Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Just like he did last season, Pau Gasol will undoubtedly find himself positioned on the trade block come January and February 2014.
For one, Gasol's contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season, and unless he's willing to take a significant pay cut, this will likely be his last season donning the purple and gold.
Secondly, we've seen what happens in the past when the Lakers struggle. The tone surrounding L.A. becomes awfully pessimistic, with seemingly every big-name player not named Kobe Bryant rumored to be in a vulnerable position at the trade deadline.
Should the Lakers struggle next season like many believe they will, trading Gasol becomes a real possibility. The difficulty, however, will be finding a trade that suits the Lakers' needs.
If the Lakers aren't serious contenders, they'll need to find a suitor for Gasol who's wiling to part with some combination of draft picks and expiring deals.
Otherwise, dealing the Spaniard doesn't make much sense.
The Lakers are primed to enter the summer of 2014 with only two (possibly three, pending Nick Young's player option) contracts on the books, which would give them ample cap space to sign max free agents, according to HoopsHype.
While the parameters of a deal may be difficult to work out, Gasol's name will be one to keep a close eye on should the Lakers struggle.