Maybe a trade that will send Pau Gasol to the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki to the Los Angeles Lakers is the answer to the problems of these two usually successful franchises.
One of the most important things that any trade needs is a contract(s) that makes it work. In this case, two teams that are paying quite a lot of money in luxury tax won’t have a problem working out this deal. Dirk Nowitzki is making $20.9 million this season and $22.7 million in the next before it expires. Pau Gasol is due $19 million this season and $19.3 for the next. No need for more players in the deal and no need for a third team to make it happen.
The second question is – do they fit? If the Los Angeles Lakers are carrying on with the D’Antoni system, which means that the second big man, which is Pau Gasol in the current situation (when he’s healthy), needs to provide mostly outside shooting instead of banging in the paint, than Nowitzki is the perfect answer. True, he still hasn’t gotten back to his usual self, making a slow comeback from his injury and averaging 12.8 points while shooting 42.4% from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc, but he makes so much sense.
Because of his shooting ability, and because of his connection and friendship with Steve Nash. Sure, this doesn’t make the Lakers any younger (Nowitzki is older than Gasol by a couple of years) and it doesn’t help their defensive issues, but if it’s not working right now, trying to make a move that’ll galvanize this team from its current slump (15-20, five consecutive losses) seems like the logical move.
And how about Gasol to Dallas? The Mavericks are trying hard to build their offense around O.J. Mayo, which hasn’t really been happening due to his consistency. Adding a big man who can draw some focus in the paint and is one of the better in the league when it comes to court vision and passing might be the answer the Mavs need to end their slump, losing 13 of their last 15 games and falling to a 13-23 record. The Mavs fell 10 games below .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000, two months after Mark Cuban bought the team.
There’s also the Cuban – Nowitzki issue, trading jabs through the media. Mark Cuban is a smart man, but he’s also filled with pride and has quite a big ego. Why should he be paying more than $20 million to a player who doesn’t respect him and maybe, just maybe, is hinting he’s grown tired of what the Dallas Mavericks are trying to do?
Pau Gasol is averaging only 12.2 points this season while shooting a terrible 41.6% from the field. He looks unhappy and uncomfortable in the current system, carrying over from his playoffs struggles over the last couple of years. A change of scenery sometimes is all that’s needed, but there’s a good chance that under Rick Carlisle, which will use Pau Gasol as a traditional big man, things will be going a lot better. There’s also no problem using Gasol as a second big man, doing it very well in previous years for the Lakers.