Lakers News: Assessing Pau Gasol's Trade Value While He Battles Concussion

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Lakers News: Assessing Pau Gasol's Trade Value While He Battles Concussion
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Pau Gasol is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in the Los Angeles Lakers' recent showdown with the Denver Nuggets, but that won't stop the franchise from looking into potential trades for the embattled star.

Gasol took an elbow to the face from Nuggets C JaVale McGee, and he came up limp from that point on in the game. The diagnosis on his status is out indefinitely (as reported by Sporting News), and at the very least he'll miss this two-game against Houston and San Antonio.

Since Gasol is going to be out for the next couple of games, maybe it's time to revisit the possibility of trading away the once-popular power forward while his value is still high enough to pull at least one marquee player and maybe a small handful of draft picks.

Around the league, it's clear that teams still would love to have Pau on their roster, as his rugged skills and mid-range game would be popular offensive additions to any team not under the Mike D'Antoni coaching style.

That being said, let's examine his trade value while he remains sidelined with the concussion. If there were ever a time to dump Gasol, it's now. Since he isn't embarrassing himself with long jump shots for the foreseeable future, here's a look at what his trade value might be over the next few days, starting with the trade partners and what these scenarios might look like.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

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After news that Kevin Love would be out for 8-10 weeks broke earlier on Wednesday, it's clear that the Timberwolves are going to need reinforcements to establish themselves as a Western Conference power.  

They've been after Gasol since the offseason, when a popular triangle of Love, Gasol and Ricky Rubio started to circulate on the "what if" airwaves.

Now, with Love out for at least two months and the T'Wolves already dealing with enough injuries to derail any NBA franchise, might be the time to up the ante for Gasol to both help Rubio have some added punch in the lineup and bridge the gap while Love is gone.

The real question is, do the Lakers really want a package of Derrick Williams and possibly Chase Budinger? What about JJ Barea or Luke Ridnour? When it comes to the Timberwolves, it looks like the Lakers will not only be deciding what they think about Williams, but also what they think about addition by subtraction with Gasol.

 

Toronto Raptors

Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani for Gasol has been a popular deal over the past few weeks. It was rejected by the Lakers, and for good reason in terms of Gasol-Bargnani comparisons.

But there is no comparison in terms of outside shooting—Bargnani takes the cake. Whether he's better than Gasol is not the issue—the issue is the finding the best-fitting forward to be on the court for D'Antoni's system.

Since the Raptors aren't comparable in terms of wins or making a serious playoff run even with Gasol, this trade partner figures to be out Gasol versus Bargnani. We've seen what Gasol does on the perimeter, but Bargnani is one of the better perimeter players in basketball when healthy.

Gasol is on the sidelines with an injury, but that won't stop Toronto for trading for the $19 million per year man. Again, it's going to be about how badly the Lakers want to dump Gasol.

 

Atlanta Hawks/Other Teams

Clearly, Josh Smith would thrive in L.A. It almost wouldn't be fair. The two teams have visited a trade, but haven't been able to finish the job—and it was L.A. that rejected a trade.

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As the Hawks have started off the season surprisingly, it doesn't seem plausible for them to dump Smith. He's a borderline All-Star yet again, and I can't see David Stern giving the Lakers a Smith-Kobe Bryant-Dwight Howard lineup.

The Dallas Mavericks might be a candidate, as might the Utah Jazz. Both teams have stars in place in the post, but wouldn't object to moving pieces to bring Gasol in for the stretch run.

It looks like the Lakers need to make a move soon. Gasol doesn't fit in L.A., and while he's sidelined, management can take a hard look at this roster, especially if Howard comes back from injury before Gasol.

Urgency has never been higher in L.A. With injuries and under-performing now the hallmarks of the season, it's time to seriously start wondering about Gasol's future.

 

Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.

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