Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Rumors: Pau Gasol Won't Be Traded Any Time Soon

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on January 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Josh SchochAnalyst IIIFebruary 3, 2013

Stop me if you've heard this before, but Pau Gasol is upset with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Seemingly since the day Mike D'Antoni took over as L.A.'s head coach, Gasol has wanted out of Hollywood, and he's made it known.

To be fair, Gasol has not been used properly. He is being asked to do things that he's never done in his career, and at 32 years old, it is probably too late for him to change his game.

It makes sense that he is upset with his role as a bench player after being the star with the Memphis Grizzlies and a key contributor for the Lakers in his 11 years as a pro.

But guess what? No trade will be done this season.

Sure, Gasol has been connected with teams for the past few months, but no trade talks have gotten serious, and there just isn't a deal to be done.

Gasol is in the decline of his career. He is no longer a player who can put the team on his back, but rather a complementary star now.

That in and of itself could be worked out, but the fact that he is being paid like a superstar cannot. He is being paid at least $19 million per season in each of the next two seasons, at the end of which time he'll be 34 years old.

Very few teams other than the Lakers can afford to pay that much for a player who averages just 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, or would be truly willing to trade for him.

Even if a team did have interest in Gasol, it's unlikely they would have the talent at their disposal that the Lakers want.

The team that looks to be the most interested right now is the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, this is a completely unreal scenario.

Gasol has a connection with Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio, and Rubio has openly talked about this situation (via Los Angeles Times).

[Gasol] proved to the league he is one of the best. He can pass. He can shoot. He can rebound. He can do a lot of things. I think if you use him in the right way, he is a top player in this league. If they don't want him, we are more than welcome to get him.

It's been the last two years that it seems like they don't want him, but actually they need him. He's a great player. He can do a lot of things and he had some issues with the knees too. It's been a lot of years without resting for him. But he's a veteran. He knows how to play.

Rubio clearly thinks that Gasol is being mistreated and would love to have him in Minnesota. I'm sure that Minnesota's executives wouldn't be opposed to the idea, either, but it is simply unrealistic.

The Timberwolves don't have anyone who would interest the Lakers.

Their best players are Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, but the team would not want to trade either player.

The next best option is a younger player who was drafted early, like former No. 2 overall selection Derrick Williams. However, Williams has been a huge disappointment, and the team would need to package him with another player and probably a first-round pick.

Minnesota simply doesn't have the assets to bring Gasol in until after his contract expires.

The Toronto Raptors are another possibility for Gasol, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, in the wake of the Gay trade, is now openly acknowledging that he's shopping former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Lakers' interest in Bargnani remains a matter of debate in the midst of the Italian's worst-ever season by far, but the not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.

At a news conference Friday, Colangelo acknowledged that the Raptors are prepared to stray into luxury-tax territory in the "right transaction." One source close to the situation says Gasol is a guy who fits those parameters, depending on the rest of potential trade principals besides Bargnani

That may make it seem like the Raptors are serious about this deal, but note that the team says that is needs the "right transaction."

Do you really think that the Lakers are going to part with Pau for nothing?

Sure, Bargnani is nice, but he may not be enough. He is a good scorer, but he doesn't rebound like a seven-footer should, and he is currently sidelined.

If the Raptors were to be seriously interested in trading for Gasol, there is no doubt that Bargnani would be part of the deal, but the Lakers may want more (or not have interest in an injured player).

Even if the Lakers agreed, entering into luxury-tax territory is a huge risk for a team like the Raptors, and to do so for Gasol just doesn't make sense.

No matter how you swing it, I don't see Gasol being dealt any time soon. He is going to be with the Lakers for the duration of his contract.

 

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