Pau Gasol spent his final day ever at the Lakers' training facility on Thursday, yet again.
Trade rumors never managed to whisk him off to seemingly every NBA team the last few years.
So now Gasol has all the leverage, becoming a free agent in July.
"I'll be in charge of my future and my destiny," he said, later adding, "This could be my last day [with the Lakers], maybe."
Gasol never meshed with Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni's small-ball offense. No secret there. He even said Thursday he preferred a controlled pace where players tried to "out-think your opponent."
If the Lakers kept D'Antoni for the final guaranteed year of his contract, it would affect Gasol, even if he didn't fully say it.
"I don't know how much it would affect my decision," he said. "I do believe that the coach ... has an important role in the performance of the team. It would be a factor, but I don't know how big it would be."
Gasol acknowledged having "misunderstandings" with D'Antoni the last two years but pledged to listen closely if the Lakers called in July with a contract offer.
"I see myself playing several more years at a high level," Gasol said, eventually settling at five more years as a solid goal.
Gasol, who turns 34 in July, will not come close to matching his $19.3-million salary this season. He knows that. He would have to take a pay cut to play for almost every team with championship aspirations. Too many winning teams are over the salary cap.
The Lakers, though, have money to spend. Lots of it. The catch: They're reluctant to sign players past one-year deals because they want to pursue Kevin Love next year and Kevin Durant in 2016.
So maybe Gasol comes back after all. Especially if he agrees to a lucrative one-year deal.
Can't quite say goodbye to him yet.
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