The Lakers’ coaching staff was faced with a difficult situation having to depend on Clark in the wake of Gasol’s injury and learning Jordan Hill would have to undergo season-ending surgery on his hip. Although Clark was a relatively unknown player and thought to be nothing more than a throw-in from the Orlando Magic in the Dwight Howard trade, the 25-year-old has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers stepping up when called upon.
With Clark playing well and turning a lot of heads recently as a result, the Lakers’ coaching staff has been considering starting the young forward over the veteran Gasol. The potential move by head coach Mike D’Antoni has created a lot of debate with the team seemingly playing better with Clark in the starting role opposed to the underachieving Gasol.
Despite Clark stepping up his game and playing consistently well in Gasol’s absence, the two-time NBA champion wasn’t happy about possibly having to come off the bench for Los Angeles. Gasol hasn’t been one to cause any problems within the locker room or create any controversy with his comments to the media during his time with the Lakers, but the veteran forward has been adamant about not wanting to come off the bench.
In the loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Gasol played arguably one of his best games of the season. The Spaniard scored 25 points and grabbed five rebounds while picking up the slack for the ejected Dwight Howard. Gasol appeared motivated and engaged on offense, but was given more touches with Howard being sent to the locker room in the first half.
Some have argued Gasol would be the better option off the bench for the Lakers as the leader of the second unit. Gasol could be the ideal backup for Howard and may benefit for more time on the floor as the first option in the paint, but the two-time NBA champion doesn’t want to assume that role regardless of whether or not it will ultimately help turn things around for this team moving forward.
It remains to be seen what direction the Lakers will take with the NBA trade deadline about a month away on Feb. 21. A trade may still be something the front office is seriously considering with the team not living up to expectations.
Lakers Nation News
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Lakers Look To Get On The Road To Recovery [LA Times]
Struggling Lakers Fall To Raptors [OC Register]
Lakers’ Gasol Wants Back In The Starting Lineup [OC Register]
Ding: Lakers Don’t Yet Know How To Be Winners [OC Register]
Mike D’Antoni: To Play Or Not To Play Pau Gasol [Silver Screen & Roll]
Playbook: Why We Love Earl Clark [Silver Screen & Roll]
Lakers’ Nash Returns To Native Canada And Is Intent On Building Its Basketball Profile [LA Daily News]
LAKERS NOTEBOOK: Gasol Might Become Reserve [LA Daily News]
Lakers/Raptors: Sunday Afternoon Blues Continue [Forum Blue & Gold]
Hornets Are Dreaming Big [SB Nation]
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Lindsey Hunter Will Replace Alvin Gentry [SB Nation]
Noah Benched During Bulls’ Comeback Versus Memphis [SB Nation]
Heat Sign Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen To A 10-Day Contract [Pro Basketball Talk]
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Vinny Del Negro Sees Trade Rumors Surrounding Eric Bledsoe As A Positive [Pro Basketball Talk]
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Russell Westbrook Sings Along To ‘Die Young’ By Ke$ha [Pro Basketball Talk]
NBA Tweets Of The Day: Matt Barnes Was About To Play The Lizards [Sports City]
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Nuggets’ Andre Igoudala Says Transition Process Is ‘Behind The Curve’ [Sports City]
Thunder’s Russell Westbrook Talks Basketball And Fashion With GQ [Sports City]