Thursday, February 16, 2012
Pau Gasol still unsure of his future in Los Angeles
By Brian Kamenetzky
It's been a couple months since the failed mega deal that would have sent Pau Gasol to Houston, bringing Chris Paul to L.A. (wearing purple and gold, specifically) in return. But just because David Stern put the kibosh on that deal doesn't mean the end of Gasol-related rumors.
While he's worked proactively to set the rumors aside, Gasol told me today he still senses the Lakers are are ready to move him once a good enough deal comes along. "There's talks and rumors every day. Today I was reading it was Minnesota is really interested in trying to put a good package together," he said. "[Other teams are] calling, and it seems like things are just waiting for the right offer to come along for [the Lakers] to pull the trigger."
As he's done every time he's been asked since the failed CP3 deal, Gasol reiterated a desire to stay in L.A., but acknowledges "It's out of my hands... I'd like to make his team better and get back to a championship level, but it's not up to me." As it was in the immediate aftermath of the December non-deal when it appeared the Paul trade might be revived, Gasol said he just wished he knew one way or the other.
"It would give me some peace, or more peace," he said.
"Every day I tell myself, try to let it go. Don't think about it. Have fun, be the player you are out there. That's all that you can do."
At least as it relates to his on court performance, Gasol is effectively setting aside the off court stuff. While his shooting percentage is down (46.8 percent), over seven February games Gasol has produced 18.6 points, 14 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks a night. As for the rumor itself, the latest sends Pau to Minnesota in exchange for anything not named Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio. Almost certainly any package would be centered around Derrick Williams, the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, plus whatever else Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss might want off David Kahn's roster, which while improving still has an Island of Misfit Toys feel after Love and Rubio.
Even if the Lakers managed to acquire a point guard in the process (Luke Ridnour?), there's no way this sort of deal actually improves them. It only makes sense (and avoids a totally apoplectic Kobe Bryant) if the Lakers believed strongly they could use Williams as a chip in another trade, or as part of a three-team swap. Certainly he'd have some appeal as a young, potential cornerstone. Enough to help swing trades for Dwight Howard or Deron Williams? Who knows.
On the "Sure, that could happen!" scale, this one rates pretty low. I suspect its roots are somewhere in Minnesota, rather than El Segundo.