Posted December 04, 2012

Lakers reportedly tell Gasol to adjust to D’Antoni’s system or face trade

Ben Golliver, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol is shooting a career-low 42.0 percent from the field this season. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

This wasn’t the “You’ve been traded” phone call and it wasn’t even the “You’re being shopped” heads up, but Lakers management has reportedly taken a first step toward putting veteran big man Pau Gasol back on the block.

ESPNLA.com’s Dave McMenamin reports that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak reached out to Gasol’s people to let them know that the 32-year-old Spaniard isn’t untradeable.

However, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has recently spoken to Gasol’s representatives and the gist of the conversation was that if Gasol is unable to adjust to [new coach Mike] D’Antoni’s system, the team will have no choice but to search for possible trade scenarios.

Chris Mannix of SI.com reports that trade talks aren’t likely to develop until after Dec. 15, when players who were signed as free agents during the summer of 2012 become trade-eligible.

League execs believe LA won’t have any real discussions for Pau until [point guard Steve Nash is back from injury] and past the 15th, when summer signed contracts are in play.

Gasol will sit out Tuesday’s game against the Rockets with tendinitis in both knees. He’s in the midst of the worst season of his career, averaging 12.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 blocks while playing 34.8 minutes a night. He’s shooting a career-low 42.0 percent from the field, in large part because his game has shifted from low-post looks to a perimeter-first approach. For a full exploration of that shift, check out this Point Forward feature from last week.

To make matters worse, Gasol’s numbers have only declined since D’Antoni replaced the fired Mike Brown and interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff. In seven games under D’Antoni, the Lakers are 3-4 and Gasol has averaged just 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 38.8 percent. He’s been benched down the stretch of multiple games and is averaging just 30 minutes per game.

The trading block is a familiar place for Gasol, who was nearly moved to the Rockets in Dec. 2011 until commissioner David Stern reportedly stepped in to veto a three-team deal that would have sent Hornets guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. Paul was eventually traded to the Clippers, the Lakers traded forward Lamar Odom to the Mavericks and Gasol stayed put in Los Angeles.

The Lakers’ payroll currently sits at $100 million, a figure that brings with it a huge luxury tax bill and mammoth expectations. Gasol is the only big salary player likely to be traded — Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard aren’t going anywhere — so it’s no surprise his name has come up this quickly, especially after his slow start. The Lakers are currently 8-9 and could fall further below .500 with nine of their remaining 13 games in December on the road.

It won’t be easy for the Lakers to construct a trade involving Gasol, especially if his quality of play is limited by injury. Gasol is on the books for $19 million this season and a fully-guaranteed $19.3 million next season. Those figures are among the NBA’s highest and look particularly large under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement. According to HoopsHype.com, Gasol is the ninth-highest paid player in the league, although two of the players above him on the list — Brandon Roy and Gilbert Arenas — had part or all of their salaries amnestied. Gasol makes the equivalent of two quality players, more than three mid-level players and five or six players on rookie contracts. The NBA’s salary cap is currently $58 million, so paying Gasol next season would eat up nearly 1/3 of a team’s cap figure, making it difficult to fill out a quality roster without exceeding the cap or potentially going into the luxury tax. That doesn’t eliminate interest in his services, by any stretch, but it does limit the number of possible buyers.

20 comments
airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

LAL will be payin for what they did to MBrown all yr long!  WTF is the FO tryna accomplish this season?  They fire MB after FIVE GD GMS & bring in a guy just as one-dimensional, but on the other side of the court?!?  What did they expect to happen when they went from a defense-oriented system to an offensive-oriented system after the season started w/o changin personnel?

 

I thought LAL was supposed to be the model franchise that knew how to put together a contender?  The coachin situation has been a complete joke & the personnel moves this summer don’t look too great either!  Good luck expectin on a 50y.o. PG’s health to hold up & how exactly is Mr. “never seen a shot I don’t like” Bryant EVER supposed to mesh w/ all these other scorers?  Not to mention the D12 FT fiasco.  It’s funny how SVG figured out how to minimize the impact of D12’s FT shootin.

 

The Fakers deserve all the shite they’ll get this yr after throwin a good (not great) HC under the bus like that!

LanceLansing
LanceLansing

If anyone trusts a single word Golliver writes from now on, they are a fool. This is the most ridiculously implausible thing I have ever heard. A GM tells one of their star players to adjust or be traded within 10 games of a head coaching change? Absolutely comical.

Steve Moore
Steve Moore

Can't wait for Dwight to sign with someone else next summer. Watch LAL trade/amnesty Pau, watch D12 leave and Nash doesn't heal right - oh the humanity! Laker haters unite !! The Bean, exposed for his worst teammate self - playin wit DMorris, Duhon (DAntonis boy) Careless MWPeace, and 38% shooter Jamison. It's good to be alive and a Laker hater. It's a wonderful day, life is good.

eddie577
eddie577

The guy is soft or as they call him Gasoft. His younger brother Marc is much better and has a better attitude. I think Pau is burned out and over the hill. His better days are behind him for sure. Now he has gimpy knees. A big man over 30 with bad knees is a bad sign. They will be lucky to trade him unless they eat more of his salary. I would use the amnesty clause on him if they can't trade him. He is way over paid and he knows it. Seventy five percent of of the salary cap is being spent on Gasol and Kobe.

minguseyes
minguseyes

This story has ZERO credibility.  Golliver does not name sources because he does not have ANY.  Call Mitch Kupchak and he will tell you the Lakers have no desire to trade Gasol. They want him to play with Howard. 

James Nibert
James Nibert

D'Antoni will destroy this team. He has already made it his mission to get rid of Gasol, who would be the ideal pick and roll partner for Nash when he returns. Why the hell did the Lakers decide to just give their team to D'Antoni? They dissed Phil Jackson for him, they are trying to kick Gasol out of town for him, and his "system" has never won a championship anywhere. Now D'Antoni has one of the top 5 most skilled big men in the game (Gasol) shooting jumpers from the perimeter. Meanwhile, Howard looks like garbage and can't hit a free throw to save his life. Jim Buss and D'Antoni are working really hard to destroy the Lakers. 

DERRICK1
DERRICK1

As a die hard Laker fan, I hope they trade Gasol and then the Lakers fall flat on their a$$ in the playoffs because that will prove once and for all that Jim Buss is absolutely worthless. Jim Buss is the "Jerry Jones" of the NBA, but luckily Jerry isn't going to let his son destroy his franchise! 

me1
me1

Bottom line...he was going to be traded anyway. He knew it. They knew it. End of story. What isn't the end of the story is once the Lakers get rid of him, they will still only be a .500 team. THAT is priceless, watching the in-fighting and complaining. 

Edward22
Edward22

True, but they fired Mike Brown four or five games into the season with their star point guard having only played one of those games.  I would not rule out the "comical" nature of Gollivor's article being very close to truth.

masanmm
masanmm

 @Steve Moore just curious what club you root for...o wait actually it doesn't matter because I'm sure they don't have 16 titles yet and if you are a celtics fan I can guarantee you the Lakers will surpass 17 titles before they get another title under their belt. Laker haters can laugh all they want right now but at the end we still have 2nd most titles in the league and we have the best chance at raising that to 17 or 18 than any team right in the league. I don't see the celtics being in the hunt for another title in the next few years either. I know it's easy to pick on the us while things are not going well but let's see how things are going in June when we are in the Finals against the Heat in 2013 or 2014.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

 @eddie577 Phil Jackson named his kidney stone Kobe because it would not pass.

Brad8
Brad8

 @eddie577 They cant amnesty him until after the season, all amnesties have to be done before the start of a new season.

lkrfan
lkrfan

Just heard this same story on the sports news on tv.  Woudn't put it past Laker management -- business is business.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @minguseyes

 What the Lakers front office wants and what's actually happening on the court are 2 totally different things and they have to adjust. Gasol went on a 3 year stretch of shopping at Big and Tall. He was a bad bad man. But ever since the 2011 playoffs against Dallas, he's back to Baby Gap.

 

By the way, can I have Mitch's number? I'd like to tell him that signing a 38 year old starting PG while neglecting the bench is a awesome choice. Signed-every other Western Conference team.

eddie577
eddie577

@DERRICK1 No Jerry is doing it without the help of his son. Two playoff wins for the Cowboys since Jerry took over after the 1995 Superbowl.

John4
John4

 @eddie577  eddie - this article is about the Lakers' issues with Gasol.  Enough of dumping on the Cowboys, but please, have some respect and do not dump on the Cowboys in a Pau Gasol aritcle.