In what can only be described as a desperate — and bewildering — attempt to completely destroy the already fragile confidence of Pau Gasol, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has begun dangling the two-time NBA champion and four-time All-Star in trade talks that go well beyond the game of basketball.

With the NBA’s trade deadline looming and his trade options dwindling, Kupchak appears to have moved on from hopes of upgrading the Lakers backcourt to simply upgrading the quality of coffee in his office.

“I’ve been doing this job for more than 10 years, and still I’m stuck with this single-cup coffee maker,” said Kupchak. “You know the kind where you put the little pouch into the thing and a minute later it spits out this swill that I’m convinced strips the enamel off your teeth.”

With the Chris Paul fiasco now ancient history, and reality setting in that a Gasol-for-Dwight Howard swap is the epitome of delusional, Kupchak seems resigned to flipping the best basketball player in the history of an entire country for a single cup of quality caffeine.

“My original intention was to trade Pau for a better coffee maker; a nice stainless steel one, something the entire staff could enjoy,” said Kupchak. “Unfortunately, it turns out I’ve already screwed his trade value to the point that this is no longer a viable option.”

With expectations firmly in check, the Lakers GM has been spotted in several local cafes attempting to barter the Spanish big man for a shot of espresso and some steamed milk.

“I walk into the Starbucks at 7th and Fig and there’s Kupchak breathlessly haggling with a 19-year-old barista,” said Jerry Aucoin, a financial analyst who works in downtown Los Angeles. “Going on about how Gasol’s wingspan would be perfect for handing hot beverages across the counter, how being bi-lingual could broaden their customer base. At least he’s not giving him away for nothing like he did Lamar Odom.”

Perhaps most astounding is Kupchak’s remarkable candor regarding the Gasol-for-latte negotiation.

“No, this move would not make our team better,” said Kupchak. “However, it would have made my afternoon better. If anyone has a problem with that, well I just don’t give a damn. You try working for Jim Buss.”

Mark Potter