The 2012-13 season has been a disaster in many ways for the Los Angeles Lakers.
First off, and most prevalent, is their record of 23-26 which is awful by Lakers standards and is completely not indicative of how talented they actually are. Secondly, they traded for Dwight Howard AND Steve Nash this offseason with the clear directive of trying to win now, something they are doing the opposite of. And in a third way, they have completely alienated one of their best players.
Ever since Mike Brown was fired five games into the season, and Mike D'Antoni was hired soon after, Pau Gasol — a former All-Star and current great center — has been slowly phased out of Los Angeles' current and future plans, most notably with the benching of Gasol a few weeks ago, a move that stunned both the center and the NBA world as well.
In addition to not making much basketball sense, it served to piss off one of the NBA's nicest and most personable stars.
I am sure if you were to survey 100 NBA players about who they thought was the best person amongst the league's best players, many of them would say Gasol. It would take a really insensitive and idiotic move to move a person with Pau's mindset to seriously reassess their future with the Lakers, but it appears the Gasol benching was exactly that move, at least according to what Pau has said on the matter.
From the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers:
It's hard to know personalities if you don't get in touch with them," said Gasol, his relationship with the Lakers coach now cordial and tension-free but still anchored in disagreement.
It was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding," Gasol said. "But I don't think it's translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it's probably even gone a little backwards."
Obviously, the whole situation has upset Pau and he has gone out of his way to fix his shaky relationship with his head coach, a measure which clearly has not worked at all. It is not every day that a team's star center is asked whether he would like a fresh start (do-over), and that player responds with an affirmative "yes".
Well, if you do not know what I'm talking about, later in the column linked to above is where Simers asks Pau about the possibility of a fresh start, something the Spaniard is open and willing to have.
I am not in the front office of LA or Gasol's mind, but I do not see the cracks made in the relationship between player and team being mended anytime soon. I do not predict a much longer future for the big man in Southern California.