NBA PM: Lakers Overvaluing Pau Gasol?
The NBA’s trade deadline is three weeks away and the rumor mill is already starting to churn. Pau Gasol has been mentioned in a number of trade scenarios in recent weeks and his name will continue to surface leading up to March 15. The Los Angeles Lakers are shopping Gasol and they’ve had conversations with a number of teams in both conferences.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack confirmed that the team will continue to be active as the trade deadline approaches.
“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player,” Kupchack said. “Nonetheless, as general manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”
While Gasol can be had for the right offer, sources close to the situation say that the Lakers are expecting to receive an elite player in return for the 31-year-old power forward.
They would love to deal Gasol for a young point guard like Rajon Rondo or Kyle Lowry, but the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets don’t appear to be interested.
The general consensus around the league is that the Lakers are overvaluing Gasol. After all, he’s averaging a career-low 16.6 points despite playing a career-high 37.1 minutes. He’s also coming off of a dreadful showing in last year’s playoffs, when he averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds. Gasol’s stock has fallen and it’s unlikely that the Lakers will be able to receive an elite player for the 11-year veteran.
“I doubt Pau goes anywhere,” said one Western Conference executive. “I love Pau, but the Lakers are asking for way too much.”
Gasol is owed $18,714,150 this season and will make $38,285,850 over the next two years.
Los Angeles currently sits at 19-13, with the fifth seed in the Western Conference. It may be time for the Lakers to make a move, but swapping Gasol for an All-Star talent seems unlikely.
Crawford Shines in Starting Lineup: The Portland Trail Blazers had dropped six of their last nine games entering Tuesday night’s showdown with the San Antonio Spurs. In the last week, the Blazers had lost to the struggling Washington Wizards and managed to score just seven points in the first quarter of their loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was time for a change in Portland.
Nate McMillan decided to start Jamal Crawford at point guard, moving veteran Raymond Felton to the bench. Both players were acquired by the Blazers over the offseason and are still adjusting, but Crawford had been outplaying Felton in recent weeks.
Crawford made the most of his opportunity on Tuesday night, leading Portland to a 137-97 victory over of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs entered the game on an 11-game winning streak, but Crawford torched them for 20 points and 8 assists while committing only one turnover.
Felton played well off of the bench, finishing with 16 points and 4 assists. Statistically, it was his best game in the month of February. Crawford and Felton shot a combined 12-19 from the field.
“I thought both of them again did a nice job of running the team, taking the shots that were there,” McMillan said after the game. “We haven’t seen this type of shooting all season long, so it was good to see those guys take good shots and make shots.”
“One thing about starting, I don’t feel like I have to rush,” Crawford said. “I can take my time, get guys shots and play off of them. I was just trying to work the ball around and get everyone involved. Sometimes, it ended up back in my hands. I think I played pretty well, but you can always get better. You can always build off of what you do.”
Felton was upset with the benching, but handled the situation professionally. After the game, he had several opportunities to take the bait and complain about the McMillan’s decision, but instead he spoke about doing whatever he can to help the team
“I’m a professional,” Felton said. “I’m all about team basketball so I did what I was told to do. He made the decision and I said, ‘Okay.’ Plain and simple. It’s one of those things that you deal with. You have to be professional and do your job.”
Entering the season, Crawford was hoping to compete against Wes Matthews for a starting job. Now, Portland is starting an unconventional lineup that features Crawford, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby.
This is the right move for the Blazers, who seemed like a dark horse in the Western Conference earlier this season but have struggled as of late. Not only is Crawford a scoring threat, he has also done a much better job running an offense this season. His decision making has improved, he’s taking smarter shots and he’s shown that he can make his teammates better. Crawford isn’t a prototypical point guard, but he’s playing well and makes the Blazers a better team.
2012 All-Star Weekend By the Numbers: The NBA’s All-Star Weekend is two days away and the Amway Center in Orlando has been taken over by league employees. This one of the biggest weekends of the NBA season so let’s take a look at NBA All-Star 2012 by the numbers:
- 1992 — Orlando last hosted an NBA All-Star Game in 1992.
- 113 – Players on All-Star rosters have a combined total of 113 All-Star appearances (East – 59, West – 54).
- 20 — The 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s 25 point, nine assist, All-Star MVP performance in 1992 after returning from retirement following HIV announcement in Nov. 1991.
- 55 — A combined 55 Grammy nominations by All-Star performers, including Mary J. Blige, Pitbull, will.i.am, and Nicki Minaj.
- 215 — All-Star events will be broadcast in 215 countries and territories and in over 44 languages.
- 1,800 — More than 1,800 media will cover events, including 336 international reporters.
- 10 and 27 — Tenth consecutive year that the All-Star Game will be shown in prime time on TNT, and 27th season that Turner Sports has provided All-Star coverage.
- 31 — Turner Sports will utilize 31 TV trucks and trailers with 65 miles of fiber optic strands.
- 42 — Turner Sports will use 42 HD cameras, 3 jib cameras and 30 camera effect microphones.
- 95 — NBA TV will air more than 95 hours of All-Star coverage.
- 37 — TNT and NBA TV analysts were selected as All-Stars a combined 37 times during their playing careers (Charles Barkley – 11, Shaquille O’Neal – 15, Reggie Miller – 5, Chris Webber – 5, and Steve Smith – 1).
- 1 Billion — More than one billion videos have been viewed by fans this season on NBA.com.
- 200 Million — Nearly 200 million followers and likes across official NBA, team, and player pages on Facebook and Twitter that will have access to NBA All-Star.
- 500 — More than 500 tweets will be sent from @NBA and @NBAAllStar during NBA All-Star 2012.
- 1,600,390 — Magic’s’ Dwight Howard was this year’s leading vote-getter in the NBA All-Star Balloting program presented by Sprint with 1,600,390 votes.
- 14 — Making his 14th consecutive All-Star selection, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers ties a record shared by Jerry West, Karl Malone, and Shaquille O’Neal.
- 8 — Eight international players selected for the All-Star Game, including Luol Deng, who is the first NBA player to represent Great Britain.
- 6 — Six first time All-Stars participating in the 61st All-Star Game, most since 2005 (7).
Johnson Will Miss All-Star Events: Hawks guard Joe Johnson underwent an MRI yesterday in Atlanta, and he was diagnosed with left knee tendinitis. As previously announced, he’ll miss Atlanta’s next two games (tonight in New York, tomorrow vs. Orlando).
In addition, Johnson won’t participate in this weekend’s All-Star game or the Three-Point Shootout. He’ll be re-evaluated prior to Atlanta’s first game after the All-Star break (Wednesday the 29th vs. Golden State). The NBA will select replacements for the two events.
NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats on the schedule today. Kicking things off will be salary cap guru Larry Coon, who will host his chat starting at 3 p.m. EST. Submit a question for Larry here. Next up, NBA writer Lang Greene will be hosting my weekly chat at 8 p.m. EST. Feel free to drop Lang a line on anything NBA related. You can always find our upcoming chats here.