Pau Gasol has been the scapegoat for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ shortcomings all season long. His name has circulated in all kinds of trade rumors, but Gasol remains a Laker.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have not functioned well together, which led head coach Mike D’Antoni to permanently have Pau come off the bench. According to Ken Berger, of CBS Sports, Gasol is unhappy with his new role, but is not looking to jump ship and request a trade:
It’s hard for anybody who considers himself one of the top players in the world to say, ‘OK, I’m OK with coming off the bench,’”
“I’ve been on this team, in this city, for six years,”
“It’s very hard to stick around on this team, and I take pride in that. I think I’m a valuable asset and I want my role to be as big as it can be, within the well being of the team. But I don’t know if being a player that comes off the bench will be something that I’ll be able to accept long term.
While Gasol clearly believes he should still be a starter, he is willing to embrace his new role for the rest of the season – but no longer than that.
He does not want to be traded, and at this point it is unlikely that he will be traded, as his market value has drastically decreased. Besides, the Lakers are not willing to take on any long-term contracts in a potential trade, which limits the possible deals out there.
Dwight Howard could very well opt to leave L.A. at the end of this season, so keeping Gasol, at least for the rest of the season, is the best option for the Lakers.