A little less than five years, the Lakers and Grizzlies made a trade that sent Pau Gasol to LA and his at the time lesser known brother, Mark to Memphis. It was once considered one of the most lopsided and ludicrous trades in NBA history. While time have proven that it isn’t as bad(Mark has since made an all-star team, is one of the best pure centers in the game and has Memphis atop the West), the Lakers probably don’t win two titles and make another finals without Pau on the squad.
So therefore, it is a little shocking that Pau has been the rumor of a number of trades this past week. While Minnesota and Toronto are two frontrunners that ESPN has said has already been denied, here are three scenarios(including Toronto) that could work for both the Lakers and their partners.
Lakers and Hawks:
-Josh Smith has been in and out of trade talks for the past two years, so much so that we already wrote about it. This seems like a possible landing spot for him. Smith gives the Lakers a different look at the four, and when he wants to be, can be a good defender. Also, Smith and Howard grew up playing AAU together(with Rajon Rondo, imagine that team), so you know Howard would be more inclined to stay in LA in Josh Smith was there too. Meanwhile, the Hawks shed Zaza’s contract, and he gives them more defense/rebounding off the bench than they have in the past. On the Hawks side, they completely make over the offense by having an actual post presence, and not someone who thinks they are a post presence. With all of the shooters on the Hawks, defenses will have to make choice to either collapse on Pau and Horford or protect the perimeter.
Lakers and Raptors:
-Before I break this down, do you realize that Jose Calderon only makes 1Mil less per year than Rajon Rondo? Seriously, what were you thinking Toronto. Anyway, The Reports are looking to rebuild, and this would be a good starting point. They can either convince Pau to stay, or then trade him again for a bunch of pieces/picks. In particular, they might want to get a first rounder back because if they finish in between 4th-14th in the lottery this year, they lose that pick. To the Thunder. Who got it from the Rockets. In the Kyle Lowry trade. I’m not kidding. The Thunder could have the 4th pick next year. So the Raptors may want to get a first round pick back somehow. The Lakers meanwhile get an actual backup PG, and Bargnani gets a good fresh start in LA. He is able to stretch the floor and allow Dwight to do his work inside, and also gives the Lakers a 3 point threat they currently don’t have.
Lakers and Nuggets:
-Out of the three, this is probably the least likely to happen. The Lakers might be weary to take on two year contracts, but as the same time Danilo and Wilson are both still on the younger side. Danilo provides them a scoring option at the 3 that Ron Artest simply doesn’t provide anymore and isn’t all that bad of a defender. While Chandler hasn’t played all that much, he doesn’t fit into what the Nuggets are trying to do, and is just another wing player that they don’t have space for. If he does anything with the Lakers, it’s a plus for them. If not, there are plenty of other teams looking to fill a three. On the Nuggets side, a combination of Faried/Pau/Lawson/Iggy and then filling out the starting five with Corey Brewer scares alot of teams. You have more options on offense, and Faried and Iggy help fill the defensive negatives that Pau brings along. Plus, McGee and Koufos get to learn under a well established big man in the game.
These are just three possible trades of many. While the Lakers claim they won’t even think about trading anyone until their full team is back(Nash back from injury), you have to think they are wondering if they will ever get anything from Pau the way they used too. If he plays well for a bit and his stock rises again, don’t be surprised to see the Lakers try to sell high.
Until Next time, You NBA YouTube Clip!