Lakers Rumors & News Recap: Gasol Wants To Remain A Starter
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.
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