Lakers Trade Rumors: Why Trading Pau Gasol Makes Lakers Better Long Term

Though the rumored trade of Pau Gasol to the Minnesota Timberwolves may sound lopsided in favor of the Wolves, it makes the Lakers better in the long run.

Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports reported on the potential Gasol move to Minny:

A source said Wednesday that Minnesota continues to pursue a possible trade for Lakers forward Pau Gasol, dangling rookie Derrick Williams, who is from the Los Angeles area, and draft choices. The only players considered untouchable by the Timberwolves, who are seeking to add a veteran by the trade deadline, are Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.

The Lakers are a good team this year, but they are not a championship-level team. Kobe Bryant will gut it out and keep the Lakers competitive, but they won't beat the best teams in the West come playoff time.

That said, Pau Gasol is set to make $19 million-plus per year for the next two seasons. That is a ton of cash invested in a 31-year-old power forward. Gasol is one of the game's elite big men, but with him, the Lakers aren't good enough to win it all right now.

They are currently 18-12, and an abysmal 5-10 on the road. That doesn't scream championship contender. Plus, there is no one player(s) on the horizon that will drastically change what the Lakers are destined for, which is a first- or second-round exit, at best.

Keeping Gasol handicaps the Lakers from pursuing the wing players and point guard they need to pair with Kobe and the center they plan to build around.

He also isn't the ideal power forward to play alongside a dominant presence in the middle, and that is the direction the Lakers are headed. If they retain Andrew Bynum, or are successful in their pursuit of Dwight Howard, there will be a significant presence at center.

Of the two years the Lakers won championships in Gasol's time with team, Gasol was the dominant presence in the middle.

Bynum ...

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