Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Potential Pau Gasol Trade Packages

Zac Watne@thoughtcomicsCorrespondent IIMarch 5, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Potential Pau Gasol Trade Packages

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    With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, and the Los Angeles Lakers sitting six games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for first place in the Western Conference, a potential trade may be lurking around the corner.

    There are several rumors swirling around the possible movement of Pau Gasol, once (and arguably still) a centerpiece of the Lakers franchise.

    With his pivotal role in recent back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010, it is hard to imagine the Lakers parting ways with Gasol, but his lack of production in Mike Brown’s system may spur some movement before the March 15th NBA trade deadline.

    Gasol’s skill would make him a valuable addition to many teams around the league lacking a presence in the paint, and with the Lakers' lack of additional scoring on the outside to compliment Kobe Bryant, there are various trade scenarios that could possibly be in the cards. 

Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets originally tried to get Pau Gasol in a three-team deal involving Chris Paul this past summer, and their interests are still high on acquiring him before the trade deadline. But who are the Rockets willing to part with?

    The Los Angeles Lakers desperately need a dynamic point guard, meaning Kyle Lowry would be their primary interest, but the Rockets would be wise to hold on to Lowry for the foreseeable future.

    Lowry is on an upward slope according to nearly every measurable stat, most prominently his scoring (15.9 points per game), assists (7.4 per game), and rebounding (5.3 per game), though his 38.6 percent three point shooting is also impressive and would help the Lakers' shooting woes.

    Gasol, on the other hand, is moving in the opposite direction. Though his stars are undoubtedly affected by Mike Brown’s new system, at 31 it is unlikely his production will increase to the degree that Lowry’s will. That said, if Gasol is even able to maintain his level of play for several years, he will still be a top center in the NBA, which is something most every team is willing to invest in.

    Though this trade seems a bit unlikely, if another team gets involved and adds some additional prospects it could potentially gain traction again.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Trade rumors have circulated that the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in acquiring Pau Gasol. The Timberwolves are reportedly offering rookie sensation Derrick Williams, who is from La Mirada, CA, and future draft picks for the Lakers' four-time All-Star.

    Though this trade would seem to favor the Timberwolves (Gasol replacing Nikola Pekovic), with the way Pekovic has been playing recently it would not be much of an upgrade, if any.

    Pekovic is averaging 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds over the last 10 games, and with the additional issue of Gasol putting the Timberwolves way over the salary cap, this seems like a poor option for Minnesota to pursue.

    The Lakers' obvious choice of players from the Timberwolves would be Ricky Rubio to fill their need at point guard. Though David Kahn has made some questionable decisions in the past, my bet is on him holding onto Rubio as tightly as he can.

    The option of draft picks and Williams, who is certainly a vibrant presence on the court with local connections, does not fit the Laker’s current needs and would mainly contribute to their future potential, something Kobe is not as interested in.

Chicago Bulls

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    Though the Chicago Bulls would swap Pau Gasol for Carlos Boozer before you can even say “remarkable receding recovery,” the Lakers are going to want more out of the deal than an undersized power forward.

    Boozer’s talents would be effective alongside Andrew Bynum, who would demand more attention than Joakim Noah ever has or will, but the lopsided nature of this trade may cause the Lakers' management to hold off until other pieces are added to the table.

    With the Lakers' need at the point guard position, the Bulls may have to throw in C.J. Watson or John Lucas to sweeten the deal, but frankly neither player adds much and may not tip the scales enough to make this happen.

    This trade seems like a big win for the Bulls and a downgrade for the Lakers, and without a quality point guard added to the deal, the Bulls-Lakers trade seems to be a pipe dream for Chicago fans.

Boston Celtics

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    One of the more intriguing trade scenarios would involve the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, the two most storied franchises in NBA history and adversaries in 11 NBA Finals. Rajon Rondo for Pau Gasol would be an interesting, if simply for the exchange of players between these two teams.

    Rondo seems like a logical addition to the Lakers, who are in desperate need of a quality point guard, though he lacks the three-point shooting the Lakers would also like to add. The Lakers are currently second to last in three-point shooting at 30.4 percent, ahead of only the Utah Jazz.

    Gasol would obviously add to the Celtics' lineup, replacing Jermaine O’Neal's five points per game at center, but the issue of signing an aging All-Star may be a sticking point for Boston’s brass.

    Watching the heart of their team sink into the sands of time shortly after making a major trade may not be in the best interests of the Celtics franchise, so this trade is questionable.

Orlando Magic

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    A trade involving Paul Gasol and Dwight Howard would be sweet for the Lakers, but is likely not going to happen. Acquiring an aging Gasol and losing a peaking Howard just does not sound like a good scenario for the Orlando Magic, though it is much better than seeing their six-time All-Star walk this summer.

    Trading Howard for Gasol would be similar to swapping a 2011 Nissan Maxima for a 2006 Honda Accord (assuming standard usage for each car). Both are quality choices, both can get the job done and are likely to be reliable, though one has way more mileage and is going to start showing its wear and tear more as the years go on.

    The simple fact that these two players are not equal when it comes to anticipated future performance is obvious, and without the Lakers throwing in future draft picks and perhaps even Dyan Cannon, this deal is a long shot.         

    The only way this will go through is if it comes down to the March 15th trade deadline and the Magic are unable to get a good read on Howard's intentions. At that point this may in fact happen simply to avoid being “Lebroned,” much to the chagrin of NBA fans not wearing the purple and gold.