Lakers Rumors: Could the Lakers Trade Pau Gasol to the Grizzlies for Zach Randolph?

Just two weeks into the NBA season, the trade rumors are already swirling around the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite outwardly expressing support for Pau Gasol, the Lakers brass is reportedly growing tired with his recent struggles, and there are even whispers within the Lakers organization that Gasol is damaged goods after buckling under the intense pressure he's faced over the past two seasons.

Despite the misgivings of the Lakers brass, there's no way the team would explore a trade unless they knew they could get a marquee player in return. At this point, Kobe Bryant has almost as much influence within the organization as GM Mitch Kupchak, and Kobe has invested enough in Gasol that he'd be extremely annoyed to see him leave. So what could tempt the organization into a trade if Gasol is under Kobe's protection?

The Lakers, as well as several other teams with high-value assets, were recently alerted that the Memphis Grizzlies are open to trading Zach Randolph for the right price. Memphis officials feel like the team is stuck at their current level, and there's a growing sense within the front office that they'll need to make some changes if they want to go from a playoff team to an NBA Championship contender.. Last season's Western Conference Finals appearance was a fantastic step forward for the franchise, but the humiliating playoff sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs hammered home just how far they have to go.

The Grizzlies still value Pau Gasol more highly than most other franchises due to his history with the team - he still holds most of their franchise records, and the fans in Memphis still hold Gasol in extremely high regard. The latest rumor we've heard out of Memphis says the Grizzlies would be willing to explore give up of their prize pieces - Zach Randolph - for the chance to pair up the Gasol brothers.

The trade checks out from a financial perspective - Randolph's contract would be off the books in time for the Lakers to make their next major free agent play, and he currently makes slightly less than Pau.

It's an open secret in NBA circles that the Grizzlies plan to build around Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. While Randolph is an excellent player, he isn't always on the same page as his teammates, and there are private whispers that he's interested in playing for a marquee team - something the Lakers can definitely provide. Gasol would have the chance to reunite with his brother in a situation where he's under much less pressure, and Randolph would get the marquee move he's been coveting since he left the New York Knicks in 2008.

From what we've heard, nothing is imminent...but there's mutual interest. Stay tuned, as this rumor could go from hot to scalding if neither team improves over the next few weeks.

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