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NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers Foolish to Hold Onto Disgruntled Gasol

January 4, 2013;  Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. Clippers won 107-102. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 25, 2013

The Lakers vs. Gasol saga has been long drawn out, but both sides have tried to be as amicable as possible. Now it looks like L.A. has pushed its forward over the edge, meaning it's time to just cut the man loose.

The Lakers have worked to make things fit with forward Pau Gasol this season, as he's having one of the most disappointing years of his career.

Most of the issues have stemmed from coach Mike D'Antoni, whose system Gasol has had issues adjusting too.

As a result, he's averaging a career-worst 12.7 points per game while shooting just 43.1 percent from the floor.

Despite his struggles and the swirling of trade rumors, the Lakers continue to hold onto their veteran big man, who is in his sixth season with L.A.

But the drama was ramped up this week when D'Antoni made the decision to bench Gasol in favor of Earl Clark.

The demotion has seemed to cause a breaking point for Gasol, with Sporting News reporting this week that Gasol is "not thrilled" about the move to bench.

The 32-year-old now sees a trade before the February 21st trade deadline as a real possibility.

This entire season has been a PR nightmare for the Lakers, and it's time they do something drastic. There have been plenty of mistakes on the year, but trading Gasol would be a good way to fix some of them.

L.A. remains committed to center Dwight Howard, but have had apprehensions about trading Gasol in the event that Howard leaves at the end of the season to test the waters of free agency.

Even so, holding onto Gasol is not going to endear Howard to the Lakers.

Instead of winning, the Lakers are losing. Instead of respecting the wishes of a veteran players, L.A. has instead relegated him to a bench role.

The frustrations of a veteran player—combined with Howard's own frustrations—are probably doing very little to endear Superman to his new team.

If the Lakers want to move anyone before the deadline, the right choice has to be Gasol. With things as bad as they have been, it's not only the right decision, but the smart decision.

If a trade is made, then hopefully the Lakers will find some wins, Gasol will be happy in his new home and Howard will see some hope in his future with L.A..

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