It’s time to face the truth Lakers fans: this year’s team is going nowhere. As I write this Los Angeles sits in the 11nth spot in the Western Conference with a dreadful record of 17-25. Yes, there is still time to turn things around. Yes, LA is only 4 games out of the 8th spot in the West. Yes, this team has talent. But as Stephen A. Smith always says, “I’m always real.” So I to am going to real here: if I were running the Lakers, I would be trading somebody ASAP. According to ESPN’s Hollinger Playoff Odds the Lakers have an 18.5% chance of making the playoffs this year. That’ s worse then the Toronto Raptors in the weaker Eastern Conference. So bare with me if I take the pessimistic approach to the Lakers season. LA fans will point to this team adding the majority of the roster this offseason as the reason for their struggles. Or maybe they will blame coach Mike D’Antoni for it. The truth is, for whatever reason, this team isn’t working. On paper this team has as just as much talent as anybody, bar maybe the Miami Heat. Your talking about a Hall of Fame point guard in Steve Nash (a player capable of hitting open 3’s and getting everyone the ball), arguably a top 10 all time SG in Kobe Bryant(who needs no explanation) a hard nosed defender playing the best ball of his career since his last name was Artest, an All Star PF in Gasol (arguably one of the best passing big men in the game) and an All Star, top 10 player in his prime at Center in Dwight Howard. Why isn’t this team working? That is without mentioning the fact they also added solid players like Antawn Jamison for dirt cheap, and are getting a career year out of Earl Clark! EARL CLARK! But since the beginning this year didn’t seem right. They stumbled out of the gates early on as Howard nursed a torn labrum and the rest of the team struggled to jell. Then Coach Mike Brown was let go and Lakers brass made the interesting decision to hire offensive guru Mike D’Antoni over the great Phil Jackson (one of the few coaches capable of handling both Kobe and Dwight) or former assistant Brian Shaw (who paid his dues long enough and had Kobe’s backing.) Then Steve Nash broke something in his leg, or his leg simply ran out of gas. As we watch an ever-changing Kobe Bryant, (who now spends his free time pretending to play Beethoven and tweet pictures of himself “fake” fighting with Dwight Howard) chuck up jumper after jumper as Pau Gasol gets blamed for everything and Howard pouts about not getting the ball enough, I say ENOUGH ALREADY. It’s time to face reality: this team is a disaster, and things are not going to get better.
Scenario 1:Most likely LA will hold tight this season, claiming they “just need more time” and such. They’ll probably put together a few winning streaks while their at it, heck they may even get the 8th seed if Houston, Utah, and Portland tail off. But this is the Kobe Bryant-led- Lakers were talking about, the goal was never the 8th seed. Scenario 2: Steve Nash is old and washed up (maybe it has less to do with him recovering from injury and more to do with him just simply being a 38 year old point guard incapable of guarding anyone relatively athletic). Gasol, after being the scapegoat (yet again) this year, let alone after almost being traded last year, may finally have had enough and ask for a trade. Dwight Howard, (someone who so far this year has shown no real interest in playing with Alpha-Dog Kobe) is a free agent and could possibly leave for greener pastures this offseason. The rest of the roster is old and expensive, and with this years draft choice being shipped to Cleveland (remember that Luke Walton-Sessions trade last year?) things aren’t going to get any better anytime soon. More than likely however the result will fall somewhere in between these two. So what would I do if I were in charge of the Lakers?
1). TRADE GASOL
The most likely candidate is Pau Gasol, who’s been apart of the rumor mill seemingly since he first arrived from Memphis. Gasol and the Lakers BOTH need a fresh start, and more than likely the team would like to rebuild around the younger and better Howard as Bryant’s career comes to a halt. Problem is, Gasol’s trade stock has never been lower: he is 32 years old, averaging 12.7 points per game (career low) and is now coming off the bench behind Earl Clark. The chances of Gasol bringing back equal value in a trade about as likely as Manti Te’o winning Sportsmen of the Year. Gasol is making 19 M. for the next 2 years, which also eliminates a lot of options. Could they try and pry Danny Granger away from Indianapolis? They would risk adding salary but would IND go for a Gasol-Jamison for Granger-Mahinmi trade?  Probably not. But maybe they could get Toronto to bite on a Gasol for Bargnani and friends trade. Maybe… Just maybe. Either way, Pau seems to be the most likely to go.
2). TRADE DWIGHT HOWARD
If the Lakers continue their downward spiral, I do not see Dwight Howard returning next year. 1. He has never played with someone like Kobe, and all the twitter pictures aside, they do not appear to be BFF’s. 2. He can leave and pick where he wants to play next year (his choice all along). So LA could look to deal him if the right offer comes along. But no team would be willing to trade for Dwight unless they A. Were trying to win a championship right now (Celtics, Heat, Grizzlies, Spurs come to mind) B. Had a guarantee he would sign with them long term (his hometown ATL and Dallas appear to be his favorites besides NJ who doesn’t have much to offer besides a new and improved Brook Lopez). So let’s take a look at 2 possible trades:
1.) Howard to Atlanta- Al Horford, Kyle Korver, Deshawn Stevenson, and at least one 1st rounder to LA. Who says no to this? ATL gets the player they’ve been longing for, and LA gets Horford (someone they can build around and a near ALL Star caliber player.)
2.) Howard-Jamison and cheap player A to Dallas in return for Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman, Vince Carter and young player b (either Jared Cunningham or Jae Crowder) and picks to LA.
Regardless of the many fake trades I make it seems unlikely that LA gets rid of anyone before the deadline. What happens down the line is turning out to be one of the more interesting sequences of events in recent time. What exactly will happen to the Lakers? Could we live in a world where Orlando wins the Howard-Bynum-everyone else trade? Only time will tell. But if I was LA, I would be making some changes before my newly sociable shooting guard decides enough is enough and hangs them up.
 As a Nash fan, I hope I’m wrong here. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if he never returns to the Nash I grew up watching. Years on years of 30 plus minutes take a toll on a player.
 What exactly will be the outcome of that story? What exactly happened? Still the strangest story in my recent memory.
 Yes, I am a fan a Stephen A. Smith. I know he likes to scream but every time I see him on ESPN, he says something worthwhile… I swear.
 I use his statistics as an indicator because; well they seem to be the most logical. Plus he turned a job at ESPN into a position for the Grizzlies. Not to shabby I would say. While Hollinger no longer works for ESPN yet they still have his formula and tables named as such.
 That’s not to say D’Antoni doesn’t deserve some of the blame. This team has a lot of talent on paper, but they aren’t the 2007 Suns here. Kobe and CO. can’t play run and gun basketball when all but one major contributor is over the age of 30. But in D’Antoni’s defense, he probably should never have been hired in the first place. But that’s another story,
 Who by the way is averaging 29 points this year. Sure he isn’t shooting well but is anyone going to question the fact he’s putting up nearly 30 points at age 34? What did they do to him in Germany?