Pau Gasol: Lakers Big Man Smart to Accept Bench Role and Avoid Trade Request

Pau Gasol has been a scapegoat for many of the Los Angeles Lakers' problems in 2012-13. He has been subjected to trade rumors, began woefully underperforming under a new coach and, most recently, was banished to the bench.

However, the Spaniard is not letting this get him down just yet—as CBS Sports’ Ken Berger is reporting Gasol will not complain about his reserve role and isn’t planning on requesting a trade with the Feb. 21 deadline on the horizon.

That certainly doesn’t mean he’s happy with the situation, stating:

It's hard for anybody who considers himself one of the top players in the world to say,”'OK, I'm OK with coming off the bench.” It's a difficult situation that we've been dealing with here. The last few games have been great, and we're staying positive and we look forward to that to continue. But at the same time, we don't need any other distractions, any more negativity. We need positive embracing, we need focus, we need to support each other. That's where we're at and that's where I'm at, too.

Gasol conceded his starting role to journeyman Earl Clark in Jan. 23’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and has continued to come off the pine since.

Because the Lakers have found a modicum of success over the past two games, coach Mike D’Antoni could continue to leave the 32-year-old PF on the bench at the opening tip in favor of Clark.

As long as it helps L.A. win in 2013, Gasol is on board. He’s not certain he could accept the sixth-man designation for long, but in the context of this campaign, the veteran is all in (as per Berger):

"Right now I want this team to work. I feel we have a very privileged team with great athletes. It's been a crazy year for everyone, and I understand that. And the last thing I'll be here is selfish right now. So I'm willing to work with what we have right now for the rest of the ...

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