Pau Gasol Rumors: Why Lakers Star Won't Net a Top-10 Pick

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJune 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts 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

Sources have told ESPN that the L.A. Lakers have been contacting teams around the league in hopes of trading Pau Gasol for a top-10 pick in Thursday night's 2012 NBA draft.

While that sounds great in theory for the L.A. Lakers, there are a number of reasons why that absolutely will not happen.

The first, and most important, reason as to why no teams with top-10 picks will be foolish enough to pull the trigger on a trade for Gasol is because the Lakers wanted the team he's traded to, to assume the final $38 million of his contract over the next two seasons.

To put that into perspective, let's take a minute and look at what a top-10 draft pick would cost a team over the next two seasons.

HoopsHype predicts that the No. 1 overall pick, most likely Anthony Davis, will make $5 million next season, putting his two-year total around $10 million. They also predict that the No. 10 pick, predicated as Damian Lillard, will make $2.3 million next season, putting his two-year total around $4.6 million.

While those numbers aren't exact, they show just how costly trading for a player like Gasol is for a team who has a chance at instead drafting a player who could one day play at the level Gasol does.

If the financial obligation isn't enough to keep teams away, the fact that Gasol isn't the same player that he was a few years ago should put them over the edge.

Ever since the 2006-07 season, when Gasol was with the Grizzlies, averaging 20.8 points per game, his offensive production has either stayed the same, or decreased. That is tied to his age and the fact that his athleticism is certainly on the decline.

Gasol will be 32-years old when the 2012-13 season starts, and to think that a lottery team will be willing pay nearly $19 million per year for a player on the decline, even if that production is 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

In the NBA, when teams are trying to rebuild—which all of the top-10 teams in this year's draft are—the focus is placed on youth and cost-efficient production, not on trading for overpriced veteran talent like Gasol.

The final reason why Gasol alone won't be able to land a top-10 pick for the Lakers, is because the Lakers don't just want a top-10 pick, they also want an "established player."

While there's no league-wide definition on what an "established player" is, it at least means the Lakers want a player who's either in the starting lineup or a sixth or seventh man coming off the bench.

I'm not a league executive, but that's quite a lofty price tag to put on Gasol, especially after he failed to  put together a consistently productive postseason for the Lake Show.

The Lakers will either have to assume part of Gasol's $38 million contract, or take of the "established player" requirement off the rumored trade, if they're going to come close to getting a top-10 pick for Gasol.