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Pau Gasol Trade Rumors: Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets Interested

With the early trade rumor from this morning that indicated that the Los Angeles Lakers might want to deal their power forward Pau Gasol, suitors have begun to emerge. One of them is the Atlanta Hawks, who have the perfect bargaining chip in the younger, athletic Josh Smith.

Smith on the Lakers would fit perfectly right next to Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant. Smith could play on the perimeter, he could crash the boards, he provides additional perimeter defense, and he can occassionally get into the post when Bynum comes out. Smith is a scarily good fit for Los Angeles if it happens.

They aren't the only ones. The Houston Rockets are making a second run at the Spaniard, and they'll have the draft picks to entice Los Angeles. Ken Berger of CBS has the report.

The Houston Rockets continued stockpiling first-round picks Wednesday in a bid to move into the top 10 of Thursday night's draft and enhance their chances of landing a superstar big man, league sources told

While Houston has not given up on making a play for Orlando center Dwight Howard, their swap of the 14th pick with Milwaukee for the 12th pick Wednesday gave them an arsenal of the 12th, 16th and 18th picks that could be used to finally consummate their longtime pursuit of Lakers forward Pau Gasol.

You might remember the Rockets engaged in a three-way deal involving the Lakers and the Hornets before the start of last season that placed Gasol in Houston, but the trade was axed by the NBA (who owned the Hornets) because they felt New Orleans got too little in return for Chris Paul. Houston is now hoping the second time is the charm.

I'm not sure how willing Bryant would be to wait for draft picks to develop though. The Smith deal might be the one he'd be more interested in pursuing.

Talk about Gasol, Smith, and more trade rumors with Lakers fans at Silver Screen and Roll.