Stephen Dunn - Getty Images
Pau Gasol is happy last year is over. The subject of numerous trade rumors, Gasol can now enter the new season knowing he's staying in LA with a new-look Laker team.
If it wasn't for Commissioner David Stern, Pau Gasol could be hanging with Jeremy Lin at Rockets training camp right now. In a trade deal that seems long ago, Chris Paul was about to become a Laker and Gasol was on his way to Houston; until, the Commish made the controversial decision to veto the trade for reasons that still aren't totally clear. To Pau, this was the best thing that could happen. He was happy in LA then and still is now. As he gets ready for a new season, he's thrilled to have put the drama of last year behind him.
With Dwight Howard finally traded to somewhere he wants to be, Gasol has the comfort of knowing he shouldn't be the subject of any big-man-for-big-man trade talks. Also, thanks to the same trade that sent Howard to LA and Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, he's back to playing with a mature, experienced center.
The change allows Pau to get back into a system that's more comfortable for him. Last year was the first year in three season that Gasol didn't make the All-Star team. Missing out was attributed to adjusting play with Bynum under new coach Mike Brown's system.
After a busy summer that included the London Olympics and a humanitarian trip to Chad, an excited Gasol is ready for the regular season and the new-look Lakers.