The Lakers' main objective with every personnel move this season has been to maintain their financial flexibility during the next three summers, when several premier free agents will become available. Sources maintain that the Lakers would be reluctant to surrender any of that hard-fought flexibility in a potential deal for Gasol or any other player. Yet it's believed that the Lakers would consider taking back some salary that bleeds into the 2014-15 season -- but not beyond -- if they could acquire a player who could significantly help them in the short term or other trade assets to help them reload around Bryant.
Last week, Gasol told the Los Angeles Times: "The fact that I'm not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness. When I'm not getting the ball where I want to, where I'm most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity."
D'Antoni responded to those comments after Friday's shootaround in Oklahoma City by saying, "Everybody, to a man, we've just got to play harder and worry about things less."
D'Antoni also held a team meeting Friday to address the situation, ESPN.com reported, during which he urged Gasol or anyone else who had an issue with his coaching to speak to him directly. Since the meeting, there has been a noticeable shift in Gasol's attitude and play.
"There's definitely a sense of urgency in making sure we don't fall back too much," Gasol said after Monday's loss in Atlanta. "The Western Conference is too tight, too competitive. You lose a couple of games and you get too far down. So we need to pick it up and understand we need wins to stay in the pack.
"I've been here. There are always a lot of expectations. It's always been one of the positives and the things that I love about this franchise. Obviously it has a downside. When things are not working out, the pot gets a little stirred and things could happen. But we can't be too worried about it. What we have to focus on is our job and playing hard and trying to get wins so things don't get messy."