Found November 27, 2012 on
Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs
That was a question that was asked in a Hoopsworld article.
Pau Gasol has been a great fit so far in Mike D'Antoni's Lakers' "Run-N-Gun Lite" (since Steve Nash isn't running things) version of his old Phoenix Suns offense from years ago. You can understand Gasol's frustration with that system since it's a purely offensive heavy system with that side of the ball presenting an overwhelming advantage for D'Antoni's team while not really caring about the defensive liability it could cause. When D'Antoni began his official stint in Phoenix during the 2004-2005 season (not counting the 2003-2004 season when he took over for a departing Frank Johnson), he adopted a system of having Steve Nash run the ball down the court and scoring in seven seconds or less while giving him a cast of two 3 point shooting guards in the shooting guard and small forward positions while sliding his small forward as power forward and his power forward to center. It made his teams more athletic and gave Nash and his big man, Amar'e Stoudemire, an advantage of a wide open paint in a pick and roll scenario because of the high percentage 3 point shooters around them. Even when Stoudemire got hurt the following year, he inserted a versatile forward into Amar'e's position with his athleticism and passing skills. With the comparisons of those teams and what the Lakers have (even with a healthy Steve Nash running the show), you can see how those teams are vastly different from this Lakers team (and you can also see why D'Antoni prefers Antawn Jamison in situations over Gasol: he can shoot 3 pointers).
I don't want this to seem like a Lakers article on a San Antonio Spurs website, but here's the expected swerve: the versatile forward that succeeded in D'Antoni's "Run-N-Gun" system when Amar'e Stoudemire got hurt is current Spurs player, Boris Diaw. The Lakers have been reported to be interested in bringing in former Sun and the only guy to give the Lakers' Kobe Bryant a clothesline during a basketball game, Raja Bell. The move to bring in former Suns would make sense for D'Antoni because it'd buy the team time to gel and build chemistry, but it also doesn't make sense as D'Antoni doesn't usually run a rotation of more than seven players.
That's where the Boris Diaw factor might come in.
Players like Diaw, not Bell, are what made the Suns' offense potent: he gives them an advantage on a big position that teams rarely can counter with one player. The question probably won't be legitimate, but it wouldn't hurt to ask - could the Lakers dare to trade Gasol to a rival to please their new coach and new point guard?
Nash and Diaw are so close that it was said that Nash's relationship with Suns management deteriorated because Phoenix didn't pursue Diaw when he was bought out by the Charlotte Bobcats. The Lakers are in a bind, they've given in to the old Phoenix Suns offense needs already, which is why Gasol is feeling lost with his team. He's making $19 million this year and the Spurs don't have many trade assets to make it work unless there's a third team involved. I have no idea if the Spurs would be willing to throw in fan favorite Stephen Jackson ($10 million) with Diaw ($4.5 million), but that would leave them short a few million, maybe a Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair add on. The scenario seems unlikely without a third team because the Spurs would be needing to give up too many significant players. The Lakers are struggling with Gasol though and he's too expensive to not play. D'Antoni is also signed for four years and Kobe Bryant is older, so they're handcuffed into a D'Antoni system, which might make them desperate if they're still struggling for a few more weeks.
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