In what has become an annual summer theme, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly again interested in trading away big man Pau Gasol. Per a report from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Lakers have been fielding calls for Gasol in the days leading up to the NBA Draft:
With power forward Pau Gasol on the trading block, the Los Angeles Lakers are another team that has been fielding plenty of calls leading up to the draft. It should be noted the Cavs are said to have no interest in a Gasol deal.
Gasol’s named being mentioned in trade scenarios comes as no surprise; remember, the the seven foot Spaniard was already dealt by the Lakers for Chris Paul prior to the 2011-2012 season before David Stern vetoed the deal. Gasol was also said to be on the block around the trade deadline this past season with the Lakers electing to hold on to him.
Although he does still have some value, the biggest dilemmas in finding a trade partner for Gasol are 1.) he’ll be 33 in July, 2.) he has had knee problems recently, and 3.) he’s owed a whopping $19.2 million next season. That’s a large chunk of change for a player with limited mobility and coming off statistically the worst season of his career — Gasol averaged 13.7 points and shot .466 from the field in 2012-2013, both career lows.
It’s doubtful the Lakers would be able to get much in terms of real value in return for Gasol, so they may be forced to let him go for pennies on the dollar. For instance, swapping Gasol for the Timberwolves’ late first round pick wouldn’t be out of the question, but L.A. would have to take back a few contracts to make this type of deal work financially. There’s also the possibility that Dwight Howard could leave via free agency, giving the Lakers extra incentive to hang on to Gasol unless the right deal comes along.
While Gasol remaining in Los Angeles in a possibility, my money says that he’s played his last game with the Lakers and they find a way to replace him with younger, more athletic talent at the power forward position.