|Llama on the move?|
The Los Angeles Lakers, largely at the behest of general manager Mitch Kupchak, have rebuffed trade inquiries from at least two teams for Pau Gasol, according to sources with knowledge of the Lakers' thinking.
The story goes on to name the Raptors and Timberwolves as the two teams that have contacted the Lakers. For Toronto the deal would be centered around Andrea Bargnani, with Jose Calderon and Linas Kleiza as other potential chips. As for Minnesota, Derrick Williams (the #2 pick of the 2011 draft) and Nikola Pekovic are the names mentioned. However, despite interest from both teams the Lakers are reportedly wary of dealing The Big Llama before seeing how Steve Nash's return impacts the team as a whole, and Gasol as an individual.
Makes some sense I suppose. But if I'm them I look at Bargnani as the prototypical stretch four that would get countless open looks in D'Antoni's system. All we've learned about Bargnani so far is that a team cannot be successful with him as the number one option, but what about as a distant 3rd option, able to run the floor and shoot open jumpers? That Bargnani could be a definite asset.
The T'Wolves option makes less sense, Williams has struggled to find minutes in Minnesota, and Pekovic, while talented, is a center, and only a center. The Lakers have one of those already.
Complicating all of this is Gasol's current struggles to stay healthy, as he's dealing with tendinitis in both knees. However if Gasol can get back on the court it's clear that other team's in the league are still willing to give up legitimate talent for his services.
The article also talks about Kobe Bryant's relationship with Gasol, one that has had it's ups and downs over the years. But Bryant, despite his recent criticism of Gasol ('Big boy pants'), was very vocal in defending Gasol on Wednesday.
"I love Pau like a brother, I really do. I want him to dominate like I know he can.
I want him to dig in and be determined, not discouraged. We should go to him more on the post because he can dominate from there as he has to the tune of two rings. I'm sure we will adjust and figure out a balance when he comes back healthy.
From a Celtics perspective, I'm torn. If the 2003-2011 version of Gasol is truly dead, I don't want to see LA get good, young players for him. However if that version of Gasol could be awakened (possibly by Nash), then he is still the best player rumored in these deals. In other words - I have no idea what the hell to root for.
Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13 Mike Dyer 12/06/2012 01:35:00 PM Tweet