Disclaimer: Before I get started, I just want to say that Pau Gasol is NOT the elite player/superstar that is going to win us a championship.
Hear me out on this.....
As we all know, the Atlanta Hawks are about to be facing a huge decision about what to do with forward Josh Smith. Also, as we all know, there have been multiple rumors about trading Smith for Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol before the trade deadline.
I was adamantly against this at one point, but now I'm in favor of this happening, but just not during the season.
Let's hypothetically say that the players who a lot of Hawks fans have targeted on their priority list for this summer's free agency (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, who most likely aren't coming anywhere near Atlanta) decide not to sign with the Hawks and we're stuck with Smoove wanting to play elsewhere, like say, the Lakers, why wouldn't it be feasible to just sign and trade him for Gasol? If we're faced with this scenario, the Hawks would most definitely be facing a rebuild, and in that case, it would be time to get younger, and getting Gasol would be step one in doing so.
Again, hear me out on this......
If Josh walks and we don't bring everybody back, we're looking at having a boatload (potentially as much as $39 million and some change based off this year's cap of $58.044 million) of cap space for next season ( the Hawks only have $18,483,800 in guaranteed contracts), and per the CBA, we would be mandated to use 90 percent of our cap space (which by the 2012-13 cap, would be $52,239,600 that the Hawks would be REQUIRED to spend...we're currently at $66,929,478 in total salary, in case you were wondering).
If you also look at the free agents that will be available to us other than the top-tier guys, who are D12 and CP3, and maybe even Al Jefferson (and I'm stretching it there), and also not counting our own free agents, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to just let Gasol's $19,285,850 salary eat up a large chunk of that space for one year than to give a max deal to a low end star, (i.e., Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis, O.J. Mayo, who mind you, may not even opt out of their deals) and that's if you even consider any of these guys stars, from a bad free agent class for multiple years.
Here is a list of the free agents who will be or potentially be available this summer....
If you take the time to look at that list, is there anybody that you would really be willing to give a max deal to other than Dwight Howard , Chris Paul, or Al Jefferson and actually feel good about it?
Having Gasol's huge (and remind you, EXPIRING) contract on the books for next year isn't the forthcoming of Joe Johnson redux. It's an asset in more ways than one, if you think about it. First, you have an expiring contract, which is gold when it comes to making trades (especially if he plays well here), so there is the possibility of flipping Gasol for multiple, younger, cheaper parts (possibly oozing with potential, i.e., Oklahoma City trading James Harden for an expiring Kevin Martin and others) and/or draft picks, or there's the possibility of just letting him walk after the 2013-14 season and using that cap space to cash in on a player from a much more loaded free agent class, which could include the likes of one, LeBron James (hey, you have your dreams, and I have mine...like I said at the beginning, this whole thing is only hypothetical).
Here is a list of the players who will be or potentially be free agents in 2014
This would be the better class to try and make a splash in, in my opinion....
So with all this being said, it's ultimately up to Danny Ferry to make the best decision for the Hawks organization, and me as a fan am going to support the team no matter what, so let's see how this works out in the upcoming months.