Weekly Column: Don’t trade Gasol: Time for fans to realize the All-Star power forward’s worth

The+Lakers%E2%80%99+Pau+Gasol+blocks+a+shot+by+the+Los+Angeles+Clippers%E2%80%99+Reggie+Evans+%2830%29+in+the+second+quarter+of+a+Jan.+25+game+at+the+Staples+Center.+Gasol+has+been+at+the+center+of+numerous+trade+rumors+around+the+NBA.+The+trade+deadline+is+Thursday.+Courtesy+of+MCT
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Weekly Column: Don’t trade Gasol: Time for fans to realize the All-Star power forward’s worth

The Lakers’ Pau Gasol blocks a shot by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) in the second quarter of a Jan. 25 game at the Staples Center. Gasol has been at the center of numerous trade rumors around the NBA. The trade deadline is Thursday. Courtesy of MCT

The Lakers’ Pau Gasol blocks a shot by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) in the second quarter of a Jan. 25 game at the Staples Center. Gasol has been at the center of numerous trade rumors around the NBA. The trade deadline is Thursday. Courtesy of MCT

The Lakers’ Pau Gasol blocks a shot by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) in the second quarter of a Jan. 25 game at the Staples Center. Gasol has been at the center of numerous trade rumors around the NBA. The trade deadline is Thursday. Courtesy of MCT

The Lakers’ Pau Gasol blocks a shot by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) in the second quarter of a Jan. 25 game at the Staples Center. Gasol has been at the center of numerous trade rumors around the NBA. The trade deadline is Thursday. Courtesy of MCT

Ron Rokhy

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The Lakers’ Pau Gasol blocks a shot by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Evans (30) in the second quarter of a Jan. 25 game at the Staples Center. Gasol has been at the center of numerous trade rumors around the NBA. The trade deadline is Thursday. Courtesy of MCT

This is mostly dedicated to the casual Laker fan bereft of actual basketball knowledge who only watches when the playoffs come around.

Plastering everyone’s Facebook news feeds with “Trade Gasol!” after every bad game he has is not only something that could irreversibly harm the team if listened to, it’s a slap in the face to the man who took the Lakers to three NBA Finals in a row. So unless he’s going to get shipped in a package for Dwight Howard or another superstar, don’t bother trading him.

I mean, I know the Lakers desperately need a boost, but who are we going to get for Gasol right now? The only rumor around says a disease-ridden Kyle Lowry and a similar, albeit inferior, player in Luis Scola who’s the same age as the 31-year-old Spaniard.

While this trade seems fair at first glance, it’s really not worth it.

Lowry is out two to four weeks with a bacterial infection, and the Lakers can’t afford to wait for him to return – their point guard situation is beyond dire, and they need immediate help. Now don’t get me wrong, Lowry is an amazing point guard putting up Jason Kidd-like numbers, but the Lakers simply can’t wait for him to return during the playoffs and figure out a new system and build chemistry with new teammates on the fly.

Scola, while a serviceable big man with career averages of 14.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game respectively, can’t compare to Gasol as he’s a lackluster defender and has no go-to post move. He’s simply not as dominant on either end of the floor. With Scola in the lineup, the Lakers’ sixth-ranked defense will fall and, worse, their laughable 19th-ranked offense will dwindle even further.

Ridding Gasol, who’s basically been a 20/10 player his entire career, for Lowry and Scola may look good on paper, but it’s detrimental to the Lakers championship aspirations (which they have every year Kobe Bryant is on their roster) because it doesn’t address their current point guard issues, and they’d be stuck with an inferior power forward compared to what they had before.

Instead, the Lakers should consider following through with another rumor that’s been floating around lately – one that would land them Raymond Felton for Steve Blake and solve their needs at the point.

Sure, Felton is slumping heavily this season, but he proved he can hold the fort at point guard last season, when he averaged 17.1 points and nine assists per contest in 54 games for the New York Knicks. Felton is an extremely underrated defender (1.4 steals per game for his career), a good passer to big men who work in the paint (as proven by his chemistry with Amar’e Stoudemire) and a tough competitor who’s shown he has what it takes to win (2005 NCAA National Champion).

Think about it this way: Would you rather have Felton and Gasol or Lowry and Scola? If you answered the latter, let’s hope you’re not Mitch Kupchak.