Still laughing at that one.
That’s Kobe for you, choosing his words carefully much the same way Phil Jackson always has, basically told Pau to quit being a baby, put on his grown up pants and get to work.
For me, I can’t help but think of that scene in “American Me”. The one where JD tells Santana that Little Puppet’s name is on a piece of paper.
(In case you have no fucking idea what I’m talking about, check out the 7:00-7:40 part of the video below)
After two years of diminished production, a week or two of increasing displeasure with Mike D’ Antoni’s system and another 35 million dollars owed him, it’s time to face facts.
Pau’s name is on a piece of paper. Don’t try to stop it.
From the Pau Gasoft days spent getting his lunch money taken by Kevin Garnett in the 2008 Finals to two championships as Kobe’s sidekick and everything in between, Pau Gasol’s LA story has been a long and winding road, but it’s almost over now, or so it seems.
Ever since the Steve Nash deal was made, I’ve figured Pau was a goner. For a team that was terrified to spend into the luxury tax even when they were winning titles, it only made sense to me that they’d be looking to shave some money off what stands to be a 30 million dollar tax hit, and at 19 million this year and twenty the next, Pau seemed not only expendable, but downright unnecessary.
And that was before this season started.
Now, he’s lost a third of his scoring, from a career 19 points per game to less than 13. Now, he’s shooting 42%, down from 52% over his first 11 seasons in the league. Now, he’s bitching about being turned into a jump shooter by D’ Antoni’s offense, frustrated that Dwight Howard gets all of the post touches while he camps at the top of the key. Now, he’s spending crunch time sulking on the bench while Antwan Jamison, a perfect fit for D’ Antoni ball, has lit it up in the new system.
Shouldn’t be long now.
All that’s left is to find a taker and hopefully replace him with someone who is more agreeable to the offense, less costly, and more apt to be the good solider. Right now, this team needs athletes, guys who can hit open shots and people who play with offensive aggression.
Hey, it’s easy to get sentimental and hold on to the fondest memories of what Gasol has meant to this team, but it’s reality-check time. The lakers are in win now mode, and for what Pau makes, he’ not helping the bottom line, he’s hurting it.
Stay tuned to this, and keep an eye on the fact that a large number of NBA players can’t be traded before December 15th. Once that day comes and goes, to be surprised to see Pau gone as well. If they can find a player or two who fit the system better and make less money, they’d be fools not to pull the trigger.
Let Pau be remembered for all the good he did, but don’t forget what he’s become now: an overpaid, underperforming malcontent.
His time is up. Them’s the breaks.