Los Angeles Lakers Future Will Be Better Without Pau Gasol

Parting ways with Pau Gasol is essential to what the Los Angeles Lakers wish to do next.

Whatever they wish to do.

The 33-year-old Gasol will hit unrestricted free agency in July, where any number of NBA teams looking to bolster their depth up front will be waiting. He himself even has a list of clubs he will consider.

Among those teams will be the Lakers, the organization with which he's spent six-plus seasons. Though he's found himself at the center of trade rumors for the last few years, his return remains possible.

It's just not smart, because it doesn't brighten the Lakers' immediate future nearly as much as severing ties would.


All About Them Dollars

Keeping Gasol is going to cost money. 

Lots of money.

"Money won't be the main priority," Gasol said of his next contract, via Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix. "Length and money are factors, but we'll see. Until I know all the options, I won't be able to measure them."

Would Gasol be wiling to offer the Lakers a hometown discount? Let's say yes, because optimism is fun.

Will that matter? Absolutely not.

Retaining Gasol will significantly eat into the Lakers' long-awaited cap space. He's due to make far less than the $19.3 million he earned this season, but even half that is too much to stomach.

The team already has $30-plus million invested in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash next year. Add roughly $10 million for Gasol and the Lakers are left creeping above $40 million in salary commitments to three players, each of whom are 33 or older.

That leaves them with little to spend in free agency, prohibiting them from landing a star. Yet even if they could afford a star, good luck convincing anyone to join a trio that combined to make 76 total appearances last season.

Perspective on the matt...

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