Even healthy Kobe won't save them when he comes back. Personally, I'd shut him down but then again, how do you tell him that. He'd murder you. But he's still rusty, and will be even more rusty. If they deal Pau at the deadline, it's over and it would be dumb to roll Kobe out there.
Melo is certainly part of the plan, but I don't think it's a good plan. In all honesty though, the NBA is about the pairing of Superstars with the correct role players - that's where the battle is most often won. I don't see any potential contender type role players on the Lakers right now, other than Jordan Hill who is an effort and rebound machine, so Mitch has a hell of a job on his plate...and Jim Buss is a freaking idiot which doesn't help.