NBA Offseason 2012: The Los Angeles Lakers Must Trade Pau Gasol

Patrick BrittonAnalyst IMay 22, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 14: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches near the end of the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City defeated Los Angeles 119-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

After losing in the second round to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, it became clear that the Los Angeles Lakers’ current team is not good enough to win a championship.

While Mike Brown may not be the greatest coach, the Lakers no longer have the talent to win a title with an aging Kobe Bryant and a very weak bench. The player the Lakers must trade in the offseason to help them improve their squad is Pau Gasol.

After David Stern disallowed a trade that would’ve landed the Lakers Chris Paul in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, it created an awkward situation between Gasol and the Lakers franchise. It’s likely that Gasol didn’t compete as hard for the team this year, knowing that the franchise considered him expendable. After the trade was nixed, Laker management should’ve done something with Gasol’s contract such as extended it, to let him know the franchise still valued him.

Instead, Gasol shot .062 below his career average and put up just 17.4 points per game. In the playoffs it got even worse. He averaged 12.5 points per game and shot .434 from the field, downright disappearing in key games.

While he makes almost $20 million a season over the next two years, he’s still one of the most talented big men in the league and will still be an attractive piece to trade. Teams such as the Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards are weak at the power forward position and could be interested in Gasol.

Los Angeles could look to improve at point guard, their bench, or get a younger power forward in return. One thing is for sure though—the Lakers need a big change this offseason and Gasol is the man that needs to go.