Biggest Roadblocks to LA Lakers Executing Another Blockbuster Trade

February 1, 2008. That's the date the Los Angeles Lakers, fresh off a 42-40 season and a first-round playoff exit, somehow managed to pull off a midseason deal for Pau Gasol.

The move paid immediate dividends. Kobe Bryant was thrilled to play with someone who could actually catch the ball, and the Lakers ended up winning 15 of their first 17 games with Gasol in purple and gold.

The deal sparked a mini-dynasty. The Lakers immediately appeared in three straight NBA Finals and won two championships behind the dominant combination of Bryant and Gasol.

Now, once again, the Lakers seem to be trending downhill after a rough season and first-round beating at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant and Gasol are still around, but they need more help.

With Bryant's status after surgery still up in the air and Gasol and Steve Nash a year older, the potential pitfalls are everywhere. The supporting cast is Kwame Brown-esque once again, and this time, there's no Phil Jackson roaming the sidelines.

Being optimistic about the Lakers' chances to contend for a title this season requires the belief that Kobe Bryant is not human—and that the Lakers can swing another huge blockbuster.

Although I wouldn't necessarily say he's the voice of the people, the sentiment shared by Metta World Peace isn't uncommon:

The Lakers are gonna make a big trade like they always do. They're gonna get another good player, boom, boom, and they're gonna go to the Finals. I believe it. Kobe's gonna come back, he's gonna play team ball, and Pau's gonna play well.

It's true that betting against Bryant is always unadvised and that Gasol is a prime candidate for a bounce-back campaign with more post touches coming his way.

But those big trades the Lakers always seem to make, like the one for Gasol, are almost certainly out of the picture this year.

Here's why.

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