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Dwight Howard attempts to score on Tim Duncan.
Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers have some history. Prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, Mitch Kupchak was under the impression he had acquired Paul in a trade from the New Orleans Hornets.
The transaction was famously rescinded for basketball reasons and the Lakers lost out on Paul.
This time around, the Lakers are in a different position and can get him through a different route. Bringing Paul to the Purple and Gold requires some tough decisions as well as a lot of work, but it’s not entirely inconceivable.
The first and most important move here is amnestying Kobe Bryant. Keep in mind, such a transaction must occur with Bryant’s blessing. Otherwise, it could create a situation where players do not trust the front office going forward.
Hence, waiving him would be a mutual agreement whereby Bryant would return in 2014-15 after nursing his ruptured Achilles for a full season.
Granted, if the Lakers believe Bryant will be completely healthy and available for the start of the 2013-14 season, then the possibility of signing Paul in the 2013 summer falls apart.
However, if such is not the case and Bryant projects to miss a huge chunk of the 2013-14 season, then the amnesty provision is in play.
In the event the Lakers cut Bryant from the team, they would clear their books of his $30 million salary.
The next dominoes in this instance would involve trading away Pau Gasol and Steve Nash (or Metta World Peace) for practically nothing in return. These three transactions together would give the Lakers the requisite cap space to sign Paul as a free agent and also re-sign Dwight Howard.
The Lakers would have a core of Paul and Howard going forward, which could compete for titles. In addition, they would be bringing Bryant back into the fold the following season.
Again, these moves are far from easy, but they are nonetheless at the disposal of Laker management.
This all comes with a giant asterisk, though. In a video game, this works out perfectly. However, in real life, getting rid of two Hall of Fame players who led the franchise to consecutive titles can result in a massive public relations hit.
Also, it would certainly weigh on the minds of Paul and Howard when considering signing long term with the franchise. Would the Lakers be just as ruthless with them when their productivity takes a slight dip?