Pau Gasol is the Human Cannonball. Nealry every season, he gets thrust into a cannon, the Lakers front office aims for a trade destination, but they always fall short of lighting the fuse. Once again, it appears Gasol is having issues in Mike D'Antoni's system and they are becoming increasingly vocal about their dislike for one another. Dwight vs. Kobe has been replaced by Gasol vs. D'Antoni.
"The fact that I'm not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness," Gasol told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "When I'm not getting the ball where I want to, where I'm most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity."
D'Antoni replied to D'Antoni's complaints by telling him to "play harder."
Gasol is correct. Throughout his career, he's a much more imposing force when he can play on the low block instead of having to initiate the offense from the high post or settle for mid-range jumpers.
The D'Antoni era has been a disaster, but it's extremely difficult to trade Gasol under the current collective bargaining agreement because of his $19 million annual salary, in combination with his declining play and advancing age. However, he's also got value as an expiring contract to a team tanking for the lottery. Take Kobe Bryant's hometown team for example.
Despite leading the 76ers in scoring, Evan Turner is still on the trading block. Spencer Hawes is having a career year, but is another trade asset who will command considerable raise in free agency. The Sixers are playing their way into the playoffs and out of the lottery, but that was never the plan for this season. Hawes and Turner were never part of their future plans. They want to upgrade via the 2014 Draft.