Lakers Trade Rumors: Pau Gasol Wants To Stay, Does Dwight Howard?
Trade rumors continue to circulate around the free-falling Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers dropped seven games below .500 on Monday with a 95-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls. After the game, numerous players expressed their frustration with the season so far, particularly center Dwight Howard. As the Orange County Register notes, Howard had only five field goal attempts in the game.
"Look at the stat sheet," Howard said after the contest. "Look at the stat sheet."
Howard was then asked how the team could get him more shots.
"It's simple," the center responded. "Play inside-out."
"I've tried to go out of my way to get him the ball," he said. "Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I've got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I'm going to shoot, so his back is turned. I'm trying to think about getting him the ball a lot -- take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I'm fine with that. If that's going to help our team, I'm more than willing to do that."
As Pro Basketball Talk notes, Dwight Howard is set to be a free agent this summer. While so far he has indicated that he would like to stay in Los Angeles beyond the 2012 season, his continued struggles and the Lakers' persistent losing could change that.
Indeed, the Los Angeles Times previously reported that the Lakers may not trade their other big man, Pau Gasol, because they do not want to lose both him and Howard and be left with zero seven-footers.
Gasol was brought off the bench in Monday's loss, despite scoring 25 points against the Toronto Raptors the day before. The forward admitted that he was not happy with the move.
"I can't really worry about something that is out of my hands so I am just going to stay positive and do my best, but it is not something I am too thrilled about," he told ESPN. "I wasn't expecting it. But right now we have bigger things to worry about as a group. As a team player, that's what I'm most concern about."
Gasol has also been the subject of numerous trade rumors, particularly since he was already sent away in a deal involving Chris Paul that was ultimately nullified by the league. However, the Lakers forward told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that he is happy in his current situation.
"I feel like I'm a part of this team and part of this franchise," the forward said. "I love to play here for as many years as possible because I identify myself with the team. I want it to work."
However, Gasol admitted that a trade could happen.
"I think trades are part of this business and always a possibility for any player except the ones that have clauses that say they have to agree with the trade," he continued. "So it's pretty general."
As AOL Sporting News notes, Gasol has two years and $38 million left on his deal. So while Gasol says he wants to remain a Laker, Los Angeles may decide to spend some of that money elsewhere. Thus, despite the forward's comments, it's likely the trade rumors will only continue.
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