Lakers Rumors: Los Angeles Wouldn't Enjoy Andrea Bargnani Anymore Than Pau Gasol

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a call by the officials during a 79-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center on November 27, 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

Every Los Angeles Lakers fan likes to believe that Pau Gasol is the root of all of the team's problems and shipping him out would solve everything.

Unless losing Gasol miraculously results in Dwight Howard making free throws, the Lakers playing defense and the bench producing consistently, that's not going to happen.

There are a number of trade ideas surrounding Gasol out there, but CBS Sports' Ken Berger suggests that NBA executives believe that Toronto is Gasol's most-likely destination if he should move:

Rival executives believe the most likely landing spot for Gasol is Toronto, which could offer Andrea Bargnani in return and bolster the Lakers' point-guard deficiency with Jose Calderon, who is backing up Kyle Lowry. Sources say Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo has shown no willingness to part with Bargnani, but if pressure mounts for him to bolster the team's youth movement and win now by adding a veteran with All-Star credentials like Gasol, that could change.

That's a lot to take in, so let me boil it down. The Lakers would trade a "soft" Gasol for an even softer Bargnani. Getting Calderon as a backup to Steve Nash would be ideal, but he doesn't justify trading Gasol all by himself.

Bargnani, like Gasol, is a talented player. He's probably even a better fit than Gasol in Mike D'Antoni's system. He's averaging nearly 18 points per game, and he has the perimeter skills to spread out opposing defenses, but that's also part of his problem.

Bargnani isn't just soft; he straight up dislikes contact. He makes Gasol look like a gladiator in the paint. Lakers fans, if they can't stand Gasol's play down low, would hate Bargnani.

Rather than moving Gasol, the Lakers should give him a chance. It's hard to tell a team to wait until the trade deadline to move a key piece, but patience is truly a virtue for this team. Let Nash play with Gasol before making any rash decisions, unless a mind-blowing deal comes across the table.

Bargnani's numbers make him seem tempting, but Lakers fans are fooling themselves if they think he's the answer. If they believe it, then criticizing Gasol's "soft" play isn't possible.

The Lakers take Gasol for granted. He's an All-Star forward who is very skilled for his size, even if he doesn't play with the killer instinct and consistency that everyone would like to see all the time.

But many other NBA teams would love to have him. Forwards with his ability don't grow on trees.

Moving Gasol is always going to seem ideal to some portion of the Lakers' following, but Bargnani makes no sense. Calderon would be nice, but he can, and should, be had for much less.