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Report: Rockets In Talks To Land Lakers' Gasol

Update! See below.

Another update! See below.

If you can't get one Gasol, why not go for the other?

The Houston Rockets have reportedly entered into talks with the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets in a bid to swing a three-way deal that would land Houston center Pau Gasol and send Chris Paul to Hollywood. It's only a possibility among hundreds of other possibilities, but holy jumping Jesus Christ, if Houston pulls this off without trading Kevin Martin or Kyle Lowry, I do declare this a winner by all accounts.

The news comes straight from Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:

Piggybacking off @sam_amick tweet, Lakers/Rockets/Hornets discussing a deal that would send CP3 to LA, Pau to Houston ... Rockets, sources say, were hot after Nene. Rival execs believe he is headed back to Denver at a max or close to max deal. Houston sees Gasol as the next best option.

By referring to Gasol as Houston's "next best option," I believe Mannix means Houston sees a trade as a backup plan to outright signing a free agent. Gasol is clearly the better player of the two, but if Houston lands Nene, they get a good center without giving up any talent. Gasol will give Houston the star center they've been missing, but he'll come for a price that shouldn't be short of steep.

The Rockets do have a number of draft picks they can swing, plus some trade exceptions and some good young talent. I'd LOVE to see a Gasol/Scola frontcourt, but my guess is that if this deal gets done, we kiss Scola goodbye.

My question, for now: Can Houston land Gasol at a price befitting to New Orleans? After all, they're giving up Paul, and unless Los Angeles throws Lamar Odom in their direction, the brunt of the returns may come from Houston. Trading Scola and draft picks alone shouldn't be a viable option for New Orleans, lest they find themselves with horrible options otherwise.

More to come as it emerges. Keep in mind: Gasol is on the books for four more years. That's a nice contrast to a one-year CP3 rental plan.

Update: How much do you want Gasol?

From Marc Spears:

Names talked about in CP3 3-way are: CP to Lakers, Gasol to HOU & Kevin Martin & Luis Scola and possible picks to Hornets, source tells Y!

Folks, you've got to give a lot to get a lot. Losing Martin and Scola together would hurt considerably, but consider these four thoughts should this actually happen:

1) Houston would be trading its two oldest players, believe it or not.

2) The Rockets are stacked with power forwards, both here (Patterson, Hill) and overseas (Motiejunas).

3) Guards and power forwards are easier to find than legitimate centers. Look at this year's upcoming draft. They're everywhere. If Houston can hold on to one of its picks, they'll be in the running for some good players.

4) Houston still has plenty of money to spend to replace Martin at shooting guard, and in the meantime, Courtney Lee isn't a terrible option.

Update 2: The buck doesn't stop with Gasol.

From Spears:

If the Rockets land Gasol in 3-way trade, expect them to make a strong run at Nuggets free agent center Nene.

Oh, come on. That's pretty exciting stuff, you guys.

For those griping: This isn't a one-year plan. We're still young, and oh by the way, there's a chance both Donatas Motiejunas and Sergio Llull could come help win next year, not to mention how wide-open Houston's 2012 free agency options will be. Think long-term, even while signing old guys. We're not getting older with this deal. We're actually about the same.

Final Update From Tom Because He's Busy Now:

From Jonathan Feigen's Twitter:

Hou-LA-NO 3-tm deal for Pau "nowhere near done, nowhere near," source said. A lot could change, including other tms (Boston) getting in.