5 Reasonable Deals Los Angeles Lakers Should Make Involving Pau Gasol
What can the Lakers really get for Pau Gasol?
The Los Angeles Lakers have had their worst season in decades. Through 50 games, the Lakers have logged an absolutely awful 18-32 record. At this point, the team should only be focused on the future and saving some money when possible. Earlier in the season, Los Angeles discussed a Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum swap for the sole reason to save money as the Lakers are up against the hefty repeater luxury tax penalty. Even though the Lakers are one of the top-grossing NBA teams, the repeater tax is something to avoid if at all possible.
Los Angeles does not have many tradeable assets, but one player that has been constantly involved in trade rumors over the past few seasons is Gasol. The 7-footer has been one of the main reasons why the Lakers were able to rise back to the top when the team won back-to-back titles four years ago. With a totally different team and the complete collapse to rock bottom, Los Angeles must trade Gasol if at all possible.
First of all, Gasol is not going to re-sign with the team after this season. He has been mistreated over and over again, so why would he want to stay with a franchise that hasn't treated him well? Also, Gasol and coach Mike D'Antoni have not always seen eye to eye since he was hired last season. Gasol has even gone to the media to voice his frustration because he is not properly utilized in D'Antoni's system.
Secondly, the Lakers probably will not be interested in re-signing Gasol because of the salary that he will likely demand. Los Angeles needs to look towards the future, so the team cannot afford to give too much money to an aging player, especially if the idea of competing for a championship is years away. Therefore, trading him away and not letting him walk for nothing is the absolute best thing that the team can do.
5. Emeka Okafor
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Emeka Okafor and Indiana Pacers' 2014 first-round pick via Phoenix
Phoenix Suns receive: Pau Gasol
This deal was actually considered by both the Lakers and the Suns about a week ago. However, the Lakers reportedly wanted more than what is proposed above, resulting in the Suns dropping out of the discussions. If nothing else works out, Los Angeles must reconsider going through with this deal because stockpiling picks is in the team's best interest right now. Additionally, receiving Okafor saves a few million this season, as well as maintains the flexibility after this season.
4. Zach Randolph
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Zach Randolph
Memphis Grizzlies receive: Pau Gasol
Making this deal would show that the Lakers are going all-in for Kevin Love as Zach Randolph gets paid just under $20 million next season. Acquiring Randolph would certainly help Los Angeles, even if he is only part of the team through next season. The team needs a tough and intense player to help the younger players improve. On the other hand, the Grizzlies would be pairing up the Gasol brothers, which would be interesting to see. If the Lakers decide to pass on this upcoming free agency class, this would be a plausible deal to consider.
3. Ben Gordon
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, 2014 second-round pick, and 2016 second-round pick
Charlotte Bobcats receive: Pau Gasol
This deal goes back to the stockpiling picks theory. Even though they are only a couple of second-round picks, they are worth acquiring. Some very impactful players have been picked in the second round over the years, and even if the Lakers don't wish to hang onto them, the team can always sweeten a future trade by throwing them in. Flexibility is also retained by making this deal. Both Gordon and Sessions will be coming off the books next season but for the remainder of this season, the two can provide depth for the injury-riddled Lakers.
2. Amar'e Stoudemire
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Amar'e Stoudemire, Los Angeles Clippers' 2015 first-round pick via Boston, Boston's 2015 second-round pick
New York Knicks receive: Kris Humphries and Keith Bogans
Boston Celtics receive: Pau Gasol
Again, this deal would mean that the Lakers are going all-in for Love. In the meantime, Stoudemire has been playing possibly his best basketball in two years. Pairing him up with Steve Nash again under D'Antoni would also be fun to watch. After next season, Stoudemire's massive salary would come off the books and give the team enough room to sign Love and an additional quality player.
1. Josh Smith
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Josh Smith and Charlie Villanueva
Detroit Pistons receive: Evan Turner and Jason Richardson
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Pau Gasol, Detroit's 2015 second-round pick, Detroit's 2017 second-round pick, and Detroit's 2017 first-round pick
Finally, the most drastic trade of them all. The Josh Smith experiment in Detroit has been an absolute disaster, so the Pistons should definitely be looking to trade his four-year contract. The Lakers are the perfect landing spot for him as he provides defense and athleticism at a fair price. Trading for Smith will still allow the Lakers to sign a marquee free agent either this offseason or next offseason, giving the team possibly the best chance at improving the most overall.
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