Los Angeles Lakers Must Resist Urge to Trade Pau Gasol After Steve Nash Deal

The Los Angeles Lakers made fireworks on the Fourth of July with a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns.

Suddenly, Lakers fans had reason to turn their frowns upside down during discussions about a championship window. Indeed, such discussion hinges on whether the Lakers keep trying to move Pau Gasol.

Acquiring Nash brought the Lakers closer to having a fully dynamic lineup when it comes to offense. Without a question, Kobe Bryant remains an amazing offensive player.

In 2011-12, Andrew Bynum finally blossomed into the dynamo Lakers fans knew he could be. At 38, Nash has defied age with his remaining capabilities.

Metta World Peace is a non-factor on offense on most nights.

That brings us to Gasol. While Gasol is on the decline, he's still a force on offense. Despite an 11-point drop in offensive rating from 2010-11 to 2011-12, Gasol produced a stellar 112 points per 100 possessions.

He remained a strong inside ball-handler, turning it over on 12.1 percent of possessions, the fourth-best rate of his career.

Gasol is a strong passer, especially for a power forward. He averaged 3.7 assists per game, the second highest average of his career. That ranked him second among power forwards, behind only Josh Smith.

While Gasol's scoring average was down a bit (from 18.8 per game in 2010-11 to 17.4 per game in 2011-12), he was still eighth in the category among power forwards who played in at least 50 games. Thus, he continues to provide a scoring punch that's not easy to replace for his position.

With the strong offensive tools that Gasol has, compared to those at his position, it's hard to think that the Lakers would trade him.

Anyway, besides Dwight Howard, the trade rumors involving Gasol would fall far short of providing immediate relief. According to the Associated Press (via SI.com), the Minnesota Timberwolves had tried to ...

About the Author