The Los Angeles Lakers dropped a game to the Phoenix Suns tonight and appear to be falling further away from their status as overwhelming Western Conference favorites from just a season ago.
After a failed attempt at a blockbuster trade for Chris Paul before the season, and a flurry of trade rumors involving Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told SI.com's Sam Amick he does not expect any big moves this season.
Despite popular opinion, a trade for Dwight Howard is hardly a cure-all for this Lakers' season. Howard's biggest strength is his ability to anchor a defense, and the Lakers are already quite formidable on that end, at fourth in the NBA at points per game allowed.
Their frontline of Bynum and Gasol is still perhaps the best frontline in the league and quite capable of generating high efficiency looks from the post and drawing double teams–and in Gasol's case, passing better out of those double teams. Howard might augment some of that, but his presence still leaves the Lakers woefully lacking.
Bryant already largely underutilizes Gasol and Bynum in the post, and according to previous reports, would look to do the same with Howard. The Lakers troubles remain on the offensive end.
The Lakers need to make some moves on the fringes of their roster. Replacing underproducing veterans like Fisher or World Peace with merely replacement level players would do wonders for the Lakers offense. Guys like Ramon Sessions or Aaron Brooks would provide significant upgrades.
Unfortunately, it appears the Lakers seem intent on standing pat.