Only 9 games have been played and Laker fans are already arguing about whether to trade Pau Gasol or not. I understand that the season has started off slowly than any of us would like, but did you really expect the Lakers to start out 9-0? Before the season began, many people constantly stated that it would be a slow start because all of these players would have to learn new roles. Has that already been forgotten? Is Dwight Howard’s back not being 100% or the fact that Steve Nash has already had to sit out a few games even being taken into consideration?
Instead, Laker fans were desperate for a win over the San Antonio Spurs in early November. The Lakers were playing under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff against a Spurs team who has kept their core together for many years with one of the greatest coaches of all time, Greg Popovich.
Even with the cards stacked against them, the Lakers were able to put up a great fight. There were many plays that could have changed the outcome of the game, but Pau Gasol received the most blame at the end of the day. Maybe he shouldn’t have taken the last shot or maybe he could have given the ball to Kobe Bryant. But, he thought passing the ball to a heavily guarded Kobe was too risky and took a jumper from the corner and missed. Now we want him traded again?
Pau Gasol has been one of the best big men since entering the league in 2001. He made an immediate impact as he won NBA Rookie Of The Year. In all of his 8 years with the Memphis Grizzlies, Gasol nearly averaged a double double. While being unable to make it out of the first round, he was still able to lead that team to the playoffs four times.
In 2008, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and everything went in a very positive direction from that point on. With Gasol in the starting line up, the Lakers went 22-5 and made it to the NBA Finals where Kobe had not been since the departure of Shaquille O’neal. The Lakers came up short in that Finals series (mostly because of injuries to Andrew Bynum) but were able to win the very next two championships.
Gasol had everything to do with those two championships. Against the Orlando Magic, he continued his consistent play as he averaged nearly a double double in points and rebounds. In game 7 against the classic series vs. the Celtics, Gasol’s performance has been looked over because of the poor shooting performance by Kobe Bryant and the heroic three point shot by Metta World Peace. During that game, Pau Gasol scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.
Yes, before playing with Kobe Bryant, Gasol was never able to make it out of the first round. Did Kobe make it out of the first round when he was playing with guys like Smush Parker and Kwame Brown? The Lakers have been considered a championship contender ever since the arrival of Pau.
There is no question that Gasol lacks the toughness that all Laker fans would love to see. More times than we would like, he has been outplayed by guys who he is better than. This is a weakness in his game, but do the Lakers trade him because of it? Is Gasol being “soft” the only reason why the Lakers lose games?
What about Kobe’s turnovers or his forcing of bad shots? What about Laker fans all over the World holding a collective breath every single time Metta World Peace dribbles the ball? What about the years of inconsistent play and injuries from Andrew Bynum? How about the years of bad defense and lack of athletic ability that Derek Fisher had? Only Gasol being out rebounded by a tougher guy is the reason for the Lakers losing when they lose and he should be traded?
In Gasol’s case, I believe the good far outweighs the bad. As the number 2 option, he has helped bring success back to the city of Los Angeles. How can we expect him to continue to perform well through trade rumors and death threats? Would you be able to perform your career well if you kept hearing whispers about you being fired soon?
The fans who want him traded are asking for Josh Smith. What has he done in his career besides block shots and have good scoring games here and there? I’d much rather have a proven 7 foot guy who is a great passer, quick on his feet, consistent, smart, good jump shooter, and a great dribbler for his size than a 6 ft 9 guy who only has blocked shots and a slam dunk championship to speak for himself.
Trading Pau Gasol would be a mistake by the Los Angeles Lakers. It would completely ruin what separates the Lakers from all of the other teams in the NBA. You have one of the greatest backcourts of all time matched up with two greatly skilled 7 footers. It’s a recipe for success. We are only in the second week of the regular season. Let’s give it some time to gel and see the amazing things that can come out of it. It’s only November Laker fans. We’ve already gotten a head coach fired. Let’s save the trade requests for another day.