Lakers ‘leaning’ toward sitting Pau Gasol for season
Pau Gasol might have played his last game in a Lakers uniform.
The team is leaning toward sitting him for its final seven games while he recovers from a severe recurrence of vertigo.
He won’t play Friday against Dallas after dizziness kept him confined at the team hotel Wednesday while the Lakers played Sacramento. He flew back on the team charter that night after missing a fifth game because of the illness.
It was the latest downturn in a rough season for Gasol.
In addition to various verbal tussles with Coach Mike D’Antoni about his role in the offense — and the small-ball concept in general — Gasol missed seven games in February because of a strained groin and three games in December because of a respiratory infection.
He leads the team in scoring (17.4 points a game) but is shooting only 48%, the second lowest accuracy of his career.
Life reminds us how fragile & vulnerable we are on different occasions. Health is the most important thing. I hope I recover soon my friends
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) April 3, 2014
Gasol, 33, becomes a free agent after this season, sure to take a pay cut from the $19.3 million he currently makes but unsure where he will land. If it’s somewhere else, his last game with the Lakers will have been a nine-point, four-rebound effort in a 124-112 loss Tuesday to Portland.
He experienced lingering effects of his illness while making turns on the court that night and theorized he came back too soon. But he jumped on a charter flight with the team, went to Sacramento and appeared to have improved at the team’s Wednesday morning meeting.
Gasol ran into trouble while doing his doctor-prescribed exercises that afternoon.
He had been directed to rotate his head several times one way, then several times the other way while standing, a deliberate attempt to make himself slightly dizzy. The recovery time from the exercise had been getting shorter every day for Gasol.
But on Wednesday, he did his head rotations and ended up laid out on the floor. He never made it to the arena.
Kobe Bryant’s season ended last month after only six games, and Steve Nash has played only 13 games. Xavier Henry is not expected to return this season after being slowed by wrist and knee injuries. He averaged 10 points in 43 games.
Nash was again nominated for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given annually by pro basketball writers to a player, coach or trainer who demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Nash won the award in 2007 with Phoenix. Two Lakers won it in recent years — Metta World Peace in 2011 and Gasol in 2012.
Other nominees this season are Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Matt Bonner, Luol Deng, Kevin Durant, Amir Johnson, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, Kevin Love and Joakim Noah.