Going into this season, we knew the title window for the Lakers was incredibly small. We figured one, maybe two years, and then after that, they’d rebuild around Dwight Howard. But with Kobe Bryant hinting at retirement, and Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni filming a re-run of the Jets season, the issues may come to a head even sooner.
Gasol isn’t happy with his role in L.A. He’s playing well as a starter without Howard – 19.7 points and nine rebounds a night over his last three games – but knows once Superman is back, the Spaniard can start collecting pine splinters again.
It was reported that D’Antoni and Gasol recently aired out their grievances. But Gasol is telling The Los Angeles Times that “It was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding. But I don’t think it’s translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it’s probably even gone a little backwards.”
The article continued:
“If this coach stays and Dwight Howard remains with the Lakers,” I asked, “what about you?”
“It would be hard for me to deal with another season knowing the facts you just mentioned,” said Gasol, 32 and with one year remaining on his contract.
“So do you ask for a fresh start elsewhere?”
“It’s a possibility,” he said, “yes.”
Translation: this summer, the Lakers will probably move Gasol and his nearly $19.3 million salary for 2013-14. Trade rumors involving Gasol have been building for years, but now the Lakers finally have the motivation to go through with it. This summer, they’ll likely be choosing between D’Antoni and Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol. Their response will be predictable.
L.A. should consider itself lucky just to make the playoffs this year, a sad story for a team that started off with so much potential. And a year or so from now, they’ll probably look completely different. Yet I wouldn’t feel bad for Pau Gasol. I bet he ends up with a team that’ll actually use him, and then we’ll get the “Pau Gasol is back!” narrative shoved down our throats.
What should the Lakers do?
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