Pau Gasol Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons the Lakers Shouldn't Trade the Power Forward

Madison Guernsey@GUERNS_M_DContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2012

Pau Gasol Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons the Lakers Shouldn't Trade the Power Forward

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    Lakers power forward Pau Gasol has been mentioned in the news lately, and rumor has it management is exploring trade offers from teams around the league.

    The Lakers are 19-13 with one game remaining before the All-Star break, a record that currently would seed them fifth in the Western Conference.

    With the trade deadline a little more than three weeks away, Mitch Kupchak has some big decisions to make regarding his four-time All-Star.

    Here are the top five reasons the Lakers should keep Pau Gasol.

1. Talent

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    Gasol clearly has talent.

    In his 12 years in the league he's never averaged under 17 points and seven rebounds per contest. While this season he has seen decreases in nearly every statistical category, he's still putting up 16.6 points and grabbing 10.7 rebounds, along with more than three assists and a block every game.

    A player of Gasol's caliber is too good to lose, unless the reward is too great to let fall by the wayside. It doesn't look like Dwight Howard's going anywhere, especially Los Angeles, as the Magic would most likely seek Andrew Bynum in exchange.

    If the Lakers can't get Howard out of the deal, then there's really nobody good enough to replace Gasol.

2. Lamar Odom

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    When the Lakers shipped Lamar Odom to Dallas prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, it broke up the Big Three in L.A. and hurt their chances of winning another NBA title.

    Gasol absolutely has to stay put if the Lakers have any chance of returning to the top of the basketball world, especially since Odom was sent packing for cash and a draft pick rather than players.

3. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is clearly unhappy about Gasol's name being thrown around the rumor mill. Gasol's teammate of five seasons knows how valuable the big man is and that there's no way he can win a title without him.

    The last thing the Lakers want is an unhappy superstar, especially when said superstar is Kobe Bryant. A Gasol trade would echo negativity and frustration throughout the clubhouse and fanbase.

4. Championship Experience

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    Pau Gasol was an integral piece for the Lakers in their back-to-back NBA titles of 2009 and 2010. They won't get the same big-game experience from Carlos Boozer or whomever it may be that Gasol ends up being traded for if it happens, and that's something that holds a lot of value in the NBA.

    Gasol knows how to win, and he knows how to do it with Kobe and the Lakers.

5. Last Chance

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    The Lakers' core is over 30, as are nine of the players on their roster. This year and possibly next are the best chances they have to make another title run with the players they have, and getting rid of Gasol would certainly diminish that opportunity.

    The Lakers have the talent to go all the way this year with Gasol, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Derek Fisher and Bynum. Letting one of those guys go would be detrimental to L.A.'s championship chances.