Several days ago, we re-examined the huge hurdles that the Lakers would have to overcome in a two-team deal that would send Pau Gasol out of Los Angeles. In addition to keeping cap room clear for Summer 2014 (and to a lesser extent, 2015) free agency, the Spaniard’s massive $19.3 million dollar deal makes any potential pact hard to envision. Still, this isn’t to say that the possibilities for a trade aren’t there. As problematic as a pact would be, it’s not impossible. Furthermore, with today’s news of Kobe’s massive $48 million dollar, two-year extension, there’s no doubt that Pau’s future with the Lakers, one way or another, has changed. The Lakers now have more than $33 million committed to next year’s salary cap, which will affect just how much they’d be able re-sign Gasol for, if indeed that’s a direction that they’re going in. There is still the possibility that Pau will be a Laker past this summer, but the lack of enough cap room could very well have spelled out his future outside of Los Angeles. The latter may–MAY–incentivize the team to deal him if they’re out of playoff contention this year.
What’s important to note with today’s news is that if the Lakers take back any salary in any trade for next season, they will essentially knock themselves out of the running to sign LeBron James and to a lesser extent, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, et al. What many would consider to be a long shot right now would be a downright impossibility.
The teams that would most likely be interested in Pau would be squads looking to make the playoffs with the assets necessary to take on a massive expiring deal and simultaneously willing to watch Gasol walk away for nothing at year’s end. From there, it’s relatively easy to cross off the teams that are instantly not fit trade partners.
(Read on at Silver Screen and Roll)