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Pau Gasol: Why the Los Angeles Lakers Should Keep the Spanish Big Man

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Pau Gasol: Why the Los Angeles Lakers Should Keep the Spanish Big Man
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have failed to meet expectations for the past two years, losing to superior Western Conference opponents in the conference semifinals.

Their inability to make the NBA Finals has prompted fans and pundits to lay the blame on Pau Gasol, asking management to trade the power forward at all costs.

Yet, Gasol's trade value has dropped drastically over the past few years.

His contract will pay him almost $40 million over the next two years, making any team leery as they would likely need to trade some of their young talent in exchange.

With his trade value low, it is not prudent for the Lakers to "settle" at any point when negotiating a trade for Gasol. 

In this case, it is better to keep him for two more years and completely rebuild after Kobe Bryant's massive contract and his both expire in 2014.

In addition, Gasol is more effective than people give him credit for.

He averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds this past season, as he and Andrew Bynum anchored one of the top frontcourts in the league.

If Gasol can remain as productive as he was this season, the Lakers should keep him because he plays well in the team concept and is an All-Star-caliber player.

Instead of trading Gasol, the Lakers should cut ties with Andrew Bynum.

Don't get me wrong, Bynum is more talented and better than Gasol right now. However, his trade value is extremely high. 

With his trade value high and Dwight Howard's low, the Lakers should consider swapping Bynum for Howard, even if it is a rental for one year.

Even though Bynum is the second-best big man in the league and looked better than Howard in stretches, he does not possess the consistency nor the intangibles to become the leader of a team.

Howard would complement Gasol's game very well, allowing the Lakers to retain the title of best frontcourt in the league. In addition, the Magic get one of the best young superstars in the league.

So, instead of trading a player with an awful contract, the Lakers should deal their young center, Bynum, because of his higher trade value and poor attitude.

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