When former Laker big man Pau Gasol decided to leave his offer from the Lakers on the table and head to Chicago for the next chapter of his career, it was no surprise considering the trade rumors that circled Gasol for the past couple years.
At Byron Scott’s press conference yesterday, Magic Johnson said he spoke to Gasol before he made his decision to sign with the Chicago Bulls and the veteran forward understandably voiced frustration with how he was used in the offense last season.
According to LakersNation.com reporter Serena Winters, ultimately, Gasol expressed to Johnson that those emotions were too great for him to overcome:
Yesterday, Magic said he had a long conversation w/ Pau Gasol before he ultimately made his decision to continue career in Chicago — Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 30, 2014
Magic: “He (Pau) was really hurt by the way he was treated.” Specifically how he was mis-used last year, “He could never get over that.” — Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 30, 2014
Gasol was involved in several trade rumors towards the end of his career in Los Angeles. His discontent can be understood as his average minutes played per game had been drastically decreased since the 2010-2011 season.
D’Antoni stuck to playing small ball, which affected Gasol’s playing time. He went from 37.4 minutes during the 2011-12 season to 33.8 minutes the next season and finally 31.4 minutes last season, his final year as a Laker.
It’s likely the four-time All-Star felt under-valued and under-appreciated, after being a crucial player in the Lakers back-to-back championship run. Gasol is now in Chicago where he feels he has a better chance to win, alongside returning guard Derrick Rose in the upcoming season.
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