Ideal Targets to Pair with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol for Lakers in 2014 Offseason

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol won't be around forever. But with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak sounding optimistic about both veterans sticking with the team for the foreseeable future, now seems like a good time to examine the options on the 2014 free-agent market that would pair best with L.A.'s incumbent stars.

Per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:

When asked if Bryant could still be a Laker in three years, Kupchak said, "If he can play at a high level, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be."

"There really has been no discussions beyond next year for obvious reasons," Kupchak said. "You have a player who is up in age and just had a devastating injury. Obviously, we created an environment with our team where were looking to have financial flexibility a year from now, so that plays into it."

Kupchak also left the door open for forward Pau Gasol to stay with the Lakers beyond the end of his contract, which also expires this year.

"We're in a cycle," Kupchak said. "We're hopeful that within a year from now, we'll have enough flexibility. We're hopeful that Pau and Kobe can continue to play and we'll have options to rebuild the team."

All right, so Kupchak thinks Bryant and Gasol could both remain franchise cornerstones for another few years. But whom should the Lakers be targeting for the not-so-far-off summer of 2014?

A couple of caveats warrant mentioning before we get started.

First, we're going to assume the Bryant returns to health, stays productive and generally retains the same tendencies that have marked his NBA career to this point. A natural, age-related decline is definitely in the cards, but we're assuming No. 24 looks pretty much like himself for the foreseeable future.

Second, we're operating under the assumption that Gasol will also remain an effective player.

Third, and most ob...

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