L.A. Lakers: Who Goes First for Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum?

In order for the Los Angeles Lakers to remain a relevant NBA franchise in the future, general manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jerry Buss must deal with some difficult issues in the coming months.

The Lakers chose to largely abstain from the free-agent feeding frenzy of this past summer, but most observers expect them to make a huge splash when it comes to the coveted free-agent class of 2012.

Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are some of the biggest names on the 2012 market, and there's a good chance that the Lakers will pursue at least one of those players.

Most fans would prefer if Kupchak and Buss concentrated their collective energy on chasing Howard, but if a deal is possible, what would the Lakers have to lose in order to obtain him?

If the Orlando Magic are unable to reach a long-term agreement with Howard, then their best course would be to seek a trade before his current contract expires and the Magic lose him for nothing.

There would likely be numerous suitors for Howard's services, but few other teams could potentially offer the Magic a package that would include either All-Star forward Pau Gasol or center Andrew Bynum as its centerpiece.

Both Gasol and Bynum have been previously described as untouchable players when it comes to tinkering with the Lakers roster, but if the opportunity to acquire Howard arises, either player is probably as good as gone.

But which one?

Most of the speculation concerning a deal for Howard has centered on Bynum, and if not for his injury-prone nature, Bynum would be much more attractive to Orlando general manager Otis Smith.

Bynum is a talented young center in his own right, and his low-post game is already more developed than Howard's at this point, but he can never escape the threat of imminent injury that hangs over his head.

If circumstances dictated that Orlando deal Howard, then a healt...

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