L.A. Lakers: Why Gasol for Smith Makes More Sense Than Bynum for Howard

The Brooklyn Nets' decision to sign center Brook Lopez to an extended contract may have ended the their hopes of pairing Dwight Howard with Deron Williams, but it sure didn't stop the rampant speculation concerning Howard's eventual landing price.

According to ESPN.com the Houston Rockets appear to have the upper hand in the race to retain Howard's services, but this report by Orlando-area sportscaster David Pingalore strongly suggests that Howard will go to the Lakers.

So, to recap, the only thing we know for certain is Howard will not be going to Brooklyn, but there seems to be hope for the legions of Lakers fans who have been praying for a Howard, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash marriage.

I am also intrigued by the prospects of Howard in a Lakers uniform, but that doesn't mean I think it's the best deal for the Lakers to make.

That designation is reserved for the rumored Pau Gasol-for-Josh Smith trade that in reality should have already been done.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Hawks approached the Lakers about the possibility of swapping Smith for Gasol, but the Lakers turned the Hawks down because they felt the deal should have included more than Smith in return.

It's very rare when a team gets the opportunity to shed a large contract from an aging star player and receive a younger star of almost equal value in return. But the Lakers were afforded that chance and astoundingly turned it down.

Maybe it's time for general manager Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers to revisit the scenario.

Smith doesn't come with Howard's superstar reputation, but he does have many of the same attributes such as strength, athleticism and quickness.

More importantly Smith may be a better option for coach Mike Brown's offensive scheme.

If the Lakers do deal Bynum for Howard then they will likely be confronted by the same dilemma in the post that co...

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