The Los Angeles Lakers are currently the most talented team in the NBA on paper and their starting five is surely the best in the league. The team is anchored by Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant, but Metta World Peace and Steve Nash will surely play an important role in the team’s success.
However, according to Sports Illustrated, the Lakers are looking to trade Pau Gasol, and as of this point they are targeting Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith. Rumors about a Gasol/Smith swap have been going on for quite some time, but no deal has ever gone through.
Sources say that the Hawks, at present, have no interest in parting with Josh Smith and Kyle Korver for Gasol. Or even Smith and lesser parts for Gasol. Positions can obviously change between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline, but sources maintain that Atlanta has not been enticed in the least by the prospect of parting with the 26-year-old Smith — even as he heads into unrestricted free agency — for the 32-year-old Gasol. The Hawks, for the record, have also been telling interested teams that they value Smith and what he offers as a hybrid forward in an Eastern Conference that’s generally been getting smaller.
It’s likewise true, sources said, that the Lakers have had internal discussions for months about pursuing Smith, not only for his athletic gifts but also knowing that J-Smoove is one of free agent-to-be Dwight Howard’s closest friends in the game. But if that’s really who L.A. wants, there will have to be another team or two recruited into the deal to satisfy Atlanta’s demands.
Smith is one of the most athletic players in the NBA and he would make the Lakers’ front court a very powerful lineup. With Howard and Smith anchoring the paint, the Lakers would be a dynamic team on the defensive end and will be potent on the other end also. However, at this point it seems as though the Hawks are not interested in Gasol.
Nevertheless, these reports are just rumors and a deal may never happen; still, the Lakers’ front office will not quit on trying to land Smith.