Once again, Pau Gasol is part of trade speculation, and once again he is likely to stay put...at least for the time being.
According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves have called the Los Angeles Lakers about possible trades for the forward. In both cases, the discussion got nowhere.
The article states that the Lakers "will not consider dealing the Spaniard until L.A. can fully assess its roster after the return of injured point guard Steve Nash."
This is the smartest move that the team can make at this stage of the season.
Los Angeles is off to a disappointing 9-10 start after making some huge additions during the offseason.
The team acquired Nash and Dwight Howard to solidify the starting lineup with All-NBA talent. Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks were also brought in to provide great depth.
Combine this incoming talent with studs like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace and you have the recipe for a championship.
Unfortunately, injuries have prevented this super-team from playing together.
Bryant and Howard were injured throughout training camp and the preseason. When they finally returned in time for the regular season, Nash fractured his leg in the second game.
The squad that was built for this season has not even had a chance to compete.
This made things rough for Mike Brown, and he was fired after just five games. Mike D'Antoni was brought in to turn things around, but once again he has not had Nash to run his signature fast-paced offense.
It is unknown how long the point guard will be out. On Sunday, he told Mike Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that he guessed he would be back in 10-14 days. Unfortunately, he also admitted that he has not tried to run on the injured leg.
Still, this team was built to contend with Nash in mind. It does not make sense to assess this team until he returns to the floor.
Gasol is having a hard time fitting into the offense, but he is still an incredible talent that should not be dismissed so easily. He has averaged a double-double in each of the last three seasons and has averaged over 17 points per game in every year of his career.
It will be tough to get an equal return for a player of this magnitude.
There is more than three-quarters of the season remaining. There is plenty of time to recover from a poor start and reach the playoffs, especially if the team starts winning when Nash returns.
If there are still issues when the team is at full strength, it would be acceptable for the front office to consider acquiring outside help. Trading Gasol would not be the worst thing; it just does not make sense to do it before knowing exactly what you have and what you need.
The Lakers have a very experienced front office led by general manager Mitch Kupchack. He needs to remain calm and avoid making a rash decision based on the current record.
Otherwise, the team will never know what it could have had with this incredible roster.