Pau Gasol’s exit comments another sign he’s being shopped

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Pau Gasol says he doesn’t know where he really stands with the Lakers.

Which is code for “we’re going to shop you around on the trade market but we don’t know what we’ll get, so you may or may not be a Laker next October.”

Gasol had his exit meeting with Laker GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike Brown Wednesday and then spoke to the media. When asked about his status with the team going into the summer, Gasol said he didn’t know because the team couldn’t tell him. Via Elliott Teaford of the L.A. Daily News:

“I wish I could have clarification right now, they can’t give it to me. They had to talk to management. We didn’t talk too much about the future. We talked about this year. We talked about how things went. It was really positive.

“It’s kind of early. If they knew it would be good to know. But I understand we just finished playing two days ago. Things don’t work that easily. At some point, I won’t worry too much about it. It’s something I’ve been through already this year. If something does happen, it does. If it doesn’t, I’ll be happy to be back next training camp ready to go and have a more peaceful year and focus on our goal to win a championship.”

It’s out of his control, so Gasol is just going to go with the flow. The reed bending in the river.

Kupchak echoed the same thoughts when he met with the media and said he thought this season took a toll on Gasol. Via NBA.com.

“I thought personally that he did the best anybody can do being professional and saying the right things, being a good teammate, having a really good season up until I met with him a couple hours ago. He’s the consummate teammate, the consummate professional. But what took place is hard for a player to deal with, and I’m sure there’s a little bit of trust that’s not quite the same.”

The Lakers need to make big roster changes after getting bounced in the second round for the second consecutive year. Problem is they are way over the salary cap and have no draft picks to speak of. The only way to make a serious change is to move Gasol or Andrew Bynum. And as the Lakers have already put Gasol in a trade — the three-team Chris Paul deal killed by David Stern — you know they are not averse to making a move.

But getting value for him is another thing. And if the choice is making a bad trade or no trade, the Lakers will stand pat.

Bottom line: Pau Gasol, welcome to limbo.

Hawks sign two-way Tyler Cavanaugh to standard contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.

Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.

Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.

 

Carlos Boozer announces retirement

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Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.

In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.

Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.

Boozer on ESPN:

I’m officially retired.

The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.

Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.

Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.

Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.

Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:

Painting on hair:

And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.

For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.

It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis still not talking off court

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The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.

Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”

I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?

Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.

Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful: