What can fans honestly expect from 32-year old Pau Gasol next season? Should the Los Angeles Lakers trade or amnesty him?
Gasol did average a career low 13.7 points per game on 46 percent shooting, but I blame his diminished productivity on the dysfunctional offense the Lakers were forced to run this year. He was routinely out of position and placed on the perimeter during most of the offensive sets. He does have the ability to hit perimeter shots, but he is more effective in the paint and around the free-throw line.
Gasol’s tenure with the Lakers also depends on what Dwight Howard decides. The Lakers organization’s currently under hostage until Howard decides his fate. I would like to see the 7-footer back, regardless of what Howard decides to do.
Mike D’Antoni finally figured how to play both centers at the same time and with them both on the floor — they represent a size advantage over most teams in the NBA.
Gasol is a gifted passer with an astounding basketball IQ. His finesse game compliments any player on the floor especially in the post, where he is a great high-low weapon in the key. Gasol wants to be a Laker and expects to be 100 percent next season. Kobe Bryant also wants to have him back and has always advocated for Gasol to remain on the roster.
Pau’s $19.2 million is a big number on the Lakers’ books next season and his future with the team is hard to predict, especially after battling injuries all year. Gasol recently had knee surgery and is currently recovering from the procedure. The L.A. Times reported that he is off his crutches.
In Gasol’s first full season with the team, after he was traded from the Memphis Grizzles, the Lakers won the NBA Championship. Then they won it again the very next year. If Gasol has the right coaching staff and support, he can still be very effective.