The Los Angeles Lakers must part ways with Pau Gasol at the trade deadline.
Gasol has been a part of almost every trade rumor this season. Saying Gasol’s name has been talked about a lot in trade rumors is an understatement.
Pau was traded in December to Houston in a three-team trade that would net the Lakers with Chris Paul before David Stern nixed it. Gasol was very emotional about being traded, but he did not demand a trade the way Lamar Odom did. Although Pau was very mature about the situation, he has been playing while looking over his shoulder all year and it shows in the numbers.
Gasol is averaging 16.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while shooting 50.1% from the field and 78% from the free throw line. Besides his rebounding, Gasol is putting up the worst numbers in his short career with the Lakers. It seems obvious that the low level of production is coming from the trade rumors, but some of it is coming from the production of Andrew Bynum.
Bynum has been on a tear as of late and it seems like Gasol is taking a backseat. The more the Lakers “feed the beast”, the less Gasol is involved in the offense. This is why the Lake Show must ship Gasol out and bring in someone that will actually help the Lakers on both sides of the ball. Pau has gone from being the second most important piece on the Lakers to the 7’0 Spanish luxury.
It is really beneficial to have Gasol down low, but the Lakers could use his value to find themselves a top ten point guard. Considering every single point guard they face always dominates the Lakers, it only makes sense to bring someone in who can stop or outplay the rest of the competition. The Lakers will still be dominant down low because Bynum has been playing well enough for two players as of late.
The problem with the Lakers and Gasol is that the L.A. overvalues Gasol because of what he has done for them in the past. His emotional attitude is not something the Lakers should keep around any longer because it can hurt them badly.
If the Lakers want to compete with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers in the West, they need to bring in someone who can defend their biggest matchup problem on each team. Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul always play extremely well against the Lakers. The reason being because the Lakers are very slow and their starting point guard, Derek Fisher, should be on the bench.
Gasol and Bynum brings forth a deadly combination down low against these teams, but those point guards know exactly how to rip through them and make their open shots. Pau and Andrew are able to defer some of these shots, but these players are still very effective because no one is able to stop them at the point of attack.
By bringing in a top-tier point guard, the Lakers will plug a huge hole.
If the Lakers do want to trade Gasol for a point guard they should make sure to not settle for a lesser guard in a forced trade. A recent report from Mike Breshnahan of the Los Angeles Times said that the Lakers declined an Rajon Rondo for Gasol swap made by Boston.
To some this may make perfect sense because the Lakers need a point guard that shoots well and Rondo is a terrible shooter. To others it does not make sense at all because Rondo is a terrific defender and ball facilitator. The only reason this truly makes sense is because the Lakers can get much more from Gasol then just Rondo. The Celtics can’t fill the void at the Lakers power forward position, but another team may be able to.
Should the Lakers trade Pau?
The real trade the Lakers should pursue is one involving the Houston Rockets. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Rockets have been in talks with the Lakers to send Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and a first round pick for Pau Gasol. The Lakers have been trying to acquire Kyle Lowry in the deal, but Houston does not want to part with him.
If the Lakers can pull off a package for Scola and Lowry, they must trade Gasol in a heartbeat—but don’t hold your breath. It seems like the Rockets want to bring in Gasol to pair him up with Lowry, so it would not make sense to trade him for Pau.
The trade involving Dragic, Scola and Martin is a very good one because the Lakers will have a decent point guard, another great scoring option, someone who will replace Gasol’s hole with gusto and another first round pick. This trade will give the Lakers depth and another first round pick to work with in the offseason.
Pau Gasol means a lot to the city of Los Angeles, but if he sticks around, he will be the one fans point a finger to when the Lakers are at home watching the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers must trade Pau Gasol, but only if they are able to acquire a good point guard and make sure the power forward position is filled with a decent talent.
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