Will Mike D’Antoni’s Exit Change Equation for Lakers’ Free-Agent Big Men?

One of the most obvious hallmarks of Mike D’Antoni’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers was the way he used, or didn’t use, frontcourt players. Now that the coach has left the building, will the equation change for the Lakers' big men?

It’s just one of many questions swirling around a team in transition.

The Lakers need a new coach, and they also need a roster, with ten players heading into free agency. Among that group are Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill, representing a combined 750 pounds of traditional low-post basketball.

Before D’Antoni’s exit, it seemed a given that the tall trio would not be returning—they hadn’t fit into the coach’s small-ball system or, seemingly, the team’s forward-thinking rebuild plans.

Now, however, the picture seems a little less certain.

Gasol and Kaman won’t be a part of any team’s true long-range blueprints—that’s a simple reality of age and basketball mortality. Hill, on the other hand, would seem to have plenty of road ahead—he’ll turn 27 in July.

On the other hand, there is the immediate future to think of. Kobe Bryant is heading into his final two seasons and has a close connection to Gasol—the only other holdover from the Lakers' 2009 and 2010 championship runs.


Pau Gasol

Gasol turns 34 this July and is coming off a viral inner ear infection that caused him to miss 12 games with vertigo symptoms. The versatile big man is now back in his native Spain and looking forward to World Cup basketball this summer with the Spanish national team.

This will be Gasol’s first free-agency experience, and while he has 13 NBA seasons under his belt, there will be plenty of suitors during a summer that’s short on available quality players.

Earlier in the week, G...

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