Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Pau Gasol, GM discuss rumors
By Ramona Shelburne
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- It may not have been what Pau Gasol was hoping to hear. And it certainly wasn't the kind of blanket -- trade him now or don't trade him at all -- answer that Kobe Bryant had asked for. But after months of silence, worry and uncertainty, Gasol and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak did indeed speak to clear the air about the Spaniard's future with the team.
Shortly after Bryant's very public demand for Lakers management to provide some clarity for the team, and specifically for Gasol, about its intentions at the trade deadline, Kupchak called Gasol and spoke to him at length about the situation.
"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."
While Kupchak did not tell Gasol that he wouldn't be traded, the conversation seemed to go a long way in settling Gasol's nerves because he hadn't been given much if any feedback about his status since he was involved in the failed Chris Paul trade in early December.
"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."
Gasol admitted he was disappointed that the conversation didn't happen earlier. As a four-time All-Star and a key figure in the team's back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010, he figured he deserved that.
Gasol does seem to understand why he hasn't been told much, however.
"It's hard because when an organization is going to pull the trigger [on a trade], I guess the less involvement and the less contact, the easier it is," he said. "That was the point if you watched that movie 'Moneyball,' where Brad Pitt doesn't want to be involved with players. I don't know if that's the case or not, but you could see that kind of factor."
Gasol said he ended the conversation with one request of Kupchak.
"I told him, 'When there's something real on the table, just let me know,' " he said.
And did he get a sense that would happen?
"Ummm, there's always potential," he said, "because things can turn around or they're not willing to give up a certain player that they were before. You have to understand that."
Again, maybe not the answer he was hoping for, but in this case, some clarity was better than the uncertainty and silence he's had to live with for the past few months.
"I don't know what, right now, is the state of moves and intentions and stuff like that," he said. "But March 15 is closer. I know it's coming. It's only, what, nine days? So no matter what in nine days, we'll have an answer. That's the good thing. Hopefully after that we can put everything behind us."