Feb. 5, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) looks to pass the ball around Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the second half at Barclays Center. Lakers won 92-83. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Trade Rumors: Pau Gasol for Brook Lopez?

Pau Gasol’s trade value is probably the lowest it’s ever been since he’s been a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are probably the closest that they’ve ever been to trading Gasol, too. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that if he doesn’t get traded now, he will definitely be walking come the summer – when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The fact that there is a report that the Lakers reached out to gauge the Brooklyn Nets’ interest in Gasol shouldn’t shock anyone. Except for the fact that it was the Nets that turned back the Lakers:

[ESPN]

Sources with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN.com that the Lakers did indeed engage the Nets earlier this month in some exploratory talks to see if Brooklyn had interest in such a swap. Sources say that the Nets balked at the idea when it was presented before Lopez’s injury, but it’s still noteworthy if it happened.

The Lakers were known to be, at the very least, calling around to gauge Gasol’s value before they decided to pull Pau off the market earlier this month. So determining how serious the Lakers really were with their Lopez interest is tricky … especially since Lopez’s health misfortune extinguishes any realistic hope of Pau-for-Brook talks re-igniting between now and the Feb. 20 trade deadline. Yet the mere concept of Gasol and Lopez exchanging jerseys nonetheless gets you thinking, because Lopez is owed $32.5 million over the next two seasons after this one.

Just my two cents: I don’t believe the Lakers have “pulled” Gasol off the market just yet. I believe that sooner or later, the Lakers will decide to trade Gasol. However, I’m not completely sold that they would be willing to do a swap for Lopez. Sure, he’s a young piece that the Lakers desperately need, but there are a few factors that could leave the Lakers opting against the move.

For one, the Lakers shouldn’t want to trade for someone that has injury troubles. After everything they went through with Andrew Bynum, it wouldn’t makes sense to bring in a center that has had similar injury fortunes – except Lopez has had foot struggles.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, if the Lakers would trade for a player with guaranteed money due beyond 2014-15 (which Lopez has), it would almost certainly affect the Lakers’ free agent flexibility in the summer of 2015. I’m not sure if the Lakers are willing to do that. Probably not.

Still, you have to wonder if the Lakers are starting to change their stance on this season. So far they’ve stuck to that macho motto: “We’re the Lakers and we don’t tank.”

The ultimate sign of a tank from the Lakers would be a Gasol trade. The fact that they have already reportedly looked into it says enough.

The bags are packed and the car is warming up. All the Lakers have to do is buy the ticket.

 

 

Tags: Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets Los Angeles Lakers NBA NBA Trade Rumors Pau Gasol

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