Lakers Reportedly Willing to Trade Pau Gasol for Top-10 Draft Pick
UPDATE: Thursday, June 28th at 12:09 ET
While landing a top-10 pick would be instrumental in the Lakers' efforts to build the team's future, landing a big name like Zach Randolph may be an opportunity L.A. can't pass up.
Memphis, by the way, says a source, is offering Zach Randolph, another solid citizen, for Pau. Rudy Gay, as of now, is not available— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) June 28, 2012
Randolph, who will kickoff next season at a seasoned 31 years old, isn't going to solve the Lakers' long-term issues. That being said, the Lakers have to be interested in how the deal would impact their efforts to get Kobe Bryant another ring as he closes out his historic career.
Memphis may need to add another piece to entice the Lakers, but this is an intriguing scenario. Obviously the Lakers would love a shot at bringing in Rudy Gay, but according to Vecsey, he's an unmovable piece at this time.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 27th at 5:20 p.m. ET
Ken Berger of CBSsports.com weighed in on the situation:
While rival executives believed Houston's target was Lakers forward Pau Gasol, a person familiar with the team's strategy debunked that idea and said the Rockets front office has cooled significantly on the 7-foot Spaniard.
Houston acquired the 12th pick in the draft today, giving them the 12th, 16th and 18th selections in Thursday's draft. The three picks provide the team with considerable leverage if they choose to go after another established player.
It's safe to say that the Houston Rockets are up to something.
End of update
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 27th 3:25 p.m. ET:
The Hawks appear to be a potential taker in the Pau Gasol sweepstakes.
According to Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Atlanta could be willing to trade Josh Smith and its No. 23 first-round draft pick to L.A. in exchange for Gasol:
The Atlanta Hawks have been pursuing Pau Gasol, The Times has learned. Nothing imminent, but Josh Smith would be key piece going to Lakers.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 27, 2012
It remains to be seen whether or not that No. 23 pick is high enough to obtain a player of enough value to the Lakers.
End of update.
With a little over 24 hours remaining until the 2012 NBA draft, we finally have some excitement, courtesy of the Lakers.
According to ESPN.com's Chad Ford and Marc Stein, L.A. is willing to part with veteran forward Pau Gasol in exchange for a top-10 draft pick:
Sources told ESPN.com that the Lakers have been contacting teams in an effort to acquire a top-10 pick in Thursday's draft. The Lakers also are seeking an established player along with the pick if they're to part with Gasol.
Rumors have been circulating for weeks that the Lakers were trying to find some way to trade into the first round. As it stands, L.A. has just one draft pick in 2012: the final pick of the second round.
The Lakers are desperately seeking cap relief, and Gasol—who is due to make $38 million in the final two years of his current contract—is likely to bring in the most value for the Lakers.
Ford and Stein report that L.A. is looking to trade Gasol to a team that will assume the final $38 million of his contract and offer up picks and players.
Gasol was the subject of abundant trade rumors leading up to this year's NBA trade deadline, and the constant speculation caused some well-documented clubhouse strife. In February, Kobe Bryant famously ripped the Lakers management for perpetuating the Gasol rumors instead of nipping them.
In just over four seasons with the Lakers, Gasol has established himself as one of the premier post players in the NBA, averaging 18.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game since the start of the 2007 season and helping the Lakers win two championships. He was traded from Memphis to L.A. in February 2008.
Last week, Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico indicated with the following tweet that the Lakers may be specifically targeting teams with picks in the top half of the first round in order to snag Baylor stars Perry Jones III or Quincy Miller:
Lakers "making real push" to get into 1st round of NBA Draft, says EC exec. Word is they like the Baylor guys: Perry Jones & Quincy Miller.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 21, 2012
By that logic, one plausible trade destination for Gasol would be Houston, which currently holds pick Nos. 14 and 16. The Rockets, who have reportedly been trying to deal for Dwight Howard, are in desperate need of frontcourt help. Gasol might be the perfect solution.
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