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Pau Gasol acknowledges trade possibilities, but would prefer to remain with Lakers

Feb 14, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Pau Gasol AP

It’s been an unusually rough season for the Lakers, but even more so for four=time All-Star big man Pau Gasol.

In addition to clashing with a second consecutive head coach over his role in the offense and dealing with multiple injury issues, the latest of which has him sidelined with a groin strain, Gasol has been the subject of trade rumors for the third straight season.

While the trade talk appeared to have been unjustified in years past, Gasol’s contract situation — along with the fact that the Lakers are in the rare position of simply playing out what has become a lost season — make it a more understandable endeavor this time around.

Gasol has always been among the more honest and professional players to deal with from a media standpoint, however, and his latest comments about his situation were no different: Things are bad right now, but it doesn’t mean Gasol is ready to abandon the Lakers sinking ship.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

“My preference would be to stay,” Gasol said Thursday. “That’s what I’ve been saying all year, though the circumstances are difficult right now for our team and nobody’s too happy. But it’s still my team and I still want to be here.”

But after so many false starts and trade rumors over the years, does he even feel wanted by the Lakers?

“I think I feel wanted. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The team would have pulled the trigger with prior opportunities that I’m sure had been on the table. I feel like the team appreciates me. It’s just a tough moment, I think, as far as the franchise losses. That always is going to stir things up and you’ve got to look at options and possibilities to get better as a team, a franchise.

Gasol would like to finish the season in Los Angeles, certainly. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, though, and the chances are slim that a rebuilding Lakers team would be willing to commit the necessary dollars over multiple seasons to re-sign him.

The most recent legitimate trade talks involving Gasol were reportedly with the Suns. But Phoenix wanted to see how Gasol responded on the court after the injury before pulling the trigger on a deal that would guarantee them nothing more than a half-season rental of his services.

Since Gasol is unlikely to see much action before the Feb. 20 trade deadline due to the injury, pulling off a trade under the circumstances may be difficult — which means Gasol may ultimately get his wish to remain in Los Angeles.

  1. Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Gasol understands that the game is a business and realizes his days as a Laker are numbered. I hope he also realizes that Lakers fans hold him in very high esteem and are grateful for his contributions in winning titles.

  2. mickdamill - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Good choice of words, if he stays in LA he is still loved, if he leaves he is a hero and it’s not “by choice”. Although I’m sure by now he is ready for a change of scenary.

  3. aboogy123456 - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Gasol loves living in LA, and I think when it comes down to it this summer, he will re-sign with the lakers. I’m just not sure of many teams who could afford to pay him and would offer him more than the lakers would.

    • therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      If Gasol were willing to resign on a 1 year contract and no other FA is coming, why not? Doubtful he does though.

  4. sportsfan18 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    It doesn’t matter either way if Gasol stays.

    In their last 27 games, the Lakers have 5 wins and 22 losses.

  5. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    The best part is, whether he stays or goes, they will still stink next year!

    They will finish out of the lottery next year though…no 1st round pick. The fas they covet that year, will not sign in L.A., they just arent going to leave $ on the table.

    Pretty sure this is an extended down cycle for the lakers.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Too bad Lakers fans are too loyal to hop to another team like you.

    • therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Pretty sure Love will leave money on the table to get out of Minnesota. One thing’s for sure – No prime FA will ever target Boston as a destination especially if it requires leaving money on the table.

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      why do you think that high price free agents be leaving money on the table by coming to LA? You do realize that these players make money not only on their NBA contract but also on endorsements right? LA and New York are the biggest markets, so that means that the marketing potential is much bigger there than say, Minnesota. I would actually argue that stars like Love would go to LA BECAUSE of the money, if not anything else.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Also the avocados.

  6. therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Give Kobe 10 mil/yr more than a “feelgood, play out your career here and we’ll still take care of you” contract should’ve ever paid him.

    Not trading Gasol to a Cavs team to get out of the luxury tax.

    Allowing Nash to play past the point of being able to qualify for an injury retirement.

    Brilliant. Now the rest of the Buss family has all the ammunition they need to get Jimbo outta there and bring back Phil!

  7. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    What’s Boston have to do with anything?

    I root for Garnett, not the Nets…. I will be a fan any way I see fit Vanessa.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      Garnett has had a fantastic career, HOF.

      Sadly, Father Time has caught up to him, as it does to every professional player.

      I hope he doesn’t try to play next season.

      His career PER right now is 22.9. That is a fantastic PER, All Star level. Before this season, his lowest PER was his rookie season at 15.8.

      He’s at 13.3 right now, which is below league average, which is a 15.0 PER. It’s never fun watching such a storied player, who performed at such a high level for so long struggle along worse than the average players in the game.

      I applaud all he’s done in the game and he’s been paid for it (and he’ll have earned OVER $315 million dollars for it with the rest of this seasons salary).

      It’s time for Mr. Garnett to take some time off, enjoy his money and move on to other things in his life.

      He’s not been terrible this season, but no one likes to see one of the greats bumble around a la Mr. Willie Mays in his last season in the bigs with the Mets…

  8. lakerade - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Pau returns. Deng joins. Both around $8mil/yr. Or, something else happens, whatever. Next summer (2015) is when it really starts to take shape. But since it’s Valentines’ Day, go ahead and start feeling the Love!

    • therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Deng ain’t taking 8mil. Pau not worth it. 16mil + Kobe don’t leave enough cap space to pay a max FA.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        a shame Kobe is gonna make like $24 mill a yr for the two yrs (give or take). if he had signed for like $12 mill a season, they’d have another $12 mill per yr to use to flesh out a more competitive roster around Kobe, who as we all know SAYS it’s about championships. funny his actions, taking $24 mill per make it much harder for him to win another championship.

  9. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    aboogy: That’s nonsense. Love has a national endorsement with Taco Bell.

    He was in a few adds with Chris Paul too.

    Being in L.A. OR NYC is overated for endorsements.

    You keep telling yourself that though, but I bet you’ll be surprised when he doesn’t end up in a lakers uniform.

    Kahn is gone from Minnesota, that was a major stumbling block removed .

    LA is going to stink for years.

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Bill, you’re argument is flawed. Every good player has endorsements, but just because you have endorsements doesn’t mean the value of those endorsements are equal. According to Forbes, last year kobe got $34 million in endorsements, and derrick rose got $21 million in endorsements, while Kevin Durant got only $14 million. I couldn’t even find kevin love on the list. You can have your reasons for thinking the lakers will stink, but if you think it has to do with players’ earning potential then you’re misinformed.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Logic:

        1. Move to the city with largest entertainment industry in country

        2. ???

        3. Make less money on endorsements

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        In 2009 in New Orleans, Chris Paul had about $2 million in endorsements.

        In 2013, playing for LA’s other team, he made about $6 million in endorsements, including replacing LeBron James as State Farm’s national spokesman.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        LA’s other team is a whole lot better than LA’s team right now, and for the foreseeable future. The more the Clippers win and Lakers lose, the more LA’s team is not the Lakers. Happened with the Mets and Yankees, but it was temporary, so Lakers fans have little to worry about. Or do they?

  10. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    No, your argument is flawed. Only a handful of guys get major endorsements.

    Wade, LeBron, Durant ,Rose.

    What has being in NYC done for National endorsements for Carmelo?

    It doesn’t matter what city they are in.

    The endorsement $ he’d supposedly get in L.A. wouldn’t offset the yearly salary he’d get by staying.

    Flip will build a team that will make him want to stay.

  11. mackcarrington - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Gasol currently has the highest PER on the Lakers and D’Antoni can’t wait to get rid of him.

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