According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio, the Los Angeles Lakers are considering trading Pau Gasol before the regular season begins. The Lakers' reported goal is to acquire an athletic point guard to serve as either the long-term or short-term replacement to Steve Nash.
The question is, what would be the pros and cons of Los Angeles trading Pau Gasol?
Gasol has been at the center of trade rumors for the better part of the past half-decade, despite helping the Lakers win two NBA championships. Even still, L.A.'s unwillingness to use the draft as a tool for building has led to constant talks of Gasol being dealt for a young player.
The talks have returned, per Amico.
One Eastern Conference executive told FOX Sports Ohio he’s heard from the Lakers recently, and word around the league is they may try to make a "substantial" trade before the regular season. Apparently, forward Pau Gasol remains far from untouchable.
Many NBA talent-evaluators feel as if Steve Nash is no longer capable of playing at a high level for more than 15-20 minutes game. The Lakers, it is believed, are on the lookout for a younger point guard who's a more potent scorer.
Adding a scoring guard is ideal, but it's also unclear whether or not it's possible.
Gasol is still one of the most respected players in the world, thriving as a scorer, rebounder and facilitator. He's a surefire Hall of Fame selection and has enough left in the tank to be somewhere in between effective and elite down low.
Here are the factors that L.A. should weigh before making a decision.
Pro: Don't Lose Him for Nothing
The biggest mistake that NBA organizations have made in recent seasons is letting superstar players walk without receiving compensation. The second-biggest mistake that has been made is an NBA organization trading away a star in the final year of his contract for underwhelming return value.
In the end, it's often true that getting something is better than getting nothing.
Gasol's trade value is difficult to define as a 33-year-old who missed 33 games due to injury in 2012-13. Before fans get carried away with those numbers, it's important to note that Gasol missed one total game from 2010 to 2012.
Seeing as Gasol is entering his 13th season and has played in 950 games between the regular season and playoffs, it's not hard to see why his trade value is low.
Landing a star is a long shot, and the draft is too unpredictable to depend upon, but if the Lakers can get young players that they can build with, there's reason to be intrigued. That's exactly what the Orlando Magic did upon trading Dwight Howard.
In return, Orlando received the likes of Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic. Harkless averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks after the All-Star Break, and Vucevic posted 13.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.0 block for the season.
The development of both players was hit-or-miss, but if L.A. scouts young players in a similar manner, trading Gasol is a reasonable goal. After all, he is a free agent after 2013-2014.
Con: What Would Be Left?
To put this bluntly, if the Lakers were to trade Gasol, there wouldn't be anything left on the interior. For all that's been made about Kobe, Gasol and Nash's last run, the supporting cast is there to do just that: support.
The only way the Lakers would do anything of note in 2013-14 is if they either kept Gasol or swapped him for an established star.
I've gone on record to say that Gasol is still a superstar in the NBA, and in 2013-14, he'll prove just that—regardless of where he plays. If L.A. is hoping to win games and compete for a spot in the postseason, Gasol will need to be that player for it.
The only other options down low are Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, Elias Harris, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.
For all that's been made about the death of the center position, someone needs to explain why six full-time centers were All-Stars in 2013 and three of the four Conference Finalists had an elite 5. By trading Gasol, Los Angeles would eliminate the low from the term, "low-high attack."
Unless a rising or established star is available, trading Gasol would be of minimal reward.
Verdict: Don't Trade Gasol
Gasol will be leaving the Lakers at the end of the 2013-14 regular season, and that makes him a player that deserves trade consideration. If L.A. doesn't move Pau, it'll be three consecutive seasons in which the nonstop trade rumors haven't come to fruition.
The issue is, trading Gasol only works in two scenarios: L.A. landing a star or acquiring a top-10 draft choice.
Should the Lakers trade Gasol before the regular season begins, almost any team that he goes to will become a postseason-caliber squad. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds during his most recent full season, and tallied 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 2012-13.
You can't find that type of value just anywhere.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Gasol is one of five players in NBA history to post career averages of at least 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. In 2012-13, Gasol was the only player to average at least 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 block, per Basketball-Reference.com.
How's that for a "down season"?
If L.A. is able to deal Gasol for a genuine star, then there's reason to move him as the Lakers prepare for the season. If they're unable to, the value in trading Gasol is close to meaningless with Kobe Bryant's presence all but ensuring L.A.'s status as a postseason contender.
If the Lakers are going to contend, why not aim for the stars with the most well-rounded big man in basketball?
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