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Pau Gasol wants to play for Spain in European Championship

61094037Lakers forward Pau Gasol confirmed Wednesday that he plans to play for the Spanish national team in this summer's European Championship, according to the Spanish basketball federation website.

"This year, my intention is to be available for the Spanish team if the coach feels he can count on me," Gasol said in Spanish in a report on the team's website. "I would like to help Spain win another European Championship."

Gasol sat out of the 2010 FIBA World Championships last summer while Spain finished in sixth place, opting for rest because of fatigue and injury concerns. He had appeared in helped Spain win the 2006 FIBA World Championship, appeared three consecutive NBA Finals series and the earned a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also broke his left index finger in the 2009 offseason while practicing with the Spanish national team and suffered strained left and right hamstrings that sidelined him for a combined 17 games with the Lakers during the 2009-2010 campaign.

Gasol, who's currently vacationing in Spain, said in his recent exit interview that he was "leaning toward playing" in the European Championship that takes place Aug. 31 to Sept. 18 in Lithuania for several reasons. There will be an NBA lockout should the league and players union fail to reach a new collective bargaining agreement after June 30. He wants  give Spain a better chance at qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. And he hopes to rectify his poor postseason performance, where his per game average of 13.1 points on 42% shooting played a large part in the Lakers getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals .  

"It's hard for European players not to contribute to their international teams," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in his exit interview. "It's not new to me, and I knew months ago [Gasol] was expecting to play. We have a little bit more free time than we expected. Maybe it’s not a bad thing."

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol scores over Hornets center Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza at New Orleans Arena on April 22, 2011. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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AROUND THE LEAGUE !
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Anybody who says that the NBA is just about the Finals needs to wake up, turn on their radio, pick up a newspaper, or visit NBA.com because stuff is happening from the Lakers hiring Mike Brown to Shaquille O’Neal retiring to Ricky Rubio finally agreeing to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
...
Count me among the doubters who suspect Shaq will likely un-retire as the playoffs approach next season. No way Shaq will be able to resist the lure of dollars and media attention to which he has become addicted. And yes, he deserves to have his jersey retired but there will never be a statue.
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Congrats to the Timberwolves for convincing Ricky Rubio to forsake Barcelona for Minneapolis. Here’s hoping that Kurt Rambis can somehow convince David Kahn to trade Ricky and Kevin Love to the Lakers for some combination of Luke Walton, Steve Blake, Shannon Brown, and Derek Fisher.
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While I thought the Heat played excellent defense on Tuesday night, the simple truth was that the Mavs missed those wide open shots that they made when sweeping the Lakers in the second round. Looking for the Mavs to start nailing those shots tonight and for LeBron to start shooting bricks.
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Even though it appears that the Lakers are not going to trade any of their core players, I’m still hoping that we make a move. I still like Pau Gasol and Steve Blake for Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza or Lamar Odom and Steve Blake for Raymond Felton and JR Smith (sign and trade). Do it, Mitch.
...
Looks like Mike Malone will be joining Mike Brown’s coaching staff assuming the Lakers budget for assistant coaches allows for it. Malone will likely be Brown’s defensive coordinator. Brown also has targeted Tim Grgurich of the Mavs, Ettore Messina from the Euroleague, and maybe Chuck Person.
...
Mike Brown’s coaching staff could look like this: Ettore Messina, Tim Grgurich, Michael Malone, Chuck Person, and John Kuester. Other than Kuester, every other coach would be defensive minded. Exciting to think of playing the kind of defense we did during the 17-1 stint for the entire season.
..........................................
TOM


@Peace - congrats on the Friedman. I agree 100%. Well said.

@Lakerholic - welcome back. we can't fight technology :-)

@LT - Your Minny trade proposal sounds more like a hijacking...lol.
You're right about Peja missing wide open shots, but Berea had a lot more resistance in the lane, Bron smothered Terry in the 4th and they made it tough for Dirk to drive left. Overall Miami's defense was much better than the Lakers.

I would prefer Pau to spend his time in the weigh room, but I know its a big deal for him. Hopefully this will help him get his mojo back.

Oh yeah...one more salute to Shaq.

Isaac Hayes - Theme from Shaq
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHbYLjWEEQA


Who's the man that led the Lakers to 3 rings? Shaq

They say this cat Shaq is a bad mother…shut your mouth
But I'm talkin' 'bout Shaq
We can dig it

LRob - Perhaps Pau can lift weights more during practice with Spain?

Shaq retiring- yeah right. I don't beleive it-he's an attention whore. He'll anounce his availability once the lockout ends.

As for his career, he is a prime example of a person with extraordinary talent who let greed, fame, and self get in the way of reaching his full potential.

If he and Kobe could have put there egos aside, they could have won at least 6 Rings together.

I am thankful for his contributions, but I can't help to think of what could have been...

@LRob
I agree that he should be pumping iron, but we all know that's not what he's all about.

Since it's most likely that we'll have a shortened season, it's not a bad thing that he'll stay in shape.

My first selection of the day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehu3wy4WkHs

@Peace
Congrats on the Friedman.

@LakerTom
"Even though it appears that the Lakers are not going to trade any of their core players, I’m still hoping that we make a move. I still like Pau Gasol and Steve Blake for Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza or Lamar Odom and Steve Blake for Raymond Felton and JR Smith (sign and trade). Do it, Mitch."

I would take either of these in a heartbeat. I think once Mike Brown spends more time watching tape of last season, he will realize that we MUST upgrade our PG position. Let's just hope this happens sooner, than later.

Maybe we'll get lucky in the draft with a decent shooter who can fill the other huge void in our team. At least our picks will have a much better chance of actually seeing floortime now that Phil is gone.


@PEACE ... Congrats on the Friedman. Too bad Shaq didn’t have Kobe’s work ethic. That would have been something to see. He might have been up there with Russ, KAJ, and Wilt if he had.
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@LROB ... Good points about the adjustments that the Heat made and no question the Lakers defense in that series sucked big time. It should be fun to see how that changes with Mike Brown.
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@MCLYNE ... I wrote the other day about how it would have been great if the Lakers had videoed Brown’s interview so we could have heard what he thought about Fish’s play at point. At some point, just running 20 plays to put him in position to succeed has to give way to making a change.
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Ironically, what Mike does with Fish may end up being touchier and more controversial that anything he does with Kobe. Fish may not take being benched well if it is not for somebody like Chris Paul or Deron Williams or Raymond Felton at worst. Imagine his response if it is Blake.
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TOM


@MM - I hope he emphasizes it like he did after the 2008 finals.

@mclyne - I know...it's probably just wishful thinking.
Nice selection. I'm definitely a fan of Franti....Oak Town in the house.

@LT/mclyne - I wouldn't rule out the Lakers "not" trading one of the core players yet. I think they'll explore all options.

"Ironically, what Mike does with Fish may end up being touchier and more controversial that anything he does with Kobe. Fish may not take being benched well if it is not for somebody like Chris Paul or Deron Williams or Raymond Felton at worst. Imagine his response if it is Blake.
..........................................
TOM


Posted by: LakerTom | June 02, 2011 at 11:34 AM "

Yes. I think a lot of people's opinions of what Fisher is all about might change this year. He gets a lot of credit for being a selfless team-first player but over the years he has quietly made a lot of quotes to the contrary. Despite what he thinks, his removal from the starting lineup is overdue and I don't think he'll go quietly. He has way too much pride to relinquish a spot he still feels he deserves.

I'm all for players representing their own countries for international competition. However, if Pau is going to cite "fatigue" (3 straight NBA Finals appearances) as one of the main reasons for his epic failure to perform during the playoffs then he should rest his body.

As your employer, the Lakers pay you over $18+ million per season and as a professional that has signed a contract with them, you should rest well for the upcoming season.

Although I admire your national pride and urgency in representing Spain, you did however, signed a contract with the Lakers and should have consideration for the franchise's future and well-being especially when you are counted as a team leader.

The last thing we need is for you to suffer another melt-down and blaming your summer activities for depriving you of much needed rest.

LAKERS DRAFT OPTIONS
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Here are NBADraft.Net’s Lakers 2nd round mock draft picks:
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#41 - Andrew Goudelock – 6-2 198# PG/SG from Charleston
#46 - David Lighty – 6-6 216# SG from Ohio State
#56 - DeAndre Liggins – 6-6 202# SG from Kentucky
#58 – Chris Wright – 6-8 217# SF from Dayton
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TOM



LAKERS DRAFT OPTIONS
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Here are ESPN’s draft rankings for point guard prospects:
.............................................
RK(OVR) NAME HT WT AGE SCHOOL/COUNTRY PROJECTION
1 (1) Kyrie Irving 6-4 191 19 Duke Cleveland Cavaliers(No. 1 pick)
2 (4) Brandon Knight 6-4 177 19 Kentucky Utah Jazz(No. 3 pick)
3 (7) Kemba Walker 6-1 184 21 Connecticut Sacramento Kings(No. 7 pick)
4 (17) Jimmer Fredette 6-3 196 22 BYU Indiana Pacers(No. 15 pick)
5 (18) Josh Selby 6-3 195 20 Kansas New York Knicks(No. 17 Pick)
6 (24) Reggie Jackson 6-3 208 21 Boston College Houston Rockets(No. 23 pick)
7 (25) Charles Jenkins 6-3 216 22 Hofstra Chicago Bulls(No. 30 pick)
8 (28) Darius Morris 6-5 190 20 Michigan Chicago Bulls(No. 28 Pick)
9 (34) Malcolm Lee 6-6 198 21 UCLA First Round Bubble Pick
10 (40) Norris Cole 6-2 175 22 Cleveland St. First Round Bubble Pick
11 (41) Iman Shumpert 6-6 222 20 Georgia Tech Second Round Pick
12 (42) Shelvin Mack 6-3 209 22 Butler Second Round Pick
13 (47) Isaiah Thomas 5-10 186 22 Washington Second Round Pick
14 (49) Cory Joseph 6-3 186 20 Texas Second Round Pick
15 (51) Demetri McCamey 6-3 205 22 Illinois Second Round Pick
16 (65) Ben Hansbrough 6-3 203 23 Notre Dame Second Round Pick/Undrafted
17 (68) Diante Garrett 6-4 181 22 Iowa State Second Round Pick/Undrafted
18 (79) Kalin Lucas 6-0 180 22 Michigan State Second Round Pick/Undrafted
19 (84) Malcolm Delaney 6-2 185 22 Virginia Tech Second Round Pick/Undrafted
20 (88) Brad Wanamaker 6-3 208 21 Pittsburgh Second Round Pick/Undrafted
21 (97) Mark Payne 6-6 206 22 UC Davis Second Round Pick/Undrafted
22 (101) Talor Battle 6-0 180 22 Penn State Second Round Pick/Undrafted
23 (114) Corey Fisher 5-11 205 23 Villanova Second Round/Undrafted
24 (117) Antoine Diot 6-3 190 22 France Second Round/Undrafted
25 (125) Dee Bost 6-2 170 21 Mississippi St. Second Round/Undrafted
26 (132) Andrew Albicy 5-11 160 21 France Second Round/Undrafted
27 (133) Chris Wright 6-1 201 21 Georgetown Second round to undrafted
28 (136) Carl Ona Embo 6-2 175 21 France Second Round/Undrafted
29 (139) Derrick Jasper 6-5 213 23 UNLV Second Round/Undrafted
.............................................
TOM

Gee, if only you were as enthusiastic & dedicated during your playoff meltdown your team just might be fighting in the Finals today. Miami will sweep this series for their 2nd of many more championships. This team will & can only get better. Doesn't matter who comes out of the west now. We're all "Witnesses" to the birth of a new dynasty, like it or not.

Good Morning Blog crew,

Here's a note, do you guy's think that when Gasol goes and plays for ummmm FC Barcelona this summer, will he come back hungry and strong just like LO, last season when he played for FIBA world championship in Turkey.

I wan't to know what you guys think about this, I'm saying that based on what we saw of him in the finals against the Mavs and NOLA, he would come back trying to prove that he is not the soft Gasol that we saw. So I'm looking forward to this, this by far has to be some good news right?

any inputs would be nice

Would have been nice to see what an offensive mastermind like Rick Adelman could have done with this lineup.

He even had Ron Artest playing at a high level the year he was with Sac.

I can only dream what this team might have done on offense with the right leadership ...

Dear Mitch Kupchak,

Minsesota's Johnny Flynn and their 2nd overall pick are both available.

Trade Lamar, Artest and Derek Fisher for Flynn, Derrick Williams(2nd pick), Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver. The Wolves needs the veteran-PG Fisher to teach the young Ricky Rubio. While the Lakers acquired young and athletic players.

I watched the series again and I don't think Pau looked tired. I think he was just off. They defended well against him and he compounded it by rimming out a lot of the jumpshots he normally makes.

@ BayToLA - if you'r refering to my coment, then I got to say that I didn't say he was tired, I said he was soft, as in he didn't drive the ball in for a layup not once, or even go in the paint and get a position ready. So I'm just wondering if he dose play for Spain this summer, will he come back stronger than before? or will he be even worse than "last season".

He plays center for Spains national team right? so his going to have to box out a lot of people and get good position inside, but outmuscleing the opponent! I'm really curious to see how he will develope. We saw LO develope a lot, since he was playing center too right? besides LOPEZ, if I remember correctly Lopez was there on the FIBA team.

So anyway, that's what I was trying to figure out, is will he come back GASTRONG, or will he come back the same GASOFT lol

Another damn off-season where Pau does not work on his WEAK base!!!! Please trade this weak sister 4 for some people who will actually put in the work to improve themselves when they have been shown to be weak in some area. Pau is so arrogant about not doing the work on his base that he needs to take his finesse game to a non-ring competing team again. I still think he is our best trade chip and we don't need what he brings, when better fitting options are needed to prop up this vet team. 3pt shooters; quick guards; hard rebounders; 4s with hops are all needed and he doesn't fit any one of those needs - this could be as little as 2 players for these four needs if we shop Pau well around the league! One trade of him could get all those in 2 players, as LRob(2), LakerTom, and others have conjectured over the past week or so.

"@ BayToLA - if you'r refering to my coment, then I got to say that I didn't say he was tired, I said he was soft, as in he didn't drive the ball in for a layup not once, or even go in the paint and get a position ready. So I'm just wondering if he dose play for Spain this summer, will he come back stronger than before? or will he be even worse than "last season".

He plays center for Spains national team right? so his going to have to box out a lot of people and get good position inside, but outmuscleing the opponent! I'm really curious to see how he will develope. We saw LO develope a lot, since he was playing center too right? besides LOPEZ, if I remember correctly Lopez was there on the FIBA team.

So anyway, that's what I was trying to figure out, is will he come back GASTRONG, or will he come back the same GASOFT lol

Posted by: Tech N9ne | June 02, 2011 at 01:13 PM "

I didn't see what you had said regarding Gasol, I was referring to what Ajeet and several other people have said. A lot of people have said he needs the rest but I really didn't see a tired Gasol in the playoffs. Just a less effective one that wasn't making some of the plays he usually makes. If anything I think he just lost confidence and maybe playing well for his country can fix that.

The softness you talked about is something that I think will just always be there for Pau, especially now as he is on the wrong side of 30. Judging by the career transgressions of his peers, he's likely to become more of a finesse player as he ages. People want to see him be a mean guy underneath but it's just not who he is.

I don't see any downside to him playing in the tournament unless he gets injured. I think playing will keep him in game shape and maybe he'll focus on some things over there so he can return Gastronger.

Posted by: BayToLA1 | June 02, 2011 at 01:47 PM


Yup that's what I'm saying, hope he comes back in shape and hungry for the new season under a new coach, I really wan't to see how this one will turn out!

But good observation on Gasol not being tired, he didn't look tired, he just looked like his head was sitting on the bench while his body was on the court! That's exactly what I noticed during this post season, last year he used to dunk so much and he used to crossover, cut in the paint, and reverse dunk it! but that stopped! Well see if we can get that back this up coming ( -CBA agreement ) season!

1. The Lakers were the team that had the best (maybe only) chance to beat Miami. L.A. has one thing that the Heat wouldn't be able to counter in a seven-game series — the continual pounding of the ball inside. The Bynum of the 17-1 streak would put 25 pts. a game on them, and 15+ boards. Especially so, if Gasol would play ball instead of whatever he was doing.

2. Miami will add size next year, and they may indeed be the next dynasty. That said, there are a few teams that could muscle up and the whole equation could change quickly. I wouldn't go scheduling the next five year's worth of championship parades in South Beach just yet.

3. Gasol has to be on a short leash now. I can't see Brown happy about him playing for Spain. I think if Pau sputters next year, for whatever reason, that they'll look to move him out. He can't be a wuss in Brown's system — on either side of the ball. It won't fly. Maybe send him to Toronto or some such outpost, in exchange for a high-ranking first-round pick.

4. If the Lakers can somehow get a decent PG who can shoot a little and defend a lot, and Gasol decides he wants to play in L.A., AND Kobe doesn't screw it up because his Mamba ego tells him he's still an unstoppable force and pre-eminent closer (which he is not now and will never again be) — then the Lakers will be back in the Finals next year.


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