The Lakers need to make some moves this offseason and water is wet. Not exactly news on either front there. Water is as water does, that hasn’t changed in the history of the universe. The Lakers have just been tossed out of the NBA’s playoff club in the second round, that hasn’t changed in two years now.
Another very obvious statement is that the Lakers will look to package Pau Gasol as part of a deal to help improve the roster. The season began with Gasol being dealt. Even though that trade was ultimately nixed by Commander Stern it didn’t end the constant trade speculation.
At one point Kobe Bryant came forward to request clarity on the Gasol rumors demanding the front office to either ship the Spaniard out or tell him he’s here to stay. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Pau by Kobe but I guess it’s the thought that counts.
Gasol went on to finish the season as a Laker but another less-than-impressive showing in the playoffs has pushed Pau’s trade value down faster than Facebook’s failed foray into the public sector.
Once upon a time Gasol was part of a deal for Chris Paul. Now the Lakers would be lucky to get Prince Paul for Gasol.
Mike Brown certainly didn’t do himself any favors by diminishing Gasol’s role this season. It became routine to see the Spaniard spending more time on the perimeter than in the paint. Pau will never be a shooter but Brown did his best to make his seven-footer a catch-and-shoot big man.
By the time the playoffs came around Gasol was so confused by his ill-defined role that it greatly affected his play from one game to the next. In Game 7 against Denver we saw the Gasol that had many Laker fans chanting MVP just a couple years ago. Of course the game that preceded that performance was an effort dubbed by many as the worst of Gasol’s career.
So the real question is just who is going to take on Pau’s $38-million contract?
If some team sees the potential for Pau to regain his All-Star form they might be willing to roll the dice. But odds are the Lakers are going to have to sweeten any deal in which Gasol is involved.
That creates another problem as the Lakers don’t have much more they can toss into a trade to persuade any takers that paying top dollar for a diminishing big man is a good idea.
About the only argument you could make for Gasol is that he’ll bounce back in a better offensive scheme in which he’s more of the focal point. Pau was never cutout to carry an NBA franchise but as a second option he blossomed when paired with Kobe Bryant.
From the moment the Chris Paul deal fell apart the Lakers have seen their potential to land top tier talent via trade diminish. Getting high value in exchange for Gasol has become mission: impossible for Mitch Kupchak. Then again, given the way the Lakers went about cutting costs this season it wouldn’t be a shock if they dealt Gasol in another salary slash. In that case you could expect a couple of lesser players becoming Lakers for the simple sake of saving cash. That might be the only true trade vale Gasol holds for the Lakers now.