Ever since the Lakers faltered in the playoffs after winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, critics have been looking to shake up their roster. That is the nature of analysis that lives in the present and takes a player's most recent performance as their most important one.
The player most often put on the theoretical trade block has been Pau Gasol. There's good reason for that, however.
Gasol, though a main cog in winning those aforementioned titles, quickly became the odd man out when Andrew Bynum developed into a vital contributor. His game became the one that overlapped with Bynum's and, thus, he became expendable.
When the Lakers actually traded Gasol in the Chris Paul deal that was vetoed by David Stern, the writing was on the wall for the big Spaniard. He was no longer the player that should be traded, but the player the Lakers actually did trade. Rumors became reality and even though that deal fell through, the implications remained.
Fast forward to the 2012-13 season and Gasol is once again being mentioned as the player who should be traded when any discussion about fixing the Lakers comes up. Point to the team's sluggish start to the campaign or to any game where Gasol underperforms, and the whispers about who should be dealt get louder and louder.
Why does the team need Gasol when they already have Dwight Howard? What the Lakers really need is a player who better fits with Howard so his game can be maximized. Get the Lakers a stretch power forward who can space the floor, or a better defensive player. Get more shooting and more depth. Get...you get the picture.
These are the things that fans and analysts say. And they say them constantly.
And while there is merit to the concept of trading Gasol, I don't see it as the logical solution for what ails this Laker team. Gasol is simply too valuable to the Lakers and remains a key player to their success. So while other people are ready to dump him, I think the opposite. Here's why...