When you delve into the morass of NBA trade rumors that are popping up like so many bubbles in a pot of boiling water, the most frequently mentioned name on the Los Angeles Lakers is that of Pau Gasol.
Why Pau Gasol? Well for one he's a very good basketball player.
A versatile seven-foot tall veteran with a solid mid-range jumper and who averages a double-double. Gasol won't be mistaken for a dominant center; his game is more power forward than center, but he's solid defensively and known as a good teammate.
Gasol isn't young, but at 31 years old, he's not over the hill and his contract isn't cheap, but at around $19 million per season through the end of the 2013-2014 season, it will expire right around the time one would think his age would start to really impact his play.
In other words, he's pretty tempting.
All of those qualities make dealing him no minor decision for the Lakers. To deal Gasol the Lakers are going to want to acquire a major asset. That's what they thought they had back in early December when they put a package together that was centered around sending Gasol to Houston in a three-way trade and receiving point guard Chris Paul in exchange.
There was a lot more to that deal which was eventually vetoed by the league front office.
As the clock ticks down on the March 15 trade deadline, Gasol's name is once again at the forefront, but what if the Lakers decide to make a deal but retain Gasol?