L.A. Lakers Trade Speculation: Dwight Howard, Others Who Could Help Kobe Bryant

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2011

L.A. Lakers Trade Speculation: Dwight Howard, Others Who Could Help Kobe Bryant

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a three-point shot by Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airl
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Dallas Mavericks completed a convincing four-game sweep of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers today.  The Mavericks crushed the Lakers in Game 4 by a final score of 122-86.

    So while Dallas moves on to their first conference finals since 2006, the Lakers begin an offseason that should be packed with questions.

    Head coach Phil Jackson has already said that this would be his final season, so it's safe to assume the team will have a new coach.

    When you consider how the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, it may also be safe to assume that the team will have some new players (by way of trades).

    During a postgame show following Game 3 of the series, ESPN analyst and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said that he felt the only contract that might be untouchable is that of Kobe Bryant.

    Could big-name players like Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom or even Pau Gasol be on the move this summer?

    This slideshow will detail five potential deals involving those big names (and a few others) that could help the Lakers return to the top of the NBA next season.

    Bear in mind that many of these deals only mention the main players involved.  For things to work for all teams involved, other players (and maybe even teams) would have to be included.

Pau Gasol for Chauncey Billups

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, Ca
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Deal: Pau Gasol for Chauncey Billups and Renaldo Balkman

    Pau is already taking as much heat as any Laker for this series.  

    He did not look good the entire postseason and plenty of Los Angeles fans have already forgotten the two titles he helped them win as they call for his departure.

    If the Lakers hire a coach who is committed to the triangle offense (Brian Shaw), then acquiring Billups would be an enormous upgrade over Derek Fisher.

    Phil Jackson always liked bigger point guards who had the ability to space the floor with good perimeter shooting.  Billups certainly fits that mold.

    And while the team doesn't really get any younger through this deal, Billups has a little better chance of staying in front of the league's quicker point guards than Fisher did.

    Plus, if this deal didn't work out, Los Angeles could simply let Billups walk at the end of the year, as this is going to be the final year of his contract.

    If New York is willing to give Toney Douglas a year at point guard, this deal would make some sense for New York as well.

    Gasol can play center and would actually fit D'Antoni's system pretty well.  A frontcourt of Gasol and Amare Stoudemire would have the potential to be one of the league's best.

Andrew Bynum for Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX - JANUARY 05: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives the ball past Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Deal: Pau Gasol for Steve Nash and Josh Childress

    This one wouldn't just shake up the roster but would likely alter the way the team operates also.

    Nash is much more of a traditional point guard than a triangle point guard.  He is at his best with the ball in his hands, setting up shots for his teammates.

    He is certainly at the tail end of his career, but Nash would still make a lot of Lakers (including Kobe Bryant) better on offense for a couple years before he retires.

    His playmaking ability would take a ton of pressure off Kobe Bryant and could help him smoothly transition into the latter part of his career.

    This is a deal that could be very good for the Suns in the long run.

    They need a fresh start and a new identity.  Andrew Bynum could certainly help them with both those things.  As a center with enough skill to build a team around, he is a rarity in today's NBA.

Andrew Bynum for Andre Iguodala

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Center Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Deal: Andrew Bynum for Andre Iguodala and Marreese Speights

    The Lakers would almost certainly need Philadelphia to throw a few draft picks into this deal to make it work.

    If they could find a way to move Ron Artest as well, Iguodala would be a great fit as the Lakers' starting small forward.  At this point, he's significantly better than Artest on both ends of the floor.

    Plus, he is a better distributor and facilitator than anyone on the Lakers roster, which would make things a lot easier for Kobe Bryant.

    Of course it would work for Philadelphia.  

    There has already been talk of Iguodala being dealt for over a year, and adding Bynum to a young core of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young could have this team contending in a few years.

Andrew Bynum for Chris Paul

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 28:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets walks off the court after a 98-80 loss as Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles after winning the series in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA P
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Deal: Andrew Bynum, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter for Chris Paul

    In this deal, it would be the Lakers who'd need to include some draft picks.  There's also the possibility of Los Angeles including two or three players from the 2011 draft as well.

    Like the prospect of adding Steve Nash, this deal would completely change the way the Lakers would play.

    Paul would instantly inject excitement and toughness into a franchise that just experienced one of the most shocking series losses in their history.

    A backcourt tandem of Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant would cause some serious nightmares for defenses for the next few years before Kobe really starts to fade athletically.

    The Hornets wouldn't be extremely happy about this kind of a deal, but Bynum is about as good a consolation as they can hope to get if Paul insists on leaving New Orleans.

Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard

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    The Deal: Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter for Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas

    This is the deal that every Lakers fan is already dreaming about.

    Dwight Howard would be the perfect player to not only give Kobe Bryant a couple more shots at a sixth title but to transition the franchise into the post-Kobe era.

    The Magic do not want to lose Dwight Howard.  But if it looks like he won't re-sign, they may be wise to deal him and at least get something in return for his departure (the way Utah did with Deron Williams).

    Plus, I have a feeling the Magic would be ecstatic if anyone was willing to take Gilbert Arenas and his outrageous contract off their hands.

    Yes, I have the Lakers giving up a lot to get Howard, but they would likely have to.  They need to start thinking about getting younger through the draft anyway.