Report: Atlanta Pursuing Pau Gasol?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 86-78. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Don't we all love the rumor mill? Never ceases to tease fans simultaneously with hope, exasperation, and outright incredulity. In this case, however, we can pay more attention since the relevant report comes from the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, who asserts that the Hawks are attempting to put together a package in order to obtain Pau Gasol:

The Atlanta Hawks have been pursuing Pau Gasol, the Times has learned. Nothing imminent, but Josh Smith would be the key piece going to the Lakers.

Among the innumerable trade scenarios that have been devised for Pau, Josh Smith is a name that has come up from time to time due to Smith's willingness to get out of Atlanta and the allure of his solid talent. Smith is a super athletic four who rebounds well, can handle the ball, and is a defensive force against the pick-and-roll and on the weak side. His proclivity for launching ill-timed and inaccurate twenty foot jumpers notwithstanding, Smith would be a fairly solid counterpart to Andrew Bynum, especially with his defensive prowess.

For Atlanta, Gasol would pair with Al Horford and enable him to move to his more natural power forward position, instantly giving the Hawks one of the East's best frontcourts. Additional pieces would have to be added to make the salaries match, however, and it is unlikely that the Lakers would want the salary of say Marvin Williams unless Metta World Peace was heading somewhere else. Decent backup center Zaza Pachulia would be the only other feasible option, as it is highly unlikely that the Hawks throw point guard Jeff Teague into the deal. The Hawks' draft pick at #23 could also possibly be had, a spot where the Lakers could consummate their interest in Baylor forward Quincy Miller. Bresnahan also noted in a subsequent tweet that the Lakers are open to trading into the top five with Pau as the sweetener and they are particularly high on Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but as noted in my draft primer earlier today, such a transaction is rather unlikely. In any case, we will keep you apprised of any updates to the situation.

Follow this author on Twitter @brosales12.

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