Pau Gasol shrugs off this trade report
Reporting from Minneapolis -- The trade rumors kept mixing around Pau Gasol, who became a trending topic Friday on Twitter after a basketball author erroneously reported the Lakers were trading him.
As of Friday, though, the Lakers weren’t expecting to move Gasol before Thursday’s trade deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation. They’ve wanted a young star in return and haven’t heard anything to their liking.
That could change over the next several days, though that was definitely Gasol in a Lakers uniform against the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 12 points and taking 11 rebounds in the Lakers’ 105-102 victory Friday.
“People already assumed that I was basically gone,” said Gasol, who even heard from well-wishers on his Twitter account. “There was some ‘Thank you for your services’ and ‘Good luck’ and all that.”
Fans were responding to a Twitter post from Roland Lazenby, who once wrote a book about Jerry West.
“It seems we’ll soon be getting news that Gasol has been traded,” Lazenby wrote Friday afternoon. “No details confirmed, but he’s apparently gone.”
Gasol shrugged it off.
“I said to myself, if there was anything serious about to happen, I would get a call from a significant person and I didn’t get that,” Gasol said. “Anybody can start up rumors. They start up small and they come out big. I can’t control certain things and I’m just going to continue to do my job as best as I can. The less I hear about it, the better, but March 15 is around the corner, so one way or another I’ll be here or I’ll be … who knows?”
Gasol was supposed to play in Houston this season after the Lakers agreed to trade him to the Rockets as part of a three-way trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers in December. Everybody knows that didn’t happen. Paul ended up with the Clippers, Gasol still with the Lakers.
He is tired of the rumors but they didn’t stop him from getting some sleep a few hours before Friday’s game.
“I took a nice nap,” he said. “I slept like a good hour and 15 [minutes].”
Another Lakers player can’t wait for the trade deadline to pass.
“I think my guys will be more relieved and play with the weight off of their shoulder,” Kobe Bryant said.
If the Lakers wanted to be a success story this season, center Andrew Bynum couldn’t keep “loafing around” in a game, which he guiltily acknowledged doing after the surprising loss Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Bynum looked more alert Friday against Minnesota, scoring 26 points on 11-for-15 shooting and taking 10 rebounds.
His seven-turnover game against Washington was bound to happen to a player with ever-increasing responsibilities, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said.
“I don’t know if they ever went to Andrew before [this season],” Brown said. “During crunch time, it always seemed like Lamar [Odom] and Pau were on the floor instead of Andrew. To me, that’s almost like Andrew was an afterthought to a certain degree.
“We’re going to him now, we’re relying on him, we’re counting on him, so he’s making a transition from what he was to what we’re expecting him … or hoping he can be now. He’s just going through some natural growing stuff.”
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