Feb 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Paul Gasol (16) is guarded by Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Los Angeles 118-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Gasol, Next Year?

Laker fans seem relatively sure that Pau Gasol will be gone by the end of this year.  The Lakers have not talked about an extension, which starts earlier in the season for the players that are the most coveted.

Pau Gasol is no longer among the most coveted.

Kobe Bryant is, despite the injury, and already has a contract extension.

March 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) shoots against the defense of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This all started with the signing of Mike D’Antoni.  Pau Gasol tried to adjust to Mike D’Antoni’s offensive scheme, developing three-point range, getting out of the low-post area, and breaking out of everything that made him a successful player.  Even with Dwight Howard on the team, the Lakers were losing games they should have won.  When Kobe Bryant took over the offense late in the season and played well over 44 minutes per game, Gasol was getting more touches in the low block, and the team overall was more successful.  They managed to make the playoffs at the 7th seed.

Laker management chose Mike D’Antoni has his progressive style of coaching offense.  It works tremendously well for the Miami Heat, but at least Miami plays defense.  Other great teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and L.A. Clippers.  They are all near a .700 record for the regular season.  They do it playing a style more related to how Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol won championships.

Mike D’Antoni went away from the best strength of the Laker team, the one skill they had over the rest of the league, the post up game.

Pau Gasol fought off injuries early in the season.  He doesn’t look like he has any kind of lift left.  Still, his skill-set is so great, he’s been averaging 20 points and over 9 rebounds per game, shooting over 50% for the month of March. It would be nice to see consistent touch left on his shot as well, but now he’s getting touches in isolation in the paint while blending in with the uptempo offense.  His post game still has great value in the league. One can only imagine what he could do on guard-oriented teams such as the Miami Heat.  No doubt he would succeed, and find ways for the rest of his teammates to succeed as well.

Kobe Bryant wants to fight for a championship in 2014.  Signing Pau Gasol to a large contract for one, or even two years, could be harmful to free agency hope.  The upside is, it would give Kobe Bryant a chance to ride into the sunset with his partner in crime.  But, deep down, Kobe Bryant wants to win the championship, regardless of who his teammates are.  Pau Gasol may not be in the picture.  The Laker fans recognize this.  Maybe Kobe Bryant does too.

There’s no doubt that Laker management wants to win a championship again.  They have a vision for the Laker team.  The question is, whether Pau Gasol will be an integral part of that vision.  Under Mike D’Antoni, that isn’t the case.  All that matters is, what Jim and Jeanie think.

There’s no contract extension on the table.

It seems they have made up their mind.



Tags: Bryant Gasol Kobe Offense Pau

  • Marty Susman

    I don’t care what Kobe wants, he got $48,000,000 he didn’t seem to care if that hobbles the Lakers form signing a few more greta players, no he is concerned with what he wants AFTER HE GETS HIS MONEY…. Sorry Kobe, you want to be in charge, you wan to play with another super star, ok request a trade to a team with a BUNCH of draft picks or ask your buddy Phil to gather a bunch of picks & then you can play their, other wise, let the people in the front office do what they do…

    • J Taylor

      TIred argument….
      How much would Kobe have “cost” if he were a free agent and the Lakers had to outbid for his services? And, we all know that Kobe WILL BE the offense for the next 2 years.

      Your entire argument is based on the hypothetical that there would be players available IF kobe took $5-6M less. – Surely you wouldn’t suggest Kobe make less than $18M per season?

      The team has enough to sign another Max contract player. Name one that will come to LA in the offseason???? – None.
      So it now finds itself with $25M to spend in free agency.

      Maybe Mitch, Kobe, and Kobe’s Agent are smarter than you think…

      • hookedonnews

        Kobe had already said he was going to retire a Laker. There was no reason to give him that kind of money, and no reason for him to accept it if another ring is his priority.

        • Chrmngblly

          He is being paid to endure all this losing, hook, and still stick around and be the face of the franchise. Otherwise, who do they have? Lots of stars bolt and finish their careers with other clubs that have a better chance of winning. I should just follow you around and correct all the stuff you say…:-)

          • hookedonnews

            As I said, he was going to stick around anyway. If he had been talking about becoming a free agent or something it would have been more understandable. I agree that he’s the face of the franchise. I’d just like a less expensive face.

            I think your talents would be better spent correcting what some of these other folks write.

          • Chrmngblly

            I can only spread myself so thin, hook. :-)

  • Daryl Peek

    There are so many contradictions in this article concerning Gasol and system fit?

    Gasol never had to move out of the post. There was conflict with Howard last season but MDA was more than flexible and Gasol has had the post to himself all of this season. Amare Stoudemire got plenty of low post touches playing in the D’Antoni system and why can’t Pau be more active in the PNR? A much older Tim Duncan does. Where’s Pau’s willingness to be flexible? Pau chose not to man the post many times early in the season and still allows defenders to push him off the low block.

    “Other great teams such as… They do it playing a style more related to how Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol won championships.” ? OKC is the only team of that group that plays close to the way Kobe and Pau did. All the rest run a hybrid D’Antoni system. Even OKC does when they put Durrant at the 4.

    “One can only imagine what he could do on guard-oriented teams such as the Miami Heat.” ? Miami is not a guard oriented team. They are a wing dominated team and run a hybrid D’Antoni system with LeBron as the point forward. Bosh is a stretch 4/5. If we want to know what Gasol could do on a guard oriented team look no further than this Lakers team. MDA’s coaching style is guard oriented and thrives when a guard is managing the team.

    Defense is an issue with D’antoni coached teams and that’s a huge problem. Roster talent is a part of the issue also as Gasol has never been a stout defender and his teammates lack the tenure together to have the trust in team defensive rotations. I can see Pau coming back next season with a new coach in the mix. A defensive minded center is needed next to Gasol regardless of who the coach is. Pau must understand the triple post triangle system is not available to him less Phil installs it in NY and he finds his way over there. Other than that he will be looking at MDA hybrid systems most everywhere else he goes.

    • Mike Garcia

      1. OKC adjusts without Perkins in the lineup. Ibaka is the one who makes that work.
      2. Miami is guard oriented. Think of it in terms of skills. LeBron? Sure, bringing guard skills at a forward position. Wade. Ray Allen and Battier’s perimeter shooting.
      3. Considering Memphis’s system in regards to an emphasis on post play, Pau could end up there with a style he’s more familiar with. He just wouldn’t start.

      • Daryl Peek

        OKC does adjust without Perk but even with him they often go with Durrant at the 4. Ibaka does make that work and it is his ability to shoot outside jumpers offensively that makes it work with Perk on the court. Serge has even added the three point shot (37%) to his repertoire.

        I can go with the skills theme in Miami but Spoelstra is on record saying he runs a hybrid D’Antoni system. Miami is at their best when they are playing an open court style of basketball feeding off pressure defense. Pau does not fit that.

        Agreed, Memphis could be a destination. It would be interesting to see how that would work as Zack would likely no longer be on roster and as you said, Pau likely wouldn’t start with Mark just as the Spanish National team often staggers their minutes on the court together.

        Bottom line, Pau’s preferred slow down style of play is a dyeing theme in basketball. There are more MDA uptempo teams out there and it’s on him to adjust more so as a player.

        • Chrmngblly

          It is Pau himself that has slowed down as much as anything. He used to run the court like a gazelle.

          • Daryl Peek

            Pau was graceful in Memphis. He’s somewhat jaded now as he got spoiled in the triangle playing next two very good low post rim protecting defenders in Bynum and LO. MDA pointed this out when he spoke on Gasol liking Hill gobbling up all of the boards and doing the defensive dirty work. Of course MDA when pressed or questioned about Gasol, and or other things going on with the team, reply’s in his classic foot in mouth dogmatic manner. MDA is much like Gregg Popovich in that he’s not cut out for sugar coating things when dealing with the media. The difference is Pop has earned his platform of indifference via sustained winning.

            Gasol just needs to put more effort into adapting his game to fit the coaches scheme. That does not mean he has to totally abandon what he’s good at. As Shaq said, “We (Kobe and Shaq) didn’t always run the triangle sets. Sometimes I put my stuff in it, sometimes Kobe put his in. We often did our own thing outside of the triangle and just made it work”

          • Chrmngblly

            I guess it falls into the “pet peeve” sort of navel lint category, but I hate that people constantly refer to small-ball as an MDA system when it actually is just a logical, mathematical response to having the 3-point line and originated in the ABA.

    • Chrmngblly

      Denver might be a fit. Aren’t they reviving the triangle there?

      • Daryl Peek

        Not at all. B. Shaw is playing more MDA b-ball in Denver.

        • Chrmngblly

          My bad. Someone said they were bringing it back and, blog-parrot that I am, I repeated it. I don’t watch Denver. Well, I guess you can see that.

  • hookedonnews

    I wouldn’t assume that Gasol won’t be back in LA if he’s willing to be reasonable about salary. I think they’ll offer him a deal (to placate Kobe if for no other reason), but they don’t want to spend a lot of money. He’s still a very good player, but he’s not a great defender and his health is going to be a question going forward. I would offer him a one year deal with an option for a second year. The team has to look to the future because they don’t have the cap space to put together a championship team for next season. It’s going to take time, and ultimately you want to go younger.

    The Spurs, Thunder, Rockets & Clippers don’t play a half-court type offense like that favored by Gasol & Kobe. They all are closer to the D’Antoni style offense. Don’t know who you’re watching.

    There’s no reason Gasol can’t play for D’Antoni. Yes, he was a square peg in a round hole trying to play PF, but he didn’t want to sub for Howard off the bench and play his natural position. He’s proven this year (once he decided to stop whining and start being more aggressive) that he can play in the D’Antoni system. Remains to be seen whether either or both of them will be back next season. I think there’s a chance they both will, but I wouldn’t bet on it.