Lakers mailbag: Tackling offseason questions

This should’ve marked the time when the Lakers are still in the playoff hunt. Instead, significant injuries, a swift coaching change and inconsistent chemistry resulted in the Lakers falling in a four-game first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. And that leaves Lakers fans with way too much time wondering how this offseason will shape up. So to tackle some questions, I dove into some e-mails and tweets in what will be the first edition of the Lakers’ mailbag.

According to you, how high (%) is the chance Lakers trade Gasol? Do you think is a good idea? Financially and on the court?
I’ve read that Pau Gasol’s value is a the highest @ the draft? Why is that? I was wondering if there are any chances Dwight Howard makes his decision before July 1?
– Louis Vanooteghem, Brussels, Belgium, Europe

Louis, I hope you didn’t pay too much on your satellite cable bill to watch the Lakers play god awful basketball countless miles away. Anyway, sorry about dashing your hopes. But there’s no way Howard makes his decision before July 1st. He’s made it pretty clear he wants to test free agency.  A person familiar with Howard’s thought process said he’s currently considering the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, though that is subject to change. Don’t expect Gasol to be traded before or during the NBA Draft. The Lakers aren’t going to do so when there’s the chance Howard might leave them.

@markg_medina Is there any remote possibility that lakers can be a championship team for next season and will lakers manage deffense?

— Fortune (@Fortune0116ch) May 13, 2013

Fortune, I don’t see it happen. Best case scenario for the Lakers involves Howard returning, the Lakers keeping Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant returning with limited transition because of his torn left Achilles’ tendon. Even if all those scenarios happen, they’d only simply be a competitive team in the West. The Thunder and Warriors, in particular, would have too much youth and athleticism for the Lakers to handle.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, they can’t stomach adding on more salary and taking on long-term contracts would only hurt their hopes of rebuilding in the 2014-15 season. Best to keep as much financial flexibility for next offseason so they could make a splash free agent signing.

@markg_medina Will the Lakers use their mini-MLE in any capacity?

— P (@P_MATIC) May 13, 2013

Barring a trade, that’s really the only tool the Lakers can use to upgrade their roster. That’s worth $3.2 million, so that’s likely only

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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