Pau Gasol has been suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers since the 2007-08 season when he was dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies in a blockbuster trade, but there’s a chance his 2013-14 season—and stint with L.A.—may be coming to an end.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan, “The team is leaning toward sitting him for its final seven games while he recovers from a severe recurrence of vertigo.”
Gasol missed four games from March 25 through March 30 before returning on April 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers. He notched nine points, seven assists, four rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes of action, but he said after the game that he returned to action too soon, per Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters via Twitter:
The Spaniard left the March 23 win against the Orlando Magic at halftime due to dizziness and nausea. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the 33-year-old veteran was taken to a local hospital from Staples Center for evaluation.
“It was a nightmare,” Gasol said, per McMenamin. “I was feeling terrible. Everybody that saw me, they felt bad because I was extremely pale. I was kind of shivering. I couldn’t really move. I had three liters of IV fluid. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t sit.”
Gasol won back-to-back championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, but his bout with vertigo threatens to end his 2013-14 season. Consequently, he may have played his last game in a purple and gold uniform, because he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
He’s leading the team in scoring (17.4 points per game), rebounding (9.7 rebounds per game) and blocks (1.5 per game), but he’s shooting just 48 percent from the field—the second-lowest percentage of his career—and he’s missed 15 games due to various health concerns.
The only players under guaranteed contracts for the 2014-15 season are Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre. The two members of L.A.’s aging backcourt will be a combined 76 years old at the start of next season, so bringing Gasol back wouldn’t help the Lakers inject youth into the roster.
Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding believes the two parties will decide to part ways, having written in February, “This summer, Gasol will move on to some other NBA franchise where, along with his two championship rings, the fresh fans will respect all that is clearly good in him.”
The 7-footer has been part of a tumultuous, injury-riddled campaign with the Lakers. If he’s shut down for the remainder of the regular season, don’t be surprised if the April 1 loss against Portland was his last Lakers hurrah.