With the Lakers struggling to climb above .500, Gasol found himself in coach Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse and banished to the bench for a stretch in late January.
The big man has struggled to find a place in the Lakers system and is putting up his worst numbers since being traded to L.A. over five years ago.
Through 35 games during the 2012-13 campaign, the Spaniard is averaging 13.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 33.4 minutes of play.
The 32-year-old PF has been recently linked to the Toronto Raptors, as ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that GM Bryan Colangelo is willing to swing a blockbuster trade to bring the team into luxury tax territory—but only with the “right transaction.”
Stein's insider sources believe the Lakers veteran (making $19 million for the 2012-13 season and $19.2 next year) is on that short list and the Raps could be interested in working out a trade involving C Andrea Bargnani and other pieces.
However, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has gone on record (as per Steven Marcus of Long Island Newsday) to vehemently deny that his team is planning to make any major deadline moves:
We will not make a trade. We will not trade Dwight Howard. We have no intention of making a trade. It's unlikely that we'll make any trade with any of our principal players.
While Kupchak did not mention Gasol by name as he did with Howard, it seems that the Lakers are not open for business at the deadline.
Of course, with a team as high profile and with as many expectations as Los Angeles has on its back, anything could happen over these next few weeks.
Gasol and the team could both greatly benefit from a change of scenery, so it would be foolish of the Lakers brass to not at least entertain some possible offers for the disgruntled veteran.
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