For a while now it has been deemed, at least in Los Angeles Lakers land, that Pau Gasol would be traded to whomever would take him. Fans have called for the departure of Gasol ever since his playoff collapse in the 2010-2011 playoffs, with the series against the Dallas Mavericks sticking out in everyone’s mind. This season many people assumed that Gasol would be able to rebound and, at the very least, contribute decently enough so the Lakers would be able to make a deep playoff run, many people were wrong. While it is not fair to put a huge chunk of blame on Gasol for the Lakers downfalls, I believe many people saw the Lakers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder coming, I feel that a good amount of blame must be put on Gasol.
Heading into the five game series against the Thunder, the Lakers could not be confident on which Gasol would show up, the aggressive, efficient Gasol, or the soft, lack-luster, turnover-prone Gasol. It wound up that the latter Gasol showed up in 4 out of the 5 games and really hurt the Lakers in games 4 and 5 with hos costly mistakes and boneheaded turnovers. So after watching all of this happen for two straight playoffs, and coming away with nothing more than a nice try, it seems that the Lakers would be quick in trying to move Gasol. Thatmay not be the plan though.
Jim Buss has recently come out and stated, via the Los Angeles Times, that he does not believe Gasol will be traded away this off-season. Now since this has already been stated, it does not seem that it is a rumor, right? Well Buss coming out in public saying that Gasol is not going to be traded is what he’s supposed to say. I mean what if the Lakers wound up not trading Gasol and Buss had said something like, Well we definitely want to get rid of Gasol because we feel he sucks. Then the Lakers would of wound up with an even worse Gasol for the 2012-2013 NBA season.
Rumors have begun to float around that Gasol will not be shopped by the Lakers, but instead (like Jim Buss mentioned) the Lakers will change the coaching scheme, or add a piece, such as a point guard, to help them out. The main man in Laker land is Deron Williams, he is the guy whom all Laker fans want, (well the ones who know basketball at least), but acquiring him is not highly plausible if Gasol is still on the roster. Gasol’s contract is way too much and there is really no way the Lakers could keep Gasol and sign Williams. The only real way theLakers could get Williams would be via a sign-and-trade, and if Gasol is not going anywhere does that mean Andrew Bynum would be the first to go? Not by a long shot.
Jim Buss’ infatuation with Bynum is painfully clear when you begin to hear the way he talks about him. Buss was the key reason the Lakers drafted Bynum and with the type of ego that Buss has the one thing he wants from the NBA world is sweet vindication, so don’t expect him to be shipped for anyone except, maybe, Dwight Howard. If Gasol does indeed stick around it would probably be one of the biggest mistakes Jim Buss has made in his short time watching over the Lakers. There are a few teams who are interested in Gasol, namely the Houston Rockets, and getting rid of his huge contract would be a smart move to begin clearing up space for a guy like Williams.
Williams does have some interest in playing for the Lakers, and an elite point guard is what the Lakers are missing, (sorry for the Ramon Sessions fans out there but he is not a starting point guard in this league). Getting rid of Gasol, and acquiring something of value heading forward, such as Andre Iguodala or Rudy Gay or even O.J Mayo, to piece with Williams, Kobe Bryant, and Bynum would be an immense upgrade from their roster now. The Lakers could not win a championship with this roster in 2010-2011 or 2011-2012, what would compel Buss to think things would change next season.
DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @NBAINSIDERINFO
Be sure to check out the latest NBA Rumors on RantSports.com