Mike D'Antoni made the decision on Monday night to relegate former All-Star big man Pau Gasol to the bench for the foreseeable future, and that isn't sitting well with the Spaniard.
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"I have never been a role player in my life and I don't like it right now," Gasol said to TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager
Before the Los Angeles Lakers' 95-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls, reported asked Gasol whether he thought his diminished role could result in his days in Los Angeles coming to an end before the trade deadline.
"It certainly looks like a possibility to me," he told Sager.
Gasol finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting in his bench role behind Earl Clark. One of the primary reasons D'Antoni cited for making the switch was the lack of efficiency with Gasol and Dwight Howard on the floor at the same time, choosing to go with Howard to start the game.
The numbers support his claim.
Los Angeles is +7.8 with Howard on the floor without Gasol and +11.6 with Gasol and without Howard. Another issue lies in the fact that D'Antoni's system stretches the floor and changes the role of bigs dramatically. Both players are most comfortable under the basket, and there's simply not enough space for each to get the touches he's used to within the framework of the offense.
And then there's Clark, who has emerged as a budding key role player after struggling to get minutes early on in the season before injuries depleted the Lakers' frontcourt. The fourth-year forward out of Louisville has come alive in four games as a starter, averaging 8.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in those contests.
Gasol, on the other hand, has struggled regardless of his role, averaging 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds when starting and 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as a reserve. If the numbers don't improve, expect the talk out of L.A. to be centered once again on a potential trade involving the two-time NBA champion.
It's time for more drama in Hollywood.