Rumor: Lakers to make run at Dwight Howard AND Chris Paul?

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Now we know the lockout is officially over because ridiculous, outlandish Lakers trade rumors are flying around and gaining some momentum. Like the Lakers getting Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Reality be damned.

These ideas gain traction because Lakers fans dream big. Outlandishly big. Plus Lakers ownership can be bold. It’s one of the reasons they have all those banners hanging up at Staples Center.

Combine those things with the fact that the Lakers championship window with this Kobe Bryant led unit is closing — they have another year or three — and you have Lakers fans thinking about how to rebuild on the fly.

Which brings us to the ridiculous Dwight Howard and Chris Paul rumors, which were thrown out there by Mark Heisler at SheridanHoops.com that has people buzzing.

When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa. Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Not going to happen. Not both. Probably not either.

You can make a reasonable case for how Dwight Howard ends up in L.A. — the Magic have to trade him or risk losing him for nothing, so they strike a deal with the Lakers that includes Andrew Bynum, some picks and more. Maybe that is the best offer Orlando would get. But the question becomes one of public relations in Orlando. First, could they even trade Howard without a fan revolt? If they do decide they have to move him, could the Magic trade their franchise center to the team that took Shaquille O’Neal from them before? Best offer or not, the Magic may not go down that road.

As for Chris Paul, he has said he wants to play in New York or maybe with the Clippers. If the Hornets do trade CP3 (and that’s not a given considering the league owns the team right now) they will want young stars and picks back — building blocks for the future. Pau Gasol is not that. The Hornets would want a package with Bynum and picks just like Orlando. Nobody else on the Lakers roster is young and helps you build a winner.

Which means the Lakers can try to get one or the other, but they will not get both, they don’t have the trade chips (and are too far over the cap to get one as a free agent). And to even get one Jim Buss has to let Bynum go, something he is loath to do.

But dream big guys, dream big.