The Los Angeles Lakers are headed into a season filled with uncertainty for many different reasons. Kobe Bryant is coming off the worst injury of his NBA career while Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison have all changed teams.
The team will look completely different with the exception of Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Kobe. Gasol may very well be the one player of the three mentioned above with a shot at having a big season. The Spanish forward is coming off an injured plagued season, much like Kobe and Nash, but will have much to prove being in the final year of his deal with the Lakers.
Although it is far too early to speculate whether or not the Lakers will retain Gasol next summer, it’s safe to say the Spaniard’s play will dictate if he stays or goes.
Fortunately for Pau, the Lakers will not be faced with the high expectations of last season and may be able to stay relatively under the radar while the four-time NBA All-Star tries to prove his worth to the franchise. The Lakers’ front office has given no indication on who will or will not be on the team moving after the upcoming season, but Gasol can control his fate to a certain extent by playing well next season.
Gasol is well aware of what is at stake concerning his future and is prepared to meet the challenge. Without Howard clogging the paint and the Lakers potentially having to lean on Gasol to start the upcoming season, the two-time NBA champion is poised to have a great year. The offense will likely flow through Gasol with Nash looking to connect with the veteran every trip down the floor.
As of right now, if he can stay healthy over the course of an 82-game season, Pau has ideal situation ahead of him. Gasol may very well return to All-Star form with a renewed sense of purpose as the focal point of the offense.
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