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Lakers/Clippers Sign-and-Trade Looming?

Oh me, oh my!  Free agency is now guaranteed to be active as well as intriguing.

With LA Clippers' point guard Chris Paul and LA Lakers' center Dwight Howard reportedly in cahoots to play together next season, this summer is bound to get a lil' messy.  There will be multiple franchises vying for both their services, and if the super-free-agents' plans are accomplished, only one GM will rise above the madness.

Odds are, the lucky front office head will not be the Lakers' Mitch Kupchak.

Now, I understand Kupchak is an absolute legend when it comes to wheelin' and dealin'.  I mean, the man acquired 7'0 Spaniard Pau Gasol in exchange for picks, reserve guard Aaron McKie, gun-happy Javaris Crittenton, and 'bonafide scrub' Kwame Brown.  However, since the Lakers' do not possess a single high-quality trade piece and have three contracts which exceed the salary cap of $58.5 mil, it is highly unlikely the squad ends up placing both D12 and CP3 in a purp'-n-yellow uniform opening night.

If Dwight and Chris are serious about teaming up, the unfortunate reality is the Lakers are going to lose the best center in the NBA.  Due to this tragic truth, it would be smart for Kupchak and Co. to explore beneficial sign-and-trade options involving Howard.

Here is one idea with potential brought up by ESPN's Chris Broussard:

"Sources say a trade package centered around Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe for Howard could be possible. Multiple sources insist Griffin is untouchable but he would almost surely be required for the Lakers to agree to a trade."

Just imagine this scenario for a moment:  the Lakers receive a much-needed influx of talented youth which includes a star in Blake Griffin, but in the process they strengthen the roster of their dreaded cross-town rivals with a conscious decision to pair up Howard and Paul.

Is the enticement of adding these young, athletic ballers worth the pain of helping out a foe? 

In my opinion, since it is extremely critical for the Lakers to gain as much value as possible out of Dwight if he does end up deciding to bolt, this potential deal is one the organization must explore.  This option to obtain two productive ball players under the age of 25 is honestly the best sign-and-trade choice Kupchak will find for Howard, and if the Clippers are fine with giving up their cherished red-headed dunk champ, the Lakers need to immediately jump at the opportunity.

However, one huge question mark exists in this deal:  is Clips' GM Gary Sacks willing to trade Griffin away to the opposite Staples Center locker room?  

The way I see it, Chris Paul holds much more value than Griffin, as his addition to the roster is what ultimately helped carry the Clippers to the playoffs these past two seasons.  If LA's "other team" wants to retain Paul and avoid contending once again with the scum of the league, they must carry out any transaction necessary.

At this point, the final destination for both CP3 and D12 is unclear.  The only sure thing this summer is NBA fanatics across the globe will have plenty of basketball news with which to entertain themselves.

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