Pau Gasol has never been on the same page with Mike D’Antoni, and that may be the main reason why the Los Angeles Lakers trade him before this season ends. The Memphis Grizzlies seem resigned to the fact that their roster, as presently constructed, will not win a championship. Because of this, Zach Randolph has apparently been placed on the trading block.
Gasol, 33, is having the second worst season of his career. His worst season ever came last year, and it was only marginally less productive than the one he’s currently enduring. Per game averages of 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds don’t sound so bad, but when you take into account that the points are coming on 41 percent shooting, suddenly you see why there is so much trouble in Tinseltown.
For reference, Jodie Meeks, a guard, is currently shooting 47 percent from the field. He also has a better three point shooting percentage (44 percent) than Gasol has a field goal percentage.
Randolph, 32, is putting up basically the same numbers as last year. In fact, his per-36 totals are better this season. The reason why Memphis is suddenly open to moving him has far less to do with his totals than it does with the Memphis Grizzlies’ numbers: after being a darkhorse championship contender for two straight years, they’re currently 10-12.
Gasol has made it explicitly clear that he is uncomfortable with D’Antoni’s style, and that he wouldn’t be opposed to getting dealt. Conversely, Randolph has admitted that the trade speculation he has heard this year ‘hurt’ him.
Because of how bad the Grizzlies and Lakers look this year, some are speculating that a Gasol-for-Randolph swap may be in the cards. These two make roughly the same thing, so the auxiliary pieces that are a part of every trade could be kept to a bare minimum. The real question is: what does these deal net both teams?
Honestly, a whole lot of nothing.
The Grizzlies would get an injured, aging, expensive big man whose only real noticeable strength over Randolph is his passing. Los Angeles, meanwhile, would get a salary cap killer who scores a lot of points – but does so in the paint. He wouldn’t be any better in D’Antoni’s system than Gasol is. And unlike Gasol, you don’t want to tick Randolph off.
A Lakers-Grizzlies trade makes some sense in theory, but it isn’t going to happen.