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Report: Questions of if Pau Gasol could play for Lakers just means more trade speculation

Dec 30, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

The Lakers lost at home to the stumbling Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night, a low point in a season with a number of them for the Lakers.

Pau Gasol wasn’t there — and that was Gasol’s decision, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

It was Gasol’s decision to sit out as his team extended its season-high losing streak to five with a 111-104 defeat to Philly. It’s not like he has been bedridden or completely unable to exert himself physically. According to a team source, Gasol still showed up to Lakers shootaround to lift weights Sunday, and when he told longtime trainer Gary Vitti he wanted more time to get over the infection and was not going to play against the Sixers, Vitti said to not even bother showing up to the game.

It’s presumptuous for us to say how Gasol is feeling and if he could have played — it sounds more like some around the Lakers are trying to paint Gasol in a bad light. And there are plenty of Lakers fans who turn quickly on him and will lap it up.

What is more and more clear is Gasol is not part of the Lakers long-term plans (something Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report talked about on the PBT Podcast weeks ago). Gasol isn’t bringing his best effort nightly. It shows.

In the wake of that the team had previously shopped Gasol around and went after a big name, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

1. Sources with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN.com that the Lakers did indeed engage the Nets earlier this month in some exploratory talks to see if Brooklyn had interest in such a swap. Sources say that the Nets balked at the idea when it was presented before Lopez’s injury, but it’s still noteworthy if it happened.

2. The Lakers were known to be, at the very least, calling around to gauge Gasol’s value before they decided to pull Pau off the market earlier this month. So determining how serious the Lakers really were with their Lopez interest is tricky … especially since Lopez’s health misfortune extinguishes any realistic hope of Pau-for-Brook talks re-igniting between now and the Feb. 20 trade deadline. Yet the mere concept of Gasol and Lopez exchanging jerseys nonetheless gets you thinking, because Lopez is owed $32.5 million over the next two seasons after this one.

Expect more Gasol trade rumors. The Lakers are playing the string out with Kobe while looking to find who will be the next face of the franchise. Since LeBron James is a wild long shot, the targets are really 2015 when former UCLA star Kevin Love could become available, as could LaMarcus Aldridge and a host of others. Getting Brook Lopez in a trade would have cut into the 2015 cap space and virtually killed plans for guys like Love.

Which is basically saying the Lakers are just exploring all their options. As they should.

One move you might expect the Lakers to make — waiving Kendall Marshall. The Lakers signed him as a reserve point guard with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and at the time Jordan Farmar out. Since then Farmar has returned but Mike D’Antoni is playing Xavier Henry in front of Marshall and said Sunday he is doing it because Henry (really a small forward) is the better backup point. Barring another injury (Henry tweaked his knee Sunday night and is getting an MRI) Marshall could be gone.

  1. cowboysfaninbuffalove - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Is Kendall Marshall really that bad?

    • genericcommenter - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      I don’t think he can handle D’Antoni’s demanding defensive expectations.

    • joshm5683 - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      I don’t think its really him being that bad. He is a 6’4 PG but doesn’t have the crazy athleticism that allows him to keep up with smaller quicker PGs……hes a pretty average player thats kind of stuck between 2 positions.

      He was sent to the D-League his rookie year with PHX and then was traded a year after being drafted in the 1st round. I didn’t watch him much at UNC, but I know the knock on him was lack of athleticism and I guess its been pretty apparent at the professional level.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      isn’t it strange that the trainer told Gasol don’t show up for the game?

      • spthegr8 - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        @Fan
        Yeah it is. Didn’t know Gary had that much pull!!!

  2. jbeagles23 - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    He should’ve stayed in college

  3. plum13sec - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    that picture

  4. addict2sport - Dec 30, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Gasol hasn’t been the same since his chick started playing one on one with Matt Barnes a few years ago.

    • therealhtj - Dec 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      It was Shannon Brown. I think he hasn’t been the same since he got that last fat extension.

  5. scbaby2013 - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Wish lakers would get rid of the real problem and that’s coach Pringles.

  6. scbaby2013 - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    I ‘love’ the Kevin love idea of targeting him when he becomes a free agent

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