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Pau Gasol says he’ll accept bench role, will not ask for trade

Jan 29, 2013, 9:12 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol listens to Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago Reuters

It’s amazing what a balm winning a couple games can be over a team’s troubles.

A week ago the Lakers were on a death spiral down to the seventh level of hell, then two wins where they go away from Mike D’Antoni’s offense and put Kobe Bryant at the point and suddenly Lakers fans are talking playoffs again. (I need to see a lot more before I buy in.)

And after a couple of wins, Pau Gasol is good with his bench role… well, if not good with it he tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com he’s not going to buck it and ask for a trade.

“Not right now,” Gasol said when asked if he or anyone on his behalf would lodge a trade request before the deadline. “I don’t think now is the time for that step to happen. Right now I’m very focused and committed to our team….

“It’s hard for anybody who considers himself one of the top players in the world to say, ‘OK, I’m OK with coming off the bench,'” Gasol said. “It’s a difficult situation that we’ve been dealing with here. The last few games have been great, and we’re staying positive and we look forward to that to continue. But at the same time, we don’t need any other distractions, any more negativity. We need positive embracing, we need focus, we need to support each other. That’s where we’re at and that’s where I’m at, too.”

Gasol goes on to say he doesn’t know if he wants to come off the bench long-term, but for now he’s going to be positive.

You can bet the Lakers will still get and listen to calls from teams interested in him. However, a 32-year-old guy who missed games with knee tendonitis, has a $19.3 million contract next season, and who is not exactly having his best season is not drawing the best trade offers right now. Besides, until the Lakers have Dwight Howard inked to a contract extension it is a real risk to trade Gasol, the Lakers don’t want to be without any top-flight centers.

It is more likely Gasol gets moved this summer, unless someone comes through with an offer the Lakers can’t refuse. Wherever he would land, you can bet he will start and be a bigger part of the offense than he has been in Los Angeles this season.

  1. sportsnut101 - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Only way he gets traded is for another bad contract. Man to get paid 19 mill a year just to score 11 points n 7 bds a game. Why I counldnt I be 7ft.

  2. aboogy123456 - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    With Jordan Hill out, the lakers can’t afford to trade pau this year. They need him as their backup center and they will be too small without him. He also makes dwight howard better because he does a great job finding him in the post, and he makes up for the fact that Dwight picks up a lot of fouls and has to sit out sometimes. Also, because Pau is an expensive player in his 30’s, the actual talent they could trade him for won’t be as good. Lakers need him or they will have no inside post presence.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      whoa…i am boogieing down to aboogy’s comment! well said, sir! i think what you said pretty much ends that debate.

      i think it was steve kerr(?) on espn saying, “if manu ginnobli never had an issue coming off the bench, then why should pau?” that is a very valid strong point. manu understands team success is the most vital ingredient to the season.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        Indeed! I was thinking in the same line of thought. Manu never made an issue about it, and quite frankly it never diminished his value as a player. In fact, even if he is coming off the bench, I dare say that he is even still a better player than some starters of other teams.

  3. fruitcovejag - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Gasol has always been a team player. Dwight, are you watching this? Take notes!

  4. greenejoemean - Jan 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    passive people make passive decisions

  5. klownboy - Jan 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Gasol wouldn’t even be trade bait if the Lakers hired Phil Jackson to return – or at least a derivative in Brian Shaw – to coach the team. Both Jackson and Shaw know how to use Gasol from last season, and get him to mesh better with Howard.
    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-vL

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 29, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      The Triangle is a perfect fit for a player like Gasol. That system is where Pau would flourish. Not just in scoring but even more importantly in assist. You can see and feel Pau’s self-worth brimming with pride every time he makes a successful play via a well-placed pass.

  6. cosanostra71 - Jan 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    If the right offer came along then you’d have to trade him, but I just think he holds more value to the Lakers right now than he does to any other team so I doubt that happens. I hope they keep him, he’s a great player to watch and his skill set is not replicable by anyone else on the Lakers roster.

  7. bjerkrulez - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Sheesh…even michael jordan came off the bench for the wizards without any complaints

  8. bknowledge - Jan 29, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    I’d like to see a bet between Kobe and Dwight for $1,000,0000…If Dwight leads the league in rebounding for the rest of the season he wins…if Kobe is top 3 in assists the rest of the season, he wins…

  9. progress2011 - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    You know, I have always liked Pau’s game and I know he’s trying to be “politically correct/ be the bigger man/ be a gentleman etc etc. etc.

    BUT he has gotta MAN UP !!!

    I mean….enough is enough. He is still one of the best big men in the league based on:
    1. Knowledge of the game
    2. Fundamentals (passing, working within the structure of the offense, inside and outside shot making)
    3. Length/ Size
    4. Footwork and agility etc. etc. etc.

    EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE…would not even consider in a million years, to have him come off the bench !

    Knowing that….why continue to be the fall guy and take all the blame for:
    1. Bad Ownership decision (firing / hiring coaches)
    2. Hiring a coach that doesn’t have the offense for this type of older team
    3. Selfish players unwilling to play CONSISTENT team ball

    Pau is a MAX CONTRACT player on EVERY other team! He would be a One or Two Option on most all other teams.

    If I were Pau….It’s time to get the wrench out of the shed and drop it directly into the stalled out engine…known as the FAKERS !!!

  10. 00maltliquor - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    It’s real cool to see someone so commited to franchise and willing to do whatever it takes to stay in a purp n gold jersey, and not ask for a trade.

  11. mytthor - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    I heard someone say this the other day, and I forget who it was; but if Many Ginobili can come off the bench, so can Pau Gasol. It’s not like he’s going to get 14 minutes a game.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      it was either legler or kerr. and i totally agree..

  12. omniusprime - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Pau Gasol shows he’s a team player, unlike Lamar Odom who threw a childish tantrum and demanded to be traded away when he heard trade rumors about him. . Only total morons would want Gasol traded away. It’s not like the Lakers are bound to get a better player than Pau if they trade him and he is crucial to the Lakers as their second big man who can mat ch up against teams with good multiple big men.

    Think of Pau Gasol as Laker’s insurance policy considering Howard’s shoulder is hurting. If Howard can’t play at least we have Gasol to step into the center role.

    Of late Pau seems more energized, maybe being demoted has lit a fire under his rear so he plays harder. I still think that Pau is a starter and Earl Clark is a bench guy. It’s a shame the Lakers don’t have a coach intelligent enough to know how to properly use Gasol.

    Go Gasol!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!!

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