The Gasol Trade Makes A Lot Of Sense

LA needs to unload Gasol and one Utah big man could be a perfect fit.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Just about every big man in the league has been connected to a possible trade with Laker Pau Gasol. It is not secret that the Lakers are looking to deal Gasol. He’s in the midst of his least productive season and not fitting into the new Mike D’Antoni offense at all. Gasol also appears to have worn down Kobe Bryant’s last nerve with Bryant’s recent outburst, taunting Gasol to, “Put on your big boy pants” and play.

One of the trade scenarios not getting as much attention as it should is the Paul Millsap for Pau Gasol option.

Millsap is a rock solid player who’s averaging 15 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. He’s also a highly productive player that is one of only three players with 2,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 200 steals, who is also shooting over 50 percent from the field. The other two are Dwight Howard and LeBron James. Not bad company.

Perhaps most enticing about Millsap is that he is healthy and historically hardly ever gets injured. With Laker players dropping right, left, and center to injury, this might be his biggest draw. Millsap is also an all-around player who is an asset on both ends of the court. He brings a tough-minded approach to the game and will give LA some grit underneath.

The real trick might be convincing Utah they want Gasol. Gasol’s only averaging 12.8 PPG and 8.8 RPG. These numbers are very comparable to Millsap and a case could be made that in an offense with more spacing and opportunities Gasol could get back to his old numbers.

The biggest problem is probably the PR attack Gasol has been under the last couple of years. He now has the reputation as a soft player that plays with little heart, while Millsap has the reputation of a hard-nosed no-nonsense guy that gets the job done. In a small market like Utah, soft players have little draw.

If the Lakers can convince Utah this is in their best interest, they should execute on this trade immediately. This will free up much needed salary cap money and acquire the type of player they need on the floor.

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Photo Credit: Getty

By: Jared Wickerham
Collection: Getty Images Sport