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Pau Gasol to Charlotte? That’s not likely, nor is any other Pau Gasol trade

Feb 18, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is trying. He doesn’t want to lose Pau Gasol for nothing.

The Lakers are talking to teams about moving Gasol at the trade deadline. However, finding a team that wants to rent a guy making $19.3 million (he is a free agent after this season) and give the Lakers anything of value in return has been very difficult. To put it mildly.

The latest talks were with the Charlotte Bobcats, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, but those are unlikely as well.

The Charlotte Bobcats have been in contact with the Los Angeles Lakers concerning veteran big man Pau Gasol, but a source familiar with the discussion downplayed the likelihood Gasol would end up a Bobcat by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Most likely after the trade deadline Gasol is a Laker.

First and foremost, teams are hesitant to deal for Gasol because he is not healthy, he has a lingering groin strain that has him out. He could potentially return and be showcased for one game before the trade deadline, that call has yet to be made, but is that really enough? Are teams going to make this kind of a deal for a guy battling a lingering issue?

To make this work Charlotte would have to send the expiring contract of Ben Gordon (unless Los Angeles wanted Al Jefferson) plus more out West. The Lakers are known to want a first round pick or a promising young player in any such deal, they want to jump start their rebuilding.

Charlotte has future picks from Portland and Detroit, but it want to slow its own rebuild down to have Gasol help them secure a low playoff seed? That shouldn’t be how they operate and Bonnell says it is not.

While adding Gasol could give the Bobcats the short-term boost to make the playoffs, giving up a first-round pick would make Gasol more of a long-term investment. That’s where the Bobcats would have pause.

Gasol turns 34 in July and is playing his 15th NBA season. Is he a long-term fit for the Bobcats, particularly the way Steve Clifford coaches defense? Would Gasol, a Spaniard who has played in Los Angeles the past six seasons, be receptive to finishing out his career in Charlotte?

The Suns are sort of in the same boat — they may have four first round picks this season to sweeten the deal (plus Emeka Okafor’s expiring deal) but is that worth it just to rent a banged-up Gasol for the playoffs? Phoenix is not giving up it’s protected top two first round picks (Minnesota’s and Washington’s), but maybe their bottom one (they own the Pacers’ pick) or their own with protections. Maybe.

Brandon Bass of the Celtics may be a more realistic option for Phoenix, reports Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic.

The Lakers are trying because Gasol is not going to be back with this team next season. Kobe Bryant may love him but he doesn’t fit with Mike D’Antoni’s system and he will get other offers (Chicago? Although they could have Nikola Mirotic coming) where the money and style of play suit him better. Both sides are ready to move on. We’ll see if the Lakers can get anything for him before he walks.

  1. loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    I love the Spaniard. I just wish his impending exit from LA would be more gracious.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM


  2. billtetley53 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    How does this “wonderful brain trust” running the lakers let it come to this?

    He should have been dealt last year, but they foolish thought that they had a shot at a title. The delusional fanbase dictates what the front office does…..pathetic.

    I really hope this is a long, slow, painful rebuild for the lakers, 95% of the fanbase deserves tonnage this team stink for a decade or more.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      i highly doubt any franchise let the fanbase dictate the moves…especially one that has had moderate to great success the past 30 years.

      also, i wouldn’t say “foolishly”. Vegas had them as the favorites to win…and Vegas is not in the business to lose money. It was well documented that injuries, coaching, chemistry killed them. not sure what else needs to be said about that.

      ahhh, i get it. the third part of your comment clearly defines your opinion. well, we will see. the lakers definitely need the ping-pong to fall to them if they are looking to rebuild quicker.

      • sumkat - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        As much success as the Lakers have had over the last 30 years, it wasn’t on this Buss’s watch.

        Not saying the fanbase dictate’s their moves, I don’t think they do. But you can’t just assume that, since the guy that was in charge for all of that success is no longer with us

        they did put together a team with a 1, MAYBE 2 year window last year. By the deadline, it was clear it wasn’t working out, and he should of been moved. I don’t think the old man would of made that mistake. I think if they make this trade 12 months ago this time, they could of go both of those Washington/Wolves pick in the upcoming draft, and would look to be in much better shape going forward

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      they did have a shot at the title last year. Howard was finally playing well towards the end of the year, and they were starting to get completely healthy and figure things out, but then kobe tore his achilles. They were a lot closer than you think and it would have been more foolish to give that up by trading pau by the deadline last year.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        No. Way. If Kobe plays with the Lakers in round 1 the Spurs win 4-1. A team that has yet to establish championship-level chemistry will not suddenly kick into gear in the playoffs. I respect Kobe and his drive, but the Lakers weren’t going anywhere with the 20th ranked defensel

    • stephenlin - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      “Should have been dealt last year…” The hindsight is 20/20 rule is very strong with this one.

    • xonxrocket - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      They did trade him and Odom two seasons ago for Chris Paul.

  3. aboogy123456 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Everyone acts like Pau leaving the lakers is a foregone conclusion, but I just don’t see him signing with another team this summer. The Bobcats and suns are both potential destinations, but the lakers still value Pau and will make him an offer, and I think he would take a little less just to stay in LA. He still has a few good years left, and I really hope he stays.

    • therealhtj - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      They won’t sign him to anything more than a 1 year deal, and that’s only if they don’t land a premiere free agent. He’ll likely want one last longer-term deal in the 3/25-30 range. The Lakers FO would be foolish to give him that, but they’ve done dumber things already this year.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        If they don’t land a premiere free agent, why do you think it would have to be a one year deal? If they sign pau this summer to 3 years, they still can afford Love the following summer. I think if the lakers were to spend big this summer on other free agents, then they would have to let pau go or only offer 1 year, knowing they need the cap space for love.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Pau and Love don’t seem like a good pair in the post.

      • therealhtj - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        You’re thinking too small Laker fan. Do you want money tied up in an aging Pau Gasol or do you want enough room for two max free agents in the summer of 2015 when both Love and Rondo will be available? Pair them with a hopefully ready to pass the torch Kobe and whomever they select in the draft, and you may have a contender on your hands.

        Swap out a max FA with Pau + a moderate bench piece/rotation player and you’re a 2nd round & out team yet again.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        I agree asimonetti. It could work on offense, with love stretching the court and pau dominating the post, but I think the ideal pairing with Love is someone who is a great help defender because he’s so bad on D. Pau is a strong man defender, but doesn’t really protect the paint like they would need. That’s why I hope they keep jordan hill.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        That’s the key, therealhtj.

        The Lakers have made it clear, based on the signings they made this past offseason, that they’re not willing to sacrifice cap flexibility in the future for anybody not named Kobe.

        If the Lakers can’t find a bigger name this offseason, would they make an offer to Pau? Probably. But they’re not going to sacrifice long-term cap flexibility for a player who has been injury plagued the past 2 years and who would be very expensive even if he does take a bit of a paycut.

        Last, Pau would likely demand a no-trade clause given that he’s been involved in trade rumors every year for the past several years, and has openly complained about how hearing those rumors weigh on him. I don’t think the Lakers would agree to that.

      • therealhtj - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        Agreed CC, although I believe no-trade clauses were eliminated two CBA’s ago. Kobe’s is grandfathered in, and by virtue of extending him as opposed to letting his contract run out and re-signing him, will continue for another 2 years. KG and Dirk also have them. KG’s may remain in tact until he retires likely at the end of the season. Dirk’s will likely be done after his current contract expires.

  4. scbaby2013 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    I hope pau stays. But with this clueless owner, coach, and injuries who the heck knows

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