The Los Angeles Lakers must trade Pau Gasol before the February 20th trade deadline. The likelihood of a trade has become more probable with the resurgence of Gasol offensively: he’s averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds per game this last month. With the season lost, the Lakers will look to rid themselves of Gasol’s expiring contract with hopes of collecting draft picks and swapping other expiring contracts.
The Lakers, now drifting deep into the NBA lottery abyss, and sitting at 16-31, want to dump Gasol’s $19.3 million contract on any takers. New reports have surfaced via LA Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan that the Phoenix Suns have expressed interest in acquiring Gasol’s expiring contract in return for Emeka Okafor and a possible first round draft pick.
The Suns would benefit immediately if they were to acquire Gasol. With championship experience and endless selflessness, Gasol will always be a reliable and trustworthy teammate, something purple and gold faithful have come to know for years.
The Lakers want to get this done soon, and if this trade can happen, receiving the 1st round pick and expiring contract in Okafor could be extremely beneficial for this ‘tanking’ organization.
A Laker Legacy
Gasol arrived from Memphis back in 2007 for what seemed like pennies at the time; the rights to his not so ‘baby’ brother Marc Gasol, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year winner. Pau helped the Lakers reach three consecutive NBA title bouts, losing the first to Boston, then winning the next two against Orlando and a familiar Boston foe.
The Lakers needed Kobe Bryant to reach three straight titles, but would have never won any titles had Gasol not been there. Many could argue he was the most important piece to the Lakers’ back to back Championship run, helping Kobe and the Lakers bring a balanced attack offensively every night.
Gasol has always been one of my favorite players. He embodies the perfect teammate. His physical ability should be overshadowed by his incredible mind and heart, because he is truly a special human being. One of the NBA’s great humanitarians, Gasol, has been an ambassador of UNICEF since 2003.
With all he has done off the court, Gasol should still be recognized as one of the craftiest bigs of all time. His ability to shoot 15 foot jumpers with ease, passing skills, and off hand ability around the rim have led him to a Hall of Fame career and spot on the Lakers’ retired jersey wall with the likes of Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and so on.
Even though it will be hard to see Gasol go, it is time. It has been time for awhile now, ever since the Lakers dealt him to New Orleans for Chris Paul, three seasons ago. Since that incident, Gasol hasn’t felt the ‘Laker love’ from the organization, being the center piece for a trade every offseason.
With his contract coming off the books after this season, the Lakers will try to get something for Gasol now, with him not in their rebuilding plans. For both the Lakers and Gasol, a change is needed and likely.
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