Houston Rockets: Trading for Pau Gasol Not Likely

By Michael Ma

Dec 4, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured power forward Pau Gasol sits on the bench during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Chris Broussard has reported that the Houston Rockets are not interested in acquiring Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol.  A 2-time NBA champion and 4-time All-Star, Gasol has been at odds with the Lakers since the hire of their current coach, Mike D’Antoni.  Gasol’s playing time has diminished and has been benched a couple of times in the final minutes of games, a speculation that Gasol might not be suited for D’Antoni’s well-known system suited for fast-paced, pick-and-roll offense.  In addition, teammate Kobe Bryant recently stated that Gasol needs to step up as well.

“Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after a loss earlier in the week to the Orlando Magic. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.”

Recent history tells us that one thing Houston Rockets fans can anticipate this season is a trade before the trade deadline.  Since taking over as General Manager in 2007, Darryl Morey has made an in-season trade every season.  This season proved to be nothing different as Morey shocked the NBA world by acquiring James Harden days before the season began; however, bringing Gasol along doesn’t look like a possibility.

Gasol was once traded to the Rockets in 2011 as part of the 6-player, 3-team deal involving then-New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul being dealt to the Lakers.  The Hornets would have received Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, and Luis Scola.  The deal was eventually rescinded by Commissioner David Stern the following day.

Even though the trade fell through, the Rockets still showed some interest in acquiring Gasol last season and in this past off-season.  However, days before the draft, the Rockets decided that they were no longer pursuing Gasol.

Gasol did not play in the Rockets 107-105 win against the Lakers Tuesday, and will miss more games due to knee tendinitis. He is averaging a career low 12.6 points and 8.9 rebounds a game, his lowest mark since joining the Lakers in 2008.

Acquiring Gasol would be a temporary burden for the Rocket’s salary cap.  Gasol’s contract is set to expire after next season, and is scheduled to make around $19 million this year and next year each.  While the Rockets have no trade-able players with contracts that high, a third team would have to come into play, if Morey eventually changes his mind.  But it’s hard to see him pulling the trigger on a deal that might send away Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, or Greg Smith for an aging 32-year-old forward with bad knees at the moment.

Should the Rockets trade for Pau Gasol?


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