It’s possible Pau Gasol will come back to the Lakers next season. It’s also possible he’d return with a freshly shaved face instead of the full-length beard he’s sported during his five years here.
In what will could be his last public appearance here this offseason before traveling to his native Spain, Gasol will host a pep rally Monday at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Los Angeles to make the beginning of his self-named foundation. As part of his initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle, Gasol and his brother, Marc, of the Memphis Grizzlies will coach two different teams in what’s called a “The Healthy Competition 2013” running from June 10 through Aug. 2. Using gifted Nike Fuelbands (retailed at $149) to track the teams’ progress, either Pau or Marc will have to shave their beard if their respective team loses.
This marks just one example of a busy and uncertain offseason for Gasol.
That includes his future with the Lakers.
Gasol, who’s under contract next season for $19.3 million, could be traded or waived via the amnesty provision. Gasol’s reduced offensive role under Mike D’Antoni’s system contributed to him averaging a career-low 13.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds through 49 games. Yet, Kobe Bryant has advocated to the front office to keep the Lakers forward after guiding the team to two NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has also held out the possibility on keeping Gasol even if Dwight Howard resigns with the team.
Gasol has also had health concerns.
Three weeks after having a procedure to treat the tendinosis in both of his knees, Gasol went off crutches on Thursday and is expected to recover in nine weeks. He missed a total of 33 games due to various ailments, including knee tendonitis (eight games), concussion (five games) and plantar fascia in his right foot (20 games).
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