Pau Gasol touches on succeeding as a Laker
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 121-113 Wednesday night, and Lakers forward LeBron James was responsible for 42 of those 121 points. The second-highest scorer for the Lakers was Kyle Kuzma, who poured in 22. This leads scoring discrepancy plays one of the many storylines surrounding this year’s Lakers, and the outlook for future seasons.
It’s no secret the Lakers are going to be active in the offseason, with the hope of bringing in another superstar to play alongside James. However, the issue is finding a player willing to do so.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler are just two examples of players that opted to go elsewhere, instead of joining forces with James in Laos Angeles this season. Additionally, it was rumored that Kawhi Leonard was more interesting in playing for the Clippers instead of the Lakers after demanding his way out of San Antonio.
Before all of this, James and Celtics guard Kyrie Irving were teammates in Cleveland. However, the duo quickly fizzled once Irving no longer wanted to play in James’ shadow, which resulted in him moving to Boston.
Players opting to take their own paths instead of teaming with James has become a recurring theme. A common notion around the league is that playing with him forces you to become a role player. Combined with the constant pressure and attention playing in Los Angeles brings, deciding to play there with LeBron is often a sacrifice many are unwilling to make.
“If you succeed with the Lakers, you will be loved forever,” Gasol told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “But there’s also tension and pressure and drama like nowhere else. There are dozens of media outlets that are constantly looking for a story. It depends on who you are and what you’re made of. But if you succeed, it’s sweet. There’s nothing like it.”
Gasol won two titles with the Lakers during his time in L.A. Fast forward to today, and he is still beloved by the Laker fan-base.
The pressure to perform can prove to be too overwhelming depending on the player. However, with several notable superstars in this year’s free agency class, expect the Lakers to be hot in their pursuit. Top names like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson have kept their free agency plans under wraps, but as the season progresses rumors of potential targets for the Lakers are bound to surface.