While many would prefer the knee-jerk reaction of blowing the whole thing up, firing everyone and rebuilding the roster from scratch, that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Gasol has been the focus of numerous trade rumors, as he is due over $19 million for the upcoming campaign, the last season on a three-year, $57 million extension signed in 2009.
This just in: Source w/knowledge of #Laker discussions says keeping Pau, bringing this team back isn't merely an option, it's now Plan A.— Mark Heisler (@MarkHeisler) May 5, 2013
However, Gasol took everything in stride and continued to help his team in any way possible, despite a debilitating foot injury late in the season and issues finding a consistent role in new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system.
The 32-year-old also helped guide L.A. into the postseason when things looked most bleak after the Black Mamba’s now-infamous Achilles' injury. He put up two triple-doubles in the last three games of the season and added another in a valiant—but ultimately fruitless—effort against the Spurs.
That will ultimately hinge on Dwight Howard’s free-agency decision this summer, as the superstar center could opt to leave town and sign with another franchise—or become “the man” in L.A. with Bryant out of the picture for quite some time.
What will the Lakers do with Gasol?
After that, general manager Mitch Kupchak can work on adding some three-point shooters and bringing in better pieces to fit D’Antoni’s system—assuming he sticks around for another season.