Lakers Trade Rumors: Why Pau Gasol Needs to Stay in Los Angeles

Zayne GranthamContributor IIIMarch 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a jumper over Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat at Staples Center on March 4, 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

There have been numerous reports that the Los Angeles Lakers could be trading away All-Star forward Pau Gasol, and that is something that they do not need to do.

Gasol has been a member of the Lakers since 2008, and was an integral part of the team's back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

The power forward has seen his most success while play in Los Angeles. Through 2009 to 2011, Gasol was selected to the All-Star game every year and has been one of the most productive forwards in the league.

In the past two years, Gasol has averaged a double double and has helped to keep the Lakers relevant.

Although Gasol is aging (the Spaniard will turn 32 this summer), he is still playing at a high level. The Lakers need the production out of Gasol and his size to stay competitive in the West.

One of the most popular trade ideas is that the Lakers send Gasol to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Michael Beasley and other players or draft picks. However, this is not a good deal for the Lakers.

In fact, the Grizzlies have already offered this deal to the Lakers, and ESPN's Chris Broussard has said that Los Angeles turned the deal down.

The Lakers have to keep Gasol, especially if they expect to compete this year and in the coming years. Another option for the Lakers is to deal Gasol to the Rockets for a package deal of Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and possibly more players or picks.

This may seem like a good deal, but the Lakers would lost a lot of valuable size in Gasol if they were to make this trade.

The Lakers need to get younger, but Gasol does not need to be traded unless someone of similar size and value is available.

Take this for example: Gasol has been criticized for his play this year, but he is still among the most productive power forwards in the league. Gasol has set the bar so high for himself that people expect amazing play year after year.

The Lakers are getting solid play from Gasol this season, as he has averaged 16.8 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. Gasol's field goal percentage is down to 50 percent this season, but there are obviously a large amount of teams that would take that.

The Lakers are built to win now and play for championships this year and maybe the next two years. For that reason, Gasol needs to stay in Los Angeles.

If the Lakers were looking to rebuild, then dealing Gasol would be a great option. If Los Angeles was not currently 23-16 and in fifth place in the Western Conference, then they could look to trade Gasol.

However, since the Lakers are in the race for an NBA Finals appearance this year and they have a chance to win it all, they need to keep Gasol on the roster.

What could the Lakers gain by getting a player like Beasley for Gasol?

In 2011-2012, Beasley has averaged 11.9 points a game and 4.8 rebounds a game. Granted, Beasley has only started seven games this year, but that is still much lower production when compared to Gasol.

The Lakers would be trading away a player who has started at least 81 games in two of the past three seasons for a player who has not started more than 78 games in his four-year career.

The other likely option is a big package deal to the Rockets. There is no telling what else the Lakers would have to give the Rockets for that deal, but it likely would not be worth it.

The Lakers would gain a new big man in Luis Scola, who is only 6'9" and has averaged 15.1 points and 6.5 rebounds this year.

The Rockets' Martin is another player who would likely be in that deal, and he averages a little over 17 points a game. The increased offense would help the Lakers and their 21st-ranked scoring, but the loss of Gasol would also hurt the team's defense.

Gasol is not regarded as a defensive powerhouse, but he definitely helps in areas that Scola would be unable to.

The Lakers have held Gasol and teammates in limbo since the Chris Paul trade failed earlier this year. It has not been fair to any Laker, and it is time for the management to take Gasol off of the trade block.

The Lakers are not a team that is looking to rebuild or restructure the roster, but just add a few weapons in time to make a run to the NBA Finals.

Trading away Gasol would hinder the team more than help them. Gasol has been imperative to the Lakers' success since joining the team in '08, and he is a key leader on the roster. There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant and other Lakers teammates want Gasol in Los Angeles.