There's still smoke, and there still may be fire yet -- speculation continues about the Lakers potentially trading big man Pau Gasol. Ken Berger of CBS reports today that the Lakers "are said to be serious about trading Pau Gasol in the right deal."
One major snag, however, is that one of the Lakers' most prominent trade partners just became a lot less attractive. The Lakers were at one point rumored to be discussing a trade with the Houston Rockets built around Gasol and Kyle Lowry, but with Lowry now out for 2-4 weeks with a bacterial infection, the Lakers find their options limited.
Another Houston trade chip is power forward Luis Scola, but the Lakers are believed to be emphasizing a slimmer payroll in dealing Gasol, and Scola still has a healthy $19.6 million left on his contract in the next two years.
Then again, considering the age of Kobe Bryant and the narrow window for this Laker team to win another championship, it might be worth the financial investment for L.A. to gamble on a big contract like Scola's. "If they're going to send a message to Kobe Bryant that they're not about winning, they're about money," one league source told Berger, "that's going to set off a whole new deal."