The Knicks are shaking off all the cooties Tracy McGrady and Shawne Williams left on John Starks' old No. 3 jersey for whenever they can lure Chris Paul. The Clippers are dreaming of pairing Dwight Howard with Blake Griffin on their front line.
And at least a half-dozen other NBA teams are clearing salary cap space and evaluating their tradeable talent in hopes of acquiring either Howard or Paul, two of the league's biggest stars who can become free agents in 2012.
But that's kid's stuff as far as the Lakers are concerned. Owner Jerry Buss, who once approved trading Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant and signing Shaquille O'Neal as a free agent in the same offseason, is reportedly aiming higher than any team in the pursuit of Superman and CP3.
He doesn't want one or the other. He wants both of them.
The Lakers have a realistic hope of adding both Howard and Paul by next summer or sooner, Mark Heisler reports on Sheridan Hoops. This would involve sign-and-trade or extend-and-trade deals in which Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol would be shipped out in exchange
The Lakers, who are the second-most valuable team in the NBA after the Knicks, are unafraid of the luxury tax for high-payroll teams due to their upcoming $150 million annual TV deal with Time Warner, according to Heisler.
One of the stated goals of the owners' lockout was improving competitive balance and restraining large-market teams from dominating the market for top players. How'd that go?
Pretty well, it seems, if you're the lord of Showtime.