The Lakers have been fielding trade offers for Pau Gasol for “a while,” sources tell Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, who reports that the team may be moving toward finding a new home for the big man. According to Deveney, tensions between Gasol and coach Mike D’Antoni have been “simmering” for the last year.
“I don’t think there is anything personal between the two guys,” one of Deveney’s sources said of D’Antoni and Gasol. “They’re both professionals. I don’t think they’re buddies or anything. But on the court, it is just not working out.”
Gasol has been the subject of plenty of trade rumors in the past couple years, but has always been considered a tough player to move. The fact that he’s on an expiring contract helps, but his $19MM+ salary will make it difficult to find a taker, especially considering the Lakers are reluctant to take on multiyear contracts that would compromise the team’s projected cap space for 2014 and/or 2015.
Additionally, Gasol’s play on the court this season hasn’t increased his trade value at all. The Lakers expected the 33-year-old to return to All-Star form following the departure of Dwight Howard, with whom Gasol never quite meshed. Instead, his .417 FG% and 15.4 PER are the worst marks of his 13-year career.
If the Lakers were to seriously consider a trade involving Pau, they would likely need to get at least one big man in return to bolster a thin frontcourt, says Deveney. L.A. would also like to get younger, so landing at least one draft pick would be a key, according to Deveney’s source. Given that asking price, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gasol simply stayed put, forcing the Lakers to make a decision next summer on whether or not the Spaniard will be a part of their future.