Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/31/13
MINNEAPOLIS As Rick Adelman listed off the threats the Lakers will bring to the Target Center on Friday, he omitted one notable name. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Ron well, he still calls him Ron, but he knows it's Metta World Peace now. Not a mention of Pau Gasol, the out-of-favor and now relegated to the bench big man who used to be one of the Lakers' most cherished stars. It was likely just a slip-up because how really can you mention the traveling circus that is the Lakers without even a tip of the tongue to Gasol? Or coach Mike D'Antoni, for that matter, but that's another story. Regardless, Adelman said what he said, and there's one player on his team who might, if he'd heard, have taken offense. That's Ricky Rubio, of course, the Spanish point guard who's known Gasol for years and who's played with him on the Spanish national team. Although it's facile to assume that just because two players are from the same country, they're friends, in the case of Rubio and Gasol, it actually holds. The younger point guard looks up to the veteran "He's amazing," Rubio said Thursday and the admiration goes both ways. Now, though, with the Timberwolves organization behind Rubio 100 percent, hoping to build around him and make him the core of the franchise, the contrast between the two men's situations could not be more visible. On the same night that Rubio made his first start since tearing his ACL, Jan. 17, Gasol was yanked from the starting lineup, the first time he'd come off the bench since March 26, 2005. The Lakers have played the 32-year-old Gasol off the bench in seven of their past eight games, not necessarily decreasing his minutes significantly but certainly issuing the requisite slap in the face. Now, it's yet another disappointing bump in a season marred for Gasol by losing, a coaching change, knee problems and a bad concussion. That litany of problems aside, Rubio, is not a fan of how the Lakers are toying with his friend, pulling him from the starting lineup and reportedly dangling him as trade bait for months. "He's been with the Lakers four or five years, maybe more, and he's been a starter since Day 1," Rubio said. "This year, it seems like it's been last two years, it seems they don't want him. But actually they need him, because he's a great player." To Rubio, it must seem like an embarrassment of riches. To have a former All-Star and to sit him on the bench that would never happen in Minnesota, not if he's healthy and willing to play. Add that it's Gasol, a respected player whom the Timberwolves have reportedly coveted for years, and that makes it even worse. Rubio said that he's been talking with Gasol throughout the season and that it's been hard for the big man to deal with the trade rumors and retain his focus, no matter how much of a professional he might be. "He proved in the league that he is one of the best," Rubio said. "He can pass, he can shoot, he can rebound. He can do a lot of things. I think if you use him in the right way, he's a top player on this league. If they don't want him, we are more than welcome to get him." Exactly who would front the salary there remains to be seen, but it's certain to be something of a bittersweet reunion between the two friends on Friday. The last time Gasol and company were in Minneapolis was the night of March 9, 2012, when Rubio tore his ACL. The Lakers were on their way to yet another playoff berth, another successful season, just as Rubio collapsed and with him the Timberwolves. This time around, both teams are struggling, but Rubio is on the upswing, making steady progress while his friend is in the midst of what may be a protracted and ugly fall from Lakers grace. Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cubs pushing hard to land Aroldis Chapman

Report: Lesnar, Jones tested positive for same substance

Todd Bowles: Geno Smith 'can be a good starter' for Jets

Former 49ers OL: Gabbert will likely start over Kaepernick

Report: Le'Veon Bell recently completed DUI probation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Olympic village in Rio deemed 'uninhabitable' for time being

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker