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Is it time for the Lakers to trade Pau Gasol?
Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are still championship-caliber players, but their roster is suspect beyond them. Matt Barnes is their fourth-leading scorer, and he's a guy who's known more for his defense.
Plus, the loss of Lamar Odom stings, and veterans Metta World Peace and Derek Fisher are shells of the players they once were.
The Lakers need to add a versatile weapon to their core—someone with youth and the ability to provide punch on offense.
The problem: Who are the Lakers going to give up?
Their bench is stashed with washed-up veterans like Luke Walton, Steve Blake and Troy Murphy, none of whom are desirable. Plus, their few young players haven't shown much promise.
Therefore, the Lakers will have to be willing to give up Gasol or Bynum if they want to improve their roster. The 31-year-old Gasol is much more likely to be dealt, and teams are certainly interested.
Houston has shown intrigue in Gasol, and a deal that would involve the Lakers receiving point guard Kyle Lowry is worth considering.
Minnesota small forward Michael Beasley is another name worth speculation, but giving up Gasol for Beasley is not a wise deal for L.A. The Lakers would need more in return than just Beasley.
For months, there have also been rumors about Dwight Howard coming to the Lakers, but that would involve Bynum and remains a long shot.
Rajon Rondo for Pau Gasol rumors have also trickled through the NBA landscape, but why would the Celtics trade their 26-year-old All-Star point guard for Gasol, who's past his prime?
The likelihood of the Lakers bringing in a marquee player is bleak, but they must consider secondary options if they're going to contend.
Perhaps even guys like Kirk Hinrich, Ramon Sessions or Raymond Felton are worth acquiring, but while such players may help, would they really make the Lakers contenders?
No matter what, the 23-15 record of the Lakers is nothing to write home about, and this current squad may even struggle to escape the first round if they don't make a deadline deal.