Well this could get really awkward, really quick.
It has almost been a forgone conclusion that the Los Angeles Lakers and Pau Gasol are not going to be involved with each other past this season. At least, that’s how the NBA trade rumors have made it seem.
But what if Kobe Bryant wants the Lakers to keep Gasol? Does Kobe still hold that kind of pull in LA?
What if he already told them that he wants them to keep Gasol?
According to a report, he kind of already did.
But with Bryant coming back from the broken bone in his leg before the end of the season, and beginning that $48 million extension next season, the Lakers have to pay heed to their franchise player’s desires. And he desires to continue playing with Gasol, who helped Bryant win rings in 2009 and ’10.
When Bryant’s extension was announced, Bryant made it crystal clear he’d been told by Lakers management that not only would the team be able to re-sign Gasol this summer despite Bryant’s huge numbers, but also be able to add an impact free agent.
So basically, Kobe informed the Lakers that, with the deal that he signed, the Lakers would still be able to re-sign Gasol and an “impact” free agent. That’s all nice and good, but it doesn’t look like Gasol is going to be back in LA. Not at all. If he isn’t traded before the NBA trade deadline, he’ll definitely leave during free agency.
The only question that remains is if this is because the Lakers think that Gasol is on the decline, or is it simply because Kobe doesn’t hold that kind of pull in LA anymore.
Either way, I think it’s the best for both parties. No matter what Kobe says.