Gasol, D’Antoni Remain At Odds

Pau Gasol and Mike D'Antoni are odds on how Gasol is being utilized. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Lakers’ forgettable 2012-13 slate hasn’t completely been wiped clean. One sour story line continues to percolate: Pau Gasol vs. Mike D’Antoni.

And it got a little hotter Friday morning as the Lakers’ coach essentially called out Gasol’s effort thus far and suggested the 7-footer’s production will increase if he simply focuses on doing his job. This came after the Lakers’ morning shootaround as they start a difficult four-game road trip with a nationally televised game at the Oklahoma City Thunder (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

“Without a doubt,” D’Antoni said when asked if a player can spend so much time wondering why he’s not comfortable that he actually perpetuates the problem. “Well, it’s also a nice excuse not to play hard. That’s a classic, ‘Well, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ Well, you don’t have trouble getting up to the pay-stub line. They know what to do there to get their checks, so obviously you know what to do. So they will, they’ll figure it out.”

Even with Dwight Howard out of the picture and no longer hogging the low block, Gasol, who is being paid $19.3 million in the final year of his contract, remains frustrated with his areas of operation in D’Antoni’s offense. On Thursday the 7-footer made that clear to Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke:

“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness. When I’m not getting the ball where I want to, where I’m most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity…

“What do you think? I’m not going to say anything, but it’s easy to see. You see a guy with a certain skill set, where does it fit better, where it doesn’t.”

Gasol wants the ball closer to the basket. D’Antoni’s retort Thursday to Plaschke?:

“I can’t lie to him… Our numbers tell us the worst thing we do is post up.”

Gasol’s latest comments of discontent come just days after he told NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper that he will consider other teams when he becomes a free agent this summer.

Following Friday’s shootaround, Gasol quickly exited the floor for the team’s locker room as reporters gathered around D’Antoni for his morning briefing. Gasol, apparently, had no interest in continuing this dialogue. That was left to D’Antoni, who acknowledged that this situation has festered since he took over the team.

“Yeah, more or less, it’s that time of the season, right before Christmas, we’re good,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll get through it. And the thing is, the message is the same to everybody: Just play hard and we’ll figure it out. If you don’t play hard it’s hard to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. So everybody has the same message and we just keep beating it in practice, and every film session we show them what we want and hopefully they’ll do it.”

Gasol was the Lakers’ leading scorer during the 19 games that Kobe Bryant missed, but he is averaging just 14.4 ppg, a tick above last season when he played just 49 games due to various injuries, and while also consistently frustrated with being pushed further away from the basket as Howard got the majority of post touches. Gasol is shooting just 41.7 percent from the floor this season, well down from 51.5 percent for his career, as well as from the career-low 46.6 percent he shot last season.

According to NBA.com stats, nearly 45 percent of Gasol’s shots are coming from within eight feet of the basket. But 88 of his 295 shot attempts, nearly 30 percent, have come from 16 to 24 feet. He’s connected on just 36.4 percent of the those attempts.

D’Antoni said there comes a time when a player must simply make the decision to accept the game plan.

“They don’t want to do it that way and that’s when you have to either accept it or not, but there’s no reason not ever to play hard,” D’Antoni said, also noting his surprise that Gasol hasn’t transitioned better with Howard now in Houston. “It’s kind of surprising. I think it’s surprising any time for anybody, but that’s part of the job and that’s fine.”

61 Comments

  1. D1 says:

    Trade Gasol for Miami’s Bosh Gasol will shine with James and waste his time with greedy KB

  2. Wildstyle05 says:

    I don’t understand this coach at all I read a lot of different comments but Mike Brown got the hook for having three all starts out at the beginning of last year made Andrew Bynum into a all star Pau was playing much better off him the frontcourt chemistry was their anybody could seen that now the real problem was the Backcourt had no chemisty yes we may had Kobe but we didn’t have no one else that could came in behind him to rest him up and still keep the game close since Shannon Brown left plus we had no true PG at the time I’m not saying Ramon Sessions couldn’t been a good off the bench player for us but he wasn’t a true starting PG what I’m really pointing out is the the coaching staff we now is trying to run the offence thought the Backcourt instead of the Frontcourt the Backcourt has always been the Lakers keys to winning games and Champships untill they start getting back to that they will continue to fall and loss fans to the Clippers who think it would take a coach from one Lakers best known rivaly with Boston Celtics Doc Rivers to still come in and seal their shine in a city for years that Fans been know for loving THE PURPLE & GOLD till now feeing sad and left wondering when the Jim Buss say enough is enough my dad didn’t build the Lakers to being the most feared to now being the most laugh at correct your mistakes before someone does.

  3. Disgusted at Pau's attitude but dantoni should also adjust says:

    Pau’s lack of effort on defense is disgusting, soft with the ball, and it’s not even the turnovers that are worrying its the type of turnovers, guys too soft..

  4. Kobe@Manila says:

    Trade D’Antonni for Brian Shaw.. That’s it!!!

  5. Gian Carlo says:

    Laker nation, stop whining, grab Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, and give whatever Houston Rockets demands in return , or dump Gasols contract in exchange, No way D,antoni and Gasol could work harmoniously anymore, let D’antoni continue his magic play with Lin, at the point.
    D’ antoni should go back in his winning ways with KOBE, ASIK and LIN. No way Houston can disagree to this, they are so active in dumping this poison contract that backfires on them.
    They invested heavily on Asik and Lin in 2012, not expecting that they will land Howard and Harden. So Houston sparingly play Asik and Lin.
    Lakers can have their last hurrah, if they beat this Rockets in the playoff with Kobe,Asik and Lin in the fold.

  6. Dr jimmy says:

    Pau started to stink after the second ring he won with Kobe. He’s gone downhill ever since. it’s now gotten to the point where he’s pathetic he can’t even jump up in the air… trade the man and get us some talent. Dantoni couldn’t coaches mother in a Catholic League game and needs to go too

  7. gospursgo says:

    Jerry bus is gone. RIP. So are the lakers.

  8. rye says:

    pau to clipperrs jordan to lakers..does it make sense?

  9. laker fan says:

    I disagree. Kobe always wants to win. He’s chasig his 6th championship ring just to be even considered close to Jordan. About Pau, D’antoni need to establish Pau in the post before anything else. That’s how you get your players going. Start it with where they are comfortable to get their confidence up then the rest will follow. Every coach knows that. Besides Pau and Kobe are the only low post players in the team Pau needs to get the ball in the post period.

  10. Mr Net Breaker says:

    Kobe only came back only for his numbers not for his team mates or fans
    he want to score more points than Jordan
    he thinks by scoring more points he will be consider better than Jordan
    another Kobe mistake
    what Kobe will do is make Jordan look clearly better than him
    when they show the comparison
    Jordan did it in
    less games
    less minutes
    less years
    for a higher average
    just like that man said
    i told you so

  11. okc2014 says:

    Didn’t I say the Lakers would stop winning when Kobe came back?

  12. Lakers fans, Kobe fans and NBA fans in general should check out our weekly One on One Questions at The Lottery Mafia, an NBA site dedicated to the 14 Lottery teams. This week our first question is about the Lakers playoff chances. http://thelotterymafia.com/2013/12/14/one-on-one-december-week-2-questions/

  13. Cripple Rapist says:

    The Lakers playing better without that expensive ballhog turnover machine, Pau can still play, He can be more productive on other teams…. As of now Pau might be happier playing for UTAH… not contending but happy… ease of burden too… If kobe make 8 turnovers it’s because PAU being soft???? WHAT??? w/out kobe lakers seems more lively, W.Johnson X Henry and Young, where’s their aggressiveness now??? Just ask kobe…….

  14. ivo esteves says:

    trade mike d’anthony !!! lol

  15. Fact of the matter is, Kobe has never achieved anything without Phil Jackson. When Phil is coach, Lakers are competitive…when Phil leaves, Lakers struggle to make the playoffs….you can’t keep blaimg the coaches, eventually Kobe has to admit the blame.

  16. Jack_Nicholson says:

    I think they’re both awful. D’Antoni’s not the right coach for this team although 10-9 record being undermanned is not so bad, but not enough for a playoff push. Pau has been bad so lately. Soft on both sides, always complaining for not getting the calls etc. But IMO Pau’s problems are more about his uncertain future with the team, and he’s hurt for almost being traded after helping with the 2 championships. D’Antoni relies too much on speed and athleticism, but he should outsmart his counterpart and develop an honest but good relationship with the players.

  17. pacquiaoverated says:

    Ron Jeremy should be the Lakers coach, the whole team is a joke add to that the ultimate ballhog is back 4points and 7 turnovers, still gets 25million a year lol,Lakers= joke.

  18. Mr Net Breaker says:

    player never play good when they are unhappy
    the coach is the coach
    good or bad
    Right or wrong
    who’s fault?
    the Lakers gm
    the Lakers coach
    the Lakers players
    Kobe’s Achilles
    they need to change everything
    is time for a new beginning
    poor Lakers
    poor Lakers fans
    that’s what happen when you live in dream land
    and you wake up to reality
    everything is wrong with L.A
    Kobe should retire

  19. kg5 says:

    play in spain!

  20. Bird33 says:

    The pay check line was very nasty. I agree – MD is an idiot and should be given his pink slip next time he gets to the pay window. Am I’m a life long Celtics fan!!! What does that say about how nasty MD is – I actually feel sorry for a Laker!! He should take a page from Brad Stevens coaching manual – hey Mike, here’s an idea – why not try to positively reinforce and encourage your players instead of ripping into them via the media scrum while not even having the balls to say it to Gasol’s face.

    What a freakin weasel!!

    • al24 says:

      Since when does a NBA coach trash his players in the media? Who does that? I just hope the Lakers ge equal value when they trade Gasol. Stupid Jim Buss won’t fire Dantoni

  21. bodjee says:

    Pau is not accelerating to get back on defence. Until he starts to runs as hard on defence as he does on offence then he will have a reason to complain. He has to buy-in on team defence.

  22. Jamokey says:

    Get out of there as soon as possible Pau. Phoenix can use you!!!

  23. R E E says:

    Pau gets beasted consistently in the post on offense and defense. He plays best at mid range. He’s NEVER been a good post player. He’s always been pick and pop. Elbow and free throw line extended jumpers. Aggressiveness? What’s this aggressiveness you speak of?

    • justsayin says:

      I wanted to take issue with “beasted”, but it’s actually more awesome and apt the more I roll it around.

      /And Jeff Caplan it is “rout”, not “route”.

  24. drewcap says:

    Didn’t Gasol have 2 knee procedures in the off-season? Maybe he needs some recovery time or benefit of the doubt. Since I remember the Lakers getting much better with his arrival, after about a 4 year lull.

  25. james ward says:

    When are people going to figure out that D’Antoni is a lousy coach. He had a group in Phoenix who fit his philosophy. That was pure luck. He couldn’t adapt in New York and he can’t in Los Angeles.

  26. Ivan says:

    Dantoni is a terrible coach… Cant hope to win anything as long as he keeps his position…

  27. biong says:

    protesting via playing with heavy legs isnt just pro man. c’mon pau. at least make up on D

  28. laker fan says:

    I believe d’antoni’s system really does not fit the lakers. D’antoni likes a fast paced jump shooting team which the lakers are not.. just look at the blazers now.. they are a half court team that is not relying on fast break to win but is very good in half court execution. D’antoni’s doesn’t fit old guys like kobe or pau anymore. Lakers need a coach with good half court offense strategy like popovic..

    • NickVanExelforLife says:

      Pop has changed his gameplay style for his Spurs over the past couple seasons now. They run a faster paced & uptempo style now. Only diff is that their team defense is top notch. ALL their players hustle on 50/50 plays. I haven’t seen Pau hustle for a loose ball since 2011…

  29. eyye ( very angry Lakers fan) says:

    I’m not sure why we can’t have a decent coach. This guy does not know how to use his players all he knows is how to force the players in to believe in his “system”. He had a whole year to do it n obviously that didn’t turn out well…so how long are we suppose to wait till the guys “figure things out “…. very frustrating

  30. dbarr1960 says:

    I’ve said it before and nothing has changed. Welcome to the Jim Buss era. Mediocrity reigns in Laker Land. Gasol will be gone by the final trade deadline and probably long before that. As a Laker and Gasol fan I hope it is sooner rather than later so he can play where they will utilize his skill set. He has endured enough abuse the last two years. I would prefer a new coach but like I said this is the Jim Buss era. I guess if I could endure the Elmoore Smith era I can endure this.

  31. boerebroek says:

    Worst coach in the NBA.

  32. Charles says:

    The coach must gone… Cup Cake could hire Phil Jackson before nothing good is left for the Lakers and Kobe… If could have been Coach Phil Jackson at the first place D12 would stay and play exactly what Lakers want, Kobe might not get an injured last year and Paul will remain as a good player as he was…

  33. marcos says:

    Everybody in this planet knows who the Lakers coach should be… and it’s not this dude

  34. kiw says:

    I really do not understand why there is team who takes D’Antoni as coach. He is known as coach who knows nothing about defense.

  35. Kannu says:

    Nothing is going to change, Kobe is healthy now and he will create numerous opportunities in the paint for PAU to uplift his stats and make him happily stay here for another 2 years with him.

  36. NBA Fan says:

    Pau is very good business man. He is trying to cover up his poor form and trying to up sell his value for up coming free agency market!!! He is playing all this drama so that people think he didn’t perform well because of the coach. He can hardly move in the defensive end and he simply watching players coming in and out of the paint. He can blame his coach for his offense, what about his defense??? Anyway, I am not big fan of Mike D but he can’t be blamed for Pau’s bad performance.

  37. Sherif says:

    Since this coach came to Lakers and there is nothing but injuries and fights with star players. Last year calling KB a fan after his injury and this time with Pau. The team stats are really bad and he is the only one to be blamed for this. You have talents, a mix of new and veteran players. You make it work and do not ask them to figure it out themselves. The Lakes honored KB with 2years contract, I wish they continue this and give him a decent coach so they might have a chance against the Big Teams.

  38. kobe4life says:

    just, stop the blame game please…
    can’t they get along with each other? (pau and mike D.)
    JUST DO IT!

  39. THECRAZYTHEWZRD says:

    CHICAGO BULLS!! ill take pau over boozer

  40. JAMES says:

    I’ve been a Lakers fan for 30 years. The way i see it…. Its the coach that does not fit the Lakers type of game.

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  42. ImJusSayin says:

    With all the money tied up in Non-Antoni type players what that —- are they thinking the coach has to go (Bring bernie back over this clown).

  43. eric says:

    Trade Gasol for Asik

    • laker says:

      not good fit in D’antoni system…..cmon eric…

    • Neil says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    • Mr.Mike says:

      I kinda agree with that, Howard Gasol works very well as we know. Think Pau with the Rockets would be awesome, nothing like 2 big men working together well.
      If Asik has to fill the role Pau plays with the Lakers on the other hand? Doubt that’s gonna work out at all.

      Either way, pretty sure Pau is gonna join Houston anyways next season!

    • go lakers says:

      Gasoline does that like playing next to Howard hello he wants inside

  44. kb24 fan says:

    pau gasol is right. A true coach should be able to adapt around the players he has his arsenal. We can just look at the numbers. Pau Gasol before D’antoni was averaging 17 points on 50% plus and now he is averaging 10 points on 40% shooting. Can we please fire pringles man or give an office job

    • Bill says:

      I am both a Laker fan of 40 years and a Pau Gasol fan. When the Lakers were making the finals he was great. Last year it was my inclination to blame coach for using him incorrectly but this year I am blaming Pau. He has been atrocious this year. He can’t hit wide open 15 footers with any decent percentage and he looks bad in the post too. But worse than that, he has been TERRIBLE on defense. He can’t blame coach that he virtually never rotates and is awful at challenging shots.

      In general, the Lakers have been better with him off the floor than on it as his season long +/- of -4.8 would indicate.

      I have been hopeful that he would come around but I am starting to lose faith.

      Pau Gasol needs to look in the mirror and take ownership for his poor play to-date. He needs to be the best he can be under the current system before he can expect coach to make any changes to accommodate him.

  45. Lakers says:

    Jim….U know the Lakers will keep struggling as long as you have Mike D as the coach. The man is good but obviously doesn’t know how to utilize talent. keeps saying they’ll figure it out on their own…