Jun 18, 2012, 9:12 AM EST
I would take this with a grain of salt, but the report from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News confirms the long-standing rumors that Pau Gasol is on the block.
The Lakers are committed to moving Pau Gasol — the fall guy for their second-round ouster against the Thunder and previous playoff failures — even if they have to take back less talent.
Of course they will take back less talent. Say what you want about Gasol being soft — something I don’t buy, he wasn’t soft in the 2009 finals when he bodied up and outplayed Dwight Howard — the guy is the most skilled big man in the post in the game right now. He struggled this season because Mike Brown kicked him out of the post and gave that space to Andrew Bynum. And sometimes Kobe Bryant. And even occasionally Metta World Peace. Brown had Gasol as a facilitator at the elbow, then people are somehow shocked Gasol doesn’t score as much and wasn’t as efficient.
When you trade a guy like Gasol, you never get back equal talent.
In spite of that, I have said the Lakers need to move one of their bigs to make the necessary roster changes to compete for a title. It’s not ideal, but with Kobe alone making $27 million next season (and $30 million the year after that) it is the only way to get the missing pieces, or at least come close. This latest rumor seems to confirm it. Although Lawrence then suggests Gasol could go back to Memphis, that’s not happening. The Lakers don’t need Rudy Gay.
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