A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

The 2 most likely Pau Gasol trades I can think of

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Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I posted what I think should happen in the Pau Gasol sweepstakes (Dallas trying everything they can to put him beside Dirk). Now I will post what I believe will happen. Here are the two trade ideas that stand out as the best to me:

Trade #1 – Between the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Hornets

This trade is based on ESPN’s article yesterday revealing some information about Pau Gasol’s prospective trade rumors. One is that the Lakers want Ryan Anderson. This seems obviously true. Anderson proved in Orlando he’s the perfect fit beside Dwight Howard as a 3pt shooting PF who rebounds respectably. With D’Antoni and Nash fitting best with extra spacing in their offense, he fits with them as well. The Lakers undoubtably say yes to a deal with Pau for Anderson as the principles.

Of course a young team like the Hornets has no interest in an old, expensive veteran like Gasol. Enter the Minnesota Timberwolves, who according to Marc Stein in the above article, have offered a package centered around Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic to the Lakers for Gasol. Now one could draw objections to this trade for the Timberwolves as Pekovic is a younger, cheaper player. But with a resigned Pekovic in 2013-2014, the combined salaries of that deal, Williams’ and Ridnour or Barea’s (surely one would be sent to the Lakers to fill their PG needs) combine for about as much as Pau would make. A bigger concern may be that Pau is an older, win now player. The Wolves would have to be committed to “going for it” and trying to contend with Kevin Love almost immediately. One could raise objections to the Wolves making this deal for Pau, but with ESPN reporting their interest in it, I am inclined to believe their interest.

The Lakers can’t fit Pekovic in their lineup as he plays the same position as Dwight. To me the pieces between these 3 teams now fit beautifully. Why not flip Pekovic and Williams to the Hornets for Ryan Anderson? Pekovic fits the Hornets more than Anderson because he is a back to the basket center, while Anderson plays the same position as Anthony Davis at PF. While the Hornets may have planned on Davis logging center minutes beside Anderson for the future, getting banged up early in his career because of his small frame may cause them to reconsider that plan. Pekovic’s size and scoring down low on the other hand perfectly fits Davis. Furthermore, Derrick Williams as the #2 pick in 2011 fits their youth movement and may be a player who breaks out in a new situation, playing as a big SF or small PF. Pekovic and Williams is great value for Anderson for a team like the Hornets. So the trade in total is:

The Lakers get:
Ryan Anderson, Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy (expiring contract)

The Timberwolves get:

Pau Gasol

The Hornets get:

Nikola Pekovic, Derrick Williams

Trade #2 – Between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors

If the Lakers trade Pau they will likely want a PF who can space the floor for D’Antoni, Nash and Howard to replace Pau’s more back to the basket friendly game. This is where the Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani rumors come from. A name that seems to fit particularly well to me is David Lee. Not only is he a pick and roll, shooting PF, but he has a history with Mike D’Antoni style basketball, when he was coaching the Knicks. Thus seems like a natural trade fit for Gasol on the Lakers end.

As for the Warriors, acquiring Gasol for Lee benefits them in a number of ways. One is that it makes them presumably better immediately and helps them make the playoffs again for the first time since the 2006-2007 We Believe season. Secondly is that because Gasol’s deal runs for 2 years and Lee’s for 4, the Warriors are left with much more cap flexibility after the 2013-2014 season. Andrew Bogut, Pau Gasol, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Carl Landry and Brandon Rush all expire that season, a total of 61.4 million! This allows them to quickly remodel their team around their young stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and co.

Furthermore the Warriors can get themselves under the luxury tax in 2013-2014 if they also dump a contract on the Lakers in this deal, such as Richard Jefferson, in exchange for also helping fix their PG needs by adding Jarrett Jack. Thus here is my Lakers-Warriors deal:

The Lakers get:

David Lee, Richard Jefferson, Jarrett Jack

The Warriors get:

Pau Gasol, Steve Blake

This trade would be more likely when Steve Blake gets healthy, around the trade deadline – thus giving the Warriors a backup PG to replace Jack.  With Lee, Jefferson and Jack, the Lakers get deeper and faster than they are now. The Warriors roll out Gasol in the frontcourt compliment their shooters like Curry, Thompson and Barnes, a devastating inside-outside combination. If Bogut comes back this year, they could have a massive frontcourt. This deal sets up the Warriors for the next 2 season and then gives them the flexibility to rebuild on the fly. The Lakers try to improve their team by dealing Pau for multiple pieces. It seems like a logical deal to me.

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Written by jr.

December 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

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