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Lakerholicz Mailbag: Pau Gasol Trade Scenarios and Kobe becoming the greatest player ever

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Lakerholicz Mailbag. Each week, I will choose questions that you guys tweet me @WOLF_CHUKI and try to give as good as of a response I can give. I will also include your twitter name with the question you asked so that you can share a little bit of the Lakerholicz fame. Enjoy!

 

If you were the lakers, would you trade Gasol? If yes for who? By @Adairr_11

Well I am one of the few Laker fans left that actually wants Gasol to stay in Los Angeles. I’ve defended him time and time again and you can see my reasoning here

But for the sake of the Lakerholicz Mailbag, I will paint a few trade scenarios that may actually happen if Pau Gasol is not able to find his role in this new offense by the trade deadline.

Pau Gasol to the Knicks for Amar’e Stoudemire:

This trade possibility has been whispered a few times especially now that Mike D’Antoni is the new coach of the Lakers. With the push to bring guys like Raja Bell in, it looks like he really wants to turn the Lakers into the 05 Suns, so why not bring in Amar’e who was successful in his offensive system?

The problem with this deal is money. Amar’e is owed $64 million over three years, which is much more than what the Lakers currently owe Pau Gasol. This deal would completely hurt their salary cap and ruin what everyone believes to be a big free agency year in 2014 for the Lakers. Stoudemire is injury prone and isn’t nearly the player Pau is. I doubt it would be worth it.

Pau Gasol to the Raptors for Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon:

This deal seems to have been the most realistic recently. It’s reported that the Lakers have actually already turned it down, but I imagine that it could be revisited by the trade deadline.

I believe that the Lakers would probably improve tremendously offensively with this deal. Calderon has a great ability to space the floor and would be a great point guard to have coming off the bench. Bargnani is also a great offensive threat and would probably do a better job in the D’Antoni System than Pau Gasol.

But would this deal actually make the team better overall? I don’t think so. In the few games under D’Antoni, the Lakers have shown the ability to score the basketball even without Steve Nash. Offense isn’t their biggest problem. What would Bargnani and Calderon do for the Lakers’ already struggling defense? Pick and Roll defense is something that is damaging the Lakers. Bargnani would make matters worse.

Pau Gasol to the Hawks for Josh Smith and Kyle Korver:

If I was involved with the front office for the Los Angeles Lakers and I absolutely felt that it was necessary to get rid of Pau Gasol, this is the trade that I would try my hardest to make happen.

Josh Smith is only 26 years old and is a great defender. He is also very athletic, which is something that the Lakers dramatically need right now. Smith is definitely not as talented offensively as Pau Gasol is, but Nash, Kobe, and Dwight should be able to make up for the Smith’s lack of offensive skill. His defense surely makes up for what he is unable to do on the offensive end.

Kyle Korver would be an absolute gift in this trade. Coming off of the bench, his three point shooting ability would work wonders in the D’Antoni System. I’m just not sure that Atlanta is willing to give this up for a 32 year old Pau Gasol, but what does that matter? I’ve seen Mitch Kupchak get even better deals done.

 

Who will in your opinion go down as the best player to play the game when it’s all said and done? By @RappaFrost

This is a great and interesting question. With Kobe Bryant reaching 30,000 points, the Kobe vs. Michael Jordan argument got heated all over again. No matter what side of the argument that you are on, I believe that the greatest player ever argument will be between Jordan and Bryant. Right now, I think it’s impossible not to go with MJ. The man absolutely dominated the 90s and probably could have won even more if it wasn’t for him trying to pick up a baseball bat.

Kobe may be the youngest to 30,000 but it also took him the most amount of games played. Michael Jordan came into the league scoring more than 2,000 points per season. He scored at least 2,000 in his entire time with Chicago, except for his injury in the 1985 season and when he returned from baseball in 1995. 11 times, Michael scored over 2000 points. This happened while going 6 for 6 in the NBA Finals with 6 Finals MVPs. In the 16 NBA seasons that Kobe has played, he has only scored at least 2,000 points in 7 seasons and while he may have 5 rings, he only has 2 Finals MVPs to his credit.

To be fair to Kobe, he had to come off of the bench for his first three years in the NBA. Once he became a starter, he had to play second fiddle to who was the most dominating center in the league at the time. He also has had to play through two lockouts, which led to shortened seasons. These kind of factors definitely affected his total output of points. The thing that is in Kobe’s favor right now is that he is only 34 years old. People may think that’s old, but he seems pretty fine to me.

I also believe that Kobe is better offensively than Michael Jordan was. This really enrages your Jordan enthusiasts. They argue that Kobe learned his game from MJ, but what does that have to do with anything? Michael Jackson idolized James Brown his entire life. Is James Brown the better dancer? Kobe Bryant has the ability and confidence to knock down shots that Jordan never took or made. He is also a better three point shooter. As far as dominance and career achievements go, I believe that Kobe does not compare to Jordan, but this all has the potential to change.

If Kobe only averages 14 points per game for the next two seasons, he will have surpassed Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan on the all time scoring list. Averaging at least 25.4 points per game for the next 4 seasons will surpass Kareem Abdul Jabar and make Kobe the all-time leading scorer in NBA history. With the way Kobe is playing right now, who is to say that this won’t actually happen? We may all speculate when Kobe Bryant is going to leave the game, but nobody really knows.

Let’s just say that Kobe plays at a high consistent level for the next four seasons and becomes the all-time leading scorer. What if this occurs while the Lakers with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash begin to gel together and dominate the league like we know they can? If the Lakers could find a way to win at least two more championships before Kobe hangs up his jersey, I think it’s safe to say that Kobe Bryant may be the greatest player of all time.

He will have the most points ever scored by any NBA player to ever play the game and more championships than the guy that everyone believes is the greatest to ever do it. He will also have appeared in the NBA Finals at least 9 times, while winning at least 7 championships with over 38,000 career points. I could be fantasizing, but is it really a fantasy if the possibility of it happening is very realistic?

This is what separates him from the current pack. The fact that we are currently even able to paint scenarios that would propel Kobe as the absolute greatest player of all time is amazing. Guys like Lebron James and Kevin Durant are having amazing careers, but who knows what is in store for them in the future? Who knows how many championships either one of them will end up with? Who knows what injuries could possibly happen? We already know what we have gotten from Kobe Bryant and we already know that there is still more to come.

Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time right now. If Kobe can continue to play at this high level and win a few more championships, I would think that people are crazy for saying that Jordan is the greatest. But, who knows? Maybe my unborn son will go down as the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball.

About Deshaun Sheppard

Deshaun is a 24-year-old college student. His goal is to be a journalist and he's currently looking for any opportunity to gain some experience. He also covers music news for freesworld.com. He's a huge Laker fan and can't wait to share his thoughts with all of the Lakerholicz. If you want to know more about him, follow him on Twitter @WOLF_CHUKI.