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Chris Paul Trade: Lakers Could Face Big Man Shortage In First Week

The basketball world is abuzz - sorry, New Orleans - with the Lakers' reported acquisition of point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets. The reported three-team deal would send Paul Gasol to the Houston Rockets and Lamar Odom to the New Orleans Hornets.

While the deal won't be official until Friday, there is still the matter clearing up exactly whom will be in the trade. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers might also receive center-forward Emeka Okafor as part of the deal, which seems to make sense from a salary cap perspective. But it also makes sense simply from a depth perspective.

The Lakers, whose main strength the past four years has been the size and depth of their front court, are running out of bigs. With Gasol and Odom gone, that leaves Andrew Bynum as the lone man in the middle with front court mates Derrick Caracter and Metta World Peace as the only ones with any size down low. That's why guys like Okafor are needed.

It remains to be seen whether the Lakers have enough, with Bynum as the centerpiece, to pry Dwight Howard out of Orlando. But let's assume for a moment that Howard stays with the Magic for now and Bynum remains in Los Angeles. Bynum was suspended for the first five games of the season, so the Lakers would have to face Chicago, Sacramento, Utah, New York, and Denver - five games in the first seven nights of the season - with about a thin a front court as you will find.

There is still free agency, so the Lakers could pick up a big man or two to fill the void, but that first week could be brutal. Thankfully the Lakers will have Paul and Kobe Bryant to lead the way.

To discuss Paul on the Lakers, check out Silver Screen and Roll.