Pau Gasol oozes his friendly personality with every ways imaginable.
He usually bears a bright smile. Gasol frequently pats teammates, team officials and reporters on the back and shoulder. He offers sympathetic ears to those in need and a hearty laugh to those with joy.
But Gasol apparently doesn’t plan to extend that courtesy to Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who’s making his first appearance at Staples Center since the Lakers fired him last season.
“I’m usually pretty focused when I start off the game,” said Gasol, whose status remains a game-time decision tonight agains the Cavaliers. “I don’t really talk to coaches or players unless they’re really close to me. It’s not a plan I don’t usually do that with any coach really.”
It’s not surprising Gasol doesn’t have much affection for Brown.
Brown coached the Lakers in the 2011-12 season when Gasol faced a reduced role as a facilitator to accommodate Andrew Bynum’s growth. Gasol, among plenty of other teammates, often tired of Brown’s long practices, film sessions and morning shootarounds. The Lakers also felt information overload when they tried learning Brown’s Princeton-run offense last season that contributed to a 1-4 start before his ultimate firing.
“I like Mike as a guy and his discipline and dedication to the game and his job,” Gasol said. “That didn’t quite fit here.”
Yet, Gasol could’ve had a second stint with Brown.
The Lakers talked up through last week about a possible deal that would entail Gasol going to the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Andrew Bynum returns to the Lakers. But it never materialized. The Cavaliers acquired All-Star forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls for Bynum, three draft picks and the right to swap first round picks in 2015.The Lakers didn’t want to make the move unless they received assets in young talent and draft picks, even if the move coupled with Bynum being waived could’ve saved the Lakers up to $20 million in luxury taxes.
“It would’ve been different and weird. It would’ve been a process,” Gasol said. “Just like it happened with any other team and then to come quickly back home. It was my home for so long. It would’ve been weird. It’s something that didn’t happen and something that might happen. But it hasn’t.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org