Why the Los Angeles Lakers Should Not Trade Pau Gasol

There has been a lot of talk lately about why the Los Angeles Lakers absolutely have to make a trade, any trade that will send Pau Gasol packing before the Feb. 20 deadline.

Step away from the edge, people. Let’s forget the hype and the headlines for just a moment. Let’s look at the situation clearly and logically.

Ultimately, the simplest way to improve the Lakers roster may be to do nothing at all.

How is that possible? Inertia never solved anything! And after all, Gasol represents a massive expiring contract and the single most obvious way to make a move.

Not necessarily.

First, let’s acknowledge that management has explored moving the two-time NBA champion for years. It almost got there with a three-team agreement in December 2011 that would have resulted in Gasol going to the Houston Rockets, Chris Paul coming to the Lakers and Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and a 2012 first-round draft pick all going to the New Orleans Hornets.

That deal, of course, was famously eradicated by then NBA commissioner David Stern.

Gasol has been inquired after ever since, and the Lakers have continued to listen. They have held firm, however, that any exchange would need to result in demonstrable value coming back—either a meaningful player, solid draft picks, real cost savings or some combination thereof.

The most recent rumors have involved swapping Gasol’s expiring contract for that of Emeka Okafor, who has been sidelined all season with a neck injury.

Earlier this month, Marc Stein for ESPN broke down the financial benefits for the Lakers:

The $4.8 million difference between Gasol's cap number and Okafor's would immediately drop the Lakers less than $3 million away from the league's luxury-tax threshold, meaning one more smaller deal before the Feb. 20 trade deadline could conceivably be enough to take them ou...

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