L.A. Lakers Draft 2012: Top 5 Draft Prospects and the Trades to Land Them

Lakers fans want a title and they want it now. Kobe Bryant wants another title and he wants it yesterday.

After a second straight second-round playoff exit, the Los Angeles Lakers front office knows change is needed, Lakers players know change is coming and everyone in Los Angeles seems to know that the only way to bring about effectual change is to trade Pau Gasol.

The often beloved and nearly as often besmirched Big Spaniard has almost certainly played his final game in the purple and gold. However, while most Lakers fans will hate to see Gasol go, they also realize that trading him is the easiest and best way to improve the team and hopefully win an 18th franchise title (yes, I am counting their 1948 NBL title).

The vast majority of Lakers fans probably hope for and expect the team to trade Pau Gasol for another superstar such as the Nets' Deron Williams or the Magic’s Dwight Howard. However, Lakers brass made it abundantly clear when they dumped reigning Sixth Man of the Year and player favorite Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for little more than salary cap relief, that ownership is indeed serious about cutting costs.

Such being the case, it would not surprise me at all to see Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak trade Pau Gasol for little more than a lottery pick, a solid role player or two and some much-needed extra cap relief.

Over the next five slides, you will read about which draft prospects may be the best fit for the Lakers and help them return to true championship contention, as well as how trading Pau Gasol would enable such a draft pick, as well as other valuable pieces, to be acquired.

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