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Mike D’Antoni defends Pau Gasol, says he fits his system

Nov 28, 2012, 10:48 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

After the Lakers loss Tuesday night to the Pacers — when Pau Gasol got out too high into a no-man’s land trying to defend George Hill on the final play, got his hips turned and watched Hill blow by him for the game winning shot — Lakers fans frustration with Gasol reached a new high for this season. Gasol trade talk is everywhere in Los Angeles (most of it wildly unrealistic).

But Tuesday night coach Mike D’Antoni came to Gasol’s defense and didn’t sound like a coach willing to trade him for any warm body. From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

“He’s another seven-footer who can guard the rim and he’s extremely smart,” D’Antoni said. “So there’s no reason why he can’t fit. Ideally, you’d want a guy like Jesse Owens who can run. But he’s a big part of what we’re going to do.”

“I don’t see how a player as smart as he is, as talented as he is and efficient as he is, doesn’t fit in anybody’s schemes,” he continued. “I got to reevaluate myself if I can’t play with Pau Gasol. Come on. He’s won two championships.”

Of course, what did you expect D’Antoni to say? He’s a guy focused on the positive as he tries to get the Lakers playing his kind of basketball, so he’s not going to trash Gasol.

As for all those Gasol trade rumors….

“I don’t get it,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said, shaking his head. “It definitely doesn’t come from us. But it’s like New York. In Los Angeles, that’s what you guys do. That’s good. You guys talk and most of the stuff is wrong. You get people interested. I’m OK with that.

For the record, and as we told you Tuesday, the Lakers are not actively trying to trade Gasol right now. That might change once the Lakers get Steve Nash back, look at how the team shakes out and decide that that they need shooters more than two elite post players. And even then, there is a limited market of teams that will take on a 32-year-old player making $19 million a year.

But for now, D’Antoni is singing Gasol’s praises. Even if Lakers fans are increasingly not.

  1. spthegr8 - Nov 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Everybody needs too CHILL the F**K OUT!!!!! Pau Gasol is the most Skilled 7 footer in the LEAGUE!!! He will find his place in this offense. Let’s not judge this offense until we get Nash back. We have Chris duhon in their right now. NUFF SAID!!!! All of these people acting like we should just trade Pau for a shooter???? Are IDIOTS!!!!! You dont trade BIG for small. You don’t get rid of a guy who can play the 4 and the 5 and fill the stat sheet up like Pau can for a shooter. Not a smart move. Still early and I for 1 am not ready too hit any panic button yet. JUST SAYING!!!!!!

  2. totallyuselessme - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    The people trying to blame Pau are stupid.

    Blame Buss. Phil would have this roster functioning. D’Antoni does not.

    • lakerfan4life - Nov 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      I agree 100%! I try not to go there, because what’s the point? That ship has sailed. But when I read STUPID articles like this, I want to just SCREAM out the real problem. Jim Buss is an idiot, who doesn’t know basketball and hired the wrong coach (again), when there was a great coach out there that everyone knows would have this team running like a well oiled machine! Arghhh!

  3. nycalldayz - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Lakers would be insane to trade Gasol. Trade him for who?

    • loungefly74 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      exactly. now IF there was a trade to make the Lakers better…pull the trigger.

  4. paulhargis53 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    The panic button was pushed firing the coach 5 games into the season!!

    • bozosforall - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      The smart move was to fire the coach early enough to right he ship…unlike the idiot Red Sox who foolishly hung on to Booby Valentine all of last season. As usual, LA proves smarter than Boston…and Pudhummer53 proves to be the dumbest of all.

  5. edwardsro - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    I agree with waiting for Nash to come back before trading Gasol. Gasol has skills. See Olympics a few months ago

  6. omniusprime - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Pau Gasol was not the reason that the Lakers lost last night on a last second play. The Lakers lost the game because of their ignorant coach Dumbtoni not having a proper game plan ready for the team to execute, nor the leadership skills to inspire the team to play it’s best. Dumbtoni is a liar if he says that he wants to fit Pau into his loser system, so far Dumbtoni hasn’t done anything to help get Gasol scoring opportunities or plays to make him feel good about playing.

    Kurt you just don’t seem to understand Laker fans, we want to keep Pau and we want to get rid of that worthless excuse for a Laker coach Dumbtoni. We Laker fans want Phil Jackson as the coach and we want that little idiot buss boy fired and replaced by Jeanie Buss, the intelligent sibling.

    If the Lakers should trade someone they should trade away Steve Flake and bring in a great young point guard who can play defense, Ancient Nash sure won’t.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Fire the little idiot buss boy!!!

    • bozosforall - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM

      D’Antoni didnt miss all of those free throws, oblivious plug.

  7. spthegr8 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    @paulhargis53
    I don’t think them firing MB, was them hitting the panic button. I think Jim Buss ( as arrogant and ignorant as he is) would have let MB try to figure things out( because he is the 1 that hired MB)although, all the signs are their telling you that you made a mistake and hired the wrong guy. But Dr. Buss stepped in and said ENOUGH!!!! I am rambling on now but my point is, them firing MB wasn’t them “hitting the panic button”. It was simply fixing up, what Jimbo had f**ked up!!!!

  8. fotydaze - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Pau is still an effective player: IN THE POST, he is still the most skilled big man in the League: IN THE POST he could still average 18 a game: IN THE POST. the lakers won two championships with pau playing where? IN THE POST!!! He was played out of position last year and he’s being played put of position this year!!!

  9. senorpapino - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Until they figure it out when Nash comes back, he could be better suited coming off the bench. Start Jamison (who’s working well in D’Antoni’s system) and give him minutes as the only big man on the court while limiting his and Dwight’s minutes together.

  10. manchestermiracle - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    “You guys talk and most of the stuff is wrong.” Why do I get the impression D’Antoni was looking at Helin when he said that? And then Helin goes ahead and proves D’Antoni’s point by posting this “article.”

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