MINNEAPOLIS — Pau Gasol is back in the starting lineup, resuscitating another Lakers’ story in a litany of them this season.
“Big news,” he said sarcastically, after the team’s shoot-around Friday. “Headlines. Exciting.”
Gasol is a starter because center Dwight Howard will sit out Friday’s game with a sore right shoulder. Howard is listed as day-to-day.
Gasol came off the bench the last six games, with the Lakers (20-26) going 3-3.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni prefers faster players in his offense and Gasol, for all his talents, obviously isn’t that.
“Mike’s been trying to get his philosphy through to us. At the same time, our personnel is a little different than probably what would fit best for that kind of system,” Gasol said. “It’s a work in progress.”
The Lakers don’t plan on trading Gasol before the Feb. 21 deadline, but he’s cognizant that one phone call could change that.
“If the right package comes along, it’s a business at the end of the day,” Gasol said. “You can’t really think about it too much or worry too much because it’s pointless from a player’s standpoint.”
D’Antoni laughed at Ricky Rubio’s comments that the Lakers don’t want Gasol because of the way they use him.
“Well, when he gets a team that he can coach, then he can make that decision,” D’Antoni said.
Rubio and Gasol played together for the Spanish national team. Rubio is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard.
D’Antoni had an idea for how Gasol could get over his disappointment of being in and out of the Lakers’ lineup.
“Pay him $19 million. I think that should help,” D’Antoni said, smiling.
Gasol is under contract for $19 million this season and $19.3 million next season.