How a Pau Gasol Trade Shakes Up the 2012 NBA Draft
Though Gasol's production dipped in the postseason while the Lakers were bounced in the second round for the second year in a row, his overall ability to dominate every night will have numerous teams willing to trade draft picks in order to get him.
He's owed $19 million over next season, so any team that takes on his contract will be paying a hefty price.
Even though it's nice chunk of change to land the two-time champion, one team will be getting one of the best power forwards/centers in the game.
He's more than capable of putting up a double-double every time he steps on the floor and will have no problem putting fans in the seats.
A proven veteran like Gasol is almost always better than a shiny new draft pick.
As enticing as draft picks are, they're never guaranteed to pay off.
There are always those players who fail to live up to the high expectations set out for them once they enter the NBA.
See: Adam Morrison and Hasheem Thabeet.
Here are five scenarios where a Gasol trade could alter the draft board.
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Pacers get: Pau Gasol
Lakers get: Danny Granger, Darren Collison and No. 26 pick
Besides a productive bench and the desperate need for a point guard, the Lakers must improve in the small forward department.
Metta World Peace struggled mightily during the shortened season and his numbers have declined every season since he came to L.A. It's time for the Lakers to move on from World Peace and go after a more exciting small forward.
His productivity declined in 2012, but his 18.7 points per game are just what the Lakers need at small forward, something they were unable to get last season.
Throwing Southern California-native Darren Collison into the mix would only sweeten the pot for Los Angeles.
Collison finished the end of the season as the backup to George Hill despite leading Indiana to a 34-22 record when he ran the point.
The Pacers are $15 million under the cap heading into the offseason, which makes it easier for Gasol to end up there.
With the No. 26 pick in the draft, L.A. could invest in a power forward like Draymond Green or Drew Gordon and the Pacers would dominate in the frontcourt with Gasol, Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough/David West.
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Rockets get: Pau Gasol
Lakers get: Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and No. 14 pick
L.A.'s point guard by committee last year was down right awful.
Now that Sessions has decided to opt out of his contract with the Lakers after half a season, the Lakers are once again in search for a solid point guard to run the floor at Staples Center.
Houston could use a dominant big man like Gasol, and with two picks in the first round, the Rockets can still benefit from trading one of them.
Gasol provides a serious threat down low, something that could finally help catapult Houston into the postseason.
The Lakers in turn would get a young, exciting point guard in Lowry and some help at the small forward position with Luis Scola.
L.A. could draft Austin Rivers at No. 14 if he's still available and have Kobe Bryant take him under his wing.
Bryant will be 34 this year, and although he averaged nearly 28 points per game game last season, Los Angeles needs to start looking for their next true shooting guard sooner rather than later.
The last thing the Lakers want is a Peyton Manning situation.
Even if he has to wait a few years to develop, Rivers is only 19. He'll have plenty of time to grow, and the Lakers will still be contenders in the West in the meantime.
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76ers get: Pau Gasol
Lakers get: Andre Iguodala and No. 15 pick
Parting ways with Iguodala and a first-round pick will be hard for the Sixers to do.
Gasol, however, would provide stability under the basket for Philadelphia and would help take some of the pressure off youngsters Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday.
The Lakers would have a proven small forward in Iguodala and would have the option to draft a power forward like Terrence Jones at No. 15.
They could also reach for a point guard like Tyshawn Taylor to help run their offense in the future.
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Timberwolves get: Pau Gasol
Lakers get: Michael Beasley and No. 18 pick
Ever since he entered the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2008, Michael Beasley has yet to live up to the hype that surrounded him when he came out of college.
Having said that, he's averaged a solid 15 points per game in his young NBA career and his 6'10'' frame would go nicely next to seven-footer Andrew Bynum.
Beasley was the highest-paid player in Minnesota this season at a whopping $6.2 million.
Next season however, Kevin Love is scheduled to make $10 million more than he did last year, which could throw a wrench in this trade possibility.
Love has become one of the premier big men in the league and a Gasol-Love tandem would be an impenetrable force to take down.
If the Timberwolves can find a way to free up cap space by moving overpaid players like Martell Webster and Darko Milicic, then it would make the chances of landing Gasol much more likely.
Fab Melo, Moe Harkless and Terrence Ross are legitimate options for the Lakers at No. 18, and the trade would complement both teams nicely.
Portland Trail Blazers
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Trail Blazers get: Pau Gasol and Steve Blake
Lakers get: Nicolas Batum, Raymond Felton and No. 6 pick
The Trail Blazers have the No. 6 and the No. 11 overall pick in this year's draft and can afford to give up one of them in order to land a proven big man like Gasol.
They also have back-to-back picks in the second round, which will help them build their young franchise around dominating power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Two dominant big men under the basket would be something Portland benefits from, especially being in the same division as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There have been rumors the Blazers are looking to ship Raymond Felton out of town as well. Talks have continued since they failed to deal him at the deadline.
Felton certainly hasn't lived up to expectations, but hasn't played for a winning team either.
The Lakers could use him because Steve Blake has struggled ever since he came to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has nowhere to go but up at the point guard position.
In order for the Lakers to become front runners for the NBA championship, their bench must improve drastically.
L.A. had the worst bench scoring in the league last season averaging 20.5 points per game.
Nicolas Batum would provide efficient scoring coming off the bench if the Lakers were to acquire him as part of the deal.
Batum averaged nearly 14 points per game last season and his numbers have improved every year since he came into the league as a first rounder in 2008.
With the No. 6 pick, the Lakers have the advantage of taking the best big men on the board.
John Henson would still be available at No. 6 if L.A. wanted to replace Gasol with a young, promising power forward.
Damian Lillard would also be available if they wanted to groom a franchise point guard from the very beginning.
With four picks in this year's draft, expect Portland to deal at least one of them.