Lakers forward Pau Gasol could be shut down because of vertigo

USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers may decide to keep Pau Gasol sidelined in the team's final seven games.

A recurrence of vertigo could end Pau Gasol's 2013-14 season, and his time with the Los Angeles LakersAccording to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, the team is "leaning" toward shutting down the big man for the final seven games of the season.

That would thrust Gasol into free agency having played 60 games this year due to a variety of injuries and health problems. It's unclear what Gasol's value is on the free agent market, though he'll be taking a pay-cut from his deal that is paying him $19.3 million this season.

Gasol has missed five games because of his vertigo issues, which first took him out of a March 23 game against the Magic and led to hospitalization. He missed the next four games and returned Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers, but the vertigo returned, keeping the 33-year-old out of a Wednesday night game against the Kings.

After knee issues hampered him last year, Gasol missed time this season due to a groin problem and an upper respiratory infection.

Silver Screen and Roll: More on the Lakers

Injuries have only been part of the story. Gasol has openly questioned the offense run by coach Mike D'Antoni over the last two seasons, and his role in that offense. The big man averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game when he played and was also rumored to have been a trade chip leading into the trade deadline.

It could suit the Lakers best perhaps to keep one of their best players off the court, even if he's healthy. Los Angeles owns its own first-round draft pick this year and is just two games off the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics in terms of favorable lottery odds.

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