Pau Gasol still remains a Laker.
At least enough to participate in all of the Lakers’ practice on Monday. At least enough for coach Mike D’Antoni to pencil him into the starting lineup for when the Lakers visit the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday at American Airlines Center. At least enough for Gasol to board the team’s plane for the Lakers’ two-game trip to Dallas and Houston (Wednesday).
Off to Dallas. We'll stay focused on playing as a team, giving everything we have. I'm always thankful for all your support. #GoLakers
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 6, 2014
But how long will Gasol wear a Lakers uniform?
“I don’t know anything,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I know nothing.”
The Lakers have talked for the past week about a possible deal that would entail Gasol going to the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Andrew Bynum returns to the Lakers. A deal could happen today or Tuesday so Bynum has time to clear waivers Friday when his $12.5 million contract becomes guaranteed.
The Lakers would immediately waive Bynum, a move coupled that could save the Lakers nearly $20 million in luxury taxes. But the Lakers remain firm in wanting assets, such as young players and/or draft picks. Per NBA rules, the deal would have to include at least another player to match Gasol’s contract this season worth $19.3 million.
“I’m sure it bothers them because they have family situations,” D’Antoni said. “I’m sure that plays on your mind. That’s not an easy thing . You’d like to avoid it, but it’s part of the business.”
Gasol has been down this path several times before, remaining linked in never-ending trade scenarios ever since the Lakers unsuccessfully shipped him over two years ago in the nixed Chris Paul deal. In the last three games, Gasol has 24.33 points on 46.7 percent shooting, 11 rebounds, 4.67 assists and 3.33 blocks, marking a sharp increase from his season-average of 15.6 points on a career-low 44.9 percent clip. Those all earned Gasol a Western Conference player of the week honors.
Yet, Lakers forward Nick Young suggested the ongoing uncertainty contributed to the team’s 137-115 loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
“I love Nick to death, but we can’t have excuses,” D’Antoni said. “What affects Pau shouldn’t affect anyone. That can’t happen. Everybody has to hone in and do their job. It’s too important what we’re doing. We can’t let anything affect us.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at email@example.com