There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers signing Andre Drummond. The two-time All-Star was one of the best players to come available and the team was able to snag him. However, not everybody is excited about his arrival in Los Angeles.
With Drummond coming to town, Marc Gasol will quickly see his role diminish. He’s already lost his starting job and Montrezl Harrell will be the backup center on most nights. Drummond is dealing with an injury right now so Gasol does still have a bit of a role. He started for the Lakers in Friday’s 115-94 win over the Sacramento Kings and played well. After the game, he spoke to the media for the first time in weeks. He got pretty honest about how Drummond’s addition affects him.
“Things can change quickly in the NBA, just as they have changed for me,” Gasol said when questioned if he’d seek a buyout. “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. It’s never easy on a player. As a basketball player, you want to play. You want to contribute, especially when you made that commitment for that reason. But, we’ll see.”
The “we’ll see” comment is the most notable. It doesn’t sound like he’s fully convinced he’ll finish the season in Los Angeles.
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Frank Vogel Talks Gasol
Gasol is getting a bad rap this season due to his lackluster numbers. Despite the numbers, he’s still a very good player. He’s averaging 1.2 blocks a game and has a better 3-point percentage (34.7%) than any of the other Lakers big men. Head coach Frank Vogel knows how important Gasol can be to the team.
“I think people need to understand how good of a player Marc Gasol is and how valuable he is to what we’re doing,” Vogel said. “And we’re going to play our most important players, so he’s going to help us win a championship this year. That’s the plan. That’s the vision. Obviously, Andre coming along gives us the depth. But we’re going to need all three of those guys. We stated that from Day 1, and Marc is one of our most important players. He dominated the game tonight with five points, OK? And this is what Marc brings to the table.”
With the Drummond signing, there are only so many minutes left to give to Gasol. There will probably be nights where he doesn’t play at all. It’ll be interesting to watch how the former All-Star accepts his new role over time.
Vogel Understands Gasol Is in Tough Position
As much as the Lakers do like Gasol, they can’t fault him if he wants a buyout. They brought him in to be the starting center and he just lost that job. Vogel acknowledged that he understands why Gasol would be frustrated.
“The approach is full support,” Vogel said. “It’s difficult to see that your role is going to change: How can we support you? And make sure that they understand that they are a vital piece, like Marc is a vital piece to us winning the championship this year. And there’s no other way to look at it other than that.”
Gasol is still a solid player but Drummond is an upgrade. Just like the Lakers can’t fault him for getting frustrated, he can’t fault them for trying to get better.