Ricky Rubio: Gasol’s “more than welcome” in Minnesota

1/31/13 in NBA   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

When the Los Angeles Lakers face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center, Pau Gasol will have at least one supporter on the rival bench who will be unconditionally rooting for him on Friday.
Pau Gasol is having a difficult time after missing eight games earlier this season due to knee tendonitis. Once a core player on the Los Angeles Lakers offense, Pau Gasol has now been assigned to reduced minutes off the bench since coming back from a concussion that forced him to miss five more games this season. While Pau Gasol was initially being a good solider about his new role on the bench, the 32-year-old appeared greatly frustrated by the recent situation after he didn’t see any playing time in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles Lakers’ win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday.
Now, fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio is speaking up for him, alleging that Pau Gasol has proven himself as a top-flight player in the NBA and questioned the Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to remove him from the starting lineup.
“I don't think so,” Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio offered his perspective on whether Pau Gasol was being treated fairly in Los Angeles. “He proved in the league that he is one of the best. He can pass, he can shoot, he can rebound. He can do a lot of things.”
“I think if you use him in the right way, he is a top player in this league,” added Ricky Rubio.” If they don’t want him, we are more than welcome to get him.”
Pau Gasol’s name has been mentioned quite a few times in trade rumors over the past few years. The Minnesota Timberwolves have always been seen as a likely landing spot for Pau Gasol.
But Kobe Bryant has always rallied behind keeping Pau Gasol in Los Angeles. Additionally, until shortly after the training camp, Pau Gasol was still expected to be a key part of the Lakers’ offense especially after the acquisition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. But Pau Gasol has struggled to find his place in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. The four-time All-Star Pau Gasol is averaging a career-low 12.8 points and 44.8 percent shooting from the field this season. So after starting each of the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol has lost his spot to journeyman Earl Clark, who received the nod from Mike D’Antoni this season.
“He’s been with the Lakers (five-plus) seasons. And he’s been a starter since day one. This year – it seems like…It’s been the last two years – it seems they don’t want him,” said Ricky Rubio. “But actually they need him, because he’s a great player. He can do a lot of things.”
“He’s had issues with his knees, and it’s been a lot of years without resting for him,” continued Ricky Rubio. “But he’s a veteran, he knows how to play. He’s a great player.”
Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has for long pondered over the possibility of using Pau Gasol-Kevin Love in a front court pairing, similar to his efforts with Chris Webber-Vlade Divac in Sacramento. However, the trade seems something pulled out of the air since Pau Gasol is owed $19 million both this season making it an unfeasible option for both parties.
 “It’s hard when you’re hearing things, rumors that you’re going to be traded,” said Ricky Rubio. “But he’s a professional. He’s been playing a long time, and he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing.”
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