Pau Gasol Won’t Request a Trade, Still Unhappy With Bench Role

by January 29, 2013

Los Angeles Lakers big man has made it clear time and again that he’s not thrilled with coming off the bench, but he won’t ask to be moved, and promises to remain professional about the whole thing all season long. Per CBS Sports: “Not right now,’ Gasol said when asked if he or anyone on his behalf would lodge a trade request before the deadline. ‘I don’t think now is the time for that step to happen. Right now I’m very focused and committed to our team.’ Gasol, a four-time All-Star and one of the most gifted 7-footers in the world, has struggled with his demotion to the second unit — calling it ‘not ideal’ and adding, ‘Whether I like it or not or whether I agree with it or not, I still try to go out there and do my job. It’s hard for anybody who considers himself one of the top players in the world to say, ‘OK, I’m OK with coming off the bench,’ Gasol said. ‘It’s a difficult situation that we’ve been dealing with here. The last few games have been great, and we’re staying positive and we look forward to that to continue. But at the same time, we don’t need any other distractions, any more negativity. We need positive embracing, we need focus, we need to support each other. That’s where we’re at and that’s where I’m at, too.’ Gasol said he was willing to embrace the bench role for the rest of the season, but couldn’t see himself accepting it for longer than that. ‘I’ve been on this team, in this city, for six years,’ Gasol said. ‘It’s very hard to stick around on this team, and I take pride in that. I think I’m a valuable asset and I want my role to be as big as it can be, within the well being of the team. But I don’t know if being a player that comes off the bench will be something that I’ll be able to accept long term. Right now I want this team to work. I feel we have a very privileged team with great athletes. It’s been a crazy year for everyone, and I understand that. And the last thing I’ll be here is selfish right now. So I’m willing to work with what we have right now for the rest of the year and have no problems, because I want it to work. And I’m not a guy that just quits on himself or on his team.’ Despite his undeniable talent, Gasol is a challenging trade piece because he has $19.3 million left on his deal next season. Already facing uncertainty over whether Dwight Howardwill re-sign as a free agent this summer — Howard lately has taken the approach of not discussing his future plans — the Lakers are in a bind.”