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Have Lakers lost their allure?

It's conventional wisdom in NBA circles that a free agent, any free agent, would want to play for the prestigious Los Angeles Lakers. The weather. The history. The celebs. Kobe, for at least a little while longer. Then again, things aren't looking so good for the team that once earned the nickname "Showtime."

A win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday got overshadowed by its bizarre finish, in which a little-known rule allowed Lakers center Robert Sacre to remain on the court despite having fouled out (the team had no other healthy players; it was assessed a technical foul). This bumped the Lakers all the way "up" to 17-32 on the year as they await word on Kobe Bryant's health ... and the possible relocation of free-agent-to-be Pau Gasol. Meanwhile, Magic Johnson says he'll happily make calls on his old team's behalf to lure prospective free agents. But shouldn't the team's reputation speak for itself?

  • If you were a top-level NBA free agent, would you want to sign with the Lakers right now?

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      37%
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      63%

    Discuss (Total votes: 106,548)

  • If you were a free agent, would a conversation with a legend such as Magic Johnson be able to affect your decision?

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      60%
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      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,874)

  • What should the Lakers do with Pau Gasol, who is a free agent at the end of the season?

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      61%
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      29%
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      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,167)

  • How many more seasons does Kobe Bryant have as an elite player?

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      48%
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      33%
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      19%

    Discuss (Total votes: 84,040)

  • How surprised are you about the Lakers' struggles this season?

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      5%
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      23%
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      72%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,577)

  • How would you feel if you were a Lakers fan right now?

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      55%
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      45%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,449)

  • When will the Lakers next make the playoffs?

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      22%
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      38%
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      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 14,531)

  • What do you make of the rule that allows fouled-out players to stay on the court at the cost of a technical foul if no one else is available on the bench?

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      44%
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      18%
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      38%

    Discuss (Total votes: 14,191)

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Andrew Bynum, Luol Deng traded

The Cleveland Cavaliers have ended their experiment with Andrew Bynum, trading the troubled star to the Bulls for Luol Deng and several future draft picks. Chicago is expected to waive Bynum shortly, thereby saving them a heap of salary as they prepare for Derrick Rose's return next season, while the Cavaliers seem to be attempting to build a core around Kyrie Irving. As for Bynum, he's still attracting interest from contenders around the league, although his occasionally brilliant career may be coming to an end soon. Meanwhile, the Lakers (who had been pitching a possible Bynum-Pau Gasol trade) will have to look elsewhere in order to avoid the luxury tax.

Who got the better of the Andrew Bynum-Luol Deng trade?

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    48%
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    52%

Discuss (Total votes: 27,927)

  • All else being equal, what would have been a better trade for the Cavaliers?

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      40%
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      60%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,301)

  • Will the Cavaliers (12-23, 2 games out of a playoff spot in the East) make the playoffs with Luol Deng?

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      69%
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      31%

    Discuss (Total votes: 43,055)

  • Which team would be the best fit for Andrew Bynum after he likely clears waivers?

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      9%
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      35%
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      13%
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      13%
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      30%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,526)

  • Will the Lakers trade Pau Gasol before the deadline?

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      48%
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      52%

    Discuss (Total votes: 21,901)

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Bynum, Gasol on trading block?

The Lakers seemed to be happy with their decision not to trade Pau Gasol, but now that Kobe Bryant is out for six weeks, they seem to be putting Gasol back out there. They've discussed one potential deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which would exchange Gasol for Andrew Bynum. The Cavaliers would receive a veteran to complement Kyrie Irving, while the Lakers could waive Bynum in order to save more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. Not exactly a standard blockbuster trade for the Lakers, but when your playoff hopes are slim, sometimes you have to look to the future.

Which team would get the better end of this potential trade?

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    56%
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    44%

Discuss (Total votes: 65,996)

  • Do the Lakers need to receive at least one other player to make a potential Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum trade viable?

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      68%
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      32%

    Discuss (Total votes: 5,138)

  • Would the Cavaliers be a playoff team with Pau Gasol?

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      57%
    •  
      43%

    Discuss (Total votes: 13,824)

  • All else being equal, what would be a better trade for the Cavaliers?

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      50%
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      50%

    Discuss (Total votes: 4,873)

  • How confident are you that Andrew Bynum can be a productive player in the NBA again?

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      7%
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      29%
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      64%

    Discuss (Total votes: 4,798)

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Pa Gasol has been a key part of the Lakers for years, and it looks like he'll remain with the team for the immediate future. The Lakers have reportedly decided not to trade him, at least for the moment, as they're happy with his play in recent games. Gasol is averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, with a 21-point performance on Tuesday night. This could all be just a smokescreen, however -- the Lakers are 12-13 and might need to make a significant move if they want to stay competitive in the brutally tough Western Conference.

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

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