Lakers Trade Rumors: Dealing Pau Gasol for Rudy Gay Would Be the Right Move

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 28, 2013

Jan 28, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (22) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner (12) during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

League sources have reportedly told Marc Stein of ESPN that they could see a three-way deal happening that would send Pau Gasol to the Boston Celtics, Rudy Gay to the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul Pierce to the Memphis Grizzlies.

It would be a smart move for the Lakers.

We all know the Lakers' struggles this season have been due to a collective effort. You certainly can't throw all the blame on Gasol's shoulders. Chemistry issues have plagued the team after Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined the Lakers in the offseason.

But we also know that Gasol and Howard haven't been able to coexist in the paint, and there isn't a young swing player who can be disruptive on defense, leaving 34-year-old Kobe Bryant to defend some of the opposing teams' best players.

Gay isn't a top-notch man-to-man defender, but he can run the floor at 26 years of age, and he can be disruptive with his length (he's averaging 1.4 steals and 0.7 blocks this season, roughly matching his career averages).

Also, while Gay has struggled from the floor this season (40 percent, 30 percent from downtown), let's not forget that he's shot 45 percent for his career, including 34 percent from three-point range.

A change of scenery could do the 6'8", 230-pounder some good. A player doesn't just lose all of his ability at this age. His 26-point, seven-rebound, five-assist, one-steal performance in Memphis' 103-100 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday was proof of that (by the way, Gay dropped the game-winning bucket in that contest with 13 seconds left).

The Lakers need a player who can hang with the quicker swingmen in the league, as well as a player who can help the team on the fast break. Gay fits that description, and Los Angeles should do everything in its power to trade Gasol for the small forward out of Baltimore.


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