Pau Gasol was working on his three-point shot the other day before we were scheduled to talk. "We're exploring it," he says. I'm not surprised the Lakers have given up on his toughing it out inside. It wasn't that long ago the Lakers had given up on him all together, nearly banishing him to Houston. That's what happens when you have a bad 10-game playoff stretch with the Lakers. How soon everyone forgets. Gasol was the centerpiece of one of the all-time most lopsided NBA trades, helping the Lakers to advance to the Finals three straight years and win two titles. If you think Kobe Bryant is unhappy now, imagine him still sitting on three rings if the Lakers hadn't acquired Gasol. But now Gasol wouldn't be surprised if he gets tossed aside. "If the right opportunity comes along," Gasol says, "they will take advantage of it." As dominant as he is on the court, and as solid as he has been off it as a likable Lakers representative, it's amazing how three troubled weeks of basketball have changed the view of Gasol. "I guess some people have given up on me now," he says with a grin. "I think if I had played at my usual level, it would have been unheard of to be traded."