The Lakers attempts to trade center Pau Gasol have proved unsuccessful so far. A rumored deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum fell through, presumably because the Lakers wanted more in return than just Bynum’s contract.
Similarly, the Lakers talks with the Phoenix Suns ended as the Lakers wanted a better draft pick than the one the Suns were willing to give up.
Though the two teams will resume their talks in hopes of coming to an agreement, the overriding question continues to be what is Pau Gasol worth in a trade? Are the Lakers asking for too much or are teams trying to steal away the skilled center for nothing?
We asked our panel of experts, what would be an acceptable return in a trade for Pau Gasol? This is what they had to say:
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): Pau Gasol proved he can still be an offensive force in the month of January, averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds. He is no longer the commodity he once was, and any team willing to take on his contract will certainly risk losing him in free agency.
Having said that, he’s still quite a valuable piece and if I were the Lakers, I wouldn’t give him up for anything less than a couple of promising young players or an early to mid-first round draft pick and a decent player or two.
Personally, I still see value in Gasol and would want more than that, but the Lakers don’t seem to have Gasol in their future plans. Getting anything valuable in return for Pau is likely their main objective — as he may very well leave in free agency.
Ramneet Singh (@Ramneet24): The Los Angeles Lakers have been shopping Pau Gasol for quite some time now and so far there have not been any takers. The aging forward does have some gas left in the tank, but finding a suitable trade partner has been hard to come by.
Los Angeles is going through a tough season and the rebuilding process is just around the corner. Kobe Bryant has only two seasons left with the team and the front office needs to add young players in order to assure success for the future. Obviously free agency will be a great market for the Lakers, but in terms of a deal for Gasol, a high draft pick would work best.
At this point, it seems as though the Lakers will end up in the lottery so if they can lock up another pick in the first round, that would be perfect. Most teams bound for the lottery will likely not trade their pick, but a playoff team in around the middle of the first round would be an ideal target for the Lakers.
The 2014 NBA Draft is said to be one of the deepest in years so the more selections for the Lakers, the better.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): With Pau Gasol expected to miss potentially four or more games due to a groin injury, it’s uncertain if the Lakers will be able to get what they want in return for the two-time NBA champion.
Gasol might only be able to get in one more game as a Laker before the buzzer sounds on the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 20. The Lakers play Dwight Howard’s Houston Rockets on Feb. 19 and there’s no telling if Gasol will be in the lineup for that final game before the deadline.
As of right now, the Lakers might be lucky to ship out the four-time NBA All-Star for draft picks. Not only will draft picks be the only thing coming back to Los Angeles, but they may only be second-round draft picks.
Although many Lakers fans will likely disagree with only getting a handful of second-round draft picks for a player that’s destined to have his jersey in the rafters at the Staples Center, the fact of the matter is that the Lakers need to get something because Gasol’s time in Los Angeles will be over at season’s end.
If draft picks are on the table from the Phoenix Suns or another team that shows interest in the Spaniard, the Lakers need to make it happen. No big-name player is coming to Los Angeles in return and that’s a fact fans need to come to grips with at this point.
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