Sports Out West

Lakers news: Pau Gasol has no hard feelings after last season

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol has been through a lot in his career in Los Angeles, but as trying as last season was, he’s ready to move on and look to the future. 

“I don’t hold grudges. I really don’t get stuck in the past,” Gasol said to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times in a phone call from Spain. “Things happen for a reason, that’s why I always stay in the present. I’m happy with my position now. I’m excited to get started in training camp when the time comes.”

It’s a good thing that he’s ready to move on after a debacle of a season that saw him go from All-Star to role player in under the span of a season. Most notably, head coach Mike D’Antoni benched him in a November loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter, an unprecedented occurrence for his storied career. A number of nagging injuries followed, and he never found real consistency as he battled those shoulder and foot ailments throughout the year. 

A two-time NBA champion and Olympic Medalist, Gasol knows how to be a professional, and that’s precisely what he’s done for his entire career. He knows that the NBA is a business, and that emotions have to be separated from what happens on the court. Mastering that has helped mitigate the tumultuous situation in Los Angeles. 

Now, moving forward should be easier for him given the departure of Dwight Howard. With him out of the picture, he should move to his natural position at center and be free to work in the post where he’s most effective as both a scorer and passer. The Lakers will rely heavily on him as Kobe Bryant recovers from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon suffered at the end of the regular season. He’ll get plenty of touches in his comfort zone in and around the restricted area. 

The Lakers are lucky Gasol’s a consummate professional, because they’re going to need him next year in order to remain relevant. He needs them, too, since he’s in the final year of his $19 million contract.

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.