Even though the New York Knicks are off to a terrific start, there are still holes in the roster that need to get addressed if the Knicks view themselves as legitimate title contenders. Adding a piece like Pau Gasol would be a major step in the right direction.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com reports there has been talk about Amar'e Stoudemire getting shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal for Gasol. Sources for both teams weren't optimistic, however, because of Stoudemire's bloated contract.
Gasol has been unable to avoid the trade spotlight over the past couple seasons. He's been a constant presence in the rumor mill as the Lakers try to build a championship team on the fly, adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash during the offseason.
Stoudemire isn't exactly on steady ground with the Knicks, either. The injured power forward is getting closer to his return, but head coach Mike Woodson hasn't even been willing to confirm he will start when healthy, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
"I’m going to address that when we get to that point," Woodson said at New Orleans Arena. "Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time and work the guys we have in uniform."
All considered, a swap would probably be the best thing for both players. A change of scenery would allow them both to get a fresh start and it's amazing how that can really help a player regroup.
Yet, as it stands now, Stoudemire's contract is a major roadblock. The Knicks should attempt to figure out a way to make a deal that wouldn't place such a high financial burden on Los Angeles for the next three seasons.
Because, on paper, it's a solid starting point for a trade. Gasol is a terrific distributor from the post, which would make him a much better fit playing alongside Carmelo Anthony than Stoudemire, who averages less than two assists per game for his career.
What do you think of a Gasol-for-Stoudemire base?
On the flip side, Stoudemire would give the Lakers another explosive scorer to take further pressure off Kobe Bryant. Howard, when healthy, can slow down the opponent's top post scorer, something Stoudemire has struggled with.
New Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni also helped Stoudemire put up some monster numbers during their time together with the Phoenix Suns by putting him in favorable positions. It would be a good fit.
You can say that about dozens of deals that never get done throughout a season, though. Sometimes the financial side of things doesn't work out, causing a promising move to get pushed off the table.
The Knicks have plenty of time before the trade deadline. They should be brainstorming ways to sweeten the pot, whether it be other minor moves to acquire parts of a bigger package or finding ways to take extra salary from LA to level it out, to make a deal possible.
Adding Gasol would bring some more balance to the Knicks and that's exactly what they need to remain a threat in the Eastern Conference. It's an option that deserves some attention at the very least.