NBA Trade Rumors: LA Lakers Acquiring Chris Paul, Dwight Howard Unrealistic

Andre Khatchaturian@AndreKhatchCorrespondent IIIDecember 6, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic stands at the scorer's table after being earning a technical foul against Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Laker fans in Lakerland are going crazy today over the prospects of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul being interested in playing in Southern California this year. 

Slow down.

Now, it may be very true that if the Lakers pull it off, this would turn the Lakers into championship contenders for the next decade.

Having Paul gives the Lakers a huge advantage at point guard. He will facilitate the offense and the Lakers will finally have an answer for the Derrick Roses and Russell Westbrooks of the league.

Howard will give the Lakers a Shaq-like presence in the point. They won't have to worry about him getting soft in the playoffs.

But is all of this possible? 

The Lakers are already paying their players around $90 million. The salary cap hasn't been released yet but the Lakers will probably be around $25-30 million over the cap. With the new luxury tax rules, they'll have to pay an exorbitant amount of money. 

Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are going to be commanding a whole lot more money than Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Paul makes around $16 million right now and Howard earns more than $18 million. When they sign their new contracts, it's almost guaranteed they'll be asking for more money.

This means the Lakers are going to exceed the cap to a greater extent. It may be true the new Lakers television deal with Time Warner Cable will make it easier for them to pay the luxury tax, but the Lakers can make a more valuable addition at point guard.

How about Baron Davis or J.J. Barea?

The Lakers won't be paying that much for those guys—and they won't be giving up that much either. They'll be able to keep Lamar Odom and Gasol.

Davis averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 assists per game last season with the Clippers and Cavaliers. He does not have to be the focal point of the offense with Howard, Gasol, Odom and Bryant in the lineup.

With Barea, they get a hard-working and relentless pest. He's one of those guys teams love to have but hate to play against. He showed he can play at the highest level last season and earned himself a spot on Dallas' starting five in the NBA Finals. 

Neither of these guys are Chris Paul, but the Lakers can still win the NBA championship with them. They don't absolutely need Paul. It's not a necessity. 

That being said, it is a necessity to get either Howard or Paul in order to compete with Oklahoma City and Miami. Getting both guys may handicap the Lakers bench and make the team susceptible for a letdown should one of the Big Three get hurt.

It may be safer to invest in a reliable point guard, place Derek Fisher on the bench, keep Odom and Gasol, and solidify the paint and the future with Dwight Howard.