Not the tightest of bros. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBA/Getty Images)
As I noted earlier Tuesday, Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol has turned in consecutive strong outings with Dwight Howard sidelined by a shoulder injury, averaging 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in nearly 39 minutes per game at the center spot in back-to-back wins. The 32-year-old Spaniard will get another chance to log heavy minutes at the five at Barclays Center on Tuesday night, as the Lakers will face the Brooklyn Nets without Howard and suspended forward Metta World Peace. Given how Gasol has bristled on multiple occasions about coming off the bench to begin games and sitting on the bench to finish them under Mike D'Antoni, it's a safe bet he prefers the present arrangement ... but, apparently, more starts, more minutes and more touches haven't totally wiped the slate clean between player and coach.
In an interview with T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol said that while he's sat down with D'Antoni to discuss his role shift, "I don't think it's translated to an understanding" and that their relationship has "probably even gone a little backwards." That, as Gasol said, casts his future in forum blue and gold into doubt:
"If this coach stays and Dwight Howard remains with the Lakers," I asked, "what about you?"
"It would be hard for me to deal with another season knowing the facts you just mentioned," said Gasol, 32 and with one year remaining on his contract.
"So do you ask for a fresh start elsewhere?"
"It's a possibility," he said, "yes."
It's a possibility for the offseason, that is — Gasol told Simers he wouldn't spoil for a swap before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, because he's "not a quitter" and "not going to take the easy way out." Which sounds about right, if only because "repeatedly making public pronouncements about how you don't like the way things are going" sure doesn't seem like it's designed to make anything easier.Read More »from Pau Gasol: ‘It’s a possibility’ I’ll ask for trade if D’Antoni, Dwight back with Lakers next year