Gasol Calmly Waited As Rumors Swirled


VIDEO: Lakers fall to Mavericks on Tuesday night

DALLAS – Enjoying a production of The Lion King at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood with his parents and younger brother, Marc, on Saturday night, Pau Gasol used intermission to stretch his legs and check Twitter on his phone.

He wasn’t expecting any news affecting him, not yet, not with still a few days before the deadline for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade Andrew Bynum in time to avoid having to pay him the second half of his contract. Yet there it was on his timeline, his long-elusive finality with the Lakers staring back at him.

“It was done,” Gasol said of seeing what proved to be an erroneous tweet from a Los Angeles radio station account that read the Lakers had completed a deal to send Gasol to the Cavaliers for his former teammate. “I see it’s almost official, [Monday] it’s going to be official, but it’s done. I was seeing all these messages of farewell Pau, thanks for all your services and all that stuff. I was like, ‘All right,’ well I guess it’s good to get a heads-up the day before. Most guys don’t get that.”

He hadn’t. The Lakers quickly and vehemently denied the report and so Gasol, again, reset his mind, one that is now practically trained to expect to be traded at a moment’s notice. On Sunday night he played spectacularly, posting 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists even as the Lakers were blown out at home by the Denver Nuggets.

Monday for Gasol was D-day. The deadline for Cleveland to trade Bynum was ticking down with one false alarm already doused. For the Lakers, Monday meant a practice at the team’s training facility in El Segundo followed by a flight to Dallas where they would play the Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Tick. Tock.

Gasol tried to make it feel like any other day, but it was impossible to totally shake the odd feeling of not knowing if he would join his teammates on the flight to Dallas, or make arrangements to catch one to Cleveland.

“I packed my bags like I was going on the plane and doing my job, doing what I’m supposed to do,” Gasol said. “But you know, the thought crossed my mind, obviously. I came into practice like any other day. If something would have happened, somebody would have come to me or called me and told me, ‘Look it’s done.’ “

Nothing.

The Lakers’ charter departed LAX at 2 p.m. Pacific Time and arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport around 7 p.m. local time. The team then bused to the hotel. Still nothing.

“Pretty quiet, pretty calm,” Gasol said, describing how the day was unfolding.

Tick. Tock.

Then, about 15 minutes before midnight Central Time, Twitter erupted with news of a major trade. An All-Star forward was headed to Cleveland in exchange for Bynum and Draft picks. Only it was the Chicago Bull’s Luol Deng, a regular in the rumor mill, but a something of a stunner to be the one going to the Cavaliers at the midnight hour.

“I was up,” Gasol said. “I guess that was kind of the confirmation that it didn’t involve me. At that point I thought that nothing was going to happen either way for anyone, but I guess it did, and now obviously, I’m glad I continue to be a Laker.

“It felt like it was pretty much done at times and that’s the way the media put it out or leaked it,” Gasol said. “It feels good to survive, I guess, and live to fight another day. That’s what they say, right? I’d like to continue to be here, but that’s not up to me.”

Still a Laker on Tuesday night, Gasol put on his purple No. 16 jersey and went to work against Dallas. He scored 15 points with 13 rebounds and five assists, but it wasn’t enough. The struggling, injury-depleted Lakers kept it close into the fourth quarter, but lost 110-97, falling to 14-21.

They head to Houston for a game Wednesday night and embark on a daunting road trip next week. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, both traveling with the team, are a ways away from returning. Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar remain out as well.

Gasol is in. For now.

“I don’t really know how it really played out. I don’t know what was the reason that it didn’t happen, I don’t know that,” Gasol said. “So I know there are probably going to be other rumors and potential trades coming up, but I can’t really worry about it. I just need to continue what I’ve been doing, which is come in, be ready to play and focus on what I need to do as a player for myself and my teammates.”

45 Comments

  1. bataar says:

    @Mike D’Antoni. PLEASE LEAVE THE LAKERS. PLEASE. PLEASE. I CANNOT SEE THE LAKERS’ LOSING STREAK.

  2. okc2014 says:

    I feel for Pau Gasol and I’m not even a Pau or Laker fan. But I completely understand now why people refer to this team as the “Fakers”. Pau got faked out from his own team Wow.

  3. Derek Fisher says:

    DO whatever feel Pau because it isn’t his fault, its all Mike D’Antoni’s fault

  4. Someone else says:

    Poor Pau. A winter never goes by these recent years without trade talk surrounding this guy. The way the Lakers treat him maybe he should ask to leave instead of being messed around by various people at this setup. If it wasn’t for him being traded there the last two championships and three finals trips would not have happened.

  5. lee says:

    for his sake i wish the would trade him i think the spurs would be the best fit thunder would be a great 1 or atlanta would do pretty good maybe the celtics id love to see the thunder grab him and asik get rid of ibaka and actually win a championship gasol and asik could play together since gasol is more of a pf with a center frame anyways

  6. 1978SL says:

    It would be a terrible mistake by the Lakers to trade Pau Gasol. He is athletic, flexible, a star player, a good tall player who can play both center and power forward. Everyone should accept that Kobe is a financial goldmine (merchandise, tickets etc) for the Lakers so they won’t trade him, altough it would be the best for the team and also Kobe. They could rebuild in 2-3 years and be on the top again. With Kobe in their lines the Lakers will make it maximum to the second round in the playoffs. But that’s the top. Kobe as a veteran again in another good team with rising stars (like Ray Allen in Miami) could win another title this way. Back to Pau Gasol, he has this opportunity too, he is just not as good as Bryant, but still very high above NBA average level.

    So the best choise of the Lakers franchise is to stick to Pau Gasol and Kobe, maybe Steve Nash (as an always injured player), because they will sell merchandise with them for a couple of years and try to rebuild to some level in the meantime. Best choise for Kobe and Pau would be leaving the team, but they won’t run away, cause they are paid to well.

  7. lakers777 says:

    i think pau is one of the best power forward in the nba . he will stand in lakers two years , when kobe will retire he will do same.. in 2014 kobe will win ring.. he need one star in this team and then he will get ring..

  8. SoulChorea says:

    this is so messed up…they do this to this dude EVERY YEAR.

  9. former laker lover now turn hater says:

    I think pau should leave because he is being treated as an expendable commodity rather than a person

  10. former laker lover now turn hater says:

    why is it that when you wanna complain about the lakers your comments don’t get posted

  11. JimmyLakers says:

    If every players had the same personality and attitude as Gasol’s , this game would have been a better game and this league would has been a better league.

  12. sophie1150 says:

    Seems most of us think Pau should leave and sign with a team where management will appreciate his talents. Why are the Lakers holding on to Bryant? His time is OVER. Be nice if someone who knows basketball would buy the Lakers. Jim Buss and Bryant should go off into the sunset.

  13. sophie1150 says:

    Pau should demand a trade to a team where management and fans will appreciate his talent. Lakers need to dump Bryant and start rebuilding. No one wants to play with Bryant and besides, his time is over. Lakers, make a fresh start.

  14. fcej says:

    i don’t like D’antoni system….lakers have a lot of talented players , but he (D’antoni) don’t know how to use them

  15. ImJusSayin says:

    I Think Pau should be demanding a trade already. Antoni will ruin him just like any other player going through his system. He has always been a natural 4 but the years of playing the 5 are keeping his health down.

  16. Paul says:

    Pau should just spit on the Lakers and leave this sinking ship. They show him no respect, want to trade him all the time, I imagine he must be pissed. Those 2 championship runs are over and they’re not coming back, so please Gasol, do whatever makes you satisfied. Leave the Lakers. (Tho don’t join the Heat!)

  17. Anthony says:

    I think, Pau Gasoline deserve another chance to play with Kobe , Steve and Farmar at full strength healthy

  18. Jimmy Kent says:

    Laker fan for life!

  19. NBALogics says:

    Pau should get the same loyalty as Kobe dude was every part of those 3 straight trips to the finals as much as Kobe was.

  20. lbj says:

    Trade pau gasol to tha heat and we will trade you all-star point guard norris cole and aging dywane wade Are new lineup would be like this:

    PG) Mario Cgaallmers
    SG) Ray Allen
    SF) Lebron “Tha King” Jamez
    PF) Pau Gasol
    C) Chris Boosh

    7.) Idonnis Haslem
    8.) James Jones
    9.) Shayne Battiyay

  21. FrankL2010 says:

    Guys, here’s the thing… even how professional an athlete is if he is on the trading block every season, expect his productivity to deteriorate. That’s what happened to Pau and could happen to any athlete. Pau is one of the best but he is also human… he might be saying that he is not affected, but he is.

  22. Luis MAGIC 10 says:

    For you people that doubt about PAU, I say he won every major Basketball event ( beside the olympics, but it was the closest game, and with a help from the refs, that USA won ). He won 2 NBA and 3 straight final with Lakers in the 3 first years!!! So i think Pau is the gratest European player ever and one of the best Bigs in the league, so he deserve respect!
    For me ( i’m from Portugal ) he is the best along Kobe in My Laker’s team, so i don’t understand the people that want him trade, or even worst KOBE TRADE….. C’mon guys they are simply the best, and gave us ( Lakers fans, and Basketball fans ) a lot of good moments, so why get them out of the team???
    Lakers organisation you should stand with both, and rebuild thru them!
    Bye.

  23. Ken_LakerFanPhilippines says:

    Just fire D’Antoni. Lakers only need a consistent (scorer) go-to guy (play maker) while waiting for the black mamba

  24. better off tanked says:

    The way the Lakers are going and with most the roster injured or crippled, they’re better off tanking and starting again fresh next season. Kinda out of options .. maybe amnesty Nash .. try for a mid-high end, marquee player next season. The back-court needs some serious CPR, as its dead or dyin’. What a sorry state of affairs for one of the once great franchises …

  25. Eaglos says:

    What an inspiring and motivating environment!!! A perfect place for every pro athlete to be :P
    Then they wonder why Gasol is less productive than previous years…

  26. BillyRay says:

    okay pau.

  27. dustydreamnz says:

    Agree Jack and his game has got better as the rumours have got stronger.

  28. oby20 says:

    since jim buss took over alot of bad decision came, i dont see getting steve nash a good move, another is he knew howard wants to be in a team were he can touch the ball alot, everybody knows he and kobe cannot get along, still jim signed him and kept him, he should have signed and trade him. plus mike dantoni is a run and gun play type of coach the lakers is not that kind of team with kobe leading the way, they are more of a halfcourt team, everybody knows it and jim still hires him. he is the one responsible for this laker chaos.i see him not as smart as his dad.

    • For sure says:

      Jim Buss is a complete bum … admittedly a rather wealthy bum – but a bum nonetheless. He’s obviously intent on destroying everything his late, great Dad spent years building up: the Lakers organization reputation; reputation for excellence in all things basketball, and the Lakers org’ being a model for most other NBA franchises to learn from. Mr JIm Buss, go get yourself a street corner .. a cardboard box .. and a shopping trolley full of junk. Because frankly, and i say it again, you are a complete bum …

  29. jdub455 says:

    sad to see pau treated this way… basketball wise, it should be kobe hu shld be traded but we all understand the money he brings in 4 d lakers organization… zbo for pau anyone??? just wud like to see the brothers in the same team

    • Lakers says:

      the way i see is either way it would have been good for Pau. If he went to Cleveland, it’s a better team and he might get a chance to win another title. If he stays, Lakers fans always love him. Anyone who contributed big to Lakers titles deserve to stay, including Kobe.

  30. J4CK Nicholson says:

    I somehow feel for this guy. Imagine after playing your hearts out and giving 2 championships he’s always on the trade block, Lakers just waiting for the right moment. But somehow he became soft and inconsistent, plus D’Antoni’s hiring and a weak supporting cast (During Howard’s tenure) caused a lot of troubles for the Lakers. Jim Buss should have learned from his dad and Kupchak. He should have let Kupchak hire Adelman instead of Brown and D’Antoni. They should have considered their bench when Howard was with them. They should have just signed Kobe to a max of $10M/year, they shouldn’t signed Nash in the 1st place. It was just chaos since he took over his dad.

    • kobe says:

      Agreed, and I feel for Gasol too.

    • chalice says:

      I feel for Gasol and I think the Lakers organization has really gone downhill. Like him or not, I feel he is the best active player for the Lakers right now (due to injury) and it seems he is the scapegoat for all the Lakers problems. I hope he gets traded to a contender and he can win another ring outside of LA.