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.