SportsNation Blog Archives Pau Gasol
Favorites in NBA's East?
Less than a week into the NBA's official free agency, nearly all of the big names have made their decisions. And while the Western Conference saw little movement, the East saw some deals that will certainly shake things up.
LeBron James, in case you hadn't heard, left the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat, though, kept Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and added Luol Deng in the process. The Chicago Bulls picked up Pau Gasol and brought over Montenegro-born Nikola Mirotic from Spain to team with a (presumably) healthy Derrick Rose. And the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday saw Lance Stephenson go to the new-look Charlotte Hornets. (Also, let's not forget about Carmelo Anthony staying with the New York Knicks and Jason Kidd leaving the Brooklyn Nets to coach the Milwaukee Bucks.) Naturally, there are a lot of questions ...
Have Lakers lost their allure?
It's conventional wisdom in NBA circles that a free agent, any free agent, would want to play for the prestigious Los Angeles Lakers. The weather. The history. The celebs. Kobe, for at least a little while longer. Then again, things aren't looking so good for the team that once earned the nickname "Showtime."
A win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday got overshadowed by its bizarre finish, in which a little-known rule allowed Lakers center Robert Sacre to remain on the court despite having fouled out (the team had no other healthy players; it was assessed a technical foul). This bumped the Lakers all the way "up" to 17-32 on the year as they await word on Kobe Bryant's health ... and the possible relocation of free-agent-to-be Pau Gasol. Meanwhile, Magic Johnson says he'll happily make calls on his old team's behalf to lure prospective free agents. But shouldn't the team's reputation speak for itself?
Andrew Bynum, Luol Deng traded
The Cleveland Cavaliers have ended their experiment with Andrew Bynum, trading the troubled star to the Bulls for Luol Deng and several future draft picks. Chicago is expected to waive Bynum shortly, thereby saving them a heap of salary as they prepare for Derrick Rose's return next season, while the Cavaliers seem to be attempting to build a core around Kyrie Irving. As for Bynum, he's still attracting interest from contenders around the league, although his occasionally brilliant career may be coming to an end soon. Meanwhile, the Lakers (who had been pitching a possible Bynum-Pau Gasol trade) will have to look elsewhere in order to avoid the luxury tax.
Bynum, Gasol on trading block?
The Lakers seemed to be happy with their decision not to trade Pau Gasol, but now that Kobe Bryant is out for six weeks, they seem to be putting Gasol back out there. They've discussed one potential deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which would exchange Gasol for Andrew Bynum. The Cavaliers would receive a veteran to complement Kyrie Irving, while the Lakers could waive Bynum in order to save more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. Not exactly a standard blockbuster trade for the Lakers, but when your playoff hopes are slim, sometimes you have to look to the future.
Pa Gasol has been a key part of the Lakers for years, and it looks like he'll remain with the team for the immediate future. The Lakers have reportedly decided not to trade him, at least for the moment, as they're happy with his play in recent games. Gasol is averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, with a 21-point performance on Tuesday night. This could all be just a smokescreen, however -- the Lakers are 12-13 and might need to make a significant move if they want to stay competitive in the brutally tough Western Conference.
Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story: