The Los Angeles Lakers are committed to several large player salaries, which gives them very little wiggle room for upgrading their roster. The one bargaining chip they can afford to dangle around the league is Pau Gasol.
Although he spent the bulk of the 2012-13 regular season being misused in Mike D’Antoni’s system, the coaching staff eventually figured out how to properly utilize the Spaniard. Gasol rewarded D’Antoni’s adjustments by consistently flirting with triple-doubles in the final month of the campaign.
Just when his value had hit rock bottom, Gasol flashed his brilliant all-around game as a big man and turned himself into a valuable commodity.
Heading into the 2013 offseason, general manager Mitch Kupchak needs the roster upgraded, but it comes with a qualifier: The additions cannot compromise the available salary cap the Lakers project to have in the summer of 2014.
LeBron James has an early-termination clause in his contract that allows him to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, and the Lakers will be suitors for his services.
It’s worth noting Dwight Howard will enter free agency once the 2013 postseason concludes. Thus, the Lakers must acquire quality talent for the sake of convincing him the Purple and Gold is serious about contending for a title immediately.
That alone might sway him into rejoining the franchise.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s have a look at what trade partners the Lakers should be entertaining discussions with concerning Gasol’s talents.