Pau Gasol is a bad fit with Mike D'Antoni's Lakers, but that doesn't mean they need to ship him out of town for anyone that is available.
The tall Spaniard may not be a good fit in D'Antoni's preferred quick-shot style of play, but he is still a talented big man that brings value any time he steps on the floor. The Lakers must make sure they find the right deal for Gasol, not just any deal.
To their credit, the Lakers seem to realize this.
Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD explains that, according to sources, the Lakers have gauged the interest in Gasol and have been disappointed. He explains that there are deals out there, if the Lakers wanted to jump at them, but that there is nothing they feel makes them better.
Without knowing exactly what they have available to them for trade options, it is impossible to say if they are making the right call on what makes them better. However, it is not impossible to say that they are employing the right tact.
In a perfect world, the Lakers would have a power forward who could run the floor, shoot from the outside and play a little defense.
Gasol certainly isn't the most stationary big man in the league, but he isn't going to beat a lot of power forwards up and down the court. He also has a decent mid-range shot, but it has never been the kind of shot that is really going to stretch the defense.
However, Gasol can rebound, play in the post, pass, play decent defense and even hit jumpers. He is a well-rounded big man, and he can create matchup nightmares as teams try to deal with he and Dwight Howard.
Instead of shipping out Gasol for a lesser talent, the two sides can simply adapt, and they seem to be doing just that.
Here is a recent quote from D’Antoni as provided by NBC's Shahan Ahmed:
"In my mind, I wanted to go small. But then again, we might be better big. And we’re going to try the big for a while. And then, we’ll see how that goes."
D'Antoni is going to adapt to fit his talent. What a novel idea for a coach.
The Lakers front office needs to maximize the talent. It is then the coaches job to get the most out of that talent, and to both D'Antoni and Gasol's credit, they appear to be in the process of doing just that.
Gasol has played in five games since missing a long stretch while resting his aching knees, and he is looking more comfortable in each one.
In his last two games, Gasol is averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, five assists and 2.5 blocks per game. He has also combined to hit 4-of-6 three pointers in that stretch, which is the ultimate testament to Gasol adapting.
Prior to this season, Gasol had never had an average of more than 0.4 three-point attempts per game.
It is time for the Lakers to stop worrying about trading Gasol and start focusing on how best to use him.