As arguably the one player on the current Los Angeles Lakers roster that will most likely be headed elsewhere before or on the NBA trade deadline (March 15), forward Pau Gasol has been concerned about his future in L.A. ever since the beginning of the season. There is no question that Gasol wants to stay with the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant wants him to too, but the team seems to have other intentions as they are actively looking for a trade partner for the international superstar.
After Kobe Bryant called out the Lakers’ front office and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak for the constant trade rumors involving Pau Gasol, the team was forced to address the issue. Kupchak released a statement that basically said Gasol was still on the trading block as the Lakers look for ways to improve via trade. The statement didn’t really solve any problems and Gasol had yet to be contacted by Kupchak to help clear the air.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Mitch Kupchak has reached out to Pau Gasol to talk about the recent trade rumors involving the Lakers’ forward:
“I have an understanding of where things are,” Gasol said after the Lakers’ shootaround in Detroit on Tuesday, “where they stand and where he stands and where I stand. He [Kupchak] told me to just keep doing what you do, keep playing hard and playing on and from that point on, we’ll see.”
“It was kind of calming to have that feedback,” Gasol said. “Since before training camp, it was the first time I was approached by them.”
Despite Kupchak reaching out to Gasol and settling his nerves somewhat, the Lakers GM didn’t tell the star forward that he wouldn’t be traded. This leaves the door wide open for a potential blockbuster trade in the next week or so.
The Lakers have been targeting Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic all season long, and have been hoping to land the superstar center in a straight up or three-way deal. That seems highly unlikely with reports of Howard having no intentions of signing a contract extension. With that being said, if Pau Gasol does get dealt it will probably be for role players or potential starters rather than a superstar in return.