The Los Angeles Lakers were close to acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul this summer and as part of the three-team deal which included the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets, Pau Gasol would have headed to Houston. Gasol was on the verge of changing locations, but a last-second veto by David Stern stopped the trade.
As a result, Gasol and Lamar Odom ‘returned’ to the Lakers and Chris Paul remained a Hornet. Eventually, however, Odom was dealt to the Mavericks and Paul found a new home with the Clippers, but the Lakers kept Gasol.
Unlike, Odom, Gasol did not publicly express his sadness with the Lakers ‘trading’ him and handled the situation quite professionally.
And tonight, the Lakers will play the Houston Rockets, the team that Gasol almost called his own. When asked if the near trade will bring up any memories or feelings, Gasol essentially replied with a ‘no.’
“Maybe. Maybe one or two, but once I get into the game I’m too focused right now to try to help the team win,” Gasol said. “No matter who we’re facing, it’s a game that we want to win and we want to continue to especially win our home games and then go on the road and do a better job.”
Gasol has not been bothered with the nixed trade and his game has improved greatly since his 2011 post-season performance. Gasol is much more dominate and it is clear that he wants to prove to the coaches and the critics that he can still be a force in the paint for the Lakers.
Whether Gasol remains with the Lakers or if he is shipped somewhere else, everyone needs to applaud him for his maturity during this hectic time.