Reports: Lakers pull out of trade for Chris Paul, will trade Lamar Odom to Dallas, Dwight Howard move next?

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And the strange, strange saga rolls on.

After nearly a week of negotiations and one failed attempt by the Los Angeles Lakers to trade for Chris Paul in a three-way deal with the Houston Rockets which was blocked by the league, ESPN reports that the Lakers “have pulled out” of the Paul trade. The deal has “fallen apart” according to Yahoo! Sports. But what may be of even more interest is what comes next.

ESPN’s Marc Stein also reports that the Lakers will trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for the trade exception they obtained in a sign and trade with New York for Tyson Chandler. Getting past the general insanity of the past two paragraphs is this: the Lakers are now in prime position to trade for Dwight Howard and take on Hedo Turkoglu’s massive contract, a sticking point for any trade for Orlando.

Kaboom.

So the big loser in the short term is Paul, though it’s entirely likely that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, or Golden State Warriors will come through with a significant offer for Paul to move him from New Orleans in the coming days. Meanwhile, Lamar Odom is on his way to the reigning NBA champions who feature an All-Star, Hall-of-Fame, Finals MVP player at his natural position. The Mavericks are going to have an entirely bizarre lineup this year, but they’re also going to have a tremendous amount of depth, even if they have no center.

To review: Mark Cuban blocks a trade for the Lakers to get Chris Paul, then inserts his team into conversations and winds up with Lamar Odom, using the trade exception he gained from letting his center go, which will allow the Lakers to pursue the best center in the league.

Sure, why not? At this point you could tell me the Lakers are trading for Marvin the Martian with Fruity Pebbles and two Laker Girls and I’d believe you. The strangest year in the NBA rolls on.