There was plenty of chatter surrounding the two last year, when Smith had requested out of Atlanta and Los Angeles had been shopping Gasol, so it was bound to pick up once again after Mike D’Antoni became the head coach of the Lakers.
Though Gasol has plenty of range for a big man, Smith is more athletic and more of a stretch forward, making him a better fit for Los Angeles. Supposedly.
We’ll likely never get to find out however, because according Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Hawks aren’t interested:
“Sources say that the Hawks, at present, have no interest in parting with Josh Smith and Kyle Korver for Gasol. Or even Smith and lesser parts for Gasol. Positions can obviously change between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline, but sources maintain that Atlanta has not been enticed in the least by the prospect of parting with the 26-year-old Smith — even as he heads into unrestricted free agency — for the 32-year-old Gasol. The Hawks, for the record, have also been telling interested teams that they value Smith and what he offers as a hybrid forward in an Eastern Conference that’s generally been getting smaller.”
Let’s be honest, now. Why should the Hawks be interested in this deal?
Gasol is one of the most talented bigs in the game, but he’s 32 and there’s no way he is going to be able to carry a franchise much longer, if at all. Which is something Atlanta is going to be interested in if they trade Smith—rebuilding.
Gasol is not someone you can build around. Again, he’s talented, but he’s simply too old; at this stage of his career, he’s more of a complementary piece if anything. Why would Atlanta trade a franchise cornerstone for someone who’s better suited to play a supporting role.
It wouldn’t. And it shouldn’t.
If the Hawks opt to move Smith out of fear that he’ll leave over the summer via free agency, there’s a better package to be had than Gasol.
As for the Lakers themselves, Gasol isn’t a terrible fit for D’Antoni’s system in the first place, so why toil with the prospect of making another major roster change, disrupting any chemistry or continuity, just for someone who may or may not be a slight upgrade.
Yes, D’Antoni’s system dictates that power forwards know how to shoot from the outside, but Gasol has already proven he can. The towering Spaniard shot over 43 percent from between 10 and 23 feet last season. Sure, his three-point prowess is underwhelming, but 23 feet is no small feat and being able to shoot from such a distance will more than spread the defenses.
So it doesn’t make sense for either team. Not much, anyway.
Atlanta, quite frankly could to better. And if its going to trade Smith, it needs to do better. The Lakers, though, before they start uprooting the entire organization again, need to be sure Gasol isn’t a good fit for this offense. But they’re not, because he is a good fit. Even if he turns out to be an offensive anchor, however, Los Angeles owes it to itself to give this time for a change.
So no, this deal makes no sense.
Not right now.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.