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Pau Gasol: Lakers would need ‘significant changes’ for me to come back

Pau-Gasol-Steve-Nash-LakersThe Los Angeles Lakers have some serious decisions to make this offseason, and whether to bring back Pau Gasol or not is one of them. The 33-year-old center has struggled since Mike D’Antoni took over. Injuries haven’t helped, as Gasol has played in 65 or less games each season since the 2010-2011 campaign. He loves playing with Kobe Bryant, but does he enjoy it enough to stay in LA?

On Wednesday, Gasol wrote at length about his impending free agency on his personal blog. Mark Medina of Inside the Lakers shared a translation of some of the more noteworthy remarks.

“Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one,” Gasol wrote. “If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another (championship) and where I can be an important factor in the game.”

Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games this season. Given his inability to stay healthy, he can expect to make far less than $19 million per season on his next contract. Gasol’s name has been at the center of a number of trade rumors over the past two seasons, mostly because of his inability to succeed in D’Antoni’s system. He alluded to that on his website.

“I’ve never concealed the fact that D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game,” Gasol wrote. “Everybody knows this. I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.”

It seems obvious that Gasol would rather play for someone else. Rumor has it Kobe feels the same way, so it might make life easier for everyone if D’Antoni doesn’t return next year. And if he does, the team may decide not to bring Gasol back anyway.

“Money isn’t important to me,” he added. “I have other priorities. A contract lasting several seasons, the make-up of the team that signs me: I’ll need to think long and hard. I won’t just go to the franchise that offers me the biggest salary, I know that.”

Everyone wants to win a championship, and common sense tells you there is too much uncertainty surrounding the Lakers for them to contend next season. If Gasol decides to leave, it would cloud the picture even more.

Mike D’Antoni responds to Pau Gasol’s criticism

Pau Gasol cryingPau Gasol publicly criticized his Los Angeles Lakers teammates after a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. The veteran forward felt that selfish play and a lack of discipline needed to be addressed. His comments about the Lakers being undisciplined were interpreted as a shot at head coach Mike D’Antoni.

The Lakers lost again on Wednesday night, this time at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. Before the game, D’Antoni made it clear that he was unhappy with Gasol.

“The thing I just don’t appreciate … You just keep it in-house,” he said, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s very easy just to come over and talk about your frustrations. We’ll try to work something out. We’ll figure something out.

“But to go to (the media) and to do it in the papers, that’s disturbing. I just don’t think that’s the way to go and people should understand that we’re all trying to solve the same problem, so let’s just put our heads together and do the best we can.”

Gasol was critical of D’Antoni on Tuesday for going with a small lineup after Wesley Johnson got into foul trouble. MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, two players LA acquired at the trade deadline, combined for 29 shots during the loss to the Pacers. Gasol insisted he was not singling anyone out with his comments.

“It wasn’t an attack to anyone in particular,” he said. “I wasn’t blaming MarShon and Kent of anything. I like these guys a lot. They’re great guys, they came in, I’m happy that they’re getting this opportunity. But that’s why from a team standpoint, you have to help them make better decisions.”

D’Antoni seemed to take particular exception with Gasol accusing the Lakers of being undisciplined.

“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” D’Antoni said. “(Tuesday) night, like (Gasol) said, we should have had more ball movement, but I don’t know what that has to do with discipline. It has to do with guys trying too hard, guys not really understanding the system totally and not really getting ingrained into it and so I think in that aspect, I can understand what he’s talking about, but I don’t know why he used that word.”

D’Antoni also noted that several players on the team are playing for a new contract, so selfish play could possibly stem from that.

Perhaps the Lakers should have traded Gasol at the deadline. He went on a postgame rant last month and obviously has not enjoyed his time playing under D’Antoni. Gasol’s LA honeymoon is over

Pau Gasol says Lakers have no discipline, too many individuals

Pau Gasol cryingPau Gasol had some criticism for his club following a 20-point loss at Indiana on Tuesday night.

Gasol scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the Lakers’ 118-98 loss to the Pacers, and he was not happy with what he felt was selfish play by his teammates.

“There’s just too many individual actions right now. It’s really not a good flow and rhythm out there,” Gasol said via ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin. “We got to be unselfish. If we see a teammate open, we have to make sure that guy gets the ball. Otherwise, it’s really deflating.”

According to McMenamin, Gasol also said there was no discipline being administered by the team, which McMenamin viewed as a shot at coach Mike D’Antoni.

Not only did Gasol criticize his teammates for not sharing the ball, but the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina also says Gasol was critical of D’Antoni for going with a small lineup after Wesley Johnson got into foul trouble. He also criticized their lack of rebounds.

Gasol is quite obviously frustrated playing on this bad Lakers team. The squad is 19-38 and pretty much playing for draft position. Gasol went on a postgame rant last month and has now done the same this month because of his frustrations. Don’t worry, Pau, everyone feels the same way as you.

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol threw his shoes in locker room during tantrum

Pau Gasol LakersKobe Bryant says Pau Gasol was so unhappy with his team for their poor performance in a 114-105 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday night that the Spanish forward threw his shoes during a postgame tantrum in the locker room.

Bryant shared the information with reporters on Sunday prior to the Lakers’ 110-103 loss to the New York Knicks.

Bryant says he loved the fire from Gasol.

“That was the most irritated I’ve seen Pau in a long, long time,” Bryant said via the Los Angeles Times. “I haven’t really seen him come in and have a tantrum in the locker room, which is good. It’s something that needs to be done.

“It can’t be something where we’re losing and it becomes accepted. Or the whole ‘We gave it a good effort’ sort of thing. We don’t do that around here. That’s not what it’s about. It’s not about giving good effort. It’s about winning championships.”

Nobody will confuse this Lakers squad for a championship team. They have lost four in a row and 15 of 18. Everyone knows that they are one of the worst teams in the league — especially with Kobe out — but that doesn’t mean Pau has to accept the losing. He should always remain passionate about the team, regardless of how bad they may be.

Or maybe we all really have the story wrong, and the real reason Pau was upset was because he couldn’t find his European Men’s Carryall in his locker.

Pau Gasol purse

Kobe Bryant jokingly takes shot at Pau Gasol while confirming he will sit out 2016 Olympics

Kobe-Bryant-Paul-Gasol-Trade-RumorsKobe Bryant has battled several unfortunate injuries over the past year, so it comes as no surprise that he has likely participated in his last Olympic Games. On Monday, Kobe confirmed that he would not be competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, though he said he would attend the Games as a spectator.

Bryant, who is recovering from a knee injury that he suffered shortly after making his return from rehabbing an Achilles injury, took the opportunity to rip on Pau Gasol while he was speaking to reporters.

Burn. Gasol’s native country of Spain took home the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London Olympics in 2012. Kobe and the Americans won gold both years.

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant coach for Team USA, said on Monday that he plans on trying to convince Bryant to change his mind about Rio. Kobe said he would welcome the flattery.

“He can try all he wants,” Bryant said, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “I love Tibs. That conversation with him would be more than welcome.”

In reality, Kobe is having enough trouble staying healthy during the grueling NBA schedule. Competing in the Olympics near the time of his 38th birthday would probably not be wise.

H/T SI Wire

Pau Gasol was watching ‘Lion King’ play and false trade report ruined his night

Pau Gasol Lion King

Poor Pau Gasol. The guy has had to deal with so many trade rumors over the past several years that he’s gotten used to ignoring them. But one false alarm on Saturday night ruined his viewing of the “Lion King” musical. Seriously.

Gasol says he was at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday to watch the “Lion King” play. He took his parents and little brother to watch the highly-acclaimed show, but he made the mistake of checking Twitter during the intermission. That’s when he found out about the trade report, which turned out to be inaccurate.

Local LA radio station KSPN tweeted late Saturday night that Gasol had been traded to the Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum. The Lakers denied the trade — as did other reporters — and the radio station quickly deleted the tweet. But it was up long enough for fans to begin bombarding Gasol with farewell messages.

“I was getting all these messages, ‘Farewell, Pau. Thanks for all your services,’ all that stuff,” Gasol said on Tuesday via the Los Angeles Daily News.

Gasol has actually been traded by the Lakers before. He was part of the Chris Paul trade that was cancelled by commissioner David Stern. Numerous other rumors over the past few years have suggested he was being traded, but he’s remained with the Lakers.

What’s the big lesson to learn in all of this? Never go to see the Lion King play. And if you must go, don’t check Twitter at intermission. Stick with going to the john and buying snacks.

At least this story has provided us with a great meme:

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Lakers and Cavs reportedly discuss trade involving Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol

Andrew-Bynum-Pau-GasolPau Gasol probably does not want to play for the Los Angeles Lakers anymore. On Sunday, Gasol chose not to play against the Philadelphia 76ers because of a respiratory infection and was told to not bother showing up. Andrew Bynum may not want to play basketball anymore, period. He has been suspended indefinitely by the Cleveland Cavaliers and is being shopped around. Would the Lakers take him back?

According to ESPN.com, the Lakers and Cavs have had discussions about a potential trade involving Bynum and Gasol. The obvious appeal for LA is the money it would save. However, that would involve waiving Bynum after they acquired him to save more than $20 million in salaries and luxury taxes. In other words, Bynum is highly unlikely to actually play for the Lakers again.

Considering this is the same Bynum who used to laugh when the Lakers lost important games, that is not a surprise. As ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reminded us, the Cavs have had a high interest in Gasol since they tried to acquire him last summer. After the Lakers lost Dwight Howard, they chose to keep Gasol.

The Cavs have also reportedly had discussions with the Chicago Bulls about a potential trade for Luol Deng. The Bulls also have salary cap issues and do not have high expectations for the 2013-2014 season after losing Derrick Rose once again. Chicago could be interested in the same type of sign-and-waive deal that LA would be interested in.

Bynum has a very reasonable contract, but no team wants him. While the Cavs may be able to find a trade partner, those trade partners may just be looking to dump salaries and have no actual interest in adding Bynum to their roster. Such is life when you just don’t give a s— about basketball.