After leading the “Play Pau Properly” charge for so long, it almost comes out as a natural defense mechanism whenever I hear the speculation of a Gasol for fill in the blank scenario being discussed. The fact is, Gasol isn’t responsible for not automatically morphing into a player with a skill set more suitable for the most recent offensive system. That said, at 8-9 (W/L) and struggling to maintain any level of consistency, the Los Angeles Lakers are a team searching for answers. Lakers’ management does not seem keen on the idea of waiting patiently while their $100 million investment takes time to figure things out.
If anything, the firing of Mike Brown after just a 1-4 start (without the services of PG Steve Nash) proved just how dire the circumstances truly were. It comes as no surprise that a source close to Lakers’ management has confirmed an interest in New Orleans Hornets’ PF Ryan Anderson as “legitimate.” Anderson is in just the first year of a 4-year, $36 million deal, having agreed to a sign-and-trade to join the Hornets in the off-season. The source went on to state:
The interest is coming from the Lakers, not New Orleans. Mitch (Kupchak) would prefer to keep Pau, as would Kobe. Jim (Buss) would prefer to continue cleaning house, and bring in players able to fit a more fast-paced style of play.
It should come as no surprise to hear of Jim Buss’ desire to obtain players to suit D’Antoni’s offense. Following the news of the organization deciding to go with D’Antoni over Phil Jackson there were plenty of reports surfacing about the Buss family strongly favoring an offense closer to the “Showtime” era to a more slow and methodical (Triangle) approach. The source went on to say:
Kupchak was clear about these facts 1.) No deal was imminent. 2.) Any proposed deal for Anderson would likely require a third team. 3.) Naturally, Gasol was generating a lot of interest from around the league, but reinforced that nothing was imminent.
Again, none of this should come as a shock, as Lakers’ brass was willing to part ways with both Gasol and Lamar Odom in pursuit of (now) Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul just prior to the start of the 2011-12 season. While Anderson may lack some of the all-around offensive skills Gasol possesses, he would seem to be the perfect fit as the prototypical “stretch-4” player within D’Antoni’s system.
Personally, if I were Lakers’ management, considering Gasol with the second unit while awaiting the return of Nash would come before deciding to trade the 2-time champion. Not only would that open the floor for the starting unit by placing Jamison opposite Dwight Howard, but it would provide an opportunity to play Gasol out of the post, which has become his more natural position. That said, of all rumored deals/interest, Anderson fits the D’Antoni mold better than anyone else. With the organization seemingly grasping for answers, this will certainly be a story worthy of monitoring as the NBA season progresses.
17.2 PPG, 8 RPG, .3 BPG, 20.30 PER
|2012-13 Regular Season||15||32.8||6.4-13.9||.459||3.3-7.8||.427||1.1-1.3||.842|
12.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 15.04 PER
|2012-13 Regular Season||17||34.8||4.9-11.8||.420||0.1-0.4||.286||2.6-3.4||.759|