Indefinitely replaced in Mike D’Antoni’s starting offense by the immortal Earl Clark, the underachieving Los Angeles Lakers should ship four-time All-Star power forward Pau Gasol to the New York Knicks for six-time All-Star and 2007 All-NBA First Team selection Amar’e Stoudemire prior to the trade deadline on February 21.
The Lakers, who have the league’s largest payroll at just more than $100 million, lost to the Bulls in Chicago on Monday night to fall to 17-24 and sink 3.5 games out of the No. 8 spot.
“We’re better when we’re small,” said D’Antoni’, 61, who has compiled a coaching record of 400-358 since debuting with the Denver Nuggets in 1998. “That’s life. He understands. It also puts Pau in his natural position. He’s one of the best centers in the league.”
The 7-foot, 250 pound Gasol, a 32-year-old who the Atlanta Hawks took with the third pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, is averaging a substandard 12.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 33.9 minutes per game to date.
In stark contrast to Los Angeles’ woes, the Knicks are 25-14 and its evident the squad will remain a lasting contender in the Eastern Conference.
New York managed to absolutely dominate for 30 games without the services of the extremely talented Stoudemire.
The 30-year-old Stoudemire, who signed a five-year contract worth in excess of $99.7 million in July 2010 to come to Gotham, returned from left knee surgery on January 1 and has since averaged 10.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in nine games off the bench.
Despite being a collection of Golden Girls in high tops, New York, with Stoudemire, superstar Carmelo Anthony, five-time All-NBA First Team selection Jason Kidd, 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler and effective ballplayers Marcus Camby, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Steve Novak, finally has an opportunity to make the conference finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign and compete for their first franchise title since 1973.
Somewhat dismissing Stoudemire’s vast abilities on the hardwood, the power forward has had difficulty performing alongside Anthony and his reentrance has yet to pay dividends for the Knicks veteran unit that is designed to thrive now.
Hence, with both players earning approximately $19 million this year, swapping the 6-foot-11, 245 pound Stoudemire for Gasol would be a logical, and beneficial, transaction for both organizations.
Stoudemire was an elite ballplayer as a member of the Phoenix Suns with D’Antoni at the helm and it’s easy to envision Gasol becoming reenergized under the direction of Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
Exchanging Pau Gasol for Amar’e Stoudemire would bolster both the flourishing New York Knicks and struggling Los Angeles Lakers chances of capturing a Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in the springtime and it’s a move that should be made for the betterment of both fabled franchises.by