Lakers Rumors: Is a Pau Gasol Trade the Only Way for Kobe to Win Another Title?

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJune 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  (R-L) Pau Gasol #16 hugs teammate Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. Should the Lakers' current core stay together, it's safe to say that Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers' brass are definitively insane.

As the 2012 NBA draft rapidly approaches, trade rumors have once again arrived in Laker Nation. Unfortunately, for every rumor is a disappointing response by the Lakers' front office. They happen to believe that the same formula that has been picked apart and destroyed over the past two seasons will lead the Lakers to a title in 2013.

That would classify as insane.

For the Los Angeles Lakers to truly compete for a title, something must change. As we weight the valued options, it becomes clear that the only available trade pieces are a 24-year-old entering his prime and a 31-year-old superstar coming off of two consecutive postseason disappearance acts.

If we actually have to debate which player is expendable, we should just cut the conversation off right here.

Pau Gasol is coming off of a season in which he posted averages of 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He also posted a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.51, which ranked just outside of the Top-10 among power forwards.

This all adds up to one simple fact: Pau Gasol remains an elite player with serious trade value. He just isn't helping the Lakers win.

Kobe Bryant can still score with the best of them. Andrew Bynum is establishing himself as the best center in the NBA, including Dwight Howard. Unfortunately, the Lakers have gaping holes at the point and on the wing. Considering Gasol has more than enough value to command both a point guard and swingman, Mitch Kupchak's finger should be on the trigger as he anxiously awaits the perfect target.

That, of course, would be if we lived in a perfect world.

With the current roster, the Lakers will continue to find themselves gasping for air come the postseason. They're far too weak outside of their Big Three, with hardly any money available to build around them. This presents a continued lack of a three-point shooting presence, reliable point guard or consistent wing.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers may have come around towards realizing such a thing.

 

The Lakers are very open to trade talk in regards to forward Pau Gasol, but nothing is imminent, according to two NBA sources.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 27, 2012

 

The issue, of course, will be finding a taker. Gasol's trade value is still high, although diminished by his weak postseason performances, and talent still present. He is, however, 31-years-old and in possession of a big money deal. While a suitor will be there, the interested teams are far less now than they were one or two years ago.

Regardless of this fact, the deal must get done and the Lakers are reportedly aware of such a fact. With Pau Gasol on the roster, the necessary pieces to build a championship will not be present. It's trade Gasol or face another disappointing season in Tinseltown.

Time to make a decision.