The Toronto Raptors were linked with the Los Angeles Lakers last year when they apparently offered a package of Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Linas Kleiza for Pau Gasol. The Lakers, reportedly, declined.
Some would assume that, now the Raptors landed their big name in Rudy Gay, they’d be done making big trades.
However, according to Marc Stein, the Raptors are still pursuing L.A.’s Spaniard:
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.
Now, two key pieces have departed Toronto as part of the three-team deal to land Gay: Calderon and Ed Davis. You’d have to think that the Lakers would’ve wanted those two guys in a trade – or at least one of them – if they were going to take on Bargnani.
It didn’t seem like the Lakers were too keen to take on Bargnani last year, so there’s nothing now to say that’s changed. He’s having the worst season of his career, he’s making quite a lot of money and doesn’t play a lick of defense. You could see where he could fit in D’Antoni’s system, stretching the floor for Dwight Howard, but he’s such a big liability on the other end of the floor.
If the Lakers were to take on Bargnani, the Raptors would have to make it worth their while by adding a youngster like DeMar DeRozan or Terrence Ross, though Ross was apparently off-limits in the talks for Gay, so why would that change for Gasol?
Stein doesn’t see Gasol being moved before the deadline, though, due to the uncertainty surrounding Howard and his pending free agency this summer.
Also, with Dwight’s current injury woes, they might need to keep Gasol just so they actually have a center to suit up.