NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz Surrounding Pau Gasol and Jayson Tatum

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2019

San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol, of Spain, gestures after hitting a three point shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers weren't able to land Anthony Davis before the trade deadline. That puts a damper on the remainder of the 2019 season for LeBron James and anyone else in the Lakers organization who had hoped to make a legitimate run.

One reason the Lakers failed to acquire Davis is the fact that the New Orleans Pelicans would like to see teams like the Boston Celtics get in on the bidding for him. Because the Celtics added Kyrie Irving before last season, they cannot acquire two players who signed extensions under the "Rose Rule." This means the Cektics can't enter negotiations until the offseason.

The Celtics have reportedly made New Orleans a bit of a wink-nod offer for when the time comes. Part of that proposed deal would include budding star Jayson Tatum.

"The Celtics made no promises, according to a league source, but the impression was left with the Pelicans that Boston would fork [Tatum] over in a Davis Deal," Sean Deveney of Sporting News recently wrote.

If the Celtics were able to add Davis and re-sign Irving, they would arguably become the team to best challenge the Golden State Warriors, not the Lakers. Of course, that team would no longer include Tatum, and one would forgive the former Duke standout for being a little bit upset about it.

However, it appears that isn't the case. According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Tatum would be OK with a trade if it also means he gets to be the face of a franchise.

"It's gossip, but the gossip is Jayson Tatum wouldn't mind,' MacMahon said during a recent appearance on ESPN's Hoop Collective podcast. "Jayson Tatum wouldn't mind if he's shipped to New Orleans and has the chance to be the face of the franchise somewhere. Because he's not going to get that opportunity in Boston, at least not in the immediate future."

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

While this would likely leave Tatum outside of title contention—as Davis is now—it would also allow him to become one of the bright young stars of the NBA—also as Davis is now.

Being a young star can be more appealing than playing a significant role on a title contender. This is because young stars have their careers ahead of them.

This isn't where San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol finds himself. At 38 years old, his time as a star is coming to an end, and so are his chances to win a third championship.

Gasol is averaging just 12.5 minutes per game for a Spurs team that is barely hanging onto a low playoff seed. This is why rumors of a trade or buyout demand are somewhat believable. Gasol has one more year on his current contract after this season, and the Spurs don't appear poised to challenge the Warriors within that timeframe.

As ESPN Deportes reported, Gasol asked for a trade before the deadline. Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News also said the Spurs were "working hard" to part with Gasol before the deadline.

According to ESPN's Michael C. Wright, however, Gasol has denied a desire to leave San Antonio:

Here's some of what Gasol had to say, per Wright:

"What’s the validity of that story? I don't know. I didn't request to be traded. I don't want to comment on it because it is what it is. I think people understand or can figure out my situation on the team is not what was expected from me, and my only wish and desire is to be able to contribute to the team, and be able to be on the floor and do what I'm supposed to do, and do what I signed here to do, and kind of live up to what I’m paid for. That's all."

Of course, this doesn't mean that Gasol wouldn't like to finish out his career with a contender. It simply means that he hasn't demanded a trade like Davis publicly did not so long ago.

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