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Gasol realizes he could be Lakers casualty
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 30, 2013 @ 4:56 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – As the Los Angeles Lakers embark in the rarest of offseasons, a stretch in which one of the most profitable franchises in professional sports will be forced to cut costs for once, forward Pau Gasol is well aware he may be a casualty of their battered bottom line.
“There’s a possibility that I could be gone,” Gasol said after his hour-long exit interview with general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday at the team’s practice facility. “There’s a possibility that I could stay. I don’t know exactly exact percentages of it, but I’m prepared either way.
“Like I said, I understand the challenges that the franchise is facing, the decisions that they have to make in order to take the team in the direction that they want to looking at the present and the future and also understanding the business side of it. It’s a lot going on. I wish things were a little simpler, but they’re not. So we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The Lakers went from championship favorites to first-round playoff victims this season, and significant change is on its way because of the harsh, new luxury tax that is part of the collective bargaining agreement that was agreed on after the lockout in 2011. If the Lakers are able to re-sign free agent center Dwight Howard to a maximum contract this summer, they would have a league-high payroll of approximately $100 million and would be in line to pay at least $72.8 million in taxes – for just nine players.
Gasol is owed $19.3 million in the final season of his deal, meaning the chances of him being traded or perhaps even waived by way of the league’s amnesty clause are high. The amnesty is a one-time provision in which teams can get a salary off of their payroll for salary cap purposes while still paying the player and thus avoiding the increased tax.
If Howard made the surprising decision not to re-sign with the Lakers, it would be much more likely that Gasol could return. He disagreed, however, that the situations of the … [For more on Pau Gasol says he realizes he could be a Lakers casualty, click here.]
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