Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies greets his brother Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers before a game on November 23, 2012 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MUST WATCH: Ressurection
If you’re a Laker fan, buckle up. I made the mistake of watching this video at work. The first colleague of mine who walked in my door got punched square in the face. It just happened.
90 minutes with Human Resources.
I’m packing up my stuff in a cardboard box.
Thanks to @LD2K for making another hit. The 2012-2013 NBA season has already started. Inside my heart.
Blake got the dunks. Pau (and the Lakers) got the win.
Ramon Sessions was fantastic tonight - 17 pts (7-8 FG, 3-4 3PT), 5 rebs, 9 asts, 1 blk - but your game MVP was the karaoke god above.
Gasol put up big numbers - 27 pts (13-16 FG, 1-1 3PT), 9 rebs, 1 ast - but more importantly, put it on Dirk Nowitzki’s head.
TAKE DAT WIT CHU, Dirk.
What a difference not being traded makes, huh?
BREAKING: Los Angeles Lakers set to trade Pau Gasol, will land Chris Paul
Step 1 in “The Neil Plan” is nearly complete. Read about it here (written on 6/23/11).
Step 2? Offer Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Dwight Howard now. Give Kobe/CP3/Dwight as much time as possible to gel before the playoffs.
Pau for Kevin Love. Odom for Iguodala. Luke Walton for anything.
Few things in life truly swirl. Trade rumors are one of them. I am another. So, as one of the world’s foremost swirlers, I thought it’d be awfully nice of me to give you my experienced, dare I say scientific, breakdown of the trade waters surrounding the NBA and engulfing the LA Lakers.
First off, any major trade is going to have to pass across Mitch Kupchak’s desk. The Los Angeles Lakers will be at the heart of a lot of meaningful trade talk for a few reasons:
- The Lakers are always an attractive destination because the franchise always competes for a title, and the city of Los Angeles provides lots of extracurricular activities (both work and non-work related).
- The Lakers need to make a trade.
- The Lakers have some big pieces in play.
Item #1 needs no explanation, so lets head on to item #2 - the Lakers need to make a trade. Could LA win the title next year with the same team, making no changes whatsoever (aside from Mike Brown)? Yes. But why just prepare for next year, when you can load up for the next 5 years with a few strategic maneuvers? Remember Laker fans, this is a franchise with 16 banners and designs for more, not just a team trying to slip in one more run under a closing window.
Issue #3 seems be a bit of a hot button, but I’ll quickly clear up any confusion. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are highly desirable, big name assets who, coincidentally, are all in perfect position to be traded.
LAKERS ON THE MOVE?
“I have to learn from this. I have to learn that when something happens off the court, you have to keep it off the court.” - Pau Randolph Gasol
Other than making up his middle name, that’s a 100% true quote. Girlfriend trouble or not, the guy openly admitted to taking a Spanish dump in the Playoffs because of personal matters. Now ask yourself how he’s going to play with trade rumors hanging over his head? Worse yet, what happens if his dog dies? What if nobody shows up to his birthday party? Could ruin the guy. Hey, we all have lives outside of work, we just don’t all have to explain them to Kobe Bryant. Do you think Kobe will ever completely trust Gasol again?
That’s why any trade that includes Pau Gasol will be directly attributed to the silent vote of no-confidence from Bryant. Quiet about head coach Mike Brown? Who cares. Kobe hasn’t said a word in defense of his once-trusted teammate, whose neck is now firmly on the chopping block.
Let’s face it. Pau’s a white swan. I’m 100% positive. I can see all the feathers with my eyeballs. They’re white. A tiger can’t change his stripes, what made you think a swan could change colors? As fans, we have to appreciate players for who and what they are, or we’ll lost out on enjoying them altogether (totally applies to LeBron). Laker fans from Santa Monica to Barcelona all wanted Pau to be “the man” when Kobe retired, but it ain’t happening. It’s time to accept Gasol, keep him in tow as the second banana, and hope Kobe has enough left in the tank, or consider moving him. The Lakers are exploring their options, and Gasol still has the cachet of being a 2-time Champion and one of the league’s best.
Like Pau, Andrew Bynum is a potential franchise big man, a rarity in the NBA today. For that reason, teams are forced to consider trades with LA because franchise bigs don’t grow on trees. Or really anywhere else, for that matter.
Again, LA is in a good position to deal, as Bynum is young (23), on the cusp of proving he has All-Star talent, and “healthy.” The best thing to came from elbow smashing Juan Jose Barea was that Bynum made everyone forget about his multiple late-season tweaked knees.
Tweaking is not healthy. If you’re consistently tweaking anything, it’s in bad shape. Know why you keep “tweaking” that song you’ve been writing in your basement? Because it sucks, dude. On top of that, knees in general never get better. My knees are worse every day, and I almost never do anything physically active, I don’t have 300+ pounds on them, and I’m not genetically predisposed to having knee trouble in the first place.
One more injury, and Bynum is damaged goods. Untradable. You buy low, and sell high. Andrew will finally enjoy a summer without surgery, and is a 2-time Champion with a serious back-to-the-basket game. Plus, the whole “Jim Buss loves him” thing may actually be working in LA’s favor. The Bynum/Jim Buss love affair is so well known and pervasive, it’s driving up the price. GM’s assume, because the Lakers are so “in love” with him, that Bynum’s worth his weight in gold. Pretty soon, he might be worth his weight in knee braces.
This one’s very difficult for Laker fans who know LO’s been the glue for the past 2 title teams, but it’s an easy decision on the business end. Odom’s 32, he’s played 11 seasons, and he’s never been known as a tireless worker in the off-season. The odds of him drastically improving from this point forward are slim, but with a 6th Man of the Year award, his value is at a ten year high. Buy low. Sell high.
Monta Ellis is young (which the Lakers need), and can shoot (which the Lakers need), but he’s not a point guard (which the Lakers need), and doesn’t defend (which the Lakers desperately need). The Warriors turned down Lamar and Shannon Brown for Monta, and they’re not going to get a better offer than that. Consider the Monta door closed.
Kevin Love is currently a stat machine on a bad team, and those guys scare me. He’d been an all-world #3 option on a team, but if LA moves Pau Gasol to make it happen, he’ll have to dance in the #2 spot with Bynum. This situation’s not likely, as the Lakers are demanding the T-Wolves include the #2 pick in the ‘11 Draft as well, and Minnesota is rightfully reluctant to trade their best player, and their future, for a guy who may fall to pieces depending on his girlfriend.
Andre Iguodala will be a great addition to the right team. He’s a premiere wing defender (and as far as I know, LeBron still plays basketball), a great teammate (ask last summer’s USA World Championship team), and a great finisher on the break. Unfortunately, he’s not a great shooter, and despite fitting perfectly with the team’s other wings who play defense but can’t shoot, the Lakers are actually trying to break that cycle. While a Lamar and Ron Artest deal for Iguodala might free up a small forward position, a Lamar and Ron Artest probably precludes the Lakers from trading for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or Deron Williams, and that is a non-starter.
Intriguing options? Jonny Flynn was the 6th pick in the 2009 draft, was immediately placed in a triangle offense that minimizes pure point guard play, and saddled with below average teammates. Now, with the arrival of Ricky Rubio, Flynn is the odd man out, and potentially available in the bargain barrel.
Additionally, I’m not certain Denver’s in the market for a Gasol or Bynum, but if they are, the Lakers could do way worse than the physical Nene, and the sharp-shooting Gallinari, who has a penchant for the limelight and the bigger stage.
“THE NEIL PLAN”
“The Neil Plan” involves moving on Chris Paul now, then compelling the Orlando Magic to make a trade, knowing Dwight Howard prefers LA as his future destination.
Chris Paul is the correct answer and here’s why. Chris is a true point guard, and makes everyone better. We all know Bryant isn’t stepping down anytime soon, but Paul will allow Kobe to play more efficient basketball, maximizing the remainder of his career. Paul is also the bridge to the future. As he’s proven with the Hornets this season, Paul can function as the #1 option (Isiah Thomas-style) for the Lakers in two seasons when Kobe does relent (CP3 will be 28 years old then), but more importantly, Paul can facilitate a future alpha dog takeover by being his usual great and unselfish self.
The catch here is, Dwight Howard’s so good, the Lakers can’t afford to sit idly by as Orlando looks to deal. If the Magic are looking to deal before the season, tear up “The Neil Plan” and move on Dwight Howard by offering Bynum and LO, and informing Orlando they’ll receive no better offer. Mike Brown’s defense scheme with the league’s best defensive player since Dennis Rodman, plus the Lakers keep what makes them unique - two 7-footers? It’s a no-brainer.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
The Lakers are a notoriously quiet team. That’s why you never heard about LA and Pau Gasol before that deal went down. Same with Artest. Ariza’s agent balked once, and boom, Ron was on the next plane. No talk. It just happened.
The Busses are poker players. Everything’s quiet. Low key. Which is why when you hear trade rumors regarding any LA Laker, you can bet that rumor is coming from the other side, and was leaked for any number of reasons.
The fact of the matter is, the Lakers are holding all the cards. There’s no other team in the league that can offer either of two quality, championship-grade, starting centers and/or the current 6th Man of the Year, who has two rings and can play four positions. If you’re looking to make a deal, you’d be a fool to not talk to the Los Angeles Lakers.
And good news, Lakers fans, don’t fret over all of these trade rumors. Rest assured your team will get a good deal because they don’t have to panic.
The worst case scenario is the Lakers start next season with one of the greatest to ever play the game in Kobe Bryant, two 7-foot All-Stars, Lamar Odom coming off the bench, Ron Artest guarding the wing, and a brand new coaching staff ready to breathe life into a battle-tested, 2-time championship team.
(Please print this column out, draw a horse’s ass on it, and mail it to me when the Lakers screw up)
More Kobe news, this time from Peter Vecsey at the NY Post:
Bynum finished a difficult move with positive results and Gasol patted him on the butt and told him, “Great shot.”
Kobe went off on Gasol, I’m told. “[Bleep] you! That’s how you act when someone scores on you! ‘[Bleep] you!’ ”
“What happens in our practice, stays in our practice,” Kobe underlined, refusing to confirm or deny.”
Not totally mad at this, Gasol has been softer than Baron Davis’ beard, but let’s hope he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his idol MJ and punch him in the face.
In Case You Missed It….
Pau Gasol blocks a shot, then passes to Steve Blake, who throws up for Devin Ebanks.
Ebanks showcasing some skill in the air. If this doesn’t make him remind you of Ariza …