Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Pau Gasol confirms it is “unlikely” he returns to Lakers this season


Reports around the Lakers late last week suggested that Pau Gasol was done for the season, that the vertigo he battled and the state of the Lakers made both sides decide to just shut it all down.

Now Gasol is pretty much confirming that.

Gasol said this speaking with Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“It’s unlikely,” Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com following the Lakers’ 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday when asked if he would play in any of the four remaining games this season. “But, I want to.”

For those of you scoring at home, Gasol would join Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Kent Bazemore, and Xavier Henry as players done for the season.

It is almost certain Gasol is gone from the Lakers this summer, both sides are ready to move on from a relationship that started with a couple NBA titles but has run its course. For Gasol he wants to be in a place he can contribute to a contender, for the Lakers who are rebuilding the older Gasol is not worth what the market will offer him.

Gasol will have options — Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis are the most mentioned names but other teams are expected to be in the mix as well. In what is a down market for free agents he will be one of the most productive big men available, that despite his declines (particularly on defense) and some nagging injuries.

Gasol will return to Spain this summer and will be part of the Spanish national team as it tries to win the FIBA World Cup on its home court (it is the one team with a real shot to knock off the United States, having picked up the silver medal the last two Olympics in tough contests with America).

Look for Gasol to return from that experience physically and more importantly mentally energized. Look for him to put up numbers wherever he lands next season.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.