Vertigo is just the latest setback in Pau Gasol’s miserable season.
He’s feuded with Mike D’Antoni, dealt with other injuries, seen his production slip, lost frequently and just seemed wayward without Kobe Bryant. It’s the type of season that can’t end soon enough.
And for Gasol, maybe it already has.
The team is leaning toward sitting him for its final seven games while he recovers from a severe recurrence of vertigo.
He won’t play Friday against Dallas after dizziness kept him confined at the team hotel Wednesday while the Lakers played Sacramento. He flew back on the team charter that night after missing a fifth game because of the illness.
Gasol becomes a free agent after the season, and it’s difficult to see him re-signing with the Lakers.
For his part, why would he want to return after this sour ending? Gasol, who’s averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, is still productive enough to draw significant interest on the open market. He won’t make $19 million again, but he can nab a fairly large contract – or join a team better-positioned to win right now. Whichever is his primary focus, he’ll probably find it outside Los Angeles.
For the Lakers’ part, why would they want to keep him? If they’re rebuilding, he’s too old, costly and cranky while losing. If they’re attempting a quick turnaround, they must use his freed money to lure someone better.
It’s probably best for both sides to part. The only question is whether Gasol’s proud Lakers tenure – which included two championships – has already ended on the court.