L.A. Lakers: Brandon Jennings for Pau Gasol a Deal Worth Exploring?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IMay 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26:  Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

I'm not sure if Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol's days are numbered, but I'm pretty sure General Manager Mitch Kupchak will listen if any teams inquire about Gasol.

Gasol's poor performances in consecutive postseason appearances may have sealed his fate in Los Angeles, so if the Lakers do attempt to deal him, what can they expect in return?

The names I've heard mentioned the most, concerning the Lakers, have been Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.

The Lakers have absolutely no chance of enticing the Magic to trade Howard without including center Andrew Bynum as part of the deal, and Williams' fate in New Jersey might be directly linked to Howard.

If Williams and Howard are unavailable, where will the Lakers turn?

Milwaukee might be a good place to start.

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings will be entering the final year of his rookie contract next season, and he has given no real indication on whether or not he plans to resign with Milwaukee.

The Bucks made a bold move by dealing center Andrew Bogut away to the Golden State Warriors, but I'm not sure Monta Ellis is the type of player to convince Jennings to sign what might be the most important contract of his life.

Jennings is a Los Angeles native and the prospect of playing in his hometown is likely appealing, so it shouldn't be too hard to catch Jennings' attention if the Lakers are interested.

Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions' own poor playoff performance has some people second-guessing his coronation as the team's possible lead guard of the future, but Jennings' potential suggests he could fill that role quite well.

Jennings has averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in the first three seasons of his NBA career, and while his 39 percent shooting average is a reason for concern, consider the circumstances and his teammates.

I'm guessing that Jennings' assist total would go up playing beside Bynum and Kobe Bryant and his shot output would go down.

Jennings' ability to penetrate would create havoc for opposing teams, and unlike Sessions, Jennings at least has a concept of what man-to-man defense is.

There will undoubtedly be critics who say that Jennings shoots too much to be a Laker, but Bryant would likely welcome the chance to tutor the young player. The team's future in the post and on the perimeter could be set.

More importantly, Jennings would probably come with a much cheaper price tag than either Williams or Howard, and it probably helps the Lakers when it comes to Gasol's $19 million salary next season.

By pursuing Jennings with Gasol, the Lakers could actually put themselves in position to sign a few other pieces to improve their roster.

I'm all for signing a player like Williams or Howard if the Lakers can do it, but if that's not possible why not take a chance on a player like Jennings?

Jennings gives the Lakers youth and star potential at a position that has been a consistent thorn in their side, and unlike previous rumored deals, this is a trade the Lakers might actually be able to make.