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LA Lakers' Interest in Trading Pau Gasol for Ryan Anderson Is Wishful Thinking

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LA Lakers' Interest in Trading Pau Gasol for Ryan Anderson Is Wishful Thinking
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Anderson is not going to become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers at the expense of Pau Gasol. He's not going to join the Lakers at all, actually.

According to a report from Jabari Davis of SheridanHoops.com, the New Orleans Hornets' Anderson is atop the Lakers' wish list should they decide to ultimately deal Gasol:

Ryan Anderson is the No. 1 target of the Los Angeles Lakers if they decide to trade Pau Gasol, an NBA source tells SheridanHoops.com.

"They have a short list, and Anderson seems to be at the top,” the source told SheridanHoops on condition of anonymity.

Logistics aside, you can't blame Los Angeles for its supposed interest in Anderson. He's a true stretch 4 and easily someone who would thrive within Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.

Unlike Gasol—who is converting on just 28.6 percent of his three-point attempts—Anderson is more than comfortable from the outside. He's shooting a league-leading 7.7 three-pointers per game and connecting on a career-best 42.3 percent of them. The fact that more than 68 percent of his field-goal attempts come outside of 16 feet doesn't hurt his case, either.

Shot chart via NBA.com.
More importantly, though, Anderson is shooting 47.2 percent outside of 16 feet, compared to Gasol's 34.8-percent conversion rate. His effective field-goal percentage of 63.5 also trounces the Spaniard's mark of 42.9.

So again, we must understand that Anderson makes sense from the Lakers' perspective.

But does Gasol make sense from the Hornets'? 

Absolutely not. When they were attempting to move Chris Paul last year, perhaps he did. But now, on a young team fully vested in the future of Anthony Davis, he simply doesn't.

Should Steve Nash's return come to pass and Los Angeles remain unsatisfied with Gasol's performance, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be shopped. And in this case, the Lakers would likely make a call to New Orleans about the availability of one of the league's best distance shooters.

I do, however, have serious doubts that the Hornets would listen.

So, the Lakers want the Hornets to trade this...
Not only is Gasol in the midst of the worst season of his career, but he's owed more than $38 million between now and next summer. Why would New Orleans want to foot that kind of bill for a 32-year-old forward on the decline?

They wouldn't, especially considering that Davis—injuries and all—stands to be more of a cornerstone than Gasol ever could at this point.

But let's, for a moment, display the same kind of ignorance as those who are longing for the Lakers to target Andrea Bargnani and assume the Hornets are willing and interested in taking on Gasol and that hefty contract of his. What then? Who is New Orleans supposed to send back in return for the $19 million-a-year man?

Anderson is priced at a very reasonable $8.7 million, which accounts for about half of what the Hornets would need to send to Los Angeles. After him, no one makes more than $5.2 million. Take Davis himself out of the equation, and no one is hauling in more than $4.9 million.

...for this?
Meaning?

New Orleans would have to send back at least two additional contracts just to make this deal work, not to mention the Lakers would then have to create multiple roster spots or ship out additional pieces.

Again, I ask you: Why would the Hornets do this? Why would they send their leading scorer in Anderson, among others, to the Lakers for an overpriced big who is averaging just 12.6 points per game?

Broken-record style, they wouldn't. And they won't.

Don't just take my word for it, either. Per Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com, New Orleans has no interest in moving Anderson:

However the Hornets emphatically denied that Ryan has been talked about in trade, pointing to his game last night versus the Bucks as a perfect example of why they signed him. – 22 points on 64.3 percent field goal shooting, seven rebounds and two more made threes.

“Imagine what he will look like when we get Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis back?” questioned one Hornets executive.

We can neither confirm nor deny whether Gasol will be moved. With Nash still on the sidelines, there are so many questions still surrounding him, Gasol and the potential of this Lakers team.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Just because the Lakers will it to be, doesn't mean it will become so.

Would the Hornets be open to trading Ryan Anderson for Pau Gasol?

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However, if Gasol gets as far as the chopping block, we can, with the utmost of conviction, be sure that he won't be dealt in favor of Anderson.

Not because the Lakers aren't intrigued, not because Mitch Kupchak would prevent the Buss' from pulling the trigger, but because the Hornets will, in no way, be amenable to such a deal.

Thus, should Gasol be traded, he won't be calling New Orleans his new home.

And Anderson certainly won't be donning purple and gold next to Kobe Bryant.

To believe anything to the contrary would simply be indulging everything that this rumor represents—whimsical thinking on behalf of Hollywood.

 

All stats in this article are accurate as of December 4, 2012.

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