User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Lakers' Gasol eager to reclaim the post

New Sportsbook.com customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

   

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - With Dwight Howard gone and Kobe Bryant injured, Pau Gasol is looking to reassert himself as a leader of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Advertisement
Knees allowing, he wants to be the dominant player of old who helped Bryant & Co. win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.

``I think I have the most uncertain period behind me,'' Gasol told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ``The team has suffered a lot of changes, but as far as me, I am back in the position of a lot of responsibility, which I like, and I'm just going to focus on getting healthy.

``Now with Dwight gone I am the reference inside and I am more like I was a couple of years back when we made the finals three straight times and won two straight championships,'' he added.

The Lakers enter a difficult point, with Howard snubbing the storied club to sign with the Houston Rockets. Bryant is still out indefinitely recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

Gasol wasn't surprised by Howard's decision to leave after just one season because it was ``always a possibility.'' He described his former teammate a ``nice guy'' and a ``hard worker.''

Gasol spoke to the AP in the Barcelona airport, where he had just returned from a trip as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador to a refugee camp established in Iraq for the thousands fleeing the violence in neighboring Syria. Gasol called attention to the shortages of water, medicine and schools in the camp that was built for 15,000 but has taken in 50,000.

Gasol said this work provides balance to his life as a pro athlete. It contrasts with the commotion surrounding his team, especially during last season when the Lakers were swept in the first round of the playoffs after beginning the year as a title contender.

``I've made five trips to the field (with UNICEF) and seen all kinds of different things and people suffering a lot of different situations,'' Gasol said. ``Obviously, it puts things in perspective, and all the other things I might deal with my team or with my profession are much less important or meaningful than the lives of people that are on the line every day.''

In September, Pau and brother Marc Gasol, a center for the Memphis Grizzlies, will be launching the ``Gasol Foundation,'' which is focused on children's health.

Despite the loss of Howard and Bryant's injury, the Lakers are not overhauling the team. Instead, they seem prepared to wait for Bryant to get healthy and go for another run with him and Gasol as their pillars.

The Lakers did waive Metta World Peace, but they signed Nick Young, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman.

Yet even with Howard off to Texas, there are still two factors that will play an important role in whether Gasol can return to peak form at age 33 and entering his 13th season in the league: his health and his coach.

Gasol had surgery followed by stem-cell treatment on both knees in May. He said after resting for most of this summer, he's increasing the intensity of his rehab.

``These next two months are the key months to find out how they really are,'' said Gasol, adding he wasn't in pain.

While Gasol wants to be the Lakers' second scorer again after Bryant, he still hasn't heard if coach Mike D'Antoni agrees.

The Spaniard said he had spoken to Bryant, point guard Steve Nash and general manager Mitch Kupchak about the team after Howard decided to leave, but he has yet to speak to D'Antoni.

Gasol had a rough first season with the former Suns and Knicks coach and lost his guaranteed starter's job. Nevertheless, Gasol is looking forward to this season.

D'Antoni ``had a tough position, I had a tough position,'' Gasol said. ``I had a job to do, he had a job to do, so there really is no mystery. I know he had challenges. It was a very challenging season. Next season is a different one and a new chapter. So we'll start out fresh and do our best.''

A career scorer of 18-plus points a game, Gasol had his worst scoring season in 2012-13, averaging 13.7. The four-time All-Star is aiming to improve.

``I have a great motivation,'' he said. ``It's the last year of my contract, so I want to get back to being one of the top players in the league.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Fearless Predictions
Edwards: Saturday's Late Action
News: Playoff Series Odds posted
Mejia: Grizzlies get to 50
Nelson: Surprises and Disappointments
Lawrence: Zig-Zag Theory
LeBron still No. 1 in jersey sales
Kings' 'new era' off to slow start
Nuggets home for first time in decade
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
7-2 L9 G-Plays, +4,002 This Year
9-1 L10, 16-3 L19, 37-11 Streak
11-5 L16 Picks, +2,007 This Year
6-1 L7 Picks, 10-2 L12 Win Streak
19-9 L28, +1,870 G-Plays TY
9-3 Last 12 Picks
12-4 L16 Totals, +1,624 Picks TY
18-9 Last 27 Selections
4-0 L4 G-Plays, +1,586 TY
8-3 L11 G-Plays, 10-3 L13 Totals
+1,573 Totals This Year
5-1 L6 G-Plays, 6-2 L8 Picks
7-2 L9 Picks, 13-4 L17 G-Plays
3-0 L3 Picks, 4-0 Guarantee Run
4-1 Last 5 Guaranteed Plays
6-1 Last 7 Over/Unders
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks
2013 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 4002
Mike Rose + 2007
Paul Bovi + 1717
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 778
ASA + 476
Chip Chirimbes + 468
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 59 %
Chip Chirimbes 58 %
Paul Bovi 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 1870
The Prez + 1413
Paul Bovi + 1318
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Tony Stoffo + 1573
Stephen Nover + 1447
Kyle Hunter + 1045
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1604
Bruce Marshall + 1498
Chip Chirimbes + 1108
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!