The Los Angeles Lakers are willing to trade Pau Gasol, but they are not willing to give him away for nothing. Not yet, at least.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that L.A. was interested in acquiring New Orleans Hornets forward, Ryan Anderson. His style being very compatible with Mike D’Antoni’s scheme and Dwight Howard’s way of playing -- coupled with his reasonable contract -- has apparently made him something of a favorite amongst Lakers brass.
Unfortunately, the Hornets have no intention of trading Anderson for Gasol. The latter is too old and expensive; the former fits too well into their system.
The Lakers’ interest in Anderson won’t result in a trade with New Orleans, but it did go some ways in revealing just how serious they are about possibly moving Gasol. That point was further reemphasized yesterday, when reports leaked out that Gasol had essentially been given an ultimatum by Lakers brass: adjust to D’Antoni’s system or we will trade you.
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With everything that has happened as of late, a lot of Lakers fans understandably began feeling as though a Gasol trade was imminent. Fortunately, that is not necessarily true. There are two positives out there for folks who want Gasol to remain in purple and gold: 1.) Mitch Kupchak wants to see how playing with Steve Nash aids Gasol and 2.) the Lakers have already turned down two trade offers for his service.
At the very least, L.A. isn’t just going to give the big Spaniard away. As reported by ESPN:
The Los Angeles Lakers, largely at the behest of general manager Mitch Kupchak, have rebuffed trade inquiries from at least two teams for Pau Gasol, according to sources with knowledge of the Lakers' thinking.
The Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves have both recently tried to engage the Lakers in trade discussions for Gasol, sources told ESPN.com, but the Lakers continue to tell teams that call that they will not consider dealing the Spaniard until L.A. can fully assess its roster after the return of injured point guard Steve Nash.
The Raptors deal would have netted Los Angeles Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Liknas Kleiza; the Timberwolves deal would have sent Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic to Tinseltown. By all accounts, the Lakers have no interest in the latter deal – the former is more realistic, but still not deemed as enough.
How Gasol plays once Nash returns will ultimately dictate his future with the Lakers, unless a really sweet deal comes along for him. (It won’t.) If he turns his season around, all will be good. If he doesn’t, then Lakers fans should mentally prepare to see Bargnani and Calderon in purple and gold.