Pau Gasol returning to the Los Angeles Lakers seems like a dream scenario, although it might not be.
Pau Gasol is easily one of the most beloved Los Angeles Lakers of the past decade or so. When a midseason traded landed him alongside the late Kobe Bryant during the 2007-2008 season, the Lakers finished the season an astounding 22-5.
The Lakers would come up short in the Finals that year to the Celtics, but they’d ultimately prevail in that short-lived rivalry by notching back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Although Pau Gasol cemented himself as a future Hall of Famer during his tenure with the Lakers, rumors of a return to the team have surfaced. As much as I hate to say it, a victory lap at age 40 might be a bit much to ask for.
When Gasol last suited up during the 2018-2019 season, he played just twelve minutes a night in 30 games for both the Spurs and Bucks. He shot well below his career average from the field and contributed very little.
Although he’s one of the nicest players the league has ever seen and a great locker room guy, it’s hard to justify a spot for an out-dated big man who is now 40 years old.
Unlike his sweet-shooting brother Marc, Pau only attempted 0.4 threes per game in his last NBA season. The Lakers are looking for a team that can space the floor for LeBron James and Pau really does not fit that style of play.
With the Lakers already plagued by the quickest turnaround between seasons in NBA history, a new rest policy will surely open the door for some games off for the 35-year-old LeBron James.
As a result, the Lakers will need to do everything in their power to keep true rotation players on the roster. Adding Gasol won’t help a team that’s trying to get younger to combat the quick turnaround.
Additionally, this team has been playing a 35-year-old point guard. With Rajon Rondo heading to Atlanta and LeBron likely resting most of the season, the burden of running the entire Laker offense will likely fall on new addition Dennis Schroder.
As much as we would all love to see Pau Gasol retire a Laker, his lack of shooting, the quick turn around, and the need for youthful depth at point guard make it highly unlikely.
In short, I don’t think Pau Gasol belongs on the Los Angeles Lakers roster this season. However, I think there’s another way Pau could rejoin the Laker family.
Similar to how the Golden State Warriors hired Steve Nash as a part-time player development consultant back in 2015, I think there is room for a big-man development coach in Los Angeles.
With his brother Marc and Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell now in the fold, it would be great to see Pau Gasol hanging around the practice facility.
In order to make the leap to the next level, Harrell could benefit from developing a reliable jump shot and adding some more finesse to his game. Pau Gasol, of course, was known for both of these things.
No matter what Pau and the team decide on, he will always be a Los Angeles Laker.