Gasol wishes Bynum well, warns that top billing will lead to 'more pounding'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Pau Gasol wished former teammate Andrew Bynum well in his recovery from an offseason knee procedure and a bone bruise that was subsequently revealed. The Lakers' big man also offered words of caution Tuesday: Being the man isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"It's hard to know until you actually go through it," Gasol said after the Lakers' first practice of training camp. "He'll go through it, but especially if he has such little time to prepare before the season, it's going to be a little harder. ... It's a long year. Let's see if his body holds up and see if he's able to play through a whole year. That'll be important. It was important last year for him to do that. But now with a different role with much more pounding, it's going to be different."

For months, it appeared that if the Lakers were going to trade one of their 7-footers, Gasol was going to be the one shipped out of town. If not for commissioner David Stern acting in his former capacity as owner of the Hornets, Gasol would've been a Rocket last December as part of a three-team trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers.

But in the end, it was Bynum who was sent packing, all the way across the country to Philadelphia in the blockbuster trade that finally freed Dwight Howard from Orlando and made him a Laker. Now, the Lakers are more powerful and star-studded than ever. And Bynum is the unequivocal No. 1 option with the Sixers, which is what he wanted. Sometimes, Gasol seemed to be saying Tuesday, be careful what you wish for.

"More touches mean more double-teams, too," Gasol said. "If you're the main guy, the defense is going to work extra hard to take that option away. The first option is what they want to try and take away and make somebody else be the second or third option. Like I said, it's more pounding. It's more physical fatigue. We'll see. It's going to be interesting."

After hearing the news Monday that Bynum would be held out of basketball activities for several weeks after an exam revealed a bone bruise in his right knee, Gasol said he planned to "reach out" to his former teammate to "see how he's doing." Bynum had the now-famous platelet procedure on his knee in Germany last month, a procedure that fortified Kobe Bryant's knee prior to last season.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see him in Europe before his visit to the doctor," Gasol said. "For some reason we couldn't make it happen."

 
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