Pau Gasol Should Force Trade from LA Lakers If He Isn't Given the Ball

Roberto Payne@@HouseofPayne555Contributor IJanuary 16, 2013

Pau Gasol is not being properly utilized
Pau Gasol is not being properly utilizedVictor Decolongon/Getty Images

The many skills of Pau Gasol are rotting on Mike D'Antoni's bench.

The same Gasol that helped bring two titles to Los Angeles and ushered in a new era of L.A. Lakers basketball.

Gasol gracefully accepted his role as the third-best player on this season's Laker squad, but found himself getting fewer touches as Dwight Howard dominated the paint.

Toss in Gasol's troubling knee injuries and a serious problem has arisen.

Gasol had previously played with a dominant center in Andrew Bynum, so everyone figured playing with Howard would be no different.

When you look deeper for the real root of the problem, you'll find that Howard is not the problem here.

Previously with Phil Jackson, the triangle offense allowed Gasol and Bynum to share touches down low. This was key as both needed scoring opportunities near the basket.

The problem is that Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni both employ offenses with only one primary low-post scorer.

Howard has been that post scorer, and Gasol has been left averaging a career-low 12.2 points per game.

It's really a disgrace for Gasol, who would be a top scoring option on many other teams, to be excluded this much from the offense.

At 32 years old, time is not on his side and he has basically wasted half a season.

Gasol needs to have a serious sitdown with D'Antoni to see if this will be a continuous problem. If so, Gasol needs to request a trade because he will continue to struggle in this scheme.

Think about it. Gasol has already won two titles with the Lakers. It's not like he would leave after not accomplishing anything.

Forcing a trade would allow him to go to a team more concerned about his individual game, and he could go back to averaging close to 20/10 on a winning team.

No doubt many teams would be interested in Gasol if he were available, and the Lakers might be able to get the floor-spacing 4 they need for D'Antoni's offense.

To put it simply, Gasol has all-star-level talent and is being treated as just another role player.