Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks Look to Trade Smith for Gasol

6/27/12 in NBA   |   natsaar   |   160 respect

February 14, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) controls the ball against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

As the NBA draft inches closer, more and more reports are emerging about moves teams are trying to make.

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times wrote that the Atlanta Hawks are looking to move Josh Smith to the Lakers in return for Pau Gasol.

“The Atlanta Hawks have aggressively tried to trade power forward Josh Smith to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, initially expressing interest in Gasol shortly after Oklahoma City eliminated the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, The Times has learned.

In separate activity leading up to Thursday’s amateur draft, the Lakers are also open to trading Gasol to a team with a high first-round pick because they covet Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Atlanta holds the 23rd pick and cannot help in that area.”

The Lakers likely wouldn't take just Smith, they would also need Atlanta's 23rd pick, or a player. However, it's likely that Kidd-Gilchrist will be taken by then.

Smith, while young and at times immature, is a very active defensive player, able guard, experienced and young. He can help the Lakers in a lot of areas where they need it. While Gasol is still highly talented, he's lost in the current Lakers' system.

Bresnahan also broke down how their salaries work out:

“[Smith] has one more year on his contract for $13.2 million and becomes an unrestricted free agent in June 2013 unless he signs an extension. The Lakers would also benefit financially from a deal involving the two players: Gasol has two more years and $38.3 million on his contract.”

This is no doubt very attractive to the cash strapped Lakers. It will also allow them to go after more free agents next season if things don't work out.  

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