Over the past month or so, the trade rumors surrounding Pau Gasol have begun to cool off considerably. With Dwight Howard being the main topic of discussion in trade talks involving the Los Angeles Lakers and All-Star center Andrew Bynum being the team’s best trade asset in a potential blockbuster, Gasol has finally been able to relax for the time being without being mentioned in any trade proposals as of late.
Even though it appears that Bynum is the one big name in Los Angeles that may not be in a Lakers uniform at the start of the 2012-13 NBA season, Gasol is counting out the possibility of being traded at some point in the near future.
As a consummate professional, Gasol let it be known that he’s not guaranteed to be a Laker moving forward via Mark Medina of the L.A. Times:
“We all know by now that there are no guarantees in this business,” Gasol said in an email to The Times. “I want to win another ring and I cannot see any other place better than the Lakers, and LA, my city, to do so.”
If the Lakers can somehow land Howard in the coming weeks with a trade that sends Bynum elsewhere, the team will almost certainly be much improved with arguably one of the most intimidating starting fives in the league. Even though Gasol appears to be safe for the time being, there’s a chance that he might be dealt after the Lakers acquire Howard, or even if they don’t.
With plenty teams around the league still showing interest in Gasol like the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets, a trade for the Spanish forward isn’t out of the question.
As of right now, the Lakers are focused on improving the bench and landing arguably the best center in the league via trade.
Another factor that might help decide the fate of Gasol in Los Angeles is whether or not the Lakers’ front office can re-sign forward Jordan Hill. With Hill back into the fold, Gasol may become expendable once again.
The signing of free agent Antawn Jamison may also weigh into the equation. With Hill and Jamison on the roster, the Lakers may immediate look to shed the near $40 million left on Gasol’s contract.
So even though Gasol appears to be safe for the time being, the Lakers trading the two-time NBA champion is a possibility moving forward.