Five Reasons Why the New York Knicks Shouldn’t Trade For Pau Gasol

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Five Reasons The New York Knicks Should Avoid Pau Gasol

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Trade rumors surrounding Los Angeles Lakers forward Paul Gasol are an annual event in the NBA, but the speculation has started a bit earlier than usual this year after a reported conflict with coach Mike D’Antoni and his public comments about his role in the Lakers’ offense. Add in the team’s dismal record (12-13) and some changes may be coming.

One of the more notable trade rumors to come recently involves the New York Knicks, with Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert the three most prominent Knicks attached to a potential deal. Chandler has been out since November with a broken left fibula, but he could return to action as soon as New York’s next game on Wednesday night.

Gasol spent the early part of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies before being traded to the Lakers during the 2007-2008 season, and he has expressed interest in re-joining the team and teaming with his brother Marc. It’s unclear if the Grizzlies have any interest in re-acquiring the elder Gasol, so at this point I’m comfortable deeming his comments about a return to Memphis to be nothing more than a response to a reporter's question on the subject. Unless Zach Randolph is dealt in the near future, then there may be more than smoke to that potential fire.

The list of reasons the Knicks (or any team) should not make a trade for Gasol could be quite long, depending the individual situation each organization has in terms of roster makeup, salary obligations, etc. But here is my list of five reasons the NBA tenants of Madison Square Garden should not trade for Pau Gasol.

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Gasol's Salary

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Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Gasol is slated to make nearly $19.3 million this season, though this is the final year of his contract. Parting with Chandler and his $14.1 million salary for this season would help the numbers work out in a potential trade, but another player would likely have to included in the deal, which adds to the risk of acquiring Gasol.

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Another Big Media Market

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Moving to another big market may not suit Gasol, and if he struggles the scrutiny from the New York media would be greater than what he experienced with the Lakers. The Knicks already have a fairly volatile situation right now, with multiple injured players and a coach on the hot seat in Mike Woodson, so adding Gasol to that mix would not do him or the team any good.

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Trading Tyson Chandler Would Be A Bad Idea

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler is the one Knicks’ frontcourt player with a defensive acumen and a primary role, while Gasol would be another offense-first player to go along with Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Amare Stoudemire.

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2. Gasol's Decline

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Gasol is averaging a solid 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game so far this season, but his field goal percentage to this point (43.9 percent) would be by far his career-low for a season. He averaged a career-low 13.7 points per game and made less than 50 percent of his shots from the floor for the first time since 2003-2004 last season, as injuries limited him to 49 games. Gasol has also been hampered by foot and ankle issues at times this season, so he carries durability concerns along with evidence of a decline in his skills.

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1. Gasol May Struggle To Find A Role In The Knicks' Offense

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Gasol has struggled to assert himself and produce at a high level consistently alongside Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and it can be assumed he would not mesh well with the ball-hogging tendencies of Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony.

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