Every day that passes is another day that Pau Gasol's groin could worsen or, assuming he's back before the deadline, another injury could torpedo his value altogether. The dude has become a regular at MRIs 'R' Us. That Phoenix is willing to take Gasol despite a lingering groin injury is arguably reason enough alone to pull the trigger.
And if that deal goes down with the Lakers receiving only financial relief, that's hardly insignificant. The organization gets that much potentially closer to a luxury-tax free roster, with a goal of eventually avoiding a repeater tax. That bullet dodged makes it easier for the Lakers to channel its inner-Stan Kasten on a team worth a damn. (Regardless of whether Kobe plays this season -- and he shouldn't, but that's another debate for another day -- the playoffs ain't happening.)
Yes, the Lakers are steeped in cash because of their brand and TV deal, but that doesn't obligate them to spend poorly for appearance's sake. And with all sincere respect to Pau, who's actually played well of late, in terms of tangible value, his salary has been the equivalent of lighting $19 million on fire this season.
Pau is not part of this team's future. (Forget whether the Lakers want him back, why would he stay after getting jerked around for three years?) He's barely part of the present. The cord's getting cut at some point, so it might as well be now.
Obviously, the Lakers should press for a first-round pick or a young player to accompany the injured Emeka Okafor and his expiring contract. But holding out for a better deal could very well result in holding the bag, and that would be a disastrous outcome.