The Lakers have won five out of six games, but the underlying cause of all the early season concerns — specifically how all the Lakers pieces fit with Mike D’Antoni as coach — remain.
And nothing kicks the dust up on those problems like a trip to New York. Or in this week’s case, Brooklyn. You’ve got Dwight Howard dodging questions about his future with ESPN, and now an interview with Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Times.
Pau Gasol doesn’t like coming off the bench and how he is used in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, and shockingly that hasn’t miraculously changed over night. So if Howard and D’Antoni are back next season…
“It would be hard for me to deal with another season knowing the facts you just mentioned,” said Gasol, 32 and with one year remaining on his contract.
“So do you ask for a fresh start elsewhere?”
“It’s a possibility,” he said, “yes.”
As we have been saying since the start, don’t look for Gasol to be traded at the deadline, the offers coming in are too low and the Lakers do not want to take on salary that messes with their 2014 cap space. What’s more, as much as the Lakers think Dwight Howard is going to re-sign with them this summer it would be a huge risk to let Gasol walk before he puts pen to paper.
But it’s pretty clear that even after sitting down and talking it out, Gasol and D’Antoni do not see eye-to-eye.
“It was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding,” Gasol said. “But I don’t think it’s translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it’s probably even gone a little backwards.”
Gasol should be in a better frame of mind Tuesday night, Howard is still out with shoulder injury and Gasol will start and get the bulk of minutes. But the long-term questions for the Lakers remain.
Just bet on them remaining until this summer. Don’t expect any dramatic deadline moves.