LA Lakers Rumors: Lakers Must Part with Pau Gasol to Get Missing Piece

Justin KeithCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a foul during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers boast two of the top centers in the league in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol—not to mention one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA, Kobe Bryant.

However the Lakers still find themselves as the second most important team in Los Angeles behind the resurgent Clippers.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have stolen the thunder away from the Lakers, something Kobe Bryant hasn't had to deal with in his 15-year career.

The Lakers must do something to change this.

Gasol is the one piece they are willing to move that will provide a hefty return.

Gasol has been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves and even the Boston Celtics in trade rumors.

After an offseason where he was almost traded to the Houston Rockets as part of the Paul mega deal, Gasol is now having to deal with swirling trade rumors during the season. "It's out of my hands," he told the Sporting News. "It is what it is. I'd like to be here. I'd like to make this team better and get back to a championship level, but it's not up  to me."

It is not fair to Gasol, nor the other Laker players, for these trade rumors to continuously leak out midseason.

The Lakers can get a good return for Gasol, netting that much-needed point guard, as well as putting this saga behind them.

Perhaps the most intriguing destination for Gasol would be to the Rockets, who clearly like Gasol as a player after almost acquiring in the offseason.

The Rockets could send a package centered around guard Kyle Lowry, which would solve the Lakers' needs at the point guard position.

That is if the Rockets are willing to part with their young and talented point guard.

If any case, the Lakers must do their due diligence in trying to trade Gasol because the damage has already been done. Animosity between Gasol and the Lakers could prove to be a distraction to a team that is trying to reclaim the fame in Tinseltown.