According to a piece from Marc Berman of the New York Post, there was speculation that such a trade may have been in the works, but a source claims that nothing ever took place. Should the Lakers take a long look at the possibility?
Looking at the state of the franchise and the prior relationship of Stoudemire and new head coach Mike D'Antoni, the answer is yes.
The Lakers came into the season hyped as a preseason favorite to make a run to the NBA Finals. After adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to an already solid core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, it looked like the Lakers had the personnel to be one of the NBA's elite.
However, the experiment has only achieved subpar results thus far.
Gasol has been the primary victim of the roster shakeup as his numbers have taken a significant dip in nearly every category. The career 51 percent shooter has shot a meager 42 percent from the floor this season and has been far less effective with Howard clogging up the middle.
D'Antoni has been a vocal supporter of Gasol and his ability to fit into his system. He told ESPN:
When Dwight goes out, (Gasol is) a great center... You cannot find a center for 14 minutes like he can do it. So that is super positive. And with Dwight, he shoots the ball all the way out to the (3-point line). He's another 7-footer that can guard the rim. He's extremely smart. So there's no reason why he can't fit. ... He's a big part of what we're gonna do.
It's clear that D'Antoni is going to do what he can to accommodate Gasol's skill set, but as he points out, Gasol is a great center. If he is only doing what he is great at for 14 minutes, it may be time for him to play elsewhere.
While Gasol appreciates the support from his head coach, he did admit to the struggle of adapting to the system (h/t ESPN).
I try to get myself in positions where I'm more comfortable and where I can be more effective ... I've never been in a situation where I have to figure things out. I've always been in positions where I have to deliver and there's that responsibility on my shoulders to take the ball and deliver. Make plays for us, whether it's scoring or passing or whatever the case is. So it's a little different.
From the comments, both sides would like for the experiment to work out, but at some point something has to be done for the betterment of both sides.
That could mean heading to New York, where Gasol would be used as the primary scoring option in the post.
For Stoudemire, a trade to L.A. would mean being reunited with head coach Mike D'Antoni. Stoudemire recorded some of his best seasons when united with D'Antoni and Steve Nash in Phoenix from 2003-2008.
Stoudemire would offer the flexibility of playing the 4 when Howard is in the game, he has shown he can be effective playing alongside Tyson Chandler in New York, but he has the size to play the 5 in a jam when Howard needs to rest.
This trade seems to be off, but if Stoudemire can successfully return from his knee surgery in December and the Lakers continue to have middling results with Gasol at the 4, this is a trade that would make a lot of sense for all teams and players involved.
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