Pau Gasol: Now is the Perfect Time For Lakers to Trade Inconsistent Forward

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 9, 2013

January 6, 2013;  Los Angeles, CA, USA;   Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) lays on the floor after being fouled by Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Gasol left the game. Nuggets won 112-105. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Following his most recent injury in the 2012-13 NBA season, it's time that the Lakers get serious about moving Pau Gasol. If LA hopes to move it's talented, yet disappointing forward, it's now or never

Mired in one of the worst seasons of his career, the Lakers announced on Tuesday that Gasol will miss at least two more games with a concussion.

The forward suffered the injury last Sunday on a run-in with Denver center JaVale McGee.

Even though Gasol will probably only miss a handful of games, you never know with concussions. He could be out a couple months at the worst.

The big man has already missed significant time this season with knee issues. He's only managed 25 starts this season.

As a result of his inconsistent play, Gasol as been involved in plenty of trade rumors all season. He's currently sporting a career-low 12.2 points per game and 41.6 field goal percentage.

But he's still providing help on defense with a 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

The biggest reason Gasol is struggling is an inability to adapt to the offensive scheme run by coach Mike D'Antoni.

So even at 32 years old, it's not as if Gasol is a player with nothing to add to a team. He's playing physical basketball and proving himself useful.

But the longer he plays—and the less he scores—the less value he might have. And the longer he rides out injuries with the Lakers, less teams are going to want him.

It's obvious something has to change with the Lakers. Whether that means moving Dwight Howard or Gasol has yet to be seen.

If the front office decides it's time to part ways with No. 16, it has to be now.

Gasol is at the height of his trade value. He's coming out of the best three-year stretch of his career, and is still proving himself useful.

All his struggles seem to be tied to D'Antoni's system—and if it's really something else, no one has started to believe it yet.

But, every game that ticks away Gasol loses more and more of that trade value. If LA wants reasonable return for the forward, they have to make a decision.

Once he's cleared to return to the court, L.A. will need to pull the trigger. If they sit on this, Gasol is one more injury bug away from losing all major trade value.

Do they stick to their guns and show loyalty to Gasol. Do they finally cut ties for some level of worthwhile return?

It's time for the Lakers to finally answer those questions.