The Los Angeles Lakers are a team in transition due to injuries, age and a 16-27 record so far this season. With the way they are playing they are all but guaranteed a top 8-10 pick in this summer’s NBA draft.
Pau Gasol has been playing better as of late, he is averaging 20.4 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per contest and 1.9 blocks per game while making a higher conversion of his attempts (50%) in the last 11 contests.
Why do I bring up Gasol’s numbers? Because, it’s my opinion that they should try and trade his expiring contract. He’s one of the few assets they have. And make no mistake, even at the age of 33, he’s an asset that a contender could use. He’s one of the more skilled big men in the League, he can score, rebound, pass and play solid help defense. He’s not a good one on one defender, but he’s good at helping out.
Here are a few reasonable trade scenarios (as opposed to my spectacular rock star trades I have proposed before) that I think they should explore:
Trade Gasol for Brook Lopez. Lopez is out for a while and it would make sense to trade for Gasol since they have a 1 year window with this team. Trading Lopez is a gamble but he’s been injury prone with serious injuries since he’s been in the League with the Nets. Gasol has averaged more games throughout his career and Brooklyn needs help now. Gasol’s passing and rebounding would mesh nicely with Williams, PP, Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson.
It might be a rental but the Nets will be rebuilding before long anyway. The time is now to try and compete.
For the Lakers, this would give them a player to build around once Kobe retires. Lopez is from North Hollywood where he played his high school basketball and he played his college ball at Stanford. Makes sense for him. And Gary Vitti is one of the best trainers in the business.
Trade Gasol for Cody Zeller, Ben Gordon and a 1st rounder. It gives the Bobcats a legit PF, Josh McRoberts has been starting but he’s really a backup masquerading as a starter. Gasol would give them a guy who could post 16-17 points per game, 10 rebounds and 3-4 assists. Charlotte is averaging just 94ppg and they need more scoring if they want to guarantee a playoff spot and maybe make some noise. Gasol gives them another seasoned veteran that will contribute next to Al Jefferson.
The Lakers take on an expiring contract in Gordon which helps them in the offseason so they sign a premier free agent or some of their younger players that have played well (Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill) plus they get a 1st rounder (most likely in the 14-17 range). That would give them two 1st rounders in an absolutely loaded draft so they can try and rebuild quickly.
They are rivals so it may not happen but I think the Lakers should offer Gasol for Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and a late 1st rounder. Gasol would give them a nice 1-2 punch at power forward and center with Tim Duncan. Gasol’s passing would be a nice asset in San Antonio’s offense and they’d have a pretty good frontline. The Spurs are starting some scrub by the name of Jeff Ayres at center. Even though he’s aging, Gasol would be a massive upgrade there. Adding Gasol would help SA get back and maybe win a Finals appearance.
For the Lakers they’d save about 9 million by dumping Gasol’s contract and get a younger big man in Splitter. Diaw’s a free agent so he’d come off the books after the season. And they’d get a late 1st round pick so they’d have a second 1st rounder, even if it’s late. They need bodies next season.
Another rival that might be tough to trade with but they dealt Lamar Odom there and they might be willing to. Gasol for Samuel Dalembert, Shawn Marion, Brandan Wright and a 1st rounder. The Mavs get a legit center that can score, rebound and pass. He’s a better option than Dalembert or DeJuan Blair at center, he gives them a legit post presence. Blair is undersized and Dalembert is an offensive liability and Dallas doesn’t give up any key pieces to the core of their team.
The Mavs give up Marion’s expiring contract, Dalembert’s contract next season is a team option for 3.8 million, which would most likely be turned down. So, they would get Wright and a 1st rounder for Gasol, not too shabby since Wright is a solid defender and they get salary cap space to rebuild the team.
Trade Gasol now and try and get something in return as opposed to watching another big man walk away for nothing for the second year in a row.
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