Pau Gasol unsure of his Lakers future
"There's talks and rumors every day. Today I was reading it was Minnesota is really interested in trying to put a good package together," he said. "[Other teams are] calling, and it seems like things are just waiting for the right offer to come along, for [the Lakers] to pull the trigger."
Certainly Gasol has evidence of the team's willingness to move him. He was a major component of the controversial three-team trade in early December between the Lakers, New Orleans, and Houston that would have sent Gasol to the Rockets and Chris Paul to the Lakers.
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Ultimately, the NBA, in its capacity as stewards of the league-owned Hornets, stepped in and vetoed the trade. Paul, an All-Star point guard, was soon dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
In the aftermath of the failed trade, Gasol expressed happiness in remaining a Laker, a stance he reiterated Thursday afternoon.
"It's out of my hands. It is what it is. I'd like to be here," he said. "I'd like to make this team better and get back to a championship level, but it's not up to me."
In 29 games this season, Gasol is averaging 16.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.3 blocks, but saw his streak of three straight All-Star berths snapped last week when he was left off the list of Western Conference reserves.
The Lakers have been linked to multiple teams and players in published reports, adding a level of uncertainty as the team attempts to regain the championship form from in 2009 and 2010.
Coach Mike Brown deferred questions about personnel moves to general manager Mitch Kupchak, but believes the process isn't unique to Los Angeles.
"I think it happens every year. Even when I was in Cleveland and our team was set, come trade deadline it's the talk of each team," he said.
Asked when he thinks there will be a resolution to the trade rumors, Gasol said: "I'm not sure. I can't tell. I wish I knew, so it would give me some peace, or more peace, but I don't know."
Brown said he can't concern himself with the choices that management makes.
"But as a coach, I think you're cheating your team if you're worried about who we can go get and who we can move. I'm going to put my energy into trying to make this team better 'X' and 'O' wise, and emotionally and all that stuff because I like the team I have," Brown said.
Gasol admits it's difficult to put the rumors completely out of his mind but, like Brown, tries not to focus on them.
"Every day I tell myself, try to let it go. Don't think about it. Have fun, be the player you are out there," he said. "That's all that you can do."
Brian Kamenetzky is a co-author of the Land O' Lakers blog.