Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
A month from trade deadline: Give us a trade you’d like to see.
Steve Aschburner: Utah needs to break up that logjam of power forwards, with Al Jefferson my preferred choice for a fresh start. But no one needs a fresh start more than Pau Gasol, who would be way better off getting out of L.A. and shedding the Lakers’ scapegoat role. Gasol for Amar’e Stoudemire? Gasol in a package to Atlanta for Josh Smith (scratching two trade itches at once)? Gasol is getting older, he’s fragile and he’s got a big contract, but the skilled and classy big man deserves better than the demotion and snide treatment he’s dealt with lately.
Fran Blinebury: I’m ready to trade the Quizmaster for next season’s lease at empty Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. But barring that, let’s swap Pau Gasol for Josh Smith. It gets Pau out of toxic Lakerland for his own good and lets him pair up nicely with All-Star big man Al Horford. Smith could make a big splash in L.A. and save the season or be permitted to walk off into free agency. If that happens, it’s addition by subtraction, since coach Mike D’Antoni and the stats show that Gasol and Dwight Howard do not work effectively together. Lakers have to take the baggage of Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson and Ivan Johnson to make it work.
Jeff Caplan: The Lakers have 2 choices: Trade Pau Gasol or trade Dwight Howard. At this point the right call might just be to trade D12. The Nets would probably take him today and the Lakers can move on with some pretty nice players, including team-oriented Brook Lopez, who can score like Dwight, although he won’t rebound or defend quite like Dwight, even this Dwight after back surgery. Gasol is a bit more difficult to trade and get back as much quality. On paper, it’s a no-brainer that you keep Howard and trade Gasol. But Howard’s immaturity and inability to assume responsibility seem to stretch to new levels with every passing game.
Scott Howard-Cooper: DeMarcus Cousins for anybody. Because if Kings fans are about to lose their team, they shouldn’t have to also lose their mind in frustration in the process. (Not going to happen, though. Every Cousins rumor that popped up the last several weeks was mostly bad fiction writing.)
John Schuhmann: This is kind of a simple idea, but I’d like to see the Nuggets trade Corey Brewer and a pick to Atlanta for Kyle Korver. Both guys are on reasonable, expiring contracts, so the deal wouldn’t affect future cap space at all. Denver desperately needs perimeter shooting to complement their speed and athleticism, and Korver could put them in the top-five offensively and in the upper echelon of the Western Conference. And with the return of Wilson Chandler, Brewer is now expendable. I’ll admit that it would help if Anthony Morrow (or Lou Williams) was healthy, so that the Hawks weren’t so reliant on Korver’s shooting.
Sekou Smith: I’d like to see the Lakers put Pau Gasol out of his misery and move him somewhere he can rediscover the role he played three seasons ago, before that playoff meltdown against the Mavericks that started his current career slide. Even with these rumblings about the Lakers considering Dwight Howard trades, Gasol is the big man the Lakers have to move. Gasol still has enough tread left on his tires to help anchor the low post somewhere other than Los Angeles. And it’s clear, now that he’s been relegated to a reserve role in favor of Earl Clark, that Gasol isn’t in the Lakers’ plans.