Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol isn't pleased coming off the bench, and he let his feelings be known to TNT's Craig Sager before the Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls. According to FoxSports.com, Gasol told Sager he dislikes the move, doesn't want to be a role player and discussed the possibility of being traded.
With the emergence of Earl Clark and Gasol's souring attitude, the Lakers need to move Pau Gasol as soon as possible.
ESPN LA's Arash Markazi makes a great point with this tweet:
The fact that Gasol would tell Sager it's "certainly looking like a possibility" that he'll be traded tells you where his mind is at.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 22, 2013
It's understandable for Gasol to be upset following getting benched. What's not as understandable is Gasol's unwillingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He's taking the coaching decision personally instead of as a move to help the team.
In addition to Gasol's immature comments prior to the game, his body language looked like a defeated player's. Gasol played well off the bench against the Bulls with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes, but he clearly looked a player ready to leave.
The Lakers need to shake things up, and Gasol's softness both on and off the court make him the piece to move. Howard will be much easier to build around in the next few years, assuming he decides to stay in Los Angeles long term.
Gasol could be hard to move for the Lakers, as his value has decreased over the last few seasons and the fact he is set to make just under $20 million next season. That's not to say a move can't happen, but it certainly removes some teams from the discussion.
The Lakers may not be able to get full value for Gasol. At this point, it's worth taking a small loss and moving on.
Back in December, the Raptors were believed to be interested in trading for Gasol with a package of Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and Linas Kleiza. Los Angeles may be hard pressed to find a deal that sweet, but that certainly would add to this version of the Lakers.
Trading Gasol not only gives the Lakers some better personnel options, but it would also take them off the hook for his salary next season. That way, the Lakers could look to re-load and add a quality free agent should they not take on a big contract in a trade.
Gasol would also benefit from a fresh start away from the Lakers. Over the last few seasons, he has received plenty of criticism and it has visibly worn on the power forward. The constant trade talk has gotten to him and it's time he's finally moved.
The Lakers need to shake things up and rid themselves of Gasol before he becomes toxic. At this point, they need to rally around each other if they have any hopes of making a playoff run. Gasol clearly doesn't seem interested if that means coming off the bench.
It's time for the Lakers to finally move on and rid themselves of Gasol.