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Lakers Trade Rumors: Pau Gasol for Andrea Bargnani Would Be Disaster for LA

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to his score as he leaves the court after a timeout during the game against 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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Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2013

Trade rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers are nothing new, but this newest one, involving Pau Gasol and Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors, would be a disaster of a move for Los Angeles.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Raptors are shopping their center and may even have interest in Gasol:

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 he can certainty spread the floor better than Gasol does. The not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada, meanwhile, is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.

As stated in the report, there is no public knowledge that the Lakers have any interest in Bargnani, but the Italian big man would fit head coach Mike D'Antoni's system better than Gasol.

Bargnani's range on the offensive end could help spread the floor and open things up for the Lakers offense. At his best, Bargnani can drain a shot from anywhere on the court—beyond the arc included.

That is something that Gasol can't do, and it's a big reason why he's seen a diminished role in the D'Antoni era.

However, despite those positives, Bargnani is still a huge risk.

The 27-year-old has seen his fair share of time in the trainer's room during his career and has missed significant stretches the past two seasons. On top of that, Bargnani is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his career.

His 16 points per game is his worst since the 2008-09 season, and Bargnani is shooting just below 40 percent from the field, which is his lowest output since the 2007-08 season.

In fact, Bargnani's shooting percentage has dipped in each of the last two seasons, and he's set to continue that trend this season.

Bargnani's turnstyle-like defense will only make the Lakers and their 25th-ranked defense (100.8 points per game) worse.

Granted, Gasol isn't an elite defender by any stretch, but he's certainly capable of putting up a better fight than Bargnani in regards to defense and rebounding. Bargnani is averaging a dreadful 4.3 rebounds per game, while Gasol is averaging 8.1 boards per contest.

General manager Mitch Kupchak has already stated that he has no plans on making a trade with any of his best players, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. Gasol certainly fits into that category, so it's likely that if a trade were to occur, the Lakers would have to get back much more value than what the Raptors would offer.

Gasol might not be the best fit for the system the Lakers are playing, but he is still a better, more consistent player than Bargnani. If the Raptors center is the best the Lakers can get for Gasol at the moment, the best move would be no move at all.

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