Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Can’t Afford to Wait for All-Star Talent in Gasol Deal

If the Lakers have any intention of trading Pau Gasol, they need to do it before all of their available offers completely fall off the table. There's no guarantee they'll get an All-Star player in return.

Not only do they need to escape the death grip the salary cap holds over them, they can make just as big an impact down the stretch by bolstering the rest of their rotation with a couple of lesser-known players.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported on Friday that trade talks between the Lakers and the Rockets haven't halted quite yet. The Lakers are holding out because they want an All-Star in return for Gasol.

The Lakers, however, already have Kobe Bryant on the books for $25.2 million this season. Andrew Bynum is due to make $15.2 million. Gasol's contract has him making $18.7 million in 2011-12.

If the Lakers traded Gasol, freed up some cap space and pursued options that would fill out the rest of the lineup, they would truly be built to last.

At least for the rest of this season.

Paying a third superstar in addition to Bryant and Bynum would leave the Lakers with their hands tied in improving the rotation.

A deal with either Houston or Minnesota—both of which have reportedly been active in trade talks with L.A.—could present the Lakers with an opportunity to get younger and more versatile.

Houston is full of expiring contracts (Jordan Hill, Hasheem Thabeet, Terrence Williams and Jonny Flynn) and draft picks.

It's not hard to believe that the Rockets could craft a compelling package from their abundant resources that would help them land Gasol.

The Lakers need help before they embark on a run towards another title. It's unlikely that Gasol will be a Laker next season and L.A. has a prime opportunity to trade him for a valuable package—even if it's not in the form of an All-Star.

The role players, after all, are the ones who...

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