Former Lakers big man Pau Gasol doesn’t miss media scrutiny in L.A.

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol/Photo courtesy of Chicago Bulls, NBA.com

 

Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls on Thursday morning talked about his emotional return to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center. He spoke of the memories he’ll realize once he steps onto the floor and all sorts of warm and fuzzy things.

He doesn’t miss the media scrutiny of Los Angeles, however. He made no bones about that.

“Obviously, when things were going well here, it was exceptional,” said Gasol, who spent seven seasons with the Lakers and helped them win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010. “They say L.A. and New york are two of the top cities, the best cities to win at. But they’re probably two of the tougher cities to lose and struggle because you get so much coverage that media have to create stories. And sometimes the bad or negative stories are more attractive and so I felt like there was always searching for something bad or negative to talk about. Some drama that was created whether it was some truth to it or not.

“It was just a matter of talking about things when things were not going well, so Chicago so far has been great, very positive. Even when we had that six game skid where we lost six out of eight, people were still positive , media was still positive.”

The Bulls (30-17) lost six of eight from Jan. 7 to Jan. 19. They are in fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Gasol, a 7-foot post, is averaging 18.3 points and a career-high 11.9 rebounds and is averaging 15.4 rebounds over his past five games.

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Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak believes Kobe Bryant returns, has “no regrets” over extension

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Amid all the question marks surrounding Kobe Bryant’s recent right shoulder injury and what would mark his third major rehabilitation for three consecutive years, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak sounded adamant on at least two things.

Bryant will return for the 2015-16 season to finish out the last year of his contract worth $25 million.

“I don’t think he’s retiring,” said Kupchak who spoke with Bryant on Thursday morning. “He said he’s looking forward to training camp. That’s what we expect.”

Kupchak also said he feels “100 percent” convinced the Lakers made the right decision in signing Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million extension on Nov., 2013. Telling words considering Bryant tore his left Achilles tendon eight months earlier and then suffered a season-ending left knee injury a month later after playing only six games. In his 19th NBA season, Bryant averaged 22.3 points albeit on a career-low 37.3 percent shooting in 35 games before tearing his right rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an ailment Kupchak described as a “devastating injury.”

“We have no regrets at all,” Kupchak said on Bryant’s extension. “Because he is worth every penny of it.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young to miss game against Chicago Bulls

"Lakers' Nick Young fouls Portland's Wesley Matthews during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 11, 2015.  Portland defeated the Lakers 106-94. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) "

“Lakers’ Nick Young fouls Portland’s Wesley Matthews during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 11, 2015. Portland defeated the Lakers 106-94. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “

Lakers forward Nick Young will sit out Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls (30-17) at Staples Center after missing the previous contest because of a sprained right ankle.

Young sprained his right ankle during Monday’s practice, an injury that caused him to sit out Tuesday’s loss to Washington and run only on a treadmill during Wednesday’s practice. But Young will travel with the Lakers for their four-game trip beginning in New York on Sunday.

Before his injury, Young went scoreless on two field-goal attempts in only nine minutes in Sunday’s loss after Scott disliked his body language and overall effort.

Young has averaged 14.1 points per game, but he has shot at only a 37.3 percent clip.

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TWC SportsNet panel previews Pau Gasol’s return


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Lakers star Kobe Bryant out for season after shoulder surgery


Lakers’ Byron Scott argues fans should give Pau Gasol a “standing ovation”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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TWC SportsNet panel previews Pau Gasol’s return

Former Lakers center Pau Gasol returns to Staples Center with his new team, the Chicago Bulls, for the first time Thursday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Former Lakers center Pau Gasol returns to Staples Center with his new team, the Chicago Bulls, for the first time Thursday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Plenty of emotions swirl around the Lakers these days, and they do not just involve frustration over persistent losing and Kobe Bryant’s season-ending right shoulder injury.

Anticipation and sentimental emotions await for when Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol will play against the Lakers (12-24) tonight at Staples Center for the first time since leaving this offseason through free agency. Gasol already met against the Lakers on Christmas Day in Chicago, posting 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 113-93 win over his former team. But the circumstances in this game are different.

Time Warner Cable’s Access SportsNet where host Jaime Maggio, analyst Dave Miller and I preview Gasol’s return and outline what kind of reception he will receive after helping the Lakers to two NBA championships in 2009 and 2010.

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Lakers star Kobe Bryant out for season after shoulder surgery


Lakers’ Byron Scott argues fans should give Pau Gasol a “standing ovation”

Chicago’s Pau Gasol to square off against Lakers with mixed emotions

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Byron Scott said Pau Gasol should get a “standing ovation” from Lakers fans

Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol goes in for the dunk as Jimmy Butler (21) and Andre Drummond (0) watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol goes in for the dunk as Jimmy Butler (21) and Andre Drummond (0) watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Ever since the NBA released its schedule last August, Pau Gasol immediately zeroed in on this upcoming date. He will return to Los Angeles for Thursday’s game against the Lakers, which will mark the first time he faced his former team at Staples Center since leaving them this offseason through free agency.

Gasol anticipated he will feel more emotional than when the Lakers visited the Bulls in Chicago for a Christmas Day matchup. Lakers coach Byron Scott sounded pretty confident the fans at Staples Center will feel just as sentimental and will greet him with a “standing ovation” for obvious reasons.

“This is a guy who was here that helped them win two championships,” said Scott, referring to the Lakers’ title runs in 2009 and 2010. “He deserves that. I thought Pau was a great player when he was here and is still a great player and having a lot of success in Chicago. Fans should show him the respect he deserves.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young listed as questionable against Chicago

The Lakers' Nick Young reacts after sinking a 3-point shot during their game against the Heat at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Nick Young reacts after sinking a 3-point shot during their game against the Heat at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers forward Nick Young only completed treadmill work during Wednesday’s practice, leading coach Byron Scott to provide a factual albeit biting assessment on how much Young’s sprained right ankle has healed. What is Young’s status for when the Lakers (12-34) host the Chicago Bulls (30-17) at Staples Center?

“Questionable,” Scott said. “Like everything regarding Nick Young, it’s questionable.”

Young missed the Lakers’ 98-92 loss on Tuesday to the Washington Wizards after spraining his right ankle during Monday’s practice. Before that, Young played only nine minutes in Sunday’s loss to Houston after Scott became upset with his effort and body language. Young has averaged 14.1 points per game, but he has shot at only a 37.3 percent clip.

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Lakers’ Byron Scott hopes he can play Kobe Bryant in 20-minute range next season

Losing streak hits nine games for Los Angeles Lakers after 98-92 setback vs. Washington Wizards

Paul Pierce sympathetic toward Kobe Bryant, his ‘NBA brother’

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Byron Scott hopes he can play Kobe Bryant in 20-minute range next season

os Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, right, talks to Kobe Bryant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

os Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, right, talks to Kobe Bryant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

So many unanswered questions surround Kobe Bryant’s future.

The most pressing: the results surrounding his surgery on Wednesday to treat a torn right rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Bryant was scheduled to have surgery at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, but the Lakers won’t have the results until likely in the afternoon. Then, the Lakers are expected to know officially that Bryant will not play for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

“In my mind he’s coming back next year,” Scott said, “unless he tells me something different.”

So with the expectation that Bryant will play in final year of his contract that will pay him $25 million, how does Scott envision his role will become next season?

“For Kobe, play him at mid to low 20’s minute wise,” Scott said. “But you have to have some horses to be able to do that.”

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Lakers’ Wayne Ellington showed aggressive mentality in 98-92 loss to Wizards

Wayne Ellington of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a move to the hoop against the Washington Wizards during their game January 27, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Wayne Ellington of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a move to the hoop against the Washington Wizards during their game January 27, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

The losing became too unbearable. The Lakers lost their primary scorers and shot creators through absences both prolonged (Kobe Bryant) and temporary (Nick Young). Evidence suggested the endless spiral of negativity will not end soon.

But with the Lakers treating the remainder of their 2014-15 season with hopes to avoid becoming the worst team in L.A. franchise history and develop future talent, Wayne Ellington provided a case study on what a player’s potential can become when given an opportunity.

The Lakers outcome may have stayed the same, their 98-92 loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday at Staples Center marking the first time the franchise lost nine consecutive games since the 1993-94 season. Yet, Ellington’s career-high 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting, three assists and three steals as the Lakers’ starting shooting guard highlights a jack-of-all-trades effort partly because of a simple mindset he carried once he stepped on the floor.

“I made up my mind that I’m going to come out aggressive,” Ellington said. “We’re a team that needs to be hungry.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young having MRI on right ankle

Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles while chatting with youngsters during the Nick Young Youth Summer Basketball Camp at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, CA July 18, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)"

Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles while chatting with youngsters during the Nick Young Youth Summer Basketball Camp at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, CA July 18, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)”

The acronym that best describes Nick Young no longer involves his self-given nickname, “IDM,’ standing for “I Don’t Miss.”

Instead, that involves “MRI,” which Young is having on Tuesday after spraining his right ankle during Monday’s practice. It appears unlikely Young will play when the Lakers (12-33) play the Washington Wizards (30-15) on Tuesday at Staples Center. But the Lakers will provide an official evaluation on Young’s moderately sprained ankle once his MRI results are available.

Young’s likely absence will fuel his frustration over playing against the Wizards where he played in his first 5 1/2 NBA seasons from 2007-2012 before he was traded to the Clippers. Young said this season he “hates” the Wizards, though that lately seems to involve the least of his worries.

Young played only nine minutes and sat out the entire second half of the Lakers’ loss on Sunday to the Houston Rockets because coach Byron Scott did not like his body language and effort. Young has also shot 32.2 percent through 13 games in January.

RELATED:

Wizards’ Paul Pierce admires Kobe Bryant’s longevity, trash talking

Kobe Bryant to undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday, putting season in doubt

Lakers’ Nick Young eager to fill Kobe Bryant’s role, but how about his recent benching & injury?

Follow L.A. Daily News Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Wizards’ Paul Pierce admires Kobe Bryant’s longevity, trash talking

The two men competed in physically vicious and mentally exhausting battles as they strove for NBA championships. Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce have continuously bantered over the years anytime they step on the floor.

But even if the Lakers will likely forever view Pierce as a member of the hated Boston Celtics, the Washington Wizards’ forward showed his sentimental side as he processed Bryant needing to have surgery on his right shoulder in what will likely become a season-ending injury.

“It always saddens me. Kobe is one of my NBA brothers,” Pierce said on Tuesday after morning shootaround at Staples Center, hours before the Lakers (12-33) will host the Wizards (30-15) here. “For him to go down with injury, it always hurts.

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