NBA AM: Is There A Market For Pau Gasol?
Gasol And The Lakers: There has been a lot of talk lately that the LA Lakers and forward Pau Gasol are soon to part ways. While there is certainly some truth to the idea that the Lakers would love to get out of Pau Gasol’s deal, they are not tripping over themselves to dump him for just anything, what they really need is for him to play better.
Some NBA players can play under any circumstance. Roll the ball out and they are good to go. Others, like Gasol, need structure, routine and process to be truly be effective.
If you look at the Lakers over the last 16 months, turmoil and upheaval have been a central theme and of all the players on the Lakers roster, Gasol is the one that struggles the most with the chaos.
There is no doubting that the Lakers from a financial point of view would love to trade Gasol and break up his contract into a couple of smaller dollar, better fitting pieces.
The Lakers have explored this situation for the last two years and have a strong understanding of what Gasol’s worth is in trade – and it’s not much, because of what his contract represents in the new NBA economy.
Gasol has two more seasons left on his deal for $19 million season this year and a $19.28 million season next year. That’s hardly an attractive number especially for a team playing for anything, because those teams are at the luxury tax line or already over it.
Gasol has been linked to the Houston Rockets on several occasions, but Rockets sources were adamant that a Gasol-to-Houston deal was never just about Gasol it was about the other players they felt they could add around Gasol, those players have since moved on and so has Houston.
Houston is looking at almost 20 million in cap space next July and they want to add younger talent around the guys they added this year and Gasol no longer fits what they are looking for.
The Boston Celtics at one point or another have expressed interest in Gasol, but they wouldn’t offer much in return for him, so a deal to or through Boston is highly unlikely. The Celtics do have a surplus of perimeter scorers and that’s something the Lakers are looking for and the Celtics do lack size in the front court, but sources say there is almost no interest in a deal from Boston’s side, the economics don’t work.
Some have speculated about a Gasol-to-New-York deal for Amar’e Stoudemire, which both Knicks and Lakers sources have said is highly unlikely. Gasol might actually fit better in New York, but the Lakers are not interested in the Stoudemire contract, which is worse than the Gasol deal.
There is little doubt that if the Lakers could get value for Gasol they’d trade him, they have kicked the tires enough to make that almost inevitable, the problem is that as much as moving Gasol and his contract would benefit the Lakers, there simply isn’t much of a market for him. That could change at the trade deadline when the Lakers have paid the bulk of Gasol’s contract, but in reality the Lakers are not actively trying to trade Gasol, they simply want him to play better and now that structure is starting to flow into the Lakers, maybe Gasol can find the consistency that’s been lacking that’s caused all of the chatter about his future.
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Courtney Trying To Fit In: When the Boston Celtics traded for Courtney Lee, they viewed him as a defensive stopper that could augment an aging Celtics squad. Lee had offers from other teams that could have netted him more money in free agency, but the appeal of the Celtics, their history, their style of play and their proximity to competing for a championship swayed Lee to Boston.
Courtney talked with HOOPSWORLD about the fit in Boston and how he’s just trying to fit into the culture that’s made Boston one of the best franchises in basketball.
No Extension For Gortat: Suns’ big man Marcin Gortat isn’t signing a contract extension in Phoenix, mainly because it does not benefit him to do it. Based on how the market paid big men like Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, Houston’s Omer Asik and Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez this past summer, Gortat stands to make a lot more as an unrestricted free agent than he can signing a three-extension based on his $7.7 million ending salary in the summer of 2014.
Gortat was quoted by a Polish news outlet saying he turned down a multi-year extension offer this past summer. Gortat clarified that he simply intends to finish his current deal with Phoenix.
“We just said we’re going to wait,” Gortat said to Paul Coro of Azcentral Sports . “I want to finish this contract, and we’ll see where I go from there. It didn’t even bother me or change anything in my attitude or performance. The thing I’m concentrating is coming back to dominating the game and getting back to being a defensive spark.”
The Suns have changed their style of play and Gortat has found himself struggling to adapt. Gortat has never been one to not voice his opinion and its lead some to believe the Polish Hammer is unhappy in Phoenix and wants out.
Suns sources point to the fact that Gortat has two more years left on his deal and when he plays well has become one of the more dominating big men in the West, meaning there is no scenario in which they would look to trade him. There is a reality that Gortat will hit unrestricted free agency in 2014 which does put the Suns on the clock to find a way to make Marcin happy and effective, or he could walk away.
Sources close to Gortat joked during the off-season that “if Brook Lopez is worth $62 million what’s Gortat worth?” That’s surely why the Suns tried to do an extension and likely the very same reason Gortat and his advisors passed on the deal.
The Suns have a lot of time before they have to make a business decision, but it does seem inevitable that they will have to make one.
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