The Los Angeles Lakers secured a much-needed win last night, blowing out the Sacramento Kings 115-94. Kyle Kuzma led the team with 30 points, as he caught fire against his former coach Luke Walton. After the game, you would have figured that the topic of conversation would revolve around Kuz, but this was also the first time that Marc Gasol had spoken to media in four games.
Gasol’s name has been floated in possible buyout rumors, and with Andre Drummond taking his spot in the starting lineup in Drummond’s first game the other night against the Bucks, he was asked about his place within Frank Vogel’s rotation moving forward. It appears that Marc Gasol and Vogel had conversations about this, with Gasol seeming much more pessimistic about it than Vogel. Check out Gasol’s comments below (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll).
“Things can change quickly in the NBA, just as they have changed for me. But I’m committed to this team. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup at some point. That’s never easy on the player. As a basketball player you want to play, you want to contribute, especially when you’ve made that commitment for that reason, but we’ll see.”
Although it’s obvious that this is going to be hard on Gasol, he remained the epitome of the word “professional” about it.
“That’s what happens on deep teams. You’re going to have veteran talent that doesn’t play. It happens,” Gasol said, even while admitting that the transition is “not easy.”
“But that’s life. You have to adapt. Either you take it as a challenge or you move on.”
Frank Vogel was also asked about Marc Gasol, giving answers that show just how much of a professional he is as well (transcribed by Harrison Faigen and Silver Screen & Roll).
“We’ve stated that since day one and Marc’s one of our most important players. He dominated the game tonight with 5 points. This is what Marc brings to the table. He’s a dominant defensive big, former Defensive Players of the Year, and he doesn’t need shots offensively, which is good for our group. He facilitates and wins the offensive possessions with his passing and 3-point shooting,” Vogel continued. “That’s not always going to result in 20 points per game or whatever, but it helps us win, and we all just need to recognize how important he is to what we’re trying to do here… We’re excited for what he’s going to do for us down the stretch.”
Vogel can sing Gasol’s praises all he wants, but with Drummond and Anthony Davis returning to the starting lineup and rotation when they’re both healed…the writing is on the wall as they say in regards to Gasol’s playing time. Vogel commented on the conversations they’ve had about it below, as his praise of Gasol to the media may just be an example of support he wants to give to Marc.
“I have been through situations like this,” Vogel said. “Additions of good players change other guys’ roles, and it usually all works itself out. It really does, and I would say the same thing about this situation.
“I’m not going to go into the conversations that Marc and I have had, but the approach is full support,” Vogel continued. “You just support your players in every way that you can. The front office does, the coaching staff does, and you look for opportunities like this where he comes in and he’s a huge part of this victory tonight. And like I said, he’s going to be a huge part of our championship run.”
We will just have to see how this plays out in the coming weeks once Drummond and Davis start to return to the frontcourt rotation.