January 19, 2013 by Brandon Keller
Pau gotta go. I mean, the second the Lakers ditched Phil’s Philosophy and the Triangle for 7 seconds or less, it became clear that Pau was being pointed towards the exit with two giant middle fingers. In the D’Antoni system he is trying to be a stretch four, which is a shame because the dude is a stud in the post and an underrated passer out of double teams. With that in mind, let’s give Pau his walking papers and find the five best trade suitors for the man Will Purvis calls the Iberian Hammer.
1. Pau Gasol to the Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey MozgovGallo, at 6’10”, can play the stretch four in the modern “position-less” NBA and provide Dwight ample room in the paint to do Dwight Howard things. Wilson Chandler provides some fresh young legs that can run the break, hit threes and play defense. Mozgov is a throw in to make the salaries work, however he is a capable backup big who can contribute now that Jordan Hill is out for the year. For the Nuggets they finally get a center they can rely on (Sorry JaVale) while cutting some of the fat on the wings to tighten up their rotation.
2. Pau Gasol to the Raptors for Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani
The Lakers get the stretch four they need and a point guard to anchor the offense when Gatsby is sitting. You don’t want Nash playing more than 30-32 minutes a night, so the Lakers are in desperate need of a capable backup point. With Bargnani, the Lakers are hoping he can play a passable Ryan Anderson impersonation next to Dwight. The Raptors get a skilled offensive centerpiece who can show talented rookie big man Jonas Valanciunas the best way to groan loudly when “fouled”.
3. Pau Gasol, Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison to the Mavericks for Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Roddy Beaubois and Chris Kaman
Not exactly getting younger here, but at least getting deeper. Marion is a rugged defender who D’Antoni is comfortable playing at power forward. Carter would be a great sixth man, and this year he is playing tough defense and embracing his role as a “veteran”. Hopefully Beaubois can fulfill his immense potential by going to the Nash point guard school, and Kaman is a perfect third big. As for the Mavericks, how scary come playoff time is a front court featuring Dirk and Pau?
4. Pau Gasol and Steve Blake to the Bucks for Ersan Ilyasova, Beno Udrih, Mike Dunleavy and John Henson
Shooting is the name of the game. As any Suns fan can tell you, the thing that made D’Antoni’s system so dangerous is the volume of open threes that become available, and the Lakers right now do not have the personel to take advantage. With Ilyasova they get a power forward who can shoot the three ball, and Udrih and Dunleavy are two excellent shooters who are smart and play hard. Finally, you get Henson, a young and talented big who may not contribute this year but eventually can be a shot blocking menace. The Bucks go from fringe playoff team to a legit playoff team with a core of Jennings, Ellis, Pau and Larry Sanders.
5. Pau Gasol to the Hawks for Josh Smith and Kyle KorverI am not as crazy about this one as other people are. Do you really want two guys as immature as Dwight and J-Smooth on the same team? Most think that Kobe would be able to keep them in check, but that has not exactly worked for Dwight so far. Smith would give them the athleticism they need to compete in today’s NBA, and hopefully he would be able to hit enough open threes to keep defense honest. Korver is an elite shooter and would help with transition threes. As for the Hawks, they get a diverse and mult-faceted set of big men to build their team around in Pau and Al Horford, and don’t have to worry about Josh Smith leaving in free agency.