If the Lakers aren’t able to re-sign Howard, the team will likely keep Gasol. However, the team won’t be able to relax next summer as Gasol becomes a free agent and he discussed his current situation in a radio interview with Catalunya Radio.
When asked about how his future will be affected if Dwight Howard re-signs, Gasol doesn’t believe the Lakers will automatically trade or amnesty him, but acknowledged that those chances would increase:
“I don’t think that Howard re-signing with the Lakers puts me out of the team for sure, but I guess the chances would grow. I know the Lakers are pushing hard trying to keep Howard with a spectacular campaign in Los Angeles, putting banners in key spots.”
While discussing the #STAYD12 banners around Los Angeles, Gasol decided to comment on his upcoming free agency and jokingly hopes that he receives the same treatment as Howard:
“I hope they (Lakers) do the same for me next season when I become a free agent…I doubt it.”
It’s unfortunate how Gasol’s future with the Lakers depends on Dwight Howard especially for all he has done for Los Angeles. After Phil Jackson retired, both Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni have failed to utilize him correctly by having him operate from the elbow. Gasol has tried his best to adjust to his ever-changing roles and has been unfairly criticized in the process.
Gasol has definitely lost his athleticism since those back-to-back championships, but is still effective in the post when given the opportunity.
If Howard decides to leave, Gasol thrived at the center position this past season and there should be optimism that he can return to his All-Star caliber self after undergoing a FAST technique procedure for his knee tendinitis. He obviously doesn’t defend the paint as well as Howard, so it’ll be up to Lakers management to find some athletic players to cover for Gasol’s deficiencies.
Gasol averaged 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists this past season despite all the injuries and role changes.
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