At 16-21, the Los Angeles Lakers face a steep uphill battle towards becoming a contender.
Their offseason acquisitions haven't made them a better team, several key players have been battling injuries and, although Kobe Bryant is scoring points, the Lakers aren't winning games.
The Lakers face several key decisions in regards to their personnel, but one thing is crystal clear—it's time for Pau Gasol to go.
Somehow, L.A. was able to acquire Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this offseason without parting ways with Gasol. Instead, the Lakers shipped troubled young center Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers in a multi-team trade that landed Howard.
But in hindsight, the Lakers would have been better off getting rid of Gasol.
The 2012 season has been—far and away—Gasol's worst as a professional. Prior to this season, Gasol averaged at least 17.4 points in 11 NBA seasons.
But this year Gasol has been a disaster, averaging just 12.2 points per game and shooting a career-worst 41.6 percent from the floor.
Gasol has missed 12 games already this season due to injury, and he'll miss tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks as well.
This current Lakers team is flooded with scorers, and Gasol can't seem to find his role in the offense.
But head coach Mike D'Antoni insists that changes will be made once Gasol is cleared to return from a concussion.
"There's going to be a lot of changes. We have to try to do everything. If that works, we'll do it in a heartbeat...It's pretty evident we'd like to get him more touches down there."
D'Antoni's scheme simply doesn't coincide with Gasol's skill set, making the veteran forward expendable and potentially available via trade.
And despite a lackluster season up to this point, there are certainly teams around the NBA that should (and would) consider trading for the Spanish big man.
With the Lakers clearly struggling and searching for an identity, many believe trading Gasol would bring even more controversy and unwanted attention to the team. But nearing the midway point of the season, the Lakers need to make a move.
What they've been doing isn't working. If they keep doing what they've been doing, they'll keep getting what they've been getting.
It's time to deal Gasol to the highest bidder. This team doesn't need big men who do the majority of their damage away from the basket. If anything, the Lakers need a go-to post scorer or a combination of role players to mask their defensive deficiencies.
Gasol is not what the Lakers need. It's time to move on.
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