The lineups for both teams look drastically different from years past, with the Clippers landing all-world point guard Chris Paul in David Stern's now famed robbery, while the Lakers retooled their rotation from the sixth man on down.
Diving further into both rosters, one player in particular stands out as wearing the wrong colors.
Here are six reasons why Clippers combo guard Mo Williams to the Lakers makes sense for all parties involved.
With Steve Blake suffering a rib injury and sidelined for 3 to 4 weeks, depth at point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers has never been more important.
The Lakers turned to Derek Fisher for 30 minutes Friday night versus the Cleveland Cavaliers to fill the void—six minutes more than his season average.
Fish finished the game without any setbacks, but can the 16-year veteran carry this load the rest of the season?
Backing up Fish is the 21-year old rookie Darius Morris. Flashing signs of promise in his limited time on the hardwood, Morris has played a grand total of 31 minutes as a professional.
Ready or not, D-Mo is the Lakers' backup PG.
Depth at PG for the Lakers is a critical issue they must address by this year's trade deadline.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times
The Clippers, meanwhile, are anything but lacking at the top guard spot.
Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye, Eric Bledsoe and, of course, Mo Williams are all competing for minutes in the Clippers' crowded backcourt.
So far, Chris Paul and Chauncey have gotten the edge, leaving Mo with 25 minutes per game.
Mo Williams, as a combo guard, can easily garner 30+ minutes and a substantial role in the Lakers' wide open backcourt.
Having played under Mike Brown for three seasons in Cleveland, Mo is well equipped to handle Mike Brown's offensive and defensive schemes from Day One.
Familiarity with Brown's terminology, rotations, looks and spacing is huge, especially considering the shortened season and the need to bring in guard help immediately.
More, Mo has great respect for his former skipper, praising Brown's work ethic and basketball knowledge.
A reunion for the two professionals in Lakerdom seems almost too perfect.
Quite simply, the Lakers have what teams over the cap want: immediate salary relief.
In their trade with Dallas, the Lakers acquired an $8.9 million trade exception just waiting to be paired with a future player.
The Clippers' salary currently sits at $65.5 million. Reducing their salary below the $58 million salary cap makes sense considering the more restrictive labor terms for salary cap teams under the labor agreement and the stacked free agent class of 2012-13.
The math works, too, with the Lakers limited to swapping their exception for players making less than $8.9 million per year. Mo earns $8.5 million a year.
Sources say Mo Williams is a key trade target as the deadline approaches, with the Clippers slated to receive plenty of offers for the 29-year old.
Whether he is unhappy or not, Mo Williams appears to be an odd man out in the Clippers' rotations, unsure of how many minutes he'll play on a nightly basis.
Even the Clippers PA announcer isn't sure when he plays for the team.
It makes sense for Mo to move out of the shadows and into the L.A. spotlight.
The Lakers need a backup SG and a consistent scorer off the bench. Mo answers both these concerns.
Metta World Peace has not lived up to the leader-of-the-bench role, and the Lakers could use Mo as the consistent point-producer to play in the second unit when Kobe sits.
When Kobe is in the game, Mo easily slides to the one and gives the Lakers a deadly combination out of the backcourt. Two pure shooters, pure scorers operating together on the floor at a high clip.
No doubt Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has already floated the possibility of landing Mo Williams from the Clippers.
Perhaps more importantly, given the logjam at guard and the flexibility the Lakers can offer, Clippers GM Neil Olshey has surely pondered this move—a deal that makes sense for both sides.
Clippers improve their balance sheet. Lakers improve their backcourt.
Mo's first audition for his future employer will have to wait, since he's likely sitting out Saturday's game with a sore right foot. But rest assured, Kupchak and Olshey will definitely be reaching out to one another about the potential for this no-brainer to get into the books by this season's trade deadline.