Following Sunday’s defeat delivered to the Los Angeles Lakers by a rather underacheiving Phoenix Suns team which brought the Lakers road record to a rather embarrasing 5-11 and their overall record to an 18-13 mark, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant vented to the media about his feelings about Laker management, particularly concerning their handling of forward Pau Gasol’s rampant trade rumors.
“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 in the locker room following the loss. “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.
To finish his statement off the future Basketball Hall of Famer had this to say, “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 (bleep) 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.”
Similarly to Bryant, Pau Gasol has made his opinion known that he wants to remain a Los Angeles Laker.
This predicament seems to be another result of the vetoed Chris Paul trade, which was denied by NBA Commishioner David Stern before the lockout-shortened season began. Earlier, 2010-11 Sixth Man of The Year Lamar Odom demanded a trade and was moved to the Dallas Mavericks after his named was linked to the almost executed Paul deal.
In addition, new head coach Mike Brown is now facing rumors of a possible firing following the Lakers rather pedestrian start to the season.
The past two and a half months have been very trying times in the Laker organization and I agree with Bryant on his opinion as it is better to have job security or closure rather than this be another distraction in the organization that is in a current state of flux.
However, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently said that he is not looking to make any trades this season so it will be intriguing to see whether he sticks to what he said or if he trades any players this year, including Pau Gasol.