The struggling Los Angeles Lakers have juggled their starting lineup, moving forward Pau Gasol to a reserve role and replacing him with Earl Clark, and the 7-foot Spaniard isn’t happy about it.
Coach Mike D’Antoni made the move before Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls, hoping a quicker lineup would spark a team that had dropped eight of 10. It comes after Gasol scored 25 points in Sunday’s loss at Toronto.
D’Antoni says he spoke to Gasol and that it’s nothing ”against him, it’s better for us right now.” D’Antoni said the Lakers’ efficiency is in the bottom half of the league when Gasol and Howard are on the court together, but in the top five when only one is out there.
But Gasol told TNT’s Craig Sager he disliked the move, saying he has never been a role player, and said the move could signal his exit as the trade deadline approaches.
At 17-23 at the start of the day, the Lakers have been a major disappointment. They’ve been hit hard by injuries and switched coaches, with D’Antoni replacing Mike Brown.
Gasol is averaging 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds. Clark is averaging five points.