If you believe all the rumors currently swirling around the Los Angeles Lakers, then you know that forward Pau Gasol is as good as gone any minute now. But there is still some uncertainty where Gasol's future destination will be.
The Houston Rockets have been the team mentioned the most when it comes to Gasol, but the Rockets are reluctant to include point guard Kyle Lowry in the deal, which is a good thing for the Lakers. Gasol may be having a down season but his numbers suggest he is still a better player in almost every statistical category, plus he has the advantage of length with skill, which is something that cannot be taught.
Lowry is a decent player, but why would you trade an All-Star player for a point guard who is currently in the midst of his first year as a starting NBA point guard?
The decision could certainly have something to do with money, as Ben Tolliver of CBSsports.com suggests in this article. But it would also mean that the Lakers have given up hope for a championship this season, because Lowry certainly can't carry them to the Finals.
But a player like Deron Williams possibly could.
If the Lakers are intent on trading Gasol, a deal with New Jersey for Williams is an intriguing option; except for the fact that Williams' fate is closely tied to that of the most prized free agent on the market, Dwight Howard.
It's no secret that the Nets are pursuing Howard to pair with Williams, and they might be the front-runners. However, Brook Lopez's new injury could be a concern, and what happens if a deal does fall through the cracks?
All bets could be off, and a package including Gasol and other players for Williams might be a possibility.
Williams would be an ideal fit in Mike Brown's system, because he has the ability to score 57 points in a game, as he did recently against Charlotte. Yet, he also has the talent to impact a game without scoring a point. That would be an important trait on a team with Kobe Bryant; but Williams is a true point guard and he seems to have the type of attitude to make a brief relationship with Bryant work.
And it's important to note the word brief, because Williams would also serve as the primary building block for the Lakers franchise, which is what the team should get if they decide to part with Gasol.
I know a deal for Williams may be unlikely for the Lakers, but the point is, the team should place more value on a player with Gasol's ability rather than dumping him for a player like Lowry. Gasol is 31, but that's not ancient, especially for a player with his skills. And even while he seems to be caught in the rut of a down year, he's still posting impressive numbers. Gasol is averaging 16.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting higher than 50 percent from the field, which certainly places him among the top five players in the league at his position.
Can the same be said for Lowry?
The Lakers made a huge mistake when they gave forward Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for practically nothing, and a Gasol trade for any player other than Williams or Howard would rival that move.
It seems like the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement may have scared the Lakers away from paying the league's new, higher punitive luxury tax, but the franchise has always found a way to improve despite financial challenges.
Maybe it's time to put all that money from the Lakers new TV contract to work.
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