Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 1/21/13
Steve Nash has been saying for the last three weeks that its beyond desperation time for the Lakers. They went into Monday nights game in Chicago with a five game road-losing streak and three games out of a playoff spot at 17-23, and coach Mike DAntoni made a move worthy of a desperate team. He removed four-time All Star Pau Gasol from the starting lineup, replaced him with Earl Clark, and a new chapter in Lakers history may germinate with this repositioning. Gasol told TNT that he doesnt like the move and believes he could be gone soon as the trading deadline nears. And its not the first time Gasol expressed his apprehension about playing a reserve role. After last Thursday nights loss to Miami, Gasol said he didnt mind coming off the bench because it was his first game back after being out with concussion symptoms. He added, though, that he wouldnt be happy if it became a permanent thing. No, that wouldnt be good, said the two-time NBA champion. The following day at practice DAntoni was repeatedly questioned about the Spaniards status and Gasols ability to play at the same time as Dwight Howard. He was evasive with most of his answersnothing new for DAntoni concerning any subject hes uncomfortable talking about. Then he did a turnaround and added: My job is to put the best team on the floor. If I feel (starting Gasol) is the best way to go, then well go that way. If I dont, its nothing personal. I have to do what I think is right, and I think every player has to accept that whether they like it or not. Thats the bottom line. Now, does he deserve to start? Yeah he does, hes been here a long time. But if (he) doesnt, you know what? Youve got to go on. Youve got to contribute. Youve got teammates to think about and you have the Lakers to think about and you have to do whats best for the Lakers. Whether we agree or not, thats something else. We can agree to disagree. My job is to try and get the best team on the floor all the time and make it work. Thats doesnt mean Im not including him, thats just my job. Starting does not matter. The last ten minutes of a game matter, and thats where we may have some problems. Against the Bulls, Gasol was in the game from the start of the fourth quarter, and the Lakers other big presenceDwight Howardentered the game at the 8:33 mark, possibly showing that DAntoni hasnt entirely given up on the idea of having the two bigs on the court at the same time.
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