There's trouble in Laker Land.
It's being reported by Mike Bresnehan of Fox Sports that even when Pau Gasol makes his return, he may not start.
The big man has been sitting out with tendinitis in his knee, and while it isn't known when he'll be able to play, there's still a lot of questions surrounding him.
Pau has admitted to the fact that he isn't playing his best right now and isn't as athletic as usual. His injury is partly to blame, but he could just be entering the twilight of his career. It sounds off since the Spaniard gave the USA such a tough time in the Summer Olympics, but there's clearly something going on with him.
D'Antoni seconded Pau's comments that he's slower and unathletic right now. D'Antoni said of the team overall, “We're slow right now. Athletically, we're struggling against young teams that just run up and down."
Looking at Pau's recent production and numbers, the organization is contemplating bringing him off the bench, they're just worried how it will affect the notoriously sensitive player. He's averaging 12.6 points and is shooting 42 percent. Both numbers aren't bad, but they are career lows for Gasol, making them unacceptable.
Bringing him off the bench for awhile may not be the worst thing. Gasol could flourish as a big sixth man, much like Lamar Odom did. It will also put less wear and tear on his knees. Tendinitis is an inflammation, so the more he uses them, the worse it can get, which is why he's sitting. Coming off the bench could still get him 20 minutes or more, but any time that he gets to sit is good time for him. Also, looking at his current numbers, he is benchworthy.
There are still a ton of trade rumors flying around about him, but that's nothing new. The most important thing is that the Lakers have said they are not looking to move him. Steve Nash has also said that Pau's presence was a big reason he agreed to come to LA.
So, it doesn't look like Pau will be traded, especially with his new health issues and price tag, but they definitely need to figure out what to do with him. Benching him is a real option.