Amid questions about their direction, the Lakers hope one answer might come in a highway-robbery deal before Thursday’s trade deadline. They have expressed interest in All-Star guard Jason Kidd, who is owed $41 million the next two seasons. With those financial considerations in mind, the New Jersey Nets are considering trading Kidd to the Lakers in a package that would not include either center Andrew Bynum or forward Lamar Odom, the two most valuable assets after Kobe Bryant. “We’ve looked to make deals over the last few years close to the trading deadline,” Jackson said Tuesday, “and they’ve all been really key players that we thought would make a difference. “We just didn’t want to do a lateral move or something like that. “That’s one of the reasons why we think if you do something, do it right. Do it big.” No Phil Jackson-coached team ever has lost six straight games, although that will be no comfort as the Lakers play host to Portland tonight at Staples Center. They have dropped their past four games in the closing minutes, almost finding new ways to lose. Although the Lakers have victories over the Western Conference’s top five teams, they have gone just 16-18 after opening the season with 15 of their first 20games at home. They now would have to go 20-8 to finish with 50 wins. EL SEGUNDO – As the Lakers reconvened Tuesday following the All-Star break, they could find the seventh-place Denver Nuggets closer in their rear-view mirror than the fifth-place Houston Rockets ahead on the road. Whether the Lakers are stuck in reverse or merely stalled out thanks to a combination of injuries and a difficult schedule, they will start the second half of the season having lost five consecutive games and 11 of their past 15. The Lakers would have to take into account the luxury-tax implications of adding Kidd, as well as the difficulty in bringing a player up to speed midseason in the triangle offense. Even so, Jackson’s patience might have run out after Thursday’s 114-108 loss to Cleveland, a game in which the Lakers led with 3:23 left, only to watch the Cavaliers finish the game by making five consecutive trips to the foul line. Asked if he felt the Lakers had to make a move, Jackson answered: “After Thursday’s loss, I was very disappointed in our team. I thought our chemistry was not good. I told you guys … that I saw defeat in some faces in a ballgame that was close. “It was right down to the wire all the way through, and we’ve had four games like that out of our five losses that have been right on the nub and we haven’t been able to produce.” Bryant called Kidd “one of the top point guards in the history of the NBA” and suggested the two wouldn’t have a problem co-existing: “If a name like Jason Kidd comes across the table, you have to look at it.” The Nets, who have slipped to 25-29 and two games out of the Eastern Conference’s top eight, would have to be open to a package probably built around Kwame Brown and Jordan Farmar as well as several expiring contracts and draft picks. In the meantime, the Lakers will move forward after the latest in a never-ending cycle of injuries. Forward Vladimir Radmanovic slipped on ice in Park City, Utah, on Saturday, and separated his right shoulder and will be out eight weeks. The Lakers already have lost key players for nearly 120games this season because of injury. They are hopeful Luke Walton – who has missed 11 games with a sprained ankle – can return in the next week and Brown will follow sooner than expected. Bryant had no doubt the injuries to Brown and Walton caught up to the Lakers at the same time the schedule turned nasty with an eight-game trip. “We had chemistry because we had guys that had been together for a while, been in this offense for a while,” Bryant said. “That’s why we were able to be extremely successful. … Now you take three pieces out of the offense that had been together for a full season and understand how we operate as a unit. “When those pieces go down, now you’re bringing in new pieces that are still trying to learn the offense and at the same time learn one another’s tendencies, so it gets a little more challenging.” The third piece Bryant was referring to was Odom, who has not been the same, attacking player after missing 21 games with a sprained knee ligament. Odom is averaging 15.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists but the Lakers are just 3-9 since his return. Jackson noted that the Lakers recently have been a poor shooting team – making just 41.1percent of their shots and launching an average of 233-pointers during the five-game skid – but said defense has to be the priority coming back from the break. The Lakers are giving up 102.2 points on 46 percent shooting for the season and have been outscored in the paint in their past six games. Jackson criticized his guards for giving up penetration too easily, leading to fouls against Bynum. The danger is that the Lakers already have played their way into the sixth seed – they trail Houston by four games and lead Denver by 3 – and likely would face a first-round playoff series against either San Antonio or Utah. “It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what it is,” Walton said. “But hopefully with a few days off that we had and getting refocused, we’ll be able to come back and have a solid end of the season.” They always could turn to Bryant to shoulder the load, as the superstar guard did last season in averaging 35.4 points to buy his teammates time to learn the triangle. But Bryant said Tuesday he hoped to avoid that situation. “I think guys are starting to figure things out a little bit,” Bryant said. “Having injuries hurt us a lot. “I’m sure there’ll be a couple games here and there where I have to take over, but I don’t think it will be something that’ll be a consistent theme for us.” [email protected] (818) 713-3610 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!