Derrick Rose denies report he wants Bulls to acquire Pau Gasol
It's amazing what Kobe Bryant's public stewing about the front office regarding Gasol's future can do for the Lakers forward's psyche. That was on full display during the Lakers' 96-91 victory Wednesday over Dallas. Gasol's 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals showed his stronger aggression and engagement, signs that he's handling his uncertainty with the Lakers better than last week.
Here's another item that might help Gasol feel more at ease: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose strongly denied a report that he wants the organization to acquire Gasol before the March 15 trade deadline.
"That's something I wouldn't say to anyone, that I need someone to come to this team or I'm trying to get rid of someone on this team," Rose told reporters in Chicago. "It was all false and that's something I would never do."
Sheridan Hoops' Chris Sheridan reported that Rose let it be known to management that he wants to play with Gasol if Chicago swings a trade with the Lakers. That semantic difference leaves room for Rose to deny that he said anything to management himself because an intermediary could have delivered such a message on his behalf.
The supposed terms of the deal would have sent forward Carlos Boozer and point guard C.J. Watson to the Lakers for Gasol. That would be a horrible move for the Lakers for various reasons. Boozer may not command as many touches as Gasol does and open up the post more for Andrew Bynum inside. But he offers little outside of rebounding on defense and is injury prone. As for Watson, he's proven to be only a decent backup point guard, hardly the answer to the Lakers' backcourt needs.
Gasol would be better served if he didn't read these things, anyway. Plenty of trade scenarios will emerge before the deadline with his name attached to them. Instead, he should play like he did against Dallas, with aggression, enthusiasm and energy, and refuse to let his uncertain standing affect him. For now, at least.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol tries to put up a shot in the first half of the Lakers' 96-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press