Lakers forward Pau Gasol shares players' perspective on trade rumors
The job security involving Lakers forward Pau Gasol couldn't be much greater. Nearly two years since the Lakers acquired him in a trade with Memphis, it's been natural lately to reflect on the immediate impact he's brought to the team. In addition to providing Kobe Bryant a much-needed complementary player in the post, the Lakers have won a championship, made two Finals appearances and are 136-39 in the regular season since Gasol's acquisition.
Yet even with Gasol agreeing to a three-year extension in December worth up to a reported $64.7 million, depending on the NBA salary-cap figures to be determined in 2011, he provided an interesting answer when a reporter mentioned that he's pretty safe as today's trade deadline approaches.
"This I where I want to be and I will work hard to continue to be," Gasol said.
The conversation arrived at that point soon after he was asked if anyone on the team had addressed the trade rumors involving the Lakers -- presumably combinations involving Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, Adam Morrison and Josh Powell for Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich. Though Gasol downplayed any type of discussion, he offered an interesting perspective on how players react to the never-ending trade reports that circulate, particularly during this time of the season. The quote below provides a case study on how trade rumors feed the fans' insatiable appetite for discussion, become a poker game among teams' front offices and create uncertainty for the players involved.
"It's kind of interesting when it doesn’t have to do with you, especially if you're in a good spot and a good situation that you would never want to be moved from," said Gasol, who had recounted his trade experience from Memphis recently to The Times' Mike Bresnahan. "That's the way I feel. When you want to be moved and there's rumors, that makes it a little bit interesting and distracting to you and your play. But sometimes it's part of the deal and you have to accept it."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol and Warriors guard C.J. Watson eye a loose ball during play in the fourth quarter Tuesday night. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.