The Lakers are unsure whether they should trade Pau Gasol or not, according to the Los Angeles Times:
The Lakers are reluctant to deal him because of the unthinkable — Dwight Howard leaving several months later as a free agent. They don’t want to go from two quality 7-footers to none.
“They’re in a bind,” said a person familiar with the situation.
The trade deadline is Feb. 21. Howard becomes a free agent July 1.
Aside from the small possibility that Dwight Howard leaves in the summer, another reason the Lakers may be hesitant to trade Pau could be down to the fact there’s just not many great offers out there for him right not.
Marc Stein said at the weekend that there was a growing assumption that the Lakers wouldn’t move Gasol:
Even before Jim Buss’ appearance Thursday on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, there was a growing sense among those congregated in Reno that the Lakers don’t have another blockbuster move in them this season.
They’re going to need a 30-15 finish just to get to the 45 wins that are typically sufficient to snag the eighth playoff spot in the West. But the sense out there is that trading Pau Gasol — even if the Lakers could actually find a deal they like when Gasol’s numbers, mobility and trade value are at all-time lows at age 32 — would just as likely lead to more upheaval and adjustment for a team that fired Mike Brown after a mere five games, stunningly chose Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson as Brown’s replacement and then had to wait 20-plus more games before reintroducing Steve Nash into the lineup.
I’d expect the Lakers’ reservations on whether to move Pau are more down to the fact of the value they’re getting back, as opposed to how the new pieces would fit in and whether Howard will re-sign in the summer.
If Gasol was traded, he’d likely be moved for more depth – not main, focal point-type players – so integrating them into the system wouldn’t be such a big deal, seeing as they’d just have to play off the main guys.
Also, the chances of Dwight leaving in free agency are slim-to-none. He’d be missing out on nearly $30 million if he went elsewhere…and where would he go? Brooklyn don’t have the cap space to sign him. Dallas aren’t going anywhere soon. Los Angeles is the perfect city for Howard – both now and in the future.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Pau plays once he returns from his concussion: it could ultimately decide his fate in Los Angeles.