There may come a time when Pau Gasol is traded this season. But that time should not be right now, not until the Los Angeles Lakers get Steve Nash back from injury and actually try to work things out with the team's four superstars.
Gasol has been the subject of no shortage of rumors this season, the most recent (from Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN) noting the interest that the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves have in the power forward.
The Spanish star never seems far from rumors, though his struggles this season, coupled with nagging tendinitis in each knee, has sent the trade whispers whipping about the league more quickly than normal.
But why would the Lakers entertain trade rumors for Gasol right now? The team is still in an adjustment period with new head coach Mike D'Antoni, and Nash hasn't been at the helm of this offense yet.
Plus, hasn't Gasol earned more than a quick hook out of town after his tenure with the Lakers? Doesn't he deserve a bit more leniency for his slow start?
On the year, he's averaging 12.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He's not the sort of stretch-4 that thrives in D'Antoni's system, and he and Dwight Howard haven't yet learned to work seamlessly on the block together.
With the Lakers struggling generally, there is going to be a scapegoat. And since Gasol appears to be the square peg in the round hole of this Lakers offense, he's the logical player to take the heat.
But imagine for a moment that it could work with Gasol, Nash, Howard and Kobe Bryant. Imagine those four players in sync, unselfishly running this offense. Can you imagine how dominant they could be? Could any team outside of the Miami Heat slow them down?
"Super teams" generally have a steep learning curve as top dogs learn how to blend into an offense that works for everyone. It took the Heat a while before they hit their stride. But when it comes together, it can be devastating.
I don't know if it will ever work for the Lakers. I only know that the team needs to try it out before blowing things up and moving Gasol.
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