How the LA Lakers Are Setting the Trade Market for Pau Gasol

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 6, 2012

EL SEGUNDO, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Pau Gasol #16 speaks to the media beforee a press confernece introducing Mike D'Antoni as the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach on November 15. 2012 at the Lakers practice facility at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA, the Los Angeles Lakers have declined two trade offers for embattled power forward Pau Gasol. The teams reported to have made offers are the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors.

As a result of their rebuff, the Lakers are setting the trade market for Pau Gasol.

It is important to note that Gasol has not been benched in recent games because of a pending trade. Instead, the Spaniard is resting because of tendinitis in both of his knees (via ESPN LA).

Stein and Shelburne outline such in their previously alluded to article.

Trade speculation involving Gasol nonetheless shows little sign of abating, even as the 32-year-old is being held out of the lineup to combat a worsening bout of knee tendinitis. Gasol has not been shelved because a deal is imminent, sources told Tuesday, but Kupchak has advised Gasol's representatives that the Lakers will have no choice but to start exploring a trade if the former All-Star is unable to eventually adjust to [head coach Mike] D'Antoni's system.

Whether it should be Gasol or head coach Mike D'Antoni that is let go is up for debate. With that being said, Gasol is one of the few players in the Lakers' rotation that has had difficulty adjusting to the new system.

Whether that system offers the Lakers a legitimate opportunity to win a title is another conversation entirely.

Gasol is likely to see a continued level of trade interest. Whether from Minnesota, Toronto or another NBA franchise, there will be offers to approve or decline.

So what is Gasol's market at this point in the season?


Atlanta Hawks 

The potential Josh Smith for Pau Gasol swap certainly makes sense.

Smith is an athletic, floor-spreading big that would fit a Mike D'Antoni coached Lakers squad to perfection. The Atlanta Hawks, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a back-to-the-basket scorer and Gasol is one of the best in the league.

Just don't hold your breath on that one.

According to Marc Stein of, the Atlanta Hawks have no interest in trading Josh Smith for Pau Gasol. They cite age as the major reason, with the possibility of losing Kyle Korver as another red flag.

Sources say that the Hawks, at present, have no interest in parting with Josh Smith and Kyle Korver even if the Lakers were willing to surrender Gasol. Or Smith and lesser parts for Gasol.

...Atlanta has not been enticed in the least by the prospect of parting with the 26-year-old Smith — even as he heads into unrestricted free agency — for the 32-year-old Gasol.

So that's the end of that.


Minnesota Timberwolves

In Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne's report, the duo touches upon the possibility of a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They note the "open secret" that T-Wolves GM David Kahn has a high level of interest in acquiring Gasol's services.

This is on par with Minnesota's recent trade offer for Gasol that the Lakers rebuffed.

It's an open secret around the league, meanwhile, that Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has been trying since last season to acquire Gasol to join fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio in a three-man core with All-Star forward Kevin Love, but sources say the Lakers continue to resist Minnesota's attempts to build a trade offer around 2011's No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams and center Nikola Pekovic.

Until the T-Wolves come up with a more considerable offer, it appears as if Minnesota is out of the equation.


New Orleans Hornets

Stein and Shelburne proceed to outline and write off the possibility of a trade with the New Orleans Hornets. Although power forward Ryan Anderson may be the perfect fit for the Mike D'Antoni system, the necessary level of mutual interest from the Hornets is not present.

Even if Anderson is the Los Angeles Lakers' No. 1 target.

It is widely presumed around the league that Howard's former Orlando teammate Ryan Anderson, now in New Orleans, is the Lakers' No. 1 trade target if they were to consent to dealing Gasol. But sources told on Wednesday that Anderson is regarded as a virtual untouchable by the Hornets.

So far, no good.


Toronto Raptors

Here is where things get interesting.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that rival executives believe the Toronto Raptors are the most likely candidate to acquire Pau Gasol. Although general manager Bryan Colangelo is reluctant to part ways with what could be the necessary pieces, the Raptors' youth movement could call for a more adequate veteran leader than Andrea Bargnani.

So who might be involved?

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.

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne confirmed this in their report.

Stretch power forward Andrea Bargnani, veteran point guard Jose Calderon and fellow vet Linas Kleiza are among the players, sources say, whom the Raptors have discussed making available to the Lakers in a deal for Gasol.

Could Toronto be the team that finally pries Gasol free from the Los Angeles Lakers? There is a great chance that they do just that.

Just don't jump the gun and label this a certainty.


What They Want

Pau Gasol is clearly garnering trade interest from opposing NBA franchises. Whether the deal is made, however, hinges directly upon Gasol's ability to produce once Steve Nash returns from injury.

via ESPN LA:

...the Lakers continue to tell teams that call that they will not consider dealing the Spaniard until L.A. can fully assess its roster after the return of injured point guard Steve Nash.

And that's the only way to go about this.

If the Los Angeles Lakers are going to give head coach Mike D'Antoni the "wait-and-see" treatment with the pending return of Nash, they must do the same with Gasol. No matter how tempting it may be to accept a trade early in the season, Gasol has helped guide the Lakers to two NBA championships over the past four seasons.

Until he's proven incapable of performing alongside Nash, we have nothing to speak on. Which is exactly where the trade market stands for Pau Gasol.



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