It’s like this. There are serviceable big men, quality big men and franchise big men. Once upon a time Pau Gasol was showing symptoms of being a franchise big. Then he pulled a Houdini act in the playoffs only LeBron James in 4th quarter would respect.
Flash forward to the following season after Pau’s disappearing act and it is Andrew Bynum that is playing the part of franchise big.
Already Gasol has been traded then untraded in a crazy day before the season began. Right then and there the writing was on the wall. Thanks to Bynum’s performance early on this season that writing is now being lit up in neon.
No longer is Gasol as valuable to the Lake Show. All that remains is for Bynum to stay healthy. Now we know how that goes so Pau does still hold value.
With the Lakers still missing some key ingredients necessary to cook up another banner it is a safe bet that Mitch Kupchak is still making calls. Aside from the untouchable Kobe Bryant the most valuable chips GM Mitch has at his disposal are Drew and Pau.
I’m guessing there is no way Jim Buss allows Bynum to be moved. So that leaves Gasol as the last and best piece to be exchanged in order to help improve L.A.’s title prospects.
But before another blockbuster trade can happen a few things must be proven. We already know about Drew’s injury illness. What is equally important in Drew’s progression is consistency. Dropping a 20-20 game then following it up with a one of those Lamar Odom 2-point, 3-rebound off nights won’t help.
Andrew has got to keep this aggressive pace going.
By the same token Gasol has got to rediscover his game. So far we’ve seen moments of brilliance from Pau but nothing so staggering you feel as if he’s back.
Perhaps still plagued by those depressing thoughts of nearly becoming a Rocket I’m sure Gasol is struggling on a personal level. It hurts to go from being a beloved hero of hoops to a bargaining chip almost overnight.
Fact of the matter is Pau’s best was never as dominant as what we’ve seen from Drew lately. Even when Gasol would put a couple 20s in the boxscore it never came in the emphatic fashion like Bynum’s did. Gasol just isn’t the same force as Bynum.
Obviously if there is ever going to be a trade involving Gasol it will have to yield a player (or players) capable of contributing in very meaningful ways to the team immediately. Getting draft picks for Odom saved cash but did nothing to improve the current roster.
Of course the other big name on the market is Dwight Howard. Ironically Bynum’s form is making it so that not even Superman II would be a massive upgrade. In that case Gasol’s job is safe…for now.