First the irony.
A week ago, as the Heat were preparing to play at Staples Center, LeBron James was asked about the Lakers' offseason additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard at, essentially, pennies on the dollar.
"If there's one team that can pull off something like that, it would be the Lakers," James said. "They got Pau Gasol for a bag of chips."
Now the question is whether the Lakers are poised to dump Gasol for a bag of chips, amid the increasingly apparent desperation of Mike D'Antoni, who has deemed the former All-Star no longer starter-worthy.
That, of course, has triggered the expected Gasol trade rumors, a player who, TNT's Kenny Smith accurately pointed out Monday night, seemingly is valued everywhere but with the Lakers.
"I really disagree with Pau Gasol being on the bench," Smith said. "If he's not good enough to start on your team, you can trade him because he's good enough to start on any other team in the NBA."
As TNT analyst Steve Kerr pointed out during the broadcast of Lakers-Bulls, "If the Lakers are going to play with the style over the roster, that means they have to do something with Pau Gasol trade-wise."
In other words, this is not random speculation at play here.
So, first Heat things first.
Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh can be swapped straight up.
The salaries work.
And with Gasol having only this season and next on his contract, it would be one avenue for the Heat to escape severe long-term Big Three luxury-tax penalties.
For the Lakers, Bosh would provide the extended shooting range D'Antoni prefers, with Bosh draining jumpers at a prolific rate this season. And alongside Dwight Howard, Bosh's rebounding issues would not be as exposed.
The issue there is the Heat are not nearly as desperate as the Lakers.
The Lakers seemingly have to shake up their ill-fitting core (a problem exacerbated by selecting an ill-fitting coach).
The Heat last time we checked still were atop the Eastern Conference, even with Bosh mired in his rebounding funk.
So it comes down to the Lakers' desperation, especially amid the Lakers' reluctance to take on an extended max deal, such as Bosh's contract that runs through 2016.
For alternate answers, we turned to ESPN's trade machine, which told us this works:
Heat get: Paul Gasol.
Lakers get: Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, James Jones, Dexter Pittman.
(We tried four-for-ones, but were told those deals failed.)
Debate, if you will, whether that would be another Gasol-for-bag-of-chips deal.
The upside for the Heat would be clear, especially with Gasol, even on his tendinitis-laden knees, having only two seasons left on his contract.
For the Lakers, it would provide the type of outside shooting (Miller, Jones) D'Antoni covets and Howard thrived alongside in Los Angeles, as well as a pair of team defenders (Haslem, Anthony) to bolster a team that plays no team defense.
Yes, a five-for-one would be difficult, forcing the Lakers, at least temporarily, to cut four players (we're[..]uming Robert Sacre, Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris plus one harder cut, possibly Chris Duhon).
For the Heat, it would leave a starting lineup of Bosh, Gasol, James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, plus a top five in reserve of Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis and Chris Andersen. It also would allow the Heat to keep the promise of Jarvis Varnado, possibly re-sign Josh Harrellson and fill out the roster with three others (Kenyon Martin?)
The rub is Haslem, who has shown unceasing loyalty. Otherwise, Miller would have been an amnesty offseason cut, anyway, and Jones is not playing. The need for Anthony would be lessened by the length of Andersen and Varnado, and Pittman likely would be cut as soon as such a transaction would be official.
Could the Lakers do better?
Sure, but it also has been made clear that if Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard stay, there is no desire for a third, max-level, Bo!!ype contract. Such a five-for-one would provide flexibility to rebuild the roster, possibly with the Heat kicking in a draft pick (they hold the 76ers' lottery-protected pick in June).
Beyond all that, the Heat at least have to make a pitch for four others reasons:
Put Gasol on any of those rosters, particularly the Celtics, and the road through the East would grow all the more challenging.
Of course, Howard for Bosh also works under the cap, if the Lakers were to go in that direction.
Either way, it's worth Heat investigation.
Especially amid the Lakers' desperation