Lakers Competition to Acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul

With the excitement of the NBA finally back in action trade rumors have heated up as teams and front offices revamp their squads in preparation to the season. Although teams won’t be cleared to start making official roster moves until December 9th at the earliest. Sources say team executives have been discussing potential trades in anticipation of a short free agency period.

The majority of these trade rumors have focused on Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Although the Lakers would love to have either Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, or even better, both, there are other teams that might be able to lure these top players away from Los Angeles.

Sources are strongly suggesting that Chris Paul or Dwight Howard could easily end up in New York. Who would fit in better with the New York Knicks starting five and up tempo offense?

Without a doubt, Chris Paul would be a better fit with the New York Knicks. Chris Paul surrounded with close to the basket scorers, such as Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, would greatly increase offensive efficiency and lead to more scoring opportunities. Chris Paul is an aggressive and effective ball handler and can easily penetrate the paint and dish to bigs close to the basket. A good example of this would be when the Hornets had Tyson Chandler, who averaged a double – double during the 2007-2008 season.

Chris Paul has proven he can score as well as being one of the top point guards in the league. With his new role in New York he would no longer need to score points but rather act as a setup man for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Adding Chris Paul to the New York Knicks lineup would complement head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense very well.

In the event that you were starting to build a franchise the obvious pick would be Dwight Howard. However, the Knicks already have Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire who play close to the basket. Dwight would not be a good fit with the team or offense and clog the middle.

New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King in an interview addressed the speculating trade rumors.

“We have some spots that we have to fill,” King said. “I would say our priority has to be signing some bigs (power forwards or centers). That’s where we’re focused right now. I’m sure we’ll add some pieces to the puzzle and upgrade the roster.”

The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package in order to land Dwight Howard featuring Brook Lopez, two first-round picks, and the ability to end Turkoglu’s expensive deal before free agency in 2012.

In the event of a trade to any team, Howard would have the option of a contract extension that could put him back on the free-agent market in the summer of 2014 or a trade without an extension that would preserve his right to opt out of the 2012-13 season on his current deal and become a free agent on July 1, 2012.

This would put the New Jersey Nets in the hot seat as they have already given up a lot in order to acquire Williams, with both Dwight Howard and Williams capable of opting out after the 2011-2012 season and becoming unrestricted free agents.

The Los Angeles Clippers are also regarded as a legit contender Howard, despite the franchise’s history under owner Donald Sterling, because they’ll have cap space and could pair him with rising star Blake Griffin. The Clippers would most likely have to give up shooting guard Eric Gordon in order to make this happen.

Chris Paul has also been speculated to end up in Boston with the Celtics for point guard Rajon Rando. Both players can distribute the ball, work well in transition and play solid defense.

The new Orleans Hornets, which is owned by the NBA, don’t have a whole lot to spend. Chris  Paul is due more than $16 million this season with a player option of $17.8 million in 2012-13. Considering that Paul is widely expected to sign with the New York Knicks as a free agent next season resulting in another eastern conference “BIG THREE” alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, Rajon Rondo would be a great addition for the Hornets.

In order for the Lakers to land a player like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul they will likely have to give up a key piece to their roster like Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum.

“It’s no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team’s strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” That’s code for “a deal for Dwight Howard,” and it’s clear from those familiar with Howard’s thinking that he’d like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic’s list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks.”

As of now there is no trade deadline for the 2012 season but many front offices have strong belief this will occur sometime in March.

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