Pau Gasol is the ultimate X-factor.
But barring an offer that makes Mitch Kupchak say, “Like taking candy from a baby,” L.A. would regret dealing Gasol.
Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld recently wrote the following in a trade-block update:
There are deals for Gasol, but all of them either have the Lakers taking back multiple assets, which they cannot do without eating some contracts or taking on bad financial deals. The Lakers could make a deal involving Gasol today; however, there just isn’t anything out there that makes them better.
And until a deal emerges that’d make the Lakers better, trading Gasol is ludicrous.
They can’t just rid themselves of him because he isn’t the ideal power forward for D’Antoni’s offense. Gasol may not be the superstar he was when Los Angeles won back-to-back NBA Finals, but he adds an element to its rotation that can’t be replicated.
No team in the league has a pair of seven-footers on par with Gasol and Dwight Howard. And it isn’t even close. But as D’Antoni has shown the past couple of weeks, they don’t need to be on the floor together for the Lakers to take advantage of that.
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com explained that, in D’Antoni’s rotation, “Gasol and Howard will essentially occupy all 48 minutes at the center position.”
Metta World Peace’s ability to average over 14 points per game the past two months and come off the bench as a stretch 4 has allowed that to happen.
If L.A. trades Gasol, it loses that luxury.
Sure, he may not be a flawless fit next to D12 the starting five. But since returning from injury, Gasol is shooting 50.0 percent from downtown and is averaging 5.4 assists per game. He couldn’t possibly be adapting to a completely new role any better than he is.
Los Angeles should re-embrace Gasol, because when he’s on, he’s by far the most valuable fourth wheel in the NBA.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.