Lakers Trade Rumors: L.A. Has No Reason to Trade Pau Gasol

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJuly 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 17:  Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up for the game with the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on April 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-95 in overtime.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Lakers will not amnesty or trade Pau Gasol. This comes after the departure of Dwight Howard, which has thus led to questions surrounding the future of almost every Laker.

At this stage, L.A. simply doesn't have a reason to trade Gasol.

This isn't the first time that we've heard Gasol's name involved in trade rumors, as he was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets in the infamous Chris Paul veto of 2011. Since then, it's been a never-ending saga of potential deals that have yet to come to fruition.

For the time being, it appears as if Gasol is safe.

Now that Howard is gone, there will be no talk or discussion about using the amnesty provision on forward Pau Gasol anymore, a source with knowledge of the team's thinking told Friday night.

It's about time.

The Lakers are entering a season of uncertainty, as Howard's decision to sign with the Houston Rockets leaves L.A. without their star of the future. In turn, countless theories have circulated as to what will transpire in Tinseltown.

All in all, there is no reason to move Gasol at this point of the offseason.


No Chance at No. 1

One of the most common misconceptions about the Los Angeles Lakers is that they're in line to miss the NBA playoffs. Due to the easy-to-hate name the Lakers possess, it's not difficult to see why people would believe such a thing.

It just so happens that they're forgetting that the Lakers still have Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Steve Nash on their roster.

Even if L.A. were to trade Gasol, any other franchise in the NBA would be considered elite with a backcourt of Kobe and Nash. With Bryant alone, the Lakers are all but guaranteed to make the playoffs, even if their seed is lower than ideal.

What we're getting at is, the Lakers have no chance at drafting Andrew Wiggins at No. 1 overall.

What the Lakers can do, however, is play the season out with the core that won them back-to-back titles as recently as 2010. While their team is significantly older today and presently lacks the athleticism necessary to contend for a title, there's something we need to remember.

The Lakers went 28-12 during their final 40 games of the 2012-13 regular season, and Gasol reaching full health was a major reason why.


Still An Elite Player

Pau Gasol struggled to remain healthy during the 2012-13 NBA regular season, playing in 49 total games. When he was available and receiving consistent playing time—a brief period in April—Gasol averaged 17.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game.

While those numbers may be inflated by brevity, Gasol is one of the few players remaining in the NBA that we can comfortably say will average more than 15 points and 10 rebounds per game with ease.

Gasol is a two-way player that works well out of the post, facilitating for his teammates and shooting over both shoulders. Defensively, he's a strong rebounder who picks up his opponents in the post and meets players at the rim.

Gasol remains an elite player.

As a four-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection and two-time NBA champion, Gasol certainly has the pedigree. While his athleticism may be wavering, there's no question that the Spaniard still has the ability.

So why trade him coming off of a down season when you can explore a trade deadline deal upon his return to glory?


Trade Deadline Value

The two most important factors here are that Gasol is coming off of an injury-ridden season and that he possesses an expiring contract. With this in mind, the Lakers can afford to hold on to Gasol for the entirety of the season or explore a trade at the deadline.

Why not explore those options?

If Gasol is able to continue performing at the level he displayed during the final month of the season, he could help the Lakers in their title pursuit. In that same breath, his return to form would open the floodgates on the open market.

It's then, and only then, that the Lakers could potentially receive the value Gasol truly commands.

Dealing Gasol could be a safe bet at this point, thus creating the opportunity for the Lakers to enter the draft lottery and thus compete for the No. 1 pick. With that being said, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash remain under contract, and they're beyond strong enough to lead the Lakers to the playoffs.

Unless they're able to bring on an elite prospect in return, the Lakers have no reason to trade Gasol.