Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Pau Gasol And Mike D'Antoni Continue To Disagree, Who Will Go First?

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Feb 05, 2013 03:04 PM EST
Pau Gasol
Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol of Spain celebrates their win over the Denver Nuggets during Game 7 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoff series in Los Angeles, California May 12, 2012."

It's no secret that Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol has had a hard time adjusting to the new coach Mike D'Antoni's offense, and with when Dwight Howard eventually feels healthy, Gasol will undoubtedly return to the bench.

Though D'Antoni's controversial decision to remove Gasol from the starting lineup frustrated the two-time NBA champion, he's maintained an air of professionalism throughout the entire saga.

Still, when looking ahead to the future Gasol admits that the Lakers might no longer be the right fit for him and his remaining basketball career. Gasol tells the L.A. Times that he could see himself ending up elsewhere, largely due to his reduced role under D'Antoni's system.

"It's a possibility," he said, "yes.

"I'm not a quitter," he said. "Just because things look better on the other side of the fence, I'm not going to take the easy way out.

"I have a certain level of loyalty here, and I've been through a lot of great, amazing things. And there have been others that have been hurtful. But that's life.

"I don't have cancer, my mom wasn't dying and I'm still playing basketball. I love the Lakers and Los Angeles, and none of that has changed just because certain things are out of my control."

As dominant as Gasol was in the Olympics and as highly regarded as he is in the NBA, he said there have been times when he has felt disrespected by D'Antoni.

"But I'm not going to let it affect me. In a way he's messing with my season, but not my career. I know what I've accomplished, and I still feel like I'm one of the best players in the world."

Last season was traded for Chris Paul only to return after the deal was vetoed by NBA commissioner David Stern. This season his name continues to swirl in trade rumors, and with the uncertainty if what Howard will do in the offseason, it's unlikely the Lakers will risk trading Gasol now.

"Dwight is a huge presence defensively," said Gasol. "But in a perfect world I'd love to see us dominating as an interior couple, thereby making everything easier for our teammates.

"I'm always trying to pass to Dwight to get him going. He hasn't been very effective from the post, so I want to give him easy shots and get him into rhythm. You know he's going to get fouled and then he'll make one out of two."

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