Pau Gasol relishes staying with Lakers; but believes he’ll have options in free agency

As if he unleashed the pent-up frustration stemmed from three years worth of trade scenarios that never materialized, Pau Gasol stayed on the Lakers’ practice court showing off an array of post moves against a defenseless dummy.

But as Gasol “murdered” the dummy as he joked afterwards, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti approached him with some somber news apparently delivered from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.

“Mitch wants to see you,” said Vitti. But considering Gasol remained on the practice court well past the Thursday’s trade deadline that expired at noon PST, Gasol didn’t fall for the joke.

“He’s been trying to have fun with it the last couple of days,” Gasol said with a smile afterwards. “It’s all good. We’re family here.”

So much that despite the Lakers dangling him in trade discussions for the third consecutive season, Gasol said he holds “no grudges or hard feelings.”

“That’s what I preferred, to continue to play with our team and fight through this type of season,” said Gasol, who believes he will play Friday when the Lakers (18-36) host the Boston Celtics (19-36) at Staples Center after nursing a strained right groin that sidelined him for the past seven games. “It’s an experience that’s fueling for your future. Not everything will work out great and not everything is going to work in your favor. Through adversity, you have to grow as a person.”

But will Gasol’s strong sentiments carry over to the offseason?

Gasol conceded the Lakers haven’t had any conversations with him about extending his $19.3 million contract that expires on July 1. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said “it’s an absolutely an option” that the Lakers will re-sign Gasol. But he added that it’s “unlikely” the Lakers will sign him to an extension because of the Lakers want to maintain financial flexibility.

Gasol also suggested he’ll have other options too.

“I’m pretty confident there will be,” Gasol said. “It’ll be nice to be in that position at least for a few days. Then I’ll be back in somebody else’s hands.”

But Gasol declined to go into what variables he will weigh.

“I’m just going to focus on finishing out strong with the year healthy and trying to help our team be the best it can be and compete every single game,” Gasol said. “That’s my mindset and will put me in a better position in the summer and offseason. When the point gets there, I’ll see what I got.”


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at

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