Pau Gasol concerned about Steve Nash’s health

Steve Nash LakersLos Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash has been battling injuries throughout the offseason, the latest of which is neck discomfort. He was held out of the second half of LA’s preseason game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. The Lakers’ bench has looked solid, and the addition of Nick Young should help the team’s backcourt. However, Nash is a veteran who is expected to be the quarterback of Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

Very few people expect the Lakers to make a deep playoff run this season, but you can never count out a team that is led by Kobe Bryant. That being said, Nash will turn 40 this season and seems to be having trouble staying healthy. Even teammate Pau Gasol expressed concern.

I don’t see why Nash would be pushing himself in practice if he was hurt, although the fact that Gasol is openly concerned is certainly somewhat alarming. The Lakers are going to have to get healthier as the season progresses. With Nash, Bryant and Gasol turning 40, 36, and 34 — respectively next season, that will be no easy task.

Alex Morgan was stoked to meet Pau Gasol at the Olympics

Alex MorganAlex Morgan is one of the most famous female soccer players in the world. Most people would be super excited to meet her and consider that a dream. But even though she’s famous and one of the best soccer players in the world, she’s still a fan of some pro teams and athletes and can become a fan girl at times. Morgan says that happened to her at the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Morgan did an “AMA” Q&A session for Reddit on Monday when the subject came up.

Morgan was asked by a Reddit user “What celeb were you most surprised to meet or that recognized you?”

“I was really excited to meet Pau Gasol because I’m a big Lakers fan. I saw him in the cafeteria at the Olympics,” she answered.

Can you imagine that? A beautiful girl like Morgan going up to a gangly, kind of awkward Spanish basketball player and being all excited because she’s a big Lakers fan? What a sight that would have been. That should have been all Gasol’s honor.

Now you probably figure Morgan would have been most excited to meet Kobe Bryant, but they actually met at a charity soccer game in 2011. Morgan, by the way, is from Diamond Bar, Calif., which is about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, where the Lakers play, which explains her ties to the team. Pau Gasol, celebrity among celebrities. Hopefully he didn’t make a Robert Griffin III mistake when he met her.

Pau Gasol would ‘probably not’ take a pay cut to stay with Los Angeles Lakers

kevin-love-pau-gasolPau Gasol is entering the final season of his three-year, $60 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. If he hits free agency following the 2013-2014 season, he will be doing so as a 34-year-old veteran who has recently battled knee problems. If Gasol and Kobe Bryant — whose contract is also set to expire after the upcoming season — agree to return to LA at a team-friendly price, the Lakers would have salary cap space to work with and could reload for one final championship run.

Don’t expect it to be that easy. Bryant has already stated that he will not take a pay cut just to finish his career with the Lakers. During a recent interview with Mark Medina of the LA Daily News, Gasol said the same.

“If I perform well, am reliable and put up a great season, then I’m sure the Lakers will have interest in extending me maybe before the season is over,” Gasol said. “We’ll see if there’s interest or not. Then we’ll go from there.”

Gasol was then specifically asked if he would consider taking less to remain in LA.

“Probably not,” he said. “You have to explore your options, but I would like to continue to play for the Lakers and maybe finish my career here. But you have to see the cards on the table.”

Even if Gasol was willing to take a pay cut, admitting it now would only weaken his position. It is worth noting, however, that Gasol was not shy about expressing his displeasure with coming off the bench last season. He was also the center of a number of trade rumors, which may have made him feel that the Lakers do not value him as much as they used to.

Kobe has previously stated that Gasol will remain a Laker as long as Bryant does. While that’s a nice thing of him to say, Kobe won’t be making that final call. Unless, of course, they both leave. Is that a possibility? Naaah.

H/T Ball Don’t Lie

Pau Gasol worried about Lamar Odom

The rumors surrounding Lamar Odom over the past week have surely alarmed many people who are close to him, one of who is his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol. Early Tuesday morning, Gasol sent the following tweet:

Lamar-Odom-Phil-JacksonThe more reports we read, the more it sounds like Odom is in need of serious help. In its initial report, TMZ said Odom began using drugs two years ago after his cousin was murdered and he was involved in a car crash that killed a pedestrian. On Monday, another story from TMZ claimed Odom was using serious drugs while he played for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.

While we don’t know the exact extent of Odom’s alleged drug use, we do know that there have been rumors that he is hooked on prescription pills and even crack. If that is true and his drug abuse dates back to his days with the Lakers and Mavericks, you would think the league’s drug testing policy would have picked up on it or his teammates would have noticed.

Whether the various reports wind up being true or not, I’m sure Gasol isn’t the only former teammate who is worried about Odom. Between the rumors about hardcore drugs and the incident where he blew up on the paparazzi, it seems obvious Odom could use some sort of help.

Pau Gasol receives applause in possibly last game with Lakers (Video)

Pau Gasol cryingPau Gasol received a nice ovation from Lakers fans as he exited what might be his final game with the team.

Gasol left the Lakers’ 103-82 series-ending loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 on Sunday with under three minutes in the contest. As he exited, he received an applause and special recognition from the Los Angeles fans. Gasol became emotional and later appeared to have tears in his eyes.

Gasol was traded to the Lakers in the middle of the 2007-2008 season and helped the team reach the finals three times. They lost to the Boston Celtics in 2008, but they won the title the next two years.

This season, Gasol battled knee and foot problems and had his least impressive statistical season since joining the team. He only played in 49 games and started 42 of them.

There has been speculation that Gasol, who is due $19.28 million next season, could be released by the Lakers via the amnesty clause. We wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not back with the team next season.

Will the Lakers amnesty Pau Gasol?

The Los Angeles Lakers could be facing some difficult financial decisions heading into the 2013-2014 season. The team paid $30 million in luxury taxes this year, and that number would jump to $85 million next season if their payroll remains above $100 million. One of the goals of the new collective bargaining agreement is to curb spending, and it may do just that.

With several veterans on their roster earning a hefty salary, the Lakers may decide to use the amnesty clause. According to the LA Times, Pau Gasol could be the player they use it on if LA is able to re-sign Dwight Howard this summer.

Waiving Gasol via the “amnesty” provision in July could potentially save them more than $60 million in luxury taxes. They would still have to pay his $19.3-million salary, though he could be snapped up by a bidding team that would owe the Lakers millions to help with that cost.

The Lakers also could try to trade Gasol, but his hefty salary next season could be difficult to move and they would likely have to take back salaries totaling at least $15 million, which wouldn’t really help a goal to avoid ridiculous luxury taxes.

The Lakers could also use the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace, although it would not save them nearly as much money. Gasol has been at the center of countless trade rumors since last season, but Kobe Bryant once insisted Gasol will be a Laker as long as he is. Unless Bryant is planning to retire or demand a trade, it might not work out that way.

Since Mike D’Antoni became the coach of the Lakers, there have been questions about whether or not Gasol is a fit for his system. Mark Cuban thinks the Lakers should use the amnesty provision on Kobe, and that probably makes more sense now than it ever did after the torn Achilles. But that’s not happening. The ideal scenario is that LA can trade Gasol and not have to take back as much salary as they’re giving up. As we know, the ideal scenario is not always the one that plays out.

Phil Jackson takes shot at Pau Gasol on Twitter before playoffs

Phil-Jackson-Pau-GasolThe Los Angeles Lakers have made their way into the postseason despite their well-documented struggles all season long. Losing Kobe Bryant for the year down the stretch will certainly hurt, but LA is fortunate to still be playing let alone somehow grabbing a No. 7 seed.

On Saturday afternoon, Pau Gasol tweeted that the Lakers were wrapping up practice and getting ready to head to San Antonio for their opening-round series against the Spurs. What Gasol likely didn’t remember it that Phil Jackson is now on Twitter, which means the Zen Master has another way to screw with the minds of his former players.

Jackson used to coach Gasol and is obviously joking, but we know better than to think he has no motivation behind sending the tweet. Perhaps his motivation is to motivate. With Bryant on the shelf, Gasol and the rest of the Lakers will need to step up if they want to pull off an upset. Maybe Phil is just doing his part to help out some old buddies.

At least this tweet from the Zen Master was more than just a lame advertising ploy.