By Alex Groberman, Tue, December 04, 2012 LINK
Pau Gasol was the subject of non-stop trade speculation all last year. Despite the fact that nearly all of his minor statistical declines in 2011-12 could be directly tied to Lamar Odom’s departure and Andrew Bynum’s career year, Lakers fans wanted to hear none of it. They seemed to be of one mind when it came to the power forward who took them to three NBA Finals and delivered two banners to Tinseltown.
He’s soft. He’s useless. He should go.
That was last year, when Gasol wasn’t anywhere nearly as bad as folks tried to make him out to be. This year, he is as bad as folks are making him out to be. He is playing hurt. He is playing out of position. He doesn’t fit into Mike D’Antoni’s system at all – hence his declining minutes. And, most importantly, he is averaging career lows in points (12.6) and field goal percentage (42). If he was scoring fewer points but still doing his damage efficiently, that would be one thing. But he’s actually a detriment to the team right now.
Understandably, the rumors regarding Gasol being shipped out have once again gotten very loud. The most recent intriguing one comes by way of Lakers Nation, and it involves New Orleans Hornets power forward Ryan Anderson.
The interest is coming from the Lakers, not New Orleans. Mitch (Kupchak) would prefer to keep Pau, as would Kobe. Jim (Buss) would prefer to continue cleaning house, and bring in players able to fit a more fast-paced style of play.
Kupchak was clear about these facts 1.) No deal was imminent. 2.) Any proposed deal for Anderson would likely require a third team. 3.) Naturally, Gasol was generating a lot of interest from around the league, but reinforced that nothing was imminent.
Anderson, for what it’s worth, is averaging 17.5 points and eight rebounds per game.
So, what are the odds this move gets made? Slim. The Hornets have zero use for Gasol. He has two things that no young team in the NBA needs: a.) more than $38 million owned to him over the next two years and b.) 32 years of life under his belt.
Gasol’s hefty contract and age basically ensure that this won’t go down.
Remember, folks: the reasons that Lakers fans want Gasol gone are the same ones that make other teams wary of taking him on.