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Pau Gasol Says There Has to Be 'Significant Changes' to Stay with Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the arena after a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on April 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

The last couple years have been rough for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Pau Gasol's had it about as bad as anyone in the purple and gold.

He was benched in year one of the Mike D'Antoni era. This past season, he dealt with several health issues, including vertigo. And while trying to carry a terrible supporting cast, he was a part of what became the worst season in franchise history.

So, it makes sense for the Lakers big man to want some changes at this point in his career. According to Mark Medina of Inside the Lakers, Gasol had this to say on his own website:

Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one. If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game.

Significant changes shouldn't be too difficult for the Lakers. According to Sham Sports, Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are the only players with money guaranteed for next season. They have a lottery pick coming in this summer. And D'Antoni may be on his way out.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding shared the only real reason L.A. might retain the current head coach:

If the Lakers continue to focus on 2015 free agency for the more meaningful shift in the team's direction, they are reluctant to bring on a new coach for 2014-15 and commit contractually to another three or four years with that coach while not knowing how he would mesh with the next star player or players.

If that reason isn't enough to keep D'Antoni around, the Lakers sign a couple solid free agents to go along with the incoming draftee, and Bryant flexes his influential muscle, Gasol may be back with the Lakers.

But as he said himself, that possibility seems like "a remote one." After going 27-55, the Lakers are in need of a fresh start. And after the rough couple years he's had in L.A., Gasol needs one too.

They gave each other some good times, a few memories, but it's time to move on.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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