Pau Gasol may never wear a Lakers uniform in a game again.
The Lakers (25-50) ruled him out for Friday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (44-31) at Staples Center because of continuous symptoms stemmed from vertigo and they have no assurances on whether he will play at any of the seven remaining games. The Lakers have not formally shut Gasol down for the season, but they do not know his status for Sunday against the Clippers in a designated road game at Staples Center.
Gasol sat out of the Lakers’ loss Wednesday in Sacramento and remained confined to the team hotel. He then flew back to Los Angeles on the team’s charter plan after missing five games because of the illness.
This has marked a rough season for Gasol where he has missed 15 games because of a variety of ailments, including an upper respiratory infection (three games) and a strained right groin (seven games). Gasol openly shared his philosophical differences with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni about his offensive role and his small-ball philosophy. Although Gasol leads the Lakers in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game, he has shot 48 percent from the field, the second lowest mark of his 12-year NBA career.
Gasol, 33, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and will likely take a paycut from the $19.3 million he makes this season. If this marks Gasol’s last year after surviving endless rounds of trade discussions for the past three seasons, his last game with the Lakers entailed a nine-point, four-rebound effort in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to Portland.
Afterwards, Gasol suggested he had returned too early and still felt dizziness on the court. Those symptoms turned for the worse once he arrived in Sacramento.
In addition to Kobe Bryant’s season-ending left knee injury, the Lakers have plenty on the injured reserve list, including Steve Nash (back), Xavier Henry (right knee) and Jordan Farmar (right groin).