There has been a lot of talk in the past month about the market for Pau Gasol and whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers would trade him for the right price. Well, it seems that Amar'e Stoudemire isn't exactly the piece Los Angeles is looking for.
So, before this takes off and everybody starts to freak out, we might as well get this out there: The Lakers trading Pau Gasol for Amar'e Stoudemire is one of the least likely trade scenarios ever uttered.
Not only does it make no sense for the Lakers from a basketball standpoint, it makes no sense for them from a business standpoint.
When they find a player who will both help their basketball team and not tie up a huge amount of salary-cap space, then they'll look into trading Gasol, a guy who is still very capable of being a productive member of a championship basketball team.
One of the biggest concerns with Gasol is that he is very clearly on the decline, and the $37 million he is owed over the next two seasons is just on the other side of outrageous.
That being said, there are few people who would disagree with the notion that Stoudemire's contract eclipses Gasol's in ridiculousness at about the same rate that Kobe Bryant eclipses Smush Parker in terms of NBA legacy.
Stoudemire, the New York Knicks big man with Greg Oden's knees and the eyewear of Thurl Bailey, is owed more than $65 million over the course of the next three seasons. Not only would that put Los Angeles in more of a hole next season, it would make it responsible for Stoudemire into the 2015 season.
With the likes of Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng, Rudy Gay, Kobe Bryant, Gasol and LeBron freaking James on the free-agent market in the 2014 offseason, getting the Lakers to take on payroll for the 2014-15 season would be like getting Rajon Rondo to tongue-kiss Derrick Rose.
But say for a second the Lakers aren't interested in the 2014 free-agent class, and they've instead decided to continue along their pathway of wanton spending and front-office rampaging as they kick and scream until they get what they want. Is there any basketball reason why the Lakers would want Stoudemire over Pau?
Gasol is obviously struggling right now, and even though he's dealing with knee tendinitis, he's on the court and doing what he can to contribute to this team. With a bit of a tweak in the rotation, some continuity and health moving forward, Gasol should be able to get back to shooting at or around 50 percent from the floor.
He's got two championships with the Lakers in his time in Los Angeles, and regardless of the opinion of him in the past two postseasons, Gasol is capable of bearing down in the playoffs and contributing to a championship basketball team.
Comparing Stoudemire to Gasol, there isn't much of a difference between them as far as where they get their points from. Both are post players capable of going out and shooting a jumper. Gasol is more of a consistent hand, however, whereas Stoudemire is a streak shooter liable to go cold at any time.
Stoudemire would end up having the same problem playing alongside Dwight Howard that Gasol seems to be having. He would be forced out into the floor, as Howard commands the plurality of the shots at the rim. From there, he would live or die based on his jump shot, as his post game would go by the wayside.
Oh, and there is one little caveat I've yet to mention: Stoudemire isn't playing basketball right now, and there's a bit of time left before he comes back. He underwent knee surgery on the first day of the season that is set to keep him out of the game until mid-December to early January.
When he does come back, there's no telling how effective he's going to be. It seems a safer bet to hang onto a guy with sore knees who has gone a bit cold rather than to roll the dice on a guy who won't be playing for another three weeks (at least) and has had surgery on each knee at least once.
It's hard to say what Stoudemire's ceiling is this season in the NBA at all, but moving him to the Lakers dramatically lowers it. First, he's got to recover from surgery. Then he's got to integrate himself into the Lakers offense (granted, it is a Mike D'Antoni offense in which he has spent most of his career). Then he's going to have to hope he's able to consistently knock down jumpers.
There just seem to be too many variables involved for a successful stint in Los Angeles by Stoudemire, and that's if we were to ignore the fact that he's the league's most untradable contract.
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