In a week that mirrors his own version of Groundhog Day, Pau Gasol will spend the next 48 hours weathering trade scenarios that may or may not happen.
In other words, he’ll experience what he’s gone through the past three years ever since the Lakers unsuccessfully traded him to Houston nearly three years ago. When the Lakers (18-35) host the Rockets (36-17) tonight at Staples Center, it could mark Gasol’s last game wearing purple and gold presuming his strained right groin heals enough for him to play on the eve before the NBA’s trade deadline.
Then again, Gasol sensed the finality coming plenty of times only for it never to happen.
“It fills up a lot of pages and [expletive] airtime,” an exasperated Gasol said Tuesday after the Lakers’ first practice since the All-Star break. “It’s something that’s there and there’s potential that it might happen. Who knows? We might be saying that it’s been great to see you guys [in the media] and we’ll see you around. But hopefully that won’t be the case because it’s always hard and I think if it ever happened, it would be tough.”
The Lakers talked with Cleveland last month about possibly sending Gasol to the Cavaliers. But the deal never happened because Cleveland offered no draft picks. The Lakers talked with Phoenix recently about similar prospects, but talks slowed down after Gasol’s injury. The Lakres have no interest in shedding ties just for the sake of ridding themselves of Gasol’s $19.3 million contract and the ensuing luxury taxes.
“Hopefully it won’t happen. But it’s a possibility and something I’ve alwys ythtough about it,” Gasol said. “It’s been like that for a while. You get close to the deadline, it gets more intense.”
“At some point, things changes. Life is all about change and adjusting to the new situation and reality.”
Even if Gasol survives yet another trade scenario, it’s unlikely the Lakers will retain him once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Gasol also conceded the Lakers haven’t had any talks with him about securing an extension.
“It makes it easier for me,” Gasol said. “I can wait until that moment comes and then see what I got. I’ll finally be holding the pen, not somebody else. So, I look forward to that, but at the same time, I also look forward to finishing the season strong and healthy and giving everything I got.”