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Report: Lakers ‘not ruling out’ Pau Gasol returning in free agency

Jun 29, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT

Pau Gasol AP

Pau Gasol is an unrestricted free agent this summer, after spending the last six and a half seasons in Los Angeles and winning two championships while playing at an All-Star level for the Lakers.

But it’s been a largely rocky ride ever since.

Gasol has been consistently mentioned in trade rumors for multiple seasons, and despite earning the allegiance of Kobe Bryant, who’s defended Gasol both publicly and privately about as much as humanly possible, he has remained a scapegoat and a punching bag of sorts for those looking to place blame on someone for the last two disastrous campaigns.

It’s been widely expected that the Lakers and Gasol were both ready to move on in different directions, but there are scenarios where L.A. may look to try to get him to stay.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

Has Pau Gasol already played his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers? Not if the Lakers’ brass has their way, he hasn’t.

Although the Lakers’ ideal free agency scenario involves convincing both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to come play for them this summer, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking, they are not ruling out the return of the four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Gasol by any means. …

“It’s going to depend,” Kupchak said. “Pau and I spoke a lot during the season, a lot during the postseason. And we let him become a free agent. And I know it’s something that he’s looking forward to. He loves Los Angeles and he’d love to stay here. He’d love to continue to win, but it is a pretty active marketplace. Or it will be. And he’s going to have some options that are probably pretty good. We’re going to have to sort through our challenges and there are scenarios where Pau would be back and we’d pursue him. And there are scenarios that he wouldn’t be back or that he chooses to go someplace else.”

The Lakers will have the cap space to spend in signing Gasol to a new multi-year deal, especially if they can’t convince one of the marquee free agents to bolt their situations to come to Los Angeles. The Knicks will come calling as well, though will have just in the neighborhood of $4 million to offer, and Gasol will certainly receive offers of much more than that.

It’s really all about fit where Gasol is concerned. He clashed with Mike D’Antoni the last two seasons over the way he was used, and it’s still possible that when utilized properly, Gasol could once again emerge as a borderline All-Star talent in the right situation.

The Lakers don’t have a coach at the moment, and likely won’t hire one until free agency sorts itself out. Given the way things have played out most recently, it’s going to be tough to convince Gasol to return without assurances that the next person in charge plans on running an offensive scheme that will be more geared toward taking better advantage of his talents.

  1. csbanter - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    This is a reaction to the Knicks interest in Pau. Pau is broadway bound. They have Calderon in place his teammate on the Spain national team. His days as Kobe’s whipping boy are over.

    • mcjon22 - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      This is because Kobe said so

      • lj312chicago - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:15 AM

        I don’t know who’s the funnier franchise….the Lakers?…..or the Knicks?….

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:20 AM

        Knicks funny is a pathetic kind of funny reserved for cowards and losers like Cantonpeabrain.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:56 AM

        Pau Gasol had a higher (much higher actually) win shares per 48 min’s with the Lakers from the time he arrived there in the 07/08 season through 11/12 season than Kobe did.

        Kobe wasn’t really even close to the win shares per 48 min’s that Pau put up during their time together on the Lakers during that 4 yr and 27 game stretch…

        Oh, that INCLUDED their two titles as well…

        Like the 2009 Finals where Pau shot .600% to Kobe’s .430%

        Sure, Kobe really outscored Pau in that series… because he took 135 field goal attempts while MISSING 57 percent of his shots…

        Pau scored a lot less than Kobe because he only took 60 field goal attempts while only missing 40% of his shots.

        Had Pau taken the same number of shots Kobe did, he would have scored MORE than Kobe did as he made a much higher percentage of shots than Kobe did.

        But they “gave” the Finals MVP to the guy who missed 57 percent of his shots because he scored a lot…

        Scoring was the only real difference between Pau and Kobe in those Finals (well and shooting percentage).

        Last nugget of info to add.

        In the 2009 Finals, Pau’s offensive rating was 132 and Kobe’s was only 111

        Wondering about defense? In that series, Pau’s defensive rating was 99 and Kobe’s was 100 and for you folks that don’t know, LOWER is better with defensive rating.

        So Pau was better offensively and defensively in that series, shot MUCH better and had for a 4 plus yr stretch a much higher win shares than Kobe did per 48 min’s…

      • musician0785 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        your kobe hate is laughable, this is the same Gasol that couldn’t get out the first round with a 50 win team until he came to LA but sure tell us that pau is more responsible for the winning than.Kobe based off of win share. It’s really ridiculous how u go.out of ur way to post these essays anytime Kobe’s name is mentioned. We get it, u don’t like him….

    • skins26portis - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      csbanter that was right on point bro. Pau was Kobe’s whipping boy . Kobe threw Pau under the bus a few times when they sucked.

  2. yesser12 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    Why would he go back they don’t even have a HC. He would want to know how he is going to be used. Don’t think he wants to be the full time C for them.

    • Ferdinand - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Why go back to a team that sends out trade-feelers for him ever few weeks? And has done so for years.

      Move on to a team that appreciates you, Pau.

  3. mackcarrington - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    The only ones “scapegoating” Gasol were Laker haters and people outside of LA who hope he ends up on their team. Oh, and D’Antoni. Laker fans and those who watched the games and knew what was going on didn’t “scapegoat” Gasol.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      Typical Lakers fan watching a game:

      1st quarter: “Kobe, what the hell are you doing!?”
      2nd quarter: “Kobe, what the hell are you doing!?”
      3rd quarter: “Kobe, what the hell are you doing!?”
      Early 4th quarter: “KOOOOOOOOOOOBBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”
      Late 4th quarter: “Pau Gasol lost this game. He’s soft.”

      • rexgrossman8 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        hahah. Truth.

      • ranfan12 - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:30 AM

        lol i hear a lot of people that are rooting for the opposition say the same thing

      • imakcds - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        even more typical is antistratfordian.
        he and the rest of the Brainless LIVE to Hate, and FEED on Jealousy.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        Pau was SO underrated during his time with the Lakers,especially his first four full seasons with them…

        Kobe is a star and it dimmed the light that made it down to Pau…

        Not saying Kobe isn’t good, just saying Pau is better than he’s given credit for…

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        Pau should’ve been Finals MVP in 2010. He was the Lakers MVP of that season.

      • musician0785 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Sometimes the things you post are based in logic the most the time its nothing but Kobe hating, LeBron slurping nonsense

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Oh you’re just salty because you’re from SoCal. But this is just an observation on the nature of a certain species of fan, not unlike David Attenborough describing avocets, godwits, dowitchers and sanderlings.

      • musician0785 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Salty? No. I just enjoy pointing out stupidity

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Uh huh.

      • 5xchamp24 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        Bet you didn’t say that when they were winning back to back championships.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Actually, that is exactly when I first made this post. Back in about 2009-2010. I saved it because I like it so much, because it’s very accurate.

    • wfon1 - Jul 6, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Finally…. someone said it. Well done and so true.

  4. rexgrossman8 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Does this mean they had no intention of bringing him back? I thought part of MD’s termination was to keep the Gasol option open. Even Kobe gets Melo they’ll struggle to make playoffs w/o a talented big. For some reason i thought they were bring him back at reduced rate. They should.

    • harshedmellow - Jun 29, 2014 at 3:02 AM

      Why in the name of Naismith would he sign with the Lakers for a reduced rate?!

      • therealhtj - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        Um, because there’s no decent team in a market he’d like to play in that’s really going to offer him much more. For the Lakers, he’s not worth risking future cap flexibility over.

  5. sdlakerfan - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Pau would be a big help to the Lakers this yr unless they can acquire another big. Would help Randle to have a great interior passer like Gasol. And also thought Kobe and Pau had a great relationship. D’antoni was the one Gasol had a problem with.

    Last I heard Knicks only had 4M to spend on him – not enough without making other moves which may happen. Wouldn’t mind seeing him with Fish and PJ though.

    With that said, my gut feeling is he doesn’t end up with the Lakers or the Knicks.

  6. 00maltliquor - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    This needs to happen. ASAP.

    BTW, who in the world used Pau as a scapegoat for the last 2 seasons? You guys are just making stuff up at this point.

  7. buttfumbles - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    The Lakers are such old news.

  8. imakcds - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Pau has always needed the big bruiser on the frontline to free up his beautifully mobile and intelligent game.
    That type of player did not play in D’Antoni’s system, and Gasol suffered greatly.
    J Randle can fill that spot.
    Hope Pau stays.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      Who exactly was “the big bruiser” employed by the Lakers or Grizzlies during Pau’s time with them? And what do you mean by “mobile” game? Pau is at his best with his back to the basket or at the elbow. The reason he didn’t get along with D’Antoni was because of MDA’s mobile offense.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Bynum

      • smoothaswilkes - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        okay. sure. Bynum was on the team but it was Pau Gasol playing in the post and destroying Howard and it was Gasol making the key rebounds against the Celtics. But okay, Bynum was totally key – when could get off the bench from those injuries.

      • therealhtj - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        Bynum didn’t play at all with Pau in 08, and hobbled through 09 & 10. That theory’s a bit flawed.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      When the Lakers won back to back with Gasol, Bynum started the games at Center with Gasol at PF, but they were at there best when Bynum went to the bench, Gasol went to center and Odom Played PF. And Odom definitely wasn’t a big bruiser.

  9. SBoy - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    If the Lakers want to keep Pau…

    A- they have to hire a new coach with a clear vision of how he is going to be used. (and that vision must be in sync. with what Pau wants.

    B- they need to make other move(s) to improve the roster to championship level.

    C- After all the BS trade rumors Pau has has to hear, I’d demand a no-trade clause if I were him…

    If the Lakers do the above I can see him staying in L.A…. Barring any moves to free up more money, I think Pau will flirt with NY out of respect for Phil but probably sign with a contender.

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