Pau Gasol 'would love to play' for Lakers beyond next season

USA TODAY Sports

Could the Lakers end up bringing Gasol back next summer? He hopes so.

The Los Angeles Lakers only have Pau Gasol under contract for one more season, but the former All-Star hopes to stay with the franchise where he's already won two titles. Gasol says he holds no grudges for past trade rumors and remains positive while expecting to play a larger role with L.A. next season.

"I would love to play for the franchise that I love playing for, that I'm proud to be a part of," Gasol told Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. "It would be great to continue to play for the Lakers."

The Lakers will be paying $19.3 million for Gasol's services next season before he hits free agency in the summer. That always felt like the time when Gasol would inevitably leave the franchise while in a declining role, but coach Mike D'Antoni said he expects the Spaniard to have "the best year he's ever had" in 2013-14.

If that happens, the Lakers may be tempted to retain Gasol -- depending on the price -- while keeping him with the franchise that he loves.

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