Trading Pau Gasol May Not Add Up for Lakers Reviewed by Momizat on . The Los Angeles Lakers were ousted from the playoffs exactly a week and three days ago at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Pau Gasol trade rumors The Los Angeles Lakers were ousted from the playoffs exactly a week and three days ago at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Pau Gasol trade rumors Rating:
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Trading Pau Gasol May Not Add Up for Lakers

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The Los Angeles Lakers were ousted from the playoffs exactly a week and three days ago at the hands of the Oklahoma City

Thunder, and the Pau Gasol trade rumors have already began to emerge.

A couple days ago Sam Smith of NBA.com reported that the Laker forward wouldn’t mind playing for the Chicago Bulls. Predictably, Gasol scoffed at the reports when asked about it by Mark Medina of the L.A. Times.

The Gasol to the Chicago rumor isn’t the first trade rumor Laker fans have heard this off-season, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The problem with almost every trade rumor surrounding Gasol as the centerpiece is this: the Lakers simply can’t get equal trade value for him anymore.

Let’s take the trade to Chicago that Gasol reportedly desires for example. In order for the trade to make sense position wise and for the contracts to match, the Lakers would receive the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer along with a couple spare parts in return for Gasol.

While Boozer is a name most NBA fans are familiar with, acquiring him is not an upgrade to Gasol in any way, shape or form; especially not on the defensive end.

Tim Kawakami, a Mercury News sports columnist, recently compiled his annual no-defense team and Boozer is on it. Kawakami cited that the Bulls give up 8.6 more points per 100 possessions when Boozer was playing compared to when he watches from the sidelines.

So the Lakers would be giving up a two-time NBA champion, who’s an excellent scorer and passer and can hold his own defensively for a player renowned to require a point guard to create his offense for him, and is one of the worst defenders on the NBA’s best defensive team? Head scratches all around.

Other potential packages the Lakers could receive in return for Gasol (as suggested by Sam Smith) are as follows:

a.)    Brandon Jennings, Drew Gooden and Luc Mbah a Moute from Milwaukee.

b.)    Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and Sam Dalembert from Houston.

c.)     Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson from Cleveland.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, isn’t it? None of those moves make the Lakers better; and more importantly they don’t address the Lakers urgent needs if they are to get back onto the same level as the Thunder and the Spurs.

Looking back, Game 5 against the Thunder highlighted all of the Lakers’ weaknesses. When push came to shove, the offense relied too heavily on Kobe Bryant’s individual brilliance (42 points on 54 percent shooting). When they were called upon, the bench scored a grand total of five points. They couldn’t contain an explosive point guard despite upgrading from Derek Fisher to Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline. And, most glaringly, the Laker bigs couldn’t co-exist (go ahead and name me the last time Andrew Bynum and Gasol both had good games).

The Lakers would certainly need a heist similar to how they initially acquired Gasol in the first place in order to make a trade worthwhile.

Thus, it’s only logical to look to move Andrew Bynum, the other seven footer. As good as Bynum was this year, it was off-set by his repeated immaturity. Lest we forget this was only Bynum’s second year (2006-07 being the other one) when he was injury-free. Bynum’s stock is sky-high and the time to move him may be now.

Gasol’s frustration of being reduced to the third option for the first time in his NBA career was evident. Statistically, he averaged a career low in points, but it appeared while he accepted the role of operating out of the high post, he wasn’t comfortable with it. Gasol sacrificed his own production in order to allow Bynum to blossom akin to how Amar’e was never the same destructive force in New York once Carmelo was acquired. When two people want the ball in the same spots on the floor, things tend not to work out so well.

The way the Lakers are currently constructed it’s nearly impossible to get better without taking a risk on trading one of the big men because Kobe Bryant’s salary accounts for nearly 50 percent of the salary cap; and with the harsher luxury tax looming over Mitch Kupchak’s shoulders, the Lakers are in a bind. The very nature of Bryant’s contract implies the Lakers must build around him until his contract runs out.

We’ve seen how far the ceiling the core of Bryant, Gasol and Bynum can lead the Lakers to for two consecutive years now: the second round.

If now is not the time for change, then I’m afraid the Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles will end in more wasted years of his life.

But to be blunt, any move the Lakers could make involving Gasol would just be making a move for the sake of making a move instead of re-opening the Lakers’ title window with Bryant in tow.  Despite Gasol’s lackluster play in the last two years in the playoffs, you at least know what you’re going to get from him on a night-to-night basis. The same can’t be said about Bynum.

Moving either big man is risky business. But as I’ve just explained, shipping Gasol out of Tinseltown is a Catch-22.

Your move, Mitch Kupchak.

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About The Author

Lee joined Lakers Nation in 2011 as a staff writer and attended Ryerson University in Toronto for journalism. To read more of Gabe's work for Lakers Nation click here. Follow Gabe on Twitter @therealgaber.

Number of Entries : 92
  • Hussain Djbliss

    how is trading gasol to milwakee for those three players or trading gasol to the rockets for those three people not making the Lakers better? if they do either of those deals they vastly improve.

  • Jesk

    Gasol to milwaukee for jennings and gooden is a great upgrade.   

  • Chrisduncan03

    gasol off the bench with mwp bynum and ebanks starting with the energy they have if you can get odom cheap get him pau and odom played better off each other anyway blake they should have traded him felton when the blazers wanted him damn at least he hes fast and tries to play defense

  • Ne0

    I don’t think Houston would take that deal sending 3 starter plus a oncoming all star PG for Gasol.

    Milwaukee other hand is very possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Singleton/100000221405027 Linda Singleton

    It would not benefit the Lakers to trade Pau for any of the available players they have out there now … Boozer is a joke and why would you trade a 7-footer for Luis Scola … he has done nothing on the Rockets and neither has T-Mac… he stays injured.  I think the Lakers had better go back to basics before they broke up their championship roster.  They need to fix that bench and remove that coach they brought in as a savior that turned out to be a bust.  If you are going to bring in players, get some good bench players.  OKC, Spurs, Celtics, and other teams have kept their core players and look where they are.  The Laker management is too trigger-happy to let something work … like trading most of their front line for Chris Paul and the Clippers didn’t make it out of the second round … and creating a stressful situation for a player that was performing until they threw in a coach with no way of getting the players to jell in his “system”, and the son of the owner with authority to make decisions that made no sense … I hope they take a step back and realize they need to upgrade around their core instead of sending players off to other teams that can really play.  Why don’t Jerry Buss keep the reins a little longer until his son is able to make a sound decision. 

    • Fat Jesus

      We didn’t make it out of the second round either… :(

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LI3CDD7AXKL5RYGQML2WUUXT3U Butch R.

    Yeah trade option # 2 a perfect fit for Lakers! Luis Scola for Gasol and other Rockets players. Yeah go for it we need Luis Scola type of player here in lala land!!!

  • Sonsofsambowie

    The writer is out of his mind here. If we know that the Lakers aren’t willing to add salary, then the only way for them to get better is to flip an overpaid superstar like Pau for multiple pieces. The only way this team can compete in the future is if they are more than three men deep, especially when Pau has been a virtual no-show in the last two postseasons.

    For those reasons, the Milwaukee and Houston deals both make sense. A vast upgrade at point guard and a couple of solid big men would improve this team, especially considering Scola or Gooden could make a prefectly adequate platoon with Jordan Hill at the 4.

    One thing for certain: there is no way they contend with the roster as presently constituted. 

    John Hathwell


    trade more laker players including steve blake, andrew bynum, ramon sessions, mcroberts, troy murphy, matt barney and get rid of mike brown. these people are useless, they dont bring hype versatility and confidence among themselves that lakers needed. never also bring back odom, he’s too old fitting as a laker. get dwight coward plus a small forward like trevor ariza, and a better pointguard like goran tragic. gasol has been a factor in the last 3 years and an asset of this team. coach should be brian shaw or mike d atoni

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