Pau Gasol is going to say all the right things.
He isn’t going to bash the Los Angeles Lakers, nor is he going to publicly put them through hell — which is kind of ironic. Despite, the problems that he’s dealt with in Los Angeles (most recently with Mike D’Antoni), Gasol isn’t afraid to say that he still loves the organization and would like to return to the team.
If they would welcome him back. That’s the key.
After all, have you really met anyone that embraces change all that much? Probably not. Those people are few and further in between. And Gasol isn’t any different. There’s no question where his heart is right now.
Gasol is a pros-pro. He knows that the NBA is a business. And the fact that the Lakers have dragged his name through trade rumors for the past couple of seasons, and the fact that he’s still showing admiration towards the organization, says a lot about who Gasol is and what he stands for.
But, it could also be his potential downfall. There is such a thing as not being selfish enough — and if Gasol isn’t too careful, he’ll fall right down that rabbit hole.
With all that said, there’s always two sides to a story and, usually, it’s always a two-way street. It’s not different with any free agency decision. Gasol can’t re-sign with the Lakers if the Lakers don’t want to re-sign Gasol — and vice versa.
Gasol knows that he won’t find himself in a bind. He knows that he’s going to have options. The Lakers — on the other hand — are not going to be as fortunate. At least, not right now.
All indications seem to point to the summer of 2015 as the “big” summer for Los Angeles. That’s the free agency period when they’re really going to dip the company ink in the free agency pool. Not this offseason, which could both help and hurt Gasol.
But what should the Lakers do about Pau?
Should they re-sign a soon-to-be 34-year-old power forward in the midst of the beginning of a rebuilding situation? Or should they let Gasol walk freely, and look to put all their eggs in the 2014 NBA draft and the 2015 free agency period?
Quite honestly, I really don’t know what the Lakers are going to do. I don’t think anyone really knows at the moment.
However, the educated answer would be to make a clean cut with the past. However, with Steve Nash still on the books for next season, that’s just something the Lakers won’t be able to do. There’s also that whole Kobe Bryant insane extension. I suppose that isn’t that bad, assuming that Kobe has been the Lakers brand for the past decade and change.
For all intents and purposes, Gasol and the Lakers need to both move on. They had great moments together and won a couple rings. It doesn’t get much better than that. Heck, Gasol even evolved from silly putty to one of the better power forwards in this league. Most importantly, he found a home in LA — which isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds.
The Lakers and Gasol have a great opportunity to leave on semi-good terms, depending on how you look at it.
Gasol isn’t going to suffer from the Lakers not offering a contract and the Lakers are not going to suffer from not re-signing Gasol, at least you wouldn’t assume they would.
The beauty of sports is when great athletes don’t wear out their time on a certain team. And Gasol has the perfect opportunity to avoid that. The last thing I’d want to see is Lakers fans bashing Gasol (more than they already do), complaining about how he’s not performing up to his contract.
Because we know that if Gasol re-signs, that’s where this is heading.
For the sake of everyone, walk Gasol. Walk.