Lakers Rumors: LA Wise to Prioritize Retaining Pau Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers were ravaged by injuries throughout a tumultuous 2012-13 season, with all five starters missing significant portions of time.

For a team with such high expectations, a first-round sweep in the playoffs seemed unfathomable before the year began, and it could very easily be viewed as the end of an era. But the LA brass are reportedly honed in on retaining All-Star power forward Pau Gasol—and wisely so.

According to a report by Mark Heisler of, sources with knowledge of the situation indicate that it is "Plan A" to retain Gasol and the rest of the Lakers' stars from this season.

Gasol is an easy scapegoat for the way the Lakers' disappointing campaign went. Not only was he out with a concussion early on, but he then missed many games with a painful foot injury in the middle of the season.

He also had to adjust on the fly to head coach Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offensive attack, and the "Seven Seconds or Less" style isn't for everyone.

Molding Gasol's game to the system was far easier said than done—especially for a big man who relies more on finesse in the post and interior passing for most of his production. For a long time, Gasol was a square peg unsuccessfully fitting into a round hole.

It even prompted Lakers legendary PG Magic Johnson to chime in and say that Gasol was being misused as early as December:

Trade buzz persisted around Gasol at the deadline, partially due to his injuries, seemingly declining skills and uncomfortable feel in D'Antoni's offense. However, GM Mitch Kupchak held onto one of his franchise cornerstone. Kupchak's patience wound up being rewarded significantly.

As the end of the season approached, though, something clicked. Even when Kobe Bryant went down with his Achilles injury, it's not as if Gasol gave up. In fact, he raised his play even more down the stretch.

In eight April ga...

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