Pau Gasol Still Not Over Illness but Will Play Tuesday

Darius Soriano —  December 30, 2013

There is no doubt that Pau Gasol is not doing well physically. Eric Pincus of the LA Times noted today that in media availability after today’s practice Pau was not looking well and could hear him wheezing when he was transcribing his remarks. In that media availability it was clarified that Pau has a case of sinusitis as well as bronchitis and that he’s been on antibiotics prescribed by his doctor. So, again, Pau really is sick.

That doesn’t change the fact that missing games due to illness doesn’t exactly inspire confidence from those that rely on you to be on the court and producing. Both Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report and Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA wrote about this today, with both providing some scathing analysis of the Spaniard. A sampling:

From Ding:

But Gasol isn’t showing up now, and it’s inexcusable. The 76ers snapped a 13-game road losing streak against the Lakers, whose postgame locker room with a really tired Nick Young and newly injured Xavier Henry reeked of irrelevance more so than any previous time this season.

The deeper issue of whether the Lakers should tank or try this season is besides this point. They are absolutely committed to winning and trying to make the playoffs, and when Gasol isn’t, it’s a terrible affront to these young, hungry teammates who with him built that refreshing post-Dwight chemistry and cultivated the promise of a feel-good, underdog Lakers season.

And from McMenamin:

But here is the unwavering truth that makes the outcomes of the games almost irrelevant when considering Gasol’s lost contributions, no matter how strong or how meager they would have been: He could have played.

It was Gasol’s decision to sit out as his team extended its season-high losing streak to five with a 111-104 defeat to Philly. It’s not like he has been bedridden or completely unable to exert himself physically. According to a team source, Gasol still showed up to Lakers shootaround to lift weights Sunday, and when he told longtime trainer Gary Vitti he wanted more time to get over the infection and was not going to play against the Sixers, Vitti said to not even bother showing up to the game.

These are biting critiques of the Spaniard. And while I’ve been one of Pau’s biggest supporters during his time with the Lakers, I can’t say I disagree too much with what they’re saying. Pau is paid handsomely to perform on the court and him sitting out with illness doesn’t do much to dispel the notion that he could be doing more to help the team.

The flip-side of this coin, however, is that if Pau will not be anywhere near his best by playing through illness, should he be playing at all? During the Heat game — a game he tried to gut through while sick — he was clearly hampered and more than a step slow on both sides of the floor. He was not effective defensively or on the backboards and his inability to stay with Chris Bosh was one of the key factors in the Heat taking control of the game in the 2nd half.

I’ve gone on record saying that Pau should sit out until he’s healthy enough to play, but even in saying that I acknowledge that this isn’t as straight forward as anyone would like.

As McMenamin points out, Pau could have played. When that is the case, resentment can start to fester as the other guys bust their backsides to try and compete while a key player sits out with something that isn’t as easy to understand as a sprained joint or a broken bone. Of course, if a guy decides he can’t go, for whatever reason, it’s usually a decision that should be respected. Pau has been through countless battles and should know his body better than anyone. That should mean something, right?

In the end, what this signifies the most to me is the dwindling clout Pau seems to carry. Those championships he contributed to seem so long ago. His partner in crime and his biggest backer — Kobe Bryant — isn’t on the court to help boost him up or reinforce his importance. Pau, then, is somewhat alone as the last connection to the previous era of Lakers’ success. Rather than having the Kobe’s, Fisher’s, and Odom’s by his side he has minimum contract and low salaried guys like Henry, Young, and Meeks who are all working as hard as they can to help the team win games (and get their next contracts).

For what it’s worth, Mike D’Antoni seems to have Pau’s back in all this, saying “It’s very unfortunate a teammate would think that much less say it in the media. That’s not right. Pau was sick.” D’Antoni and Pau haven’t always seen eye to eye, but both need each other to push this team forward so it’s good to see this support.

Ultimately, however, whether he’s being called out or supported by his teammates or coaches isn’t what’s most important. That would be Pau playing and doing so as well as he can when he does get out on the floor. And that’s the rub, I guess. Because the only way for him to come out a winner in this is be the Pau that we all remember. He can’t do that missing games and he certainly can’t do it if he’s not at his best. So maybe Pau can’t win in this after all.

Darius Soriano

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49 responses to Pau Gasol Still Not Over Illness but Will Play Tuesday

  1. “And that’s the rub, I guess. Because the only way for him to come out a winner in this is be the Pau that we all remember. He can’t do that missing games and he certainly can’t do it if he’s not at his best. So maybe Pau can’t win in this after all.”

    I’ve been pretty hard on Pau over the years, but I have to say that I would rather have the guy sit out and get himself healthy than to play poorly at less than 100%. I feel bad for him because he pretty much can’t win for losing at this point.

  2. Sorry about his illness but for the money he is getting paid, he should at least be in the bench supporting his teammates not collecting a paycheck at home.

  3. Too many assumptions in those articles for my taste. The writers are assuming a lot of medical and clinical information they don’t necessarily have access to. Considering a report that Pau was seeing a specialist (not sure in what – pulm? ID?), there may be more than just a ‘common cold’ going on.

    Were this a physical injury easily identifiable on an MRI – say a mild wrist strain – I’m betting the reaction would be slightly different. Late diagnoses (or misdiagnoses) occur. I’ve seen athletes told to fight through their strep throat only to be later diagnosed with mono. Just because an athlete is well enough to lift weights doesn’t mean they have the exertional capacity to play in an NBA game.

    There’s too much information we don’t have access to.

  4. If I recall properly, being able to breathe is important.

    Xavier, may your abnormality only have you miss 5 games.

  5. Darius: Saw your tweet with regard to declaring everyone a guard. While I understand, I am not sure this would work : ) If they are listed as guards – they get injured. If they are listed as forwards or centers, they leave as free agents, get amnestied, are subject to trade rumors, or bounce back and forth between starting and DNP Coaches decision. Not a good choice either way.

  6. I don’t want to see him ‘fighting through it’ on the court, possibly being the cause of a loss . He will probably be a worst detriment to the team playing sick, than by not playing at all. Yes, breathing is very important in an NBA game.

    Get well Pau…

  7. Continuing the Mitch/Mike post-game meeting…

    Aside from possible roster moves, which a good and active GM always thinks about, the January 7th deadline to guarantee unguaranteed contracts are also in the cards. This is where coach and GM need to see eye to eye with the players the coach needs and the GM is willing to pay for moving forward.

    Kendall Marshall is said to have a 2-yr deal amounting to 1.5M estimated. This of course is just in the league minimum. However, if he plays beyond Jan. 7th his full 550k will be guaranteed for the remainder of the season. Next season continues to be unguaranteed or partially-guaranteed.

    Xavier Henry makes the league min of $916,099 and he just had an injury. There might be a choice to cut him if his injury was serious. But I think we keep him and reward him the full guarantee even if he doesn’t come back.

    Shawne Williams is also unguaranteed – but since he’s played alot you get the sense that he might be “safe” from being cut, although the increased participation of Ryan Kelly as of late might jeopardize his guarantee.

    Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson are safe from being cut. They are also healthy so they will be around.

  8. Lakers Year Ender
    by WWL

    Two months into the 6-month season, the Lakers sit solo at (13-18) 13th place in the Western Conference and have a 3-game lead over Sacramento (9-20) for 2nd-to-the-last in the Pacific. We are currently on a 5-game losing streak, more than 60% of our team has had an injury or two; this includes ALL of our point guards, including Kobe and Xavier who filled in.

    Last night’s game against Philly featured the 16th time our starting lineup looked differently. That just shows you that last season’s bug has apparently not left yet.

    Kobe successfully came back from torn achilles tendon injury in 8 months. That in by itself is an amazing feat considering that it usually requires 12 months at the very least to rehab and even then things have the propensity to go wrong. However, his lack of conditioning and increased weight might have attributed to him breaking his left knee 6 games later. 6 games later further, the Lakers are now into what we call “how do you like life without Kobe” and has gone 1-5. Kobe is not expected to be back until atleast 4 more weeks.

    Steve Nash has been trying to beat father time since last season. With very little success, the 2-time MVP is to this moment still battling nerve irritation injury with his leg. This goes all the way to his back and his spine. An injury thats so dreadful sounding, its even moreso in real life. So instead of asking for Nash to rush back into play, most Laker fans anxiously await his return, or his retirement altogether.

    The Other Steve, Steve Blake, was playing really well as of late before his hyperextended right elbow forced him to sit. 3 weeks into the injury he has 3 weeks to go. But Nash going out with injury has made Blake a very good replacement on his behalf posting career-high in assists and overall controlling the pace of the game. It might be noteworthy that even though SB is taller than most PGs, that he simply cannot guard other SGs. Thanks to early experiments, Steve Blake has shown how his height and weight disadvantage over opposing SGs can lead to career highs from the other team. Get Well soon Steve #2.

    Pau Gasol is the league’s 7th-highest-paid player at 19.2M. His contract expires at the end of this season that would sum up the 3-yr 57M extension he got right after we won our 1st of 2 championships in the current decade. He too has been in-and-out of the lineup with a strange respiratory illness. It wasn’t particularly named, but it was enough for him to be sent home and not participate in 3 games already this season. He intends to play tomorrow against the Bucks at home and will be reevaluated ever so often.

    The Lakers best player this season has been Nick Young. Swaggy P as he calls himself along with millions of us who’ve grown to love him both as a player and as a personality, has been consistently putting up very good numbers. If the league doesn’t find his personality too eccentric, he is on pace to win the 6th man of the year award come May. For all the contract issues the Lakers face, Swaggy P controls his destiny next season. He has a player contract for the minimum with the Lakers which he can opt-in to (we hope) or opt out of and seek greener pastures with another team. He’s 29 next June so its understandable if he sought his last-biggest-contract before the age of 30. We love you Nick, either way.

    Chris Kaman signed with the Lakers at a discount. He saw a good opportunity to contribute here and hopefully earn his next contract with the team or elsewhere. But what has happened has been the reverse and Chris Caveman has been unhappy about his role lately. With coach MDA as the person who controls the roster and playing time, much has been said about his ordeal this season. He is, however, enough of a trade chip to use. If Gasol is eventually moved, he also becomes the defacto starter at Center. So I guess Chris will have to wait and see further.

    Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson … early in the year, these four were playing as the best bench in the league. With the Lakers starters sorting out its kinks, these 5 were very happy to obliterate the opposing benches with wild, chaotic play that works to perfection under MDA. However, once inserted into the starting lineup 1×1, their production dwindles to their talent levels. They are the replacement team, but once matched against the league’s top dawgs, they showed why they are better off as the bench mob.

    Each of the 5 names mentioned in the last paragraph do not have a contract beyond this year. But granting their situations, they played their best ball all as member of the Lakers. It will be a challenge to bring all of them back, esp at the price they signed for this year, but it would be great if we could make a starting unit with Kobe + cap space + something and retain all 5 of them. Still, realism dictates it won’t be so. But we sure hope so.

    Shawne Williams, the guy thats most-maligned in Laker rotation is on an unguaranteed contract with us. However, he is the only one that would constitute as a stretch-4 and thus has been seeing alot of burn lately to the disappointment of many. Still, I see him as a can’t-lose player to have, if only that he takes time away from other “better” Laker bigs.

    Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre are Laker 2nd rounders that have been seeing time as of late due to the myriad of injuries we’ve sustained. We fans always try to look at them as the saving graces for a franchise that has been so unfortunate with injuries the last couple of seasons. But lets not forget why 29 other teams passed up on them multiple times during the draft. In Sacre’s case, he was the difference between a legitimate 2nd round pick and a D-league contract. Still, love for these to to atleast develop into good rotation backups for their price and low expectations. We always love to see guys working hard.

    So there we go. It hasn’t been pretty, but I love my Lakers nonetheless. I am not a front-office apologist or PR man but I sure do like what we have done so far – considering the circumstances. I mean, we could be New York or Brooklyn.

    Happy New Year FB&G and everyone!a

  9. This story about Gasol and his respiratory infection is silly. It has nothing to do with the Lakers losing or winning. He timeshares a position with 3 other players and is totally useless where the Lakers are weakest – on the perimeter. Gasol played through multiple injuries last season to the point where he was unable to play for his beloved Spanish team during the summer. Sitting on the bench and sharing his germs with the other players sounds like a really bad idea to me. The Lakers are just not a very good team this season, we knew that going in and can enjoy the moments when they do play well. There are no “bad guys” on the team who are dragging otherwise all-stars down. If Nick Young is really tired maybe he should have his minutes cut and not risk getting injured. Normally I enjoy Ding’s take on the Lakers; not so much this time.

  10. Last year MDA sat Pau in a 4th quarter and when questioned by a reporter as to why he sat Pau he replied “I was trying to win the game” and got crucified for that comment in some circles – yet a year later the irony is that to sit Pau to give the team a chance to win is now a game by game consideration.

  11. If Pau had not become a player he wanted to be a doctor and study that. Guessing he knows more about health then most of us.

    Issue is not Pay but the team that Mitch and Jim put out there. These are mostly D leaguers and bench players forced to play aganust real NBA talent.

    Let’s not blame Pau but point the finger at the real problem. A front office that has no idea what they are doing and a coach who knows only one way to play without the talent to win. .

  12. Jerke,
    The team hasn’t won a game that Pau has missed this year. So I’m not sure your point holds water. This team needs all its players healthy to even be close to a bottom seed in the playoffs. Pau sitting out for any reason isn’t likely to help the Lakers win any games.

  13. darius: thanks for the perspective on pau gasol. i find this site to not only be current and informational and based on many of the comments, highly entertaining as well. probably not the same thing, but wasn’t it magic johnson who was first diagnosed with a cold about twenty two years ago? with today’s science and technology, and this being the flu season, couldn’t possibly more than a viral infection of some sort, could it?

    raise your hand if the level of hypochondriac is heightened during an illness.

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/info/v1t01/what-causes-a-viral-infection?Msid=|s97tx50X0_dc|&gclid=CI_Ss-vL2bsCFaE1Qgodz3MA_Q&xid=g_dlp-v1t01

    get well pau gasol. get back jojo, back to where you belong, loretta

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzRRAgAjGTo

    Go lakers

  14. Darius – I wasn’t making any point other than pointing out the irony in the circumstance this year vs last. Last year MDA sat Pau in a 4th q and got crapped on for it – but there have been several games this year where Pau has sat major mins of the 4th/not closed games because his presence on the court would lead to a distinct disadvantage for the Lakers either thru his inability to protect the rim/guard a quicker man or health issues that limit his effectiveness and this has been an ongoing issue almost this entire season other than a stretch or two of a couple games – and no one is questioning it after seeing his play. Some of it may be due to illness or general decline in physical ability or whatever. I was only remarking on this difference – not ragging on Pau or pumping MDA.

    Besides which, to say they haven’t won a game where Pau hasn’t played is a rather specious argument to make – you could make the same claim about Young, Hill, Meeks, etc… and could arguably make a case for any of them being much greater contributors to the wins than Pau this season.

  15. Watching the Suns shows what good talent evaluation and good coaching can do. And they have Lakers 1st round picks the next two years.

  16. @Ken – it took them 3 years and a lot of luck. Sarver made a lot of mistakes and ruined championship squads be refusing to pay joe johnson at the time/trading for shaq/hiring terry porter etc… They finally just bit the bullet and accomodated Nash’s request to go to a winner (or what was supposed to be a decent chance anyways) and resigned themselves to writing off last year. This year, they’re over performing way above what the expectations were – just won’t know if they’re for real until they hit the playoffs. That being said – they got a lot of youth and 4 picks in this deep draft this year – there’s talk about them making a trade or two and moving into “win now” mode.
    Little early to necessarily say that Hornecek is a good coach (hard to tell if this team is over achieving or is really that good) but his head coaching career is off to a decent start.

  17. Don’t the lakers still have their 2014 1st rounder? If it’s going to Phoenix is it at least a lottery protected pick?

  18. They had 2 and one went to Suns in 14 and one in 15 for Nash.

  19. The Lakers have their 2014 #1 pick. The 2015 #1 pick is owed to PHX–but is Top 5-protected.

  20. Didn’t they get a 2nd pick in a prior move and traded it to Suns.

  21. @ Ken
    We have our pick next year or why do you think that there is a cry for tanking?

  22. Here is an article by Larry Coon. If you scroll down he lists all the picks they have from 2013-2019, and what the permutations are:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/35622/assessing-the-lakers-second-round-and-future-picks

  23. Larry Coon from Jan 2013:

    “*2013: Whatever first round pick the Lakers end up with will go to Phoenix. It will have the lesser of its own and Dallas’ second round picks, and will have Memphis’ second round pick if it falls 56-60.

    *2014: The Lakers will have their own first round pick, but will not have a second round pick.

    *2015: The Lakers will have their own first round pick if it is in the top five, otherwise it will go to Phoenix. The Lakers will keep their second round pick if it’s 31-40, otherwise it goes to Orlando.

    *2016: The Lakers will have their own first round pick if they sent their 2015 pick to Phoenix or the pick is 1-5, otherwise it goes to Phoenix. They have their own second round pick. “

  24. Darius: Kobe, Pau and…. farmar are links to the championship years.

    Though given that farmar played a different style of attack (than pau) and more with backups, you can figure that he isn’t likely to be Pau’s partner in crime. Though he should be familiar with pau’s game.

    Farmar has spent more time with his current team than all but ~40 other players active today.
    http://i.imgur.com/OKZQVLE.png

  25. Thanks. I knew they had one pick but for some reason thought they had another. Seems it had something to do with Fisher but my memory is as good as the Laker defense.

  26. One site thats very detailed and helpful is Realgm.

    http://basketball.realgm.com/nba/draft/future_drafts/detailed
    2014 1st – Lakers
    2014 2nd – Bucks
    2015 1st – Lakers top 5 :: Suns 6-30
    2015 2nd – Magic
    2016 1st – Lakers top 3 :: Suns 4-30 * if the Lakers convey the pick in 2015, they keep it.
    2016 2nd – Lakers
    2017 1st – Lakers top 5 :: Magic 6-30
    2017 2nd – Lakers
    2018 1st – Lakers top 5 :: Magic 6-30 * if the Lakers convey the pick in 2017, they keep it.
    2018 2nd – Lakers
    2019 1st – Magic unprotected * if the Lakers convey the pick in 2017 or 2018, they keep it.
    2019 2nd – Lakers

  27. In case the Lakers go lottery-bound, which is looking likely at the moment (13th West) the Lakers keep the 2014 1st. Right now its 10th overall, unless it wins top 3.

    FAQ
    Q. Will the Lakers be able to trade this?
    A1. Only during the 2014 draft.
    A2. If the Lakers acquire another 2014 1st rounder or 2015 1st rounder from ANY team including their own pick in 2015 with all conditions extinguished via PHX.

    There are restrictions, but trading or keeping the pick is possible.

  28. I guess only very few care about the Lakers tax situation.

    On a transition year like this one, its best that we get under the tax line and stop being a repeat-offender tax team. If you are a team that is a non-taxpayer for the 1st 4 seasons under the new CBA, your status will be reset.

    2012/13 – over by 30M
    2013/14 – over by 7M
    2014/15 – since we have projected cap space, we can only exceed it by 4M. not over.
    2015/16 – if we go over the tax line this year via trades and signings, we will be assessed the repeat offender since we are offenders in 2012 and 2013. If we get under in 2013, then we can be a taxpaying team in 2015. Not getting under in 2013 means we need to be a non-tax team in 2015, that which limits our ability to contend by then.

  29. Pau hasn’t been done any favors by the Lakers or front office, he is consistently the scape goat even after 3 straight finals appearances and two titles something the lakers did easier than the heatles even after sucker punching the league teaming up. Pau has every right to treat the organization how he sees fit including D’antoni and doesn’t owe a single guy in that locker room anything. Don’t worry he’s already paid the lakers paid with his jersey sales and production 4 years ago. Ding and Mcmenamin are just two journalist trying to get attention who knows, maybe jim buss slipped em a grand to try to call out Pau, the most liked professional in the world. Bottom line, HE IS SICK, AND if he wasn’t, he shouldn’t play because he probably knows the lakers are actively trying to trade him…..and that gets old.

  30. Pau is a global icon, an ambassador, an athlete, a human being, if you’re going to criticize his decision to take care of himself and not support his teammates and help the team win, then you have to equally be criticial of his treatment from the press and front office. It’s as simple as that. This team is going NOWHERE, Pau should get right and not look back. Kevin Ding and Dave Mcmmennaminnninin, need to be checked and understand that they are not world icons, they are not world class men and athletes, they need to understand that the exertion that goes into preparing and going through ONE game is more then most of us and certainly Kevin and Dave CAN’T handle. Let alone a season, let alone an 82 game season, let alone finals runs and off season grueling tournaments with your country. What am I talking about Dave and Kevin have to go to work everrrrryyyyydayyyyy, wahhhhhh, wahhhh, they’re jobs are sooooo difficult, they must have to employ trainers and health specialists to the orange county register to attend to Kevin and they probably called Judy Sato in to help out Dave with his sore fingers from typing up a storm about Pau. Kevin Ding and Dave Mcmenanimininm couldn’t handle a game at the local ymca with a cold, let alone a respiratory infection. It’s sad how their is so much of a lack of respect for players like Pau, we all have to have a little more perspective. Oh they get paid a lot? Really? Is it is a lot because you will never make that much? Because you are not talented enough to garner that much money? The athlete gets paid too much? How much does the athlete generate in revenue for your team? how many people does he put in the seats? how many people are employed because people are in the seats? Here is a better question, can you quantify how many people Pau has kept a lakers fan? how many young children he has helped? how much money he has donated? I’ll wait for those stats. Get well Pau! ~mucho respeto

  31. This should be a season of hope, but it’s hard to be hopeful in Lakerland. Pau will be back, but where will it lead him in D’Antoni’s system? D’Antoni’s shown that he is a great coach within his system, but can he do his best when (if) Nash, Kobe, Blake, Pau, and Kamen lead the Lakers towards a playoff berth at the very end of this season? Will Kobe be more than a role player this season, or ever? If so, what kind of team might the Lakers build around him next year? Is Pau included in the plan? Is D’Antoni the right coach for a Kobecentric team this year or any year? How does management transition beyond Kobe, and when does that transition begin? Does management really have a plan? Lots of pieces, but are they the right pieces to solve the Lakerland puzzle?

    In this season of hope, I wonder what Pau is thinking . . .

  32. http://t.co/HXUNPTYeAw

    Apparently the Bynum/Gasol rumor has become a discussion.

  33. In this season of hope, I wonder what Pau is thinking . . .

    I’m sick (literally) and tired of this sh*t and can’t wait to get the hell out of here.

  34. WWL, I was just about to post that ESPN report but noticed you beat me to it. Basically some preliminary discussions prior to the deadline, nothing you serious yet. It’s pretty shocking to hear exactly how far down Pau has fallen in the minds of the Lakers’ brass, now that we are simply searching for a salary dump (non-guaranteed contract) + pick(s) for him. It is what it is though, given his recent dissatisfaction and likely reluctance to re-sign with us next summer.

  35. I’m sick (literally) and tired of this sh*t and can’t wait to get the hell out of here.
    ___
    LOL Tra –
    though you may not have meant it in a funny way, it made me laugh all the same.
    Hope Pau doesn´t lose his grip on things however, & that he bounces back to help lead the squad by playing his heart out, regardless of the outcome at the end of the season.
    Wishful thinking on my part? Heck, that´s nearly all I´ve (we´ve) got this year!
    Let´s take down the Bucks tonight & end the year on `the good foot´, as James Brown used to yodel ; p

  36. Face it. The Lakers are tanking. If the Knicks, with ostensibly a core of fairly young, talented players and who did a little damage last season can do it, why can’t we? (On paper, there is no way the Knicks are a 3 win team at this point) This is the WWF at its finest. Hope this Wiggins kid is all he’s made out to be or some team s gonna be stuck with another Kwame. Welcome to the new NBA.

  37. Simonoid

    It’s amazing how in 2 years this went from the place to be in the NBA for winning and money to the dumping ground and place guys want to get the H— out of town.

    Dwight, Pau who is next?

    Either it’s the new money ball rules, Kobe, Mike NoD or the new Jimmy ownership. Either way something has to change as the players and us true fans are losing patience and you can’t get top dollar for seats with a bottom quality product.

    Back to that Mercedes prices post for a Yugo.

  38. Draft Picks: There are only 4 teams with zero picks incoming due to trades. The Lakers are one of them. When the explanation of your draft pick situation goes out to 2019, I think it is safe to say you have mortgaged some of your future. It is called a “lottery” for a reason. Everyone is buying tickets at 7-11, and we are simply buying less tickets now. If you are dependent on the lottery for your income, then you are probably going to have issues. Fortunately for the Lakers they have TW, but that does not help us get anywhere near the title.
    Pau: Perhaps we can get a pick for Pau, but it better not come at the cost of incoming garbage. Bynum is fine, cause he can be released, after a brief stint on the bench talking to Steve Nash about Hair doos.

  39. The league made a huge mistake with the way the luxury tax was implemented and the way the current CBA is structured. The current model is set up so that when a team is not contending, they are best served by tanking 3-4 years in a row and hope they end up with good picks. It is a silly model that only ensures cyclical mediocrity.

    This league cannot sustain itself without championship contending teams in major markets or without popular teams being contenders (the Nicks being the sole exception). Imagine a future where the top 4 teams in the league, year after year, are Oklahoma, Memphis, New Orleans and Portland. TV revenues would plummet. The NBA is not like the NFL or MLB. It is a team sport that relies heavily on a few superstars and extremely popular teams to carry the rest of the less popular markets.

    I really hope that drafting model someone posted here recently, where the top pics are rotated between teams every 4-5 years really takes hold. I think that unless that happens, this league will fail to hold on to its popularity and, while it will not go away, it will not grow.

  40. All for the pau-bynum idea. Lakers brass knows nothing is happening this year and they rarely miss with top 10 picks. I hope they make the swap, save and pick a stud this draft. Just wish West was here so we’d know the pick would be a sure thing.

  41. I’m all for Pau getting out of a rebuild/tank and playing meaningful basketball in the East. This would save the Lakers money as they would just cut Drew. Just hope that there is a pick involved somewhere…

  42. Tanking + CBA: I think too much is being blamed on the CBA. The current rules still allow a big market or rich team to spend more, if they are wiling to pay taxes. That is an advantage for big market/rich teams. Now, if they choose not to pay taxes, or have configured their roster to not be able to, that is not the CBA’s problem. The issue with tanking for draft picks has always existed. It is no different now, then it ever was. We just were unaware of it, as we were always at the top of the league. When you enter the depths of the basement you discover all sorts of stuff, that you did not realize existed when you were in the penthouse.

  43. I would cut S. Williams, nothing against the guy, just don’t thing he brings much to the table.
    If they have to trade Pau, I would hope they get some kind of pick in the deal. I respect Pau to the fullest, but at this point choices for the future must be made.

    Just a reminder, 2 firsts and 2 seconds for old Steve Nash. Don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Whoever pulled the switch on that one should be out of a job. For real.

    Also, with the millions of points the Lakers give up in the paint, why the hate for Chris Kaman? He’s a large presence, plays with both hands, decent touch up to 15 feet..I really don’t get it. That and ALL THE STUPID THREE POINT ATTEMPTS!! Nothing against D’Antoni but he was the wrong choice for this squad.

    I like Wiggins, but that kid Randle at Kentucky is a beast.

  44. justintheNickoftime December 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Rebuilding has to start at some point and now is the best possible time to begin. Trade Gasol for picks and seviceable player or players whose contracts end. Lose games and start fresh next year with the draft and go forward. Its always hard to say goodbye to what use to be, but you have to let go in order to begin the next phase. LA is and always will be a preferable destination for stars, us fans just have to be patient considering that the bonafide stars in the league are under contract and will not be available in 2014. Time to get the wheels in motion, stop with all the what this or that player did in the past, realize what lies ahead and make decision accordingly.

  45. As has been pointed out, Pau is hard to move. Nobody is going to give you a lottery pick for him, and it is hard to match salaries without taking on damaging contracts, since he makes so much money.

    As to Bynum, the best places for him would be with the Clippers or as a “secret weapon” in Miami to help them with Roy Hibbert (Although Miami already is stashing Oden precisely for that purpose. Of course, having both Bynum and Oden might mean that one of them might actually be healthy come playoff time).

  46. Good grief…if we are gonna trade Pau for Bynum can’t we at least get some first round picks in 2018 or something…Bynum is useless at this point especially with MDA Center Hater running the team.

  47. This is how I see it…
    First, thank you to Darius to being a intelligent voice on ESPN.com. His views have the most weight.
    Next, make the deal. Gasol is not coming back; he will be happier away from MDA. D’Antoni will be happier, because he has one less obstacle to worry about. Buss will be happier for tax reasons and a chance to rebuild the Lakers. It would be a giant blank you to us, but to his credit, he’s never voiced this publicly.
    The only way the Lakers are going to get better quickly is to get NBA players in FA. There ain’t a franchise changing player in this draft, at least not at first view. Besides, you do think the Lakers will get a top three pick? I don’t; the league hasn’t finished giving the Lakers gifts.
    This shows that the Lakers have bought in on MDA. That means we have get used to this style where we hope the Lakers outscore everybody, because they won’t stop anybody. And MDA will try to make us like it; he’ll be hurt if we don’t.
    Basketball is rooted in the here and now, more than any other sport. A lot of people can’t relate to the past and wonder why anyone does. It is also becoming more divorced from playing the game and enjoying it, and being wedded to watching the game and analyzing it. Let me leave this alone for now, because there’s a lot to say.
    One ray of hope: the Lakers will be back. When they return, it’s gonna be delicious watching run through this league. Again.

  48. Bynum is useless at this point especially with MDA Center Hater running the team.

    Bynum would almost certainly be waived, and the Lakers would be doing it for luxury tax/tanking reasons, not because they actually want Bynum.

  49. obviously the man is truly sick. in that case, money doesn’t enter into it. i was down on him in the Heat game, but hearing him speak yesterday confirmed that he is truly ill and not malingering. there’s no reason to be on Pau’s case.