Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Trading Pau Gasol Would Be a Brutal Mistake

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIFebruary 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after making a three point basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on February 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 86-78.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol four years ago during the trade deadline, he was apparently supposed to come to Southern California and be a mainstay for years to come. 

However, Pau's name has been involved in trade rumors ever since the lockout ended. Heck, if it wasn't for David Stern's veto, he wouldn't even be a Laker right now.

Most recently, Gasol has been mentioned in rumors of him going to Minnesota for Derrick Williams. 

It just doesn't end for Pau. 

And the Lakers shouldn't be doing this to him. They know he's an emotional player, and even Kobe Bryant said that the rumors may be bothering Pau.

Has anyone stopped and thought for a second about the consequences of losing Gasol?

The Lakers would be foolish to trade him, even for a point guard. Unless the point guard they get in return is an elite and long-term solution like Deron Williams, the team should refrain from shipping away the seven-foot Spaniard who has helped the Lakers bring home two NBA titles.

It seems like after just one soft postseason outing last year, Pau has all of a sudden become a bum in some people's eyes.

That's the farthest from the truth.

Despite all of the trade rumors, Gasol has been dominating. He has 19 double-doubles this season, and he's currently on an eight-game double-double streak. Six of those eight games came on the road during the Lakers six-game road trip. He's easily one of the most underrated players in the league right now. 

He's been swallowing rebounds, and Andrew Bynum's presence has allowed him to work on his outside game. On several occasions this season, Gasol has been successful in shooting the three-ball. He's become an inside presence and a threat from the mid-range. 

It's also important to note that the Lakers offense on Mike Brown, as a whole, has not been fluid. It's been a work in progress all season long. The team was so used to the triangle under Phil Jackson, and now they have to get acclimated to something completely different in a shortened and condensed season with barely any training camp.

It's going to take time, and despite all of that, Gasol is still having an All-Star-caliber season.

Finally, Gasol has been having a phenomenal season defensively. He's been a key component on a team that has held teams to 41.8-percent shooting, good enough for third best in the league. Gasol has also been instrumental in helping the Lakers lead the league in rebounding. 

The Lakers main strength is defense, and they should specialize on that side of the ball.

Now, it may be true that the Lakers need to address their point-guard situation in order to become title contenders, but they don't necessarily need an All-Star in that position.

Trading Gasol to Minnesota or anywhere else for a point guard doesn't make sense at all because the Lakers can possibly acquire Jose Calderon, Ramon Sessions or Gilbert Arenas without having to give him up.

The Lakers don't need an elite point guard who's going to take over the team. They already have Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol as offensive threats. All the team needs is a guy to help facilitate the offense and make the job easier for the Lakers core.

Sessions and Calderon are two affordable and valuable guys that can do that. Just imagine how much more potent the Lakers lineup would be if they trade their traded-player exception for a guy like Sessions. 

The team will have a solid facilitator, an elite scorer and two towering giants in the paint. That's not going to be an easy lineup to stop.

As mentioned before, by specializing on defense and making minor adjustments at point guard, the Lakers will become title contenders.

They're an unstoppable home team right now with a record of 13-2; both of those losses were by margins of two or less. Their road problems seem to be fading away after they finished 3-3 on their road trip. It's .500, but it's a sign of improvement.

Pau Gasol's strong play throughout February has been a major reason why the Lakers are slowly bouncing back after a tough start. The chemistry is coming together for the team, and now is not the time to trade a major centerpiece.

It's also not an opportune moment to have him in these trade rumors because it just becomes an unnecessary distraction for Gasol. 

It hasn't hurt his numbers, but seriously, let the man play. Remember the joy on the faces of Lakers fans everywhere on that February day in 2008 when he came to the team?

He's an amazing player, and it's easy to lose sight of that after the Los Angeles Clippers won the Chris Paul sweepstakes and after Pau had that horrible series against the Dallas Mavericks last year.

If the Lakers go deep in the playoffs this season, Gasol is going to be one of the main reasons why they do so. 

If there was one silver lining from Stern's veto, it's that Gasol stayed. He's been a complete professional about the whole ordeal. He's been a quiet soldier focused on winning.

What more can the Lakers ask for?