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Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Smart to Hold Firm on Current Roster

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 26:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 26, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 3, 2013

Patience is a virtue, and it appears the Los Angeles Lakers have finally learned that lesson.

According to Steve Kyler at HOOPSWORLD, despite rumors to the contrary, L.A. has no plans of making a trade this season:

Laker sources say the goal is to compete for a NBA championship this year and that Gasol at this point gives them the best option to do that. While that’s always subject to change, especially as the trade deadline gets closer, the stance from the Lakers is that Gasol is staying put for the foreseeable future.

If Mitch Kupchak and company are going to make an actual splash before the February 21 trade deadline, Gasol is truly the only bait they can put on the hook.

Dwight Howard may have a soon-to-be expiring contract, but as long as the Lakers are anywhere near contention in the West—or have plans of contending in the near future—the big man won't be going anywhere.

Neither is Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash or Metta World Peace, obviously. Even Jodie Meeks, especially in Mike D'Antoni's system, is safe to stay a Laker.

A case could be made for Antawn Jamison or Jordan Hill as potential trade options, but with every increasing DNP-CD for Jamison, his value plummets closer to zero. As for Hill, he gives Los Angeles a valuable big man off the bench, and nothing he would bring in return would make the Lakers better.

That leaves Pau Gasol.

The big man has seen his points and rebounds per 36 minutes, his field-goal percentage and his offensive rating all decline this season, but he's a valuable, veteran big man who would assuredly draw plenty of interest. 

Or so you might think.

If the reports are true, the offers just aren't there. The proposals that do come in for Gasol are low-ball ones that won't make the Lakers any better, especially with the Spaniard playing better basketball over his past six games. 

Instead of selling low, the Lakers need to hold true on their current roster. 

Kobe Bryant is playing arguably the best complete basketball of his career. Dwight Howard, even at about 75 percent, is better than most centers in the NBA. Steve Nash is starting to settle into a groove after missing the first month-and-a-half of the season. Metta World Peace is quietly playing more like pre-Los Angeles Ron Artest. Jodie Meeks is not only a deadly specialist from the outside, but he's a fantastic perimeter defender.

There may be problems with the Lakers, such as age or depth, but the talent is clearly there. It's just going to take some time for everyone to get healthy and jell with each other.

In fact, things are already starting to take shape. After starting the season 9-14, Mike D'Antoni's squad has won six of its last eight.

The Lakers don't need to make any major trades. They simply need to do what they were criticized for not doing at the beginning of the season.

They need to wait. 

 

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