Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Should Target Andrea Bargnani in Swap for Pau Gasol

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket during a 102-83 Los Angeles Clipper win at Staples Center on December 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Remember how the Los Angeles Lakers are a team with two players most comfortable in the post, no discernible shooting threat and generally don't have the roster to fit the spacing or system Mike D'Antoni coaches?

Of course you remember—you've been inundated with Lakers news all season long.

One of the most common topics of conversation has been Pau Gasol.

Sometimes we talk about how Gasol and Dwight Howard don't play well together. Sometimes we talk about how he's coming off the bench. Often, we discuss why his numbers have gone down in recent years. Almost always, we discuss if he'll be traded.

Honestly, it would make a lot of sense to move him. He'll bring a nice return, he doesn't fit the description of "stretch 4" that D'Antoni really needs and I'd guess he'd welcome a move at this point.

So what about Andrea Bargnani? Why not inquire about what the Toronto Raptors would sacrifice to land Gasol?

After all, it sounds as though the Raptors might be a natural trade partner, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:

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Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, in the wake of the Gay trade, is now openly acknowledging that he's shopping former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Lakers' interest in Bargnani remains a matter of debate in the midst of the Italian's worst-ever season by far, but the not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.

At a news conference Friday, Colangelo acknowledged that the Raptors are prepared to stray into luxury-tax territory in the "right transaction." One source close to the situation says Gasol is a guy who fits those parameters, depending on the rest of potential trade principals besides Bargnani./

So we'll see, over the next 20 days, if the Lakers change their stance on Gasol's availability... and if Toronto can even assemble a package to tempt them without Jose Calderon's expiring contract to attach to Bargnani.

Sure, Bargnani isn't having a great season. Yes, the Lakers will want a nice package for Gasol. However, a Raptors team with Gasol and Gay, and a Lakers squad with an actual stretch 4, makes a lot more sense for each team.

The Lakers need to make a change. When Kobe Bryant's unselfish play is the highlight of the season, something has gone terribly awry. 

I'm not saying this trade will happen. I'm not saying that the Lakers should simply deal Gasol for the sake of dealing him. I'm saying it does remain an intriguing possibility, especially if the team intends to re-sign Dwight Howard at the end of the season and is committed to D'Antoni in the future. 

The best way to keep Howard around will be to win. The best way to ensure D'Antoni is successful in the future is to build a roster that suits his style. Building a trade around Bargnani could potentially achieve both of those goals.

However, since this is the Lakers, I imagine this situation will drag out as long as possible. So sit back, pretend like you're enjoying it and, for heaven's sake, someone let Kobe shoot rather than pass again.

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