NBA Rumors: Teams Who Would Become Instant Contenders with Pau Gasol

One of the most intriguing, yet annoying, storylines in the NBA this past calendar year has undoubtedly been Pau Gasol's trade speculation.

Despite being one of the most skilled big men in the league and being a key contributor in a multiple championship run with the Los Angeles Lakers, they've repeatedly marked him as an expendable player and have made no secret of shopping him around.

Gasol has to be gassed over the whole process, but he still managed to put up impressive numbers for being the No. 2 option in his own frontcourt behind Andrew Bynum. Sure, 17.4 points per game is his lowest since 2004-05, but it's still 17.4 points per game (coupled with a menacing 10.4 rebounds, by the way). And without head coach Mike Brown diminishing his role in the offense, it would've been much higher.

The 11-year veteran's time with the Lakers is inevitably coming to a close. But are there plenty of teams in the league who could bring in Gasol as their best player? Absolutely.

Let's take a look at teams who would instantly become playoff contenders with Gasol.


Houston Rockets

The Rockets were definitely the most active team prior to Thursday night's draft, loading up picks for a potential move to acquire Gasol, or even Dwight Howard. 

They didn't end up making such a move before picking with their 12th, 16th and 18th picks in the draft, which they used to pick up UConn guard Jeremy Lamb, Iowa State's Royce White and Kentucky's Terrence Jones.

While none of these players are set to become franchise players, and the Rockets' past few days could turn out to be a disastrous stretch of decisions, Lamb and Jones are dripping with potential that could make them very effective players in this league.

With L.A.'s team changing heavily, they could look at any three of these draft picks as solid assets to improve their bench and enter in as starters in th...

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