Pau Gasol returns to Los Angeles in case lockout ends
An optimistic NBA's fan might interpret Pau Gasol's return to Los Angeles on Wednesday as a tea leaf, suggesting the owners and players can reach a deal to begin the season by Christmas Day.
The pessimistic NBA fan might interpret Gasol's itinerary as just another warning sign. After all, Gasol briefly came to L.A. just when NBA Commissioner David Stern announced last month that he's canceling games through Nov. 30.
But that's not going to dampen Gasol's enthusiasm, as lawyers for the NBA owners and players were in negotiations Wednesday to try to end the 146-day lockout.
"Good morning everyone!" Gasol tweeted. "Today I fly back to LA to follow the development of the #lockout and continue to work out!"
There appeared to be very little incentive this summer for Gasol to remain in the United States. He prepared and competed with the Spanish national team for the FIBA European Championships in Lithuiana. He then stayed in his native Spain, where he could relax and practice with FC Barcelona. And with without a deal on the lockout, players can't communicate with team personnel and lack access to any of the team's facilities.
Should both sides reach a deal, Stern has said teams will have a month of free agent and training camp before playing. Gasol's brief visit obviously shows he wants to minimize any last-minute scrambling once a deal ultimately happens. Count Gasol as one of the optimists even if the lockout's progress has suggested otherwise.
"I'll keep you updated of how things are going during this next days," Gasol tweeted. "Every day that goes by I look forward to play even more!"
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, left, and Pau Gasol fight for the ball on May 8. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times