the right direction.