Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Can’t Afford to Deal Disgruntled Big Man Pau Gasol

Fresh off a rejuvenated tour de force in London this summer, Pau Gasol was supposed to join the NBA's newest dream team, thrive opposite the attention Dwight Howard demands down low and enjoy another dream season in Hollywood.

But like most every facet of the Lakers' season, things...well...haven't gone according to plan.

Last night in Chicago marked a new nadir in the most frustrating, schismatic season of Pau Gasol's career. He played just fine, tallying 15 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes, but he did so after coming off the bench.

Actually, let me rephrase that: He did so after coming off the bench in favor of Earl Clark.

The four-time All-Star is, understandably, troubled by his recent demotion, per TNT's Craig Sager:

Pau Gasol I talked to before the game. He is not at all happy with the decision. He says, 'I have never been a role player in my life and I don’t like it right now.' I said, 'what about the possibility that maybe your time with the Lakers could be coming to an end at the All-Star break or the trade deadline?' He said 'it certainly looks like a possibility to me.'

It's not good for anyone to have a disgruntled superstar sitting on the bench—especially a team whose season was already playing out like an episode of Passions. And given the stat Sager relayed earlier in his report (per D'Antoni, the Lakers' efficiency with Gasol and Howard on the court together is "between 26th and 28th in the league"), it would seem that retaining both centers long-term is untenable.

But panic-trading away a commodity as valuable as Pau? That, my friends, is always impossible to justify.

Why do I say panic trade? Because that's the only kind Los Angeles can afford to make. Like, literally afford to make. Per Yahoo! reporter Adrian Wojnarowski:

Trade market for Pau Gasol complicated because Lakers have made clear that they don't want back long-te...

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