Blog Entry

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:58 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 2:06 am
Kobe Bryant pushes Lakers management to make a decision on Pau Gasol's future. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's time for the agonizing waiting game and endless trade rumors to end, according to Kobe Bryant.

Following a double-digit Sunday night loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard ramped up his recent public comments aimed at his team's management, stating clearly that it was time for the Lakers to make a decision regarding the future of big man Pau Gasol. reports that Bryant summed up the situation bluntly: trade Gasol or publicly acknowledge that his future will be in Los Angeles.

"Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn't have that," Bryant said after Gasol had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Suns. "Pau, it's hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it's hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he's hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him."

"I talked to (Gasol) a little bit about it," Bryant said. "It's just tough for a player to give his all when you don't know if you're going to be here tomorrow. I'd rather them not trade him at all. If they're going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game."

On Saturday, Bryant said that ongoing trade rumors were affecting Gasol's play and that the Spanish center had his support.

"Personally I don't understand that crap," Bryant said about the rumors, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But it is what it is. It's important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us."

Those comments came a little more than a week after Bryant said he was "sure" the Lakers would make roster moves prior to the trade deadline.

Gasol, 31, was not named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time since 2008. His numbers this season -- 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game on 49.5 percent shooting -- aren't terrible, but his scoring average is currently a career-low and his shooting percentage has dipped a few points since last year.

Of course, Gasol was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets back in December as part of a 3-team blockbuster that would have sent New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. That deal was nixed, and Paul wound up with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Gasol remained in Los Angeles, his future uncertain. The rumors including Gasol have been fairly steady since December, with a potential trade scenario involving the Minnesota Timberwolves surfacing last week

While still one of the league's most productive and versatile big men, Gasol has a monster contract. He's on the books this year for $18.7 million and has a 2012-2013 salary of $19 million and a 2013-2014 salary of $19.2 million, according to That figure, combined with Gasol's age, limits the Lakers' potential trade partners to teams that are serious about making a playoff run immediately. Otherwise, what's the point?

It goes without saying that public pressure from a superstar on management is less than ideal for the Lakers, who dropped to 18-13 with the loss on Sunday. Bryant seems to be giving his endorsement to Gasol and seeking the same from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, an action which would essentially handcuff the Lakers at next month's trade deadline. Other than Gasol and franchise center of the future Andrew Bynum, there's not a true trade asset on the roster, although the Lakers do possess a trade exception generated by the Lamar Odom dump to the Dallas Mavericks.

In other words, a definitive public statement on Gasol's future would really paint the Lakers into a corner. It's a nice thing for Bryant to say and it might make Gasol feel better, but there are two dualling goals here -- getting Gasol comfortable and doing whatever it takes to upgrade the Lakers roster -- and it's impossible for Lakers management to do both right now.

Since: Apr 30, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:09 pm

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Maybe if the guy was making like $35,000 to $50,000 a year and he was working for a company that wasn't doing too well and there were rumors of lay offs. Then I could see someone not giving 100% because of uncertainty. But Pau is making close to 20 million a year. He should be giving 100% whether he's on the Lakers one week and on the Bobcats the next. There is no financial stress in the man's life and plays a kid's game for a living. STFU and play. I tell you what. Maybe Pau should restructure his contact and start playing for the league minimum but add a no trade clause. I'm sure the Lakers would be happy to oblige and that would give him piece of mind. People are so full of 5hit.  

Since: Mar 31, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:03 pm

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Kobe should try using his big man more and not take more shots than BOTH of them combined. Kobe should look at their shooting percentages and then take a look at his own. PASS the ball a little more Kobe and cut the turnovers down and maybe the Lakers wont be a bottom tier West Playoff team!!

Since: Jun 9, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

SMART MOVE KOBE! The franchise player has the back of his team-mate, we need more of that. If Gasol stays this will be HUGE for the Lakers. There is NO way anyone can say this is bad, and it doesn't back anyone into a corner. There are just a bunch of people out there that want players to shut up, which is NOT fair, especially when a player has a team-mates back! I don't like when Players demand trades in the public, but someone standing up for his team-mate that is GREAT!

If Gasol gets traded, it still makes Kobe look loyal, and will allow the new players to trust him, because it is THEM against Management, which is always the way it is in real life, regardless of what anyone says. Management makes deals to win and make MORE Money, and that is it. They do not personally care about any of the players, and I really don't understand why people try to make it seem that way. LeBron left Cleveland and everyone GOT MAD, however if LeBron was the 12th Man and Management CUT him, no one would care. Again the players are SPOILED Millionaires, the owners are CROOKED Billionaires! Who do you relate with, of course most of us would still say the owners, because we all of our SPECIAL issues!

Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:38 pm

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

While I understand Kobe's point and appreciate him having his teammates back, he (and all players) need to shut up about trades and trade rumours. These players need to understand that by opening their mouths and demanding trades or talking about themselves or their teammates being involved in trade rumours doesn't help.

Nothing wrong with pulling Pau aside and offering support for what he's going through and/or going into Kupchak or Jim Buss's office and privately telling them, "Look, you need to do something because this is starting to hurt the team", but public comments can cause a team to lose their leverage. Back when Shaq demanded a trade, the Lakers probably could have gotten alot more for him if he would have just kept his mouth shut, played hard and let Laker management handle trading him. At least then, it would look to other teams like the Lakers wanted to trade him rather than having to trade him.

Besides, if anyone wants to pay me what the Lakers are paying Gasol, they can trade me to wherever they want and as long as the checks clear. It's not as if these guys are not well compensated.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:13 pm

The Laker's would be crazy to trade Gasol for

The Lakers would be crazy to trade Gasol for anyone on the Bull's not named D.Rose. C.J Watson isn't even as good as Steve Blake he would be a improvment over D.Fisher but thats about it and Carlos is not only about the same age as Gasol but he's not as good and he can't be a backup at center when the Lakers need to pull Bynam. Unless you get Howard in a trade involving Gasol the Lakers should leave him along he is the perfect fit for the Lakers. To win the Lakers need to bench Meta World Peace and start Ebanks or any other small forward not named Meta and either start Blake who can get the job done or make a trade to get a very high end point guard. Please don't give away anymore good players to get some mediocre point guard which would improve the team very little. The Lakers weakness is clear and anyone knowing anything about basketball knows this the Lakers have three stars and two guys that probably wouldn't start for anyteam the the entire NBA considering their present stats and skillsets. NBA contenders? Not even close playing two of the NBA worst starting players only winning games because of the Lakers big three. However if they don't move those two out of the starting lineup the Lakers will be out in the first round of the playoffs and all will just age another year. The sad thing is all they need to do is either one of two things to win. 1. As I stated above start Ebanks or at least M.Barnes and have the other one as a backup and start Steve Blake and play him 30-35 min a game letting him know he's the man and solidify your starting lineup and then address your bench with whatever bench trades or signings you need to make. That team right there could be contenders if you use it and stop playing musical chairs and starting two lame dogs one of which can only shoot and do little else other then take a charge now and then and the other can't shoot or play defence anymore and when he is in the Lakers are playing 4 on 5 with no one caring to guard him and content to double or tripple team someone else. 2. The other option is trade Bynam and anyone or Gasol and any 2 guys+ picks for Howard and Hedo and do it quickly to give them time to gel. The magic would drop a slight notch possibly but not much if any and not lose everything but loseing Howard who is as good as gone and the Lakers get someone with a little less offence and a little more much needed defence. With either of these situations the lakers have a decent chance in going back to the finals.

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:55 pm

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

l'd be happy to see the Bulls give up Boozer and Watson for Gasol.  But the deal shouldn't be done if the Lakers want Deng.  At this point, Deng would be more important for the Bulls than Gasol.  Plus, many in Chicago, including me, feel that Gasol is a bit soft personality wise.  He is tempermental and not nearly as mentally tough as Deng.  Deng is a warrior that does so many things.  The Bulls arguably have a glut of big men with Gibson and Asik waiting in the wings.  But if we could get Gasol for Boozer and only give up Watson, though he is a valuable back up and would start on the Lakers, it might be worth it.  One thing for sure, Gasol would be pleasantly surprised that the superstar in Chicago isn't high maintenance as the one on the Lakers.  Rose just demands efforts and wins and such a straightforward approach may actually help Gasol.  Plus he'd be playing for a much better coach.

Since: Feb 20, 2012
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:22 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:19 am

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

That is an interesting trade but I would be surprised to see LA do that trade.  I think if Gasol was going to Chicago the Lakers would want Deng in the deal.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:22 am

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Lots of talk on Chicago's the Score this morning about Derrick Rose having been consulted about, and having approved, potential trade sending Carlos Boozer and point guard C.J. Watson to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. Watson has played pretty well in place of Rose, who has toe and back injuries that have kept him on the sidelines. Bulls also have other options behind Rose, although Watson is the best Rose back-up right now. Boozer seems better suited to Western Conference style of play than the more physical Eastern Conference. Lakers have Derek Fisher, who has been in the league for a long time, and not much else at the point. Seems viable, but these rumors can be nothing more than someone just floating crap around.

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