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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Should Mavs be interested in Pau Gasol?

By Tim MacMahon

The Mavericks simply don’t have the assets to pull off a blockbuster deal for Dwight Howard before the trade deadline. Nor do the Lakers have the incentive to trade a big man in his prime whom they plan to build around.

The Lakers, however, are likely looking to unload four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol for pennies on the dollar after coach Mike D’Antoni banished him to a bench role and basically declared that Gasol and Howard can’t play together.

Should the Mavs be interested in Gasol? It’d be intriguing to see the 7-foot Spaniard paired with Dirk Nowitzki, a tandem of the two most accomplished NBA Euro products of all-time. However, Gasol’s $19.3 million salary next season means dealing for him would forfeit any significant financial flexibility the Mavs would have next summer.

For the sake of discussion – and to be clear, this is all pure speculation, not legitimate rumors – let’s say a package of Chris Kaman, Vince Carter and expiring salary filler (such as Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright) would get the deal done. I don’t see how the Lakers could turn down a deal that would give them major luxury-tax relief while adding two offensive weapons to their bench. (I'd actually like the Lakers to sweeten the pot with a first-round pick, but they can't do that due to the ones they gave up to get Steve Nash.)

From a Mavs’ perspective, wouldya?

I wouldn’t despite firmly believing that the 32-year-old Gasol will be the double-double machine he was over the last few years once he ends up on a team that will feature him again. The defensive fit with Dirk is a concern, but the money is the reason this wouldn’t make sense for the Mavs.

If the Mavs are going to sacrifice their summer flexibility, it better be for a player that can be a part of the post-Dirk foundation. Gasol isn’t a guy who could make the Mavs legitimate contenders now, so he’s not worth giving up the slim chance to sign Howard or the realistic possibility of recruiting other free agents, such as Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe.

So, in summary, this post was pretty much a waste of time, but that tends to happen when the Mavs have four days off and the Bank of Cuban is open.