With Los Angeles Lakers all-star forward Pau Gasol sitting due to knee tendinitis, the trade rumors about him have been raging. ESPNLos Angeles columnist Dave McMenamin recently reported that General Manager Mitch Kupchak will begin investing potential trades involving the two-time champion if his play remains the same,
“a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has recently spoken to Gasol’s representatives and the gist of the conversation was that if Gasol is unable to adjust to D’Antoni’s system, the team will have no choice but to search for possible trade scenarios”
Kobe Bryant, in a Ramona Shelburne story, has spoken in favor of Gasol despite his playing woes and the recent speculations,
“I love Pau like a brother,” Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday. “I really do. I want him to dominate like I know he can.”
“I want him to dig in and be determined, not discouraged,” Bryant continued. “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.”
Normally, teams would be calling consistently to discuss the possible trade scenarios but this year the circumstances are different. Within head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system the power forward is a strong defensive player with a lot of athleticism who is a good mid-range and three point shooter. Unfortunately, Pau is not that type of player and it does not aid to his cause that he is statistically having one of his worst seasons averaging 12 points, and 8 rebounds per game while shooting 42 percent. Not only has that occurred but Pau’s backup Antawan Jamison hit a groove averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds on 58.2 percent shooting off the bench over the past five games with increased playing time.
New Orleans Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith are all figured to be the primary targets within potential trade discussions. Yet due to Stoduemire’s back, knee, and hand injuries, Smith’s limited offensive game (as in shooting consistency) Ryan looks as the most sensible out of the three and suitable for the offense. There has also been speculation that Toronto Raptor star forward/center Andrea Bargnani could be discussed due to his shooting abilities and youth to pair with center Dwight Howard for the future.
Coach D’Antoni will evaluate how Jamsion plays in Gasol’s absence to see if he continues his consistent play. If Jamison does play well he could ultimately become Pau’s replacement. This news would be tough for Laker fans to take as Gasol became the key piece to the Lakers championship runs, however it will be the first required move to transition toward Coach D’Antoni’s version of “Showtime”.