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Pau Gasol says a trade seems more likely this season after being sent back to the bench

Jan 21, 2013, 11:11 PM EDT

Before the Lakers took the floor in Chicago against the Bulls on Monday, Mike D’Antoni announced that Pau Gasol would be removed from the starting lineup in favor of going small, with Earl Clark getting the minutes at the starting power forward spot.

This decision, D’Antoni told reporters, was not just for one game, but a long-term solution to try to get his system more firmly in place. Efficiency statistics were cited that said when Gasol and Dwight Howard play together, the team ranks near the bottom of the league, but when just one plays, the team’s numbers are much improved.

It may turn out to be the right decision, and it may not. If Gasol plays with the rest of the starters in crunch time, as he did against the Heat when he played the entire fourth quarter after coming off the bench, then it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of the team’s rotations.

Except for one thing: It is to Gasol.

He was extremely vocal and pointed in his remarks after that Miami game, saying he absolutely wanted to return to the starting lineup. Now that he’s been overridden in this request by the whims of his head coach, Gasol said he feels now more than ever that he may be a part of a deal that sends him out of town before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Craig Sager reported this early in Thursday night’s TNT telecast, as seen in the video clip above.

“Pau Gasol I talked to before the game,” Sager said. “He is not at all happy with the decision. He says I have never been a role player in my life. I don’t like it right now. I said, what about the possibility that maybe your time with the Lakers could be coming to an end at the All-Star break or the trade deadline? He said it certainly looks like a possibility to me.”

We’ll have to see how Gasol and the team react over the next few games to get a sense of whether or not this was in fact a good decision from a lineup standpoint, or if it was simply a desperate move by a head coach willing to try anything at this point, even if it means alienating one of his tram’s best players.

[Video clip via LakersNation]

  1. metalhead65 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    how much are they paying you Pau? shut up and do what you are told!

  2. tomdrec42 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Look for the lakers to give gasol away for a pick or something. No team is going to give the a valuable player back now, they waited too long. Only hope is they luck up and get josh smith which is HIGHLY unlikely. Jim buss…..thanks

  3. mazblast - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    “Now that he’s been overridden in this request by the whims of his head coach”

    Excuse me, but the last time I checked, D’Antoni was the coach, not Gasol and not any of the other Lakers players. The head coach is supposed to make the decisions. He’s the guy who’ll get fired if his decisions don’t pan out, not the players.

    This is NOT a defense of D’Antoni, whom I consider a lousy coach–but it’s not Pau’s decision whether he starts or not. It may be KoMe’s decision, it may be idiot Son Buss’ decision, but it’s not Pau’s.

    As for trading Gasol, I seriously doubt that anyone wants an aging, declining, free-agent-to-be, overpaid prima donna like him.

    • danielcp0303 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      “I seriously doubt that anyone wants an aging, declining, free-agent-to-be, overpaid prima donna like him.”

      Howard or Gasol?

  4. dalucks - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Normally, to increase a player’s trade value, a team will start a player in hopes that he plays well to increase his value. Coming off the bench will only decrease the value of Pau Gasol along with the extra year of 19 million dollars left on his contract. It would be different if Pau had an expiring contract but that does not come until next season.
    One trade will not fix the Lakers roster, it is really that bad plus Mitch Kupchak traded three 1st round pick for Steve Nash which further handicaps their ability to reshape the roster.
    Maybe Jim Buss will realize Mitch Kupchak is a terrible GM and fire him as the Lakers will get alot worse before they get better.
    Unfortunately, Kobe’s last 2 NBA seasons are starting to look like Michael Jordan with the Wizards.
    Sad, so sad. Sad but true.

  5. kanemoney - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    The problem is the coach… well actually the owner who hired the coach.

    They won’t even make the playoffs, which is pathetic given their talent level (even if it’s old).

  6. sunsation3413 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Quit whining you big baby and do your job as you’re told. Its supposed to be a team game and you don’t sound like a team player right now. Your check is still the same amount.

  7. tiennguyen645 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Sick and tire of laker game watch a loser every

  8. tiennguyen645 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Laker need trade Pao Gasol he isn’t good anymore

  9. pudgalvin - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    The lakers looked like a rec league team out there tonight. A few guys take turns dribbling around in circles before heaving up a terrible shot and a couple of giant oafs that only look like they’d be good at basketball.

  10. shwoogy1 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    The Bulls need to swoop in and grab this guy NOW!

  11. herkulease - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Good luck getting anything of value in return.

    Gasol missed a point blank lay up to close the game when Boozer/Noah wasn’t really even try to defend.

  12. fruitcovejag - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Any idea why they are not shopping Howard? Because Dwight is younger than Gasol? Dwight is so limited offensively and Gasol is being pushed out of the paint. He’s not Ryan Anderson or Hedo Turkoglu. It seems that Howard is turning the ball over at a very high rate. Not sure how many times he’s flailed his arms in the air while the other team steals or strips the ball. What was the Lakers record last year w/Kobe and Gasol? Watching the game tonight I’m not sure how good Dwight is anymore. And it looks like the Lakers would be better off if Dwight were out for a while. Maybe with some sort of a phantom strain?

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:16 AM

      “Any idea why they are not shopping Howard? Because Dwight is younger than Gasol?”
      With a roster widely criticized as being old, age of players is relevant.
      There’s virtually no chance the Lakers would get good value trading away either Howard or Pau, since the value of both has gone down this season. If the Lakers are going to try to pull off a trade, it would make sense for them to try to ship out the worse/older player (Pau) – though I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a good haul in return.

      “What was the Lakers record last year w/Kobe and Gasol?”
      Last year, it was Kobe + Gasol + Bynum (All Star in 2012), and the Lakers went 41-25, which is a 0.621 winning percentage. That’s equivalent to winning 51 games in an 82-game season (last season was lockout-shortened).
      To reach 51 wins this season, the Lakers would have to finish 34-7.

      “Watching the game tonight I’m not sure how good Dwight is anymore. And it looks like the Lakers would be better off if Dwight were out for a while. Maybe with some sort of a phantom strain?”
      So the proposed solution here to the Lakers’ problems is to make up a fake injury for Dwight Howard, which means giving more time for Robert Sacre.

      Sure.

  13. tombstone7 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    The problem/s with the Lakers begin & ends with the Owner, GM, & Dwight Howard. The Coach had never won a CHAMPIONSHIP…DWIGHT HAS NEVER WON A RING….PAU HAS AT LEAST 2 RINGS!!!””Can the GM DO THE MATH? Get Rid of HOWARD!!!””” HE SUCKS….WHERE IS SUPERGURL?

  14. fruitcovejag - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    I’m just saying get this ball-stopping turnover machine off the court for a while and see how this team plays. Pau has two rings and has shown he could play w/another big. Dwight parks it in the post and the offense seems to just slow down. We will see in several years if he can win a championship. He looks like a complimentary piece. The spotlight appears to be too hot for Dwight to handle anyway. Who’s to say he’ll even resign.

  15. 00maltliquor - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Oh yeah, he’s definatly getting traded. And after tonights loss, it’s inevidable. And at this freakin’ point, I don’t care anymore. Everyone can go. Everyone but Kobe, D12, MWP, Jordan Hill and Earl Clark.

  16. sportsnut101 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    How can anyone be good with Kobe taking 35 shots

    Gasol has plenty left in him He’s just on wrong team Why not bench Nash n gasol leave Kobe n Dwight to start. Nash doesn’t fit with Kobe Does it matter if u start don’t u wanna play when it counts at the end

  17. dko83 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    I absolutely will not deny this guy’s skill set. He’s very skilled. But soft as a pillow and I’m calling it now, he’s traded by the deadline.

  18. jedifriedchicken - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    I’m so disgusted by the Lakers this season. Gasol would improve just about any other team you placed him on. Instead the Lakers mismanage his talent, and treat him like a scrub. If the Lakers trade him, we’ll be talking about how stupid they were for years. I’m at a point where I kinda wish they would trade him. He deserves better.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      @jed
      I know you are a clipper fan, which means we typically dont see eye to eye. But you HIT the nail right on the head!!!! Couldn’t be more right!!!

    • paleihe - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Gasol definitely deserves better.

  19. bonner504 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    @dalucks Mitch Kupchak is a fine GM the idiot is Jim Buss who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground about Basketball, he is a stubborn incompetent control freak! If not for him Jim Buss Phil Jackson would definetly have this team above .500. Time for Papa Bear Buss took give little Jimmy a spanking and take his “toy” away from him.

  20. bucs24 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Howard is not the problem No one is playing D, the bench is just horrible fire the coach dumbtoni is he really doing better so good job baby buss lakers suck

  21. loungefly74 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    a sinking Titanic…ugh. As a Laker fan, this is baffling…but the reality is those guys can’t play Defense together.

    well, lets makes this clear…no player is above the franchise. as much as i loved Pau and what he did for the Lakers, his time there is up. it’s business. if the Lakers can get some guys to strengthen the bench for Pau? great! my concern is salary cap issues. oh, i am sure another team will take Pau. He is still a good player but just unmotivated and hurt by the current scene.

    hmmmm…this season has been hard. i didn’t imagine it would be this bad. well…i can take solace that my Giants won the World Series…and now my 49ers are in the SuperBowl! Gotta be happy for something…it sure ain’t the Lakers.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      You’re lucky!!

      In other sports one team you cheer for wins the World Series and the other likely to win the Superbowl ( I’m going for the Niners, my older brother is a massive fan, and it’s been a long time for him).

      The Lakers were my only sanctuary, my other team is the Raiders and they suck worse then the Lakers! I haven’t had a winning season with them dang near my entire adult life!

  22. omniusprime - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    I’m sick and tired of Dumbtoni trying to blame Pau instead of his worthless coaching and ignorant small ball system for the Laker’s losses and poor play. Pau is great at playing power forward, making him the backup center so Earl Clark can start instead is truly stupid.

    Howard is more of a problem than Gasol. Kobe had to verbally kick Howard in the behind last night to play harder. Why didn’t Dumbtoni do his own dirty work telling Howard to play harder? Because Dumbtoni is a coward and an idiot.

    Ancient Nash looked ancient last night against the Bulls as little Nate Robertson made Steve look like an old fool who doesn’t belong on an NBA court any longer. Nash is the player most needed to be traded away, for a young point guard who can play defense.

    If Pau is traded away and Ancient Nash and Dumbtoni stay with the team then I am finished with being a Laker fan after over 40 years. Way to go little idiot buss boy, you’re destroying your father’s legacy and losing fans. Heck of a job Jimmy.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Nash!!! We Want Gasol!!!

  23. voiceofreason6 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Howard not showing me much these days. Bench him for a bit.

  24. davidly - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    If he really wants to be traded, he’d keep quiet and strive for solid games regardless. Bickering and playing mediocre-to-substandard off the bench isn’t good for him or the team, whether they end up trading him or not.

  25. franchiseplaya - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    The time is now for the Lakers, not the future. the lakers will always reload and find a way to get big name players. having said that, i think dwight is the one that needs to go. pau is a more skilled big man, his outside shooting touch is better and his FT % is better than howard. he may not bring as much defensively but i still think hes more versatile than howard. Also at this point, how do we know that howard will improve much more over his ailing back? maybe for him this is 100%. the lakers need to look past howard as the future face of the franchise.

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