Lakers drop out of Paul sweepstakes, trade Odom, set sights on Dwight

The Los Angeles Lakers have pulled out of the three-team deal with New Orleans and Houston that would have landed Chris Paul in L.A., according to sources close to the talks.

The Lakers are now expected to turn their full focus to obtaining Dwight Howard, who has asked the Orlando Magic to trade him.

One source close to the process said that the Lakers will instead trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks.

via Marc Stein — Los Angeles Lakers pull out of trade talks for Chris Paul, according to sources notes that his ties to Los Angeles are strong, and a trade to the Lakers — or the Clippers — shouldn’t be ruled out. Meanwhile, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Howard “prefers the Nets over the Lakers, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he would sign a long-term extension with L.A. if he is traded there.”

The one constant: each source confirms Howard requested a trade to the Nets.

As far as potential deals, the Lakers would be able to send Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to the Magic straight up for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, without needing to add any pieces on either side. That’s a far more appealing trade in terms of pure value for Orlando than Brook Lopez plus two draft picks.

While I’m more than willing to admit some bias here — and I’m really trying to avoid it — I think that deal also leaves Orlando in the same type of limbo that the original Chris Paul deal left New Orleans in (though with better players); a lineup of Nelson/Richardson/blank/Gasol/Bynum isn’t good enough to compete in the East and isn’t bad enough to rebuild with for at least three to four years.

But of course, this all amounts to little more than wild speculation.

As I’ve said before, more bulletins as events warrant.