The Los Angeles Lakers nearly traded Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets once before, are they really getting ready to do it again?
Last month, when Pau Gasol only scored 14 points on five-of-14 shooting in Los Angeles’ 106-90 Game 5 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, he effectively punched his ticket out of Tinseltown.
It’s no secret that Lakers brass wanted to move him all year anyway, but there was still the remote possibility that he would be able change their minds with a quality postseason run.The general thought process among his fans was that, if he were to come up big in the playoffs, that -- coupled with the fact there wasn’t a player of Chris Paul’s magnitude out there to be acquired anymore -- would be enough to save him.
Well, given his lackluster performance against OKC – we’ll never know.
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Even though the offseason hasn’t actually begun yet, Gasol has aleady been the subject of more trade rumors than just about anyone in the league. There has been talk of sending him everywhere from Chicago, to Boston, to Philadelphia to Memphis to God knows where else. The one common denominator in each of those transactions, though, is that the Lakers never seem to get fair value back.
Well, there’s a new Gasol trade rumor out there, but it follows the same old formula. L.A. gives up their second or third best player for nothing more than scraps, and in doing so essentially guarantees that Kobe Bryant ends up with no more than the five rings he currently has.
As noted by ESPN’s Chad Ford (via SB Nation’s Jonathan Tjarks):
Now, seven months later, both Houston and LA are still looking to shake up their roster, which is why ESPN Insider Chad Ford thinks the Lakers could be interested in dealing their veteran big man for the Rockets two first-round picks:
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Chad Ford (3:50 PM): Might be the latter. It's time for the Lakers to add some young blood to the team and I think Rockets would give up their picks to land Gasol.
Look, we’ve been the loudest proponents around of how deep this draft is, and we’ve been beating that drum for a long, long time. Longer than anyone else, really. But no matter how talented a set of roleplayers you can acquire with these picks, there is no way that they’ll be prepared to make a championship run. No. Way. Rookies don’t play instrumental roles in title campaigns – that’s just not the way of the NBA world.
If L.A. trades Gasol for picks, they’ll basically be signifying that they’re in rebuilding mode.
Which, while Kobe is still wearing purple and gold, should be out of the question.
The only way this could possibly work is if Mitch Kupchak were to nab the Rockets’ two picks, and then move them somewhere else (Brooklyn, perhaps?) for a legitimate superstar. There are a lot of rumors floating around the Nets organization that they want some first round draft selections, so maybe that sort of transaction is actually somewhat feasible.
But again – that’s the only way you swing a deal like this. Unless you can turn those magic beans into Deron Williams or a Deron Williams-type talent, you don’t move Gasol for two middle-of-the-first round picks.