Among several names in the NBA that have made their way into the mainstream media via trade rumors, there is one name that stands out to me: Pau Gasol. Mainly because he is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but also because I don't think he is going to be targeted by many teams. His body of work over his career is pretty impressive - a two-time NBA champion, a four-time NBA All-Star, All-Rookie First Team, All-NBA Second Team, a FIBA Word Championship MVP, and a seven-time European Player of the Year - however, moving Gasol will prove to be a challenge.
Why? Let's take a look:
If I know the Los Angeles Lakers like I think I do, ideally, they'll want either a first-round draft pick or a star player in return for Gasol. They think that he commands that kind of return, when in reality I'm going to have to say he doesn't. In fact, when Gasol was initially traded away in the Chris Paul deal that got vetoed by the league, I was ecstatic. (Of course, until the league actually vetoed the trade.) I liked it because we were getting the point guard we desperately needed while unloading Gasol's monstrosity of a contract - leading me to my next point.
Pau Gasol's contact is huge. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Over the next two years, Gasol is owed exactly $38,285,850, easily making him one of the ten highest-paid players in the entire league. At this point, I don't see an NBA team willing to take on Gasol - or his contract - unless the Lakers help out with his salary; which I'm assuming they won't/can't do. If there's anything besides that fact that his contract is so big, it's that he had the worst year of his career in 2011, completely failing to justify the large sum he is owed.
Gasol had the lowest PPG average of his entire career, as well as the second lowest FG-percentage of his career in 2011-2012. While his rebounding stayed fairly consistent, his blocks per game dropped off just a little bit. But what was most concerning was his lack of success in the playoffs. He averaged a career low 12.5 PPG - not too dissimilar from his 2010-2011 playoffs 13.2 PPG but completely off from the rest of his career having averaged 18.5 PPG in the playoffs.
With his numbers being down, even slightly, he's not a very attractive target for most teams. Then again, there are plenty of teams who need a center/power forward and Gasol could be attractive for the right price - a price I don't think the Lakers will be willing to match.
Food for thought: Will the Lakers find a suitor for Pau Gasol or will he remain a member of the team through the end of his contract? What kind of deal would you expect in return for Pau Gasol? In other words, do you value him as highly as the Lakers do, expecting a star player or first-round draft pick in return?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Basketball-Reference.com. Pau Gasol stats. NBA 2012.
IBTimes.com. Lakers Trade Rumors. NBA 2012.
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