(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be without injured forward Pau Gasol when they try to climb back to the .500 mark against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Spaniard will miss his third straight game due to tendinitis in both knees and Antawn Jamison is expected to start in his absence, having scored 15 points as Gasol’s replacement in each of the previous two games. “Tonight we’re playing the Thunder of @sergeibaka9! My knees are improving but I still won’t be able to be out there with my team,” Gasol tweeted after the Lakers shoot around on Friday. …
Dec 7 (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be without injured forward Pau Gasol when they try to climb back to the .500 mark against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Spaniard will miss his third straight game due to tendinitis in both knees and Antawn Jamison is expected to start in his absence, having scored 15 points as Gasol’s replacement in each of the previous two games. “Tonight we’re playing the Thunder of @sergeibaka9! My knees are improving but I still won’t be able to be out there with my team,” Gasol tweeted after the Lakers shootaround on Friday. …
To say Pau Gasol looks like a lost puppy in the Lakers new offensive system is an understatement.
Plagued by tendinitis in both knees and by the overall aging process, Gasol has looked a step slow this season with the Lakers, and many experts think he cannot adjust to new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system.
With Dwight Howard now in town, Gasol’s role with the Lakers has definitely changed, and his numbers have supported that claim.
Having a career-low year in both points-per-game (12.6) and field-goal percentage (42 percent), Gasol’s start to this season hasn’t been pretty.
Gasol is currently out of the lineup with his knee tendinitis, and legendary shooting guard Kobe Bryant is getting on him about his struggles.
Some quotes directly from Bryant in the source below:
“I want him to dig in and be determined, not discouraged,” Bryant continued. “We should go to him more on the post because he can dominate from there as he has to the tune of two rings. I’m sure we will adjust and figure out a balance when he comes back healthy.”
“I know his knees have been hurting and that can be frustrating because you can’t do physically what you are used to,” Bryant said Tuesday. “I just don’t want him to sulk about the change of things.”
“Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after the loss that dropped the team’s record to 8-9. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it. You have to master what it is that we’re trying to do here and Pau is talented enough and he’s good enough to be able to do that.”
Bryant is not worried about losing Gasol to a trade however:
“We’re not going to lose him,” Bryant said. “That’s just not going to happen. I’ve been around him long enough. I know how to deal with him.”
That’s where the Raptors rumor mill begins to churn.
According to a report by ESPNLosAngeles.com, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has supposedly contacted Gasol’s representatives and told them the team would have to explore trade possibilities if Gasol cannot adjust to the new coach’s system.
Will Kupchak be calling Toronto about the availability of two players?
Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani are also stars with the Raptors who are not really fitting into the new coach’s system, which focuses more on defense rather than offense.
When the Raptors were contemplating amnestying Calderon, the Lakers were likely ready to pounce on him.
Bargnani, on the other hand, has struggled at both ends of the floor this season.
Inconsistency, and just an overall lack of emotional engagement, have led to him being in the center of trade talk, as well as trash talk from Raptors fans.
Both of their defensive deficiencies can be made up by the defense provided by Bryant, Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard. Plus, they have solid veteran leadership from Bryant, Steve Nash (when he returns) and sixth man Antawn Jamison, so the responsibility of leading the team will not be on the two European players.
As for Gasol, a change in scenery may be a great option for him. Playing in a more defensive system with players who will look to him to lead from the frontcourt could see Gasol return to form.
His veteran presence could be used to help mentor both Jonas Valanciunas and Ed Davis in their ascent up the NBA frontcourt ranks.
A trade that involves Gasol and, say, Steve Blake for Calderon, Bargnani and Alan Anderson is a trade that makes sense for both sides and works under the CBA.
Potential Raptors Lineup:
Kyle Lowry/Steve Blake/John Lucas
DeMar DeRozan/Terrence Ross
Mickael Pietrus/Linas Kleiza/Landry Fields
Pau Gasol/Ed Davis
Jonas Valanciunas/Amir Johnson/Aaron Gray
The question is: Do the Raptors take the risk and pull the trigger?
Read more Toronto Raptors news on BleacherReport.com
The Los Angeles Lakers and Pau Gasol are visiting Houston this week, taking on a Rockets team that Gasol was nearly traded to 12 months ago, though Pau won’t be around to show the Rockets what might have been. The team is sitting their big man for an as-yet-unspecified period of time, citing knee tendinitis and opening the floodgates to all manner of trade rumors about the 32-year forward/center.
Those rumors are bunko, the Lakers aren’t doing anything until they see how a full and healthy roster featuring Steve Nash works out, but it does appear as if Gasol is going to have to take a back seat for a spell. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin was the first to break the news, and this is from his report :
“The biggest thing with him was that he was playing hurt and in this league you just can’t do that,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I just didn’t think he was running fluidly.”
D’Antoni said Gasol made the decision to rest after consulting with the coaching and training staff. There is no set timetable for how long Gasol will sit out. Antawn Jamison will start in his place.
Harry How/NBAE/Getty Images
Pau Gasol is calling for the ball in the post. Will Mike D’Antoni answer?
Last Friday in Memphis, two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol found himself banished to the bench for the entire fourth quarter. Gasol was struggling to find good looks at the basket (and wasn’t successful at hitting those he found) and at the moment down the stretch when he would’ve normally trotted over to the scorers table to check in for reserve Antawn Jamison, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni never called Gasol’s number.
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It’s also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren’t always listed in order of importance. That’s for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C : Washington Post . Nobody really liked the Gilbert Arenas contract extension from back in 2008 , especially when paired with Antawn Jamison’s extension. Still, things turned out even worse than expected, and on Monday Michael Lee delved into the way Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld somehow made his bidding against himself in 2008 for Arenas’ extension worse by tossing the salary cap remnants of that deal toward New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
PF : Bullets Forever . To toss dirt on the fire (?), Mike Prada details who the Wiz could’ve dealt for after using the amnesty provision on Rashard Lewis’ contract last summer.
SF : b8sy productions . A 22-minute Matt Bonner documentary because this is what we need.
SG : The 700 Level . A good feature on why we can’t get too despondent regarding Andrew Bynum’s Philly future.
PG : Gothic Ginobili . Aaron McGuire, in an entertaining fashion, is breaking down each of the players that saw significant time in the NBA last season. His quest continues with Daequan Cook, Jeff Foster, and Brandon Roy.
In today’s excellent PER Diem (Insider) on how new head coach Mike D’Antoni will impact the Lakers, John Hollinger notes that D’Antoni’s basketball philosophy will favor different players (shooters!) than Brown:
We’ll probably see a lot more of Jodie Meeks, and Antawn Jamison may see more minutes as a floor-spacing 4 rather than a fish-out-of-water 3. We may even see Steve Blake playing off the ball as a 2.
What Hollinger hints at here is that under Mike Brown, the Lakers had a tendency to “play big.
aka Don Allen
PIC OF THE DAY – Goes to Pau Gasol, who showed he is ready for the season to open even though the team stumbled in their first game. Pau had 23 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks. Wow, that is quite a start.
LAKERS STUMBLE IN OPENER – The Dallas Mavericks handed the Lakers their first loss of the season despite they were missing their two big men, Dirk Nowitzki and Chirs Kaman. In addition to Pau Gasol’s big performance, Kobe had 22 points, hitting 11 of 14 shots, and Dwight Howard and 19 points and 10 rebounds. The bench didn’t contribute a lot but showed promise if not consistancy. The difference in the game was that Dallas showed that they have their team chemisty in place while the Lakers are still looking for everybody to get on the same page. The Lakers did not display a consistant team effort over the 48 minutes and the defense allow Dallas to get off a couple of runs that the Lakers could not recover from. The right pieces are in place, and the bench is going to be better than advertised, they just need a few more games to get their rthym going. And our bigs need to stop any kind of penetration in the lane. Our interior defense needs to improve.
The Lakers shot 49% from the field. Usuallly that is enough to get the job done. But they only shot 23% from the 3 and a woeful 37% from the line.
HACK-A-HOWARD – In the first game we are already starting to see a strategy of just fouling Dwight if he is close to the basket instead of letting him score. Teams are doing this consistantly against the Clippers DeAndre Jordan. Jordan and Howard both share the same deficiency in hitting free throws. Last season the Clippers literally couldn’t play Jordan late in the 4th quarter. The Lakers might be faced with the same dilemma. Dwight only hit 3 of 14 free throws in game 1.
COACHING CONTROVERCY – In our Forum you are already starting to hear the drum beat of fans wondering if Coach Mike Brown is the right guy to coach this team. If the Lakers underperform, the media and sportwriters will be next. It seems a little early for this but the expectations are high and the Lakers haven’t won a game yet. How long will they stay with the Princeton offense if they don’t start to click. Kobe can change the offense all by himself if he gets fed up with the results. The coach can go along for the ride…..or not.
FIRST 3 GAMES ON TV FOR ALL FANS – For the blacked out fans (BOF’s), the first three games will be televised on various networks that they should have access two. Not to mention that sports bars will have access as well. After that, unless deals are signed, the black out will resume for some fans. You will once again be in the dark.
10/30 – vs Dallas – TNT
10/31 – at Portland – NBA TV
11/02 – vs Clippers – ESPN
TWC SIGNES DEALS WITH 3 PROVIDERS – TMC signed a deal with Charter Cable, AT&T U-Verse, and Verizon FIOS, that will bring the Laker games to fans who use these providers. Direct TV, Dish Network, and Cox Cable are still hold outs in a dispute reportedly about whether the Laker games would be carried as part of a special tier that would cost more money. As of now many more fans have access to the games than just a few days ago.
Not all of you will have access to NBA TV, but it is a free channel availlable on a lot of providers like Dish Network, but it may depend on what package you are on.
THE TEAM – The Lakers have a starting lineup that is equal to the best in the NBA. They traded away Andrew Bynum to get Dwight Howard and signed Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison as free agents. Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and Devin Ebanks could be dangerous weapons off the bench. Let’s hope that after we have a few games with everybody available, that the chemistry starts to develope and the team starts to win.
PLAYER MATCHUPS – LAKERS VS CLIPPERS – GAME 3 ON NOV 2
CENTER – ADVANTAGE LAKERS – We all know what to expect from Dwight Howard at the center position and his first appearance as a Laker shows he will pick up right where he left off last season. DeAndre Jordan’s numbers are way up this preseason and he has shown he can actually score without using the dunk. DJ has improved but still has a ways to go to catch up with Dwight Howard.
POWER FORWARD – NO ADVANTAGE – Laker fans see Blake Griffin as the PF of the future and Pau Gasol as the veteran who has been there and done that. In many games, Blake will dominate most PF’s in the league. But the scouting report says that you guard Blake with a tall player with long arms….like Gasol. Pau’s height frustrated him last season. If Blake is going to beat Gasol, he has to do it with quickness.
SHOOTING GUARD – ADVANTAGE LAKERS – Right now the starting SG for the Clippers would normally be Chaucey Billups, who was playing really well for the Clippers before he got hurt. He should be back in the lineup shortly, but in the mean time, Kobe will have no problem with Willie Green, if he starts. Jamal Crawford has been playing well at the SG position for the Clips off the bench, but I expect they could also try to guard Kobe with Matt Barnes. Kobe will dominate no matter what they try.
SMALL FORWARD – NO ADVANTAGE – Metta World Peace is so different to Caron Butler that is hard to even compare the two. Caron is usually better at scoring and MWP is the better defender. The games this year will not be won or lost at the 3.
POINT GUARD – ADVANTAGE CLIPPERS – This is one area where the Clippers have an advantage. As much as Steve Nash is going to help the Lakers this season, Chris Paul is one of the top PG’s in the league. Not only can he score better than Nash, he is also a NBA All Defensive first team. There is a reason why he is an All Star and an Olympian. He also has been the Clippers closer last season. Steve Nash is smart, a great passer, and he can shoot. But he is slow. There will no uptempo offense and few fast breaks while he is on the floor. Moreover, he will be a liability on defense against quick guards.
THE BENCH – ADVANTAGE CLIPPERS – I know that most Lakers fans are probably not up to date on what the Clippers are doing with their bench. But this bench is eight solid players deep. They initially will bring in Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, and Grant Hilll. They also have Ronny Turiaf, Ryan Hollis, who is playing very well, and Willie Green. The Lakers counter with Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, Andrew Gourdelock, Kevin Ebanks, and Jodie Meeks. The Lakers will have to rely on their starters a little more this season while the Clippers can more easily rest their startes because their bench is so deep and experienced.
SEASON ADVANTAGE – Anything can happen this season. We saw the Clippers sweeping the Lakers last year in the preseason, then losing the regular season series. Both teams have great starting lineups, but the Clippers have a deeper and more experienced bench.
As a Los Angeles Lakers fan I appreciate Metta World Peace’s goal of having the Lakers go 73-9 with a revamped roster which now includes Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Antawn Jamison.
Some guys just can’t say goodbye to the game they love. Most of them don’t really need the money, and despite not getting much playing time, they keep coming back year after year. You can’t blame them, but for these guys, their time is up.
For some players, the opportunity at one last Championship chase is too much to resist. Guys like Grant Hill, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison are still chasing that dream, but have realistic expectations this upcoming season. These guys though, just need to hang it up.