In an extensive interview with the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers, Gasol dished on a number of Lakers-related tidbits, none more important than his future with the team:
"If this coach stays and Dwight Howard remains with the Lakers," I asked, "what about you?"
"It would be hard for me to deal with another season knowing the facts you just mentioned," said Gasol, 32 and with one year remaining on his contract.
"So do you ask for a fresh start elsewhere?"
"It's a possibility," he said, "yes."
Though it may be surreal to hear Gasol admit it's a "possibility" that he's not only traded, but requests the change of scenery, we can't feign surprise.
Gasol has been unhappy about coming off the bench since day one, and though he continues to maintain his acceptance of the diminished role, phrases like "for now" have been thrown around an awful lot.
Los Angeles' big man did go on to reiterate that he was loyal to the franchise and wouldn't force his will upon the organization until after the season, but his melancholy demeanor implies defeat.
Both Gasol and the Lakers know there will be plenty of suitors for the Spaniard's services, but his is a contract that is tough to move. He's owed more than $19 million this season and next, and by dealing him now, Los Angeles runs the risk of taking back a monstrous contract in return that jeopardizes its future cap flexibility.
Gasol's recent sentiments could motivate the Lakers to deal him sooner rather than later, yet general manager Mitch Kupchak has been quoted as saying he has no intention of trading anyone this season. And Pau's public discontent is unlikely to change his stance.
With the Lakers still unsure of whether or not Dwight Howard will re-sign at season's end, trading Gasol jeopardizes any stability Los Angeles has at the 5 beyond this year. Holding onto Gasol for now makes plenty of sense from both a financial and tactical standpoint.
What's truly eye-opening here, though, is we have officially reached the point of admittance.
Gasol didn't hesitate to acknowledge that if both Mike D'Antoni and Howard were still around next year, he would consider requesting (demanding?) a trade.
Playing off Pau's continuously surly disposition and his rejection of D'Antoni's offensive principals, there may be little or no time at all to acclimate ourselves to the "possibility" of Gasol being traded.
Because such a request no longer seems plausible.
It seems inevitable.
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