Last week I wrote about how media and fans on both sides of the border seem to be convinced that a Pau Gasol for Andrea Bargnani trade is perfect for both the Raptors and the Lakers. You’ll recall that I ended that post by being realistic, and my realistic belief was that Mitch Kupchack, the Lakers as an organization and specifically Kobe Bryant just don’t let that trade happen.

Perhaps I was being too pessimistic.

The Lakers have yet to hit their stride, are 8-9 after 17 games and will be without Steve Nash and Steve Blake for the near future. In addition, Kobe isn’t pleased with Gasol right now, hinting after Sunday’s game that Pau might not have the same necessary mentality that himself, Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard have before adding “Put your big-boy pants on.”

Bryant has been critical of Gasol in the past before the pair ultimately get past it with success and an enhanced bond, but you just get the feeling that this time it’s different. So with Kobe falling out of love with Pau, with the Lakers struggling, needing a point guard and needing a big man that fits better in Mike D’antoni’s system, perhaps this as perfect a time as ever to flip Bargnani and Jose Calderon’s expiring contract for Gasol and a backup point man.

At least that’s what veteran Bulls writer Sam Smith thinks, anyway:

Gasol for Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon. The Lakers probably give back a point, like Darius Morris,” Smith writes. “It’s obvious for the Lakers. Bargnani is the ultimate D’Antoni player,” he adds. Smith also mentions that Calderon would be a perfect candidate to back up Nash in L.A. before explaining the trade from Toronto’s perspective.

“(Colangelo) needs to make the playoffs, and despite a poor record the Raptors are close with some nice pieces in Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan. Pau could give them maybe the best front court in the East, tutor Valanciunas and could revive himself as he’s clearly disinterested now with the Lakers.”

I tend to agree with most of Smith’s take on it. The Lakers get a floor spacing big man for D’Antoni and a big man whose deficiencies are all masked by Dwight Howard. In addition, L.A. gets some point guard insurance for the season. The Raptors get a future Hall of Fame big man (who plays more like a big man than Bargnani) who still has plenty to offer but clearly needs a change of scenery.

The Lakers probably end up with a team that fits together better, while the Raptors end up with a team that should be in the playoff mix for the next two seasons until Gasol’s contract runs out. In that scenario, the hope would be that a core of Valanciunas, Lowry and DeRozan are ready to make a run on their own following Pau’s departure.

It really does seem like a deal that makes more sense with each passing day, and while I originally believed that the Lakers scoff at the proposal, perhaps the fact that others with no rooting interest in the matter (like Sam Smith) are on board means that it really is as perfect a match as we want it to be.

I still think it’s too good to be true for us Raptors fans, but I also think it’s less of a pipe dream than it was last week.

Comments (42)

  1. Watch they’ll make the trade and then last minute Kobe will reneg it ala Micheal Jordan.

  2. I just can’t see LA doing it unless the raptors throw in Ross or Davis

  3. I think this trade benefits LA more than toronto:
    -we are giving up a very soft big man for another soft one.
    -We are giving up our best playmaker for darius morris (assuming he’s included)

    -The main benefit for Toronto is that Pau mentors JV on some post play and we get some more post offence – this will come at the cost of our second unit (which is our strength)
    -I’d like them to get back some draft picks as well or package LK instead of JC

    • pau is soft? Really? tell that to the two titles they won when pau was the best player on the court and dominated KG

    • The notion that Gasol is “soft” is one of the most ridiculous theories among uninformed fans. He may have a more finesse skill set than most seven-footers, but that doesn’t mean he’s soft. He’s been a solid post presence for the majority of his career, is an underrated defender, has nearly averaged a double-double for his career (18.5 & 9.2) and expresses more passion/emotion in one week than Bargs has in seven years.



          I say trade Gasol to Memphis fro Rudy Gay and Pondexter/or Speights.

          Gay is an elite swingman, but has had some injuries. Pondexter/Speights boosts lakers bench.

          Pau at PF with his bro Marc at C and then flip Z-BO and Conley to Toronto for Bargnani and Calderon….

        • He didn’t say fans were uninformed. He said “uninformed fans”. In other words, among fans that are uninformed, it’s one of the most ridiculous notions. And he’s right. Gasol is certainly not soft. I think he’s extremely wrong for this team, but he’s not soft.

  4. But if the Lakers’ problem is defense, how does Bargnani help them? Lakers are struggling with help defense, and there is no way Bargs can cover for Nash and Kobe better than Gasol can.

  5. Question, while Pau Gasol would make the Raptors better right away, isn’t it possible and probably more beneficial to get a 3rd team in the picture? A team that is contending and wants Gasol, but doesn’t have what the Lakers are interested in could give the Raptors what they need, controllable players with potential, in order to get Gasol. Example – Bucks, Raptors, Lakers.
    Lakers get: Bargnani, Calderon
    Bucks get: Gasol
    Raptors get: Ilyasova, Udrih, Sanders? Or something along these lines?

  6. Defensively its worst for the lakers but adding calderon could possibly make it work. Jose’s expiring contract is good for them plus they get a great backup for nash.

  7. Kobe gets to yell at Bargnani in Italian every time he mentally checks out. Barney would give Kobe’s egocentric, assholish way of leadership plenty of fuel. Future Slamonline headline:
    VIDEO: Kobe lashes out at Bargnani and D’Antoni steps in (Italian with subtitles)

  8. I think this deal is going to be purely up to Colangelo and whether or not he’s willing to give up on Bargnani.

    At first I didn’t think Kobe would allow it, but with him calling out Gasol and the Lakers continuing to struggle, he may be open to it. Gasol looks out of place with Howard and D’Antoni’s new system, and the Lakers desperately need a better PG.

    However, my concern with it is that it definitely helps the Raptors in the short term, but it doesn’t really help them much in the long term. I’d much rather see them rebuild in the offseason around Valanciunas and maybe Davis than continue with the roster as is.

    • Also, if LA really wants Bargnani and Calderon, I think you should make them have to take Kleiza as well for the Ebanks or Clark expiring contract.

  9. Yeah just what the Raptors need to trade a guy in the second year of his peak years for a guy past his peak and half out the door. I can see it happening since the Lakers got rid of Bynum even though he was always hurt!

  10. Pau would be a great mentor for JV.

    The biggest risks for the Raps would be backup PG. Lowry still doesn’t seem quite right (healthy). There’s a huge drop-off after him, and this team needs its bench to win games.

    Pau also has a very fat contract.

  11. I can’t bring myself to actually get excited for this. This team’s history has rendered that emotional response impossible. But my god, this would have a chance to turn the franchise around. It would totally change the character of the club, with Pau and Lowry leading the way, and consolidate assets in a league that requires it for winning.

    JV/Pau/Fields/Derozan/Lowry with Davis/Amir/Kleiza/Ross/Morris (or Lucas) starts to looks like a hard-ass team that could make some noise.

    No, not going to get excited about the possibility, but if it happens, look out.

  12. The deal is lacking. Remember this is BC were talking about, he’ll throw in next years first rounder.

  13. The whole italian angle to this thing is really intriguing. Kobe chewing Bargs out in Italian… and D’Antoni being in the middle of it….and everybody else asking “WTF is going on”?

    It seems to me that this might be the optimal situation for Bargs (from a certain perspective) – i.e. an offensive system suited to his style of play, and some people (i.e.) Kobe that will get on his ass when he dogs it (and be able to cuss him out). However, all of this is likely mitigated by the fact that LA fans will get on Bargs real quick if he doesn’t perform.

  14. Why would the raps want to trade someone who is arguably their best player and a decent point guard for an under performing big man that seems to be out of his prime ?

    • beacause “the big man that seems to be out of his prime” is an actual big man, and a better one, not a 7 foot wanna be perimeter player lacking defense and drive.

  15. Pau looks like a fraction of his prior self, but I’d do it just to get rid of Bargs.

  16. if we trade bargs and his cheap contract we should be getting back a strong 3 man.. if nobody is available now I’d say wait until a little later towards the trade deadline. as teams realize they aren’t making the playoffs more players will become available for financial reasons or a player getting out of line because of losing.

  17. This would be the typical Colangelo trade. A temporary band-aid solution that would make the team competitive immediately, bring back a declining asset on the downside of his career, hurt the team in the long term, but save his job.

    Gasol is a still a very good player, but this is along the same lines as Colangelo bringing in Jermaine O’Neal, Shawn Marion or Hedo Turkoglu, as well as trying to get Nash.

    Gasol is a name player, but isn’t what the team needs. I’d much rather try and get a draft pick or prospect instead of trying for some short term goal like being the 8th seed in the playoffs.

    • All true…but no more Bargs!

    • This. My biggest concerns with the proposed trade are (A) Gasol is near the end of his career, so not good timing with the rest of the young talent, (B) from what I’ve read lately, Gasol has injury problems. Not going to improve with an aging player.

      In a word – timing. Not a good gamble.

  18. its a;ways good to have a veteran on board a young team. and what better veteran than Gasol. honsetly i think he’s the best option we have in terms of getting bargs outa here.
    Him and maybe Bargs for Wilson Chandler (DEN)

  19. Why don’t the Raptors keep Calderon and Bargnani, and trade our spare parts for clearly a troubled player in LA. We’d take Gasol off the team, he is causing a lot of turmoil in LA for say Kleiza, Fields and John Lucas. Imagine our team wiht Gasol, Bargnani, Calderon, DeRozan, Lowry, Ross and Valaincuinas? Why do fans always want to trade our best players, what did we get for Carter, and Bosh? Nothing in return, if we sell in desperation our best players we’ll get nothing again. Instead let’s use LA’s desperation to drop some of our overpaid bench players and make our team stronger for a change!

  20. I say trade Gasol to Memphis fro Rudy Gay and Pondexter/or Speights.

    Gay is an elite swingman, but has had some injuries. Pondexter/Speights boosts lakers bench. – Lakers look good

    Pau at PF with his bro Marc at C and then flip Z-BO and Conley to Toronto for Bargnani and Calderon….as bench players….Memphis will be tough to beat….

    Toronto is set with Z-Bo and Lowry, Derozan, JV and Fields(still needs to improve), with Conley off the bench…..

    • You think the Raptors can turn Bargnani and Calderon into Zach Randolph AND Michael Conley? And I’m not sure how Randolph is a much better option than Gasol. He’s 31 years old, isn’t a very good defender and I’d be very hesitant to remove him from the only situation where he has excelled in.

  21. My only concern is the trade would leave the raps with very little 3 pt shooting. However, a starting 5 of lowry, dd, pietrus, gasol, and jval should be worthy of a 7 or 8 seed in the east.

  22. I’d sooner the RAPS traded for either R Anderson or Josh Smith, both are younger than Bargnani and would mesh well with what the team is doing, moving towards younger players. Only then would I part with Bargnani / Calderon, if you were bringing back Smith or Anderson.

  23. It’s a win-win for both teams. Gasol still has a lot left and his poor numbers this season are more a result of the Lakers’ dysfunction than any drop-off in his ability. Gasol is a great player that can produce big numbers and would fit in well on a Toronto team that is desperate for a a 7-footer that will actually play inside; Raptors have the perimeter covered with DeRozan and Lowry.

    Lakers win because Bargnani is the prototypical D’Antoni player and Andrea will be asked to spread the floor and shoot threes while playing off Dwight and Kobe. I like Bargnani a lot more as a third option than a franchise player and I think we will see his career recover on a team where he can potentially put-up 20 or more points per game. He fits in well on the Lakers squad and you can expect a resurgence from the 27 year old Italian.

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