This appears to be the mindset of the Lakers’ front office. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily Post reported that the team is “committed to moving Pau Gasol…even if they have to take back less talent.”
Gasol is still an excellent player, but this current roster has proven with two consecutive second-round exits that they are not capable of winning a championship.
The power forward’s skill and talent are not the reason for the imminent trade, but rather a lack of intensity and an inability to be reliable in the playoffs.
During the regular season this past year, Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. In the playoffs, he continued to rebound the ball well with 9.5 boards a night, but his scoring average dropped to 12.5 points.
It was the same story in 2010-11, as he posted 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the regular season, and then allowed his averages to drop to 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Even with the emergence of Andrew Bynum, Gasol should be the team’s second-best offensive player behind Kobe Bryant. If a team’s second scoring option disappears in the playoffs, that team is not going to win a championship.
Among the Lakers’ Big Three, Bryant is the only one who can be counted on to play with maximum intensity during every game in the postseason. Both Gasol and Bynum have mentally checked out and turned in lackluster performances far too often.
This is why the core of the team needs to be changed, meaning either Gasol or Bynum is on their way out. Considering the Lakers picked up Andrew Bynum’s option for next year, it will be Gasol who gets traded.
This is the right move because Bynum is 24 years old and Gasol is 31. Not only will the Lakers be able to get more productive years out of Bynum, but there is also a chance that the center will mature and cut out his hijinks.
Gasol, however, is a veteran and passed the peak of his career. His tendencies are not going to change at this point. He has been unreliable in the playoffs for the past two seasons, and this will not be any different in the coming years.
The Lakers must explore their options to trade Gasol. This move will make the team younger and give them a chance to create a roster that has the right collective mindset to compete for a championship.