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Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Trade Destinations for Pau Gasol

Phil GCorrespondent IMay 24, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Trade Destinations for Pau Gasol

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    After another second round bounce, the Los Angeles Lakers will undoubtedly look to improve in the coming offseason. In order to return to the promised land, they must ship Gasol out of town. 

    This was a ridiculous statement a few years back but at this moment, it makes sense for both the long and short-term future in Los Angeles.

    What value can the Lakers get for a 32-year-old center/forward? A lot in my opinion, especially considering Gasol is still among the few giants in the league. 

    A package involving Gasol will not net the Lakers a player like Dwight Howard, but a few good players could do the trick. 

    The Lakers will look to get more younger and athletic, but most importantly, their bench production should improve. 

    Here are five possible trade destinations for the Spaniard. 

Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets and Lakers were in serious discussions regarding Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and a few other role players. 

    Obviously, the deal fell apart but I suspect the Lakers will revisit this offer, especially if the Rockets include Kyle Lowry in this deal. 

    The Lakers would have two starting level point guards in Lowry and Sessions, but I'm sure Mike Brown could make it work. 

    Lowry is a phenomenal defender and should aid the Lakers defending opposing point guards. While Sessions will bring a more offensive oriented approach to the second unit, alongside Steve Blake. 

    Scola is a serviceable power forward, but the sweetener would be Kevin Martin or another scorer, possibly through a third team.  

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Kevin Love to the Lakers will likely never happen, but L.A. fans can dream. I included the Timberwolves because of their past interest in Gasol. The much maligned David Khan wants to pair Gasol with fellow Spaniard, Ricky Rubio.

    If the Lakers make a deal with a Timberwolves, it will likely include a third team that could satisfy L.A.'s needs.

    The Lakers would likely take back a combination of Derrick Williams, Jose Barea and a few future first round selections. In addition, the Lakers could shed some salary if they include Steve Blake and/or Metta World Peace. 

    As I stated before, the Timberwolves would likely have to include a third team to completely satisfy the Lakers' needs. 

Denver Nuggets

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    The Nuggets could be a dark horse for Gasol's services. As the Lakers found out in the first round, this is a team stocked with superb role players. 

    I can't envision the Nuggets taking the next step without a premier big man. With Ty Lawson, Faried, Gasol, McGee and Chandler, the Nuggets would be far more formidable in the West. 

    The Lakers would definitely expect Danilo Gallinari to be included in any such deal. In addition, an Aaron Afflalo or a Corey Brewer, would sweeten the deal for the Lakers. 

    If the Nuggets balk at the Lakers' asking price, I suspect the Nuggets would likely take some salary off the Lakers books. 

Atlanta Hawks

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    If the Lakers called, the Hawks should jump to their feet with excitement. Pairing Gasol with Horford should scare some teams in the East. 

    The Hawks would likely give up a package involving Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. In addition, the Hawks would likely have to find a third team to give the Lakers more pieces in this deal. 

    Josh Smith would give the Lakers a serious infusion of athleticism and energy at the four spot. Smith could even be a better fit alongside Bynum. 

    Unlike Gasol, Smith can dominate games without touching the basketball. His maturity issues have been well documented, but if the Lakers receive several solid role players within this deal, I think Mitch Kupchak should pull the trigger. 

Brooklyn Nets

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    If the Los Angeles Lakers make a deal with the Nets, it would only be to acquire Deron Williams in a potential sign-and-trade deal.

    The Lakers would be extremely fortunate if the Nets decide take away Gasol rather than Andrew Bynum. Any deal involving Bynum will likely involve Dwight Howard in some way.

    The Nets may have no choice in the matter. If Williams parts, and they lose their lottery selection, I suspect the Nets would try for this deal.

    They could at least have a trio involving Brook Lopez, Pau Gasol and Gerald Wallace, heading into their new arena in Brooklyn, in case Deron Williams decides to depart. 

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