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.

Pau Gasol chose not to play vs. Sixers and was told not to bother showing up

Pau Gasol LakersPau Gasol really can’t win these days. If the guy plays when he’s not well, he gets called out for his performances being sub-par. If he sits out so he can recover, he gets called out for missing games.

That’s what’s happened with him lately as he’s missed action because of a respiratory infection.

Gasol has missed three of the Lakers’ last five games, all of which were losses. ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin reports that Gasol chose not to play in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, which the Lakers lost 111-104, in an effort to completely recover from his illnesses.

According to a team source, Gasol still showed up to Lakers shootaround to lift weights Sunday, and when he told longtime trainer Gary Vitti he wanted more time to get over the infection and was not going to play against the Sixers, Vitti said to not even bother showing up to the game.

Gasol’s reasoning for taking the time off makes plenty of sense. He missed the team’s game against the Warriors on Dec. 21 to get better, but he pushed himself back and played in the team’s next two games. He said he was extremely winded after posting 13 points and 13 rebounds in a Christmas day loss to the Miami Heat.

“I tried to play through it as much as I can,” Gasol explained on Monday. “I played through it when I first got the respiratory issue earlier in the season, and I was getting killed [in the media] by not performing and all that stuff. So, when you try to play through stuff, you still don’t get any credit. And when you don’t play through stuff, you still don’t get any credit. So you’re not getting much credit when things especially aren’t working out and the team is losing. So, it is what it is. I’m just trying to do what’s best for myself and the team in this case.”

Gasol says doctors told him he has sinusitis and bronchitis, and that the only way to get better is to take time off, otherwise it will continue to get worse.

Perhaps one of the most shocking developments in all this is that coach Mike D’Antoni actually defended Gasol for sitting out. D’Antoni has been critical of Gasol throughout his tenure as Lakers coach. Last year he called out Gasol’s conditioning and said he benched the forward late in a game because he wanted to win. This year they’ve clashed over Gasol’s role in the team’s offense. Despite all this, D’Antoni told the media that Gasol could not have played in those games. Imagine that.

I actually feel badly for Gasol; he’s in a lose-lose situation, but he’s doing the right thing by sitting out so he can get better. He plans to play Tuesday. Hopefully that’s not too soon for him.

Mike D’Antoni fires back at Pau Gasol; Lakers hold meeting to clear the air

Pau-Gasol-Steve-Nash-LakersPau Gasol has not been happy with Mike D’Antoni’s offense since D’Antoni became the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol wants the ball in the post. He has been most effective during his career when he can post defenders up and work around the basket, but D’Antoni runs an offense that is not always conducive to that type of play. Gasol complained about that once again earlier this week.

“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness,” he told Bill Plaschke of the LA Times. “When I’m not getting the ball where I want to, where I’m most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity.”

Gasol has played poorly since D’Antoni took over. He does not think that is a coincidence. When asked specifically if D’Antoni’s coaching style and system are the reasons his production has dipped, Gasol was very blunt.

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Mike D’Antoni admits he felt pressure to run offense through Dwight Howard, not Pau Gasol

Pau-Gasol-Steve-Nash-LakersPrior to last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. Then they got Dwight Howard. The Lakers were the preseason favorite to win the Western Conference, but things went south in a hurry. Part of the reason for that was they couldn’t score.

During a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the issue of having to run his offense through Howard when the team had been so fluid running it through Pau Gasol in previous seasons. D’Antoni basically admitted he had no choice.

“It was very uncomfortable,” he said. “I knew I was messing on (Gasol) last year. That’s not fair to him. But that was the situation we were in. How do we make the best of it? I was just trying to make the best of it. But no, it wasn’t fair to him.

“I think it was all (politics). It was all that. We wouldn’t do that (normally). If nobody had names on their jerseys, and we were just playing? You go through Pau. There’s not a question. No question.”

Gasol was relegated to a bench role last season before D’Antoni finally admitted that he was wrong to not play both Gasol and Howard. He initially thought his offense would not work with two big men, but it turned out to be more effective when Gasol was on the floor. Even Kobe Bryant sent out some tweets while he was injured about how his team needed to put Gasol in the post and feed him the ball.

The air between D’Antoni and Gasol is supposedly cleared, and Gasol will need to be the player he was before the Howard era if LA wants to stand any chance this season.

“I definitely believe I can do it,” Gasol said. “I know it. I bounced back really well. The procedure went well, my tendons are a lot healthier now than they were before. I have a lot more healthy tissue that regenerated well. I worked hard during the summer to be in the position that I’m in today, and I look forward to just to going out there and doing what I know best.”

With Kobe coming back from a torn Achilles’ and Steve Nash nursing a number of injuries, Gasol could be the go-to guy in the early part of the season.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk