Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 at 11:25 am  |  7 responses

Mike D’Antoni Blames Dwight Howard ‘Politics’ for Issues With Pau Gasol

Things did not go well between Pau Gasol and head coach Mike D’Antoni during their first year together. They were downright awful, in fact. D’Antoni has begun to rebuild his relationship with the big fella, and says things went sour because the Lakers tried so hard (and failed) to make Dwight Howard happy last season. Per USA Today: “‘It was very uncomfortable,’ D’Antoni, the Lakers coach, said about the Howard-Gasol dynamic last season. ‘I knew I was messing on (Gasol) last year. That’s not fair to him. But that was the situation we were in. How do we make the best of it? I was just trying to make the best of it. But no, it wasn’t fair to him. I think it was all (politics). It was all that. We wouldn’t do that (normally). If nobody had names on their jerseys, and we were just playing? You go through Pau. There’s not a question. No question.’ It’s certainly not a question anymore. With the Lakers opening Tuesday night (10:30 ET, TNT) against the Los Angeles Clippers and hoping to shock the masses by sneaking into the playoffs six months from now, Gasol finally has his long-overdue chance to regain his rightful place in the league’s lexicon. He is a four-time All-Star and champion who was too soon forgotten, the 33-year-old free agent-to-be who had his ailing knees fixed during the summer and now wants to round out his remarkably accomplished career with a few more seasons of, as D’Antoni puts it, ‘devastating’ play. The Lakers won’t have (Kobe) Bryant for the foreseeable future as he continues to recover from his April Achilles tendon tear and are already dealing with another round of health setbacks from point guard Steve Nash. In the here and now, they likely will go as far as Gasol can carry them. And that, as he well knows, means he must play like the Gasol of old rather than the old Gasol. ‘I definitely believe I can do it,’ Gasol said. ‘I know it. I bounced back really well. The procedure went well, my tendons are a lot healthier now than they were before. I have a lot more healthy tissue that regenerated well. I worked hard during the summer to be in the position that I’m in today, and I look forward to just to going out there and doing what I know best.’”

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  • Smits#45

    Blame it on Dwight, blame it on Pau, blame it on the Pope. Nothing is your fault D’Antoni…

  • Jeremy de Sa

    This dude is a worm. Straight up spineless

  • shockexchange

    “I knew I was messing on Gasol …” And ya’ll wonder why the Streets call Pau “The Gimp” http://clicky.me/7NVc

  • bike

    What Mike is saying is ‘last year I sucked up to Dwight. This year I will suck up to Pau. This is what I do. I suck’.

  • Vince Gully

    Isn’t it the coach’s job to separate the politics from the locker room so that the players can focus on the game?

  • spit hot fiyah

    i kind of believe him here. the Laker organization tried to put howard in the center of everything as far as they could in order to convince him that he was the centerpiece in order for him re-sign

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    Not really D’Antoni’s fault. If ownership is telling him “play Dwight, we need this mofo to resign so we have a superstar to build on after Kobe”, Pringles can’t just keep throwing the ball to Pau given Dwight’s petulant nature. Everyone saw how desperate the Lakers were to keep Dwight last year – they hung billboards for a dude who played 1 year for the franchise and had to be convinced to stay.

    The thing that sucks is that Pau deserves better. He is a 2 time champion and was literally the catalyst for the Lakers run of 3 straight Finals. No HOF player should be relegated to play way outside his comfort zone. First he had to step aside for Byunum (lol), and then Dwight. This year is Pau’s time to shine. He showed in the 2012 Olympics that if the ball runs through him, he can still produce, and I fully expect the same this year.