By now you’ve heard the rumors. Supposedly, the Lakers are looking to trade Pau Gasol to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package that would include Kevin Love and the #2 pick in Thursday’s draft. One question comes to mind: Has Gasol fallen this far out of favor this fast?
Yes, the Lakers are badly in need of an injection of young legs. While Love might drop more double-doubles than a clumsy In-N-Out employee, he’s far from being on the same level as Gasol.
Should the Lakers land that #2 pick chances are they’d go with SoCal native Derrick Williams who has all the makings of a future star. Notice the stress on the word future. His time will come. Pau’s time is now.
How has Gasol fallen from grace this fast that he’s being rumored in trade talk with one of the worst franchises in all of sports?
Pau has already expressed his desire to remain a Laker. Meanwhile the front office is silent. While you don’t expect Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak to respond to all trade rumors, you’d think they might say something when it comes to one of their All-Stars.
Unless, of course, these rumors are true and Gasol is all but gone from Los Angeles, his exit marred by a lackluster belly flop in the playoffs.
No secrets here, we were all highly disappointed in Gasol’s downward decline during the 2010-11 season. But I’m not ready to close the book on this Kobe-Pau union. As much upside as he has, I’d sooner see Andrew Bynum being dangled in trade talks. With Jim Buss calling the shots though the chances of Bynum being dealt are about a realistic as LeBron James admitting to his own shortcomings.
While we’re on the topic of potential trade bait, why not offer Lamar Odom? Sure, his departure would weaken an already dwindling bench. Still that would make more sense than giving up a legit #2 talent in Gasol for a guy that put up big numbers on a lousy team in Love.
Exactly how many wins did all of K-Love’s double-doubles equate to? He’s a great rebounder that has made some huge strides since coming into the NBA. But you’ve got to be weary of any player that posts big numbers for a losing team. Plus, by removing Gasol you’d be taking away a large chunk of scoring that the likes of Love cannot replace.
As big a Derrick Williams fan as I am there’s nothing that guarantees he’d be ready to contribute immediately to a championship caliber club.
All in all, if these rumors are true, it speaks to the direction in which Jim Buss is taking this franchise. He’s not so concerned about the immediate future so much as he is about the distant future. Certainly an understandable approach. The last thing you want is to look up five years from now and find an aging roster with no future prospects. However giving up on Gasol after one wretched post-season performance seems pointless.
No player gets a free pass for underperforming in crucial moments. Whether or not Gasol was affected by personal problems is irrelevant. This is a bottom line business and excuses are limited to injury and acts of God. While Gasol’s disappearing act does not fall under either of the aforementioned categories he’s still got two rings and three Finals trips in four years as a Laker. If Gasol was good enough to keep Kobe in Purple and Gold four years ago then he’s good enough to keep his job through the duration of his current contract.