L.A. Lakers: Could a Pau Gasol Trade Take the Lakers Back to 2008?

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a blockbuster deal before the NBA trading deadline during the 2007-08 season, the fortunes of the franchise took a dramatic and immediate turn.

The Lakers had been challenging for the top spot in the West before their season was disrupted by the first of numerous knee injuries suffered by center Andrew Bynum.

Bynum's injury cast a dark cloud over a franchise that was finally showing life after a few dismal seasons, but the acquisition of Gasol proved to be the most significant deal for the Lakers since Shaquille O'Neal arrived in Los Angeles.

Gasol teamed with Kobe Bryant to form the best post-perimeter duo in the NBA, and the Lakers went on to appear in three straight NBA Finals and win two consecutive championships in the process.

Gasol blended seamlessly into former coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense, and he had a skill set and level of basketball intelligence that seemed to be made for the scheme.

Well, Jackson and his triangle offense are now a page in Lakers history, and Gasol's parting gift to Jackson was the most dispirited and un-inspired performance in his postseason career.

Gasol averaged 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and shot 42 percent from the field during the 2011 NBA Playoffs, which is a drastic decline from his career postseason averages of 17.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 52 percent shooting from the field.

But Gasol's body language was even more depressing than his mediocre numbers, because from the first series against New Orleans Gasol appeared mentally unprepared to compete.

I'm not sure what demons were afflicting Gasol during the postseason, but his indifferent performance is a good reason for the Lakers to take a long hard look at his future with the team.

Most Lakers fans feel the team's greatest area of need is the point...

About the Author