“Standing ovation,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Wednesday. “This is a guy that was here that helped them win two championships. I think fans should show him the respect that he deserves.”
Gasol is having a great season with the Chicago Bulls; he was voted a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while averaging 18.3 points and 11.9 rebounds. He is also averaging 2.2 blocked shots a game, on pace for a career high.
He left the Lakers in July for less money from the Bulls, declining two Lakers offers — three years and $29 million or two years and $23 million — to take a three-year deal worth about $22.5 million.
“I think he’s rejuvenated,” Scott said. “He went there with a renewed sense of energy. Here in L.A., for whatever reason, I thought he was getting beat up a lot and I think it took a toll on him. I thought that was one of the main reasons that he decided to go to Chicago.”
Last season, Gasol found himself in a tug-of-war between his desire to be in the post and the perimeter-oriented schemes of former coach Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball offense, a battle that sometimes played out in the media.
Gasol, 34, had 23 points and 13 rebounds against the Lakers on Christmas Day in Chicago. The Bulls won with a strong fourth quarter, 113-93.