The Houston Rockets are still trying to acquire Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol. They thought they had a deal last night, only to see it vetoed by commissioner David Stern. Now, there appears to be new light to talks, with a major concession.
Youth is on the menu, straight from the mouths of the NBA. This, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger:
In resumption of CP3-Lakers talks with Houston, Hornets under directive from NBA to get younger players, quality picks in deal, sources say.
If the Lakers for whatever reason were to decide Dwight Howard is off the menu, they could fill the picks void, but otherwise, this can't be good for Houston. While the Rockets sport a fine bunch of late-eighties babies, the youth-a-thon starts with one name: Kyle Lowry.
I'm okay with losing Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. They're the two oldest players on the Rockets, and while they have decent-to-good contracts and are Houston's two best players, their loss doesn't tamper with the long-term future. Now, if we're talking about losing Lowry or Patrick Patterson, coupled with either Scola, Martin or (gasp!) both? That's a tougher pill to swallow. The previous deal didn't touch the future. This deal could leave the Rockets with less options going forward.
Don't forget: Nene could be off the table in a matter of hours. That possibility alone made the Gasol deal a home-run. If there's no Nene or other frontcourt presence for the Rockets to add assuming this deal is reworked, I'll understand the criticism.
Oh, and getting back to the picks. This latest tampering charge against New Jersey could hurt the Nets' pursuit of Howard, thus opening the door for the Lakers to sneak in and put together an offer around Andrew Bynum. By this account, they'll want to keep all of their assets in order to chase Howard -- their remaining assets would be picks, mind you -- leaving the Rockets to include more of their picks in a desperate attempt to land Gasol.
What's so alarming about this deal and its subsequent destruction is the sheer gravity surrounding it. This wasn't just a trade for a good big man: This was the fulfillment of Daryl Morey's career-long pursuit of a star, coupled with the decision to trade a franchise cornerstone and fan-favorite in Luis Scola. So much changed in such a short time that you have to wonder: Will Morey be willing to give up too much for Gasol now that he had him within his grasp? Ask yourself: Could Morey settle with coming so close -- and, in fact, succeeding -- only to eventually lose out on a star once again? I don't think so.
I think Gasol is his guy. Here's hoping he doesn't lose his wits in order to make it happen.
Update: Gasol didn't practice today.
All the more reason to be worried. Hooray.