The Los Angeles Lakers will be mentioned in a multitude of trade rumors prior to the March 15 deadline, but that does not mean a blockbuster move involving Pau Gasol will be executed.
Although Gasol is very clearly available in the right deal and is the strongest trade chip the Lakers hold, it's entirely possible the team does not find a deal to its liking and chooses to keep the veteran big man for the remainder of the season.
The Lakers might be looking for an upgrade, but teams have expressed some reluctance to take on extra salary at the deadline with the harsher restrictions under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Let's take a look at the most realistic options on the table at this time.
Now, that doesn't appear to be the case.
Although the Lakers remain on Howard's list of preferred destinations, there haven't been many discussions between Los Angeles and Orlando for Howard's services.
The Magic seem inclined to keep him, and the Lakers have no interest in dealing both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Howard.
Rumors began to swirl when it was suggested that a deal centered around Rajon Rondo and Pau Gasol could be constructed between Boston and Los Angeles, but that's rather unlikely to occur.
Although both players could certainly had in the right deal and the Lakers would love to add Rondo, an aging Gasol doesn't fit the description of what the Celtics would like to acquire in any potential Rondo trade.
Danny Ainge "would have to be blown away" to consider a Rondo trade, and although the addition of Gasol would arguably extend Paul Pierce's championship window, a swap of the two players does not benefit Boston for the long haul.
Raymond Felton is an interesting candidate to keep an eye on as the trade deadline approaches.
An unrestricted free agent at season's end, Felton has been dealt twice since signing his current contract with the New York Knicks prior to the 2010-11 regular season.
The team could make a play for Felton without sending anything back in return because of the trade exception from the Lamar Odom deal, but the team might not want to take on extra salary without sending some back in the other direction.
Los Angeles has flirted with the idea of adding Michael Beasley since before the season began, and the Lakers' interest remains strong in the small forward.
Although it looks like a no-brainer on paper for some, adding Beasley is no slam dunk and comes with a great deal of risk.
Although he's scheduled to hit restricted free agency at the end of the season, Beasley's qualifying contract offer is over $8 million—a yearly salary not many teams would likely be willing to match in a multi-year deal.
He's got a ton of talent, but it's about far more than that when contemplating how he might fit into the Los Angeles puzzle.
Ramon Sessions continues to come up in the same sentence as the Los Angeles Lakers, and it appears more and more likely there is a strong chance he winds up with the team.
Although the Lakers have already rejected a first-round pick in exchange for the point guard, that could certainly change in the next week.
As the team continues to explore other alternatives, Sessions will remain in play, and he's very available as the Cavaliers look to turn him into future assets for a rebuilding Cleveland team.