Kobe Bryant says Pau Gasol will be in L.A. as long as he is

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Kobe Bryant told reporters on Saturday regarding trade rumors for Pau Gasol that he has his power forward's back:

Kobe, answering a question from a Spanish reporter about Pau's status with the Lakers: "As long as I'm there, he's going to be there."

via Twitter / briancmahoney: Kobe, answering a question ....

It's a slight change of tone from Bryant who openly questioned Gasol during his performance in the Lakers' five-game dismissal by the Thunder, the second year in a row where he's had trouble with stepping up to make the big plays.

ESPN reports that there's renewed hope that Steve Nash can invigorate Gasol and bring him back to where he was two years ago when he was considered the best big man in the league. Nash should be able to help Gasol create catch-and-shoot opportunities on a level he's really never had in the league and he won't be as much of a focal point in the offense.

Of course, if a deal comes available for a better, younger superstar that requires Gasol and makes sense to the Lakers, it'll happen and Bryant won't have much say in it.

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