Los Angeles Lakers

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

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Pau Gasol #16 and Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers react after losing 103-100 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJune 30, 2012

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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