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Mike D’Antoni says Gasol will start when he comes back

Dec 10, 2012, 8:01 AM EDT

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Lakers fans are desperate. Mike D’Antoni is not that desperate. Yet.

Lakers fans have been dreaming up ways to shake up a lackluster team and some latched on to the leaked idea of Pau Gasol as a sixth man when he returns from rest to heal up his knee tendonitis.

Mike D’Antoni isn’t there yet, as reported by Dave McMenamin at

“Not yet, that’s not what we need to be doing right now,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of the possibility of using Gasol in a sixth man role. “We need to find him and Steve (Nash) in there together and look at it and make a good assessment. I envision him being really good at what he does at the four, so I don’t see that.”

“I’m not going to mess with Pau,” D’Antoni said. “He’s too important to the team and he’s earned it and he’s too good of a player to even go there. That would be a last resort kind of desperate (move).”

I understand where D’Antoni is coming from — he wants to see what it looks like when Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard all share the court.

But with the team 9-12 there is not a lot of patience in Lakers nation. And bad knees or no it was clear Gasol was uncomfortable in D’Antoni’s offense.

Gasol could come back during the Lakers four-game road trip this week, he has missed four games and gotten rest and treatment. He’ll try moving on the court again soon and see how he feels, D’Antoni said. There is no timetable yet for Nash, who has missed 19 games and could be back this week from his broken leg. Or not. Nobody knows.

But once he does, maybe then we will see what D’Antoni envisions. If it doesn’t work quickly, don’t be shocked if the “Gasol off the bench” talk resurfaces.

  1. loungefly74 - Dec 10, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    ohhh..Gasol…better man-up! 3 fates await you: 1)star at the 4 spot, 2)6th man, or…3)trade bait! lets hope it the 1st option.

  2. omniusprime - Dec 10, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    It’s a really ignorant idea to have Pau come off the bench rather than being a starter because there isn’t a player who is better who can start in his stead. I like Jordan Hill, who seems to be one of few Lakers showing any hustle this season, but he just isn’t a starter yet. Once Pau’s knees get better then he should show us more hustle.

    The reason why Pau is so uncomfortable in Dumbtoni’s offense is that Dumbtoni’s offense is worthless. Dumbtoni just doesn’t have the intelligence to use 5 great starters properly, nor the bench. Dumbtoni is utterly clueless on defensive schemes. Dumbtoni is only here to destroy the Laker franchise, just like he did to the Knicks.

    With a quarter of the season totally wasted it’s time to fire Dumbtoni and bring back Phil Jackson, the greatest coach of all pro sports of all time. It’s time for Daddy Buss to come to his senses and fire his little idiot boy and bring back Jeanie to run the team.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Fire the little idiot buss boy!!! We Want Jeanie!!! We Want Phil!!!

    • nbascreed - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM


      Just b/c there isn’t a player better that can start in his stead doesn’t mean he should start. See Jet Terry v Deshawn Stevenson or Jimmy Harden v Thabo Sefalosha.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Phil isn’t coming back to the Lakers after the way he was treated by Jim Buss.

      Where do you think all those leaks about his demands (a piece of ownership, time off, etc.) came from? Hint – not Phil’s representatives.

      Jim Buss letting the media raise the possibility of Phil Jackson coming back, and then hiring a different coach after Phil confirmed interest was humiliating to Phil. Other coaches like Doc Rivers were angered by the way Phil was treated, and I doubt Phil ever agrees to work under or with Jim Buss after that experience.

      I also really doubt Jim’s dad fires him, so…

    • florida727 - Dec 10, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      You know, the first time I read the reference to “Dumbtoni”, I actually laughed, thought the alliteration was clever. After reading it a SEVENTH time, it became an annoyance. We get it. You don’t like the guy. Next time, don’t fall in love with your own clever comment. Devalues it.

  3. hoodheisman - Dec 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    I have yet to meet a single Laker fan that thinks the roster needs to be shaken up. We all want a real coach that can handle this roster.

  4. conjecture101 - Dec 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Exactly where do people like Kurt Helin come up with this nonsense. Our roster is stacked with veteran winners. Who wants a shakeup??? The shakeup was GETTING Dwight Howard & Steve Nash to replace Bynum & Sessions. THAT WAS THE SHAKEUP! NOW WE NEED A COACH WHO CAN MAKE IT WORK!!!

  5. saint1997 - Dec 10, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    There are a lot of parallels between this and Ama’re for the Knicks

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