The NBA trade deadline is only a few weeks away with the final buzzer sounding on Feb. 20. Usually, the Los Angeles Lakers are very active at the deadline with trade rumors circulating and deals that ultimately come to fruition.
This season the biggest bargaining chip for the Lakers is Pau Gasol once again. Although it remains uncertain if Gasol will be dealt before the deadline, the team has expressed interest in forward Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
According to a source, the Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats have each inquired about Gibson, but they were preliminary talks in which the Bulls did not like the return.
At this point in time, Gasol doesn’t seem to be getting much interest around the league. Despite All-Star-caliber numbers, Gasol’s large contract isn’t all that appealing for teams that would most likely only be acquiring him as a half-season rental.
The Spaniard’s current deal with the Lakers expires at season’s end making him an unrestricted free agent in July. With that being said, the Lakers may want to move the two-time NBA champion before the deadline to get something in return or simply get his contract off their books.
As for Gibson, the fifth-year forward is having the best season of his career thus far. Gibson is averaging a career-high 12.2 points per game while also ripping down 6.4 rebounds per contest.
With the Lakers intent on clearing the books for the free agent market this summer and the next, acquiring Gibson would be an interesting move considering the fact he’s set to make a considerable amount of money over the next three season.
Gibson will make $8 million next season, $8.5 million during the 2015-16 season and $8.9 million in the final year of his deal in 2016-17. This is not exactly the kind of deal the Lakers would want to take on for a player that’s not a game-changer.
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