Pau Gasol incorrectly learned he’d been traded during intermission at ‘The Lion King’
The trade deadline hasn’t passed, as NBA teams still have another six weeks between now and Feb. 20 to legally trade players. One important, specialized trade deadline did pass on Tuesday, as former Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum was dealt to the Chicago Bulls for All-Star forward Luol Deng, and subsequently waived by Chicago in order for the team’s ownership group to save money. The move also gave Chicago an outside shot at securing improved first round draft picks, but those selections are long shots at best, and the team most likely will just take in second round picks and payroll savings for the ability to lop Deng’s half-season contract off of their books.
For a while there, it was rumored that the similarly in-the-black Los Angeles Lakers also wanted a chance to perform the same maneuver, but they decided against dealing for Bynum when it became certain that the pick package Cleveland was offering (unlikely the same one that Chicago “received”) wasn’t suitable enough trade fodder. Cleveland wanted talented big man Pau Gasol in that scenario, and various outlets reported that over the weekend the two teams were discussing sending Pau to Cleveland.
Chatter heightened when on Saturday, in a since-deleted tweet, ESPN 710 in Los Angeles reported that “League sources say Pau/Bynum deal is done and happening Sunday,” which sent off a flurry of re-tweets and questions regarding ESPN 710’s reporting acumen. The station later pulled back on their missive, but not before Pau Gasol got wind of the “story” in the middle of a rather curious day off.
The four-time All-Star from Spain said he was at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood watching "The Lion King" on Saturday night when erroneous reports came out via Twitter that the Lakers had agreed to trade him.
"I checked my Twitter at intermission and I see that it's almost official," Gasol said Tuesday after the Lakers' 110-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. "I was getting all these messages, 'Farewell, Pau. Thanks for all your services,' all that stuff.
"It was a really good musical. I enjoyed it. I brought my parents and my little brother. It was a nice family time. But that kind of affected a little bit, the rest of the show."
Asked, jokingly, whether it stopped him from enjoying the musical's famous song "Hakuna Matata," which means "no worries" in Swahili, Gasol laughed and said, "Yeah, that would've been a good way to go. But that's how I approach things anyway, most of the time."
(Shelburne was one of several in-house ESPN reporters that immediately decried their colleague’s premature report, so chalk this up to continued due diligence.)
Pau is such a cheerful sort that it makes complete and total sense he’d be taking in the Broadway-styled version of ‘The Lion King’ on a rare NBA day off. As someone who recalls elbowing his way to buy a $12 adult beverage during intermission at the New York City version of ‘The Lion King’ a few years back while sneaking in his own Twitter check, I can’t imagine learning of an impending move to another franchise while skulking back to my seat. And one has to consider that Pau’s skulk was more notable that most theatre patrons – he’s famous to start, and anyone who isn’t aware of Pau Gasol undoubtedly took notice as a 7-footer ambled his way down the aisle.