Lakers Rumors: LA Must Make Pau Gasol Available Soon

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers spins from Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 24, 2012 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

With the Los Angeles Lakers, it always feels like there is something that has to change.

The hot name on everyone's lips right now is Pau Gasol, and what exactly the team is going to do with him this season. 

As things currently stand, the Lakers don't sound like they are in a hurry to ship Gasol somewhere in order to upgrade their roster. 

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers are not out there seeking buyers for Gasol at the moment. 

The Lakers aren't actively looking to trade Gasol right now, The Times has learned, because they want to see what happens when Nash returns from a small fracture in his leg.

There are many not so subtle hints in there that the Lakers will eventually try to find a taker for Gasol—words like "actively looking" and "right now" are the most glaring—but the bigger question is, why wait?

Nash might be the missing piece to what the Lakers want to do—after all, Mike D'Antoni's offense works best when Nash is leading it—though what happens to the Lakers if Nash's presence doesn't fix everything?

Remember, for all the great things Nash can do on a court, he is never going to be a serviceable defensive player. His value is tied up strictly in how many points he can add to an offense. 

Which brings us back to Gasol, whose value has never been lower as he is averaging just 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Those are very good numbers for most power forwards in the NBA, but Gasol is more than five full points below his career average. 

Perhaps Gasol's problems are why the Lakers want to hang on to him for now, so he can reestablish some value when Nash returns. 

Yet teams also have to look at assessing value.

Gasol is making $19 million this season and $19.3 million next season. That is a lot of cash to be paying anyone, let alone a declining big man who needs a point guard to increase his offensive output. 

The longer Gasol goes at his current pace, the less value he will have to teams looking to acquire him, therefore making it difficult for the Lakers to justify trading him. 

Gasol does not seem like a fit in this offense—even when Nash comes back—because he is a big man who can create his own shot. But since the Lakers have so many players who need to touch the ball, Gasol doesn't have as many opportunities as he used to. 

The Lakers would be wise to start shopping Gasol sooner rather than later, so they can find a team that still sees some value in him.

He doesn't have much left at this stage of the game.