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Friday, December 21st, 2012 at 10:15 am  |  65 responses

Mike D’Antoni Promised Pau Gasol He Won’t Bench Him at Crunch Time Anymore


Instead of sniping at each other through the media, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and power forward Pau Gasol had dinner to hash things out. According to the LA Times, D’Antoni assured Gasol that he would no longer bench him at crunchtime (something that has infuriated the Spaniard this season.): “Gasol said he wanted the ball in the post instead of on the perimeter and also asked to play in crunch time, among the topics discussed with D’Antoni at a Manhattan Beach restaurant. ‘It was to make sure we’re in the same boat,’ Gasol said. ‘We’re trying to reach the same goal. Let’s communicate. Hopefully, we can meet halfway on some points.’ D’Antoni told Gasol he would no longer be benched in crucial situations, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Gasol has been benched three times in the fourth quarter since D’Antoni was hired, including the last 2 minutes 36 seconds of the Lakers 101-100 victory Tuesday over Charlotte. It was Gasol’s first game after sitting out eight in a row because of tendinitis in his knees. [...] D’Antoni was the initiator of the meeting, suggesting they get dinner, something he would do with players individually from time to time. Was he making sure he wasn’t ‘losing’ Gasol? ‘I didn’t think I was,’ D’Antoni said. ‘But I wanted to make sure he knew what my vision was for him and the team and see if that’s all good. Then we’ll tweak it or not tweak it. I thought he was great and gave me a lot of insight into a lot of things. It was more of a feeling-out process and what makes him feel comfortable. He’s a very intelligent basketball player. Why wouldn’t I get his opinion about a lot of things?’ Gasol’s numbers have dipped significantly this season. He is averaging 12.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, and shooting only 41.3%. Gasol didn’t talk about increased touches with D’Antoni but, rather, specific places he wanted the ball. He doesn’t feel comfortable with it so far from the basket, the norm for him in D’Antoni’s offense. ‘We didn’t even really talk about [number of] touches because I don’t believe in that,’ D’Antoni said. ‘But I believe in him being involved.’”

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  • Fat Lever

    So if Gasol is having a horrible game to that point, and say Jordan Hill(for example purposes only), is having a more effective game, he’s still going to put Gasol in because of that promise? Seems D’Antoni has backed himself into a corner here.

    At this point, D’Antoni should be going with whoever is going to help them win the game. W’s are a premium right now for the Lakers, it’s not like they are the Thunder at 21-5.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    you know what… imma just stay quiet, and continue to watch this laker team DROWN :-

  • shockexchange

    INTERPRETATION: “Gimp I won’t flog you in public anymore but you still have to stay down in the cellar and out of sight.”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so none of you actually read this?
    .
    D’Antoni and Gasol discussed what D’Antoni invisioned, and what makes Gasol comfortable. They are trying to find a happy medium. In the discussion, Gasol mentioned concerns about being benched in late game situations. D’Antoni assured him that wouldn’t happen again – which makes sense. The teams 3rd best player expressed that he wants to play late in games, and the coach said he will make a conscious effort to make that happen. If this were, say, Brooklyn, and Joe Johnson was getting benched by Avery Johnson for MarShon Brooks, would you guys feel the same way you do here? or the exact opposite?

  • Max

    Are they dating?

  • Loubert

    Kiss of death…

  • spit hot fiyah

    they should buy a race horse together, i heard ot helps with these types of relationships

  • RallyMonkeyUSA

    Im proud of Gasol’s recent comments in the media. In the 4 years he’s been here, this is the FIRST time he has defended himself. Lakers fans are behind Gasol on this one. He should be on the block. He’s a top 3 center in all of basketball and a 2 time champion. D’Antoni needs to adjust his schemes and not visa-versa. I can feel the momentum changing in our favor now. The players are starting to communicate better on D. The Nash return will give a big boost to the team’s psyche.

  • RallyMonkeyUSA

    I think your setting yourself up nicely for a major disappointment.

  • Seth

    Rumor has it the two dined at Chipotle. Gasol is expected to miss the next game with food poisoning.

  • LakeShow

    Interesting read on NBA .com:
    “Last week, we noted how the Thunder and Knicks rank among the top four offenses since the league started counting turnovers in 1977. Well, before this season, the top five offenses over the last 35 years all had the same point guard: Steve Nash. Whether Nash was playing with Dirk Nowitzki or playing for D’Antoni, he ran the most efficient offense in the league.

    In fact, for nine straight seasons, Nash ran the most efficient offense in the league, a run that ended two seasons ago.”

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    He should defend himself more.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Don’t think it’s going to matter much when the playoffs get here. Unless they improve defensively, the Grizzlies, Clippers, Spurs and Thunder are much better teams and Nash’s return won’t put them on a level equal to any of those teams on the defensive end. The Grizzlies are too tough. The Clippers are too deep. The Spurs are too experienced. The Thunder are too young and explosive. I need to see how the offense runs when their top 4 play together for a while before I’m ready to say that Nash is the answer for all of their problems.

  • Anthony

    I think benching Pau like that is rediculous. As if it’s his fault they are not winning. They didn’t win with him gone either did they? I don’t understand coaches having a “system” anyway. I would think an NBA coach has enough knowledge of the game to look at his players and then figure out a way (“system”) that will get the best out of them. It should not be the other way around if you ask me… But what do I know… I dont understand Laker management either.. Putting a coach in there that (apparently) knows only one “system”, which does NOT compliment their players!

  • shockexchange

    Hat trick?

  • Redd

    What a good coach..instead of doing what he finds best, he’s adjusting a game plan to appease lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    again, let’s ignore this. stuff that makes sense has no place here

  • Trojan Conquest

    I’d slide Gasol over to the Center spot, and bench Howard during crunch time. This will take away the “Hack-A-Howard”, since he can’t make free throws.

  • shockexchange

    The next thing you hear from D12 would be “Hello Brooklyn … How ya doin’”

  • shockexchange

    Nash was soooooo “efficient” in Dallas, and that “efficiency” led to soooooo many wins that the Mavs let him go. Not to change the subject but, “the sky is blue.”

  • The Philosopher

    We’ve seen the best of Pau Gasol.

  • LakeShow

    He had his first practice. Says he’s feelin good and ready for Christmas day for sure.
    This has been a long time coming now, i’m ready to see what Nashty can do.

  • LakeShow

    You could have said that 3 years ago. He’s still a top PF when healthy.

  • LakeShow

    He’s is going to be playing center starting in the 2nd quarter.
    Dwight will probably be benched before Gasol now, but I doubt either of them will be benched.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    from 2001 through 2004 the Mavericks had the best offense in the NBA and made a Western Conference Finals.
    .
    You are an idiot.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    and they only let him go because they thought he PHYSICALLY couldn’t keep playing at the level he was playing at because of his back.
    .
    you are an idiot.
    .
    and you are ignorant.

  • The Philosopher

    True, indeed.

  • shockexchange

    And after another vicious attack against his person, the Shock Exchange stands corrected. You are not spewing facts that lead to nowhere. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    maybe don’t say condescending sh*t like “Not to change the subject but, “the sky is blue.”" and people like me won’t treat you like a dumbass. i will show you the respect you show me. i’m just more direct with my distaste.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Me too, man up, play hard, show some passion. Like the Gasol from game 7 finals or game 7 Denver. Or the bloody gold medal game. That Gasol was a beast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    This Laker team can do it. It’ll be tough, but all the four teams you mentioned have huge flaws. The Spurs are experienced? Well so is Kobe, Gasol, MWP, Nash, Jamison, Dwight… Grizzlies tough? So is Kobe, MWP, Nash, Hill.

  • shockexchange

    They let him go because they didn’t think he was “efficient” enough to lead them to a chip.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    F*ck you must be excited about Santa.
    .
    Just google what Mark Cuban said and stop being such an uber troll

  • LakeShow

    I remember that.

    I even remember that the Mav’s really wanted to keep Nash, because he was so good for them. They offered him a 4 year(as opposed to a 5 or 6 year contract due to his age (30)) contract worth close to 40 million as I recall.

  • shockexchange

    Yeah, that’s the nbk the Shock Exchange remembers … citing Mark Cuban and “people within / part of the Cavaliers organization” to prove his point. I’m sure Mark Cuban would never hedge for the media. If the Mavs really wanted to keep Nash, they would have gotten the deal done. They felt Nash had taken them as far as he could. When he went to Phoenix, it was like he has been banished to Siberia.

  • LakeShow

    Your not viewing it from the “right” angle.

  • LakeShow

    They just accidentally offered him a 4 year contract huh?

    How are the fairy’s doing today in LahLah land?

  • roscoe

    this sounds like a PR move to me before Pau gets moved out of LAL

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    The Spurs’ core has been together for a decade. They’ve won together multiple times. Kobe and Gasol have won. Dwight’s only won individual awards and an Eastern Conference championship that he probably wouldn’t have won if KG had been playing for the Celtics in those playoffs. Nash, Dwight and Gasol have yet to create any kind of chemistry. Less than 1 season of playing together compared to a decade that includes 3 championships won together for Duncan, Parker and Ginobili? Popovich has coached this team for 16 seasons. Same system. Same everything. Best organization in basketball when it comes to running a system and finding guys who fit the system. D’Antoni has yet to figure out what to do with this Lakers team. Kobe and Gasol won 2 championships together but Gasol has basically been pushed out in favor of Dwight. A guy he and Kobe beat for one of the 2 championships they won together. Kobe, MWP, Nash…none of them are big guys. You have a problem when your tough guys are wing players. Hill isn’t really worth mentioning because he wouldn’t do much of anything against Randolph and Marc Gasol or Duncan.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    If they bench Dwight Howard in crunch time consistently, he and his ego will be moving on to a new city and organization next summer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Are you trying to say Duncan and GASOL are tough guy’s LMAO? Calling MWP a wing player, while true, undervalues his toughness. He could easily throw down with any of the above mentioned. And of course the Spurs are more experienced, but the Lakers are more talented. And they have the Black Mamba.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you are kidding right?

    .

    i mean i know you are a professional troll and saying outrageous stuff is kind of your M.O. but you are kidding right?

    .http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/2004-era-mark-cuban-didn-t-think-steve-194533060.html

    .http://mavsblog.dallasnews.com/2011/09/steve-nash-mark-cuban-didnt-re-sign-me-b.html/

    .

    it’s well documented.

    .Cuban didn’t want to offer a multi year deal to a PG on the wrong side of 30, with back problems. The most he offered was a 4 year, 36 million dollar contract (9 million a year annually), with a partial 5th year (only i think it was 3 million guaranteed) and the Suns offered 6 years 63 million. ———-

    .
    so, after the Suns paid over 10 million a year for 6 years for a +30 year old PG who lacked any supreme athletic ability to begin with, we have begun to know (8 years later), that Phoenix training staff (led by Aaron Nelson) as the best training staff in the NBA.

    .
    funny how that’s all media spin.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yep you are correct. the thing was Cuban thought there was no chance he would even be a serviceable NBA player in 5 years. His training staff vs Phoenix Training Staff. That’s the difference really. One is the best in the business and can fix “lost causes” – the other? isn’t.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    “And they have the Black Mamba”…if this was 2007, that would be enough. But it’s not anymore. The Spurs have Tim Duncan, the best PF in the history of basketball and the man who, at worst, is on the same level with Kobe as being the best player since Jordan retired. Talent wins nothing without chemistry. The Lakers have none. The Spurs have plenty. Duncan and Marc Gasol are tougher than Pau and Hill. Dwight is physically imposing but Tim has way too many moves for him or any of the other bigs on the Lakers roster. MWP is tough, sure. But last time I checked, if anyone knows him, it’s the guy who went into the stands with him to fight in Detroit…Stephen Jackson who happens to play with the Spurs. He’s already won a championship with the Spurs. And he may get another one this season.

  • LakeShow

    You meant to say: Co Sign shockexchange.

  • LakeShow

    Your actually speaking as if physical MMA style battles will occur on the NBA court… WTH?

    The Spurs run nothing close to the offense they use to run, don’t know where you got that idea.

    Gasol has tendinitis and has been declining for a couple years. There is no pushing out, only stepping down with injuries.

    Your judging a team that has yet to be on the court together… Which your free to do. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Carry on.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I don’t think Brooklyn is the only team in play if he leaves LA. The Mavs will be there too.

  • LakeShow

    “”And they have the Black Mamba”…if this was 2007, that would be enough. But it’s not anymore.”

    Your right about it not being 2007 anymore… Your wrong about Kobe Bryant’s game declining in any sort of an obvious fashion. He’s averaging roughly the same points, rebounds, assists, steals. He’s shooting better than ever before…
    I mean what can I say except for the obvious facts that refute what your saying.

    Carry on.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    When did I judge them? I specifically said that they haven’t played together yet for a good amount of time whereas the Spurs core has been together for a decade. I’m taking the team that has proven 3 times that they have the formula to win a championship over the team who just got together and a coach who just arrived. The last time a team came together in 1 season and won a championship was the Celtics in 07-08. They were younger and they fit perfectly with the right coach.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, but we all know he’s resigning in LA.

  • shockexchange

    The PG who ran “the most efficient offense in the history of the NBA” and Cuban had reservations about re-signing him because he was 30 yrs old and lacked supreme athletic ability? Yeah, that’s media spin. Cuban didn’t think the Nash/Dirk combo could get them past the WCF, but Cuban didn’t want to say it publicly. This convo is the Shock Exchange’s sly way of saying that Nash’s “efficient offense” may be fun to watch, but it won’t necessarily lead to a chip. Cuban proved that a decade ago when he let Nash walk.

  • LakeShow

    “When did I judge them?”
    ——————————-

    “Don’t think it’s going to matter much when the playoffs get here.”
    ———————————————————————————–

    When did the Spurs last prove that they could do it all together and against what competition?

    Spurs are always said to be in the hunt, but when you come home with nothing to eat hunt after hunt…

    Gasol and Kobe have proved it more recently.

    They have a better center and a better PG than when they won too. They just have a lesser coach.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Kobe’s game hasn’t declined in any obvious fashion since 2007? Wow lol. if that were true, he’d still be the best player in the league…which he clearly isn’t. Ridiculous. Kobe’s FG% has been declining as the season has gone on. His explosiveness is nowhere near where it was in 07 even with the surgery. When you have to shoot more and more to score, it’s a sign that you’re losing it. Since 08-09, his FG% has gotten worse each season. He started shooting about 50% this season but he’s now at 48% and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to worsen. All you ever have to support your point of view is the points stat. Your favorite stat when it comes to Kobe is points. He could be shooting 40% and you’d still be talking about how many points he’s scoring.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    You still didn’t say when I judged them. Probably because I didn’t. The Spurs have had no turnover in their core. The Lakers two best players aren’t who they used to be. Kobe’s not who he used to be (regardless of what you think), Gasol isn’t what he used to be, Odom is gone, and MWP isn’t capable of stopping any of the top notch wing players anymore. They have a better PG and a better center, true. And that would be great if Kobe and Gasol were as good as they were 3 seasons ago when they last won. But they’re not.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Given what happened last season with him, I’m not believing anything until the contract is signed.

  • LakeShow

    “Don’t think it’s going to matter much when the playoffs get here.”

    That’s a judgement… And that’s fine, but it’s a judgement.

    Your right KB is not what he use to be. Neither is any player in thier 30′s. They adapt their game.(If their good) He hasn’t taken a major step back in anyway offensively. His defense isn’t as good, but he can still show out for stretches.

    The Lakers 2nd best player(arguably their best) is Dwight not Pau. And their most important player hasn’t played with his favorite coach yet. Artest can guard Melo, Durant, Bron, Gay as well as anyone else outside of a few of the best.

  • shockexchange

    You’re right, Horry Jr has declined, though it has been masked by his scoring average. The key to his season has been (i) his shooting % was higher than normal, though it has dropped recently to around 48%, (ii) he leads the L in FG attemps (21/game) and (iii) he is taking more free throws than anyone in the L except James Harden and D12. Horry Jr is averaging about 9 FT’s per game, the second most in his career. Yet, he doesn’t play with the same reckless abandon as he did when he was younger. It’s a long-winded way of saying dude is leading the L in scoring because he “is being carried by the refs.”

  • LakeShow

    Okay well when his FG% does dip you can start b*tching. Until then it’s useless fodder. You thought he was going to stay at 55% all year or something lol?

    He’s getting to the rack as well as EVER. Look it up I don’t have time to do it for you. So losing his explosiveness hasn’t changed him much.

    Sorry, missed when I told you that Points was the most important or even equally important or even talked about points at all…. can you point that out for me? No, because I didn’t… oh okay cool…

    Pretty sure (100% sure) I listed Points, Rebounds, Assists, FG%…. Does that sound like points to you? Once again, great straw man!

    So since he is taking 20.7 FGA’s this year at 48%, that means that he isn’t as good as when it was 2007 and he was taking … the exact same amount at a worse FG%… Got it…..

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • shockexchange

    Co-sign. (Beyonce voice) “If he liked it then he woulda put a ring on … Uh Oh … Uh Oh … Uh Oh … Uh Ohhhh, Ohhhh, Ohhhh”

  • LakeShow

  • RunNGun

    Then… Pau got traded. LOL Way to go, Pringles-man!

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Him and Bron in ’07. Him and Bron now. Now much has changed, other than Durant’s coming into his own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    ………… And Ron won with LA, too. And Jackson hardly play’s, lol. Marc Gasol is not tougher than Pau, he’s a soft fat boy. Kobe, Shaq and Lebron are the best since Jordan. Than Duncan and Garnett.

  • Ron

    Why leave LA? I’m guessing he probably loves LA so why not the clippers? How intriguing would that b lol

  • Paul Robinson

    D. Antoni is a foo for not letting this team mesh.

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