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Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers could be the biggest losers of NBA free agency.
The Lakers attempted to trade both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in a three-way trade to obtain the New Orleans Hornets Chris Paul. However, NBA commissioner David Stern squashed the deal and left the Lakers hanging.
Instead, the Lakers traded Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for a protected first round draft pick and an unprotected second round draft pick. LA was also unable to obtain the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard via trade, so losing Odom for almost nothing was certainly a foolish move.
Odom was a Sixth Man of the Year recipient who could post a double-double any night. He provided significant length and defense at 6'10." He was also capable of being a post player.
The trade wasn't a good public relations move for Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who condemned the trade, as Odom is a valuable contributor on the court who provided good "team chemistry."
The Lakers answered by signing Indiana Pacers Josh McRoberts to fill in for Odom's absence. McRoberts is not nearly as athletic or productive as Odom, and he will be beat by better big men.
Also, the Lakers could not solve their need at point guard. Besides Paul, Los Angeles was also not able to sign Chauncey Billups or Baron Davis after they were amnestied.
With an aging Bryant not having a suitable backcourt mate to lighten his load, the Lakers will probably fail in the playoffs again.
Bob Bajek is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed at Patch.com and Twitter.