The Los Angeles Lakers are perilously close to being the worst they’ve ever been, much closer than they or their fans would probably like to admit. They have a team of a few fragile superstars, a woeful bench and almost no draft picks coming up to resurrect the team. They are in a really bad state.
Not only that, they've got the biggest payroll in the league, and while that might not matter so much to the team in terms of its bottom line, it does matter in terms of league rules and what they are able to do to improve.
They simply don’t have the money available to make any big trades that add to their existing core.
As far as trading their existing core, Kobe Bryant’s and Pau Gasol’s contracts are completely untradeable because, realistically, they just aren’t going to justify the massive amount of money they are making—$30 million for Bryant and almost $20 million for Gasol.
The Lakers will be over the salary cap "apron," so they can’t use a full mid-level exception to sign a free agent.
They can’t be on the receiving end of a sign-and-trade, either; the collective bargaining agreement prohibits it.
They don't have a draft pick.
They are going to have a very difficult time adding talent through conventional means.
They have basically one trade tool at their disposal: Dwight Howard.
One trade rumor has it Blake Griffin and Eric Bledseo could be had in a sign-and-trade that would send Howard to the Clippers (the Lakers can do a sign-and-trade if they are on the outgoing side of the deal, just not the receiving end).
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets, “(The) Lakers have fully resisted Clippers overtures on a sign-and-trade for Dwight Howard. 'They will never do it,' source with knowledge tells Y!”
That’s the wrong decision.
Bledsoe and Griffin could be the cornerstones of a new franchise. They would have two future starters, both much younger, to build around, as opposed to just one. It just makes more sense. They need to be flexible here.