Following a frustrating season that ended with a first-round sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers have a big summer ahead of them. Much of what happens revolves around whether or not Dwight Howard re-signs, and Pau Gasol is hoping that the center's decision comes sooner rather than later.
Gasol told USA Today's Sam Amick that he understands Howard's desire to play the free-agent game, but it would be nice if he didn't keep the Lakers waiting too long:
"Dwight is looking at his options, and there's nothing wrong with that, I guess," Pau said. "I'm not him. I'm not in his position, but I guess it all starts with his decision and I'm sure the franchise is waiting to see whether he decides to sign (with the Lakers) or sign with somebody else, I guess."
Gasol's future with the Lakers is uncertain as well, with his status possibly hinging on Howard's decision. While Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and injured star Kobe Bryant have both expressed interest in bringing the whole band back together for one more year, there's a chance that Gasol will be gone to lessen the tax burden if Howard decides to come back. Gasol is set to earn $19.3 million next season, and bringing everybody back would mean a payroll upwards of $100 million and a tax hit of over $70 million.
Gasol fully realizes that his future may depend on Howard, even if he would not come out and say that specifically:
"Obviously from the team's standpoint, the sooner Dwight makes his decision the better," Pau said. "And as players and teammates too (it's better), because in a way, I don't know - there's certain things that depend on his decision, right? Probably. I don't know what percentage (it factors in), or to what extent, but to some extent, yes."
For now, Gasol is not going to worry about the situation, instead focusing on the play of his younger brother, Marc. Marc's Memphis Grizzlies are down 3-0 to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, but Pau is still proud of all the success his brother has had.