The Charlotte Bobcats have been in contact with the Los Angeles Lakers concerning veteran big man Pau Gasol, but a source familiar with the discussion downplayed the likelihood Gasol would end up a Bobcat by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Gasol makes over $19 million in this, the final season of his current contract. Superstar Kobe Bryant is hurt and the Lakers have fallen out of the Western Conference playoff race, so getting something for Gasol – like a first-round pick – is something the Lakers have explored.
While adding Gasol could give the Bobcats the short-term boost to make the playoffs, giving up a first-round pick would make Gasol more of a long-term investment. That’s where the Bobcats would have pause.
Gasol turns 34 in July and is playing his 15th NBA season. Is he a long-term fit for the Bobcats, particularly the way Steve Clifford coaches defense? Would Gasol, a Spaniard who has played in Los Angeles the past six seasons, be receptive to finishing out his career in Charlotte?
With those open questions, it’s unlikely the Bobcats would give up a significant first-round pick to acquire a veteran for the season’s last 30 or so games.
Bobcats management is working the phones hard, looking to make some sort of a deal before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline. A big question between now and then will be whether teams pointed toward the draft lottery – “sellers,” so to speak – will reduce their asking prices to give up veteran players in trade.