Yet they have landed neither, and it makes you wonder what their intentions are.
You hoped that by trading Odom, the Lakers had set themselves up better to land Howard, but that doesn't appear to be the case now, with the Orlando Magic pulling Howard off the trade market completely on Wednesday.
What the Lakers are left with is an aging team that has actually gotten worse in the offseason, and now must face the prospect of the Los Angeles Clippers taking over the Pacific Division in the coming years after the trade for Paul on Wednesday.
It's all unraveled for the Lakers, who should be trying to make one last run at a title before Bryant gets any older. While Bryant is still an elite player, he declined a bit last season and it's only a matter of time before he's no longer an elite player.
There has been speculation that the Lakers are in cost-cutting mode after basically giving Odom to the Mavericks for nothing. The latest developments make this speculation appear to be truth.
These are the Lakers, mind you, who have won five championships in the last 12 years, all of which Bryant has been a part of. Losing legendary head coach Phil Jackson to retirement hasn't exactly helped matters, either.
Who would have thought that the cellar-dwelling Clippers would outmaneuver the Lakers for Paul? Who would have thought that the Clippers would turn into the franchise in L.A. everybody is talking about while the Lakers sink?
These are not the former world champion Lakers we know. They are a different team altogether, with different priorities, and it figures to end in disaster this season.