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It seems like just yesterday when multiple teams were very interested in Pau Gasol. Prior to the 2012 trade deadline teams interested in the seven-foot Spaniard included the Bulls, Rockets, Timberwolves and Celtics.
After a lackluster postseason performance for the second straight year, Gasol's value has seemingly deteriorated almost to the point where he's immovable. Gasol will turn 32 this summer and is set to make $19.0 and $19.2 million in the next two seasons respectively. With the current contracts among NBA players, Pau stands to be the eighth-highest paid player next season.
Because it's still extremely early into the offseason, no teams have shown any real interest in acquiring Gasol. Which leads to people conjuring up random trade scenarios, and after making sure they work on ESPN.com's trade machine, presenting them as real possibilities (which is exactly what I'm about to do.)
At this point, the Houston Rockets seem to be the most interested in Gasol, yet they have been and continue to be reluctant to include Kyle Lowry in the trade. A much simpler, and in my opinion better, trade for the Lakers would be to send Gasol packaged with Andrew Goudelock to the Utah Jazz for Al Jefferson.
Jefferson is one of the handful of big men in the NBA who can play the power forward and center positions. He can score inside, rebound, is a willing passer and also possesses range similar to Gasol's.
Acquiring Jefferson would also save the Lakers money, approximately $4 million this year, and his contract is set to expire after next season, at which time, the Lakers could re-sign him or mark his payroll off the books.
Another favorable possibility is to trade Gasol to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith. Although this move would diminish the Lakers' size, it would drastically improve their problems of athleticism and age. Like Jefferson's contract, Smith's is set to come off the books after the 2013 season.